Esteem

"Do you think Teagan's attractive?"

She looked up from stoking the fire. "What?"

"Bann Teagan," Alistair clarified, "do you think he's handsome?"

Her brows knitted. "Um…I dunno," she said, rising to her feet. "Why do you ask?"

"I'm just curious," he said. "Leliana was gushing the whole way home about how 'gorgeous' and 'gentlemanly' he is. I was just wondering what your thoughts on him were."

Gazing into the fire, she nodded thoughtfully, processing this inquiry. "Yeah."

He stared at her. "'Yeah,' what? 'Yeah, I find him attractive'? 'Yeah, Leliana does that a lot'..."

"Yeah, I think he's handsome. Very charming too."

Alistair averted his gaze to the ground. "Oh…"

She watched him pick grass and smirked. "Why? Are you jealous?"

"What? No!" he said. "Not at all."

He continued to pluck what little life had so far managed to survive the cold winter and the current Blight. With an amused sigh, she walked over and plopped down next to him, her leather armor squeaking slightly; it was brand new and had yet to be properly broken into; the jokes produced by her less mature companions (ie. Zevran and Alistair) were countless. But at that moment, he did not have a ready repertoire at hand. "He has a cute smile," she said.

Alistair remained silent. "I suppose…" came the eventual response.

"And his eyes," she continued, "they're a lovely shade of brown, are they not? Almost the color of honey."

"Very irresistible."

She leaned back on her hands, looking up at the stars. "His physique certainly isn't anything to complain about either."

"Indeed."

"He's charismatic, he's funny; he's many other wonderful things," she listed. Her lips quirking with thought, she paused. "He's not too bright though," she eventually said. "But there's something endearing about that, is there not?"

She looked at him and he stared back at her, remaining silent.

"He cares for those close to him with a fiery passion and always protects them; he even protects the companions he does not think favorably of, like sharp-tongued mages for an example," she added nonchalantly. "It's quite remarkable how valiantly he fights for them."

Alistair looked at her, his brow puckered. "Are we thinking of the same Bann Teagan?" he asked. "Because I don't think the one I know is any of those things."

She gasped. "You don't think he has a nice smile?"

"What? Um, I guess," he stuttered. "But—"

"Do you not think his eyes are pretty?"

"They're very pretty, but I—"

"And are you saying that he does not have a nice physique?" she asked, her eyes boring into him.

"No! His body is great!" he said, alarmed (and slightly aroused) by her proximity. "I just don't—"

"Good. Then it's settled. Bann Teagan is handsome." She rose to her feet, patting the dirt off her behind.

"Wait, I didn't—"

She interrupted his contradictions by leaning in close to his ear. "He's handsome, yes," she whispered, "but he is not my favorite."

Alistair, slack-jawed and in desperate need of a cold bath, watched her leave; she hid the grin erupting across her face well.

"I'm going to bed," she announced over her shoulder. "You're on watch with Sten. Clean the cooking pot and watch out for the ivy when you relieve yourself. Have a good night!" With that, she disappeared into her tent.

Alistair stared for a moment. "Maker…" he said, rubbing his flushed face. He contemplated how this whole conversation happened. He just wondered if Teagan was really that attractive! He didn't expect...that to happen. "How am I to survive a whole Blight with her?"

"By using a sword," came the unexpected response from Sten.

Alistair quickly turned around and attempted to gather himself. "What do you mean?" he asked.

"Slay every darkspawn you see," he deadpanned. "Don't let one of them get to her." Alistair looked at him, confused. "I respect her," Sten continued. "She knows how to keep fools like you and Zevran in line while still maintaining her sanity. If she falls, then I leave. I won't fight alongside you two without her."

"Ah, nice to know you dislike us so much," Alistair said, annoyed, not that Sten disliked him, but that he was lumped in a group with Zevran; that sex-fiend was too frivolous for his favorable tastes.

"I like you. You handle a sword and shield somewhat well," Sten said, pausing a moment. "You just annoy me."

Alistair contemplated this for a moment, deciding whether or not he had just received a compliment. "Thanks?"

"You're welcome," Sten said, sitting down by the fire.

They sat in silence for a few minutes before Alistair asked, "Do you think Teagan is handsome?"

Sten looked at him, devoid of emotion, and said, "I think he is too clean. No real warrior smells like that."

"Like what?"

"Like perfume feigning the smell of pine trees and lavender. It's not natural."

Alistair pondered this for a moment and nodded his head; he would remember this the next time Wynne complained about his manly odor.

o-o-o

A/N: I wrote this in about an hour, but it was just so much fun to write! Thanks for reading!

Lexicer.