When Alistair saw the single rose blooming on a bush in Lothering he instantly thought how something so beautiful could stand so much suffering that was surrounding it. He didn't hesitate to pick it up and hide it from his fellow companions; they would think it was strange for a grown man to pick a flower for himself.
It wasn't until later that he realised that the rose he picked was a lot like their leader; the newest addition to the Grey Warden order and the only one that made him feel like he wasn't alone.
Her name was Sophia Surana, an Elven mage so talented at such a young age, even for an elf. She was beautiful in every way as he had noticed when he had first met her. She was new to battle, that much he could tell when they ventured into the Korcari Wilds together to gather the vials of blood for the joining.
She was kind, intelligent, brave, innocent, sad, and above all lonely. But she always tried her hardest and didn't seem to care what happened to herself, it was almost as if she wasn't living her own life, but following someone else's.
Alistair smiled when he remembered Sophia approaching him and asking him if anyone had ever told him how handsome he was. He did know in fact that many women found him pleasing to look at but they had all wanted favours. He was surprised that she had said something like that to him and she had looked so embarrassed and shy about it that it was unbelievingly cute.
Naturally he couldn't resist in returning the gesture and informing her that she too was very pleasing to look at. In which she lowered her head and shyly turned away from him, thanking him for his kind words but they weren't necessary as she didn't believe him.
That was when Alistair decided to give her the rose. He placed his left hand on her shoulder forcing her to turn back round to face him and with his right hand held the rose out to her.
"Do you know what this is?" He asks her and mentally berates himself for asking such a stupid question. 'Of course she would know, I'm terrible at this.'
Sophia turns her emerald green eyes on the flower and a small smile appears on her face. She is completely putting all of her attention on the rose in front of her and softly takes it out of his armoured glove. She is memorising all of it's details because this is the first rose she's ever seen and it's absolutely stunning.
"It's a rose." She finally answers in a quiet voice and realises that she may have sounded like an idiot and continues. "It's the first one I've seen, I've only ever seen pictures from the herbal texts in the library."
Alistair mentally slaps himself for forgetting that she has lived most of her life in the tower with no venturing into the outside world that he and many others have taken for granted. "Yes, I p-picked it up in Lothering and thought how such a beautiful thing could survive in all this darkness and h-how it's a lot like y-you; in that y-you stand out in all this darkness." He manages to stutter out and rubs his hand through his hair; an obvious sign of his nervousness.
She can't seem to say anything; her mind has gone blank and can only focus on the fact that he is calling her beautiful. She keeps her gaze on the rose and gently lifts it to her nose and smells it's delicious scent and sighs heavily in contentment before finding enough courage to look up into his brown eyes.
There's something in them that she can't describe and has no inkling as to what it means, all she knows is that Cullen used to give her the same look back at the tower before her harrowing. She continues to smile at him, unsure of what to do and once again shyly averts her eyes away from his.
Alistair simply can't find the willpower to stop himself from acting on impulse. He slowly and gently leans towards her and places his right hand under her chin and tilts her head back to face him and her eyes meet his and for him it appears as if the world has stopped around them and they are alone together at camp.
Her eyes widen in surprise and he can tell that she still has absolutely no idea what he's doing even though it's painfully obvious to everyone else who watches them. Both hands cup her face and he lightly brushes his lips against her in a whisper of a kiss. Unfortunately his courage ends there and he pulls back so there is a little distance between them.
"I'm s-sorry if that was too s-soon." He stutters an apology and he blushes to a new shade of red that no one has seen.
Sophia just blinks several times and is still staring up at him. She doesn't understand, why her heart beat increased so much and that she couldn't breathe when he got so close to her, she was in discomfort but somehow her body is telling her that it feels right and that it would very much like to try again.
"So h-how was it?" He asks sheepishly and fears that at any moment she will use her arcane powers on him and turn him into a toad even though she has already told him she doesn't know how to do that.
"I don't know." She whispers out truthfully as she can't fathom what's going on between them. She has heard of love and lust but doesn't understand the meaning behind them. She has spent her whole life in solitude and only had Jowan as a friend in the tower and it wasn't even until he mentioned Lily did she start to comprehend.
She walks away from him then and doesn't realise that she has hurt his feelings somewhat. She needs time to think about she is experiencing and decipher it's meaning and what to do about it.
Alistair's heart sinks a bit as she walks away from him; however something deep inside him is telling him that Sophia did indeed enjoy the kiss but just isn't aware of it yet. After all she has led a life where no romantic attachments are to made much like his in the Chantry.
'She just needs time to adapt to the fact that she's no longer bound by the rules of the Circle of Magi. Sure she's a mage, but she's a Grey Warden first.' He smiles to himself when he realises that she is even more clueless about these things than him.
A/N: Please let me know what you think of it. It is really appreciated.