From the Ashes We Rise

This is a Dragon Age: Origins fanfic. Warden Amell tries to rebuild her life at the Tower after Alistair got married. Main characters in this story are the mage origin warden, Alistair and Cullen.

Rating M for language and sexual content.

This is my first big fic so all constructive criticism is welcome because I am planning on doing a rewrite.

Dragon Age belongs to Bioware, the artwork I use as a preview is not mine either but I would love to know who the artist is.

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21. Lost and Found

The truth was she had no idea what she was doing at all.

Ever.

And this was why she found herself on the stairs again as soon as Irving was out of sight. Her robes still wet, her hair still tangled, her head filled with words that would probably never leave her lips.

Cullen.

Knight Commander Cullen.

What was wrong with her?

Maybe it was the comfort of the dark night that gave her a push in his direction, or perhaps it was the kiss they'd shared at the lake and the one at the Harrowing Chamber before that, but she felt the uncontrollable urge to be with him, even if being with him only meant listening to him stutter in the greenhouse while pretending she had forgotten something.

Halfway down she bumped into him, his tunic still sticking to his body like a blood sucking insect, revealing the broadness of his shoulders, the well trained body of a Templar.

"I forgot my books," she explained before he could ask.

Cullen showed her the contents of his arms with a shy smile.

"They looked kind of important," he said.

"Especially the one about the Ferelden noble woman and the farmer."

She felt like she was blushing to her navel when she took the books from him. She was not used to her bluff being called and the grin on his face was very distracting. He was holding all the cards and he knew it, which was very unCullen-y of him and threw her of balance even more.

The untamed curls didn't help much either.

"Is it okay if I walk with you?" he asked, a little less confident, "since uh - we're both going up and all."

He gestured at the ceiling as to leave no doubt about the direction they would be going in.

She spotted a crack in his defences when he waited for her to answer. The Knight Commander mask was starting to fall.

"I would like that," she said, bringing an end to his suffering with just four words.

He smiled, but seemed to be reminded of the consequences of her answer almost immediately; he actually had to walk with her now, trying his best to be good company.

To make things worse it was really difficult to concentrate with those wet robes accentuating every single curve of her body.

He opened the door for her and she passed him by with her hands full of books and notes, an amused expression on her face, despite the redness off her cheeks.

"Thanks."

He stayed in the hall, waiting for something, but not quite sure what, an invitation - absolution - salvation, impending doom.

"Well," she said in the direction of the open door, "are you coming in?"

He hesitated but reminded himself that this was what he had come to do, and he wasn't backing down now.

She closed the door behind him, brushing his arm with hers as she reached for the doorknob.

He had walked straight into her trap and there was nowhere he'd rather be. At least it was a very tastefully decorated trap.

He admired her collection of books when she walked over to the end table, picking up a flask.

"Do you want a drink? It makes the entire seduction part a lot easier," she smirked.

He nearly choked, and before he could come up with something witty to say in reply, she smothered him with a kiss, his Knight Commander act falling to the floor with a loud bang.

He was helpless, just like he had been when the desire demon first came to him in Uldred's cage. And this was a lot like the situation with the demon, except this was real and it really was her, standing right in front of him, panting, looking for something in his eyes, some sort of confirmation that what she wanted to do next was okay.

And it wasn't, it really wasn't, but it was all he ever wanted and he could no longer resist her.

Not that he wanted to.

Cullen's chest was heaving like a son of a bitch. It was all the confirmation she needed and she closed in for another kiss.

He shut his eyes and felt a wave of new found energy wash over his body as she kissed him again and again, her hands working on getting his wet tunic off with the same fever she had displayed at the lake.

She pulled the fabric over his head, which made his curls all messy, and charming and adorable. The absence of the tunic revealed his broad shoulders and chest. Her eyes became larger, almost possessed when she placed her hand on his skin.

"Your heart," she said, not finishing her sentence. She concentrated on the beat of his heart underneath her hand, suddenly finding herself at a loss for words when the Templar in front of her looked into her eyes.

It was he who kissed her this time. Years of frustration pouring out of his lips, his hand on her back.

She moaned softly against his mouth.

Which, Maker forbade, made something happening inside of him, something warm, something explosive, something really not unpleasant and he knew he was doomed.

She had a hold on him, always had had. She had a hold on him since the day they first met, both less wrinkly at the eyes, both innocents.

The innocence was gone for good when she pulled her robes over her head. By the Maker was she gorgeous. He couldn't stop looking at her, which made her blush, a lot. He rarely saw her blush.

His eyes remained fixed on the upper part of her chest, where her skin turned red.

She smiled at him, uncertain what to do next as he took in every inch of her body and thought he was going to die, right there, the shirtless Knight Commander of Ferelden, dead because of a heart attack caused by a mage's curves.

They probably wouldn't write songs about that.

His breathing was out of control, like he had run all the Circle's stairs twice, in heavy armour.

The fact that she took his hand and let him toward the bed, oh Maker, the bed, didn't help much either.

And where had all his blood gone off to?

"Are you alright?" she asked as she slowed things down a bit by laying next to him and cupping his face in her hand.

The concerned expression in her eyes broke his heart, but man, was she naked and was it hard to concentrate on what she was saying. He noticed she tried controlling her breathing for him. The ball was in his court.

He pulled her in closer, confirming what she had already known.

"Are you always this careful with a sure thing?" he whispered while he placed a hand on the one cupping his face.

"You know me," she said, and it made him feel unexpectedly good. He did know her, probably better than he knew most of his brothers in arms, "I am not going to be remembered for my subtlety."

He smiled and she kissed him again, oppressing the fever, giving him time to adjust to the situation.

He was terrible at adjusting to the fact that her hand was now halfway across his body, searching for a way to get rid of the pants that were covering up his erection. After all these years his body still seemed to embarrass him. The lack of self control made him ashamed to call himself a Templar.

But her hand felt so very warm in his trousers and her fingers were so soft and he had a hard time breathing with his eyes closed.

He didn't dare open them, in case she might disappear again.

She went slow on him, afraid to break him, afraid to dig up things that were best left buried deep into the dark corners of his mind. Desire demons, abominations, the cage Uldred had locked him away in.

She removed her hand from his trousers, tracing his skin all the way up until she reached his chin and cupped his face in her hands.

"I love you," she said, "do you hear?"

He nodded, took her chin in his hand and kissed her.

He loved her too, but the words got stuck somewhere in the back of his throat and he knew he was not ready. She reacted to it immediately, not verbally, but he could see the rejection written on her face. She didn't move an inch though, she stayed right there, next to him, her body against his and her hand on his face.

"We can wait," she whispered, eventually.

He swallowed hard, tried his best to look into her eyes but failed.

"It's okay," she said, stroking his cheek.

"I am not going anywhere."

He took her hand in his and kissed her fingers. She was more beautiful to him now than she ever was. Her character matched her beauty and he thanked the Maker for bringing them together.

Not that the Maker wanted to have anything to do with it, mind you.

She contained her breathing again as she settled her head on his chest.

"I didn't really need those books you know," she said. He could feel her smile against his skin.

"I know," he replied, pulling her closer and kissing her hair.

"But I'm glad you pretended to."

***

She awoke by a knock on the door and when she finally managed to open her eyes, she noticed Cullen had disappeared. Falling asleep in the arms of a Templar, in the arms of a Knight Commander even, hadn't been the smartest of things.

His side of the bed felt cold, which meant he had been gone for quite some time. At least somebody had some sense around here. She smiled when she played last night back in her mind. The want in his eyes, the insecurity.

Another knock pulled her back to the present.

"Hold your sodding horses, I'm coming."

She got up and wrapped the sheets around her, which made her nearly trip before she reached the door.

"What is it?" she said, as she tried fixing the broken door handle. Honestly, she had to have Owain take a look at it.

"Alistair?"

Her jaw nearly dropped when she looked into the hazel eyes of the King of Ferelden, the King she had specifically forbidden to visit her again.

He had a slightly amused expression on his face, even though he genuinely tried his best to cover it up.

"My my, you're still not much of a morning person, are you Amell?"

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