Lavellan waited until he and his team mates were safe back in Skyhold before he let on that anything was wrong. He waited, with held breath and poised neutrality that he has come to master at being shoved in such a position, as he went around and made sure that his companions were alright.
That Cole, who he shouldn’t have taken into the Fade because the poor boy toppled over the edge and babbled on about his worries. Who drank up his words like they were water and he’d been walking the desert for miles and was only then offered a sip.
That Sera, who put on a brave face just as he, had chopped sentences and vague worries. Who punched him as soon as they were out and safe back in the walls of the place where the sky was held back. Who shot at things she couldn’t see and kept her fears on the inside, who he saw himself in within the Fade.
That Dorian. Dorian, who acted as though it hadn’t bothered him, when in reality, it hadn’t. Not truly, not until they stepped through the Rift, Stroud staying behind to clear a path, and the Inquisitor not following as soon as he had. Who spoke to him in the library about how he thought he’d lost him. How the Dalish elf saw his face fall, his eyebrows crumple and his voice halt and trip over words where he would have otherwise been so skillful in because he was so worried.
Lavellan waited, his steps going from powerful and resolved to weak and wavered as he made his way up those many steps to his room. ‘Til he pushed open that door and stopped at the base of the final set, staring up at the hint of the high ceilings he was able to catch from his position. At the constant shine of light through the windows that greeted him every morning and every evening before he slept and when he woke. By the time he had made it to the top, and officially gotten into his room, with the large Orlesian bed and the balconies that gave him a wondrous view of the mountains, he was exhausted, in every sense of the word.
He took one haltering step into the room and had to grip onto the railings to keep himself upright, legs unstable and a vile taste rising in the back of his throat. No matter the fact he survived, it still felt as though he was trapped in the Fade. It claw at him, eat upon his insides and had him heaving for air in little time at all.
Not for the first time, he thanked the fact that his quarters were separated from anyone elses. Creators know what they’d think of him now if they saw him like this, especially after seeing the truth about the Anchor. As if sensing his thoughts, the rift on his palm hummed with feeling, sending his nerves into a dose of pain on top of everything else.
Then, too fast for him to have been able to do anything at all to stop it, the Inquisitor found himself on the floor. Distantly, a voice that sounded too much like Dorian chastised him playfully on the state of his hair, splay across the ground as it was. Even his braid, which was usually tucked tight behind his ear, was now making friends with the carpentry.
In a different voice, one he recognised too late as his own, implored him to get off the floor. To at least make it to the sofa so if he was found later, in a state of undoing, it wouldn’t be in his current predicament.
The world tips from under him when he so much as makes a move to get up, and it leaves him in nothing but curling to the fetal position. A defense in himself as his eyes began to sting and breath began to hitch. Lavellan can’t say why he ends up like that, actually, yes he can. The Fade haunts him, even now. Solas had told him stories, and he had walked it momentarily, but it was nothing as though he went through recently. And to leave Stroud behind… To have the Wardens question where he’d gone, only to say that he was still in the Fade, fighting, waiting…
It was too much.
It was all too much.
So many lives depended on him, and he didn’t even believe in Andraste or the Maker, he had Dalish gods to believe in. He was no Herald, his suspicions before were only confirmed now. But still, somewhere deep inside, he had hoped that he was, in a twisted way. Because he gave these people something he did not have. Hope.
Mother Giselle said that maybe he was the Herald still, even now. That the idea of him being such only empowered the soldiers, the citizens. But he still felt cheated.
Too many lives rested on his shoulders for him to have any sense of humanity. He feels bigger than he is, yet smaller in the same instance. Lavellan stay on the floor, unable to be moved even if he so wished it. His face was wet, and throat felt too dry for him to even be vocal in his crying.
Not like he wanted to. It’d only embarrass him further.
It is, eventually, Dorian who finds him like that. He’s so far gone that he doesn’t hear the footsteps or the voice until they’re right beside him, and Lavellan flinches so hard it’s like he’d been struck by Corypheus.
“This was, admittedly, not the sight I expected to see.”
The smooth voice cuts through his thoughts like a bell, sending only another wave of despair and demise through him. The great Inquisitor realizes he must look pitiful, in the position that he is. Yet he cannot draw the strength to get up. Too wounded, both physically and emotionally. His arm never did heal right from where it’d be dislocated when he’d been lifted, and his back was certainly not enjoying the tight ball he’s collected himself to.
“Is the floor truly that much more comfortable than a bed?”
He’d asked himself that question not but three minutes ago, in another attempt to get him to stand up before something like this happens. But regardless of what his mind thinks, his body gives the orders right now. And his body has spoke. Has given it’s input and will not waver.
What ever Dorian had seen in that moment apparently lets him know this isn’t a time when he can joke, can smooth over cracks with honeyed tones and passive-aggressive insults. He crouches, slow and testing, and when no further development happens, perhaps he even goes to touch an arm of the elf.
This does not get the effect he wants.
Lavellan shoots away like he’s been burnt, in a mess of long limbs and deafening silence. He pressed against the side of the sofa, all but melded himself to it just for some distance. What strength he didn’t have before, it seems to have returned two-fold, if the way he’d forcefully hit the cushion to the point where it’d rattled was anything to go by.
He can’t imagine his expression fares him any better than his appearance. He’s usually already dangerously pale, contrasting to him being outside nearly every day of his life, but now it just seems so be even more so, and it’s difficult to note where his hairline begins, because they’re just about the same colour. On his hair, it’s in a space of disarray. Strands going just about everywhere, even in his face and into his eyes, and his braid needs to be redone and retucked. His clothes aren’t much better, the strange outfit he wears whenever he’s in Skyhold, now buttons are undone, fabric pushed aside and looking like he needed a grooming, not doubt.
For many loud moments, neither of them speak. There’s no voices but everything else seems to have intensified in the Inquisitor’s ears, too big on his head and sticking out almost embarrassingly. He felt so much smaller than he was, and behind his eyes the Fade replayed, over and over. Hearing his companions fall apart did nothing to help his own mental state, but he needed to be strong for them, at least until they were safe.
Yet when it’s safe, who’s going to be strong for him?
He doesn’t want anyone to, he was sent into this mess and wants nothing else with any of them. He’d hoped, all up until this moment, that this had been some sort of dream. Some nightmare, but he’s not allowed to think like that anymore. He’s got too many people depending on him.
It’s too much, it’s too much. I can’t do this, it’s too much for me—
Something wet and cold (too cold, too cold, toocoldit’stoocoldIcan’tbearittakeitaway) pressed against his forehead, and he looks up with great delay to see just what has happened.
Dorian had fetched a basin of water and cloth from his adjacent restroom, was pressing it against his face in silence. His eyes were uncharacteristically serious, dark in the evening light that pour in from the windows and danced across his skin. There was nothing he could do to ease his worries, and they both knew it.
It presses to his cheeks, wipes away both his shameful tears and his liner, which he hadn’t bothered to make water-proof because he didn’t think about it. He should have, because now he must look so silly, so tiny, so small, so unfit for his role. Yet neither of them say anything still, instead, that cold cloth just cools down his overheated skin, even going back twice, thrice, and more when he can’t seem to stop crying.
Slowly, he ends up with his back not pressed to the sofa, but to Dorian’s chest instead. He’s still not okay, still feeling like he’s collapsing under the weight of the Breach. His Anchor makes itself known again, flaring up against his palm and his hand feels like it’s been set alight. If he could find his voice, he dreads the sounds he would make. So he’s glad, at least, for small mercies.
Neither of them get off the floor, and the mage doesn’t even complain at how he must be getting his robes dirty. Doesn’t complain when the fabric gets scrunched under hands that are shaking so fiercely.
Instead, he just keeps dabbing at the elf’s face and throat, trying to distract him from whatever is consuming his thoughts, and dipping the cloth back into the frigid water when it gets lukewarm.
Lavellan does, eventually, come down from his despair-induced hysteria. And it leaves him tired, drained in both body and spirit. He’s barely able to stand on his own, but just like Dorian can’t add to the people who’s in debt of him, the Inquisitor can’t ask his help. There’s nothing to say about how the mage looks like he wants to help him anyways.
“Are you alright?”
It’s spoken so quietly, so actively concerned that for a moment, the Dalish knows not what to do with it. He opts to just shake his head. He’s not alright, he won’t be for a while. But he doesn’t want to think about it right now anymore. Instead, he wants to sleep.
There are no words needed for that, and when the human stands, he only goes to his clavicle. An arm goes to his waist, encircling as a sense of security that he uses only to hold himself to the reality.
He’s lowered to the bed, so carefully, and he resents Dorian for it. Yet he knows, it’s for both of their sakes. And unlike what he thought was going to happen, he’s not left alone to slip back into the former mindset, to end up a mess on the floor again. Instead, he’s joined on the sheets, a hand brushing a stray strand of hair back into place. They’re close enough to touch, but further away enough for Lavellan to have his space. He likes that.
It’s so hard sometimes. No, not sometimes. All the time. He can pretend when he’s facing such things, but it’s the downtime that gets to him. Makes him rethink himself.
It’s not okay, he doesn’t think so, but it’s not undoable either. He’s got help, even if he isn’t sure what to do with it.