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Amie - 30_hugs prompt

Title: Amie
Fandom: Dragon Age Origins: Awakening
Theme: #20; broken dreams
Characters and Relationship: Nathaniel Howe/Moira Cousland, romantic
Rating: G
Summary: Shared nightmares were just one of the many perks of becoming a Grey Warden.


The stench of darkspawn filled Moira’s nose until she was close to gagging. Pain lanced up her leg and she kicked out, catching the childer grub and sending it flying a few feet away. The tang of ozone and ash filled the air, an after-effect of Anders’ casting a thunderbolt and fireball in rapid succession. Somewhere ahead of her, she could hear Oghren bellowing out a war cry. But what caught her attention was the sight of Nathaniel, caught in the tentacles of that….thing, that broodmother. His body was limp as she shook him about like a rag doll. The broodmother cackled, a sound that made Moira’s hair stand on end. Nathaniel’s face was turned towards her, and the eye that hadn’t been ruined from acid stared blindly at her. Screaming, Moira ran towards them and…

Moira bolted awake, her breath ragged and her hand clenched around the hilt of the blade she kept at her bedside. She sat up and rested her head on her knees, her entire body shaking. While she had often dreamt of darkspawn, this had been the most vivid nightmare since the archdemon. And that probably isn’t a good thing, Moira thought, scrubbing her face with her hands. Getting up out of bed, she didn’t bother with a robe. Padding barefoot down the hallway, she stopped at Nathaniel’s door wearing nothing but a thin nightgown that barely kept out the late evening chill. She could hear him wrestling with his own nightmares in his sleep, the distressed sounds he made wiped all guilt from her mind as she easily picked the lock to his door and slipped inside. As an afterthought, she locked the door behind her before going to his side.

“Wake up, Nate,” she said, putting her hands against the side of his face. He muttered something incomprehensible, his head tossing to the side. “Nathaniel.” His arms were tense and he thrashed about even harder.

She had expected him to come to swinging, but it still took all of her agility to dodge the fist aimed at her. “Moira?” Nathaniel asked, sitting up in bed, the sheets tangled around his legs and his eyes still wild. “Damn, I didn’t hit you, did I?”

She smirked. “You’re not quite as fast half asleep as you usually are,” she said, sitting down on the mattress beside him. “You completely missed me.”

He reached out and held onto her arm. Moonlight spilled from the window near his bed, the full moon outside giving him enough light to see by. “No bites,” he said, turning her arm over and running a finger over the underside of her forearm.

“You had the same dream?” Moira asked, her free hand tracing the right side of his face. She shuddered, remembering the way that his dream flesh had blistered and peeled away, exposing bone.

Nathaniel turned his head, his lips settling against her palm. It had been odd; he hadn’t felt any pain during the dream, but he had clearly heard Moira scream out to him. She’d been running, her hand stretched out towards him, when she’d been overcome by those grublike beings. He had struggled against the hold that the large, bloated being had on him, but he couldn’t reach Moira in time to help her. The last thing he remembered before he had jolted into consciousness was seeing her overcome, her body covered by scores of those chittering, screeching creatures and the thing that held him cackling in his ear. “What was that?” he asked, his hand wrapping around her wrist, his thumb running in reassuring circles over her pulse.

“That was a broodmother,” Moira said. “More than likely, it was the Mother that the First had been talking about in the Blackmarsh.”

“You’ve seen them before, haven’t you?”

She nodded. “In the Deep Roads. Just one of the many reasons I really don’t want to venture out into them again.” She took her hand away and Nathaniel could feel her withdrawing into herself. “The Mother was human, once.”

His eyes widened. “What are you saying? That darkspawn did this to her?”

Moira nodded. “They don’t have many uses for men, except to kill them for food. Women…” she shuddered. “How else do you think little hurlocks are born? They need us in order to sustain their numbers. That’s why you rarely find the bodies of women in the villages that have been attacked.”

“That’s…” he grimaced, trying to wrap his mind around this new information.

“Horrific? Nightmarish? Completely incomprehensible?”

He shook his head. “All of the above.” He refused to think of what would happen should Moira be captured.

“Won’t happen,” she said, looking up at him.

“What?”

“I know what you’re thinking. One of the reasons I always take Oghren with us is that he promised me, years ago, that the same wouldn’t ever happen to me. He’d see that I’d be useless to them before that happened.”

He got up from the mattress and paced towards the window. The few torches a story below reflected off the stones outside, the rest of the Keep bathed in the moon’s silvery glow. He turned his head towards her and frowned. “Useless meaning that he’d kill you first.”

She stood as well and crossed her arms over her chest. “Yes.” Her expression was perfectly blank; her eyes as flat as her voice. Nathaniel had rarely seen her as such and it made goosebumps crawl across his skin. “I trust him, Nate. Would you be able to do the same if he weren’t around?” She tried to pose the same question to herself; would she be able to kill Nathaniel before the darkspawn got to him? Would she be capable of ending his life quickly where they would draw it out? If she were honest with herself, she would say that she wasn’t sure if she could. Her feelings for him would definitely cloud her judgment.

“I…” he sighed, his shoulders drooping in defeat. “No, I wouldn’t.” He hated thinking about it, especially after the nightmare he just had. Wanting to dispel the lingering feeling of unease, he reached out and gathered Moira in his arms. Her hair was down and the faint cloud of lavender that wafted from the strands calmed his nerves.

“Could I stay here with you tonight?” she asked, her cheek against his chest. “I don’t want to be alone, not after that.”

His hands ran over the thin linen nightshift she wore. “Of course.” He glanced over at the overstuffed chair near his bed. The last time that they had been together, they had spent many a night curled up in it. “Though I don’t know if we’d both fit in that thing again. We were a lot…”

“Slimmer?” she asked, arching her eyebrow.

“I’d never say such a thing,” he lightly teased, kissing her forehead. “We were younger eight years ago, is what I meant to say. My ladyship hadn’t been hefting longswords on a regular basis and I was still as skinny as a beanpole.” He’d only started to fill out after his first year away – archery drills and vigorous sword practice had defined muscles that he hadn’t had before.

“I wouldn’t say you were a beanpole,” she countered, her hands absently gliding over the muscles of his back. “You had a lighter build than others, yes, but I wager that made learning rogue skills second nature to you.” And she was truthful when she said that he hadn’t been as thin as he thought himself to be. There had always been a lithe, whipcord sort of strength about him, his body built to efficiently move with swift grace instead of bulkily lumbering about like his more muscular contemporaries.

He tilted his head, his unbraided hair falling across his shoulder. “Whatever did you see in me back then? It certainly couldn’t have been my dashing good looks.”

She gave him a small smile. “I think you sell yourself short, Nathaniel.” She rocked up on the balls of her feet and softly pressed her lips to his. Her smile widened at his intake of breath and the way his hands settled against her waist, bringing her flush to his front. “I saw a great deal in you that interested me back then. I still do.”

“And for that,” he said, his mouth moving across hers with each word, “I consider myself extremely fortunate.”

Moira’s hands ran down his sides, her fingers catching on the waistband of his loose fitting trousers, which was the only thing he had worn to sleep in. “Let’s go to sleep,” she whispered, kissing his chin as she took his hand and drew him back to his bed. “We’ve a lot to do in the morning.” She expected that the other Wardens would have something to say about their shared dream, and she wanted to grab what little sleep she could before trying to answer any questions anyone might have. Crawling under the sheets, she settled against the pillows Nathaniel hadn’t been using. “What?”

He smiled. “Nothing.” He drew the covers over them both and pulled up his arm so she could curl against him. “I was just remembering what happened the last time you were in my bed.”

Now Moira blushed. She put her head against his shoulder, remembering the unhurried way they had let their hands wander all those years ago, how they had carefully mapped out the other’s bodies for the first time. “Feeling hopeful?” she flirtingly asked, snuggling closer to him. Heat all but radiated off Nathaniel’s skin and she let it sink into her bones, the knots in her neck and shoulders where she kept her stress slowly unwinding. She gasped when she felt his hand gather up the material of her nightdress and slowly slide it upwards, teasingly stopping at the curve of her hip.

“Can’t blame a man for trying,” he murmured, tangling his legs with hers. “But not tonight.” He rubbed his cheek against her hair. “Sleep. I’ll keep your nightmares at bay.”

“Goodnight,” she said, already feeling her eyes grow heavy. Turning her head, she pressed her lips against his chest, directly over his heart. “I’ll do the same for you.”

If anyone would have ventured into Nathaniel’s bedchamber the next morning, they would have found them both sound asleep. Both of them had shifted during the night; Moira was now on her side with her back facing him, Nathaniel curled protectively around her, his knees fitting snugly behind hers. Her hand covered his, their fingers laced together.

Moira’s eyes cracked open at the sound of songbirds at the window. She was too comfortable to complain, but Nathaniel had wound up hogging the better part of the mattress, leaving her with only a sliver to herself. She tried to push him onto his back, but all her efforts had earned her was a sleepy grunt from Nathaniel, who wrapped his arm tighter around her waist and buried his face against her skin, his stubble lightly scraping her shoulder. Sighing, she settled back against his chest and decided she had enough time to doze for a little while longer before she would have to sneak back to her chambers.

Next time, we’ll stay in my room, she thought, settling more comfortably in his arms. I have a larger bed.

Comments

( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
annikainen
Jun. 29th, 2010 02:27 pm (UTC)
Awwwww. I love sleeping like that. And I miss that too. Gah. Thanks for making my day again <3 I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw you'd updated! :)
iceprincessd
Jun. 30th, 2010 12:14 am (UTC)
Awwww, you're welcome. :) I wasn't going to update until next week since I'm going to be busy this Friday (which is one of the reasons I posted four chapters together all at once) but I got bit by a plot bunny late last night.
ssrobajo
Jun. 29th, 2010 05:17 pm (UTC)
I'm jealous of any pairing in any fic/movie/what the hell ever. I HATE cuddling during sleep. Hate it. I really wish I didn't, but so it goes.

Very nice, as usual :)
iceprincessd
Jun. 30th, 2010 12:12 am (UTC)
Thanks. :)
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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