Title: Five Times Alistair Wasn't Kissed (and one time he was)

Author: Jade Sabre

Notes: Surprise! I couldn't leave our poor boy hanging, so here is an extra-special bonus chapter.

Anyway, thanks so much for all your reviews; this won't be my last DA fic by a longshot, and I look forward to hanging around the fandom for many moons to come. :-)

Disclaimer: Dragon Age still doesn't belong to me, alas.


and one time he was

It was late and he was cozy in his study, the fire crackling and the candlelight illuminating a letter from the Wardens in Orlais, the last bit of reading he had to do before bed. Dog Jr., sired by the darkspawn-slayer of yore, rested at his feet, and he smiled as he perused tales of the new recruits' antics. His wife and children—two boys, mercifully showing no sign of a taint—were already in bed, and Anora would no doubt scold him if he joined her with cold feet; he wriggled them under Dog Jr.'s heavy body, the mabari growling even after he stopped flexing his toes. Dog Jr.'s head lifted, ears pricked, and Alistair reached down to scratch them, and a cool voice said, "Alistair Theirin?"

He turned his head, battle reflexes tensing; a girl leaned against the closed door of his study, her face in shadow, her hair glinting gold. "Yes?" he said, and then, "How did you get in here?"

"'Twasn't hard," she said, her head turning, revealing her hair to be long and unbound. "A nice room, though Mother was right about the stone. The ceiling seems so…heavy."

"Uh-huh," he said, watching as she moved around the perimeter of the room, picking up the odds and ends he had scattered on the tables: his collection of figurines found on his journeys, an old ball of string that Dog had so lovingly retrieved to show his affection, gifts from friends sent since his coronation, drawings his sons had made of their father's exploits. Her fingers lingered on the old dried rose—his reminder, on days when Anora wouldn't listen and the nobles' selfishness tried his last nerve, that beauty can be found in the darkest of places—and then she stepped closer into the light, and looked at him.

His first thought was that her clothing was practical—revealing, yes, but the band around her chest fit rather than clinging to her form as an affront to common sense, her dragonscale leggings dark and supple, her boots sturdy, a familiar piece of wood slung across her back. He was more surprised when he studied her face, at how familiar she looked, how proud he was without even thinking about it. Her eyes were her mother's gold, but her hair and her smile were him, and the latter shyly grew as he stared at her in wonder.

"I suppose I should apologize for surprising you," she said, her voice oddly stiff. "But I'm sixteen and I decided it was high time that we meet, even though Mother told me not to, and so here I am."

"Rebellion runs in your blood," he assured her, and the stiffness in her manner belied the look in her eyes, the look he recognized, had felt himself, wondering if it had actually been a good idea to seek out his sister and try to establish a family. "Have you…did you travel long?"

"Oh, very long," she said, her mother's dismissal in her voice. "'Twasn't hard, though, and I knew exactly where I was going."

"And here you are," he said, wonder in his voice.

"And here I am," she said, and then she added, girlish hesitance creeping into the assurance born of, well, bearing an archdemon's soul, "Father."

His grin nearly split his face and he jumped to his feet and pulled her into a hug; years of regret, hiding in the back of his mind, of wondering if he had done the right thing, melted away as he held her close, and his daughter slowly put her arms around him, and then stood on tiptoe and kissed him on the cheek and said, "I'm glad we've met."

"Me too," he said, and kissed the top of her head.