"Do you trust me, Elyssa?" He stopped her just outside her tent, out of sight of the others at the fire.
"With my life, Alistair. You know that."
"What about with your body? Your heart?"
"Always, my love. Though right now you're kind of scaring me..."
"Don't be afraid. Just ... trust me." From somewhere, he produced a dark blue scarf. Steeling herself, allowing the vestiges of anxiety to escape, she nodded, and tied the scarf on, blinding herself. Alistair took her hands and carefully led her into the tent.
Three weeks earlier:
Elyssa was off with Arl Eamon discussing some sort of affairs of state. Alistair found it vaguely ironic that they were doing so without him, given that he was supposed to become King, but it didn't worry him overly. Having been raised a noble in Ferelden society, he knew that she had a much better head for politics than he did. He also trusted her completely, and knew that any decision she made would be the right one. She had proven herself to be brutally moral, utterly uncompromising with herself, but compassionate when it came to others. He would not live to regret any action she and Eamon took together.
Given that they were staying at the Arl's estate, they weren't easily able to find time together. One of them being caught in the other's room would have been scandalous, so they slept alone. Once in a while Elyssa would corner him and drag him off into an unused closet somewhere for a cuddle, and they talked at length at supper and in the Arl's study, but the times they could be alone were too few and far between. The net result was that, for the first time, Alistair felt lonely. So that night, after a bit too much wine at supper, he found himself sitting in the Library, moping, and staring into the fire. He was interrupted by the door creaking open.
"Alistair! I'm sorry, I hope I didn't disturb you." He didn't have to turn his head to know who had entered, her Orlesian accent obvious.
"Hello Leliana. No, no please come in. I'm not doing anything." She entered, her footsteps whispering faintly on the thick rug.
"Nothing? Why not?" She sat down on a small sofa across from Alistair, her eyes on his face curiously. He poured her a glass of wine, and refilled his own. "What's wrong? I don't mean to pry, of course, but if you want to talk..."
"That's kind of you, but I don't want to burden you with my adolescent whining."
"Please. It's no bother. We are friends, no? You miss Elyssa." He nodded miserably.
"I know that she isn't staying away by choice either, but ... Before I met her, I was either in the chantry, or with the group of Grey Wardens. I never had much time to myself, and I had never been in a relationship. I was never lonely. I didn't know what I was missing, so I didn't miss it. I had friends, and my training, and I never felt that I was lacking in anything. Now ... having been with her, and knowing how it makes me feel being with her ... I hate it when we are apart. This whole thing has gotten out of hand. Since when does anyone care whether the unknown bastard shares his bed with a beautiful woman? Since when does anyone care that two Grey Wardens are having a relationship? It's no one else's business."
"But Alistair. You are to be King! I know there is much to go through yet, but starting off your reign by scandalizing the nobles who stand for you is not an auspicious beginning."
"I know, I know. It's not like I'm unaware of that. It's just ... Leliana, I am not whole without her. Not anymore."
Leliana was silent for a few moments, and Alistair looked over to see a pained look on her face.
"I understand, Alistair. I truly do." Realization hit Alistair suddenly.
"You do understand, don't you." Leliana looked up, blushing, as Alistair continued.
"You love her too."
"What? No! I ... no, I would never. I..." "It's okay. I understand. The thing I can't understand is why anyone wouldn't love her."
"You're not ... angry? Jealous? I would never try to come between you, you must know that. Even if, most nights at camp when I hear you two together, I want to scratch out your eyes." She grinned to soften the threat, and he laughed.
"I know. I trust you, Leliana. Frankly, I don't understand what she sees in me, truly. Given her other options, she could do much better. But I trust her absolutely never to betray me, even with a beautiful woman like you. Even if I don't understand why."
"You think you are such a terrible match?"
"Let me see. You are tall, handsome, strong. I haven't seen you without armour, of course, but you do not seem malformed in any way. You are a Grey Warden, and the only person she knows who could possibly understand what she is going through. What she will go through. You share the same morals, the same love of Ferelden, and the same compassion. You are kind, and gentle, and you love her. And let's not forget – you are going to become the King. Some women would find that incredibly attractive. Have I missed anything? So what, exactly, makes you so unsuited for her?"
"I ... but ... I thought you wanted to scratch my eyes out."
"And if I thought for one minute that you were a bad choice for her, I would have. But frankly, I can think of no one I would rather see her with, in the end. Even me. I am hopelessly in love with her, but a life on the road with a traveling Minstrel would never be enough for her. She ... lights up, when you are around. You are the right choice, Alistair." He was quietly thoughtful for a while, his heart temporarily lifted by her words.
"Does she know, Leliana?"
"No. At least, I don't think so. She knows that I ... like women, she guessed that a while back with the whole messy Marjolaine situation. But I have never said, and she has never brought it up."
"I'm sorry. You must hate me."
"A little bit. At times. But knowing she is happy is all I want. And she is."
"But ... how can you be so sure, Leliana? I just ... I cannot possibly make her happy."
"Why do you think that, Alistair?"
"Well, for starters, I am about as sophisticated as a country toad. She's the daughter of a Teyrn, for crying out loud!"
"You know her even better than I Alistair – has being around those political types, pretending to be something she's not, being used as a pawn in someone else's game – has that ever made her happy?"
"So ... you know about her past? Her mother?"
"I guessed. I am familiar with Ferelden politics, through my former life as a bard. I may have lived in Orlais, but Marjolaine dabbled in the Ferelden games also. I don't know the details, but if what I have heard about other noble families is even half true, I'm sure her training was ... brutal." Alistair nodded.
"That's an understatement. And that's yet another reason she deserves someone other than me. Her past ... she was taught that she is there only to please someone else. She will never put her own needs, her own pleasure first. And I ... well, you know how the Chantry is, Leliana. I was very naive when we met. I don't have the knowledge to ... to ... teach her that she is wrong. I get so caught up in what I'm feeling when we're together, and then I just ... Look, she says she enjoys it, and I have to give her credit for a good performance, both at the time and in acting interested in between, but ... I do not know how to..." He gulped, the wine helping him get out what he wanted to say. "I do not know how to pleasure a woman. There, I've said it, Maker help me."
"Oh, Alistair. Our Elyssa is nowhere near as good an actress as you believe. Maybe she could fool you, though I doubt it. But even only listening, I know she could never fool me. She truly does enjoy her time with you."
"No. For women, Alistair, the vast majority of pleasure happens above the neck. It's not our bodies, but our minds that create pleasure for us. She loves you, she trusts you completely, and while naïve, you are not oblivious either. You make her happy, Alistair. Believe me. If I didn't think it was true, I wouldn't say it. You know that."
"But Leliana, I don't even know what I'm doing! Ask me where to stab someone to make sure they're dead, no problem. Or to disable but ensure they live. I've got all that. Ask me where or how to touch a woman, and I'm all thumbs."
"Andraste's Flaming Sword, Alistair! Alright, listen. There are things ... if you want, I could ... try to teach you. Don't give me that look, I'm not suggesting we sleep together! I can explain to you, if we have some parchment I'll even draw some pictures. At least it might give you some confidence! The best, really, would be to show you on someone else, but that isn't going to happen for either of us."
They talked for hours that night, and then eventually retired to bed. But the conversation continued periodically whenever they were alone over the next few days. Finally, after another long, boring dinner party, Elyssa was again whisked off to meet with their noble allies to discuss last-minute strategy before the Landsmeet. Alistair, lonely and anxious about the outcome, again drank too much at supper, and found himself back in the library steadily drowning his sorrows in a bottle of whiskey. Leliana joined him, and for a while they drank together in silence. Inevitably the conversation came up again. Eventually Leliana just let Alistair babble, having covered all the same ground before. His confidence had not improved. But he caught her attention again, after a while.
"Maker help me, I can't even believe I am thinking this. But ... Leliana ... it won't be long before we march to war against the blight. And afterwards, if we survive, I heard you say you planned to travel back to Orlais. If the opportunity presented itself, before then ... I know you love her, and you're probably leaving to try to put her behind you, but ... what would you think about spending one night with her? With us? You could show me, show her what pleasure is. You would get the opportunity to be with her, even if just the once. I know, were the situation reversed, that I would give anything for that kind of memory to treasure. You would have to know it would only be the once – I am not willing to give her up, not ever, and I do not wish to share, either. But if you plan to leave anyway, and we have only a few days left..."
"You want me to have a one-night stand with you? Both?"
"Okay I admit it sounds ... dirty. But it's not just empty sex. She may not be in love with you, Leliana, but she does love you. And we both love her. And she deserves more than just me, stuttering along for a lifetime not knowing what I'm doing. It's the one thing you can do for her that no one else can. And the one way you get to be with her, to have that memory. Wouldn't it be worth it?"
Leliana wasn't convinced that night, but they discussed it again the next day, and the day after that. The idea of sleeping with both Alistair and Elyssa wasn't repellent – she did like Alistair, and she did love Elyssa. After a while the thing that kept her awake at night was the idea of living the rest of her life with the regret of not having done it. And so, eventually, they made their plan.
"Don't be afraid. Just ... trust me." From somewhere, Alistair produced a dark blue scarf. Steeling herself, allowing the vestiges of anxiety to escape, Elyssa nodded, and tied the scarf on, blinding herself. Alistair took her hands and carefully led her into the tent.
They had been apart for weeks by then, and just the act of going with Alistair into a tent had Elyssa aroused. She had been impatient and cranky all day, and Alistair acting mysterious had not helped. She was anxious about everything – though the Landsmeet had gone well, and they had what they wanted, Elyssa had virtually crowned herself Queen without even asking Alistair first, and while he denied being angry about that, she worried. She was intent on reassuring herself that he still loved her, and his cryptic behaviour had her on edge.
He helped her off with her armour – they had become much more efficient at the task together over time, and he had already doffed his own earlier. He coaxed her down to lay on the sleeping pallet, then took a few moments to look at her. Her smooth skin was pale, her hair cascading over the pillow; she lay on her back, one leg raised, arms crossed over her chest, looking both angelic and somehow completely provocative at the same time. He shook himself and then slipped out of his own clothing and joined her. As they often did, the first few sweet kisses quickly intensified until they were both out of breath. The evening was only slightly chilly, but as Alistair's hand started to explore the familiar territory of Elyssa's body, he found her nipples already hard, and she groaned at his soft caresses.
"What's with the blindfold?" She began questing with her own hands, seeking to distract him so he would be less able to defend against her questions.
"I'm not telling! Do I have to restrain your arms? Stop it. This night is about you, and I'm not going to let you mess it up."
"That doesn't even make sense!"
"I'm aware. Now hush." He kissed her again to stop her from asking more questions, and then proceeded to kiss, lick, and nibble his way down her body, from her sensitive neck, to her exquisite breasts, her firm stomach, and down to the crease where her leg met her body. By this time she was aching for more, and realizing he planned to take his time she took matters into her own hands. Pushing him onto his back, reclining on pillows, she straddled his hips and slid back until she could feel his throbbing manhood in her most intimate area. Tilting her hips, she gyrated until she got the angle right and then slid back further, taking his entire length in one smooth glide. They both gasped as they connected, and for Elyssa the connection was somehow even more intense because she could not see. Their hands sought each other out, and she held on tightly, both for balance and for reassurance. Rather than immediately lifting to impale herself again, Elyssa initially started rocking, very slightly. Angling her pelvis had the desired effect, and her breathing hitched as she stimulated that spot she had found.
So engrossed was she in the feelings of his hands on her skin, the pleasant sensation of fullness, and the sparks that emanated from her engorged nipples and that spot, she didn't hear anything. She almost didn't even notice as arms surrounded her from behind, and a soft body slid close against her back. She could feel breasts pressed against her shoulder blades, a firm tight stomach on her lower back, and a tickle of hair against her ass. Elyssa jumped, but Alistair held her hands, and the arms tightened around her in a gesture that felt much like a hug.
"Trust me, my love. Just let go and enjoy this, okay?"
The hands had started gently exploring across her abdomen, and seemed to send a burst of energy to that same spot near her centre. Gentle kisses peppered the back of her neck and her shoulders. Elyssa's mind was torn – she was in bed with a naked woman? She was having, of all things, a threesome with her betrothed? - but it felt too damn good, and she did trust Alistair, and somehow, she just let go.
The hands, seeming to understand they had permission, began exploring further. They teased their way up to cup her breasts, while the kisses started becoming playful bites. The hips behind her encouraged her to continue gyrating her own in a gentle circle, not thrusting down on Alistair but just shifting the angle. Elyssa's head fell back to be gently cradled on the shoulder behind her, her mouth open and gasping for air as her body was stimulated so many ways simultaneously. The hands began pinching, tweaking, and rolling her nipples in exaggerated movements, and Elyssa groaned and lost the rhythm of her grinding hips.
She sighed as one hand left the breast it was tormenting, squeaking in surprise as she felt it explore down over the mound of red hair and felt fingers touching around where she and Alistair were joined. Picking up some of the copious moisture, one finger found the spot, the one she'd discovered with Alistair, and very gently stroked over it. She shivered, wiggling her hips trying to increase the pressure, but the finger backed off and kept just lightly stroking over, beside, and around the spot. Elyssa could feel her internal heat rising, the pressure building, and she mindlessly writhed, anchored in place by Alistair and the unknown fingers. She started chanting one word, breathlessly, over and over again.
"Please! Please please ... oh please..."
The fingers did not stop, and the pressure built, and suddenly she convulsed. Elyssa squeezed Alistair's hands and tried to suppress the howl as she was buffeted by waves of ecstasy. The fingers stopped teasing and took to quickly, firmly rubbing the spot as Elyssa thrashed. She felt a thrust up from below and could feel Alistair's seed spilling into her in spurts. The tormenting fingers did not stop, and right after she peaked triggered a new wave of pleasure radiating from the spot outwards. She stopped chanting, may even have stopped breathing, and finally collapsed forward onto Alistair's broad chest, boneless and limp. The hands were carefully withdrawn, and replaced by Alistair's strong arms surrounding her. He rolled them both to the side, and Elyssa felt the now familiar presence spooned behind her again.
"Shh. No talking. Just sleep now."
Too exhausted after the exertion, she did. She woke again sometime later, confused. She was on her back, naked, legs and arms akimbo. She could feel Alistair beside her, one arm still supporting her head, but there was someone else moving, someone who was between her legs. She opened her eyes, but it was still completely dark. Too dark. Suddenly memory returned, the blindfold, the 'mysterious' visitor. Elyssa tried to sit up, but Alistair held her gently. He put a finger on her lips, silencing her, and then softly kissed her to reinforce the suggestion. She could still feel someone moving about, she assumed it was Leliana though she couldn't imagine what would possess the bard to take part in this. Reminding herself that she did trust Alistair, and Leliana also for that matter, she relaxed into the kiss.