ossobuco: Legion from Mass Effect 2 (grey warden)
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The King's (Or Not) Maille
Fandom: Dragon Age
Characters: Lyna Mahariel, Alistair Theirin
Word Count: 1474
Rating: G
Summary: What to do with King Cailan's armor recovered from Ostagar? Alistair and Mahariel discuss.


"But it's King Cailan's," Alistair said hesitantly, even as his fingers moved admiringly over the embossed symbols, the dragon's face and the borders in all number of precious metals that seemed to glow even in the dim evening light. "It doesn't seem right for me to... you know, to just wear it into battle like any old thing."

Lyna picked up one of Cailan's elaborate bracers, testing the weight of the fine, solid metal. Alistair was right about one thing—the armor that they had recovered during their infiltration of Ostagar was a work of art, quite unlike anything she had ever touched, let alone possessed. It certainly didn't fit with the image of their ragtag band. Too showy for a pack of apostates, murderers, and Dalish elves. Perhaps too regal for someone who clearly loathed the notion of becoming king.

Still, Lyna couldn't let something of that quality go to waste. "Cailan isn't using it," she said bluntly.

Alistair's eyes took on that tightly-drawn expression that Lyna knew meant the memory was still too fresh, and that caused an uncomfortable knot to coil in her chest. "I suppose he isn't," he replied after a moment, grimly. "But he was king, and I'm... not, definitely not king material..."

While she wasn't going to deny that Alistair was not very well suited to rulership of a nation (whatever Arl Eamon might have said to the contrary), Lyna caught herself pursing her lips at his self-deprecation, and she tossed the bracer back towards the other pieces with a touch more vigor than was necessary. Alistair fumbled and caught it, holding it reverently and checking it over for scratches with a breathless sort of look.

"We need to do something with it." Lyna walked over to where he sat, a few feet away from the campfire. With the sun all but set, the air had chilled, and the night promised to be colder than the last few, so she added another log to the fire and sat down next to Alistair to share in its warmth. She noticed him look away from the armor to watch her, something like apprehension in his eyes. "Would you prefer that we sell it?"

"No," he said decisively, looking past the flames. "We can't do that."

"Then, someone has to use it." It was idiotic to bring something that heavy and valuable with them if it wasn't benefiting them somehow, but she couldn't find it in herself to be irritated with Alistair—at least, not significantly so. She looked over at him, watching his eyes focus somewhere in the distance. He had a kind face—perhaps even a handsome one, though it was so different from the faces she was accustomed to that even after all these months, it was a strange thing to consider. “Arelan and I certainly can't wear it. You're the only one it would fit.”

He glanced at her, making unintentional eye contact, and started slightly as if he were surprised to find her looking at him. “Well, erm. I suppose... you're right.” His eyes went to the ground, then back to the line of trees, and after an uncertain moment, back to her. “You really think—it wouldn't be horrible if I—you don't think Cailan would be upset?”

“He'd be happy that it wasn't sitting unused in someone's tent.” Neither one of them broke eye contact for a moment, and Lyna could see the worry begin to ebb from his gaze and, gradually, hope take its place.

“Right,” he agreed cautiously, “or lying on a battlefield somewhere, or being worn by darkspawn.” At this, he winced, but she saw him start to smile a bit as he looked away, turning the bracer over in his hands. “At least, I should hope so.”

She raised an eyebrow, still watching him. “I much prefer you to darkspawn,” she remarked.

“Well, thank the Maker for that.” He stared at the bracer for a little longer, and then at the rest of the armor in an orderly stack next to where he sat, and cleared his throat. “I'll just... see if it fits, then, shall I? No harm in that, right?”

Lyna blinked. She couldn't see why he needed her approval for such a thing after she had suggested that he wear it in the first place, but nevertheless she rose to her feet and stepped around him. “I can help you put it on.”

“Yes,” he said, almost beaming, “I mean—thank you. That would help. It's a bit heavy... though obviously you're aware of that, since you helped me carry it back and all... well, enough of that. Off with the old, then.”

Lyna knelt to untangle the straps and buckles of Cailan's armor, turning her head so that the uninvited quirk of her lips would be hidden from view. In a few minutes, Alistair had divested himself of the splint mail he'd had since the beginning of it all—since Lyna had first met him at Ostagar—and stood only in his gambeson and breeches. It was rare to see him without armor, even on such still nights when an attack could hardly come without warning and when the others would allow themselves some relaxation, as if he felt it was part of his duty to them to be always ready to defend them, always secure and never vulnerable. The sight of him, of his body covered in simple cloth rather than closed off behind armor and shield, made the moment feel suddenly, strangely intimate. A part of her reveled in witnessing that which he allowed so few others to see, and wanted it to last as long into the night as he would allow, but that, she told herself firmly, was foolish. There was no reason that she should take pleasure in such a thing.

She brought the suit over piece by piece, holding each in place while, together, they fastened the various buckles and straps. She could feel his muscles flex beneath the quilted fabric as he turned and reached to help with the chest and back plates—and, standing so near to him, the warmth of his body in the still, cool night. He stood obediently still as she buckled the cuisses and greaves around his thighs and shins, and held out each arm as she fastened the bracers, watching her all the while with an expression she could only call curious—eyes soft, brows raised slightly and etching a worried little crease across his forehead.

At last he pulled on the gauntlets, flexing his fingers a few times to settle them. “Well?” he asked, stepping back. “How do I look?”

The armor fit him well; he and Cailan were alike enough in build and stature that it sat comfortably, without gaps. It was radiant in the firelight, every curve and crest brought out by the red-gold glow, and the leaping flames reflected on the chestplate made the dragon’s face seem like a living creature, eyes livid as if it might spout fire at any moment. Alistair himself seemed to stand taller and with his shoulders straighter—it was probably, she thought, the effort of supporting the armor’s greater bulk, but she couldn’t ignore the lift of his chin, or the way the reflections threw a hint of red into his hair and a proud, striking light in his eyes, or the little smile on his lips as he looked at her, as eager as it was uncertain.

She realized that she was staring. “You look happy,” she said.

At that he seemed... disappointed, his eyes wide and deep, not unlike Iloren's whenever he begged for an extra morsel of their supper.

She tilted her head. “What?”

“Well, I was just hoping for something more like… dashing, maybe, or heroic, or—ruggedly masculine.” He gestured, fingers splayed for emphasis, and although his voice carried his usual glibness, his face quickly grew hesitant. “But… well. You don’t think—it doesn’t look bad, does it?”

“No. Not at all.” She sat down by the fire again. “It suits you.”

“Oh… does it?” His expression went from thoughtful to dismayed. “You don’t mean that in the ‘Alistair, you look so regal, being king suits you’ sort of way, do you? Please say you don’t. I’ve already had enough of that to last a lifetime, and… hold on, are you smiling? You’re actually smiling.”

She was. She knew she shouldn’t find his protestations so amusing, and she tried her best to stifle it, but just the sight of his face—his kind eyes, his cheeks slightly flushed—made her smile all the more.

“Didn’t think I’d live to see you smile. Not at me, anyway.” He was grinning, himself, as he sat next to her again. “It suits me, does it? Well—I’ll be satisfied with that.”

Date: Saturday, April 6th, 2013 08:06 pm (UTC)
fyreharper: (Default)
From: [personal profile] fyreharper
aww :)

Date: Wednesday, February 26th, 2014 11:18 pm (UTC)
halberdier: Alistair approves of this (Dragon Age: Alistair Approves + 10)
From: [personal profile] halberdier
This is lovely :)

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