The Road Trip
Several weeks had passed since Andreas’ attack. The crowdfunding campaign had been a phenomenal success and the person who started it had raised over $500,000 for Andreas and Leto. The human interest piece that came out in the Denver Post contributed a lot to all the donations they’d received, and it helped Miranda push through some documentation and paperwork to make Andreas and Leto both legal residents. Miranda had some contacts in the Department of Immigration, which helped smooth the process along. Now they both had a legal standing and carried their own IDs so Andreas no longer had to suffer the embarrassment of not having one whenever he wanted to purchase some alcohol.
Miranda and Henry also helped them open bank accounts and even an investment account in order to best make use of the money from the crowdfunding campaign, and they now had credit and debit accounts, although Leto insisted that Andreas only carry a debit card, as he felt Andreas may be a bit too frivolous with his spending to be trusted with a credit card.
Andreas had huffed at that, but then handed over the card made out in his name and kissed Leto on the forehead, murmuring yes, my love.
Andreas’ clinic proved to be very popular and Miranda supplied him with more equipment as the new funding came in, and she had asked him to study to take some additional certifications so he could do more for his patients without running afoul of the law. Andreas also trained two assistants to help in the clinic, both for practical purposes, and to also discourage another attack.
As soon as Andreas had recovered enough from the attack, he dutifully attended Leto’s training classes and learned several techniques that would allow him to better fend off an attack like that in the future. Leto even convinced a couple of his larger, stronger ‘students’ to try and attack Andreas, to prove that with the right technique, size and strength were not always the deciding factor in a confrontation.
Leto also held private training sessions with Andreas, working with him to improve his strength and agility, which would also help him during an attack. Leto was pleased to see the increased muscle definition and build up on his lover’s body and longed to possess him once again. However Leto was patient and would bide his time until Andreas was ready, still suffering some psychological trauma from the attack.
Andreas and Leto were packing for their road trip with Henry to San Diego to attend Comic-Con and to hopefully get some answers from BioWare. Since their new-found fame, Dragon Age fans had been noting their similarities to Anders and Fenris in the game and they’ve had to skirt around questions about if they were cosplayers or not and if Leto was trying to look like Fenris, why were his tattoos the wrong color.
Henry recommended that they packed their old clothes with them to wear at the convention, in the hopes they might convince the BioWare folks about who they really were. Henry had warned them that when they dressed as their former selves they would get a lot of attention at the convention. Henry also took them shopping so they had some luggage for the trip and also helped them pick out some new, dressier clothes for special occasions. Leto had also picked out some new sleeveless t-shirts to wear for both himself and Andreas. He refused to admit it, but a part of the reason was because he enjoyed gazing at his lovers’ growing musculature and this style of t-shirt really showed it off well. Andreas also enjoyed the way they revealed more of Leto’s markings that ran up his arms.
Andreas plopped himself on the bed after he’d finished packing. “I’m actually kind of excited for this. I’ve never…purposely traveled on a trip like this before…It’s kind of exciting!”
“What about all our missions with Hawke up to Sundermount or out to the Wounded Coast?” Leto asked, quirking an eyebrow.
“I don’t know…those were…different somehow?” Andreas shrugged. “At least we’re not on our way to kill a dragon or clear out a cave full of Darkspawn!”
“True enough,” Leto chuckled. “Henry said he’d be here very early, and you know how I hate mornings. I suggest we try and get to sleep soon.”
“Agreed,” Andreas nodded, yawning. “Let’s get a shower in though, so we have time for coffee in the morning.”
“I love the way you think,” Leto said, grinning.
They still preferred to shower together every evening. It wasn’t always the intimate act it had been when they first exploring their feelings, and bodies, but it seemed to have a way of calming them both before they went to bed.
Despite the fact that Andreas was fully recovered from his attack, at least physically, they had both been hesitant with their intimacy. Andreas still had nightmares and wasn’t ready and Leto had no intention of forcing anything. They both knew all too well the lingering trauma of such an experience.
Leto was a patient man and for now, kissing and cuddling with his lover was enough.
Early the next morning Henry arrived carrying an offering of coffee, which was a good thing – they had overslept and hadn’t had time to brew their own.
“You are Maker sent,” Leto thanked Henry, greedily taking a swallow of his coffee.
“So are you guys ready?” Henry asked. “Did you remember to pack your clothes from Thedas?”
Leto gives a sleepy nod and Andreas grabbed their luggage as they headed out of the apartment.
The route they take takes them back over the roadway…I-70…that Leto and Andreas first encountered upon their arrival, this time traveling west into the mountains. The scenery is stark and beautiful and Andreas remarks how he now understands why they call them the Rocky Mountains.
A few hours into the trip they stop to get food and fill Henry’s car with fuel. Leto gets a lot more strange looks here than he had back in Denver, but he pays them no heed as he and Andreas head towards the men’s room to relieve their bladders.
It’s lucky that Henry follows soon after as when he enters a very large man has Leto pinned against a wall by his throat, his feet dangling, while Andreas is futilely trying to pull the man off of the elf.
Henry rushed over and between himself and Andreas they managed to pull the man off of Leto, who sagged against the wall once he was freed, gulping for air.
“What in the world were you doing to my friend!?” Henry screamed.
“That perverted freak looked at my cock. Him and his kind need to burn in hell!” The man blustered.
“I was decidedly not looking at your cock, I have no interest in you or your cock,” Leto growled, his voice sounding strangled.
“Well, you better make sure it stays that way, freak,” the man scowled before rushing out of the bathroom.
“What in the world happened?” Henry asked.
“We were just relieving ourselves when that behemoth just grabbed Leto by the neck and pushed him up against that wall, and that’s when you walked in,” Andreas explained, shaking.
Leto wrapped his arms around Andreas. “Hey, shh. It will be alright. I am unharmed.”
“I…I know, Love, but wow that brought back some flashbacks,” Andreas tried to chuckle, unsuccessfully.
“Why don’t you both go back to the car, and I’ll order us some food,” Henry suggested.
Leto led Andreas back out towards the car, murmuring reassurances to his trembling lover. They both got into the back seat of Henry’s car so Andreas could lie down and place his head into Leto’s lap, while Leto undid the tie in his long hair, coming through it with his slender fingers. The motion was soothing for both of them and Andreas was once again calm by the time Henry came back out with their food.
“Classic road-trip food…fast food burgers, fries and milkshakes!” Henry beamed as he passed out the food to each of them.
Leto and Andreas tucked into their food appreciatively. “Why is all the food in your world so good? I swear everything in Thedas is bland in comparison.”
“Maybe it’s just because it’s different?” Henry suggested. “This is pretty bland fare in my opinion.”
Soon they were on the road again, and they wound their way out of the Rocky Mountains and into long stretches of dry, dusty, nothingness that seemed to stretch on forever.
“Hey, I got a great idea!” Henry exclaimed and started to pull over to the side of the road. “Would either of you like to learn how to drive a car?”
Leto shook his head fervently. He was still somewhat terrified of being in a car and kept his head down for a good portion of the drive. Andreas looked tentative but shrugged. “Sure, why not?”
The location was perfect as they hadn’t passed another car in miles, the weather was calm and sunny and there were no obstacles nearby to crash into, just endless stretches of desert. Henry drove what he called an automatic, and he told Andreas this would be a simpler type of car to learn on.
Andreas slipped into the driver’s seat and Henry explained all the controls to him. Andreas nodded, absorbing the information. When Henry felt he was ready, he handed Andreas the keys and showed him how to start the car. Leto let out a whimper from the back seat and curled lower down than he had earlier.
“Love, I promise I won’t kill us,” Andreas said with a chuckle as he turned the ignition on the car. He eased the car out of park and gently pushed the gas pedal, making the car lurch forward, startling them, Leto letting out a loud yelp.
Henry coached Andreas through it and soon he was driving the car fairly smoothly down the highway. “Hey once you get the hang of it, this is pretty easy,” Andreas beamed.
A few miles later Henry noted signs for an upcoming town and instructed Andreas to park the car so he could take over. “You don’t have a driver’s license yet, so if a cop caught you, it could mean big trouble, but thanks for driving for a bit. It was nice to get a break.”
“May I…drive again sometime?” Andreas asked.
“Sure, on stretches like that with no towns for miles you can drive all you want,” Henry agreed. “Once you get back to Denver, you should consider getting your driver’s license.”
“Is it any easier than getting a doctor’s license?” Andreas asked. “Miranda and I talked last week and she told me what it would entail for me to become a full-fledged doctor in your world.”
Henry laughed. “Getting a driver’s license is much easier. First you need to learn the ‘rules of the road,’ and take a written exam to get a permit. That permit allows you to practice driving as long as you have another licensed driver in the car with you. Then when you’re ready, you take the driving exam and if you pass you get your license.”
“Wow, yeah that sounds much simpler!” Andreas grinned. “Then all we’d need is to buy a car and we won’t need to rely on you so much.”
Henry chuckled. “Well they have this service called Taxis that you can pay for, but they aren’t cheap so I never mentioned them. Now that you guys have some money in the bank though, you could use them from time-to-time as well.”
As they drove through the different states on their way to San Diego, Henry told them some more of the history of this land they found themselves in, starting with the revolution that led to the formation of the United States.
“See Leto, sometimes people need to rise up and revolt before a positive change can happen!” Andreas said teasingly.
Leto let out an exasperated sigh. “Please, Amatus, let’s not bring up that old argument.”
“Alright, Love. I’m sorry,” Andreas apologized.
Leto was internally pleased that perhaps some of his earlier ‘punishments’ had sunk in, as Andreas no longer teased him mercilessly as he once did.
Henry felt the shift between them as well. “Alright you two, keep that away from me, alright?”
“Wait, you picked up on that?” Andreas asked, blushing.
Henry nodded. “Yeah, palpably. Leto just keep all that Dom/sub stuff to yourself, please?”
“Dom/sub?” Leto asked.
Henry sighed. “Look it up on your phone, please. I really don’t want to talk about it.”
“Um…well,” Leto stammered. Andreas had been teaching him to read, but he was still not confident in his skills.
“You can do it, Leto. You’ve improved so much over the past few weeks. Just ask me if you get stuck on something,” Andreas encouraged.
Leto sighed and pulled out his smart phone, opened the web search and hesitated. “How do you spell that?”
Henry sighed and spelled Dom/sub for Leto, grumbling that it better be the last thing he heard about it.
Leto typed in the search and began scanning the results. His ears began to pink visibly as he deciphered the words he was reading. He couldn’t understand all of them, but he made out enough to understand.
Andreas let out a low moan, and Leto realized that Andreas had made a similar search on his phone.
“Ugh, you two are hopeless!” Henry laughed. “How about reading up on that stuff later? You’ll be sharing your own room at the hotel. There’s no way I’m staying with you two!”
They all laughed and the topic shifted again as they drove through more barren landscape.
Around 17 hours from when they left Denver, they arrived at their hotel in San Diego. It was one situated across the street from Comic-Con, which was set to begin the next day. Henry got them checked in, weary and hungry. Henry explained to them how to order room service and then sent them off to their room alone.
Andreas and Leto gaped at the gorgeous view of San Diego from the floor-to-ceiling windows in their room. They had a corner room with glass on both sides, a full moon streaming in, lighting the room brightly.
“How romantic,” Andreas purred, forgetting his hunger and weariness. He pulled Leto with him over to the couch situated in the corner by the large windows, pulling the elf onto his lap.
Leto pulled Andreas’ t-shirt off, wanting to feel his skin and taut muscles beneath his fingers before pulling Andreas into a tender kiss as they were bathed in moonlight.
Andreas’ hand strayed beneath the hem of Leto’s sleeveless t-shirt to caress the warm skin beneath, his other hand holding the elf’s thigh, keeping him from falling off his lap.
Leto nestled his head against Andreas’ shoulder after breaking from the kiss. “Thank you.”
“For what?” Andreas asked.
“Two reasons, one for trying to protect me from that brute earlier today. Also, for respecting me today, for not continuing to tease when I asked. Both of those actions mean more to me than you can ever know,” Leto said.
“Oh, my love. I will always try and protect you, as much as you always try and protect me, my strong warrior elf.” Andreas said quietly, kissing Leto on the forehead. “And please never doubt that I do respect you. I know I sometimes go overboard with the teasing, but it’s never, ever been out of disrespect. I know everything between us happened so fast after we arrived in this world, but you are my heart and soul. Never forget that.”
Leto looked up at Andreas, tears welling in his eyes. “And you are mine,” he whispered against Andreas’ lips before claiming them again.
They sat for a long time on the couch, clinging to each other, whispering endearments.
Leto finally got up and led Andreas to the bathroom so they could share their nightly shower. While he was washing Andreas’ back he asked. “Are you ready for tomorrow? Ready to be ‘Anders’ again?”
“Well, I’ll dress as I did as Anders, but…without my magic? I’ll never be Anders again. Not really,” Andreas sighed.
“You really do miss your gift, don’t you?” Leto asked.
“Yes…wait, did you just call it a gift?” Andreas asked in wonder, turning to face Leto.
“Yes, mage,” Leto said fondly, cupping Andreas’ face in his hands. “For you it truly was a gift. A gift to help others with, which is exactly what you used it for. If only those in the Imperium understood that, how much good they could actually do instead of so much harm.” Leto stroked his hands over Andreas’ form, admiring those newly developed muscles.
“Well then, the game of Dragon Age wouldn’t have had as much drama, and it certainly wouldn’t have had you, and then we would have never met,” Andreas giggled as Leto hit one of his ticklish spots.
Andreas leaned his forehead against Leto’s. “I am so very glad we met, and even more glad we got pulled into a world where we could have a chance to pursue our feelings for each other. I love you so much Leto. I need you even more.”
“I will always be there for you, this I swear, Amatus,” Leto said, before plundering Andreas’ mouth again as the hot water of the shower continued to rain down on them.