I hurt myself today
To see if I still feel
She looked up from the washbasin, not sure what she expected to see. Maybe if she scrubbed her face raw enough her markings would slowly begin to reappear. But did she really want them to?
Maybe if she scrubbed herself for long enough she’d cease to exist.
Hot saltwater tears mingled with the soapy water, soaking into the cloth gripped tightly in her fingers. She gasped a choking breath, trying to hold back, to restrain herself, to…
Focus on the pain
The only thing that’s real.
Of course, the pain wasn’t the only real thing she had to deal with. Objectively there were about a million and one things more important, more real, than the gaping hole in her chest. Morrigan was acting stranger and stranger following their venture to the Well of Sorrows, Corypheus could apparently resurrect himself, and the end of the world seemed pretty damn nigh. It would be selfish to put her personal pain above that.
But Creators, couldn’t she have just one selfish minute?
The needle tears the hole
The old familiar sting
Every time she walked through that grand hall she glanced over towards the door to the tower. It was always shut, now; never locked but never welcoming, either. She’d spent so many hours in that rotunda; watching him paint, reading with him, fuck, just napping. She couldn’t now. She could hardly stand to see him again.
Try to kill it all away
But I remember everything
She’d have to get over it eventually. She couldn’t exactly avoid one of her inner circle forever, even if she couldn’t think his name without wanting to spit and run and scream and cry and punch his stupid bald head and-
Varric was watching her, carefully, sneakily. She’d stopped, staring at the door and her hands had balled into fists and she could feel her body tensed, caught between fight and flight. She shook herself internally and forced a smile, nodding his way as reassuringly as she could manage and continuing down the hallway, away from his concerned gaze, away from the rotunda, away, away, away.
I wear this crown of thorns
Upon my liar’s chair
It had been nearly six months since Corypheus had been defeated, but it felt like she hadn’t had a moment’s rest in all that time. The Inquisition was still a force to be reckoned with in Thedas, and the wreckage from the rifts lasted even after the culprit had been destroyed. When she wasn’t going out and fixing things herself, she was reading reports. When she wasn’t reading reports, she was still - always, Creators, she’d never be good at this - training with Josephine on dealing with nobles. When she wasn’t training she was actually dealing with the nobles, or overseeing judgements, or writing correspondences, or, or, or…
She flexed her left hand carefully. The pins and needles feeling was constant now, like it had been at the very beginning, without his healing hand every so often. It bothered her less and less as the days wore on, but drew more and more concerned stares from Josephine, Leliana, Vivienne. At least, that’s what she thought their concerned glances and not-so-subtle check ins were about.
Dread Wolf take them and their pity.
Full of broken thoughts
I cannot repair
She blinked up at the sky, leaning against the railing of the balcony outside her chambers. The sun hadn’t risen yet, but she’d found that this was the only time she’d have to be by herself, free of the weight of Inquisitor and Herald and all the other bullshit people were calling her, had been calling her since she’d been pulled from the crumpled Temple. It had been, Creators, nearly two years since then. Since she’d been interrogated by Cassandra and Leliana, since she’d first seen the gaping Breach in the sky, since she’d closed her first rift with the help of S-
As if on cue, her mark flared, a bone-deep pain shooting up her arm as the night around her was lit briefly green. She grunted in surprise and pain and pulled back from the railing, but the pain faded almost as quickly as it had come. She shook her hand out and turned back into her room, making it almost to the stairs before stopping up short.
He’d been gone for months, and yet, every time her mark flared it was still her instinct to go to him for the relief only he could bring her. Deep in her bones, a pull, a longing for his warm hands and concern-furrowed brow and, when the mark had settled again, the soft smile that made her feel better than even his healing had.
It had hurt, she remembered, the first time she’d gone to him, after… late at night when the mark was flaring even more painfully than normal. When she’d looked up at him after the pain had simmered down, just to see that he was avoiding her gaze; there had been no soft smile there, no reassurance, no feeling of gentle warmth she’d come to know and love - come to expect - from his presence.
It hurt worse, now, knowing that she’d never see him again. Even if he never smiled, what she wouldn’t give to see him again.
The mark flared a second time, worse than before, and this time she let out a ragged shout.
Beneath the stains of time
The feelings disappear
She hated Orlesians as much today as she had two years ago in Halamshiral. Ma halani.
At least her friends were here. What she’d do if she’d had to face the Council without Cole, without Blackwall and Bull and Vivienne - no, it was Victoria now, wasn’t it? - she had no idea. Probably wouldn’t have even shown up, if she were being honest. The Council seemed silly to her; she’d been in favor of disbanding the Inquisition for some time now, why Orlais and Ferelden had to get involved in the discussion - well, it made sense, thanks Josie, but…
She missed when things had been simple. Even when the world was ending; she’d always been better at firing arrows than dealing in politics.
She wasn’t angry to be here. Things had quieted down over the last two years, and it wasn’t like she had better things to be doing, not really. She just wanted it to be over. She was tired. She was so, bloody, fucking, exhausted . She couldn’t go home - home had been destroyed years ago, after all - and at this point, Skyhold was more her home than anywhere else. But being Inquisitor had taken its toll, left her feeling, well…
Not much of anything at all, at this point. Just… tired.
You are someone else
But I am still right here
She couldn’t decide what she was feeling most strongly; fear, anger, hurt, hope… joy?
But there were more important things to deal with. The Qunari woman was wrong - Solas wasn’t working for the Dread Wolf, he was the Dread Wolf, he had been the Dread Wolf all along, fenedhis - but details like that, like how she felt knowing for sure that he was who she had been chasing, could be dealt with later.
First, she had to beat that woman to him.
She didn’t know what she’d do when she found him.
Kill him? Kiss him? Stick him so full of arrows even Sera would be impressed?
She’d figure it out later.
Blackwall laid a hand gently on her shoulder, but she avoided his gaze. She didn’t want empathy or pity or anything at all except to keep pressing forward, to find and kill that woman before she could get to Solas, and then…
She’d do what she’d always done, from the moment she’d woken up in the rubble of the Temple with a glowing green mark in her palm.
She’d ride in on her shining damn steed and save the damn day. Again.
From him, if she had to.
And you could have it all
My empire of dirt
I will let you down
I will make you hurt
Her following scream sliced through him, piercing and painful and full of reliefguiltdespair as he turned to her; he’d never thought he’d hear her voice again.
As he approached, he resisted every last screaming urge to reach for her - reach for her fingers, her face, her hair, as he’d done so many times before, so many years ago. He didn’t need to now - he hadn’t needed to then, a voice mocked in the back of his head. But when had he ever truly been able to stop himself?
She breathed a shaky sigh as the mark’s sickly light faded, and she slowly - aching, surely, from the arduous battle through Qunari to reach him - stood to her full height. Face to face with her again, he realized with a pang of self loathing that he’d forgotten just how rich her eyes were. She stared at him, and while he knew she must have been feeling a mix of emotions, he still could not read her. Just as he hadn’t been able to in Haven, in the Fade, in Crestwood…
The memory of Crestwood ached like an wound; healed over but never fully gone away. He hadn’t wanted to hurt her, to leave her like that during the end of the world, to...
He hadn’t wanted so much to happen.
But it all had, hadn’t it? And while here, now, finally finally finally he was with her again, and every nerve in his body was screaming at him to go to her, embrace her, he knew. He knew that was not his place, had not been his place for some time now. His heart and his soul yearned for her, but wasn’t that just why he’d retreated in Crestwood? He’d do anything for her.
But his mission must, always, be of utmost importance. And if he gave in, if he let himself love her, if he let himself open his mouth and confess, if he let himself lean on her… It wouldn’t be. So long as she was by his side, he would be hers, not bound to his mission. But his duty would not, could not, let him forget himself.
So he steeled himself, one last time, and decided he at least owed her an explanation.
“That should give us more time. I suspect you have questions.”
If I could start again
A million miles away
I will keep myself
I would find a way