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Carl Hates You, Jim.

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It wasn’t all that unusual to see the Inquisitor slip into the Commander’s office. Worst kept secret, it was. Carl saluted sharply where he stood guard at the door as the woman passed, hardly noticing the sly smile on her face. As soon as she was inside, he took a moment to stretch. Just a little longer. He couldn’t wait for a hot meal. Must be some meeting in there, that many people.

It wasn’t long before the officers filed out, and the Commander closed the door with a resounding bang. A very important meeting, then—something secretive that the Inquisitor and the Commander could only discuss alone. He straightened, glowing with pride. If there were secrets being shared, he was the… the… gatekeeper. No doubt he’d been carefully selected for this shift to ensure maximum privacy. Well, he wasn’t about to let them down.

He nodded at his partner, Terry, across from him. No one in, no one out.

He tuned out the murmuring he could just make out from inside. He had only the greatest respect for the two of them, and he wasn’t about to stoop to eavesdropping. The tinkle of breaking glass made him reconsider. He tilted his head, before shaking his head. No, no, someone probably just dropped—

A bigger crash. He grimaced, a pang of sympathy gurgling in his belly. Both the Inquisitor and the Commander had their tempers, but that many things breaking at once must mean someone was really angry. It quieted down for a moment and he’d almost relaxed when…

Was that a moan? He blinked, leaning back towards the door to listen. His companion raised one eyebrow but otherwise didn’t move, staring straight ahead and that was, yes, that was definitely a muffled moan. Or two moans.

Clank. Clank.

Metal hitting the stone floor. Vambraces? He cleared his throat. Maybe someone was… injured, or sick and needed a hand, or—

“Cullen, take that thing off. ”


His cheeks began to burn. He’d never heard the Inquisitor’s voice sound like that, all…breathless, touched with laughter, and the Commander practically purred. He bit down on his lip. This was a distraction, nothing more, he thought as another crash that sounded suspiciously like a breastplate dropping to the floor echoed. Damn doors, no soundproofing at all. Though the hole in the roof doesn’t help… He would not allow mere noises to distract him from his duty. The Commander had seen fit to trust Carl with guard duty outside his office, and he would conduct himself with respect.

Someone groaned again, the Inquisitor, he thought. He found himself leaning towards the door again just as someone cried out. He stiffened, instinctively stepping towards the door and reaching for the handle. He froze at the last minute, catching only the tail end of the Commander’s words.

“—my mouth between your legs?

He lifted a fist, biting down on his glove at the images that flashed in his mind. Why do they have to be so pretty? He turned sharply on his heel, trying to ignore the moans and soft cries, the now-muffled growls. Terry’s cheeks reddened before his eyes. Had she moved closer to the door?

“Hello there!” a polite voice called.

He started with a yelp, trying to regain his composure, managing to focus just in time as another guard approached, waving a sheaf of parchments. What was his name? John? Jerry?

“I brought these for the Commander. Sister Leliana wanted them delivered straight away!” The man faltered. Jim, that was his name. “I, ah… is the Commander… busy?” The cries in the office were getting louder. Carl’s face was burning.

“Yes,” he croaked. “He's—”

“Oh, fuck, stop teasing me, Cullen!”

“Busy!” he almost shouted, as if that could cover the sounds of ecstasy emanating from the office. “He’s very busy!” Terry had broken into nervous giggles, covering it with a cough as Jim stared at them with confusion, before eyeing the door.

“They’re very urgent,” Jim said slowly, taking a step forward. Carl threw an arm out, blocking the way. Why didn’t Jim just leave so that he could adjust his trousers in peace? This was confusing enough to him as it was. He didn’t need Jim to show up in his dreams tonight, too. The sounds were rising in pitch behind him. “I think they might need the Inquisitor’s signature, too. Is she in there as well?”

“Look, just come back la—”

“That’s it, Commander,” Terry hissed. “Keep going!”

Carl whirled, staring in disbelief at Terry, who’d finally given in to her curiosity and pressed her ear to the door. Her mouth hung half-open in delight. Jim shouldered by before Carl could stop him.

“What are you doing?” Carl squeaked. Terry shot him a dirty look, and Jim mimicked Terry’s pose, cheek flat to the door.

Carl reached for their collars just as the Inquisitor shrieked the Commander’s name.

“Sweet Andraste,” Jim whispered, his own cheeks swiftly turning pink.

“That’s enough,” Carl groaned, tugging at their arms. He was aroused beyond belief now, hard and aching inside his armor, which was not made for this sort of situation. A situation called shame. He could almost see it in his mind: the Inquisitor sprawled flat, the Commander peering up from between her legs, golden eyes burning with satisfaction.

Fuck, he thought, letting out a whimper, shifting awkwardly. “Please, just leave it alo—”

“Hey! We heard screaming, what’s goin’ on up here, Carl?”

He spun to face the small group of guards scrambling across the bridge towards the door. He went from arousal to panic in the space of a heartbeat, for which his currently constricted manhood was profoundly grateful. He flailed his arms desperately, trying to wave them off. No, not the shift change now!

“Nothing! Nothing is going on!” he squawked, drawing himself up and planting himself between his fellows and the door. By Andraste, he would do his job, even if it meant he was thrown from the battlements. And the Commander would speak at his funeral, and say things like honor and deserving of love and do you hear that, Agnes? Carl was far better than that ridiculous hedgemage you ran off with even if he could do that thing with his tongue.

“As if. You’re a horrible liar,” the leader chided. The group washed over him, and Carl found himself swept up along the wave and pressed to the door, all of them as close to the action as they could get without being in the room themselves.

Oh Maker. Somewhere in his mind, someone was ringing the warning bell before reason abandoned ship like the coward it was. He could hear the Commander’s snarl through the door, followed by the tearing of fabric. The moaning started again in earnest, though muffled this time. There was also a rhythmic, steady creaking. Carl was sweating like a Chantry Sister at a whorehouse orgy, pinned to the door in a most undignified manner and surrounded by his fellow guards as the Inquisitor and the Commander went to town not five meters away.

“Skyhold’s going to hear you scream my name.”

“Not if I take you with me, Cullen.”

“This is all wrong,” he moaned. He was supposed to guard them. Carl’s dreams of the Commander’s tear-filled speech upon his best, most faithful guard’s death packed its bags and kicked him between the legs on its way out just to spite him.

“Or this is right,” someone muttered. “Damn, listen to that rhythm. He’s goin’ too fast. She won’t get there ‘fore he does. Slow down, Commander.”

“Bullshite. A sovereign says he’ll send her over first. He’s decent like that,” another whispered.

The Inquisitor keened, and they held their collective breath as the Commander moaned, an almost pained sound.

“Maker, you’re so wet.”

“Hang on, Commander, you can make it!” Jim whispered encouragingly. Naturally, Carl thought furiously as he struggled. Everyone knew Jim had been shipping the Commander and the Inquisitor from the beginning.

“You’re both wrong,” Terry hummed thoughtfully. “They’ll go together.”

“How many sovereigns are you willin’ to bet on that?”

The Commander shouted, the rhythmic creaking faltering for the first time.

“Damn,” someone grumbled from down near Carl’s hip. “I really thought he’d last lo—”

“Hush,” Terry scolded. “That wasn’t an 'end’ noise.”

“Oh Andraste, do that again.”

Sure enough, the rhythm resumed at a frantic pace. Carl wasn’t sure how; it had been going fast before, or so he’d thought, well done, Commander! and whatever was squeaking had to be on the other side of the room at this point if not grinding itself to splinters against the wall. The moans were almost constant now, desperate and climbing, blasphemy and pleas mingling on the air.

“Atta girl, Herald,” Terry huffed when the Commander swore. “Take our Commander with you. Conquer him!

“Please,” Carl pleaded one last time, because this really, really couldn’t be happening. “Let’s just go.

“Too late,” Terry grinned, holding up a finger. Of course, her gesture lost some of its luster considering her cheek was mashed against the door and she really only had room to twitch a finger, but her point was made. Too late? What’s that supposed to

“Let them hear you, love.”

The Inquisitor screamed, high and piercing, the Commander’s name spilling from her over and over. The Commander wasn’t far behind, letting out a roar that might as well have been a dragon’s bellow for all its possessiveness, ending in a howl of the Inquisitor’s name to the heavens.

All was quiet for a long moment. Carl swore he could hear a great Qunari-sized shout in the distance: “Yeaaaaaaaah! You go, Boss! Taarsidath-an halsaam!” Fortunately, it was far off and faint.

Unfortunately, Jim was not.

“That was brilliant!” Jim whooped.

Five sets of hands clapped over his mouth but it was too late. Something crashed inside and this time, the roar that came from the Commander was of an entirely different kind.

“Who’s out there?!”

Everything happened at once. The group scrambled to escape, but pressed together as they all were, the guards ended up in a tangle of legs and arms like a shameful bundle of nugs. An errant limb swept Carl’s legs out from under him and he crashed to the ground. He got a brief glimpse as he fell of gaggles of guards at the other doors to Cullen’s office beating a hasty retreat across the battlements. How many of us were there?! Terry untangled herself first and took off, as did the other three voyeurs. Traitors! I was the best of you!

Even so, Carl almost made it. He would have made it.

If it wasn’t for Jim.

Typical to Jim’s pattern of having the worst luck available to mankind, he got up at just the right angle to clout Carl under the chin with his helm. Carl saw stars, and not the good kind that had previously been in his future. He flailed wildly, and fell against the door just as it opened.

To the Commander.

The shirtless, angry, sword-bearing Commander. The man’s eyes blazed, burning with fury, brows furrowed thunderously. Carl didn’t even have time to question his sexuality before his blood ran cold and he froze, a rabbit caught beneath an angry lion.

An angry lion with trousers hung low on slim hips, scars glinting against sweat-soaked skin, bruises left by a hungry mouth scattered across his chest.

Carl wasn’t sure whether he should be aroused or terrified.

Someone was whimpering. It was probably him.

“Hello, C-c-commander,” Jim stuttered, trying to fill the ominous silence. Carl wanted to strangle him. “I, um, have those reports.”

The Commander stared in disbelief, blade lowering. Someone was choking with laughter in the office, a laugh Carl vaguely recognized as the Inquisitor’s. Carl could see the very moment the ex-templar recognized Jim, put the pieces together. His eyes narrowed.

“You,” the Commander whispered, “are going to be team-building for months.” He prowled forward, but as soon as he came into view, applause rumbled up from below.

They all turned, staring down from the bridge to the courtyard, where a crowd had gathered. The Tevinter mage at the head of the crowd whirled, throwing up his hands as the crowd roared. “Another cheer for our lovers and their spectacular performance!”

Carl stood, firm and unmoving, at his post. Water dripped down, plunking steadily across his helmet, but he didn’t move, didn’t even flinch. Each drop was a reminder of a series of poor choices.

He hated the Mire.

“Do you think the Commander and the Inquisitor will get married?” Jim asked cheerfully, glancing at his new partner. He had taken to the marshes perfectly well, completely unperturbed by the muck or the rain or the leeches.

Carl hated leeches.

“I hope they invite us to the wedding.”

“Shut up, Jim.”