Cecilia Cousland sighed as she sat down at her desk in the study adjoined to her bed chambers. It had been a terribly grueling day with problems all over the place, the treasury shorter on funds then she had thought, and a difficult Joining ceremony where only two out of the six recruits had survived. And even at that, she was pretty sure Oghren was going to end up scaring one of them off.

And still, as weary as she was, there was correspondence piling on her desk. The ones from her brother she had already opened and knew they could wait, but there official ones from Queen Anora and other assorted mail from Wardens across Thedas and certainly those demanded her attention. Exhausted, she started on the ones with a royal seal first.

As she read, her mind drifted. Her body ached and she felt as if she hadn't had a moment to herself in ages. It was times like this she found herself missing Alistair the most. Were he here with her now, she knew she could pass some of these responsibilities off to him. She could confide in him and trust him more then any other person in Vigil's Keep. He would make her laugh right now when she needed it the most. His arms would be warm and inviting and he'd still smell good to her no matter how hard he worked - of course, anyone would smell like a dozen roses after spending so much time near Oghren.

Cecilia realized at this point she was no longer reading any of the words on the page and placed the letter back on the top of the pile. She stared at the wall, horribly missing him.

But he would never be by her side again. Never be there to hold her close after a long day, steal kisses when (he thought) no one was looking, and to devoutly show deeper affections alone in their bed, even after spending every waking moment with her. Cecilia hadn't been a virgin when they met and though he was inexperienced, she had never felt so fulfilled than the nights with him.

Cecilia's fists clenched as she was determined not to cry anymore. She should have known that he would slay the Archdemon even though she had planned to if Riordan couldn't. She should have seen that faithfulness, that determination in him as they approached Denerim. After speaking to her companions, she was the only one who hadn't seen that action coming. Of course he had to pick then, of all times, to decide to start making decisions and ignore her lead.

Days like this made her wish she had at least attempted Morrigan's ritual.

A knock came at her door, and it opened just slightly. "Lady Cecilia?"

Cecilia looked over her shoulder to see one of the Elven servants peek her head in. "Yes, Aliah?"

"Excuse me for interrupting, but Seneschal Varel has asked that I bring you some tea."

Cecilia smiled. "Thank you. That would be most appreciated."

Aliah nodded and walked in, carrying a tray with a couple of small cookies with it. "Would my Lady care for me to draw a bath? Or help you prepare for bed?"

Cecilia thought for a moment then looked down, realizing she likely looked like hell. "A bath would be wonderful Aliah. But I will be fine preparing for bed alone, thank you."

Aliah nodded and left the room. Knowing she had a few minutes, Cecilia munched on one of the cookies, one of her favorites, a sweet butter cookie like Nan used to make, while she waited for her tea to cool. Her eyes roamed over the stack of papers on her desk but decided that it could wait until tomorrow. She was now gratefully looking forward to the bath.

Cecilia rose and went to her bedchambers, closing the door behind her. First she pulled Duncan's sword and dagger - it seemed proper she still carry them- and rested the sword against the wall and the dagger on her nightstand. Slowly she stripped every piece of armor off, feeling a little better with every piece she removed. She left enough clothing on to be decent if Aliah was still in the other room getting her bath ready, but then remembered something.

Quickly Cecilia moved to her armoire, pulling at a drawer. When what she was looking for wasn't there, she closed that and continued to check the other drawers until she found it buried in the back. It was a birthday gift from the Queen, and quite a luxurious one for the Warden-Commander no doubt. But Anora insisted that Cecilia not forget she is still a woman, and gave her a gorgeous pink silk nightgown adorned with just a touch of lace with a knee-length robe to match. She had never used, seeing as she felt she never had a need for it in the first place. Cecilia held the two in one hand, closed the drawer with the other, then returned to the bed to finish changing.

As Cecilia tied the belt on the robe, she couldn't help but smile from the way it softly touched her skin. She hadn't enjoyed a luxury like this since… well since they were staying at Eamon's estate in Denerim. But then the nightgown didn't stay on her long thanks to sharing a bed with Alistair. Cecilia sighed, trying to do anything to get that off her mind. It was then she remembered that Leliana had given her some nice scented bath salts. When she found those, she also found a small vial of perfume she had never worn. Since she was acting girly anyway, might as well continue, she figured as she put a little on her wrists and neck.

By the time she had everything and returned to the main room, bare feet moving quickly across the exposed cold stones, she found that her tea had cooled and her bath was filled and warming up. Cecilia placed the bath salts on the edge of the bath, then sat back at her desk and drew a long sip from the hot mug. It was her favorite night tea, a very light blend of lavender and chamomile. She closed her eyes and inhaled slowly, deciding that she could make this night better.

The flowery tea reminded her, and even though she was feeling just a little bit better, she couldn't stop herself from digging through the top drawer and finding the pendant she always wore during the Blight. Wynne had helped her preserve a single petal, one she plucked on purpose to give him a heart attack, in a vial that she wore around her neck. She would always have that little bit. That bit of beauty and comfort in the midst of all the darkness.

A tear from the memory was about to fall when someone knocked at the door. Cecilia placed the necklace on the desk. "Come in!" She said thoughtlessly, assuming that at this hour, it was Aliah coming to see her. She took another long sip of her tea and it took her a minute to realize that it might not have been Aliah, especially with the way the door flung open and there was silence.

That minute of silence was where Anders had walked in, opened his mouth to greet her then closed it for a second in seeing her at her desk holding a mug in her hand. Then, when she rose and turned to him, his jaw dropped again. "Ah, Anders. …Good evening," She said standing as straight and with as much authority as she could in nothing but a robe made for bed.

Anders stared at her for another moment. He had seen her injured, disheveled, and in various states of undress before, that was nothing new. He had healed wounds, stolen peeks and glances when he could afford to, it wasn't like his Commander was hard on the eyes or anything after all. He had just never seen her like this. In a night robe with her long brown hair tied in a messy bun with loose strands clinging to the side of her face. She seemed and actually appeared to look like a woman for once.

And she was breathtaking.

He suddenly realized that she was staring him down. "Uh sorry Cecilia. I'm not interrupting anything, am I?"

Cecilia smiled a somewhat distant smile at him. "I was simply preparing for bed for the evening. Would you mind shutting the door at the very least if you're going to stare, I'd rather not every other male Warden in here rush up to see me in my night clothes."

Anders nodded and turned to close the door. When he turned back towards her, she sat back down at her desk. "So what can I help you with?" She asked, not turning to him.

Truth was, Anders had forgotten why he came in the first place. Something about the mages he was teaching wanting to ditch the cowls she had provided for them. He wasn't about to tell her that he had forgotten though. He sauntered up next to her desk and peeked at the papers. "Lovely night time reading. It's enthralling, I'm sure."

The corner of Cecilia's mouth crooked upwards. "Quite. Seems my work is never done." She sighed and took another sip.

"So tell me, do you always do official business in that robe? Because if that's the case, I'm quite offended I've never been around to see you do that."

Cecilia looked up at him, barely moving her head to do so. She took a long breath. "No, Anders, I do not usually wear this for official business. In fact, this is the first time I've worn it."

"Well, it's quite lovely and you shouldn't be ashamed to wear it more often."

"I'll keep that in mind."

There was silence between them for a moment. "Wait, so does that mean I'm the first man to see you in it?"

The look Cecilia shot him was a cautionary one, and he was concerned that maybe he had gone too far. But it wasn't like they hadn't joked before. She did remind him that she was a pretty girl right there that one time in Amaranthine. "Yes," she said quietly, flushing just slightly. "You are."

"Well, I suppose I should celebrate, and then tell you that you're insane."

Cecilia's brows knit in confusion. "What are you possibly…"

"I can't believe that you've never shown a man this before. As if he wouldn't be dying to get at you before, he definitely would seeing you in this."

For once in a long time, since Alistair did to be precise, she fully blushed and looked away from Anders. She had no response to the mage. She should have thought of a quip, something snarky to get him to laugh and leave. But she just couldn't.

Anders rested on the side of the desk, bringing one leg up to half sit on it. "So tell me then, what is it that makes the Warden-Commander not have a man?"

"Oh I've had a man before," Cecilia responded, immediately wishing she hadn't said it in that particular voice.

"Oh?" Anders answered, clearly intrigued. She was sure there was no getting rid of him now. "So tell me about this man then?"

Cecilia ran her pointer finger over the vial, a motion Anders didn't miss. "He…" What she could say that wouldn't sound too cheesy? "He was the Hero of Ferelden."

"THE Hero of Ferelden? Ten feet tall, wielded a sword twice his size, and breathed fire?"

"Breathed fire? By the Maker, how crazy has that tale gotten?"

Anders grinned sheepishly. "Okay, well maybe I added that part in. But not a surprise that the Warden-Commander was with the Hero of Ferelden. Peas in a pod."

Cecilia raised an eyebrow. "You do realize that we knew each other for a fair amount of time before right?"

"Of course," Anders answered. "Alistair, the royal bastard Grey Warden."

"Oghren told you that part, didn't he?"

"How'd you guess?"

Cecilia held back a laugh. "The royal bastard part was his favorite. It never got old."

"Not surprising with him." There was some silence. Cecilia was suddenly more aware of his presence. "So did he give that to you? I've never seen it before."

"The necklace? Hmm, well, sort of." Cecilia looked up at him, seeing an expression on his face that clearly wanted to hear the rest of the story. Cecilia smiled and looked back at it. "Let's see, I met Alistair the day of my Joining, right before Ostagar. I had just lost my entire family to Renden Howe's horrible attack and was in quite the foul mood. But then Duncan sent me to find him, and we just clicked right away. He had this… this way about him that always made me laugh. He knew what joke to say when, and when he drank he'd concoct quite the wild stories. When everything was said and done and we were the only two Grey Wardens left in Ferelden, he kept me who I was when I could have gotten lost in revenge and hatred, and was my moral compass when sometimes I needed that right push.

"This petal was from a rose that he gave me. He picked and told me that it reminded him of me, beauty in all the darkness, was what he told me. Then he begged me not pick the flower apart like I had to a poor yellow flower a few nights prior."

"And you did, didn't you?" Anders asked. A full smile came across Cecilia's face. "You are a cruel minx." At this Cecilia found herself giggling. It was pleasing to Anders' ears. He was finally seeing Cecilia as she was, not Cecilia, his Warden-Commander.

"I did, Wynne helped me preserve it…"

"You miss him, don't you?" Anders asked a low tone.

Her eyes met his again, and she found herself comforted by him being there. "The bastard wasn't supposed to kill the Archdemon. I was. He let me believe that… then at the last minute…"

Anders rested his hand on her shoulder, and he couldn't believe how much smaller she seemed out of her armor. "I can't blame the man. I would have done the same for you too."

Cecilia was grateful he let his hand linger. It was warm, a warmth she hadn't enjoyed in a long time. "Thank you Anders."

"Beside," he continued, leaning down a little closer to her. "I'd much rather it be you here in that robe then him here in that robe. I think I'd have to greatly question myself at that point."

Cecilia burst into a fit of laughter at that image. And oh how Alistair would have done something like that simply to get a rise out of Anders. Maker have mercy, their back and forth would have been torturously funny and she would never get anything productive done ever.

Anders' hand moving against the back of her neck and shoulders took her out of her thoughts. She could feel the warmth of his hand through the thin robe and it caused her to close her eyes and relax. His hand brushed down her spine just a bit then back up. The warm tingle from it caused her to fall forward onto her desk a bit. She pushed her arm to her desk to catch herself.

To her surprise, Cecilia didn't catch the edge of the desk to her elbow. Instead, Anders had brought his other hand down to catch her. She looked at her arm for a moment then finally looked to Anders, feeling full well her cheeks were completely flushed. She caught the intense gaze in her eyes and recognized what it meant, even if it confused her. "Anders… why are you… looking at me like that?" Cecilia couldn't believe that any authority she had held fled from her voice.

Anders smiled. "Are you really that daft? Hit in the head too many times perhaps?" He paused. "Cecilia, you are positively beautiful and you seem to not have the faintest idea about it."

Slightly irritated but unable to help herself, Cecilia looked away. At one point in time she knew that she could have any man bend to her will. She was persuasive, knew what face to make, knew how to dress accordingly… And then when she became a Grey Warden, she pushed all that to the back.

Cecilia rose from her chair, finding herself in desperate need to see if this warmth was real or a figment of her imagination. Anders rose from the desk as well, as if he could read her mind. He wrapped his arms completely around her, the same hand still rubbing her back, and rested his cheek against the top of her head.

Cecilia sighed and felt herself melt into the warmth. This was what she had craved. This touch, this closeness, and it felt so real. She hadn't even been sure it'd be possible to feel this close to someone again…

Anders pulled his head away. He was starting to become convinced that he was just dreaming. Or the templars had set a new trap for him. Guess there had been worse traps set for him in the past.

When his head moved, Cecilia looked up at him. He looked at her though he were entranced and she figured her gaze was no different. She was a bit surprised she could still feel this way and that these needs rushed back to her. She was more aware of the silk robe, but not in a self conscious way. Her right hand snaked up his chest and lingered at the back of his neck, putting just a little pressure on it. Anders lowered his head and closed his eyes; her heart suddenly began to pound out of fear she pushed things too quickly.

Anders reopened his eyes only after a moment. He had simply wanted to take one more moment to enjoy their closeness and her scent before she pushed him away. When his eyes opened, his head was a lot closer to hers then he had thought. But he didn't pull away. Then she didn't pull away. He leaned a bit forward then hesitated, not sure that he could get any closer to her without kissing her - and he was pretty sure the well-trained Rogue had access to something pointy and dangerous within arms reach.

Neither one of them was sure who made the move, but their lips pressed together and Cecilia felt a spark shoot through her that made her feel weak in the knees. She leaned into him more and he deepened their kiss, letting his tongue trail just gently along her lower lip. Cecilia got lost in the passion and barely even noticed that as their kiss continued, Anders began gently sliding his hands across her back, then over her hips until he was gently stroking the front of her thighs.

She had expected she might resist him more, and no doubt should have resisted him. But her body responded immediately to his touch and she ached with desires she now sorely missed. When he broke their first kiss she was left breathless, dazed, and aching for his lips to be against hers. Their eyes met and she could tell Anders was about to say something, but she simply didn't want to hear it. She very quickly crushed her lips against his and pressed herself close to him, eliciting a very audible groan from him through the kiss.

Cecilia didn't want to hear him question if this was okay. She didn't want to think anymore. She found warmth and a spark. Besides, it wasn't as if getting close to Anders like this was anything she had never thought of. By logic and reason she should have kicked him out earlier, but Maker, she knew she wanted this to happen.

Anders' hands roamed over her chest ever so gently and as he brushed over her nipples through the soft fabric she gasped and broke the kiss. For a moment her eyes remained widened, until he began placing small kisses along her jaw then down her neck. Cecilia closed her eyes and rolled her head back, letting out a quiet whimper. His lips on her neck and his hands on her chest felt fantastic. She could feel the warm moisture growing beneath her legs.

But Cecilia wasn't about to allow him to have all the fun. She leaned against him, kissing him along the neck. He sighed softly, wrapping his arms back around her and moving his hands over her ass. Very gently she kissed beneath his ear and she could feel the sharp intake of breath that he held onto. Pleased, she kissed him again, this time licking and sucking at the skin ever so gently. And when she kissed his ear lobe he let out a soft moan and practically trembled beneath her.

Once he caught his breath, he just had to ask. "How did you figure…?"

Cecilia kissed the lobe again and dropped her voice to a sultry whisper. "Oh it was just a guess…" She made it a point to breath softly into his ear.

She pulled back and as she did, Anders opened his eyes and grinned mischievously. "Oh, you're going to pay for that one."

"Really now? And how are you going to make me do that?"

Anders didn't answer, but instead pulled at the belt of her robe and it very slowly opened. He pushed the robe aside and smiled widely. "Not even anything beneath? My, my…"

Cecilia knew she must have been a deep shade of red at this point. "I told you I was-" She didn't finish her sentence as Anders cupped his hands over her exposed breasts and squeezed them so gently. It was nearly torturous. "About to take…" His thumbs flicked over her nipples and Cecilia moaned audibly as she tried to finish her sentence. "A bath…"

"Mmm, so the story goes," Anders answered kissing along her collar bone. "But the bath water isn't quite so hot anymore." He lowered his head, leaving a slow trail of kisses down to her breasts while his hands still held them.

"Yes," She said with barely a voice. "Because I was planning on you interrupting me this evening."

"Aha!" He said between kisses. "I knew you'd confess." He was sure she was about to respond but he lowered his head a bit more and kissed one of her dark nipples, sucking on it gently. "And please don't ask me to reheat the water now then leave…"

A small smile crossed Cecilia's face. "Not a chance." She answered.

Now more confident she wasn't going to stab him with something, Anders moved to her other nipple, flicking his tongue against it. His hands slid down over her waist and he took in the feel of her curves. He felt the various scars she had acquired over the years and continued on, not wanting her to think too much of them. He kissed back up and by the time he was back at her neck one hand slid between her legs and rubbed just gently at the folds. His strokes were slow. Clearly he was taking his time and exploring her, and it was doing a fantastic job of driving her mad at the same time. He spent only another moment there before realizing that she was having a difficult time staying steady on her feet. "Let's move to somewhere more comfortable," Anders whispered in her ear moving his arms back around her.

In a swift moment Anders swept her off her feet and cradled her. Cecilia let out a small laugh of surprise and wrapped both her arms around his neck. She felt her robe slide further away from her skin. "Only if you agree to lose the robes," she answered.

Anders grinned. "Won't need to tell me twice." He walked into her bedchambers and placed her on her bed. He turned away from her only to close and the lock the doors, ensuring no one walked in on them since it would be far more difficult to explain then when he barged in on her. Anders moved back towards the bed and pulled his robes over his head, carelessly tossing them to the floor.

Cecilia smiled seeing him in nothing but his smallclothes and with a bulge quite obvious in those. She slipped the robe off though kept her legs at least a little close together. She smiled at Anders and he seemed to get the message when he climbed on the bed and crawled towards her. When he got close enough, they kissed again, this one passionate and filled with needing, with aching. While they kissed Cecilia moved her hands over his bare chest, loving the feel of the muscle beneath her hands. She moved her hands down his chest and stomach and brushed his erection gently through the fabric. When she slid her hand beneath the fabric Anders broke the kiss and kissed along her neck. She could feel his "Mmm"s against her skin as she slid her hand up and down his length slowly.

"Uh uh," Anders said, sliding himself down her body and away from her grasp. "I said you were going to pay." His hands slid over her chest again as he kissed his way painfully slow down her body. When he hit her navel and continued, Cecilia gasped slightly now realizing where he was going.

But much to her dismay, he slowed down his pace and went back and forth from thigh to thigh, inching closer, but never getting as close to her as she wanted him to be. She squirmed in frustration, but was pretty sure she saw a smile on Anders face between kisses and he slowed down even more. She settled back into bed, feeling a few beads of sweat on her forehead from her state of arousal. She spread her legs wider for him as he got closer to her center, but that didn't seem to encourage him. He kissed and licked at her soft skin just to the left of her folds, then just to the right. Anders went back and forth getting maddeningly closer but just not there. He pulled away to look up at her, pleased with the flushed look on her face, the way her chest dramatically rose with each breath, and the way she was staring him down, clearly wondering what the hell he was doing. With a grin he lowered his mouth exactly where she wanted it to go.

Cecilia immediately moaned, finding some relief from the torture immediately. His tongue swirled around her clit before diving between her folds. He alternated erratically, and seemed to know exactly where to go next. She moaned a little bit louder with each move. Her hands clutched the blanket and she was amazed at how quickly he built her up once he finally got going. She lost any concept of time. All she could think about was how good it felt and the pressure building. She was so close to the edge and he pushed his tongue in just a little bit deeper and pushed her over the edge.

Once the waves of pleasure passed, she lay on the bed motionless except for her chest rising and falling while she made an attempt to catch her breath. Cecilia hadn't even realized that her hips had come off the bed until Anders gently lowered her back down to it. He remained between her legs with a wicked grin as he licked her lips, an act she caught at the end of it. "Taste good?" She asked hoarsely with a short laugh.

"Indeed," he answered, crawling back up so his head kissed along her neck again.

"You'll have to give me a moment," She managed to say as her hand ran down his chest again.

There was that grin again. "No."

Cecilia looked at him thoroughly puzzled. "No?"

Anders didn't respond. He continued kissing and used the hand that wasn't supporting him up to slide his hand along her rib cage. She sighed in contentment, enjoying the warm tingling sensation left in its trail. His hand moved between her legs and she squirmed as a finger slid in. She was still incredibly sensitive but as he continued Cecilia felt her desire build back up. She looked at him, eyes slightly glazed and her lips open from pleasure, wanting him inside of her but unable to muster the voice to ask him so.

But he seemed to know what she wanted, and judging by how tight his smallclothes felt at that point, he definitely knew what he wanted. He pulled the last remaining bit of cloth off, tossing it haphazardly onto the floor. Before he turned back he could feel Cecilia running her hand gently over. Anders was pretty sure that he was already rock hard, but if he hadn't been her touch surely would have made him. While this felt good, he wanted to be inside of her more.

He moved and arranged himself at her entrance. He brushed against her just slightly, causing both of them to hum in satisfaction. Deciding that the time for teasing was long past, Anders began pushing in, moving slowly until he was completely inside her. He smiled from the low moan that came from her just from entering. While giving her a moment to adjust to him, he lips to hers. The kiss deepened and Anders began to move.

It went slow at first, but the pace soon quickened. Sweat began to shimmer in the dim candlelight while they both breathed heavily. Things continued and moans increasing in intensity filled the room while Cecilia clutched onto him. Her nails scratched at his back causing him to buckle just slightly, clearly enjoying the extra sensation.

Cecilia wasn't sure how long it went on for or how long she clung to him. She had no idea that Sigrun heard her moans from the hallway and couldn't wait to get the juicy gossip about who the Commander was sleeping with since none in Vigil's Keep save Oghren had ever seen her show interest like Ithat/I. No, everything was drowned out of her mind except for the intense pleasure wracking through her body. Her eyes were closed tightly and she began to tremble as wave after wave of pleasure came at her. He groaned against her collarbone as he felt her tighten around him and realized he was beyond the point of no return as well.

Anders panted her name and she came completely undone. She cried out his name in a loud moan and the next second his moan echoed through the room as he finished. Cecilia opened her eyes just in time to see his face and it brought a tired, but very content smile to her lips.

He collapsed on the bed next to her, attempting to catch his breath. Immediately he wrapped his arms around her and pulled her close to him. Cecilia's brain wasn't quite working yet, but she figured that she hadn't expected Anders to cuddle with her. She wasn't complaining about it though. She laid in a completely content post-coil half-sleep, snuggled up to him with his warmth around her again.

In a few minutes, he finally moved, kissing her shoulder gently. "I suppose I should go…" he whispered.

Cecilia brought her hands up to his arms and tightened them against her. "Please don't," she answered sleepily.

"They'll talk if I'm still here…"

"They might talk more if you wander back to your room half dozed…" Anders seemed content with the answer. He wearily sat up to pull the blankets out from beneath them and settled back into bed with the covers up to their shoulders. "Besides," she began with a large smile as he cuddled close to her again. "If they talk, I'll feed them to the darkspawn…" For once in a long time, it didn't hurt her to remember that. She was happy and completely comforted.

Cecilia remembered him placing a few kisses along her neck before she fell asleep, blissfully unaware that in the morning Sigrun would bounce merrily to the seat next to her at breakfast and nearly yell so everyone could hear, "So, you and Anders last night?"