Invictus backed away from the elf he’d thought was his husband and tried to get himself under control. “Which one are you?” he asked.
The warrior glanced at Invictus then to the knives that were too close to his face for comfort before looking at Anders. “Leto, I’m Leto.”
“No, this isn’t possible. How the Void did you come back with us instead of our Fenris?” Vic shouted, ready to shake the elf as if it would get Fenris to return to them.
Anders had shrunk away, pulling Ellowynne with him as Zevran took a step closer to this stranger with Fenris’ face. The blond mage stared from Invictus to the white-haired elf, bewildered and unnerved.
“Fenris, what - what’s going on?” he said, voice shaking a little. “Vic, this... are you saying this isn’t our Fenris?”
Ellowynne disentangled herself from her father and crouched in front of him, drawing the knife from the sheath at her hip as flames danced upon the upturned palm of her other hand. “I don’t know who you are, but we’ve dealt with the likes of you before,” she hissed. “And I shall never let my father be hurt again!”
“I’m not a demon, I’m from another Thedas. I am mortal, trust me as much as I ache, I am aware of that.” Leto said as he stared at Anders’ daughter.
“Yes, in the rift we encountered several versions of our love. Including one that is called Leto.” Vic said tiredly.
“You... you mean... you mean our Fenris is back there?” whispered Anders, horrified. “He’s - he’s still in the Fade?” He stared up at Leto. “Where is my husband?” he asked softly. As Leto stared up at him, Anders clenched his hands into fists and repeated it, louder, as he slowly got to his feet.
“I said, where is my husband.” He took a step forward towards this strange white-haired elf, a fey, desperate look in his eyes.
“Daddy -” began Ellowynne, staring up at him worriedly. Anders pushed forward past Zevran.
“Damn you, WHERE IS MY HUSBAND??” he screamed.
Leto shrank back against the bedroll and stared up at the angry blond. “In my Thedas, if they grabbed him and led him back as Invictus did to me. I’m sorry, I didn’t do this on purpose. Please believe me that I wanted to go home too,” he said as he watched this man who he’d just seen weep in joy approach him in fury.
“Anders, calm down. It won’t help anyone if you have another turn. Just back down and breathe. You’re putting a fright into me, and if you terrify him it won’t help him tell us what happened,” Vic said as he tried to get Anders to stop his advance.
Anders stared at Leto; he was trembling, a look of hopelessness slowly replacing the wild fury that had been there a moment before. “You brought the wrong one back,” he whispered, and abruptly all the fight seemed to go out of him as his shoulders slumped. “You - you brought the wrong one back.” He finally looked at Invictus, and then his knees gave way as he collapsed to the floor to stare down at the ground. “You... he... no, this is wrong, wrong!” he moaned. “Fenris... oh Maker, Fenris!” He made a low sound of pain as he slowly doubled over, gasping for breath.
“Daddy?” said Ellowynne, as she took a hesitant step towards him. Zevran swiftly placed himself between Anders and Leto, his eyes still hard and angry as he stared at the other elf.
“Imp, go get your dad’s pills. They’re in that rucksack by my staff,” Vic said as he watched Anders and Zevran carefully. He was distracted by his step son entering the tent, asking what in Dumat’s mercy was wrong with them.
The young elf’s appearance made Leto gasp, and crawl backwards on the bedroll and try to claw his way out the other side. “No...this is too much, you can’t be here too. This is too cruel,” he said as he failed to get away from the younger version of himself.
“Papa? What’s wrong with you, I thought you’d be happy to see me?” Cal asked before he noticed the unfriendly way that Zevran was staring down his father and that Anders looked on the verge of another bad turn.
“Stay back, Callus,” snarled Zevran as he circled around slightly so that now his blades were between Leto and Callus as well as Anders. “This is not your father. And this one claims to be no demon, but we have heard that before. I will not allow this creature to harm any of you. I failed before, but I will not fail again!”
“Zev,” gasped Anders as he lifted his head. “Wait... Vic, you... you swear... he’s just a mirror version? not a demon?” The colour had drained from Anders’ face and he looked ill and grey as he hunched over slightly.
Zevran took a slow step towards Leto, his face strangely blank and mask-like now. “If he moves then we shall see if he bleeds red or black,” he said softly in a voice devoid of colour or inflection. Anders looked up at him with something akin to horror as he realised that Zevran was wholly Crow at this moment, the yellow eyes merciless as they bored into Leto.
“Zev,” whispered Anders. “Stop.”
“And let him harm you? I would sooner die than see you harmed, my heart.”
Anders shivered to hear how emotionless Zevran’s voice had become. “Zevran. Don’t do this. Look at him; he’s no threat to anyone here. Please. For my sake. For Ellowynne’s sake. Maker, please. Don’t kill him. I’m begging you.”
Leto hadn’t heard them, all he could do was stare at Callus and hope he was losing his mind or that fate wasn’t so cruel as to drag him to a place where his son yet lived. He had pushed himself against a pole, yet he still tried to flee from the painful visage of his son.
“Zevran, look at him. No demon could look like that. Besides, I saw him fight and bleed red in the Fade. He’s mortal and from the looks of it in a bad way for seeing Cal,” Vic said as he tried to get the former assassin to back down from murder.
“What do you mean this isn't papa? Are you all mad? He looks a bit worse for wear but that’s my father,” Cal insisted.
“No, not alive, not here. Not alive,” Leto repeated as he curled away from everyone and tried to will himself anywhere but there but he didn’t know where “there” was.
“Zevran,” Anders tried again. “Please. Love, don’t do this.” He stared up at the blond elf, an swallowed hard before he closed his eyes. “Zev... I need you,” he murmured. “Help me. Please.”
Zevran halted, and finally a flicker of emotion crossed his face as he lowered his knives slightly. “Mi cuore?” he said softly.
“Zev... my chest hurts,” said Anders, his eyes still closed. “I need you.”
The former Crow blinked, then glanced over his shoulder at Anders, who was clutching at his chest. All at once he had sheathed his blades and moved to Anders’ side, dropping to his knees beside the stricken mage as he reached for him. “No... no, my heart, see - Zevran is here, you are safe!” murmured the Antivan as Anders slumped against him, face still white. Ellowynne wordlessly passed the small box of pills to Zevran and the elf took them. Ellowynne glanced up at Leto, then looked over to Callus.
“Cal,” she said in a low, urgent tone. “Where’s Pin? And Marian? Go fetch them, quick!”
“Where did you come from?!” Cal asked as he realized Ellowynne was in camp.
“There’s no time to explain, just go get Marian and Pin!” Vic ordered before looking at his husbands and this stranger that looked like Fenris. Zevran had managed to coax a couple of the pills into Anders, who now rested half-reclining against the elf, his eyes closed, one hand still pressed against his chest as Ellowynne gently brushed his hair out of his face.
“Daddy?” she murmured quietly.
“So tired,” Anders said weakly. “Vic? I’m so tired. Want... want Fen....”
“Stay with us, mi cuore,” said Zevran gently. “I did not mean to distress you so. Please... open your eyes, Anders.”
“Love, come back to us please,” Vic begged as he knelt next to Anders. “Please don’t go, I can’t take it if you do.”
Leto had uncurled after hearing Callus’ leave the tent, but what he saw distressed him almost as much. “I’m sorry, I didn’t want this,” he said from where he had leaned back against the tent wall to watch them.
Ellowynne glanced up at him. “My father has a weak heart,” she said. “Healers have done what they can for him, but this....” She looked down at her father worriedly. “Stay with us, daddy,” she begged softly. “Please!”
“Not... not going anywhere,” Anders sighed. “Just very tired.”
“Please, Anders,” pleaded Zevran. “Open your eyes; I beg of you.”
Anders opened his eyes slowly, his gaze going to Invictus. “Sorry,” he murmured weakly. “Didn’t mean to frighten you all.” He looked around, his eyes seeking out Leto. “I... I believe you,” he managed. “No demon could ever look as you do now.” He smiled sadly. “My Fen must be just as lost.” He turned his face away and closed his eyes. “I miss him so much,” he breathed.
Zevran buried his face in Anders’ hair and gave a low sob.
Fenris was too warm and someone was on top of him. It felt wrong though, the sheets were soft but he had last slept in a bedroll. Why was he in a bed and whose arm was wrapped around him like that?
The elf opened an eye to find Dorian was cuddled up to him, topless and snuggled close to him. He looked around, sure he had to be dreaming or worse; possibly still in the Fade as he saw the dark wood bedpost and thick curtains. He tried to get up without rousing the mage with him, but found himself pulled closer with a whisper of amatus in his ear as he tried to get up.
“Dorian Pavus, what did you call me?” Fenris asked in shock.
Dorian opened his eyes and blinked sleepily at Fenris. “Amatus,” he repeated. He studied Fenris’ face as he steadily woke up, and then a mortified look crossed his face as he sat up before he glanced away and ran a hand through his hair distractedly. “Well, this is embarrassing,” he murmured. “You... you’ve changed your mind then? After what you said in the Fade, I....”
Hurriedly he pulled away and rose from the bed, snatching up his silk bedrobe and belting it on as he started to pace. He laughed, nervously. “Well... I’m not quite sure what to say,” he said, his voice a little high and wavery. “Though perhaps I should have expected it. After all... perhaps I was foolish to believe after all we’d been through that -” He broke off and pressed his hand to his mouth and made a little stifled noise of distress.
“No, it's not that. I’m just confused. I remember sleeping in a tent, not...where are we anyway?” Fenris asked as he sat up and reached for Dorian’s hands. “Help me, I don’t know what’s going on right now and at least I woke up to someone I know,” the elf admitted.
“You mean....” Dorian broke off as he turned, and the distressed look gave way to one of relief.
“What’s wrong? Other than me being confused,” Fenris asked as he tugged Dorian back to him. He had no idea why he was in a nice bed, and Dorian was there rather than his husbands but it wasn’t as if they hadn’t shared a tumble before; he was definitely confused about things however.
Dorian moved slowly back towards the bed. “Forgive me, amatus,” he said, almost shyly. “After all, back in Tevinter we both know that this -” He gestured to the bed then to to himself and Fenris, “- would be as far as we could take things. I suppose I learned never to expect anything more. I’ve....” He sat on the edge of the bed and glanced away, his voice dropping to scarcely more than a whisper. “I was afraid that you had changed your mind. I... think I was almost expecting it.”
“We’re not in Tevinter though, and we can do this amatus,” Fenris replied uncertainly along with wondering where in the Void Meneris was and why Dorian was calling him love.
Dorian toyed with the trim on the edge of the bed throw, staring down at it as he gave an odd little sad smile. “No... we’re not, are we? You must forgive me, amatus; this Fade business has thrown me rather off-kilter, and with our grand Inquisitor even more so than usual thanks to his demon -” He broke off and shivered slightly. “No,” he murmured. “I’ve said too much and we can never be too sure who may be listening. He’s so paranoid these days....”
Fenris nodded and let his gaze stray to where Dorian played with the comforter. “I don’t mean to worry you further, but ...did I hit my head or anything? I’m having a hard time remembering getting back here and the end of the fight.”
Dorian looked up, worried. “You were rather out of it at the end there,” he said slowly. “That explosion knocked us all off our feet and all you dragons out of the air - I didn’t notice any signs of bleeding but that wouldn’t have meant anything - you heal so fast, after all. But if you struck your head then that would explain why you weren’t able to shake it off and heal yourself How are you feeling now?”
“Confused mostly, and a bit achey. Just how did we get back here so quickly?” Fenris asked.
“That red dragon fellow opened a portal that somehow sent all of us to our own respective worlds; we all found ourselves in the courtyard here at Skyhold. Anders went off in one of his foul moods so I brought you straight up here to my rooms to recover. Thankfully Zevran was lurking about nearby or I should never have been able to get you up the last few stairs alone; you were a dead weight by that time.” Dorian regarded Fenris with a look of worry. “You remember nothing? Nothing at all of our return?”
“No, I remember falling and that’s it. I’m so sorry for worrying you after that fight. I’m glad you were able to get me back here. Is there anything else I should know?” Fenris asked softly.
“Other than His Lord High and Vengefulness being on the warpath as usual?” replied Dorian drily. “No, not really, unless....” He glanced down again, toying with a loose thread on the sleeve of his robe. “Do you... remember what you said? Just before that last fight? About....” His voice dropped to barely more than a whisper. “About... us?”
Fenris shook his head and sniffed. “I’m so sorry...I know you wouldn’t call me amatus without meaning it. Can you remind me please?” the elf asked.
Dorian lifted his head, his grey eyes shimmering with unshed tears. “I thought - I hoped....” His voice wavered a little. “You - you called me amatus and said it was time we ended this dance we’ve been doing for over a year and - and take things further; I assumed - and when I got you to my room, you... you held me and....” He looked away, blinking rapidly. “Oh dear. Oh dear, this is....”
Fenris tugged Dorian to him and hugged him. “Please don’t cry, it will be alright amatus! I’m sure I’ll be fine after some more sleep and maybe food. I don’t want to hurt you, alright?” the elf stared up at the ceiling in supplication to whatever might be listening that he got out of there without harming Dorian further. He hated seeing the other man upset, but he wasn’t sure how long he could pretend.
Dorian nestled into Fenris’ arms, trying to swallow down the tears that threatened to fall. “You - you must think this frightfully silly of me,” he tried to smile. “My nerves are rather frazzled after all that’s happened; I swear my heart was in my mouth when I saw both you and that other version of you lying there on the ground. And of course it was all rather distressing at the end, with the red dragon fellow holding his lover - I didn’t really get much chance to talk to the fellow before he died, but he seemed a decent man and he really didn’t deserve to die like that. After the things Nightmare said, I was terrified that you wouldn’t make it out of there. I’m just a little overwrought; I’ll be alright in a little while.”
“I’m overwrought myself to be honest. Any chance we can get food sent up and maybe sleep a bit more? Maybe it will help me feel better, I’d be happy if you stayed with me… amatus,” Fenris said before pulling back to wipe at Dorian’s face.
“Sleep... yes, food and then sleep is likely what we both need,” sniffed Dorian as he dabbed cautiously at his eyes then winced at the traces of kohl on his fingers. “Dumat, I’m a mess. Let me go call for a runner to go fetch food, amatus.”
“Of course love, now that I’m awake I could eat a horse.” Fenris said with a smile before leaning back against the pillows to watch Dorian for a clue as to what was going on.
Dorian rose to his feet; tugging the robe closer about his body he crossed to the door and leaned out, looking both ways before beckoning over a runner and talking to him briefly then stepping back and closing the door. He made his way back to the bed slowly, running one hand through his hair as he gave a low sigh. He managed a smile for Fenris however as he returned to the bed and then threw himself down next to Fenris.
“Do you know, when we got back I was so very thoroughly tempted to drown myself in wine - had I not been so concerned for you, I think I might have done it. But I would far rather share with you, amatus; I swear you’re the only fellow in this whole damned fortress who appreciates a decent vintage. It’s wasted on the others - and I’m not sure why our esteemed Inquisitor keeps such a copious wine cellar for he never touches a drop himself. But I’m rather glad he does. What say you - shall I take a wander down there later after we’ve eaten, and perhaps liberate a bottle or three just for us?” He grinned up at the elf.
“That sounds like a damned good idea, I could use a drink or five after that fight.” Fenris said as he slipped down to run a hand over Dorian’s chest while he pondered what he meant by Anders not drinking. He knew damned well that Anders enjoyed a fine vintage just as much as he did. “His High Vengefulness is a new nickname.” he remarked while traipsing his fingers over the magister’s chest.
Dorian stared up at him and blinked. “Hardly - you gave him that nickname yourself, Leto!” he said, a look of confusion in his eyes. “That fall must have scrambled your brains more than we thought if you’ve forgotten that! No wonder you can’t heal yourself yet. I brought back your staff, by the way - but it sounds like you won’t be using it for a while yet. Maybe the wine is not such a good idea after all....” He gestured over to the corner of the room; glancing up, Fenris spotted a familiar mage’s staff - which he had last seen being wielded by his counterpart.
“I’m fine to have some wine, it might help calm me.” Fenris replied as he kept staring at the staff. “I don’t think I’ll need to heal myself, more sleep and food will help me out.” He glanced at Dorian then back to the staff as he tried not to panic.
“If you’re sure, amatus,” said Dorian dubiously. He followed Fenris’ gaze then glanced back. “Let me bring your staff over; you always get so antsy without it,” he chuckled. “Honestly, we’re perfectly safe in here - but I will indulge you as always.” He sat up and gave Fenris a quick kiss on the nose before rising to fetch the staff. He leaned it against the wall on Fenris’ side of the bed, within easy reach, giving Fenris an indulgent smile before circling around the bed and crawling back onto it to lay down beside Fenris.
“After that fight, I’m totally fine not touching my staff for a while,” Fenris responded, almost edging away from the weapon. “In fact, I think I want to take up the blade again.”
Dorian stared up at him, and gave a nervous laugh. “Who are you, and what have you done with Leto?” he said incredulously. “Dear heart, why on Thedas would you turn back to the sword?”
“Would you believe seeing that other me made me miss the feel of it in my hands? I’m being maudlin, just ignore me,” Fenris said with a wary glance up at the other man.
Dorian had gone very still. “That’s not what you told me in the Fade,” he whispered. “You told me that you pitied him because he hadn’t found his magic yet. You said... you said you could not imagine ever taking up a sword again.” His eyes held a hint of fear and anger. “Who are you?”
The elven warrior swallowed as he stared into Dorian’s eyes. “Would you believe that other Fenris who hasn’t discovered his magic? Seems we got mixed up on the way out,” Fenris replied as he fell quite still.
Dorian leapt up and rapidly backed away from him, eyes widening. “You... you mean....” He turned away as he ran a hand through his hair distractedly. “Oh Dumat - damn me. Damn, damn, damn me. I brought the wrong man back.” He whirled back to Fenris, his eyes still wide and a look of horror in their storm-grey depths. “I am so, so sorry,” he breathed. “This is all my fault. I just picked you up and dragged you through the portal and -” He closed his eyes and shuddered. “My Leto. My amatus. Where is he?”
“My guess is in my world, at least I hope so. I doubt that Vic would have grabbed that Fenris that was with that rather nasty Hawke since he was always with her. The question is how to get us back where we belong? And how can I avoid the Anders here, since he’s...well more demon than man,” the elf said. “I’m sorry for this.”
“Oh dear, this is all rather terrible,” sighed Dorian as he turned back to face Fenris. “I’m afraid that would rather arouse suspicion; Leto has always been the one who has held him in check. He is one of the few people capable of standing up against Vengeance; there appears to be something about their shared history that gives Leto some hold on him - I’ve never known exactly what, but there have been times when Anders has been on a tear and Leto said but one word in his ear and... Anders would become quite a different man.” He groaned. “Vishante kaffas - if you cannot control him then the Gods only know what devilry he’ll get up to in Leto’s absence. And we dare not let him know that you are not Leto; there’s no telling how Vengeance might react.”
“I can’t fool him! Look how soon you found me out and I know very little of Leto’s past aside from him still suffering from Endrin’s death. I didn’t get much chance to talk to him but he didn’t give me any clues as to what his life is like, aside from being unhappy and lonely,” Fenris admitted as he stared at Dorian.
“You’ll find it hard to fool Zevran as well, I dare say,” replied Dorian as he began to pace. “And I must confess I am not entirely sure where Zevran’s loyalties may lie. He is as much Anders’ Left Hand as Leliana was once the Divine’s.”
“Was? What happened to her? In fact who makes up the Inquisition here? Leto did tell me he’s in charge of the army. So I’m guessing Cullen never came across Anders? This is going to be a fool’s errand to try and pass me off as your Leto,” Fenris despaired.
He listened as Dorian went over their roster, of Leto being in Cullen’s role, Zevran as their spymaster and Crow Master more than his husband ever was. Bull was dead, killed because Vengeance didn’t trust the Ben Hassrath, despite him becoming Tal Vashoth order to prove himself. What got him to blanch was news of Callus’ demise.
“My son...is dead here, but how?” he gasped. “What of his sister, or...mine?” Fenris dared ask.
Dorian halted his pacing and stared down at the floor for several long minutes before he was able to look up and return Fenris’ anxious gaze; there was a look of deep sorrow in his eyes. “I’m sorry, amat-” He broke off and swallowed. “Fenris. It... it was very hard on Leto. He joined the Chargers. A mission... went wrong, he took a hit - a bad one. They were able to get him back to Skyhold but....” Dorian shook his head sadly. “There was... there was nothing that could be done. He lingered for a few days and finally died in his father’s arms. Leto... laid him upon the pyre himself, stayed there until - until there was nothing left and - and he took to his rooms, would see no-one, for a full week. He... he has never been entirely the same since. I’m deeply sorry.”
Fenris looked away at the news of how this world’s Callus had perished. He felt himself crying for the young man, though he knew his son was fine. Or he’d hoped, he never saw him or Pin after the fight. For all he knew, his own children could have died in the fighting. The thought of never seeing them again made him cover his face as he tried to hold back tears.
He heard Dorian draw closer, and then the Tevinter magister hesitantly laid a hand upon Fenris’ shoulder. “I am so terribly sorry,” he said gently. “I didn’t mean to distress you. Is there... is there anything I can do?”
“Got an Eluvian stored away so maybe I can try to get home?” Fenris asked through tears. “I’m sorry, it hit me that I don’t know what happened to my own children after the fight. For all I know maybe they didn’t make it, and if that’s the case it might be kinder to kill me than to live through that kind of grief.”
He wiped at his face and glanced at Dorian. “Well, if we’re going to pretend I’m Leto, I might as well get used to being called that. And well...I’m no stranger to the version of you in my world, but he’s married to the Inquisitor there. It won’t be bad, being with you. I’m sorry I’m not him though, its damned unfair for you to lose him for now and get me.”
“I’m afraid that Solas took control of all the known Eluvians; I don’t think that they would be useable,” said Dorian apologetically. “But I’ve been researching methods of travelling through the Fade - a sort of extension of Fade stepping, if you will - and perhaps I may yet find a way to reach out and find a way back to your own Thedas. I swear to you, Fenris, that I shall set aside all my other work and I shall not rest until I can send you home - and I hope most fervently that your children are fine and well.”
He regarded Fenris sombrely. “The deception shall likely be only too easy for me; you and my Leto look identical, after all, and I have nearly slipped several times already and found myself about to call you by his name. I do hope you can forgive me should I slip and forget myself. And I hope your Inquisitor is a kinder man than the rather petty face he seemed to show us at times in the Fade. If my counterpart in your world has married him then he must have some charm to him that perhaps was not apparent in such trying circumstances - he did at least appear to have friends and the loyalty of your companions however, which is more than can be said for the monster that holds the title in our Thedas.” He frowned. “Frankly I think I should sooner slit my own throat than share a bed with that creature; it would likely be a far cleaner death, for a start. Vengeance shares a bed with no-one, man or woman; Leto stays only to hold him in check, and I remain solely for Leto’s sake or I would have fled here long ago.”
“Meneris isn’t all bad, though his behavior before the fight puts that to a lie,” Fenris said softly as he considered the staff next to the bed and Dorian.
“My name was Leto, before my old master did this to me; and I used to answer to it for Inquisition business. I was the ambassador to Tevinter along with our Dorian so it's no hardship to answer to it. Sharing a bed with you won’t be one either, if it helps keep up the ruse. The problem is I am no mage, so unless you can unlock whatever magic I might have, I fear we’ll be found out quickly.” The elf gave him a half smile before picking at the threads of the bedding. “If you’d rather not, I will understand. But you’re probably the only friendly face here for me. If Zevran is as cold as you say, he won’t be like my husband, and I know this version of Anders is not what I left at home.”
“I cannot answer for Zevran,” said Dorian as he glanced at the staff, a troubled look in his eyes. “I never can fathom what he might be thinking. His face is like a mask, giving away nothing; he kills with no emotion. It is easy to see how he rose to become Crow Master; some say Zevran Arainai has no soul. And yet....” He glanced back to Fenris. “There seems to be some accord between he and Leto; they have shared a bed on occasion, though I am not sure the feeling is anything more than a curious kind of friendship. Leto and Zevran seem to have... an understanding between them. I have always been most careful to keep out of the way of their... relationship. Our own has been a dancing around the question of what we were to each other but I suppose you have seen for yourself that at least upon my part, there is love and a desire for something more than the skin deep.” His voice became distant and wistful. “I... I can only hope I did not read more into his words to me in the Fade and that I will not have my heart broken upon his return. And I have to believe that he will come back, because... because I do not know what I will do if he does not,” he finished in a tone of hopelessness.
“How very touching,” said a voice from the shadows behind the curtain. As Zevran stepped out into the light, Dorian retreated with a scream of startled fear.
It was easy to see just why Dorian was so unnerved by the Crow. Unlike Fenris’ own Zevran, there was a cold remoteness about the Antivan, and Fenris could instantly see what Dorian had meant by the elf’s flat, mask-like affect. His golden eyes seemed to be the only living part of his face as they glittered in the candlelight. He was dressed all in black; soft fabrics that gave no sound and seemed to absorb all light as he moved further into the room, his leather boots silent upon the carpet. Even his armour was black, the scale-mail sleeves that covered his arms matt black and reflecting no light. Though he bore no weapon that Fenris could see, Fenris had no doubt there would be several secreted about him.
And unlike his own Zevran, this man did not limp. He walked with the casual, fluid grace of one whose very body had been honed into a weapon.
This Zevran was a killer. And if he had a soul, then it was hidden.
He smiled, briefly; it was cold and didn’t touch his eyes. “Dorian,” he said softly. “You talk too much.” He glanced to Fenris, the smile already absent. “And you... are not Leto.”
“I was, once. But you’re correct I’m not the one that belongs here. I suppose you plan to kill me then? Or report back to that demon that’s in charge?” Fenris’ voice went just as unfriendly as the other elf’s gaze upon him. He smiled at the smaller elf, almost eager for a chance to go at him; but if this Zevran was anything like his before being crippled it would be a hard fight.
Unexpectedly, Zevran laughed. “Kill you? No. Not until I have reason to. For now, it amuses me more to let you live. And why would I report to Anders? Your presence here is... hmm, intriguing, but I think it none of his business unless you should threaten my position here or endanger the Inquisition. We have greater threats to deal with than one lost elf.” He glanced to Dorian. “And besides... I must give dear Dorian here some reason to work towards restoring the equilibrium. I think were I to kill you, it might prove... hmm, how shall I say this?”
He stalked towards Dorian, who froze as the Crow circled around him slowly to stand behind him before he pressed himself against Dorian’s back and rested his chin upon the magister’s shoulder. “A distraction, hmm?”
He chuckled as he lifted a gloved hand to trail it down the side of Dorian’s face in mockery of a lover’s touch; Dorian had gone pale as he held still. Zevran’s eyes were on Fenris as he turned his head and kissed Dorian lightly upon the cheek before stepping away.
“I wish Leto returned for my own reasons. So. I let you live, I say nothing to Anders. I may even be persuaded to assist you in your little charade, yes?” He folded his arms and regarded Fenris thoughtfully, tilting his head to one side.
Fenris continued to stare at the shorter elf as he pondered how fast he’d have to be in order to strike him and not get stabbed with a poisonous blade for his trouble. “If you plan to go along with the charade, then you should call me Leto and let us be affectionate without the creepy behavior. I hope to Mythal I never, ever see my Zevran like this.” He refused to show the assassin any sense of being bothered by him.
Instead he continued to stare down the Antivan, unwilling to look at Dorian and give him any fuel for changing his mind about helping them, little assistance that he expected to get.
Zevran moved towards him in a manner that could only be described as a prowl. Slipping around the bed on silent feet, he trailed one hand from bedpost to bedpost as he drew closer to Fenris until he was leaning over the white-haired elf, yellow eyes gazing into green, one hand braced against the headboard scant inches from Fenris’ head.
“And so, would you bed me for such a charade?” he purred. His smile was predatory as he gave Fenris a smouldering look. “Do you think you could bring yourself to touch me?” He leaned in closer until his lips were almost touching Fenris’ lips, his breath warm upon Fenris’ face. “To kiss me?” he whispered.
“Right now? Not if my life depended on it,” Fenris replied in Antivan, his expression angry as he leaned back as far as he could get from the other elf. “You’re taking too much delight in this and I’ve learned my lesson about bed partners that give the wrong kind of pain. You wish to assist in keeping the truth from the demon? Give me information on Leto, on your ...whatever it is you do with him. You already heard Dorian, and right now I’d rather anything but the thought of you touching or kissing me, Arainai,” he finished in Trade.
Unexpectedly, Zevran threw his head back and laughed as he straightened. “Oh, you... you, I like,” he replied. “You have a fire in you, yes?” He stepped back and gave Fenris a bow with a flourish. “You pass. I shall help you. You are my Leto’s equal, I think, and for that? Yes. I want my Leto home, much as Dorian does. So. I shall assist you.”
He circled back around the bed and then walked slowly around Dorian, coming to a stop in front of the magister to pat his cheek. “Do not look so worried, my friend,” he chided. “I will not kill this man. I have not been paid for his death and he has done nothing to earn my blade. But he has certainly intrigued me.” He turned on his heel and walked back towards the bed, smiling at Fenris. “So. Zevran Arainai is at your service. What do you propose to do? And I should warn you now that it is best to tell me the truth, or I shall find out sooner or later and I do not like being lied to, hmm?”
“First off let me dress without you staring at me like I’m on the sale block, second leave Dorian alone,” Fenris said as he sat up and looked around for whatever he’d been wearing. “Third, I’m Leto from now until whenever I get home. What I propose is to fake being Leto until I can get to an eluvian, or we figure out a way through the Fade. What do you know of the Fade Arainai, hmm?” he asked acerbically.
The smile left Zevran’s face. “More than you might think,” he said quietly. He held Fenris’ gaze. “I spoke truly. I will aid you. You will need my assistance against that demon who walks in Anders’ skin. There is still a human man in there, but the demon has him trapped within his own mind. One day I will free him with my blade, but now is not the time.” He turned slowly until his back was towards Fenris and he was facing Dorian once more.
“If the short amount of time I did get to speak with Leto tells me anything, it's that he expects to free the human left in whatever Vengeance is walking around now. Moving on to you and Leto, what is your relationship and how do I not give myself away?” Fenris had found his tunic and thankfully was still wearing sleep pants. After he tugged it over his head he went over to Dorian in the hope he would snap out of his fear.
Zevran glanced to him. “We were friends. Occasionally lovers. Between us, we kept Vengeance in check. Should he seem about to kill, speak the name ‘Ella’ to him. You must follow my lead. We are not affectionate in front of others, but when we think ourselves in private, Leto would touch me. He is... forceful. Dominant. He leads and I... submit.” He glanced to Dorian. “He is the only man I could ever submit to in that way. I would kill any other who would try to claim my body in the way I give it to him. Zevran Arainai is no-one’s whore.” A note of bitter vitriol had crept into his voice as he glanced away.
“I would not try and do that to you, as I have the opposite relationship with my spouse in my world. I have no desire for such a thing, but I will put on airs to keep up the pretense. I can’t afford to … in private I could not feign affection for such a cold, dark version of my love. I will follow your lead in other things however,” Fenris admitted before taking Dorian’s hand so he could lead him to the bed.
“So, Ella is a trigger word for him as well; figures. What other things should I know? I am no tactician, that is where I may also fail in this charade. I know nothing of leading the armies of the Inquisition, just small squads here and there,” the elf said with a glance to Dorian before zeroing in on Zevran again.
“Much of what you need to do involves paperwork,” replied Zevran. “My network of spies bring much of that paperwork to me before I in turn would set it before him; most of his decisions are ones I would make myself. So. I shall deal with the paperwork - the requisitions, the troop orders, everything - and then we shall make a pretense of me bringing it to you. From time to time you may need to lead some of our forces in person. When that happens, I will go with you to advise you; we shall say I am merely overseeing my own agents in person. It is something I do often, so no-one will think this strange or unusual.” Zevran shrugged as he turned and started pacing.
“I shall endeavour to keep the Inquisitor’s attention distracted,” he went on, waving one hand airily. “This will be no trouble; I know various ways and means to distract him without endangering myself.” He turned and flashed a quick grin. “A thing which many of us have learned to do.”
Dorian swallowed then retreated back towards the bed. “Yes, we have indeed. It is never safe to let Vengeance’s eye linger on one for too long; it only allows his paranoia to grow, and that is when he is at his most dangerous.” He seemed to be slowly recovering from his fright, though his face was still pale.
There was a sudden knock at the door which made Fenris and Dorian start; Zevran merely smiled. “Gentlemen, I believe your dinner is served. I shall leave you in peace.” He glanced to Fenris. “I trust you know where to find me.” He gave them a bow with a flourish, then turned and opened the door, ushering in the servant bearing a tray of food.
“I bid you goodnight!” he smiled, and then he was gone.
Fenris gave the servant a nod of thanks, waiting for them to leave before speaking. “I hate him,” he muttered before seeing what they had been brought. He was glad to see no fish, nor other dishes he wasn’t fond of. “At least Leto and I share the same tastes. Come and eat, standing around won’t change things, and I’m starved.”
“I’m sorry,” said Dorian as he came to join Fenris at the table. “I’m afraid the man frankly terrifies me - but then he terrifies everyone I think, save Leto and the Inquisitor. I’ve always kept out of their way when Leto and he decide to... liaise with one another; generally Leto takes himself off to the rookery. He’s never told me what they do, and frankly I’ve been happier not knowing.” He poured them both a glass of wine then took a hasty gulp of his, his hand shaking slightly.
“He doesn’t sit well with me either. I’m surprised Leto would have anything to do with him,” Fenris said before pouring himself a drink. “I am truly sorry Dorian, I know I’m not who you wanted to wake up to.” The warrior filled a plate, acknowledging his hunger finally and not trying to think about what his loves were up to with the other him in their midst, or if they had realized something was wrong.
“I shan’t deny this has been rather a shock, but whilst you may not be my Leto I... I hope that we may become at least friends. It would be considered strange if we did not share a bed but I promise I shall keep my hands to myself.” He stared down into his glass of wine and gave a small sigh.
“You don’t have to,” Fenris said with an impish grin. “I’m more than familiar with the Dorian of my world. My husbands and his allow us to have fun, and we do care for each other. I don’t know if it has become more than me being his amicus but I would not be opposed to us taking that path. If he cares for me beyond that, I’ve never had the nerve to ask; and I admit I’ve nearly slipped and called him amatus myself. I might as well have one good thing while I’m trapped here.” The elf went back to his food, sure he went too far in admitting his feelings for the magister at home.
Dorian set his wineglass down very carefully, his hand trembling badly now. “You are not my Leto; though you look exactly like him and you have the same mannerisms and speech, it would be wrong for me to indulge myself with you in that way... but at the same time, though I fervently hope his words to me in the Fade were a sign he wishes us to take things further, he has not expressly and explicitly said as much to me. So I suppose in that regard I... I am free to share myself in that way with whomsoever I choose.” He lifted his eyes slowly to return Fenris’ gaze. “And I imagine there might be... gossip... were we to avoid that kind of activity; Leto has always been a virile man and we have never held back when either of us had - had that kind of urge.”
He stared back down at his plate, a blush spreading across his face as he suddenly seemed unable to look Fenris in the eye. “So what I am trying to say - and, I fear, making a terrible hash of it - is that I, I would - I would not be adverse to... to sharing physical affection with you. That is - if you should wish that. From me.” He swallowed hard and hastily reached for his wine glass.
The warrior smiled before rising and pulling Dorian into his arms. “I can be...aggressive with him, my Dorian. Tell me how you like it and I’ll do my best to make this fun for us.” He leaned in to nuzzle at the other man’s neck, pleased that this Dorian even smelled like his. “Being a dragon, also the sense of magic does things to me and I can be a lot to handle in bed. I shouldn’t - but right now? This is all that’s keeping me from going to pieces on you and neither of us wants that, hmm?” Fenris even bit him a little, losing his worries as he let his baser instincts take over.
Dorian gasped then arched his neck a little as though mutely inviting Fenris to mark him with his teeth. “Aggressive... yes,” he murmured. “My Leto is often aggressive with me. I... crave it. To feel his strength as he pins me down and has his way with me. I can take all he can give, believe me. I have felt his claws and... Dumat, Fenris - if you do this much more, I am afraid you will soon have me begging....”
“I’ve never used my claws like that, but fangs are something he loves. What do you want, tell me,” Fenris asked before turning them towards the bed and almost carrying the magister with him.
Dorian sprawled upon the bed, his hands going to the sash tying his robe closed, his breath coming faster. “Teeth,” he gasped. “Yes - teeth are good... if you bite me again then I may very well lose my self-control. Leto loves to bite me and I enjoy indulging him. I also love the sensation of his claws running down my back before he takes me. Do you... do you enjoy being rough?” There was a faintly hopeful look in his eyes, the pupils blown wide and dark as he stared up at Fenris and pulled open the robe, revealing tawny naked skin.
The elf grinned at him before tugging his tunic off and loosening the ties to his pants. “Yeah, we don’t get too rough since he doesn’t like bruising that lasts for long. I like it when I get roughed up a bit myself.” Fenris crawled over him and resumed biting at Dorian, even letting his claws out just a bit. “Do you ever switch up, take him like you want me to do right now?” Fenris asked.
“Rarely,” replied Dorian breathlessly. “But it does happen sometimes. Mostly he indulges my desire for something... rough. It has gone as far as making me bleed and frequently I’m bruised afterwards, but then Leto can heal me up.” He swallowed hard as he stared into Fenris’ eyes. “I... like it when he makes me scream,” he confessed in a whisper. “I think people have gotten rather used to hearing it as well. They might think it odd were I to be... quiet. Tell me, Fenris... do you think you could make me scream as loudly as he does?”
“I’m sure of it, I mean I’m built exactly the same as him. I’ve also not had a good, hard fuck in a while thanks to the march to Adamant.” Fenris pinned Dorian’s arms over his head as he considered him. “Since I can’t heal you, let’s have a word for me to not go too far. Or should we just say I can’t heal yet since that landing rattled me? Cause I ...feel my control slipping.”
Dorian gave a faint moan as Fenris pinned his wrists down. “I- I have potions,” he managed to get out. “I-In the box beside the bed. You can take this - take me - as far as you wish. As you need.” He ground his hips up against Fenris. “Please,” he begged in an almost frantic whisper. “Take me. Now.”
“Remember to call me Leto,” the elf said before pulling back just enough to strip and pull at Dorian so he could get him open. “Fuck, this should be the last thing on my mind but you look so damned good. Do you always walk around like this, no trousers. Just eager for him, ready?” Fenris said as he rooted around for oil.
Dorian managed a breathless laugh. “I never wear anything beneath my robe when we’re together. Leto likes to be able to have me when he pleases, and it pleases me for him to have me as often as he likes. And believe me, if you get me to the point of screaming then I shall forget all too easily that you are not Leto.” He closed his eyes as he shifted slightly upon the bed. “It will be his name I scream, not yours. Just... be gentle with me afterwards. I am likely to forget myself in the moment, and I apologise in advance if I should find myself weeping afterwards.”
“I won’t leave you alone after, not if you are in a bad way. I might forget...that you aren’t my Dorian. I’m sorry if I ...now’s not the time for that. We can talk later,” Fenris said as he uncorked the oil and reached under the mage, pleased at how the other man spread himself for him and stared at him like he wanted Fenris to do what he pleased.
Dorian closed his eyes as he felt Fenris begin to push a single finger into him and groaned as he canted his hips slightly so that Fenris could push deeply. “More,” he breathed. “I can take all you can give.” He licked his lips and opened his eyes to stare up at Fenris. “Break me,” he begged.
“Stand up,” Fenris ordered, his hand slipping free just enough to let him rise. “You asked for it, fuck ... have you asked for it,” he said as he let his fangs slip out and pulled his claws back in.
Dorian stood and stared down at Fenris. “Yes, I have,” he murmured. “What are you -” As he felt Fenris begin to thrust two fingers up into him, he gasped slightly then spread his legs a little further apart. “Oh... yes... harder,” he breathed.
The elf grinned before leaning forward to take Dorian into his mouth, all while adding another finger. He sucked hard, deep and fast. He wasn’t trying to make the other man come, yet but he knew what his own Dorian liked, especially when he was in a mood to get roughed up. Fenris pulled away to catch his breath, but didn’t stop moving his hand. “More of my fingers, or want me to fuck you Dori?” he asked.
Dorian’s breath was coming now in panting groans as he pushed himself back onto Fenris’ fingers with each thrust. “F-fuck me,” he managed to get out. His legs were trembling slightly. “Oh please, fuck me!”
“Such a good boy for me. Say my name Dorian, say it as I take you,” Fenris said as he pulled his fingers free and shoved the other man to his back. “I love it when I can get rough with you, so eager for cock.”
Dorian spread his legs, hands hooked behind his knees to open himself wider for Fenris. “Give it to me, Leto!” he begged. “I need you!”
As Fenris rammed himself fully into Dorian in one hard thrust, the magister threw his head back and screamed. “Leto! Ah - Leto!!”
“That’s it, scream for me, let them all know who you belong to,” Fenris growled in his ear as he stroked hard and fast, each thrust making a slapping sound in the room. “Beg for it, beg for my cock Dori,” he panted. Dorian’s breaths were coming now in ragged, pained gasps between cries of Leto’s name.
“Oh please, Leto - give me your cock!” he begged. “I need it - need - ah, fuck! Fuck, Leto!” He bit his lip and whimpered. “Oh, that hurts - please, harder!”
“Gonna take you against the wall, make it really hurt like you want,” Fenris said as he picked Dorian up like he weighed nothing and slammed him against the wall. “Always like fucking like this, going to make you scream yourself hoarse.”
Dorian threw his head back and gave an agonised scream that tailed off raggedly as Fenris pounded into him; he panted, eyes closed. “Leto... Leto!” he managed to gasp out. “P-please....”
“Please what? Please let me come ser, please fuck me harder, ser?” Fenris said before pulling out and forcing him to stand. “Spread and raise your hands against the wall, you don’t come till I let you.”
Obediently, Dorian turned and pressed himself against the wall, hands raise above his head and pressed flat against the smooth plaster. “P-please, ser,” he managed, voice cracking slightly. “Please... fuck me h-harder....” He was trembling slightly, eyes closed, his body sheened in sweat.
“Such a good boy for me.” Fenris purred in his ear before sliding back in, grabbing Dorian’s wrists and pounding him harder, faster than he had been. He lost himself in how pliant the other man was, how eager and happy he sounded to be getting fucked nearly senseless. Dorian cried out at every thrust, his voice rising into a wordless keen as Fenris pounded into him with bruising force, the magister’s cock trapped between his body and the wall. Words were finally beyond Dorian, reduced to a sound of pain and pleasure combined, his awareness focused down to the sensations of Fenris wrecking him.
“Want to come for me, be a good boy and paint that wall? Yes or no?” Fenris asked as he eased up enough to let Dorian speak but not by much. If his Dorian could have seen him, he’d have been terrified, aroused or both.
“P-p-please...” Dorian managed in a pained, wheezing gasp. “-please... ser... let....let me come!” He gave a low moan, his eyes closed, his cheek pressed against the wall, hair dishevelled as sweat rolled down his face and down his back.
“Go on,” Fenris snarled before sinking his fangs into Dorian’s shoulder as he picked up his brutal pace.
Dorian screamed, high and loud, and then came hard, his body shuddering, until finally he could only gasp, pained, at every thrust as Fenris chased his own orgasm. He tried to shape words but had no voice left; his legs were shaking badly and he was only held up by Fenris pinning him against the wall.
Instead of filling his bedmate, Fenris pulled away and shoved Dorian to his knees. “Open your mouth, want to paint that pretty face of yours,” he panted before stroking himself, eyes closed as he started to come, not looking again until he looked down to see the other man fallen to his knees before him, debauched, face covered with a few strings dripping from his open mouth. “Damn,” was all the elf could say before leaning against the wall, shaking and near tears.
Dorian gagged slightly then managed to swallow, his eyes closed, before slumping slightly. Then he collapsed to the ground, body shivering. He lay unmoving for several long minutes as Fenris braced himself on trembling arms against the wall, leaning over him; and then Dorian slowly curled in on himself, shoulders shaking as he began to sob silently.
Fenris stood up unsteadily before getting warm cloths and soap to clean them up. After getting himself clean as he could, he picked up the other mage and wiped his face clean, and gently swiped the oil away from Dorian’s thighs, his cock before pulling the covers back and getting them settled. He rubbed his thumbs over his cheeks and sighed.
“Dorian...talk to me please. I’m sorry if I got too rough but it was so good, so damned good with you. You can hurt me if you want, I like that actually but I never can get them to do that to me no matter how well I beg. I forgot myself, you’re so good Dori, it was ...one of the best times I’ve had. Please look at me!” Fenris begged.
Dorian finally managed to lift his head. His kohl was smeared, his eyes red with tears. “L-leto,” he managed to whisper. “N-need....” He pressed a hand to the bloodied bite on his shoulder, the glanced up with a bewildered, lost look. “Leto...h-healing?” he managed to breathe. “Hurts....”
“Easy, easy. Let me get you potions and clean that up more.” Fenris slipped out of bed to find a tray of potions, even lyrium and a stamina potion and wine to settle their nerves. He pulled Dorian into his arms, and let him slowly drink one of the larger potions while he kept a careful eye on him. As the healing potion began to take effect and the pain and discomfort receded, Dorian seemed to come back to himself gradually until the lost look left his eyes and they seemed to focus on Fenris more clearly.
“Leto?” asked Dorian quietly. “No... Fenris.” He tried to smile. “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to worry you like this.”
“Call me Leto, we have to keep it up,” the elf said as he leaned in to kiss the other man’s forehead. “It’s ok, it’s really ok if you call me that. Besides...you were very good for me,” Fenris said shyly.
“I’m afraid that I will forget myself,” confessed Dorian. “It would be too easy for me to start thinking you are my Leto.” He closed his eyes, a pained expression crossing his face. “I miss him. This is... forgive me, this is all very hard for me just now. Coming on top of what we just faced in the Fade, and after listening to that ghastly demon.” He opened his eyes and reached for the glass of wine. “Venhedis, I’m sorry. I’m being terribly selfish, wallowing in my own self-pity when it’s you who is facing the far worse wrench of being torn away from your own world.”
“Dorian, it’s ok - really. At least I’m stuck with you and believe me, this was not hard on me. Well... it was a little hard on my back. For now we just need to adjust, see what we can do to keep the ruse up until your research pays off. Until then, we have fun and ...I think we’ll both have a hard time forgetting that I’m not your Leto. If you forget, I forgive you in advance; just do me the same favor?” Fenris stared at him, occasionally brushing away tears as they fell.
Dorian sipped his wine slowly; it seemed to revive and settle him as he sank back against the pillows. “If it was hard on your back, you should feel what it was like to be on the receiving end,” he chuckled weakly. “I begged you to break me and I do indeed feel thoroughly broken.” He glanced over at Fenris. “Not that I’m complaining, you understand, I....” His voice trailed away as his gaze wandered down and halted at the obvious tenting of the covers over Fenris’ groin. “... oh,” he finished in a small voice. “Y-you and Leto... are very alike indeed,” he managed. He swallowed hard then glanced up at Fenris. “Do you... do you need another round, am-”
He broke off and hastily took a gulp of wine.
Fenris gently tipped his bedmate to face him again. “Say it, it would be too strange after what you both declared before the battle. Amatus, say it Dorian. It's ok, I don’t mind,” he said with a slight hitch to his voice. “Let me play pretend so I don’t fall apart, please,” he whispered.
Dorian set aside the glass of wine as he stared up into Fenris’ eyes, his own glimmering with tears. “Amatus,” he managed, then bit his lip. He closed his eyes as the tears began to fall once more, and then he buried his face against Fenris’ chest as his shoulders shook. Fenris could feel his tears, wet and hot against his skin as Dorian cried.
“I’m sorry, I’m so, so sorry a--am--amatus,” Fenris said before he wept, his face pressed into Dorian’s hair as he let guilt eat at him for enjoying the other man so thoroughly, and wanting more while he had no idea what was going on at home.
Dorian pulled himself together with an effort. “Leto,” he whispered. “Take me again. Exhaust me, so I can sleep and forget everything for a while. I know you still have need. Take me, use me, wear me out I beg you. I don’t care how sore I will be in the morning - for now I just want to forget everything.”
“I don’t want to really break you. I can’t heal you, unless you find a way to see if I do...if I do have magic like Leto,” Fenris finished. “That will break me, I don’t know how he felt about finding out but it may well send me into a deep, dark place I won’t be able to come back from.” The elf stared at Dorian before pulling the covers back so he could kiss him, re-discover this other version of his amicus.
“Not break,” sighed Dorian. “Only wear me out. Please. I swear, this - I will not break. Just... just take me. Be as gentle as you wish, only do this and let me find peace somehow. I - I shall beg. Please.” He stared up at Fenris, then pushed himself up to kiss Fenris with an air of desperation, as though he could coax the elf that way.
“You’ve done enough begging today, think you can ride me or are you all worn out?” Fenris said as he caressed the mage gently, wishing he could fling himself into a deep hole and not see any version of Dorian look so damned broken.
Dorian lifted a hand to stroke his fingers gently down the side of Fenris’ face as he smiled sadly. “I don’t think I have the energy to ride, am -” He halted and closed his eyes briefly. “Amatus.” He drew a deep breath and opened his eyes to stare up at Fenris. “I just want to feel you inside me; exhaust me, make me come one last time, just...” He blinked away another tear. “I need to be so exhausted that my mind will be quiet,” he confessed. “Right now it’s racing around in circles and I just want it to stop.”
“As you wish, amatus.” Fenris was gentle with every movement, unsure about giving it to him so rough he made the other man scream, but Dorian wasn’t a quiet man in bed or otherwise. The elf held his hand rather than pinning him, each pant a slight call of his name. Dorian writhed beneath him as Fenris took him, his own gasped breaths a tenor counterpoint that rose to a final cry of “Leto!” as Fenris finally brought him to climax, his eyes closed, his body pliant and unresisting as Fenris chased his own climax afterwards.
As Fenris braced himself over Dorian, panting, the sweat dripping from him, the magister slowly opened his eyes and gave Fenris a tired smile.
“Thank you,” he breathed faintly.
“You’re welcome,” the elf said softly before leaning in for another kiss and forcing himself to get up before he tried for a round three. “Would you mind if I took a little walk around? I won’t go far but ...I’d rather not go to pieces in front of you after such a good time,” Fenris asked as he cleaned the mage up again.
Dorian regarded him drowsily, already more than halfway asleep - exhausted, wrung out and finally at a form of peace. “Alright, amatus,” he slurred sleepily. As Fenris drew the covers up over Dorian, the magister finally slipped into a deep, dreamless sleep.
“What a damned mess,” Fenris uttered to himself as he dressed and reluctantly considered the staff but left it alone. He found himself heading up to the rookery out of habit, though the door was locked; which his Zevran never did. It wasn’t like he couldn’t take out anyone foolish enough to make an attempt on him. He checked his belt, and was relieved to find his lockpick set; a gift after he’d finally managed to meet his husband’s demanding expectations.
After slipping in, he found the room darkened beyond what a human could see but it was no issue for him, or an Antivan elf. He walked slowly, sure the space was trapped but what he heard stopped him short. That could not be what he was hearing, not from this man.
Zevran Arainai was sat, hunched over and curled in upon himself, sobbing bitterly - a heartrending weeping, a sound of someone who had been utterly devastated beyond words. An empty bottle of brandy lay on the floor by his feet; a single solitary raven was perched on the back of his chair as he sat there, face buried in his hands, hair dishevelled where it had been tugged and yanked in a fit of despair.
“Mio amore,” the Antivan managed to breathe out between ragged gasps. “Forgive me, I - I could n-never t-t-tell you, and... and n-now I never c-can!” He moaned as though mortally wounded. “Gone, gone, and I am too late! Oh, Zevran Arainai is truly the most wretched creature in existence this night!” He let out a cry of despair and fell forwards from the chair onto his knees then wrapped his arms around himself and doubled over, scarcely able to breathe for sobbing, unaware he was no longer by himself, the ravens his only witnesses. It was clear that this was something he could only do alone in the sanctity of his room, and Fenris couldn’t escape a horrible guilty feeling that he was trespassing on an intensely personal expression of grief.
The Tevinter elf remained still as he watched this version of his beloved unravel. Zevran’s grief made him feel as if he was getting punched repeatedly until he took an incautious step forward.
At the sound of his foot scuffing on the wooden floor, Zevran jerked upright, eyes wide, his face wet with tears as he stared into the shadows. “Wh-who is there?” he cried.
Instead of speaking, Fenris came forward so he could be seen. He knew there was a chance that Zevran could lose himself to anger, at being seen at his worst but he wasn’t thinking clearly. “Forgive my trespass?"
Zevran stared at him, shivering slightly, unable to speak. His eyes were wide in disbelief, raw pain still clear upon his face as he knelt there, looking small and vulnerable in his dishevelled state. He swallowed and tried to speak but nothing would come as he stared up at Fenris. Finally he managed to talk.
“Have you come to kill me, then?” he asked in a small, despairing voice.
“Never, not any version of Zevran could make me kill him,” admitted the elf as he approached slowly. “I came here out of habit, and it was foolish to enter you domain but when I heard you I couldn’t just abandon you to your grief. If you wish me to leave, I will go,” Fenris offered.
“Stay,” whispered Zevran, and then softer, “Please.”
“My Zevran has had these moments, there is no shame in it. Can I do anything for you?” Fenris asked as he sat by the smaller elf and extended a hand.
Zevran bowed his head. “No-one has ever seen me like this,” he said quietly. “Not even Leto. I have too many enemies, all too few I can trust - much less call friends. I dare not show such weakness before them. I am drunk and a fool, and were you one of my enemies then I should deserve to have my throat slit for making myself such a tempting target.”
He glanced up at Fenris from behind his tousled hair. “You would make the perfect assassin, my friend. I never heard you upon the stairs, and you look so much like Leto that were I a little more drunk I would have taken you for him.” He straightened up a little and threw his head back, tossing his hair over his shoulder and out of his face as he held Fenris’ eye, tilting his chin up a little. “Do you speak truly? You do not seek my death? And here am I, such an inviting target.” He smiled sadly. “I would make such a pretty corpse, no?”
“No, as I could no more harm you than I could my own version of you back home. We’ve hurt each other a few times but never when I was in my right mind. Or he when I trespassed so badly I drove him from me, the bed we share for a long time. I would not take your life, not when you seem to be where I am upon realizing I was not home.” Fenris got closer and stared into the other elf’s eyes.
“I know you said Leto is aggressive with you, that he dominates where you allow no other to do that to you. In my world? It's the other way around, my Zevran gives me what I crave when I need to get out of my head, to give in and let him lead. Would you wish that of me then? To trade pain for pain in exchange for your help?” the elf asked quietly.
Zevran‘s brow creased in a small frown as his gaze became unfocused. “Did I say that?” he murmured than glanced away. “I lied... mostly. He is not the only one who uses my body so. If that is the price of your loyalty to me... well. It is only the same price I have paid to others. But Leto... he was the only one who has ever not taken that for granted. Every time, he has asked me. Asked my permission before laying a hand on me.” He smiled suddenly through tears. “And he was the only one for whom that was never necessary. I would have given him everything. I did give him everything. Even that which I did not think I even possessed....”
He glanced back at Fenris with a sad, drunken smile. “They say that Zevran Arainai has no heart. It isn’t true, you know. He has one. I think it might be broken, and Leto is the one who broke it.” He held one hand out towards Fenris. “Will you, then, break me? Shall I play the whore for you, too?”
Fenris took his hand, but was slow to do more than grasp his fingers. “Never the whore for anyone. I offer you my submission, my compliance to make this work. Please, don’t say that about yourself, it is...it reminds me too much of my own love and his ...issues.” He dropped to his knees slowly and stared up at the elf before bowing his head and waiting.
“I don’t understand,” said Zevran, his frown deepening again. “I... what are you doing? Why are you kneeling?” He leaned forward and nearly overbalanced; he caught himself with one hand braced against the floorboards. “Excuse me,” he muttered. “I... I am very drunk, I think.” He patted Fenris’ shoulder. “Sit up. Sit up! I need to look at you.”
As Fenris straightened slowly, Zevran was frowning at him. The Antivan straightened and gestured at him. “Why are you doing this? What am I supposed to do with this? Are you trying to hurt me further, by offering me what I could never have?” He tried to laugh but the sound came out awkwardly. He reached to his hip and drew his blade; despite his drunkenness, he managed to spin it between his fingers before he held it out towards Fenris, the hilt towards the white-haired warrior. “Here. If you wish to hurt me then let me help you. Here. Take it.”
“No, I meant what I said about not taking your life.” Fenris glanced up through his hair at the blond elf. “I offered my compliance, my service and submission to have your help with being Leto until I can get home and you both can have him back. I can’t dominate you, I have my reasons. If you will not take it now, know it is on offer to fulfill the deception. If you won’t have my servitude, name a price.”
Zevran stared at him uncomprehendingly. “You... I do not understand you,” he said slowly. “You want me to dominate you? You do not know what you are asking of me. I would sooner take this knife to my own throat than lift a hand against him; what makes you think I could do that for one who has his face, his voice?” He let the knife fall from his hand and glanced away, running a hand through his hair distractedly.
“You want my help, I already gave my word I would help you. What are you asking of me?” He got slowly to his feet, the knife forgotten, as he stumbled over to his desk and picked up an unopened bottle of brandy.
“I know you gave your word, but I am offering more.” Fenris said as he watched the elf fumble with his bottle. “Allow me to help you?” he asked coyly.
Zevran looked up from the bottle of brandy to Fenris, then wordlessly held out the bottle to him. He swayed slightly and clutched at the edge of the table a moment to steady himself. Belatedly, he gave Fenris an almost wistful smile as he murmured, “Please?”
The taller elf rose and took the brandy in one hand and ushered the smaller elf towards his bed with the other. “Lie down and let me take care of you.” Fenris slipped the bottle out of reach and instead got Zevran water. “You don’t need any more brandy.”
“I disagree,” replied Zevran, almost belligerently, though he lay down upon the bed and made no attempt to reach for the bottle. “You have no idea what it is like, to be afraid and sleepless, Leto who is not Leto. I have many enemies, and more all the time. I have to be always alert, and that means I cannot sleep. My Leto could help me sleep, forget myself, but now he will never come to me again.” He glanced away with a look of almost physical pain. “He calls another amatus. He has made his choice. Why should he come to me, now he has chosen Dorian?” He sighed, tremulously. “That is why you found me like this,” he whispered. “I hurt, and I grieve, because my heart is breaking and I cannot bear it. And I am too drunk to hide it but not drunk enough to numb the pain or let me sleep. So. If I cannot have the brandy, what will you give me instead, Leto who is not Leto?” He glanced back at Fenris.
“I told you, I freely give my submission. If you truly wish the oblivion of the bottle, I will grant that instead. You’re wrong, I know this pain far too well. Do you wish the bottom of your drink or to inflict physical pain upon me in equal measure to your grief?” Fenris offered.
Zevran sat up slowly. “I could hurt you,” he said darkly. “I could make you scream and wish for death. I could cripple you for the sheer joy of making you hurt every bit as much as I hurt now.” He began to crawl across the bed towards Fenris, his eyes glittering in the dark as he moved, predatory and graceful despite his drunken state. “Oh, the sounds I could coax from your lips! You would bleed and beg for death, and the sound would be music to my ears because it would be a voice that is not my own.”
He reached the edge of the bed and straightened, one hand going to his crotch. “Ohhhh... I feel myself stirring at the thought! I would tie you down, pull your hair -” He fisted his own hair and yanked it hard, pulling his own head up and back as he held Fenris with a wild, fey gaze, a mad smile upon his face. “And I would fuck you so hard -” He punctuated each word with an almost obscene thrust of his hips. “And you would scream so beautifully for me, would you not?”
“My death nor my blood is on offer, my submission is but I have limits. Do not make me regret offering,” Fenris said as he rose and backed away.
Zevran began to laugh, softly, his voice slowly becoming louder even as it became higher, a wild, near hysterical sound and then he was sobbing through his laughter. “I could not,” he gasped between paroxysms. “Do you not understand? I could not - I cannot! I want to hate you, but then I should only hate myself more. And I want to hurt you but then I would only hurt all the worse. How could I lift a hand against the one I love?”
He gasped and doubled over, sobbing in earnest once more. “He does not love me. He never loved me. And I did not mean to fall in love but believe me....” He lifted his head and stared at Fenris wretchedly. “If I did this, it would not buy my loyalty to you. It would only hurt me far more than perhaps you can ever dream.”
He held out a hand that trembled slightly. “Give me the bottle,” he pleaded softly. “Or give me some other way to find sleep. Do not ask of me something which I cannot give you. Is my word not enough? What else would you have of me?”
Fenris opened the bottle and handed it off to the elf, his expression broken as he turned to go. “For what it's worth, I am sorry. I hope you sleep soon and dreams do not haunt you Zevran Arainai.” The elven fighter left as quietly as he came.
Zevran stared out into the darkened room, a forlorn look upon his face. “Don’t go,” he whispered, alone in the dark and silence.