Disclaimer: Me no own, you no sue
Summary: When the total far exceeds the sum of the parts, something infinitely beautiful can be created from bits and pieces of random things.
AN: :big giant sigh: Writing smexings when one's husband continuously interrupts is sort of... difficult. He is supposed to be distracted by the Daily Show and Colbert Report – not constantly popping his head around the corner and quoting whatever has him in stitches, every five minutes. Happy as I am that he wishes to communicate with me, his time with the internet tv stuff is supposed to translate into "Don't bother the wife" time. Hence I'm working on Patchwork instead of Murder. I had wanted to wait to work on Patchwork until I had a few more chapters of Murder done, rather than just plotting those chapters out in my head, but it's practically impossible to work on something as intense as fight scenes, sex scenes etc and maintain a flow and most importantly a purpose to those scenes instead of random rambling when someone plops down next to you for five seconds, jabbers about how funny and smart Jon Stuart is and then ask questions about what I'm writing. There's a saying that comes to mind about women "When a woman says she wants two kids, it means she wants to be married and also have a child". This is quite true. It's cute, but annoying after awhile.
Also, this is going to be longer, but unlike the prior two pieces, I won't be separating them. Pieces, Scraps and Patchwork can each stand alone, but are meant to be read in order. And since Patchwork will be longer, I'm thinking it'll be in two or three parts, or well... chapters. I'm not going to call them chapters in my head just for my sanity's sake.
Piece of Heaven
Staring down at the paper, Lyna had to pick out the words slowly. It had been a long time since she had last read Ferelden, now more used to Tevinter and Antivan. Even so her reading skills were far better than when Zevran had initially taken to teaching her how to read and write shortly after they first met. No one other than him had noticed that she could barely read, his skills of observation missing nothing, and so Zevran had sat her down in the middle of one of their sparring sessions to draw letters in the dirt. From there on the assassin had taken it upon himself to ensure she depended on no one for reading letters, and no longer had to hide behind excuses when going through libraries in search of pertinent information. Teacher, friend, confidant and protector, the man who was once sent to kill her proved to be the one true gem in her life.
"Such a pensive frown, may I hazard a guess as to what has placed it there?" The assassin hooked his foot around a chair leg, dragging it close enough to flop into. "That missive, it appears quite official, does it not? Perhaps it is from a former companion?" he said as he stretched his legs out and used her lap as a footrest, hands clasped over his stomach.
Shooting him an annoyed glance, Lyna pinched one of his toes – which were long, elegant and as tan as the rest of him. "Stop pretending like you don't already know who it's from."
"Hmm... as I recall there was a Ferelden ship flying official colors in the harbor last night," he replied, making a show of deducing who sent the letter. "And there was some news recently about the King insisting on a stronger Grey Warden presence to fight those roving bands of darkspawn that seem to have overstayed their welcome."
She rolled her eyes. "Yes, well can't have the King of Ferelden off chasing darkspawn himself, as he's the only Warden they have currently."
"To your knowledge, amora, to your knowledge," he said, waggling a finger like an old lady. "I find it hard to believe that the Wardens would not have sent some sort of reinforcements to bolster their numbers in Ferelden. Not even Alistair is so foolish as to turn away such help, I think."
With a curse, Lyna tossed the letter onto the table between them, "If I'm reading that drivel correctly, and I might not be, its wording is as bad as an Orlesian limerick, my presence as 'Warden Commander' is 'requested' to do my duty. Like fighting the Archdemon wasn't enough? As if slaving away for thankless idiots for two years, fighting and bleeding wasn't enough for them? Am I still a slave, Zev?"
"We are all slaves, my dear." After clearing his throat the Antivan pursed his lips. "For you it is the chains of duty, no matter that you have already given everything for it and would be well justified in simply ignoring this -" he tapped the parchment, "and going about your own way."
Angry, Lyna rose, shoving her friend's feet from her lap so she could pace. They had finally made a life of some sort for themselves in Antiva after traveling from one end of Thedas to the other. And like she was some dog to be commanded, she was told to throw everything that she struggled so hard to make for herself away. It was like she was nothing once more.
She muttered darkly, striding from one end of their small rented corner apartment to the other, "Just an elf to be ordered around, aren't I?"
"You are hardly 'just' anything, amora," Zevran's voice was mild, the weight of his gaze an easy and familiar thing to bear.
Terracotta tiles were cold under her feet, the fire baked umber throwing back a pleasant chill in the Antivan heat. Glancing around at the place that had been the first 'home' she had since she left the Alienage, Lyna despaired. The whitewashed walls had just recently been adorned with a few paintings, simple water colors that she had made, mostly of the sea and sunsets, along with one or two masks that Zevran had collected. In the other room was a bed, large enough for two elves, piled with several pillows and linen sheets. A couple trunks held their possessions, and in what they had made the bedroom, a small oven stood that provided heat on the occasionally chill nights. Such simple furnishings left most of the floorspace open in the two room flat, except the luxury of a weapons rack and armor stands. This was home and again, because of a shemlin, she was ordered to leave the place she called 'hers'.
She turned to her companion. "Burn it."
His eyebrows climbed high on his forehead, and Zevran gave a low whistle. "I think that destroying this building in a conflagration, while lovely and entertaining, would be what I consider a secondary course of action."
Snatching up the evil parchment, Lyna waved it about. "You know what I meant."
"Are you sure?" All traces of levity were gone from his countenance and he sat up straight, expression intense. "It is a thing that cannot be undone."
"We have other obligations Zevran. There are contracts we have to honor," she said, giving a last glance at the royal seal and Alistair's sweeping signature
"Amora, you are not a Crow," he pointed out. "I am. You are a Warden, and I'm not. So long as one of us is here to carry out those obligations, the other is free to see to other duties. And since I can't sense darkspawn... If you wish it, you are free to go as you are the logical choice while I finish off our obligations here."
Exasperated, Lyna plopped on the floor at his feet, laying her head on his lap. "I don't want to go! I don't ever want to see that Blighted place again! Here I'm just Lyna. Here I work for a living, and no one cares that I'm an elf. Not like they do in Ferelden. There they look at me, Zev. They look at me like I'm scum."
Gently Zevran took the missive from her, laying it on the table once more. "You are not scum, amora. They are a backwards lot who easily forget who saved them from destruction. Truly you should pity them. Besides, it is not as if all of them are so detestable. Your family is there."
"My family?" she asked, shaking her head. She wrapped an arm around Zevran's leg. "My family... No, they're some people that were related to a girl who died on her wedding day. I'm not that girl anymore, and there's no connection between myself and them – if I saw them I wouldn't know how to act, and they wouldn't either. Lyna Tabris as they knew her is long gone. It would only bring them pain."
He heaved a sigh as he ran his nimble fingers through her hair soothingly. "Don't decide tonight then, amora. Wait until you have slept on it several days. That ship won't be leaving for a while I'm sure."
Together they moved through the crowd, Lyna playing the coquettish chit while he was the sly bodyguard. It was a customary routine and comfortable. Lyna's part was to pick up information that would be useful, and Zevran would seek their target, ready to carryout their orders. In this way, Zevran kept Lyna from some of the bloodshed. She wasn't the sort to play with her food before killing it as it were.
Lyna was too honourable not to give her targets some sort of chance, having picked up that particularly bad habit over the two years during the Blight. Zevran had no such compunctions. A target was a target and should be granted a quick death without personal remorse. Zevran was happy to stand back and allow his Warden to complete the task during some of their jobs , but when clandestine methods would be required, Zevran led.
This party was not to his tastes, but then again such extravagant gatherings rarely were. People from all over the merchant class of Antiva City were packed into the ostentatious villa and its outlying gardens, dressed gaily as they drank sickeningly sweet wine. Women painted like peacocks were bursting from their gowns like overstuffed sausages. The men were just as bad if not worse. Truly, whoever thought that to wear orange pantaloons with lavender tunics and wide, gold stamped leather belts was attractive should be tortured to death on principle. In fact, Zevran would do that job for free. High fashion met with poor taste and too much money always equaled a nightmare of color that made Zevran wish to gouge his eyes out to spare himself the headache. Not to mention the perfumes!
"Are you alright? You keep squinting." Beside him Lyna brushed a hand down his forearm unobtrusively during a lull in their circuitous search.
He nodded, "As well as can be expected, amora. I have found I've lost what little taste I had for such soirees. I wonder if my eyes will start bleeding soon?"
Lyna laughed, hiding it delicately behind her green fan, "Are you not enjoying Senior Guilliermo's attire?
"His tailor should be drawn and quartered," he said in amusement, wrinkling his nose.
"Hush now, he's the contract, not the mark. Be nice," she said, tapping him lightly . "Oh look, another gaggle of women," she sighed, sounding less than enthused as they rounded a bend and caught sight of several 'ladies'.
They were either mistresses or wives, Zevran wasn't sure which. Often enough they were both. They tittered amongst themselves with forced – and probably drunken – gaiety as they swapped boasts on how well off their husbands were. With a concerted effort, Zevran smoothed his features into blandness. It wouldn't do for a 'bodyguard' to have a visible opinion of distaste. With ease, he and Lyna inserted themselves so as to continue their quest for Guilliermo's wife. While it was true they had been provided with a description – dark hair, dark eyes, dark skin, too much jewelry – that matched almost everyone male or female at the party.
Tuning out the conversation that Lyna was drawing the women into with practiced ease, Zevran scanned their surroundings with great care. Such a large number of people always hid at least one, but usually more, assassins, and while he and Lyna had dispensation from the Guild, that didn't necessarily mean that they were safe from attack. A garden such as this, with its high, sculpted bushes, various statuary and lovers alcoves, was a perfect place for any assassin. Then again, so was the main hall. A good assassin didn't need to hide in dark places to do a job. They could walk around, smile, talk, and leave no one the wiser that a target was dying or just about to.
"Oh, I must simply know where you found one like him!" a shrill and cuttingly bright voice forced its way into his head like a lance.
Lyna fluttered her eyelashes, giggling, "Oh, I found him laying on his feet before me, my dear Senora Ines."
Latching onto the name, Zevran smiled on cue, giving the target – thank the Maker they had finally found her – a once over. Bodyguards didn't speak, and Zevran knew his voice was as distinctive as his tattoos, but tattoos were easily covered, a voice was not. In missions past, Zevran had played an actor, one for a troupe that was frequently hired out amongst this group of partygoers, so silence was as much a protection as the makeup he wore.
The woman in question reached out to play with his hair rather brashly. "But he is a handsome one. Maybe I could convince you to part with him for an evening or three?"
"Oh, I don't know," Lyna feigned indecision, snapping her fan open and closed. "It does get so lonely without him nearby."
Ines sidled closer to him, the rank of alcohol and cloying lilac perfume was so potent that it was nearly enough to knock Zevran out. "Hmm... Then maybe I could convince you to ask him to get us some more to drink so that I can speak with you for a bit longer, my dear?"
Soon this too long night would be over.
Lyna hissed in sympathy as she rubbed a poultice into Zevran's shoulder, "Maker, why did she have to go and do this for?"
Stoic as usual, Zevran only cocked his head. "Antivan women have varied tastes, my dear. This is not so unusual."
One of the few things that bothered Lyna about their work for the Crows was the method he chose to get to a target. It reminded her of a black widow or a preying mantis, using something that was supposed to be pleasurable and intimate to kill. To her it was abhorrent. Not only that, but it made her feel like Zevran was being whored out. Holding in her sigh, the Warden set the jar aside so that she could pick up the tin of thread and needle. The late Seniora Ines had left gouges in the meat of her friend's back that would do a torturer proud, and they had to be stitched up if they weren't to leave broad scars. Healing poultices did their work, but to prevent the unsightly and excessive scarring, wounds had to be sealed and another layer of cream applied.
It had been four days since the summons arrived, and each day that Lyna wanted to burn it, Zevran would take it from her and place it on the center of their table. At the moment it sat, glaring in its own special way at her where she could see it over Zevran's shoulder as she laid neat stitches into bronze flesh. Tying off a knot, Lyna moved onto the next large gouge, which, just like the letter from Alistair, was a dark reminder of things she didn't wish to think about. Ines hadn't just clawed at Zevran's back in the throes of passion, it was almost as if she had taken a whip to him. Which actually wasn't that unlikely.
"What did she do, Zevran? These -" touching near the wound gently, "aren't what I would consider 'love marks'."
Now Zevran shifted uncomfortably. "Amora, you know you should not ask questions when you don't want the answer."
Bowing her head, Lyna knew she would have to reassess things. To stay in Antiva, as much as she loved it, would mean that Zevran would continue in this fashion. It wasn't like he let her share the burden fully, and she knew it. But anywhere they went, their skills were as rogues, spies and assassins – there was little in the way of 'honest' work that they could do. So no matter where they went, she would have to watch as Zevran took on the more unpleasant aspects of their shared professions.
So this then begged the questions – would he return to Ferelden with her? And did she have the right to expect him to? Lyna was no longer sure she did as she had taken almost everything the assassin had to give without giving anything of herself in return.
Restless tossing and turning awoke Zevran. Rolling over, he propped up so he could look at Lyna. Her legs were sliding up and down under the sheet that kept them separated, a deep frown on her face. In the last few years Zevran had watched as the life had come back into her eyes, and in the last week there had been a pall threatening those smiles and twinkling eyes. Damn bastard-kings to the Pit, for even now the consequences of unthinking cruelty lingered.
Then again, Zevran himself had read over the letter, and it was quite cordial. Not simply non-threatening, but verging on apologetic for interrupting Lyna's life with such a request. But politeness and apologies didn't cancel out the trials Lyna had gone through her whole life, and the expectation of others prejudices and their subsequent side effects would simply go away... was unrealistic. Of course, Lyna took the summons as something other than what they were. It was only natural.
Scooting close to his young friend, draping an arm over her middle so that he could drag her to his bare chest, Zevran whispered meaningless stories in her pointed ear. At one point, simply speaking in Antivan had been enough to banish the demons that haunted her sleep, but now that Lyna spoke Antivan better than her native tongue, Zevran had had to come up with new tactics. So he had started with tales of his life, or how to make poisons – it didn't seem to matter what it was he spoke of, but simply that he did. Now the stories he told had become elaborate things, with little basis in fact.
If the two characters bore more than a passing resemblance to himself and Lyna – well, Zevran could be allowed such a if all the stories ended with him getting the girl... well, then. He was the storyteller, and it wasn't as if Lyna remembered anything he whispered in the night. The Antivan knew he had to take what little joys he could, not that his life was so bad. There was food in his belly, a roof over his head, the death threats were minimal, and he had Lyna's constant friendship to come home to each day. They shared a bed every night, though they each had their own sheet to keep them apart and to ensure that they didn't travel into the mostly uncharted waters of 'lovers'.
Still, sometimes Zevran – like now – would pretend that there was nothing between their bodies but air, and that the stories he told were true, and not simple wishes for more. It wasn't in him to ask for more than she could give, but that was the only rule that Zevran had to remind himself of constantly.
With a moan and a particularly hard jerk, Lyna awoke in his arms. "Zevran?"
She sounded frightened, and the scrabbling hands reaching for him hurt more than any punishment that a target could dish. It was rare that she was so frantic, and while Lyna never spoke of what nightmares she had, Zevran knew enough. Some would be of the Archdemon, others of her 'life' in the Alineage – possibly even her wedding day, while others were things that not even he could pry from the Warden. Deep seated demons ate at everyone, even someone as strong as Lyna.
"Hush now, amora. You are awake and safe," he hummed the words low as Lyna buried her face into the vibration of his throat. Stroking her hair slowly, he whispered, "There's nothing to fear here."
Gradually she calmed, the gasping easing into a few hiccoughs. A hand wiggled between them, shoving the soft sheets aside so that there was nothing between them but their underthings. Zevran waited. This wasn't the first time his Warden had done this, the only difference was that she hadn't had anything to drink. Slim, toned legs, smooth but for a handful of scars, tangled with his, and Lyna pressed close.
Nuzzling at her cheek, not encouraging but not resisting, Zevran rubbed slow circles over the small of her back. An eternity later Lyna must have come to some decision as kisses were feathered on his neck. Blood already half quickened by the young woman's presence – as usual, he had spent most of the last few years half ready to jump on her given a chance, the need to be close to Lyna a constant ache and demand – surged at the small stimulation.
He threaded his fingers in her hair, stroking a rough thumb over a high cheekbone. "Amora."
Further words were silenced by her lips on his, mouth opening in an invitation that Zevran accepted. Sweeping in, Zevran made no further advances, letting Lyna take the lead. There was a distinct lack of heat in the kiss, no frenzied desire. Unsure of what it was that Lyna needed, Zevran bided his time. He was nothing if not a patient man.
"Do you need me, Zevran?" she whispered as she pulled away to look into his face, features soft, the earlier terror all but vanished.
Now that was a loaded question if he had ever heard one.
"Always," he answered as simply as he could.
Lyna's expression softened even further, that particular sort of sadness that was in it deepening as well. Zevran shuddered inside, to be looked at like that left him breathless and frightened. With unwarranted reverence, his Warden mapped his features with exceedingly gentle fingers. It was almost as if she were seeing him for the first time.
Lips followed the path that callused fingers took, and Zevran's breathing picked up speed. Gentle urgings pressed Zevran onto his back, and his world tilted on its axis. Trembling, the assassin stared at Lyna's half lidded eyes as she rose up, peeling off her breast binder. It was tossed aside, and with a shimmy her smallclothes were also removed and discarded. This was a chilly night so they had left the little heating stove running, and warm embers cast his Warden in a golden glow, granting her sun kissed skin a molten quality.
Urged to action Zevran moved to caress her hips and waist, the swells fuller than when he had first met her. Years of battle and a steady diet lent her musculature a voluptous shape that was rare amongst their kind, just as his years had given him a breadth of chest and shoulder that wasn't the norm. Scars – a grand webbing of pale traces – mapped over her belly and breasts. Each one Zevran knew, as often he had been the one to sew them up even as the long gone Wynne had healed the worst of the internal damage. This was no untouched beauty, but a wild thing that could be tamed by nothing in the Maker's world.
A crushing weight built in Zevran's chest at seeing Lyna like this.
Feeling no urgency, Zevran sat up so he could explore her slowly. The flavor of clean, warm flesh filled his mouth along with a nipple that puckered as he pulled away to breathe on it. Its twin was treated to the same experience before Zevran moved downwards, licking at each thin white line. At one point whenever the assassin caught sight of his elven lady's scars, he had viewed each as a personal failure. Now each was a sign of a success, not for him, but for her – she had survived everything rather than fall.
In near silence Zevran listened for Lyna's quiet sighs as she lay back granting him control. She was allowing him something important, but Zevran wouldn't let himself think on its meaning. The only thing that mattered was memorizing the flavor and feel of her body. Achieving his target and spreading her thighs, Zevran leaned forward, breathing in her perfume. How he had craved this intimate knowledge of Lyna, for it had been denied to him in their infrequent couplings in the past.
If there was a chance he had any say about it, that would change.
A moan broke the air as he set to work, teasing out nectar from his Warden's sex. At first Zevran didn't realize that it was his voice groaning until a gentle hand came to rest atop his, seeking to grant reassurance. Twining their fingers together, Zevran continued, wanting to give Lyna as much pleasure in this act as he himself received. This was distinctly different with her than with others. To give of himself in this manner, it wasn't physical in spite of the obvious. She held a salty sweet, citrus tang from the foods they ate and short hairs brushed over nose and cheek. Zevran reveled in it.
This was his Golden City and Lyna was his Maker.
Languid sighs were torn from Lyna's throat, her nectar and his saliva mixing and making her slick. Stomach muscles clenched in reply to her small cry as she peaked, his name falling from her mouth in a short broken sound. Lapping up every bit of creamy evidence from her flower, Zevran only pulled away once he was satisfied that he had worked every last drop out.
Crawling up her body, Zevran went to kiss her, and Lyna met him halfway. A thrill of unnamed peace shot through him at that small gesture. It was intensified by Lyna pushing his own undergarment down his hips and thighs, the kiss unbroken no matter that he had to twist awkwardly to be completely free of the cotton.
Again, Lyna urged him to lie back. "May I?"
"Anything, amora," he replied, sinking onto the bed.
Lyna repeated the same thing for him. His hips jerked and a hiss escaped from him when the heat of her mouth finally enveloped the head of his prick after she made her own exploration of his myriad scars. Zevran threw his arms back to grip the simple wooden headboard and hung on to prevent being lost to the wet pleasure. All too soon he had to beg her to stop, not wanting to fall over the edge of the world.
Zevran wouldn't do it, at least not without her.
Taking his beloved elf in his arms, Zevran rolled them onto her back, needing to show Lyna that he belonged to her in all ways. Legs wrapped around his waist, drawing him tight to her, and Lyna peppered his shoulders with kisses as he slid into her body. Lyna whimpered once he was pressed to the mouth of her womb, and Zevran was almost unmanned by her arms hugging him even closer. This was unlike anything Zevran had ever felt, not even in his long and varied years.
Crashing like waves against each other, Zevran and Lyna moved in sync. Such a simple act, but the tear drops that welled from his eyes left glistening gems on Lyna's cheeks. His Warden brought his face close so she could kiss the tracks that slipped over his face and down his jaw, and when their mouths met all Zevran could taste was salt. Pouring everything into Lyna, Zevran strove onwards until the world stopped. Together they shuddered and shook, clinging as tight as two people could.
Entangled they lay, and Zevran shoved the fear to the side. He would ask no more than she could give. And this was a gift, he knew it. So he savored the weight of his Warden snuggled into his arms, the taste of her in his mouth, the stickiness that slowly oozed onto his thigh from where it pressed to her apex, and thanked the powers that be for this precious thing they had shared.
But it was also a goodbye, he found out in the morning, not just a gift.