Disclaimer: "Dragon Age: Origins" and all its expansions and additional content is the property of Bioware and EA Games. Large portions of written content within the game, as well as Dragon's Age: The Stolen Throne, and Dragon's Age: Calling, are the creation of David Gaider. Original scenarios and characters are used under the creative license of the writer, ItalianEmpress1985. No profit is being made and the following story is for entertainment purposes only

Words From The Author: So, this was a short bit of just how well our two royals didn't get along, and I thought it'd be fun to show how they actually managed to become friends. Though at the end of these two little snippets, I'm sure anyone would still be left wondering how in Thedas that happened.

More snippets to come, but these were the first two to hit me. Now these are Fate and Forbearance related, and it goes without saying that they start at Ostagar and work their way forward, but you don't need to have read the main story to find the irony in that these two incompatible people wound up married to each other. Oh the horror! ;p

So there was a time in the main story where Gwyneth complained about waking up in the Kocari Wilds with Alistair cuddled up to her side in his sleep, afraid of Morrigan turning her magic on him. So I thought I'd have a bit of fun with that, and of course the first meeting where Alistair realizes that Gwyneth is ABSURDLEY overdressed.

And for those that haven't read the main story, I should mention that THIS Cousland and Alistair had absolutely no instant attraction or even the inkling of anything resembling affection. There is alot of their unbalanced relationship in the main story, but here I thought it'd be fun to publish the ideas I had for how they developed into buddies-in-the-trenches that wouldn't fit into the larger fic. So . . . voila, and for those unfamiliar with the 'delightful' Gwyneth she puts 'snobbery' into a WHOLE nother category. If you don't like her . . . I've done something right, and if you DO like her . . . maybe I also have done something right. Maybe. Perhaps. Possibly. *rubs hands together maniacally* And so my plan for universal domination through fanfiction begins! MUAHAHAHAHA! ;D

Rated 'M' for language and future adult content.

Oil and Water

The Blight was the only thing that kept them from killing each other, and oddly enough the one thing that could turn such different people into friends . . . eventually.

Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right. Here I am, stuck in the middle with you.

Yes, I'm stuck in the middle with you, and I'm wondering what it is I should do.

- Steeler's Wheel

First Meeting

He blinked into the harsh sun, the warmth of a mid autumn afternoon barely even felt on the wind-worn stones of Ostagar. At first, Alistair thought it was a trick of light, then he thought he hadn't gotten enough sleep last night and was hallucinating. Because, quite obviously, it couldn't be Andraste herself walking up the rocky ramp of the leveled dais he was standing on.

The mage he'd been arguing with huffed off, and the Grey Warden blinked again, but nope, she was still there, face harsh and irritable, even from that distance he could see that much, but there was no doubt it was her. From the gray stone statues that littered Ferelden of Saint Andraste, and the few colored murals he'd seen during his short time training to be a Templar, it had to be the prophetess.

Same face, same hair, same voice . . . oh, wait a moment, not quite what he imagined Her Most Holy would sound like, and now that he looked further, he was certain Andraste had never dressed like that.

Capshain leather made into a pair of sewn ladies traveling breeches, tucked into a pair of pricey looking boots, the laces made of ribbon instead of cheaper leather strips or wool braiding. An equally high priced looking leather corset, studded with smooth metal buttons and emblazoned with two crisscrossing white laurel branches, was worn over a ruffled white shirt that covered the upper portion of a woman that had probably never known what it was to be starving. Over that, her long neck was framed by the high embroidered collar of a fine black and dark green ladies riding jacket, that made her look severely over dressed for a working soldier encampment, and if she was a prostitute she'd probably be wearing a lot less than that, so not a 'camp follower' either.

Nobility. Alistair thought immediately, a sour distaste already filling his mouth. An imperious tone, full of the kind of self important notes that Alistair had become used to in his youth, erupted from the severe press of her lips.

"I assume then that you are Alistair, the Grey Warden? The description fits, relatively."

Snooty upturn, low crested quality when she said his name, and a disdainful finish. Yup, definitely nobility, and once he realized that, it seemed silly to have ever imagined her as Andraste, though the resemblance was . . . eerie. Especially when she was inspecting him, eyes such a light shade of silver as to almost be white.

"Yes, that's me. Who are you suppose to be?"

"Suppose to be?" A snort of widened nostrils, eyes narrowing on his face. "I'm suppose to be still at home, safe and secure and . . ." She trailed off, eyes glistening suspiciously, but she turned her head, a snarl painted on her face when she turned back. "Your commander bade me to come find you, though I've no idea why he could not have collected you on his own. I suspect he wished to see what kind of commands he could issue that I might follow, as if training a dog!"

Duncan, she was talking about Duncan, and not very nicely either! Alistair was just about ready to tell her what she could do with her attitude, when she cleared her throat, curtseying properly enough that the shocked Warden was certain it was more for her benefit than his.

"Lady Gwyneth Cousland, daughter to Bryce Cousland, Teyrn of Highever."

"A teyrn's daughter?" Alistair asked, voice choking over his disbelief. What was Duncan thinking? Recruiting such high nobility, and some snotty little girl at that! How old was she anyway? Sixteen? She certainly acted young and conceited enough!

Said snotty little girl, raised her head, holding it high and proud. "Yes, that's right."

"Well, if you are going to be a Grey Warden, you should know that titles don't mean anything to the Wardens." He could hold his head high too, if he wanted.

"Hmph! As if I care for the archaic 'rules' of a dwindling and barbaric order!" His flabbergasted silence at her disrespectful proclamation left her room to carry on. "Well? I've found you, so now you can escort me back to your camp."

It was an order that she dared to think she could give, and he would follow like an eager puppy. "Follow me." He huffed angrily, thinking snidely how wonderful it was that Blights brought people together like this.

Then he got back to where the Wardens had made their own camp, and found out the snob had a rather large and snarling mabari. Whose name was, of course, Noble. 'Brilliant!'

Like Cuddling a Cactus

Every noise Alistair heard made him think of huge ogres bursting through the trees with packs of slavering blight wolves on their heels, waiting to start in on the rent meat of the ogre's victims. He'd never considered himself a coward, but considering how many Wardens had just died, and how utterly alone he was, the last of the Grey Wardens wasn't so keen on seeing darkspawn anytime soon.

No, not the last . . . His eyes strayed over to the curled up form of his reluctant sister at arms and her snoring mabari hound. One arm, the one not damaged by a darkspawn bow, slung over Noble's rising and falling belly.

Duncan dead, the king dead, all his brothers of the Grey dead. It was still all so unreal, but as he sat up in his bedroll, the chill quick to reclaim the parts of his body that had been warmed in that cocoon, he realized that it was real. The Kocari Wilds cradled them in chilled fog and the sound of night stalking beasts, and speaking of night beasts . . .

The witch, Morrigan, was sat over a small steaming pot that smelled of herbs, humming low in her throat. 'Creepy!' She must have felt him watching, craning her neck like a praying mantis, to stare at him through the dark with glowing yellow eyes.

Alistair shivered, and realized it was probably just his over active imagination, her eyes wouldn't actually be glowing. Still, he found himself moving his bedroll closer to Gwyneth's. His eyes shuttered closed, listening to the rhythmic breathing of the large mabari that separated him from the newest Warden, and fell asleep dreaming about crowns stained with blood and witches that would turn him into a toad.

The sun rose eventually, as it had a tendency to do, peeking through the trees with cold bright shafts of milky yellow light, casting a myriad of shadows across the two sleeping Wardens. Alistair was the first to wake, yawning and stretching to find a pleasant, soft warmth against his bedroll, and he smiled, cuddling into the comfort of that warmth and pulling it closer.

Then . . . "Get off of me, you pervert!"

A shrill tone of a highly displeased girl, and Alistair found himself sitting upright and blinking to clear his vision. She slapped him soon after, and his face was full of growling mabari. The witch joined the cacophony, demanding to know what happened.

"Oi! Calm down!" Canine spittle made him turn his head, arms folded to keep the spray from his face. "Call off the damn mutt and calm down!"

Gwyneth was standing, looking rumpled but no less livid for it, pointing at him and glaring, her shouting matching Morrigan's and competing with Noble's loud growling. "He's not a mutt, and what made you even think to put your hands on me? You, you . . . filthy, manner-less, peasant, half wit! I should let Noble rip you apart!"

"Hey, hey now, wait just a minute!" The bedroll wanted to tangle around his ankles, but Alistair finally managed to stand, waving his arms in front of him. "It wasn't on purpose, I was sleeping!"

"A likely excuse." Morrigan offered, arms folded eerily similar to Gwyneth's own pose, one black brow arching high. When Alistair glared at her, she only smirked. "All that templar training to control yourself and you are no better for it. More nonsense spouted by the heresy of your precious Chantry, no doubt."

"Do you think me an idiot? I'll bet you were just waiting for the first opportunity to touch me! If my father were still here, you'd have been flayed for such disrespect for your betters!" Even having just woken, Gwyneth was no less temperamental, nostrils flaring at him, though she had at least called Noble back to her side.

"My 'betters'? You're unbelievable! I said it was an accident, and now that I've gotten to know you a bit more, I'm pretty sure no one would purposely touch you. It's not so different from snuggling up to a bush full of nettles!" His lip curled, anger building under the surface like embers in a fire reaching for the point where flames would be set alight.

"What? How dare you speak to me like that!" She shoved him with all the might she could muster, though with Gwyneth, that wasn't much, but it was enough to make him stumble back.

Noble looked back and forth between them, whining in confusion.

"Oh I dare plenty!" Alistair stood his ground, hands gesturing madly. "You wouldn't even be bloody alive if it wasn't for me! You fight about as well as a nurse maid with a broom stick!"

Morrigan rolled her eyes at the childish bickering, going to her pack to make sure everything was sorted, and left the two Wardens to fight amongst themselves. They had a long day ahead of them if they were going to reach Lothering before sundown, since they could not yet risk the open road.

"Not all of us can be lumbering pit dogs, whose only task in life is to be a human battering ram!" Gwyneth countered, fixing him with a glare of superiority.

"Listen here, you stuck up little bitch! I've had enough of your insults! The least you could do is show me some respect, or didn't you have the education enough to be taught some manners?" He sneered, feeling darkly pleased with himself.

"Manners are reserved for those that have earned them, and you certainly haven't." The wayward noblewoman huffed, grabbing for her bedroll in the jerking movements of a child having a tantrum. "And if you so much as brush up against me again, in a way that I find displeasing, it will be the last thing you ever do . . . chantry boot licker!"

"As if I would, you shrieking harridan!" Angrily, Alistair kicked aside his own bedroll. "I'm going to get some water." He glared over his shoulder as Gwyneth glared back, heading for the stream they'd filled their canteens from the night before. "Don't follow me!"

"Oh don't worry, I won't." She hissed, turning her back on him.

Alistair snorted, pushing branches aside in his temper. 'Surely, a friendship for the ages.' He thought bitterly, hoping he'd be able to survive the trip to Lothering with his sanity intact.