"I hate you."
"You're not even going to say you're sorry?"
"I'm sorry you hate me. I'm not apologising for that." Alistair pointed.
"So you've pointed out before. Repeatedly."
Elyssa flopped onto the massive four poster bed that took up the middle of the large room. Alistair reached over and slid the shoes off of her swollen feet. Despite the fire being lit, the room was comfortably cool. She sighed deeply, just as Jocelyne came bustling in from the sitting room.
"Your Highness! You're going to wrinkle that dress. Do you know how long it takes to get wrinkles out of this fabric?" Jocelyne chivvied her into standing up, undoing the buttons at the back that ran from neck to waist. Elyssa shrugged out of the warm dress and collapsed back onto the bed in just her shift, muttering under her breath about formal clothes and impudent help. The young maid, looking completely unabashed, took the dress and rushed off.
"Roll over, 'Lys. You know you're not supposed to lie on your back. Do I have to tell Wynne?"
"You're such a tattle-tale! You want me to roll over, you're going to have to help me."
Alistair, shucking his own formal coat, climbed onto the bed beside Elyssa, picking her up effortlessly and rolling her onto her side so they were facing each other.
"I feel like such a cow." Contrary to her harsh words, Elyssa caressed her swollen belly with both hands tenderly.
"Stop it. You've never been more beautiful."
"You have to say that. You did this to me!"
"I'm fairly certain it was a combined effort."
"Don't cloud the issue with the facts. I have to live with this, you don't. It's your fault."
They lapsed into silence, Alistair shifting Elyssa so she lay with her head on his shoulder. He softly stroked her hair.
"You know, there's one thing I like about being the King."
"Well, one I can think of at the moment. It means you get to leave your hair down."
"I'll never understand why all noble women have to wear their hair shorter than the Queen, or at least pinned up. I hear they had a celebration when I became Queen instead of Anora - with my hair so long, they all got to let theirs down a bit. It drove them all crazy that Anora kept her hair so short. It is rather impractical, though, for a Warden Commander and the leader of Ferelden's combined armies."
"You're on leave for now. Just let me enjoy it!"
"I'm glad you can enjoy something. Oof!"
"Where?" Elyssa pointed to a spot on her left flank, and Alistair gently started massaging the area. After a few moments, the pressure released.
"They're getting stronger."
"Every day. Wynne says I'm almost past the danger zone now. I could go into labour any time, but at least they will probably be fine if it happens soon."
"Seven months feels way too soon!"
"Considering that lots of women with twins lose them long before that, I don't feel so bad."
"Still I hope they stay for a while longer."
"Easy for you to say." She poked him in the side and he twitched, chuckling.
"Is it really that bad?
"Well, let's see. My back hurts, my hips hurt, my stomach hurts, I can't sleep for all the poking and prodding, and I have to pee every five minutes. I suppose it could be worse - I've heard twins are supposed to cause more morning sickness. But it's not exactly fun, overall."
"I might be able to make you feel a little better. I have a present for you."
"Will you come see?"
"Do I have to get dressed?"
"Nope. You don't even have to walk if you don't want - I'll carry you."
"Yeah, that's not going to happen. Just give me a push, though, will you?" Elyssa managed to slide to the edge of the bed and sit up. Her unaccustomed bulk messed with her centre of gravity, and she swayed slightly before getting her balance, throwing Alistair a dirty look as she did. She curiously followed him down the hall to an unused room which would likely eventually be a children's playroom. For now, all the furniture had been pushed to the side except for a large wooden structure. It was like a high table, but the top was padded. She could see the top was made up of many individual pieces. And it appeared to have multiple separate cranks underneath.
"If that's my present, it's the ugliest table I've ever seen."
"I think you might change your mind about that once you see what this thing can do! I got the idea from Leliana. She was telling me about someone she knew in Orlais who had a lot of back pain during pregnancy."
"You've been talking to other people about my whining?"
"No, no. She brought it up ages ago, once she found out it was twins. Anyway, she said that in Orlais, they have special people who help pregnant women and deliver babies. Not mages, just knowledgeable people."
"They're called midwives. They have that here, too, silly. If I was anyone other than the Queen, I wouldn't rate my own personal mage standing by for delivery."
"Oh ... really? Huh. At any rate, she told me that the midwife of the lady with the back pain used to give her massages on a special table made for pregnancy. I got her to give me some details, did a bit of research of my own, and talked a couple of the dwarven engineers into making this."
"Just let me show you, okay? So first of all, I take out this piece here." A large oval lifted up, and Alistair set it aside.
"Then this piece. And now, crank this up a little bit ... alright, ready."
"Ready for what?"
"You to lie down! I even brought a stool."
Elyssa shot him an incredulous look. "You've got to be joking."
"Would you just trust me? I even cleared it with Wynne. She says it's a great idea. Just step up here, would you? Naked, please."
"Don't you want a massage?"
"I ... fine. Fine, fine. If we get arrested for indecency, I blame you." Elyssa tossed her shift to the floor, noting with some satisfaction that even as enormous as she felt, Alistair apparently still found her attractive. She stepped up to him, raising her face to be kissed, and ran her fingers over the obvious bulge in his pants.
"We are going to have to do something about this later."
"We can't! Wynne said not to until after the babies. Besides, I'm fine. Really. I did this to you, remember? You're supposed to be mad at me."
"Would you rather I was?" She continued to gently caress him, and he groaned. "Besides, there's other ways to take care of this that don't involve that part of me."
"And what kind of selfish bastard do you think I am? Allowing my very pregnant wife to do that? I don't think so."
"No reason for both of us to be ... frustrated."
"Are you? Oh, love, I'm sorry."
"Apparently pregnancy makes me ... want to, more."
"More? Wow, you are determined to send me to an early grave."
"You've figured out my evil plan! Wahahaha! I shall kill you with sex and then rule the world."
"Um, you're the Queen. Everyone knows you already rule the world."
"You say the nicest things to me!"
"Just lie down here. On your stomach."
"Oh! That's what the hole is for." Alistair assisted her up, and Elyssa, cautiously maneuvering her bulk into the right position, lowered herself onto the table.
"That's good. That's really good. I've been wishing I could lie on my stomach. And it actually feels kind of good just hanging there. What's this other hole for?"
"So you don't have to turn your head. Just relax your neck. Is the height right? Each piece can be adjusted and tilted."
"I'm never getting up."
"You like it?" Elyssa lifted her head to direct a beaming smile at Alistair.
"I love it!"
"And you haven't seen the best part yet."
Alistair brought out a jar filled with flower scented oil, scooping some out and warming it with his hands before starting to massage her. Elyssa settled in, eyes closed as she enjoyed the pressure of his fingers on the tense muscles in her shoulders and back. Despite being almost constantly aroused, and his fingers grazing her ass and the sides of her breasts as she lay there, the fatigue of being pregnant with twins caught up to her and she fell asleep. Alistair finished his massage, then, draping a sheet over her sleeping form, he easily picked her up and carried her to the large bed they shared. Carefully placing her on her side, he undressed, spooned behind her, and fell asleep himself.
When Elyssa woke, she found herself in bed, Alistair snoring softly behind her. For the first time in a while her back wasn't bothering her too much, and she smiled softly as she considered his thoughtful gift. It must have taken months to design and build; she blushed as she briefly considered what the dwarves who built it must have thought.
The sun was just starting to come up; she could see dim light under the shutters. Knowing she had probably an hour before she absolutely had to get up, she laboriously rolled over and tried to settle back to sleep. Alistair had rolled onto his back during the night, and she snuggled up to his side. His handsome face looked so peaceful that she ended up propping herself up on one elbow to watch him sleep.
His blond hair was mussed, his face covered in thick stubble. He had gained several worry lines over the past months of ruling Ferelden, but they only enhanced his otherwise youthful appearance. He had matured a lot since the death of the archdemon, Elyssa thought fondly. He had never wanted to be King, but had decided that if he didn't have a choice, at least he would do it well. He spent much time traveling the land early on, meeting with common folk and nobles alike, trying to determine what their people needed, and they loved him for it. Now that Elyssa was limited by the babies, he had stayed closer to Denerim to be near just in case. Elyssa couldn't wait until they could all travel together, once the babies were old enough.
She continued her inspection of her sleeping husband. His shoulders were broad, his chest muscular and just slightly furred. His stomach was flat, despite the decrease in activity since they were no longer involved directly in the fighting. As her gaze traveled further, she realized that he had an erection tenting up the sheets. She had been feeling sorry for him for months, since Wynne had declared they could no longer have sex safely. She was frustrated and missing their nightly exercise, and knew he was as well. He tried to deny it to decrease her guilt, but Elyssa knew.
Glancing again at his sleeping face, she realized suddenly that she had a rare opportunity. He had politely declined all her offers to abate his frustration, thinking it would be selfish to accept. But he was asleep. And he hadn't forbidden her from doing it, she decided.
Carefully, so as not to disturb him, Elyssa shifted her body down the length of his so she could kneel by his hips. She slid the sheets down, revealing his large erection jutting out from the thick hair around the base. She leaned over and gently licked the length of his shaft, keeping her eyes on his face to see if he would wake. He mumbled something in his sleep, and he hardened and grew even more, but his eyes didn't open. Encouraged, Elyssa continued softly licking him, periodically swirling her tongue around the head. She cupped one hand around the base of his penis, the other softly stroking and squeezing his scrotum, and finally sucked the head into her warm mouth.
She felt more than heard Alistair moan incoherently, his hips twitching as she sucked him, her hands stroking and squeezing his shaft. Never too coherent in the mornings anyway, she could tell he was trying to wake himself up. Determined not to be dissuaded from finishing, she increased the suction and the speed of her hands on his shaft. She felt his hand flutter down to touch her hair, heard him gasp as he fully woke, and then heard him groan as he spent in her mouth. She continued sucking, very gently, until he stopped shuddering and relaxed.
There was a slight popping sound as his rapidly deflating erection came out of her mouth, and it made her giggle. With a roar, Alistair sat up, grabbed Elyssa, and manhandled her to lay alongside him, her head back on his shoulder.
"What do you think you were doing?"
"Just doing my duty, Your Highness."
"Well, we couldn't very well have a cranky King dispensing justice at today's court, now could we?"
"Oh, you ... you ... minx! You weren't supposed to do that. I'm not really cranky, am I? I'm a terrible person! My wife is pregnant and I'm being cranky because I don't get to have sex as often as I used to?"
Elyssa decided it was cute to see a shadow of his former, slightly insecure self re-emerge, but knew she had to stop the spiral fast.
"Whoa! Slow down there, big guy. I was teasing. You've never been cranky. In fact, in light of everything, you have the right to be considerably more cranky than you have been. If you were a terrible person, you'd just have taken a mistress the way the nobles do when their wives are 'indisposed'. Don't be angry. I'm your wife. I love you. I miss you too, you know. And if I can do something that makes you feel good, makes your life easier in any way, I'm going to do it. You might as well just get used to it. I know I don't have to do that. I wanted to. So just relax and enjoy it, okay?"
Alistair studied her face, looking for any sign that she was resentful or angry. Finding none, he finally nodded, wrapping his arms around Elyssa and sighing.
"I love you, Elyssa. You are the best thing that ever happened to me."
Alistair was silent for a moment, but then groaned theatrically.
"Did you say court today? Why me? I hate the squabbling, the ridiculous complaints, the stupid, uncomfortable outfit. Why don't you just handle it? You're much better at it than I am anyway."
"You have to accept that not all of your duties are going to be fun, Love. And anyway, you look scrumptious in formal wear."
Alistair grumbled, but Elyssa silenced him with a finger.
"Besides, I can't today even if I wanted to. I've got an appointment with Wynne."
"Wynne! Good to see you. I took the liberty of ordering us some refreshments. Will you stay a while?"
"Alright, child, what duty are you trying to avoid this time?"
Elyssa giggled, while Wynne settled into the chair opposite the settee Elyssa was reclining on.
"I'm not, actually. I'm trying to prevent Alistair from shirking his. If I go back to court too early he'll want me to take over. He needs to at least be seen to be doing some of the ruling!"
Wynne chuckled. "How are you feeling lately?"
"Good, mostly. The little buggers sure can kick! And well, you know about the peeing. Actually I feel quite good today. Alistair gave me a massage last night on some special contraption he had built. It looks ridiculous, but it sure felt amazing."
"Oh, it's complete! May I see it? He mentioned he was having something built, but I couldn't picture how it was supposed to work." Wynne helped Elyssa up, and they wandered down the hallway to where the table stood.
"Oh my! That does look complicated." Wynne proceeded to examine the table, turning cranks and moving pieces. "That is clever! It even has a tilt so you could lay on your back without harming the babies. I'm impressed!"
"Me too. It's really very comfortable. I am so lucky to have him, Wynne."
"I'm sure he feels the same way, dear. That is the point, isn't it?" Wynne and Elyssa headed back to the sitting room. Their tea and some light snacks had been delivered, and they settled in to have a chat.
"So, I have to ask, Wynne. How long after the babies before ... we can ... you know?" Elyssa blushed.
"Is Alistair pressuring you, dear? I wouldn't have thought he'd be so selfish."
"No! No, no. Quite the opposite. I'm asking for me."
"I'd have thought you would have other things on your mind as well, dear."
"Yeah, well, that would be easier if I could ... we could ... Oh, for crying out loud. It would seem pregnancy makes me more eager. If you know what I mean. And I wasn't exactly reluctant before, so..."
"Ah, yes. Pregnancy does take some women that way. Well, if all goes well, in a normal birth, midwives would say six weeks after."
"I said in a normal birth. You are going to have some extra help not available to the average woman. I was going to discuss that today anyway. But I imagine you will be sore for a few days, and then basically be back to normal."
"Really? That's amazing!"
"Well, we can't have the Queen, Warden Commander, and Leader of the Armies to be out of commission for too long, can we? Listen. I've asked the circle for help, and Irving has sent some of the best. When you do go into labour, there are going to be few of us there. All women, don't worry. And all experienced with magically-assisted birth. Some will take care of the babies, some will take care of you."
"Oh, Wynne, thank you. I've been so worried about the babies. Everyone tells me horror stories about problems with twins."
"The biggest risk you faced was going into labour too early, and you've already passed the danger zone. Relax, child. You'll all be fine."
Elyssa and Wynne continued chatting for the afternoon, after Wynne carefully delved Elyssa and was able to assure her the babies were doing fine. Eventually Alistair knocked on the door, and Wynne gave him a motherly pat on the cheek. They invited Wynne to stay for supper, but she insisted she had a previous engagement. Wynne helped Elyssa settle for a nap, and then asked Alistair to walk her out. She stopped him inside the door to the royal apartments, out of earshot of Elyssa and anyone who happened to walk by.
"You may be the King, but you are remarkably oblivious to things in front of you, young man."
"What?" Alistair felt like he was back at the Monastery during his Templar training, getting in trouble from the headmaster.
"Your wife needs you."
"Wynne, I'd do anything for Elyssa. You know that. Just tell me what she needs me to do for her!"
"Oh, Alistair. She doesn't need you to do anything for her. She needs you to help do something to her!"
"I let you talk me out of giving you the 'birds and the bees' talk I had planned before you and Elyssa became intimate. I see I should have persisted." Alistair blushed.
"But Wynne! You said we can't, that it could cause problems for the pregnancy."
"I said no intercourse! I didn't say no ... activity."
"I'm sure Leliana can give you some ideas of how you can help. Oh, don't give me that look, I'm not an idiot. Did you really think I wouldn't know?" Alistair, purple now, shook his head helplessly, speechless. "Go use that contraption you built. Tilt it so she's not flat on her back - left side down, preferably - and give the poor girl some relief!"
"And it won't cause problems for the pregnancy?"
"No. Just nothing inside her birth canal, ok? But the rest is fine."
"I, uh ... thanks, I think."
"Don't mention it. Have fun, Your Highness." Wynne winked, and left Alistair gaping.
"Another massage, honey? I won't say no, but you don't have to, you know."
"Like I'm going to say no to helping relieve some back pain? Hush and climb up here."