Author: trilliumg PM
Anja Amell is feeling ambivalent toward her relationship with her lover, Alistair, as she takes up her duties as Warden Commander. It really doesn't help that Alistair is absent and there's a charming mage about.Rated: Fiction M - English - Romance - Alistair & Anders - Chapters: 7 - Words: 13,677 - Reviews: 16 - Favs: 15 - Follows: 18 - Updated: 07-23-11 - Published: 06-06-11 - Status: Complete - id: 7057901
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Written for the kink!meme, but the prompt would give the story away.
Please review! Help me out with comments on plot, characterization, whatever!
In the dank gloom of the Keep's interior, Anja shivered involuntarily, and the fine blonde hairs at the nape of her neck stood on end. She sensed evil, its smoky black tendrils curling toward her from the other side of the massive wooden door. No matter how many of these creatures she encountered, they were always dreadful, always horrifying.
She spoke quickly and confidently as she reached for the rusted metal handle. "Prepare yourself, Mhairi. There are probably several darkspawn on the other side."
Mhairi hunched her pauldroned shoulders, raised her shield and sword, and took a deep breath. "Ready, Commander."
The mage yanked the door open and stepped back behind it, shielding herself in case the creatures made a beeline for them.
But there was no sound or motion until Mhairi uttered a quiet, "Oh." She paused, lowering her sword and shield, and her feet seemed rooted to the floor. Curious, Anja peeked around the door.
There was no mass of darkspawn ready to charge. Instead a tall, broad-shouldered mage was roasting a single hurlock with a fire spell.
He turned to them as it hit the floor, then grinned and shrugged. "I didn't do it."
He continued speaking to them but Anja hardly heard a thing as she stood, transfixed, drinking him in. Sinewy biceps, flaxen hair swept into a short ponytail, a golden earring. But it was his smile and, for some reason, his downy, black-feathered spaulders that were really doing her in. Gradually she became aware of his voice again, and its gentle timbre was the perfectly knotted bow on a shimmering package of raw sensuality the likes of which she'd never encountered.
She shook her head, just barely, trying to snap out of it. He was introducing himself now—something about being a wanted apostate and how his encounter with the darkspawn had left his templar captors dead.
"You, my dear lady, may call me Anders."
"Nice to m—" Anja stopped herself and squinted at him. She knew the name. "Anders? You aren't just any apostate, then. You've escaped the Tower what, six times?"
"Seven," he sighed. "Not that anyone besides me is counting. You'd think they'd give me some credit by now." Then he grinned and his entire face lit up, his brown eyes crinkling at the corners in the most pleasing way. She found herself feeling a bit light-headed.
That Anders. Smirking, Anja cocked her head. She knew she shouldn't say it, but something about his manner made her forget herself. She couldn't hold back. "Hey, I heard a story about you once."
"Just the one? How disappointing! But do tell."
"They say," she said, crossing her arms, pausing for effect, "you can cast a spell that makes women's small clothes disappear."
Mhairi gasped and stared at her, and Anders burst out laughing. "That's a new one! A great idea, too. On the other hand, I can't say I've had much…need for a spell like that."
His eyes twinkled, and a tiny shiver ran up Anja's spine. He was not her type at all. In fact, he was almost exactly not her type. But Maker, what fun.
She narrowed her eyes playfully. "Oh, really!" She turned and punched Mhairi lightly in the shoulder. "Better watch out for this one, Mhairi. Definitely trouble."
Surprisingly enough, Anders the Apostate seemed interested in sticking around to help out, and the three of them spent the rest of that day and the next clearing darkspawn from the rest of the Keep and ferreting out residents who'd been trapped or hiding. They included Varel, the Keep's seneschal; his captain, Garavel; a Mistress Woolsey; and, to her utter surprise, her old friend Oghren, who was not only in his usual good spirits despite the circumstances, but seemed intent on becoming a Grey Warden.
Anja was taken to meet a captive who turned out to be the son of the traitor Rendon Howe, come to take revenge on some Wardens for his father's death and reclaim some items from his family's childhood home. Nathaniel seemed to be Anders' alter ego—dark, brooding, and bitter. He claimed to be more willing to hang than join the efforts underway at the Keep, so Anja decided to conscript him. The Wardens needed bodies, and why should she let a Howe get what he wanted after all the damage his rat-faced father had done to the country during the Blight?
It was almost midnight and she stood yawning in the dim light of her newly assigned room, trying to calm her mind. The window was cracked and the curtains were parted, admitting a sliver of moonlight, and there was no sound except the chirping of crickets. She walked over to inspect the bed, which seemed to stretch endlessly in all directions, and drew her index finger along the finely crafted headboard. She guessed that it was mahogany, to match the desk, bench, dresser, and nightstands. Even in the feeble glow of the oil lamp it was easy to see the many nicks and scratches left by the room's previous occupants, but all the same, she felt a little thrill. It was the first space she could remember being able to call her own. The first thing she'd done after closing the door behind her was turn the key in the lock, and she'd grinned like a fool when the latch had clicked solidly into place.
After a year on the road saving Ferelden from the Blight, she and Alistair would finally have a real bed to share, and some well deserved privacy.
When he returns, she reminded herself. The thought cast a faint shadow across her heart.
The floor seemed to sway beneath her as she fumbled with the clasps on her robes. She was tired, so very tired, and the bed looked as inviting as a mother's arms. She still needed to brush her teeth, but she couldn't resist sitting down on the edge of the mattress. For one minute. Just one minute…