Inside, the Chantry was dark, lit only by the glow of votive candles, which gleamed off the bronze sculpture of Andraste. Artie held his breath, but it did indeed look empty.
This was utterly mad, and Fenris had no doubt of that, but the idea did have some appeal, most of it currently nibbling at the tip of his ear, as he glanced around. At least it was late enough that everyone seemed to be abed, and for a moment, he wondered at the living accommodations for the clergy and apostles, in this grand building. Still, the main hall did not lend itself to the sort of privacy one tended to expect for the sort of thing they were about to do, and he wondered if he would object on other principles, if he were even as religious as the average human — if he believed in the divinity of the bronze-cast woman gazing down at them from the altar.
All the same, as much cover as they seemed to provide, from certain angles, he’d need to encourage Artemis away from the support pillars. The earthquakes might bring the building down on their heads, even if it was ancient Tevinter construction, and therefore half-likely dwarven-made. He gestured at what seemed to be a closet door, to one side of the entry, raising his eyebrow. A moment passed, and he studied the altar more thoroughly. Was there space behind that statue? The altar was only accessible via the stairs, which made it much harder to sneak up on, but also much harder to escape from, if anything went wrong. On the other hand, the closet had only one door, however close to the exit it might be. Still, there was always the option to punch someone and run, he supposed, though he’d really prefer not to need to do anything of the sort.
Artemis smiled against Fenris’s ear, noticing the way he was taking stock of the room. The room with the vaulted ceilings and wide open, echoey spaces. He considered the closet as the most obvious and safest option, but the way Fenris’s eyed the sculpture of Andraste speculatively made him reconsider. He remembered the first time he’d walked into this Chantry, a mage in a city run by templars, and how he couldn’t even look that statue in the eye, as though he feared Andraste would come alive and expose him if he dared.
"What do you think?" Artie murmured, indicating the statue with a jut of his chin. "How much do you think Sebastian would disapprove?"
"Sebastian had best never discover this has occurred. I would prefer to avoid an arrow in the eye from across Hightown, for the crime of blasphemy." Fenris wasn’t sure if he was joking, really, but he took Artie’s hand. "You won the bet. If you wish it, we will do it. And if this goes poorly, I will do my best to get you out of here, unseen." He thought on it for a moment, as they approached the stairs. "Please don’t actually remove any clothing. That might become more difficult. I’m sure we’re creative enough to work around it."
He was, he thought, a godless heathen about to deface the temple of a living religion, with his knob. He wasn’t quite sure how he was supposed to feel about that, but it did put a tiny smile on his face, all the same. There were no gods left in the world. And if he was wrong, he’d find out the hard way.
Artie’s laugh was a bit breathless and a bit thin. He had a feeling this was one of those things he would regret in the morning, but right now, with Fenris at his side and the threat of discovery looming, he wanted. At the top of the stairs, Artemis pulled Fenris to him, still walking backwards. "Te ardeo," he said against Fenris’s lips between one hungry kiss and the next.
"Yes, well, watch where you step or that may become more literal than either of us would like," Fenris murmured, backing Artie through the candles, carefully. There was a small passage behind the statue, presumably for maintenance, given the scaffolding in it, but there was definitely space enough for what Fenris had in mind. He nipped sharply under Artemis’s chin, pressing him back against the legs of the statue. "And here you are, about to mark Andraste, herself, with your seed. I thought you weren’t into women," he teased. "But how, exactly, would you like me to help you do that, hmm? Would you like me to throw myself on your mercy, or should I take the strings from your trousers and bind you to the scaffold bar behind your shoulders? Perhaps you have something else entirely in mind."
Artemis choked off a groan low in his throat at Fenris’s words, Fenris’s voice, in his ear. "Tie me," he growled, even as he tried to pull Fenris close enough to crawl inside his skin… which was something he could actually do if Fenris let him. "Please." He was already aching, pulse pounding in his ears. Being tied up would make escaping more difficult if it came to that, but the danger was half the thrill.
Artie bent to set down the bottle he’d all but forgotten, setting it just out of the way, before pulling Fenris close again, lips chasing the lines of lyrium on his neck.
Fenris pulled the laces out of Artemis’s trousers, before realising that wasn’t nearly enough for both wrists. He tied the one and then picked open his own trousers, binding Artemis’s other wrist with that lace. It wouldn’t matter, really. His trousers would stay on even without that, if perhaps in a slightly less … trouserly way. One tended to expect trousers to cover one’s bits, which they did not, when unlaced. Still, if it came to it, he had a dagger in the small of his back, and he was sure the laces could be removed in seconds.
Pressing his mouth to Artemis’s, Fenris allowed himself to be thoroughly distracted by the warmth of the bound body in his hands. His hands slid down, pushing Artemis’s trousers out of the way, before he sank to his knees, holding the kiss as long as he could, before their lips parted sloppily. After sucking his fingers, he drummed the tips against Artemis’s hole, as he wrapped his lips around the head of Artie’s knob, sucking and licking with a passion he would frankly be embarrassed if anyone witnessed.
"Fen," Artie breathed, flexing his wrists and twisting them so he could grip the laces. Even loosely tied, if he pulled, they wrapped his wrists more tightly than the cuffs he was used to, but they were something to focus on as Fenris’s long fingers teased him, as Fenris’s mouth wrapped hot and wet around him. And this was something Fenris only did for him. "Maker, you’re gorgeous. You know that?"
Fenris just smiled smugly up at Artemis, for a long moment, his tongue flicking at just that spot that drove Artie mad. "Am I?" he asked, finally, pulling back until he held just the edge of Artemis’s foreskin in his teeth. "And I thought you were the pretty one." His fingers faded out and pushed further in, stroking in ways, in places no one else could touch. It slowly occurred to him that the earthquake that would surely follow was going to wake people up. They likely wouldn’t have time to finish what they started.
"What if," he proposed, taking a moment to mouth at the tip of Artemis’s knob, "I were to bring you off, right here, and then carry you home, before we’re caught, and throw you across the bed to finish taking my pleasure of you?"
The way Artemis’s breath shivered out of him told him exactly what Artemis thought of that. "Anything," he groaned. "Whatever you wish." The irony of that promise occurred to him a moment later. "I am at your mercy, messere," he said with a crooked grin, a grin that parted around a gasp a moment later. Fenris’s fingers pressed deeper than they should go, and Artemis’s toes curled in his boots. "Oh, fuck. Please."
"Please?" Fenris teased, gazing up, slyly. "Please have mercy? But, you don’t like it when I’m merciful…" With a last, long lick along Artemis’s knob, Fenris pulled himself up, slowly sliding his fingers out. He spit into his hand and slicked himself, just far enough back that Artemis could watch. "You like it when I’m savage. When I take what I want of you and leave you pleading." With his other hand, he lifted one of Artemis’s thighs, hooking it over his hip, as a suggestion to do the same on the other side, When Artemis’s legs had wrapped tightly around him, he rubbed the tip of his knob teasingly against Artie’s spit-slick hole. "Is this what you want?"
"Please," Artie panted, heels digging into the small of Fenris’s back. "I need it. I need you. Please." He squirmed, looking every bit as desperate as he sounded, and stretched his neck forward to nuzzle under Fenris’s chin. "Take me. Let the world know I’m yours. Let Andraste know," he added, feeling wicked just for saying it, never mind doing it.
"I will…" Fenris paused, feeling more the fool. He was getting better at this, but dirty talk was still one of his weak points, as much as Artemis loved it. What would Cormac say? What would Theron say? He busied himself with action, instead, shoving relentlessly in, as he clutched Artemis closer to him with one arm. "Let the world know? I will fuck you until you know no world outside me, and I will know everything of you." That was probably good. He was fairly impressed with himself, really. He pulled back just enough to watch the words sink in, as he rocked his hips, working his way toward the devastating rhythm Artemis craved.
Artemis clenched his teeth against the sounds he wanted to make. Not here, not with these high ceilings and stone walls, sharpening every sound they made. He wondered if the slap of skin on skin echoed and how far. "You are my world," he panted, because it was the only thing in his head, because Fenris’s knob knocked all sense out of him. "Maker," he choked out before wondering if he should, with the Maker’s wife at his back.
"Why appeal to the Maker, when you could appeal to me, instead?" Fenris purred, grinding in hard and deep as he nipped at the skin just below Artie’s ear. "What use is a distant god, when I am right here, inside you?" The pace picked up, after that, as Fenris drove himself in, hard and fast, Artemis’s body slamming back against his arms. He tried his best to support his mage, in this position, thinking that the scaffold bar and his knob might not be support enough. The last thing they needed in the middle of a foolish stunt like this was a dislocated shoulder. But, that thought fled from him as he pounded into Artemis’s warm body. He still struggled with the idea, sometimes, that a mage would not only give him pleasure, but had surrendered to him in ways that were occasionally terrifying. His mage. By choice.
Artie writhed and shivered in Fenris’s arms, every thrust of his hips jarring an anguished sound from the mage’s lips. "Fen," he groaned. "Fen." His knuckles were white around the laces tying his wrists. And in that moment, Fenris truly was his world, filling and surrounding him, hot breath and growled words in Artie’s ear. "Touch me. Please. Fen."
Fenris curled the fingers of one hand gently into Artemis’s back, missing the spine, reaching for— there. His fingers brushed against the throbbing curve of Artemis’s heart. "Like this?" he asked, the impacts of his hips breaking up even his own words. "You hold my flesh inside you. I hold your heart in my hand. None as close as you and I." Which was an outright lie, and he knew it, but Cormac wasn’t here to dispute the point.
Artie’s heart pounded against Fenris’s fingers, eyes popping wide before rolling back in his skull. He didn’t have breath in him to respond, no thought in his head except for Fenris and how perfect he felt. Fenris’s fingers slid out as the ground trembled underfoot, his hand solid again as it clutched Artemis, but Artie was already gone, legs gripping Fenris tight as he spurted over them both.
"Amatus," Fenris breathed into the crook of Artemis’s neck, slowly trying to extract himself. "Amatus, we have to go, now. They’ve surely been woken by that." He eased himself out, still throbbing regretfully, and forced his knob back down along his thigh, before picking at the knots around Artemis’s wrists. He didn’t really bother to lace their trousers, but tied a couple of quick knots and trusted in the length of their tunics to hide the gaps. Sweeping Artemis into his arms, he checked for anyone who was supposed to be there, before dashing out and down the stairs. He made it halfway down the pillared arcade on the left, before doors slammed open above and behind him, the clamour of voices louder as they spilled out into the main hall.
Fenris froze, then ducked into the shadow of the nearest pillar. "Venhedis," he muttered.
The mage in his arms, on the other hand, had a hand clapped over his mouth, face red from holding in his cackles. He motioned for Fenris to put him down, at least for the moment, and Fenris obliged, watching the befuddled crowd milling about the Chantry nave. Many had the wild look of someone woken from a sound sleep.
Artemis peeked around the column, trying the count the heads. He was in a Chantry, now full of people, with his trousers mostly undone and questionable stains on his everything. This was ridiculous.
"Tie your trousers properly," Fenris hissed, addressing his own laces. "We’re going to be here a little while."
While Artie fiddled with his trousers as subtly as possible, Fenris watched the crowd circulate behind them. And one more turn… He tossed Artemis over his shoulder and darted to the next pillar and repeated the process, until they’d made it to the very end. This would be the difficult part. They were far enough out not to be as obvious, but the entry was long and along the centre of the room. Waiting until all the attention was on what he assumed must be the Grand Cleric’s approach, he made for the door, swinging it open easily and letting it drift shut behind him, as he dashed across Hightown.
By the time they made it back home, Artie was cackling like a loon. He wiped the tears from his eyes and said, words broken with laughter, "I wasn’t planning on leaving the whiskey behind as an offering to Andraste, but I suppose that’s only fair." He pictured the Grand Cleric finding the bottle and looking terribly puzzled.
"I do not know where the whiskey ended up. It toppled and rolled off somewhere, and I did not take the time to look. Although, I suppose, it’s only fair. We did not invite her to join us." Fenris chuckled and dropped Artemis on the bed hard enough to bounce. "I cannot wait to hear what they imagine about this sudden earthquake. Dwarven tunnelling, again, perhaps?" He tugged the strings on Artie’s trousers with his teeth. "But, perhaps we should return to elven tunnelling, and see how many more times you can make the earth shake, tonight?"
Artemis purred and laid back, arching his hips up in invitation. "I do so love a good elven tunnelling," he said. "Plan to plunder my Deep Roads?" Fenris’s hot breath against his knob was a lovely distraction from the mess he’d have to clean off his clothing. "And tell me, Ser Elf, how does it feel to lose a bet? As terrible as you expected?"
"I am extremely pleased you did not elect to resort to some things I have watched you do to your brother. I am not certain I could have handled those, and it is very good of you to have considered my … delicate constitution, in your plans for the evening." Fenris hid a sly smile in the curve of Artemis’s hip, before standing up again, to strip the already-spattered clothing from his mage, before dealing with his own.
"Although, I think I have recovered enough of my stamina to continue to entertain you a while longer. Shall I continue to pay off this wager? Though, I admit, the idea of bringing lyrium to the Deep Roads seems opposite to the way things usually go." He lit a finger and pressed it against Artemis’s breastbone.
Artemis’s chuckle ended in a gasp at the brush of lyrium against his bones. "Perhaps," he purred, pulling Fenris down on top of him, wrapping long legs around Fenris’s waist, "but the Deep Roads is where the lyrium belongs, isn’t it?" He stretched up to kiss Fenris before he could take the analogy any further.