It’s the crack of dawn and I’m awake. Of course I am, work beckons and my son needs to get up and prepare for school. I roll out of bed and peek my head into the door across the hall, trying to budge my sleeping child from his hibernation. After a bit of repetition and informing him that yes, he does need to change into both clean underwear and socks; I trudge down the steps, nearly tripping on my own two feet and breaking my neck in the process. I recover from my lack of grace and fumble to the kitchen for my coffee -the fuel that makes my brain run.
Up and down the stairs I go as if I’m training for an Olympic sport. At least it’ll help with my weight loss. Situated on the desk next to my gaming laptop is my business computer. With the luxury of working from home, I fire up both. My child deigns to eat breakfast at school, and I sigh in relief. Apparently, there is something different between their box of Lucky Charms and the one we have at home, but whatever, one less thing for me to do.
Alexa resounds throughout the house Open the door for the bus as my gaming computer illuminates green. Lovely, I think as I mutter several curses, Damn thing must be acting up again, there goes my writing.
Back to the first floor for the seventh, or was it the the eighth time? I can’t remember, my memory is shot anyway. I check my phone to see if Cathrine or maybe Jessica might be available for some idea bouncing. They’re always reliable and tell me when my insane story prospects are workable or just plain shit. At least I can brainstorm while my computer is pulling its attention grabbing stunts.
The bus pulls up and after a hug and kiss, I bid bubby a great day. Grabbing my coffee mug I’d left down here on the previous trips, I, for the thousandth time, venture back up. Twisting the handle to my office, I swing open the door with a light kick. I take a moment to thank God I had the foresight to buy a gigantic cup with a seal so my clumsy ass doesn’t spill the piping hot liquid all over myself. And I would have too, considering the sight.
Rubbing the sleep out of my eyes, I squeeze them closed, wondering if I slipped a bit of Kahlua in my coffee this AM for that extra bit of Monday morning motivation and simply forgot. Shaking some sense into myself, I reopen them to find four of my fanfiction characters standing before me, none amused.
I’m too shocked to fangirl freakout but Cullen, who is considerably more handsome in person, ridiculously so, is standing with his arms crossed, a quirked eyebrow and a stern expression on his face.
As it turns out, the game does a great disservice to Alistair, as his babyface is truly more apparent. Despite his DAI Warden gear, he appears ten years Cullen’s junior, when in fact, he is older. He’s rubbing the light dusting of stubble on his chin.
Next to them, of course, are my two heroes, the one and only fucking Warden-Commander Amell of Ferelden, Tiersa, with hair as white as the snow is standing with her hands on her hips. Inquisitor Lacy Rutherford, formerly Trevelyan, is glaring at me, her onyx eyes leaving no room for doubt that she means business.
I curse internally and stand half in awe of how pretty they all fucking look, but still curious as to how the hell this happened. A quick pinch to my arm reveals I’m not dreaming and suddenly I’m fearful in the face of my own characters.
Swallowing, I’m conflicted on how to react, still thinking that perhaps the day has finally come to check myself into a mental institution so they can treat my brand of crazy.
Lacy is the first to speak, “Hey Chrissie,” she runs her tongue over her top teeth and cocks her head to the side, “so, what the fuck?”
I’m frozen, blinking repeatedly and half expecting the scene to change. My characters will disappear, and I’ll laugh this off, opening messenger to tell my friends how looney toon I really am. Prefacing the message with a warning: If you thought I was nuts before, get a load of this. “Hi, guys,” I bite my bottom lip, “uh, what’s up?”
“You really don’t know?” Tiersa asked.
Cullen interrupts, “We wish to have a word, if you’ve a moment.”
Even still, the Commander is acting with all decorum and I throw him a sideways glance. It’s amazing how perfect he looks, not a single hair is out of place. Armor shines so pristinely I can see myself in the reflection and the mantle, I’d cuddle up with that (and the man wearing it) absolutely anytime day or night. Not for the first time, I am jealous of my Inquisitor.
“Yes, words,” Alistair says, “lots of them. For the most part strung into cohesive and coherent sentences.”
Rolling her eyes Tiersa, gives Alistair a swat to his arm. “Why the need for all the emotional turmoil?”
I open the mini-fridge I keep in my office and grab a few pieces of deli meat to double as my breakfast. As the door closes, Alistair catches it and begins to rummage through, and I step out of his way. The Warden appetite, I think, ever present.
Tiersa gapes, “Ali, what are you doing?”
“What?” He shrugs, “It was a long trip, and look!” His face brightens, “she has cheese!”
I snicker and Tiersa scoffs.
He stuffs a slice of American into his mouth and still full, mumbles, “Want some?”
An eyeroll later, Tiersa shakes her head at first and then says, “actually, yeah, I’m starving. Hand it over.”
“What the Warden-Commander meant to say is,” Lacy interjects, bringing the conversation back on topic, “you put us through a lot of shit, and we take issue.”
“Oh.” It’s all I can muster. I sit in my office chair and pick at my sparse meal. A nervous laugh escapes my throat before I can stop it, “Yes, well, the readers-” I begin to explain, “they love a great story, one they can really sink their teeth into.”
Cullen rests his hands on the pommel of his sword, “That’s why you’re always making me think the Inquisitor is dead?”
“Really, Cullen?” Lacy questions, “Inquisitor? Still with the decorum? We are married, won’t you use my first name?”
“We are here under the premise of duty,” Cullen counters.
“And personal interest,” Lacy reminds him.
His brow furrows and his scar tugs down with his lips. “We agreed to maintain a united front.”
She groans, “Fine, Commander.” The emphasis she places on his title is deliberate and Cullen only stares before clearing his throat and returning his attention to me.
I stifle a snort using my coffee mug as a method of concealment.
Lacy follows suit, “So, what is with that anyway?”
“Um,” I sputter, how the hell does one detail the why of it all? I’m a fanfic writer, I do what my muse tells me. “Well, the people love you,” I gesture to him then Alistair, “and you too.”
He chimes in, opening another slice of cheese, “At least she only made you think the Inquisitor was dead. She actually killed me. Though I will say, the service was lovely. I appreciated that.”
My face burns and I’m half delighted he was pleased, “you thought so? I wanted to do it justice and hearing that-”
He turns his head to Tiersa, who took it upon herself to sit in my recliner and prop her feet up. “What are you doing?”
“Sitting down. We never get to relax. Always someone needing us to be somewhere.”
Alistair pouted. “I want to sit, too.”
“Come here then,” Tiersa pats her thigh.
His eyes shifted between her and the other couple in the room, “But what about our audience, you don’t think…”
She sighs, “Just come here, would you?”
“All right,” he chuckles, holding up his hands, “you don’t have to tell me twice.” He proceeds to get comfortable on Tiersa’s lap. It is an unusual but humorous sight and I think, only Alistair would sit on her lap instead of the other way around .
Brow furrowed, Lacy rubs her forehead, and again steers the conversation. “You’re missing the point.”
“I always give you guys happy endings though. Doesn’t the journey deserve to be told? Isn’t it just as important?”
All four stop and stare at me, glaring really, and if our world possessed magic, I am certain my clothes would be on fire from the intensity I feel coming from these mages. For once, I actually sort of understand the Templars' point… “So, more fluff pieces then?”
Cullen massages his neck, cheeks flaming and averts his eyes, “I’d like that.”
Lacy smiles as his blush deepens when their gazes meet.
“Yes,” Alistair crosses his arms, “And I am a fan of remaining not dead. I mean, nothing like a brush with death to make you not like death much.”
I defend my stories, highlighting the ‘but’ they seem content to ignore, “I did bring you back to life, in a manner of speaking. I killed you, but I erased it.” I shrug, “Doesn’t that count for something?”
“Well,” Ali tilts his head in clear contemplation, “perhaps it wasn’t so bad. Maybe we are overreacting, just a little.”
With my hand, I gesture to him as he proves my point, “See, the Warden gets it.”
“Really?” Lacy mumbles, “your support is that a Warden concurs, they haven’t been known for making the best decisions.”
I bite my tongue, conceding.
“Demon army,” Cullen reminds.
Alistair rubs his chin, “Ah, yes, I suppose you have a point there.”
Lifting a finger in the air, Tiersa defends, "I had nothing to do with that one. But, it could be worse."
Cullen asks the question on everyone’s mind, “How is that possible?”
“At least we aren’t Hawke,” Amell explains, “I love my cousin, but she makes terrible decisions.”
Collectively, everyone in the room agrees either with a shake of their head or whispered confirmations.
“Anyway!” Lacy for the third time maneuvers the topic, “if you would, show us a bit more love.”
“Oh,” Ali exclaims, “right to the steamy bits!”
“The desk.” Cullen murmurs, catching the attention of everyone as he stares into the distance at nothing. He clears his throat and shifts his weight awkwardly.
To spare him further mortification, I hold my hands up in surrender, “Okay, you guys win. All hail the fluff. Now, if you’ll excuse me, it seems I need a refill.” I lift my empty cup as proof, “I’ll be right back.”
I head downstairs closing my office door behind me. I load the Keurig and wait as the aroma permeates my nose and my mind churns. More fluff, I think, definitely not my forte. The brew finishes and I add my almond milk before heading back upstairs when a marvelous idea strikes me.
I open the door, preparing my justification speech to the others, only to find my office exactly as it was when I first exited this morning -completely empty. My shoulders slump, disappointed in the departure of my company. I sit at my desk and make myself comfortable, prepared for a long day.
I type out my message, the same one to Jessica and Cathrine, I have a brilliant idea for a new angsty fic, have time to throw some shit?
A moment later, my computer chimes and it’s Cathrine: Sure, but another one?
Not two seconds later, it resounds again, this time it’s Jessica: Have you ever considered a fluff piece?
I respond to both. What can I say, angst is my jam.
One of these days, my characters are going to rebel against me, I think, sipping my coffee. But I’m not worried. As long as it isn’t Hawke.