Choose the Synonym Wisely

Notes: I was happy to discover that many of the fanfic archives I used to visit 15 years ago (gulp!) are still around. It was so exciting to re-read some of the stories I loved them. They were a gentle introduction to adult sexuality. I write this in honor of those stories. That said, this is my first "adult" story, so constructive feedback is very welcome.

Summary: A fluffy little piece of smut. Rosamund Amell and Alistair. Rated M for sexual situations. (Wooo!)

Mages who are not patient are soon torn apart. By demons or Templars, the result is the same: a nonexistent person, an empty husk where a person once was. For the same reasons, a mage must be dedicated, strong, persistent, hard-working, skillful. And secretive. Oh so secretive. Secrets serve as currency. Secrets serve as a safety net. Secrets can get you killed, and secrets can save your life.

These are the same attributes a Grey Warden must possess: patience, dedication, so on and so far. And the Wardens are just swimming with secrets. Makes life interesting. Death, too.

Rosamund is a woman of many secrets. Most of those secrets belong to other people, other mages. Even after so many years in the Circle, it is difficult to know when to tell and when to remain silent. Sometimes she feels guilty for giving up Jowan's secrets. Sometimes she wonders if her life would be worse if she had not done so. Though, she thinks, it is difficult to imagine much worse than a life of fighting Darkspawn, or a death ending with fighting Darkspawn. Tranquility, really, is all that is worse and once that is over, at least you don't care anymore. It is unclear how those who are infected with the Taint feel once it is over.

Slimy, probably. They feel slimy or scaly, those who succumb to the Taint. Rosamund smiles and blanches simultaneously as she considers this.

There is actually one more important characteristic of a mage and Grey Warden. Maybe even more important than patience, strength, blah blah blah: Action. When to act? How? Who? Action in battle is quite simple. Act and react, action and reaction, do or die, so on and so forth. Acting in the Circle took more finesse. Petty rebellions, for instance, required the utmost planning.

But now there is a third category for Rosamund (mage being one, Warden being two). Personal action.

There had been plenty of personal action in the Ferelden Circle, but that was just a part of life, really, a part of mage training, a part of the curriculum. Plus it was simple: ask a question, receive an answer, and move on. If you ended up embarrassing yourself, it was easy enough to ignore that other person. You wouldn't be closed in with them, like in a camp, on a world-saving mission.

Normally, the course of action would be clear. Ask, act, and then move on. But this situation is different, this situation requires patience: a romantic ex-Templar. Yes, this requires patience, skill, dedication. And one more quality that seems to be a hindrance to mage and Wardens: love.

Rosamund knows about love, sure. Platonic love. Love of learning. Love for beauty and the natural world. Narcissism, egotism. Jealousy. Desire. But in the Circle, romantic love was avoided at any cost. Too messy, because of those demons and Templars.

She is afraid to trust something she cannot test or practice. Mage training is all about trying, trying, trying, perfecting, perfecting, perfecting. But her feelings now to be love: sharing, caring, emotions she learned about as a very little girl, when she was still normal and not yet a mage. Because of his trusting nature, Alistair moves slowly, and because of critical nature, Rosamund moves slowly.

But now is the time for action.

The far-flung future remains uncertain. But the immediate future seems clear. She has the rose to prove it. She is the leader, she is brave, and she must act.

The campsite. Firelight. A long day of adventuring ended. A slight chill in the air. What could be more romantic? The books hidden in the back of the Circle's library suggested this would be very romantic.

And so, everyone was at the campsite, sharing an evening stare in the crisp twilight air. Leliana happily tells a story no one had asked to hear. No one wishes for her to stop, either, or at least no one is willing to spoil the calm. As they listen, Rosamund slips her hand into Alistair's. She is rewarded with a smile (and a slightly warmer hand). As the story continues, Rosamund slowly inches closer. Morrigan and Sten retire to their respective tents. Dog sleeps. Other retire, too. The story continues.

With a sigh, the ex-Templar leans against the mage. She knows the words she wants to say; it is a message she has gotten across many times before. But her heart pounds and her blood roars in her ears. When Leliana pauses for a drink, Rosamund takes action.

"Alistair," she says softly, "spend the night with me."

For just a moment, she can see an internal battle play across his face. Oh, not a battle about whether to say yes or no. It is a battle on whether to be serious or sincere.

"Yes," he says. Ah. The simple choice.

Standing, Rosamund takes Alistair's hand. "Leliana, thank you for the story. Good night," she says, and then leads him away.

At the entrance to her tent, she leans in to kiss him. He places an arm on her waist and chastely responds, close-mouthed. He breaks away first, and rather quickly.

"Now, let us be clear," he says, with a hint of a smile. "Am I hear just to keep you company, perhaps share sad stories about our pasts or worry about the arch demon, or did you have. . . something else in mind?"

Rosamund shakes her head. "Alistair." But then she pauses. The basest terms did the trick in the past, but, she reminds herself, delicacy is needed. Choose the synonym wisely. "Alistair, I would like to make love to you."

A bit stilted, but at least it's clear.

He blinks. Luckily that was the correct synonym. This time he kisses her, pulling her in, one arm around her shoulders, the other just lightly touching her dark hair. Her lips part first, and for a moment, he does not understand the start of the Orelaisian kiss. But he soon admits her tongue. Rosamund wants to devour him, starting with his mouth and moving to the rest of his body. It has been a long time since this kind of personal action, and never with…with someone she chose, someone who wasn't just convenient. Still kissing, she pulls him into her tent.

They pause a moment to catch their breaths. Rosamund tries to think. She had a plan earlier. Didn't she? A set of motions. Sex is much like a spell: Move A, Move B, explosive result. Unfortunately, her training has suddenly left her.

Her bed roll was already unfurled, and the blankets and pillows look inviting. Start there. She sinks down and reaches a hand up to Alistair. He takes it and joins her. They lie on their sides, facing each other. She slides an arm under his head, places her other hand on his back, and pulls him as close as she can. Any closer and they would occupy the same space.

She resumes her hungry kisses. These are kisses that had longed for connection, kisses that had longed for intimacy as well as sex. Alistair tangles a hand in her hair, trapping both his hand and her head. She slides her fingers beneath his shirt collar, alternating rubbing the muscles there and lightly scratching. She can feel butterflies in the pit of her stomach, a bright warm feeling, sharp and gentle at the same time.

Alistair tentatively moves his hand lower to her breasts. He cups them gently and she writhes, her entire body moving as a wave. "Is it. . . is it okay if I. . .?" he tries to say and she laughs.

"Let's make this easier," she says. Out of her robes, she can be herself. Not a mage, not a Warden, just Rosamund. She sits up and nimbly sheds her clothes while he watches. She laughs again. "Now you." His hands seem unsteady. But soon his clothing lies on the floor of the tent, too.

Once again, he is at a loss for words. "Should we. . .should I. . ."

Still sitting, she takes his cheek in her hand and resumes kissing. Alistair, at a loss for words! Will wonders never cease? She uses her free hand to trail down his chest, and he follows suit. Rosamund is a good leader.

She trails a line of kisses along his jaw, ending with a suck on his earlobe. He traces the curve of her breast, and tweaks the nipples, already stiffening from external cold and internal heat. As she gently bites his neck, he gasps. He uses both hands to grab her around the waist and drag her down.

On the floor of the tent, she smiles and runs her hand through his hair. She gently takes his hand and leads it to her center, already slick and aching. She trains his fingers on where to touch, how fast and how slow. He is slow at first, but that's no matter; for once, she has all the time in the world. In return, she takes him in her hand. He is hard, and the skin is hot to the touch. For a moment, Rosamund pictures everyone sitting around them in a circle, warming their hands on Alistair and her, instead of on the fire. She catches Alistair's eye and smiles, and he smiles back. The smile blooms like a flower.

She slowly moves her hand up and down, and he matches her rhythm, hand-for-hand. She kisses his collarbone and chest, and he kisses whatever he can reach. "I love it when you do this," she whispers to him softly, not even noticing the use of the l-word. Instead, she again takes his hand and guides it over her clitoris. The waves build within her – have been building for a long time really – and together, Rosamund and Alistair cause the waves to crash, to break, to overflow. He gasps, and pants, and sighs along with her. When it is over, he holds her, and she buries her head against him.

Foolishly, he tries to speak again. "That was. . . ." Rosamund takes a deep breath, as if recharging. She gently pushes against his shoulder, until he is on his back. She swings a leg over him, straddling his mid-section. He gulps. She brushes the hair out of his face and asks, "Are you ready?"

He hesitates. She can see it on his face. She looks him in the eye and smiles again. "It's okay. I can wait. We can wait." And she hesitates, too, but just for a second. "I love you, Alistair."

That seems to be a grin on his face. He reaches up, a hand on each side of her head, drawing her in for more kisses, harder this time, urgent. She bites his lip and his hands move to her hips. "Are you ready?" she asks again, and this time he says yes.

She uses a hand to help guide him (she is a good leader, after all), and soon she envelops him. Bracing herself on her arms, one on either side of his head, she slowly begins to move up and down. His breath is ragged and he moans. His hands on her hips urge her to move more quickly. She speeds up, showing his face and neck and chest with kisses.

"Rosamund – I -" he gasps. She stops his kissing and smiles at him, nodding her head. His muscles tense and his own waves break, and he heads for shore. As his hips slow, he gasps for breath. Rosamund slowly pulls herself up, then off and over, until she is beside him again. Alistair pulls her into his arms and they breathe for a long time.

Finally, the chill becomes too great, even as the sweat remains on her body. Rosamund breaks away to grab a blanket. This allows Alistair to return from his stupor.

As they huddle under the blankets, he says, "I love you."

Rosamund smiles. This is not exactly a new secret to add to her collection. But this love is something that is hers. Love is something she gets to share, and she gets to choose with whom to share it. She does not know if this love will make her a better mage or Warden. At least she can trust her actions this night.