Author: MaussHauss PM
"Aen, Like Zevran, was either a free spirit or an emotionally stunted hedonist - though what was the difference, really - and now he was hiding away what Zevran indulged openly." SLASH. One-shot fill for the prompt 'jealousy'.Rated: Fiction M - English - Drama/Angst - Zevran A. & Surana - Words: 3,261 - Reviews: 2 - Favs: 7 - Follows: 1 - Published: 12-25-11 - Status: Complete - id: 7671642
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
It began as a little tic in the back of his head, placed neatly atop the shelves of carefully stored paranoias that he needed in order to, you know, keep himself alive. Never open a door while standing in front of it; always close the windows; never partake in food or drink that you yourself have not prepared; always check both ways before entering a room; never open anything, letter or decanter or package, without a pair of sturdy leather gloves; on and on to the smallest detail. Zevran would not, indeed, be nearly as well-groomed and thoroughly equipped and tactfully elegant without any single one of these personal rules - the bank of which grew larger over time and with experience.
Now, though, he was surviving for two. Never open a door while Aen is still standing in front of it; always make sure to close the study windows because Aen likes to leave them open to save on candles; eat the bloody food he sets in front of you or else suffer another long-winded philosophy on the nature of trust; always check the entire apartment from top to bottom upon returning from a mission; and so on, and so forth. Zevran did not go mad in the clutches of domesticity - they were both too important and far too busy to ever get sick of what bare snatches of leisure they could share.
This new tic, though, this new little neatly labeled paranoia involved the laundry in the out-bin (the Wardens acted much like any mobile guard company, and processed daily life en masse - meals from the same giant kitchen, washing to be tended by peasants who made their careers of it). The laundry in the out-bin, see, smelled a little less like the usual hearthside reading spot or sweat-acrid training bout and a little more like the special lavender oil used in certain notable dockside whorehouses. This didn't bother Zevran, at least not on the surface and not right away. It was merely a tic, a small potential danger to be categorized and stored and dealt with in due time.
Always interview new Warden recruits personally; never leave the dog outside in the rain (the smell, Maker, the smell); always check the laundry in the out-bin as much as you do the contents of the receiving bin; never leave Aen behind for longer than a week, even if that meant dragging him from the warmth of his office to traipse about on a (dull as balls) recruit training mission.
Even when putting this last category into practice, Zevran could still return home (and how strange it felt to call it that with a capital 'H' and everything) after an evening's patrol of the city and smell that damn lavender on Aen himself. It didn't bother him even then, no, not the evidence itself exactly or even the implication behind it. They were both healthy men after all, and rather forgiving of roving eyes or hands. Zevran, being a saucy bastard and a proud breaker of taboo, was always willing to try out new friendships in the bedroom, sometimes with Aen and sometimes without, but always to Aen's immediate knowledge.
This evening, with the longer frame slouched so placidly in his arms, Zevran was tempted to begin a lecture on the philosophical nuances of trust. The little paranoia got its label pasted red when Aen pulled away from an inquisitive palm under his tunic and quoted fatigue, vaguely suggesting that they both just turn in for the night - to their separate rooms (because some things can never be unlearned, and sleeping with weapons under your pillow ready to stab anything that makes the slightest noise did not bode well for any attempt at conventional post-buggery rest).
Never settle in one place for too long; always keep relationships professional. Some rules, most deep-rooted lessons learned by pain of error, had been broken for Aen's sake alone. Zevran doubted that the lanky mage was aware of just how much was being given up simply to be able to see his face every morning. He caught the bony wrist, grip faltering against a silver bauble he had been too distracted to visually inventory.
"What's this?" His accent managed the lighter side of curiosity, barely.
Aen hesitated, scowling down through tired eyes. "Er," Another hesitation, either he honestly didn't remember or was making something up, and Zevran could spot a lie as easily as a hawk could spot a cow in the field. "Bodahn's boy, remember him? One of his enchantments. Found it in that crate of things bound for the market, and got an appraiser to finally tell me just what it did."
"Hoh? And what is that." Zevran fought through the icy sinking in his gut - Aen had just lied to him. The one person in all of Thedas that he was supposed to trust inexorably was now making a rather half-arsed attempt to cover up some sort of, what, romantic affair?
A shrug. "I've forgotten again. Must have been useful, or else I wouldn't have kept it."
"You've forgotten?" And now Zevran did nothing to hide the hard edge to his words.
"Nothing to worry about; I am merely fatigued. It'll come to me in the morning." Aen shakes himself free and drifts over to right a fallen book.
"Warden. Is there something, perhaps, that you would like to discuss? Some... new information that you've not brought up yet in the face of all our oh-so-professional runnings about?"
Aen blinks wide. "Zevran. I am going to bed. We can talk in the morning if you like, but at this instant I am exhausted and in no shape to hold a proper conversation." He turns crisply on heel, the prim snap of his housecoat narrating his irritation, though Zevran had done nothing more but ask a few innocent questions. A departing murmur, "And whatever in the nine hells of the void is wrong with you should be slept off, too."
The sound of the closing door crawled under his skin - everything about Aen affecting him in polar intensities. Zevran loved the man's practicality but hated his reptilian logic; the blank heat in Aen's eyes whenever he killed was at once thrilling and repulsive; Aen was either a free spirit like Zevran or an emotionally stunted hedonist (though what was the difference, really); and now he was hiding away what Zevran indulged openly.
It didn't make sense.
The door is not slammed open; Zevran's fist is too tight around the iron latch to achieve a really good slam, but Aen is startled nonetheless. He is hunched over a wash basin, stripped to the waist, and Zevran almost wants to take the cloth from his hands and ram it under his crooked nose in order to recite just what it is that he's washing off. It was a scent that had haunted Zevran plenty by then, so he strolled to the end of the simple four-post bed to sit while Aen finished his ablutions.
Aen is annoyed, but he makes no comment to indicate Zevran should remove himself, the set of his shoulders tense and lopsided while he scrubs with the only arm left to him after that Amaranthine fiasco. Zevran's hands itch to help, a quirk in his ill mood trying to coax him into the more agreeable language of touch, of running lips against the scar what laced shut the wound over his shoulder socket, and damn the affair anyway. Let the Warden Commander have his secrets, Maker only knew Zevran hadn't told Aen his entire life story - except, on second thought, he had done exactly that.
"I should wonder what has transpired, to so thoroughly damage our trust."
Aen's movements slowed, but the wet scrape of linen against skin carried on.
"Was it that I had brought an elf to my bed, a man, what?" The words spilled out in an unpolished heap, breaking another carefully attenuated nuance. "What have I done to offend you? You, who always berate me on the nature of the philoso - mierda, what a mouthful. And hang your sermons anyway!" He really only meant to brace himself against the wooden bedpost, but it gave under the heel of his palm with a sharp crack.
Aen pulls in a slow breath, wringing the washing cloth over the basin in a pale-knuckled fist. "You're breaking my furniture."
"And -you- are breaking a part of me decidedly more valuable."
Aen does turn at this, and he does not seem tired at all; sparking iron blue eyes in a carefully neutral face. "I've done nothing more than you have." The sight of one laughably thin arm crossed defensively over his middle is just another hot lance of pain through Zevran's chest.
"I tell you everything - "
"Maker, I wish you wouldn't! Even a whore wouldn't regale his guest with details of all his previous clients!" A towel is balled up and thrown in Zevran's face, and furiously ripped aside.
"You demanded we be honest!" Zevran does not raise his voice often, in fact when he is truly angry his tone becomes a dangerous purr; no, in this instant he is simply lost, stunned by a wound he had no idea had been inflicted, blundering like a speared boar through the conversational underbrush. "I practically beg your permission for each!" He is standing now, pacing around to put the bed between them, as if Aen were an enemy too close within striking distance.
"And I agree because I would give you anything - !" A hitch in the tirade, anger warbling quickly to an uneven battle between Aen's short emotional fuse (difficult to have a very sturdy constitution if you haven't much truck with emotion in the first place) and his exasperation. "Anything you ever ask of me, without complaint, even if it feels like dying,"
"No," Zevran pleads, feeling kicked and winded. "No, Ain'laoinneach, come here. Stop. Stop." He's vaulted the bed and pulled a protesting Warden within reach. "I only take others to bed because why not, eh? Do you not do the same?" The sinking cold begins to expand, reaching up from his gut to form an ache in his chest.
"Do I not...?" The shuffling avoidance of Zevran's embrace turns into a flat-palmed shove. "Don't I? How often? When? If there's some remarkably pliant Antivan replacement that camps out under my office desk, I would certainly like to be informed, because that office is where I spend every spare moment of my time." Aen huffs, shoving again. "As I said, I've done no more than you have, as you were there the only times I crawled into bed with another."
"I - what, what about the whore who does not regale you of, of..."
"Name me a whore so unprofessional! Honestly, as an example people do not like hearing of the impressive stamina a complete stranger possesses the minute they've just got in from a day's hard march across the bogs." Aen's quiet contemplative voice has lulled back to its deep hum, but his posture is rigid and pained.
"Lavender oil?" Zevran is ready to give up this whole ridiculous argument, but the raw hole inside of him does not abate.
"The cure to wet dog. No use reeking like a Ferelden when shaking hands with an Orlesian emissary."
"Sudden fatigue when asked to bed?"
"Go take a leap, Zev." Aen is shaking his head and turning away to step out of the rest of his robes. "See how well you fair with tainted blood and an entire order to command and organize. And you wonder why I encourage you to find other people to bother."
"But it does bother -you- when I partake in the company of another, does it not?"
"I'd just rather not hear the gory details." A shrug, but Zevran has the scent of Aen's lies and will hunt them mercilessly as any hound.
"And the trinket? Not one of Sandal's charms, is it?"
"Maker, have you come here just to break my bed and berate me all night?"
"What is the jewelry."
"A gift from a noble admirer who fancies lavender oil and hangs about my office so we can rutt against the bookshelves - not unlike circle apprentices at Bloomtide."
"Cute. What is the bauble, Aen."
"A decoration I bought to impress the Orlesian emissary. Apparently being clean and well-spoken was impressive enough, and the bracelet only served to bring up an awkward conversation on just where the hell my other arm had got off to." Aen has drifted back within Zevran's personal space, ducking his head to meet his eyes. "Satisfied, now that you've completely unmanned me?"
"Not at all." Zevran's sincerity brought a blink, and nothing further. "I am having a difficult time, in trying to imagine that you have gone these months, during my sporadic absences, to a cold bed. I almost wish you would take another lover, and introduce us at least, so that I might perform my sworn duties away from the city without such worry."
Aen flinches, and Zevran takes hold of his bare middle in an attempt to reassure.
"Nnh, Warden, disregard that if you must. It is nothing short of the truth. Now, from where did you truly receive that trinket?"
"A birthday gift, from the Queen."
"You are never going to tell me?"
"It's ridiculous that you even ask. I told you true the first time; a gift from Bodhan's boy and I just can't remember its use."
Zevran hisses, long and slow, releasing Aen to sit back against the bed, toeing his boots off. "You wound me with this untruth, you know that? How am I supposed to believe every other claim you've made tonight?" His words are low, playful, a bit terse for the lurking honesty behind them.
"Curing oneself of one's crippling paranoia would be a step in the right direction."
"Mmhmmm..." Zevran's hum is throaty and grating, hoarse from the shouting as well as the knot of emotion still lodged in his throat. "Or perhaps I require physical evidence?"
There is a tense moment when Zevran thinks Aen is going to reward him with a very creative insult involving his ancestry and barn animals, but a flicker of pain crosses his face and his shoulders seem to crumple. "Of course. Not like I was planning on getting any sleep this evening, anyway."
"If it's the first step to weaning me off of this reprehensible bed-tossing habit of mine, consider it an investment." Zevran warmly reaches forward to slap Aen's ass as he climbs onto the bed, carefully noting the wince without further comment. It got its own little label on the shelf and everything.
"Right, you'll have to undress yourself." Aen flops forward to bury his face in a pillow, fidgeting a quilt out of its tuck just to get it out of the way. "Wake me when you've regained sanity."
Zevran shuffles in place to divest, taking his time. Aen eventually turned to his side and slid under the linens, and the fact that he did not yet remove the loose cotton trousers and actually made sure to lie on his back, instead of his stomach, well... that also got its own jar, labeled Evidence 3.
It wasn't exactly a surprise, then, that by the time Zevran had thoroughly woken Aen and gotten him from his trousers without protest (because that would be suspicious, and raise more questions), that the cleft into which he buried his fingers was already tacky from residual lubrication. A further plunge, eliciting a breathless grunt, revealed the telltale slick within, hot against tissue still swollen from what had probably been a rather hefty invasion.
Zevran withdrew, resting his chin on Aen's chest with a lazy, bitter triumph. He was angry, and scorched anew over an already open wound, and so hard he wondered if fleeing the bed chamber at that moment would cut off all blood to his brain and kill him. Before Aen could even utter anything remotely as sardonic as 'technically I never lied', Zevran had him flipped to his stomach and pinned. A swift fumble for the correct angle and Zevran's cock was in, snagging only momentarily before he could plunge to the wetter depths.
Aen huffed, inert, but began to stir as Zevran sought and found the right position, rhythm, and filthy encouragement. He may or may not at one point made an enthusiastic allusion to Aen as a prostitute, but who can really tell in the heat of moments such as these? Zevran was simply trying to piece his world back together, to collect all the scattered jars of himself and get his rules back in alignment. Every swaying buck of his hips was as pulling the needle with its catgut thread tight through the gash in the core of him.
When a whimper piqued through Aen's ragged breathing, Zevran clamped his teeth down around a sob, and drove all the harder if only to distract himself. Aen's hand hit the headboard and scrambled for purchase, hips bucking back against Zevran's rough administration. The words that spilled from Aen's throat were nothing like an apology or even a confession; but the noise of his voice reminded Zevran, suddenly, that none of this really mattered so long as this heaven was within reach.
"Nothing matters," he reassured with a measured drag of his cock against the clenching muscle of Aen's orgasm. "None of it," a panted oath, riding with him to his own climax, the world spinning down into a clearer picture. This was the best it was ever going to be between them, and why should they worry themselves with all the messy emotional stuff? "I don't care, so long as you're here." A shuddering breath, Zevran's mouth hot against Aen's ear. "I don't care."
Not even a moment to catch his breath and Aen is twisting out from under Zevran. He perches on the side of the bed, shivering. Zevran doesn't even feel the urge to reach out for his lover - to do so would be to risk himself again. Aen shudders one last time, and something jumps within Zevran when he realizes that it's the vestiges of an orgasm rocking the lean frame so violently. He doesn't feel anything other than painfully aroused, again, and he wonders if that's a very good thing or a very bad thing.
"Alistair," Aen clears his throat on the name. "And I stole the bracelet to give him a nasty shock when next we met, because he swore me to secrecy by my word and honor. In the fact that a king in his tenuous position cannot afford any sort of scandal, and I do love him by the way." Aen stretches out next to Zevran, who is not so much paralyzed with shock as either figured he might be. "But you already knew that."
"But of course." Another jar joins its restored comrades on the shelf of cautions and rules, and it is labeled 'King'.