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How Did You Love

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Lace was wandering around in the courtyard in Skyhold, checking her mental list for the last time before moving out. Walking around helped her to think, and right now she needed that. She had to make sure her team had everything they needed, so they wouldn’t have to return to Skyhold for a time. Which was a pity in some aspects.

She liked it here and also she had more chance to run into the Inquisitor here than out on the field. She sighed and shook her head, wishing she could shake these foolish thoughts out of her head.

As she neared the stables she noticed a lone figure in the shadow of the wall. She moved closer and her pulse jumped when she recognised the Inquisitor standing there motionless, in a simple shirt and vest, with his bow in his hand.

She stopped some distance away, wondering if she should go there and at least greet him. Before she could decide the Inquisitor took a deep breath, raised his bow and drew an arrow with a fluid motion. After a heartbeat he released it and drew another one, releasing it in the next moment and another one.

Lace stood there amazed at the precision and flawlessness of his movements. The last arrow hit the straw filled dummy with such force that it practically exploded, raining straw everywhere.

Fenedhis” he grunted out and that was the point Lace realised she moved a lot closer than she intended to.

“I’m sure that dummy had it coming” Lace said and the Inquisitor turned toward her with a sharp movement, but the frown disappeared from his face when he laid eyes on her.

“Scout Harding, I didn’t hear you coming” his body relaxed from the tight stance he was in a moment ago. He sounded… tired.

“As a scout, I take it as a compliment.” That earned her a faint smile, but nothing else. “Is there something wrong?”

“There is always something wrong. With the nobles, missing supplies, bandits, demons, the venatori…” he took a deep breath, visibly pushing back the anger in him. “I’m sorry, I’m just frustrated.”

“Everyone needs to let out some steam from time to time” she said with a shrug and that earned her a real smile.

“Cullen and Cassandra won’t be too pleased if I’d destroy all the training dummies” he moved toward a few crates by the wall, inviting her too with a gesture. She followed him and hopped up on a larger crate.

The Inquisitor sat down in the grass, propped his bow up next to himself and leaned his back to a crate. That put him just below Lace’s eye level, which was a nice novelty, not to have to look up at everyone. He rested his hands in his lap and Lace noticed he was barefoot, like Solas and other elves.

“I’m just not used to all… this” he tossed his hand out, indicating everything around them. “A few months ago I was just a hunter. A good one, but still just one among the people. And now…” he looked at his gloved left hand and clenched his fingers into a fist.

“A few months ago I was tending to our neighbour’s sheep in the Hinterlands, only dreaming about traveling the world one day” Lace said after a few moments of silence. The Inquisitor looked up at her with a curious expression on his face.

“Is that why you joined the Inquisition?”

“Well, yes, partly. I also wanted to help and I knew I could.”

“So I’ve heard” he propped his elbow on his knee and rested his chin on his fist, looking up at her with smiling eyes. “I know for a fact, that you’re our best scout and more than capable with the bow.”

“You have to earn your pay” she said flustered and had to look away from his eyes. It reminded her too much of that time in the tent she did her best not to think about. Looking for a distraction her eyes landed on the Inquisitor’s bow.

“That’s a fine weapon.”

“Ah yes, one of the upsides of the Inquisition: fine craftsmanship” he picked it up and laid it across his lap, looking it over, then he squinted at her. “You want to try it out?”

“It’s longer than what I usually use” she tried to deflect, but the elf didn’t let her.

“That doesn’t mean you can’t give it a shot.”

“I really shouldn’t…”

“Come” he stood up with a fluid motion and nodded toward the destroyed dummy. Lace hesitated for a moment, but then she hopped off the crate before she could think about it more. She followed the Inquisitor and he handed her his bow along with an arrow. She took the bow carefully, feeling its weight and trying to find the right grip on it.

“Yes, this is definitely not what I’m used to” she took the arrow too and placed it on the string.

“Here, let me…” the Inquisitor went down to a half kneeling position at her back; his left hand went up checking her grip on the bow. His right hand helped her steady the arrow, not that she needed it, but it put him in a position where he was practically embracing her, and it didn’t even occur to her to tell him to stop. His hands hovered over hers as she drew the string with a deep breath. She could feel his breath on her face as she let the air out of her lungs and released the arrow. It embedded itself deep into the post that kept the remains of the dummy up. She almost hit the spot she was aiming at. She felt the usual warm wave of accomplishment wash over her and she turned toward the Inquisitor with a triumphant smile. She didn’t expect him to be still there half kneeling behind her and her turning around put them only a few inches apart.

“I knew you could handle it” he said with a smile that almost looked like a smirk.

“I never said I can’t handle something bigger.”

The Inquisitor raised his eyebrows and Lace felt heat climb up her face when she realised what she said. Surely he didn’t--

“I need to go” she stepped back hurriedly, shoved the bow into the elf’s hands and turned away from him.

“Be careful out there, Scout Harding.”

She could hear the smirk in his voice.

“You too, Your Worship” she said without looking at him and marched away.