Fandom: Dragon Age: Origins
Characters: Elissa Cousland, Alistair, Riordan, cast
Spoilers: For the Secret Companion.
Notes: I tossed off most of this AU ficbit a couple of weeks ago; I was out of sorts about something else, and since I couldn't fix that, I decided to fix things for Alistair and Elissa instead. I wrote the first draft in literally an hour, then let it settle for awhile, coming back to polish a few times, trying to decide whether I really wanted to let this much of my id out the door. But, hey, what's a little id between friends? So here we are.
The armies had gathered at the gate, and Elissa Cousland stepped back to survey them all: Soldiers of the Bannorn and knights of Redcliffe, five legions of dwarves, Dalish warriors bristling with bows and arrows, a team of mages standing off to one side. And her own companions, the friends and trusted souls who had gotten her this far... all except one.
Three weeks since he left, and yet the knife in her gut still pained her, time not dulling the wound one iota, his absence more noticeable than anyone else's presence could ever be. She looked at Riordan, then Loghain, wondering for the thousandth time whether she had made the right choice, and then shook her head. "I cannot doubt now," she said to herself. She felt a gentle nudge at her leg, and she looked down to see her mabari standing there, leaning against her calf. Her hand dropped to Dog's head, scratching him between the ears; he looked up at her and stretched his mouth open into a reassuring doggy smile.
"Warden." Elissa looked up again, and Riordan was walking toward her, Loghain and Sten a step behind, the others a pace after them. "It's time. I suggest you take Loghain and two others after the archdemon -- a small group can more easily fight their way through. Leave the rest here to protect against another incursion."
"Agreed." She surveyed the group, then nodded to Wynne and Zevran, her healer and her scout. "Will you follow me one last time?"
Wynne bowed her head. "Of course." Zevran smiled his agreement and tapped a finger against the side his nose; he was with her.
"Very good." She looked over the group again. "But who will hold the gate?"
The voice came from behind her, cutting through the distant screams and crashes of battle, as well as the sudden pounding of her own heart. Elissa turned around and clenched her lips tightly together at the sight of Alistair, still clad in his brother's golden armor, sword messy with darkspawn gore, Duncan's shield secured across his back.
For once, words failed her, and so did her feet: she stood frozen as he approached, sheathing the sword while he walked across the square. He made straight for her, his eyes on her face, and when he reached her, he did not bow his head or smile.
Forbidding as his face was, somehow she still found her voice. "You came back," she said.
His jaw worked, and finally he nodded. "If I'm to rule this land, I should do everything in my power to defend it. No matter how I feel about... certain things."
He looked up and over her shoulder, his eyes narrowing; Elissa glanced behind her and saw Loghain's hard return glare. Elissa looked back at Alistair. "I thought you said--"
"I know what I said." He took a deep breath and closed his eyes, just for a moment. "I spoke rashly, in anger, and I was wrong. The throne is my right as well as my responsibility. I can't just walk away from that."
A small, wry smile slipped onto Elissa's face. "Anora may have other thoughts on this subject."
"Perhaps." Alistair did not smile in return, but she thought his expression softened, just a little. "But now is not the time to worry about politics. We have a Blight to stop." He lifted his chin and looked over the companions Elissa had implicitly asked to stay behind: Sten, Leliana, Oghren. "Are you with me?"
Leliana stepped forward and smiled. "Of course we are." Sten crossed his arms with a nod, and Oghren raised his axe in salute. "Sodding right!" he shouted.
Alistair slapped his chest in return, then looked back at Elissa. "See? We'll be all right." He stepped close and brought a gauntleted hand around the back of her neck, and then he captured her mouth in a fierce kiss. She closed her eyes and let it all wash over her: the fear, the anger, the pain of his leaving, the relief of his return; she kissed him goodbye and hello, then goodbye again, keenly aware as she had not been before that this might be the last time.
Then he broke away, letting his hand fall, breathing hard. "Now go. Take... him, and go kill that damned archdemon. For the Grey Wardens, for Ferelden, for all of us. Before I change my mind. Go!"
She nodded, then turned away, striding with purpose toward her team and the Wardens, secure in the knowledge that Alistair once again had her back.
This entry is also posted at http://owlmoose.dreamwidth.org/549248.html. There are currently comments on DW.