Even now, with what tensity might have lied between them, it still felt so nice to wield the smaller man within his arms. Scarcely did everything come together as easily, like this love did; like whatever magnetic pull they had between them. Even as the other hesitated and worried and doubted, and as Alistair felt the hollowing sting of disappointment, he felt at home. So... he allowed him to think on everything. To truly absorb his words, as he always seemed to. Even when that was followed by their physical separation, which compelled his body to move, and to wrap the other back in his embrace. It was strange how binding their pull was to one another. It really was like love.
He watched Zarik, his beloved, submerge... sinking to the floor of the bath so as to think. Alistair would have joined him, but the biqaj needed his silence, and calm of mind. Instead, he sat completely straight against the edge of the bath, his glutes pressing against the stony wall as his upper back and shoulder blades became unveiled, though still glistening with droplets of hot water upon his skin. Zarik rose from the water, and their eyes met. Even wet, his hair still looked soft and light, and the urge came over the mage to ruffle through it as he'd done before.
Instead, he brought one knee closer to his chest, while the other leg remained extended. Clutching it between his bicep and forearm, he exhaled, taking notice of the many beads of sweat that glistened on his skin. Zarik rose, looking down at him. His expression had grown more calm, though of course instinctively, the first thing Alistair seemed to stare at was his bare bits. The typical behavior of an unequivocally lecherous man, though as he'd noticed his cast-off gaze, his eyes shot up to meet the biqaj's. For once, the blush overcame his cheeks instead, though like Zarik's it was not a rosy pink but instead a warm amber.
I love you, the biqaj told him. Alistair quietly whispered back, I love you too, unwilling to let his words go off into unrequited silence. As he listened, he realized that both of them struggled to understand the source or purpose of their emotions, and why their pull was so magnetically powerful. At least they both accepted that the pull was there, and provided to them by something. The Immortals, the Fates, he did not know. It did not matter; they accepted what was given to them, and he believed it was in stride.
What Zarik said next made a smile curve onto the shape of his lips. It reminded him of one of the reasons he did know why he loved Zarik; though often what he felt was kept private within the complicated weave that was his mind, always he acted of his own accord. He did not allow Alistair to freely take anything from him, despite the gap that was their power, wealth and prestige. He always needed... to agree, to understand, to accept. And that was why Alistair knew he would be a wonderful ruler at his side, though he saved such thoughts for the moments after Zarik's words came to an end.
For now, they continued, as Zarik drew nearer to him. The mage, gathering himself on the soles of his feet, rose too, though he didn't conceal himself. He stood tall and strong before the other, unwavering in his gaze as the biqaj continued his words. Alistair's smile widened, as a fluttering feeling came over his heart. Excitement; joy, satisfaction, the splendor of a promise made. It appeared they'd made their accord, and the only conditions were that he dealt with - allegedly - a crying, foolish, shouting, unsophisticated, weak and impoverished nobody. Alistair laughed lightly into Zarik's self-deprecation, though he did not try to correct him, so much as he affirmed that even if all of those things were true, he would bind to him all the same.
He took his hand, and nodded. No pity, no charity. Between them would be a symbiosis. A converging of meaning.
"I do not mind," he replied to him, if late, "so long as you do not mind having a husband who is both lecherous and impatient, who often forgets your boundaries when pressing his own, who makes you cry and feel a fool... who finds your stammering and embarrassment all the more attractive; who wields far too many connections, many of them ill, and many a danger. And my father... well. We won't get started on that one," the mage laughed again, weaving his thumb between Zarik's soft fingers, massaging the skin of his palm. The mage stepped forward, then, and kissed him. An elongated peck, chaste, but one that displayed that he was content. "I love you, Zarik," he told him again. "And I accept all of your conditions. And I'm... so glad, that I will be your husband," he expressed this with an almost shrill, gleeful voice as if he were about to distend into joyful tears. He laughed lightly, before laying a flurry of kisses across the other man's complexion.
"My Zarik... my Zarik..." he whispered. "Always be ruled only by your own judgment," he told him. "Your independence - your clarity of mind - is part of why I know you must rule alongside me. You will question me, and torment me with your wisdom, and reveal to me when I am wrong as much as when I am right. You will be my Durien," he told him. The male spouse of a male Duke. "And my confidant. And contrary to what you may believe, for me your common birth is only a boon. Your loyalty will be to me, not some other House; to us, to the family we build, and the children we bring into this world. A proud husband I will be."
With a soft kiss, he wrapped his arm around the other's waist, before he dexterously slid his arms around to the underside of Zarik's legs and lifted them, wrapping them around his waist. The noble showered him with kisses, and his warm breath. "Shall we go to bed?" he asked, moving forward before carefully stepping over the edge of the bath, still carrying Zarik in his strong embrace. "This will be the first of many nights we lay together," he whispered, the mage's pupils raising within his eyes, as if to imagine it. How right it felt.