The Commander was blushing.
The Commander was blushing, and she was staring at him.
It was his own fault. He blushed so handsomely when that awkwardness was tinged with irritation.
Her lips curled in amusement, watching his fine cheekbones turn pink. The color spread slowly to the hairline at his temples, then swept back until the tips of his ears were a matching shade. He swallowed, uncomfortable, but remained still in his seat, and she had to credit him with his resolve. His glare met the laughing faces of the others at the table, sending Josephine into yet another set of giggles. To his right, she was certain she could see Varric considering this scene for a future book. When his warm, brown eyes landed on her, they held a sort of desperation in them. A silent plea for help he was too embarrassed to voice.
She grinned at him, her response as silent as the favor he requested, a sweet smile of innocence too picturesque for the mischief in her eyes.
He started glaring at her, too.
She didn't mind so much. He was still attractive when he frowned, and his insistence on remaining seated, while she sat across from him, afforded her a very happy view. Her eyes raked over the sight of him, lingering on the hard planes of his chest, her breath catching as firelight flickered over the muscles in his shoulders. She felt her mind drift to the helm he wore in battle – it had been forged in the image of a lion, and she found the likeness particularly appropriate now. He was magnificent, his comportment one of strength edged with tension. A lion ready to strike.
Well...a grumpy lion, anyway...
She tried not to giggle at the deepening glare or the tensing of his handsome jawline.
She really tried.
The group had talked and drank and played long into the night, and she was sure they were the only ones left awake in all of Skyhold. The joy of a light hearted evening had melted away the mantle of her Inquisitor Trevelyan persona, carrying with it a weight she didn't realize she bore. She relaxed, for once, tension across her shoulders and face easing until she was open and happy and curious as to just how the ever-proper Josephine got quite so good at tavern card games.
Now, though, the evening had grown too deep and her companions were making known their leaving. She would have returned their well wishes and their goodbyes...she really would have. But the sight of him was slowly destroying her concentration, filling her instead with heady heat. A pull at her core that wanted...
Varric was saying something about how glad he was to be reminded that she was normal, and nothing at all like Andraste holding little bowls of fire. She nearly laughed at the madness of it. No likeness should be drawn between her and a holy bride. Not when her head was filled with base thoughts that mired her imagination in sin. Varric spoke to her with a mix of devotion and friendship and Cullen watched her with a mix of irritation and love, and right then, she knew if she did not claim what she desired, the tavern would burn down in something entirely the opposite of a pure and cleansing flame. But now Varric was gone and Bull was going around the table drinking the dregs of everyone else's ale, but still Cullen did not move, instead tossing his chin towards the exit. It was a silent order of dismissal. One she disobeyed.
"Leave. Lock the door on your way out."
Bull blinked at her drunkenly, looking between her and Cullen, taking note of her leering stare. Then his laugh rang out, loud and strong as the man it burst from. "I see how it is! A romp in the tavern to spice up the ol' sex life? I got your back, Boss!"
She blushed. Profusely. Cullen's brows knit in confusion before realization set in and his eyes went wide in disbelief. Bull ignored them both, taking instead to gathering the rest of the tankards littering the table.
"I'll just get these out of the way. You know. Because you'll need the room. But uh...don't break the table, all right? I really like this one." Then he was sauntering out the door, snickering all the while, and drunkenly muttering something about "conquering".
"I think you've had enough fun at my expense for one evening, Inquisitor," Cullen said, his tone softening to the quiet timbre he used only when they were alone. She warmed at the way he said it. So formal and devoted was he, so dedicated to showing her every respect, that he rarely said her name outside their special places. Or the bedroom. Tonight, though, she would not allow him to get away with such formality.
"Inquisitor, is it? You intend to use my title, even now?" she posed, her tone betraying her intent, the mischief that was imminent.
"I need no further help embarrassing myself in front of you." He sighed. "Please, if you would leave..." He looked away, shifting in his seat, uncomfortable and stricken with that particular brand of shyness she would never tire of poking at.
She stood. "I will not."
With a saucy grin, she stared him down, her hands drifting to the collar of her shirt and slowly undoing the top three toggles. His eyes returned to her, dropping immediately to her fingers, watching them work with a razor's focus. "W-what..." He cleared his throat, "Ah...what do you think you're doing?”
"I think you know, Commander." She undid the next several toggles, the laces of her breast band and her cleavage now exposed in the tavern light. His eyes narrowed.
Ah...there it is...
She was a quick study when it came to the tells of his body. There was always that edge, the bearing always shifting based on his mood, ever fluid when it came to her. It was the moment she was quickly becoming addicted to: the shift in him that came when hesitance gave way to heat, where shyness fell away with the clothing, and gentleness was replaced with the embrace of aggressive passion. The edge was further away this time, likely due to their location in a tavern instead of near her bed or a locked office. Still, she could see the spark of desire in his eyes, could read it in the way his eyes were fixed on the bareness of her skin as she dropped her shirt on the floor and began slipping from her boots, could feel it growing in him as she plucked apart the laces of her leggings.
"My Lady... W-we...shouldn't..."
His objection failed before it really began, faltering in the wake of leather sliding from her legs, at the saucy flicking of nimble fingers unlacing her breastband. That he allowed himself to be cut short by her conveyed the power her slow revelation of skin had over the arguments in his mind. She watched him swallow hard, could feel the inner protests go silent one by one for every beat of pointed sound from fabric hitting the tavern floor.
"Evelyn..." Her name was a scandalized plea for mercy spoken with a voice rough with lust, a low growl that he used only with her. But she would not grant him mercy. Not when he was so close to giving in to the temptation she offered him so freely. She bent and climbed onto the table, crawling toward him, heated intentions made clear in blunt seduction.
She saw the change the moment the last of the shackles of his inhibitions fell away, joining her clothes on the floor, and suddenly his eyes were scorching, burning, and she felt the flames reflected in them rake over her form as he leaned back and raised a hand towards her, beckoning, and this time, it was not a request.
She slid from the table and onto his lap, thighs straddling his and there...there...was the confident smirk she was so fond of. She had only a second to admire his visage before a large hand guided her face impatiently to his and she moaned against his lips. He kissed her the way he presided over a battle, controlling her press against him, seeking every advantage as his mouth moved over hers, hands overwhelming her everywhere he touched, and she found herself vaguely pondering just what "losing" to him would entail.
Fingers, strong and thick, laced into her hair and fisted, pulling her mouth away and guiding her down to her knees before him. She slid her body over his, trailing wet kisses in the wake of silky thigh and soft breasts. She scraped her nails over the lower muscles of his stomach, a breathy chuckle escaping her when the playful tickle jerked his hips towards her. This she took advantage of, and he made a pleased growl in the back of his throat at the first touch of her tongue. From her place on her knees, she drew out his pleasure, every approving gasp stoking the flames of feminine pride in her. She was still new to this act with him, self conscious, but at his encouragement she dutifully explored every ridge of him with her tongue, the taste of him something she allowed herself to savor as she laved at his cock. She took him as deep as she dared, still unused to the girth of him, and so she allowed her hands to claim what her mouth could not.
She cast her eyes up at him, shuddering when she saw the dark lust in his features. The fingers in her hair tightened in response and he took over her movements, moving her mouth faster, guiding himself deeper into her throat. She moaned at this, the sound reverberating around him, and she struggled for control as he used her to lose his. She rolled her tongue around his shaft, stroking him with the back of it as she bobbed over him. He gasped at that, and having found something new he enjoyed in this act, she tried it again, her breath quickening and a blush spreading across her cheeks when he thrust into her mouth more quickly.
"Enough," he said, desperation making his voice strangled, and he used her hair to maneuver her off of him, and encourage her to rise. His mouth swallowed her gasp as he pulled her into a kiss. No...more than a kiss. He branded himself into her lips with that kiss, possessing her, pulling her against him so forcefully she thought he was trying to crawl inside her. Her head swam, lust addling her focus as he pulled away and spun her until her back was against his chest, the hot length of him sliding between the cheeks of her ass and pressing into her lower back.
"That is not how this will end tonight," he said against her ear, and she blushed at the way her hips rolled involuntarily to the raw edge in his voice, at the way her knees shook from eroticism of the promise while his hands ghosted over her rib cage before cupping her breasts. Or maybe it was the way he punctuated his words with a pinch at her nipples, making her swallow a strangled moan. It wasn't an elegant sound, but he seemed to delight in drawing it out of her, and so he continued to play, pinching and stroking with evil pressure and gentle stroking. But it was when he nipped at the juncture between her neck and shoulder that she felt the world shift to a different axis, and moaned her surrender.
He chuckled at that, releasing her shoulder to nuzzle the back of her neck. Her heart warmed at the brief, but loving gesture...a gesture entirely at odds with the way he took the moment to roughly grab her hip and bend her over the table. Her breath escaped her in a startled gasp as he pushed her firmly into the wood, holding her in place with one hand while he traced the line of her spine with the other. Fingertips rough with callouses and scars, he caressed her the way he would a sword.
"C-Cullen?" Her voice was foreign to her. Too deep. Too breathy. She bit back the rest of her plea in embarrassment. Cullen made a sound of approval in response and kicked her legs apart, his hand trailing over her ass and finding her folds and surely her blush was spreading across her shoulders, when she felt the ease with which those calloused fingertips slid across her flesh, swollen and wet in her desire for him.
"Allow me this.”
Fingers swirled around her entrance, every circle he traced around it drawing an excited pant from her. She tried to move against his hand, struggling to get more from him, squirming as she tried to free herself from the hold he had on her hips so that she might do something...anything...to drive him to the same madness he was pushing her towards. All her efforts earned her, however, was a swat on the ass hard enough to draw a yelp from her. She stilled immediately and heard his quiet laughter once more as he shifted enough to plant a chaste kiss where he had spanked her. The motion seemed to give him an idea, however, because she felt him kneel behind her, and her throat went dry when she felt his hot breath on the back of her thighs.
He trailed a series of wet kisses up the back of her leg, his lips ghosting over her folds, before drifting away, and she let out a little scream of frustration.
"Frustrated?" His lips close enough to the back of her thigh that she could feel his smirk.
He was trying to kill her.
She jerked violently when she finally felt his tongue lap languidly against her sex, but it did not deter him from his maddeningly slow exploration. Her hips rolled in frustration, but Cullen only laughed, his breath hot against her slit. He slid a free hand up her calves, squeezing the muscles of her inner thighs while his tongue did sinful things to her a devout man shouldn't know about. When the tips of his fingers replaced his tongue at her clit, and she felt him thrust his tongue inside the entrance of her channel, she felt her focus shred away, and she let out a loud moan that left her blushing. She was being too loud. Too obscene.
He chose that time to pull away entirely.
If she survived this encounter, she decided she would kill him.
"Is there something you needed?" he asked, his tone suspiciously innocent, a perfect replica of her own from earlier this evening, but with his usual greeting to her when she interrupted his work at all hours of the day. She felt the head of his cock sweep against her sex, catching at her entrance, and she whimpered at the feel of him.
He knew. The bastard knew that the next time he greeted her thus, her mind would fly to this very moment...to the memory of him bending her over a tavern table and of her mewling pathetically while she silently begged him to just fuck her already.
"Tell me this is what you wanted," he said, voice stern with command despite the haze of imminent ecstasy. "Tell me you wanted to be here, spread open. For me."
She responded with a gasped string of swearing and prayer alike, but now he was the one without mercy, nudging the head of his shaft inside her, and her world went red at the feel of it. He was like heated iron, hard and wide and hot, and the words tumbled from her lips without her consent.
"Maker, yes!" Her voice was hoarse now, sounded more like a prayer than the plea for she meant it as. "I w-want...I want-”
She didn't finish. She couldn't, too breathless to voice something so carnal, too intoxicated from feeling too wanton for far too long. But it was enough to satisfy Cullen, who finally...finally...pushed into her with heated abandon, his breath loud and harried above and behind her. She managed a strangled cry when she felt him hilt inside her, the girth of him almost too thick, the delicious fullness both sweet mercy and new torture as her arousal jumped several degrees in intensity. She almost came right then, reveling in the feel of being too pinned down, in the feel his body shoving her hips solidly against the table, leaving her no escape from their pleasure.
"Cullen-" she breathed, and she heard him grunt behind her. Then he was thrusting inside her, offering no lenience as he took her. The most addicting friction drug a cry from the basest parts of her mind, and she found herself gripping the end of the table to steady herself, even as it creaked and rocked beneath their coupling. She was sure Andraste would kill her now – strike her with lightning for finding the sound of it...of them...so sinfully obscene. Those calloused fingers scraped against the sides of her breasts where they pressed into the wood, grazing over the luscious curve of her waist to her hip, before desperately grabbing her hips in a forceful grip, angling her hips in a way to let her take him deeper.
She swore at that. In response, she felt his rhythm falter momentarily, and she reveled in the way he was losing his control to her body. But then he pulled her back far enough that he could reach around her hip to find the place she had shown him. She laced her fingers with his and guided his hand to the prize he sought, and she bucked against his hand as they rubbed her there.
"Cullen!" she cried, louder now, and she was ashamed at the desperation in it. The flush of embarrassment and lovemaking rose in her cheeks. She was feverish. Delirious. Burning hot where he touched her. The fire raging nearby would be cool compared to the warm of her skin. To the heat that bloomed where they connected.
She could feel herself balancing close to the edge. She dreaded it even as she chased toward it, her world narrowing to the feel of her lover. The way he was impossibly hard inside her. The way he held her before him, reaping every pleasure her body had to offer him. The way he pulled her pleasure from her even as he plunged into her over and over.
"Maker, Cullen...please!" And she felt him tip the balance. He pulled the ledge from under her and she came. Hard. Shattered like a mirror against stone, the pieces flying away, her sense of reason and awareness reduced to glittering dust. She felt him follow in her wake, the few harried thrusts all he needed before she felt the wet warmth of his seed spill into her, his pleasure breaking under the force of her own.
She wasn't sure how long she spent on that table, with Cullen's warm body next to hers, and his hand stroking her side as though she were a large cat. Her focus had splintered into tiny fragments, but the gentle kisses against her temple and his whispered words of love and devotion were slowly calling all the pieces of her back as her breathing slowed to normal.
"I suppose it would be too much to ask that there be a tablecloth I can use to get back to my office..." Cullen murmured against her shoulder, skin still a flaming red. She giggled and threaded her fingers through his hair, messing the carefully arranged locks.
"So like...do you two ever shag in a bed or should I be suspicious of every table in the castle?" Sera asked casually, sliding gracelessly from beneath the table.
In the fraction of a second, the pair went from languidly relaxing in the hazy aftermath of ecstasy to jumping apart, standing, and covering themselves with hands and arms. She blamed Cullen and his nudity for causing her to forget that Sera had, earlier tonight, drunken herself under the table...literally...and had never come back out.
"No..." Cullen said, horrified.
The Inquisitor said some things that were entirely inappropriate for a representative of Andraste.
Sera stood there with her hands on her hips and an offensive grin on her lips, leering openly at the way she was barely successful in covering her breasts from the gaze of a sudden interloper. However, if she were a normal prankster, Sera would leave now, having sufficiently embarrassed them for two lifetimes.
But Sera had the tact of a Pride Demon in an antiques store.
"Varric is going to love this. You think he's still up? Maybe he'll put this in one of his paper books!"
"No..." Cullen said, horrified.
"No, it'll be good, yeah? Make you seem like people! Didn't think General Uptight had it in him. Thought that Quizzy had it in her. Not the penis part. Just the having sex in taverns part. Um...guess she did get a bit of penis though..."
"No..." Cullen said, horrified. She was beginning to worry he would be stuck like that.
"Oh, I didn't mean it like that," Sera said, "You're probably fine. Wasn't sure you'd fit and all, right? Personally, I don't get the point...heh...in penises, but Quizzy seems to like yours, so it's fine, innit?" Cullen was casting his eyes towards the heavens, saying nothing. Whether he was praying or trying desperately to stay so still Sera would no longer notice him, Evelyn couldn't be sure.
"Right. Leaving. Got to find Varric, anyway," she said, in as businesslike a manner as Sera could possibly muster. She spun on a heel, more gracefully than the elven woman had demonstrated she was capable of earlier, and marched out the door, leaving the pair as quickly as she had announced herself.
It was a long moment for the pair, standing in awkward silence, nude save for the rather impressive spread of embarrassed blushing. To her surprise, it was Cullen that broke out of it first, quietly padding over to her and planting a kiss on her forehead.
“Well...that was...um...really nice," Cullen said, and she nearly doubled over laughing as he repeated the words he had said, only a couple months earlier, after that first, maddening kiss on the ramparts.
"You don't regret it, do you?" she asked, echoing her own words from back then. But where Cullen's tone was all sweetness and levity, hers was full of dark promises of mischievous rendezvous they had yet to have in questionable places.
She felt him smirk against her forehead.
"Not at all...especially because I'm not the only one who will have a walk of shame tonight."
She looked up at him with knit brows, confused. "What do you mean?"
"She stole your breeches."