"Commander, do you have a moment?"
A momentary shiver traveled down his spine. So it was to be a Josephine night. They always began this way. Always the same script, down to the letter.
"Of course," he said, turning to face Josephine. He used to vary his responses a little. Just to make him feel like he still had some semblance of control over his own life. Now he simply followed the script.
"I'd like to talk to you later on," she said.
"Of course," he repeated. Her mouth pursed into a smile. She'd known that he'd agree. He always agreed. It was why he was there, wasn't it?
Josephine nights were good nights, he reminded himself. Cassandra nights were...more difficult. And Leliana nights...
Best not to dwell on Leliana nights. At any rate, the Nightingale of the Inquisition had been gone on a mission for weeks. Tonight he would have Josephine, and only Josephine.
Late that evening, he sat splayed in the chair at his desk, head thrown back and hands braced on his own thighs. He couldn't see her face, only the back of her head, bobbing up and down as her mouth moved over him, hot and slick.
He clenched his teeth to stop from moaning. The Skyhold walls had cracks, and sound traveled.
He wanted badly to touch her, to run his hands through her hair while she pleasured him, but this was not allowed. Instead he pressed his fists against his thighs, leaving a familiar pair of bruises that he would wear afterward for days.
She was fully clothed, still in her silk blouse and her full Antivan skirts. Not by his choice. He wanted to see her body, see her full breasts, her wide, round hips. He especially wanted that when her mouth was on him. But she would not allow it. He had never seen her completely naked.
It drove him crazy.
Soon enough, he could feel the telltale tightening meaning that the end approached. But so could she, and she pulled away, letting his cock slip out of her mouth. It bobbed obscenely on its own for a moment, touching nothing but air. He jerked, feeling as though a bucket of cold water had been poured on him.
"Don't worry, Commander," Josephine said. She allowed him a moment to look down at her exposed cleavage, then rose and threw one leg to either side of his lap, straddling him. She adjusted her skirts delicately to cover herself. He could feel the satiny sheen of her bare thighs against his cock. She wore no smallclothes; she never did on these nights.
"I won't leave you this way," she said. "I'm not cruel."
Then with a practiced swivel of her hips, Josephine slid onto him, controlling the motion and taking his cock inch by deliberate inch.
"Maker, Josephine," he gasped. Damn the cracks in the walls; he was sheathed inside Josephine Montilyet. The Maker himself couldn't remain silent.
"Darling Cullen," she said with a smile, "I find you ever so pleasing. How fortunate we are that you turned out to have some skill in commanding soldiers as well."
His fingers gripped the sides of the chair, knuckles white with the pressure. "Josephine," he breathed, "I want to touch you. Please."
She leaned forward, pressing her satin-covered breasts against his chest and nearly touching her lips to his own. "Pretty Cullen," she whispered. "Poor, pretty Cullen. I decide when you touch me, and I have decided that it will not be tonight. But perhaps you would like it if I..." She blushed girlishly. He wondered dimly if she could do that on command; surely nothing could embarrass this woman after some of the things he'd seen her do. "If I... touched myself," she finished.
No. Please, no. It would only add to his torment. But Josephine undoubtedly knew this too.
"Yes," he said, just barely managing to keep the word from turning into a moan.
She slipped a hand inside the waistband of her skirt. A moment later her eyes rolled back in her head and her muscles tightened around him; she'd found what she sought.
"I imagine you touching me, Cullen," she said. "All the time. How does that make you feel?" she asked, a smile playing around her lips.
He opened his mouth, but no words came out. Her smile widened. "I think it is better to leave it with the imagination, though, don't you?" she said. "The reality would surely be disappointing."
He could feel her tightening around him as she moved her hips in slow circles, forcing herself up and down on his cock.
"I could take my blouse off," she said, "and let you touch my breasts. Would you like that?"
"Yes," he hissed.
"Yes," she repeated, "yes, Cullen. You'd love that, I think. Oh, poor Cullen, oh yes...yes--" She shuddered, and her muscles fluttered in a quick, familiar rhythm.
"Now," she sighed. "Fill me, Cullen. Now."
He hadn't thought he was ready, but her words drew the orgasm from him, pulse by jerking pulse, until he was drained and empty, limp beneath her.
Josephine nights were good nights.
Five nights passed, and their following days, during which Cullen was left to his own devices. Cullen was not quite sure whether to feel relieved or disappointed on these nights.
Mostly he took the opportunity to get extra sleep.
On the sixth day, he was standing on the training ground, shouting orders over the clang of metal on metal, when he caught the Inquisitor's characteristic red hair out of the corner of his eye.
"Keep at it!" he called to the soldiers. "If you come at a Red Templar with those lunges, you'll be wearing your guts for garters!" He turned his back on the melee and walked over to join the Inquisitor, who observed all of this with a wry smile.
"Inspirational," she said.
Cullen allowed himself a small smile. "I try," he told her.
"You're looking awfully bright-eyed this morning," she said, sounding curious.
From behind him, a familiar Nevarran voice said, "Oh, I'm sure we'll soon work that out of him," and all the hairs on the back of his neck stood up.
"Seeker Pentaghast," he said, without turning around.
"Commander Rutherford," she returned, moving into his field of vision. "Giving your soldiers a workout?"
"Earning his keep," the Inquisitor said cheerfully.
The corners of Cassandra's mouth twitched. "Oh, he does that," she said. "He does indeed."
Cullen felt a flush begin at his throat. He willed it to subside, but it spread until the blush had reached his cheeks. Damn, damn, damn.
"We'll speak later, Commander," Cassandra told him. "I need to debrief you on how the mission to Denerim went."
"Of course," he said, but his voice caught on the words. He cleared his throat to cover it, leaving the Inquisitor looking puzzled and Cassandra deeply amused.
"Excuse me," he said, and turned stiffly to return to his men.
When she arrived, inevitably, at his quarters, he said, "I thought of you all day, you know."
"Is that so?" she asked, latching the door behind her. Cassandra was always careful about that. She'd have made sure she wasn't followed, as well.
"Yes," he said. He sat behind his desk, papers strewn across it from his halfhearted attempts to get work done that afternoon.
Her face was half-shadowed in the dimly-lit room. "Did we leave you for too long, Commander?"
"Ever since I saw you this morning," he continued, ignoring the question. "I've thought of nothing but what this night would hold. Even though..." He paused, stilling the tremor that had entered his voice. "Even though I know it will hold torment."
He watched as she crossed the room toward him, lithe and graceful as any predator. She sat on the edge of his desk nearest him, legs nearly touching his.
"Is it torment, Cullen?" she asked. "Do I harm you?"
Sometimes one of them would ask him this or similar questions in a tone that meant it was part of the game, that he was expected to perform his role and protest that no, of course it was not torment. Or, if it were Leiliana, that it was torment and that he wished for more.
He shook his head slightly to clear it of that vision. Cassandra's voice was soft and level, and he thought she asked seriously.
"Harm," he repeated. "You cannot harm me more than I've harmed myself."
"First," she said, "that is hardly an answer. And second... you refer to lyrium?"
His eyes slid away from her, focusing on a spot on the wall opposite. "Lyrium, and other things," he said, his mind turning to Kirkwall. "Bad choices. I've been weak and foolish."
"Have not we all?" she said. He gave a half-shrug.
"Is it torment, Cullen?" she asked again, so quiet he could barely hear her. "Tell me."
He said nothing for so long that the silence became painful. Then he met her dark eyes and said, "It is... and it isn't."
She waited for him to continue.
"I want you," he said. "So much that sometimes it hurts. Did you even know that?" he asked, looking to her suddenly.
"I... well, not... as such," she said, surprise smoothing the lines of her face.
He laughed humorlessly. "No. Because it doesn't matter. It doesn't matter if I want you or not. I was brought here for one reason, and as long as I fulfill that purpose... nothing else matters."
She drew breath to respond, but he pushed on, "But I do want you. I want all of you, and it burns me. As soon as I heard your voice today, I did nothing but spend the rest of the day imagining your touch, imagining the things you'd do to me. I... I shouldn't want this."
"Poor Cullen," she said, and his insides constricted. Her voice, the way she shaped the words, even her posture, had all changed. He'd excited her with his words, and she wanted to play the game now. So they would, whether he wanted to or not. That's the way this game worked. Those were the rules.
"Stand," she said. He obeyed, pushing his chair back and rising, facing her where she sat perched on his desk. She shifted so that her legs opened wider, and he moved between them. He was half-stiff already.
"Kiss me," she said, and his stomach knotted into a ball, because he knew what this evening would be, what she wanted from him.
"Cassandra," he began, but she held a finger to his lips.
"Cullen," she said. "I watched you training the men today. You're very, very good at it. An excellent commander."
She pushed the tip of her finger into his mouth, and on cue, he sucked at it gently.
"But that's not what you're here for," she went on. "Is it?"
She withdrew her finger, brushing it against his lower lip. Hoarsely, he said, "No."
"What are you here for?" she said, letting her fingertip trace down his jaw.
"To... to look pretty," he said, and he thought he should hate himself for this, but his cock was already straining against his trousers.
"Kiss me, pretty Cullen," she said, and he did, leaning in and cradling her head between his hands, kissing her long and slow, the way he knew she liked it. Her tongue slipped into his mouth, the sensation erotic and profane. She knew he liked it, knew he could barely stand it.
She pulled away for a moment. "I could kiss you for hours," she said, and then drew him even closer into her embrace, so that his cock pressed into her thigh. He ground against her, wanting release already.
"Upstairs," he gasped, but knew instantly that he'd miscalculated. A corner of her mouth twitched. "So impatient, Commander," she said. "And here I'd been thinking of letting you finish right now."
His cock jerked so hard she could feel it. She laughed.
"But yes, let's go upstairs instead."
He followed her up the ladder. What choice did he have?
Upstairs, in his miserable excuse for a bedroom, she made him take off his clothing while she watched. Pauldrons first, falling to the ground in a heap. Then gauntlets, breastplate, greaves, boots. Finally he stood before her in nothing but his shirt and trousers, feeling exposed and weak without his armor.
He took off his shirt in one quick motion. But his hands trembled as he undid the laces on his trousers, releasing the pressure on his straining cock. Cassandra's eyes sparkled. She said nothing as he slid the trousers down his hips, stepping out of them and standing before her completely bare and exposed.
"Beautiful," Cassandra said. "Let me look at you for a while." She began taking off her own armor, carefully unbuckling and removing each piece. His cock throbbed while he watched, her lithe, strong body gradually revealed to him with each item taken off.
Occasionally one of his hands drifted near to his cock, but she'd shake her head, almost imperceptibly, and he knew better than to touch it.
At last she stood before him wearing nothing but her thin linen undershirt and her smallclothes. Her legs were strong, muscled. Like Josephine's, but longer; like Leliana's, but thicker. Her skin was pale, and the curve of her breasts was visible through the thin material of her shirt.
"Lie down for me," she said.
He did as she asked, lying on his back.He wanted to take her, to pin her beneath him, to fuck her. The need pulsed within him like a heartbeat.
But he would not. He would lie there, submitting to her slow teasing and her torment.
You are pathetic, Cullen.
The Seeker lowered herself to the bed and laid down on top of him, breasts pressed against him through that thin shirt, legs straddling his hips, and... and oh Maker, oh he couldn't stand this, his cock rubbing against her smallclothes. One thin layer of cloth between him and what he so desperately wanted.
"Kiss me, Cullen," she breathed, and he couldn't say no. He wanted to, he was desperate to, he could imagine it -- telling her no and turning her over and just driving into her, but he wouldn't do any of that. He couldn't.
Her tongue slid into his mouth again, and her hands drove through his hair. He could feel her hips grinding against his. He realized with faint horror that he was on the verge of tears, his eyes burning with the humiliating need.
I can't stand this, I can't take any more. Cassandra laughed, a girlish sound he only ever heard from her here, in this place, and he realized he'd spoken his thoughts out loud.
"You can, pretty Cullen. Do you know why?"
She was relentless. "Why, Commander? Tell me."
Hot tears escaped from his eyes as he forced out the words. "Because I'm pretty. And that's why I'm here."
The Seeker wriggled against him in pleasure. "Exactly right." And then she kissed him again. And again, and again. He didn't know how long it lasted, Cassandra stroking his face and his body pressed against hers, her mouth swallowing his moans, her hips twisting and writhing against him. It was almost enough to bring him to the peak. Almost. Almost.
"Oh, Cullen, what would I ever do without you?" she said, and he didn't notice when she pulled aside her smallclothes but suddenly his cock was buried inside her and for a moment the world whited out completely.
"...on my hips, darling," he heard her say, and realized dimly that it had been a request, and he complied, pressing his hands against her hips. Her body felt like soft velvet stretched over steel. He could feel his orgasm beginning, deep inside, but she shook her head sharply. "No! Not yet."
"Seeker, I don't know if I can..."
"I said not yet, Cullen," she repeated, with the familiar voice of command. "I am not ready." She rocked back and forth and he could actually see his cock sliding into her, a few inches at a time, disappearing and then reappearing as she took him. He took a deep breath, tried to think of anything else. Of darkspawn. Red Templars. Corypheus. Anything.
"I saw you watching the Inquisitor earlier," Cassandra said, her voice thick and breathless.
Fuck. Oh no. No, no, no.
"She's quite lovely, isn't she?"
Don't think about the Inquisitor. Don't.
"Cassandra..." The end of her name dissolved into a desperate groan.
"No, Cullen." Her reprimand brought him back from the edge, but just barely.
"The Inquisitor," Cassandra went on, "was watching you as well. When you were training the men. Perhaps she likes the thought of a strong, commanding man. Perhaps she was thinking about having you in her bed. Do you think you'd like that, Commander?"
Corypheus. Darkspawn. Abominations.
The Seeker was relentless. "You could lie with her. Slide your cock into her. You have a lovely long cock, Commander. It might be a snug fit."
"Oh fuck, Cassandra, oh fuck..." He could take no more, gripping her hips and thrusting upward into her, hard and fast, while his orgasm, building for the last several hours, finally erupted. Time seemed to slow; he could see nothing but the Seeker's lovely body and his prick obscenely buried inside her; could feel nothing but how she squeezed his cock with each thrust. He was distantly aware that she'd taken his hand and moved it into place between her legs, using him to stroke herself, and then he heard her own cry.
Afterward, he lay exhausted next to her. It was several long minutes before he was able to speak.
"Mm," she said.
"It is torment," he said.
"I know, darling. It's why you're here."
Another cluster of days passed, during which he received no unexpected visitors. He sometimes wondered, during these gaps, whether it was being done to him deliberately, to make him want even more.
He rejected this theory, mostly because it would hardly be possible for him to want more than he did. Though...he couldn't deny that the passage of time did hone a sharper edge onto his desire. The more days that passed, the more often he found himself remembering how it felt to have Josephine's mouth wrapped around his cock, to have Cassandra riding him, to have Leliana... Maker, just to have Leliana.
He silenced those thoughts, mastering himself. Easy enough for any Templar to do; he'd practiced mastery of his own thoughts since he was nothing but a boy. And necessary at the moment: He never touched himself in between visits. Not because it was forbidden; it wasn't. Because he simply chose not to.
Because it makes it better when they touch me.
Best not to dwell on that. He lowered his head, focusing on the work laid out at his desk. Troop movements, training plans. These were things he was good at. Things he excelled at, truth be told. The Inquisitor told him constantly that she didn't know what they'd do without him.
But thoughts of the Inquisitor led down another dangerous path. Cassandra wasn't wrong; her sharp eyes had seen what few others had: namely, that Cullen spent overmuch of his time watching the Inquisitor. There was no sense in denying it. He thought sometimes that in a different life, a different time, he might have tried courting the Lady Trevelyan. She had a quick, easy smile, and he thought that she enjoyed his company. He'd go slowly. Perhaps introduce her to chess. Flowers, words of poetry. Dinner and wine. They'd kiss on a moonlit balcony.
He sighed. As always, the unrelenting pressure of reason shattered the fantasy into shards. When during all of this would he tell the Inquisitor about the reason he'd been brought to Skyhold? Where did flowers and poetry fit into that scenario?
Cullen ran his hands through his hair, leaning back in his chair. "What in the Maker's name am I doing?" he muttered to himself.
"Serving the Inquisition, Commander," came a voice from the doorway. Cullen's head shot up so quickly that he nearly toppled from his chair.
"It's lovely to see you as well, Cullen." The Nightingale of the Inquisition stood leaning against the doorframe, her mouth quirked into a half-smile.
Cullen felt as though the breath had been sucked from his lungs. He never got used to the way she could move in silence, arrive with no warning.
"Leliana, I thought you were--"
"Away," she finished for him. "And clearly you were mistaken, for here I stand."
His hands trembled. It had been over two months since he'd last seen her, since she'd last...indulged.
I will master myself, Cullen thought. I will not let her unman me. Not this time.
He inhaled, held the breath for a moment, then exhaled. A Templar trick to still trembling hands; this time it had worked as well as it ever did. He faced Leliana's gaze steadily.
"How was your trip to Orlais?" he asked.
She smiled demurely. "Informative," she said. "Orlesians believe that theirs is a land of secrets and intrigue. They adore their Game. But they can be laid wide open by one who knows all of the rules."
Cullen, not for the first time, thought it a fortunate thing that Leliana was on the side of the Inquisition.
"I don't know how you do it," he said honestly. "Even thinking about it gives me a headache."
Her smile deepened. "Really, Commander? I've found that you're superb at following rules."
The flush overtook his face before he could stop it. Leliana chuckled, a soft sound that he knew well. The door stood open behind her, revealing the sky and the Skyhold roof opposite his office. He could hear birdsong and the sounds of conversation outside in the hold. And yet, his entire world seemed confined to this room.
Master yourself. Your hands will not shake. You will meet her eyes.
She reached up to push the hood back from her face, releasing her red-gold hair. It was longer than he remembered it; she'd let it grow while she'd been gone.
She tracked his gaze. "The Marquise du Valmont held a particularly vital piece of information. But I held a different piece of information -- that the Marquise du Valmont has a weakness for women with long, red hair. How fortunate for me."
Cullen said nothing. The room seemed close and overly warm.
"He spilled his secrets to me, Commander. And that is not all he spilled." She laughed again, a light trill at odds with the dark secrets she spoke of. Cullen's fingers tightened on the surface of his desk.
"It was a long and productive evening," she went on. "Of course, I was in Orlais for two months. There were many productive evenings. And many marquises....and a few marquesses."
An image flashed into his mind of Leliana impaled on some Orlesian's cock. Probably while both of them wore those damned masks.
Her voice dropped into a lower register, sultry and honeyed. Even knowing that it was a bard's trick, he was susceptible to it. "How does that make you feel, Commander?"
She knew already, of course. None of his thoughts were opaque to her. They never had been.
"It makes me want to kill them. As I'm sure you're well aware, Nightingale." He kept his voice level, conversational.
"That would create quite the little snag in our developing alliance with Orlais," she said, her eyes dancing.
"I don't care."
Another lilting laugh. And then, just as though she were speaking about the weather or the color of her shoes, she said, "Touch yourself, Commander."
A shot of adrenaline lit through his nerves. "What?" he managed. "Now?"
She said nothing, only smiling. She still stood leaning against the doorframe, her hair long and loose now, and her arms folded across her chest.
"Leliana, the door..."
"Is where it has always been, yes," she said. Another adrenaline spike hit him hard. She intends to leave it open. Oh Maker.
"If someone comes--"
"Then you will remove your hands from yourself and behave in a manner befitting the Commander of the Inquisition forces," she said. "Surely you do not expect any visitors to come around your desk and try to sit in your lap."
He hesitated, and she spoke more sharply this time. "Cullen, I have spent long months coddling and coaxing Orlesian nobility. I do not need to coddle or coax you. Need I remind you why you're here?"
"No," he said hoarsely. He'd lost the battle to still his hands; they shook like leaves in the wind while he began unlacing his breeches. While sitting at my desk in front of an open door in full view of the entire fucking Skyhold courtyard. Maker's balls, what am I doing?
Cullen could feel his face burning bright red as he undid the rest of the lacings, loosening his breeches and exposing his smalls. He glanced again toward the doorway. The desk was set far enough back that no one in the lower level of the hold could easily look up and see him. But if someone came through the door from Solas's atrium -- as the Inquisitor liked to so often do -- they'd have a direct line of sight.
He took a long, deep breath and slipped his hand into his open breeches.
"Good," Leliana said. "Push your chair back a little. I want to see."
Maker. "If you can see, anyone coming up the stairs can," he said.
"Then you'll have to be quick, won't you?" she said.
He knew better than to protest. He slid his chair back from his desk.
"More," she said.
She was implacable. "I want to see."
He pushed back even more, so that his lap was completely free of the desk and his opened trousers exposed his cock to the air.
"Good," she said again. "That's lovely."
Watching the doorway, he gripped himself with his right hand and began the familiar motions of bringing himself to arousal. He'd done it so many times in the dark, back in the barracks at Kinloch Hold, in his quarters at the Gallows... even here at Skyhold, early on. But never this exposed. Never with someone watching.
"Marquis du Valmont was very boring," Leliana said. Her eyes, hungry and sparkling, never left his lap. "I could have spent hours teasing and being teased by him, but all he wanted was to stick his fat cock inside me. Two thrusts and he was done. And for that, he gave up state secrets. Can you imagine?"
Cullen could. He slicked some of the moisture from the tip of his cock over the head; he was half-hard just from Leliana's voice. He sometimes forgot that there was more to bard training than spying and assassinations.
"His brother, Marquis du Laumont, was much more interesting. Would you like to hear?"
Cullen shifted in his chair, fist pumping very slowly up and down over his cock. "Would it matter if I said no?" he said.
Leliana giggled. "Pretty and smart," she said. "The Marquis du Laumont was interested in more than just a quick tumble. He wanted my mouth."
I'm sure he did, thought the Commander, now watching Leliana rather than the open doorway. He imagined what her hair would feel like against his thighs.
"I told him," she continued, "that I could make it last as long as he wanted. He didn't believe me! He told me that I could have the information I sought plus an alliance with House Laumont if I could keep him going for two hours."
She gave Cullen a coquette's smile and let her tongue touch the tip of her teeth. "How long do you think he lasted?"
She'd made Cullen last for at least three before. At least. He'd lost track of time that night.
"Three hours," he said, holding back a groan. His cock was fully hard.
"Four," she said. "Josephine has been trying to negotiate an alliance with the Laumonts for ages. Wait until she finds out!" And then, in the same light voice, "More slowly, please."
"Maker's breath," Cullen muttered, but did as she asked, slowing the pace of his stroking.
"I started slowly with him, Commander," she said. "I kissed the very tip, over and over. Do you remember how it felt when I last did that to you?"
"Yes," he said through gritted teeth.
"I remember too," she said, and then she smoothly shifted into a businesslike tone. "I believe, Commander, that you may want to divide the Fereldan troops, sending a small attack force to handle the situation in Crestwood."
He blinked, then realized almost too late that someone was coming up the stairs. He jerked upright and pulled his chair in, too fast to protect the sensitive tip of his cock from dragging along the underside of the desk. He gasped out loud just as the Inquisitor entered his office.
"Commander," she said. "I trust you're well?"
He prayed that he could maintain control over his voice. He was still more than half hard, completely exposed under the desk, and only the shadows in the room hid his deep blush.
"I am indeed, Herald," he said. He avoided Leliana's gaze; she was grinning at him from behind the Inquisitor's shoulder.
"It's about Lieutenant Crowley. I was wondering if you thought he was ready to lead a mission. We have a situation brewing in the Emerald Graves..."
An excruciating twenty minutes later, the Inquisitor finally left, satisfied with Cullen's report on the battle-readiness of his third-in-command.
"You like the Inquisitor," Leliana said, after Trevelyan was out of earshot. "You watch her. Would you like to think of her now?"
Her voice was soft and casual, but her eyes were sharp.
"No," he said, feeling raw and exposed. Because I am not for flowers and balconies and courtships. I am for this. I am for you.
He didn't need to say it. It was nothing she didn't know. Nothing she couldn't see written plain on the lines of his face.
She smiled the brilliant sort of smile she only showed to him, causing his heart to skip-thud in his chest. "Now... where were we?" she said. "I believe I had a much better view of you, Commander."
He wordlessly slid his chair back and wrapped his fist around his cock again.
"Yes," Leliana said, "I was telling you about the Marquis du Laumont and what he wanted me to do with my mouth. I began with small kisses, followed by little touches from my tongue. You remember how that felt, Cullen?"
He did, and the thought of her doing it to some fucking Orlesian...
Leliana tutted with her tongue, seeing his forehead crease. "Don't be jealous. It's only business. Do you remember what I did next?"
His breathing was harsh and ragged, echoing from the stone walls of the room. "No."
"Liar," she said, her eyes twinkling. "But I'll let it pass this once, under the circumstances." She wet her lips with her tongue before continuing, and knowing that it was calculated made no difference to the effect; he could practically feel that tongue, velvet and smooth, sliding along the skin of his cock. He let his legs fall further apart, leaning back into the chair.
"I did the same to you as I did to Laumont," Leliana went on. "I took your entire cock into my mouth and I held it there for a while. Do you remember how that felt? When I had your cock in my mouth?" Without waiting for an answer, "Do you like thinking of me doing it to an Orlesian marquise?"
"No," he ground out. He was dangerously close to the brink.
And then Leliana glanced toward the door and said, "Another visitor."
Cullen let out a heartfelt, "Fuck," which elicited a spate of giggles from the spymaster. He only just managed to sit up and push the chair back under the desk before the visitor entered. This time it was Crowley himself, ready to review his new orders.
Cullen wanted to scream.
It took ten minutes to get rid of the excited young lieutenant. Cullen's hand was back on his cock before the man had even made it down the first set of stairs.
"So eager," Leliana said, falling right back into the cadence of her story. "Laumont was eager as well. I made it last and last, and at the very end, he grabbed my hair and plunged his cock into my mouth. You should have heard the sounds he made. Have I ever let you do that, Cullen?"
"No," he gasped. He would spill soon; he could feel it building. He prayed that no one came up the stairs. He couldn't take another interruption.
"But have you wanted to do that?"
"Maker, yes," he growled. The orgasm was nearly there. A few more strokes. The thought of Leliana's mouth on him. Of holding her hair, of fucking her mouth, something she'd never let him do...
"Stop," Leliana said. It took a moment for the sound to register, and even then he kept stroking.
With a groan, he let go of himself. "What?" he snarled.
Leliana laughed. "Poor Cullen," she said. "You've lost track of time."
"What?" he said again, with confusion instead of anger this time.
"You're due on the training field five minutes ago. Stay here much longer and people will come looking for you." She giggled again. "Pull yourself together, Knight Commander."
He stared at her in disbelief. "You... you can't."
She gave a little shrug. "Time waits for no man. You'd better go."
Waves of adrenaline washed over him from the aborted orgasm. He needed to fuck, to come, and if his body couldn't have that, it wanted to fight instead. He was distantly aware of stuffing himself back into his breeches and doing a fairly piss-poor job of lacing them back up.
Leliana stood where she'd been watching him the entire time, with her chainmail tunic and her leather boots and her lovely red hair spilling down around her shoulders. And she was laughing at him, and the whole of him was nothing but wanting...
Templars could move very quickly when they chose to, and it took less than a second for Cullen to rise from his seat and close on her. He pressed her body into the wall with his own, driving his hands into her hair, taking her mouth. She made a single startled cry and then relaxed into him, allowing the kiss, harder and more desperate than he'd ever been permitted to kiss her before. Her hands, pinned to his chest, slid down until they reached his sides, gripping him there and pulling him even closer into her body.
A long moment later, he withdrew, staring into her eyes, still pressed tightly against her.
"I missed you, Cullen," she said. And then, in a low murmur, "You will pay for this."
"I know," he said. He kissed her again, a quick, hard sweep of her open mouth. Then, saying nothing more, he turned and left for the training grounds.
Cullen was glad of the training session. It was long and hard, and he shouted at his men more than he normally would. But the familiar routine of lunges and blocks and parries settled his mind as well as his body. He needed this exertion, needed to cleanse the morning's events from himself.
"Is that all you've got?" he called to an out-of-breath soldier who had the misfortune to stumble just as his commander's eye caught him. "That advance would barely stop a mage."
The man was gasping for breath, completely spent after a long afternoon of fighting. "I--sorry, Ser, I--"
Cullen strode to him, sword advanced. The man made a weak, trembling effort to put up his shield. "What if you were faced with a red Templar in battle?" Cullen said, striking the man's shield with the flat of his own blade. "Would you cower like this?" Another strike; the shield vibrated with the impact, and the man scuttled backwards. "Would you retreat?"
The soldier fell backwards into the mud of the training ground, and Cullen held his sword aloft, point facing down at his man. "Or would you fight like a soldier?"
Cullen felt battlesong coursing through his blood, felt his pulse pounding in his ears. He could almost be on the battlefield, facing a real enemy. He wanted that. With effort, he lowered the sword, taking a step back from the fallen soldier. He wet his lips, then said, "Enough training for today."
While his men gaped, he stalked off the field, feeling hot and sweaty and like he should be killing something. A movement above caught his eye; he looked up to the buttress arched over the training field and saw a familiar hooded figure standing above him.
Leliana. She'd been watching him. The thought sent prickles of arousal down his spine, and his cock, quiescent for the last several hours while he sparred, twitched back to life. His desire for her was a river that sometimes ran deep, sometimes shallow, but never ran dry.
While he watched, she turned her back and disappeared into Skyhold in the direction of the War Room.
Cullen let out a long, ragged breath. The War Room promised to be more challenging than usual, this day.
When the advisors assembled, Cullen stood next to Leliana as usual. He tried to concentrate on the mission notes rather than on how close she was to him, how her thigh almost touched his. Maker give me strength. He needed her so badly.
"...Cullen? Commander Cullen, are you all right?"
He reddened, realizing that the Inquisitor had been saying his name for some time.
"I'm quite all right, Inquisitor," he said. "My apologies. I--" He heard a low chuckle come from Leliana next to him and turning his head toward her, managed to inadvertently knock over several of the markers on the table.
"Maker's breath, I'm sorry," he said. The Inquisitor stared at him with furrowed eyebrows; Josephine attempted to stifle a laugh, and Leliana made a tsk tsk sound.
Several intensely awkward moments later, he'd managed to put the markers back where they belonged, though the red tinge to his cheeks lasted for the rest of the meeting.
After they were finished, the Inquisitor took her leave. Once she was out of sight, Leliana leaned near to Cullen and whispered, "See me later," into his ear. Cullen swallowed hard and reflexively leaned forward over the War Table to hide the instant, throbbing erection her words had caused. Leliana giggled. "Stand up straight, Commander," she said. He did, helpless to disobey.
"Good," she said. "Never hide from me." She looked thoughtful for a moment, then said, "You know, I should really make you come all over the War Table for that."
"No," he whispered, his eyes darting to Josephine. "Please, Leliana. Please."
"Now you've made me really want to."
Josephine giggled. "We could bring back the Inquisitor," she said. "I'm sure she'd be interested by this."
"Don't," he moaned. "Not here." The humiliation was exquisite. But his cock was harder than ever, its curved length clearly visible through his trousers.
Leliana grinned, then closed the already-short distance between them. "Please," he said, but it was too late; she slipped her hand between his thighs, cupping his erection with her palm.
"Poor," she said, with a gentle squeeze, "pretty," and another squeeze, "Cullen."
She made the final squeeze last, pulsing her fingers in a gentle rhythm, moving her thumb in slow circles along the rigid length. Cullen gripped the edge of the table, frantic to hold on to his composure.
"He's not going to make it," Josephine said, her eyes sparkling.
"Leli--ah--oh Maker no, no, please don't--don't make--oh fuck, fuck--"
Her peal of laughter echoed in the room as he shuddered and his eyes rolled back into his head. A large wet spot appeared on his trousers.
"Goodness, Commander, you've made quite a mess." She smiled. He was braced against the table and trembling, his forehead beaded with sweat.
"I'll expect you after dinner in my quarters," she said. "Do clean yourself up first." Then she turned from him and walked away, the sway of her hips as regular as the pendulum of a clock.
When he came to her, she was sitting on her bed, wearing simple Fereldan clothes. He hadn’t even known she possessed such; she looked open and vulnerable without her usual chainmail and robes.
But looks could deceive.
Her legs were crossed, one knee over the other. She set aside the tome she'd been reading while she waited for him.
“You broke the rules earlier, Cullen,” she said. Her mouth was set in a serious line, but her eyes danced. “Have you forgotten the rules? Perhaps we should have you recite them.”
His armor weighed on his tired muscles, but he was glad of it. It made him feel like Templar, like Knight, like Commander. Larger than life and well in control of the situation. Not like Cullen, weak and needful. Cullen, who would readily debase himself before this woman for the mere promise of pleasure.
“Yes,” Leliana murmured to herself. “I think that would be just the thing.”
“I...Now, milady?” he asked, cursing himself inwardly for the slight stammer.
She smiled at the term of address. “Not yet, Templar.”
She rose from the bed, graceful and silent, and moved to where Cullen stood. Her fingers found his shoulder straps and began unbuckling his left pauldron. He stood still, allowing this, though he'd have been made to stand extra guard duty for months in Ferelden for letting a non-Templar even touch his armor.
“I did miss you in Orlais, Cullen. Did Josie and Cassandra keep you good company while I was gone?”
The first pauldron came loose; she set it carefully onto the bed and began work on the next.
“Yes,” he said.
“Did Cassandra torture you?”
Both pauldrons off now, exposing his chest plate. Leliana worked the buckles and fastenings with speed and skill; she clearly had some experience with it. Her nimble fingers found the buckles of his breastplate next.
“Yes,” he said. "She did."
A soft laugh emerged from her. “I expected she would. Was it very bad?”
"You know that it was," he said.
Leliana leaned in close, standing on her toes to let her lips brush his ear. "And did she need you often?" she asked.
Cullen suppressed a shudder. "Yes," he said.
The breastplate came free; Leliana lowered it to the floor one-handed and let it gently come to rest. Easy to forget just how strong she was. It occurred to Cullen that when he’d pressed her to the wall earlier that day, she could easily have fought him off. Possibly overpowered him. They'd never sparred, and he wasn't sure how he'd fare. She was extraordinarily skilled with her daggers.
His breath hitched, just for a moment, while his mind flashed to the image of him sparring with her, defeating her, overpowering her and pinning her down beneath his knees.
“Poor Cullen,” she said, trailing her fingers along his arming doublet, exposed now that his armor was off. She knelt before him and reached around the back of his knee to unbuckle his left greave. The sight of her there, kneeling, bending her head down, took his breath away.
She had his greaves off in no more than a minute. Faster than he could do it himself. The bulge of his cock had become noticeable through the thin material of his breeches; the feel of her hands unfastening, unbuckling had roused him. Leliana smiled and traced a single finger down the outline of its length.
“I did so miss you,” she said. "There's no one like you in all of Orlais. Probably all of Thedas."
"Too bad for me," he said, and her face turned upward abruptly.
"Oh?" she said.
"If there were more of me, I'd get more rest," he said.
She relaxed. "Poor pretty Cullen," she said, and bent her head again; her lips rested so near to his cock that he could feel her breath on it. He was fully, completely hard now. It hadn't been a long journey to get there. Even having been brought to orgasm not a few hours previously and even knowing that torment would follow. She could bring him to full hardness with no more than a single look.
"We were discussing the rules," she said. "I think I'd like to hear you recite them. Perfectly and with no errors."
She tugged at the laces of his breeches to loosen them.
"And if you do that," she continued, "I'll let you... fuck me." She let the coarse word sit on her tongue for a moment, as though she were savoring a fine wine.
Cullen sucked in a harsh breath. Leliana liked to use her mouth and hands on him, and she liked watching him fuck the other two women, but she rarely allowed him to enter her.
"I'll do that," she said, "and I'll let you come inside me. Would you like that, Commander?"
Cullen felt a tight knot expanding at the center of his belly and his ears ringing. He bit the inside of his cheek hard to regain control of himself. He'd nearly lost himself right there. Just from her words. Just from the thought of being inside her, of releasing inside her.
His only answer was a tortured gasp.
"Letter-perfect, Cullen," Leliana said. "Every word in its place. You may begin whenever you are ready."
"Maker help me," he whispered.
"He had better," said Leliana, her lips brushing against the tip of his now-exposed cock. "Because no one else will."
The rules were few in number. Cullen summoned the memory. He’d been in Kirkwall, in the Seeker’s temporary offices, frozen in shock while he listened to Leliana’s pleasant lilt explaining what she wanted. What they all wanted.
She’d never repeated the rules all together that way again. He tried to calm himself, to breathe deeply, to remember. He had to remember.
The first one was easy. “I serve at the pleasure of the Nightingale, the Seeker, and the Ambassador of the Inquisition,” he recited. Leliana’s tongue swirled around the head of his cock and he gasped, almost let out a curse to the Maker before biting it back. “In… in that order,” he said.
She chuckled; he could feel the vibration on the sensitive skin of his cock. “You nearly missed the last bit, Cullen,” she said, then slid her lips down over his cock again. This is unfair, he wanted to say. It felt so good that it nearly brought tears to his eyes.
“I do as they ask without questioning,” he said, terrified for a split second that he’d got it wrong, that it was asking, not questioning, but no, he could remember the way Leliana’s mouth looked as she formed the word, it was definitely questioning, and Maker, she'd taken him further into her mouth, so he must have got it right. He groaned.
“My body is for their use.” He knew that one well; Cassandra loved to repeat it to him while he squirmed beneath her ministrations. "I may not touch them without permission."
Leliana’s fingers tickled and stroked his balls; he could feel the orgasm coiling deep inside. The next rule was complicated and he needed to remember the way the words fit together, but his mind was sliding into a red haze of pleasure.
“Poor Cullen,” Leliana whispered. Her tongue teased at the head of his cock, and he couldn’t even think about the fact that she’d done this for Orlesians, she’d done it for Maker knows who, it just felt so blighted good….
“Focus, darling,” she said. “Almost there.”
“I serve the Inquisition by providing a singular purpose.” Oh fuck, oh Maker, did I get that right? Her tongue fluttered around the tip and it was all he could do not to grab her hair and pull her head onto him. This was agony.
“Say it, Cullen,” she murmured against his over-sensitized skin.
“I am here to... to....” He clenched his teeth together, stifling a groan. "To look pretty."
Her mouth popped completely off him with a wet sound. He cried out. “No, please, let me try again, I thought I—“
She laughed, sounding genuinely amused. “Darling Cullen. You were perfect. But is my mouth what you truly want?”
“No,” he whispered.
“No,” she agreed. “You’ve earned more than that.” She rose to her feet and leaned forward to kiss the line of his jaw. “You were absolutely perfect.” Cullen felt like a taut, shivering wire being plucked.
“Leliana,” he said, low and urgent.
Ignoring this, she said, “I brought you a present from Orlais. Would you like to see it?”
“Now?” he said, his voice cracking.
“Poor Cullen,” she said again with dancing eyes. "You do want it, don't you?"
He wanted to be inside her. He wanted to come.
"Yes," he said. "Of course."
She stroked his face affectionately, then turned and picked up a small jeweled case sitting on the wooden stand next to the bed. It was inlaid with silver filigree in an Orlesian design. The sort of thing a lady would keep her jewelry in, or perhaps a bit of powder for her face.
Leliana opened the lid and set it aside. From within the case she withdrew a long slender red ribbon. It glowed with an unnatural light.
“Are… are those runes?” Cullen asked.
Leliana smiled. “Very good, Commander. Yes, this ribbon has been charged with runes. Very special runes. Would you like to see how they work?”
She didn't wait for his answer. Instead, with delicate, graceful fingers, she began wrapping the ribbon around his cock, pressing it into the skin as she wound. After a few seconds of contact, the runes glowed and then subsided, leaving no trace of the ribbon itself.
It felt unholy.
"Leliana, what--" Cullen managed, but his words dissolved into a helpless groan. His cock was throbbing now.
She let her fingers dance over his swollen flesh and smiled. "A gift from an Orlesian diplomat who thought I might find a use for it. Do you know what these runes do?"
"What have you done to me?" he gasped.
"They will last about half an hour," she said. "And until they wear off... you won't be able to achieve pleasure."
"Why?" he said. Her fingers idly stroked his erection; he unconsciously pushed his hips forward to meet her. "Leliana, why?"
"I have been in Orlais overly long," she said, "and I am quite tired of Orlesian games. Of their long seductions and their soft sighs."
He did not understand, and she read the confusion in his eyes.
"I want something hard and I want it to last, Commander Rutherford," she said. "I want you to fuck me like a Fereldan."
He was moving towards her before she even finished the sentence. He wasn't even out of his breeches, but he didn't care, he wanted her, needed her, right now.
She stepped lightly away, out of his grasp. "I want to feel you, Cullen. All of you." She made a twirling gesture with her fingers, and with a growl of frustration he tore off what remained of his clothing, leaving his breeches and his doublet in an unseemly pile on the floor.
Leliana shrugged slightly and her simple Ferelden dress fell away from her.
He saw her completely unclothed so rarely, and the sight stopped him where he stood. Perfect, full breasts, lovely rounded belly, and well-muscled thighs.
"Come to me, Cullen," she whispered, and he did, pressing the long length of his body against her smaller frame, pushing her towards the bed, lowering her there and using his weight to pin her down.
A moment later and he was inside her, sheathed completely, and oh Maker, she was so hot and wet he couldn't stand it.
"I watched you on the training field today," she said, her words punctuated by little gasps as he drove himself into her again and again. "I saw you sparring and fighting. You're very good at what you do, Commander."
She shifted her hips somehow and he slid even deeper inside her, eliciting a clenched "fuck" from him. She giggled.
"I liked knowing that you'd been stroking yourself not half an hour before," she said. "I liked knowing how frustrated you were. You were frustrated, weren't you?"
"Maker, yes," he gritted between his teeth. Without the runes he'd have spilled three times over already. He couldn't stop fucking her, couldn't stop thrusting himself into her, but it was more than he could stand. He needed release so very badly.
"This is exactly what I wanted," she went on, in a dreamy voice. "Exactly what I imagined during my long trip back from Orlais." She shifted her hips again. He saw her eyes roll a little; the pressure against her most sensitive places was affecting her. "I wanted my strong Fereldan commander with his long cock inside me," she said. He felt her legs wrap around him and her hands drive through his hair and then her whole body arched against his. He felt her muscles fluttering against him inside.
He wanted to come more than he'd ever wanted anything in his entire life. Anything.
"I need to ask you a question, Cullen," she said, in the same dreamy voice. "A very important question. I need you to concentrate because I'll only ever ask you this once."
"Leliana," he gasped, "I can't stop."
She smiled, shifted her hips. "I don't want you to stop. I want you to answer the question."
"All right," he managed. His body was a thing nearly out of his own control. He moved his cock inside her rhythmically, never dropping a beat.
"Mm," she sighed. "Cullen-- oh, Cullen -- the question is simple: Is this what you want?"
He slowed inside her for the first time, staring.
"No," she said, seeing his confusion, "not this. I know you want this, my darling. I mean all of it. Commanding the men. Your life here at Skyhold. The things I ask of you. Is it what you truly want?"
She had never asked him this, not once, not ever. The air felt charged with the question, and he sensed that his future hinged on the answer he gave. Memories flickered through his mind; Kinloch Hold, and Kirkwall. The Inquisitor, and Leliana.
It didn't take long.
"You torment me," he said in nearly a whisper. "You humiliate me. You treat me like a thing. Like your thing." Though he had slowed, he still moved inside her while he spoke. The orgasm was right there if only he could reach it.
Quietly she said, "Yes, Cullen."
He swallowed hard. "I... I want it," he said. "I want all of it. I... I want you, Leliana." He met her eyes. "So much I can hardly stand it."
Her mouth curved into a wicked smile, and he knew that he'd given the right answer as well as the truthful one. "Then fuck me, Commander Rutherford," she said.
With a moan, he drove himself into her again, climbing towards an unattainable peak.
Leliana shuddered beneath him twice more before the end, and after the third time, he felt his own tears dripping down his face.
"Poor, pretty Cullen," she said. "Kiss me."
He lowered his mouth to hers and she slipped her tongue inside, and that is exactly when the runes began to wear off. She felt it happening, pulled his head to her, held it to keep him locked in the kiss.
The runes seemed to wear off in stages; he could feel the orgasm boiling deep within and then surging forward, only to leave him stranded. Then again, and again, each time bringing him closer. He was still inside Leliana, still thrusting hard and fast, and she was writhing against him and kissing him. He thought he might honestly lose his mind.
And then he felt a surge of pleasure unlike anything he'd experienced in his life, roiling inside him like a swollen river spilling its banks, flooding and roaring through his body. Fragments of thoughts flickered through his frantic mind, filling her and yes Maker yes and mine she is mine. He was screaming, he thought, but it was swallowed inside Leliana's mouth.
Afterward, when it had run its full course, he lay trembling and weak on the bed next to her.
"They are making me Divine, Cullen," she said, tracing patterns onto his chest with her finger. Before he could respond, she went on, "The Divine never marries nor takes a consort."
Just as he could feel the pieces of his world breaking apart and shattering, she said, "But we live in a new Thedas. Do we not? And I was told that I could bring all of my possessions to Orlais."
Chapter 7: Epilogue
No one objected to the creation of the position of Protector of the Divine. Josephine called in not a few favors to make sure that no one would.
The Protector leads the army of the Chantry. He himself stands before the Sunburst Throne, clad in the armor of the Divine. He bears an unsheathed sword, ready to defend on a second's notice. He has had only rare cause to wield that sword - the occasional fanatic attempting to attack the Divine -- but he has wielded it effectively and well.
On this day, a bead of sweat trickles down the back of his neck. It is not a particularly warm day. But Leliana -- no, he mentally corrects himself, Divine Galatea II, asked him to accompany her to her chambers for the noontime meal. Not an unusual request; the Protector accompanied her almost everywhere.
What no one realized -- he hoped -- was that the Divine had spent most of her lunchtime break teasing him almost...almost...to orgasm.
Leliana had designed his armor. The trousers were lightweight and form-fitting. Perfect for wearing underneath armor. But the armor didn't cover everything, and if he got even a slight erection, it was on display to the entire Sunburst Court.
"Cullen, darling," she'd said, "you look prettiest when your cock is very, very hard. And I do so love for you to look pretty."
And so he stood, perspiration trickling down his neck, cock half-stiff against his will, while Leliana watched him from the throne. Watched him looking pretty.
Looking pretty for her.