Cocktails & Cheese
Cullen and Alistair - A Modern Day AU
The mission Thursday went off without a hitch. Cullen’s team surrounded the warehouse on the docks; the occupants unaware that their hideout had been compromised. It was standard, break down the door, neutralize the threat, and save the girl, procedure. Or would be, if there were such a thing.
After two months of being held captive, the woman was malnourished, filthy, and had a few bruises, but was thankfully otherwise unharmed. A ransom demand was never made in return for her safety, which left Cullen’s team confused as to the reasoning behind her capture and extended captivity.
Only Cullen knew the horrific truth. When his team saw the unusual sigils painted around the old warehouse, they wrote off the group as sick and disturbed; probably keeping her for their own twisted pleasures. It was an awful prospect, but nowhere near the reality of what she truly faced.
If the Commander had told his team that they were up against blood-mages, hell bent on summoning a demon with the blood of the young mother, they probably wouldn’t have believed him. Thankfully, he didn’t have to. He’d been with his team long enough that they trusted him implicitly; he called the shots, they followed orders, it was that simple. Most of the time, Cullen didn’t need to filter his information, their cases usually dealt with regular people committing regular crimes. But occasionally, like this night, Cullen’s extra abilities came in handy.
Blood-mages… Why did it have to be, blood-mages?
Cullen could only speculate as to which Demon they were intending on summoning, as they thankfully arrived before the specified time of the event. With the full moon only two days away, he’d been racing against the clock to put together all the pieces. Any slower, and he would have been too late!
Eight mages dead, but sadly, the master escaped. The medics took the victim to the hospital to clean her up and give her a full evaluation before releasing her to her family. That was one phone call that Cullen actually enjoyed making. Her family was beyond grateful. These were the nights that made his job completely worth it.
Saying a silent prayer of thanks to Andraste, Cullen felt content that he’d done his job to the fullest extent of his capabilities. He’d won this one. He couldn’t win them all, but he would take the small victories as they came.
It was almost two am by the time he finished cleaning up at the crime scene. It was too late to visit Alistair, but after the success of the evening, his heart was full of hope and he decided that perhaps… it might be time.
Cullen spent Friday, finalizing the paperwork from the night before. This was one of the longest cases he’d worked in years and one of the most memorable. The fact that he was able to save the life of the victim definitely helped, but the real reason he would always remember this case had to do with Alistair. This was the case ultimately responsible for Cullen stumbling across that unfamiliar street, which lead him into that quirky pub, where he met the man of his dreams, two months prior. He would always be thankful for that break in his normal routine.
Leaving the office at the end of the day, Cullen walked the short distance to his apartment. With a last minute change in plans, he climbed into his Jeep, instead of heading upstairs. Still riding high from the success of the night before, he decided to once again break from his routine and celebrate with a drink downtown. He’d missed his usual Thursday visit, and after his talks with Dorian, he didn’t want to wait until Tuesday to see Alistair again.
Never having been in on a weekend before, Cullen was wholly unprepared for the difference in atmosphere the place held. It was louder for one--more crowded. Instead of Leliana up on stage, there was a full band; making it impossible for any sort of conversation. The music was upbeat and the three tables that usually sat in the center of the room, had been removed to make way for a very full dance floor.
Once he recovered from his initial shock, Cullen was both relieved and pleased to see that his usual spot at the bar was vacant; granting him a glorious view of his favorite bartender. Taking his seat in the corner, Cullen drank in the new look of a much more animated, Alistair. Instead of his usual black on black uniform, he wore a tight fitting white t-shirt which showed off the tightly corded muscles, barely contained within the thin fabric. The word Alistair’s was printed prominently in a wine colored arc across the deliciousness that was his back and shoulders.
Andraste preserve me, what have I gotten myself into?
Cullen’s mouth suddenly went dry from want. He fought to tear his eyes from the working muscles trapped painfully within the form-fitting fabric; while attempting to quell his own rapidly thickening erection, currently straining against the confines of his slacks.
You’re in public Rutherford, calm down!
Cullen admonished himself, thankful that he hadn’t yet seen Lana. The poor girl would most likely be blushing from his current train of thought, if she could even hear in a crowd like this.
Blinking slowly to regain his composure, Cullen’s mutinous eyes zeroed in on the much tighter black jeans that Alistair was wearing as his hips gyrated provocatively to the music.
Sweet Maker’s ass, I’m in trouble!
All Cullen could do was gape in awe at how beautiful the man was; how fluidly his body moved to the music as he deftly poured drinks for his customers. And the pouring itself was certainly a sight to behold! For one thing, it was much flashier than it had been during any of his earlier visits. He watched transfixed as Alistair danced from customer to customer, pouring drinks, with an extra flourish; spinning, twirling, tossing bottles into the air, and catching them on their descent directly over the intended glasses.
As his initial surprise began to ebb, Cullen noticed that there was a second mixologist--wearing a matching outfit--serving customers at the far end of the bar. It definitely wasn’t Lana, but a lithe elven male, not much taller than the waitress; with long blonde hair, delicate pointed ears and mischievous eyes. He had a ‘come hither’ smile and tattoo that swirled down the left side of his face, but instead of making him seem hardened, it only added to the softness of his skin.
Cullen’s chest tightened as he watched the two working in tandem. They looked so easy and familiar with each other, like they’d been doing this for years--perhaps they had been. Their movements similar, both meant to be provocative and enticing as they played off each other for the benefit of their audience. Their enigmatic smiles winning the crowd over with barely any effort as they tossed their bottles into the air, juggling the liquor without spilling a drop.
The newest mixologist began to head his way while Alistair was busy pouring his latest drink. Cullen watched as Alistair looked up suddenly, caught the elf’s hand, and spun him off in the opposite direction. Grabbing the drink, with his face beaming like it was Satinalia, Alistair danced his way and deftly placed the drink in front of Cullen with panache.
Leaping his ass fully up onto the bar top, Alistair leaned closer to Cullen so he could be heard over the din of the room. “Welcome to our Wild Weekends! I won’t be able to chat much, but I hope you enjoy the show!”
Cullen thought he may have imagined it, but he swore it felt like Alistair's lips brushed his cheek, before he leapt off the bar and back into the limelight. The other bartender raised a questioning look as Alistair re-entered their dance. Sparing Cullen a smile and quick wink, he grabbed the next bottle and tossed it in the air for Alistair to catch.
Cullen sat and watched the show with a smile on his face and a warm tingle on his cheek. Whether he meant to kiss him or it was an accident of proximity, the contact sent shivers through Cullen’s body. He enjoyed watching this new and energetic Alistair playing his audience to its full extent, but when Cullen finished his drink, he decided it was time for him to head out.
Waving a silent goodbye to his favorite eye candy, Cullen grabbed his coat and stepped outside.
Once the door closed behind him, he savored the silence of the night in stark contrast to the clamor from within. Hearing a jingling of keys from off to his left, Cullen watched as two vaguely familiar, female shapes approached--arm in arm. Smiling in recognition, he waited patiently for them to get within earshot before greeting them, “So he does give you the night off occasionally!”
Lana and Leliana grinned at Cullen in surprise.
“Friday’s and Saturday’s are um… difficult for me,” Lana explained. “I don’t usually work them, though I will for special occasions… or to help Alistair out when he needs me to. They have too many people; too many emotions; they’re too... loud.” Lana tapped the side of her head as she shuddered.
Cullen nodded in sympathy.
“I’m surprised to see you here on a Friday, Commander; breaking your usual schedule!” Leliana clicked her tongue jokingly, “And now you are leaving early; it looks not to be quite to your taste either. No?”
“It is a bit much for me, though I will admit to enjoying the show.” Cullen thought about Alistair’s body moving provocatively behind the bar and his mind unwittingly took him to the brush of lips across his cheek. Dipping his head to hide his rapidly flushing cheeks, he tried to refocus, “Is it always like that on weekends?”
“Only on those two days, the rest are what you’ve already become familiar with.” Trying hard to suppress her smile at Cullen’s excitement, Lana secretly cheered Alistair for finding his courage to kiss him. It was a sneaky kiss, to be sure, but it was a start.
Curious, Leliana chimed in with her lilting accent, “So, what do you think of our dear Zevran? He gets quite a lot of attention when he works. So many come just to see him.”
“Is Zevran… the other bartender? I... didn’t actually get to meet him. They were so busy. I didn’t want to bother them, so I just watched while enjoying my drink.”
“From your little perch in the corner?” Leliana giggled.
Cullen chuckled, they’d teased him over his favorite spot many times and he always had the same argument, “I don’t know why no one else ever sits there, it’s the best seat in the house. It allows me to see the whole room without my back being exposed.”
“We used to wonder about it as well, but now I like to believe that spot was just waiting for you.” Lana smiled encouragingly at him.
Leliana continued to tease him, “I think Alistair would physically remove anyone else should they attempt to occupy your seat now. You’ve quickly won over the only assigned seat in the house. Welcome to our little family.” She grinned affectionately at the Commander.
Cullen bowed his head as a tinge of pink touched his cheeks once again. Thinking of the way Alistair and Zevran moved together, he asked hesitantly, “How long have they been… dancing like that?”
Alistair said that he wasn’t seeing anyone when we first met, but that was a couple of months ago and those two seemed to move so well together, perhaps things have changed?
“Creators no!” Lana choked over his internal question, “We have known Zevran for over a decade. He’s flirty, overly self-confident, and the customers find him attractive. In contrast, Alistair is earnest and full of boyish, playful charm. Between the two of them, their antics fulfill many customer’s quiet fantasies, so they play it up on nights like these. They may dance well together, while twirling bottles to entertain the customers, but so far, Zevran has yet to peak Alistair’s interest even a little bit.” Lana rested her hand gently on Cullen’s arm before continuing, “Trust me, I would know.”
Leliana giggled, “Not that Zevran hasn’t tried. When we first met him, he used to get Alistair so tongue tied and flustered. Our poor, talkative friend was frequently left quite speechless.”
“And blushing,” Lana added, “there is always blushing when Zevran starts hitting on you. He has a knack for saying exactly what you wish he wouldn’t. But he does have a good heart.” Both girls giggled at some past shared memory.
Cullen was growing slightly concerned, “So I take it… Zevran hits on a lot of people?”
“If they breathe and are capable of speech, he’s probably hit on them. I'm surprised you got out of there unscathed. You got lucky, yes?” Leliana helpfully offered.
Lana nudged Leliana with her elbow, “Or Alistair protected him.”
Cullen nodded, remembering Alistair twirling Zevran away from him. “So… what you’re saying is, Fridays and Saturdays really are not good nights for me to come visiting?”
Lana nodded then offered, “Why don’t you come back on Sunday? The bar will certainly be quieter and Alistair will be… less restricted. If you don’t have any other plans that is.”
Cullen was pondering the offer, so he missed Leliana looking sharply at Lana whose smile seemed to convey a definite, ‘trust me.’
Refocusing, he ventured a grateful smile and said, “Thank you. I think I will. See you Sunday then. Goodnight, ladies,” he nodded to them both before heading off toward his Jeep.
Leliana watched Cullen round the corner at the end of the street before asking quietly, “What are you doing? You know Alistair doesn’t work on Sundays!”
“It’s been months Lel. Though they are getting closer, if we wait for them to get over their own self-doubt and insecurities, we’ll be waiting for months more. This way, Alistair won’t have work to hide behind, Cullen won’t be able to use the excuse that Alistair treats him just like he treats everyone else, and there won’t be that damn bar between them.” Lana explained exasperated, “Besides, they both want each other! If you could hear how their thoughts dance around it… It reminds me of us actually--when we first got together.” Standing on her toes, she kissed her bard sweetly on the lips.
“Yes, but you had the advantage there.” Leliana smirked.
Lana grinned mischievously, “You didn’t know that back then. I had to play a little hard to get.” Leaning in, Lana stole another kiss, never tiring of how perfect their lips felt together.
Returning her wife’s tender adorations, Leliana wrapped her arms around her and sighed heavily. Placing their foreheads together, she asked concerned, “Do you... worry that he’ll remember? Do you think he will ever recognize us for who we are?”
Lana took her own deep breath and let it out slowly--resting her head on her true love’s shoulder, she lamented, “I don’t know Lel. He hasn’t yet, but that doesn’t mean something won’t trigger the memory sometime in the future.”
“He’s come so far since then, I would hate to jeopardize his healing by bringing up the past. Though, I don’t want to ruin our friendship either. Do you think he’ll be mad at us for keeping this from him?” Leliana worried.
Lana sighed, “I hope not. It’s not like we caused the issue in the first place… but it’s hard to tell. He tries really hard not to think of anything surrounding that time.”
“What about Alistair? Have you told him yet that you and I have met Cullen before?” Leliana asked with no small amount of hesitation.
Shaking her head, Lana admitted, “Not yet, I need to though. But first things first. We need to get them together--two pieces made whole--then we can work on the confessions and admissions.”
Alistair was dancing on air Friday when he saw Cullen come in. He wished he had more time to talk with him, but he would have to be content to just catch glances of him here and there while working behind the counter with Zevran. Finishing up their current round of juggled drinks, Alistair was finally able to pour the Commander his usual. As he turned to bring it over, he saw Zevran already headed that way.
Not this time Casanova!
He grabbed the slippery little elf and spun him off in the other direction. To Zevran’s credit, he twirled off spectacularly and continued serving the other side of the bar in Alistair’s absence.
Fully enjoying the energy of the evening, Alistair leapt onto the bar to greet Cullen; and in a brazen act of boldness, lightly kissed his cheek on his way back down.
Maker’s breath he smells so good!
Savoring the taste of the luscious Commander, Alistair’s tongue flicked across his lips after his back was to the object of his desire. Zevran must have witnessed him licking his lips because Alistair got that look that said there would be lewed comments later--most likely at his expense.
Alistair was disappointed to see Cullen leave so soon after he finished his drink. He was hoping that he would stick around long enough for the crowd to die down so they could visit. There hadn’t been time to dwell on it until after they closed for the night, but by then, his self-doubt had reared its ugly head again. It left him questioning why exactly Cullen left so early.
Should I not have kissed him?
He worried that his playful antics had put him off. In a moment of weakness, Alistair decided to ask Zevran what he thought, “Hey Zev?”
“Si, amore mio.” Zev, responded with that same ‘you want to fuck me’ smirk that he always wore.
“Do you remember the guy at the far end of the bar?”
“Tall, blonde, eyes that were drinking you in like you were the last drop of water in all of Thedas? That one?” Zevran certainly didn’t mince words.
Alistair coughed, “Uh, yeah - that one… I suppose. Though I don’t know how accurate your assessment of his ogling me is. He’s one of my weeknight regulars. Did he… say anything to you before he left?”
“No, I was on my best behavior, so I did not converse with him at all. I assumed by the way that you spun me away from him that you already staked your claim. A very nice claim--I might add-- though a little too yours for me to dare to interfere. Unless of course, you’d like to invite me in for a threesome! No? Ah well, a guy can dream can’t he?” Zevran chuckled at his own brand of humor. “Does tall, light, and dreamy have a name?”
Ignoring the proposition, Alistair blushed at Zevran’s description, “Cullen. Though I daresay, it’s not a stake I’ve officially claimed… yet. Not that it gives you permission to try yourself.” He warned the little elven sex-magnet. “Nor am I sure that he would be interested like that.” Alistair was feeling the doubt heavily in his chest.
“Ah but that look upon your eyes, you have fantasized about it, no? I would say, by the look in his, that he probably has too, more than once.” Trying to cheer up his friend, Zevran smirked openly, “Maybe he’ll be back tomorrow. If it would help, I could lure him into the stockroom and tie him up for you to have your way with him!”
Alistair shook his head, blushing at the images Zevran's offer provided. “No thanks Zev, I appreciate the thought, though. See you tomorrow.”
“You sure you don’t want me to show you those Antivan massage techniques? They could come in handy, should you and your… Cullen ever find yourselves naked and alone.”
“Ugh, Zevran!” Alistair’s face was beat red as he ushered Zevran out the door, laughing.
Si, amore mio = Yes, my love