Another short drabble from my Warden’s perspective in the Give a Heart, Get a Throne collection. Things are beginning to unravel for our heroes. Read it on AO3.
As always, I’m open to prompts!
Sitting in front of the fire, legs crossed and shoulders slumped, Neria bends over her staff, inspecting the crack along the length. Will it survive another fight? Maybe… if she is careful. One can’t always be careful when fighting darkspawn, however.
She huffs out a sigh and runs her fingers over the gap in the wood. They are running low on funds, and a new staff will set them back. Not that Bodahn won’t give her a generous discount. She hates relying on it, though, knowing that a merchant must make a living as much as anyone else. At least their travels often procure new customers for him.
A quiet clink of armor on her left brings a fleeting smile to her face. It falls to a thin line, however, as her fingers catch on a splinter. She hisses and heals the wound immediately, but not before Alistair notices.
“Are you hurt?” comes his concerned voice.
She shakes her head but does not look up at him. A distracting awareness, an itch in her skin at his nearness, overwhelms her. She frowns at the new but growing feeling. She first noticed it on the way to Redcliffe - the way his presence calms and excites and confuses her all at once. Dangerous. Enthralling. And impossible.
“Alright, were you hurt, then?”
“Just a splinter. It’s fine now.”
“You should market that skill, you know. Grey Warden, fighter of darkspawn and healer of splinters and papercuts that might otherwise destroy the world as we know it.”
She can’t help the hum of laughter in the back of her throat. She quickly wipes the humor from her face and glares at him.
“Shush. You’re distracting me.”
Alistair snorts indelicately. “Well, that is what I do best, after all. Me and my distractionary tactics.”
Again, she cannot resist an exasperated smile in his direction. She can’t seem to resist him. His eyes sparkle with unadulterated mirth, and she feels something squeeze in her chest, a strange, somewhat unwelcome sensation that sets her on edge. His smile should not affect her this way. She cannot allow it. Not knowing what she knows now.
She imagines she can see it, royal-but-tainted blood pumping through his veins, each steady heartbeat proclaiming his future, his destiny. He will make a good King, she decides, but as sheltered as she’d been in the Circle, even she knows kings don’t take elves as queens.
She turns to him then, an appraising glance, a sizing up, a painful pricking at the area suspiciously close to her heart.
“You do many things well, Ali. I wish I could make you believe it.”
A flush of red, visible even in dim firelight, creeps up his neck and over his face. He remains silent, but his eyes do not waiver.
She swallows hard, ripping her gaze from his soft… is that adoration? She cannot allow it.
And yet when he takes her hand, she does not pull away.