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music meme: Dragon Age style

In an attempt to get out from behind a major case of writer's block, I pulled out the music meme circulating all over the place. Paraphrased rules:

1. Pick a fandom, character, and/or pairing.
2. Put your MP3 player on random.
3. Write for the duration of whatever song comes on. No skipping around! I totally cheated here; I stuck a few songs on repeat, but shh! We won't tell anybody, right?
4. No editing once the song is over. What you get is what you keep.

The following don't necessarily go with my 30_hugs claim, but were written more to get a better feel for Moira and Nathaniel and their relationship. My iPod Ziggy decided to be in an angst-inspiring mood, but there are some fluffy moments in here as well. I wrote them all in the order that showed up on my music and numbered them as such, but I've re-ordered them to try and make some sort of timeline.

2. Mrs. Brown, You’ve Got A Lovely Daughter – Herman’s Hermits
Things have changed, she doesn’t love me now, she’s made it clear enough it ain’t no good to pine

Nathaniel winced at the sound of Moira slamming the Great Hall’s side door behind her. He waited a few heartbeats before carefully opening the door again and quietly closing it after him. Running a hand through his hair, he sighed, wondering what he had done now.

“It’s too nice of a day to look so cross,” Teyrna Cousland told him, looking up from where she had been cutting several roses from her garden. “And by the looks of things, my daughter has something to do with it.”

“I’m sorry, ma’am,” he apologized, scuffing his toe along the flagstones. His father had allowed him to visit Highever by himself for two weeks, and he had spent the majority of the time playing with Fergus and Moira, but something had set the youngest Cousland off. Her mood had only soured as the day went on, which was why he now had a sore arm from where she had punched him before running away.

Eleanor tilted her head, thinking that a boy ten years of age shouldn’t act like an old man. “I could use some help, if you have the time to spare,” she said instead. She handed him a pair of shears and instructed Nathaniel on how to prune off the dead stems. “Would you care to talk about it?”

Nathaniel sighed. “Girls are crazy.”

She laughed. “What has my dear Moira done to upset you so?”

He shook his head. “Actually, I’m wondering what I did to make her upset.” He frowned and snipped off a dead flower. “Yesterday, she was fine, but today she doesn’t want anything to do with me.”

She smiled and put another bloom in the basket she had brought with her. She had seen the mooncalf stare that her daughter had been giving Nathaniel since he had arrived at their home and how Moira had hung on every word and had shadowed the other two boys, much to her brother’s annoyance. She also knew that her daughter was impatient by nature and could only guess that Moira had finally tired of Nathaniel failing to bend to her charms. “You do want to get back into her good graces, correct?”

“Yes, I do.”

Reaching into the basket, she picked out a pink blossom that had only begun to open. “If I know my girl, then she will be hiding in her father’s study, where she often goes to brood. I think this will go quite a long way to repairing whatever damage might be between the two of you.”

Nathaniel looked at the rose in his hands and sketched a quick bow. “Thank you, my lady,” he said. Then he leaned forward to give her a quick hug before running off in the direction of the study.

Eleanor watched him go with a fond smile on her face. He really was a sweet boy, once one got underneath the layer of seriousness. She was certain that he would grow into a fine young man, and if her daughter had anything to say about it, then they would be seeing a great deal more of Nathaniel in the future.

“Moira Howe,” she mused, picking up the canvas sack containing the discarded stems in one hand and the basket of flowers in the other. “It has a nice ring to it.”

7. Leaving on a Jet Plane – Peter, Paul, and Mary
So kiss me and smile for me, tell me that you’ll wait for me, hold me like you’ll never let me go

It was supposed to be a dignified leave taking, especially since Teyrn Cousland and his family were guests in his home. Nathaniel considered himself lucky that he and Fergus would be traveling together, if only for a brief part of the journey. Nathaniel was to get off the ship once they reached the other side to begin his stay in the Free Marches while Fergus went on to Antiva. Nathaniel watched with well disguised envy as Fergus’ mother fussed with her son’s clothes and his father clapped him on the shoulder.

Do not disappoint me, was the only farewell that Nathaniel had gotten from his own father. He had already said his goodbyes to his younger brother and sister in private, making the farewells he shared with them now outside the Keep a formality. Turning to the Couslands, he gave them the most cordial goodbye he knew of while still managing to convey how much he would miss them. He might be twenty years old, but Bryce and Eleanor Cousland had taken him under their wing, giving him and his siblings affection over the years that they had not gotten from their own parents.

Moira was the hardest to say goodbye to, especially after the night they had shared. He gave her the deepest bow that he could and murmured something, but he wasn’t quite sure of what he had really said. He had been distracted by the way her eyes had brimmed with unshed tears. His goodbyes done, he and Fergus set off towards the front gates and the path beyond.

“Nathaniel, wait!” He turned at the sound of Moira’s voice, his breath catching at the way she smiled while she ran towards him, her skirts held up so that she wouldn’t trip over them. She launched herself at him, her arms going around his neck as she kissed him.

He had a brief concern that his father was more than likely mortified with the display his son was putting on, but that thought only stayed in Nathaniel’s head for a second before he tightened his hold on Moira’s waist, spinning her around and burying his face in her lavender scented hair. “I’ll come back to you,” he promised, kissing her again as he wiped her tears away with the pads of his thumbs.

“I’ll wait for you,” she told him, holding onto him as if she never wanted to let go. “Always.”

A throat clearing behind Nathaniel broke them apart. “If you’d remove your tongue from my baby sister’s throat,” Fergus said dryly, smirking all the while. “Our ship won’t wait for us forever, you know.”

Reluctantly, Nathaniel pulled back, holding onto her hand. “My lady,” he said warmly, brushing his lips over her knuckles.

Then he walked away, not daring to look behind him. If he did, he was certain that he wouldn’t have been able to leave.

3. Me and Bobby McGee – Janis Joplin
But I’d trade all of my tomorrows for one single yesterday to be holding Bobby’s body next to mine

“So, what about you?” Alistair asked, glancing sideways at his companion. “Have you ever licked a lamppost in winter?”

Moira laughed. “Yes, I have.”

“Just the one? And you managed not to get half your tongue torn off in the process? I’m quite impressed.”

She stared at their campfire and tossed a stick into the flames. “It was only once,” she found herself saying. “He was leaving Ferelden the next day.” She hugged her elbows, feeling cold despite the summer evening.

“What was his name?”

“Nathaniel.” She intentionally left off his last name, not wanting to remind herself of the Howes. The scent of her father’s blood was still too fresh in her memory, as was the sight of little Oren’s body lying so still in the moonlight like a discarded rag doll.

“You loved him.” It wasn’t a question.

“I did, once. I loved him very much.” While she was certain that he had nothing to do with his father’s actions, her feelings were far too confused to even begin to think about how she felt about him. Besides, Arl Howe would be brought to justice; she was certain that Nathaniel wouldn’t want anything to do with the woman who brought his father down. “Sometimes,” she started, sitting down and hugging her knees. “Sometimes I wish that none of this would have happened. My family’s murder, the Blight, everything.” She would give anything to have things return to the way that they had been. Nathaniel’s last letter to her said that he would be back within two more years. Looking up at the sky, she thought back to that last night, how his hands had felt as they roamed over her body, almost as if he were committing every curve and angle to memory. He had kissed her as if they had all the time in the world instead of a few short hours before daybreak. She tightened her arms around her knees, remembering how it felt to fall asleep in his arms. What she wouldn’t give to feel that way again.

Alistair looked at her, wishing that there was something he could do to wipe the sad expression from his friend’s face. “Then you wouldn’t have met me,” he carefully said. He sat down next to her, his armor making faint clanking noises as he did so.

Moira leaned against him, her head on his arm. “No, I guess I wouldn’t have.” There wasn’t anything that she could do to change the past, but she was incredibly grateful that she had found someone to make the present bearable. “I’m so glad that I did.”

6. Volcano – Damien Rice
What I am to you, is not real. What I am to you, you do not need.

Seeing the hard look in Nathaniel’s eyes physically hurt Moira. She found herself unable to look directly at him after a while, choosing to pick a spot over his shoulder or in the vicinity of his chin instead. Realistically, she had expected his reaction, but she still couldn’t help remembering the warm way that he had always watched her, the quiet admiration that he’d always shown her.

The boy that he had been was gone, and she missed him dearly. The man that he had become had his uses though; he helped harden her heart so that she could concentrate on the matters at hand instead of running after girlish fantasies.

She had an arling to run and darkspawn to defeat. She would mourn the loss later.

1. Trying – Lifehouse
Could you let down your hair and be transparent for a while, just a little while, to see if you’re human after all

“Don’t you ever feel anything?” she asked, tired of his brooding.

“What would you have me feel, Commander?” he replied, his tone as formal as he could possibly make it. Underneath it all, Moira could all but taste the bitter sarcasm. “My life is not my own since you decided to make me a Warden.”

“Would you have rather hung from the nearest rafter instead?”

“I’m certain that option is still open, if that is what my Commander wishes.”

Moira crossed her arms in front of her. “I grow tired of this,” she said, grinding her teeth. “Do something. Yell at me, scream in my face. Tell me how much you hate me, I don’t care, but please, stop this silent treatment.”

Nathaniel stared at her for the longest time without saying anything. “I could never hate you,” he finally said, his voice so quiet that Moira had to strain to hear him. He turned on his heel and pushed open the doors leading out to the Keep’s courtyard. “I hate what you’ve done to my family.”

5. Another One Bites the Dust – Queen
Hey, I’m gonna get you too, another one bites the dust

He had a hard time placing the girl who once ran screaming from dead spiders with the woman who laughed as she decapitated darkspawn. Blood arched from her swords, leaving a trail of carnage in her wake.

“She’s awful pretty when she gets violent,” Anders commented, standing back once he realized that Moira and Oghren had things under control as the two finished up the remaining enemies.

Nathaniel stared at the way the sun reflected off her armor and how the braids framing her face gracefully swayed as she pivoted, her blade cutting through bone as if it were paper. “Quite,” he answered, jumping when Moira let out a shriek and scrambled away from one of the corpses she had been looting.

“Oh come on,” Oghren was teasing. “It’s just a little barn spider. They’re harmless.”

“Just kill it already! I hate those things!”

Nathaniel chuckled to himself. It seems that no matter how much things changed, some things remained the same.

8. Storybook Love – Willy DeVille
Then he swooped her up just like in the books, and on his stallion they rode away

Moira ran a finger down the spines of the books in the throne room. When she had been a teenager, she and Delilah had hidden several nondescript looking novels amidst the stuffy tomes so that they would have something to entertain themselves with whenever Moira and her father visited the Keep.

“Wouldn’t you know,” she muttered, her lips drawing up into a smile. “They’re still here.”

“I always knew you and my sister weren’t that interested in city law,” Nathaniel said, sneaking up behind her.

Moira jumped, shoving the hardcover book back onto the shelf. Why she felt as guilty as the time Nan had caught her with her hand in the cookie jar was beyond her, but she could feel her cheeks redden. “It’s not like anyone noticed them here,” she said, defending herself. “Otherwise, I’m certain they would have been removed a long time ago.”

“True.” Nathaniel brushed her fingers aside and plucked the book off the shelf. “Let’s see, ah. The Tale of Ser Henrick the Brave. I always liked that story.” He opened up the book and read a random page. “This is not the story I remember reading,” he commented, his eyes widening. “The one I recall didn’t have this much nudity involved.”

Moira’s face grew even redder as she snatched the book from his hands. “Delilah had the idea of sewing false covers onto Orlesian romance novels. That way, if we ever did get caught, we could honestly say that we had a certain title in our hands.”

“Clever.” He leaned closer, giving her a mischievous grin. “I hadn’t thought the both of you capable of keeping everyone in the dark. I would have thought you two would have giggled and tipped someone off.”

Moira straightened her shoulders and regained her composure. “Over this? No, the one that we really had to be careful of is on the second to the bottom shelf. The Lady’s Rogue Lover was racier by far.”

He watched her saunter off towards the main dais. “What?”

“Third book to the left,” Moira said over her shoulder. “It’s under One Hundred and One Advanced Swordplay Techniques. We thought the title was quite appropriate.”

9. It’s the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine) – REM
That’s great it starts with an earthquake, birds and snakes, an aeroplane and Lenny Bruce is not afraid

“This is it,” Nathaniel said, stopping in front of the tunnel. He could sense something big at the end of the tunnel, which could only mean that the Mother was waiting for them.

“Afraid?” Moira asked, tightening her fingers on her blades.

He didn’t quite answer her. “You?” he asked instead.

“Petrified.” Morrigan had given her and Alistair a safety net when dealing with the Archdemon, letting them concentrate on defeating it instead of worrying if they were going to die after striking the final blow. Moira had no such net here. She could feel that the Mother was larger than any other broodmother they had ever faced, and while she wasn’t actually afraid of the chance of getting killed somewhere in the fight, she was absolutely terrified that Nathaniel would.

Nathaniel looked around to where Oghren and Anders were scavenging the darkspawn corpses. Seeing that they were distracted, he stepped closer to Moira, his hands going up to cup her cheeks. “Don’t be,” he whispered, leaning down to press his lips against hers. To her credit, Moira didn’t once let go of her swords as she kissed him back. “Everything is going to be all right.”

4. Kiss Me in the Dark – Randy Rogers Band
Take it slow, turn down the light, soft and low let the shadows dance

Moira’s fingers trembled on the tie to her chemise. The light from the fireplace cast shadows on her bedroom walls, but she still thought it was far too bright in the room. She made a move to blow out the candle on her bedside table, but his hand stopped her.

“I want to see you,” he said, coming up behind her, his lips on the nape of her neck.

Her arms wrapped around her middle. She bit her lip even as she tilted her head to give him better access. “I have scars,” she whispered. Even though she kept herself out of the main line of fire when she fought, she had still earned all the pale white lines that crisscrossed her body wherever her armor had given way. She was afraid that he’d see them and recoil, especially at the large, deep mark that went across her ribs on her right side.

She’d acquired that one in Denerim. The axe that had caused it had been sharp and it had only been due to Wynne’s healing skills that she still drew breath. Rendon Howe hadn’t been so lucky.

Nathaniel put his hands on her shoulders and gently turned her around. “So do I.” Very slowly, he pulled her nightshirt off her shoulders until it fell into a puddle at her feet. All feelings of inadequacy vanished once Moira caught the look in his eye. “Beautiful,” he breathed, lowering his head to kiss the first line that appeared on her collarbone.

It was hours later when the candle next to the bed finally burned out on its own.

10. Morning Song – Jewel
Let the world spin outside our door, you’re the only one that I wanna see

One of the best ways to start the day, in Nathaniel’s opinion, was to wake up with the woman he loved in his arms. His left arm was asleep where she was laying on it, but the feel of her hair against his chest and her breath on his neck more than made up for it. Shifting so that his arm was draped around her shoulders instead of underneath her, he slid his free hand along her side.

“Mmm,” Moira hummed, slowly drifting into wakefulness and stretching deliciously against his side. “Good morning.”

“It is indeed.” He dropped a kiss on the crown of her head, smiling when he felt her leg shift over his. “What are your plans for the day?”

She propped herself up on her elbow and traced a line down his chest. “There’s a seed inventory that needs to be looked after before the planting season begins, and then I was going to get with Mistress Woolsey to see just how much money we can put into city repairs. Why? What did you have in mind?”

He sucked in a breath when her finger circled his navel and then wandered lower. “Well,” he started, nuzzling the side of her throat and smiling against her skin when her breath hitched. “I had planned on making love to the Arlessa of Amaranthine for the better part of the morning before asking her to share a lunch with me, but if there’s an inventory that needs to be done…” He didn’t even get a chance to finish his teasing because she hooked her leg over his waist and sat up so that she was astride him.

“I didn’t exactly promise to look over the inventory records this morning,” she said, leaning down to kiss him. “They can wait until later.”


( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 23rd, 2010 10:33 pm (UTC)
Oooooh! This turned out wonderful! I was all for going to sleep, but I'm glad I didn't <3 Excellent writing, once again. Makes me a bit sad, though, as this made me realise I don't believe in love like that in real life any more :( Dang. Well, at least there's good writing to make up for that. Thank you for that :)

And you STILL have an excellent taste in music. ;)
May. 25th, 2010 02:36 am (UTC)
Thank you! While I would hope that there was this sort of love in real life, realistically, I know that I have a very slim chance of finding it. Thank goodness for fiction, right?
May. 25th, 2010 09:30 am (UTC)
Exactly. :)

I should start sketching my new comic, but perhaps I'll read a bit ahead... X)
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )

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