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A Necessary Barrier

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Darrian slid the small door open, and prepared to hunker down off to the side to wait. But there was already someone there, waiting for him.


The idiot on the other side didn’t know enough not to talk, and to just get on with it.

“Hello? Are you there? Could we have a word for a moment?” It wasn't the voice of a rough dockworker or sweet farmboy. A bit gravelly but sort of posh, like that bastard Vaughan, the Arl of Denerim's son.

Fuck off, Darrian wanted to tell this rich twit. It wasn’t good etiquette, to speak or expect to be spoken to. He sighed and reached to slide shut the golden door.


Darrian didn’t wait. He got the door halfway closed when a hand stopped its slide.


“Go away,” Darrian whispered harshly.

“I won’t, I can’t, not until… Please, just talk to me. I’ll pay you, give you something, whatever you want.”

Darrian wasn’t above accepting coin, but he didn’t come here to talk. “Listen,” he said, his voice now just above a whisper, “maybe you don’t get what this hole is for.”

“I do, I do. I’ve been coming here every day for weeks,” the man said quickly. “Most times you were here already, or if not, then I would wait an hour before I’d give up, then come back later in the day…”

“Yeah, so?”

“I can’t stop thinking about you.”

“Yeah, I’m just that good. Thanks for the positive review. Tell all your friends.”


Then the human said, “It was the third time I was here, I knew it wasn’t the same guy as previous. You were really… slow, so careful. I wasn’t prepared for that. I could tell that you didn’t quite know what you were doing, but Maker your instincts were good.”

Darrian remembered his first night here, almost a month ago. He’d never sucked a cock before, never had his sucked, never even jacked off anyone other than himself, just played with Soris’s dick a few times when they were younger. He’d been shown the glory hole by a guy who was leaving the Alienage, off to search out the mythical Dalish. Darrian didn’t know if he wanted this legacy, and considered letting it go, or passing it along to some other kid who might be even more frustrated than him. But within days he was back.

It had taken him half an hour to get up his nerve to slide open the door that first time. Even then, he’d almost slammed it back shut the next moment. But there was already someone there, and then he’d seen it, a cock come pressing through the hole, large and clean and cut. He was fascinated and immediately horny and so nervous he thought he’d pass out, but instead he was reaching for it, stroking the velvet skin over the iron shaft. He remembered how shocked he’d been to hear the soft moans from the other side of the wall. He hadn’t thought about being able to hear things…

And when he finally put his lips on that cock, he’d savored the smell, the taste, the sensation of it on his tongue. It was better than he imagined, even if his cheeks were starting to ache and he fought from gagging when the large head hit the back of throat again and again. When the guy was coming, Darrian held put, not pulling back, swallowed the jetting fluid down, alarmed at how much there was, trying not to choke, only then aware of the deep, almost sobbing gasps from the other side, and how he liked the flavor, and every other damn bit of the whole thing. He fumbled to close the window after it was done, before he could hear anything else from the other side, and with the taste of the human on his tongue, Darrian fell back against the wall and jerked off, coming harder than he ever had in his life.

Yeah, he remembered this guy.

“You… You didn’t just give me a blow job. You made love to my cock. You held it so tenderly, and kissed it like you would a lover...”

Darrian cheeks grew hot. Yes, he had done that. It was sort of embarrassing, how naïve he’d been, how awestruck, how eager. He didn’t know if he’d done it right or not, but the guy must’ve liked it, cuz he'd come back the next day. And often after that.

“I want to see you.”

Darrian snapped back to the present. Was this guy for real? What did he need to see, other than Darrian’s mouth? “Not gonna happen.”

“Please, after all this time, don’t you want to –”

“No, don’t want to. You gotta be crazy.”

“I’m not. Or at least, I wasn’t, until I met you.”

“You haven’t met me, and you’re not going to. That’s what this whole set-up is about. Anonymity.”

“But –”

“And getting off. So if that’s not what you’re here for, leave and let someone else have a chance.”

“Don’t you ever want something more?”

Now it was Darrian’s turn to fall silent.

After a good minute, maybe two, Darrian said, “Give me your name.”

“My name? Uhm, my name is… Well, it’s….”

“Just give me a name, anything, make up something, it doesn’t matter.”

“Nate. Call me Nate. It’s actually Nathaniel, but my friends –”

“Yeah, okay, Nate, now let me tell you something.”

“Wait, what’s your name?”

“You don’t need to know my name.”

“Then why did you make me tell you mine?”

“Because otherwise I’d have to keep calling you Asshole.”

“What? You never –”

“In my mind I did.”

A pause from the human, then, “I’m making a mess of this.”

“Yeah, you sorta are, Nate. So, are you gonna give up and leave me alone now, Nate?”

“I will be leaving, yes,…”


“I won’t be coming back.”

“Well,… I guess that’s your choice. It was nice knowing you,” he added, the irony intentional.

“It’s not my choice, actually. I’m being sent away, to the Free Marches. We’re only in Denerim until all the arrangements are made. My ship leaves tomorrow.”

Not lost on Darrian was the pain in those words. He tried to keep from caring; what was this aristocrat to him? “Yeah? What’d you do, knock up the Arl’s daughter?”

“I didn’t do anything. My father, he just wants me gone.”

Darrian thought of his own father trying to get rid of him, and couldn’t picture it. Cyrion would fight to keep him from leaving, of that he was sure. He felt sorry for the guy, a little anyway. “Huh. Well, that can't feel good, I guess.”

“We’ve never been close, and he’s been threatening it for years, but.”

He tried to imagine Cyrion doing that, deliberately keeping his son insecure about where he could call home. How could any father do that? “If he doesn’t care about you, why do you have to do what he says?”

That made Nate think for a moment. “It’s complicated… By his position, his associations, his alliances...”

Ah, he bet this Nate was from noble family, not just a successful merchant or minor landholder. Darrian didn’t know much of anything about the politics of the Alienage, much less the rest of Denerim, or Ferelden, or anywhere else in Thedas. He knew who their king was, and knew that the Arl of Denerim lived in a big estate somewhere not far away, and knew that the Arl’s son considered the Alienage a cage holding animals he might want to take out and play with sometimes. He’d never really thought of any of the players involved in the political theater as individuals. He didn’t want to start now. He was just a sixteen-year-old who liked having a dick in his mouth. “Sucks to be you, eh?”

Another pause, then, “Come meet me… There’s this tavern off the market square called the Gnawed Noble. I’ll get a –”

Darrian snorted, cutting him off. “Yeah, sounds like a plan, all right. I’ll just stroll in the front entrance and ask to be escorted to Lord Nate’s table, where we’ll be served tea and biscuits? Sure, that’ll go over great with the other patrons.”

“No, fine, I’ll get a room, and we can be alone –”

The image bloomed in his mind’s eye, a warm room lit gently with light from the fireplace and candles, this man pressing him towards the soft bed, undressing him and laying him on the smooth sheets, then joining him and – “No! It’s impossible. Just forget it!”

“It’ll be all right. It’ll be more than all right. It’ll be wonderful, I promise. Have you ever thought what it would be like? With… someone like me? With me?”

He decided no one needed to know just how often he had thought about it, and yes, with this guy. When he was sucking him off, wondering how his cock would feel like inside him, and what the rest of the man’s body would be like on top of his. “Nathaniel, you’re a dreamer.”

“I like how my name sounds when you say it.”

He could hear it in the man’s voice; he was pleased, and hopeful. Darrian wasn’t doing a good job of shutting him down. Maybe because he lacked the desire to, which was so fucking wrong. It was all wrong. But before he could recover, Nate spoke again.

“Tell me your name. Please. I need to know it.”

“It’s… It’s Pol.” That was the name of his friend who’d left the Alienage to seek out the Dalish. A good enough name, and it wasn’t going to get anyone in trouble.

“Pol? Okay… But wait, wasn’t that the guy who used to be here, before you?”


“Nathaniel… I can’t. Please don’t ask me again. I don't want you to know my name, or see my face.”

“Then just let me kiss you.”


“I want to kiss you. That’s not too much to ask, is it?”

It was, it was. But Darrian, in spite of himself and without thinking about it any more, rolled onto his knees and raised his face to the opening, because he was tired of fighting and he wanted to be kissed, and wanted to be kissed by this man.

The opening in the wall was just big enough for the lower half of his face. His forehead rested on the wooden frame, and his chin just touched the lower edge. He held his breath. He first felt warm fingers graze his jaw lightly, then soft, full lips brushed against his.

Back and forth a few times, then nibbling at his lip, then a tongue tip stroking, rolling his lower lip down, working its way in… Darrian was intoxicated at the feel of it, so seductive and growing insistent, and now as he let his mouth fall open to accept it deeper, a whimper escaped and he had to breath. His eyes were closed and everything was black but all his other senses were on overload. Just from a kiss.

So he let it go on, well beyond a mere kiss, until Nate was sucking on his tongue and then thrusting through the glory hole, trying to get deeper. Finally, and abruptly, Nate stopped and pulled back until only the tips of their noses were touching. Nate murmured against his lips, “Was that nice? It was nice, wasn’t it?”

“Yes.” More than. And then he was kissing Nate. For a long time. Until he was fighting back moans, curse it, and his belly was generating bolts of heat that went straight to his cock, now straining at the laces of his breeches. He pulled away, then rested his jaw against Nate’s while he caught his breath.

“I want to see you,” Nate whispered.

He sighed. “We’ve been over that.”

“Stand up.”


“Stand up. I want to see you, and hold you… I want to taste you.”

He was about to protest, as he always did whenever a guy on the other side of the wall offered a return blow job.

“I want the taste of you on my tongue when I go to bed tonight. Where I will not be getting much sleep, I assure you.”

And because he had wants of his own, Darrian got to his feet. He stood at the hole, chest against the wall, not quite able to bring himself to untie his breeches. But fingers were coming from the other side, doing it for him. Freeing his cock, stroking him to incredible hardness, licking delicately at the tip, sucking the bit of juice oozing out. Darrian’s fingertips dug into the wood as his knees went weak.

Nate made love to his cock, kissing it, licking a long stripe from root to tip, then sucking it in, slowly, little by little, swirling his tongue over and around it. Darrian’s breath was coming out in stilted gasps, and he knew that no matter how long he could hold on, it wouldn’t be long enough. He wanted it to go on forever. But Nate’s mouth was too warm, and his tongue too agile, and cheeks too tight around his shaft. Darrian wanted to be casual about it, but no, he was flexing his hips against the frame, trying to get deeper, finally losing control and shooting again and again down Nate’s throat. Nate kept him in his mouth, gently sucking and licking his cock as it grew soft, then finally releasing it with a tender kiss on the tip.

Darrian twisted round and sank against the wall, his head swimming.

“You’re beautiful,” Nate said.

Darrian didn’t reply. It was a ridiculous thing for Nate to say, but maybe anything would have sounded stupid.

“Come with me.” Which was even more ridiculous.

Yeah, that’s me, Darrian Tabris, Adventurer. He couldn’t help laughing, but not cruelly. “You really are crazy.”

“No, I suppose you’re right. But will you remember me?”

“Well, they say you never forget your first.” He didn’t mean it to sound so sincere, so fucking wistful.

After yet another pause, “I’ll write you.”

“I won’t write back.” What was the point?

“I’ll write you when I’m returning, then. Will you read it?”

“Yes.” What was the risk in promising that, or saying that a letter sent to the Alienage and addressed to Adaia's Son would probably find him...

When Nate left a while later, after a few more words and several more kisses, Darrian finally slid the door shut and sat. He wouldn’t be sticking around here tonight, and didn’t know when he’d be back. Maybe he’d never come back. Or maybe he’d even share it with some other frustrated kid, taking turns. He’d at least take a break from it for a couple of days. Who knew how he’d feel tomorrow?


Years and years and years later, after becoming a Grey Warden, after traveling all over Ferelden and beneath it, after facing war and corrupt politics and all sorts of weirdness in the outside world, he was back in the Alienage, sorting out all kinds of horrors and seeing his father safe. During the clean-up, in a box under the counter of Alarith’s trashed-out general store, one of his mates found a letter addressed to “Son of Adaia,” and added it to the rest of the random personal correspondence they’d been collecting for some client. He intercepted it before it was turned in with the rest of the letters, laughing at what a close call it was. He tried to ignore the way his heart sort of pumped an extra beat whenever he came across the letter in his pack. He carried it around without reading it. Maybe it didn’t matter any more, or maybe he just wanted something to look forward to, to make him smile when things were really bad. That day came when the Archdemon and the Darkspawn horde were gone, the Traitor was a hero, the wretched Howe was dead, and his Alistair was lost to him forever, married and on the throne of Ferelden.

He was now essentially the last Warden in Ferelden, and duty called him to a forgotten outpost to the North. The first night out of Denerim, he finally opened the letter.

Nathaniel wrote that he expected to be back in Ferelden by the end of the year, or next summer at the latest. He hoped “his boy” had survived the chaos he’d been hearing about, but maybe the Alienage was safe from the Blight? Nate hoped that his father would be a different man now, and would accept him, and let him live his own life. And if Adaia’s Son was also different from before, and would be willing to meet him, face to face without a wall separating them, well… He would come looking for him.

It was signed, Nathaniel, Son of Rendon.

Shit. Darrian fell back on his bedroll. Good thing, very good thing, that he was heading out of the city, possibly for good. He wished this Vigil’s Keep were farther from Denerim, like on the other side of Ferelden, but hopefully it was small enough and remote enough that Nathaniel Howe would never find him there.