Author's note: This is the product of not one but two fangirls of Alistair! Run for the hills! XD The idea came about when we were fangirling Alistair's tendency to fluster very easily. It has evolved significantly since then. But it all started with one blasted corset. The very talented mloreley85 is the co-author of this piece, for without her, it would never have been written. Also, she was so kind as to allow me to borrow her lovely heroine Siobhan Cousland. Siobhan is part of the "The Wydening Gyre" universe, mloreley85's lovely fanfic. If you haven't read it yet, do so ASAP. This is a one shot on its own, however to truly appreciate it, reading "The Widening Gyre" is a very good idea. I hope you'll like this this little story. Thank you for reading it.

Andraste's Flaming Corset

The sunshine of thine eyes,

(O still celestial beam!)

Whatever it touches it fills

With the life of its lambent gleam.

The sunshine of thine eyes,

Oh, let it fall on me!

Though I be but a mote of the air,

I could turn to gold for thee."

(George Parsons Lathrop)

"If you are so concerned with making someone choke themselves to death wearing that damnable thing, why don't you wear it! I am sure you'll make quite the impression!" Siobhan Theirin, formerly Cousland, swore under breath, a half laced corset dangling from her hand. Catching Alistair's indulgent gaze, her frustration expanded tenfold. Muttering a very unladylike curse she turned from the gilded mirror to shoot him one of those glares; catching sight of him propped on their bed she hurled the offensive garment in his direction with all her might. He dodged it easily with a mockingly pained yelp, further igniting her ire. Burying his face in a pillow did not prevent her from catching amused ripples of laughter.

"See?" she pointed out indignantly. "You won't even touch it! But you expect me to wear this torture device?" Hands on her hips she glared at him, barely keeping her own laughter from bubbling to the surface.

"I'd love to, dear, but I don't think it would look right on me." he deadpanned, earning a strained grin from his young wife. "Besides, we do need to make a good impression on all these ambassadors. All of Thedas is looking on Ferelden right now, so how about keeping me making a fool of myself to a minimum?" In earlier times such a comment would have had an undercurrent of sadness to it, now, after many months in her company and blessed by her unwavering support, it was no more than the joke he had intended.

"Oh, I don't know..." A mischievous sparkle was dancing in her eyes as she spoke. "Find your pretty dress that goes with it and maybe..." here she paused for a moment, drinking in his flustered expression. "Maybe you could even do a little Remigold in it? Nothing says courtly etiquette like royalty in the latest fashion being familiar with the dances of the season after all!"

"But..." he groaned, blushing furiously. "I don't even remember the steps anymore..."

"And where did you learn them in the first place?" she parried smoothly. The Remigold was, after all, a dance women performed by themselves, was it not?

"Maker's breath..." Realizing that he had just stepped on the dragon's tail, he felt heat creeping down his neck. Maker's mercy, facing a dragon now would actually be less dangerous, come think of it. "It was a dare, alright?" he explained half heartedly. " years ago! I'll tell you one thing though, I wasn't laughed at half as much as Ser Frederick who found himself cursed with wearing his armor backwards for a whole day! Those Revered Mothers are such sticklers for detail, you wouldn't believe it!" Disaster averted. Or so he thought.

"Well, there's an image I won't soon forget. The fact remains, I will not wear this evil contraption. And don't you give me that look! You get to wear armor while I won't be able to move all night!" she fumed, eyeing the discarded corset with disdain.

"Siobhan..." he soothed. "It's only for one evening..."

"Give me ONE good reason I should go through hours of being unable to breathe in and choke on the smallest amounts of food!" she objected fiercely. "Oh, yes, I can see it now! Nice Gaaaaaaaaaaag!" Drawing out the word for effect actually turned it comical again, he found it hard not to burst out laughing at the image of the new queen of Ferelden introducing herself to an ambassador by decorating his boots with her dinner. Pulling the corset out of a heap of covers he imagined being laced into it for one terrifying moment and sent a thankful prayer to the Maker for court protocol allowing the king to attend to his duties of representation in ceremonial armor. Never mind that it took an hour to be strapped into that golden monstrosity.

Hearing her huff in indignation he slid off the bed, approaching her carefully. Bringing up his hands in a gesture of peace he held out the exquisitely embroidered corset. The dark shade of red velvet matched her hair exactly, highlighting its crimson coloring beautifully.

"Don't come any closer with that thing..." she backed into the mirror, her expression darkening even further.

"So the mighty Hero Of Ferelden finally found her match in a dainty little corset?" One of his eyebrows shot up in amusement at the thought.

"So, you want me to do all the work around here, do you? Killing the archdemon, ruling the kingdom and wearing that contraption?" she retorted, her arms crossed in defiance.

"Hey, I had to sleep with Morrigan! I'd say that's a pretty fair trade!" The look of horror on his face almost weakened her resolve. Almost.

"Like you didn't enjoy that," she teased playfully. Every thought of Morrigan became obsolete as she felt his arms around her from behind, even the corset being placed back around her waist had lost its significance. Pulling her into him even further he nuzzled her neck playfully, knowing just where to touch to elicit those sweet sighs of pleasure he was so fond of. Her eyes fluttered closed for a moment, her head resting against his shoulder in contented bliss.

"My fiery, beloved temptress..." His breath was tingling her skin as he gently nipped at the lobe of her ear.

"You're not playing fair..." she whispered, savoring the closeness of his presence. He turned her around slowly to brush a stray lock of hair behind her ear. Her arms had developed a mind of their own as they made their way up his shoulders to tighten the embrace. They drew together, about to kiss.

"I'll promise you one thing, my queen. If you wear this tonight..." He kissed her lips languidly, relishing their silken feel against his. "Not only will I help you into it..." Another kiss, deep and full of longing this time. "I'll also find a way to get you out of it before the night is over."

"You damn well better keep that promise or else I might feel inclined to to strap you into something else when you least expect it." she purred, like a satisfied cat.

The flurry of images this evoked was almost too much to handle, never mind the hot flush creeping down his neck. There was no lock those nimble fingers could not handle,all this in addition to her ability to tie the tightest of knots at lightning speed. A skill that had come in handy in more ways than one during their acquaintance. An incident involving silk scarfs and a very playful Siobhan came to his mind, causing his blood to sing with desire at the recollection.

"Word of a king..." he vowed, brushing his fingers through her glorious hair.

No words were necessary to remind him of how completely she had him enraptured. Siobhan's embrace tightened possessively, reminding him of just why he loved her more than anything in his life. This woman, with all her stubbornness and fierce temper, was the light of his life and he thanked the Maker every day for allowing their paths to cross. Feeling her nestled up against him still seemed unreal, that he of all people in Ferelden should have been lucky enough to have caught her eye. Lowering his gaze he caught her looking up at him with an expression filled with anticipation and affection. Turning her back toward the mirror he could not help but smile at her slightly irritated glare. He grabbed hold of the laces in the middle and started to yank at them eagerly focused on where this would lead rather than lacing her up properly, causing her to flinch away with a yelp.

"Ooooooooooow! That's so not how you do this..." she huffed, clearly amused. "Start at the top, then the bottom laces. Once those are in place, pull at the middle three. Even out the top and bottom again and repeat this until we have reached twenty four inches." she explained patiently. "Not that I lack appreciation for your enthusiasm; but save it for getting me out of this thing."

It took him a little to get it right but a few more attempts coupled with her leading him through the process finally achieved the desired result. To his eyes she looked absolutely ravishing. Obviously aware of the direction his chain of thought had taken, she playfully nudged him back into the presence by pointing and the dark green court grown she had chosen to wear that night. Ever eager to please he picked up the dress only to stop in his tracks at her melodious laughter.

"Not just yet, I am afraid. Unless you wish your wife to appear at a social gathering without the proper amount of underskirts?" He caught sight of her long legs, clad in milky white pantaloons, revealing just enough of her skin to make him blush. The underskirts had the same measurements around the waist as the dress did, making the process of actually getting them in place almost as daunting as lacing up the corset itself.

Finally the last hooks and laces were in place, finishing the dressing part for that night. The dress, made of dark green velvet and a bodice in a slightly lighter shade was the latest fashion coming out of Val Royeaux itself. Long light green sleeves, delicately embroidered, flowed down to her ankles, the dark green velvet opening at the front to reveal a decorative underskirt of silvery brocade. A band of black velvet decorated with an elegant cameo around her neck completed her appearance exquisitely. Looking both regal and beautiful she was a sight to match the Rebel Queen herself.

"You look..." He was at a loss for words.

"Yes?" she arched a playful eyebrow at him.

"I can just see the ambassadors forgetting about my diplomatic blunders because you'll have them wrapped around your little finger in a heartbeat." he responded with that endearing simplicity that never failed to reach her heart.

"Well, I'm certainly not wearing this getup for the fun of it." Her expression mellowed slightly. "There is only one man in all of Thedas I want wrapped around my little finger." She took his hand and held it firmly, her gaze meeting his.

"He is a lucky man then." he quipped with playful amazement.

"And wait for it..." she grinned up at him. "I actually married him!"

"Lucky indeed!" he whispered before bending down to kiss her gently.

All things considered, the reception of the ambassadors from Antiva and Nevarra went smoothly. They were not only impressed by Ferelden defeating a Blight and quelling a civil war within a year but also taken in by Ferelden's royal couple. Empress Celene had already dubbed them as Le Couple d'Or; high praise from Thedas' most influential and brilliant ruler. Siobhan's appearance; for it was her formal introduction as queen to their neighbours, was an all around success. Her regal bearing, her astute diplomatic skill as well as her refined and elegant beauty were noted with satisfaction by every Fereldan present that night. Alistair, who could not deny his parentage even if he had wished to, was likened to his father most favorably. And much like every man present, his focus was entirely on the lovely woman by his side. He seemed almost unusually cheerful, given his well known discomfort with the duty of representation... Not since King Maric and Queen Rowan had Ferelden been blessed with such a potent pair of rulers. The future ahead seemed bright and reassured.

These formal affairs drive me insane...Alistair had said after their coronation and tonight Siobhan was inclined to agree. Entering their bedchamber she found herself exhausted and drained from hours of smiling and nodding politely, never mind answering the prodding questions by the ambassadors. A sigh escaped her lips as she sat down at her dressing table and began to undo the pins that held her silver coronet in place upon her brow.

"Here, let me do that..." Alistair offered gently, covering her hand with his.

"Be my guest," she nodded slightly. The coronet finally came free, allowing her aching head to relax a little. Easing into the touch of his fingertips massaging her skull gently, she felt the tension melting away. Here, in this room, the world outside ceased to exist. Alistair picked up her favorite brush and began to untangle her hair with soft, calming strokes. Peace began to settle in and when Alistair kissed the top of her head tenderly she could not help but lean into him even further.

"I believe I have a promise to keep..." he whispered into her hair.

"Damn right, you do!" she chuckled and rose from the chair to face him.

The air was alive with sparkles of attraction and warmth as their eyes met.

"I am getting out of this dress..." she stated, her voice thick and husky.

It took no more than that to have him rush to her side to unclasp the dozens of tiny hooks keeping the tight bodice in place. Unable to withold his building desire, his hands slipped into the now loose upper part of her dress to caress her abdomen lightly. Fluid and light touches gingerly wandering upwards until he noticed just how caged in her upper body was by the corset. The bodice slid downwards easily along with the sleeves, revealing the tightly laced garment that had plagued her all night. Impatient as well as frustrated, he tugged at the small knots. They would not move an inch.

"Andraste's Flaming Corset, those damnable laces!" he muttered under his breath. "One moment!" He drew the ceremonial dagger he always carried on his person, whether he was wearing armor or not. "This might feel a little cold." he added to warn her before cutting the laces. Before she could inquire just what he was talking about, the corset gave way after a very conspicuous snapping sound. Catching Alistair's expression in the mirror Siobhan couldn't fail to notice his self satisfied smirk of relief.

"You do realize you'll have to replace those?" she teased, already taking relief in of her lungs filling with air.

"Later!" he ground out impatiently, pulling the corset off completely.

Seeing her in her chemise, bathed in the light of the candles, was his undoing. It was Siobhan who stilled his impatient hands as he undid the rest of the dress as well as the massive amounts of underskirts. It seemed massive to him, anyway. Finally free of all restraints, she melted into his ardent kiss, sweet little moans of pleasure emanating from her lips. Driven by his need for her, he worshipped her neck with feather light kisses, sending trails of fire down her skin. Her scent of wild roses was intoxicating, her eager response to his advances emboldening him further. Tightening his grip around her waist, his caresses grew in both ardor and urgency. Finally, he scooped her up into his arms and carried her to their bed.

As the sounds of their mutually thoroughly enjoyed lovemaking mounted in the silence (the castle servants dedicatedly ignoring the now-familiar nightly cacophony), the corset indignantly shifted in the chair it had been so unceremoniously discarded upon, missing its laces.