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Hear Something, Say Nothing, and Drink to Forget

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Jax stood from the bed after pulling on her boots and notched the white belt firmly around her waist. She looked over her shoulder at Cullen, napping without nightmare for once and felt a tug in her chest. He tortured himself so much over his past, just as much as, if not more than, his past seemed to torture him. It was so rare to see him at peace. She leaned over the bed and kissed his forehead carefully, so as not to wake him, and left a note by the bedside table, so as not to worry him if he happened to awake while she was gone. The closer they got to one another, the more she felt the need to be a shard of light in his life, to not hurt him any more than life already had.

She descended the ladder from his bedroom—a room, she had told him several times, not fit for the Commander of the Inquisition—with the taste of their afternoon tryst still on her lips. "I thought you might need a break." She propositioned him as he was scanning his office library for a text. Her arms wrapped around his middle as she spoke, and he sighed back into her embrace. "I couldn't spare it, my lady." He had replied with obvious regret. Oh how quickly that changed when she climbed the ladder and started dropping clothing down into his office. "Someone could see!" she heard, scandalized, but said through quiet laughter. When he brought them up to her, seemingly intent to end the fun there, she was already laying in his bed, the covers drawn up to her waist. With a smile he had said "well perhaps if I weren't away too long," and as he dropped his cloak to the floor, she knew she had won.

Now, as she made sure there was nothing in his office to suggest anything prurient, she walked out the northwest door towards the tavern, Herald's Rest. She intended to bring Cullen a hot meal when he woke, and for obvious reason he particularly favored Cabot's shepherd's pie. The bartender knew a good ale more than anything, but at some point he had picked up a secret recipe for this amazing pie and he refused to share with the kitchens. "Makes me invaluable." He once told Jax, to which she had responded, "You're already invaluable. Who knows how stable the Inquisition would be without alcohol."

She walked in, looking around briefly to see if there was someone who wanted to talk to her. People often did, and never mind how tired she was, she was the people's Herald before anything else. While no one waved her over, she did see an unfamiliar face dressed like one of Leliana's agents. He was sitting down at the bar with a stack of papers and three pints in front of him, two empty. She sat down at the bar and motioned Cabot over with a nod.

"Good afternoon, it looks like." He said in a low voice. When she raised an eyebrow with a half smile he chuckled, "your boot is a clasp off, your hair has clearly been disheveled and raked through with your fingers, and your cheeks are as rosy as rashvine in spring." He whispered, scooting a tankard in front of her fingers.

She took a sip and smiled coyly. "I'm not sure what you're talking about, I just came for a plate of shepherd's pie."

"Hasn't he been eating enough of your shepherd's pie today?" he shot back, barely audible. A conspiratorial grin spread across his face.

As he turned to go into the kitchen part of the tavern she laughed. "I could have you hanged for that, you know."

"Yet here I stand," he extended his arms in a mock bow.

With Cabot off to fill her order, and no one seeking to talk to her, she turned her attention to the man two pints in holding his head in his hands. "Haven't seen your face before," she commented, taking a drink of her ale.

The man looked past where he was sitting down the bar before turning to her, as if to question who she was talking to.

"Yes you. You must be one of the Nightingale's agents." She smiled and tipped her head toward him.

"Oh...yes. I am new to Skyhold. I've been off in Northern Thedas for most of the Inquisition's existence, but the Left Hand called me here to let me take a short break from my duties and recover from an extended illness." His tongue was clearly a little loose from the drink. "Not the Blight," he added, as if Jax would suddenly be concerned. "My name is Lucas."

"And what, Lucas, has you so troubled that you'd drink three ales in the afternoon while it looks like you're supposed to be delivering documents?" She smiled as she took a swig to show the man she didn't mean the question threateningly.

"Well...I was—I was delivering the papers and—I just—" he flushed a deep red. "They are intended for Commander Cullen, but I do not think I can deliver them. Ever."

Jax nearly choked on her drink when she understood what this poor man was implying with his words and his expression. "Oh? Why not?"

Lucas leaned in, brows furrowed together. "I think...I think the Commander was...engaged...above his office...with someone. I opened the door and he was nowhere to be found but I heard..." he trailed off, afraid to disparage the man.

Jax fixed a look of scandal on her face. "Oh you can't stop there! What happened!" She encouraged him.

Lucas leaned in even closer, his voice barely above a whisper, his face an even darker shade of red. "I'm not sure if I could repeat them, my lady, nor should I, but I certainly didn't expect a former Knight-Commander of the Templars to blaspheme the Maker's name so...loudly." He visibly swallowed.

She let out a good-natured laugh and raised her ale to him. "Well, here's to an interesting first day."

His face relaxed a bit as he realized Jax wasn't going to chastise him for his gossip. "I suppose so, yes." He smiled slightly, still nervous, and sipped his ale.

Cabot's reappearance broke their friendly toast. "One of Cabot's Pies for our Lustrous General!" he called, putting the plate in front of her. All the color that had found its way into Lucas' cheeks drained in an instant.

"Thanks Cabot. I'll take it to him." She blew him a kiss. "Keep the tip." He waved her off with a chuckle.

Jax picked up the plate in one hand and the documents in front of Lucas with another. He looked up at her, horrified. Jax's voice was low and a sly grin had found its way to her face. "Two things. One: you should hear him in the middle of the night when no one else is around. He's much worse. Two. I never introduced myself! Inquisitor Jax Trevelyan, at your service. Welcome to Skyhold." She winked and spun on her heel, walking out the door.