Shades of Grey and Black

Futures Full of Sunshine

"Lords and ladies of Ferelden, may I present your king!" Eamon's clear, deep voice rang out over the gentle shuffling and murmuring of the gathered nobility, "His majesty Alistair Theirin!"

There was a healthy round of cheers and applause and Alistair stepped forward to the edge of the raised dais where his uncle was standing. The head high balcony was filled with people and on the main floor running in between the press was even heavier. Even Anora had attended though she looked shocked and pale as though the surprise of Alistair's coronation was too much for her. In the square outside the palace Elves from the Alienage and Denerim's everyday populace gathered to watch what they could through the open doors. The morning was cold and grey; a heavy fog had settled over the city during the night, but that did nothing to damper the attendance.

Alistair looked around a little nervously but his one and only wish was that the damn fog would roll out and he could get some sunshine. His nerves didn't last long. He straightened his shoulders and addressed the room.

"My lords and ladies, the Blight has ended and we were victorious!" He called over the applause. The room quieted for him and he could feel the eyes as they all focused on him, "Now I would ask you to stand with me once more as we rebuild what has been lost and show the world that Fereldens are never defeated!"

This brought another, very loud, explosion of cheers and he let his eyes wander the crowds as he waited. He recognized the nobles that stood with him in the Landsmeet, Circle mages, Dwarven warriors whose ferocity in battle had made Orzammar proud; the small group of Dalish attendees stood towards the front with Lanaya, Soris, Valendrian, Shianni, and their uncle Cyrion. Across from this group were Teagan, Isolde, Conner; Harrowmont, Irving and Solona; and then his own companions.

They stood clustered around Ffion where they all belonged and Gilmore and Fergus stood at either of her elbows, with Tilly. Ffion who looked at him with bright grey eyes and brilliant, proud smile; Ffion who let Leliana coil and pin her hair back most becomingly and then twist the few fresh flowers that could be found into the chocolate curls. He had spotted the only one that mattered the instant he stepped onto the dais and saw her walk into the hall with the others, and he was still waiting for his heart to quit its irregular thumping. His rose, preserved beautifully, had been tucked behind one ear, the other left plain, and the meaning was clear. None of the delicate white and scarlet blooms twisted amongst her curls could compete with his and her sweetly embarrassed smile at his attention nearly destroyed his concentration.

And then, after that pointed look from Fergus and conspiratorial wink from Gilmore, he realized what he had to do... now. He had planned on waiting until the right time; he had wanted to do this right, be romantic. He had envisioned candles and twilight, just the two of them in the peace and quiet after all of this commotion. But if the Maker was pushing for the moment to be now... Well, who was he to go against that? He wasn't about to argue.

"I... I am sorry, sers, to prolong this, but there is something that I have to do before any more time is wasted," He said and didn't hear the shifting and murmuring that came next. Turning to Ffion, his nervousness vanished and he loved her all the more for her reaction to this. The companions knew what he was doing instantly and only Ffion appeared confused. Her smile faltered a little only to become more encouraging and he moved down a step, "Some time ago an arrangement was struck. An arrangement concerning a certain thought I had in my head and, of all things, the weather. The other contingency was that there had to be a victory, which there was," Ffion's lips had parted and her face went from pale shock to flustered red. Her grey eyes, even brighter, were huge as they remained riveted to him. He had reached the main floor and moved to her, and now he took her hand in his and went to one knee, "Sorry about the weather, love, but everything else is here. I'm in love with you, Ffion, and I can't imagine life without you... Marry me?"

She blinked rapidly, sure that she would wake up any moment and find out that she was running late for the coronation. But no, Alistair was still kneeling in front of her, his hand tight around hers and his heart in his face. And that being that he woke that night at Eamon's estate was bouncing around in her head, ecstatic, as it tried to drown out the voice that sounded like her mother.

Two Wardens on the throne? It looks suspiciously like- What the hell does it matter?! Her head whirled as this internal struggle went on and she opened her mouth to respond only because the silence had gone on long enough.

"Alistair," She said weakly and felt the eyes of every single soul on them, "Shouldn't we... Wouldn't it be better to talk about this?"

What had happened in Fort Drakon's last tower room, what had nearly been confessed, had never been discussed and Ffion felt a fleeting stab of panic. She had never actually said the word 'love' to him and yet here he was, knowing her heart and entirely confident in her answer.

"No need," He said promptly and felt the pulse leap in her slender wrist, "I told you you were what I want and I'll keep at it unless you're telling me no. Are you?"

Ffion let out a little huff of breath, wondering how he could be so flippant and calm about this. And then she saw just how stormy his eyes were and it was hard to breathe.

"Well, no, but..." His hold tightened again and a fierce hope entered his face at her words, "Maker's balls, Alistair, get up off the floor and let me think about this!"

"I don't want you thinking about it," He answered stubbornly, the quiet passion back in his voice, "I want you to marry me."

The two voices in her head were in an all-out war now and the one who knew damn well she loved her ex-Templar was winning. The other, rational side of her brain though had to make the usual entreaties. Before she could open her mouth, Zevran's voice came in her ear, knowing what she wanted and pushing her towards it.

"Be happy now, my dove," He said quietly and felt his own heart wrench with pain at the thought of losing her, "Do not cling to this darkness. If anyone deserves the sunshine, it is you."

Her face softened and Alistair let out a breath, but didn't move. She, clearly, had been trying to think rationally for far too long.

"Fergus," She said shortly as the ex-Templar tried to tug her closer.

"No use, little one," Her brother replied jovially, "His highness and I have been in agreement since yesterday afternoon. He has my blessing."

"Don't look at me, Fi," Gilmore warned as her lips parted and her grey eyes caught his, "I'm not going to shield you from the king... or yourself."

He gave her a little push in the small of her back at the precise moment that Alistair pulled again. She stumbled forward into the ex-Templar's chest with a gasp, having just enough time to wonder how he stood up so fast, and then his mouth closed on hers and everything disappeared.

Alistair gathered her close and kissed her thoroughly, fulfilling that weeks... months long desire to kiss this girl senseless. At first she was too shocked to respond and then she hesitantly kissed him back, her hands curling into the fabric of his finery. He lifted his mouth from hers for a moment and her gasp made his heart race even faster.

"You do love me?" The words were low and hoarse and his arms tightened around her.

"Yes," She said automatically and it came in a breath, "But, we- hmm..."

Alistair kissed her again, more fiercely this time, and she had no choice but to simply cling to him for a moment before twining her arms up around his neck and kissing back with equal passion. The world was forgotten, neither one of them gave their rather rapt audience a thought, and when Ffion made an almost mewling sound when his tongue hit hers, he had to work very hard to remember where they were. He broke the kiss again and gasped harshly as she leaned into him, trying to pull his head back to hers.

"Marry me, Ffion," The words were hoarse and breathless, "I can't... Please, say yes."

Her grey eyes blinked open and were just as stormy as his. Fingers traveled up to play with the short hair at the nape of his neck and her rational side lost its battle in a spectacular flash of colors as Ffion nodded her head.

"Yes," She whispered and gave him his smile.

Her heart filled with warmth and she barely had time to take another breath before he pulled her closer and kissed her a third time. She felt him smile against her mouth before the world faded away. He lifted his head almost as soon as they kissed and beamed around the room.

"That was a yes, in case you all are wondering," He announced and Ffion's flaming face ducked against his chest.

More cheers went up and the happy couple shared one more kiss before Alistair remembered what today was supposed to be about. He reluctantly let her go and she realized for the first time that he had pulled her up onto her tiptoes. His hands on her waist were the only things that steadied her and he leaned down to brush his lips against hers just because he could. With a crooked grin, he jumped back to the dais and allowed his uncle to finish this ceremony.

He couldn't keep his eyes from straying to his Ffion and the bright grey eyes, flushed cheeks, and rather red lips held more beauty than anything he had ever seen. She was finally his and he had always been wholly hers and the future of Ferelden was now awash in brilliant sunshine.

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