Chapter 6

Maker, she tasted perfect.

He pressed against her more insistently. For the first time in his life, Cullen did not worry about the consequences of his actions. Perhaps he was weakened by the lyrium withdrawal, or weakened by her allure, or both. He didn't care.

The curves of her form felt perfect under his hands.

He pulled her in closer. This moment was every raw desire he had ever had, every secret hope he had never acknowledged, every primal urge he had buried deep within. He wondered how he had ever managed before this. He had been blindly stumbling through his life, which in retrospect seemed shockingly devoid of meaningful direction, when now there existed this clarity, this purpose...this...this...her...

There was no going back for him. He leaned forward into her arms which had come up around him in a hesitant embrace. He had yet to take a breath. He didn't feel like he needed one. He didn't need air, he didn't need lyrium, he just needed for this to never end. He hastily pulled off his gloves, the only thing he could think to do to gain more contact with her. The soft leather landed without a sound on the stone beneath their feet. He ran his bare hands into her hair nudging it free of it's ties. It spilled around his fingers like liquid.

The warmth of her tresses caressing him was perfect.

She hummed a soft little noise as he rubbed her scalp. He tilted her head so he could dip deeper into her and his actions drew out an unashamed moan.

The sound of it was perfect.

Eventually his lungs betrayed him and he was forced to part from her to draw in a breath. He separated from her only the barest necessary fraction, his hands still holding her close, his body still pinning her against the stone of the outer wall. He looked down at her face half lit by moonlight, half in shadow. Her eyes were closed, her swollen lips hung open, her chin still upturned towards him.

When she opened her eyes and met his, a sudden shock of fear shot through him. What was he doing? What had he done? All of the very sensible reasons this was a bad idea ran through his head. Too young, too beautiful, too noble, too important. And yet he couldn't let her go.

"I'm sorry..." He stuttered out, wanting to sound appropriately remorseful, but instead sounding far too pleased with himself, "that was..."

"Perfect." She finished, with a satisfied smile on her face.


It could only have been more perfect if he hadn't stopped. She would have happily suffocated inside his kiss. She was amazed she even managed to speak that single word. She dared not move, dared not blink lest he pull away and leave her wanting.

She had seen glimpses of Cullen before. Not the leader of her armies. Cullen. And she had extrapolated, imagined and fabricated in her mind what the man would truly be like without the mantle of command and duty. But the reality of it took her breath away. He was still holding her tightly against him, and thank the Maker for it, because if he let go now, if Cullen disappeared and the Commander of the Inquisition returned, she feared she would shatter and fall to pieces, landing in the snow far below them.

But he didn't let go. He leaned in closer, his lips hovering just over hers and she felt them form a smile. Then he laughed. Cullen laughed. She had never heard that before. She had heard the Commander laugh on occasion. It was typically laced with sarcasm, irony or a darkness that left her feeling cold and aching for him. This was different. It wasn't scarred over bitterness, it was just laughter. He was changing. He was healing.

She relaxed, settling into his arms, wanting to enjoy every second of his embrace. She found the courage to speak, to tease even. "How long have you wanted to do that?" She said through her own smile.

"Longer than I should admit." He admitted. The smile left his face and he closed his eyes. His forehead came to rest against hers. "Is this really happening?" He whispered, almost too softly for her to hear over the wind. "I shouldn't want this. You shouldn't want this. You shouldn't want me."

"And yet I'm still here."

"So you are. It seems too much to ask." He spoke against her lips and all she wanted to do was push into them and silence him; silence his excessive thinking. A moment like this didn't need thoughtful contemplation. It needed action.

She slowly brought her hand up to cup the back of his neck. Initially he almost winced when she rested her fingers gently against the scar there, but he quickly relaxed against her touch. She took a deep breath. She released him and pulled away just a little, finding his hands with hers and bringing them up to her lips. She lightly kissed the lines that slashed across the knuckles on his right hand, then she turned his left hand over and kissed the cold metal of his gauntlet, beneath which lay the starburst scar.

He just looked down at her curiously through all of this. It wasn't exactly how she imagined finally being able to give attention to his scars but she hoped there would be a point in the future when they would exchange cold air and stone for a warm fire and a bed. She would do them proper justice then.

She slid one hand under his cloak, sneaking as far as she could beneath his pauldron to trace a circle under the scar on his shoulder while her other hand came to rest on his breastplate, over the old damage that had been done there. If he thought she was acting strangely little did she care, she had been waiting so long to be able to touch him in this way. He didn't seem to mind, however, simply letting her play out her little ritual of healing.

Finally she lifted her arms to wrap around him, encouraging him to pull her close again, which he did so quickly and so tightly she might have thought he was saving her from tumbling down the ramparts. She lifted her self up on her toes and brought their mouths within reach again, but she didn't kiss him. In fact, when he tried to taste her again, she pulled away.

"Evelyn..." He said, but still he didn't protest, just letting her have her way. Her name had never sounded so perfect and she had never felt so lucky to have a name as that moment hearing it come from him, deep and earnest and full of desire.

She bit her lower lip to hold back a smile as she tried to get control over the mad fluttering of her heart inside her chest. After another deep breath, she brought her lips up to ghost over the thin scar at the corner of his mouth. She moved slowly back and forth over it, learning it, and boldly bringing her tongue against it. Cullen made a low and contented noise in his throat and tightened his arms around her.

And then he had had enough, and he crushed against her in another kiss. If the wind whipped harder or the night grew colder, if the people around them or the world beneath them continued to move forward, they noticed none of it, content to steal this moment for themselves in the dark, under the moons, with hands and lips and breath and scars and all.


A/N: I decided to fade to black here after the first kiss. Something about leaving Evelyn and Cullen kissing in the dark makes me smile. I thought about taking this story all the way to their 'first time' together, but I think I'm just going to make that a separate fic. Can't wait to write it! Thanks so much for reading!