Zevran sat by the fire, polishing his armour as he waited for Neria to come back from her walk with Leliana. They’d been gone a while; it was long past dark, but he imagined they had much to discuss.
He’d overheard some of what Leliana had told Neria after the ambush earlier that day. Eavesdropping was an old habit, something he probably couldn’t drop even if he wanted to. Nothing he’d heard had surprised him—he’d picked Leliana for a bard the first day he’d met her—but Neria’s reaction was puzzling.
He’d expected anger, or at least frustration, but Neria continued to defy his expectations. She must truly be as caring as she seemed, but somehow he kept convincing himself that it was an act. No one he’d ever known had been as selfless. It confused him.
He caught movement out of the corner of his eye and turned to see two figures emerging from the woods by their camp. Leliana said something with a giggle as they spotted him. Neria narrowed her eyes at her, but they hugged before the taller woman made for her tent.
Neria smiled as she approached him. She was wearing only a simple, fitted tunic, leggings and a shawl; her feet were bare. If he wasn’t so distracted by her form, perhaps he would have been worried about her lack of armour. She was more graceful without her boots, comfortable and confident, hips swaying with every step.
“I need a distraction,” she said as she reached the fire, sitting cross-legged beside him. “Tell me more about your adventures.”
Zevran turned to her with a teasing smile, one of his eyebrows quirking. “My adventures? I’m hardly an old man just returned from across the ocean, am I?”
Neria laughed and nudged him playfully. “If you didn’t want to talk, you could have just said so.”
“Now I didn’t say that,” he laughed. “Old men love to talk, after all.”
He paused, and a smug grin spread across his face. Imagining far better ways he could provide distraction, Zevran leant toward her. “Will I get a kiss afterwards?”
Neria’s eyes widened, and a barely discernible shiver ran down her spine. Her eyes flickered to his lips and his own excitement leapt at her reaction. She responded to his teasing even better than he’d hoped. Before he could close the distance between them however, she pulled back.
“How about a slap?” she said, and whacked his arm with the back of her hand. The blow was too light to hurt, and the mischief sparkling in her eyes made it clear she was teasing.
Two can play that game, Zevran thought. Eager to see how she responded, he dropped his voice so his answering hum vibrated low in his chest.
“Hot,” he murmured. “Do I still have to tell the story?”
Neria narrowed her eyes, but her gaze moved to his lips again, betraying her desire.
“You’re a cad, you know that right?” she grumbled, but she grinned despite herself. Zevran leant in even closer, watching as her eyes darkened and her lips parted.
“Does that mean virile and sexy here? Because if so, I like it.”
She pulled away and laughed, shaking her head incredulously.
“So, no kiss then?” he said with a mock pout.
“There might be one or two, if the story’s good,” she said, smirking mischievously.
“Oh! Now the anticipation is going to kill me! Thank you very much for that.”
Zevran sat back, retrieved his armour and began polishing it again, staring thoughtfully at the sky.
“Let’s see,” he said. “My second mission was a bit intriguing. I was sent to kill a mage who had been meddling in politics.”
“Meddling how?” Neria interrupted, looking up curiously.
Zevran shrugged. “How should I know? I got the strong impression it involved sex… but then I get that impression about most everything. Odd, really.” His eyes lingered on her mouth as she bit her lip, stifling a laugh. “As it turned out, the mage in question was quite a delightful young woman. Long divine legs, as I recall.”
“Oh? You’ve never called my legs divine,” she teased. Zevran dropped his gaze to her legs before he could stop himself, eyes roving over her gracefully curving calves and thighs frustratingly covered by a layer of boring brown wool.
Fereldans . It’s like they’d never heard of colour .
“If I have not, it is because you are divine in your entirety,” he replied, dropping his voice again. “Singling out your legs would be a crime.”
He was pleased when Neria’s eyes glinted with amusement and interest.
“Smooth recovery.” She waved her hand. “Back to the story.”
Zevran told the tale as closely as he remembered it. It had been an unexpectedly painful mission—why else would the memory stick in his mind years later? He did not make any mention of that however, and shrugged casually as he finished the story. From the look on Neria’s face, however, she’d likely seen through his facade yet again.
“These sorts of things happen to you often?” She asked after a moment, her tone light and teasing.
“Like being spared by a benevolent mark who then helps me escape from the Crows? Yes, I suppose it does seem to happen now and again, doesn’t it?”
Neria smirked. “Uh-huh.”
“It was after that when I learned that one needn’t let a pretty face go to your head,” he said, and shot her a cheeky grin. “Professionalism is key. That’s my moral of the day, you see.”
“So you never mix business with pleasure, huh?”
“Mmm. Well, there is you.” Zevran leaned in until their faces were only inches apart, then grinned wickedly. “But I’ll point out that you did have to capture me and tie me up first. Every rule has its exception.”
Neria laughed loudly at that and gave him a playful little shove, but he was undeterred.
He moved closer to tug at her earlobe with his teeth, soothing the nip with a kiss.
“Now that I’ve mentioned tying me up,” he breathed, “do we have any extra rope about?”
Neria stiffened as he reached the tip of her ear, despite her delightful little gasp of pleasure. He glanced up, brows raising, and saw her look nervously around. The only other person still up was Morrigan, and she was across the clearing at her own fire.
She relaxed, and Zevran took this as a sign to continue. His lips moved from her ear to her jaw, and his hand slid over her shoulder and into her hair.
“You lied to me, you know.”
Zevran paused and pulled away abruptly, brows furrowing. “Oh?”
To his relief, her expression seemed almost too serious. Her mouth turned down at the corners in an exaggerated pout.
“You said last night that how far we went would be entirely up to me,” she said, voice lowering. “But you stopped long before I wanted you to.”
Zevran’s gut clenched, hunger and heat rushing down his spine, and his pulse began to quicken.
The Crows had taught him to consider sexuality as a tool to be used to his advantage; a tactic he had employed without shame while in their service. The masters had often praised him for his ability to separate desires of the flesh from his missions.
The truth, though, was that his body responded like any other’s—to sounds, and sights, and memories. Something about Neria’s earnest confession made heat wind its way up to his chest, almost as strong as the desire.
“Ah, you are insatiable,” he joked in an attempt to divert her attention. “I knew you would be. I can just tell these things.”
Neria pulled back and crossed her arms. “So you were just teasing me?”
Zevran couldn’t tell if she was truly offended. “No, dear Warden. I just didn’t want you to get the wrong idea about last night.”
Her face fell, and Zevran berated himself internally, realising she’d misunderstood. He shifted closer to her again, resting one hand on her leg. When she didn’t push him away, he slid his hand gently up and over her knee.
“I have noticed that you sleep rather badly,” he murmured, “when you sleep at all. I intended only to make you relax. I… simply thought that continuing might detract from that goal, no?”
For a moment Neria was silent.
“I see,” she said carefully. “Well, you certainly worked wonders, but I have a rather different goal in mind tonight.”
The heat in Zevran’s belly shot down to his groin. Neria rose to her knees, then to her feet, using the strength of his legs to leverage herself over him. Black, pine scented hair fell around them like a curtain, blotting out the rest of the camp.
“Will you help me with it?” she asked softly, her eyes fixed on his mouth.
How could he resist a request like that, Zevran thought as he slid his hands around the backs of her thighs. His fingers dug into her arse, teasingly, then settled on her waist. She bent down a little closer, and he tilted his head to brush his mouth against hers, lips chapped from the cold.
“What goal is it we are talking about?” he whispered, and Neria grinned.
“I think it would be far easier to show you.”
“Well then, why are we still talking?”
Without waiting for an answer, he kissed her, and Neria gasped against his lips. He slipped his tongue into her mouth, impatient and hungry, and cupped her cheeks to encourage her to lean further down. She grabbed at his hips before sliding her hands up to his shoulders—then pulled back.
“Tent,” she gasped.
Zevran swept her into his arms immediately, kicking aside his armour, and made a beeline for her tent. They crowded inside, laughing as they tripped over the many blankets, and hastily secured the tent flaps. As soon as Neria dropped onto the bedroll he was reaching for her. She shuffled back on the mat, biting her lip and taking in a shuddering breath as her gaze wandered over his body.
Zevran hesitated for just a moment, considering. It was clear she wanted this, but she was nervous. He had to wonder if those nerves were left over from the unfortunate circumstances of their first meeting, or from a lack of experience.
“If pleasure is your goal tonight, my dear Warden, I shall ensure you have your fill,” he murmured, and gently smoothed his hand up her leg. “But you must do something for me in return.”
Her eyes widened, and for a moment he desperately wanted to know what conclusion her mind had jumped to. He grinned wickedly, shaking his head before leaning in to kiss along her ear.
“I want you to talk to me, bonita , that is all. Tell me what you like—” He moved his lips along her jaw, lowering his voice. “—what you desire.”
Neria responded eagerly when he kissed her—then let out a small, frustrated noise when he pulled away. He didn’t want to wait, but this was important.
“I want you to stop me if you are ever uncomfortable,” he continued, studying her face. “Even if it is only a little.”
Neria nodded and grabbed his collar, pulling him in roughly for another kiss, and Zevran chuckled.
“Talk to me,” he repeated huskily, and she huffed out a breath against his lips, narrowing her eyes. He grinned as he waited, one eyebrow raised.
“I want you to kiss me, I would have thought that was obvious by now,” she grumbled, breathless, and so he did.
We’ve wasted enough time, he thought, and pulled her flush against him. She shifted into his lap, her hands slipping under his shirt to move slowly up his sides. She kissed him almost frantically, tugging at his shirt until he laughed and broke the kiss. He tugged the shirt over his head and tossed it aside. A flick of Neria’s wrist and an arcane light appeared above them.
“Ah, you want a better look?” Zevran teased. Neria flushed, shadows dancing across her face as the light started to move erratically. “I can hardly blame you.”
“Shush,” she mumbled, but her lips twitched into a smile and her eyes returned to his torso quickly, almost unconsciously. She gnawed at her bottom lip—her mouth was reddened from their kiss, and he felt tingling heat rush to his cock at the sight.
With great effort, he restrained himself from touching Neria as her hands hovered over his shoulders, then slid across his chest. Her hands were cold, but the touch left him shivering for reasons other than the chill. Light fingers followed the curving lines of his tattoos down to his waistband, and there she hesitated.
“Tell me what's going on in that pretty little head of yours,” he said, and her eyes flicked up to his. There was an intensity in her gaze that he hadn’t seen before. She bit her lip again, and this time Zevran reached for her, thumb pulling gently until her teeth released the abused flesh. The rest of him followed, until his nose brushed her cheek.
“I’d rather show you,” Neria breathed, and Zevran felt his restraint crumble.
“Maker’s breath,” he cursed, pulling her into a fierce kiss. Neria was grinding against him at once, encouraging him with breathless, needy sounds, her hesitation gone.
Their hands worked furiously at each other’s clothes. Zevran disentangled her hair from the shawl and stripped the knitted fabric off, tossing it into the far corner, and pulling her tunic over her head.
An object worthy of worship , he had once called her, half-joking, but when undressing the Warden, he believed it. Neria was much fairer than he, with the soft, smooth skin of someone who, up until now, had an easy life—physically, at least. Her breasts were small enough to fit in his hands nicely— that, he remembered from their previous encounter. He ached to touch her, to continue the exploration of her pleasure he’d begun last night—but then her hand brushed against his cock and the thought flew out of his head.
Usually such a minor touch would not elicit this much of a reaction, but it had been some time since he’d had another in his bed. Taking yourself in hand could only satisfy so much.
“I want to touch you,” Neria murmured, and Zevran groaned. He kissed her again, nodding eagerly—if she didn’t touch him soon, he might burst.
She pushed him gently onto the bedroll and leaned over him, dark hair tickling his chest as she traced the lines of his tattoo again. Then she hooked her fingers under his waistband and slowly tugged his breeches and smallclothes down. He sighed in relief as the pressure on his erection eased, thighs spreading comfortably, and Neria smiled up at him. His heart skipped a beat, and something softer than lust bloomed in his chest. Something new.
Zevran forced the thought away, focusing only on watching her, eyes dark and hot as she traced his abdomen and chest with her fingertips. He sat up a little as her face came closer to his, meaning to kiss her, but she pushed him down with a little smirk.
“So,” he said, with a crooked grin. “The goddess wishes to have her way with me? I can accept that.”
Neria breathed out a little laugh, then leaned down to nibble at his ear.
I will do a lot more than just accept it, he thought, lifting his hips at the fingers walking along his thigh. He was so hard he could feel the pulse throbbing and muscles tightening in anticipation of her touch.
“Ah, cariño —”
Neria scraped her nails through his pubic hair, feather-light. He wasn’t sure if she’d had many men in her bed… although her initial hesitation spoke volumes.
Neria’s tongue glided along her bottom lip as she stared down at him. One finger trailed along his cock, exploring him with light, almost teasing touches. She leaned down towards him, her lips parting, and Zevran bit down on a knuckle to stifle his moan of anticipation. Neria looked back up to him, a small blush lighting her cheeks, but then her fingers wrapped around him. He couldn’t bring himself to regret the desperate noise that escaped him when he saw the way her eyes sparked in response. She ducked her head down lower, but hesitated, stopping just short.
Neria let out a shaky breath and Zevran could feel it, cool and light on his skin. She dragged her thumb over his leaking tip, her eyes flicking back up to watch him. “But I’d like to.”
Zevran had to swallow before he could answer.
“ Querida , I don’t think anything you do could be unpleasant, even if you tried.” He was vaguely aware that his voice was rough—not smooth and controlled as it should have been. “But I could guide you if you’d—”
He was cut off by his own surprised noise of pleasure when Neria swiped her tongue over his tip, tasting him as she slowly slid her hand down his cock and back up again.
“Or perhaps you don't need guidance at all.”
She made an amused sound against his cock and a spike of pleasure shot through him.
“Oh Maker,” he groaned, hips lifting, and her fingers slid easily along him, slick with his own fluids. His hand flew to her hair of its own accord as she pulled the tip of his cock into her mouth, tongue swirling around the head. She pulled back to lick a line from his balls to the tip, leaving an icy trail in her wake which sent a shiver of pleasure down his spine.
Through his haze of pleasure, Zevran realised the tent was too warm for the cold to make sense.
Was she using magic on him? The thought sent his focus spiraling, his imagination running wild with other uses. If she could chill or heat her hands so, perhaps if he had his hands bound—
Neria took him into her mouth again, scattering his thoughts to the wind. She gradually lowered herself until she’d almost swallowed him, and Zevran hissed through his teeth at the sight. How many nights he’d imagined this, feeling her hair tickling his thighs and the heat of her mouth closing around him, soft tongue teasing—her throat constricted and Zevran moaned deep in his chest, drawn out, his eyes rolling back as he quivered. Neria pulled back again, looking up at him through her lashes with a small smile as her hands kept moving.
As much as his body was begging her to keep going, he’d come if he let this go any further, and though he was sure that wouldn’t be the end for him, he wanted this night to last as long as possible. For all his faults, he was not a selfish lover; he wanted to see Neria receive the same pleasure. The memory of her sweet, flushed expression lingered from last night, and he was desperate to draw that from her again.
Zevran sat up, ignoring her protesting frown, and grabbed Neria around the waist. Her surprised huff turned into a squeal when he flipped her onto her back, landing squarely on the bedroll.
“I’ve changed my mind,” he said huskily. “There will be plenty of time for you to have your way with me—”
He caught himself before he could say ‘later’—forcefully reminding himself that there may not be a later. This could be but one night, if that was her wish.
If it was to be one night, a traitorous part of his mind whispered, he should bloody well make the most of it.
Neria leaned up to kiss him, and Zevran melted against her, all but forgetting his little fumble.
In a few quick and well practiced movements, her clothes were discarded. Neria lay back, hair spreading out, nothing but open desire in her eyes—not a hint of the hesitation he’d seen before. She was in arguably the most vulnerable position one could be—naked, desperate for his touch, and utterly unguarded. It should be a relief, but instead terror gripped him. She should not trust him so completely. He didn’t deserve it.
“Zev?” Neria murmured softly, pulling him out of his dark thoughts with a smile. She pulled him in with a gentle grip on his shoulders.
“What is it you desire, mi diosa ?” he murmured, covering his hesitation.
“I want you.”
“You have me,” he said, and it wasn’t until he’d said it out loud that he realised how completely true it was. She moved her hand to the small of his back, pulling him closer and lifting her hips to slide against him. There could be no mistaking what she wanted.
Zevran shook the doubt from his mind and slipped a hand between her thighs, stroking through the damp, dark curls. She was already wet enough to slick his fingers, and she whimpered quietly when his thumb brushed over her clit.
“Creators’ mercy,” Neria gasped, hips rocking as he slowly circled her clit. “Zev, I—”
She clutched him, eyelashes fluttering as he stroked, and her eyes began to roll back. Her thighs quivered, muscles tightening under his fingers, she was almost there—
Zevran leaned down to trace his tongue over her nipple. “Come for me, my sweet Warden.”
A little more pressure and she did come, hard. The strangled cry she made was music to his ears. He kept his steady rhythm going while she writhed and gasped, then slumped back on the bedroll, panting. Her skin was shining with sweat, her face and breasts flushed red, and he couldn’t help but admire the sight of seeing her so undone. He was so engrossed that he didn’t notice her arm moving until her hand gripped his cock firmly, guiding him to where she wanted him.
“Catch your breath first, cariño ,” Zevran chuckled. “That was quite the display.”
Neria shook her head, still breathing heavily, and he relented. There was only so much waiting he could take.
Sinking into her wet warmth was almost too much; Zevran let his eyes close, forcing his hips to press slowly until they were flush with hers. Her muscles were still fluttering from her orgasm, sending shocks through him. He moved slowly at first, watching her face carefully, but it wasn’t long before she was grinding up against him, urging him on. He pulled out completely, only to plunge back into her, and Neria bit down on his shoulder to stifle her cry of pleasure.
“No, I want to hear you,” he whispered against her ear, biting down on her lobe as he moved again. She moaned, and he pulled back to watch her face in time to see her biting her lip.
“What about— ah!” she interrupted herself with a cry of pleasure as he kept moving, head falling back, but she tried again. “Everyone will hear.”
Zevran pushed himself up to a better angle, and the groan that escaped her wasn’t at all quiet. She was so responsive—she couldn’t even help it, and he loved it.
Neria bit down on her finger, trying to muffle the sounds of her pleasure, but he grabbed her wrist, dragging it above her head.
“I do not care if they hear,” he said. “Talk to me, my Warden.”
Neria writhed under him, meeting his thrusts with eager moans, any attempt at staying quiet forgotten.
Her muscles were tightening again; he could feel them around his cock, and he knew he would come soon if this kept up—but it would be delicious to see her come again, and to feel her coming on and around him. Shakily he reached between them to find her clit again.
Neria yelped, legs jerking.
“Again?” he gasped.
“Yes—ah! Right there, don’t stop—”
A few more strokes and she moaned, gripping his arse to push him deeper as she tightened around him.
“Zev!” she cried out, and the pleasure he felt at hearing his name on her lips was indescribable—and completely bewildering. He was fast approaching his own orgasm, breathless with anticipation. Shuddering, Zevran began to pull out, but Neria wrapped her legs around him.
“No,” she said, her voice rough. “I want you.”
It was too much, too overwhelming—Neria squeezed around him and he came with a wordless cry, hips stuttering against hers at the intoxicating, gut-wrenching mix of pleasure and relief.
His arms wobbled as he lowered himself, head resting on her shoulder.
“See, I knew this would happen eventually,” Zevran murmured, and Neria laughed as her arms encircled him.
Neria opened her eyes to see Zevran leaning up on his elbow beside her, looking down at her.
“I should have warned you right from the start, this was inevitable,” he said with a smirk.
“Oh? And here I thought I’d seduced you this time,” she teased, one eyebrow raised.
“Oh ho ho! Why aren’t you the saucy little minx then. I’ve been used, and I wasn’t even aware of it! Masterpiece!”
Neria laughed with him, but it was only moments before the smile faded from Zevran’s face. His gaze dropped to her hair, flung in messy tendrils about the pillow, and idly he picked up a lock and began to fiddle with it. This was enough to give her pause—Zevran was not given to idle fidgeting, a quirk she assumed was a product of his assassin’s training.
“So then,” he said, into the silence, “as the priestess so famously said to the actor, ‘what now?’”
One side of her mouth twitched up at the strange saying before she considered his question. He was avoiding her eyes; that and his restless hands indicated he was nervous about her answer.
“I was about to ask you the same thing,” she lied. She’d been rather hoping they could put off the conversation.
Zevran hesitated for just a split second, his fingers curled around her hair. Then he withdrew and raised his eyes to meet hers. His expression was carefully neutral.
“Allow me to make this simple for you, my dear Warden,” he said. His hands were perfectly still—one resting lightly on her arm, the other propping his head upright. “What comes next is entirely up to you.”
She must have sounded skeptical, but Zevran only smiled.
“I was raised to take my pleasures where they could be found, for they do not come very often.” He shrugged, a movement made awkward by his position. “I shall ask nothing more of you than you are willing to give.”
Neria nodded slowly, relieved by how quickly and easily he’d removed the pressure from the situation. This way they could just keep things as they were and see where it took them.
“That sounds fine by me,” she said, smiling up at him. And it was fine, she thought, as long as she could have this. He grinned and leant down to give her a quick kiss.
“I must admit we have come very far from those early days when I tried to kill you and you decided not to kill me,” he said against her lips, before moving to nibble on her ear. “Fate is such a tricky whore, isn't she?”
Neria laughed softly, both from the strange expression and his hot breath tickling her ear. Then he pulled away suddenly, and curiosity passed over his face.
“What is it?” she asked.
“I apologise for my lack of restraint earlier.” Zevran paused. “There are measures to avoid—ah— complications , if you do not wish to take the risk.”
“Oh.” Neria dropped her gaze. “No, I… well, I use magic for that. But it's probably unnecessary. Wardens can’t have children, or so Alistair tells me. Yet another perk of the darkspawn taint.”
It was probably a relief for Zevran, but it was more painful to say out loud than she would like to admit.
“Ah, I see,” he murmured, before lapsing into silence.
They lay quietly for a long moment, legs tangled together. Zevran lightly traced his fingers up and down her arm, soothing her with the gentle touch.
“I’ve a question, if I may,” he said eventually.
“I swore an oath to serve you, sì? ” Neria nodded. “I understand the quest we are on, and this is all very fine and well. My question pertains to what you intend to do with me once this business is over with. As a point of curiosity.”
“Is this before or after I ravish you in celebration?” she teased, rolling over to her side. She dragged a fingernail across the line of lean muscle on his torso, tracing over one of his tattoos.
“Of course it is afterwards.” Zevran said, and his gaze lowered to her naked form. “The ravishing part is a given.” He kissed her again, lingering for a long moment before he seemed to remember himself, pulling away with a rueful grin.
“But you are distracting me from my point. I promised to serve until you release me. One simply assumes that, once your Grey Warden business is finished, you would have no need of an assassin to follow you about. Am I wrong?”
Neria hesitated for a moment, confronted by an unpleasant realisation—Zevran still thought she was keeping him here. Had he only come to her tent because he’d felt like he had to?
“I’m not holding you to any oath, Zevran,” she said, then swallowed before adding, “You can leave whenever you like.”
“Oh?” Zevran’s curious expression deepened with something she couldn’t read. “I made that oath willingly, but if that's how you see it, then all the better.” He rolled onto his back and stared up at the ceiling. “For the moment it’s still best I stay, considering my standing with the Crows.”
He fell silent for a moment, then turned his head and looked at her again. “But let's assume that I didn’t desire to leave, when the time came. What then?”
Neria smiled. “I could always use a friend, Zev.”
“Is that so?” Zevran said, and rolled onto his side. “I should think that we are a little more than simple friends.”
A warm, calloused hand slid over her hip and down to her knee, hooking her leg over his hip, and Neria shifted a little closer, pressing up against him.
“Mm. That we are.” He already wanted her again—she could feel it pressing against her leg. “Anyway, there’s always a use or two for a handsome elf.” He laughed a little before resting his forehead on hers.
“It is good to know what my options might be, but that is for another time.” His eyes shifted to her mouth, and his voice became husky. “For now, allow me to remind you of a few more uses you could have for me.”
Zevran nipped her bottom lip and kissed her hard, making her gasp. He grinned before pulling away to lower himself between her legs, and before she knew it she was lost in pleasure again.