When Leliana first met the Hero of Ferelden, the young warrior had just begun her journey to earn the title she now bears. Elissa Cousland was just shy of her 19th year, but the way she carried herself and led their odd band of fighters, you would think she had been leading armies for years. Leliana herself had recently turned 21, but she had never met another who was younger than her yet seemingly held the appearance of being a wise general.
Leliana remembers seeing the blonde walking into the tavern in Lothering like she owned the place, all confidence and swagger. And Leliana? Well, Leliana had always been a sucker for beautifully sculpted women who looked like they could crush you with one fist or could drag out your orgasm like a tidal wave. To Leliana, Elissa looked like the type of woman who could do both. It was only a few months later that Leliana could confirm that, indeed, Elissa could manage both of those things.
During the final battle, Leliana remembers killing darkspawn before spinning around and seeing the young warden charging up the steps and slaying the Archdemon, being blasted away by the force of it all. And yet, the woman survived. When Elissa woke up days later, Leliana asked her beloved how it was possible she survived. The Hero only responded that it was not her story to tell, that she should talk to the soon-to-be-crowned King of Ferelden. And when Leliana wanted to ask just what that meant, Elissa prevented that interrogation by kissing her firmly on the mouth. Leliana could not find the strength to pull away; after all, she did think that the love of her life was going to die during that battle.
Eventually, their paths took them apart. But, the love they held for each other always remained. When Alistair visited Val Royeaux to see Justinia five years after the battle (and Leliana too, but mostly for Justinia), the two finally caught up. Leliana learned of the deal Elissa and Morrigan struck up. Alistair told her how neither of them wanted to actually do that, but Elissa was so desperate for a life with Leliana that Alistair granted the Hero that one request, even if he was still upset at having been named King. Alistair said that the two of them were forever brothers-in-arms, and he knew that Elissa would go to the ends of the world to find a cure for them both.
Of course, Leliana had heard from a letter that Elissa sent her that there was a rumored cure out there for the taint, but Elissa was too preoccupied training more recruits to actually search for one. It wouldn’t be much longer before Elissa did go searching for the cure.
About a year before the conclave explosion in which Justinia died, Elissa and Leliana had a short reunion. They could do nothing more than spend one night of passion together, but it was enough to reaffirm their love for each other. It had been nearly 10 years since they had seen each other, which meant roughly 10 years since they had been with each other, and yet neither had taken up other lovers in the time they were apart. A year and some odd months later, Leliana would tell an ‘innocent in love’ Josephine, “Why would I take another lover when my true love, my whole heart, is out there fighting for her life and the lives of Grey Wardens around the world?”
After their night of passion, Leliana awoke alone in their rented bed in the inn, a short note scribbled by her love telling her that she was off to find the elusive cure and that Elissa loved her more than she loved herself. All Leliana could do was clutch the note to her chest as a single tear rolled down her cheek. A few moments later, Cassandra knocked on her door, and Leliana quickly got ready to continue their hunt for Marian Hawke, Champion of Kirkwall.
They could not find Hawke, but they found Ellana Lavellan and her glowing hand. While Cassandra was accusing the young elf of murder and treason, Leliana took one look at the woman and knew that she was a victim in this just as much as Justinia was.
And as she watched Josephine and Ellana fall in love, she was reminded of her own love story that began almost 11 years ago now (Leliana internally shuddered at how old she had gotten). They were young and so happily in love. Leliana knew that Ellana would never leave Josephine’s side after this was all over- whatever happened, Ellana would have it with the young ambassador by her side.
Leliana marched with and fought alongside the Inquisition. Eerily similar to the battle against the Archdemon years ago, Leliana was only several feet away when Corypheus was defeated, her bow hanging limply by her side as the fighting finally stopped with his defeat.
When they returned to Skyhold, Leliana went straight to the rookery, hoping one of her few agents left at the fort had news of a certain Commander of the Wardens. They had none, of course. Leliana knew the mission to find the cure would take years, but she still had some hope that Elissa would be done soon; it had been 2 years after all. Before Elissa went underground, Leliana would often send her agents after her. Not any of the new ones under training, but the ones that could potentially rival Leliana’s own status as the Nightingale. And every time, they would come back saying how Elissa would always elude them, leaving mocking notes telling them to ‘try harder’ and to ‘tell my girlfriend that I am completely fine.’ Sometimes, the notes would be accompanied by a single flower- Andraste’s Grace. But after Elissa went down into the Deep Roads, she just had her agents posted outside nearly every entrance, waiting for the re-emergence of her heart.
Business continued as usual. Skyhold was busy appeasing nobles, templars, and mages. Vivienne, of all people, was elected as the new Divine. Leliana had briefly wanted the position herself, but she knew that she could never give up her life as a spymaster, so she withdrew her name from consideration, even if Ellana had supported her. Ellana had understood, of course, and quickly backed Cassandra, telling Leliana, “Well if my girlfriend’s best friend is withdrawing from consideration, I might as well support one of my best warriors as my second choice.” It went unspoken that Vivienne was someone neither particularly trusted.
A few years later, when the Exalted Council was brought together, it was no surprise to her that she had to inform the Inquisitor of a plot to destroy the shaky order in Thedas, this time by Qunari. What did surprise her was that Ellana had not proposed to her friend; even Cassandra had been certain that Ellana would find some completely inappropriate time before the hearings to pop the question. But, it hadn’t happened, at least not there. Ellana, fortunately, was more concerned with foiling the plot, and Josephine had her hands busy playing the diplomat.
The night they returned to Skyhold, however, Ellana did pop the question, in the tavern, of course, surrounded by all of their companions, who had all journeyed back to Skyhold for one last hurrah as a group, save Vivienne who was busy with her duties as Divine (though if you asked Ellana, she was secretly relieved the woman wasn’t there) and Solas (you didn’t have to ask Ellana to know that she was not so secretly relieved that the man she almost started a romance with was not there, especially with the whole ‘trying to raise an elven army’ thing).
The next day, Ellana met up with the advisors, Cassandra, and Dagna, and told them of her plan to not allow the Inquisition into Vivienne’s hands. They would publicly disband but continue to work in secret. Her fierce determination once again reminded Leliana of her love, who was still not spotted by any of her spies. After that, most of the companions returned back to their duties, except for the 5 of them who were in that War Room. Leliana’s rookery was nearly empty now; she had to send most of her spies out to give the appearance of a disbanded Inquisition.
Some weeks had passed and they were busier than ever trying to work against Solas. A few of their other companions were informed of their plot to stop Solas; Varric, Dorian, and Sera were all doing their own thing, but they were the only ones who could be trusted with information on the plot.
It was shortly after nightfall one month after the ‘disbandment’ of the Inquisition when Leliana heard some noises behind her in the rookery. Not expecting anyone, she quickly turned around and held a knife to the throat of the intruder, fierce determination painted on her face.
The woman under the throat let out a shaky laugh and held her hands out in surrender, “I wasn’t trying to scare you. I just wanted to see you.”
Leliana’s face softened the longer she stared at the intruder, recognizing the features of the intruder. The blonde hair was longer than it had ever been and was caked in dirt. There were new scratches all over the long face, including a new scar that extended from the top of her left eyebrow to the top of her left cheekbone. Her armor was torn into pieces.
But, Leliana knew that despite all of this, the intruder was actually the woman she loved.
She dropped her dagger to the floor and practically jumped into Elissa’s arms. Elissa let out a slight ‘oof’ at the contact, but held on tightly, breathing in the scent that was uniquely Leliana: lavender with a hint of Andraste’s Grace.
“I’m here, my love,” she whispered into the red hair that had been revealed when Leliana’s cowl fell back from her head at the jump.
Leliana pulled back slightly and quickly started throwing light punches to Elissa’s armored chest, “How did you sneak past my spies? Why didn’t you let them know you were okay? Why didn’t you let me know you were alive? Did you find a cure?”
Elissa sighed and tightened her arms around Leliana’s waist, “I wanted to surprise you. I wanted to return to you on my own terms. I did it, my love. I found a cure. I have sent it to the Wardens and hand-delivered a vial of it to Alistair. I retired as a Warden.”
Leliana could hardly believe it. It had been 14 years since they met, just about 4 years since they had last seen each other (and even then they went roughly a decade without seeing each other). She found herself continually drinking in the sight of the woman in front of her. She was much older now, hell they both were, but Elissa was here and she was still the same woman, and Leliana was so in love with her she could hardly stand it. She needed the woman in front of her, in more ways than one, and she needed her now.
Elissa continued to stare inquisitively at Leliana, noticing that the spymaster had yet to say anything in response to Elissa’s confessions.
Elissa softly probed, “Leli?”
At that, Leliana shook her head, clearing her thoughts and focusing back on the woman in front of her.
“I love you Elissa.”
Elissa smiled softly, “I love you too.”
Leliana continued, “It has been nearly 4 years since we have been together. I don’t know if you remember, but even though we hadn’t had sex in almost 10 years before that reunion, we only shared 8 orgasms between the two of us. Far too few in my opinion.”
Elissa gulped. She did, in fact, remember. She made Leliana come 3 times before she even let her return the favor, and even then, Elissa still ‘won,’ giving Leliana 5 orgasms in the few hours they spent together before sleep overcame them.
Leliana continued stalking towards her, backing her into a bookcase, “My love, I know I asked you all of these questions, and I appreciate you answering, but right now, I need your fingers inside of me.”
Elissa, never one to deny her lover, quickly did as her heart requested. She finally kissed her lover, and they kissed like they were starving for those kisses. They spent the next few hours allowing their bodies to catch up.
As they lay in Leliana’s bed, naked and fully sated, Leliana curled up into Elissa’s chest, and Elissa’s left arm slung around her torso, Leliana marveled at how they were finally reunited, for good this time. This was it. They had promised each other during their last reunion that they would never part from each other’s side again if Elissa was successful in finding a cure.
“You are never leaving my side again, Elissa. Remember our promise.”
Elissa tightened her hold around the smaller woman before responding, “Our promise was the only thing that kept me going sometimes. Finding the cure was the hardest thing I have ever done. There were moments when I wanted to give up. But, I didn’t. For you. For us. I love you and I’m never letting you go.”
Leliana stayed silent for a moment, taking it all in. Elissa found a cure. She resigned as Warden Commander. Feasibly, Leliana did not have to stay in Skyhold. Ellana would understand and even encourage her to go with Elissa and finally start their life together, after Ellana’s and Josephine’s wedding of course.
“I have a house in the Waking Sea, willed to me by Lady Cecile after she left. I would like for us to move there.”
Elissa pressed a kiss to the top of Leliana’s head, “We will go wherever you want, my heart. I go where you go. Your fight is my fight. Your peace is my peace. Your home is my home. Always.”
Leliana let out a contented sigh, “I am so completely in love with you. Marry me.”
Elissa titled Leliana’s head up so she could look her in the eyes, those absolutely stunning hazel eyes. Elissa noted the absolute sincerity in her eyes as well as something else- trepidation? Preposterous, this was Leliana after all, Sister Nightingale, Spymaster of the Inquisition, Champion of Orgasms (yes, Elissa had made that one up months after their romance first began).
Elissa teased, “My love, are you proposing to me while we are naked in your bed, minutes after we orgasmed like there was no tomorrow?”
Leliana huffed, “A simple no would suffice.”
Elissa was taken aback, not realizing that she had actually read that fear right, “My love, why would I say no? You are the only woman for me. You have been the only woman for me. You were my first love, and you will be my last love. Absolutely yes, I will marry you. I should’ve married you in that tavern in Lothering.”
At that, Leliana smiled a full, gorgeous smile, the one that was reserved for Elissa and Elissa only. She kissed her love then, smile still plastered on her face, causing Elissa to grin too.
“I love you Elissa.”
“I love you too, Leliana.”
The two continued to kiss lazily before finally succumbing to sleep. It took them years (Maker, was Leliana actually 35 now? And how is Elissa 33? Leliana still refused to believe she was getting old), but they were finally in the place where they were always meant to be: in each other’s arms, no separation in sight, soon to confirm their love in the eyes of the Maker.
It was almost perfect, except for the impending elven war coming up.
But, at least they were going to fight that together, side by side, protecting each other fiercely, and making sure they both stay alive.