Chapter 1: Sunshine
Bethany sighed as she collapsed into one of the chairs on the second floor of the Herald’s Rest. The winter wind rattled through the curtains of the window next to her and she shivered, but welcomed the chill. She had spent the day with the healers, helping soldiers with injuries from the various raids and scouting operations the Inquisition had led, and was still warm from her busy day. It was strange for her to practice her magic so freely, and for the first time in a long time, have nobody judge her for what she was born with.
She smiled to herself, silently thanking her brother for bringing her with him. Even if he still forbade her from traveling further into Orlais, she was thankful to be involved in something bigger than her again, especially with some familiar faces. Bethany didn’t expect to be happy to see a Templar- former Templar- but Cullen was always kind to her. Then there was Varric, who Garrett had entrusted to keep her safe when he was away with the Inquisitor in Crestwood, or in the Western Approach investigating. Bethany couldn’t remember the last time she felt so happy, spending time with the dwarf.
A blush crept across her cheeks as she thought about him, internally yelling at herself for allowing feelings from nearly a decade ago resurface. She admitted, to nobody but herself, that she had a crush on the man when Garrett and her first met Varric. She always held a soft spot for him, even when she left to the Gallows and left to help her brother in Lothering. But now, she was older, and felt foolish about the way her heart nearly leapt from her chest when he entered the room.
In an effort to distract herself, she leaned her torso out the window, resting her chin in her hands as she glanced down to the courtyard. The sun was already disappearing beyond the horizon, leaving an orange glow to the grounds as the residents slowly walked to retire for the evening. Bethany couldn’t help but smile as she recognized the commander and the Inquisitor, walking slowly towards the main hall, their linked hands swinging between them. She continued to people watch as the sun continued to set until she felt the exhaustion fully kick in, closing her eyes for a brief moment.
Bethany snapped her eyes open at Varric’s voice breaking through the silence, and whipped her head around to find him eyeing her from a few feet away with an amused expression. She wondered just how long he had been standing there, watching her. She quickly recovered from her surprise, and turned towards him, cursing the way her heart was already pattering against her ribcage.
“Hello,” she softly responded, and eyed the pair of mugs he held in one hand, a bottle of whiskey in another. “Where are you going with that?” she laughed. Varric shrugged, but scooted the chair next to her out from the table with his foot as he placed the items down.
“Well, right here of course,” he replied, his usual smirk already present. He pushed a mug at her hands and she took it, watching him carefully pour the brown liquid for her. He noticed her stare and raised an eyebrow as he moved the bottle towards his own glass. “Enjoying the view?”
“What?” Bethany felt her ears twitch back in embarrassment as she snapped her eyes from his mouth to his eyes before looking at her hands.
“The sunset,” he continued with a small chuckle. “You were watching it, right?” he asked. Bethany looked back up at him from under her lashes, as she realized his meaning.
“Yes…” she trailed as she eyed the liquor floating in her cup. “What exactly is this?”
“It’s better than the Abyssal stuff Garrett likes to drink, trust me,” he paused to take a large gulp. “And it doesn’t taste like burning,” he teased. Bethany rolled her eyes, apprehensively taking a small sip. To her surprise, the drink tasted sweet, and only left a small tingle in her throat. “See, I knew you’d like it,”
Bethany smiled, but felt her cheeks burning from the combination of his stare and the whiskey. He only smiled a little wider at her and she blinked her gaze away.
“What?” she giggled nervously, and reached up to tuck a strand of hair behind her ear.
“There’s that smile,” Varric commented, and she noted the change in his tone.
“You’re spoiling me,” she commented, reaching up in an effort to hide the blush on her face. Varric surprised her by catching her hand, cupping her fingers and pulling it away from her cheeks.
“You deserve it,” he admitted.
Bethany grinned, but couldn’t help but notice how close he had scooted his chair near her. Her heart thumped in her chest, and she glanced back down at his ever-present smirk. Varric’s hand slipped up her wrist until he was cupping her elbow, and with a short tug, he brought her closer. His other hand to reached out to her cheek, his fingers brushing a few stray hairs away before he cupped it.
“You are stunning, you know that?” he mused.
Bethany gasped softly under his intense gaze, but calmed herself long enough to close her eyes as he led her to him. His kiss was soft, but as a moment passed, he applied more pressure, practically stealing the breath from her. She leaned into his grasp, and moved her hands to the front of his shirt, a few of her fingers brushing over the exposed part of his chest. She felt him smile against her lips before pulling away just a fraction.
“Varric?” she pursed her lips together when the realization of what just happened hit her. She wasn’t daydreaming, was she? “What was that for?” she asked. Varric pulled away a little more, but kept his hands where they were when he had kissed her.
“I’d rather not ruin this by getting sappy,” he shook his head, beside himself. “I’m not good at sappy,”
Bethany could only smile.
“Then kiss me again,” she laughed at her own words, feeling the delight of the moment fill up around her. Varric copied her laugh, almost instantly leaning in to oblige.
“Anything for my Sunshine,”
Chapter 2: "This place is creepy."
Prompt: "This place is creepy."
Sprawling lands of green grass, tall pine trees and flowers. The estate had it all, including Orlesians. Some would’ve called it beautiful. But for Varric?
“This place is creepy,” he muttered to himself. Up the hill a few yards away Hawke and Tallis were inspecting some kind of altar. That didn’t help to comfort Varric in the slightest.
“Is the fresh air not everything you wanted, Varric?” Bethany asked. She must’ve overheard him from where she walked ahead of him to catch up with her brother.
It was still surreal to see her there, outside of the Circle and walking free—at least for now. Her comment made him feel a slight guilt, knowing that their current surroundings were exponentially better than her views at the Kirkwall Gallows. She was smiling, and Varric didn’t want his complaining to take it away. Bethany paused, turning to wait and watch him catch up with an amused expression.
“I’m a surface dwarf, but even this is too much air for me,” he joked. When he was finally standing next to her, he chuckled, his breath slightly labored. “You’ve certainly quickened your stride in the last few years.”
“Long legs have many advantages, you know,” Bethany commented. Varric inadvertently glanced over her form—she had swapped her mage robes for an outfit that was reminiscent of the early days of living in Kirkwall. No skirts to hide what she was talking about.
“That they do.”
She was blushing now, and he only smirked, glad he could still manage that. She glanced over to where Hawke and Tallis were discussing something, obviously distracted. Bethany stepped closer to Varric, and he tilted his head back to look up at her.
“I’ve missed you, Varric.” Her fingers brushed across his cheek in a gentle sweep before resting her hand on his shoulder. She gave a gentle squeeze and lingered close.
Varric rested his hand over hers, turning his head to kiss the inside of her wrist. A quick stolen moment for the two. “Missed you too, Sunshine.”
Chapter 3: Cheeky
Prompt: “Nothing is wrong with you.”
“What about this one?”
Bethany stood before the floor-length mirror, turning her hips to make the fabric move. This had been the sixth dress she had tried on, most of her closet dumped out on the large bed nearby. At first, Varric had agreed to help, but when she wouldn’t listen to his encouragement, he had retired to his desk to work instead.
“There’s nothing wrong with you,” Varric commented, glancing back to his paperwork. Out of the corner of his eye he could see that she had finally turned away from the mirror to look at him. “Or that dress, for that matter.”
Varric regarded her, glancing over the rim of his glasses. “You’ve been staring at that mirror with a frown, poking at your waist for the last hour. Now you’d like to listen to my opinion?”
“Oh,” Bethany pursed her lips together, eyes drifting back to the reflection. “I didn’t realize. I just…I’m struggling to find a dress for this coronation of yours.”
If it were up to him, he’d just take the damn crown and keep working. It’s what he’d been doing since he returned to Kirkwall anyways—the title of Viscount was just a formality at this point. But that was not the way things worked, and so he would have to endure something he truly hated—a fancy party. At least he wouldn’t be alone.
“I’m sure I can find you a stunning burlap sack in Lowtown,” he jested, continuing to look through the stack of letters on his desk. When he didn’t hear the expected laugh from Bethany, he turned his attention back to her. “Sunshine?”
He found that her expression hadn’t changed, her eyes still fixated on her own form in the mirror. With a sigh he stood up from the desk and walked over to her. “Why are you so concerned with how you look tonight?”
“Because I’ll be with you,” she answered. Finally her gaze dropped to meet his. “You’ll be Viscount, Varric. I have a feeling eyes are going to be on me more than ever.”
“I’ll just outlaw it.”
“That would make shopping in the markets more awkward than it already is,” Bethany sighed. “Some people are so nosy, asking after…us.”
Varric realized she needed a distraction, and some cheering up pronto. He took in the sight of the dress she wore, wondering why he had never seen it before. It wasn’t until she moved slightly that he realized exactly why. The whole thing was a dark red silk, gold and black lace covering the bodice and sleeves. The skirt itself was straight, but up the side was a slit that went dangerously high and exposed the soft porcelain of her legs. It had to be a gift from Isabela. He swallowed hard, reminding himself to send an appreciative letter to Rivaini later.
“You’ve got legs for days,” he commented. Her eyes shined a little at his flattery, a small smile pulling at her lips as she looked at him through the mirror. That wouldn’t do. He lifted his hand so it rested on the small of her back, before quickly sliding it down. “And ass for weeks.”
“Varric!” Her eyes widened, both hands snapping to her mouth as she tried to suppress her instant laughter. Just the reaction he was looking for. “Why—what was that for?”
He winked at her, his hand on her bottom giving a slight squeeze. “I like being cheeky with you.”
“Maker!” Bethany’s continued laughter echoed through the room as she nearly doubled over. “Varric! If only the people of Kirkwall knew you were such a lecher,” she teased.
He shrugged, taking his hand away. “If you wear that dress tonight, the secret will be out of the bag. I can hear them now, how did that dwarf catch a drop-dead-gorgeous woman like that?”
Her face was bright with a blush, but she was beaming. “Maybe it won’t be too terrible if people stare. Especially if you’re one of them.”
“Sunshine, sweetheart, I’d be a fool not to.”
Chapter 4: The Lady Tethras
Prompt: “If I don’t say it now, I’ll regret it later.”
It was mid-afternoon when Bethany arrived at the Keep in Hightown, the sunset casting a remarkable shadow across the entryway. That day she had finished her work at the newly built Chantry early—as of late she had been teaching healers on the art of potion crafting. While it didn’t involve too much magic, Bethany was happy to have a job that put her skills to use. She felt like she was making a difference.
Even if someone were to comment on her abilities, she was hardly at risk—after all, she was a close friend of Kirkwall’s Viscount. Bethany smiled to herself as she made her way up the stairs to the offices, knowing that practically the whole city was aware her relationship with Viscount Tethras was more than just friendship.
Seneschal Bran nodded politely at her as she made her way into the main office, making sure to close the door behind her for privacy’s sake. Varric was at his usual spot, sitting at the desk as he read over a large pile of letters.
“Sunshine.” He hadn’t looked up, but he always knew when she was near.
Her smile only increased as placing her basket of goods on an empty spot. “I brought you some food.”
She moved around the desk, leaning down next to him to place her lips against his temple. He had tilted his head up for her as if on cue, not taking his eyes away from his work until she kissed him again on the cheek. As silly as it was, she liked the routine they had grown accustomed to. She leaned against the desk then, and Varric leaned back in his chair so he could look at her.
“You could’ve waited for me at the estate,” he said.
Bethany rolled her eyes. “If I don’t come to collect you, you’d never leave this office.”
“Lots of letters to answer, my dear.” Varric’s eyebrows jumped as if he had just remembered something. She watched as he moved several letters around before producing a small velvet bag. “Hawke wrote. He and Isabela are in Rivain.”
He dug his fingers into the bag and pulled out a silver ring. “He said he’s been meaning to send this to you.”
Bethany took it from him when he offered, and her heart jumped into her throat as soon as she examined it closely. There were three small bits of lazurite embedded on the top, the rest of the band engraved with a familiar crest.
“I don’t know why he didn’t send it to you himself—”
“Varric,” Bethany cut him off, and he finally noticed her shocked expression. “This is my mother’s ring. My mother’s wedding ring.”
Her clarification left him dumbfounded. It took a moment for it to fully sink in.
“Did Hawke just try to trick me into proposing marriage?” Varric groaned, sliding a hand over his face. If Bethany wasn’t mistaken, she would’ve sworn she saw the faintest tint to his neck and cheeks.
It amused her. “I think so,” she laughed. “Would you really expect anything less from my dear brother?”
“I’m all for supportive, but—” Varric shook his head in disbelief, eyeing her as he pulled his hand away. “Ancestors, he’s worse than an impatient parent waiting for grandchildren.”
“Shh!” Bethany playfully swatted at his chest. “Don’t give him any ideas!”
Varric caught her free hand before she could take it away. Their laughter had died down rather quickly, and her stomach fluttered with the intense way he was now gazing at her.
“If I don’t say it now, I’ll regret it later,” he sighed. “You want to get married someday, right?” There was a certain kind of nervousness to his words that made her chest swell. “The Lady Tethras…unless you want to be called something different.”
She had no idea how to respond—at first. Varric’s expression didn’t shift. If anything, he seemed to grow more relaxed the longer she stayed silent just staring at him. He offered a smirk, squeezing her fingers as if to prompt her to speak.
“That’s not a very proper proposal,” Bethany managed to tease. Her heart was nonetheless racing. She looked back at the ring in her palm. Garrett had taken good care of it, obviously cleaned it to ensure the shine of silver stayed intact. It was beautiful, but overwhelming all the same.
Varric chuckled and shrugged. He didn’t appear to be offended by her lack of agreement. But she hadn’t denied him either. “You’re right, it’s not.” He gently plucked the ring from her hand, and hid it away in the velvet bag again. “I’ll have to think of a better way than something so impromptu.”
“Fireworks? A hundred dancing dwarves? I wonder if I could teach them choreography…”
Bethany laughed at his listing of outrageous gestures. “I think that if you were to ask—properly that is—I…” she trailed, her nervousness taking a nosedive straight into excitement. Varric raised a brow at her and leaned forward in his chair slightly. The eager man, she thought. “I’d be inclined to say yes.”
“Inclined?” he questioned.
She closed the distance between them with a soft kiss. “Persuaded?”
Varric kissed her again, not letting her get away so quickly. “I think I can do better than that.”
Chapter 5: The Fear
Prompt: "I've got you"
This ties into a piece I wrote a few years ago: Worth It. Warning: Spoilers for Trespasser DLC.
It had been over two years since Bethany had been in Halamshiral, but her memories of the Winter Palace were fresh in her mind. So much of the palace grounds had changed, but unsurprisingly, the people had not. When Leliana—Divine Victoria—called an Exalted Council to decide the fate of the Inquisition, it was no surprise that Varric was back at the Inquisitor’s side to help. To no one’s surprise, Bethany joined him—after all, they were a sort of package deal.
It hadn’t taken very long for the atmosphere of the meeting to turn sour when a Qunari was found murdered, the trail leading to an Eluvian. Bethany was helpless as she watched the Inquisitor take Varric through the mirror, her worries compounding the longer they were away. She was unfamiliar with this type of magic, save for the information Merrill once provided. Based on that alone, it was terrifying.
A whole day passed, and she didn’t sleep. There had been some word, the Inquisitor appearing from the mirror for only a moment to inform her advisors of the investigation before she disappeared once more. Bethany couldn’t stand not knowing what was happening. She had been pacing in the suite they had been assigned to for hours, occasionally stepping out onto the balcony to try and see if there was any movement. Somewhere in the middle of the night, she found her way back to the bed, falling asleep atop the covers.
A commotion stirred her from slumber. It was hushed, down the hall perhaps, but a clear indication that something was happening. She heard a scream and jolted upwards, freezing as another shortly followed. And then—silence. It was unnerving. All Bethany could hear was her own heart thumping against her chest, fearful of the unknown. She didn’t dare to move, even after a considerable amount of time passed. Soon, she heard footsteps approaching the door in a fast pace.
Varric practically slammed the door open, his gaze snapping to her form on the bed. Bethany knew by his expression that something was terribly wrong. He tossed his gear aside, removing his armor and coat with every quick step he took towards the bed, eyes focused on her the entire time. She didn’t have time to react as he practically pounced on her, arms surrounding her as he kissed her—desperately. Bethany was slow to react, unsure of what was fueling his desire. Varric leaned against her until she was laying beneath him, his hands frantically pushing and pulling at the fabric of her nightdress.
“Varric,” she gasped out as his lips moved to the nape of her neck. “What—”
He cut her off with another searing kiss, holding her there until finally breaking away with a heaving pant. He didn’t move from her, resting his forehead against hers as he simply stared into her eyes. His were wide, the amber color darker with his passion. But there was something else there as she gazed up at him—he had been crying. A rare thing for Varric, she had only see him do so a handful of times in the years she had known him. In the lull she reached up, gently placing her hands on either side of his face. That gentle gesture was all it took for him to crumble, falling into the space next to her as he exhaled. Bethany turned with him, continuing to cradle his head as he furrowed his brow, contemplating his emotions.
She could be patient with him, but this bordered on frightening. She willed the slightest bit of warmth to her hands, calming when Varric sighed out a few moments later. He grabbed one of her hands, holding it tightly to his chest. His heart was racing.
“What happened?” she asked in a soft whisper. Varric shook his head, his fingers clenching around hers.
“I—” his voice broke and he closed his eyes tightly. “I’ll tell you later,” he spoke. Bethany didn’t press the issue, knowing he needed time. He would speak to her when he was ready. He slowly opened his eyes, locking them with hers. “Right now, I just…”
“I’ve got you,” Bethany hushed. She brought him to her embrace, wrapping her arms tightly around him. “I’ve got you,” she repeated.
Chapter 6: Morning Delight
several prompts for this general scene but includes: "all I want to hear is your sweet love sighs"; the ask to continue the smut where I left off; and, more smut because y'all thirsty.
Needless to say, this chapter is NSFW and contains sexual content.
Varric could tell Bethany was awake with the first kiss placed to her ankle. The subtle way she twitched under his hand as he slid it up her calf—he was well versed in reading her body. Even where he was now, tucked beneath the bedsheet and between her legs, he didn’t need to see her face to know her eyes were shining in the morning sunlight. A soft exhale, and he knew she was smiling. Beautiful, he thought. And all his.
It was easy to get lost in her—Ancestors knew he wanted to, but he could take his time just as well. Bethany was well aware of the affect she had on him, emotionally and physically. She had whispered his name in her sleep as the sun rose—full of want—sparking this reaction. He grinned against her skin as he placed another kiss, slowly moving his hands further up across her flesh. He silently blessed every deity he did and didn’t believe in that she was already nude.
Less work for him.
Her skin was already hot beneath his touch, another telling sign for Varric that she was aroused. He let out a soft chuckle, watching as gooseflesh spread on across the pale expanse of her thigh. Very aroused. As mesmerized as he was with her, it filled him with a certain sense of pride knowing how easy it was to make her feel this way—the exact way he did.
More kisses—soft and lingering as he shifted his body up. Her breath hitched slightly when he curled his hand around her waist, thumb jutting out to caress her hip. He trailed his nose against the side of her knee, silently prompting her. She complied instantly, adjusting her legs, allowing his body the space it needed to rest between her thighs.
He closed his eyes, holding back a groan. She said his name like a spell, one that entranced him like nothing else he knew. All Bethany had to do was say his name and he was a lost cause, mind blank with only thoughts of her. He was cursed—or blessed—with love for the being beneath him, and he wouldn’t have it any other way.
All Bethany had to do was say his name and he was—fuck—hard with desire. He held onto his reserve, continuing the slow pilgrimage with his lips towards her center. He hooked his arm under one of her legs, spreading her further open to him. She tried inching towards him—impatient, he thought. As entertaining to him as it would’ve been to make her wait, he was struggling to hold back. Varric could extend out her pleasure in other ways. Carefully he kissed her, sweeping his tongue across her sex, opening her to him and his mouth.
A curse—or maybe a prayer—floated through his mind; she was soaked.
His name was on her lips again in a breathless whisper. One of her hands thudded up against the headboard, the other slinking under the sheets to find his head. He hummed against her as her fingers brushed through his hair, the sensation sending a delightful tingle down his spine. It only made her arch into his ministrations. It was another study in Bethany’s reactions. She would alternate between tensing up and relaxing, hips twitching upwards as he increased his pace, increased his focus on that most sensitive bundle of nerves nestled at the top of her folds.
He focused on the short intake of air she took, fingers tightening at his brow. He continued in earnest, not daring to slow down as she chased her end. Varric paused, waiting for her body to still before he dared shift upwards again. He kissed her hip, and pushed at the sheet, pulling it down so he could emerge.
“Good morning,” he mumbled against her navel.
He tilted his head up so he could finally catch a glimpse of her face. She was already looking down at him, chest visibly expanding with every deep gasp for air. Varric found it difficult not to grin as he continued upwards, kissing up her torso towards the valley between her breasts. Bethany leaned towards him, giving him the necessary purchase to ensure he would not skip leaving a trail of kisses across her shoulder and neck. When he finally covered her mouth with his, it was voracious, telling her in no way was he done with her. Bethany moaned, and she slipped away from him, falling back against the bed as she lifted her hips just enough.
It was easy to slide into her heat. “Sunshine.”
She grinned, breathless, tossing her head back with his initial thrust. Her arms reached out for him and he grabbed one of her hands, keeping the other on her hip as he moved—languidly, at first. Bethany anticipated his every move, her amber eyes aflame with an intensity that only spurred him on. She was so soft, so wet, so everything. It drove him nearly insane. He fixated on her face, the way her lips were moving, forming silent words—I love you. Varric responded with a sharp plunge, squeezing her hand tightly as they let out similar sighs.
A rumble rested in his throat, a sound of approval as her legs curled around him, tighter and tighter as she cried out. Varric didn’t stop, didn’t slow down in the slightest as Bethany came, her lithe form writhing beneath him as she rode out her pleasure. He followed her, his hips snapping tightly against hers his orgasm washed over him. They stayed like that for a long moment, floating in a shared ecstasy. He was in a daze until her soft laugh brought him back to the present moment.
Within moments he was at her side, welcoming her embrace as she covered his face with kisses. He chuckled, pleased with her joyful expression.
“It’s a good morning, wouldn’t you say?” he teased when she settled against him. A devious glint flashed through her eyes.
“Yes. A great morning indeed.” She closed the distance between them once more, her kiss a clear indication of the want she still had. Bethany knew what she wanted, and all she had to do was say one thing.
Chapter 7: Best Thing
Prompt: “You’re the best thing to have ever happened to me.”
The weather was perfect—a rarity for Skyhold. It was typically cold, or windy and cold, or snowing…and cold. In simpler terms, the palace the Inquisition called home was typically succumbed to weather that Varric disliked. Not that he liked any weather that wasn’t warm and sunny. Today was one of those uncommon times. The sun was shining brightly in a cloudless sky, and for once, the air didn’t leave his nose numb.
It didn’t take long for Varric to decide his time was better spent outside, rather than cooped up at his makeshift desk answering letters. He came up with the better idea of taking Bethany on an outing of sorts beyond the castle walls for some much needed alone time. While he was hesitant to call it a date, a quiet stroll down a mountain path could be made romantic with little effort by him.
He quickly made his way towards where he knew he’d find her—The Mage’s tower on the northern battlements. He silently greeted the mages working on the lower level, one of them knowingly pointing upstairs when they noticed the dwarf. It was as if most of the occupants of Skyhold thought that if Varric was alone, he was probably looking for Bethany, and would tell him where she was regardless of if he actually was looking for her. He was halfway up the stairs when he heard Bethany speak. She wasn’t alone.
“You’ll be traveling to the Arbor Wilds soon, then?” she asked.
Varric decided—he wasn’t sure why at first—to pause on the steps. The Inquisition was due to march into Orlais, heading south to where Corypheus and his army were hunting down elven ruins. If Morrigan’s word was any to go by, the mission would be a treacherous one. Considering Curly had implied the full weight of the Inquisition army was to deploy, Varric knew there was much at stake.
“Yes—” it was Aurelie. “I hope you’ll decide to join us.”
Varric was hesitant about that. As much as he wanted Bethany by his side, especially now, the battle that was sure to occur in the Arbor Wilds had him apprehensive. It was no place for somebody he cared about, even though he also knew she was more than capable of taking care of herself. He had no real say in the matter, but he wouldn’t stop from ensuring her protection.
“I’ll help where I can, if that’s what you wish,” Bethany responded before sighing. “You’ll be…taking Varric with you to the temple?”
Even he wasn’t sure of that. Aurelie had mentioned it, maybe asked him about it, but it wasn’t as if she had told him like there was no choice. As much as the unknown tickled at his anxiety, if Aurelie formally asked him, he’d follow.
Aurelie hummed in thought. “That hasn’t been decided, but, possibly. Yes.”
There was a short bit of silence, and Varric wondered if the timing was right for him to reveal himself. Then Bethany spoke again.
“If you do,” she started. “Please. Keep him safe.”
It warmed his heart, and he smiled.
“The last time, he nearly died in the fade.”
Varric widened his eyes, alarmed by Bethany’s tone—it was almost threatening. What he wouldn’t give to see the Inquisitor’s reaction. Very few people dared to speak to her in even the slightest of harsh tones, let alone lecture her. Depending on the person, Aurelie wasn’t always keen to hear somebody disagree with her decisions. A small part of him wondered again if this was the time to interject before the air grew hostile.
“I—of course,” Aurelie finally answered. Varric breathed a sigh of relief. Taking the humble road wasn’t always easy. “I never…I’m so sorry for what happened at Adamant, Bethany.”
Before Bethany, or even Varric, could ask why she was apologizing, Aurelie continued.
“The Fade—taking Hawke and Varric with me, not to mention the fighting you endured within the fortress…” she paused. “Any number of things could’ve changed the outcome. I put all of you in danger, and for that I am sorry.”
“I—” Varric could tell Bethany was flustered, not expecting that. Neither was he. “I understand how difficult, how…uncertain it all was.” Bethany spoke in a low voice. “Thank you.”
“You…really care about each other,” Aurelie said next after a moment. It wasn’t a question, but a statement. “The way Varric talks about you, you two, when we’re traveling…it’s very endearing.”
Varric wondered if Bethany’s face was just as warm as his. Had he really gone and been a loudmouth, love-struck fool in front of his companions? In front of his Inquisitor?
“He’s the best thing that’s ever happened to me,” Bethany responded, as if there was no other way to respond. Factual, but full of emotion. “I’m—we’re—very happy. Yes.”
Varric knew the grin on his face probably made him look ridiculous, but he didn’t care. His chest expanded with pride, his whole body warming with joy. That is, until the Inquisitor spoke.
“You know he’s been listening to us this entire time, right?” she mused.
Bethany only laughed. “Of course. He’s terrible at eavesdropping.”
“Hey now,” Varric called out as he finally appeared on the stair landing. He approached them both with open arms. “Have I told either of you how much I adore you?”
They both read into his sweet-talk tone. “Yes,” they both answered.
“No harm in saying it again,” he chuckled. “Inquisitor, Lady Herald—I owe you my life, and I love you,” he spoke with enough humor for the woman to laugh. He turned to Bethany, resting his hand on her side. He made sure to give her a calmer expression. “Bethany, Lady Sunshine—you are my life, and I love you.”
Her smile was all he needed to know she understood—he felt the same way. She too, was the best thing that ever happened to him.
Chapter 8: Why Not Both
Prompt(s): "when they lean forward a fraction as if to kiss the other person, then realize they shouldn’t and pull back to stop themselves" and "ripping the other away - 'no we shouldn’t' - but when they kiss them again they moan and hold them close."
It wasn’t a long walk from the Hanged Man to the Hawke residence—if you could call Uncle Gamlen’s ramshackle a home. Varric had offered to put Hawke up in a room at the tavern, but the man refused, stating he couldn’t leave his mother behind. There was a part of Varric that had only offered for the selfish reason to have Bethany closer. Even though she was only a short distance away, it was still too far for him.
He smiled to himself when he thought of her and their relationship. It wasn’t much of a relationship, Varric had to admit, but the two had formed a special kind of connection. One that over the last month involved a lot of kissing—in secret. For the time being, they both knew their affair would be best kept from the others. It wasn’t always easy, but for now, they worked with what time they could find. For now, it was enough.
Varric knocked at the door to Gamlen’s house, only entering when he heard a muffled voice beckon him inside. At first he thought it was Leandra, but as he crossed the threshold, he only found Bethany inside.
“Where is everybody?” he asked, closing the door behind him.
Bethany regarded him brightly. She was sitting at a makeshift desk, a tiny mirror placed in front of her as she brushed her hair. “My mother went to the market. Gamlen is…where you would expect.”
She laughed. “He just left to find you.”
Varric turned to look at the door. “I would’ve passed him?”
“Maybe he took the long route?” Bethany shrugged. “He’ll probably be back when he realized you aren’t at the Hanged Man. Did you need him for something?”
He took the few strides necessary to be at her side. “No,” he replied. “Just looking for a little sunshine.”
She flashed him a coy smile, a small blush appearing on her cheeks. They exchanged a knowing look before Varric eyed her hairbrush and the small pile of ties and iron pins scattered across the table.
“Trying a different look?” he questioned.
Bethany pouted for a brief moment. “Merrill had braided it the other day, but I had to take it out for washing.”
Varric’s brows popped up at that. Just how had he missed seeing that interaction? She flipped her hair with the back of her hand.
“I used to wear it like that all the time, but—”
“Here, let me help,” he interjected when he noted the tinge of solace in her voice. He shifted to stand behind her, scooping her hair from her shoulders. Bethany sat silently as he worked, twisting her hair into a loose braid that curled sideways over her shoulder. He focused on the ebony waves, their softness a delight against his skin.
“Where did you learn to do this?” she asked quietly.
Varric glanced up, making eye contact through the small mirror. “I used to have longer hair. It’s a manageable hairstyle, you know.”
“Shit, no!” he laughed. “Rivaini taught me. So I could help her when she was too hungover, or for fancy reasons, as she put it.”
“A useful skill,” Bethany responded. Her voice had dipped lower as she continued to watch him, her eyes closing briefly as he brushed his fingers across her neck to gather more hair.
“I’d say so,” he agreed.
With the braid done he rested it on her shoulder, moving back to her side as she inspected the work in her reflection. She turned her head to look at him. “It looks lovely, Varric. Thank you.”
“Glad you think so.” His hand reached out to brush a few stray strands from her brow, fingers lingering on the side of her face.
He couldn’t help himself but to lean in, wondering how many days had passed since he had last kissed her. Almost instantly, he remembered where they were and a strange feeling had him pulling back. This wasn’t the place. Bethany raised an eyebrow at him, before shaking her head once. Before he could say anything her hands were on the collar of his coat, tugging him the short distance to close the gap. She kissed him, her smile increasing slightly when he eagerly returned the affection. That lingering hesitation tapped at his brain and he pulled away slightly, even as he reached to hold her arm and shoulder.
“We really shouldn’t,” he mumbled with a short laugh.
He started to peek open his eyes to see her expression when she only pressed her mouth to his again, a little harder than before. A soft groan settled in his throat at the way her tongue swept across his lips, slowly curling around his own. Varric slide his hand up the nape of her neck, fingers resting against the back of her head as he held her in place. He was content to keep kissing her, content to just get lost in her—until the front door started to creak open.
Varric pulled away from Bethany in an instant, his fingers scooping up her braid as if he was still working on styling her hair. They both glanced at the entrance, Bethany letting out a nervous laughter as her brother, Hawke, appeared.
“Hello brother,” she greeted. Hawke grinned at first, before his eyes landed on Varric’s form. He was busy pretending as if nothing had been happening before the man’s arrival.
“Varric—” he called, clearly confused. “What are you doing?”
He couldn’t resist. Too easy.
“Your sister,” Varric paused, feigning a cough to clear his throat. Bethany widened her eyes in horror, clearly shocked by his bravery at such a joke. Hawke was seemingly too distracted by the scene to understand. “Your sister’s hair,” Varric repeated, clarified with a smirk. He could feel the heat radiating off of Bethany’s skin as he finished the braid once again. “She asked for some help, and what can I say? I’m a helper.”
“Right,” Hawke answered. His brow continued to stay raised for a long moment as he looked at them skeptically. Soon, however, he shrugged and nodded, pointing to himself as he dashed over. “Me next!”
Bethany and Varric exchanged amused looks as she moved from the chair to make room for her brother. Their secret was still safe—for now.
Chapter 9: Warm Hands
Prompt: keeping the other person warm
“Suledin Keep. Day six,” Varric muttered aloud to himself. “Or is it seven? Maybe I hit my head again, and have lost track.”
He wished he had some parchment so he could write his thoughts down. That, or a thicker coat. Maybe a blanket? The wind was howling, snow flurries whipping about as they landed on the thick stone. Out of the corner of his eye he noticed the Baron, one of Ruffles’ men. He had the right idea, wrapped tightly in a large coat as he scribbled away at some parchment at the makeshift desk.
Varric thought to go over to ask to borrow some, but his feet were frozen in place. Figuratively, but maybe literally too. He grumbled under his breath, watching as the white puff lingered in front of his face. Why was he even standing out on the battlements anyways? Waiting for the Inquisitor? His teeth began to chatter as he struggled to remember if they were going to inspect the lyrium mines that morning. Or maybe she had asked some of her other companions?
“In that moment, Varric’s brain froze over,” he narrated. “Worse than the chill he had in his bones after almost dying…yeah, that’s poetic enough.”
He flinched when hands came to rest on his shoulders—familiar hands. Even through the leather and his coat, he could feel the heat radiating from them. He tilted his head back, temporarily surprised to see Bethany. Last he knew, she was still at the Sahrnia camp, helping the healers as she typically did. She had been traveling with the Inquisition more and more since the events at Adamant—mostly due to Varric’s insistence. He’d promised Hawke that he’d keep her safe, and he couldn’t do that if she was thousands of miles away at Skyhold. Plus…there were other things he couldn’t do if she was away from him.
He leaned against her, closing his eyes as she bent down the small distance to press a kiss to top of his head. The fabric of her cloak shifted forward, surrounding him for a moment in a warm cocoon of velvet and fennec fur.
“People will think you’ve lost your mind, dear. Talking to yourself like this.”
He could tell she was amused by the state she had found him in. He peeked open his eyes, barely catching a glimpse of her smile before she kissed his temple. “I’m freezing my everything out here.”
Bethany softly chuckled near his ear. Her hands on his shoulders slid down, one hooking under his arm until her arms wrapped around his chest. Instinctively he leaned further into her embrace, reaching up to rest his hands over hers. Whatever heat he felt radiating off of her before gradually increased, and he couldn’t help but smile at the little tingle that signified Bethany’s magic.
“Good thing keeping you warm is my specialty,” she said, almost flirtatiously. Her breath was warm too, circling around the side of his face. Even in the cold, he didn’t mind standing there as long as she was there with him. That being said…
“Could you keep me warm inside?” he asked.
Bethany giggled, hugging him a little tighter as she nodded her head against his. “Of course.”
Chapter 10: Flirtatious
Prompt: can’t tell if they’re flirting banter
The Blooming Rose. Usually Hawke would be glad to be in the establishment, but for once he was here on business. Real business. Knight-Captain Cullen had sent him there, the poor lad too shy to interrogate the ladies himself. Of course, Hawke would have no trouble in the matter and agreed to help. Isabela gleefully agreed to join him, Varric and Bethany tagging along out of principal.
“Isabela,” Bethany called as they entered the building. “You said you’ve…been with women. In bed?”
Hawke was alarmed by his sister’s questioning, wondering where it was coming from. It was naïve of him to think she was incapable of such thought, but he still struggled with the realization she was a grown woman, curious to learn.
“I know,” Isabela laughed. “Shocking, isn’t it?” She seemed delighted to explain. “You see, sweetness, men, like your dear brother here, are only good for one thing—”
“Heeeey,” Hawke whined, pouting at the implication. Isabela chuckled as she pat her hand against his head.
“Hush now, darling,” she cooed before turning her attention back to Bethany. “Women, on the other hand…women are good for six.”
“Six?!” Bethany’s eyes widened. “Which six?” She had turned her head to glance at Varric who was struggling to hide his amusement as he simply observed the conversation. He seemed particularly focused on the way Bethany’s face flushed with color.
“Isabela,” Hawke reprimanded. As humorous as it was, he wasn’t keen on the pirate corrupting his little sister. Despite all that had happened to them in the las year, he was determined for her to keep some shred of innocence.
Isabela only laughed as she hooked her arm into his, moving them over to the bar where Viveka stood. Isabela immediately started sweet-talking the woman, asking about the woman the Templars had visited with. Meanwhile, Hawke half-listened to the way Bethany was now giggling at something Varric had said.
“…don’t ever let a man ask to see your six. Or his six, for that matter,” Varric spoke. Bethany was covering her mouth with a hand, trying to keep her laughter quiet. “No spears either. He isn’t trying to show off a weapon. Or maybe you could call it that, in the right context.”
“Varric, you’re filthy,” she jested, using her other hand to playfully push at his shoulder.
Varric mocked offense, holding a hand to his chest as he gasped. “Milady Sunshine! I can assure you I have but every pure intention in my advice for such a lovely young lady for yourself. One must be careful if you wish to enter the scene seeking romance.”
Varric winked at her. Bethany’s smile was coy, and the tint on her cheeks seemed to increase—but it wasn’t embarrassment. As Hawke observed, he felt suddenly very…confused. He couldn’t place it but it felt like there was a giant question mark in his brain as he struggled to connect the dots.
“Does Varric…always speak so flirtatiously?” he asked, turning his attention to Isabela. The Rivaini woman nodded without a second thought.
“Varric talks like that to everybody,” she assured. “Me especially. I’d think something was wrong if he didn’t flatter the women who surround him with pretty words.”
“Well why don’t I get pretty words?” Hawke frowned.
Isabela leaned over to place a kiss to his cheek. “I’ll flirt with you, sweetness.”
Hawke smiled, but still had questions for his dwarven friend. “Varric,” he called, interrupting the chat he was continuing to have with Bethany. “Why don’t you ever flirt with me?”
Varric raised an eyebrow as he let out a somewhat nervous chuckle. “Do you want me to flirt with you, Hawke?”
“Yes,” he nodded, crossing his arms. “Or at least try to. I feel very left out.”
Varric glanced at Bethany for a moment, the two sharing similar bewildered expressions at his request. The shorter man shook his head for a moment before flicking his eyes up and down Hawke’s appearance.
“Uhh…” he cleared his throat. “I guess the best thing about my height is that I get to stare at bottoms all day. With an ass like that, I’d like to know how low does it go?”
Isabela shrieked with laughter, nearly doubling over. Bethany’s eyes widened in shock, both of her hands covering her face as she groaned.
“The first thing you go for is my ass?” Hawke beamed, not caring that it was a forced compliment…of sorts.
“Yours isn’t half bad,” Varric continued, lips quivering as he struggled to hold back laughter. Hawke ignored that.
“Half bad?!” he scoffed.
Varric shrugged. “In comparison to...” he waived a hand between the two women. They were equally delighted, albeit with Bethany’s cheeks even redder than before.
Hawke wagged a finger in his friend’s direction. “No, no Varric. You’re only allowed to stare at one Hawke ass. And it isn’t Bethy’s!”
Isabela hadn’t stopped laughing. “Feel free to stare at mine, he can’t tell you otherwise.”
A throat cleared and Hawke glanced over his shoulder to see Viveka none too pleased by their loud conversation. “Are you going to talk to Idunna or not?”
Hawke sighed, nodding as he waved for Isabela to follow him. Bethany giggled again and he took one last glance over his shoulder at her, noting the way Varric was waggling his brows at her. Was there something…
No. Maybe? No. Nooooooo.
Oh how wrong he was.
Chapter 11: Knew It
Prompt: emotional outburst that reveals more than intended
Bethany had run away from her problems. She had found Varric’s unsent letters, and instead of talking to him about it, she brushed him aside and hid away. Maker, she had even alluded to the two of them never having any type of future. Not that it had ever been discussed, that is. But she knew how to pick up on hints, even if she simultaneously denied them. It was confusing, and frustrating, and the appearance of Bianca made it so much worse.
So, she removed herself from the situation, running all the way to Griffon Wing Keep.
She passed the time by training with the other mages, and patrolling the outskirts to hunt Darkspawn. It was freeing to be able to use her magic, enhancing her destructive powers with each fireball thrown from her hand. In her downtime, she focused her skills on the training dummies, familiarizing herself again with the use of a staff. Still, no matter how hard she tried, she couldn’t get Varric out of her mind. She tried to be upset, but all she felt pooling in her gut was a profound desire to see him. Despite everything, she missed him.
In a fit of frustration, she twirled her staff high above her head, focusing heat in her palms before slamming the metal down. The fireball shot from her hands, igniting the straw dummy standing yards away completely. She huffed out a breath—she still felt tense.
“I wouldn’t want to be your enemy,” Garrett’s voice called out from behind her. Bethany lowered her staff, leering over her shoulder at him. Last she knew, he was still in the Hinterlands, or at Skyhold. As if he could sense her questioning, he shrugged. “I’m here to help Stroud scout out Adamant. Aurie’s advisors want a report before they march.”
Bethany shook her head at her brother’s nickname for the Inquisitor, and thought better than to question it. Instead, she couldn’t resist asking about somebody else entirely.
“How’s…Varric?” She swallowed down the nervousness that filled her chest.
Garrett smirked knowingly. “Oh, the people that owe me some coin.” He shook his head, ignoring her scowl. “Distance makes the heart grow fonder?” Garrett teased.
Bethany narrowed her eyes at him. “Never mind—”
“No, no,” Garrett continued. “I’m well aware of the crush—”
“Crush?” Bethany interrupted, completely insulted. Even if her brother was teasing her—again—she had enough of it. “If you think that all I have is a stupid teenaged crush, then you really aren’t carrying a brain around in that thick skull of yours.”
Garrett widened his eyes at her, but remained silent. Bethany took in a deep breath as she continued.
“Don’t you realize that I’m in love, and that it’s terrifying and wonderful and confusing and…” There was no stopping her as she released all the pent up emotions she had been carrying with her for weeks. “Maker, Garrett, I have never felt this way but I know that it’s real.”
She covered her mouth with her hand as she let out a sob, fighting back her tears before they fell free. She didn’t want to say anything else, either. Not while anybody could be listening to her outburst. Her brother took slow steps towards her, but she stopped him with her other hand, almost dropping her staff to the ground.
He was smiling, but not in his usual, arrogant way as she expected. Instead, he seemed to be genuinely happy by what her words implied.
Bethany continued to cover her face with her hand. “Please don’t say anything to him,” she mumbled. Reluctantly, she peered at her brother through a few fingers. He was still smiling. “Garret, please.”
“And why not? You two are acting like complete idiots,” he retorted. “I should know—it takes an idiot to know an idiot.” He pointed at her. “And you two are idiots.”
“Stop saying that,” Bethany groaned. She pinched the bridge of her nose for a moment, collecting her thoughts. “Just…try and let us resolve this on our own?”
She looked at him sincerely, hoping that for once, Garrett wouldn’t be so…Hawke. It took a few moments of exchanging disgruntled expressions before he sighed out.
“Oh fine,” he said loudly. “Have it your way. But if Varric asks, I can’t promise these lips might slip up and hint at something.”
Bethany rolled her eyes. It was useless to expect anything less from her brother. Perhaps some gentle—or whatever gentle was to Hawke—encouragement was needed. Plus, Bethany wasn’t too sure when she’d see Varric next. The attack on Adamant was imminent, and the middle of a battlefield wasn’t the place for heartfelt confessions.
“Are you okay with all this?” Bethany asked, prompting Garrett to furrow his brows in concern. She waved her hand, gesturing at her invisible emotions. “Me and Varric. If…if it works out?”
Without hesitation, Garrett closed the distance between them, his arms wrapping around her tightly as she let out a short, surprised yelp. Bethany held her hands to his back, balancing her staff awkwardly to not smack him in the head—not that he wouldn’t deserve it. He nuzzled his head against hers in his own special sign of affection before pulling away slightly.
“Of course. Not that you need my approval,” he added. “I don’t want to be that kind of older protective brother. Just a supportive one.”
“You have an interesting way of showing it,” she softly laughed. “But I love you anyways.”
“I love you too,” Garrett smiled. He wiggled, as if he was excited. “Oh I can’t wait to see how this ends.”
Chapter 12: Story Ideas
Prompt: One falling asleep with their head in the other's lap.
Varric scratched out another sentence, grumbling as an idea he had just had disappeared from his thoughts. Writing wasn’t always as easy as he made it appear, and that night he crossed out more words than he had put down. Sure, he was only coming up with ideas for a new project, but nothing seemed to capture him in the way any of his previous works did.
So he continued to sit there hidden away in his room, dressed down for the evening in his comfy robe, laying across the chaise lounge in front of the fireplace. He perched his head against the armrest, tapping his quill against the loose stack of parchment he had clipped to a board Ruffles had lent him. He was so focused, he didn’t really hear the door creak open.
“Oh, I hope I’m not interrupting.”
Varric lowered his paper to see Bethany entering the room, quickly making her way to stand before the fireplace after being outside. He flashed her a lopsided smile, taking in the way she had changed for sleep, her nightdress covered by a thick cotton coat for warmth.
“No, no,” he assured, and sat up. He reached out for her hand, guiding her to sit on the couch next to him. “I was just brainstorming. More of a drizzle right now though.” Varric shrugged. “Maybe you can help.”
Bethany blinked away the momentary surprise at his suggestion. “Me? How can I help?”
“Just…name out some suggestions on what I should write,” he prompted.
Varric watched her as she lifted her hand to her chin, one finger tracing over her lips as she thought. He’d be lying if he didn’t admit that was a little distracting. He shifted slightly, leaning his body against the back of the chaise and extending his legs out until his feet were propped up on the nearby footstool. Bethany raised a brow at his movements before smiling as he patted his thigh, silently gesturing for her.
“Come on, get comfy,” he encouraged. Bethany didn’t hesitate to lay herself down, tucking her head into his lap as she stretched her legs out. Varric moved his parchment to the armrest, using his free hand to rest along her brow, brushing aside the lose strands of hair from her face. He smiled. “What do you think?”
“What about a mystery?” she suggested first.
“Yes, where have all of Varric’s ideas gone?” Nonetheless, he scribbled down mystery, Orlais, and a giant question mark. “Anything else?”
“A thriller? Have you ever written something like a horror story?”
Varric shook his head as he balanced his hand along the parchment as he wrote, careful not to tip the board off the side of the armrest. He absentmindedly threaded his fingers through her hair, softly caressing her scalp with his fingers.
“There are no vowels in the future,” he joked, using a spirit-like voice.
“Bthn?” she muttered. “Vrrc. Sounds like a…difficult read,” she said through a yawn.
Varric glanced down to see she had closed her eyes. He continued his ministrations, combing his fingers through her dark ebony locks. He wrote down how that could work as a great curse for a few scenes—at least with a footnote translation.
“Maybe I should try my hand a romance again,” he mused. He studied her as a small smile lifted the corners of her lips, her eyes still closed. “A story about how a roguishly handsome dwarf and an impossibly beautiful human mage fight evil across Thedas…” He slowly blinked, nodding to himself as he ran his thumb across her forehead, before resting his palm against the side of her face. “…falling in love along the way.”
Bethany didn’t respond, instead her head only rolled against his hand as he realized she had fallen asleep. He sighed, softly laughing under his breath. He could tell her in the morning. Better yet, he could write it, and then show her.
Chapter 13: Sunlight
Prompt: The way you said "I love you": "On a sunny Tuesday afternoon, the late sunlight glowing in your hair"
The fields outside of Skyhold were typically covered in snow, but as the spring months approached, even the Frostback Mountains warmed enough for patches of grass to grow. It was the perfect weather for a picnic, something Varric had surprised Bethany with as she was training in the courtyard. She didn’t take much coaxing to slip away with him. After all, the Inquisitor was away—nobody would notice their absence.
In a clearing near a babbling creek they set up their late afternoon meal, the two sitting close across a large cotton blanket. There was laughter as Varric recalled a few tales from his adventures with the Inquisition, and for a long stretch of time, there wasn’t a care in the world. Eventually, they ended up sprawled out on the blanket, laying on their backs next to each other as they stared up at the wispy clouds that floated by.
There was a gentle breeze, but Bethany found comfort in the warmth of the sun. To be surrounded by the soft sounds of nature, with a person she truly cared about—it was blissful. She turned her head to look at Varric, studying his content smile. His eyes were closed, but she knew he was awake, just enjoying the moment of peace they had managed to find. His hands were tucked under his head, elbows spread out. He seemed to be just as comfortable as she was.
She shifted, leaning up on her elbow and rested her head in her palm. It gave her a better angle to stare down at his face—he was almost glowing, the rays of sunlight reflecting off the slivers of blonde within his hair. Bethany always considered Varric to be handsome, but right now? It was striking, almost like one of the magnificent oil paintings hanging in Skyhold come to life. She grinned, realizing that he simply just looked happy.
“You’re staring at me,” Varric mumbled with a smirk. “Do I have crumbs on my face? Or am I just irresistible?”
Bethany let out a breathy laugh, “I love you.”
Varric’s eyes fluttered open, expression softening as he turned his head to look at her. He pulled one of his hands from behind his head, reaching out to grab her free one, lifting her fingers to his lips. Bethany warmed as he placed a few gentle kisses along her knuckles.
“I love you,” he responded.
She settled back down next to him, tucking her head against his chest as his arm moved to wrap around her shoulder. Quiet, but content—she could stay there in the sunlight forever.
Chapter 14: Privacy
Prompt: leaving hickeys on the other’s neck
It was growing increasingly difficult to find a private place to work in Skyhold, Varric found. With the impending trip to the Arbor Wilds, it seemed the castle was alive with people—soldiers, merchants, mages and Templars. There were Grey Wardens too, and chevaliers, not to mention and endless amount of nobles from Ferelden and Orlais. Mix them all together, and Varric couldn’t even hear his own thoughts.
The thought of locking himself in his private quarters came to mind, but if he stayed there all day, he felt that his creativity would be stifled. Instead, he ventured along the battlements, tucking himself into a cozy little window high up in one of the towers. The soldiers that typically housed there were currently absent, training in the yard for the afternoon. He’d be alone—for now.
Varric was there for little less than five minutes before the staircase creaked under the pressure of footsteps. He glared up over the parchment he was reviewing, ready to berate whoever had intruded on his moment of peace. That was, until he noticed a familiar head of ebony hair. He relaxed against the pillows, watching as Bethany stepped onto the landing. She was dressed in her battle gear, obviously back from training herself.
“Is it strange that I followed you here?” she asked with a nervous smile.
“Not unless you’re here to stab me, or give me bad news,” Varric answered, playfully.
Bethany giggled, crossing over to stand before him. “In that order?”
The windowsill perch had him lower to the ground than usual, giving her an even larger height advantage than normal.
“Of course,” he replied. “You could say; Varric, dearest, I have some bad news, and then shink—right in the kidney.”
“Maker,” she laughed, shaking her head. “I see you’re back to the murder mysteries.”
He shrugged. “Stick with what you know.”
Bethany’s demeanor softened, and she rested one of her hands on his shoulder. He moved his work aside, anticipating her movements. She took her time, her other hand brushing across his temple, a few fingers threading through the lose hair there.
“Varric, dearest,” she teased. She leaned down, pressing a kiss to his forehead. “I’m afraid I have some bad news,” she was smiling as she murmured against his skin, lips trailing along the side of his face to his cheek. Of course, she didn’t stab him. Instead, to his surprise, the slightest chill danced along her breath as she moved to kiss his jawline before dipping towards his neck.
Varric practically rolled his eyes back into his skull at the sensation, biting back a groan as it danced up his spine. “Sunshine.”
She smiled against his skin, lips curling around a line of muscle as she kissed him eagerly. He reached up to hold her arms, keen on allowing her to continue until there was a creak along the staircase.
“Varric, are you up here?” Aurelie’s voice echoed. “Oh, Bethany—I—I thought you were with the other mages.”
Bethany had already tore herself away from him, hiding her blush behind her hand. “I was.”
Varric sighed, wondering if Hawke had transferred his interrupting abilities to the Inquisitor before leaving. Whatever Aurelie wanted, it seemed to slip her mind as she simply pointed to Varric before gesturing to her own neck with an amused expression. He pressed a few fingers to where Bethany had been kissing and smirked when he felt tender skin. Bethany’s reaction clearly told him there was a mark, due to grow more noticeable in due time. Not that he minded.
“Do you think I can find you later?” he asked Aurelie, ignoring the way Bethany was completely covering her face in embarrassment now.
The Inquisitor widened her eyes, but any disagreement she may have had didn’t show. “Oh! Of course,” she agreed, turning on her heel back down the stairs. “Excuse me.”
“There’s no such thing as privacy in this castle,” Bethany groaned.
Varric laughed as he encouraged her to sit next to him as he joked, “See? Bad news after all.” He coaxed her into facing him, pulling her into a gentle embrace. “Now, where were we?”
Chapter 15: Best Choice
Prompt: “All my choices led me to you.”
It was over a week now since Adamant. Bethany had been back at Griffon Wing keep for most of that time, watching over Varric as he steadily improved after his brush with death. He had been unconscious for a few of those days, but as the days passed he became more alert and able to move on his own, albeit slower than usual. Bethany helped him through all the hurdles—of course, she had more than one good reason to not want to leave his side.
That afternoon was quiet in the keep, the bulk of the Inquisition forces that had battled against the Wardens finally leaving for Skyhold. Those who were wounded remained, and that included Varric. So, while the castle emptied, the two of them stayed together in his room, simply enjoying the time they finally had (interrupting Hawke, withstanding). Varric was propped up against the pillows, leaning at an angle that was comfortable given his injuries. Bethany laid between his legs, leaned back against his chest with his arms tucked loosely around her waist. They had been reading, but eventually settled into a comfortable silence.
Bethany still had a hard time believing the situation worked out as it had. She didn’t have to worry any longer—about being found out, about the “what ifs” that had been plaguing her mind for the last several years. She had found her happy ending. All that being said, there was a nagging insecurity in the back of her mind.
“Varric?” she prompted him quietly.
He hummed in response. Bethany shifted slightly, tilting her head up so she could glance at his face. His eyes were closed, but one of his brows was perked up, signaling he was listening. She felt the slightest bit guilty that perhaps she had roused him just as he was falling asleep. After all, he still needed to rest and fully recover before they could travel back to Skyhold. Perhaps it was best if she let him be.
Varric peeked open one eye this time, glancing at her for a moment before blinking. “Well that’s ominous.”
“No—” she sighed, flicking her gaze away in a mix of embarrassment and frustration. “It’s silly.”
“Hey,” Varric hushed, one of his hands shifting between them to gently brush against the side of her face. “You can tell me anything.” When she didn’t speak, he swept her hair aside affectionately. “Especially if it’s silly.”
His lightheartedness put her at ease, but her heart raced. “You chose to be with me…why?”
Bethany shifted again in his arms so it was easier to see his face. A momentary flash of surprise quickly vanished as he smirked.
“Do I really need to explain myself, again?” he asked. “Sure, I made a choice. But it was an easy one.”
While she appreciated his lack of hesitation in assuring her, the thought would not budge from her mind. “What do you mean?”
Varric sighed, “I mean, when I sat down and really thought about it, being with you just—” he broke off, brows furrowing in thought. “Like when I find the right solution to a plot line. It just made sense. Given our history, a proper book-end seemed appropriate.”
Writing analogies? Bethany was slightly amused, her nerves calming. She was so foolish to second guess him.
Varric nodded to himself. “That’s before even taking into consideration my squishy dwarf feelings,” he teased, causing her to quietly giggle. “In the end,” he paused, the hand on her face slid so that he could cup her chin. His thumb ghosted across her bottom lip. “All my choices led me back to you.”
Bethany exhaled, letting all traces of doubt leave her. She hadn’t even realized she had gone through a similar situation since returning to Skyhold. Or maybe it had been a choice she made long before then. She closed her eyes as Varric placed a soft kiss to her lips, the two smiling as she tucked herself back against his chest. Bethany was right where she wanted to be.
Chapter 16: Waiting
Prompt: Reunion kiss
Skyhold was quiet. It was an eerie feeling, not seeing the castle bustling with its usual occupants. Nearly all of the Inquisition forces had been dispatched to the Arbor Wilds in the previous weeks, intent on cornering Corypheus’ army in the elven ruins. Even with the knowledge gained and the defeat of Samson, the Inquisitor was hesitant to call the mission a success—especially considering their escape through the Eluvian.
Varric was still struggling to wrap his head around what had occurred, and how quickly they had found themselves back in Skyhold. Morrigan tried to explain the magic, but he felt more comfortable referring to it as a bad trip. So there they were, the small group that had returned, left waiting until the rest from the Arbor Wilds followed.
Varric couldn’t help but think about his Sunshine—Bethany, and how she was fairing. He hadn’t slept much through the week, spending most of his time standing just outside the main hall on the high walkway overlooking the Skyhold gates for any movement. He had overheard a few of the servants mention the area as a ‘widow’s peak’—a rather insensitive joke considering he was not the only one waiting for somebody he cared about to return.
Aurelie too had been seen pacing the ramparts, a faraway look in her eyes as she scanned the horizon for any sign of Inquisition forces on the snowy peaks. At least Varric had some comfort knowing that Bethany was alive and well, even if those thoughts were based largely on assumption. For the Inquisitor, she was still uncertain. Varric had witnessed Cullen’s injury outside the Temple of Mythal, and how it had sparked a fiery reaction from Aurelie. She hadn’t wanted to leave him in the field, but the mission at hand was far too important. Their impromptu return to Skyhold left his fate uncertain.
Even with letters sent from the Wilds assuring his survival, Aurelie wasn’t one to believe something unless she saw it with her own eyes—just like Varric. The two of them would spend most days lingering in the courtyard, waiting for more news. The last letter indicated the bulk of the group, including her advisors, were within days of returning. Whether or not that included Bethany, Varric did not know. And not knowing made him nervous.
Varric pursed his lips into a flat line, shaking his head. “I hate making Sunshine worry.”
“She’s no more worried than you,” Aurelie suggested. “You’ve been pacing for hours now.”
He looked down at his own feet, eyeing the short path he’d been taking, back and forth from a patch of dead grass to a grouping of elfroot. Maybe he was more anxious than he cared to admit. The more he thought about it, the more he realized that this was the first time he and Bethany had been apart for a long stretch of time since reconciling their relationship. Without her by his side, as he’d grown so accustomed to, Varric felt lost. It wasn’t the greatest feeling, but perhaps that was the downside of being hopelessly in love.
He flicked his attention back to Aurelie who was offering him a sympathetic smile. “It’s good to know there’s someone who feels the same way I do.”
Varric nodded at her before spotting Cole lingering up the staircase, tilting his head curiously as he looked out across the castle grounds. Aurelie noticed as well, and wordlessly moved to join him when Varric gestured to. It left him alone with his thoughts, and instead of pacing in the same spot, he walked further away, towards the tavern. How much longer did he have to wait?
It turned out, not for very much longer. Just as he reached the top of the eastern staircase, he heard the portcullis gears rattle, the muffled echo of the watch guard signaling the arrival of a large group. Varric didn’t want to assume, but his chest filled with excitement nonetheless. Out of the corner of his eye he noticed Aurelie already making a mad dash down the opposite stairs. As soon as Varric made it to the lower courtyard, he could see why, smiling as he watched her embrace Cullen tightly.
Their hushed words were just out of earshot, but he had a general idea based on their expressions. The reunion was a touching sight, distracting him for a short moment from the crowd of soldiers and delegates flooding through the gate. A slight tingle ran up his spine.
“Thank the Maker.”
Varric turned as soon as he heard the familiar voice, even if it was only a whisper. He was immediately swept into an embrace, and even if he was blind, the warmth of her hands and smell of laurels would’ve told him it was Bethany. He exhaled, relaxing against her as he returned her hug. She gripped his coat, shaking her head against his.
“We had no idea at first where—”
Varric hushed her, brushing at her hair in affectionate sweeps. “Hey now,” he encouraged. She pulled away slightly. “I’m here. You’re here.”
The slightest smile appeared, even as she blinked away tears. His hands covered hers as soon as they framed his face, steading them both as she closed the small distance to kiss him. Bethany kissed him a few times, actually, causing him to softly chuckle as she littered his face with them.
“I feel very missed,” he laughed.
Bethany pressed one last lingering kiss against his forehead before pulling away, keeping one hand softly pressed to his temple. “I’m very tempted to tether us together if it means we won’t be separated in such ways.”
This amused Varric to no end, but also warmed his heart. He didn’t really want to be separated from her either. He turned his head to kiss her hand in a familiar gesture that lit up her expression. “I’m okay with this.”
Chapter 17: Tolerance
Prompt: drunken kiss
Listen, I realize that you don’t actually kill the dragon until Act III, but I mean, this is Dragon Age. There’s got to be more than one dragon stalking the Free Marches, right?
Hawke had killed a dragon.
“A fucking dragon!” he shouted, the ale from his tankard spilling over slightly as he retold the story in dramatic fashion.
“Oh, that sounds quite terrifying,” Merrill chimed. “Did it really try to—?”
“Not a literal fucking dragon, darling,” Isabela laughed, patting the elf on the arm. “Though that would be interesting.”
“I beg to differ,” Anders scoffed into his mug. “That dragon fucked us.”
Merrill seemed all the more confused, which only fueled Isabela’s amusement. “You’re painting quite the picture for our poor Kitten.”
Varric had joined the festivities at an opportune moment, it seemed. He laughed as he heard the group continue to debate the various definitions of the f word, quickly reminding himself to use their conversation in his writing when he had the chance.
“Nice of you to join us, Varric,” Hawke greeted, scooting out the stool next to him.
Varric hadn’t meant to be late to the party, but for once, he had needed to spend the day attending to Merchant Guild affairs. As he sat, he noticed Bethany sitting in the spot next to him. Except, she wasn’t really sitting, more like laying across the table, head tucked into her folded arms. If she noticed his arrival, she only signified it with a slow blink. Hawke nudged Varric, gaining his attention once more.
“Unlike me, my poor sister here has a terrible tolerance for alcohol,” he explained.
Varric nodded, “I can see that.”
“Gary, noooo,” Bethany lamented, shaking her head into the crook of her elbow. She sat up—rather sharply—causing Varric to place his hand against her back just in case she toppled over. “I’m just as good at—” she paused to hiccup, “celebrating.”
Varric kept his hand steady against her back, glancing to Hawke who only seemed amused by his sister’s state. “What’s this about killing a dragon at the Bone Pit?”
Before Hawke could answer, Bethany snickered, leaning her body against Varric’s. “Bella told us about a different kind of bone pit.”
“Andraste’s ass, Hawke,” Varric said. “What did you let her drink?”
He shrugged. “Anything? Everything?” Hawke gestured towards his sister, and Varric noted the stains that covered the front of her mage-armor. “Beth was a force of nature out there. Literally.”
Varric was surprised, grinning at the thought of her battling a dragon. Too bad he hadn’t witnessed it himself. Or maybe it was okay Varric had skipped out, wondering if he’d be useful in a fight against such a creature. He shifted his hand to squeeze at her shoulder.
“Atta girl,” he praised. “That’s my Sunshine.”
Bethany’s expression perked up at the nickname, and before he could say anything else, she was leaning closer towards his face. At the last minute he tilted his head away, forcing a laugh as she left a rather wet kiss to his cheek, then another to his temple. A sudden feeling of anxiety settled over him—was she so intoxicated to remember that they were a secret? Bethany only giggled, as if she could sense his flustered state. He didn’t dare to look at Hawke.
“Hey now,” he nervously chuckled. “If we’re already at touchy-feely levels of intoxication…”
Hawke’s immense release of laughter calmed Varric. “Maybe she should go upstairs and sleep it off.”
Varric glanced down to find Bethany’s head resting against his shoulder, her eyes closed. Had she really fallen asleep that easily? He tried to rouse her, but the movement only had her leaning further into his embrace. When he looked back at Hawke, he was smiling, chin in his palm.
“How adorable,” he cooed.
Varric rolled his eyes. The façade had been maintained for now—there was no use in moving her, at least that very moment. He rubbed at her back with a few affectionate sweeps, thankful Hawke could not see his actions.
“She can stay here for now,” Varric commented, smiling at the warmth of her body against his—not that Hawke needed to know that either. “Now pour me a drink and tell me about this dragon.”
His friend flashed a bright grin. “A fucking dragon.”
Chapter 18: Bubbles
Prompt: Taking a bath together
Varric awoke midday, groggy and sore. But he was awake, and for that he was grateful. Ever since the events of Adamant, he had been taking each day with a little more appreciation. Of course, being alive was just one reason. Another was laying right next to—he reached out blindly to the space next to him, frowning when he realized it was empty. Where was Bethany?
He turned his head, wincing at the strong beam of sunlight pouring in from the nearest window. For a few short moments he was disorientated, confused about where he was before remembering he was in his private quarters at Skyhold. They had only returned the previous evening, and while Varric was recovered enough for travel, he was thoroughly exhausted. He smiled, knowing Bethany had cared for him, just as she had done in the Western Approach. There was a note on the pillow next to his head, and he snatched it up, yawning as he sat up.
Breakfast with Garrett. If I don’t spend some time with him, he’ll run a trebuchet right through this wall.
Varric laughed to himself, knowing it was true. Hawke’s days in Skyhold were numbered, however, and while he would miss his friend, he was looking forward to no longer worrying about the man bursting down the door anytime he even thought about having a private moment with Bethany.
Slowly, Varric pushed from the bed, stretching as he pulled on his robe. His shoulder was still painful, but at least the scar was healing nicely. He decided to sit at the desk and write, writing down more of the events of Adamant before he forgot, or decided to fill in the gaps of his memory with over-the-top dramatics. Out of everything that had happened to him over the years, that was something he didn’t want to get wrong. He wasn’t writing for long when there was a knock at the door, it creaking open before he could say anything.
He didn’t bother looking up from his work as the servants entered his chambers, at least at first. It wasn’t until he realized they were lingering that he noticed they had brought in a large bronze tub for bathing. Another servant followed with a few jugs of steaming water and soap.
“Mistress Hawke instructed us to bring it,” one of the elven girls explained. The other, a fair-haired human, smiled knowingly. Varric grumbled to himself, wondering just how far the gossip of their relationship had spread. Regardless, he nodded and allowed them to set up the bath before the fireplace.
He sat at the desk until they were finished, awkwardly lingering until he waved them away. He may have been injured, but he was perfectly capable of bathing himself. With the door closed, he approached the water, smirking at the thick layer of bubbles that sat atop the water. He decided not to think too much more about it and tossed his robe aside, shimmying out of his cotton shorts before easing himself into the tub. It was soothing, but Varric could’ve done with hotter water.
“Don’t they know it’s snowing out?” he mumbled to himself, titling his head back as he sunk further into the water. He held onto the tub edges as he closed his eyes, focusing on how this was probably supposed to bring him comfort. Except…there was something missing. The door clicked open again.
“Oh good, they brought it.”
Varric peeked open an eye, not surprised to find Bethany letting herself into the room. She closed the door behind her, ensuring it was locked. Good, he thought. His patience for interrupting Hawke was wearing thin.
“How is it?” she asked, lingering near the doorway.
“Lukewarm,” Varric answered. He eyed her through the fizzy bubbles.
She dragged her teeth across her bottom lip. “I think I can help with that.”
“Oh?” Varric questioned. He watched as she moved, slowly discarding her items and winter cloak. Soon enough she was crouched down behind the tub, softly laughing as she rolled up her sleeves.
“I can heat the water,” she explained, pressing her palm flat against the metal.
Varric raised his eyebrows. “Please don’t boil me alive.”
She laughed, using her other hand to brush the damp hair from his face. After a moment, he could tell the temperature had gradually increased. Just enough to be more comfortable than before.
“You know, I have a better idea.” Varric’s hand popped up from the bubbles to gesture at the empty space of the tub. “You should join me.”
Bethany flashed a coy smile. “Why do you think I had them bring it up here in the first place?”
Chapter 19: Surprise?
Prompt: Babies ever after
Bethany exhaled, steadying herself as she continued to pace from the fireplace to the canopy bed. The bed—that’s what had gotten her into this mess in the first place. Maybe? Ugh—now was not the time for such lewd thoughts. She shook her head, trying to stay focused. She turned on her heel as she met the fireplace cobblestone once more. How was she going to tell him?
Be direct, Bethany.
She wrung her hands in front of her as she contemplated if it really even could be true. The Chantry healer seemed convinced, but Bethany was still skeptical. After all, she wasn’t exactly young, and it had been so many years of ‘not-really-trying’. For a while, she was convinced she was cursed. But she and Varric were comfortable. A child would only be a happy blessing…if one were to spontaneously come along. And now…?
Bethany groaned. That wouldn’t do.
She gasped when she heard him coming up the stairs, and a lump formed in her throat. Panic began to rise as the door started to creak open, his voice joyful—
“I’ve brought some tea and—”
“Varric,” she interrupted as he entered the bedroom.
“—cookies and some little bitty cakes—”
Before she could hold it back, she blurted, “I’m pregnant!”
The tray he was holding slipped from his hands, the contents spilling along the floor, one cup shattering into tiny pieces of ceramic. Bethany gasped, covering her mouth with both hands, dashing towards him as he stumbled backwards, reaching behind him to brace himself against the nearest wall. She caught him but they still slid to the floor, her arms lose around his shoulders as she shifted to sit next to him.
“Darling, say something,” she called, patting one hand to his cheek. Bethany furrowed her brow, regretting her poor choice of outburst. There were a million different ways she could’ve told him that would’ve been less…shocking. Maybe. Probably.
Varric blinked, but his eyes remained wide as the saucers he dropped. “I’m—dad?”
She released a short, breathy laugh, almost I relief. “Yes.” She nodded, smoothing her hand across the side of his face. “Yes.”
His expression gradually relaxed as his eyes met hers, his hand reaching up to hold hers tightly. “Really?”
“If the chantry healer is to be believed, yes,” she explained.
Varric shook his head in disbelief, a large grin pulling at his lips. He pulled on her, laughing as he littered her face with kisses.
“Have you told anybody else?” he asked, brushing his lips across her knuckles.
“Who else would I tell?” Bethany pondered, leaning into his embrace.
“Like I’d tell him before you!”
“That man will find a way to be upset about not knowing before either of us,” Varric said flatly.
Bethany could only laugh. “We’ll give him naming rights.”
A few seconds passed.
“No.” They both said, immediately.
They sat there, just basking in the joy of the moment. Varric rested his head against hers, holding her close to him.
“A baby?” he clarified once more.
She nodded, but couldn’t helped but tease. “Let me remind you, I’m a twin.”
Varric audibly gulped.
Chapter 20: Caught
Prompt: Hope We Don’t Get Caught Kiss
Bethany stood away from Hawke and Merrill as the discussed the status of the Lowtown Alienage, distracting herself with the merchants that set up around the large tree rooted in the middle of the district. Whatever they were discussing, Merrill was laughing, and it made Bethany smile, knowing her brother was doing a good job at ensuring the elf was in a good mood, despite her living arrangement.
Bethany’s eyebrows perked up at Varric’s voice, glancing down to where he was standing next to her, slightly rocking back and forth on his feet. He winked, flashing a sly grin as he subtly nodded towards a dimly lit walkway that nobody was occupying. She gaped at him, shaking her head at the mere implication.
“No!” Despite her protest, she giggled.
Varric chuckled, “come on!”
“Varric!” she chided, looking over her shoulder as he pulled her into the alleyway. “Garrett and Merrill are right there!”
He only shrugged as he tugged on her arm, coaxing her down to his level. “Well then, we’ll just have to be real quiet.”
Bethany held back her laughter as he kissed her, smiling against his lips. He was smiling too. They were never so bold to be so open with their displays of affection, saving any kissing for his room in the Hanged Man—when they knew they were completely free from prying eyes. This was their little secret, always hoping to never get caught.
“Oh, here they are!”
They pulled away from each other in an instant, Bethany covering her mouth with her hand as if it would make what they were doing less conspicuous. Varric also wiped at his mouth, turning away as his eyes went wide. Merrill stood before them, smiling.
“How long have you been standing there, Daisy?” Varric asked, in a low voice, shifting his eyes. It was any second before Hawke caught up to them.
Merrill titled her head, obviously perplexed by his question. “What do you mean?”
“I mean—” he broke off with a groan, covering his face with his hand.
Bethany sighed, furrowing her brows. “Did you…see?”
“What?” Merrill asked again. “The two of you standing here? Peculiar place to stand, don’t you think?”
Bethany couldn’t tell if the elf was being facetious, or truly did not understand what she and Varric were up to. She stepped out of the alley to make it less suspicious, and Varric followed suit. He eyed Merrill carefully, as if he was just as unsure of what she had seen. Panic arose as Hawke appeared, joyful as ever.
“Shall we return to the Hanged Man?” he asked. When he was greeted by silence, he eyed the three of them. “What? Is there something on my face?”
Merrill only smiled and linked her arm in Hawke’s, leading the man away. As they walked away, Bethany and Varric let out a collective sigh. It was a close call. They were in the clear—for now.
Chapter 21: In the Sand
Prompt: "Needing to kiss to hide from bad guys."
That was the last thing Hawke had shouted before running off, Isabela hot on his trail as he took the eastern path down the Wounded Coast. Bethany panicked as she heard the Templars approaching, not sure if she wanted to hurl a fireball in their direction or after where her brother had run.
“Come on, this way!” Varric shouted, tugging on her hand as he rushed past her.
The rain didn’t make their escape through the sand any easier, however.
Varric glanced over his shoulder, puffing out his breath. “Hopefully their armor slows them down.”
Bethany disregarded his statement, looking ahead at the shrubbery and high cliff. There was a small cavern—an abandoned mine with a few forgotten barrels—clearly a dead end. As they came into the clearing, Varric looked around, and she could tell he was formulating a plan. She swept the matted hair from her face, struggling to catch her breath from all the running they had just done. She could only imagine how he felt with shorter legs.
“Okay—” he broke off to take a huge gulp of air, and then grinned. “Give me your staff.”
Bethany looked at him bewildered, but hesitantly pulled it from her back. “And just what are you going to do with it?” She watched as he took it, almost laughing as he almost dropped it, not anticipating the weight of it in his hands.
“No wonder you can carry me up the stairs when I’ve had too much to drink,” he teased.
She watched him quickly shuffle to behind the barrels, hiding her staff as well as his beloved crossbow beneath the wood and sand. He then beckoned her to him as he discarded his coat.
“Just what are you—?”
Varric interrupted her question with a kiss, pulling her down to his level. She was about to protest when she heard the Templar guards approaching, the clinking of their armor growing louder and louder. Bethany caught on very quickly to Varric’s scheme, smiling against his mouth as he tugged a little at her coat. She shrugged it off before reaching up to muss up his hair, hoping it would disguise him well enough. He copied her actions, sweeping her hair to the side and scrunching it in his hands.
When the Templars finally arrived into the clearing, they stood there for a few moments, clearly standing there just watching the two of them…kissing. Perhaps Bethany and Varric got a little lost in the moment, but after a few moments, one of the guards cleared their throats and Varric pulled away, much to Bethany’s displeasure.
“What?” he shouted, waving his hand at them. “You never seen two people making out on a beach before?”
The Templars awkwardly shuffled. Bethany snickered, feeling a little spurred on. “Yeah! Give us some privacy, why don’t you!”
They moved away rather quickly after that, running down the path they came. Varric fell over in laughter, holding his sides.
“Andraste’s ass, Sunshine!”
She kneeled over him, tucking the hair from her face as the rain continued to fall. She grinned as he beamed up at her, obviously satisfied with their successful escape.
“Should we find Hawke and Rivaini?” he asked.
Bethany shook her head. “Let’s stay here for just a while longer.”
Chapter 22: Before, During and After (Before)
Prompt: jealous kiss
I call this an "angst sandwich"
At the bar of the Hanged Man Varric eavesdropped on Bethany and Isabela’s conversation as he peered out on the crowd of his other friends.
“And what’s this I hear about this crush you have on Sebastian?”
The name nearly had Varric spitting his ale out. Bethany and…Choir Boy? An unsettling feeling caused him to feel…even more unsettled.
Bethany flushed, “I—I do not!”
“Oh, you want to kiss him!” Isabela teased. “He is rather handsome, I’ll give you that.”
Varric didn’t like to think it was a trait of his, preferring to consider himself a confident, suave gentleman. But every man had his flaws, and this was his. He wasn’t even sure why he was feeling that way. It wasn’t like he had any skin in this game, so to speak. His feelings for Bethany were purely platonic. Right?
With a slight grumble he excused himself, shuffling up the stairs to his private quarters to be alone with his thoughts.
Despite the Gallows’ (and Knight-Commander Meredith’s) reputation, those with the utmost behavior were typically allowed to roam the courtyard under supervision. Bethany quickly made it so she was one of those mages, making it easier for her brother—and Varric—to see her. It wasn’t the best arrangement for the two lovers, if you could call them that, but they made it work. No touching, and if they got even just an inch too close, a Templar would yell so loudly Varric’s ears would be ringing all the way back to Lowtown.
That day, he had arrived later than he had wanted to, business with the Merchants Guild running later than usual. In the courtyard, he found Bethany standing with Knight-Commander Cullen. It was hard to see her expression, but he seemed…chipper. For some reason, it instantly annoyed Varric.
“What’s going on here?” he interrupted, sharply.
Cullen noticed, his expression bleak. “I was just—uh, asking about Hawke…”
Varric nodded, but jotted his thumb over his shoulder. “Well, ask somebody else why don’t you.”
The timid Templar scurried away without further questioning. It was only then that Varric noticed that Bethany had been smiling, perhaps out of curtesy—but now she was shaking her head at him.
“You’re jealousy isn’t cute, Varric,” she muttered with a pout. “Misguided as well. I’m locked up in a tower half of the day. What am I going to do? Kiss the walls?” She side-eyed towards where Cullen was not looking at them. “And I am not going to seduce the Knight-Commander.”
Varric chocked back a laugh, letting it go when he saw she was suppressing one of her own. “That, I would pay good money to witness. Just to see how red his face could get, or if he dies.”
After a moment, Varric raised an eyebrow. “How do you know I was jealous?” He clenched his teeth, knowing his question gave himself away.
“Oh I can always tell when you’re being jealous,” she grinned. Her hand reached out, as if to caress the side of his face but in an instant she snapped back her hand. He closed his eyes, sighing out at the loss of her touch. Bethany shifted her eyes, and nodded towards a darkened alcove, and Varric followed her lead, knowing they’d have to be quick. Like a dance they moved around the thick column, stopping for only one quick moment to embrace, to kiss.
Traveling with Isabela and Garrett has afforded me many opportunities that I thought I’d never see. We traveled to Val Royeaux and—you were right Varric. It was right to meet new people and broaden my horizons, so to speak. I’m sure Isabela would have something much more lewd to say here. Maker...I don’t even know why I’m telling you this, but I’ve always trusted you, and I always will, regardless of how
our relationship things have changed over the years less often we may see each other. You are still my dearest friend.
I also bought a very, very fancy dress. It is velvet and silk and matches my eyes. If it doesn’t get stolen by one of Isabela’s crew-mates, I’ll have to show you one day.
Varric didn’t write back—he couldn’t write back. Not with the blood rushing through him at the thought of Bethany with another man in his mind. Yes, he had encouraged her to move on when she left Kirkwall with Hawke and Rivaini. Yes, he had all but given up on reconciling a relationship with her. Yes—he had pushed her away. But, Ancestors forgive him, he was going to be resentful about it regardless. He folded up the letter, holding it up to his mouth, just wondering. What if.
Chapter 23: Hungry Eyes
tumblr prompt fill: "Apodyopis: The act of mentally undressing someone."
(See the end of the chapter for notes.)
Another evening in the Hanged Man spent with Hawke—Varric wouldn’t have it any other way. It helped that Hawke kept fantastic company as well, with a few of them even offering to pick up the tab on a few rounds so it wasn’t always him that was left to flash the coin to Corff at the end of the night.
Varric leaned against the bar nursing a tankard of dark ale, just beaming as Hawke serenaded the tavern with his tales of conquest. Even Isabela, who he had been desperately trying to woo seemed interested—perhaps it was all part of the ploy—it was all amusing to Varric. As Hawke raised his arms up in another large gesture for Maker knows what, Varric felt a tingle along his spine. As he took another slow sip of his drink, he had the distinct feeling that he was being watched.
Out of the corner of his eye, he quickly found the culprit and flashed a small grin, quickly winking in Bethany’s direction. She wasn’t just watching him, she was ogling him with a dreamy expression, her chin tucked into the palm of her hand, elbow propped onto the table where she sat. She smiled in his direction, eyes darkening, dropping across his form before slowly crawling up once more and fixating on his chest. Ah—was she…undressing him? The flirt.
Varric carefully peeled himself away from the bar and slowly sauntered in her direction. Her smile grew, but she otherwise didn’t overreact to him taking the spot next to her. They were practically experts now at keeping their affair a secret, but that didn’t mean Varric was about to take the risk on accidental public displays of affection. Even in the back-corner table, away from the main crowd of patrons and their closest friends, they needed to be careful.
“How much have you had to drink?” Varric asked, eyeing the bottle of brandy—no doubt Isabela had purchased for the girls to share.
Bethany titled her head, cheek sliding further against her hand. “Enough.”
She shifted to sit up, taking two cups and filling them so Varric could partake. Against his better judgement, he drank—but who was he to waste Antivan brandy? That Isabela bought? Plus, it wasn’t every evening that he had the opportunity to drink with his Sunshine or be this close. They drank, exchanging knowing glances and small secret smiles as the laughter and music around them grew. Bethany’s foot tapped against his, and he’d push his knee against hers—she’d touch her shoulder against his, and he’d brush his hand against hers when passing the bottle of brandy for a refill. A little game just for them.
Still, Bethany was watching him, eyes raking over his body, lingering across his exposed chest and daring to dip further to his lap. He chuckled low.
“Do you like what you see, Sunshine?” Varric teased, waggling his eyebrows.
“I think,” Bethany started before leaning dangerously close so she could whisper in his ear. Varric stayed cool, snapping his eyes towards the grouping of friends at the bar and their expressions—none of them were looking this way. Bethany’s hot breath fanned across his neck as she spoke. “I’d quite like to see what you’ve got hiding in those pants.”
Okay, so it wasn’t the filthiest thing Bethany could’ve said, but it was still utterly tantalizing coming from her. His body went rigid as he nearly spat out the gulp of brandy he had just taken a swig of and took a moment to compose himself, trying to feign as if what she had just said was as if little importance. Especially when a few of their friends glanced their way. He laughed, leaning away from Bethany, and felt his skin flush with heat as one of her hands slid across his thigh beneath the table.
Maker—hope nobody witnessed her.
“Hmm?” she hummed, daring to lean in again. Varric was struggling to not lean in and just steal a kiss and make their relationship known.
His mind was clouded, his heart was racing, but his gut instinct was screaming—
“Fuck—” he nearly choked out the word and coughed before laughing as Bethany grinned, a bright blush on her cheeks. The group was distracted, Varric thought, as if to convince himself. They’d never notice their absence. “Let’s get out of here.”
Bethany giggled as she nodded, and quickly followed Varric’s lead as he shuffled out of the corner. As clandestine as he thought he was being as they made their way towards the stairs and towards his private room, a voice called out to them.
Bethany’s face drained off all color, but she quickly recovered in time as her brother jolted up the stairs to join them before Varric’s door.
“What are you two doing? Leaving the party? Are we being too loud?” he asked, tossing one arm around each of their shoulders. For as tipsy and drunk on emotions as Varric felt, Hawke was shitfaced.
Varric hesitated, for the first time at a loss for words. He blamed the brandy, and temptation.
Bethany smiled at her brother. “Varric is writing a manuscript about our story and wanted to share some of it with me.”
“What?” Hawke pouted. “No fair!”
As Hawke continued on a short tirade of the importance of accurate, but embellished storytelling and how he wanted Varric to describe him as manly, Bethany shot him a small smile, and a wink—they’d have their moment one evening. Hopefully sooner rather than later.
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Chapter 24: Letters
A collection of short notes and letters from Varric and Bethany from various points of time in the Dragon Age timeline and my storyline for them “Shadow and Light”.
Prompt fill: Exchanging letters
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
I’ve been reading through the “trash—do not keep—not for use ever” manuscripts that you thought you hid away in your room, and I must say, they have been keeping me entertained while you and Garrett parade around town without me. So much so I am less inclined to guilt trip the two of you for leaving me behind. I don’t know why you thought these stories weren’t worthy enough to be read, but I’ve certainly enjoyed them—surely my opinion is the only one that matters, right? I am not a world-famous author, but my advice to you is to hold onto these ideas, you never know when you’ll need them for a future masterpiece.
Please stop digging through my garbage. If you’re that bored, why don’t we get lost in the city together and let it show us something interesting? I’m sure it’ll take all of five minutes.
Meet me in the usual spot.
There’s this bard in the Hanged Man who has started serenading Isabela with the most pretentious lyrics. Something about how her body ‘is a wonderland’. Seriously, you couldn’t pay me to make this shit up. At least be more creative when describing a woman’s body and the things you want to do to it? Am I right? Maybe he should sing to her about using his hands to [redacted]. Or maybe use his tongue to [redacted]? No woman would be able to resist that. I don’t want to brag, but I’ve been known to be very talented in all these aspects
[The remainder of the letter is completely torn from the rest of the parchment]
I regret to inform you that your clever attempt in sneaking a smutty fantasy to me did not go as planned. The templars really are diligent in reading these letters, even the ones being received by their most trusted wards. While practically unintelligible…I believe I have a general idea. You’d be surprised at how little I need to get me going.
The Waking Sea, 9:37
To my most beloved dwarf,
Garrett gifted me the most delicious red wine for my birthday and I must say it is stronger than anything I remember ever having in the Hanged Man. He wouldn’t even tell me which port he picked it up in! But he said I could keep it allllll to myself—and I plan on it. Did I tell you that Isabella has been writing more friend-fiction?
[The words on the page distinctly start to go lopsided, and become very hard to decipher, very unlike Bethany’s usual neat, cursive handwriting]
Even though she has noooo idea about us.. what happened us in the past, in Kirkwall—right? Us. Us. Isabella doesn’t know. She can be very clever that pirate. Captain. She’s a captain now. With a pointy hat. Her stories are very descriptive, I wonder if they would make you blush! Do dwarves blush?
[The letter is unsigned, but there is a small wine stain across the bottom where a signature might have been]
Shit’s weird. Shit’s always weird. But you and I know that. And now there’s a giant glowing green hole in the sky. Oh, and mages and templars are fighting—again—yippie! That being said, wherever you are, I hope you are keeping safe. What am I saying? I know you are keeping safe. You’re Bethany Hawke, and can shoot fire out of your hands, and…can mages shoot fire out of their eyes?
I think I’ve had too much to drink.
PS: We have a Qunari now, I guess. He likes flowers and the color pink. It’s weird.
No, mages cannot shoot fire out of their eyes.
[Beside this is an obvious doodle by Garrett Hawke depicting Bethany shooting fireballs from her eyes]
Please stop drinking so much, or I will be on the first ship to Ferelden to save you from this so-called Inquisition. While I understand wars are waging and the world is burning, but this whole mess seems to have put a damper on your mood. Because this is incredibly unacceptable, I have enclosed several of my best jokes:
What do you call a group of unorganized cats? A cat-astrophe!
How does a squid go into battle? Well-armed!
What’s brown and sticky? A stick!
I’d provide more, but I think you’re in stitches by now!
PS: If you ever need us, you have only to ask.
say hello over on tumblr @ eeveevie
kudos and comments are always appreciated :)