A/N: Beware of male PC / Alistair SLASH, and enjoy! ;-)
You sit slumped at the bar, chin resting in one palm.
You're drunk. What's more, your eyes are openly glued to the warrior on the other side of the room, and you don't care.
You vaguely sense someone sitting down next to you. A finger pokes relentlessly at your cheek. "Stop it," you manage.
You hear a giggle and recognize Lelianna's voice. You briefly consider turning in her direction but quickly decide that continuing to ogle is clearly the best option.
"My friend," Lelianna presses. She sounds amused but sympathetic. Well, good for her.
"I knew it. I knew it! I knew you had a thing for Alistair," she says excitedly. You are vaguely reminded of an annoying eager Chihuahua.
You see Alistair laugh at something the pretty girl standing close to him says. Your brows furrow. You continue to watch the two of them so closely that you completely forget your friend's presence beside you.
"Hey, you there!" Lelianna's nudge catches you so off guard that you nearly topple off your stool.
"Oh Maker's—Look, Lelianna." You turn to her and try so hard to look serious that your eyes cross. "I'm almost convinced that I'm in love with a man, a man!, and I'm also pretty sure that said man would be incapable of reciprocating those kinds of feelings." Your voice lowers as the hopelessness of the situation sets in further. "So just leave me alone." You order another drink.
You catch Lelianna smiling and briefly wonder why there appears to be three of her.
"Ah, but my dearest companion." She leans in close and her eyes begin to glisten, like they do when she remembers stories from her past. "When I was a traveling minstrel, I collected and retold many stories, about war, passion, sacrifice, and… love." She pauses, perhaps recalling something too personal to put into words. "Some of my favorite stories are those of tragic love, love that grows against the odds, love that is shunned and ridiculed by others but blossoms despite everything. That love is strong, and pure, and… true." The humor is now gone from her eyes. "Isn't something like that worth fighting for? Worth pursuing, no matter the consequences? Doesn't it deserve… a chance?"
You accidentally slurp a little too loudly at your ale.
She suddenly grabs you by the shoulders and shakes.
"What I'm getting at is this," she continues. "Have you ever asked him how he felt about you? Huh? No, you haven't!" she answers for you. "How do you know he would never reciprocate your feelings? You don't know, and you're just sitting here, wasting everyone's time, feeling sorry for yourself… Go ask him!"
Muttering under her breath, she unceremoniously shoves you off your stool and into the general direction of Alistair. She watches you intently, and you have no choice but to grab your ale and walk, trying to pretend to be more sober than you actually are.
Fine. You'll humor her. You're drunk, you're tired of it all, and you don't care. What's the worst that could happen? True, Alistair might be disgusted enough to actually leave your party... But you'll worry about that once you've sobered up. How did you let yourself drink this much, anyway?
You slowly but steadily make your way across the room, stumbling into some people, and spilling ale on others. By the time you reach Alistair, your mug is nearly empty and several pairs of angry eyes bore into your back.
"Hi!" you exclaim merrily at Alistair's face.
"Er…" He grabs hold of your arm to steady you just as you start to wonder why the floor is more fluid than usual. You hear him say some apologetic words on your behalf to the woman next to him, and then he's leading you to an empty table in a corner, an arm around your back for support.
"Ah, hell," you mutter as you plop down. He sits down with marginally more grace across from you. "This is all wrong. Who am I kidding. Who is she kidding." You rub your temples.
A waiter places two fresh rounds of ale on your table.
"I don't know what you're on about," says Alistair, grabbing his mug, "but I'm pretty sure I have some catching up to do." He downs half of it in one go.
You smile, despite yourself. He's so funny. And innocent. And sweet. And his skin probably feels goo—…
"Uggghhh," you bury your head in your hands. This is a disaster. Why couldn't you just accept Morrigan's advances and be happy. Or even Zevran's. Then maybe you could at least pretend that the elf was Alistair.
By the time you look up again, the warrior is working on his second mug, seemingly oblivious to your pain. Seems like the alcohol's finally getting to him. Well, if you're going to say it, looks like it better be sooner rather than later.
"Yes!" he grins at you.
"I like someone."
He gasps. "You don't say!" He leans in closer to you, across the table, and your breath catches. "Actually, I already knew."
"You didn't think I was that much of an idiot, did you?"
"No—I—I mean…" your heart is pounding so fast you think it might jump out of your chest. "Well what do you think—er…"
"I don't know who this girl is, but she must be pretty special." He leans back into his seat, satisfied. "To keep our beloved leader that distracted, on a daily basis? Wow." He signals for another ale. "WOW!"
Your heart sinks into your chest as your body sinks lower into your seat. "Oh. Yeah… pretty special…" Damn it all. You down the rest of your ale just in time to obnoxiously wave your arm at the approaching waiter for another.
Long minutes of silent drinking pass.
"So tell me," Alistair finally slurs. "What does she look like?"
"Well…" You stare at him as you consider your response. "She has brown eyes, and brown hair… It's pretty short, actually… She's tall, strong, brave…"
"Strong? I didn't think that was your type!"
"Hmm. Neither did I," you reflect, "until I met her. She's so diff – hiccup – different from what I've ever liked, from what I ever thought I would like, but now that I've met her, I want nothing else. Do you understand?"
"Why are you talking so loudly all of a sudden?"
"No! I mean, yes! Sorry about that." He sways unsteadily and despite yourself, your courage goes up.
"Hey that's my name! Alistair. Sometimes I think it sounds funny. Aaaliiiistaiiirr."
"What would you do if I told you—if—if I said I liked… men?"
He leans in again, attentive. "What sorts of men?"
"I—what? What do you mean what sorts of men, what does it matter?"
"Please spea—hiccup—speak clearly friend, there's no need to mumble."
"I'm trying to say that I like men. I. Like. Men." You pause and think for a moment. "Wait, no! No, no, no. That's not what I'm trying to say at all."
You're not sure what that look on Alistair's face is supposed to portray, but as far as you're concerned he looks constipated. "I don't get it."
"I like a man. I mean, you know the way you and I like women? We liiiiike women?" (Alistair nods and repeats, "We liiiiike women.") Well, that's the way in which I liiiike this certain man." Pause. "Alistair, please focus. I'm saying I'm sexually, emotionally, whatever, attracted to a man."
Alistair gapes at you in awe. "Really? Wow."
"There's no 'wow' about it, it's making me miserable, to be honest." You take another swig. Alright, hopefully you're getting somewhere.
Alistair looks concerned. "But… have you told your girl about this? That's not very nice, you know, liking one person when you're with someone else."
"Eh? No, no." You half sprawl on the table. "There's no girl. That girl I described earlier, well, she's a man."
"How did she manage that?"
"Alistair, for the Maker's sake, try to understand me. I like you. You, Alistair."
There's a long, heavy silence.
"I'm sorry," you apologize, suddenly a lot more sober than you'd been a minute ago. "I just—Lelianna…"
"You like me?"
"Look, I don't expect… anything, from you. Just don't leave." You had been staring at the mug in your hands but look up to meet his eyes. The words come out in a desperate rush. "Stay by my side. At least until the Blight is over. I promise, I'll be good."
"I can't believe I'm hearing this." He slams his mug onto the table.
You feel tears well up in your eyes. This is all such a bad idea. So stupid.
"I only thought, that maybe you deserved to know."
Expression grave, Alistair stands up. He doesn't look at you. He stares at a spot ahead of him for a moment, unseeing.
And then he leaves, just like that.
You tangle your fingers in your hair and let the tears fall freely. Even heroes can't help but cry, sometimes.
It's only hours later, laying in your bed, that you are finally able to move past the helpless disappointment, past the ache in your heart, and begin to accept your situation for what it really is.
It's not one of Lelianna's romantic stories of impossible love. It's just you pathetically falling for someone you can never have, obsessing with your fantasies, and potentially putting your party members in harm's way because of your distraction.
You'll have to face Alistair again at some point, probably in the morning if he hasn't left for good by then. What could you possibly say? Your confession felt good at the moment, but now you know it wasn't worth it. Shit. You consider getting up and punching something.
The voice startles you so much that you sit up and instinctively grab for a weapon.
"Relax! It's just me." In the nearly pitch-black room you make out Alistair's shape looming over your bed.
"Maker's breath, you gave me a fright." Your heart is still racing, but for a different reason now.
The last thing you expect is for him to climb into bed next to you, but that's precisely what happens.
You wonder if maybe you should say something, but your mind goes blank.
"Look, I just wanted to apologize." His voice is gentle. "For how I reacted, I mean. That must have… taken a lot of courage… for you to say."
"No, I—that's okay."
There's a pause and you find yourself wringing your hands in the darkness. Alistair clears his throat.
"Er… Well, there's something else."
Before you can register what's happening, his warm, calloused hand gently turns your face towards him. You open your mouth to speak when surprisingly soft lips press against yours and cut short the attempt.
Maybe the expected thing to do at such a moment would be to freeze, unable to move as the man who only recently walked out on you, disgusted, continues to kiss you.
But despite everything, you melt into the kiss, his warm lips tasting like honey, more intoxicating than any drink. Your fingers brush against your connected mouths, along his jaw, down his neck, and you moan low in your throat.
His arms circle around your lower back, pulling you in closer.
You're so dizzy that you almost don't notice when he pulls away.
"I just… wanted to try that," he murmurs.
"And? … Alistair." It's hard to speak past the lump in your throat. "Please. Don't toy with me."
"And," he brushes a loose strand of hair behind your ear, and you swear his touch leaves a trail of fire on your skin. "And… I think… I could try this." His thumb traces your lower lip, and he places a kiss right underneath your eye. You try to discretely breathe in as much of his scent as possible while he's that close.
"But…" your voice comes out no louder than a whisper. "You don't like men."
"No, I don't." He kisses you underneath the other eye. "But, I like you."
"I can't believe it…" You risk a kiss to his cheek. Is this really happening? Is he actually yours to do this to, now? You brush your nose against his hair.
"Believe it." He undoes the top button of your shirt.
"What now?" You kiss his collarbone. Before you know it he has taken your shirt completely off and is holding your bare chest close to his.
"We try to figure out how this sort of thing works, I guess," he murmurs into your ear.
Your last coherent thought is that before this is all over, Lelianna will have gained a new story to tell, of perhaps the most impossible love of all.