ossobuco: Legion from Mass Effect 2 (Default)
[personal profile] ossobuco
Fandom: Dragon Age
Word count: 1171
Characters: Alistair/Lyna Mahariel
Rating: G
Summary: The answer to the question of when Alistair first realized he was attracted to Lyna. The prodigiously self-indulgent answer.

The closer they came to the Frostbacks, the more darkspawn there were, prowling the forests and stalking the empty paths. Their corruption lay ever thicker on the land; the grass in places crumbled into ash under their boots, and the trees seemed gaunt and listless as they shed their darkened leaves. Here, where there were no villages to burn or refugees to slaughter, the Blight seemed to have sapped the power and grandeur from the very earth, and nothing of beauty remained.

It was late afternoon, a day or two from Orzammar, with a red sun sinking hopelessly behind the mountains and the eastern sky blotted with smoke and soot,when, after traveling undisturbed for most of the day, they encountered a pack of darkspawn on the road. Alistair had sensed them from a hundred or so yards off, and had noticed Lyna pause at the same moment to listen, then turn her head and stare off in the direction from which they both knew the creatures would come. The darkspawn did not appear to share this foresight; rather, they were on the move and too focused on their destination to have noticed the pair of Grey Wardens until they were well within sight. The sudden assault—Lyna and Alistair charging them with swords and shields at ready, Leliana's arrows just as swift and deadly, and Morrigan's arsenal of storms and hexes—drove them into a panic, and they fought chaotically, frenzied with whatever darkspawn might feel in the place of fear.

As Alistair felled one with a downward cut to the base of its neck, he looked up to scan the battlefield and happened to catch a glimpse of Lyna on the other side of the road, engaging a trio of darkspawn that had regrouped there. She rushed to break their formation, and, putting the whole weight of her body behind the arc of her shield, sent the smallest of the three flying a good ten paces before it struck the ground, crumpled, and did not stir. The second aimed a frantic blow in the moment that her first attack seemed to have left her vulnerable, but she turned in time and forced its mace aside with a calculated parry. The inertia of it glancing off of her blade threw her attacker off-balance, and she landed a slash across its chest before it could recover—it staggered, and she finished it by driving her blade straight into its chest, her muscles rippling beneath her tanned (and presently blood-stained) skin—and without hesitating, she jerked it free again with a spray of blood and whirled on the remaining hurlock, a massive beast half again as tall as she.

He lost sight of her for a moment as he traded blows with the last of his opponents—one strike glanced off of his pauldron, and then a snarl of lightning from Morrigan bought him enough time to decapitate the monster with one final blow. He looked up in time to see the large hurlock stagger back, black blood streaming down its face after a blow from Lyna's shield. She raised her sword, the steep evening sunlight dancing on the steel edge—there was not a trace of fear on her face (though, Alistair reflected, there never seemed to be), only exhilaration, her mouth half-open to draw breath with greater ease, her eyes alight with rare passion—and swung it down into the hurlock's shoulder. The beast howled as she struck bone. She pulled the blade loose, took one step back, and drove forward again to land another blow that cleaved deep into its chest. It writhed and toppled over, landing at her feet with a sodden thud.

She braced her heel at the base of its neck and freed her blade again, her biceps straining with the effort—then she tossed her head and exhaled a satisfied breath, sweat and blood shining on her bare scalp.

The four of them dragged the corpses into a single pile, which Morrigan ignited, coils of white-hot flame erupting from her hands to lick eagerly at the flesh and the branches they piled on for fuel. Once it no longer needed their immediate tending, they moved far enough away to escape the worst of the stench (though Morrigan kept a close watch over the pyre, ready to intervene should the blaze turn its hunger on the nearby woods). Alistair caught himself watching Lyna as they walked—more than that, he realized, he couldn't take his eyes from her.

He saw that her face was still flushed with exertion and (he imagined) excitement from the skirmish, her pupils dilated, the corners of her soft lips almost curled—almost smiling. She still drew deep, quick breaths, the hot air from her lungs condensing into swirling clouds, her chest rising and falling, the muscles of her abdomen firm and fluid. Her hips swayed just slightly with every self-assured step—just enough to be noticeable, to be womanly (and how strange that was to think, after months of fighting at her side and hardly thinking of her in such terms). The deep crimson gobs of blood on her face offset the powerful blue of her eyes, which in the angle of the evening light gleamed with the savage sharpness of a cut sapphire. Her swirling tattoos seemed to accentuate the set of her eyes and the arch of her brows, and in those eyes, there was still a hint of the fire that had burned so intensely before. In battle, she seemed alive, vibrant in a way that he wasn't sure he understood. But then again, she was Dalish, and there was much about her that he didn't understand—

“What?” She blinked, staring back at him, one eyebrow arched concernedly as she wiped her face with the back of one hand.

You look—incredible, he almost said, Maker's breath, you're stunning when you fight, but he knew he couldn't say it to her face, not with the death-warmed-over way that she regarded Zevran whenever he had anything to say along those lines, and he didn't want anything to do with the things that Zevran suggested—did he? He'd been taught to treat women with more respect than that, no matter who they were, and Lyna wasn't just a woman, or just an elf, for that matter—she was a Grey Warden as much as he was, and a warrior as strong and dangerous as any he'd ever met in his life. He didn't know how the Dalish approached—this sort of thing, whatever it was—but he didn't dare admit to the things he'd felt, watching her hack through the darkspawn like some battle-hungry goddess of death, didn't dare tell her that he thought she was beautiful.

He shut his mouth.

“I... you know... it's just... er... nothing?” he uttered, finally, and attempted a smile.

She raised both eyebrows, looking wholly bewildered. “Very well.”

The pyre soon burned itself out, and they continued down the road in the settling twilight.
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