Jacob was out of breath when he made it to Cullen’s quarters. “You asked for me?”
Taken by surprise, Cullen slapped down his papers on his desk. Clearly, it was unimportant. “Inquisitor! I… I did not expect you for some time, my apologies.”
“I, uh…” He leaned on the doorframe, trying to stop himself from swaying, “wasn’t very busy. It isn’t all that late, think nothing of it.”
“Are you alright? Did you… run here?” The Commander walked around his desk quickly, sending the mage into more of a spin than the lack of air. “Were you being followed? Inquisitor, you only need to tell me and I can-”
“No! No, I am perfectly safe, I swear. I was just…” He trailed off, not knowing what to say and hoping Cullen would change the subject. The Commander was giving him a curious look, and Jacob was doing his best to look anywhere else.
I was just eager to see you again.
“So…” Jacob pulled the door shut behind him as he slipped around Cullen, putting some distance between the two. “You said you wanted to speak to me, but you never mentioned what.” He leaned on the sturdy desk, nothing like the sleek one in his own quarters. It is so Cullen.
He watched closely as Cullen sighed, shoulders rising and falling slightly. He still made no move to turn around.
“Cullen, if you’re concerned about the lyrium again, my mind has not changed on the subject.”
He sighed again and turned, hand going up to rub his neck. “I did not wish to bring that up, though I thank you again. No, I wished to speak to you about something… something, well… something personal.”
Personal? The man was going to drive him crazy. “Alright, I am always willing to listen if you need me.”
“Yes, thank you… I…” Cullen took very slow – painfully slow – steps toward him, continuing to rub his neck and look off to the side.
“Are you finally going to ask about getting your roof fixed? You really don’t have to ask me at this point, you certainly know my opinion on the matter.”
The Commander laughed at that, moving his hand from his neck to the hilt of his sword. That was a good sign, right? “No, I am perfectly fine with the state of my roof.”
It was Jacob’s turn to sigh. “I suppose you’ll just have to tell me what’s on your mind, then.”
Cullen was standing over him. He was so close. Months ago, he would have been nervous to have the ex-Templar hovering over him like this. Now he is nervous as well, but it could hardly be called the same feeling.
“I… Inquisitor… we have been acquainted for some time now… Oh, Maker…” He rubbed his face. He was a little hopeless, wasn’t he? It would be sad if it were not so frustrating. “I… let me begin again.”
Cullen took Jacob’s hand in his and held it between the two of them. Thankfully he was already leaning on something sturdy, or Jacob felt he may have very well fallen to the floor then and there.
“Inquisitor… no, Jacob. I was hoping you would come tonight. I was worried that if I did not tell you now, I may never do so. I… I enjoy your company, and I hope you feel the same way.” He ran his thumb across the mages’ knuckles. He closed his eyes in frustration. “I… I confess, the way we are with each other feels… strange. It is… unfamiliar. I have never felt for another person as I do for you.”
His eyes were still closed, as though he were too afraid to open them and find that Jacob had vanished. The mage was finding the strength to be patient, mostly because he was stunned to silence. All that time spent speculating, hoping, dreaming, that his dear Commander might care for him, love him…
He wrapped his other hand around Cullen’s and felt the man flinch. “Cullen.” Jacob pulled his hands close to his chest, stepping even closer. “You’re not what I thought you’d be.”
They were so close. Jacob couldn’t place the Commander’s expression, but his eyes remained closed.
Jacob was never one to miss an opportunity.
He leaned in, placing a small kiss on Cullen’s lips and pulled back quickly as his eyes flew open. Cullen was quickly turning a very bright shade of red, and Jacob was sure he was just the same.
It was the mage who was the first to break eye contact, squirming a bit under the pressure, and suddenly feeling very uncomfortable that he had the desk behind him. “I suppose… I should be going. It is late, after all…”
Cullen awkwardly stepped back, nearly forgetting that their hands were intertwined and only loosening his grip at the last second. As Jacob walked around him, he let his hands linger, palms sliding together. He turned around just before they lost the contact to see Cullen smiling at him.
“Goodnight, Cullen.” Jacob gave a shy smile in return.
“Goodnight, Jacob.” He left his arm extended for moments more, reaching out to him.
Jacob gently closed the door to the tower, leaving the only light on the bridge coming from below. He walked halfway back to the rotunda before breaking into a sprint.
He had to go tell Dorian everything.