Warm breath running over the tip of her sensitive pointed ear startled her. She would have turned, except a pair of hands curved around her waist and drew her backwards. She should have reacted differently. She should have pulled one of her knives and struggled. Instead she simply leaned into the embrace and felt soft breasts pillow against her back. The faint smell of lavender mixed with steel, and the frosty outdoor scent of Haven surrounded her.
She swallowed hard, her hands lifting to touch the pair at her waist. The tops of Cassandra’s fingers were soft, but strong. She’d seen the way they wrapped around a sword, carried a shield. She’d noticed when they clenched in anger, the way they clasped together, or moved when she spoke.
Thoughts of the Seekers hands though soon faded. No, her thought process became completely obliterated when she felt the Seekers mouth caress the shell of her ear. When the Seekers clever tongue flicked over the tip, then followed the path of her mouth. Alva’s entire body stiffened, arousal seizing her, clenching her gut and sending heat between her legs. She was wet. Abruptly, embarrassingly, wet. When the Seeker sucked the tip of her ear, Alva moaned loudly, pressing her ass back into the woman.
“I do not know why but, I want you.” Cassandra’s accent was smallclothes dropping. Alva found her voice ridiculously sexy under normal circumstances. Whispered in her ear in a low, almost seductive tone made desire rip through her so intensely she thought she could come just from the Seeker whispering to her.
Alva whimpered, grasping one of Cassandra’s hands and drawing it between her thighs, pressing it against her. “Creators, fuck me. Please just…”
Alva jerked upright, sweating and painfully aroused. Her clit was throbbing, her hips making small jerking movements desperate for stimulation even as consciousness returned. The crackle of the fire in the hearth mingled with the loud sound of her breathing. She was in the straw bed in her cabin. She was in Haven. It was the middle of the night, darkness coating the sky outside her window, except where the breach lit up the darkness with its menacing green taint.
Alva swallowed hard, tossing aside the furs, swinging her feet out of bed and letting them touch the cold floor, a jarring sensation from the heat still coursing through her. She needed it, the cold. Maybe a cold bath too. These dirty dreams she was having about Cassandra were ridiculous. Granted, they were a thousand times better than the nightmares, Alva reasoned, but still.
It had to have been the stress of the situation. One minute accused of being a mass murderer, the next she was a part of an Inquisition with the impossible task of building alliances so she could close a hole in the sky. A hole in the sky. All because of…
Alva looked down at her hand, turning it over. The mark on her palm was ugly. She wasn’t vain, she had plenty of scars marking her lithe frame, and she thought herself pretty at best, but the mark was something else entirely. The skin on her palm looked like a horrible burn mark, circular in shape with thin puckered lines running through the middle. It wasn’t a reminder of something she had triumphed over. It unnerved her. The power underneath it, and everything it represented.
Alva sighed, her arousal calming somewhat under the reminder. She was restless and she knew she’d never get back to sleep. The Elf stood up, naked, and got half dressed, warm enough to venture out into the chilly Haven air. She left her bow against the wall and strapped her knife belt to her waist instead.
Haven was quiet at this hour. A few lingering voices of the guards on duty, the occasional shadow moving about that Alva was growing accustomed to recognizing as Leliana’s spies. She breathed in the cold air, actually liking it for once because it was doing wonders to calm her. She wandered past Seggrit’s merchant stand, closed at the late hour of course. She was moving in no real direction simply enjoying a peaceful moment and getting control back of her body when a different sound made her ears perk.
They were grunts. The sound of feet crunching over snow. The low woosh of a weapon cutting through the air. Alva canted her head curiously. There was no accompanying clang of steel or sounds of pain which meant someone was practicing. At this hour? As Alva came closer to the sound near the trebuchets and a form began to take familiar shape she realized she should have turned around when she heard it. Who else. Really, who else would be out at this hour practicing with such dedication then Cassandra.
Alva halted abruptly, all the work she’d done to calm herself down flaring back to life. She should go, she told herself. She should turn around, and walk right back the way she’d came.
Her brain and her body however were not on the same page. Instead her feet refused to move and she was staring. Watching the Seeker’s graceful deadly movements, swinging her sword as if fighting an invisible enemy, moving across the snow with speed. Then slower, like she was stalking her prey. Her lips were slightly parted at times, puffs of cold air coming from them. She was sweating, even in the chilly weather, Alva could see the moisture glisten on her neck and immediately wondered what it would feel like, taste like if she licked it off. The thought sent another wave of heat crashing through her and she forced herself not to clench her thighs together. This was dumb. She needed to get laid. Stat.
Alva turned and was ready to depart without interrupting the sudden focus of her desire when the sounds stopped and that stupidly sexy Nevarran voice called out, “Alvaerle?”
Alva swallowed, took a second to ensure her expression was neutral and turned back around. “I apologize. I wasn’t sneaking and didn’t mean to interrupt.”
“Do not apologize, I was simply not expecting anyone to be there,” Cassandra’s tone was matter of fact. She paused, and then tacked on, “Were you unable to sleep?”
Alva simply nodded, and resolutely forced her brain to not send vivid reminders through her head of exactly why that had been. “Some nights after we’ve returned from our outings I sleep like a log. Others…” she shrugged.
Cassandra nodded. “I understand. I… frequently have the same issue.”
Alva paused. Cassandra had not been unfriendly to her, she just wasn’t sure where she stood with the Seeker. Their relationship was one born of necessity, not because either of them really knew or liked one another. Still, despite the fact that for some reason she was having vivid dirty dreams about the Seeker, Alva did want to know more about her companion. “May I ask what keeps you awake at night, Cassandra?”
Cassandra lowered her gaze. She didn’t answer right away, instead sheathing her sword and moving to pick up the shield she had propped up against one of the bases of the half built trebuchet. “Divine Justina was a good woman. A good friend. With all that has happened I have not taken time to properly mourn her death, and now I am unsure how to do so.”
Sympathy colored Alva’s light gray eyes. “I’m sorry, Cassandra. Will there… has there been a funeral?”
Cassandra made a disgusted noise. “Yes. A grand affair in Val Royeaux. Leliana and I both chose not to attend, as our duties here were more pressing. And Justina would have detested the fuss made. We held our own private service in the Chantry here. And I have… taken quiet moments of prayer but, I am not sure if I have fully processed it.”
Alva wanted to take a step closer to the Seeker, to offer comfort but her feet still weren’t moving. She drew her gaze away from Cassandra for a moment, and said quietly, “I know that I am somehow linked to what happened and that may make you… actually I have no idea how you feel about me to be honest but, if there is anything I can do…” Alva said the words quietly, and with a sincerity that surprised her.
Cassandra met her gaze and for a moment looked surprised as if she was just realizing something. “Oh. I suppose… no you probably don’t know do you?” She fell silent again for a brief moment, collecting her words. “I do not know what to think, to be honest. I believe there is more going on here then we can see and no one cares to do anything about it. They will stand in the fire and complain that it is hot. I know that we need the mark upon your hand, and that it says a great deal about your character that you were willing to help us after everything. I think you are innocent. I know you were not responsible for what happened at the conclave but you were there and…” she trailed off, her brow furrowed.
Alva understood. “…and even if I wasn’t responsible I’m a piece of a very complex puzzle that involves the death of a woman you held in high regard. I’m not a murder but you don’t know that I’m not completely guilty either.”
Cassandra by turns looked relieved that Alva understood and still stared at her like she was a puzzle the Seeker could not yet figure out. “Yes.”
“I want answers too if that’s any comfort. And I won’t shy away from finding them, even if I don’t know whether or not I’ll like them. I wasn’t at the Conclave to cause trouble, I was there to get information because I was one of the few of my clan who treat people by their individuality not the sins of their race,” her mouth quirked. “And I’m particularly good at sneaking around. But, how I went from observer to this…” Alva frowned and looked down at her hand for brief seconds. She finally closed it into a fist to block out the sight. “…I don’t know. But I’m going to find out, as sure as we’re going to close that hole in the sky.”
Cassandra had been watching her intently. After a moment a very faint smile moved her lips, reminding Alva how simply beautiful the Seeker was and abruptly pushing the images of her dream back into her mind. The way her brain had thought it would feel like to have those lips running across her ear –
“Keep that confidence,” Cassandra said with a small trace of amusement in her tone. “We will need it in the days to come.”
Alva cleared her throat, nodding, looking away from Cassandra again. “I’m going to get back to my cabin. Good night. And, well, thank you for your candor.”
“I can easily say the same to you. Good night. Alvaerle.”
The Elf turned, forcing herself not to run away from the Seeker, or the eyes she could feel against her back. When she was safely back in her cabin, she tossed another log on the fire, stoking the flames, stripped down completely and laid in her bed. Until she found a willing bed partner (that was not the Seeker) her hand would just have to do.