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Another Way to Laugh

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"Is this what you do? Treat people like playthings?" Leliana had said. You'd flinched and taken it; now she's gone, your anger has you shaking. How dare she accuse you of using people? Like it's a crime to have a bit of fun. Like Zevran isn't willing.

"Lousy stick-up-her-butt Maker-lover," you mutter as you stalk off. How did a bard get to be such a prude? You fancy Zevran, he fancies you; why is it a big deal to do something about it? Why does it have to mean something? You want a bedmate for the night, not a love for the ages.

Zevran looks up with a benign sort of interest when you crawl into his tent; before it can turn into a leer, you're hissing, "Why in the name of the Maker does Leliana know our private business? All your experience, and you've never heard of discretion?" Zevran's eyebrows go up. "All I need right now is another person judging me, telling me I'm doing things wrong — so what's so damn funny?"

Zevran quickly rearranges his features from amusement to solemnity. "Leliana asked," he says. "I did not think it was such a secret that I should lie."

"Well," you say, "that's—" I did not realise you found him attractive, Leliana had said. You let your breath out. "I'm an idiot, aren't I?"

Zevran makes a gesture like he's not going to disagree. You moan. "I know I've flirted with her, but I didn't..." You throw your arms up. "Why has she got to be so serious about everything? How does every little thing turn into a promise?"

Zevran laughs and shrugs. The movement draws your eye along his collarbone, along his chest. He notices you noticing, and smirks.

"I do not pretend to understand what goes on in that woman's head," he tells you. "So, you're not interested?"

You roll your eyes, and lay down beside him, stare up at the ceiling at you talk. "I know what her idea of love is. Isn't fighting the Blight enough the stuff of legends for her? I've got enough to die for—" and you can't keep the bitterness out your voice —"without dying for love as well."

Zevran runs his fingers along your jawbone, so that you turn to meet his eyes.

"I promise you," he says, "no legends here." Then he gets a twinkle in his eye. "Though don't you think it would be more interesting if Andraste and the Maker were, say, not so metaphorical in their affections? I mean, really, what's a marriage without a wedding night?"

You laugh.

And that's what you really need, the laughter. Sex — sex is just another way to laugh. It's not a promise; it's play.

If Leliana can't understand that — well, you have what you want. Where is Leliana going to find hers?