I remember clearly how you looked the night we met
I recall your laughter and your smile
I remember how you made me feel so at ease
I remember all your grace and your style
And now you're all I long to see
You've come to mean so much to me.

Maddie looked at Alistair across the fire and grinned. She would never have thought a year ago that they would have been able to defeat Flemeth. But they'd managed it. Morrigan had been forced to remain behind in camp for fear that her mother would posess her if Flemeth died with her daughter nearby. Zevran had suggested that he remain behind in case of an attack, Morrigan would have at least one sword beside her.

The witch had been grateful though she'd hidden it well. When they returned from destroying Flemeth Morrigan had a full meal prepared for them, the tents were set up and water for washing was ready. Zevran had been lazily sharpening his daggers by the fire, watching the stew bubble when they walked into camp. Cogburn and Maddie's sharp ears had caught the sound of Morrigan's worried muttering and the male Cousland had grinned as he strode forward. Maddie had a moment to reflect it was a good thing Cogburn had gotten stronger in the past year or he might have fallen backwards when Morrigan nearly threw herself into his arms.

Alistair had chuckled a bit and commented that apparently absence really did make the heart grow fonder. Looking at Maddie he'd teased, "So if I went away and fought a dragon for your sake would you throw yourself at me love?"

She grinned at him, "If you want me to throw myself at you Alistair, all you have to do is smile at me." She felt herself blushing slightly at the truth of her words and was pleased to Alistair's ears redden a bit as well.

"Ah, well, I'll try not to smile to often then," He joked, "I wouldn't want to distract you too much."

"Maybe I should walk behind you more often then," Maddie wondered keeping her voice low, "So you aren't distracted by my...hips?"

Her lover's ears darkened with heat and he slipped an arm around her waist. "Your hips are the only thing that makes the road bearable," He murmured in her ear, his voice fervent despite his blushing. "What would I do if I couldn't watch you walk in front of me and contemplate what we can do our next night together?"

Zevran had stolen up alongside them, doubtless at first to greet them, but now took the opportunity to tease his friends, "Perhaps you might not be so surprised when we are attacked by bandits?" He suggested merrily.

Alistair blushed bright red, stuttering a bit and Maddie giggled through her own chagrin, "Perhaps if our scouts had their minds on their surroundings our surprise would be less?" She asked, her blush rivaling Alistairs.

"I am wounded, deeply, terribly wounded that you would accuse me of negligence in my scouting duties," Zevran affected a hurt expression belied by his dancing eyes.

"I'll deeply wound you if you don't let me sit down and have something to eat," Alistair made the threat mockingly, not letting go of Maddie's waist. She had to admit, it felt good to have Alistair steadfast in his affection even when they were both discomfited by their situation. They'd finally been able to sit down and eat, Zevran bowing them over to the fire in a hilarious parody of a society hostess.

They'd actually done it, Maddie mused to herself, they'd killed two dragons, one of them a witch of legend. Morrigan was safe and seemed extremely relieved if her relaxed expression was any indication. Of course now they had no choice but to go back to Redcliffe. Ultimately it had been decided that Alistair's plan had merit but that leaving the Arl's party once the Landsmeet had been called would be near suicidal in stupidity. Bad enough they'd be openly challenging Loghain with Alistair as the potential king. To do so and then split away from Eamon and his group while traveling would be a blatant invitation for Loghain's men to ambush them on the road. And with the power of the throne behind him, the force the Regent could muster might just overpower them. No one relished the thought of that so they'd dealt with Flemeth and now would go to Redcliffe.

Alistair caught her eye across the fire and nodded towards their tent with a questioning expression. Maddie found herself nodding gratefully. They didn't have a full night together but what time they did have could at least be spent in each other's arms. Excusing herself from the conversation she rose and left the circle of firelight, entering the tent with a sigh of relief at the thought of removing her armor.

Alistair joined her after a little bit, his hand on the canvas flap making an odd scratching noise that was his version of a polite knock, before he entered at her invitation. He still did it no matter how often they spent the night together, as if he understood there were times she wished to be alone. Maddie looked at him with a smile in the dim light of the tent and wondered why he looked so awkward. "Alistair?" She murmured, "Is everything all right?"

"Nothing's wrong," Alistair shook his head and moved to help her take off her armor, "I just...our conversation earlier, I didn't...I mean," He sighed. "How you all expect me to be king when I can barely articulate my thoughts..."

"You articulate just fine," Maddie smiled at him and began to help him out of the plate armor. "Just tell me what's on your mind my knight."

His smile when she called him that never failed to brighten his face. "I, well I might have given you the impression earlier that I find you beautiful." He began a bit nervously.

Maddie sent him a narrow eyed look and wondered if she'd be sleeping alone tonight after all. This wasn't the most auspicious way to begin a conversation. "You don't?" She kept her voice mild. Talks with Alistair tended to wind about until he got to what he needed to say.

"Maker no!" He shook his head in frustration, "I mean yes I do, you're..." He gestured with his hands towards her shape and face, "You're perfect. I've never seen a woman more..." His eyes swept over her threadbare tunic and breeches.

"So you do think I'm pretty," Maddie clarified. Honestly, she loved the man, but he was very confusing sometimes, "But too distracting?"

"That isn't it, even though Andraste's Grace you are very distracting," Alistair shook his head as he pulled off his tunic and began to unlace the front of her own tunic carefully. "I just may have given you the idea earlier that your beauty is all I think on."

Maddie looked up at him, his hands on her body sending tendrils of heat through her belly, "I don't mind you thinking of me in that way," She smiled hopefully up at him. "I find you in my thoughts quite a bit; you seem to dwell there more often than anyone else of my aquaintance."

"I'm glad of that," Alistair's hands were trembling a bit as he eased the tunic off her and slid his fingers down to the waist of her breeches. "But you''re more than simply the most beautiful woman I know Maddie," He knelt and tugged the breeches down, helping her step out of them. "Without your spirit, your courage and intelligence...that way you have of hiding everything you worry on until I nag it out of you, or your sense of humor, making me laugh...even the way you and Zevran chuckle over daggers and poisons..." He tugged her smalls off of her and pressed a kiss to her belly.

Maddie's breath came in a sharp gasp as his lips touched her skin and she fumbled the ties on her breast band, finally dragging it off. "I think about you too love," She tried to reciprocate but lost track of her words as his mouth moved to the silver curls between her thighs.

"I'm terrified something will happen to you," Alistair confessed as he pressed kisses to the silver curls. "I worry you're too cold, or hungry. I don't ever want to face a day when you aren't at my side." He looked up at her. "And all I can think of when we're on the road is being with you. What this would be like without you. I can't imagine doing this with only Cogburn."

"Neither can I," Maddie's voice was both amused and breathless as she contrasted what Alistair was doing with her compared to what he might do with Cogburn. She grinned down at Alistair and was rewarded with a huge laugh.

"You're an evil wicked woman," He declared still chuckling, "But I know how to render you speechless my love." His hands slid her legs apart before cupping her backside, his tongue sliding between her nether lips in an intimate kiss. Maddie felt her knees sag and shuddered under his mouth, caressing and suckling so hotly between her thighs.

A cry escaped her lips before she stifled herself and stuffed a fist in her mouth to keep from screaming as Alistair's tongue prodded and lashed her towards a storm of pleasure that swept over her body without warning. She would have fallen but for the strength in his arms and hands, holding her up to his mouth as if she weighed no more than his blade or shield. "Alistair," She moaned his name around her knuckles and was rewarded with a chuckle of delight as he carefully laid her on the bedding.

"My lady," He discarded his trous and smalls, his huge body covering hers, "Madelaina," Alistair's hands cupped her breasts, holding them to his mouth as his hips pinned hers to the bedroll.

Maddie moaned and shuddered under his mouth, her hands clutching at his shoulders, "Alistair," She nearly moaned his name, her voice low and desperate, "Please, kiss me." His grin was a teasing tilt of his lips as he seemed to surge up her body, his mouth coming down on hers in a forceful hot kiss that seared through her before he drew back to press tiny sinfully good kisses to her neck, murmuring his intentions for her as he did so. "Alistair...if I concede that I am yours...will you please have me?" She nearly begged, feeling his body, hard and rampant, pressing against her mound and sliding against her curls.

"Oh you're mine Madelaina Cousland of the Grey Wardens," Alistair's bright eyes were gleaming with fervor as he stared down at her and finally allowed his body to seek and find her sheath, pressing up inside her with determined possession, a groan of satisfaction spilling from his lips as he took what he needed so badly. "I don't think I could ever be without you now." He bent his head to hers and kissed her again, passionate and gentle in such contrast to his hands hard on her hips and his body pressing hers to mad need and ecstasy.

Maddie couldn't think anymore, couldn't concentrate on anything but Alistair. His mouth was on hers, nipping and teasing her lips, moving to her neck and pressing there, breathing harshly as his heart pounded with exertion. One hand moved from her hips, to slide up her back, arching her body up to his, her breasts pressing against his chest in a pressure unbearable with pleasure. It was as if he was determined to put his mark on her, to claim her completely, as if he feared losing her and this was his method of making sure she knew... Alistairs body surged into hers, his hips twisting slightly, his cock deep inside her, pressing... "Maker's balls," She cursed low in her throat as her body seemed to split with bliss, hot waves of pleasure boiling through her as she spasmed around him, her voice nearly gone with it as she moaned his name, "Alistair!"

His mouth fused to hers as his hips slammed into hers one last time, his seed erupting into her, a wave of sensation flooding her body, igniting nerve endings she'd thought were dead and forcing her to endure another storm of fire through her blood, helpless with delight under him as his cry of her name echoed in her mouth and rang through her skull. She slid her hands up his back, cradling his body to hers, feeling his heart still pounding, the throb of it a beat against her flesh. "Love," She whispered, "My love, my knight, are you well?" Worry twisted in her belly, he didn't often become dominant with her, seemed to like that they were partners in bed as everywhere else.

"Today, fighting Flemeth," Alistair's voice was low and he'd taken some time to respond to her question, "She, her claws...barely missed you." He kissed her neck, propping himself up on his elbows to look down at her, one hand positioned to play with an unwinding braid. "Her tail came down an inch away from where you'd rolled, nearly broke your spine..." He kissed her harder, his mouth urgent and passionate. "I nearly lost you today Maddie...when that happens..." His possessive kiss was proof of how he reacted when that happened.

"She spouted fire at you," Maddie remembered. "Were it not for Wynne's magic," She returned his kiss, just as demanding as she recalled the many near misses of the battle. "Your armor has a dent from her teeth."

Alistair rolled her over to ride him, his hands still firm on her hips as he proved the tales of Grey Warden stamina weren't merely tales. "The drakeskin armor kept you from being lit on fire," He impaled her on his cock and groaned as she ground down onto him.

"You were nearly crushed when she landed almost on top of you," Maddie told him and let her hands tug at his nipples, flexing over his chest.

"Maker help me Madelaina," Alistair groaned as he thrust up into her again. "If you ever die...I will go to the Golden City to bring you back to me. " He pulled her body down to his and held her against him, thrusting into her as hard as he could the cries of need from her lips like music until she screamed his name as she came around him. A moment later he was near shouting her name into her neck as he filled her with his seed again.

"Well that certainly tells me," Maddie giggled weakly into his neck and pressed her lips to his pulse. "Do you feel a little better love?"

"Hmm..." Alistair's hands slipped into her hair, spreading the soft stuff through his fingers. "A bit." He groaned as he shifted on the bedroll. "I'll be glad when we get to Eamon's, if only to be in a bed for one night."

"Oh yes," Maddie agreed though part of her was extremely reluctant to go anywhere near Redcliffe. "We'll start the journey there tomorrow morning."

"Won't that be fun." Alistair quipped, kissing her forehead affectionately. His voice grew teasing as he spoke again, "I'm wondering something. I'd like to know your thoughts about some of our…traveling companions. Do you mind if I ask?"

Maddie giggled. Since neither she nor Alistair slept well these days they often whiled away their hours with loving or talking. It had become one more way in which they were close, teasing each other about their companions. "Time for the juicy gossip, I take it?"

His chuckle was wicked, "I've got this nefarious plan to go around to each of them and secretly tell them all the nasty things you said. That' way they'll all mutiny and I shall become the group leader!"

"Very cute, from the man who's resisted responsibility for our motley crew for so long," Maddie teased. "So you know, I'm laughing at you, not with you."

"Ouch. Now I'm wounded," He mock whined as Alistair wrapped her more tightly in his arms. "Look at me, bleeding all over the place." His kiss on her forehead belied his next words, "You're just not very nice, are you? Seriously though, I'm only curious. I've had enough time to form my own opinions and I just want to see if yours are any different." He looked down at her adoringly, "We've talked on this a bit, and you know how I feel about most of our companions.

She nodded, "Only if you tell me your opinion as well." Maddie chuckled, "Honest reactions mind you."

"Just try and stop me," The knight smoothed a hand down her back, "Lets see…where should I begin. Zevran. Did you trust him from the beginning? Did you believe his vow?"

Maddie thought for a moment, "I saw in Zevran a spirit kindred to mine." She said finally. "I didn't trust him wholly, not right away, but after a time as you know, I trusted him fully. He and I come from similar circumstance thought different backgrounds. Caged and taught to sing, only free through heartache and the possibility of death."

"I know why you trust him, and I do as well," Alistair mused, "From an outsiders perspective that's a lot of trust to put in someone who tried to kill us."

She shrugged against him, enjoying the way his breath caught as her body moved against him, "It is, but you and I know he won't try it again. We've given him a reason for existence, friendship of a truer sort than he's known before."

Alistair pressed a kiss to her forehead, "That's very trusting of us." He grinned slightly, "And since I'm not an outsider I know you have your reasons." His teasing voice faded and a frown took its place. "I'll admit to some concern still with this next question. What about Sten? The way he looks at me with those eyes…creepy. And he's so quiet for someone so big. Not to mention him flat out saying the Qunari would return as honor demanded."

Maddie nodded, "I agree. The Qunari are unsettling." She shook her head, "I think Sten is loyal to us, to our cause, and he finds us personally worthy of respect. But he's one Qunari. His way of life, his way of thinking, is completely unlike ours."

"Hmmm," Alistair made a humming noise in his throat as he thought, "Yet he doesn't seem quite so bad as the Chantry tells us. According to them his philosophy is vile and evil, yet he seems so reasonable. And yet he killed all those people. He doesn't even deny it. Doesn't that bother you? I'll admit sometimes it bothers me, though I understand how greif can make a person do terrible things."

"He seems to regret what he did," Maddie knew her voice sounded careful. "I'm just..." She shook her head unable to explain it.

"I think the problem you and I have is that we're not so sure that his regret means the same as it would for us. The Qunari sense of honor is…a bit hard to grasp. For me, anyway," The knight shook his head. "Let's hope he finds no reason to tell his Arashok that What about Leliana? Is she crazy? Or do you really believe in her vision?"

Maddie shook her head slowly, thinking that one over, "I believe that she believes in her vision. But I also know the Chantry tells us the Maker abandoned us after the Imperium despoiled the Golden City. So her vision couldn't be from the Maker. If she find meaning and faith in a dream I won't gainsay her but I don't believe in it myself."

"That's one way to put it," Alistair agreed thoughtfully. "I don't know what to make of her. If you look at her when she doesn't see you, she just looks so…so sad. I almost feel guilty taking her away from her life. But then she does things like sleep with your twin and try to seduce you and I think she's not quite as innocent as she makes herself out to be."

"It was her choice to accompany us," Maddie pointed out after a moment. "And her choice to have sex with Cogburn and attempt to seduce me. And it's her choice as to how she deals with those decisions. She's a valuable asset to our cause but I find her motives suspect at times. She's a little too Orlesian for me, despite being born in Ferelden."

"Yes, I know," Alistair chuckled slightly. "Sometimes I do feel badly for her, that sorrow I see in her, but alternately there are times I want to slap her." He looked down at Maddie, blue eyes twinkling mischeivously and she knew he was going to say something deliberately outrageous. "Morrigan, do you trust her? Think about it…maybe Flemeth sent her with us for some other reason than she said."

Maddie laughed and shook her head responding in just as mocking a tone, "You really don't like each other, do you?"

"Well aside from the fact that she's a complete and utter bitch, no…I don't like her at all," He was practically chortling with laughter and trying to keep a straight face. "Why? Do you?"

Maddie nodded giggling uncontrollably, "I like her just fine."

"Great," Alistair drawled, "I am thrilled beyond words. No, really." He shook his head, "In spite of my earlier reservations, Morrigan is proving to be a good friend to you. And surprisingly, or not depending on perspective, a good one to me as well. She's awkward at times, in situations she doesn't understand and I know how that feels. But she cares about you and Cogburn. I think she might love him if she didn't believe love was a weakness."

"Hmm..." Maddie sighed against his skin. "Weakness or not, she loves him. It's not an easy thing to hide. I would know...I loved you for so long and tried not to show it."

"You did very well at it," Alistair tugged a blanket up over her shoulders tenderly. "I was so grateful when you let me kiss you when you told me you loved me. I loved you since I saw you." He kissed her forehead and smoothed down her hair, "Let's get some rest. Tomorrow will be long."

The journey was not fun, arrival was much less so, considering Isolde and Eamon and Teagan were not at all changed, though they were pleased to hear the allies had been gathered. Arrangements were made for the companions to stay until everyone was packed up and ready to journey to Denerim. Maddie took Alistair down to the village for supplies and allowed him to find clothing for she and Cogburn. Maddie regarded the simple trews and tunics and took a deep breath. "Alistair...are you-" She began.

"Certain you need these things?" Alistair's voice was barely a murmur. His eyes met hers firmly and she sighed. The clothes she wore came from Highever, they were the last of her things from her home. And now they weren't good for anything but rags. "Yes, I am." He touched her hand affectionately and picked up the clothes she'd picked out. "We'll need some for Cogburn too, I think Morrigan's begun ripping his clothing off of him."

"These will fit him," Maddie found appropriately sized breeches and tunics and picked them up along with smalls of appoximately the same size. Alistair had already found underthings for her, and cleverly put them between two sets of her sized clothing. "I think that's it."

"You need socks or hose," Alistair said reasonably, "And one simple dress if we can find one. Unless you want to wear Isolde's clothing to dinner tonight." He looked at her with a teasing smile, "I know you hated that last time. You kept tugging on the bodice."

Maddie shook her head, "I really don't think we can afford to-"

Alistair interupted her again, moving closer and murmuring quietly in her ear, "Please Maddie, since we've met I've been able to give you two things. A rose and myself. Neither of which are worth much. Let me buy you a gown." He kissed her cheek, "Or are you going to make me beg?"

"You pick it out then," Maddie blushed under the gaze of the shopkeeper, "I...just..." She shook her head. "You pick it out please." He seemed pleased to be asked, making an inquiry of the shopkeeper and grinning when he was shown several gowns, all of which could be laced tightly or loosely to fit her. Finally he chose one and had it wraped hastily in burlap so she couldn't see it. Then she was allowed to approach the counter and lay down the rest of their purchases.

Alistair grinned at her, "Thank you my lady," He bowed slightly and she couldn't help but smile up at him. He was right, even though it bruised her pride, he was completely right. It would be easier to have her own things, to not borrow from Isolde, able to ignore Teagan's condescension and Eamon's kindly pomposity. They all knew two of the three Grey Wardens were Couslands but it was never mentioned, as if talking about it made Howe's treachery more real.

Maddie opened the door quietly and slipped inside. Alistair looked up from his contemplation of his boots and grinned. "Oh thank the Maker," He moved towards her, backing her up against the door and kissed her hard on the mouth. "I was worried Isolde would keep you talking all night."

"Hmm..." Maddie sighed against his mouth. "No, but I do have to go back to my room. Anora's maid is coming back to sneak us into Howe's estate."

"I remember," Alistair shook his head. "Should I be worried that we're going to sneak about our mortal enemy's house in the dark of night?"

"A little yes," She grinned at him. "But if we're lucky maybe Howe will be there and I'll get to kill him."

"Oh yes, to be devoutly hoped," The knight rolled his eyes. "In case we aren't able to come back here and pick up where we left off, I do love you, you know."

"I love you too Alistair," Maddie stood on tiptoe and pressed a kiss to his lips. "And we are definitely picking up where we left off. As soon as we come back."


Author's Note: So the game is afoot. And the political manuevering for the crown will begin in earnest. I'd love to hear what you folks think. My husband is replaying Dragon Age Orgins again so I'm enjoying hearing Alistair and Morrigan and all the other speaking while I write. It's amazing what the source material does for creativity.

I'd love to hear what you all think. Would Cogburn and Maddie spare Loghain at the Landsmeet? Would Maddie manage to talk Alistair into staying regardless? Or would they kill Loghain during the duel? And who will they ultimately make king? If anyone has an opinion I'd love to hear it.