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Not the End

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“I would have done it, you know.”

Sereda turned in Alistair’s arms, twisting around to look up at him. “Hmm? Done what?”

“After the Landsmeet, this morning. If you hadn’t talked me out of it, I was fully prepared to end things with you.” Alistair tightened his embrace and burrowed his face into her hair.

“I have to admit, I was a little surprised you tried,” Sereda replied. She turned her cheek onto his bare chest. “Among my people, political marriage is just that: politics. Love is another thing entirely. And like I said, you’re the king. You can do whatever you want.”

“And I agreed, and so I’m here. But like everything else about this situation, I never would’ve thought of it on my own.” He took a shuddering breath, almost a sob. “I was convinced that becoming king meant losing you.”

Sereda twisted around and laid a hand on his face, tracing his jaw, looking into his eyes, bright with joy and fear together. She could see that he meant it – and yet he had done it anyway, taking on the throne, an arranged marriage, the leadership of the army and a nation. “Alistair–”

He stopped the words with a kiss, pressing his lips to hers again and again with a frantic longing. She rolled atop him as she kissed him in return, kisses that met his urgency with her steadiness. It was like the first kiss, and the last, full of love and hope and his promise that he would always love her. “Don’t let me give you up,” he murmured, between kisses. “No matter what happens, no matter what people say.”

“I promise,” she said, snuggling into the crook of his neck. “And I promise never to give up on you.”

“Good.” He kissed her temple and pulled her closer. “Now shall we see how far the Grey Warden stamina will take us tonight?”

Sereda grinned up at him and tapped the end of his nose. “I thought you’d never ask.”