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07 July 2011 @ 01:49 am
fic: our story was not told (dragon age: origins)  
our story was not told. dragon age: origins. t for mild sexual references and swearing. 2,186 words.
He likes to pretend he isn't one of them. Cullen/F!Amell.

He likes to pretend he isn't one of them.

The men he rubs elbows and shoulders of templar steel with everyday are many and diverse, all originating from some different, foreign place. Some turn to the Chantry when they have lost their way in the Maker's eyes and want to live out the remainder of their lives in His grace. Some, like him, were borne from a mage's womb and were born and bred for smiting that from where they whence came. Some become templars for the mere excitement of it; chasing apostates and witnessing Harrowings and earning the privilege of wearing holy steel. Some merely seek a life of quiet and penance, but nobody ever expects the reality of the templar life.

These men he calls his brothers gossip; possibly because there's nothing else to do when you're watching doors and standing aimlessly in corridors or recreational rooms. Cullen never fancied tiresome rumors, thinking them an unnecessary invasion of privacy and a form of cruelty if the rumor was crude and incorrect. Gossip isn't the men's only fancy, however. Not all of the men are celibate, inexperienced virgins like many men such as himself. Whispers of how a woman's soft body curling under your own feels, chatter about how constricting mage robes are, laughs of all sorts about the mystery that is the female mind; these things echo in his head as the aged men crowd around the table, chuckling about how they'll never know such things again. It comes of no staggering to him that mage's names are mentioned, how lewd thoughts come from their names and sometimes the men would waste weeks at a time fantasizing about the same woman.

That Amell girl, they prattled (over and over) for the fifth time on patrol, helmets and visors an intimidating veneer over their faces, those hips a bloody invitation; that innocent act is a front, I tell you. The men accompanying him are well in their senile years, all grey hair and might-have-beens. One of the men, Bran, is leading the perverted fantasy, whispering tainted thoughts of the female form, with its curves and pliancy and how the younger the better, he'd said. Cullen's gauntlet rests upon his sword, thick hand bound to the hilt and he feels the urge to remove their heads from their shoulders if he has the listen to the same reverie about the same woman for a sixth time just this morn. He hopes to encounter Gregoir soon, not an average aspiration, he supposes with an ironic smile. The Knight-Commander discouraged such mindless babbling and gossip and his companions would indubitably close their mouths when in the man's presence.

Despite the inane palaver of men without hope, templar life isn't mere. Hours of walking and standing causes a painful process upon your feet of callousing them, and it can take months to do so. The armor is heavy and oppressive, weighing you down and making you sweat in all weather and conditions. Their quarters are modest and simple, muscles and strong frame having to be forced into your own bed, solitude a foreign concept after a period of time. Prayer is essential, canticles sometimes falling from his lips without thought. Celibacy renders it difficult to satisfy natural needs, and awaking in the heart of darkness to stained sheets isn't a pleasant experience. Cullen adjusts to this lifestyle, though begrudgingly.

The Amell girl makes his adjustments even more burdensome, however. It strikes him how effortless she carries his desire, how she does not heed his pining glances or fumbling words, wringing his steel fingers together and failing completely and utterly to vent his frustration on his hands. Flagellating his skin nightly has accomplished nothing, the knotted cord chastising the sinew of his back, forsaking grotesque scars in its wake. The indents of his teeth from such flogging mar his wrist, and it is still difficult to write. Even as he peers upon her now, studying and idly twirling the ends of her hair between her fingers, a small song humming in her throat; all he can think of is how he will need to invest in a thicker, longer, more tightly tethered cord.

"There's such thing as subtlety, you know."

He turns, withdrawing from of his ill-advised stupor to face the twit himself, Anders. Cullen glances at the surrounding templars encompassing the library, scattered about like chess pieces. He had been grateful to separate from their nonsense, happily walking away from them.

"W-w-what do y-you mean?" Cullen asks, tightening his hands as much as he could in the restraining gauntlets and squaring his shoulders with a considerable amount of stress to his muscles.

Anders laughs quietly in response, nodding towards Amell. "You haven't been able to keep your eyes off her since you got here; someone is bound to notice sooner or later."

Oh, sod it all, he thinks, wincing mildly and fighting the instinct to bury his teeth in his lip, an embarrassing habit when he became flustered, along with his stutter. Admitting his continuous watching of her and carefully scheduled patrols to be wherever she is wouldn't be very artful, indeed.

"The templar's function is to watch over mages," Cullen says. "If I'm not watching the mages in this room, then I'm obviously not doing my job right." It's a poor attempt at redirection and even he doesn't fall for the bloated, desolate excuse for following her every movement.

"Couldn't blame you really," the mage sighs, as though to bait him. It is common knowledge that he and Amell were merely friends, albeit not as close as her and Jowan but familiar enough to be deemed such. "She is rather pretty, isn't she, Cullen?"

Perched upon the feeble wood of the Circle's furniture, solitary candlelight illuminating the flush of cheeks and wayward wisps of fallen hair, the perplexed bite of full lips as she gradually sweeps eyes over the versed volumes; no, she is at the peak of her beauty. Ten flogs.

"Did I ever tell you how much of a brazen whore she is?" Anders muses as though it means naught. "No, of course I didn't. I've had her though and so has every other miserable bastard in this prison. Suppose you did know, templars gossip like old biddies and it's not like it's a big secret, is it?"

"Y-y-you're lying," Cullen stutters, remembering how the mage had escaped the tower five times, a capable master in the trades of misconception and deceit.

Its gates forever shut.
Heaven has been filled with silence,
I knew then,
And cross'd my heart with shame

Anders pouts mockingly, his eyebrows creasing. "Do I have any reason to lie to you, Ser Templar?"

He doesn't trust the smirk that mars his mouth after his seemingly innocent words, the patronizing intent behind them not surprising him at all. "Go. . . brush your hair or whatever it is that you do all day," he grumbles like a petulant child.

The mage is pleased with that, laughing loud enough for just Cullen to hear him, lest he capture her scrutiny.

"You're all right, Cullen," Anders says, clapping a hand he didn't feel upon his maimed back. "Seems Karl wasn't wrong after all."

Before the templar can open his mouth, the mage is gone, striding away leisurely, whistling the same song elicited from Amell's lips.

Cullen's watch isn't over until an hour past curfew; that spare hour spent circling the tower several times to verify that none exited their dormitories, the majority of escapes happen during the night and he wonders briefly if this new procedure wasn't implemented to keep Anders inside the tower. Amell will possibly stay here as close to curfew as she can, her Harrowing coming to pass in a fortnight.

His chained-to-the-Chantry heart plummets and soars and falls when she closes the leather book and walks to the bookcase he's closest to: Healing Magic. Amell's hands are searching and scouring through the decrepit volumes when she sees him, a small smile born upon her mouth, upturning in delight.

"Hello, Cullen," she says, all sweetness and smiles and sunshine and sweet holy Maker.

The tongue in his mouth doesn't work, completely frozen by her presence as though by an ice spell. He likes to think she'd laugh at that. You've iced me silent, he'd say, no bumbling or stammering but confidant and oozing charm and she would laugh, her face alight with mirth for him, just for him and he'd kiss her, every stupid, adolescent dream culminating in that one perfect moment when the world stopped and she became his.

Fifteen flogs.

"H-h-h-h-ello," he replies, slightly twitching and willing it to stop. "Are y-you, um, s-studying for your H-harrowing?"

"How'd you guess?" she says, a small sigh escaping her as she momentarily glances at the already large stack of books threatening to collapse in on itself.

"You're in here every n-night, just looking through those books," he laughs nervously and upon realizing the insinuation buried in his words, he clutches the back of his neck with a steel hand, feeling the carved dune of his scars. "N-n-not that I'm, uh, here every night watching you because--well, my watch causes me to be here and you're always h-here and I can't h-help if I, um, see you."

"That's sort of what the steel cage is about, isn't it?" her hands gesture to the metal and the crimson skirts, a Sword of Mercy branded on the center of his armor plate, leaves of fire growing at its stem. "Watching and waiting for any signs of corruption."

"See, that's just not true. It's merely a very aggressive fashion statement. We have annual pageants, you know." The words are tumbling from his lips before he can halt their onslaught but it no longer matters because her smile grows ever-larger and her eyes kindle like campfire on a dark night and he caused this only hollows him out and fills him up.

Did Creepy Cullen just make a jest? Gregoir's disapproving voice of gravel mocks him inwardly, making him wince.

"You're odd," she states, no cruelty tinting her tone.

"I've been told that, yes."

Amell goes back to the bookcase, nodding at it. "Could you help me find something?"

"What makes you think I know anything about Healing books and their locations?"

She shrugs. "The librarian hasn't been here in the past several days, and she promised she would help me find a Herbal book."

"Please?" she asks finally, the question accentuating their height difference as her eyes stared up at him as he towers over her like an unforgiving shadow. The plea on her face undoes him and he nods, relenting to her request.

"What is it called?"

"Fifty Uses of Elfroot."

His scavenger hunt halts as he looks at her in disbelief and a memory coming to mind. "I think I read that one, actually," he says.

"How does a templar read a mage's book?" Amell inquires, standing beside him and resting her hands upon the books, the warmth of her fingers radiating through his gauntlets and a cloud of what have I done to deserve this torment flares through his head like a harrowing echo.

"I didn't bother to read the title," he tells her. "I thought it was a hero's tale to begin with; a story of swords and adventure and damsels in distress."

"At what point did you stop reading?"

"I was halfway through when I realized what I was reading was not, in fact, a heroic tale," Cullen says. "I thought the main character's name was Elfroot and his sidekick's name was Anise." The twitch itches in his toes and spine and he fights it as he finds something else to occupy his fingers with, continuing the search for her book.

There; the laugh. It's a girlish giggle that sends tremors to his gut and shatters him to pieces and makes him so gloriously, fantastically happy that he was the one to elicit that wonderful sound he could listen to for the rest of his life and never tire of it. He aches to hear more of the laugh he's been longing to hear since he first saw her in the Healing Ward, all shaking hands and bitten raw lips as blue glowed from her soft hands to his sprained wrist.

"The most exhilarating part was when they first paired up to dissolve the sourness of lyrium," he mutters, a hand seizing the aforementioned book and handing it to her, relief abundant on her face. Amell laughs again, eyes shut as she shakes her head.

She clutches the volume to her chest. "Thank you for the book, and for telling me that story."

Cullen nods. "Y-you're, uh, welcome."

It would be so simple, easy as breathing, to merely swoop down and capture her lips in a kiss that would leave him weak in the knees and condemn him in the eyes of the Maker. He doesn't, denying himself that one pleasure and gives her a quick, curt smile and leaves the library with her haunting his thoughts with each step he takes.
Thirty flogs.

Current Location: after the storm
Current Mood: nostalgicnostalgic
Current Music: home - mumford & sons
cherry rabbit: DA: Street Justicereconnoiterer on July 7th, 2011 04:44 am (UTC)
This is everything I love about Cullen fics - the pining, the self-flagellation, the stutter and binding vows of chastity... Even smarmy Anders and his lovely locks.
it's always darkest before the dawn.: Bethanyamelia_scars on July 7th, 2011 01:07 pm (UTC)
Well, he is made up of those angsty ingredients, isn't he? And it's not a pre-Origins fic without Anders. Thank you. :)
Heichou Kryss-sama ❤ Maji Love 2000%: Hawke Lipskryss_delrhei on February 7th, 2012 12:19 am (UTC)
Not really sure how I stumbled upon this little jewel, but I did! And I REALLY REALLY LOVED THIS! This little piece is so much of what I love about Cullen, and even Anders! On that note even how I imagine Amell and her personality. Again, I really really loved it!

Edited at 2012-02-07 12:20 am (UTC)
it's always darkest before the dawn.amelia_scars on February 7th, 2012 02:05 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much! :)
Heichou Kryss-sama ❤ Maji Love 2000%kryss_delrhei on February 7th, 2012 03:19 pm (UTC)
You are very much welcome!