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Guilt

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Darkness descends long before they stop, a small Inquisition camp situated on the cliffs of the Storm Coast.

A sadness permeates the air as shrouded corpses are lain out, a neat row covered by canvas to protect them from the elements, the Inquisition heraldry bright against its crimson backdrop.

It mocks Lavellan as she looks down at it - at them - and her lungs feel thick with failure.

She weaves her way outside the circle of tents, a terse nod and smile to those around the campfire and then she is walking on wavering legs into the humid night air. Her fists clench and unclench as she tries to breathe, tries to swallow down the sobs that threaten to engulf her.

Frustration builds as she tries to analyze her feelings, her jumbled exhausted thoughts. Lavellan hadn’t known any of them and yet it still feels as if she has let them down.

She thinks of the loyal, bright young faces full of enthusiasm and misplaced faith in her ability to protect them. Their hope and fierce conviction that she is the one who can set things right.

'My people know their duty. They know the risks,' Leliana had said. But she is not Leliana, and she is not immune to being swallowed up by the inability to save each and every last one of them.

Lavellan’s face tips upwards towards the sky as she takes in a deep breath, tips downwards as she lets it out. The weight of the world is heavy. And she feels very small.

“Vhenan,” his voice finds her, perking up her ears, and a small breath escapes her as she is pulled back into a broad chest, the familiar scent of him engulfing her senses and lifting her up. His lips press against her temple making a smile dance upon her own.

It is so easy with Solas, his presence a comfort in and of itself, a stalwart against her fiercest enemies, a light sent to scatter her shades. Nights of breaths on flushed skin and lips mapping each freckle, scar, moan, and still she wants to unravel him, and be unraveled herself. When she leans back, the words come easy.

“I feel like sometimes no matter what I do, in the end the world is still going to fall apart.”

She feels him tense for a miniscule of a moment, his chest going rigid before his arms tighten around her. The next words he issues are against her skin, words she will feel burned into her neck long after this night. A mockery of her bleeding heart.

“It is not your fault, vhenan.”