After that first (filthy, divine) incident on the desk (Cullen blushed even now, thinking of it, as he signed off a report for Leliana) they discussed such entanglements at length. Leona loved to talk, and the subject of… sex. Yes. Sex. There was really nothing else for it, and Cullen found himself grinning shamefully. The subject of sex was no exception for Leona, and she could spend the better part of the evening just talking: preferences, positions, techniques and tactics—a dozen he'd never heard of, even in the barracks, and far more he had never considered. Endless questions about what he enjoyed—he recalls one particularly teasing 'does this please you?' and he feels his cheeks heat further. As they found a rhythm, he prided himself on always asking, ever accommodating.

Until yesterday.

Leona told him it wasn't always necessary, unless that was something he particularly preferred. We can switch it up a bit. Cullen admitted he was not entirely sure what she meant, and the woman was only too happy to…

He shuffles through the parchment on the desk in an attempt to keep his blood from racing quite so fast under his skin.

Leona was very pleased to tell him precisely what she meant.

And he had known he was blushing all the way to the tips of his ears, but it only spurred her on. He did know that some people got a little… rough in their exploits, but he always assumed that genuine attentions were passionate, gentle, considerate.

That, and Cullen was deathly afraid of hurting her.

She reminded him that he did not harm her during that first, heated kiss on the battlements. Certainly, he'd gotten carried away, but he was very much in control of his actions, and if Leona had for a moment seemed uncomfortable—

But that was exactly it, she had said. He didn't have to try if he did not wish to, but Leona grinned: you command hundreds of soldiers, Cullen, and I doubt you're all that averse to trying it in other situations. But, he'd argued, he deferred to her orders quickly and without question and—she had tugged him over her, across the divan, rolling her hips against his. This was followed by a delicately moaned 'Commander' and then—heavenly Andraste, Maker forgive me.

If he was still game, Leona invited, they could meet the following night after her appointment with Josephine.

He glances at neatly stacked reports and a corked bottle of ink; the shadow on his desk has crept almost to the edge, and he can't help the nervous flutter beneath his breastplate. Nearly time.

—-

Cullen caught her on the stairs to her quarters.

With nary a sound, Leona was pressed between cool stone and his breastplate. The gasp that passed her lips might have been pain—but she wrapped both arms around his waist and tugged him tighter before he could step away, a breathless grin lighting her features, brows arched to her hairline.

He chuckled—a nervous sound—and dipped his forehead to hers.

"Are you all right?" she asked, pressing a light kiss to his nose.

"Of course." He swallowed; attempted to remember that he was in full armor, commander to the most powerful army in southern Thedas, former Knight-Captain of the Temp—

No.

Not here.

Cullen pressed his lips to hers, defiant, gentle. He became gradually aware of the fact that Leona had pulled him flush against her, from their chests to her legs tangled with his, hips snug against his fauld. Here. Now. Skin soft against his lips, tracing the tip of his nose along hers; she smiles, eyes alight. He presses a kiss to her forehead, lifts a hand to trace her cheek—he still wears his glove, and she can smell the leather as it rasps softly over her skin.

Cullen brings the fingertips to his teeth, and tugs it from his hand. He tucks the glove into his belt, watches as his lady's eyes follow his movements with rapt attention.

It's almost… a wide-eyed hunger on Leona's face, and she hasn't spoken a word in several minutes. The notion was rather more pleasant than he expected.

Cullen can feel an amused tug at the corner of his lips.

She waits. Lets him move, lets him decide. His decision. But he can see how she strains not to move, how very much she does want this, breaths short and shallow on his skin.

He finds that pleases him.

He rolls his hips against hers and relishes the sharp gasp. He cannot feel her heat through the plate, but the knowledge thrills him all the same.

Leona grins in such devious, triumphant joy that he presses his mouth to her lips with renewed energy, catching them gently between his teeth, tangling her clever tongue with his, kissing away that triumphant look with fervor, weaving his bare fingers in her hair, catching beneath the strict bun, cradling and keeping her head still in one gesture.

"How long have you been thinking about this?" Cullen asks when he's quite sure the wall is the only thing holding her upright.

But she's grinning again. "Oh, you know—a little while."

He arches his brows. "And just how much is it going to take to wipe that smug look off your face, now that I've decided to play your game?"

She chuckles, low in her throat, and twists her hips to wrap her thighs around one of his, sliding deliberately into a rhythm at the crease between tasset and cuisse.

He blushes to the tips of his ears.

You tell me, Commander."

Challenge issued.

He presses his full weight against Leona's hips, locking them in place, and from the flush in her lips and across her neck, he guesses she was not incredibly upset with his first move.

Indeed not. She can feel how the steel warms beneath her, pelvic bone snug on his hip, clit nestled and pressed hard between armor and the crushed velvet folds of her robes as Cullen bends his head to brush his mouth against the shell of her ear.

"Leona." The way he lingers on each syllable sends a shiver down to her toes.

"What is our word?"

Rules. Rules were a comfort—as long as there were rules, he could do as she pleased.

Cullen can feel her smile. "Felandaris."

"As you wish." His fingers fist in her hair and she hisses, exposing her neck to the low light, and he presses his mouth to the artery there. One, two, three—the thrum of her heart. One, two three—a pulse beneath his tongue as he traces his way to her jaw, hips snug against hers.

The stubble on his chin drags across delicate skin, and Leona's fingers tug at the coarse leather of his belt at the small of his back, her elbow knocking squarely into—

He was wearing his sword. The pommel left a jarring pain in her joint, but her heart races; she grins to the shadowed rafters as Cullen nips his way along her jaw. The steel is cold under her fingers as she traces the hilt, wraps them around the cross-guard, feels the edges mark her skin.

Cullen knows exactly where her fingers are as he presses an open-mouthed kiss to the soft space behind her ear. It's not until she begins to lift the blade from its sheath that he moves. He catches her fingers and whirls her too quickly for a counter, and Leona finds herself facing the wide expanse of the hall below: plush carpets, oaken tables, the Inquisitor's dais, and dozens of soldiers and visiting nobles who could look up at any moment—

"They'd see more than enough to feed a few rumors, wouldn't they?" He whispers, pressing his nose to the back of her neck, auburn strands loosened and falling from their tie to tickle her skin. "We should probably move upstairs."

She makes an affirmative noise, but snuggles further into the circle of Cullen's arms, bannister pressing against her hips, her eyes lingering on the view down into the hall as though they stand suspended in this single moment: a runner struggles to keep hold of his scrolls, a mage crosses the teal carpet, never lifting her eyes from the tome in her hands, Josephine stands in animated discussion with a masked guest, a Chantry sister leads the faithful to the garden for prayer.

Cullen kisses the peak of her spine, nestled between broad shoulders. "But first, you could answer something for me." He presses a hand to her cheek to feel the grin that lifts her features.

Leona chuckles. "What would you have, Commander?"

He shivers, and he can feel silent laughter against the hand at her waist. He nips the tip of her ear in retaliation—and she fails to silence the startled cry.
They freeze, Cullen's fingers sinking into her hip as hers tighten on the rough grain of the bannister. One breath. Two. Three.

No one hears.

He breathes a sigh of relief against her hair, glad she cannot see the amused turn of his lips. "Would you be so averse if they did see?"

She raises the palm of his hand to her lips, moves her tongue in a careful spiral, and he buries his nose alongside the loose, auburn bun, fighting the urge to curl his fingers. Her answer is a hot breath on damp skin: "No."

He chuckles. "As I suspected." Cullen laces the fingers of each hand with hers, and they step back together, light on newly-placed flagstones. "But we don't need any more scandal in this Inquisition, I think. Upstairs, if you'd be so kind, my lady."

Leona turns in his arms, a fire in her eyes and a smirk on her lips. "And if I'm not so kind?"

He arches his brows. "Must I make it an order?"

She steps away, still smirking, and leans steadfast against the wall, low, golden tones of the setting sun angled across her features from the uncovered window. "You tell me."

Cullen heaves a theatrical sigh. He did expect this, but he didn't expect her to be quite so childish. "Would you obey a direct order?"

Leona shrugs.

"Very well."

The commander scoops her into his arms and up over his shoulder without another thought, quite glad she had forgone the staff this evening. Leona struggles for purchase on his furs, and then the leather straps of his breastplate. He is impressed that she remained silent for the whole affair, but cannot help the triumphant smirk that graces his lips as he climbs the steps, keeping her steady with both arms.

Leona digs her fingers into his mantle, averting her eyes from her current backward-view of the floor as Cullen climbs the stairs. "I'm—a little impressed," she admits. He chuckles, the sound (or, perhaps, the sight of the stairs seeming to drop away as they ascended) making her light-headed.

"You're rather heavier than my shield, I'll admit, but why that would mean I couldn't lift you—"

"Show-off." But he can hear the smile in her voice.

"That's no way to speak to a commanding officer." Cullen did not hide his smile, ducking through the door; he felt Leona close it behind them with an indignant huff.

"I don't see you doing anything in retaliation, ser."

She finds herself staring up at the canopy of her four-poster. She tilts her head, peeking up over her breasts to find Cullen, arms folded over his breastplate, returning her glance with a stern, appraising gaze. "You have one, final opportunity to behave in a manner befitting a soldier of the Inquisition."

Leona lifts herself to her elbows, intent.

His fingers tense on his forearms, and for a moment, they both think he'll falter.

Cullen straightens, drops his arms, stands at full attention, locks her under his gaze. "Remove your robes."

She is sitting up and her fingers are at her belt before she even considers the command, blood thrilling beneath her skin. Leona tosses it off the end of the bed without a second thought, and stands, scant inches from where he watches.

Cullen's tongue flicks over his lips, unconsciously, as she sheds the outer robe of ring-velvet, and begins to unlace the layered silk beneath—until he sees her eyes lingering on his mouth, fingers slowing and tangling together. He purses his lips. "Do you require help?" It takes all of his discipline not to grin.

Leona shakes her head, redoubling her efforts. The silk joins its counterpart on the floor, and she bends to remove her boots.

"Did I give you permission?"

She froze, in nothing but her breast-band, tights, and boots, bent halfway to the floor. It was… most undignified, but still, Cullen did not remove his mask of command.

He inclines his head. "Remove them. Tights as well."

She does, and this time, waits, tall and still, nearly naked and entirely unashamed in the rose light that filters through Serault's famed glass against the balcony.

Cullen feels a flush rise in his cheeks.

Leona grins. "See something you like, Commander?"

The light shows dappled blue and red and fiery orange across her skin; a glowing, saffron accent graces her breast-band, and Cullen does not reply, but closes the narrow gap between them, tracing the star-shaped splinter of light with his bare fingers. He paints the elongated shadows and hues with gentle, lingering strokes. He can feel Leona's breath catch in her chest as his fingertips brush her clavicle, feel the sigh against his cheek as he lets his hand continue, to curl and rest at the nape of her neck. He rests his cheek on the top of her head, inhaling the spicy scent of her tresses. "Your hair, darling."

She uses both hands to unbind the leather cord, and shake it free, white strands glinting in the light of the setting sun. Her hands reach up to comb through his tamed curls, nails lightly tracing his scalp. He hums softly.

"You're still dressed," Leona reminds him.

"As I wish it."

"Of course."

But there are fingers at his belt.

"No!"

Her hands drop immediately, brows arched so high they tug a small scar out of hiding from the loose strands of hair at her temple—but Cullen is already two steps away, hazel eyes glinting.

"You presume to remove the armor of a superior officer without explicit consent?"

She was doing a very poor job of hiding her grin. "I beg your pardon, ser."

Cullen rested his hands on the hilt of his blade. "Sit. On the edge of the bed."

The sight of his hands curled around pommel and handle, shoulders drawn back, silhouetted by dappled twilight tugs at something deep in her belly, and she obeys, neatly settling on the edge. The velvet coverlet clings beneath her thighs, a tantalizing texture against her labia. She shivers.

Cullen's steps are measured, sounded by the heavy clicks of his boot-heels.

Leona's eyes are drawn down length of his blade's dark sheath, over tassets and fauld, leather breeches, to black boots shined to parade perfection. He stops barely a foot from her, trailing the toe of his right lightly across the stone in a way that tells her he has noticed.

But he drops to his knees. Her disappointment does not escape him, either: the scar on his mouth deepens as his lips lift in a smirk.

A gloved hand trails over her bare thigh, leather whispering against her skin.

Breath catches in her throat.

His bare hand mirrors the first, starting at her knee and spreading his fingers, pressing his palm against skin until he has almost reached her hip—and stops.

"Lie back." She does, slowly, and Cullen eases her thighs apart, pressing a kiss to the delicate flesh inside her thigh.

Leona's breath falters as bare fingertips glide against her slit. "You're… sure this is retribution?" She curls her fingers in his hair, a faint smile on her lips.
There are those in this world that respond most effectively to simple praise and encouragement, and there are those who rise first to a challenge. Sometimes,

Cullen forgot he was one of the latter.

Leona did not. But she was rather too occupied to muster a grin.

Two-hundred pounds of leather and steel stretched along her naked form, digging into supple hips, cold even through the breast-band that remained her only scrap of modesty. Cullen's face is even with hers, leather-clad fingers tight around wrists bent above her head. He holds most of his weight alongside her, propped on an armored forearm; she can feel the mattress there dip under the strain.

She can feel his breath on her lips. "You will leave your hands where I have placed them. If they are removed, I will be forced to react much more…" Here, he takes her lower lip between his teeth, traces it with his tongue, tugs until it slips from his grasp. "…severely."

Her heart races beneath his breastplate, and Cullen can see the excitement that rises in her eyes at the very idea of severity. He releases her wrists, and she leaves them crossed above her head, nestled in auburn hair spread over the burgundy velvet. He watches her fingers twist as he trails his hand down her arm to the edge of her breast-band.

He smiles, slowly, tracing the swell of her breasts beneath their soft, leather binds. "Would you enjoy it?" he wonders idly. "Being completely naked while I have yet to remove even one piece of armor?"

Leona listens. She watches, her fingers twisted together until they are white at the knuckles, eyes restlessly flicking between Cullen's bare hand and his lips.
He licks them for good measure, and watches her mirror the movement.

"If you're so indifferent to the idea…" He lifts his hand and—"Please."

It is a sweet syllable.

Cullen presses a kiss to her collarbone, and moves his fingers to the laces. "As you wish."

Her chest rises sharply with a grateful intake of breath.

The lace comes loose. He tugs one end through the first loop. The second. The third. He hesitates, notes the way her breaths come faster, shorter. Fifth. Sixth. Her hands are tangled in her own hair and, truly, he has done nothing.

Not yet.

Seventh. Eighth. Her fingers curl in a mixture of pleasure and irritation, and Cullen rather enjoys the fact. At last, he draws the leather from under Leona's back, and the garment joins the rest her floor.

Leona's eyes are fixed on him, sharp.

Cullen bows his head, eyes not leaving hers until his mouth touched her skin, buried in the valley between her breasts. The soft cry she makes has his bare fingers fisting in the velvet at her side. She smells softer here, of fine powder, and, yes, the faint, electrical touch of the Fade. Impulsively, he reaches for the hand he knows without looking is glowing noticeably now, control loosed under the ministrations of his tongue, caressing her breastbone, tracing letters in gentle script.

Those who oppose thee
Shall know the wrath of heaven.

A blessing on her skin.

Field and forest shall burn;
The seas shall rise and devour them.

His tongue traces its way up and along her collarbone, each silent word accentuated by a delicate breath—light moans that he can feel shake her chest. His hand finds her breast, palms and traces the nipple in time with the rhythm of his verse.

The wind shall tear their nations
From the face of the earth,
Lightning shall rain down from the sky…

Her hands are in his hair.

Cullen lifts his head, and her eyes snap open immediately. He fixes Leona in his stare, and she untangles her fingers from his curls and places them on the coverlet. "It was a simple request." His voice is low, quiet in flame-lit darkness.

Shadows flicker over his face, changing place with golden light in a steady, dancing measure.

"I could force your compliance." He says this lightly, as though it matters little.

The way she grins, she might have been the one suggesting they bind his wrists.

Cullen can't help a chuckle. "It hardly seems a consequence."

Leona laughs with him, eyes glittering, catching the firelight. "You would have to capture me in order to do it—and I'm not sure that you can."
He arches his brows in a manner that makes him seem quite affronted.

"Really?"

"I escaped an avalanche."

"Good fortune."

"An avalanche, a tainted dragon, and an ancient, darkspawn magister."

He catches one of her wrists and presses his lips to her palm, smirking. "You're completely naked. There's nowhere to go."

She arches an eyebrow. "You think anyone will question me if I walk into the hall all business? Sure, they'd have questions, but no one would say a word."

"Hm—I'd much prefer that you didn't." He presses a kiss to each of her fingertips, eyes never leaving her face, relishing each stifled shiver. "You'd leave both of us wanting, and I rather enjoy being the only one to see you quite so… disheveled. Imagine the talk—" He releases her hand and shifts to trace his fingers down her stomach. "The Inquisitor, absolutely dripping… and on those imported carpets, too."

Leona's mouth drops open and she blushes from the top of her breasts to the crown of her cheeks.

Oh, yes—he's learned a few things.

He decides to ignore the fact that his ears are rather too warm.

"Not to mention that I've already caught you rather securely right here." Cullen can feel the muscles tense beneath his hand, and her fingers curl into the coverlet. Her weight shifts. Preparing. The corner of his mouth lifts in a smirk. "You could try that." Bare fingers trace an idle path across the tender skin of her stomach, down to tease the edge of a nest of curls. "But I think—" His fingers flick down and hook just under the hood between her thighs, pressing against her clit. "—you'll want to stay."

Leona's nails dig into the velvet for a very different reason now, as he turns two fingers in a torturous arc around the nub, gliding soundly as he pushes the heel of his hand against her pelvic bone, keeping her hips firmly in place with one armored thigh crossed over hers. She whimpers as he slides slick fingers between her folds, slowly, slowly down and down.

"Shall I take that as a yes?" His voice rumbles, lusty, and Leona closes her eyes.

"Just don't stop."

"Hm?"

His fingers are gone, her slit exposed to cool, evening air.

She opens her eyes to find Cullen grinning, and oh, Maker, he is the most infuriating and arousing thing she has ever seen: head tilted to expose his neck, graced with the dark fur of his mantle, flames from the hearth reflecting, gleaming crimson and saffron on silver plate that has warmed against her bare skin, his curls mussed and loosened from the ministrations of her fingers, eyes like honey-wine watching her, amused, glinting and heady and sweet.

"Leona." The way he says her name has her writhing in a futile attempt to find friction against his fauld, but she meets only air.

"Cullen." Of course, the sound of breathless desire affects him rather similarly, and the joints in his armor catch her skin. It pinches, and when she hisses, he carefully re-situates, pressing a kiss to her shoulder, sitting up to admire the way her flushed skin captures shadows from the firelight. The darkness bends and curves around her soft belly and thighs, tongues of light flicking across her breasts. They entice him.

Cullen bows his head to the shadows, and presses a kiss to her folds—wet against his mouth, smelling sweetly of salt and bitter spirits. His tongue flicks against his lips, and catches the edge of hers.

She gasps, sharp, loud in the quiet that had settled over the room.

He laves his tongue along her slit before delving between the folds, and her hands are in his hair again—but this time, he rolls a rough circle around her clit and seizes both wrists, pressing them down into the coverlet beside her hips.

He feels the tendons beneath her skin leap as her fingers struggle for purchase when he closes his mouth around the nub and sucks. Her cries do not cease, but follow his attentions, higher as he presses harder, petering off into faint gasps as he opens his mouth and licks from the bottom of her slit to her clit and traces feather-light patterns on reddened flesh. He presses and catches with his teeth, soothes and caresses with his tongue. Hands bind her wrists, and the vambraces that cover his forearms, cold on her skin, keep her thighs firmly in place. His tongue slides between her folds, traces her entrance.

He exhales, slowly, a hot breath on slick skin, the barest touch drawing a keening cry from his lady's throat.

He delves.

Her back arches against the steel and leather that hold her, but Cullen angles deeper, curling his tongue against her inner walls, once—twice—and her fingers claw at velvet, voice fallen blissfully, blissfully silent. He catches more of the bitter-salt liquor on his tongue and caresses, a smooth and heady rhythm with each clench of her muscles. She sighs, lets her back fall, eyes gently closed, every muscle relaxing into a misty release.

Shadows flicker across the bed's burgundy canopy, lithe and lively in the wake of Leona's lethargy. Cullen's hands have released her wrists, and the vambraces have left dark impressions along her thighs; she can feel them prickle, distantly.

The Commander stands at the bedside, hands resting on the pommel of his blade, looking exceptionally pleased in the firelight. It highlights his hair, the silver plate upon his chest, the glistening fluid on his lips.

"Would you like to unsheathe my blade?"

His mouth lifts in a delicious smirk, deepening the line of the scar that bisects it.

Leona smiles, warm all the way down to her toes, rolling shoulders that seem more fluid now than solid flesh and bone. She nods as she finds her way to her knees on a mattress that suddenly feels like it wants nothing in the world but to disturb her balance. "Oh, I'll unsheathe something…" She stumbles, presses her hands into the velvet and pushes herself upright.

Cullen's cheeks are hot. "I should have guessed," he mutters. He tilts his head in amused observance at her second attempt to find her way to the floor.

"You're sure you don't need a moment?"

The look she gave him was something like torpid wrath.

He chuckles, and she stands before him again—this time completely naked, hair a curled and fluffed mess, fluid between her thighs catching the firelight most salaciously, a hearty flush to her chest and cheeks—and still she raised her chin and smiled and he was undone: she wore her nakedness the way courtiers wore satin and lace and silk—armor and pride at once.
She slides her hands along his belt, and covers his hands with one of hers, tips her head up for a kiss, and he presses their lips together. Leona can taste the bitter traces of her on his mouth, mingled with the sweet taste of rain and that metallic edge so like the lightning that heralds a storm. Cullen's kiss is gentle, and when they part, he presses his forehead to hers.

"Shall we?"

Leona grins broadly enough to crinkle the edges of her eyes into little crows' feet, and she slides her fingers down his, to the handle and cross-guard of his hand-and-a-half. The steel is cool to the touch. It clings to her fingertips as she caresses its edges, reaches down to the seam between hilt and sheath.

Cullen moves his leather-clad hand to help her lift the blade.

It comes free easily, and she draws it to the golden firelight, watches the reflection of the flames dance up and down the blade, dances a cautious fingertip along its edge, tilted just so, and the blade does not cut.
She wraps her fingers around the hilt with a wonder, a reverence that belies her experience, and trails the palm of her hand along the flat of the sword, pleased by the chill of the steel, of the shadows and golden light that flicker along its length. She carries it to her desk, and lays it gently alongside her small-sword and turns back to him, grinning.

He spreads his hands. "And now…?"

She crosses the room swiftly to draw armored hips against hers.

"Commander?"

At last, Cullen removes his second glove and tosses it aside, amusement playing at the corner of his lips. "You may remove my armor."

Leona does not need to be told twice.

She begins with his belt, careful with the sheath as it finds the floor. She tangles her fingers in the fur at his collar next, pushes the mantle from his shoulders.

Her fingers catch on the straps of his pauldrons and breastplate, but makes relatively short work of them. Then: vambraces, mail, tassets and fauld. She kneels, fingers trailing along leather breeches to find the straps of his cuisses and free his thighs. She buries her nose in the leather when the second is removed, savors its scent mingling with oil and steel and sweat.

Cullen scoops her into his arms for the second time that night and presses a fierce kiss to her lips, deposits her on the bed, and makes even shorter work of gambeson, boots, and trousers.

There's hardly any floor-space around the bed now.

So, he joins her, skin-to-skin, and hisses at the contact. Blissful, brilliant. He laces his fingers with hers, presses them above her head, against the pillows, molds his lips to hers, and kisses until the breath leaves them both. They gasp, together, Cullen's full weight pressed along her form, skin already hot between them. She can feel his cock trapped against her hip, and she closes her fingers tightly around his hands.

He utters a breathless chuckle as she attempts in vain to move her hips.

"Something you're looking for?"

Leona turns her head to sink her teeth into his shoulder. His skin tastes of salt, and she doesn't notice he has released her right hand until she's crying some wordless syllable to the invisible heavens, and there's a high, soft sound trapped in Cullen's throat.

They lie together a moment, enveloped and filled, unsteady breaths the only sound aside the crackle in the fireplace, chests heaving together.

Her left hand, yet laced with his, glows faintly, humming beneath his palm, and he smiles, breathlessly. He raises himself a little, rests his other hand near her shoulder, presses closer, stifles a groan.

He starts first at a marching pace, but—

"Commander."

Oh, Maker.

He's lost concern for restraint as he sets a trying rhythm, releases her hand to find his balance, draws her knees up for a better angle.

"Yes."

Breathless, head thrown back to expose her neck, flushed down across breasts that move in time with each thrust…

Cullen hisses, exhales. Focuses. Waits.

The shadows heighten the play of muscles and highlight glistening skin, and it's all she can do to keep her eyes open, to watch—

He presses his lips to her neck, suckles at her pulse-point, slides his teeth down the crook of her shoulder until he finds the place just halfway between, and bites until she cries out, hisses, sinks her nails into the skin of his bicep, and falls apart on a sound like an ecstatic sob.

And he is not long behind, a smothered cry on his lips that might have been a name or an endearment, some wordless expression bound up in a single, eternal instant.

After the too-bright colors fade, they lie together, Cullen's head resting on her breast. Leona's fingers comb through his hair absently, a comfort. The stubble on his chin prickles over-stimulated skin, but she does not mind, and presses a kiss to his forehead, yet sticky as sweat dries in the distant warmth of the room.

"How was that?" she asks.

She can feel his chuckle reverberate against her chest. "Good. Very good, actually. I find I rather enjoyed it."

Leona grins, and kisses the crown of his head. "Good."

He buries his nose against her neck. "Mm. Maybe we can try more things next time. But not… next time, next time. I still like the other things."

"Of course." She wraps her arms around his shoulders.

And just as she starts to doze, she can feel Cullen's lips curl into a smile against her skin. "You know—I've never removed my armor and just… left it before."