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Healing Hands, Elsa/Sebastian

Title: Healing Hands
Rating: R for adult situations
Summary: Comfort comes in many different shapes.
Note: This started out as a simple PWP, but then it morphed into something where I wanted to explore parts of a relationship that went beyond sex. Don’t get me wrong; sex is great, but I wanted to show different layers of intimacy that can grow between a couple over time. This wasn’t even supposed to be about these two, but hey, I’m not going to say no when Naked!Sebastian wants to be included in a story.

Sebastian let out a deep, satisfied sigh as he sank into the tub. Spending an entire week training Aveline’s newest recruits – he’d been the one to start a conversation on how Kirkwall was sorely lacking in the archer department, never knowing that she’d actually take him up on his offer to instruct those she felt would be best suited for the role – had taken its toll on his body. While he practiced with his bow every morning to fine-tune his aim and speed, he hadn’t put in a serious day of dedicated drills in years. As a result, his entire body, from his shoulders all the way down to his calves, felt as if it were on fire. A long soak in a hot bath – living with Elsa meant that he had access to this luxury as often as he wished – and a massage helped to ease some of the soreness, even though he really couldn’t reach the spots that hurt the most by himself.

Another thing that helped ease the pain was the crate full of single malt scotch he had found at the back of Elsa’s wine cellar. The bottles held some of the best aged liquor he had ever tasted, and ironically, the stamped on label said the vintage came from a small village just outside of Starkhaven, near the highlands. He reached across the rim of the tub and took hold of the squat glass he had sat atop a nearby footstool, letting the smoky, peaty flavor roll across his tongue before going smoothly down his throat. The years he’d spent in sobriety had left him with a weaker tolerance to the stuff, but he’d found that only a small amount was plenty to loosen his muscles and help him doze off, which is what he was looking for.

He sighed again and shifted further down in the tub so that his shoulders were submerged. The only light in the bathing chamber came from the small fireplace on the opposite end of the room, the logs he had placed in the firebox popping and crackling away. It had been a good day; his lessons were taking root in his new pupils and despite the soreness, he was genuinely having a good time passing along his knowledge. The only thing that would have made the day complete would have been if Elsa were there with him. She’d been on the Sundermount for the better part of a scheduled two week trip and while he’d asked to come along with her, she’d taken Merrill, Anders, and Varric instead. The snub had initially stung, especially since this marked the first time that they’d been apart for so long since they began their relationship, but he understood her reasoning behind her choices. She’d mentioned that Merrill had needed to head off to a cave for something dealing with the mirror she was restoring, but she’d been nervous about a possible confrontation with her clan. The elf had been spending a vast amount of time with Varric, so Elsa had wanted him to come along to make the trip as comfortable as possible. She’d neglected to take Fenris with her – he was one of their best warriors, but he and Merrill’s personalities clashed so violently that his presence was out of the question – but she’d soothed Sebastian’s worries about venturing out without proper protection by inviting Anders along. He had to admit, even though he was an apostate, Anders was a great help on the battlefield and he was a competent healer. If (and Sebastian hated even thinking about it) anyone should get hurt, Anders was the best person to have with them. It was getting close to the end of the agreed-upon two week timeframe. If Elsa and her group didn’t make it back in another day, Sebastian was going to round up Aveline and Fenris to see what was holding them back.

The sound of feet on the stone floor barely registered. Without lifting himself further out of the bath, Sebastian waved a hand in the direction of the door. “Liam, you know what I said. Your upstairs privileges have been revoked for the foreseeable future after you chewed up my boots. Now head back down; you can’t complain of the cold because we both know you have a nice, cozy fire to snuggle up to at the front of the house.”

“My poor boy. He can’t help it if he finds your boots to be excellent chew toys.” The voice and the presence at the rim of the tub had Sebastian’s eyes snapping open.

“Hawke,” he started, relieved to see her standing there without any visible injuries. “I thought…”

“That I was the family dog. I get that a lot,” she said, her mouth twisting upwards into a sarcastic smirk. “At least I don’t smell like Liam on a bad day.”

“Definitely not,” he agreed, shifting so he was sitting in the tub. Her hair was slightly damp and her skin held the faintest scent of the soap popular in the public bathing house in Lowtown. The fact that she had stopped there before making her way home told him that she’d been particularly bloodied during her travels. “Made a stop in Lowtown?” he asked carefully, watching her face for any reaction. She knew how he was when she was hurt, so she tended to downplay her injuries from him, especially now that they lived together.

“I spent two weeks on top of a mountain, love. I didn’t exactly smell like a bed of roses.” She looked at him shyly and skimmed her fingers across the water. “Is there any room in there for one more?”

He held out his hand to her and grinned. “Always.” Even though he had all but memorized the shape and feel of her body, watching her disrobe was always a pleasure. He scooted back so she could climb in front of him and she relaxed against his chest before tipping her head up for a kiss.

“I missed you,” she breathed, nuzzling his jaw.

“I missed you too,” he answered, wrapping his arms around her. “How did your trip go?”

She went still in his arms. “I don’t really want to talk about it,” she whispered, seeming to draw in towards herself. “At least not now. I’ll tell you everything once I can wrap my head around all the events properly, I promise.”

He nodded and pressed a kiss against her temple. “When you’re ready to talk, I’ll be here. What’s important is that you made it back in one piece. Everything else is secondary.”

She turned to face him so that she could cup his face with her palm. “Thank you for being understanding. It’s one of the things that I love so much about you.”

Sebastian nudged her nose with his. “Aside from my rugged good looks and charming ways?”

She laughed. “Not to mention your humility. I was lucky indeed that you decided to pay any attention to me all those years ago.”

“Nay, I’m the fortunate one.” He kissed her again, taking his time to savor the tastes and textures of her mouth until she let out a tiny whimper of desire. Water sloshed over the edge of the bath as he settled in the cradle of her thighs and guided her until her back rested against the opposite end of the tub. Barely lifting his lips away from hers, he huskily said, “If I had decided to remain in the Chantry, I would have had to lug bucket after bucket of water for my bath instead of having the convenience of indoor plumbing and a dwarf who knows how to enchant heated stones.”

She rolled her eyes but sifted her fingers through his wet hair to draw him back down to her. “I knew you only loved me for my house,” she teased.

“Among other things; you can cook too, which is a plus,” he said lightly, ending on a groan when Elsa’s fingers absently kneaded at the base of his skull. “That feels wonderful,” he moaned, dropping his head against her shoulder so she could reach him better.

“You’ve got knots all up and down your neck,” she commented, digging her fingers harder into his skin, which earned her another throaty groan and the slow glide of Sebastian’s hand against the outside of her leg. “What have you been up to since I’ve been gone?”

“Archery training for the Guard. Aveline finally took me up on my offer to teach some of her qualified guardsman how to use a bow. She’s been lacking in long distance fighters for some time now.” He hissed when her fingers found a particularly sore spot where his neck met his shoulder. “I’ve been pushing them hard this past week.”

She kissed his jaw. “And it seems as if you’re paying the price for it.”

He gave a tiny shrug. “This is nothing compared to what they’re probably feeling. I’m surprised the lot of them haven’t decided against the idea and gone back to swords and shields.”

“They’re probably afraid that Aveline would kill them for going against direct orders. Besides, you’re a very good teacher; I’m certain that your students value your expertise enough to work through whatever aches and pains they’re feeling.” She tilted his head towards her and gave him a smacking kiss on the lips. “Now, out of the water with you. I can’t reach your back properly like this.” Elsa placed the flat of her palms against his chest and gave a friendly shove to get him to sit up so she could stand and step out of the tub. She blotted out most of the water in her hair with a nearby bathing sheet before wrapping the soft material around her body. Reaching out, she picked up the glass tumbler and swallowed the last bit of whiskey left, enjoying the pleasant burn that went down her throat. “Coming?”

“Aye, lass. Just enjoying the view for a bit.” He laughed when she playfully smacked at him with the second bathing sheet before grabbing it out of her hands and knotting it about his waist. Taking her hand, he let her lead him back to their bedroom.

“Face down on the bed, if you please,” Elsa said, dropping her towel and slipping on one of her flimsy nightgowns before going to her vanity to sift through several glass vials.

“Yes ma’am,” he said cheekily. “Should I take this off, or leave it on?”

She looked at him from over her shoulder. “Whichever you prefer.” He couldn’t help but preen a bit when she smirked appreciatively at him when the towel hit the floor. The way she looked at him reminded him that she’d been gone for the better part of two weeks and he strode across the room to gather her in his arms and give her a proper welcome home kiss. Sebastian moaned against her lips as their kiss grew more insistent, his hands bringing the hemline of her nightgown up even as he urged her to sit at the edge of her vanity. The slight stinging pain of her fingernails digging into his scalp was completely worth it when his mouth trailed down her throat and latched onto the pebbled peak of a breast through the thin layer of silk, his lips curling up into a pleased smile at the sound of Elsa gasping his name. He hooked his arms underneath her bottom and was about to carry her bodily back to their bed when a red hot spasm shot through his leg, causing him to drop her back onto the vanity with a muted thud, a colorful curse muffled against her cleavage.

“What’s wrong?” Elsa asked, desire fading as quickly as it had appeared.

“Cramp,” he hissed, leaning heavily against her.

“Here,” Elsa slid her legs down from around his hips and moved to his side. Ducking underneath one of his arms, she helped him limp to the bed. Kneeling down in front of him, she took his foot in one hand and gently pulled upwards while holding onto his calf with her other hand. “Does this feel better?”

“A bit, yes.” He leaned back on his hands and sighed in relief when her fingers found the right places to relieve his pain. “You have a gift for this.”

She tilted her head. “Carver would get horrible muscle aches when he was still growing. Father would do his best with healing spells, but we found out that working them out was the best cure.” Satisfied when the muscles in his calf relaxed, Elsa switched her attention to his other leg. “How long have you been like this?”

“A few days, perhaps more. Hot baths help with the soreness.”

She shook her head and stood up, poking him in the knee to get him to swing his legs up on the mattress. “Honestly, Sebastian. I leave you alone for two weeks and this is what happens.”

Stuffing his arms underneath the pillows, he smirked. “That proves that we shouldn’t be apart for so long.” He jumped when something cold hit his back, but relaxed when Elsa’s palms slid over his spine, the subtle scent of cedar wood and juniper perfuming the air.

“No, we shouldn’t.” Her voice had gone soft and he craned his neck to see over his shoulder. She had a troubled expression on her face. “I should have brought you with us. Maybe if I had then…”

He leaned on an elbow and reached out to her. “Come here,” he said, wanting nothing but to gather her up in his arms and offer to soothe away whatever hurts had happened up on the mountaintop.

She shook her head. “No.” Softening her declaration with a faint smile, she let her fingers trail over his arm. “This is as much for me as it is for you. I need a reminder that I can do some good with my hands, that I’m capable of doing something other than bringing death to others.”

He looked at her for a long moment before finally nodding. “You know I can't deny you anything,” he said, lying back down. Trying to break the tense atmosphere that had crept up on them, he added, “Feel free to use my body as you see fit, my lady.”

It had the desired effect. Leaning over him, she pressed a kiss to his cheek. “Careful what you wish for, my prince. If I truly had my way, we wouldn’t see the outside of this room for at least a few days.”

He turned his head and caught her lips with his. “Promises, promises,” he murmured.

They fell into a comfortable silence, the sound of Elsa’s hands moving over his skin and the crackling of the fireplace the only sounds in the room. She seemed to know exactly where his back hurt the most and where to use extra pressure without him having to say a word. It wasn’t long before she had worked out all the knots and aches that had plagued him for days, leaving him more relaxed than he had felt in a long time.

“Forgive me,” he slurred, fighting to keep his eyes open. She had long since joined him in bed, her fingers working their magic on his scalp.

“Sleepy?” she asked, shifting so she could snuggle against his side, her hand still and warm on his shoulder.

“Very. You’re a wonder.” He gathered up enough strength to roll to his side and wrap an arm around her waist. “This was incredibly nice, but I wanted to welcome you home in a different fashion.”

Elsa dragged the sheets over them both and hooked her leg over his hip. “Oh, believe me. Running my hands over a handsome naked man was definitely a good thing to come home to.” She lazily kissed him. “We’ll try your method of homecoming in the morning.” Yawning, she settled further in his arms, finally feeling at peace for the first time since starting the trek down the mountain. “I love you.”

Sebastian rubbed his cheek against her hair. “And I love you.” Kissing her forehead, he added, “Get some rest; I have plans for you later, my heart.”

She smiled against his collarbone. “Promises, promises,” she echoed, feeling herself drift off.


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Sep. 7th, 2011 05:33 am (UTC)
Yeah you definitely got the intimacy of established couples down quite well. It reminds me of Bill and I, which is kind of a homesick feeling because we've been so damn busy with the apartment we haven't spent any quality time together.
Sep. 7th, 2011 01:23 pm (UTC)
oh that was beautiful :)
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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