pariswriter: (Default)
Title:  Fevered Love
Author:  ParisWriter
Game:  Dragon Age: Origins/Dragon Age 2
Summary:  Varia's desire to help Cullen overcome his lyrium addiction jeopardizes her marriage to Alistair.
Rating:  K/G
Characters:  Varia Surana; Cullen; Alistair
Disclaimer:  All characters from the Dragon Age series ©BioWare. Varia Surana belongs to me.
Content Warning:  Slight spoilers for the novel, Dragon Age: Asunder

Fevered Love

It broke Varia's heart to see him this way.

He was kneeling in the small, derelict chapel hidden at the back of Vigil's Keep, quietly murmuring prayers to the Maker under his breath as his entire body shook. He had removed his armor, and even from a distance she could see the sweat drenching his shirt and hair. She'd heard that the withdrawal symptoms could sometimes be bad, but she hadn't expected anything this horrible. He was falling apart before her very eyes.

He'd come to them with a few other templars, told them about the order's break from the Chantry and their new crusade to wipe out every person across the whole of Thedas with magic in their blood, and asked her for refuge. They were outlaws now, unwilling to follow the orders of the man they saw as a crazed lunatic who was no longer doing the Maker's work but leading a bloody massacre of hundreds of innocent people who never hurt a single soul. Alistair had been reluctant to take them in, at first, fearing for her life as well as that of their son – who was just starting to show his own potential for magic – but she had stepped in and accepted them with open arms. The fact that they had come to her, The Hero of Ferelden, knowing full well that she was a mage had given her faith that they were sincere in not wanting any part of the templars' new mission.

Of course, part of the reason she'd so willingly accepted them into their home was because she'd once been in love with the very man before her. Alistair knew that, but he'd waited until they were alone before confronting her with it. He'd even accused her of still being in love with him and told her she should go be with him if that was what she wanted. She knew he didn't mean it, though. He was scared for his family's lives and, though he would never admit it, she knew he'd always been a bit jealous of Cullen for being the first man who got to kiss her and hold her in his arms. Despite the past eight years together, he was still as self-conscious about their relationship as he had been when they began their love affair during the Blight. Even so, she'd angrily stormed off to look for Cullen.

He didn't seem to hear her as she approached him, didn't take notice of her carefully stepping around him and setting the tray upon the altar. He didn't even register her presence when she knelt down in front of him and called his name. It wasn't until she reached out and brushed some of the sweat-dampened hair back from his face that he finally raised his head to look at her. His green eyes were wide, the pupils mere pinpricks in their centers, and he had the look of a man gone mad with fever.

She hated the templars even more for the pain they were causing him. His fellow knights had all suffered from the withdrawal, as well, but none of them had been nearly as affected as he was. She assumed it was because he was older and had been taking the lyrium for a longer period of time, causing more of it to build up in his system. She'd offered to let him use the stores at the Keep to help wean him off of it, but he had been stubborn and insisted that if he didn't simply stop taking it altogether he would never be able to go off it completely.

"Are you okay?" she asked him, placing her hands on his shoulders in a vain attempt to stop the tremors wracking his body. "Maybe you should take some. Just a little. Just enough to steady yourself."

"No, love," he insisted, closing his eyes and shaking his head. "This is how it needs to be."

She was taken aback by the term of endearment. His fevered state had apparently caused him to forget that they were no longer together, that he had been the one who so heartlessly pushed her away all those years ago. She nodded silently is resignation, giving in to his wishes, and stood – but then his hand shot out and grasped her by her wrist and he pulled her back down before him.

"You are my strength," he told her, his wild eyes boring into hers. "It is because of you that I know I will survive this."

She opened her mouth to speak and he pulled her to him, his lips crashing down upon hers. She tried to not respond to the kiss, but the memory of their love pushed its way to the surface and she found herself returning the gesture with a soft moan. Reason soon returned, however, and she quickly pulled away from him and stood, backing herself up against the altar behind her. Cullen didn't seem to notice and immediately returned to his prayers. She knew he likely wouldn't even remember having done it or, if he did, he would probably believe it was just some sort of fever dream his mind had conjured up.

She would never forget it, though. It had only been a kiss, but in her mind it was still a breach of the sacred marriage vows she'd made to Alistair. She turned and grabbed the goblet of wine off the tray of food she'd left for Cullen at the foot of Holy Andrastae's likeness upon the altar, and downed the entire contents in a single drink. With tears in her eyes, she looked up at the statue and prayed that her husband would be able to forgive her for what she'd just done. As if on cue, she heard Alistair call her name and turned to find him standing just inside the chapel doors.

The expression on his face told her he'd seen everything.
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