The next morning Andreas woke up once again tangled in elf. He sighed contentedly, enjoying the warmth of the body curled up next to him. Leto had his arm flung around him, and his head tucked under his chin.
Andreas breathed in the clean scent of a freshly showered elf, and couldn’t resist kissing the top of his head as he had the morning before. Leto stirred, making contented noises. As Leto opened his eyes and looked up at Andreas he didn’t back away as he had the day before.
Andreas looked down into those wells of emerald green, his heart once again clenching at the thought that Leto might actually not hate him anymore. Not wanting to break the spell, Andreas caressed Leto’s cheek, slowly moving his hand to the back of the elf’s head, and bending his head down to kiss him.
Leto leaned into the touch almost reverently, tilting his head up, accepting the kiss being offered. The kiss was soft, slow, lazy and … perfect.
“Ahem,” Henry coughed, interrupting his two strange house guests. “Sorry to interrupt, but I have to go into work today and there are several things I need to go over with you both before I get ready.”
Leto slowly woke to the feel of lips pressing on the top of his head. He was surrounded by the warmth of another body and it just felt good to not wake alone. He looked up into the warm amber eyes that were looking down at him.
Leto still didn’t understand why he now felt so drawn to Andreas. For years he had hated the man … the mage … and yet just a few short days in this strange world and he found himself literally clinging to him. Being near Andreas was almost … intoxicating.
As Andreas pulled him closer, Leto sighed into the slow, lazy kiss, heart pounding in his chest, butterflies dancing in his belly.
Leto startled and blushed when he heard Henry announce himself.
Henry proceeded to show them a few things before getting ready for work himself. He taught them the importance of brushing their teeth and using deodorant, explained how traffic worked with the strange carriages … cars, and how to avoid being hit by one. Henry also drew a crude map so that Andreas and Leto would be able to find the office of the non-profit they were meant to visit that day.
“I’ve already called the director there. Her name is Miranda Amell, and no she’s not related to the Amells in Thedas. In fact, she wouldn’t even know what Thedas was, so be careful and don’t bring that up, or she’ll just think you’re both insane,” Henry explained.
“What should we tell her then? I’m sure she’ll ask about our backgrounds, right?” Andreas asked sincerely.
“Good point. Well Andreas, you could say you used to practice ‘alternative medicine,’ but don’t go into details. If she presses you can mention something about herbal remedies, which isn’t too far from the truth. Let her know you like helping the poor and downtrodden, she’ll like that.” Henry suggested. “As for you Leto … well former slave turned warrior isn’t going to fly here either. You could tell her you have worked as a body guard and a bouncer. With your markings and ears, you look like someone familiar with the club scene.”
Andreas and Leto nodded.
“Don’t wander too far off this map, I don’t want you two getting lost. I’ll give you both a tour of the surrounding neighborhood this evening when I get off work,” Henry continued. “Oh and here take my spare set of keys so you can get back into the apartment. There’s lasagna leftovers in the refrigerator and you’ve seen how to operate the microwave to heat things. Use about 2 minutes for each slice. Oh and do not put anything metal in the microwave. It’ll cause sparks in a bad way.”
“Alright, I think we got it, thanks Henry. We’re both really grateful you’ve been so patient with us. I can’t imagine how we’d have survived here without all your help,” Andreas said sincerely.
“Indeed, thank you Henry,” Leto agreed.
“You’re welcome … I’m still not sure what to make of you two, but I just had to help. Alright I better get ready or I’ll be late for work. I called Miranda earlier so she knows to expect you,” Henry said, heading back towards his bedroom. “I should be home sometime between 6 and 7 pm tonight.”
Andreas and Leto got dressed, having already brushed their teeth and put on their deodorant. They changed their t-shirts and small clothes as Henry had recommended, and then put on their jeans, socks and shoes. Everything seemed to fit comfortably, although they both felt vulnerable without their armor or weapons.
For Leto it felt odd wearing shoes, but he would just have to get used to the odd sensation.
“Shall we?” Andreas gestured towards the door and picking up the spare set of keys Henry had given them. They also brought with them some of the money Henry had given them yesterday. Henry had recommended they don’t carry all of it around with them, as thieves and pickpockets existed in our world as much as they had in Thedas.
Andreas and Leto made their way out of the building and looked around. When they had arrived two nights before it had been dark out and they hadn’t been able to see the street clearly. They found themselves by a small roadway lined by large trees. Henry had explained about ‘sidewalks,’ which were paved paths for people to walk which kept them safe from the cars on the roadway.
As instructed they turned left, heading west, from the apartment building they just emerged from and walked to the corner where two roadways met. According to their map they had to cross the one roadway that headed north and south, as they had to continue west. They carefully looked both ways to make sure no cars were coming and then ran quickly across the roadway.
“That … that was terrifying,” Andreas said, breathing heavily. “How do people survive living here?”
Leto was less rattled, being more familiar with large cities, although he had no experience with anything like cars. Minrathous had plenty of roadways such as these, filled with carriages and litters that he’d have to dodge whenever he went out to run an errand for Danarius.
“I think, people just get used to it,” Leto suggested. “Come, let us make our way to the next crossroads on the map.”
The day was pleasantly warm and sunny and with the exception of the terrifying roadway crossings, they were enjoying their walk in this strange city. The homes and apartments they saw as they passed had a strange architecture, but looked well kept.
As they kept going west, the roadways began getting larger, which made Andreas even more nervous. Leto took to holding Andreas’ hand every time they crossed a roadway, to help calm the man. After zig zagging west and south, they finally stood in front of the ‘office building’ that Henry had described.
“I think this is the place,” Andreas said, comparing the words on the building to what Henry had written on his napkin.
They wandered around the large red brick and glass building until they found the correct entrance and headed inside.
Henry had explained that there were things called elevators that would take them to the fourth floor of the building, where the non-profit offices were kept. They found the elevators and pushed the up arrow as Henry had explained. Andreas was once again nervous, and Leto took his hand again.
“I’m sorry for being such a bother, Leto,” Andreas said apologetically. “I just feel so vulnerable without my magic.”
“Perhaps it would help if I taught you some hand-to-hand combat? I was taught several forms of fighting in the service as body guard to Danarius, and not all required weapons,” Leto suggested.
At that moment a loud ‘bing’ sounded and the elevator doors slid open, as if by magic. They both stepped inside nervously and clicked on the button marked 4. Andreas squeezed Leto’s hand tight as the elevator began to move and Andreas and Leto felt their stomachs drop to the floor.
Andreas began to chant. “It’s just technology. It’s just technology. It’s just technology.”
The elevator then slowed to a stop, and their stomachs came crashing back into place as the doors slid open. They exited and looked around, finally spotting the name of the non-profit on a set of glass doors. They made their way inside and were greeted by a young woman wearing some strange ornamentation on her head. It covered one hear and had a piece that flared out and was positioned in front of her mouth.
“Can I help you gentlemen?” she asked cheerfully.
“We’re here to see Miranda Amell. My name is Andreas Bauermann and this is Leto Freeman,” Andreas explained.
“Oh yes, she’s expecting you. One moment,” the young woman said, before unfocusing her eyes and speaking again “Ms. Amell? The gentlemen you were expecting have arrived.”
Andreas and Leto looked at each other and back at the young woman, who returned her focus onto them. “She’ll be right out, if you both would have a seat?” The young woman gestured to the row of chairs on the one side of the entranceway. “May I get either of you a bottle of water?”
“Yes, please, water would be lovely,” Andreas nodded.
The young woman hurried off for a moment and quickly returned with two very cold bottles of water. They both drank the water down greedily.
A few moments later another woman came out and greeted them. “Hello, my name is Miranda. You must be Andreas and Leto?”
The two nodded.
“Well, follow me boys, and let’s discuss how we can help each other,” Miranda said cheerfully.
They followed Miranda, being ushered into an office with a large desk. Miranda took a seat into the large black leather chair on the one side of the desk, and Andreas and Leto took the two seats on the other side.
“Henry tells me you are both new in town, and that you need work, preferably cash only,” she said, frowning. “I assume you both are in some kind of trouble, but Henry wouldn’t elaborate.”
Andreas contemplated for a moment before responding. “We, uh, ended up here unexpectedly and we have no means to get back to where we came from,” Andreas explained.
“I see. So I take it you have no forms of I.D.?” Miranda asked.
Anders blushed, recalling being asked for I.D. just a few days earlier. “No, Messere Amell, we do not.”
Miranda narrowed her eyes at the word “messere,” but opted to say nothing. “Just call me Miranda, please.”
Andreas and Leto nodded.
“So can you tell me what skills you have?” Miranda asked.
Leto spoke first. “I have experience as a trained fighter. I have worked as a body guard and as a bouncer before.”
Miranda nodded approvingly. “You look like someone who would have had experience like that, although you seem awfully thin and wiry for a bouncer. We can always use more security, especially when we’re out in the poorer neighborhoods. Can you handle street thugs?”
Leto laughed. “Yes, I have a lot of experience handing street thugs. I’m stronger than I look.”
“Good!” Miranda said cheerfully. “What about you Andreas?”
Andreas looked pensive. “I, uh, well I practiced alternative medicine. Herbal remedies and such.”
Miranda looked at him thoughtfully. “I’m guessing you never attended medical school, am I right?”
“No, I didn’t,” Andreas said truthfully.
“Hmm, well many of the people we try to help cannot afford to see doctors. Maybe some of your herbal remedies could help them,” Miranda said thoughtfully. “Do either of you know how to cook by any chance?”
Andreas and Leto nodded. “We’ve had to cook soups and stews when we camped with our friends,” Andreas offered.
“Perfect! We’ve needed some helping hands at our soup kitchen as well,” Miranda said. “Alright, based on Henry’s glowing recommendation, you’re both hired. I can’t pay either of you much, but it should help you both get on your feet.”
“Thank you, Miranda. Thank you very much,” Andreas said gratefully.
“Alright so you both can start tomorrow. I’ll get all the details for you before you leave. I’ll also help you both get I.D.s and Henry said you both will need a place to stay. I’ll look into if we can find you both a small apartment, perhaps closer to where you’ll both be working,” Miranda offered helpfully.
Andreas and Leto spent the next hour with Miranda as they discussed what their duties were to be. Miranda then told them she had to take their ‘photo,’ and they provided what information they could for the I.D.s she was going to provide them.
As Miranda spoke with them, she also busied herself on some strange device in front of her. “Ah yes, I found a place,” she declared, interrupting what she had been saying. “It’s small, only a studio, but you should be able to afford it when what I am able to pay you both.”
“A studio?” asked Leto
“A studio apartment. That means it has no separate bedroom and living room. It’s all one single room, with a small kitchen and bathroom, so I hope you two don’t mind being a little cozy. Good news is that it’s also already furnished,” Miranda explained. “It’s available for move-in this weekend, so I hope Henry doesn’t mind you both bunking with him the rest of this week. I’ll take care of the details for you both.”
“That’s wonderful, thanks again Miranda. You and Henry are definitely our saviors,” Andreas said.
“Well I think that’s everything for today. I’ll see you both out. I’ll tell Michael to expect you both tomorrow by 8am, alright?” Miranda said as she walked them back to the entrance of the office.
“We’ll make sure to be there on time,” Andreas said, shaking Miranda’s hand. Leto followed suit.
Andreas and Leto made their way back to Henry’s apartment, taking their time and enjoying the sunny, warm weather. This time around crossing the roadways wasn’t quite as scary as they had been, although he still enjoyed holding Leto’s hand every time they had to cross one.
When they got back to the apartment, they were both hungry and so Andreas and Leto decided to try their hand at warming up some of the lasagna from the night before. Henry had made the microwave seem so simple, but they were both intimidated by the technology and ultimately gave up, opting to just eat the lasagna cold. It seemed it was just as delicious cold as it was hot, and after the warm walk home, the cold food was not unwelcome.
It was now early afternoon and Henry wouldn’t be back for several more hours. Andreas went into the living room and sat on the sofa, indicating Leto should join him.
“Now that we have some time to ourselves … maybe we should talk?” Andreas suggested.
“So, last night in the shower, and then this morning. I was very happy that you let me kiss you, but I’m confused as to why,” Andreas began.
Leto blushed and looked down at his hands, fidgeting. “I … am confused as well. A few days ago I hated you with every fiber of my being. Yet, since we arrived here, I find your presence … comforting.”
“Do you think it might be an effect of having gone through the Eluvian together? Or is it just that I’m the only thing from Thedas and it’s just my familiarity?” Andreas asked.
Leto contemplated the questions for a moment. “I honestly don’t know. All I remember from the transition through the Eluvian was pain. Perhaps it is your familiarity and kindness that is drawing me to you.”
“If I had known being kind to you would make you like me, I would have done so years ago,” Andreas joked.
“Yes, but it wouldn’t have worked then. I feared and loathed what you were back in Kirkwall. I never took the time to see the man underneath,” Leto confessed.
“And now that you’re starting to get to know the man?” Andreas asked.
“I find that I really do like who you are, Andreas. Perhaps more than I care to admit.” Leto said with a blush.
Andreas scooted closer to Leto, pulling the elf into a warm embrace. “I like you a lot too Leto. Even more now that you’re not constantly threatening to kill me.”
Leto chuckled at the memory, looking up into Andreas’ eyes. “I never meant you any real harm Andreas. Yes, I hated you for what you were, but I would never have gone that far.”
“I’m glad,” Andreas said softly, bringing up a hand to caress Leto’s cheek.
The butterflies returned to Leto’s stomach as Andreas leaned in to kiss him again. Andreas wrapped his arms around Leto and pulled him up onto his lap, causing the elf to have to straddle him. He then pulled Leto in closer, capturing the elf’s mouth again, keeping the kiss soft, sweet and lazy as it had been that morning.
Leto wound his hands around Andreas’ neck, running his fingers through his long, blonde hair. He slowly parted his lips, darting his tongue out to lick Andreas’ bottom lip, inviting him to deepen the kiss. Andreas groaned and slowly slipped his tongue into the elf’s mouth, tasting, exploring. Andreas slid his hands under the hem of Leto’s t-shirt caressing the elf’s back gently.
Leto arched his back at the warm touch of hands on his back, grinding his crotch against Anders. Both were now noticeably turned on, as Leto slowly started grinding his erection against Andreas’, causing them to both moan loudly.
Andreas then pulled his hands away from Leto’s back, and pushed the elf back a bit. “Leto, I want this … I want you … so much right now. But I think we should wait. It’s only been a few days now, let’s wait at least until we’re in our own place this weekend, OK? I want to make sure this is what we both really want.”
Leto stared down unbelieving at Andreas. He didn’t want to take advantage of the fact that Leto clearly hungered for him? Andreas’ continued consideration and kindness was making Leto’s heart clench in a very pleasant way.
Slowly Leto nodded, giving Andreas a chaste peck on the lips, before moving off of his lap. “I suppose you’re right. It’s wise to give … whatever this is … time to grow.”
“So, should we watch more television until Henry gets back?” Andreas suggested, picking up the ‘remote control.’
“Yes, there is still so much we need to learn about this strange world.” Leto agreed.
So they both settled in together on the sofa, with Andreas draping an arm around Leto’s back, and they spent the rest of the afternoon just watching all the strangeness of their new world through this device called a television.