Evelyn sits with her back to the wall of the prison cell, legs bent at the knee, Dorian sat opposite with his legs spread in front of him.
“Well, it could be worse,” he quips, and her eyes lift from her lap to stare at him in disbelief.
“And how, exactly,” she asks, voice oddly calm. “Could this be worse? ”
He smirks, “Well, you could be stuck with Blackwall. My facial hair is much nicer, and I’m well groomed and hygienic!”
She rolls her eyes and attempts to give him a scornful look, but instead a smile breaks through her attempted stern look. He grins back at her and they spend a few moments in comfortable silence. Despite all his lip service, she can tell from the line of her friend’s shoulders and the way he fiddles with his hands that he is as nervous as she. She shakes her head and stands up, going over to the bars and trying to see if there is something- anything- identifiable about this place.
“Maker, what do they want from us?” she asks, rattling the bars and letting out a sigh when they barely budge. She knows better than to attempt to freeze them- the Templars had purged her magic the moment they caught them, and drained her mana completely.
She never usually hates being the Inquisitor, but this is… highly inconvenient. It isn’t even like the two of them had been doing anything to get themselves in trouble- if it had happened during a battle, perhaps, but that still didn’t explain why they’d captured the two of them specifically. If they want money, they would only have to take her and the Inquisition would either pay or stage a rescue- as she is sure would happen with the two of them anyway, but really they didn’t need Dorian there as well.
“I don’t know what they want, Evelyn, but I know you’re not going to find it standing at the bars to the cage- regardless of how nice the view is.”
She turns around and gives him another look, returning his smirk before flopping down to sit with him.
“Well, the view is nicer here, I suppose,” she says, and he puffs up.
“Of course it is, I’m here.”
Their bantering is interrupted when a door opens down the hall, followed by the heavy footsteps of a Templar. The man takes off his helmet, lays it down, and smirks at them, something cruel in his gaze. She stiffens and feels Dorian’s hand move towards her, linking their pinkies together, and no matter their reasons she is suddenly incredibly grateful their captors had taken both of them.
“Let me introduce myself. I’m Knight-Captain Carroll. Unfortunately, your work attempting to bring down the Freemen has been getting in the way of my plans,” he takes off his gauntlets and her fingers tighten in Dorian’s. When the top part of his armor comes off, she feels her friend tense just as much as she. He’s stripping down, and she subconsciously brings her legs together. The Templar smirks at her discomfort and shakes his head.
“Oh, no, dear. I’m not going to touch you,” he says, and nods his head towards Dorian. “He is.”
She jumps to her feet and almost throws herself at the bars in anger.
“Y-you can’t…” she begins, and he raises his eyebrows
“But I can. If you don’t fuck each other… I’ll kill you. And make the other watch,” he says. Her blood runs cold. Dorian is behind her in a moment, hand on the crook of her elbow, face turned away from her. She won’t let him get hurt, and she knows he won’t let her either. After a moment, those warm brown eyes go to meet hers, and she knows that it’s going to happen. Because she won’t let this man hurt Dorian- and he won’t let her get hurt either. She turns to face him, and can practically feel the Templar’s pride at breaking them so easily. They can’t fight the man without magic, and he knows it.
The instruction is unexpected, and she brings her hands up to rest on Dorian’s cheeks, moving to her toes and pulling him down into a kiss. His lips are hesitant on hers, gentle but very, very hesitant, and she understands completely. Because for all they tease and flirt, it is all in friendship, in jest. He isn’t attracted to her, and she realizes the appeal of Dorian, but would never, ever think of acting on it. Especially not after the episode with his father.
He pulls back from her, and she sees something of a glaze of tears over his eyes. Of course this will hurt him more than her- the very thing his father had tried to do to him, she is about to do. Force him to… to be something he isn’t. With a woman. The Templar sighs from the side of the room.
“Clothes off, and then I want him between your legs.”
Evelyn trembles slightly but she moves back, armor coming off in a methodical manner. She stands before Dorian in her smallclothes, and he in his, and for a moment she wonders if death would be preferable. But neither of them could bear to see the other hurt, and so she undoes her breastband and drops her bottoms to the floor with the rest of her clothing. Before Dorian can drop his, a goblet is thrust through the bars.
“To ensure you can actually please the lady,” comes Carroll’s voice, though he is sitting in the shadows for now. Dorian takes it in one shaking hand and swallows it down, dropping it to the floor and dropping his smalls a moment later, eyes full of self-loathing. Evelyn swallows and lowers herself to the floor, legs open, and Dorian lies between them. For a moment, he keeps his head there and Evelyn’s head falls back in false ecstasy, wondering if they can trick him. She hears a sword being drawn.
“Pull a stunt like that again and I will kill you.”
Shaking, she lies back properly, against the wall letting Dorian settle between her legs. He lowers his head to her and gives a tentative lick. It doesn’t hit the spots it should at all, it’s awkward and forced and she’s terrified, but meets his eyes anyway. This time, when he licks, he does hit the right spot, and she lets out a soft noise despite herself as his tongue moves over the soft nub of flesh. He does it again, and suddenly she realizes why he’d try to bring her pleasure- without it, this would be more painful that it’s already going to be. It’s not just for the benefit of the man outside their cell- it’s for her benefit too, and she’s suddenly all too grateful to him, despite the churning in her gut- nausea at how base this is, at how utterly depraved they are being forced to be. She tries to convey every apology with her eyes, and he squeezes one thigh. He understands.
He continues his gentle ministrations, and soon one hand finds its way to his hair, legs tightening as a wave of orgasm crashes over her. The Templar makes a noise outside the cell, and she wrinkles up her nose. He’s pleasuring himself to this, to their forced… Dorian’s eyes still glisten with tears, and she lets out her own sob. He gathers her to her chest and turns angry eyes to their attacker.
“Must we continue?” he asks, and she sobs against him, guilty for her pleasure, guilty for enjoying what they were being forced to do. She knows, inside, that she can’t help it, and that it was better she be prepared for what is to come next- but the teachings of the sisters at the Circle stand out in her mind, and she feels like a whore for what she’s done. She blocks out their conversation, but when Dorian looks down at her it’s with pain, and she knows they have to continue.
“I am so sorry, Evelyn,” he whispers, and lays her down so she is on the floor, instead of against the wall, covering her with his body. She can feel the hard length of him against her thigh and almost panics- because this is it. Her chastity, gone forever due to that damned Templar, not to a man who wants her but a man forced as much as she. He is gentle when he enters her and yet stills he flinches in pain, feeling the uncomfortable sensation of being opened up. Dorian’s eyes flutter slightly, but when he sees the pain his movements all but cease, realization dawning on his features. He swallows and leans down to her ear.
“I know it’s hard, but try to relax. Imagine it’s… someone else. Somewhere else,” he murmurs. Easier said than done, but she figures he knows better than she does, and so she does relax, notices the way Dorian’s eyes are closed as he starts to move, and she wonders who he is imagining himself with. That’s cut off, however, when he brushes against something inside her and she lets out a noise. Her hand flies to her mouth, but apparently she can’t even spare herself that.
The Templar, who she’d almost forgotten about, speaks up from outside, “Come now, don’t seem like you’re forgetting one another. That’s just rude. If the lady wants to be quiet, you’ll make her quiet with your lips.”
It’s unfair, to make it seem like they’re making love when they’re really being forced to fuck. Dorian is crying now, as is she, and he leans down to kiss her with all the anguish he feels. She can taste the salt from their tears as he kisses her, even as he speeds up his thrusts, and she lets out another weak moan as she comes again, her friend (if she still has the right to call him that) stilling inside her as he follows her. For a moment they lie there, before standing, dressing silently as the Templar outside lets out a noise of pleasure as he comes to their performance.
“You can go now. Provided you don’t try to take my freemen away from me again, you can rest easy knowing this won’t happen again,” he says. “Corypheus may not want you free, but I only command one faction. And you have fulfilled your purpose, pretty.”
She leaves, feeling broken inside and out, a limp in her gait. Dorian reaches out to her and she flinches away, not wanting to be touched, not wanting to acknowledge that she and her best friend had just raped one another. She sees a flash of hurt in his eyes before he swallows and pulls away.
The next couple of months are something of a blur. She and Dorian don’t speak, and in a lull between finding Stroud in Crestwood and moving forwards, she doesn’t have much to do beyond close rifts and try to feel something more than empty.
It is when she throws up once again, after three days in a row of that occurring, that she goes to see a healer, suspicions already in her mind. Two months of missed courses, tender breasts, sickness… it could only mean one thing. The confirmation is horrifying, and she wants to cry but can’t find the tears. Instead, she numbly makes her way up to the library, eyes averted until Dorian notices her.
“Evelyn, you…” he doesn’t finish the sentence. She swallows, meets his eyes.
“Dorian, I’m pregnant.”
Dorian stood, suddenly feeling very dizzy. He hears Evelyn move behind him, but holds up a hand, shaking his head. "A moment, please," he says, voice shaking. He has no illusions about why she came to see him, of all people. He'd been her first (and bile rises in him still at the thought), and despite some awkward flirtations, she hasn't yet engaged in a relationship with another.
And now there is this child. His child. How his father would react, jubilant and victorious after years of failing to have an heir. He almost wishes he could laugh- but instead feels like his chest is being crushed, and he has to grab out at a bookcase as his knees almost give out beneath him. He turns and glances over his shoulder.
"Might we take this somewhere a little more private?" he asks and hates how his voice sounds. When he turns to face Evelyn, he feels a small stab of guilt- her skin is paler even than it usually is. Because she is no happier with this situation than he is himself, is she? He places his hand on the small of her back and steers her from the library, through the rotunda, and to her bedroom, glad that he doesn't hear a single noise of disapproval from the nobles assembled in the hall. He is fairly sure his dear friend wouldn't be able to handle that. When they get to her room, as soon as the door closes, his calm mask cracks, and he sits on the sofa there. She moves over, then hesitates.
"Might I sit with you?" she asks, voice small, and he hates it. Hates that one unfortunate incident, forced upon both of them, has reduced them to this . He gives a vague gesture with his hand- be my guest - and feels her weight next to him. He doesn't look up, however, too busy trying to sort his thoughts. The one situation he thought he would never find himself in, he is in. And in the worst way possible- a child conceived not through love, but through violence.
He looks up and sees how wrecked her expression is. Gently, he reaches a hand towards her, waiting to see if she'll brush him off (or flinch away, like the first time he tried to touch her after their ordeal). But she doesn't, and he rests his hand on her forearm.
"What are you planning to do?" he asks. He is under no illusions- there are options, unpleasant as they tend to be on the woman's end. He wouldn't blame her for wanting it over before it had really begun. But seeing her face, he already knows her plans.
"It is... the worst timing. But I can't help but wonder-" his friend pauses, swallows. "Corypheus has done this to hobble us. Killing me would do that, but others would still fight him. He knows this. But having us separate is possibly the best way for us to lose. And worse, if the Inquisitor is hobbled physically. But I can't let this be a problem. I don't want it to be a problem, and I can prove to him, to all of them, that I can still fight, no matter what they do."
He swallows, "We can't have the baby be nothing but proof of your strength, Evelyn. Believe me, a child that feels as though they are nothing more to you than that, they will not be happy."
A fact he knows all too well. Halward had made sure all Tevinter knew of his son's achievements- not due to any genuine pride on his part, but because it proved the House of Pavus would continue to be important in his homeland. He will not have any child of his feeling that way.
"It's not just that, Dorian. I have considered the options, read what they would do to my body- they're simply not viable. They're only guaranteed to work if used very early, and... and they can cause issues. If I decided I wanted children later on..." she breaks off, and he understands.
"Anyway, any child of ours would be stunning. Who am I to deprive the world of that?" Evelyn's joke falls flat, and the laugh that follows is half forced, but he gives a small one of his own and nods, pinching the bridge of his nose. This was forced, the child not something that either of them would have ever wanted- but it was there, and he knew that between them and the Inquisition, the child would be well-loved. There would be many discussions to follow, and they'd have things to work through, but for now...
He reaches over, places his free hand on her belly, and presses down slightly. There is perhaps a small curve (no surprise- his mother had always complained he was large to carry) but not much yet. There is no give to her stomach, however, and that makes it somehow all the more real. His lips thin and brows furrow- this is all wrong, that she has to go through this because of that damned Templar.
But he'd be damned if his child felt responsible for that. He meets his eyes, lip twitching.
"I think it's clear the child should be named after their father, to ensure they grow up just as perfect as I am."
She laughs, and it's a sound he's missed so much in recent months, more than he'd realized. His mouth twitches in response, and she smacks his shoulder, going to stand, pleating her hair (and she's almost herself- except she isn't, and he knows they're going to have to talk properly about what happened at some point, but not is not the time- they had other things to focus on).
"No, Dorian. We are not naming our child after you," she replies, and he stands, gives her arm a squeeze, and exits.
It's not until he finally gets to his own room that the mirth falls and he with it, to his knees on the floor, hands clenching on his lap. The panic sets in fully, the pain he'd not been allowing himself to feel, and for the first time in years, Dorian Pavus weeps openly.
Evelyn knows this is necessary, but it doesn't dampen how nervous it makes her. If she's to defeat Corypheus, she knows she has to keep fighting- even with this new circumstance. She hasn't seen Dorian since their discussion a few days before, giving him space to calm down. But she's called a meeting of the Inner Circle, knowing she'll need the extra support, and he'll be there too. For them to explain what had happened in full.
Their companions had found them walking, slightly dazed, after their encounter. But they hadn't told them what had happened, making it out to be an escape attempt as opposed to Carroll letting them go- that would lead to more questions than answers. She doesn't want to talk about it any more now than she did then but knows it's necessary.
Letting herself into the War Room, she sees the glance Dorian spares her belly, running his thumb across his lips. She understands his apprehension but goes to stand at the head of the table, looking around her friends. Her eyes catch for a moment on Cullen, and she feels another twist of something akin to guilt in her gut. They'd been flirting for months, and she only hopes he understands. Hawke and Stroud are also present at her request, both looking rather uncomfortable. But it's better, she reminds herself, that they're aware of the situation as well.
After a moment of contemplation, she hears Hawke speak up from the other side of the table.
"Inquisitor, we all understand how terribly exciting Thedas is, but I imagine you called us here for something more than looking at the map?" he snarks, and she coughs and looks up, nodding to the man with a half-smile. His humor is refreshing, and she nods in response, deciding just to come out with it.
The silence that follows this announcement is almost instantaneous, aside from a choked cough on Cullen's part. She turns her gaze back down and hopes that someone will say something. Anything .
It's Cassandra that speaks up, ever pragmatic.
"This is a little... inconvenient, Inquisitor. There are ways to prevent this, and I wasn't aware you were involved with anyone."
She swallows down the sharp burn of tears, and murmurs, "I'm not," before beginning to recount the details of the whole sorry story. She hears Dorian's breathing become a little more labored on her left, and then turns her gaze up. Her advisors are the first people she looks at. Josephine looks horrified, mouth covered, and Cullen- Cullen is furious, hands clenched on the table, eyes burning with something . Leliana appears calm, and the other members of the Inquisition seem to be in various states of shock and anger- Sera muttering to Bull in a quiet whisper.
Leliana looks up at her, and she is grateful for that small pool of serenity among the rest of them. "Are you certain you wish to go forward with this, Inquisitor?" she asks, and Evelyn nods her assent. That is the only question from the redhead, and Cullen sighs.
"We should have more guards out there with you from now on. Partly to prevent a repeat of this, and partly to ensure you and your..." he pauses. "To ensure you and your child remain safe."
It gives her a moment of pause. She hasn't thought of it that way, yet. Her child. In a few months, she's going to have a baby to look after, some little, fragile thing that will depend entirely on her. And Dorian- she's under no illusions as to his part. He wants to be there, and she won't deny him that.
After a few more seconds of silence, she dismisses most of the Inner Circle, leaving only herself and Dorian.
She pulls up a seat from the corner of the room, trying to push down the twisting in her gut. She won't throw up now; she can keep it down until she gets back to her bedroom. But she and Dorian need to talk- properly talk- about what happened. And what's going to happen.
He sighs, "Well, that... happened. I'm fairly sure our resident ex-Templar is going to go off and attempt to kill his former colleague."
"Cullen's... it's complicated," she mumbles, and Dorian's lips quirk up. He is all too aware of her awkward flirtations with the blond, and she gives him a look before he quips about it. She hopes, perhaps, Cullen will be alright with this. Standing up, she undoes the top button of her breeches, the damn things already feeling a little too tight. She is only nine weeks along and already feels a bit too large. It's uncomfortable- and she's glad suddenly that she's a mage, fighting from a distance, not having to get involved with the action. She won't have to worry too much about getting hurt, provided she watches herself.
"I don't blame you; you know that, right? I can only hope you don't hate me," she says after a moment, and Dorian looks up, more than a small amount of surprise in his gaze.
He takes a moment to respond, "Hate you? Evelyn, I... you were..."
She holds up her hand before he finishes that sentence, avoiding his gaze.
"Regardless of that, you're the one who had to suffer through the thing you father wanted to put you through. And now you've got this- this heir he always wanted," she pales. "Is the child going to be...?"
Dorian looks down, and she sees the conflict on his features before he looks back up at her.
"I will return to Tevinter. You know that I have to. And the child will, technically, be my heir. But if you don't want them to be exposed to that, then I certainly won't even consider bringing them with me. I wouldn't want that for them until they were at least old enough anyway."
Evelyn considers it. Between the two of them, the child will have magic. Any fear that may have invoked in her in the past is gone- the Circle will not have her baby. But she does know that it will take a long time for any kind of order to come to the South, and Tevinter does have some of the best Circles in all Thedas. She swallows and looks up.
"Name them as your heir if you wish. If nothing else it will scandalize your father- having a child with me of all people."
Dorian rolls his eyes, but it looks like a small weight has lifted off his shoulders, and when they stand, he pulls her into a crushing hug. She hugs him back, head going to his shoulder, and lets out a sigh, pulling back.
"Lovely as this healing process has been, some of us do need beauty sleep to continue looking good. Western Approach tomorrow- meet us at the gates at dawn. Don't be late, I'll replace you with Hawke."
Dorian lets out a short laugh, "Gorgeous as that man is, nobody can ever replace me," he pauses. "At least you're not trying to replace me with Solas. That would really hurt; I dress much better."
Evelyn can hear grumbling from their companions as they move on, the Fade not where any of them particularly want to be. Dorian is stood with Hawke, muttering to him, and so she walks next to Cassandra, hand resting on her belly. She's just passed the three-month mark and is already wearing new armor to protect both herself and her baby from any harm. She can feel a very definite bump at this point, and thanks the Maker that she doesn't seem to be growing at the unbelievable rate she was before.
The Seeker glances over to her, "Are you and the child alright?"
Her voice is soft, and Evelyn nods. The fall into the Fade luckily wasn't too strenuous on her body, and she can still feel the small pops of movement- too small for anyone else to sense, but enough for her. She freezes when she hears the demon speak.
But maybe it is I who should be afraid, facing the most powerful members of the Inquisition. Like Dorian- it is Dorian, isn't it? For a moment there, I almost mistook you for your father. Ah, well, with a child on the way there is time yet.
She glances around and sees the way Dorian has frozen up at the words. He snaps out of it when Hawke places a hand on the crook of his arm, and swallows.
"Rather uncalled for."
The rest of the threats target the members of their party- Cassandra's faith, Varric for putting Hawke in trouble.
Hawke is informed that his brother would die, like the rest of his family, like Anders. She sees the pain, the anger that flares up at that comment, apparently an old wound, and this time Dorian is the one to try and calm him down.
They make a good pair, she decides and makes a conscious decision to ask Dorian about it (tease him) if- when - they get out. The next words are directed at her, and she steels herself.
And the brave Inquisitor! Unable to protect her people at Haven, unable to even protect herself from a Templar, how do you expect to protect a child? Corypheus will take that baby like he'll take everything from you. Your mark, your friends, your life.
Evelyn feels like throwing up. She's steadied by Cassandra on one side, and Dorian moves forward on her other. He's glaring at some unseen force, and he takes her by the shoulders.
"Evelyn, you need to stay calm. You won't lose the child, do you hear me? We'll keep you safe. It's just trying to get in your head," he tells her, and she gulps in deep breaths of air to keep herself grounded, nods to confirm that yes, she gets it.
She fights harder. Anger fuels her movements instead of fear- because if she isn't angry, she'll be scared. When they finally face the nightmare, she almost lets the fear get the best of her- but that would only fuel its' power. She won't give it that.
They lose Stroud. She watches him go, guilt in her chest, and then follows her friends out of the rift. Once again, a victory for the Inquisition.
"Will you come back to Skyhold with us, Hawke?" she asks the other mage, and he shrugs.
"Perhaps for a time, Inquisitor. I find myself enjoying that idea," he's staring at Dorian outright, and she nods in acquiescence. She thinks Dorian might like that idea too.
The return to Skyhold is quiet, Evelyn sleeping for most of it. Pregnancy is taking its' toll on her body, breasts aching every time she moves, limbs sore faster than they should be. The Winter Palace, she decides, and then she'll need to wait until the baby is born. She has another three months before that occurs- and she hopes that will only be diplomacy.
When she returns to Skyhold, she figures it's only polite to see Dorian first.
"I thought you were dead," he says, after a moment of silence. "I looked back, you hadn't followed, and I thought... I thought that was it. I thought you were dead , my only friend, and my child with you."
Evelyn swallows and looks down to the ground.
"I'm sorry. I can't... do much running," she motions to her belly. He looks at it and sighs.
"It is a rather large child. May I...?" he holds up his hand, glowing green with healing magic. He means to check the health of the baby, she knows, and lets him. Even if his affinity is for fire, not healing, every mage tends to dabble in all of the magical branches. His fingers touch her belly. He lets out a soft breath of relief and visibly sags.
"She's okay," he murmurs, and then his brows furrow and he looks up.
"Sorry, I didn't mean to..."
She shakes her head, "I already knew. The temptation to take a look myself was getting to be a little too much to bear. I didn't want to tell you yet, but it's okay. I already know she's a girl."
He smiles down at her belly for a moment, emotion shining in his eyes.
"Hello darling," he murmurs. "It's so very nice to meet you."
There's a moment of silence before he stands, shaky.
"I, ah, saw the Commander earlier. He appeared to be in quite the argument with Cassandra," he says, and she sighs.
"I'll go see what that's about. You can go flirt with Hawke," she winks, and his eyes narrow, lips twitching.
"I wish I could say I wasn't planning to."
She shoots a grin over her shoulder as she leaves, goes to investigate this argument.
The lyrium withdrawal, it seems, is giving him more trouble than she thought it would.
She makes her way up to her office, jumping when a box is thrown at the wall.
"Maker's breath! Forgive me..." he exclaims, and she smiles.
"So long as you weren't aiming for me. Don't worry, I'm not going to go into labor because of a small fright."
Usually, he'd have at least given a little twitch of his lips at her awful joke. Now, he doubles over as he crosses around the table, and begins to confess.
The Circle in Ferelden, Kirkwall, why he has to do what he is, to be free. She makes her way around to him, placing her hand on his elbow as he punches the bookcase.
"Cullen, you've held out this far. I know you can do more," she says, and he looks to her, one hand resting on the side of her face. It's a tender move, a lover's one, the kind he wouldn't usually initiate. Clearly, he's in a bad state, emotionally, and he scans her face for a trace of a lie.
"Always so trusting. Believing in everyone," he murmurs and shakes his head. "How can you have faith in me after hearing all of that? My distrust of mages... of people like you..."
She rests her hand over his own, "Because that man, that angry man you were... you're not him anymore, Cullen."
He sighs, forehead dropping to rest against hers. "You're so strong. Carrying a child and leading the Inquisition- all while making sure we are taken care of. I wish I could have even half your strength."
"It's the people closest to me that keep me strong, Cullen. That number has always included you."
They stand in that intimate position for a moment before she feels his lips brush hers. It's a question, and she kisses him back, a short thing, moving away after only a couple of seconds.
"If you still want to do that tomorrow, I'll gladly indulge you. For now... get some rest."
He nods and moves away. She stares at him perhaps a second too long before leaving, closing the door behind her and trying not to feel too girlish as she presses her fingers to her still-tingling lips.
Even with everything happening, the world falling apart, her world changing completely, she can still find happiness. She feels one of those tiny pops inside her womb, and laughs.
"Yes, I rather like him too."
"You seem happier than usual today," Dorian notes, when he stumbles into the library a little later than usual. Her eyes move up, and she smiles a little secretively.
"Is that so? I might say the same about you. How was Hawke?" she asks, and her smile doesn't waver at the light dusting of pink that rises to his cheeks.
He makes a small noise, before a grin spreads across his face, "Well, he says he doesn't just want a one-night thing. That was refreshing. Different from usual."
She squeezes his forearm, smile not fading even with her uncertainty regarding her own romantic situation.
"Cullen kissed me. Whether or not it's going to become a permanent thing remains to be seen. We're planning our trip to Val Royeaux."
She pinches the bridge of her nose and lets out a sigh, trying to resist the overwhelming urge to cry. The thought of being at the centre of attention in front of the entire Orlesian court, while pregnant, makes her want to vomit. She'd just gotten over her morning sickness, too.
Dorian squeezes her shoulder, "Anyone with eyes can see the man is completely smitten with you. As for the Winter Palace," he screws up his nose. "Well, how bad can it be?"
"You have got to be joking. I am not wearing that."
Josephine looks nervous, "Inquisitor, it is imperative we appear as an organisation- that means we must have a uniform."
Evelyn continues to glare. The outfit isn't awful, of course- for a woman who isn't pregnant. She's sure Josephine and Leliana will look lovely. She, on the other hand, will resemble like a beached whale. She rubs her belly and shakes her head. The fabric is unforgiving, and the sash? It won't even wrap around completely.
She lets out a long breath, "No. This is going to stretch around my stomach- and that's assuming it fits. I'll wear a dress of some sort- surely that would be acceptable?"
Cullen seems to be alright with that- nodding for all he avoids her eyes. Leliana turns to look at Josephine, raising an eyebrow.
"Surely you'd rather the Inquisitor appears graceful? Otherwise, the approval will dip significantly- you know their opinions of bastard children."
Evelyn's glare turns on the spymaster for that comment, but the other woman's gaze is cleverly averted. It's an uncomfortable truth- the child is a bastard, but that doesn't mean there's anything wrong with that. As soon as Corypheus is defeated, Evelyn plans to make her new mission 'change Thedas' opinion on children out of wedlock'.
That, perhaps, may be a more difficult task.
After a few moments of silence, Josephine nods.
"We'll get a dress in the same style. Perhaps if the women wear the same style, we will continue appearing united."
After a few moments, Evelyn waves a hand, "Dismissed."
Josephine and Leliana leave, but Cullen remains, hand on his sword. A nervous habit, she'd realised.
"Inquisitor, may I have a word?"
She nods her assent and goes to sit down in one of the chairs in the room. Her back is starting to hurt more, and standing for long periods isn't much of an option. The healer had assured her this is standard.
Of course, those were the less embarrassing of her... ailments. Her dreams, while usually difficult, had changed recently. Now, they featured Cullen- breathing heavily over her as he moved within her, getting to the point where she awoke sweating and frustrated, leading to her hand slipping between her thighs. She begins to slide back into those fantasies when she hears Cullen clear her throat, and she snaps to attention, cheeks aflame.
"Sorry. I- are you feeling better?"
He nods, "I am well. I thought perhaps- I mean, it's imperative we- well, not imperative , but certainly important-"
"You want to talk about last night?"
She interrupts his rambling, and he nods in relief, running a hand back through his hair. She raises an eyebrow, thumb rubbing against her belly- an invitation for him to share his thoughts. He opens and closes his mouth a few times and leans against the war table.
"I thank you for not... taking it at face value. It was thoughtful of you," Evelyn's heart sinks, and she opens her mouth to make an apology to leave, and he holds out a hand. "I don't mean that I didn't want it! I do. I find myself- even in this time of war and with everything changing, going wrong- falling for you."
He is blushing high on her cheeks, and she smiles gently, "Good. I find myself in rather the same position."
There is a pause, and she feels the need to address the other, obvious issue.
"But I do wonder, Cullen-" she bites her lip. "-what of my child? I need you to want them too. We're very much a... package deal."
Cullen swallows, but he nods regardless, holding out a hand. She stands, and he tentatively reaches out, warm palm on her stomach. Aside from Dorian (and Cole, who'd taken to showing up in her room and talking to her belly), nobody had really touched it. His thumb moves for a moment, and he nods again.
"You, and your child, Evelyn. I would have you both."
The grin that spreads across her face is broad and genuine, and she reaches for the back of his neck, pulling him into a long, lingering kiss. He makes a soft noise of surprise before one hand moves to cover at least half of her back, the other on her cheek, painfully tender. She pulls back after a few long seconds and bites her lip, before hearing a throat clearing at the door. Surprised, they both leap away from each other, only to see Leliana grinning at them, mischief and barely contained humour in her eyes.
"Josephine told me to come and get you so that we can get some new measurements for your dress fittings. But I can come back later if you'd rather- just be sure not to knock over any of the markers- they'd be difficult to put back into place."
For a moment, Evelyn is confused, before her, mind suddenly catches up to Leliana's words and her face reddens- War Table sex. Another fantasy for the arsenal, apparently.
"We weren't going to-"
"It's a little early for-"
Both of them speak at the same time, and it takes a moment for them to regain themselves. Evelyn brushes down her front.
"I will be with you in a moment," she says, and Leliana leaves with a nod, smirk still on her face.
Cullen groans as soon as the door closes, "I suppose my- our -personal business will not remain private."
Evelyn lets out a soft laugh and turns for another kiss.
"Did you expect anything else? We live in with some of the nosiest people in Thedas. No secret is safe in Skyhold."
He lets out a small laugh in response, and for the first time in months, she feels beautiful, desirable. There's even a little swing to her hips as she leaves, and the smile doesn't leave her face for the rest of the day- not even when the Orlesian tailor pokes and prods at her for three hours.
Thank you for all your kind comments- I can't reply on anonymous and I'm a bit shy about revealing my ~true identity~ but I really do appreciate feedback- in fact, I find it rather difficult to keep writing without it. Next chapter: the leadup to the Winter Palace, and a little more insight into Dorian and Hawke.
"I hate Orlais," Hawke mutters, glaring at all the people around him. Dorian, on the other hand, seems to be thoroughly enjoying himself, eating a little bit of all the food and drinking some of the punch.
"Haven't you tried the ham? It tastes of despair. Really, it's fascinating, just like home," Dorian replies, and Hawke lets out a sigh, trying to ignore yet another young lady that brushes past him, feeling him up in a way she apparently believes is subtle.
The gaping had started when he was introduced inside the hall. 'Garrett Hawke, Champion of Kirkwall, cousin to the Hero of Ferelden and tamer of the Qunari!'
(The last comment earned the man announcing them a snort from the Iron Bull. 'More of a 'Vint tamer, really'.)
Never mind that he's never even met his cousin. Oh, no, he's her cousin and has to be reminded of this fact all the time.
He'd done things too!
Alright, so perhaps being a vital part of the beginning of the mage rebellion wasn't something to be proud of- but it removed the danger of being put in a Circle.
Perhaps he'd lived too long with Anders. But despite the fact the man he loved was completely gone by the end of everything... he hadn't been wrong, not about how unjust the system was. Now it's gone, and Anders wouldn't see it. Part of Hawke regrets that, but in the end, he'd done a kindness to the man he'd known, the man he'd loved.
The Inquisitor wanders through the crowd, looking thoroughly rattled.
"One more person touches my belly, and there will be flaming nobles running about," she hisses, and he smirks, patting her belly just to annoy her. The look she gives him is thoroughly venomous, and she smacks him away.
"I need a favour," she says, after a moment, and Hawke raises his eyebrows.
"Always with the favours. Why can't I ever do something for myself? Alright, what is it? Need me to help you retrieve a Qunari artifact? Perhaps kill a Tevinter magister? Because there's only one of those here, and I'm afraid I'm rather fond of him."
Dorian gives a long-suffering sigh, and replies, "I am not a magister . I am an Altus."
Both Hawke and Evelyn give him smirks, and he gives a disgusted snort. The woman in front of them looks back at them, and then at the lattice.
"There's something hidden in the library. But the only way up there is the lattice and... well..." she gestures at her stomach, and Hawke grins, pressing his hand to it again, only to get smacked.
"Not in the middle of the Winter Palace, or Andraste preserve me, they'll think I like it."
Hawke just gives her a grin and turns to Dorian.
"You can go up first," he says, and the other man beams at him.
"You just want to enjoy the view, don't you? Not that I blame you. I'll ensure you get a much more... up close and personal view tonight."
Hawke raises his eyebrows innocently, "I actually just wanted to see if it would break while you were climbing up. I see your ass multiple times a night, anyway."
He smacks it as they walk away, and stands at the bottom and absolutely does not admire the view. Of course not, that would be very... un-Champion-like.
Evelyn gets back to the Great Hall fashionably late, after a fascinating discussion with the Empress' arcane advisor. She has a short conversation with Josephine and her sister.
("I heard you carry the child of the Maker! Is it true?"
Leliana comments on the court's shoes- and that only serves to remind her just how Orlesian her spymaster is. She likes Leliana, really, but... ugh.
And then there's poor Cullen.
Poor, poor Cullen.
"Did you just grab my bottom ?!"
She comes over, in an attempt to help him, taking his hand.
"Oh, Inquisitor! How lovely to have you here!" says one man, laying his hand on her belly. She resists the urge to set him alight.
"You are getting so large! You look lovely in your dress, of course , you are carrying so wonderfully! And high, that means it's a girl, of course-"
"High means a boy, you fool!"
The nobles start to squabble for a moment, before agreeing that it's a girl and turning back to her.
"I hear you carry the Maker's child! How exciting that must be!"
"I'm afraid not, my lady."
"Well, then, whose is it?" she asks, and Evelyn pauses. She doesn't want to tell her because the story is too complicated and too raw to share. Dorian speaks up, from behind her, and she hadn't even realised he was there.
"Mine," he tells them, and their gasp is worth the confession. She hears their confused murmurs as she leaves Cullen with an apologetic glance, needing to get to the servant's quarters, and figure out the truth.
The fighting is exhausting. She tires quickly, and Bull cracking people open doesn't help the lingering pains of morning sickness. By the time she gets back to the Ballroom, she's waddling, her feet sore- and hen she's expected to dance with Florianne.
Maker help her.
"She didn't want to tell them," Dorian murmurs, and Hawke reaches over to place a hand on the crook of his arm.
"It's a complicated situation, Dorian. She was likely concerned she'd have to explain-"
"But she will have to explain! She agreed that our daughter would be my heir , Garrett. She can't be that if the mother of my child won't even admit who her father is."
He lets out a long breath of air and pinches the bridge of his nose. Garrett nods. He doesn't fully understand- he isn't a father himself, but he gets it to a point. He continues to watch her dancing and tries to think of a suitable response.
"Then perhaps you need to talk. You, Evelyn, maybe Cullen too," and me he adds mentally, but doesn't say it out loud, unsure if it's his place.
"All four of us," Dorian corrects him, and he's glad he'll be part of the discussions, glad that Dorian did think of him. He runs a hand through his hair and nods. One arm goes to curl around the other man's waist, pulling him into his side, and Dorian rests his head on his chest, still frowning. He's right- Evelyn would need to admit it, perhaps even give a short explanation. But they'd decide it together- not while in Orlais, doing some mission.
"I think we all know what you assumed you were getting," Evelyn comments with a smirk, starting to untie the poor sod. Hawke raises his hand like a child with his tutor, and she raises her eyebrows.
"Can I have that rope? For... educational purposes?" he asks, and she notes the way his eyes slide to Dorian. Bull lets out a loud laugh, slapping him on the back.
"Didn't know you had it in ya, kid. Do you want me to teach you some of the more complicated knots?"
Both Dorian and Garrett reply with a scandalised 'no!', and Evelyn cuts the ties loose and gives them a look. They could get their own rope.
She is in a stage of jealousy, really. Even the thought of sex gets her riled up- but in some ways, she wonders if she'll actually be able to do that. The attack, the shame , hasn't quite faded, and the thought of sex concerned her- especially how upset Cullen would get if she acted at all hurt.
They leave the Empress' bedchamber and end up outside another room, where she can hear someone yelling, and the distinct sound of a rift.
"Ah, Inquisitor. I was wondering when you'd join us," Florianne says, and Evelyn opens her eyes.
She swallows, "Are you looking for another dance, Florianne? I'm afraid my back's hurting a lot."
"Ah, yes, with your child's weight. My master was so disappointed when he found Carroll had set you free, but sends his congratulations on your pregnancy. He didn't think you'd be stupid enough to come here tonight. We had plans, for the child. She would be raised as my Master's, become a true Queen! A child of Tevinter, and the Inquisitor. A symbol of your failure. How unfortunate that we shall have to ruin the poetry with your death."
Florianne sweeps out, and for a moment, Evelyn is frozen. They want my baby repeats over and over in her head until she feels a touch to her arm and springs into action, taking down demons at a rate faster than any before.
The mercenary agrees to help them, and she has enough evidence to destroy each faction- meaning she can broker a deal between them all. A peaceful end- after she deals with Florianne.
Which she does, in front of the whole court, before forcing them all to work together. The look on Gaspard's face- well, the part she could see, anyway. Under his mask.
When the speeches are done, the formalities over, and Morrigan preparing for Skyhold, Cullen comes to her.
"It might be foolish, but I was worried for you tonight. For both of you," he says, she shrugs.
"Everything went well, in the end. Though..." her lip trembles. He puts a hand on her elbow.
"Corypheus wants my baby, Cullen. He wants to take her and raise her as his own, as some kind of sick... poetry , as Florianne put it. She swallows, and he pulls her into his chest.
"Sh. None of us will let that happen. We will protect you. Both of you," the words are soft, muffled by her hair, and he steps back.
"For now... may I have this dance, my lady?"
"We should dance," Hawke says, and Dorian snorts.
"I've seen your dancing, amatus. You throw your arms up in the air like a Giant and wiggle your hips the same way that... gelatine stuff does. No. I will not subject anyone to it."
"They're Orlesians," Hawke reminds him, and Dorian visibly falters.
Ah, Orlais. We love to hate you.
After getting back from Orlais, all Evelyn wants to do is sleep. But between the Chantry bothering her about Leliana and Cassandra, Morrigan telling her about the Eluvians and how they'll need to go to the Arbor Wilds 'with all due haste after the child arrives' and Dorian avoiding her, for some reason, she finds herself getting significantly less relaxation than she'd hoped for (see: none).
The Dorian problem doesn't get resolved until a couple of days later, when he finally turns up in front of her chambers in the early hours of the morning, a half-asleep Hawke and Cullen in tow. She tries not to focus on how adorable the Commander looks, with his hair all tousled and wearing a tunic and cotton breeches instead of his usual armour.
"Dorian, is there any particular reason you're standing outside my room before dawn with our lovers, or is this some new hobby of yours?" she asks, completely bemused. He sighs and pulls them in, forcing them down onto the sofa, and turns back to her.
"We need to talk about your refusal to call the child mine at the Winter Palace. And we need to talk about my involvement, period. We had a discussion when you first approached me, but we've barely spoken of it since."
She swallows. It is possible she should have seen this coming, but with everything going on she's barely had time to remember to bathe herself, let alone think about when Dorian may want to discuss their daughter further. She nods and sits down, next to Hawke on the sofa, who kicks at Cullen when he notices the former Templar is almost asleep again.
"When I suggested we discuss this, I didn't expect it to be at this time of day," the Champion mutters.
They sit in silence, before Dorian speaks up, "We need to tell people what happened, or come up with a story, or something. I refuse to pretend the child is not mine, and I want to be a part of her life," he moves to kneel in front of her. "We need to face up to the truth of what happened, and we need to announce whose baby she is before she's born. We have less than four months left."
She swallows and rubs a hand across her belly, and his hand goes to rest against his nightdress as well. His eyes widen comically when the baby kicks again- and this time, it's clearly a firm push against his hand. She'd been hoping others would be able to feel for weeks, and seeing his face light up is worth it.
"I want you to be involved too. And Josephine..." she pauses. She doesn't want anyone to know, but at this point it's unavoidable. She closes her eyes. "Josephine can spin the story to make us sound stronger in spite of it, I'm sure."
She feels a hand take the one not placed on her stomach, and turns in surprise when she realises it's Hawke. She thought him indifferent to her at best, but there's sympathy in his gaze. No, not sympathy- empathy.
She smiles, a tight thing, and squeezes his hand back.
"We've discussed schooling. That depends on when the baby's magic manifests, and what the situation is like here when it does so," Evelyn rubs across her belly once more as another kick is thrown out.
Cullen speaks up for the first time, voice soft and tired as he says, "I will not allow anyone to take the child when it does. Nor will the Divine, if it truly will be Cassandra or Leliana. I do wonder how safe Tevinter is going to be, however. The Qunari threat persists, and it is a place of blood magic. If Dorian does try to change things, he will be a target, as will she."
Evelyn's heart sinks. He's right, and when she looks at Dorian, his expression tells her he knows it too. There's a slump in his shoulders that wasn't there before, and he sighs.
"Maker, you're right. I'd hoped we could perhaps... see her at different times, different intervals. I hadn't thought about-"
"You wouldn't have thought about it. You have a million other things to worry about, you big oaf. We're just lucky to have four minds on this, instead of just two," Hawke tells him, and the smile is affectionate. The hand not still clutched in Evelyn's goes to take Dorian's, and they sit for a moment.
The silence stretches out, and Cullen is the one to break it once again.
"I feel like I should take your hand and join this circle, Evelyn, but I'm too exhausted to move. Know that I am doing it in my mind."
They all let out weak laughs in response, and Dorian seems to finally have something click in his mind.
"I'll just have to visit intermittently. I'm not a magister yet- it's not as though I'm required to stay in Tevinter. I can come back and visit as often as I like, and I will write when I feel I cannot."
Evelyn nods, and stands up, walking back over to her bed and flopping down on it.
"Now, if you excuse me, I am exhausted. Your child is large, frequently reminds me to empty my bladder, and doesn't like being woken up. Leave me to sleep."
Dorian and Hawke do, the latter looking about ready to pass out on her floor- but Cullen, still bleary eyed, stands and lies next to her on the bed. When he realises he's done that, his cheeks stain red.
"Oh- I, ah. Inquisitor, I apologise. This is-"
She reaches out blindly, putting a finger on his lips and snuggling under the duvet, eyes shut.
"Just stay, Cullen. We can scandalise the nobles by walking together from my quarters, and then we'll get Josephine to issue a statement."
Just thinking about it makes her feel ill. But she knows it has to be done, that being in the public eye as she is means she can't keep her private affairs private- regardless of what she may want to do.
Cullen turns over onto his side, and his arm falls around her waist. She'd turn too, but the healer she'd gone to see about her back pain had advised she sleep on her back, legs straight. So instead she lets him curl against her, palm flat against the curve of her belly. When the baby kicks again, he smiles, and she sighs.
"Go to sleep, little one. You'll have plenty of time to continually wake me up when you're born. Can't you give me four months to rest?"
The baby kicks in response. Maker, she's cheeky.
Cullen rubs her belly.
"Don't listen to your mama. She's just cranky. I like feeling you kick," he replies. He's talking to the baby, she realises, and her eyes go a little cloudy.
Even if the circumstances weren't ideal, they would endure. And the child, she is going to be the most loved in all of Thedas, Evelyn decides at that moment, Cullen's hand on her belly and the memory of Dorian's wide eyes, Hawke's hand in hers accompanying her into sleep.
Thanks to Sashimae for pointing out I hadn't updated on how far along Evelyn is in a while- sometimes I get into it and don't notice these things so it's always good to be told!
Thanks also for all the kudos etc. I really appreciate any love you can give, especially kudos and comments. They keep me going, as it's hard to update if people don't tell me what they're liking, or what they want to see more of. Thank you all for reading so far, and I should hopefully get more up soon!
"You are looking radiant!"
Evelyn's eyes turn on Dorian, burning with the fury of a hundred suns. They narrow, and he cringes, corrects that statement.
A thousand suns.
"Really? Because do you know what I feel like? A fat druffalo," she says, and then her face crumples some. "A fat horny druffalo."
Dorian almost physically recoils. Because that is far too much information, and he suddenly wants to run away. She pouts and goes to sit in his seat, hand on her belly and eyes full of tears.
This, unfortunately, is becoming a little too frequent. Having just entered her seventh month, Evelyn cries at the slightest things these days- only the week before, she'd dropped a book and sobbed for an hour because she couldn't pick it up. And a few days ago, he'd heard Josephine confiding to Leliana that she'd seen a mabari limping past and had outright wailed for the 'poor little thing'. He is aware this is a natural part of pregnancy, but he's having difficulty keeping up with her turbulent emotions.
He gives her a moment to look upset before he speaks up, "Perhaps you should discuss that part of your predicament with our esteemed commander. I'm certain he'd be more than pleased to... ah, help."
She folds her arms across her chest and glares at the wall, muttering something under her breath.
"I'm sorry, dear, but you're really going to have to speak up."
She lowers her voice, slipping into a deadpan impression of Cullen.
"I just don't want to risk hurting you or the baby," she begins. "Believe me, I want to, I just... I'm sorry."
Dorian flinches. Oh, Cullen.
She sighs, "What he doesn't seem to realise, is that I'm desperate for a reason. I wouldn't want to sleep with him if it was going to hurt the baby, right?"
She has a point. Her body has been fairly clear about what it wants so far- evidenced by her turning up on his bedroom door the month before and requesting that he and Hawke get some sugar cookies from Val Royeaux for her. He'd complied, of course, but by the time they got back she'd developed a new craving for nug meat of all things, which lead to an impromptu hunting trip. Trying to keep up with a pregnant woman, he's found, is like trying to introduce Solas to fashion.
That is to say, nigh on impossible.
He glances over at her.
"You've been sharing a room. Just wait for him to enter, entirely nude," he tells her, and she looks like it's a stroke of genius- despite the fact he had intended it as a joke. But before he can tell her that no, perhaps that isn't the best chance- not if they want the Commander to stay alive she is kissing him on the cheek and waltzing out of the room, looking lighter on her feet than her belly really should have allowed. He sighs and rolls his eyes, turning back to his book and feeling his lips curl into a smile when he feels arms wrap around him from behind.
"What you reading?" comes the voice of his lover, and he glances over his shoulder.
"Nothing that can't be interrupted for you, amatus," he purrs, and he hears a noise of disgust from below- and once again reminds himself he really must ask Solas how good his hearing is. Afer all, he'd tried to be quiet when Hawke had taken him against a bookcase, but it seems the elf can hear everything.
Hawke's nose is touching his, and he grins, "Oh, really? So unimportant that I might convince you to take a break, and come back to my chambers?"
Dorian pretends to think for a moment, before replying, "I'm certain it can be delayed."
Cullen finishes his last report and pushes it aside, ready to retire. He's spent a good few nights in Evelyn's room, but judging by how dark it is outside and the toll pregnancy has taken on her body, it's highly likely she's already asleep, and he'd hate to wake her. Instead, he climbs up the ladder to his own bed, stripping off his armour and hanging it up, pristine as ever. He is standing in his breeches and tunic when he decides that sleeping alone would be too much of a chore, and climbs back down, slipping on some boots and creeping into the keep. He ensures his footsteps are as silent as possible, to avoid the risk of being caught by anyone, despite the time of night rendering it highly unlikely anyone is even awake. Maker, he's selfish, but the thought of being without her is almost physically painful.
Clearly, he's far too attached. He finds he doesn't care.
When he arrives at her room, he hesitates again. She is likely asleep, and he is going to wake her, but...
He creeps in regardless, pulling off his boots in an attempt to make his footsteps softer. He notes with a touch of disdain that there's a hole in his socks, and he scrunches up his nose- how could he have been so negligent? He'll have to sew them again come morning. He refuses to order any more, as all orders go through Josephine, and last time he'd ended up with new underwear almost entirely made of silk. Impractical, uncomfortable- and surprisingly chafing.
When he gets in, however, he has to blink a few times to ensure what he is seeing is, in fact, not part of his imagination.
But, no. He is looking at Evelyn Trevelyan- the chosen of Andraste, leader of the Inquisition and his lover- lying on her side, with not a strip of clothing on.
He tries to think of something witty to say. Something suave. He opens his mouth, nothing prepared, but surely...
"Uh. A-Aren't you cold?"
"I mean- I- Maker, you-"
She's covering her mouth. Oh, for the love of Andraste, she's laughing. Why does this always happen to him? He stares at her, and then his own lips twitch up in a decidedly more self-deprecating look.
"I'm awful at this."
She nods, "You're terrible. Were the words you were looking for- 'you look lovely'?" she asks. And then pauses. "Or perhaps 'you look like a bloated whale'?"
He stares at her. She looks beautiful, in his opinion. He knows she likely doesn't see what he does- the stretch marks and curve of her belly proving to him only her strength . He shakes his head, and moves forwards, placing a hand on her cheek.
"You look beautiful," he murmurs, softly, and leans down to kiss her. It is possibly the best kiss he's given her, and he feels her return right through his body- and his focus on that brings his attention to certain other effects she's had on him.
"I should go," he whispers, and she whimpers in response, fingers curling around the hardness of him, clumsy and unsure but so perfect that he bucks towards them with a broken moan. Maker, how long has it been? He huffs out another breath.
"Evelyn," he says, pulling her hand away. "The baby..."
She shakes her head, "Cullen, my body wouldn't make me want something that would hurt me," she replies. "And I want you."
He stares at her for a moment, golden eyes scanning her face before he finally gives in, kissing her again, manoeuvring himself to rest above her.
"The second you feel any discomfort..."
"You'll be the first to know."
I'm gonna go ahead and thank y'all for your support again. Means the world to me, you're wonderful, all the hugs and kisses from me to you! This entire thing has started to really blow open for me- there is a sequel planned. Spin-off oneshots for Dorian and Hawke. There is... a lot. Tell me what you want to see more of, what you're enjoying, keep up with the feedback- it feeds the plot bunnies!
Dorian wakes in Hawke's arms, and still he marvels at how comfortable he feels. He never thought he'd have this- a relationship that lasted more than one night. And he certainly hadn't expected the Champion to pursue the promises made casually while flirting. But he had, and he still does , and it's everything Dorian's ever wanted and more.
The 'relationship' part has been difficult for Dorian to get used to. Opening up to someone who isn't Evelyn, someone who wants him to be theirs ... that was hard to get used to.
He hasn't said the 'L' word yet, but he knows it's on the cards, knows it's true.
He's terrified of admitting it, however. Despite knowing that Hawke has been in a committed relationship with a man, has lived with a man- something that still surprises Dorian- he finds it hard to believe he was able to do so without a deep-set shame
He shakes himself and reaches out to shake the other man awake. Hawke swats him away, opening his eyes with such a petulant, innocent look that Dorian has to restrain himself saying out loud that he finds it cute.
"Wha' d'you wan'?" he asks, and Dorian leaps from bed, perhaps a little too boisterous for the morning.
"It's time for breakfast, amatus," he says, and the Champion grumbles and quite literally tumbles onto the floor, reaching for whatever fabric his hands reach first, standing up fully dressed a moment later. Dorian raises his eyebrows.
"Well. I always used to think the ruffled look was intentional, but it's just laziness."
"I'm glad you still think I'm attractive," Hawke replies with a wink, and Dorian's heart does this fluttery thing in his chest, and... ugh. He feels like a teenage girl with her first crush. Rolling his eyes, he works his wax through his hair and mustache, ready to go downstairs only when they're in place.
Arriving in the hall, he notes a few of his fellow Inner Circle members getting their own breakfast- hears Sera's obnoxiously loud laugh across the distance separating them. But what catches his eye is Evelyn, looking more relaxed than he's seen her be in months and Cullen, who also seems to have lost a certain tenseness in his own shoulders. They're both smiling at each other, and sit down with their plates a moment later, at the long table reserved only for the Inquisitor's closest.
"So..." comes the voice of the Bull. "How's the Commander in bed?"
Evelyn pauses, holding a small piece of meat just an inch from her lips. Cullen, who'd been taking a sip of his drink, swiftly begins to choke on it, only ceasing when Blackwall offers him a hearty pat on the back.
She raises an eyebrow, one side of her lips tilting up.
"Wonderful," she says, grinning, and hears the former Templar give an indignant squeak, as Dorian and Hawke join them at the table. Sera is the next one to speak up.
"That's great, innit? Bet you were on top, right? Because... positions."
Evelyn just continues to smile.
"We certainly had to experiment slightly. The little one isn't a big fan of me moving around too much."
"Evelyn!" Cullen hisses, and all three laugh at the expression on his face, the flush in his cheeks.
"I've been thinking," she hears from next to her and looks at Dorian's earnest face. "About names."
Names. Because two months from now they're having a baby, and that baby will need a name . She raises an eyebrow, head tilted to the side.
"I was attempting to find a name that would be... appropriate for both of us," he says, a little awkward. "Susanna."
She turns it over in her mind. Susanna Pavus. It suits, and she nods slightly, hand going to rest on her belly. "Susanna."
She likes it. Certainly be nice to break away from the large number of Solonas that emerged after the Blight.
She wonders, briefly, if there is going to be a rise in Evelyns after Corypheus is defeated. She quickly dismisses the thought, feeling ill.
Dorian's face lights up with a smile, and he reaches a hand out, eyebrows raised. After a moment, he feels the baby move, and once again his face lights up. These moments, she finds, are often a pleasure- seeing his face, his eyes... all the hurt from the beginning of all this disappears. They are two people having a child who is to be loved and cherished.
"Hello, Susanna," he murmurs, and they exchange a look, eyes meeting before the doors slam open. There are noises of surprise around the table and Cullen tenses. She glances around and sees the one man who certainly shouldn't be part of their family.
"Magister Pavus," she murmurs, as Dorian says 'father,' voice tight. His eyes narrow in on her, and Cullen and Dorian stand, staring him down. Hawke stays seated, but she can feel the tingle of magic in the air, as well as the slightly sour taste that usually came right before a purge- both Cassandra and Cullen falling on their training in the presence of the man in front of them.
"Surely you wouldn't deny me the opportunity to meet my own grandchild?" he asks, and Dorian moves forwards, anger tense in every line of his body.
"She is not your anything . You have no right to be in her life."
Both men remain tense, and she feels something sizzle in the air. She knows how to identify the magic of those she knows, and it is unfamiliar. Within seconds, she feels her own magic drain, hears the sharp intakes of breath from Hawke and Dorian, and the utter confusion on the face of Halward Pavus. Josephine, relaxed as always, rushes forwards.
"Do you wish to take this discussion somewhere more private?" she asks, and Dorian shakes his head.
"He and I said all we had to say in Redcliffe. I do not hate you, father, not anymore, but I do not trust you near my-"
"If we could use your office, that would be excellent, Josephine," Evelyn murmurs, voice weary, and she feels Dorian's eyes on her, a hint of fury in the gaze. She sighs, and gives him a look. There is no choice in this- they have to.
Entering the Ambassador's office, she gives Cullen and Hawke a look- a plea not to follow- and closes the door behind them. The purge is still solid in the air around them, and she figures both of those with training in purging magic are keeping it at bay. She hates being disconnected from the Fade, but it's better than Dorian's father using his magic to hurt them. Her hand is placed protectively over her stomach, and Dorian is tense as he turns to face Halward.
"What are you doing here," he says. It's not even a question, his voice hard and features pinched in anger. The man in front of them remains serene, and her own eyes narrow. The dagger tucked into her belt is suddenly more of a comfort than she'd ever thought it would be.
"I came to see if the stories were true. About the Inquisitor carrying my grandchild," is the simple response, and Evelyn pinches the bridge of her nose.
She begins to speak, "Your interest is appreciated, Magister, but some notice would have been-"
"I did not expect," he continues, as if her mouth hadn't opened. "For this to happen. After all, Dorian, you have always made it clear you prefer men."
"I do. This was not a situation we anticipated, either. We were captured. Forced into-"
"Unfortunate. But I suspect your child will, at least, be powerful. Both of you have strong, magical blood."
She can feel the rage coming off Dorian in waves. She'd thought they'd made amends back in Redcliffe, but what this man had done was unforgivable. She reaches out, places a hand on his forearm, and feels him force himself to relax. It takes a few moments, but eventually his jaw clenches and his eyes narrow.
His voice is eerily calm as he says, "Get out."
This doesn't happen immediately, and he actually steps closer .
"Cullen!" Dorian calls out, and the door is slammed open immediately, both Cullen and Hawke looking ready to tear the whole building down.
"We'd appreciate it if you could escort Magister Pavus from the building," she says, calmly, and they've just grabbed onto him when she hears another Tevinter voice. A woman, this time. They turn, and she sees a short, dark-haired woman standing in the doorway, accompanied by a taller, blonde one.
"Mother?!" Dorian asks, and Evelyn chokes slightly on her tongue. If her mother and father turn up next, she is going to hide in her room and never come out. This is all getting ridiculous .
"I'm offended you didn't say my name," the blonde remarks, voice low and husky, and she raises an eyebrow. Dorian's lips quirk a little, though it's tired, and he sighs.
"Of course. Maeveris, may I introduce Evelyn Trevelyan. You've communicated through letters, I believe."
Evelyn grins too. The revolutionary Maeveris Tilani, and she nods.
"I would bow, but I'm afraid my movement is slightly... impaired," she says, sheepishly, and the short woman moves forwards.
"Don't be ridiculous. I will not have pregnant women bowing to anyone," she glares at Halward, and looks at Cullen. "I would appreciate it if you would escort my husband out."
There is silence for a moment before the Magister is forcibly removed, and Evelyn looks up at Dorian in question.
"She is protective, but not unreasonable," he murmurs. "Much better than my father. She is part of the reason I avoided his attempts at blood magic. The lovely Maeveris is the other."
He shoots the blonde Magister a grin, and she rolls her eyes, moving forwards to give him a tap of scolding.
"Enough with the flirting, Dorian. The first thing I want to know, is why I only found out you were the father of the Inquisitor's child through rumor," she murmurs, before lowering her voice a little more. "And why you didn't tell me what happened."
Dorian swallows and shakes his head, indicating the matter is not to be discussed. His mother steps forwards, and inclines her head at Evelyn, studying her appraisingly.
"You are strong. I accept that you are likely the best woman to carry the child. Regardless of the fact it should never have come to pass."
Evelyn decides she likes Dorian's mother. Hawke steps forwards, then, a little nervous, and holds out a hand.
"Uh. Mrs Pavus. I'm-"
"My son's lover, yes. The Champion of Kirkwall, if I'm correct," her eyes glance over him. "Certainly acceptable."
Hawke lets out a small huff of relief, and Dorian does the same.
"If you were to be approving of all my lovers, mother, I would have told you earlier of my... inclination," he says, and she turns a softly affectionate gaze on him.
"And your father would have found out earlier than he did and I would have had less of a chance to break you out," she replies, and he shrugs.
"Details," he murmurs, and Evelyn sighs, moving over to the door of Josephine's office, calling out to the Ambassador.
"Josie, can we get a room for Magister Tilani and-"
"My name is Lydia," says his mother, brushing past them. "I would rather you did not use my married name. Being associated with Halward does not often please me."
She leaves the room, and Mae winks at Dorian.
"As soon as I'm finished settling in, you and I are having a talk. Inquisitor," she nods her goodbye to Evelyn, and they follow Josephine out of the hall. Evelyn relaxes as soon as they're gone.
"Are we to expect any more guests? Because if Lord and Lady Trevelyan turn up, I'm leaving you guys on your own. I don't have any more energy to play nice," Hawke says, and Dorian pouts at him.
"I hope you have some ..."
That earns him a smirk and a heated look before Hawke departs, and Evelyn lets out a sigh.
"All of this, and I've barely had breakfast."
"None of us have. At least my father is out of the building. I suppose I will have to attempt to fix ties at a later date."
She glances up, "But your mother..."
"She isn't a problem," he assures her, patting her on the back. "Now. I am going to finish eating, as are you, and then I believe I have a discussion to have with Maeveris. I'll begin with 'how did you manage to shirk your duties, and can you teach me?'"
So, I was kind of desperate to bring in Halward at some point, as well as Maeveris and Dorian's mother. And give a different view on his mother- he speaks of her a lot more affectionately than his father, so I wrote a nicer version of her than I've seen in some places. Just an interpretation, of course. Thank you all so much for your feedback, and I should have another chapter up soon!
"Another book your mother found for you?" comes a voice from behind Dorian, and he snorts, placing it down beside him. Maevaris is wearing her patented smirk, though there is a small amount of concern in her gaze. Dorian returns the look and returns his gaze to the page in front of him.
"Yes. Her enthusiasm is becoming increasingly unnerving," he replies, marking his page before placing it on the shelf next to you. "I trust you're looking for a discussion."
She nods, "I suppose 'how in Andraste's name did you get the girl pregnant' would be a good place to start. I am well aware of your preferences, Dorian."
He nods, and pinches the bridge of his nose. He feels her soft touch on his shoulder and reaches out, moving his hand to rest over hers for a moment before leaning back shaking his head.
"There was a Templar. The southern ones are so powerful, Maevaris, and he- he purged our magic. Took us captive and forced us to-" he breaks off, lips thinning as he fights tears. Months have not numbed the pain, talking about it just brings it back full force. Her hand squeezes his shoulder, and she crouches in front of him, eyes scanning over his face. He remembers the same look in her eyes many times over the years- as children at parties, usually, when things got to be too much, and he went to escape. She was a kindness- another outsider among the vipers of Tevinter. He remembers standing with her outside one such evening when they were both thirteen, how she'd looked into the distance before looking back at him.
"I know I'm meant to be a boy. But it feels wrong. I'm a girl inside, Dorian. I know it sounds odd, but-" she'd looked away, and he'd stood in surprise for barely a moment, feeling less alone.
"I like boys instead of girls. But I know father would never let me be with one. I want to marry, have a life with a man, but I can't. Father wouldn't let me," he told her.
An odd sort of solidarity had formed at that moment, a friendship that had lasted more than fifteen years. And always with that concerned look in her eyes- because while she took out her annoyance at the world they lived in through reading and productivity, it took Dorian a lot longer to realize that would help. She turned to books- he turned to bottles of good wine.
She sighs, "What was his name, this Templar? I have contacts here in the South. I imagine Isabela would be more than willing to go after this man with me."
He sees something of a dreamy look pass over Mae's face and his eyebrows raise slightly. He recognizes the name as well- someone both Hawke and Varric had mentioned. It could be a coincidence, but from what he's heard of the great Isabela- it likely isn't. He waves a hand in front of her face, and she blinks. His mirth returns.
The blush that spreads across her face is incredibly satisfying, and she gives him another look, "I asked for a name, Dorian."
He sighs and shakes his head, "It was Carroll. But this kill is mine- or Evelyn's."
She seems a little hesitant to let it go, but does nevertheless.
"The child- does this mean I'll be fronting my attempts to change Tevinter alone, Dorian?"
He shakes his head with a roll of his eyes, "No. Evelyn and I have a plan. I shall see the child when I can. I am not yet a Magister- it won't be difficult to see them. When I do take my father's place-" a look of pain flashes across his face. "-it depends on the political climate in the Imperium. I will not risk her life- but if improvements have been made, she may visit. Train here, when her magic manifests."
"So the child is a girl?" Mae asks, and he nods. Her face lights up, and she murmurs something about the most darling dresses she'd seen. He just smirks and allows her to keep talking until she tires of it, and stands.
"Your mother and I are leaving today, Dorian. Unfortunately, I've left my post for far too long, and your mother feels she has a responsibility to give your father a piece of her mind," she smirks. "I've dropped off a present in your quarters. A fur jacket- the south is far too cold."
He smiles and stands to embrace her, bidding her goodbye. His mother won't expect a farewell- and if he did go down, it was very likely she'd stay. Just to make sure he was handling everything well, of course. Not because she enjoyed meddling and being nosy.
Garrett runs upstairs at the same time as Mae leaves, bowing with a flourish and a 'Magister Tilani.' She rolls her eyes at him and looks back at Dorian.
"You two deserve each other," she jokes and then glances back at his lover. "Keep watch over him. And if you hurt him? They won't find your body."
As soon as she is gone, Dorian collapses back into his seat, finding himself with a lap full of Hawke. One hand automatically flies out to grasp at the other man's hip, and he nuzzles into his neck.
"It has been a long few days," Dorian murmurs, and hears a laugh leave Garrett.
"How do you think I felt? Your mother had a lot of questions about my intentions ."
That makes Dorian wince, and he tightens his arms.
"And her opinion?"
"Apparently, I could be worse."
Both of them laugh at that, and his hands roam over the other's body, before Hawke snorts.
"If you're planning to get frisky, you'd best go bend over the bar just now."
Then a horrified squeak comes from below, followed by a "please don't." Dorian stands to look over the side, grinning at Solas.
"Do you not want to see my beautiful face contorted in pleasure?" he asks, and the elf narrows his eyes.
"Trust me, shemlen; there is nothing I wish to see less ."
Dorian glances over his shoulder, "I feel like I've just been insulted in Elvhen. What does shemlen mean?"
Hawke shrugs and Solas just rolls his eyes.
"Keep your activities private, please. I am no voyeur."
Dorian pouts, "Really, Solas, you're no fun. Tell you what- we will keep everything private, and you can let me give you some fashion advice."
The glare he gets and cold he feels over his fingertips makes him laugh, and he retreats to Hawke's arms. Both of them stand together, and he looks over his shoulder.
"Shall we get some food first?" Dorian asks, and Hawke nods.
"I've become something of an expert at raiding the kitchen."