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Holding On

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The newborn star's sunlight shimmered into Mara and Leliana's tent, and the Orlesian Bard stirred, groaning in exhaustion and turning onto her back.


“Mmmnnnugh...” She groaned, tossing off the mountain of heavy fur blankets on top of her, and reached a hand up to rub sleep from her eyes. Maker above, but it was early.


Leliana reached over to the bedroll beside her to feel her sleeping Warden. “Good morning, Mon Ange.” She mumbled, but then froze a moment later.


Mara wasn't there.


“Mon Ange?” She removed her hand and sat up, looking around for her lover. She was gone. “Hmm...” She thought blinking the sleep utterly from her eyes. “Maybe she wanted an early breakfast.”


Leliana grabbed for her clothes to see if she could catch her angel before the two Wardens ate all the food, just like always. She was a silly, silly girl.


With a blush, she realized her pants were outside of the tent, thrown there during the previous night, and reached out the flaps, snatching them back. Unless she intended to seduce the Darkspawn, she would likely need those.


Leaving the tent, she found Mara missing from there too. Indeed, the whole site was silent, with everyone else likely still asleep.


“M'amie?” She called out softly, but received no response. She was gone.


Luckily for Leliana, it had snowed the previous night, and she could see the footprints of boots leading from their tent and into the nearby treeline.


“ Where is she going?” Leliana mused to herself, reaching down and feeling her belt. There was a silverite knife hidden there. That would be enough if any trouble came.


Following the trail, she soon saw her Warden lover, sitting alone on a tree stump. Her head was down, and her shoulders slumped, absent-mindedly carving new designs into her staff.


“My angel.” Leliana breathed, and the Mage Warden looked up at her. Her eyes were sullen, dark, but she gave a tiny smile when she saw the perfect Orlesian woman she had fallen so madly in love with.


“Leli.” She spoke, keeping the tremble from her voice. “What are you doing here?” Leliana heard the tiny tremor in the tone, even as much as Mara tried to hide it. There was something she was hiding from the Bard, she could hear it.


Leliana gave a reassuring smile, sitting on the tree stump beside Mara, who accepted the hug that she offered. “I was just wondering where my bed fellow had gone off to.” She leaned in for a kiss, which Mara readily provided. “What are you doing out here, love? It's freezing .”


“Sorry.” She offered, holding her Bard closely to her. “I just... needed some air, is all.”


“Because...” Leliana prompted, making a motioning signal with her hand, to which Mara sighed heavily, shaking her head.


“It's just... that I'm...” She sighed again, resting her head on Leliana's shoulder. “ Feeling overwhelmed, is all.” She looked over, her bright blue eyes meeting Leliana's. “There's so much depending on us, on the Wardens...”


Leliana nodded emphatically, understanding the mage's feelings. “I know, love.” She leaned and kissed her Warden. “I know.”


“I'm scared.” Mara admitted, and Leliana could see tears at the edges of her eyes. “How in the world can this end well? I don't think I can stop this, stop them. What if I-”


Her eyes widened as she was silenced by a kiss, before smiling, realizing that was the nicest way anyone had ever told her to shut up.


“I know.” And Mara believed the words of the woman that she loved with all of her heart. “I know what you're feeling. I feel it to.” She smiled and shook her head. “By all rights, you shouldn't even be here, not after what you tried to do for your friend. But darling,” She slipped from the stump, and onto her knees, kneeling before the mage. “We're like the people in the greatest stories, the epics. The stories that really mattered.” She clasped Mara's hands tightly in her own, the Warden not daring to so much as breathe. “They were always so full of danger, with darkness surrounding every moment. Half the time, I never wanted to hear them end, because I knew they would end happy.”


Mara raised in eyebrow in confusion. “You didn't want it to end happily?”


Leliana shook her head. “How could it? How could the world just... return to it's normal day-to-day, when so much had happened, when so much evil had ravaged the world.” She brought Mara's hands to her lips, kissing the soft skin that lay there. “But it always did. In the end, everything is only a passing thing, only just the moon dancing across the sun, blocking it from our view.” She clamped her hand down on the mage's hands, who couldn't breathe, drowning in the bright, sky-blue surface of Leliana's eyes. “Even the greatest darkness passes. And when it does, the sun will shine all the brighter for it.”


“ I love you so much.” She whispered, fully appreciating just how fiercely intelligence and poetic her lover could be at the same time. She had never met anyone like that before, probably because no one else like Leliana existed, in this world or the next. “So, so much.”


“Come here.” Leliana stood, taking Mara's head in her hands, and pulled her close, straddling her lap, kissing her as deeply as she knew how, leaving the Warden breathless. “I love you.” She whispered. “With all my heart, my angel.” Mara tried to speak, but Leliana cut her off with a finger on her lips. “Hush, my darling. Just listen.” Mara nodded. “If you just sit here, and dream all day long, you'll never get anywhere. If you stay and fret all day, then the Darkspawn will surely win.” She leaned in close, both of them feeling the close warmth of the other. “I believe in you. If nothing else, you will show us to victory. I know you will.”


“I love you.” Mara repeated wordlessly with a look of awe across her features, knowing that she didn't deserve this woman, she never could. No one ever could.


“ I love you too.” Leliana promised, holding Mara closely. “Now, I'm cold, and it's early. Come back to bed.”




Author's Note: So I was just recently watching LoTR and, when I heard that ever inspiring speech from Sam, I knew I just had to write something like this for you all.


Hopefully I will have a new chapter of Become the Beast soon, for any fans of that story. I replayed Here Lies the Abyss and have everything mapped out, just have to write it. Sadly, my Fall Semester starts in two days, so stories will come slower for a while.