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Of Pride and Pain

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Inquisitor Rhea Lavellan stood outside of Skyhold's dungeon with no expression, despite the maelstrom of emotions raging inside of her. Inside that dungeon was the one person who completely destroyed her, betrayed her trust, and left her life in ruins… After what they did to her, she didn't understand why part of her heart still beats for them. Rhea willed herself to step forward yet her body revolted and refused to move in the direction. All of her instincts screamed at her to run as far away as possible from this nightmare. The world around her continued to move at its regular pace while she was frozen to a standstill in her mind.

"Inquisitor? Are you alright?" Josephine's familiar Antivan accent caused Rhea to glance over her shoulder; spotting her ambassador cautiously approaching. The elven woman cradled her stomach and blinked away the tears gathering underneath her lashes. Wiping at her eyes and brushing the stray blonde hairs that clung to her forehead with the summer heat, the elven woman managed a faint smile.

"I'm just nervous. Was it only four months ago that he suddenly vanished on me? Was it only a week ago that we finally discovered the heinous crime he committed? It doesn't feel like much more like a lifetime ago. Much has changed since then." Rhea hated the cryptic nature in which she spoke, but the words jumbled and fell from her lips like the cascade of a waterfall. All her emotions threatened to overflow in the eye of all around her. Josephine slung her arm comfortingly over Rhea's shoulder and guided her towards the dungeon.

"Rhea, this is for closure. You do not have to speak to him before the trial if you so wish. I can inform the guards that you changed your mind and have a hot bath drawn in your chambers. But I believe in your strength for closure." Josephine stared deep into Rhea's irises of lime and saw a resilience bolstering in them. The two women entered the dungeon and were greeted by two guards with salutes. Josephine whispered to the guards to allow the Inquisitor a private moment with the prisoner. One of the guards pressed a cell key into her hands before all three left the dungeon; Josephine sending Rhea a meaningful look before the door closed. With a shaky breath, Inquisitor Lavellan hesitantly strolled down to the end of the cells when she saw him- sitting pensively in his cell. She unlocked the door and shut it behind her as she entered the cell. Even upon her entrance, he refused to look up. Something about his refusal to meet her eye stirred something in her. Rhea Lavellan, confident in her anger, strode over to Blackwall and wound back her hand. The sound of her palm striking across his face echoed through the dungeon. He refused to look up or lift a finger against Lavellan- even as the second strike followed through harsher than the first. Rhea was breathing heavy and her lime eyes seethed with fury.

"Ma harel lasa!" She hissed at him. The sting of his lies awoke something fierce in Lavellan that she submerged upon leaving her clan. Blackwall finally looked up at her, from his seated position, his eyes pained.

"I had to atone for my crimes." His voice was gruff and hearing it for the first time in months brought all the memories of them out in the field and all the loving banter they exchanged in sweet nothings. Her confidence wavered but she refused to show it.

"I would have understood if you had told me the truth. But you blindsided me, Gordon… That isn't even your real name. You left to resolve your guilt without thinking about the damage it would do to me. We could have fixed it together…" She whispered the last part, not a trace of doubt in her voice. She would have done anything to protect him, even helping him solve this issue in a less public manner.

"I did what I felt was right. I had no desire to hurt you and I'm sorry, my love." Blackwall didn't anticipate the rough shove Lavellan gave him with her jaw clenched. She looked beyond furious. Conflicting emotions raged within her where she wasn't sure if she should strike him or kiss him.

"You're sorry? You're sorry? You have no right to be sorry! You broke my heart…" Blackwall grabbed the elven woman's slender hand and held onto her wrist tightly. She tugged but he wouldn't let go.

"Rhea…"

"Don't 'Rhea' me! You have no right!" Lavellan hissed, snatching her arm back and pulling it protectively into her chest. Blackwall stepped towards her slowly and waited for her to lash out at him. Rhea, on her guard, did not move but eyed him tensely. He could never hurt her, but she didn't truly know that.

"I'm sorry." Before Rhea could get in another lashing or another shove, Blackwall had his fingers in her braided hair and his lips upon hers. The Inquisitor fought the urge to melt into his strong yet tender touch-filled with regrets between the two of them and a haunting reminder of what their love was like. It was shy and gentle like a summer's breeze and was as fleeting as one, as irony would suppose. Rhea's hands settled around his shoulders the second he pulled away.

"And after all of this, I still love you. Do you not understand what you basically bedding me like some exotic whore and leaving did to me? You shattered me… Blackwall or Rainier, it doesn't matter because you left me the shell of a broken woman. You knew I had trust issues because I confided in you. And then you go off and break my trust. You are just another shemlen." Blackwall kissed her again- this time with a dizzying passion that had Rhea seeing stars. She felt her leg curling around his waist absentmindedly and his hands lifting around her waist to pick her up. But she wouldn't allow herself to fall into his arms so easily until she was ready to forgive. Her leg uncurled and she shoved Blackwall back, narrowly slamming the cell door closed behind her with a lock. Blackwall grasped at the bars and shook them; silently pleading with Rhea through the bars.

"I had to get closure for myself after all this time… Closure for our child." Rhea fidgeted with the key in her hand when the shaking of the bars stopped and the dungeon went eerily silent.

"Our child? You're- You're…" Blackwall stuttered, at a loss for words. Staring at his beautiful Rhea did he finally notice the slight curve to her stomach underneath the tailored garments she wore. Rhea did her best not to wince at the pain in his voice or the best not to walk back into that cell. She blinked twice at the floor to stop the tears from rolling down her cheeks.

"It has been four months since my last fertility cycle. I plan to raise the baby on my own if I must. I just thought you should know because I never would have kept a secret like that from you… Ar lath ma, vhenan." Rhea, head held high, turned and walked back through the door which she came. Despite relieving the news from her shoulders, Rhea felt no relief. Blackwall's broken cries for her to come back and the shocking news of a child being sprung on him broke her heart into millions of fragments. Her love for him, still raw from the wound he inflicted, howled for her throw herself back in his arms and forgive his mistakes. Perhaps she would in time. But for the moment, it was a matter of pride not to allow anyone to see the pain she was in behind her guard.