Summary: It's the oldest story in the book: Boy meets girl. And sometimes, boy meets boy. A look at various Dragon Age character pairs, and how they met. Multiple origins, pairings, and characters inside.
Not all of the Warden's team travels to the Circle to find a mage for Connor. Some of them stay in Redcliffe just in case. Just in case of what, he doesn't know, but he's grateful for the help they've given his family and so he doesn't question them further. It's not like it matters much—he's not getting any sleep, anyway, so why not let the Quanari use his bed? Someone should sleep in it.
How can they expect him to sleep, anyway? His brother is dying, his nephew is an abomination, and Isolde won't stop crying and—
"You should be sleeping, Bann Teagan." Comes a soft voice with just a slight Orlesian accent. He looks up and sees one of the Warden's companions, a lovely girl he hadn't noticed before. In the dim firelight, she looks soft, fragile, perfectly incapable of slaying demons and darkspawn.
He invites her in anyway, gesturing to spot next to him on the couch, and in the dim quiet of the night he explains to her that he simply can't sleep.
"Then," She asks, softly and quietly, "Would it bother you if I sang a little?"
He doesn't mind, and slowly the sweet sound of her melody fills the air and lulls him gently to sleep.
He's fifteen years old and has never seen a girl before. At least, that's what it feels like. The Chantry sisters he grew up with certainly didn't look like this.
"My name is Iza," she tells him cheerfully, practically bouncing (Oh Maker, those things bounce? Nothing in his anatomy bounces like that) around the healing ward. "Iza Amell. What's yours?"
"Cullen." His voice cracks, turning ridiculously high pitched at just the wrong moment.
She laughs, though. It remains the single most beautiful sound he has heard.
He will feel a lot better once this whole wedding nonsense is over with and the nobles go home. Already his pride has been hurt when he tries—and fails—to talk to his half-brother only to be ignored in favor of much shiner swords. The fact that Lady Whatshername's daughter invaded his stables and then had the nerve to insult him just poured salt on to the already bitter wounds.
"I don't understand," he whines to Uncle Eamon. "Girls are gross. Why would you want to get married anyway?"
Uncle Eamon pauses, as though he's about to explain something very important, and then with a heavy sigh, changes his mind. "You won't always think so, lad."
As Alistair watches the pigtailed noble girl trail after her brother, he prays to the Maker that that's not true, even if she is kind of pretty, in an icky girl sort of way.
He's not sure what draws him to the Alienage, outside of the fact that he has nowhere else to go. He has tried—and failed—to kill the Warden-Prince, and so he can only bide his time until the Crows realize what he's done. At least the Warden was kind enough to spare his life, even if he's not living much of one these days.
Denerim's Alienage is a sorry sight, however, and he finds himself wincing as he walks down the overcrowded streets, full of sickness and violence and death.
Which is where she finds him, grabs him, and then puts him to work. He doesn't mind, though, because these people need help and he doesn't have anything better to do, so he follows her around like a willing slave, caring for the wounded and mending the sick. Even though he's a stranger to these parts, no one seems to mind and accepts his help willing. He wonders briefly if it's because he's a fellow elf; if that's the case, then he pities them all the more.
They don't stop until the sun has almost set, and at that point she introduces him to her family—her father, who is sick, her cousin, who is useless at everything except for tending to his half-dead wife, and her other cousin, who is as loud and boisterous as she is heavy and pregnant. He knows that look, though: elven women don't get that big, not unless the child they carry is human. He wonders for a brief moment who he pities more: the woman, or her unborn shem of a child?
It doesn't matter, though, because after the brief introductions it's back to work. It should get easier tomorrow, she says, because some mages from the Tevinter are coming and they are going to make things better. Zevran doubts it, though, because what could Tevinter mages possible want with elves from the Denerim Alienage? His new friend, while lovely, is mad if she thinks the mages will help solely out of the goodness of their hearts.
It's at that point that he realizes, astonishingly, that he does not know her name, and asks for it.
"It's Tabris." She tells him, giving him a look like you should know this already.
Tabris, he thinks, crawling into bed beside her and four others, cramped together for warmth and comfort. It's an ugly name for a girl, especially one so pretty, but it's fitting, too, in a way. He likes it.
He will stay here, he thinks. He has nothing else to do, and they need him here, and if he keeps his nose down perhaps the Crows won't find him. Besides, he thinks as he wraps one arm around Tabris's middle, cuddling against her, the company here is just so nice, how could he possibly want to leave?
Everyone knows the Princess Aeducan, and Gorim is no exception. Well, he knows of her, at least, but if he's going to be her second then that's just not good enough.
He spends the next week learning everything he possibly can about Orzammar's princess. By the time they are actually introduced, he knows her favorite color is red and her favorite food is fish imported from the surface and that she likes to spend her evenings sparring with her brothers.
Nobody bothers to warn him that she's beautiful though, so he feels completely unprepared when King Endrind introduces them to one another.
"My lady," He whispers in near-reverence, head bowed as low as he can. "It is an honor."
She nods only once. "Pleasure to meet you, Gorim." She looks around conspiringly, and then whispers just low enough that her father cannot hear her. "Wanna spar later?"
As he takes the blunted practice sword in hand, he thinks that this may be the beginning of the best thing that has ever happened to him.
The Diamond Quarter is so strange, so very clean and crowded compared to what she's used to. Its festival time in Orzammar and the entire quarter is lit up and decked out, and everyone who is anyone is wearing a mask, including noblehunters like herself. It's her first time attending the festival and she's wearing a dress that's worth more than most of Dust Town, and her hair is put up into a million little curls and the mask she's wearing makes it a little hard to breathe and she feels ridiculous. Who could possibly go through this much froo-frah every single day? She couldn't, that's for sure.
She tries to gain the attention of some of the nobles, but no one notices her: they are all too busy focusing on the festival, their attention stolen by lights and streamers and music. The world around her is spinning and celebrating, and all she can think about is how Bereht is going to kill her if she doesn't find someone soon and what he'll make her brother do if she fails. She even goes as far as to try to get the attention of Prince Trian, or even Princess Vera for that matter, but neither of them seem to even see her.
"I would bother, if I were you," She turns and finds herself face to face with a man in a red mask, smiling at her gently. "Trian's simply not interested in anything other than himself, and Vera has eyes only for her second."
She thanks him, quietly, and wonders who he could possibly be, if he can call the crown prince and princess by their given names.
He doesn't just leave, however, instead looking her over sort of shyly, as if he's not quite sure what to say. "You know, my arm would look a lot better with you on it."
It's a stupid joke, but it makes her laugh, so she takes him by the arm and strolls with him throughout the Diamond Quarter, enjoying the festival and the company. After all, who doesn't enjoy the company of a handsome stranger, especially one that is so easy to talk to, one that makes her feel, well, more like a person, and less like a noblehunter.
In truth he doesn't know what to think about Nathaniel Howe. Certainly the man is dangerous and possibly deranged: if nothing else, he's proven how mentally disturbed the Commander really is. After all, who recruits someone who openly admitted they were planning on killing you? He almost wants to ask the Commander if she recruits everyone man who tries to kill her, but Oghren's complete lack of surprise scares him into thinking the answer might be yes, so he doesn't.
Still, that's no reason not to be friendly, and Anders is nothing if not friendly.
"You know, I'm fond of the Howes." He announces, sliding down against the wall beside his newest team member, trying not to look up at the creepy portrait of a woman who looks just like him.
"Really?" Nathaniel asks, surprised, glancing up from the hole he was trying to burn into the back of the Commander's head.
"Of course!" Anders smiles. "I'm also fond of the Whos, the Whats, and the Whys as well!"
Nathaniel doesn't quite smile as he rolls his eyes, but he seems considerably less sour than before, so Anders counts it as a victory. "How clever."
It's not much, but it's a start. "Yeah, it's embarrassing how long it took me to come up with." And then he grins and holds out his hand, expecting Nathaniel to return the gesture. "My name's Anders, by the way…"
After being placed in the same playpen, the clan's youngest member proceeds to whack Tamlen with her rattle, causing the toddler to burst into tears.
The elders of the Clan wonder if this is a sign of things to come.
The first thing she does when they hand her the baby is check the babe's ears, then its gender, and finally, his face.
It ought to be a crime for a child that young to look that much like his father. Especially since she's the one who lugged him around for nine month, the one who just spent hours upon hours in labor in order to have him. Still, even she has to admit he's quite a cute kid, even if she is trying desperately not to get too attached.
"What are you going to name him?" Duncan asks, eighteen and bouncing about, still marveling over the miracle of life.
"I'm not." She announces, exhausted and nursing. "Maric will do that when we reach Ferelden."
Besides, she can't name him. Names signify attachment, and she can't afford to become attached to this child.
She can't stay in Ferelden with him. She can't be his mother. She can't name her son.
Duncan scrunches up his nose at her. "Yeah, but he can't just be baby forever."
It's a long trip from Weisshaupt to Ferelden, and even longer with a nursing babe at her breast. She sighs at him, too tired to argue. "What do you suggest then?"
Duncan studies the babe intently, as if trying to gather something important from the barely open eyes and baby drool. "I've always like Alistair. You know, for a boy."
Alistair. Hm. Alistair. Alistair Theirin.
Alistair Theirin, son of Maric, bastard prince to the throne of Ferelden.
1- Teagan and Leliana
2- Cullen and Amell
3- Alistair and Cousland at Eamon and Isolde's wedding back in the day.
4- Zevran and Tabris a la Darkspawn Chronicles. Because it amused me far too much that after Alistair spared Zevran's life, Zev went to the Denerim Alienage rather than going home. Don't ask me why Tabris is alive and not imprisoned/dead, though. It's an alternative universe. Anything can happen.
5- Gorim and Aeducan just because.
6- Bhelen and Rica. I realize the dwarves probably don't have a holiday involving masks (too easy for Casteless to get away) but I wanted to show the pair liking each other without knowing each other's caste. It means they like each other for who they are, not what they can do/represent. After Greagoir/Wynne Bryce and Eleanor, these two are probably my favorite canon non-Warden romantic pair.
7- Nathaniel and Anders, because in my game Anders usually talks to Nathaniel before I do. Plus I love these two together. Feel free to see it as friendshippy though, if that's not your cup of tea.
8- Tamlen and Mahariel. Because why not?
9- Fiona and Alistair non-romantic meeting. Originally I was going to do Maric and Fiona, but I don't have my copy of the Calling on hand and I didn't want to mess anything up. So, mama and baby fluffiness instead. I hope she doesn't come off as too calloused, as that's not what I wanted.
Nipping the question in the bud before it gets asked: "Why no x y z?" Answer: Lack of time/energy/motivation. I thought of ideas for others but urg, need sleep. zzzzzzzzzzzzz.