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We All Fall Down

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"You're full of shit, boss, you're still at ten!"

"Am not, jackass, I hit that guy over- duck!"

"I got it, Melody!"

Solas breathes out a quiet sigh, almost absentmindedly deflecting an enemy la he's fireball with a quick barrier, then sending back a volley of ice spikes. A blast of lightning disables a templar getting a tad too close, and he risks a glance backward to briefly convey gratefulness for his fellow mage's intervention. Dorian sends a wink back, twirling his staff in a bit of an over the top, but effective, manner as he sends more lightning towards some nearby enemies.

It's been a month since the Inquisition moved to Skyhold, and although the majority of fighting has died down in the Hinterlands, a few rogue cells of mages and Templars alike still exist, those too cut off to hear of news about the Red Templars, and Corypheus, and the Inquisition. Thus, cleanup is being performed to get rid of or recruit these cells.

They had originally come to recruit a rogue Templar cell, until some mages had ambushed the groups and sent it all to hell. Only two Templars have been smart enough to help the Inquisition, their brothers and sisters just attacking anyone not in Templar gear. These battles aren't usually much of a chore, the teamwork and skill among the Inner Circle making it very difficult indeed for most enemies to pose much of a threat.

Solas brings himself out of his thoughts as a fireball wizzes past his head. He barely holds back a wince at the extreme heat grazing the sensitive tip of his ear, instead choosing to freeze the mage who did it to the ground, a blast of fire following shortly thereafter from Cirilla, who has come to stand next to him. He shoots her a small smile, pleased when she returns it with a grin of her own as she turns back to where she was competing with Bull.

That's another development. He'd grown fond of Cirilla and her daughter Soufei in Haven, but he hadn't realised the depth of his feeling until faced with the possibility of her death. Standing there on the mountaintops, looking out over a snow covered, blizzard encircled Haven, was the worst he'd felt since awakening from Uthenera. It didn't help that little Soufei was clinging to him and wailing for him to bring her Mamae back. His eyes narrow minisculely and his grip on his staff tightens, as it always does when he remembers that day.

Seeing Ciri stumble out of the snow, blue and stumbling and half unconscious, but alive, was relieving. Kissing her for the first time was like finding freedom. And calling her Vhenan, knowing that she is his and he is hers, is quite possibly the most blissful thing the ancient has ever experienced.

Solas is running on autopilot now, automatically throwing barriers when needed and throwing ice spells when necessary. That's why he doesn't notice immediately when Ciri heads further into the fray.

Solas does notice the small choked sound that sounds much too much like her to be an enemy.

Sera always makes jokes about her being quiet even when injured, but there are no jokes running through Solas' mind as he whirls around and catches sight of a sword protruding from her chest, a templar ripping it out in a swift motion and letting Cirilla fall.

For a brief moment, he could've sworn his blood had become pure ice, but at the sheer callousness of this fool, this mortal, it turns to fire instead.

Solas is a calm man. He uses ice because one's temperament can aid in how one uses an element. He is also rather good at it.

But he did not become the Dread Wolf by being a calm man.

Only a fair few have been subject to the illusions and fire that made the Dread Wolf one of Mythal's most feared generals when he was still just a sentinel, and eventually one of the most feared and respected Evanuris. The Templar in Solas' eyesight should count himself lucky, as one of the only mortals to see this in the modern age.

His grip on his staff changes ever so slightly as his lips press into a firm, furious line. The smooth, fluid movement of his staff changes into something harsher and more simple as he calls up one of the spells reserved specially for those who earn his ire.

He doesn't bother to watch the spell work, choosing instead to send a fire storm at the remaining two enemies. He doesn't bother to pay attention to the screams, striding forward and kneeling beside Cirilla. The blood coming from her chest, her lips, it's almost too much.

She smiles up at him, and he doesn't realize he's crying until a tear falls from his face into the dirt. He reaches down to touch her face, and she grabs his hand and nuzzles into the palm.

Solas barely feels it when he's pushed to the side by a frantic Dorian and Vivienne. He doesn't react when Bull helps him up, doesn't notice the Qunari's uncharacteristic silence. He stirs for just a moment to lay down when prompted, next to Cirilla of course, because he is absolutely not leaving her side. He just moves forward in a daze, the image of her laying there, unmoving and glassy eyed imprinted in his mind. It won't leave him alone, and it keeps him up through the night.

Cirilla stays in a magically induced coma until the group manages to get back to Skyhold, where the mages of the group take her to her room so they can bring her into consciousness and assess her health with her awake. It takes three more days after they unlock the magicks keeping her under for her to finally awaken.

Upon hearing the news from a red faced and panting messenger, Solas bolts up the stairs in an uncharacteristic display. He gets to her door and slams it open, darting up the stairs. He pauses at the top, eyes darting over Cirilla as she blinks almost sleepily at him before smiling and opening her arms.

It takes two heartbeats for him to be with her, two more for him to gather her in his arms and settle them both on the bed in a way that lets him cling loosely to her with her reclining on his chest. He buries his face into the hair at the base of her neck, shoulders shaking as every ounce of emotion pours back into him. And if her shoulder is a little damp by the time he stops shaking, she doesn't mention it.

He can't get that image out of his head.

Pale skin, bloodied chest and lips, glassy eyes.

Because this time it was a Templar. And next time she has a near death experience, it may be anyone else.

But Solas knows, by the light of the Anchor on her hand, that he will be the one to kill her in the end.

And that...

He buries his face further into her hair. Solas knows she's confused by his sudden clinging when he's normally very careful, even with his affection towards his vhenan, but just the thought of hurting her...of her dying either by his negligence and lack of foresight or by his own hand...

It's too much.

Solas doesn't let go for a while.