True to his word, Zevran had dropped by his tent later that evening, after he was done polishing his blades. Theron was not sure if he meant this as a euphemism or not. One never knew, with Zevran.
They’d ended up just talking, both of them lying on his bedroll on their backs, staring up at the ceiling of his tent. What a relief, not to be the only one any more. He had great fondness for the others, but he had been lonely, the sole elf in a band of shemlen.
They talked about his people – our people, Theron thought, with a little soaring leap of his heart. He was not as great a storyteller as Paivel had been, but then again, who was? Still, the assassin was listening, rapt, looking up him, propped up on his elbows as he lounged. Theron recited the poems in his native tongue as best he could, and if his companion was looking up at him with just a little more adoration than necessary, well… He would keep spinning his tales, if only to keep the other elf by his side.
“Almost as beautiful a language as my Antivan. Although, unlike Antivan poetry, I feel the Elvhen sort could do with a little more naughtiness,” said Zevran with a wink.
“Perhaps it would do you good to learn some, seeing as we are about to reach the clan in the Brecilian Forest. The Dalish would take to you better if you did, flat ears.” Theron grinned, as he earned another laugh from the assassin. He could get used to that sound.
“Fire away, my Warden,” and his heart quickened to hear those words. “I am a quick study!”
Theron started with common Dalish phrases, though most of the difficulty was trying to get Zevran’s tongue to put the stresses in the right places, accustomed as he was to Antivan vowels. By the time they were done, it was late, but the assassin showed no sign of wanting to leave, if his enthusiastic chatter was anything to go by. And Theron was giving as good as he got.
“This reminds me of camping in the forest as a boy. Staying up late to talk about everything and anything, both of you refusing to sleep, feeling like you were the only two people in the world.” Theron sighed. Childhood pleasures were so far away now. Too much had happened, between him then and him now. Zevran cocked his head, an unasked question in his expression.
“Oh.” The Warden’s face fell. “I suppose I could tell you. You have been so honest with me, about your previous mission.” And Zevran’s face darkened as well, but he let the other elf continue. “Tamlen, he was my…” he wrestled with the common tongue for a minute. “Childhood sweetheart. Since we were fledglings.” It was the best he could do. He told Zevran about the Eluvian, about that fateful day that had placed all of this into motion, making him into the Grey Warden he was now.
“That is who you saw, in the Gauntlet.” Theron could not look Zevran in the eye. His voice was barely a broken whisper. “I have failed him.”
To his surprise, he felt Zevran’s hand rest over his. “I understand. Better than most, as you know. You did what you could.” His voice was as gentle as his touch.
Theron squeezed the rogue’s hand back with gratitude his constricted throat could not express. Finally, he had enough strength to continue.
“There are many things I could not have with Tamlen. We were so young. Barely got past clumsy kissing, really.” Theron’s gaze was rueful.
Soft laughter from the other elf, who was now rubbing circles into the back of his hand with a slow thumb. Zevran saw them sitting on a log in the forest, all fumbling hands and blushing cheeks. “Forgive me, but that is quite the adorable image.” Theron pouted at the adjective, which only made Zevran chuckle more. “And if I might add, for my own selfish reasons, I am glad you became a Grey Warden, for we would never have met otherwise.”
“That… is true,” the Dalish elf admitted. Zevran still hadn’t let go of his hand. He decided to chance it. “Will you stay with me here? Just for tonight.”
Zevran could never have refused the sad smile on Theron’s face. It was the least he could do.
“Ma nuvenin, my Warden.”
And Theron’s delighted little gasp had been worth all the gold bars in Ferelden.
Zevran had decided to be the consummate gentleman, that night. He knew he had not been asked to stay for salacious reasons, but because Theron’s broken heart did not want to be alone.
Somehow, he had peeked one eye open in the morning, only to find that the other elf had wended his way into his arms during the night. A pleasant thing to wake to, even if it was far too early. The camp was still silent. And quite unfortunately, his body could not help but respond. He was only elven, after all. The radiant sight of the nude archer yesterday in the lake, pale skin and argentine hair glowing in the soft evening light, water streaming down his painted back … and that derriere! Possibly his favourite Orlesian word, he mused.
But, it would not be the first time he had to beat his desire away. Down, boy, he scolded himself, and busied his fingers with stroking the other elf’s hair, still thinking about last night.
Theron had bared his soul to him about Tamlen, as he had to the other elf with Rinna. They were not very different, after all. It was strange, but comforting, to see this strong character in his moment of vulnerability. During battle, he witnessed a master archer at work, with a hardened look of resolve on his face, releasing his arrows to find their mark with deadly precision. No hesitation, just a logical mind calculating angles and trajectories. It was quite genius. And that keen mind, that sharp wit! Cleverness had always been a turn-on for Zevran.
In sleep, though, the other elf’s face was softer, rounder, and reminded him just how young Theron was. How young he was himself, as well. Life had not been kind to them thus far, but right now, Zevran was content, even if he longed to dust a few kisses on those painted cheekbones.
He felt his friend stir in his embrace, roused by the soothing touch to his hair. At first, Theron seemed unaware of the person he was holding on to so tightly. But then he opened his eyes, his pale eyelashes fluttering, and finally took in Zevran’s face, whose lips quirked up in amusement. Hurriedly, Theron withdrew his arms, which had been locked around the assassin, and if Zevran was disappointed, he schooled his face so that it did not show. A small consolation was that there was no denying the redness of the other elf’s cheeks.
“Good morning to you too.” Zevran tried not to grin too widely as Theron’s eyes strayed over his torso with naked appreciation. It had been too warm under the covers with both their body heat, and he’d done away with his shirt in the middle of the night. To be fair to himself, he was a vision, after all. He looked damned good, and he knew it. But as predicted, Theron forced his gaze away from the assassin, as he had done before. The Warden started muttering about the day’s plans, about to sit up and leave.
If Zevran did not move now, it would never happen, at least not before he died of frustration.
“Warden,” he murmured in his most placating tone, laying a hand on his companion’s arm to make him stay. It was enough for Theron to hesitate. “You seem to deny yourself pleasures you could easily have. It puzzles me. I have seen the way you look at me, but you tear your eyes away each time. Why not indulge yourself, and gaze as much as you like at the thing that pleases you?”
“We…” Theron licked his lips, dry from sleep. He swallowed. “We have a job to do.” It was a paltry excuse, even to his own ears.
“I did not realise the Archdemon was outside the tent at this very minute,” was Zevran’s wry response, but the cheeky twinkle in his eyes made up for it. “Come, Warden. You deserve a little joy.”
“I know,” Theron whispered, eyes downcast. “But it makes me feel guilty, to take pleasure for myself. Is that strange?”
“Not at all,” Zevran reassured him. “We are haunted men, it is true… but at some point, we must stop mourning the past, lest we lose sight of the future.”
“That sounds like something Wynne would say.” The Warden managed a smile, despite himself.
The assassin shrugged. “What can I say? She is a good influence.”
Theron seemed to fight an epic inner struggle for a few long minutes. Then he sighed, and returned to the bedroll, to Zevran’s outstretched arms, resting his head on the rogue’s chest. Zevran wrapped himself around his Warden, nose buried in his hair.
“Thank you,” came a small whisper. His companion was drifting a hand up and down his back, as he clung tight to Zevran. It was clear how touch-starved Theron was, and Zevran remembered the Warden saying last night how tactile his people were. It must have been torture, to consistently deny himself physical affection.
Zevran chanced a look downwards at his friend, and his breath caught in his throat.
Such a lovely sight to behold. Theron’s cheeks were blush-softened, half-lidded eyes the colour of a storm peering up at him.
“My Warden,” and Zevran’s voice escaped him in a low, strained tone. He surprised even himself. “May I be allowed to kiss you?”
Please, let me, he thought with no small tinge of desperation.
Theron looked conflicted, but then nodded. Zevran reached a hand up to cup that marked face, his thumb tracing the vallaslin on one cheek, and then he could not wait any longer.
He kept it soft, chaste, just a gentle press of his mouth to his Warden’s plush lips, and yet it sent such strong pangs of want through him that more perverse kinks had not. The Dalish elf was new, he reminded himself. Slowly.
But Theron had other ideas, as he keened with longing into Zevran’s mouth and pulled the assassin tighter to him. Soon, there were only quickly stolen breaths between long, intricate kisses. When they finally broke apart for good, they stared hard at each other, and burst into giggles.
Zevran smiled. He seemed to be doing a great deal of it around the other elf. “Not quite so clumsy, then.”
“We ought to have done that sooner,” Theron said, sighing in contentment.
Zevran grinned out of pure glee. “I did suggest it. Many, many times, in fact.”
“I thought you were joking!”
“Oh, I never joke about things like this, my dear Warden. I take my lovemaking very seriously.” His companion rolled his eyes at him. “It’s true! In fact, do you know what they call this, the loving embrace between two men?”
Theron shook his head.
“No? Why, they call it the Antivan vice.” And Zevran slid a hand to the Warden’s waist, just under the hem of his nightshirt, making his voice husky and charming. “You have been so very educational about your Dalish lore… perhaps I should return the favour with a lesson about this particular subject. I happen to be a shining example of its practitioners.” Zevran grinned wider. “‘In Orlais the nobility, in Tevinter the clergy, and in Antiva, everyone’,” he quoted. “And we take great pride in that fact!”
Theron laughed. Such an appealing noise. There would be more appealing noises yet, he hoped.
“Why do I get the feeling that this lesson is more of a practical one?”
“Only if you wish it to be,” the assassin told him, a little more serious.
Theron bit his lip. Zevran wanted to pull it free with his own teeth.
“Teach me, then,” and Theron sounded quite breathless, to his delight. Zevran rolled the other rogue easily onto his back. Straddling him, Zevran pulled back, just to admire the Dalish elf for a minute or two.
So, so strikingly beautiful. Zevran wanted him. All of him. Theron was new, but it did not deter him in the slightest. It would be a badge of honour, to have all his firsts. And what better partner to have been given, if I do say so myself, Zevran thought.
“Maker’s breath, you’re gorgeous,” he sighed, which only made the other elf blush even harder. “You ought to be wearing so much less clothing.”
The Warden helped in tugging his own shirt off, though still trapped under the assassin. Oh, where to start? Zevran began to busy himself by pressing the kisses he had so wanted to leave all over his companion. Under the jaw, down the neck, and over the chest, stopping to pay attention to one rosy nipple, fingers playing at the other. He left little purple blooms with his teeth as he went, and in seconds he had the other elf whimpering.
He had promised Theron worship, and he intended to deliver. His mouth drifted down a softly furred stomach, down to the graceful curve of a hipbone, where a little bite made the archer moan. He did not need to undo the lacings of the Warden’s trousers to know just how hard he was, but it made his mouth water when he did so. Zevran let out a groan once he took Theron’s cock into his mouth and tasted him for the first time, with a hunger he had not felt in ages. Theron gasped, loud, back arching off his bedroll like a bow. He wrapped his lips tight around the Warden’s cock, sucking hard. There was no place for restraint any longer. There was no time for any of the fancy tricks he had learned from the whores. His companion would not endure if he had, and Zevran wanted him to. Still, his mouth was experienced in these matters, and he let his honest desire drive his movements. He listened to nothing but the sweet cries of his Warden, already begging.
“Please, Zevran, I won’t last.”
He pulled off, with one last long suck. Theron looked so wrecked, already. Zevran almost pitied him.
“Why… why did you stop?” He was so out of breath. Zevran chuckled.
“That was only the first lesson, sweet Warden. For the next one…”
His fellow rogue was boneless with pleasure, pliable enough for him to move around like a ragdoll as he positioned a bundle of their discarded clothing under his lower back. Then, he slithered between the other elf’s legs, pushing his knees up, spreading his thighs. Bless the Maker, the elf was beautiful here too. Zevran heard his feral need claw its way out of his throat as a growl, at the sight of it.
“Magnificent.” Zevran’s grin was now wicked, unable to contain himself. Theron whined in embarrassed protest. “May I introduce you to another Antivan custom?”
“Oh,” the Warden breathed. “Oh, yes, please.”
He gripped the other elf’s firm cheeks in his hands and wasted no time in pressing his tongue to his entrance with a long, luxurious lick. This earned him a lovely moan, rich and musical. A delicious slide into that tight hole and out again, one after another, and from Theron came the most desperate whimpers. Zevran could take him apart with his tongue alone. The knowledge made him giddy.
Then he noticed it was all too quiet. Zevran paused to look up. Ah, but his Warden was shy, and muffling his own mouth with both hands. The assassin peered curiously at him.
“My dear Warden, if you do that, how will people know we are having such fun?”
“I don’t want the entire camp to hear!” was his companion’s hissed retort, his face tinged very pink.
“You are going to be that loud? How promising.” Zevran smirked.
“Zevran,” Theron moaned in a little broken plea, and by the Maker, he did not think he had ever heard anyone say his name quite like that, which was surprising. “I think I shall go mad with wanting you. Please.”
“Si, amore. I will put my mouth to better use. But only if you continue to cry so prettily for me.”
Zevran pleasured his Warden with renewed vigour. The noises were filthy, as he licked into Theron, inside his most sensitive place again. This time, however, he wrapped his fingers around a wanting, leaking cock. Every clever stroke of his hands and tongue brought the archer closer and closer to completion, until finally Theron, sobbing his name, came so hard, white streaks painted all the way up to his chest. Zevran lapped at them, until he was face to face with his fellow rogue.
“I must confess, I have been wanting to do that ever since I saw you in that little leather skirt the Dalish seem to favour… It really shows off your lovely thighs,” Zevran teased, grinning like a satisfied wolf. “How did you find that demonstration, Warden?”
“I think… when this damned Blight is taken care of… we must visit Antiva at once,” the Warden declared, flushed and panting heavily.
“We have barely scratched the surface,” Zevran promised. “There is much more to the Antivan vice than my meagre lessons so far.” He came to lie by Theron’s side, stroking his hip as the other’s breathing calmed.
Once he had come back to himself, Theron could not fail to notice that Zevran was still hard, pressed to his thigh. But Zevran was merely holding him, as if content to just embrace him.
“Zevran.” The archer paused, looking bemused. “You haven’t… should I help?”
Zevran chuckled. “You do not have to. I will have only what you want to give.”
And to Theron’s credit, the other rogue snaked his arm around his waist, pulling Zevran closer.
“Is this not part of my education in the Antivan vice?” Theron replied, with a mischievous smile. “I want to please you, too.”
And Zevran could not help but let out a happy moan, at that. “By all means, my dear Warden.”
Zevran guided the Dalish elf’s hand between his legs. It was not difficult for Theron, who touched Zevran the same way he liked with himself, twisting his wrist just so. The simple stroke of his lover’s hand consumed him, his breath burning hot as it escaped him in ragged pants. He tugged the other elf closer, because he needed to kiss him, needed to slide his tongue into Theron’s mouth. He felt more than heard a pleased moan from his Warden.
“Oh, sweet Warden,” Zevran groaned. He buried his face in the archer’s bruise-decorated neck. “There are so many other Antivan practices I have yet to introduce you to.”
“Tell me about them,” the Warden commanded, with more authority than he realised he had.
“I would open you up with my fingers, alongside my tongue,” the assassin murmured feverishly into his ear. “To prepare you for my cock, which I so dearly want to sink inside you, my Warden – ah! – I bet you feel so heavenly, so tight around me! I would have you crying my name, over and over as I fucked you, until you begged so sweetly for your release.” Zevran’s hips bucked in helpless motions into his Warden’s hand, fingers digging into his shoulder. “Please, amore, I am so close.”
Theron gripped harder, making sure to rub his thumb against the head of the assassin’s cock just so, and that was all he needed. Zevran came with an Antivan curse, spilling all over his hand, choked gasps leaving his throat.
Zevran fell back beside his fellow rogue, and let out a happy breathless laugh. “I must say, my Warden… What an excellent student you are! Those nimble fingers of yours are not just skilled at lock-picking, it would seem.”
“There will be many more lessons yet, I hope,” the Dalish elf replied, quite smug.
Zevran lay there helpless in his post-orgasmic haze. Theron, bless him, had taken his washcloth, and was mopping them up. It made him giggle, and pull his new lover to him for kisses. Kisses had been a luxury, before, where quick fucks were concerned, when you would go your separate ways and never lock eyes (or thighs) again, but that was not the case for his Warden. The Blight could take them all tomorrow. Zevran would kiss him as much as he damn well wanted. And it seemed the Warden was a cuddler, as well. What a lucky assassin he was.
He went back to stroking Theron’s hair, listening carefully. There was no sound apart from their heartbeats and breathing. The others were still, thankfully, quiet.
“Zevran,” came the other elf’s voice eventually. It sounded serious. “I’ve been thinking.”
“A dangerous occupation.”
“Zevran, please.” The Warden’s tone made him sit up and take notice. “Just know…You could go, if you wanted. I’ll not hold you to any oath. The Blight is not your battle to fight, and I don’t want to put you in that kind of danger.”
“Ah.” The assassin gave him an arched eyebrow. “Let me see if I have this correct, hm? You, no doubt concerned for my well-being, are trying to tell me, in a rather roundabout way, to leave, for my own safety.”
“Yes,” said the other elf, admitted, hanging his head.
“Oh, now you worry about my health?” Zevran’s lips quirked up despite himself. “Fine, relieve me of my oath.”
The Dalish elf sat up, cross-legged. It pained him to do this, Zevran knew. He so dearly wanted to rub that darling little furrow between his Warden’s brows. “ Ar lasa mala revas, Zevran. I give you your freedom.”
“Excellent!” The assassin clapped his hands. “Now, my first act as a free man, is to join the Grey Wardens in stopping the Blight.” Zevran chuckled at the astounded look on Theron’s face. “What we are doing here… I cannot think of anything I have ever done which is so worthy, Warden.”
Zevran meant more than just fighting the good fight, truth be told. Theron seemed to know, judging by the blush in his cheeks.
“Do you remember the words I said to you, when we met? I stand by them still, amore.” Zevran took the archer’s bow-calloused hand in his. “I am your man. Without reservation. This, I swear.” He kissed the back of the Warden’s hand.
The next thing he knew, he was being crushed by other elf, now overcome with his emotion, hugging tight to him. Theron was now squashed on top of him, and they were face to face. A little harder to breathe, perhaps, but still, it was quite nice. Zevran slid an arm around the archer’s waist, holding him close, and kissed his cheek. “You Dalish.” The assassin clucked his tongue. “So sentimental.”
Theron tilted his head to one side, so reminiscent of the way his mabari would. The thought made Zevran smirk. “You used that Antivan word just now. You did too, during…” Theron trailed off, with an awkward gesture.
“Ah.” Zevran knew he would have to explain himself, sooner or later. “It is a term of endearment for one’s lover. Surely your people have a similar word?”
“Similar.” Theron was bright red now. “Ma vhenan.”
Zevran let out a satisfied purr, his hands wandering past the other elf’s waist. “I love it when you speak Dalish.”
“We have to be up now,” Theron hissed, batting Zevran’s hands away from his ass. They had whiled away most of the morning, and he could hear Wynne stirring outside. It had to be her, as she was always the earliest riser.
“Just let me grab a little handful… for the road, you know…”
The Antivan chuckled. “All right, all right.”
And of course later it would slip out, when it was not just the two of them.
They were deep in the West Brecilian Forest, and had come across a cursed campsite. And in one of the chests, Theron had found a pair of gloves. Leather soft as butter, lined with fine rabbit skin. Just like Zevran had told him about the other day.
Later in the evening, when they’d settled down for the night, he sat by Zevran, in front of their campfire, and presented them to him.
“Gloves? You’re giving me gloves? What for?”
“They’re Dalish gloves. Like your mother’s. I thought it would be nice, for you to have a little piece of your heritage.”
Zevran was stunned. It was a rare thing for him to be. He took them gently, examining them like a precious artefact.
“I… Maker’s breath, you’re right. It is like my mother’s. The leather was less thick, and it had more embroidery… but these are very close. And quite handsome.” Zevran immediately began to slide them on, beaming with a genuine grin. “And they fit as well! Marvellous! Thank you, amore.”
Even though he’d had to defeat a demon single-handedly for them, Theron took the assassin’s gloved hand in his and said, “It was nothing, vhenan.”
His smile must have been a little on the sappy side, for Alistair looked up from where he was poking his cauldron of rabbit stew. At least his cuisine that night ought to be a little more promising, as the forest had provided, like it always did. Alistair frowned at them in confusion.
“Whoa whoa whoa. What was that about?”
“Never you mind,” his fellow Warden coughed, looking away at anything but Alistair.
“Do you… Do you really not know?” Leliana whispered to her comrade.
Wynne sighed a long-suffering sigh. “I almost wish I didn’t. Half of us aren’t getting any sleep, the way those two carry on all night.”
Zevran laughed so hard he nearly fell off his log. It was almost worth death by embarrassment to see the elf in such throes of mirth. Almost.