A/N: So... I promised Bethany that I'd write something fluffy. HERE YOU GO!
The New Grey Warden Handbook
When he finds her, she's standing at the window of her room, staring out over Denerim. It's only midmorning, but the sun is shining brightly through the window and when she turns to look at him, she smiles.
Three days ago, Denerim was under siege. Three days ago they stood together atop Fort Drakon and faced the Archdemon. Three days ago he didn't think about anything past that moment.
But now, in this guest room of Arl Eamon's Denerim estate, he's not quite sure he can see anything past her.
As far as he's concerned, that's absolutely fine.
"Hi, Alistair." She steps from the window, crossing the room to wind her arms around his waist. "I've missed you." She says simply, pressing close.
Maker, he agrees. The last three days spent recovering from injury, rebuilding, planning... between meetings with Queen Anora, her advisors, the nobles... he feels like they haven't had a moment alone and he can't describe how good it feels to have her in his arms again.
"I've missed you too." He says, into her hair, thankful for the peaceful moment to just hold her close.
But her fingers are slipping under his shirt, warm against the skin of his back and he grins because evidently she isn't all that interested in a peaceful moment.
That's perfectly all right, as well, so he offers no protest when she gently backs him towards the bed, working his shirt up and over his head before the backs of his knees bump against the mattress. And then he's sitting and then falling back against the mattress as she climbs over him, settling astride his thighs with a smile.
"Hi, Alistair." She repeats, grinning.
"Hello again, my love." He grins up at her in kind, folding his hands behind his head. "How are you today?"
"Quite well." She informs him, conversationally. "Yourself?"
"The hero of Ferelden has trapped me on her bed. With her thighs, even." He feigns horror. "It's quite scary, she might mistake me for an Archdemon and then I won't have a chance."
Laughter bubbles in her throat, melodic and hopeful; a sound he doesn't think he's ever heard from her before but he doesn't get time to dwell on that because she's dipped her fingers past the top of his trousers and that's more than distracting enough to make coherent thought fly out the window.
They've done this before, many times. In every corner of the country it feels like; but it's never been like this. She's never tortured him, pressing her hand inside his trousers and teasing a groan from his lips with her touch and when he manages to get his eyes to focus on her once more, she's grinning down at him wickedly.
He's known she was beautiful from the first moment they had met. He'd tried his best to clumsily worship her with his hands and mouth and body every time they'd come together in the darkness of camp but here, with the midday sunlight filtering in through the window he feels a little like he's seeing her for the first time.
To an extent, he supposes he is. She's still strong, still powerful, still brave and resourceful and everything else he'd fallen in love with in the first place but her grin is tugging his heart in all new directions and her laughter is pressing into every last corner and it occurs to him that he's never really seen her happy.
But The Blight is ended, The Archdemon defeated and the woman he loves is radiant in the sunlight, grinning and straddling his thighs, stroking him slowly so if that isn't reason enough to be happy he doesn't know what is.
She withdraws her hand without warning and he's about to groan out a protest but she's still grinning, pulling her shirt over her head and tossing it aside and the fabric that's always been under it before is conspicuously absent which is just fine by him.
He reaches up to cup her breasts in his hands and while, again, the activity itself is far from new to him by now, her slight intake of breath and the way she arches against his hands just feels different, somehow. Like she is relishing the sensation in a way she hadn't allowed herself before. So when she leans over him, balancing her hands on either side of his head, he takes the opportunity to take her by the hips and quickly flip their positions.
She arches an eyebrow at him, her tone teasing. "Taking command?"
He nods, forcing a serious expression. "I am the senior warden here, you know." On impulse, pulls her arms above her head, pinning them to the pillow.
Her other eyebrow is up now and she's staring at him with amused skepticism "Really? What happened to not wanting to assert your leadership?"
He shrugs, best as he can in their current position. "I tried that, but you were just such an awful leader." He leans down, pressing kisses along her neck, her jaw. "I mean, raising armies to stand for the country? Defeating the Archdemon? Effectively ending the Blight and becoming the Hero of Ferelden? What sort of track record is that?" He grins against her collarbone. "I couldn't let it continue."
"Ah, I see. Well then, I submit myself to your instruction." She's trying for solemn, but he recognizes the husky note to her voice and it sends shivers through him.
"As you should." He releases her hands then, sliding his own down her sides, her hips, tugging at her trousers until they slide down. A moment of awkward manoeuvring, legs tangled together and knees bumping but he manages to free her of the clothing.
Nothing under those either, it seems. He's more than okay with that and she's lying naked on the bed in the sunlight and smiling and Maker above, it's all he can manage not to rip off his own uncomfortably tight trousers and take her as quickly as possible.
Somehow, impossibly, he makes himself fall back to his haunches, balancing between her knees and keeping his hands at his sides as he regards her with what he hopes is thoughtful apathy. "Whatever should I do with you?" He asks, his voice sounding almost sing-song to his ears.
She laughs softly. "Didn't Duncan ever tell you the proper Grey Warden punishment for saving the country?"
He shakes his head, bringing his hands to rest on her knees. "I must have missed that lesson." Her skin is warm and soft beneath his fingers and he lightly trails along her thighs. "But if we're going to rebuild the order, I suppose we should start with writing the rules."
"A sensible plan, true." Her voice isn't quite as steady now and he can't help but grin at the effect his teasing touch is having on her.
He stills his ministrations then, just inches from where she wants him to be. "Hmm, a fitting punishment..." Gently he taps his fingers thoughtfully, light warm touches on the skin of her inner thigh and he feels a swell of intensely male pride when she lets out a small whimper. "I suppose you could polish my armour? Or carry my pack?"
He ignores her faint protest. "You could have to be my personal servant for a whole week?" She's shifting below him, trying to get him to touch her there but he keeps his fingers away, still tapping lightly against her thigh. "You could mend my shirts, do my washing up, clean up my-"
She catches him off balance, flipping their positions again and he's flat on his back with the breath knocked out of him before he gets a chance to finish his thought. "Hey now, that's not-" but she cuts him off, her mouth finding his hungrily.
That works, too.
Between them, her hands tug at his trousers and he lifts his hips to oblige her as she slides them down just far enough and shifting her hips down, hand guiding him and-
She breaks their kiss, a low sound in her throat that he matches with a groan as she rocks her hips against his for a moment before she stills, breathless and grinning as she pushes off his chest and straightens, tilting her head back. He can't tear his eyes away from her, the curve of her throat, the movement of her breasts as she rides him, free and happy and tense in a way that has nothing to do with apprehension or fear.
His breath is all but choking in the back of his throat and his traitorous body is tensing with her movements, her pace and in a moment of panic he realizes this is too fast, too much and his eyes fly open as he manages to choke out her name, fingers curled against her hips as release takes over.
His head drops onto the pillow and he closes his eyes, completely mortified. He hadn't had such a hard time controlling his eagerness since... well, the first time. And that had been completely acceptable and not at all ridiculous and embarrassing like this and he faintly wonders if he keeps his eyes closed long enough maybe she will just go away and never speak about it?
No such luck, he can feel her drop to his chest, nuzzling at his neck and making a sound somewhere between a sigh and a giggle.
Perfect. She's laughing at him. Maybe he did die in the battle and this is some special torturous hell where he is forced to die of embarrassment over and over?
"Alistair." Her voice doesn't sound annoyed, but he isn't sure if he should really trust that so he only grunts, noncommittally.
There's that sound again, the almost giggle... "Alistair, look at me."
"Are you going to laugh at me?" He half-whines, opening one eye.
But her face is hovering above his own and she's smiling at him with warmth and love and a peaceful happiness that warms his heart. "I'm not laughing at you." She promises, kissing his chin lightly. "I'm just..." her brow furrows for the slightest moment, as if puzzled.
He opens the other eye. "What?"
"I'm just happy." She laughs again, softly, and cuddles against his chest.
"Good." His voice feels strangely rough. "Let's keep it that way." He wraps his arms around her back, hugging her tightly. "That can be your punishment."
He can feel her smile against his skin and press another kiss to his chest. "I do love you, you know," she murmurs. And in that moment, he does. He really does.