Briar paused in the moonlight outside of Zevran’s tent. This was a bad idea, but… he was already here. “Zev?” he whispered, lifting the cloth that served as a door, “Are you awake?”
“I don’t suppose this is your way of finally accepting the invitation to my bed?” Briar couldn’t pick Zevran’s shape out in the darkness within, but his voice was a calming force regardless. He shook his head sheepishly and heard Zevran sigh. “No, I thought not. Alas.”
“C-can I come in?”
“Of course, tesoro. You need not ask.”
Briar bit his lip and folded his large form into the now cramped space. There wasn’t really enough room for him to sit comfortably, so he lay down beside Zevran, conjuring a wisp of light so he could see what he was doing.
Zevran smiled. “You know, I have longed to see you from this angle. Never did I imagine you above the sheets, however.”
Briar flushed. “Sorry.” It was a knee-jerk reaction at this point, no matter how many times Zevran told him that he had nothing to apologize for.
Instead of saying it yet again, Zevran fixed a stray lock of Briar’s hair. “What is it, tesoro?”
“I-“ It felt stupid now. Like something he shouldn’t bother Zevran with, but he’d already been stupid enough to go through with this. And Zevran was asking… “I had a nightmare.”
“The archdemon?” Zevran’s gaze grew hard, and Briar shook his head before he could cause any more worry.
“No. Nothing like that, just… a bad dream.”
The tension fell away from Zevran immediately and he smiled fondly. “Ah, so even you are susceptible to such things. I had begun to wonder, what with all the daring adventure and heroics.”
Briar rolled his eyes, and smiled when Zevran laughed.
“Tell me of your bad dreams, tesoro.” He put his hand on Briar’s cheek, and for a moment, Briar could close his eyes and pretend that the world was safe, and warm, and good. He touched Zevran’s arm, and curled toward him.
“I don’t really remember the beginning, but I was talking with Leliana, and somehow she got it in her head that… we were involved. Romantically.”
“How terrible,” Zevran purred.
Briar tried not to pout as he continued. “It was terrible, though. I mean, aside from the fact that I don’t like her that way, she got really angry and started yelling at me. She said that I had to choose between you and her, and I tried to tell her that this was all a big misunderstanding but she just got angrier and told me to choose, so obviously I picked you!”
“Obviously.” Zevran’s smile grew, his eyes shining with barely-concealed delight in the dim glow Briar had conjured.
“She started crying and I didn’t know what to do! I felt horrible. Leliana’s one of my best friends! I’d never want to hurt her like that.”
“Is that your terrible dream, my love? That you accidentally broke your friend’s heart?” There was something fond and amused in his expression. Briar was too embarrassed to look at it for long, so instead he ducked his head down, bumping Zevran’s chest as he did.
“No,” he whined from his hiding place. “It got worse.”
Not bothering to contain his laughter now, Zevran placed his hand atop Briar’s head, encouraging him to stay there. “By all means, then, continue.”
Briar took a moment to decide if he wanted to keep embarrassing himself. Apparently the answer was yes, because he found himself recounting the second part of the nightmare. “After the thing with Leliana I was really freaked out and I wanted to tell you about what happened, but before I could say anything you said you wanted to talk to me and like an idiot I said you could go first.
“You had somehow gotten the same idea as Leliana, but you were of the opinion that I should be with her because of stupid reasons that I don’t even remember. The point being that you tried to break up with me!”
Zevran gave a dramatic little gasp, and Briar thumped his head against Zevran’s chest in retribution.
“Don’t make fun! It was awful!” He could feel tears welling up in his eyes just from the memory.
“I felt like I was gonna be sick and I kept trying to tell you that I loved you and that I’d never do that to you, but it was like you didn’t believe me! I mean, not really. You stopped trying to dump me but then you said I had to go break up with Leliana because it wasn’t fair to lead her on. But I wasn’t! I didn’t even know where any of this had come from!”
He was crying now in earnest, little sniffling sobs that sounded pathetic coming from a grown man. This had definitely been a mistake but here he was, crying into the chest of the most wonderful man he’d ever known, like the idiot he was.
“Oh, tesoro.” Zevran didn’t seem like the kind of person who had much experience with comforting others, but he wrapped his arms around Briar and bent his head to whisper soothing words into Briar’s hair. After a moment, Briar realized that he was speaking Antivan. The soft sounds were comforting, and he let himself relax into the embrace. “I am sorry for laughing,” Zevran said after Briar had stopped shaking.
Briar didn’t respond, at least not right away. He concentrated on steadying his breathing, and on Zevran’s warmth all around him. It was nice. Normally, when they stood side-by-side, Zevran barely came up to Briar’s collarbone. Not that Briar didn’t delight in dropping kisses onto the top of Zevran’s head as they walked, but this was also nice. He moved closer, curling up inside the embrace.
“I love you,” Briar finally said.
“I love you as well, tesoro.”
It occurred to Briar that this was all he really wanted to hear. From the moment that he’d woken up in tears all he’d needed was to be reassured that his feelings were returned. “I’m sorry for crying on you,” he said, finally tilting his head back to look at Zevran again.
Zevran smiled and loosened his grip, wiping away some of the tears that had collected against Briar’s nose. “I must admit, this is a first for me,” he said fondly. “It is not unpleasant, though.” He shifted and bowed his head until their foreheads met. “May I kiss you?”
Something happy and bright jumped inside of Briar. He smiled and nodded, meeting Zevran halfway. When their lips parted, Briar tucked his head back against Zevran’s chest.
“I should get going,” he said, shattering the moment of perfect happiness because he was a moron. “It’s a long march to Redcliffe, and we have to make it there before the Darkspawn.”
“Stay,” Zevran said, petting Briar’s hair.
“I promise that for once in my long life of debauchery I will be a perfect gentleman.” He kissed Briar’s hair. “You are worth that and more.”
Briar didn’t know how to answer that so he just hummed non-committally. He definitely wasn’t worth half the trouble he put Zevran through, but he didn’t want to argue. Not right now when he could just… have this. “Alright,” he agreed finally. “I’ll stay.”
He reached up to snuff out the magical light source he’d conjured, and for a moment before everything went dark, he saw Zevran smiling at him like he was the world. It made something painfully happy twist inside of Briar’s chest.
“I love you,” he said again, because he liked the way it sounded, and it was true, and Zevran loved him back.
“Ti amo, tesoro.” Zevran whispered, winding his arms around Briar once more. “Ti amo tanto.”
Briar did not speak Antivan, but he understood.