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The Cave [Complete M-S]

Nathaniel Howe

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#21
Mentioning Rendon at such a time could have killed the moment. A thought that lingered in Nathaniel's mind seconds after he voiced his admission. While Rendon's disdain at knowing his son held a Cousland cock in his hand emboldened Nathaniel, they might still others desire to continue.

Fergus did not pull away. Quite the opposite. Fingers, sunk into Nathaniel's hair, pulled his head back drawing Nathaniel's mouth into a smug smile. The lips that grazed the line of his jaw were asperous, smothering Nathaniel's grin with demands that would not unanswered.

A growl, born deep within Nathaniel's throat, was muffled as mouth moved against mouth. Nathaniel relished in the tactile: the feel of stubble scraping against stubble, the unkind pull of his hair and the silky smooth of the cock held within his hand.

Fingers curled around Fergus and moved slowly down the shaft in stark contrast to the fevered tempo of their kissing. A fire was easy to light but if not tended properly, the flame might sputter out too quickly and die before any warmth could be obtained.

Nathaniel had no intention of making this quick.

He drew back from Fergus' mouth, a simple instruction given. "Free me."
 

Fergus Cousland

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#22
As much as need drove him on. there was also a bit of nervousness in this. It had been a long time for Fergus, and while Nathaniel was likely willing to be a teacher, Fergus had not been a student in activities like this for some time. There was something in him that bucked at following Nate’s lead, but he quelled it as best he could, the feeling of Nathaniel’s hand stroking his cock helping quite a bit.

It was slow and deliberate movements, incomparable to the kiss that left his lips feeling bruised, rough and full of desire. The growl from his companion sent another shudder through him, and his hips rose to meet his touch, wanting so much more.

"Free me." The command came, and Fergus obliged.

Fingers fumbled with the ties on Nathaniel’s pants only for a brief moment, a growl of frustration heralding his triumph over the obstacle. He dipped his hand inside, pressing flat against his hip to help nudge the waistband down before taking hold of Nate’s length and attending to it in a quite similar manner as his was being attended to.

Fergus pressed his forehead to Nathaniel’s shoulder, letting out a short, low moan. He turned towards his neck, teeth grazing against skin, testing reactions.
 

Nathaniel Howe

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#23
There had been a time when Nathaniel was not so confident about his sexuality. Steeped in shame inflicted by a disapproving father, Nathaniel denied his interest in men for some time. And on those times he did falter, when he entangled himself with other squires or men from taverns he knew he would never see again, he voiced none of his desires. He let those men have their will and simply hoped that it might mesh with his own.

After he learned the truth about his father, something changed. The hatred he felt for himself turned to hatred for his father. Nathaniel embraced his preferences and became more assertive for it. No longer did he remain mute with his partners. Accordingly, when he wished to feel Fergus' grip, he made his request known and Fergus complied.

His fingers not nearly as nimble as Nathaniel's, Fergus struggled with the pants ties briefly before meeting with success. The stroke of Nathaniel's hand stalled for only a moment as a shoulder dug into the ground, lifting himself just enough to help Fergus lower his pants.

The first touch was... Nathaniel's eyes closed, a deep and breathy sigh expelled against Fergus' mouth.

Women's hands were soft, delicate, and whispered fire against the skin. Men's hands were rough, calloused, and blazing flame. There were times he preferred a woman's touch and other times, like this moment, where he wanted nothing more than the very hand that was upon him. Fergus mimicked Nathaniel's rhythm, the glide of his hand, up and down, slow and methodical. The most sensitive part, the head, teased, the pad of a thumb pressing down and across.

Fractured breaths, mere pants mixed with wanton moans and their mouths parted. Fergus' mouth shifted to Nathaniel's neck, biting down upon the skin. An overheated and gruff puff of air against Fergus' ear Nathaniel's reaction.

The words came with difficulty, spoken in between gasps, "I did not come prepared." How could he have? That an afternoon ride with an old friend would lead to a potential ride of another kind all together.

Teeth bit down upon the lobe of Fergus' ear then pulled back, drawing the lobe slowly out of his mouth. "Tell me what you want, Fergus. Let me hear you say it."
 

Fergus Cousland

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#24
This was not how he was expecting this afternoon to go at all, but he would be the last to say it was unwelcome. He needed closeness. More than just a pat on the arm or a quick embrace. No he wanted to feel connected to someone, and Nate was turning out to be the perfect someone.

"I did not come prepared." Fergus was a little confused at first, remaining too focused on stroking over Nate's cock, exploring its texture and length. It was a sensation he had forgotten, letting these desires die down quietly as time went on. Now they were back with a fury.

Finally, it dawned on him exactly what he meant, and he let out a groan. "Neither did I."

Not like he would have. This was supposed to be some drinking and remembering the good times of their youth, perhaps a little heavier conversation. But this was so much better wasn't it? He gasped when Nate bit down on his ear lobe, another soft moan following. At this rate they might relieve each other's tension with just their hands.

"Tell me what you want, Fergus. Let me hear you say it." What did he want? There were so many things he wanted right now. A multitude of desires he wanted to experience once more. Fergus had found himself on top in these situations, though he had experimented a few times with the reverse.

He didn't answer Nate right away, instead capturing his mouth once more before pushing him on his back. He moved to straddle his thighs, rumbling in frustration as there was a moment where he had to let go of Nate's length.

Once he was on top, knees pressing into his partners hips, he found his way to Nate's cock again. He broke the kiss, pressing his cheek to his, mouth a fraction from his ear. His voice cracked a little as he spoke, still breathless from it all. "What do I want? I want you, Nate. I want you to fuck me. I want to taste your skin, and lose myself inside of you."

It was a lot to request, but he wouldn't lie to Nate. He wanted it all, and he knew if he were to get any of it, they would have to leave the cave. He let out a soft laugh, "Perhaps... perhaps we need to return to the castle to fulfill these desires?"
 

Nathaniel Howe

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#25
Fergus responded with his mouth, but no words were spoken, not yet. The not-at-all chaste kiss broke briefly as Fergus' hands pressed against Nathaniel's shoulders, pushing him onto the cave floor back first. Nathaniel did not object. Fergus' enthusiasm was not to be admonished but encouraged.

Hands that had stilled in their exquisite ministrations resumed their glide, the friction of one body atop the other adding a new layer and making it impossible for Nathaniel to wait any longer for a response to his question. They could finish each other like that, within the cave, the dirt on their skin, the smell of camp fire and alcohol infusing the air. That was not what Nathaniel wanted.

It was not what Fergus wanted either. His answer came in cracked and breathless words whispered into Nathaniel's ear. "What do I want? I want you, Nate. I want you to fuck me. I want to taste your skin, and lose myself inside of you." A puff of laughter filled a pause. "Perhaps... perhaps we need to return to the castle to fulfill these desires?"

What Fergus said made sense. But that meant moving and Nathaniel was not at all interested in doing that. Maker why had he taken that vial out of his saddlebags? Because Jean had made a joke, that was why. Never again would he be so unprepared.

He released his hold on Fergus' cock, hands shifting to press into the sides of Fergus' hips. Well trimmed nails bit into the skin. His cheek pushed against Fergus' just enough to turn his head. Nathaniel's had whispers of his own to share. "We want the same thing. I will fuck you, Fergus. I will fuck you until the only words you can manage are Nathaniel and please." His mouth curved against Fergus' ear, a wry grin forming. "I might even let you be on top." But if they stayed like this, they would never make it to the castle.

He pushed at Fergus, nudging his friend off him and plied himself off the cave floor. Wisps of hair fanned out of his braids, hair disheveled in the tussle. As much as Nathaniel wanted to tear the remainder of his clothing off and soak up the heat of Fergus' body against his own, he could not. Neither man could return to the castle looking anything other than they had upon leaving. His hand sank into his pants, re-situating himself so he could tie the laces. The shirt came next, scooped off the ground, sipped on overhead and finally tucked into pants.
 

Fergus Cousland

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#26
He could feel the grin spread on Nathaniel’s lips as he breathed the words into his ear. Oh, he had no doubt Nathaniel would make him call out his name, but he had ideas of his own to make Fergus fall from his lips as well. He was more of a doer, so he kept such thoughts to himself.

When Nate nudged at him, he certainly did not want to move, but otherwise they would end this moment much too soon and in a way not satisfactory to both of them. He relented, ending up sitting on the ground and watching Nathaniel stand. Everything had been quite a rush since the moment he kissed him, but he took a moment to appreciate Nathaniel’s form. Definitely leaner than himself, but still a thicker build you would normally find on an archer.

Fergus bit his lip, grinning at the entire situation, but when Nate started to turn he hurried to get up and get dressed again. It was not as easy as it should have been, his erection causing a bit of a problem with lacing his pants. He grumbled, but finally was able to get them tied comfortably. While it would be best to arrive back at the castle in proper shape, he knew there was no way he was getting all the dirt off his clothes and skin. he dusted off as much as he could, putting the shirt back on and tucking it in.

His heart was still thudding in his chest though, the anticipation of what was to come had him grinning from ear to ear. They both worked to do what was needed before they left. Fergus used a waterskin to put out the fire, and it wasn’t long until they were both riding back to the castle.

It was hard not to push the horses, but they kept them at a comfortable trot. When they approached the rear gate, Fergus worked his fingers through his hair and dusted his hands off on his pants in hopes that he didn’t look too mussed. What he and Nate were going to be doing was no one’s business but their own.

The guards didn’t seem at all concerned and let them through without even a blink. Stablehands were waiting to take their horses, and Fergus made sure to grab one of the bags off the saddle before they were taken away. He grinned as he held it up. “In case the bottles you brought run out.

If there was one thing Fergus never wanted to run out of it was the drink.
 

Nathaniel Howe

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#27
The ride back was a quick one. Neither men wished to dally about and make the return to the castle take longer than possible. And when they arrived, no one so much as gave them a second look. Their bedraggled appearances met with no stares.

Nathaniel scooped the pouches containing the liquor and food from his saddle. Fergus seemed to have the same idea, holding up a bag of his own with a grin, “In case the bottles you brought run out.”

There was little worry of that. Nathaniel had no intentions of getting drunk, not this night. He wanted very much to be in control of his faculties and enjoy the night to the fullest."We won't," he replied.

They had worked out a plan on the way back. Nathaniel would return to his room and Fergus would go to his. Then, after checking on Riane, Fergus would visit Nathaniel using the stairwell connecting the upper level of the family quarters to the lower level where Nathaniel was currently staying. They would attempt to be as discreet as possible as to not invite unnecessary rumors.

Each minute that ticked away while Nathaniel waited on Fergus to arrive allowed the doubt to creep in. What if he changed his mind? What if he starts to think this a mistake? An awkwardness would be born in that change of heart; an awkwardness Nathaniel did not wish to invite. Their friendship was too important to him.

He needn't have worried. Fergus arrived within fifteen minutes, the bag containing his bottles slung over his shoulder.

Nathaniel gripped at Fergus' shirt and pulled the man into the room. No hellos were spoken. They were not here to speak. The heat that blazed between them in the cave ignited once more as Nathaniel was upon Fergus, pushing him against the wall adjacent to the closed door. Fergus' bag tumbled to the ground, the leather of the bag enough to shelter the glass from breakage. The space between the men narrowed, only the smallest of channels separating their bodies when Nathaniel's lips near bruised Fergus' in their fervor.

Hands desperate to feel and touch again, grappled with clothing to remove them once more. The shirts came first. Each man lifting the others in tandem, their mouths parting only to allow the garments to pass overhead.
 

Fergus Cousland

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#28
Once he had made sure Riane was going to be taken care of for most of the evening, and he had told Almaric to make sure he and Nathaniel were not disturbed unless it was an emergency -- which got a slight eyebrow raise from his seneschal -- Fergus made he way downstairs.

The room Nathaniel was occupying was supposed to be part of the Cousland family quarters. He had not placed him in Aedan's room, Teagan had gotten that honor. Still, he thought it rather fitting that Nate be here, and not just for the quicker access to his room.

He gave the door a light knock, and waited for Nathaniel to open it. He did not want to presume to enter. When the door opened, Nathaniel gripped his shirt and pulled him inside. He couldn't help but let out a short laugh. The laugh was for the joy he was feeling at being so very desired.

The door was shut and his back was to the wall next to it. The next few moments were a repeat of the cave, only this time both men were standing. Shirts discarded and laces undone. This time though, Fergus wanted to feel more. His hands slid around Nathaniel's sides as they kissed, his hands slinking under the waistband of his pants and grabbing onto his ass. The grip was sturdy and he pulled Nate closer, grinding his hips against his, erections barely contained in loose pants rubbing against one another.

That lasted for a moment, and while retaining a grip he began to slide his feet out of his boots which he had made sure were mostly unlaced before arriving. The less work to get undressed the better.

The kisses were hungry as ever, and he found himself nipping at Nathaniel's lips, taking in the coarse feeling of stubble against stubble. This entire situation made him glad that they were similar in height, Fergus barely surpassing Nate by an inch.

Finally, one hand loosened from his grip on Nate's ass, moving to push down his pants further and taking his cock in hand. He stroked over it, thumb pressing against the sensitive ridge as he growled against Nate's lips.
 

Nathaniel Howe

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#29
Too many clothes. They were wearing too many clothes.

The shirts on the floor, pants and boots still remained. Thinking ahead, laces already loosened upon his boots, Fergus was one step ahead of Nathaniel and wiggled out of his boots. When Nathaniel pushed at the band of Fergus' pants, hungrily forcing them down, the garment pool at his feet, leaving Fergus completely unclothed.

Trying to wiggle out of his own boots while Fergus worked his length and he Fergus' proved to be a difficult task even for someone as agile as Nathaniel. He could dart through shadows unseen. He moved in battle with the grace of a cat. But, he could not remove his boots quite as easily as Fergus. Hindsight bit him in the ass again. Next time he would not make the same mistake.

The heel of one foot against the other, he bore down and nudged one boot loose enough that it tumbled to the ground when he lifted his leg and wiggled about. He was sure he looked a fool, but the end goal was worth the silly display. The other boot took a bit more effort, Fergus' attentions making concentration on multiple tasks exceedingly difficult, but he managed to remove it as well.

Nathaniel then was hit with the urge to so something he had not done in a very long time. He got on his knees.

The trail was not a quick one. He drug his mouth away from Fergus' and explored other parts of his body with tooth, tongue and lips. A nipple, the center of a rib, a patch of scarring, Nathaniel's choices seemed random but were quite deliberate. And while he drifted lower, his hand never loosened its grip upon Fergus. Only once Nathaniel was on his knees in front of Fergus did his hand relent in favor of something quite different.

Just enough to taste, just enough to tease, Nathaniel took the whole of Fergus into his mouth. He held him inside for no more than a few seconds before drawing back slowly to stand once again.
 

Fergus Cousland

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#30
He kept his laughs as quiet as possible as Nate tried to get out of his boots. Truth be told he thought the man would have been out of them already considering they were in his room. He was not complaining though, enjoying the difficulty he was causing his partner by continuing to be attentive.

Fergus kicked aside his boots and his pants once they had fallen around his ankles, and Nathaniel was finally able to get out of his own clothes. The humor was drowned out by intensity once more, mouths meeting only temporarily as Nathaniel intended to make a path down Fergus' body with his mouth.

Before he had even gotten to his abdomen, Fergus' fingers had curled tight into Nate's hair. His back arched, his shoulders pressing against the stone wall. When Nate's mouth surrounded his cock he let out a low rumbling groan, hips shuddering. It was temporary though and when Nate made his way back to standing, Fergus' growled at him. "You fucking tease."

He didn't let the man respond, instead capturing his lips in another hungry kiss. He began to push Nate backwards, tired of being against the wall. One of his hands gripped Nate's hip while the other returned to attending his cock. This time his attentions were more than mere strokes, his movements seemed keen on teasing his friend right back.

Fergus wasn't paying attention to where they were going, just knowing he wanted away from the wall. After a moment, they bumped into the small couch that was in the room. He pushed Nate onto the couch. "I, on the other hand, am not."

And then Fergus went down on his knees, spreading Nate's apart. Lips trailed up the inside of his thigh making their way to Nate's cock. It had been a while since he had performed such an act, but he was not lacking in enthusiasm. Hand and mouth worked in tandem, looking up with a mischievous glint in his eyes.
 

Nathaniel Howe

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#31
"You fucking tease."

Laughter muffled within a kiss the only response Fergus allowed Nathaniel. One hand upon Nathaniel's hip, the other painstakingly slow in its stroke, Fergus nudged Nathaniel backwards.

Their backward movement ends when the back of Nathaniel's legs collided with a small couch. With a push from Fergus, he found himself seated. "I, on the other hand, am not."

Nathaniel's was often a man of few words. He was a man of even less words when Fergus fell to his knees. The lips upon his thigh, the heat of Fergus' breath as he edged upwards... The only sounds Nathaniel could manage were raspy moans and barely even that as Fergus took him into his mouth. A symphony of touch, Fergus' hand and mouth played Nathaniel and played him well. Nathaniel's breathing increased in depth and his fingers twisted within Fergus' hair.

He could grow used to this. It was more than the pleasure. Pleasure he could get from Jean or equally willing others. This was also fun; a type of uninhibited fun Nathaniel had not had in more years than he cared to count. And he did not want it to stop.

His body did not agree.

Stop... he needed Fergus to... "Stop... not yet." The words more air than sound. Deep breaths turned shallow and increased in speed. He released his hand from Fergus' head, fingers flicking backward to motion to the bed. "Vial... bed." Sentences had become impossible.
 

Fergus Cousland

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#32
Fergus was rather enjoying himself at his current task, loving the way Nate's fingers felt tightening in his hair, tongue pressing into smooth but rigid flesh. He didn't want to stop when he was told too, but he was aching for more as well. So he did, looking back at the bed out of breath, eyes trying to focus to find the vial that was mentioned.

It took him a little longer than he liked to get off the floor, but once he did, he was tugging Nathaniel up and towards the bed. Both men seemed a bit unsteady on their feet, but somehow they made it. He pushed Nathaniel down, much like he had before on the couch.

To think a simple wrestling match had instigated all of this. What could have happened if they hadn't stopped when they were younger. Their lives may have been quite a bit different.

He didn't have time to waste on what ifs. There was a very present now happening. He crawled up on the bed hovering above Nate. When he reached over to the table for the vial, he leaned in for another kiss.

He was normally a man on top and it seemed that Nate was going to let him have this moment to be just that. He settled between his companions legs, and opened the vial, pouring some of the contents into his hand. He stroked his own length with it quickly, but thoroughly. He leaned forward to put the vial back and used his well lubed fingers to tease at Nathaniel's ass.

Another kiss, and a soft laugh that spoke of joy before he leaned back up, pulling Nathaniel's hips towards him. As urgent as the need was, he also was not one to move too fast. He pushed inside him slowly, groaning at the tightness. He stayed fully hilted for a moment, letting both of them get used to the sensation.

A moment later he was building a rhythm inside of Nathaniel, hands gripping tight on his hips. Neither of them would last long, but the evening was still young. He grinned down at Nate, sweat beading across his brow which was pinched with exertion.
 

Nathaniel Howe

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#33
Getting from couch to bed proved problematic. Both men wanted nothing more than to get to the bed and what would come next. But that meant moving and a brief end to skin upon skin, touch upon touch. The air was cool in her embrace as Nathaniel and Fergus parted. So close to the edge, Nathaniel’s cock tingled further as the moisture upon his length dried.

When they made it to the bed, much like with the couch before, Fergus took command, pushing Nathaniel down upon the feathered mattress and velvet coverlet. This part was not one Nathaniel played often, usually preferring to top. And though he would not be top this time, it hardly meant he was not in control. His choice. His decision.

The choice had been one of his best.

It had been some time since Fergus had bedded a man, but remembered well what to do. Nathaniel sucked in a deep breath as Fergus slowly entered him. Fergus held there for a moment drawing a satisfied smile from Nathaniel in expectation of what was to follow.

Their bodies worked together. Nathaniel’s legs lifted, pressing into Fergus’ chest and shoulders, opening himself so Fergus could hit just the right spot with each of his thrusts. The pace was slow at first, an easing into a steady tempo of flesh slapping against flesh. Slow did not last for long, giving way to urgency and a faster movement.

Fergus neared and so did Nathaniel. His own erection rested against his sweat glistened belly, unattended, just as he wished. Only when close, only when on the verge did he take Fergus’ hand from one of his hips and wrap it around his length.

Nathaniel’s head tilted back, crown digging into the mattress below at the quiver overtaking his body whole. Fingers dug into the cover and his legs pressed down upon Fergus. The moan that brushed his lips was not one of pain, quite the opposite. Low and rich, he cried out unbidden.
 

Fergus Cousland

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#34
When Nate's legs moved over his shoulders he grinned even broader. He never expected to have such a dalliance with him, but he was glad it had ended up this way. His pace increased as the urgency of the situation started to peak.

His lips and teeth moved over his partners leg, now easy in reach. Soon though his entire focus was on the act at hand as his climax steadily approached. Each sound Nathaniel made urged him on, his own grunts and groans growing louder.

When Nate moved his hand to his cock, Fergus knew this moment of the evening was about to draw a close. And what a close it was. His partners orgasm hit him hard, and he could feel the pulse of it in his hand as he worked the shaft.

He had to let go and find his grip on Nate's hip once more soon after because he could feel everything tightening at his center. The sound he made was close to Nathaniel's name but not quite, the moan trailing out too soon for it to be intelligible. He had gotten what he wanted, to lose himself inside of him.

His body was shaky, sweat running down his chest and back. He let out a chuckle, and looked down at Nate as he pulled himself free. It would be nice to have this more often with Nathaniel, and he idly wondered if this would be a one time event brought on both men's need for intimacy in the face of despair.

He pushed Nate's leg off his shoulders, leaning down and letting his tongue taste the sweat and cum that pooled on Nate's stomach. He moved further up and gave him a kiss that was far less rough than their earlier kisses had been before rolling off to the side.

"That was.... much needed." He chuckled again, rather pleased with the whole situation.
 

Nathaniel Howe

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#35
Nathaniel pressed the palm of his head against his brow and tried to steady his breathing. That had been….

Fergus voiced what just that had been for both of them. "That was.... much needed.”

Nathaniel would never be so unprepared again. For a man that liked to believe himself a thinker always considering the possibilities, he completely dropped the ball, or balls here.

He had not thought ahead in the cave. He had not thought ahead about his boots when returning to the room. He had, however, thought ahead where the whiskey, brandy and food were concerned. Nathaniel rolled onto his side, arm reaching toward a table next to the bed. He grabbed Fergus’ brandy first followed by the jar of olives and his bottle of whiskey before flopping back down next to Fergus.

He rested his bottle of whiskey against a hip for a moment, hand working the lid of the jar of olives. There were many ways to work up an appetite beyond being a Grey Warden and Nathaniel was famished. He bit down on an olive, teeth separating flesh from pit. Head tilting back slightly, he spit the pit into the air, letting it land where it may. What were a few olive pits on the floor compared to the mess Fergus and he had made of the bed. The servants would talk; there would be no avoiding that now.

“We should have done that years ago,” Nathaniel said, finally speaking. The sound that followed was more snort than laugh. “I’ll also have to tell Aedan the next time I speak to him, that you and I are now brothers as much as Iain and he.” What Nathaniel and Fergus had just experienced was most certainly not brotherly love. Neither was what Iain and Aedan had. That they called each other brothers rather than the lovers they had become was something Nathaniel could not understand. “I’m sure Aedan would love that.”

Nathaniel had no plans to actually tell Aedan. What happened between Fergus and he was between just them. The idea of Aedan’s face, however, was an entertaining one to imagine all the same.
 

Fergus Cousland

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#36
Fergus lay there for a moment, even after Nate had handed him the bottle of brandy. He had a big stupid grin on his face, and he had to say this was the happiest he had been since before Rae died. He wiped the sweat from his face and finally pushed himself up to where his back was against the headboard. The brandy was good, but he had half a mind not to drink too much of it. It wasn't too late after all, and there were other desires to be fulfilled.

We should have done that years ago,” Nathaniel said “I’ll also have to tell Aedan the next time I speak to him, that you and I are now brothers as much as Iain and he.

"We should have. Would have been interesting to share more than a first kiss." He grinned at that, and then he sighed a little bit over the revelation about Aedan and Iain. He tried to not let it burn him, for he had confided in his brother about the proclivities he had. They had shared many stories before the Blight. He supposed Aedan had changed, and in some ways he had not. He would not let thoughts of Aedan damper his spirits. Though the thought of wrestling with Nate again as a result was tempting.

"Perhaps he would be jealous, he was always upset when we did things without him." Fergus laughed, and he rolled his eyes a little before reaching over to pluck an olive from the jar. He popped the whole thing in his mouth, and after a moment the pit went flying across the room. Normally he would be more concerned about the extra work of the maids, but tonight he had little concern other than spending time with Nate.

"Though I would not dare share this experience with him at all." Fergus would now keep his secrets to himself, save for maybe telling Nathaniel.
 

Nathaniel Howe

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#37
"We should have. Would have been interesting to share more than a first kiss. Perhaps he would be jealous, he was always upset when we did things without him."

Both men laughed in unison. Both Aedan and Thomas had tried to tag along. A little brother's job was to annoy his older brother. Both Thomas and Aedan excelled at their professions. Unlike Aedan, however, Thomas eventually gave up the chase, content to entertain himself in his own ways. Nathaniel did not care to consider what those ways may have been. Aedan never gave up. He would chase after Nathaniel and Fergus and beg to be included in their games. There was an irony there Nathaniel had to wonder if Aedan ever realized himself. As men, he finally succeeded and Nathaniel was forced to play his games and follow the younger Cousland around.

"Perhaps," Nathaniel mused before biting down on another olive. He edged up on the bed, matching Fergus' posture and resting his back against the headboard.

"Though I would not dare share this experience with him at all."

His lips pursed and another pit went flying over the edge of the bed. "Neither would I." This would be their secret.

Secrets.

The world never stayed ignored for long, not even within the glow of a happy moment. There had been one matter Nathaniel wished to discuss with Fergus during their day together. He was not sure how to broach the subject, but he needed to all the same. If not now, when? He popped the cork on his whiskey and drank deeply from the bottle. His hand rose, wiping away the excess. "Fergus...." The mirth of seconds before no longer present in his tone, he continued, "I need to know everything Aedan told you about the Wardens."
 

Fergus Cousland

Teyrn of Highever
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Noble
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189
#38
He was glad that Nate wouldn't tell Aedan either. Not like he expected he would. Perhaps soon Nathaniel would also lose track of Aedan and he would just become a memory in both their lives. It pained him to think of it that way, but he was tired of being hurt. Broken promises stung him as hard as death.

When he reached over for another olive, he noticed the change of expression on his companion's face. He popped the olive in his mouth, hoping that whatever melancholy had caused it would pass.

Unfortunately, it didn't.

"Fergus...." Nathaniel's tone was quite serious, and instead of spitting the olive pit, Fergus took it from his mouth and dropped it off the side of the bed. Not much better, but more appropriate for the tone of the moment, "I need to know everything Aedan told you about the Wardens."

Fergus took another swig of the brandy and then sighed. He knew the things Aedan told him would come back to him. He knew that Nathaniel had conscripted an entire room of people due to the possibility of them knowing something about the Wardens. He shifted a little uncomfortably at the thought.

"More than I ever wanted to know," He frowned, his mood dropping. He brought a knee up and rested his forearm on it, bottle dangling from his hand. "He told me about the Joining, how many people die from the poison that is darkspawn blood. He spoke of the child he made with that witch."

He might have said Morrigan's name at some point, but not anymore. She was the reason he had left, to find her and his child. That child could be a danger to all of them and he rubbed his forehead with his free hand. "I have not uttered a word of it to anyone, Nathaniel. Not even Lene."

It pained him suddenly. He was given more information as to why the Wardens went into the Deep Roads and how it shortened their lifespan. He looked over at Nathaniel then, knowing that someday his friend would leave for that long journey and he would never see him again.
 

Nathaniel Howe

Warden Commander of Ferelden
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Noble
Grey Warden
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#39
"More than I ever wanted to know," Fergus frowned, a somber air overtaking the mood within the room. He propped an arm against his knee and continued, "He told me about the Joining, how many people die from the poison that is darkspawn blood. He spoke of the child he made with that witch. I have not uttered a word of it to anyone, Nathaniel. Not even Lene."

A frustrated huff of air expelled, Nathaniel drank more of his whiskey. Rather than do his duty and take the final blow as he was destined to do, Aedan let a witch convince him to father her child; a child they knew nothing about. Aedan fathered a child with the possible soul of an old god and simply did nothing after. He made little effort to help Nathaniel find the child. He made little effort to do much of anything save cry about all he had lost and how much everyone owed him. He acted as if he was the only person to have suffered loss in the Blight. All around Ferelden there were people who suffered during the war. Who was Aedan to say that his loss was any worse than theirs?

Anger grated at Nathaniel's mood. It was his own fault, of course, bringing up the topic of Aedan after what had been a rather incredible afternoon. Would serve Aedan right if Nathaniel aided in the First Warden in finding him. Nathaniel kept the First Warden at bay, for now, with lies. But if he wanted to... As much as Aedan infuriated him, he could not do it. He was not that man.

But none of this was Fergus' fault. What Fergus knew was nothing he wished to know. Aedan probably unburdened himself out for some selfish purpose.

"I know you haven't, Fergus." Fergus would not have wanted to weigh down someone else with such heavy knowledge. "I've put rules in place since I became Warden-Commander. Certain precautions, if you will, because of Aedan to make sure certain secrets stay secrets."

His hand raised, fingers massaging the back of his neck, at the pause. Before speaking further, he turned his head, looking to Fergus directly. "You know what I did the last time I was in Highever. That was because someone said something in Chaisnd in a room of people I did not know spoke the language or not. I don't know if I could enforce those rules if you were to..." He could not say the words. He could not watch his friend drink. He could not watch his friend die.

A weak smile curved his mouth. "I trust you, Fergus."
 

Fergus Cousland

Teyrn of Highever
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189
#40
The moment turned heavy, and he could see how this line of conversation was weighing on Nate. He knew that kind of burden. He and Nate both carried heavy loads. "You know what I did the last time I was in Highever. That was because someone said something in Chasind in a room of people I did not know spoke the language or not. I don't know if I could enforce those rules if you were to..."

It was unspoken but Fergus could feel it. The thoughts of forcing him to become part of the order. He knew Nate would do his duty if he ever revealed the knowledge he had kept hidden away. That would not mean he would be happy about it. And Fergus never would reveal those secrets. Riane needed a father, and he would not deprive her of it as long as he could help it.

"I trust you, Fergus." The weak smile on Nathaniel's face almost broke his heart.

Fergus was always a physical man, and that was no different now. He set aside the bottle of brandy for now, resting it on the table on his side of the bed. He put his arm around Nate's shoulders then and pressed his forehead to his temple. "I will never give you a reason not to, Nate. I promise."

There was a gravity to those words that made the mood in the room a little bit more somber. He let him go after a moment, and smiled warmly hoping to diffuse some of the darkness that had clouded this evening.

"So, now that is taken care of..." He grabbed up the bottle again, smirking and taking another drink. "I have a meeting with an old acquaintance in the morning. A man named Ferren. He worked as a guard here before, but hoping he'll take up the position of Guard-Captain. Ser Cavagh has been pulling double duty since the illness that spread a while back."

He'd be glad to finally give the knight a break. "I saw him in the Green Spears Inn the other night, so thought I would take the opportunity. He and Lene were good friends. I would like to think she would approve."
 
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