"Admit it" said Zevran with a gleam in his eyes and a smirk in his lips. "You miss her."
Alistair exhaled sharply to try to hide his frustration. "I won't admit it," he said, "because it isn't true. She was an excellent mage, certainly -- for an apostate anyway -- and I would miss her if we still had battles to fight, but we don't. The Archdemon is dead. Since we don't need her martial prowess, we..."
Alistair didn't manage to finish his sentence, since Zevran cut him off with a raised eyebrow and a suggestive hand motion at the word "prowess".
"Behave, Zevran" reproached Cousland with a smile on her face. "You have him flustered enough as it is."
"All right, all right! I'll behave!" Zevran displayed his raised palms in the universal gesture of someone who wants to show they aren't hiding something, then muttered under his breath "for now, anyway."
"Anyway" continued Alistair, trying to keep his voice level, "as I was saying before I was so rudely interrupted, once we discount Morrigan's skills on the battlefield, all that's left is her oh so charming personality, and I can do quite well enough without that if it's all the same to you."
Zevran turned to Cousland and said "see, he misses her."
"Which part of 'no I don't' didn't you understand, Zevran?"
"Oh, I understood it fine. I just don't believe it. Are you seriously telling me that after you finally got into her pants the other night you don't feel the tiniest hint of regret that she's gone?"
"And are you seriously telling me that you aren't going to miss her generous bosom or the way her bottom wiggles when she walks?"
"Yes. Yes I am. That's exactly what I'm telling you because that's exactly what's true. Maybe in Antiva no men can keep their eyes off any pretty woman they meet but I'm not Antivan, and I can!"
"Aha! So you admit that she's pretty?"
"Yes. I mean no. I mean..." Alistair sighed. "Of course she's pretty. I'm not blind. But that doesn't mean I was ever interested and it doesn't mean I miss her."
"So if you weren't ever interested, why did you always flirt with her so much?"
"Why did I flirt with her? You think I flirted with her? That was not flirting!"
"Oh fearless leader," began Zevran, addressing Cousland, "please tell young naive Alistair that he flirted with Morrigan. I don't think I could stand to see him lead on any other poor souls without even realising it."
"Oh no. Don't even think it" said Cousland. "I'm not getting involved in this. I'm only interested in embarrassing argument as a spectator sport, not as a participant."
"You're lucky" said Alistair. "I never wanted to be a participant either. I don't think Zevran really wanted to give me any choice though. For the last time. I do not miss Morrigan. I am not attracted to Morrigan. I do not have a crush on Morrigan. And above all else I most certainly not in love with Morrigan. I can't possibly make this any clearer."
Zevran didn't reply.
"You're still not convinced, are you?" asked Alistair.
"Not in the slightest."
"Is there anything I could say that would convince you?"
"Not that I can think of."
"I didn't think so. Hmmmm." Alistair paused. "You know, Duncan -- and for the record, I actually do miss him -- he always told me that actions spoke louder than words. I'll apologise for this later if I have to."
He stood up and walked over to where Cousland was sitting, and then gently pulled her to her feet too. He then wrapped his arms around her in embrace and started to kiss her.
Alistair had been daydreaming of kissing her practically since the first day they'd met and never once had he imagined that it would happen like this. Of all the possibilities, it had been goading from Zevran that had managed to convince him to take the plunge. Zevran! There were days when he wished that the elf had never joined their party and times when he was gratefully that he had. This day showed every sign of fitting into both categories.
Alistair cursed to himself silently. Here he was, finally kissing the woman he'd been enamoured with for months, and he was thinking of Zevran. Infuriating didn't even begin to cover it.
It was a fortunate thing, for the sake of his sanity, that he had plenty to distract him.
The kiss he had given had been little more than a soft peck. He was far too much of a gentleman for anything more, and he valued their friendship too much to jeopardise it by acting like a chauvinist ass. And besides, he knew that if he had, he'd likely have ended up with a broken arm in short order, which was never his idea of fun.
One gentle kiss from one friend to another, to shut up Zevran. One gentle kiss which was now being returned with interest. The touch of her tongue against his lip arced through his body like a jolt of electricity, grounding itself at her hands pressed against the skin of the small of his back.
He was glad Zevran was getting a good show to dissuade him of his stupid notion.
He hoped that that this was more than just a show.
Cousland disengaged from the kiss with a slight tug at his lower lip with her teeth, then moved her head around to whisper in his ear.
"I'm so glad you did that. Saves me from trying to figure out the right time to throw myself at you."
Alistair smiled the broad grin of true happiness that he hadn't felt since before the beginning of the Blight. He turned to Zevran.
"So, are you satisfied now?"
"Not in the least", replied Zevran. "Joining in would have been satisfying. Watching, not so much. But I will accept what you have to say about Morrigan."