This idea has been in my head since finishing Dragon Age and I had to write it down. It's been a while since I've written anything, so I'd appreciate any feedback. I'm open to criticism, too. It's been a while since I've written anything, so I'd like any help. Please review if you have the time. I'm intending this to be about how exactly one falls in love with an assassin who tries to kill them. Also, there's not nearly enough Zevran love going around. Warning- my Tabris is a bit darker and well, wordly than I've seen her portrayed here before.
"Life was never this complicated in the alienage" Akalla Tabris muttered aloud to herself while sitting with her back to the rest of the camp.
"Is that so?" A voice from behind her spoke up. She had thought that she was alone. "No darkspawn attacks? Or perhaps you mean no assassins sent to kill you who then survive and swear loyalty to you. Or maybe you mean simply that you've never had a man as handsome as me attempting to bed you." She sighed as Zevran came up to her, immediately close enough to touch her, and settled on the ground beside her.
"Yes, all of those things are currently serving to make my life much more complicated than it was before. But, you give yourself way too much credit. Surely you do not believe that I have never been propositioned before, or are you simply trying to flatter yourself by imagining me as a virgin whom you could corrupt as you wish?" He laughed cheerfully at this. It was obvious to him that she was mocking his style of speech and accent. She had moved to the edge of the camp so that she could think in peace, but she should have known that she wouldn't be afforded privacy for very long. With so many people in their party it was difficult to go more than an hour without someone wanting to speak to her.
"No, my sweet, there are several things wrong with that statement." He was so close to her at this point that she could feel the warmth of his breath as she turned her face to look at him. He was every bit as handsome as he presented himself as, and she found herself wanting to get lost staring into his lively amber eyes. "First of all, I know an experienced woman when I see one. You are no virgin. The sway of your hips, the way you trade banter with me, you know what you are doing with your body and your sexuality. Finally, it would be stupid of me to assume that no other man has ever appreciated you the way I do. You are… so gorgeous." These words sounded even more lurid coming from his lips. It wasn't just his inflection, but the way that his eyes drifted down her body; it made her shiver. Although she was fully clothed she suddenly felt as if she was exposed to him. "You know this and you are simply trying to trick me into saying it." He grinned. "Even if you were not as particularly gorgeous as you are, growing up in your circumstances and remaining a virgin would be nothing short of a miracle."
"And what is that supposed to mean?" She bristled. She had not talked to anyone in their group of her past at all. How could he have any idea?
"Please do not take offense, my dear. You and I both know how humans can be to our kind. They will place themselves in positions of power above us but yet… use us for other means. I, myself, was chosen to be a Crow mostly because I am an elf. Many humans would jump into bed with me based only on that, let alone the fact that I happen to be a particularly handsome elf. Surely living among humans in the city like you did…"
"I'd rather not talk about it." She cut him off more abruptly than she had meant to.
"Oh? I had gotten the impression that you were rather open about sex, especially compared to the other woman in our camp." As he said this, he shifted his eyes toward Leiliana's general direction.
"I guess I haven't told you about how I was conscripted to the Grey Wardens, have I?" She asked, deciding that Zevran was probably the person who would, oddly, be the most understanding.
"No, I have not had the pleasure of hearing that story from you, yet." He replied, as he shifted on the ground and edged even closer to her. She took a deep breath and considered how to start.
"Alienages are quite small; there really aren't that many available elves around. In fact, many of the people my age there were closely related to me already. Marriages are arranged by one's parents through letters sent to other city's alienages, usually. My father saved up his entire life to catch me a "good match" as he said." Zevran raised his eyebrows at this. "I didn't even know my betrothed's name before the day I was supposed to marry him. I wanted to run away but felt that I was bound by duty to my father. The wedding was supposed to be a double one with my cousin Soris. As fate would have it, though…" She trailed off, unsure of how she could possibly continue telling the story that had ended the life she had known. She decided to go with her usual blunt bluster, knowing that Zevran was the least likely to be offended by it. "An arl's son and a few of his friends showed up in the alienage bent on raping the most attractive females they could find."
Zevran's eyes narrowed at this and he placed his hand on her knee as a gesture of comfort, "You need not continue. I am sorry for bringing this up. I…" But she had already taken off and there was no backing down now.
"He had designs on my cousin, Shianni. Soris tried to hold me back from intervening, but being who I am, I couldn't let it happen. I brazenly pushed past him and demanding they unhand her. They laughed, of course, and decided to take me also. My father had taken my daggers from me that morning- worried that I might scare away my betrothed. At the time I cursed him, but come to think of it, now I probably would have died right there- or as a result."
He made a sound at this point that sounded like a growl and said in the most serious tone she had heard from him yet, "You may think me depraved and you may think whatever you want of me morally, but know this- I would never dream of raping a woman."
"But you would and have killed some." She interjected.
"Some people need killing. There are some things worse than murder." He responded gravely. She took a deep breath, deciding to continue the story.
"They had to knock me out to get me to their Tierney. I woke up nearly naked and locked into a room-"
"No, I was fortunate. However, one of my friends was not. They killed her in front of us to keep us from fighting back. The men took Shianni and two of the other girls, leaving me behind with the rest.
Just as I was starting to look for a way out, Soris showed up with my daggers. Duncan had sneaked him into the building and my father had supplied my weapons. We fought through guard after guard until we came to where my betrothed had been holding them off for me. Just as I was nearing him, one came up behind me and ran him through."
"I am sorry."
"I didn't even want to get married. I was ready to run away. He had just met me and he fought and died for me. He sacrificed himself for something that I didn't even want. I was sorry that he died… but not so sorry that the wedding didn't take place. I... killed the arl's son. After what he had done, I didn't see any other possible way out. Then Soris and I went to hide in the alienage. Of course, soon after we arrived in the alienage the authorities showed up for us. I told them it was all my doing and I would gladly accept punishment. Luckily, Duncan stepped in and used the right of conscription to save me from being executed. So, the life I knew ended there.. " She let the words hang in there, unsure of what to say next. She realized in that moment that Zevran had come to her for banter, had come to her for light-hearted fun and she had cruelly turned the tide of the conversation on him. "But…" She said after an awkward pause, "You asked me about humans in the alienage and how they could affect my… experience."
"We do not need to discuss anything that makes you uncomfortable, my dear. I came over here hoping to make you laugh."
"I promise this is more light-hearted." She forced a smile. "These… raping parties were frequent before I… came of age."
"I fail to see how this is light-hearted."
"You'll see." She smiled. "When I was fourteen, I decided that I had the solution. I had not yet been targeted myself, but I had watched the men come and I had watched them take my older friends. Many of them didn't even bother to put up any kind of fight. I had… had my sexual awakening at this point and had realized that I had a much larger sexual appetite than any other girl I knew. Much worse than this, there were hardly any boys my age in the alienage, and the ones who were near my age were also usually relatives of mine."
"I can see how that would be a problem."
"It was worse than that, though. There was… reputation to consider."
"Ah, here we go with the ridiculous stipulations you Fereldans put on sex again."
"Well, how could I catch a good bride price if everyone knew I wasn't a virgin? So, I watched the men who came with great interest. Not all of them were as gruff and terrible as the arl's son later was. Some of them were poor men who couldn't afford whores and who had been advised to come to us to find someone to alleviate their virginity. I watched for one of them for my own… design."
"You are a devious little creature, aren't you?" Zevran's tone was lurid and she couldn't help genuinely smiling.
"I found an innocent one and pulled him into a deserted corner, and we... fumbled at each other the best we could. I told him to send any friends who needed the same to me. Pretty soon, more men came asking for the "Red-headed elf". I asked them to be discreet, and for the most part, they were. As far as I know, none of the other elves ever discovered what was happening, and the frequency of the rapes decreased. I know that not every man who does such a thing is motivated by sexual desire. Most of them, however, simply wanted the opportunity of… using an elf. You know we're not… not considered people to many of them."
"So you were a whore without pay as a way of being some sort of shield for the rest of your community?" Another person in her situation may have been offended by the use of the word whore, but she wasn't easily offended and also realized that it was not an offensive word to Zevran.
"When you put it that way it seems so… selfless. I love sex. I was simply able to convince myself that I was doing it for a… higher purpose." Zevran laughed heartily at this and leaned closer to her, so that their faces were so close that they could have kissed.
"If this is the case then why have we not yet made love? Surely you know that my flirtation is no joke."
"There are… complications." She sighed, suddenly wishing that this wasn't the case. She had found herself drawn to Zevran as soon as she had spared him. It wasn't just because he was the only other elf that she had seen since leaving her family or that he was possibly the most handsome elven man she had ever seen. There was something intriguing about him and she could not deny that it had more than a little to do with the fact that he was hired to kill her.
He shook his head and made a tutting noise at her, "There needs to be nothing complicated about it. You are a woman with appetites, you said so yourself. How long has it been for you?"
"Maker, I have lost track. It's been… four months?"
"This Alistair of yours… he does not know what to do with you, does he?" He teased. She laughed easily.
"He is… not exactly mine, first of all. And yes, he doesn't have the slightest idea what to do with me, in more ways than one. You have stumbled upon one of the complications."
"Let me guess. He loves you and you are not sure if you love him. And, judging from the way he watches me all the time… he believes he owns you more than you say he does. Right now you want more… physical comfort than he can provide, no? I.. could provide this comfort, but you don't know if you can trust me, what with the having tried to kill you already." As he mentioned comfort, he reached up to caress her face and she couldn't help but close her eyes and relish in the touch. His hands are rough, but the touch is tender and sensual. She had never been touched in that manner. Every man whom she had been with was either awkward or rough. "Have you never been with another elf?"
"No, I haven't. And the rest of what you said…"
"It is all true; I know…One does not last long as an assassin if they cannot size up situations as quickly as I do. Know this. Anything that we would do together would be just between us. Believe it or not, I can be discreet." He slowly slid his thumb around her jaw line as he said this.
"And the assassination part…" She whispered, fully aware that she was completely vulnerable in this moment.
"What would it mean to you if I simply said I no longer wish to kill you, hmm? I have already said it. I have already given you my oath. Do you think that I am merely waiting until after I have sex with you to do it?"
"That is a common theme in your stories, Zevran."
"Yes, and if I told you that this is different, that you are different, would you not just believe that this is what I say to all of my marks?" She nodded, careful not to move her face away from his touch. "This is my point exactly. I cannot convince you with any words. I was hoping that at this point my actions would have helped. I sat back and gave Alistair what I assumed should be ample time to woo you, as it were. I kept to myself in camp until you came to me, eager either to hear stories of Antiva or just eager to close to me, it was all the same. So, I entertained you. I stayed up late many nights talking to you. And do not get me wrong, I enjoyed it. But what I am trying to say to you is that if I still wanted to kill you I have already had many opportunities when I could have done it. For instance, right now… your eyes are closed and you are listening to nothing but my voice. I could easily take advantage of that. This is not the first time you have let your guard down around me. Believe me when I say I want you alive. I very much like your company. You were so kind to spare me, I will not forget this. But, I am afraid we are back where we began, yes?" She nodded again and pressed her face against his hand again. "Nothing I say can convince you to trust me."
"You are right" She conceded.
"About what?" His voice was barely a whisper and his tone was guiding. She could feel him lean slightly closer to her.
"Everything. If you wanted to kill me I'd already be dead. If I was really worried about you still trying to kill me I wouldn't be sitting here letting you touch me."
"Then why are you sitting here letting me touch while talking about whether or not you trust me, hmm? I think it is because you are still unwilling to address what is really going on here."
"And what is that?" She asked, feeling intoxicated in the moment, drawn in by his voice and demeanor. She waited eagerly for his reply, but instead of answering aloud, she suddenly felt his lips on hers, softly parting them. And then his other hand was on her face too, and he was kissing her passionately. Just as she was beginning to lose herself in the kiss, feeling the heat of the moment, he pulled away.
"That." He said matter-of-factly. She was at a loss for words, at this point, and swallowed hard. She opened her eyes to look into his.
"I..." was all she managed to stammer.
"You do know that there is only one way we can end this, right? We will sleep together." She couldn't help but giggle at this. After a slight pause he said, "So… tell me how you feel about Alistair."
"That's one way to kill the mood between us." She laughed.
"I am serious. I would like to know exactly what it is I may be getting in between. All I know right now is that you seem to be more interested in my company than his, and whenever he catches me looking at you he gives me the most horrible glares. I keep expecting him to challenge me to a duel for you." He grinned at this thought, "But I suppose even in his misguided defending of your honor he realizes that he would be no match for me. Oh, poor Alistair."
"Why the sudden change of heart?"
"I just realized that he is severely outclassed. No wonder he hates me so."
"He is… sweet. He is well-meaning. Everything in Alistair's world is so black and white. Mages are dangerous; Templars and the Chantry are good, although sometimes misguided. Sex and love are inseparable." Zevran interjected a scoff. "But it's deeper than that. He is-
"Boring, yes?" She laughed at this ins spite of herself.
"And he wants me to be kind-"
"Which you usually are, my dear."
"And chaste." She finished..
"Oh, now that could be a problem." He agreed.
"I don't feel very brave, Zev. I have to be something for him. He has this… image of me. There is nothing wrong with me, as far as he is concerned. But, there really… actually is. Am I making sense at all?"
"You make perfect sense, my dear. You want to be a person, yes? Sometimes you are scared, sometimes you do not feel so charitable, and sometimes you want to have sex. I imagine that the problem with your bravery is that you cannot show weakness while leading this ragtag group of adventurers. Desire is weakness to Alistair, is it not?"
"Possibly. Honestly, I was enjoying what I had with him. He has an endearing charm and he is so… good. He believes in the Grey Warden's cause. He would gladly die to stop the Blight. He has a noble heart, but I am no innocent girl who is easily swept off of her feet by that. Compared to him, I am lecherous. I don't want to be his perfect sweetheart. I am a person with flaws, and… I feel terrible."
"You feel terrible because you are not what he wants you to be. He is also not what you want either, is he? Are you afraid to tell him so?"
"Apparently so. I have never had anyone act towards me as Alistair does. I have never been in… a relationship? I am unsure what to call it. But I am more afraid of what will happen when he... finds out about us."
"Oh? There is an us now?" His eyes were gleaming at this point. She felt herself blushing as she turned her face away, breaking contact with his hands.
"I'm… sorry. I…"
"You are so beautiful when you are at a loss for words."
"And you are teasing me mercilessly again."
"Heh, guilty as charged."
"I… didn't mean to imply anything. I just meant… you said yourself that we are going to make love. For Alistair that is nearly marriage. You have to know that it will hurt him when he finds out."
"Forgive me if I do not feel much compassion for someone who wants me dead and all but offered to do it himself." She sighed.
"He was only angry because you flirted with me so outrageously."
"Who can blame me?"
"Apparently he can." She smiled. "And if you're going to be offended because he wants you dead… at least he hasn't tried."
"You wound me." He replied, with exaggerated hurt in his voice. His lips looked absolutely delicious to her when pressed into a pout. An intense desire had been building inside of her during the course of the conversation. Of course, if she was honest with herself she could have said that it had been building ever since she had been conscripted by the Grey Wardens. First, there was the handsome yet reluctant Alistair who was a perfect gentleman, although human – two things which she had never imagined would go together. She had found out he was a virgin and could not help but imagine what it would be like to teach him what two bodies could do together. The thought of corrupting him consumed her for a good while.
Gradually she realized that he was falling in love with her. This both fascinated and scared her. She had never been in love before. Sex was one thing, but love was completely foreign. Sometimes she felt warmth in places other than between her legs and he had the power to make her tremble when he would say sweet things to her. When she asked him to sleep with her she felt that she had waited as long as she possibly could. She had not gone this long without having sex since… well before she had done it the first time. He turned her down, and she mistook it for coyness. He was angry with her and felt that she couldn't respect his wishes. She was merely hungry and confused by the idea that someone would not want to have sex with a person whom they were obviously attracted to.
Then Zevran arrived- handsome and interesting and just dangerous enough to captivate her. Everything about his manner toward her was, she was sure, a calculated effort to seduce her. His eyes lingered just a little too long on her. He would touch her often while they were speaking and always stand just a little bit too close to her. She was sure this was not just a cultural difference since he did not do this with any of the other companions-male or female. He would emerge from his tent every morning shirtless to take his share of breakfast and make sure that she was watching as he would stretch languorously- every muscle in his chest taut and hard. There was always a particular twinkle in his eyes as he talked to her, but she knew not what it meant; only that it intrigued her. The flirting was shameless and sometimes nearly lewd, but this was not something that was reserved only for her.
Beside this inner turmoil, there was the darkspawn. Zevran attacked their crew shortly after they had left the Circle tower. There she had seen horrors which she had never imagined possible- even worse than what the blight had shown her so far. Alistair had provided little comfort in this area- his worldview did not leave much room for sympathy for the mages. However, it seemed as if Wynne was working her way into his heart pretty easily. Surely Akalla had more important things to be worried about than sex, no matter how much her body may be crying out for it. But, as they were traveling and searching for the Dalish, she had plenty of time for her mind to wander.
At first she had tried to avoid Zevran's attention, casting her eyes away whenever she knew he was showing off particularly with her in mind. She knew her attraction to him was madness. She knew he was dangerous. She knew there was more than a little chance that he was simply playing with her, exercising the only bit of power that he could still hold over her. On some level she realized that seduction was part of his way of life. She was still his mark, but she hoped that what he wanted now was more carnal than what he had wanted before. It began to drive her crazy. It had been a long time since she had slept with anyone. She achieved release nearly every night by herself, but Zevran had found his way into her fantasies and she could not shake the idea of him. She began to wonder if he was half as good as he made himself out to be. She wondered what the tattoos on the rest of his body accentuated.
It was these thoughts that drove her to begin seeking him out at camp at night. She did it at first under the guise of getting to know him better. It would be lying to say that she was not interested in what he had to say, but most of all she wanted to be close to him. Most of all she wanted his attention. She wanted his eyes upon her. She relished his undisguised desire for her and allowed herself to believe that it wasn't just a game to him. He was slowly driving her insane with desire. It was getting to the point where she could barely sleep.
"If…" She started, breaking the silence, "I mean…"
"Are you serious about this?"
"About what? Defeating the arch demon? I don't seem to have much choice in that matter, my dear."
"Oh, you mean about wanting to bed you?" He laughed, "At this point it would be rather cruel of me if I were not, don't you think? After all, I have been spending ample time building the desire in you. If you think that anything that I have done in your presence which made you desire me was accidental… I am rather good at this, you know." He cocked an eyebrow. "Granted, I do not usually draw a seduction out this long, mostly since I usually need to follow it up with an assassination. But this time… this time I figured it would be nice to tease you simply because you are ever so lovely when you squirm." It would be an understatement to describe my reaction as flustered. I felt my entire body flush with heat, and my breath caught in my throat as I struggled to look anywhere but at him. "Like right now… delicious. Yes, I am not quite that evil. I would rather enjoy bedding you and will do so whenever you want me to. Although I am enjoying teasing you, I simply do not know how much longer I could stand doing this myself."
After a pause that probably seemed a lot longer to her than it actually was, she gathered herself and raised her head to look into his eyes again. She gulped, and shook her head, laughing at herself. No matter how much she had built him up in her mind, he was still just a man- even if he was a handsome one.
"What is it, my dear?"
"You were right about something else- You are really good at this. I hope you're prepared to live up to the fantasy you have created in my mind." He grinned in response,
"Oh, I believe I am. I am more than prepared to give you whatever you may want or need. I do come highly recommended." As he said this, he leaned in closer to her again and pressed his lips to hers, sealing the deal.