“I swear, love, you take me to the most wonderful places.”
With a sardonic grin that fell away, revealing a pained, exhausted grimace, Anders threw himself onto the bedroll without taking off his robes. The ground in Blackmarsh was spongy in some places, rocky in others, but no matter the location, it all smelled very foul. After a day’s worth of hiking--meandering aimlessly would be a better term--Theron finally agreed that it would be best if they stopped and set up camp.
“Maybe next week we can go to Deathmarsh, or Mosquitomarsh, or Stone-in-your-boot-Marsh,” Anders groaned. He heard a snort from outside the tent, and when he tilted his head he could see the silhouette of Theron shucking off his armor like a beetle shedding its carapace. Sigrun had set her tent up a small ways from theirs, and Justice was sitting near a tree even further away, presumably to give Theron and Anders some privacy. At the time, Anders had been a bit offended, as if they thought he couldn’t spend a night with Theron in a tent without doing anything other than sleeping, but when Theron lifted the flap and crawled in, all pale freckles and wild hair, Anders was thankful for the space.
“It’s not that bad,” Theron said in his quiet voice, little more than a murmur as instead of lying next to Anders, he climbed atop of him, folding his arms on Anders’ chest and resting his head there. “We’re almost finished, anyway.”
"A pity," Anders said sardonically. He shifted his fingers through Theron's long hair, the tips brushing his bare back as he reached the ends. He rested his hand there, against the warmth of Theron's skin, feeling the comfort in the rise and fall of his breath. "I was hoping we could make a summer home out here, just you and me, maybe by that lake with all the dead fish floating on top."
"How about in The Dales, instead?" Anders opened one eye in time to see Theron working the clasp at the throat of his robes. "We could trade weaponry for an aravel and a few halla, and go wherever we wanted."
"Hang on." He placed his hand over his collar, holding it shut while Theron wormed his hand under it. "You're trying to distract me so I'll say yes, aren't you?"
"I'm trying to take your clothes off so we can fuck, entirely different," said Theron, and the brashness of his words startled Anders as they sent a warm rivulet of desire down, through his belly, to pool at the base of his cock.
"What's gotten into you?" he asked, cupping Theron's chin and tilting it. His wide eyes were dilated, the smallest ring of pale sage surrounding enormous, cat-like pupils. "You've changed so much."
Theron sighed, a small, petulant huff, and pulled himself up Anders' body so that his head was next to Anders'. "I admit it," he said, the words tickling Anders' ear, "I've changed. But it's because I'm happy now; do you really wish for me to return to misery?"
"Of course not, love." Anders cradled Theron's head in his hand, turning to catch his lips. His mouth was sweet, eager, and the spark of desire was already growing into need. He felt Theron's hand on his neck as his lips slid, clumsy with want, down his chin, and he tilted into it as Theron pressed a hot, firm kiss to the skin under his ear.
"I won't be dramatic," Theron said, his tongue brushing Anders' earlobe either accidentally or with great care in planning. "You make me happy. I love you; I want you, and I want for us to have some sort of life together, away from the Wardens. If only for a few years, I just want to have something normal, something good. You have said before that you would come with me."
"And I will," Anders said immediately. There was no questioning that. The idea of a life with freedom, without anyone to answer to, without templars and wardens, stirred a little joyful madness deep inside his chest. It was the same sort of feeling he got when he ran from the tower, that burst of foolish, impossible energy. "But you're the Warden-Commander. You can't just desert them."
"They saved my life, and I owe them that much." Anders loosed his grasp on his collar as Theron slid his hand under it, pushing the feathered pauldron off of his bare shoulder. "But I never pledged my happiness to them." Theron's hand was hot on his skin and Anders closed his eyes, a shiver threatening to escape. "I don't want forever; I don't have forever. I just want...you. I want to pretend that we could have had something normal, if only for a few years." Anders expected Theron's voice to break, and tears to run down his cheeks, but as ever, he found that Theron was not the type of man you could expect. Either desire was more potent than misery, or the entire episode sprung from desire, because Theron was kissing him again, urgent and wanting, cradling his neck in a hot hand as he straddled Anders' leg, stopping only to inhale deeply and move his lips downward to kiss his throat. "I want you," he repeated, and his teeth came down lightly on Anders' skin.
"You have me," Anders whispered. "You've had me from the first time I met your eyes." Truth came easier now, after a year out of the tower, after eight months since Theron had put an arrow into Rylock's heart, after six since he'd broken his hand on a templar's face. There was still fear, a sinking, sick pit in his stomach when he woke up, forgetting that he wasn’t in the tower, or when Theron wasn’t there in the morning, but there was no denying that he was better too. Moreover, though he respected the wardens and what they stood for, he knew deep in that place where he knew everything else, how to smile, how to laugh, how to reach into the Fade and suck it inside of himself, he knew that if Theron had asked him to lie down and die, he would have a bloody difficult time saying no.
“Then you’ll come with me?” Theron was straddling his hips now, both hands under his robes pushing them up. Anders propped himself up on his elbows and helped him get them off, putting them to the side, easing Theron onto him as he rested back onto the bedroll.
“When?” Anders tilted back his head for Theron to nuzzle at his neck again, hissing at the sharp pinch of teeth. “Not while there are still darkspawn, surely?”
“After that, when there’s some peace.” Theron brushed back Anders’ hair and nudged his nose, kissing the side of it.
“How could I say no?” Anders asked with a soft laugh. His breath caught in his throat when Theron suddenly moved down, a flutter moving through his stomach, following the path of Theron’s mouth. He raised his hips just enough to let Theron slide down his trousers, then dropped them weakly at the first brush of Theron’s tongue, hot and playful on his cock.
Absently, Anders tried to think, grabbing fruitlessly at thoughts that fled from the sensation of his foreskin sliding down, wet lips on the head of his cock, and an eager mouth--not just eager; willing, ready, wanting--sliding down over the first few inches. He caught Theron’s gaze when he looked down, intent and dark from blown pupils, and threw his head back at the intensity of it. It wasn’t fair, really, that Theron could look like that without trying, that he could be so closed-in and small, yet be deep enough for Anders to get lost in.
“No, no. Cut that out,” Anders said with difficulty, lifting his head again to catch Theron’s quizzical gaze. “On your back.”
“Pushy.” Theron said, though there was no teeth behind it. He was smiling, kicking off his trousers, opening his arms for Anders to fall into them. He waited impatiently as Anders just looked at him, loving every scar, every patch of freckles, every inexplicably discolored patch of pretty skin, his cheeks aching from grinning by the time he climbed onto him, sliding a hand between his legs, a quick whispered spell slicking his fingers.
He was glad that Sigrun and Justice were just out of earshot once he was inside of Theron, petting his hair as he groaned, his teeth dragging over his pale lips with every muffled whimper. “Good?” he whispered, ducking his head to kiss an elongated ear, wincing at the thump when Theron nodded roughly, bumping their heads together. Anders laughed kindly, brushing a damp tendril of hair off of Theron’s cheek. “Careful now.”
Underneath him, Theron was red-cheeked and mobile, licking his lips, rolling his head to the side, squeezing shut his eyes when he tried fruitlessly to quiet himself. His nails dug half-moons into Anders’ shoulders, and he accidently bit him when they kissed, a small trickle of blood rolling down Anders’ chin.
“You’re ferocious,” Anders said, leaving a bloody smear when he kissed Theron on the cheek. “My wild, beautiful love.” Theron’s heel bumped Anders’ ass as he crossed his legs around his waist, and Anders pushed forward, pressing Theron’s thighs flush with his chest as he rocked his hips, feeling Theron shudder at the pressure of Anders’ stomach against his cock.
“Sorry, I didn’t...”
“Don’t apologize.” Anders swallowed hard, tempering himself, pausing when Theron squeezed his hips with surprising strength. “I love when you’re like this.” Cradling Theron’s head under his arm, he licked the length of his ear, hissing when Theron’s nails dragged burning trails down his back. “Shred me to ribbons; I’ll still love you.”
Later, spent and sated, with his lip healed and Theron curled peacefully against his chest, Anders watched the movement of tree limbs silhouetted on the canvas. “Feeling better?” Anders asked him, vaguely aware that he was holding Theron to him like he expected him to try and get away. It made sense though; what wild animal was willing to stay?
With a yawn, Theron nodded, then nuzzled his face against Anders’ scruffy chin in a motion that was so catlike that Anders had to make sure that Theron hadn’t grown a second set of ears.
“So where will we go first?”
“When we run away like foolish young lovers, where will we go?”
“It isn’t so much where, it’s just that we’ll go,” Theron said, as if it were simple.
“And that we’ll go together?” Anders asked.
“That’s the only part that really matters,” Theron replied.
Anders thought of a dozen other things that could matter: poor weather, food, shelter, his phylactery, the wardens, Theron’s nightmares, but as he felt Theron’s slim chest rising and falling, he felt peacefully, foolishly in love, and it seemed for all the world that the madness, the joy, the crush of Theron’s arms, and the wonderful warmth was all that mattered.