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I sighed and stared at the Relay before me. Shepard was getting ready to do Goddess or God or string of AI code knows what and I for one was not going to get caught in the backlash. Again. No! I was getting the fuck out of this futuristic Earth and back to my quiet early 21st century Earth where Ramen was not a fucking delicacy.

            I never should have made that deal with the dude at the bar. Trading Grandmama's necklace to that douche for the chance to explore other realms? Yeah that's been stupid. That's what I had been, drunk and stupid. Or at least that's what I wanted to believe. Truth be told I wanted to get away from Earth.

            Who knew that other realities and realms existed? Not me, at least not outside of a good book or MMORPG. I hoped and dreamed that they existed but didn't really believe. Now? Now all I wanted to do was go home and I'd been so close for so long.

            Mordin. Mordin was the key to figuring this shit out. He was a hard Salarian to track down but fuck me sideways I did it. Even though I knew where he was going to be I always arrive too late. Well, not this time and I would be damned if Shepard was going to get me killed, or turned into half organism half machine. Whatever Shepard chose it would affect the whole galaxy, the games had been stupid like that and I'd been stuck in the middle of her gorgeous ass shaking shit since day one.

            Yeah, I'd been on the Citadel when the Reaper showed up and nearly blew it to pieces. After that I decided nope, I'm done here gonna get the hell out. Sure it was nice having strong enough biotics that I could rip through bulk heads, but what good would that do me if I was dead?

            Well it didn't exactly pan out that way. Thankfully between the brilliant Salarian and myself and the Prothean AI Vigil out on Ilos—yup got to talk to him before he went dark—I managed to create a device that would allow me to jump through to a different reality of my choosing. Mordin had been fascinated by the possibilities of the Multi Verse theory and I would have taken him if he hadn't…

            I wiped a tear from my eye. That singing Salarian had stolen my heart during game two and damn it, it hurt more to watch him die in real life.  

            "No time like the present." I whispered as I leaned forward and fiddled with the FTL drives. I had to be mid jump through the Relay's when I turned it on. I probably had only one chance before the EZO core burnt out and I fried my neural synapses. Whatever, if I lived, if I died… it didn't matter. I just wanted to go home. Where bacon was still a thing.

            I'd been here for years and I wasn't sure what new things existed on Earth, or if the time lines were the same. If they were then thank Bob I was going to die well before being subjected to element zero and well before Prothean tech was discovered on Mars. I would be happy living out my days on an ignorant Earth where the biggest problem we had was skin color and religious fractions.

            Not crazy giant space ships made from organic races that disappeared from the galaxy and a never ending cycle of death. The Reapers were so messed up it wasn't even funny and holy shit would I be glad to be to bury my head in the sand. I could go back and play video games—how close they had been to the truth was laughable and I was convinced that someone—A divine being or something—was putting this information on Earth because they wanted humanity to be ready for when First Contact was initiated.

            Well I would be dead by then so score one for me!

            That and I'd be human again. I cannot tell you how weird it was to wake up and have mandibles and no hair. Turians eat, sleep, and breathe military ideals. Yeah I served, because there had been no other option. That's how I met Garrus. Nice Turian with a rebellion streak a mile wide. Helped him out a time or two when he was Archangel on Omega. That had been fun as hell.

            And the first time Mordin had slipped through my fingers. Yeah, I had been too slow and too infatuated with Garrus to go looking for him. To give me credit, once Shepard arrived and I knew Mordin would be on the ship it was too little too late because her gorgeous red headed self moved quickly when she got an idea in her head.

            That's how I knew that I needed to get out of this realm and back to my own time as soon as possible. Because Jane Shepard was a force to be reckoned with and so help me I didn't want to see her face ever again outside of my TV screen.

            "Please work." I pleaded as I flicked the switch. My fingers flew over the control boards as I prepped the sequence to connect to the Relay. Once I was in transit it was a simple—not but I worked hard to make it simple—flick of a switch to turn on the sub reality field that would hone in on the slight variation in my DNA—I checked yes it exists—and toss me back into my reality. Once there it was only a matter of drifting back to Earth and hiding the ship in the bottom of the ocean because I would not be responsible for our jump in technology that would bring us closer to destruction.

            Mordin was so brilliant and most of this had been his idea. I had no clue how to go about any of this.

            "Mordin I swear I will never forget you." I breathed out as lightning started to swirl around the Relay. My fingers moved to increase the speed of my little pod. "Thank you old friend."

            My little ship jumped and rattled as the connection was made. As soon as the stars blurred into lines I knew that I was going fast enough for the field to take effect. Reaching out I turned the switch to the 'on' position—I'd heard no end of shit from Mordin about that—and held my breath.

            That's when the lights on the control panel started going wild. Bright red lights started flashing at me and to be bluntly honest I panicked. Buttons were mashed—I was not a piolet—and the sub reality device at my feet gave off a loud annoying sound. Hope surged, Mordin said that it would probably do that.  

            The ship continued to jolt around. It was getting so bad that I thought it was going to fall to pieces. When suddenly a planet was around us and 'Collision imminent' started blaring over the speakers.

            "Bitch!" I screamed as I took manual control of the ship. Tears welled up in my eyes as silver blonde hair fell into my vision and I had five fingers on each hand again. "I did it! Mordin you handsome Salarian if you were here I'd kiss you!"

            Then a glacier shot into existence around me and I blacked out upon impact.

 

Groaning I pushed myself from the wreckage. The ship had been small and I was okay with losing it. I knew that I couldn't keep it once I got back to Earth but damn if it didn't make it harder to dispose of it.

            Turns out it wasn't a glacier I hit, but a mountain covered in snow. Somehow the ship had held together and the seat belt saved my life. Who knew?

            And I would have to do it all myself because humans were greedy bastards that would sneak a piece or two of this tech and then I'd be fucked and it wasn't going to go down like that.

            A smile lit my face. My hands touched the skin of my cheeks and ran through my hair. I was home. I never thought I'd be here again. I stashed money—purchased with credits from collectors of ancient currency—for this purpose. Hopefully I was somewhere in Europe. That's where I'd been when I left the first time and it would be so cool if I could just pick up where I left off.

            I picked up a piece of the outer hull and threw it toward the rest of the wreckage. Sighing I ran my fingers through my hair again and started to gather it up into a messy bun. Hair was nice but I forgot about how time consuming it was to—

            "Oh no what the fuck is!" I broke off and patted the side of my head. Ears, longer than normal and pointy. "No no no no nonononononononononononono!" The words slurred together as I ran. I don't know where I was going but I needed to find something reflective. A mirror a shard of glass or ice.

            Ice was prolific in this area. The trees grew tall and snow covered everything in sight. Smoke curled lazily in the distance and… wooden hut.

            I don't know where I was, but this sure as hell wasn't early 21st century Earth. This was no Earth as I knew it.

            "Fucking hell."

            Well, I probably wasn't going to find a mirror here. What I probably would find—and be lucky to find—would be a piece of polished brass or silver. Because a wooden wagon and horses were kicking around the hut that stood dozens of yards away from me. I forced my eyes to close and slowly started to count backwards from fifty. Ten wasn't going to cut it here. I had tried, and failed, to return home and while I'm sure she didn't mean to do it, Shepard was the source of my distress again.

            She'd destroyed the Relay's while I had initiated the travel and through that the desired destination had been altered. I was in a different reality were elves existed.

            There goes my theory about some divine creature planting video games—or some of them—on Earth to prep us for the future. Because this sure as hell wasn't the future. This was the distant past, the steam engine hadn't even been created yet. Were video games simply doors into other realities? Or were those realities born because of the video games?

            "Who knows?" I shrugged. It was better to get information on where I currently was than debate up on my strange existence born of realm hopping.

            Slowly I took stock of what was at my disposal. Gently I ran my fingers across the base of my skull. That had been where the biotic implant had been.

            Had been because it was gone. Well it seems that when I hopped realities I not only gain a different appearance but any modification to the old body vanished as well. I lifted my shirt and peered at my stomach. Though it seems some things from my original body followed me no matter what happened.

            Shirt. I had new clothes. My skin was pale, scantly darker than the snow that surrounded me. I was shorter than I had been, and definitely more delicate than a Turian could ever hope to be. No, Turians were bad asses with an exoskeleton and razor sharp teeth. My teeth were blunt and straight.

            Back on Earth I had several tattoos and a piercing or two. It had been mind therapy. Shit hit the fan? Get a tattoo. Rent's late? Shove a piece of metal through my eyebrow. I'd spent a lot of money on these things and I was slightly upset that it seemed I still did not get them back. It wasn't something that I could have done as a Turian because the tattoo needle wouldn't have penetrated my skin.

            I could start over here, I guess. At least there wasn't anything here that was screwing with my existence. No giant AI ships hell bent on ending all space fairing civilizations to create a new Reaper.

            I didn't think I was getting out of this reality. Not with how the technology here looked. Which was nonexistent. Sighing I pushed the shirt down and started toward the hut and hopefully the people inside.

            I shivered in the snow, my clothes not stopping the ice cold wind. It cut through me like I was made of paper and when I made it the short distance to the house I was positive that my white skin was blue and my lips would be purple.

            It burned to knock on the door. Hope bubbled up again when I heard movement on the inside of the building. When it opened I saw a large male, human—so they did exist. He took up most of the opening and when his gaze settled on my ears his eyes hardened.

            "What do you want stranger?" His voice was deep and brooked no argument. The heat that flowed past him brushed over my skin and I sighed in relief. I didn't care if he was a racist asshole, I would work off any food or clothing he could spare. My body almost collapsed but I forced myself to stay upright. I'd been through worse and snow was not going to stop me. His gaze softened when he took a moment to gaze at the rest of me.

            "I can work." I stuttered out, teeth chattering on every syllable, "I am lost and food and clothes would be appreciated."

            He didn't even sigh at me, just nodded and stepped back. "What kind of work can you do?"

            Pretty much anything. From fixing the drive core of a ship to cooking. "All kinds." I walked inside his house. I expected less than what he had. The room was warm. A merry fire crackled along one wall and a pot of bubbling stew hung over it. There were not individual rooms, it was just one large space. A wall jutted out and cast a shadow. That must have been where his bed was. There was a rough wooden table and chairs off to one side. Herbs hung from the ceiling. Tools were propped up against the walls.

            And he lived alone. There was no one else here but him, and only one bowl on the table. He had not been expecting company.

            A blanket smacked into my back and I gasped as it hit bare skin. What the actual hell? I had a shirt on and—I swiped my hand across my back. It was apparently reduced to tatters. Quickly I wrapped the blanket around me and stood in the center of the room.

            "What brings you out this far?" He asked as he pulled another bowl from a cupboard. He filled it with stew and set it across from his bowl. His accent was so slight it almost wasn't there.

            "I'm not sure." I stated as I sat across from him. Once he started to eat again I tucked into the food. It was better than expected. Not quite as bland as I thought it would be. Flavor exploded on my tongue on the second bite and a strange meat that tasted delicious.

            "Not sure?" He asked, eyeing me closely.

            Now see… this is one of the parts I hated most about realm hopping. You had to fabricate a back story. And I wasn't all that creative. So should I just go with amnesia? Probably.

            "Honestly?" I replied as I gazed back at him, refusing to blink or look away. "I can't remember. I just… snow and cold." I shrugged and took another bite.

            "You have a name?" His tone was cautious. Normally I would have given him the name I'd gone by on Palaven. Though something told me that Nitana was not a good name for this place. Surely something more along the lines of Rachel or Miranda would fit better.

            "I…" slightly shaking my head, best to pretend I didn't have one, "don't know."

            He nodded as if I gave the right answer. "Fair enough." He glanced toward a window. "Its getting late, you'll start work in the morning. I warn you, I'll work you hard."

            Phrasing. I almost giggled at him but somehow managed to stop in time. "I would expect no less, sir."

            Ah… military life. Sir and Ma'am drilled into your every waking being.

            He grunted, "Name's Stefan. No need to call me sir just cause you're an elf."

            Confusion wound through me, why exactly would I call him sir because my ears were pointed?

            "Of course, si-Stefan."

            "You can take the bed." So he wasn't racist after all. I would have thought he give me the floor. "I'll wake you when it's time to start."

 

Stefan did not lie, he worked me very hard. Soon the snow melted and spring took root. A garden was planted and occasionally Stefan would leave me alone for days at a time. I gained his trust and he allowed me to stay.

            He showed me how to do many things, from riding and shoeing a horse to shooting a bow. He taught me how to skin an animal and to set snares for rabbits. It wasn't very often but he would come home with a strange deer like creature. I learned to preserve meat and how to live off the land. I felt very much like a pioneer.

            I think he liked the company. Still I didn't know where I was, it seemed strange to ask. How would I know if I couldn't remember anything?

            He gave me a name, something he debated on long and hard. Finally he settled on Luna. He blushed slightly when he gave it to me but stated that it fit my pale appearance. It did. Once, when I said I couldn't remember how I looked, he took me to a lake that was nearby.

            It was… disturbing. My hair, I knew was silver blonde, but I wasn't aware of my features or the color of my eyes. Everything was pale. My skin never darkened even though I worked every day in the sun next to Stefan. My eyes were a pale blue. Stefan compared them to the ice in the south, on mountain tops that were forever covered in snow. I had high cheek bones and a straight petite nose. A steep cupid's bow claimed my upper lip and a full lower lip completed the picture. I was stunning, and it scared me. A face like mine drew attention, and I didn't like attention.

            Summer replaced spring and he celebrated a particular day he called Summerday. It was marked by a larger than normal dinner and music. Something that he rarely did. He pulled out a small flute and played several songs, his fingers nimble across the instrument.

            The holiday was… strangely familiar but I couldn't remember specifically where it was from. It was so generic it could have come from anywhere.

            Then war came. It didn't spill into our household like it had so many others. Stefan heard of it while visiting the local village for supplies. That's when he taught me hand to hand combat. But I already knew. I wiped the floor with him, sort of. My body didn't move like it had while I was a Turian. I was limited, and my punches lacked the power they normally had. But he didn't beat me.

            "Where'd you learn that?" He asked as I helped him up.

            I smiled sadly down at him, "I don't-"

            "Remember." He nodded and laughed, "Well Luna you'll just have to keep me safe."

            He wrapped his arms around me and planted a kiss on the top of my head. I would. I would keep him safe forever. Stefan was a good man, a kind man. He took me in, gave me a home and something to look forward to everyday.

 

Stefan opened the door and walked inside. I had a chunk of boar roasting over the fire and mashed potatoes waiting for him.

            "We've to go somewhere." He couldn't meet my gaze.

            "Oh?" I raised an eyebrow and crossed the room toward him. "Where are we going?" It was the first time he told me I had to go somewhere. Other times it was an offer, would you like to join me or I'm headed into town, care to go for a ride not 'we have to go'. Like it was an obligation.

            "I've been called," he still wouldn't meet my gaze. "It isn't safe for you here, not with me gone." His tone was pleading. If he, who knew the extent of my capabilities, was insisting that it wasn't safe, something was seriously wrong.

            "Where are we going?"

            "That's it?" He looked at me finally. "No argument?" A smile pulled the corner of his lips.

            Several years of Military service drilled into me did not allow for arguments against orders. I followed and obeyed. At least… I had. Somethings were difficult to shake.

            "You wouldn't tell me to go unless it was important."

            He sighed, "I thought I was going to have to tie you up and drag you."

            "Oh no…" I smiled wickedly at him. "You could tie me up for different reasons though."

            A smile that matched mine split his face and I let out a squeal of delight as he threw me over his shoulder.

 

I woke early the next morning. A quiet hiss slipped through my teeth. I couldn't remember my dreams, but they woke me often and when they did there was a fine sheen of sweat that coated my skin. Whatever my dreams were, they scared the living day lights out of me.

            Stefan lay next to me still, his body partially wrapped around mine. I flipped his arm off my bare stomach and started to dress.

            "Luna." He whispered as I stood, stomping my feet into their proper position inside the boots. They didn't fit very well but what could I expect.

            "Yes?" I turned to look at him. His brown eyes full of an emotion I didn't want to put a name too. I'd tarried too long here, I should have moved on long before but now… Now I didn't want to.

            "Promise me you'll stay safe." He looked very worried.

            "You're scaring me slightly." I chuckled as I moved back toward the bed and him.

            "Promise." He insisted.

            I blinked and regarded him evenly, "Alright, I promise. Now, what is this all about?"

            "There are talks of peace." He looked away, I didn't often inquire about what was going on in the world. I didn't want to know, because I if I know me—and I did—my stupid bleeding heart would make me do something stupid. "My old life has caught up with me and one of my Order has come forward asking that I attend to ensure the safety of the Divine."

            Divine?

            Again, that word niggled the back of my brain. Such a common word but… I had no idea what to do with it. So familiar but so strange. I felt that I should know what these things meant and I was angry that I didn't.

            "Very well, so let's go make the Divine safe."

            We didn't speak much after that. Most of it was dressing and quiet touches. Something had spooked the man and that spooked me. He was reserved and strong, not someone that shied easily away from obligation.

            He pulled out a new set of clothes and handed them to me. Leather, soft and supple under my fingertips. It was a very pale color. I knew it would have reminded him of me, everything about me was pale.

            Armor. It was armor and it fit perfectly. Meaning that he had it crafted specifically for me.

            "Here."

            I looked at him. I was fumbling with the ties for the chest piece. The pants were easy to put on, but the chest was different. It had no sleeves and cut to a 'v' shape that stopped just after the valley between my breasts. A bright blue jewel held the pieces together along with the ties. The one's that I'd been struggling with. It parted after that, flaring wide at my hips and hanging down to my knees. It would protect my back from most damage that people would inflict upon me.

            He tugged and straightened until it sat comfortably upon my shoulders. I smiled up at him and pressed a kiss to the palm of his hand.

            I slung my bow over my shoulder and tied a dagger to the small of my back. I learned that I was fast, light on my feet and not very durable when it came to taking blows. It made for poor tanking, but I was a helluva rogue.

            "How long will we be traveling?"

            "The peace talks are in little over a month." Stefan answered, "All of my Order have been issued a command to attend." He pulled a sword I'd never seen before from a section of the floor he removed moments before. A shield followed. The heralding on it looked very familiar. It looked like a two headed griffon with its wings spread wide. "The trip itself should take no more than two weeks by horse."

            I nodded slowly. There were so many things about this place that were eerily familiar and it was starting to tick me off that I hadn't figured it out yet. It felt like I had lived this life before, walking these paths and known things about this place.

            And I'd forgotten. Truly forgotten. Had I always traveled the realms? Or was it just my luck to meet that guy… what was his name…?

            "Alright." I forced a smile on my face. He did not seem very happy. Like this trip was something that should have been avoided and he didn't make the right moves to do so. "What say we get going?"

Chapter Text

Stefan left me alone for the first part of the morning. He wanted to get supplies for the trip south. How far south we were going I wasn't sure exactly but again, I didn't bother to ask. Somehow it felt like if I did and popped the little bubble I was in, something horrible was going to happen.

            I hadn't had any place to call home for a very long time. First I was in the military so I went where I was ordered. After I served I lived on the Citadel for a while but there were too many people and not enough places to go to get away from them. So I did what I always did, I left.

            So now that I'd found a place that was peaceful I wasn't ready to lose it. We'd go and protect this Divine character and then come right back here to our little log cabin.

            First though… I'm glad Stefan gave me a little time in the morning. I'd feigned wanting to take the snares down so the small animals we left behind wouldn't die for nothing. But I had other plans.

            Things were getting ready to go sideways, I could feel it in my gut and I was about to do something so monumentally stupid I should get an award. It felt inevitable, that despite my desire to return here something would happen, a wrench in the gears, and I'd be stuck out there with a bow and a dagger. Not really all that helpful.

            I was headed back to my little ship. I'd left something behind that shouldn't be left here. And damn it, sometimes I could be responsible; it was like pulling teeth though.

            It didn't take long until I found the area. I'd hovered for half a year here, since the war began. Yeah I had my different fighting styles under my belt, those I'd learned on Earth and those that I learned in the 22nd century. But there was something that the ship could offer that would help me in this place.

            But it might give me cancer or possibly nothing happen at all. There was roughly a two percent chance that I'd get the outcome I wanted. And the fact that I had no idea how it would interact with elf DNA.

            The ship was covered in branches and leaves until it was disguised enough that the odd passerby wouldn't instantly recognize it. It helped that the paint had mostly burned off during entry and exposure to the elements dulled the metal in some places and rusted in others. Something pinged inside me, almost as if I missed the ship.

            Shrugging off the feeling I pushed forward and dug through until I found what I wanted. Thankfully I'd never been one to second guess a decision once it was made. I committed and then agonized about it but did it anyway. That piece of my character allowed me to open the container and look at the blue glowing cylinder.

            Using my teeth I pulled the glove of my left hand and allowed it to touch my bare skin. It was mostly depleted and barely held a glow in its core. It couldn't do much damage in this state.  

            Yeah, I'm stupid. But it didn't stop me from sliding the crystal chunk back into its home and shoving it into my pack. I couldn't just leave it here.

 

The trip took a little longer than two weeks. Almost three if I was brutally honest, which I normally was. The farther we traveled the more I felt as if I knew this place, like I'd lived here during some long lost dream.

            But that was impossible, right? I'd grown up on Earth, born during the late 80s. Graduated from high school. I had memories of being in kindergarten. There was absolutely no way I could have lived here.

            Right?

            "We are getting close." Stefan stood up in his stirrups. Mac, his horse, let out a long breath of air and shifted under him. Mac was a steady beast who could always be relied upon to keep a level head, no matter the situation. My own horse, Nelly, was a small mare. She had a little wild streak and I loved the hell out of it. She kept me on my toes. "I will go straight to the Temple."

            "You want me to go with-"

            "No." He shook his head quickly, "Why don't you head into town and get us a room at the inn?"

            I blinked twice at him before ducking my head once. This was becoming a habit and I certainly didn't approve. While I may have chosen to remain with him and try to make a life at his side, he most certainly didn't get to dictate what I did. No one did, not since I got off Palaven.

            "Right." I bit out the word and spun Nelly in a half circle. I dropped one hand off the reins. She bolted into action, breaking into a gallop that could eat miles. My name fell from his lips but I was angry. Yes I had hidden things from him, but those things had no impact on this life. Telling him would only serve one purpose. Prove how crazy I was. He would never believe that I didn't come from this reality. Everything that impacted his life I told him. Including my abilities and my strategical knowledge.

            Here he was, keeping secrets. I was not a woman who was fond of secrets. Well, all I could do was stand next to him, hoping he told me eventually. Or walk away. I'd done it before I could do it again.

            The village came into view less than an hour later. It was larger than expected. A fence made from trees jutted up into the air, the end pointed. From atop my hill view advantage I saw there were multiple levels to the village. At the center of it a large chapel like structure stood tall and proud. People milled about as if there was not a care in the world.

            Nelly took us closer, dropping down to a trot. She snorted and stepped sideways. She bucked and spun in a quick circle. She was sensing my agitation. For her sake I pushed past it and allowed it to fall from me like rain from the sky. She spun once more before calming.

            Once we were outside the gates I got off and looked around for the stables. Seeing none I tied her off to a tree, making sure she had enough slack to munch on the grass growing under foot. Snow still clung to the ground in places.

            I took the saddle off and put it on a fallen log. She didn't need to bear the burden anymore. I rifled through the saddle bags until I found my cloak. It was a deep red. I liked things of color, the more color the better.

            "Now, you stay here and be a good girl." I patted the side of her neck before emerging from the trees and walking toward the village proper. I'd find us a room and then see if there was anything I could do to help around the village. Most humans didn't appreciate elves just hanging around. Stefan insisted that we were normally segregated into an alienage or simply wandered around.

            For now though I just kept my hood up. If people couldn't see my ears they assumed I was a small human. I made my way through the throng of people. The stench here was like nothing I'd ever smelled before. It smelled like wet dog and human despair. Not a good combination.

            A building came into view, the sign one of a maiden singing. It was aptly named The Singing Maiden. I raised a brow at that but wandered inside none the less. This was familiar, so familiar I felt like I was moments from being slapped with the revelation of where I was.

            "Welcome to the Singing Maiden." Someone chirped out from behind the counter, "What can I get you today."

            Forcing a smile on my face I turned to her, "You wouldn't happen to have a room available by chance?"

            Her face fell a little, "No, not since word of the Conclave spread. People have been showing up all over to see the Temple of Sacred Ashes and bear witness to what the Divine desires to accomplish."

            "Conclave?" I whispered, the smile frozen on my lips. What exactly was the purpose of this Conclave. Temple of Sacred Ashes? Now that I knew. Would know it anywhere. How often had I submerged myself into this world? "How wonderful."

            I was in Thedas. And if I wasn't mistaken—

            A shock wave rocked over the building. It felt like thunder with no sound, just a sense of pressure one second and gone the next. Screams pierced the air around us, desperate cries to the Maker. Sounds of moving metal followed closely to the screams.

            "Maker!" The woman behind the bar breathed, "What was that?"

            Spinning I rushed toward the door and threw it open. My jaw hung low as I stared up into the sky. There was no missing the giant tear among the blue. A garish green color swirled 'round and 'round itself, ripping chunks of rock into the air only to throw them down moments later. Smaller chunks drifted still, not heavy enough to be cast from the gravitation force of the mass in the air.

            "Son of a-" I broke off as more soldiers rushed past me. A woman stood upon a wall and shouted orders.

            She was familiar too.

            Another woman in purple with red hair brushed past me.

            "Leliana?" I gasped, quickly snapping my mouth shut.

            And then I remembered where I'd seen the crest on Stefan's shield before. It was the mark of a Gray Warden. Quickly I rushed past the growing crowd and follow the Soldiers out of the village. Many of them were already making their way up the valley toward the Temple.

            The Temple was no longer part of this world. I could see smoke rising in the distance. If many of the cries were correct, the odd object hanging in the sky was… well it was over the Temple. And if I felt the force of the explosion from here?

            Stefan was gone along with everyone else and the Temple itself. The explosion felt like something from a Thanix gun, the ones that the Normandy had. There was no way that temple was still standing.

            My heart hurt for him. He was a good man and did not deserve this fate. There was no time to mourn right now so I shoved it to the side. Now I needed to help these people. Because despite everything that's who I'd been for as long as I could remember.

            Me and my bleeding heart.

 

I wiped the dust off of my forehead. It didn't matter; the soot clung to me and shone like a beacon against my pale skin. It coated my hair and every other part of me it could touch. It was disgusting. I was positive it was remnants of the humans in the area. Several bodies were left behind but those were burnt to a crisp. A single touch reduced them to ash.

            Adjusting the scrap of cloth over my face I continued to observe the sight below me. It'd been a day since the explosion and they'd recovered one body so far. Well… one live body so far. The only one to make it out of here breathing and the soldiers were saying that she stepped out of the fade itself, with a glowing woman behind her. Or figure, though many were leaning toward woman and that said woman was Andraste herself.

            They were starting to call the survivor the cause of the problem. She may have been, she was the only one to walk away from this whole situation. But I had a feeling that this world was going to face things far worse than one elven woman with a strange mark on her hand.

            And then the demons came. At first it was just a few, nothing that the soldiers couldn't handle. Until they were pouring out from the Breach and down the mountain. It was all we could do to keep them contained.

            "Move!" I shouted as I planted both feet against a demon and shoved it sideways. "If you can't keep your eyes open get the fuck of my field!"

            Spinning I dropped to a knee and loosed a volley of arrows before slinging the bow over my shoulder and gripping my dagger. Slowly, methodically I cut them down, one after another. This was no different than fighting the husks on Eden Prime or on Virmire. They were near mindless creatures with only one goal in mind. Kill. So I just had to eliminate them first.

            The human shot me an angry look and skidded past me toward the horde of demons waiting on the other side of the ridge.

            "You stupid fuck!" I screamed as I followed him. My fingers twined 'round his collar and I jerked him back. "We are retreating, so get your ass down the mountain!"

            A burning sensation filled my whole world. It radiated from a single line that swept horizontally across my back. It then multiplied into five. I let loose a wail of pain before spinning and ending the demon that did this to me.

            The pain took over and sent me under.

 

I was surprised I was awake. Or… should I be surprised I was alive? You couldn't wake up dead, so… I shrugged and started to move. Pain filled me again and I let out a hiss.

            "It would be wise to remain still." A clipped voice called out. I jerked my head up and looked around. Bars lined my view.

            "Where am I?"

            "Under the chantry," the voice called again. It was definitely male, pompous and full of themselves. Ugh. "Lucky to be alive from the tales the men are telling."

            "Lies, the lot of them." I grunted out as I rolled onto my feet. Pain rippled across my back, "That's going to be a massive scar."

            Well if I couldn't have tattoos, might as well have scars that told my stories.

            "Which? That you are lucky to be alive? Or you are under the Chantry?"

            "What? Not the bit about remaining still?" I chuckled and leaned against the bars. "Is that the survivor?"

            She had hair the color of midnight and gold skin. She was the kind of elf who traveled. Now I knew what she was. The Vallaslin covering her face marked her for Andruil. I could see the design of the bow from here.

            "Remaining still would be to your benefit." The voice called. I saw a form moving just beyond the torch light. It was hard to miss the pointed ears. "That is not a lie."

            "Is it just cause you said it, hahren?" I jabbed, a grin splitting my face. No I was not fluent in elf but play the game enough—especially the bits that included the Dalish—and you pick up a few things. His head jerked up and I caught a faint glistening. "What's up with the eyes?" I asked quietly. They burned brightly in the dark, like animal eyes.

            They narrowed and he did not bother to answer that particular question. "Cassandra will desire to speak with you." It was strange but… I felt like I saw recognition in his eyes.

            "Pentaghast?" Too late I realized I should have kept my mouth shut.

            His gaze met mine again, "You know of her?"

            "Sure, like… 13th in line for the Nevarran throne right? Hand of the Divine and all that jazz?"

            "Jazz?"

            Son of a… can't keep my mouth shut. "A branch of music where I come from." There, not a lie but just vague enough I might be let off the hook. "Have we found anyone else alive?" My throat clenched slightly. Stefan was almost assuredly gone. He'd been at the temple when it'd gone off, or he would have found me by now.

            The man's gaze softened. "No." His voice was quiet, "Did you know anyone that was at the Conclave?"

            "Just one." I breathed, "And I'm sure he is dead now." Alright, this man was freaking me out. His softened gaze hardened at the mention of 'he'. Whatever, men get territorial over nothing and everything near them.

            No point in going back to the cabin now. I'd turn to looking for a way home. The only place to look was down the magical path, and I did not have access to magic. So, Tevinter was probably the best bet for me. Mages there weren't shackled like they were in the south.

            Only problem was, I'm an elf and elves to them are slaves. Just ask Fenris, or Leto… I'm pretty sure he still goes by Fenris. If he was alive. Oh man maybe I could talk him into going with me to Tevinter. He'd possibly be down to free the slaves and start a mass of shit. I wasn't good with slavery, I was a slave to no man. So I was basically fucked.

            "Lovely." I sighed and spun to slide down the bars, "I don't suppose you have the key to let me out?"

            A mirthless chuckle met my ears, "They would not entrust a key to your cell to one such as me."

            "'Such as me'." I mocked, "Who talks like that."

            "One such as me."

            I let out a cough giggle thing, "Well… someone's certainly a smart ass."

            "Thank you."

            "Solas." Someone interrupted, "What have you discovered?" A woman.

            I was on my feet in an instant and pressed against the bars. Cassandra. It had to be her. No one else would walk like they owned the place and have the crest of the Seekers on their breast plate.

            She spared no glance in my direction and had eyes only for this Solas character. He stepped from the cell and I saw a faint dusting of brown on the top of his otherwise completely shaven head. Someone hadn't the time for their normal beauty routine. Dark circles clung under his eyes and he gave a tired sigh.

            He was tall, far taller than any elf I'd ever encountered. Other than Fenris. Someone put something in that boy's food to make him grow big and tall. And not even Fenris held a candle to this man. He had wide shoulders and a butt chin. I snickered at that. Butt chin.

            There were three piercing holes in each ear, though there were no rings hanging from them. His aura screamed he was a man used to being in charge though he played a meek man like no one else could. In short, this man was utterly dangerous and I think I might just be in love with him.

            A shiver ran down my spine when his ocean blue eyes swept toward me.

            A smile, slow and seductive spread over my face. Many people underestimated me just because of my looks. He looked entranced for just a moment before he blinked and turned to Cassandra.

            "There is still no change and I am unable to determine what the purpose of the mark on her is." His brows pinched down slightly, as if he was thinking deeply. "However it is quite obvious that it is connected to the Breach, it grows as the tear in the veil grows."

            Well… wasn't he just full of useful information?

            "You are an expert in the fade are you not?" Cassandra asked harshly, "Surely you know something of the events that took place."

            "I have told you all I know, Seeker." Solas drawled. Or at least it sounded like a drawl to me. To Cassandra it appeared to be something else entirely. "An expert in the fade I may be, however this is unlike anything I have previously encountered."  

            Cassandra let out a half growl and paced back and forth. "Find something Solas." She barked. The 'or else' was left unsaid. Though it was heavily implied.

            "Cassandra…" I called out softly.

            Her sharp gaze swept to me. "Ah, the other prisoner is awake." She dismissed Solas and walked toward me, "What is your purpose here?"

            "I traveled here with a man." Bluntly honest, see? "He was summoned here to ensure the safety of the Divine." I hid my smile, "It seems he was unsuccessful."

            "You would joke about this?" Cassandra truly growled now. Her hand drifted toward the handle of her sword.

            "This is no laughing matter." Solas assured behind her.

            "No," I agreed, "there is nothing to scoff at. The veil is torn and I bet the demon population is steadily increasing."

            "Do you know anything of what happened?"

            "I am but a humble elf." Maybe not humble per say but I had absolutely nothing to do with this. "If you doubt this ask the tavern maid. I was in her establishment when the Breach appeared." See, my tone said, I am harmless, let me go free.

            Cassandra's eyes narrowed, "We shall see."

            She stormed from the room. Solas watched for a long moment after before he followed her out the door.

            "Solas!" I called after him. He didn't turn but his head tilted slightly in my direction. "How convenient that a fade expert happens to be close by when the fade threatens to spill into this world."

            He tensed and looked at me fully, "What would you know of it?"

            "In my experience nothing is coincidence." His gaze turned burning and I pushed farther into the bars, "Want to know a secret?" I hissed at him. His eyes flashed once, desire for knowledge hidden in their depth.

            Deliberately he took a step away from me and vanished down the hallway after the Seeker. Too bad he'd given up one of his cards. I didn't have a secret I was willing to share with him. But now I'd piqued his curiosity.

            I slumped against the bars, wincing when the wounds on my back pulled tight.

 

"What is your name?"

            I jolted awake, letting out a groan of pain when I bolted upright. My back was worse than it had been the day before. I'm assuming it was the day before. There was no light in the depth of this building. The woman muttered constantly in her sleep. Talking of eyes and things hidden in the dark.

            It was not conductive for my sleep.

            Slowly I twisted to look at the person speaking to me. Leliana stood on the other side of the cell. If anyone had the key to my cage, this woman would. Or she could pick the lock. I would have but… they were very thorough in searching me.

            "Luna."

            "What is your purpose here in Haven?"

            "I followed a man named Stefan, according to him he was here to protect the Divine."

            Leliana's eyes flashed.

            "How do you know my name?"

            Ah… so she had heard me the other day.

            "How does one not know of the beauty named Leliana?" I asked, twisting her words. "You served under the Divine as did Cassandra. You once walked with-" I broke off quickly, "the Warden." Damn it, I was not suited for lies. "You saved the world from the fifth blight."

            "Not many knew of my involvement with him." Leliana stepped closer, "How do you?"

            Not… known? Didn't all of Feralden praise the Warden—a male apparently—and his friends that saved the world?

            Stefan was dead; there was no one to nay say my story now. No one to tell that I had no memory of this world. Should I spin a tale like Varric would? Or should I skirt the truth as much as possible?

            "Before you think of lying…" Leliana trailed off and pulled a stone from her pocket. "My hair is purple." It let off a brilliant blue glow before fading out. "My hair is red." It did not glow this time.

            I licked my lips. This changed things. Apparently Thedas had lie detector magic. Well there was certainly nothing like that in the games. Would have made them a helluva lot easier. "Do you have a chair?" I asked. She raised a brow in question, "It is a long story, one that you will not believe but better to tell the truth than lie and die for it." She motioned for me to start, "Very well… but do not say I didn't warn you."

            So I told her. Every word. How I started on Earth and found a man in a bar. He was rumored to be a Fae. A creature native to Underhill, a parallel world to Earth that was connected via portals. They would often come to our realm. I told her how I struck a deal with him, of how I was bored of my existence. He promised me that upon my death I would be transported to a different world, one where I would have an exciting life, never to return to my own. I had my doubts about the returning part but maybe there was a kernel of truth, because I hadn't been able too.

            I then told her of how I died hours later. A knife to the gut, and pulled my leather chest piece to the side to show the thin silver line just under my heart. "He wanted the paper in my wallet, I didn't have much but it didn't matter to him." Her eyes never wavered from mine, and the stone stayed dark through it all. I told her of how I woke in a place that was futuristic and of my travels there. How I flew among the stars in a ship. Of the different species that dotted the universe. I told her of the cycle that the Reapers went through and how I came to be here.

            "I lived in the cabin with Stefan for almost a year." I whispered, "And one day he came home, unhappy but determined. So we came here. We argued. That was the last time I saw him."

            "Why was he summoned?"

            I blinked at Leliana. I told Cassandra why, did she not tell Leliana? "To protect the Divine. He said that orders had gone out to those in his Order and he was to attend. He sounded like it was out of the norm but he didn't make a big fuss over it. He told me it wasn't safe for me so I went with him to appease him."

            "And what was his order?"

            "He never specifically said but…" I remembered the griffons on his shield. "In peace, vigilance. In war, victory. In death, sacrifice."

            Leliana's eyes widened and she shook her head. "The Gray Wardens were not supposed to be there."

            I shrugged at her, "Their mark was upon his shield. I don't know what else to tell you."

            A key appeared in the palm of her hand, "You would do well to keep your origins to yourself, Luna." She worked quickly to open the cell, "If not for the stone I would have you sent to Val Royeaux for trail. As it is…" she shook her head, "it is unbelievable."

            "What now?" I asked quietly as I stepped from my cage.

            Leliana looked at me for a long moment before she lifted a single shoulder, "It is not for me to decide. Your life is your own."

            "I will stay…" I decided, not like I had anywhere else to go. "And help in any way I can."

            "Good." Leliana nodded, "We could use someone with your experience."

            It seemed that I was cursed with an exciting life, never to be bored for a moment. Sometimes I wished I had stayed in New Orleans and kept my job as a bartender. But that wouldn't have been very fun now… would it?

Chapter Text

My personal effects were returned to me, and I was to travel with Varric—I squealed like a fan girl and yes his chest hair was magnificent—and this Solas character up the mountain. My job was to make sure they survived and take in everything that happened. I was to report my findings to Leliana as soon as we returned to Haven.

            Maybe I'd take the time to see if my little experiment went the way I wanted it too. I wasn't covered in cancerous boils so I was hopeful it either did what I wanted it to do, or it did nothing. I liked being alive, it was fun. Food was good, jokes hilarious, plus there was… other things that shouldn't be mentioned in polite company.

            Varric wasn't polite company but Solas seemed delicate as we jogged through knee deep snow.

            So far all I'd seen was the ass end of a rift as the three of us struggled to keep things in check. Solas wanted to take readings from the Breach but that was out of the question. The farther up the mountain we went the more demons we encountered the more likely we weren't going to make it back. I had no desire to die and wake up in Skyrim. Because that's what my luck was looking like right now.

            "Down!" I shouted as I threw my dagger at a despair demon. Its stupid beam of ice trying to pin Varric against a rock. The thing had to break its focus on the dwarf and go after me. It threw itself sideways, spinning in the air before it settled again. Its hands came together and it looked like it was about to start the ray of death again but it fell to the ground.

            I smirked at the sight, a bolt stuck out of the back of its head. "Thanks Ghost." I snorted at the name. I didn't know if it was because I was white as shit, or if I moved quietly. Either way I absolutely adored the fact that I had a nickname.

            "Impressive." Solas stated, "Why not use your magic?" He pulled a flask from his hip and drank deeply. The wave of demons had abated for the moment.

            I blinked at him, "I don't have any." What a stupid thing to insinuate. I didn't want magic, I wanted my biotics back. I wanted to be able to rip through shit like it was paper, not… whatever it was he was doing with that staff.

            I didn't want to learn a whole new fighting style and memorize dozens of spells. I wanted to fling my hand out and throw up a singularity, or throw someone a hundred feet away from me. Shock wave as a particular favorite of mine.

            "You do." He argued, his brow furrowing.

            "Like hell I do." I snarled, "I think I would know if I had magic." Was it the biotics he was sensing? Did I dare try them out with him around? Stupid I may be but that sounded like it was border lining imbecilic.

            "Hell?" Came from the side but I ignored it for now and continued to glare at Solas. If I had magic then he would fart a rainbow with a pot of gold at the end.

            "It has never manifested?" He pressed, "How unusual." He took several steps toward me before the rift exploded and demons fell through again.

            "Thank fuck." I whispered as I threw myself into the fray. Last thing I needed was a suspicious character taking more of an interest in me. Handsome and dangerous he may be but my life was exciting enough at the moment.

 

"Quickly! Before more come through!"

            Those words ripped me from my trance. Fighting demons was easy and it allowed my mind to drift. But Solas pulled me from it. Tuning back into reality I saw that the survivor had made it up to the rift. Solas had a tight hold on her arm and from my position I saw a look of pure hatred on his face. It robbed me of my breath and chilled me to my core.

            Why did he look at her with such malice? According to him he had never seen her before and he even struggled to keep her alive and stabilize the mark on her palm. So why?

            I blinked and his face transformed. The dark haired elf was looking at him now, confusion written all over her face. The rift was closed and now that everyone in the vicinity was watching he looked serene.

            "What did you do?" She asked quietly taking several step away from him. Smart girl. A large sword was strapped to her back and she was rippling with muscle. So the woman was a natural fighter. Good, we'd need that before the end.

            "I did nothing." He stated and took a step sideways, "The credit is yours."

            "So I can help." The woman looked at her left palm, flexing her fingers as if she were banishing the last remnants of pain.

            "Good to know," Varric spoke as he strode forward. "And here I'd thought we'd be ass deep in demons forever." He smiled at the woman and she relaxed almost instantly. "Varric Tethras, rogue, story teller and occasional unwelcome tag along." He directed a wink in Cassandra's direction.

            "Are you with the Chantry?" She asked, innocence written across her face. Oh how I adored her already.

            A snort erupted from Solas in the form of a chuckle, "Is that a serious question?"

            I glared at him hard. "Would she ask if it wasn't?" I hissed.

            He looked at me, surprise flashing in his eyes. He blinked and it was gone. "My name is Solas, if there are to be introduction."

            The woman looked at him again and she blushed slightly. Oh no, I knew that look. She would do well to keep away from him. He screamed danger and as strong as she appeared he would break her heart. I knew his type, which is why I hadn't tried to crawl into bed with him yet.

            "There is no time." Cassandra argued, "We must get to the Breach."

            "Aptly put Seeker." Varric nodded, "We should get going."

            "Thank you, but no." Cassandra shook her head.

            "Have you seen the valley recently?" He asked, turning to look at her. "You're men aren't in control anymore. Bianca and I will be good company." He patted his crossbow fondly.

            "He's right Cassandra." I stated as I wiped off the blade of my dagger. "Besides there isn't much time."

            As if to punctuate my words the Breach flashed and grew. Pain swallowed up the survivor's eyes and she let out a little gasp.

            I strode forward and pushed a vial into her hands, "It will help with the pain." Leliana had given me a few for my back before she sent me off to do her bidding.

            "Thank you…?" She trailed off and looked down at me.

            A smile crinkled the corner of my eyes, "Luna."

            An answering smile lit up her face and made her green eyes sparkle. "Ellana Lavellan."

            "It is a pleasure."

            She popped the cork and took the potion before handing the empty vial back to me. An instant sigh of relief coursed through her. "Thank you Luna."

            I nodded my head before darting off. Some of my stamina as a Turian stayed with me to this day. I could go farther than an elf normally would and I was slightly stronger. My flexibility was less though I was about to put myself through the ringer when we got back to Haven. I hadn't gone full out in a fight since I got here, afraid to hurt Stefan.

            That was no longer an issue. And if I had my stamina, it made me wonder what else came with me through the relay.

 

We moved into the Temple with the soldiers. Ellana was a direct and to the point kind of woman. If we could save lives by getting straight to the problem then that is what she was going to do. I seriously thought she was going to run that Roderick guy through and just thinking about it made my day.

            Thank Bob I hadn't run into the guy before now. But then again if I had he wouldn't be calling for my execution. I was a nobody, despite my inability to shrink into the background.

            It seemed that Thedas was home to gorgeous men. Moments after Ellana closed the rift a tall drink of water approached us—who looked suspiciously familiar—and gave thanks to Cassandra for closing the rift. Cassandra deferred to Ellana. Cullen—panty dropping Cullen—had watched her closely and she flushed under his gaze.

            That one I would fall into bed without a second thought. Blonde, peach colored skin and honey eyes? He looked like a slice of apple pie just waiting to be devoured. I'm sure he saw something in my gaze because when he looked at me he blushed, much like our innocent Ellana had.

            "You've got a think for Curly?" Varric asked as Leliana directed her scouts to surround the temple.

            I raised a brow at him, "He's handsome."

            Varric let out a laugh, "Yeah, the women in Kirkwall thought the same thing."

            "Well then, they were smart women." I patted his back as we paced across the ground. The Breach hung heavily in the air above us. We were waiting for Ellana to gather her strength so she could open and then close it. Solas insisted that something would come through. It was our job to dispatch it as quickly as possible so she could close the Breach once and for all.

            "Luna?" Leliana called out. I jogged over to her, "Report."

            "Watch Solas." Probably not what she meant but screaming instincts were difficult to ignore.

            Her eyes narrowed, "Why?"

            "There is…" I let out a frustrated noise. "It is too convenient that he's here, isn't it? A problem with the veil and poof you've got a fade expert on your hands hours after it pops up? No, I don't buy it." I would keep the look he gave Ellana a secret, for now. I needed to know what he was up to before I gave up that little tidbit of information.  

            She nodded, "I thought much the same." I was impressed when she didn't look in his direction. "I have my people looking into it, keep an eye on him for now."

            I flashed her a grin, "Consider it done."

            A demon, larger than life, swirled through the rift before it took corporeal form. "Pride demon." Leliana hissed, "Stop it from getting to the survivor."

            I nodded once before I exploded into action. Arrows flew from my fingertips as I ran at the thing. A scream of pure determination pierced the area around me. The demon let loose a roar of its own before it turned toward me. I put on a burst of speed and dashed between its legs, dagger flashing through the air.

            My blade bounced off of its ankle as a yellow barrier rippled over its skin. How I wished for my biotics all over again. But if it hadn't been smart to do it with just Varric and the bald elf around it was not safe to do it now with dozens of men and women fighting against the thing right alongside me.

            "Cheater." I bit out as it spun to follow me.

            Cassandra stepped forward, demanding the creature's attention. She gave me a nod. I took it as a nod of approval. Well if she approved of that wait till she saw what I had planned next.

            I always wanted to ride a Thresher Maw. But to do that I'd to have gone to Tuchanka. The Krogan there would have approved massively of me. They loved shows of strength and believe the stronger one was the more worth they held. It would have been suicide though. Wrex about laughed me off Shepard's ship when I told him what I wanted to do.

            Old bastard would have like this.

            The demon was covered in plates, much like a Krogan. They shot off in every direction, providing wonderful handholds. Steadily I climbed holding on for all I was worth.

            "Wear it down!" Cassandra shouted.

            Arrows rained down around me, bouncing of its chitin.

            "Careful!" Leliana barked when one came too close to me. I smiled and climbed faster. Adrenaline pumped through my veins, giving me a high that I hadn't felt since we outran the explosion on Virmire. That had been a helluva time.

            "The rift!" Solas cried out, "Ellana the rift!"

            My gaze spun to him and he was watching me. An unknown emotion swirled in his gaze. It looked a lot like fear to me but I had never been an expert on the human psyche. Shouldn't he be focusing on the task at hand?

            I forced my attention back to the beast under me and continued toward my destination. Right as I reached the top the yellow disappeared from around it and I dropped about an inch. I hit its bare chitin. A feral grin split my face in two, my dagger back in my hand quicker than I could blink. I screamed as I slammed it into the base of its skull.

            I didn't know demon anatomy, but I guarantee if you sever the spine of any creature it'll drop dead in an instant.

            The pride demon let out a low groan and stumbled to one side, and then another. I held on to my blade that was still buried deep in it. It felt like an eternity before it fell forward. Everyone cried out as it dropped.

            I was thrown from its back upon impact. A stiff grunt ripped through me. "Son of a… I'm going to feel that in the morning."

            "Holy shit Ghost!" Varric called out, laughter hidden in his voice, "Are you insane?"

            "Maybe?" I answered, unsure of what just happened. "It's dead right?" I lifted my head to gaze at it. If it got up I was so screwed. Its face was naught but three feet from mine and I swear I liked life enough at that moment that I didn't want to die at its massive hands.

            Varric eye's bulged, "Have you ever done anything like that before?"

            "Nope." I smiled and slapped my hand into his. It was huge and completely engulfed my own. "It was fun though." He tugged me to my feet and dusted me off.

            "Fun?" Cassandra asked as she strode forward, "I've never seen anything like that!" Her nostrils flared in what I'm assuming was anger, "It was foolish."

            "Still fun." I smiled at her, feeling the skin around my eyes crinkle slightly. Glancing past her I saw Leliana watching me. She gave me a quiet smile and I nodded at her. I had just become an asset in her eyes and my place was secured. Good, at least now I'd be fed regularly and possibly might make a difference.

            Strange how I always found myself in these positions. Shepard had found me on the Citadel working in C-Sec with Garrus. I'd been crazy enough to try and take down a Krogan. I didn't remember his name, only that he was old and fought in the Rachni wars. He had been causing problems for the council and they gave the job to me. I'd been young enough, and stupid enough to take it.

            That Krogan wiped the floor, the walls and the ceiling with me. But I walked away victorious. Shepard had been there to get information from a Quarian. She'd seen my problem and gave me a hand, no questions asked. I'd been indebted to her and followed her across the Universe.

            Until the Citadel blew up around me and Sovereign almost got us all killed. Then my life debt had been repaid and I went far away from her. She'd died after that and I missed her. Then she cropped up a year later, alive and working for Cerberus. I hadn't gotten involved. Thankfully because she went through the Omega 4 Relay which was a death sentence. Jane made it back because she was Jane. She always came back. Me? I probably would have ended up here a lot sooner if not in some MMORPG like Everquest or World of Warcraft.

            I was ripped back to the present when Ellana screamed in pain. Her body was bowed backward, her hand straight out in front of her. That acid green tether tied her to the rift that hung above us. I held my breath as she struggled.

            Shit she was just a kid. She didn't deserve any of this. She didn't look like she was a day over sixteen and yet here she was, fighting to save a world that would condemn her for the shape of her ears.

            Yeah, I'd gotten a lot of 'knife ear' over the last few days. I'm sure it's why that soldier I saved claimed I assaulted him. Fucking men.

            The soundless thunder flashed through the area around us, sending all of us stumbling backward. Ellana was not so lucky. She was thrown bodily across the Temple, cracking her head against the wall.

            Cassandra and Leliana took over from there, directing the soldiers and scouts. Some of them would be left behind to clean up any remaining demons but the rest were to head back to Haven and wait for further orders.

            That was my order as well.

            Slowly I trudged out of the temple and back down to Haven.

 

By the time I made it back to the town I was one large throbbing bruise. Solas offered a dozen or so times to heal me but I waved him off. It was my own stupidity that caused this and I would grit my teeth and bear it. Besides, I don't think I could have handled anyone touching me at that point in time.

            I went to Adan instead and got more of those numbing potions. Yeah I had my pride but I wasn't stupid. Well… I was sometimes but honestly I almost cried when Cullen clapped me on the back and offered a 'job well done'. It hurt like hell.

            After that I sought out Leliana. I had a few questions I needed to ask her. Such as what did women do for their monthly? Because if I wasn't mistaken I was about to go through that. I was kind of pissed. A Turian had something similar but it did not compare to a human's reproductive cycle. There was no cramping and there was no blood.

            Apparently elves were different than humans too because I hadn't had one before now. Did this species only have it once a year? Was it more painful because of that? I didn't know and I didn't want to find out. But I had to.  

            I found Leliana in a tent just outside the Chantry. She was giving out orders to her other people. They were to be dispatched across Thedas looking for a clue to what happened, who caused the Breach and who was responsible for the death of the Divine. They were also instructed to provide any interesting pieces of information to Leliana in the hopes that we could use it in the coming months.

            Many of them would be looking for Wardens. Stefan was quite insistent that several Gray Wardens would be in attendance, but no one saw them at all. Which we both found disconcerting.

            "Luna," she sounded distracted as she lifted different pieces of paper, "I was just about to send for you…." She marked one of the pages and folded it up before handing it to someone, "You have good intuition."

            I laughed and leaned against the main pole, "It has come in handy from time to time."

            She smiled at me, "Good, because I am assigning you to watch Ellana."

            Should have seen it coming. "Are you sure?" I asked, "If you haven't noticed I'm kind of crazy."

            "Kind of?" She joked as she rolled up another piece of paper and handed it to the last scout. "In all my days I have never seen anyone pull have of what you have in the last two days." She shook her head, "Besides, Cassandra seemed to be under the impression that Ellana was quite taken with you."

            "More like she was taken with Solas." My voice dropped and I moved closer. "I know its only been a few days, but have you heard anything?"

            Leliana shook her head, "As soon as I do you will be the first to know."

            I sighed and looked at the ceiling. "Very well."

            "He has offered his assistance." Leliana advised, "He's been quite clear on everything he has done and as far as I can tell he hasn't lied to me once." She patted her pocket where her truth stone lay. "Still though, like you I do not trust him. Get to know him, talk to him. Find out if he is hiding anything. From the way he speaks he intends to help Ellana any way possible." Her eyes searched mine.

            "He is going to travel with her." I grumbled.

            "Yes."

            "Well… that changes a few things." I muttered. "Hey, while I have you…?" She sighed and motion for me to continue. "What kind of…" I cleared my throat and jerked my head back and forth, "Oh screw it. I haven't had a period in close to eight years and apparently elves are different than humans because I've been here a year and… yeah…."

            Leliana laughed, "I'll have Josie send some things over to your house."

            "House?" I asked, "I don't have a house-"

            "You do know." Leliana smiled again, "Right next to Solas's."

            "Wonderful." I rolled my eyes and she laughed again.

 

True to her word Leliana had Josie send over many things. It included sanitary napkin for women, which were basically cotton rolled up in a thick vellum that had something like nylon like material over it. No I was not happy but it would have to do. She also included soap for both body and hair, several contraceptive potions—I didn't think I could but the potions would be used none the less—make up was also present as well as lotion and some sort of… it looked like it was meant to be exfoliating?

            I had never been a very girly girl so I didn't know what to do with half of it.

            Sighing I sat on the edge of my bed. Strange to call it that. My pod had been my home for so long and Stefan's cabin hadn't been mine though he had willingly shared it with me. This? This was no one's but mine.

            Without looking back I stood and started for the door. Might as well train if I was going to be part of something like this. I'd heard whispers of Inquisition. Which seemed to fit. Before I'd gone missing and popped up in Mass Effect I'd heard rumors of a third Dragon Age game. Maybe this was it?

            It honestly sounded like it was going to be a Holy War. Hopefully we didn't march against any one nation. That didn't seem like it would be healthy.

            Haven was larger than it had been in the first game. Which didn't surprise me, not after the Warden found the Sacred Ashes. It had become a pilgrimage for many who followed the Chant of Light and I'm assuming that there was a population explosion in Haven. Still I didn't expect it to be this large. There had only been like five huts.

            Oh well, it was what it was.

            I found myself watching the recruits in mock battles against each other. Cullen over saw them, occasionally barking out directions. He looked like he belonged here. And I was glad that he seemed to be on the right side of things now. Hopefully he could forgive mages completely. If not at least he wasn't outwardly hostile toward them anymore.

            My eyes landed on a rack of training weapons. They were made of steel but the edges were blunted. I picked out a pair carefully, testing their balance. My melee weapon had been my Omni tool for so long, and then I'd only had the one dagger. I didn't know how quickly I could move with two… maybe I should just stick to my bow?

            What I really needed was to come out here at night and do some biotic exercises. When no one was around and little prying eyes couldn't run off and tell the Templars the strange elf has crazy magic. Because they'd assume I was possessed and then I'd get dead.

            Shaking my head I approached a training dummy and started to move. At first it was slow, getting used to the feel of the blades in my hand. I started to build up, I pushed myself to go faster, to strike harder. I danced around the sack of straw, striking every second. I twisted one way and then the next.

            Rolling around it only to pop up and strike it again. I did it until I started to flag and my movements started to slow. Gritting my teeth I pushed through, it was unacceptable. I had more to give and I'd be damned if I gave up before I gave my all.

            "You continue to astound me."

            The voice broke through my concentration and I jerked to a halt. My breath came hard and fast, heart beating too quickly in my chest. I gulped down air like I'd never get enough. I gazed at him out of the corner of one eye.

            "Solas." I greeted, "What brings you down here?"

            "I've never seen someone move quite like you." Solas continued, ignoring my question. "Where did you learn to fight?"

            "Lots of different places." I shrugged and took the water skin he offered to me. I drank deeply and poured some of it over my head. I'd need a bath soon. I ached for a shower but I didn't think I'd find one in Thedas. Least of all in some backward village like Haven.

            "It seems like a poor match for you." Solas observed. He was probably right. The hand to hand combat I was practicing was Turian. It wasn't meant for humans, bodies weren't built right. I'm sure it looked clunky on a tiny elf like my current self.

            "I'm better than I look." I assured.

            "Care to put it to the test?"

            "Is that a challenge?" A smirk crossed his face and he dropped into a fighting stance, his staff twirling effortlessly in his hands.

            "Perhaps it will help you improve?"

            Oh… that was it. I gave him a stiff nod and then rushed him. He went easy for a couple turns. From the look on his face when I didn't go down easily he underestimated me. It didn't take him long to get serious about the fight.

            I broke through his guard again and again. Striking hard and fast against his clothing. He would spin away like I'd seen most mages so far fight. I didn't let him. I was hot on his heels every step of the way, blocking every blow he threw at me and pushing him back.

            He continued to up the ante, his brows furrowing in concentration. Inwardly I crowed at him and I think he saw it in my eyes because they narrowed and his entire fighting stance changed. He turned into liquid water, moving away from my blows before they could strike.

            He hit me once. Once before I shifted too. Liara had shown me how to fight like an Asari. Think that the Turian style looked clunky on an elf? You should have seen me try to move like an Asari as a Turian. I looked like a child trying to dance the tango. It hadn't been pretty.

            But I was willing to bet I looked graceful as an elf. His eyes went from narrow to wide in about two seconds flat. Three seconds later I had him flat on his back while I straddled his hips, blunted dagger to his throat.

            "Dead." I chirped as I stood and bounced away, "Care to go again?"

            He tipped his head down and this time he rushed me. He moved completely different again. Before he had been about trying to get distance, this time he was trying to get inside my guard. His staff flashed through the air almost quicker than I could follow. I still managed, blocking ninety percent of his blows. He blocked even less of mine.

            Solas almost became feral at that point, his teeth bared in a silent growl as he pushed himself farther. I just had to wait him out. Twisting I ducked and dodged his blows, the smile on my face never faltering. He twitched once, like he was flagging but I didn't trust it.

            Sure enough he started to move faster. Laughter dripped from my lips in a taunting manner.

            Quickly I dropped into a crouch and swept his legs out from under him. I pounced and straddled his hips again. "Dead." I gave him a coy smile. This man was so much more dangerous that I'd originally given him credit. "Are you trying to release some… tension?"

            It was a Turian thing. And it was a me thing.

            I bent low over him, "If you are there are… other things we could be doing." Something stirred between my legs but he gave me a death glare, "No?" I sat up and stood. "Your loss."

Chapter Text

Solas didn't follow me as I made my way back to my little house. It sat on the highest point in Haven. The Chantry stood higher, but it was a temple to their faith. I expected nothing less from them.

            My house was quaint and I got a lot of looks. Many humans were surprised that an elf had a house so close to the main part of the village. Honestly I was too and I had been wondering what happened to the original occupants. Then I realized that they probably died in the explosion. Helluva way to kill the population climb.

            I didn't give anyone the time of day. Their shifty little eyes following me and whispers about this or that. I wasn't here for them, I was here for…

            Well I didn't know why I was here but it felt inevitable that I'd end up here so I didn't see the point in running. The world was ending, or the sky was falling. It didn't matter where I went, things would be the same there too, and maybe I wouldn't have the backing of a respected individual that saw potential in me.

            I could probably set up shop somewhere as a bounty hunter, or an assassin. I'd been a sniper back in the day and killing was killing. Might as well get paid for it.

            Grunting I poured water into a clean pot and let it heat over the fire for a while. Once I was satisfied with the temperature I dumped it into the basin and started to clean the worst of the muck off of me.

            When I was finished I actually looked presentable. I took the time to clean and oil my armor and to clean my weapons. Something I learned back on Palaven. You're only as good as your gear. If your rifle stopped working in the middle of a fight? You're fucked and it was your own damned fault. Got a hole in you? Good, meant you were doing your job, now patch yourself up with some medi-gel and get back in the fight.

            Slowly I rolled my head back and forth. A knock came at the door, which surprised me. I didn't think I'd registered on anyone's radar yet and had a few days before people tried to get me to do stuff for them. Or at least, anyone important.

            When I opened the door I saw a dwarf scout on the other side. She smiled at me, "Lace Harding." She held out her hand and I raised a brow. Slowly I extended mine. She grabbed my forearm and gave a firm shake.

            "Luna." I smiled down at her, "To what do I owe the pleasure Lace?" She came up to my cheek bones. I wasn't that much taller than her.

            "Seeker Pentaghast and Sister Leliana are holding a war meeting, they've asked that you attend."

            Now that was a shock. "War meeting?"

            Lace stepped back, "I can show you the way, if you'd like?"

            I hummed an affirmative and closed the door tightly behind me. We walked in silence for a moment before Lace began to talk.

            "Did you really ride that huge demon?"

            I smirked, apparently I'd pinged on a few radars. "Yeah, always wanted to do something like that."

            "That's something that'll get you killed." Lace chuckled, "Still, better a demon than a dragon."

            My eyes nearly bulged out of their sockets. Dragons? Oh fuck me now I loved this place. I completely forgot about dragons. Hell it was called Dragon Age and you only saw like three actual high dragons in the first two games! It was such a letdown.

            "Have more of them been spotted recently?" I asked casually. Perhaps… too casually because Lace gave me a look.

            "Thinking of taming a dragon are we?"

            I laughed loudly at that, "Oh no, dragons breathe fire and I am flammable."

            We walked through the chantry and she indicated a door at the end. "That's where they are meeting," she offered another smile to me. "We should grab a drink sometime."

            "I could always use a friend." I nodded. We parted with tentative plans to get a drink at the tavern in a couple days. It was super busy right now and everyone was running around trying to save lives and put out fires. Wonder what they'd have me doing?

            I rapped my knuckles against the wood sharply and stood at attention. Commander Cullen answered the door and gave me a once over. I had the overwhelming desire to snap out a salute. "At ease Luna." Cullen chuckled, he stepped back and waved me inside.

            "Glad you could make it." Leliana greeted as she moved a candle to the corner of the table. A large map—I'm assuming of Thedas—was sprawled across its surface and little pins held it down. There were markers and I wasn't entirely sure what they represented.

            "How could I refuse such a lovely invitation?" I strode forward, "How can I be of service?"

            "We've received reports from across Thedas." Leliana indicated several black markers on the table, "My network is rife with activity. Rifts are cropping up throughout Feralden and Orlais."

            Cullen pointed to red markers, "According to my men in the field the cease fire between mages and Templars is over." He frowned and glared at the table as if he could do something from here. "We've returned to open war, and it isn't looking good for the general population."

            I grunted. Always a battle between the Templars and the mages. I understood both sides. Mages wanted to be free to live their lives, Templars just wanted to keep everyone safe. It'd been bad in Kirkwall though and if the lore was correct then there were worse Circles across Thedas.

            "Have we asked the Chantry for support?" Cassandra asked.

            I moved backward until I was pressed against the wall. I fell into a relaxed stance and waited for my orders. I was here for a purpose.

            "They have refused to acknowledge us before," my daze darted to the woman speaking. She was darker skinned with black hair and brown eyes. She was dressed in finer clothing than the rest of us, it looked like it was suited for a noblewoman's battle at court than on a battlefield. "I do not anticipate them rushing to our aid. Not with the Divine at the Maker's side."

            That's right. The Divine was the leader of the primary religion here. She was much like the Pope back on Earth. Or would have been if we were still in the Dark Ages and the Catholics reigned supreme. With her gone they would be dead in the water until they elected a new Divine. We wouldn't receive any assistance from them.

            "They must recognize the threat that we face." Cassandra insisted, her hand poking a random point on the map. "We cannot be ignored."

            The door flew open and the man named Roderick walked in. "We can." He stated as he looked at the four arguing humans in the center of the room. As an elf I was over looked, perhaps he thought I was a servant? Wouldn't be the first time. "My contacts inside the Chantry are under the impression that we are returning to Val Royeaux to elect a new Divine. As is proper."

            I scoffed. Mistake.

            Every head in the room turned to look at me. Including the two soldiers that followed Roderick into the room. Or were they Templars?

            "You have something to say, elf?"

            "Oh no." I shook my head, and then my mouth ran away from me. "I was just wondering what protocol called for running away from a threat to hide behind an old woman's skirts? Are they made of sturdy stuff that will hold demons back and stop whatever evil deeds are swirling in the air?"

            Roderick looked like he was ready to bust a vein. Particularly the one in the middle of his forehead that was pounding fiercely. Silence was broken by a dry cough. I was almost positive that the cough was a cover for laughter but I wasn't a hundred percent on that.

            "And who are you to be dictating what we should and shouldn't do?" Roderick demanded.

            "I asked her to be here." Leliana stated. Her tone held a challenge and she glared at Roderick, "Luna is correct. We do not have the luxury of retreating to elect a new Divine, we must take action while we still have time."

            "That is not for you to decide." Roderick growled.

            Cassandra let loose a feral snarl. Things were going down hill fast. "Permission to speak freely?" I asked as I gazed at Leliana. She was my commanding officer as far as I was concerned. I now knew she was the one who requested my presence and she was the reason that I was still here in Haven.

            Leliana schooled her features into a passive mask as she nodded at me. "Were you invited?" I barked at the Chantry man. Cassandra said that he was a glorified clerk and that, to me, meant that he did not have the right to speak in a place such as this.

            "How dare you question me-"

            "Were. You. Invited. To. This. Meeting." I enunciated every word just in case he couldn't understand my accent. That and he was slightly ticking me off. His jaw clenched and unclenched rapidly as he glared at me. "I will take your silence as a 'no'." I stepped forward, "If you are not here to help the situation like an adult I must request you cease and desist." I don't think I had the authority for that but I also didn't think that anyone in the room was going to argue with me when they all looked like they wanted to throw him bodily from the room.

            "You do not get to order-"

            "You heard her Chancellor." Cassandra growled through gritted teeth, "If you have nothing positive to offer please leave."

            "I beg you to see reason." Roderick's entire tone changed. Instead of the commanding one he had when he entered the room he now used a beseeching one.

            "Luna."

            I turned to face Leliana. "Yes?"

            "Please escort Chancellor Roderick to his room on the lower level."

            I almost snapped a salute again. "Right away, ma'am."

            "Return to us when you've a moment." She consulted several pieces of paper that lay scattered on a table behind her, "I've a task for you."

            "If you will follow me Chancellor?" I asked as I swept a hand out toward the door.

            Roderick was red faced and from the looks of things, utterly pissed. Ask me if I cared. Go ahead.

            He turned and all but fled from the room. His two soldier escort followed him and I followed them. Together we marched down the stairs and he barreled into his room, slamming the door shut behind him.

            I must admit it had to have stung. Being sent to your room like you were a petulant child. He shouldn't act like he was a child if he didn't wish to be treated as one.

            That taken care of I returned to the War Room and waited for my orders.

            The four of them continued to talk circles around each other. I was not meant for upper brass. I was a grunt and I was just fine with that. It'd been a bit since I'd taken orders and it went against my grain a little to do so now, but better to take orders than be starving, or worse… dead.

            Finally when they broke for the evening Leliana turned to me. "Thank you for your help." She gave me a tired smile, "It must look like we are accomplishing nothing."

            "It's early yet." I replied as the others filed from the room. "And things don't happen overnight."

            Leliana nodded. Her eyes went distant, like she wasn't in the room with me anymore.

            "What did you want me to do?" I asked quietly, pulling her back from where ever she'd gone.

            She shook herself once and looked at me, "There was an attempt on the survivor's life."

            Alarm coursed through me, "Is Ellana alright?"

            "Yes, my scouts noticed a strange man walking the streets and stopped him before he got close enough to her." She closed her eyes and pinched her nose between her fore finger and thumb. "Have you heard what they are calling her?" I remained quiet because I didn't know how to respond. "They are calling her the Herald of Andraste." She wiped a hand over her face.

            "That's…" I bit my lip, "impressive?" Leliana shot me a look. "Hey," I held up my hands in surrender, "she's an elf and from everything I've seen we aren't everyone's favorite race. I'm surprised that anyone is giving her a title connected to Andraste."

            "It seems a bit foolish, no?" Leliana asked as she rearranged the markers on the map, "Giving anyone that title." She sighed, "I was foolish once, thought that the Maker had chosen me for some great purpose."

            "You did the right thing helping the Warden. It's very likely that without you they would have never even gotten to the lands meet."

            Leliana's gaze sharpened, "How do you know that?"

            "How could I not?" I responded, not realizing the hole I was digging for myself. A grave more like.

            "No, how do you know that I helped the Warden? You weren't even here for that."

            "I… uh…" my gaze darted around the room. Shit I didn't have a good answer for that. "Does it matter?"

            "Yes."

            I rubbed a hand across the back of my neck, missing the small piece of tech that allowed me to use biotics. I had been a natural biotic but the amp increased my abilities.

            Sighing I started to speak, "Earth has… windows into other worlds." Close enough, how the hell was I supposed to describe a video game to people who didn't even have electricity? "Thousands of them, stories all being played out at the same time. They follow major events in that particular world's time line. I followed your story in Feralden." Wow this was so farfetched I didn't think that anyone would believe this.

            "Just mine?" Leliana's voice was still sharp.

            "No," I shook my head. "I followed the Champion of Kirkwall's story too." A flinch was coming, I just knew I was going to get stabbed somehow.

            "Do you know where she is?" Her tone was less sharp and held a hint of… hope?

            "Ah… no that I do not know." I forced myself to look at her. "Before I could move farther than her saving Kirkwall I died and was sent to another world."

            "This is common for Earth?"

            "Just me." I shook my head, "As far as I know, at least."

            "Would you be able to recognize others from your home?"

            I thought about it, "Perhaps, but it would depend on the situation. I would have to speak to them and see if they had knowledge they shouldn't have. But… just looking at them? No."

            Leliana sighed and sat down. Her hands were clasped before her and she glared at the ground. "So you have no knowledge of what we are facing?" I didn't say anything. Had Leliana been pinning her hopes on me somehow? That just because I was from a different world I could somehow save them all? That was a thought I didn't want to think about. "I want you to watch the survivor tonight and report any suspicious activity."

            "Yes ma'am."

 

My fingers ached as I climbed the stone wall. Leliana wanted me to stand watch and that is exactly what I intended to do. But it would help no one if I sat outside her little hut and glared at anyone who passed by. No I needed a place out of the way, somewhere no sane person would think to look.

            So that's how I ended up deciding that roof of the Chantry was the best place for me to be. I had my bow slung over my shoulder along with a quiver full of arrows. I knew the range on this bad boy and I was pretty confident that I could take out a knee cap from here. I'd even been smart enough to think of a quick way down. A rope, tied around the wooden beam that jutted past the end of the roof. When it was sun rise and time for bed I would be down in a hurry and resting before anyone knew I hadn't been asleep.

            The sun set and slowly the people on the streets of Haven made their way home. Or to the Singing Maiden. Soon the tavern quieted down as well, the candles flickering in the window until Flissa blew them out entirely and closed the shutters. I shivered slightly. It was cold here in Haven, year round.

            It was up in the mountains, so though it was approaching mid fall for the rest of Feralden, here this close to the Frostbacks it seemed we were deep into winter.

            My fingers curled around the edges of my red cloak. I now thought it was stupid of me to go for such a bright color because it stuck out in a forest capped with snow. I'd never sneak around anything dressed like this.

            A few people still walked the streets, but from their clothing they were Cullen's troops. Several of them carried torches as they patrolled the town. Boredom nearly strangled me. I stifled a yawn and forced my eyes to remain open. Imagine if I let the Herald die? That would suck and be a huge black mark for me, not to mention the rest of the world because she had the palm of destiny or some crap.

            I almost nodded off when I noticed that someone was creeping around in a different part of Haven. From their movement they had no intention of heading toward Ellana, no they were headed away from her and toward the gates.

            Strange.

            Who the hell was sneaking out at this time of night? I didn't know but I wanted too. Bad enough that I was willing to leave my post. There were soldiers outside of Ellana's door and now that one attempt had failed it was unlikely for another to follow so quickly on its heels. And Leliana did want me to watch for anything suspicious.

            If this wasn't suspicious I didn't know what was.

            Using the rope I propelled down the front of the Chantry, careful not to put a foot through one of the stained glass panels. I'd hear no end from the Sisters if I destroyed another holy site so close to the Temple's destruction.

            The last time I saw the figure he'd gone out the east entrance so that's the direction I headed. From there I picked up his trail. It wasn't easy, most of the ground was muddy slush at this point but finally I spotted tracks that veered off the main path and went into the forest. Grumbling to myself I ripped my cloak off and shoved it behind a rock. Damned thing would give me away and now I was going to freeze.

            Walking the path that this figure had taken would be a mistake. They would see my trail and know that I had followed them. Instead I went about a dozen yards east of their trail and followed from there. It was difficult to make out their trail but elves have better night vision that humans did. I think that's why Solas' eyes had shimmered like they did in the dungeons. Which in hindsight was probably a bad thing for me to bring up to him because as an elf why would I not know that my own eyes glinted like that in the dark?

            Yeah, probably was turning into most definitely.

            The snow crunched underfoot and I griped internally about it. I wouldn't be able to sneak up on anyone like this. Growling quietly I resigned myself to sitting in this cold ass snowy area until the figure made their way back. I could get a glimpse of them then and report to Leliana. It may lead to nothing, but it was better to be safe than sorry.

            I waited.

            And waited.

            Waited until the sun peeked over the mountain peaks behind me and still they didn't come back this way. Maybe it was just someone out for a walk? I'd done stranger things… but still something about it seemed off.

            Quickly I stood and jogged to their trail. I followed the foot prints until the vanished entirely.

            A shiver ran down my spine. Either we had a teleporter on our hands or someone could shape shift. Which to my knowledge was a lost art. Flemeth taught it to Morrigan. I don't know if the Warden in this world was a mage and if he learned the spell from Morrigan.

            The thoughts swirled around and around in my mind as I made my way back to where I left my cloak. I knew that Flemeth wasn't dead because if the Warden had killed her then Hawke brought her back. If the Warden hadn't killed her and Hawke brought her back then the two copies would just merge together again. So either Flemeth had taken an interest in what was happening here or Morrigan had or we had some crazy mage who knew about old magic.

            I honestly didn't know and I wasn't getting paid enough to think about things like this. I'd give the information to Leliana and let her think about it. If I was even getting paid at all.

            Something bright red caught my eye. My heart jumped into my throat and I rushed forward. It was on the rock that I stashed my cloak behind. And instead of being behind it, where I left the fucking thing, it was neatly folded on top. 

            Whoever it was knew that they had been followed and I was almost sure that I was the only one with a crimson cloak.

            "Fuck."

Chapter Text

"Where is the cloak now?" Leliana asked as she paced back and forth.

            "I left it there." I wasn't stupid enough to pick up the thing. That would be like a beacon to whoever I followed last night, leading right to me. And I was positive I didn't want them knowing that I—and through me Leliana—was watching them. It would make it more difficult to catch whoever was sneaking around.

            Because one thing was for certain. Whoever I was following last night was up to something. Why else would they go in the middle of the night and mess with my cloak? They had to have been looking for someone following them, or they never would have found my trail.

            "Good." She glanced at me before spinning around and walking the other direction. The floor was going to wear down in that area if she wasn't careful. "I'll get you another cloak, something standard."

            I burned to ask for something brighter but knew that if I was to stay in this role that I'd need to blend in somehow. So I'd probably get a forest green one, or a dull brown. But I'd be warm and I wouldn't complain.

            After I discovered my cloak I decided to sit around and wait. Maybe the person who left it there for me to find would come back and check on it? I had thought it was a long shot before even implementing it and I was slightly ticked at myself because the Herald had woken up. I missed all the commotion and they'd had a meeting. Apparently the Inquisition had been founded and Roderick was mad as a soaked cat.

            And I missed it!

            "A week from now you and the Herald will go to the outskirts of Redcliffe." She gnawed on the tip of a nail, "Mother Giselle has asked to meet with her and she knows those who are involved with the Chantry better than I do." She swore softly under her breath, "Perhaps with her help we can persuade the Chantry to join us."

            Somehow I doubted it but knew better than to voice it out loud lest I jinx it.

            "Alright," I nodded, that was something I could do. Now that I knew where we were it shouldn't take too long to get there. About a week's travel from Haven we'd be in the Hinterlands and then it was another day or two on foot before we hit Redcliffe. By horse it would be around two and a half days, but the Inquisition was short on such things.

            "Cassandra will be accompanying you as well."

            "Anyone else?"

            Leliana waved a hand, "The dwarf, Varric and Solas."

            I nodded, "I expected Solas would come, he's far too interested in Ellana for her own good. Varric is a welcomed addition though."

            "My thoughts exactly. He and Ellana have seemed to hit it off so far." Leliana winced, "Apparently the Dalish managed to get ahold of his book The Champion of Kirkwall."

            "Ah… details about Hawke's deeds." I'd never read it but Varric was an author after all, several of his works had been published here in Feralden and I'm sure there were other places too.

            "Yes and Ellana is delighted that she gets first hand details from him."

            A knock interrupted our conversation. She gave me a sharp look before waving me behind a curtain. I'd met her in her room, not in her tent. Quickly I ducked behind the thick material and held my breath.

            Why didn't she want anyone to know I was reporting to her? People already knew I was hers, after the little debacle in the War Room yesterday I was positive it was public knowledge. Roderick didn't strike me as the kind of guy to keep secrets.

            Never mind. It wasn't my place to ask questions.

            I waited several moments, ears straining to catch anything. A hushed note or a quick breath. Finally Leliana pulled the curtain back.

            "You're leaving." Her eyes were hard.

            "Did… did something happen?" My heart jumped into my throat. Had someone come forward and implemented me in cult or negative deed before I even arrived in Haven?

            "I've just received word that a noble in Orlais has taken it upon themselves to rid the world of the hieratic Herald." Leliana strode to a desk in a corner and pulled out several coins. "You know you're way around Thedas, yes?"

            I blinked and shook my head, "General directions and some of the major cities yeah but no, no I don't."

            "Go north, to Amaranthine." Her face was serious, "From there take a ship to Antiva City."

            "Antiva?" I whispered, "Fucking Crows."

            Surprise flashed across her face. "You know them?"

            "Of them yes, I've never met one personally."

            Leliana nodded, "That world of yours is truly marvelous." She honestly had no idea. "I will send help to you."

            One of my eyebrows rose as I regarded her, "And what of my trip to the Hinterlands with Ellana?"

            "Luna if you do not do this, Ellana will most likely perish in the next fortnight."

            Wonderful, I had two weeks.

            "I'll leave this evening." Leliana shook her head at me. "Let me guess… I'm leaving now aren't I?"

            "Don't let anyone tell you you're unintelligent." She wrinkled her nose at me, her eyes sparkling with delight. "I'll send further instructions to my scout in Amaranthine."

            "When will I meet up with this 'help' you are sending me?"

            "I will let you know when I find out myself."

            Always loved last minute jobs.

 

The road vanished under Nelly's gallop. We moved quickly and had gone for most of the day like this. Haven was a distant memory behind me, along with sleep. While Nelly was a spirited horse, she was not able to make the whole trip under this kind of pressure. I carried a note from Leliana that instructed each encampment that belonged to the Inquisition to surrender their fastest horse.

            Leliana really wanted this Crow problem solved.

            Nelly made way for Jak-Jak, he was a huge bay that was deceptively fast. Jak-Jak was with me for two more days, until I came across a town. It looked like it was Lothering in the process of rebuilding. I didn't think anyone would be here with the previous Blight so recently passed. They gladly traded me a paint stallion for Jak-Jak and several gold coins.

            Leliana planned well, considering she only had a few moments. The Stallion didn't have a name so I named him Bread, after the loaf shape black splotch on his rump. He was with me for three days, his stamina more than enough to carry me the rest of the way to Amaranthine. When we arrived his sides were heaving and I quickly slid out of the saddle. I wouldn't pin him up just yet, but keep him walking next to me until his muscles cooled down.

            Bread and I had developed a slight bond over the last few days. In other words, I bribed him with sugar cubes and he stuck next to me on the off chance I had an extra one just sitting in my pocket with his name on it. I did, but he wasn't positive about it.

            "I haven't forgotten about you." I said as I shoved his huge head away from my chest, "You'll get your oats just like I promised."

            Leliana told me to go to the inn here, the one that was less reputable. There I was to utter a pass phrase and I'd receive my set of instructions. If I was to wait here for my back up, or if I was to get on a ship to Antiva City.

            Bread and I wove our way through the crowd, his head hanging over my shoulder slightly. I wasn't drawing as much attention as normal and I attributed it to the gray cloak that was slung around me.

            There were three inns in a city the size of Amaranthine. I only remembered one. It used to be a front for smuggling. It was perfect for it honestly because there was an old tunnel that led under the wall. It was also a huge security breach. One that I wasn't sure I wanted to share with anyone because how on Earth would I know it was there?

            I wouldn't so this outlander was keeping her mouth shut.

            The inn wasn't quite where I thought it was, but they did have stables attached so Bread wouldn't be very far from me if things went south. Though I didn't see how they could because I had yet to actually start my mission. I wasn't sure what Leliana wanted me to do exactly. She had said go north to Antiva. Once I got there I was guessing I had to ferret out the Crow organization and end them. Well one of them because the Crows operated in individual cells.

            So let's hope I found the right one, or that they talked to each other.

            Why did it suddenly feel like I was looking for a needle in a haystack?

            "Stable your horse ma'am?"

            My gaze darted about until my eyes landed on a small boy. He looked to be about eleven or twelve. His brown hair was raggedy and his clothes hung loosely on his frame.

            "How much for the best treatment?" I asked as I grabbed Bread's reins and made my way toward the boy.

            "Fifty silver to stable him for the night, for that he gets warm mash and two apples as well as hay."

            "That seems like a pretty nice deal." I weighed one of the pouches that was full of coins. "Say I wanted to stable him two weeks while I run an errand across the sea, how much would that be?"

            The boy thought hard. "Six gold?" He didn't sound sure. I shook my head and walked over.

            "It would be seven, and because you didn't try to cheat me." I pulled out ten gold and dropped them into his hand. "You can have three golds as a tip. Just make sure to take good care of Bread."

            "What if you don' come back in two weeks?" He looked very serious.

            "Then you can sell the horse for whatever price you see fit and keep the gold yourself." His eye lit up. "Does that sound like a good plan?"

            "Yes ma'am." He rushed forward to take Bread's reins. "I'll take good care of him, don' you worry!"

            I smiled and chuckled to myself. The boy had a good heart. I hoped to hell that I wasn't a day late, or I'd be out of a horse. He led my horse away and walked him in the round pin nearby. He was smart too. I whole heartedly approved of him watching Bread while I was gone. Maybe I could swap for Jak-Jak and then Nelly on my return trip. I wouldn't have to rush to get there this time.

            The door was rough under my fingertips as I pushed it open. Flipping up my hood I made my way into the main part of the in.

            "How can I help you dear?" A stout woman asked from behind the bar.

            "Ravens cry when the Nightingale sings." My gaze was firm on the wooden countertop between the two of us. I just needed to hear her answer.

            "Twin moons dance to a bard's tune."

            I exhaled in relief. That was the one. Glancing up at her I waited. Her eyes darted to the side repetitively. My own followed hers and I saw a door. When I looked back at her with a raised brow she nodded.

            "I'll have a bed for the night and two plates of tonight's dinner." I smiled warmly, or tried too. This wasn't how normal drops went down. My experience was you gave the pass phrase they responded with their pass code and then you had a book with a letter in it, or a holo-vid that had a memory chip tucked under the screen.

            Not shifty eyes and half a nod. She grunted at me and slid a key across the counter. "Room five, dinner will be up shortly. That'll be six gold." My jaw nearly dropped.

            "Six?"

            "You heard me." Her eyes darted to my ears.

            "I dare you." My eyes narrowed at her. I'd had just about enough of this 'knife ear' shit to last a life time. Humans had a reckoning coming their way, just as soon as I helped Ellana take care of her stuff. I was not going to kick around a world where I was a second class citizen because of my ears. Thedas was going to join the 22nd century willingly or not.

            Her gaze drifted down my cloak and doubtless she saw the multitude of knives and the bow slung on my back. "Price is still the same."

            "Well then," I dropped four gold on the counter, "I guess that'll just have to do,"

            Four gold was more than enough for a room for one night. Four gold got my horse eight days in the stables. Four gold would have bought dinner for an entire family for a fucking month. Four gold was still price gouging but I'd die before I gave her two more.

            "Now wait just a minute lass-"

            "Greta," someone sang, the voice sounding eerily familiar, "my beautiful flower are we picking on someone again?"

            I kept my face forward. This was none of my business. Greta could go boink this dude and I'd keep my two gold and wait for my back up.

            At least, that's what I had planned on doing. That plan wasn't even done formulating in my mind before I glared at the arm that had slung itself around my shoulders. I tilted my head and glared at it for about three seconds before turning to growl obscenities at the man with the big brass balls.

            Except those words died in my throat. He winked at me and I almost stuttered at him.

            "Get away from me Zevran." Greta growled. Yup, I was not mistaken. This man was Zevran Arainai. My boo, my one time love. My first video game crush. It was him. And I was wearing my ugly underwear. Shame on me.

            "You wound me Greta." Zevran winked at me, "Perhaps this lovely snowflake will keep me company?"

            The mood vanished in a puff of smoke. "Snowflake? Is that a play on how pale I am?" I shrugged his arm off my shoulder and allowed my voice to become a little clogged, forcing my eyes to swim with unshed tears, "Because it's a skin condition and I'm dying because of it. I don't appreciate you bringing that to the attention of everyone in the room."

            Zevran's eyes widened and he started to stutter apologies at me. Greta was smiling behind the counter.

            "Gotcha!" I poked him, "But next time, seriously, don't point out how pale I am."

            Greta started howling with laughter, "Keep your gold girl." She pushed it back across the counter at me, "Anyone who gets Zevran to make that look stays for free."

            His face was one of absolute horror that quickly morphed into slightly ticked I got one over on him and then mischievous and then straight to naughty things on his mind. Ugh, I guess Zevran will always be Zevran.

            "Nightingale did always send me the best girls."

            Greta scowled at him and threw something over the counter, "This one will eat you up and spit you out."

            "I will." I pointed at Greta and nodded, "I do love the way men taste in the morning." I wiggled my eyebrows at him and Greta grunted.

            "You deserve each other."

            "Is the room still free?" I batted my eye lashes at her whilst sliding a gold across the counter for the meal. It was still outrageous but Greta deserved a raise if she dealt with this on a daily basis.

            She snatched it off the counter, "Go, before I change my mind."

            I hefted the saddle bags containing my things higher on my shoulder. "You're the best Greta."

            She seriously looked like she was regretting her decision but I was gone and moving swiftly toward—I glanced at the key—room number five.

            "You coming big boy?" I called behind me, throwing a look over my shoulder. Zevran gave me a wicked grin before basically chasing me down the hallway. I laughed until I got inside the room. Then I sobered instantly.

            My bag hit the floor and I kicked off my shoes. I'd been on the road for almost a solid week and I hurt. My back, my feet, my butt. Every part of me ached and all I wanted was a bath and there in the corner of the room was a solid stone tub large enough for three of me. It even came with indoor plumbing.

            I didn't think it existed in Thedas! I'd been living with chamber pots and melted snow for bath water! Holy cow I was living in the wrong place. Maybe Greta did deserve the six gold coins. I would have paid her ten if I knew there was a tub involved.

            My clothes hit the floor faster than a New York minute. There was a sound of approval behind me but I didn't care Zevran was ogling my bare ass. I wanted in that tub and I wanted in it now.

            Skin made contact with stone and I groaned all the way down. My toes fumbled with the levers that controlled the water. A shudder of pure delight washed over me when scalding hot water poured out of the spout.

            "Oh I'm in heaven." I whispered as I sank down farther. The tub filled quickly and I didn't dare add any cold water. I'd take the punishment of lava water. It felt so nice; I thought I might actually cry.

            The sound of someone clearing their throat behind me pulled me back from my euphoric tub orgasm. Glancing above me I took him in completely.

            Gold hair, gold skin, gold eyes. Man was made of gold and he looked absolutely delicious. The marks down the side of his face, the twin swirls, stood out against his skin. He'd shucked his armor as quickly as I had and damn but he was built. Dense muscle, none of that sticking out massive muscle. He was lithe and I might have drooled a little.

            It was his unbound hair that almost did me in. It hung loosely around his face partially covering his hooded eyes.

            When his eyes drifted lower than my face I turned over and pointed at my bags. "I'm much better company when clean."

            "You are excellent company dirty." He replied, his voice pitched low and made of liquid silk.

            I stood and stepped out of the tub. His hands settled on my hips, fingers dug into my skin and he pulled me flush against him. The muscles of his stomach were taut and they loosened when I ran my fingers down his side. The babies we would make together would be stunning.

            "Soap makes things… slippery." I stood on my toes, eyes locked on his lips. That devilish smirk covered his lips, his head lowering toward mine.

            I wondered what they would taste like. What he would taste like. And if I truly had a night to spend with him I would have found out.

            But I was on a time line and there was a life hanging in the balance.

            At the last second I ducked and spun under his reaching arm. A deep needy noise rumbled in his chest and I laughed.

            "You don't even know my name." I chided. "Or where I come from, I could chew loudly or snore in my sleep."

            "We do not need know each other's name to enjoy carnal pleasure together." Lust coated his eyes and I snorted.

            "Right, I'm not a whore and you haven't given me any money for that to happen anyway." He looked like he was about to offer money, "You don't pay for sex, remember?" Or at least I thought he'd said something like that in Origins. Huh… he might not have. But he didn't strike me as the kind of guy that struggled to find willing tail.

            Suspicion cut through the lust, "You know me?" He reached for me but I danced around him and settled into the tub again, soap firmly in hand.

            "Leliana." It was that simple. Leliana despised him in the beginning, and if she'd thought about it I'm sure she would have warned me. I gave him a cheeky smile, "Besides, that snowflake line? Can you get any cheesier?"

            "Perhaps it was not my best." He admitted though there was no remorse in his tone. His eyes darted to the vast space around me. "May I?" His hand hovered around the laces of his breeches.

            A knock came at the door. "You may answer the door." I wiggled my eyebrows, "I ordered food and we have to leave soon."

            "Work, work, work." He grumbled playfully as he moved toward the door.

            I quickly set about scrubbing myself clean. Perhaps it had not been the best idea to strip in front of Zevran of all people. Too late to take it back now.

            I finished bathing before Zevran set the food out on a table in the front part of the room. A towel sat by the side of the tub and I wrapped it around me before emerging for my bags that were still by the door.

            "Smells good." I commented. I'd eaten nothing but hard tack for a long time, basically since I left the cabin with Stefan with two good meals in between.

            "Greta's cook is one of the best in the city." Zevran replied as he popped something that looked suspiciously like a grape into his mouth. "Her mutton is excellent." I felt his eyes on me as I dressed quickly in loose breeches and a well-worn shirt. "Leliana did not disclose any details other than I was to meet an elf with silver hair and that 'I would know her when I saw her'." I hummed in his direction as I finished with my laces.

            "I suppose you want to know what I'm doing here then?" I asked as I picked up my plate and popped a piece of cheese into my mouth. A slight moan slipped from my throat. His lids fell and he stared at my lips again. "A contract has been taken out on the Herald. Leliana wants us to find the Crow house that has accepted it and I'm assuming eliminate them, or persuade them its healthier for their lives in the long run to leave Ellana alone."

            Zevran laughed, it was a full belly laugh that I would have expected out of someone twice his size. He tossed his head back and his shoulders shook slightly. It took a moment before he ceased and returned his gaze to me, "That…" his words stalled on his lips, "You are quite serious."

            "Deadly." I intoned as I ripped of a chunk of bread with my teeth. "I do not joke about killing Zevran."

            "It is such an amusing topic though." It seemed like it was an attempt to lighten the mood.

            "You don't want to do it." I accused as I dropped into a chair next to the fire.

            "Nor should I." He defended, "I am still a wanted man in Antiva City. Going there with me would put a price on your lovely head."

            "You let me worry about my head." I grinned, "I'll worry about yours too." I winked and set down my now empty plate and stood. "I leave now, are you coming?"

            Zevran sighed, "I will not let it be said I left a beautiful woman wanting." He sat down and set to eating his food. I hummed at him again to get his attention. He swallowed and looked up.

            Before I could think about it anymore I leaned down and covered his lips with my own. A surprised sound left his throat and his hands shot up to tangle in my hair. His tongue darted past my lips and I moaned as he tilted my head to deepen it.

            The kiss was fast and hard, sending a pulse through my body of pure pleasure. My fingers tangled in the hair at the nape of his neck and I found myself straddling his hips. His hand swept out and pushed his plate aside. He freed a hand to undo my laces.

            Too quickly I ended it, pushing gently against his chest. I was positive my lips were swollen and there was a greedy look in his hooded eyes.

            "Sorry," I whispered against his lips, "I just had to know." I pressed another kiss to his lips before I climbed off his lap and gathering my things. "Meet me at the docks?"

            The sound of a strangled chuckle followed my words. "Yes, mi cara, I will follow you."

            To where I didn't know but it sounded like this was going to be such fun.

Chapter Text

I found a ship that promised to make the trip to Antiva City in five days. They boasted it took them a week but I wanted better, so I was promised every scrap of sail from here to Antiva. I dropped seventy gold but thought nothing of it. Seventy gold was quite a sum, but something told me that Ellana's life was priceless right now. If I had it I would have given thousands.

            It was the last night on the ship that Zevran cornered me. There had been teasing and light touches in passing, nothing serious. I made sure to keep it that way. But when he cornered me and gave me that look and uttered very smooth words I lost all sense.

            Wood dug into my back as he slammed me up against a wall. My hair fell around us in waves as I leaned into him and planted another heavy kiss on his lips. He growled under me and gripped my hips tighter. He lifted me causing the kiss to break. I let a high pitched whine escape my lips and I tried to squiggle down to his level again.

            I continued to rise farther up his body. My head swiveled to glance at the ceiling. "Uh… getting rather close."

            "You are?" Zevran chuckled between placing wet sloppy kisses along my stomach. "I haven't even started yet mi cara."

            "The ceiling you jackas-" I sucked in a breath as he hooked one of my legs over his shoulder and pushed his tongue against my core. "Holy shiiiit…" the words ground out of me as he sucked my clit into his mouth before flicking it with the tip of his tongue.

            I forgot how close the ceiling was—my back was up against it and my torso was curled around Zevran's head, not that I was paying attention or anything—and focused on the way his tongue felt against me. He did something that caused his teeth to scrape lightly against tender flesh. It sent a spike of pleasure through me and I slapped a hand against the ceiling repetitively when he repeated the motion.

            He groaned in satisfaction and shifted positions under me.

            A startled yelp shot out of me when one of his hands left the under part of my thigh. I wobbled for a moment before I steadied myself. My other leg was quickly shoved over his shoulder and I expected his hand to go back to its original position. I had been wrong.

            Two fingers swirled around, coating themselves in my juices. Another gasp was startled out of me when he pushed them inside, a moan quickly followed as he started to pump them in and out.

            Breath came hard and fast for the both of us. His hand moving quickly, the friction became almost too much and I felt my thighs start to shake. He hummed an approving note and pushed harder against me.

            A keening wail sliced through the otherwise silent cabin and it took a moment for me to understand that it was me making that noise. I quickly shut that down though the damage was done. Zevran made a triumphant noise under me.

            I went limp, unable to hold myself still for a moment. Zevran, sexy beast he was, was completely prepared for it and gently lowered me. His face shone with my slick, a stupid grin covered his face and he opened his mouth. I could see vulgar words forming in his eyes and I didn't want to hear it.

            Before a single syllable left his mouth I covered his lips with mine and tugged my legs free from his grasp. Hands on his chest I shoved him backward until the back of his knees collided with the bed. I broke the kiss and shoved him again. The grin on his lips widened and he held his arms out toward me, fingers beckoning me forward.

            Slowly I shook my head and dropped to my knees. His eyes followed me and he looked like he didn't dare hope to think of what I was doing. A smirk of my own crossed my lips as I took him into my mouth. I groaned at his length and taste. I was a little rusty. Turian teeth are sharp as hell and not conductive to putting around reproductive parts. Male Turian's did not appreciate my offers.

            I swirled my tongue around him, hand coming up to curl around the base of him. He grunted and his hips jerked, his hand curling in my hair. I let a low hum travel up my throat and he hissed as he bucked again. Suddenly his fingers tightened against my scalp and he tentatively pushed down. I allowed it and bobbed back up; when he pushed down again and I didn't stop him he then set the pace, it was slower than I expected of a man. Most men like it fast, loved the friction. Zevran liked it slow.

            He pulled out of my mouth and reached for me. He didn't have to pull me hard to get me to move up. There was a haze that coated his eyes, pupils blown wide and I smiled at the look on his face as I straddled his hips.

            "Such a sinful mouth." I rolled my eyes and he gave the gesture a new meaning when he thrust up into me. I straightened, arching my back. His palms covered my breasts and slowly slid down them until his fingers caught my nipples. He gave a light twist and I bucked against him slightly. He smiled, "What a wicked woman."

            His hips twisted under me and pulled a sharp gasp from me. He stilled for a moment before desire flashed through his eyes and a delighted grin crossed his face. He thrust up hard and I made a little mewling sound. He laughed and did it again, eliciting the same sound from me.

            In a flash I was on my back with one knee pressed to my shoulder. He slammed into me, hitting that same spot and I moaned, hands outstretched and reaching for him. My other knee pressed into my shoulder and he leaned back, eyes watching me closely. I twisted one way and then another.

            Trapped, he had me pinned to where I was unable to move and it drove me wild. I panted heavily under him. He pushed me closer to the edge with every thrust until I couldn't take it anymore. Despite his hold my torso twisted and I pushed my face into a pillow to muffle my scream. I heard a tsking noise a mere moment before the pillow was pulled from me.

            "Let them here you, mi cara." His tone was sinful. I clenched around him and his steady rhythm stuttered once and then again. A grunt left him and he pressed deeper into me before stilling completely.

            "Holy f-ing shit." I gasped as he slid from between my legs to sprawl next to me on my now messy bed.

            "A complement?" Zevran asked, amusement coating his tone, "I must have performed well for such high praise."

            "Stop fishing, you caught me." I muttered as I rolled over and pressed into his side.

            "And a wonderful catch you are, mi cara." His arm wrapped around my shoulder and he pressed his nose into my hair before inhaling.

            We lay there for a long time, long enough that his breathing became shallow and even. His heart rate calmed and when he let out the cutest little snore I'd ever heard in my life I knew he fell asleep.

            Slowly I shifted under him until I was free. Casual sex? Sure, I'm game. Cuddling while sleeping? Nope, I kicked out enough heat for three people and I didn't like that kind of intimacy in a one night stand. It was too easy to get attached, and then lines started blurring. Blurred lines could be very dangerous and not something I was willing to let happen again.

            Standing I threw on a loose shirt. Crossing to the small table in the corner of the cabin I found a lantern. I fumbled in the dark for half a second before I found flint and steel. Two strikes and the candle within caught. I closed all but one shutter and sat in a chair.

            Zevran continued to snore and I fell asleep to his rhythmic breathing.

 

The landscape shifted back and forth, like it wasn't set in stone. I blinked several times and stared up at the green sky. Slowly I rubbed the palm of my hand against my eyes before sitting up. Everything looked to be in some sort of gray color scheme, except for the sky. The sky was acid green.

            The ground was hard under the bare skin of my thigh. Small pebbles pushed against me, making me slightly uncomfortable. Rising to my feet I looked around.

            Huh, I thought. I'd dreamed of this place before, not this particular place because the area around me was unfamiliar but everything else was familiar. If that made sense. It didn't to me.

            "Hmmm…."

            The noise startled me. I was the only one around for as far as they eye could see. Automatically I fell into a fighting stance and looked closer.

            "How interesting… a she-elf who is not an elf." The sound came from directly behind me and when I spun I saw Desire twisting in the air. The she looking demon ran a hand up its body, head tilting as it regarded me. "Or are you?" It sounded utterly confused. "You are like nothing I've ever seen."

            Well at least that made sense. And probably meant that I was the only Earthling running around Thedas, which while comforting, was slightly disheartening. I was hoping someone had seen one of us running around and would know how to get home. Now it seemed that I was even further from finding a pathway back to Earth.

            "Well, as enlightening as this is…" I trailed off and picked a random direction, "I'll just be going now."

            "I can give you your deepest desires, young she-elf." Its voice was sickly sweet and it grated against my nerves.

            "For the low, low price of my soul!" I shot back, "Thanks, but no thanks. You've nothing I want."

            It hummed and followed me. Followed me so close that I could almost feel its claws graze against the back of my neck.

            Demons scared the fuck out of me and made me jitterier than a worm at dawn. Cracking my neck I continued to walk and ignored it to the best of my ability.

            "Not even…" it breathed deeply and then let out a longing sigh, "a way home?"

            I jerked to a halt and spun around. A smug smile crossed feminine features. My eyes narrowed and I just stared at it.

            "I have your attention now little she-elf."

            "How?"

            "By dangling what you want mossst…."

            "Not that stupid, how do I get home?" Deliberately playing dumb was not an attractive quality when they held something you wanted over your head. No it just pissed me off.

            "And why should I tell you?" It twisted and coiled in on itself, "When you want to offer me nothing in return?"

            I glared at it. Stupid deals. "How 'bout I let you live?"

            "Such feisty words from someone who won't even admit who they are." It smiled at me again, showing razor sharp fangs.

            "What does that mean?" I forced my eyes to remain on its face as it ran another hand up its body. "What do you know about me that I don't?" My voice raised to a shout.

            "You've become tooooo interesssting." It hissed, "Perhapsss another night little she-elf."

            Pain, sharp and biting wracked my brain. I screamed, hands shooting to my head in attempt to protect it from whatever was attacking me. Blindly I ran as figures started to crop up out of the ground. Terror gripped me, pushing past the pain. I stumbled over a random rock and almost went down. My feet worked double time to right the rest of my body, little pricks of pain struggled to free my mind from the fear that encompassed me completely.

            If I'd bothered to look behind me I would have noticed a trail of blood, left by my own feet. But I didn't, I just moved as quickly as my body let me. There was no other thought in my head, except to escape.

            Something called my name. The sound was enticing and that scared me more than the shadow figures dancing along the walls, their fingers stretching farther than they had any right too.

            One of those sets of fingers caught me 'round the arm. They gripped tight and pulled me in a different direction. I kicked out, screaming in desperation.

            The area around me melted and I was thrown into a replica of Haven. The fingers released me and I was instantly swinging. No demon was going to take me over.

            "Calm yourself, da'len."

            "I am not a child." The words flew from my lips and I glared at those striking blue eyes.

            "Apologies." Solas inclined his head, eyes averted from me. "You draw far too much attention to yourself, Luna."

            I urged to snap at him. But my fear was not his fault. I breathed deeply, willing my subconscious to release the fear that was coiled in my gut. Slowly I managed to get ahold of myself.

            I knew strong emotions drew demons, moths to a flame.

            Finally I released a breath and felt something in me snap. Everything inside of me released the tension I'd been holding. My fingers tangled in my hair and I chanced a look at Solas.

            "I suppose I should thank you." I muttered. He had saved my bacon. "How did you find me?"

            "Your screams echo through the fade." He still didn't look at me and I wondered why. I chanced a shot in the dark.

            "So… you save me, but you don't like me?" I added amusement to my tone to hide some form of hurt that I wasn't willing to analyze at the moment.

            "What drew you to that conclusion?" His tone matched mine, though his seemed genuine.

            "Can't bring yourself to even look at me?" I asked, "Not once?" My body leaned forward of its own accord, trying to get into his line of sight.

            The tips of his ears colored as he turned his gaze toward me, "You are not clothed as a woman should be in the presence of one not their lover."

            Not their…? I glanced down and saw that he was indeed correct. I was in nothing more than my willowy sleeping shirt. It hung off of one shoulder, the sleeve dipping down to mid bicep and the hemline barely covering all my naughty bits.

            "So it would seem." My eyes flashed in annoyance. I was not aware that one went into the fade in what they wore in the waking world. "I like to sleep comfortably."

            "As do I," he took a step closer, eyes refusing to glance down, "though I have enough control of my mind to clothe myself properly."

            I grinned at what his words suggested, "Do you sleep in the buff?" My legs took a step forward without my permission. What the fuck? Why was my body suddenly doing things without my say so? I didn't like it one bit, I was in control. I needed to be in control.

            "Perhaps one day you will find out." I blinked at his words. Did he just flirt with me? Mr. I-must-be-proper-at-all-times did not randomly flirt with people. Me least of all, I made him angry; a fact I was proud of. He did not like me.

            Except, it seemed that he did, unless I was reading things wrong. Which I was known to do from time to time, I am not a sneaky sneak notice everything kind of girl.

            I blinked and he was in front of me. "Iras ema ma haim, ma'da'evune?" Was he speaking Elvhen at me? Did I look like that kind of elf? Did I suddenly sprout tattoos on my face when I wasn't looking?

            No, I was pretty sure that I hadn't.

            Something rose in my chest and my tongue wasn't my own anymore. Something else was inside my body with me, forcing me to move. To speak. It wrapped itself around my soul and commanded everything from the lids of my eyes to my pinky toe. Strangely familiar and terrifying in the same instant. It was like a piece of me but outside of my consciousness.

            And whatever it was, it recognized the man in front of me.

            "Ma'fen?" My mouth moved, lips molding lovingly around the words. Inside I raged, beyond the point of livid. I watched, helpless as my hand reached for his face, fingers curled as if to cup his cheek. He reached for me too, something lighting his eyes on fire with passion, with desire.

            That sensation, like being drunk and pushing through the haze, of looking through your eyes and knowing that you know them but don't remember where you know them from. That is what this felt like, and something inside of me was weeping with joy at the sight of Solas looking at me like… like….

            Like he wanted to devour me.

            It scared me more than my previous flight from demons had, the way he was looking at me. It scared me more than anything else in my life ever had and I wanted nothing more than to regain control of my body in that moment.

            The cutest little snore I'd ever heard in my life interrupted us. I watched as those passionate blue eyes turned to ice. His fingers gripped my wrist to the point that it hurt, a lot.

            "Perhaps we should have this discussion when you aren't entertaining guests."

            I ripped my arm free of his grasp and stumbled back, glad beyond words that I was in control of myself again. Oh lord I would bang Zevran every day for a year for his timely interruption. Twice if he asked.

            "What the hell was that?" I snarled as I took another three steps back. Things were too close, everything felt like it was pressing down on me. "What did you do?"

            "Nothing." He flicked a hand in my direction and I—

 

Slammed into a sitting position, knocking my elbow against the table. The motion almost caused me to send the lit lantern crashing to the floor. My breath slammed in and out of me, heart pounding like a war drum in my chest.

            What the fuck was that?

            It took a long time for the panic to abate, for my breathing to return to normal, for me to feel safe in my own skin. I'd never felt so helpless in all of my life, not even when I'd been on Earth. Not when…

            I sucked in a breath and wiped a finger under my eye. Shit I was crying.

            Zevran stirred on the bed, his eyes blinking furiously in attempt to clear the sleep from them. "Luna?" His voice was still raspy from sleep.

            Quickly I slammed the shutter shut on the lamp and hummed quietly in his direction.

            "Come to bed, mi cara." His voice not quite a command but it was close enough that it set my hackles on edge.

            "I'm not sleepy." It was an effort to keep anger out of my voice. It was not his fault that I was mad and so it wasn't fair to take it out on him.

            He smirked and sat up. My gaze flicked down, to the spot between his legs. "I have a cure for that." He stood very much erect.

            I chuckled quietly to myself before I stood and met him half way across the floor; my shirt hit the ground as I reached him.

            This I controlled. This was my decision. And no one was going to take it from me ever again.

Chapter Text

Antiva City was beautiful under the light of two moons. Windows here and there threw sparkling lights against the calm waters of the bay as the ship drifted closer to the docks. My eyes darted everywhere, trying to take it all in.

            It was quiet, in that special part of the morning when the night crowd was just laying down to sleep and the early birds had yet to rise.

            One by one the lights started to go out, until all that was left were the tall lanterns that lit the city streets.

            The city itself had five levels that I could count. Each higher than the last until the top layer stood proud with a shroud of stars acting as a back drop. The higher the level the more extravagant the buildings were, the less there were of them.

            "I never thought to look upon my home again." Zevran whispered next to me. "Are you sure of this mi cara?"

            I nodded resolutely at his side. This was one thing I was absolutely sure of. Ellana needed to be protected so she could save the world. I'd never stand in the spotlight on my own, and I was fine with that. I didn't want it. All I wanted was to live in a world I felt safe.

            I hadn't felt safe in the futuristic version of my home and naïvely tried to return to my point of origin thinking that was the only place I'd feel safe again. Now I had my doubts that I'd ever feel safe anywhere, not with the thing hiding in my body. Whatever it was.

            It was something that I couldn't tell anyone. People here would assume I was possessed and lop my head off. So while it terrified me there was no one I could confide in… to me that made it a moot point. If it wasn't something I could confront head on and find a solution it was something I was better off ignoring.

            And that was the plan. To ignore my ass off.

            "Do you have any idea which House would have taken the contract?" I asked quietly as I slipped closer to him. Blurred lines be damned, I needed a little bodily comfort. That was something that Zevran was willing to offer without attachment. After all he'd only loved one woman in his life and she didn't exist in this world. I wasn't even sure if the Cousland family had two children in this reality.

            As if sensing my distraught mood he wrapped an arm around me and tucked me to his side. "There is only one house that would attempt such a thing." Zevran shook his head, "They are the only one foolish enough to attack the person who can save the world. Money is the only thing they see."

            "Great, do we know where they are?"

            Zevran looked like he desperately wanted to say no, but that wasn't the man that I knew he was. "My old home." He pointed to one of the only buildings whose windows still had light shining from them.

            And everything made sense. Zevran was a smart man, he would have known the instant I told him that we were going after the people who had a contract out for his life. I wrapped an arm around him in attempt to offer comfort. It felt strange to me but he didn't shy away.

            "Well, they probably won't enjoy this homecoming." I winced, "Have anyone you're fond of inside there?"

            "Not anymore."

 

Stick to the plan. I chanted it over and over again. It was a good plan. There was nothing wrong with a good plan. Except that plans couldn't account for every little detail. Zevran had been gone from this house for a very long time. What if the position of the furniture was wrong? Or the lineup had changed? What if they started keeping kids in the basement rather than the attic?

            Basically plans made me jumpy and I was not a good team player when jumpy. I got an itchy trigger finger and a quick right hook. Though the trigger finger wouldn't hurt anyone here, but that thought didn't make me feel better.

            Zevran's shadow fell across mine and I squashed the desire to look up at him. That would give away his position and I was not dumb. At least not all the time. He would come in through the attic. Said that it was the wrong time of year for kids to be sleeping in the house this early. They'd be awake and doing chores.

            I, unfortunately, would be going through the front door pretending to look for work.

            See… the house was… to put it delicately… a house of pleasure? Oh forget it, I was never subtle. It was a whore house, okay? Or at least that was the front. In all actuality it contained one of the larger Crow Cells and the building itself had tunnels that spanned deep underground. One of the old leaders was paranoid or something and issued an order for a labyrinth to be created under the city.

            Only that crazy asshole knew the quickest and easiest route through the tunnels that let out somewhere down the coast line along with a supply cache and a boat decked out for one person. Now the tunnels had become part of the local smuggling ring but the Crows patrolled it because several of them connected to their home. So we couldn't use that entrance to just kill everyone in their sleep.

            I did mention the old leader had been paranoid right? And it turns out he had good cause. Cause of death? Knife to the back. Apparently he wasn't paranoid enough though! Ha!

            That wasn't very funny or nice, but…

            I pulled my thoughts together, forcing everything that Zevran told me about the house to the back of my mind. I was not supposed to know the layout. I didn't know the names of people inside or what they looked like. I was not going to go rogue. I was going to stick to the plan and not get dead. I would not kill the first person I met because I couldn't guarantee that they were anything other than a working woman/man.

            And I really didn't like to kill innocents. Bleeding heart, remember? One day it was going to get me killed and all I could hope for was that this one would stick because I didn't know how many other realities I could handle.

            Honestly there is only so much crazy a woman can take.

            Sucking in a breath I pushed my anxieties and babbling to the side and knocked boldly on the door. A cop knock. Remember those? Two in the morning, drunk off your butt and someone decides to mess with you by banging really loudly on the wall and or table and your gullible ass believed there was a sheriff at the door so you shut off the music and swore to the empty doorway that you'd keep it down?

            Remember? No? Well wasn't I a bad influence.

            I fully expected someone to be at the door inside of three minutes. So when five rolled around and no one showed up? Well that had me adding to my anxiousness. So I knocked again, because the plan had not covered anyone not coming to the door. If no one answered then I was going to be forced to go rogue and trust me, no one, no one wanted that.

            The plan also didn't cover a kid that came up to my shoulder answering the door. Yes I was little, but she was littler.

            I was going to have to go rogue. Damn it all to hell.

            The girl stared at me with blank eyes. She had what looked like bruises under her eyes but it might also been from lack of sleep. She was a little on the thin side but that could be attributed to a fast metabolism. She was not necessarily being abused or mistreated in anyway.

            And that wasn't what I was here for. I was here to put an end to the threat on Ellana's life and that was exactly what I was going to do.

            "Hello." I waved at her, unsure of how to interact with children. At this point I was convinced that I'd shot out of my mother fully grown because I could not, for the life of me, remember what it was like to be a kid anymore. "Is there an adult around?"

            She shook her head at me. Was she a mute? God damn, son of a bitch. I had to get her to let me into the house somehow.

            I went to open my mouth and ask another question. I was getting in this house one way or another. I was half way to forming a complete and whole sentence that would have been spectacular.

            However the kid narrowed her eyes and a shiv—a damn shiv—appeared in her hand. She lunged forward, aiming high. I let loose a complex string of curses that may or may not have been related to her birthing and or conceiving process.

            My body jerked into action before I knew what was happening. It slammed into the girl's hand and shoved it sideways; fingers wrapped around her wrist and I yanked it into an awkward angle before banging it against the door frame. She dropped the shiv but kicked out with a boney foot.

            The foot I was not prepared for. I gave an 'oof' of surprise and drop kicked the little girl into the house. She collided with the wall behind her, slumping over.

            "Please be unconscious." I whispered as I moved forward, fingers stretched out to look for a pulse. I did not just kill a little girl that may or may not be a crazy midget assassin. "Ha! You are alive-ARG!"

            The little girl's eyes snapped open and her fingers jammed themselves into my solar plexus.

            Enough was enough.

            I glared at the evil devil bitch spawn of Satan as I bent over and sucked in air. This was not happening, I fought in too many skirmishes for a child to be whooping my ass. I lashed out with a hand, fingers digging into her hair. Her hands shot up to wrap around my wrist but I didn't let it slow me. I slammed her head into the wall twice and when she went limp I dropped her.

            Just to be clear I do not condone violence against children but the little heifer had it coming. On a hunch I leaned down and pulled her upper lip up. There were no little ridges on her teeth and those bad boys were definitely not baby teeth.

            She was completely like that crazy wench off of that horror movie!

            Relief flooded me. I had not just kicked a kids butt. I kicked a fully grown woman's butt in a kid's body. That was a much more acceptable outcome.

            That's when I heard a creak issue from the direction the stairs were supposed to be. My head darted up to meet the eyes of four more people. These ones were fully grown adults with knives much bigger than a shiv in their hands.

            I'd officially gone rogue.

            My hand swept under my cloak and I slit the throat of the tiny girl/woman that lay against the wall. It wasn't fair to her but if I left her alive she was bound to come for revenge and I'd spent enough time looking over my shoulder for enemies. I didn't need to make any more of them in this realm.

            The first one tackled me. The resulting thump was too loud to be ignored so I figured phase one of the plan was fully in action, which was to create a distraction. I wasn't supposed to be the distraction but beggars can't be choosers.

            I bucked with my whole body throwing the long haired person off of me, quickly I rolled on top of them and drove my knife into their throat. A hand in my hair pulled me backward and the knife, slippery with the Satan spawn's blood, slipped through my fingers.

            Placing both of my hands on top of the strange hand in my hair I spun under their arm, twisted it, lifted it higher and kicked their knee out from them. There was a sickening pop and a scream. The man's—yes I was sure this time—knife dropped into my waiting hand as he scrambled to clutch his dislocated shoulder. His knife went into his ear.

            A shiver of disgust ran through me at the resulting squishy sound as I delved into his brain. Ick.

            Quickly I dropped him and spun to the remaining two. These one were wary of me now and I couldn't help but feel like I tipped my hand a little too early. I had a card up my sleeve but I didn't really want to throw it on the table. And I wasn't sure it was necessarily a card that was going to work. I was a gambling woman, who knew?

            "Well?" I snapped as I glared between the two of them. They were both males. Each of them flashed the other a look. When they decided to move I knew. It was a feeling deep down in my gut. The slight tensing of muscle gave them away, the quick inhalation of breath as they prepared to bust into action.

            So I did it first. But I didn't give them any little neon sign that I had decided to do it. I just did it. I hit idiot number one—INO—first but idiot number two—INT—caught my fist as I went to ram it into him a second time. A hand around my waist hauled my whole five foot three body into the air which left me with one option. 

            I hooked my legs around INO's neck and pulled him close. His jaw rested against my pelvic bone and I took the time to lock my legs into place. Pain blossomed in my nether regions as he tried to break free of my naughty head lock. INT squeezed hard and it felt like something popped in my chest. A brilliant blossom of agony slipped through my body, rendering me almost speechless. 

            Almost.

            "Stop that!" I snapped as I squeezed my thighs and jerked sideways. The man went limp and I dropped him.

            Just in time too because INT hurled me through the air. Looking back I probably should have expected it because he was probably six two and close to two hundred and thirty pounds. Meaning he had about a buck twenty five on me.

            I jerked in pain as my body collided with the corner of a wall and something else popped. An awesome bruise would sprout in minutes on top of my not completely healed wounds I'd gotten from the demon close to two weeks ago. Man, why did I talk myself into these things again?

            "Do we have to kill her?" Someone asked from behind me. I shot to my feet and moved until I had everyone in my line of sight. Three more had shuffled down the stairs, they looked lazily in my direction. One of them was a red headed female that was twirling a dagger around her fingertips. Wonderful.

            "I don't know Juno, have you seen what she's done?" INT asked sarcastically as he pointed to the four bodies on the floor. Juno looked at me, her eyes full of crazy.

            "Did you really do that sweet heart?" She stuck her lower lip out. I shrugged and lifted one corner of my mouth. "Tell mama you'll be a good girl and come quietly." Mama?

            "Come down here and we'll find out." I really didn't want her too but Zevran was insistent that there was roughly twenty—give or take one or two—inside the home and I had eight here with me, including the bodies on the floor. So that left like fourteen and if they weren't here with me then they'd found him or they were stupid heavy sleepers because I had not been quiet through any of this.

            Oh yeah, I'm a screamer.

            Her face split in two, a demented smile pulling her lips wider than I was comfortable with. I really didn't want to tango with her because you don't mess with women crazier than you were. It just wasn't a good idea.

            You just don't stick your dick in crazy, yeah?

            Reflex took over and I threw a fist out pulling on the power within me.

            Objects around the room started to float and the assassins eyes grew wide as they watched my singularity grow.

            "Fuck yes!" I pumped a fist in the air before bringing my hands together and ripping them apart in a fluid motion. The singularity exploded, sending out a shock wave of energy. It slammed them into the walls and I went to work. They couldn't take me now.

            I dashed forward, charging them. At the last second I jumped into the air, fisting both hands together and slammed them into the ground, shockwave blasted out of my joined hands. It threw everything in its path into the air, I didn't halt my movements. Spinning I stood, bringing a single hand into the air and used slam. The floating enemies crashed into the ground. The sound of breaking bones was loud.

            A feral grin claimed my lips as I stood in a wrecked room. My biotics felt stronger here, which was strange. Biotic powers were brought forth by element zero exposure and amplified by the amp and biotic chip implanted in our brains. The only explanation was…

            My fingers ghosted over the back of my neck. I applied pressure over the spot I knew my amp had been.

            Turian's don't have skin. Not like humans do, they have an exoskeleton. Plating that covered their soft insides. Meaning that my amp had been imbedded into the chitin like substance. The only thing I could think of was… when I passed through and grew skin the amp moved to my actual skeleton instead of where it had been.

            A fist slammed into my gut, bringing me to the here and now. Sucking in breath I spun and lashed out with a booted foot.

            By the time I was done I was breathing heavily but I was the only one breathing. The bodies lay skewed around me, limbs bent the wrong direction. Three more had come down the stairs to join in the fight. I reveled in my biotic might, thinking of my training days and of the times I held nothing back.

            But I didn't have the luxury of walking down memory lane because if the sounds of the fighting upstairs were any indication, Zevran was in trouble. I forced my body to move, for my hands to swipe up and stash weapons across my body, for my legs to run up the stairs, for my mind to shut down for a few blessed moments so we could get out of here.

            And to not get dead.

 

It seemed to take longer than it actually did. Zevran made out worse than I, but only just. He had a fractured arm, a swollen knee and a black eye. I walked out with a limp, one massive bruise on my back, one around my waist—INT was uber strong and I hated him right now—and a wounded ego. Not to mention the various dubious poppings that happened during my fight. Wasn't sure what they were about but I should probably get them checked out. Meaning that I wouldn't and I'd bitch about it for a few days. 

            I was, in fact, not all that and a bag of chips. I had very nearly gotten Zevran killed—I would never forgive myself—and myself as well. The mission was completed but it didn't feel like a victory. I'd kept my biotics to myself as soon as I reached the stairs. I didn't know how the people in this world would react to me having this kind of 'magic'. I'd probably be labeled as dangerous and put down.

            So while we won, the victory felt hollow.

            It tasted like ash in my mouth. I had done it but it felt like I lost a piece of myself in the process and it wasn't something that I could explain or rationalize because I'd gained something. Logically we had come out on top despite the odds stacked against us. Two people taking down two dozen? It was practically unheard of in this age unless you had magic at your fingertips.

            Something neither of us had. Technically.

            I couldn't shake the feeling that I'd done something wrong, and I almost never felt like that. I made a decision and whatever may be thrown in my path was collateral. Up to a certain point at least, I did have morals but none of them had been crossed tonight. Which started—and usually ended—with innocent lives. We'd taken none tonight and even left money for the children we found hiding in the basement because I was not a monster despite what my mind was trying to tell me.

            So why did I feel this way?

            Zevran and I did not speak to each other on the way back to the ship. We decided it was best to get out of dodge—my words—before the city guard was alerted that a massacre had taken place inside the city limits. The city guard being the other Crow Cells because the Crows were basically the police system controlled by anyone wealthy enough to buy them. Sooner or later someone was going to figure out that no one had hired anyone to take out that particular House and they would start asking questions.

            Both of us did not want to be around for their particular brand of justice. Or, at least that's what I thought.

            "You aren't coming?" I asked in a monotone voice. Emotions were slipping through my fingers like water drops. I couldn't scrape two of them up to rub them together. Later I would feel something, because I allowed the lines to blur. Like I had with Stefan, but that hurt less because he was gone. He wasn't planning on prancing around Feralden trying to take over the entire kingdom.

            Which is what Zevran was going to do with the Crows. I sighed and rubbed the back of my hand into my eyes. I knew it wasn't going to last but I sought comfort, I was an idiot. Again. Something I promised myself I wasn't going to do and yet I did it every time. What's worse is I knew what Zevran was like. And I couldn't blame it on my bleeding heart because hearts learned eventually.

            Or someone should tell them too because I was getting tired of this.

            "Oh mi cara," Zevran sighed as he pulled me close. "Leliana would skewer me if she discovered I'd stolen your heart."

            That managed to earn a dry chuckle from me. Gotten into my pants and into my head I would maybe admit, but I would never say anyone stole my heart. I'd give it freely, to the right person but they'd never come because they didn't exist.

            "Watch that inflated ego of yours," I advised. "It'll get you killed if you aren't careful."

            "You wound me!" He grabbed his heart in mock pain and then winced in real pain when he jarred his arm. "A kiss to make it better?"

            I shook my head, lips cracking into a small grin. "Men." I snorted as I leaned up and gently pressed a kiss to his lips. "If you are ever in my part of the world look me up."

            "Hungry mabari could not keep me away."

            I raised an eyebrow at him, "They eat humans, just so you know." I winked at him and climbed on board the ship that carried us here.

            I'd sent a letter to Leliana and asked her deliver as much gold as we could spare for the speedy trip home. I don't know if she would agree when she got the letter but I'd given him almost everything I had left on me, including most of my own personal gold. The captain agreed to carry me back to Amaranthine but advised that he needed to stop at a few ports along the way. The gold I'd given him would only get him so far and he had a crew to worry about.

            I set only one stipulation. That we'd get back there before the two week mark of our departure.

            I did not want to lose Bread too.

 

The road back to Haven was uneventful. Even my dreams were peaceful, which was almost a first for me despite my lack of being able to remember them. It was as if someone or something altered the course of my subconscious, steering me away from choppy waters to the shallows where I actually got a good night's sleep and woke up sweat free. It was nice. Unsettling… but nice.

            It turns out that Jak-Jak had been sold so there was no trading Bread for him. Bread was a better horse so it wasn't much of a loss. I just hoped that the scout—Joe, I think—I borrowed him from wasn't emotionally attached.

            It took me about a week to get back to Lothering this time because I refused to push Bread if we didn't need too. There was no hurry home, no scout or troop stopped me, no Templars or mages bothered me.

            For the first time in little under a year I was left alone with enough time on my hands to dwell on my thoughts, which was a bad thing for my mental health so I just… shut down. Bread knew the way home and when we passed Lothering I'd was closer to the fighting and I'd had to be on constant guard, leaving little in the way of spare time to think.

            Bread let out a soft whicker of distress when we didn't stop but just kept going. I patted his shoulder as I walked alongside him, offering up several sugar cubes to him. He took the bait, occasionally bumping my shoulder with his massive head in search for more.

            Around the time we were passing the Hinterlands I debated on stopping by Redcliffe to see if Ellana and the others were there. I missed human interaction. I stopped by the camp I left Nelly at only to find out that she, too, was gone. Killed in a Templar raid. One of the scouts was a mage and the Templars attacked.

            "It's okay." I stated for the third time, "She was a good horse, unwavering and I'm sure she did everything to get the scout home safely." I'd miss her gait though. She could be a right bitch when in heat, but it was worth it to see her pep.

            "She did, my lady." Joe dipped his head toward me. "Is there any word on Jak-Jak?"

            I shook my head, "I'm sorry, I fully intended on returning him to you but the farmer traded him for a plow horse. I have no idea where he ended up, but if I see him I'll snag him for you."

            He nodded at me much the same way I had when he gave me the news about Nelly. There wasn't a lot of hope in it.

            "The Herald hasn't come through here, has she?" Bread nudged me again, wanting another treat. Joe held out an apple and Bread happily munched into it.

            "Haven't you heard, my lady?" Joe asked, when I didn't respond he continued, "She left for Val Royeaux not three days past. Something about a meeting with the Chantry. Sister Leliana will know more when you make it back to Haven."

            I smiled and patted him on the shoulder. "Thanks Joe." He was alright in my book, he didn't see anything wrong with me, despite the shape of my ears. "Hey, let's get a drink if you're ever back at base, yeah?"

            His eyes twinkled merrily and he gave me a goofy grin. "Sounds like a good time to me." Anndd… he made it awkward. It was probably my fault, pretty girl asks man out for drink, man thinks with little brain and comes to wrong conclusion. It happened all the time and I wasn't about to hold it against him.

            Joe, gentleman that he was, gave me a leg up. Bread skittered sideways before I positioned myself properly. Once we were both square with each other he broke into a dead run, tossing his head every once in a while.

            His attitude impacted mine and when he gave a little buck I laughed and gave him his head. Haven was set in our sights along with all of the troubles of the world.

Chapter Text

I saw to Bread before I even thought of making my way into Haven proper. The burrs had been brushed out of his coat and his main detangled, I even took the time to weave little braids into his main and tail. He whickered his approval around a mouthful of apples, hot mash was next followed by several sleeves of alfalfa. By the time I was done he looked like he was in horsey heaven.

            I, on the other hand, was moving like an old woman; groaning and creaking with every step. Mad dashes across Thedas were hella fun, but also extremely hard on the body. I was not looking forward to my bowl and pitcher instead of a tub.

            Slowly I walked through the town, bypassing my house entirely. If I went in there I wouldn't be coming out any time soon and I still had to give my verbal report to Leliana and see if she had anything else she wanted me to do. I was a scout now, one of her people and of the ones that I saw…

            We were a busy bunch. Which made me want to retch at this very moment but I had chosen this and all that came with it.

            Leliana wasn't in her tent when I walked by. Roderick—annoying ponce—was standing outside the Chantry inciting a crowd, telling anyone who would listen that their religion had forsaken them, that they were on their own out here.

            Folding my arms across my chest hurt, but I did it anyway because it made me look intimidating. Or at least I hoped it did, something told me that Roderick wasn't used to people treating him how Cassandra or I treated him, that he was used to a certain amount of respect that his uniform demanded.

            Too bad for him that I didn't conform very well.

            "Looking for sheep?" I called out. My voice boomed over his and the crowd parted for me. Whispers started where they had all been silent before. "Because I see a pack of wolves, not little halla ready to follow your every word."

            Roderick's face blossomed with red and his eyes narrowed, "You know nothing of our faith, elf." He spat it like it was a curse, and to him it probably was. "We have been abandoned and now is the time we must flock around each other for support."

            "You mean they need to flock around you." I started walking toward him, "You do not know for sure that the Chantry has forsaken this place or her people. There has been no official word, as of yet, and so you are inciting panic." My smile was tight as I stopped in front of him, "Useless."

            "I beg your pardon?"

            "Granted." I stepped past him and started for the inner Chantry, intent on reaching the war room. That is, until his words stopped me.

            "Your presence taints these hallowed halls." They were hissed and very quiet. I doubted any but me heard the high pitched whine of his voice.

            Slowly I turned and glared at him, "Every breath you take is an affront to humanity." I replied, though I didn't curb my voice, "Your cowardice in the face of trouble shows your true nature Chancellor. I hope your Maker smiles upon you and grants you bravery for the coming war."

            The whispers started again, my ears catching snippets of their conversations. Stories of the mountain side and what Ellana did and how I helped traveled through the crowd. Humans, easy to impress and easy to cower. Sighing I shook my head and started for the War Room again.

            "Enter." Someone called from the other side of the door as soon as my knuckles connected to the wood. Pushing open the door I saw Leliana and the other two leaning over the table. Cullen's head was turned toward the door and when he saw who it was he spoke again, "Leliana, one of your scouts to report."

            Her eyes met mine and she quickly walked round the table to lead us from the room. Her room was not far and that's where she took us.

            "I am surprised it took you this long to return." Leliana commented as she closed the door firmly behind me.

            "Apologies," I inclined my head. "I did not trade horses on the way back like I did on the way there." She waved a hand and indicated for me to start with my report. "The Antivan Crow House that took the contract on the Herald has been eliminated my earlier report stated. There were twenty four in total, not including the children."

            "Zevran?" Leliana asked. Something I knew she would because I told her that he had lived and hinted he would be returning with me.

            "Remained behind so he could attempt a hostile takeover of the Crows." She gave me a wry smile.

            "The children?"

            "We left money but chose not to remain at the scene longer than necessary."

            "Did you locate any information on who hired them?" I gave her a funny look, my mission had been to eliminate them. The Crows did not seem like the type of people to just leave contracts like that laying around. Leliana raised an eyebrow at me.

            "No ma'am," I shook my head. "Neither Zevran nor I came across any relevant information."

            Leliana nodded, "Very well." She crossed the room to her bed and rifled through several rolls of papers, "Your new orders."

            I popped the seal on it and quickly scanned the paper. "Storm Coast? Bull's Chargers?" The paper rolled itself up, used to that position, "You want to hire a merc group?" The Inquisition seemed like it had higher standards.

            "They wish to audition." Leliana corrected, "Cremisius Aclassi show up here last week requesting that we send one of our people to them. I want you to do it."

            "Why me?" I asked bluntly, "I thought I was going to watch Ellana?"

            "You will." Leliana stated as she shuffled things until they were in order, "The leader of this particular mercenary band, The Iron Bull, is a Qunari." She looked at me like it meant something, "Not only that but he is Ben Hassrath." Now that sounded like an entirely different language.

            "Ben Hassrath?" My lips molded around the words awkwardly.

            "Yes, Qunari spies." She watched as my eyes widened in understanding.

            "Holy shit are they going to invade?" Sten said that the Qunari would bring order to the chaos of the world, they would bring the Qun to all of Thedas and when that day came he would not look for the Warden on the battle field. Was I going to live through an invasion as well as a bloody hole in the veil?

            "I've heard nothing of that as of yet." Leliana stated, "I am surprised that you know of such things."

            "Sten." I stated and looked at her. She nodded in understanding, something tightened behind her gaze. "You didn't believe me?" I asked quietly, "Even with your truth stone?" A low laugh escaped me, "Yeah I suppose it is a bit to swallow. I heard rumors he is the new Arishok."

            "Yes," Leliana collected herself quickly. "Which worries me, Sten was…" she paused for a moment.

            "Softie?" I offered to her. She let out a laugh.

            "Him and that kitten of his." She shook her head, "Yes, at times he could be soft but he is very dedicated to the Qun and the promotion of it. If he believes that there is a threat to the world he will not hesitate to invade Feralden to put a stop to it."

            "And we do not want that."

            "No, we do not." Leliana agreed, "So I am sending you to deal with the Iron Bull. Luna," she gaze was penetrating, "you are the card up my sleeve and I will not hesitate to use you in any way that I can."

            I let out a mirthless laugh, "I expect no less from you Leliana. How am I to handle the situation?"

            "With caution, I've reached out to Orlais in regards to him and his men are dedicated to him." Leliana leaned against a wall, "Take your time in getting to them, do not rush and when you get there I want you to look into a sensitive matter for me." She held out another roll of paper, "Read it once you are on the road, and then burn it."

            "Am I traveling alone?"

            "Take Harding with you."

 

I sat next to the fire. Lace was asleep in her bed roll and two others stood a distance away, keeping watch. The roll of paper Leliana gave to me smoldered in the flames. It surprised me that she had this kind of information so soon after what took place, made my estimation of her skyrocket and I was glad that I'd held nothing back from the woman, despite her slight disbelief placed in me.

            Shrugging those thoughts away I pressed a thumb to my temple. The Iron Bull, I knew absolutely nothing about him. I'd been hoping that some companions from previous games would pop up, I mean Varric and Leliana had. Cassandra was there too but I didn't know as much about here. It seemed I was in for a treat, mingling with new individuals.

            What was this Bull going to be like? If he was a Qun Qunari then he was probably going to be stiff like Sten had been. I sighed and resigned myself to one or two word answers and back handed complement insult things. Would I have to be a hard ass with him to win him over?

            Well we'd find out here in a few hours.

            I'd put off reading Leliana's orders until we were almost to our destination. She said 'sensitive' and I took that to mean dreadful, but I'd been wrong. It was honestly something that I should have suspected considering I went to her with this concern, might as well be me so no one else thinks we've gone crazy.

            Lace rolled over, her eyes squinted against the fire.

            "How long have you been up?" She whispered, throat dry from sleep. Lace was a mouth breather when she slept, which was a surprise to me. Woman was quiet in everything else she did.

            "I didn't." I laughed, "Too much noise for sleep." Thunder rumbled in the distance. The Storm Coast was an apt name. Thick clouds gathered on the horizon and were headed in our direction. Soon we'd have to break out the tents, but that would be tonight. "Break camp while I get breakfast?" 

            She covered a yawn and nodded, "See if you can't scrounge up more of those eggs you found yesterday."

            "You got it Lace."

            As I stood I swiped up my bow and bounded off into the trees. I'd set a couple snares by moon light so I checked those first. A decent sized nug dangled from one and in the other a small hare. It'd be enough for the four of us.

            Quietly I strode through the forest, careful of where I placed my feet. The birds were nesting, hoping to raise their young. Several nests were nearby but I didn't find any, though I did pick several mushrooms. Lace would have to sort through them to see if any were edible. Salt hung heavy in the air, the briny smell from the ocean permeated everything and it made me wonder if salt would be required in the seasonings. 

            Sautéed mushrooms with some meat? Sign me up any day.

            "What'd you bring us this time Luna?" Annie asked as she plopped onto a large rock next to Lace.

            "Not much, but with road rations it should do." Annie was a city elf with dirty blond hair and green eyes. How she ended up out here I will never know but she was quick with her knives. The other scout with us was Jonah, a quiet human male with brown hair, matching eyes and a slim frame. He was also skittish, found that out on day two when he took my seat. I plopped down onto his lap and he quickly asked me to move so he could get up.

            Poor thing. I'd left him alone after that, there were plenty of willing people out there. No need to make anyone uncomfortable.

            "Jonah!" Lace yelled, "Check the horses please!"

            A grunt followed her request and she rolled her eyes. "Oh leave him alone Harding." Annie whispered, "He is always like that."

            The two of them picked through the mushrooms while I dropped spices onto the meat and sliced it into thin strips so it cooked faster. Jonah joined us shortly after—sitting on the other side of the fire from me—and quickly tucked into his food.

            After that we packed our stuff onto the horse and started down toward the coast. Harding was going to set up a small camp, Annie and Jonah would assist her. Leliana was sending more scouts and troops in our direction. She was determined to set up a tight net of spies able to relay information at a faster rate.

            "We still on for that drink?" Lace asked as I continued past their chosen spot.

            "Darkspawn couldn't keep me away." I joked, "As soon as we both get a little free time in Haven you're on."

            Bread shifted under me, ready to get down to the meeting spot but I had other plans. I tugged the reins to the left. It was the harder course so he wasn't willing to plod along it but I won in the end.

            Silence descended upon me. My ears twitched at any noise and my head quickly swiveled in its direction. More often than naught it was a small critter running across the loose foliage on the ground, other times it was larger creatures—a ram or a halla—that spooked at the sight of me and bolted.

            Once the sun was halfway in the air I dismounted and tied Bread loosely to a tree. He huffed in my direction, snuffling at the pocket that kept his treats.

            "You are going to get fat like that." I whispered as I pushed his head away. Reaching into my back pocket I took out the map that came with my other set of orders. They were all relatively close to each other so this should be something easily knocked out.

            My feet carried me from rock to rock and I scrambled over boulders in search of anything they may have left behind. There were signs but nothing more than soot stained ground or litter that was shoved between rocks. Sighing I started back toward Bread, this had been a dead end and I wasn't sure how Leliana would proceed after this.

            Bread waited for me and eagerly headed down from the rocky terrain for the smoother surface of the beach. In the distance we caught a flash of bright light but it wasn't in the direction we were supposed to head. Bread didn't mind one bit when we turned and headed up the coast.

            Steadily he gained speed until I released the reins all together. His head dropped completely and he ran his heart out. Laughing I threw my arms out to the side and screamed in joy.

            When an arrow flew past my face and ruined the mood, it nicked my cheek. Bread let an angry bray fly from him and he charged at the man bold enough to shoot at me. Bread's gait smoothed out and I slowly eased a foot out of the stirrup and planted it on the saddle under me. My other foot joined the first and I rose from my crouch, bow firmly in my hand.

            A man dressed in white and gold still stood quite a distance away, though Bread was quickly eating that distance. Past him there were several fighting. I narrowed my eyes trying to make out details. I was sure this was the area I was supposed to meet this Bull character but I didn't know who the men were.

            Oh well, he shot first.

            I notched an arrow to the string and pulled back. My eyes sighted down the shaft and I released on the exhale. It missed, but I was close enough that I could see the man's eyes widen in shock as I barreled toward him.

            The second one caught his shoulder, but his right hand came up with a knife. Bread brayed again and put on a burst of speed. If I didn't get him I was flying off this horse because Bread was determined he was going to mow down this asshole.

            Another arrow fell against my string and this time my aim was true. The arrow whistled as it left my fingertips. We were close enough that I could hear the squelching noise it made as it found its target. He dropped with feathers sticking out of his heart.

            I felt when Bread planted himself. He was going to jump the log. I was going to fall off of him.

            "Shit!" A scream left my throat as I crouched again and dug my fingers into his mane. At that point he was already in the air. I really, really did not want to fall off the horse when I was standing and he was moving as fast as he could. That, to me, spelt broken bones and there wasn't a mage around to mend them. And I was still hurting from INT, maybe he had cracked a rib or two.

            When his forelegs touched the ground my entire body was wrapped around him, the pommel of the saddle dug into my ribs and I knew that it cracked one or two. I grunted but rode the pain because Bread wasn't finished. He smelt the blood and he was a stallion. He was pissed someone took a shot at me and we were headed for the skirmish that drew closer with every stride of his long legs.

            Quickly I righted myself on his back, proud that I hadn't actually fallen, and drew another arrow. It seemed that I would be participating in their audition.

            Once they were in range I began picking of the golden peacocks. My aim was true at this distance and I was careful because the individuals that weren't matching douches danced from one to another. Bread dove into the fray, spinning and kicking. His angry scream echoed up into the sky and quickly I found myself surrounded by a sea of angry men.

            My daggers replaced my bow and I distantly I thought I'd need something larger if Bread was going to insist on carrying me toward danger on a regular basis.

            Large hands reached for the reins of my horse and before I could blink I had a dagger placed at their throat. Only the large bull like horns stopped me from ending his life right there. Bread snapped at the hand but I tugged sharply.

            "Settle down Bread."

            The man lifted an eyebrow, "Bread?"

            I pulled until Bread spun in a tight circle and presented his rump to the Qunari, I twisted in the saddle and leaned over it to point out the loaf shaped splotch, "Bread." I pointed at it and grinned at him.

            He let out a roaring laugh and I chuckled as I sat up. A leg slid over until both of them were on one side, I made to slide down to the ground but those large hands of his caught me and lowered me slowly.

            "My hero." I fluttered my lashes at him and stepped out of his range, "The Iron Bull I presume?"

            He sniffed in my direction and it was my turn to raise an eyebrow at him, "You don't look like they said you would."

            "Excuse me… did you just smell me?" I was scandalized. Well… no I wasn't but still it wasn't nice to smell people. And then I looked at him, really looked at him. And holy fucking shit was he huge.

            You can't really tell in video games how tall people were, because Sten sure as hell wasn't this large and the Qunari from the second game weren't quite this large either. Or was he just uber tall?

            And he was not shy because he was wearing a harness. Scars dotted his gray skin and he was missing an eye. His ears were pointed, but they weren't like an elf's ears. They weren't as pronounced as mine and they were flat on the top. Interesting.

            "Forgive him, Herald." A man stated as he walked toward us, "He has no manners."

            Bull chuckled and slapped the man on his back, "Cremisius Aclassi, my second in command."

            "Uh… I'm not the Herald." I shook my head, "She's a nice Dalish elf off to meet the Chantry in Val Royeaux, though she is probably headed back to Haven by now."

            All standard information if you paid attention to the rumors. The Qunari's nostrils fluttered again.

            "Do I smell good?" I asked as I turned to him.

            "Like lilies." He leaned closer, "If you aren't the Herald who are you."

            I pressed my finger tips to his forehead and shoved him—tried—back. I think he let me, "Luna, I am here on behalf of the Inquisition." I looked between him and Cremisius, "Your second in command here asked for an audition."

            Bull's entire personality changed, "Luna?" His eyes flashed, "Oh, you're that elf."

            "Commander." Cremisius groaned, "You can't call people by their race."

            "That elf?" I asked, interested now. Were people talking about me? That was new.

            "Krem, send out the throat cutters." Bull ordered, "Don't want any of those Vint bastards getting up. No offense."

            Krem chuckled and started away, "At least a bastard knows who his mother is, puts him one up on you Qunari."

            I clapped, "Oh I like him." Krem tossed me a smile over his shoulder as he barked out orders to the rest of the mercenary group. People started double checking the dead.

            "Why'd they send you?" Bull asked as he held out a hand, he led us toward several large rocks before he sat down. I stayed standing but crossed my arms over my chest.

            "Why does a Ben Hassrath agent want to join the Inquisition?"

            Yeah, that's me. Subtle like a moose. I don't know what I thought his reaction was going to be, but I most certainly didn't expect him to laugh. He slapped a hand against his knee and yelled for some alcohol.

            "Your spymaster is good." He stated, "Though I'd expect her to be, if she is in charge of something called the Inquisition. It's good that she knows." The alcohol arrived. He took a long drink of his and I just stared at mine. Not trusting of spies. He shook his head and took a drink of mine before passing it back.

            I still didn't drink, he could be immune to the type of poison in here or have an antidote running through his veins. I tilted my cup and poured it on the ground, "Forgive me for not trusting you right away." I wrinkled my nose. I didn't like wasting alcohol but better safe than sorry.

            "I would have told you," he shrugged, "I just didn't expect you to open with that, I like your brashness."

            I laughed at him, "Oh man are you in for a treat then. So… tell me why do you want to join the Inquisition?"

            "Have you seen that thing?" He pointed to something behind me. His arm was angled high in the sky so I was assuming it was the Breach. "Something like that threatens the whole world. I have orders to join, collect information and find out if you guys are really capable of fixing the problem or if the Qunari have to launch an invasion to save the world."

            "That won't be happening." I stated, "Won't be necessary."

            "I certainly hope not." Bull agreed. I tilted my head back and raised an eyebrow.

            "You don't want to invade?"

            "Me? No, the Qun isn't for everyone." If he was lying to me I'd find out but he didn't seem like the kind. Nothing like Sten at all, emotion was written all over his face. If I was any judge—I was not—he was actually being honest with me. I guess being out here, undercover he could not act like a Qunari would back in their homeland. It would screech his intentions from the roof tops. "I like the way the world is now, I like me here and them over there."

            "Alright, now that we got the Ben Hassrath shit out of the way…" I cracked my neck and took a step closer. He was utterly terrifying and screamed ladies' man. I bet he was hung and oh lord did I hate myself but I kind of wanted to see it. Someone that big had to be huge. Uncomfortably so.

            Just cause I wanted to see it did not mean I wanted to ride it though. I liked my insides where they currently were thank you.

            He waited and watched me patiently. I waved a hand, "What can you bring to the Inquisition man!"

            He smirked and waved a hand, "You've seen us in battle-" I nodded and cut him off. He was good but too much of an ego and he'd be out of control.

            "I saw me kicking their ass." I snorted, "Who are they anyway?"

            "Venatori."

            "You said Vint earlier." I clarified. It was nice to know their organization but I wanted to know their nationality. "I'm assuming that is short for Tevinter?"

            He cocked an eyebrow at me, "Have you been living under a rock?"

            "Basically, I was living on the outskirts of society and unwelcome among humans." I pointed to my ears, "From their faces you'd think I was getting ready to strip and sing to flowers."

            "Were you?" Seems his interest was piqued.

            "Maybe when both moons are full. Singing to flowers works best at their zenith." From my tone I made it obvious that no I do not dance naked by moon light. He still grinned, "You're picturing it aren't you?"

            "I bet you glow."

            "Ugh…" I resisted rolling my eyes but just barely, "So enough about my pale ass…. How much do your services cost?"

            "The money will work itself out, don't worry about that. We'll go through Josephine and set up payments." I nodded, of course he knew the higher ups. "And we're the best, it's money well spent."

            "Alright, I'm almost sold… Last thing I want to know is what kind of information you'd be sending back to your people."

            "Small things, nothing that would compromise your organization. Just enough to keep my commanders happy."

            "You do realize that Leliana will be screening them and if she finds anything she'll send me to kill you."

            "You?" He sounded nonchalant but he was looking at me with new eyes.

            "Yes me." I gave him a feral grin, "So, when do we leave?"

            "Pack it up boys!" Bull shouted, "We just got hired."

            "But chief we just opened the casks… with axes." Krem called, pointing to the barrels behind him.

            "Find a way to close them, you're a Vint right? Try blood magic."

            I snorted into my empty cup. The ride back to Haven was going to be so much more fun with this group.

Chapter Text

"Lace!" I screamed as Bread ran up the side of the cliff. Lace Harding melted out of the shadows of the tree line, an arrow notched to that bow of hers.

            "You in trouble Luna?" She glared at the group behind me.

            "Nah," I waved a hand, "this is that merc group I was telling you about." Her face brightened and she put the bow away.

            "How can I help?" She tried to watch us all and succeeded for the most part.

            "Can you send this letter to Leliana?" I passed her one, "And this one to Josephine?" I passed her a second one. "I would report to them when I get back to town but they'd eat me alive."

            Lace's eyes twinkled and she tucked them under her belt. "Absolutely. You're headed back now?"

            "Yup, gotta get this group to Haven without being shot." I yawned into my hand, "You know Cullen, he's going to want to get them in sync with the main body of our army as soon as possible."

            Lace nodded, "Oh Maker will he."

            "How long are you station out here?" I looked around, the rain for the most part had passed but another storm was rolling in. I loved rain, but this constant stuff? Yeah no thanks, the tents were oiled but I bet they still leaked.

            "Until weeks end." She sighed and canted her head, "I should be back shortly after you."

            "And then we'll get that drink."

            She nodded and slapped Bread's rump, "See you soon!"

            Bread bolted under her encouragement and the rest of Bull's team followed me.

 

Two weeks. And that was taking the short path. We joked and talked. I got to know his team a little better.

            Dalish made me laugh. Who was she kidding with her staff? She was a mage but she insisted that it was an old elven trick and I wouldn't understand. And if it was she was correct, but as it was she couldn't BS me.

            Skinner took to me right away, lamenting about the alienages in the different cities and how horrible shems were. Right up until I told her that I grew up in the country, never stepped foot in a city alienage and then I was just as bad as the shems. Eh… she'd come around.

            "How much farther is this?" Stitches asked.

            "Oh, does your ass hurt?" Rocky retorted. He pitched his voice higher and talked to him like he was a baby.

            "Hey," I cautioned, "you should not mess with the healer." I winked at Stitches, "Next thing you know the poultice doesn't work anymore and you've blow off your giblets." Rocky snickered.

            "Chief would have his ass."

            "Don't drag me into this," Bull chuckled. "Luna's right, don't mess with the person who patches you up. Never know when they'll get you back."

            "Right?" Dalish asked as she pulled her horse next to mine, "Once I got on his bad side. Got into a patch of rashvine and he gave me an ointment to help. Turned my skin green for a week."

            Stitches whistled innocently and Rocky looked at him in new light.

            "And to answer your question hon we're almost there. About another two hours on this road and then we start to head up the mountain." I jutted my chin out, "If we rode through the night we'd be there before sunrise."

            "It isn't a good idea though." Krem commented, ever the level head, "The horses can't see well in the dark."

            "I wasn't saying we should." I agreed, "Too many things could go wrong."

            Krem grinned, "You sure you don't want too?"

            Yeah, apparently they heard about the pride demon and despite my best attempts the Crow situation had leaked. Ship Captains man….

            That was what Bull was talking about when he said 'that elf'. And my behavior between then and now hadn't dissuaded them of my reputation for being slightly crazed.

            Well if they knew about it I was willing to bet that the Crows knew as well so that was another organization I needed to watch out for. If they decided to come after me. If Zevran hadn't already taken them over.

            And that knowledge kind of screwed up any chance I had of Bull underestimating me. I had been correct, if Leliana decided that he needed to go down she'd send me and a few others, but he would see me coming now.

            Me and my big mouth.

 

We broke camp the next morning. They wanted to run through drills but I assured them that Haven was close enough they'd be able to join in before lunch. Thankfully they took me at my word and I wasn't forced to watch them run through variations of the same formation for two hours.

            They'd done it every morning and I felt a little like I was in the military again. I participated now and then but nothing constant. Mostly I spent my time exploring, looking for elfroot—that was a miracle plant—and other herbs. Adan would be grateful for them and I'd restock our poison herb supply in the same go.

            There was a greater variety of herbs in the actual world that I'd ever encountered. I'd come across rashvine—avoided it after Dalish's story—and these little blue bell like flowers which were crystal grace. Andraste's grace was apparently something other than just pretty white flowers that Leliana liked as well.

            Color me impressed.

            Soon after we started out the gates of Haven came into view. Bread got excited and broke into a gallop. Laughing I gave him his head. I needed to let Cullen know that the Chargers were friendly anyway.

            Bread ran right past Cullen who was drilling the troops. I don't think he even registered that I'd passed him. My silly horse went all the way to the stables and pawed at his stall door.

            "You'd think I miss treated you." I hissed as I dismounted.

            An older gentleman approached, "Fine stallion you've got there." His eyes turned critical as he took the reins from me, "Have you bred him before?"

            "Uh… no?" I shrugged, "I lucked into him a few weeks ago, I have no idea what he is exactly."

            "He's an Anderfel Courser." The man patted Bread's neck, "Their rare this far south."

            "Oh," I commented, unsure of what else to say.

            "I'm Dennett." He turned and held out his hand.

            "Pleasure," I gripped his forearm, "Luna."

            "Would you mind if I let him loose with a few of my mares that are in heat?"

            I looked at Bread, "Why not?" I laughed, "Let's see what kind of babies you'd make." Bread let out a whicker and tossed his head, "Yeah I thought you'd like that."

            "HALT!"

            I spun and looked at the crowd behind me, "Oh shit I gotta go Dennet!" I bounded away, "It was nice meeting you!"

            Cullen truly had not seen me. How I have no idea because Bread is huge and easily spotted, but all he saw was a group of people armed to the teeth approaching the town.

            "Cullen!" I screamed, "Don't shoot!"

            "Luna?" He jerked around, "When did you get back?"

            I huffed and placed a hand on his chest. He was an excellent prop, "I just passed you man!" I laughed, "They're with me." I jutted my chin out toward the group of mercs, "They are Bull's Chargers." I smiled at him, "Let's not shoot assets, yeah?"

            Cullen sighed and told his men to stand down, "A little warning next time?"

            "Hey," I defended as I stepped closer to him, "I told Josephine and Leliana."

            Cullen gazed down at me, completely oblivious that I was almost pressing up against him. Damn. "But not me?"

            "I don't report to you." I took a step back and grinned at him. "I told Josie because she is going to pay them."

            Cullen's gaze turned into a glare, "I'm going to train them."

            "They train themselves." I crossed my heart while holding up a hand, tone utterly serious, "Swearsies."

            He shook his head, "Get off my field Luna."

            "Aye aye Captain!" I saluted and waved the Chargers forward. Bull looked like he was ready to bust at the seam.

            Cullen looked behind me, "Nothing to see!" He barked. A glance over my shoulder showed that the trainees were no longer training, but watching our exchange. "You're a bad influence on the men."

            I scrunched my nose, "I prefer to think of myself as a moral boost." I winked, "Someone needs to get them to laugh from time to time."

            "Just…" he waved his hand, "just go."

            I started walking toward the gates; most of the Chargers were in front of me. Bull was ordering them about and they found a spot to set up camp away from the rest of the soldiers. Someone yelled my name and I looked around.

            Gold skin and black hair slammed into me, "You're here!"

            She was awfully attached to me. "Ellana!" I called out, surprised, "You're here."

            The Herald let go of me, "Leliana said you'd be returning soon." She was smiling at me, "Just in time, we're headed out to Redcliffe."

            I groaned, "Again?" I'd been on the road for over a month now without a break. Had these people never heard of a vacation?

            Ellana nodded seriously, "A lot has happened since I saw you last."

            "Who is this delightful creature?" Someone asked as he strode toward me. I blinked at looked him up and down. Gay. He was so gay.

            "Dorian!" Ellana pulled him forward, "This is Luna."

            "The illustrious Luna?" Dorian's eyes twinkled, "Ellana has gone on about how you rode a pride demon."

            "Of course she has," I grinned at him. "And who are you handsome?"

            He preened under my comment, "Dorian Pavus." His hand wrapped around mine and he pressed a kiss to the back of it.

            "Such a gentlemen." I thrilled. I loved the shit out of him and I barely met him, "We are going to get into so much trouble together."

            "A gentleman does not seek trouble."

            "Good thing I'm not gentry of any kind, yeah?" I winked, "Come! We must be off to ogle men!"

            He blinked, "Excuse me?"

            I hesitated a moment, looking back and forth between Ellana and Dorian. Ellana looked just as confused as Dorian did upset. "Uh…" I rubbed the back of my neck before pointing at him, "You are gay, right?"

            "Gay?" Dorian asked.

            "You like men?"

            "You suspect this because…?" He asked as he stepped closer.

            "You are better groomed than ninety percent of the women here." I waved a hand, "Including me and I am stunning."

            He gave me a cheeky grin, "I like you." He looked at Ellana, "You didn't tell me she was like this."

            Ellana laughed, "To the Singing Maiden?"

            I started to agree but caught Leliana looking at me from the top of the stairs, "I have to report in." A sigh escaped me, "Get me something good and I'll be there soon, yeah?"

            "You'd better." Ellana threatened, "Varric is starting up a game of wicked grace."

            "Is this the Herald?" Bull asked as he walked toward us. But he wasn't looking at Ellana. He had his eyes on Dorian.

            "Yup, this is Ellana Lavellan." I pointed toward the dark haired beauty, "Ellana this is The Iron Bull, leader of Bull's Chargers, our newest mercenary group."

            Ellana watched him, "You like him Luna?"

            "Eh…" I wiggled my hand back and forth, "he grows on you."

            She giggled, "Good enough, he should come too."

            He gave me a look, "I know your hearing is better than that." I glared at him and he chuckled.

            "Tavern for a round of cards."

            Ellana glanced at me and I shook my head, I pulled her into a hug. "Bet small, he's a spy. He has no tells." She winced, "Oh no… bet really small, like… copper small."

            "Bah! Silver or go home." Bull prodded good naturedly.

            "Luna." Leliana called, looking impatient.

            It was my turn to wince, "Ohh… gotta run!" I jogged backward and glared at Bull, "Be nice to Ellana and Dorian! They are my new favorite people!"

            "Yes, ma'am!" Bull called, waving me away. I watched as Dorian stiffened. So, Bull wasn't as smooth as he thought he was.

 

Report had been given. It was quick and easy, Leliana already had most of the information, Josephine joined us for the last portion. I informed them of how many there were and provided more details about what the Iron Bull was here to accomplish. Leliana resolved to watch him closely and see where his loyalties lie.

            From what I'd seen he was loyal to the Qun but wasn't very fond of it. Strange in all honesty.

            I left the Chantry and started toward my house. A little begging to Josephine secured me a small wooden tub and some water, I'd have to heat it the old fashioned way but she sent someone to get it started for me.

            Indeed it was a small tub, little more than a barrel and shallow as hell. But it was better than the pitcher and bowl so I was not going to verbally complain. I quickly scrubbed myself clean, not wanting to linger in the dirty water and dressed in a dress. I was feeling a little feminine today so along with the dress I threw on a little kohl and some red lipstick.

            We were having a party at the tavern and a woman likes to feel pretty every once in a while.

            The dress was plane; thank the Maker/God/Gods. Lucky for me it didn't go all the way down to my ankles but cut off around my shins and was the deepest black that I'd seen here so far.

            I took a moment to scrub my armor clean, quickly wiping it down. Lucky for me it was leather and not so difficult to clean. Mud didn't really stick to it, just became brittle when dried and it was easy to knock off.

            When I left my little cabin my eyes slid across to Solas' door. I still had some beef with him, the question was did I want to scream at him now and possibly ruin my night? Or do it in the morning and ruin tomorrow?

            My body made the decision for me. I stood in front of his door banging as loud as I possibly could. It opened after three knocks and a perturbed looking bald elf stood on the other side.

            "You and I need to speak." I hissed as I stepped past him, knowing that he wasn't going to invite me in.

            "Of course, Luna." Solas drawled and closed the door a little firmer than necessary behind him. "How can I be of assistance?"

            "Oh don't feed me that shit; you know exactly why I'm here." I snapped as I twisted to glare at him, pleased when the dress flared with the spin. "What is with the fade crap you pulled? What did you do?"

            "To which event are you referring to?" My mouth flopped several times. Was he shitting me?

            "The fade! You pulled me into a different part of it and then-" I slammed my jaw shut. The words were damning and I didn't want to say them. What if it had just been the fade being the fade?

            I already had an extreme distrust of this man, what if the fade—a demon in particular—was using that against me?

            There were too many 'ifs' for me to be confident in shouting that something had taken over my body. He was a mage, we were basically in a camp that was anti mage and I could not go around telling people I'd lost control of myself, even momentarily.

            "And then?" He prompted, eyes wide with curiosity. Or was it just that? Taking a moment I really observed Solas. Watched as his breath quickened slightly and how he kept fiddling with his hands.

            I glared around the room thinking. He wasn't going to admit to it and it wasn't something I could take to anyone else. Shit he had me backed into a corner and I didn't like it. I sure as hell wasn't going to say that something took over my body and recognized him.

            Oh sweet hell… was I the possessor? Did this body have a soul before I came along and forcefully inhabited it?

            I always assumed that the body was created specifically for me. When I came through the relay the body was in the ship, there was no one else there and I had been turned from my tall Turian self into this small elf.

            What if… what if I took over their forms and their lives when I came through?

            I was going to be sick.

            "I have to go." I whispered and pushed past him.

            In a daze I walked out of his house and made it around the back of mine before I lost the contents of my stomach. Had I inadvertently hurt an innocent by coming to this place? How many more was I going to hurt?

            I clenched my eyes shut and fought a wave of dizziness.

            "Luna?" Ellana was looking for me. "Luna we're getting ready to start, are you in there?"

            Opening the back window I slid into my cabin, crossing to the door I opened it, "Yeah kiddo I'm here." I smiled at her through sheer force of will. "Give me a second, I'm not quite finished getting ready."

            She smiled and stepped inside, closing the door behind her.

 

"Who is this?" I smiled down at a scruffy man. He wasn't exactly scruffy, but he had a massive beard and large eyebrows. Dark brown eyes peered up at me and I offered him a smile. His face transformed as a grin took over.

            "I told you a lot had happened since you'd been back." Ellana whispered conspiratorially while nudging a strange female elf next to her. It seems we'd picked up a few new people. "Luna this is Warden Blackwall," my gaze sharpened on 'Warden' but Ellana continued, "and this is Sera, she is a Red Jenny."  

            "A Red Jenny?" I asked, distracted from the Gray Warden sitting in our mists. Did Leliana know? "As in there are more than one?"

            "Pbft…" Sera gave me a look that said obviously but I knew very little about Red Jenny. I assumed there was one and little underlings running everywhere.

            "Apparently." Varric stated as he shuffled a deck of cards. I wasn't entirely sure on how to play Wicked Grace but it was a lot like poker and I had a great poker face. "Buttercup here says that there are Red Jennies in different cities, two in one in particular." He started to deal and when I got all of my cards I lifted them up.

            The cards had no numbers. There were images on them. How the hell was I supposed to…?

            Bull leaned over and stage whispered, "You don't know how to play do you?"

            I refused to look at him as I set my cards down and threw in a silver. "Eat me." He roared with laughter and called, and then raised. Shit I was screwed. The cards had different suits, serpents… suns. No numbers but there were different amounts of the suits on the cards. One of them laid a card face down, another face up.

            Oh man, I'd talked myself into something again. I was going to lose all my gold. Bull discarded three and Varric passed him several cards. They all looked at me expectantly. I laid a card face down. What else was I supposed to do?

            Slowly I picked it up, the object of the game was to gather matching suits. The more you had, the higher your chances of winning were. Cards could be put into 'play' either face up or face down and once the Angel of Death popped up the game was over.

            I won… I think? They passed the gold to me twice but I didn't understand how I won. I just kept my face stoically blank while looking at my cards, strove to keep my pulse in check and breath even. More silver and gold left my little collection than I probably should have played but I learned that betting strong discouraged others quickly. A gold was generally too rich for the others and they folded.

            Until Bull figured me out and then I started to lose again.

            "So… Varric tell me about Hawke." I prompted to draw the suspicion away from me. You have to have something sometimes to win and I wasn't sure I had anything. The cards hated me and I vowed to never play this game again with a Ben Hassrath agent. Damn Qunari body reading b.s.

            "What do you want to know?"

            "What they're like, hobbies, how their sibling is doing." Yeah, I was trying to figure something out about Hawke before I started to talk about pronouns.

            "Hobbies?" Varric laughed, "Does killing count?"

            "If it doesn't I need a new hobby." I wrinkled my nose and earn myself a round of quite chuckles.

            "Come on!" Sera prompted as she leaned over and snagged a piece of cheese from Varric's plate, "Give us the details."

            "Please?" Ellana prompted.

            "See what you started Ghost?" Varric snorted as he threw in another silver, "Alright!" He groused good naturedly, "I'll give you heathens some good stuff. Her siblings are doing well from what I understand, Elf," Fenris, "has taken them south," them, both of them were alive? "Hawke herself is in hiding and no I don't know where she is at." That last bit was directed at me.

            "Why are you looking at me like that?"

            "You aren't subtle Ghost." Varric snorted, "Stop trying to get information that doesn't exist for Leliana."

            I gave him a blank look, "What?"

            "That's the best Wicked Grace face I've seen all night." Blackwall clapped me on the back and I shot him an offended look.

            "I have an excellent po-Wicked Grace face." Shit I'd almost said poker.

            Everyone laughed and I growled. Yeah, not playing this game again. Lifting my mug I tossed back the rest of my drink and started to rise, "Alright, that's enough for me. You lot have taken more than I was willing to give."

            Ellana yawned, "I should be off too, early morning with the meetings and what not." Sera winced.

            "Glad it's not me." She ordered another round, flicking lint off of her palm as she dropped several coppers into Flissa's hand.

            "So are we." Blackwall jeered good naturedly.

            Bull watched me leave, suspicion in his gaze.

            Wonderful.

Chapter Text

"You lack stealth." Leliana chided, "Although having you out there draws the attention from my other ravens." She bit her lip and watched me.

            Bull apparently noticed something during the game and came to Leliana about it. I rubbed my eyes with the back of my hand. It was early and I'd had far too much to drink last night.

            "I never said I was sneaky." I countered and pulled the cup of coffee toward me, grimacing when it tasted like nothing more than grounds added to water. "Who made this?" I set it down and pushed it away from me, "They should be shot."

            "Your exploits in that other land indicated it." Leliana sighed, "I should have seen this coming."

            I resisted the urge to roll my eyes, nothing I did was ever subtle. "My 'exploits' on Earth were far from subtle Leliana. I ran around the galaxy with a Specter shooting bad guys and watching things blow up." I shrugged, "If their watching me, let them. Like you said, I draw all the attention, your other agents can move unseen in the shadows. I'll be the muscle, they'll be the brains."

            Leliana rolled her head on her shoulders, "It is true that none of the others could take down an entire House on their own."

            "Zevran helped." I defended, why I didn't know but it felt important that she remember that little distinction.

            "I know Zevran," Leliana shook her head. "He had several mercenaries with him when he went after Cousland," ah-ha! The Warden was a male human. "He did not succeed then and he would not have without you there."

            Well… I don't know if I deserved that kind of praise. Leliana hadn't been there. Yeah I had my biotics now—always had them—but when could I use them? Almost never because I couldn't trust people to let me live. People here feared magic, to the point of death if they thought someone couldn't control it.

            Standing out in a crowd of people the world was terrified of? Yeah, not something I was keen on doing.

            "Zevran kept several off of me while I did what I did. If he hadn't been there I'd have been overwhelmed and probably wouldn't be here now." I stated softly, which was completely true. Even with my biotics I was not all powerful, "Give the man credit where credit is due."

            I stood running a hand through my too long hair. It was starting to get a little scruffy and I was due for a hair cut, "Am I going with Ellana to Redcliffe?"

            Leliana nodded sharply, "Yes, you are going to enter the castle at her side." She smirked, "Use your flashy nature to draw attention to yourself and the rest of my men will take care of everything."

            "Sounds like a plan." I flashed her a grin and started toward the door.

            "You leave in three days." Leliana stated, "Take some time off, you've been going for months."

            I sagged with relief, one hand on the door knob, "Thank you."

            Leliana chuckled, "You must be exhausted."

            "I am." And I fully intended on sleeping until I couldn't sleep anymore.

 

I slept for what felt like an eon. The sleep was deep, relaxing and full of dreams that vanished in the breaking of the dawn. As I sat up a shiver ran up my spine and I stretched through it, shaking it out of my body. I pushed to my feet, bending at the waist to touch my toes and then curling my arms around the back of my calves and pulled farther.

            Elves did not have body hair. There were no scratchy prickly little bastards that dotted the skin of my legs or anywhere else for that matter. And if some of us did, I imagine that it was so fine that it was impossible to see unless someone held a light in just the right position.

            Standing upright I laced my hands behind my back and pushed up, pops and cracks rose up into the air followed by whines of pain. Cracked ribs, right I needed to get that looked at.

            A fist set lightly against my jaw as I pushed first one way and then another.  

            Leisurely I began to dress, dragging ass the entire way. After speaking with Josephine—and her agreeing with me—she gave me some coffee for me to brew for myself. My step dad used to say that cowboys would put a horseshoe in the pot and when it stood up the coffee was ready. I wasn't quite that crazy but I still liked it strong.

            Dropping a tablespoon of cold water into it helped the grounds to settle and then I scooped a cup off the top and blew against the rising steam. A hum of approval echoed up into my little cabin at the first sip. This was coffee, not bean juice.

            Someone knocked at the door and I glanced at it before crossing to the door. When I opened it the person on the other side held out a rolled piece of papers.

            "Orders from Leliana." She chirped.

            And here I thought she'd actually give me the three days. I swallowed the growl that threatened to bubble up over my lips and snatched the paper out of her hand. "Thanks." The word was mumbled and I shoved the door closed with my foot.

            Snapping open the roll of paper I eyed it while I chugged my coffee. My easy morning just turned difficult. I was to report to the training grounds in less than half an hour for additional training and…

            Did that fucking say team building exercises?!

            Oh no…

            Snorting I dropped the paper into the fire. This I had to see. I'd seen the glares passed around yesterday between Ellana's new inner circle of people. Solas and Vivienne went together like cats and dogs. Dorian didn't like Blackwall and Sera hated Solas. She seemed like a fun girl, perhaps she and I could be friends.

            Varric seemed to be the only universal one that was liked. Except for Cassandra, Cassandra didn't really like Varric at all. Now that I think about it… Cassandra was pretty well liked too, by everyone except Varric. Huh… wasn't that a little strange?

            There was no way this wasn't going to be entertaining, even if I was going to be forced to participate.

            I crammed a breakfast of dry bread, cheese and a watered down wine into my face as I ran out the door. Many people looked at me like I was a little too eager, and perhaps I was but there was nothing like watching a group of strangers that vowed to travel together forge their first bonds through throwing punches.

            A slight giggle escaped from my lips and when Varric caught my attention I made my way over to him.

            "Has anyone hit anyone yet?" I panted as I stood on tip toes to look over the crowd. Most were in Inquisition colors and fighting with wooden weapons.

            "You seem awfully eager this morning Ghost."

            "Ch… ya. Where is everyone?" Besides Varric I saw Blackwall but he still stood over by the smithy speaking to one of the apprentices there and Bull who was surrounded by his men. No one else was present. "Don't tell me that we're the morning people?"

            "You seem to be expecting more than just me." Varric casually mentioned with a raised brow. I looked at him before glancing around again.

            "Aren't there… team exercises this morning?"

            Slowly the other brow rose and Varric started to laugh. My brows furrowed quickly and my gaze was sliding toward a glare until Leliana popped up with Solas in tow.

            "Ah good, you're here." Leliana chirped. Oh lord she was a true morning person. "I know I gave you the next couple days off, however-" I hated that word at that moment, "-Solas has approached Cassandra and I with a concern." She looked over her shoulder at him, waiting for him to explain.

            "I believe that an artifact, something this age has never seen before, was used in the creation of the Breach. It is important that this artifact be recovered." His words were simple, matter of fact. "Leliana has assured me that her people have combed the mountainside, but the artifact in question may be unrecognizable to anyone without the use of magic."

            I looked at Leliana skeptically, "Don't you have people with magic?"

            "At Haven?" Leliana appeared to be suppressing a laugh. That seemed to be my reaction of the day. "No, my little ravens that have magic are located in places where they will not stick out."

            One of my eyebrows rose of their own accord.

            "Mages can sense magic." Solas supplied quietly while giving me a look that declared he still thought I had magic. "The veil moves differently around them, creates a glow that is unique to each individual. With mages, the glow covers a larger area."

            "An aura." I supplied, "You're saying you can see people's auras?" Color me impressed, I didn't really think anyone out there could do that.

            "Aura?" His lips folded around the word wrongly. Like he'd never said it before. "I have never heard it called this before, no. It is akin to the soul though, a visual representation if you will."

            Yup, he could see auras.

            "Alright… and what does this have to do with me? The artifact." I added that last bit so Solas wouldn't think I was asking in regards to auras and tip off people that I was different. Damn this was going to put a kink in things.

            "Solas has requested to travel back up to the Temple of Sacred ashes and conduct his own search." Leliana angled herself so that Solas could not see her face. Casually she gave me a look that told me I wasn't going to like what came next, "I want you to go with him, help him search and keep each other safe from any demons that may have eluded our patrols."

            I stepped closer to Leliana and tilted my head away from Solas, dropping my voice into something below a whisper I asked, "Let me get this straight… you want me to babysit him?"

            "Luna," Leliana sighed and wrapped a hand around my arm, "this is not the place to discuss this, if you wish when you return in two days we can continue this conversation." She applied enough pressure to my arm that pushing for further information would borderline imbecilic and earn me a broken bone. Or… another one.

            "Right." I turned and started back toward the gates. Two days meant I'd need to pack and gather supplies. We'd have to set up camp and… wait… "Two day?" I turned to look at her, "You're joking right?"

            "Yes," Solas interjected. "It is not enough time to search the entire temple, sadly. It will give us just enough time to get there, search the majority of the main areas and return before the Herald leaves for Redcliffe."

            "In two days." I hedged at Leliana, "Two days and Ellana leaves. We'll still be up the mountain side and I won't be able to go with her."

            Leliana winces, "I know I promised you'd be traveling with her Luna, but if Solas is correct and whatever created the Breach is still out there? That is more important than traveling to Redcliffe at the Heralds side."

            I set my jaw and looked at Solas. "I don't trust this Lel." I hissed as I stepped closer to her again. "Time traveling magic is a fucked up thing. Dorian insists that it's real and Dorian doesn't seem like the kind of guy to make shit up."

            "Luna-"

            "No, I don't think you understand the implications of time travel." I did, on Earth I was a nerd, loved everything that was related to Sci-fi that I could get my hands on. From Stargate—and all off the off shoot series—to Planet of the Apes, Lost in Space, Star Wars and Looper. Things that included time travel though? They were always tricky, "She could get stuck in a loop or this Alexius bastard could go back in time and erase her completely!"

            "Why hasn't he done that already?" Leliana sighed, "And you aren't-"

            "Maybe there are stupid rules that surround it, I don't know! One thing is for sure though, if time magic is involved then I want to be-"

            "Luna!" Leliana almost shouted, "You will be there with her, you just aren't leaving when she leaves."

            "Oh." I blinked at her several times and then gave her a chagrin smile. "Sorry about geeking out on you."

            Leliana's eyes twinkled and she gave a low chuckle, "I feel sorry for your previous commanding officer."

            "Ah… yeah you probably should." I winced as I remembered all the shit I gave to her and how I questioned orders. Military didn't like it when you questioned orders. "So… if it is so important we recover the artifact why are we only taking two days?"

            Leliana tilted her head, "Can you reach Redcliffe before the meeting if you leave later?"

            I bit my lip and thought about it, "I made it to Amaranthine in about five days, I believe I could make it to Redcliffe inside of two if I traveled alone and took Bread. And left directly from the Temple instead of returning to Haven first."

            "Solas, speak to Dennet and secure a mount that is equal to Bread." Leliana turned to me after Solas started toward the horse master, "You are sure of it?" I nodded but shot her a look, "Even with the addition of Solas traveling with you?"

            "If he slows me down I won't wait for him." I snorted, "The safety of the Herald takes precedence, Solas is a big boy, he'll catch up on his own."

            "Under no circumstances are you to leave Solas alone long enough for him to contact anyone outside the Inquisition." Leliana breathed, "Or have you forgotten about the concerns you approached me with?"

            My eyes widened, "Have you heard anything about him? Anything at all?"

            "I was unable to verify his claims." Leliana shook her head, "However it is quite possible that the village no longer exists or that it is so secluded from the outside world and independent that no one has heard of it in generations. Like Haven." She swung and arm wide, "Keep eyes on him, and be nice."

            "I'm always nice." I insisted. She scoffed and rolled her eyes at me.

            "I got reports the day you arrived back in Haven that you were heard inside his home yelling at him." She gave me a look, "Want to share what that was about?"

            "Uh…"

            "Be nice Luna, or he'll begin to suspect something."

            "He'll suspect if I'm randomly nice to him." Leliana nodded, "I'll keep being me? How about that?"

            "Don't go out of your way to antagonize him, please?" Leliana asked as she pinched her nose between her index and thumb, "We cannot afford to lose someone with Solas' knowledge about the veil."

            "Right I won't call him an egg head or insinuate that he is a hobo." I nodded and grinned at her when she glared at me. "I'll be as nice as I am able too without kissing his ass, alright?"

            She sighed, "I suppose that is the best I'm going to get."

            "Oh, one more thing…" I looked at Solas as he started to approach us again, "Why are you sending me with him."

            "Trust." Leliana stated and she turned away from me, vanishing into the early morning crowd.

            "Shall we depart?" Solas asked when he finally reached me. I shook my head slightly to bring myself out of the daze that Leliana threw me into. He stood next to me with my horse and another that must be his for the time being.

            "I need to fetch a few things, clothes, food and the like." Bread nudged me with his velvet nose. "Yes, I see you." I cooed, "No I don't have a sugar cube in my pocket at the moment." I pressed a kiss to the side of his face, "I'll stash a few while I'm getting my things, alright?"

            Bread whickered in what could only be approval before he pawed the ground with his front hoof.

            "You speak to him as if he were a person." Solas stated. It was most definitely not a question and yet he looked confused.

            "Why not?" I challenged as I patted Bread's neck. When Solas didn't respond I started back toward my cabin, already planning out questions and excuses I'd need for this trip.

            I was certain that my conversation with him a yesterday was going to surface sometime soon.

 

Silence. It was prolific between the two of us. He rode a horse that had half of Bread's spunk but just as much stamina. Solas seemed distracted as we slowly plodded up the mountain. Which was okay and not okay with me at the same time.

            It was disturbingly quiet. The father we moved away from the little Village, the less sounds there were. Crickets weren't this far south, at least not this time of year. Too cold for them, the snow was still thigh deep on me in some places, though we should have heard some birds that didn't migrate or some wolves in the area.

            Back in Origins this whole area was covered in dragonlings and drakes. Now? Now I couldn't even find a nug. A nug that were basically the edible version of cockroaches here in Thedas.

            A twig could snap a mile away and we'd hear it. It was not a comforting notion. Because if we could hear it, then whoever or whatever snapped the twig could hear us too.

            Not that a twig snapped or anything, but I was thinking of all possibilities.

            "You are quieter than expected." Solas commented suddenly, his head moving a fraction of an inch to look in my direction.

            "Does that bother you?" I retort. Slowly I pulled each foot out of the stirrups and crossed my legs under each other, "I didn't take you as the sort to hold a riveting conversation with me." I wiggled my brows, "I am a heathen after all. No manners, or rather it seems you believe I have no manners."

            "I've made no such claims." He dismissed, "We hardly know each other well enough to determine who has the better manners."

            "You." I replied instantly. He threw me a sideways glance, pulling on the reins when his horse tried to turn a different direction. "Oh don't look so shocked, I'm adult enough that I know when someone behaves better than I."

            He chuckled quietly, "Not better per say, more I've traveled farther and learned more."

            "I highly doubt that…" I breathed. "So, Solas… what brings an Elvhen apostate to the little dung hole known as Haven?"

            "The Conclave," his reply was steady and unwavering. "If allowed to happen it would have affected mages everywhere, I'd come to hear news of it though I knew better than to approach. When the sky split open I knew I could offer my knowledge and did so willingly."

            He sounded so sure, and there was no trace of a lie. His words did not sound rehearsed, or repeated to death. They sounded natural, as if he was absent mindedly answering my questions. There was little to no thought put into his response and it made it difficult to question his motives.

            "How lucky they were, to have you in those first few days." I didn't know what else to say. There was a desire to call him a liar and scream that he was up to something, but it didn't fit. He was here for a reason, despite what he may or may not admit too and the answer he gave me seemed to be reason enough.

            But why the look of hatred toward Ellana? Why the visit in the fade? Despite his lack of willingness to admit he'd saved me there I knew it was him. I could feel it, now that we were alone and I wasn't raving about the incident. That thing, the presence inside of me… it was like a tiny flame that leaned in his direction. As if he was the oxygen it needed to survive. It wanted to get closer to him, to stay close to him.

            And I wasn't allowing it to do so. It was a dull ache in my chest and I'd never experienced anything like this in my life before. Which, in my opinion, was a good thing. It wasn't okay for me to wander worlds collecting bits and pieces from each one to carry it to the next or steal bodies from the unsuspecting.

            I still wasn't sure what it was, but it seemed that I was still in control and I'd take it.

            "One could say the same of you." Solas gave me a small smile, "It was no easy feat, staying alive those first few moments and yet the soldiers tell tales of a woman who faded into the snow, appearing one moment at just the right second to save their lives before moving on."

            "A soldier goes where the conflict is, despite their survival instincts." I answered. "My life for dozens? I don't know how many I saved but even if I saved one other life, it was worth it."

            "You put such a small price on your own." His tone was strained, "Do you not enjoy living?"

            "Don't get me wrong," I smiled and twisted so I leaned against Bread's neck, "I like who I am, and life is always an adventure, but what if the person I saved has a kid, or six? A wife, or a sick mother that counts on them to support them."

            "Do you not have anyone?" He was so quiet that I almost didn't hear his response.

            "No." I sighed wistfully, "There are no children, or mother, or husband waiting for me. No family in this world to speak of at all."

            "Such a lonely existence."

            "Do you have any?" He hummed at me in question, "Family, that is."

            "I am like you." His smile was small and sad, "No children, at least… not anymore. My parents passed when I was very young, I have no memory of them at all."

            My heart broke for him. A parent should never have to bury their child. "I'm sorry."

            "You needn't be." He assured, "It was I who broached the subject first."

            "Somehow I see you being a very patient father. I bet your children loved you very much."

            His eyes were full of sorrow when he looked at me, "Yes, I would like to believe that as well."

Chapter Text

We didn't quite make it up the mountain side, but we definitely moved past the dark conversation. Solas, unsurprisingly, enjoyed speaking of the fade, and its spirit inhabitants. I listened, which was surprising for me, to the lull of his voice. To the small inflections his tone took. It was oddly comforting and some part of me was enjoying it much more than I should have allowed myself.

            "So, you've witnessed the battle at Ostagar?" This was intriguing, I played it, lived it for lack of a better word. I guided the Warden up into the tower and lit the signal fire, watched as Logain called for a retreat and saw when Duncan avenged the death of King Calen.

            "One moment the Warden, a bright shining beacon lit the flame; the next a Commander who'd seen too much death steeped in blood, calling a retreat to save his men." Solas' eyes shone as he spoke and something inside me irked. He spoke as if it was some magical moment, that it wasn't a huge loss for Feralden.

            "It wasn't like that, you know?" There was an edge to my voice. Logain was a bastard and I had no idea if he was still alive or not. "He could have ended it there, Logain that is. But when he heard that Calen was inviting the Orlesian Wardens into Feralden he changed his tune and withdrew from the battle. It was because of him that they lost Ostagar, because of him that the Blight stretched as far as it did, because of him that Lothering was wiped from the face of Thedas.

            "And then he took it a step further, refused entry to the Gray Wardens when it was their job to stop the Blight. He led Feralden into what almost turned into a civil war. He hired a Crow Assassin to take out the Warden and his lackeys tortured human nobility just because they could. He poisoned the Arl of Redcliffe because Logain knew he would be a threat.

            "There was no saving his men, he did it because of his pride. His actions were because he didn't trust his King to make the right decision and made a different one. Because he and Marric fought in a rebellion that pushed Orlais out of Feralden and the Orlesians were people he couldn't trust. Logain was an arrogant asshole who made horrible decisions."

            "You were there?" Solas asked with surprise in his tone. I almost bit my tongue in half. Son of a motherless goat! Just how much was I going to reveal to this man? It was a bad, very, very bad idea for me to be alone with him. Or… was it?

            Solas only dreamed of Ostagar, it wasn't as if he knew that I didn't exist in this world at that moment. It wouldn't hurt to… embellish details a little… would it?

            "It seems like I lived it more than once." I strangled a giggle before it could leave my throat. There was nothing funny about Ostagar when you were in the world that it actually existed in. "The darkspawn were everywhere, King Calen and the leader of the Gray Wardens rode out to meet them together with the main part of his army. The Orlesian Wardens had yet to arrive. King Calen wasn't even sure if this was a real Blight. Said that they hadn't seen the Archdemon yet. He almost seemed disappointed about that, but he did love Gray Wardens and their almost mythical lives.

            "Duncan tried to sway him to caution, but Calen was young and full of a desire to prove himself. Logain… in his way tried to warn him as well. In the end Logain did what he did, Feralden lost a monarch, all of the Gray Wardens—except for two—were killed. Thankfully those two survived, or Feralden might not be here right now."

            I pushed my hair behind my ears, "We should be reaching the temple soon, I'll set up camp just outside the blast radius and set a few traps."

            Solas' gaze was intense as he watched me. "I would like to go straight to the temple and start looking, unless you need assistance?"

            A scoff left my lips, "Do I look like a woman who would willingly admit that?" I gave him a crooked smile before pulling Bread's reins in a different direction. My legs shot down and into the stirrups, standing I clicked my tongue several times to get his attention and then we were off.

            Bread tossed his head and I dropped the reins, giving him free range. Leliana's orders were swirling in my mind, keep an eye on him, don't leave him alone long enough to contact anyone outside the Inquisition. And while that tiny flame inside of me desperately wanted to trust him, the rest of me still thought he was here for a different reason so I'd set up camp and then I'd follow him to make sure he was doing what he said he was here to do.

 

Bread's head was tucked close to his chest, one front hoof pulled up and he snored. I'd never heard a horse snore before but Bread was doing it.

            "Huh…" I breathed out quietly. Slowly I walked backward, making sure to skirt the tent.

            Yes, singular. Tent. Notice there was no 's' attached to the end of it. The Quartermaster insisted that it was too cold out here for a single person to survive in the dead of night so she'd only give us one.

            Apparently she'd never met me before.

            The camp wasn't very far from the Temple itself, but I wanted outside the blast radius because I wasn't sure how far the effects of Red Lyrium could travel. And I really didn't want to get turned into a statue like Meredith. Or hear singing or voices or have pots thrown at the back of my head.

            Red Lyrium was nasty stuff.

            I backtracked until the single set of hoof prints became two again and then followed the other trail. It wasn't long before I was at the entrance to the Temple. Someone had been up here and laid the dead that still had form to rest.

            Snow had fallen since the last time I walked these hallowed halls, several inches covered the ground and some of the large spikes around me. It was like a bowl. Large spikes shot up into the air around us, cutting the small breeze down to nothing. Everything seemed to settle, except for the eerie glow of red that ran up the walls like lightning.

            There were still intact places of the Temple. Areas that branched off and didn't have the appearance of melted stone. I found Solas' horse by one such place. He nudged me, snuffling at the pocket he'd seen me get into for Bread.

            "Horses." I muttered as I dug into it, "Don't let mine know I gave you any, you lot are a jealous bunch."

            The trail, to this point, had been right on track. There was nothing to indicate he had deviated from the path at all, the hoof prints were the same depth the entire way and no additional foot prints showed anyone had approached him. That little flame was starting to get bigger and the portion of me that wanted to distrust him was shrinking.

            But, I told that traitorous side of myself, he wouldn't set up a meeting with one of Leliana's people so close to him. At least… not if he was smart which Solas was beyond a shadow of a doubt. So while that little flame continued to grow I continued to try and squash it.

            "Fenedhis," Solas yelled from the other room. A string of Elvhen followed that was too quick for me to even begin to understand and pick out individual words. I stepped up my pace and broke into a mad dash down the hall way.

            Daggers flashed into my hands and when I slid into the room he was in I saw a little black ball of fluff growling and lunging at him. All of its hair stood on end and behind it… behind it was its mother and the rest of its litter.

            It was the only one that survived, probably because this close to the Breach there were no surviving animals for the mother to hunt for survival. The small ball of fluff looked large, but I was willing to bet my last sandwich it hadn't eaten in at least four days and was on the verge of passing out.

            Sighing I slid my daggers back into their sheaths and glared at Solas. "Can't handle a single wolf pup?" My feet strode forward confidently and I slung my pack off my shoulders. The small ball of fluff switched targets and lunged at me.

            Its teeth buried themselves in my forearm and I just glared at it. It tried to snap its head back and forth but it didn't have the energy. Solas started forward as if he was going to bat the thing away from me.

            "I got it." I snapped, dragging my arm and the pup out of his reach, "Chill your tits."

            "That pup could be carrying diseases," Solas informed me. I rolled my eyes.

            "Good thing I have a mage here to heal me, no?" I snorted, "Besides, the little thing is just hungry."

            I dipped a hand into my now open pack and pulled out a length of dried meat. The pup's green eyes flashed between me and the meat held in my other hand. Quick as a snake it released my arm and dove toward the meat, growling and snarling the whole way.

            "Nu-uh!" I ripped it out of the pup's range. "You want food, I want to give it but you will be civil." The pup growled and snapped at me again. I sat down and crossed my legs under me. Slowly I ripped a small chunk off and held it out to the pup. The snarling died as it started toward me.

            Solas shifted and let out a low groan. It startled the pup and it jumped back again, that high pitched rumble starting up once more.

            "Oh don't listen to the old grouch." I cooed, "Here love." I bounced the meat in my hand, stretching it out farther. It was clenched between two of my fingertips. It continued like this until I started to rip quicker, laying the pieces on the floor in a little trail and the rest of it on the part of my legs that crossed.

            The pup gobbled down each one until it got to the largest chunk. It looked up at me and then at the food in front of it.

            "You're trying to tame it." Solas stated, sounding shocked. I chuckled.

            "I'm trying to be its friend." The pup snapped up the last bit of the food and huffed around looking for more. "Have a water skin?"

            "Do you not?"

            "No, mine is all alcohol." I gave him a cheeky grin, "If I had one would I ask for one?" His jaw clenched and it looked like he was flexing the muscle rapidly. His movements were jerky as he pulled a skin from his hip and passed it to me. "Thank you Solas." I said gently as I poured some of the water into my hand.

            The hesitation was still there in the small pup's fur but it didn't last as long as before. Quickly the pup lapped up the water before returning to its dead mother and siblings. Quickly it passed out, fur settling at last.

            "If you are finished playing nurse maid, the Temple still needs to be searched."

            "I'm not." I stated as I slowly stood and crept over to the wolf.

            "You cannot take her with you." Solas insisted, "She will not allow it."

            "Well I just can't leave her here, now can I?" I retorted as I picked up the small pup. So, it was actually a she and I most definitely taking this small pup with me.

            "She is a wild animal, they cannot be tamed no matter how hard you try, Luna." Solas sounded slightly angry. It was confusing.

            "I know a thing or two about the untamable." I retorted, "I will not leave her here with so much Red Lyrium all over, I've seen its effects on humans and I've no desire to see it work its shit on a small defenseless babe." I stood to my entire five foot three—I came up to his chest—and glared at him.

            "And when she grows old and challenges you for dominance?" He demands, "That particular breed of wolf is vicious and they grow rather large."

            I glanced behind me to look at the pup's mother. She was indeed large, her silver fur matched my own. Standing the wolf's head would've come up to my shoulder. Solas was right, something like this would be difficult for me to take on, but it didn't matter.

            "Aren't we supposed to be looking for your artifact?" I asked as I turned away from him and started toward the door.

            "Luna the pup-"

            "Is coming with me." I whipped back around to look at him, "Stop pushing Solas and let's just look for you damned artifact so I can get down the mountain to make sure Ellana comes home."

            A small whine like grunt escaped from the pup's nose as she shifted in her sleep.

 

"You seem quite familiar with Time Magic." Solas commented as we continued to work. The pup—I named her Gypsy—was still asleep and I stashed her in my pack. "It is astounding that you even believe in it, considering it is a recent development."

            "What is so hard to believe about time travel?" I snorted.

            "It was not possible, until very recently and if I had not seen the effects myself I would not believe." Solas looked under a toppled over book shelf before turning his gray eyes on me. "You've a very open mind Luna."

            "I've kind of had to Solas, if you knew half of what I've been through you'd grow hair just so it could turn white."

            "Is that why you are so pale?" Solas asked and my gaze snapped to him. One of his brows was raised and amusement danced in his eyes. "Have your exploits bled the color from your body?"

            "Oh har har." I scoffed. "Guess I kind of walked into that one." I kicked a chair over and scooped up a book. Quickly I flipped through the pages, "What exactly are we looking for?"

            Solas sighed and dropped his chin until it touched his chest. "An artifact, old and probably Elvhen."

            "Right, but what does it look like?" Because there were a bunch of things scattered around from the force of the explosion that could or could not be an ancient Elvhen relic.

            "It has not been seen in an age Luna," Solas explained carefully. "It would be difficult to describe something that has been lost to time."

            "Exactly so how do we know it's here or not?" I sighed and flopped onto the floor. On my stomach because my back still twinged occasionally. Most of the demon wounds healed, the scabs were starting to itch which was a good sign that they were healing and ready to fall off. Corning Ellana to look at my back told me that the bruise was still purple, but starting to take on that faint yellowish hue that was almost completely gone.

            "The offer still stands." Solas supplied to the silence.

            I lifted my head and looked at him, wiggling my eyebrows. "I thought I made that particular offer."

            "To heal your back." Solas' tone was forceful. "As you are so quick to point out, Ellana will require all the assistance she can get. Including your help and whole."

            "Fine." I mumbled into the stone under me. The soft movements behind me halted.

            "I beg your pardon?" Had he seriously not heard me? Or was this just some way of rubbing in that I had accepted his offer of help.

            "Fine!" I called out louder and looked at him again, "Work your magic mojo, get my back to stop hurting." Amusement danced in his eyes and a smile tugged at the corner of his lips. That little flame danced just a little higher.

            Solas stood and walked over to me, before kneeling down at my side. "The magic works best when the wound is visible."

            "If you want to see me naked Solas," I sighed as I rolled over and sat up, "all you have to do is ask." Pink colored the tips of his ears and I wondered what kind of noise he would make if I gently bit them. My fingers tangled themselves in the laces at my side, slowly I unworked the chest piece of my armor and stood up.

            Solas remained in his seated position, eyes carefully diverted to the side. A giggle slipped past my lips. "Where do you want me?"

            "Excuse me?" His tone was a little high and when he finally looked up at me there was shock in his eyes.

            "To heal my back, where would be the most convenient for you?" The pink in his ears was slowly traveling down to his cheek bones. He cleared his throat and stood. This was utterly delicious.

            "Standing is fine." He murmured. His fingers brushed against my bottom as he found the hem of my shirt. He jerked away quickly and lifted my shirt in one motion. "Fenedhis," he hissed, "Do you know the state of your back?"

            "Unfortunately I do not have eyes in the back of my head." I poked, "But I am aware of the large lacerations and the bruise. It shouldn't hurt like it is though and it's been several weeks." Which was too long in my opinion but then again I always had access to medigel and that stuff really was like magic but better.

            He pressed gently against a spot on my back. I jerked away from him and yowled like a cat in heat. "What the actual fuck Solas?!"

            "Indeed." Solas' face was hard again, "Just what, lethallan, have you been up too on your travels for the Inquisition?"

            I met his gaze, "If you were meant to know I'm sure Leliana or one of the other would have pulled you to the side, why are you breaking my ribs?"

            "They were already broken, and they healing incorrectly." His tone was tart and he rubbed one eye with a finger. "They will need to be realigned into the proper position or you will never have a full range of movement."

            "Fine, we can do it when we return to Haven."

            "That will be too late." Solas gave me a dry look and my fists clenched.

            "You're saying that unless I let you mess my ribs I won't be at a hundred percent?"

            "No." I let out a sigh of relief, "What I am telling you is if you do not allow me to attend to your ribs you will most likely be unable to fight as you do. As they are now one sharp blow to your chest would cause them to shatter and possibly puncture a lung. Something that any mage would be hard pressed to heal."

            "Fuck."

            "Indeed." Solas took a step toward me and held out a hand. I glared at it and thought hard for a moment. Just because I was a fighter didn't mean I enjoyed the pain that came with it. Sure, I liked it rough on occasion but willingly breaking a couple—if not several—ribs? That was a little much for me to stomach.

            But it was that or death.

            Growling I slapped my hand into his and allowed him to lead me out of the temple completely. He stopped long enough to pick up my bag and pass it to me. Gypsy still sleeping inside.

            "Where are we going?" I asked quietly, trying to get my mind off of what I was going to allow to happen.

            "To camp." His horse whickered when he saw Solas, "It will be more comfortable for you there, and I will be able to set up a secure area without fear of contamination from the lyrium running through these ruins."

            We walked through the rest of the temple and he looked around for something.

            "What are you looking for?"

            "Bread." He looked at the ground, "You walked here?"

            "He was sleeping," I defended. "Bread deserves rest more than I, he carries my fat ass everywhere."

            Solas turned to me quizzically, "You are not fat."

            "It's an expression." I sighed and shook my hand loose from his grip, "I know I'm not fat."

            Gypsy chose that moment to pop her head out of my bag and let loose a string of barking yip noises followed closely by growling.

            "Hush you, with any luck I can sweet talk Solas into checking the traps." I snip at her, she turned to look at me and I realized she'd been having her conniption fit at Solas, and not me. Interesting. When she looked at me she calmed and licked the side of my hand closest to her. "Would you look at that?"

            "Intelligent animals do not bite the hand that feeds it." Solas drawled and indicated he wanted me to ride his horse.

            "It really isn't that far back to camp and I walked all this way without something bad happening." I pointed out, "What are the odds of something happening now?"

            "Are you challenging some unknown force to swoop down and prove you wrong?"

            I winced, "Yeah, probably not my brightest move." Grumbling I placed my foot in his stirrups and shoved myself up into the saddle. Solas grabbed the reins and started to lead him away. "Uh… it will go faster if you ride behind me and the horse runs back to camp."

            "There is no need to crowd you in the saddle, lethallan." Solas stated and I started to scramble down. "What are you doing?"

            "I thought that was the whole point." I griped, "I'm not going to ride while you walk."

            "You… stubborn…." He looked like he was at a loss for words.

            "The word you are looking for is woman, or female. Perhaps beautiful?" I jabbed as I strode forward into the snow, "Or perhaps we are looking for crude words, in that case it could be whore, or slut, bitch or cunt. Pussy is a good one too." Gypsy barked and I scooped her up out of my pack. She wiggled a little so I let her down.

            She bounced around me in the snow, stopping only momentarily to growl and yip at Solas before prancing once again.

            "If you will return to the horse, Luna?" Solas asked, his tone border lining either hostile or hilarity. I wasn't sure which one.

            "You get up first," I challenged. Gypsy barked once more before she grabbed my pant leg and tugged on it. "Shhh… and don't do that." I waved her away and she barked at me again. When I looked back up Solas was in the saddle, hand held out for me. "Such a gentleman." I cooed as I swung up behind him.

            Gypsy followed us back to camp.

            Solas smelt like the earth after a rain storm. I didn't know anyone could smell like that naturally. It was… well it made the little flame dance.

 

"Are you ready?" He asked. I laid on my bed roll, naked from the waist up. Air slammed in and out of me as quick as it possibly could without me actually hyperventilating. "Calm, lethallan." He soothed.

            "You calm!" I shot back, "I'm about to have bones broken!" Gypsy growled from her little corner but I made a make shift leash and attached her to the tent. For some reason Gypsy really didn't like Solas and every time he touched me she tried to bite him.

            Which was a little weird for a wolf that I just adopted all of four hours ago. This went deeper than 'don't bite the hand that feeds you' bullshit. Either Solas kicked that pup before I walked in or something was rubbing Gypsy the wrong way.

            "Lethallan," Solas breathed. I felt his breath on the back of my neck, "There is nothing I can do for the pain, but I can send you to sleep if that would help?"

            "I put my big girl panties on this morning." I grunted. There was no way he was knocking me out so he could do Lord knows what after he finished breaking me. Or kill me while he broke me. Or just knocked me out and left me here to die. Nope, not gonna happen. "Do it."

            He pushed with his long slender fingers on either side of my bones and I screamed. Gypsy howled and hit the end of her rope. Another scream joined mine and I realized that Bread was freaking out outside the tent.

            Agony. Willingly allowing him to break my ribs so they could be reset did not lessen the pain. It felt like some really fat dude was kicking me over and over in my kidneys. It was worse than any other broken bone that I had. And he wasn't finished.

            Tears rolled down my face and another agonizing scream ripped from my body. It was difficult to breath, but I had too. Forcing myself to push past the pain I sucked in air just as he pushed again.

            Everything went white for a moment and when I was aware of my surrounding I was nothing more than a slave to a Mistress named Suffering.

Chapter Text

 

Solas poked his head into the tent. Four ribs, four. He moved each and every one and I was awake through them all. Yeah, not something that I wanted to repeat, like ever. After each one was broken and reset he quickly pushed magic into me which made the pain worse.

            Force healing a bone? Yeah, not a laughing matter. It was horrible, worse than the bones breaking which I thought was retarded and made me want to slap the hell out of someone. Unfortunately it was not a wise decision to slap the person wielding the magic who healed my stupid ass so I kept my hands to myself. Barely.

            "There was a single nug among the six traps that you set." Solas whispered. Gypsy had finally returned to sleep and it seemed like Solas was not eager to wake her again, not after what happened after the breaking of my third rib.

            Gypsy apparently gnawed through the rope and tore one of his shirts. There had been some mauling, though on a low scale. Solas told me he would not help me with the wolf pup, and that it was better to kill it now than let it starve because it was not a good idea to keep her. I promptly let him know he could stick it where the sun doesn't shine and told him where the traps were.

            "I'm surprised you found all six." I replied, just as quiet as he was. I made to sit up but Solas glared at me.

            "Healers orders to remain where you are." His tone brooked no argument and I flung my hands up into the air.

            "Are you not sleeping tonight?" I hissed at him, "Someone has to keep watch while you sleep."

            "I have set wards." He defended, "We shall both sleep tonight and if anything gets within in league of us I will know about it."

            "Right, well what am I supposed to do?" I half snarled at him with no heat in my voice.

            "Lay there, in your big girl panties and get some rest." Solas' head disappeared from the entrance of the tent.

            I glared at the ceiling. This was stupid, he was stupid.

            A wet nose snuffled the side of my face followed by a tongue. Giggling I turned my head to look at the midnight pup. She dropped into a play bow. Glancing at the tent flaps I decided that if Solas intended for me to stay put he would have bound me. That thought pushed me to roll over and start to rough house with her.

            It wasn't much, her being as small as she was but I did roll her around on her back and shake her a little. She nipped at my wrist and let a low growl/whine loose before she wiggled free and pranced away outside the tent. Quickly I shot out of the tent after her.

            Together we startled Solas. Alone I pissed him off. Blowing him a kiss I chased my little pup and scooped her up to press kisses to her snout. She wiggled free and I was quick to replace her on the ground before she could break free and fall. She pounced around me, lunging and snapping at my ankles.

            Laughter born of pure delight bubbled up my throat and I picked up a large handful of snow to drop over her. She broke free and used her muzzle to fling a small chunk back at me.

            "You little shit!" I called out as she bolted back toward the fire. Laughter still shook my body and not even the look on Solas' face could dampen it.

            "Need some help cooking that nug?" I asked as casually as I could manage while I walked over. Gypsy was bouncing back and forth. It looked like she was debating on approaching Solas for food. Something inside of me didn't think he would refuse to give the little one a meal. He seemed too kind hearted for that, no matter if he was against me keeping her.

            "Are you deliberately attempting to rile me up, or is that just your personality shining through?"

            "Ouch," I winced as I dropped down on the log across from him. The fire was warm and I held out my cold fingertips. Gypsy whined at me to get my attention. "Well Gypsy turn those puppy eyes on him, I'm on his shit list right now." I winked at Solas. He continued to glare at me, "Are you insinuating that you are an incapable healer and your magic is less than adequate?" I flashed him a grin.

            "It is your personality." He stated and returned to the fire.

            "Oh come on Solas!" I leaned forward and titled my head until I could look him in the eyes. Leliana did say I should be nicer to him, "You did an excellent job on mending the bones and the rest of the stuff that was messing up my back. I feel great."

            "You should be resting." He countered, "Healing magic not only draws upon my mana, it also pulls from the injured. It uses up your stored energy and if you aren't careful you will hurt yourself worse than if I had left your bones where they were."

            "Aww…" I pushed a hand to my chest, "are you genuinely worried about me?"

            His jaw tightened and his nostrils flared. "That is beside the point Luna." I didn't think his lips could press any tighter.

            "Is it really?" I prodded at him, no physically but with words. He ignored me and threw a chunk of raw meat to Gypsy. A part of me softened a little at that. "God you are so like Sten." I sat up and huffed, "Shit it's difficult to stay angry at you."

            "You were angry with me?" His tone made him sound indignant. "What have I done that could have possibly made you angry with me?"

            "Uh… broke four of my ribs?"

            He sputtered at me, "That was necessary."

            "And? Doesn't mean it didn't make me angry." I retorted, "Besides I'm not anymore." I winked at him.

            "Is there nothing I can say to persuade you to return to bed?" He sighed. He was doing that a lot lately and… I kind of needed him to not hate me if I was going to keep an eye on him. Time to bust out my mediator skills from grade school.

            "Tell you what…" I started as I looked at the top of his head; I waited until he looked back at me. "I will sit here and watch you cook that nug to perfection, eat it without a complaint and then return to bed. Is that acceptable?"

            He eyed me a moment longer than strictly necessary, "You truly intend to stick to your word?"

            "When have I ever broken my word to you?" I asked incredulous, "In fact tell me when I have ever given you my word on anything?"

            He chuckled and I seemed to be out of the proverbial dog house, for the moment at least. "Point well made, lethallan."

            "I'm sorry we haven't found your artifact yet." I whispered into the crackling embers, "It is obviously very important to you if we are out here in the middle of the night searching for it."

            "It is not something you need apologize for." Solas assured me.

            Silence stretched between us. It was more comfortable than it had been on the way up here. Quietly I stood and made to work my way into the forest.

            "Luna?" He called, curiosity lacing his voice.

            "Nature calls." I yelled back at him.

 

"Aww man…" I whined as I rifled through my pack again. It wasn't there.

            "Is something wrong Luna?" Solas asked as he leaned over my shoulder.

            "My shirt, it isn't here."

            "There are many shirts in that pack." Solas observed, "Surely one of them will suffice?"

            "It is my sleeping shirt." I mumbled as I gently dropped onto my back, "I… can't sleep with a lot of clothing on. I… strip in the middle of the night and I'm sure you don't want to wake up to me naked."  I rolled over onto my back and debated on wearing my current shirt and a pair of under clothing.

            "There are very few things that would be more desirable than that." He murmured behind me. It was quiet enough I wasn't sure if I was supposed to hear it or not. It wasn't so much of a murmur as it was a quiet breath of a whisper.

            Elf hearing was apparently amazing as shit.

            "You want to see me naked?" I challenged as I twisted to look at him, completely unable to stop myself. Not that I tried really, if I had wanted to I probably could have. Note probably. His eyes rounded slightly and his ears were no longer just a faint shade of pink. They were now magenta.

            He cleared his throat and shook his head, "Forgive me, I did not mean to make you uncomfortable Luna. If you wish I will remain awake and watch over you-" he broke off. "That sounds just as bad as-"

            "Solas!" I chuckled, "I told you, if you wanted to see me naked all you had to do was ask." I winked at him and looked past him. His bag was open and inside was several shirts that would be several sizes too big on me. "Hey uh… weird request…" I pushed into a sitting position.

            "Stranger than my previous comment?" I smiled at his attempt to lighten the mood a little more.

            "Can I… have one of your shirts to sleep in?" I tilted my head and flicked an ear hoping it added some amount of adorable to my face. "I'll return it to you as soon as we're back in Haven, washed and folded."

            He watched me for a solid minute before replying with, "This will help you to sleep?" His face tilted forward and slightly to one side while one of his brows rose in confusion.

            "Yes." My response was quick and I remained very hopeful.

            "The pup will not destroy the shirt?"

            "I will guard it with my life." I swore eyes flashing between his and his pack. "And her name is Gypsy."

            "If the shirt is ruined?"

            "I will replace the shirt." I vowed.

            "You are quite insistent on borrowing this shirt from me." He observed. "Should I be asking for something in return?"

            My eyes darted up to his and I saw amusement in them. He was enjoying this. "Bastard." I grumbled, "Can I have the shirt or not?"

            "Of course." A small laugh fell from between smiling lips as he passed me one of his shirts. It was gray with long sleeves. Quickly I dropped it over my head and started the process of removing the clothing that was under it. As each of them slid out they made their way into the pack.

            "Thank you Solas." I awkwardly patted his back and instantly regretted it. "Oh uh… I forgot to mention that I don't cuddle well so if you get cold just snatch a blanket okay?"

            "I… alright." His tone indicated that he was confused but I just pulled Gypsy closer to me before curling around her and dropping off to sleep. Puppy cuddling? Any day of the week!

 

Things had been awkward when I woke up. Solas—much to my dismay—was apparently a big into cuddling. And while I'm sure he tried to restrain himself—ha ha—it didn't quite work. When I woke up Gypsy was laying on my throat and Solas's head was on my chest and half of his body was wrapped around mine. Which was strange because normally I pushed people away and woke up angry when they tried to cuddle in the middle of the night.

            That was yesterday. Last night I was quite insistent that there be no cuddling. At least I had been insistent to myself. There would be no cuddling. I was not going to get attached to this man. I would flirt and dance circles around him to keep an eye on him but I would not allow the lines to blur.

            So I was kind of on edge this morning. Why could he cuddle with me when no one else could? What was happening here?

            Solas stood just out of my line of sight. I could see his shadow, but not him. We'd been inside the temple for hours now and there was nothing to be found. I knew this, Leliana knew this, but apparently Solas was dead set on recovering the mysterious piece of history regardless of where it currently was.

            "It isn't here." I stated for the fourth time. Solas ignored me and continued to look. His horse—yet to be named—and Bread sat outside of the entrance. Both of them seemed to be at ease in this place. The red lyrium was starting to get to me. "It's been two days Solas." I sighed and took a step forward.

            He didn't move though I did watch as his shoulder muscles clenched.

            "I'll be the first to admit that the artifact is dangerous and needs to be recovered." I continued as I rounded the corner and took in his large frame. "We are needed elsewhere." My hand raised of its own accord and started toward the back of his tunic. I managed to halt the movement, fingers clenching into a fist.

            "I know." His voice was just as tense as his body.

            "Why are we still here then?" I thumped my head against the wall, careful not to hurt my still healing ribs in the process.

            "It is difficult for me to believe that anyone survived the blast." Solas ground out. "The artifact did not just sprout legs and depart under its own power." Was that attitude I detected in his tone?

            "Ellana did." I pointed out and earned myself a glare.

            "The Herald of Andraste, a blessed hero sent to save us all." He didn't sound like he was particularly in the mood for that line of conversation. He pinned me with a look, "What kind of hero do you think she will be?"

            "That's a bit off topic," I shook my head when Solas remained silent. "I don't know Solas. So far she's done everything that's been asked of her. If I had to choose I'd say she'd put the people first, regardless of the cost to herself. Ellana is a good woman."

            "Surprising that the Humans are raising her up." It sounded like an off handed comment but something in it dug under my skin quickly, "More surprising that she knows any fighting at all."

            "What's that supposed to mean?" I bristled. He was doing so well too, we hadn't argued—truly argued—since I'd gotten back from the Storm Coast and that had mostly been me yelling at him over the dream thing. No I had not forgotten and I was going to get him to admit it if it killed me!

            "The Dalish know less than nothing about their past." His face was scornful. It was very close to how he looked the first time Ellana closed a rift. "I walk the fade, witness memories that no living person has ever seen and freely I offered it to them. Only to have them attack me because they do not like what I have to say."

            "And what did you tell them?" I demanded.

            He straightened and turned his glare to me, "That their Gods were not gods at all, merely powerful mages who ruled through fear and slavery."

            "So you attacked their faith?" I let out a mirthless laugh, "I'd be surprised if they didn't run you out of their camp."

            "It is the truth." He insisted.

            "As you see it," I countered. "To them it is thousands of years of verbal culture and history and stories thrown to the side. You tried to upend their entire way of life; can you blame them for being unwilling to listen?"

            "You are just as bad as them." His face was pulling into a glare.

            I laughed, tossed my head back and cackled at the decaying ceiling. "Them? Oh Solas, you are hilarious. You are them, they are you. All elves have pointed ears, the same blood runs in our veins as it does in theirs. It doesn't matter if they have tattoos on their face, or a city surrounding them. All of you came from the same place." My voice was growing tight, "There was no separate evolution, no huge split of the species that changed one faction more than the other. Petty squabbling like this is why they are so vulnerable to humans. Grow up."

            I spun and started toward the entrance. The sound of Solas fuming practically bounced off the walls around him.

            "Be ready to go in two hours." I snapped over my shoulder. We'd been here long enough and I was tired of the throbbing stone.

            "What will you do if I am not?" He demanded and I spun back to him.

            "Knock your ass out and drag you forcefully down the mountain." I growled, "I'm done, there is nothing here and our energy is being wasted in the wrong area. If you want the artifact track it down and then we'll go after it. Until you do that we are to focus on sealing the Breach."

            "You behave in a manner suited to one in charge."

            "Is that a challenge?" I snarled and started back toward him. Gypsy heard me from wherever she was and bounced into the room, growling the whole way.

            His jaw ticked in time with the vein in the middle of his forehead. Huh… he had a little scar between his eyebrows…. Interesting. A flaw in his otherwise flawless face.

            I shook my head and drug myself back to the present moment. This was no time to be ogling men. "Look, I have my orders and you have your orders. Ellana and her group are most likely half way to the Hinterlands by now. If we don't get there in time she is going without half of her team and honestly I don't trust Iron Bull as far as I could throw him so get your shit together and let's go."

 

Three hours later we were partway down the mountain. I packed the camp up, very angrily I might add. Nothing was quite the way it was supposed to be. The sleeping rolls were a little of kilter, the tent wasn't as tight as it could have been and we were missing one of the poles because I'd been pissed and snapped it.

            But we were headed down the mountain so the tension building up just behind my left eye socket was starting to ebb away slowly. I wanted to rage, to throw things away from me and to pull others close so I could hit them, but that was not productive and I'd just given a speech on how to be productive. I'd challenged Solas over the fact that he was not being productive.

            The little flame, the other inside of me, was not happy about that either. It pulsed angrily, dancing and swaying in an invisible breeze. While the tension build up behind my eye was easing there was a growing tension in my gut that I couldn't continue to ignore.

            Come on, it's me we're talking about. I was trying to ignore my ass off about one too many things and I had to travel with Solas for another few days. There really wasn't a lot of options on the table.

            I chanced a peek at him. His face was stoic, a passive mask eclipsed everything and I didn't like seeing it there. Rolling my neck on my shoulders I resigned myself to say something. This silence was going to kill me if I didn't say anything.

            "I'm sorry I yelled at you." I kind of was and kind of wasn't. It needed to be done so we could get out, but at the same time… I'm sure there was a more delicate way to handle that situation. I was supposed to be getting to know him so I could keep an eye on him, not alienate him because I couldn't keep my mouth shut.

            "Apology accepted."

            There was open staring now. That was it? Apology accepted? There was no him playing up his wounded pride and spouting nonsense that the Dalish were backwater hillbillies in his opinion? He must have been dying to do it.

            "That's it?"

            "Would you appreciate me pointing out every flaw in your argument?" He tilted his head toward me. Those blue eyes of his were confusing. One minute they danced with joy the next they were stern. They were always a lovely shade of blue-gray and despite the sternness there was a kindness to his eyes at all times.

            "No, I would probably not be receptive to that." I shook my head and broke eye contact.

            "Then yes, that it is."

            "You're a better person than me." I joked and shot a glance at him from the corner of my eye.

            "Do not say that." He breathed and I turned to watch him fully. "You are a good person, loyal, brave, willing to do the hard things. Do not belittle yourself by comparing me to you. There is no comparison."

            "Where in the seven hells did that come from?" And how did he know some of those things? It wasn't like we'd spent a lot of time around each other.

            "Forgive me, lethallan." Solas inclined his head in my direction, "I did not mean to speak so boldly."

            "Yeah, okay but where did it come from?" I asked, tone a little sharper. When he didn't answer I left it alone.

            This was good and all, the interaction but he was holding something back. I was so f-ing positive that there was a secret buried under that lovely pair of eyes, bald head and intense secrecy vibe he had going on. Standoffish. That's what he was. Like he didn't want to get too close.

            Man did I need to have a conversation with Ellana.

Chapter Text

Bread moved under me. With every step he took I moved in sync with him. Solas and his horse were not far behind, their stride matching ours. Gypsy was safely tucked into a makeshift pouch round my chest.

            We'd been following Ellana's trail for little more than two days and there were signs that we were getting closer to her and the others that traveled with her. Problem was I thought they'd be camped outside, waiting for Solas and I to join them. Not walking straight into Redcliffe.

            I understood the severity of this situation, probably better than anyone else here because I could theorize the different possibilities because I loved the idea of time travel. Not that others couldn't think of them, just more like their imagination couldn't go as far as mine. Limited, their minds were limited by what they knew despite what was laying in front of them.

            "Son of a…" I trailed off as I pulled Bread to a halt. The foot prints didn't lead into the village, they led straight up to the castle. In the distance I could see a group of people walking toward the gate to the keep.

            I stood in the saddle and put pressure on Bread's sides. He bolted. I didn't even need to look behind me to make sure that Solas was still there.

            During the entire trip he had not once complained. He rode his horse—still unnamed and I felt bad for her—and she ran like the wind for him. When we had stopped for the day he would dismount and walk her in circles until she had cooled down. After that he would casually slip her a treat, often when he thought I wasn't looking.

            But I was.

            "Lethallan!" Solas' voice sounded so very far away.

            Gently I pulled on the reins until Bread slowed and I twisted in the saddle to look behind me. Solas was riding up though at a slower pace than what I had been traveling at.

            "Solas, come on!" I panted, heart beating in my throat. Ellana was headed into shit, I just knew it. "We have to hurry."

            "Luna," Solas shook his head, "we will never reach them in time." He turned to look behind me, "Dorian is that way."

            "How do you know Dorian is over there?"

            "The veil sings his location every time he pulls from it." Solas stated which sounded so freaking creepy.

            "The aura thing?"

            "To put it simply." Solas' face pinched slightly and I had the urge to pat it gently.

            An urge that I squashed until it was dead and buried six feet under. "Right, so are you suggesting…?"

            "That we go with him, this way we will sneak up through the bowels of the castle and ensure Ellana's safety from another direction."

            "But Ellana only has two companions with her." I pointed out, "That isn't enough if we don't get to her in time."

            "Debating this topic will cause that exact thing to happen." Solas stated, "Make a decision Luna, you are the one in charge."

            I felt like he slapped me. "Dick," I growled before pulling Bread around and started to look for Dorian.

            It took slightly longer than I expected. Dorian was like me. Flashy. Liked the eyes on him, I didn't but my nature drew their gaze so why not preen while they were looking? It allowed others to work around me with little fear of being discovered.

            When we stumbled across him he was standing next to a windmill with several of Leliana's other scouts. A few of them I recognized by their faces, none of them were known to me by name.

            "Luna?" Dorian asked, "What in the blazes are you doing here? You're supposed to be with Ellana."

            I grumbled, "Don't have to tell me that." Quickly I threw a leg over the saddle and climbed down. "There has been a complication, we are coming with you guys."

            "We?" Dorian leaned past me, "Good lord! Solas make some noise man, you're so non-descript."

            "Please speak up! I cannot hear you over your outfit." Solas' raised his voice causing me to turn and look at him.

            Did… did he just make a joke? A snide joke at that.

            Both of my brows rose and when I turned to look at Dorian there was shock on his face. "Did you do this to him?" Dorian accused, "He normally isn't like this."

            "I kind of like it." I looked at Solas again who was doing something to his saddle. "But I don't think I can take credit for that." I snickered and turned to Dorian again, "We have to go now if we are going to get there in time."

            "Ah, yes." Dorian turned to look at the scouts. "We are experiencing a few problems getting into the tunnel that Leliana described."

            "What?" I pushed past him, "Do we have a signet ring? That's how they got in last time."

            "No, we do not. Leliana was quite sure that one of her men would be able to pick the lock." Dorian's tone indicated what he thought of that.

            "Piece of…" I growled. "Move." Quickly I shouldered my way past the line of scouts. "We're drawing a crowd." Beautiful, I was going to get blamed for this. I just knew it.

            Using a foot I kicked the stray straw off the top of the hatch. There was a small indention where the ring would be placed. It looked like it was supposed to be pushed down and turned.

            "Have we tried filling it with clay?" I asked. No one answered and when I turned to look at them all of them were confused. "It fills the hole, you put more than necessary, pack it in incase there is any one spot that is required to be pressed further in for the latch to lift?" It seemed simple to me, naturally I was used to hacking doors or just breaking them open. I… I mean I could but I didn't really want to.

            "That…" one of the scouts cleared their throats when I turned to look at them, "would not work." He refused to meet my gaze.

            "How are we getting it open then?" I asked, looking at each of them in turn. No one voiced any ideas. "Do any of you have a pry bar?" I sighed. No one answered and I was starting to get agitated. "Out please."

            One of my fingers rubbed the hair of my eyebrow the wrong way. When they didn't start moving I barked my orders again and waved a hand. When the last scout filtered out and Dorian and Solas followed them I turned to glare at the door.

            "Stupid…" Cracking my neck I pulled my left hand into a fist. Using my mind I pulled a biotic field into existence and wrapped it around my fist. Flesh slammed into stone and wood. The stone and wood gave away along with bits of my skin. Clenching my throat closed allowed me to suppress the cry of pain that was dying to escape.

            When my eyes cleared and the world was visible again I saw that the tunnel entrance was visible. The Arl of Redcliffe was going to have to pay to get this fixed. And I was not going to help. Nope.

            I kicked open the door to the windmill and glared at the scouts. "It's done, let's go."

            Solas' gaze flashed down to the blood slowly dripping from my hand. When his gaze darted up to meet mine I pulled my hand behind my back.

            "We don't have any time to waste." I mumbled before dropping into the tunnel behind Dorian.

            I managed to make it a few steps before Solas pulled me to a stop. His fingers wrapped around my left arm. I winced when he lifted my hand until it was visible to him.

            "You are lucky you did not break any of your bones." Solas whispered as he passed a hand over the split skin, "It would be much more difficult to heal."

            "Thank you." It was a sigh of relief. The pain vanished with very little additional pain.

            "Of course, lethallan."

 

Dorian and Solas were a god send on this trip. They moved quietly through the underbelly of the keep. I knew the layout—Origins was surprisingly close to the actual thing—so I guided us through. My cover? Leliana briefed me on it despite the fact that I was not to sneak through. It was a 'back up' plan in case things went wrong.

            This lying thing was getting a little out of hand in my opinion. I needed to stop but it wasn't like I could just tell people I'd walked these halls at least ten different times.

            Slowly we carved a path through. The thrum of my bow string was calming. I switched between the two weapon sets. It depended on how much room we had and how many there were. Twice Dorian saved my hide with that flash fire of his. I saved his butt a few times myself.

            At different intersections scouts split off from the main group to clear out the castle dungeons. We would wait for them before moving on. More often than not we simply pushed through while keeping everything quiet.

            Yeah I did a lot of hanging back and double checking where I put my feet. I was not subtle, like at all and everyone knew it apparently so the scouts were treating me like a two year old. One of them stuck to me like glue, quickly pointing out anything that would make noise.

            "I have played hide and seek you know." I grumbled after the tenth time this happened.

            And then everything went sideways. And it was utterly my fault. As per fucking usual.

            Team work was not meant for people like me. I was a leopard. A lone hunter. I struck in the night, silent and swift…

            Oh who am I kidding? I was the proverbial bull in the china shop. I shouldn't be sent on delicate missions. This is why I wanted to go with Ellana and not slog through the sewers and bowels of the keep. I was not made for stealth.

            And everyone should have known this by now. In fact, they did but this knowledge couldn't stop them from me being myself apparently.

            It was slightly magnificent, my blunder. Epic was an apt description. See… it started small. I tripped. It happens to everyone right?

            Well from the looks that I got it doesn't happen to elves very often, because our night vision is superb compared to the other races that dot Thedas. I was a very shitty elf though because I tripped on thin fucking air.

            That's right. It happened. And what came next was worse.

            Not only did I trip on absolutely nothing but I somehow managed—me, five foot three buck ten little ole me—took down the scout—his name was Eric—that had the unfortunate duty of making sure that I made it through without messing up. Poor, poor Eric.

            And not only did I take Eric down with me but I made the most elegant noise ever in my life. It was a cross between a dying hippo and a screeching owl. It did one of three things. First, it alerted every single enemy in the area that there was an intruder in the lower levels.

            Two? It cause a chain reaction. Someone flinched, another jumped. Dorian startled so bad he knocked over an empty suit of armor.

            Why was there an empty suit of armor in the dungeon? Beats the hell out of me. Maybe whatever divine creature was currently watching over me liked to make my life a living hell. Or perhaps they took a sick satisfaction out of making me look like an idiot. There were an infinite number of possibilities floating about the cosmos.

            And thirdly… it woke the sleeping wolf pup in my pack who instantly started snarling and yipping inside like the devil was pulling her tail. It honestly couldn't get worse than this.

            "Are you shitting me?" Someone hissed.

            "Hide." I demanded as I scrambled to my feet yanking Eric up with me. All of them stared at me like I was an idiot. I knew I was one but they didn't need to look at me like that. "Fucking hide. I got this."

            If there was one thing I could do right, it was fight.

            "You don't know how many of them are down-" Dorian started but when I glared at him he nodded, "Right, you heard our beautiful albatross. Hide."

            "I'll keep them distracted." I hissed as they scattered. "When you find an opening take it and get to Ellana. And do me a favor? Don't look back."

            "What about you?" Solas asked. There was an emotion in his eyes that I didn't take the time to translate.

            "Don't worry about me." I put a hand on his chest and pushed him into the shadows, "If there is one thing I learned in my travels, it's how to survive horrible odds."

            His eyes glimmered in the darkness before he vanished entirely. Slowly I let out a breath and steeled my nerves. There was no telling how many people were rushing in my direction. Was it going to be the rebel mages? Or was I going to face the Tevinter Venatori that Bull so loved killing?

            Slowly I cracked my neck, taking the time to roll my shoulders. I'd wait until they were bunched together. I listened to Gypsy growling inside the pack. Quickly my fingers found the draw strings and I tied it tight, didn't need her getting out and accidently getting squished. When the first one found me I was staring at the ceiling.

            "This stone is so last century." I chirped as another one popped up. "You guys should think about redecorating. I know this lovely interior designer that could work wonders with—"

            A spear made of ice hurtled toward me. Years of training kicked in and muscle memory took over. I dropped and rolled, flinging a hand out as the world spun. My throw made contact and the mage who attacked first collided with the ugly stone behind him. He crumpled to the floor, a trail of blood following him down.

            "One down… thirty to go."

            A rain of magic unlike anything I'd ever seen rolled over me. There was little choice but to find a place to hunker down. Quickly I scrambled until I found a table I could flip over. It wouldn't protect me from everything, there were runes and other traps they could lay under my feet but it was the best I could do at a moment's notice.

            "Fan out," someone barked. "One girl shouldn't be difficult to take down."

            "Look for others." Another one ordered.

            "Oh I'm hurt!" I yelled from behind my cover, "Am I not enough for you big boys?" I popped my head around the edge of the table and threw out a singularity.

            It hung heavy in the center of the hallway. One of the closest started floating, caught in my biotic field. He screamed and a companion rushed forward to help him. When he started floating no one else rushed forward to help. Laughing I threw out another ball of biotic power. It connected to the first man and caused a chain reaction.

            A small explosion rocked out, sending a wave of invisible energy coursing through the air. Screams echoed up and down the hallway. I was going to attract more but if they were focused on me… well you get the idea.

            Standing I walked out from behind my cover. Chaos had been created. The men were screaming at each other trying to determine exactly what I was and how I was doing this. I didn't pause.

            My body bowed forward and I threw a low ball, it felt just like bowling. This sent out a shock wave and another biotic explosion took place causing those that had been caught in my vortex to slam into the walls. There were moans of pain mixed with fear.

            I could feel the timer on my singularity. It was getting ready to expire, so I pumped more energy into it before ripping it to shreds. Energy roared out of it and when the dust settled I walked forward over broken bodies.

            More started to pour in and I threw another singularity at a spot just before the entrance. It was hidden from their view so those that tore around the corner were caught in my web. As soon as they started to float they lost control, held in place my field.

            Until they got smart and circled around behind me. That's what I get for being cocky.

            A scream rippled out of my throat and I stared down at the arrow head that protruded from my shoulder. Someone shot me from behind.

            "Coward!" I screamed as I spun, my right hand shooting out to lift the one with the bow into the air before he rushed back toward the ground. He bounced once before he went still. "That hurt!"

            Time did what it always did in these situations. It seemed to stand still. For a moment everything was suspended and I wondered why I always found myself in these situations. How it was always myself against tremendous odds, and it was only recently that I'd gotten into them by myself. There had always been a team at my back.

            Or I had someone else's back. Mostly Shepard. She was a woman worth following, she struggled to keep everyone alive, but was willing to make the difficult decisions. It was easier with her, because… because everyone knew what I had been capable of.

            Here I felt like I was alone even when I was surrounded by people filled to the brim with laughter. No one here knew what I could do, they just thought that I was skilled but they didn't know that I could create a barrier strong enough to repel air raids. They didn't know that I could shred the bulkheads of a ship like it was paper. They just saw a small elf, a wisp of a woman who couldn't even sneak properly.

            How useless they must think I am. That thought alone was enough to distract me to the point of stupidity and it was then that I resolved to spill everything. Not to everyone obviously, but the people I worked with on a day to day basis needed to know.

            That meant Ellana and Leliana. Probably the inner circle. Shit, most people were going to find out one way or another. I needed to be able to do everything I could to help save this world, because I was a part of it now. I couldn't have the veil in tatters, couldn't watch as spirits were warped into demons. I was helping sure, but helping was a far cry from what I was capable of.

            The very idea of telling people what I was and expecting them to believe was… horrifying. I wouldn't believe a word out of my mouth. But it needed to be done, and as terrifying as it was… it was the right decision. Better to tell them than the secret getting out on its own and garnering mistrust from the people I was beginning to call friends.

            Pain ruptured my little bubble of thought bringing me back to the fight. My resolve hardened.

            When I was finished everything was silent, except for the whines of the pup in my arms.

            First I would tell Leliana, and if I survived that encounter we'd come up with a plan on how to tell the Herald and the other advisors.

 

Part of the arrow was sticking out of my shoulder. I'd managed to snap head of the arrow off. Really didn't want to pull that part through my body again and I figured that it would be best to pull it out through the back instead of… well I guess it didn't matter which way I pulled it out but the arrow head was easier to break off than reaching around to the shaft sticking out of my back and breaking it there.

            I didn't think that Thedas had recurves yet. Apparently Tevinter was ahead of the curve on technology here. Which was absolutely riveting. Not.

            Gypsy was tucked, once more, in the safety of my pack. No she was not happy with the situation but she was just going to have to deal. The pack was not slung over my shoulder where it had originally been because it was woefully painful to keep it in place. The constant shifting of the wiggly wolf and the bounding of the wooden stick in my body was not conductive to my consciousness so I was currently dragging the bag across the floor.

            At least the EZO container was stashed in my cabin back at Haven instead of my pack. I really didn't need to see what a wolf could do with biotic powers. Not that that is how it would work out, but my luck yeah I'd get a wolf that would sneeze slam at someone. It would be hilarious yes but it would invite so many questions that would probably lead idiots to the container and then it'd be stolen and I'd introduce cancer to Thedas.

            That would be just my luck.

            Someone shot out of the shadows. It felt like a band of iron wrapped around my waist as they lifted me into the air. My arms were pinned to my sides and when I opened my mouth to scream a hand clamped firmly over it. Hot sticky breath fanned over my ear. Whoever was holding me was strong and there was not an ounce of fat on them because I could feel every ridge and plane of muscle on them.

            I kicked out with my feet violently as the person pulled me back into the shadows. My voice didn't go farther than three feet and it was only when I heard a silent laugh that I stilled. When I stilled the pain registered, there was still an arrow in my shoulder. I let out a weak whine.

            Thankfully whoever lifted me up had the middle of my back right around their chest so my shoulder was above theirs.

            That mother humper. He set me gently on the ground and whispered into my ear. Goose bumps ran down my arms and I had the strongest desire to punch him and an even stronger desire to do other things that should never be revealed.

            When I turned his eyes shined slightly, they weren't directed at me but at a large space not far away. Ellana stood before a man that I'd never seen before. Bull and Sera stood next to her, each of them looked very bored with the current topic.

            A smile pulled one corner of my lip up. Ellana just declared that she would give absolutely nothing for the mages, she was going to just take them. The man laughed at her audacity and demanded to know how she planned on doing that.

            It was a non-verbal cue. Inquisition scouts melted out of the shadows. I saw them because of my position. However they were not spotted by the man—magister Alexius I'm assuming. As one his Venatori cult members dropped to the ground, throats open to the world and blood pooling on the ground. That got the attention of Alexius.

            Dorian strode forward. Their voices were quieter now and it was difficult to make out what they were saying. Mostly because Solas had taken a step forward and I could taste the heat radiating off of him. It was delicious and sinfully bad for me.

            One of my hands shot up to mess with the arrow shaft to push the thought of him out of my mind. An almost silent gasp slid out of my throat before I could silence it. Solas took notice, and I knew because his green shimmering eyes locked onto mine and then onto my shoulder. He took stock of the blood that trailed down the front of my armor—easily visible because of its paleness—and his eyes widened. Less than a millisecond later they narrowed and he glared at me.

            I was about to open my mouth when there was a brilliant flash of light. Quickly I spun back toward the area where Ellana was.

            Or should I say had been. Because there was now a pile of ash and her and Dorian were nowhere to be found.

            Blood drained from my face and each beating of my heart was felt through my entire body. Slowly I stumbled out of the shadows and made my way toward the gray dust. There was no way she could just be gone.

            If Alexius had erased her from time there would be no now. I would not be in this room, the scouts would not be in this room. And yet Ellana and Dorian were not here. That left two options.

            One, they were dead and we were screwed.

            Two, they had been cast adrift in the space time continuum and we were still screwed.

            Pain forgotten entirely I dropped to my knees and stared at what was left of our hopes. "What have you done?" I whispered. A shaking hand extended slowly toward it. Bull and Sera were fighting a wave of men that burst through the doors moments before.

            Or… had they always been there? Had I just not noticed them? Someone was tugging on my arm, screaming at me to get up, that we had to go. But… It didn't make sense.

            How? How could we leave?

            My left hand reached over my right shoulder and gripped the arrow shaft. The cords in my throat felt like they shredded themselves as I pulled it from my body and tossed it to the side. My right arm hung uselessly at my side.

            Bloodied I stretched out my left hand and pulled. "What have you DONE?!"

            His body flew toward me, a faint sheen of blue surrounding him. Rage was all I knew. How could he?

Chapter Text

We've covered that I am not, nor will I ever be, a team player. Plans went to shit quicker than a camel could spit around me. What we did not cover was my vengeful streak. It was as wide as the Mississippi River back home on Earth. It didn't rear its head often, but when it did there were few things that could stop me short of revenge.

            One such situation was Sidonis. I was part of Garrus' team before Omega, and I stuck around after to keep an eye on the man. He was in a bad way, unable to track him down. We spent what most people would consider a fortune to track him down, and every credit was well spent despite the fact that none of our leads panned out. So when I got a call that Garrus had found him I hopped into my shuttle and gave him a kiss the very next day. Relay jump after relay jump. We started the mission together we were going to end the mission together.

            Shepard had other plans though. For all the different people she could be, we got the Paragon of Paragons. She was the true Poster Child for humanity and she was among the purest nastiest souls I've ever met. She followed the laws to the punctuation, not even the letter, the punctuation. She believed in carving order out of chaos.

            Shepard was always a team player. With her you got in line and followed orders or she had no reason for you. When Garrus gave up that shot and just let him walk away I'd been speechless. Sidonis got a free pass, a get out of jail free card. Garrus was a team player from then on, he got in line and followed Shepard.

            What neither of them knew was I tracked down Sidonis after they let him go and I killed him. Betrayal like that does not go unpunished. Many of my friends were slaughtered because of him and I couldn't let it go. Wouldn't let it go. They had been all I had.

            An eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth. It is fucking biblical for crying out loud.

            Alexius had no idea what lay before him. There would be no quick death for him like there had been for Sidonis. With Sidonis I had been merciful. I'd taken him out at two hundred yards, he never saw me coming and never felt the bullet as it passed through his outer plating.

            Alexius? Alexius was going to see it coming. Sidonis had been the death of my friends. Alexius was the death of the world. Sidonis betrayed me and Garrus. Alexius betrayed every sentient race on the face of this planet. There was no going back for him, this was the tipping point.

            "I've always wanted to know what it would be like to give someone a thousand tiny cuts and then drop them into a large tub of salt." A battle still raged around me. Bull, Sera and Solas fought alongside the scouts trying to hold back a tide of Venatori. We might die here today, but Alexius was coming with me. "Have you ever had salt rubbed into a cut? It burns like a mother fucker. Or maybe we'll just watch as the blood drips from your bound body, as it covers the ground I walk on. Which one do you like better?"

            Alexius knelt on the ground in front of me, a dagger to his throat. His eyes were no longer trained on me and my strange magic but on someone behind me. A wail left his throat. There was a soft hand placed against my shoulder.

            "Luna, it is alright."

            Her voice. But… how?

            The control I had over my biotic field sputtered and died. Alexius dropped like a stone and in an instant he was swarmed by scouts. Bull was quick to push between the two of us. His one eye trained on my face before it darted behind me to Alexius.

            "What was that?" His voice was soft but his inflection was heavy. He was making it utterly clear that he had seen what had happened and no he was not happy that something like this was being kept from him.

            I clenched my jaw. This isn't how it was supposed to go down. Leliana was supposed to find out first, and then Ellana.

            All of the people I had only recently started calling friend—yes Solas too—were facing me. They stood between Ellana and I. How did I tell them what I told Leliana without Bull jumping to the conclusion of demons? He really hated those.

            Dorian was watching me with fascination. I didn't know him well enough but he was Tevinter. He was probably dying to find out how he could do my kind of magic. He couldn't, I wouldn't tell anyone how that could happen. I couldn't even look at Varric and Solas' face was carefully blank, though I thought I detected a hint of 'I told you so' written on his face.

            "Once we get back to-" Bull let out a snort cutting me off and I clenched my jaw again.

            "The Iron Bull." Ellana hissed, "Luna has her reasons for keeping her secrets. She will provide an explanation once we are out of Redcliffe." Her gaze was like iron when it turned to me, "And it had better be good."

            "Fuck me." I grumbled but nodded. Leliana was going to be so pissed.

 

Something inside Ellana had changed from one moment to the next. I blinked and she was… it's difficult to describe. One minute she was carefree and optimistic, her attitude all but screamed that we'd save the day. Now it was as if she had no other choice. There was no other option for her, no room for error. Something had spooked the woman and where before she had been driven now she was demanding.

            "Speak."

            We'd traveled quite a ways away from Redcliffe. The Queen of Feralden—freaking Anora and her snobby attitude—showed up and demanded the mages leave forever. Ellana offered a place with the Inquisition. They were now preparing to head for Haven. We'd see how the Templars and Commander Cullen would handle a bunch of allied mages running around their base.

            It probably wasn't going to be pretty.

            My ass was soaking wet because I didn't have the strength to stand anymore and Bread had been all but taken away from me. I got to keep Gypsy because no one else was able to touch my little fur ball. She was currently curled up between my legs.

            "And say what?" I asked with a dry laugh, "Everything I could tell you would only push you farther down the 'Luna is evil' path. Is it not enough that I am doing everything in my power to make sure the Inquisition succeeds?"

            "What are you?"

            Human? Turian? Elf? Alien? What was the proper response? I was all of them and something more. The little flame inside my chest felt subdued. That was proof that I wasn't just Luna. I wasn't just Emily from a little town located somewhere in Louisiana. I was a biotic bad ass who they'd refused to heal because they weren't sure they could stop me if I was whole. Not that I blamed them because I wasn't sure I could take them if I was either so it removed the possibility from my mind entirely. Kind of because I still thought about it but didn't act on it.

            Not that I would because I was helping here. Despite what they currently thought.

            "I am Luna." I replied, not knowing what else to say. It was true enough, it was who they saw me as. Giving them my different names wouldn't inspire hope in these people. "You know who I am, I'm the same woman that helped on the mountain side, the same one that played cards with you in the tavern last week!"

            "That's who you are," Ellana retorted, "not what. I've never seen that branch of magic before."

            I ground my teeth and glared at the floor, "It isn't magic."

            Dorian tittered and shook a finger at me, "If that wasn't magic than I am the Divine."

            "Should I bow?" I snorted, "Is there a special title I should call you by? Did you suddenly grow tits and a vagina while I wasn't looking?"

            "Tevinter has a male Divine Ghost." Varric chuckled, "But Sparkler is right, if that isn't magic I'll eat my coat."

            "Then you'd better like boiled leather because it isn't magic." I snarled again.

            "Luna," Solas started, drawing my attention to his non aggressive tone, "is correct." He was staring intently at me. Ellana turned to him and I was looking at him like he was my life line.

            "What makes you say that?" Her tone was softer when she spoke to him.

            "She did not pull magic from the fade as a mage would." Solas stated, "How she accomplished what she did I am not quite certain, but it was not magic."

            Dorian let out a disbelieving laugh. "Of course she did, you probably didn't notice." Fat chance that, Solas had been watching me like a hawk. Probably had since the stupid dream fiasco.

            Solas' gaze got a little heated and he turned to look at Dorian. They started to argue but I wasn't listening to them, I was watching Ellana.

            "See, it isn't magic." I pleaded, "I swore my life to the Inquisition. Do you really think that Leliana would have placed me anywhere near you if she didn't trust me?"

            "Does Leliana know what you are?"

            "More than you." I winced at the hurt look in her eyes. "I will tell you everything-" I started to rise but at a quite grunt from Bull I settled back down, "I swear. Take me back to Haven and we'll talk to Leliana. She will confirm everything, hell I'm sure she'll tell you herself at this point. I am on your side."

            "We'll see." Ellana sighed, "Dorian heal her wound. Bull watch her, when he's finished bind her."

            I hung my head. There was nothing I could say to her that would make her believe. If I told her what I really was they'd call me a demon and a liar and I'd be dead before midnight rolled around.

 

Life was hell right now. Everything hurt from my jaw to my shoulder to my newly repaired back. I hadn't eaten since Solas fed me—like a child!—last night and it was embarrassing to go to the bathroom because one of them had to hold me up. Ellana didn't seem to care that she and Sera were unable to assist as I was too heavy for them to hold up. She was still unbelievably mad at me and refused to allow me any privacy. I slept next to the fire at night where whoever was on guard could watch me. I walked next to the horses because she declared that I was a flight risk.

            My shoulders burned. Bull was very good at tying people up and it answered a few questions about his sexual tendencies that I felt I didn't need to know. My elbows were bound together and so were my wrists. The only reprieve I got was at night when he bound my arms to my side and my feet together so I couldn't escape while the majority of them slept.

            Varric, kind man that he was, argued on my behalf that it was inhumane. Ellana refused to budge stating that I could not be trusted until we returned to Haven and Leliana vouched for me.

            I remained silent the entire time. As much as it hurt, I lied to them even if it was through omission. Slowly I was beginning to wonder if it was a wise idea to join the Inquisition in the first place. There were others that could have watched Ellana, another could have eliminated the Crows. It didn't have to be me.

            But I was a sucker for causes. Signed up for them before anyone could blink twice. I'd always been one to help the underdog.

            When it was time to move a rope was secured around my waist and I was forced to jog next to them. When it was time to stop to set up camp I was tied to a tree until everyone had finished their portion of the chores.

            Varric took over tending to Gypsy for me, for which I was grateful. They almost abandoned her after the first night when she tried to chew through my ropes. Only my vows of breaking free to locate her kept them from leaving her behind.

            Solas spoke to me freely. He walked beside me and shared more of his memories in the fade. This time I didn't pitch in when he covered one I knew. I didn't want them to alienate him too, just because he was associating with me. It was a huge relief though, that someone could still see me under what I could do.

            "Why are you talking to me?" I asked wearily as I picked up the pace to keep up with my would be friends. It was weird that I understood where they were coming from but I was still so f-ing pissed that they had me trussed up like a turkey at Christmas.

            Don't think I hadn't tried to get out of it. Bull apparently was way into bondage and there was no escaping his clutches. I was starting to lose feeling in my hands, as I had yesterday and the day before. I knew that tonight, when they released me only to tie me up again, that the blood would rush back to my hands and I would get the feeling of being stabbed by a thousand needles all at once.

            It wasn't overly painful but it was uncomfortable.

            "Apologies, lethallan." Solas inclined his head. "If you desire to be left alone with your thoughts then I shall-"

            "No," I quickly panted out. Man by the time we actually made it to Haven I might drop a couple pounds, "I am enjoying the company but I want to know why." Mud squelched under my boots as I jogged. It rained in this area recently and the roads were a wreck.

            Solas was quite for a long moment. Long enough that I was starting to believe that he wasn't going to answer and just leave me alone. I should have just kept my mouth shut. At least if he was talking about Dwarves picking up a stone in sunlight for the first time then I wasn't listening to the sound of my own haggard breathing.

            "No one should be treated in such a manner." Solas finally stated. I risked a glance at his profile, wondering exactly what was going through his mind. "They are treating you as if you are an animal, not the ally that you have proven yourself to be."

            Shock ran rampant through my body. He really thought that I was an ally? After I lied to them? That was… touching.

            A sharp gasp pulled from my lungs as pain erupted in my ankle. All too quickly I fell and was dragged through several feet of mud and water. Ellana noticed quickly and pulled her horse to a stop.

            "Surely this is not necessary," Solas exclaimed as he helped me stand. He was there so fast I almost hadn't seen him vault from his horse the second my ankle gave out. "She is suffering from exhaustion on more than one level Herald."

            I winced as he sat me on the ground and began the long process of removing my boot. Little grunts of pain followed as he gingerly worked the shoe off. "This isn't necessary." I mumbled. It was nothing more than a twisted ankle. I would be able to walk on it in about five minutes tops.

            "What would you have me do Solas?" Ellana sighed, "She has lied to us. Luna deliberately deceived us, how can we trust her?" Her gaze was guarded and not for the first time I wondered what happened in the future.

            Yup, her and Dorian went to the future. I heard them talking about it around the fire at night. Varric was trying to get all the sordid details. Based on what I knew from Hawke's tale he was planning on writing another book. How could he not with all the crazy shite that was happening around Ellana?

            "She is being pushed too far." Solas continued, "Luna has yet to recover from recent injuries, not only that but she single handedly took out a large portion of Alexius' men while we pressed on so that we might reach you before it was too late."

            "What other injuries?" Her tone was sharp, "There was nothing wrong with her when we left Haven."

            I chuckled, yeah that's what I thought too.

            Solas tossed me a look that screamed I wasn't helping my case. I couldn't exactly control myself at this moment. Perhaps he was right, maybe I was delirious from exhaustion.

            "She refused to explain how she got them but before we joined up with you it was necessary to set several of her bones and force heal them so she would be able to defend you should the need arise." The tips of his ears were starting to turn a faint shade of pink.

            A sudden desire to pull the lobe of one of his ears between my teeth swept through me with such force that it was nigh impossible to resist. Until he pressed on my ankle and then I remembered that I was supposed to be in pain and it all flooded back. The sound of a small groan lifted up into the air as I flopped onto my side.

            I was already covered in mud and other things, what was a little more going to hurt?

            "Luna?" Ellana turned her gaze on me, her eyes slightly squinted. "What happened?"

            "Leliana." I stated. It wasn't a lie. Leliana was the reason I went out there. Too late did I realize that I was stating that Nightingale was directly responsible for the reason I was hurt. "She sent me on a mission." I licked my dry lips as I pressed on, no sense in lying now. Hopefully she would tell them everything.

            "You're talking about you taking down that Crow House?" Bull chipped in, his deep voice rolling through me and causing a spike of anger to surface. More like wounded pride. That asshole, I was going to get out of his bindings just to prove that I could.

            My gaze flicked to his, "I forgot you knew about that." Not for the first time I was amazed at the information that the Qunari was privy too.

            His response was a toothy grin.

            "Crow house?" Ellana looked between the two of us and I sighed.

            "Some prim and proper idiot back in Val Royeaux wanted your pretty little head on a platter." My hands squiggled in their bindings through the mud. I was hoping that it would act as a lubricant but all it seemed to be accomplishing was getting little grains of itself wedged between the rope and my wrist, which made my situation more uncomfortable. Solas did something with my foot that had me jerking it out of his grasp and glaring at me. "That hurt."

            "This you complain about." He muttered as he ripped my foot back in his direction.

            I settled my gaze back on Ellana, "It didn't sit well with Leliana or I so she sent me to take care of it. I did, end of story."

            Her gaze held a hint of uncertainty. When she growled under her breath and ordered me to ride behind Solas I wondered what was going through her head. I wasn't about to complain about anything but… why show me mercy if she didn't trust me enough to take me at my word? Was this the compassion of the Elves? Or was she simply taking pity on me?

            A small whine clenched my throat as Solas' healing magic rippled through the lower part of my left leg. I tensed and rode through it, this was but a fraction of the pain I felt when he was healing my ribs.

            When the magic vanished from my body and my muscles relaxed I looked up at Solas. "I'm going to get you so dirty."

            His hand stretched for my face and my breath caught. I was positive he heard it. How could he not with my hearing was excellent? Money that Bull heard it from where he was sitting on his horse.

            When his fingers finally made contact to my skin I almost moaned. The little flame was going wild, fluttering and flickering in an invisible breeze. That little flame jumped what felt like three feet before settling down again.

            His fingertips were rough, like a man who knew hard labor most of his life. I liked the feeling of his coarse skin against mine. Subtly I leaned into it, hoping that no one would notice. When my eyes flicked open again and Solas was staring at me with an unusual look on his face I used his hand to wipe off more mud, pretending that was what I intended the whole time.

            Can't have people thinking I'm going soft now, can I?

 

By the eve of the fifth day Haven was starting to come into sight. Slowly Solas earned back little rights for me and it was slightly ticking me off.

            Why did he care so much?

            It was whoever was inside me that was his goal and I had yet to figure out how to reach her or speak their language.

            So much for approaching Ellana on the topic any time soon. She'd just think I was going to use it against them somehow and clap me in irons again. She gave me little looks, but her eyes were hard through most of it.

            That, more than Solas' steady drive toward 'Luna is a person' fiasco, pissed me the hell off. Before Redcliffe she was attached, giving me hugs, dragging me off to play cards and now? Now she had me bound—she gagged me at one point—and it was really screwing with my desire to stay here.

            Solas slid from his horse and turned to face me. With both of my hands tied behind my back we discovered that my dismount wasn't graceful at all. The first night after Ellana stated I could ride with him I fell flat on my face, using my teeth to grab anything that could possibly stop me on the way down.

            Well I grabbed Solas' pants. Guess he doesn't believe in belts because we almost got a show. It was quite comical to see him shoving me away with one hand while gripping his pants with another.

            Now I had to replace his pants because guess what? Elves have sharp canines and I ripped a hole in his pants. Me. Not Gypsy who looks like she's grown three inches since I last held her, but me.

            Yeah, talk about an awkward conversation.

            Slowly—so as not to kick him in the head as I did on the second night—I slid my leg over the saddle and started to slide off. His waiting hands caught me, fingers digging into my ribs slightly. There was no twinge of pain. Each of his hands was large enough to fit more than comfortably round my sides. I blinked up at him as he set me on the ground.

            Whispers started. I was still covered in mud but the men knew my face. I trained with them on a couple occasions so they knew my armor, despite the fact that it was caked in dirt. They all liked me just fine, and even enjoyed my interactions with Cullen. It kept their spirits up slightly which is exactly why I did it.

            It was interesting to watch a five foot three dainty elf square off with a six foot two Viking of a man and walk away with the upper hand. Now? Now they weren't laughing but staring. Intently.

            Cullen must have noticed because he appeared over Solas' shoulder and gave me a look that said I was in all kinds of trouble.

            "Did you have to bring her through in daylight?" He growled as he roughly grabbed my arm.

            "Oh, Commander." I purred as he pulled me away from my knight and shining bald elf. I winked at Solas as Cullen man handled me toward his tent. "Am I the spoils of war?"

            "Hopkins!" He barked, yanking us both to a halt. Apparently my words hit a nerve, "Send word to Leliana that she has arrived. I will follow shortly."

            A tall ginger headed man snapped a salute, fist over heart, and ran for the stairs that lead into the village proper.

            The sound of a dagger leaving its sheath set my hairs on their ends and I whipped around to look at him. He growled something unintelligible under his breath and reached for me again.

            "Hold still," his voice was softer this time, "I'm going to cut your bindings."

            "I told you Curly," Varric snickered as he went by, Gypsy tucked under his arm. She yipped at me several times and I cooed right back at her. Her little butt wagged so hard that he almost dropped her. "She's going to be a handful."

            "Just one?" I quipped back as the dagger slid through the ropes. I moaned in pain as I dropped to my knees. Blood started rushing back to where it belonged. My shoulders were screaming at me and I hunched 'round my middle. "You know I'm worth at least two hands dwarf!"

            "That you are Ghost." Varric saluted, "I'll see you in the tavern later?"

            "He's optimistic." Cullen stated.

            "I haven't done anything wrong." I snapped as I struggled to my feet. It was muddy here too, but that was from snow and dirt and blood mixing together. I wasn't sure if that was going to wash out of my armor. It might be time to look at getting something new, but I was loathed to part with the last gift that Stefan gave me. It was inevitable though, I couldn't run around in blood soaked leather, if it had been darker it would have been easy to just ignore it, but it a creamy color and I knew that it was time.

            "Haven't you?" Cullen questioned as I stood and faced him.

            "What would you have done if you figured out I could do a specific branch of magic that no one else could do?" I retorted, "I'd have been burned at the stake."

            "That's utterly barbaric!" He exclaimed, his eyes rounding. "Where have you lived before now?"

            "Salem." I snorted. It was funny that in this time no one was burned alive, Earth it seemed was all sorts of fucked up. Not that I actually lived in Salem.

            Cullen's lips wrapped around the funny word.

            "Don't worry Curly." I winked as I we started toward the steps, "It'll all make sense soon. Well either that or you'll think I'm nuts, but swearsies," I crossed my heart, "it's all true."

            Cullen did not appreciate my attempt to lighten the situation. We walked in silence for the rest of the way. My scalp itched, Ellana had not been kind enough to allow me to rinse off in the nearest river or brook. That I blamed her for, they all could have watched me shake my ass into that water and I wouldn't have cared just as long as I was cleaner than I had been.

            Bull had been up for the idea, and oddly so had Sera but Ellana was firmly on the 'no' side of things. Mom wasn't any fun.

            As we walked Cullen grew silent. He was more of a shadow than a companion walking next to me. So instead of trying to draw him into conversation I was slowly picking chunks of dried mud out of my hair and flicking it over my shoulder at him. I could hear the little pings when they hit his armor.

            I chanced a glance at him over my shoulder and saw that he was glaring at me. Well, it appeared that Dad wasn't any fun either.

            Sighing I swept into the Chantry and started for the door located behind the alter on the left hand side. As soon as I stepped into the room I saw Leliana leaning against a dark corner. There was something in her eyes that I didn't like. A quick glance around told me that no one else was in the room.

            I rushed forward and started hissing at her quickly before Cullen came into the room. "Look I'm sorry I didn't tell you but I didn't know I still retained my biotic powers when we had the conversation about where I came from." My eyes begged her to believe me.

            "When did you find out?" Her hand was clutched around what I could only hope was the truth stone. Did it give off warmth if I lied?

            "While I was in Antiva." I answered honestly, I didn't want to lie to her. "That's how I took out the Crow House so effectively."

            Anger flashed in her eyes, "Why did you not tell me when you returned to Haven?"

            "Because I was afraid."

            Her gaze softened for just a moment before Cullen slammed the door open. He glared between the two of us. "She is yours, did you know about her abilities?"

            "Yes." I refrained from whipping my head around at her bald face lie. Son of a bitch was she really covering for me? "Luna is a unique creature and I will not apologize for using her talents for the Inquisitions benefit. After we have cleared everything up she shall give those that are deemed necessary a demonstration of her abilities. From there it is up to her if she will reveal to any others. I cautioned her against using them because it would draw attention to her."

 

It took two hours for Leliana and I to convince them that I was telling the truth. In the end it took the truth stone and Cassandra was not happy about the Tevinter stone. Apparently it read the blood of whoever was speaking.

            Ya, blood magic. Cassandra nearly stormed out in a fit of rage. The only thing that held her there was my incredulous story.

            The people in the room were Leliana and Cullen, obviously. Josephine joined us because as our Ambassador she needed to know everything so she could put a positive spin on it. But I was starting to feel like I was going to be their dirty little secret.

            Every girl's wet dream.

            Ellana was there, standing quietly in the corner. Her eyes flashed occasionally. And Cassandra. She was the least happy with everything and the one that I would probably have to work the hardest to win over.

            Not that we had been bosom buddies to begin with but I liked to believe that the small times we'd spent together had made us less than enemies.

            Now I wasn't sure if she wouldn't go out of her way to stab me in a dark alley.

            "If you will excuse us just a moment." Leliana requested as I ended my story, "I need to debrief my agent on the recent mission." She led the way out of the room and took us down to the lower levels.

            We passed right by Roderick's room and continued deeper down the hallway. A key appeared in her hand and when she ushered me inside I saw a bed that looked like it hadn't been slept in for several days and a cold hearth.

            "What exactly can you do?"

            "In the simplest way I can describe it I affect gravity." Her eyes widened, "It isn't exactly that but I can pull objects toward me or push them away. I can create barriers that prevent projectiles from reaching their destination among several other things."

            "Where would be the best place for you to show us?" She was speaking quickly and quietly. This probably wasn't the smartest move on her part.

            I winced, "Unless you want everyone in the Inquisition to know we need to do it either at night out in the training yard or in the clearing past the lake. Either will look suspicious."

            "Can we not do it in the jail cells?" Leliana asked. I shook my head at her.

            "It is too close, if one of you got caught in my field it could cause harm. Not to mention that several of my… spells for lack of a better word are very destructive and might tear down the Chantry."

            Her eyes widened again, "You are that powerful?"

            I smirked, "Yes I am."

            She pinched the bridge of her nose and sat down. "Very well, but it will look suspicious if I go with you. Tonight after the second hour this morning you and I will go to the woods and you will show me everything." When she looked up at me her eyes were like steel.

            "Of course," I nodded quickly. She stood and started toward the door. "Leliana?" She paused, "If it's any consolation I had intended to tell you when we returned, things just got… complicated after Ellana's trip to the future."

            She looked down at the stone in her palm, it stayed silent. "Thank you, Luna. That makes you easier to trust."

            It still irked that she needed to consult the stone to take me at my word.

 

Cullen, Cassandra, Solas, Varric, Sera, Blackwall, Dorian, Vivienne and Ellana all followed me past the lake and deeper into the woods. I've trouble sleeping at night so frequently I traveled outside of Haven's gates to explore the area around me. I'd discovered a field covered in pristine snow that not even animal had disturbed. After checking the trees that surrounded the area I was able to determine that no one came out here, there were no foot prints from soldiers or scouts. It was the perfect area to let loose on my abilities.

            "Please remain in one area." I requested.

            I don't know who did it, but someone arranged for a bath to be drawn in my cabin. When I had walked into it I nearly let out a string of delighted curses. Instead I wasted no time quickly stripping down and scrubbing myself clean. My once brown hair was again a shining silver and there was no more dirt in my butt crack.

            The armor wasn't salvageable. Which hurt more than I thought it should have. Stefan was a good man but there was something funny going on with the Gray Wardens. I don't know if he was privy to the information before hand or just following orders. Nothing seemed to be wrong with Blackwall so I wasn't sure if it was all of them, or just a select few. And it wasn't a priority right now.

            The Breach was.

            "What are you going to do lass?" Blackwall asked. His voice was gruff and when I looked over my shoulder confusion was written on more than one face. All of those that hadn't been present during Redcliffe had no clue, thank Bob for small favors.

            "There are certain things you need to know about me," I started as I bent down to gather a hand full of snow, quickly my fingers worked to compact the delicate frozen water. "No we aren't doing the touchy feel good sharing of my past story, unless you all want to give me your deepest darkest secrets in return." I glanced up and a few of them looked uncomfortable. Blackwall was among them. Interesting. "Don't worry I kid, but if I'm going to be fighting beside you guys when we leave this area you deserve to know to stay the hell away from my abilities."

            I threw the snow ball gently at Bull. He caught it and gave me a quizzically look.

            "Don't hold on to it, don't throw it or anything, just hold it in your palm." His nostrils flared but he did as I asked. Quickly I threw a hand out directly in front of me, mind focused completely on the ball of snow. Ripping my hand back to me as I called up my biotic abilities. Everyone's eyes didn't go wide or anything as the snow ball launched itself toward me, spinning I tossed my hand back out again, dropping down to one knee so that the angle would be different. A blue orb left my fingertips and smacked into the now compressed ice shard.

            A small explosion detonated around it and it launched itself away from me and the people standing in front of me. It was in the direction of the mountains, something that I'd been careful of. Didn't need a killer snowball dropping in the middle of town.

            "The shit was that?" Varric spun to watch it, "And it isn't magic?"

            "That was Pull and Throw." I answered, "Vivienne could you please answer for him if it was magic?" My ice blue eyes swept to her brown ones. Her eyes were dangerous. There was a calculating gleam in them. If there was anyone I could have kept in the dark about my abilities it would be her. She craved power of all forms, and this one would be deadly if she ever got her hands on it.

            "No dear," she responded quietly, "it was not magic."

            Dorian clapped, "Can you do that again?"

            I laughed and shook a finger at him, "I have more to share with the class." Spinning I threw a right hook, a small grunt leaving my throat. Singularity tore from my clenched knuckles to hit the snow thirty feet to their left. It appeared that we had fresh powder in the area.

            The snow started lifting around my singularity according to its magnetic poles. It was a slow drift but I knew that it harmed the people caught in hypnotic pull. Quickly sneaking a glance I saw that several people had stepped around one another and were staring at it.

            "Stay away from this one at all times." I kicked around in the snow until I found a rock, stooping down I picked it up and chucked it at the slow spinning ball of doom. It was caught in its gravitational pull and slowly started to drift around it. "Anything with a beating heart caught in that thing will suffer damage, so if you see it get back." Done with that one I pulled my hands together and ripped them apart in one smooth motion. The singularity erupted, sending out a small blast, quickly before the rock could hurt anyone I pulled it toward me.

            As soon as it connected to my palm I threw it out again, wrapping my mind I used slam and it rocketed toward the ground. My arm jetted out like I was bowling, a wave of power left me. Every half second the snow was disturbed.

            "There are others," I turned to face them fully, "but I don't usually use them. Typically you won't have to worry about any of these getting anywhere near you. I am very careful with my abilities."

            "Where did you learn these…" Dorian waved his hand, "what did you call them?"

            "They are biotic abilities." I answered, "And that is something that your gods willing, you will never learn."

            As my gaze swept over the group I noticed that Sera looked utterly thrilled—sense sarcasm—about what I'd shown them while Bull and Blackwall looked at me with new found respect. Cullen looked incensed that I'd hidden this from them.

            "Is there any chance that your… whatever it is can cause you to be possessed?" His eyes were fixed on my face and I shook my head.

            "No more than someone without mage abilities. Perhaps while sleeping if I used them it would cause interest among spirits or demons but it does not make it easier for them to gain access to my mind." At least I didn't think it did. That same damned desire demon popped up every now and again—it had while we were traveling back to Haven—but it was probably just a fluke nothing more.

            "Can you teach others how to harness this power?" Of course it came from Vivienne.

            "No, I will not." I turned toward her and let her know that I mean business. "What happened to me is a one in a million chance. I was lucky it could have killed me. I won't let anyone else take that chance willingly."

            "You would keep this power for yourself?" Dorian sounded a little hurt.

            "It wouldn't be just you." I stated gently, "What caused this it gets in the air, in the water we drink, in the food we eat. If I were to offer this power to anyone it would kill about seventy percent that encountered it, others would get sick and die from something you couldn't see and if we were lucky less than one percent would develop what I have." I looked at all of them, "Like I said, I was lucky."

            "Everything you showed us was offensive." Bull remarked, his gaze sweeping over me critically, "There is nothing defensive about you?"

            I snapped my fingers at Varric, "Shoot at me."

            "What?" He exclaimed, "I'm not going to shoot you."

            I wiggled my brows at him, "You don't think you can hit me?"

            He scoffed, "That's the problem Ghost, I would definitely hit you."

            "I don't think you could." I shook my head and gave him a shit eating grin.

            "I'm not going to shoot you." He insisted.

            There was a creak of a bow string being drawn and before I could blink I threw up a barrier. Spinning to look at Sera I gave her a wide smile when her arrow fell into the snow, useless.

            "I knew I could count on you." I winked at her. "Short of mother nature deciding she needed to take a shit on me I can stop almost anything." Sera let out a cackle of laughter.

            "This is going to be brilliant."

            "Do you have any idea what you've done?" Varric asked as he looked at me. I cocked my head in his direction and lifted an eyebrow at him.

            "What?"

            "Dear," Vivienne chuckled quietly, "all you've done is encouraged the woman to try and actually hit you now."

            I cast a glance at Sera and she shrugged, "I won't shoot arrows or anyfing, but I am gonna hit you."

            Wonderful. I saw a lot of bugs and other nasty projectile things in my future.

            "Is that all?" Ellana asked. Her tone was stiff and when I gazed into her eyes I still saw the look of a woman betrayed.

            "That's all." I answered quietly. So much for us being friends.

Chapter Text

Cullen pulled me aside after everyone started to leave and looked at me for a long time. "What are you?"

            His words were sincere and there was no malice behind them. He knew everything that the higher ups did but he was still curious.

            "I don't know if there is a label I could put on it Cullen." I shook my head and leaned past him to make sure that the others were far enough. "Bull has a small penis." He didn't turn around and Solas didn't flinch so we were good. When I looked back at Cullen his eyes were almost popping out of his skull. I laughed, "Sorry I had to make sure we were out of ear shot. I'm sure The Iron Bull is hung like a… well a bull." I sighed and ran my fingers through my hair, allowing myself time to re-center to answer his question. "You know everything that has happened to me. After everything I've been through it is fair to call myself human? That's how I started out but I've spent time on different planets now I have pointed ears. There is no way for me to say one hundred percent that I am any one thing."

            "Are you really on our side?" His words were earnest and I respected him a little more for being so candid with me.

            "I don't think there is an answer that I can give you that will satisfy you." I smirked, "If I told you yes there would still be a kernel of doubt in your mind that I'd do something to put everything in jeopardy. Only time will tell if you can trust me."

            We stared at each other for another long moment before he finally sighed and rubbed a hand across the back of his neck. "You're right." He turned and walked away from me. "Come to the training yard and fight with me. It will give them men a boost."

            "Verbally or physically?" I challenged as I skipped forward and fell in line with his step. "Because I don't think the men could handle a petite thing like myself taking down the Lion of Feralden."

            He laughed at me. "I accept."

            I laced my arm with his and smiled up at him. "You're going to eat those words."

 

The men formed a casual circle around the two of us and for once Cullen was not barking at them to return to their training. Promises were made that I would not use my otherworldly abilities on him which he claimed was cheating. If it was anything other than a mock battle to raise the spirits of the men I would have done it anyway.

            I always had been, and always would be, a cheater when it came to fights. There was no honor in fighting fair in a world that would see you gutted and laying on the streets dead. No, I learned several lessons the hard way and military life beat certain things out of me.

            Like accepting failure.

            Cullen moved first, his sword arching up over his head before slicing down toward my chest. Quickly I brought up my daggers. The flat of the blades lay against the outer portion of my arm. The wooden sword bounced off of them though he struck me hard enough to jar bones. His shield flew toward my face, the angle of it tilting down slightly.

            Cullen moved like lightning, quick and deadly. There was no extra movement, no waste motion to his strikes. They were precise. He was someone who trained with a sword for years to become this proficient with that blade. If he had a steel edge I'm sure I would be sporting several wounds by now.

            A glimmer shown in his eyes. He may have been the Commander of the Inquisition but he enjoyed the fighting. He wasn't a mad dog of war but he excelled and even enjoyed the sparring, something I didn't think he got to do often enough. I would have to speak with Cassandra and see if we could set up a routine or something where I sparred with him once a week.

            Who knows, he might even learn something.

            Daggers flipped back into fighting position and I rushed him, ducking low and dodging to the right to make it around his shield. His sword was ready for me. There was a flurry of blows before I spun away and put distance between us.

            It'd been going on like this for quite some time. Neither was willing to yield ground and a shield to the face had taught me not to stay inside his range for very long. I was fighting with guerilla tactics. Get in and get out, except it wasn't getting me very far.

            The men cheered around us and I debated upon taking him down or letting him win. I felt like if I threw the battle he would know. Or Cassandra would who was standing on the sidelines with Bull, Blackwall and Varric.

            "Ten royals says Curly walks with no mud in his hair." Varric chimed suddenly.

            Bull laughed and leaned forward. "I'll take that bet dwarf."

            "It isn't decent to bet on the outcome of a fight." Cassandra sniffed. "All things considered… five royals says she does something wild and outlandish before the fight is through."

            "You're on Lady Cassandra." Blackwall chuckled. Apparently he had not seen me in action yet. "But it can't be something an elf would do."

            "Agreed." It sounded like there was a certain smug note in her voice. Damn my elf hearing. Now I wanted to dance on top of Cullen's shield while dropping mud in his hair. I think I could do the mud but… dancing on the rim of his shield was probably something I couldn't pull off.

            Several of the men added their bets which included me slipping in the mud and giving everyone a show to how many rounds the fight would last. I decided that I wasn't going to give everyone the kind of show that particular soldier was talking about.

            On our next clash I muttered something to Cullen so that Bull wouldn't hear.

            "Did you hear the bets their placing?" By his raised brow he had not. Distracted I managed to slip past his guard and managed to land a hit before he forced me back. We rushed each other again, "Feel like toying with the outcomes?"

            He gave me a small smile and half a nod. I smirked back. Mud. It was definitely going to be the mud. I dropped a dagger and picked up a hand full of the gunk that lined the ground. His eyes widened slightly and he shook his head. He didn't even know where it was going.

            Bull roared with laughter. As I advanced Cullen did as well, uncertainty written on his face. At the last second I dodged around the shield and threw the mud at the back of his head. First bet secured.

            When he turned I knew that if I threw the fight, he wouldn't notice. Cullen's eyes were slits now and the men joined Iron Bull in laughter. A blush that started at Cullen's neck quickly moved up his face and he cast a glance around.

            "What was that about?" He asked during our next struggle. I was fighting with a single dagger now so it was easy to put myself at a disadvantage.

            When I told him he threw a glare at Bull and Varric who were currently exchanging money.

            "Who do you want to win next? Cassandra or Blackwall?" My voice barely a whisper.

            "Cassandra." Cullen stated. Ohh… he wanted to see something wild and outlandish? Alright. Dancing on the shield was out but what if… Or did he just want to see Blackwall lose? Ellana had been flirting with the bearded man ever since he came into Haven whereas previously she had given Cullen her full attention.

            Was he a jealous man?

            Didn't matter this was going to be fun.

            My dagger left my hand flying toward Cullen's face. He registered the blade and lifted his shield to block it. The shield was high enough that he didn't see me sprinting toward him. Quick prayers flew across my mind that I didn't biff it during my mad dash toward him. I'd seen it in movies but never actually done it.

            As his shield started the descent it was too late for him to do anything. I was feet from him and he hadn't expected me to rush him. My hands planted on the front of his shield, using it for leverage I pushed off of it and brought my legs up. Between one blink and the next they were wrapped around his neck and I angled my body down and away from him yanking my legs along with the rest of me. He tilted forward and I finished the motion.

            It seems I didn't need to work so hard to get mud in his hair. We were both covered in it. Instantly I released him and backed away, falling into a fighting stance with both hands raised before me. There was no time for me to locate my daggers that were yards apart from each other.

            When Cullen rose he looked like he was either about to laugh or split my skull open. There was a fine line between laughter and straight anger. It seemed he didn't know which side of the line to stand on.

            Lucky for me because that wooden sword hurt enough when he barely smacked me with it.

            Half a smirk crossed my face as I ran a hand over my eyes in attempt to clear most of the mud. My hand flicked to the side, ridding myself of the excess. Cullen charged me, the only thing I could do was dodge and try to make this look real.

            Until it became very real. My ankle, still healing from Solas' earlier attempt on the road to Haven, gave out from under me and when I looked up there was a sword at my throat and a very satisfied Cullen.

            "You fight like a woman cornered." He stated good naturedly, his hand extended toward me. I laughed as I clapped my hand in his and he yanked me forward.

            "Remind me when no one else is around to tell you about the time Shepard and her team invaded a facility and we took down some Asari Commandos." I clapped his shoulder, "Now those women knew how to fight. I'm just a scrapper."

            The sound of little yips caught my attention and I turned to see Gypsy struggling from a pocket in Varric's coat.

            "Oh baby girl!" I cooed as I hobbled toward her, "I missed you so much!" She hit the ground running, mud coating her little paws. She jumped and I leaned forward, my hands fumbling to catch the eager pup. She didn't settle down until she was halfway down my shirt. Her little nails were sharp and they left pink lines against my skin. The mud stung where they touched it and I remembered that dying from a small infection was a very real thing.

            Didn't people die from splinters in the dark ages? Son of a motherless goat I needed to take a bath and scrub down with some iodine.

            What did they have for disinfectant here?

            That seemed like a question for our resident healer! And it was a perfect time because he could yell at me for screwing up my ankle again.

            "Alright men!" Cullen barked, "You've had your fun."

            The soldiers that circled us were all cheering for their Commander, their fists thrown in the air. I was glad that I didn't win, it was better for them to see their leader win than some backwater elf from Nowhere Town.

            Cullen barked his men back into their training groups and I snuck away quietly while Bull wandered over to talk manly things about our fight. He looked over at me though and I read the words that was hot on his lips before he winked at me.

            Seems that Ellana was the only one holding a grudge. Not that I blamed her, though I wanted too. Leliana vouched for me but I'm assuming she still felt betrayed about the whole situation. It was a lie of omission, but still it was a lie.

            Pressing kisses to Gypsy's soft muzzle I started toward the Tavern. We arrived what felt like days ago but it'd only been a few hours. Maybe if I showed up with food Solas would be less likely to get angry at me because I was limping. The way to a man's heart is through his stomach.

            I giggled as I remembered a lame joke from a game I played years and years ago about going through the rib cage to get to their heart. Silly little things like that made me yearn for my Earth.

            I wondered if my bath would still be in my cabin. Dumping the water would be necessary but I didn't mind lazing about while new water heated up.  

            Quietly I slipped into the tavern and looked for Flissa. The woman was kind and had a gentle touch. She didn't care if you were short or tall, blond or ginger, or even an elf. Many people shied away from me simply because I had pointed ears. Mutters of knife ear came from human tongues while the elves returned in kind with shem. Flissa though? She treated everyone equally and I really liked her.

            "Afternoon Luna!" She called as she spotted me, "Stand in that corner!" Apparently she noticed the mud. I winced and nodded at her, retreating to the designated spot. "I'll be right with you."

            She spun away and laid plates of food before the soldiers and Sisters alike. It wasn't long before she turned her attention toward me again. As she approached me she wiped her hands on the edge of her apron.

            "What can I get you?"

            "Two of whatever you have." I smiled, "And can I get some milk with honey?" Solas frowned upon anything that was alcohol or caffeinated. Weird, weird man.

            "I suppose you'd like your normal Chasind Mead?" She called as she made her way into the back room.

            "Yes please!" Gypsy whined at me, "And can I get a raw chunk of meat?" Flissa hummed in my direction.

            My fingers ran through my little pup's fur and down her snout. Gypsy licked a spot on my hand that was free of mud.

            "Oy!" Someone called out, "Elf!"

            Nope, I wasn't going to look. I was not going to engage. I was going to get my food and then leave. That voice sounded gruff and they didn't know me. There was a huge possibility that they weren't even talking to me. There were plenty elves in the Inquisition, many of them served as servants or spies. No one noticed an elf.

            Unless they looked like me. Being covered in mud probably drew extra attention to me.

            Ignoring the calls I continued to lavish Gypsy with love and affection. Flissa would be back any moment and-

            A hand gripped my arm and spun me around. The hand belonged to a beast of a human. He was tall, around six foot three. His face was covered in five o'clock shadow. His eyes were dark enough that in the dim light of the tavern they looked black.

            "I'm talkin' to you." He growled at me. My gaze shifted to his hand on my arm. There was little I could do to him in a crowded place such as this. Anything would draw more attention and Gypsy was too little to be involved in a fight right now.

            "That's nice," I commented as I attempted to pull my arm out of his grasp. "I was ignoring you." His fingers clenched around my arm, pain started to envelope the area.

            "That's not very nice." He grunted as he pulled me forward. His strength was greater than mine but it didn't stop me from digging my feet in.

            "Boris!" Flissa snapped, "I don't want no trouble in my establishment. Let her go."

            Several other soldiers noticed and tension skyrocketed in the room. Hands hovered over hilts as several of the men recognized me. I was liked by many of them and I wasn't sure how far they'd be willing to go to help me.

            "You heard her!" Sera stood up, an arrow clenched in her right fist. I smiled, Sera would help me, that much I was sure of. "Let Luna go."

            Boris read the room, his dark eyes flashing back and forth.

            "This isn't over." He grunted at me but he let me go and made his way back to his table. The group of men sitting with him looked… they weren't part of the Inquisition. This may be the main base, but Cullen and the others would never allow these men to represent their organization.

            Flissa stepped between me and them, blocking me from their sight and drawing my attention to her.

            "Don't let that lot catch you alone." She advised as she handed me my order. We were well into the lunch hour. Two plates laden with cheese, bread and some sort of stew were on a tray along with the drinks and Gypsy's meat. "Be a doll and bring the tray back?" Flissa smiled and ushered me out the door. "And don't come in covered in mud."

            I chuckled, "Promise it won't happen again."

            Gypsy and I slowly made our way towards Solas' cabin. I was hoping that he was there, he was rarely gone from it when he was in Haven but still I imagine that from time to time people liked to get out and experience new things.

            His door came into range and I was just about to knock when it started to open. Something inside of me demanded that I dart quickly round the side. It wasn't very sneaky or smooth but that little flame danced angrily and it felt as if it pulled me 'round the navel to the side of the house.

            "You have got to stop doing that," I hissed at my stomach. Horror and panic swept through me when it gave off an apologetic flare. It was sentient and I wondered just how much it understood and if one day it would take over completely. Would I cease to exist or would I turn into the woman who hid inside of me? Would we merge and I become nothing but a spectator inside of my own body?

            "I know it may seem difficult da'len," Solas' spoke, ripping me from my thoughts. "If you are able, it would be wise to come to terms with the situation. There was no malice in the actions that took place."

            "Yes, yes I know." Ellana spoke and my interest was piqued. "You didn't see her though," there was a slight pause. "It was terrifying in the future. Whoever this Elder One is… he completely took over her mind and used her as a pawn. You told me that yourself, when we rescued you from the dungeons."

            I suppressed my intake of breath. Was I vain enough to think she was talking about me? Yes, yes I was.

            "Your presence here has altered the course of the future you saw. Without you we failed, with you we have a chance to right the wrongs that took place at the temple." There was a clinking of a bottle. I didn't look but boy was I tempted. "This will help you sleep," Solas spoke softly. "It was apparent you have been afflicted by nightmares since returning from the future."

            "What would I do without you?" Her voice was warm with affection and the little flame went wild in my stomach. My face flashed red and my hands clenched. Just who did that tramp-

            What was happening? Was I… jealous? Holy Toledo I did not have time to have those kinds of feelings for anyone, let alone a man that I mentally couldn't trust.

            Images flashed in my mind. Solas healing me, feeding Gypsy bits and pieces of his dinner when he thought no one was looking. How he held me on the horse with my arms bound so I wouldn't fall.

            The one that was the most prevalent though was the look on his face when we were up the mountain. Utter horror as I traipsed around on the back of a demon.

            Stop that. I chided internally, hopefully the flame could hear me because I was most assuredly not the kind of woman to pine over a man.

            Not anymore at least. That was a one way road to Heartbreak City. I wasn't just a tourist in that place; I owned a town house with a magnificent view of Betrayal Plaza where jilted lovers went to weep.

            It flared inside of me before I squashed it. Stupid woman thing that was in love with Solas. Who the fuck was she anyway?! My Turian body didn't have another soul hanging around. It was just the two of us in this body, not three. I wasn't getting paid enough for this shit.

            And what's worse? I didn't have anyone fluent in Elvhen that I could talk to about what Solas said and how to force him to squeal on himself because Ellana was butt hurt at me. I was going to have to think of a plan B. It took me forever to come up with plan A that I wasn't sure there was a possibility of a plan B. I was never a multiple plan kind of girl. I went in, smashed shit and got out.

            During my inner turmoil Ellana had wandered away. Her raven hair glistening under the light of the sun as she headed down toward the smithy. Which reminded me that I needed to get a new set of armor.

            Limping I made my way from my stupid hiding spot, still cursing the consciousness inside of me, and knocked on Solas' door while balancing our food on one hand. Oh god I was feeding him. Shit…

            His brows furrowed in disapproval when he saw me. I gave him a toothy grin, "I don't suppose you'd be willing to take another look at my ankle?"

            "You are in need of a bath." He observed. Pinching the brow of his nose he stepped back and waved me inside.

            "I had one," I winced as I put pressure on the ankle. It was definitely bruised. Each step was a small slice of agony. Gypsy growled in my arms, her gaze trained on Solas. I jostled her a little to get her attention, "Stop that." She squirmed in my arms and I set her down.

            "Do not let her piddle in my home." Solas warned as he placed a chair next to me. "Sit."

            A sigh escaped my lips as I did as requested. The food disappeared from my grasp; Solas whisked it away to a nearby table. When he was in front of me again he had a bowl and a rag in his hands. My eyes widened and I cocked an eyebrow at him.

            "I'm not taking a bath here." I stated, "So you can put that away, I just need a-" he grabbed my ankle and I almost screamed. Teeth dug into my tongue as I snapped my jaw shut to prevent sound from coming out.

            "I am aware of what you need." Solas informed as he dipped the rag into the water. It was steaming and I—not for the first time—was sad that I didn't have mage abilities. To be able to heat water instantly? Oh man would I bathe on the regular. "However mud on the floor is not something that I desire." He rung out the cloth and passed it to me. The bowl was pushed to a spot that I could reach it.

            He had another rag in his hand. His touch was gentle as he wiped away the mud on my pants and rolled them up to look at my ankle. There was a disapproving noise and a slight jarring of my foot. Air rushed in between my clenched teeth and I glared at him.

            "Can you not?" I barked. My rag was absolutely covered in gunk. Gypsy barked at me, prancing around the table that held the food. "Give me a minute!" She barked again and bounded around to the other side. The chair started to move out and my eyes widened as she continued to push it out.

            Holy shit was she smart.

            "Gypsy." Solas called over his shoulder, his attention was fixed on my ankle but somehow he knew the pup was up to something. "She needs training."

            "She is like… nine weeks old!" I really didn't know how old she was but she was young. Like, I'm pretty sure she still needed mother's milk young. I'd need to load her up on whatever passed for vitamins here and make sure she didn't get sick. "Training will start when she is past three months. Ideally we would wait until six but I need her before then."

            Solas looked up at me as his hand started to glow. I tensed as the green glow pressed against my ankle. Tingling pain started in my heel and slowly worked its way past my skin and down into my muscle and bone. I tilted my head back and slouched in the chair. The rag was clenched tightly in my hand.

            As soon as it started it was over. The flame was going wild and Solas was going beyond polite touching for a healer. His hands—magic, wonderful, strong, firm, delicious hands—slowly worked their way up my calf. His fingertips dug into the muscle and there was a faint tingling, a hint of healing but not full blown. It felt… amazing.

            Groaning I rolled my head on the back of the chair. His hands continued up, they wrapped around my knee. Pressure was applied to both sides.

            "You're tense." He was so quite that if I'd been human I wouldn't have heard him, "The muscles are rigid, unforgiving. There is more to you than meets the eye." When his hands slipped farther up my leg and stopped on my thighs I lifted my head to look at him.

            "What are you doing?" I whispered. Magic was still flowing from his hands and I was all but putty for him to mold to his liking.

            Something pulled sideways inside of me. I resisted but it wasn't enough. My limbs were moving of their own accord. Suddenly I was sitting up, a hand pressed against his jaw, cupping it lovingly. My lips moved but no sound came out.

            We struggled against each other, me and the flame. I felt anger at my refusal to allow her to be in control.

            Yes it was a woman and she was livid.

            Kiss my lily white ass. I growled internally as I tried to regain control. This was my body now, I was in control. She wasn't normal, she wasn't supposed to be inside with me. Memories flashed before my eyes, memories that didn't belong to me.

            Crystal spires twined with trees under the two moons. There was a dull light that emanated from everywhere, bright enough to see by but dim enough that it didn't hurt the eyes. Elves were everywhere, those with Vallaslin and those without.

            The scene shifted. A war, a battle. Bloody and hard. Her hands were covered in crimson liquid and when she looked in a pool of water her face was my face. There was a faint silver line around the edges of our irises, something that was not natural to my eyes.

            I focused on that. We were different, we weren't the same. She was taller, her hair darker than mine. Her nose was straighter, and her lips didn't have my dramatic cupid's bow. This woman and I were separate entities.

            "Ar te'elan ver ash." The words were halting. The flame, the intruder, was not in full control. Whatever she was saying was forced out with great difficulty.

            Solas' eyes widened and his hand came up to cup my face. Our face, her face. It was too much to keep track of. She was there and so was I. I could feel her intentions, she wanted us to be one, but she wanted to have the reins.

            "Atish, asha." His tone was soft and worry was set deep in his eyes. I was becoming but a specter in my own body. "Tel'tua ash'nu."

            I was now convinced that this woman, the flame, did not originate in this body. She was hitching a ride with me. Somehow when I came through the relay she latched onto me. Their conversation was strange, and Solas could no longer deny what was happening to me. There was no playing games anymore.

            Gypsy appeared out of nowhere and sunk her teeth into my arm. Her teeth were like needles but it gave me the advantage I needed. The woman recoiled in shock, withdrawing back into my body, moving from the driver position to where ever she stayed inside of me.

            When I regained control every muscle was coiled, ready for battle. My fist came up, the one Gypsy was not attached too, and I swung it at his face. The look on his face when my fist connected to his flesh was worth the pain I was currently in. He stumbled backward, away from me.

            "You son of a bitch!" I screamed as I flailed right out of the chair. Gypsy let go and dashed backward, yipping like a mad child. "What the fuck was that?" My body struggled to come to grips with moving again. The entity inside of me was beyond pissed but she wasn't able to take over again.

            I felt her intentions, she wanted to control me, badly. She lacked the strength to do so, and she did not appreciate Solas' reaction to her struggle.

            The world was veiled by my hair, the tips of my fingers dug into the wooden floor. They were like claws as I drug myself away from Solas. Terror gripped me, I almost lost myself to the void.

            Gentle hands, warm and inviting, wrapped around my shoulders. I was shaking, ragged breaths slammed in and out of me in rapid succession. Tears tracked down my face and I had no recollection of them arriving.

            "What was that?" I sobbed as Solas turned me. My hands weakly pushed him away. Gypsy growled at both of us. Deep down I knew that I needed to comfort and assure her that everything was fine, but how did I do that when I wasn't even convinced that everything was fine.

            Solas held me to his chest as I cried, his arms wrapped tightly around me. My hands clenched his shirt and my tears soaked the cloth under my face. I was not a pretty crier.

            "Ir abelas." Solas whispered, "I did not think she would be able to do that."

            Everything inside of me froze. It felt like my heart stopped beating. I wanted to push him away but it felt like he was the only thing holding me here.

            He rocked us back and forth, "It will be alright Luna." His hand cupped my head to his chest and he continued to whisper lyrical words, his thumb rubbed back and forth as if I was a child he could sooth with nothing more than his touch.

            The words he spoke sounded like a vow and the flame inside me felt like she was betrayed.

Chapter Text

My waking was not peaceful, arms flailed against tangled furs that wrapped tightly around my limbs. My struggle almost caused me to fall out of the bed. Solas somehow sent me to sleep that was deep and healing. There were no dreams and it felt like the other nights. There was so much more to Solas than I originally anticipated. He was the one keeping my dreams tranquil, not some benevolent spirit on the other side.

            Solas was not in the room with me when I woke, nor was I in my cabin. This was his, right down to the food still on the table. It smelled of pine and dirt after rain, of vellum from old books. My stomach protested the lack of food but there was not a snowballs chance in hell that I was eating the food I brought earlier, not after Solas had access to it without me aware of what he was doing. My eyes quickly scanned the room looking for anything that might hint at where he was.

            They locked onto Gypsy who was still sleeping on the floor, a bowl next to her snout. There was a small puddle of blood inside of it and I could only assume that he'd fed her for me. Something pinged inside of me but I refused to acknowledge the feeling.

            Righting myself I quickly moved toward the door, scooping up Gypsy as I went. When I opened the cabin door the first thing I noticed was that it was dark and I was absolutely starving and I was still covered in mud. Not to mention the date I had with Leliana this evening to show her my abilities.

            Priorities first. Flissa was not going to let me into her tavern still covered in mud. So bath first. Spinning I half jogged with a sleeping pup in my arms. When I reached my little home I threw open the door and promptly locked it behind me.

            A conversation was not going to be enough with Solas. Not right now. I wanted to fight him, daggers and all. I wanted his blood on the floor. He made me think I was crazy so he wouldn't have to discuss whatever was happening with me, or he wanted to force me to admit something was inside of me when he knew—he was a fucking mage for crying out loud—the implication of what that meant.

            I was possessed by some angry spirit of his dead lover. That was the only conclusion I could come to. And it wasn't a Fade spirit, no it was a soul. Once she was a living breathing person and holy hell was I so far beyond pissed. I was livid. She actually took over while I was awake!

            Nope, I was going to have to fight him. So it was best to avoid him.

            A knock sounded at the door. One of Gypsy's ears twitched and I quickly clamped a hand over her head. How much would I have to muffle the noise to stop her from waking up?

            "Luna?"

            Mother heifer it was him. Gypsy growled slightly. She really hated him because she was still asleep.

            One thing was for sure, I was not answering the door. And it was totally because I didn't want to bust open his pretty face and not because I was utterly terrified. Yup, I was not afraid.

            So I stood there, Gypsy clutched to me like a life line. She was definitely bigger than the last time I held her. Her legs were longer and her snout was more defined. Her eyes—when they were actually open—weren't cloudy but a clear crisp emerald green. I focused on how she was growing and not on the scary elf man that triggered someone hostile to take over my body that was currently lurking outside my door.

            There was another polite knock. I held my breath for fifteen seconds and listened for the sound of his retreating steps. The handle giggled and I thought my eyes were going to bulge out of their sockets. He was actually trying to get into my home! He didn't even know if I was here!

            It was a solid minute of me standing stock still before he left. I released my breath as quietly as I could and waited another five minutes before I felt comfortable moving around.

            The tub sat in the corner. There was still water from earlier in the pot and when I dipped my hand into it the liquid was lukewarm. It was going to have to do. Gypsy went onto the pillow and I grabbed a cup and the basin to the pitcher and basin set. I dumped water over my head and quickly scrubbed up. It wasn't as luxurious as a bath but I didn't have time for that.

            I needed to speak with someone. Anyone.

            Dorian. I needed to speak with Dorian. He was the least likely to run around shouting that I was possessed. The only one I could possibly reason with and potentially look into removing this second soul from my body. I wanted her gone yesterday. There was not going to be any more of this taking over Luna bullshit. No, I was going to get my body back the way I liked it. Just me.

            I threw on a loose pair of breeches and a tight shirt. The scout cloak went over it and after I threw up the hood to cover my hair I picked up the pup and was out the door again.

            Flissa took pity on me. She set before me a flagon of ale along with my normal Chasind Sack Mead. Following quickly after was a succulent variety of meats and veggies to pick from. When she saw the look on my face she patted my arm and returned with another plate that held chocolate cake.

            "Oh my god." I moaned around my first bite of it. The cake was moist and fluffy and there was this raspberry filling between the layers. This woman was stealing my heart. Flissa chuckled and sat down across from me. It was late enough that most of the soldiers were headed for their beds and the locals of Haven were already asleep, getting ready for the morning. "You, woman, are a walking miracle. Where on Thedas did you get this kind of cake?"

            She winked at me, "My secrets are my own Miss Luna." Concern started to edge in on her features. "You looked like you saw a ghost when you walked in, is everything alright?"

            There was a chunk of cake in my mouth so I held up a hand while I savored the taste. When I could breathe properly I gave a one word answer: "Nightmares."

            Her nose wrinkled in sympathy, "Well if cake is your cure to nightmares, I'll have you fixed in no time."

            "I will not argue with that deal." Gypsy was starting to wake up. Her little feet were twitching and I wondered if she dreamed too. "Thank you so much for the food." My gaze swept over her, "I'm sorry to be a burden so late at night." She was dressed for bed.

            "Oh Maker no," she waved a hand. "From what the men tell me you are a kind woman with a good heart."

            Gypsy whined and started sniffing around. "Oh… uh I better go before she finds a place to use the bathroom." The little fluff ball went into my arms and I dropped several gold coins in the palm of Flissa's hand. "Thank you again."

            She covered a yawn and hummed in my direction as I headed for the door. Once outside I put Gypsy down on the ground. She sniffed around for several moments before she found the perfect spot. Finished and happy again she yipped and bounced around me. I laughed quietly as I started toward Dorian's home. He was probably asleep but I was good company and I still had my mead.

            I polite knocked first. When I heard a sleepy mumble and nothing else I cop knocked. Someone next door opened their door and glared at me. I smiled and waved before absolutely pounding on Dorian's door with everything I had.

            "Open up!" I hissed through the cracks. "I know you're awake and I'm not leaving!"

            "Has anyone ever told you that you have horrid manners?" He grumped at me when the door opened. I didn't even respond, just slipped past him and into his house. "It's freezing out there."

            I dropped my hood and Gypsy quickly busied herself sniffing everything in sight.

            "To what displeasure do I owe your visit at this ungodly hour?" He covered a yawn with his hand. I flicked my gaze over him. He was an impeccable dresser, his pajamas—for lack of a better word—were of the highest quality and I found myself slightly jealous despite the fact that I didn't sleep in anything other than a threadbare shirt.

            "I need your help." I crossed to the door and flicked the lock until I heard a clicking noise. My ear was pressed up against the door and I listened intently.

            Dorian touched my shoulder and I jumped. "Luna?" Concern was laden in his tone. Unlike Flissa, Dorian might actually be able to help me. "Has something happened?"

            "I don't have a lot of time," I mumbled as I shuffled around his cabin. The desire was there to tell him but to actually tell him was a different matter entirely. "First…" I took a deep breath and looked at him.

            "You're scaring me." He stated briskly as he wandered over to the hearth. With a snap of his fingers there was a merry fire crackling in his fireplace. "Do you know how to make tea?" Dorian sniffed and looked down at the pot, "Do the leave go in the cups or in the pot itself."

            I grunted and strode over to him. Quickly I pulled down two cups and dropped a palm full of leaves into the pot. "Doesn't matter really, single cup the leaves go into the cup. If multiple best to put it in the tea pot."

            "Please, continue to leave me in suspense I live for it." Sarcasm dripped with every word.

            "Its difficult to explain alright?" I hedged, "And… I'm asking you to trust me." His gaze was intense as I stared at him.

            "You're serious aren't you?"

            "Yes." He sighed and sat down, his hand waving in the air. Taking that as my cue I began to speak. "I'm possessed." Not the best way to start the conversation because Dorian rocketed out of his chair and the beginnings of a spell were on the tips of his fingers. "Not like that!" I threw up a barrier preemptively. "It's a soul, not a spirit! And I'm in charge!"

            "Bless you woman but you know how to frighten a man." Dorian settled down though he still looked unnerved. "Souls do not linger on this side of the veil despite what elves may believe. Possession does not work like that."

            "I know." I stated bluntly, "Alright, I know. I've seen abomination and fought against them. But what I am telling you is the truth. Don't you guys have a… detect life spell or something? Can't you sense the aura of others?"

            He cocked an eyebrow at me and laughed, "It doesn't work that way my dear." Dorian shook his head, "We can detect the aura of other mages, not everyone puts off one strong enough to detect."

            "Alright well detect away! Solas said that I had magic but I clearly don't but he also said that he could see my aura."

            Dorian gripped the bridge of his nose between two fingers. "If it will get you out of my cabin so I may get my beauty rest then fine." When he looked back up at me there was that same silver glow around his irises that I saw in the vision. My breath hitched but I refused to move. "How odd…." He stood and started toward me. When he circled around behind me I had to force myself to stay put. "You have an aura but… there is something else."

            "That's what I'm saying! It's her!"

            "You believe you are possessed by another female?" Dorian asked as he moved to stand in front of me. I opened my mouth but he held up a hand, "I'm getting ahead of myself love, first let's start with what makes you believe you are possessed?"

            "She took over."

            "And you were able to regain control?" Dorian looked fascinated, "How?"

            "Gypsy bit me when she was in charge." My fingers busied themselves in my hair, "It was strange though, as if she could sense the change in me. She hasn't bitten me since she thought I was a threat."

            "That pup adores you," Dorian commented. "I don't believe for a second that she bit you."

            I held up my arm as proof and pointed. "Well she did."

            "There isn't anything there." Dorian stated. I turned my attention to my arm and fuck me but he was right.

            "Solas must have healed it."

            "The hobo knows you're possessed?" Dorian looked even more concerned now.

            "Yes!" I snapped, "Wait… I didn't tell you that part." Quickly I delved into what happened in the fade and the confrontation that followed when I returned to Haven, it was followed up by what happened tonight.

            "Well aren't you a walking mystery."

            "I would rather be a walking time bomb than be a mystery."

            "You're that as well." His fingers gripped my chin and tilted my face up to his. "Have you experienced anything else unusual?"

            "I can feel her, kind of. It's like… a magnet or a flame. Her emotions are strong but she can only control me for short periods of time."

            "Have you attempted to speak with her?" He sounded delighted, like I was some sort of experiment.

            "Not particularly." I groaned and threw my head back, "I'm not interested in making nice, I just want her gone, as in not inside me anymore."

            "I'm not sure if that is possible." He circled me again, "Normally when someone is possessed we go into the fade and deal with the spirit there. You are saying she is not a spirit? Are you certain?"

            "Unless a spirit can develop feeling and force memories on others then no it is not a spirit."

            "Feelings?" His voice was extremely high, "You did not divulge that little tidbit earlier, do share with me."

            I sighed, "She is… in love with…." I groaned and rolled my head back and forth.

            "No!" Dorian gasped, "Has it affected you?"

            "Possibly." I gritted out.

            "Oh this is delicious."

            "Look," I pulled my arms in and moved my hands up and down, "I didn't come here to gossip. Can you help me get rid of this spirit/soul hitchhiker or not?"

            "Not at the moment." He grew quite, his head bobbing back and forth for a moment, "I will need to do research. If I can develop time magic I can certainly get rid of a pesky soul that doesn't belong."

            I pulled his face down and planted a kiss on his lips. He gave a muffled squeak like noise and when I released him he looked utterly shocked, "Sorry, I just had to. That is the best news I've heard since I got here."

            "Well, don't let it become a habit, hmm?" He ushered me toward the door, "Now shoo! Sleep calls my name."

            "When will you-"

            "I will let you know when I have sufficient data to assist now good night Luna."

            "You are marvelous."

            "I know love." He closed the door. There was the sound of yipping and scratching on the other side of the door. It opened slightly and Gypsy squiggled through. It shut again and she whipped around to bark at it.

            "Hush," I picked her up and pressed kisses to her nose. "He's going to help us." Gypsy whined and licked my nose. "I know little one, but it's going to be okay."

            I cast a fugitive glance around before flipping up my hood and rushing toward my meeting with Leliana. Hopefully I wasn't late.

 

Leliana was less than thrilled with me at the moment. The demonstration went off without a hitch, there was no one watching from the shadows and it hadn't even taken an hour to answer her questions about what I could and could not do.

            No, I could not use pull gently to levitate someone and then use throw to get them over walls. I explained about biotic combinations and how they interfered with each other. If I did that then the person under the influence of pull would be jetted into next week.

            Yes, I could stop a volley of arrows or any other projectiles. Yes I could probably break through a brick wall if I really wanted too. After all I could rip through metal, brick was just compressed rock and not as strong as bulk heads. There were no such thing as brick space ships. Though that would be funny.

            No I was not going to go around terrorizing the people of Thedas once the Inquisition had done its job.

            "What will you do after you are finished here?" Leliana asked.

            "It depends on what the current events are." I shrugged, "If things are peaceful and I'm not needed it's most likely that I'll open a restaurant or a bakery. Or I might travel up to Rivain, they have no quarrel with Elves. I could blend there." These questions forced me to think about my future. How long was I going to stay?

            I committed myself to the Inquisition but how much could I actually do if their ace in the hole didn't trust me? The answer was not much. Ellana would be looking over her shoulder at me during fights, putting herself at risk. Meaning I was a risk, not just to her but to the world.

            Selfish I may be but I could walk away when things were put in jeopardy by me. This would be a first but… I didn't need to be here. We had secured the mages help, the Breach was going to be closed any day now. They could handle things without me. I wasn't necessary for their success.

            Ellana was, and Ellana no longer trusted me. I couldn't help her anymore, couldn't be there for her the way I used to be. She would be secretive, trying to do things differently when I was around, I knew the signs. Ellana was utterly upset with me and I didn't see her getting over it overnight.

            "And if you were asked to remain?"

            "Am I being asked to remain?"

            "Your… abilities are unique as well as your situation. The knowledge you contain could help the future Divine."

            I scratched the side of my head, "Are you asking that I continue my services with you past the end of the Inquisition or not?"

            She chuckled, "Yes, Luna, I am asking if you will stay in my employment."

            "I will work with you, after the Inquisition has disbanded." My tone was even and quiet. "I can't stay here, not anymore." I shook my head, "Once you are free of the Inquisition I will return, until then…" I trailed off. It was bitter without the sweet. I actually enjoyed my time in the Inquisition but it was for the best if I moved on. "I will stay as long as the Breach is open, once it is closed…" there was no point in finishing, Leliana knew what I was implying.

            Maybe I would really go to Rivain, the sun was nice up there and they were right on the coast. I always loved the ocean, liked to watch it as I flew from planet to planet. I could travel anywhere I wanted.

            This meant I needed to have a talk with the Iron Bull. Which was likely to blow up in my face seeing as how he was a sneaky Ben-Hassrath asshole. That was the problem though. He was part of the Qun and I would not have my secrets spilled once I was away from the protection of the Inquisition.

            "Will you walk with me?" She turned and started away. Her tone was different than moments before and I wondered what was on her mind. Quietly I followed in her footsteps until we stood shoulder to shoulder. I remained quiet knowing that she would broach whatever topic she wanted to discuss on her own without me pressuring her.

            The gates of Haven came into view before she spoke. "I was here before, with Cousland." My ears flicked at the mention of the Warden. She didn't seem like the kind to randomly reminisce. She seemed so different from the Leliana that I knew. Harder, tougher. I wondered what happened between the end of Origins and the Champion's tale that changed her so much. "Together we discovered the Ashes of Andraste. It was as if the Maker smiled upon us that day. A pinch of her ashes saved Arl Eamon. She blessed us that day, gave us what we needed to fight the Blight." She grew quiet and I was uncertain of what to say. I knew all of this, she knew I knew all of this so why…?

            "And now it is gone." Her tone was chilly, "Blasted away by a mad man desperate for more. This… Elder One the Herald spoke of. It is terrible to believe that any of that could have come to pass if something should happen to Ellana." She gave me a meaningful look.

            "She doesn't want anything to do with me." I retorted, adding a little snort on the end. "Believe me I tried to mend that bridge. I was polite—I know shocking—and I tried to tell her what I was but with everyone around, Bull mainly, it seemed unwise. She… I don't know took it as an act of betrayal."

            "Did she tell you of your future without her?"

            "How could she when she won't even look at me without disgust in her eyes." I rolled my own eyes though I was careful to hide it.

            "You were corrupted." Leliana stated. "From what Ellana told us the Elder One discovered your gifts and wanted them for his own. You were forced to eat red lyrium until you were but a shadow of yourself. Solas recounted it all and Ellana was—in her own words—heartbroken. And then she witnessed you with her own eyes. Your eyes were no longer the lovely shade of blue but the color of blood, skin was cracked in places and the lyrium was visible underneath, as if it was a protective layer under your flesh." I shuddered at Leliana's words, "Ellana witnessed your power for herself. She and Dorian knew before anyone. You nearly killed them. That… singularity was it? They were caught in it. The only reason they managed to escape you was Solas." She took a breath, "The Herald said it was one of the most terrifying moments of her life, that you weren't human. She spoke of a madness in your gaze that chilled her to her very core."

            "It wasn't me though." I defended.

            "I know that, but she saw it, with her own eyes. She lived it Luna." Leliana turned toward the Breach, "What would you make of a friend trying, and almost succeeding, in killing you? It would not be favored kindly."

            I thought over her words, "Why are you telling me this?"

            "Because I want you to watch her, despite her feelings toward you." Leliana's eyes met my own, "Because you are the only one I trust, besides Cassandra, to put her life above your own. She may not trust you, but I do. Perhaps, in time, Ellana will come around. You would be surprised what time can do to a young eager mind."

            And now I wasn't so sure she was talking about Ellana. Dragon Age Origins took place over ten years ago. A decade is a long time. Leliana had definitely changed from the young bard that took shelter in a Chantry and found religion.

            "I'm sorry." I whispered as I gazed at her fiery locks.

            She had turned away from me during her speech but she once more faced me. "For what?"

            "The world is cruel Leliana, something that we all learn with time." I ducked my head as her gaze hardened. "I don't know what happened to you, past major events my knowledge of Thedas is lacking, but you are not the same woman who traveled with the Warden. I only hope the change in you is for the better."

            "What do you know of who I am?" She snapped before she schooled her face, "It is unimportant, there are other things that call our attention."

            "Our?"

            "Yes," she took a deep breath. "The mages will arrive in a few days' time, they were not far behind your party." A frown pulled the corners of her mouth down, "Cullen is worried the influx of mages will be dangerous and is calling for more Templars in an attempt to control what might happen. And as long as the Breach is open you are mine."

            "The mages were fine on their own for how long?" I sighed not willing to comment on her last statement, "Extra Templars is going to be like throwing water on a grease fire. What do you want me to do?"

            "Ride out and meet them." We were almost to the steps that lead into the village proper, "Yours is not a familiar face to them, but you will wear the colors of the Inquisition. See that they arrive safely. The men will be put at ease if they arrive with you."

            "Leliana you put too much faith in me."

            She laughed and it sounded like tiny bells ringing, "You do not yet see what I see."

            A whinny from the side caught my attention. "Bread misses me." I commented, "Is there anything else you need?"

            I was loathed to go back into that town right now. Who knows where that hobo was wandering.

            "Leave at dawn, they should be no more than a day's ride from here." She smiled, "At least for you and that magnificent steed of yours." Her gray eyes swept to the side as she walked up the steps.

            "Leliana!" I called after a moment, "Do we have any additional information on Solas?"

            "No," she shook her head. "For the moment we will continue to watch but he has proven valuable in his own way. I see no reason to distrust him until he proves otherwise."

            Fuck me. He was tricking everyone, even myself. I'd been on this Solas is not on our side kick for months and we hadn't turned over any rock or leaf that pointed to anything suspicious about him. Despite the soul inside of me there was nothing that lead me to believe that he was… bad.

            The soul was probably a deranged ex that refused to move on. I'd met her type before. Clingy, unwilling to let go. Stranger things have happened on Earth. It was probable that when I came through the Relay and ended up here she saw an opportunity, a body changing and seeming without a soul that originated from this plane of existence. There were too many possibilities for me to narrow it down.

            Basically it was a fluke. One that didn't awaken until she saw Solas. I was just unlucky like that. Always had been, always will be.

            "Okay." She quirked an eyebrow at my word. "What?"

            "You have been against him since the beginning." She commented.

            "And we have no leads, if we get one I'll be right back there but until then I'll watch and get to know him." The flame was going wild and I wanted to vomit. Hopefully it wouldn't be a problem soon. I'd need to talk to Dorian again, but it could wait until the morning.

            Leliana nodded before she disappeared into the village. I turned in a different direction, Gypsy on my heels. Bread whinnied again and I picked up the pace. His head was stretched beyond his stall and he was watching me with one large eye.

            "You need some exercise." I whispered as I pressed my face against his velvet fur. "Come." I opened the latch on his stall. Gypsy—knowing better from her earlier clash with Bread—hopped to the side. Taking pity on my little pup I pulled off my cloak and laid it on the ground for her in a bundled up ball. Eagerly she sat on it before stretching out and watching us with lazy eyes.

            Their clash had been Gypsy thinking she was ten times her size and Bread not taking any of her shit. One tiny bat of his hoof and she flew five feet. Since then she had been unwilling to approach him from the ground.

            Bread followed me, his head over my shoulder as he nosed the spot where my pocket was on my armor.

            "Sorry sweet boy," I patted the side of his face, "there are no treats right now. In the morning, I promise." I led him into the round pin and pushed him up against the fence. After climbing to the top I clambered on to my big lug of a horse. Once I was seated bareback he started to move.

            I gripped tightly with my legs, fingers tangling in his mane. As his pace quickened I was forced to stand farther and farther up, his gait stretching out until it was smooth as butter. Confident in my abilities I started to rise, slowly I worked my way up until I had one foot planted sideways across his haunches and one straight down his wide back. I leaned with him, my body slowly becoming accustomed to his movement.

            Once we moved together I relaxed, allowing myself to move as he moved, to feel the rhythm of his hoof beats. To bring ourselves in line with each other as only a horse and a rider could. There was a bond between horse and rider that didn't exist elsewhere. The horse had to have implicit trust for this to work, and Bread and I had been through some shit together and we always came out on top.

            My fingers itched for my bow. Perhaps I would set up targets in the woods to get better at shooting from horseback. Something that I was desperately lacking now. To get used to the movement I brought up my arms and sighted down an invisible arrow. The world rushed by, the same circle over and over again. The same trees, the same smithy, the same walls, the same elf.

            Wait… what?

            I slammed back into myself. Gypsy was going mad and I twisted to look at her, to ensure her safety. It was out of sync with Bread. I fell, arms throw in front of me to break my fall. I knew how to fall, during battle during mock battles. But I didn't know how to fall from a horse that I was bloody standing on.

            The ground rushed up to meet me, instinctively my hands shot out and took the brunt of the fall. Bread whickered and quickly turned to ensure my safety. Battle stallion indeed. He stood next to me, head held high and his paw digging little rivulets in the mud.

            Pain ran from the palms of my hands to my elbows and up into my shoulders. My hip hurt. I fell onto my side instead of my stomach. Too many delicate organs that could possibly be bruised. At least this way it would just be the bone bruised and my ego.

            Solas rushed forward. "Are you alright, vhenan?"

            I moaned in a different kind of pain. The flame, the one I thought was going wild earlier tonight, absolutely lost her shit. I felt her clawing for control and I fought with everything I had to remain me. I wouldn't lose control, I wouldn't be that girl again. I wasn't Emily anymore, I was Luna, I was Nitana. I was anyone other than Emily. Emily was a sniveling woman who died to get out of a relationship that went from bad to worse.

            This woman was not going to rule me the way that bastard ruled Emily.

            "Get away from me!" I screamed as I shoved her down and Solas away. Bread screamed in anger and charged Solas. My vision flashed white for a moment and when I came too Gypsy was on top of my chest and Bread was standing directly over me. Solas crouched low on the other side of the fence, a silvery hue taking over a portion of his eyes.

            "Ir abelas," he whispered when he saw I was looking at him. "This has never happened before."

            "Liar." I snarled as I stood, Gypsy now tucked under one arm. He shook his head at me as he stood. "Who is she?"

            "A remnant of a lost time." There was a great sorrow in his eyes. "She is a piece of a soul I thought long extinguished. I am sorry this is your burden to bear."

            "Fuck you." I snapped as I led Bread out of the round pin. I kept the horse between me and Solas, though I kept a firm grip on Bread's mane. I didn't want him trampling Solas simply because of some crazed woman inside of me. She was subdued for the moment, most likely licking her wounds in the corner of my mind. We were going to have a discussion, even if it was a one sided rant about her behavior.

            It was not okay in the slightest that she was attempting to take over, again.

            I couldn't keep my mouth shut. "What right do you and your stupid lover have to take over my body, huh?" I growled as I moved around Bread's stall. On impulse I opened the gate and pushed Gypsy inside, quickly shutting it again before she could escape. I was pretty sure I was about to mess something up here and I didn't need little teeth buried in my flesh again.

            His eyes widened as I approached him.

            "I am so sick of your holier than thou attitude." I snarled, "Grateful for your kindness and the healing but you lied to me fucker. You made me feel like I'd gone insane, like I hallucinated the whole dream thing and that I imagined some crazy whore taking over my body. What the actual fuck-" I was poking him in the chest now, he stood resolute against my tirade, "-do you think you are doing? What did you two say to each other in your stupid elf language?"

            "We exchanged pleasantries, no more."

            "My fucking gorgeous ass you did." I shoved him and his face remained passive. Did he want me to hurt him? "Why aren't you fighting back?!" I shoved him again, "Hit me!" I screamed, "Give me a reason to let go!" I shoved him again, "Hit me!"

            Magic slammed into me, knocking me back several feet. "Ma nuvenin." His tone was tense as if he had no desire to do this but was only doing so to appease me. The look on his face spoke volumes, he'd rather be reading or eating mud than slinging magic at me.

            "Don't hold back." I hissed as I rushed him, my biotics firmly in check.

Chapter Text

Blood dripped down my brow and I swiped an arm across my eye. It slowly dripped down until it stung in my eyes. I closed it, I wouldn't be able to see shit out of it anyway. It felt like I blew a pupil on his last strike. It'd probably be a good idea to visit Dorian again to check for a concussion. Maybe Solas should go too.

            He didn't look much better than I did. His normally clean shaven skull sported a faint dusting of dark brown hair. I wanted to run my hand across it and feel the slight prickle that I knew would be there. One earring was in his right ear, another was torn, blood dripping down onto his green shirt.

            Looks like I owned him an earring as well as a pair of pants. Another ice lance flew in my direction. I ducked and spun away from it, using the slick ground to my advantage. I was covered in mud, for the third fucking time today, but this time I loved every minute of it.

            Solas, true to my demand, held nothing back. This wasn't a gentle sparring match like we had at the beginning. I wasn't pulling my punches and neither was he. We were playing for blood and he was my huckleberry.

            His face no longer held the passive mask. He lost it after I hit his ribs for the third time in the same place. Now he wore a scowl and was moving just a little faster than before. It was more difficult to get in close but I was determined.

            There was a bruise along the left side of his jaw where my elbow caught his face.

            I moved swiftly, weaving between his magic. He had no staff and therefore no way to amplify his magic with ease; it didn't diminish his abilities though. It seemed only to intensify it, as if he was accustomed to fighting in this manner rather than with a piece of wood in his hands.

            My movements were erratic; there was no set path in front of me. The two of us moved together as if the dance was choreographed specifically for us. Our fighting style shifted from one to the next as quickly as one could blink. I pushed myself to go faster to match his movement, to best him. I knew I could, nothing was going to stop me.

            I was free and he was going to walk away from this fight looking worse than I.

            Somehow he managed to get behind me, I blinked to rid myself of the slowly dripping blood and he was just there. His arms wrapped around my body and he lifted me off the ground.

            "That is enough Luna." His tone was harsh, "You are acting like a spurned child."

            "Fucking good!" My head snapped back and I felt cartilage move under the force of my head butt. He swore and dropped me, twisting I kicked his legs out from under him and pounced. There was no slinking low over him and propositions this time. My fist reeled back and I brought it down on his face. He was going to have a magnificent black eye and he would be lucky if I didn't sign my name underneath for the entire world to see.

            Anger flashed in his eyes, his hands tangling in my own as he flipped us. Both of my wrists fit in one of his hands. His other quickly worked to secure my legs between his. I was caught, utterly but the bruise on his cheek was already forming.

            "That is enough." He reiterated. "Calm," his tone lost the harshness.

            "I am calm!" I screeched at him, completely anything but calm but how dare he tell me to calm down.

            "Your definition and my definition of calm are two entirely different entities."

            It shocked a laugh out of me. Of course he'd go there. He looked like some sort of linguistics professor. He would fit right in at one of the Ivy League schools. The girls would fall all over him and his smooth words. Too bad he was a recluse with secrets, like who the fuck the spirit was. All I got was 'old spirit' and 'should have happened'. I didn't get a name, or anything else like that.

            If it shouldn't have happened, why did it happen? And could he fix me? Did I trust him enough to fix me…? No, probably not but anything to get his raging ex psycho out of my body.

            Solas ran the thumb of his free hand gently over my brow, sealing the wound. I didn't even know if it was magic or his fist that caused it but I felt sated in all ways but one. I still didn't have my answers.

            "What do you want from me?" I asked, tone tired. I just wanted to go home, strip, dump the now cold water over my head and fall into a deep sleep. But that wasn't in the cards. I had to ride off to fetch the mages because I was Leliana's trusted errand girl.

            "'Want' is too mild of a term." His voice was deep, dark and luscious. It was like dark chocolate, sinful and addictive. I wanted more, wanted to hear him speak that way for eternity. It wasn't healthy but I wanted it anyway.

            His words lit my stomach on fire; it slowly traveled down to the spot between my legs. Storm gray eyes fixed on my lips. My tongue darted out to wet my lower lip in response. It wasn't voluntary, I assure you. It was carnal, a basic reaction. Animal instinct.

            He gave me time to say no. Gave me time to turn away. I didn't do either. It was like I was a deer in the headlights. I knew what was happening but I was shocked into immobility. Or like a train wreck, you just couldn't look away. But I didn't want to look away, that was the problem.

            Solas was so close I could smell the sweet grass on his breath and a hint of mint. How desperately I wanted, ached to kiss him. How long had I been tempted?

            I thought about it. Since the dungeon, when his hair was visible like now and I was behind bars. That day there had been dark circles under his eyes and he looked like a man pushed to the edge of a cliff, not knowing if he was about to fly or plummet to his death. There was nothing like that on his face now.

            Now there was an emotion deeply etched into the corners of his eyes and in the tilt of his chin. His eyes were slits but I saw a deep longing in what I could see of his eyes.

            "Is it me, or her?" I whispered moments before his lips touched mine. Why? Because I was a fucking psycho who loved denying myself everything that I desired.  

            Yes, okay? I was admitting it. The man was utterly attractive and deep down I knew that we'd be in the sack together but… something happened along the way. I don't know if it was the flame inside of me or the way he treated me that turned the possibility of a one-time fling into the possibility of something more. I didn't want just one night with him, I wanted all the nights. Despite the fact that I didn't trust him.

            Man was I royally fucked up. Healthy relationships were meant to be built on a foundation of trust and friendship and whatever we had definitely didn't fall into that neat little category. What we had was chaotic at the best of times, destructive at the worst. If it did happen nothing but utter ruin was at the finish line. This wasn't built to last, it was built to implode. From the look in his eyes at my question he knew it and I knew it.

            I could see the look changing in his eyes. He wasn't sure what he wanted, torn. It hurt, but I had to know. It would tear me apart if I didn't; the 'what if's'. I could admit that I was a self-indulgent creature. I was selfish, I knew my flaws. Hell I owned them most days and today was no different. When I moved into a different body and took on a new life I changed. Emily vanished overnight and I became Nitana. Emily was a shy soft spoken woman, Nitana was anything but.

            I liked Nitana better. I liked Luna even more.

            Before he could move away from me I lifted my head and closed the distance between us. His lips were soft, and I felt the sharp intake of breath. There was one second of hesitation before he pushed back, his hand cupping the back of my head and holding me in place.

            His hold on my wrists vanished as his tongue delved into my mouth. I groaned in sinful delight as my fingers twisted into his shirt pulling him flush against me.

            Solas did that thing where he moved when I wasn't paying attention. Between one conscious thought and the next my legs went from being pinned between his to wrapped around his waist. His hand found its way onto my bottom and he roughly pulled me up toward him. I rolled my hips and elicited the sweetest of moans from his throat. It was a hum that I felt with my lips and I greedily drank it down.

            He was rock hard between my thighs and very well endowed. One of my arms slipped around his neck, holding him in place. During all of this, the kiss between us never broke. We didn't come up for air lest the spell be broken.

            It didn't matter. The spell didn't break; he shattered it into a million pieces. My hand was again in his grip and he sat up away from me.

            "We can't." His voice sounded tortured, regret etched into his glowing eyes.

            "So it is her." I stated, trying and failing to keep the hurt out of my voice. It seemed that Emily lived in some small way inside of Luna. Emily was a sucker for romance, but all that got her was a knife to the heart because she couldn't figure out another way to leave.

            I unlaced my legs and rolled out from under him, twisting my arm as I went to break his hold. "Well, at least we know." A false cheer was in my voice. I resolutely walked away from him and toward the stall that held my horse and my pup. The flame felt victorious. It didn't matter.

            If I had my way she was never going to see the light of day again.

            Gypsy crawled into my arms and I pressed a kiss to Bread's nose. "Sleep tight buddy."

            Turning I saw that Solas was no longer kneeling in the mud. Well it was probably for the best.

            Slowly and sedately I made my way back to my cabin where I stripped, dumped water over myself and fell asleep with half my body dangling off the bed.

            I really hated Emily. But I hated the thing inside me even more, the victorious feeling jumped into all out hatred of myself. It was a strange feeling… hating myself? That was a new low, but it wasn't me that hated me—boy isn't that an awkward wording—it was her.

            Solas, she spoke inside my mind. Mine. The words were halting, as if she was unsure of the patterns this language took.

            It froze my blood in place. Before she could speak only Elvhen, now she could speak Common even if it was like a two year old? Fuck me but she was learning. Was she a constant observer? Did she even sleep?

            What happened if… could she take over my body wile I slept?

 

I blinked twice before the ceiling of my cabin came into focus. Gypsy was curled into a little ball at my side and a blanket was thrown over my naked body. Memories of last night rushed to the fore and I couldn't bring myself to regret the decision I made. At least now I knew and I could move on. Rejection was part of life and it honestly was for the best.

            Any relationship I would potentially be in would be destructive because I knew I didn't want a relationship, not long term. Love was for other people, but not me.

            My hands scrubbed the sleep from my eyes and I rolled from the bed. The sound of knocking pulled me from my slumber originally. I cleared my throat, it was parched. Probably from mouth breathing, I did that a lot when I slept on my back. Swallowing several times to try and get saliva flowing I snagged the blanket and wrapped it around me.

            At least everything seemed to be in the same place. If evil She-Bitch did take my body for a joy ride it hadn't been outside. My tits would have frozen off in this weather but the girls were still there so… either I was paranoid or she couldn't take over while sleeping. Neither was a comforting thought.

            I blinked at the bright sunlight that was just starting to creep over the mountain. Dawn, what a horrible time to be awake.

            "Yes?" I croaked as I opened the door. I cleared my throat and tried again, "Yes?" It came out clearer.

            "A package from Sister Leliana." He held out a large item that was wrapped in brown butcher paper and tied shut with twine. His eyes wide as he watched me, "She also sends a reminder that you are to meet-"

            "With the mages, yeah yeah." I covered a yawn, and eyed the scout before me. "How far would I have to twist your arm to get me a cup of coffee?"

            He sputtered, "Ma'am?"

            I closed my eyes and thumped my head against the door. A small burst of pain sprouted behind my left eye. Wonderful, I forgot about my possible concussion. "I know you aren't a servant or anything but would you be sweet enough to get me a cup of coffee? You can say no."

            His eyes were darting around when I looked at him again. Either he was new or he was new.

            "It's alright sweetheart, you don't have to." I gave him a smile and closed the door. Sure it was a long shot but I was a real grump before morning coffee. It used to be coffee and a cigarette. But they didn't taste the same during my stint as a Turian so I kicked the nicotine habit, coffee though, I would be a slave to her for eternity.

            Gypsy was sniffing around when I turned. "Hey!" I called and her little head jerked up at the sound of my sharp tone, "Do that outside missy." I opened the door again and ushered her outside. Potty training was coming along well.

            I tossed the package onto the table and dropped the blanket. My fingers deftly undid the knot and what I found inside was clothes.

            Leliana did say that I would wear the colors of the Inquisition. Charcoal gray and crimson red glared up at me. At least there was a splash of color. When I picked it up I noticed that it was heavy. Upon further inspection I noticed that it was armor.

            "How the hell did she get it made so quickly?"

            Everything fit. From the tight form fitting gray pants to the red undershirt and the extremely heavily fortified gray corset. There were even boots that fit my feet. What the actual hell? How did she get all of these measurements? Stefan hand them because I was with him for a year and well those things are quickly picked up when one saw each other naked as often as we did. But Leliana?

            I was positive that woman never saw me naked.

            "Must be the servants?" I guessed. They washed my clothes and leave it to Miss Spymaster to have a scout amongst the servants that worked inside of Haven for the Inquisition. They can pick up a lot of stuff. Most people didn't see servants, the mark of a good servant was to not be seen.

            I attached my daggers, threw on my cloak, the bow and quiver going over everything. When I opened the door Gypsy bounded inside and the messenger from earlier was standing outside looking lost with a cup in his hand.

            "I'm going to kiss you." I stated as I prowled forward. A blush sprang to his cheeks as I laid a chaste kiss against his lips. "Thank you…?"

            "Roland." He sputtered.

            "Well Roland, you are a life saver." I took a drink and let out a satisfied noise. "Next time we're both in the tavern first drink is on me." I winked at him before strolling toward the stables. I didn't take a bag, no need. It was supposed to be a two day trip and every other time I'd gone out Leliana had ensured that all the provisions I needed were already packed in Bread's saddle bags.

            If everything went like last time—the time before I departed with elf asshole—Bread would be waiting for me outside the gates of Haven.

            "Did you and Chuckles really have a kissing fight last night?" I jumped at the sound of Varric's voice. Damned dwarf kept coming at me without making noise which was eerie and I hated it!

            "Who the hell saw that?" I demanded as I stopped to look at him. Another sip of coffee went down my throat.

            "You aren't denying it Ghost." Varric stated. His red shirt opened to reveal his chest hair. Really it was delicious to look at. His eyes squinted as he looked at me, one brow slowly rising up.

            I sighed and shrugged, "I cannot tell a lie."

            "Damn it!" He gave a mirthless laugh, "You are costing me a lot of money."

            "Me?" I challenged, "What on earth did I do?"

            "Tiny is slowly stripping me of all my gold because of you." There was delight in his eyes though. I let out a barking laugh.

            "You seriously bet that I wouldn't make out with Solas?"

            "No," he shook his head, "Tiny bet that you would fight and kiss. My bet was-"

            "I think I get the picture." I dropped my head, "It's a sad day indeed when you lose a bet because I didn't get lucky." I patted his arm fondly, "Next time though, don't bet against The Iron Bull. He is creepily astute in these matters."

            Hell it freaked me out that they both paid enough attention to Solas and I that they saw the sexual tension.

            "Anyway, that's not happening ever again so don't bet on it anymore okay? I need to take your money, not Bull."

            "What's this?" Speak of the devil and he shall appear. "Did I win another bet?"

            "Stop trying to pretend your hearing isn't as good as mine." I snorted as I turned. Lifting the cup I downed the rest of my coffee. It left a scalding trail and I wanted to thank Roland all over again. "It's slightly annoying."

            "As annoying as my small penis?" He challenged.

            "Holy fuck it's better than mine." I winked at him, "Don't worry love, I know you're well endowed." I grinned, "The Chantry Sisters love to talk about you, did you know that?"

            "All ladies love to talk about me."

            "Guess it's a good thing I'm not a lady." I started walking away, but not before I pawned my empty cup off on Bull, "I would hate to ruin your winning streak." I waved at them before I pranced down the steps, Gypsy at my heels the whole way. There was an itch between my shoulder blades.

            I was going to have to have a talk with that Qunari before I left. Didn't need certain tongues wagging about my abilities. I swear if the Qun came after me… Bull was going to regret it.

            Bread whinnied at me as soon as he saw me. I bee lined toward him, excited to be striking out on my own again. Even if it was for a day or two.

            "Who did that to your face?"

            Blackwall came out of nowhere and I jerked to a halt as he stood between me and Bread. "Did what to my face?"

            "Looks like something took a rock to it repetitively." His fingers brushed against my cheek bone and I winced.

            "Oh that," I touched the tender spot. "Solas." Blackwall's eyes went flat.

            "A gentleman should never hit a lady."

            "Agreed." I stated, "But I asked him too."

            A blush crept up his neck and flourished beautifully on his face. "I didn't…" he cleared his throat, "apologies Lady Luna, I didn't…"

            "Didn't…?" I drew out the word utterly lost.

            His blush deepened, "You're going to make me say it, aren't you?"

            "That was the general idea yes."

            "Liked it rough." His face was as bright as a cherry.

            "Oh lord." I slapped a hand to his chest, "I like it all ways Blackwall, but this wasn't sex."

            He coughed, "All ways?" A grin was spreading across his face.

            "All ways." I assured before I stepped past him and started toward Bread again, "Hey!" I spun to look at him, "Let's do cards and drinks at the tavern when I get back, yeah?" It would be a good way to say goodbye to the Inner Circle. Besides, I needed a little fun after everything that had happened in the last day or so. Bull tocky, all of it.

            It was time to kill Emily once and for all. There might be a guy out there for me, but I wasn't looking any time soon and I just wanted to get back to my normal self-indulging self.

            Dennet was standing next to Bread with a large smile on his face. "Miss Luna," he held out a hand and I shook it, clasping his forearm as was their custom. "Thank you for the use of your stallion. I've three mares that are carrying now."

            I slapped a hand against Bread's neck. "Glad to hear that he was up to the task." Bread's head whipped around almost knocking me off my feet. "Really?" I asked as I stumbled back several feet, "You want the damned sugar cube that much?" My hand disappeared into my pocket and I slipped him one to calm him down. "How long until we can expect little Coursers to be running around?"

            "These things are never exact," Dennet was still smiling, "but we can expect them around nine months from now. I shouldn't keep you though," he passed me Bread's reins. The horse tossed his head a little.

            "Let me know when they get here," I commented as I picked up Gypsy and stuffed her—unwillingly—into a modified saddle bag. Something that Blackwall had created for me when he saw the little pup. She didn't like it one bit but it kept her on the horse instead of under him. "I'll be happy to lend a hand in their care." It was a moment before I remembered that I wasn't going to be here to see Bread's children. I didn't say anything, rumors spread fast and them men liked me well enough that it would spread like a wild fire.

            "As you wish Miss Luna."

            I placed my foot into a stirrup, Bread must have sensed my anticipation because he bolted when I stood up and swung a leg over. Gypsy gave a disgruntled yip but I just laughed and found my seat. Giving a whoop of satisfaction as he bolted toward the path that lead down and away from Haven we started our short journey to meeting the mages.

 

The mages kind of sucked. They were to be our allies yet they wanted me to provide them with every creature comfort they were used to having back at their circle. At least, certain ones did. That was a male mage and he was demanding that I provide certain amenities once we reached our destination.

            He was in for a huge surprise.

            And not even thirty minutes after I met up with them about four Templars rode up, the one in charge thought he could give me a tongue wagging.

            "My lady," he chastised, "you were supposed to travel with us, not ahead of us. Commander Cullen was quite specific in these instruction." He sniffed in my direction.

            "Well I don't answer to Cullen now do I?" I retorted, "My instructions were to meet with the mages and escort them back, not round them up like a herd of cattle and drive them home." My tone held a steel edge. I never much cared for Templars in the games. There were several that I liked but as a whole they seemed to be… bristly. Every little fucking thing got their hackles up, and nothing quicker than mages.

            Which is why this whole war was started in the first place. Mages—while dangerous—were human beings being kept like prisoners. And while I agreed that certain measures should be taken to secure not only their safety but everyone else's, the answer to the problem was not to lock them up and throw away the key. Families were torn apart just because one had magic.

            Children whisked away to live in a strange place with stranger faces and someone who was ready to do the 'hard' thing and run them through if they couldn't control their magic, or worse give them a magical lobotomy; forever cutting them off from dreams and hopes and ideas. To do that to a person was inhumane and so no I didn't really care for Templars.

            He opened his mouth and one of the greener ones grinned and nudged the man on his left, pointing toward us with his chin. Weird.

            "Be that as it may, Commander Cullen is in charge of the Inquisitions forces. The mages are to be absorbed into its army, therefore they are under our care. We should have been here when you arrived." His tone was snotty and I didn't really care for it. "Your mere presence arriving before us has undermined our authority."

            "Your 'authority' be damned." I pulled Bread around and stood between the mages and the Templars. "The Herald has decided that they are to be our allies, promises were made by the one blessed by Andraste herself," you have no idea how hard it was to keep a straight face while I delivered that line. "If you undermine her authority I will be forced to undermine your legs all the way to the ground."

            No it didn't make sense but I said it. Ellana needed the people to follow her, not question every little thing she did.

            His mouth flopped open and closed several times before it snapped shut with an audible click. There was no better way, apparently, to shut a Templar up than with his own religion.

            "We both on the same page now, pumpkin?" I grinned at him and cast a glance over my shoulder. Roughly twenty mages were behind me, some young enough that they had yet to see their tenth birthday, others looked to be well into their sixties. "Now, mister poppycock, stay here while I figure out how long its going to be before we can get back to Haven."

            An elven woman stepped forward, her eyes wild and cunning. They were mesmerizing and it pulled focus from her age making it difficult to pin point exactly when she was born.

            "I remember you." Her voice was confident and quiet, though it carried the lilt of an Orlesian accent. "Luna."

            "Forgive me," I inclined my head, doing my best to not stomp all over the first contact the mages had with an official representative of the Inquisition, "you have me at a disadvantage."

            "Fiona." She smiled.

            Leliana said nothing of who the leader was but from the way she carried herself and the others watched and deferred to her, she was definitely in charge.

            "A pleasure Fiona," I swung from my saddle. "Your group made good time, considering that none of you have horses." She stood about three inches taller than me.

            Her smile widened, "You know very little of our powers then, little one." She waved behind her, "Fade step." As if those two words explained it all.

            "Ah…" I nodded like I knew what she said. She chuckled at me.

            "An ability that allows us to move quickly over short distances," she sighed, "though we are running short on supplies and one of our young ones is no longer able to keep up." She turned and singled out a child. "Amara, come."

            A young human child with dark skin and graceful looping curls stepped forward. Her eyes were down cast and she quickly stood behind Fiona.

            "That is… unfortunate." I hedged, uncertain where she was leading this conversation. "If you are running short on supplies there is an Inquisition camp about two hours ride from here. We can restock there."

            "You misunderstand Luna." Fiona's smile was starting to slip, "Amara is unable to continue and those that are able are assisting the Tranquil. A mage can only travel so far with so many people, and it is taxing to those that are capable."

            A niggling feeling was slamming into the back of my head. I was starting to understand.

            "We cannot leave her behind." Fiona's eyes hardened as she looked past me toward the four Templars, "And I will not ask one of them to carry her to Haven."

            And there it was.

            "Uh…" I scratched the back of my neck, "I'm not really good with… kids." I finished lamely.

            "There is no need to be frightened." Fiona insisted, "Amara is quite skilled, despite her young appearance. She will not harm you."

            "I'm not afraid of her hurting me." Amara peeked out from behind Fiona's robes, "I'm more afraid of me hurting her. Look, I was bluntly honest when I said that I don't do well with anyone under the age of nineteen."

"You will be a good girl," Fiona's attention turned to Amara, "won't you little one?"

            "Yes Grand Enchanter." Her voice was like a tiny bell, it rang with a clarity that very few held and…

            Damn it.

            I sighed, rocking my head on my shoulders. "Alright," I nodded, "the kid can ride with me."

            She was going to fall, I just knew it. Or I would say something stupid, like drop the 'f' word or say something inappropriate. At the end the kid would swear like a sailor and she'd shave half of her head.

            I was hoping it was just the hair.

            "Thank you, Luna." Fiona inclined her head, "You do not know the service you have done for me today."

            I nodded, "By your estimates how long should it take to reach Haven if we restock at the Inquisition Camp?"

            "Providing you and the Templars can keep up, tomorrow afternoon."

            I grinned, "We'll push forward even if they can't keep up." There was an approving gleam in her eyes.

            "Go child, Luna will take care of you." Fiona held out a hand in my direction. Nervously I crouched down to get onto her level. I didn't have to bend much, she was already three quarters of my height.

            I did the only thing I could think of, I smiled and held out my hand. She tucked her chin and it gave a tiny wobble. Dread coursed through my system. Please do not let her cry.

            Little tears started to leak from the corners of her eyes. "Oh no," I whispered and moved forward a little. "Uh… it's going to be okay?" Why, for the love of all that is holy, did I make it sound like a question?

            She buried her face in her hands and shook her head.

            "Oh child," Fiona stepped forward and wrapped her arms around her. "Hush, Luna is one of the ones that freed us from the Magister. She will not harm you, will you Luna?"

            Not physically, mentally? She might not walk away from this encounter the same age. "No." I answered as quickly as I could, "She will come to no harm while she rides with me."

            "See?" Fiona stood and walked forward with her. Quickly I swung up into the saddle and held out my hands for her. Fiona picked up the child and passed her to me. She squirmed for several seconds before she grabbed the pommel in a death grip.

            Gypsy chose that exact moment to pop her head out and give a tiny yip. The girl whipped her head around, her large brown eyes going wide when she saw the black fluff ball.

            "Puppy!" I laughed and reached around for the buckles that kept her secure. If holding Gypsy was going to keep her calm and not crying fine.

            "Promise not to drop her?"

            Her little head bobbed up and down several times in quick succession.

            "Very well." I passed her the pup who promptly started to lick the tears from her face. Gypsy really was a marvelous creature. "Hold tight Amara, we're about to start moving." My arms braced her on either side as she pulled Gypsy closer to her chest and she nodded gravely.

            Bread tossed his head and stamped the ground. I pulled tight on the reins and looked down at Fiona. "Will you and the others arrive at the camp before we do?"

            "It is possible." Fiona admitted.

            "They are expecting you, however with the war the scouts are jumpy." I pulled a piece of paper from the saddle and a slim piece of coal. Quickly I scratched out a note, the same phrase that Leliana gave me all those months ago when I rode to Amaranthine. "Give this to the first scout wearing the Inquisition colors. They will know what it means."

            Fiona nodded and when she stepped past me she vanished. The rest of the mages disappeared as well.

            "Ready?" I asked as the Templar in charge started to yell in my direction. When Amara nodded once I spun Bread and bolted past the Templar. "See you at the camp!" I screamed over my shoulder.

            Amara giggled in front of me, it shocked a smile out of me.

            Gypsy started howling, her little voice pitched high. Amara laughed at the sound. It was infectious so I threw my head back and howled. Seconds later the girl followed suit.

            Yup, Amara was going to be different tomorrow afternoon.

 

That night the mages and I set up camp off the road. Cullen was most likely going to yell at me when I got back to Haven but I didn't give two shits. I thought it was callous of him to send Templars to the greeting of the mages who were going to help Ellana close the damned rift.

            We'd fight over it and this time I wouldn't let him win to save face.

            The Templars were most likely going to miss our little spot. We were hidden 'round the side of several large boulders and surrounded by pine trees. A small fire was lit so they could have a warm meal.

            Amara was tired, she fell asleep on my bedroll as soon as I took it off of Bread, Gypsy clutched tightly to her chest.

            Fiona was a saving grace. She directed the mages like she was born to it, and under her watchful gaze the tents were quickly erected and wards were set up. There would be nothing getting into camp tonight.

            Amara learned a new word today that started with the letter 'd' and I will go so far as to say it is something a child her age should not know.

            I did warn Fiona.

            Food was passed out and once everyone settled down I moved to the edge of camp and leaned against one of the boulders. From this spot I could see the Templars riding down the road, if they caught up to us before I fell asleep.

            If I fell asleep.

            "I see Amara is still in one piece." Fiona stated. I jumped, for a mage she moved quieter than I expected. "You give yourself too little credit."

            A quite laugh slipped past my parted lips, "I give myself credit very rarely." She hummed in my direction.

            "Do you know what has happened to Alexius?" Her tone dropped and was pitched in such a manner that it would not carry three feet beyond her. I shifted and looked at her.

            "No." And it was best that I didn't. Yes, he didn't screw the world over, but that was because he failed in what he was supposed to do. He gave it his all and while Ellana still walked the world I wanted vengeance for what could have been. The future that she and Dorian painted while sitting around a fire much like the one we had tonight was very nearly a real thing. And it sent chills up my spine at the role I could have played in the destruction of the world.

            "I saw the look in your eye," Fiona whispered as she stepped closer. "Ellana means a lot to you."

            "She means a lot to the world." I stated, "So much rides on her slim shoulders. All of Thedas is watching the Inquisition and she has no choice but to stand tall when they would beat her down."

            "Still," Fiona persisted, "the look in your eyes when you had him within your grasp was not the one of someone doing her duty."

            I pressed my lips together. She nodded knowingly, "There is food if you are hungry."

            That night when I fell asleep it was to the sound of a little girl and a pup snoring. That night I crossed over into the fade and dreamed.

 

A smile slid over my face as I watched Jack move through the crowd toward me. Tonight was a good night, he was in a good mood and the bruise on my face had faded from to a faint yellow. I had been a good girl and hadn't given him a reason to hit me.

            He slid a beer into my hand and leaned down to press a kiss to my lips. My stomach flopped in a way that wasn't pleasant, but he was all that I knew. Jack was the only one that cared about me.

            Long slender fingers threaded through my hair, freeing it from its bindings. He pulled it to his nose and breathed deeply. Crimson caught between chocolate. I tilted my head and leaned against him. I didn't have anywhere else to go.

            "My good girl." He whispered as he pulled the rest of me roughly against him. I went willingly, not wanting to give him a reason.

            Around us music thumped loudly and heavily. Bodies with blurred faces undulated on the dance floor. Lights flashed and smoke hung low to the ground, giving the place an eerie vibe. It was one of Jack's favorite clubs.

            He slowly pulled me to the dance floor and we melded into the crowd. He didn't follow the beat but set his own rhythm, moving slower than everyone else around us. I followed his lead keeping my smile plastered to my face. His hands were rough against my skin, pulling the edges of my shirt up.

            My fingers clenched the hem and tried to pull it back down when it soared above my navel. I gave him a pleading look but he gripped my arm roughly and drug me from the floor. I knew better than to cry in public. Crying would make him hit me, and I didn't want to give him a reason to hit me.

            The sign on the door he drug me through declared that it was the men's room. I let one sob go, knowing where this was leading.

            "Shut up!" He screamed as he spun, his hand falling heavily across my face. Pain exploded across my cheek, traveling down and across my jaw. The copper taste of blood filled my mouth. Jack didn't stop there, he pulled me into a stall and slammed the door. The metal of the stall wall was cool under my face, so I switched sides, pressing the hurt one against it.  

            A hand materialized through the metal wall and I was sucked through.

            Tears lined my face as I struggled against the hold of my unknown rescuer. Now that the dream had been broken I knew it for what it was. Vibrant red hair faded to silver and the world suddenly looked larger.

            "You didn't see that." I stated as I swiped a hand across my face. "You weren't supposed to see that." Spinning I started away from storm gray eyes. Panic was pulling at the edges. It had been years since I dreamed as Emily and I wondered what set it off.

            "Luna-" his fingers wrapped around my bicep and I ripped myself away from him.

            "Don't," I whispered, "please not… not right now." My voice was quiet and broken sounding. If I heard it with my ears than Solas, who read deeply into every action saw it too. "Thank you for taking me from that place but…" I covered my face with my hands. "I can't."

            "You were not always this person." He observed.

            "No," I agreed, words muffled behind the palms of my hands. "Please don't tell anyone, it is a secret."

            "If there are any who know the value of a secret it is I." He stated quietly, "Yours is safe with me."

            I was sitting, knees pulled up tightly against my chest and they replaced my hands, fingers wound together around my legs and I just sat there. If I didn't think, if I didn't move I was uninteresting and maybe he would go away. Maybe desire wouldn't show up tonight and dangle ideas and hopes in front of me. Maybe it would leave me alone entirely and stop trying to get me to make a deal with it so I could go home.

            There were other ways to go home, though after the fresh reminder of what Earth had been like for me the desire to go home was wiped clean from my mind. I shook silently and when something wrapped around me I screamed and bolted away on hands and knees. Fingers dug into the ground, nail tearing as I drug myself across an unforgiving landscape.

            "No," I whispered, "no, no, no." It was a chant that fueled my every motion.

            Hands wrapped around my arms and lifted me easily from the ground, as if I was a child. My legs thrashed, I didn't want contact, not after that.

            "He cannot hurt you anymore." Solas promised as he pulled me close, wrapping the blanket around me again. "You are in a place that he is unable to reach."

            I knew this, but still it was so fresh in my mind that there was no place for me to turn that Jack wasn't. That night blended into hundreds that were just like it. It was like I was an object again, something to be bartered and traded.

            The flame tugged and I let out a keening wail. Pain ensconced and consumed me. Arms tightened around me and he whispered something in my ear. I didn't hear it, couldn't make it out past the sound of my vocal cords ripping to shreds.

            But I woke up.

 

A scream was on the tip of my tongue when I woke thrashing. Dawn was cresting and sweat clung to me like a second skin. Shaking I ran my fingers through dirty hair. This day was not going to be pleasant, nor was any other for a long while.

            There was a vile taste on the back of my tongue, bitter and pungent. Slowly I rose, every muscle ached, more than it should have from riding a horse for little over a day. A sigh slipped past my lips and I wandered from camp looking for a spring or a creek to wash the dried sweat from my skin, bag clutched firmly in my hand.

            I found one, that was about a thirty minute walk from camp but I'd take it. Quickly I rinsed and dressed in fresh clothes, a coarse brush and minty paste thoroughly ran over every inch of my mouth.

            Solas saw everything, and now he knew that I wasn't just Luna. Fuck me every which way 'til Sunday but I was in trouble. That information was designated as classified as it came, that a man I didn't trust—no proof be damned—was aware of my secrets and I had yet to ferret out his.

            "Doesn't matter," I whispered to myself as I trudged back to the camp and the mages. "I'm leaving so what harm can it possibly do?"

            "Did you sleep well?" Fiona approached me holding a squirming and growling Gypsy between her hands.

            "Tolerably," I answered trying to stick as close to the truth as possible. I needed a night of wild abandon. That's what fixed me last time I had dreams of Emily; needed something to remind me that I wasn't in that position anymore, that I wasn't the girl who stayed because she believed there was nowhere else to go.

            I wasn't even on Earth anymore. In the light of the breaking day it was easy to believe Solas' words. Jack could not reach me here; there was nowhere that he could reach me even if I did end up back home because I wasn't her. I was more, I was stronger. I was not a victim anymore.

            "The fade can be…" Fiona broke off to search for a word.

            "Difficult?" I shot off, "Terrifying, troublesome, a pain in my ass?"

            She laughed, "All those and more Luna, do not let it trouble you." She patted my arm, "Rarely does the fade show you the same thing twice, unless you seek it out." Her words were warm and comforting. "Amara should be able to continue on her own today."

            "I don't mind." I blurted out before I could stop myself. What the fuck? Fiona chuckled at me.

            "Very well Luna, if she wishes and you have no protests she can ride with you."

            Amara did not protest.

 

The Templars rode all the way back to Haven during the night thinking that is where we had gone. Too bad for them Cullen was going through something—not my problem, I wasn't staying—and was awake when they rode into camp. They were now running drills and that brought a smile to my face.

            "Luna!" Cullen snapped when I rode up and a group of mages materialized beside me. Fade Step answered a lot of questions for me, like how Solas moved so quickly. Cheater. That's what he was, a cheater cheater pumpkin eater. Mother humper was using magic in defensive ways that I was completely unware of.

            Though to be fair to the unworthy miscreant, I was limiting myself because I didn't want to hurt anyone with my abilities and make Ellana's worst fears come true.

            "Nope." I smiled at him, "I have to report to my employer."

            "Luna!" I dismounted closer to the stables, Cullen trailing behind me.

            Amara was like a little ray of sunshine. Most kids and I didn't get along because they 'ohhhh'ed when I said a bad word and tattled. Amara? She fucking giggled and pushed her finger against her lips like it was a secret. She wasn't a god damned canary. I actually liked this one. Gypsy did too.

            She did, however, have extra words in her vocabulary. No, I did not feel bad about it. Everyone was warned so if the kid called someone a cunt it was not my fault. Well… it might have been because I have this habit of talking out loud to myself. A running monologue if you will. It is peppered with colorful words. And when Amara started a game of riddles and I Spy well… it was only a matter of time.

            Thankfully she didn't want to shave the sides of her head.

            Cullen approached me as I set Amara down on the ground. Stable hands stepped forward and took Bread's reins.

            "Are you deliberately disobeying orders?"

            "Of course not." I snorted, "Don't be absurd. I ate, slept and shit military ideals for two years before getting away from the Turian home world." He cast a wary look around, "I followed my orders to the letter. I found the mages, made a peaceful contact and escorted them to Haven. Job done and wrapped in a neat little bow." I pushed my finger against his nose, "Boop!"

            He swatted at my hand and gave me a look that promised pain if I ever did that again in public.

            "Oh don't look so sullen Cullen!" A smile bloomed on my face, "Look! I rhymed!" Amara tugged on my sleeve. "Yes hon?" I squatted down so she looked down at me instead of up.

            "Where am I going to stay?"

            "Well I imagine with the other mages," I scratched my face absently. "That would be the safest place for you Amara."

            "Will you come visit?" She still held Gypsy in her arms, and the pup licked her face. Too late I realized my mistake.

            I had gotten attached to this child in a matter of days. So much for the big bad woman with no feelings. All it took was large doe eyes and a quiver of her lower lip to get me to say, "As often as I am able." And I found myself meaning it. Even if it was just for a week I'd stop by at least once a day.

            She looked lost and I wondered if that was it. If I was drawn to little lost things. That's how I got Bread, the horse I traded him for was traded in return and I wasn't going to trade back for a different horse when the owner so carelessly got rid of mine in the first place. And then there was Gypsy, left alone in the world.

            Amara was the same, taken from her home at a young age. Her magic had barely found her when the rebellion started and she had yet to form a bond of friendship with any of the older people around her.

            Was I really a collector of lost and broken things? Was it a reflection on who I used to be?

            See this is why I don't pick apart pieces of my life. I learn things better left unlearned because I wasn't going to stay. Amara bonded with me in such a short time and now I was going to leave her, proving to her young self that people didn't stick around.

            Mother fucker I was a bad person.

            Amara didn't see it, she just smiled at me and passed me Gypsy before bolting toward Fiona. Hopefully the Grand Enchanter would be able to step in and be a friend or mentor to her. Lord knows that was not a role I could fulfill, not adequately at least. If I stayed she'd end up like me and I wasn't a healthy person.

            Even I knew that.

            "Luna." Cullen snapped as he towered over me, "Are you even listening?"

            "Nope." I brushed past him, "Look, got a problem take it up with my CO." I might have thrown a grin at him over my shoulder. "I delivered the mages as promised."

            "My Templars reported that you were unhelpful and undermining during your very brief encounter with them." Cullen followed me as I lead the way to Leliana's tent. It seemed we were all going to have a chat. "You took an opportunity to leave them behind, even after you were informed of the Inquisitions wishes."

            "No, of your wishes." I countered as I mounted the steps. Varric waved and I waved at him in return, "Tavern tonight, yeah?" He nodded and Sera bounced in place next to him, "You too!"

            Cullen sighed roughly behind me, "Luna, please-" he reached out and pulled me to a halt. Air hissed between my teeth as I ripped out of his hold. His eyes widened and he slowly pulled his hand back, "Apologies, I didn't…. You have been so forward and open."

            "It isn't your fault." I gritted out around my clenched jaw, "Nightmares are bitches but give me some space right now."

            "Of course." He rubbed the back of his neck and I took pity on him.

            "Look…" I sighed, "Imagine it from the Mage's position, okay? They are invited here as allies by the Herald of Andraste herself and who meets them? The very group they were at war with, the people who watched them, hunted them, stalked their waking nightmares. The people who cut them down when they couldn't control themselves. The people who had the power to invoke the right of annulment and end their lives." I stepped closer and tilted my head to look up into his honey brown eyes, "It wasn't looking good, Leliana wanted a good first impression. I know you are all about safety and that is why the Templar's were there. To ensure that every one was safe and I appreciate it, but it was going to turn ugly and there were twenty mages to your four Templars."

            "You still disobeyed orders." Cullen pointed out with a gentle tone.

            "Oh no!" I slapped a hand over my mouth and regretted it instantly. Pain blossomed across my cheek. I had yet to have a mage heal my wounds. "Send the Calvary, someone not under your command didn't listen to you!"

            His cheeks turned pink and I instantly felt bad.

            "This is something we have been arguing over since day one." I muttered, "Look, since I got out of the military life I don't follow blindly. I make my own judgement calls. One day your orders and my beliefs will line up and things will go according to plan, until then?" I patted the front of his chest—as long as I was aware there was going to be contact I was fine—and gave him a soft smile. "Not that it will probably happen in the next week or so."

            I spun and shuffled off toward Leliana to give my report. Damn, leaving was going to be harder than I thought.

Chapter Text

 

I lifted my mug in celebration. Gypsy was asleep in the pocket of Blackwall's coat, so she was utterly safe and I didn't have a care in the world. The others lifted with me. Only a few had shown up, as I thought might happen.

            Blackwall, Varric, Sera and Bull were here for my little farewell party though they didn't know it was that.

            After debriefing with Leliana I was informed that they had come to the decision to close the Breach tomorrow. So I was leaving day after tomorrow. Things were going to be busy and I wasn't one for messy goodbyes. Not that I thought any of them would shed a tear over a harlot leaving their midst.

            I was probably too hard on myself but I was a little fast and loose with my flirts even if they didn't frequently get very far.

            Dorian was a peach and patched me up, not as effective as Solas but he got the job done and I wasn't writhing in pain because of some crazy dead woman so it was an all-around win.

            Cards and alcohol were plenty as we celebrated long into the night. For it was a celebration of a victory all but in the bag. Coin passed back and forth between hands so quickly it was hilarious. Inhibitions were lowered with the consumption of ale and mead. Flissa was a marvel, constantly keeping our cups full and a platter of food on the table.

            Slowly I lost track of time and how much I drank, the ale disappearing faster than I could process. I think someone was sipping from my drinks because I didn't feel near drunk enough as I should.

            I eyed Bull over the top of my glass. I wasn't going to get a better chance than now to talk to him. Only problem was there were two red heads bouncing around him keeping his attention. To get his attention I'd need to do something rash and stupid, which was right up my alley.

            The bench scraped across the floor as I stood, his one eyes turned to look at me and I lifted a shoulder when his gaze swept over me. My hands gathered up my hair and pulled it over one shoulder and I gave him a smirk as I reached him. His lap was larger than I imagined, and as soon as I was sitting on him his large hands clasped around me. I froze, a slight hint of panic in my movements.

            Damned dream.  

            "Only what you're comfortable with." He murmured so softly that only I heard. Son of a bitch was he really a good guy?

            It was going to make this next part a little more difficult. Only a little. I shifted my position and whispered into his ear.

            "You know what I am." My words were slurred slightly, this night needed to end before I woke up in someone's bed. That was not what I needed. Sex fixed somethings, but not this particular problem.

            I don't know how Bull took those words but I didn't give him a chance to respond. "I catch a whiff, get goose bumps, or even see a Qunari looking at me funny and I will take your reputation down so fast your head will spin."  

            Bull wrapped his hands around my wrists and removed them from his horns. Holy shit when did I grip those? When he met my gaze his eyes were hard.

            "I mean it." I growled, "I will spill your secrets for all of Orlais and Feralden to see." Krem stood up in the background and started toward us. He knew exactly who Bull was and he still stood beside him. "Everything Bull, and I god damn mean it. I've lived too many lives to keep looking over my shoulder, I will not wake up in Par Vollen to find that I have been inducted forcefully into the Qun, or on a slab to be studied."

            His nostrils flared and he held up a hand. Krem stopped in his tracks, eyes narrowed.

            Slowly I slipped off of his lap but maintained eye contact. The Qunari was dangerous and half of his Chargers were in the room. Tonight was one of my last night's here and I had to lay out what I was thinking to Bull. Threaten was such a dark word but that's what I did. I meant every word. If Bull outed me I would sing like a fucking canary while I killed his country men.

            And then he said something that I didn't expect.

            "You aren't staying." Bull commented quietly. Sera's head snapped in our direction and I winced.

            "Damned Ben-Hassrath."

            "You're pissin me right?" Sera half shouted, "Leaving? Just gonna up and leave us? Leave her?"

            I held up a hand, the situation quickly slipping from my control. I shot a glare at Bull. This was going to be all over Haven tomorrow because Sera couldn't keep her mouth shut about some things.

            "The Breach is going to be closed before I-"

            "Bullshite!" Sera stood and started toward the door, "I knew something was wrong with you."

            "Sera!" I shouted after her but she'd already left.

            "She owes me three gold pieces." Blackwall commented evenly. Varric sat there and looked at me.

            "You're a right asshole," I whispered as I turned back to Bull. "That wasn't necessary and you know it."

            "Was your comment?"

            "Yes." I bit out, "Because the Qun does what is best for the Qun. I am doing what is best for the Inquisition!"

            Gypsy let out a yip and I stumbled over to Blackwall. "Easy Lady," Blackwall held out steading hands. "Don't let him shame you like that." I swiped a hand over my eyes.

            "I'm not." I growled without the heat. His large calloused hands held out my wolf, "I'm still leaving."

            "It's a shame, to tell the truth." Blackwall stated, "But you have to do what you think is best."

            I blinked at him, "Thank you Blackwall. You are a good man."

            "We all have our pasts Lady, don't let yours consume you."

            Gypsy licked the side of my hand as I made my way toward the door. I'd deal with this when I was sober. This was not a drunk me problem. This was after-coffee-sober-rational-thinking-me's problem.

            It wasn't until I was halfway to my cabin that I realized Varric was walking with me.

            I jumped sideways nearly dropping Gypsy in the process.

            "Make a little noise!" I barked as I slapped a hand over my chest and promptly fell down. "Son of a whore Varric you're going to scare someone to death someday."

            "I never thought I'd see the day when someone else influenced your decisions." He held out a hand to help me up. "Not when you could do a greater good in one location."

            "Don't judge me," I retorted, "you wouldn't even be here if Cassandra hadn't dragged you here. Fucking knife in the book as a torture technique."

            "And yet, here I am." Varric wave a hand, "Why were you here?"

            "You know why."

            "Because destiny."

            "Oh don't give me that," I dusted off my ass but only succeeded in smearing everything. "You don't believe in it."

            He laughed, "I believe in a lot of things Ghost." His large hand smacked into my back several times, "It'll be less interesting without you here."

            "I highly doubt it." I chuckled, "Look I-"

            "Need sleep." Varric finished, "I saw what you and Tiny were trying to do. Never thought I'd see that either."

            "Sober me is going to be so embarrassed."

            Varric tossed his head back and roared with laughter, "Don't!" He slapped a knee, "You don't get embarrassed."

            "Good point." I slapped a hand into my door, "Night Varric."

            "Good Night Ghost."

 

Angry banging woke me. "Go away!" I snarled and threw something at the door. The sound of it shattering was breath takingly beautiful.

            "What was it you said? Oh yes." No, no it was too early for this. "'I know you're awake and I'm not leaving until you let me in.'"

            "You are a cruel man!" I called as I half crawled toward the door. Throwing the lock I stumbled back and yanked the door open. "And a huge dick."

            "Oh, I am a male phallus but you are leaving after demanding a steep favor from me?"

            "Son of a mother fucker." I growled, "Sera?"

            "Sera." He agreed. "Really darling you shouldn't tell her these things."

            "I didn't," I snarled as I puttered around in my kitchen. "It was Bull."

            Dorian sniffed, "He is an unwashed heathen."

            "You don't have to convince me." I didn't have any coffee. That's why I asked the scout the other day. "Fuck me." It was a moan.

            "You really are leaving, aren't you?" A look over my shoulder told me Dorian wasn't looking at me but at something else in the cabin. I squinted as I flipped around and saw my packed bags. I had quadruple checked that the element zero core was safely tucked inside its case and in my bag. Didn't need to leave that behind.

            "Yeah, I really am."

            "I don't suppose I could talk you out of it."

            "Only one person can," I sighed. "And she won't because she is pissed at me and doesn't trust me anymore."

            "It was quite scary." Dorian stated as he pulled out a chair and sat down. Gypsy wandered over to him and patted a paw against his leg. He absently scratched her ears. "Magnificent, yes but horrifying."

            "Don't Dorian." I sagged down into a chair across from him. This was supposed to happen after coffee. "Leliana told me."

            "Did Leliana tell you that Ellana watched as you literally ripped Bull, Sera and Solas to shreds before walking over their bloody corpses without a hint of remorse in your eyes?"

            I winced, "No." It was a growl.

            "Ah, I thought not." Dorian slid something across the table. I blinked.

            "Where the fuck did you pull that from?" I whispered as I pulled it close.

            "A helpful scout brought it by." Dorian mused, "You are not very observant in the mornings are you?"

            "Roland?" I asked as I reverently took a sip.

            "Didn't catch the name darling, just liberated the cup from him as he stood outside your door." Dorian fiddled with something on the table. "He looked quite disappointed."

            "Did you give him a kiss?"

            "Maker no!" Dorian was a little louder than necessary and I made a shushing gesture.

            "That's why. Roland gets kisses for coffee." I joked.

            "That cannot possibly be a deal you struck." Dorian stated bluntly.

            "No, but I did give him one after he brought me one." I winked, "Men, am I right?"

            "Simple creatures really." Dorian lamented. "There is no talking you out of it then?"

            "Nope." I gave him a sad smile. "I'm going to miss you."

            "Yes, I imagine you will." Dorian looked over his shoulder and started to rise, "Will you be there today?"

            "I can't be there." I whispered, "She doesn't need me there. Doesn't need someone she doesn't trust at her back."

            "Of course." Dorian paused in front of the door, "You will say goodbye before you leave?"

            "Yes."

            Hours later I wandered from my cabin and down out of Haven toward the mage's camp. Amara was sitting and playing with a doll, a fire crackling before her. When I called her name she looked up, my own called followed by Gypsy's. She rose and ran toward me, when she slammed into me her arms wrapped around my legs something tugged at my heart that was all me.

            "You came." She sounded so happy and it hurt. I wasn't a good influence, I was starting to doubt that I was even a good person.

            "Did you doubt I would?" I was afraid of her answer.

            "No." She stated happily as she crouched down to lift the little wolf into her arms. Gypsy was getting large enough that she was dangling from her grasp, back feet nearly touching the ground. "You said you coming." She smiled up at me, "Want to play dollies with me?"

            Her request was so benign that I couldn't say no. I wasn't doing either of us any favors by being here, it would only hurt worse in the end but I didn't want to leave this little girl all alone in a world that seemed so out of shape.

            "I would love to."

            And the closing of the Breach found us like that. An audible crack whipped through the valley. Startled we looked up and when Amara saw that it was gone she started to cry. She threw her arms around me and I gave her a hug.

            "She did it!" She exclaimed.

            "I never doubted she would." I responded. I hated myself in that moment. I had no right to be here, no right to eke out a small measure of comfort from a child that saw me as only good.

            When I looked over my shoulder I saw a man standing in the yard, his eyes trained on me.

 

The Ambassador was going above and beyond. She had been planning, in secret, a large celebration. Once she heard we had secured the help of the mages she started. It was to take place tomorrow. She couldn't keep it a secret anymore when one of the towns people caught sight of the large barrels of ale and the tantalizing smells rose up from all of the kitchens in Haven.

            Spirits lifted and laughter was abundant in the little town.

            Sera was still unhappy with me. When I walked back into my cabin I was covered in a bucket of mud and possibly had another concussion. I didn't say anything, Sera had her ways to take out her frustration and doing anything would cause the retaliation to be worse that mud.

            I'd been covered in it before and it was easy to clean out.

            Until I realized that my soap had been exchanged for dye that didn't activate or show its color until it was wet.

            "Really?!" I screamed as I slammed out of my cabin half naked. "Fucking really Sera!" My hair was a vibrant pink as were my hands. The color was uneven and splotchy. I heard Sera's laughter as she ran from the scene of the crime.

            Grumbling I strode back into cabin and slammed the door. Thankfully I had my sleeping shirt on and no pants than the other way around. Something told me that Thedas did not have the proper dye to get my hair back the way it was.

            The ends were ruined. Bloody fucking brilliant. Gypsy barked and growled in her little corner.

            "I know!" I swept the cabin until I found a dagger. "I don't like it any more than you do!"

            Large chunks of my hair fell to the floor and as I got to the portion that wasn't ruined my movements became more precise and less jerky. I took smaller amounts as I strove to even it out.

            A knock at the door had me screaming: "Come in!" My voice anything but gentle.

            "Oh." I looked and saw Leliana blink as she closed the door behind her. "I presume Sera got you?" She marched forward and took the dagger from my hands. "Sit."

            "Who else but our loveable prankster?"

            "Ellana may have helped her with it." Leliana confessed, "They were very unhappy to learn you were leaving."

            I barked laughter. "One of them doesn't even want me here anymore."

            "Ellana is young." Leliana stated, "I told you as much before you went for the mages. She does not know what she wants."

            "I am not staying." I stated. My tone brooked no argument.

            "So you've said." Leliana sighed, "Such a waste," her fingers were gentle in my hair. "It was so beautiful."

            "I know." I wasn't sure if we were talking about my hair or something else.

            "Will you stay for the celebration?"

            I was quiet, the sound of my dagger sliding through hair loud in the silence.

            "No." Best if I didn't party with these people.

            Leliana set down the dagger, "Shame." She paused a moment, "I will see you again." Her gone was fierce.

            "I gave my word." I whispered.

            When she walked out the door I pushed my hands into my face and thought about everything that had happened in the last couple weeks. Redcliffe was a disaster and it had been the beginning of the end.

            "Fuck my life."

 

The next morning came quickly. The feast was all anyone could talk of, my leaving swept away in its wake and it was a fucking blessing. I gave Josephine back some of the creams she'd given me when I joined in thanks. She tried to refuse but I slipped out before she could push them back on me.

            Vivienne didn't even spare me a glance as I walked out of the Chantry with everything that I owned. It fit in one bag. I had enough gold to last for a long time, when the Inquisition feeds you and gives you everything you need on top of paying you? Yeah as long as I didn't lose it gambling with the guys I hadn't spent it on anything.

            I'd already said goodbye to Dorian, I promised to keep in touch and he promised to keep looking into my 'problem'. It'd been a quiet affair and I left all too soon. He told me to 'be good' and I laughed at him. Which turned into, Yes not my best line.

            Right now I was standing outside of Haven staring at the mage's camp. I had to say goodbye to Amara. She was probably the only one who didn't know I was leaving. Children rarely paid attention to the rumors of adults unless they are being paid for it.

            As I walked into the camp I looked for anyone shorter than me. She found me first as children do.

            "Luna!" She bounced over to me beaming, "Did you come to play dollies?"

            "Not this time." I stated quietly as I crouched in front of her. "I have some bad news Amara."

            Her eyes flashed to my bag. "You're leaving?"

            "Yes," I nodded.

            "When will you be back?"

            God it hurt, the trusting look in her eyes. It was like someone punched me in my solar plexus. It all but knocked the breath from my lungs. "I won't." I wanted to swallow the words before they left but I forced them out.

            Her eyes turned confused and her lower lip started to tremble.

            "Oh honey." I pulled her into a hug, "I'm so sorry."

            She pushed me away and ran. I hung my head and swiped at the tears that started to fall. Collector of broken and lost things. Yeah, my white ass I was. I took but didn't give. And I was a cold hearted bitch for it. I wished I had gone anywhere but here.

            Fiona approached, "The girl will get over it."

            "Will she?" I snapped as I stood, "Because what I see is a child who has had everything ripped from her repeatedly and I'm just continuing the cycle!"

            Spinning I stormed toward the stable and my horse. Gypsy trailed happily behind me. If she could speak would she tell me I was being stupid and selfish? Because that's the way I felt after telling Amara I was leaving.

            My fingers scrabbled at the latches of Bread's stall. Quickly I saddled him and secured my bag, Gypsy went inside with her normal fuss. Soon she'd outgrow the bag and I'd need to train her to follow the horse. Quietly I led Bread out of the stall and saw the one person I hoped to sneak away from was waiting for me.

            Solas.

            "You would abandon everything you have worked for?"

            "The Breach is closed and you would not believe how many times I've had this conversation in the last day." I shoved a foot into a stirrup and slid into the saddle. "Sorry all out of fucks to give."

            "Excuse me?" He sounded genuinely confused.

            "I am emotionally drained and I do not have another 'I'm leaving anyway' conversation in front of me so please-"

            "Why?"

            "Why what?" I snapped.

            "Why leave now?"

            "Because I am no longer necessary." I held up a finger, "Because I am not wanted." I held up another. "Because I am a liability to the cause." I glared at him, "Pick any reason."

            I pulled at Bread's reins and he pranced sideways away from Solas. Once Bread had a clear path he bolted.

            Amara ran after me calling my name, but her words were lost to the wind and galloping hooves.

Chapter Text

That night I made camp in the woods. I strayed from the path looking for something different. It wasn't far and snow was still around me. Haven wasn't the distant memory I wanted it to be. I rode for half a day before my anger and sorrow drove me from the saddle.

            Bread threw me and I didn't have the heart to fight him. I felt more broken than ever. Just when I thought everything was going fine it shattered. It was a pattern with me. I was an albatross, a curse. Things fell to pieces whenever I was around, or I was the cause. Selfish. It was a horrible word and people caught a lot of shit for it, but I created shit because of it.

            The fire crackled in front of my face but I didn't watch the flames. I felt the heat but didn't see the light. My mind was worlds away thinking of everything I'd done and wondering if I was the cause of anything else negative happening in the stories.

            Had I caused any huge change in the Mass Effect realm? I didn't think I had but how many lives had I altered just because I was there.

            Sidonis was dead because of me and my anger. What if he was supposed to live? Was he destined to give birth to some great Turian leader who would pull his people from the ashes of the Reaper invasion on his home planet? Or would it be generations later? Was it a good thing that I took his life?

            Blood was on my hands and it dripped from my past. There was no washing myself clean of it. I would strive to do better here. I didn't know how but I would do better, keep my temper in check, be a light in the world instead of madness. 

            Bread wandered over and nudged my head with his nose. I patted it absently and handed him part of the apple that I had been eating. It appeased him and he went to bed down for the night. Gypsy was already curled up in my lap.

            It was time for sleep, morning was starting to come earlier and earlier. If I wanted to get up to Rivain then I needed to leave at dawn. The thought was sour in my mouth but my course was set.

            I threw snow and dirt over the fire. No sense drawing unwanted attention to myself. Quietly I slipped into my bedroll and curled around Gypsy. Sleep eluded me, slipping through my fingers for hours.

 

My eyes snapped open and I listened to the world around me. Something had woken me but the question was what? Slowly I sat up. Gypsy was at the foot of the bedroll so it wasn't her. Bread was standing with one foot pulled up and his eyes closed. It hadn't been him.

            Fingers splayed across the ground and I started to rise when I felt it.

            The ground rumbled under my hand. Did Thedas have earth quakes? They should, tectonic plates and magma would cause it. The core of the planet had to still be active or their world wouldn't be the way it was.

            Was this an earth quake?

            Then I heard it. The forest had gone silent. It was naturally quiet at night but there were still deer and other large prey animals moving around, owls and birds still made noises and while it was getting too cold for bugs in this area there was still the odd cricket or two that made chirping noises.

            I stood and looked around. Torches in the distance. My blood froze in my veins. Using every bit of elf blood I had in me I crept forward on tip toes. It was an agonizingly long time until I reached a position where I could see anything.

            Frozen blood drained from my face. A horde was walking up the path I so recently came down from, and at its head was a figure that I recognized.

            "Fuck me." I whispered softly. My gaze ripped from him and I looked at the tide that followed. They bore the mark of Templars and they were disfigured. Red jutted from their bodies at odd angles and some of them shambled instead of walking. An aura of evil clung to all of them and then I saw the biggest sombitch of them all.

            Before I knew what I was doing I was tearing through the trees headed straight for Bread. Dropping to my knees I drug a sleeping Gypsy from the bedroll and strapped on my weapons. My body vaulted onto Bread without the saddle and we turned toward Haven. I'd have to take the long way, there was no choice. I couldn't fight my way past the horde and Haven had no idea they were coming.

            They were in the middle of celebrating. It was going to be a slaughter. I had to warn them. How many were drunk? How many were passed out or dancing because they thought they won?

            Worse, he was supposed to be dead. Varric might know more.

            Bread fought me for all of five seconds before I yanked roughly on his mane and jabbed him with the heels of my boots. He shut the hell up and started to climb. We'd have to take the natural routes that were carved into the land scape.

            I only hoped I wouldn't arrive too late.

            My sturdy steed huffed under me, giving everything I asked for and then more. It was slow going and more than once I almost fell or dropped Gypsy. She was unhappy and I had claw marks all up and down my arms as proof. To top it all off I was shivering.

            Winter was coming and it was starting to snow, little flakes trickled down in between the trees. Tonight was going to be rough and this snow as going to make it worse.

            I shouldn't have thought that. Wind kicked up, causing the snow to swirl in front of the three of us.

            We broke through the trees and the fighting had already started.

            Bread caught the scent of blood. He screamed and charged forward. Gypsy went down my shirt and I gripped his mane with both hands as I leaned forward, urging him on. He was tired and it was dangerous but we didn't have a choice.

            I yanked him to the right. There was an old path that way that lead into the side of the town. The horde of Red Templars was driving toward the front gates, telling me that they had lost their minds in the transformation. Templars would have been here at one point. They would know the layout of the town.

            We skirted the worst of them. Those that caught sight of us were quickly put down with an arrow in their eye. One of them almost pulled me from Bread's back. Only his quick side step and my dagger stopped them. The next one didn't get close enough. He caught throw right in the face and he skidded across the ground.

            Bread reared and broke the side gate open.

            "Crap!" I screamed as I dismounted and quickly shoved anything and everything in the opening we climbed through. I scrambled back onto his back and we were off again.

            "Luna!"

            I yanked hard enough that Bread sat on his haunches and spun in a tight circle.

            "Cullen!" I dismounted again and ran over to him, "What's the plan?"

            He smiled at me and quickly lined it out. I nodded as I listened intently.

            "Where do you want me?"

            He laughed at my words, "Clear the town, some of them have gotten past us and we still have civilians to get past."

            "Take Bread!" I shouted as I bolted into the town, "He'll keep you safe!"

            Gypsy was still a bulge in my shirt, her head poking out the top. We had yet to start her battle training and once we survive this—if—it was time to get serious about that. Young or not she'd be useful if she could pull attention and then get the hell out of the way.

            I went to work the only way I knew how.

            I killed.

            My biotics were fully unleashed and my raw potential flew free from my fingertips at every opportunity. Templars and Venatori fell before me and others. One of the big ones was harassing someone with a shield who was standing between it and civilians. More were closing in on the sides.

            Bolting I made my way toward them. Singularity ripped from my fingers and when they started to float I punched out sending another biotic pulse from my hands. They shot into the distance, the sound of their bones breaking lost in the chaos. Without breaking stride I ripped my singularity to shreds and started to scream at the civilians.

            "Get to the Chantry!" I'd reached them by then and I pulled several to their feet. "Go! To the Chantry! Commander's orders!"

            I glanced over my shoulder. The warrior had gone down and the big dude was towering over them. Still the warrior was hurling insults at them in… I knew that voice.

            Screaming I slammed my palms into the floor and a shock wave rocketed out from my impact. Quickly before it could reach her I wrapped pull around Cassandra and yanked her away from my power. As she started to shoot past me I slapped my hand in hers and threw myself backward.

            "Luna?!" She exclaimed as we hit the ground.

            "Yeah, I know." I jumped to my feet, "You can yell at me later." Gypsy was positively livid at this point and trying to crawl out of my shirt. I shoved her back down, "Fucking stay!" Her head popped back out and she whined at me, "I don't care."

            Cassandra started laughing.

            "Yeah, comical."

            She stepped forward and shoved me out of the way. There was a crunching sound. My head snapped toward it and I saw that she blocked a blow that would have killed me. From the way she was holding her arm, it broke her bone.

            My daggers found purchase as I climbed it. The red lyrium made my skin crawl but I looked for weak points and stabbed them repetitively.

            "Grab it, stab it, and ooking bite it. Repeat until win!"* I shouted as it fell and I rolled from its back, curling protectively round my middle and the crazed wolf pup in my arms. When I stood and looked Cass over. "You can't fight like that."

            I tossed a look over my shoulder.

            "Go." She held her hand out, "Give me Gypsy, I'll make sure she is safe."

            I gave her a pained look but passed the pup over. "Where are the others?"

            "Where they should be." Cassandra admonished, "Where you should be. Get the villagers out."

            She turned to the Chantry and started for the doors. Gypsy barked at me over her shoulder before they disappeared from sight. There was a roaring sound that was distinctly familiar but I didn't have time to think it through.

            Twisting I threw myself back into battle. I got Flissa free, and another. The Tavern was ruined but I got several out of there as well.

            Sera almost shot me.

            "Pink?" I pointed at my short hair, "Really? You and I are not finished."

            "Bloody brilliant right?" She snorted as she shot another arrow over my shoulder. "Glad you came back Moony."

            "Oh no," I stated, "that is not becoming a thing."

            "Moony." She snorted again and was gone.

            By now my shirt was ripped, I was covered in blood I was ninety percent sure wasn't all mine but I had a steady stream dripping from a shallow graze on my bicep. A familiar beard charged past me, rushing another group of Templars.

            I followed him and ducked under his shield. My daggers flashed out as I slid between the legs of a human and sliced both of his hamstrings. Blackwall ran him through seconds later.

            "How many civilians left?" I shouted as I punched another before I threw him away from me with my biotics.

            "Five, maybe?" He sounded uncertain.

            A scream ripped me to a halt. "No."

            "Luna?" Blackwall called as I ran past him. Ebony skin called to me, a flash of curly hair darting around a building followed by a large Templar.

            "Amara!" I screamed as I followed them. She was pressed up against a wall, terror and tears on her face. I saw as the sword rose. She was a child. I wasn't close enough, I wasn't going to stop it. "No!" I screamed as I tried anyway. "AMARA!"

            The sword started its descent. Her eyes found mine and my name wailed from her throat. My heart clenched. Her eyes were wide and her hand was reaching for me. The ugly Templar let out a grunt as the sword arced toward her. I couldn't do a damned thing about it and it had me screaming in rage and pain and horror.

            This was a little girl who had everything take from her and now I had to watch as the thing she'd lived in fear of with a different face take her life.

            I stretched out a hand, caution thrown to the wind. The blue of my biotic field wrapped around him and he started to move. My heart pounded, was it enough time to get her out of his reach? I hadn't been in range before, it had to be enough.

            A sob ripped through my throat as the sword hit and ripped through, my eyes refusing to believe what I was seeing. Amara slammed back into the wall behind her, blood ran down her robes. Sounds I couldn't register tore through my throat and a barrier erupted out of my body until there was a dome over the three of us. Everything else was pushed to the side. The sound of the world fell away as the Templar gone wrong twisted through the air toward me, spinning like a top.

            I hit him with slam and he shot toward the ground. My whole world was focused down to a pin point, and that Templar was the tip of the pen. A biotic field swirled around me and I threw myself forward, daggers gripped tightly in my clenched hands. I sailed over him, or would have if not for one dagger finding purchase in the expose flesh of the joint between his shoulder guard and chest piece.

            The thing under me, because no person would do what he did to a child, roared in pain as I pushed down and used the fully hilted blade to drag myself back up his body. He was coated in a thin sheen of blood and I wished for eternity to tear him apart.

            But who has that kind of time?

            Flame, she whispered inside of me, do.

            I didn't even break a sweat pushing her to the background. I screamed in his face, at the little red lines that wound through his veins, barely visible through his skin. My hand twisted the blade in his underarm and he threw me bodily from him.

            Rolling free I stood and wasted no time. I hit him with throw and watched him bounce off my makeshift wall. And then I pulled him to me only to hit him with throw again. Over and over I did it, the sound of his bones crunching; of his armor crushing around him was music to my ears. A symphony was born of his screams, until the crescendo broke and silence ensued.

            Breath came quickly into my lungs, only to be expelled as quickly. Something moved to my right. Where Amara had fallen. Only the object was too large to be the sweet child.

            Blindly I threw my arm out to the side and hit them with pull. Turning I threw myself at them, meeting them in the air with charge. We slammed into the ground with them beneath me. My hand raised, dagger gleaming in the moonlight.

            Hands held up pleadingly at me, his lips formed words but there… my name. His lips formed my name.

            "Blackwall?" I whispered in horror as I clambered off of him. The dagger fell from my grip and I crumpled to the ground. "It's my fault." Tear clogged the bag of my throat, "All my fault."

            Blood was on my hands and I screamed at them as I bowed over farther, head almost touching the ground.

            The battle still raged around me, barrier long forgotten. Sound returned to the world but it was bitter and unwanted. I rocked back and forth, sobs wracking my body. If I'd never left, if I'd stayed, if I'd ignored Ellana. How integral was she to my job? To what I did? Not very much. It wasn't important for her to like me for me to make a difference here.

            But I'd been selfish and walked. Like I always did, but this time a child paid the price. A child with a giggle that made me smile. Go figure, I found a kid I liked and then I let them die.

            Large hands found my shoulders and I allowed them to pull me into a seated position.

            "Miss Luna," Blackwall spoke quietly and calmly. "There is still work to be done and the girl needs to be-"

            "Don't you get it!" I screamed at him, "She's dead!"

            "No." He shook his head and when I looked over Dorian was kneeling over Amara. I scrambled forward on hands and knees until I saw what he was doing. His hands held the glow of healing magic.

            A mage would not heal the dead.

            "Amara." I whispered as I stood and ran the last few feet.

            The Templar had done considerable damage. Blood soaked her robes and her dark skin was pale from blood loss. Dorian was paler still and when he stopped he sagged to the side.

            "Blackwall!" I screamed looking over my shoulder. The Warden was standing about ten feet from us, shield held at the ready. He was guarding our backs. At my voice he glanced at me and when he saw Dorian slumped and me trying to hold him up he rushed over.

            "What happened?"

            "I don't know he just-"

            Amara gasped and sat up screaming. My heart thudded harshly in my chest and I pulled her quickly against me. She screamed again and flailed wildly.

            "Amara." I called but she didn't hear me. My hands held her briefly away from me and I forced her to look at me, "Amara!"

            Her eyes snapped to mine and quickly roved over my face. She let out a sob, her hands digging into my shirt as she pulled herself closer. "Luna!" I wrapped my arms around her. Somewhere in that little exchange Blackwall got Dorian standing though he looked three sheets to the wind.

            "Can you get him back to the Chantry?" Blackwall asked as I stood. I nodded at him, not trusting myself to speak at the moment. "Good. Get going, I'll cover your back."

            I walked slowly, keeping Dorian slightly ahead of me where I could see him. My barrier was back up, though it was not as big as the one before. Amara sobbed into my shirt and I held her as we made our way toward the largest building in the town. It was awkward but I refused to set her down. She was my lost and broken child who said douche and cunt and bitch.

            Yeah I left out bitch. Didn't want to make it seem like I was worse than I really was. I mean she was with me a day and a half. Come on there is only so much damage I should be able to do.

            When we made it past the smoke that obscured the Chantry we saw a steady stream of people making their way out of the double doors and to the side. One of the Inquisition soldiers caught sight of Dorian and quickly rushed forward to support him. I was completely ignored.

            Right, because a woman and a child should be ignored in the middle of a war zone.

            "What's happening?" I asked someone but they didn't answer. I looked for a familiar face. The Chantry was the best chance we had at surviving this.

            A dragon roared over my head and I twisted. That's what I heard earlier but hadn't wanted to believe.

            "Mother fucker." I growled. Amara giggled weakly in my arms. If she'd laugh again I'd cuss for an hour straight. "Don't you go saying that one, alright?" I had to draw the line somewhere. That one was it.

            A familiar blond head bobbed above the small sea of people rushing round the side of the building.

            "Cullen!" I screamed as I pushed toward him, "Where is everyone going?"

            "Luna! I thought you'd already gone."

            "Gone where?!" I shouted at him.

            "Roderick remembered a path, we are evacuating."

            My eyes widened, "They'll just follow us, we'll be defenseless."

            His eyes darkened. "Ellana is making sure we aren't." He turned to look down the hill. From here I could see raven black against white. She was at the trebuchets. "We're going to bury Haven."

            "She'll never survive that!" I exclaimed, "How could she?! She is too fucking important! Cullen why?!"

            "She said it would buy us time." Cullen bit out, "I don't like this any more than you."

            I set Amara on the ground. "I have to go."

            "No!" She wailed and held onto me, "Don't leave me again."

            "Amara, honey I have to go save the Herald."

            "You aren't coming back!" She screamed, "Don't go!"

            "Hon," I whispered, "I'm coming back." Gently I cupped her face with both of my hands, "Do you doubt me?"

            Tears were falling freely down her face, "No." She whispered but I saw the look in her eyes. She did.

            "It's okay to doubt hon, but I promise I'm coming back this time." I pulled her close and gave her a hug. "Go with Cullen, he'll protect you." I stood and looked at him, "She lives, you hear me?" Tears made my words thick, "She lives."

            It was utter torture, leaving Amara when she was so recently wounded. She was alive, only by the grace of whatever God ruled these lands. And magic. Dorian was getting candied dates, lots of them along with any Tevinter wine he preferred when we got out of here.

            Cullen nodded, eyes wide at the sight of the blood on her and when he held out a hand Amara put hers in his. I turned and ran down the hill. Ellana was on her own, there was no way she was getting away from an avalanche. If they were going to bury Haven she was going to be buried alive with it and we needed her not to do that.

            I jumped over debris and slid under others. As I jumped from the small wall I rolled and gained my feet in the same movement. The dragon roared again. A group of familiar faces were darting past me but they were too far way and headed in the other direction.

            "Luna!"

            I jerked to a halt at her voice. Spinning I looked at her, red hair shifting in the wind.

            "Bring her back."

            I snapped a salute and started running again.

            The gates came into view but I had to crawl over them. They were destroyed completely and there was no way through. Quickly I scrambled over them. Once I hit the floor I scrabbled on hands and knees until I was on my feet.

            Everything was going to be fine. I would help her with this and then… and then…

            I closed my eyes and thought of Amara. She would live and if I died it was enough. Cassandra would probably give her Gypsy, knowing that every little girl deserved an animal. Cassandra was a big fucking softie who read Varric's romance novels. I saw her hiding in a tent. Swords and Shields clutched tightly in her hands as she devoured the pages one by one. I never said a thing cause I was saving it.

            I should have used it. Too late now.

            "Ellana!" I screamed, voice cracking under all the yelling I'd done. She was dangling from his grasp. "Ellana!"

            She struggled and he threw her at the trebuchet. She hit with a bone jarring thump. She was away from him and that was an improvement. "Luna!" Her eyes went wide when she finally saw me. The dragon roared at me but my goal was Ellana. If I was with her we'd probably be good.

            Probably. Not. But… it was better than being separate.

            I threw throw at the dragon's mouth to divert the trail of fire that was hurling in my direction. I jumped debris like I was a track star and it was a hurtle.

            Right as I reached Ellana she kicked the lever of the trebuchet and we all watched as it crashed into the mountain. The rumble started as a whisper until it grew into a roar. It was coming straight for us and I couldn't stop it.

            Ellana couldn't either.

            "I'm sorry." I whispered as I threw up barrier in a stupid attempt to hold mother nature at bay. Before my eyes the dragon curled around Corypheus and they took off right as the wall of snow reached us.

            It hit and I screamed again, voice breaking as it hit an impossibly high note. I dropped to a knee and spread my hands out. My biotics were failing for the first time and I didn't even have the sense to feel betrayed.

            "Luna!" Ellana screamed as she tugged on my arm.

            "Don't," I whispered though I meant shout over the avalanche. She didn't hear me but kept tugging. I chanced looking at her, desperation was in her eyes and she pointed. There was a crack in the ground. I nodded and forced myself to stand. "Get ready to run." It was broken and cracked but she nodded.

            I dropped the barrier and she pulled me behind her. As we fell she wrapped herself around me.

            Stupid woman.

Chapter Text

Something hit my face and I shook it gently. Fucking seven hells where was I? I coughed and my throat made its protests known. Right, was I sick? I felt really cold which was bad. I wasn't sweating so I didn't have a fever which meant that I was close to getting hypothermia.

            Something smacked into my face again and this time it was accompanied by my name. I jerked my head up and looked around.

            Ellana was laying on the ground. A large wooden beam was on top of one of her legs. I scrambled to my feet.

            "Are you alright?" My voice was hoarse and I didn't even understand what I was saying. I cough/cleared my throat again and tried once more. "Are you okay?" It was clearer that time, but only just.

            "I don't think I'm going anywhere." She shook her head and winced in what I could only assume was pain. "You need to get out of here."

            "I'm not leaving you." I insisted as I looked at the beam. I could move it. But I'd need my biotics to do so. The cause of the problems that started it all. The very powers that scared Ellana enough she treated me like an animal.

            "Why not?" She demanded angrily, "You did before. You didn't even say goodbye!" Her voice was slowly rising and I gave a dark look.

            "Oh and that's my fault?" I snapped, "Ellana do you realize exactly how you've treated me? Like dirt." I wrapped my hands as best I could around the beam and tried to lift it. "And the only reason I left is because you didn't trust me."

            "And I was right!" Ellana shouted, "At the first sign of trouble you ran away, how can I trust you?"

            I released the beam and stood up, "Really?" I barked, "That's what you took from what I did? It didn't occur to you that I left everything that I had, my job, my friends, what had become my home because you didn't trust me to have your back! How could I go with you on missions? You would be keeping one eye on me instead of the mission. It would become a problem and one of us would make a mistake and it would be my fault. I left for you. So you could be safe because the world needs you and you are fucking throwing your life away!"

            Unconsciously I was pacing back and forth.

            Her voice was small when she spoke, "You left… so I would be safe?" I looked at her and there was shame in her eyes. "You… did it for me?"

            "Yes." I snapped, "Now shut up because we are both getting out of here."

            I wrapped my biotics around the beam and pulled it off of her. She sat up and I looked at her leg. It didn't look good. I wasn't sure how long we'd been down here but we needed to move soon if we were going to ever catch up with the rest of the Inquisition.

            "Can you walk?" I didn't think she could but assuming made an ass out of you and me so I asked anyway. Her leg was swollen and bruised a deep purple color.

            "I think it's broken."

            "Fuck." I stood and started looking around. We were in an old mining shaft and there were shattered pieces of wood everywhere. "Look, I'm going to get us out of here but you have to trust me, alright? At least… let me get you to a safe place."

            "Okay."

            Thank fucking god she wasn't being stubborn right now. Quickly I stooped and picked up several pieces of wood. After examining several pieces I selected two and walked back to her.

            "Ever had a bone set?"

            She shook her head at me, "No."

            "Well it's going to hurt like a bitch but I swear you hit me I will punch you right back alright?" She snorted, "Yeah, no punching the healer." I didn't hit Solas she wasn't going to hit me. "On three." I stated as I grabbed her foot. I had basic medical training, everyone picked it up when you lived the life I had. "One." I looked at her. "Two." And I yanked as hard as I could on her leg. The bone popped into place and I leaned away from her.

            "You said three!" She screamed as she slammed a fist dangerously close to my leg. "You whore!"

            "That's right." I whispered, "Get it out but don't hit me." Quickly I set the wood pieces next to her leg and started to rip my undershirt into thin strips.

            "What are you doing?" She growled as she glared at me. Here I was asking for trust and she was pissed I didn't go on three. I wasn't stupid, she would have tensed and made it harder for me to get the bone into place.

            "Making a splint."

            She stayed quiet—mostly—as I wrapped pieces of my shirt around her leg and the wood. When I pulled them tight and tied a knot she whined in pain.

            "It isn't perfect and we need to get you medical attention." I stood and offered her both of my hands. "Bone marrow in the blood stream does weird things and infection is a bitch on wheels in this time."

            She laughed bitterly. "Wish you had some of that… what was it? Some sort of gel?"

            "Medi-gel." I offered as I wrapped on of her arms around my shoulder, "And yeah, me too. I've wished for it frequently. I was fucking spoiled. Indoor plumbing and TV straight to chamber pots and getting drunk in the tavern."

            We started walking with me supporting her.

            "You miss anything from your clan?" I asked in attempt to distract her. "People, places?"

            "Not the people." She stated, I heard the pain in her voice. "I wandered off on my own as much as I could, ranging ahead, tracking halla or other game, exploring ancient ruins."

            "Sounds like the Inquisition is the perfect place for you."

            "Kind of." She laughed, "But it's too damned cold for me."

            "This?" I scoffed good naturedly, "This is nothing." She gave me a dirty look, "Honestly," I laughed. "There was this planet, Noveria. It was a bitch of a planet. It was like a constant blizzard, temperatures well below freezing. People couldn't exist on the planet surface for more than half an hour before the life support systems of their armor gave out and they'd freeze to death."

            "Sounds miserable."

            "Oh it was. I hated that planet." I grunted, "More than just the weather was part of that though."

            It grew quiet between the two of us and when I looked up I saw about six demons waiting for us in the room ahead.

            "Fuck me."

            "That seems to be a common theme with you." Ellana snickered. "How many have you slept with?"

            "Demons." I hissed to get her to be quiet.

            Right then her palm flared to life. "There's a rift nearby." I let go of her arm and held up my hands in a 'stay' motion. Slowly I moved forward, crouching low so I could look and see if anything was hanging above them.

            Sure enough there it was. Easing back I returned to her.

            "Yup." I nodded vigorously, "So… I'm exhausted and you're hurt what's the game plan?"

            "Something feels different." She was staring at her palm. "That… Corypheus, he did something to the mark… he called it an anchor. Said that he was-"

            "An ancient evil dark spawn." I interrupted, "Yeah I know Hawke fought and killed him."

            "But he's alive."

            "Yup." I added emphasis on the 'p'. I was so done with this world's bullshit. When you killed something it should stay dead. "It's like he is an Arch Demon."

            "Did you see the dragon?" Her eyes went wide, "Do you think it could be a blight?!"

            "Shh!!" I hissed at her looking over my shoulder, the demons were still hanging around the rift. "I think if it was a Blight we'd be ass deep in darkspawn. Something else is happening but we have to get out of here to ponder that some more."

            "Right, sorry." She shook her head slightly as if she was clearing the thoughts swirling around her brain. "Get me close and I'll try to close the rift, you take care of the demons." She gave me a tight smile, "I know what you're capable of."

            I glared at her, "That wasn't me."

            "She wore your face very well."

            I… was going to do not a damned thing because we had to get out of here but after we were going to have a screaming match until someone caved.

            Yanking her to me again I supported her weight as we moved close. Once she could see the rift and her hand was giving off occasional sparks I leaned her against the wall.

            "I'll distract them while you close it."

            "That's what I said." She snapped.

            Relax Luna, I chided, she's in pain and knows not that she is upsetting the only person here to help her.

            "Right." I almost bit the word in half.

            She raised her hand and instead of the normal tether that formed there was… well for lack of a better description it was a green ring on the ground that sucked everyone inside of it toward the rift and son of a bitch I was inside the god damned green ring.

            "Ellana!" I screamed as my fingers clawed across the floor looking for purchase anywhere.

            "Luna I don't know what I did!" She sounded panicked.

            "Well stop it!"

            "I can't!"

            "Fucking beautiful!" My legs were in the air, fingers jammed into a crack in the ice. I roared in pain when one of them broke. "God damn it all to hell!"

            Suddenly everything stopped and I hit the floor. Groaning I pulled my fingers out while looking around for any demons. They were gone, twisting I looked above me and so was the rift.

            "Well… isn't that a fucking handy dandy thing that just happened."

            "Are you alright?" She was hopping forward in attempt to get to me, "I'm so sorry, it just happened."

            "It's fine." I grumbled as I stood up and looked at my fingers. Two of them were bent in the wrong direction. Grimacing to myself I grabbed one and took a deep breath. I jerked quickly and let out a tight lipped scream. I swayed on my feet and stared at a single spot. "Fuck I still have another one."

            Rolling my shoulders I held up both hands and before I could think about anything else I grabbed my ring finger and snapped it back into place. It popped with an audible crack and I screamed again.

            "You are a Creator's damned beast." Ellana whispered and I chuckled. Seems like I was a bad influence to people around my age too.

            "I've been through worse," I assured and I waved her forward. "Give me a little warning next time."

            She gave a shaky nod and when she got close she wrapped her arm around my shoulders. It was slow going but I was the perfect size for a crutch for her. I didn't have to stoop or bend over. She leaned on me and I knew this couldn't last forever.

            The light snow that had been falling earlier turned into a blizzard. We were lost. We shared a look before she jerked her head to the right.

            "They would have headed up the mountain. Chancellor Roderick said that it was a path up the mountain, and that way is sloped."

            "Good deduction." I nodded and steered toward the slope.

            "Talk to me." She demanded suddenly. I looked over at her and her face was white with pain.

            "What do you want to hear?" I asked as I pushed the two of us along.

            "Noveria." She gasped, "What happened."

            "Alright," I nodded. "So Shepard had a tip from someone that there was some connection to Saren who was a Turian who'd gone bad. He used to be a Specter, one that was appointed by the Council to uphold the laws of Council Space. Well Noveria is technically outside of their designated space so a lot of people do research that isn't allowed elsewhere. That's what drew Saren there, and so Shepard followed, the rest of us tagging along because she inspired that kind of loyalty.

            "Now that planet is below freezing and like I said earlier barely habitable…."

            I laid out the mission, going into minute details, keeping her focus on anything but the pain that must be stabbing at her leg with ever step we took. It was worse because she had to drag it through snow that was shin deep. I started dragging my leg to make it easier for her, all the while I spoke of how they'd found a Rachni egg in deep space that was a result of the Rachni wars that happened long before I was born.

            I detailed the Krogan and their redundant organs. I spoke of how Salarians lived for about thirty years and the Asari that lived over ten human life spans. I told her about Turians and their way of life, promised to show her fighting styles. Told her how we took down Saren and the Geth and how they turned out to be controlled by Sovereign who was a flag ship for the reapers.

            How we defeated him on the Citadel and about how Relays worked. My story spiraled until we were talking about how humans were being abducted, how they had been chosen by the Reapers to bring forth another ship that was just like them. The process it took and the details Garrus gave me about the fight that happened through the Omega 4 Relay. I told her everything, laid it all on the table.

            That got us through three hours and my voice was hoarse to the point where I was rasping. The pain was getting to us both, made worse by the cold and we were losing feeling in our limbs.

            "C-can't you do anyth-thing?" She chittered at me, her jaw vibrating with the cold.

            "B-b-barrier." I held up my free hand and willed my biotics to surround us. "It will s-stop the s-snow but not the wind."

            It was a small reprieve but if we didn't catch up to them we weren't getting out of here. She sighed and I pushed myself to hold it up. By now our pants were mostly soaked and coated in ice that kept melting and refreezing in the extreme temperature.

            "H-how long c-can you ke-eep it up?"

            "N-not long-g." I could already feel it taxing my remaining stamina. "We better p-pick up the p-pace."

            We leaned into the wind. When a wolf howled in the distance I pushed the barrier a little farther and refocused on it.

            "Y-you're going to have to s-steer." I stated as I locked everything I had into the barrier. The last thing we needed was to get attacked by a wolf the size of a bear. The barrier held for another hour. When it released I almost collapsed in exhaustion.

            How far did they get?

            "C-come on." Ellana demanded as she shook my shoulder.

            "You go." I waved her, "You're important."

            "C-can't make it without you." Her jaw was still vibrating. "N-need crutch." She slapped my shoulder. "Up." Another demand, "Unless you can't." She forced authority into her tone and I almost laughed at her.

            "If Cullen can't order me, neither can you."

            She slapped me again and caught bare skin. My flesh started singing in pain and I shot to my feet.

            "That's it," Ellana sounded pleased. "Let's go."

            Another hour rolled by—or what felt like an hour I could be totally wrong—and a small ray of hope lit in my heart. There was evidence of recent activity, a fire that had gone out but embers still burned.

            "We're close." Ellana sighed in relief. By now the snow and the wind stopped but the damage was done, we were frozen from head to toe. We moved with a stiffness that old people got when they sat too long. Joints were starting to act up and it was more of a wobble so we wouldn't have to move our knees.

            There was what looked like a small valley and as we rounded it someone started screaming for help. Cullen ran forward and caught both of us as we fell forward.

            "Aww…" I chirped in attempt to lighten the mood. "Look Curly she fell for you."

            Ellana slapped my arm and I let out a string of curses.         

            "Will you fucking stop that?!" I snarled as I cupped my hurt hand to the offended tender flesh. "It hurts."

            "You've been through worse." She shot back but she gave me a smile. "I wouldn't have made it without you."

            Blackwall showed up next and Cullen lifted Ellana while I was whisked away by the man with the magnificent beard.

            Orders were shouted and when I looked over at Cullen, Ellana was passed out in his arms.

            "Wuss." I growled as Blackwall drug me into a tent. She and Cullen did not follow us in. Seemed like we were getting different lodgings. I didn't care I just wanted a fucking blanket and to cuddle with something for heat. "So cold."

            "After what you been through I believe you're allowed." Blackwall chuckled, "Good of you to come back."

            "Course I came back." I shot, "Not gonna leave you guys to have all the fun." Someone entered the tent with buckets of water. Solas swept in moments later and when he looked at me the stupid flame danced. "Nuh." I shook my head, "Go help the Herald."

            "Ellana is being attended by both Vivienne and Dori-"

            "So send me Dorian and you go help Ellana." I growled glad that my jaw stopped doing its impression of an Irish jig. "You're the better healer, help her."

            "Ma nuvenin." He whispered as he disappeared out of my line of sight.

            "Something happen between the two of you?" Blackwall asked quietly.

            "What makes you say that?" I was stripping out of my clothes when Dorian entered the tent.

            "Honestly woman," he growled when he looked at me, "do make up your mind, I cannot keep up with all of your mood swings."

            "Gotta keep you on your toes." I chuckled.

            "Maker your blue." Dorian slid close and pushed Blackwall out of the way. "You may leave now."

            "Right." Blackwall was pink as my small clothes hit the floor. Man was I glad that I wore them today. He vanished quickly and Dorian sighed.

            "Must you tempt all the men?"

            "Yup," I waved for one of the buckets. He dipped a hand in it and warmed it until it felt like fire against my skin. Logically I knew it wasn't that warm but I was so cold it felt like it was melting my flesh off and searing my muscles down to the bone. "Not happy otherwise. All eyes on me."

            Dorian eyed me critically and yanked one of my hands toward him. He tittered about something but I wasn't paying attention because he was poking at prodding at my broken fingers and I wanted to whine at him.

            Magic flowed down his fingertips and into my fingers. I stiffened as the pain slammed into me. It felt like heat searing the bones together again under my muscle and epidermis. And then it slowly worked its way up until the flesh of my fingers were warmer than the rest of my body.

            "Crass woman." Dorian joked good naturedly. Slowly I dipped a cloth in and ran it over my skin until he deemed that was as warm as I was going to get without help. "Who do you want to cuddle?" He demanded.

            "'Mere you pretty Tevinter."

            "No," he shook his head. "I have to go check on our lovely Herald."

            "Right…" I nodded, she'd need more attention and the other two mages were probably sapped for mana right now and we didn't exactly have time to get lyrium potions. "Uh…. Send me…." I tossed my head back and forth. My choices were rather limited. Bull was out after threatening him and if I cuddled with Blackwall or Sera it would send the wrong impression. Cassandra was still probably hurt because the woman couldn't take help when it was smacking her in the face.

            Varric would be weird.

            "Krem." I stated. He was a safe bet, kind of. "Send me Krem."

            "Odd request." Dorian quirked an eyebrow, "Are you sure you don't want our resident hobo?"

            I nodded sharply, "Positive." My dark tone convinced him not to push the issue. "You have a tiny mage absolutely terrified by the way." He stopped in the entrance to the tent. "Get under the furs woman. Once you're nice and warm I'll send her your way, hmm? Don't need to scar the poor thing."

            "Thanks." I slipped under the furs that were laid out on the cot and pulled them up to my chin. It didn't help. It still felt like there was a draft of ice cold air running over my body. I didn't have enough heat to generate more by myself. Hence the reason Krem entered my tent.

            "Good day sir." I chittered at him, "Care to offer me some body heat?"

            "Why me?" He demanded.

            I stayed quiet for a moment. "You're safe and this way Bull doesn't have his man standing outside my tent because you're in here making sure I'm not doing anything crazy or stupid."

            Krem laughed, "How quick did you pick him out?"

            "Right about the time I left and he started scrambling for a horse." I smiled, "Might want to train him in covert ops a little better." I lifted the furs and wave him forward. "Come on man I'm fucking freezing."

            "You know that I am-"

            "Biologically a woman but you prefer to be referred to as a man yes now get in here." The one time I want to cuddle and I get a resistant man.

            He let out a sigh and shucked his armor as quick as he could, once he was in his small clothes he slid next to me and wrapped his arms around me. I let out a tiny moan and all but dry humped him in attempt to get closer.

            "So… warm…" I shoved my face between his neck and his shoulder and drifted off into sleep.

Chapter Text

I woke to the sound of a disappointed cough and a wet nose. Damp air crossed the bridge of my nose followed closely by a wet tongue. A paw pinned me to the bed and I squirmed underneath it.

            "Damn it Gypsy!" I groaned as I tucked her head into the crook of my arm and all but laid on top of her. "You're getting too big to do that."

            "Did you enjoy your nap?" My eyes snapped open and I sat straight up. A bitter wind sliced right through me and when I looked around I realized that I was sitting on a cot, in a tent and Leliana was standing in what passed as the door way.

            My nipples hardened and I let out a squeak, hands flashing down to find the edge of the furs. "Holy shit it's colder than a witch's tit out there." Yanking the furs up around my shoulders I sighed in contentment. Gypsy huddled behind me, half on half off my pillow.

            Leliana chuckled, "You are better than I could have hoped for. There is something we need to discuss, however it can wait until you are dressed." She eyed me cautiously, "When do you leave?"

            I snorted, "I was gone for half a day and you lost everything." I pushed Gypsy toward one end of the cot and snuggled down next to her. "You really think I'm leaving you lot alone again any time soon?"

            She gave me a knowing look, "Ellana speaks very highly of what you did." Leliana leaned down and picked something up off the floor. It was a skin filled with some kind of drink. She tossed it at me and my hand snatched it out of the air before retreating behind the covers again. "You told me you couldn't stop forces of nature."

            "I didn't." I uncorked the skin and tilted it against my lips. It burned so good on the way down but I came up sputtering for air. After my breath evened out I felt like a human again—well as far as the term goes—and I locked my gaze on Leliana's eyes. "What I did bought us enough time to get away. If I hadn't who knows what would have happened."

            "Ellana said that the two of you would be buried if you hadn't acted." Leliana stood, "Your uniform is waiting for you at the foot of your bed." I swiped out with my foot and indeed there was a set of folded something there. "Get dressed, a child has been eager to see you for some time."

            I slapped a hand to my face. Amara. Last I'd seen her she'd been covered in blood, pale as fuck and had a healthy scar that would one day add allure to her features. Right now it was just jagged and angry. Luckily it was not as bad as it could have been. Only the tip of the sword got her, if I hadn't though… she'd have been cut in half.

            Flinging the furs from my body I quickly got dressed in my armor and found a fur lined cloak. Leave it to Josephine to be ready for anything, though I don't think she was expecting for the forces to be locked out in a mountain during the onset of winter.

            Did we even have food? How much, exactly, had Josie and Leliana manage to cart out during our rushed evacuation? Leliana was… well Leliana. She was like a boy scout, not to mention Cullen. Surely we had provisions to last us until…

            Where were we going to go? We had nowhere, the base of operations was gone. First the Temple itself and then the town that guarded it for so long. Damn it all to hell and back what were we going to fucking do?

            Gypsy bounded around me as I flipped the tent open and strode out. My gaze drifted over everything and I caught sight of a few familiar faces. Varric and some of the others were huddled around one fire; they were playing a round of cards though I didn't see any gold.

            "Blue surrounds and yet it does not do as it is told." A boy like voice sounded off behind me, "Green is worse, dreaming as her. Emily…"

            I spun and saw a young man, a teen, standing before me in barely any clothing. His shirt was thin and he wore a broad hat. His nose was red and his hair clung close to him, blond like sunflowers.

            "How did you…?" I hissed as Gypsy growled while she circled him, nose at the edge of his pants. "Who are you?" A demand slipped quietly past my lips. I was going to kill Solas, how dare he.

            "Dreams, muffled and quiet. You want to strangle them, to kill them." He sounded sad, "But it won't help, Emily is you and you are Nitana." Man if my eyelids could get wider I would go blind. "And she is you."

            "Who is me?" I whispered as I stepped closer, Gypsy sat quietly at his feet. Her tongue lolling to the side as she panted.

            "She keeps the Hearth." He tilted his face and I got a better look. Watery blue eyes shone as bright as sapphires. "She wants to hurt you, but she can't. She isn't whole anymore. Souls twine around each other, one needs the other. Or is it both?"

            I doubled over, panic clawing at the edges of my mind. What was he talking about? No one in my life or recollection had kept any hearth. I hadn't been domestic since Emily and I barely did anything of the sort. He wasn't talking about any of my identities.

            He was talking about the flame.

            "I'm sorry!" He rushed forward, "I wanted to help but it twisted. I made it worse."

            "Cole." A gentle voice came drifting past us. My head jerked up and Cole spun around as if he was caught with his hand in the cookie jar.

            "I wanted to help."

            "I know Cole," Solas' voice was calming as he approached us. "The situation is difficult, not something easily healed."

            "You," I snarled as I stood straight and advanced. Gypsy growled and stood between Cole and Solas. "You knew and you're keeping secrets from me. Again!"

            "It isn't his fault!" Cole exclaimed, "He's trying to help. Keep my distance, she won't be in pain."

            I flipped around to look at the teen. "What are you?"

            He rustled his shoulders under my gaze and then he vanished. No foot prints in the snow, no ducking into shadows. He was just gone.

            "Wonderful." I started past Solas. Amara had been waiting long enough and not to mention I needed to find Cullen and thank him. Not only had he kept the kid safe, but he'd—hopefully—taken care of Bread too.

            Damn it!

            All this thanking and I forgot to give Solas his shirt back. I owed him a whole outfit. Damn it.

            "Luna!"

            Something small and waist high slammed into me. Gypsy barked and pranced around the two of us, snow kicking up under her feet.

            "Amara." I breathed as I sank down, my hands finding the edges of her face. Her eyes were full of tears and I passed a thumb under one eyes. "I promised I would be back." I tracked the scar across her face. Someone had healed it again. It had a darker hue to it, barely darker. The skin was no longer puckered but smooth. The scar ran diagonal across her eye brow. How it missed her eye I didn't know. Her skin was its normal healthy ebony color.

            "I didn't believe you."

            "Oh," I pulled her close and gave her a hug. "I told you it's okay to doubt, to not believe. It is my fault and I'm going to make up for that."

            Fiona appeared behind her. "Amara!" She sounded tired and a tad angry, "Miss Luna needs to get her rest, she will-" her blue eyes found mine and her lips rounded in an 'o'. "Forgive me Luna, she is a willful child."

            "Yes," I laughed. "Don't worry, I don't mind." I stood and Amara practically bounced in place.

            "Come Amara, let us give Luna some peace."

            "I can watch her." Amara tucked her hand into mine and Gypsy bumped her hip against the child.

            "I appreciate your willingness but-"

            I held up a hand, "Where were you during the battle?" My gaze was steel and I glared at her.

            "Excuse me?"

            "Where was your concern for her when there was a battle raging?" I demanded again, "Because she almost died." I pointed a finger at her, "If Amara wants to be here I am not going to stop her. You have no say either, you are not the girl's guardian and she is a free mage."

            "She is hardly a mage Miss-"

            "You said that she wouldn't hurt me." I lifted my chin, "And there are others in the Inquisition that can teach her besides those that came with you."

            Gypsy was picking up on my aggression. Her snout was dropped low and her hackles were rising. She had herself planted between Amara and Fiona. Defensive little pup… training. She needed training.

            "Shall we leave it up to the child?" Fiona asked, holding her hand out confidently. I wasn't so sure about her chances, but I wasn't sure of mine either. Amara would probably be better off with them but if she didn't want to go, if she was an orphan? Damn me and my bleeding heart but I wasn't going to let someone bigger than her push her around. "Amara, come."

            Black tresses hid behind my leg and arms wrapped around my thigh. Fiona's face pinched slightly and she raised her voice, "Amara."

            "She's made her decision." My voice was deadly quiet, "I'll ask you to leave now."

            There was a look of indecision on her face and all she said was, "I will speak to the Herald about this."

            "You do that." I snapped as she walked away.

            Amara was shivering behind me and I sighed as I stooped down to pick her up. Gently I maneuvered the both of us until we were wrapped in my cloak.

            "You won't let them take me?"

            "Not if you don't want to go." I assured as I swiped another tear off her cheek.

            "They can make you." Her voice was small.

            "Oh, no." I laughed quietly and without mirth. "No one can make me do anything anymore." Her little eyes went wide and she laid her head on my shoulder. She hid a yawn behind a tiny fist. "Tired?"

            She mumbled something that sounded vaguely like 'yeah' into my shirt and wiggled a little. I laughed and turned back toward my tent. I didn't have anywhere else for her to sleep and I wasn't going to send her back where she didn't want to go.

            Oh god, had I just kidnapped a kid?

            God damn it!

            Quickly I jogged until my tent came into view. Once I was inside I set the now sleeping child down on the cot and flicked the furs over her. "Up Gypsy." I commanded and the wolf jumped up onto the cot and laid with her snout over Amara's side. "Stay." I held out my hands repeating the same command several times as I backed away slowly.

            Free of the tent and confident that Gypsy would keep her safe I went in search of Cullen.

            Varric stopped me. "There you are!" He called as he struggled through the snow drift. "Damned winter."

            "Varric." I called distracted, "Have you seen Cullen?"

            "Curly?" I stopped next to him, "He's in an argument with the others."

            "Others?" My brow rose of its own accord.

            "Ruffles, Seeker and Nightingale." Varric rubbed a hand across the side of his face. "We're in trouble Ghost."

            No longer distracted I gazed at him, "How much trouble?"

            "There isn't enough food to go around and hardly enough blankets. We have soldiers and scouts and civilians all mixed together and no one leading this rag tag band of misfits."

            "Ellana." I stated, "She's leading us."

            "Ellana is busy trying to get Curly and the others to stop arguing."

            "There are five of them." I dead panned. "You're telling me that between the five of them no one has pulled their head out of their asses and set off someone to go hunt down food?"

            "That is exactly what I'm saying."

            I nodded, "Right, give me five and I'll take care of it." I pointed at him as I jogged away from him. "Find me Sera and… Dalish!" She was a mage claiming to be an archer.

            "Why?"

            "Just do it!"

            I wove through the scattered tents as quickly as I could. Someone needed to know that I kidnapped a child before the mages went crazy with 'we saved your asses' crap. Needy backstabbing mages.

            The sound of their arguing filtered through to my ears before I caught sight of them. They stood around a table with a map of Thedas pinned to it. There were no markers as there had been before and all of them looked bone tired.

            "What would you have me tell them?" Cullen demanded, "This isn't what we asked of them."

            "We simply can't ignore this." Cassandra argued back, "We must find a way."

            "And who put you in charge?" Cullen all but snarled. "We need a consensus or we have nothing."

            "Please, we must use reason." Josephine stepped between the two of them, Leliana standing beside her. "Without the infrastructure of the Inquisition we're hobbled."

            "That can't come from nowhere." Cullen's voice still carried the edge that it did when he addressed Cassandra.

            "She didn't say it could." Leliana shot at him. I stood off a distance, watching them fight. Sometimes things like this came in useful.

            "Enough!" Cassandra threw out her hands.

            Ellana stepped up next to me. "They've been at it for hours."

            "We don't have the luxury of fighting." I growled, "Half of our people are freezing, the other half are starving."

            Ellana placed a hand on my shoulder, "You came through for me when I thought I was dying, perhaps you can help here."

            I pressed the heel of my hand into my eye. "I can't be a Band-Aid that holds everything together."

            "No one person can, but we have to do what we are able to do." Ellana sighed, "I'm sorry."

            My head jerked up, "What?"

            She gave me an unamused look, "You heard me perfectly, despite the racket they're making." I gave her a grin. "I shouldn't have treated you like that. It was just…"

            "I know." I patted her arm awkwardly, "I'm scary."

            She snorted in my direction and opened her mouth but Mother Giselle beat her to the punch. "Herald, may I have a word?"

            Damn it. With her distracted I was going to have to slap some sense into our magnanimous leaders. Metaphorically because Cassandra looked stabby and I wasn't going to have someone patching up a gut wound because I hit her first.

            I could pick my battles.

            "Oy!" I shouted as I jogged forward, "You're doing this now?" I waved a hand around, "Where your soldiers and scouts can hear you?"

            "Luna this does not-"

            "The hell it doesn't!" I snapped at Leliana, "I would ask for permission to speak freely but I'm afraid you wouldn't let me so hush!" Her eyes narrowed and I was going to be doing something unpleasant for my next assignment, if I got to keep my job at all. "Look at them," my hand swept outward to indicate the camp. "They are cold, they are hungry and they are frightened." My voice was heavy on the last word, "They are-" I broke off and looked around me. Several of them were standing and looking at something behind me. "Singing."

            What the actual fuck was happening? Oh my god. They were singing a fucking hymn. I flipped around to look behind me for whatever they were singing at and holy shit it was-

            "Ellana." I whispered as humans and others that followed the Andrastian faith stepped past me. "Oh my fucking god she is never living this down." They were treating her like a living relic and her face was redder than a cherry.

            I stood and listened as they sang a very beautiful song, their voices lifting up to their Maker and I kept my peace. This was their religion and I was an outsider, I would offer no words of doubt, how could I? Just because I had a different perspective. Andraste certainly lived, who was I to cast doubt if she was the bride of the maker or a powerful mage who spoke to a spirit? Did it matter either way? She had united a large portion of Thedas under her name and it was more than anyone else had managed to do.

            Maybe she would unite them again, now under Ellana. If she was, or was not, touched by Andraste they believed she was. It was evident in the way they knelt before her and sang until their very souls were laid bare for the young elf girl to see. She was who the people chose to save them, and she chose it too when she laid down her life in Haven.

            Ellana looked at me, her eyes wide. I shook my head. "You deserve this." I mouthed at her.

            The crowd parted and one of the people kneeling ushered me forward.

            "Uh no…" I tried to back pedal and get out but one of them gripped my arm and I found myself standing next to Ellana. We stood in the middle of a sea of people. All of them kneeling before us as if we were divine creatures. "Excuse me," I tried to move past them but none of them made way for me. "I don't belong here."

            There was an amused chuckle and when I turned Mother Giselle was standing behind us. How did she manage that? There was no path!

            "None of us have forgotten how you raced to ze Herald's side." Her voice was gentle and full of grace. "You, who left us returned in our hour of need, stood beside ze Herald of Andraste and bore her back to us." Mother Giselle turned to look out at the people around us, "Have you not heard zheir whispers?" Her soft gaze drifted back to mine, "Ze Chantry will likely acknowledge you long after your death, but here ze people are claiming you are an Anointed."

            "That sounds like it has a capital 'a'." I gasped. My heart was hammering. No spot light, I didn't want it. I was a wild card, not held to their natural flow of time. I was an anomaly and things weren't going to go the way they were meant to. I couldn't be here, right now. I had to hide, to-

            Mother Giselle placed a hand to the side of my face, "Oh child." Her tone called me back, "It is a rare honor, given to very few. The Anointed are ze hands of ze Maker himself, surely he has sent you to guide his Bride's Chosen through the world."

            Ellana covered a snort with her hand. I gave her a dirty look and smacked her arm.

            "You may not believe." Mother Giselle continued, "But please, for their sake, do not dissuade zheir faith. For it is all we have at times."

            I was going to vomit.

            Solas swooped in and saved the day. Mother humper I thought I was going to kiss him again.

            "A word?" He popped up out of nowhere and directed his two word sentence—if it could be called that—at Ellana and they vanished, leaving me in the midst of a bunch of fanatics. Oh god I was going to be vilified shortly. They would make my ears round in centuries to come and they'd take away my boobs. I was going to be the next Shartan.

            Fuck me. I couldn't make waves this big! How long was I even going to be here anyway? Until I died and then I'd be whisked away to another universe, pulling anything near me through the portal with me.

            Damn it.

            "Luna." Leliana gripped my arm tightly and half dragged me away from the people that were just starting to stand. Grateful for the distraction I twisted until I was almost pressed against her back.

            "Don't let them ever do that again." I hissed as she drug me over to the others that she had been arguing with moments ago. "That was-" I snapped my jaw shut as I gazed at the four Andrastians that had probably sung the hymn with everyone else. "Where was I?"

            "I believe you were about to tell us to do something unpleasant."

            My brain was fried. Humans, mostly, sang at me like I was a reincarnation of… "Sorry I'm a little scattered but…." What was I here for? That's right! I snapped my fingers, "Food! We need food. Many of those on the outskirts of camp don't have food and there aren't enough blankets to go around." I pointed at Cullen, "I kidnapped a kid from the mages because she didn't want to go back. Fiona said she was going to talk to the Herald about this but… after what just happened I don't see that happening at all and-"

            Leliana pinched my arm, "We are aware-"

            "Ghost!" Varric strode forward with a huge smile on his face, "That scene is going to be a tear jerker."

            "You wouldn't." I gasped, mortified. "Varric please-"

            "It's going to write itself." My head dropped and he patted my shoulder. "I brought you Sera and Dalish as you asked. Odd combo, what are your plans?"

            "Send them to get food. Rabbits, nugs, foxes, deer, halla-" I pointed at Dalish when she opened her mouth, "I bet your ancestors at the shit out of them so don't get on a high horse with me. Only the old ones at the edges of the herds, you hear me? We can't damage the ecosystem here or it might never recover. Anything you can get give it to whoever can strip the hide or cook. Have them cure the skins, use a mage if necessary to speed up the process. Get our people food and get them warm."

            My gaze was drawn to a single torch in the distance, its blaze glowing blue instead of it's normal hue. It was strange enough that I was going to investigate.

            Right after I faced the music of my actions.

            "I am ready for my punishment." My body fell into an easy parade rest and my chin was tilted slightly up. Cullen and Leliana stared at me as if I'd lost my mind.

            "Luna," Leliana hissed as she jerked my arms away from their resting place. "We are no longer in charge of you."

            Cullen shot Leliana a glance, "What?"

            "The people have started to call her Anointed," Leliana growled, "The Hand of the Maker. She cannot be seen taking orders from us or anyone else." Her eyes were slits when they turned to me, "You cannot work for us anymore."

            "What!" I exclaimed, "That's bullshit! It's the whole reason I came back!"

            "I said 'for' us, not 'with' us." Leliana clarified. "You are of equal, if not greater rank, than Cassandra and I."

            "So…?" I looked around, "What does that mean?"

            Josephine cleared her throat and stepped forward, "It means that you wield quite a bit of power Luna, enough that we can use your deeds in favor of the Inquisition. In rebuilding." She looked at the other three gathered with us, "If you desire to remain, of course."

            "I kind of fucking have to now don't I?"

            "Oh dear," Josephine placed a hand against her face. "We have quite a bit of work ahead of us." She shared a look with Leliana. Dread coursed through my stomach.

            "What was this about a child?" Cullen demanded and I was grateful for the distraction.

Chapter Text

I slumped against the pole of my tent. The furs had been taken out on my orders and Amara and Gypsy were now huddled in my bed roll. Bread was staked outside. There had been an ugly argument about what to do with Amara but when I threatened to leave with the girl Cullen overrode Fiona's voice and declared that the child would chose her guardian and that was that.

            Amara chose me and now I was… a mom? A crazy Aunt? The bad influence big sister? I didn't know but I knew that I was now responsible for a tiny human child and holy shit was that a terrifying thought.

            Then there was Cole, who was drawn to my very presence. And despite my prodding he refused to say anything about the hearth keeper rogue soul inside of my body.

            "Ask Solas." Was all he said when he popped up, followed quickly by, "I want to help the hurt but I can't. Solas can."

            Which meant I needed to have another lovely chat with Solas so I could get info for Dorian and we could move forward on project Free-Luna-From-Crazy-Hearth-Girl's-Grasp. Long name, perhaps I needed to shorten it. FLFCHGG? Nope, didn't spell anything. Maybe just Liberate Moon?

            Fuck me but this was getting complicated. Apparently I had an aid now. Guess who they gave me? That's right, Roland. The coffee fetching scout. I was glad he survived but I wasn't sure I needed an aid.

            Josephine insisted that he would be invaluable. Not to mention that I had a maid now too. One specifically assigned to me. Ellana had one, and no I did not know she had a maid because she would never live it down.

            "No!" I snapped as the flap to my tent opened, "Amara is still sleeping and so help me-" I broke off. "Oh," sighing I stood, "sorry 'bout that." Cracking my neck I followed her out of the tent.

            "I need your opinion." Ellana whispered as she pulled me to the side. We should probably be doing this indoors somewhere where no one could spy on us. Primarily Bull.

            "I see you!" I shouted as I pointed at the man Bull set one me. "Get a disguise you idiot!"

            "Marcus!" Bull barked, "Damn it man I told you it was off!"

            "God damned right it's off you crazy Qunari!"

            "Luna." Ellana snapped her finger in front of my face, "Focus, please."

            "Right." I nodded, "You have my attention."

            "Solas said the orb is Elvhen." One brow rose and I waited.

            And waited.

            "And?" I asked when it became apparent she wasn't going to elaborate.

            "And how will it look when they found out that it's Elvhen. The Humans will blame us and it might start another war!"

            "I'm going to kill that man I swear…" I sighed and hung my head. After three deep breaths I looked up and placed both hands on Ellana's shoulders. "You are aware that the two of us are being exalted at this very moment right? They think we've come back from the dead and I'm the Hand of the Maker. You heard Mother Giselle."

            "Luna I'm not worried about us," She used one hand to swipe my hands off of her. "I'm worried about our people."

            Our? She knows exactly what I am. I was not one of her people. "Do you think they are going to harm anyone right now?" I sighed, "We have to deal with one problem at a time. If word gets out that the artifact is Elvhen what are you to do? It was lost to time and some crazy ancient Magister found it, we didn't lead him to it with giant signs asking him to go bananas."

            "Luna, you don't understand." She pleaded and I forced myself to actually listen to her concerns. "There was an Exalted March against the Dales because the humans didn't like our religion and how we chose to live. What will they do to us if they find out our people are the cause of their strife, even indirectly?"

            "Nothing." I promised. "Even if I have to step in and lay waste to the world I will not let them blame the Elves for something they didn't do."

            "Luna?" A small voice called out to me, "I had a nightmare." An even smaller hand found mine and she tugged, "Will you tell me a story?"

            Leaning down I scooped her up, "Amara can you give me just one second while I finish talking to the Herald?" Amara yawned and nodded at me. She squiggled until I set her down before vanishing back into the tent.

            "Look, Solas is…" I struggled for the right word. "Very knowledgeable when it comes to the veil." Not quite right but… "Judging people's reactions to current events?" I held a hand up parallel to the ground and tilted it back and forth, "Not so much. Don't let him get you worked up over things that haven't happened yet, okay?"

            "You have a child?" Ellana asked, her eyes glued to the spot where Amara vanished.

            "Yeah, alright apparently I am a collector of lost and broken things but…" I shrugged, "life?"

            Ellana laughed, "I can't even with you. First it's the horse, then the pup, now the girl? What are you coming home with next?"

            I wiggled my eyebrows, "Hopefully a set of handsome men for the two of us." Ellana smiled and sighed. I caught the direction of her gaze and a grin slipped across my face. Oh Curly be still my beating heart….

            "I wouldn't be here without you," her gaze was soft, "you know that right?" I jerked my attention to the present instead of my schemes.

            "Let's not stroke my ego any more than we have to, yeah?"

            Sera slammed into me, "Meats been chopped and diced, what next?"

            "Cook it." Ellana sighed in expiration, "And don't mess with it!"

            Sera shoved off and I almost fell over, I hooked a foot around hers and pulled. She did fall over. "I won't, yeah?" She laughed as she stood up, "It's for the little people." Sera lightly slugged my arm and I glared at her, "Didn't know you had it in you Moony."

            "Now see… I said that wasn't becoming a thing."

            "We could go with Nointy."

            Ellana covered a snort with a fisted hand.

            "I have a story to tell to Amara." I held up both hands, "I have no comment."

            "What about Annie?" She called after my quickly retreating form. "OR we could call you Boo!"
            "NO!" I shouted before I disappeared into the tent. Amara was already asleep with Gypsy half on top of her.

            Sighing I slipped down onto the ground and used my pack as a pillow. Damn but I needed some sleep.

 

I woke up with a gentle gasp and parts of me absolutely throbbing, my heart was racing and it felt like I needed something desperately. What the hell had happened? Last thing I remembered was Desire offering me….

            "Oh no." I stood and left the tent. "Hearth Keeper?" I hissed as I strode around the quiet camp. The little flame gave a flicker of acknowledgement. I sagged where I stood and let my breath explode from my lungs.

            I hadn't made a deal with the proverbial devil to get rid of the stupid spirit. I was still working up the nerve to talk to Solas. Cole was very insistent that I get help from him, because they were butt buddies or something.

            "Oh good." Did it have to be her? "You're awake."

            "Vivienne." I turned and smiled at her. This woman was a viper, what Ellana saw in her I would never, ever know. "How can I assist you?"

            "I would like to offer my services." Vivienne crossed her arms, one hip slipping outward slightly. "Many of the other mages have been approached, I am a tool of the Inquisition yet my talents are not being applied."

            "And you are coming to me about this because…?"

            "People see you as a leader darling."

            "And you want to be seen next to me." I deduced.

            She gave a delighted laugh, "Oh darling, there is plenty of time for that. We have to get out of the forest first."

            "Right." I nodded, "Your talents are not… what the people need directly right now." Glancing around I realized something, "Talk to Josephine." There was a glint in her eye and a slight nod of approval. Why did that make me happy? "Find out if there are any nobles sympathetic to our cause in Orlais and then you go to work securing anything they might offer to us."

            "Anything?" Vivienne asked.

            "Within in reason." I declared, "Don't go asking for land, we have a destination in mind."

            "Oh?" She seemed very eager for information now. What would it hurt? She'd find out soon enough.

            "We are headed for an abandoned fortress in the mountains. We'll need resources to get the place cleaned up and fortified again." I shook my head, "We have no idea the state it is in but Solas has promised that it has no owner and will be perfect for our cause."

            Yes, it rankled but Solas was our saving grace again. It was striking me as odd that every time we had a need, a severe need he had a solution.

            "And how does the… hobo know of this locale?"

            "He dreamed it." I winced, it didn't sound plausible to me but… I wasn't a dream walker or… a Somniari, whatever Tevinter called it.

            "How interesting." Vivienne lifted one of her magnificent brows at me, "You have surprised me, Anointed." Oh no, it was becoming a thing. "We will be fast friends, I'm sure of it."

            Yup, woman was a viper. What's worse? She wanted to cuddle.

            I made my rounds around camp, looking for anything that needed done. They may call me Anointed and blessed but I didn't see myself as any of those things. I was here for a purpose and damn it if we weren't all getting out of here.

            Tonight we'd rest. Tomorrow?

            Tomorrow we were going to march through the wilderness, hidden by the slopes of the unforgiving mountains. We would find this Skyhold, and the Herald would lead us there.

 

Turns out it wasn't as easy as marching. Everyone had a problem. The wagon wheel on one of our main supply wagons busted, and an axel gave out on another. Ellana slowly rubbed her temples and glared at the offending items.

            "I can fix it." Blackwall stated quietly behind my shoulder. I stood slightly behind Ellana so I wasn't sure she heard.

            "You say something Blackwall?" I spun to look at him. It was bright. The sun bounced off of the snow and made everything glow. It was like a winter wonderland from Hell.

            Blackwall's cheeks were pink from the cold and so was the tips of his ears and nose. He gave me a nod, "I can fix it." Same words, same gruff tone spoken just as quietly.

            "Ellana," I waved behind me with a hand in search of her. "We have a Hero among us."

            My hand found her sleeve and I tugged. She came stumbling into view and when I looked at her she was glaring at me.

            "What?" She snapped, neither of us had had much sleep recently. She was running interference between the Advisors and I was running myself ragged making sure that the people had food and blankets or furs.

            Today she was supposed to scout ahead with Solas, looking for Skyhold. We'd been on this same mountain path for the last four days and he was convinced that it was close. No, I had not found the time to talk to him about the spirit. I didn't have the heart to yell at him only to walk away feeling worse than before because he was so damned tight lipped about his past.

            Fucking men and their silent b.s.. I gripped the bridge of my nose and sucked in a lung full of cold air.

            "Blackwall can fix the wagons."

            Ellana moved from beside me, when I looked at her she was staring at Blackwall like he was her knight in shining armor. "You can?"

            "It is a simple woodworking fix." He scratched the back of his hand, "It'll take me a few hours but-"

            "Done!" Ellana gasped, "Fix the wagons and I'll be grateful."

            "She still won't let you win at cards."

            "As long as I'm not playing Diamond Back with Solas…" He trailed off and strode toward the wagons.

            Ellana sighed and looked at me, "Seems like everything is working out."

            I nodded, "You should get going." I hiked a thumb over my shoulder, "We need to know how far out we are from the fortress. The men are getting tired and the civilians need an easy route to the nearest village."

            She gave me a look, "Why aren't you going with Solas?" There was a tone in her voice that I didn't care for. "Everyone sees the way you look at each other-"

            "I do not look at him in any way-"

            "You do." Ellana cut me off and gave me that look. The one that said she read through my bullshit. "And so does he." She spoke softer, "The two of you could use the alone time-"

            "And what about Amara?" I sighed, "I can't just-"

            "Varric has already offered to look after her, as well as Blackwall—he is oddly good with kids." She stared at the man that was currently pulling the wagon wheel off. "I caught him telling stories about Gray Wardens to the children last night around the fire." She trailed off and shook her head to reorganize her thoughts, "Not to mention that Bella is going to be looking after her." Bella was my assigned maid. Apparently I had been wrong when I thought she was my servant. She was assigned to me to assist in looking after Amara because my duties did not allow for constant supervision of the child. Thoughtful bunch. Either that or they didn't see me as a parental figure. Which… I could hardly blame them. Whore and bullshit had been added to her vocabulary. I really needed to talk to her about those…

            "Well, that's nice and all but I have to-"

            "Get ready to scout with Solas." Ellana finished firmly. "Amara will be looked after, as well as Gypsy. Your horse and Solas' horse are the fastest we have in the Inquisition right now. My own little mare can't keep up with his."

            "That's low." I growled, "You could just take Bread."

            "He bit the Commander when you pawned him off last time."

            Oh shit… "He did?"

            "Yes!" Ellana threw her hands into the air, "We barely got him out alive according to Leliana. Just…" she pinched the bridge of her nose, "go. Okay? Just scout ahead, that's all I ask."

            Ellana was the only one that could kind of give me orders at the moment. Leliana and Cassandra were… lord it was weird to say but we were on the same level now that I had 'brought Ellana and myself back from the dead' and the people labeled me Anointed.

            That was why I was running myself ragged instead of just standing at the edge of camp keeping watch. Fuck me, right?

            "Fine." I snapped. It would probably be the perfect opportunity to- "Hey…" It was an off chance but I needed to ask. "So I don't know as much about Thedas history as a native does…. Are there any historical figures that were known as a Hearth Keeper?"

            Ellana gave me a funny look, "That's an odd question."

            "Just something that Cole mentioned in passing and it's been bugging me ever since." I shrugged and tried to play innocent. Ellana looked like she was about to call me on my shit when she shook her head and gave a sigh.

            "I don't know much about the Human's history, you'll have to ask one of them. But in Elvhen culture one of our Goddesses, Sylaise, was known as the Heartkeeper. A healer, in simple terms…" Ellana kept talking but I seemed to have lost my hearing. There was a high pitched ringing sound and it was getting difficult to breathe.

            Goddess? Surely my luck couldn't be that bad. Honestly it couldn't. Solas wasn't that old and according to Merrill they had all been locked away by Fen'Harel for shits and giggles. No, it couldn't be Sylaise. Solas knew her and the flame knew Solas. It had to have been someone that was human. Had to have been, there was no other logical explanation. That's right, I was following logic.

            "Luna…" Ellana called, her voice stretching out my name. I blinked a couple times and found that she was waving a hand back and forth in front of my face. "You went somewhere?"

            "Sorry, I…" I paused, lies on the tip of my tongue. "Not sure what happened there." Because I wasn't. There was no way I had a Goddess inside of me.

            What was it that Cole said? She wasn't whole anymore?

            Nope, it wasn't a Goddess.

 

Amara stood in front of me, her lower lip poking out farther than her top and her chin wobbling. I watched her apprehensively. This was the face she made last time she was about to cry and I'd been in charge of her for all of half a week but damn it was it difficult to say no.

            "Amara…" I sighed and knelt down, "You already had two sweet cakes." Her chin wobbled harder at me. "No." My voice was less than firm. "Look, just because I'm scouting with Solas-" he was standing right behind me, "-doesn't mean that you get to have more sweet cakes."

            Where the child had found sweets while we were marching up a fucking mountain was beyond me. But she did. And she ate four yesterday before I caught her. She was a demon when she was rolling on a sugar high. I was not going to set her loose on poor Varric and Blackwall like that.

            "You don't even like him!" Her voice was shrill and she shook her head, "Why are you always leaving?"

            "We talked about this kiddo." I whispered as I stretched out a hand to pull her closer. "I have a job to do, one that no one else can do so I can't have someone else go for me. I'll be gone for a day, two at most. Okay?"

            "'kay." Her voice was small and she twisted her torso back and forth while giving me the puppy eyes.

            "Fine." I growled without heat, "One more cake and then off to bed!"

            "You are going to spoil her." Solas stated behind me.

            I twisted my head until I could glare out of one eye at him, "I will spoil her if I fucking want too."

            Amara giggled and I sighed again. "I remember." She intoned, "Don't say that word."

            "Good kid." I stood and patted her head. "Now, remember Gypsy doesn't like it when you pull her tail, so don't do it, right?" She nodded sharply with a grin on her face. "And what are we going to do after the cake?"

            "Bed!"

            "Yes, and don't give either of them a hard time." She nodded sharply at me again. "Good, now go on, I'll find you when we get back."

            She dashed forward and wrapped her arms around my waist. "Promise?"

            "Do you doubt me?"

            "No." There was no way I fixed the damage I'd done in a few days. She still doubted, but was willing to trust me when I said I'd come back. It would take time but I'd repair what I'd done and get her to believe in people again. Teach her that not all good things vanish.

            "Good, and when we get to where we are going we will play dollies." Amara clapped her hands several times. Gypsy trotted toward us, panting happily. "And you." I pointed at my little wolf, "Watch over her and be good."

            Gypsy barked at me before dropping into a play bow and wiggling her butt. Amara let out a squeal of delight and tackled Gypsy. The two of them rolled around on the floor before the wolf pinned the child and covered her face in licks. Varric let out a chuckle as he watched from a distance.

            "Oh man what have I talked myself into?" I sighed as I spun to Bread. Solas was already mounted. I didn't say anything to him as I stuffed my foot into the stirrup. Bread pranced sideways in anticipation. "Don't even think about-"

            He bolted and I scrambled to get my other foot over the saddle and into the stirrup. The world bobbed sharply for a moment before I found my seat. My fingers tangled in the reins and I pulled him back.

            "It." I finished lamely. "Why, why do you always do that?"

            Bread paws at the ground, eager to go. I could feel his pent up energy and tense muscles. If I gave him his head he'd take it and run until we were both breathing hard. Unlucky for him, we had Solas tagging along because we needed him to guide us to Skyhold.

            I refused to look at him. Beyond mad, or even livid, was what I was with that elf. He was… ugh. He knew who this spirit was. And she was learning! The only thing that had held me back from knowing her identity was she couldn't speak and Ellana was mad at me.

            Holy cow how had I not thought that I could go to Ellana for the translation? We were friends again, kind of. I saved her life and she was nicer to me. We were probably going to be forced together quickly because of our titles. I could use that to my advantage.

            Now… if I could only remember the Elvhen that Solas spoke to the flame…

            Maybe I could get her out before she learned enough to be… well strong enough to take over. I was getting really sick and tired of being on my guard constantly and the horrible sleep that came with it, despite Solas guiding my dreams.

            Yes, he was still doing that and as angry as I was at him… I was also grateful for the reprieve from the silent nightmares. Despite the fact that I gave him the mother of all black eyes, he kept my dreams free and clear. Going out of his way to do so because he had to locate me in the fade and I was almost never in the same place twice.

            Ugh, see I was doing that thing again where I thought of all the nice things he was/had doing/done and I was losing focus on what mattered in this moment. Solas was a liar and a fat mouth who was refusing to help me with the one thing I needed help with most.

            The flame. It was getting harder to distinguish what was me and what was her. I didn't know if she was rifling through my memories in a skewed attempt at another hostile takeover or if she was just hiding in the background. Watching, waiting.

            And I gave myself the willies thinking about that. Slowly I pried my mind away from my inner thoughts and focused on what was in front of me.

            Which was snow, and trees. Mostly snow though. Everything was covered in the white stuff and I wasn't convinced I liked it anymore. Snow was great, in small doses. When I could get in my ship and fly away from it, or go inside and hide under a blanket over the heater vent.

            There was no heater vent here. And while I don't easily get cold… I'd recently walked through a blizzard and was on strike from snow.

            I huddled over and pulled the edges of my cloak closer. I liked to sleep cold, not wander cold. Huge difference.

            Solas sighed behind me and there was an increase of his horse's hoof beats. I glanced up to see him leaning over for the reins to my horse. Yanking on them I had Bread side stepping while I glared at Solas.

            "What are you doing?" I probably sounded politer than I felt in that moment.

            "Will you simply allow me to assist?"

            "Oh, now you want to assist?" I was sounding less polite. "Because I have been asking, ever so sweetly, for your help and you've been ignoring me."

            "It is complicated."

            "Well make it uncomplicated!" My voice carried a little farther than I wanted it too and I was glad that we'd traveled farther from camp than I anticipated. Judging from the position of the sun we had been traveling for at least four hours.

            Solas set his jaw and glared at me. Glared at me. Like I'd done something wrong.

            "You would refuse even the smallest help, wouldn't you?"

            "On the contrary, I want your help." I shot back, yanking on the reins again when Bread made to bolt. Multitasking. Yelling at one, keeping the other in check. Oh yeah. "Who is the hearth keeper?" Yup, I was mad and my reservations went out the window.

            He stiffened and his eyes darted around. Oh he knew something. I mean… I knew he knew something but that shifty look was screaming secrets and I was going to finally get some or we were having a screaming match, potentially causing another avalanche but I was going to get my answers.

            "You know!" I pointed at him and Bread stepped sideways with his back legs so we cut off the path forward. "Cole was right, who is she?!"

            The flame felt like she was pressing against my skin, seeking acknowledgement or a way out. Or both. Please not both.

            "There is a time and a place for-"

            "No!" I cut him off, "Now, Solas." A hand automatically swiped at my face and when it came away wet I let out a string of curses. I was fucking crying. "I feel like I'm going crazy and you have the answer. Why won't you help me?"

            "Acknowledging things as old as she is by name gives them a perverse sort of power." His voice was quiet.

            "As old?" I whispered. "Oh god…." I dismounted and wandered back and forth in the knee deep snow, not even registering that my legs were getting cold or that it was threatening to get inside my boots. "How old?"

            Solas was quiet and when I looked up at him he couldn't meet my gaze.

            "How old?!"

            "You asked me to keep your secrets, and I agreed." He still wasn't looking at me and I was starting to get really scared.

            "You're freaking me out." I whispered, "How old?"

            "Will you keep mine?" His blue eyes sliced through me and there was a sense of power that was absent before. My head was starting to swim and I swayed on my feet. I really wasn't going to like the answer he was going to give me. "Luna?"

            "Yes." I whispered as I blinked, sending a cascade of tears down my cheeks. My eyes stayed shut until I felt gentle fingers on my face.

            "I have your word?"

            "I never did get you your shirt." I whispered, and why that popped into my head I don't know. "Guess my word isn't as good as I thought it was."

            He let out a little snark of a laugh, "A shirt is nothing compared to what you are asking."

            "Oh goodie," I took a step back and nodded. My arms crossed across my chest automatically and I took a deep breath. "Yes, you have my word."

            "What do you know of Dalish mythology?" His tone was even and when I looked in his eye I saw commitment.

            "Oh fuck me." I dropped into a crouch and tucked my head between my legs. "No, no, nope, this isn't happening." The ground swayed under my gaze and a gentle hand touched my back. As soon as he made contact I shot straight up and started to pace again.

            "You know?"

            "You're kidding right?" I laughed, "Myth! They're MYTH!" My head tipped back and a dark laugh echoed up into the heavens. "Oh my fucking god I am so screwed." I snapped my gaze back to him, "You knew her, as in when she was alive?"

            "She still is." Solas' voice was soft and he held his hands out to the side as if he was waiting for me to fall. His words brought me to a halt.

            "Still… is?" I was chewing on the end of my thumb nail. "But she'd have to be-"

            "Eight thousand years, at least yes."

            "So that means…." I was staring at him with unblinking owlish eyes. There were things that should be adding up that weren't and I kind of hated myself for my sluggish thoughts. "How… how do you… still alive." Fingers dug into my temple and I gestured wildly with the other hand. "How do you know she is still alive." That word was harder to force out and my voice dropped an octave on it, like it made me physically sick to say it.

            Solas was quiet again and when I looked at him there was a new emotion in his eyes, right there beside commitment was pleading. He was going to answer me, I saw it in his gaze but he wanted me to accept him and what he was about to say.

            Oh fuck me this was not good.

            "Because I locked her away-"

            "OH! OH!" I jerked away and started pacing again. Laughter, crazy and manic, bubbled up from my throat. "No." I shook my head and stormed toward Bread. Digging through my saddle bags I went in search of something I wasn't even sure was there. "Nope, this isn't happening."

            It wasn't there. Damn it Leliana! It is cold up here and-

            I started back toward Solas and when I got close enough I skirted around him toward his mare, "You need a name." I told her, voice shrill. "Shall we call you Shelly? Good Shelly." I palmed several sugar cubes and offered them to her.

            "Luna-"

            "NOPE." I interrupted as I started to dig through his saddle bags. When I found something promising I pulled it out and opened it up. As soon as it crossed my lips I knew it wasn't what I wanted. Still I swallowed, missing the burn, and corked his water skin before shoving it back into the bag.

            "You are being childish-"

            "YUP." I interrupted again as I stomped back toward Bread to rifle through my bags again. She seriously had to have taken pity on me.

            "What are you looking for?" He demanded as his fingers wrapped around my wrist and pulled me to face him.

            "This is a joke, right?" I asked, "You aren't really the…" I swallowed and gestured violently again. One of my hands covered my mouth and I shook my head. He wasn't answering me. Not with a shake of his head or a squint of his eyes. He was going to make me say it. "Nope." I twisted out of his grasp and moved to the other saddle bag.

            Victorious I yanked the flask from the bag and literally threw the cork away from me. I was going to drink all of it, there was no need for something as silly as a cork. As soon as the burn coated my throat I started guzzling quicker. It was wine, not a strong wine but it didn't change my mind. At this altitude? A beer would get me buzzed. A whole flask of wine? I didn't even know what it was going to do, but I was going to find out.

            My head tilted back as I continued to swallow mouthful after mouthful. Solas approached me but I held up a single finger, asking for him to wait. He sighed and waited. Like a good wolf.

            I snorted out several gulps of wine and made myself cough. "Ow."

            "Are you finished?"

            "Nope." I tilted it back up until there was nothing left. "Sorry, I was too sober for this conversation."

            "Yes, it was apparent." His tone was dry.

            "Dread Wolf." I giggled. "Gonna get it tattooed on my ass."

            He was glaring now.

            "What?" I slapped a hand to his chest. The wine might not have been as strong as I was used to but I drank a lot of it in a short amount of time and my head felt like it was swimming. "You are him right? Is your cock dreaded too?" I gasped and smacked him again, "OH! Did you have dreads when you were younger? Like-" I covered my mouth for a second, my stomach didn't feel good, "-your hair. Is that why you were the Dread Wolf?"

            A little giggle slipped past my lips. A little turned into a lot until I was weak with it and I started to tip over. Solas was there, warm and inviting. His arms encircled my whole body and pulled me to him. He smelled so damned good.

            "You're drunk." He commented as he held my weight easily.

            "OH so strong." My words were muffled because I was pressing my nose deeper into his shirt. "I want this one."

            "Want what?" He sighed as he gently set me down. My fingers found the edges of his shirt and I started to yank it up over his torso and tangling his arms. Solas let out a string of Elvhen curses. He struggled for a moment but I put a foot on his chest and pulled. He came free of the shirt and I let out a shriek of delight.

            Quickly I shucked my clothes and pulled his shirt on.

            "Now I'm Dread Wolf." I threw my arms up into the air and flopped back. "Cold." I sat up and pulled my legs toward my torso. When they were tucked in tight I pulled the shirt down over them and sucked my arms into the shirt and smiled up at him from the little cocoon I'd made.

            His mouth was pressed into a thin line and there wasn't a word that gave credit to the glare he was giving me. I giggled and fell over sideways.

            "Oh for… really?!" Hands found my shoulders and he pulled me back into a sitting position. "We are not going anywhere tonight are we?"

            "What a smart wolf." I cooed at him. My hand popped up out of the shirt and I pushed it clumsily against his nose, "BOOP!" Cackling laughter exploded from me at the look on his face.

            He sighed and started taking the tack off of Bread and Shelly. "Shelly." I giggled, "Your horse is a shell."

            Solas did not respond and it became my sacred duty to provoke a response out of him.

            "Hey." Nothing. "Heeeyyy!" He steadily continued. Muscles shifted under his skin as he lifted the saddles off. I was fascinated by it. Solas did not seem like the kind of guy that was densely packed with muscle but man…

            He was stunning. Without his over shirt the tightly woven wrap that covered his torso outlined every line of his body and it was very nice.

            Why hadn't I stolen his shirt earlier?

            "Hey!" I called again, remembering my sacred duty. "Solas! Solas! Solas! Solas!" I chanted his name over and over again. When he didn't respond I slowly started getting up. Slowly because I wasn't confident in my ability to stand without falling over. "Solas, Solas, Solas."

            He still wasn't paying attention to me and I had yet to get a reaction. I ran at him. It seemed like a wonderful idea at the time but poorly enacted. He heard me and twisted quickly to face me, his jaw set and what looked like anger smoldering in his eyes.

            I didn't like anger in his eyes.

            I jumped and his eyes widened as he realized what I was going to do. He scrambled to catch me. I may have cheated a little and used my biotic abilities to charge him, but barely. Just enough for me to make it to him.

            His hands searched for a purchase somewhere where he wasn't touching bare skin. He was out of luck in that department because the only thing I was wearing was his shirt. Which was halfway up my torso.

            "Hi." I whispered, the cold taking the edge off of my buzz. By now the camp was mostly set up, the only thing not done was a fire, but it wasn't something we'd risk on our own.

            His hands shifted so they were on my thighs instead of my bare ass. I leaned forward, sliding up his body and he swallowed.

            "Luna this is not-"

            "Me or her?" I asked. Seemed like the alcohol wasn't completely out of my system. Ellana and the others were convinced that Solas was watching me, but they didn't know about the passenger I was carrying. But if he locked her up… I managed to connect some dots while drunk, yay me!

            "The tent isn't even fully-"

            "Me or her?" I whispered at him again as I ran the tips of my fingers lightly over the tips of his ears. He froze and it felt like the alcohol left my veins completely. I sat there in his arms, waiting for his response.

            "You are drunk." He whispered. Was that regret in his tone?

            "Don't tell me the Dread Wolf has never had sex while he was loopy." A nail skimmed over the shell of his ear and his legs trembled slightly. His hands shifted just a hair higher and I gave him a smirk.

Chapter Text

Solas walked with me in his arms. I didn't know his destination but I liked the sense of urgency in his gait. When he stooped over and entered the tent I shifted in his grasp. Quickly I locked my legs around his waist before I fell out of his grasp entirely. A groan fell from his lips and when my back touched the bedrolls he pushed his forehead into my shoulder.

            "You're drunk." He said again, but I didn't think it was for me. His words carried a hint of anguish, like he was lamenting the fact that I was drunk. "When we wake you will regret this decision and I will not be a part of it."

            Now… those words were for me.

            "Why would I regret it?" I asked quietly as I unlocked my legs and pushed him back. "Are you bad at it, because I can give you some-"

            "I am capable of having sex for longer than you've been alive." He looked up at me, "No I am not bad at it."

            "Ohh, I like the way that sounds." I attempted to purr at him but my finer speaking abilities had yet to return. I snorted and dropped my head. "Sex for over twenty eight years, now that is a record where I'm from."

            "Twenty eight years." He growled and sat up, "You are but a babe in the eyes of Arlathan's time."

            "Now see that right there?" I scooted away from him, "That is a quick way to talk a woman out of sex, just saying." I sighed and looked at him, "I don't understand why every time we start something you pull back."

            Sober was coming fast and hard for me and I was beginning to regret stripping down to the buff and wearing his shirt. It was making this kind of awkward.

            His jaw clenched and unclenched several times.

            "Solas." I cupped his jaw with the tips of my fingers and pulled until he was facing me. "Help me understand what's happening."

            "Fen'Harel." He whispered.

            "Yes, it is a wonderful name." I nodded seriously, "But I don't understand what this has to do with-" I waved a hand between him and I, "-this."

            "I am the great evil in Elvhen Mythology."

            "Okay but I'm not a real elf so…?" I shrugged and pressed a hand to my face. "Solas if that is what has you skittish you are a stupid kind man." Leaning forward I pressed a kiss to the corner of his mouth. "I have walked worlds that aren't my own, faced greater evils than you could imagine. Gotten into fights with creatures that could eat me whole, face down a race of genocidal space ships that are half machine half organic creatures that use other races to make more of them. Why would one god stepping into my reality shift anything for me? I'm still here, after all of that. I am still here and I am willing to take a chance on whatever this is, if you will."

            "You have a rare and marvelous spirit." He whispered, "In another world…"

            "Another world?" I laughed, "Which one? Because this is the one we're in now. I don't know how long I have, but in all of the worlds that I've walked, and the lives that I've lived…" I groaned and my head dropped back. "How often do women have to talk men into sex in this world?" I flopped back and threw a hand over my face. "It's her, isn't it?"

            "No, what is inside you is no longer her." I lifted my head and looked at him. "In truth she was not the woman I fell in love with at the end, though I had hoped."

            "Which I am astonished." I mumbled at him, "I thought she was married to June."

            Solas didn't say anything and I lifted my arm to look at him. "The being inside of you is not Sylaise."

            I shot up, "What?" That word took more effort than it should.

            "She was not one of the Dalish Gods." Solas shook his head. "Her name was lost to time, as it should remain."

            "Lost to…" I rubbed the palms of my hands into my eyes. "Can we speak not in riddles?"

            "Simply put she is what the Dalish call a 'Forgotten One'."

            "The anti-gods?" I gasped, "Why did Cole tell me she was the hearth keeper then?!" I groaned and drug my hands down the sides of my face.

            "The beings the Dalish worship were not the only people of immense power. Often it is the victors that write history. Temples crashed to the grounds under the Evanuris, the Forgotten Ones was just a label, the title, that the Evanuris gave to the enemies that stood against them. She was one of them."

            "Not a lot of detail in that last sentence." I prompted as I laid down facing him. His hand stretched out and pulled the hem of his shirt down my body.

            "It is a long story," Solas deflected, "one we do not have time for."

            "Well thanks to you, we do."

            "This is my fault?" He challenged.

            "For dropping bombs on me like that, yes it is." I waved him on, "Come on, long stories don't get short by waiting."

            He chuckled and began to weave his tale. "The Dalish cling desperately to fragmented memories half remembered by people long dead. The Elvhen didn't spring forth from Elgar'nan and Mythal, we were spirits that willed ourselves into physical form. The so called Dalish Gods were generals that fought a needless war against those who believed slavery should be banned." He sighed, "To the victors go the spoils. Granted, not all of those labeled Forgotten Ones were pure of heart, but a few were."

            The flame was alert and paying attention. I struggled to push her to the side so I could pay attention to Solas.

            "Andruil delved too deeply into the earth and uncovered something I hoped to never see again. It drove her to madness and it spread across her lands. Mythal stepped forward and took her memories of how to return to the 'Void' but it didn't dispel her insanity. No, Mythal and Sylaise cleaved that portion of her mind and soul from the rest and sealed away the diseased part so no one could ever be harmed by it. But it was too late.

            "It spread to her people and threatened to swallow the world. The woman I loved succumbed to the madness and killed our children." My heart clenched in my chest. "I… attempted what Mythal and Sylaise did with Andruil, but I am not the healer that Sylaise was, and she was no match for my love in the art of healing. She was the original Hearth Keeper, healer of the sick.

            "I failed her in my pride. Convinced that I alone could save her I cut too deeply, took too much of her. Realizing my mistake I tried to repair it, but it was too late. Her madness had grown and what I had cut free at last was not enough, but any more would kill her." He looked at me and a shiver ran up my spine. "There are many pieces of her, the sane part of her was… too small to survive on its own so in attempt to save her I pieced parts of her back together. What is inside you in a piece that I cut free. A piece that did not fit into the puzzle who was my wife."

            "I…. Cut free?"

            "The Elvhen are immortal creatures and given enough time became set in their ways and no longer desired life. As a 'cure'-" air quotes from Solas were hilarious, "-a practice was started to cut small pieces of their souls away, giving them an opportunity to continue to grow and relieve their boredom. How would missing that piece of themselves affect who they were and how they perceived the world? The soul would regrow in time and the piece they removed was sealed safely inside a vessel that while whole would contain them for eternity."

            "So was she not sealed properly or something? Why is she inside me?"

            "She was sealed away. As to how she is here? Her vessel must have been broken. Tombs are raided, temples torn down. Nothing lasts forever."

            "Wonderful." I grunted. "So you are telling me that I have a crazy anti-god piece of soul inside of me?"

            "Simply put, yes."

            "Amazing."

            Solas grew quiet and when I couldn't handle the silence anymore I looked at him. He was staring at me with open curiosity.

            "What?" I snapped, "Why are you looking at me like that?"

            "You continue to astound me."

            I laughed, "Why have I surprised you this time?"

            "After all this information, you are still here. In this tent, with me."

            "Look, I've met worse boogeymen than you, okay?" I rolled over and pulled down the bedroll before slipping inside.

            "Like the man from your dreams?"

            "Yes, like Jack." I yawned. "Can you do that thing where you make sure I don't dream?"

            He laughed softly but reached across the distance between us. "Sleep." He whispered. The last thing I remembered was noticing how his eyes shimmered a faint green color in the low light of the tent.

 

I woke first and found I was tightly pressed against Solas' side, his arm thrown around me prevented me from moving. At least without waking him. This high in the mountains, where the snow never melted, my body heat was not enough to keep one warm, but add another?

            The tent was cold but it was so, so wonderful inside of Solas' bedroll. Mine was thrown over us making me wonder exactly what I did in my sleep.

            Instead of forcing myself free I lay there and thought of all I knew. The flame, despite Solas words last night, was eagerly pressing against my skin as if she would willingly make the jump from my body to his. But I was beginning to fear that this… was not something that was resolved as easily as that. If at all. I had no idea if a soul could even be removed from a body without doing what Solas said. And if that was the case was I willing to risk cleaving a portion of myself free?

            The answer to that was complicated. But the first word that popped into my head was no. I liked who I was now. And despite how much I hated who I had been on Earth, she was a large portion of who I was now. A constant reminder to never bow to another again, to be strong not only for me but for others in my position. So there was my answer. I would not allow anyone to cut a portion of my soul away, even if it meant keeping Her inside of me.

            This soul, whatever her name may be, knew who Solas was and if he was that scared to tell me who he was why would he leave the soul inside of me once he figured out who she was? The answer? He wouldn't.

            The Dread Wolf did not leave loose ends. Of that I was confident. Which begged another question. Why was I still alive?

            "You are a very loud thinker." Solas mumbled.

            "I… what?" I answered softly on the off chance he was sleep talking.

            His hand came up and rested over mine. Which, now that he called attention to it, I realized was on his chest and my fingers had been banging out a rhythm on his chest bone. His free hand ran up my arm until it was under my chin, using very little effort he tilted my chin until I was looking at him.

            "How are you feeling this morning?"

            "Uh… sorry that I took your shirt?" I wasn't sure if this was some sort of test or not.

            "Opinions on our discussion last night?"

            I scrunched up my nose in confusion and his eyes dulled slightly, "Which part?"

            "You…" he exhaled harshly, "you remember all of it?"

            "Was I not supposed to?" This was… what? What was happening here? "Is this a test? Because if it is I would appreciate a little forewarning." My fingers clenched and holy sweet mother of Joseph he was naked.

            "Did we have sex?" I whispered as I yanked the bedroll up to look down. He had pants on. "Oh lord, thank you."

            He stiffened and I realized what I said.

            "Not like that!" I stated quickly, "Not like that, just not a fan of having sex and not remembering it." Was my face red? I didn't think so but it was a distinct possibility based on how he was looking at me. "What? Did I drool?"

            "You remember asking if I had a 'dread cock'?"

            I snorted and nodded into his side, "Oh yeah, and if you had dreads when you were younger and the part where you are the butzemann?" He gave me a blank look. "That you are the great evil from Dalish lore?"

            "Still have the desire to get a tattoo on your backside?" He questioned, a smile beginning at the corner of his lips.  

            "What's that Dalish curse?" I smacked his chest a couple times as I tried to remember. "Merrill used to scream it all the fucking time."

            "May the Dread Wolf take you?"

            "That's the one! That, I'm getting that tattooed somewhere." I grinned up at him and wiggled my eyebrows. "When people see it they'll think I'm telling them to fuck off but in reality it's because we had-" I broke off. We hadn't yet.

            "Should it not be 'the Dread Wolf took me' then?" He whispered and I inhaled sharply. Son of a bitch I was easy to read. And why hadn't I thought of the grammar portion of it?

            He used the tip of a single finger pressed to the underside of my chin to lift my lips to his. Magic sunk into me, pressing against every nerve in my body. Instead of the normal pain I felt from healing magic this was… Oh god it was delicious. I gasped at the relief it brought. Solas hesitated a moment but I surged forward, wrapping my arms around his neck and pulled him to me.

            His response was delectable. His arms snaked around me, encircling my body and holding me against him as he pulled until I straddled his hips. Only once he made a satisfied noise deep in the back of his throat did he release my arms. The shirt melted from my skin and I jerked back in surprise.

            "Great," I muttered, "now I owe you two shirts."

            "You did not ask to borrow this one." Solas assured as his fingers tangled in my unbound hair, gently tugging me back down. Hands, callused from whatever it was that gods do-

            Holy hell I was getting ready to do the sideways tango with a person revered as a god.

            I didn't think I could do this. Not here, not right now. Not in the middle of a fucking mission.

            Get your head in the game Luna!

            I pressed feather light kisses to his lips, soft. They were so soft but this isn't where our… thing… should start.

            And I had a job to do. We needed to find this place Solas dreamed about so that we could get the rest of the Inquisition out of the cold. I couldn't be selfish anymore, I had others to think about, others that I made myself responsible for. Amara for one and as soon as her name popped into my head anything indecent that I'd been thinking about went out the window.

            Beside Amara there was the whole of the Inquisition. If they thought I was Anointed… Haven was where the Herald nonsense started. Ellana would agree with me that it was nonsense. But if these people started telling other people everyone would know my face. It was a title given only to a few who had shown extraordinary faith. How I'd managed to accomplish that I wasn't sure but… I had the whole of the Inquisition looking to me for answers now and I couldn't be screwing around when we were on a timed mission.

            My body slammed into a sitting position and I placed a hand on Solas' chest. "Can't." I whispered, "Not here, not right now. We have shit to do and this is…" I groaned when he shifted under me. "Not fair." I smacked his chest leaving an outline of my hand behind. "It is irresponsible."

            His hands settled on my waist and his head tilted back. "You are correct." Solas sighed, he managed to make it sound like a growl.

            "I'm a woman." I chided, "I'm always right." Leaning backward I swiped up my clothes and rolled off of him. Without our combined body heat it was starting to get cold really quickly. As soon as the fur cloak was clasped I crawled from the tent and checked on the horses.

            Both Bread and Shelly were fine. Bread whickered softly when he saw me and I smiled at him. "Morning."

            While Solas broke down the tent I saddled the horses and dug up the hard tack that we had to eat. If we'd had the time I'd have made a stew from the jerky and we could have soaked the biscuits so they wouldn't chip a tooth. But we'd procrastinated the morning away and we'd need to travel faster than before.

            I promised Amara I'd be two days, meaning I had to be back tomorrow at the latest. So we had to leave pronto.

            With both of the horses reins in my hands I walked over to Solas to help him tie the tent items into their respective places. Once everything was secured I passed him Shelly's reins and made to climb up into my saddle.

            Solas made a negative noise which caused me to falter for half a second. That gave him time to wrap a hand around my arm and pull me to him. His lips pressed firmly against mine. Soft but unyielding. An arm supported my back, the force of his kiss cause me to bow backward.

            He swept past my defenses and deepened the kiss. A moan slipped past my lips and he pulled me closer, shifting a leg in between mine. His other hand on my hip pulled me toward him and I groaned, my arms snaking up his to twine around his neck.

            As soon as it started it was over.

            "This is not finished." He promised, voice thick with desire.

            My heart thumped heavily in my chest and my vision swam slightly. Lungs screamed for air and I quickly sucked in a mouthful to appease them. His scent surrounded me and it was very heady.

            I noticed he was smirking and I realized that my fingers were pressing gently against my lips as if to rekindle the memory of his against mine. Quickly I dropped my hand and jumped into the saddle.

            I was in trouble.

 

We traveled as quickly as the horses were able. Still it took us most of the day until we crested a ridge that allowed us to look over the mountain range.

            Solas pulled his mare up next to Bread and pointed. "Skyhold." He breathed. I glanced sideways at him and saw where he was looking. Following his line of vision I saw a fortress that stood proud and tall amongst the peaks of the Frostbacks.

            My jaw dropped. It was huge and impregnable. No one would be able to sneak up on us from any one direction. How I'd missed it in the first place was beyond me. Tall towers and turrets jutted into the sky. Walls surrounded every section of it and the only way in or out of the fortress was across a bridge that spanned a canyon.

            To top it all off the fortress itself stood on the peak of a mountain. It looked as if someone came at the mountain with a large sword and cleaved the top clean off and slammed a Gothic Barbie castle down on top of it.

            This was everything we needed and more.

            "You found this in the fade?" I asked bewildered. How anyone stumbled across this without knowing exactly where it was… it was impressive.

            "Found is the wrong term." Solas corrected softly, "I built it."

            "I'm sorry you what?" I turned to look at him. "Just how long has this place been standing?"

            "Since before the fall of Arlathan." Solas turned Shelly and started back the way we came.

            "Woah, woah!" I called after him as I nudged Bread to follow him. "This was your home?"

            "The fortress itself looks quite different than the last time I saw it, but yes. It was once mine. Time has claimed it for himself, and many human nobles in between."

            "Fuck me." I whispered as we moved swiftly back down the path. It'd take us a day to get back to the Inquisition camp, less if they had fixed the wagons and were able to move forward. To travel with everyone back here though and through the gates of Skyhold would take weeks with everyone on foot.

            "Shouldn't we get closer?" I leaned back in the saddle to help Bread keep his footing. "I mean… we have no idea if anyone is there."

            "I assure you, it is quite empty."

            I glared at the back of his head. "And how do you know that?"

            He pulled Shelly to a stop in such a way that he was facing me. "Skyhold was an Elvhen fortress, there are magicks build into the very walls that sing every detail that happens within its borders. If there was anything larger than a goat inside I would know about it."

            I shifted in my saddle. "That's… kind of creepy." I muttered and nudged Bread back into a walk.

            "You are the one that asked."

            I remained silent, thinking instead of what the walls would tell him once all of the Inquisition was stationed inside of Skyhold. Was I blindly going to trust him now that he told me that the soul inside me was his insane wife? That his real identity came out in the process? Now that we were all but assured to fall into the sack together?

            Absolutely fucking not. Was I going to make an effort to take him at his word?

            Also probably no. At least not on large topics. I wouldn't doubt his drive to save the Veil any longer though. It was his creation, one that locked away the Gods and Goddesses and Forgotten Ones. They'd been there for thousands of years and Solas would be an idiot to let them out where they could take their revenge for being imprisoned for so long.

            No, I'd believe him as far as the mission of the Inquisition went. He was knowledgeable, I'd grant him that. And he'd be a formidable ally but I'd completed part of my mission where he was concerned. I'd gained his trust, I had his secrets.

            Though he had mine in return and if I didn't want them used against me I'd have to keep his.

            Not to mention that if I told Ellana that Solas was Fen'Harel she'd laugh me into the next century. Or kill Solas, neither of which were acceptable outcomes because the former would cause her to believe I was insane, the latter would cause me to have to step in on his behalf because I put him in that situation and it would just be a mess.

            So, for now I'd ask Solas to work with Dorian in attempt to remove the soul from my body so I could be just Luna, not Luna-with-a-tag-along. I already had enough of those in life, didn't need one inside my mind.

            My thoughts spiraled, every conversation I had with Solas was now under the microscope. His every action, every deed, every thought. I played it all back and something was bothering me, something at the back of my mind that demanded attention but it was just out of my grasp, dancing farther and farther away the harder I reached for it. So I stopped.

            It would come to me eventually but actively chasing it was not going to help anything. Though it did make the time pass. When I finally came up from my own thoughts I saw that night was getting ready to fall.

            "We should make camp."

            That night we lit a fire and had a warm meal. I didn't venture into the tent, not even when I was sure Solas was asleep. Instead I stayed and stared at the stars.

            They were so foreign. My eyes tracked every portion of the night sky and none of the constellations I was used to seeing were there. I'd witnessed several skies, from multiple planets. Countless configurations were locked away in my mind, star charts memorized so I could tell where I was from space if anything happened. But these?

            Not one star was the same and any hope I had that we were somehow in the same realm as Earth or Council Space vanished. If we were I somehow managed to travel across dark space into another galaxy cluster where the laws of nature weren't the same.

            That so many different sentient species could evolve together on one continent was mind blowing. Thedas was just one portion of a larger world. It was surrounded by oceans to the east and the west was uncharted as far as I knew.

            These people didn't even know the entirety of their world and it was… astounding. How many different worlds had I walked, how many nights had I stared at the stars from different locations or just… drifted in space with no direction?

            Tonight I felt so alone and wondered what was beyond this world. It ached that I wouldn't get to explore it as I once would have. That I couldn't hope into a plane and spend sixteen hours to get to the other side.

            Had they even attempted to travel the seas? How far did the Dwarven deep roads go? Did they span the length of the world? Or did they just honeycomb Thedas?

            A horrible image popped into my head of a huge earth quake and Thedas just vanishing overnight, leaving a pile of rubble in its wake.

            Eventually the moons set and the sun started to rise. Bread had wandered over to lay behind me, offering his warmth. When Solas emerged he looked at me for a long time before we started the process of breaking camp.

            We didn't speak as we continued down the mountain toward our people.

            It felt funny to say. Here I was, claiming I wasn't a true elf because I wasn't born one but claiming the people of a world I never thought to walk.

            How many more lives would I live after this one? Was I destined to hop between realms for eternity?

            God I hopped not. I'd already lived two lives and I was living my third. Too much more of this and I'd be as crazy as Ms. Flame.

Chapter Text

Cullen set a blank piece of paper before me and rolled several pieces of charcoal in my direction.

            "What do you expect me to do with these?" I asked as I pushed the paper back.

            "I want a detailed report and a sketch of the fortress." Cullen stated. We were in his tent, which was larger than mine and he had an actual bed. I was a little jealous. Not that I needed it.

            "Cullen…" I rubbed my eyes with the back of a hand. A tirade of words were on the tip of my tongue. I wanted to rage about everything I'd been through, how I ran myself into the ground making sure every had what they needed. How my new responsibilities to attend every single fucking war meeting was getting out of hand. Instead I said, "I can't draw, I saw it from a distance, anything I have to offer would not be useful." And pushed the papers back at him.

            "We are weeks away from Skyhold by your accounts and the men need to know what to expect between here and there. The conditions the fortress is in, if there are any weaknesses." Cullen sighed, "I know it is a lot to ask but we were unprepared at Haven and I won't make the same mistake again." His eyes grew distant. "Ellana almost didn't come back."

            He didn't need to tell me that.

            I grumbled and snatched the papers off the table. "Fine, but one condition."

            Cullen sighed at me. "What?"

            "I don't know yet but I'm going to come after you for a favor in the future and you will do it, no questions asked."

            He glared at me for a long moment before he nodded, "Alright."

            "Excellent." Quickly I sketched out what I remembered. It was by no means a master piece but I did my best to capture the essence. The fingers of my free hand twisted the page as I painstakingly pulled the image from my brain and laid it on the paper. When that was finished I pushed it across the table toward Cullen before writing out any weakness I noticed.

            The only thing I saw as a problem was the bridge. It was the only way in or out. If we were under siege any civilians that were with the Inquisition would be trapped with us. I listed other minor things. A crumbling wall, or a portion that looked unsteady. I added in a few flourishes and left out the magic.

            Templars and magic… am I right? Like gasoline and a match. Poof! Up in flames and I didn't need the only place we had to call home vanish because Solas would learn a few things about the Inquisition before the others in the inner circle.

            "There." I smacked the charcoal down on the table and shoved the rest of the papers at him. "Everything I can remember."

            "This is awful." He held up the sketch for me.

            "I am not an artist, make do." I snarled as I stomped from the tent. "Or ask Solas! He's good at that."

            I continued to grumble halfhearted threats as I made my way through camp. The sun was starting to set again and many had already bedded down by fires or under make shift shelters. The mages were a godsend; we'd have lost half of our people the first night if they hadn't wandered around offering warmth runes to any who would take them.

            Not many passed them up.

            My destination was in sight and I was keeping my head down, refusing to look at anyone. The hood of my cloak was pulled up so that my vibrant pink hair—still needed to get Sera back for that—didn't stand out and draw attention.

            I was saddle sore and more than ready for a night in a cot. It might not be a real bed, but it was better than a bedroll on a frozen ground.

            When I lifted the flap of my tent I was greeted by a bizarre sight. Varric looked like he was about to bust a vein in attempt to keep from laughing and Blackwall was sitting on the floor before Amara with… ribbons in his hair.

            "Thank the Maker you're back." Blackwall uttered as soon as he saw me. "I told you she'd be back today."

            "Amara." I sighed, "Most men do not like ribbons in their hair." I gave Blackwall an apologetic look before walking forward and pulling out several of the more complicated ones. "Thank you for watching her but you didn't have too."

            "Cole says boys like pretty things." Amara stated with a sage like voice. How a child could adopt that at such a young age… I was in for a lot of trouble with her.

            "Yes, boys do like pretty things, but not many like the pretty things girls do."

            "Listen to your-" Blackwall cut off and looked at me, "Luna." He finished with a nod. I didn't know what she was going to call me so I was okay with him not completing that thought.

            "Ghost you always ruin the fun."

            "I absolutely do not." I retorted, "I'm half of the fun that happens around here, but poor Blackwall looked terrified."

            "You should have seen Pup here!" Varric laughed and watched Blackwall exit the tent. "She all but strong armed him into sitting there obediently."

            "Pup?" I asked with a raised brow, "Really? That's all you got?"

            "I know, I know." Varric held up his hands, "It's a work in progress. I'll come up with something else."

            "Speaking of pups… Where is Gypsy?" I looked between Amara and Varric.

            "Probably with Bull." Varric offered off handedly as he stood. "I'll let you get some rest."

            "My wolf is with the Iron Bull?" I was slightly offended. "Why isn't she here with Amara?"

            "She bit a mage." Varric stated, turning to look at me. "One of them didn't like the idea of you taking her away so when they learned you were gone they took her back. The wolf pup didn't like it and went after the mage's throat. According to Bull he stopped Gypsy before she could and stopped the mage from killing her."

            I was seething on the inside. "What is the mage's name?"

            "Caleb." Amara's voice was tiny, "You aren't going to send me back!"

            "Oh sweets no." I assured as I strode past Varric, "I'm just going to have a talk with Caleb and get my wolf."

            "Cullen and Fiona dealt with Caleb." Varric's face was half shadow as he looked at me. "Now I'm all about revenge but we're in a tight spot Ghost, I wouldn't recommend going after the mage after he's already been sentenced."  

            I stopped in my tracks and clenched and unclenched my hands repetitively. "I hate logic." Altering my course I went toward Bull's little camp.

            It wasn't far; the camp itself wasn't very large. We had yet to amass any sort of real leverage despite everything that we'd done. I was positive that when we reestablished ourselves and the whole of Thedas saw what happened that we'd have more join our cause.

            Once the news spread of what the Templars had done, of what happened to Haven, and of the enemy that led them… I had to hope that Thedas would rise to the occasion. Otherwise we were screwed.

            The Charger's camp came into view and I strode right up to their fire and stopped in front of Bull. "Where is she?"

            Bull took a drink and stared at me. "Who?"

            "You know who." I snapped, "Where is my wolf?"

            I heard a whine from the side. My head jerked in her direction and I saw they had put a leash on her. Not just a leash but they had made a harness and I saw that it was frayed in places. Gypsy had not willingly gone into their contraption.

            "Do you know the weapon she'll be?" Bull asked softly as I strode confidently toward her. I slipped a dagger into my palm and cut through her bindings making sure to reduce it to small pieces. My wolf should never be tamed. "She's quite a handful and she'll be an amazing killer. If you train her right, I can help you with that."

            "She is a friend." I correct as Gypsy hit the floor and crawled toward me. When she was under me she rolled onto her back and presented her throat. Fire surged through my veins. She was submissive. To me. A snarl built up in the back of my throat and my energy started to swirl out of control.

            My little wolf had been broken. She now knew dominance, and because of Bull she had lost her innocence. Because I was fucking off in the mountains with Solas.

            Gently I touched my fingers to the bridge of her nose and ran them up between her eyes before I stood and turned toward Bull. Pink swirled in the edges of my vision, my head was still tucked down and the loose strands of my hair hung free to blow in the breeze that wandered these mountains. Hands clenched tightly into fists before I unleashed.

            Blue biotic power surrounded my entire body and the world flashed by as I charged the Iron Bull. I saw the second he realized what was happening. His eyes widened just a little bit before I was on top of him.

            The force of our collision sent him flying out of his chair. A feral scream ripped from my throat as I charged him again, this time without the biotic field surrounding me. Throw was wound tightly around my fist and I slammed it directly into his face. His whole body skidded across the ground with me on top of him.

            It became a rotation. One fist hit him with throw and when the other descended it hit him with pull until his head was bouncing back and forth like a speed bag. The flame inside of me danced to the sound of my heart beat, she whispered things to me that I didn't understand but I didn't care.

            I didn't even give the effort to push her to the side. All I saw was red. Gypsy was my friend and companion. That Bull would even think-

            He tilted his head slightly and my fist connected to one of his massive horns. Bones cracked and knuckles popped. A different kind of scream littered the night as I grasped the forearm of my shattered hand.

            "You fucking broke my han-"

            He effectively cut me off with a head butt. It sent me flying from his person and my world spun.

            Bull was like a god damned battering ram. His head was like dragon bone and it hurt like the dickens.

            When my world stopped spinning I sat up with a vengeance only to have several sets of arms wrap around my body. I grunted with effort as I tried to squiggle free of their grasp. I struggled in vain, I was utterly trapped.

            Three. It took three of his men to subdue me. Even then it wasn't until someone spoke up that they broke through the haze of my anger.

            "What do you think you are doing?" My head snapped to the side and I saw an angry Cullen and Leliana standing there. Cullen's face was coated with anger and Leliana just watched with a cautious curiosity.

            Bull and I stared at each other, both of our lips were pressed into a thin line and our eyes were slits. His face was covered in a myriad of bruises and there was a cut over his one good eye. His eye patch was skewed and there was blood on his horn.

            Pain rushed into me and when I let out a string of cursing Dalish released my hand. Glancing down at it made my stomach turn, and that says a lot. The fingers were skewed and swollen. It didn't stop at the fingers either.

            "Someone send for Solas." Bull stated as he walked forward. He didn't stop next to me but proceeded back into the light of his camp fire. My head swiveled with him, watching his every move. He simply righted his makeshift chair and sat down. One of his Chargers, Stitches I think, passed him a mug of some sort and he drank deeply for it.

            Krem walked unhurriedly from the fire light and Cullen pulled my attention away from the camp.

            "Who instigated the fight?" Cullen demanded. Bull's Chargers let go of me but Cullen prodded me toward the light and I glared at him. Stiffly I walked back into the camp to wait for Solas. "Well?"

            "He did but I threw the first punch." I gritted out. My gaze cast about until I saw Gypsy. She was still in the same spot I left her in. A ragged sigh slipped through my lips and I flopped onto the snowy ground and cocked my head at her.

            Cullen started speaking again but Leliana shushed him as I started to croon softly at Gypsy. My uninjured hand cradled my injured one as I tried to establish eye contact with my little green eyed wolf.

            "Sweet thing." I whispered, "Girly bug come here." I made it a request, not a demand. When she bobbed her head I lowered mine with her, desperate to reach the wolf she had been. Her eyes were down cast as she reached me. I clicked my tongue several times and patted my leg. "Come on love, it's alright."

            Leliana spoke from somewhere behind me. Her words sounded slightly harsh; at the very least they were not polite.

            Gypsy crouched lower, one of her paws on my leg. "Pay them no mind darling." I whispered as I ran my hand through her fur. "It's just you and me." Gypsy's tail wagged between her legs as she crawled up into my lap. She was much larger than the last time she did this. She barely fit and forced me to lean back to accommodate her. I giggled at her and pressed a kiss to the side of her nose. Gypsy licked up the side of mine, ending at my hair line. "There's my good girl."

            Leliana squatted into my line of sight. "It is your responsibility to apologize to the Iron Bull."

            "He brok-"

            "I know exactly what he did." Leliana interrupted. "You do not have the luxury of offending our allies at this moment. Mercenaries they may be they are still with us. Apologize."

            I sighed and dropped my head into Gypsy's fur. Slowly I ran my head back and forth through her silky hair. It was soothing. She smelled like wild things. Mostly like wet dog but there were subtle undertones of pine and cedar.

            "Yes, Sister Leliana." The words were muffled by Gypsy's fur. When I looked up at her she gave me a small smile and a nod before standing and walking toward Cullen. They shared a few words. Cullen sounded cross and he looked like he was mad at me. My lips curled into a smirk and I flopped onto my back.

            Gypsy adjusted on my lap until her nose was level with my throat. I sighed and she moved with the rising of my chest. My broken hand was pushed into the snow and the cold was helping to numb the pain. It would also reduce the swelling, but if I didn't get a mage to heal it I would probably lose the hand entirely.

            Snow crunched somewhere near my face and I tilted my head to look at the new comer. Scratch that, new comers because Solas followed Krem closely. His gaze swept over me and past until he registered the pink hair in the snow. Solas' gaze snapped to mine and I gave him a small smile and pointed at Bull with my uninjured arm. If I was to apologize might as well fix his ass up first.

            Solas gave me a thin lipped look before doing as I request. Krem stood over me.

            "Never seen the Chief taken down like that." He stated and gave a small chuckle. "How's your hand feeling?"

            I lifted it out of the snow and showed it to him. He winced in sympathy before looking over at Bull.

            "He still looks worse than you." Krem knelt down and touched his fingers to a spot on my forehead. Pain lanced through my skull and I inhaled sharply. Gypsy let out a low rumbled on my chest and lifted her head.

            "Settle down girl, its fine." I murmured though it hurt to speak. Made my head throb now that Krem pointed out the—probably magnificent—bruise on my face. I'd be lucky if he didn't crack my skull. Damn it had been stupid to fight him. Nice and relaxing because I felt like I could sleep for a week, but stupid.

            Someone cleared their throat and Krem pulled his fingers back. Gypsy's head swiveled to look at the new person and she let a louder rumble that turned into an open mouth snarl. Krem's eyes widened and he turned to look at who approached as well.

            "Gypsy, it's just Solas." I sighed as I flopped a hand onto her head and pulled it to my chest. I felt her tail thump against my leg. "We're good." Solas was staring intently at Krem and I was watching Solas. Krem was still watching Gypsy until Solas spoke up.

            "If you will excuse me, I cannot heal Luna from up here."

            There was plenty of space around me on all sides except my head. Solas could have done it from anywhere. Krem eyed me and the wolf one more time before he stood and took several steps back.

            "Sorry about attacking your boss."

            "That sorry bastard loved it," Krem shook his head. "Have a drink with him when you're done here."

            I thought about it for all of half a second before I spoke. "Done."

            Green flashed in front of my eyes and I went stiff with pain. Man with all the healing I've needed in this world and the pain that came with it you'd think I'd avoid getting hurt anymore. But nooo I just rush head long into one conflict after another.

            "Apologies." Solas whispered as he huddled over my body. "I am almost finished vhenan."

            "No we aren't." I gasped as I pulled my hand up. "I… broke it on Bull's face."

            "Horn." Bull corrected from where he sat, proving to me once again that his hearing was impressive.

            "Face… horn… hard to tell the difference when your face is being hammered into the ground." I growled. The sound of his quiet laughter floated over to me. Bull and I got along just fine before he found out about my secret. And then I threatened him. So this was technically my fault but he kept it up by sicking one of his men on me.

            Gentle fingers grasped my hand and I stared at Solas' face as he slowly worked to set the broken fingers.

            "There is considerable damage here." Small whimpers of pain were elicited from my lips and he made quiet noises in response. "I will do what I can vhenan."

            "I have faith in you my wolf." My words were soft, quiet enough that I was sure that Bull had not heard us, and it did not matter if he did. I would use it as a term of endearment from now on. As long as Solas and I were on the same page now. "My wolf." I whispered again. Solas' eyes darted around before returning to meet my gaze. "If you can't do it, no one can."

            The tips of his ears turned pink and he chuckled softly. "Brace yourself ma lath."

            The flame inside of me, Solas' dead crazy wife, moved until she was spread evenly throughout my body. Like I was a glove that fit over her. She didn't make up the majority of me but it was like she was the chewy center of the lollipop. Her presence sang just beneath my skin from the tip of my nose down to my toes. The effect of her doing this was… alarming.

            Every portion of my skin seemed to glow softly and anything that was cold was now a nice and toasty. And… I watched as Solas' healing magic skated across my hand, fixing the little bones in my fingers, mending the smaller ones that ran though the back of my hand. Watched as my knuckles shifted positions until they were where they were supposed to be.

            The whole ordeal probably took an hour and I felt very little pain. And I knew exactly what he was doing. As if I knew magic and what it was capable of, like I knew all the bones in the hand and where they should be precisely. I knew things that I shouldn't know.

            Dread coursed through my stomach. The only way I could know these things was if Ms. Flame was sharing information with me. And she was doing so freely. It scared the holy ever living fuck out of me.

            Us one. She spoke into my mind and I stiffened. Solas murmured softly taking my actions as ones borne of pain. It was terror. Us share.

            Uh… no. No we were not going to share. We were going to be separate and she was going to go into a container again so that I didn't have to endure this ever again. Dorian was going to figure it all out and then I'd be golden.

            No… I fucking felt her struggling for the right word. Apart. Pride coursed through my body as she found an appropriate word. Stay one.

            No we most certainly will not you crazy bitch. I thought back at her. It wouldn't do to go raving at something that no one else could see.     

            Learn you. She insisted, No part.

            "Vhenan." Solas whispered as he leaned into my line of sight, "Are you well?"

            Vhenan. Sa'lath.

            "Peachy." I whispered as I sat up, arm snaking around Gypsy so she was cradled in my lap again. "I… I have to go." Turning I pressed a quick kiss to Solas' lips before setting Gypsy on the ground and rising. "Thank you."

            When I started walking Gypsy followed me, though there was a slight moment of hesitation before she joined me of her own free will. Together we crossed the camp until we arrived at our tent. Amara was still attacking Blackwall with the pretty yellow ribbons.

            Gypsy lowered her head and pressed against me. I cooed at her until she stood on her own and then encouraged her to sleep on the bed of her choice. "Up Gypsy." She chose Amara's. Wise little pup. Though she hardly looked like a pup anymore. She grew larger each day, soon she would be almost as tall as I was.

            I turned my attention to Blackwall, "Thank you, for staying." A smile crossed my features as I strode forward. "Amara, please let Blackwall go."

            "But I'm not finished." She pleaded at me.

            "No," I shook my head. "It's almost time for sleep. I'm sorry I came back so late but the sun is getting ready to set and we have a long day of walking ahead of us tomorrow."

            "There's no harm, Lady Luna." Blackwall stated gruffly. I knew the feeling. Amara somehow managed to sneak past your defenses before anyone could blink at you twice.

            I rubbed the back of my neck, "I have to go out and do something." I remembered the drink I promised Krem I'd have with Bull. "If you don't mind her braiding ribbons into your hair I'd appreciate it if you'd watch her just a little longer."

            "Bella will be along shortly." He stated, "I'll stay until she gets back."

            "Thank you." I gave him a soft smile, "And Amara?"

            "Yes?" She asked innocently as she continued working the strands of his hair back and forth. He winced when she pulled too hard on his scalp.

            "Be gentle."

            She gave me a wicked smile.

 

I paced outside the line of pitched tents. I had every intention of going marching into Bull's camp and sharing a drink with him to bury the hatchet. I was Scared. Yes with a capital 's'. The Flame inside of me was more… active. I didn't know how else to describe it.

            I could feel her attention splitting from mine to watch a group of people travel from one camp fire to the next. It was eerie as shit because I wasn't paying any attention to those people over there. No I was paying attention to her and she was ignoring me. How she could ignore me when she was inside of my body I had no idea but she was pulling it off like a champ.

            Hey. I pestered trying to get her attention. What did you mean by 'no separate'? Don't you want to be out of me.

            Can't. She tossed toward me off handedly.

            Can't or won't?

            That gave her pause. They not same?

            No they are not the same! Bull noticed me and waved me over. I smiled and waved back. My legs carried me forward slowly. Won't is the refusal to do something and can't states that you lack the ability to.

            Both. Her attention turned toward our destination. Why here with dragon beast.

            I… wait, what?

            Why here?

            No the dragon beast pa-

            "Luna!" Bull called out to me, "Have a drink!"

            "That was the plan." I smiled at him, upset that my conversation had been cut short. I tried to remind myself why it was important to talk to her in the first place and was coming up empty. "How's your face doing?"

            "How is your hand?" He retorted. In response I held it up. "I see your lover was very dedicated to your healing."

            "Solas takes pride in everything he does," I commented as Grim passed me a mug of ale. "Thank you." He grunted at me. "Is he always so chatty?"

            "That's the most I've ever heard him say." Bull laughed, "Guess it means he likes you."

            "You guess huh?" I lifted the mug and drank deeply, "So, we going to be friends again?"

            He regarded me for a long moment before he busted up into laughter again. I narrowed my eyes at him.

            "We were not friends?" He asked when he calmed down a little. "I thought it was just a love fight."

            I cocked an eyebrow at him, "Right, we threatened each other and you stuck one of your men on my ass and it was a love fight?"

            "Let's be real, Luna." He took a drink before dunking it back into the barrel to refill his mug. "If it was anything other than foreplay someone would have died."

            I tossed my head back and forth before giving him a grin, "Now that you put it that way." I lifted my mug in his direction. "Salud."

            I stayed for more than one drink.

Chapter Text

"Luna?" Ellana called my name, bringing me to a stop before the cooking fire. The sun was slowly rising and I had a hungry mutt and kid to feed. Thankfully we still had some spare meat so I didn't have to go out hunting in the early morning just yet. It was going to happen and I just hoped that we made it to Skyhold before I had to run around this mountain anymore.

            "Ellana?" I stood and turned to her, a bowl full of stew in each hand. Stew was a dinner meal but we didn't exactly have the luxury of sticking to traditional breakfast. "Is something wrong?"

            "No," she shook her head at me. Her sword was on her back which was the first day I saw it there since the incident at Haven. It wasn't quite the same one. "You made me a promise, and I'd like you to keep it."

            "Uh…" I squinted my eyes and tried to think of any promise that I'd made her. I waxed poetic about laying waste to the world for her and the elves but I didn't think she was calling that one in. "Which promise?"

            "To fight, like you."

            I let a low chuckle out and nodded. "Just let me get this food to Amara and Gypsy then we'll start."

            Together we walked back to the tent; I needed to fetch something from my bag. As much as I enjoyed holding onto it if I didn't give it back soon I was going to owe him another shirt. Hell I owed him a whole outfit at this point and something told me that the Dread Wolf wasn't exactly rolling in it. Not if he walked around in his simple clothes with his small pack.

            Amara was still getting ready for the day. Blackwall made her a small cloak out of some left over leather while I was gone and she was so in love with it.

            "Breakfast." I handed her a bowl, her tiny hands taking it gratefully. The other went on the floor and Gypsy scrambled toward it. "Runt." I snarked as I started out of the tent again. "I'm going to go teach Ellana a few things, be good for Bella, yeah?"

            Amara's head shot up, "What are you teaching her?"

            I laughed, "How to fight, don't make a mess kiddo."

            "I wanna learn too."

            "I'm not sure if it's-"

            "Please?" She stood and the light filtering in hit her scar. If she'd known how to fight maybe that wouldn't have happened. Guilt tugged at me and I nodded.

            "Alright, but finish your food first."

            "'kay!"

            I was starting to get the feeling that anything Amara wanted she was going to get. It was becoming difficult to deny her anything, not with the constant reminder of my failure.

 

Ellana and Amara stood next to each other. Both of them had different levels of fighting abilities. I didn't even know how to go about teaching a child how to fight.

            "Attack me." I pointed at Ellana. "Without the sword."

            "The sword is my main weapon."

            I shook my head at her, "No, it isn't. If it is taken away from you then what are you going to do?" My body adopted a lazy stance but every muscle was alert and waiting for her to rush me. "You're going to use your body, which is why I'm teaching you how to fight like me, right?"

            Amara flashed to my side, she was like a blur as she moved through the air. Her tiny fist struck my leg and I was left dumfounded as she threw another punch. Quickly I sidestepped her attack, a hand wrapped around her arm and I restrained her delicately.

            "Good." I said, approval thick in my voice. "Taking an opponent by surprise is the best way to overpower someone stronger than yourself. Ellana could learn from you."

            "Hear that?" Amara stated proudly as I released her, "Hope you're taking notes cunt."

            "Amara!" Ellana gasped and I slapped a hand over my mouth in a vain attempt to stop my laughter. "Luna, you were supposed to talk to her about this."

            God above but I loved this kid so much. When Ellana's sharp gaze swept to me I cleared my throat and shook my head.

            "I've been busy." I shrugged, "Now, Amara since you attacked first do you know what you did wrong?"

            She shook her head and gazed at me intently. I patted the top of her head and continued gently.

            "You stayed in one spot kiddo, keep moving and switching positions. Keep me on my toes, 'kay?"

            She gave a sharp nod, "I want to try again." A smile split my face in approval and I back up several paces. At my nod she started again, and she used her magic to do so. Kid had a surprisingly good grasp of fade step, but after traveling all the way to Haven from Redcliffe could I really be surprised by it?

            A crowd gathered around us loosely. Nothing serious and there were no bets. Most were individuals looking for something to entertain them in the early dawn hours. Amara pushed every advantage she had but she was too slow to really take me, even without skill. She would have to train her body longer and harder. Lifting weights, working out with weighted gear would help too.

            Ellana was a better match, but when I switched fighting styles on her it distorted her reality. Every single time I did it she would hesitate a moment before switching gears.

            At the end Amara was almost falling asleep and Ellana was covered in sweat. I was too and it was bad this high up. It would turn to ice on our skin as soon as we cooled down.

            "Go," I waved a hand, my breath came at irregular intervals. "Get changed, wipe off the sweat and dry your hair." Amara grunted at me. She really was adopting all of my habits. "Now little lady. You too big lady."

            Ellana gave me a look and I think if so many civilians and soldiers hadn't been around I'd have gotten the finger too. She loved that one to no end.

 

The days passed by. A week came and went. Every morning I woke and trained with Ellana and the kid before we started to move. Most days Amara was in Bread's saddle after, allowing the horse to carry her while she rested for an hour. And then she was her normal terror.

            We scattered, no set trail. Cullen did not push the soldiers. No one had the heart. Skyhold loomed ahead of us, but without tangible proof for the men they were losing heart.

            It wasn't until we crested the ridge that Solas and I mounted what seemed like a life time ago and the fortress came into view that everyone's spirits lifted. Laughter once again rang through the tents at night. Varric could be found telling stories while collecting a few of his own. His hand was almost always within reach of a quill and a piece of paper.

            Sera was deploying her normal tactics, setting small traps for those higher up in the Inquisition so that the ones farther down on the totem pole could get a laugh at our expense.

            I was thinking stink bombs in her shampoo, but that was nixed because the horrible smell would give it away. Then I attempted to take all of her small clothes. Woman didn't have any.

            Then Josephine caught me sneaking around camp and I had to put a halt on my activities for the foreseeable future. The Ambassador was worried that my antics would cause strife for the Inquisition further down the line.

            I'd just have to be more discrete, which I was basically incapable of so until I could find someone to employ I was at a dead end.

            Cassandra was still ticked at me. As far as she was concerned I lied but she was civil enough toward me. There was a way to mend that fence and I would find it. There was no way I could roam around without bumping into Cassandra and just like with Bull, it wouldn't do to have a shoddy infrastructure of the inner circle.

            It's why I left after all, but now I had more to fight for so there was no running this time. Cassandra was just going to have to deal until I found a weak spot.

            Bull and Blackwall were their normal selves with me around. Bull was a little easier now that we'd buried the hatchet and duked it out. It was a phantom pain but I could swear that my skull was still fractured from his head butt. Blackwall continued to entertain the children with his legendary stories of Gray Wardens.

            Another week passed, and we still weren't at Skyhold.

            "I need you to go to the fortress." Cullen looked like he was haggard. His cheeks were tinged gray and were starting to look a little hollow. What worried me the most was the sheen of sweat that coated his face.

            "What is it?" I stepped closer and cast a wary glance around. He gave me a confused look. "You're coming down from something, what is it?" I pressed and his gaze darted around a little too quickly.

            "How?" He whispered as he gripped my arm and pulled me to the side. "What do you know?"

            I shrugged until he released me. We were further away from others and I didn't need to be as quiet as I had been before.

            "This isn't the first time I've seen something like this." I sighed, "There is no judgement here but maybe it isn't the best time to go off whatever you are on. Not while we are in the middle a GD mountain. Running a fever here isn't going to do your health any favors."

            "You've had similar experiences?" He sounded so hopeful, "How did they get through it."

            "Grit and determination. It should be over within in two weeks." I patted his arm, "Do you need me to get-"

            "No." He was quick to respond, his hand darted out to stop my nonexistent movement. "Please, don't tell anyone."

            "Alright, but it doesn't look good that the Commander of our armies is addicted to something. Try to keep out of sight. Maybe hang out with Leliana at the edges for a bit."

            "It's lyrium." He sighed, "It allows Templars to use their abilities."

            "I…" Didn't Alistair say something about lyrium and Templars? God it was too long ago for me to remember correctly but I do know that nowhere in the game did Alistair mention he needed to get lyrium for his abilities to work nor did the Warden suddenly start guzzling the stuff if they went down that path. "Don't know what to say to that." My brows furrowed, "Why use lyrium if it's addictive."

            Cullen gave a dark chuckle and it was startling to hear from his throat. The man was normally cheery and impossible to piss off. It was one of the reasons it was so fun to fight and argue with him. He didn't hold grudges very long. Or at least he didn't now.

            "Now that I am free of the order I see that the Chantry was using it as a means of control." He wiped a hand across his face and I started digging into my pack for some small scrap of cloth. "I don't want to be on their leash anymore."

            "I applaud your efforts." I had grown quiet again. There was no need to telegraph any weaknesses. "If there is anything I can do, please-" I leaned forward so I could gaze into his down cast eyes, "let me know."

            "Go to Skyhold, and do whatever you can to get started on repairs." Cullen looked over his shoulders. "Solas seemed to be under the impression that it was uninhabitable."

            "I'll need a small team of men." Cullen nodded, "I want to choose them."

            "Of course."

            "Wipe your face off and gather the soldiers together." I started away. Time to talk to Amara again, "And I'll need Solas." I hesitated for a moment, there was a strong urge to keep him close and I didn't know if it stemmed from me and my distrust or if it was from Her and her love, or my affection for the man. He elicited too many emotions from me for me to be certain. "To guide us through the mountains. We'll leave markers for the main body."

            Cullen chuckled and it sounded more like his natural self, "Look at you," his voice was quiet but taunting. "A natural leader."

            "Fuck you buddy." I groused back at him. "I'll meet up with you in a few minutes to pick the team. We'll need any spare horses."

            "How many men are you taking with you?"

            I shrugged, I honestly didn't know at this point. There were too many things to consider. How many I could take, of those that volunteered and those that were able.

            "We'll see."

            I tucked my head down and flipped up my hood. It was growing tiresome, this pink hair. It made me a virtual walking flag. Sera was taking great joy from it, snorting any time she saw someone flag me down or my quick movements to duck out of sight. Arrangements needed to be made with Josephine as soon as possible for it to be corrected.

            Diverting my attention I switched directions and headed in the direction of her tent. It just about time for everyone to start moving and I wanted a second to speak with the Ambassador. When I knocked on her tent and she called me in I saw that Leliana was in the tent with her and they were pouring over something that was on Josephine's clipboard.

            "Anointed?" Josephine looked up, "Is everything well?"

            "Yes," I cast a glance at Leliana. "I'm not interrupting anything, am I?"

            "Of course not," there was a twinkle in Leliana's eye as they returned to looking at the clipboard. "Josie and I were just reminiscing."

            "I hadn't realized you two knew each other before the Inquisition."

            "Of course," Josephine nodded. "Leliana is the one who requested my services for this job. How can I be of assistance?"

            "I need something from Val Royeaux," my fingers tangled in my hair and I gave them a pointed look. "Simply put I hate it and I want to cover it up. Can you do anything for me?"

            "It is a simple letter away." Josephine assured, a larger smile than was strictly called for lit her face up like a lantern. Leliana hid a knowing look and I glared between the two of them. Something was happening and I didn't know what it was.

            "Right…" I trailed off and continued flicking my gaze between both women until an uncomfortable silence stretched between the three of us. "Well then, I'll just be… going." I squinted at them and slowly backed out of the tent.  Still needed to talk to Amara and Solas about this.

            Hopefully neither of them would give me problems.

 

Amara, in fact, did not give me problems. Which caused a weird combination of emotions to swirl inside. One was happiness and the other was sadness. I was happy she was making friends so being away from me wasn't causing her the stress it did it had a few weeks ago, I was sad because she was okay with me leaving her.

            Like I said, it was weird and no I was not a fan. Gypsy would be traveling with me this time, and she had grown quite a bit. No longer could we pick her up and cart her around under one arm.

            I had my pack over my shoulder and was headed toward Solas' tent. I didn't think he was going to give me any problems either. Not with us returning to his old haunt ahead of schedule. His tent came into view, it was always easy to spot. It was on the edge, set a little ways away from everyone else. It was strange at first, how he kept to himself, didn't draw attention.

            Now I understood. He was keeping a low profile because of who he was, not because he inherently disliked people as most wanders tend to do. I stopped for a moment and just watched. He was outside moving around, it looked like he was gathering his things. He would have to gather a little faster.

            "Morning." I called as I approached, "Sleep well?"

            The look that crossed his face when he saw me caused my heart to stutter. "Quite," he gave me one of his rare smiles. Not the half smirk that he gave when someone surprised him with their wit, but an actual smile. One that showed his teeth and added little crinkles to the corners of his eyes. "I am surprised to see you this early, vhenan. Is everything alright?"

            A lot of people were asking that. Well not a lot but Josephine asked that too and it was making me wonder if I was doing something unusual. "No, why would they?"

            "At this time you are normally with the Herald and Amara." He straightened as I stopped before him. His gaze was drawn to the pack on my back. I placed a hand on his chest and pushed up to my toes to press a kiss to his jaw. "You are going somewhere."

            "We are." I corrected, giddy when he wrapped an arm around me and pressed his lips against my temple. Man but I had it bad. "Cullen has asked that I go to Skyhold, I figured you'd want to be among the first to arrive so I told him I needed you as a guide which isn't technically a lie-"

            He cut my ramblings off with a tilt of my chin and those potent lips of his. It was chaste, not something that lovers shared in public but still it squeezed my heart.

            "You are not required to explain your actions, love." Solas chuckled, "Though it is pleasing you thought of me. I had thought… well it matters not." His brows furrowed slightly and I became suspicious.

            "You thought what?" I pressed, looping an arm around his waist.

            He was quiet for a moment and it looked like he was debating something. "That you changed your mind. We have not spent much time in each other's company in recent weeks." I winced, it was entirely true. I'd been busier the last two week than I had been my entire time in the Inquisition, which says a lot because Leliana worked me like a horse. "And our last night spent together you stayed outside the tent."

            "Oh that… I… er…" I pushed my hair behind my ears and sighed. "I want to show you something, but I'm not sure how to."

            "What is it? Perhaps I can be of assistance."

            "My past. The good one, not the… no one needs to see that one but I want to show you what my life was like when I wandered the stars." Among other things. Solas believed so many negative things about himself, I just didn't see them; not the way he did.

            His eyes widened for half a second before they softened, "I did not think you would ever… it is a gift, thank you. Tonight when we enter the fade, may I seek you out?"

            "Do you need my permission to enter my dreams?" I asked with a cocked brow.

            "It is considered polite to ask before intruding." So the answer was no.

            "Then why ask? You've found me in the fade before and you never bothered to ask."

            "Those were… unusual circumstances and I did not wish to continue the trend." He sounded slightly exasperated.

            I grinned at him, "Aw… look at my little wolfie…" He shot me a glare, "Will this help me show you?"

            "Certain abilities I possess allow me to shape the fade from other people's memories, if I desire too." That was a yes.

            "Well that's all you needed to say," I giggled at the look on his face. "I'm difficult I know. Come on, we need to pick our team."

            "Our?"

            "Yup, you are my second in command! I'm stealing you; Ellana is just going to have to make do with two mages." I laced my fingers through his and started tugging.

            "Vhenan there are still a few of my belongings to gather." He pulled me back to him, "You will pick a splendid team without my presence."

            "I'm taking Caleb." I warned as I started backing away. Solas' gaze hardened slightly. "Don't give me that look, he isn't staying where he can try shit with her again."

            "Very well."

 

Cullen gathered every one of the soldiers under his command and a few others opted into traveling with me.

            "I don't see the mages." I commented quietly as I stood off to the side with Cullen. "There is one in particular I want to take."

            "You want a mage?" Cullen asked, "I thought you were looking for soldiers in case Solas was wrong."

            "Heh…" I shook my head, "No I need man power. If we're going there I might as well get started clearing away any debris or unwanted junk. But he is going with me because he pissed me off and I want him under my supervision where he can't do it again."

            Cullen covered his eyes with a hand before allowing it to fall down his face. "Caleb."

            "Yup." I put extra emphasis on the 'p'. "Little shit."

            "Amara is in no danger from him. Fiona and I have seen-"

            "Doesn't matter, I don't like his kind and I want him under my thumb." I glared at Cullen, "I've seen his type before and if it isn't Amara he's trying to get to it will be another woman or child and I won't have that kind of shit running rampant in my Inquisition."

            "Your Inquisition?"

            "You know what I mean." I sighed, "Look, I don't trust him alright? If it turns out things just got out of hand, fine I'll back off, but not only did he try to take Amara against his will but he also tried to kill Gypsy when she defended Amara."

            "I have no control over the mages." Cullen stated, "When Ellana recruited them it was as our allies. If Caleb does not wish to go no one can make him."

            "You're shitting me, right?"

            "No." Cullen's gaze was flat. "We can ask for him, but I doubt he wants to be anywhere near you. Not after your… disagreement with Bull. And you haven't exactly endeared yourself to the mages, many of them do not look kindly on Amara being separated from her kind."

            "Her kind?" I scoffed, "She isn't a different species, she simply has a gift that others do not." I shook my head and stepped forward to address the soldiers. "I have two, potentially three, spaces open for a team I'm looking to build." My gaze swept among them. "No one will be forced to join me, I want volunteers. Are any willing present?"

            Of the hundred or so present, around forty stepped forward. I thought I'd get ten at most and be able to pick from there. Fuck me. I glanced at Cullen. He nodded and stepped forward, "Those of you that have not stepped forward are dismissed." I stepped back as Cullen paced back and forth in front of his men. "The Anointed and I have discussed several items in regards to this position. It will be permanent." His gaze was hard as he looked at each of them, "You will no longer be an Inquisition soldier, you will be under her direct command. It will not be an easy position. She travels across the world to complete her missions. If this does not sound like something you are willing to do you are dismissed."

            Fifteen left.

            "If you have a family, a husband or wife or a child, waiting for you I ask for you to consider their feelings in this matter." I spoke, Cullen stepped back. He wasn't looking at me but at those that remained. "I am not easy to get along with, we will not be friends, we will not be glory seekers. You will most likely hate me, hate me more than anyone in your life but you will be mine. I will defend you to the bitter end. Your life becomes my life; I become responsible for you and your actions. Anything that reflects badly upon you is a mark against me and punishment will be doled out if you fuck up." I glared at all of them before continuing.

            "We will be on the front lines, we will have messy missions, we will not be in the spot light. Any of you that are looking to join me just for fame, leave now. I want nothing to do with it. If you remain and I find out you are seeking attention for your actions, if I hear you are boasting of what we have accomplished… it will be ugly and you will be pitied. I am not nice, and I will not be nice."

            Another ten left. I was down to fifteen soldiers. It was an easier number to manage. I wasn't sure how well Cullen knew his soldiers but I was about to find out.

            "Those of you that are still here, you will stand in that spot." I barked, a little of my Turian shining through, "If I come back and the snow around your feet is disturbed, if I think you have moved at all you will not be considered for this position. Am I understood?"

            A round of 'yes ma'am' was sounded off and I turned to stomp toward Cullen.

            "Fuck there is more of them than I thought. Which do you recommend?" He gave me a dry look.

            "You realize you are pilfering my men and asking which ones I like?"

            I grinned at him, "That is exactly what I'm doing." He chuckled and shook his head. "Keep in mind I need people who are not prejudice against anyone, despite background or race. Solas will most likely be traveling with me frequently, so any who are afraid of mages or do not work well are out of the question as well."

            He glared over my shoulder at them, eyes examining each of them. "I don't know all of them by name, but I will do what I can." He dismissed another eight. From the seven left I could make a decision. "Anything else?"

            "Coffee?" I batted my eyelashes at him and he scoffed and shook his head.

            "Ask Roland," he tossed over his shoulder before he strode out of my line of sight.

            I sighed. "Damn it." My shoulders slumped and I spun too look at the seven remaining. "You can move now. Relax as well, I'm not going to bite." The seven of them looked warily at each other before doing as I asked. There were two women and five men. "Alright, let's get real here, okay? That bravado before was all bullshit. Well… most of it. I'm not difficult to get along with, I have no idea what kind of missions we'll be getting. It might be a lot of sitting around doing drills, or playing cards and drinking. We might be sent to Rivain on a hunch that one of their Seers knows what Corypheus is doing, or we might walk willingly into the jaws of dragons. I have no idea and I am full of shit.

            "Now, I want you to know that while you probably won't hate me, I won't be your favorite person either. Your fighting habits… I will break them. We will run drills and we will fight together until I am convinced that you know what the person standing next to you is thinking and you can predict their next fifty moves. I have three spots, three. Four of you are going to remain with Commander Cullen, however I will keep your names in case the three I choose are not good fits. Knowing all of this, knowing the hard work ahead of us, are all of you still willing to join my team?" All of them nodded. "Good. Now, a quick test."

            "You… you are testing us on our knowledge?" It was one of the men who asked. I winked at him and shook my head.

            "We have Corypheus cornered, but there is a complication. He has a child as a hostage, and there is no way to kill him without killing the child. Now, in a weird twist of fate, if you let him go the child survives. If you let him go it is possible that thousands more die. If you don't it is certain one child will die. What do you do?" Morality is what I was looking for. It was a stupid off the wall question but I wanted to know what they would do if they were put in a hard position.

            "One child is not worth thousands." The man spoke confidently. I raked my eyes over him and refused to allow emotion to crawl across my face. He was tall, broad shoulders, bulging muscles. A scar over his left eye and five o'clock shadow.

            "Thank you," I stated. "Stand over there." I pointed to my left. A look of superiority shone in his eye. I didn't blink and turned to regard the remaining troops. "If you agree with him, go stand next to him." I watched with a passiveness that I didn't feel as four more went to stand next to him. I regarded the two that were left standing next to me. "Why?"

            "Because I can't accept there is nothing I can do to stop Corypheus besides kill the kid." Her voice was soft, "It is guaranteed that the kid will survive, but maybe we stop Corypheus before he kills anyone else."

            I didn't blink as I waited for the other to answer me. I looked at him and waited.

            "I have a lad of my own, and if the child was mine I'd hope someone would have mercy so he could come home." There was a fierce look in his eyes as he gazed down at me. "I won't kill a child."

            "Good, go pack, you're coming with me."

            "What?!" I spun to look at bulging muscles and there was a look of outrage on his face.

            "Leave your names with Cullen." I replied as I started away from them. There was the crunching of snow underfoot and it was coming straight for me. Whoever it was it sounded like they were running, heavy footed. Dropping to a knee I twisted, biotic blue coating a hand as I slammed the oncoming threat to the ground. "Except for you. I wouldn't leave your name with Cullen. Not unless you want him to know who to punish."

            I could only see one eye as he glared at me. I stood and stared at him until he gained his feet. The other four that stood next to him watched with narrowed eyes. None of those that chose as he did would ever be on my team. It took a long time for them to leave, but it turns out none of them wanted a piece of me.

            Turning slowly I wondered how much they knew about me. When I looked up I saw that both of my new squad mates were standing behind me, watching the others leave.

            My head tilted back and I laughed, full bellied. When I straightened they were still standing there. "I approve." I nodded, "Meet me at the north edge of camp in thirty minutes."

 

We were short a horse. The Inquisition could spare exactly two horses, but Leliana asked that Roland be a part of my team. Leliana could ask anything and if it was in my power to give I would. She gave me a place to belong and accepted me before anyone else had on this world. When they turned on me she demanded I stay in her employment. She was a friend, and a woman that I had grown to admire these last months.

            There were five of us and I wouldn't leave a man behind, not now at the beginning of our relationship.

            Bread nudged me and Gypsy watched him with a wary eye. I pushed his head away and offered him a pilfered apple.

            "We haven't been introduced yet," I smiled as my new male and female companions joined me. "My name is-"

            "Luna," the woman blurted out and then promptly blushed. "Sorry."

            I blinked, "It's okay. What's your name?"

            "Emma." She smiled softly at me. I nodded at her. She had copper colored skin, black hair, a deep chestnut colored eyes and a beauty mark under her right eye. She stood easily six inches over me and looked like she'd seen hard work every day of her life.

            "A pleasure Emma." I held out a hand and she grasped my forearm in hers. "And you sir?"

            "Tomen." He held out his hand and I quickly shook. He was compact in every form of the word except for height. He stood shoulder to shoulder with Solas, though he wasn't quite as lean as my wolf. Tomen had a deep tan, clean shaven face, and eyes so black I couldn't tell where the iris ended and the pupil began. Though he had a very warm smile. "It's a pleasure to be working alongside you Anointed."

            "Ah… no… see that isn't becoming a thing among us." My voice was firm, "I am Luna, if you are uncomfortable calling me by my name I am your superior officer. Sir will do."

            "Yes sir."

            "It'll fade." Roland assured as he strode forward.

            "Coffee?" I asked with wide eyes. Roland chuckled at me and held out a flask. "Oh you blessed creature." Popping the cork I drank and spat it out. "This isn't coffee." I looked at him and squinted my eyes. "Who put you up to this?"

            Roland pointed at Solas.

            "Betrayer!" I hissed as Solas approached us. "You would dare turn my own men against me?"

            "It's water, vhenan." Solas chided as he leaned down to press a kiss to the top of my head, "You must stay hydrated."

            I grumbled and shoved the flask into Bread's saddle bags. "Still rude." Emma and Tomen looked at a loss for words. I cleared my throat. "Solas, Roland I am happy to introduce our newest members. Emma," she gave a bow, "and Tomen," he just nodded. "They are traveling with us to Skyhold."

            "Where is Caleb?" Solas looked around. My expression grew dark.

            "Cullen could not secure the mage's help in that department. Several of them frown upon me because of Amara. Caleb will not be joining us."

            "How could anyone not want to travel with you?" Roland joked as he mounted his horse. Emma and Tomen were slowly counting the remaining three horses. I saw when they came to the same conclusion I had.

            Someone was riding double.

            I slapped a hand to Solas' chest. "You're with me, love." Solas sucked in a breath and I turned to look at him. "You okay?" There was a look of shock in his face. What did I say?

            "Yes." His voice was soft and his gaze drifted toward our company. He looked like he would give anything for us to be alone.

            "…right." I spun back to the others. "Don't get attached to these horses." I pointed to Solas' mare. "That one is normally Solas' her name is Shell, today however Tomen she'll be yours. As for your horse Emma, I am unsure of his abilities but if he is incapable of keeping up with Bread we won't be able to keep him."

            I looked at everyone. Damn but I was becoming responsible in so many ways it was scary.

            "Anyone have any objections before we head out?" No one responded. "Very well, shall we?"

            I hopped into the saddle, barely managing to contain the beast that was Bread and only long enough for Solas to slide into place behind me. Then the five—excuse me, six—of us were off. Gypsy loped easily next to Bread.

Chapter Text

We made it most of the way to Skyhold. It loomed above us like a giant shadow as the sun began to seek shelter behind the mountain tops. The temperature dropped quickly once the sun set. Tomen and Roland quickly worked on setting up the tents while Emma got a fire going. Solas saw to the horses while I quietly slipped from camp to find a game animal for us to eat tonight.

            I lucked into three nugs. How the hairless creatures survived this far up the mountains… they were surprisingly hardy creatures.

            As we sat around the fire everyone was quiet. It was normal of Solas but not for Roland and I had no idea what was normal for Tomen and Emma.

            When Emma stood and headed for her tent I asked for her to stop.

            "Before we all turn in for the night, I want to learn one thing about you." I looked between Tomen and Emma. "Anything of your choosing, from your age to your favorite food. And you can ask me one question."

            "I was born in the summer." Emma was quiet. She had been quiet every time she spoke other than when she blurted out my name. Was she looking to please me when she said it or was she just excited. "What is your favorite food?"

            "Enchiladas." I smiled at her, "I know you've never heard of it, perhaps one day I'll make it for you." I looked at Tomen expectedly and he sighed.

            "My boy's name is Marco." His words were more of a grunt. "Why did you ask us that question about Corypheus?"

            I watched him for a moment before I spoke. "I don't want heroics. I don't want someone who is willing to make the hard choices. Those are mine, and if I do my job you'll never have to make one. Only carry mine out. Anything we do, anything you don't agree with, let it be on my conscience."

            Without waiting for either of them to say or do anything I stood and headed for my tent. "Make sure the fire is out before you go to bed."

            As I lay in my bedroll I heard Tomen ask one more question. "She said we'd hate her, was she right?"

            "No." Solas was quiet but with my elf ears I heard him anyway. "She will make you want to, but you will be incapable of it."

            I pushed my face into his pillow and relaxed into sleep. Sweet talker.

 

When Solas slipped into my dream, I felt it. It was like a ripple across my very soul. It's strange to say but Ms. Flame lifted her head and I knew she was just… awake and waiting for him. Turning I searched for him. It was unnecessary. Arms, warm and feeling of home, slipped around my waist and he pulled me back against his chest.

            "Hello, vhenan." He whispered, his breath falling across the top of my ear. I shuddered as it sent a wave of chills down the side of my body.

            "Are you ready?" I asked quietly as I spun in his embrace. My hands framed the sides of his face. "There is no going back, once you've seen what I was… it may change everything." His eyes searched mine.

            "Think of the memory." His thumb rose and brushed something off my cheek. "Close your eyes and picture every detail. Hold it clearly in your mind, and I will shape it into reality."

            My lashes touched my cheek as I thought of that day. It flashed too quickly through my mind and I forced myself to stop at the one point I wanted to show him. That particular day had been full of pain and panic.

            "Okay," my word was a sigh against his lips. I hadn't realized he was that close. Lightly they brushed mine and when he pulled away I heard him gasp and I slid from his arms. I opened my eyes and my gaze glazed over as the memory played out before my eyes.

            The Citadel was being ravaged. The arms had already closed and Sovereign was attempting to open the massive relay that would lead more of the Reapers into the Milky Way. I laced my hands through his and I gently pushed off of the platform we stood on. We drifted. The fade was really a marvelous thing. For it to be able to shape something that had never happened in this reality…

            "I'm in that ship." I pointed at the Normandy. It's sleek form drifting in and out of the debris that cluttered the area. Joker really was the best pilot. "Do you remember how I told you there was a ship that was half organic half machine?" I finally turned to look at Solas. His eyes were wide and everywhere he looked something was being blown up. "That's it." My voice was dark and dripping with anger.

            I knew that hatred was etched into every inch of my face. Sovereign. And then somehow they managed to get out of dark space. I can't for the life of me remember how. I don't think Garrus told me.

            "How?" Solas whispered, "How is this possible?"

            "Which part? Space flight? Different species from different planets?" I released his hand and he froze the moment. Pain pulled in my chest. I looked at the scene from every angle. Shepard opted to save the Council, their flag ship was still intact. I tapped his shoulder lightly, "There." I pointed. "Zoom in, if you can." By now Shepard had made it from Ilos and I got off the ship to meet up with her.

            On the pillar at the center of the Citadel were a group of people. Geth were quickly surrounding them. A phantom pain flashed on my right side.

            "Bastard had better than average aim." I laughed as a Turian shape took a hit and went down. "That machine broke part of my outer plating that day. It wasn't the same since."

            "That was you?" Solas sounded shocked.

            "You didn't think I was always an elf?" I chuckled. "That one there," I pointed to a human in red armor. "That's Jane Shepard, she was our leader."

            "What happened to her?"

            "…I assume she died saving the Milky Way." My voice was soft. There had been no way for her to get out. It was a sacrifice. "It was the second time she died for these ungrateful cretins." I drifted through the empty space until I was next to Solas. "Come, this isn't the only thing I wanted to show you."

            Melancholy filled my veins and I wanted nothing more than to step from this nightmare. This day haunted my dreams and now I was just giving it fuel. There would be more nightmares that plagued me and it would stem from this moment. But I needed him to see. He had to understand.

            I pulled the next image into my mind and nodded at him. It sounded like someone punched him and I knew that the next memory formed.

            We were on Palaven. "This is the Turian home world." I saw me rushing by, a shotgun held in my hand. "We were no match for them, but I tried anyway." My Turian body got into shuttle and I knew where I was headed. We were going there next. "It is a cycle that they go through, every fifty thousand years. They come and wipe out any space fairing species, leaving virtually no trace of their existence."

            I shuddered as the sound of a Reaper weapon blasted into the air. The whirling sound it made before it went off, and then the gut wrenching horn like fire. Solas was watching me.

            "Vhenan?" He whispered.

            "That sound torments me regularly."

            Turian children screamed. Women cried. Whole families gone in the blink of an eye. After Palaven I threw everything I had into the sub-reality device. Mordin had not been available to help me; he was busy working to cure the genophage. That didn't mean I hadn't had the schematics for it. The concept had been solid, I just needed to build it. And the Reapers showing up on the Milky Way's doorstep had been the kick in the ass that I needed. This day had been an eye opener.

            "Earth fell first, but I wasn't there for that one. Earth was my first home and I didn't have the heart to watch it fall."

            "Why are you showing me these things?" He sounded torn and I watched him as he watched me. Ash drifted across the space that separated us. "What purpose does this serve?"

            "One more." I whispered, "And then I'll answer your question."

            The scene jumped. We were on the moon that belonged to Palaven. "This is a Turian base. Here their resistance was born. And here is where I came next, in a vain attempt to save a species I didn't belong to."

            Shepard ran past me.

            "Was she everywhere tragedy struck?"

            "She chased it like it was a storm." I replied softly, "Though without her, everyone would have perished."

            A Banshee ran toward the human cloaked in red. "What is that creature?"

            "It was an Asari. She was probably an Asari Huntress before she was turned. The Reapers have a way of enslaving the different races and turning them against their people. It was a very ugly war fought for a seemingly stupid reason." My eyes tracked her movements. Disjointed and ungraceful. It was everything that Asari were not. "So much like the Red Templars." I whispered, the similarities were uncanny, "Indoctrination, that's what the Reapers did. It took over everything, just like being infected with red lyrium."

            A reaper landed behind us in the distance. The sound of its beam shooting off again whistled through the air.

            He wrapped his arms around me and pushed a hand against my ear. I smiled against his shirt. Solas was trying to block out the sound. It was a very sweet thing for him to do.

            "Have you seen enough?" I mumbled into the sleeve of his shirt.

            "Yes." His tone was clipped and everything flashed for a second before we ended up in the raw form of the fade. A green sky greeted me. It wasn't the strangest thing I've ever seen. Solas stepped away from me and stared out into the distance. The Black City floated, always visible, never close.

            "To answer your earlier question, I wanted to show you these things so you'd have perspective." He was silent so I continued. "You seem to think you are some… horrible person because you attempted to do something to save your people. I wanted you to see something truly horrific so you'd see you how I do."

            "And how do you see me?" He sounded angry, and that was not the point of this exercise. Not the point of me ripping open old wounds. I didn't do this on a whim. "Do you still distrust me?"

            "Do you trust me?" I shot back, "Just because we know each other's secrets does not mean we know every little detail about each other. You see yourself as a monster! I see you as a desperate man willing to do anything to save his people. You are no different than Jane Shepard!" I was shouting now, "She was willing to make the hard decisions so that the species that inhabited the planets that dotted the Milky Way could draw another breath but I guarantee you that if she failed she would have been reviled. Hell, half the fucking known universe thought she was insane before the Reapers attacked Earth! No one believed her and they hated her. Grounded her, stripped her of her rank and cast her out of the Military! They put her under house arrest. But still she fought to save them, because that is what Jane did."

            Solas rushed me and I stood my ground. He had the upper hand in the fade but I'd be damned before-

            His hands yanked me against him and his lips crashed against mine. Our teeth scraped together uncomfortably but he didn't stop. If we'd been in the waking world his hand would have left a bruise on my hip, I relished it though.

            A hand was fisted in my hair and he pulled with just enough force to pull me up to my toes. Pain mixed with pleasure in the most intoxicating way. He was everywhere, his scent filled my nose and the fabric under my fingertips was so complex I was convinced that it was real.

            The kiss broke and I groaned as he move steadily down my neck, a series of open mouth wet kisses trailed across my skin. The hand on my hip moved to push the hem of my shirt up. It was all I could do to stay standing.

            "Wake up." A kiss was pressed against my lips as he held me against him. "Wake up."

 

Solas had my back pinned to his chest when my eyes snapped open. One of his arms was like a band of iron across my chest. The fingers of his free hand gripped the hem of my shirt. His shirt actually. I hadn't had the heart to give it back. I loved sleeping in the fucking thing.

            "Say no and I will stop." He whispered. I pressed my lips together tightly. Fingers wrapped around my chin as he rolled onto his back, they pushed until my head was facing him. My breath hitched as a knee slid between mine and pulled my legs open. Storm blue eyes were half lidded and I groaned through clenched teeth as his free hand ghosted over my inner thigh. "Last chance my love."

            "Please." I hissed, my hips moved of their own accord trying to get him to touch me. I ached and I had no clue how I was already this aroused but fuck me if he didn't… well fuck me I was going to lose it.

            His fingers were rough against my slick and he moaned, pressing his mouth against my shoulder in attempt to muffle the noise. I sucked in a rough breath and bucked my hips at the contact. I started to squirm in attempt to do his work for him. He chuckled but rolled us over until his hand was pinned between my hips and the ground and I was pinned between his hips and the ground.

            "Is this alright?" He pressed a kiss to the spot where my jaw met my neck. He may have had my hips pinned with his but he was holding most of his upper weight on an elbow.

            Solas surrounded me with his whole body but I didn't feel caged. He stilled when I didn't answer and I groaned at the loss of friction.

            "Don't stop." I whispered. "Please." The last word was hardly a word at all.

            "I won't," he promised, quick kisses peppered from my temple to the corner of my mouth, "as long as you let me know if you are uncomfortable."

            I nodded quickly. A low growl emanated from him and he lifted his hips long enough to reposition me before he pressed me into the ground again. His fingers slid in circles around that little bundle of nerves with little resistance, and when one slid into me I whined like I never had before.

            He stilled, head twisting away from me and we stayed like that for a long moment. "Quiet, love." One of my hands slid up to grip at the edge of the bedroll and I nodded at him. One finger turned into two and I pushed against his hips in attempt to move mine. He chuckled low in his throat and pressed harder with his hips, determined to hold me in place. "Don't rush."

            My hand searched until I found his, my fingers twined with his and he shifted position so he could claim my lips with his. Tongues met and engaged in a frenzied battle. The kiss was passionate, a mixing of teeth and tongues. His fingers curled inside of me, ever seeking for something while his thumb made constant passes against my clit that were too light to actually push me over the edge. My whole body was alive with pleasure and I was just about to go insane with want.

            Solas was not lying; he was in no way shape or form bad at sex. He held me on the cusp longer than I would ever admit to him and just before I was about to fall off that ledge he pulled back and watched as I panted and writhed under him. He whispered things to me that I'm sure would have made me blush if I understood Elvhen.

            "Solas," I groaned as he pulled me back from the edge for what must have been the eighth time.

            "My heart?" His tone was sweet and innocent but I could see the gleam in his eye. This was a calculated maneuver to get me to beg. He was in for a surprise. I hadn't begged for anything in my life since I left Earth.

            "If you keep this up much longer I am liable to scream and wake the whole mountain."

            "Do it." He coaxed, "They will know I made you scream." Cocky bastard. His fingers slowed inside me again and he pressed another kiss to the corner of my lips. "Will you?"

            I opened my mouth and he was there in an instant, covering my lips with his again. Pressure was finally given to me and my vision went white. He swallowed the sound of my scream as his fingers rode me over the edge. Muscles clenched around air as his fingers disappeared and his weight vanished from my back.

            I drifted for a while and when I was aware again I was on my back with Solas looming over me.

            "There she is." He whispered. Kisses, warm and wet ran down the side of my neck. "You are so beautiful." A hand cupped my breast and a thumb ran over my nipple. They stiffened instantly, the fabric of my shirt rough against them. I had enough.

            My legs wrapped around his waist and I pushed and shoved until I was on top. "Cruel." I hissed, "That was cruel and you know it."

            "And here I thought you'd told Blackwall you like it all ways." That knowing smirk was back and his fingers twined gently in my hair, "Such admissions should only be given to lovers, whispered quietly in the dark, else it could be used against you." Jealousy tinged his words. My stomach twisted and my heart hammered in my chest. What was he doing to me?

            I growled lowly under my breath but when he tugged me to him I was more than willing. His fingers glided down the arch of my back to tangle in the hem of my shirt. Slowly he tugged it up until my arms were sliding free of it and I was sitting in his lap. His hand slid down until it was between my shoulder blades. He sat up and caught one of my nipples in his mouth while his free hand rolled the other between his fingers.

            My hand cradled his head to me and I ground my hips against his. He groaned and the hand on my breast disappeared until it slid between us to fumble with the ties of his pants. It was a long moment before he sprang free and I twisted until his cock was pushed up against his belly. His hand slid around to the back of my thigh and he tried to pull me up but I rolled my hips forward and slid back down.

            He shuddered under me and I repeated the motion. His response was to bite into the spot where my shoulder joined my neck and snarl. His other hand moved down to my waist and this time he managed to pull me up. A laugh escaped from the back of my throat, but it died when he slid into me.

            It burned in the sweetest of ways. I stretched around him. His arms slipped around me, holding me close. My breath caught and he went completely still. I shifted in his grasp and he groaned as he slid another inch into me.

            "Don't push." He pleaded, his voice tight. I shifted again and pushed until he was fully hilted inside of me. My head dropped back and I moaned in sinful delight. Every nerve was alight with his touch and he hissed when I moved up a little and dropped back down. "Vhenan." He warned and I loved the sound. So I did it again.

            One of his arms dropped around my waist and pinned me to him, in the same movement he rolled us over so I was on my back.

            "Behave." He chided.

            "Never." I gave him one of my own half smirks and he gave me a dangerous look. "Or should I say… make me?" I punctuated it with a roll of my hips and his grip tightened.

            "Ma nuvenin." And then he moved. My back arched as he pulled out until everything but his head was gone and I whined at him. My hands tugging at his shoulders in attempt to squiggle down. His hips snapped forward and I let out a silent scream. It was the only way to keep myself quiet through the friction and pleasure. He repeated the motion and the tips of my fingers dug into his back. "It seems I have your attention." My nails raked down his back and he hissed but never faltered.

            Each movement was bliss, each thrust built me up higher until I felt like I was about to vanish. To stop being me. I had no idea where he stopped and I began. Fingers were once more at my clit and I felt him throbbing inside of me. I gasped and pulled until my face was buried in the crook of his neck. I chased my own pleasure with a single mindedness that I rarely experienced.

            When the second orgasm slammed into me I muffled my scream with my teeth in his neck. He groaned and held my head to him. My walls fluttered and flexed around him. His hips stuttered once, and then again. His hands gripped me with bruising force and I reveled in the feeling.

            Solas rolled until he was on his back and I straddled him. He pressed soft kisses to my shoulder and I leaned back until I could look at him.

            "Ar lath, ma vhenan." He whispered. I moved until I could claim his lips. The kiss was soft but it carried a promise that made my heart ache. "Sleep, my love. We have a long few days ahead of us."

            I laid my head back down against his shoulder and fell asleep to the sound of his thudding heart and rapid breathing. It wasn't twenty eight years of sex, but—and forgive me for it—oh my god it was among the best.

Chapter Text

Gypsy licked me awake, a quiet whine slipping from between her open jaws. Using the back of my hand I pushed her face away from mine. Hot wolf breath was not the best way to wake up. She pushed back and I growled as I rolled over. Muscles pulled in all the right places, I ached in the most wonderful fashion.

            "On'dhea, ara vhenan." Solas whispered as he pressed a kiss to my temple. I hummed at him as I stretched.

            Gypsy whined again and pushed toward me, laying her head over mine. Solas grimaced when she ran her tongue up the side of his face. I giggled. Gypsy, it seemed, was finally warming up to Solas.

            "Aww… k-cute!" Solas glared at me, "Hey, maybe it's my smell all over you? We could make an experiment out of it!" I pressed a kiss to the tip of his nose and rolled out of our sleeping spot. Twisting I yanked out a dirty piece of clothing and wiped down. It should have been done last night and heaven forbid I get a UTI because of this shit. There would be hell to pay.

            Solas swiped his hand in my direction, fingers reaching for anything that could be used to pull me back. "It is too early, vhenan, return to bed."

            "Oh no," I smiled as I rolled farther away from him. "We have shit to do this morning lover, and me returning to…." My gaze met his and he gave me one of those delicious little half smirks. "Yeah, that, and I have to be responsible." Fucking walking sex god.

            "Ma'am?" My head twisted toward the entrance to the tent. Wow, someone else was awake at…? I turned to look for the sun and when I didn't find it I finished dressing and pointed at Solas.

            "Dressed, we leave soon."

            "Ma nuvenin." Solas sighed as he dropped his head back onto the pillow. Groaning I quickly pounced on him and kissed him thoroughly.

            "Not a word." I growled as I rolled out of the tent. Gypsy barked her opinion and I grumbled at her. "I don't need your approval little bug."

            She barked again.

            "Because I fucking said so, go bug Solas." Her head disappeared from the tent opening and I heard Solas groan. She must have flopped on him. Love that little wolf to pieces. "Tomen!" I exclaimed as I gained my feet. "You're awake early, sun hasn't even risen yet."

            "The three of us took watch." His tone was flat and I realized that was something we hadn't set up. They'd done it anyway but neither Solas nor I had participated and it kind of made me feel like shit. I didn't want them thinking that I was above such duties. And it caused a little spark of pride that they took the initiative and did it themselves.

            "Ah… yeah sorry I've been traveling alone for longer than I'd admit to anyone so keeping watch isn't something I'm used to." I shook my head, "I'm grateful you guys did that, truly. Tonight we'll draw lots to see who keeps watch."

            His chin jerked down once. He certainly was outspoken and with such short sentences.

            "Wake the others for me? I'll get started on food." Tomen nodded again before he dropped back to the other two tents. A sigh escaped my lips and I rolled my head on my shoulders. We had some nug left over and a little bit of wine. Enough that it would warm the others. As much as I wanted to morning drink today was not that day.

            It took me a bit of searching but I found a large pot. Wandering a bit away from camp I packed clean snow into it. Stew was warm and it would warm us all up. It would be more like nug soup, which… nug tasted like chicken. I had expected it to taste like pork seeing as how nugs were like tiny pigs but no such luck.

            I was really starting to miss bacon. My fingers worked quickly to pull meat off the nug bones. Gypsy had already slunked out of our tent and was giving me doe eyes. As soon as the bones were relatively free of meat I threw them at her one at a time. Her jaws snapped and the sound of bones crunching sent a shiver up my spine. How could I not have realized how large she'd gotten?

            Soon the other four joined us. Solas flicked his fingers and the snow melted at a rapid pace. I dumped the nug meat into the boiling water along with several of my own spices; among them were salt and a few cloves of garlic. It went by a different name here but I didn't know what it was.

            "It's not much." I yawned as the food finished cooking. Roland—fucking saint—brought out the coffee and my hands made little grabbing gestures. "But eat up. We're securing the fortress and starting on cleaning it up."

            There was a round of grumbles but all of them ate. I mostly picked at mine, sipping at the broth. My stomach was unsettled. I had no idea what we would find at Skyhold. It had been weeks since we'd seen it from a distance. Solas was still insistent that there was nothing there. Though he had said larger than a goat. That meant there could be smaller creatures there, like snakes or… I shivered, unwilling to think of the creepy crawlies that might lurk in the deep recesses of the ancient fortress.

            After breakfast camp was broken down quickly. I dropped several sugar cubes into Solas' hand and pointed at Bread. My horse had been extremely unhappy at the second passenger and attempt to throw both of us several times yesterday.

            "Make nice."

            "Where do you obtain all of these little treats for him?" Solas asked as he examined the cubes.

            "I take my coffee black." I shrugged as my fingers wound through Gypsy's fur. "Most assume that I like sugar so they bring them to me. I never said anything because they are good bribes for horses."

            He arched one of his eyebrows at me but turned toward Bread. My horse flared his nostrils and pawed at the ground as Solas approached.

            "Ma'am?" Spinning I looked at Emma. "We are ready to depart."

            "Excellent!" I held out a hand, "Emma, I have a quick question for you…" the woman stepped closer and I laid a hand on her arm, "You are so… soft spoken. What made you decide to join the Inquisition?"

            "The Herald," her response was simple. Or I thought it was. "At least, at first. I was inspired by an elf that would stand for all of Thedas, and then I saw how she treated you."

            "Oh?" I asked, eyes widening slowly, "And how did she treat me?"

            "I was there," Emma's voice got quieter and she leaned in as if sharing some great secret, "the day you were brought back covered in mud and bound. The Herald had a look on her face that I didn't like; I thought you'd gone bad. Why else would the Herald look at you like that?" Emma looked down at me, "And then you saved her. I know you don't hear a lot of what the soldiers say about you." Her voice was gaining in volume but she was still quiet. "They look up to you, now more than ever."

            Fucking lovely. I wasn't going to be here forever, didn't want to stand in the lime light any more than I had to and here was a woman telling me that most of the soldiers were watching me.

            "Thank you," I nodded at her, trying—and mostly failing I suspect—to keep a smile on my face.

            "What I don't understand is… why?" Emma's face was open and honest and brimming with curiosity. "Why save her after how she treated you?"

            I watched Emma for a long moment. My eyes darting back and forth between hers and I wondered why it was so important to her. Tilting my head I told her why. Why I did it.

            "Because I had to." Simple and honest, just like the look on Emma's face. "I know most of the Inquisition soldiers don't know what happened in Redcliffe, many of you aren't aware of…" I cleared my throat. They were part of my team now, they would find out sooner or later. "Aren't aware of what I am capable of. I hid it, for a long time, because I was afraid. Ellana was thrown into a future where she wasn't present for many things. Simply put it was a horrible future, and I did some bad things while under the control of a monster. She is young and held it against me.

            "I saved her because she is essential to the survival of Thedas as we know it. I don't know what that future was like, not completely. But I knew enough and that made me act. Ellana is necessary and I will do whatever it takes to make sure she stays alive."

            "But…?" Emma asked. My eyes widened. Just how much did this soft spoken woman actually see? It was the quiet ones you needed to watch out for. Solas should have been proof enough of that concept, but it seemed that I was in need of further lessons on the subject.

            "But," I gave her a soft smile, "it does not mean that things between Ellana and I are the same. I highly doubt that we will be drinking buddies any time soon. I… scare her."

            "If you want to be her friend, why act any differently?"

            My gaze drifted as well as my mind. I went back to the road after Redcliffe. How I'd been bound and gagged. Forced to run after the horses, tied up by firelight, forced to sleep in awkward positions. Deprived of food unless Solas took the time—he almost always did—to feed me. The rope burn that had yet to fade completely. Solas wanted to heal it, but I refused. It was a reminder. A reminder of what had happened and why. My scars were quickly accumulating in this world. Faster than they had in any other.

            I'd made great friends in such a short time, and lost one of them just as quickly. Ellana was acting as if nothing had happened but it didn't erase what she'd done. I would follow Ellana, she had my loyalty because she was necessary but did I honestly believe that we could be friends? After how she reacted? Her actions, in her eyes, were justified. I was—still am—an unknown variable. In her place…

            No, I wouldn't have done what she did. If someone had done as much as I had, been as loyal as I had I would not have treated them as Ellana had me. She and I grew up in a vastly different world, obviously, but I'd been subjected to more horrors that the little elf could possibly imagine. What I'd shown Solas barely scratched the surface of one life, and that one had been tame in the area of personal tragedies and pain.

            Did I want to be Ellana's friend? Yes, because we had once been friends. Did I believe that it was possible now? Time would tell, but no I didn't think so.

            "I'm not sure that's possible." I offered quietly. Emma blinked at me, "Are the horses saddled?"

            Solas appeared at my shoulder, his hand resting gently at the small of my back. "Roland and Tomen have seen to it, da'evune."

            "Good, time to head out."

            Roland held the reins for Solas and I as we both clambered up onto Bread's back. How I'd lucked into the marvelous horse… well I knew how but the chances of it were slim and each time he gave me his all I realized just how lucky I'd been that his owner hadn't realized his worth.

            Once both Solas and I were settled I took the reins from Roland and gently patted the side of Bread's neck. When I looked around the three of my men were mounted and waiting for my direction.

            I nodded at them before Bread spun sharply. Solas, used to such tactics from my crazed war horse, gripped tighter and hunched over me as Bread bolted.

            Skyhold here we come.

            Tarasyl'an Te'las. Ms. Flame was being a little talkative this morning. She pressed farther into my awareness and approved of how Solas was holding on to us. On to me. Me. I was in charge. The Place where Sky held back.

            Fucking serious? She was offering translations now?

            Could I ask her, instead of Ellana? Would that be safer?

            Yes, yes it would.

 

Skyhold was a god damned mess and fuck anyone who volunteered me for this mission. The curtain wall was sturdy but everything inside was crumbling. The Inquisition would have to hire people to come in and repair it. It wasn't something that we could do, the cost of importing stone on our own would break us.

            Dwarves would be best suited to the task and I tried to remember the names of the dwarves that repaired the Gray Warden keep. They eluded me at the moment.

            Roland let out a low whistle. "We certainly have our work cut out for us ma'am." His horse shifted back and forth as we stood atop the bridge that was blocked.

            Skyhold wasn't even accessible at this moment. Debris covered the entrance and the gate was down. Thankfully it wasn't a draw bridge or we'd have been screwed halfway to Monday.

            "Would you like me to clear it, vhenan?" Solas asked quietly from behind me. Bread had behaved a little better on the ride up here. The sun had barely made it past the ridge of the mountains.

            "No," I shook my head, "it's time we see the reaction they'll have to my abilities."

            Solas slid from the back of the horse and held out his hands. Gently I placed mine in his and allowed him to assist me down from the saddle. I lingered for just a moment before stepping from his grasp.

            "Stand back." I commanded.

            Roland shifted his position. Emma and Tomen were stationed behind me already.

            I focused completely on the task at hand. Biotic powers were volatile and not normally used for moving objects because once hit with them their trajectory was only predictable through the use of math and physics. Things that I'd never been very good with.

            As gently as I was able I gripped the wooden beams and chunks of stone and lifted them out of our way. I tugged slightly pulling it toward me before I shifted my whole weight to the left and punched out with throw. My burden skyrocketed off into the distance.

            Looks like I was actually capable of precision biotics, but only when I focused fully on the task at hand.

            "Alright." I turned to look at the four people standing behind me. Gypsy sat at attention, her little ears flicking at me. "We have no idea what is beyond this point, however the debris covering the entrance is a good indicator that there isn't anything dangerous lurking beyond. Regardless proceed with caution, the foundation may be unstable. We have no idea how old this place actually is. That being said…" I trailed off and looked at them. "Roland, Tomen and Emma you three are together. Search everywhere easily accessible, don't climb over dangerous obstacles—use your judgement—and take stock of what the Inquisition can use."

            "What will you be doing ma'am?" Tomen asked as he cast a glance toward Solas.

            "Solas and I will take the hard path. We're going to go places that look unsteady. I don't want you guys taking any risks more than necessary. You have families and people waiting for you to return, remember that and be safe."

            They each saluted me and moved inside of Skyhold. Once they thought I was out of ear shot Roland told the others: "She is more cautious about our lives than she is her own, strange isn't it?"

            Neither Emma or Tomen answered him.

            "Don't listen to him vhenan." Solas murmured as he wrapped me up in his arms. "Come, I wish to show you something."

            "Ohh… surprises?" I asked delighted. "I like surprises."

            "There is one you will take special interest in, yes." There was a gleam in his eye. "This way."

            Let's just say that Skyhold is fucking huge. It was easily the size of Amaranthine in the game, not in real life. There was room for barracks for the soldiers and housing for civilians. The stables were massive and let's not even get started on the infirmary. Ms. Flame took special interest in that area. She, unlike me, had walked the halls of Skyhold before. The infirmary had been of her design.

            Solas walked me deeper into the fortress. Towers four stories high, all of them brimming with room and more stable than I'd have given credit originally. We walked the halls and he showed me the rotunda. It was an unassuming place. The walls were bare on the first level. Shelves lined the second and it made me think library. Further up there was another level, the sky was shining through the roof in giant patches.

            Everywhere we went there were holes in the roof, the walls and floor were sturdy but the wood had rotted through. It would have to be replaced. Every inch of it. The main hall had an area that looked like it once served as an altar; however the figure that had been raised was not part of the Andrastian faith. I shuddered at the strange statue.

            "That has to go." I whispered as we moved passed it. Solas made a noise in the back of his throat.

            "The fortress has held many of different faiths," he paused to look at it. "However you are correct, the statue does represent anything the Chantry would approve of."

            Slowly we made our way down a side hallway, halfway down there was another door. Solas pushed it open and moved silently down the stairs. Standing on tip toes I tried to see over his head. Looking for webs or for… well anything crawling around.

            "Vhenan?" Solas asked when he realized I wasn't following him, "Is everything well?"

            "Uh…." I hedged as I started down after him, keeping my arms tucked in very tight. "Yes?"

            He watched me for a quiet moment and when I stood next to him he started walking again. My eyes darted everywhere. Creepy crawlies thrived in conditions like these. We went deeper into the keep than I realize even existed. I knew Skyhold was vast, but for them to tunnel into the mountain as well? It wasn't something expected from Elvhen who—and I was assuming—were creatures of the sky and forest. Dwarves delved deeply into the mountains and none of the proper dwarves in this world would be caught dead anywhere the sky could see them.

            Just what had this place seen in its glory days?

            "This," Solas stated as he pushed open a door, "is your room." My jaw dropped as I saw the scrolling expanse before me. The ceiling was high and the edge of the room just… dropped off. A waterfall cascaded down over the top, a natural curtain. The sound was a loud roar but the view was… it was magnificent.

            My hands gripped the railing and I leaned over the edge. There was an underground pool not too far away. I held out my hand to bath in the water that fell and was pleasantly surprised when I found it was not frigid mountain water.

            "A hot spring." Solas explained when I turned to look at him. "Elvhen made but few will be able to tell such things in this time." He was leaning against the door frame. One of his hands lifted and pointed toward a door on the far end of the room. "The surprise is through there."

            One of my eye brows rose of its own accord and I tilted my head as I slowly made my way across the floor. I'd have to get a rug for the room. This room would retain more heat though. The sun would warm the upper levels and through them the earth, which would keep the heat until the next morning. It was like a natural built in heater.

            The wooden door was decaying and I pushed the tips of two fingers against the door. Right, that needed to be replaced. It all but crumbled under my touch. As gently as I could I edged into the room and I squealed in delight.

            Rushing forward I looked at the bathroom. And it was a god damned actual bathroom. With a mother fucking toilet and a shower. An actual shower! I hadn't had one in… well I didn't want to think about it.

            My first instinct was to strip and rush into the basin under the shower head but I restrained myself. We needed to catalogue everything.

            Damn being responsible! Damn it to hell!

            "Do you have any idea the gift you have given me?" I called toward him, "I fucking love this to death!"

            Solas chuckled softly behind me. "What you showed me in the fade… this pales in comparison to the technology you had and yet you are delighted by this." When I looked back at him he looked astonished.

            "The shower." I said simply as I pointed at it. "You need to get me out of this room before I get naked."

            "Temptress." Solas whispered and I tilted my face in his direction. He let out a low growl and prowled toward me. I held up a hand in warning, his fingers reached up to thread through mine and he used it to pull me toward him.

            His lids were hooded and he started to lean down toward me. My gaze was fixed on his lips, oh lord he was going to be the death of me. I pressed up to my toes and leaned forward. One kiss wouldn't hurt anything.

            I screamed as something dropped onto his face. My brain registered what it was but my body was already in motion. I watched as my hand arced through the air toward his cheek. The damned thing with more than eight legs started to crawl across his face. Solas' eyes widened and he started to swipe at his nose.

            WACK!

            My hand met his face and I slapped the centipede off of him. Tracking its decent I ran toward it and slammed my foot down on top of it. Thank the heavens above that I was wearing actual shoes instead of the foot wraps Solas wore.

            Pressing up to the ball of my foot I spun in a circle, squishing the evil beast under my toes.

            "OH MY GOD!" I screamed as I looked at the ceiling for more offending creatures. My hands swiping at every inch they could reach of my clothing and skin. Were there any on me? "What the actual fuck was that?!" I ran to Solas and shook him, "Light!"

            He was cupping the side of his face and I realize what I'd done.

            "Oh hell," I whispered as I tugged gently on his arm, "I didn't… shit I'm sorry I just…"

            Solas laughed. It was deep, born in his belly. His shoulders shook with the force of it and I watched as his Adam's apple bobbed up and down.

            My eyes narrowed to slits and I glared at him.

            "What?" I growled.

            "Oh ma vhenan," he choked out, the laughter still ruling most of his body. "You are afraid of them."

            I opened my mouth and pointed at him when I saw another one crawling across the floor. "Fucking hell!"

            Solas doubled over, his fingers flicking out to incinerate the evil little shit before it could move too far. I, however, had retreated to the counter that housed the sink. My whole body was atop it and I was crouching, eyes darting everywhere looking for anything that moved.

            Spiders? Sure I could handle those, even the giant ones that dwelled in the tunnels under Thedas. Darkspawn? Any day of the damned week. Abominations? Reluctantly, but I'd do it.

            Centipedes? Never. 

            "I'm done."

            "Vhenan." Solas pleaded as I bolted toward the door, "They are harmless."

            "Don't care! Done!"

            Solas did not follow me out of the room but his laughter did.

 

Solas had yet to make an appearance but Emma, Roland and Tomen were ready to report in. All in all Skyhold was intact.

            "There is a room," Roland pointed toward a door, "that seems its function was a prison, however part of the floor has fallen out, it will need extensive repairs." I made note of it.

            All of us stood in the court yard just inside the gate. Emma had taken stock of the kitchens, everything was functional and the pantries were large. We could house well over two thousand people here. The soldiers would have to share rooms, barracks would have to be rebuilt but we could do it. Skyhold was a fortress without a peer. Nothing I'd ever seen in any portion of Dragon age compared to this.

            "Tomen," I spun to him, "did you locate anything of interest?"

            "Tunnels, under the main hall." I refused to let my eyes widen. "They lead to a bathing area that is unusual. I would like for you and the mage to look at it."

            "Once I can locate him…." I trailed off, "Why don't you show me now? And then we can get you three squared away in a room of your choice."

            "We get our own rooms?" Emma asked, her voice a little louder than normal. Was she excited again?

            "Of course," I nodded, "You are, after all, part of my team. For all intents and purposes you are my inner circle. We need spaces where you can be yourself, without having to worry about prying eyes and wagging tongues. Also, if you desire you may have a suite for your family to stay in." I smiled at her. "Tomen? Lead the way."

            The bathhouse was very close to my room and I wondered if Tomen hear me scream. What was he even doing inside, I wanted them to explore the outside and look for any weaknesses. However I hadn't been specific soooo…. He wasn't in any trouble with me. Tomen may very well become the leader of the three of them.

            As I entered my eyes turned to the ceiling to look for anything unusual or anything that crawled.

            "There are no centipedes." Tomen stated as he watched me. I refused to blush under his gaze.

            "Thank you." My tone was light and airy but I felt like a fool.

            "My wife is not fond of them either." Tomen offered, "Knowledge traded for knowledge."

            Ah, we were still getting to know each other.

            "That is two things you know about me, and yet all I know of you is of your family."

            "Aye," Tomen nodded, "this way ma'am." He led me deeper into the area and I saw large pools with steam curling lazily off of them. "They vary in temperature. The hotter ones are in the back, I recommend those be closed for bathing."

            "Oh?" I stepped forward and looked down at it. Small bubbled were emanating from the bottom. Tomen held up his hand and I saw slight second degree burn on his skin. "You should have Solas look at that." Kneeling I took a whiff and caught the faint smell of rotting eggs. Sulfur. "I will make your recommendations known to the Council and will add my weight behind it."

            In total there were ten pools. Three of which would be sealed to prevent injury. There was one larger pool that we discovered. This one was not as clear as the other seven. Best used for laundry.

            Each of the pools were connected through small tunnels and there was a spot where they ran off into an underground well. Water was pouring in from the other direction. This had to be the work of Solas. Only ancient Elves would be able to do this kind of shit and make it look natural. There was nothing natural about these pools. They were almost perfect circles and the sides were smooth.

            "Good find Tomen."

            Ms. Flame raised her head and I got the sense she was looking behind me.

            "Will you really allow our families to reside here, with us?" There was a hint of hope in Tomen's voice and it was the first real emotion I heard from him.

            I watched him for a moment. "Of course, these are dangerous times and there is no telling when any of us will fall. I will not demand you be parted from any loved ones while we are in the safety of the fortress. Not when all I hold dear is near me. What kind of example would that set?"

            He gave a dry laugh, "Knife ear was right."

            My head snapped back to him so hard I thought I gave myself whiplash. "Never use that term again." I snarled, "We are a team, and there will be none of that. We will not call you shems and you will not use those words again."

            He gave me a little bow, "Meant no offense ma'am, just commenting on the fact that you are impossible to hate."

            My hands flexed and I demanded that my breathing slow. "No harm done, I'm not a stickler like some elves, but I won't hear anything negative about Solas unless you have proof."

            "Understood."

            Ms. Flame tugged inside of me. I really needed to get Dorian and Solas in a room together to work this shit out.

Chapter Text

Days passed that turned into two weeks. We scrounged for food and I was actually able to make regular breakfast for two of the mornings. Each day we cleared more areas. The main hall was now easily accessible, and each of my people had found a room. Tomen had secured a suite in the lower level and spoke to Roland about sending a raven to his family. His wife, Natalie and his son Marco would be will us before winter truly hit Skyhold.

            Emma was an orphan, explained a little about her quiet personality. She grew up in a Chantry, the sisters and the faith were all she knew from an early age. She claimed a spot in the gardens next to what would become their chapel. Said that it was quiet and she liked it. There was no harm in that, at least not to me.

            Roland chose a room in one of the towers along the wall. Roland, while I knew him the best of the three, was also one of the ones that I knew the least about his past. Tomen and Emma were forth coming with information; I think it is because they wanted to know more about me. The knowledge for knowledge continued and soon I knew their favorite colors and little tidbits about their childhood.

            Roland though…. He was loud but gave nothing. I knew what he liked to eat, but not when he was born. He was a wonderful aid, predicting things that I needed before I needed it.

            Somewhere the three of them scrounged up a frame for a massive bed and it just appeared in my room. I'd have to get a mattress to fit it, which meant importing it from Val Royeaux. Which meant… another trip to the city. There were too many things that I needed from there for it not to happen.

            It was at the end of the second week before the rest of the Inquisition filed through the gates of Skyhold. My team greeted them and directed their transition into the fortress with seamless effort.

            Solas often disappeared and none of us could locate him. It was starting to bother me slightly and when I commented on it he just explained that he was exploring his home, learning the layout all over again and how the humans had shaped it to fit their own purpose. Still, it was strange that no one could find him. Something this old had to have secret rooms or passages. There was something he wasn't telling me.

            "Anointed?" Josephine called out. She'd established an office just outside of a massive room that had a huge table in it. Solas said that it was ancient, had been there since the creation of the fortress. Only he and I knew what he meant. That table had been picked out when Arlathan was still around. I kept my mouth shut about it. "May I have a word?"

            I bound my hair back and nodded at the well-dressed woman. How she managed to look so well put together at all times was beyond me.

            "How can I be of assistance Ambassador?" I gave her a smile.

            "There is something I wish to clarify, so that I can spin your position appropriately." She picked up a writing pad and flipped through a couple pages. "We hadn't the time to speak on the road, for obvious reason, but now that we are establishing ourselves and help is pouring in with every passing day the people are growing curious about you. About how you arrived at the Inquisition."

            I nodded, this was a touchy subject. I didn't exactly have an extensive past here in Thedas. "You want me to fabricate a back story about where I originated?"

            She gave me a benevolent smile, "That would be much appreciated, rumors are starting to spread and it would be best to steer them in the correct direction."

            "Alright," I sighed and sat down across from her, "what kind of story do we want?"

            "Where were you born?"

            I was so tempted to tell her in a little village to the north. I suppressed a chuckle, "I've already told people that I didn't come from a city so it needs to be a small town, somewhere where elves are not reviled. I have too easy a friendship with humans for me to have been raised with any prejudices."

            "Rivain is the best bet, however many of them do not have… such a light complexion." Josephine made note of something, "Shall we say you were born in the wilds while your family traveled north?"

            "Sounds good to me."

            "Your abilities, no one else has them." Josephine ran the tip of her feather quill across her lower jaw, "The Maker bestowed them upon you?"

            I clenched my jaw at that. To think that this was going to be common knowledge. "I'm not sure about that one. Do what you think is best but perhaps it isn't such a good thing that people believe a Human Maker gave an elf special power."

            "The Herald was delivered to us by Andraste, why not provide her with someone she would feel comfortable with?" Josephine stated, "He is, after all, a benevolent Maker." I was so glad that she did not have elf hearing otherwise she might have heard me grinding my teeth.

            "As I said, Josie, whatever you feel is necessary. I was born in the wilds and raised in Rivain. Once I was of age I joined a pirate ship and traveled the world until I settled down with Stefan in a little cabin." I spread my hands wide, "Anything else you want to add I will state as the truth. We cannot have the masses thinking that I'm an other-worlder, despite the truth that rings in that statement."

            "Very well Anointed." She hid a smile behind the back of her hand. "The dye you request arrived earlier this morning. I believe that Leliana received it by raven."

            I bounced in my seat, "Excellent!" Goodbye pink hair! "Is there anything else you need?"

            "Do tell Varric I need to speak with him?"

            I narrowed my eyes at her, "Alright, that's an odd request…"

            "A simple matter of settling an account. He ordered some candied dates." I nodded. Interesting. The smile on her face was too close to shit eating grin for my comfort though.

            "Consider it done."

 

Three hours later and with the help of Leliana and Dorian the pink hair was gone and say hello to white hair.

            That's right. White. Not silver, but white. It was better than the pink and as my hair grew in it would blend better. We had not covered the roots, my hair having grown at least an inch since it was dyed pink. The result was silver fading into white and the effects were actually rather pleasing.

            "Much better darling," Dorian mussed my hair. "Now all we need to get some natural curls and you will look ravishing."

            Leliana chuckled, "I would like to speak to you later." She hovered in the door way, "Varric has brought forth some interesting news, a visitor is coming to Skyhold and if it is who I think it is, you may need to save him from Cassandra."

            I blinked at her, "Alright, do we know when this mystery person is showing up?"

            "Master Tethras seemed to be expecting them within a few days." Leliana started away, "Please meet with me this evening, and we will go over more specifics."

            "Okay!" I called after her. I tip toed to the doorway and poked my head out of it. Leliana was striding confidently down the hallway. Quickly I closed the door and sealed it. "Alright, any news?"

            "On?" Dorian picked at some dates. Varric apparently lost a bet to him and the dates was how they settled the account. I noted it for future reference. Dorian glanced up at me and saw the look on my face, "Oh, that. Yes I believe I've made some headway. There is an old binding ritual involving a medallion. It will have to be altered, as you are not a spirit and neither is the soul inside of you. However I believe it is possible to scoop up the soul and place it safely inside a container."

            It was so close to what Solas had said originally happened with the soul. My heart started to race at the idea of cutting her free. That wasn't the word that Dorian used but… it was the same concept.

            "Have you spoken with Solas about that?" I whispered. My emotions swirled with hers and I forced myself to breath. "I…"

            "Luna?" Dorian stepped closer and grabbed my chin, "What is happening?"

            "Not sure." I closed my eyes and tears leaked from the corners, "I feel like…. Betrayal. All over again and it is so strange. I can't… talk to Solas. He knows about her, maybe he can offer some advice."

            "The hobo apostate?" Dorian asked. I heard the eye roll.

            "I know you two don't get on very well." I admitted, "But I will talk to him about being polite, okay?"

            Dorian sighed, "For you, dear, anything."

            "How did I end up with such a great friend?" I commented as I leaned forward and gave him a hug. "By the way… I could probably set you two up."

            He turned and squinted at me, "Two who?"

            "I see how you look at him. You want to know, fuck I want to know." I wiggled my eyebrows at him, "Come on, we could do a double date, two warriors, two mages, wine from Tevinter and only the stars above us."

            "You cannot be serious." He gaped at me. "I would never-" He broke off, his face a slight shade of red.

            "You've thought about it, admit it." I teased and he flushed a deeper red. "Think about it, yeah? As much as I thought we didn't get along… well he's better than I thought he was."

            Dorian gave me a stiff nod, "Do talk to… Solas-" it sounded painful for him to say the wolf's name instead of the one he wanted to say, "-and make sure he plays nice."

            "I will Dorian."

 

Amara squealed in joy when she saw her room. It was down the same hallway as mine, underground. At first she had not been happy with it, resisting the idea of sleeping under the earth but when I showed her the room and the glowing rocks in the ceiling she fell in love with it.

            "It's like the fucking stars are in my room!" She cried. And I pursed my lips.

            "Amara I thought we agreed you wouldn't use that word." She looked at me and winced.

            "Sorry Luna." I sighed, and she danced in circles. "Can I get a real bed?"

            "Amara… have you never had a real bed before?" She lived in a circle but… honestly what had the living conditions been like.

            "I had a cot in a large room with others that were older than me." She said it like it was normal, and to her perhaps it was. "This is the first time I'll have my own room."

            "Arrangements will be made to have one delivered to you." I thought about it. I had to go to Val Royeaux to find a mattress for my room… why not have Amara come along and witness a larger city for herself and pick out the bed that she wanted. "Sweetie would you like to pick it out yourself?"

            Her eyes went wide, "Can I?"

            I laughed, "Of course, no child of mine will want for anything." This kid was going to be so f-ing spoiled by the time she was old enough to strike out on her own.

            "Where would I pick it out?" She danced toward me on light feet. I noticed she'd been wearing two robes. It was also time to get her new clothes. Ones that would be suited for the type of fighting style I was teaching her, also every girl deserves to feel pretty.

            "Val Royeaux." I would have to talk to Josephine about transportation and how it worked and what my allowance was for furnishing our rooms. "If we have nothing coming up in the next couple weeks I will take you there."

            "Promise?" Her wide eyes were full of hope and I patted the top of her head.

            "Promise."

 

Night was quickly falling and everyone was settling in. After a quick chat with Josephine, who assured me that we had more than enough money thanks to Vivienne's connections, I was able to secure a large fund to outfit not only my room but my team's rooms as well with enough left over to put aside for whatever I wanted.

            They were paying me a ridiculous amount now. Being the Hand of the Maker was a good gig, but that's all it was. There was no way in hell I was sent here by the Maker, but I'd be a good tool and not deny anything.

            With everyone present from Haven the keep was filled only a fraction of the way. Cullen worked with Josephine and arranged for Barracks to be built for the troops. Leliana had settled into the top floor of the rotunda. Her ravens flapped around and squawked at intruders. It was a good set up for her, prevented anyone from sneaking in and taking sensitive information.

            "You wanted to speak with me?" Leliana looked up from her desk and indicated a chair.

            "You look dead on your feet." Her voice was light and her eyes quickly scanned the area around us. "Have you eaten yet?"

            In response my stomach rumbled at me. I gave her a sheepish grin, "Not yet, busy day."

            "It has been a busy month." Leliana sighed and dropped into a chair next to me, "Sometimes it feels as if this is a dream, that all of us are dead under the snow at Haven." Glasses thunked onto the table and she pulled out a bottle. Popping the cork free she poured each of us a generous amount. "How is your team doing?"

            "Good," I nodded, "We are expecting Tomen's family shortly and Emma and Roland are doing fine."

            "Their training?"

            "Coming along nicely," this small talk seemed to be forced on her account. "They are quickly adapting to my fighting style, Roland more so than the others."

            "Do you have plans on building a larger team? Four seems to be a rather small amount, and your team will tire quickly if they are constantly moving."

            I hadn't thought of it. Ellana traveled with a pack of people, but she often only left with three or four of them.

            "I suppose I could build a cavalry of sorts." Teach them how to fight from the back of a horse, "We would have to be particular about who joined. What are you planning Leliana?"

            Leliana sighed and leaned back, her glass pressed to her lower jaw. "Varric's 'friend', I'm almost positive that it is the Champion of Kirkwall."

            "Freaking Hawke?" I exclaimed as I leaned forward, "I thought Varric didn't have any contact with her."

            "It appears that he lied to us." Leliana's eyes flashed with amusement, "It seems that my Truth Stone does not work well against dwarves, lesson learned for future endeavors."

            "So, what does that have to do with me building a larger team?"

            "Do you know much about the Champion?"

            I shook my head, "No, there were so many possibilities on how she would turn out. In my original realm you could explore the different choices, though often the story turned out the same." Freaking video games. "What is she like?"

            "From what Varric has told us she is a powerful mage." Leliana sipped her drink, "Her humor matches yours quite closely."

            Oh fuck me we had a purple Hawke on our hands that had the ability to fling fireballs?

            "We're fucked." I laughed and shook my head, "So, when does she arrive?"

            "I think she already has." Leliana stated quietly. "I think Varric sent for her before we even left Haven." I took a sip as she stared into her glass and swirled the contents. "I cannot be sure, there were too many that arrived with us for the safety our troops provide, but I believe Hawke numbers among them." Her gaze rose to meet mine. "Can you find out for me?"

            "And how… exactly would I do that?" I resisted the urge to snort into my drink. "I'm not exactly subtle. You've said it yourself. I'm too flashy, people will notice if I start asking questions about Hawke."

            "You'll have help." Leliana indicated the shadows. I flicked my gaze to it and I was instantly pissed that I missed him in the first place. A smile split his face and I saw the look in his eye. My heart gave a thump but there was no way in hell anything was going to happen. At least… I seriously hoped nothing was going to happen.

            "What is he doing here?" My tone was a little harder than necessary. "How did he even know to show up here?" My glare was turned on Leliana. "Why?"

            "He was worried," Leliana chuckled, "about you of all people. It seems that you made quite an impact on him during your short stint together." She gave me a knowing look, "As for how he knew to come to Skyhold, I told him."

            "Again, why?"

            Leliana remained quiet and he stepped from the shadows, "I thought you would be delighted to see me, mi cara."

            "Last I saw of you, Zevran," I growled, "was you disappearing off the deck of the ship to go play King of the Crows. I can only assume you failed, otherwise you would not be here."

            "You wound me," Zevran crooned at me. Leliana poured another drink and held it out to him. "I was, in fact, successful in my endeavors."

            "Then why are you here, instead of lording over the different Houses?" Zevran walked forward and liberated his drink from Leliana's hand, but he didn't stop there. He walked the extra couple steps, his hand reaching out to gently cradle my chin.

            "The thought of you… lost." Zevran shook his head, "I had to see for myself that you were whole. Exciting things are happening in Orlais and Feralden. How could I not participate in it?"

            I jerked my chin from his grasp and leaned away from him. My gaze turned to Leliana, "We have the Crows at our disposal now?"

            "Zevran has so kindly offered their services to us, for a price of course."

            "Of course." I gave her a plastic smile and stood, "I do not think it is a good idea for us to work-"

            "Please," Leliana asked softly and my smiled faded. "For Cassandra. And in attempt to keep Varric alive."

            I growled under my breath and tossed my head back and forth. "Very well. For Cassandra and Varric I will do this."

            "Thank you Luna."

            "Is that all, Nightingale?" The only indication that she was upset by the use of her title was the edges of her mouth. The turned down slightly but she inclined her head at me.

            "That is all, Anointed."

            "In the future," I threw over my shoulder as I walked away, "it would be best not to guilt me into things."

            I took the steps two at a time, eager to return to my room. Today had been a long day and I'd only been able to see Solas briefly this morning before I flitted out the door to attend to my duties.

            Zevran was going to complicate things. I just knew it. I didn't know if Solas was jealous but I didn't want to find out. Giving the Dread Wolf a reason to flex his considerable power while staking a claim on me was not something I wanted to see—I was such a liar. Besides, the impossible had happened.

            "Luna?" Zevran called from behind me but I didn't slow my pace. Maybe if I continued he'd leave me alone?

            No such luck. Zevran's longer legs ate the distance between us and by the time I'd made it to the rotunda and the bottom of the stairs he had the ability to pull me to a stop.

            "You are not pleased." He noted and I just watched him.

            "You've slept with dozens of men and women. Had threesomes and orgies that I'd probably drool over. Have you ever checked on any of them?"

            "Don't be silly mi cara," Zevran waved a hand. "None of them captivated my interest the way you have."

            "That's endearing, truly Zev but…" I trailed off and swiped a hand over my face. "I-"

            "There you are vhenan." My head jerked in Solas' direction. In his hands was a platter of food. My heart gave a thump at the sight of him. There was that faint dusting of brown hair across his scalp. His earrings glinted in the light of the oil lamps that lined the rotunda. I saw when his gaze landed on the hand Zevran had on my upper arm. "Who is this?"

            I let out a rueful chuckle, so much for keeping these two from find out about each other. "Solas, this is Zevran." I waved a hand and twisted out of his grasp in such a way it looked natural, not like I was fleeing from him. "Zevran, this is Solas."

            Solas approached and laid a hand against my lower back. I stepped into him and turned to face Zevran. Understanding dawned on his face but he didn't look deterred.

            "A pleasure, I'm sure." Zevran gave a small bow. "Shall we meet tomorrow afternoon, mi cara?"

            Solas' hand curled into the fabric of my shirt and I laid a hand against his back. Surely a man who saw the founding of Arlathan wouldn't be jealous. "It would probably be best if no one saw us together, Zev. The men are getting a tavern up and running in the court yard. I believe they are calling it the Herald's Rest. I'll be there tomorrow." He gave me a smile.

            "Excellent, mi cara, I look forward to it." Zevran strolled forward and gripped my fingers in his own. His lips were scalding hot against my skin as he pressed a kiss to the back of my hand. "Again, so lovely to meet you Solas." My stomach dropped at the contact and my heart thumped in my chest.

            What the hell was wrong with me? I was in lo…. No better to not finish that sentence. Not when my heart was beating for strange reason. Part of me was furious, the other part was a greatly amused. They circled each other until I didn't know who was in charge and all I wanted to do was fall down and laugh.

            "Was that who I believe it is?" Solas asked quietly. The tray he was holding shook slightly and when I looked up at him he saw the answer in my gaze. The area around his eyes hardened and I saw a look in his gaze I hadn't seen since the cells under the Chantry in Haven.

            "I didn't know he was coming." I assured as quickly as I was able to. "Leliana blindsided me with his presence about five minutes ago."

            "And what task are you working on with him?" Solas' voice was a little less heavy. Though he had a tinge of regret in his voice. I didn't like it. Didn't want him thinking about what if scenarios.

            "Come on," I tugged gently on the back of his shirt, "let's go to bed."

            Solas' arm slid up from my lower back and settled around my shoulders, pulling me into the crook of his body. I wrapped both arms around his stomach and together we descended to the lower levels and the pile of blankets that he had scrounged up for us as a bed. I blinked as I took the scene in. They were a new addition to the room, they had not been here this morning when I left.

            "I thought it would be a nice surprise." Solas offered softly as he set a tray down on the table Emma found for us. "It has been some time since you slept on something comfortable."

            "Not so long as you think," I chuckled and thought back to me sleeping on his chest. "Thank you Solas, I love it." I slipped out of my shirt and started the annoying process of undoing the chest bindings that existed in this world. I was seriously contemplating pinning someone to the wall and showing them the concept for a bra. It was either a chest wrap or a corset and I would rather not wear one of those evil whale bone contraptions.

            Warm fingers trailed up my side and I leaned into them. His hands pushed mine away and he took over, unwinding the bindings. Solas pressed gentle kisses against my neck and shoulder. Once the bindings fell to the floor his hands swept up my hair.

            "It will be more difficult to find you now." He commented as he pushed the strands over my shoulder.

            "Tell me you didn't like the pink hair." I laughed and stepped back into his embrace.

            "I had grown accustomed to the color." He stated, his arms wrapped around me. He tightened his grip momentarily and pressed his face into the crook of my neck. "Lilies and honey."

            Solas released me and retreated. I stilled for a moment and watched as he picked up the tray. He walked past me and I heard the blankets rustle. A smile crossed my face and my fingers tangled in the ties of my pants. As they hit the floor I stepped out of them and joined Solas on the mass of fluffy blankets.

            I sighed as I sank into them. When I turned to look at Solas he was watching me.

            "I am in constant anticipation." He quietly stated, "You are here, but I keep waiting for you to run from me."

            A soft smile stole over my face and I tilted my head, "Oh silly wolf, haven't you heard? Once the Dread Wolf has your scent there is no where you can go he can't follow." I reached past him and picked up a piece of cheese, propped up on one elbow I half sprawled across him while I nibbled on the edges. My stomach was a little queasy and had been for a couple days.

            Solas chuckled quietly and shifted until I was almost completely on top of him. His fingers traced patterns onto my skin. The slight tingle of magic notified me that he was tracing runes. Ms. Flame tracked the tips of his fingers and provided the different runes he scrawled on my skin.

            One for warmth, another to dissuade the bugs from bothering me. There was a lesser cold rune, not as strong as the warmth and one for protection. Scratch that, several for protection. He drew them over and over again across my back. I hummed in approval and pressed a kiss to his bare chest. Solas slept with his pants on, I'd yet to convince him of the glory of sleeping in the nude.

            He'd come around, I'm sure of it.

            "If you had the ability to do things over again, would you do anything different?" Solas asked suddenly.

            "Define 'things'." I stated as I propped myself up on a fist. "Are we talking the last couple months or through any of my lives?"

            He gave me a smile and kissed the tips of my fingers. "Anything in Thedas."

            I thought about it. Everything I'd done had led me to this moment. There was only one thing that I regretted. It was silly.

            "I would go back and stop myself from chugging that flask of wine." I stated. He blinked at me for a moment until I saw the connection.

            "That is it?"

            I giggled at him, "Alter anything too large and suddenly I'm in Varric's bed and not yours." I rolled off of him and gained my feet. The fire was had yet to be banked and it needed to be done before I fell asleep. "I love where I am right now."

            The roar of the waterfall was all but normal now. At first I had been apprehensive about it, but it proved useful. It was difficult for anyone to overhear our conversations in the room. It made the perfect place to be ourselves.

            "Were you always like this?" Solas asked and I gave him a funny look. "The soul, she has not changed you has she?"

            I picked up a flask of water before walking back to him. From the look on his face this was a serious question for him. I took my time thinking about what he asked. When I'd really thought it through I looked at him. The flask was in his hand and he was waiting for an answer from me. I sat cross legged on the blankets and ran the tips of my fingers up the center of his chest.

            "I wasn't always like… I am now but she is not the reason for that." The tension went out of him and a look of serenity covered his face. He was still waiting for an explanation though. "When I was… Emily I had very little… for lack of a better word personality. I was in an abusive relationship where I had no control over my thoughts or my body. I simply… existed." I fiddled with a loose string on one of the blankets. "Jack ruled everything about my life and had me convinced that no one loved me, that he was the only one that wanted me."

            Solas' face tightened in anger. "Why would you even consider that man's words?"

            "Because my mother abandoned me at her earliest opportunity." I laughed darkly, "My step dad was a piece of shit and so I found a relationship like the one my mother had. It wasn't healthy and it took me a long time to work up the courage to leave. It just so happened that a Fae was in a bar. He took a shine to me, said that there was a touch of fairy blood that ran through my veins. When he saw how Jack treated me he offered me a deal, a way out." I smiled at the memory and tilted my head. "I took it." My face blanked as cold fingers traced the scar just under my left breast. "And then I died and woke up as a different person."

            Solas' fingers replaced mine and he ran them gently over the jagged scar, "Will you carry this forever?"

            "I have no idea." I shook my head and leaned forward to capture his lips with my own. His hand covered mine on his chest. The kiss was tender and sweet. I snuggled down next to him and let out a sigh, "The Fae told me that I would never return to the Earth I was born to, and now… now I don't want to. Despite sharing my body, despite the war that is ravaging the land and the crazy Tevinter Magister running rampant trying to take over the known world I love where I am right now." And I meant right now as in that very moment. I… loved him.

            "Right now?" He whispered as he gathered me up in his arms.

            "Yes, right now."

            "I do not deserve you." His words were muffled against my hair and my heart tugged painfully. Did he still believe that he didn't deserve love?

            I twisted until I was on top and straddling his hips. I leaned low over him, running the tips of my fingers over the velvet hair that dusted his scalp. "It isn't your choice," I whispered. "The decision is mutual, that's what a relationship is supposed to be. It isn't about what is deserved; it is a matter of the heart. Often the silly organ decides for you, but it is impossible to control."

            "And your heart?" Solas' hand cupped the back of my neck and gently pulled me toward him. My laugh sprawled across his face and I shook my head slightly before pressing a kiss to the tip of his nose. Warmth pooled between my legs, "Has it decided?"

            He wanted me to say it. I could say it.

            My fingers slipped under the waist band of his pants, searching for him. He hissed as my fingers circled his length, thumb running over the head and smearing the drop of liquid I found there.

            Solas lifted his hips and slid his pants down. I guided him into me, sighing when there was no resistance. He moved tentatively, rocking under me. I adjusted, twisting my hips, giving him deeper access. His hands were firm on my waist as he guided me over him. Our coupling was bitter sweet. There was something in his movements, almost as if he was afraid but that wasn't quite right.

            My hand cradled the back of his head and I moved to press a series of kisses across his face. "Has yours?" It was a stupid question, and I was bordering imbecilic by asking it. I thought I could say it. He had already said it. I just needed to say it. But to say it would give him power over me. Power that I hadn't given anyone since I was young and stupid.

            I was still young, but I didn't think I was stupid anymore. I knew it, inside of me, why couldn't I tell him. The words were more difficult to utter than I had thought possible. The lines had blurred until it vanished completely. I had him, here with me and I never wanted to let him go.

            A gasp slid from my lips as he gently bit the tender spot on my neck just below my jaw line. I wanted him, more than I'd ever wanted anything in my life. Maybe I couldn't say the 'l' word just yet, but I could let him know how I feel.

            My fingers tangled in his and I tugged until they were pinned above his head. I stilled over him until I had his attention.

            "Solas, I will stay here, with you, for as long as I am able." His eyes widened at my admission. His hands, still laced with mine, swept down to wrap around my back, the motion caused him to sit up, my knees pressed into the floor on either side of him.

            Using his nose he pushed my face up and to the side, exposing my throat to him. I closed my eyes and relaxed into his embrace. He let out a low growl and his teeth pierced my skin. Ecstasy flooded my body and I arched my back pressing fervently against him. His grip tightened and his rhythm increased. I dropped my head to his shoulder and let him take over.

            My toes curled and little white dots coalesced at the edge of my vision. Breathing was becoming increasingly difficult. I felt when my muscles contracted over him, etching him forever into my memory. I was ruined for other men. Nothing was like this, nothing compared to it, and I was positive it had nothing to do with the physical and everything to do with the emotional.

            I shuddered against him as the cresting wave of pleasure finally shattered inside of me. He followed me over the edge into oblivion. Laughter fell from my throat and I pressed kisses to his shoulder and everywhere else I could reach. Man but I was horribly and irrevocably head over heels in love with him.

            I just couldn't say it out loud. Not yet.

Chapter Text

The sound of small feet pattering across the floor accompanied by the sharp clack of claws jolted me awake, the sounds so different than the constant dull roar of the waterfall. It was dark in the room except for a small halo of light somewhere around the entrance. The air in my room was frigid and I remembered that Solas and I were both naked.

            Numb fingers fumbled with the blankets under me until both of us were covered. Ebony toes edged into my line of sight and when I looked up it was to a mass of tangled curls and a face etched with fear and soaked in tears.

            "Oh babe…" I whispered, "Go sit by the fire and warm yourself up. I'll be right there."

            "'kay." Her voice was small as she padded away from me. The small halo of light followed her and I watched as she crouched in front of the dying embers. She picked up the fire poker and stabbed at it until the flames burst over the half burnt log within.

            As quickly and quietly as I could I found a fresh set of clothes and dressed, throwing my cloak over my shoulders. My feet whispered across the floor as I approached Amara. Gently I touched her shoulder and she looked up at me. Her eyes were deep wells of dark honey and tears clouded them.

            She stood and took my outstretched hand. Gypsy was sniffing around the bed and when I looked over at her she gave a small whine. I patted my leg with my free hand but Gypsy flopped down onto the blankets, her head draped over Solas' shins.

            That wolf was behaving in a very unusual manner and it was starting to freak me out slightly.

            I shook those thoughts from my mind and focused on Amara. The layout of the keep was still confusing but we managed to find our way to the kitchen. It was poorly stocked but I was willing to believe I'd be able to find some sort of treat—or make one—for my little one.

            "You wanna talk about it?" I asked quietly as she sat on a stool next to the center island. The massive fireplace was cold and I set about throwing logs into it and building a fire. The room was almost unbearably cold. My toes curled, pressing into the soft flesh on the underside of my feet. I danced back and forth until I found a rug.

            "It won't go away." Amara muttered into the darkness. I sighed and stared at her.

            "I used to have horrible nightmares." I offered up to the silence. "I didn't have a good childhood. I dreamed of monster chasing me though the night, of blood dripping down walls… demons like nothing you've ever seen." I padded closer to her and hopped up onto the counter. "My grandmamma told me that if you share the nightmare with someone it will go away. When I told her about them I never had the same one twice."

            Amara glanced at me and then dropped her head. "I see his face." I had an inkling of who she saw, but I had to be sure.

            "The Templar?" I asked quietly.

            "Yeah." She shuddered as she let go of a breath. This girl was wiser and more mature than the years should have allowed. "How do I make it go away?"

            I rubbed the back of my hand over my eyes. "I know some fairy tales, told to me when I was young." Disney I fucking loved you right now. "I could tell them to you before bed."

            She looked up at me, "Are they happy stories?"

            "They all have happy endings." I tilted my head and looked down at her. "Now, what do you say we scare up some warm milk and see if the cooks made any cookies?"

            Amara brightened at the sound of sweets. Together we turned the kitchen upside down. We didn't find the milk or cookies, but we found a pudding that when you added a butt load of sugar didn't taste half bad.

            By the time we'd finished devouring the nasty pudding Amara was giggling. Her eye lids were drooping. She pulled the sleeve of her shirt down over her fingers and shivered a little. Smiling I pulled my cloak from my shoulders and wrapped it around her before I picked her up. I moved swiftly, now cold myself, back toward her rooms.

            When we reached them I built up the fire in her room after settling her down on her makeshift bed. Her little eyelids were half closed and I could tell she was struggling to stay awake. My heart tugged. How brave was this one child that with everything she'd gone through she managed to walked through a creepy as fuck keep to find me in my rooms and then proceeded to share some of her darkest nightmares with me?

            I crossed to her and sat down on the floor. She gave me a tired smile and I adjusted my cloak around her.

            "Once upon a time there was a girl and her name was Cinderella…."

 

My fingers gently twisted the knob to Amara's room and I snuck back down the hall toward my room. I hesitated outside for several moments before I passed that one too. What I wanted was a stiff drink. It'd been a long few weeks and these last few days were longer still. Before I knew it my feet carried me out through the main hall and down into the Herald's Rest.

            Somewhere the men had found a piano of all things. A tired smile pulled one edge of my lips up. Of course it was a piano. I stared down at my fingers. There were a few people still milling around. It was late; I knew that much but how late? It wasn't like I could just look around the room for a clock. They were expensive and of Dwarven make.

            "Bottle of Chasind Mead and open a tab under Luna." I tapped my fingers on the bar while the man—not Flissa—behind it lifted a dusty bottle.

            "No Chasind to be had." He pushed it across the counter at me and I was not going to argue with him. I popped the cork and took a long pull. It burned on the way down and I gasped. Nodding at the barkeep I turned toward the piano. My fingers pressed a few keys. It was in tune and it was a huge surprise to me considering we had no way of telling how long it had been here.

            I tilted the bottle up again before I sat down on the bench. Cracking my neck I played a few scales before I started in on a few strictly melody pieces. I bounced between some of the classics before rolling onto something I could sing to.

            Now… I had no idea if I could actually sing. It was not something that I'd tried while relatively sober. My Turian self could carry a tune running backward up a hill with Geth shooting at her. Turians had lovely voices, each and every one of them. They were unique, their vocal cords vibrating on a different frequency so it sounded like multiple people were speaking at once.

            Aching fingers found the correct keys and I started to play a song from my high school days. I'd been a grungy little thing, dark eyeliner and a bleak outlook on life. My voice rose up into the rafters softly. The metal song sounded strange being played on the ivory keys of a piano when it was meant for electric guitars and drum sets.

            "Such a lonely day, shouldn't exist/it’s a day I'll never miss…" My voice was surprisingly sweet and I wondered if it was something that was inherent to all elves or if I was just lucky that way. "And if you go, I want to go with you/And if you die, I want to die with you."

            My fingers moved seamlessly from one song to another. This one was better suited for a piano, the melody simplistic and yet sublime. "When met she was fifteen/like a black rose blooming wild/And she already knew she was gonna die." Eyelids slid closed and I tilted my head back as the song slid over me. "I will always be with you/I am the anchor of your sorrow/There's no end to what I'll do because I love you/ I love you to death."

            I heard the song, the actual song in my head. The dips and turns that vocals took and when the music became softer or when it was so intense it made my heart ache with sorrow. It was no mystery to me why I was singing these sorts of songs.

            My head dropped forward and my fingers picked up the pace. They danced back and forth across the notes, my whole body moving with the force of my emotions. When the music allowed I drank, my fingers never slipping, never faltering. It had been too long since I played but each note was struck with a purity that I only recently started feeling.

            Bitterness welled up inside of me and my fingers slammed against every key in their reach. Discordant notes sang into existence and I pulled my hands back to myself, once more watching my fingers. This time they clenched and unclenched.

            I hadn't played a piano since I was nineteen.

            "You play beautifully." That voice sounded so familiar, deep and resonant. I snorted and pulled my bottle of nasty alcohol toward me. Standing I took a drink and looked at the man who spoke. My stomach dropped.

            Fuck me.

            Sober I was most definitely not and I was confident I was about to fuck something up. Why did anyone let me wander without a chaperone? It was wrong. Twenty eight I was but lord help me I was mentally a sixteen year old. Not really but I had the attitude of a teen with the temper of a demon. It was not a good mix and fuck me but the man in front of me was drop dead sexy and I had dreamed of what it would be like to lay in bed next to him. Or… with him on top of me.

            My eyes darted around looking for anyone who was watching or seemed to be with the man in front of me. Did every gentleman that I'd fallen in love with in this cursed world have to show up? Lips started to form his name but I forced myself to stop. There was no logical way that I'd know his name and if I just spouted it off I was very likely to have a fist through my chest.

            I craned my neck to look around again. Surely Alastair was getting ready to jump out of the shadows at me. Why now, of all time? When I was trying to be good and keep my panties to myself? Was this a test? If so I hated this world even more because I was soo tempted to fail on purpose.

            Remember Pride. Ms. Flame whispered to me. I nearly shook my head and slapped the side of my face to dislodge her voice. Dread Wolf. My lips curled. Of course this crazy ninny would remind me of Solas.

            "I don't think I've seen you 'round here before." I smiled at him and lifted a hand in the direction of the bar. A grunt signaled that the barkeep—needed to learn his name—saw me. "May I?" My hand drifted to indicate the seat across the table from him. He gave me a smirk that'd give Solas a run for his money.

            "Drinking with a beautiful woman," his foot pushed out a chair, "is preferable to drinking alone."

            I tsked at him but sat down in the offered chair. The grouchy barkeep slammed the bottle down on the table.

            Using the tips of my fingers I pushed the bottle across the table at him. I was already drunk off my ass but I needed him to be right there with me so he wouldn't catch anything I said and look too deeply into it. Of all of the people in Thedas drinking with him was probably one of the stupidest things I'd done. This man screamed suspicion of all walking things.

            He picked up the bottle and tilted it in my direction before he took a long pull. "Feralden wine always left something to be desired."

            I laughed and scrunched my nose, "It isn't very good, but it's cheap."

            "Point well made…?" He trailed off and gave me a pointed look.

            "Ghost." I smiled and resisted the urge to run the tips of my bare feet up his calf. He didn't wear shoes either if I remembered correctly. "Your accent is unfamiliar." No it wasn't. "Have you been in this part of the world long?" I took a drink and held it on my tongue. How long could I hold it before I needed to talk again?

            "Fenris love, who do you have here?" I choked on my alcohol. Not very long apparently.

            A large hand slapped the back of my hand. There was no fucking way it belonged to a woman. I took another drink to sooth the ragged edges of my throat before I turned to look into the most piercing blue eyes I'd ever seen. Her hair was the color of raven's wings and was barely three inches long.

            My eyes drifted from her gaze to the smaller person standing next to her. He sighed, "Well, shit."

            "Cassandra is going to fucking eat you alive." I hissed at Varric. "I can't believe Leliana was right." I let out a disgruntled noise.

            "You know this woman dwarf?" Fenris asked, the tone of his voice hardened in an instant. I didn't know if my biotics would stop him if he went all ghosty I'm gonna shove my fist in your chest. I snorted and stood, carefully taking three steps away. Three steps was all I needed to keep him at arm's length.

            "Broody it isn't what it looks like." Varric defended. I used my three inches and loomed over him.

            "Didn't know where she was my magnificent ass." I snarled, "Now I'm going to have to play mediator and you know I hate doing that. Cassandra doesn't even like me right now."

            "It is rather attractive." Hawke commented. When I twisted my head to look at her I saw that both her and Fenris had their heads tilted and were checking out said 'ass'. I sighed and ran a hand over my face. "What do you think Fenris, shall we keep her?"

            My stomach tightened at the prospect of being kept by them. It wasn't the only organ that was getting beside itself with excitement; the brain shared these lovely images of me handcuffed to a large four poster bed. Right, these were not good things. Well they were but they weren't and god damn it why was I always drunk for important things?

            Varric cleared his throat and I didn't even have the grace to blush when I realized my ass was sticking farther out. I slapped a hand over my face. I needed to get these hormones in check. It wasn't like I was deprived or anything. Solas was seeing to my every need and fuck me sideways the wall had eyes. Were they going to whisper what happened tonight to him?

            "Vhenan?"

            Of fucking course they were. Skyhold was already betraying me and I liked this fortress less and less with every passing second.

            The only thing that could make it worse was if Zevran-

            I stopped that thought cold in its tracks and glared around the room for the golden walking sex bomb, double checking anything with pointed ears. We were in the clear… for now.

            "Solas," I turned to look at him, a soft smile crinkling the corners of my eyes. "I couldn't sleep." It was the god damned truth and I wasn't going to back down. I hadn't done anything wrong. Yeah, just keep telling myself that.

            When he reached me his hand came up to cradle my neck, thumb pressing to the underside of my jaw, guiding my lips to his. "Gypsy was in the room when I woke, she has returned to Amara's room." Which was unusual enough—Gypsy sleeping with Solas, not the Amara bit—"Who are your friends?"

            I glared at Varric, "You should probably do the introductions, Master Tethras."

            "Fuck." Varric shook his head and gave a rueful smile. "Chuckles meet Hawke and Broody."

            "The Champion of Kirkwall?" Solas' hand dropped to my waist and fingers pulled me slightly against him. I stepped with the movement. So… I couldn't tell if I was actually in trouble or if I could pin this somehow on Leliana and Varric. Was trouble brewing? Could Solas even get jealous? I mean… if you were at least eight thousand fucking years old you had to have participated in several dozen—if not hundreds—orgies over the years. Did the Elvhen even have monogamous relationships? I mean… Mythal and Elgar'nan were a mated pair—I think—but does that mean they were strictly sleeping with only each other?  

            I didn't know and I really needed to learn these things.

            "They're still using that title?" Hawke pilfered the bottle I'd bought Fenris bringing me out of my thoughts and back into the current situation. I shouldn't be in trouble I hadn't done-

            I stopped and forced my mindset to shift. Solas had absolutely no reason to be mad. While I had lustful thoughts about Fenris and Hawke I had not acted on them. If Solas did get mad at that, then he wasn't the man for me.

            I snorted, "This lot is big into titles; don't expect it to go anywhere."

            "What are they calling you?" She gave me a knowing smirk, "It can't be Magnificent Ass, they seem too proper for that."

            "Can you see a group of Chantry Sisters calling my ass magnificent?" I snorted and she let out a small giggle of her own. "That'd be the day."

            "Hawke," Varric wasn't going to be deterred, "Meet the Anointed."

            Her eyes went wide momentarily and I wanted to smack the dwarf. "Really?" He shrugged at me.

            "Only fair Ghost." The smile on his face wasn't doing him any favors.

            "Well… this takes care of the favor for Leliana." I leaned into Solas, "Anyone want anything to eat?"

            "Do they have roast duck?" Hawke asked as she stepped forward and looped a hand through my arm.

            I snorted, "Highly doubt they have that here." I thought about it for a moment. "We could wake Josie and find out."

            "Ghost I don't think that's a good-"

            "To Josie!" Hawke declared as she steered us out of the tavern. "Fenris, be a dear and bring Chuckles will you?"

            Twisting I turned Hawke to the barkeep and ordered whatever they currently had on hand. Hawke smiled at me and pressed closer.

            "Varric spoke of you." She trailed a hand down the outer part of my arm, "You and I are going to get along famously."

            I snorted, "You have no GD idea how accurate you are." The barkeep slid six bowls of stew across the bar at me. It was a frequent dish here in Thedas and I was going to take the time to reinvent the menu here. Something told me that druffalo burgers and fries were going to be amazing.

            "What did you do before you joined the Inquisition?" Hawke was damned curious. "It seems strange that you eluded both the Blight and the events of Kirkwall."

            "Pirate." I smiled at her, longing for the days with Stefan when I could feign not knowing my past, "I sailed from port to port. The captain of the crew changed hands often, more so when we reached Kirkwall, so when we switched hands they steered clear lest there was another mutiny."

            "I know a pirate," Hawke nodded. "She is relatively well known, perhaps she knows you?"

            I laughed, the thought of Isabella knowing who I was? Oh that was tempting but no, "I blended into the background quite well before I joined the Inquisition."

            Hawke gave me a look that told me she didn't believe a single word I told her.

            Varric helped Hawke and I carry the food to a table in the corner. I noticed large horns tossing back a drink. My eyes darted further around, this time without looking for Zevran I noticed several things.

            One, all of Bull's crew was inside the tavern. Two, Krem was watching me rather closely while sitting on the back of a chair. Was he the new man Bull assigned to watch me after I found out… what was his name? He wasn't hard to detect, not with his obvious staring.

            I scrunched my nose and dug into the stew. After only a few mouthfuls my stomach started grumbling at me. Had it finally happened? Was I starting to get sick in Thedas? I assumed since I had a body that originated in this realm that my immunity was as good as the next guy but it was quite possible that I was coming down with their equivalent of the flu or cold. I hadn't noticed anything else but stress can cover the symptoms of an illness.

            "I need a vacation." The words were muttered into the half eaten bowl of food before I pushed it away.

            Hawke watched me, her eyes darting quickly between my breasts and my eyes. "So, Ghost, are you going to reveal that I am here?"

            "Na," I shrugged my shoulders. "As far as I'm concerned you two are just another flower on the wall that is known as refugees." I pulled a piece of bread toward me and nibbled on it, "Tomorrow I will be here with another person. He will be obvious because he stands out in a crowd. Trust me and stay out of here tomorrow. Take refuge in the gardens or one of the towers."

            Fenris covered a smile and I glared at him. Hawke interrupted me before I could ask what the fuck he was smirking at, "It is quite noble of you to inform us of your intentions." She tilted her head and I saw a hawk like gleam in her eye. She was aptly named. I would never win a game of chess against her. "What is your end game?"

            "Love," I leaned forward and placed a hand over hers, "there is no end game. Just survival. You have no idea how ecstatic I am to meet you." I slapped a hand to the table several times before I stood and stalked off.

            Tonight had been ruined. Was I truly excited about meeting Hawke? Sure, she was the stuff of legends in this world. Did I want her and her sexy lover intruding on my night of drinking and self-loathing? No I did fucking not.

            All of this shit was supposed to happen tomorrow. And because I was not originally part of this world I was absolutely terrified that me meeting Hawke before Ellana had a chance to speak with her was going to derail things completely. Which is why I was going to refuse to spill the beans on Hawke. She was not here. I did not see her. She did not exist in my world until Ellana spoke with her. The timing was entirely up to the Champion. I was not going to say a GD thing. Just like I was keeping Fen'Harel's secret.

            That one was easier though.

            Solas slid up behind me and wrapped his arms around me. "Would you like me to make you some tea?" His voice was quiet as he leaned over me, his whole body slowly moving so it encompassed me, hid me from the world. I scrunched my nose at his offer and he chuckled lightly before nibbling on the tip of my ear. "Your stomach is upset vhenan and you have lost weight in the past few weeks." He sounded slightly distressed at this. "Is something wrong?"

            "No," I murmured. Slowly I turned in his embrace, arms looping up around his neck, back bowing to contort to his, fingers trailing across stubble that was growing in again. Inhaling provided me with his mouthwatering scent. It was addicting in the most basic way. "I'm just getting sick, probably stress induced."

            "It does not show." Solas assured, "However, perhaps it would be best if you took a day or two." I leaned away from him and looked at him through squinted eyes. "You are no use to anyone if you are spreading an illness to everyone you come in contact with."

            "I can't," I shook my head, "Cullen has this secret event planned tomorrow and there is a war meeting first thing in the morning." I really, like desperately, wanted water at this moment. Oh god, my stomach was so queasy. "We have to look into the attempt on Empress at her stupid ball that is coming up in a few months and Leliana thinks she has a lead on the demon—mphmg." I pulled back and turned my face to the side, Solas followed and pressed several more kisses against my jaw. "Do you want to get sick?" A chuckle fell out of my mouth.

            Something odd struck me, "Can you even get sick?" He blinked at me several times and then he shook his head.

            "No," Solas sighed and pressed another kiss to my cheek before he straightened and pulled me with him. My arms somehow got pinned between my chest and his. As he started to speak I laid my head against his breast bone. "Immortality is a blessing in many ways. Longevity and eternal health are one and the same."

            "But…" I scrunched my nose in confusion, "how did the elves lose their immortality? Was it really coming into contact with humans?"

            A pained expression crossed his face and he released me to step back. The cold was apparent in the absence of his body heat. I cleared my throat and watched him, arms cross over my stomach.

            "It was the creation of the veil that was the down fall of my people."

            Slowly my head lifted up and to the side. My lips were pressed tightly together. I didn't know what to say to that. Solas was stating that he, single handedly, was the reason that his people started to die. Which… in a perverted way made a sick sort of sense.

            "The Elvhen were creatures of magic, spirits and flesh mixed together." I hazarded, "So… if they were cut off from the source of magic, the fade, then it would… be plausible that they would start to age and die."

            He laughed mirthlessly, "Impressive." Solas nodded his head, "For you to see so quickly what I could not. You shame me."

            "Hindsight is always 20/20." I gave him a small smile and shrugged, "I'm sorry, I can't even imagine the pain it must have caused you." After a moment I added, "Is still causing you." I was entirely too drunk for this conversation despite my ability to enunciate perfectly. People won't bring you more alcohol if you're slurring like vagrant in the streets.

            A wave of nausea washed over me. I covered my mouth and turned away from Solas. Fucking hell I would not drink the swill that bartender served me ever again. Alcohol had never taken me down like this. Dizzy? Sure, the world could spin like a top and I just rolled, occasionally yelling weeee along the way. Headache the next morning? Only if I didn't guzzle a butt load of water in the middle of the night. But queasy stomach? Nope, I just ate comfort food, felt a little tension behind my eyes and moved on with my day.

            My hand found solid purchase against a wall and I lost the contents of my stomach. It would help, getting some of the alcohol out of my system. Damn, I didn't think I'd drank that much. The stew wasn't helping either. Regurgitating it did not make it taste better.

            Gentle hands gathered my hair and held it back while I continued to vomit everything I'd eaten in the last week. A sour taste lingered at the back of my tongue and I would seriously love for some minty toothpaste instead of the paste they had here. Oh it still had mint in it, but it was gritty and they couldn't quite cover the nasty taste of the primary ingredient. I was quickly becoming to believe that it was made from elfroot, which was weird because the potions tasted nothing like how the stupid paste tasted.

            One of my knees gave out and I almost pitched forward. Solas, quick as a wolf, wrapped a hand around my arm and held me steady.

            "Can you walk?" He asked softly as he helped me to stand.

            "I…" I blinked up at him. Suddenly he was not just one, but many. The world spun harshly and I did not feel like I was on a roller coaster. No this felt like someone tossed me into one of those huge tires and rolled it down a hill.

            "Luna?" Solas whispered as he stepped closer. His other hand came up and wrapped around me, pulling me closer to his body. I turned my head away from him and just focused on breathing.

            The world spun again and suddenly the sky was directly in front of my face and the stars were bobbing back and forth. I, seriously, had not drunk enough alcohol for the night sky to be doing its best impression of warp speed planet side.

            "Fuuucckkk…."

Chapter Text

"I'm fine." I mumbled as I tried to roll out of the body eating blankets from hell. Every time I rolled over one part squished down and sucked me right back into the depths. "Val Royeaux." A hand covered my mouth and I laid back down.

            Was anyone even in the room with me?

            "I have to go to Val Royeaux. Promised Amara a bed."

            "As lovely as Val Royeaux is this time of year," why was there a deep feminine voice in my room, "you will not be traveling there." Chilled fingers pressed to my forehead and her face swam into view. I suppress the involuntary scream and moved my face to the side.

            "Why are your hands so fucking cold?" I snapped as I tried to roll over again.

            "They are a perfectly acceptable temperature, I assure you dear." Vivienne sniffed and picked something up. "You are simply burning with fever." She snapped her fingers and the blankets came alive. They wrapped around me and pulled me back into their depth. "And it is no wonder, lost in the mountains, body temperature dangerously low preceded by months of high stress? It is a marvel."

            "What is?" I accepted a goblet full of a suspicious looking fluid. Her cold hands pressed against the back of my neck and she helped me into a sitting position. The liquid was bitter and I choked on it.

            "Drink it all, dear." Vivienne chided. She stood and started toward the door. "Perhaps it would be best if Solas found a different place to rest for the next week or so."

            I gave her a confused look, "What?"

            "Of course, the choice is entirely your own Anointed." She inclined her head, "I shall send a servant with more tea, drink it without sugar twice a day and you will start to feel better by the end of the week. Today, simply rest."

            Vivienne breezed out of my room with her head held high, heels clacking against the stone floor.

            I glared into the cup, "This is tea?" Scrunching my nose I quickly tossed the rest back. The bitterness coated my throat and I worked my tongue across the top of my mouth several times in attempt to get rid of the taste. "What the fuck?"

            My eye lids started to droop and I found it difficult to lift my head. What the hell was in that tea?

 

A scream erupted from my lips and I jerked into a sitting position. Worst. Dream. Ever. Well… not ever ever but it was still horrible. I shivered once before I rolled out of the blankets that I strangely had mixed feelings for. It was still comfortable as hell but as soon as I could get my ass down the mountain to Val Royeaux I was totally going to get a bed and maybe escort the wagon carrying it back here so I didn't have to sleep in it a moment longer than necessary.

            Dreaming about blankets coming alive and eating you while you slept was creepy as hell and not something that I was in a hurry to repeat.

            Someone knocked on the door and I turned to watch it for a long moment. It was not anyone that… I really wanted to see right now. Because Solas and I shared a room and Amara didn't knock.

            Perhaps I should invest in a lock for that door before she was scarred for life. Sighing I ran the tips of my fingers across my scalp and slumped toward the door. There was this foul taste in my mouth and I had no idea who or what put it there but they needed to be shot.

            "Yes?" I asked as I opened the door. Zevran stood on the other side of it and I groaned. He held up a box.

            "A rather attractive woman asked that I deliver this to you."

            I glared at the thing in his hand. "What did she look like?"

            "Tall, scary."

            "No hair? A sneer of perfection across rich skin?"

            "Ah!" Zevran smiled and stepped past me into the room. I flung the door wide open and turned to look at him, "Good, you do know who she is."

            "Vivienne." I sighed, "What are you doing here?"

            "We are past due for an appointment mi cara." He started milling about the room, picking things up, moving others. "Where is the kettle, you do have one yes?"

            "Why do you need a kettle?" I demanded as I walked toward him. "Zevran these are my private rooms-"

            "Vivienne was quite insistent that you drink this twice a day." He held up the box, "I intend to see that it happens."

            "Good fucking luck with that." I growled as I swiped up a change of clothes and started toward the bathroom. That door had a lock on it.

            "You are not going to wear that, yes?" I stopped and turned to look at Zevran and then down at my clothes. I had a pair of loose breeches and a comfortable shirt.

            "What, exactly, is wrong with me wearing this?" I shook them at him.

            "We have that favor for Leliana, mi cara." He gave me a gleaming smile as he shoved the kettle into the fire place. Why on earth did we even have that in our rooms? Solas hated tea and the cooks in the kitchens made a better cup of coffee than I could ever dream of making.

            Glaring at him I stalked back to my pile of clothes. Zevran walked over and helped me rifle through my clothes.

            "We aren't even supposed to show up together." I sighed as snatched the clothes he held out to me. "Out!" I pointed at the door, "I'll be there in a bit."

            "Do not forget to drink your tea, mi cara."

            I walked behind him to the door and slammed it closed. Fuck this day already. And there was no way in hell I was drinking that tea again. It knocked me on my ass faster than I could blink and I was not going to be down and out for a full week.

            A trail of dirty clothes followed me to the bathroom where I took a shower. It was downright marvelous and it made me long for the days of Arlathan if this was an everyday thing. Why couldn't they have kept this one piece? Tevinter stole everything else but didn't keep proper hygienic equipment? What kind of topsy turvy world was this? Why was 'clearing magical residue from your aura with a specific twirl of the staff' okay for Tevinter to adopt as their own but not indoor plumbing?

            Seriously, Tevinter? Seriously? Get your priorities straight. Maybe half of the world wouldn't be dying because of infection if readily available hot water was an actual thing. Oh! And whoever claimed this fortress between Arlathan and now, shame on you for not sharing these with the world. Just… shame.

            The shower was absolute bliss and my lord was I dying to give the tub a try. It was one of those antique claw foot tubs. Everything about this room was divine and it felt like it came straight out of my dreams.

            Once I was dry and my hair was bound back into a simple braid I dressed in the clothes the King of the Crows picked out. I had no idea what I was going to do about him. Zevran was so different in person than he had been in the game. Well… not exactly because the casual sex turned into awkwardness if it went on for too long. I didn't think we'd gotten that far. I'd slept with him once. It had been a clean break on my end. I'd hardly spared him a second thought once the ship sailed out of port. I loved Zevran from the games, the suave ladies' man that swooped in and loved you no matter your race. Alistair was amazing, but if you weren't human and he became king it was over. Alistair was sweet and innocent, Zevran was… he was dangerous and it had been thrilling.

            But Solas? It was horrible to say but I didn't have anything to base him off of, no pedestal to put him on to make comparisons between in game and actual world. I knew, honestly I did, that this wasn't a game. I'd learned that lesson in my last life. The pain was real, death was real. It wasn't a video game, it was life; it was messy and full of hardships. Starvation was a very real thing that I experienced while I drifted between planets wondering where my next payday was coming from.

            I fell in love with the game version of Zevran, not the real him. Solas? I was in love with the real him, and I would do anything to keep him as long as he wanted me because it was the first time in my life that I was truly in love with anyone. What I had with Jack wasn't love. I didn't love Garrus, I lusted Garrus and Stefan was just safety incarnate. But Solas was all passion and heat wrapped in love and… and… everything. I had it really bad for him; he was there when I needed him. He fought for me even when I didn't understand why, I had been full of suspicion and distrust of him and-

            Holy hell I trusted him. He was in my room, a room he chose for me because he knew what my life had been like. I showed him, gave him pieces of information about me I hadn't given anyone else and wouldn't divulge if they showed me my own intestines. Despite all my protests and digging my heels in I trusted Solas with my very existence, I trusted him with my heart and my soul and I couldn't even tell him I loved him? What kind of bullshit was that?

            Someone started pounding on the door to the bathroom. I snapped out of my revere and finished dressing in the very tight, hardly concealing pants Zevran chose and a shirt that had about a bazillion buttons down the side.

            How…? Where was the better word. Where did these come from? I didn't own anything like this. It was nice, the shirt was red and the pants were black, but-

            The knock came again and I opened the door. Amara stood on the other side, her dolls clutched tightly in her hands. She bounced in place and held one out to me.

            "Do you have time for dollies?" The smile on her face was heartbreakingly sweet and I wanted nothing more than to sink down on the floor in my room and play make believe. I knelt in front of her and hugged her doll to my chest.

            "I have one thing I need to do and then I will play dollies with you. Or we can do something else like…" what was something I played as a kid? "Tag! Or hide-n-seek."

            "What's tag?" Amara looked up at me, her little hand drifting toward her hair to tuck it behind her ear. "It doesn't sound very fun."

            I pulled her close, "Oh kid, it's the best. I can explain the rules to you later but I have an appointment to keep. Tonight, promise."

            She gave me a quick hug before liberating her dolly and ran away screaming for Bella. Kid was amazing.

            I needed to speak with Josephine tonight about those travel arrangements. My duties as Anointed and part of the Inquisition were important but I chose to take on Amara and she needed to come first. There were certain things she needed that I couldn't get from just anywhere. At least from Skyhold I was several days closer to Val Royeaux. Hell getting to a port city and sailing there would be easiest.

            Several ideas began popping into my mind. They kept circling and before I knew it I was in the Tavern again. Several people from last night were there. Did they ever go to their rooms? Sighing I dropped into a chair next to the bar and slid a gold piece over the counter.

            "For the bottles last night," I watched as the barkeep eagerly swept up the coin. "Any change can be applied to my tab, I want a running one at all times. And I want to change it from Luna to Miranda." There were at least two people that would willingly add drinks under my name. Sera being one of them and Skinner. She didn't like me very much.

            "Nointy!" Sera boomed at me. My head jerked up just in time to see her vault over the railing and land all but gracefully on the ground floor. "Heard 'bout what happen last night." There was a mischievous grin on her face. "Real shame, innit?"

            "Multi-legged, but worse. Slithering across the floor like snakes, little antenna twitching. Mated, always two of them." Cole spoke up from behind me. I signed and dropped my head to the counter. "Don't worry, the cats will eat them."

            "Wonderful." I groaned and patted Cole's chest lightly. "Thank you hon."

            "He's creepy, right?" Sera edged closer to me, "Does he just… pop up wherever?"

            Pulling my head off the nasty bar I turned to gaze at Cole. "Solas has shared some information about him, and from what I understand Ellana-" Sera slapped me.

            "You missed it!" She shouted, "It was bloody brilliant, should have seen the look on her face."

            I turned a glare on her, "What, exactly, did I miss?"

            Sera opened her mouth to reply but she was distracted when someone walked into the bar. "Quizzy!" I flinched at her loud squeal.

            "Sera," I turned to look at who spoke, unsurprised to see that it was Ellana, "Luna." She gave me a dazzling smile and slid onto a stool next to mine. "How are you feeling?"

            I was taken aback slightly, what had I missed? "Better, thanks to Vivienne." The words actually hurt to say. Vivienne and I stood on opposite ends of the same issues. On every single one. I was beginning to wonder if we were doing this to each other on purpose, despite how absurd it would be. "Why did Sera call you Quizzy?" I snorted and tapped the bar, "Anything but alcohol." Turning back to Ellana, "Did you get a fancy new title?"

            Ellana was all but bouncing in her seat, "Actually, yes!" She did a little dance in her lap, "Luna, they made me Inquisitor." My eyes widened, holy shit was that the secret event that I'd been knock on the flat of my back for?

            "Con-congratulations!" What else was I going to say? In my mind Ellana was too young to be the Inquisitor. She'd barely seen her nineteenth year. By Earth standards yes she was an adult but she was so young and the Dalish knew nothing of politics from beyond their Clans. "Sorry I missed it this morning."

            Ellana didn't notice any of my reservations about her new position. She gently patted my arm, "It's alright Luna. Vivienne told us what happened."

            "I'm still not entirely sure what happened." I chuckled and picked up the glass of milk that—shit still didn't know his name. "Hey!" I called out to the barkeep's retreating form, "What's your name?"

            He blinked at me several times before he barked, "Cabot." He didn't wait for a reply as he turned and proceeded to take care of the others.

            "So," I returned my attention to the golden skinned beauty in front of me, "how is life as the Inquisitor?"

            Her face fell a little, but she continued to smile, "Daunting." She started to clean under the nails of one hand, "But I hope to make a difference for our people-"

            "Pbft…." I leaned past Ellana to look at Sera.

            "What was that?"

            "Stupid elfy bullshite." Sera turned and leaned her back against the counter. "It shouldn't be about just elves, but everyone."

            "Sera does not like elves." Cole stated, reminding me that he was still here. "They cling tightly to the past, wanting information lost a thousand times over. Move on, move passed past."

            "Shut it!" Sera barked before she stood up and strode away. I watched her go.

            "So, she doesn't like Dalish?" I asked as I looked at Ellana, "You'd think she'd get along with Solas then."  Ellana snorted into a drink I didn't see her get. "So, Inquisitor what is the first order of business?"

            "You," she looked at me in all seriousness, "are to come to a war meeting today and I am supposed to be meeting one of Varric's contacts to learn more about Corypheus."

            I nodded and held up my glass, "These are, of course, friendly suggestions because none but the Divine may command me." I winked at her, the corners of my lips pulling up into a smile. "Being the 'Hand of the Maker' and all that has some perks. One of them being, no one is in charge of me but Her."

            She nodded sagely and it looked just wrong. "I am the will of His Bride though," she offered up into the growing racket, "and is the woman not in charge of relationships?"

            "Ohh!" I giggled and clinked my glass on the edge of hers, "You've got me there."

            She smiled and tossed back the rest of her drink, "Seriously though, rest because Leliana thinks she knows who this person is and we might have to tackle Cassandra."

            Oh fuck, I forgot about that part. I slammed the rest of my milk back. "I'm on Cassie Duty!" I shouted before I ran out of the tavern. I already knew Hawke was here, along with her scary Broody elf, so I needed to get eyes on either her or Varric because I didn't think she'd stab him in the book but his chest hairs.

 

"Hey! Hey!" I screamed as I dropped onto hands and knees to crawl under the table and away from Cassandra, "We agreed that you wouldn't use a pointy sword! Get a fucking sti-ARG!" I flattened and rolled to the side. Cassandra was on a war path. She was pissed. She also broke the table.

            Apparently someone saw me talking to Hawke and let the cat out of the bag. Cassandra was madder than ever, and I was trying to keep her rage on me not on the dwarf with the glistening locks of hair on his magnificent chest.

            "How many other secrets are you keeping from the Inquisition?" She roared at me as I popped up to my feet and dashed around a table. Subtly I flicked my hand, trying to get Varric out of the room.

            "Nothing, I swear!"

            "Liar!" She threw a shield at me. I flailed my arms out, barely managing to keep on my toes. "You knew she was here!"

            "I found out last night!" I screamed and dodged the ceramic bowl she chucked at my head. "Woah! Put that down." She was holding a throwing knife, "I have enough holes and-" I doubled over. Oh god my stomach hurt and all this running was making me queasy again. I think the milk Cabot gave me was spoiled. The cramps were so intense and—"What the fuck Cassandra?!" I looked down at my arm and watched as a steady drip-drip of blood leaked down my bicep and onto the floor. The knife clattered to the ground behind me.

            My eyes were wide as saucers. Varric cleared his throat in the background and Cassandra went as still as a doe in a clearing during hunting season. All of her ire turned to the dwarf and I was genuinely concerned for his well-being.

            "Really, Varric?" I whispered as I edged around the room, "This is the thanks I get?"

            Cassandra bolted toward him and he skirted around the edge of the table. "You knew where she was all along! We needed her help. Neither of you should be here. You are a liar and a thief and the death of the Divine is on your-"

            "Enough." Ellana walked into the room and glared at the three of us. "Cassandra do not finish that sentence, you will regret it later."

            Cassandra pressed her lips together.

            "Both Varric and Luna have earned their place with the Inquisition, a dozen times over." The Inquisitor walked further into the room. I tried to remain at the edges of the room. Maybe if I was lucky I could sneak out of here. Holy shit I was going to need stitches. The Dragon Age games set unrealistic standards with their healing spells. I knew, logically, that I would go to Solas, and endure the pain of force healing but god damn it all to hell was I tired of being stabbed.

            "I will not apologize-"

            "And what if she had been there?" Varric demanded suddenly, "You know what I think would have happened. She'd be dead too." He stood at the top of the stairs, "You people have done enough to her."

            Varric descended out of sight and the three of us were left standing in the room. I was done. I was so done.

            "I am leaving, tonight." I announced into the silent room. "There are things I need in Val Royeaux and perhaps while I'm gone Cassandra can think about how she threw a knife at me." I pinned her with a glare, "I'm tired of your sanctimonious bullshit. We all have our secrets. You are not entitled to everything I know, nor are you entitled to everything Varric knows. You are a fool Cassandra, a fool who thinks the world owes her everything on a silver platter just because she demands it. Is this what the Inquisition is?" I looked between Ellana and Cassandra. The latter was still seething and she was glaring at me. "You have no right to hold people against their will, or drag them halfway across Thedas because you feel like it! Grow up!"

            Spinning I stormed down the stairs, not even bothering to hide the wound on my arm. I was sick and tired of being treated like a leper because people couldn't get over themselves and just get the fuck along.

            It wasn't long before I had a bag packed. It took me longer to track down Gypsy and Amara.

            "Pack a bag hon, we're leaving for Val Royeaux." I gave her a smile, "We're gonna get you a bed and some new clothes, 'kay?"

            She clapped and bounced up and down. "I can't wait!"

            "I know," I patted her head gently, "go and meet me by the stables in half an hour."

            Amara bounded off, her curls bouncing with every stride.

 

Tomen and Emma watched me as I paced back and forth. "I am going to Val Royeaux, there is so much…" I grunted and tried again. "You are my team." I stopped and looked at them. "You volunteered for this and you will volunteer for everything you do. I will never force you."

            "You're bleeding." Emma pointed at my arm, "What happened?"

            "It's a long story and ultimately unimportant." I waved it away, "Thank you for your concern though. It is your choice if you come with me to Val Royeaux, if you do wonderful we will continue your training on the road. If not… well I expect I should be back in three weeks to a month." I smiled at them, "If you desire to come with me meet me at the stables."

 

"Owowowow." I whined as Solas passed a hand over the cut. "I'll never get used to that." He smiled down at me but there was a sadness behind his gaze. "What is it?" One of my hands came up to cup his chin, "Is everything alright?"

            "Perfectly." He pressed a kiss to my forehead, "When do we leave?"

            "Just like that?"

            "Someone has to ensure you are not arrested in Val Royeaux." He put several articles of clothing into his bag along with a large tomb. "What would Amara do then? Or that wolf of ours."

            Ours, I mouthed at his back. Since when had he ever thought of Gypsy as anything other than an annoyance? My heart caught in my throat at his words and I felt like a stupid ninny.

            Clearing it I spoke, "Have you had a chance to speak with Dorian?" He sighed and hung his head.

            "Vhenan, I know you are looking for a way to rid yourself of the other soul but I am not sure it can even be done." Solas approached, "Dorian desires to do what I did, however it is not as easy as that. The task is complex; it was never designed to carve specific pieces away. It required one of the greatest healers of my age and the strongest of us to keep Andruil whole. I would not see you shattered."

            I swallowed roughly, "I have to try."

            "Give me time," he whispered as he walked over and lifted my chin with the tips of his fingers. "Allow me the opportunity to think of another way, and if I find none, we will try yours and Dorians."

            My head nodded of its own accord but I was afraid of what Solas was saying. And… what would happen to what was left? Would they even get all of her in one go? How badly would it hurt to rip a chunk of a soul from my body? What if they took a piece of me?

            I would give Solas his time and then some because Dorian's way absolutely terrified me.

Chapter Text

Val Royeaux. It took us a week to get here. Tomen and Emma opted to come with me, Roland had not been informed because he was ultimately in Leliana's pocket and I did not want a direct connection to the Inquisition at this moment. It was a vacation and no I was not going to feel shitty for abandoning my post.

            Also I sent Leliana a letter from the first scout camp we came across because I was not going to have her sending people after me. Anndd…. She kind of scared me a little. Not to mention they paid my salary.

            I'd yet to hear anything back from the spy master but I told her what I told Ellana. I was headed for Val Royeaux and I'd be back as soon as we finished our shopping. A task that wasn't as easy as it appeared because I had to know people to shop at the important places because—you guessed it—elves were frowned upon.

            After almost punching someone in Benny's Beautific Beds Emma grounded me. Yes, I'd been grounded by a lacky. Horrible part was I agreed with her. My temper was starting to get the better of me. My whole system was out of whack, one minute I seething angry and the next I was ready to cry. I was chalking it up to stress and being an elf in Val Royeaux was not helping.

            Hell we had to rent a house while we were in the city because no inn would house Solas or I for more than a day and Tomen had to make the arrangements because they wouldn't take money from me. I was not wearing the livery of any recognizable house so therefore I was not employed by anyone important enough to rent the house.

            Ohh… I was beyond livid.

            "The letter from Vivienne came in." Emma half whispered into the study I was currently ensconced in. She was quieter than usual, but she was sore. In two ways, both physically and mentally at me.

            "Excellent, bring it here." She walked with a slight hitch in her gait. I winced in sympathy. I was not kind in their training. I'd found the largest set of stairs in the whole house—three stories you do the math on how many stairs there were—and made them run up it, then climb down a rope I'd secured to the railing on the third story only to have them climb back up the rope and run down the stairs. Rinse and repeat.

            They had to do this twenty times each. Emma, poor thing, was on the verge of tears when I stopped them on the second day here and Tomen glared at me anytime I entered a room.

            My fingers eagerly gripped the letter and I ran my gaze over it several times. It was exactly what I'd asked for. Vivienne, Imperial Court Enchantress to her Empress, Madame de Fer herself had written me a letter of introduction. My letter of introduction was separate and at the bottom bore her seal. It was heavily implied in the post script that I owed her greatly.

            What did a woman who had the noble court in her pocket possibly want from me? I didn't think she'd be bought as easily as Dorian and his candied dates, but perhaps some of the most luxurious chocolate I could find and a decadent set of skin lotions?

            Probably not but I was getting them for her anyway.

            Upon glancing up I saw that Emma had retreated from the room. Hmm… I had been rather hard on them. Perhaps a nice Earth dish to sort out the hard feelings? Training was not meant to be pleasant; I was building up their upper and lower body strength. It wasn't like they could walk into a gym and run on a treadmill or lift weights.

            They were coming along quite nicely though, it was time to take it to the next level. We'd been here a week longer than I wanted already and while they weren't quite completing their exercises in the allotted time frame—let's be real neither could I—they were down to an hour and a half.

            "Alright people! Amara and I are headed out! Solas is in charge." When I rose Gypsy rose with me, "Stay." I commanded and pointed at the floor. "People don't appreciate me dragging a dire wolf into their shops and I want to get the fuck out of this city."

            She whined at me and dropped her head a little.

            "Go see if Emma has a treat for you." I waved at the door, "Go on."

            Amara came sliding into view. She loved the hardwood floors, especially after I showed her how she could slide around on them in her socks. Now she didn't want to wear shoes.

            "Got the list?" I asked as I plucked my cloak off of a hook behind the door. Amara waved it back and forth in front of her several times, an excited grin on her face. "Wonderful, get your shoes."

            She ran, her feet never lifting from the ground. I suddenly had an urge to get her a pair of ice skates. Something told me she'd be impeccable at it. Good sense of balance.

            "Don't forget the weights I made for you!" I called after her. Her head popped back into view and she gave me a disgruntled look before she vanished again. "I'm serious! You wanted to learn how to fight!"

            Taking a leaf from Dragon Ball Z. Goku always fought with weights, made him faster when he took them off. It would be good to build her speed at a young age, instead of forcing her when she was older. They weren't heavy, just two pounds, but it would help increase her muscles over all as well as her speed. At least, it was the theory, which is why it was only two pounds. I didn't need her developing weird habits because I didn't know what the hell I was talking about.

            Amara pranced back into view, a little sullen at the prospect of wearing shoes. She kept scuffing the bottom of her soles on the floor. I counted. From her bedroom to the entryway it was no less than thirty seven times. It was only fifty steps from there to here.

            "Pick up your feet." I chided, "You want everyone to know where you are?"

            "You're no fun." She whined and stuck her tongue out at me.

            My mouth flopped open and closed several times. "I am too fun." I challenged, "Just don't want you giving away our presence if we have to ambush someone." I pulled my head back and lifted a single eyebrow at her.

            Her eyes rounded, "You really think we'll have to fight people?"

            "Who knows, maybe?" I said airily. No, I didn't think we were going to fight anyone while shopping but it would keep Amara on her toes as long as she thought about it. "Grab your cloak, kiddo."

            And we were out the door. The first two shops gave us a hard time until I whipped the letter out. Then everyone started tittering and bringing out bolts of cloth and holding the bright colors against Amara's skin. Amara was drawn to the metallic colors; the shimmering golds and the earthy greens. I pointed her in the direction of purples and blues.

            She stood up on a platform, calm and happy. Every once in a while she would turn to me with a question and I smile and nod at her.

            Every shop we visited after that didn't require the letter. It seemed that my presence here in the city was spreading like wild fire. Vivienne talked me up quite a bit in the letter, using my title and claiming that I was a patron of hers. Which, in a skewed kind of way, I was; considering that no one in the Inquisition could give orders to me. Not anymore.

            In the end, Amara had a very wide selection—no less than eight—dresses to choose from, and four pairs of pants and seven shirts; a whole new wardrobe.

            The sun was still high in the sky when we left from the fourth shop. Amara wanted pretty shoes and if the Inquisition was planning on attending a ball—it was—I was not leaving Amara behind. It was something that she would absolutely love and I knew it. I would have loved to attend a ball when I was younger, even played dress up and pretended I was dancing with the Queen of England.

            "Right, but we get one set of pretty shoes and two functional." I pointed at her. "We are not going to be lugging back enough shoes to fit the whole organization, alright?"

            Shoes were a women's weakness. Even mine. When we entered the shoes shop both Amara and I became entranced. She found a pair she instantly liked and they took her measurements. I wanted the shoes to fit her feet, not something that was common here and it was hella expensive but getting blisters that could become infected because they rubbed the wrong place was not something I wanted for her.

            I… I was not ashamed to admit that I walked out with an order for a pair of boots. They were lovely, black leather that rose up to my knee. It would be perfect with any dress I chose because black went with everything, or so I believed.

            At the end of the day—we still had another day of shopping waiting for us—Amara had everything she needed/wanted. I ordered several outfits for myself and got a replacement shirt—two actually—and a pair of pants for Solas. No I didn't forget that I ripped his pants with my canines, I don't think I'd ever forget that.

            "Amara," I called out drawing her back to me. She twirled in circles absolutely over the moons with everything that had happened today. "I need to pick out something for Solas, you want to help?"

            She ran over to me, "We like Solas now?"

            I laughed and patted her head, "Sweetling you didn't have to dislike him just because I did. Solas has done a lot for the both of us." My gaze trailed over the scar on her face. It had faded to a thin line. I pressed a hand to the side of her face, "Do you like Solas?"

            She scrunched her nose at me, "He is silly. Did you see him light his coat on fire?"

            I snorted, "No I did not, I am very sorry that I missed that." It must have been fucking hilarious!

            "He's nice though." Amara nodded at me, "Solas is quiet but he is kind to everyone. He helps people no matter what."

            "Yes, he really does." I sighed and thought of all the times Solas helped me and I pushed him away because of distrust. "Come on hon, we need to pick out some earrings for him."

            We wandered the stalls around the city square until Amara found the smith with the jewelry. She picked pieces up and put them down just as quick. She darted back and forth showing me rings and bracelets that she loved. It wasn't until she came across a simple set of earrings. They were silver, but they'd been hit with a brass brush so there was a faint dusting of brass across the surface.

            "I like these ones." Amara nodded at me.

            "I like them too." I smiled down at her and turned to pay for them.

            "Oh can we get some frilly cakes?" Amara bounced and pointed at the sweet shop nearby. Now that I was paying attention delightful smells permeated the air around us and my stomach grumbled in response.

            I eyed her. She'd been very well behaved an only dropped on accidental cunt when one of the seamstresses had poked her with a pin. "Alright."

            We walked in and instantly the man behind the counter saw my ears and pointed at the door. "Out, we don't serve your kin' here."

            "Oh for fucks sake." I slammed my hand against the counter and glared up at him, fingers rolling into the palm of my hand, "Fuck you buddy, I want cupcakes so does the kid and if you refuse her I'll climb over the eighteen inches of wood between me and you and kick your ass all the way to the Chantry." Amara giggled behind me. The man eyed me for a long moment before I slapped a pouch full of coin on the counter, "Or you can get me my cupcakes and I'll leave a generous tip."

            Money was the language of the people. A whole fucking gold coin would feed him for a week, so I'd give him two. It was no skin off my back. What did I need money for? Most of my shit was scrounged up, and I didn't use weapons anymore. Only thing I needed was a proper set of armor. None of this cleavage bouncing in the wind bullshit. It was beginning to hurt.

            Why did men think it was what we wanted?

            Amara stepped forward and started pointing to the different cakes she wanted. She got many of the small ones that went in an elegant looking box and I demanded a big three tiered white cake drizzled with chocolate and topped with strawberries.

            We exited the shop and shared a look. Together we busted up laughing and walked back to the house with a little extra bounce in our step. Cake was one thing that Amara and I both loved, she'd never had any fancy ones and my heart hurt all over again for her. If she was ever put into a tower again I'd tear it down brick by bloody brick.

            Amara, the little terror, ran into her room and locked the door behind her. The cake box clutched firmly between both hands.

            "Hey!" I shouted through the closed door, "No more than one! Dinner is in an hour!"

            "'kay!" Her voice sounded thick, like she'd already shoved a large portion of one cake in her mouth. Sighing I walked away from the door and into the kitchen.

            What to make for dinner?

            I clicked my tongue several times while I rifled through the larder. There was a lot of bread and cheese and hanging dried meat. There was a very limited selection of fresh foods. Apples and vegetables mostly which were a balanced part of a meal that as a guardian I should think of.

            I laughed myself out of the larder. Yes, I was giving Amara a balanced meal by allowing her to stay locked in her room with a box full of cupcakes.

            I sobered instantly and met the eyes of my lover who was currently digging into my cake with zeal. His hand paused halfway through his bite and his mouth was hanging open. There was a slight smear of icing on the corner of his lips, like he'd taken too big of a bite. I tilted my head and smiled up at him.

            "Find something you like?"

            He cleared his throat and set the fork down on the counter top. "Apologies, arasha."

            I felt a little mischievous streak inside of me. Keeping my eyes on the cake I walked around the counter and looked. Surprise spiked in my stomach. He hadn't even used a plate.

            Had he been so eager for the cake that he hadn't wanted to take the time it took to cut a piece free? How… adorable.

            I think I found Solas' weakness. Elegant cake. Mental note officially made.

            My mouth wrapped around a tsk-ing sound and I moved to a cupboard. Rummaging around I found a plate and a knife. Returning to him I set the plate on the counter with extra care and cut a generous piece and placed it on the plate. Using his fork I cut the tip off and slid it into my mouth.

            Oh fuck it was divine. It was a waste really, what I was about to do. Gently I set the fork back on the plate and lifted it up to Solas. A smile pulled the corner of his lips up and I breathed shallowly. I wonder what the outcome of this would be?

            Quickly my eyes darted around; I didn't see any books or ancient scrolls that I was about to damage.

            The chocolate would wash out… probably.

            I pulled the plate slightly out of reach and stepped into him; lifting up onto my toes I pressed an open mouth kiss over the icing on his lips. He hummed and turned into it, delving deeply into my mouth. He tasted faintly of the cake, vanilla and sugar, mixed with the bitterness of the strawberries.

            An arm wrapped around my lower back, holding me close to him and supporting my weight as he pulled up slightly. His knee bumped into mine and his other hand snaked lower, he palmed my butt, fingers kneading the flesh gently.

            I broke the kiss and smiled up at him. In his eyes shone love. Actual love, not possessiveness and lust. I pressed another kiss to his lips and rocked back onto the heels of my feet.

            My hand arced through the air and I smushed the cake all over the side of his face. I wrapped my lips around the edge of my teeth and bit down on them and watched Solas closely for a reaction with wide eyes.

            Both of his were closed, his nostrils flared slightly. I took a step back and cleared my throat, how far was his reach again? I couldn't seem to remember the details at that exact moment.

            His hand darted out, quicker than I could track and wrapped around my wrist. I let out a yelp of surprise and leaned away from him but when he tugged I was forced to take several steps forward. I was secure against him. Well, between him and the counter.

            I could actually only see one eye. The other was completely covered in cake. The one eye I could see was open, but it was difficult to gauge his reaction because well it was just one eye and holy shit I think I made him mad.

            In all reality I may have fucked up, and in that moment I wondered if anyone else had ever dared to cover the Dread Wolf himself in confections. From the look currently pointed in my direction my stance was a firm no.

            A new experience for us all. He had cake on his face, a lot of it and me? Well I had an angry god looming over me and I just couldn't help but bust out laughing. It was a silent laugh that shook my whole body. Bits of cake rained down off of him onto me which only caused my quiet trembling to intensify.

            I squealed in horror when his hand made a pass over my face, smearing a large portion of cake over it. When I breathed—through my mouth because the nose was completely plugged—a few crumbs dropped into my mouth.

            "It really is delicious." I told him with a cheeky grin on my face. He surged forward and pressed a kiss to my lips, taking his time in exploring every inch. A hand gripped my hair close to my scalp and I felt something moist press into my head. I groaned and broke the kiss.

            "Perhaps we should…" his eyes passed over my face and drifted lower, "clean up?"  His words were tangible on my skin and I heard the implied naughty things deep in my bones. I nodded and kissed him again, wrapping my arms around his neck.

            "There are few things I would love more." I said as I pulled back. He smirked and when my arms unlaced from his neck Solas tangled one of his own in mine.

            My free hand searched behind me. There is one idea I loved more than bathing with him.

            Fingers found the sticky delight and they closed around a large portion of it. Before I could second guess myself I flung it at the back of his head. The impact was audible and he froze. My hand was out of his grasp quicker than he could gasp in disbelief and I was halfway to the other exit before he even turned around.

            Solas appeared in front of me, the edges of his eyes rimmed in the liquid silver I identified with using magic.

            He fucking fade stepped.

            "Cheater!" I screamed as I slid to a stop, there was cake in his hand and my eyes went wide. I wasn't going to get to eat a solid piece of it was I? My eyes slammed shut and I threw up a barrier. The sound of the cake bouncing off of it and then splatting onto the ground was music to my ears, "Ha!" I pointed at him and did a little dance.

            "Ma nuvenin."

            Chills ran down my spine. I had just willingly entered into a food fight with my lover, who happened to be several thousand years old. I was so screwed.

            I couldn't move quickly enough with the barrier in place, it took concentration to keep it up and it felt like just standing here was cheating on my part so I dropped it and bolted.

            Solas growled when I fled from him and if I thought whatever ran down my spine earlier were chills I had not lived in this very moment before because that was the sound of simultaneous things happening all at once; my panties were absolutely drenched while my stomach dropped about a foot inside of me and my heart went to live in a new neighborhood. I heard great things about the throat.

            Tomen and Emma were standing at the bottom of the stairs as I streaked by. I swiped off two handfuls of cake and shoved it into their hands.

            "He's going to eat me!" I yelled at them as I vanished around the corner. Was I actually instigating a food fight involving my entire household?

            Damn right I was.

            "Amara!" I pounded on her door, "Amara open the door!" The palm of my hand made repetitive contact with the wood and I heard the patter of little feet on the other side. The lock clicked and when it creaked open Amara's jaw dropped. I glanced over my shoulder.

            Both Emma and Tomen had new pieces of ammunition in their hands and were quickly approaching me with gleeful looks on their faces. I was surprised the second time that night, Tomen was participating. Perhaps I had been a tad too harsh with their training, there was a very evil glint in the man's eye.

            Son of a bitch. Solas turned them against me.

            "Traitors!"

            There wasn't any time to get inside of Amara's room and lock the door. They were scant feet away. My only option was to flee and pray we didn't break anything too expensive.

            It was a really good thing that Thedas had no concept of shag carpets. Everything was thick yarn woven together in elaborate patterns. Lucky for me—because I started this shit—Thedas was a practical land that believed in dark colored rugs. It didn't hurt that most of the cake was white either.

            Solas was a much better leader than I was and it quickly became apparent. I should have known that he was an expert at chess because he had me cornered quicker than I could spit. I watched as the three of them—scratch that four because Amara was now equipped with a piece of cake and just where were they getting the ammunition without going back to the kitchen—surrounded me.

            Amara suddenly turned and pelted Solas with her piece of cake. She spun to me and waved me in a random direction while the other three were stunned by her betrayal.

            "Suck it bitches!" She tossed behind her should as we raced through the house. It didn't take them long to get over their surprise and follow us down the maze like corridors. Amara, who was small and easy to miss, hid in the shadows while I led the other three on a merry little chase.

            I don't know how long it was but Amara popped back up by my side with cake spilling from her pockets and large portions were in her hands.

            Our feet carried us like the wind. My little one providing cake to me whenever we ran across the others. Cake was smeared on the walls and I even thought I caught a glimpse of some on the ceiling. Amara held her own, flicking pieces of cake off her fingers at them.

            As we ran through a section of hallways that forked off I got lost. Amara wasn't any better than I and we panted and spun in different directions looking for a good hallway to dart down. One that hopefully led to my rooms where there was a large tub waiting for us.

            Emma came out of nowhere and clotheslined me. I groaned as the world flipped and I ended up on my back. Cake was showered down upon me and I laughed until I couldn't breathe anymore.

            When I sat up I noticed that Amara had pieces of it smeared across her face and on her clothes. She was grinning from ear to ear and there was a smug looking Solas behind her.

            "I fucking love you guys." I mumbled as I fell back. "Who wants cleaning duty?"

            Everyone vanished so quick I would swear they were spirits with the ability to teleport. Everyone, that is, except for Solas.

            Dinner was not going to be ready in an hour.

 

Solas lounged behind me in the hot water. We managed to scrub most of the cake off before getting into the tub using a bucket and a plush looking rag. Neither of us wanted to soak with soggy bits of cake floating in the water. His hands ran lazily up and down my arms.

            "Is that something you did often?" His question was sudden and I twisted to look at him.

            "Food fights?" More than half of my cake was littered around the house. I was debating on being a douche and just leaving it for the servants to clean up. But I wasn't debating it very hard. "Only one other time and it wasn't a fun food fight."

            "What happened?" Solas maneuvered us until I was turned toward him and sprawled across his chest.

            "Jack didn't like my pot pie." I stated simply, "So I got to wear it." Along with several cuts because he chucked the whole pie glass at my head. It hit me hard enough that I had to go to the hospital and get stitches. They had to shave three inches of my hair off to sew it closed.

            "Clarifying question…" Solas pressed his lids together and his nostrils flared in anger, "Jack is dead correct?"

            "God I hope so," I mumbled, "but I highly doubt it. He's like a fucking cockroach. That little shit would survive a nuclear explosion."

            "Nuclear?" Solas' mouth formed oddly around the word, "Is it close to the Qunari gaatlok?"

            I sat up and looked at Solas, the water fell off of me in a sheet, one hand splayed across his chest, "I don't know, what is gaatlok? I know it is an explosive, but is it a liquid, a solid? Does it burn on contact?"

            "From what my agents have been able to gleam it is a powder."

            I nodded, "Thank you, Bull refused to tell me what it looked like. No, nuclear is nothing like gaatlok. And I am so glad you guys don't have it." It was something that wasn't even common during Mass Effect's time. "The destructive capabilities are horrific, millions gone in the blink of an eye. The fallout of a nuclear bomb going off doesn't just last until the end of the explosion either; it leaves the land uninhabitable for generations to come."

            My hands swiped up a cloth and soap; slowly I passed the cloth over Solas' chest. "Have you encountered gaatlok before?" Solas sounded way too interested in it.

            "Are you looking to gain their secret?" I chuckled at his expression, "It is a powerful weapon, especially while the rest of the world needs mages or lyrium to blow things up." He gave me an exasperated look, "To answer your question though… yes. In my first life it was an ingredient in our primary weapon of choice."

            "Do you know how to make it?"

            "No," I shook my head, "all I know is that requires a special form of salt that I also do not know how to make and it would be difficult to explain without science."

            Solas sighed and nodded.

            "Can we circle back to you having agents?" He sighed and his head dropped to have over the edge of the tub. "Because I'm kind of wondering what your long term plan is and where we are going once the Inquisition is over."

            His head lifted and he watched me for a long moment. "We?" It was a simple question but it was a loaded one.

            "Uh…" I hedged and gave a nervous chuckle, "I just assumed—which I shouldn't do for obvious reasons—that when we were done here we would… venture very far away from… the Inquisitor and everyone else."

            "You would go with me? What of Amara?"

            I rested my chin on his chest and searched his face, "I think she didn't like you because I was so adamant about disliking you."

            "You were quite vocal about it." Solas' face pinched into a slight frown.

            "Only because you were being pigheaded and not helping." One of my fingers started to circle his nipple, "Which you stopped doing."

            "If I had not offered my assistance we would not be here?"

            "Oh," I chuckled, "we'd be here, it would just be more explosive with lots of arguing and me breaking things."

            Solas' hands were rough as he pulled me up, our lips clashed together. Water spilled over the side of the tub, splashing against the floor in a rhythm that my heart could dance to. I sighed as he stood with me still in his arms.

            Somehow we found our way to the bed, dripping wet. As soon as I was beneath him he slowed down, his hands exploring every section of my body, leaving a trail for his mouth to follow. I gasped and arched into his touch more times than I could count.

            My body hummed with pleasure. Solas was everywhere. His mouth was getting lower and lower. Teeth nipped at my inner thigh and I fisted a hand only to shove it against my mouth to muffle the scream that was fighting to make its way out.

            Ms. Flame—absolutely mortified that she was interrupting this—showed me the pictures of runes he drew against my clit with his tongue. I panted and writhed in ecstasy as he expertly plucked my strings.

            "Jutuan ma ir rosas’da’din, ma tel’aman melin." She whispered the translation into my ear, her voice no longer carried its distinct pitch but sounded almost exactly like me. She was, after all, learning the common tongue from me. "Mar rodhe ir’on."

            My fist pushed farther into my face. I didn't need to scream or make noises; once I started there would be no stopping me. I didn't care that people knew we were doing it, but I didn't want them to know when we were doing it.

            A muffled cry escaped past my lips, one of my legs wrapped around his back, not pushing but just relishing the ability to be able to touch him. My stomach was starting to tighten in want, toes curled.

            One of his fingers slid into me and I saw little white dots float across my vision. He was undoing me and piecing me back together with expert precision. Another finger slid into me and I wasn't gently nudged across the cliff, I jumped willingly and with great glee.

            Solas stilled as I cried out his name. My mind floated somewhere above me. I couldn't see, couldn't feel, I just basked in a warm glow and when I was able to move Solas kissed up my hip, along the edge of my side, paused for a moment before he pressed his face into the valley between my breasts.

            "Such a lovely sound," he murmured as he kissed tender flesh. "I wonder, ma lath, if I am able to draw it from you again."

            I shuddered in anticipation under him. I felt the smirk on his lips. He rose until he was eye level with me. Gently he leaned down and I surged forward to capture his lips.

            He did, just so you know. Several times.

Chapter Text

I lounged lazily across the couch in my room. A merry fire crackled and spat hot ash into the air. The screen before it stopped the embers from catching the rug on fire. The heat caressed my skin, drying my hair in the process. Solas lay between my legs, using my breasts for a pillow. One of his arms was wrapped around me, the other dangled over the edge of the couch.

            Solas was asleep and I was thoroughly exhausted myself. Except I had to make dinner. One of the catches about renting this particular house was servants not included. I was totally okay with it, having strangers lurking around the house, tending to my fires, serving me food. It wasn't something that I was fond of, for a multitude of reasons.

            One, I'd grown up poor. Money, while nice, was not something I was used to having and I wanted to share it with the people I loved. Wanted to buy them things. It was an object, a means of comfort, but not necessary for my happiness.

            Two, I was paranoid. I didn't like the idea of someone sneaking a spy into my home and reporting things back to anyone. Which is something that the nobles of Val Royeaux would do, Orlais was just that way.

            Three? I didn't approve of a purely elven servant employment. It was disgusting that only elves filled the role of cleaning up after others. It was degrading and I wanted to put an end to it. Elves were treated like shit in this world and I fucking hated it.

            Which meant that I had to get up and go clean the cake off the walls, and the floor and that one spot on the ceiling because I would not make more work for people of my species to clean up. I was not a heathen that believed Elves were a second class citizen just because they had pointed ears and wandered the wilderness.

            Elves used to have their own home if I remembered correctly. They wandered for a long time until they came to the end of their journey. They founded a city, called Halamshiral, which… I think translates into journey's end or something like that? My Elvhen is horrible. That ended when the Chantry initiated a march against them. I'm not sure why but I think it's kind of like the white man forced Native Americans to adopt their religion.

            Conversion in short. They wanted the Elves to convert but why should they? Religion was about belief and you should never force someone to believe in what you believe just because you think it is right.

            I just hoped they realized their errors before it was too late. The Earth I came from was horrendous. In Mass Effect's time they realized their error and banded together as a species, but then they were wary of Aliens. Human hatred didn't vanish; they just pushed it onto a different race just because they were different.

            I hated humans with a passion. Most living breathing two legged sentient beings actually. Individuals were great but a horde of them? They stopped listening to reason and just rolled with the punches. That was how genocide happened.

            People were horrible. And I wasn't going to contribute to the stereo type. So, I just needed to shift slightly, move Solas just a little so I could slide off the couch and get dressed. After cleaning I planned on making dinner.

            I knew exactly what to make, only problem was how to go about doing it. It was going to take me hours.

            Good thing I hardly ever slept anymore.

 

The house was officially clean and my back was murdering me. Slowly I shuffled into the kitchen and laid flat on the counter. The bucket—which had been emptied no less than twelve times—and the rag—the fifth one mind you—were sitting on the floor next to the table. I didn't have the energy to move them, much less the desire to.

            Mops had not yet been invented and brooms were just hay tied together at the end of a stick. Attempting to sweep up the cake had smeared pieces of it deeper into the fibers of the couches and rugs. Fuck Thedas.

            Groaning I rolled onto my side and kicked a leg forward, using the momentum I put a hand on my hip and twisted my shoulders in the opposite direction. A resounding crack echoed through my body. Relief swept through me as my pain began to ease. Never thought I'd end up on hands and knees scrubbing a floor.

            I had a new found respect for servants who did this daily. It was not the life for me but bravo to them for being able to do it day in and day out. They might actually be tougher than I was.

            After several minutes I rolled off the counter and saw that Tomen was sitting on a chair at the table. I didn't know if he was there when I walked in or if he saw me and decided to just stop by and wait for me to get up.

            "Is everything alright?" I asked as I stood, squatting to stretch the muscles in my calves.

            "My wife and son have made it to Skyhold." He held up a letter. "They cannot believe that I am working with the Anointed." His chin tilted down, "Though once they learn what it is actually like they may believe it a little more."

            "I'm not that mean." I shot back, "You are progressing faster than Emma because you already have upper and lower body strength."

            "Oh, is that what your torture is supposed to be doing?" One of his eyebrows rose and he cocked his head, "I thought it was punishment."

            I bit my lip and stifled my laughter, "No, it has a purpose. Tomorrow we will begin fixing your fighting techniques and I will lessen the… crazy stair exercise."

            "I don't want you going easy on us." Tomen stated as he stood. He lifted the bucket and dumped it down the drain for me before pumping more water in and rinsing it out.

            "You want me to give you more?" I hazarded. It wasn't normal for soldiers to ask for more training. "That's… impressive. What were you before you became a soldier in the Inquisition?"

            "Knowledge for knowledge?" He asked quietly and I nodded. "I served at Redcliffe. I had been part of the militia there for about a decade. The things I saw and survived." He shuddered. He could only be talking about what happened, how Connor became possessed and sent the dead into the village. "When the sky was torn open I knew I had to come here. For my boy, and my wife."

            "Thank you." My voice was quiet. Holy shit, was Thedas such a small place that everyone was connected in some way to events that happened in the game? What next? Would I meet Shale in her dwarf form?

            "Your turn." He demanded, "Where did you learn to fight?"

            "All over," I nodded. This was a touchy subject but I promised and I would not lie. I'd just… be creative. "I studied with different species, learned their fighting styles and then added my own. It is a hodgepodge style, effective but limiting. Most people fight with a blade in their hand or a staff. But I prefer hand to hand, it's easier for me."

            "Dangerous." Tomen commented, "You'll teach us to fight like you?"

            "Oh yes," I gave him a wicked grin. "When I'm finished with you two, you won't need a weapon to be dangerous."

            Tomen slid a cup of something vile smelling in my direction. "Get some rest, Luna. It's been a long few days." I glared at it as he walked out the door. Vivienne's tea. Would I never be rid of it? And how did she get my people to keep feeding it to me?!

            "Yes," I giggled deciding to ignore the offensive cup, "Tomen!" I hopped once before jogging after him. "You still have cake in your hair."

            He grumbled something about crazy elves before he marched up the stairs. Sighing I spun toward the study to grab my cloak. It was shopping time.

            I breezed out the door. Most of my house was asleep. I knew Amara was, I told her the tale of Snow White, stopping when the Queen gave the Princess a poisoned apple because Amara was off in dream land. Emma had passed out in the parlor and Tomen was headed for another bath.

            My hood covered my ears causing people to mistake me for a young human. I picked up tomatoes and meat and the closest thing to potatoes. Fresh druffalo, hopefully it was close to bison from Earth which tasted a fuck of a lot like cow. Smiling I dropped the silver into the palm of the man behind the stall. The cheese was difficult but after paying two silver to sample each one I found the closest and called it good.

            The basket I carried with me was heavy and I was excited. I knew it would take a bit to make what I wanted. We'd probably end up eating it for breakfast instead of dinner.

            Feet, swift and loud, carried someone toward me. Spinning I dropped the basket and fell into a loose stance. The elf ran right past me, wearing the livery of a noble house. I laughed at myself for my paranoia right before the world went black.

 

I woke groggily. The room refused to sit still and there was a burning pain in my shoulders and wrists. There was a steady drip drip somewhere and when I finally realized that it was not the room that spun but me I settled a little. The dripping was going to drive me insane.

            Someone had the nerve to string me up like a hog to be butchered. I didn't know if I was pissed or impressed.

            If I was honest with myself it was a little of both. More angry than impressed though.

            Steadily I worked my jaw. Someone had been upset with me. The muscles felt tight and sore, like they'd repetitively hit me with something. Had I been worked over?

            And then I remembered. They were assassins from the House of Repose. I'd never heard of them in my fucking life but they said they were hired to extract information from me before delivering me—like I was a GD package—to a dead drop where the contract holder would then take possession of me. I had a few problems with this, and had expressed them. 

            Thedas was going bonkers.

            Someone walked into the room. As per usual—in Val Royeaux fashion—they wore a mask that covered everything from their nose up.

            "You have a very ugly mouth." I called out, "Sure you don't want one of those full masks? Maybe then the women will take a fancy to you. Get a little lion main attached-" he shut me up with a backhand across my face.

            "Oh yeah, that's the stuff." The split on my upper lip broke open and the metallic taste of blood filled my mouth. I worked all of the blood to the front and when he came back into my line of sight I spat it at him. "Men then? I can understand, after all I fancy men myself. Rippling muscle-" I let out a grunt of pain as he sunk his fist into my chest, it felt like something broke. My breath slammed out of me and it was a long moment before I could suck in a lung full. I coughed several times before I could wheeze with any sort of ease. "Am I going to do all the talking because I can totally get behind-"

            The man walked forward with a knife and pressed it against my throat.

            "Fergus." Someone called from the doorway, "That is no way to treat a guest of the House of Repose."

            I smiled at him, sure that my teeth were tainted pink with my blood. "A guest am I?" I snorted and shoved Fergus away from me with my feet. "Why don't you let me down then and we can have a civilized conversation over a cup of coffee?"

            "That we could, I'm sure Paul would disagree with that assessment however." The man pulled a chair to the center of the room. Fergus picked up a table and set it next to the chair before he vacated the room. The man sat in the chair.

            "How is Paul?" I gave him a feral grin and kicked with my legs to keep him in my vision. "Did he have a nice funeral?"

            I couldn't tell if the man was giving me a dry look or an eat shit and die look. The mask, it fucked up all sorts of things, including the ability to be menacing. No one was going to take you serious when there were swan wings coming off of the side. Seriously all I could think of was Odette. Oh! Another story to tell Amara.

            "It was a small affair," the man nodded while he crossed his legs at the knee. Fergus entered the room again and a tray was set down on the table. The tray contained several cookies—looked like short bread cookies—and two tea cups along with a pot that I assumed had tea in it. "Tasteful, thank you for inquiring after Paul. However it is not the reason you are a guest in my home."

            Ah were we getting to the heart of the matter?

            "Our employer has been lead to believe you have certain… abilities that may be of use to him if you amenable to the idea." Yup, it was tea. The man—Peacock?—poured him a cup before nibbling on the edge of a cookie. "I hold no delusions; a woman with your spirit does not work for anyone. Despite that knowledge the gentleman in me requires that I make the offer, especially to a woman in your situation. Would you be willing to work for my employer?"

            "Go fuck yourself." I snapped with little elegance.

            "Yes," Peacock sipped his tea, "I was hoping for a different outcome, for your sake. Such lovely skin." He stood and set his tea cup back on its saucer. "Fergus? Be a dear and fetch the box." Sadness swept through his gaze before he shook it off, "I am sorry Miss, but there is some intelligence I need from you. Again, I believe you will not, but would you be willing to answer a few harmless questions?"

            I spat a globule of blood at the man. It landed on the toe of his right shoe and he let out a tsk-ing noise.

            "Very well, just remember I gave you the opportunity." A smile graced his face, "This is one of my favorite pass times, I'm so glad you chose this."

            A shiver ran up my spine and I wondered how long I'd been here and if I'd been missed already. I wasn't even sure I was still in Val Royeaux; I just knew that I was in Orlais. I'd never been tortured before. No one had any reason to pay attention to me before Thedas. I was really beginning to hate this place. Well… no I wasn't but still this was the place where the most fucked up shit had happened to me.

            Ms. Flame lifted her head and started to whisper into my ear. She'd spent a lot of time quietly lurking in the background and picking up a lot of my habits and mannerisms, including my penchant for cussing and the language itself.

            Give me control, her whisper was seductive. I will kill them all for you.

            "Yeah," I snorted, "and then take over my body and walk out over their corpses."

            Peacock gave me a strange look. His eyes darted around the room looking for anyone I might have been talking too. I gave him another smile and threw up a barrier.

            "Besides, he has to reach me to torture me."

            His hand ran over the surface and he muttered, "Fascinating."

            "Hey, quick question…" I flipped my hair out of my face and looked him dead in the eye, "Have you ever held a juiced up mage?"

            "Is that what you are?" He gave me a smile, "I assure you there are wards that prevent anyone from twisting the fade."

            "So how am I putting up the barrier?" I asked and I saw when it dawned on his face. "Let me say it again… fuck you buddy."

            "Fergus!" Peacock shouted. Fergus busted into the room, a dart held in his hand. I glared between the two of them. I'd seen that dart before. It was what knocked me out when they worked me over before. Peacock hadn't been a part of it then. "Please send her to sleep."

            I focused on the barrier but several other men ran into the room with large hammers. They'd been through this once before. "Fuck." I growled right as the first hammer hit my barrier. I felt it weaken and tried to reinforce it but the hammers fell one after another. It wasn't long before it fell and Fergus darted me.

 

My mouth tasted absolutely foul, but this time when I woke up I was completely aware of my situation. Something had changed though. I lifted my head and looked around. They had moved me from the room I had been, and instead of hanging from the ceiling I was strapped to a table. This was… potentially worse.

            Before I had the ability to move, regardless of how limited it was. If they'd left me alone I could have escaped one way or another. Now? Now I was all but fucked because they figured out how to take the barrier down, even if it took them a considerable amount of time and I wasn't able to move.

            Fear settled into my belly and I wondered what I was in for. I had no idea how I'd do under torture. I had endured a lot in my life, physical/mental/sexual abuse at the hands of someone meant to protect me, laser burns, the prospect of genocide, bruises and broken bones. Cuts that needed stiches and fucking mage healing.

            But torture? This was a whole new ball game and I didn't know the rules. I felt like I'd been thrown out at the last minute without even a bat to play with.

            Peacock entered the room and he was wearing simpler clothes that held dark stains. Logically I knew this was a scare tactic but it didn't matter, it was working. How many people had broken under his skilled touch?

            Oh boy I was fucked. A piece of me receded where nothing could touch it and I felt myself go a little dead on the inside.

            I licked my lips and regarded him evenly despite what I was feeling inside. Someone somewhere had once said that if you broke the silence first you automatically lost. I would hold my silence as long as I was able.

            Ms. Flame reared her ugly head again and started to whisper to me. I shut her out the best I could, but her incessant whispering was starting to get to me. I didn't like these Repose people, what if they did die?

            Peacock lifted up a knife but set it down. He did this several times. I didn't know if I wanted to watch him or the ceiling but damn I couldn't look away. Finally he picked up a knife that had a little hook on the end.

            "The pain is exquisite." His voice was soft, not carrying beyond the two of us. "Many that have lain under my tutelage crave pain and the pleasure it can bring." He walked slowly toward me, every step he took resounded inside of my very bones. I refused to shudder in fear. I could not let him see any hint of weakness.

            The sound of cloth ripping reached my ears and the tip of the blade cut a long path down my stomach. The laceration was not deep and it took a moment for the pain to register.

            "My apologies, Lady." Peacock whispered, "I shall endeavor to be more careful around the abdomen."

            It was wickedly sharp. A ragged breath escaped me but that's all I let out. Slowly, methodically he removed my clothing until I was bear upon the stone slab. The straps that held me down were made of soft supple leather, a kindness I didn't expect from this man. Why I was thinking about that I didn't know.

            There was a pressure on my right side, at the curve of my ribs. Agony followed shortly after followed by warmth trickling down my skin. Again the pain visited and I struggled to see what he was doing.

            "Do you know what this knife is?" He whispered as he leaned down. I could smell fish on his breath, it was fresh and it made me want to puke. "Hmm?" The blade made another incision, followed by another. I pressed my lips tight together in a blatant refusal of speaking. "Very well I shall tell you. One of my more… well used tools." He ran the flat of the blade down my side. It was so very cold.

            He leaned over me again, forcing me to meet his gaze. His eyes were devoid of any human empathy. He was a fucking sociopath. Peacock didn't see me he saw a bag of flesh. Panic sliced through me.

            Peacock reminded me of Jack. And just like that I felt Emily crawling up from the shadows of my soul. She sniveled and wanted to speak out but I refused her, just as I refused Ms. Flame who whispered sweet words of ending it all before it even began.

            Fuck it. I hissed at the warring parts of me, Who is down for a new experience?

            "This particular blade is used for skinning." His words broke across my face and I felt my stomach drop. Pure white hot agony followed seconds behind accompanied by the sickening sound of skin being rendered from flesh.

            I screamed. Not once, but twice as he ripped a second strip of flesh from my body.

            "Yes!" He screamed along with me, "Such a magnificent sound. I want to hear it again!"

 

I floated. When I wasn't in pain I was happy. I had absolutely no idea how long I'd been down here but I fared better than I ever hoped to. Peacock man turned into Omar. He shared his name with me after he ripped the nails off my right hand. It was a reward for enduring in silence.

            Every time I surprised him he revealed another fact about himself. I surprised him three times. Once when he sliced the tip of my ear off, with that one I got the name of his first victim. Faith. The other time was when he peeled a strip from my face, just under my eye. That one had earned me his favorite food, lobster.

            He was delusional, thinking he was invincible. My biotics were erratic, without being able to move a limb to direct the direction of throw or singularity I was limited to shockwave which only erupted from the area surrounding my feet.

            Omar became very careful to never walk in that direction. Not after I bodily slammed him into the ceiling and then threw another one that slammed him into the wall. The rebound on this guy was fantastic though. He let out a please moan and rushed back to my side, intent on continuing.

            "Shall we explore your gender now?" He said it with such relish that I wept and begged him not to. "Oh, no…. shhh shhh amour, you will enjoy this one."

            No, I wouldn't.

            All this can be over if you just surrender to me. Ms. Flame whispered. I felt her caress the inside of my mind, I will let you watch as I slowly tear this man to shreds, and you will feel no more pain. It will be bliss, unending and eternal.

            "Won't." I bit out and shook my head. "Won't give in."  

 

Omar asked me question.

            What was I?

            Where did I come from?

            How could I do the things I did?

            But the one he asked the most was if I would work for his employer.

            With every question I managed to bite out a no and resolved myself to more pain. I would not be the reason for anyone falling prey to the horrors of a futuristic world. Why my morality decided to take a stand I have not a fucking clue, but I refused to budge an inch.

            Maybe it was pure stubbornness and pride. It wouldn't be the first time but it might be my last.

            Little by little I could feel the edges of my sanity crumbling.

            It wasn't long before we moved onto water sports. The slab of rock? Oh yeah it moved, moved just enough that my head could be submerged into a built in pool of water. Omar was not fond of this technique but his 'employer' was demanding results. Omar was being rushed and he did not like being rushed.

            Guess who got the brunt of the anger? That's right, Luna did.

 

Luna, she whispered again to me, her voice a silken promise. Oh sweet Luna, how much you've endured.

            I wept openly. Every inch of me hurt. Fergus came in twice to dart me and when I woke up I was on my back. I screamed openly and freely, holding nothing back. If I screamed sometimes he thought he inflected more damage than he thought he had. Or… that's what I hoped he thought.

            It wasn't long before he brought out a whip that was more chain with little spiked balls at the end than actual leather.

            My back was a raw bloody mess and when he was finished he forced me to roll over, of course I had been darted again by Fergus.

            Omar was always careful about how much he did and when. He held me on the cusp, always feeling pain but never too much that I lost consciousness. And when he did slip up he would sit in the corner sipping his tea and eating his shortbread cookies while mages worked to pull me back from death. There was one mage in particular he listened to, a loud mouthed female who he called a doula. Probably Orlesian for evil cunt.

            I was never alone, not anymore.

            Where are you guys? It was a plea that I'd whispered in the deepest recesses of my mind. At first I had been steadfast in my belief that Solas would find me. But with each passing hour, or day or week or month I lost hope.

            I had no idea how long I'd been down here.

            It all built up until I couldn't take it anymore. I just wanted oblivion and the sweet bliss of detachment.

             "Okay." I whispered, tears gathering at the corners of my eyes. I prayed they didn't fall because crying only caused more pain when the salt hit the open wounds. "I surrender, you win."

            Omar let out a gleeful noise and clapped several time.

            Relax, little moon. I will take it from here.

            Darkness screamed my name and I succumbed to it, allowing it to wash over me and cleanse me of any residual emotion.

Chapter Text

The darkness was complete and I basked in the shameless freedom from pain and burden and every other overbearing emotion. It was an endless sea mad of eternal night. My only source of light was two pin pricks in the distance. Two tiny motes of dust floating though an inky sky.

            How do you use them?!

            I felt my head twist as I looked for the source of the noise. "Hello?" I called into the void. As a child I had been afraid of the dark. Then I grew up and learned that monsters lurked inside of humanity. I was no longer afraid of the dark, but of what lurked in the shadows that the night provided. There was no one else in here with me, but still the voice belayed that notion and a little fear started to eat away at my stomach.

            Little moon! Your abilities! How do I activate them?

            What? Why…

            And then I remembered. I'd been monumentally stupid and gave the reigns of my body over to crazy elf bitch that wasn't even whole anymore.

            "Fucking shit on a god damned stick!" I screamed, "Give me back my body you lying whore!" The abyss was no longer soothing. I knew now what it was. It was a cage, a prison. One of my own making because I willing walked into it. And now, I wanted out.

            Your abilities! She demanded again.

            I yanked viciously and suddenly I could see through my eyes. However I was not able to control my limbs. Ms. Flame had somehow managed to get us free from the table.

            Why is my magic not working?! What did you do?!

            I laughed and threw my arms wide in my imaginary space, "It wasn't me bitch! They have wards to prevent spell casting! You're worse off than I was." My laughter turned into a quiet chuckle.

            Omar twirled a blade expertly, I watched as Ms. Flame attempted to dodge out of the way, but our legs crumpled.

            "You aren't making it out of here." I whispered, "Now that you've got me free give my body back, I can walk us out the front door." I hovered waiting.

            No! She snarled, You do not deserve this life! It was to be for me!

            "Well… then enjoy the torture." I turned my back and looked back into the void. I could hide out here until-

            "Amara." Her name was all I needed. It was pulled from my throat with a ragged sound. I couldn't not come back to her. It would ruin all my hard work showing her that good things didn't have to disappear. Besides…. That was my kid and I would fucking burn in the seven levels of hell for eternity before I allowed this crazy bitch access to her.

            I spun back and wrenched her sideways. She screamed in pain. I didn't know if it was from me or from Omar but I was getting my body back. I snarled and it turned into a deep growl and I shoved and pushed my way back in. She was not strong enough to take my body; I had to willingly give it up.

            And I was tired of her. I was so tired of her constant hounding, the lurking in the background. I wanted it to just be me.

            Something unusual happened. Or, I was more aware of it happening. Our consciousness's passed each other. I could see the room through my eyes as well as the appearance her soul took. Her hair was long, flowing with the appearance of silk. Her eyes were unending pits of blackness. Red lightning crackled over the surface of her skin, though it pulsated with a vibrant fade green. There was not a shred of cloth on her.

            There was madness in her gaze, something that I had not attributed to the way she behaved. Ms. Flame sized me up, a sneer written across her haunted face. You are beneath me, with your crippled body. You have destroyed everything little moon!

            "Hey bitch, I didn't ask for you!" I snarled right back at her. I prowled forward. My spirit seemed to be unhindered by the physical damage that had been done to my body. Was that an indicator that I had not broken the way that I thought?

            We clashed in the strange space. The moment hung suspended for what felt like eternity. Time did not hold sway here; it was a yawning endless chasm of nothingness. Pain wasn't a conceivable concept. Just the glowing beams of light our souls emitted as we twined 'round each other and the small pieces that fell from our forms.

            They fell from us, like rain from a sky. Like stones dropping into a river they emitted tiny ripples, sending out a cascade of shimmering lights that glowed like Christmas. It wasn't just red and green; it was orange and blue, mixed with hues of lavender and amber.  

             With each one that ripped free from our forms there was a sound, a pure note that sang with the clarity of a ringing bell. It was only interrupted by the wild sounds that erupted from our throats. Slowly, methodically we shredded each other.

            She vanished before I did. Each piece that was torn from her by my hands was equal to five of the ones she took from me. The scream she emitted was full of fear and panic. It rounded her eyes and made her desperate. This continued until I could see through her, and then between one breath and the next she vanished.

            My mind made its way back into the driver seat. It was quiet inside my skull for the first time in what felt like forever.

 

Omar froze when I flipped my bloody hair over my shoulder. Blood was smeared over the walls and there was a knife buried deep in my thigh.

            "You better fucking hope this was sterile." I muttered through clenched teeth. A tortured scream ripped through my throat as I pulled the blade free. It was serrated. When it was out of my body I flipped the blade so I wasn't holding the handle anymore. "Otherwise I will come back and piss on your grave."

            "Fergus!" Omar screamed. His voice was a little hoarse. "Andraste's ass, FERGUS!" There was a little bit of sweat that beaded on his brow.

            "Looks like your little flunky is busy."

            Somehow I managed to prop myself up on the wall and the glare I leveled at him had him looking for a way out. The skin on my back was tight but it didn't feel raw anymore.

            "You evil little shit bag, you raped me." Tears clogged my eyes and I didn't give a fuck that my voice trembled. "I will tear you to shreds and force feed you bits of yourself."

            I hit him with stasis, one of my lesser used powers. I saw the panic edging in on his vision. His eyes rolled until I saw the whites with bitter clarity. Omar screamed, but it was muffled because he couldn't open his mouth. I gave him a sardonic smile and clicked my tongue at him.

            "Oh, don't worry," I whispered softly to him, "you'll enjoy this."

            With little thought I threw singularity at the door. Anything that came through there was getting a nasty surprise.

            "You really shouldn't have let her off the table." I shook my head, "Like… stupid to the nth degree."

            I hit him with my biotic field and struggled to lift him. It was pointless, he couldn't be moved right now. Loss of blood was causing little black dots to float across my vision and apparently it was affecting my reasoning skills.

            "You are denser than you look." I shrugged. "No matter. I just need you on your back." I waited several moments for the flickering of my biotic field, the tell-tale sign that stasis was going to fail.

            The blade clattered to the floor as I used both hands to hit him simultaneously with throw and pull. He ricocheted off the walls, a muffled scream followed by the crunch of bone.

            "Since you won't be leaving here." I hobbled over to him, leaning heavily on the table, "Allow me to fill you in on what I am. I'm hoping that my honesty will spark something inside of you. You see… I have my own question. It is just one, who is your employer?"

            Blood smeared under my palm as I rounded the table. "I'll be nice and tell you first, and then it is yo