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Apples and Apostates

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9:31 Dragon 27 Matrinalis Morning
Vigil's Keep: Dining Hall

I've never had a taste for tea, but I've had friends who swear by it for hangovers. I don't have a hangover today, but I'm drinking it anyway. Habit, probably. I take another sip, and it's as bitter as I expect it to be. It tastes like sticks, dirt, and regret. I should just leave it for a servant to clean up, but I know I'd feel guilty if I did. I asked for it, someone made it, and now I have to live with it.

I cradle the cup in my hands and stare out at the dining hall. It's crowded with soldiers, men and women serving under Garavel who I'll probably send out to die someday but whose names I'll never know. I should give another address this week. I need to keep morale up. Drinking normally helps with that, but I don't want Anders to know I have a problem, and he's been spending the night a lot lately.

I can't help smiling, thinking about him. He sleeps like a rock in my bed. I don't know if that's me or the mattress, but I love it. I've been through the barracks, and I know he sleeps on straw otherwise. After a year of sleeping in bedrolls on the ground, goose feather feels lavish to me, but if Anders likes it, that's reason enough for me to keep it.

"Commander," A nondescript soldier says politely, walking past me. I raise my cup at him, and wish I knew his name. A few of my Wardens are in line for breakfast, Anders among them. He's wearing the robe I gave him. Tevinter fashion is probably the only thing I don't like about the country. The feathered shoulders look ridiculous to me, but the robe isn't for me.

It doesn't matter if I like it. Anders wanted it, and Anders likes it. The only real problem is how difficult it is to find anything Tevinter-style in Ferelden. Anders doesn't need to know that I had to raid the templar warehouse in Amaranthine with the Collective to get it for him. All that really matters is he's happy.

Anders grabs his tray and spends a few seconds looking out over the dining hall. Eventually his eyes settle on me and he waves. I raise my cup at him, and he starts walking over. I can feel my heart start racing and my palms getting sweaty, and I have to set the cup down. Anders sets his tray down and takes a seat across from me.

"This seat taken?" Anders asks with a grin that only touches one corner of his lips, and raises the same eyebrow. It looks painfully flirty, and it's hard to believe it's directed at me.

"It is now," I say, and nod at him. "You look good in that,"

It's not a lie. Anders looks good in everything. Ridiculous feathers or not, the robe is sleeveless, and shows off his arms. He's wearing two golden bangles, above both elbows, and I have to wonder where he got them.

"But I'd look better in nothing, right?" Anders jokes and winks, ripping a piece of bread in half to soak up his runny eggs.

"Hard to say," I shrug, "I'd need a reminder to be sure,"

"Well keep it up and maybe you'll get one," Anders grins.

We're back in my quarters almost as soon as he finishes breakfast. I don't know how I managed it, but we're here, and his hands are on me. It's all I can do to cling to him. He has deft hands, and never in my wildest fantasies could I have imagined all the things he can do with them. He cradles my jaw in one hand and gets my belt unbuckled with a few twists of the other.

Anders grabs my belt and pulls, and tosses it vindictively across the room when it comes free of my trousers. He loves throwing clothes. I don't know why, but I love it. It's reckless and carefree and everything I'd expect from him.

With a suddenness that takes my breath away, Anders hits his knees and grabs my trousers to pull them down around my thighs. I'm not as hard as I wish I was yet, but I'm getting there. Anders looks up at me, and for a moment it's all to surreal.

He's too beautiful. His eyes are like honeyed mead, and it's so easy to get drunk or drown in them. His face is made of perfect angles, everything from his jaw to his nose to his chin begs to be traced and touched and worshipped.

The moment passes, and it's real again. So wonderfully real. Anders takes hold of my cock and licks me slowly from base to tip, his tongue brushing over the tips of his fingers in the process, and for some reason that's what's most erotic to me. He pumps his hand once when his tongue reaches the head of my cock, and I moan for him.

It's all the invitation he needs to take the head of my cock into his mouth. The curve of his lips around my cock is one of the most perfect things I've ever seen, and the heat of his mouth one of the most perfect things I've ever felt. His mouth is sheath of wet warmth, but it's nothing beside his hands.

He rolls my sac between his long fingers, and slides one forward to caress the space between my sac and my entrance. It's like rapture, and I want to bury my fingers in his flaxen hair. Anders smacks my hand away when I try. He never lets me touch his hair, unless we're lost in the heat of the moment.

Anders might not be, but I am. I don't know what to do with my hands if I can't touch him. I flex them at my sides while Anders unravels me. I stop existing outside of the pleasure burning through my veins, the fire in my stomach lit by his hands and mouth. I can feel my pulse beating hard and fast in my cock, and the pressure that builds inside me is almost unbearable.

I grab his shoulder and squeeze urgently. "Can I cum in your mouth?"

I don't know why I still ask. Anders has never said no. He glances up at me and gives me a playful thumbs up, and I think that must be why I still ask. I want to laugh, but I know what my laugh sounds like, and I don't want to ruin the moment. I exhale hard through my nose instead, and finish a heartbeat later.

I find release in thick satisfying spurts that fill Anders' mouth to overflowing. My whole body tingles, especially my feet, a pleasurable ache that throbs in time with my heart in my cock. The euphoria is almost numbing. My left ear is ringing, my hands are stiff.

Anders sits back, and my cock and his chin are dripping with spit and cum. He wipes his face off with his forearm and grins a proud sort of grin. "I must be getting better at that. You practically crushed my shoulder. Good thing I'm a healer."

"You're fantastic," I say, because he is.

I've had better, but only physically. He is getting better, but for me, the fact that it's Anders makes up for any inexperience. Nothing compares to him. I think if he looked at me long enough he could get me to cum. Whether or not this is an experimental game to him, nothing will ever mean more to me than knowing I'm the one he chose to play it with.

I join him on the floor to get his smalls off and return the favor. I love making love to him. His sighs and groans, the way his cock twitches between my lips, the way his hands grab the back of my head and tangle in my hair. Recently, the way my name slips in among the sounds he makes for me. His breath takes on a staccato rhythm, and I hold the pace I've set, knowing he's close. I wonder if I know before he does.

Anders tugs on my hair a heartbeat later. "Fuck I'm gonna cum." I moan encouragingly on his cock and he fills my mouth a few seconds later. I have to swallow to keep up with him, and I hold onto his hips while he shudders underneath me. "Fucking flames, Amell," Anders gasps and eventually goes still.

I hold his cum in my mouth for a few seconds for the taste before I swallow. We're still lying on the floor, and I know he'll want to move soon, but for now I lie between his legs and rest my head on his thigh. I want so desperately to hold him, but I know that's not the kind of relationship we have. I settle on locking an arm around his leg, and wonder if we'll get there someday.

Anders plays with my hair while he catches his breath. "We should start every day like this," Anders muses.

"I won't argue with that," I say. I know he means sex, but I pretend he means cuddling like this.

"It's pretty decent out today, for Kingsway," Anders says, "Do you want to get a game of quoits in or something?"

"A quick one," I agree. I always feel a little giddy whenever he wants to spend time with me without having sex. "I have to hold court today."

"Ew." Anders says, and gives me a shove to get me off his leg. We clean up and dress, and our game goes by far too quickly and holding court takes far too long. It's dinner before I know it, and I spend it with my Wardens, listening to all of them recount their days.

Velanna has opened up a lot with everyone else. Sigrun seems less Void-bent on going to her Calling. Nathaniel's doing well, and Oghren is relatively sober. I still miss my old friends, but the five of us work well together. It almost surprises me how much I care about all of them. I doubt they know it, but they make ruling this accursed arling almost tolerable.

Anders especially. He catches me staring at him throughout dinner and tosses a few smirks my way that stir up butterflies in my stomach. He's back in my quarters that evening, and when we have sex it feels like he drains me of every drop of cum in my body and fills me up with his instead. I fuck him until he's too exhausted to leave, and he passes out in my bed.

He's so worn out the mage light I summon doesn't wake him. Anders looks serene when he's asleep. His lips are slightly parted, his flaxen hair finally free of its tie and tossed about his handsome face. A few strands are stuck to his forehead, still damp with sweat from sex. I lean out of bed and unlock my nightstand to find my journal and a fresh piece of graphite.

I spend an hour sketching him. He sleeps hard, and it makes him easy to draw. I map his face, the sharp lines of his shoulders, the expanse of his chest, his lean arms and perfect hands. The covers are tangled around his narrow waist, so I stop there and wipe away a few mistakes. My finger tips are stained black, and I'll have to get up to wash them before I go to bed.

I stare at the sketch for a short while, comparing it to the amazing man lying next to me. It's not perfect, but I'm a decent artist, and I think I've captured the moment. I scribble the date beneath it, and hesitate on a title. Ma'arlath, a voice that is and isn't mine suggests, but I know what Anders means to me. I don't need to write it down.