Written for drpaccy for the Swooping is Bad Secret Swooper gift exchange. Based off of a couple of party banters between Alistair and Zevran. Follows a Dalish elf origin and romance with Alistair, but it's not that integral to the story.
This was a Bad Idea.
Oh, Alistair had had many Bad Ideas in his life, anywhere between locking himself in a cage to deciding that mud baths before meeting the arl's brother would be much cleaner than a water bath (you know, if they were good enough for pigs, what difference would a little boy make?), but he never followed through with any that were this... discomforting. Especially not after refusing it twice already.
"Now, now, Alistair, you must try to relax," said Zevran, the humor in his voice very annoyingly evident.
The smell of rose petals and olives filled the air between the two, and Alistair sat bare chested perpendicular to the elf, who he could see through his peripherals had a wicked gleam in his eye. All Alistair could think was: what in Andraste's name had made him change his mind and actually follow through with the request?
"Easy for you to say," Alistair mumbled, "you're the one with the needles."
Oh Maker, needles. It wasn't too late to back out now, was it?
"There's no need to be so nervous," said Zevran. "Though it is pleasure before pain with the ritual, if you would like, I could finish with another massage as well."
"That is quite alright."
His voice mocked disappointment. "Oh, very well then. This shall not last too long. What was it you wanted again? Some intricate Antivan designs, or perhaps one of the Ferelden noble crests? The royal family one, perhaps?"
Alistair shuddered. "No," he said very harshly. "Just... keep it simple? I don't want anything too fancy, or too symbolic. Something like... well... like the designs on Lyna's face."
He could have sworn he heard Zevran's eyebrows shoot up to his hairline. "I see," the elf all but exclaimed with a hearty laugh. "You want a Dalish goddess sprawled across your arm! Well, you should know that such a design is the exact opposite of 'simple.' It is beautifully exquisite, and so this ritual will have to be extra intricate to accommodate."
"Of course it will," said Alistair. "Then... never mind."
"If you would like, I could just simply write her name on your skin. It would have the same effect, I would think."
He felt his face flush. Yes, this was a Very Bad Idea. It was time to leave. Now. Go back to the camp, before the others started to wonder and assume unthinkable things. Or begin to wonder if Zevran had a wicked plan to lure the individual Wardens away and kill them alone and unguarded, and they would land an ambush only to see this scene.
Actually, if that would get the assassin killed, Alistair was pretty sure he could bear the embarrassment. At least for a day or two. It'd be worth it.
Especially if this really was Zevran's evil, evil plan.
Alistair grabbed his shirt and stood. "Forget it," he said. He eyed his sword, not more than two or three paces away. Zevran's daggers were still sheathed on his back. The odds were not favorable but not devastating if he chose to launch an attack here and now.
"Oh, are you sure?" Again with the mock disappointment. Zevran, the bastard, was enjoying this. "You might as well stay for the massage. This mixture was not easy to make and quite expensive."
"I'll pay you back the silver. I was going to anyway."
"Tsk, tsk, but it is so sad to see such a soothing mix go to waste. Perhaps your fellow Grey Warden would be more receptive? I am sure she could use more tattoos--up and down her arms, her legs, her back and her stomach... yes, I am sure that would be more pleasurable for you!"
"And how would that be more pleasurable for me?" Alistair snapped, glaring at the assassin who had that same irritating sneer as always.
"Oh, I would only make the most... provocative lines to maximize her sensations! Can you imagine, dear Alistair, trailing down those lines, so carefully, so smoothly, so expertly, that she would buckle under your very touch? Can you imagine the thrill you would feel knowing that something very simple is pushing her over the edge?"
Alistair wrinkled his nose, hoping that the gesture would be enough to keep his face from going redder. "I could, until I remember that my bestest friend foreverest Zevran was the one who put them there."
Zevran chuckled. "Those are simply minor details. You need to think less. Perhaps those roots I had mentioned to you before would be ineffective, after all."
"Not. Talking about this. I'm leaving now. For real this time." And Alistair turned on his heel and headed back for the camp.
"You Fereldans are such prudes!" exclaimed Zevran, not even bothering to withhold his guffaw.
Alistair swore that this was the last time he would ever ask anything from the assassin. Ever.