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How Did You Love

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When Lace Harding, Scout Lieutenant, returned to the Hill Camp she found the Inquisitor’s party still there. Dorian and Varric were busying themselves by the potion table, but she couldn’t see Lady Pentaghast or the Inquisitor anywhere.

“Scout Harding, is there something wrong?” she looked up at Dorian, a bit surprised to be addressed by the mage.

“No, I’m just surprised to see you still at the camp. I thought you’ve already moved on.”

“Me too, but our Inquisitor needs his beauty sleep” Varric commented as he was tinkering something on his crossbow next to Dorian.

“That’s not nice, Varric. He was injured and regeneration potions work best while you sleep” Dorian scolded the dwarf, but Varric only shrugged.

“Is he alright?” Lace couldn’t stop the worried question, looking up at the mage. Dorian glanced at her then he turned his attention back to whatever he was doing by the table.

“It didn’t look good at the time” Varric looked up at him too, his eyebrows raising and they shared a look that Lace couldn’t interpret.

Varric shook his head slowly. “There was a lot of blood. So he’s resting.”

Lace frowned at the dwarf; that wasn’t reassuring at all.

“He should be up by now, would you mind checking on him, Scout Harding?”

“Me?” she asked, stunned. “I don’t think I should--”

“I’d do it myself, but I need to replenish our potions…”

“I can’t leave Bianca like this, in pieces. And Cassandra is somewhere patrolling.” Lace frowned at Varric again, because he didn’t look busy at all.

“Please, Scout Harding.”

Lace’s attention snapped back to Dorian at those words and she knew she lost the moment she saw him smile at her. Why was he so pretty?

“Alright.”

“Ask him when we could move on, would you? We have a schedule to keep” Varric motioned toward one of the tents without even looking up from his crossbow.

Lace nodded and headed toward the tent with long strides, before she could think better of it. At the moment she turned away from them, Dorian and Varric exchanged a meaningful look, making Dorian smirk and Varric shook his head with a sigh.

The tent was silent and when she called out to the Inquisitor there was no answer, so she moved the tent flap and stepped in. She was greeted by darkness. It took a few moments for her eyes to adjust to the dim light coming from the few candles that burned in the tent.

“Inquisitor?”

At her voice a dark form moved in the corner of the tent on a mattress and a faint green light joined the candle light. The Inquisitor turned in his sleep, his left hand dropping to the ground.

Lace couldn’t help herself, she stepped closer and lowered herself to her knees, sitting on her haunches. She allowed herself a few moments to study the elf’s features in the green light.

The face that she got accustomed to in the last few months, maybe even came to like it. There was a little frown between his brows and Lace had to wonder if that meant he wasn’t able to relax even in his sleep. Or maybe it was because of the mark on his hand.

The Anchor, as she heard some call it. Did it always shine like this? Or maybe she just didn’t notice it, because of the glove the Inquisitor usually wears?

Her hand moved on her own, but she stopped just before her fingers touched his. Her hand hovered over the mark for a few moments before she brought it back and pressed her fist to her knee. This was beyond foolish. She decided to leave; trying to think of something to say to Dorian when she looked up and met with pale eyes. Staring right at her.

“Inquisitor” her throat was suddenly dry as a wave of heat washed over her.

“Scout Harding.”

Silence fell upon them and Lace felt the heat climbing up her face again.

“I was told you were injured, I just wanted to know if…” but she trailed off as she realised that even that didn’t explain her watching him sleep.

“Oh, this?” he lifted his shirt, revealing bandages under it. Bandages and skin. A lot more skin than she usually saw of him. And she was staring. She snapped her eyes back to his face, but she knew she was caught when he smirked at her.

“What do you think, Scout Harding,” he turned on his side, which made his shirt open up even more; propped up on his left elbow, his head resting on his fist he looked at her with half-closed eyes. “Do I look alright to you?”

Lace’s breath stuck in her throat. That was a dare, if she ever saw one, and she wasn’t one to boggle at a challenge. So she took the opportunity before her brain would catch up with the situation. She slowly traced her eyes over him, from his face to his collarbones, down over one exposed nipple to his abdomen.

She marvelled at how the candle light flickered on his skin, knowing all too well, that she would remember it later on. The dark trousers were low on his hips, revealing his hip bones and covering muscular legs. He was barefoot, she noted before she moved her attention back up, just as slowly, until she reached his eyes again. The smirk was gone, but there was something else in his eyes, that she didn’t dare to analyse.

“You seem unharmed, Your Worship” she congratulated herself for how calm her voice sounded, even if she could feel her heartbeat in her throat. They stared at each other for long moments, and at the end, it was the Inquisitor who looked away. He cleared his throat and sat up, trying to hide a smile behind his hand. If she didn’t know any better she’d said he looked embarrassed for a second.

“It wasn’t anything serious. I’m fine” he looked back at her, now amused. Lace let out a breath slowly she hadn’t realised she was holding and felt her lips stretching into a smile.

“I’m glad. Your companions wanted to know when you will move out” Lace slowly stood up before her legs would have totally fallen asleep. The Inquisitor rubbed his face with his right hand, wincing slightly and his left hand balled into a fist.

“Tell them, I’ll be with them shortly.”

Lace hesitated a bit before asking. “Does it hurt?”

He seemed to know what she meant as he relaxed his hand and he looked away.

“It’s more… annoying near open rifts, but it’s nothing I can’t handle” he sounded defensive and Lace had a feeling that was more about not showing weakness, than an actual answer to her question.

“I never said you couldn’t, I just wanted to know if you were alright. I’ll let the others know you’re awake” she turned to leave.

“Scout Harding.”

Lace stopped by the entrance at the Inquisitor’s voice and she looked back at him.

“I am alright. Thank you” he smiled at her, a small, but honest smile. Lace returned the smile with a small nod before she left the tent.