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your friends all think im lonely (but they don't really know me)

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For all the composure she held, Ambassador Josephine Montilyet was entirely flummoxed at the sight before her. How could she have been so foolish? To think that the Inquisitor was flirting with her, that she could ever be interested in her… Josephine was mortified into paralysis, her only movement the short breaths coming in and out of her mouth. She forced herself to blink - hard - and recenter herself, before turning on her heel to scream into a fine silk pillow in her quarters. 

 

Altus Dorian of House Pavus and Inquisitor Natasha Trevelyan were… cuddling.

 

More than that; Trevelyan was entirely in Dorian’s lap with only her feet hanging off the edge of their chair, her head on his shoulder, peacefully listening to the low sounds of him reading.

 

To think, Josephine had just written to Yvette about Trevelyan that morning…

 

---

 

“Inky? No ! Coulda swore she said she was… ya know… fruity?”

 

“Yes, well, I saw what I saw,” Josephine rubbed at her temples. Truly, she couldn’t recall why she asked Sera’s opinion, of all people.

 

“Gross. ‘Spose they’d have cute babies. Let’s just hope he doesn’t give her some magic-demons disease. Down there,” Sera giggled maniacally and hid her smile behind her hands. “Want me to mess with them? Mix all their fancy wines with stuff from the tavern?”

 

Josephine paused, thinking it over, before quickly shaking herself out of her contemplation.

 

“No! Absolutely not!” 

 

“You thought about it, you did!” Sera giggled again and sat on Josephine’s desk, certainly bending important documents and smudging ink everywhere. Josephine didn’t have the energy to tell her off.

 

“Neither have done anything wrong. It’s not my place to act petty.” Sera rolled her eyes, but nodded.

 

“She led’ja on, though, didn’t she? That’s shite.”

 

“I wouldn’t say that. I was foolish, is all. She flirts with practically everyone here, does she not? It’s not her fault I read into things.” Sera cocked her head in thought and poked at a bit of food stuck between her teeth. Why was she entertaining Sera’s romantic advice at all? She could have easily gone to… Were they all loners at Skyhold?

 

“Mmm…” Sera hummed. “I guess she does. That’d make you, me, Dorian, Cully-Wully, Leliana, Blackwall, and Bull, yeah? Oh, and that little scout with the funny name.”

 

“Harding?” Sera snickered

 

“Yeah. Hard -ing. Maybe they’re not together , but just… together ? Like, just doing bits. Seems like she might get around.”

 

“Maker, is that better?” Josephine sighed, exasperated. She should’ve spoken to Leliana, she’d probably already know every detail.

 

“Just depends on what you want, yeah?” Sera jumped up, knocking over a jar of ink onto the wood floor. “Whoops! I’m off to see a woman about a bow. Good luck, Josie. Tell me the deets later, yeah?” She picked the jar up and set it back on the desk, albeit upside-down. The floor creaked slightly as she walked backwards out of the room, sticking her tongue out and making crass gestures with her hands until she was out of sight. Josephine resisted the urge to slam her face into the desk. Repeatedly.

 

---

 

Leliana. That was the best option, surely. She was level headed, a trusted friend, and most importantly, would certainly know if Trevelyan was indeed taken with Dorian. The only issue was Leliana’s location.

 

To reach Leliana’s haunt, she’d first have to pass through Solas’ gallery and be questioned as to why she was back twice in one day. She’d then trudge up the stairs and come face to face with Dorian and Trevelyan’s snuggling yet again, and Josephine couldn’t guarantee she would keep her breakfast croissant down. Especially since those croissants were a special request from Dorian. Maker .

 

Josephine officially elected to stand at the battlements below the library tower, a collection of pebbles in her right hand, confused and trying to discern which window was where Leliana collected her messages. It’s the tallest one, isn’t it?

 

She knew how absurd she must’ve looked, if Vivienne’s double-take from her balcony was anything to judge off of. 

 

Even still, Josephine plucked a rock the size of a blood lotus’ bulb to toss into the highest window. She took a deep breath in, took a step back with her right foot, and at last, reared her fist back for a strong throw. Instead, her fist connected with something behind her, resulting in a sickening CRUNCH and a shout. Josephine yelped and dropped the pebbles to the ground to help stabilize an injured Cullen Rutherford.

 

“Commander! Forgive me, I didn’t hear you approach!” Cullen was holding his chin and bottom lip and staring at her like she was crazy. Perhaps she was.

 

“It’s - It’s fine, Lady Josephine, I was merely - surprised. Certainly surprised, yes,” he chuckled nervously. Now that he’d regained his balance, he was standing considerably farther away from Josephine than he normally would have. “I saw you out here, and I wanted to see if you were alright.”

 

“Oh, I… yes. I’m fine. My apologies for… everything, Commander. I was just going to… throw a rock at Leliana…” Josephine trailed off, finally realizing the insanity of her actions that day. Cullen laughed, more amused than confused (or in pain).

 

“Well, remind me not to get on your bad side,” Josephine flushed, embarrassed.

 

“No, uh, I simply wished to reach her.”

 

“Would the stairs not do?”

 

“Maker’s breath. I am being ridiculous, aren’t I?” Cullen relaxed his hands to the hilt of his sword and shook his head.

 

“That’s not a trait I associate with you. What’s the problem, Lady Josephine? If you’re this worked up, I’m sure it’s serious,” Cullen said the words completely sincerely, but the glint in his eyes and the smirk on his face betrayed his reason for asking.

 

“You’ll laugh.”

 

“Perhaps.”

 

“I was going to ask Leliana some questions. About the Inquisitor.”

 

Cullen raised an eyebrow.

 

“About her… preferences. If she was seeing anyone.” 

 

Cullen was practically grinning.

 

“Is that so? Important information for an Ambassador to have, yes?”

 

Josephine glared at him.

 

“Yes. Very.”

 

Cullen shook his head fondly. They could be considered friends at this point, Josephine supposed. Actual friends, not just friends if someone important were to ask. After Haven and the building of Skyhold, the advisors had spent so much time together, they were at the point of genuinely liking each other. Or, at least Josephine was. If Cullen only thought of her as a work colleague, he probably would have left after she assaulted him.

 

“You couldn’t have sent a messenger?”

 

“I didn’t want to send someone for a personal matter,” she pursed her lips. “I mean, this isn’t a personal matter, but, it’s not…” Josephine wanted to punch him again if he kept looking at her like that, all knowing and amused .

 

“Yes, yes,” Cullen looked up at the window Josephine was aiming for, then back down. “You didn’t want to call out to her?”

 

“...What?”

 

“Her window is open, My Lady. You could just raise your voice.”

 

“Oh,” Josephine flopped her face into her hands. “I’ve had a distracting day, Commander.”

 

“Well, thank the Maker I was here. You could’ve maimed one of those birds,” Cullen cleared his throat and called up. “Leliana, are you up there?” Within seconds, Josephine looked up from her shame to see Leliana’s curious face in the window.

 

“What’s happening?” Leliana’s eyes flitted around, attempting to take in the situation.

 

“Would you come down here, please? It should just be a moment,” Leliana nodded, slowly.

 

“Is this official business? Should I get the Inquisitor?”

 

“No!” Cullen and Josephine both yelped. If they hadn’t attracted the attention of every other scout nearby before, they certainly had now. Leliana squinted her eyes quizzically but nodded and disappeared from view. Josephine and Cullen turned their attention back to each other.

 

“Thank you for your assistance, Commander. I’ll see you later tonight, perhaps?” 

 

“Oh, I’m not missing this, Josephine. Not for the world,” The door into Solas’ study opened and Leliana stepped out cautiously. Cullen smiled diplomatically and gestured to his office. “After you, ladies.”

 

Cullen barked an order to the waiting scouts inside the… rustic room to give them privacy. Once they left, Leliana perched herself on the ladder to Cullen’s bed, Cullen sat at his desk chair, and Josephine idled in the center of the room, feeling altogether very uncomfortable.

 

“What’s this about, then?” Leliana asked, mainly to Josephine. Josephine wished she had her drawing board with her, just to have something to do with her hands other than fidget with them.

 

“I was wondering if you may have received any information in either Haven, here at Skyhold, or beyond - perhaps while travelling, for instance - about whether or the Herald of Andraste, our Lady Inquisitor, was, um, perhaps interested in, or not interested in, uh, any persons she might have met - or not met, but maybe wrote to - or…”

 

“Sweet Maker, Josephine!” Cullen laughed. “Is the Inquisitor in a relationship, Leliana?”

 

Leliana lifted a hand to her face in an attempt to cover her widening smile, but her eyes crinkled and her shoulders shook with a laugh that showed her true colors.

 

“Oh, Josie, you should have just asked! Does our Lady Ambassador have an admirer?” Leliana stopped herself suddenly and her smile dropped. “Er - wait. Is this about her and Dorian?”

 

Josephine groaned. If Leliana knew she was asking about Dorian specifically, it was surely true! They’ve probably been together for weeks, maybe since Haven, even, and no one bothered to tell Josephine. Perhaps it was common knowledge, and everyone assumed she did know. Maker’s breath.

 

“They’re a couple, then? Just my luck,” she sighed, willing herself not to cry. It was foolish of her to get worked up over what was little more than a crush, but it’d been months of their flirting, and she desperately liked Trevelyan. Ever the hopeless romantic.

 

“To my knowledge, the Inquisitor isn’t with anyone, Josephine. I know she has a past with women, but any more than that isn’t my place to share. I only asked about Dorian because they were rather cozied up in the library today, though that isn’t exactly uncommon for them.”

 

“If it’s any help, I’d expect the Inquisitor to have finer taste than Dorian Pavus, Lady Josephine,” Cullen supplied helpfully, making Leliana laugh. Josephine ignored them both.

 

“You mean they’ve done that before?!”

 

“Yes, they’re very close. That could mean a lot of things, though, Josephine.”

 

“She and I certainly have not been doing that,” Josephine huffed. “Is there anything else you can share, Leliana?”

 

Leliana grimaced and shared a wary look with Cullen. Shit.

 

“I… do know that Dorian occasionally spends the night in her quarters.”

 

“‘Occasionally’,” Cullen laughed. Leliana shot him a glare and he caught himself. “Yes. Occasionally.” Josephine blinked at Leliana to continue.

 

“Often, since they returned from Redcliffe Village” she supplied. “But that could still mean…”

 

No one in the room believed her incoming statement enough to make it worth continuing.

 

“Alright. Alright,” Josephine affirmed, mostly to herself.

 

“Are you alright, Josie?”

 

No, she was not. It had been 6 months since she first met Trevelyan, and her feelings had sparked immediately. It would take some time for her to get over her, especially since they work so closely.

 

“Yes,” Josephine murmured. “I thought she liked me, is all.”

 

Leliana’s soft gaze turned murderous.

 

“She led you on, you mean?”

 

“Oh, boy,” Cullen pretended to read something on his desk to remove himself from the narrative.

 

“No, not really! She’s… she’s a flirt, yes? We all know this,” Josephine swallowed. “I only just learned it, is all.” Leliana softened again and quickly stepped to hug her friend. She patted Josephine’s back gently before pulling away.

 

“I’ll speak with her.”

 

“No, no, don’t! Please, that’d be embarrassing. I’ll just… get over it. Really.”

 

Leliana clearly wanted to protest, but she nodded stiffly.

 

“Josephine, maybe…” Cullen cleared his throat. “You should ask her. She is a flirt, as you say, so perhaps they aren’t together. Or maybe they’ve just… er, laid together. Ahem.” The tips of his ears turned red. Josephine smirked.

 

“You know, that’s exactly what Sera said.”

 

Cullen flushed even deeper.

 

---

 

Josephine hadn’t planned on asking. Not at all, really, because there was no way she could handle that pitying conversation. She was going to make good on that plan, but she just couldn’t stop thinking about them. Dorian and Trevelyan. Together. In bed. Just a few rooms away. Twisting and turning did no good as she tried to force the thoughts away to fall asleep. She’d have to confront this.

 

Now.

 

Josephine was glad the main hall was bright enough that she didn’t have to carry a candle, as if she walked in on them in a compromising position, she might accidentally burn the fort down. She felt ridiculous still, just in her dressing gown and slippers, avoiding all eye contact possible with the stationed patrols. 

 

There was one at the door to the Inquisitor’s quarters, half asleep and not paying much mind.

 

“Er, excuse me…” she whispered.

 

“No intruders in the Inquisitor’s quarters at night, ma’am,” the man announced sleepily.

 

“Right. Right. Sorry,” Josephine, embarrassed for a different reason than expected, stepped back.

 

“Wait,” he blinked and squinted at her before straightening up quickly. “Sorry, Ambassador. I didn’t recognize you. You can enter, but they might be asleep by now.”

 

They . That word replayed on loop in Josephine’s head as she anxiously entered, walked the pathway to the second door, and knocked lightly. There was a quiet crash inside, followed by even quieter giggling, and then padded footsteps approached. As the doorknob turned, she was struck with the fear that Dorian might be the one opening the door, and the thought was almost enough to hurl herself off the balcony.

 

The door opened, and there was Trevelyan, flushed a soft pink from her freckled cheeks to her bosom, partially exposed from her low nightgown, her curly hair free and bushy, and a big smile on her face. Josephine felt faint.

 

“Josephine? What are you-? Here, come in!” Trevelyan was seemingly elated to see her and grabbed Josephine’s hand before she could say a word of protest.

 

“So sorry, I don’t mean to intrude, I can leave if you wish-” Josephine let herself be dragged up the stairs into Trevelyan’s room but braced herself for the sight of a sex-ravaged room. Instead, Dorian was sitting on her small desk much like Sera did to Josephine earlier that day, dressed in a dark cotton shirt and some sleeping pants - Tevinter, judging by the amount of lace and general tightness. He held a wine glass broken at the stem and raised it to her in greeting. The stem of said glass was shattered at his feet, though it seemed no one had plans of cleaning it up.

 

“Is something the matter, Lady Josephine?” Dorian asked, likely concerned by her presence so late. Yes, they definitely thought that, as Trevelyan was at a chest pulling out various daggers.

 

“Oh, no! Not at all, I was just here to…”

 

Josephine trailed off, not sure what to say. For a bard and an ambassador, Trevelyan had a talent for making her forget how to speak full sentences. She spared a glance at Dorian, who was grinning wildly. What did she just get herself into?

 

“Drink?” Dorian asked, nodding towards a bottle of a Tevinter red on Trevelyan’s nightstand. “We’re getting awfully good at it, ourselves.”

 

Trevelyan snorted and stood up from where she was hunched over the chest (which - thank the Maker she stood quickly, because that position only slipped her gown down further). 

 

“I don’t think we have another glass…” Trevelyan sighed. “Some host I am! We could share mine, if you want.” Dorian made a choked sound, but his hand not holding wine was clapped tight over his mouth.

 

“Oh, uh… yes, my lady. I don’t need to stay long, I truly don’t wish to intrude on you two.”

 

“No, please, stay!” Trevelyan all but pleaded as she topped off her (their) glass. “I’ve heard all of Dorian’s stories now, anyways.”

 

“Oh, not all of them, my love,” Dorian smirked. Trevelyan took a sip from the glass and handed it to Josephine. Dorian continued to Josephine. “And, we don’t do titles in here. Strictly not allowed.”

 

“Yes, very important,” Trevelyan’s eyes lit up. “We should make a sign that says it! We can put it-”

 

“-on the door! That will be tomorrow night’s project, yes?” Dorian finished for her. Trevelyan nodded excitedly. Josephine’s mind tried to focus on the “ my love ” from seconds ago, but all she could do was smile at the side of this woman she hadn’t seen before. A truly plastered Inquisitor.

 

“Sorry, Josie, did you come here for something? Other than our wonderful company, of course,” Trevelyan plopped stomach-first onto her bed. She propped her head up on her elbows and kicked her feet idly behind her. After catching Josephine’s watching eyes, she smiled kindly and patted the bed in invitation. Josephine found she couldn’t say no to that, and, with much more grace than Trevelyan, sat with her legs crossed next to her crush.

 

“Er - no. Nothing. I couldn’t sleep, is all,” It wasn’t entirely a lie. Trevelyan nodded sympathetically and tapped Josephine’s knee. 

 

“We know all about that,” Dorian sighed. “That’s how wine night became a thing in the first place.”

 

“It isn’t a wine night if it happens every night , Dori.”

 

“Impromptu wine night, then. If you’re thinking about it, you haven’t drank enough.”

 

Josephine took a small sip and passed the cup to Trevelyan, who took a much larger swig. It was good, actually. Dorian fondly - and loudly - raved about Tevinter’s spirits, and he wasn’t joking. 

 

“It’s rich… velvety, almost. Hints of Black Lotus?” Dorian looked more proud and more excited that Josephine had ever seen before. 

 

“Yes, exactly!” He exclaimed joyfully. “You should have been coming to wine night sooner! All Natasha said was ‘tastes like wine’. Preposterous, no?”

 

Josephine definitely believed that. Trevelyan was a gorgeous woman, but that all came naturally. The most effort she put into her appearance was gathering her hair when travelling. It wasn’t hard to believe that her taste in clothes transferred to her taste in drink, too.

 

“I mean, it does taste like wine. Are you going to tell me I’m wrong?” Dorian scoffed and met Josephine’s eyes in an expression of can-you-believe-this-bitch that made her giggle.

 

“How did this start? I’ve heard that you’ve been spending nights together often,” Josephine blanched. “I. I didn’t mean that to sound, um… You don’t have to answer that.” Dorian simply laughed in a way Josephine wasn’t sure was friendly.

 

“Again with the rumors… Mother Giselle has too much time on her hands,” Dorian punctuated his sentence with a drink. Trevelyan rolled onto her back to look up at Josephine. Her wild orange hair formed a crown behind her, a stark contrast to her white bed sheets, white dressing gown, and pale (though ruddy) skin.

 

“After returning from Redcliffe a few weeks ago, we’ve made a habit of drinking together. Not on purpose, but… things happen.” Trevelyan shuffled to the edge of the bed, letting her head dangle off to see Dorian. He nodded at her.

 

“My father sent for me to meet with his retainer in Redcliffe, but… Surprise, it was him. He wanted me to come home. To Tevinter. Another surprise.”

 

“I didn’t know you were close with your father,” Josephine remarked. Trevelyan and Dorian both barked out laughs.

 

“We are not . Trevelyan basically told him to fuck off, and we left. It wasn’t exactly easy to sit with, so… wine!”

 

Josephine nodded. It wasn’t clear as to why Dorian was so honest with her, but she was grateful for it. She liked Dorian, so being closer with him would be nice. Unsure if she missed something, she watched as Dorian glanced to Trevelyan hesitantly. Whatever Trevelyan’s face responded, it prompted Dorian to continue.

 

“This isn’t the most public knowledge, but if Natasha trusts you, so do I. I trust you’ve heard of my… preferences?” Josephine didn’t know what to say. With another look to Trevelyan, he expanded. “My romantic entanglements, we’ll say?”

 

Oh . That’s confirmation, then. They’re romantically entangled.

 

“Oh. Er. Yes.” Dorian nodded.

 

“Yes. In Tevinter… It’s not done. A man can want what he wants, but at the end of the day, he will marry how he should. To some unlucky bride in another powerful family. I refused. My father disagreed with my refusal. He…” Dorian finished the wine in his glass. “Tried to change me. With blood magic. I ran. I hadn’t seen him since…” Dorian shook his head.

 

“I don’t think I understand. You knew Natasha before the Inquisition?” This story didn’t make sense. Trevelyan was noble, why couldn’t he marry her? Was her lack of magic that important in Tevinter? What did “change” mean? How long have they been together?! Dorian seemed just as confused as she.

 

“...What?”

 

“You couldn’t marry her. In Tevinter,” Josephine filled in the gaps. Trevelyan sat up to stare at Josephine. Dorian’s mouth was open slightly, like he was trying to say something but the words wouldn’t come out.

 

“Wha… Her? ” Dorian skillfully replied, pointing emphatically at Trevelyan.

 

“I’m… missing something, it seems,” Josephine cleared her throat to fill the silence.

 

“Josephine…” Trevelyan started. “What do you think is happening here?”

 

“I’m clearly mistaken, I apologize. I believed the two of you were… involved.”

 

There was a heavy silence, and then Dorian and Trevelyan erupted at the same time, with the former laughing hysterically, and the latter remarking a loud “ew!”. They then both turned to each other sharply.

 

“‘Ew’?” Dorian sneered.

 

“What’s so funny about being with me, Dorian?” Trevelyan sniped.

 

“So… I was wrong. Apologies. Um. Yes,” Josephine took the wine from Trevelyan’s loose grasp and took a heftier sip than previously.

 

“I am only interested in men, Josephine. I assumed most of Skyhold would be well aware by now.”

 

“And… Josephine, I… You know I’m interested in women.”

 

“I perhaps thought you were just flirtatious with everyone, or interested in partners regardless of gender, like myself.” Dorian quirked an eyebrow.

 

“Oh?” Natasha flashed him her middle finger, all while keeping her gaze locked on Josephine.

 

“I mean… I suppose I’m friendly with people, but I’m only interested in women, Josephine. And I wouldn’t have been…” Trevelyan brought a hand to twist a strand of her hair. “I thought I made it clear I was interested in you, Josephine. I should have flirted harder.” Well aware of their audience, Josephine placed a hand on Trevelyan’s knee and squeezed gently.

 

“No, I thought you were. I just… I saw you and Dorian in the library this morning, and then Leliana said you spent the night together sometimes, and Sera - Sera was no help, and-”

 

“Dorian and I are friends, Josephine. Family, even. But never, ever , anything more.”

 

“Rude,” Dorian quipped.

 

“You know what, Dorian, you can actually leave! Thanks, though!” Trevelyan snarked. Dorian didn’t even twitch.

 

“I’d actually like to hear about this wild goose hunt you went on to find out if Nat was with someone.” Natasha flashed Josephine a wicked grin.

 

“Ooh, I wouldn’t mind hearing more about that either, actually!” Josephine stood from the bed and placed her glass on Trevelyan’s left nightstand. 

 

“It’s late, so I’ll just be going,” she stumbled out.

 

“No, no, I’ll make Dorian leave. Get out, Dori,” Trevelyan snapped at him and pointed to the door.

 

“No, genuinely, it is late,” Josephine found herself smiling. “But… We’ll talk tomorrow, my lady. Yes?” Trevelyan was beaming.

 

“Yes.”


“Goodnight to you both, then,” Josephine had just closed the door behind her when she heard uproarious laughter from inside, likely at her expense. But Trevelyan liked her, and no one else, and that meant one thing: Josephine was going to kill Leliana.