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When Duties Permit

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Allow me to debrief you in person when your duties permit - Commander Cullen

The first time, it was unintentional.

An innocently written addendum on a sufficiently complicated report, which soon enough turned into lingering eyes and all too carefully chosen words to hide mutual feelings bubbling below the surface.

Alana Trevelyan watched intently as Cullen paced in front of her in his office, going through all of the details that had recently been discovered about Samson and his use of red lyrium. She knew Cullen had reasons to be personally invested in this mission, so Alana didn’t mind watching him as he intently explained their next course of action.

Well, truthfully, there were a few reasons she didn’t mind watching him.

It occurred to Alana that this was the first time she had seen Cullen without his full armor. It was rather late, so she figured she must have caught him right before he turned in for the night. Honestly, she was so accustomed to seeing him in his armor that she passively assumed he slept in the breastplate. But there he stood, in a simple chainmail shirt and black trousers, his sword still sheathed at the hip, a few curls hanging out of place as he leaned over the array of documents on his desk, searching for any last pieces of information they might have missed. Alana liked seeing him when he didn’t feel like he needed to be quite so formal.

“With Dagna’s research, we should have everything we need to head to the Shrine of Dumat at your leave, Inquisitor,” Cullen said, returning his full attention to Alana.


“I had…hoped to accompany you, Inquisitor,” he began, “My duties usually keep me here, but for Samson, I’ll make an exception.”

Alana nodded. “I look forward to having you along, Cullen.”

He offered her a small smile before returning his attention to the documents, but Alana lingered on the opposite side of his desk for a moment. Her mind was racing with feelings she hadn’t yet built up the courage to express, and in that particular instant, they paralyzed her. She considered Cullen to be a good friend, but sometimes he could be so aloof she couldn't tell where she stood. At times she thought he might think of her as more, but then it was right back to “Inquisitor,” all titles and formality and putting on airs, it drove her mad.

“Is…something the matter, Inquisitor?” Cullen asked, snapping Alana out of her thoughts.

“No, not at present, I—” she paused, unsure of how to continue. Was it selfish of her to have feelings like this for him? Both of their lives were at risk more often than not for their cause, perhaps sentimentality wasn’t a luxury either of them could afford.

But then Cullen looked up at her, his eyes instantly meeting hers.

Alana’s gaze flickered down to his lips for a fleeting moment before trailing back up to meet his.

And that was all it took.

Cullen’s hands grasped the side of her face as he pulled her in for a fierce kiss, the type of kiss that nearly swept her completely off balance. Alana’s gasp melted into his mouth, and she gripped his forearms to steady herself as she leaned over the desk that stood between them. She couldn’t help but smile into the kiss as their lips began to move in tandem, and she was all too aware of the speed at which her heart was beating in her chest.

Alana pulled away from the kiss momentarily, to catch her breath more than anything else, and found herself smiling at the reverent look in Cullen’s eyes as he looked down at her.

“You have no idea how long I’d wanted to do that,” he whispered, letting one of his hands fall from her face while the other one caressed her jaw softly. Alana leaned into his touch.

“Well,” Alana laughed, bringing a hand up to brush a stray curl from his face, “you could have let me know sooner and saved me the emotional distress.”

He placed a soft kiss on the corner of her mouth and brought his hand down to hold hers. “Forgive me, Inquisitor,” he began, “Will you allow me to make it up to you?”

Alana brushed a few of the documents aside on his desk to give herself room to climb onto her knees on top of it, her face now at the same height as his. She snaked her arms up to drape around his neck, letting her fingers absentmindedly stroke the short hairs at the nape of his neck.

“You can start,” she placed a gentle kiss onto his Cupid’s bow, “by calling me Alana.”

Cullen pressed his lips against hers hungrily, allowing his hands to trail up to her hips, gripping them as he pulled her flush against him.

“As you wish, Alana,” he murmured against her skin as he trailed his lips down to the nape of her neck, causing a soft moan to escape her lips.


The second time, it was a “coincidence."

The sun was beginning to set behind the walls of Skyhold when Alana finally decided to see if the Commander could…spare some time. The two of them had been so overrun by Inquisition duties over the last few days that they hadn’t had time to chat about their previous rendezvous.

As soon as Alana stepped into the main hall, one of the Inquisition’s messengers sprinted up to her with a few sheets of paper in hand, somewhat out of breath but still very polite.

“The latest report from Commander Cullen, Inquisitor!” The messenger said, slightly out of breath. “He requested this be delivered to you, personally.”

Alana thanked the messenger before taking the note and continuing on her way. She furrowed her brow a bit as she skimmed the report. Why wouldn’t he have sent this to the War Room like all the others?

And then she noticed it, penned just as innocently as it had been the first time:

Allow me to debrief you in person when your duties permit - Commander Cullen

Alana couldn’t help the grin that crept to her face, but quickly tried to hide it so she wouldn’t have to explain why she was so pleased by an unremarkable report about Judicael’s Crossing.

When Alana arrived at the Commander’s office a few minutes later, he was intently going over some notes with a couple of Inquisition scouts, so she stood by the door, mindlessly fiddling with the papers she was holding as she watched him work. Once he was nearly finished, he glanced up at her with a slight smirk tugging at his lips.

“Inquisitor,” he said cordially.

“I didn’t mean to interrupt, Commander,” she replied. “I wanted to follow up with you regarding your latest report.”

“Of course, we were just finishing up. Excuse us,” he said to the scouts, after which they nodded and made their exits, kindly acknowledging the Inquisitor on their way out.

Alana leaned against the door to close it, holding up the report for him to see.

“Another debriefing?”

“I must admit, I wasn’t expecting you so soon, Alana,” he replied with a slight chuckle. There was something about the way he said her name that brought a light blush to her face. It felt like it was as much a part of their secret as everything else that transpired between them the time before. She was no longer confined to only being the Inquisitor or the Herald when she was with him, and that felt special to her.

“I happened to already be on the way,” she admitted. “So what’s this about bridge repairs?”

“Right, well,” Cullen began, walking around to lean against the front of his desk and folding his arms across his chest. “Our engineers have been highly successful at the crossing, and I suspect it should be in working order as early as next week, if you plan on traveling to the Emprise soon."

“I see,” Alana said, beginning to close the distance between them. “Was that the extent of the report, Cullen?”

“Yes, for the moment.”

Alana smiled coyly. “In that case, I believe I have some other matters to attend, if you’ll excuse me.”

Alana turned to leave and Cullen immediately reached his hand out to grab hers, pulling her in for a sweet, passionate kiss, bringing his other hand up to the back of her neck. She ran her hands through his hair as she deepened the kiss, relishing the feeling of his lips against hers and the feeling of his hand lightly tugging her hair.

“I suppose my other responsibilities can wait,” Alana whispered once she pulled away.

“Good,” Cullen replied before pressing his lips against hers once more.


After the third time, it was a routine.

Alana consistently found herself looking forward to another one of Cullen’s reports, indulging in the sort of game they had created for themselves. Sometimes the reports were sent directly to her, other times she would see that telltale addition on reports he presented in the War Room, and couldn’t help the knowing smile that came to her face.

“You’ve been requesting a lot of private debriefings, Commander,” Leliana said one day as they finished up their council. An innocent enough comment, but said with a smile that indicated she knew exactly what they had been up to.

Cullen’s face flushed almost immediately. “Yes, well, er…”

“Sometimes things require a little extra attention,” Alana interrupted.

“I’m sure they do,” Leliana replied with a smirk before leaving Alana and Cullen in the War Room, alone.

“So,” Alana began. She picked up one of the iron place markers on the table, specifically the one corresponding to today’s report, and held it up to her face, twiddling it between her fingers. “What else do you have to say about this?”

“I’m sure I’ll figure out something,” he said, plucking the iron piece from her grasp. His eyes gazed into hers with a look that made her knees weak, and she couldn’t help but bring her lips up to his in a tender kiss, which he quickly reciprocated, placing one of his hands on the small of her back.

“Here?” He asked in surprise. Typically, the two of them kept their auxiliary meetings to Cullen’s office and/or quarters, and had never dared in this room before.

“I don’t see why not,” Alana replied. “We could do with a change of scenery, don’t you think?”

He answered her by kissing her roughly, wrapping his arms around her waist and letting the iron piece fall from his hand. She smiled into the kiss and threw her arms around his neck, pressing herself against the cold metal of his breastplate. His damned armor.

“Off with this,” Alana said, lightly tugging on the fur of his pauldrons. He grinned and obeyed, shrugging off the fabric as Alana helped guide it off of his shoulders and onto the floor. Soon the rest of his clothes followed.

Alana gasped as Cullen lifted her onto the War Table with ease, his skillful fingers beginning to undo the buttons of her shirt, exposing the enticing line of her clavicle and the soft skin of her chest. He kissed her fiercely before trailing his lips down to her jaw, her neck, and then the top of her exposed breast once he had tossed her shirt and breast band across the room. Alana’s breath hitched and she leaned back on her elbows, causing the iron pieces to scatter onto the floor.

Cullen brought his mouth down to one of her nipples as he stroked the other with his thumb. She moaned under his touch, letting her head fall back as her back arched. Alana relished in this, the way he teased her and touched her until her core began to ache in anticipation. She brought a hand up to run through his hair, lying back on the table as her other arm sprawled above her head, legs dangling on either side of his thighs. He dared to look up at her as he coaxed out her pleasure, and the lust in his eyes was enough to drive her mad.

He began leaving a line of kisses down her abdomen and Alana let out another sigh of pleasure. Cullen hummed knowingly, hooking his fingers into the waistband of her trousers and smallclothes as he eased them down her legs which were nearly twitching in anticipation.

“Fuck…” she whispered. He was going to make her wait, and she knew it.

Alana found comfort in the way his firm hands gripped her thighs as he spread her legs, and absolutely loved the feeling of his lips pressing against her inner thighs. By now, Cullen had learned how precisely she liked to be teased. He knew exactly where on her body he should let his lips linger if he wanted to make her sigh, or gasp, or moan in delight. He left an affectionate bite dangerously close to her heat, and she gasped again, her hips twitching in an attempt to get him to satiate her pleasure.

“Hold still,” he commanded, lifting her legs onto his shoulders so that he could get a better angle.

Just as Alana thought she was going to break, he looked directly into her eyes as he swept his tongue along her clit with one long stroke. The moan she let out was absolutely obscene, and she quickly clapped her hand over her mouth as Cullen laughed against her skin.

“Maker, I think everyone in Skyhold heard that,” Alana gasped out.

“We can be sure to apologize to Josephine on the way out,” he replied with a wicked grin. Alana laughed, and sincerely hoped Josephine might have had duties to take care of away from her desk at the moment.

Cullen’s tongue continued to advance on her clit, swirling and stroking relentlessly as her moans crescendoed. Fuck, he’s good at that, Alana thought to herself as her breathing grew heavier and her toes started to curl from the intensity of it all. He held her legs firmly against his shoulders as her hips twitched from the increasing, soon to be unbearable pleasure. Once Cullen curled one, and then a second finger into her, Alana grasped onto his hair with both hands as she writhed against him.

“Look at me,” he urged, continuing to stroke her harder, and faster. Alana propped herself back up on one of her elbows while she continued tugging at his curls with her other hand. Her eyes met his, just as her breathing began to become more sporadic and irregular. He knew she was close and he smirked as a long string of curses flew from her lips. Just as he sensed she was about to burst, he withdrew, letting her legs fall from his shoulders. Alana groaned in protest, but Cullen returned his lips to her neck, holding one side while he left a couple of love bites on the other.

“Oh, you are cruel to me, Commander,” Alana sighed, bringing one of her hands up to stroke the back of his neck. She let her other hand wander down to his cock, gently beginning to stroke him as his hips twitched in surprise at the sudden wave of pleasure. He let out a low moan against her skin, and she began to develop a rhythm, her thumb stroking the tip every time her hand arrived at the head.

“I…need to fuck you,” he murmured into her ear. “Now.”

Alana yelped in delight as Cullen wrapped his arm around her leg and pulled her hips flush against his. He stood above her now while she still lay flat against the War Table, and he rubbed his length against her folds, causing her to hiss in anticipation. He lined up the tip of his cock with her entrance, and then proceeded to pin her arms above his head, intertwining their fingers together as he restrained her.

“Maker, please,” she whispered. At this, Cullen slowly thrust his length into her, causing them both to cry out in pleasure.

He leaned over her, pressing his forehead to hers as he began to pick up the pace. He let go of her hands so he could come down and place kisses along her collarbone, and she immediately brought them up to clutch his back, fingernails lightly digging into his shoulder blades while her legs wrapped around him to bring him deeper into her. She had been so close before, it didn’t take much for her to come to the brink of orgasm once again.

Alana shut her eyes and bit Cullen’s shoulder to stifle her desperate moans. She was so, so, close, and she scratched her nails down his back as she felt her walls tighten around him.

“Fuck, Alana,” he moaned against her neck. It was a sort of guttural groan that she knew meant he was reaching his own climax.

Cullen brought his hand down to stroke her clit with his index finger, and this was more than enough to drive her over the edge. She let her head fall back against the table, moaning as she felt her release rip through her body in delightful waves. Cullen kissed her once more as his breathing began to become erratic, and not long after Cullen shuddered as he came, settling down on top of her in absolute bliss. They lay there for a moment, breathing in sync, reveling in the pleasure and the affection they both felt while wrapped in one another.

After a while, they began to get back into their clothes that they had strewn all over the War Room, and started to get the room back together so what they had been up to would be…less obvious.

Once they had just about finished up, Cullen cleared his throat and brought his hand up to scratch the back of his neck. “So…I suppose I can send you that follow up report within the next few days.”

Alana grinned as she tossed Cullen his fur pauldrons. “I look forward to it, Commander.”