Well... this was kinda just supposed to be amusing and a bit fluffy, but it kinda made a left turn at the end, so unfortunately(?!) it's now rated M and NSFW. Oops... XD;
Blanket forts, for charnia
! XDOld Games with New RulesAuthor: jenovaRating:
The second part is NSFW!
With all of the Grey Wardens' treaty alliances in place, the mood in Redcliffe Castle wasn't celebratory,
precisely, not with the arl's family still mourning Arlessa Isolde, but there was a general feeling of satisfaction and accomplishment among the Wardens' party after having crisscrossed Ferelden to bring together such an unlikely army. Resolving not
to think about the heavy tasks still ahead of them in Denerim, Alessar had decided to look around the castle after supper as a distraction of sorts. They'd been through a good portion of the keep before, while clearing the undead out of the place, but that had been a frantic room-to-room battle, not a tour. There were some old suits of armor here and there, he'd remembered vaguely, some swords mounted on the walls, some tapestries... he thought he could probably waste a peaceful hour or two with that sort of exploration.
When he'd shared this plan with Zevran, the other elf had insisted on joining him. "It is not out of the question for another assassin to be planted in the arl's household," he'd said gravely, though the glint in his eyes gave him away. Alessar wasn't exactly sure what Zevran was up to, but as the two of them made their way quietly through the hallways, he felt more like a burglar than a visitor. Of course, picking locks on doors as it suits us probably doesn't help,
he thought dryly, but even if we're not stealing anything, I know Zev
does have something up his sleeve.
More than likely, the Antivan elf planned to corner him in some thoroughly inappropriate place. He enjoyed the risk, Alessar knew by now, and the Warden had to admit that there was certainly a thrill to it...
He hoped that the sudden blush at his eartips wasn't noticeable in the low lighting of the hallway. At that moment, though, Zevran's attention was on yet another closed door. He glanced back at Alessar with a foxish grin before pulling his lockpicks from their pouch at his belt.
"I must admit, this is good practice, my dear Warden," the assassin said, amused, as he carefully maneuvered a pair of picks in the lock. They had taken turns with the locked doors so far, though none of them were particularly complex, except for the armory. That one had taken even Alessar longer than a minute to work out. He had considered making Zevran try it after he re-locked it, but if something went wrong, they'd be in a rather embarrassing situation when they reported the ruined lock...
"I wouldn't be surprised if we found ourselves doing this a great deal in Denerim," Alessar pointed out, glad for something mundane to dwell on rather than the images that had been running through his mind a few moments ago. "Might as well stay sharp."
"True enough," Zevran acknowledged. His brow furrowed in concentration for a moment, and then the lock clicked, the sound ringing loudly in the hallway. Both of them looked around instinctively, but the hallway was empty at this hour. If the arl had been in his office, several doors down, there would likely be guards posted there, but he was most likely talking to Alistair about their plan to make a claim for the throne.I should probably be there,
the Warden thought guiltily, but they'd have all day tomorrow to work out some of these things. Surely a few hours to himself (or, well, with very specific company) wasn't too much to ask?
Some trace of guilt must have shown on his face, because Zevran regarded him curiously, his hand flat against the unopened door.
"Second thoughts, cielo?
" The Antivan elf sounded somewhat surprised.
"No... not really," Alessar replied with a slight smile. "We're not really
doing anything wrong, are we?"
"Of course not. We are removing nothing, and we even lock the doors again when we leave." Zevran had found the Warden's insistence on that last point amusing. "I am sure if we had asked to be shown the castle, Arl Eamon would have gladly appointed the chamberlain to escort us. We are simply saving them both the trouble."
Alessar had to laugh at that line of reasoning as Zevran nudged the door open. It was dark inside, of course; the Warden snitched one of the lights from the hallway before the two of them walked in.
They were surrounded on all sides by furniture, most of it covered in frayed or patched linens that had clearly been discarded from their original use. Zevran curiously lifted the corner of a nearby sheet, revealing a finely upholstered chair beneath.
"Storage," he declared, and the Warden nodded in agreement. There was far too much furniture in the room for it to serve any other purpose. Hints of actual decor seemed to mark this as some sort of public room — Alessar was no expert on how the nobles entertained in their castles and estates, but this didn't seem like a bedroom, or an office, or a study. Of course, full of unused furniture, it didn't seem like much of anything at the moment.
The shrouded shapes all around reminded Alessar of certain adventures from his childhood, and he suddenly smiled. "I wonder if Connor had any other children to play with here, before... everything happened. This would all make for some great
Zevran looked at him oddly. "Blanket... forts?" he echoed, in that manner he had when either trying to parse through an unfamiliar Fereldan idiom, or trying to come to terms with something particularly hard to believe. The Warden wasn't sure which one was the case at the moment, so he chose to assume the former.
"Yes — you know, blankets draped over the furniture, to make rooms or tents or whatnot?" The assassin regarded him with a raised eyebrow, and Alessar realized that the other elf may have never had the opportunity for those sorts of games. "It's... something we did as children. Of course, we didn't have this much furniture to work with, but we managed," he continued, chuckling a little self-consciously.
"And what would you do in these... forts?"
Alessar was being teased, he knew. "Anything, really. We might pretend to be Loghain's Night Elves, meeting to discuss how to attack the Orlesians, or Dalish — we'd actually painted our faces once, Mother was horrified — or Grey Wardens, even." He smiled faintly at that bit of irony. "The walls — the blankets — let us keep our illusions a little better than we could outside in the open, you know?"
The Antivan elf smirked at the explanation, then looked around the room speculatively. "Would you care to demonstrate, cielo?
" he asked, flashing a grin at his lover. "I must confess, my curiosity is piqued."
"There's nothing all that special or mysterious about it," the Warden said with a slight shrug, feeling foolish now. "Just... hanging blankets over things."
"That may be true, but..." Zevran draped an arm over the dark-haired elf's shoulders, leaning close to speak at a conspiratorial volume. "Do you not feel at least a little tempted by this vast array of construction material, my dear Warden?"
Alessar smiled ruefully. He was
tempted, just a little. It was simple nostalgia, he knew, and he was prepared to ignore it, but Zevran's encouragement made it difficult not to regard the covered furnishings with an architect's eye.Who knows when we'll have another chance for something purely silly like this?
he thought, trying to justify what he was about to do. After Orzammar, we're due for some laughter, I think.
"All right," he said out loud, "but you have to help."
Zevran let out a surprised laugh. "Of course. Your wish is my command, as ever, cielo.
" He bowed from the waist, one hand to his heart.
The Warden couldn't restrain a smile as he surveyed the room for a likely arrangement of furniture. "Over there," he decided, pointing halfway across the room. "I think that's a bench, and there're a couple of chairs behind it. That should do well to start..."
Alessar shouldn't have really been surprised at Zevran's intended use of their completed fort. They'd actually managed to make a fairly cozy little nest of seat cushions and a couple of actual blankets, and as soon as they'd gathered enough to be really comfortable, the assassin had made his move. Alessar, in good spirits after the construction was finished, eagerly surrendered to the other elf's demands.
They'd tried to keep quiet, of course. That was the first goal of the game, to be as quiet as possible. Alessar was getting better at that, but Zevran still had him at a great disadvantage when it came to the second goal: goading one's partner into vocalization.
Still, it hadn't seemed to matter tonight; this part of the castle was empty at this hour, after all. It was only sheer bad luck that someone had happened to be walking by at the precise moment Alessar whispered a fervent "Maker!"
into the darkness.
A footstep rang out near the door, then another; the door's hinges groaned as it was slowly pushed open. Both elves held quite still. They'd left the lamp outside of the fort, burning low on the room's hearth, so they weren't given away by light shining through linens, but it would be obvious that someone had been here recently, and probably still was.
"Is... someone here?"
The Warden felt a wave of mixed relief and embarrassment. Alistair!
He'd been terrified it was Arl Eamon himself. Still, he made no reply. If his fellow Warden would just leave...
"Connor? Are you in here?" Alistair's tone was amused. "It is
a great place for a fort, I'll give you that, but I don't think you're supposed to be out of bed at this hour."
Alessar held his breath. He could feel Zevran's lips curve ever so slightly into a smile... and he fought not to dwell on that thought for too long. He was fairly certain this wasn't the first time the other elf had been caught in such a position — literally — but it was a new and unwelcome experience for Alessar, who was trying to calm himself through willpower alone. It wasn't working particularly well.
"I won't tell Arl Eamon, you know, but you'd better come out," the other Warden was saying. He'd stepped into the room and was now slowly walking towards the central chamber of their fort.
In a half-panic, Alessar propped himself up on his elbows, meaning to push Zevran away, but the assassin saw the evasion coming, and struck first. Using the Warden’s sudden movement to his advantage, he pinned Alessar down with one hand on his hip and swallowed him to the hilt with one smooth motion.
Lost in sensation for a moment, Alessar still had just enough presence of mind to implicate his partner in crime, raggedly crying out Zevran's name as he struggled against the urge to thrust upwards. If he gave in, this would all come to a humiliating, and probably quite vocal, conclusion in very short order.
There was a long moment of appalled silence outside of the fort, until the former Templar finally said, in a wary tone, “Alessar? …Zevran?”
” Alessar’s attempt to answer was foiled by the other elf’s attentions, and the elven Warden realized that Zevran was trying
to push him over the edge, with Alistair standing a few feet away, probably able to hear every panting breath...
“What— why are you—” Alistair’s spluttering was interrupted by a gasping moan; Alessar couldn’t bite his lip and catch his breath at the same time. “Sweet Andraste, never mind!
Zevran made a sound that was clearly a laugh; to Alessar, it was felt more than heard, and again, he fought down a surge of pure need
brought on by that ticklish sensation. Outside, it sounded as if Alistair was beating a hasty retreat, and in a moment, the two elves heard the door shut firmly. They were alone again.
Zevran, if you ever—” The rest of the Warden’s threat dissolved into a low, wordless cry. In another moment, he’d completely forgotten what he’d meant to say, but remembering didn’t seem so very important, just then.