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I Am Your Despair

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Darkness, loud and piercing. Wails in the night, biting as ice. Her cries, like clashing cymbals; a jarring, bitter music. He cannot bear it, he cannot-- silence. Washing below the waves, drifting softly under the surface, down, down. All is peaceful. He feels light; free, the burdens gone. He does not fight, anymore. He sinks. And sinks. The world is quiet.

***

"I told you it would ruin us, darling. And here we are."

Natalia smirks, a cruel thing, dark and bitter. "Here we are, chérie."

Vivienne twists, all poise and grace, but the walls of the prison are too close, too pressing. It is a vain effort; small and worthless. She sighs. "That monster has poisoned you against us, has--"

"Oh? That monster, you say?" She laughs, airy and bright. The sound flits between the bars, echoes sharply against the wet walls, drifts like a gulf between them. An impassable breach. "Don't stop now, little bird. Tell me, what has my monster done to me?"

She wrings her hands, a subtle gesture-- small and tight --but it speaks volumes. "Your mind is not your own. The demon has-- the demon has..." She falters, breath caught, eyes falling. Her gaunt face betrays no emotion, but her eyes glisten with moisture. "The demon has corrupted you." She raises her chin at this, jutting it forward in challenge or certainty.

"Is that what happened?" Her hand runs along the bars as she paces slowly before Vivienne's cell, a dull scraping sound evinced by the motion. Her chuckle breaks free, low and dangerous. "I'd certainly hate to disappoint you, darling. But it was I who corrupted him." Her omnipresent smirk widens into a toothy grin. "Where I lead, he follows."

Vivienne leans back against the molding wall, a picture of feigned serenity. "I do not believe that."

Natalia shrugs, grin growing. "Believe what you will. It changes nothing." As she makes to exit the Skyhold prison, she pauses, affording a brief backward glance. "Do not worry. You will not be forgotten." And then she is gone.

Despite her words, they both know: no food will come.

***

"Maker, Natalia! Can't you see what you've done?" Cullen is ranting pointlessly, bright eyes flaring with indignation. Natalia feels nothing but mild amusement. "You... you killed Leliana..." he grinds out, tugging emphatically at his restraints. Tear tracks stain his cheeks. "So many innocents... so much suffering. When will it end?"

Her eyes glint in the half-light. "If I have my way?" she lilts, juggling a small vial, "It will never end."

"Natalia," he says, and it comes out like a plea. "This isn't the answer. It won't fix--" he sighs, averting his eyes, "it won't change what happened."

"No, it will not."

"Maker..." He runs his hand through his hair, chains jingling with each movement. "...if I had known-- if any of us had known --it would not have... It never would've happened."

She shrugs lightly, unperturbed. "If it were not for the Inquisition, my family would still be alive."

"That's..." he hesitates, head turned towards the wall. "If it were in my power, I would give them back to you."

"It matters not, Cullen. I have become something greater, and I suppose I have you to thank for it. So..." she grins wildly, holding up the vial, "a present. Just for you." She tosses it in the air, a muted gesture. It falls to the ground with a light tinkling. "In honor of my little brother, let's say."

The vial of lyrium glows softly, just within his reach.

***

Time passes. Day fades to night, the last light of dusk filtering through the broken stained glass, casting long shadows. The floor, painted with pools of blood grown brown and cracked, is illuminated dimly in the dying light. Natalia sits at her throne, hand idly caressing her wine glass, long emptied. Her amusement has died to silence and pained neutrality. Her face is blank, drenched in darkness. She is alone in this darkness.

But not for long.

Thin tendrils of smoke precede his arrival, waft lazy circles around his form. Cole strides into the room. Stands tall before her. The hood of his frayed black cloak is peeled back, revealing blond hair clinging in rivulets to his pale gray skin. Eyes like diamonds pierce the night, and plump purple lips contract around rows of dull teeth when he speaks. "Had your fun for the day?" he asks, eyes locked on hers.

She nods. Smirks. "And you?"

"Mmmm. There is so much sorrow in this plane. It's sweet on my tongue; a delicious nectar. I like it here."

"I knew you would."

Black clawed hands rise to her cheeks, scratching angry red welts into her skin. They trail lower and lower, following the hem of her shirt-- lifting it slightly --tracing figure-eights across her belly.

Their lips crash together in a whir of tongues and teeth. He sucks her lip, licking and nipping. She bites at the corner of his mouth. They moan in tandem, hands rising and falling across skin, tugging and tearing at cloth. He shreds her shirt with a single hooked claw, drops the tatters to the floor. She snares his cloak over his head, leaves it there. Drops to her knees to mouth at his growing erection through the cloth of his trousers. It's not long before he's stripping, a mess of clothing being tossed this way and that. She unclasps her bra, drops her pants. Seeks to match his nakedness. His mouth latches to her breast, sucks roughly on her nipple, hand kneading and pinching the other. The sucking turns to nibbling, becomes biting. Hard. She keens, arching her back. He moves to her other breast, hands trailing down her belly and dropping between her thighs. His fingers circle her clit in harsh circles, and she moans. Bucks against the pressure.

"Wet and wanting, dying with delight. I will have you," he hisses, breath now on her neck, causing her hair to stand on end, "and I will break you." A finger slips inside, followed by another. Sharp and painful. Her moans grow louder.

He shoves her to the ground in one smooth motion. Straddles her, pins her to the floor. She arches against him, rubbing her hips against his harder and harder, feeling the swell of his cock twitching against her wetness. "I can feel your pain," he says, voice low and husky, "give it to me. I need it."

Her underwear is torn, discarded. The bluntness of his head presses against her entrance. He pauses there a moment. "Let me in," he growls, and she hears the double meaning.

"Always," she says, breathless.

He sinks to the hilt with one powerful thrust, causing her to cry out in pain and pleasure. She rocks into him, a quick and stuttering rhythm, and he matches it, thrusts deep and impossibly hard. His teeth bruise the tender flesh where neck meets shoulder. The bite sends electric pain coursing through her veins. Her very blood is aflame. She screams when his teeth pierce flesh, gasps as the warm blood is milked from her.

She feels herself coming undone. He can sense it: she knows this. "They're not coming back," he hisses, sibilant and harsh. Blood stains his lips. Her stomach clenches, legs shake. Her nails rake his back. "And they will never forgive you. You are alone."

"I know!" she screeches, her orgasm blazing through her, shaking her to the core. It isn't long before he's groaning his release, hot seed filling her up and overflowing. She has never felt more empty. "I know," she whispers to the cold night air.

And then she is alone, naked and shuddering. Blood trickles from her neck, droplets falling upon the brown-encrusted floor. All is silent and still. She weeps.