In which shit gets real (and you probably find that hard to believe with an introduction such as this),

I know super long author's notes are really irritating, but I feel as though this had to be said, so please bear with me.

This was the first story I published on this site. I apparently finally got the ovaries to get over myself and just write and put it out there last August. This all seems like a very long time ago, even though that was just last year.

As I find myself running out of the time and ideas needed for this collection of one-shots, I have to admit (albeit, really fucking reluctantly) that this should all probably come to an end. On the off chance that any more Nicola/Morrigan ideas strike me, I will add them to this series, but for the most part, it would probably be best if this were labeled as 'complete' because I hate giving the possibility of an update when there really isn't one. These are just a few little drabbles/brain farts left on my hard drive, because I didn't want to be an ass just posting an author's note, but seriously: if I said everything I wanted to say to my readers of this story, it would be longer than this chapter. Thank you guys so, SO much for reading, reviewing, and just sticking with me. This was my first real foray back to fanfiction in almost a decade and all of it: the process, the planning, the writing, your feedback...everything, has inspired me to write once more and to keep on doing so.

Reading and writing are so utterly important, so keep on doing both. Fuck the people that brush off fanfiction because it's not 'real' work. Reading is the most amazing thing you can do and writing is probably the hardest. The written language is a beautiful thing, whether you like reading Rand or Poe or s3xiimami and Spock/Indy Jones slash on .

Nonetheless, as invaluable as I find words to be, sometimes they fail to express what one really means to say, so I'll say it in the simplest, most sincere way possible.

Thank you.


First Kiss

The ogre tosses both of them solidly against a wall; Nicola catches most of the impact, having turned at the last second to protect the far less armored Morrigan, but ultimately, they both just end up in a sad little heap.

"Maker…" Nicola grunts, wincing as the ogre lets out a roar in the distance, Sten having finally landed the fatal blow. "Are you all right?"

"Never better. Isn't this romantic?" Morrigan gripes, pushing herself off of Nicola's body and sitting up with a grimace.

Nicola blames her bravado on the adrenaline from the fight, the strange tension between the two of them for the past few weeks, and very possibly, just the way Morrigan looks, all cute and disheveled, robes askew: whatever it is, it makes Nicola give in and simply kiss her.

When she pulls away, breathless, she notes the flush in Morrigan's cheeks, the way she licks her lips as though to savor the taste, the way her eyelids flutter slowly open, with far too much delight.

"What a fine time for a first kiss," Morrigan says, the self-satisfied smirk taking any acidity out of her words.

"Plenty more where that came from," Nicola replies lightly. It is a joke only to ease the tension, to keep from scaring Morrigan away with how serious the pounding in her chest is. But in her heart she knows the truth all too well. She will make sure that whether it is time or kisses for Morrigan, she will always have more than enough.

Tomorrow

"So…so then he says," Nicola says, her laugh too forced, too rough. "'Are you a mage? Because I'm feeling utterly bewitched'!" She shakes her head, her smile not reaching her eyes. "How….how pathetic," she mumbles.

The room is dark, and so is the sky – it is that strange time between night and morning where all there is is the wind and darkness. There is a rustle of sheets as Nicola shifts, edging closer to Morrigan's body and curling into the other woman's warmth.

"Do you regret this, Warden?" Morrigan says softly, breaking the silence.

"What, magically having you conceive my child so that it harbors the soul of an Old God that may or may not wreak further havoc in the future, just so that I could live?" Nicola snorts into her pillow before trailing her fingertips briefly down Morrigan's cheek. "Don't be ridiculous."

The wry grin on Nicola's face is as charming as always, but this time, it cannot dissipate the strange feeling churning in Morrigan's chest. "How can you be so glib? Even now, you deign to make light with your stupid jokes?" Morrigan asks, her voice a combination of bitterness and irritation.

"I'm sorry," Nicola sighs, more out of frustration at herself than Morrigan. "I am," she whispers, pressing her body closer to the mage's in apology. "I just…after tomorrow, whether I live or die on the battlefield, you say I'll never see you again. Nor will I see the….our… child."

"Must you talk this to death? What's done is done, and I do not wish to discuss this further," Morrigan says, stiffening in Nicola's arms.

"Stop," comes the blonde's soft request, dusting a kiss across Morrigan's lips briefly. "I'm not bringing it up to argue about it anymore. I'm just trying to explain."

"Explain away," Morrigan says, her tone an interesting combination of fond irritation.

Nicola sobers, holding Morrigan's gaze with her own. "I make light of it because it's easier for me to deal with. I make stupid jokes because I can't face the reality of tomorrow, and I don't know what I worry about more: that you won't be around to hear my dumb jokes or that I won't be around to tell them." She strokes Morrigan's hair so lightly that she already feels like a ghost. "So let me be more selfish than I already am. Let me pretend that tonight is just like every other night, and not our last one together."

For a second, the way Morrigan looks at her just breaks her heart: it is the most honest, most open she has ever seen the other woman. Then, the expression is gone, masked by Morrigan's beautiful, beautiful smile, and Nicola cannot complain.

"Well, then. Let us end this night the way we end every other night," she murmurs, giving Nicola a kiss that makes her toes curl, and her heart sing.

Agony

The sting of Morrigan's slap burns almost as much as the heated press of her lips against Nicola's. You will regret this, Morrigan says, her face as cloudy as the stormy sky above. And so will I.

Maybe you will, Nicola says. But I never could.

Morrigan almost believes her.

Beautiful

Morrigan looks insufferably smug as her robes drop to the ground with a whisper, leaving her deliciously nude in the moonlight. "So," she preens, "the usually articulate Warden is rendered speechless at the sight of me?"

The grin that Nicola gives her is absolutely sinful. "No, darling. Talking just isn't exactly what I had in mind…"

Diary

She stumbles across Leliana's diary and shows it unabashedly to the Warden, despite Nicola's emphatic protests to return it. As much as the blonde grouses about privacy, she laughs in delighted amusement when Morrigan points out something in the margins.

"Leliana Cousland," Nicola reads aloud, grinning smugly.

Morrigan merely sniffs and looks unaffected; however, when Leliana asks about her missing parchment later, Morrigan simply shrugs and says, pointing at their makeshift latrine, "We ran out of leaves."

Conditional

"Love is unconditional, Morrigan," Nicola chides.

"Nonsense," Morrigan retorts. "There are always conditions. You shall not share your bed with someone else, you shall not make me unhappy, you shall not disagree with whatever I say for I am always right…those are the conditions of love that I have witnessed. People are idiots."

"Funny," Nicola drawls, tugging at Morrigan's robes. "I'm fairly sure you have given me those exact conditions before. Perhaps in not so many words, but…quite conditional, if you ask me."

"Good thing no one did," Morrigan retorts irritably, although she tilts her head back to allow Nicola's mouth to explore her neck further.

"Oh, Morrigan," murmurs the Warden, dragging her teeth against fair skin for a moment, earning a tiny little gasp. "I think I just got a love confession out of you," she teases.

She entangles her fingers in Nicola's hair, nails scraping. "You did not," she hisses, both in pleasure and anger, as Nicola's tongue soothes the bite.

"Yes. Well. Do not disagree with me," Nicola intones, grinning wickedly as she runs her hands up and down Morrigan's bare sides. "For I am always right."

Return

"Do you know that stupid adage about if you let something go, if it's really love, it'll come back?

"All adages are stupid," Morrigan grumbles, staring into the fire.

Nicola laughs, something she hasn't done for days, not since Morrigan slapped her, had begged her to end whatever all 'this' was. "You're right. But that one's especially stupid."

"Is that so?" Morrigan asks hollowly, refusing to return Nicola's gaze.

"Yes," Nicola says, lifting Morrigan's chin with a fingertip and forcing those amber eyes to meet her own. "Because if you love someone so much, I don't think you can ever really let them go to begin with."

"Nicola…" Morrigan practically begs, although she does not know for what.

"Stay with me," Nicola murmurs.

And Morrigan does.