Not since the day of his joining—and only then because he was completely incapacitated—had Theron ever found Anders to be too busy to talk to him. The reasons for this were obvious; only a fool could have missed Anders’ immediate affections for the Warden-Commander, and since there were no real fools at Vigil’s Keep, they all saw him following Theron like an eager puppy, undeniably, unabashedly smitten. So when Theron walked into the study to find Anders deeply engrossed in a dense book, not even glancing over his shoulder when Theron laid a hand on it, he was stunned by the strangeness of it.
Anders always acknowledged him, no matter if it was with one of those sly smiles or with a hug that felt like it could break Theron’s ribs if he wasn’t careful, and Theron had to spend a moment contemplating his actions while Anders continued to read. Feeling somewhat lost, he rested his head on Anders’ shoulder, not remembering why he had sought him out, only realizing that right now he wanted nothing more than for Anders to laugh and grab him, let him tumble into his lap, feigning annoyance and feeling as though the entire world lay just behind Anders eyes, and belonged to him just as surely as Anders did.
A minute passed.
“Oh.” Anders raised his head briefly, glancing at Theron’s hand on his shoulder. “When did you come in, love?” he asked, though his attention was still on the book.
Theron had not remembered feeling lonely much as of late. His affair with Anders was a pleasant one; it had been strange at first, but with patience and fire and the change of seasons they cobbled together a love that fit them both quite well despite having had no pattern to base it on. They had hollows that the other knew just how to fill, and after hundreds of nights on that big four-poster bed, Theron’s head resting on Anders’ chest just to hear his heart beat, Theron caught himself following Anders around the way Anders had followed him: lovesick and wanting.
“Ma vhenan,” Theron whispered, tilting his head to kiss Anders on the cheek. “I’ve been looking for you.”
“Sorry love,” Anders said, though his mind seemed elsewhere. He glanced up again from the pages, but not for long. “This is a really important book. It was written by a Warden mage who had been doing experiments on darkspawn to find out what types of spells were most effective on what types of darkspawn. If I can read this and explain it to Velanna, nothing will be able to stop us.” He raised his hand and briefly patted Theron’s cheek before returning his attention to the book.
Conflicted, Theron did not move. He remembered days when he was going over extensive paperwork at the Seneschal’s urging, and giving Anders a similarly cold shoulder just so he could get it done, but he had never found himself on the other side of the equation, feeling needy and watching his lover too busy to give.
Impatient, Theron let out a little huff of annoyance that barely registered a reaction from Anders. He stood on his toes and leaned over him, sliding both arms over his shoulders to press his palms against Anders’ chest. There was something in the air that day; just the firmness under his fingertips gave him a quick shiver at the promise of pleasure—the promise of getting that robe off and dragging his fingers over warm skin and fine hair. He draped his body against Anders’, putting weight on him, and kissed him firmly on the cheek.
“You really are just like a cat,” Anders said. He lifted the ribbon that was sewn into the spine and placed it carefully between the pages he was reading. He closed the book and turned, looking up at Theron’s face, lifting a thumb to rub his jutting lower lip. “All aloof and standoffish until you want something, then you won’t leave me be.”
“M’not aloof,” Theron said with a pout, playing petulant and liking that he had the time and temperment to play. It had been too long since he’d been able to let himself drop some of the stoic artifice.
“You completely are.” Anders shifted the chair out from under the desk and offered his lap, sliding an arm around Theron’s waist to support his slight weight when he sat down on Anders’ thigh. “I’m entirely surprised that you don’t purr when I stroke you.” He rubbed Theron’s earlobe between his thumb and forefinger, smiling when Theron’s eyes immediately slid shut. “See? Just like a cat.”
“I don’t want to play games,” Theron said.
“Oh? What is it you want, then?” Anders asked.
“You,” Theron replied. “In my bed and naked, so that I can turn up the lamps and look at you and think of how much I adore you.” Anders breath hitched, and Theron felt flooded with giddy vindication. In the back of his mind he was chastizing himself for being jealous of a book, but when Anders cradled the back of his head and held him fast as he kissed him, Theron could find no fault in what he’d done, only the giddy tingling in his stomach and the eager rush of his heart.