Bury or Burn

Hastily Zevran evaded the unpeeled potato Leliana was throwing after him.

"Yes, yes, I'm going." He tried to soothe the bard with his gestures but she only glared at him. He had only tried to ease the situation with Nemain, hadn't he? No reason to be so angry with him. Minutes after they reached the spot for their nightly camp Nemain had been stomping away into the woods. She even left behind her unbuilt tent and her face had shown clearly that she had no interest in anyone's company.

I don't fear her, I don't fear her. Zevran was repeating the sentence like a mantra. And somewhere deep within he knew that he really didn't fear her but only his own emotions. And then there was the very possible outcome of any relationship he could have with her. Someday he would leave her. Or he would hurt her. Or … Zevran shuddered as he thought about …

"ARGH". The cry brought Zevran to an instant stop. He ducked behind a tree. Had she detected him approaching? Warily he looked around the tree.

"We … are … friends … we … are … only … a … family." Each word was accompanied by a kick of her heavy booted foot against a poor tree, the bark already broken in half a dozen places. Scattered around her and the target of her fury laid some papers.

Nemain stopped her kicking and rested her hands against the tree, her had following moments later. Zevran dared not to move as he watched her. Obviously she tried hard to steady her breath and after a while she turned around, inattentive to her surroundings. Very weakly she kicked one of the papers; then she slumped on the ground, all power leaving her hearty body.

Distracted she picked them up and began to read, wording too silently to hear anything. Her shoulders began to tremble anew in rage, as he thought. It was only as she leaned her back at the mistreated tree that he saw her tears.

She started anew to read the lines, but shuddered. "Friends … friends," she whispered, her hands crumpling the paper. Disgusted she threw it away, the paper landing a few yards away from her on the ground. Apparently too exhausted to move she looked at the paper as if it was some kind of disgusting insect. He would like to fetch it, but there was no chance to get near enough without being detected.

Zevran sensed a cramp building in his left leg but he feared to startle her by any move. So he concentrated on watching her, looking at her hands, her legs, her shoulders, always evading the sight of her face.

After a while she turned around, went on her knees and slowly collected the papers. She piled them and put some twigs on them. She'll burn them, Zevran thought horrified, his mind racing how he could sidetrack her.

"Nemain? Neeemaiiin." In the distance he heard Alistair call and never had he liked that voice more. The dwarven warrioress looked up, then down to her papers. "Nemain?"

Another shout caused her to sigh. Hastily she shoved some foliage and stones over the papers before she stood up and hurried away, her mumblings about a "bloody stupid Templar" causing a smile on Zevran's face. He waited a minute until he was sure that Nemain was away before he left his hideout. His leg hurt, the cramp forcing him to hobble to the small pile. Zevran wiped foliage and stones away and gripped the papers.

Tenderly he flattened them. Something was scribbled on them. Instantly he recognized her writing, the small letters she used, clear, punctuated and without twirls. More than one word was blurred by a drop of tears. Looking over the papers he ordered them until he found the last one, a kind of letter, the others being drafts and unfinished tries.

Slowly his eyes wandered over the words, his voice speaking them very silently, slowly getting louder and more passionate.

When I see your golden skin

My heart is full of sin.

My loin is getting warm,

If you hold me in your arm.

For the sight of your cute pointy-ear,

If would wrestle with every bear.

At the evening to have your hug

Is better than a roasted nug.

For the touch of your marvelous leg

I would barter my last beer keg.

To feel your lips in a kiss,

Is causing me sweetest bliss.

We would be a splendid two,

Others are thinking that too.

When I was able you to fetch,

I made the most precious catch.

In my stomach I feel a hive

When I think about spending my life

The last lines were scrawled over. Nemain obviously had searched for a way to rhyme anywhere and declare and never came to an end. Zevran lowered the paper. His mind needed some moments to realize that he was staring at Nemain, the warrioress standing only a few steps away, her face a mix of fear and sorrow. He hadn't heard her to return, he was incapable to say how much she had heard him reading. But her eyes …

"That's … that's mine. Give it to me …" Her voice was coarse and faltered several times.

Zevran was unable to answer, unable to move. He looked at her face, at the paper. Concurrently it was one of the most ugly and most beautiful pieces of poetry he had ever seen. Simple and strong words that declared her exactly the same emotions. Zevran had to start a few times before an understandable sentence left his suddenly very tight throat.

"I would like to keep it. But I would give it back if you really want to." He stressed the word 'really' and watched her intensely.

For some long moments she pondered about it, then she shrugged, her voice trying to ring unburdened. "For all I care keep it. It was only a whim, written out of boredom."

Zevran believed not a word and Nemain knew it but he was incapable to express that, his fear returning with enough force to quench any truthful answer. "Perhaps I could use it someday if I need some inspiration."

Nemain stared at him, wanted to respond, gulped hard. Then she simply shrugged, turned around and left, walking away to the camp with somewhat unsteady steps.

Zevran found his leg immovable for a long time.

When I think about spending my life