jaebility: (da // annnnders)
[personal profile] jaebility
MINOR SPOILERS!

When the Inquisitor judges Samson, his justice is merciful and he doesn’t heed the calls for blood. Cullen turns to ice when Samson turns to him. The Inquisitor has spoken: there is to be no death but a natural one, no pain beyond what life provides. Samson, fallen, fugitive, a human face in an unnatural war, is given to Cullen. A bleeding, burning reward for Cullen’s faithful service.

Not all the scarlet is gone, but Samson no longer crackles with or from the red lyrium. He’s dull without it, and within days of his imprisonment, Cullen has learned all he can from Samson. Empty of his secrets, Samson waits in his cell, a danger no longer. Though he still gives Cullen nightmares that leave the commander sweating and gasping out of sleep.

Cullen’s patience is not the same as the Inquisitor’s. Cullen’s is learned, practiced, beaten into him through repetition and structure. Cullen holds back, swallows hard, commands himself into calm. And so it’s the Inquisitor who comes to Samson when it’s clear that the templar is finally dying, and Cullen flattens himself against a wall in the prison when the Inquisitor and Samson speak the Chant together, their voices low and slow.

But Cullen isn’t cruel, and when Samson asks, Cullen brings the request to the advisers instead of immediately dismissing it. “He wants to see the sky again,” he tells them, and then adds in a heavy voice, “I don’t think he has much time left.”

"No," says Cassandra immediately, but she turns to the Inquisitor despite her proclamation.

"Are you all right?" he asks gently, because everything about him is kind, even regarding death.

"Yes," says Cullen, and that’s his answer.

So at dawn, when the courtyard is almost empty, Cullen escorts Samson to the gates. The templar walks on his own until they get to the bridge and then, when Cullen unlatches the unnecessary shackles, Samson stumbles. Cullen pulls him up on his shoulder - their faces are close enough that Cullen inhales warm air from Samson’s breath. It’s an arduous journey away from Skyhold and as soon as the keep disappears behind the clouds and mountains, Cullen releases his grip on Samson’s thin waist.

Instead of dropping to the ground, Samson clings to Cullen’s armor, weak and sliding down, until Cullen has no choice but to rearrange their arms to hold him again. “Please,” Samson begs, “let me just touch -“

His cold fingers tentatively trace Cullen’s jaw (clenched), then his lips (pressed), then his eyes (squeezed shut). When he kisses Cullen, out of surprise Cullen nearly drops him. Samson’s mouth is hot and his lips are dry, and Cullen tries to twist away. Before he can, Samson drags his tongue over the scar on Cullen’s mouth to capture another taste.

"Lyrium," Cullen says dully, realizing what Samson is desperately searching for. "I don’t-"

"Shut up." Samson’s hiss is as sharp as the wind. "You don’t understand. You never did. You could have been - We could been -"

Samson shivers so hard that his body quakes, and Cullen tightens his hold to prevent the templar’s body from shaking apart. He lowers himself to the ground, pulling Samson gently along with him, then lets the man tuck himself under Cullen’s chin.

To kiss Cullen’s neck, scrape his teeth over Cullen’s throat. Samson’s fingers work themselves into Cullen’s hair and quiver there against Cullen’s scalp. Cullen allows him these trespasses and then more that he closes his eyes against. But when the sun moves behind a snowy peak and their surroundings grow colder in the shadow, Cullen stops him - stops it - and hauls them both to their feet.

"Leave me here." Samson tries to laugh, but the sound is weak and the wind steals it from his mouth. "Save yourself the trouble."

Cullen shakes his head. “I have my orders,” he says and forces them to march back through the snow that is so white in the morning sun that it burns their weary eyes.
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a jar of jae

November 2016

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