“The weather is turning Inquisitor!” Cassandra shouts, looking back at her as they make their way through the Frostbacks. They’re so close to home, Evelyn can hear her bed calling her, so she’d pushed on. Even though the sky looked heavy and the Seeker had
warned her the snow was coming.
She was tempted to shout back “No shit,” but it wasn’t helpful and a waste of energy. Energy she needed to try and convince Bull to just carry her through the falling snow via her mind.
It didn’t seem to be working but she didn’t want to outright ask. That would be rude and, well, she didn’t really need carrying up the Frostbacks.
Not a second time.
She keeps her eyes on Cassandra, on her ass most specifically. She’s not sure how anyone can sway when they’re marching in full armour but the Seeker manages it. Evelyn can’t decide if it’s distracting or a wonder.
Both right now.
Plus with the snow falling thick and quick she needs something to focus on, a lodestone she can follow.
“We could’ve stayed in that charming tav...” the rest of Dorian’s words are lost in the wind but Evelyn isn’t really listening. She’s just following now, which is fine ‘cause she wasn’t sure where she was going anyway. Cassandra knew a shortcut, she had said, perhaps they could get home before the snow yet. So Evelyn followed where she led.
She was pretty sure it was supposed to be the other way around, but well, she’s pretty sure Cassandra isn’t as interested in her ass. Or interested at all.
At the morose thought she tries to pick up a little speed, trudging faster if possible, but the wind has picked up and the snow is a damn flurry and she is not used to this. Ostwick is hot and humid and wet. She trips on something, could be a rock, could a dead body, but she tumbles into the snow face first, panics and splutters. She inhales snow, she’s sure of it, coughing and unable to catch her breath.
A strong hand grips her upper arm and yanks her out of the snow. Cassandra pulls her to her feet, holding onto both arms now as Evelyn manages to gasp in a few desperate breaths.
“Inquisitor!” she cries, “are you well?”
Evelyn wants to say no, maker no, but she nods.
“We need to find shelter,” she says, not sure the Seeker has heard her cracked voice over the wind.
Cassandra leads her into the tree line and it’s immediately a little better, she can see a little more now, including the delightful way snow is scattered in the other woman’s hair. It’s not really the time, Evelyn is aware of that, but she’s also aware that Cassandra Penteghast is beautiful all the time.
Even lost in the woods in the Frostbacks, in the snow.
Cassandra realises she’s not following and stops to grab her hand and drag her along with her for a little while, the going a little easier and she doesn’t even realise they’ve lost Bull and Dorian until they find an abandoned cottage. Cassandra lets go of Evelyn’s hand to forge ahead, bashing in what’s left of the door and heading inside. The Inquisitor isn’t far behind, glad to be out of the wind if nothing else.
“Bull and Dorian are no longer with us?” Cassandra asks.
“No, we must’ve taken a wrong turn.”
“Or they took a wrong turn,” the Seeker says.
“We’ll camp here until the weather passes,” Evelyn says ignoring the comment, “use the door for firewood.”
The process of setting up camp is a little quicker without Dorian and Bull flirting or arguing. Or both. They were able to get a fire going in the hearth, their bedrolls laid out neatly and a little food cooking too. The wind whistled through the door but Evelyn sets up a couple of traps and they are tucked into the corner and out of the way. For an abandoned cottage in the woods in the Frostbacks, it was in good condition. They weren’t the first people to kick the door in but besides that the roof was solid and the walls were thick and they were safe.
“Once the snow has stopped we’ll go find Bull and Dorian,” Evelyn says, handing Cassandra some soup. She takes a cup for herself, wrapping her hands around the cup to warm them. She settles on a bedroll, shifting it closer to the fire.
Cassandra doesn’t reply but does the same as Evelyn. Except she settles closer to the Evelyn than the woman was expecting. It’s nice but she can feel the blush starting already. Mere proximity is enough to set her off, even in the freezing cold.
“Warmer?” The Seeker asks. Evelyn nods, not trusting her voice. “As am I. We were fortunate.”
They sit in silence for a little while, drinking their soup, and these are the moments Evelyn likes the most because she knows Cassandra is comfortable with her in the silence. She wants nothing more than for Cassandra to be comfortable with her, happy with her because she’s so far down the rabbit hole now that little else matters.
This is love, she tells herself, sad and one-sided but love all the same.
Evelyn’s not even sure Cassandra likes women or anyone actually. She has tried flirting with her with mixed results, the Seeker has never reciprocated nor turned her down flat and it’s left Evelyn a little confused as to how to proceed if at all.
And in the meantime, she seems to have fallen in love all the same.
“We should rest,” she says, “I’ll take watch first.”
“I am fine,” Cassandra replies, “please,”
Evelyn drags over her pack and starts to root through it. She’s aware she needs to be more organised, but she keeps her healing draughts at the top and everything underneath. She’s never needed anything else quickly or in the middle of a fight. Demons and Red Templars aren’t going to be stopped with her spare underwear.
Or her books.
She pulls out her current read and smiles at the Seeker.
“I insist. I’m just going to read. We’re so close to Skyhold we should be safe, please rest.”
Cassandra is watching the book.
“What are you reading?”
“A book of poetry.”
There is something delightful in the way Cassandra’s eyes light up, Evelyn thinks, she’s never seen her like this before and doesn’t even notice when the Seeker shifts to sit closer to her.
“I found it in the library, I think it’s Antivan.”
She offers Cassandra the book to look at, watching her carefully as she takes it. There is something almost bashful in her interest that Evelyn has never seen before.
“Do you read much Cassandra?”
“I, ah, yes.”
A blush spreads over her cheeks and down into her armour and Evelyn leans forward a little to see if she can see how far down it goes. Cassandra is buttoned up tight though. She turns away and pulls a book from her own pack, the cover and pages worn and tattered now, flashing it briefly at Evelyn. The Inquisitor doesn’t recognise the cover, but doesn’t get a good look either,
“I’m re-reading the latest chapter of Swords and Shields. It’s one of Varric’s tales.”
“I must admit, I’ve not read any of his books.”
“I’ve read them all. Even the Tale Of The Champion,” she says, the blush deepening, “do not tell Varric.”
“I wouldn’t dream of it.”
“This one ends on a cliff-hanger but it has been over a year since Varric wrote it and there does not seem to be another chapter coming.”
“He is a little busy right now I suppose,” Evelyn says, “what sort of book is it?”
“It’s...literature. Smutty, literature.”
Evelyn wants to laugh as Cassandra almost whispers the words but she simply smiles and reaches out for the book.
“May I see?” she asks. “I have smutty poetry. Well, not very smutty.”
There is less reluctance then as she hands over the worn copy of Swords and Shields and Evelyn gives her the book of poetry in return. She starts to flick through it, getting an idea of the story, it’s a romance book from what she gathers, a smutty one, but a romance book. She’s surprised and even more enamoured by this woman who has more and more layers all the time, each one more intriguing.
She’s so lost.
“If you are interested,” Cassandra says watching Evelyn reading a paragraph or two, “I can lend you the first book in the series when we return home.”
“I’d like that.”
They swap books back again and fall into silence as they read. After a little while, Evelyn looks over at Cassandra, deep into her book and starts to read out loud.
“Come now, luxuriant Graces, and beautiful-haired Muses.
I tell you
someone will remember us
in the future.
Now, I shall sing these songs
for my companions.
The moon is set. And the Pleiades.
It’s the middle of the night.
But I sleep alone.
I love the sensual.
For me this
and love for the sun
has a share in brilliance and beauty
And I crave.
You set me on fire.”
She looks up then to see Cassandra staring at her, trembling slightly.
Evelyn can barely contain herself, she wants to reach out, but holds herself back, gripping onto the book of poetry.
“Sorry, it just...made me think of you,” she manages to say.
“In – Evelyn.”
They both move, both towards each other and Cassandra gasps when their lips connect for the first time and Evelyn sighs. She wraps her arms around the Seeker and pulls her close, pulls her down on top of her. She’s all muscle and armour but they settle into one another, kissing a little desperate as they do so.
“Evelyn, do you...do you really feel that way?” Cassandra asks, still kissing her. “I have to know.”
“Yes, yes, of course, I love you.”
Cassandra pulls back for a moment, looks down at Evelyn who can’t help but grin up at her, smiling stupid and happy for a moment because Cassandra is kissing her.
Evelyn nods and sits up to pull Cassandra back down rolling them so that she is on top of her, her archer's leathers easier to fit against Cassandra’s armours.
“I confess,” Cassandra starts, “It is hard to...”
“It’s okay Cassandra,” she says kissing her softly once more, “you don’t have to say anything.”
She dots kisses over the other woman’s cheeks and down her neck, hands going up into her dark hair to mess with the short locks and braid.
“I want to,” Cassandra grunts, body arching up into Evelyn at the sensations. “I must.”
“Then tell me, Cassandra, tell me how you feel,” she whispers. “Tell me you love me as much as I love you.”
“I do, I love you Evelyn, but it is not easy for me. Any of this.”
“If it were easy it wouldn’t be love,” Evelyn tells her and Cassandra smiles bright and it’s stunning, almost too much until she kisses her again.
“That I do know.”
“I have more I want to tell you, Cassandra, so much more. I’ve loved you for so long,” she’s still kissing her as she speaks, lips on hers, hands still in her hair. “And I will, I will tell you everything, I will court you and show you just how special you are.”
Evelyn does, she wants to tell her just how wonderful she is while simultaneously wanting to tell her just how gorgeous her ass is and distracted by the thought, by her and finds herself flat on her back again. She laughs, and Cassandra is still smiling,
“I would like that,” she says.
“Flowers, and wine and more poetry.”
Cassandra sighs, melts into her and Evelyn wants nothing more to get her out of her armour but manages to push her away long enough to sit up.
“We should sleep,” she says, and Cassandra’s frown is enough to have Evelyn leaning forward to kiss the pout from her pretty lips once more. “And we will continue this at home.”
“I would...continue this now,” Cassandra says and Evelyn can sense her apprehension, her desire but also her fear. She shakes her head.
“No my love,” she says. She kisses her once more and pulls them to lie side by side on her bedroll. “We still need to talk, and I want to court you properly.”
Cassandra nods, burying her face into Evelyn’s neck and breathing in deep. Evelyn giggles at the sensation.
“I have wanted to do that, do this, for some time,” she whispers.
“One of us should keep watch,” Cassandra mumbles, already relaxing into Evelyn’s embrace.
“I set traps, remember.”
Evelyn smiles and kisses the top of Cassandra’s head where she’s mussed her braid up.
“We’ll be fine,” she tells her before she closes her eyes. “We’re fine.”