This chapter was a labor. I may have to rewrite because I'm not completely happy with it. Once again, I'm open to constructive criticism. I have a lot of hits, but not many reviews, so let me know what you think! Trying to make this the best I can. I can take it.
Alistair was steaming and he could not make up his mind what to do about it. He felt the overwhelming urge to storm over to Zevran and beat the pretty elf senseless. There was no mistaking what had happened. Having woken up quite early, something had given him the crazy idea that he might be able to reconnect with her. He felt terrible about how their last conversation had ended and he wanted to make it up to her somehow. He felt confident that if he could just get her to talk to him they could smooth things over. He had felt this way until he had begun to make his way across the camp and saw her sleeping in the arms of that bastard Zevran.
They had never set boundaries. They had never agreed that they were exclusive- but certainly she had understood that neither of them was to bed other people. But she had- and it had been quite possibly the person who could hurt him the most- the assassin whom she shouldn't even have allowed to live in the first place.
As he stood fuming and grinding his teeth, Alistair became aware of how ridiculous he must look. He watched as Zevran got up from the bedroll and winced as the elf tenderly brushed her face. Somehow watching this gesture was worse than knowing they had sex. The assassin had feelings for his woman? It took all of his composure not to charge at the smaller man, disregarding the entire camp between them. He wanted to knock that look of serenity off the damned elf's face- make him suffer for what he had done.
For what he had done? Alistair almost could not believe himself. She wasn't exactly an innocent in this. She- she had betrayed him. How could she do this to him? He had thought they had something. He felt like a fool- an utter fool. Here he had been considering sharing his virginity with her, something that did not come lightly to him. He had been stupidly working up the courage to tell her that he loved her. Maker's breath, he had even begun to daydream about a future they might have together.
But Zevran had somehow wormed his way between them even though hey had become very close since the beginning of their adventures together. She had comforted him after the death of Duncan and accompanied him to confront his sister, and then taught him a valuable lesson after this encounter had ended badly. She had become extremely special to him and he had felt sure that she had felt the same. Evidently she had not. Apparently his affections had only been important to her as a distraction. Had she used him? Had she only been interested in him for sex and as soon as he had asked her to wait she moved onto the next candidate? Alistair felt disgusted by the entire situation.
The anger was an easy distraction from the crushing feeling in his chest. He did love her. Up until now he had no reason to believe she didn't feel the same. Now the entire fantasy which he had apparently constructed entirely by himself had come crashing down around him. When Zevran looked up and met his eye Alistair returned the look with a cold glare. It was hard to tell from the distance, but he thought he saw the assassin flinch as he turned away from Akalla and slipped away from the camp.
Alistair let him go, feeling as if he was frozen in place with anger. For perhaps the first time in his life, he acknowledged the fact that acting now would lead to nothing good. But oh how wonderful it would be to break Zevran's nose. No, for now it was best to let the damned assassin go- no matter how much he would rather not.
He clenched his hand into a fist and relaxed it, trying to make himself calm down. When he felt that he was calm enough- which in the scheme of things was not very calm at all, he took off across the camp toward where Akalla was sleeping. He had no plan- didn't even know what he wanted to say first. Despite the fact that this tactic had never gone very well for him in the past, he needed to get this off his chest as soon as possible.
Before he knew it, he was standing over her peacefully sleeping form. He felt a queer sense of resentment at the fact that she was able to look so serene when he was practically boiling inside. He let loose an exaggerated sigh, hoping that it would wake her up. When it didn't, he cleared his throat loudly.
Finally she stirred. Blinking, she turned over and moved her hair out of her eyes. Obviously confused, she looked behind her before looking up at him.
"Alistair?" The innocent way that she said his name only served to make him angrier.
"Yes. We need to talk. Now." Comprehension seemed to dawn in her eyes and she looked panicked down at her body, covered by her bedroll still. "Of course you're naked." He muttered, turning around.
"I… I'll just get dressed first." From behind him, he could hear her scrambling to collect her clothing. His emotions were now a mixture of anger and embarrassment. Under any other circumstances, the thought of her naked would have quite a different effect on him. But only minutes ago she was in the arms of another man.
"Okay." She said timidly. Alistair had never heard this tone from her before. She knew what was coming. "Should we… go somewhere more private?"
"Why should we? You didn't bother with that last night." She opened her mouth and then closed it again. Alistair felt vindicated in the fact that, for once he had her at a loss for words. The moment was fleeting, however, and she said,
"We're guests." She gestured around the camp, unable to meet his eyes. "Let's walk."
He found it hard to keep his mouth shut as he followed her over an embankment and out of the camp. She was so far calm and he didn't like it. He wanted her to hurt a fraction of as much as he was. After they were a sizeable distance away from everyone else, she turned to him,
"Alistair, I don't know how to say this."
"Good. Then don't say anything. Let me talk. I saw you with Zevran. I know. What were you doing with me all of this time? Was it all about sex? I can't help but notice that we never had a problem until I told you I wouldn't sleep with you yet. And then that man-whore comes along and the next thing I know you're bedding him right under my nose. Were you planning on telling me? Or were you planning on keeping me blissfully unaware while you ran around behind my back? Perhaps you thought you were starting your own little harem in our party? Were you going to jump into bed with Sten next?"
"It's not like that. I… I'm sorry." At least she had the sense to look like she meant it. "I meant to tell you. It just… happened."
"Oh that is rich. I suppose it happened by accident, did it? Look. I don't want your excuses for why you did it."
"Just let me explain. I don't know how these things work."
"We both know that although that might be true, it can't account for what you did. I do want to ask you one thing, though. Are you bloody crazy? I mean, really? You're making me seriously doubt following you here. First you invite an assassin into our merry group and then you fuck him? And we're not even talking after he's proven himself to us. Is there no limit to your… depravity? You barely know him better than you know me! That's not even mentioning the fact that you let me fawn over you. You let me believe that we had something. I was ready to confess my love for you- and you didn't even think it necessary to say to me- 'hey there's someone else' or 'Hey Alistair, I think we should end this'. No courtesy whatsoever." There was a long silence between them where she stared at the ground, biting her lip.
Alistair realized that her lip was quivering and momentarily felt bad for his tirade. She had shown such little emotion in the months that he had known her that he had begun to think that she had none. But, he was justified in this. He couldn't back down.
"I… I won't make excuses, but I'll say that I'm sorry. I never meant to hurt you."
"Yes, well, that didn't exactly work out, did it? I thought I loved you, but now I think I don't even know you." If his heart didn't feel as if it was in a vice he probably would have felt vindicated by the hurt he saw in her eyes. He clenched his fists and relaxed them, waiting for her to say something. When she did not, he took a deep breath. "I wish you had never joined the grey wardens." It was the most hurtful thing he could think of to say.
"Yes, well… I did." Her voice betrayed that she was choking back tears. "And there are more important things to consider here than our relationship." This word was laced with bitterness.
"I wouldn't guess that from how the way you have been acting, my dear."
"Are you still with us?" This was an entirely unfair question and he resented her asking it. He wanted to say no. He wanted to tell her that he would turn the rest of the party against her and march on without her, but he knew this was untrue. As much as he hated it, he couldn't do this without her. The day hadn't even started and it was already one of the worst of his life.