WARNING: This chapter gets a little sexy. Okay, a lot sexy. This chapter is NSFW and rated M.

A/N: It's been a swell ride! Suspect the sequel to this will have to be posted elsewhere if all this LU RedBotton nonsense continues. Because I'll tell ya right now, Nate and Elissa are going to boink, and while I try to keep it (mostly) classy, recreational sex with any explicitness is apparently frowned upon by these LU morons. So read this now because the bot might be trying to find fics that call them morons. Ya'll have been great, and I appreciate all the fantastic reviews and constructive feedback. Peace!

Disclaimer: It belongs to Bioware, obviously.

It was past noon when they roused themselves from bed, their bodies logy with sleep, but their aches now in the stage where they simply needed to be worked out and chased away.

"I don't want to get out of this bed," she mumbled.

During the night, they had separated, and he lay on his side facing away from her, and she on her stomach, her face shoved into the down pillow.

"Then don't," he offered from the other side of the bed.

"Instigator," she accused. "I have to get up. So. Much. To. Do!"

"If they've made it this long without you, I'm sure they'll survive a little longer."

"Stoppit," she said, and reached out a hand to swat him. "You're making me feel insignificant."

"Have it your way," he said, and was silent again.

She tilted her head, because it seemed that while she could sleep in a way that one might assume would suffocate, now that she was partially awake, she needed fresh flowing air. She peeked one eye open, and indeed the sun was high in the sky. She huffed loudly and threw back the quilt, exposing Nathaniel's bare calf, which was pulled back into warmth with no time to lose. She splashed her face with the dingy leftover water and pulled her hair back in a messy bun. One foot, then the other, went into her working breeches, and she pulled on a man's tunic and tucked it in. Her boots went on as they always did, one at a time, and by the time she was finished dressing, he was still abed. She leaned over his body and patted his leg.

"Come on, get up. If I have to get up, so do you."

"I seem to recall that was your choice. I by no means participated in a consensus," he informed her with his eyes still closed, and turned his face away from her, towards the center of the bed.

"Come on," she said, and reached out for him again, this time to shake a shoulder. His arm darted out and grabbed her around the waist, hooking her and pulling her bodily into the bed at an awkward angle, and she yelped, draped half on him and half hanging off the bed, clutched tightly in the circle of his arm pinning her to his ribs.

He turned over and pulled her under the quilt. "Morning," he nuzzled her ear, his eyes still closed.

"Afternoon," she chuckled. "It's definitely afternoon."

"Then it's almost evening, and almost time to go to bed again," he reasoned.

"I have never known you to be such a slugabed!"

He opened one eye, and she had turned in his arm to face him, pillowing her face on her hands while still keeping her boots carefully off the bed. "And how many mornings have you woken up in my bed to know?"

"A few, now," she smirked.

"And how many of those few have not been under circumstances of distress in some manner?"

She had to admit, "none."

"Exactly," he informed her, closing his eye. His mouth was pressed into his pillow and his words comprehensible but muffled. "You know nothing of my habits."

"Well then maybe I need to acquaint myself with them."

The eye opened again. "I've been trying to tell you that for weeks."

"I've been intractable."

"So I've noticed."

"And I've decided not to be anymore."

"Good to know."

"But before I can get back in bed with you, you've got to get out of it."

"Why is that?"

"Principal of the thing. Have to get out of bed before you can get back into it."

He pulled her closer and kissed her. "Morning."

"Morning again," she giggled. "You going to get up now?"


She snorted lightly and squirmed out of his grasp, and patted his rump under the quilt. "Now, please," she said, and left the room. It was only a matter of time before he convinced himself that he wasn't as lazy as he pretended to be, and joined her downstairs, searching for breakfast.

# # # # # #

They found no more survivors, and there were no fewer than four pyres ablaze with the dead. Darkspawn were burned separately from those who had died in defense of the Vigil, but there were too many for proper funerals. The darkspawn pyre burned a ways outside the gate, and the rickety wooden pull-behind they had piled the bodies on was burned as well.

The lay sister who had taken up ministry of the folk more local to the Vigil had died in the fighting (apparently taking up arms against darkspawn was not as strange among Chantry sisters as she had been made to believe), so there was none but those left to offer bits of the Chant to their dead.

Though the day had been somber with death and damage assessment, the evening quickly became quite raucous. There was wine and ale aplenty, and a renewed sense of camaraderie amongst the survivors. Only a handful had retired to the main hall to sleep it off in their makeshift barracks – though some of them still had homes to go to, no one yet felt safe sleeping any more than a sprint's distance from the keep, and as their numbers remained small (around sixty-five including women and children), there was still room in the main hall for them all to lay their heads.

Sitting next to Elissa, Nathaniel slipped his hand under the table and laid it on her thigh.

"I'm going to bed."

She stared at him. "Oh?"

"Mm," he squeezed her leg and she swallowed her sudden sharp fear and nodded.

She rose from the table, and bid her goodnights to those in her immediate company, trusting that the word would be passed along. She was halfway up the stairs before she looked back and saw him speaking with Woolsey. She made it the rest of the way up and was already in her sleeping garment when he joined her.

He hesitated at the door, watching her, and she too stared at him, the bed in the space between them seeming large and significant. They had slept together several times, but slept together they had somehow skirted around. She blamed the circumstances. She had not felt in the mood for such things in between the fighting and the fighting, and oh, the almost dying. Not to mention the walking.

She crossed the distance first, and slid her hand into his hair, fitting her mouth over his, tasting wine and mutton and carrots on his tongue. She unbuttoned his vest, pushing it over his shoulders as his hands roamed her body. With a tug amidst kisses, they separated long enough to raise his arms and allow her to pull his tunic over his head. He steadied himself with his hands on her waist to kick off his boots (the cuffs of his dark linen trousers which had been tucked into the boots, fell and skimmed her toes which made her smile into his mouth), and began walking her towards the bed. He contorted his body, removing one sock and then the other, and they both slid onto her bed. He loomed over her, and looked down threading his fingers with hers, leaning in for another kiss when she pulled her face away.

"Just…slow, okay?" she whispered, and he paused, taking in her gaze. He didn't make her say it, didn't make her admit a word, simply closed the distance between them to taste her lips.

He nipped at her collarbone, and she inhaled sharply, her fingers gripping his upper arms tightly.

"Like that, do you?" he said in a low voice, and she couldn't help the way her spine twitched and her shoulders bowed when he used that tone. All she could reply was an "mmhmm" that turned into a moan when he scraped his teeth there as his hand slid up into her long tunic, brushing over a breast.

She brought her knees up, cradling his hips between her thighs, and his free hand slid up one leg, from knee to thigh, pushing the fabric of her sleeping garment up to her hip. His fingers briefly brushed the tender flesh between her thigh and her center, and she shuddered. His lips covered her own, his mouth stealing her breath and swallowing her sounds as his fingers gently explored, learning that which he had been previously denied.

Her hands held tight to his hair, though they loosened when he tried to pull from her lips. He had pushed her tunic up around her chest, and she was bare below him. He stopped, and just looked at her, searching her eyes for permission.

"Do it," she said, and with her help, he stripped her of her garment, exposing all of her skin to him. She was marked with silvery scars, some which had colored in the sun so they were dark marks, no longer shiny with scar tissue. She was still well-muscled, but her time in Denerim had lost her some of her definition in a few places, namely a softer stomach. His hands could knead at her ribs in the bit of padding there, and her inner thighs had also lost a bit of their fine toned shape. She was okay with the little bits here and there like that, so long as her skill was unaffected – she could still trounce any of the other Wardens or any of the keep's guard, as well as the king himself last she checked, so she found herself often looking at the softer bits, remembering them as links to her younger days. The days when swordplay was fun, as opposed to life and death, she had been capable, but soft – softer than this, and she wondered how she could possibly have existed in such an untrained state. It made her laugh.

With her last barrier removed, he remained clothed in his dyed woven-linen trousers, and she reached her hands from his lower back down past his waistband, pulling him into her.

"Careful, thought we were going to take this slow," he said, biting her earlobe gently.

"Can't," she huffed against his jaw. "Waited too long," she said, and he chuckled, low in his throat, and reached for the laces, the back of his hand warmed by her heat as he untied his trousers. She pulled her knees higher, and used her toes to shove them away from his body.

"You're awfully nimble with those," he said, kissing her again.

"Been tied up one too many times," she offered, and held his face between her hands, kissing him as he twisted his hips and legs to free himself of the trousers. One of her hands slid across his shoulders, and her arm held him, squashed against her breasts, as her other hand threaded into his hair. She nipped his lip, and he made a sound that tingled in her nerves, moving his mouth back to her neck, where he sucked and scraped teeth and nibbled, making her writhe beneath him.

Thus distracted, he reached one hand down to her center, and gently stroked her open, her knees falling apart on instinct. He ran a finger around the sensitive spot, slicking the digit as he traced a path towards her entrance. Her breathing was labored, and she tightened her hold on his shoulders as he slid one finger into her. He kept busy, kept her partially distracted with teeth and tongue as the finger slowly stroked in and out, and he felt her expand enough to pull out and slide two fingers back in. She tensed, but he persisted, asking permission and seeking forgiveness for the pain to come with kisses and reassuring words like "love you" and "let me" and "breathe". With two fingers, he had a bit more ease in movement, and he curled them as he pulled away, changing the pace as she whined and panted, her eyes squeezed shut. He felt her muscles flutter around his fingers, and increased the pace, teasing her inside, trying to coax the completion out of her. He knew she needed to relax if he was to minimize the pain (which he was made to understand would be no small thing), and with a "there, just there, come on," whispered in her ear, she clenched around his fingers, and dug her nails into his shoulder with her release.

Her legs fell open limply, and she abandoned her grip on him as her muscles abandoned her call, overwhelmed.

"Tell me when to stop," he said, and she just rolled her head in an approximation of a nod as he slicked himself in her, poising himself at her entrance.

A part of him felt…wrong, but then he reminded herself that then or now, she had chosen him for this, and there was a certain degree of masculine pride he could not keep from surging through his body at the thought of her, untouched beneath him. He pushed into her just a little, and she whimpered, as he was thicker than his two fingers. She gripped his arms, pulling her hips almost away from him, but he laid one hand on her hip as the other caused her to spasm with aftershocks, circling her nub with a moistened fingertip. There was a bit of give and he tried to sink deeper into her. Her jaw tightened, her eyes squeezed tightly shut, and he felt a tight resistance, could see her tensing in the whites of her knuckles and the way she held her breath. He moved his hand from her hip to her face, running his fingers down her cheek. She opened her eyes and looked at him, and he kissed her with eyes open, drawing away just as he pushed past the resistant muscle, and she let out a little yelp of pain, her grip on his arms sure to leave bruises.

"Stop. Stop," she said, gritting her teeth, and he kissed her as she inhaled and exhaled heavily, breathing through the pain.

"I love you," he reminded her, and she looked at him, her eyes glistening but not a tear shed, and he began to move within her. With short, slow strokes, he felt her nails likely to break his skin, and moved carefully within her, as gently as he could, balanced on his forearms, whispering to her and kissing her as though it would take away the pain.

She had pleasured herself before – it was not as though this was entirely foreign to her, but for all that she had been told as a younger woman that it would be painful, but then she would enjoy it, at the moment she was trying not to sob. It burned, dull pain flaring outwards in waves, and her instinct was to pull away from him, but he would not have it.

The few times she had talked to Leliana about it, when she had been considering Alistair as a partner, she had spoken of this act in only good words. And the bard had certainly seemed to enjoy sharing Zevran's tent most nights. She felt so stupid, being this childish about it, but watching him as he moved in her – his brow furrowed in concentration as he tried to be careful of her, the sweat beading on his temple; he was beautiful like this. She drew him down for a kiss, their bodies sinking into each other the way they were meant to, and her hips involuntarily rose to meet him with a spark of sensation. She broke away, slightly surprised, a little bit of moisture between their lips.

"Do that again," she said, and his slow, unbreakable rhythm was interrupted as he lengthened his strokes. The burning was still there, but on top of it, or underneath it, or around it, maybe, was something much better, and that was what she wanted more of.

He heeded her, having reached the point of feeling truly horrible because she had clearly not been enjoying herself – there was no hiding it, and his limited experience had been generally positive, so he was at a loss as to how to fix it. With her encouragement, pulling him closer to her, and wrapping her legs around his hips, he slid into her as far as he was able, finally entirely where he felt some instinctual need to be – to never part from her, to be in her like this always. He drew out and pushed back in, and after a couple of moments, she encouraged him to increase his speed, and he complied, shortly after feeling her clench around him in quick, sweet tightness, bringing him to his edge. He shifted his weight on his arms, and reached one hand back between them, circling the sensitive mound again as he snapped his hips to meet her, his breaths coming in heavy gasps. He heard her whimper, this time in pleasure rather than pain, and felt her tighten around him spastically as he withdrew. She squeezed him almost to the point of release, and it was the work of a few short, deep thrusts before he was unable to hold back any longer, and pushed at her, as though he could crawl inside her body, spending himself in her.

He collapsed in stages, trying to keep his weakened muscles from collapsing, from crushing her, and rolled to the side, bringing her to him as he slid wetly from her body. He held her against him with one arm as the other sought the blanket and pulled it over them to keep them warm as the sweat cooled on their bodies.

She filled her lungs, her face pressed to his chest as his fingers idly twisted in her hair.

"Did I hurt you…too much?" he asked, and she pressed her lips to his chest.

"I think it was going to hurt no matter what," she replied, her eyes drifting shut. "But not too much. I'll be…" she mused, "sore tomorrow. I can feel it already."

He laid a kiss on her forehead, and she nuzzled into his embrace sleepily. "I'm sorry," he whispered.

"I'm…not," she replied, and then her body went slack as sleep claimed her. He was not far behind, and soon joined her in the Fade.

FIN (or is it?)