“Karl?” Anders asked a little too loudly, his voice echoing through the dark, empty stairwell.
“Shhh.” Karl’s soft tenor brushed against Anders’ ear, coupled with the rough scrape of his beard pressed against Anders’ jaw, smooth save for the slight prickly accumulation of an evening’s stubble.
Anders felt a flush creep up into his cheeks. He knew better, really. He was just terrible at sneaking around and keeping quiet, sometimes. He opened his mouth to speak again, but the question that was on his lips had already been forgotten, and he simply nodded instead.
He sighed, and his head dipped heavily against Karl’s shoulder as they sat huddled close together in the shadows at the base of the stairwell. As long as they were still and quiet enough, the templars would miss them for a few rounds, unless they did bed checks, and even then, there were enough apprentices crammed into their quarters for one or two to disappear unnoticed, at least for a while.
Karl fondly patted his head before letting his hand come to rest atop Anders’ knee. It was a gentle, affectionate gesture, not an invitation for something more, but simply content to be what it was — a subtle physical connection between two people who otherwise felt so very disconnected from everything else around them.
Anders threaded his slender fingers through Karl’s, gently, but unreservedly. He felt the tautness in Karl’s body slowly melt away against him. A subdued sense of relaxation spread between them, overriding their mutual fear.
They sat until they lost track of time altogether, bundled in heavy robes and heavier shadows, swimming in silence, save for the beating of their hearts and the rustling of their breath, sharing precious warmth against the cold stone walls until the templars made another round.
Karl, and Anders, and feelings. I have a lot of feelings, as you might have noticed by now, but right now I am having extra many feelings, because Impressioniste writes the best comfort fics. (Also, KARL! As you know.)