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At the End of the Day

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He was the only respite she had from the weight of the world bearing down upon her shoulders. He was the safety in the shitstorm called her life. She never thought she would get to have that feeling-that trust- that permeated her being just from existing in his presence. He was her solace and she knew she was his, but sometimes... sometimes she felt like she was missing something. Sometimes he would say something and get a faraway look in his eye and briskly change the subject. On one hand, she didn’t want to push him to open up to her; it was something he should do himself when he felt comfortable enough. On the other hand, she knew he needed to crack open that inner shell so she could show him she was capable of putting it back together again. He shared with her most of his innermost thoughts and ideas and she never thought she could love anyone as much as she loved him; it consumed her being, so much so that she began slipping from her role. Not much, but enough for him to snap out of the infatuation with her. The Inquisitor could never be normal. She could never have what others did. In that, they were the same.

Alyvine dreamed of something more: a family to call her own. A quiet life outside of the Clan, away from the bustle of the world. To just be. If she was honest with herself, she imagined that with him . And then he withdrew himself from her completely. At first she was under the impression that maybe he was getting ready to finally open up, to share those dark moments with her, but she was wrong. Very wrong.

He brought her to a beautiful and secluded place, to share with her a secret. Definitely not one she was expecting, but she took it in stride. Maybe he would reveal a piece of himself while explaining a piece of their shared heritage?

After the vallaslin was wiped clean from her features, that’s when he did it. Betrayed her trust, broke her heart, and practically sucked the joy from her bones. In that moment, Aly knew she would never be able to give herself fully to someone again. “We all make mistakes,” were the only words she could muster before he left her. No tears, no begging, just silent acceptance. Just like that, months of visits and new experiences and love, all gone. And for what? She knew she was being dramatic, but it couldn’t be helped.

Upon returning to Skyhold, she went straight up to her quarters and ripped off her casual wear, tossing them into her fireplace. She wanted no memory of that moment. If only she could wipe the memory like he wiped the vallaslin from her face..

After slipping into her nightwear, she sat heavily at her desk and stared at the space that was haunted by memories of love making, quiet conversation, and shared laughter. She lingered there for almost a full day, languishing away in her heartbreak. After missing a meeting, 2 mealtimes, and not returning any paperwork, Josie came up to check on Aly. What she found was one of her dearest friends suffering due to no fault of her own. She noted that Solas and Alyvine left together, but came back separately. She didn’t think anything of it at first, but when Aly shirked duties and missed her evening meal? It struck a chord of concern in the Ambassador.

When Josephine came upon the final door to the Inquisitor’s quarters, she knocked three times with no answer. A few different theories raced through Josie’s calculating mind, but she refused to let herself jump to conclusions. Attempting another series of knocks, she waited patiently while listening for movement on the other side of the door. Nothing. “Inquisitor?” Josie called out, slowly pushing the door open. Her initial concern was not misplaced at the sorry state she found the Inquisitor in.

Aly was hunched slightly over her desk, bloodshot eyes trained on her clenched fists. A look of pure concentration etched into her delicate features. “Inqui-... Alyvine?” Josie’s worry seeped into her tone. Aly didn’t look up, didn’t even flinch, just continued the stare down with her knuckles. Josephine crept closer, so as not to spook her friend. “Aly?” She used the shortened version of her name, hoping to snap her friend out of her stupor.

Barely a whisper came from the broken woman, “I don’t want to cry.” If the room hadn’t been so dreadfully quiet, Josephine would not have thought she spoke at all. Josie’s hand grasped Aly’s and gave a light tug. The poor woman had no fight in her, and went willingly to the sofa. Josie sat them both down, and pulled her friend into a sideways embrace. Alyvine’s head leaned automatically onto Josephine’s shoulder and she bit her lip.

“It does not matter if you want to cry, my dear. It may be what you need. Please, if it does not pain you too much, tell me of what happened.” Josie soothingly rubbed her friend’s shoulder. A moment later, she could feel Alyvine adjust herself and clear her throat. Her tale was spun, from the beginning of their story. Her initial dislike of the apostate, growing into tolerance, understanding, and finally love. How he loved her questions, drawn in by the widening of her eyes when he revealed a new piece of information to her hungry mind. And although Josephine was there for all of this, by the retelling, she could tell Alyvine had fallen hard. Alyvine spared quite a few details, not wanting to relive the painful memories, but painted her friend a good enough picture. Throughout, no tears were shed. No hatred or anger towards Solas appeared. Just a weary soul sharing its burden.

“I noticed he had began to withdraw himself, but I thought nothing of it. When he led me to that place, I was under the impression we were going to reconnect. Instead I learned two things. One, my vallaslin was a slave marking,” Josie gasped, and Aly made an affirmative hum in the back of her throat, “I know, not a good way to start a date. Two, I’m shite at my job and he blamed himself for it. Granted he didn’t say that directly, but it was implied.” A sigh slipped from her lips as Josie processed the information.

Without a word shared between them, Josie began to bustle around the room, grabbing scents and bath items from Aly’s wardrobe and bringing them into her private bath. All the elf could do was watch as she flitted back and forth. She then ushered Alyvine into the room, and gave her friend a look that said, ‘play along or else.’ She could hear Josie leave the room, and Aly was perplexed to say the least. Josie filled the bath with warm water, an amenity Lavellan would never tire of, and scents. “What a nice way of saying I smell,” she snickered to herself, undressing and climbing into the delightful water.

Quite a bit later, after trying -and failing- to not think of her love... ex -love, a light knock rapped on the bathroom door. “I will be requiring your presence in 5 minutes,” Josie stated through the heavy door. Awaiting her friend on the other side were the ingredients to a post break up slumber party. Or as much of a slumber party that two grown women can have.

When Alyvine exited her private bathing chamber, what awaited her was not was she was expecting; Josephine had managed to scrounge up some of their favorite treats, along with some nondescript bound leather books. It appeared as though she had also grabbed some official documents, maybe something she needed approval on? The most shocking part of this whole thing, was Josephine herself. Upon first entering the Inquisitor’s rooms, she had on her normal attire. What she was wearing now... was definitely different. Alyvine covered her mouth in an attempt not to laugh at her friend. A pale pink nug onesie was gracing the Ambassador’s lean frame, a definite contrast to her preferred wardrobe choices.

“Leliana?” Aly failed to hold back her laughter as Josephine mock-scowled at her.

“Yes, it was a present for my birthday. I knew you would get a good laugh out of it.” Josie crossed her arms and Aly almost dropped her towel from her hysterics, grasping at her stomach in an attempt to regain her breath. Josephine turned away from the Inquisitor to fetch her pajamas. The little tail swaying with Josephine’s steps caused Alyvine to collapse.

“I-I can’t... I can’t breathe!” She wheezed, tears streaming from her eyes. She needed this release from the melancholy state she’d been in. This was an intentional embarrassment on Josie’s part, but a necessary one. The laughter faded away, replaced by chest heaving sobs. No tears were shed at this point. She couldn’t let herself cry over him. Josephine returned with a clean pair of pajamas, and set them on the bed before crouching next to her friend.

“Shh, it will be okay, my friend. You have my word,” Josie rubbed her back in smooth circles. “Let’s get you dressed, hm?” She grabbed the clothes, and held them out to Aly. When Aly was finally able to take a breath without another sob restricting her lungs, she grabbed the proffered clothing and exited to change. Josie awaited her on the bed, the tray of treats still sitting tantalizingly in the middle.

“What do you think of redecorating?” Josie suggested after Aly came back into her quarters.

“What?” She sat beside her friend, popping a chocolate in her mouth.

“What do you think of redecorating your quarters? I think it could use a bit more color,” She glanced around at the makeshift decorations and furnishings. Alyvine scavenged and scrounged what she could for her own quarters, never letting Josephine redecorate it like she did the rest of Skyhold. With a sigh of resignation, Aly nodded.

“Any ideas?”

“Of course, my dear Inquisitor. I never come unprepared. So I was thinking..” And that’s how the night started: with Josephine trying to distract the Inquisitor from her pains. For the most part it worked. As they snacked, they talked of their lives and the plans Josie had for the room. When they tired of talking, they worked on paperwork, enjoying each other’s silent company.