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The Face of Love

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A rift could have opened up in Suri’s room and she would have been none the wiser. All she knew was Cullen. The feel of his lips on hers. The ever surprising softness to his hair. The press of his hands on her back and under her thigh, keeping her legs around his waist. The little sounds he made, the gasps and low groans from the back of his throat. Even the valley of the scar on his lip. At the moment, he was her whole world. Hang Corypheus. Hang Thedas. She didn’t care. She didn’t want to care.

She gasped sharply when his hand drifted under her shirt, up her back. Cullen froze pulling away with panic in his features. “I’m so sorry,” he said quickly, “I think I...I mean, what I meant to say was…”

Suri shook her head. “No, Cullen, it’s not what you think, trust me,” she assured him. Her face was burning red but her hands shook as he set her down gently. “I just…” She took a deep breath. “We’ve never talked about them. And I know you’ve seen them.”

“Your…”

“Scars,” she finished unabashedly. She held a hand up and turned her back to him, carefully undoing the buttons to her vest, tossing it over the sofa. Then she pulled at the laces to her shirt, her heart tracking the time. Before she could think any second thoughts, she pulled the garment swiftly over her head, throwing it to join her vest. She could feel her blush creeping down her neck and over her shoulders. Cullen was dead silent, hardly helping her nerves. “Just...say something, Cullen…”

She swore she could hear him swallow. “May I?” he asked, startling her. She let out a breath she had been holding, nodding. She spotted his gloves join her vest and shirt, holding the breath again before she felt his warm touch on her upper arms. She squared her jaw and shut her eyes. A tremble shook her from head to toe. She had never let anyone see her scars unveiled. Except Solas, of course, because she was prone to bodily harm, but that was different. Healer-patient confidentiality. Baring her back to the man she had just confessed her love for was far more terrifying. More heart-stopping than facing a High Dragon.

Cullen’s hands moved slowly to her shoulders, squeezing gently, encouraging her to relax, to at least stop holding her breath. She nearly choked when his fingers began to explore her marred flesh. She didn’t have the best feeling in her back, but she could certainly feel whenever the weapon-worn pads of his fingers pressed gently into the white and pink gouges in her muscles. She flinched away when he touched a particularly deep one that crossed over her right shoulder blade. Cullen mumbled an apology and asked if she was okay. Suri nodded, giving him unspoken permission to continue.

The worst was on her upper back, but Cullen’s hands continued down to her--in Suri’s opinion--most painful scar. She suspected he had seen it before, but he had never brought it up. The contractured skin wrapped around her left side, twisting the skin over her hip and lower ribs and stretching to her spine. Dragonfire from Haven. Her ward hadn’t been strong enough, at least not for long. Staff broken and mana nearing its sputtering end, she had used the last of everything she had to keep herself from going up in flames. Had she gotten medical attention immediately following the events of Haven, it might not have turned out as bad as it was.

Suri coughed out a giggle, her abdominals jumping out of the way of Cullen’s exploring fingers. “Sorry,” he said again.

“Although I’ve yet to see you shirtless, Commander,” she joked lightly, “I might have you beat when it comes to scars.”

“You actually might,” he admitted. She turned to face him. She had other scars here and there, souvenirs from her travels with the Inquisition, but they paled in comparison. “How?”

“It was a few weeks after my twenty-second name day. A halla had been injured by some human hunters. I was tending to it when their hound found me. Not a mabari, no, these were Orlesians, so it was something fast and precise. Instead of going for the halla, it went for me. Dug into my back like I was a baited bear. Then another came. And another. I managed to get a few seconds to myself to cast Mind Blast to get them the hell off of me. It wasn’t hard from there. When the hunters showed up, I thought I was done for. I thought, ‘Oh, there goes the First of Clan Lavellan.’”

She laughed bitterly. “They said a lot of things, none of which I remember. I was too busy worrying about the blood I was losing, which was quite a lot. Just as I was about to pass out, one of them found himself with arrows through both eyes of his mask.” Suri smirked. “My sister, Sunny. She had been looking for the halla with me.” She gestured to her face. “Ghilan’nain. The Halla Mother. Sunny may have Andruil’s vallaslin , but we both love the halla. My little sister saved me. Killed every single hunter and their mounts. Patched me up well enough to get me to the Keeper. I was out for...three days, was it?”

“How old was your sister?” Cullen asked.

“Seventeen. A seventeen year old Dalish girl killed three Orlesian hunters.” Suri frowned slightly, her ears drooping. “My sister’s a very happy young woman, loves to make jokes, pull pranks...loves to smile. The only time I ever saw that kind of happiness leave her eyes was when she told me what she did to the hunters. She immediately went back and strung them up from the nearest tree. She left a note on an arrow in one of them. ‘The Dread Wolf took them,’ it said. She then carried the halla on her back to the camp. It made a full recovery, as did I.”

“She got her vallaslin the next week. Andruil. The goddess of the hunt.” Cullen took her hands. Suri realized with a slight start that she hardly ever felt the skin of his hands. He was always wearing his fur-lined gloves for the cold. She brushed her thumb over the wiry little hairs creeping up the back of his hands in a diagonal line. “I’m not ashamed of them. Not one bit. I got them defending what I cared about. Sure, it may have just been a little halla, but it doesn’t matter.”

Cullen cleared his throat. “Mind...helping me out my armor? You’re shivering.”

“Am I?” It was then she noticed the chill that had crept into her muscles. She chuckled and helped him with his straps and buckles, laying each piece neatly on her sofa. Before she could protest, he gathered her up in his arms, spinning her once. She giggled against his padded shirt. “So...what do you think? I mean, I have to ask.”

“What do I think about your scars?” he clarified. He pressed a kiss against her temple. “I don’t think anything of your scars. However, what I do think is that you are beautiful. All of you, scars and all.” His golden eyes were full of adoration, acceptance, love . She couldn’t help but kiss the corner of his mouth where that damn smirk that she loved so much sat. “Do you…I mean…”

Suri kissed him again. “I want to. But if you want to wait-” She let out a squeak that was quickly silenced by Cullen’s lips. She giggled through it, pulling at the hem of his shirt. He pulled back just long enough to pull it up and over his head. He too was littered with scars. She dragged her thumbs over a few before he pulled her close to him again, kissing her. His feet pushed in her instep, encouraging her backwards. She gripped his arms for balance. When her heels hit hard wood, she yelped. “Cullen! That’s the chest. Don’t…” she giggled. “Don’t let me fall.”

He glanced over her shoulder at the large chest at the foot of her bed. “Sorry,” he snickered. “Forgot it was there.” They maneuvered to the side, Cullen sitting first and pulling Suri into his lap. He groaned when her hips ground against his and her lips found his pulse point. He retaliated smartly by blowing softly on her sensitive ears. She muttered a curse in elvhen as they twitched in protest, sending a shiver down her neck. “Maker’s breath, you’re beautiful.”

“I believe you’ve already said that, Commander,” she retorted slyly as his fingers skimmed her breastband, pulling at the laces.

Freeing her breasts, he tossed the garment aside and, with hardly any preamble, closed his lips around a nipple. Suri inhaled sharply and let her head fall back, fingers digging into his shoulders. One hand attended to her neglected breast while the other traced the lines in her back, prompting the most delightful sensation. When his teeth grazed her nipple, she stifled a cry by biting her lip.

“I want to hear you, Suri,” he said around her breast. “Don’t hold back.”

“I’m wearing too many clothes,” she thought aloud. “And so are you.” He chuckled and undid the laces to her trousers before realized what he was doing. She stood up to push them and her smalls down, resuming her seat in his lap. Cullen cradled her face, seemingly losing himself in the taste of her. She certainly losing herself in him. One hand drifted between them, his thumb spreading her soaked folds as she cried out again, this time uninhibited. She rested her forehead on his shoulder as he slipped a finger inside her. She breathed out another curse in elvhen.

“You’re going to kill me,” she muttered.

“What?” Cullen asked.

“Don’t stop.”

He chuckled. “Never. Not as long as you’ll have me.” His lips made a trail up and down her heated neck. He suddenly stood with her in his arms, laying her across her bed. Her hands immediately tried to slip beneath his waistband, but he got on his knees,  pulling her to the edge of the bed. The second his lips touched where she wanted them most, her fingers threaded through his hair, tempting his curls free. Without meaning to, she was practically grinding her core against the assault from his mouth. A low chuckle from him sent a shockwave straight through her, making her moan. A second finger joined the first, brushing against the spot inside her she could never reach. His free hand pressed on her hip, stilling her as best as he could.

When his lips latched on her clit, she saw stars. Every muscle pulled as tight as a tightrope. Her hands pulled hard at Cullen’s hair as her mouth dropped open in a silent scream. She could feel her inner muscles squeezing around his fingers still inside her. Her back arched toward the high ceiling. It was like dragonfire and lightning were having a race in her blood, making every nerve sing with pleasure. And then it all came crashing down on her in wave after wave after wave.

By the time Suri came back to herself, her chest was still heaving, a light sheen of sweat layering her entire body, hotter wherever her skin touched the bed. She released her death grip on Cullen’s hair, pushing him gently so he would move up. Eyes still closed, her hands framed his face as she kissed him. He was nestled between her legs and it felt right. Natural and instinctive. Her heels hooked and rubbed up and down his thighs slowly.

“You’re amazing, ma vhenan, ” she murmured, kissing him lazily. “It’s never been quite like that.”

Cullen froze for a fraction of a second, pulling back, scanning her face with a gentle furrow in his brow. “Never been…” He took a deep breath. “Suri...have you never…?”

She shook her head. “I should have mentioned that before, shouldn’t I?” She shrugged. “Of course I should have. Ir abelas. I’m sorry.”

Cullen grinned and shook his head, leaning down to kiss her nose, right at the tip of her vallaslin. “Hardly a bother, love,” he lowed, moving down to kiss her cheek. “I suppose I just...assumed.” He kissed her lips.

“I’m a First,” she reminded him. “My Keeper thought it was best I stick to my studies instead of the hips of others.” She glanced between them. “But I rather like yours, and my Keeper is nowhere near us.” Her confidence wavered for a second. “Just, um...go slow?”

“Don’t worry,” he assured her, kissing her again. “Promise. Just…If I’m hurting you, you’ll tell me, right?”

“Promise,” she echoed him. She smirked. “Can I finally take off your pants?” He kissed her. “Is that a yes?” He nodded. She put a hand on his chest to get him to stand up and take a step back. She got up herself, wary of her wobbling knees. Cullen watched patiently as she tugged at his laces. She swallowed a giggle. The knot he had tied would have put an experienced sailor to shame. She had to stop herself twice from getting down and simply using her teeth to pull them free, and she figured he would be a little sore if she simply burned the knot away with a bit of fire.

Cullen’s hands ghosted over hers as she slipped her thumbs under his waistband, locking her eyes with his and pulling them down slowly. He stepped out of his trousers and kicked them away. “If you could hear my heart right now,” she muttered in elvhen. He cocked his head at her. She took his hand and pressed it over her racing heart. “You drive me mad, Cullen.” She carefully climbed back on the bed, unable to do anything about her wide grin as he joined her. “I want to know how to touch you,” she said suddenly. “Show me?” With a neutral shrug, he laid down on his back next to her, motioning she should straddle him.

“I might stop you,” he warned, gently wrapping her hand around his cock. “It’s been...a long time…”

“Same here,” she joked, smiling wider when she was granted a laugh. A laugh that was cut off when she moved her hand.

“Oh, Maker,” he breathed, letting his eyes fall closed. Suri’s eyes darted between her work and his face, watching the little twitches she spotted as she moved. His mouth fell open wider when she stroked up. A soft exhale there when she stroked down. A gasp when her thumb moved over the head of him, now pearling with precome. She could feel the muscles in his thighs flexing with pleasure. True to his word, after only a minute or two, his own hand halted hers. “Maker,” he gasped again. His eyes found hers, darkened with desire. “I, um…”

“How do you want to do this?” she asked simply, finding no point in dodging around the obvious. She appreciated his concern, though. It was endearing to hear. “How about…” She giggled and fell off to his right.

“As you wish, my lady,” he replied in a teasing tone, finding that perfect nestled spot between her legs once again. “I love you.”

“I love you, too, Cullen.” They kissed, cut off by a moan from her when his length dragged along her sex.

Carefully, gently, Cullen lined them up, his hand flying back to the bed beside her head when the head of his cock breached her. Suri moaned again, digging her nails into his back, one catching on a scar of his own back there. There was slight pain as she stretched for him, but it was a pleasant burn she was all too happy to lose herself in. He worked into her with the slow determination alike to a glacier. When he hilted, he paused, both of them panting against each other. He kissed her then, deep and hungry.

“I feel like I might break you,” he admitted in a breathy laugh.

“You won’t,” she assured, far more breathless than he was.

Creators, when he moved! His pace was gradual, promising at first. Then he began to find the perfect rhythm to have her crying out to said Creators. A word or two in elvhen escaped here and there, each of them practically dripping with desire. “I won’t break,” she repeated, forgetting altogether to switch to his tongue. But as if he had understood, he bore down on her, claiming her mouth with his.

“You need-ah!” He stumbled over his words, as did his thrusts. “Suri...Maker, please…”

Hoping she herself understood his lack of words, she pushed her hand between them, rubbing the slick spot of their joining, over her neglected clit. It was no time at all before she was crying out again, walls pulsing around something notably bigger than his fingers. Cullen growled against her skin, teeth dragging against her collarbone. His hips snapped against hers once more before he emptied himself into her with a long, satisfied moan. He managed to catch himself on his elbows before collapsing on top of her, panting as hard as she was. She ran one hand down his sweat-slicked back, the other playing with his escaped curls along the nape of his neck. Slipping out of her carefully, he fell on his side next to Suri, gathering her up in his arms as she giggled.

“You’re laughing,” he noted, his voice laid heavy with bliss. “Was I really that awful?”

“No, you were delightful,” she defended him, kissing him. “I love you.”

“I love you.”

Suri felt safe in his arms. Protected. Shielded from the world around them. The fire was dying, but she couldn’t bring herself to leave the warmth of his body pressed against hers. She closed her eyes and nudged his forehead with hers, smiling.

“Maybe the Maker did send you,” Cullen murmured. “Perhaps it was your Creators. Whoever it was, I’m glad they intended you to end up at my side.” She hummed in agreement. They spent the next several minutes lost in soft kisses, gentle caresses across bare skin, quiet chuckles, giddy giggles.

Creators bless me, I am happy.