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Misadventures in Another World

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Everything felt like it was on fire, aching and twisting at my limbs. My torso. These were the first thoughts as I began to gain consciousness. Not really a pleasant thought, mind you. But it felt like I was chewed up and spit out for the birds to scavenge on. Maybe I was kicked by a horse and tossed off a cliff? Anything seemed possible at this point. It just hurt so much. 

"Uuughh...." I warbled, muffled by whatever my face was in. A hiss escaped my lips as I cracked an eye open cautiously, moving my head side to side to get a view. The light jabbed at my retinas, but the sun was warm and welcoming on my numbing face. Even so, it felt like there was a jackhammer inside of my skull.

'Seriously....what.... what the hell happened to me?' 

I was laying face first in the snow, it seemed. Somehow I'd belly flopped into the layer of fluff and it made my chest hurt, among other things. Or, more specifically, my boobs. I'd never been comfortable laying in this position with the oversized mounds of flesh on my chest. 

With an irritated grunt, I tried to remember how the fuck I'd even gotten myself into this predicament in the first place. 'I think I remember driving and....'


A blank, then flickers of a memory of me driving in a blizzard. Snowflakes danced across my vision as I'd flipped on the headlights to highbeams, hoping to see more. But it'd only proved to make visibility even worse. That's when I'd started to fishtail, I remember now. Rolling into the ditch--blank. My head throbbed as I tried to recall the events, a reminder that I'd probably hit my head against something. 

Not fun.

On account of the fact that I'd probably been ejected from my car? Hitting my head on the windshield didn't sound like such a far-fetched idea, at that point. Just my luck.

So I'd likely survived a rollover. It was a grim thought and I had yet to try and move the rest of my body. What if I broke my back?

I tried to move my arm, but it felt like I couldn't even move my fingers. They were stiff and would occasionally twitch on command but that's about it. I sighed and moved my head again, finally starting to feel the stinging bite of snow on my face. I was laying face down, I realized, as I slowly used my other arm to prop my body up and onto my side.

That didn't go over too well.

I grunted and simply allowed myself to fall onto my back, rolling over completely and staring at the sky above. A few soft puffy clouds floated by lazily. The sunlight cast warm rays of light across my cold face, making me sigh. The sun was in the middle of the sky. My left arm felt like it was going to fall off, so I sat still for a moment and waited for the pain to subside.

"Shit..." I breathed, seeing the mist form just in front of my face from my hot breath. I'm alive.That's a good thing, I suppose.

What else was there? 

Why had I been driving in whiteout blizzard conditions? I hardly ever risked my health (Let alone my baby, RIP little car.), being the rather cautious person I was. It was extremely frustrating, knowing that you'd rolled your prized first car into the ditch and didn't even know why. I know I had been angry, which wasn't all that surprising, but beyond that my memory seemed lost to me.

My forehead started to ache, reminding me of huge knot that was likely sitting on my head. Great. That would explain why my left eye was hard to open. Said knot was probably above my eye somewhere, which worried me. I gently brushed the wound with my fingers, instantly rewarded with a throbbing pain.

"Unng, this is brilliant..." I threw my hand down and propped myself into a seated position. The dizziness was almost overwhelming, causing me to turn over and start to retch. Nothing really came up, which gave me the idea that I hadn't really eaten much before my little escapade. "Whatever....ugh... I need to get up. Come on, just get up." 

The nausea that followed was not pretty, but as soon as my dry heaves subsided I looked up and began to search for my car. My poor little red car. I was just as attached to my car as I had been to my dog, and I had to bite back a wave of tears at the thought of what it must look like after rolling into the ditch. Not only that, but my glasses were nowhere in sight. That made things so much more difficult, seeing as how I was practically blind as a bat without them. I could see things that were close, but not far away.

"This couldn't really get much worse, could it?" Was a sarcastic sentence that flowed out of my mouth, a bland tone. Done with this shit already as I eased myself into a crouched position.

Never say that, because it really can get much worse.

I paled when I realized that I'd been laying in the middle of a snowy field. Not a track in sight. Well, not that I could see anyway. Everything was kind of blurry. The snow wasn't even that deep, just above the ankles. Thankfully I was wearing my workboots. One small victory. No sign of my car. I should at least be able to see my car. It should be like a beacon in this white washed terrain. The wind only whistled by, as if a reminder of how alone I really was. 

But there was nothing.

I whipped my head back and forth, eyes frantically scanning the environment but only see my travel bag sitting at my feet. Still no glasses. My wavy shoulder-length hair was likely a mess, judging by how the rust colored locks were falling all over my face. My dark brown eyes narrowed in irritation.

'Where am I and where the hell is my car?!' I wanted to scream in frustration, but simply took a step toward my bag – only to have a sharp pain send me to my knees. I grunted upon contact with the snow, hearing nothing else aside from the chirps of the birds in the distance. No cars, no horns, no music, nothing.

I was injured and stuck in the middle of fucking nowhere. All feelings of relief from being alive swiftly left me and was replaced with a sense of dread. If I wasn't dead before, I'll surely be soon enough. I clenched my eyes shut and groaned, throwing my head skyward. I really hated my life, sometimes.

Perhaps if I could find a house or town nearby I could call my mother? I felt anger at the thought of my mother, which made me pause. We were always fighting and arguing, but at that moment I felt like I wanted to punch her in the face. Huh.

Shrugging with one arm, I used my good arm to drag the bag toward myself. I eased it painfully over and onto my bad shoulder (all the while, I was groaning and biting back screams) and secured it onto my back. It hurt, yeah, but I wasn't about to just drag it around. Once it was on my back, I let out a breath I didn't even know I was holding. My body was shaking from the white hot pain that was coming from my shoulder.

One step at a time, Lyn.

I started to look around again, taking note of the fact that the area I was in had no tracks. Check. I'd noticed that earlier, but how had I gotten over here? I couldn't have flown that far from the car. I look up into the sky again, to perhaps check how late into the day it was, but noticed a swirling mass of clouds in the distance. Or at least I thought it was clouds. I squinted a little, but I couldn't tell. It had it's own light source. Green light, which to me looked like a big blurry green blob. My first thought?


I know, stupid right?

My expression dropped and I momentarily forgot about the pain I was feeling at all. Fear replaced the pain I'd been feeling and I could feel the adrenaline already as my fight or flight instincts kicked into gear. My brown eyes widened and I could feel the blood drain from my face. Well, I certainly couldn't fight a bomb could I? 

There was a fucking hole in the sky.

A giant glowing green hole.

What the actual fuck?

"Holy shit, what the fffuuuu-!!!" I screeched and started off in the opposite direction. My first thoughts were that there was a bomb going off, which didn't make sense since there was no flash of light or loud noises. But my fear filled thoughts overrode logic and I was stuck stumbling in the opposite direction.

"Hey hey! Are you alright over there?" I heard a woman call from the distance, voice echoing over the empty field, but I payed her no heed.

My feet wouldn't stop as I continued in the direction I was going, a small trail coming into view in the distance. The trail had a crumbling stone fence of some sort beside it, giving me the impression that the trail was actually a road. My boots clomped into the snow as I barreled onward without thinking. From an outsiders perspective, it probably looked comical trying to run/power waddle through the deep snow. I was always kinda chunky and I just couldn't seem to pick up speed with my injuries and large backpack. 

A dip in the fence. I aimed to hop over it, but mid-jump my legs locked up and muscles seized – refusing me to go any further. This was probably because of my injuries, which I couldn't even feel at the moment. Or maybe it was because I was never good at athletic feats, anyway. As small as they may be.

I toppled over the rocks in the most ungraceful manner possible, sending myself flying face first onto the dirty trail. I could see mud and slush as I pulled up both arms to cushion my fall. I hit the ground pretty hard, seeing as how I was carrying something so heavy.

I knew bad luck ran in my family...

My bad arm screamed in protest, which in turn made me let out a howl of pain. Tears filled my eyes as I bit my lip to shut myself up. Oh I was definitely feeling the pain now. Adrenaline or not, I probably just made it much worse.

Stifled laughter could be heard not far away, along with footsteps running in my direction.

"Didja see the look on her face? Funny, yeah?" The owner of the voice was a younger woman, from the sounds of it. She was still giggling some ways back.

"What are you running from?" Another woman asked from beside me, when did she get here? I didn't even hear her approach as I let out a pained groan.

"Fuckin hell, man. Can't you give me a break!" I yelled as I tried to force myself into a standing position, anger evident on my features. My good hand is covered in slush and mud as I did so. Well, the entire front of my body is covered in it, but that was beside the point. I was finally crouched again, attempting to ignore how broken my body felt and failing might I add. I was just sitting there panting like I'd run a marathon. It wasn't even that far of a sprint and I was already out of breath. Jeez, I needed to exercise more. 

"Shit, man. Look at her face." I heard someone comment, I spat out the dirt in my mouth and peeked around. My teeth felt all gritty from the dirt and sand likely clogging my mouth at that moment. "What'ja do kid, get into a fight with a Druffalo?"

Druffalo... did he mean buffalo? I blinked up at the rather short man standing behind the woman at my side. He made his way closer to me and I noticed how darn short he was. I'd never seen a midget before, so I tried not to let it show on my face. Last thing I needed was angry midgets trying to beat me up. My classmate in college had gotten his ass handed to him by a gang of midgets before while he was drunk, so I knew they weren't to be trifled with.

I was on my knees and he was barely taller than me by maybe a foot. He stood there staring at me, expecting an answer, as he hefted the rather large crossbow in his arms.

"Uhhh..." I slowly looked up at the woman above me, the sunlight making it hard to see her features. She held out a hand to me, in which I assumed was to help me to my feet. I gladly accepted, with my good arm, and stood up beside her. She didn't even seem bothered that I'd dirtied her hand with all of that mud and slush on my palm.

The woman had shoulder-length wavy hair, just like me. Her facial features were very delicate looking, making her look very feminine. We were the same height, I noted as I nodded my thanks to her. I also ignored the fact that we could pass as sisters, that was irrelevant.

"Apologies, I've had a rough day." I conceded in a rather dull tone.'That's putting it lightly...'

"Was there a reason why you were running and screaming...?" Her accent sounded oddly European, or English. Hell I didn't know. Which confused me for a second. Another thing I've never really encountered. Living in Northern Minnesota, it wasn't exactly a tourist destination. I thought about her question for a second, my eyes widening in alarm.

"A bomb! Fu-" I looked up at the hole in the sky again, which had been momentarily forgotten, and screeched in alarm. "We're gonna fucking die! Is there a bomb shelter nearby, because-" I was about to take off, before two small hands held me in place.

"Wait, are you talking about the breach?" The man from before asked, walking beside the wispy looking woman who held me in place. Her hands were gentle, as if trying to calm down a skittish horse. Her big gray eyes were focused on me, trying to tell me not to freak out. I could faintly hear the woman saying 'Hey' or 'It'll be alright.' in a soft tone, but I kept shaking and trying to back away.

"T-the what? Bre-e-ach?" My voice shook as I asked, confused and quivering with anxiety. It didn't seem like this breach in the sky was an immediate threat, so I was forced to focus on the situation at hand.

'It's alright, they don't seem too shocked by the thing in the sky. I'll be fine. I'll be fine.' I repeated to myself as I started to breathe deeply. Breathing still hurt, but God damn it this is the only way I knew to calm down. My heart was still racing as I looked at the small group in front of me. The people in the back were blurry, but I could make out a bald male and a blonde woman. There was the midget to the left of the woman in front of me and – My eyes darted to the other figure, which was stalking up to me with an angry expression on her face.

Said woman had a pixie cut hairstyle and all the confidence in the world as her hands were on what looked to be a sword hilt strapped to her side. The expression on her face was enough to send me into a panic all over again. She looked like she wanted to cut me.

Why the hell were these people carrying swords? Crossbows? My vision focused from my blurry panic and I took notice to some much finer details. The frail looking woman in front of me, trying to calm me down, had two daggers (or swords, I didn't know) strapped to her back. There were faint white tattoos on her lightly tanned face, spanning across her cheeks that reminded me of branches. The midget was carrying a loaded crossbow, which was held in a way that told me he was being cautious. Of me. If the expression on his face was anything to go by.


My fear must have showed up on my face, because the spindly woman hushed me.

"It's alright, we aren't going to hurt you." She soothed, but I was having none of it.

"T-That's what they all say! Then they cut you to itty bitty pieces and stick you in the freezer. The fuck are you guys carrying swords around for?" My mouth ran a lot when I was panicked or fearful. It's like word vomit and I couldn't stop it. I hardly ever got scared or panicked. Always one for a level head and calm demeanor. Not so much, today. Give me a break, none of this shit made sense.

"Herald, you should step away from the girl." The woman with the black pixie cut warned as she unsheathed her sword. Her voice was gruff and I could tell she meant business. The scars on her face told me she'd been in a fair amount of fights and I wasn't about to push my luck. I let out a squeak and started to back away. I was half blind, outnumbered, unarmed, and injured. Fuck my life.

My mind went into overdrive as I swiftly took inventory. I always carried a hunting knife in my jacket, for obvious reasons. Walking in the woods was always relaxing and you never know when an animal might show up or something happens. A knife is always good to have. It wasn't that big, but it's better than nothing. But I knew that pulling it out would mean an instant death. The way these people held themselves gave me the impression they knew what they were doing.

"Now now, Cassandra, I don't think she's much of a threat. See? She's unarmed." The 'Herald' motioned with her thin little arms. I'd backed away from her, out of arms reach. I didn't like that she snuck up on me like that. I didn't like that she touched me. I didn't trust her. Or them. None of this seemed right. She turned her head toward the Cassandra woman and smiled.

It was then that I saw her pointy ears sticking out of her rusty colored hair. The hell was this, an anime convention?

"E-elf?" I whispered and cocked my head to the side in question. They looked so real. Her ears, I mean. I couldn't even see where the plaster might have began, or whatever it was that they used to make their ears so pointy. The woman looked back at me and her eyebrow rose as if to say 'yeah, got a problem?'. I shook my head and started to back away some more. These people are just crazy cosplayers. Yeah. That explained the odd choice in clothing – er – armor and medieval weaponry.

"L-Look, guys. Can you just tell me where the nearest town is so I can just be on my way? Yeah?" I nervously replied, eying the weapons that were drawn. Every one of them, except the Herald lady, had them out as they examined me with cautious eyes. I took note that there were two other people behind this group. They were off to the side. I still couldn't make out any finer details to those people but the bald male had a large stick or pole in his hand while the other blonde girl held what I think was a bow. The one with the bow was holding it lazily at her side with no arrow out. She almost seemed amused, with the way her head was tilted with a big lopsided grin on her face.

"She's a little too close to Haven for my liking. Definitely doesn't look like a refugee, look at her clothes." Cassandra observed, stalking toward me. "Who are you?" She growled, which made me pale as I turned to run in the other direction.

"Fuck! Shit! F-" I was cut off by a yank on my backpack. I could have sworn I was lifted into the air and dragged back toward the group. My shoulder jolted in pain and I let out a wail. "God damn it, let me go!" I screamed as I flailed about, not really making my injured body any better.

I was promptly thrown onto the ground again, landing on my bad arm. I screeched in pain and rolled onto my other side. While I lay there curling up in pain with my hand on my shoulder, I let out a feral sounding growl and glared the best I could at Cassandra.

"Lady Lavellan, I believe the girl may be injured." I heard a smooth male voice call from the back and soft footsteps approached.

"You just said you wouldn't hurt me! Here you are throwin' me around like a damn sack of potatoes!" I yelled in protest from my place on the ground. I wanted to kick that short-haired woman for just tossing me around like that. The hell did I do to deserve this? I knew that would be a bad idea, however, since she had a big pointy object while I had nothing.

"Well that one is obvious, Chuckles. Are you blind? Look at her face." The midget, again, commented on my face. It really must've looked ugly.

God damn it. I wasn't exactly known for having good looks. I was quite plain, honestly. Round boyish face and light freckles. Extremely average. But now with this big knot on my head, which was making it increasingly harder to see, I was silently wondering if I'd have a huge scar.

I wasn't vain, by any means, but I did take a little pride in the fact that I had a relatively clear complexion. I wanted to groan.

The man the midget referred to as Chuckles sighed, probably from the ridiculous nickname, and came forward. I only saw his feet, at first, because I was still on the ground. I peered up and saw the bald dude staring down at me with a frown on his face.

"Can you take a look at her, Solas?" The Herald asked, looking over at the man. He simply nodded and crouched down to help me up. Baldy was an elf, too. Well how 'bout that.

"We must first get her to a dryer area." Chuckles (or Solas, but Chuckles sounds funnier) replied as he lead me down the road a ways and sat me down on a boulder. He helped me remove my bag, much to my pain, and set it beside me on the ground. Was he a nurse or something? I tilted my head in question and was about to ask, but someone spoke.

"You cannot be serious." Cassandra butted in, sounding almost disgusted with the idea of helping me. I was wondering what the hell it was that I did to piss this lady off. I was used to not being liked, sure, but that usually happened after they met me and realized how much of a sarcastic ass I was. I huffed and looked away, my heart rate slowing down. I wasn't going to let my guard down, though. Miss Stabby might do me in if I wasn't careful.

"Contrary to what you might believe," I started as I looked back up to the gruff woman, "Stabbing people doesn't solve all of your problems."

"Girl's got a point." Midget put in with a sort of lopsided grin on his face as he observed me.

She simply scowled at me with her sword still drawn. I saw a green light envelope me for mere seconds before I blinked in surprise, the warmth I'd felt making me almost jump off of the wall.

"What was that?" I looked around to find the source, but only found the serious face of Chuckles as he stared back at me.

Have you ever had your shoulder reset from being dislocated? It was possibly the most unpleasant feeling ever. Well, unpleasant being a complete fucking understatement. I could have sworn I heard my shoulder make a loud popping noise as he did so. I could most definitely feel my joint or my bones grinding against one another, causing my vision to go fuzzy.

I screeched in pain.

It seemed I was screeching and groaning in pain a lot, today.

"S-Solas!" I could faintly hear the Herald yell, but my screeching drowned her out.

"Calm." He simply replied, as I breathed heavily. I felt the familiar warmth again as my pain ebbed away and the spots in my vision receded. "She had a dislocated shoulder, is all."

I clenched my teeth to keep myself from whimpering like a kicked dog. I was not expecting that. Chuckles pulled out what looked to be a vial and held it out to me.

"Just drink half of this later after you've got that cleaned out." He motioned his hand toward my wound on my face, "Then take the other half in the morning, you should be better by tomorrow."

"T-Tomorrow? The hell's in this thing?" My eyes widened as I took the odd looking vial. It seemed to have a syrupy looking liquid in it. He seemed almost confused, as if I should know what the thing in my hand was. But I didn't.

"A dislocated shoulder? Please don't tell me you actually got into a fight with a Druffalo." Midget seemed more relaxed, his crossbow aimed at the ground now. The female elf in the back, with the bow, giggled evilly.

"I crashed, actually."

"Crashed?" He raised a brow, seemingly confused (and oddly almost disappointed).

"Yeah... I was driving my c-car-" I sneezed loudly, accidentally spraying Chuckles in the process. The young woman in the back was really cracking up, now. Said bald elf looked beyond pissed as he wiped his face off. His eye had this almost psychotic twitch for a second before it was gone, like it was never there. I thought he was going to hit me with his stick there for a second. "Apologies." I offered in the most unapologetic tone ever, seeing him nod and get up.

He grunted as he stood up, walking in the other direction as he continued to wipe his face off. I shivered, looking up at the group.

"It's whateves, really need to get me some ale. After all of that demoney business, gonna have nightmares for weeks. Eugh! You guys can handle an unarmed civilian, yeah?" The young blonde elf waved as she jogged by and on down the road, her bow strapped to her back. I sighed through my nose and flicked my eyes toward the rest of them. Midget seemed indifferent to my presence now while Chuckles sat in the back with a carefully blank look on his face.

Now I felt oddly indebted to these people, since their nurse guy fixed my arm. My eye twitched, realizing that is probably what their ulterior motive was. Everyone always had ulterior motives. I would know, I've run into many people that have tried to use me or manipulate me. I've learned to just expect it by now. Just my luck that I'd wake up and run into a group of crazies.

Fricken hell.

Chapter Text

The next thing I knew I was being hauled by the scruff of my jacket toward this 'Haven' place. Cassandra wasn't happy at first, but finally conceded after a few words from the Herald lady. The Herald seemed like a really nice person, but I'd known people to be real nice at first. You'd let your guard down and that's when they'd strike. Trusting people only got you hurt, so I didn't see myself trusting these people anytime soon.

I'd assumed we were headed to their cosplay convention or something, but as we neared the walls I began to realize just how wrong I was. The walls were high and surrounded by tents and people. Lots of people. Or, rather, soldiers. Except these soldiers weren't in the usual uniform I was used to. They were running around in full plate armor, sometimes leather armor. It was baffling. The stuff they were wearing didn't look cheap, either. Armor like that was hard to come by nowadays. I was stuck with my brows furrowed (which hurt the knot on my head) as I thought about where the hell I could be.

"Keep moving." Cassandra's harsh tone sounded from behind me as she shoved me forward. I grunted and sent a glare back at her, but otherwise kept my mouth shut. Chuckles and Midget (who I'd learned was named Varric) had left ahead and into the town they referred to as Haven after they'd determined I was no longer a threat.

They'd also confiscated my hunting knife, after I admitted I had it. Cassandra walked behind me, sword still drawn, and the Herald walked right beside me. She'd been sending me apologetic glances the whole trek back.

Whatever Chuckles had done back there left me with my arm fully functional. It still hurt, sure. But I was actually able to move it, now. For that, I was silently grateful. I didn't want to see what my face looked like right now, though. I felt the dried blood on the side of my face, which informed me that I had some cuts I needed to get cleaned.

As we neared the gate to Haven, I was overcome with a sense of familiarity. Almost as if I'd been here before. Which was crazy, really. I'd never set foot in this place in my life, I'd remember right? The walls were massive! It was set next to a frozen pond (or lake), soldiers in armor sparring out in front. Metal clanging on metal greeted my ears as we slowly ambled by, snow crunching beneath our feet. One man stood, seemingly directing them or correcting them when need be. His armor was different, and shinier, having some type of fluffy object that draped over his shoulders. Absolutely fabulous.

After seeing so many people, I realized just how out of place I was. I thought the small group that confronted me was dressed weird, it seemed to be a norm around here. That was a frightening thought. Now, I'd always been the black sheep. The odd one out. But this was almost ridiculous. My gray cargo pants were baggy on me and my fluffy black jacket (which was just an oversized zip up sweater, really). I was also wearing a gray striped long sleeve underneath this sweater, so I wasn't exactly cold.

It also didn't get passed me that I was also the biggest person I'd seen, so to say. There were always tubby people around wherever I went, but nearly everyone I saw wasn't even as close to as full of figure as I was. The thought made me pout a little.

Though said fluffiness did, in fact, give me some benefits. Such as contributing to keeping me warm in such cold weather. Unfortunately it didn't seem to help much now that I was all wet and consequently freezing my ass off. But still. 

"Sooooo." I tried for the third time since they started to drag me off, I peered over at Cassandra. "I know your name is Cassandra. What about you?" I then looked over at the Herald, "They only refer to you as... Herald. Herald of what, I don't know. Don't care. I'd like to know your name."

'I want to know the name of my captors. Since I am being forced around as I am.' Went completely unsaid. I tried my best to smile, but it probably looked kind of creepy. Never was good at smiling. The Herald didn't seem to mind. If anything she almost brightened at my question of her name.

"Linalli Lavellan." She replied, her gray eyes twinkling. "I prefer being called Lynn, though, if you'd please."

My eyes widened, 'Heh. Odd coincidence.'

"R-right... Nice to meet you, Lynn. My name is... also Lyn." I drawled. Her big eyes blinked for a second, before she let out a laugh. I remained stoic as she continued to laugh, then it toned down to a giggle. Then she stopped.

"O-oh, you're serious?" Her tone of voice sounded almost baffled for a second, delicate fingers covering her lips. Though her smile remained.

"Yes, I'm afraid so. Shortened from Lynnette, actually."

"I've never heard anyone else with the same nickname, how odd!"

"She could be lying." Cassandra butted in as we entered the gates to Haven, the archway so tall I had to crane my neck to see. I slowly looked back down and met the angry warrior's gaze with a blank look of my own, "We don't know who she is. What she is, for that matter."

"The hell do you have against me, woman?" I snapped back, trying my utmost hardest not to flail my arms angrily. "Usually people hate me after they meet me and find out how much of an ass I am. But you... you hated me from the start. Why?"

"I saw the tracks, where you ran from. They appeared out of nowhere. Almost like you teleported." She growled out accusingly, pulling out her sword again. 'Shing!' She then pointed it in my direction, making my body tense. "Tell me what you are! Demon? Apostate!?"

Her voice was starting to attract attention, which was making me nervous. One yelling lunatic was enough, but a dozen? Some of the people around us started to whisper, as we stood at the entrance of Haven. Please don't tell me these people actually believed her.

"Is there a problem here, Herald?" A man asked as he came into my line of vision. It was the man from earlier, with the fluffy contraption on his shoulders. He had short blonde hair with a scar just over his lip. Seemed like the typical dude any girl would fall for – tall, blonde and handsome. My gaze turned flat. Was he just going to allow this crazy woman to wave her sharp ass sword in my face? Lynn, the Herald, held up her hand as if to tell him to wait.

"Is this true?" The Herald asked of me, looking directly into my eyes. I looked between her and Cassandra, blinking confusedly. They can't be serious.

"I woke up … in the snow." I spoke slowly, as if to a child, "In that field. I didn't... teleport."

I tried to glare, but it looked more like I was squinting. I was also shivering … and not just from the cold. I was afraid the woman was about to cut my face off. What's next, are they going to accuse me of being a witch and burn me at the stake?

"No one appears out of nowhere like that. You've got to be a mage! An apostate!" Damn. I was close on the 'witch' part. I started to laugh, a low chuckle at first. Then it slowly grew into an almost hysterical sounding cackle. In hindsight, my almost horse-like way I laughed in her face was probably sort of rude. But that didn't seem to matter as my stomach began to hurt from said laughter.

"A mage." That was when it started to sound even more hysterical, the thought was absurd! "Y-You think...I'm a mage?"

I asked the question between chuckles. Her angered look turned sour, if at all possible. Lynn seemed confused as she examined me, as if I'd hop around and start doing magic tricks right on the spot. I wiped away a stray tear that gathered on the side of my eye, and I sighed.

"Mages aren't real." I finally conceded after I'd finished laughing, "You people are crazy."

Cassandra's expression dropped and she seemed confused. Her sword, which was previously pointed at my head, was now aimed at the ground. The man with the fluff seemed just as confused, if not more so, than Cassandra was. I was now being looked at like I had grown a second head.

"She must've hit her head harder than we thought..." I knew that tone of voice. My eyes snapped toward Lynn, who was looking at me with pity in her eyes. I swallowed the urge to snap back at her or start growling in frustration. I hated it when people pitied me.

"I'm afraid so." Cassandra sheathed her weapon. "We should still question her, find out where she's from. Who she is... for that matter."

The Herald nodded in agreement and grabbed my arm. I flinched from the contact and tried to pull away, not liking being touched. I always hated that. She looked back and smiled at me, but gently led me deeper into Haven.

We passed a row of tents and I saw Varric sitting nearby cleaning his crossbow. He offered a wave in our direction, but I had no idea who he was waving at – me or the Herald? I just blinked and looked forward, toward our destination. We walked up some stairs here and there, a dirt path led the way toward a rather large building. The largest one in the town, in fact. I blinked in amazement, seeing how tall the building was. It was made out of really old looking brick, which you definitely don't see everyday. Everything around here looked so much different and it was starting to scare me. The scariest part was, the air seemed cleaner. Which gave me the impression I wasn't on Earth anymore. I've been places with less people, less pollution. But this... the air here seemed so fresh.

I was more than just scared. I was terrified.

I wasn't about to let that drag me down, though. There had been many times in my life where I had been scared shitless, but not once had I ever let that stop me. Sure I'd cower for a little bit, hide from my problems for a little while. But I'm at that point in my life now, at 21 years old, that I realized that cowering and hiding never solved anything. So I just go with the flow.

Hopefully that works out.

I was lost in my thoughts as I was being led by the Herald as they talked about their... mission? Something about Therinfal something. Then something else about templars. I wasn't really paying much attention. I had no reason to. We entered the ancient looking building and walked into an impressive hall. People could be seen standing around, chatting. I paid them no mind, not wanting to draw attention to myself, and focused on my feet. The soft carpet in the middle of the grand hall passed by slowly beneath my boots. Cassandra was still behind me as she lead me over and pushed me against the wall at the far end, next to the big door.

"You are to stay here. Once we are done briefing them, we will have a little chat." She explained, giving me her no-nonsense look. I blinked slowly and nodded, trying to keep a straight face. Cassandra opened the door and entered, followed by blondie (Mr Fluff) and Miss Lavellan. As the wavy haired elf entered, she looked my way and offered a smile.

If it was meant to comfort me, it didn't. I swallowed my anxiety and heard the door slam shut. It also didn't escape my notice that Cassandra had taken my bag in with them.

After a few minutes of waiting, and hearing them argue a bit behind the door (you'd think they'd try to soundproof the thing), I started to fidget around. I really needed some clean water and a cloth. The blood on the side of my face was starting to itch, along with my wound. If I didn't get it cleaned up fast, it would start to get infected. My eyes flicked to the scar on my arm just below my left elbow, remembering how the large wound had gotten infected. Infections were no joke.

I heard some clattering on the other side of the door and yells. Could have sworn I heard something along the lines of 'Demon!' or 'He's not what you think he is!' but I brushed it off as normal. My eyebrow twitched. 'They seem to think everything is demonic or evil. What is with these people?'

"'ll be fine." I faintly heard the Herald say to them, I kicked the floor with my boot and sighed. I had a feeling their meeting might take awhile, not that I was complaining. The longer they took, the longer it was until my potential doom. I peeked down at the rug that was at my left, in front of the door and spanning the great hall.

"Where'd he go!?"

"Don't worry, he does that."

It had to have been about a half hour now, because someone had gone and fetched Chuckles for the meeting in the room. What they were talking about, I didn't know. I sighed, looking at the door. Please keep talking. I needed to think of a way out of here. I had a feeling there weren't phones anywhere nearby, which solidified my theory that I wasn't anywhere I should feasibly even be.

"Watching. Waiting. 'I shouldn't be here. I don't belong.'" A soft voice spoke from my right. I swore I jumped two feet into the air, what is it with people and sneaking up on me?! I bit back a shriek and snapped my eyes over toward the owner of the voice.

I growled in warning.

A taller, lanky boy wearing dirty leather clothing stood beside me. Blonde hair draped over his eyes. He also seemed to be hiding underneath a ridiculously large hat. Well, boy  would hardly be the right term. More like awkward young man. Yeah. Said person tilted his head to the side in question. I didn't speak. I didn't know what to say, really. I wasn't even sure if I was allowed to speak to anyone, with the way Cassandra was treating me earlier. Was he going to hurt me too?

"I don't want to hurt you. I want to help you." He stated, as if it were obvious. How was I to know? The Herald promised I wouldn't get hurt, but I got tossed around like a sack of potatoes anyway. The blonde shook his head at me, as if disagreeing. Had I said that aloud? I blinked, that couldn't be right. "The fear inside of you. It curls, tightens. Makes it hard to breathe. Hard to think. You think they'll hurt you too, just like everyone else did. But they won't."

"I can't be sure of that..." I finally spoke, looking up at the awkward dude. He certainly had an odd way of speaking, but it didn't bother me all that much. He just kept staring at me, blue eyes seemingly staring straight through my soul. I observed his features and couldn't help but feel like I'd seen him somewhere before. "D..Do we know eachother?" I asked softly.

"No." But I was almost certain I'd seen him. Now that I think of it, Cassandra and the Herald looked familiar too. I felt like I was missing something. A piece of my memory was gone, just like the memory of why I'd been driving in that blizzard. I squinted.

"I've seen you before, I'm certain." I sighed and looked away toward the entrance of the main hall. The door was open, as if inviting me. Tempting me to run. But then again, I could always try to lie my way out of the situation. Not that I was particularly fond of the idea. It went against my morals. My aunt always told me -

"The truth will set you free."

My eyes widened, looking around for the boy. But I found nothing. Almost as if he'd never been there to begin with. It creeped me the fuck out.

"How the-" I took a few steps ahead of me, peeking into the room and seeing an empty office. I walked a ways to the left room, seeing an empty room. The nearest people were on the other end of the hall, still conversing or busy cleaning something up.

I brought my arms up and held myself, feeling cold all of a sudden. I wasn't sure what to feel. Was he just a figment of my imagination? Or perhaps the people around here were ninjas. Yeah. Nothing ever made sense since the crash.

What if I was dead?

I started breathing heavily. What if I really was dead? What if the crash had killed me, and this was my soul's way of trying to get me to pass on? I'd always liked fantasy games based in the past with swords and bows, armor and horses. Better yet, dragons. God I hope there were no dragons here.

Perhaps I was here on some sort of sick self gratifying vision/journey to help me get over whatever had happened in my past life? The people in my culture believed in such things, since I was Ojibwe/Chippewa, but I did not. I always thought 'visions' was just a term to make 'dreams' sound all mystical and shit. My ancestors would roll over in their graves if they knew what I was thinking.

I choked back a laugh, realizing my eyes were watering. I didn't let my tears fall though as I blinked them away. God this was all a mess. I highly doubted I was dead, judging by how much my injuries hurt. If you're dead, do you still feel pain?


Even through all of this, I still felt lighter. Less anxious. Everything will be okay...

I did some breathing exercises to calm myself down for a few minutes, and as if on cue the door creaked open at my side. The Herald peeked her head out and nodded in my direction, motioning for me to come in. I took a deep breath and steeled myself for what was to come. Solas made his way out, not even acknowledging me as he passed. I'd even tried to wave, but nope. Assmunch.

As I gradually eased myself into the room, careful not to move too far from the door. Just in case. There weren't many people in here, thank God, as I looked around and studied their expressions. To the left of the door, which was now closed, Cassandra stood eying me warily. Three others stood surrounding a big table in the middle of the room.

A woman with shiny chainmail with a blue hood and short cropped red hair was looking at me with a calculating stare. She wasn't outright glaring at me, no, but I could tell she was sizing me up. The fluffy man from earlier was next, straight across from me, observing the stuff on the table in front of him. Then to the right of the table a rather fancily dressed tanned woman with curly black hair held some type of clipboard with a candle on the top.

Wonderful. I had always hated being the center of attention, but with what Cassandra had said who could blame them? I did, after all, appear out of nowhere in the middle of the field. Or, at least, I think I did. Trying to see things from their perspective, I realized how fishy it seemed. A random woman, dressed oddly, appears screeching and running for her life. It also appeared as though this was a rather small town that didn't get many visitors. I sighed.

I also assumed the thing in the sky had everyone on edge, if the snippets of conversation I'd heard on my way up here was anything to go by.

The Herald, who was standing in front of me, cleared her throat and motioned toward the big table in front of me. It was pretty good craftsmanship and made out of nice wood, I noted offhandedly. I then saw what was on top of the table. A map, for one, but my things were strewn about all over the table and covering most of it. My bag lay abandoned off to the side near the woman with the hood. I would have asked for their names, but I had a feeling this was more like an interrogation. No interrogation I knew of had pleasant introductions and never really ended well. I gulped.

"Care to explain some of this?" Lynn asked nicely, "These are your things, yes?"

"That is correct." I nodded in affirmation, taking a cautious step forward. I looked at her for permission. She nodded, allowing me to get a closer look.

I couldn't really remember everything I packed, so I was silently hoping nothing out of the ordinary was laying on that table. The first thing I noticed was a black case, making my eyes light up. I just about jumped to grab it, but froze as I heard the sound of a sword being pulled out of it's sheathe. Slowly turning my head, I saw Cassandra (surprise) holding it out but not at me.

"My glasses. I can't see without them." I explained shortly, "May I?"

She seemed to think for a moment but nodded, still keeping her sword ready. I picked up the case and opened them, just about crying in relief at the sight of my black plastic framed glasses. Swiftly grabbing them, I unfolded them and put them on my face. I was finally able to see clearly. It was an old prescription, but it would do. Not much had changed, but their procedure was to replace my glasses every few years or so. I let out a sigh and looked at everything else on the table, ignoring the odd looks I was getting from the people in the room.

"The material your clothing is made out of is rather high quality." The tanned woman to my right observed, holding one of my shirts in one of her delicate hands. Her accent sounded odd, I'd never heard it before. She then looked over at Lavellan. "The stitching is marvelous. After we've talked to her, if you'd be so kind, could I question about the tailor or merchant she acquired it from?"

"We don't even know if she's from around here." The hooded redhead stated, her voice sounded really feminine. Pretty.

"These are some pretty odd patterns." I heard the blonde fluffy man grumble, making me look in his direction. I saw him staring down at something in his hands and I fought to keep a blush from forming on my face.

He was holding a pair of my underwear.

My favorite pair, to be completely honest. They were spotted and of different colors of the rainbow. Which was obviously something you don't see often around here. Well, I'd assume so. Don't judge. I don't like wearing colors, but no one sees my underwear... so who cares? God damn it, didn't they know what underwear were?! I was thoroughly embarrassed, which must have caught the attention of the redhead.

"Is something the matter?" She asked, not sounding concerned at all. I looked at her, then back at the blonde man.

"What is this?" He asked, holding it up for everyone to see.

"That's uhh. What do you guys call it here...? They are..." I fumbled, motioning to my crotch area with my little fingers. "Under clothes?"

It took a few seconds, but he let them go as if he'd been burned and stuttered out an apology. I put my hand on my face, shaking my head. Of all the people... the only man in the room and he grabs my underwear. What'd I say about bad luck running in the family again? I let out an exasperated sigh.

"Well, these are obviously my clothes." I explained, seeing a few shirts and jeans folded near the tanned woman. Who, might I add, was still looking at them like they were gems. A few bras were also placed near the stack, thankfully away from blondie. I looked and in the middle of the table sat a bottle of shampoo and bar of soap. I pointed at it.

"That's my soap right there, don't remember packing it but that's cool." I noted offhandedly. "I'm sure you guys know what a comb is..." I mentioned, flicking my eyes over the only comb I had. Then there was a box, which held some granola bars and next to it sat a bottle of honey. "That's my food stash, for … just in case."

Feeling the need to elaborate, I continued. "In case my blood sugars get low. I'm pre-diabetic and if I don't eat all day I could end up hurting myself. Or worse." I shrugged.

They obviously didn't know what diabetes was, if their blank expressions were anything to go by, but I'd explain later if they asked. They were sweet snacks to keep me alive, to put it simply. I didn't have many issues yet, but diabetes ran heavily in my family (But no one runs in your family, Lyn! Hah hah. Funny.). It was a damn surprise I didn't have it already, to be honest. I got lucky. Too bad I didn't pack my blood checker. Balls.

There wasn't really much else, except for a few small boxes sitting in front of the hooded woman. She grabbed something from behind said boxes and held it up, turning the black chunk of metal in her hand.

"What is this, then?" What she held up was a handgun, making me let out a loud 'GAH!' as I dropped to the floor behind the table.

"Don't aim that at me, what the fuck!?" I yelled frantically as I peered over the table cautiously, "Are you crazy, woman?!"

She looked at the heavy piece of metal, a semi-shocked look on her face. The redhead looked it over much closely, now. Obviously getting the impression that it was dangerous. Now that the thing wasn't aimed at me, I slowly stood back up and watched her. It was mine, sure. But I don't remember why I even packed it.

I had gotten a carry permit months ago, purchasing this as a result. This isn't odd, seeing as how I'm a Law Enforcement student. I just wanted to be ahead of the game, since I was still in school. I had no professional training, yet. Why had I taken it, though? Perhaps to keep my mother from pawning it out of spite. Sounds like something she'd do...

The redhead turned the gun around in her hand, making me shift uneasily. She was holding it all wrong, and I didn't even know if the thing was loaded. Realizing that if she accidentally shot herself (or someone else), it would be on my head. I opened my mouth to speak.

"Can I see that for a second?" I asked, trying to sound polite but obviously failing. I sounded more nervous than anything, "You're going to end up hurting someone."

She shot a glare my way, "How are we to know you won't use it against us? It is a weapon, no?"

"It is." I sighed and pointed at the gun, explaining slowly how to empty the magazine. As it was popped out, she set it down and I felt a little more at ease. It had the safety on, but I didn't know if it would accidentally get turned off with the way she was fumbling around with it like that. Though I knew I never kept it loaded in the first place. It was always good to be cautious and respect guns. Never aim them at something you don't intend to kill.

"Look. You guys took my hunting knife and now you have my handgun, which was expensive mind you. What more do you want? This is all I have." I motioned to everything on the table.

"You said you were driving your cart, and you crashed." Cassandra spoke up, "But we saw no cart... no horses got loose."

"My car. Caaar." I drug out the word, looking at her. "You know, big metal contraption. Runs on fuel." I waved my hands around, obviously being sarcastic. This only got a raised eyebrow from her.

With the way their eyes showed no recognition at what I was speaking of, I started to panic. "You really have no idea what I'm talking about, do you."

"I'm afraid not..." Lavellan stated from my side. I looked at her with widened brown eyes, feeling my eyebrow begin to twitch.

"Where... where exactly am I?" I sounded hesitant, because I was. I wasn't completely sure if I even wanted to know, at this point. But if I didn't find out, there was no chance in hell I'd be able to find my way back home.

"We're the ones asking the questions here!" Cassandra's voice made me jump, my body became that much more jittery as I began to shake in my spot near the door frame. The torch behind me crackled and sent flickering light on the faces of the people nearby.

"Ferelden. Western Ferelden, to be exact. In the Frostback Mountains." Lavellan answered, obviously not listening to the noisy woman to her left. None of that sounded familiar at all. Funny, because minutes ago I was thinking about how familiar the place looked. But nothing sounded familiar at all.

"That means absolutely nothing to me, as I have no idea what Ferelden even is... I'm from the United States of America. Minnesota. You know?" I laughed nervously. No answer. "War mongering assholes, that's us. Always butting our heads in where it doesn't belong?" I elaborated. Still nothing. "Are you fucking kidding me!?"

I was on the verge of having a panic attack when someone suddenly poofed to existence right beside me. If I wasn't panicking before, I was now. I screeched and backpedaled, hitting the hard surface behind me with a 'Thud!'.

"She's telling the truth." He said. It was the awkward dude from earlier, with the weird hat. I was breathing heavily as I had my body pushed flush against the wall close to the door.

"Y-you!" I yelled and pointed at him almost accusingly, "How did you do that?!"

The others seemed to share my shock, as they too seemed to jump at his presence. To be fair, at least they didn't draw their weapons at him. Well except for Cassandra, who already had her sword out to begin with. The blonde fluffy man had his hand on the hilt of his sword and he seemed like he was about to say something.

"Cole, you need to stop doing that. It scares people." Lavellan spoke instead, as if chiding a close friend of hers. She didn't even seem phased by the fact that he'd seemed to have appeared out of fucking nowhere!

"I'm sorry. I'll try." The awkward dude nodded in her direction. He then fiddled around with his hands and looked over in my direction and addressed me. "You're afraid of me. No. Of what I can do, am capable of. Not me."

He spoke almost like he couldn't comprehend why I would fear his abilities but not him. It was kind of like how I felt with Cassandra, really. I feared her brute strength, but I didn't fear her as a person. Not yet, anyway. Even with my fatalistic view of humanity I always tried to make a conscious effort to give someone the benefit of the doubt. Tried, key word. 

I was starting to finally realize I wasn't back home anymore. People that appeared out of nowhere, swords, bows, metal armor. This place was not Earth. I assumed that people appearing out of nowhere like he did was not normal, by any means. Which was a relief, actually. I'd really hate having to deal with fricking ninjas on top of lunatics screaming about demons and mages.

Which brought up another thought. Mages were probably real, as well. Demons, too. The prospect of that made me feel nauseous. My heartbeat started to finally calm down a bit, as I knew that if he wanted me dead I would be dead already. He could teleport, for fucks sake. Cassandra's suspicions of me teleporting finally made sense. Because it was possible.

I pushed myself away from the wall, looking around at everyone else in the room now. I brushed the non-existent dirt off of the front of my clothing, trying to regain what little dignity I had.

"I've come to the conclusion that I've either completely lost my mind or I'm not on Earth anymore." I sighed and tacked on after a few moments of silence, "Maybe both."

"Earth...?" Lavellan was looking at me now, grey eyes shining with confusion and maybe a little curiosity.

"It's... what we call the world, where I am from. I don't know what you guys call it here. God. This is so …" I felt sick. The fatigue finally started to set in, as my body's exhausted state started to catch up with me. I was just standing there, wounded and probably with a concussion. Rest is something I needed.

Trying to explain to these people that I was not a threat would not be an easy task. It was pretty obvious Lavellan and this... Cole person didn't see me as one. Or perhaps they did but were better at hiding it. The tanned woman didn't seem to have an opinion, however. The others seemed wary. And rightfully so.

Where I came from, the wars we had were often very destructive and cost lots of lives. I wasn't sure what theirs were like here, but I knew that the gun that the hooded woman had wouldn't make things any better. If they found a way to reverse engineer it … I'd be responsible for many deaths. Pain.

I could feel my chest constrict at the thought. I needed to find a way to hide it or perhaps keep it in my possession until I could find a way to dispose of it correctly. I was staring at the gun on the table in front of her with a sad look in my eye, my face completely passive.

"Explosions. Fire. Screams. So many people dead. 'If that gets in the wrong hands, so many could … die.'" I heard Cole say, his voice sounding almost pained at the end. "The Inquisition won't let it happen. They want to help, like me."

'It's never that simple. Especially with an organization that called itself the Inquisition.'  He was trying to reassure me, I knew. It no longer baffled me to learn that he could probably dig around in my head. I was too tired to care.

"Is what he says true?" The hooded woman asked, looking down at the small black weapon. "This small thing?"

"It's possible, yes. If you reverse engineer that thing... the information one could learn could be... catastrophic." I shook my head, "That thing may be small, but it's powerful. It is not for this world."

If they even could, that is. They still seemed to be stuck using melee weapons that are considered ancient from my world.

"You keep saying 'this world', like you don't belong here."

"I don't." My reply was simple and resigned. I didn't know if they would even believe me, but I only hoped they wouldn't try to use it for their own gain.

"You look tired... perhaps you should get a night's rest before we continue anymore questioning." Lynn looked at everyone else in the room. I closed my eyes, the light from the candles hurting my head.

They continued to talk for a little while, trying to determine what to do with the gun and where to put it. I still didn't like the idea of them even having it in their possession and I seemed to space out where I stood. It was eventually decided that I get to occupy a spare shack that was being used as storage space. A bed would be placed in there, but in the mean time I was to see the town doctor to get my face properly cleaned.

It didn't escape my notice that I slowly made myself comfortable behind the Herald and Cole, almost as if hiding from the others. At least they didn't glare at me and wave weapons in my face.

Once they called the meeting (I still say it was an interrogation.) to an end, I was lead to the doctor. I'm still not even sure what they call it here, but I'll just call them the doctor. I was properly cleaned and patched up. I took half of the vial Solas had given me earlier and followed Lynn to my lovely little shack. I wouldn't call the bed in the shack a bed at all, really. But it was still a place to sleep, as I slowly made my way inside of the small space designated for me. The shack had a few holes in the wall here and there that seemed to be patched oddly, but it was still significantly warmer in here than out there. That was fine by me.

I looked around, seeing small windows on each side of the door and on the opposite wall. It was no bigger than my bedroom back home, really. The only thing in here being the shoddy bed in the far left corner, with blankets thrown on top haphazardly. The other side had bags of grain or oats, along with some ropes and other odd things. I think I saw gardening tools, I'm not sure. Definitely a storage shed. I silently thanked the Gods that there seemed to be no spiders or webs in here, so it must have been recently cleaned. I slowly walked over to the bed and burrowed underneath the blankets, not even bothering to change or take my shoes off. I was out before I even realized it.

That night I had some pretty horrible dreams. The big tear in the sky was releasing demons – pride demons, terrors, rage demons. I saw everyone fighting them and clearing a path for Lynn to get through. So she could close the Breach.

I paid no heed to the fact that I knew what types of demons they were or the fact that I felt as if I saw this happen before. I knew what was going to happen. The next thing I know, everyone was back at Haven. Partying. Celebrating their victory. I was overcome with a sense of dread as I suddenly heard screaming and an alarm being sound. The bell chimed through the night air almost ominously as everyone jumped up in a flurry of action.

My eyes snapped open and I was breathing heavily. Their screams still fresh in my mind and I could have sworn I could still hear the alarm. The bell. A cold sweat had settled it's way over my body as I shook in terror. I half expected to wake up to some beeping and the sterile smell of a hospital, but no such luck. It was dark and chilly. The worn out wood that made up the shack I resided in groaned from the wind outside, some snow flitting through the cracks in the panels.

This was real. I finally knew why everything was so familiar.

For some odd, God's forsaken reason, I was on Thedas. More specifically, when Dragon Age: Inquisition took place. I bit back a scream as I sat up, clutching the blankets in my hands with all my strength. My only response to my current predicament?

"Fuck..." I rasped. Well, at least it wasn't during Origins right? I could have been worse. Much much worse.

"You finally remember." A voice startled me out of my thoughts, causing my head to snap up toward the bags of grain on the other side of the shack. My heart thudded in my chest, expecting something to pop out and attack me.

It wasn't far away, but I saw the outline of a person sitting there. Cole, I realized. Almost immediately I calmed and let out a deep breath. Shit, it's just Cole. Okay, get yourself together Lyn.

"Y-Yeah." Was the only thing I could get out of my mouth, throat dry and voice scratchy. Had I been screaming? No.

He had probably been called over by my terrifying dreams and realizations of where I was. The fear I felt. I sighed in relief, knowing I could at least trust him. I knew for a fact that he wouldn't do anything intentional to hurt me. Unless I was going to hurt someone else, that is. Which was not likely.

The glow coming from the windows, indicating that it was dawn, casting very faint light over his features. It made him look very ominous. I forced myself not to grin at the thought. I turned my body and let my feet dangle over the edge of the bed, noticing that I was in my socks. I blinked in confusion, remembering that I'd laid down with my boots still on.

"Your feet hurt. The boots were constricting. Painful. I took them off. They didn't mind."

Yep, there he goes. I let out a quiet breathy laugh and looked down at the foot of my bed, seeing them neatly set on the floor. I didn't mind, per se, but I was not expecting it. I was, however, expecting his odd way of speaking.

"I don't always say things right. I'm sorry." He apologized and tilted his head to hide his face behind his hat, probably picking up on my expression and how odd I thought he was. I was almost used to it, since I constantly used him in my parties on Dragon Age. I found it endearing, actually. Kind of adorable. I shook my head,

"It's alright, really. I understand you just fine." I huffed, looking at the window next to the door. It didn't look like anyone was even up and about, yet. So I still had some time to think. I had to think of what I was to do. I remember hearing them talk about the mission at Therinfal Redoubt yesterday, which means they are to close the breach soon.

How soon, I didn't know. But I did know that I had the chance to make sure more people lived. I had a chance to help. I grumbled, putting my face in my hands. What was I to do first? Why was I even here? Would they even believe me?

Which brought another random thought. The Herald, future inquisitor of the Inquisition, was the first and only character I'd created. She always did the right thing and was highly empathetic. I closed my eyes, feeling embarrassed for no reason at all. Maybe. I had modeled her after me. Or, well, a prettier elfier version of me. I had even named her Lynn. But with two 'N's because reasons.

If there was ever a time I wished I'd finished a game, it would be now. I didn't even get far enough to finish any of the Inner Circle quests! I let out a groan and looked up at the ceiling. What God did I piss off to get put here? Especially so damn unprepared.

This had to be some cosmic joke.

I didn't know if Lynn would believe me, but the possibility that I could be right. That lives could be lost, would likely put her on guard after she closed the breach. In the very least, they'd be prepared. I knew that she wouldn't just discard my suggestion or anything I said. That would be enough. I wanted to do more, though. There had to be something else.

After they get to Skyhold, hopefully with me still being alive, I could try to find a way home. I remembered seeing flickers of green as I'd gotten knocked out from the crash. What if I came through the Fade? Or, you know, I was dead and this was all just one big dream. I sighed, dismissing that last thought. Doubtful.

I looked up, seeing Cole still sitting there. He was staring at me with a blank look on his face, but I knew he was probably aware of my thoughts … or emotions. Maybe both? I was still unsure of the extent of his abilities, but what I was certain of was I needed help getting my point across and he would likely ... well ... help. Ugh. This was going to be difficult.

I bent down and started to put on my boots, then standing up. I started my normal stretching routine, to get the kinks out of my muscles from the stiff bed and looked over at Cole. He had stood up, as well, and was now standing in the middle of the room.

"Cole..." I spoke softly, almost unsure of how to word my question. "I... kinda need your help?"

His features were hidden by the shadow his large floppy hat was casting. I stepped a bit closer and peeked underneath it. I hadn't gotten too close, as I was unsure if I'd make him uncomfortable if I popped his personal bubble.

"You know what was. What is. You saw what's going to happen and want to help. So many people will get hurt if you don't do anything. If we don't do anything. Yes." Was his answer to my question. I didn't even need to elaborate. He just knew. I let out a breath I hadn't known I was holding, feeling immense relief knowing I wasn't alone in this.

Chapter Text

It was finally brighter outside and, in turn, making it much easier to see in this room as well. The chill from the night finally started to warm, just a little. Well, warm for being in the Frostback Mountains that is. It was kind of like being at home, really. Cole had poofed out of existence minutes ago, leaving me to do whatever. I blinked and began to look around and noticed my bag was sitting next to the bed. I knew instantly that the gun was probably confiscated and hidden, so I didn't even try to look for it.

I bent over to look in the bag, but my muscles protested. The front of my body felt bruised and I was stiff, despite the stretches I'd forced myself to do earlier. I stood back up and lifted my shirt, looking to see any damage. Surprisingly it was only yellowing skin with faint bruising which extended as low as my abdomen all the way up to my collar bone. Blotches of discolored skin dappled the area. I'd expected much more, to be honest. Which brought on another thought, I could actually see out of my left eye now. Doing a quick check of my wound on my head confirmed that the swelling had decreased exponentially.

That thing Solas gave me must have been a potion of some sort. The stuff from this place, I knew, was much different than home. At home, I would have likely been bedridden for days before I could actually walk around like I was doing just then.

I remembered the doctor, which I now knew was called an apothecary and was quite grumpy mind you, picking out pieces of glass from my head just yesterday. The thought made me wince. I really must have gotten thrown from the car. Which didn't serve to make me feel any better. Letting out a sigh, I slowly slipped on a new set of clothing. The ones from yesterday were kind of crusty from the slush and mud, making me scrunch my nose in distaste. How does one do laundry here?

Or go to the bathroom, for that matter. I wanted to groan at the thought of not having running water. The people here were so unsanitary. I'd have to borrow a bucket and melt some snow to bathe later. Perhaps I should always keep some in the shack here, with me. I think I'll spare the details of going to the bathroom in this world. I'll only say that I got a few odd looks when I asked how one used the privy and where. I was completely new to this world, so sue me!

After I'd done my normal daily routine, which had required me to leave my shack to look for an outhouse (I discovered some soldiers, or guards, eying me to make sure I wasn't up to anything). I made my way across Haven to look for Lavellan. I needed to have a little chat with her.

The town was actually a lot bigger than it had been portrayed in the game, I realized. Many more small houses here and there, small tents put up for refugees were outside of the walls. Or for the soldiers, I wasn't completely sure. My shack was not too far from where Lavellan's was, which gave me the impression even she wanted to keep an eye on me. I still didn't blame them, though. If the way I'd acted yesterday didn't make me suspicious, what I was about to talk to her about definitely would.

I walked down the dirt path, my boots making crunching noises on the rocks. People were walking around minding their own business. Occasionally, though, someone would examine me. This was probably due to my clothes and glasses. I don't recall ever seeing anyone wearing glasses in this universe. I silently wondered if they had potions for your eyes.

Making my way up the first set of stairs, I saw a row of large tents with a few people talking by the fire. Varric, upon closer inspection, was just sitting there looking into the flames. I cautiously walked up and waved my hand at him.

"Hey... uhh..." We hadn't properly introduced each other, so I was unsure if he'd be freaked out if I knew his name. It was mentioned a few times, yesterday, but... Social rules. I hated them. It used to be much worse, since I went on with my life without being bound by social boundaries. Many still didn't phase me, really. I soon learned, however, that in order to blend in I needed to abide by these unspoken rules.

"Oh, hey there girlie. Need something?" He looked up at me as he spoke, his hands interlocked as if to keep warm. I nodded.

"Do you know where … Lynn is? I have something I need to address her about."

He raised a brow at my use of her first name but pointed to the right side of Haven somewhere, just down the road passed the tavern actually. "She went to have a chat with Chuckles. Quite a story you've concocted, wouldn't have thought of that one. Another world, huh?"

Darn. Gossip travels fast in the inner circle.

"I don't expect you to believe me." My voice had gone flat, "But unfortunately I am telling the truth."

"Whatever helps you sleep at night." He sounded doubtful but kept that ever present grin on his face. I shook my head and walked away, not even bothering with saying goodbye. I'd always thought he was a pretty cool guy, so I didn't hold it against him. I would probably think the same thing, had I been in his position.

Another set of stairs on the other side of the tavern came into view, atop it stood Solas and Lynn who looked deep in conversation. Their heads turned out toward the lake which resided outside of the gate. The rays from the sun glinted off of her rust colored locks, highlighting the red in her hair. Mine was of a similar color, so I wondered if mine looked like that in the sun too. It was pretty, I admired. Hers was shiny, though. Unlike my hair which seemed dull and was usually a mess.

As I came closer to the duo, I was made aware of what they were talking about. I'd heard something Solas said about falling through the fade like she had, but their conversation came to an abrupt halt when he caught sight of me.

Unlike the dismissive glances I'd been getting yesterday from the bald elf, he was now looking at me like I was an intriguing specimen. Perhaps he believed me? Or at least thought it possible. He was rather intelligent, I knew, and specialized in the Fade. Which was my theory that I'd somehow been ripped through and thrown into this world. Either by mistake or …

My thoughts were interrupted by someone clearing their throat, to get my attention. I blinked out of my daze and looked back at them.

"Oh, sorry. I was just... deep in thought."

"I could tell." Lynn smiled kindly at me, "Was there something you needed?"

"Yes." I coughed, "Well. I had hit my head yesterday quite hard, if you couldn't tell." I then motioned to my wound, which was now free of bandages. The swelling was down, but there was still a lot of discoloration and some dull pain. I assumed the potion got rid of my concussion, which mustn't have been that serious if they let me go to sleep.

"I've remembered some things that I need to speak to you about." I elaborated, nodding slowly with my eyes closed. I tapped my cheek with my pointer finger and opened my eyes to see their curious glances, "It's rather important. Perhaps we should find somewhere private..."

I had been led into Solas' house, which was fancier than mine. Well, not fancy, but he had a fireplace that douchebag. It seemed to tease me, as the heat from the stoked fire warmed my whole body as I stood in there. Lynn had just come back with two other people; Cassandra and, surprisingly, Cullen. Now I was just assuming he was the only advisor that was free at this second so I brushed it off. I was, as per usual, standing by the door next to Lynn. Solas, Cassandra and Cullen stood awkwardly in the middle of the room. It looked much smaller now that there were actually people in here.

"I offer my thanks for the stuff you gave me for my wounds." I nodded to Solas, feeling the need to get that out of the way. The only response I'd gotten was the slight inclination of his head and the others continued to stare at me expectantly.

I let out a breath, trying to think of a way to even start saying what was needed to be said.

"Was there a reason we were brought here, or.." Cassandra spoke, her arms crossed as she looked at me with her cold eyes. She had been my favorite companion, still is, because of her strong personality and blunt way of speaking.

"Yes. How to begin..." My mind was stumbling all over itself and I couldn't come up with a coherent explanation. Cassandra and Cullen, who I just remembered I kept calling Mr Fluffy when I hadn't known who he was. I let out a little chuckle. They likely had something better to do, no doubt, and looked like they were getting impatient.

"This was a waste of time." I heard Cassandra grumble as she took a step toward me, probably to get by and go out the door.

"The Elder One! I know who he is." I blurted, causing everyone in the room to tense up. Probably not the best way to start. Damn. "H-his name is actually... Corypheus. And before you yell about me being a spy, let me at least try to explain."

Cassandra looked angry, her face scrunched up as she looked at me unpleasantly. Cullen had his hand rested on the hilt of his sword, but I always saw him standing like that. He didn't look too relaxed, though. Lynn was now looking at me with some form of suspicion in her eyes and I sighed.

"You must realize how this sounds to us." Lynn's accented voice spoke cautiously.

"Of course. Where I come from, there are these … Legends. The one I started with … it spoke of the Blight and took place through the eyes of the Warden that helped end it."

"The Hero of Ferelden?" I heard Cullen mutter, "You know of him?"

"So it's a him..." I counter, I hadn't known the gender or race of the Hero. But now I knew that much, at the very least. "These stories. These Legends tell what could have happened. What did. All the different possible outcomes of these stories are widely known in my world." I nod to myself.

"You expect us to believe this?" Cassandra began, "For all we know, you've sat in that shack of yours and carefully plotted everything you're telling us right now."

"Your suspicions are well founded, and I respect that. However, as unfortunate as this is, I am telling the truth. Which brings me to my next predicament." I sighed, crossing my arms across my chest. It was no longer as warm and inviting as I thought it was when I first entered. Now it was cold and it felt like the walls were closing in on me. "The next part followed the Champion of Kirkwall. Then the last one I know of tells the story of … The Inquisition."

I looked pointedly at Lynn and the rest of the inhabitants of the room, "Through the eyes of the Herald of Andraste."

The red-headed elf was now looking at me with intrigue, though the suspicion still lay beneath her eyes. I could tell, from every one of them in this room. The way things were going, I was going to get locked up soon. I shivered at the thought of sitting in a cold dank cell for God knows how long.

"Alright, enough games!" Cassandra shouted, taking an intimidating step forward. Only to be held back by the frail hand of Lynn, who gave her a look. I stepped back, ready to bolt at a moments notice. I wouldn't leave the town, no. I had to see this through. That didn't mean I would willingly put myself in harms way, however. I knew from experience that Cassandra could lift my ass up and toss me around like I weighed no more than a feather. With the glares she was sending me, I wouldn't put it passed her to fold me in half at this point. Not fun.

As I stepped back, I felt myself bump into someone lightly making me jump and look around at my sides. I could have sworn I felt my shoulder brush on something. I saw no one, but soon realized who it probably was and let out a sigh of relief. Thought I was going crazy there for a second.

I stood a little straighter and looked out at the group, "After the breach is closed, please don't let your guard down. Corypheus will attack Haven when you least expect it. Well... now you should expect it. Because if you don't, many people will die."

The next thing I knew, I was sitting in the cold dark cells underneath the Chantry of Haven. I stared with a dull expression adorn my face toward Cassandra as she walked out. Lynn was still standing there looking at me, almost torn on what to do.

They thought I was a spy of some sort, and that I was just here to rile everyone up. Scare tactics, really. Every one of them had brushed me off. Well, besides Lynn who now stood there looking at me probably expecting me to plead my case. I just shook my head.

"I saw this coming." I commented dryly, "Do you honestly think that I would willingly come here and make up such extravagant lies just to get thrown into a cell. Possibly killed?"

"We don't know that..." Her voice was soft. She hadn't raised her voice at me once since I'd told them and she didn't once glare or try to call me a liar. Sure, the suspicion was there. Lynn was just polite enough not to call me out on it. Cassandra did enough of that for her. Not that I blamed the seeker for it, I actually held some form of respect for her.

The floor, I could have sworn looked like it had mold in the corner. The bars to the glorified cage I was set in were ice cold as I wrapped my small hands around them. I was glad I'd changed into my warmer clothing this morning as I scuffed my boot on the brick floor.

"Of course not, but please take my words into consideration. I just..." My voice trailed off as my eyes slowly rested on my feet. "When do you plan to close the breach, anyway?"

"Tomorrow." Her eyes showed how unsure she was. Lynn's bright gray eyes were so large and expressive, even though the rest of her face may have been set in a soft frown or something of the sort. Her eyes always gave her away, even in the darkness of the Chantry cells.

"Heh. I tried." I blinked my dark brown eyes and turned around, walking to the bedroll in the far corner of the cell. I took a seat, cross legged, and looked up at her. She looked as if she were about to leave before I spoke, "There is a secret passageway. Chancellor Roderick knows of it. He's the only one that knows, as a matter of fact. He may be an annoying assbutt, but he comes through in the end."

I closed my eyes and lowered my head. She seemed to stand there for awhile before I heard the door close. I hadn't even heard her footsteps. That's a rogue, for ya.

Which made me think of another rogue, making me open my eyes to glare out at the open air. There was only two torches lit down here, making me have to squint my eyes to look around.

"You know, I thought you said you were going to help me." I drawled, taking a wild guess that he was out there. Somewhere.

"How did you know I was here?" A voice asked, from the other side of the cell. Cole sounded confused as he appeared, likely letting me see him. He looked to be contemplating something else as well.

"Lucky guess?" I shrugged slowly, my gaze cast to the floor.

"You also … remembered me."

"Did you try to make me forget?"


"Then I probably won't forget you, so don't worry about it." I tried to crack a smile, but my lips only twitched.

"It hurt you. Them not believing you. Even though you knew it would happen, it still hurts." I nod, knowing there was no way I could deny it, "It's not your fault, though. You were just trying to do the right thing."

"It's my job. Or, would have been if I wasn't thrown in this God's forsaken place." I mumbled, referring to my college major. I had wanted to work for my community where I grew up, so I had started taking Law Enforcement classes with the idea I'd try to apply for work at the police station. I never got to do that, though.

"They hurt you. Caused you pain. You were still small, but you didn't hate them for it. Instead, you wanted to help. That makes you a good person." He stated as if a fact. I looked up and stared at him for awhile before looking away. He was referring to my childhood, no doubt. Bullies, gotta love them.

I sat there, staring at the young man with a frown on my face. Gods, he looked so sad. Slumped over like that in the corner of the cell, the dark circles underneath his eyes seeming more prominent in the dim lighting. Was that how I looked, too? Or maybe it was just Cole. He always looked like he had the world resting on his shoulders. His eyes always had this haunted look in them, reminding me just how much he'd gone through. Yet here he is, trying to help.

It must be so lonely...

"If someone doesn't do it... no one else will." I replied, referring to my hard career choice. I shrugged my shoulders and leaned back against the wall, feeling the dampness even through my layers. I don't know how long I sat on that bedroll, in silence, or even how long he'd stayed there with me. But he'd left at some point. At least I think he did. For all I knew, he was standing there watching me. He might've went off to help someone, though. Which was the most likely prospect.

I started to lose track of time after the first few hours sitting down in the cell. To occupy my time, I made sure to do stretches every now and again to keep myself from getting stiff. With no windows to tell me the time of day, I started to assume it was getting close to night. I couldn't even hear any people shuffling around, since I was put so far beneath the Chantry. It was a brilliant set up, really.

Eventually I heard the door open, causing me to jump. I saw a hooded form walk in, but didn't hear their footsteps. Another rogue, then. Chainmail seemed to glitter ominously from the torchlight as the figure looked over at me. It was Leliana.

They assumed I was a spy. So it only made sense I was fair-game to the spymaster. I gulped nervously, she was here to question me no doubt.

"So you know why I am here." She stated, walking up to the cell. I just stared over at her from my stance in the cell. I'd been in the middle of stretching when the door had opened, so I was standing somewhere in the middle.

"It only makes sense that the suspected spy get questioned by the spymaster, you know?" I shrugged, trying to appear nonchalant. She rose her eyebrow, clearly not believing my act at all. She then pulled out a dagger and started to fiddle around with it in her hands. I could see a glint in Leliana's eyes as she looked up at me. I started to hyperventilate.

I knew this woman was no joke. She was even scarier than Cassandra. The quiet ones always were.

"Y-you would stab an unarmed civilian. I guess I was wrong about the Inquisition." I stuttered out, taking a step away from the door of the cell. She casually grabbed a key out of her pocket and went to the door to open it. "Fuck." I squeaked out. "Fuck fuck. No. God no."

"Cut the act. I'm not buying it." She hissed as I heard the door click open. I was going to die. I knew it. She was going to come in here and try to stab the answers out of my cold lifeless body.

"I was telling the truth!" I yelled back, pushing my back up against the stone wall behind me. My hands feeling around for something. Anything. I knew if I fought back, it would be fruitless anyway. She was skilled in what she did, I had no training whatsoever. I didn't even have self defense training, yet! I'd just fumble around like a fool and get myself killed faster. The door swung open slowly, the creaking and groaning of the metal grating on my ears was driving me crazy.

It was like a scene from an old horror movie. Slow footsteps could be heard on the wet floor, (Oh I knew she was just doing that, now. What a bitch) the torchlight casting shadows across her hooded face. The knife could be seen in her right hand, which was lazily held at her hip as she stared down at me. When had I gotten on the floor?

I was looking up at her with wide fearful eyes, shaking like the coward I was.

"I d-don't... I don't want–" I couldn't seem to get anything out of my mouth as I curled up into a ball to make myself seem smaller. Just when I thought my little heart was about to beat itself out of my chest, my savior appeared. A girl always dreams of a knight in shining armor coming to save them, but mine was a rogue in scraggly leathers. How wonderful.

He stood there, back turned to me, as he stared fearlessly at Leliana. She seemed mildly shocked that he'd even appeared. He had one of his daggers out, ready to strike if need be.

"Lynn said not to hurt her. Why are you going to hurt her?" I could hear him say as I focused on Leliana's expression. Had she said that? I was grateful that the Herald had gone out of her way to make sure I wouldn't get hurt. But from what I think I remembered, Leliana believed that these actions were the right thing to do. Didn't mean I approved.

"What's going on in here?" I heard a voice say from the other side of the door, as fast paced footsteps made their way toward us and through the door. The door had been cracked, so it was simply pushed open, revealing Lynn. She was breathing heavily as she looked to the open cell that contained the three of us. "Leliana..."

"She could have information, locations as to where our enemies are. You would let that slip by?" Leliana asked, looking over at Lynn disdainfully. The red-headed elf simply stared back, shaking her head in disapproval.

"I may not fully believe her story, but I do not think she is a spy." She conceded, walking up to the cell and holding her hand out. "Come on, Leliana. Let's go speak of this upstairs."

They traded a few words before they walked away, shutting my cell door. I still sat with my knees to my chest. At some point or another I'd put my head on my knees, hiding my expression from the world. I tried not to feel bad for the fact that I wouldn't even have had a fighting chance against Leliana, so that was why I didn't try. I didn't even stand up for myself. I still felt so disappointed in myself, though. I clenched my hands, digging my nails into the skin of my arms as they were folded on top of eachother.

The Herald had been informed of Leliana's plans and I'd been saved last minute from a grisly death, no doubt. There was only one person that could have been responsible for that.

"Thank you..." I mumbled, still not moving my face from my knees. I didn't hear a response. Didn't need one.

When I finally looked up, I noticed I was by myself down here in this cell. I let out a sigh as I crawled a small distance over to a nearby bedroll and tried to get some sleep. Tomorrow was going to be wonderful.

That night I dreamt of home. Back when I was younger, before much really happened and my grandmother was still alive. I was only 5, then. Before she passed away and everything went to crap. But in my dream she was still alive and we were all grown up. My mother hadn't spiraled into a depression and she didn't do or say nasty things to us. We didn't get thrown into the foster care system. Everything was fine and our family wasn't as broken as I remembered. I felt a pang of longing as I watched my family sit around a dinner table and eat. Something so simple, never really happened where I came from. We hardly ever talked, to be honest. I smiled a genuine smile at the scene.

When I woke up, I was alone.


Chapter Text

The next day I awoke and simply sat there, not feeling up to even performing something as simple as doing my stretches. I couldn't really remember what I'd dreamt about last night, but when I woke up I was left feeling oddly … empty. This wasn't all that new to me, either, so I simply brushed it off and distracted myself with thoughts of the coming day.

What was to happen would take place during the celebration at the end of the day, I was sure. I couldn't remember the precise details like most protagonists in fanfictions would know. Yes, I know, I still read fanfictions. However, I did remember some of the deaths that would happen if Lynn didn't hurry her ass up through the town when she got done with the trebuchets.

The deaths I was thinking of were the ones I could never save no matter how many times I'd reloaded. The thought made me wince as I stared off into the darkness.

That's another thing, everything was dark now. For all I knew it was the middle of the day, but the torches had long died out and I was stuck in the dark. I scarcely remembered the sounds of footsteps and a placing of a metal plate outside of my steel cage while I was sleeping. There was probably some bread and water out there, so I crawled over and felt around with my hands.

If I didn't get something in my body soon I would likely end up killing myself from low blood sugars. Well, kill was a harsh word. I'd likely just fall unconscious until I could get some sugars into my body. I sighed, which means I'd die. Eventually. So yes, it would kill me. I'd only eaten a little bit the day before, which was worrying to me. I hadn't really eaten much at all since I'd arrived.

Once I was done eating the crunchy object that was on that plate, I assumed was stale bread from the bland taste, I stood up and stretched. I sat there for ages, it seemed and stared off into the dark. My mind was going in circles as I heard my own breathing. That's all I heard, besides the dripping of water across the room somewhere. I settled with just standing there with my eyes closed, my hands on the bars to my cell. The chill that they gave off seemed to ground me, remind me that I was real. I was here.

I finally heard footsteps at the end of the hall on the other side of the metal door across the room. I simply stood there and opened my eyes. The small amount of light coming from the little window in the metal door to the prison was the only thing I could even see down in this fucking place. It was starting to grate on my nerves. Instead of getting scared or starting to go crazy, I simply started to get angry. It was much easier to deal with anger than sadness or despair. It was kind of a coping mechanism I'd come up with over the years. Anger now, sad later.

The door creaked open, letting some of the flickering candle light from outside pour in. The person lit the torch nearest to the door and grabbed it, lighting another then setting it back in it's place. I stared at them as they walked in and noticed it wasn't someone I knew. They were in plain robes and female. The woman had short dark cropped hair and sharp pointy ears. She walked up to my cell timidly and set the tray next to the bars, grabbing the other one afterward. I simply watched her, hands clutched onto the metal bars. My face, I assumed, was blank. I was taller than the little elf and just sat there and stared.

This only served to make the meek elf scared, as she stood up with the empty tray and scuttled off quickly. So she was a servant of some sort? I sighed and looked down at the plate, seeing it was some type of slop or stew. At least it had a little more sustenance than my last meal.

Third Person

(Just seconds ago)

She had been asked to take the prisoner something to eat, since they were celebrating the closing of the breach. Spirits were high as everyone danced and listened to merry songs.

The torchlight barely did anything to illuminate the large room. On the left corner there was a huge torture device, causing the small elf to shiver in fear. She peered around, looking for the prisoner the Herald had sent her to feed. Why they would care to feed the prisoner was beyond her, she simply followed orders. Even with her naturally good night vision she had a hard time finding the woman that was currently standing right against the cell's bars.

Slowly approaching the woman, the small elf tried to swallow down the fear she was feeling as she put the tray down on the floor. As she went to grab the empty tray, she dared peek up at the woman. Lyn was staring down at her with her black soulless eyes. Rust colored hair draped in front of her face, covering her features and making her eyes look sunken in.

The way Lyn looked down at her gave off the impression that she was staring right through the elf. Before she knew it, the crazy woman opened her chapped lips and spoke. Her voice was low and dull sounding, reminding her of a ghost.

"Little elf..." She drawled, one of her hands letting go of the cell bar. Face going pale, the elf fumbled around on the floor and grabbed the tray as quickly as possible. She took off out the door as fast as her little feet could take her.

First Person

I sighed, staring at the door that had shut. Was I really that terrifying? I had only been staring at the poor elf. Well, that and I'd been about to thank her for the food but never got the chance to. She'd scurried out the door before I could even get it out. I bent down and grabbed the items atop the tray and started to choke it down. It was definitely as good as it looked, but like I said before, it was better than nothing.

'I'm going to go crazydown here.' I thought to myself morosely as I set what was left of the items back down on the tray. A light clinking noise could be heard as I sat the wooden bowl that held the slop. It was empty, in the very least. I was interrupted from my musings by the sound of someone setting something next to me in my cell and sliding it toward my feet.

I was crouched as I looked down at my feet and saw a wooden box sitting innocently on the damp stone floor. It was almost begging to be opened. I let my fingertips gently brush against the top of the smooth dark wood.

"It is time. Dusk is here and they are celebrating. I said I would help." I looked ahead, seeing Cole crouched at eye level with me on the other side of the bars to my cell. He was looking straight at me, his hat not hiding his face at all at the moment. His shaggy blonde hair, however, still hid his eyes. I stared back at him, face equally as blank. "So much fire. Explosions and death. 'I can't do this.' No. You can do it." He voiced and just like that he was gone before I could even form a coherent answer.

My eyes slid down to the box that he'd slid to me and I let out a sigh. It's worth a try, in the very least.

"Here goes nothing..." I mumbled as I opened the box. The smooth wooden box revealed a couple of smaller cardboard boxes and my gun. It was still taken apart, like Leliana couldn't figure out how to put the magazine back in.

I picked up the heavy chunk of metal, turning it around in my hand. I couldn't even remember what kind of gun it was, only that it was a .45. I then grabbed the missing piece and started to check everything. Sounds of metal sliding on metal, followed by clicks here and there sounded throughout the empty prison. Faint echoes could be heard as I nodded in appreciation at the deadly weapon in my hand.

I'd never used it besides for target practice back home. I wasn't a good shot, by any means, but if someone got too close I'd just pull it out as a very last resort. I didn't want to gain a reputation. The boxes were, obviously, ammo. The unopened one had 50 in it, if I remembered correctly. One of them was half empty, I noted as I set the open box in my right cargo pouch that rested on my thigh. The joys of cargo pants was that there are loads of pockets to store stuff.

I made sure the safety was activated and did something that's considered a big no-no. I set it in my sweater pocket. Don't do this at home kiddies.

The last item in the box glinted in the torchlight, causing me to smirk. It was the key to my cell. Or, I'd assumed it was, otherwise I'm fucked aren't I?

I grabbed the key with newfound determination, slipping my arms through the cell's bars and began to unlock it.

'You cando it.' Cole's voice rang in my head as I walked out of my cell confidently. Anytime now, all hell would break loose. I just needed a weapon. I could do this.

I made my way toward the staircase at the end of the hallway and made my way up. I could already feel it start to get warmer as I advanced up the stairs. The warm candlelight cast shadows against the old stone brick as I finally approached the door. Carefully, I opened the heavy wooden door and peeked through.

It was a room and the door to the main hall to the Chantry was closed. I sighed in relief, that's one small mercy. Walking into the room fully, I could see some weapons lined the wall on one side. Spotting a bow, I walked up to it and grabbed it. I wasn't a good shot with a gun, but I'd been using a recurve bow since early high school. This was familiar. I knew I was at least a decent shot with one. I then grabbed a quiver of arrows and strapped it onto my back.

I started to rummage around for anything else. I wished I could have found a hood or something, maybe a cloak. The only things I was finding was spare armor pieces and broken weapons. No such luck. Damn.

As I exited the room and walked into the main hall, I saw no one. Everyone was outside, likely celebrating, as I heard laughing and music. Exiting the Chantry, I strode at a brisk pace toward my destination.

I had made it halfway to my shack before I heard some footsteps behind, fast paced like they were trying to keep up with me. Paying them no mind, I pretended not to notice.

"Hey, Screech. Are you even allowed to be out of your cell?" I heard Varric's voice and I gave him a sideways glance. Almost there.

"No – Wait. Screech?" I blinked and looked back at him, baffled. He only offered a shrug in response. "I didn't expect you guys to believe me, but I'm not going to allow myself to get killed down there." 'I'm not allowing anyone to die because of me.' I corrected myself in my head.

I looked around and didn't even notice any of the soldiers keeping an eye out. They were celebrating as well, holding mugs of ale and laughing with their fellow men. Idle conversation droned in the background, followed by laughter as they spoke of their victory. Had they disregarded my warning?

"Look, Screechie. I don't know what's going on in that pretty little head of yours but..." I snorted in the most unladylike fashion. "If the Seeker finds you? You're as good as toast."

"You aren't going to run your little stubby legs off to tattle on me?" I asked with a grin, entering the shack and walking up to my pack to grab it. I stuffed my dirty clothes in there, along with the boxes that were in my pocket and zipped it up. Didn't need to lose any of this stuff in the process.

"My stubby little legs are fine right where they are, thank you very much." He sighed, "Legs'll get stubbier if she finds out I didn't do anything about it." I tensed.

"What're you going to do?" I asked, looking over at him with a guarded look in my dark eyes.

"Nothing." His voice cracked a little as he gave off a chuckle, he shrugged and continued. "Something tells me if I tried you'd just trample my ass."

"You could always just shoot me with Bianca." I pointed out evenly, seeing him raise a brow in response.

"Ah, I wouldn't want to put poor Bianca through that. Killing innocent kids? Not our style."

"Oh? So convinced of my innocence. It warms my heart, right here." I put my hand on my chest, my face still blank as ever. Though you could hear the sarcasm dripping from my voice.

"Yes, well... the Kid made a compelling argument." Varric nodded, eyes closed in thought.

"Cole?" I asked, surprised he'd even tried to talk to them about anything.

"Mostly chopped up sentences and riddles, but he got his point across. He's a good kid, that one." So he did actually try to help, in the end. I had a feeling it was much more than that. The thought of anyone else knowing what was going on in my head was kind of unnerving. Well, anyone other than Cole. Cole was just... Cole. He couldn't help it, but the last thing I needed was Varric writing a damn book about my personal problems.

"I see..." I made a note that if I survived this, I was going to have a little talk with the spirit. I huffed and secured my bag on my back. "Better get ready, because ugly ass Corypheus is coming."

His face fell at the name.

"Wait. Did you just say-" He was cut off by the commotion going on outside. One minute everyone was laughing, talking and music was playing. The next it got deathly silent and everyone started to yell as the bell started to sound. 'That's the alarm.'

Fiddling with a few more things on my person, I made sure everything was in place before I exited. I was out just in time to see Lynn and a group of her companions on the outside of the gates to Haven. Cullen had just finished his motivating speech, as I stared at the back of his glorified fluff-cape. It wasn't long until they were off to fight.

"Looks like you should catch up with your friends." I waved as he looked up at me with a perplexed expression on his face.

I jogged over to the gate, passing Josephine on the way by as she let out a small gasp (or squeak, I couldn't tell). Cullen was about to start running into battle.

"Cullen!" I called as I got closer, making him snap his attention in my direction. His eyes focused on me as I stopped in front of him.

"Hey, aren't you supposed-"

"We need to try to get everyone in the Chantry, there is a dragon coming!" I yelled, trying to make myself sound more confident. He opened his mouth to reply but I kept rambling, "I doubt anyone will listen to the crazy broad dressed like a fool, but they'll listen to you! Or... or one of your soldiers! Something!"

"Look, you're not even supposed to be out of your cell. You're lucky I don't have you hauled back there, but I need my men out here." He stated with authority. I clenched my teeth, sending him the best glare I could. I felt the irritation rising in my chest, begging to come out. My hand was twitching with the urge to smack the poor guy. I knew I'd later regret it, if I did.

I let out a frustrated growl. "I'll do it myself then! Don't bring your fluffy ass crying to me when people are burning alive because of you!" I bit back out of spite, my anger getting the best of me. I thought I saw his eyes widen a fraction before I spun around and ran back into Haven.

"Fiesty one, aren't you?" I heard the smooth voice of Dorian as I entered the town. I looked over at him, seeing his wide eyes and smile, I tried to school my expression but I knew my eyebrows were scrunched up in anger. Not saying anything, I simply walked passed him and headed up toward the tavern. I was done asking for help.

"Do you need help?" The Tevinter asked, barely keeping up with me in his exhausted state. I silently wondered if he could read minds, too.

"Yes. No one will listen to me, but these people." I motioned toward all of the civilians running around trying to grab their stuff from their houses, "They need to get into the Chantry. Now."

He nodded and ran in the other direction without question. The seriousness of my expression must have made him jump into action. Whatever it was, I was glad that he went out to help without so much as a question. I kept going and finally entered the tavern.

"We're evacuating. To the Chantry. Immediately." I called not really getting much response besides a nod and her running out toward the destination.

When I'd gotten to the apothecary's hut, the old man with a rather large beard and mustache was rummaging around trying to find things to bring along with him. A young elf woman not too far away outside. I repeated what I'd said to the woman in the tavern, but got no indication he'd even heard me.

"Did you hear me! We need to leave!" I snapped loudly, trying to get my voice to travel over the sounds of people yelling around outside.

"I'm old, not deaf." He bit back, grabbing a bag he'd filled. A deafening roar could be heard in the distance and I bit back a screech rising in my throat. I saw him visibly pale at the sound.

"NOW!" I yelled, grabbing his arm and dragging his ass out the door. As we were making our way to the Chantry, the rumbling that the dragon's wings were creating overhead made the ground shake and tremor. I could feel the hot air from the fires it had created, making my eyes water and my face break out into a sweat.

Everything around me was set aflame, the raging roar of the fires drowned out by the screams of innocent civilians as they ran to safety. The destruction that was being caused suddenly hit me like a truck. I could really die out here.

People shoved around the old man and I, as they rushed to get themselves and their families to safety. I stumbled, letting go of the man and pushing him forward with one of my hands. I needed to get back and make sure no one else was stuck. I turned around then and darted off back toward the area I'd come from, trusting that he'd get there safely. My legs were burning from the amount of straight running I was doing, but the adrenaline helped me along. My boots thudded on the dirty snow and I came to an abrupt stop, snow and dirt crackling and scraping as I took in the scene before me.

Good thing I did go back, because the elf woman in the blue robes had tripped and got trapped during all of the commotion somehow. Buildings were on fire around us as I rushed as fast as my body could allow me to. I ran up to her and heaved the piece of wood off of her and helped her up. We were standing next to a bunch of pots as I started to push her away in front of me, my body at an angle.

Something seemed off. I was forgetting something. Why –

I was maybe 10 feet away when the fire from the dragon's breath finally inched it's way toward the pots I'd seen. I heard a cracking noise like jars breaking before my hearing gave out and my body was thrown onto the dirt path. An explosion, I realized. I was able to faintly see the elf ahead of me as she inched farther and farther away. My leg felt like it was on fire.

Correction. My leg was on fire.

I screeched and rolled around on the dirt, successfully putting it out. But not without damage, of course. My cargo pant leg was completely singed up to the back of my kneecap. My right leg could be seen peeking through and was an angry red color with black on the edges along with parts of my right forearm just under the elbow. Forcing myself back onto my feet and straightening my glasses with a wince, I began to stagger away while pulling out the bow I'd taken earlier.

I walked up to the entrance of the Chantry just in time to see Chancellor Roderick get attacked by a Venatori gladiator. He looked like he was trying to fight them off for some reason, actually. That idiot! I see now how he got himself killed. I quickly dismissed that thought as I saw a citizen scramble up from behind him and take off into the Chantry.

Notching an arrow and aiming right as I saw Roderick get dealt a rather painful blow, knocking him to the ground. As Roderick fell, I shot. The arrow hit home, in the torso just below the ribcage. Which sucked for him, since it looked like he wasn't even wearing armor. Who runs into battle without a shirt or plate armor?!

That didn't seem to stop them, though as the gladiator turned his attention on me. He let out a war cry as he lifted his weapon. I pulled out another arrow and shot, the thing skittered off of his helmet and landing harmlessly into the snow. Any other time that would have been a killing shot. This guy was wearing a full helmet. No plate armor, but a helmet?!

My eyes widened and I screeched, trying to pull out another arrow. This only resulted in getting shield bashed onto the ground. The metal connected with my jaw making my vision blur. I hit the ground and rolled a few times, ending up on my back. My glasses had fallen off at some point, making me panic. I was able to look up just in time to see the man raise his sword.

He was about to deliver a killing blow to me when he was suddenly engulfed in flames. He screamed. I screamed. Though, instead of standing there like a fool and melting (it was gross, by the way) I sat up, seeing my glasses at my feet and grabbed them. I then scrambled up and jogged in the direction of the person that had saved my life.

"Dorian!" I cried in relief, ignoring the odd look I got from the fact that I'd known his name without him telling me. I motioned toward the Chancellor, "N-need to get him into the Chantry, p-please. I'll try to help them out here."

Not waiting for an answer I ran passed him and stood at the top of the stairs, firing as many arrows I could at the enemies. There were so many of them. There were a lot of times where my arrows would completely miss (Funny thing, a few missed and hit a different enemy instead. Winning.) but mostly they hit the mark.

In the very least, they slowed them down so that they could get cut down by the soldiers quicker. I didn't get many shots to the head, being as rusty as I was. Soon enough, I spotted the Herald and her group ascending the stairs. I backed away toward the building, hearing the Chancellor waving more people in while telling them to get to safety. Roderick was still standing, though barely, trying to help people inside.

Damn, that guy was like a cockroach. No matter how many times you try to squish him he always seemed to come back.

I could have sworn I saw Cassandra's eyes widen at the sight of me, likely because I was out of my cell. I waved and took off into the building, not daring to look behind lest I get chopped in half. I placed the bow on my back and watched the last of everyone barrel into the Chantry just in time for the massive doors to shut. Dorian came hobbling in with the Chancellor's arm over his shoulders, helping him walk.

"A brave man. He stood against a Venatori." I heard Dorian state as they hobbled by me. I was, once again, standing next to the door.

"I'd be dead if it weren't for that girl." Roderick looked over at me and coughed.

"You would have been fine." I stated matter-of-factly, "Don't sell yourself short."

Lavellan looked at me, astonished. I kept a carefully blank expression on my face as I walked forward toward the war room, seeing a few people in the party tense up at my presence. Still with the spy theory?

"Herald! Our position is -" Cullen paused, looking at me. I narrowed my eyes at him and walked passed without a word. As I got further away, he continued his report albeit with a few stutters at the beginning. Their voices got fainter the further I got back and I leaned against the wall and started to watch people huddle around in fear. Some people were sitting on the many barrels and boxes that sat around in the grand hall.

Oh, they weren't the only ones. I'd almost died out there. I had killed people. I sat still near the wall, trying to keep my body from shaking. I felt lightheaded and dizzy, an urge to vomit passed but I shoved it away. How can they just stand over there and converse after going through a battle like that? I knew I doubt I'd be able to come up with a response if anyone tried to talk to me, right now. I was silently watching them talk to Roderick when I saw Lynn's face go white. She looked over at me then looked up at Cullen and said something.

I turned my gaze in the other direction, seeing people sitting on the floor near the walls. Some kids were seen huddled in a corner, one woman standing in front of them with a kind smile on her face trying to comfort them. Occasionally I'd see the form of Cole appear and talk to someone before disappearing. He rarely popped up and I presumed it was because he liked to remain invisible. Dorian was over by the Chancellor, in case he needed help.

It didn't take long until I heard the loud voice of Cullen directing everyone to the back toward the passageway. Roderick had mentioned it, no doubt. I wondered dully if that's why Lynn's face had gone white when they were talking just minutes ago. Judging by the occasional bewildered look I'd get from a few of the people from the inner circle, I'd assume as much. I was otherwise ignored.

The passageway was dark and had cobwebs lining the upper and bottom corners as we made our way through. The musty smell from the crumbling tunnels reminded me of home. Odd, I know, but I lived in a basement before remember? Every now and again I would brush the walls with my fingers, trying to keep my mind off of the battle that had ensued earlier and how easily I could have gotten cut down.

If it weren't for Dorian, I would have been gutted and chopped up by that Venatori. I'd frozen in the middle of battle and it almost cost me my life. That's something I didn't want to be repeated.

Minutes turned into hours and we'd exited the tunnels long ago. Time seemed to slip by as I followed the mass of people with a dulled expression on my face. I crushed the feeling of fatigue my body was giving off and seemed to be on autopilot.

Perhaps if I'd worded it differently, there would have been an alternative outcome? Could I have saved some of Cullen's soldiers? I didn't even know if I'd helped at all with getting the civilians into the Chantry. No one except for Dorian had listened to me. The only person that helped me from the start had been Cole. But then again, that's just what he did. He helped people.

We'd made camp a few odd times on our way through the snow, the cold was starting to take it's toll on my body. The burns I'd acquired while trying to help were starting to stick to my clothes. Eventually I put on my second sweater. Which was the same, just dark gray, and putting my singed one back in the bag. A new pair of pants, as well. Though they were not cargo like my last pair, only regular jeans.

When they'd finally decided we were far enough away that Corypheus was not likely to come, we all set up camp for good that night to recuperate from our losses. All the while, I simply walked around and helped people with putting up their tents and unloading. Wherever I was needed, I was there. I didn't even need to talk to anyone, seeing as how everyone else was just as despondent as I was. I got a few grateful look for my help, but other than that. Nothing.

Not once did I think to walk over to the apothecary, who'd been the town's healer, because of the sheer number of injured already filling his tent. I didn't feel my burns were really that serious, so I just stuck with trying to ignore the stinging pain that came with my movement. After everyone was all settled in, I made my way away from everyone else with a spare bedroll I'd found and set it aside.

Most of the people were already in their tents and sleeping as the camp started to get quieter by the minute. I sat on my bedroll, staring at a nearby fire, and stewed in my own thoughts. Before I could get properly settled, however, I heard shouting in the distance. The other side of camp was coming back alive. I peeked up from my spot on the ground, seeing them hauling the limp body of the Herald. Lavellan looked pale and almost lifeless. Feeling my chest squeeze in worry, I stood up and made my way over quietly.

I really shouldn't even care about these people. They'd just tossed me aside and refused to believe anything I said.

I paused, shaking my head furiously. No. It's not their fault, what's wrong with me? I'd have done the same in their position.

Sighing I made the rest of the way back, peeking quietly into the tent they had the Herald in. It was hard, considering there had been a moderate sized crowd forming before they were told to disburse. I stayed, obviously. Seeing the old man look her over. Mother Giselle was nearby as well. It looked like a few of the fingers on her left hand were almost black. Her shoes were taken off and her toes were in no better condition. But she was alive, nonetheless.

I took off back toward my bedroll on the other side of camp. I slowly eased myself down, grunting as I hit the ground. Sighing I looked up at the sky. I'd always liked the stars, anyway. It helped that there wasn't really much wind anymore, since the storm had already passed hours ago. The fire would keep me warm.

It took days before we finally saw Skyhold in the distance. Most of the stuff was packed on these odd looking animals that reminded me of rhinos. Lynn had scouted ahead a few times to make sure they were headed in the right direction, but we were finally almost there.

My body was starting to act weird on me that day. Leave it to me to start to fuck up around the time we were almost there. The world seemed to fall beneath me as I lost my balance and I stumbled a few times before collapsing face first in the snow. It felt like I couldn't even lift my limbs anymore and breathing was getting much more difficult. My vision started to get spotty, reminding me of what it looked like when my sugars got low. But that was impossible, I had made sure to eat some of the granola bars in my pack earlier that day.

It felt like the world tumbled around and my face was no longer in the cold snow. I was lifted off of the ground and could feel everything bouncing around, along with muffled voices. Shit, what were they saying? I started to finally regain consciousness again, as I focused my eyes. My head was dangling at a weird angle and I was being held. I knew that much, at least.

"The infection has set in … " The older man's voice to my left could be heard, and I could feel them messing around with my pant leg and slowly wriggling half of my body out of my zip up sweater. In my fever induced state, it felt like they were taking off my clothes, making me panic on the inside.

Third Person

"Nngh...don...t." Lyn tried, moving her head to the side. Adan, the apothecary, had been called back because someone was burning up and had collapsed in the snow. Which was odd, you'd think more people would have ended up collapsing and dying on their way out of Haven and to Skyhold. There wasn't. They hadn't counted any civilian casualties as of yet. The soldiers were a different story, as his tent had been filled these passed few nights with them.

The elderly man had turned to see a rather short and sickly looking girl hanging in the arms of Cole, as he'd been called by the Herald. The girl's short auburn locks dangled just as lifelessly as her body. Her brown eyes were half lidded as he examined her. They were also dilated and couldn't seem to focus on anything.

"I need you to set her on the ground here so I can get her jacket off." He ordered, watching the boy comply as he gently set the girl on the ground. The Herald was nearby, along with Varric and Cassandra. They were all moving at a rather slow pace now that their destination was in sight, so he had some time to take a look at Lyn.

Once Adan got a good look at the girl's face, he paused as recognition crossed his features. "This... this is the noisy woman that dragged me out of my hut. It damn near exploded right after."

He noted gruffly as he started to pull the girl's sweater off. He remembered her to be of a lightly tanned complexion, not the pale sickly color she was now. That thought was not a good one. Once he'd figured out how to work the zipper, he was finally able to attempt to pull it off.

It wasn't that easy, however, because she started to thrash around as soon as he almost had her jacket off. Her dark brown eyes flew open, complete and utter terror written all over her features.

"Stop! Don't!" She yelled, flailing her arms to get him away.

"Why is she freaking out?" Cassandra asked from the side as she stared down at him trying to do his work.

"Hold her down!" Adan ordered and the Seeker complied, using her brute strength to hold the girl down. She was now breathing heavily as she stared up at the face of Cassandra, eyes unfocused. The Seeker squeezed her hands, pushing down on Lyn's shoulders. The sickly girl let out a keening noise, her head thrashed against the snow beneath her form.

"You're going to hurt her..." Cole mumbled, fingers twitching.

"She's got a high fever. She's probably just hallucinating. If I don't get the fever down, she could die."

"No..." He heard the boy say as he crouched down closer to his friend, or he assumed they were friends. "She's alone. Scared. 'Papa, don't hurt me...'" He said, his voice cracking. Cole looked horrified as he said this, "How can I help her if she can't see me?"

"Perhaps it's best you keep those thoughts to yourself, Cole..." Adan heard the Herald murmur from his side. He saw the girl's arm, now. The infection had already spread, yellowed splotches dabbling the wounds, her arm and leg both in bad condition. Any longer and he'd have had to cut the infection out to avoid amputation.

The apothecary pulled an emergency poultice out of his pack after he'd gotten the wound cleaned off and poured it over each of her burns. They never did this unless absolutely necessary. The yellow discoloration and puss started to slowly fade. All the while the girl was whimpering, as if in pain.

And it was painful, Adan knew. Healing an infection always was. Especially with the poultice he'd used. After he was done, the only thing that was left was a slightly inflamed burn mark, probably what it'd looked like when she first attained it. Much less aggravated than it had looked when she had gotten to him just minutes ago. It would still need a lot of work, however.

"That should do until we get to Skyhold. Then I can finish with washing and bandaging. Why didn't this damn girl come to me when she first got these?" He grumbled angrily, looking up at the only three people standing around him.

The Herald was horrified at how the burns had gotten infected without proper care. Cassandra was still holding Lyn down with both of her hands, her expression passive as she examined the girl. Varric had turned away at some point, but still stood nearby.

"She thought the others needed it more." Cole murmured as he helped get her into a stretcher. Lyn was out before they'd even lifted her out of the snow.

Chapter Text

When I awoke, it was to the quiet murmurs of people outside of the tent I was in. I lay on a cot, that was slightly raised off of the ground. A bedroll could be seen not too far away as I turned my head to see. My hair moved and I felt so grimy. How long have I been here? The need to clean myself was quite prominent.

"Ugh..." I let out, feeling my throat constrict. It was like my mouth was a frigging desert. I glared at the ceiling of the tent, wishing I had water. My body felt itchy, as I lifted my head to look at myself. I stared groggily at the shirt I was in. From the way my ass felt I must have been wearing a different pair of pants as well. Shorts to be exact. The material was itchy and felt weird compared to what I was used to.

My fingers twitched as I looked to my left again. Near my head, on the floor between my cot and the bedroll, sat a pile of clothes. I assumed they were mine, since I hadn't ever seen anyone here wear jeans before. Usually it was cloth or leather of some sort.

I sat there for about 10 minutes, waiting to see if someone would come into the tent but no one came. I squinted my eyes and tried to sit up, but found it rather difficult. Maybe if I thought about water enough it would appear.

'Water. Water. Water... water water water.' I repeated in my head like a mantra, staring at the tent flap. I was now in a seated position, but I didn't want to try and stand up, like a fool. I knew my arm and leg was damaged and trying to stand would result in failure. Which meant falling. Which also meant an angry old man, if I remember how grumpy the healer had been.

Speak of the devil and he shall come. The grumpy old man came walking into my tent with a bitter look on his face, grumbling. He was holding a metal cup, which I hoped was full of –

"Let me take a look at you." He simply said, handing me a the cup. It was filled with clear liquid, making me almost cry in joy. I could have sworn I downed that thing all in one drink. "Thirsty?"

"Yes." I replied simply, voice sounding better now, as he undressed my wounds and redressed them with new bandages after he'd applied more burn cream.

"Don't do this again, otherwise I'll end up having to cut off your legs." He looked up at me with a glare. I was unaware if he was trying to threaten me into being more careful or if it was because the infection had actually gotten that bad. I nodded sagely, taking both into consideration.

"I did not want to trouble -"

"I don't care if you didn't want to trouble me, girl. It's my job, and you'll damn well come to me when you need it!" He rose his voice, making me jump.

"Y-yes sir!" I responded instantly.

"You've been out for a few days, now. The fever damn near killed you." He groused about being knocked awake numerous times during the night and had to come check on me. "And every time? You were in a cold sweat. Shaking and almost dying. Do you realize how much trouble you've put me through? Makers balls, the kids these days..."

My eyes were downcast. Now I felt bad and real stupid for not even going to get my wounds checked out after the battle. Instead of taking the workload off of him, I ended up giving him more. Take one step forward, two steps back. I sighed.

"Thanks for the water." I muttered as I stared at the empty cup, "But how'd you know I was awake enough to drink it?"

I knew he probably made me drink these past few days while I was out, but he'd come in and his expression practically screamed that he knew I was awake. Which was odd to me, I hadn't even been making any noise.

He paused his work of wrapping the lower part of my leg, looking perplexed for a second. His wrinkles got more prominent as he scrunched his face up.

"I can't remember."

After the old man had left, presumably to check on other patients, I was left alone to my thoughts. He hadn't given me any orders not to walk around, but I didn't want to push my luck just yet. Now that I was in Skyhold and that I made it alive, though barely, I could start thinking of a way to go back to my world.

That's assuming I can, that is.

I glared at the tent, as if it had all the answers to my problems. What would I gain from going back anyway? I've likely been missing for about a week now, seeing as how that's about how long I've been here. And I'd just go back to a family that refused to talk to each other unless they are picking at each other's insecurities. I didn't know what I wanted, to be honest. But with this adventure I've had, I have a feeling I'd have a new outlook on life if I ever returned. I would leave and start anew. Yes. That's what I'd do if I returned.

I turned my body so that my feet were dangling off of the cot and I saw a small plate with some bread and cheese on it. A feast! I grabbed it swiftly and started to wolf it down.

"If you return, you think that everything will be worse. You're scared. 'I don't know what to do with her anymore...' She abandoned you. It's alright, though. She was still young, too. She didn't know how to be a mother." A rather calm voice floated through the air and I knew it to be only one person. The only person that I knew would be privy to my personal life. Still wasn't sure how I felt about that.

I paused in the middle of devouring the bread. My gaze slipped over to the bedroll in the other corner of the tent. Cole was seated on it, cross legged and rocking slowly. His huge floppy ass hat would bump the tent material behind him as he leaned back. A blank expression was on his face, as usual. His big blue eyes were looking up at me through his blonde bangs, as if waiting for my reaction.

I frowned behind the bread in my hand. She still shouldn't have left me. No. Us. We were young too. I could feel my eyes darken at the thought. It was one thing to put me in danger. To leave me. But the fact that she also left my siblings made me furious. I still hadn't forgiven her for that. I wanted to growl, but refrained from doing so. The last thing I wanted was to scare Cole. I heard him shift as he got up on his knees and was sitting right in front of me, eyes wide.

"I made you hurt more! I said it wrong, let me try again." He then lifted his hand in front of my face and seemed to concentrate. But before he could, I grabbed his hand as quickly as I could. His big pale hands were wrapped with some type of cloth, I noticed, but his fingers were still free.

"N-no! Please. Don't." The sentence flew out of my mouth swiftly, expressing the fear I felt. I didn't want to forget. The thought of not being able to remember something scared me.


"Cole, please. You'll ... hurt me if you make me forget."

That gave him pause, and he stared at me for a moment as if weighing the validity of my words.

"Look, Cole. I'm fine." I pulled his hand down at his side and away from my face. He was staring at me with those eyes of his. They seemed to stare right through me. I set the half eaten piece of bread by my side with my other hand and shook my head.

"You always remember. Are you like me?" He questioned, staring at me more intently. "No. You're you. Human. More real than me. Your echoes are just harder to hear – distant and muted. When I listen ... I have to try harder."

My brows rose, that was good to know I suppose.

"You're just as real as I am, Cole." I replied and shook my head with a small smile, "I mean, you've manifested a physical form, you have feelings just like me and … you're warm … like a person." I slowly let go of his hand, which I just realized I'd been holding this whole time. Feeling slightly embarrassed, I looked over at the tent flap coughed awkwardly. My thoughts buzzed to anything except for the person that was sitting in front of me.

Ugh. I've never been good at these kinds of social interactions. It felt odd to me to even let someone this close at all. I shook my head and started to think about when they'd name Lavellan Inquisitor of the Inquisition. Either it'd already happened or it would. Soon.

"Your thoughts are fuzzy, blurry, obscured." I looked back over at Cole, who looked almost concerned for my welfare. It may have been my imagination, though. "What happened?"

I laughed, which seemed to just confuse the poor guy even more.

"It's nothing, don't worry about it. It happens all the time." I shook my head slowly and thought about the healer Adan's reactions just before he left. "Were you the one that was kicking that poor old man awake in the middle of the night?"

"Yes. You felt cold, but not. Your body was really hot and you were fading away. I woke him up so he could help."

"And the water?"

"Your thoughts were loud." I grinned, trying to stifle another laugh from popping out.

"I'm sorry, I didn't mean to yell at you." I lifted my hand and patted the top of his head. Well, his hat. He flinched a little, "You're a good friend, thank you."


"Of course. Friend's look out for each other. We've done a lot of that." I paused for a moment, "So help me stand up, yeah? I need to stretch."

Third Person

Skyhold had much to offer and Lynn saw the potential. There was much to be done, however, but she had high hopes for the new base of operations for the Inquisition. She had been recently named Inquisitor earlier that day and had been congratulated by many people as she passed by. The elf had called for a meeting with the few of her most trusted people. Which currently consisted of; Cassandra, Varric, Solas, Sera, Blackwall and Iron Bull.

Her advisors were out in Skyhold getting things going and were currently too busy at the moment. Viviene, after she'd had a disagreement with her about Cole, had gone to Val Royeaux to get some errands done. Lynn thought it was mostly because of the sorry state Skyhold was in at the moment, to be honest. The Orlesian woman had scrunched up her nose at the sight of the interior, making the Inquisitor giggle in response.

The Inquisitor was unsure of what to make of Dorian and Cole as of yet, but had decided to let them stay. She genuinely believed the spirit boy when he said he only wanted to help. Solas believed him, as well, which served to help in her decision regarding him. Dorian had helped warn them of the attack on Haven. As had Lyn, the otherworlder. She scrunched her delicate features together, thinking about the odd woman.

The meeting was to be about the three new additions to the group. First things first, though. Lyn's fate was to be discussed. The Inquisitor had given her word that she wouldn't be harmed and wholeheartedly believed her friends wouldn't suggest such a thing anyway.

It was quite hard to believe the tales she'd spun, however. Which was highly troubling when she'd first come out about it. Most of her friends had just brushed her off as a rambling madwoman and that she was just better suited in the prison cells.

Then the attack on Haven actually came.

That changed their minds. Not only that, but the fact that she'd known about the secret passageway that Roderick had been talking about. It was at that moment that Lavellan knew that the woman had been telling the truth.

Ever since then, she'd been thinking about her actions, Lyn's actions. She had gotten out of her cell, but she didn't run away. She stayed to help. That spoke volumes on her character and that's when the Inquisitor knew that she was a good person.

The elf slowly walked up to the massive ornate door that lead to their new War Room and could faintly hear talking through the doorway. She took a deep breath and walked through.

"Inquisitor." Cassandra greeted as she stood to the right. Lynn nodded in her direction and walked all the way in, closing the door behind her. In the middle of the room sat a gigantic wooden table with two maps atop. Windows surrounded them with views of the mountains peeking through as sunlight poured into the room, bathing everyone with warm natural light.

"You're probably all wondering why I've had you called here today." Lynn nodded, looking at everyone's curious faces. "It's about the new additions to our group."

"Wait, please don't tell me you actually let Creepy stay. Pleaaaaase." Sera groaned.

"They're all staying, Sera. They've helped us escape Haven, with minimal casualties too. If it weren't for them..."

"So Screech actually pulled through, huh?" Varric butted in, "She got pretty worked up with Curly when you guys went charging out into battle. It was a sight to behold." He chuckled. Sera had started to giggle, sounding almost evil as she did so.

"Oh, Bitch tits? Didja see her fighting off the baddies in front of the Chantry with that bow? Friggen badass!" The blonde elf started to make a motion like she was firing her own bow, "She was like 'Bam! Peeeewww! Eat it!'"

"Maker..." Cassandra breathed, shaking her head with her hand on her face.

"Bitch …. tits?" Blackwall sounded like he didn't even want to believe what he'd heard, his eyes widened as he looked at the loud elf.

"Yeah, she has a nice rack. Ya know?" Sera made an obscene gesture with her hands up by her own chest area, over exaggerating the size. Iron Bull made an appreciative nod, as if thinking about it himself.

"Enough." Lavellan spoke up, trying to hide her own amusement at the blonde elf's antics, silencing them. The dalish elf had always found Sera to be quite endearing and had kind of a soft spot for her. "What I'm trying to say is, we're going to keep an eye on her while we get the Inquisition back up on it's feet. I honestly don't believe she was a spy."

"Her story did sound a bit outlandish to be the truth." Iron Bull had put in, "I've been watching her when I can and she doesn't scream 'spy' to me. Crazy? Probably. But definitely not a spy."

The fact that Bull had said that, made Lynn relax even more. That was Bull's job, after all. He was Ben-Hassrath, his job was hunting down spies, rebels and deserters. If anyone had a knack for digging up spies, it was him.

Lynn began to explain to the group that once the tavern was cleaned up and going, she'd have the girl assigned to a room there. This was where most of the people would be and she could always have eyes on her.

"And since you're so good at judging people's character … I'd think you could keep a close eye on her, Bull." Lavellan suggested, looking over at him hopefully. It wasn't so much to ask, it wasn't like she was asking him to keep constant watch over her. Just whenever he can.

"Noooo offense Boss, but I'm not really good at babysitting." He drawled, "But I'll keep my eye open."

"Please." Lynn smiled up at him, hands clasping in front of her body. "She could have ran when she got out of her cell back at Haven, but she didn't... we all saw that."

"I'm not saying I believe her story, but to stand up and warn us beforehand. Even knowing she'd get locked up or killed … I find that admirable. She did the right thing, even though it was the hardest path to choose." Blackwall added, nodding his head. "It's only fair we give her a chance to prove herself."

A few of the others seemed to agree, though Lynn wondered to herself how the girl had actually come across the information in the first place. Had her story been a ruse? Or was she actually telling the truth?

Once they'd all come to an agreement, they moved on to talking about Cole and Dorian. To which she made it clear that they'd stay, as well. She called the meeting adjourned and made her way slowly through the inside of the main building in Skyhold. She saw the construction that was being put into the place already and was pleased to see it was coming along nicely. Though there still seemed to be some undergrowth peeking through on the inside. Lynn neared the exit and took a deep breath as she went out into the cool fresh air.

She was on her way down toward the entrance of Skyhold where there was a line of tents which contained medical patients. A couple of larger tents were for the more serious cases, which was what the girl was currently residing in. Lyn had gotten injured during the attack on Haven and refused treatment. It had surprised the elf that she'd even been able to walk around very long with such serious burns. She was sure Adan gave the girl a lecture on proper care of herself.

As she neared one of the bigger tents, that she knew Lyn was staying in, she heard voices floating through the other side of the canvas. Blinking her gray eyes, she listened with her keen elf ears.

"N-no, don't let me fall!" She heard Lyn squeak out.

"What do I do?! I'm trying my best." Cole sounded concerned. Lavellan stopped just outside of the tent and rose a brow, what were they doing?

"Grab me."


"Right here!" The elf heard some shuffling around before she coughed, opening the tent flap and peeking in.

Her eyes traveled and settled on the two forms standing in the middle of the tent. Well, if one could call what Lyn was doing standing. She seemed unsteady on her feet as her legs wobbled like a newborn foal. The girl's hands were on Cole's shirt in a vice-like grip, her face expressing her fear of falling. Cole's face mirrored her own, his hands hovering just over her shoulders looking unsure if he was even allowed to touch her.

First Person

Oh, the silence that ensued after Lynn had entered the tent. I felt mildly embarrassed that I'd even thought I could walk yet. Well, I didn't want to walk per se. I had just wanted to stand and stretch. Test the strength of my legs. Which only resulted in some sort of awkward dance between Cole and I.

"Did Adan say you could be up, yet?" Lynn voiced after a few seconds of silence.

"Uhh... he didn't say I couldn't be?" I offered with a sheepish look on my face, "I'll just sit down. I'm sorry, Cole."

I had seen how uncomfortable I'd made the poor spirit. Perhaps I should have waited for someone else to come and help me.

"No, you wanted to stretch. Your legs were cramping. Stiff and itching to move." Were his reassuring words but I felt my shoulders slump in response anyway.

I shook my head and tried to ease myself onto the cot, letting go of the front of his shirt in the process. Lynn had come over and her hands came up to steady me, making me flinch. She seemed surprised, but helped me down anyway. I'd never been good with physical contact with other people. Once I was finally positioned on the cot, my legs dangled over the sides and my feet brushed the dirt on the ground.

"Is there something you needed?" I finally asked, taking my gaze away from my bare feet and looking up at her. I'd noticed that Cole had gone missing, which made me a bit sad. I had been enjoying his company.

"Well, yes. It was regarding your stay here at Skyhold." Ah, so this is it. I'm going to get kicked out now aren't I? How am I going to be able to fend for myself? My posture must have visibly stiffened, "You're staying, don't worry." She soothed.

"I haven't given any of you a reason to let me stay though, have I?" I laughed mirthlessly, "Perhaps if I had tried harder..."

"No, you did fine. It was because of what you did that so many innocents were spared. If you had simply left, instead..." She trailed off, unable to continue.

"I wouldn't have." I assured, thinking of how many could have been cut down had I not gotten Cole and Dorian to help.

Lynn then started to explain to me about where I would be staying, which was in the tavern up the stairs outside. Apparently they were still cleaning it out, along with the construction that was currently going on. Everyone was busy, which made me feel slightly guilty for being stuck here in this tent.

"When I'm able to move around, I'll try my best to help out around Skyhold. You're doing me a big favor by letting me stay here."

Lavellan nodded to me and she turned to leave before she stopped. "You'd better get well, too. I've had a few people asking about you, ya know." She looked back at me and offered a bright smile, her white teeth glinting in the sunlight that the flap of the tent had been letting in.

It took me merely days before I was fully functional again, much to the reluctance of Adan. The wounds still itched and bothered me a little, but they were no more than red marks on my skin now. It was awesome that the medicine here was so good compared to my own. Sure, back home they had surgeries and whatnot. But here, you could be on the brink of death and you'd be healed in half the time it would have been back in a hospital at my place.

I was standing at the entrance of The Herald's Rest, the tavern, feeling nervous. I'd been told that I should approach the Iron Bull about which room mine would be, but I'd never actually talked to the Qunari before. Sure, I'd seen him in the distance before but...

I gulped. What if he was mean to me?

God I sound like a sniveling two year old! I scoffed at myself and pushed the door open, walking inside and choking down my anxiety.

The inside of the tavern was much larger than it had been in the game, much like Skyhold itself was. Tables were stationed near the walls while the bar actually looked farther back to my left. I'd been expecting this, though, seeing as how Lynn said that there was rooms here in the tavern when there hadn't been in the game. It made me wonder where the rooms even were.

I saw Bull talking to one of his men at the table across the room. The sounds of many voices drowned out any of the conversation they may have been having. Not that I wanted to eavesdrop anyway. I frowned and started to make my way forward, boots making a clunking noise in the process.

Once I was standing in front of him, I noticed just how massive he was. The thought terrified me. Tall people back in my home world scared me, but him? Not only that but his horns. Dear God, those horns...

'How in the hell does he get through doors?' I thought to myself, looking at them. Bull slammed his tankard down and let out a bellowing laugh, causing me to jump out of my thoughts.

"Smart. Real smart. First thing you say when you come up to the Qunari, 'How does he get through doors, ooooh.'" Someone mimicked my voice in a rather annoying tone and proceeded to chuckle from the other side of the table, who I noticed was actually Krem. I frowned.

"Had I said that out loud? My bad."

"Don't worry about it, kid. No hard feelings." Bull smirked at me. Now, any normal person would have had tolook up at me from a seated position. But this big bastard was at eye level with me. "Ey, Krem. You mind showing her to her room?"

"Yeah, sure. You just don't want to get off your lazy ass and do it yourself." He snarked to the Qunari with a smirk on his face and stood up from his seat, his heavy plate armor making noise as he shifted. I scuttled back a few steps and allowed him to get by. Even Krem was taller than me, making me huff. I wasn't short for a woman, but did everyone in this world have to remain taller?

I followed him up one flight of stairs, seeing more tables and a few doors. The upstairs was significantly smaller than the downstairs, making me believe that the doors I saw were actually rooms. Tattered blue carpets softened my footsteps as I walked behind Krem. Now if I remember correctly, those weren't there either. The doors, I mean. But a few were open, revealing some of the Chargers within. I'd expected Bull's group to be loud and disorderly, but they were actually kind of quiet as they sat on their bunks in the rooms and conversed. Snapping my attention back to my guide, I saw him take me around and up the second flight.

I'm going to be up here? Fuuuuck. Don't tell me I have to sleep on a hay pile. Please don't-

I wouldn't have to. There were doors up here, too. I blinked in confusion upon seeing them. It was significantly darker up here, making it easier on my eyes. I'd always liked darker places, finding it easier to make myself unnoticeable. The layout was mostly the same, but since the building was larger I suppose that meant more room for … well... rooms. There were four up here, from the looks of it. One might have been a closet, I'm not sure.

In the game I remembered there were just a few windows up here. But that wasn't the case now that I actually came up here in person. Where I'd remembered windows being, there were doors instead. I walked up to the door that Krem stood in front of and opened it, revealing a rather small room. Smaller than the rooms down one level, but I wasn't complaining. It was located closest to the staircase. The room was just big enough to have one of those big beds (Yes!) and a dresser in it. The dresser had a small mirror built into it as it sat on the left of the room. The bed was pushed into the right corner of the room, with a small window overlooking the training dummies behind the tavern. Barely any leg room, but it was a place to stay and I wouldn't complain.

Not only that, but I got to have some privacy. Even if the room was only half the size of what a normal room from my world would be. It was most definitely better than that little shack I had been staying in back at Haven. I nodded in appreciation, looking back at Krem.

"Thank you." I stated, voice bland as ever.

"Do you ever smile, or are you always like that?"

"Excuse me?" I rose a brow.

"It's nothing, forget I said anything." He smiled down at me before turning around and walking out, closing the door as he left. Was he trying to pick on me? Nah. It was as simple observation, I suppose. I did smile, albeit rarely. Whenever I forced myself to smile, it looked really … creepy. So I avoided it.

I walked over to the full sized bed and took a seat on it, facing the dresser that was on the left side of the room. I was barely able to see my reflection as I observed myself. My glasses had somehow been saved when I passed out on the way to Skyhold. I winced as I remembered the one time I face planted into the snow when I was younger, back at my Aunt's, breaking my glasses.

There was a light scar above my left eyebrow and went up close to the hairline. It was barely noticeable, but it was there. I looked down at my bandaged arm and leg, wondering if I would have more scars to add to my growing collection.

It brought on another thought. I needed to learn to at least defend myself. I didn't finish the game, so I had absolutely no idea how it ended. What if Corypheus attacked Skyhold? Would I even be able to defend myself? Others? I would be useless. A dead weight.

I was silently hoping by then I would already be home, but to my luck that's not likely.

Later that day, in the evening I had made my way through Skyhold and up to the library in search of Dorian. I'd assumed he'd be there, but was just taking a wild guess. Much to my luck, he hadn't been. After some scurrying around, I found him seated out in the gardens reading. Or, what would be the gardens. It was atrocious as it was now.


"Why yes, it's me. How ever did you know?" He turned and I saw that his eyes showed the amusement he must have been feeling. I walked up to him and stood next to the bench he was occupying.

"I don't know, your mustache must have given you away."

"Wonderful isn't it?" His hand, which had been propping his book up, came up to stroke his facial hair almost thoughtfully.

I let out a genuine smile at that. I'd always thought he was pretty amusing, but to the task at hand.

"I'd like to thank you, actually. You saved me from getting turned into a shishkabob back at Haven." I turned my head away from him to look at the destroyed looking garden.

"It was nothing, really." He shrugged it off. "A dashing man such as myself couldn't ignore a damsel in distress."

"Yes... right." I drawled and added sarcastically, "My knight in shining armor..."

"I certainly fit the part, don't I." He held up his arm and looked at it, as if appraising it. I scoffed, and looked away to hide my smile. Such a goofball, he was. I waved him off and started to walk away.

"I'll see you around."

It was short and sweet, but I felt I needed to thank the man. He had saved my poor butt when he could have just let me get cut up. I'm going to have a tough road ahead of me, I realized. I didn't know whether or not to look forward to it or not, as I stared out at the upper courtyard.

The first three weeks at Skyhold seemed to pass by in a blur. I had helped the citizens as much as I could, running around and gathering supplies and even grabbing water for the construction workers. I never talked much, just asked if they needed things. I think they started to think I was a servant or something, because sometimes I'd get a 'hey girl! Can you get me –' every now and again.

Small things, at first, then I started to help unloading stuff for the stables. Every week. It wasn't much different than what I'd done back home. I had lived with my aunt long enough on her farm to know what to do in stables. As for helping people out? I did say I wanted to be a police officer, did I not? It's kinda what I do, no matter how small or insignificant it may seem.

Eventually, I had made it my job to help Dennet with cleaning the stables and feeding the horses. Since said stables were much larger than in game. Again. I was just accepting the fact that it everything in this world was much larger than it'd been portrayed. It was familiar work for me and it never really bothered me. It was also nice that the old horsemaster didn't see fit to try and strike up conversation with me all of the time. I'd been avoiding most conversation for awhile now, afraid to be called crazy or looked at like some animal. He's occasionally bark out orders to a few of his workers, me standing nearby, I'd jump up and just do it.

On time in particular, I'd stopped by in the rotunda where Solas resided once because he'd requested my presence. I think he believed I remembered my journey here and wanted to know more about how I'd gone through the Fade. I disagreed and said it was merely a theory and told him all I could. I'd simply crashed and woke up face-down in a pile of snow.

Not the most glorious way to enter a different world, but it was the unfortunate truth.

I left him, feeling disappointed that he couldn't think of anything right away but would contact me if he did. He was the intelligent one of the group, I knew. He was well read and an expert in what he did and if he couldn't find out how I got here? I doubt anyone else could.

Unless I could somehow find Flemeth or Morrigan. I scrunched my brows together at the thought, something itching in the back of my head.

I shrugged it off and continued on my way toward the barn.

Another thing I've been doing during these few weeks was practice my aim with my bow near the training dummies outside of the tavern. As expected, I'd run into Cassandra a few times but only offered a few words. We hadn't actually ever talked and I was pretty much ignored by anyone else I'd seen.

Not that they could have offered much of a conversation, anyway. They were out on missions a lot or scouting new areas, which also meant I hardly ever saw Lynn. The spindly elf was probably the only one that willingly associated with me since I came here. Cole would pop in here and there, but he had other things to do and would even sometimes go out of Skyhold with Lynn. I wished I could somehow … connect with people. Again. It's been far too long since I had a friend and I didn't even know how to properly maintain that kind of relationship. I simply knew that I enjoyed the company of Cole and Lynn.

Sighing, I walked over toward the stalls to see the horses. I'd visit on my off time every now and again, but would usually keep to myself and not bother anyone. I sat there quietly and pet the soft velvety nose of the horse sitting in the stall. It was one of the friendly ones that allowed me to pet it. I would sometimes sneak treats from Master Dennet's stash across the barn.

The light was slowly starting to fade as the sun in the distance cast a red glow in the cloudless sky. I peered up and could see some stars starting to peek out on the opposite side of the sky. It was unusually quiet out, and I knew that the horsemaster had retired a bit early. I heard soft mewling to my right, making me turn my head in hopes of pinpointing the location. It sounded like multiple mews, to be honest.

I walked slowly and quietly into the barn and was eventually lead up the stairs to the loft. I made my way slowly over to a hay pile and discovered … kittens. Cute fluffy kittens. My eyes lit up and I walked closer, seeing that they were just old enough to open their eyes and stumble around. I didn't get too close and stayed at a respectable distance when I saw their mother come back to feed them. There were about three of them, I observed, as I sat on one of the square bales of straw about 5 feet away. I'd always loved animals. Much more so than humans, since they didn't seem to judge me or see me differently. I was just another human, to them. Someone to feed them. Pet them.

"You're happy." I froze and sucked in a breath, widening my eyes. I had not expected to hear anyone else up here with me. It was, obviously, Cole. What is it with rogues and sneaking up on people all the time?

"I suppose you could say that." I conceded after a few moments of silence, my heartbeat finally starting to slow from being startled. I leaned forward and got a closer look at them.

"Cracked skin. Bleeding. 'The calluses mean I am getting stronger'. You push yourself so that you can help the others." I felt him brush his hand across the top of mine, just barely, making me look over at him. He was crouched down, staring at me. Observing me. I lifted the hand he'd touched and glanced at it, palm up. Of course I had calluses forming. I'd even made myself bleed a couple of times because I stayed up all day. All night. Trying to hit that target from farther and farther away. "Adan would be upset."

Of course. The old man had urged me to come in whenever I needed to get my hands or arms looked at, but I refused to unless I really needed to. Cole stood up and walked toward the kittens and crouched next to them instead, his hands reached out to gently caress the mother cat. She didn't seem to mind, as he continued to softly pet her. He must come up here a lot, if she trusted him.

Unless it was just Cole. He was just so gentle by nature, it was hard not to trust him. The cat may have sensed that, as well. I wouldn't know. Then he smiled, and it seemed to light up his face. It was small, but it was there, as he stared down at the small animals in the hay. I was unsure as to why, but I could have sworn I stopped breathing.

The remaining rays of light over the horizon poured through the small window like a beacon, casting fluorescent light over the scene before me. His hat, which normally covered his features, was moved up so that he could see the kittens better. The mother cat was definitely enjoying the love she was receiving as she purred and leaned into his touch.

My hand twitched, the sudden urge to sketch the scene before me itching at the back of my mind. It had been a very very long time since I'd ever wanted to draw again. I can't remember when I'd stopped, but my passion for drawing had just... died one day. But, right at this moment, I wanted nothing more than to have my sketchbook in front of me as I sketched with my graphite pencil.

We sat there, in silence, for about 10 minutes before he stood up and disappeared. From my place on the straw bale I sighed, looking around at the inside of the barn. It was dark now, the torchlight from down below being the only illumination that was offered. I felt lonely again as I looked back over at the pile of sleeping kittens. I couldn't really see them that well, anymore, but I remained here for awhile. I enjoyed the dark and the protection that it offered me. Unless there were things for me to trip over. Then I hated it.

I stood up and slowly ambled my way over to the ledge of the loft, taking a seat. My legs dangled over the edge as I looked down at the floor, which was made of dirt, little stacks of straw and hay scattered around.

I looked up at the vaulted ceiling of the barn, smiling sadly. I wonder how long it'd been … since I actually tried to make a friend. I mean, I know I considered Cole and Lynn my friends. Somehow. I just can't... Right now, I would give anything to be able to figure out what I needed to do just to-

"You think you're doing it wrong. You're sad when I leave, why?" When I looked up to my left, Cole was looking down at me with his head tilted to the side. I could see the curiosity in his eyes, as the torchlight from below lit up his face. I stared up at him, bewildered.

"I uhh..." I fumbled, bringing my hands together and fidgeting. "I've just forgotten what it's like to... want this."

"Friends. They've all turned their backs on you. One by one, you watched them leave. You gave up on human companionship. But you feel … lonely. You crave it, cry out for it. On the inside so no one hears. Why would you hurt yourself like that?"

My hands stopped moving and I looked down at my feet, my stomach hurt and my chest felt heavy. He really wouldn't know why, would he? The pain I'd felt when they left. The abandonment was much the same as I'd felt when I was a kid, watching my mother walk away. Over and over again. Like a vicious cycle, it happened. Then. It stopped. I stopped.

"I'm scared of getting hurt again. But... this. I-" I felt my face heat up in embarrassment. "It's been too long and I have no idea how to be a good friend. I'm sorry."

"Don't be. You're trying." That's what counts, I suppose. "I once had a friend. But he found out what I was. And I lost him."

I hadn't known that. I looked up at him, eyes wide. Guess I'd been wrong about him not knowing what it would feel like.

"Did it... hurt...?" I asked softly, swinging my legs slowly back and forth over the ledge as I sat. I heard Cole take a seat beside me to my left, I peered over at him through my loose waves of hair that seemed to always get in the way. He was looking out toward the gates of Skyhold, the look on his face seemed the same. Passive. However, I could see the look in his eyes. The same look I saw in my own whenever I stared at myself in the mirror. He did feel it, the pain.

"Yes." He confirmed, his voice sounding bleak. I frowned, feeling a dull ache set in my chest. I'd never wish that kind of thing on anyone else. Cole peered over at me, eyes wide. "I hurt you. How?" He sounded concerned as he leaned forward to get a better look at my face.

"No, I'm just … I sympathize with you." My legs stilled as I turned away to hide my expression, "I'm sorry that it happened to you, too."

We sat there for a few minutes, just enjoying the silence before he spoke up.

"Blackwall thinks what you did at Haven was a good thing. Admirable. He's the one that suggested to give you a chance. To prove yourself."

"...Cole..?" I didn't know why he was telling me these things.

"Sera likes you. Sees you training everyday. With the bow. Self taught, just like her. She sees herself in you and it makes her happy. Lynn wishes she could spend more time with you. So busy. Work, 'have to get more done.' Deadlines." Cole looked over at me, his hair shifted from the slight breeze that came in from outside, "Varric thinks you're a good person. 'Her heart is in the right place.'"

I smiled, "Really? They must still think I'm crazy, no doubt." To this he nods,

"They think Sera is crazy and they are still her friend." I let out a quiet laugh at that.

"Is this your subtle way of telling me to try and open up to them?"

"Open. What are you going to open?" Cole sounded confused and a little disturbed.

"N-no. Like. Try to be their friends. Sorry, I forgot how literal you are sometimes." I explain as I smirk, looking up at the ceiling. Feeling a little bit lighter I added, "But yeah... I'll … try."

It was then that I'd decided that I would at least try to talk to the others as well. I'd been avoiding them, only really talking to Cole or Lynn whenever I saw them. The other companions would, in turn, ignore me as well. Though I still held some fear that I would only be making a mistake and I would just end up getting hurt all over again. It was this slight encouragement I'd gotten from Cole that spurred me into action.

I silently vowed to be a good friend to Cole, as well. The fact that he'd had a friend before that … left him … made me feel oddly protective over him. I never wanted that to happen again, not if I had a say in it.

Chapter Text

It was the start of a new day and I decided to at least try and socialize. Starting with Josephine. I know, an odd place to start. But she'd mentioned she wanted to take a look at a couple of my pieces of clothing and send it to a tailor friend to get replicated and/or looked at. She was mostly interested in the bra, once I'd shown her how they worked and whatnot, but I'd asked her to see if she could get me a few plain t-shirts replicated out of my burned one from earlier. Along with some cargo pants, to which she agreed after I said that I would pay her back somehow (either through working or the few silvers I earned here and there). Who knows, maybe t-shirts and cargo pants will come into style over here? Hah. I snorted at the thought.

Which brings me to my current situation. I walked next to the elegantly dressed ambassador as she spoke to me about her plans.

"I would like to thank you for this opportunity." She spoke in her odd accent as she looked over at me with a smile. "Though I have to express my doubts that we will be able to replicate such fine stitching, how does one achieve such a thing?" She was holding my burnt outfit along with a spare bra that was starting to get worn out. The bras they have here are fucking atrocious. I'd tried one on one day when I had to get my laundry done. They were itchy and sometimes didn't really fit right. Being a woman with a larger chest, it was much harder to get it to hold me correctly. I had walked around all day with a sour look on my face, as a result. It sucked ass.

"They're not exactly hand-made like most of the items here." I commented offhandedly, not even looking over to see her expression. I've accepted the fact that no matter how much I tried to convince them, they wouldn't believe me anyway. So why not just go with it? I think she was about to ask something, but I saw Sera walk by giggling like a madwoman alongside Lynn who looked like she was trying to contain her own laughter. They were looking right at us and I just stared, brow raised. I may be crazy, but maybe that means I will fit in just fine. I snorted, opening the door to Josephine's office.

Something I regretted immensely, because an ice cold bucket of water fell on top of my head.

I let out a screech as I felt the water completely soak me. I threw the bucket off of my head and whipped around. Brown eyes ablaze with anger. Josephine was looking at me with an expression mixed with shocked horror and extreme amusement. Her delicate hand was held up to hide her smiling lips, her eyes widened but glittering with amusement. I looked like a drowned rat.

"Sera!" I yelled, stomping passed the ambassador and down the main hall of Skyhold. I could hear some murmurs along with a few giggles as I clumped by. My rust colored hair was plastered to the sides of my face and my once semi-loose t-shirt was now clinging to my body. I had seen her and Lynn go through the atrium, where Solas was usually hanging out and painting the walls. My shirt dripped as I walked through and toward the door that likely lead across toward Cullen's office. Once I exited out into the cold crisp air, my body began to shiver. However, I was a woman on a mission.

I spotted Lynn and Sera trying to sneak by across the walkway.

"You!" I pointed, rather dramatically might I add, and jogged up to her. She looked at me and started to cackle loudly at my appearance. The usually reserved Lynn was even giggling.

"L-look at your hair." Lynn giggled, gray eyes darting over my drenched figure. I glowered.

"I-it wasn't even meant for you, Screechie. My baaad."

Not listening, I scooted close enough so that I was within arms reach. They mustn't have thought me a threat, because neither of them even backed away. I then proceeded to shake off like a wet dog. From the choked gasp I'd gotten, I'd assumed I at least got Sera. I then looked at her with a haughty expression as she was wiping the remnants of water off of her face.

"Do you know who my father is?" I said in a stuck up tone, pointing my chin up and looking down at her.

"Pfff, no." She rose her brow and gave me her signature lopsided smirk. The blonde elf looked like she was about to say something else, probably offensive, but I continued.

"Huh. Neither do I, but I'll find a way to get you in trouble!" I declared as I flicked my hair and strutted off in the other direction. As I left and walked back into the Herald's Rest, I was plotting a way to get back at Sera. I silently wondered how many times anyone has ever actually pranked her back.

I let out an evil chuckle as I neared the first set of stairs.

"Damn. What happened to you?" I heard a deep voice ask before I got the chance to take the first step. I turned my head and saw Bull and a few of his Chargers looking at me. Bull's eye, however, was not on my face. I scrunched my nose up and looked down at myself, seeing just how my body felt about the cold.

"Ugh." I let out a disgusted noise and stomped the rest of the way up.

"I think Sera happened." Krem's voice floated up to the second floor from below. A few of the others from his group started to laugh, as if knowing exactly what her antics were like.

"You're all wet." Cole spoke up as I got to the top of the tavern. I gave him a 'no really?' look and opened my door.

"No shit, Sherlock." I mumbled.

"But... My name is Cole, not Sherlock." I turned my head and looked at him, seeing his dumbfounded expression. I felt my irritation from earlier slowly starting to melt away as I shook my head and turned around.

"Sorry, it's just an expression where I'm from. It basically means, 'Duh. Brilliant observation!'" My voice was dripping with sarcasm as I dug around in my dresser for a different outfit. Throwing a few items of clothing, not really caring what I wore, on the bed. My underwear were fine, it was just my clothes I needed to switch. Real quick.

"Ohhh. Well, thank you!" Was Cole's happy response. I had forgotten that he didn't get sarcasm. I grunted and started to pull off my shirt. It was almost over my head when it got stuck.

The fucker got stuck. Of all the things to happen! I never wore low cut shirts, so it was pretty difficult to even get the thing over my head with how heavy it'd gotten from the water. It didn't help that it wasn't a real stretchy material.

"God..." I huffed, "Damn it!"

At some point I'd backed up against the wall near my dresser and no doubt I looked completely idiotic. My arms were stuck in a raised position as I tried to grab at the cloth to pull over my head. I felt warm hands clasp at the top of my shirt and lift, but it was still giving me difficulties. I could have sworn I heard footsteps outside of my door, but ignored it in favor of getting this blasted thing off.

"Just p-pull." I gasped, trying to yank in the opposite direction. It had come off so suddenly that when the shirt finally did come off, I was met with the scene of Cole falling over onto his ass. He let out a loud grunt as he landed.

Fortunately he'd landed on my bed, so there's that I suppose. I sighed,

"Finally..." I groaned in relief.

"Uhhhh... I don't mean to point out the obvious, but you kinda left the door open." I heard from the entrance of my room. I turned my head with a dull expression on my face. Varric was standing there, face uncertain. It looked like he was unsure of what to feel.

I was just standing there in my sports bra and jeans. To be honest, there wasn't really an issue. I'd had people walk in on me changing a few times before and never really felt the need to get all flustered about it. Must've been a thing that most social recluses had. I held no obligation to feel all weird about little things like this.

"I was just changing." I stated, feeling the instant urge to clarify, earning a low 'uh huuuh...'. I then looked back at my bed to grab my dry shirt. Only I couldn't because Cole was laying on it, his head turned toward Varric.

"Hello, Varric." He greeted happily.

"Hello, kid." He replied in an even tone, "Look, what you guys do on your own time is none of my business... but the Inquisitor told me to come get him. We're going out to scout the Hinterlands for something."

My face turned red at the implications. "Varric..." I ground out as I grabbed my wet shirt from Cole's hands. Not giving him any warning, I whipped it as hard as I could toward him. It hit him right in the face with a loud 'slop!'.

Varric grunted, stumbling backwards. I strode up to my door calmly, despite the irritation I was currently feeling. First Sera drenches me with water, accidentally. Then I walk around Skyhold with my ladies practically screaming to the world how cold it is. Now Varric walks in and assumes –

My brain doesn't seem to even want to finish that thought as I slam my door shut. Pervert! I suddenly felt the urge to stab him in the eye with one of my unsharpened pencils, which resided in my bag across the room. Bad thoughts. No. Bad. No stabbing. I breathed heavily, calming myself down.

"Face hot. Heart beating so hard it might fall out. It feels like it's going to fall out. You think Varric's a pervert." Cole's brows knitted together, "What's a pervert?"

"Can I please get my shirt? You're kind of sitting on it." I attempted to divert his attention.

"Oh. Sorry." He stood up swiftly, allowing me to grab it and slip it on. Successful. I changed quickly into my cargo pants and walked to the door and opened it. Varric was standing there, holding my wet shirt with a red mark on his face. The dwarf smirked, eyes glittering with amusement.

"Am I going to have to have a talk with you about safe se-" I held up my hand,

"Don't... finish that sentence. Or I will make you regret it."

"Channeling your inner Cassandra, I see. You need to scrunch your face a bit more, straighten your shoulders and smile like this." He scowled, looking like he needed to take a crap. The funny part about it? It actually kind of looked like how Cassandra's expression was set all the time. The scowl, that is.

I just couldn't stay mad at him, could I? I sighed, pinching the bridge of my nose and grabbing my shirt from his hands, tossing it back into my room.

"I need to speak with Lynn before you leave, so... lets go."

"Screech … you wound me. You're losing your sense of humor. Live a little!" He chuckled, walking down the stairs. I snorted, not bothering to answer.

We were halfway there when I heard Cole's voice from behind me.

"So... what is a pervert?" My mouth dropped open as I peeked back at him.

"Uhhh... I'll … uhh. Ask me later and I'll tell you." I tried to push off, hoping he'd forget. Varric started to laugh. I had a feeling he'd be having a talk with me later as I let out a groan, covering my face with my hands as we walked up into the Skyhold main hall.

Lynn was standing just inside of the door with a couple of her party members. Pushing past Varric, who looked mighty pleased with himself (probably from riling me up, that ass), I walked up to Lynn.

"I hear you're out on a scouting mission of some sort?" I ask, she pauses and looks at me. A few of the others, which I noticed contained; Cassandra, Blackwall, Solas and Sera.

"Yes, that would be correct."

"Is it … particularly dangerous?"

"No, not really. Why?"

"I'd like to come with." I coughed, "I-If that'd be alright, that is."

Lynn seemed to be deep in thought for a moment or two and turned around to have a silent conversation with the others. I was stuck standing in the doorway next to Varric and Cole, feeling a bit left out. I'd been stuck here for months and would like to go out and try to make friends. I did say I'd try, didn't I? What better way than to go out with them and try to help?

"I'll... uhhhh. I'll carry the supplies! Yes." I offered, trying to sweeten the deal. Some of them paused and started to talk again before Lynn turned around and smiled at me.

The next thing I knew, I was walking down the trail with the bags lugged over my shoulder. The horses carried most of the stuff, but I still had some of the supplies while they carried nothing. To be fair, I did offer... They wereheavy. I huffed,

"Let me go, she said." I breathed, "I'll carry all of the stuff, she said." I stumbled a bit, jogging to try and keep up. "It'll be fun, she said!" I stomped up to the group, walking behind them.

The only recognition I'd gotten that anyone had even heard me was Sera's snicker. I could have sworn I even saw Cassandra smirking up there, but brushed it off as my imagination. I refused to admit this was a bad idea. I already had a hard enough time walking as much as they were with how out of shape I was, but I simply needed to get out. I needed it. 


To be honest, the only things we were doing at the moment was a few errands that Lynn had needed to get done. Also collecting materials for potions. I was having a hard time identifying elfroot, which was much easier in the game since all you had to do was pulse the stupid blip thing. But I had no such luxury here. It wasn't long until we all started to make camp in a small clearing surrounded by trees. 

I plopped the supplies down and promptly sprawled out on the ground, heedless of the sticks poking me in the butt. My feet hurt like hell and there were likely sores forming. 'I should have expected this, but oh man. All of this walking is going to kill me!'

Don't even get me started on the constant head and body aches. I think that was mostly because of the lack of caffeine in my diet. I was a coffee hound back on Earth and the constant soda intake didn't help, either. Now? I was always drinking water that had a funny aftertaste. I much preferred to boil snow on my own, due to this. I didn't know how contaminated their water probably was, since they didn't know much about germs and bacteria. Ew.

They had explained to me about how they always kept someone awake for watch, just to make sure we never got ambushed. It was unanimous that I'd be the first, since it was usually easiest. I didn't protest, simply helping with stacking the logs for the fire and taking a seat nearby to relax. My feet rejoiced as I massaged them.

The flames flickered and danced in front of me as I allowed it to warm up my cold body. It wasn't too cold out here, nothing worse than we had to put up with back home. But I usually didn't camp in this kind of weather, so it was an experience. I was grateful that it was considered too cold for mosquitoes, in the very least. I don't even know if they had repellent in this world. It wasn't 'bed time' yet, so we sat around the fire and casually talked.

Well, more like I watched them interact with one another. They were all so … close. It made me wish I could be as personal as they were. Though, I wasn't the only one not mingling as I sat alone on a log next to Cole. He was doing the same thing as me, watching them talk and laugh. Even Solas looked kind of happy, in his own … Solas kind of way. I thought the guy needed to loosen up a little, maybe get laid.

"They are having fun." Cole stated, making me nod in agreement. I turned to him and stared underneath his floppy hat. The young man was hyper focused on the group, eyes darting back and forth as they talked.

"So you can hear them, huh?" I asked, wondering how exactly his abilities worked.

"Yes. But it has to be a hurt, a pain, pulling prodding inside."

"Can you hear anything other than pain, though?"

"....sometimes." He answered hesitantly, brows knitting in thought, "But if they're content and happy, I don't have to help."

"Hmmm." I answered, turning to look at the fire. No one really took note of the two of us, loners in the background. The sky was dark at that point, the only light coming from the flames in front of us. "Sometimes people react badly, even if you have their best interests in mind. But you're a good person. Don't let that discourage you."

"Sometimes I have to start over, 'Too weird. Not right. Demon.'

"But you're not. As odd as you may be. I'm odd too, you know." I smirked and peeked up at him momentarily before focusing on the fire again. I knew of the things he has started within the fortress. Even saw him, at times. I also knew, thanks to my foreknowledge. "You're doing great, Cole. Perhaps in time it'll become easier to help without making them forget and 'starting over', as you say."

Silence. It was quiet between us for a time before he responded with a quiet, "Thank you."

I tried to impart some sort of encouragement to him, knowing that many of the people within Skyhold were leery of him. It seemed only the Inner Circle knew of his spirityness, however. I let out a breath through my nose and leaned back, shoulder brushing against his. He seemed to tense, so did I. I scooted away slightly, noticing someone approaching our little corner of the fire. Varric at our right, both of us looking over at him curiously.

"Soooo... I've been waiting for the dreaded question." He spoke with a smirk as he turned his head to the side a bit, sitting down as he did so.

"Dreading what question?" I asked in a bored tone, raising a brow as I stared at him.

"Well, yes." He sighed dramatically, "I've unofficially adopted the kid. It's only fair that you ask permission first, right?"

"Permission for what?" Cole asked, just as confused as me.

That made me pause, however. Confusion turned into understanding as both my brows rose and I felt my face turning red.

"I don't have to ask permission for anything!" I bit back, nearly screeching as I stood up swiftly.

"Now now, Screech –"

"No, Varric. I'm serious … it's not-" I cleared my throat and looked away, seeing that some of the others had gone quiet to look over at us as we conversed. Embarrassment flooded me, then. Just my damn luck. Misunderstandings! Sera looked grossed out. Solas was almost glaring at me with a calculating look on his face. I groaned, mortified. "Just call me out of my tent when it's my turn for watch."

"Joking! Haha, get it?" He called to me but I ignored him.

I don't know about their world, but where I come from … bears most certainly didn't appear out of nowhere in packs. I stared, face white as a sheet, as three bears had made their way into our camp. Just my luck that it would happen while I was on watch, too. I screeched and flew to my feet. My screech acted as an alarm, getting everyone out of their tents and battle ready.

Before I knew it, I was sitting atop a tree and clinging to the trunk for dear life. I don't even remember how I'd gotten up here, but I saw the last of the bears get killed by Cassandra as she let out a loud war cry. The three bears were dead, but I was still atop the tree clinging to it like a lifeline. My body was refusing to loosen up as I clung, shaking as my eyes darted around in the dark to make sure there were no more bears.

"What's wrong, Screechie, never seen a bear before?" Varric's voice floated through the air from just below me. I looked down at him and frowned, still refusing to let go of the tree.

"Fucking, BEARS!" I yelled, "They don't arrive in God damned packs where I'm from!" I was starting to sound hysterical.

"Any louder and you'll alert everyone within a mile of our location." Cassandra griped from her position over by the dead bears.

"Pfffft. Hahaha! She's scared of bears." Sera was laughing, clearly having the time of her life as she pointed up into the tree at me. "Bears!" She made a loud roaring sound, trying to imitate one.

"Shut up, Sera!" I couldn't even think of a good comeback at that moment.

They all started to get back to a semblance of normalcy while Lynn sat on the other side of the camp skinning the bears and storing the meat. Hah. Take that, bears.

I blinked, looking down at the ground. I was pretty far up, maybe about 20 feet. I started to slowly make my way down the branches.

"It's alright, girl. I'll catch ya, if need be." Blackwall added, not too far away from the tree that saved my life.

"I'm fine!" I bit back, "I don't need your-"

I was almost close to the bottom branch when my grip slipped, causing me to fall. As I tried to fumble for something, anything, my body just flailed as I hit the earth with a loud 'THUD'.

I groaned, my face in the dirt. I had belly flopped onto the ground, knocking the breath out of myself. I didn't have the strength to even screech or call for help.

I heard a sigh from the direction Blackwall was in, followed by the sound of plate armor moving as he walked.

"It's not hard to ask for help." The bearded Warden had rolled me over so that I was laying on my back. I squinted my eyes up at him.

"Fucking, bears." I cursed, trying to sit up. This was definitely leaving a mark in the morning.

"Do you find them … unbearable?" Sera asked as she cackled and ran into her tent.

"Fuck off!"

I'd never admit it myself, but the way she had commented had made me want to laugh. It reminded me of my sister back home. I think that's also a reason why I'd always kind of liked Sera, because she resembled my sister in some odd way. The way she threw puns around just now, to the pranks she pulled.

Third Person

She was buzzing with anxiety, he could tell. Cole was sitting out on a tree branch overlooking the camp and everyone had already went into their respective tents to sleep again. Lyn's thoughts were clouded by the fear she still felt, as she lay in her tent trying to sleep. Trying was the key word, here. The incident with the bears had really bothered her. He hadn't ever seen her move that fast before and it had startled him. He was right beside her when they'd appeared, ready to protect her. She was a ranged fighter and being that close would only serve to get her killed. But before he'd known it, she had disappeared up a nearby tree.

The current person on watch was sitting on a log, reading. It was Cassandra. He had been listening to her read, finding joy in the story it held. However, he'd been interrupted by Lyn's fear and anxiety. Her usually quiet thoughts and feelings seemed much louder than normal.

His eyes flicked over to her tent and he focused, hearing her still thinking about the bears and if there might be any others nearby. She was still awake, then. Deciding that it was time to help, he allowed his body to appear just outside the front of her tent. He lifted his half gloved hand and opened her tent flap, seeing her body freeze in her bedroll.

"You're still afraid." He stated softly, creeping in slowly he took a seat above her head near the entrance. Lyn immediately calmed, her anxiety from before forgotten. She was still laying down, but her head was lifted up and her eyes were on him. Her head was on the side of the tent where he had entered.

"I'm sorry, was I bothering you?" She asked, frowning up at him. Her brown eyes showed the concern she was feeling. Lyn always showed concern when they were alone, making him believe she really was a good person. She always had this serious look on her face and rarely ever smiled, but he knew that she did care. She just liked to make the others think she didn't. It was like she wanted to hide that from the others. Keep it to herself. Mostly. It seemed as though she wasn't even aware of her own actions, either. It wasn't hurting her, so he didn't bring it up. Cole shook his head, assuring her that she hadn't bothered him.

Usually when he went in to help people or heal their hurts, he had to say something or get them something to help them feel better. It was different with his friend, though. Just by being here, he could see her starting to relax and finally fall asleep.

"Don't... leave me..." She mumbled in her half-sleep state, rolling over and curling up.

"I won't." Cole replied, but he was sure she didn't hear him.

First Person

When I awoke, it was still dark outside but I felt as though I'd gotten a full night's sleep. Blinking the sleep out of my eyes, I finally started to fully come to the conscious world. I was warm, I noted as I rubbed my eyes. Unnaturally so, to be honest. The tent was closed off and I'd known that it would help keep some of my body heat in, but this was actually kind of nice.

I felt shifting to my right, causing me to lift my head out of the blankets that I had buried myself in. My big brown eyes peered around and barely made out a seated form above my head.

"You're awake." Cole was sitting near the tent flap to my upper right, still in the same seated position as I'd seen him in when I fell asleep. Instantly I felt bad. I made him stay here, didn't I? With my stupid childish fears and inability to sleep. I'd camped numerous times before back in my world, I don't see how it – Well no. It was different, just …. those bears.

"You didn't have to stay, Cole." I muttered, "I would have been fine."

"It's okay. I don't sleep." He nodded, I noticed his hat was off and he hadn't bothered to take off his leather armor. His hat must have been giving him issues in the small tent that we currently resided in. It was narrow, and his hat was so wide that it just made sense that he'd taken it off. "You didn't want me to leave. Found it easier to fall asleep. Relax. I helped you."

"Right..." I wriggled my way out of the blankets and started to lace up my boots, which had been resting just outside of my tent. When my hands slipped through the flaps of the tent, some of the chilly air floated in and made me shiver. It was hard to maneuver in the tent without accidentally bumping into Cole. But I managed. "I'm sorry if I made you uncomfortable."

"No. I'm happy that I was able to help." He gave me a small smile as he went to grab his hat that was laying next to him. "You're my... friend."

I paused, looking over at him. This was different, I could feel myself brighten up at that. It was like confirmation that he thought of me as such. He saw me as a friend, and it was odd … the amount of cheerfulness I'd felt at such a simple phrase. I smiled contentedly, "Yes. Thank you."

I was rummaging around in my bag for my stuff when my hand bumped up against my bottle of honey. Something seemed to click in the back of my head as I let out a sinister grin. I grabbed the bottle and shoved it into my sweater pocket. Grabbing the gun that rested beneath my pillow, I put it into my other pocket.

I had a rogue to terrorize.

Crawling my way out of my tent quietly, I was greeted with the sight of Blackwall sitting by the fire. He'd turned his head and waved at me, which I returned rather lazily. I couldn't tell what kind of expression he was making at the moment, because his beard and mustache covered his mouth. I heard Cole shift out of the tent right after me as I made my way, creeping slowly toward Sera's tent not far away.

Blackwall looked shocked, for a moment, looking at me then back at Cole. He seemed to shake it off, though as he continued to watch me with a curious shine in his eyes. I crouched near Sera's tent, a grin making it's way to my face. Her shoes were sitting on the outside, just like mine had. But … I also saw Lynn's boots beside hers. Which gave me pause. They shared a tent? I could hear light snoring coming from the inside as I started to do my thing.

"What-" I snapped my head over toward Blackwall and held a finger to my lips, letting out a silent 'shh!'. His mouth was open, but he let no more noise come out. I then proceeded to pull out the bottle of honey from my pocket and started to squeeze a nice amount in each of Sera's shoes.

Trying hard not to cackle, I finished when half the bottle was almost empty and slinked off back toward my tent to put it away.

"Why did you do that?" I heard Cole's voice come from the flap of my tent. I looked back at him and smirked, his head was the only thing that was peeking in as he stayed outside.

"It was just a little... gift. A thanks for dropping a bucket of water on my head." I nod sagely with a serious look on my face.

I started to lazily pack my stuff up, even my tent so that it was ready to go, and made my way to the fire to warm up. The three of us sat there for a few hours before everyone started to stir. Dawn was upon us as the sun started to peek it's way over the trees. The birds were starting to come out and I could hear them singing as I sat there and relaxed before everyone woke up. The sun was welcomed, as the air seemed to warm ever so slightly as we remained there in silence. The Hinterlands were beautiful, with all the greenery and wildlife (the wildlife that didn't want to kill you, that is). There was no litter laying about and definitely no sound of cars. It was refreshing.

Blackwall had seemed like he wanted to ask why I'd just drenched Sera's shoes in honey, shooting me curious glances here and there, but was probably just waiting to see how it turned out. I had, afterall, given him a look that said 'don't ask'. He didn't. Good man, he is.

I was eventually awarded for my patience with a disgusted yell.

"Euuugh! Fuck. Piss. Shit!" I looked over and saw Sera with one shoe on, wiggling her leg as she tried to grab her shoe to take it off again. I tilted my head in question, why was she wiggling her leg like that? "Fricken ants! Who- Uuugh!"

I laughed, watching her throw her shoe onto the ground and start stomping around the outside of the tent.

"There's friggen ants everywhere!"

"What did I say about yelling? Do you want-" Cassandra had been on her way out of her own tent, her usual scowl on her face, but paused as she saw Sera stomping around on the ground like a madwoman.

"You're hurting the ants!" Cole popped in, but was promptly ignored.

"Are... are you alright, Sera?" The seeker seemed almost disturbed.

"My shoes are all sticky!" The blonde elf whined as she finally picked the other shoe up, seeing the mess I'd made in them. I was seated by the fire, slouched forward with an evil glint in my eye.

"What's wrong, Sera? Maybe they were attracted to your... sweet personality." I chuckled darkly, my hair still a mess and draping in my eyes a bit. She looked at me, realization dawning on her face.

"It's frigging honey. You're the only one that carries that shite around. You put honey in my shoes!" Sera yelled accusingly, while I smirked in response.

"Me?" I put a hand on my chest, "You Bee-lieve I'd do something like that?"

"Ugh, puns! Yours are horrible." She bit back.

"That stings, Sera. Right here, where my heart is supposed to be." I close my eyes, feeling satisfaction creep up. I'd gotten her back and it was totally worth it. She stomped off with both of her shoes in her hands, presumably toward the stream to wash them off.

It'd take awhile. Honey was always difficult to remove. I let out an evil chuckle.

"Damn, Screech. Didn't take ya for the suicidal type. You do realize shes going to want to get back at you." Varric spoke from his tent flap, though he looked almost as amused as I was.

"This is war!" I heard Sera's roar from the distance. I blinked lethargically as I looked toward the direction she'd ran off to. I'm not sure how to feel about that, to be honest. On one hand, she's good at this. On the other, I can get just as creative. We shall see how it turns out. I must have been smiling creepily, because I could have sworn I saw Varric shudder.

Blackwall sighed exasperatedly and I looked to him,

"Oh, come on. Don't be a buzzkill." Was my bland sounding reply.

This only brought more sighs from the others in the camp.

Chapter Text

When we got back from the mission, the story about my incident with the bears spread around the inner circle like wildfire. Apparently they thought it was hilarious that I was afraid of the massive furballs. Could you blame me? They were the size of the Grizzly bears back home and there were three of them. Three. Bears. I was a ranged fighter! Not some badass with a sword. I'd die before I could even land an effective shot on anything, bear or not, if I tried to pick up a sword.

And since life liked to be unfair to me, it'd prompted Bull to try and toughen me up only days later. So I was standing here as he coached me on how to hold a sword. The thing felt way too heavy for me as I fumbled around with it in my hands. I was not used to holding a huge chunk of metal.

"Look, Bull. This isn't going to happen. I'm an archer. I don't do the whole slashy dashy dance routine you guys seem to have all figured out." I held it out with one hand and shrugged. Krem was standing across from me with his own sword out. I believe Bull thought it would have been too cruel if he was the one sparring against me. To which I agreed. I'm sorry, but I'd rather keep what's left of my poor face in tact.

"You need to learn some close ranged combat if you want to survive in this world, girl!" The Qunari called to me as we stood out behind the tavern. The way he yelled and ordered me around kind of reminded me of my disorderly uncle back home. I sighed and looked around at the upper courtyard. It seems this is a place where people liked to train, so I should just refer to this as the training yard, with the practice dummies. "Krem!"

"Yes, Chief!" He called, readying his sword. I scowled and tensed my body. They'd put me in this chainmail that weighed me down so that I could barely move. It sat beneath a borrowed tunic that I'd suspected was actually stolen, because it still smelled like sweat and dude. Not a good combination, might I add.

"Ready your weapons!" Bull ordered and I tried to hold it the way they'd showed me. Judging from the shaking of Cassandra's head from beside Bull, I was doing it all wrong. Fuck. I hated my life right now. "Whoever wins owes a round of drinks!"

That's not fucking fair.

"You asshole, Bull!" I screeched as Krem happily dashed toward me. Big mistake, I'd let my guard down and he swung the hilt of his dulled practice sword and hit me in the stomach. I doubled over and dropped to my knees, letting out a loud grunt, sword still in my right hand. I looked up just in time to see Krem about to swing it down onto my back.

I really didn't want to get hurt, so I threw myself out of the way and completely abandoned my sword as a result. My body did a roll as I stumbled back onto my feet, unarmed.

Krem gave me a smirk. "When you buy me a drink tonight, maybe we can get to know eachother." He swung his sword in a circle, playing around with it. He was just showing off now, that assmunch! I frowned but stood there, body tense.

The Charger seemed to circle me for awhile, like a wolf playing with his prey, waiting for me to make a move toward my sword. I didn't, though. This was just too much, I couldn't even hold the damn thing and they threw me into a spar? That doesn't even make sense!

My thoughts were interrupted when Krem lunged at me, sword aimed to slash at my leg. Adrenaline pumped through my body as I felt anger wash over me at the absurdity of this. Without really even thinking, I sidestepped the sword and lunged forward and threw my fist into his face. He stumbled back a bit, looking completely shocked. Maybe I wasn't supposed to do that? I was regretting not putting my short rusty hair into a small ponytail or something, because it was starting to get in my face. It was just passed my shoulders now and was usually in a wavy mess.

Before he could recover, I threw my right leg into the air and kicked his arm and making him drop his sword. One thing about me was that I am a good runner. Good runners have good legs, yeah? It was then that I did the stupidest thing imaginable. I tried to tackle Krem, and I was snarling like a rabid dog. Krem was, might I add, in full plate armor.

Needless to say, it was unsuccessful. He grabbed me by my arms and flipped me right over his shoulder and onto my back in the dirt. He'd followed through with it and was now holding me down, sitting on top of me. My breath was knocked out of me as I sat there and wheezed. How in the fuck did he move around so easily in all of that armor!?

"Get your fat ass off of me!" I growled, wriggling around. He was heavy as hell and there was no way I was budging. I sat there, with the meanest glare I could muster (It probably looked like I was squinting, though), laying in the dirt with my arms pinned above my head. Krem leaned forward into my face and smiled.

"I win."

"Tsk." I pushed my head forward and headbutted him, our foreheads knocked together and I let out a pained grunt. My body fell limp as the pain in my head made my vision spotty.

He started to laugh. He laughed! At me! I just headbutted him and he was laughing at me! I watched as he let go of me and stood up, offering his hand. Reluctantly, I grabbed it and allowed him to pull me into a standing position.

"You fight like a rabid Mabari hound. Thought you were gonna bite me there, for a second." His brown eyes showed amusement as he looked down at me. I huffed, glancing toward Bull. "Not that I would have complained..." I heard him mutter as I stomped away. I wholeheartedly believed he was just mocking me with those words, so it only served to make me even more irritated.

"Are you happy now?" I asked Bull as he looked down at me, arms crossed.

"Shit, I'm gonna have my work cut out for me." He stated with a slight smirk on his scarred face, shaking his head. His big ass horns waved around and I couldn't help but have my eyes drawn up toward them. They fascinated me and I'd always wondered what they felt like.

"Uuugh..." I walked away to get changed back into my own comfortable clothing. Maybe I should even wash myself off a little, I'm pretty sure I smelled rank. Then again, I worked with horses … I probably always smelled bad. That thought didn't seem to brighten my mood at all.

Later that evening I was sitting in my room, nursing the bruises I'd gotten from our spar out in the training area. I had to admit, Krem was really good. Though, I'm willing to bet he was going easy on me just to make it so that it was less embarrassing on my part. I started to feel bad for being such a surly bitch to them, now. They'd only wanted to help.

I can't help it sometimes! Didn't I mention that I had anger issues? Looking down at the cloth filled with snow in my hand, I thought that maybe I could at least thank them by actually buying the drinks. Sure, I hadn't agreed but it was the least I could do. Standing up, I grabbed my silver pouch and emptied a lot of it out into my top drawer of my dresser. I then stuffed the rest into my back pocket. I didn't make much, but this would take quite a dent out of my savings.

My boots made a clunking noise as I made my way down the last staircase. The sounds of laughing could be heard along with talking from the other patrons. The lady was singing a soft tune as she strummed her instrument. I stood at the bottom of the staircase, turning my gaze over to Iron Bull. He was currently sitting at a table with the rest of his Chargers.

Now I'm assuming they usually relax together like this after a long day. At least I can get this all over with in one shot. He did say 'a round of drinks'.

"Well well, if it isn't little Screechie." Krem used Varric's nickname. It kind of stuck and people started to use it every now and again. My lips thinned as I walked up to the table and threw my money pouch in the middle of it. It made a little 'thud!' as it rolled and a few coppers and silvers popped out.

"I lost. Here's for the drinks I owe you guys." Was my simple answer as I flicked my brown gaze around to examine their expressions. The blonde haired elven woman let out a delicate sounding laugh as she looked up at me. A few of the others seemed to have perked up at my statement. Krem was giving me an approving nod.

"You didn't have to actually do it, you know." The blonde one smiled at me, "Not that I'm complaining, though."

"Yeah!" Bull yelled happily, "Round of drinks over here, Cabot!" He called over his shoulder toward the bartender.

Krem motioned to the seat right next to him, patting his hand on it for emphasis. Bull was on the side closest to the wall, taking up two chairs. I walked over and sat on the other side of him, head resting on the table as I held the improvised icepack on my stomach.

"How's your stomach?" I turned my head to the side, hair moving away just enough for me to make out Krem's expression as he looked down at me. He seemed, dare I say, almost concerned for me.

"Feel's like shit." I replied and sat back up. He was sporting a small bruise on the side of his face from where I punched him.

"Gotta say, your swordsmanship sucks ass. But you're fast as hell and know how to throw a mean punch." I didn't know whether to feel offended or flattered.

The sound of clinking could be heard as some tankards were set in front of all of us, including me. I stared at it with a confused look on my face. I had never drank alcohol before and didn't plan on starting. Alcohol had been the reason for many of the shitty stuff that happened in my past.

I lazily watched the barmaid walk away from the table, her outfit seemed to accentuate her hips and small waist. Hmm.

"Now this is what I'm talking about." The dwarf in the corner said as he started to laugh. Some of the others joined in and started downing their drinks. Soon enough, they were back to talking to one another. Sharing stories and experiences. I payed them no mind.

"What's the matter, you a lightweight?" Iron Bull laughed, downing his all in one go. I pushed the thing away from me with the back of my hand.

"I don't drink." I puffed a breath of air out and put my makeshift icepack on the table.

"There's always a reason for something, Screech." Krem grabbed it happily and muttered something along the lines of 'more for me...'

I shrugged my shoulders, eyes downcast. "Something about not being in control of my own actions. It gets to me." I lied as I tilted my head to the side and looked over at Bull and his lieutenant. The Qunari didn't look like he believed me one bit, but seemed to let it go. Reasons. I wondered how many of them had been dealt shit hands. No doubt some (if not all) of the Chargers had much worse lives than me. I didn't want to sound like a sniveling child in front of them. But ah, it's not what has happened that matters. It's how you choose to live life afterward.

"Hmmmm... I do like a woman who's in control." Krem smiled down at me. I scowled, looked at him and tried to hide the hurt expression that was threatening to force its way to my face. We were done sparring, he didn't have to mock me anymore. Because there was absolutely no way someone would even attempt to flirt with me, of all people. It had to be a joke.

I snorted and looked down at the table before standing up. I grabbed my icebag and stuffed it in my pocket and walked away.

I had walked all the way out to the barn, next to the stables. Sitting in the loft upstairs, I sat down next to the three kittens that made it their home. They recognized me and came hopping up. I sat there, quietly, as I let them crawl all over my body. One had made itself comfortable in my lap, while another climbed it's way up onto my shoulder.

The other one was rolling around on the ground as I used a piece of straw to play. They were so fluffy and I'd already made myself comfortable here so I just laid down and ended up drifting off to sleep with kittens curling up next to me.

I woke up that morning feeling stiff and full of hay particles. I was curled up on my side as I opened my eyes, groggily. There was a small ball of fur on the side of my head, purring. I could feel the other two curled up by my stomach.

"Sorry, guys. Gotta go to work." Grunting, I stood up and stretched the kinks out of my body. Well, the ones I could anyway. That day started out like usual, cleaning the stalls and giving the horses their hay. I even brushed a few of them, thinking they needed an extra grooming session. It was funny, because right at this moment, the horses were better groomed than I was. I stood there, brushing them and checking their legs for bumps. And here I was, hay and straw still sticking out of my hair as I let out a tired yawn.

"Hey, kid." I heard a deep tone, making me turn my head away from the horse I was working on. A tanned old man stood there with his arms crossed, watching me work. "You're out here every day, why don't you take the day off. Even the other stablehands get more free time than you."

"I'll be fine, Master Dennet Sir." I mutter as I turn back around and continue to brush the tall mammal. He let out an annoyed grunt.

"Stubborn kids." He grumbled, "Go on! Get!"

I rose a brow in his direction, seeing the serious look on his face. He stood there for a few minutes before I sighed and started to put my stuff away.

"Fine fine... don't have a stroke. Jeez."

And now I'm sitting in at the Herald's Rest with nothing to do. I glare at the wall behind Cabot, the bartender. I'd ordered some bread and jerky, which was currently sitting on a plate in front of me untouched. I could go practice with my bow outside, but decided against it. I will do that tonight. It was kind of a routine. Help at stables, practice with bow. Blah blah. I wondered when they were going to go out and scout somewhere, perhaps I could tag along? Again. This time I knew to watch out for the wildlife.

The wildlife here is much more … hostile, than the wildlife back home. I sighed.

"Hey, you." I heard Sera greet from my left. She sat down next to me and smiled. "Usually you're out there with those smelly horses. Why're you up here?"

"Master Dennet gave me the day off. I have no clue what to do." I shrug, picking at my fingernails.

"Why don'tcha have a drink with me, then? Take a load off."

"But I don't drink." I stated rather blandly.

"I know, I heard. Just have some orange juice or some shite. I don't care!"

I rose a brow, watching as the bartender handed her two mugs. Why was she being nice to me? I'd have thought she would be angry or something from what I'd done at camp about three days ago. She handed me my drink and we sat there in silence for a minute or two, just drinking.

"So you use the bow, huh? Not too bad. Could use some work, though." Sera comments offhandedly, "Bows are great, yeah?"

"I've practiced since I was small. Apparently that's not enough around here." I snort, downing the rest of my orange juice. "But the bow is a nice weapon."

"It's funny because it's like stabbing, but from long distances!" She giggled evilly, "Haven't practiced enough, I say. Keep goin at it and you'll be kicking arse in no time."

"Why are you being nice to me? I put honey in your shoes." My lips twitch at the memory. She only shrugs in response. Whatever, I'll take what I can get. She was still sitting there ordering drinks for herself 10 minutes later while I finished the small amount of food in front of me. I started to feel... odd. Well, odd doesn't seem to even sum it all up. I don't even know how to begin to explain what I was feeling. My heart rate had picked up and I felt … fuzzy.

Third Person

"Uhhh... Screech? What're you doing to that wall?" Varric had walked into the Herald's Rest and was now standing next to the wavy haired girl. Lyn was seated on a stool but was facing said wall, staring intently like it held life's answers. He saw her turn toward him, her hair seemed messier than usual as she locked gazes with the dwarf. Her eyes were dilated and her face was flushed.

"I talked to them but they didn't answer." She whispered in a shocked tone with wide eyes. She then turned back to the wall and started to caress it with her fingertips. It kinda looked like she was a cat, her eyes big and full of wonder.

"Iiiii'm not sure if I want to know what's going on here." Varric answered honestly, taking a few steps back.

"Funny, right? Thought she needed to loosen up a bit." Sera chuckled, looking at her handiwork.

"What did you do?" The dwarf wasn't sure if he'd like the answer, as he stood beside the blonde elf. Lyn was still looking at the wall and would sometimes even nod, as if answering someone. He noted the pieces of hay or straw sticking out of her hair.

"Oh nothing. Really. Just put something in her drink. No biggie!"

Their conversation halted when they heard Lyn start to giggle evilly. They'd hardly ever heard her laugh before, so it was almost unsettling. As they turned to look at her, they saw her jog by in a grey blur.

"Hehehehe." She grabbed the door handle to the tavern and threw it open. The light poured in and they could see that she was wearing … Cole's hat.

"What-" Varric was startled when he saw Cole appear right behind her. He looked like he wanted to grab her, but paused as she turned around and giggled like a schoolgirl.

"Lyn, what are you doing with my hat?" Cole had asked as he looked down at her. His blonde hair was messed up, like someone had ruffled it on purpose.

"Shhhh... I'm invisible." She whispered none so quietly and darted out the door and to the right. Varric felt his eye twitch as he peered back at Sera, who was still laughing her ass off.

"Andraste's ass, what have you done?"

"T-Totally worth it." Shaking his head, he ran up to Cole and put his hand on his arm.

"Hey, Kid. Let's go and make sure she doesn't hurt herself."

"What's wrong? Thoughts muddled. Hazy. Can't see. Can't hear. She's not her. Is she possessed?" Cole sounded almost scared at that last thought. The spirit started to fiddle with his hands, almost nervously as he stared in the direction his friend had gone.

"No, no. Sera drugged her. She's high out of her mind right now."

"She's where?"

Varric sighed, "Just come on." They walked out of the tavern and up the stairs at the right. Once they got to the top, they saw the door to Cullen's office open and could hear her talking to him in rushed sentences.

"Yeah! And where I'm from, they write these stories. About you and Dorian. I mean I don't read them or anything but other girls do. They're too smutty for my tastes." Instead of the usual dull tone her voice held, it sounded with much more emotion. They walked into his office just in time to see Lyn grinning like an idiot as she looked down at Cullen, who was seated at his desk. She was currently standing on top of his paperwork … which was on his desk.

"S-smutty?" Cullen choked, face turning completely red.

"Yeah. Because sex. They've got good imaginations. Sometimes it's on your desk. Other times you're all chained up in bed. It's quite the mental image."

Varric started to feel secondhand embarrassment for the poor girl. Maybe even a little for Cullen.

"Hey, Screech. Come down from there." He tried to order, waving his hand. She looked over at Varric and smiled.

"You're lucky. I haven't seen any about you. Yet."

And thank the Maker. The dwarf didn't want to know what he would have done if she started going off about the fiction in her world. If there even was a 'her world' to begin with, that is. They still weren't sure that she was completely telling the truth. But she's stayed with the same story consistently everytime it's come up, so far.

"Maker's breath..." Cullen breathed, standing up. "I-I...need some air." He then promptly exited through the door furthest from her.

"He's a virgin, huh?" She asked as she jumped down, stumbling as she did so.

"What's a virgin?" Cole asked, tilting his head. She tilted her own, mirroring Cole's confused expression, his floppy hat seemed big on her. Well, bigger than it was on him.

"Someone who hasn't had sex." She must have saw him about to ask another question, "Ask Varric. He probably has books about that stuff!"


"No!" He pinched the bridge of his nose.

Eventually they were able to get her back to her room. At least this way she wouldn't bother anyone. Though, on the way back she wouldn't stop staring at people. She'd stop and just stare at them, making them visibly uncomfortable, before walking forward to the insistence of Varric.

First Person

When I opened my eyes the next day, it felt like they were sizzling like eggs on a pan. The sunlight pierced through my window and seemed to gouge my eyes out in the process. I groaned and threw the blankets over my head.

It was then, that yesterday's events started to slowly come back to me. I hadn't blacked out, no. But my judgment and everything had been … dulled. I acted purely based on what I was thinking at that moment. Which is never a good thing, mind you. Mortification inched it's way into my body.

Never do drugs, kids. Because I just made a total ass out of myself.

"Fuck." I cursed, throwing my blankets off of my body and sitting up. I was dizzy for a moment but dealt with it. After minutes of sitting there, the sunlight didn't feel like it was pulling my eyes out of my sockets anymore. But it still hurt. A lot. Is it possible to feel like this after you get high out of your mind? I didn't even know what the bitch slipped me!

I growled. I knew exactly how I was going to get back at that blonde elf. I should have known she was being too nice. It was almost too good to be true. Guess I learned that the hard way.

During my off time that day, I'd collected green plants and vegetables from the kitchen. That night when the cooks had gone to bed, I occupied said kitchen and started to dice up everything and grind it together into a paste. I sure as hell hoped this worked.

Needless to say, Sera woke up the next morning tied to the tree outside of the tavern with a bowl upside down on her head. A sticky green substance had made it's way down her face and neck. It'd been there for awhile and was now drying. She slowly started to come around into the conscious world when people poked her with a stick.

I may or may not have gotten help from Bull. I sat in the tavern at the table with him, trying my hardest not to grin. Instead I settled with having an evil glint in my eye as I stared at the door when I heard Sera start screaming from the tree outside.

"I owe you one, Bull." I mentioned, still looking at the door.

"No problem, Kid." He was counting the rest of my savings on the table before him. He was a mercenary, afterall. So … I hired him. Just not for the usual thing he was hired for. "If you ever need me to kick someone's ass, I'm your man. Just remember that." I nodded in response.

"If I paid you enough, would you put on a dress and dance around in the courtyard?" I asked, genuinely curious. I'd haggled with him earlier and eventually he'd conceded when I gave him enough silvers. I think he was just doing that, though. I saw the amusement in his eye when I told him what I wanted to do. The silvers just sweetened the deal.

"I doubt they make dresses big enough for me. But … that depends on how much you're talking about."

I snorted, covering my mouth with my hand to hide my smile.

Eventually Sera stomped inside and up to her room to grab some new clothing. The bowl was no longer on her head, but her hair was green and crusty looking. Some of the mixture had even dribbled down her face in the process. On her way down to head to the bathhouse, I waved and added

"What's the matter, Sera? You're looking a little … green. Are you sick?"

The only response I got was her flipping me off before she slammed the door to the Herald's Rest.

Sera spent the next week with green hair. Which was my intent, actually. Well, maybe not the week part. I was only expecting the stuff to stain her blonde hair for a few days. I made a note to look at all the ingredients I'd used for future reference, because one of them had caused it to stay for a week. Good stuff. She was angry at first but had commented that no one ever bothered to prank her back. I'm hoping that she was complimenting me genuinely, not just because she wanted to do something evil to humiliate me. I had a horrible feeling that the next time she got back at me, it would be much much worse. I groaned, plopping backward on my bed.

It was dark outside and I'd just had a busy day. Lynn and a couple of her companions had just gotten back from their mission. Cole had been with them, so that was another reason why I'd had to occupy my time with terrorizing Sera.

I was silently grateful he had to go on a mission after I'd stolen his hat and ran around like an idiot on crack. I wonder if I scared him. I sat there for awhile on my bed, enjoying the feeling of relaxing my sore muscles.

"The kittens miss you. Sometimes they wander around looking. But you're not there. You haven't visited them in awhile." I heard Cole say from the foot of my bed. Oh?

"So you know what the kittens are thinking?"

"Sometimes." I'd started to get used to him just popping up out of nowhere by now. I've been here for months, helping out around Skyhold and working under Master Dennet. I thought I would be worrying everyday about getting home. To my world. But Cole has made it bearable. He's also the reason why I'm even having fun with Sera and Bull.

I was, dare I say, finding the companionship that I longed for. Even though said companionship sometimes resulted in pranks and getting drugged up. I found it … fun.

"Shall we go see the kittens, then?" I offered, earning a nod in return. We got up and made our way out of my room, through the tavern and outside. It was dark out, the clouds in the sky making the moon pretty much nonexistent. I'd have expected Cole to just disappear and wait for me in the barn, but he was actually walking with me this time. Even though his feet made no noise, so it seemed... That was nice, because I would have been stumbling around if it weren't for him. I stayed close by as we made our way into the barn and up the stairs.

I sat down on the floor of the loft above the barn, hay and straw completely covered the side we were on. I heard mewling coming from the hay pile and one by one the fluffy little furballs came running out to greet us. Cole had, at some point, taken a seat next to me. But I smiled and started to play with the kittens, making cooing noises as I held them at times.

One of them reminded me of my cat back at home. They'd grown much more, so I could distinguish certain features special to them. The one I'd taken a liking to was the black fluffy one. My cat at home was the same and I'd named her Kitler. As for this kitten? I hadn't even named them, because I wasn't even sure how long they'd even be allowed to stay up here before they were considered pests and thrown out.

I was interrupted from our play as a small book was placed next to my knee. I blinked a few times, moving my hand to brush the top of it.

"What's this?" I asked, trying to see if there was any print on it. It was obviously a book, but I didn't know what it was about or what it was for. It was bound between dark thick leather, a small leather string was attached at the back which would allow me to close it and tie it shut.

"It's a sketch book." He'd said as I picked it up to look at it closer. The dim light that was offered from the torches barely did me any justice. I was able to see it, though. I flicked my gaze back over to Cole, who was just sitting there watching me.

"How'd you know I … liked to draw?" I didn't remember ever saying anything about the fact that I liked to sketch or draw. So this came as a surprise to me. I could feel warmth starting to creep it's way into my chest as I moved my fingers gently across the leather bindings.

"Hand twitches. Itching in the back of your mind. Wanting. Needing. 'His smile lit up his face and it was … beautiful.' You wanted to draw … me." The way he'd worded it made my face turn red, maybe even purple. He'd heard that? I could have sworn he was too occupied with the kittens to … to –

I held the sketch book up and covered half my face with it, my brown eyes peeking shyly over the top. God this is – was. I could practically feel my brain scrambling itself in my skull.

"T-thank you..." I mumbled after awhile, finally able to pull the book down from my face. My face was still hot, though, indicating that I was indeed still blushing like an idiot. I looked down at it with a soft smile on my face. "This means a lot to me."

"I know." Was the short answer I'd gotten, his piercing blue gaze slightly hidden beneath his blonde hair. I smothered the urge that I'd gotten just now, to brush his hair away from his eyes. I didn't understand why I'd even gotten that urge. Contact with people always kind of repulsed me. But … Cole was different. In some way. I didn't know how, but he was.

"Alright then, sit still right there." I stood up and sat so that the light was on my back, he looked back at me curiously. I opened the book, seeing a small pencil stuffed in the leather. It wasn't as good as the pencil I had up in my bag, but it would do. Just this once.

Back at home I had actually gotten pretty good at drawing. I'd draw things that ranged from portraits to animals to landscapes. I'd even drawn cartoons at some point. It was the one thing that I was actually good at. Something that I'd enjoyed. I'd have thought I would have gotten rusty after all these years, but my hand flew across the front page expertly. Remembering. Occasionally I'd flick my gaze up to get a look at him and make sure to put certain features on the page in front of me.

It was simple, only a bust shot. The sketch was quick, trying to get the important things put in there. His long sleeved shirt, the patch on his shoulder, the frayed ends. Even the small holes in his hat. I sat there for awhile, as if in a trance as I moved my hands across the page. A few times I had to pull my hunting knife out of my back pocket to sharpen the pencil but continued on to the more delicate details. Shading was always the most difficult part.

It seemed like hours before I was even close to complete as I set the sketchbook down and sat up straight, cracking my back in the process.

"That's as done as I'll get. I can complete the rest later." I sighed.

"That's me." Cole commented as I saw him crouched in front of my book. His hand lingered above it as he stared down at it, his eyes trailing all over the page. It was simple, but I had somehow been able to capture the curious look he had been giving me at the time. He smiled and looked up at me, "Thank you."

I couldn't help my own smile that slowly inched it's way onto my face in response.

Chapter Text

The days around here seemed to pass by so fast, making me wonder why it hadn't done so in the past. Back in my world, that is. Everyday used to seem like a chore, barely able to drag my body out of bed and outside of the basement I'd lived in. When I'd first come here, I fumbled around not knowing where I belonged. Much the same as it was back home. Not knowing what it was that I was supposed to do. I was here. And this was now. I couldn't let myself dwell on the past, but instead hope for the best.

Hope. Another word that I felt. It was dangerous here, sure, but it was finally starting to feel like I … belonged somewhere.

I sat in front of the Hart that Lynn liked to ride and stared at her. She stared back at me, lazily eating the oats I'd just given her. Master Dennet had been completely baffled when I'd first approached the large mammal like it was nothing. I had pet her and groomed her, not knowing at all that she was a finicky beast that had sent several stablehands to the infirmary over the weeks since she'd arrived. But she didn't seem to mind me. Animals never really did. There were even times back home when a dog that was chained up and considered 'dangerous' would simply allow me to sit next to it and pet it. Needless to say, I'd almost given my aunt a heart attack when she walked out to see my little stubby child-self sitting next to a dangerous dog.

"You have a knack for animals, kid." Master Dennet had said, "Maybe I can make something out of you yet."

I ate an apple leisurely, wondering what exactly he'd meant by that. He'd gone on about being too old to be around Skyhold and whatnot. I'd listened to him, as I continued on with my work. It didn't bother me. In fact, I actually liked working with the horses. Being around them soothed me, in a way. It reminded me of my aunt's farm, where I'd lived for 6 years of my childhood. The only place that had created good memories, really. I was young, and my aunt liked to spoil me so she'd bought me some horses. I was in charge of keeping them healthy. And I did.

I smiled behind my apple as I stared up at Lynn's Hart. I could tell from the look she was giving me, that she wanted the juicy fruit in my hand.

"Fine fine." I sighed, standing up and holding it out to her with my palm flat. She devoured it happily. After it was gone, I stepped back a small distance and wiped my hands on my pants. I stood there for awhile with my eyes shut, remembering the good times at my aunt's house.

"You're really good with those horses. Ever cared for them before?" I opened my eyes and gazed over at the Grey Warden as he stood at the entrance to the stable. I offered a nod,

"I used to care for animals of all types when I was younger. It's almost second nature for me, now." I responded blandly. I could hear his heavy boots on the ground as he walked up beside me to look at the horned beast in front of me standing in the stall.

"Dennet speaks highly of you. Even refers to you by name." Blackwall spoke, looking up at Lynn's Hart.

"We hardly ever talk." I responded as I watched as the Hart nipped over at the Warden in warning, almost getting him in the beard. He steps back and laughs.

"No need to. You're good at what you do, simple as that."

"Thanks... I guess." I didn't know how to respond to it. I hardly ever got compliments and when I did I found them hard to accept. Though I didn't want to offend the man, so I had conceded. I lifted my small hand and ran it through her fur. She craned her neck toward me and nibbled at my pockets, probably looking for another apple. I snorted, "You're so greedy.."

With one last pat, I backed away and put my hands in my jacket pockets. "Was there anything you needed, Blackwall?"

"The Inquisitor told me to get the horses ready. She's heading out soon with a party." He sighed, "Should I – "

"Nah, I've got it. Who's all going? I can get them saddled up and ready within the half hour." I waved him off, pulling out a piece of stolen beef jerky (he wouldn't know that now, would he?) and started to gnaw on it.

He'd told me that Lynn, Bull, Dorian, Varric and Cole were going off back to Crestwood for something. After he was done informing me he turned around and left. After Hawke had stopped by, I'd caught a glance of him, more commotion had been going on. Tensions had been high between Cassandra and Varric those few days, but Lynn had been a good mediator. As I got the last horse saddled up and ready, I wondered if they would mind that I tag along.

I looked over when I heard the doors to the stable close, "Hello, Inquisitor." I smirked. She rose a brow and tilted her head, probably wondering why I was being so formal.

"Alright... what do you need?" She sighed. She knew me well. Almost too well, my eyes glinted with mischief.

"Oh, you know. The usual." I shrugged, shaking my head. "To tag along with you guys. I'm sure Dennet would like a break from my wonderful company." I was referring to the fact that I was almost always found in the stables, either working or just generally hanging out.

It felt much easier to talk to the woman, because of how easy going she was. Lynn was a really nice person and kept her people in check with a firm but gentle hand. That, I believed, was a good quality for a leader. She looked deep in thought for a second before finally nodding.

"Why not. We cleared out most of the danger last time we were in Crestwood." She walked up to her Hart and started to give her some love, running her thin little fingers through the hair near the ears. The Hart's ears flicked as she lowered her head for more. "As for Dennet, it's quite the contrary. He was speaking to me about you the other day."

"Oh?" What was with people and hearing about these things before me? Then again, I didn't make the best conversational partner, so I didn't blame the old man for not talking to me first.

"Mhmm. Something about training you in to be his protege." Lynn looked over to me as I stood, hands in my jacket. She couldn't be serious. "He said he's getting too old to play soldier and wants to go back to his family, eventually."

She was serious.

"So I'm going to be a glorified stablehand?"

"A glorified stablehand that has underlings." Lynn cackles and I snort in response.

"Sera is rubbing off on you." I shake my head as I walk up to another stable to start getting my own horse ready. I would just run to grab my bag after I was done.

"In all seriousness, though … what did you do before this?" She asked. My hands stilled as I was fixing the strap to the bridle. No one has really ever asked me about my life before all of this, so I was a little startled.

"I... was a college student." I mumbled, going back to fixing the strap in my hand. "I was going to a school to become a police officer."

"Officer? Do you mean like the military?" I'd have thought she would sound suspicious, but I didn't hear any. I did a quick body check on the horse and began to put the saddle on.

"No. We regulate the laws and help the citizens in our communities. Basically, I would have worked for civilians to make sure they didn't fuck shit up." I grunt as I pull the strap tighter, then go to adjusting more straps.

"So kind of like a city guard." I make a sound of affirmation and step away, viewing my handiwork.

"I never got the chance to finish, though." I turned my gaze over to her and tilted my head, "I woke up face first in some snow. Kinda changed things."

Not much was said after that, so I'd taken off to grab my things. I'd been presented with a few pieces of clothing from this world a week or so ago. Not to mention Josephine had those pants that I'd requested, so I swiftly changed into something else. These pants weren't much different from my own, but instead of being made out of jean material they were a sturdy kind of cloth. They were a little weird and obviously made for a man, but they fit just fine with a belt. At least with this tunic (which came down to my mid thigh)with a cool belt, I'd fit in. Somewhat. My pants still looked weird as hell. But I wasn't going to sacrifice my pockets for style. I needed those.

By the time I was back, they were all waiting on me. I hadn't taken that long, but I shrugged it off and hopped on my trusty steed. I'd packed light, only taking an extra pair of clothing and a few little things. Like … my sketchbook. I carried that thing around whenever I could, just to have it. If the urge to draw itched in the back of my head again, I'd be prepared. It was small enough to be set in my cargo pocket on my thigh, but when we rode I simply kept it in my bag.

I'd heard them speaking to eachother as we walked along on our horses, but as usual I simply kept quiet. They didn't seem to mind, but would sometimes ask me a question or two. I kept my responses short and sweet.

Lynn wanted to make a run to Crestwood to get some things from the village that wasn't offered at Skyhold. That wasn't the only reason, though. It was just an excuse to get out and clear the roads of bandits. With low amounts of manpower being directed toward getting ready for some attack, they couldn't spare any Inquisition soldiers to help out.

So Lynn volunteered, much to the reluctance of her advisors.

Bandits were easy to dispatch, much as I'd hate to admit it. Even I had a relatively easy time helping out. I stayed a distance away and shot arrows next to Varric, trying not to look at the dead bodies as we walked by. Don't get me wrong, I'm not much of a queasy person. But … killing was not a normal thing where I am from. Give me a break, okay?

The day was going on just fine, but then … a giant appeared. Well, maybe not appeared. More like got angered because Bull got excited and bumrushed the thing and started to chop at it's legs. I stood there, a flat look in my eye as the rest of us were forced on ahead to help.

"Such a passionate man, he is!" Dorian commented happily as he casted a few shield spells on the rogues and warrior on the front lines. I never got used to the way magic looked here. Again, another thing not in my world so sue me. It was beautiful, really. The way the fire seemed to dance across his arms and up his staff as he focused his attack. The fire would then blast off toward the giant and explode in it's face.

"So... what are we supposed to do? Just sit here and hack at it's legs long enough until it falls to eye level?" I drawled, feeling a little anxious at being around such a large monster. It let out a bellow as it fell down onto it's knees, making the ground around us shake. My heart sped up and I kept my eyes out, just in case I needed to run.

"That's generally the plan, Screech." Varric said from beside me. He was firing at a higher rate than I was, since he was much more experienced with fighting. My arrows would sometimes miss, but usually hit in the general area I'd aimed.

I still jumped everytime I saw it swing it's bulky arms in the direction of my friends, thinking they'd get hurt.

"I bet it's why he doesn't use a melee weapon. The poor man would be hacking at everyone's legs all the time." Dorian quipped from the other side of me, casting a barrier again. Varric groaned,

"Sure sure, make fun of the dwarf." He'd responded in an exasperated tone. I heard him mumble some things and could have sworn I heard him call Dorian an 'asshole'. I tried not to smirk, but I did anyway.

"Oh, you too? Andraste's tits..."

"Sorry, Varric. It was funny." I watched as the giant fell limply to the ground after a rather deadly blow was dealt from Bull. The ground shook again, causing me to shiver.

On our way to find a place to set camp for the night, I heard Bull and Varric talking. As per usual, I started to listen in.

"Hey, don't most dwarves have beards? Or at least mustaches or something?" Bull asked the dwarf.

"I make up for it elsewhere." Was his answer. I felt my face go pale at the thought, I did not need to know that. I only hope he was talking about his chest hair. Please. Please.

"I'll be up here … gouging my eardrums out." I grumbled, making my horse go forward and next to Lynn. Bull and Varric both started to laugh at my expense, to which I tried to ignore. Yep, not talking about chest hair. From the way they bust out into laughter, I almost believe they did it on purpose. Just to get a reaction. Those fucking mental images...

When we finally made camp, Lynn was roasting a few fish from a nearby lake that she'd caught. I was sitting in the dirt near the fire, staring up at the sky. The stars were barely able to be seen, as it was a bit cloudy. But it was nice.

"Do they ever stop talking to you?" I heard Cole ask from across the fire. Keeping my eyes up on the stars, I listened in.

"Nouns, Kid. Does who ever stop talking to me?" Was Varric's response.

"The people in your head. They aren't real, but they have voices and thoughts, and sometimes you see through their eyes." He elaborated. Well … that was certainly an interesting way of putting it, that's for sure.

"If they stopped, I wouldn't have to write so much!" He'd replied and began talking about his writing. Soon enough, it came down to him telling Cole a story. Taking my gaze off of the stars, I looked across the fire and saw them. I didn't know where the Iron Bull was or Dorian for that matter, but from the rumors I'd been hearing I didn't want to even think about what they could be doing out in the woods. Alone.

Taking my mind off of that, I took in the scene before me with a tilted head. Varric was sitting on a log, talking animatedly and moving his hands as he told one of his more popular stories. Cole was sitting in the dirt, staring up at Varric in wonder. The light from the fire highlighted their faces as they sat there. Hand twitching, I dug in my pack at my side and pulled out my book and started to sketch.

It didn't take me long to get the base sketch done, knowing I could get the more minute details in later. No one seemed to notice me as I sat on the ground near the fire and drew in my leather sketchbook.

As usual, I was first watch. Thankfully no bears arrived this time, though, so it was mostly uneventful. I slept like a log that night, not waking up until tiny flecks of light could be seen barely coming out from under my tent. It was dawn, I realized, as I started to get ready for the day.

Making sure the safety was on, I placed my gun in my back pocket alongside my hunting knife. When I exited the tent, the cool morning air hit me and I let in a deep breath. It was nice and crisp, but not too cold. Even so, I made my way over to the fire and sat down. Bull had made himself comfortable and was the last one on watch for the night.

We sat in silence for awhile before he decided to ask me a question,

"So, are you really from another world or is that some bullshit story you came up with?" He had asked, though there was no malice in his words. They didn't offend me, no. I was shocked, though. It was a subject that was rarely ever touched, if at all, when I was around them.

"I don't see why I'd have to keep the story going if it weren't true." I commented, poking the fire with a stick that had been sitting in front of me.

"So if, hypothetically, this world was real. What's it like?" Was Bull usually this talkative in the mornings? God I feel bad for Dorian. I rubbed the eye boogers out of my eyes and sighed.

"Well …. I don't know where to start, really."

"What are the people like?"

"Just like the ones here. Though, there are no Dwarves, Elves or Qunari. Just humans." I glared at the fire, "No magic or dragons."

"Your world sounds like shit." He laughed, leaning forward so that his arms were resting on his legs.

"You're telling me..." I agreed, "There is good and bad in my world, just like this one. We thrive off of technology instead of magic and all that shit you have here." I offered a shrug.

"You lost me at te... tech. Whatever." I frowned, eyes sliding halfway shut. God did I miss home. Sure there wasn't much for me to go back to, people wise. But I really missed being able to drive a car and use a flushing toilet. And oh Lord, pizza. I missed pizza.

"Just think of it this way. We are more advanced. Weapons, standard of living, all of that. The weapons you guys use are almost considered archaic. Everything has been improved through mechanics and engineering. It's kind of complicated to explain...That wasn't exactly my area of expertise."

"I see..." I wasn't sure if Bull even believed me, but talking about home made me feel a bit better. Just a little. Though it also forced me to think about all the shit I didn't have here, compared to over in my world. Shifting, I stood up and turned around.

"I'm... going for a walk...Thanks for the talk. It's been awhile since I thought of home." I mumbled back at him, walking away without waiting for an answer. I needed some time alone to think.

I made my way through the trees and stopped to sit on a rotten log. To put things simply, I was … torn. I wasn't even sure I wanted to go back anymore, because I had people here that seemed to care about me. The only benefits of me leaving would be my comfort of living in a cleaner and safer place. I smiled sadly.

I heard shifting to my right, making me freeze. I happened to look over just in time to see four men strolling through the woods I'd walked into. I paled, seeing the weapons that they'd had. Not only that, but two of them looked to be mages, one archer and one dual wielding rogue. They were in some fancy looking armor, but their helmets were held at their sides. I carefully crouched and put myself onto the ground, belly almost flat in the dirt. The grass tickled my chin as I crawled toward some underbrush to hide myself. The ground beneath me was wet with morning dew as I slid my hands through the grass and finally pulled myself underneath a patch of bushes.

Perhaps if I waited long enough they'd just move on? I had been circling camp out here in the woods during my walk, so I'd left on the other side of camp. I knew how to navigate really well out in this kind of terrain, finding it almost welcoming.

"Where is he? Said we'd meet back up in an hour." One of them grumbled. They'd stopped just 10 feet from where Iwas laying. 'Fuck' I mouthed, glaring up through the heavy brush. I could hardly make out what they looked like, but they most certainly did not look like bandits. They started talking in low voices and I could only make out a few things here and there. They were talking about the Inquisition and how their party had been spotted in the area.

My eyes widened at the thought, were these guys our enemies? Now that I looked at them, they looked similarly dressed to the people that'd attacked Haven. Venatori, if I remembered correctly. Unfortunately, I couldn't make out much to confirm my theory. If I could get a look at their armor to see the symbol... I shifted as slowly as possible, but froze when I heard.

"Sorry to keep you waiting. Spotted their camp a ways East." The man's voice was deeper and had come from my right. He was maybe 5 feet away. I felt my blood run cold. If I had moved any more, he could have spotted me. He ambled by, the symbol on his plate armor glinting in the sunlight. Two dragons intertwining.

They were Venatori. Mother of fuck. Just my luck!

"What should we do?"

"Calpernia's orders were reconnaissance. Nothing more." The mage at his left said, his hood shifted just enough for me to see his beard and mustache. Was this Calpernia person their leader?

"But they don't know we're here-" The fidgety archer began but was cut off.

"Not to engage." The mage stated firmly, looking at the man with a stern look.

"They had a civilian girl with them. Spoke of another world. With better weapons." The one that had been scouting began, "Could it be this … otherworlder the rumors have been speaking of?"

I let out a small gasp, not expecting them to come out so openly about it. Not only that, but they knew. From the sounds of it, they had heard of me in the very least. But how? I saw one of the men freeze. The one closest to me. Fuck. Shit. God damn it! He turned around, looking into the woods curiously. I saw his eyes glance over my spot before looking somewhere else.

"They're all in the camp...?" The man peered around suspiciously.

"The girl went for a walk, but went in the other direction. Why?" The brute of a man rose a brow as he answered, walking up to him to peek around in the woods more closely as well. The brute was the only one wielding a sword, so I was guessing he was the muscle. Two were mages and one was an archer. Wait … wasn't there one other?

"Is this the girl?" I heard a voice from behind me. I gasped, rolling out of the bushes and trying to get up, only to be slammed to the ground by the man that had been behind me. I growled, trying to pry his hands off of my arms as he tried to wrestle with me.

"Get the fuck-!" I yelled but he punched me in the face, shutting me up. I grunted and my vision wavered.

"That'd be her..." The scout sighed and sneered, "How did you guys not see or hear her nearby?"

The man on me was sitting on my back, my face was in the dirt as he had my arms behind my back. His grip was painful and I could already feel the bruises forming. Fucking rogues! They're sneaky as hell and I was starting to gain a dislike for them. Especially with how they could just disappear like that. Then again, three of my friends were rogues... so...

I could feel him trying to bind my wrists, making me panic. I can't let them take me! I'd end up dead, or worse. They'd also been listening and following for awhile, so who knows what they knew? I started to flail my legs, trying to get him off of me. I was rewarded with a swift knock to the head, sending my world into blackness.

My vision wavered and would blink in and out for awhile before I finally regained consciousness. I was being carried like a sack of potatoes by some large brute of a man. I couldn't see what he looked like, though. I did, however, see the other men behind him. It hadn't been a dream, I was taken by these Venatori for only God knows what.

I started to shake, feeling dread creeping it's way up into my body. I let out a loud screech and started to flail around. Kicking my feet and trying to wriggle my wrists to get them free.

"Stupid bitch." The man holding me grunted, flipping me over and tossing me on the ground. I rolled a few times before I curled up and groaned. I felt my body jolt and pain started up my arm that I'd landed on. I growled and writhed around in pain on the ground.

I was harshly grabbed and started to kick and snap my teeth blindly, like a wild animal. I didn't know what else to do, so why not try to bite the motherfuckers? My mind was in a frenzy and my thoughts were scrambled. I didn't know what to do. If I didn't do something fast I knew that I would be dead soon. Though my fighting was in vain, as he sent a knee into my ribcage and I choked out a cough.

"Move." He growled, pushing me forward. I looked back at him and glared, catching sight of a few of the other men who were looking at me like I was some kind of savage. Well, to be fair, I did just try to bite their friend.

"W-why did you grab me?" I forced out, my legs shaking as I walked forward. I could see a camp coming into view just on the other side of some bushes. It was a small camp, which told me that the five men here must be the only ones. I still felt like I had no chance.

"Information, of course." The mage at the back smiled gleefully, his eyes had lit up and it made him look fucking creepy. His smile reminded me of some pervert that took pleasure in the pain of others. I didn't want to know what they were going to do to me just to learn about the Inquisition.

Or worse, what if I cracked and gave the location of Skyhold away? Did they know where it was? I was shoved onto the ground and broken out of my musing. My legs crumpled and gave out between a tent and a table. Said table was full of torture instruments and stacks of paper.

How long had they been planning this!?

I forced down the urge to let out a whimper as I saw all of the shiny metal instruments glinting in the sunlight, as if taunting me.

"Now, we're going to ask a number of questions and you'll answer. Am I clear?" The one in the front chuckled darkly, kneeling down in front of me. It was the rogue that had found me, his daggers were strapped to his back and his hood was down. He looked like your ordinary guy, to tell you the truth. If I had seen him out of his armor, I'd think he was just a normal man walking by.

I glared at him, snapping my mouth shut. I don't know how long I'd be able to stay alive or even keep myself from breaking, but I'd try my best.

"Takin' the hard way, eh?" He had taken my refusal to talk as an answer and hit me across the face with his big hand. I bit the inside of my cheek and cried out, feeling blood start to pool in my mouth.

That was just the beginning.

I don't know how long he'd sat there and kicked the crap out of me, but it felt like forever. The other guys were standing in the back, just watching the whole thing like it was a movie. I half expected them to grab some damn popcorn and start to laugh as I let out grunts and groans from the pain I'd been feeling. I kept repeating in my head, 'Don't break. Don't cry. Don't break.' as if it would give me strength. But I could start to feel it wear on me as the kicks and punches started to become more and more painful. No, he wasn't hitting me harder, he was simply hitting me in the same spots.

Everytime he asked a new question, I flooded my head with the thoughts of the friends I'd made. Changing tactics in my head, instead of repeating those words I started to think of who I was protecting. Who would get hurt if I told them anything. I was doing it to protect. Protect the people I cared about. Remember, Lyn, protect them.

"Why were you with the Inquisitor?" No response. Lynn had gone out on a limb to make sure I didn't die in this new world. She even allowed me to stay at Skyhold to prove myself. She was kind and cared for the people that worked under her. She was a worthy leader, a good Inquisitor.

"How many of there are you?" Still no answer. Blackwall was a nice man and had suggested giving me a chance in the first place, siding with me. Even though they all likely thought me crazy, I had found myself growing attached to them all. Even Dorian, who I hardly ever talked to.

The Venatori men had mainly stayed away from my face, not wanting to accidentally break my jaw. So I assumed. Did I really look that weak to them? I couldn't talk without a mouth. I saw him trade places with someone, the creepy mage from earlier, and he went toward the table with the instruments. I damn near wet myself in fear as he grabbed a small metal object and started to unlace my boots. He'd peered curiously at my workboots but had shrugged it off and continued on.

"Alright, girlie. I'll achieve what Edmond couldn't. He's a nice man, isn't he?" His screechy voice entered my ears and I had to swallow back a whimper. He was creepy and made my skin crawl, especially with how he'd purposefully let his hand slide over my leg or how his skin would linger against mine. "Same questions, you know them by now. Answer."

I didn't.

Then he started to rip my toenails off. Fuck did that hurt. I tried to bite back the screams that rose in my throat as he slowly pulled them off, a smile on his bearded face. I had even kicked a few times, but he had used a shock spell to paralyze me as a result. Sometimes I would lie and tell them I didn't know or I'd just simply not speak.

Eventually, when it had seemed like hours later, my kicks were getting weaker and my throat was raw. Every time I tried to kick I was only rewarded with a twist of his dagger that was sitting in my thigh. The pain would cause spots to enter my vision as I bit my lip to keep from screaming. They came out as muffled shrieks and he looked like he was enjoying it. A gleeful look would light up his face every time I whimpered or screamed. When that didn't work, he started to shock me with his magic.

The Iron Bull and Krem had gone out of their way to try and help me. They didn't have to, but they did. That was worth something, right? Dorian had saved my life back at Haven and sometimes we would chat when we were all eating in the mess hall, though rarely. Sera and I had this mutual understanding going on. We pranked each other and gave each other shit, but it was fun. I thought she was cool and she just had one of those colorful personalities.

"Gotta hand it to ya, you're hangin' in there pretty good." The mage chuckled darkly, though his eyes were alight with something I couldn't identify. "I always did like a woman that could fight."

Everything throbbed. It hurt. It hurt so much. The mage kept talking, though I never answered. He may as well have been talking to a wall. A screaming wall. But a wall nonetheless.

It was then, in my pain addled mind, I remembered that I put my weapons in my back pocket. I panted, my hair draped in front of my face as sweat rolled down my forehead. My brown eyes glinted with a new light, hope. Hoping silently that they hadn't checked them, I shifted backward onto my butt and started to kick at him. As I leaned back I could feel the familiar bumps of my weapons. I hardly ever saw people with back pockets around here and my tunic was covering my butt anyway. That had given me an advantage. That, and they seemed to think that I was some weak civilian girl that tagged along with the Inquisitor. They thought little of me. Underestimated me. That would be their downfall. I almost sighed in relief, but was hit across the face again.

Varric had given me a nickname and had even gone out of his way to make sure I didn't hurt myself when Sera had gotten me high. He was a good man and was one of the few people that hadn't pushed me aside back at Haven. Sure he called me crazy, but he didn't treat me like less of a person like most of the others had. He also took care of Cole, in his own way. Ah yes, Cole. I choked, trying not to cry.

"I will break you, whether you like it or not." The mage sneered. I just … I had to wait for the right time, otherwise I wouldn't have a fighting chance in hell. The other members of his freakish party were still watching. One of them had gone off to a tent to do something. Though I could barely see through my blurry eyes. My glasses had dropped at some point and I didn't know where they were.

With the few snippets of conversation that I could hear behind the mage, they were talking about leaving later today to their little hideout in Val Royeux. Vicinius' house. More talk of this Calpernia person, too. Some papers, which I'm hoping were sensitive documents, were handed to the bulkier man who stuffed them in his pocket. He nodded and went inside of one of the tents. They obviously weren't worried about me hearing any of their conversation. Which lead me to believe they were going to dispose of me once they were finished anyway.

I had to get out of this. I just … had to. I had to do it for my friends. For Cole. I'd promised myself that I would never leave him, like his other friend had. Didn't me dying count as 'losing' someone again? I couldn't have that! Not only that, but they had been following my group and who knows how much they'd heard? I couldn't … let them get away with that.

My thoughts were interrupted, yet again, when the mage took his knife and tore open the front of my tunic. I let out a terrified scream as he purposely dug into the middle of my chest. Through the stars that appeared in my vision, I saw the others turning around and going back to do things in the camp. Whatever it was that the creepy mage was about to do, not even they wanted to see it. The thought made my heart hammer in my chest. Adrenaline pumped into my veins much harder now, making my body shake.

Fumbling around with my bound hands was harder than I thought, as I wiggled around and dug around for my knife in my back pocket. The mage must have thought I was trying to wiggle out of my binds, because he smirked.

"The binds are too tight, dear. There is no getting out of this now." He giggled and was about to continue, but I felt my knife come free and I flipped it open, spit at him and let out a feral sounding growl to cover up the sound of my knife snapping open. I sawed at the ropes as fast as I could, because the look in his eye was not a good one. I'd seen that look before. I shook my head and forced the tears from coming up. This won't happen again. Not again!

He got on his knees and leaned forward, closer to me. Just as he did so, my arms came unbound. Without even thinking, I pulled the knife around my body and stabbed him in the side of his neck. I heard a gurgling sound as I pulled downward and opened it more before pulling it free with a nasty sound that I'd rather not describe. I felt the hot trails of blood go down my arm as I lowered my hand to my thigh. It all seemed to happen in slow motion.

What was disturbing, though, was the fact that there was arterial spray. The thick sent of copper filled my nose and was even in my mouth. Thick layers of the life fluid fell all over my face and trailed down my neck and shoulder. I gagged and spit it out, pushing the body away as I stumbled to my feet. I then fumbled around my back pocket and took out my gun, taking the safety off. My right hand was slick with the red substance, making holding the gun harder. I had to use both hands.

With shaking hands, I saw the other Venatori agents run over and I'd realized that the creepy mage had been making gurgling screams as I had stabbed him. My hearing started to come back as I heard the other men starting to bark out orders. Without waiting, I fired off two rounds at the nearest man. The bullets went through his robes, hitting him in the chest. He fell into a crumpled heap on the ground, causing the other three to freeze up.

Two more shots. Then more. I don't even know how I was able to hit them, but since they were relatively close they were bigger and easier targets for me. Before I got to the last guy, though, he'd fired an ice spell at me and it'd pierced my leg and made me stumble forward.

"D-Demon!" He screamed, and I saw the look of utter terror in the man's eyes as I unloaded the rest of the magazine into him. My eyes widening as I took delight in the fact that he was the one that was scared now. They've obviously never seen a gun.

After they were dead and the threat was gone, I promptly threw up. I was on the ground heaving as I heard the sounds of approaching hoof beats. Not knowing if they were friendly, I scrambled to my feet but paused as I looked down at my hands. My right hand and forearm was covered completely with blood. My gun had it on it, as well, as it was rested in my left hand. Eyes widening, I started to hyperventilate.

Third Person

They'd noticed Lyn was missing after she'd been gone for an hour. The Iron Bull had taken off in the direction that she'd walked in and found her glasses laying in the grass near a rotted log. Along with signs of a minor scuffle.

Since then, the party had been searching the nearby area for the otherworldly girl. Lynn looked scared, almost like she didn't believe Lyn was still alive. Cole was acting mighty weird as well, with his uncharacteristic fidgeting. The fact that he was silent the whole time they looked was odd enough.

That was when they heard the gunshots. Though, they didn't know what gunshots sounded like. Only that they were loud and which direction they'd been coming from.

"This way!" Lavellan had called as she spurred the Hart she was riding into a gallop.

Once a camp came into view, the first thing that Lynn had noticed was the fact that there were bodies laying around. The first ones that came into view were laying on the ground with blood coming out of their backs. They swiftly got off of their horses and began to search the area. Lynn walked up to a mage that was laying face down and saw that his throat was cut. He was laying next to Lyn's hunting knife. Gasping, she knelt down and picked it up, not caring that she got blood on her hands in the process.

"I found her knife!"

"Yes, but where is she?" Varric put in, looking around at the camp with a frown on his face. His eyes held the concern he felt for the girl.

"It looks like she was taken by a group of Venatori." Dorian said from beside Bull on the other side of the camp, his tone of voice showed his distaste at the idea.

"Way to state the obvious, mage-boy." The Qunari stated blandly, looking down at the Tevinter with a small smirk on his features.

"Well, excuse me." He snarked back, turning and with a flutter of his robe he got to work on searching some of the bodies.

Lavellan peered over and saw Cole crouched near a large tent, talking into it softly. She couldn't hear what it was he was saying, but he entered and disappeared behind the canvas. She stood up and walked over to see a sight she wishes she hadn't.

Lyn was covered in blood, the front of her tunic was ripped open down to her belly button. A rather large gash was in the middle of her chest, right between her breasts. Her rusty hair was matted on one side with the blood that covered all over the right side of her face and arm. Lyn's eyes were unfocused as they darted around, trying to see if there was anymore danger.

"You are safe, now." Cole tried to reassure from beside her. The Inquisitor heard the girl whine, curling up a bit tighter. "It's Cole." He took off his hat and looked at her.

Lyn's fear filled gaze turned toward the young man and her shaking started to reside. Only slightly. The rogue slowly inched toward her, trying to get into her personal space without startling her. It was like he was trying to calm a skittish horse, his hands held up.

"Is she okay, Cole?" Lavellan asked, making herself known. A gasp could be heard as the otherworlder pointed a black chunk of metal in her direction. Cole swiftly grabbed her arm and put it down, not knowing whether or not it could actually hurt Lavellan or not if Lyn accidentally used it in her fear-filled state.

"Her fear is blinding her. Curling, choking, her mind a haze of fog. She doesn't recognize us." He sounded somber as he looked back at his friend, who still had yet to look at any of them in the eye.

"Maybe she just needs to calm down. She'll be alright, Cole..." The Inquisitor spoke softly as she crouched in front of the blood covered girl. Her auburn waves were sticking to the side of her face. Her fear filled brown eyes peeked beneath her wavy locks, gazing up at the elf. "It's alright now, Lyn. We're here."

First Person

I slowly started to come out of the horror filled daze that I'd put myself in when I saw the blood all over my hands. I could feel a cold wet washcloth being dragged gently across my skin on my chest and arm. I slowly focused my eyes and saw that Lynn was currently cleaning me up with tender hands. I was inside of a red tent. The same tent that I saw when I was being tortured by the Venatori men. I couldn't help the small whine that came up my throat when I looked around.

I saw Bull and Dorian digging around outside of the tent, their weapons sheathed and put away. Varric was standing idly just outside of the entrance, staring out and keeping watch. Lynn was cleaning me and Cole was sitting right next to her. The gashes on my thighs from the ice spell and dagger were tied off and bandaged to stop the bleeding. The small cuts on my arms and legs were cleaned and I … couldn't really feel the pain. Like it had been dulled. Did they put something on my wounds to numb me up?

"You're alright now." Lynn reassured and I locked gazes with her, my heart rate finally returning to normal. Not being able to hold her gaze for long, my eyes fell to the faint tattoos on her cheeks. I'd always thought they accentuated her high cheekbones, bringing out her beauty. They were nice.

"A-Are they all dead?" Was the first thing that came out of my mouth and I swallowed thickly, still feeling the remnants of fear within.

"Yes, they all were when we arrived." She put the rag in a bucket and squeezed it out before continuing to clean the blood off of my body. I noticed that the bodies outside were missing, which lead me to believe they must have dragged them away and piled them somewhere. "Did they..." Lynn sounded like she didn't even want to ask as she looked down at my ripped tunic.

"I cut his throat before he could." My voice sounded cold, even to me. I could have sworn I saw Lynn flinch at the bluntness of my statement. "I did it … to survive?"

I did it to survive, right? I mean, I - it felt good ... to make them feel what I did. The fear the- 

"Yes... You had to.." Lynn's voice was soft as she put her thin fingers on my now clean face, I pulled away slightly. I still found physical contact uncomfortable and tried to avoid it at all costs. She seemed to understand and pulled her hand away with a comforting smile.

"I can finish. Thank you..." I tried to offer my own smile but my lips only twitched in response. I grabbed the rag out of her hand and started to finish the job. The young elf nodded, eyes sad as she pushed my bag toward me. At least I'd brought a new set of clothes, right?

The blood was gross. It made me feel gross. Dirty. Tainted. I didn't want it on me, but it was there. Crusted, coppery, sticky. It almost sent my mind in a panic-filled haze, again. But I shook my head and tried to shrug it off. I can get through this. I can do it.

After I was as clean as I could get myself, I dug around in my pack for a new shirt. I hadn't even packed another bra, so I was going to have to go bra-less for awhile. Fucking wonderful. Sighing, I looked over at Cole. He was still crouched in the tent with me, silent as ever. It was unlike him, really. I'd have expected him to start blurting out people's thoughts or something. Or maybe he was just digging around in my head to find something to say to try and help me. I rose a brow and turned around, slipping my ripped tunic off and throwing it aside. I put my clean shirt on and nodded, feeling much better now that I was covered up.

"It was going to happen again. But you wouldn't let it. You're older now, more capable of fighting back." Cole started, making me flinch. "Sticky. Coppery. In your mouth and nose. You did it so that they wouldn't hurt you. Just like – "

I cut him off by whipping my body around and putting my hand on his face, covering his mouth. My eyes were widened, unfocused, as they darted around to make sure no one had heard. He was staring at me, eyes full of questions. I was afraid of what they'd think if they knew. What did people think of that, here? Would they think me sick? Tainted? Impure? Would they pity me? They'd see me differently and I didn't want that. No. 

"Don't. Please d-don't talk about it. Talking about it hurts." He closed his mouth behind my hand as I leaned back onto my knees and sat there.

I clenched my hands in my pants, looking down at my bloody gun. Did I, really? What had scared me most about this experience was the sick amount of satisfaction I'd got when I saw the last one drop to the ground, his face horrified. Like mine had been just minutes before. The roles had switched, just like that. I was scared of them, but most of all … I was scared of myself.

"I'm sorry, I didn't mean to hurt you." I heard Cole say as I grabbed my bag and held it close to myself.

"Don't be. I'm alive... that's what matters, right?" I cocked my head to the side before standing up, "Let us go see the others."

I brushed it off, just like I did most of my problems. That's just how I dealt with things. Not healthy. Cole seemed to know this, too. A frown forming on his face as if he disagreed with me, but didn't object otherwise. I didn't need help. Not with that

When I exited the tent, I was greeted with the sight of blood stains on the green grass where the Venatori men had met their demise. Not a comforting thought, yeah? Varric was also staring down at them and looked over to me, noticing my exit.

"What did you do to them?" He asked, sounding kind of baffled. I looked around and saw the others looking at me just as curiously. I pulled my gun out of my pocket and held it out for them to see.

"Hey, didn't Leliana confiscate that back at Haven?" Lynn asked, staring at it with squinted eyes.

"You'd be correct. However..." I nodded but stated firmly, "It is my gun."

"That little thing killed all of these men? What is that?" Bull took a step forward, hand held out as if to grab it. I pulled my hand back and held it to my chest. The magazine was empty, I knew. Because I'd unloaded the last of the bullets into the last man. Poor asshole. But I didn't want anyone to have it, because if they took it I wasn't sure if I'd get it back.

"I told you that my world was more advanced, didn't I?" I let out a breath through my nose, "This was one of the weapons I was telling you about."

"You're shitting me..." Bull was staring at it in wonder, his face expressing the fact that he thought it was almost unbelievable.

"Yes, my bullshit story wasn't as bullshit as you think." I pocketed it, keeping it out of sight.

"I'd keep that close by, Screech. If it's as dangerous as I think it is … we can't have that falling into the wrong hands." Varric sounded really serious as he looked up at me. He had Bianca, which was considered a dangerous weapon as well. Something that not everyone around here had.

"Kind of like Bianca?" I asked, shifting my weight onto one leg and tilting my head.

"I … think you may have me beat, as much as it pains me to say it. Bianca couldn't knock four men on their asses in the short amount of time that yours did."

I nodded, walking by him and toward the pile of bodies beside the tent. I grabbed the last mage I'd shot and dragged his limp form off of the warrior just underneath him. Once I'd gotten to the burly man, I dug around in his pockets and found those papers they were handing around. I'd caught a glance of the slit throat of the creepy mage that had ripped my tunic and gagged, turning my body around and dry heaving as I stumbled away.

"H-here.." I coughed out, my gags finally subsiding. "They'd been following us, this might be worth reading."

"You could have just asked..." Lynn was about to say something but I looked up and glared at her.

"You don't need to coddle me. I can handle myself just fine." I bit out, "Shit happens, I get it. But this was kind of my fault. I walked out into the woods, alone, and didn't think about the consequences."

"It's okay to be scared, you know." Dorian mumbled, strutting his way over to Lynn to look at the documents I'd handed her.

"I am. It's just easier to get angry." I mutter, shifting around uncomfortably. I was talking more than I'd have liked. But if I didn't, I could end up just making things worse. I looked down at my crossed arms, seeing bruises peeking out where the bandages weren't. My legs were in a similar condition and I'm pretty sure my torso was as well. "I could have sworn I broke a rib or something, what happened?"

"Wonderful job I did, yes?" Dorian piped in, "Your ribs were cracked, but I was able to mend them with what little healing magic I know. I was even able to stop the bleeding!"

"I must give my thanks. Again." I concede as I walk over to lift my bag onto my back.

"How does this … gun of yours even work?" Bull was sounding extra curious, making me feel a little uneasy. I knew he was Ben-Hassrath and if he somehow reported this to the Qunari leaders? I wasn't sure if I'd end up dead and hanging in a tree somewhere. My suspicion must have shown on my face because he grunted and stood up straighter.

"Forgive me if I don't want to … tell you. Don't the Qunari use cannon balls in some of their ships?" His eye narrowed down at me, I nodded. "This is a very compact version of that. Not exactly, but it's the best explanation I can come up with."

"I see..."

"That thing was pretty loud. I wouldn't doubt people within miles heard it." Varric paused, "Which means it'd probably be a good idea to get out of here."

"Do you think the thing could be replicated?" Dorian asked about my gun as I walked over to my horse, I looked back at him and glared. I'd expected to see an inquisitive look on his face, but he almost looked concerned at the thought of it getting replicated. My glare softened, though I still held my stance.

"Yes, but not if I have any say in it. The last thing you people need is more weapons to kill eachother with." I hefted myself atop of the horse's back. "I've seen enough of that back in my world. I'm sure you guys have bombs here, yes? Smaller. Full of a special powder and go boom when you set it on fire?"

Bull sucked in a breath, looking up at me now. I was taller than him up on this horse, I kept my face straight as I ran my fingers through the horse's mane. Lynn had paused her reading of the papers in her hands and peeked up at me from behind them. Dorian looked interested, almost intrigued. Varric looked like he didn't want to believe me.

"Back home, they have things much worse than that. These bombs are capable of … leveling whole cities." At that, I turned away and began to fiddle with the reins, leading the horse around the camp. That had signaled the end of the conversation. Not that I wanted to continue, Varric had looked up at me with the most horrified expression I'd ever seen him wear. Ever. I don't blame them, it was unsettling and I'm sure I'd feel the same.

Chapter Text

The ride back to Skyhold was bumpy and painful. After awhile, my body started to feel the effects of the beating I'd received. One of my feet was bandaged up, making it feel tight in my boot. That foot was completely missing toenails and it almost hurt just to look at it. Scary shit. I was insanely lucky, though. I survived. Not only that, but they could have done much worse to me. I came out pretty beat up and had some pretty deep gashes, bruised ribs and all the like, but I hadn't lost that much blood. I'd attribute that to the fact that they thought me just some weak civilian girl.

The papers that Lynn had found were about a few odd things they'd hear us talking about in camp, including the fact that I thought I was from another world. Even the part about the weapons and technology I'd told Bull about. I don't want to even know what Corypheus would have done if he got that information. Could he find a way through the Fade to my world? What would he do with that kind of power? I shivered.

After rummaging around they'd even found the log that the Venatori had been keeping of the information they'd tried to extract from me. Detailed listings of the shit they'd tried on me and my reactions to it. Twas not a pretty sight. I hated the looks I'd gotten from Lynn and the others as a result. The pity. It only served to piss me off and I ended up being rather snappy on our way back when they'd tried to strike up conversation. I'd even had to force myself not to snap at poor Cole, who had remained close to my side the whole trek back.

I couldn't even accept the compliment I'd gotten from Bull about how strong I'd been. For a civilian girl, went unsaid. I knew that much. I just opted for glaring in the distance and following on my horse. I'd apologize later, probably. But at that moment I wanted nothing more than to dig a hole and hide myself in it.

Even though I was in a surly mood, I had told Lynn about the information I'd heard them talking about. The person they were reporting to named Calpernia and that they were going to Val Royeux to give those papers to someone in Vicinius' house. The information was practically seared into my brain, because I'd been being tortured at the time. Listening had been hard, almost impossible, but it had paid off. She had nodded and told me that she would relay the information to her advisors and have it looked into.

So, when we finally did get back the sun had been setting and my ass was hurting from the ride. Then again, that wasn't the only thing that was hurting. It seemed whatever the hell they put on my wounds was starting to wear off. I'd tried to unsaddle the horses when they were brought to the stables, but couldn't even lift the saddles off of their backs. My arms felt like jelly and my stomach muscles screamed at me to stop. Thankfully one of the other stablehands had arrived and took over. I nodded my thanks and headed to the infirmary to see Adan.

When I entered he let out a choking sound and hobbled over to me. "What did you do this time?!" He yelled, forcing me down into a seated position on a cot. I shook my head,

"Got the shit kicked out of me. No biggie." I commented offhandedly. He was going through and giving me a checkup when he came across my toenails on my one foot. Or lack of them. Understanding seemed to flit across his features and he didn't press for details after that.

I was given a potion to drink tonight before bed and sent off on my way. I sat up in my room, examining my newly changed bandages when I tried to lay down to sleep. Everytime I closed my eyes, however, I saw the blood. I could swear I could smell it, too. It had been everywhere; in my nose, mouth, almost got in my eye too. My eyes snapped open and I simply sat up and ambled my way out of my room.

I spent that night in the library up in Skyhold, reading. I would not admit this out loud, but I had picked up one of Varric's books and began to read it. When I could see the sun starting to peek through the windows, I sighed and made my way to the stables. The potion I'd taken last night had made most of the smaller bruises fade away and my bigger ones were less irritating than before. Today was going to be a long day …

And it was. I kept feeling my eyes droop, but ended up shaking it off and continuing on with my work. No one seemed to comment on my sorry state, so I pushed myself and didn't seem to have a problem keeping up with them otherwise. Even though, at times, I'd wince and have pause my work.

Evening was upon us when I finally finished and put things away in their respective places. I walked up into the loft where my babies were and sat down in the hay with a grunt. I blinked, when had I started calling them mybabies? I knew I'd grown relatively attached to the three furballs and their mother, but …

I shook my head and shifted my body.

"Hey there little guys..." I croaked, picking up the black one and holding it close to my chest.

I lay back into the pile of hay and could feel the kittens playing with my sleeves at my side. One was laying next to my head, purring. The sound of the purring started to lull me off as I lightly dozed in the loft above the barn.

When I dreamt that night, it was of back at camp. Before everything happened with the Venatori. We were all talking around the fire, laughing. Before I knew it, they were looking over at me with concerned looks asking what was wrong.

"Are you alright, Lyn?" Lynn had asked me, her bright grey eyes full of concern. Then I blinked and I was standing above her with a bloodied knife, her once bright eyes now dull and lifeless. I screamed, dropping the knife and looking up at the others. They, too, were dead. Shot and laying in the grass.

My surroundings slowly changed as I was now seated and looking down at my hands, the blood was sticky and completely covered my right arm. I was shaking as I stared down at them in disbelief. What was happening? I thought –

"It's not real." Cole's voice brought me out of my daze. I snapped my eyes in his direction, blinking rapidly. I was hyperventilating and trembling as he sat next to me. I then dared to peek down at my hands, which were now clean. Nothing was there. No blood. Nothing.

"J-Just a dream..." My voice shook as I laid back down, feeling suddenly drained. I turned over on my left side and curled up, facing him as he sat cross-legged right next to me.

"I see. You are … afraid of what you are capable of." Cole murmured, his gaze was lingering out toward where the hay bales sat across from us. "The blood on your hands, them screaming in horror. They thought you a demon. Killing them, it made you feel more alive. Satisfied."

I curled up tighter, feeling my eyes start to water. Of course. Now he's going to think I'm a freak. Just wonderful. I don't even want to know how I'd be able to take it if Cole was no longer my friend. It would hurt, a lot. I knew that much. I waited for the look of disgust or even for him just to disappear completely. I wouldn't blame him.

"I ... used to be the same way. I thought it made me feel more real. I'm different now. A friend helped me see, the one that's gone now." He instead offered as he turned his head to look down at me, his expression showing just how haunted he felt about it. My stomach clenched at the thought. I slid my hand over and grabbed his, trying to offer some sort of comfort. I didn't know the entirety of what he'd gone through, but in this world... this harsh world? It couldn't have been good.

We were quiet for awhile before Cole finally spoke again, "You don't feel fear. Knowing what I was. Why?" His voice sounded so innocent, how could I? That is what he was, not what he is. If we looked at life like that, people would see me as a broken woman. Depressed and suicidal. I was, once in my life. Not anymore. I am not that. What had happened didn't matter. Sure it shaped who we are now, but what matters is how we chose to live our lives now.

"Who you are now is what matters." Was all I offered, meaning every word. At that realization, the fears from earlier about hurting my friends seemed to vanish. Almost as if they dissolved into the wind. I wasn't that kind of person. I just didn't hurt those I cared for. The only reason I'd even done that to those men was because they were about to hurt me. It was self defense. And Cole didn't seem to hold it against me. Just like I wouldn't hold what he'd done against him. That wouldn't be fair and it just didn't seem to make sense to me. He was here, now, helping people. Making them hurt less. He is the compassionate young man I know him as, not as some... demon.

I was laying fully clothed in the hay, boots still on and everything, which was enough to keep me warm. But I still shifted a bit closer, feeling the warmth that radiated off of his body, and started to fall into a peaceful sleep.

When I started to wake up the next day, it was to the sounds of the birds chirping in the rafters of the barn and the feel of … someone petting me. In my sleepy state, I sighed and leaned into the touch. Their hand stilled, but soon started petting again. I curled up tighter, trying to keep the warmth in. It reminded me of back when I was a child, my mother would often pet me to put me to sleep. I'd developed an aversion to people touching my hair after she'd left us, but this was different. I liked it.

I started to become fully conscious and I began to realize that I was still curled up right next to Cole. He still sat there, though he was looking elsewhere as he idly played with my rusty waves. He was looking out the window at something or someone, I'd presumed. The sounds of the horses in the stables nearby as they whinnied for their food made me realize I still needed to get up and feed them. It was my turn to get up early today and feed them, afterall.

I was about to say something as I opened my mouth to speak, but was cut off by Cole as he spoke.

"Gentle hands caress wavy strands. Just like mother used to. Used to hate it, but not when he does it. Do you like this?" He turned his gaze away from the window and tilted his head as he looked down at me. His hands had paused, but still lingered in my hair. I squinted my eyes in response, feeling a light blush creeping up onto my face.

"I would by lying if I said I didn't. So yes … I do." I sat up, feeling some of the hay sticking to the side of my face. I swiftly wiped it off, feeling a bit embarrassed. Why? I had no reason to be!

Purposely averting my eyes from his, I focused on getting the small particles out of my clothing and hair. I fell asleep up here quite often, so I'd become used to picking hay and straw out of my hair and clothing. If I didn't get all of it out, sometimes I'd even have to change my clothes. Otherwise I'd be walking around all day feeling itchy.

Every now and again I'd glance up to see him still observing me, making me feel oddly nervous. I tried to hurry up, but ended up freezing when I saw him lift his hand up. I felt his hand brush the side of my face gently as he put it in my hair. I was stuck smothering the urge to lean into his touch, yet again. I could have sworn my heart was in my throat as I tried to stifle the anxiety I felt as he did so. Soon enough, he pulled his hand away and held a rather large piece of straw. He smiled innocently at me, completely oblivious to my reaction. Well, he probably knew but was likely just as clueless as I was.

The only thing I knew for certain at this moment, was that I needed to get to work. That may have been an excuse to be alone with my thoughts, though. I dunno. I stuttered out a thank you as I scurried down the stairs and into the stables.

After I'd given them their food, I breathed out a sigh of relief at finally settling my poor little heart. I wonder if I was getting sick? I did, afterall, spend the night in a cold loft above a barn. There were many stalls in the stables, on both sides and the light peeked through the small gaps in the wood above. As I looked up, I could have sworn I saw a figure sitting up there somewhe –

"Eat it, Screechie!" I heard Sera's voice yell from above me. It wasn't long after that I felt something fall on top of my head, making me scream. I felt a bag slip off my head and fall onto the ground, a powdery substance made it's way all the way down my hair and upper torso.

It was flour. She'd thrown a bag of flour at my head and I was now white as a ghost. I shook my head, sending billowy clouds of flour out around my body.

"S-Sera!" I squawked, "I'm working!"

The only response I'd gotten was a giggling as she flipped herself off of the rafters above and landed like a cat in front of me. The young elf stood up, both hands on her hips as she leaned forward with a big grin on her face.

"What's the matter, Lyn? Yer lookin a little pale, better go see Adan." She cackled and turned to leave. I let out a growl and bent down to grab the sack of flour. I whipped it at her with all that I had, hoping that the remnants of what was in the bag would get her.

I wasn't so lucky, though. She had apparently saw that coming as she ducked and it went flying above her head and hit someone behind her instead. The bag stuck to their face and I saw a hat fall to the ground, their hands were held up as if they'd tried to catch it before it smacked them in the face.

"Oomph!" He grunted and stumbled backwards.

"Nice shot on Creepy!" Sera called and ran out the door. I screeched, feeling mortified once I found out who I'd hit.

"C-Cole!" I stumbled forward a bit before I sprinted up to him. He was still standing as the sack of flour fell into his hands in front of him. He looked down at it curiously, the flour was all over in his hair and on his face. He'd even gotten some on his shoulders.

Shit I felt bad. I hadn't meant to hit him. I didn't even see him behind her! I began to fret about his face, wondering if I'd hurt him somehow. At some point, I'd grabbed a piece of cloth hanging on the wall somewhere and began to hurriedly wipe away the flour.

"Shit. I'm so sorry. I didn't see you!" I whined.

"It didn't hurt." He'd stated as he grabbed my hand, pushing the cloth toward my chest. "It's... everywhere..." He commented as he looked up at the flour on my hair and face. I felt myself flush in embarrassment. There it was again! I wanted to grunt in irritation, trying to smother the offending emotion. It sucked, because I usually never really felt embarrassed over anything. Ever. But these past few days, the way my face would heat up and my heart raced whenever he was around was starting to irritate me. Because I had no idea how to get rid of it. Maybe I just cared too much about what he thought of me? But even that thought confused me.

I sighed, using the cloth to clean myself off as well. It was everywhere. Did I say that? I'm sure I did. Cole got lucky and only got some on his head. I wasn't so lucky. Finally calm, I started to pat my shirt down to get the flour out. That didn't seem to work, because the stuff seemed to stick everywhere. My eye twitched in irritation.

"Sera found out what happened and wanted to cheer you up." I winced, did everyone know? After a few moments of silence he answered, "No. Sera is special to the Inquisitor. They spend lots of time in the room alone."

I choked, feeling a blush creeping up onto my face. Special, huh? I kind of already had a feeling just what kind of special he meant. The two had been flirting and exchanging glances, thinking they're being all sneaky. Not sneaky enough. The same went for Bull and Dorian. There was one time I had to leave the tavern completely because they'd gotten rather … loud in the room on the second floor. I shivered at the memory. Good thing hardly anyone ever used this loft unless it was to grab things during the day, so I could be alone up there at night.

I shook my head, clearing my thoughts.

"Hmmm... trying to cheer me up, you say?" I nodded, eyes closed. "I suppose I could... thank her." Trying to keep my chuckle from bubbling out of my mouth, I opened my eyes and gave Cole a pat on the head. Some of the flour that was up there made a small white cloud as I did so. I blinked, looking around for his hat and saw it laying on the ground behind him. I picked it up and handed it back.

I spent the rest of the day working, as usual. But I knew what I was going to do after I was done. It would help me keep my mind off of the events from a few days ago. Sera may not know it, but she did succeed in making me feel a bit better. She was, so far, one of the few people that didn't look at me with some sort of pity after they'd found out what happened. Now, I'm not sure who all knows but the ones that had been out with us that day still looked at me with that look in their eye.

I hated it.

I've had to deal with that same look since I was young, when they found out what I had gone through. The shit that had happened to me and my siblings. Not nice, might I add. Not all homes in the foster care systems are all sunshine and rainbows. Huffing, I put my gear away for the night and headed over to see Adan in the infirmary.

I didn't even knock, I just opened the door and ambled in to look around.

"This should help the constipation." I heard Adan grumble, handing a man some purple looking vial. I coughed, getting his attention. He held up his hand toward his patient, as if telling him to wait a moment.

"Hey, do you have anything that can help me sleep? I … kind of … can't." Was all I said as I stood in the doorway. He was standing next to a patient who looked rather pale. The old man grunted in affirmation, walking toward a shelf that had many potions on it. Some were color coded, some had pieces of paper tied to it. Labels, I realized.

"Here. Now go on, get." He waved his hands dismissively, going back to his patient. As I left, however, I saw the shelf by the door lined with many more potions. The one that caught my eye, though, was the one that was purple. Just like the one he'd given his patient behind me. Smirking evilly, I had a change of plans.

I peered behind me, making sure he wasn't looking and took that vial too. I then scuttled out the door, both vials in my pocket.

Laxatives and a sedative. This should be great. She drugged me once, so it was only fair I did it in return right?

I was, however, distracted from my plotting when I spotted Sera and Lynn out in the training yard. Both of them were aiming bows at the target on the other side. I walked up to them, curious. I'd never seen Lynn use a bow before, she was usually using her shiny daggers.

"What're you guys up to?" I asked, before they could begin their practice session.

"Oh, nothing. Just a bet is all." Lynn put her bow down by her hip, looking at me with a friendly expression on her face. Thankfully she wasn't looking at me with pity anymore. Ugh. I was interested, though.

"Whoever gets the most bulls-eyes with six arrows gets to ask the other to do whatever they want. Fun, yeah?" Sera smiled back at me, before her eyes widened in realization. "Hey! You're an archer, want in?"

"Pffft. As if."

"Is Screechie scared she'll lose?" Sera taunted, cocking her hip to one side. I felt my irritation rise,

"No! It'd be unfair, because I'd totally smoke the both of you." I sniffed, holding my head up as I bragged. I knew it was a bluff, though. I mean, I'd been practicing for a long time but I wasn't better than Sera. I knew that much.

"Then you're in, come on." She jogged over toward the door that lead to the armory. The blonde elf came back out with a bow that was similar to theirs and six more arrows. Gulping, I grabbed the bow.

What have I gotten myself into?

Needless to say, I'd only hit five out of the six bulls-eyes. Which was a feat, actually. After that I knew that my aim wasn't as bad as I thought. Lynn hit four and Sera hit all six. Sighing, I watched as Sera gloated in the tavern afterwards while we sat at a table.

"Should go get us more ale, eh?" Sera looked over at me and I rose a brow.

"Is this the thing that you're asking me to do?" I hoped.

"No." She giggled, "I have something else planned for that. Later." No luck. I sighed, standing up and walking over to Cabot to order a few. He grunted and slapped three tall tankards of the foul smelling crap in front of me. He turned back around to grab something else, but I used that time to pull out the vials and dump them in one of the drinks.

Smiling at my handiwork, I picked them up and strutted back over to the table. I was carrying three of them. One for Sera, Bull and Lynn. Krem was there too, but he was already passed out on the table and drooling. It seemed, wherever Bull was … Krem was not far behind.

"Here you go, ladies." I drawled as I set them down in the middle of the table. Big mistake, I paled as I saw Bull grab the one I'd put the drugs in.

"Thanks, kid." He grunted. Before I could tell him not to, he chugged the damn thing. My eyes were wide and my hand was up as if to tell him to stop, body frozen. Shit. "Ah, good shit." He slammed the empty container onto the table, jolting Krem awake.

"Wuh..?" He gazed up, blinking sleepily. What have I just done?

"Something wrong?" Lynn asked, sipping at hers delicately.

"N-No. It's nothing." I let out a nervous chuckle. "I uh. Shall retire to my room."

I stayed in my room all night that night, not wanting to be down there when Bull woke up. I had woke up extra early that morning to head to the stables, to stay away from the Herald's Rest. On my way down, I found Bull passed out on the floor near the staircase. No one had bothered to move him. Or … I don't think anyone could, to be honest. He was too heavy. As I tiptoed by, I could smell the foul stench of crap. Literally. Crap. I winced, scuttling out the door as fast as I could.

Bull had passed out on the floor and shit himself. I was so fucking dead. That's only if he found out, though.

Master Dennet spoke to me that day, telling me about the proposition that Lynn had talked about with me days earlier.

"I'm getting too old and my wife and daughter need me back at the farm." He explained, scratching his white beard.

"I understand, sir. But … why me?" I asked, genuinely curious.

"You're young. But you do the job well and you enjoy it. I can see it when you look at them horses." He explained, his hand coming down from his beard as he crossed his arms. He then elaborated for me, "You always have this hard look in your eye, scowling at the world. But when you're around the horses, it's like you have a soft spot for the beasts." He chuckled, patting me on the shoulder. I suppressed a flinch at the contact. I was not used to compliments. Did I mention that? I'm sure I did.

"I-I'll try my best, sir!" I blurted awkwardly, straightening my posture.

"Alright, let's start with teaching you how to yell around at these hooligans." He was referring to the other stablehands, who didn't seem at all surprised that he was having this talk with me. My stare turned flat, had they known too? I must have either been really clueless or deaf, because it seemed that I was the only one that hadn't caught wind of this.

I didn't know it at the time, but it was my hard work and determination that had caught the eye of the old man. I couldn't even see it in myself, but it seemed as though everyone else did.

And that's the day it began. My apprenticeship under the Horsemaster Dennet. He was surprised at how much I actually knew about them, as he quizzed me on nonsensical things such as the body parts or behavior patterns. The old man must have thought he would have to teach me more, but once he learned I actually used to live on a farm he seemed to understand. I knew a lot and when I was a girl I used to just love horses.

It also helped that I'd had a thirst for knowledge back then and would read anything and everything that interested me. The librarians at my school had loved my little pudgy self as I would check out non-fiction about things ranging from; horses, animals, the stars, planets, earth, weather patterns, and all the like. They would even go as far as to special order me some books that I found interesting.

It was like my passion for drawing. As soon as I was able to pick up a pencil, I drew. Horses, to be exact. Animals were my focal point back then. I'd eventually eased my way up to people after I hit middle school. I can't remember when, but that passion had died out. It wasn't until I came here that I started to regain that feeling. My love for horses and drawing, that is.

It was a nice change.

I spent days under his tutelage, trying my hardest to meet his expectations. Everytime I asked questions, he didn't seem to mind as he answered them at length. While I was down in the stables most of the time, I hardly ever got to see my friends. Though I had caught wind that Bull had blamed Sera for what had happened. Said that she got him too drunk.

Tensions had been running high and the Inquisition was gearing up to lead an attack on someplace called Adamant. It was the day before and Lynn had planned to throw a small get-together of some sort between the occupants of Skyhold. There would be drinks and a feast.

"Alright, you. Meet me in my room, you've got a bet to pay up." Sera smirked down at me from the doorway to the stables. I stared at her, blank expression on my face. She scrunched up her nose, "Might wanna wash up first, yeah? Ya stink like shite."

"I'm way over here." I commented blandly, there was no way she could smell me all the way over there. Not that I was disagreeing. I'd been cleaning stables all day and probably smelled like horse poo and sweat. I wiped my brow and scowled at her. She shook her head and walked away, the door shutting softly as she left.

I don't know what she had planned for me, but I didn't have a good feeling about it. When it came to Sera... things were to be unexpected.

Chapter Text

After I'd cleaned up and gotten dressed in new clothes for the night, I found myself up in Sera's room on the second floor of the tavern. The windows here were big, and gave me a view of what was left of the sun outside. It was dusk and the light was just now starting to die out. Even though the animals outside were heading in for the night to sleep, the inside of the Herald's Rest was jumping with activity. The small party that Lynn had scheduled would happen tonight. Food and refreshments were being put out and the bard on the first floor was playing her instrument.

Lynn was standing next to me, her hands folded daintily in front of her. She always had this small smile on her face, like she was always happy. The young elf offered me a nod as I entered Sera's room. Though, there was no Sera to be found.

"Do you know what she has planned for us...?" I dared to ask, my eyes squinting at the closed door to the small room. There were books and pillows strewn about and I could still hear the people and the music below my feet.

"Not at all." She shook her head, but didn't look at all worried. I frowned, taking a seat on the bench next to the open window. The window opened up to a roof ledge, which oddly gave me the urge to climb around out there. Though I decided against it, because I have bad luck and I'd probably end up falling and breaking my neck.

Soon enough, Lynn had to light a few of those candle lantern things in the room here so we could see. I'd have thought it would be harder to see even with the fire for a light, but it lit up the room quite nicely. I silently noted that I should acquire one of those, since I'd been using candles this whole time.

"Are you ready!?" Sera burst into the room and closed the door swiftly. I saw her holding something that was folded in her arms. Clothing, I realized. My eyes widened when I saw the frills and soft red colors. Confirming my theory, she flipped one out for us to see with a huge grin on her face.

"Barmaids!" Sera sounded gleeful (probably at the amount of embarrassment she was about to have us go through) as she held possibly the ugliest dress I'd ever seen. Well, most girls might disagree. Any dress in my eyes was considered ugly. It looked similar to the one that the barmaids wore around here. It wasn't as revealing as the dresses back home, by any means. But over here, it would make me look like a fucking wench. God damn it, Sera! I stared at her with a flat glare,

"No." I refused instantaneously. The thing wouldn't look good on me anyway, I was still kind of chubby. Well … not too chubby, since I'd lost weight since I'd arrived. I still did not have the 'flat tummy' that most girls back home desired. That's why I stole food from time to time. The cook didn't like me, since he often chased me out of the kitchens. A girl's gotta keep her figure, ya know?

"Lyn... You agreed on this bet. You're not the kind of person that goes back on her word, are you?" Lynn reasoned, looking at me with an almost disappointed look on her face. My face fell, shit. She had me there. Why the hell did she have to act as the voice of reason? Especially with those big innocent grey eyes.

"No..." My shoulders slumped as I stared at the ground. There was a reason I wore baggy clothes! Even now, I made sure that I grabbed men's tunics and my pants were always made for men. Because that way nothing would hug my curves. This...

It did. After I'd been forced into the thing, it definitely did hug all of the curves on my body. The sleeves fell off the side of my shoulders, showing them off, and it was so damn low cut that if I looked down I could see my cleavage barely peeking through. The thing made my boobs pop out more than I was comfortable with. It fell just passed my knees and was finished off with some rather uncomfortable boots. I grasped some of the ruffles at my side and suppressed an embarrassed blush. Fucking hell. Instead I settled with scowling as I stared up at Sera through my black rimmed glasses.

"Holy shite! You do have a body underneath all of those clothes!" She yelled, making my scowl deepen. I wasn't allowed to wear my sports bra, which usually served to make my chest look smaller. I didn't have that luxury today.

I let out a grumble and looked over at Lynn who also looked kind of surprised.

"Is it really that odd that I have a feminine figure?!" I hissed silently, trying not to yell. Lynn nodded,

"Your clothes hide … a lot." Was the wavy haired elf's reply.

"This dress makes your girls look huuuuge." Sera giggled crazily as she covered her mouth with her hands. I let out a scoff as I look back at her to say something mean, but bit my tongue to keep myself quiet. I think some part of me didn't want to ruin Sera's fun. I'd grown a bit attached to the blonde elf girl and she looked especially happy right now. Me running my mouth would only serve to upset her and despite the fact that I really hated this. I didn't want to ruin my friend's moment.

That didn't mean I wouldn't get her back tenfold for this. I was going to find a way. I always found a way...

Lynn looked significantly better in this thing than I did. Her thin frame fit into it quite nicely, showing off what little curves she did have. She was petite and her rust colored waves ran loose past her bare shoulders. The soft red color of the dress seemed to bring out the red in her hair, now that I think of it. She looked stunning and despite my lack of interest in looking beautiful, myself, I found I was a bit jealous. I'd long ago accepted the fact that I was plain and would always be, so it didn't bother me anymore.

Speaking of Lynn, she was looking over at Sera with a jealous glint in her eye. Huh, I guess that went both ways. Though her girlfriend had been paying me more attention just now, probably unintentionally. I didn't know that she was even capable of feeling negative emotions like that! I hope she won't rip my face off, oh Gods. The blonde elf noticed and her face fell and she frowned.

"Awe, no! Inky, I didn't mean it! Really." She coos, walking up to Lynn and smoothing her hair down gently with her hands. Lynn beams at her with her white teeth showing and gives Sera a kiss. I let out a fake gag at the heartwarming scene in front of me.

"Get a room, you two!" I yell out, backing up toward the door. I really do not want to be in here if they start getting freaky. I was, afterall, in Sera's room. So technically they were in a room. Oh Gods, help me.

"Maybe we will..." Lynn purred, wiggling her eyebrows. I could feel the horrified look spread across my features.

"Oooohhoho. Later. Later." Was Sera's reply before she turned around and walked to the door. I scurried behind her to get out as fast as I could. When we finally left, I peeked over the railing and saw everyone from the inner circle scattered around on the first floor along with a few well known scouts and recruits. They were all mingling in their own small little groups. I gulped and started to fidget. I was going to go down there in this thing? Fucking hell.

"What's the matter, Screechie. Losing your nerve?" Sera jeered, poking me with her thin little finger. I hissed and stumbled away.

"For your information, these dresses are considered modest back where I come from. So you can shove it!" I flicked her off and trotted toward the stairs.

"Don't forget, you have to serve drinks for Cabot tonight!" She called, making me groan in response. I hate my life.

I think I know why the tavern was much bigger than I had remembered in game, now. Because if it had been as big as I'd expected, it wouldn't have been able to fit this many people. The torchlight and lanterns lit up the room quite nicely, casting a warm glow on everything. The fireplace in the middle of the room seemed to keep everything warm. Everyone seemed to have their own place to be, sitting in small groups at their respective tables and chatting amongst themselves.

One upside to this, I suppose, is that I wouldn't have to be subjected to trying to find a group to sit with. I had to, instead, make sure everyone had what they needed and blah blah. I hated it, so my face was stuck in a permanent scowl.

I was only an hour into the party when I started to feel worn down. From the baffled looks I'd gotten from most of the people when I'd first entered, I simply wanted to crawl into a hole and hide. They seemed to understand, though, when they saw Lynn come down the stairs alongside a giggling Sera. The blonde elf was known for her shenanigans and she'd looped us both into this one. I really regretted taking that bet, now.

Lynn was, as usual, her charismatic self and would serve drinks and chat with the people in the room. Her smile seemed to light up the room wherever she was. Since she was the Inquisitor, she was not subjected to any perverted stares or ass grabbing (which I'd expected would happen). But it didn't happen. Not for me, either, which was a surprise at first.

Then there were a few scouts that had decided to get drunk. One in particular, decided it would be a good idea to try and flirt with me. I hadn't noticed at first, but when he commented on my nice 'rack' it kind of clicked into place. I wanted to laugh, because it was only when someone was drunk that they would even think to flirt with someone like me. I sneered at him and gave him the cold shoulder.

The stupid scout didn't seem to get the message, so he instead opted to grab my butt. It wasn't just a little smack either, he actually grabbed it. My face turned red and I turned my furious gaze back at him as he looked up at me with a shit-eating grin.

He looked like he was about to say something, but I didn't let him. I punched him in the face. My fist collided with the middle of his forehead with a loud 'THWAP', sending him sprawling backward onto the ground. The stool he'd been in clattered to the ground as his legs lay awkwardly atop the fallen piece of furniture. I flicked my hand a little, feeling my knuckles starting to bruise up. What surprised me the most, was the fact that he only twitched a few times before his eyes rolled into the back of his head and he passed out. His friends, which were sitting next to him and drinking were staring at him in awe.

Just when I thought I was going to get jumped and beaten for hurting their friend, they burst into fits of hysterical laughter.

"What a frigging idiot! Bastard deserved it!" One of them said between his cackles. The others seemed to agree. Shrugging it off, I walked back toward the bar counter to calm my nerves. Stupid. Shit eating, cunt. Fuck. I grabbed a glass of water and began to drink it.

"That man wanted to take your clothes off." I heard Cole's voice from beside me, sounding as if he were talking about the weather. The statement made me spit my drink out in a small spray as it arced in front of me and hit the wall. I whipped around with a disgusted look on my face.

"H-He what!?" I squawked, coughing to get the remnants of fluid out of my throat, only earning an affirmative nod from the blonde spirit. He didn't seem at all phased by what he'd said, his face set in a passive expression.

"Thick rusty waves cascade, gently framing a cute round face. He thought you were beautiful so -"

"He was drunk." I drawled, not wanting to hear about the man's thoughts. I didn't want to know what else had been going on in that man's perverted head.

"He's not the only one." Cole blinked his blue eyes and tilted his head, "One man wondered what your lips tasted like." I choked, taking a step back.

"C-Cole!" I stuttered out, "I don't... That doesn't matter. It's not.."

He nodded, as if agreeing. "Looking doesn't matter, but it does. It's confusing. Everyone looks and sees. Yet at the same time they don't. It's what's inside that matters."

"That's true … Unfortunately, that isn't how people work." I sighed and shook my head.

"They told you because your body was different, you were ugly. Because you are different. Say it enough times and you begin to believe it. But they were wrong, you know." He explained, his blue eyes seemingly staring right through me. I couldn't seem to open my mouth to speak back. It was obvious he was digging through my head, the root of why I thought this way about myself. "When you were younger, you always said ... 'Everything is beautiful in it's own way.' Doesn't that apply to you, too?"

I never usually seemed to mind how he just seemed to know things. But at that moment, I felt kind of exposed. Defenseless. I wasn't sure how I felt about it, to be completely honest. My eyes would flick around, making sure no one was hearing but they all seemed too busy doing something to even notice anyone else. That's something I've never even told anyone. Nor would I, ever. No one knew, save my aunt, what I was like when I was younger. More naive about the world.

But those men were drunk, and I didn't believe their thoughts were what they would be if they were sober. It was kind of like beer goggles. Hah. It happened quite often, actually. It was probably just drunken nonsense. I was maybe cute at best, but beautiful? Not a chance. I wanted to scoff at the idea.

"But it is true." He squinted his eyes as if concentrating, trying to convince me otherwise. "They are usually afraid to approach you. Always glaring at the world. Head held high. Intimidating. But that's what makes you … you."

I could feel my face start to flush, coming to a full realization of what it was we were talking about. I was convinced I was plain and people couldn't see me as anything other than that. But Cole was trying to convince me otherwise. I felt flattered, really. Even though I knew it was just in his nature to do so, I couldn't help it and allowed myself to smile up at him.

It was the thought that counts, right?

Third Person

Krem has been sitting next to the Iron Bull, as usual. Instead of sitting around in his plate armor, like he usually did, he was wearing a simple loose pair of shirt and pants. Though he still had his sword strapped to his side from the belt that he was wearing. The rest of the Chargers were seated at their rather large table in the back corner of the tavern. Varric and Blackwall had decided to join them at some point and were now eating and talking to his boss. The Qunari seemed to enjoy their company as he laughed and joked merrily.

Krem had been eying the wavy haired girl from across the room for awhile now. After seeing her come down in a dress, which seemed really uncharacteristic of her, he couldn't keep his eyes off of her. Some had commented quietly that she looked like a tavern wench, but kept it low because the Inquisitor was wearing the same thing. He disagreed, however. It was odd, he was so used to seeing Lyn in men's clothes with that scowl on her face that he'd grown so accustomed to.

She was standing across the room by the bar table, arms crossed and scowling up at a rather lanky looking blonde kid with a huge hat. They were talking and he let out a sigh.

"I wonder what she looks like when she smiles..." Krem muttered, gaining the attention of a few from the table. Varric and Blackwall looked over at who he was gazing at.


"No you don't..."

Was their simultaneous reply. They were both remembering that time back at camp when Lyn had put honey in Sera's shoes. Her evil smirk had made Varric shudder and Blackwall had felt rather uneasy. Krem was rewarded for his patience, though, as he saw her face flush as she stared up at the blonde boy in disbelief. Her scowl seemed to slowly melt away as they continued to talk.

They seemed to chat for a little while before he saw a soft smile spread across her face, completely changing the way she looked. It was almost as if the surly woman he knew had flew away into the wind and was replaced with someone different. Though he knew that wasn't the case. He took a sharp intake of breath as he gawked with wide eyes, his face covering with a blush of his own. The only word that seemed to come to mind as he stared was –

"Damn..." He didn't even know it was possible for her to make that kind of face. Varric looked over, as well, and seemed to be at a loss for words.

"Well... shit." The dwarf put eloquently.

First Person

After the damn party was over and most of the people were gone, I had promptly stripped the thing off and threw it outside of my window from upstairs, setting it on fire. Sera, at the time, was standing on the first floor and had seen it float down into the training area through the window in the tavern. She jumped out said window and tried to put it out, but it was pretty singed and was beyond repair. She looked up at me with a glare. The blonde rogue yelled so loud, I could hear her clear as day from the third floor.

"Lyn, you areshole! You owe me money!" But I only stuck my tongue out and made a 'pbbbth!' noise. It must have confused Lynn, hearing Sera curse her name, because I heard her reply from the bottom floor through the open window.

"Whaaat? What did I do?!" She sounded so pitiful and I saw Sera's expression change from anger to confusion.

"N-No! The other Lynn! Urrrgh!" Sera ruffled her blonde hair in frustration, her face scrunching up. She'd made her girlfriend sad and probably didn't know how to deal with the situation any better than I did. This got a laugh out of me as I slammed my window shut and threw myself on the bed.

The night seemed to pass by a lot smoother after my talk with my little spirit friend. He always seemed to have this way of making me feel better. I only hoped I could return the favor, somehow. Knitting my eyebrows, I stared down at my sketchbook that was sitting on my lap. I'd drawn a few more things since I'd gotten it. Just a few random sketches I'd tried, but they never seemed to come out. I just couldn't seem to make myself draw. It wouldn't come as easily to me as it had in the past and I didn't know why.

When I woke up the next day, it was to the sounds of people bustling around outside. I knew that today was the dreaded day where the Inquisition forces would march on Adamant. I swiftly hopped out of bed and started to get dressed for the day, knowing I would have to saddle up many horses with the other stablehands and make sure they were all fit for duty.

As I continued to work that day, I was thinking about the possibilities of what would happen when they left. I didn't even completely remember what happens at the place they were going to, which made me feel really uneasy. What if someone died? One of my friends? I could feel my stomach start to churn at the thought.

I happened to be walking out of the stables as the small group of Lynn's friends that were accompanying her stood idly on their horses waiting for some of the others to arrive. I blinked, feeling the need to see them off and wish them luck, I started to slowly walk up to them.

Dorian's horse was standing next to Sera's as he stared at her, "Did you cut your own hair?" He'd asked.

"Yeah, why wouldn't I?" She picked a few pieces of dirt from beneath her nails, looking up at him with a passive expression on her face.

"You could try using something other than a rusty butter knife..." Dorian had commented, obviously making a jibe at how uneven her hair looked. Heh. Rusty butter knife. I almost wanted to laugh, but kept my amusement under wraps as I stood nearby.

"Oh, excuse me while I dig up my diamond-studded hair-cutting whatevers." Sera looked up at him and wrinkled her nose.

"Scissors. The word you're looking for is scissors." Dorian drawled.

"Pppbbth!" Sera stuck out her tongue, grabbing her horse's reins and leading it away from him. As she turned, she caught sight of me. "Oh hey there, Screechie." She greeted and I nodded up to her. Her white horse came to a stop nearby, it's nose almost in my face. I held my hand up and gave it a gentle pet.

"I just came to wish you poor bastards some luck." I grumbled, looking up at her then to the rest of them. Most of them seemed occupied with something or another, but I did notice Cole turn around from his own horse and tilt his head. "Yes, you too Cole."

"I'll try." Was his short reply.

I grunted, "Just come back in one piece. Both of you."

When they'd left, I was still sitting at Skyhold with barely any other people. Most of the soldiers and scouts had taken off, along with the Inquisitor and her party. A few from the inner circle of hers had stayed, as per her orders, but other than that it was oddly quiet around the base when they left.

Which means I was stuck finishing off whatever work I had left in the stables. Stuck in my thoughts. My doubts. I was scared for my friends and I don't even know how I'd be able to take it if one of them were to die.

So, in order to keep myself from fretting like an old mother hen I started to think about some of the stuff that had happened since I've arrived here in this world.

I'd made friends, for one. I went through lots of shit, that's for sure. Found a place where I belong and it was good work, too. The Inquisition paid a nice amount, from what I've heard from the other stablehands, for working for them. It was far better than I'd had it at home, despite the life threatening events that happened quite often.

I was thinking about all of the people I've met and my friends, but my thoughts seemed to always drift to the blonde spirit. I still didn't know what to make of that, to be honest. I found myself thinking about him a lot. I also reacted differently to his comments and observations. Had Sera been the one to try to convince me that I was beautiful the other night, I would have just scoffed and brushed it off. But … that's not how I reacted. It kind of unsettled me.

It was like my mind was telling me one thing, but my body another. With it's unusual bouts of anxiety and bursts of happiness at the smallest of things. Like when he smiles or that morning when I woke up to him running his fingers through my hair (still wanted to know why he'd done that, but was too scared to ask).

As if on cue, my face turned red at the thought of that morning. It was completely unexpected. I'd woken up to him sitting nearby before, but … he'd never willingly made physical contact with me. If anything, he seemed just as uncomfortable as I was with it. Yet, here I was, enjoying the way it had felt. How it was almost calming. I liked it and I found that I wouldn't mind if he did it more. I fiddled around with a rope and hung it up near the tack, turning to walk out toward the barn.

It kind of reminded me of how people were when they were dating, now that I think of it. I froze near the door to the stables, hands held halfway up as if to grab the handle. Always blushing and smiling at eachother like idiots. I squeaked. Did I have feelings for him?

No. That's impossible.

I've had … feelings for someone before. This was different. Well, I thought I did anyway. I had a boyfriend in highschool once, but like the others he had left me as well. No one seemed to stay in my life for too long, it seemed. But not once had I ever felt all giddy or as desperate for acceptance as I am when I'm around Cole.

The thought scared me. Not only because it was so foreign to me, but because I knew it was impossible for him to even return those feelings. He simply wouldn't understand it, because of his spirity-ness. Or so I thought. So I shoved it in the back of my head and continued on throughout the day, refusing to think about it again.

Chapter Text

Back in my world, I'd only gotten far enough into the game to ally with the Grey Wardens. I knew that the mission had something to do with the Fade and all that jazz, but ever since they'd returned everyone has been acting oddly. Which was saying a lot, since everyone from the inner circle had their own little quirks. Odd was kind of a thing around here.

Sera had been thoroughly freaked out and refused to even talk about the event. As if talking or thinking about it would make it worse or make it come true. I had hastily apologized and told her I didn't know it bothered her that much. Lynn had come in not long after and they started to argue, so I left as quickly as possible.

Bull was acting all weird, too. Since he was drinking more and didn't seem to want to talk much about it either.

What bothered me, though, was that Cole was avoiding me. I'd tried to walk up and talk to the spirit, but he would see me and just … disappear. At first I'd thought that he had something to do or someone to help, but it's happened a total of three times now. Each time he'd see me, eyes wide, and just leave. It kind of hurt, to be honest. But I chose not to address that. He obviously had a reason, right?

This has been going on for two days now and I was at my wit's end. Which is why I am currently on a mission to look for him, whether he liked it or not. As his friend, I would find out what it was that was troubling him so and do my best to help him out. It is, afterall, what he would do for me. Right?

Third Person

The Grey Wardens had been using blood magic to bind demons to raise an army. The thought was scary in it of itself. Especially to Cole, who had been deeply disturbed by the mission. He had been begging Solas to bind him, so that the Grey Warden mages couldn't. So that he couldn't be used to hurt anyone. If the someone bound him to use him to hurt people, he wouldn't be him anymore but …. something else entirely. The Inquisitor promised to find a way to help him, but in the mean time he had to wait. Who knows how long he had to wait? What if they were too late?

He had seen Lyn come up to greet him after they'd returned, eyes alight and happy to see everyone still in one piece, but he'd thought of what would happen if he was somehow bound and controlled. His mind immediately conjured a rather grisly image that he didn't even want to think about at the moment. The same image that had been shown to him in the Fade by that Fear demon. He would end up hurting her. If he hadn't been scared already,that definitely set him off. Panicked, he disappeared and went somewhere else. Anywhere but near her.

Cole couldn't bear the thought of hurting his friend. She'd learned of what he was capable of in her stories back home, she told him. She also knew what he had done. The deeds he'd committed in the White Spire sometimes came back to him. Haunting him. The fact that she hadn't gotten scared and left was … intriguing. He was extremely grateful that she'd seen him as he is and not what he was. She'd said 'Who you are now is what matters.'

Lyn was important to him, that much he knew. She was his friend. Which was why, every time she tried to approach him he would run away. The last time he'd done it, he could feel the hurt she felt. Scared. Doubting. 'What if he leaves me too?' 'Had I been wrong?' He squeezed his eyes shut as he stood atop the Templar tower in Skyhold. Cole knew at least, if the Inquisitor was too late with that amulet... They would end him. Prevent him from ever hurting anyone.

It was the middle of the day, so the sun was in the middle of the sky sending it's warm rays down upon him. Birds singing in the distance, clouds rolling by slowly. It was beautiful out. Though he couldn't seem to find comfort in that.

"Cole?" He heard Lyn's voice from near the stairs of the tower. He turned toward her, shocked. How had he not heard her? Then again, she had always been kind of difficult to hear. Her thoughts, that is. Almost dimmed. Hard to read. He turned around, about to bolt. Disappear and hide again. Only to be stopped by her hand squeezing his shoulder.

"Stop! Will you at least talk to me?!" The redhead yelled, turning him around to face her, voice wavering ever so slightly. "What has gotten into you?"

"Don't." He muttered, backing away. He saw the look on her face morph into pain. The pain she was currently feeling on the inside. Aching in her chest. 'Not again please.' Lyn hardly ever actually showed what she was feeling on the inside. Face usually schooled into a dull or angered expression. Only rarely, when they were alone. But this. It was clear as day.

She wouldn't have it. She wouldn't allow him to hide away until he was safe. Safer for her. Lyn walked forward, grabbing his arm again, face set into determination.

"I'm your friend. I said I'd be here for you..." She began, "You can tell me what's wrong. I can help."

No. Not as he was right now. She couldn't help him. The only way he'd be safe is with that amulet and if she happened to be nearby if he was ever bound and controlled. Cole knew that Lyn wouldn't have it in her to kill any of her friends, which included him. She's killed in the past, and they were enemies, but even then she was plagued with nightmares quite often. The thought of him being the one to kill her. She would likely… just stand there and let him.

"Don't touch me!" Cole's voice was rushed as he ripped his arm away. "You can't... be here. I - I could … hurt you. No."

And he was gone. He tried to make himself forget the expression that had made it's way on her face. Her pain. It was loud, this time. It practically screamed at him as he left. He'd wanted to go back and tell her it would be alright and that when he was safe they could talk and 'hang out' (as she called it) again. But he couldn't. Not yet.

First Person

Fuck. Not again. Shit. I couldn't take this again. Not again. It felt like a black hole had formed, threatening to tear me apart. Tears formed in my eyes, but I wouldn't let them. I won't let it. It won't. My emotions were like a snowball over this passed month, getting bigger and bigger. Angrier and angrier. Weighing me down, more and more. Now it felt like they were finally about to fly out of my control.

If you've ever felt abandonment before in your life, either from a close friend or a parent/relative. Like I had, long long ago. It becomes your biggest fear. Your biggest pain. It's something that scares you and you never want it to happen ever again. Some people cope with it by surrounding themselves with friends and people, to fill the aching void it causes. Some, like me, build walls to keep people away.

There were few people, who I'd occasionally let in and befriend. Sure. But year after year, friend after friend, it seemed so tiring to simply watch them walk away without a second glance back. Like I was somehow disposable to them. The feeling I was feeling now was similar to every time that had happened, the only difference was that I felt angry. Miserable. I'd allowed this to occur when I had made a promise to myself that I would never let it happen, again. But it did.

"You can't just do this! God damn it!" I howled, screaming in anger. I refused to believe that it was agony that I was feeling. Anguish. No. This was anger. Always anger. Fury. I was furious. It was easier to deal with.

True friendship is kind of like sound health, really. No one really knows the value of it until it has been lost. I hadn't realized how important he was to me until he disappeared on the top of the tower that day. Cole had been the only person that actually sat down and bothered to listen to me. He was there for me, whether he knew it or not. Just as I was for him. I was taking heavy breaths as I leaned forward on the stone that overlooked the garden just below. My hands squeezed the cold brick as I tried to force myself not to cry.

This is so stupid. I'd allowed myself to get close to someone, in such a short amount of time too, knowing what could happen. It always happened, eventually. Either they got bored of you or they just … left. Just like he did. Just now.

Something in the back of my mind was telling me I was irrational, that I needed to stop and think about this. That it wasn't like him to be like that. But logic and reasoning had been thrown aside in favor of the rage I felt. I felt it more toward myself, than him, really. I felt so weak, so useless. It wasn't just this that was making my thoughts spiral downward. It was the thought that I am unable to do anything useful in this world. I can't even defend myself correctly and I've almost died multiple times. I hated it. But what I hated the most, right now, was that the fact that I've just been pushed away by a dear friend.

He didn't have to just push me away like that. I turned around and stomped down the stairs, seeing a few men in Templar armor as I left. They moved aside swiftly, letting me pass.

I didn't understand. I thought … He was the last person I believed would just –

I slammed the door to the Herald's Rest open, eyes full of the resentment I felt for myself. I walked up to Bull and looked at him as he sat at his table with the rest of his Chargers. He was currently in the middle of a card game with Krem and Dalish, the female elf.

"Need somethin?" He asked, not bothering to look up at me, fiddling with a few cards in his hand.

"Spar with me." A simple statement. Krem snorted,

"I don't think that's a good idea." He muttered, "Chief doesn't go easy."

"I didn't ask him to go easy on me. Just spar with me." I ground out, looking down at him. My vision was blurry.

"Sorry, kid. I don't feel like beating the crap out of you." He chuckled, putting down a few cards. "Full house."

I punched him in the face. I knew I would regret this later, but my emotions were clouding my judgment. I could feel the haze of senselessness that blinded me. I only saw one thing, and that was that I wanted to focus on something else. The only way I knew how to.

To be fair, Bull didn't even look phased by the fact that I'd just punched him across the face. Though, I knew that I hadn't put much force behind it. It was only meant to rile him up. Krem had choked on something, maybe a drink. Or his own spit. I didn't know. I think I heard a 'shit...' muttered from over there, but paid it no heed. The Qunari looked over at me, cracking his neck. I couldn't even decipher what he was feeling, as his face was completely blank.

"Kid..." He stood up and grabbed me by the back of my shirt and lifted me up, dragging me outside of the tavern. I didn't struggle once, as I let my feet dangle beneath me.

"Chief... she didn't mean it..." Krem tried to reason as I heard the clattering of a few set of footsteps behind us.

"Yes. She did." He tossed me, sending me rolling across the dirt in front of the training dummies behind the tavern. I grunted, but scrambled into a standing position. "Well? I'm waiting." Bull held out his arms, looking to me. He didn't even look angry, which only served to piss me off. The fucker wasn't even taking me seriously!

I screeched and ran toward him, lifting my arm to deal a punch to his stomach. He let me, a few times. He didn't even grunt as I blindly struck out at him. Fucking hell! I was thrown out of my world, here, completely unprepared. Accused of being a spy, was locked up and almost got killed by Leliana, burned and almost died of infection, almost died again from Venatori, and …

"My turn." Bull's voice was even as he grabbed me, again, and tossed me about five feet away. I went tumbling, only letting out a few grunts as I felt my body get scratched up and bruised. I stood back up and threw myself at him. He didn't let me hit him this time, instead opting for cloths lining me which sent me to the ground on my back right next to his feet. The rocks and stone beneath me felt unforgiving as I felt my ass make contact first, then my back and then my head.

"Guh!" I coughed, looking up and feeling my vision waver. That fucking hurt.

"You done yet?" He asked, tilting his head. His massive horns glinted as the sun shone on them. I could hear some people talking nearby, but I was too focused on this.

"No." I growled, rolling away and standing up. My body felt like it was on fire. I noted the warm liquid I felt rolling down my left arm. Likely from hitting the rocks. I, once again, threw myself at him. Right hand raised to hit him with an uppercut. Bull was about to swing at me, as I slid to the left and twisted my body to land a blow to his side with my elbow instead. He stumbled to the side, letting out a surprised sound.

Before I knew it, he had slammed his massive fist into my stomach. I bit my tongue in the process. The blow sent me to the ground. He wouldn't have it, though, and he grabbed me by the scruff of my shirt again. The Qunari slammed me against the armory building, my face connecting with the stone with a loud 'THUD'. I felt my lip split, but I wasn't registering the pain right now. He had my arms behind my back as I wriggled around and hissed. I felt my lip bleeding from the split as I tried to look behind me to get back at him.

He turned and tossed me again, sending me to my knees. I felt rocks and dirt as they dug into the soft skin of my palms. I squeezed my hands into fists, feeling some of the dirt come with it. I was about to get back up but was stopped by a woman's gruff voice.

"That's enough!" Cassandra's feet were now on my right as she stood in the way to keep Bull from continuing. Or, rather, me from getting back up to allow myself to get kicked around like a rag doll.

"Feel any better, kid?" I heard Bull ask as I sat straighter in my kneeling position. I just sat there and stared at the ground. He seemed …. concerned. I had just punched him and forced him to spar with me. To beat me up. And he was concerned. The absurdity was laughable, but I was in no mood to laugh.

I just sat there, a listless look on my face. I could feel the amount of bruises and injuries that I'd gotten and he didn't even try. I'm sure if he had, that last punch would have likely busted an organ. I had no doubt about that.

I started to breathe heavily, my chest quivering with some raw emotion I couldn't identify, but I forced myself to focus on my body. It was a mental game. Redirect pain, deal with emotions later. The pain that my body was feeling at this moment was what mattered. The busted lip I'd acquired was leaking blood down my chin. Mixed in with the blood already coming out of my mouth from my tongue. I think I may have taken a small chunk out.

Cassandra knelt next to me, her face coming into view. Her usual scowl was gone as she examined my injuries with a straight face. "Lyn. What has gotten into you?"

I spat blood on the ground near my knees, blinking a few times to clear my vision. When had it gotten blurry again? Well, blurrier. My glasses had fallen off somewhere. "Nothing. I'm fine now." I sounded blank as I pushed onto the ground and stood up. I glanced up at Bull. He was looking down at me, same expression from before.

"You're crying, you know." Cassandra stated, as if it should be obvious. I shrugged it off, walking up and patting Bull on the arm.

"I owe you one."

"You've got spirit, gotta give you that. Your form was shit, though." He cracked a smile at me. "You know … when I said you could have me kick someone's ass, I didn't mean you." He added at the end, and I responded with a nod and walked away to clean myself up. Rocks were currently lodged in my skin in several places. Scuffs and cuts everywhere. I was bleeding from a few odd places and I could already feel my body starting to bruise up.

Good. This is good.

Third Person

Bull watched the girl get up and walk away, a despondent look on her face. He'd seen those looks before, but never thought he'd see it on hers. Lyn always seemed so fierce, lit up like fire. Face set in a permanent scowl and the way she held herself practically screamed 'Don't mess with me.' Had she been born in this world, he had no doubt she would have made a fine warrior. When she walked into the Herald's Rest just moments ago, he instantly knew something was wrong with her. He'd caught a glimpse of the pained expression that she held. It only served to confirm his theory when the little girl had punched him! Her.

Now he knew she was well known for hitting people when she was pissed at them, but usually only when they deserved it. He was kind of pissed, yeah, but the punch didn't even hurt. Almost like it had no power behind it. That's another thing. He'd seen her punch his lieutenant, Krem. So he knew she could throw a mean punch. But the punch she'd delivered to Bull wasn't out of malice or anger toward him.

This was something similar to the coping method lots of soldiers used, now that he thought about it. They would fight it out. Or in her case …

She had purposely tried to rile him up so he would beat the crap out of her.

Why? He didn't know, but he could tell when he threw her onto the ground the first time that she wasn't going to give up. Lyn hadn't even allowed the pain to slow her down. The girl got right back up and lunged at him, giving him no time to think. Only react.

Ask and ye shall receive. Bull had thrown the girl around, and in the end she'd seemed calmer. Less angry. More … distant.

First Person

The next evening I found myself going to Adan, the resident apothecary and healer. The old man was still around and kicking. He was currently cleaning my wounds on my arms and legs as he wrapped them up.

"Maker's Balls, child. What did you get yourself into this time?" He asked as he seemed to wrap the bandage a little too tight. It almost sounded like he was concerned. But I'm guessing it was because I had gotten myself hurt, again, and hadn't heeded his warning of keeping myself safe. Didn't he threaten to cut off my legs once? Shaking my head, I glanced at him with dulled eyes.

"Sparring." Was my simple answer.

"Sparring. Sparring?! It looks like you got thrown through a wall. And you say you were sparring? I was not born yesterday." He ground out, going to grab some pain relieving salve for my open wounds. I grabbed his arm and shook my head.

"I'll be fine. The pain isn't that bad." I attempted to reassure him. I'd lied, they hurt like a bitch. He scoffed,

"Whatever it is you're punishing yourself for, I will have no part of it. Just let me do my damned job." I stood up and walked toward the door. "Hey!"

"Thanks, old man. I appreciate it." My voice fell flat as I glanced back at him, my auburn waves covering parts of my face. My brown eyes flicked back out toward the darkening skies. I heard him cursing as he put things back, slamming things into place. I walked out and toward the tavern. As I exited the infirmary, I was promptly doused with water.

Cackling could be heard from beside me and I slowly turned my gaze on Sera. She was standing there with a pitcher, which I assumed had been filled with water. I blinked a few times, then tilted my head slightly.

"Hello, Sera." My voice sounded bland. Somewhere in the back of my head, I was kicking myself for being so weak these past few days. For letting him get under my skin like that and for falling down and refusing to get right back up. I'd always found strength to get back up. Eventually. But right now I just wanted to stay down here, just for a little bit.

"Oh no. No no. Don't do that thing with the eyes." Sera's expression changed from the amusement she had been feeling to almost scared. I could see that she was concerned from the look in her eyes, but she looked completely unsure how to proceed. Though, I was curious.

"What... thing?" I asked, feeling my rusty waves clinging to the side of my face from the water that she'd spilled on me.

"Make me feel like I kicked a puppy, that. What'd Creepy do this time?" I stared with a blank expression, not even knowing how to respond. "You're around it too much. It caused whatever … this is." She motioned to my sorry mental state. I blinked a few more times and looked away.

"He was my friend. Just like you and I, Sera." Was all I could say before I walked over toward the steps. Maybe I just needed to get out of here? For some fresh air.

"Was...?" I heard Sera mutter as I walked away.

As I was headed up the stairs, I saw Lynn coming down with a couple of others. Varric, Solas and … Cole.

"Where are you guys headed?" I asked, seeing Lynn's eyes widen in horror.

"What happened to you?!" She trotted up to me, a concerned look on her face.

"Well...shit." Varric murmured, I almost couldn't hear it.

"Your face... it..." Lynn stumbled on her words, her hand coming up to touch my cheek. I shied away,

"Are you going out on a mission?" I needed to get out, even if he was there. I needed something. I wanted to fight. More.

"Yes, but..."

"I'm coming, give me a second." I walked by, jogging to the Herald's Rest and up into my room. As I'd jogged off, I didn't dare look at their faces. I couldn't. Especially Cole's. Something told me I'd crack. Break. I couldn't do that, especially now.

I made my way back down toward the entrance to Skyhold, where they had their horses ready. I saw Sera glaring and yelling as I walked down the steps. Once I'd gotten close enough, I heard a few of her words.

"Frigging Idiot, you are! Go rust in a pit for all I care!" She spat as she stomped off, going by me without even making eye contact. I blinked a few times, completely baffled. She'd been yelling at Cole. Had she done that for me?

"Jeez, Kid. What'd you do to piss her off?" Varric sounded just as baffled as I was.

He didn't get an answer.

My gun was resting in my pocket and my bow and quiver on my back. Despite Lynn's reluctance to allow me to come along, I saw an extra horse ready for me. I nodded my thanks, hopping up on it and following along.

As we were making our way to our destination, I was quietly listening to the banter back and forth between Solas, Varric and Lynn. Cole was in the front, quietly leading the way. From the snippets I've heard, it had something to do with helping Cole do something. I heard a few things about blood magic and binding and something seemed to click in the back of my mind.

Hadn't the Wardens been binding... demons to raise an army? I hadn't remembered that part before, too focused on other things. When Cole had run away the other day, he had said something about hurting me. He'd sounded scared. Was that why?

Would it be possible to bind Cole and use him against the Inquisition? From the way Solas was talking, it was. To bind him would be to make him into something he was not, and he'd pretty much be subject to whatever that person wanted him to do. He could be used to hurt people. This mission they were on was so that they could prevent that from happening. Something hadn't worked and they needed to get something done first.

When we'd made camp that night and I was on my watch, alone. Everyone was asleep, aside from Cole who had been sitting in a tree somewhere. He was oddly focused on getting to our destination. Meanwhile, I was stuck in my thoughts. I started to feel a little embarrassed for my outburst and fully intended to at least apologize to Bull. Even though he didn't seem at all fazed by the fact that I needed a good beating. It seems I had upset Sera, too.

I just hoped that after we were done with whatever it was we were doing, I would have a chance to talk to Cole. I was afraid he would outright reject my friendship, but that didn't seem like him at all. I'd only known him for three months, but he didn't have it in him to purposefully hurt someone he knew didn't deserve it. Though … I still felt doubt. And that doubt felt like it was crushing me.

Chapter Text

We'd gotten off our horses sometime the next day as we made our way up a hill, slowly. The last thing we needed was to get ambushed by enemies, so we remained cautious. I kept my footsteps as silent as possible as I followed close behind.

I didn't know the full reason why he'd done what he did at the time, because my stupid ass didn't think to ask anyone else. It was because he was vulnerable to binding. That was all. I refused to let myself feel anything as I fiddled with the wound on my arm, causing a few jolts of pain to come up to my shoulder. I winced, looking up just in time to see anger make it's way to Cole's face.

It wasn't directed at me, no. He was looking at a man with an odd looking wrap on his head. His mustache was curled slightly as he walked up to get a look at us.

"You..." Cole's voice sounded just as angry as he looked, which startled me greatly. I'd never heard him get angry before. It was just... "You killed me!" I could hear the anguish in his voice as he appeared in front of the man and looked like he was about to punch him.

My eyes were wide as I stared out at the scene before me. Was he –

"You forgot. You locked me in the dungeon in the Spire, and you forgot, and I died in the dark!"

My breath hitched and I ran forward alongside the others. I wanted to run up to him to try and calm him down, tell him it was alright. But … my feet seemed to freeze before I could.

"Cole, stop!" Solas called as we ran up to him. I listened to Solas and Varric try to calm Cole down, but he was having none of it.

"He killed me! He killed me and I have to kill him back!" He reasoned, his voice raised as he pointed in the direction the man had scrambled off to. Had he? Had the real Cole been killed by that man? He was the reason he was here, like this. He.. My lips thinned as I watched them speak to one another. It's not my place to butt in. This was their discussion.

I stood there, silently taking in all of this. Who Cole was. How he came to be, as he'd come out of the Fade to help the real Cole. The apostate Cole. It was kind of confusing, to be honest. But I could see why he was angry. I could understand.

"Let me kill him... I need to. I... need to.." I'd never heard Cole with that tone of voice before and I wasn't sure how to feel about it. But Varric had turned around and I heard Lynn and Solas talking about whether or not they should even let him kill the man. I furrowed my brow. Why were they discussing this without him? Didn't he have any say in this?

"Come on, you can't just forgive someone like that for killing you." Varric reasoned.

"You don't... but a spirit can." Solas was absolute on his decision. And they continued their debate, back and forth. Until it was Lynn's decision on what to do. The elf looked torn, not knowing how to even answer. I don't know why, but something about this just … it pissed me off.

"You've got to be fucking kidding me." I growled in disbelief from my place not far away. I gained their attention, "You're just sitting here. Talking to eachother about his decision? This should be his choice, not yours. He's not some child that you can control!" I yelled, my brown eyes alight with fury. Even though I wasn't even sure if we were friends anymore, I was still fiercely protective of him. I didn't know why.

"Not control. But if diverted from his original purpose – "

"Fuck off, Solas. This isn't your decision to make!" I seethed.

I saw Varric nod in my peripheral as he walked over to Cole. Eventually they made their way around the brush. Solas looked furious.

"Do you realize what you've just done?" He turned toward me, disappointment clearly on his features. Lynn stood between us as I glowered at him.

"What I've done was treat him like a living, breathing person. Someone with emotions, just like you or I!"

"Cole is a spirit!"

"Not anymore." I hissed, "If you couldn't tell, he was in pain. Do spirits feel pain? You said so yourself, spirits embody emotion. Cole is different."

Solas looked down at me with a sneer, "Naive girl, he could become twisted – "

"How about I twist something else!?" I roared, lunging toward him. I fully intended to beat the shit out of him. His eyes widened in surprise as he took a step back. Before I could get to him, though, Lynn wrapped her arms around me and held me back.

"Stop it! Arguing will get us nowhere! What's done is done." I tried to pull her off a few times before I gave up. For a spindly elf, she was rather strong.

We were silent for awhile, but with tensions running high between Solas and I. It was inevitable, really.

"Ah, I see." The elven man sighed, realization dawning on his face. "You must have feelings for the boy. You'd be so selfish as to let it cloud your decisions? Even at the cost of his life?"

I was about to jump him, but was held back by Lynn again. This time, however, I was trying to push by her with much more force than last time. My hands shook as I tried to push myself away from her, but her grip was stronger than mine.

"What are you implying?!" I yelled, my rage was back and my hands were twitching with the urge to hit the man in front of me.

"He is a Spirit of Compassion, it wouldn't be hard to manipulate him-" Solas was cut off when I spat at him, seeing it land at his feet and completely missing. The bald elf looked rather repulsed by me at the moment, his mouth open slightly as he gazed at my angry face. I can't believe he would even imply that I would use Cole! What kind of sick person does he think I am!? The thought itself disgusted me, so I lashed out once more.

"You seem awfully well versed, Solas. Ever used someone to get something you needed?" I sneered. I'd only meant to agitate him further, but I saw his gaze turn flat and he turned away. I must have hit home, because he'd signaled the end of the argument.

"I'm done here." Was his only reply as he turned around to walk back to our horses down the hill. My body was still tensed, but eventually I backed away and saw Lynn. She was staring at me with complete disappointment clearly in her eyes, a small frown etched on her usually bright face.

I had gone too far, hadn't I? My angered expression remained but I could feel my face twitch as I felt shame fill my body. I didn't regret that I'd stood up to Solas, but … perhaps I could have handled it better.

Then again, Solas had been egging me on as well. I wasn't completely at fault. I sighed and kicked the dirt, a frown on my face.

After they'd come back, we made our trek back to Skyhold. Though, we didn't make it all the way since it had gotten too dark to go on any further. We'd all settled on making camp for the night. Lynn had told us, Solas and I, that she was disappointed in us both and had expected better. Neither of us apologized for our actions, to eachother that is. I apologized to Lynn for being an asshat, but said that I didn't regret my words to Solas. Solas had said something similar and we'd just glared at eachother.

The moon was out, shining brightly down on our little camp. The small fire in the middle flickered and illuminated our faces as we stared into it.

"Why does it hurt? Why won't it stop hurting?" I heard Cole ask for the second time since we'd made camp. Varric was sitting nearby, trying to offer comfort. I squeezed my eyes shut, wondering if I'd done the right thing. I only wanted to protect his right to have a choice. His choice.

"Look, kid. It'll be alright, I promise." Varric was looking up at him from under his hat. I flicked my gaze over toward Solas, who was looking at me with a scowl on his face. The expression he was giving me just then practically screamed, 'This is your fault.'

I shook my head, letting out a growl and standing up. I stalked out of the camp and toward where we'd tied up the horses. They were not too far away from camp, but enough to where I was able to get away from the light the fire emitted. Far enough away so that I couldn't hear them talking.

I stood next to the massive animals for awhile, attempting to calm my mind. The torrent of emotions I was feeling at the moment. I couldn't let them get the better of me. Resentment. Anger. Regret. Had I done the wrong thing? Had I just hurt my friend? …. Were we even considered friends anymore...? That last thought made me stumble, eyes widened with grief.

I gritted my teeth and shuffled away from the mammals, standing a distance away by a tree. I stared at them as they tried to sleep, tails flicking back and forth.

I heard footsteps approaching as I stared at the ground, grass swaying to and fro as the wind pushed them. My eyes had adjusted and I could now see everything as it was bathed in the moonlight. It was better out here. Thin leather clad legs made their way into my vision, causing me to turn my gaze up. I was met with the view of Cole as he stared down at me through his blonde locks. Regret coursed through me and I clenched my hands into fists. It was my fault he was hurt.

"Are you alright, Cole?" I asked softly as I frowned. He wasn't much taller than me, but tall enough so that I could look up and see his face from underneath his hat.

"Are you?" He'd countered, voice sounding much different now. It was almost like it had more inflection. Not as even and composed, like usual. My responding chuckle sounded desolate, even to me.

"I don't even know." I answered honestly. Was I alright? I thought I was handling my entrance to this world just fine, but it seems not. I had a horrible habit of pushing away my problems until they turned into bigger problems. Now I've ended up dragging poor Cole into this.

"I didn't want to … but I ended up hurting you anyway." My friend murmured from in front of me.

"I hurt you, too, you know."

"You … protected me." His body shifted a little closer, causing me look up at his face again. "We're still friends. Aren't we?"

"That'd be up to you." I could feel the dull ache inching it's way into my body as I remembered what had happened back at Skyhold.

"Yes. I ran and hid. I didn't want to hurt you. You're … important to me." It seemed like it had just dawned on him. I smothered a whimper as I lowered my head to look at the ground. My rusty waves fell in front of my face, blocking my expression. I felt stupid. Stupid for doubting him, now. I didn't stop to think about how he might have seen it and why he did what he did. I felt like a shitty friend, really. I'd just instantly assumed and made an ass out of myself in the process. It seems I tend to do that a lot.

I knew I couldn't hide my expression, and I didn't really want him to see it. My vision blurred and my body started to tremble as I held back a sob. And now I've hurt him, because of the decision earlier today. Something happened, I'm not sure what, but he has been in pain since then. This was too much. It's been far too long since I'd actually let myself cry. And it had to be here. Now, this is kind of embarrassing.

I don't know why I was crying. He said we were still friends, I was relieved. Happy, even. But...

"Lyn..?" He questioned, sounding concerned. I broke down as silently as I could, hating every minute of it. Words seemed to come out of my mouth like word vomit.

"S-Shouldn't friends … help eachother?" My breathing hitched, "I-I only wanted to help. Protect your right to make a- a choice. I'm a shitty friend! All I've done is hurt you."

"You did what you thought was right." Cole replied silently and I almost couldn't hear him. Even though I was part of the reason for this predicament. He still found it in him to listen without judging. Still offer his friendship and show me the kindness I didn't feel I deserved.

As greedy as it was, I fully accepted the comfort he was offering with his words. My body didn't seem to want to listen to my brain and sought more. I ended up acting purely based on my emotions. Which was unlike me, really. I stumbled forward and pressed my face into his chest, the soft fabric of his shirt pressing against my cheek.

I awkwardly clutched his shirt with my hands. It was kind of like a hug, I guess. It'd been a long time since I'd done this, as well. I was still but a child when I'd last hugged someone. But it felt nice. Good. I let the tears flow, body shaking as I let my emotions release.

Cole was silent, his posture stiff and unsure as I felt his hands gently rest on my shoulders. Shaking. I don't think he knew what to do either as he pulled me closer, if at all possible. His head rested on top of my own, in my hair. I bit my lip, feeling my wound start to bleed again.

Was this why people hugged eachother all of the time? Whether they were happy or sad. I always saw people cling to their friends, family, lovers. I could never understand what it meant, since I'd stopped doing such simple things long ago. But I could see, now. All of the negative feelings seemed to ebb away, ever so slowly as we stood there and clutched onto eachother. It was a simple gesture, really. But it seemed to aid in a multitude of things.

We stayed like this for minutes, awkwardly holding eachother. Once my tears stopped and my body finally ceased it's shaking, I slowly tried to detach myself. Though his hands seemed to be cemented onto my shoulders, keeping me in place as I was pressed against him. Cole made a small sound of objection at my wanting to pull away, but I placed my hand in front of me on his chest.

"It's okay.." His grip loosened and I looked up at him. Even in the dim light that the moon had offered, I saw his somber expression as he stared down at me.

That was different. I'd seen a few emotions flick across his face before, but I don't remember ever seeing him sad like this. The way his eyes looked, filled with … something. I'm not sure, maybe guilt? He must have picked up on my emotions. Felt them, even. I felt awful. I'd forgotten how sensitive he was to other people's pain and here I was sobbing on his chest. Stupid!

"I'm … really sorry, Cole." I apologized, voice finally without any cracks or pain. I saw his brows knit together in concentration and his eyes flicked around as if examining me more closely. His hand rose up to my face and he brushed the bottom of my lip with his thumb, thin fingers caressing the side of my jaw.

"Me too." He replied lowly. I felt a small sting, from where my lip had busted open. But that was at the back of my mind as I stared up into his blue eyes. We just stood there, gazes locked. It felt like my body froze and I couldn't move at all.

For reasons completely unknown to me, my heart sped up and thumped against my rib cage almost painfully. It wanted to beat it's way out of my chest. My stomach did these weird flips. My brown eyes widened in alarm at these new sensations. Why? Why –

I stood there, battling with myself on the inside about what I should do. This wasn't right, the feelings I was having right now. This was a whole new can of worms that should not be opened. Not now. Maybe not ever. A choked gasp could be heard from my right, breaking me out of my daze. My head snapped in the direction of the noise and I spotted the slim form of Lynn.

"O-oh. I'm sorry. I just. I-I..." She stumbled on her words and started to fidget clumsily. "M-making sure... you were alright... guys... heh." Lynn chuckled awkwardly as her big grey eyes darted around on anything but the scene before her. My mind instantly conjured up an image of what we must have looked like and my face was set aflame. It was, no doubt, as red as the first car that I'd bought. (Which was dead, by the way. Remember?) But perhaps they wouldn't be able to tell in such poor lighting?

I was at a loss for words. I didn't know what to even say to the elf as she looked toward camp, probably looking for a way out without making things even more awkward than it already was.

"Perhaps it is time to sleep, yes?" I coughed, holding my hand up to my lips. Starting to feel the after effects of whiplash that my emotions had just given me minutes ago.

"Y-yes. Right." She turned around and stumbled around a bit before making her way around the trees and into the camp. I sighed in relief. I certainly hope no juicy gossip would be floating around Skyhold anytime soon.

"You're tired." Cole commented, looking down at me. When I returned his gaze, I could see that his face was composed again. He was different. I don't know how, but … before this. I couldn't pinpoint what it was, but his eyes held something different. Foreign to me.

"Are you tired? Wait... wrong question. You don't sleep, right?" I looked off toward the camp, making my way there lazily. I saw him nod in my peripheral, but he otherwise stayed silent. He seemed lost in thought. When we finally entered camp, the fire had been fed and was slightly larger than when I'd left. Varric was seated out by the fire and I didn't see anyone else out. He must have had first watch, then. I waved and trudged toward my tent.

Third Person

Everything hurt. That's what Cole thought, after what happened back with the Templar that killed him. Killed the real Cole. He was still angry at the Templar, but Varric had said killing him wouldn't help. It was like the world had shifted from underneath him, forcing him to see things differently. It was more vivid, now. A sharp contrast to what it had been before, like he'd just been simply existing. But now it was like … he was more real. More him. Everything was quieter now, further away. Whispering silently. It was confusing. 

Instead of reaching out and listening to others almost instinctively, it was like his own thoughts and feelings were louder. More prominent. He'd tried to listen to Solas, Lavellan, and Varric – but they seemed quieter. Like it was dulled. It was similar to how Lyn had been before this.

Lyn, however, it seemed he couldn't hear her at all. Almost like she made no ripples, anymore. The stillness had scared him at first, like stagnant water. Dead. But when he'd been walking beside her on the way to set up camp he could hear her again. She was there. Still hurting. Still alive. He'd watched her as she looked at Solas, scowled, then got up and left.

That was when he followed her, intent to find out why she was still hurting.

When Cole had gotten there, he'd moved a bit closer so that he could get a better read on her. Lyn was still in pain over the conversation they'd had up on the Templar tower. She hated herself because she thought she hurt him.'All my fault' 'Are we even still friends?'

The last thought made him go still, she'd thought they weren't friends anymore? Was that why she was acting the way she was?

Then what surprised him even more, was when she'd started to cry. He had seen her eyes water before, but it was like the girl refused to let them fall. Ever. But right at that moment, he saw them roll down her cheeks. One by one, as she pushed herself against him and sobbed.

He could feel the relief she'd felt, but what had got him was the fact that she was hurting so much that she actually broke down. Cole was confused, he hadn't intended to hurt her. Quite the contrary, actually, he hadn't wanted to end up killing her if he were to be controlled. But he ended up causing her pain anyway, which only served to upset him. The emotions he'd seen in others before were now bubbling over in him. His own. He felt his own sadness and grief. Regret, for not explaining things to her first before running off. Also relief for knowing that they still stood on good terms, they were still friends. It was overwhelming and he almost didn't know what to do about it.

Which brought him to the present, as he sat at the fire with Varric. Cole was stuck in his own thoughts this time, instead of listening to others. No. His were much louder now. They demanded his attention. He wasn't sure how he felt about that.

"So... what had Her Inquisitorialness all flustered when you guys got back?" Varric asked as he leaned forward with a smirk. Cole's gaze fixed on him from across the fire, small flames flickered in front of his vision. "Don't tell me she walked in while you guys were having a moment."

Cole tilted his head, thinking about his answer. A moment? He wasn't sure what Varric meant by that, but tried to explain the best he could.

"I was afraid. I didn't want to hurt her, but I did anyway. I ran away, back at Skyhold. She thought we weren't friends anymore."

"Oh..." Varric seemed to deflate, almost like he'd been expecting something else. "Was that why Screech has been acting weird? Damn near got herself killed by Tiny. I heard she snapped at Chuckles, too. Didn't hear all the details, but jeez. Can tell they're pretty pissed at each other, that's something I won't willingly involve myself in."

"When I held her, thoughts were clearer. Not muddled. Silent. Like they are now. This world scares her and she doesn't want to die. Her friends make it easier." Cole nodded minutely, his gaze turning away from Varric and on the flames before him.

"Yeah … I'm just now coming to terms with Screech's story – wait. Held?" His smirk was back as the dwarf leaned forward.

First Person

I silently listened to them talk just outside of my tent, my eyes closed and breathing slowing down. I really had to shake off the feeling I had just minutes ago, trying to make myself forget it. I knew that it would only cause more problems than it's worth, really. I knew that. Feelings always made things more difficult and seemed to just get in the way. Sometimes they even ruined friendships.

My eyes snapped open at the thought and I felt dread creeping up onto me. I didn't want to lose my closest friend because of some stupid crush I had. I used to watch people all the time, as creepy as that sounds. I know. But people would develop a friendship with one another and everything would be completely fine. Then, one would develop feelings for the other and would end up confessing. Eventually, though, their friendship would be left in tatters. They'd drift apart and become strangers to one another, as a result.

I don't want that. Never. I won't let it happen. I lay there and glared at the top of my tent, small flickers of light coming in from the flap at the front. I pulled my blankets over my head and squeezed my eyes shut. Stupid. Why did this have to happen to me?

We made it back to Skyhold before noon that day. On our way there, Solas and I had been exchanging glares the whole time. Well, maybe not the whole time. But everytime we caught eachother's eyes we'd both frown and look away. It seems that relationship had been spoiled. Not that I mourned the loss of anything, really. He was a royal prick.

During the times when I wasn't scowling at the back of Solas' bald head, I was trying to keep my mind off of the night before. It really scared me, it did. I fully intended to try and keep my little secret under wraps.

I stared at the cloudy sky, searching for the sun. It would occasionally peek through the clouds and the wind was starting to pick up. I silently wondered why whenever there was a blizzard, Skyhold never seemed to be bothered. Did they have magic around the walls that protected it from the weather conditions? A thought for another time, then.

The horse swayed beneath me as we ambled across the bridge toward Skyhold's gates, hooves clicking on the stone. Cassandra was standing at the entrance with a hand on her hip, a serious expression on her face. Then again, I never saw the Seeker ever without that look. It seemed to be her default setting. I dismounted and brought the my horse over to a post and tied her to it. Everyone else in the party followed suit and I started to work my magic. Working with horses, that is. Not actual magic.

"There's someone that needs your attention. In the prison, Inquisitor." Cassandra reported as I started to unsaddle the horses. I listened and worked at the same time.

"What is it, Cassandra? Is something wrong?" The elf had asked, curious. She was taking some of her stuff off of the saddle and setting them aside.

"No … it's just. A girl came into Skyhold with some of the merchants and she appears to be wearing the same clothing as Lyn." The Seeker explained, making my body freeze. What? I looked over, eyes wide.

"What do you mean?" I asked, astonished. "There's no way anyone … it's not possible." I murmured, brows knitting in thought. Would it be? I mean, I got here right? Unless someone else found a way through from my world. What did that mean for us, then? If more people from my world started to come through and into this world, it wouldn't mean anything good.

"You both speak in the same manner, as well." Her face was straight as she examined my reactions. I assumed she would accuse me of being a spy of some sort or point her sword in my face, but she did no such thing. She simply stood there with the same look on her face as before.

"I'm not sure I like this... wh-what if Corypheus found a way to get to my world? What if this girl is -" I was starting to panic, hands shaking. Gods what have I done? But I was promptly cut off by the Inquisitor.

"Lyn, calm down. We need to go see who it is, first." Lynn tried to placate me, holding her thin hand up to me but not making contact. "It might just be a coincidence, yeah?"

"If he f-finds a way..." I couldn't even begin as I thought of what it would be like if he somehow gained that power.

"She had this." Cassandra pulled something out of her pouch and held it up. It looked like a piece of glass for a second, as the sun glinted over the top and I could see a faint reflection of the Seeker's hand. But upon closer inspection...It was an iPhone.

Chapter Text

Cassandra held, in her hand, a device that was capable of so many things it would be unfathomable to the people in this world. Pictures, videos, music, communication (Though I doubt it would be able to do that here). I choked and stumbled backwards, eyes wide in fear. It couldn't be! How in the hell did an iPhone get  here !? That, by itself, was proof enough that this prisoner they had was indeed from my world.

"T-That's!" I walked forward, hands out.

"She said it was dead. Whatever that means." Cassandra allowed me to take it, obviously seeing no use in the weird shiny object. I held it, it's weight familiar. I ran my fingers over the smooth glass on the front of the screen, eyes wide in wonder. It didn't have a case on it and it was scuffed up on the back a bit, as if it'd been dropped a few times. The fact that it wasn't cracked was a miracle. These things cracked relatively easy, if I remembered correctly.

"I never thought I'd see one of these ever again..." I mumbled in awe.

"What is it?"

"A phone."

"A... what?" Cassandra was diverted from her questioning, however, when Lynn butted in.

"Why did you throw her in the cells, Cassandra?" Lynn had asked on our way there, I was still looking down at the iPhone in my hand.

"We asked if we could question her, but she started getting combative and refused to cooperate." The Seeker replied simply as we opened the doors to the dungeons. Stairs lead down a small tunnel, with one landing. Torches were lit here and there to allow some illumination as we ascended. Our boots made faint echoes down the stairs and I could hear some yelling at the bottom.

"I've done nothing wrong, you barbarians! Let me out of here!" A high pitched voice sounded and echoed it's way into my ears. I almost dropped the phone in my hand in shock, instantly recognizing that voice. I hadn't thought I'd hear that ever again, either. Without even giving any warning, I darted the rest of the way down the stairs and ran up to the cell where thin arms were reaching through. Their hands were grasping, as if threatening to strangle the guard on watch.

"Oh my god..." Was all I could choke out when I stood in front of the cell. I had pocketed the phone at some point, my hands at my sides. "A-Angel...Is that you?"

She looked much different than the last time I saw her. Older. Well, maybe not older. That doesn't seem like the right word, really. But she seemed to have matured, mentally. Her eyes didn't hold the same naivete that she had back in my world. Almost like she'd hardened. Her long wavy black hair was tied back in a ponytail and she wasn't wearing her glasses. Her brown eyes showed anger as she stared up at me, but the emotion dissipated as recognition took hold. She stood up from her crouched position so that she was at eye level with me.

"Lyn!?" She yelled, grabbing the metal bars with her thin little hands. Angel was a bit shorter than me, by maybe inches. And her skin was much more tanned, since she was actually fully Native American. Whereas I wasn't. She was standing in there, wearing a pair of jeans and a simple shirt.

"You know her?" I heard Lynn ask from beside me. I hadn't even heard any of them approach, too focused on the person in front of me.

"She's... my sister." I breathed, "How did you get here?"

"I was gonna ask the same thing. What is this place? How did we get here? Can we go back home?" Angel rambled off, her eyes alight with hope.

"Let's get you out of this situation, first. I'll explain later." I crossed my arms and looked over to Cassandra, who looked like she wanted to ask something.

"Is she dangerous?"

"No. Can you let her out of here?" I turned my gaze to the Inquisitor, eyes pleading. My little sister didn't belong in a cell, she was practically harmless. Well, that I know of. If she's been here as long as I have, I have no clue what she might be capable of now.

"She took down two armed guards, Inquisitor." The Seeker warned, making me snort in amusement.

"What'd she do, scratch their eyes out?" I joked, waving my hand dismissively.

"...Almost..." Cassandra sounded hesitant as she looked down at the girl with wariness. I could practically see the rage simmering beneath my sister's eyes as she stared at Cassandra. She was gritting her teeth in irritation, before she finally burst.

"They grabbed me! How was I supposed to react? 'Oh yeah, Mister Guard. Please take me to your dungeon. Sounds like fun!'" Angel yelled angrily, shaking the metal door back and forth. The door clanged on its hinges, making groaning noises from the force she was putting into it. Her face was turning red with fury, again.

Did I ever mention anger problems kind of … ran in the family?

I sighed, pinching my nose.

"Is she always like this...?" Lynn whispered, trying to keep her voice low from my right. Cassandra heard and peeked over at me, curious as well.

"Yes... but only if you piss her off. Now how exactly did you question her, Cassandra?" I sounded exasperated as I looked over at the Seeker. The warrior seemed reluctant to answer my question, but when Lynn nodded to her she began almost like it were a report.

"I spotted her by the crates early this morning, helping some merchants unload the deliveries. So I approached her to question her about her clothing."

"Don't forget the bit about where you had two armed guards standing behind me." Angel drawled from her spot in the cell. "Oh yeah, and the other part where said guards grabbed me by the arm to drag me away."

"Yes, well we couldn't be sure if she was a threat." Cassandra explained, "And they didn't grab you, they tried to ease you to a quieter place so we could talk in private."

"'A quieter place' she says." My sister spoke in a mocking voice, "Right before she chops me into little itty bitty pieces!" Angel sneered, making me blink from the familiarity of the statement. I'd said the same thing when I first met the group, thinking they would chop me up. The Seeker did not look amused as my sister blatantly mocked her from her position in the cell. I don't know what Lynn was thinking, but she seemed to be sizing my sister up. Observing her. I'll never understand what goes on in the minds of rogues, to be honest.

"And put you in the freezer?" I finished in a flat tone, my eyes full of amusement. Angel nodded eagerly,


"I apologize on my sister's behalf. As you both know, I kind of have a temper. It... runs in the family. We can be kind of rash in our decision making when we feel threatened." I tried to explain. That wasn't the only reason, though. We all acted like that because of the shitty foster home we'd been put in. Ever since a horrible experience there, my siblings and I have been pretty snappy with people if we feel vulnerable in the least.

"We can't let her run free after what she did to those guards." Cassandra argued, then began to explain the rest of the incident. Thankfully with no more interruptions from my lovely little sister. As it seemed, Cassandra had gone down to question her and Angel freaked out because one of the guards had touched her on the back. She'd felt surrounded and ended up trying to bolt. This resulted in the guards grabbing her and dragging her up the stairs and toward the prison cells, but not without a fight. Angel had ended up scratching at their faces and biting at their hands in the process, resulting in two injured guards who were now in the infirmary getting their wounds looked at.

"Your version of 'took down armed guards' and mine are vastly different." I spoke slowly, "You made it seem like she maimed them."

The warrior was looking at me with a look that practically said 'you didn't see their faces', so I let it go.

"It sounds like a simple misunderstanding. Though we are going to have to keep an eye on you if you intend to stay, Angel." Lynn sounded so formal, with her accented voice as she spoke to my sister. The elf's hands were folded in front of her body, eyes full of questions.

"But Inquisitor-"

"No, Cassandra. This just … doesn't feel right. Keeping her in the cell down here? We need to question her anyway after she's calmed down." Lynn reasoned, "Do you have any weapons on you?"

"No." Angel replied as she picked some dirt beneath her fingernails, "I have no training in fighting whatsoever."

"Yeah … the only knife she can wield is one from a kitchen." I put in, making Angel scoff.

"Sexist bitch!"

"Shhhh. You know it's true." I soothed in a fake tone, a smirk starting to appear on my face. I wasn't lying, though. She really did know how to cook, very well might I add, but I'd never tell her that. Where I focused on being outside and helping the boys on the farm, my sister had stayed inside and helped our aunt with household stuff. They were kind of old fashioned, like that. I remember being 8 years old and wanting to punch my grandpa for telling me I couldn't help on the farm with the heavy labor because I was a girl. But I proved him wrong, in my own way.

"Yeah, you're still a bitch though." She murmured as the guard started to unlock her cell. Angel was looking down at the ground as she shuffled out, the bangs that framed her face covered her expression. Before I knew it, she had lunged at me and was holding me with her arms around my torso.

Cassandra had her sword halfway pulled out, about to attack but had stopped when she realized my sister was just hugging me. I was standing there, awkwardly, as my hands were held up and I stared down at her.

Angel was crying, squeezing me as if I'd disappear any second.

"Y-You're real." She whimpered. I felt like she was suffocating me with her tight grip. I slowly put my right hand up and awkwardly patted her head.

"It … uhhh. It's fine. We are alive, right?" I chuckled, not knowing how to comfort her. Angel started to laugh in between her sobs, finally letting me go. Her eyes were already red and puffy as she started to wipe away the tears that had rolled down her cheeks.

"You never were good at comforting people." Angel hiccuped, her voice sounding like she could finally begin to talk.

Lynn began to explain to us that she would give Angel the night to rest before she sat down to question them. The elf had been interested to hear her side of the story and actually seemed more … open to the idea that there really might be another world out there. How? We didn't know, but she wanted to keep that option open. Or so she'd said.

I think they were coming to terms with the fact that my story was true, now. From the display of my handgun to my sister arriving? It couldn't be a coincidence. But I did wonder how on earth she even got here. I offered to keep a close eye on her so that she didn't get into any mischief. Cassandra seemed reluctant, but said she would inform the guards to keep an eye out. I suppose it made sense, I couldn't really blame her for her caution.

Since it wasn't even the end of the day yet, I took my sister with me down to the barn so that I could keep myself busy. There was bound to be work that needed to be done down in the stables.

"Huh. It's just like you to make yourself at home near the animals." Angel commented as we entered the barn and went through the double doors into the stables. I could hear some of the horses making noises, some of them peeking their heads out to see who had entered. I walked up to one, it's ears flicking as it lowered it's head to me. I scratched the forehead, seeing the animal lean into the affection.

"What happened? How did … you get here? In this world?" I asked, getting right to the point. She paused in front of one of the empty stalls, leaning against it and sighing. My sister looked worn out, probably from the sobbing session she'd just had. I knew that feeling. After I'd cried last night, I felt like I needed to sleep for days. It was exhausting. I turned around and faced her, seeing her take her hair out of her ponytail and brushing it with her fingers.

"Well, I don't know how."

"Neither do I … the last thing I remember was crashing my car, to be honest." I mumbled, causing my sister to glare at me.

"I was in the back, you know."

"W-What?!" I sounded aghast as I stared at her.

"Yeah, you and mother had gotten into a fight and you threatened to leave. I knew you were going to Aunt Sue's, so I hid in the back of the car."

I put my palms over my face, covering my eyes. "I'm an idiot... I could have gotten you killed..."

"I woke up and I was alone." Angel began, still staring at her hair as she ran her fingers through it. "I was laying in the snow with my bags at my side, severely injured. I broke my arm, so it was pretty difficult moving around with two bags. Had to carry them with one hand."

"What the hell did you do, bring your whole wardrobe?" I drawled, but got an affirmative nod. Of course. My sister was always one for 'fashion' and always seemed to worry about her appearance. Though it seemed that had changed … she wasn't even wearing any makeup or anything as she stood there. She also held herself differently, I'm not sure how but … this world changed her.

"Thankfully a family in a nearby town took me in, had a healer fix me up. That was my first encounter with magic." I groaned, wondering what she did to the poor healer. "Yeah. I kind of freaked out and punched her in the chest. Needless to say, they were confused and I was hysterical. They attributed it to a fear of mages and seemed to let it slide, though the healer looked pretty pissed." She laughed.

She continued on with her story, telling me of her experiences and how she'd gotten used to the idea of the fact that she was no longer on Earth. Angel said that she thought the breach was a bomb at first, too, and had to be coaxed out from under a porch. At first she was scared, depressed and almost gave up. But the family she'd been with had taken her to get a job with some merchants.

She met a friend. She worked there for awhile and eventually had to sell off most of her clothing for stuff that would actually be useful to her in this world. Including any jewelry she'd been wearing when she was dumped here.

Angel expressed her dislike for the way they treated the elves and mages, saying that it wasn't fair and that she'd actually met some nice ones since she was here. And that's how she lived her life for the past three months or so, which was how long I'd been here. I assumed that since we were in the same car when I crashed, she was pulled through as well. But she was thrown in a different area. Near Redcliffe, to be exact. Where she had been staying since she arrived.

"What about that family that helped you?"

"They … ended up getting killed by some mages that called themselves the Venatori. They took over Redcliffe for a short time, but were eventually driven out. I was able to get away, though, thanks to a friend of mine. But he was eventually taken too, because he was a mage. Lived in this little shack inside of the village, where it was safer. Everything was starting to finally become normal, before I came here."

"I'm … sorry." I mumbled, eyes downcast. That's the last thing I ever wanted my sister to go through. She was only 17 years old and she'd already seen so much death. Which was all this world seemed to offer, at times.

"He wouldn't want you to be sad." My eyes flicked up, seeing Cole standing behind my sister in the empty stall. His hat completely hid his expression as he stared at the back of her head. Angel froze, jumping away from the stall as if it burned her.

"Gah!" She yelled, her eyes wide with fear. "W-Wh." She began, but was cut off as Cole started to talk.

"The young elf that protected you. Eren. He loved you, too. 'You have to be strong.'" He seemed to quote at the end in a whisper, I saw Angel's eyes starting to water again. God damn it.

"H-How do you know that?!" Her voice slowly rose as she crawled away on her butt. I walked up and knelt in front of my sister.

"Are you alright?" I asked, not knowing how to proceed. I usually just allowed her to cry out her frustrations while I listened. It usually seemed like it was enough. She just sat there quietly and cried.

"H-he wasn't there before. He."

"It's fine. It's okay, Angel. He won't hurt you." I reassured her, looking back at Cole. He was still standing in the stall, staring at her. "Cole, you can't … appear behind people like that and not expect them to get scared." I wanted to laugh, but something about what he said to my sister prevented me from doing so. He'd said that a young elf had loved her. And he was gone? Did he die?

Something told me I wouldn't get an answer if I asked, so I didn't. I didn't want to cause her any more pain, as it was. If she wanted to tell me about it, she would. Right now … talking about it would just cause more problems.

"I'm sorry … I just wanted to help."

"I know..." I mumbled, watching as my sister slowly started to calm down. "He's a friend, you can trust him."

She blinked up at me as I looked up and saw that it was getting darker outside. "We should get you some food and you can rest, how's that sound?"

"Starving." Was all she said as she sniffed, wiping her eyes.

As we got up to leave, Cole was gone. I knew he probably just disappeared to go off and do something else, but my sister wasn't as forgiving. She almost started to freak out all over again.

"He was right there a moment ago! He disappeared!"

"Yeah … he does that."

"That's normal?" Angel sounded astonished, "You have some explaining to do …"

"I've been busy since I've arrived in this world, too." I nodded, as we walked up the stone stairs. I'd waved at Master Dennet as I left, getting a grunt in return. Blackwall had been there too, but we just nodded at one another in acknowledgment. The dirt crunched beneath our shoes as we entered the path at the top of the steps.

We'd made our way into the Herald's Rest and found an empty table. Angel was sitting on a stool, slumped over the table looking tired. I knew, however, that she should get some food in before she went to sleep. For the same reason I was obsessive about making sure I got nutrients. Where I was Pre-Diabetic, she had full blown Type-2 Diabetes. It surprised me that she had made it this far, actually. If she'd accidentally went too long without food or …

Shaking my head, I walked and ordered her a simple stew and some juice.

"Here." I set it down in front of her, taking a seat on the other side of the table. Angel nodded her thanks and began to eat slowly. She'd gone quiet after what Cole had said to her, which kind of worried me.

Angel was in the middle of a bite when Sera waltzed up and set a plate down next to me, taking a seat. Her plate made a small 'click' sound as it was set on the worn wooden table we sat at.

"So this Screech's little sissy?" She asked, putting her elbow on the table and leaning onto it. I saw Angel gulp her food down quickly and cough, her hand in front of her face.


"Yeah, it's a nickname that Varric gave me. He might even give you one. Lucky you …" I drawled, my eyes flicked to Sera's plate and saw that she had a sandwich. A rather tasty looking sandwich, might I add. The thing was practically stuffed with meat and cheese. "Sera this is Angel. Angel … Sera."

"Screech. A meaning behind the name. She screeches when she's scared, happy, surprised. Extreme displays of emotion. He calls you Screech because he thinks you're funny when you do." I was staring at Angel, my eyes half lidded as if I were bored. I'd been so used to him popping up that I found it so amusing the way Angel's face morphed into surprise, then fear. She spit her drink back into her cup and pointed at Cole, who was standing behind me. I knew, because who else would randomly pop into a conversation like that?

"You! Again!" She yelled, "I saw you this time, you just … just … appeared!"

Sera made a disgusted noise and I turned my body so I could see the both of them. Cole was standing behind me looking at Sera now, who was at my left sitting on a stool.

"Ew! Can you at least not... stare past my eyes? Frigging creepy, that." Sera was looking up at him with an offended look on her face.

"You're not your eyes, you live behind them." Cole replied, as if it were the most obvious thing in the world.

"That too. Don't do that. Creepy."

"I'm so lost right now..." I heard Angel mutter, Sera turned to my sister with a disgusted look still on her face. "I-Is he a mage? Can mages do that?"

"No." Both Sera and I said at the same time. But Sera continued,

"It's some weird creepy demon-thing from the Fade or whatever."

"He." I corrected, feeling slightly offended that she would even refer to him as an it. She disregarded me.

"D-Demon?" Angel whispered and I could see her setting up her guard around him, almost like he would attack her.

"I want it to be spirit." Cole commented from behind me. I'd turned around and was now facing my sister.

"Yes. Spirit. Cole is … or was a Spirit of Compassion. Is. Was... uhhh. He helps people, no need to be afraid." I tried to explain as I fumbled for the right words, not wanting my little sister to be afraid of him when she had no reason to be.

"Ah.. wait. Was?" Angel pushed her bowl of stew away slowly.

"After recent events … Varric has said he's more, I don't know, human?" I peeked up at Cole for confirmation, he was looking down at me with his usual passive face. I shook my head and furrowed my brows. "This is all so confusing to me."

"All this talk about deeeemons is making me nauseous." Sera whined and I looked at her, then at her sandwich. Since she's so nauseous, she probably won't want that. Right? I poked it with my finger, sending my appendage all the way through and to the plate.

"You gonna eat that?" I asked blandly, hearing her make a disgusted noise.

"Not anymore, you frigging put your finger through it!"

"Thanks for the sandwich, then." I grabbed her plate and began to eat the sandwich, seeing her get up and stomp away. I let myself smirk behind my winnings as the blonde elf left the tavern, likely to go do something or whatever it was she did on her freetime.

"You're... different now, Lyn." Angel sounded hesitant, unsure if she would offend me. I gazed back at her from behind my sandwich.

"Different how?"

"Well for one, you're actually socializing with people and not pushing them away like they're insects." She put in, her hand held up to emphasize her point. "And it even seems you've made … friends."

I nodded. Had I really changed that much? I didn't really think so. Sure I found some friends and a place to be. Something to actually do that's productive with my life. I felt like I belonged here, and I liked it. I suppose it's also given me more confidence, despite some of the bad things that have ended up happening. The incident with the Venatori still gave me nightmares, but I usually wouldn't wake up alone during those nights. That's a plus I suppose.

"Is he... just going to stand there all day?" Angel whispered as she leaned forward, her eyes flicking behind me every now and then. He was still there?

"Oh. Sorry. Cole, you can … sit down with us, you know." I patted the stool beside me that Sera had been using, turning to look at him. Without even saying anything, he sat down and continued to stare at the both of us.

Angel had began to eat her stew again, before it got too cold. I was just finishing up too, as I looked around the tavern. There wasn't too many people in here right now, seeing as how it was starting to get dark out. It only really got crowded when something happened, good or bad, and people needed a place to gather to either celebrate or drink their frustrations.

"So … what happened?" Angel had asked after we were done eating, she motioned to my face and bandages on my arms. Oh. Well, shit. How do I explain that?

"Uhh... Sparring..." I was a horrible liar. I'd called it sparring, but it was more like 'Get Bull to beat my ass'. It was foolish and I'm sure I could have ended up getting myself killed had I done that to someone else. The bruising on my arms were starting to fade into an ugly yellow, now. But some of the wounds on my face remained. I was actually surprised she didn't ask before, to tell you the truth.

"It looks like you got hit by a truck. Sparring?" She rose a brow, "You're a bad liar and you know it."

I gazed down at my arm, seeing a scab had formed and was peeking out of one of my bandages. "Yeah..." I sighed, picking at the scab and scowling. I heard an angered noise coming from Angel.

"You let The Iron Bull hurt you. Why?" Cole spoke up from my side.

"It seemed right, at the time." I forced out, not really wanting to talk about my lapse in sanity. I never did like it when my emotions bubbled over like that. It was a horrible habit that I had and it seemed … the thing with Cole had just pushed me over the edge.

"Who hurt you?" Angel puffed her chest up, looking as if she wanted to fight him in all her five foot five glory. I wanted to snort in amusement at the thought of my little sister even standing up to Bull, who would likely tower over her short stature.

"Alright, let's go find my room yes? Time for sleep." I let out a nervous chuckle as I stood up. Angel got up, as well and trailed behind me as I started to walk toward the stairs. "I'll talk to you later, Cole." I called, before I got to the bottom of the stairs.

"You didn't tell me who Bull was!" Angel protested as she grabbed my arm.

"Why are you looking for Bull?" I heard Krem say casually from his chair at his usual spot near the staircase. He was sitting at the table, next to … you guessed it … Bull. I didn't like where this was going. Angel stood up straight and glared down at Krem, trying to be intimidating.

"You're Bull?"

"No. I am." I heard the Qunari stand up from his chair. I observed silently, watching as he looked down at my little sister in interest. My sister, however, looked up at him and the blood seemed to drain from her face. Her posture, which was once straight, was now slumped like she was trying to make herself smaller.

"Heh... no reason." Angel's voice sounded small as she scurried up the stairs, her little feet making barely any noise. I stared blankly, not even knowing what to make of what had just happened. All of her bravado had completely vanished after seeing the massive Qunari.

"What's her problem?" Bull asked, looking at her as she ran away. I shook my head, waved at him and left.

When we finally made it up to my room, with me leading the way, she plopped down on my bed and sprawled out.

"So how did you spar with that and survive?" She said from her laying position. I stood in the doorway, glaring at her as she stole most of the bed.

"I think it was more like … he threw me around a bit and called it a day." I commented, walking up to the bed and pushing her toward the wall. She groaned and just rolled over, making room for me.

"You're such a crazy bitch, sometimes."

I grunted in agreement, laying down and trying to get some sleep. It only took her ten minutes before she was snoring lightly from her place on the bed, not even covered up with a blanket. I let out a silent sigh, seeing that the moon was shining through my window. Tomorrow was going to be ... interesting.

Chapter Text

I woke up early that next day, making my way just outside of the room. I saw that the sun was barely starting to come up and I could hear the starts of people waking and moving around downstairs. Angel was still sound asleep and I planned to let her sleep as much as she can. Yesterday was pretty hard on her. These past three months have been hard on her, I could tell. I don't even know the full story, yet, but I could tell how much this world has effected her.

I closed the door to my room softly, walking over to the railing and peering down and stared at people as they walked by on the first floor. I stood there, rubbing the eye boogers out of my eyes and let out a yawn. The second floor was pretty much deserted, the tables and chairs empty of people. I found myself curious about my sister and I wanted to at least know how she was doing. She'd seemed almost distant yesterday, only telling me the details that were necessary. I knew that I should probably just wait until she was ready …. but. I can't help it, I'm one of those overprotective older sisters. Sue me.

I found myself standing just outside of Cole's door, which was up here as well. I'd never actually seen him go into it, but it was worth a try right? I took a deep breath and knocked, shifting my weight awkwardly as I stood out in the dimmed third floor.

"You're worried about your sister." His voice was behind me, making me jump three feet into the air. Either I mustn't have seen him or he was making himself invisible again. It was early in the morning and I really was not expecting that. Thankfully, I couldn't find it in me to even yell or scream because of how sleepy I still felt.

"Of course..." I breathed, steadying my nerves. "Do you know if she's … alright? She seemed different, somehow."

"She says the same about you. I can hear it when she looks at you. Much brighter. Stronger. Found a place of her own." Cole spoke as I leaned back, my body resting against his bedroom door. "She's proud of you." He was standing just in front of me, looking down at me with a contemplative expression. I was happy, knowing my sister was proud of me. That she looked at me and saw the good that has come out of my change. I could see it, too. I was slowly starting to come out of my shell. Though that wasn't what my mind was on, right now. I was more concerned about how she had reacted yesterday.

"Yes, but she..." I fiddled with my hands, eyes drifting down to look at them. "She seemed troubled. If she's hurt somehow, I want to know how to help her at least."

Which was why I came to Cole about it, since it was his area of expertise. Helping people, that is. His eyes seemed to brighten at that when I looked up to see his reaction. "It is difficult. You and her are the same. It's quiet, like it's not even there. I have to be standing close, like this. Otherwise I can't hear you."

My brows knitted. He'd mentioned that long ago, how I'd been much quieter than the others. When he'd tried to help me before and all that. But now we were harder to hear? I had a theory that it had something to do with us being from a different world. We are an anomaly in this world and I still didn't know how that would effect the future or even the world itself. We probably connected to the Fade differently, if at all. Which is how I assume he's able to use his little gift. There have been a multitude of things that changed since we got back from our trip yesterday, after the incident with the Templar.

"She's worried. Always worried. That boy, Eren. He's always on her mind when I hear her. He was taken away just recently."

"Is he... is he alive?" I was almost afraid to ask, my jaw clenched. Angel had gotten pretty close with this boy and the last thing I wanted was her to lose him like that.

"I don't know." He sounded unsure, lips set into a small frown. I sighed, posture going slack. Damn. "I was trying to figure it out, last night. Before you left. She keeps it locked away tight. Buries it. She doesn't want to think about him because it hurts her when she does."

"She will tell me when she's ready … She always has." I mumbled as I crossed my arms. I suppose I could always just find ways to keep her mind off of it the best I could. It's the only thing I knew to do, in order to help. She wasn't the only one that was hurt, however. As my thoughts drifted to my friend who was standing in front of me. "On to another topic, how are you feeling?"

"It still hurts and sometimes I feel like I want to hit people. Varric is helping me with that, though." My brows raised. Cole? Wanting to hit people?

"Oh? Who, dare I ask, have you wanted to hit?"

"They say one thing but mean another. Smiles outside. Hate and resentment inside. Sometimes the people that visit Skyhold want to hurt the Inquisitor. There's also a Templar that says mean things to the mage healer. She hates all mages. Elves too. She thinks she's better than everyone." He paused and blinked a few times, looking down at me. "Sometimes you punch people. Maybe Varric can help you, too."

I snorted, smirking up at him. "Maybe you're right, I do tend to make an ass out of myself a lot. Unfortunately, it's a downfall to being human."

"Varric says I'm more human. He also says I have a lot to learn. Does it ever stop hurting?" He tilted his head, "I asked but …"

"That depends, where does it hurt?" I frowned, looking around at his body to see if he was hurt anywhere. I probably wouldn't be able to tell, anyway, since he was wearing his patchy long sleeve shirt he wore so often. It was either mental or physical. I, at the very least, knew how to help with the physical pain. I was never good at helping with the other, however. That seemed more his calling, than mine. The only thing I could offer was an ear to listen and a friend to be around.

"When … when I think about what that Templar did to Cole, it makes me angry. And sad. The emotions bubble around without my consent, they slip away and won't listen when I tell them to stop." Cole spoke, shifting his weight onto one leg as he fiddled with the wraps on one of his hands. "My body hurts sometimes, too. That never used to happen, before."

So he was being subjected to humanity, huh? I didn't know how to feel about that. On one hand, it could be a good thing. But there was a lot of bad about it that seemed to rush to mind as I listened to him. Which was worrying. Was this what had happened? Had I helped doom him to a life of pain and suffering? I was born in this world as I was, used to the pains and all that came with it. Could Cole adapt so easily? I had my doubts. I suppose my unease showed on my face, or he somehow picked up on it because he seemed troubled.

"I uhh … well. The pain you feel toward the Templar man is understandable. It's okay to feel hurt by what he did, remember that. Just don't let hate consume you, that's a path you never want to follow." My posture loosened and I realized it was starting to finally get lighter outside. It was getting easier to see up here.

Cole seemed to get a little fidgety, like he wanted me to continue. I hadn't answered his question, afterall. It seemed to dawn on me, right then. He could get through this. He had to. Just like any other person, he'd need the support of his friends. Doubting him would do me, or him, no good. I gave him a reassuring smile and held my hand up and rested my palm on his chest.

"You'll be fine. The pain will dull, in time. You're strong, Cole. You can get through this." I spoke lowly, believing every word I said. "If you ever need me, I'll be here. That is what friends are for, yes?"

He stared down at my hand curiously, before grabbing it and pulling it off of his chest. I blinked, watching him as he stared at it. He turned my wrist so that my hand was palm up, then observed the back as well. I took delight in the way his fingers seemed to ghost over the skin on the top of my hand, soft and gentle.

"What about … my emotions, how do I tell them to stop?" I tilted my head, feeling nervousness bubble up inside as he held my hand. Oh, I only wish I knew how to. Unfortunately, that's another thing that he's going to have to learn to adapt to. It was, no doubt, really confusing for him to have to deal with all of them at once like that.

"You can't." I gave his hand a gentle squeeze, trying to reassure him.

I heard the door to my room creak open, causing my posture to stiffen. I looked over and saw Angel peeking out, her black hair standing on end and looking scraggly.

"Oh... there you are. I woke up and you were gone." Her voice sounded sleepy as she walked out and rubbed her eyes, before blinking slowly. Angel's eyes squinted and, reluctantly, I let go of Cole's hand to walk over to my little sister.

"Sleep well?"

"Better than I have in weeks." My sister let out a quiet yawn as she held her delicate little hand to her mouth. "You have a really nice bed. Can I get one of my own?"

"That's up to the Inquisitor." I nodded, looking back at my blonde friend. "Cole, do you know if she's awake yet?"

He shook his head, looking unsure. "Lynn is usually awake at this time. She might be."

After feeding my sister breakfast, I was eventually called to the War Room with my sister to discuss the possibility of her stay. I hope I wouldn't have to fight for her ability to stay here at Skyhold, because I might end up leaving with her. She was my sister, afterall. I couldn't just abandon her like that.

When we entered the bright room, Lynn had opened the door to allow our entrance. Leliana and Josephine stood on one side of the table while Cassandra stood aside on the left, where she usually lingered.

Angel got a much better 'welcome' than I had back at Haven, as I watched Lynn introduce everyone to my younger sibling. I attributed that to the fact that I probably gained a wee bit of trust from them since I've arrived. Angel, to her credit, didn't look too pissed at Cassandra anymore and simply nodded in her direction when she was introduced. She'd went over what she told me down at the stables, minus the small breakdown since she hadn't mentioned Eren. Though she did look like she was incredibly nervous, with her constant fidgeting and playing with her long hair.

Leliana's face was schooled into a neutral expression and Josephine seemed to be busy looking down at her papers. Perhaps she had some information she was double checking as Angel told them her story? Cassandra didn't look as suspicious as she had when I first arrived. I'm hoping they'll at least believe some of our story, now. Especially since I have this iPhone, which I'd kept in my pocket this whole time. Though I doubt it'll ever work again. Not that I wanted it to, they probably wouldn't take it well and I'd be in the same position I was back at Haven. Maybe worse, because Cassandra might think it's some type of magic.

"The merchant family that she spoke of did, indeed, exist and had been harboring a young woman who fits her description." Josephine's accented voice put in as she flipped through a few pieces of parchment, "The people she was helping unload at the time of her arrival vouched for her, as well. It seems what she says is the truth."

"My scouts have not mentioned any suspicious or threatening behavior from the girl." Leliana was next, her hands clasped behind her body. "There isn't really any reason to keep her locked up. I do not object to close observation, however." Lynn was nodding at their words, taking them all in. She then turned to Cassandra, waiting for her to speak. The Seeker's face seemed to soften, just a little, as she sighed at the small girl.

"She does not appear to have any formal combat training. I suppose … I would have done the same had I been in her position. She may be young, but it is ideal we still keep an eye on her to be safe."

Lynn smiled at them, her eyes shining with approval. They may have already talked about this before we'd come in here, which seemed to be the case. Josephine already had papers and I guess Leliana had also been keeping an eye on her in her own way. "Then we are all in agreement?"

"Will there be any problem with her staying here?" I stood a little straighter, preparing to at least argue her case. "I will pay for her lodgings out of my own pay, if that is what it takes."

"Oh... oh. I don't think that will be necessary. We can find her something to do around here, can't we Josephine?" My elven friend fretted, her brows knitting as if thinking about something. The sun from outside seemed to pour in through the window and make her hair look brighter. I looked at my sister, who looked apprehensive as she fidgeted near the doorway just behind us.

"Oh, right. I'm sure we can find something." The ambassador seemed unsure, but I knew she wouldn't have agreed if it weren't possible.

"I'm really good at cooking, if you need any." Angel offered timidly, her voice sounding almost too quiet to hear. She was holding her hands in front of her, clasped, as if forming a barrier between herself and the others. Her shoulders were slumped, to make herself seem smaller. I didn't blame her. All these new people were pretty much judging her and I knew how much she hated being judged.

It was almost like a complete 360 from how she was acting yesterday. Though I knew she only yelled around and got like that when she was incredibly angry. The way she was acting now, was kind of a norm. When I looked at Cassandra, she seemed to be staring at Angel as if she was wondering the same thing about her change in demeanor.

Lynn nodded, gazing at my sister as she stepped forward to see everyone a little better. Angel was a bit shorter than Lynn and looked up through her long wavy hair. I always wondered how she seemed to keep her hair looking nice, even now.

"Our current cook in the Skyhold kitchens is usually really busy and I'm sure they wouldn't mind some help in the tavern." The wavy haired elf nodded, her hand resting just under her chin as she thought. "Though I am curious … what kind of food do you have back in your … world?" She seemed cautious, almost like we'd lash out at her for asking such a simple question. Though my mind wasn't on that, it was –

"Pizza." I blurted, feeling my face flush instantly in embarrassment. They peered over at me curiously and I heard Angel sigh, her hand on her head. I heard someone mutter 'peet-za?' but we continued on.

"Of course that's the first thing you think of..." My sister mutters, shaking her head.

"I can't help it. It's my one true love." I answer, sniffing as I look over at her.

"Heh. Right." She gave me a look like she knew something I didn't, making me stare at her suspiciously. "I can also bake a multitude of sweets and treats. It's what I specialized in back home."

Of course. I thought about all the treats she used to bake at home, feeling my mouth water involuntarily. Cinnamon rolls, cupcakes, muffins, cakes, you name it. She made it. I'm sure this world had it's own versions of the treats, but hers were familiar and I wanted some.

We spoke for a little while, discussing the options she had and whatnot. She'd still remain under watch for awhile, just to be completely sure. She wouldn't be allowed to cook by herself in the kitchens for a few weeks and would simply act as an assistant to start out. I guess it helps that my sister seemed a lot less intense than I did, and she got along with people better. Her social skills were quite good, while mine were less than admirable. Angel practically screamed innocence.

She mentioned that she had some money saved up from when she was working in Redcliffe, so she'd be able to pay for her first week of rent up in the tavern. She would take the other room out of the four bedrooms on the third floor. We'd be neighbors, pretty much. With our work schedules, I doubt we'd get to talk much outside of lunch or evenings but it's better than nothing right? At least I knew she was safe and less likely to get harmed within the confines of Skyhold. If anything, she was not made for this world. I'm just glad she found someone to protect her because as much as I hate to say it, I doubt she would have made it this far without them.

Eventually Josephine escorted Angel out of the room to go talk to her new employers and get settled into her room for the day. It was said that she would start work tomorrow. I stood there, wondering why they'd wanted me to stay in the War Room alone without my sister.

"Bull and I talked, the Ben-Hassrath have contacted him and offered an alliance with the Inquisition." Lynn spoke and I rose a brow to her. What did this have to do with me? "They asked to speak to you, as well. We go to meet them at the Storm Coast in about a week. I was just giving you prior notice that you are going to be coming along."

I scowled.

"This has something to do with my gun, doesn't it?"

Lynn nodded, her eyes showed the guilt she felt. Though, she kept her posture straight and her head high like the good leader she was. She wouldn't back down from this, I knew.

"He's Ben-Hassrath-" She began, but I cut her off. I didn't want to hear it.

"Fuck being Ben-Hassrath. He knows damn well if I refuse to give them information on my gun I'll die. I will end up killed, Lynn! We both know I'd rather die than let the possibility of these kinds of weapons be created in this world." I scoffed, crossing my arms in defiance.

"The Ben-Hassrath could be a powerful alliance. You would let that slip through our grasps when they could help us defeat Corypheus?" Leliana butted in, her eyes showed her disapproval to my decision.

"You haven't seen what I have, Leliana. Corypheus is the enemy, now. But what about in the future? Do you want to be fighting a war against people with crude guns, like mine? It would rip through most armor like its parchment. You'll all die and it'll be my fault!" I spat, walking toward the door.


"Don't worry, Inquisitor. I'll go … only because you asked. But I'm not giving them my gun." I didn't even look back at her as I opened the door and walked out. I fully intended to be on my guard when I went, though. If these Ben-Hassrath tried anything funny, I'd put a bullet in their heads.

Needless to say, I spent the rest of the day working my ass off down in the stables to keep my mind off of what will eventually come. I was scared. I found that I was scared a lot when it came to stuff in this world. I wasn't raised here and only had basic skills when it came to things like hunting and fishing, using a bow and all the like. I suppose it's better than nothing, right? I wasn't as unfortunate as my little sister, who has training in next to nothing. At home, she'd make it far with her social prowess. But here, she'd be more suited to being a housewife. I glared at the pitchfork that I was holding onto and threw it like a spear against one of the square hay bales, a scowl on my face.

I hadn't even known my sister was in this world. If I did, I could have looked for her. Stopped all the pain and suffering she'd gone through. As an older sister, I felt like a complete failure. I couldn't protect her. Gritting my teeth and feeling the irritation rise, I stalked off and went up onto the walls of Skyhold to cool off. The last thing I needed was to be accidentally snapping at someone that didn't deserve it.

I stood up here for what seemed like hours, watching the sun set in the distance. The crisp wind that hit my face calmed my nerves and took my mind off of all the issues that plagued me as of late. It was stressful, but I've never given up no matter how difficult things got. I didn't plan to now. Not ever.

Someone grabbed my head and started to ruffle my hair roughly. I was about to lash out and attack, but heard Sera's signature giggle.

"Sup, Screech? Heard the Ben-Harseholes wanted to talk to ya about your whichamajigger." She let my head go and I stood up to stare at her, my wavy hair standing on end and looking like a complete mess. I frowned,

"There's always someone hungry for power. Shitty." I commented, looking away and out toward the mountains. "Word gets out that there is a new type of weapon and … well whaddya know? People start jumping around for a chance to see it."

"You're not gonna actually let em, are you?" Sera seemed unsure and I let out a growl in response.

"Of course not. Do you know how many people will die, as a result? We have enough wars here as it is. We can do without more innocents getting slaughtered when they're caught in the middle." I cross my arms and turn to her, seeing that she agreed with me. Her mouth had a small lopsided smirk as she spoke,

"Good, because if you were I was gonna punt you off this wall."

"Pffff. As if."

Sera followed me back toward the tavern and we were mostly quiet. We'd made a few comments here and there, but it was mostly a comfortable silence. When we got close to the Herald's Rest, though, I saw Cullen standing outside next to the door with a piece of parchment in his hand. He had his free hand up and resting in his blonde hair as he stared at the parchment. Our footsteps could be heard as we walked closer to him. He looked up and locked gazes with me, a blush covering his face. I rose a brow.

He seemed to steel himself and walk toward me with purpose. I paused, not knowing what to do. I looked over at Sera, who was looking at him with an interested stare.

Cullen coughed into his hand awkwardly, looking down at me. I was standing in the middle of the upper courtyard as I shifted my weight onto one foot and couldn't help but look at his shoulder fluffles. I'd always wondered if they were soft and what on earth they were even made out of.

"L-Lyn?" He spoke, sounding nervous. "May I speak to you in private?"

I frowned, looking at him with a raised brow. "Why?"

"It's uhh... I ah."

"You can say it here. It's just Sera and I." I shrugged, looking around and seeing that most of the people were going in for the night. The sun was going down and the sky was starting to darken. The poor Commander seemed at a loss for words and simply opted for handing me the parchment he'd been holding, his face was starting to turn a darker red. I felt a bit of concern bubble up in my chest, "Are you... okay?"

I was unsure as I looked down at the piece of paper and saw little hearts doodled on it along with a lengthy sappy love note, my eyebrow started to twitch in irritation.

"I-I'm sorry." He stuttered out, "Maker. You're a cute girl, but … I'm sorry." My mouth fell open and my eyes widened, only to have a white piece of fabric shoved into my face. Sera's voice rose as she spoke,

"Ooooh. Poor Lyn. Your Cully Wully d-does-." She let out a fake sob, grabbing my head and shoving it onto her chest, I lifted my hand up and grabbed the piece of fabric she'd shoved into my face. It was a handkerchief. Though it wasn't an ordinary handkerchief, since my eyes started to water and my nose started to itch. That – bitch! "Unrequited love! You monster, Cullen!"

I shoved her away, dropping the white fabric on the ground and glared at the both of them. Tears were streaming down my face, because whatever was in that piece of cloth had irritated my eyes.

"Fuck!" I yelled, running past the duo and into the tavern.

Once I was in the back, I filled a bucket with water from a barrel and proceeded to shove my face into the water to flush my eyes. I was already starting to plot my revenge when I heard footsteps beside me. I looked up and saw Varric in all his short glory. The water in my hair dripped on my shoulders and I began to hastily scrub my eyes before finally drying them off with a nearby rag.

When I looked over, I saw him holding the piece of parchment and reading it. I paled, reaching over to snatch it away. He pulled it just out of reach and frowned as he got to the end of it.

"So, Curly huh? I never thought he'd be your type, to be completely honest." Varric handed it over to me, his eyes seemed almost sad. He must have seen my red puffy eyes so he continued, "Rejection hurts, but there are plenty of others out there."

"Uuugh. It's not mine." I crumpled the thing up and shoved it in my jeans pocket. "Sera wrote it. Cullen isn't even close to my type, anyway. This is stupid."

"Riiight. So what is your type?" He asked, seemingly interested. I rose a brow and put one of my hands on my hip.

"Why would that matter to you? I'm not interested in that kind of stuff." I lied, averting my eyes and setting the used bucket in the corner of the room where I'd found it.

"You're a bad liar, Screech." The dwarf chuckled and I scowled in response. I didn't need this, not now.

"Was there something you wanted?"

"Yes, actually. We're headed out tomorrow for a mission, thought I'd let you know. The Kid will need someone here if he happens to need some help. You're that person." He shrugged.

"Speaking of … how is he doing?" I asked hesitantly, leaning back onto the stone wall. Varric was standing near the door as he spoke to me.

"Alright. He's getting there. I had to show him how to use the privy, the other day. That was … interesting." I winced, wondering how embarrassing that had to have been. "Kid's got a long way to go, but I think he is doing fine."

I nodded, agreeing. "Yes yes. Daddy Tethras, awwwww." I cooed in a fake tone, causing the dwarf to hold up his hands and shake his head.

"Hey there, don't go making it all weird on me." He warned, leaning on the door frame.

"Does that mean Solas is mother?" I wondered aloud, eyes drifting to the ceiling. I fully intended to try and make it as weird as I possibly can.

"Screech … that's goin too far."

"It's okay, your secret is safe with me." I nodded sagely, walking passed him to go up to my room. I heard him sigh and mutter 'I never win, do I?'.

Chapter Text

It's been a couple days since the Inquisitor and her party left and I was currently sitting in my room alone with my sister, visiting. It'd been far far too long since we've just sat down like this. She was assigned for the kitchens sometime this afternoon and I had the day off, so we spent a majority of the morning together just talking. I had forgotten what it was like to just sit around and bullshit with my little sister. Most wouldn't think she's capable of such things, since she upholds some kind of reputation. But since I'm her sister, I get to see the one side of her that others cannot.

I had just gotten done showing her my burn scars on my right arm and leg from back at Haven, recounting what I could remember. The whole time, she almost seemed to disbelieve me at first. But the scars were proof enough, as it was.

I pulled her iPhone out of my dresser drawer and handed it to her, taking a seat on my bed and crossing my legs. I sat there in some shorts and a shirt, my bed was messy and unmade as it usually was. The sun outside streamed in through the window and warmed the floorboards next to my bed. I could feel them as I sat back down. All in all, it was a pretty relaxing morning.

"Thanks... though I don't think I'll be needing this anymore." Angel smiled at me, pocketing her mobile device.

"Didn't you have this battery charger thing?" I motioned, making a box with my fingers. I was thinking about that portable charger she'd bought awhile back with the money she'd made. She shook her head.

"I used it already. Funny thing, I tried …" A mournful expression came across her face but she continued anyway, "I tried to have Eren charge it with his magic thingy? It blew up." My sister laughed, but it sounded almost hollow. I fidgeted, not knowing how to make her feel better.

"Blew up?" I continued, hoping good memories would make it easier for her. She nodded, her hair falling in loose waves over her shoulders.

"I thought 'Oh hey, electricity' right? Well. One huge shock from his fingertips and 'BOOM!'. He got battery acid all over his hands." She laughs, "A-And the idiot licks his finger! He thought since it was burning, licking it would make it feel better."

I let out a groan, imagining how it must have looked. Or felt, for that matter.

"I know right? He had to flush his mouth out in the river nearby. And Gods, his hands!" She giggled, looking out the window behind me. "It was fortunate he knew some healing magic …" We were quiet for awhile, listening to the sounds of the birds outside mixed with the sounds of people sparring below. Since the training area was just outside of my window, I heard it quite a bit and was used to it by now.

I vowed that if I ever found this young man, I would do whatever I could to help him. Make sure he was safe. For my sister. And for the fact that he kept her safe when I could not.

We were broken out of our thoughts when my door slammed open, revealing a frantic looking Cole. Angel jolted and squealed, her head turning toward the door in surprise. He had a weird white bundle in his hand as he looked around, his eyes darting all over the room.

"Get back here, kid!" I heard someone yell from downstairs and Angel smiled widely, a small laugh coming out.

"I-It's Max, my boss. I've never actually seen him chase people out of the kitchens. Yet..." My brow rose and without hesitation I stood up and motioned for Cole to come in.

"Behind the dresser, hurry." He scrambled by without a word and crouched behind my dresser. My room felt much smaller now that there were three people in here. It was small, already, but damn. I closed the door, standing in front of it.

"I doubt that'll stop him, Lyn. He's a persistent bastard." Angel looked at me with an amused look in her eye. Seriously? I didn't know why the old man was chasing my friend, but he was probably going to open the door and try to search my room. I did the only thing I could think of that would make someone turn around and leave without question.

I shrugged my shirt over one of my shoulders, making it look like I was in the middle of changing. I stood there, with part of my sports bra showing and waited. Sure enough, the door was shoved open and I turned around and glared. An older man, maybe mid 50s stood in the doorway with big eyes. His beard and mustache were graying and he had a receding hairline. Just your average everyday old guy, really.

I stilled, looking at him with a pissed expression on my face.

"Do you mind? I'm kind of changing." I growled out, giving him my best glare. He stuttered out an apology and slammed the door shut without question.

When we heard his footsteps descending the stairs, Angel burst into fits of giggles. I casually pulled my shirt back over my body, a small grin on my face.

"People and their social boundaries. It's hilarious, really." I commented offhandedly, walking toward my bed and sitting down.

"H-He turned so pale!" She spoke between giggles, "But why?" She motioned toward my shirt, probably wondering why I did what I did.

"Nothing scares a man more than an angry woman. Don't they usually get really pissed when you walk in on them changing?" I tilted my head, curiosity lighting up in my eyes.

"Well, yeah." Angel spoke as if it were the most obvious thing in the world.

"Woman logic: Wears bikinis but gets upset when you see them in their underwear." I shook my head and leaned back against my headboard. I slowly turned my gaze to my scrawny friend, who was still crouched behind my dresser. He was staring at me with wide eyes. "Is something wrong?"

"No. But Varric told me I wasn't supposed to be in the same room when a lady was changing. Is he going to be mad?" Cole sounded a bit worried, making me snort.

"It's not like you haven't seen me without my shirt on before, you know."

Angel choked.

"W-What?!" My sister grabbed my shirt and tugged on it, "I thought you guys were just friends! Why didn't you -"

"No! Not like that." I cut in, my eyes wide. I could feel my face heating up, "I-I. Well. You see. Sera doused me with water this one time and when I was changing in my room, my shirt got stuck on my head and I needed help."

Angel sighed, looking at me with a frown. "You get into more trouble than it's worth..."

"You have no idea."

"Just friends? Is friends not enough?" Poor Cole sounded confused. He was likely completely lost as we sat there and babbled like old ladies. I let a breath out of my nose as I looked over at him, trying to keep my mind on the task at hand. This was exactly what I was trying to avoid.

"That depends." "It's fine, Cole." Both my sister and I said at the same time. I looked to the side and glared at her. She kept going, though.

"Friends can develop stronger feelings for eachother." She sounded happy, turning her body toward him. Fucking hell. Angel was always a diehard romantic. I never could understand, really. This touchy feely crap was always so lost to me and I never paid any attention to it. Which was probably why my 'love life' was dead, I'm guessing. Eh. She looked like she was going to continue, but I spoke up before she could.

"No." I warned, "He's just now learning to be human, don't fill his head with your sappy romance crap."

"It's not sappy..." She murmured, looking at me with disdain. "Perhaps if you'd actually tried, you would see."

I hissed trying to keep my thoughts carefully blank, "I don't need to try anything."

"You're scared. Why are you scared?" Cole stood up slowly, walking forward so that he was in front of us. I felt my heart leap into my throat. No.

"What's that?" I pointed at the cloth that was clutched close to his chest. Diversion attempt. He smiled, holding it out to me.

"It's for you. You like muffins and I saw some in the kitchens, so I grabbed some." Successful. But I failed to smother the amount of affection that seemed to worm it's way into my body. Fucking hell, that smile of his was going to give me away. I grabbed it gently out of his hands, holding it out in front of me. I swallowed, offering a nervous grin.

"T-Thank you..."

Angel cooed as I opened my little gift, "They're even blueberry. Soooooo cute."

"Shut up!" I snapped back, my face set aflame. She gave me a knowing smirk, grabbing one of the two that sat in the cloth. She stood up and started to walk to the door.

"I've got to get ready for work. Thanks for the talk!" Angel left pretty quick, making me squint at the closed door. That bitch.

I sighed, ripping off a piece and stuffing it in my mouth. What will I ever do with that girl? I peered up through my rusty waves, staring at my friend. He was watching me with a small smile on his face. It was barely there, but I could see it. Through his blonde bangs, I could see a small red mark peeking out. I knitted my brows, reaching up to push his hair out of the way. It was a welt.

"Where'd you get that?" I asked, feeling displeasure at the thought that someone had hurt him. I fully intended to beat the crap out of whoever did it. He must have picked up on my irritation because he held his hands up.

"It was the cook. He was only doing his job. They were for the dinner. He caught me and … he threw a wooden spoon at me." My mouth was hanging open and I was trying not to laugh at the image I got in my head just now. Cole stealing muffins, only to get pelted in the head with a wooden spoon. I failed, because I started to giggle. My poor friend looked confused that I was laughing because he'd gotten hurt, so I waved him off.

"I'm sorry. I really am. Does it still hurt?" He shook his head at my question, "You can sit with me, you know. I'm not going to bite you."

"I-I never said you'd bite me." His blue eyes were wide beneath his golden strands, obviously not getting the meaning behind the expression I'd made. Heh. Oops.

"You're right. It was a figure of speech, I wasn't being serious." He nodded, accepting my answer before sitting down where Angel had been. Now that he was at eye level, I could see dark circles forming underneath his eyes. Huh. Those hadn't been there before.

"They see me now. They remember. Their eyes stick and it's harder to help people." Cole sounded upset as he spoke, "Sometimes I do it wrong and I can't make them forget. Only for a moment."

"Things take time, Cole. I'm sure you'll figure it out." I nodded, setting the half eaten muffin on the small stand that sat next to the headboard of my bed.

"What if I don't? What if I can't help people like before. Ever again?" Okay, he was starting to sound a little hysterical now. Shit. "Then I can't be me. I- I."

I snatched his arm with my right hand, successfully quieting him. His mouth was still open as if he wanted to continue. I could see it in his eyes, how tired he looked. Had he ever slept before this? Before he started to change? I mean, Varric had to help him with a number of things already. Who's to say he couldn't sleep?

"Relax, you have such little faith in yourself." I sighed, grabbing a pillow and setting it in front of me. "When's the last time you slept?"

"But … I don't sleep." Cole spoke, as if it were obvious.

"You won't know until you try, now lay down." I patted the pillow and he stared at it curiously. He seemed at a loss. I took a deep breath, pushing my nervousness away and leaned forward and took his hat off. Cole lifted his hand as if to take it back, but I gave him a look. I set it on the bed near the wall and tugged on his shirt, near his shoulder, easing him down onto the pillow. He turned over so that he was laying on his back and he looked up at me.

I sat back, my body hitting the headboard of my bed and sat crosslegged.

"Calm. You look like … you're tired." I had to pause, since I was going to say 'you look like hell'. I'm going to have to explain figures of speech to him one of these days. We sat like that for a few minutes, but he didn't seem to drift off like I'd thought he would. I stared down at him, contemplating what I could do to help.

"I don't-"

"Close your eyes." I spoke softly. It almost surprised me, the amount of tenderness that made it's way into my tone right then. Hesitantly, I unclasped my hands from the sheets. I guess I'd been holding them in a death grip. Crap.

Gently, with shaking hands, I threaded my small fingers through his bangs and brushed them away. I thought I heard a small gasp as he locked gazes with me, but ignored it in favor of feeling his soft hair. I was also trying to suppress the warmth that settled it's way into my chest. Reluctantly, I saw him shut his eyes.

I sat there, delicately stroking his platinum locks. A small smile had worked it's way onto my face as I stared off at my wall. He can get through this. It usually took time to adapt to new environments, right? Granted, he'd been here for awhile. He just had to learn his limits and get used to this new lifestyle and he'd be up and at it again. I had no doubt about that. I kept these positive thoughts in my head, hoping he'd hear them as he lay there with his eyes shut. I didn't want to speak, for fear I'd wake him up. Soon enough, his breathing evened out as he relaxed and drifted off into a slumber. It worked. It actually worked.

I let out a quiet sigh of relief. He'd been getting a little worked up there, for a second. It had me worried. I sat still for about 10 minutes before I started to feel a little uneasy. I was just kinda stuck there with nothing to do but stare at the wall, or him. I felt kind of like a creep. My eyes would hesitantly flick down at his form in front of me, as if he'd open his eyes and catch me staring.

But he looked so cute and peaceful in his sleep. I peeked down at his face and I looked closer at the dark circles that lay underneath his eyes. It concerned me, that I hadn't seen them before. Did he even know that he was feeling tired? I moved my hand from his hair and gently swept my thumb underneath one of his closed eyes.

My gaze flicked over his facial features, slowly searing them into my mind as I let my fingertips ghost over his cheek. I let my brown eyes slide halfway shut and I was acutely aware of my heartbeat. It was strong, as it thudded against my ribcage. I frowned, feeling a light blush covering my face as I leaned forward. My rusty waves fell on each side of my face, forming a curtain. I had thought that if I pushed away the feelings I had that they would eventually just fade away. It seemed I was wrong, however, as I realized they only seemed to get stronger when we were like this. It was getting increasingly more problematic as the days went on.

Small things like what he did earlier when he got me a muffin, or when we'd make physical contact with eachother, even simply standing closely would make my hairs raise and I got flustered over such trivial things. I wanted to feel irritated about it. I wanted to hate it. But I didn't. I found that I wanted more. I wanted him to feel it too. Longed for it, even. The affection I felt for my friend was really starting to get out of control. My hand stilled and I slowly pulled away, closing it into a fist.

The idea of him even feeling the same way toward me was ludicrous. He didn't even know what it felt like to be tired. He didn't need me going and messing things up and making it more complicated than it should be. I squeezed my eyes shut and gritted my teeth together, feeling a dull ache make it's way into my chest. If I wished enough, pushed them away and buried them … maybe it'll be like the feelings were never there?

I felt all the emotions I'd been feeling just now slowly fade as I forced myself to lock them away tightly. Somewhere in the back of my mind, I was telling myself this was the worst thing I could do. Because whenever I did this, pushed things away and locked them up, they always found a way to come back. And when they did … I'm sure I don't need to elaborate. It already happened once while I was here in this world.

I shook my head, what the hell was I doing?! I'm sitting here watching my friend sleep and pining over him like some lovesick teenager. I always used to watch people do these kinds of things from afar when I was in public, but never saw myself in this predicament. This was something that I really did not wish I'd ever have to go through. But here I am. Wonderful.

Suddenly feeling like I needed to get up and away from here, I was stuck with knowing that I'd likely just wake him up if I jostled around too much. Suppressing the urge to grumble, I simply leaned back and closed my eyes to get a little nap in for myself. Perhaps next time I should think ahead before I do something.

It was nearing that 'week' mark that Lynn had warned me about. Since we were going to the Storm Coast, which was quite a distance away, I decided to at least try and be prepared this time. I'd already went to Adan and asked if he had anything on hand that I could use as a 'surprise' for my enemies. He'd suggested either a Jar of Bees or some Antivan Fire. Now, a Jar of Bees sounds like some fun but compared to fire?

And, me being me, I chose a few Antivan Fire grenades. Apparently all I had to do was chuck it at the ground nearby (not too close) or toss it and it'd break, coating the ground in some type of thick tar and it would light on fire. It sounded fun, so I excitedly spent my money on them. My inner pyro squealed in delight when I finally cradled them in my small hands. They weren't cheap, might I add.

Once I had everything ready, I was stuck sitting up in the loft with a piece of wood and my knife. I was bored out of my mind and waiting for the order from the Inquisitor to get the horses ready. So I was sitting up here carving randomly. Idly, I started making a huge coin shaped piece of wood about the size of my palm and humming some random tune. I had to make sure not to accidentally cut my long sleeves as I worked, because they were almost too long on my short arms. I had a dark blue tunic on over my long sleeve shirt and was wearing a pair of cargo pants (Surprise).

My sketchbook was sitting next to my knees and the cats up here were playing with the small leather string that was attached to the side of it. Originally, I'd wanted to draw but I still couldn't get myself to do it. It was like I was stuck and could only do it when I really felt the urge to. When I was younger, I could sit down all day and draw anything and everything. Back when it was so much more simple. I longed for that. I missed being able to just sit down and sketch.

Sighing, I set the piece of wood down next to my thigh and grabbed my book. I heard the wood floor creak from behind me, making me go still.

"She said to be ready to leave. Soon." Cole spoke, fidgeting with his hands as he stood there. "How long will you be gone?" I slowly began to gather my things, putting them in my bag which was sitting somewhere nearby. Blinking, I had to grab a kitten from out of my bag and set him aside. It mewled in disappointment at being taken from the warm confines of my bag. I gave a small smile.

"You can't come." I huffed and laughed quietly, standing up with my things. "I don't know, Cole..."

Turning around, I slung my bag over my shoulder and looked up at my lanky friend. He stood near the stairs, awkwardly. Some of the hay and straw moved around as I ambled up to him and I was about to walk by and go down the stairs, but he grabbed my arm. Smothering the urge to shiver, I rose a brow and peered up at him. He was looking at me with a frown.

I tilted my head, "What's wrong?"

"I feel … worried. Scared. What if you get hurt?" His grip on my arm tightened a little, though not painfully. "The Ben-Hassrath hurt people to get what they want. I don't like them. The Iron Bull is okay, though. He's different."

"I have my gun. If they try to hurt me or anyone I care about, I'll kill them." My eyes darkened as I stared at his shirt, not wanting to make eye contact. I was absolute in my choice. Not that I wanted to, but I would if I had to. "You don't have to worry. The Inquisitor and everyone will be there with me, remember?"

I turned so that I was facing him. We were standing on top of the stairs in the barn and I could hear the sounds of the horses in the stables nearby. I noticed how close we were standing to eachother and wanted to backpedal, but I couldn't move without dragging him along. I slipped my free hand out of my sleeve and grabbed his hand that was clasped on my arm, carefully pulling it off. Our fingers brushed together, making my chest buzz with anxiety. At least, I think it was anxiety. It certainly felt like it.

I looked up, seeing him staring down at me with a perplexed expression. Shit. I can't do this. I shifted on my feet uneasily, pulling my hand away.

"Alright, Cole. I-I was wondering if you could keep an eye on my sister while I'm gone. Make sure she doesn't hurt herself." I attempted to divert. It seemed to have only half worked, because I saw a slight frown form on his face. Without waiting for an answer, I fiddled around with my bag's strap and stumbled my way down the stairs.

I started to saddle up the horses, a carefully blank look on my face. Once I was done, as if on cue, the whole party came in and started to grab their respective horses. It wasn't long until we were all sitting up in our saddles next to Skyhold's gates. I didn't know how long this would take, but I didn't really look forward to what the Ben-Hassrath would say or do when I just outright tell them no. Sighing, I looked around and did a headcount.

Looks like Bull and his Chargers were coming along. Lynn, Varric, Cassandra and Solas had their horses lined up next to eachother. It seemed everyone was ready. I flicked my gaze over toward where the tents were just at the bottom of the stairs and saw Cole standing there watching us, his face hidden by his huge floppy hat.

My lips twitched and, hesitantly, I held up a hand to wave at him. He nodded, then turned around to walk away. I blinked and turned to see everyone starting to walk across the bridge. This trip was going to be wonderful.

A few days went by and we were camped out for the night and I was approached by Bull. It had rained all day, so we were kind of feeling miserable from all the riding and walking we had been doing that day.

"Look, if you're going to glare at me all day … at least have the common courtesy to come out and say it." He sounded a bit irritated as he spoke in a clipped tone.

I snorted. Yes, I was still a bit worked up over the fact that he'd reported to his little buddies so quickly. If it weren't for him, I wouldn't be in this position. The only reason I haven't started to bitch him out was because it's kind of his job. To tell the Ben-Hassrath what he sees and whatnot, that is. I'll just let myself believe that he had no choice, that way at least I won't end up hating him. Bull is an okay guy, in my opinion. But right now? I felt like hitting him over the head with a stick. Maybe I'll paint his horns pink one of these days as revenge. Maybe I'll get lucky and he won't notice until someone tells him.

"I'm going to be completely honest here, Bull." I had to bite my tongue, trying not to let myself lash out and say something I'd regret. "I'm just … a wee bit pissed about what you did …."

"By wee bit, you mean a lot." He said blandly, his one eye looking down at me. The Qunari's face was set in a frown and I nodded. I stood up and walked away, sitting on a log next to the fire to warm up.

I heard Solas and Varric start to tease Cassandra about how destructive humans are. The Seeker looked a little irritated, and I just stared at the three with an amused expression on my face. Varric seemed to have noticed and he smiled, shaking his head.

"You aren't bothered by this?" The dwarf asked, sounding a little curious.

"No, not really. Should I be?" They were dissing on humans and I've got to be honest, I agree with them. We are pretty destructive, aren't we? "It's kind of true."

"Care to elaborate?" Solas spoke, his expression impassive. I silently wondered if he was still pissed at me for lashing out at him about a week and a half ago. I shrugged it off.

"Where I come from, there is nothing but humans." I put a hand to my mouth to hide my smirk. Solas and Varric looked perturbed at the thought.

"No magic. No dragons. Just humans and their … technology." Bull spoke from behind me, completely butchering the word 'technology'.

"Your world sounds kind of bleak. No offense, Screech." Varric said slowly, causing Bull to laugh.

"I won't disagree. The people there are shitty."

I stopped talking after that, watching the fire in front of me dance around. The warmth heated up my face and made me feel tired. Everyone seemed to be talking in their own little groups when I retired to my tent. Tomorrow, I've got some Ben-Hassraths to turn down.

Chapter Text

We were all standing in a small clearing on the Storm Coast, rain pelted down and soaked my hair. I was currently wearing layers of clothing, ensuring that I kept a little warm. It was chilly, though not overly so since we weren't in the mountains anymore. I had yet to get some light armor, since my savings always seemed to dwindle over time. Perhaps I should, eventually. For now, I'd just opt for staying in the background and picking people off silently.

My bow was slung across my back, along with a quiver full of arrows. My gun rested in my right pocket, with it's safety on, and my little pockets had some of my supplies in them. My bag was clipped onto the saddle of my horse, so I didn't have to carry everything. Said horses were standing idly nearby, tied to a fallen tree.

Our group was standing a ways away as Bull, Lynn and some elf named Gatt spoke to one another. I listened nervously, shifting my weight a little and hearing the water beneath my boots swish around. From what I heard, this Gatt person was the person we were supposed to meet about the alliance. Which means he is probably the one that's going to speak to me once they were finished.

The mission we had, currently, was to help the Qunari Dreadnought come in so that they could take out a ship. Our objective was to make sure the Venatori didn't get to it. It eventually came down to the fact that we needed to split our little group up. One would be us, the other would be the Chargers. I couldn't help but feel apprehensive about that, thinking of the horrors that could happen. Being a D&D player, I always know one thing. Never split the party up. Shit happens. But this wasn't a game, so that made it ten times scarier. There were actual lives on the line here.

Bull walked away to speak to his Chargers and inform Krem of the mission. I frowned, seeing Lynn and Gatt exchange a few words. Soon enough, they both looked at me. Swallowing my anxiety, I walked forward with a scowl on my face in attempt to hide how I really felt. One good thing, I suppose, I knew how to bury my emotions with anger and irritation. It was a coping method I'd picked up. Not necessarily the healthiest … but it gets the job done.

"So, Hissrad said that you had a weapon that might be worth seeing. Needless to say, the Ben-Hassrath are interested." Gatt began without even allowing me to talk. Idly, I remembered hearing that Hissrad was the title they gave Bull. The elf had said something else … something to do with what it fired, but I had stopped listening. I wasn't going to make a deal with him, it wasn't worth it.

"Of course they are." My voice came out cold as I stared at the elf. He was the same height as me, his brown hair was brushed back and his green eyes seemed to observe my facial expression. He was reading me, trying to find my weakness. I growled, feeling threatened.

"I'm just here to offer a bargain." He began, shaking his head. "Since it was mentioned that it was powered by an explosive powder similar to Gaatlok. They are offering a small barrel of it in exchange for information on this … gun."

"Oh? What kind of information, might I ask?" My gaze turned flat and I felt my body tense. They say 'information' but something tells me as soon as I pull it out, I'll get jumped. Or I'm just being paranoid... I remember telling Bull that it worked similar to their cannons on the Dreadnoughts, so they knew that it was an advanced weapon they could possibly use and replicate for their own needs. I'm really regretting not just throwing this thing in a lake somewhere or maybe in a pit of lava.

"Show me how it works and I'll make a sketch of how it looks. Simple, right?" 'For now.' Went completely unsaid, but it was hanging in the air. Gatt had a small smile on his face, but I wasn't buying it. I squinted at him and forced a smile on my face. His smile faltered as he looked a bit unnerved by it. One upside to having a creepy smile, I suppose.

"That's gonna be a no." I refused, "Your people don't need anymore weapons. I will have no part in it."

"I'll give you some time to think. Maybe I'll even throw in something more, to sweeten the deal."

What part of 'no' didn't he understand? I was about to run my smartass mouth again, but was cut off by a very nervous looking Lynn.

"We're ready to go." The spindly elf spoke as she clasped her hands in front of her. I nodded to her, feeling my wet waves stick to the side of my face as I wordlessly walked to our small group on the other side of the clearing.

We carefully made our way up a slight incline, a rocky path leading the way. I tried to stay quiet like the rest of the group, but only ended up getting my boot caught in some mud and almost tripping and falling on my face in the process. I could see tall pine trees on the sides with underbrush scattered beneath. Our group was pretty well hidden and we eventually came upon a camp at the top of a hill. There were a couple, actually. I felt my mouth go sour as I saw the familiar armor of the Venatori. Instantly, my mind was flooded with the memories of when I was captured by them.

Feeling the rage bubble up inside of me, I let out a feral sounding growl. My face was scrunched up into a snarl, teeth showing. It startled poor Solas, who was standing next to me. He stared at me with widened eyes, probably wondering if I was going to rip his throat out. My gaze was not on him, however.

"Venatori." I spat, my brown eyes flicked around the camp and counted how many. I saw a small white flag hanging nearby with their signature emblem, two dragons intertwining. Small iron barricades looked to be wedged behind the flag, protecting parts of their little camp. Seeing everyone get ready, I pulled out my bow and notched an arrow. My cold hands were clutched onto my bow in a death grip and I felt them shaking.

"We need to calm down, Screech. The rage will only make your arrows miss." Varric warned quietly from the other side of me. Solas seemed to nod minutely at the dwarf's statement. I started to breathe heavily, trying to calm myself down. He was right. I can't get like this everytime I see the Venatori. I'll end up putting an arrow through a teammate's head. Though, I wouldn't mind if I accidentally put an arrow through Gatt's head.

Varric and I both stood near an outcropping of bushes, Solas somewhere ahead casting spells and barriers. We'd gone into battle so suddenly that it almost shocked me. I kept up, though, firing alongside Varric and hitting the stupid bastards.

Lynn would spin and dodge in some sort of deadly dance, jumping from enemy to enemy and seemed to strike from the shadows themselves. Her daggers were a metallic blur and sometimes I would hear the blades sing as they clashed onto metal armor. Bull had rushed in headfirst and began to hack away at them like they were nothing, letting out war cries here and there to distract them. I was about to fire another arrow, but saw a shimmering in my vision making me go still. I aimed at the space in front of us, about 10 feet away, and fired.

It was by mere chance that I'd seen the enemy rogue and I was rewarded as my arrow made contact and hit him in the shoulder. He let out a grunt and lunged forward with one of his daggers. Not having the time to even notch another arrow to fire, I swung my bow like a club and heard it connect to his leather armor. It knocked his hand away, but he was relentless and was about to come at me again.

My eyes widened in panic. Fucking rogues!

Before he could land a blow on me, however, Varric had shoved me out of the way and fired Bianca into his stomach and then finally into the bottom of his jaw. It didn't escape my notice how a small spurt of blood seemed to fly out of the dwarf's arm, just above his elbow. He'd been hit. Cursing, I stumbled forward.

"Eye on the game!" Varric yelled as he kept firing. I shook my head and focused back on the battle.

We finally finished off the last of them and I made my way into the camp, seeing their dead bodies scattered on the ground. Some of them were even missing their limbs and upon closer inspection, I could see just who had done that. Bull's huge blade was covered in blood as he sheathed it on his back. I watched Gatt walk forward toward a small fire on the cliffside.

"Right. Signaling the Dreadnought." He bent forward and lit off something that reminded me of a flare as it flew up into the sky. Bull pointed on the other side of the small ravine to the cliff and I could see Krem and the rest of the Chargers standing there.

"Chargers already sent theirs up. See em down there?"

"I knew you gave them the easier job." Gatt turned around and looked up at Bull, who smirked down at the elf. Of course he did. The Qunari appeared to care a lot about his little mercenary band of misfits. I didn't blame him, they were a fun bunch. I didn't spend a lot of time with him or his little group, but from the interactions I've witnessed they seemed like one big family.

I heard a loud rumbling from out on the water, the waves crashing against a huge ship that I assumed was the Dreadnought. Balls of fire arched up and over to a small ship, taking it out. The vibrations in the air made my ears tingle. I assume those balls of fire are this world's version of cannon balls, because it most certainly sounded like it. Looked like it, too.

"Crap..." I heard Bull breathe out, making me turn my gaze from the ships to him. He was looking down at the earth between the two cliffsides. The ravine. There was a small force of Venatori headed toward the Chargers, threatening to overrun them. I paled. See? This is why you never split the party up.

From my spot at the side, I didn't even think as I dug through my quiver and pulled out one of my arrows. Fast thinking on my part, but likely dangerous and might end up getting me killed? Yeah. I was thinking about stalling them enough to let them retreat, in the very least. I grabbed one of the two Antivan Fire grenades I had and started to use some thin leather strips, that looked kinda like shoelaces, and started to wrap it around the shaft of my arrow. The weight on it might make this useless, but I'd just aim a lot higher and hope I can get someone.

"I don't think that is wise..." I heard Solas say from beside me and I noted that I could hear Lynn, Bull and Gatt speaking about the possibility of calling a retreat for the Chargers.

"I never claimed to be wise, Solas. I think we both know that." I notched it onto my large bow, pulling the string back. The bald elf stepped back, his eyes on the grenade tied tightly to my arrow. What's the worst that could happen? If this somehow broke as I fired, I would be coated with tar and likely burn to death.

Huh. That didn't sound fun. Let's hope it works, then.

"What are you waiting for?!" I yelled back at Bull, who was looking torn on what to do. Lynn looked the same way, but I already knew that she wouldn't sacrifice the Chargers for this. She was too soft, which to most would be considered weakness. But she seemed to bring it out and use it to captivate her allies, which would in turn keep them that way. Lynn used it and made it into a strength. I admired her for that.

The alliance was important, yes. This was different. To willingly sacrifice some good men and women, to me, sounded stupid as hell. Then again, I was biased toward keeping them alive because I cared about them. I wouldn't admit it aloud, but I did enjoy the times that Krem would try to spar with me or poke fun at me. They didn't deserve to die like this. That and I already didn't like the Ben-Hassrath anyway. They could all go rot for all I cared.

"Call the retreat!" Lynn ordered, pointing at Bull's men. Her hair was plastered to the side of her face from the rain and her eyes were fierce, solid on her decision to keep his men alive.

"Don't!" Gatt argued and I aimed high, firing my arrow. Surprisingly, it worked, and followed a wide arc as it flew through the air and landed right beside the small group of Venatori that was next to the cliff as they got close to the path. Some of them were headed up the hill and toward the Chargers and some of them ended up burning and screaming. They mustn't have seen the arrow, because they didn't even look for the source of the explosion.

I'd have thought that since it was raining, the fire wouldn't burn for that long. But the sticky substance seemed to keep it fueled for almost a good minute before going out. By then, a couple of them were motionless on the ground.

The horn sounded and I watched Krem and the rest of them fall back to safety. Letting out a small sigh of relief, I turned around and looked at our group. Solas was looking at me like I'd lost my mind and almost got myself killed while the others seemed focused on Gatt as he paced, looking pissed. I gave the bald mage a small smirk and walked a little closer to the group.

The small elf sounded pretty angry as he yelled at Bull. I was looking back down at the shore, though, as a row of Venatori mages focused on the ship and began to fire at it with their magic. Just when I thought the Dreadnought was about to sink, it blew up and sent shockwaves onto the cliff we were on. The rumbling was so intense that it made the ground shake a little. My eyes were wide as I saw it explode like a lego sculpture and float apart, completely in tatters.

The mud was really starting to piss me off, but I was happy that I had some pretty good boots. I'd gotten pretty lucky back there when the rogue almost got me. Better thank Varric later for saving my ass. Also … I really need armor. Because that dagger would have carved me like a holiday turkey. Not a fun way to die, I would imagine.

We were close to the clearing where our horses were when I saw a shadowy figure standing next to some bushes ahead. I wasn't the only one that saw it, because I saw Varric pull out his crossbow.

"Inquisitor-" Lynn looked back to address Varric, who was currently trying to warn her, but she got shield bashed by a huge warrior in full plate armor. I heard my elf friend scream as she went tumbling down into the mud with a loud 'splash!'

They came out and jumped us before we could even pull out our weapons. Lynn was doing one of her ninja rolls and was about to get back up but the warrior above her was mid-swing, about to chop her in half.

"Lynn!" I yelled, pulling out my bow and notching an arrow faster than I ever have. In the middle of this, however, Bull had already started to fight the warrior. The massive Qunari let out a loud battlecry, making a few of the nearby enemies attack him in a flurry of movement. Lynn had disappeared and would occasionally reappear to strike from the back.

They didn't look like they were Venatori, they didn't have the armor for it. No emblem. Just normal armor. I was about to fire another arrow when I was pushed to the ground from my left, where there was an outcropping of trees. Of fucking course! They would be back here too. This was an ambush.

I let out a loud grunt as I hit the muddy water, hearing it splash around. My whole body got soaked as I did a roll, losing my bow in the process. Scrambling up into a crouched position, I looked up and saw a warrior walking leisurely toward me with a longsword out.

Peering over to my side quickly, I saw that all the other enemies were dead except for this guy. Lynn looked a little worse for the wear and Solas was sporting a pretty nasty bruise on the side of his face. Other than that, the others (Bull and Varric) seemed relatively unscathed.

"Stay over there if you want your friend to live." He warned them loudly, his voice sounded oddly high pitched for a man of his size. He stood there in some light armor and no helmet as he sneered down at me. This man had scars all over his face and arms, from what I could see, and his hair was a mass of long dreadlocks that fell passed his shoulders. I reached into my pocket and pulled out my gun, unlocking the safety. I stood up and aimed it at him and in turn he lifted his sword and aimed it at me. He was far enough away that if he thrusted forward I may have a small chance to dodge. But … knowing my luck.

"You don't want to fire that within this range." He smirked, as if he'd already won. Ah, so he knew about my lovely weapon. This means he works for Bull's old buddies, I'd assume. I couldn't be completely sure, though. I rose a brow, did he think that my gun was explosive? I'm guessing Bull's reports weren't as detailed as I thought them to be.

I had been in the back of the group, so the others were standing off to the side staring at us as we had our little standoff. The warrior held up his free hand with his palm out.

"Give it here and I won't have to hurt you."

He thought I was helpless. That I wouldn't be able to fight back because I had no armor on and only had this little chunk of metal in my hand. Either he was stupid or misinformed. It pissed me off to no end that these people went through all of this trouble just for a weapon. Solas and Varric are wrong. Humans weren't the only ones that were horrible. I was slowly beginning to actually believe that all people were like this, deep down. Even … me. I felt my eyes darken.

This is my fault, though. I told Bull that it used ammo that was similar to Gaatlok. Of course they would want this. I was really beginning to hate these people too, along with the Venatori. I glowered, aimed at the man's sword arm and fired.


It rang through the forest, echoing in the distance and I could even hear birds nearby flying away in a panic. That was drowned out by the man's yell, however. I heard some gasps from my right, but they were ignored as I focused on this man in front of me. He dropped his sword and I could see blood starting to pool out of his shoulder.

"Who sent you." I stated in an oddly passive tone. It wasn't a question, a simple statement. An order. I had to be sure as I stood there and watched him. He was holding his arm with his other hand and trying to stop the blood. This man had been wearing lighter armor, instead of the full plate I'd seen on his other buddies.

I heard him say something in another language that sounded oddly like curses and he spat at the ground in front of me. I aimed at his leg and fired.


He screamed again, falling to his knees into the muddy water. I could see a flicker of fear in the man's eyes as he stared up at me, now holding his leg. I repeated my statement, but still didn't get an answer. I was about to shoot his other leg but was interrupted.

"They're trained not to say a thing, Lyn. There's no point to this." I heard Bull warn, hearing his heavy footsteps coming closer. Ah, so it was one of his old buddies then.

"You're right." I frowned, "My mistake..."



I saw my enemy fall forward into the mud, face first. I looked away before I could see what the back of his head probably looked like. Putting the safety back on my gun, I pocketed it. The wildlife around us was eerily quiet as I turned around, hair plastered to my face.

"We should get moving." I sighed, ambling over toward the rest of the group. Solas was staring at me with a frown, obviously disappointed in what I'd just done. Both Lynn and Varric looked sad, staring at the ground with their weapons sheathed.

I frowned, feeling the fear return. I didn't like this. I didn't ask for this. I knew that the instant that I went into Law Enforcement that I'd end up eventually shooting at someone. Even my instructors told me that they wished none of us would have to kill someone, because it was so emotionally scarring. And it was. This was …

I can't even remember how many I've killed by now. Not only with my gun, but with my bow as well. I even burned a few Venatori down in the ravine with my Antivan Fire grenade. Granted, I've always been in life or death situations at the time.

I don't want to turn into one of those people that start to pretend that the people I kill aren't … people. That would eventually make me into a monster, wouldn't it? If I let it twist me into something I'm not. I started to breathe heavily as I stared down at the puddles beneath my feet. I could have been killed, just because people are so hungry for power. Hungry for an advantage in a war that was not my own.

"How do you deal with this?" I asked as I turned around to look at the rest of the group. Lynn shook her head, a sad look on her face.

"Let's find the Chargers and get to a camp, okay?" She suggested and I nodded numbly, following along beside her. I didn't even want to look at the rest of the party as I followed behind them with a disconnected look in my eyes.

"Chief!" I heard Krem call from just down the slope. He ran up the hill to meet us halfway, "We heard something in the distance. Did you hear it?"

"It's alright, Krem. It was just … Lyn's gun." Bull reassured, sounding a little cautious. I'm sure his lieutenant already knew about it, since he didn't seem to keep much from him. I knew that everyone within Lynn's inner circle knew about it, but not much other than that it had ammo similar to Gaatlok and that it was not magic. At least that way I didn't have Cassandra shoving her sword up my ass about it, then.

Krem looked over at me, probably seeing my lack of response to the situation. I was trying not to freak out about it. Trying my hardest not to think about the man or –

"You alright?" Krem was standing right beside me. When had he gotten here? He was over by Bull last I saw. I blinked slowly, looking up at him.

"I'm fine."

"You don't look fine, to me." He was trying to get me to talk about it, but I didn't want to. I frowned, sending a halfhearted glare up at him.

"Come on, let's get going." I heard Lynn say from atop her Hart. I couldn't agree more, I just wanted to get out of here.

On our way back to Skyhold that day, I heard a few people in the party speaking about the incident. It was mostly between Bull and his Chargers, as he explained to Krem what had happened with the Ben-Hassrath that attacked me. Krem was full of questions, seemingly having a deep fascination with how easily I'd been able to kill the man. I didn't even have to so much as twitch a muscle to send him to his knees, screaming. Looking at me in fear. Resentment.

I felt my eyes dilate and my vision blurred. My hand flew to my face, my breathing quickened. I was trying to push back the memories of what I'd done to that Venatori mage that ripped my tunic. All the blood. Ripping. Tearing. Screaming. The gunshots. How I'd just mercilessly killed all of them, as well. I could practically taste the blood in my mouth again, the smell permeated the air and I bit back a scream.

"Hey!" I felt something slap me in the middle of the head, causing me to blink and come back to the world around me. We were stopped and I could see some of them setting up camp for the night. A fire was being built in the middle. My gaze focused on the person standing next to my horse, a hand on the reins to prevent it from moving away.

Krem was standing down there with a frown on his face, a wet stick in his free hand. I nodded to him, shakily getting off of my horse. He was about to help me off, but I growled at him.

"I'm fine."

"You keep saying that but -"

"I don't need your help!" I bit out, my eyes full of the fear and rage I still felt from just hours before. I was fine. I just needed some time to collect myself. I didn't …

"Get a hold of yourself, already!" He grabbed my shoulders and started to shake me. His grip wasn't that tight, but I felt myself flinch away at the foreign contact.

"Fuck off!" I screeched, lashing out and pushing him away. I felt cornered. Krem wanted me to talk it out. But I didn't want to talk about it. I was far too frustrated to even think straight right now and I just wanted to be alone. I wanted to cool off. He stumbled away, his face oddly blank as I turned to walk away.

"Oh no you don't..." I felt his hand on my shoulder, pulling at it to turn me around. I gritted my teeth, swinging my right arm as I turned around to punch him in the face. It didn't work, however, because he seemed to have anticipated it. Krem caught my fist in his hand and held it still. "Not this time."

It was so sudden. The next moment we were pushing and shoving, then on the ground wrestling with eachother. All the while, I was trying to scratch at him and punch him. We would occasionally break apart, only to begin grappling again. I felt my world turn as he picked me up, my eyes widened as I saw everything seem to tumble in slow motion.

"Someone stop them!" I heard Lynn call frantically right as I was tossed to the ground, my back hitting the earth. I felt the wind get knocked out of me as I lay there trying to catch my breath. Krem was pinning me to the ground again, just like the first time we'd sparred. Only this time he wasn't decked out in full plate armor. He was in his clothing.

"No, just wait." Bull's voice.

Once I was finally able to breathe again, I was gasping for oxygen. I began to struggle a little bit, but my arms were pinned above me. Even without his bulk from his armor, he was still able to immobilize me so easily. My arms went limp and I looked up at Krem, expecting to see him smirking down at me. That wasn't the case, though, because he looked worried. His face set in a small frown.

"It's hard. It really is. But you need to remember you only did it to protect yourself and your friends. That's what makes you different from them." Krem offered from above me, his grip loosening off of my arms. It was almost like he knew what was wrong with me, what had been bothering me during our ride. He sat up straight, easing himself off and standing. I sat up, a frown on my face.

I felt better, oddly. I mean, I wasn't completely fine but this had definitely helped. I was never one to talk out my feelings or anything, so I suppose it made sense that this was how I could vent my frustrations.

"Thanks." I grunted, standing up and feeling my muscles ache from our little wrestling match. "Didn't mean to lash out on you like that."

"It's fiiiine. Me and the Chief do it all the time. It's a good way to release the steam, ya know?" He smiled down at me. We made our way to the camp, the ground still wet beneath our feet. It had stopped raining the further we got from the Storm Coast. Bull and Lynn had been standing nearby, the latter looking a bit perplexed at the fact that we were completely fine now after we just got done trying to beat eachother up.

It wasn't new to me, the rough-housing and wrestling. When I lived with my Aunt, I had 7 brothers. Well, they were my cousins but we lived together so long that I still considered them my brothers. Growing up with that many guys kinda gave you a resistance to rough play and all the like.

I sat on a log that was dragged into camp near the fire, letting out a sigh. Solas and Varric were sitting near eachother on the other side of the fire and a few of the Chargers still lingered nearby.

"Not used to the killing, hmmm?" I heard a delicate voice ask and I looked up at them with a frown. Of course I wasn't. It was the blonde elf from Bull's crew named Dalish, I think.

"Dalish!" I flicked my gaze over just in time to see that it was the other brown haired elf that yelled at her companion. Yep, her name was Dalish.

"What? It's true, isn't it?" Dalish blinked, her vibrant green tattoos on her face being illuminated by the fire. One side of her head looked to be shaved, most of her blonde locks pushed off to the other side. I always thought those kind of hairstyles looked weird, but on her it looked really nice. I nodded in response.

"Where I come from, there is a lot of war. But if you're lucky, you won't have to actually encounter it." I crossed my arms and looked into the fire.

"Didn't you say you saw things happen?" Varric butted in, sounding a bit curious. I sighed, leaning forward. How in the hell am I going to explain this?

"It's the technology. We're able to see things happening around the world, because of it. I could go into a long winded explanation, but I'd just end up confusing you guys even more." I shrugged, not taking my eyes off of the flames as they danced in my vision.

"What about that gun of yours?" Krem sounded curious as he sat next to me. A little too close for comfort, actually, so I ended up shifting uneasily. I didn't want to just scoot away, feeling maybe I'd offend him.

"What about it?"

"Do they have a lot of those where you come from, is what I mean." I paused as he clarified his question and I began picking at the hem of my sleeve.

"Yes. The one I have can be issued to civilians in my country, with the right paperwork. The military has ones that fire faster and are much more powerful." I thought back on the military in our world and how much more devastating our wars were. Well, here they had the threat of a Blight and that it pretty devastating in itself. They also had dragons, magic and all that crap here, so I wasn't even sure which world was more dangerous.

"Are you serious?" I heard Lynn ask incredulously from my right, I looked at her and nodded.

"I just hope that Corypheus doesn't find a way through. I'm not so much afraid of what he'd do there. I am scared of what would happen if some of the people from there found their way here." My gaze turned flat, "Our worlds were not meant to intermix. But here I am."

"You know, I'd be inclined to call you crazy with all this other world crap. But..." I heard a gruff voice say from behind Dalish. It was the dwarf man. I don't even know their names and I was kind of afraid to ask. I'd probably end up offending them somehow. I'm almost sure Krem or Bull introduced me once, but I was never good with names. Shit.

I shrugged, I'd probably see things the same way had I been in their position. I wasn't looking for them to believe me, anyway, since I was simply answering Krem's question. The conversation kind of died down after that, though, so I was left alone in my thoughts.

Later that night I sat near the fire with the piece of wood in my hands, whittling at it with one of my smaller knives trying to keep my mind on something else. Anything else. It was starting to smooth out, the wood looking almost white as I started to shave at it. I had an idea forming in my head, and it sounded incredibly cheesy. But friends do this, right? Back home they had friendship bracelets, friendship necklaces and all the like for sale everywhere. So I decided that I would end up carving one for Cole, to show him how much he meant to me.

My grip tightened on the piece of wood and my lips thinned. Angel was going to laugh at me when she found out, but I didn't care. I lazily began to make small curves and swirls on the wood with the end of my knife. They were deep, but not too much. I took my time, my brows furrowed. I intended to cover the coin shaped wood in them. They started to kind of look like vines as I had a small portion of it marked up.

I was alone on this side of the fire, as the rest of the party was sitting over by the tents chatting quietly amongst eachother. I began to hum quietly, picking away at the wood with a small smile on my face. I remained lost in my thoughts as I kept working on the thing in my small hands.

Third Person

(Meanwhile back at Skyhold)

It was the third day since Lyn had left and Angel felt she was at her wits end. The small girl had a constant shadow that followed her wherever she went. She knew that Lyn had told him to keep an eye on her, much to her chagrin, and Cole seemed to take it entirely too seriously.

Just a day ago she had to yell at him for his creepy mind reading thing, which seemed to make her jittery. The girl would never understand how Lyn just seemed to accept it and allow him to dig around in her head so freely. Angel had told him straight out; 'That's creepy! Just stay out of my head!' she'd yelled and he only blinked at her and apologized … not at all sounding apologetic.

It was dawn when she cracked her eyes open, feeling groggy. Why had she woken up this early? She let out a light groan, sitting up. She clutched her stomach, feeling some pretty massive cramps taking hold. Eyes widening in alarm, she flew out of bed. Her bare feet hit the cool wood floors, making a light 'thump!' as she scrambled to look at her bed.

When she was little, this used to happen quite often. Angel could feel embarrassment flood her as she stared, seeing a small palm sized red spot. She went to bed with white sheets and woke up with a Japanese flag. Okay maybe not that bad, but in her eyes it was.

Angel has been having cramps for awhile now and it didn't even dawn on her since she's been so busy in the kitchens and trying to settle herself into her new home. Angel was horrified when she first learned how the women would take care of their menstrual cycles here, using washable rags and all the like.

Silently thankful that she didn't share a room with anyone, she was about to take off her small knee length nightdress to change and wrap it up to wash later but was interrupted by a cold hand being placed on her shoulder.

She shrieked, stumbling back toward her window and looked at who was in the room with her. It was Cole. At first she was angry, but soon found that she was mortified that he likely saw what was on her bed.

"You're hurt. Y-You should go see Adan, he will be able to help!" His eyes were wide, as if frightened, as he grabbed Angel's shoulders.

"L-Let go of me! It's fi-" She was cut off as he grabbed her and hefted her over his shoulder like a sack of potatoes. Cole turned around, throwing the door open and almost ran down the stairs of the tavern to make his way to the infirmary. All the while, Angel was banging her fists on his back and yelling.

"Put me down, Cole! Stop!" She squeaked out, feeling humiliation creep up as she realized that he was carrying her (ass first) through the confines of Skyhold for everyone to see.

In all her life, she's never felt so embarrassed in her life as her face turned completely red. She was almost turning purple, even, as he opened the door to the infirmary and plopped her down on the cot. His voice was rushed as he tried to explain to the healer,

"She's hurt. She's bleeding. I-I didn't know what to do –"

"I-Idiot!" Angel stood up, her fists clutched at her sides. She was about to slap Cole, but knew that would get her nowhere. The girl saw the face of the old healer, who looked like he couldn't believe what he was seeing. His graying eyebrow twitched, irritation showing in his eyes as he finally realized what was going on.

Without even saying anything, he grabbed some items off of the shelves nearby and handed a bundle of things to Angel. She took them without question, seeing a worn out looking outfit and some rags.

"Go change behind that curtain." He ordered, his voice sounding flat. She nodded frantically, scurrying off behind the curtain in the corner of the hut. As she began to change, wincing as she did so. How was she going to show her face outside, now? Something like this has never happened, before.

"Maker's Balls, child … you're in a for a good lecture." She heard the old man say, sounding resigned. "Has no one had the talk with you yet? You seem old enough. More than old enough, actually."

She didn't even hear Cole answer as she peeked quickly through the curtains and saw Adan with one of his hands on Cole's shoulder, his face serious. Lyn's friend, however, looked confused as he stared through Adan. He was probably doing his creepy mind reading thing.

Shivering, she finished up and bundled her things in a ball and made her way toward the door to go hide herself in shame.

"Males and females go through a change in their bodies at a certain age …." He began, forcing Cole to sit down in a chair in front of him. Angel threw the door open and ran, shutting it harder than she really should have.

On her way back, she noticed that there wasn't even very many people out like she'd originally thought. A few may have seen the incident, but she still couldn't help feeling like she needed to hide under a rock and die. One small victory, she supposed, was that Cole was now being forced through the talk about puberty and hormones. Serves him right.

First Person

We were almost back to Skyhold, but had to make camp again when someone started complaining about the injuries they'd sustained during the attack. I didn't blame them, really. I also didn't mind, since I was almost done with the small gift that I was carving. It was a norm, these passed few days as I'd sit alone by the fire and hum to myself quietly as I worked at the wood.

At some point I'd cut it apart so that it made two pieces. In my world, they made necklaces with hearts but that seemed too … I don't know. No. I wouldn't do that. That was just too stupid. So I settled with a Yin and Yang two piece necklace. I had some thin leather straps left in my pouch (which was why I bought them, actually) and I was carving a hole on each of them near the thicker curve where it was supposed to rest. Once I had them separated and the holes carved into them, I shaved at it with my knife to make sure it was smooth.

I stained my piece of the necklace with some coffee that someone happened to have one morning, making it look dark brown. It was the closest to black I would get without paint. I didn't want to paint them, though, because the wood looked so beautiful and it might cover up the etchings I'd made. It looked beautiful, like vines were spreading around both of them. I'd made sure to put it on both sides and it took me hours. I finished it up by tying the straps delicately, making it into a large loop.

"I've seen you working on these for awhile now, what are they?" I heard Lynn's accented voice from above me. Flustered, I fumbled around with them in my hands and stuffed them in my pocket.

"I-It's nothing. Really." I smiled nervously, getting a raised brow from the elf rogue.

Third Person

(Meanwhile, back at Skyhold.)

Angel had been doing pretty well around Skyhold, for the most part. No one had commented on the situation she'd got herself into a few mornings ago. She helped in the kitchens the best she could and Max, her boss, had even asked her to show him how to make the cinnamon rolls that she'd mentioned. For another time, then.

It was nice, because back at Redcliffe she had been brushed aside and looked at oddly. The people here, however, were different and didn't seem to look twice at her on the days she'd wear her clothes from home. She learned to wear dresses and stuff from this world, to fit in. Not that she complained, she loved them.

Angel sat at the bottom of the steps in the lower courtyard and stared at a couple that were talking right in front of the gate. There was moss on the walkway and the trees and grass were green. Which startled her at first when she'd first arrived. They were up in the snowy mountains, and this fortress seemed untouched by the weather conditions outside. She gazed down at the couple, arms crossed. One was the fancily dressed lady named … Josephine (She remembered being introduced, faintly)? The other was a bearded warrior with full plate armor on.

She could tell that they liked eachother, by the way they stood so close to one another as they spoke a greeting. The bearded man bowed, grabbing the ambassador's tanned hand gently and kissing it. Josephine smiled down at him, allowing him to do so.

"Why does he do that? Put his lips on her hand like that." Cole spoke from Angel's right. It didn't even surprise her now, since he'd been hanging around her since Lyn had left. She was calm now, no longer feeling upset toward him because he genuinely didn't know what was wrong with her at the time. He was standing near the staircase and observing them with her. She sighed, thinking they were pretty cute together. Why did they do that, though? Hmmmm.

"It could be for a number of reasons. He's showing his affection toward her, I know. I'm not completely sure though, since I don't know about the culture here. Did you see the way she blushed when he did it? So cute..." Angel rested her head on her hand and leaned forward, her lips curved into a gentle smile.

"When he did that, her song got louder. Reaching out. Wanting. No … needing him to be closer. She likes him a lot."

Despite the fact that she still thought the way he just seemed to know people's thoughts was creepy, she couldn't help letting out an, "Awwwww... I knew it! What about the bearded man? Does he feel the same way?" She couldn't help it. She was a sucker for romance.

Cole tilted his head, as if remembering something. He then seemed to focus a little on the scene before them. "Voice delicate and delectable. Sweet, soft, silky. Her dress … and also under her dress."

Angel felt her face pale, then flush a deep red. That was … personal. "O-oh. I …." The small girl squeaked out, sitting up straight.

"Sometimes I also wonder … What Lyn looks like under her clothes." Cole spoke offhandedly, his head still tilted to the side. He turned his blue gaze down to Angel, who looked like she wanted to run. The girl swore she could feel her face about to burn itself off. She didn't need to hear that!

"C-Cole!" She yelled in horror.

"What? Is that bad?" His sounded frightened, eyes wide.

"W-Well … Nooo..." Angel's voice tapered off quietly, "It's ahh... oh man." She wavered, wondering if she should even be having this talk with him. "It's normal for young men, it's fine. Didn't Adan have this talk with you?! Ask whatshisface. The short man?"

"But Varric isn't here." He stated, brows furrowing.

"T-These are personal thoughts. You can't go blurting them out!"

"I'll … try."

"New subject." Angel let out a nervous laugh, her hands running through her hair. She really did not want to continue down that road. Who knows what else he'd end up blurting out? "You said her song got louder. The woman in fancy clothing … what did you mean?"

"Blackwall has one too. It's always there. Silent. Soft. When they're close they intertwine." He clasped his hands together, as if making a point. His gaze did not leave the couple, though.

Angel sat there, trying to comprehend what it was that he was even talking about.

"Does … does everyone sound like this to you?" She tried to get him to elaborate. Despite the fact that she couldn't really completely understand, she found herself interested. The way he saw things was certainly odd, but kind of enlightening.

"No. Just some people. The Inquisitor and Sera's are very loud. They like being close to eachother and when they press their lips together their songs harmonize. They shine brighter." Cole started to hum a low soft tune, as if trying to imitate it. He rocked back and forth slightly on the balls of his feet, eyes closed.

"Ah! So … they're in love. Is that what you're talking about?" Angel beamed, her eyes taking on another light. "That's … so cool."

He was able to hear it when they had those special feelings for eachother. And maybe more, at that. The thought itself baffled the young girl, yet intrigued her at the same time. Mostly because she loved music and often played instruments back home. Music was her calling and the fact that he could hear the melodies within people's souls, essentially, made her feel awestruck.

Angel could see why her sister was so drawn to the young man. Though … she's certain it was in a different way. Angel smirked, she's never seen her sister act the way she did around Cole. It was peculiar and she intended to fish out some answers when she got back. The small girl idly wondered if he was aware of Lyn's feelings for … for …

Her eyes snapped up at the young man, seeing him staring down at her with his piercing gaze.

"I told you to stop that!" She squealed, standing up next to the stone stairs. Angel puffed out her cheeks and stomped, trying to look intimidating. It didn't work, though, since she resembled an angry chihuahua. The girl whirled around and ran up the staircase, intending on going to her room to be alone.

The last thing Angel needed was Lyn to be mad at her because she gave away her secret. Her sister may have thought she hid it well, but Angel knew her all too well. To her it was clear as day. To be honest, she never thought she would see the day …

Chapter Text

Cole watched as Lyn's little sister sped off up the stairs. He was about to follow her, but was distracted by the sounds of clicking hooves as they walked across the small bridge toward Skyhold's gates. Among the small group of soldiers was Lyn, looking a little worse for the wear. But she was alive. She was in one piece.

Ever since his change, he noticed a lot of things were different in the world around him. This included himself. Cole found that he was learning and remembering a lot easier than he had before the incident. Varric was a lot of help and always gave him advice on anything he asked for. Solas was there for him, too. Lyn always wanted to help him, showing an amount of concern for his well-being he hasn't seen her reserve for anyone else but him. That thought always seemed to make him happy.

Before she'd left awhile back, he found himself quite worried about her. He felt it settle in his stomach. Fear, he realized. Fear of losing her. He attributed it to the fact that he cared about Lyn a lot. It was different than he felt with Varric or Solas, he knew that much.

Currently, Cole was standing in the corner of the stables watching her put things away. Her body moved at a sluggish pace and he could tell that she was worn down. Her blue tunic had dirt on the edges and her pants had stains scattered about. Lyn's hair was even messier than usual, as she continued her work. The otherworldly girl didn't even notice him standing right there. Even some of the other stablehands peered at him as they walked by to tend to the horses after their long journey.

When he saw her move to put her horse in it's stall, he made his way up to her. The rogue stood behind her, waiting as she locked the stall door and turned around to come face to face with him. Her nose almost bumped into his chest, she had been so distracted. He saw her brown eyes widen as she faltered, taking a step back. She bumped into the stable door, the horse too busy with it's food to care.

"I didn't see you there..." Lyn spoke, her voice passive.

"You feel lethargic, sluggish. You should get some sleep." Cole offered, seeing the dark circles underneath her eyes as she stared up at him. He always found himself mesmerized by the small little freckles that dotted her cheeks and nose. Her eyes were such a dark brown that it was almost hard to gauge her feelings from them alone.

It was his gift that allowed him to better understand the girl. She liked to wear a mask all of the time. Cole knew a lot of people that came to Skyhold that did that, but they played a game to net approval with the Inquisition. They used it for gain and he never could understand it. It confused him to no end. Lyn, however, hid behind a mask of irritation and anger. She made people believe she didn't care, but it was quite the contrary. As far as he knew, it was only he and Angel that knew this.

Lyn let out a grunt of disapproval, her gaze flicking over to where the other stablehands were working on the horses. Always stubborn.

"Yeah, my ass hurts from the ride back but I still need to finish this up." She disagreed, moving to walk passed him. Cole grabbed her arm gently, feeling her tense up beneath his grip. He let out a small smile and chuckled at her determination. He saw the scowl on her face waver and almost completely disappear for a second, before it snapped back into place. The look in her eye, however, completely changed as she observed his features.

"You're going to hurt yourself." Cole had realized awhile back that he really liked to touch her and found himself doing it quite often. He let his hand trail down her arm, watching with rapt interest as her facial expression completely changed. Grabbing her hand, he allowed his fingers to intertwine with hers.

'Does he even know what he's doing?' Yes. He did. He could feel the whispers coming from her. Hear the beginnings of a beautiful tune start up, again. It was muted, like she was trying to keep it hidden. Keep it at bay. He felt his heartbeat pick up in anticipation. Just when he thought he was going to hear it … she clamped down on it viciously. Cole could see the pain enter her dark eyes as she did this, causing him to frown in response.

She did this before, too. Right before they left for the Storm Coast almost a week ago. Lyn was trying to smother it and it was hurting her in the process.

"Lyn..." He started,

"R-Right. Okay. Fine. I have something for you, anyway." She blurted, her cheeks had taken on a lovely shade of pink. He found himself being lead out of the stables and into the barn. Blackwall was there, working on a wooden sculpture. Lyn cursed under her breath and dragged him outside of the barn in the front, away from prying ears.

"I … made something." She muttered, barely audible. Lyn seemed to notice she was still holding his hand and let go, fidgeting nervously. She was never this way around anyone else, always composed with a frown on her face. He smiled, already knowing she made a necklace for him. It had been floating around in her mind since she arrived. She worked all week on it. The thought made him feel kind of warm on the inside.

The girl fumbled around in her pocket and pulled two of them out. Both similar, one white and one dark brown. It was quite obvious that when put together, they formed a whole. A circle. She held out the white one to him. Her face was turned away as she glared at the well nearby, looking flustered.

"H-Here! Take it."

Cole looked down and saw her little fingers clasped on a small wooden pendant, a thin leather strip acting as the necklace. He grabbed it and before he could react, he saw her slip the other piece on around her neck.

"You were right, I'm tired. I think I'll go and sleep for a-awhile!" Lyn stuttered and scurried off across the lower courtyard, escaping. Cole blinked, looking down at the piece of wood in his hand. He could see the delicate little engravings that were strewn across the whole thing. Running the pad of his fingertip across them, he let out a small gasp.

Lyn would never realize how profound this simple little gift was to him. He stood there for awhile, staring at the wooden pendant. Finger trailing over the engravings that were etched into the wood. Listening to them. Feeling them as they whispered to him.

First Person

The sun was starting to set when I finally woke up from my nap. The ride back today had been relentless, causing my ass to hurt from the hard saddle. I was sore as I sat up, letting out a groan. I stretched my legs, feeling my muscles ache in response. After the soreness subsided a bit, I started to slowly tread my way down the stairs and into the bottom floor of the Herald's Rest. To be honest, I just didn't want to be alone with my thoughts right now. As I got to the bottom of the stairs, I could hear Sera and Bull talking at a table.

The torchlight defined the soft curves of Sera's face as she leaned forward with a smile on her lips as she talked. Bull's eye looked indifferent as he listened to the young elf talk excitedly. They were the only two sitting at the shabby looking wooden table, the chairs creaked once and awhile as they moved in the stools.

" – Must be nice to get rid of those Ben-Harseholes." I heard Sera finish, not hearing the first part of her sentence. I stopped, blinking at the two. She was leaning forward on the table, arms crossed. Bull didn't look amused,

"You mean getting exiled from my people and declared Tal-Vashoth?" He sighed, eye drifting to the ceiling as if thinking about something. "Yeah. I should make a cake."

"You like drinking and singing and breaking beds. You'd already left." The blonde elf made a point, a small smirk on her face. This was her way of trying to cheer him up, I knew. She kind of used the same method on me when I was feeling down, with her humorous attitude and smartass little remarks. We were similar in that aspect.

"The Qun keeps our savage natures in check." The Qunari spoke carefully, "Without it … if I lose control …" He didn't seem like he wanted to continue. Did he seriously think that the Qun was the only thing holding him back from being a complete savage? What kind of mental conditioning did they put him through to make him believe that so … absolutely? I frowned.

"Pfffft! Heard that before." Sera waved her hand, "Don't worry. You get growly, I'll just kick your arse."

Bull let out a grunt, closing his eye and crossing his arms. "Thank you."

I tilted my head, seeing my blonde elf friend turn her gaze to me.

"You just gonna stand there or what? Creepy is really rubbing off on you." She sounded unsure whether or not to be amused by that statement or creeped out. I blinked owlishly, but I usually watched people all the time? They just … notice me now.

Maybe she's right, he is rubbing off on me.

"Sorry." I said rather blandly, walking forward and sitting down next to them. It had been just the two of them, "I hope I wasn't interrupting your heartfelt reunion."

"Nah … we're good." Bull stated, his one eye staring down at me. I was observing his horns, imagining all the little doodles I could put on them as revenge. Yes. I have not forgotten about my petty little revenge prank I had planned for him. I'd do more … but I already kinda drugged him and made him shit himself in his sleep. This'll make us even.

"Are we?" I asked, staring at him with a flat look in my eye as I intertwined my fingers and leaned forward.

"Look, kid. About the Ben-Hassrath ..."

"I still think you're a shit, but I can understand." I spoke as I reached toward the middle of the table and grabbed a bread roll. I chomped down on it, hearing it crunch beneath my teeth.

"See, you say you understand. But your face is telling me you're going to rip me to shreds when I'm not looking." Bull sounded skeptical as he squinted down at me from across the table. I almost laughed at the image of me trying to 'rip him to shreds'. I wouldn't get far.

"If it makes you feel better, remember that one time you passed out and shit yourself in your sleep...?" I said offhandedly, setting my bread on the table. I tried to sound as smug as possible, "That was me."

The Qunari choked on his ale, since he'd been in the middle of taking a drink. I forced a smile up at him. Sera burst out into hysterical laughter,

"A-Are you serious?!" She sounded incredulous as she held her stomach and kicked her feet onto the floorboards.

"It was intended for you, actually. He chugged the thing before I could take it back." I scoffed, crossing my arms.

"I was wonderin why you turned pale as a ghost..." The blonde elf wiped a tear away from her eye, her signature smirk still on her face. I looked over at Bull, who was looking at me with thinly veiled irritation. To put it simply, he looked like he wanted to wring my neck.

"Does this mean we're even, then?" His voice sounded oddly passive, as if he were hiding something. Likely his rage, I'd assume. Unless he secretly found it amusing. In that case I don't know which it would be, since he was better at hiding how he felt than I was. That's a feat.

"In a sense..." I muttered, grabbing my bread roll from the table and holding it up to my lips to cover up my smirk. I heard the door open to the tavern, making me snap my attention toward that instead.

"Bull! Gatt is here." It was Lynn, she stood there with a serious look on her face. I scowled at the name. I hardly knew the elf, but he was part of the 'Ben-Harseholes' as Sera so eloquently put it and I really didn't like them.

I watched him walk out and looked to Sera, who didn't look at all bothered by the fact Gatt was here. Did I mention I didn't like him? I might have. I didn't go out there, because I knew I would just end up punching the slimy little bastard. Or maybe shooting him, since his people tried to kill me and steal my gun. So I opted with going back to the stables to finish some work for the night.

I'd buried myself in my work as often as I could, finding little time to even talk to any of my friends. Currently I was standing out in the stables, writing down some things that we needed for the horses. Feed, hay and all the like were starting to get a little low. This was one of the many things that Master Dennet allowed me to do, now. I heard a few people talking to my right about getting rid of the cats in the barn loft.

My gaze snapped over and saw two workers speaking about it, alongside Master Dennet. Not even hesitating, I walked over and stood in front of them with my clipboard in hand.

"That won't be necessary." I spoke evenly, "The cats keep the mice out of the horse feed, they're quite useful."

Master Dennet grunted in agreement but gave me a knowing look, his eyes glinting. I nodded to him, as if confirming. Yes, I cared about the furballs. I didn't want them gone. If there were too many cats, I'd be inclined to agree with making some of them leave. But a few cats could actually benefit the barn in that aspect. My statement was not completely unfounded.

That night was spent up in the loft after I had eaten some stray apples I'd found for dinner. I didn't really feel up to talking to anyone right now and if I went to my room, which was in the tavern, I'd likely run into my sister.

I honestly didn't want her to see me like this. I wanted to seem like the strong big sister I've always been for her. We'd all went through so much together and I was always the one that was the rock. I was there when they needed me the most and I always did my best to protect my siblings. But right now, I felt less than adequate. Which was why I needed some time to gather my thoughts.

What happened at the Storm Coast is a perfect example of how unprepared I am for this world. What is going to happen when I finally run out of ammo? I won't have a gun to fall back on and I'd likely end up dying. I had my bow and I was getting pretty proficient at it, but that didn't seem like enough. Even Sera kept a dagger strapped to her hip just in case someone got close. All I had was my gun and a knife.

Perhaps I could get myself some gauntlets made so that I could just punch my enemies if they got close, since I seemed to be good at that. I snorted and lay down in a pile of hay up in the loft. Of course I was joking, because who in their right mind would punch the enemy when they had a weapon at the ready?

I was awake just long enough to see the cats come and lay on me for my warmth before I finally drifted off into a dreamless sleep. Thankfully, no nightmares plagued me that night.

A few days later, I found myself sitting alone at the table for lunch as I munched on a simple meal of bread and cheese. My mind kept drifting back on my behavior with the Ben-Hassraths. How I'd pretty much just executed that man. To be honest, I was surprised I didn't get a little talk from Lynn. They killed people in a more brutal manner here in this world, though, so I might have gotten off the hook. Little did they know, back home I'd be considered crazy. I would have been put away for a long time for brutally killing that man the way I did. I'd intentionally made him suffer … and it scared me how little I cared. I was enjoying the silence in my little corner of solitude when –

I groaned as I saw Angel plop down in front of me across from the wooden table. I could faintly hear the bard singing softly, a song that I didn't recognize. Staring at the wall behind Angel, I didn't like how smug she looked right now. I really didn't. Instead of letting her have the first word, I began the conversation.

"So, how was your week in Skyhold without me. Fun?" Angel blinked a few times and looked as if she were remembering something. I saw a frown form on her face as she set her half eaten apple down in front of her.

"Not much, other than the fact that your boyfriend is infuriating." My sister laced her fingers together and rested her chin on the top of them, looking almost evil.

"Not my boyfriend." I deadpanned, shoving a piece of food in my mouth. She continued like she hadn't heard me,

"It's okay, though. He got a nice lecture from Adan. He got … the talk."

I felt my face drop, if at all possible. He what?!

"How, dare I ask, did this come about?" I saw my sister's face darken as she scrunched up her face. Before she could continue, however, I heard two familiar voices coming closer to our table. Their footsteps approached at a leisurely pace as I pushed my empty plate into the middle of the table.

"Let me try again." Cole was walking beside Varric who looked to be coming up to us. Both Angel and I peered over. "Knock knock." Varric sighed, sounding a little worn out.

"Okay, I'll bite. Who's there?" He stopped at the end of the table, looking up at the awkward rogue.

"The Inquisition."

"The Inquisition who?"

"That's who we are, Varric." Cole's voice sounded like he was pointing out the most obvious thing in the world. Well, he wasn't the only one that didn't really know how to tell jokes. I was always kind of bad at them, too. I could make puns, but those were pretty bad.

"Yeah, that's not working either." The dwarf looked over at me with a pleading look on his face, "He's been trying to figure out jokes all day since we got back, can you please …"

"I'm not his keeper, Varric." I drawled, watching as his face faltered. Did he really hate bad jokes that much? I could feel my eyes take on an evil glint as I watched them converse for a second. Well, I wanted in on this as well.

"Cole, you really have no idea how to tell a simple knock knock joke?" Angel sounded appalled, "You poor poor thing."

"I'm trying."

"What does a fish say when it swims into a wall?" I asked in a dull tone as I looked down and examined my nails. I could see the dwarf look toward me curiously in my peripheral.

"What?" Varric was the one that answered. I peered up at him with a plain look in my eyes.

"Dam..." I muttered and I heard Angel smack her hand on her own face as she shook her head. The dwarf looked like he wanted to hit his head against something as he let out a quiet 'Eeegghhhh'.

"That joke was so bad it gave me cancer." Angel threw in from her side of the table. I shrugged in response. I saw her pause from her place in her seat as she looked up at Cole, then back at me. I watched as her face lit up and she gave me a toothy smile. "I knew it!"

"Ahh...what?" Was all I could say as I saw her pointing at him, then back at me. I was a little late in realizing that she was currently pointing at our matching necklaces. I felt my face starting to heat up. "I-Is there a problem with them?"

"No. I like them. It makes me happy." I heard Cole say from beside me, a smile on his face as he fiddled with the one around his neck. I flushed and turned away.

"A-Ah...well. I'm glad you... them." I stuttered, averting my gaze from our little group at the table. God damn it! It pissed me off to no end how I couldn't control my emotions the way I usually could when it came to this. Normally I'd just cover it up somehow by sounding irritated or angry, but I was stuck sitting here fiddling around with my wooden pendant as I avoided eye contact with anyone. I felt like a bumbling fool.

"Well whaddya know..." I looked at Varric who was staring at me with a smug look on his face. "I was wondering what you were doing at the campfire all those nights."

"She spent her time on them?" Angel asked excitedly, her body practically vibrating with excitement from the stool she was sitting in. Varric nodded from where he lingered at the end of the table, and I stood up abruptly.

"I have something I need to do."

Some say I was running away from my problems. I say it's a tactical retreat. Yes. That way it sounds like I'm less of a coward. If that conversation continued, I would have had to put up with Angel and Varric's questions. I was not in the mood for them, at the moment. Since I was feeling a little under the weather, if you know what I mean. The incident back at the Storm Coast still plagued me in the back of my mind.

I'd decided to head up to my room to spend the rest of my lunch break alone. I hit the last flight of stairs, walking up at a slow lazy pace. My door was cracked open, which made me pause for a second. Pulling my knife out of my pocket, I flipped it open and proceeded with caution.

I was still on edge. Even now. I pushed the door open slowly, hearing the hinges creak. My room was empty and I slowly walked in, looking for any rogues. They always had this weird little shimmer wherever they were when they went invisible. It still baffled me, how they were even able to do that. Nothing. Sighing, I walked up to my bed but saw something sitting on my end table near the headboard.

It was a flower. It was small, pink, with it's stem still attached. It kind of reminded me of a Cherry Blossom, actually. I'd never tell anyone, but I always thought they were beautiful. I never was a flower person, but …

I poked the petal with my finger, feeling how soft and delicate it was. The sun shone in through my window, highlighting my little stand and warming the parts of my body that were in the warm rays. Now who would leave me this little gift, I wonder? I smiled, but was interrupted from my thoughts when I felt a hand being placed on my shoulder.

Still feeling jumpy, I didn't even think. My body reacted, scared, and I lashed out with my knife that was still resting in my hand. I turned my body and made to slash at whoever was behind me but my arm was caught in a tight grip before I could even make contact. My hair fell in front of my face and my brown eyes widened in horror, seeing Cole standing right there. I'd almost hurt him.

Dropping my knife, it clattered onto the wood floor. I started to tremble, instantly feeling like total crap. Guilt. Fear.

He didn't look at all surprised that I'd turned around and tried to hurt him. He just stared at me passively from underneath his hat. I could have –

"C-Cole... I'm – oh God." My voice shook as I tried to wriggle out of his grasp, feeling some tears well up in my eyes.

"You're scared. Scared that the blackness will take over, turn you into something you're not. But you won't let it. You're strong." He stepped a little closer and even through the fear and pain, I could still feel the buzz of energy that seemed to fizzle around me everytime he got so close to me.

"I-I almost..." My brown gaze flickered to the floor, shame filling me. He says I won't turn me into something I'm not, but I almost stabbed him! He saw it coming, but what if it had been Sera? Or Lynn? The thought sent my stomach plummeting. They wouldn't have known that I would whip around with my knife in hand, no.

I was afraid. Afraid that someday I'd end up somehow enjoying the killing that this world has brought to me. I already killed bandits and Venatori without so much as a second thought. I almost didn't … care. I thought back on the time when it actually felt good to see the roles switched after those Venatori had tortured me. I, dare I say, almost took delight in killing them for what they did to me. What if I started to feel like that all the time? What if I let it change me for the worse?

"You won't let it." Cole's hand eased the grip off of my arm and slowly started to ghost over my bare arm, causing the hairs to raise. I felt my breathing hitch, "I won't let it."

It was like a damn emotional roller coaster, because my heart rate picked up and my body was trembling for a completely different reason now. I kept my gaze fixated on the floorboards beneath our feet. His hand rested on my shoulder and I could feel the beginnings of longing creep up on me. I wanted him closer. I needed –

I let out a hiss. Before it could become a problem, I was going to stamp it down and attempt to get rid of it. Cole wouldn't allow it, it seems, because my body stumbled forward without my consent and I was sent face first into his chest. Both of his hands were clasped on my shoulders, keeping me in place.

"You can't keep doing that. You're hurting yourself." I'm hurting myself? Does he realize I'll only hurt myself more if I let this happen? If I allow myself to just –


I let out a whimper as I quivered, feeling the fear starting to flood me.

"Don't. Please..." I choked out, my mind being filled with the thoughts of losing him. My closest friend. I've seen it happen before. Many times. I didn't want it to happen to me, too.

"You watched them, she had feelings for him. She loved him. He didn't. They floated apart, broken. Friendship gone. Strangers." Cole whispered, his voice so close to my ear. I squeezed my eyes shut, feeling dread slither its way into my heart. No. "That won't happen. It won't. I- I."

I allowed my arms to come up from my sides and slowly inch around his waist, pulling him closer. I didn't want him to leave. I could feel the walls slowly crumble, allowing the pent up energy to flow throughout my body. Faintly, I could hear his heartbeat as it seemed to pick up it's pace. Could he? Was I not the only one feeling this?

Cole's arms encircled me, squeezing me closer and I could feel him bury his face into my hair. I nuzzled my face into his patchy shirt in response.

Hope. That was what I was feeling right now. It's a stupid concept, I know. I've learned not to hope for things, because they just seemed to get ripped away from me all the time. It was almost inevitable. But right now, when I felt his arms as they moved around my body in response. Pulling me closer. He was returning my hug. I'd have thought Cole, of all people, would be awkward with such intimate contact. But he … seemed open to it.

Maybe, just maybe, he was capable of returning my affections? I'd said it was impossible before, but that was then. This is now. The Cole I knew now didn't really seem to show hesitation when it came to contact with me. It was the same for me, as well. I wouldn't allow this to happen with someone else. I felt delight vibrating in my chest at the prospect. I heard his breathing hitch.

"You're singing. I can hear it, soft, silent, serene." I heard him whisper from above, "F-For..." His arms tightened around me.

We were interrupted when someone coughed from behind Cole. I blinked, my face still buried in the front of his shirt. He shifted and I could feel his face move out of my hair. I peeked up to see him looking back toward my door, his big hat tilted as he tried to get a good view of who it was.

Slowly letting go, I was about to step away when I heard Solas' voice.

"My intent was to speak with Cole, but I can see I need to have a talk with you as well. Lyn." He sounded serious, "Alone."

God damn it.

Cole reluctantly let me go and we separated, both facing the bald elf as he looked at me with disapproval clear in his eyes. I frowned, feeling my face heat up. We were standing alone in my room, with the door open. Stupid. Of course someone would walk by and see. Of all people, though. Solas.

"Cole, may I?" The bald elf asked, moving to the side of my door to allow him exit. Cole looked down at me, concern clearly in his blue eyes. Well, what I could see of them anyway. Since they always seemed to be hidden beneath his shaggy hair. I nodded to him, letting him know I'd be fine. He didn't seem like he wanted to go, but he did. I watched as he ambled his way out the door, Solas closing it behind him. I felt nervous, never having been alone with Solas before. We were usually around other people. I knew we weren't really on good terms, since I'd never apologized for being a complete shit to him. But that's beside the point.

The elf stood there, posture straight as his hands were clasped behind his back. Suddenly I felt trapped, standing in this small room alone with him. My body vibrated with anxiety, shoulders tensed.

"Do you realize what you are doing?" He asked of me, his voice even. I frowned,

"Care to elaborate, Solas? Quit dancing around the subject." I never did like it when people hinted around and expected me to know what it was they were talking about. What they wanted. My mom always did that to me and it pissed me off to no end.

"If you continue to tread down the path you've chosen, you risk the possibility of losing him." I tried to hide the pain that wormed it's way into my chest from appearing on my face, "Cole has become more human, I admit. However, there is still the risk of him becoming corrupted."

There he goes, again. My hands clenched into fists and I glared at him and opened my mouth to reply, but he continued.

"Hear me out." His hand was held up, "Even Cole refers to his former self as a demon. Strong emotions such as; rage, hate, desire … love – " He gave me a pointed look. I felt my eyes narrow, it wasn't that. Not... not yet anyway. "Would drive anyone over the edge. For a spirit such as Cole, it could change him. I theorize he may be more susceptible to such things since his change into the world of humanity. Corruption is not such a far fetched idea. I fear what it may do to him."

"He's felt rage and hate before, Solas." My voice wavered, fear settling into my gut. I didn't want to hear this. But could it be possible? Could I only end up … hurting him? No. If he was going to get corrupted somehow, he would have long ago. Right? "This world can change anyone, for better or for worse. He wouldn't allow himself to hurt anyone! Not anymore. Not unless they deserved it."

"But he has, hasn't he?" Solas was pacing now, a flat look entering his eye. Did he not believe that people could change? Or was this exclusive to just Cole? I found that a bit unfair, since I knew people could change if they really wanted it. If they saw the wrong in their actions, I wholeheartedly believed they could make a difference in who they are. Transform into the person they wanted to be. I did, afterall, have personal experience with that.

"Haven't we all?" I bit out, grinding my teeth as I felt anger bubbling up in my chest. "Does this have something to do with what happened to your spirit friend, weeks ago?" It had already slipped out of my mouth, sounding a bit insensitive. I hadn't meant for it to. Only to be a simple question, a statement. But even I thought I sounded kind of like an ass.

"Partially. I've already lost one friend due to ignorance, I will not lose another." The bald elf paused, unclasping his hands from behind his back as he let them drop to his sides. "Wisdom had been brought into this world by those mages, who cared not for the consequences of their actions. In the end, she could not be saved."

"Ignorance." I huffed, "Those people didn't care about Wisdom. I care about Cole, I would never hurt him intentionally. You know that just as well as I do. What if -"

"If you want to get into 'what if's' then is it not in his nature, as Compassion, to seek out those that are hurting and help them?" He cut me off before I could keep going, I wasn't agreeing with him and was being too stubborn. "Then is it not possible that what was happening just moments ago, was simply him reacting to your emotions?"

I choked back a gasp, squeezing my eyes shut as I turned my head away. It felt like a physical blow, what he just said. Like I'd been slapped. I couldn't even offer a rebuttal, because everything he was saying was a probability. Solas could be telling the truth. The corruption, him simply reacting to my emotions... That was a low blow, even for him. But I had sounded like an insensitive prick just seconds before. I kind of deserved that one.

My shoulders slumped. It was stupid of me to hope for such things. As much as I hated to admit it, the points Solas just brought up were all valid. Terrifyingly possible, as well. I slowly opened my eyes again, looking up at him and couldn't hide the pain from entering my eyes. The bald mage looked like he was about to continue to talk with me, but I wasn't in the mood to hear anymore. I got it. I understood.

"Get out."

Third Person

Cole rubbed the part of his chest where Lyn had just nuzzled against just moments ago, as he stood outside of her door. He remembered the electricity that seemed to buzz around his body as she did it, her arms around him. So warm. He liked it. Quite a bit, actually. The feeling had confused him, yet fascinated him at the same time. He found that he wouldn't mind if it happened again.

He heard the door open beside him, Lyn looked upset. Her face was set in a frown and her eyes … they looked subdued. Like she'd given up.

"Get out!" She yelled, her voice filled with pain. He watched as she grabbed Solas by the scruff of his shirt and tossed him out of her room, slamming the door behind him. His elf friend stumbled, catching himself on the railing.

"What did you do?" Cole asked instantly, hearing Lyn's muted sadness from behind the door. She was trying to hide it from him, he realized. His mage friend, for the most part, sounded blank. Small flickers of disappointment and anger would slip through. Solas didn't answer as he stood up straight and began to descend the stairs.

"We'll talk later, Cole."

He let him go, opting for going up to Lyn's door instead. He pushed it open, seeing her straightening a new shirt that she'd just put on. She turned her flat gaze over to him, her expression gave nothing away. Cole opened his mouth to say something, but she beat him to it.

"I need to get to work. I'll see you later, yeah?" Any trace amounts of pain he'd heard in her voice before were now gone as she slipped by him and ran down the stairs without another word. It scared him. Because he couldn't hear her anymore. The melody she'd had just moments ago, before Solas interrupted, was gone.

First Person

There wasn't much more to do down in the stables that afternoon, so I was able to leave early. Idle gossip floated through my ears on my way up to the tavern. Apparently Bull was attacked on the walls of Skyhold. I didn't listen to anymore than that, since I wasn't feeling up to it. I just wanted to sleep.

I'd decided to take a nap as I shut my door with a soft 'click'. With slow movements, I delicately picked up the flower on my nightstand and looked at it. Smiling sadly, I retrieved my sketchbook from my dresser and pressed the flower into one of the back pages to preserve it. At least here, it would be safe. I laid down after that, falling asleep almost instantly.

I was awoken that evening to the sounds of murmuring in my bedroom. Which was unsettling, no one ever entered without permission. Aside from Cole, that is. But he was usually quiet and this sounded like multiple people.

My eyes flew open as I sat up in my bed, but was grabbed by my mouth and slammed back onto the mattress.

"Shhhh. Can't have you screamin." I heard an accented voice say. My vision cleared and a candle was lit in my dimmed room, revealing two figures. The sun was almost down in the sky and barely any light shone through the window. The one that was holding me was elven and the other looked to be a larger human male. Who were these people?

"Where is your … gun?" The one behind the elf asked, looking down at me with a cold stare. His eyes seemed empty, almost dulled. His black eyes seemed to stare right through me as I started to quiver, fear starting to take over. Fuckin hell, I can't get a break now can I? I'm assuming these were people working for the Qunari, since I'd basically spat in their face and refused their offer for information on my weapon.

The one in the back pulled out a dagger, staring down at me as he walked closer.

"Where is it?" He demanded, his voice never raising enough to gain attention. "When he removes his hand, you will not scream. Am I clear?" He threatens, holding his dagger up to my cheek. He sliced a thin line, drawing blood. I winced.

The man slowly removed his hand from my mouth.

My eyes kept flicking in the direction of my bag, near the door. My bullets were in there, but my gun was currently sitting in under my pillow. They were going to kill me, I knew it. Anything to survive. Anything to survive. I looked up at the elven man above me as he looked in the direction of his buddy, who had turned around to dig in my bag. I wanted to live. If I didn't do something –

I leaned up and pressed my lips onto the gap between his shoulder and neck, he let out a choked gasp.

"W-wh-" He didn't finish his sentence as I opened my mouth and bit down. I bit as hard as I could, feeling the flesh tear beneath my teeth. I could feel the tears starting to form in my eyes at the disgust I felt as I did this. He let out the loudest scream I'd ever heard from a man. But that might just be because he's right above me, blood dripping on my neck.

Evidently I didn't bite hard enough or rip enough out of him because he got up and stumbled away. At least I wasn't pinned down now, right? It wasn't nearly as bloody as the first time I'd tore into someone's neck, so apparently I'd done it wrong this time. Of course, I didn't bite close enough to the neck where the jugular was. I realized this too late, as he was now off of me and standing over by my dresser. The elf was trying to stop the bleeding, putting pressure on the wound.

I knew to always go for the neck. That's what animals did. That's what I did, or at least tried to. My attempts to reason with myself were thrown aside as I scrambled for the gun underneath my pillow, turning off the safety and aiming it at the man by the door.

Without even giving him a chance to lunge at me, I fired three rounds into his chest. After he hit the floor with a loud, 'THUD'. I could hear the people downstairs screaming from the sound of the gun going off.

The elven man jumped on me as I was about to stand up out of my bed and he began to wrestle me for my gun. All those times wrestling around with Krem seemed to have paid off, because I could tell he was weakening. His grip started to get looser. I was eventually able to wriggle my way around and pull my handgun up and aim it underneath his chin. Cold metal pushed up against his skin, I saw fear enter his eyes just before I fired. My ears were ringing from the shot being too close to me. I gasped, seeing a splatter on my ceiling. He was now laying on me, bullet through the bottom of his chin and exiting out the top of his head.

It was a grisly scene. Not one that I'd like to describe in detail, mind you. It was horrifying, that's all I'll say.

Trying to push the elf off of me, who was now sprawled across my legs, I spit something out of my mouth and started to gag. I threw up on the floor at the foot of my bed, crawling into a crouched position and stumbling toward the door to get help. Only to have the door slammed open to reveal … nothing. I blinked, confused. Only to be thrown against the wall to my right, next to my dresser, as a huge ass rogue with horns appeared out of thin air. Or, he'd probably been there but had been invisible.

Fucking rogues!

"Shit!" I squeaked, feeling my hold on the gun slip as it fell at my feet with a clatter. The Qunari rogue was holding his burly arm against my throat, making it hard to breathe. I scratched at his arms, but to no avail. Hard to think. I gasped, or tried to. My vision started to get spotty as I could feel my consciousness starting to fade.

My door squeaked, revealing a terrified looking Angel. Her black hair was still tied back, informing me that she had just gotten off of work. She was still in her little work dress. It felt like my stomach dropped to my feet. She shouldn't be here! She must have just been getting off of work and heard the commotion and gunshots. I'm actually surprised no one else has arrived yet. The rogue holding me growled, letting his weight off of me as he slashed at my sister with the dagger in his free hand. I tried to let out a yell or something to tell her to run, but I was too late.

I saw the knife cut across her chest, sending her stumbling backwards. Angel's brown eyes widened, her hands flying up to the wound she had just acquired. A red flower, her life force, started to bloom on her chest through her dress. She shrieked as the Qunari pushed her with all of his strength and I saw her body go over the railing and to the first floor below.

Finally able to breathe, I screamed, hearing her body hit the ground below with a loud 'THUD'.

"Angel!" I went to stand up, but was stopped when the horned rogue grabbed my face and slammed the back of my head against the wall, making my vision black out.

I slowly came back and I realized my arms were tied together in front of me, my body thrown over one huge shoulder as I bounced around. The man holding me stopped, standing on Skyhold's wall just outside the tavern. What were we doing here? He hopped forward, using his other hand to grab ahold of something. I felt my stomach drop and I saw a rope and some stone come into view as the man that was carrying me slid down Skyhold's walls to get to the bottom. I shrieked, looking up and seeing the wall get smaller and smaller. Was this how they got in?!

I was staring up, but I also saw a dark figure at the top jump down and grab hold of the rope with one hand. The figure held onto it, sliding down faster than we were currently going. I looked down, seeing that we were almost touching the ground and found enough strength to struggle.

"Lyn!" I heard a famliar voice come from above, making my vision snap up again. The dark figure I'd seen was Cole, as his body got closer and closer. He was coming down fast. Faster than he should. What if he hurts himself!?

I gasped, trying to pull myself off of the rogue that was carrying me only to see Cole's feet land on the Qunari's back. The momentum that he'd gained as he came down sent the rogue tumbling, I went with him. Though I was now somewhere at his side and out of the way, my body aching as I sat up. It was cold down here, as I sat in the snow and shivered.

My friend lunged at the enemy and began to fight him with all he had. I peered up at the top of the rope to see if anyone else was going to come down and help, only to see shadows moving around as if they were in a fight. Were there more up there? I saw the rope go slack and fall to the ground.


At least they knew we were down here, right?

I was stuck watching two rogues go at it. The sheer size difference was baffling, Cole being much smaller than his opponent. Both with double daggers. One my friend one my foe. Their daggers glinted in the moonlight and I could hear grunts and sounds of metal clashing on metal in some sort of deadly dance. I saw Cole get pushed back and he slid a ways, his feet digging into the snow. He grabbed something out of his pocket and threw it at the burly man and missed. It was a small throwing knife and it had landed in front of me at my knees.

Grabbing it, I sawed the ropes off of my wrists. I got done just in time to hear heavy footsteps in the snow behind me.

"Run!" Cole yelled and I didn't think twice. I stumbled to my feet and ran over where the rope lay, coiled on the ground near the cliffside. Looking back, I saw Cole finish off the horned rogue and he darted toward two more figures which had entered the fray.

More fighting commenced as I trotted toward the dead Qunari rogue and grabbed one of his daggers. He wouldn't need it now, afterall. I had no time to dig around for where my gun was, I had to keep going.

Ignoring the blood staining the snow, I looked up and saw my friend trying to fend off both of them. They looked like they were warriors, which wasn't good. As I got closer, I realized that both were human but they were still pretty bulky. Both were wearing full plate armor and had likely been waiting at the bottom for their little friend here to abduct me.

I didn't know what to do. What was I supposed to do, just leave him here? Try to go get help?

I noticed Cole started to get slower in his movements and saw one of the men behind him starting to get up from the daze he'd been in. I'd taken too long in my thoughts and one of the warriors was about to flank Cole.

"Hey!" I yelled, dashing toward him recklessly. I didn't even have any armor on, not that I ever wore any, and knew how idiotic this was. But I couldn't just allow my friend to get hurt. Not while I had a chance to stop it. "Assbutt! Fucker! Over here!"

It worked, because he turned around and pointed his sword at me. His eyes showed his annoyance as he waited for me to get closer and closer. I think it was meant to intimidate me, and it did. But I kept my mind on the task at hand and didn't stop. I think he believed I would stop, because I barreled closer and closer with the dagger in my right hand lingering at my hip.

I swung my arm, aiming to slash at him. The warrior sidestepped it and swung his swordless arm at me, sending me into the snow. I landed on my back, body jolting as I let out a gasp in pain. He laughed at me and turned just in time to dodge Cole's attack. I saw that my friend had finished off the other man, as he lay still in the snow just feet away.

I heard a grunt in pain, making my gaze snap up at the fight in front of me. Cole had dropped one of his daggers and was holding his shoulder with his free hand. I saw blood coming from beneath, seeping through slowly. I'd never seen him get hurt before, being as fast and agile as he was. The last time I saw him fight, he almost had this unnatural way he moved. Fast and efficient. He never slowed down. Never faltered. This time, it was different. This was, I realized, part of the downfalls that he was going through when he started to become more human. I was going to end up getting him killed!

Fear drove me as I staggered to my feet, seeing a blade being raised to stab my friend. They weren't far away, so I was able to lunge forward with all my might and shove Cole to the side with my shoulder. He stumbled away, shocked.

I felt the searing pain as the longsword plunged into my right side, just above my hip. That's not what I was focused on, though, as I looked up at the dagger that had just been in my hand. It was now buried into the bottom of the warrior's jaw near his neck. Apparently I can stab pretty well, because that fucker was in there pretty deep. Either that or it was really sharp. Huh.

As the man fell to the ground, his sword was pulled out with the weight of his body. I looked down, watching in slow motion as the piece of metal was lazily dislodged from my side. Then came the blood. I could already feel myself getting faint as it started to seep out of the large gash that was now in my side. Hands shaking, I pulled them up to try and cover it and stop the bleeding. It wasn't working. It was thick, as it covered my quivering fingers.

"I told you to run! Why didn't you listen?!" Cole's voice rung in my ears, but I couldn't look up. I'd never been hurt like this before. It was almost fascinating, seeing that much blood come out of my body. Was I going to die? " no no!"

Before I could even collapse, he hefted me up into his arms and started to run up a slope. I'm guessing we were headed toward the gates of Skyhold, now. I couldn't be sure. I felt so lightheaded and dizzy it was like I couldn't keep track of time. But eventually I'd been placed on the ground and a few figures surrounded me. The moonlight offered just enough light to show me their faces. Dorian and Bull were nearby. Bull was frowning, his face scrunched up into sorrow, as I stared up at him wearily from my position in the snow.

I could feel a warmth spread over my body as Dorian seemed to cast something on me.

"This is beyond my capabilities." He sounded miserable. Was I really about to die? Well, shit. At least I tried, right? I knew that I'd eventually get killed here, in this world. I'd accepted that. But … I still didn't want to die. I didn't! I still had to make sure my sister was alive. She'd fallen off of that ledge, large gash across her chest. Even as I lay here, possibly on my death bed, I worried about my little sister.

"You can't do anything?" Bull asked, their voices sounding like they were getting farther and farther away.

"It's too deep. None of the organs seem to be bothered, not that I can tell anyway. But she's losing blood too fast. I'm afraid ..."

"C-Ca..." I breathed, feeling my lungs starting to hurt. I realized I'd been hyperventilating this whole time. "Cauter..."

They seemed confused for a minute, but Cole took out his dagger and held it to Dorian. His face frantic, pleading.

"Heat up my dagger! Please!"

"What –"

"Dorian." Bull put in, "It might work."

My head was laying limply on the snow as I stared up at the stars. They were really pretty, might I add. Twinkling little things in the distance, calling out to me. My breathing started to get ragged and I didn't notice Dorian cast a spell or Cole kneel down next to me and pull my shirt up. Almost like I was slowly being detached from my body. Only to be jolted back.

I felt hot metal sear itself into my skin by my hip, making me scream and wail. He'd started to cauterize the wound. The pain hurt so much, that I wasn't even conscious for much longer before the darkness claimed me.

Chapter Text

Bull had been with Dorian at the time when he heard the gunshot from the tavern. They sounded muffled as they rang through the confines of the Herald's Rest, followed by screaming and the sounds of people as they scrambled out the door in a blind panic. Even though it came from inside the tavern, it still echoed across Skyhold. Soldiers and guards all over got battle ready, some running into Skyhold's main hall to inform the Inquisitor.

The only time Lyn had ever used a gun was when her life was in danger, he knew that much. The warrior couldn't find a way in, from all of the commotion, so he instead opted to head up the stairs onto the wall and try to enter from there. Sword drawn, he came upon some armed men as they tried to stop Cole from hopping over the wall to slide down a rope.

Bull saw the scraggly rogue hop over without a second thought, face set in fierce determination as his hand clasped onto the rope for leverage. The last thing Bull saw was his huge hat before he was attacked by one of the enemies. They'd infiltrated Skyhold. Were these the Ben-Hassrath? Bull thought that they were only after him, to send a message of his being Tal-Vashoth. Apparently he was wrong, because they had Lyn. This didn't bode well.

Metal clashed on metal and he swung his huge two-handed sword on his enemy, as he roared a battlecry. The man he'd hit stumbled back from the sheer force of his blow. The massive Qunari caught their attention just long enough to distract them from Dorian. The stone wall was illuminated by a blue-ish light as it flickered ominously. The Tevinter mage charged up a spell, electricity wrapping around his arms and up his staff as he focused his attack. Sweat beaded his brow as lightning erupted from his staff and crackled through the air, making Bull's hairs stand on end.

It hissed through the air and the warrior could feel the heat as he saw the light zig-zag from enemy to enemy, jumping between them and frying them inside of their armor. The poor assholes couldn't even scream as they were paralyzed, falling to the ground in a twitching heap. He must have had some pretty good control on his magic if he hadn't hit Bull in the process.

"Damn..." Was all Bull could say as he looked down at the burnt bodies strewn across Skyhold's walls. There were three of them. Dorian made his way over to the edge of the wall to see if they could rappel down using their line, but realized the rope had been severed.

"Vishante kaffas! They cut the rope!" The mage cursed, looking toward Skyhold's gates.

"We need to get down there. Now." Bull turned without question and began barreling toward his destination, heavy footfalls echoing off the stone. Lighter footsteps could be heard pitter pattering behind him, following him.

They'd arrived too late. Much too late. A devastated looking Cole had been carrying his friend, who looked to be barely hanging onto life. Lyn's usually fierce eyes were unfocused and dulled as she lay limply in the rogue's arms, her skin already paler than usual. Cole set her down in the snow and Bull saw exactly where she'd been cut. More like stabbed, really. The gaping wound on her right side, just above her hip, was bleeding profusely and it was already starting to stain the snow around her.

Dorian explained that it was beyond his capabilities. Bull had never seen the blonde spirit boy get so worked up like he had now. His eyes wide and frantic, begging Dorian to help with something he couldn't.

Which lead him to the present. Bull was standing at the end of the small bed as Adan was tending to Lyn, giving her potions to help her body create more blood. More blood, because she'd already lost too much. There was a mage healer that was Adan's associate, they worked together along with a surgeon that was currently digging around on the shelves and getting stuff ready.

Lyn's face was pale, her lips showing almost no color at all. To put it simply, she looked like she was dead. If it weren't for her short quick breaths, he would have thought so.

The Inquisitor had dedicated much of their resources to the infirmary, to ensure that the soldiers and residents remained in good health. This was fortunate for Lyn, as she lay on the bed while they prepped for a surgery. Apparently Dorian had been incorrect in his assumption, she had internal bleeding and if they didn't hurry and get it repaired … she would die.

Lyn's sister, Angel, was sitting nearby on her own cot. She was awake and sobbing as quietly as she could, looking at her sister's state. Other than the rather large gash she had on her chest and a broken arm, she suffered rather minimal damage from her fall from the top floor of the tavern. Which was a surprise. The young elf mage that worked for Adan had stopped the bleeding pretty quickly with her fast response time. Angel had her arm up in a sling as she sat in the bed, her legs covered by a blanket.

"If you're not going to help, then get out! Shoo! All of you!" Adan yelled, obviously wanting space to do his work. "Kerrah, get them out of here." The old man grumbled.

"Sir!" The elf mage stood up straight, walking over to the group and gently leading them out.

Everyone began to shuffle out. Dorian reluctantly let go of Angel, who had been clinging to him this whole time. How that had happened, he didn't know. The poor teen was still sobbing, not even able to talk. She tried to ask something, but no one seemed to understand what it was she was trying to ask.

Bull's eye was downcast as he stood quietly outside of the infirmary. There had been many things he'd done in his life that had been questionable. Sending that report in to the Qunari leaders had lead to the attack today, and regretting and wishing couldn't take that back. He knew that much.

"If she dies … I'll kill you." Cole's voice was low, tinged with the rage he felt. The warrior looked up, seeing the blond boy staring up at him with malice in his eyes. He never thought it would be possible for such a gentle boy to feel such an emotion, much less make that expression. But he would feel the same way if someone he deeply cared about was dying because of someone else.

"What happened?!" Lynn jogged up to the group standing outside of the building, Varric not far behind. The door was shut, to allow privacy and less distractions. Angel's sobs had quieted down on the other side of the door. Dorian was standing nearby, a solemn look in his eyes. Cole was standing in front of Bull, his huge hat was now hiding his expression.

"It's his fault! Reports. Have to send reports. Watching. Spying. She has a weapon and they'd want to hear about it." Cole was shaking, his fists clenched at his sides. "If you hadn't sent those reports, she wouldn't be like this! Body broken, bleeding, dying."

Bull watched as Varric walked over to Cole and grabbed his arm.

"Come on, Kid. Let's get you washed up." The dwarf motioned to the blood that was staining Cole's shirt and arms. He didn't even look like he wanted to leave, his fists clenched at his sides and shaking. "We'll come back after, don't worry."

They walked off at a slow pace, Varric trying to get him to calm down as they went.

Lynn looked horrified as she got the story from Dorian and Bull, since they'd been close by when it happened. Sera had come out soon after, having been in Lynn's room with her at the time of the incident. While she was listening to the story, she had sent word to have the Spymaster and the Commander arrive. Both stood there, back straight as they listened to the orders from the Inquisitor.

"We need to enhance our security so that we can prevent future incidences such as this from occurring. We also need to increase the number of people on watch for the time being. We can't be sure if there are any more within the walls of Skyhold." Lynn ordered once Leliana and Cullen arrived. The Commander nodded,

"I'll get right on that."

The moonlight shone down on them, being the only source of illumination at this hour. Besides the stray torch that the guard next to Lynn was carrying. Everyone was tense from the recent attack and most had their armor on and ready, just in case.

"Leliana … I already suspect who did this, but we need to fish out any more that may be lurking around in the shadows." Lynn sounded like she was trying to hide her anger, but some slipped through, probably at the thought that Skyhold had been infiltrated so easily by the Ben-Hassrath. Twice now.

"That shouldn't be a problem. I'll even personally see to it that it is done by the end of the night, Inquisitor." The Spymaster's face was set in an angered frown as she turned around and walked off.

"If you find any, they are to be left alive." Lynn was stern as she looked up at Leliana, who in turn gave a curt nod.

First Person

Everything was so dark. It felt like I was floating in an endless pool of nothingness. Everything was so so black and it seemed to stick to my being like tar. It clung to me and whispered for me to give in. Give up. That all my troubles will slip away if I just simply stop fighting. I wanted to. But something in the back of my mind told me I couldn't. I can't just give up.

I was here, for what seemed like days, drifting around. At some point I could hear someone talking to me, telling me not to leave them. But who were they? The voice was familiar and I knew I should feel something when I heard it, but couldn't find the strength to bring up the memories.

Then, I could start to hear people yelling in the distance. It was like they were behind glass and I couldn't make out exactly what they were saying. Only a little. They were speaking frantically about someone's health. I didn't know who's but it sounded pretty serious. I could feel myself slowly slipping away. Where was I going? Who was I again?

I looked around, trying to make anything out in the distance. I couldn't see a damn thing. I tried, but failed, to lift my arms to look at them and I couldn't seem to move them. I was stuck, floating and waiting. Waiting. I don't know how long I've been here, but I felt like I was going mad.

Those voices were slowly drifting away. They sounded so distant and it was getting harder and harder to think. Floating. It felt like I was floating. Away. But where? I was fading away. Was I dying? Is that what this was?

The next thing I knew, I was ripped away from my dark prison and set forth in front of this massive light. Only it wasn't a light, it was a woman. My vision focused, details slowly coming into view. Her hair was white, curved into the shapes of horns. Her piercing yellow gaze sent tremors through my body and … she was upside down. Or was I the one that was upside down? Blinking in confusion, I felt my body as it seemed to 'find gravity' and fall. I hit the ground with a 'THUMP!'

I grunted, feeling a bit surprised I couldn't feel any pain. I slowly stood up, turning toward the older woman who was looking at me expectantly. Everything around us seemed to be tinged with green and we were standing in an empty grassy field.

I feel like I've seen her somewhere before...

"You're really more trouble than you're worth, sometimes." The old woman 'tsked' as she walked up to me, her strides elegant.

"Who..." Was all I could get out as I stared at her as her facial features came into view. She looked familiar.

"Tis not your time yet, young one." She lifted her wrinkled hand and pushed two fingers onto my forehead, "I will not do this a second time. Remember that."

The only thing I was capable of doing, at that moment, was nodding dumbly. I could have sworn it felt like I was on fire and I could feel my body as I was ripped from the place I was just in. My chest buzzed with some type of electricity and I jumped, my eyes flying open.

Wait. Open? I gasped, my body spasming and shaking.

"She's back!" Someone sounded incredulous and I could hear footsteps somewhere, followed by murmurs amongst a small group of people. It sounded like my ears were full of cotton balls, making it hard to even decipher what they were saying.

My hearing would occasionally go out and slowly come back. My eyes began to focus and I could make out that it was daytime, the light shining in through the windows and making everything seem too bright. Shadows were standing above me and I felt someone push themselves against my chest, covering me up with a blanket in the process. I could hear her crying and saying 'Thank God', over and over again. What had happened?

The light was making my pupils constrict painfully as I stared at the ceiling with a dazed look in my eye. Everything felt like it ached. My arms, my legs, my head, especially above my right hip. It took me minutes before I could fully regain myself, all the while I was getting checked by Adan.

"Uunngghh." I groaned, feeling my voice come back to me. "How hard … did I hit my head?" Was the first sentence out of my chapped lips.

When no one offered an answer, I continued. "I think I saw … The Maker." I joked. I knew that the woman I'd seen in my dream wasn't. I wanted to laugh. It was probably some drug induced dream, to be completely honest. Though I still couldn't shake the feeling that I should recognize that old woman's face from somewhere.

"What!?" I heard Cassandra's voice, her face coming into view just above me behind Angel. I let out a weak smile, which really looked like a lopsided smirk.

"Do you know … how hard I had to have hit my head to see someone else's deity?" I continued, hearing a raspy sounding laugh come out of my throat before I started to cough.

"Glad to see your sense of humor hasn't been damaged." The Seeker replied dryly, not looking at all amused.

"Sorry." Was all I could offer after my coughing had subsided. I looked around and saw the face of Adan, as he grabbed some new bandages from the counter behind Dorian. The Tevinter was standing on my left, his hands still held up and his face completely baffled. Angel had her face buried in the blankets at my right, one of her hands clutched in the sheets as she shook. I tried to lift my hand up to give her a pat on the head, but found that I was quite weak.

"W-what happened?" I breathed out, turning my head slowly toward the mage at my left. He began to wiggle his fingers.

"Your sister had me do this thing with my magic. I think I saved your life. Again." Dorian looked down at his fingers and I saw some electricity spark between them. Ah, that's right. My sister had First Responder training, so she knew how to do chest compressions and where to put the defibrillator patches and all that crap. I did, too, since we'd taken the class together. Guess they didn't know about that, here?

My guess is she had to jump in to explain what to do, since she had a broken arm and all. I could see the sling tucked underneath her body while she remained in a slouched position on the right side of my bed. I can't imagine she could do chest compressions with just one arm...

I felt my eyes getting droopy and I heard Adan grumbling at everyone to get out so he could change my bandages.

I was just glad my sister was alive, after seeing her fall over the railing like that. I'd thought of the worst and pictured her landing on her head. It seems she hadn't. Those were my last thoughts as I fell into a dreamless slumber.

I slowly opened my eyes, expecting the light to hurt again. It was dark out now, however, so my eyes didn't get the harsh treatment they did last time I woke up. I was still laying in the same place, soft flickers of light from a lantern came from the other side of the room. Adan, the apothecary/healer, used this hut quite often when he was giving checkups or tending to someone's wounds.

My gaze slowly slid to my right, seeing Cassandra sitting quietly in the corner near the door with a book out. The lantern that I mentioned was sitting on a shelf nearby, allowing her to read easier. My fingers twitched and I bumped into something lightly with my left hand. Rolling my head to the other side, I met with the sight of a slouched Cole on a chair beside my bed. He was leaned forward, face buried in the side of the bed with his arms crossed and being used as a pillow.

Slowly easing myself into a semi-seated position, I pushed my back against the headboard behind me. It was pretty difficult to move my body and I found myself feeling a bit weak. I was in a twin bed, from the looks of it. There were several other twin beds, which confirmed my thought about being in the infirmary hut. Small curtains were pushed against the wall, but looked like they could be pulled aside to allow privacy between the beds. I saw Angel sleeping on one of them, the sling for her arm peeking through.

I let out a sigh, knowing that Cole and Angel were both okay made me feel a lot better. My gaze slid down to my sleeping friend, his hat covering his face. Feeling an amused smirk twitch on my lips, I lifted his hat to peek underneath. Sure enough, he was asleep, his head turned to his right. I picked up his leather hat, setting it on my lap and putting my hand on top of his head.

If he stayed in that position too long, he was going to wake up with a back ache. Those aren't fun, mind you.

"Cole..." I murmured as I ruffled his blonde locks gently. I watched as his face twitched and his eyes slid open sluggishly. Cole sat up abruptly, hair standing on end and his blue eyes finally began to focus on what was in front of him. My hand, which was still resting on top of his head, moved out of his hair and I was about to rest it at my side but I felt him grip my arm and push my hand against the center of his chest.

Blinking, I was too busy looking at my hand to notice his facial expression. He shifted forward slightly, both of his hands clutching onto mine like I could disappear any second. I wanted to pull away, I really did. What Solas said to me still itched at the back of my mind, making me feel frightened.

"You're alive." Cole's voice was quiet and I almost couldn't hear it, "Y-You.. you were dead. You died." His voice was filled with the sadness and fear he felt, surprising me. My brown gaze snapped up to his face, seeing a multitude of emotions flickering across. The most prominent one being anguish. Grief. His mouth was set in a deep frown and I could feel him shaking underneath my hand.

I didn't even know how to respond, to be quite honest. I was just sitting there like an idiot, not a word passing through my lips. I didn't like seeing him like this. It hurt. He was hurting so I was hurting. How was I supposed to make him feel better? I was alive. I was fine. But the only thing I could do was sit there. My lips parted as if to offer comforting words, but nothing would come out.

"I-I told you to run. Why didn't you run?" His voice sounded so subdued, his eyes were focused on his knees and almost completely hidden by his mop of hair. For once he wasn't staring through me. He wouldn't even look up at me.

"I couldn't just leave you." Was all I could offer, and it was true. Did he really expect me to just run and leave him behind? Just to save my own skin? I would never do that! "Cole, I don't care if it killed me. I wouldn't have fucking left you!" I hissed quietly.

I saw him look up at me fearfully, his blue gaze unfocused as if thinking about something. I wriggled my hand out of his grasp and I turned away, clenching my jaw. I stared at the crumpled blankets across my legs, glaring at them like they had been the ones to wrong me.

"I'm here, right now. Alive. That's what matters." I stated evenly, trying to keep my voice low. My hands clasped the sheets into a death grip.

"Blood, so much blood. Hands shaking, shivering. It won't work. 'Why won't the blood stop?'" Cole took a deep breath, "Darkness. Floating. Drifting away. I felt you disappear. You were gone. I-I … couldn't help." His voice was quivering and it felt like someone punched me in the gut. If I hadn't already felt bad, I really did now. Of course he would be the only one to hear me as I slowly slipped away. His friend. I'd almost left him and I could only imagine how that must have felt for him.

I let out a shaky breath, "Stop.."

"What were you thinking?" Cole asked of me, the glow from the lantern flickered light across the white blankets beneath me. I refused to look up. What was I thinking? To charge into battle, armorless with only a dagger and attack an armed man. Not to mention, the fact that I had no experience in fighting whatsoever? Was it reckless? Sure. Stupid? Probably. But I would likely end up just doing it again and again, if it were to protect someone I cared so much about.

"I wasn't." I gritted out, trying to smother the pain I felt in my chest from boiling over. I didn't regret my actions, no. I squeezed my eyes shut and growled, feeling irritated that he would question my decision. I had my reasons! Why – "What were you thinking when you hopped over the walls of Skyhold?" I bit back, my voice raising a bit as I turned to look at him through my messy hair.

I felt a little insulted that he could go around being so careless, yet when I did he made me feel like an irresponsible fool. And maybe I was. At the speed he had been coming down that rope, he could have easily seriously injured himself. It would have left him crippled and waiting for the enemy. Yet he did it anyway.

"'I can't lose her.'" Was the only statement Cole offered in response as he finally looked up from his knees and locked gazes with me. Anything that I had planned to throw back at him through the anger that I was feeling slowly dissipated at the intense look in his eyes just then. I was completely unprepared and hadn't really expected him to feel so strongly about this. It felt like my heart leapt into my throat.

"I … ughh … shit." Was my eloquent reply as I felt my face starting to heat up. I bit the inside of my cheek and was forced to look away, not wanting to embarrass myself further. "Sorry." I conceded in defeat, feeling my shoulders slump. I could be a royal asshole, sometimes. He cared about my well-being, and here I was getting angry at him for it. Shit I'm an idiot.

The conversation stopped right there, leaving the room in dead silence. I sighed, flicking my gaze around the room. Angel was still sound asleep and … Cassandra. My head snapped in her direction and my eyes went wide. The Seeker looked like she was trying her hardest to concentrate on the book that she held, her face scrunched up in concentration. I couldn't see most of her expression, since said book was held up so that it covered anything from the eyes and down. I could have sworn I saw her face starting to turn red. I'm not sure from what, but …

Not wanting to make things awkward, I swallowed and looked up at the ceiling as I leaned back against the headboard. Perhaps if I pretend that she's not there, everything will work out? Heh.

I don't even remember falling asleep, to be honest. It was like, one moment I was staring at the ceiling and the next I was slowly cracking one eye open and seeing how bright it was. When did I lay down?

I pushed the blankets off from over my head and peeked out, squinting at the bright sunlight. I waited for my eyes to adjust before I tried to ease myself into a seated position. I groaned, feeling my muscles ache from the movement. I silently wondered how long I'd been in this bed, judging from how sore I felt it may have been awhile. How long was awhile, though?

Angel was gone and the only other person in the room was some guard that was sitting in the stool Cassandra had been sitting in last night. The guard didn't even acknowledge me as he sat at his post, watching the door. He may have been one of Cullen's men, because he was currently wearing full plate with a sword resting at his hip.

Last nights events slowly flicked through my mind, causing me to frown. Cole had been pretty upset about what I'd done to keep him from getting hurt. I'd almost died. And I had made a complete ass out of myself in the process. Part of me wished last night was just a dream. I wonder if he was mad at me? I almost couldn't even imagine an angry Cole. Could he get angry?

I don't know if I wanted to know. I lifted my arm up and wiggled my fingers, staring at it with a thoughtful look on my face.

I think I have a fairly good idea who it was that attacked me last night, since they'd been after my gun. Squinting my eyes and looking at the door again, I wondered if they found it on any of the dead bodies that were down there. I certainly hoped so. While I was in the middle of my musing, the door to the infirmary was cracked open and revealed a small elven woman.

"O-Oh. You're awake." Her light brown eyes widened as she shuffled forward to get a better look at me. She raised her hand above my hip and I felt warmth radiate from the area. Was she a mage? That would certainly explain the weird tingly feeling I was getting right now.

"I'm sorry … you're?" I asked, examining her face for any signs of hostility. Don't judge me, I just got attacked while I was sleeping in my room. In Skyhold, to top it off. I think I might be more than just a little 'on edge' for awhile.

"Kerrah. I'm the mage healer here in Skyhold. J-Just started working about a week ago!" Her voice sounded sweet as she tilted her head and offered me a warm smile. I stared at her suspiciously, but accepted her answer.

"How long have I been out?" I felt my throat itch, begging for water. I was repositioned so my legs were hanging off the side of the bed and she began to deftly remove the bandages around my stomach. I could feel the cold air lick my bare legs, making me realize I was in shorts instead of pants.

"A-About three days. Not counting last night." Kerrah spoke softly as she examined my new burn scar near my hip. It still looked a little irritated, but other than that seemed to be looking okay. "Y-You were dead... your heart stopped after we got your injuries healed."

"Ah... so I did die." I murmured, looking at the wall behind her. It was lined with shelves that were decorated with many potions and herbs. Some of them glinted from the sunlight that poured in from the window across the room. This was what … the third or fourth time I've almost died in this world now?

"Your s-sister saved you. She knew this thing … she called it CPR." The elf pronounced it slowly, as if not knowing the word.

I asked a few more questions, getting a bit of information out of her before she got done with my bandages. Apparently they didn't know how to resuscitate people here on Thedas, which kind of surprised me. Angel was in the process of teaching Kerrah the basics she'd learned from First Responder training, which I had no qualms with. It would definitely prove useful for them here.

They'd found a few more problems with my body. The problems I already knew, really. They were able to fix my minor insulin resistance with their magic. Which means I no longer had pre-diabetes. I wanted to jump for joy at the thought. I wondered if they were able to essentially cure Diabetes, then? Because perhaps they could help my sister.

They were, however, not able to fix the problems with my reproductive system. It was a wee bit of a sensitive subject for me, so I kind of cut off the conversation after she told me she was sorry. I really did not want to hear her pity. I knew I had a condition which made it hard for my reproductive system to function normally. This was why I didn't have menstrual cycles. It was also the reason why I'd never have children.

Sighing, I watched as Kerrah stood up and offered me a comforting smile.

"You can get up and try to walk now. It might take a-awhile, but you'll get the hang of it!" Ugh. Her optimism was almost blinding, really. I stifled the urge to grimace at her as I began the process of standing up to stretch so I could walk.

It was slow and agonizing, my hip itched and still burned a little when I shifted too much. The bandages and salve seemed to help, though. It wasn't nearly as difficult to walk around as it had been back when we first came to Skyhold. I think it might have been something to do with the fever I kept almost dying from. That's just a theory, though. I was up and walking around by the end of the day, but Adan insisted I stay one more night at the infirmary. Just in case.

I planned on asking Lynn what her plans were, tomorrow. I could already tell that the guards were still on edge from the event. The only thing I knew for sure, was that I had to step my training up a notch. Simply knowing how to fire a bow wasn't going to be enough if I were to be constantly in danger. Stablehand or not, they wouldn't care and would strike at any time. I can't afford to die yet. Especially now that I've found my little sister.

Chapter Text

I kept having these God's forsaken headaches, even after I'd gotten a good nights rest. I stood there, in the infirmary as Adan did one last checkup before I left. I was glaring at the shelves that were filled with potions and vials of random crap I didn't know. There was even some books scattered here and there. I had been given some sort of potion to help with the pain in my hip, since it was almost healed. Adan had warned me that it was one of the more powerful painkillers and told me to be careful. Hopefully I don't get too drowsy.

Sighing, I tried to push my glasses up my nose as a habit but found that they weren't there. Blinking confusedly, I crossed my eyes as if that would help me find my black frames.

"Keep doing that and your face will get stuck." The old man mumbled, finishing up with whatever it was he was doing. I scowled, looking over at him.

"Do you know where my glasses are?" I asked, just now realizing that I could see just fine. I hadn't even been wearing them this whole time and I didn't notice! Adan grunted, walking over to one of the shelves and grabbing my frames. Did they heal my vision while they were at it? Kerrah hadn't mentioned it to me. I wonder if that's why I didn't see anyone ever wearing glasses in this world.

"This contraption helps you see, I take it." He stated gruffly, "You were damn near blind, child! Did you not think to tell anyone?" Okay, he was starting to sound a little enraged there. I could have sworn I saw a vein popping out of Adan's forehead. I grabbed my frames from his hands and stared at him fearfully.

There was nothing more scary than an angry elder. I pissed off my grandma once and the only thing I'll say is I never pissed her off again. Ever. My grandma had deadly aim when it came to throwing shoes and since having a short temper ran in the family … lots of shoes were thrown. Usually wasn't at me, though. My mom was normally the target. I gulped, slowly backing away toward the door.

"I ahhh..." I muttered, scared he might throw something at me too. "Oh, what's that? The Inquisitor is calling me? Eh heh." I threw the door open and darted out into the upper courtyard. I could hear Adan yelling 'Get back here, you runt!' but I kept running.

It felt good to run after being cooped up in that hut for so long. That painkiller in liquid form he had given me really worked wonders, because I couldn't even feel any pain. It was so nice to feel the wind in my hair and the fresh air in my lungs. It was a little chilly, since I was only in a pair of shorts and a plain borrowed tunic from Adan's infirmary. My boots clunked on the ground as I ran down the stairs as I made my way toward the barn. My boots were untied and I didn't realize it until I stepped on one of my laces and tumbled to the ground near the well. I'm surprised I didn't step on one while I was coming down the stairs, now that I think of it.

I let out a grunt as I hit the ground, rolling over onto my back in the soft grass. The sun was in a position in the sky that told me it was sometime in the afternoon. I lay there, my wavy hair spread out messily around my head and I watched the clouds as they floated by slowly. I sighed, lifting my hand with my glasses in them and held them in front of my face to examine them more closely.

I unfolded and held them in front of my face, looking through the lenses. They were blurry. So my eyes really were fixed, huh? The sun's rays glinted off of the lenses on my glasses, making me squint so I pocketed them. I let my arms rest at my sides as I stared at the sky, feeling myself slowly start to relax.

It was like I blinked, then I was being carried away again. I was slowly reliving what happened when the Qunari rogue had brought me down the rope to take me awayIt was so dark out, as the cold wind whipped through my hair and I could feel the dread settling in my gut. I knew I was going to die if I didn't get away. But he was too strong, I couldn't do anything. Fight. Fight. I couldn't wriggle out of his grasp. It was like my strength was completely sapped from my body, making me feel sluggish. I looked up, the dark sky illuminated by the bright full moon and I could see a figure sliding down the rope toward us.

It was Cole. His white-blonde hair looked silver in the moonlight as it fluttered around from underneath his wide brimmed hat. He had a fierce look on his face as he aimed his feet at the back of the Qunari holding me. He used his momentum to knock the Qunari rogue to the ground, I went tumbling to the side in the snow. It hurt, just like the first time, but I forced myself into a seated position and watched as my friend started to try and fend off the enemy.

Only this time, he didn't succeed.

I watched as he got cut down, the blood looking black in the moonlight, and he fell face first into the soft snow. It was like it happened in slow motion, my eyes widening in horror. The Qunari rogue turned around and started to walk toward me, but my gaze was not focused on him. I was looking at my friend, who was now lifeless, black starting to pool beneath his body. I whimpered through my ragged breaths, seeing one of my worst fears coming true.

This was my fault. My fault. All my fault. My vision was blurry and I couldn't see anything clearly. I could feel something inside of me break, a hole in my chest was threatening to eat me alive. He grabbed my shoulder and shook me, my brown eyes staring at him wildly. I let out an agonizing scream, pushing the figure away.

I stumbled to my feet, pulling out my knife from my pouch where it usually sat and flipped it open. I heard it click and my hands were shaking, body in a cold sweat.

"Whoa whoa! Wait –" They said, but I pointed my weapon toward them as I started to hyperventilate and my whole body began to tremble.

"D-Don't touch me!" I screeched and I could start to see everything slowly come into focus. Faces. Faces I should recognize, but my body was still alert and in fight mode. I heard someone unsheathe their sword, making my eyes dart in their direction.

"Drop your weapon." They ordered sternly. It was Cassandra, her cropped black hair shifted as the wind blew by. Her brown eyes were fierce as she held her sword up and aimed at my neck. Why was she pointing it at me? There was –

I looked to the figure in front of me, seeing that it was not the Qunari rogue that tried to take me. It was Krem. He was staring at me worriedly as I pointed my small hunting knife at him, still quivering in my spot outside of the tavern.

How had I gotten up here?

"It wasn't real." I heard Cole whisper from my right and I could feel myself stop shaking. It wasn't real. It wasn't …

His pale hands came into view, taking my knife out of my hand. I was frozen, standing there in the upper courtyard. I could see, now. Krem, Cassandra and Cole were standing close by. A few random passerbys had stopped to watch the commotion, as well. The sun was slowly starting to set in the distance, lighting the area with an orange-ish glow.

Third Person

The Inquisitor came down just in time to see Cole taking a knife out of Lyn's hand. The wavy haired elf had heard the scream from inside the main hall of Skyhold. She'd been in the room with Solas, having a cup of tea with him and just talking. The bald elf was not far behind as they came down the flights of stairs to get a closer look at the scared girl.

"What happened?" She asked as she trotted up to the scene. Some people had stopped what they were doing and stared at her as she hyperventilated, looking like she was having an anxiety attack of some sort. Lynn waved them off, telling them to shoo.

"She fell asleep down by the barn, I was going to bring her to her room." Krem explained, motioning toward Lyn who was currently standing against the tavern with her shoulders slouched. The elf watched with curiosity as Cole tried to cup Lyn's cheek in his hand. The girl looked up straight at the bald elf standing beside her, and took a step away from the blonde rogue. The Inquisitor peered over at Solas, seeing clear disapproval in his eyes as the blonde spirit tried to comfort his friend.

"I need some time alone." Was all Lyn offered as she pulled away from Cole, who tried to grab at her again but failed. Some rocks crunched underneath her boots as she turned and walked into the tavern without another word.

After she had left, Cassandra sheathed her sword and stared at where she'd been standing moments before. The Seeker had a cautious look on her face. "What has gotten into that girl?"

"She was almost taken and killed, she's obviously just scared." Krem offered, shifting his weight onto one of his feet as he stared over at the Seeker. Cassandra did not look convinced.

"Just scared?" Cassandra let out a breath, "She was about to attack you. If she's going to go insane, I'd rather it not be within the confines of Skyhold."

"She won't." Cole spoke from his spot near the tavern. He hadn't yet left, like Lynn thought he would. The Inquisitor kept quiet, silently taking in all of the information. It was what she did best, afterall. She would usually just stand nearby and listen, taking everything in while the others seemed to forget her presence. It usually worked in her favor.

"How can you be so sure, Cole?" Cassandra asked, sounding genuinely curious. The scraggly rogue frequently had some kind of insight on things that no one else would be able to pick apart in a situation. Because of his gift. Lynn saw his views as quite useful, especially at times like this.

"Lyn said things take time. 'It's okay to fall down, but always get back up.' She won't let it. She hasn't before, she won't now." He sounded confident in his friend.

Lynn thought that the otherworldly girl's reactions were normal, now that she thought about it. She was ripped away from her home world, which she described as completely different than her own. One where she didn't have to face death so regularly as they did here. The elf thought back on her first battles and how close she'd come to death because of them. How she'd felt. It's the same thing with Lyn, the girl was not used to the death and pain. She just needed time to adjust.

The Inquisitor nodded thoughtfully, seeing that the others were now facing her. They were obviously waiting for her say in the matter. She honestly didn't think she was a threat to the well-being of the residents of Skyhold, so long as she was under watch. The girl needed to be supervised, just in case she did fall off the deep end. One could never be too sure.

"Do you remember when we were younger? The fear and uncertainty we felt during our first battles? Our first near death experiences?" Lynn began, "She's older than we were when we had to go through that. We don't see it quite as often unless someone was sheltered since birth or is noble. But she's going through that. Cole, just keep an eye on her just in case something does happen."

This got a nod from the spirit. Cassandra still looked uncertain, but knew to trust the Inquisitor's judgments. Krem was frowning, his face kind of hard to read as he stood there with his arms crossed.

"Why Cole?" Solas finally spoke up from her side, looking at her with a blank look on his face. There was obviously something that happened between the three and she intended to find out. But that was for another time.

"He's the closest to her. She trusts him and is less likely to lash out at him." Lynn explained logically, just as the tavern door opened to reveal the girl in question. The girl's face was passive as she kept her brown eyes on the stone path leading to the staircase. She had her bag on her shoulders as she walked by without even a glance at the group. What was she doing? She certainly wouldn't think to leave, would she?

"Her bedroom causes the whispers to get louder. The memories of flesh, gunshots and blood."

"Am I the only one that finds that a little creepy?" Krem muttered, staring at the blonde rogue uncertainly as he seemed to hide underneath his massive hat.

(Later that night)

Lynn was standing in the War Room with her three advisors currently discussing the events from four days ago. Things were starting to calm down ever since they switched up their security policies and guard shifts. Everyone was starting to get into a new routine and they all hoped to continue to make it harder for another situation such as that to happen ever again.

The Inquisitor let out a sigh, feeling worn out from the day's events.

"We can't afford to start a war with the Qunari. Tensions are already high as it is, this is the last thing we need to happen." Lynn spoke, referring to the fact that Orlais was currently undergoing a civil war and to top it all off there was the whole Templars and Mages thing going on. They did not need another enemy lurking and waiting to strike. As it seems, however, it may be an inevitability.

"The Inquisition will always have enemies, Inquisitor." Cassandra spoke from the left of Lynn, causing her to blink. She'd forgotten the Seeker was even there. The elf hadn't been getting much sleep lately and it was making doing her job that much more difficult.

"We do have the advantage of knowing just who that enemy is and what they want." Leliana pointed out evenly, her chainmail glittering in the sun as it shone through one of the windows. She leaned forward and looked down at the small metal contraption that lay on the table for all to see. The Spymaster was one of the people that saw what those men in Lyn's room looked like after they died from the gunshots. It unnerved her that such a small thing could do so much damage. She hadn't believed it completely before, but now she understood why Lyn was fiercely protective of the weapon when it came to it falling into enemy hands.

"The Qunari are known for their meticulous planning. We need to be ready if something like this ever happens again." Commander Cullen put in, "Perhaps it would be best if we just destroy the gun."

"That is not for us to decide." Cassandra shifted on her feet as she looked over at the Inquisitor, who looked to be barely standing on her feet. Her usually bright and exuberant demeanor was replaced by her now dulled and exhausted state.

"We could always spread rumors of it being of magical origin. It might cause them to back off for a little bit." Leliana offered, standing straighter as she placed her small hands behind her back.

"I could help with that. It wouldn't be so hard to spread some news about one of the Inquisitor's allies having a unique ability. It would be hot gossip among the nobles." Josephine could be heard from Lynn's right as she scribbled a few things down on her clipboard that she carried around with her all of the time.

"It's worth a try." Lynn sounded worn out as she rubbed her eyes tiredly, "Can we continue this tomorrow after I've slept, please? In the mean time, keep that gun locked up somewhere safe. Lyn is in no condition to have something that dangerous in her hands." She was, of course, referring to the fact that the girl almost had a mental breakdown earlier today.

"Yes, Inquisitor." Josephine smiled and curtsied, causing the elf to smile at her. She always was the polite one.

First Person

I fell back into a routine for the next few days, busying myself with working at the stables. I did, however, listen to Adan when he said to take it easy. If only because I didn't want to end up going back to the infirmary to meet an angry old man.

I've been spending my nights up in the barn loft, finding that my room brought back too many memories of that night I was almost taken. There was still a small blood stain on the ceiling, even. How could I sleep in that room with it like that?

Whenever I was alone I found myself thinking about it, almost working myself into a panic. But every time, Cole would be there. Just the fact that someone was there was enough to allow me to relax more. He helped a lot, actually. But I found that it was getting kind of tiring, trying to keep a distance between the two of us. The 'what ifs' kept floating through my head whenever he got too close, causing me to shift away.

The fear alone was enough to keep my mind off of the feelings I had for him, which still have not gone away. I wished they would. Right now it was just a little crush, really. What if they developed into something more? I couldn't control them. That thought frightened me, just like many other things lately. Fear. Always with the fear. I was getting sick of it.

Which was why I was currently standing in front of Sera in the upper courtyard, asking for her help. She knew how to use a bow and how to protect herself in battle. That and I felt more comfortable asking for her help in this. If I asked Cole, he wouldn't have known really what to do and I had a feeling he would be hesitant to cause me any pain. Intentional or not. Lynn was always busy and … Bull would just throw my ass around and call it training.

"Thought you'd never ask." Sera smirked at me, putting a hand on her hip. "I'll show ya what I can, yeah? It'll be fun!"

"I'm already pretty decent with aiming my bow." I offer, referring to all of the training I've been doing since I got to this world. And I was. I just hope she doesn't think I'm a lost cause. But she wouldn't have agreed if that were true, right? Ugh. Confusing.

"I told ya, didn't I? I mean, you miss, then you don't. It takes a bit of work, ya know?"

Yeah. This was going to be fun for her. I could already tell how much pain I was going to be in, but it'll be worth it right? No pain, no gain. I was probably going to die trying, though. I simply stared blankly at her as she talked enthusiastically with me and I would occasionally put a comment in here and there.

I spent the next week during my off time with Sera. She didn't seem to have a problem with it. In fact, she seemed to enjoy it. I think it was because she could easily throw me around, even though she was much thinner and frailer looking than I was. Damn elves are tricky. Never underestimate them! I was already fast and found it kind of easy to evade things. Especially when she tried to hit me with a rather large looking stick. That was motivation, right there. It had been my first lesson.

"First things first, Screechie!" She yelled, holding a stick (Well, more like a wooden pole) in her right hand and stabbing it into the dirt beside her. "Dodge the stick."


"Dodge –" I had no time to continue, as she hefted the thing up and wielded it like a pike. The crazy elf began to slash at me with the biggest grin on her face. I squeaked and ducked, feeling the air shift right where my head used to be. If I hadn't moved, I would have gotten hit in the head! "S-Sera!"

I screeched, stumbling away just as she thrusted the stick forward and barely missed my stomach. And that's how it began. I'd gotten hit once and felt a bruise form instantly, but that motivated me not to get hit again. To try harder. It looked like we were dancing, her swinging that thing at me. At first I was stumbling around, but soon enough I began to focus more and started to get the hang of it.

I'll tell you one thing, it was not fun. Not that I expected it to be. Sera most certainly thought it was, though. To the random passerby, it must have been quite the sight. A psychotic blonde elf attacking me with a stick, laughing manically as she slashed and stabbed vigorously.

The craziest part? I kept coming back for more. Every night after work, no matter how sore I felt. I only hoped she was actually trying to teach me something and not just wanting to beat the pulp out of me for fun.

Then came learning how to actually wield a dagger. That's when I realized she was actually serious about teaching me things instead of trying to throw me around or beat me upside the head with some wood.

"Shite, are you serious? We've been through this like … a jillion times. How can you still not hold it right?" Sera laughed, making me feel a bit stupid. I was trying! I really was. I felt my anger bubble around, threatening to burst through the dam I've created. I'd been doing fine for awhile now with keeping my temper in check, but one can only handle so much. I was frustrated, tired and just wished I could do something right for a change.

"Well gee, Sera. I'm sorry I'm not quite as talented as you are! I'm trying my frigging best!" I yelled, holding out the dulled practice dagger and pointing it at her with a heated glare. We were standing in the training area in the upper courtyard, barely anyone else milling about at this hour. Most went inside the tavern or hung out in the main hall to spend their evenings. We were out here, the sun setting and casting long shadows on the ground. I shifted, feeling the rocks beneath my boots crunch as I did so.

"Obviously not hard enough!" The infuriating elf jeered, a wide smirk on her face. That did it, I could practically feel my self-control snap and I could hear the blood rushing through my ears. I lunged at her and tried to make a slash at her, like she'd taught me. I couldn't even hit her, however, because she moved around my arm and grabbed it with her little hand and twisted it.

"Auugh!" I felt her move my arm behind my back, disarming me and tossing me face first into the dirt. I groaned, feeling some rocks sticking to the side of my face.

"Alright, that was better. But yer gonna have to work on that temper of yours, Screech." Her hands tightened as she pushed on my arm more, making me whine. I could even feel her bony ass knee being pushed into the middle of my back, but made no comment and allowed her to continue. "It makes the arrows miss and you'll only end up putting one through some poor arsehole's head. Because teammates."

My body was still tense as I tried to look up at her from behind my wavy hair that covered my face, eyes still wild with fury. My head was turned to the side and I let out a long, drawn out, breath. I knew she was right, but that didn't mean I was immediately going to calm down. The thought alone of me accidentally shooting a friend was enough to allow me to forcefully relax my body. I could still feel residual anger flitting around in my chest, though. I had to put a lid on it.

"You're right." I gritted out, "I'll try."

It took longer than she thought to get me to actually be able to use a dagger correctly. A sentiment she believed was important to point out. Every day. All the time. Which only seemed to make me more inclined to show her she was wrong. I can do this.

No, I wasn't all cool like Lynn or Cole with their shiny double daggers and how they could stab people and make it look like a dance. I'd keep this one just in case someone got too close, is all. Now I actually knew how to use it without fumbling like a fool. That didn't, however, mean I was any good at it.

I'd often times have to go wash the rocks out of my skin before I went to sleep in the barn loft at night. I stood inside of the stables this evening, Sera had left with Lynn on a mission somewhere. That meant I had a few nights to myself. I picked at some of the scabs that had formed on my hands and arms. Some from blocking, others from … me being an idiot. (That's not hard. Me being an idiot, that is.) I stood there, deep in thought as I started to finish up my work for the day.

I had to get this, somehow. I just had to. It is better than not trying at all, I always say.

Third Person

Varric was sitting in his usual spot at a table, lantern nearby to help light up his book in front of him. He had a quill out and was writing some ideas down for a new book he planned on writing. Only because the Inquisitor asked, though. Who would have known Cassandra was a fan of his works? The thought made the dwarf want to chuckle. It was unexpected. He could see the Kid making his way through the hall toward him in his peripheral vision, causing a sigh to escape through his nose. He could never be completely sure what was going to come out of that boy's mouth.

"Lyn and Solas got into an argument." He heard Cole start off with as he stood near the chair at his right. He was fidgeting again, with the hems of his patchy shirt. This didn't surprise him, really. The two didn't seem to see eye to eye on anything and he could often see Lyn glare at the back of his bald head when she thought no one was looking. The girl was always so full of resentment.

"No surprise there, Kid. What'd they yell around about this time?" Varric breathed, putting his quill down and folding his chubby hands underneath his chin. He turned his gaze up to the nervous looking boy. The massive doors to the main hall were cracked open behind him, revealing the outside world. The sun was slowly starting to go down, casting red hues on the sky. Cole seemed to think about what to say for a moment, before he finally began.

"Solas saw the way she looks at me when she thinks no one notices. So he told her that she will only end up hurting me. Now she won't even let me touch her. She's afraid. What do I do?" The blonde rogue spoke, remembering all the times since she woke up about a week ago. She would always pull away from him or keep herself at a certain distance, afraid. It was completely different to how Lyn used to be before, where she liked him being nearby. He wanted that back.

"When she thinks no one notices..." Varric mouths and whispers under his breath, "What … what exactly do you mean by that?" He can never be too sure what the other rogue could be referring to, so he has to make sure. The dwarf has misinterpreted the Kid before, so he needed clarification before he jumped to conclusions.

Varric watched curiously as Cole seemed to squirm ever so slightly as he thought about his answer, fiddling around with the wooden pendant around his neck. "Cheeks flushed, sweet smile on her face. She's softer than she'd like everyone to believe."

"I seriously doubt that, Kid. Are you sure you're not just seeing things?" Varric chuckled, standing up and stretching. He could hear a few bones crack as he sighed, looking around and seeing not many people ambling around in the main hall like usual. There was an occasional servant that would scurry by to pick up some dirty dishes that were rested on one of the many tables that lined the walls. "That girl would punch a Druffalo if it looked at her the wrong way."

"I know what I see." Cole insisted, his hands falling at his sides again as he looked down at the dwarf. "How do I get it so that she lets me close to her, again?"

Was he really asking what he thinks he's asking? Varric didn't know what to make of it, to be honest.

"Errrr … I seriously never thought I'd be having this conversation with you." He scratches his chin thoughtfully, "Sometimes you have to fight for what you want."

This got a head tilt out of the blonde rogue as he blinked owlishly down at Varric. "Fight?" It was like the thought never occurred to him that he would have to 'fight' for Lyn's attention.

"Yeah, uhhh … let her know how you feel. I mean … you do feel things for her, right?" He elaborated, shrugging his short arms as he smirked up at him. The torchlight nearby illuminated Cole's pale face just enough to allow the dwarf to see a faint blush form on his cheeks. It was almost imperceptible, but to Varric's keen eye he was able to see it. Well, shit.

"I feel lots of things when I'm around her."

Varric choked on his own saliva, baffled at what he was currently hearing. There was no mistaking it, now. The Kid has developed feelings for someone. That someone just had to be the surly woman that worked in the stables, at that. He knew that her heart was in the right place and that she usually did what she thought was right. But that didn't mean … Andraste's ass this was going to be difficult.

"Are you sure we're talking about the same Lyn, here? Not the elf – big grey eyes, lovable?" Cole shakes his head at the dwarf, hands fidgeting with his hand wraps as he waited for his answer. "Oh man, of all the girls … you pickthat one. I'm not sure whether to laugh or feel sorry for you."

"Why would you feel sorry for me?" Cole sounds confused as a small frown sets on his face.

"Look, nevermind. Just give her a flower or something, women like that kinda stuff." Varric paused and seemed to think about it for a second before going pale, "Ooon second thought, never –" It was too late, he was out the door before he could stop him. The Kid had left out into the gardens for a time, causing Varric to groan in response. What has he done?

"Oh, I gotta see this." Varric heard Dorian say from behind him. The dwarf turned around and rose a brow up at him.

"Didn't your mother ever tell you not to eavesdrop? It's kinda rude."

"Oh that's rich, coming from you." The Tevinter laughed, covering his mouth with his hand. His grey eyes seemed to follow movement behind him as he continued to talk. "Come come, we must go and watch your adopted spirit son get maimed within an inch of his life. I always did love a good show."

Varric groaned again, following Dorian out the door and into the upper courtyard where Cole had obviously gone. The sun's rays glinted off of the embellishments on Dorian's outfit as he turned to look down at the dwarf and grin excitedly. He seriously did not think this was going to go well. The duo descended the flights of stairs, following the fidgety rogue as he seemed to make his way out toward the stables where the angry girl usually resided.

"I do wonder, if she could make someone spontaneously combust with that glare of hers sometimes?" Dorian murmured thoughtfully, which wasn't helping Varric's nerves. "Proclamation of affections! Only to be led to bloodshed and – oh dear, it reminds me of home." It sounded like he just came to the conclusion.

"Not helping." Varric drawled as the continued their little trek.

Their leather boots padded softly against the grass and dirt as they tried to make their way to the barn quietly, where Cole had entered. He was standing at the entrance of the stables, staring down at the handle to the door. In his left hand, a single flower was held gently in his nimble fingers. The look on his face was a serious one, hair draped in front of his eyes as he seemed to steel himself.

First Person

I let my dirty fingernail graze across the worn out wood that currently made up the far wall in the stables. The aged wood had withered away enough to allow cracks in the wall, showing me the remaining sunlight outside before it was extinguished for the night. Tiny daggers of light peeked through, highlighting the ropes that dangled on the wall that I was standing in front of.

I was in the middle of putting the tack away when I heard the door to the stables open, causing me to sigh in exasperation. I'd told them that I could finish up down here just fine. I glared and whipped around, expecting to have to yell around at another stablehand. That was not the case, however, because I saw Cole walking toward me. I grunted, turning back around to finish what I was doing.

He's always been around lately, especially when I wake up having nightmares or if I'm feeling particularly under the weather when I'm alone. I was starting to wonder about that … Part of me hoped that perhaps he cared enough in his own way to pay that much attention to me? But the more logical side of me was telling me that it's just in his nature as a Spirit of Compassion. He sees someone hurting and he wants to help. I frowned, pushing away the dull ache that threatened to enter my chest.

I felt a warm hand as it was gently pressed on my shoulder, causing me to jump minutely. My head snapped in his direction, brown eyes wide. My mouth opened and closed, not making eye contact with him as I stared at his long-sleeved shirt.

"I-Is there something you needed? Because I'm kind of busy." I tried to divert, but he didn't seem at all bothered by it. I turned my body around to face him completely and I was intending to tell him that I just needed to be alone. But he was so frigging close to me, causing my train of thought to completely derail. My usual scowl disappeared, feeling confusion take hold. I'd been purposely trying to distance myself from him for obvious reasons and he seemed to respect that. But right now …

"Yes." Cole answered, pulling his left hand up and holding a pink flower out to me between his thin pale fingers. My mouth opened, as if to respond but nothing would come out. I just stood there and stared at it, face blank and my mouth hanging open. He's given me a flower before, but never actually directly. Last time he kind of left it on my nightstand.

"Er … Cole." I tried to back up, but could hear the jingling of bridles and straps as I bumped into them on the wall behind me. I gulped, feeling a bit trapped. Shit. How do I get out of this one? I couldn't smother it, since the tiny part of me currently residing in the back of my mind was vibrating with delight at the gift he was currently handing me. But the me right now just wanted to run. I didn't want this. Not now.

I could feel his hand leave my shoulder and saw as he clasped the pink rose in between both of his hands. He stared down at it, his blonde hair shifted in front of his eyes. I swear I could see a faint discoloration lighting up his cheeks. Was he … blushing? No. That can't be right. I've never seen it happen before and to be honest, I was more apt to believe my eyes were starting to malfunction.

"It.. it reminded me of you." Cole offered hastily, shifting on his feet. He seemed unsure if he should even continue, but did anyway. "It has thorns to protect itself. Pricking. Prodding. It nestles itself in the bushes, keeping people at bay. Delicate and soft." He grabbed my hand, setting the flower between my fingers and closing them onto it. "Beautiful."

My head snapped up at that, eyes wide in almost disbelief. It was so incredibly cheesy, I almost wanted to laugh. If he had been anyone else, I probably would have and just told them to stop wasting my time. But this was Cole. He was different. Special. I also thought that this gesture was just inconceivably … cute. Especially with the way his face was all flushed and how he fidgeted around kind of like I did when he was too close. I felt my face burn like it was set on fire, heart hammering against my ribcage. It didn't surprise me anymore, how easily he could get me flustered like this.

"But … I-I'm not any of those things." I stuttered, finally finding my voice. I was, of course, referring to the fact that I was not delicate nor soft. I could practically feel my brain melting in my skull at the fact that he thought that Iwas beautiful. Me! Solas' words were long forgotten by now as I focused on what was happening here. Now.

One of his hands let go and rested in the middle of my chest as he stared down at me. "Yes you are."

I could feel the happiness buzzing around inside of me, causing my body to shiver in anxiety. He … he wouldn't be doing this if he didn't actually feel anything for himself. Right? I stared down at the flower in my hands, bringing it up to my face to try and hide my timid expression.

It didn't work, obviously, as I allowed the soft petals to brush over my lips and underneath my nose. I flicked my brown gaze to look shyly up at Cole, who was staring down at me with that same intense look he had almost a week ago when I woke up.

"Please don't push me away anymore." He said lowly, cupping my cheek with his hand. The cloth wraps on his hand brushed against my skin. I conceded without much of a fight, allowing myself to lean into his hand. I liked this. I don't know what this was, exactly, but I was done with pushing it away. It was getting way too tiring.

"I'm … sorry." I muttered from behind my little gift, stepping forward a small distance and pushing myself against him. I was an idiot. I really was. A small voice was still whispering in the back of my head, telling me that this would only make things much more complicated for him. For me, too. But I ignored it in favor of all the fuzzy feelings I was having right now. This was all so …

I heard a squeal of delight from the entrance to the stables, only for it to get muffled halfway through. Not so silent 'shhh!'s could be heard afterward, making me scrunch my brows in confusion. Then my stomach dropped at the thought that someone else was likely seeing me like this. Multiple someones.


I squirmed, just now realizing that Cole was holding me in a tight hug. I stood there, squished up against him with my hands in front of me clasping the flower he'd given me just moments ago. I idly wondered if the poor thing was also getting squished.

"W-Wha-" I squeaked out, "Shit!"

"We've been found out." I heard Varric's voice echo through the empty stable. Well, empty besides the horses and the two of us standing in the back near the equipment. I tried to pull away so I could get a peek at them as I heard the door open and footsteps slowly trail in our direction, but I couldn't. Cole's arm was completely blocking my view and I couldn't move. Why-

"Suddenly the fact that you and Chuckles don't get along that well seems to make much more sense..." The dwarf commented, sounding highly amused. Oddly enlightened, as well. His voice was much closer now and I could peek through and barely caught the expression he had, which was smug. The fucker was smug. I growled.

"Hello, Varric." Cole greeted, sounding much happier now.

I caught the sight of some shiny embellishments on some pants with a book strapped to their hip, telling me that Dorian was here too. My theory was confirmed when he spoke up.

"You know. I never thought you, of all people, would have a soft spot for sweet and innocent spirit boys." I could hear the smile in Dorian's tone, causing me to wriggle around but to no avail.

"I'm not soft!" I felt my face heat up even further, threatening to burn itself off.

"No no. It's intriguing! I knew he became more human, but this … this is astounding. How are you feeling right now, Cole?" Dorian examined him much more closely now, because I could see him shuffle a little closer.

"Content." He squeezed me. Can you let me go, now? I thought rather loudly, well more like screamed, feeling like my head was about to fall off from embarrassment. The only answer I got was him shaking his head at me from above. So that's a no.

I tried to glare up at him through my messy waves, but my nose bumped into his jaw and I couldn't even get a good look at him. Cheeky little bastard. I'll show him!

"You don't mean that." Oh, but I do. I could feel his chest rumble in what seemed to be amusement, but he made no move to let me go.

"Not sure whether to find it creepy or cute." Angel drawled from behind Dorian and Varric, "The fact that you both are currently having a conversation in your head."

Ah, so that's who squealed in delight and gave the other two away. I had wondered that, unless Varric or Dorian could squeal like excited schoolgirls when they see two people hugging. And that's another thing. We're just hugging! What's the big deal?!

Gods, I promise this won't be the last time that we're close like this. Had I known that he actually liked being near me, I wouldn't have pushed him away in the first place. One of the reasons were because I was so afraid that he was simply reacting to my emotions and not actually feeling them for himself. Like he was just doing it to make me feel better. My shoulders slumped and I could feel him let go and take a step back. Cole's warmth left and I immediately missed it as I looked up to stare at him through my messy waves.

"Why would you think that?" He didn't know? I would have thought he would have heard it or something but – "It's harder now. I have to concentrate, otherwise the words slip by like water through my fingers." Ah. So that means he was really concentrating on me, right now. I didn't know how to feel about that.

"Oookay, this just delved from cute and adorable to creepy and unsettling. Can you please speak out loud, dearest sister?" Angel spoke cautiously. She always was squeamish about the littlest of things. What was so wrong about it? I never did have a problem with letting him hear me, but that might be because I knew I could trust him from the start. If I hadn't known, it would be a different story.

"No, please do continue. I simply must understand the nature of their relationship. Can't have you blundering around and ruining all the fun." The Tevinter mage disagreed with my sister, staring down at her with his eyes twinkling. Twinkling with what? I didn't know; amusement, intrigue? I frowned.

"We're not some science project for you, Dorian!" I snapped, giving him a half-hearted glare. I wasn't actually angry, but he seemed to know that as he turned to me and offered a toothy smile. Varric was smiling up at Cole like a father who was proud of his son. Angel still looked a bit disturbed and just stared at the both of us with unease, though I could see it in her eyes. The interest and … I don't know what. I allowed my hair to fall in front of my face to help shield my expression as I clenched my jaw, face still hot.

"Tch." I did what I was good at doing and made a tactical retreat. I darted passed the small group of people, seeing the stalls whip by in my vision as I made my way to the door that lead to the barn. I flew out and shut the door a little harder than intended.

I slowed my ascension to the barn loft, stopping about half way. I pulled up my hand to look at the flower clasped in between my small calloused fingertips, soft pink petals stared back up at me. Allowing a wistful smile to appear on my face, I brushed my finger over the top of it. Perhaps this wouldn't be all that bad. Not bad at all.

Chapter Text

I could feel the sun beating down on my face as I slowly began to come back to the conscious world. The rays were intense, enough to make me feel warm even though it was usually kind of chilly up here in the mountains. The warmth was welcome. The light, however, was not.

I curled up on my side and snorted, pulling the ratty blanket back over my head to hide from the offending rays. I felt a few small bundles roll off of the square bales I now used as a bed up here in the barn loft, hearing them mewl in discontent. Oops. Blinking sleepily, I peeked my head out and grabbed the furballs gently. They didn't fight as I brought them underneath the blankets with me and I fell back into a quick slumber.

This was usually how I woke up, for the past few weeks now. Though, today I had the day off so I was currently sleeping in. I missed sleeping in. Back home I always slept in whenever I could, since we people on Earth lived a much easier lifestyle than the people here I could afford to do that. Here? Not so much.

When I came back to, I was nestled underneath the blankets on top of some animal furs and the kittens were no longer with me. That's not what woke me up, though. It was the sound of growling. Growling? Blinking sleepily, I pulled the worn blankets off of me. The sun made me squint and my vision slowly started to focus. I came face to face with –

A bear.

I let out a squeal of terror, seeing it's face right next to mine. My squeal echoed through the empty barn and I could faintly hear someone drop something from downstairs. It's mouth was wide open, teeth gleaming in the sun as it stared down at me. If I'd had a full bladder, I'm sure I would have peed my pants. My heart felt like it leapt into my throat and my stomach dropped as dread took hold. Fight or flight. Fight or flight. Definitely flight. But where?!

I scrambled back and pressed my body against the aged wood that made up the wall of the barn, chest heaving with deep breaths. The bear's head moved to the side, revealing the thin figure of Sera. The blonde elf was cackling so hard that I could see tears coming out the sides of her blue eyes. Her face took on a tinge of pink that stretched all the way to the tips of her pointed ears as she curled forward in her amusement.

It was then that I realized that she was holding a gigantic mounted bear head. She had been the one making the growling noises.


I was still hyperventilating, but the fear inside of my body was slowly melting away into irritation. It felt like a faint itch inside of my chest, making it's way into my limbs. I wanted to hit the damn woman upside the head!

"S-SERA!" I howled from my spot against the wall, hands clenching into fists. "You know I hate bears!"

"B-But it was funny, right?" The thin elf blurted through her cackles, the mounted bear head now laying at her feet as she leaned forward to rest her hands on her knees. "Y-You should have seen your face!"

"It was pretty funny, I've got to admit." I heard a deep voice say from behind her. My brown eyes darted over to see the broad form of Blackwall, who was leaned against the wall near the staircase with an amused twinkle in his eyes.

I let my hair fall in front of my face as I tilted my head toward the ground, looking at the straw and hay that was strewn across the floorboards. My eyes glinted with irritation and I allowed a chuckle to escape my lips. I will get them back. My revenge will be sweet.

Today was going to be an interesting day.

I got up, grabbed a new change of clothes, and headed toward the washroom. I didn't notice the disconcerted look on Blackwall's face. Sera, for the most part, was completely unfazed as she took some calming breaths beside my makeshift bed.

Third Person

It was Angel's lunchbreak and she was sitting in the main hall of the Skyhold fortress. People were bustling around and some were even grouped up and talking amongst one another. The girl slowly took a bite of some stale bread, watching as they all conversed amongst one another. The hum of conversation was welcome to her, as she munched away at her small meal. The only person she recognized was her coworker that also helped with preparing food in the kitchens and a few of the servants that she talked to on her off-time.

That is, until she saw the form of an angry bald elf stomping out of the round room across from her table. Lyn mentioned him a few times these passed few weeks when they would talk. Solas, she thinks his name was. She said he was an asshole. He clomped by, his face set into a carefully blank expression. She could, however, see the anger beneath his eyes.

The pink paint falling from his shiny bald head and dribbling down onto his pale features also helped. It fell onto his white shirt, staining it. Ouch, that was going to be hard to get out. Angel stared in forced passivity, trying not to burst into fits of giggles at the sight. Some of the people nearby had stopped talking to look, some giggling quietly underneath their mask or behind their fans.

Maybe two minutes later, she saw a couple more people walking by and out into the gardens where the washroom was located. One was a blonde (Now pink haired) haired elf, who looked less than pleased. The other was a rather gruff looking bearded man that she remembered long ago was flirting with Josephine.

It seemed as though someone was going around and paint bombing these poor individuals. She wondered what they did to piss that person off?

Speaking of Josephine, Angel wondered what the tanned woman was doing. She liked to occasionally sit down and just chat with the woman sometimes. It all started when Angel asked about the bras in this world. Josephine had then began speaking enthusiastically about the ones provided by Lyn and how well they had come out. To which Angel then offered up one of her pushup bras as a sacrifice to the merchant that duplicated Lyn's sports bras. Bras were a gift. Bras are life.

The teen was broken out of her musing when she saw a smug looking Lyn coming in through the front doors, pink paint on her small hands. The woman sauntered through the doors and into the gardens where the other three had gone. Curiosity taking hold, Angel stood up from her seat and abandoned her meal to investigate Lyn.

Her sister got into so many shenanigans. Sometimes Angel wondered how the woman was even still alive in this world. Angel opened the door to the gardens, feeling the fresh cool air hit her face. She took a deep breath and smiled.

"I'll never get tired of the fresh mountain air, here." Angel sighed, carefully making her way into the open space. Soft grass greeted her shoes as she padded across the small patch of greenery to the other side. The girl watched as Lyn made her way carefully out of the men's side of the washrooms with a pile of clothes in her arms and set them in the bushes just on the other side of the wall, hiding them. Digging around in the small pile, she grabbed some robes and went into the women's side quietly.

She didn't take long as she emerged with another bundle of clothes and set them in the growing pile. What was this woman up to?

First Person

Solas had simply gotten in the crossfire. Not that I was complaining, though. Making sure the pile of clothes and towels were hidden behind the bushes, I walked into the garden and took a seat in the grass next to my sister. I'd noticed her follow me, but paid her no mind because I had to focus on the task at hand.

"Dare I ask what you are up to this time, hmmm?" I heard the chipper voice of Dorian from behind me. I peered over at him and smirked. He must have heard Solas' half scoff half yell as he protested my lovely gift from above. Purely accidental.


"Just giving our friends a makeover. Friendly stuff."

"The pink paint was a fabulous touch. It went well with Solas' bald head." He laughed, looking at the wash rooms with me. I looked back over, spotting Lynn and Cullen playing a board game. They seemed deep in conversation and probably haven't even noticed the commotion. "Maybe now he will get rid of that hideous excuse for a shirt."

"His whole outfit, really." I agreed in a bland tone. Oh, so sue me! I really did not like Solas. I was biased, of course, because he was an ass to me a couple times before (It was a mutual 'asshole-ness' going on here, but I refused to admit it.). Both arguments hadn't ended well and I didn't intend on reconciling. Call me petty if you want, sometimes I just can't get along with certain people.

Which was precisely why I actively avoided Vivienne. I had a feeling if I ever ran into her I would end up punching her in the face. She would, no doubt, lecture me on how close I seemed to the Inquisitor's 'demon pet'. Insults to me I could tolerate, but if the woman insulted my friend I would probably want to rip her face off.

"He's got this 'apostate hobo' vibe going on about him, or maybe he's a woodsman." Angel burst into a fit of giggles and Dorian continued his commentary. "Absolutely dreary, I say."

"It would really be a … shame … if anyone else happened to stumble across his outfit, wouldn't it?" I sighed, stretching my legs out in front of me and looking down at the grass as it swayed in the wind. It was a clear day, so the sun was beating down on our backs as we practically sunbathed for the next five minutes or so. Soon enough, I could hear Sera screaming in anger from inside of the women's wash room.

"Piss!" I heard her curse from behind the door, it was muffled but I was able to hear it. Pushing back the urge to roll around in the grass and laugh my ass off, I stared excitedly at the doors.

A couple more minutes and out came Sera, dressed in Solas' clothes. His new outfit that he had been carrying just minutes before, to be exact. The blond elf stood there angrily in a white long-sleeved high collared shirt. A pair of white pants to go with it. To put it bluntly, she looked like a dork.

"Gee, Sera. I didn't know you were taking fashion tips from Solas." I jeered, a smirk on my face. It felt good to get back at her for all the times she's pranked me these passed months.

"Oh my, what's going on here." I heard the accented voice of Lynn as she spoke between chuckles. I looked over, seeing her standing next to Cullen. He was staring at Sera with a curious look on his face. Standing up, I brushed some of the dirt off of my butt and waited for the others to come out. Good, we've got a small viewing audience!

It didn't take long, really.

The thing is with Blackwall and Solas, was that I only left one pair of clothes in there. Sera's pair of clothes to be exact. So I'd left it up to them to decide which of them would come out shirtless and which would come out in a dress.

As it turned out, Blackwall made his way out of the wash rooms proudly. The warrior stood with his posture straight, chest puffed out. He was in the skin tight yellow plaideweave leggings, showing off his well-muscled torso. His face was tinged pink from what I guessed to be embarrassment. I've got to give him credit, he walked by like nothing was wrong. I choked back a laugh as I watched him march by, eyes dead set on going to his room to change into something suitable.

Then came Solas. The bald elf walked out, face completely passive (save for that psychotic eye twitch I noticed). He was in Sera's pink dress without any pants on at all, the skirt falling just passed his knees. His pale shoulders were showing, the only thing there being small straps that were to hold the dress up. I could hear said blonde elf howling with laughter from her spot in front of the wash rooms as she saw Solas walk by. By this point, I was biting my lip to keep myself from laughing. Tears were pricking at the sides of my eyes as I tried to contain my amusement.

"I do say, Solas. That dress looks mighty charming on you. Hugs your curves in all the right places, it does." Dorian complimented, his hand resting under his chin as he appraised the elf's ass as he walked by without a word.

That did it.

Laughter bubbled up and out of my mouth, sounding like some horrid mix of a broken squeaky toy and a hyena cackle. It was rather frightening, really. Angel, who had already been laughing, started to laugh harder because of my sorry excuse for a laugh. She already knew about my ugly laugh, the others did not.

Dorian was looking at me, wide eyed, as he covered his mouth to try and hide his growing amusement. Sera was crying in a corner somewhere (Not from sadness, mind you).

It was a wonderful time.

Third Person

Cole was crouched beside some bushes up near the training area one evening watching Lyn and Sera as they spoke to one another about their training. He liked to watch people like this whenever he wasn't busy doing things for the people around Skyhold.

Most people noticed him now, however, so it made it much more difficult to observe people unnoticed. It was also harder to help, but sometimes knowing someone was there and wanted them to feel better was enough. He was learning, now. Just like Lyn said before, he just had to find out how to do things differently. And he could. Cole rocked on the balls of his feet, a low hum escaping his lips as he continued to watch his friend.

He watched as they got into fighting positions, one dagger held out and pointed at one another. Cole could see that Lyn enjoyed it, even though she would scowl or bite back her own insults toward Sera at times like this. There was always that flash of a smile, a small smirk, a light in her eyes. He saw them slash, dodge, and strafe around each other like they were dancing. Her footwork becoming more sure, steadier. She was getting better.

He always observed at a distance, people interacting with one another. Lately, though, Cole found that his attention was being drawn more and more toward his friend. Instead of simply being content watching from afar, he wanted to be near her. To talk and just spend time with her. It was odd, to want things. It confused, yet intrigued him at the same time.

Lyn got tossed onto the ground by Sera and she grunted and stood right back up.

"You're getting better, but not good enough!" Sera mocked, getting back into a stance. The elf's scathing words seemingly bouncing off of his friend as she looked up at her and mock glared. Sera's body was barely touched at all, aside from a scratch here and there. Maybe a stray bruise. Lyn's body was another story. She was sporting a nasty bruise on the side of her face and had rocks lodged into so many places it was hard to count.

The small curl of her pink lips, scratches and dirt marred her soft skin. Cole watched as the girl wiped some blood and dirt away from her mouth onto her baggy striped sleeve. He liked the way her rusty colored hair would tumble messily passed her shoulders. Or the way her dark brown eyes would light up when she was around him. Her song flitting around, growing and becoming stronger as the days went by. Her smile or the way her expression would soften, just for him. It sent his heart stuttering in his chest every time she directed that look at him.

He'd talked to Varric about it once. Confusing, yet intriguing. He wanted to see it more. The dwarf simply stated that he was attracted to the girl and he accepted it as such. But what does one even do when they are attracted to someone? Varric never answered.

Lyn didn't even respond to Sera's mocking as she lunged forward again, this time actually holding the dagger correctly and swung. The blonde elf blocked, metal screeched on metal as they pushed apart and began slicing wildly. Their expressions matched one another – gleeful yet slightly deranged.

Lyn has changed since she arrived, Cole knew. Before she had been hesitant, scared of getting hurt. Unsure of whether or not getting to know these people was even worth it. Her brown eyes had been almost hollow back at Haven. He barely remembered much from back then, but he remembered her dulled and lost expression. Her pleas for help. She'd gone to him first. She knew. She trusted him from the start.

He wasn't used to being accepted so easily and that had been the start of their friendship. Lyn was different now, though. Her eyes were alight with a fiery determination to move forward. She wanted to get better so that she could help her friends. The same friends she'd been afraid to befriend at first. Not anymore.

Being here distracted him from the niggling little voices in the back of his head. The memories. Whenever he was alone, he found that he often thought about the things that have happened and they almost seemed to haunt him. He still didn't know what to do about that.

"Sup brotha'." He heard a female voice from beside him, attempting to sound deeper. Cole looked to his left and saw Lyn's sister, Angel, standing there holding a bundle in her hands. Her hair was tied back into a loose bun, a floury apron tied over her long dress. The rogue scrunched is brows minutely, confused at her odd greeting. Though it wasn't really visible underneath his mop of white-blonde hair.

The girl dusted her white dress off and crouched down right next to him, her brown eyes alight with curiosity. She stared at the two people who had just gotten done sparring. They were now cleaning off with a nearby bucket of water.

"I brought some snacks, would you like some?" Angel started to untie the small bundle and took out a round looking biscuit and beamed at him. "Cookies!"

"I don't eat." Was Cole's flat reply to her, making the black haired girl pause right before she was about to shove the thing in her mouth. She looked at him with her mouth open, looking almost incredulous. The sun was getting low in the sky, casting a warm glow on the ground beside them. The two sat in the shade, however.

"You're joking, right?" Angel leaned forward to peer underneath his massive hat, getting into his personal bubble. Cole, feeling a little uncomfortable, scooted back a little with an aloof expression on his face. Why would he joke about something like that?


"But I thought …"

"What are you two up to, over here?" Angel looked up, seeing her sister staring down at them with her eyebrow raised and her arms crossed. It did look a wee bit suspicious, didn't it? Two people crouched near some bushes watching people as they went about their business. Though, Angel had just approached him just moments ago.

"I was offering him cookies, but he doesn't want to eat them." Angel concluded with a pout, finding the fact that he 'didn't eat' impossible. Which must mean he simply didn't want to eat her cookies, right? The small girl took offense.

"I'll eat his cookies..." Lyn mumbled, taking a seat right next to Cole and holding her hand out with a small grin. Angel observed as the scraggly rogue seemed to visibly relax, sitting down cross-legged. Lyn's face wasn't quite as messed up as it had been while they were sparring. Thanks to a light healing potion that was usually provided by Sera at the end of their sessions. Said elf had already run into the tavern for some reason or another. Likely to brag about how easily she was able to throw Lyn around.

"I upset you. Sorry. I don't have to eat." Cole explained softly from Lyn's left and Angel squinted at him, trying to see if he was telling the truth or not. She certainly thought he was an odd one. It wouldn't surprise her if he was actually telling the truth.

The rogue seemingly stared through the young girl, causing her to shiver. With her keen eye, though, she was able to see how the two friends seemed to unconsciously lean toward one another. The girl handed her sister a chocolate chip cookie, a huge grin on her face.

"It's fine it's fine." Angel waved off, feeling a bit nervous that he could pick around in her head like that. She chuckled as Lyn broke the cookie in half and tried to hand it to her friend.

"You don't have to, but perhaps you could try. Yeah?" She offered, looking over at him with a small smile on her face. He looked down at it with a contemplative look on his usually placid features. Lyn pulled it up closer to his face, waving it around as if trying to waft the smell into his nose. "It's still waaaaarm."

Cole's face faltered and he seemed to give in, his hands coming up to grab it as he leaned forward to take a small nibble. Lyn, still holding the cookie, looked pleased as she watched and waited for his reaction. Angel, for the most part, was trying to suppress the urge to squeal at how cute they were with each other.

The beginnings of what sounded suspiciously like a sigh that was covered up with a cough could be heard from behind the long haired girl, making her whip around to see who it was. She didn't see anyone, besides the angry woman that had imprisoned her when she first arrived. She was walking away so she couldn't see her expression, her cropped black hair swaying in the wind. Huh.

"Soft, but kind of crunchy. It's really … sweet." Angel turned around, seeing the cookie completely gone. The only indication that there had even been a cookie is a few crumbs that seemed to stick to the side of the rogue's face. She laughed, setting the bundle of cookies in Lyn's lap and standing up.

"I'll leave you guys alone."

First Person

It was times like this when I didn't miss home. Even though the thought of my home world never really flitted through my mind much anymore, I still kind of missed it. My legs were stretched out onto the grass in the upper courtyard as we made ourselves comfortable near the training area, a bush seemed to hide us from whoever was sparring. I was able to watch as Iron Bull and Krem seemed to throw words back and forth as they battled with shields across the training grounds. I idly stuck the rest of my cookie in my mouth and looked down at my lap, seeing them all gone.

Blinking and feeling a bit confused, I stared down at the empty cloth in my lap. I'd only eaten one (and a half), there had to have been about five or six cookies in that bundle. My brown gaze slowly slid over to my friend, who was sitting cross-legged in the grass right next to me. Cole was staring down at me with possibly the most adorably innocent look on his face. I think it may have been forced innocence, judging by the small chocolate stains I saw on his fingertips and a few stray crumbs that were now resting on the side of his mouth.

"There's no way I can even get angry at you if you make that face at me." I sighed, shaking out the cloth that lay on my lap and handing it to him. Normally I punished cookie thieves, but …

"I like cookies, can we get more?" Idly, I brushed the crumbs off of his face and hummed thoughtfully.

"If you'd like." I responded and his lips curled into a small smile. I returned it, feeling affection flourish in my chest. Why did I have a feeling a lot of cookies were going to be stolen from the kitchens in the future? I only hope he learned how to dodge the cook's wooden spoon, since he seemed to have deadly aim. (Not that I would know or anything.)

Later that night, Lynn joined me at my table during dinner. Sera was there, too. I knew that usually wherever Lynn was on her free time, Sera was. The two stuck to each other like glue and seemed to be attached at the hip. I thought it was kind of cute, really, how the two elves would show tiny forms of tenderness here and there. Little touches, smiles and just how they spoke to one another. It was blatantly obvious the two were more than just bed buddies.

Not usually one to admire a relationship between people, I shook my head to clear my thoughts. I suppose it has to do with the fact that they were both my friends and I felt happy for them. I was glad that they were happy, especially in times like this.

"We've got a few things to get done in Redcliffe, soon." Lynn began, taking a dainty bite out of her food. "I've also decided you're well enough to have your gun back. Have you decided what we are to do with it, yet?"

"Hmmmm. I'm not really sure … but." I grumbled, resting my elbow on the worn out table in front of me and leaning my head on my hand. "I'll dispose of it properly after I've used up my ammo. Don't need it falling into the wrong hands, do we?"

"Agreed. I've seen what that thing can do and with the incident between you and the Ben-Hassrath." She seemed cautious as she stared at my face for any type of reaction. I was getting better about that, actually. Thinking about it didn't send me into a panic anymore. Don't get me wrong, it still scared the shit out of me. But dwelling doesn't get me anywhere.

"Killing baddies is what we do, ya know? Doubt they'll come back after what we did to em last time. Funny, innit?" Sera grins and takes a huge bite out of a piece of bread, "They'll probably try a few more times, but we'll show em!" Her voice is kind of muffled from the bread, crumbs spewing everywhere.

"Who knows, they might back off after we tell them it's been destroyed." Lynn still sounded a bit skeptical though and was probably just trying to say it to make me feel a bit more at ease. Not happening.

"Pfff. I doubt that, you know as well as I do that those fuckers won't stop. I'll likely be hunted for as long as I stay here in this world." I replied in a bitter tone, glaring at the holes in the table. I ran my fingernail over some of the cracks in the wood, thinking about how frigging unlucky I was. I should have just destroyed the damn thing in the first place. Would have saved me the trouble.

Lynn sighed, but didn't offer anything to refute my statement. She probably knew as well as I did that it was true. People were greedy. Well … most. My brown gaze flicked up at my friends, watching as Lynn and Sera spoke softly to one another after our conversation died. I've met a lot of bad people in my life, but I was starting to think that perhaps I was wrong. My friends were a fine example that humanity was not doomed. The Inquisition was created to help people, after all. Hopefully this world will be a better place with Lynn's influence. She was a good woman.

I listened to them talk about why they were traveling around as of late. Apparently Lynn has been out closing rifts and all the like. She needed to get a better reputation for the Inquisition and helping out should work. All because in about two and a half months there was this ball that Empress Celene was hosting. They needed an invitation and the only way to get one was to make the Inquisition reputable in the eyes of the court.

I stood up and left, not even saying goodbye. Not because I was being rude, but I didn't want to interrupt their conversation. They were leaving to the Hinterlands and I planned to go along, at least. I'd be no good just sitting around in Skyhold and training, but not having actual experience. It's one thing to learn it, but another to apply it. Learn to use it effectively. That's what I intended to do.

The next day I found myself saddling up a bunch of horses with a couple of other stablehands. My small hands deftly maneuvering the straps around, since I was so familiar with it. My brown horse let out a whicker once I was finished, nuzzling my pocket. I'd named her Skittles … not that anyone knew. I referred to her as such only in my mind. Rubbing her soft velvety nose, I let my mind wander as I took inventory of my things mentally. I had to make sure I had all that I needed, after all.

I knew that I had to be more prepared, now. Especially with the over-looming danger of the Ben-Hassrath. I didn't really think they would strike so soon, but better safe than sorry right? The party this time was much larger, since we were supposed to split into two groups to get more done quicker.

Bull and his Chargers actually came along this time as we made our way closer to the crossroads. The horse hoofs clomping on the dirt road as we walked in a formation. Lynn, Sera and a few others were going to head to Redcliffe for a few days while we went to make sure the refugees had what they needed. I was under the impression they'd already helped the refugees, but I suppose more help wouldn't hurt right?

At some point we'd tied our horses off on a fence as we stood just outside of the little settlement, the wind was mild as it blew by. The chilly air felt nice on my face as I stared up at the sky, seeing a few clouds rolling by slowly. Rusty strands still seemed to fly into my face, however, making me scowl. Perhaps it was time to get a hairband of some sort and start tying it back.

Before we completely split, I could hear some of them bantering in the background as I slowly tuned my hearing in to listen. I was positioned near the back of the group, the rest of them situating their things as they decided who would be going with who.

"Do you really have to walk around with your shirt off or do you just like showing off your pillowy man-bosoms?" I heard Krem complain to his boss, looking up at the massive Qunari with a grin. Observing quietly, I allowed myself to smirk lightly. Those two, I swear.

"They're nice, aren't they?" He flexed and it didn't escape my notice that Dorian seemed to look over and appraise him. I grinned impishly and the Tevinter seemed to take notice, looking at me with a raised brow. I waggled my eyebrows suggestively and poked my pointer fingers together, an obscene gesture, as I flick my gaze between him and Bull. He scoffed in response, turning away so that I couldn't see the pinkening of his cheeks. But I noticed, Dorian. Oh, I noticed.

"What are you, twelve?" Solas asks, acknowledging my immature behavior from beside me. I peered over at him, a grin still on my face. He, for the most part, looked passive save for the way his one brow seemed to be raised.

"No you've got that backwards, Solas. I'm twenty one … and a half." I sassed back in a dull tone, "The half counts."

"Clearly." The elf said plainly.

"It's funny, because swords." Sera let out a giggle snort and I realized that more of the others happened to see what I'd done. I felt my cheeks darken in mild embarrassment, not even expecting to have been seen. Everyone was usually too busy, so I hadn't thought …

The only three giggling like idiots were Lynn, Sera and I as most of the others look at us with exasperated looks on their faces. Somewhere in the background Blackwall facepalmed. Most of the other companions were up on their horses and waiting around not far away. Ours were still lined up side by side as we stood off into the grass near some tall evergreens.

Bull knocked Krem to the side with his shoulder and they finished their bickering.

"You and Krem say words that hurt, but they aren't real, The Iron Bull." Cole addressed from beside the warrior. The sheer size difference was kind of amusing, really. Bull turned from his Lieutenant and looked down at the lanky rogue.

"Yes. We give each other grief. It's a soldier thing, doesn't mean anything." He explained to Cole, who nodded as if agreeing.

"It means friendship. And you're soldiers. Krem likes it, it makes him proud."

"You know, you don't have to talk about me like I'm not here." The object of the discussion stared, arms crossed as his eye twitched. Bull laughed,

"I guess I can see that." The bulky warrior grinned, "Him, huh?"

"Is that wrong?"

"No, no. I just thought, since you do that thing where you see into people's heads." He paused for a moment, "Actually, you're good, Kid. Keep it up."

"The armor is right. The body isn't, but it doesn't hurt him anymore." Cole fiddled with the wraps on his hands, his blue eyes still locked onto the Qunari's face. "You make it better."

It sounded like Krem made a choking noise as I stared passively at the three. In my peripheral, he had snapped his attention over to me as if to see if I'd heard. Of course I did, but that didn't matter. I peered over at him and smirked but went back to my business. Skittles was not far away as I opened my pack, which was clipped onto the saddle, and began to dig around.

"I said something I wasn't supposed to. Sorry." Cole spoke and frowned as he looked over at Krem, "You didn't want her to know, why?"

"It's not like- well. It didn't come up... so." The Lieutenant sounded a bit awkward about it, almost unsure of what to say.

"It's fine, I already knew." I spoke as I pulled a piece of jerky out of my bag, trying to make him feel better. I turned my brown gaze over to him. He blinked at me, a baffled look on his face. We stood there quietly for a moment as I gnawed at my prize I pulled from my bag.

"What … no questions? Not even a comment?" Krem almost seemed at a loss for words. I rose a brow.

"If I made a scathing comment, would it make you feel better?" I scratched my chin in thought as I stared off into the distance. "I didn't really think it was my place to say anything."

"Really." His tone made it hard to decipher what he was feeling so I looked up at him and tilted my head. His face was blank as he waited for me to elaborate. Not really knowing what to say on the matter without perhaps pissing him off (Since I seem to be good at doing that to people), I decided to take a page out of Cole's book and walked up to him.

"Looking doesn't matter. It's what's in here." I poked his forehead, "And here." I poked the area above his heart. "That matters. People are stupid if they believe otherwise."

It was true, really. Our bodies were merely a shell that contained what we really were. I suppose maybe I saw things much differently than most people, because Krem didn't look like he believed me at first. Like he couldn't believe that I'd just outright accepted the fact that he was transgender without even blinking. Were people that ignorant in this world, too? The thought saddened me.

"You really are something, you know that." I could hear the smile in his voice as I was forced from my thoughts. "I take it things are different back in your world?"

"Not really. Unfortunately the ignorance must be universal. Though they do have a social movement and all that shit. You'll have to ask my sister about it, if you're curious." I let my eyes wander into the trees behind them. It was true, my sister was pretty passionate about things like this.

"Why's that?"

"Errr... I was different before I came here. Indifference can be as blinding as ignorance, at times. I was no different, really." I stared sadly at the ground, remembering the times I saw people getting bullied because of it and I did nothing. Even just people getting bullied, in general. No one bothered me back then because I looked like I'd cut them if they pissed me off. "I could have done better."

That was in high school. We all have harsh times in high school, yeah? When I started going to college, things were much different. It's almost like it opened my eyes and I matured. I started to discover that I wanted to help people instead of allow them to get hurt. Thus is the reason why I chose Law Enforcement. I'd been in the process of changing myself, to be a better person.

"Who you are now is what matters." Cole spoke, repeating something I'd said to him before. I grunted and looked away to hide my troubled expression. I also didn't want to see if they were disappointed in me or not, so I just turned away and walked off.

The group split up into two groups, as was planned. Bull was leading one of the groups and Lynn leading the other. I was to go with Bull and his Chargers along with Dorian, Varric and Cole. The rest; Cassandra, Solas, Vivienne, Sera and Blackwall traveled with Lynn.

We found out from a couple of locals about some bandits that have been giving them troubles as of late. There was also word floating around about another group that sounded suspiciously like Venatori when they were described. We planned on taking care of both within the short few days that we had here. It would at least assist with getting the Inquisition's reputation up.

My feet padded on the soft grass beneath my boots as we made our way quietly down a small animal trail, underbrush and trees gave us a sufficient amount of cover. We eventually stumbled upon a small camp with a group that was sitting around a large blazing fire. Now, we didn't know what these bandits even looked like. So we weren't sure if these people were who we were looking for.

Dalish had idly mentioned that they might not be bandits, but could find out if one of us was sent out there. Basically bait. I readily agreed, thinking that it was a good idea since I seemed less threatening and all. I mean, I'd feel like complete crap if we attacked some random people you know? The others seemed to have the same idea, not wanting to accidentally attack innocents. Cole did not seem at all pleased at my decision, though, trying to grab my arm to prevent me from going forth through the bushes.

"I'll be fine." I assured quietly, hopping forward and into the clearing. I honestly did not look the part of a soldier at all, as I stood there in my plain blue tunic and cargo pants. The only weapon that was visible was my bow and quiver of arrows on my back. Not really that threatening.

"Yo." I spoke rather nonchalantly as I neared their camp, my hand raised in a lazy greeting. I saw a few of them grab the hilt of their swords and stare in my direction, but seemingly calmed after getting a good look at me.

"What's a girl like you doin out 'ere?" One of the guys sitting by a tent asked, a stone in his hand as he appeared to be sharpening his blade. I shrugged,

"Just hunting." I stared blankly as one of the bigger guys walked up to me, a friendly smile on his face as he got closer. Though, I could tell that it was forced. Okay, maybe this wasn't such a good idea. They were obviously a rough group, now that I got a closer look at them. I spotted someone in the back taking their bow out, looking at me suspiciously. Feeling nervousness flutter around in my stomach, I took a small step back.

The large warrior that was walking toward me didn't even get a chance to speak. I saw Cole poof into existence in front of me, giving the man enough time to look surprised before his throat was promptly cut. I stared, eyes wide as my friend glared at the rest of the camp.

"I won't let you!" I heard rustling in the bushes behind me as everyone charged forward, yells and commands being thrown through the air. Voices echoed in the clearing as I slowly slipped into the back and began to do what I did best alongside Varric.

"Archers to the North!" Krem shouted out the enemy's position as he shield bashed his opponent with enough force to send him tumbling away. This allowed me to safely fire an arrow into his arm, making him grunt and look over at me with a glare. A distraction that proved to be fatal.

Somewhere off to the left, I saw Dalish aim her 'bow' at the archers and they were engulfed in flames. Not a mage, my ass.

"Mage!" One of our enemies screamed, calling out the blonde elf as she revealed herself. I saw a few of the men look to her and charge forward in attempt to take her out, but they were blocked by her teammates. A magical barrier was thrown up and seemed to cling to their bodies, giving them a protective glow.

Bull's Chargers were doing an excellent job and their teamwork was astounding. With Krem and Bull shouting orders across the battlefield, it kept everyone on their game. The way they moved so comfortably between one another told me that they've been doing this for a long time. They worked seamlessly as I stood in the background and fired off arrows into unsuspecting enemies. Varric had wandered off away from me at some point, getting a better angle to shoot his crossbow.

It seemed I was usually overlooked a lot in battle because I didn't really look to be a threat, really. I still had yet to get armor, but Sera had me measured up the other day and it was getting made.

I heard a yell from my right, causing me to snap my attention in that direction. Turning my head, I saw a warrior in plate armor charging in my direction. His one handed sword was raised and his shield covered him enough that my arrow bounced off of the metal and landed harmlessly onto the soft grass below. I scoffed and got ready to leap away and start dodging until someone saved my ass, but I didn't have to. I saw Cole plunge one of his daggers into the back of the guys head, sending him falling to the ground heavily with a 'Thud!'

I blinked, seeing my friend disappear into a cloud of smoke and watched as his shimmering form moved away and back into battle. Though he wasn't far away. It was like he was the shadows itself, I swear to God. Rogues are tricky little bastards, I've gotta say.

It didn't escape my notice how he seemed to act as a silent sentry, preventing anyone from coming even remotely close as I fired away. To which I was grateful for, I couldn't protect myself in close ranged combat just yet.

It didn't take that long for everyone to finish up as I stood nearby and looked at the camp, which was now in shambles. The tents and stuff was scattered around from the scuffle, wooden poles broken and blankets strewn out. At some point one of the enemies must have been cut down and fell in the fire, because I saw a body laying in the fire pit as it slowly died down. A generous amount of arrows were sticking out of a lot of the bodies, causing me to cringe and look away.

Face set in a frown, I walked in the opposite direction toward where our horses were tied up and hidden. The sun was slowly starting to get lower in the sky, making the shadows from the trees look longer as they stretched out into the clearing.

I had used most of the arrows that were in my quiver, which seemed lighter now as it was strapped to my back with my bow. It mattered not, however, as Sera had drilled into my head the importance of arrows. I had a bunch more clipped onto Skittles.

How do people even learn how to deal with the constant death and fighting? I had already learned to focus during battle, almost pretending like they weren't people with families. People with lives. I fought for my friends. I killed in order to protect them. I had to remember Krem's words from before as I began to fiddle around with the stuff strapped to my horse. I was different. Yes. That's what made me different than them. I only did it when I had to.

I looked up at the sky, standing next to Skittles and decided that it was almost evening. We'd likely make camp soon and take off early tomorrow to investigate these other people before meeting up with the rest of the party.

It shall be interesting.

Chapter Text

After everyone had looted the bodies from the battle with the bandits, we slowly made our way to a nearby Inquisition camp. There were three large tents set up that would be used between the people in the party. I didn't necessarily feel like sharing space with anyone, so I set up my own tent nearby which was only about half the size of them. I remained rather quiet as the others seemed to converse among themselves happily.

The camp was positioned near a small waterfall, a tiny pond area with lily pads positioned underneath the stream. There was a lake up the hill, that I knew was where they'd recruited Blackwall if I remembered correctly. Judging by the cabin I saw on our way down the staircase, I wasn't wrong.

I was carefully picking some Blood Lotus near the small stream below the waterfall. My small fingers picked at the plant as I thought about what Adan had offered. He said if I grabbed my own supply of Blood Lotus he would give me a discount on my favorite item. Antivan Fire. It worked for me.

There was one slight problem that I seemed to overlook, aside from my abnormally bad luck. The terrain I was currently crouching near as I picked the plant out of shallow waters was quite slippery. I felt my boot slip as it crossed my mind a bit too late, sending me face first into the freezing water. I was submerged completely in the deeper part as I flailed about. I flew up into a crouched position, gasping for air and letting out a girlish shriek.

I could hear laughter not far away in the camp near the fire as they caught sight of my accident. I felt my face turn pink as I scrambled my way out of the water, shivering as the cold wind hit my body relentlessly. My clothing stuck to my body and felt heavy, so I started to squeeze out some of the water while I grumbled under my breath. It was evening now and the sun was starting to fall behind the horizon, making it so I was able to see some stars on the opposite side of the sky. The Blood Lotus I was collecting was lost in the depths of the water, floating away and out of my reach now.

Growling, I stomped back toward camp with my rusty hair plastered to my scowling face. My boots made a squelching noise with each step and my clothing still dripped and clung to my body despite my attempts at getting the water out. This made me feel a bit more exposed than I'd like, so I swiftly made my way toward my tent.

"I don't think it's warm enough to go swimming, Screech." Varric offered his advice as I walked by and I flipped him off before I dove into my tent in all my soggy glory. Sighing when I was inside, I rummaged around in my pack and found a plain tunic and some pants. It was hard getting the damn things off, since my fingers were freezing and seemed to refuse to listen to me. Once I was finished changing, I swiftly made my way over to the fire to take off my boots. I'd be without my boots all night, so hopefully we don't get attacked. Ugh. I needed to be more careful.

" – So basically we defended the whole town from fifty bandits, only to get paid in rice." Krem was sharing a story with Varric as I approached and I heard the dwarf chuckle. Only? Rice was a good commodity to have, though.

"Well, we didn't go hungry for months. Can't really complain." Dalish shrugged, her big grey eyes lit up with the amusement. I blinked, walking up to the fire and began positioning my wet clothing on an unoccupied log.

The pale blond haired man let out a grunt, as if agreeing with her. It seemed as though most of the others had retired for the night, leaving only a few. I silently wondered where Cole went off to.

"Enjoy your bath, princess?" I heard Dorian say as he sauntered back into camp, making me raise my brow. Where had he disappeared off to?

"Call me that again and I'll cut up your dress." I sassed back, knowing all too well that he valued them as such. It was actually getting pretty dark out, making it hard to see any further than where the fire illuminated. The moon wasn't really that bright tonight and the clouds seemed to drift by to hide it. The wind blew by and seemed to go right through my clothing, making me shiver and scoot closer to the fire.

The Tevinter scoffed, looking appalled as he held his hand up against his chest. "You really know where to hit a man where it hurts, don't you? And it's not a dress, it's a robe."

"Don't worry, I have spare clothes you can borrow." I stifled my amusement and tried to keep my face straight. He scrutinized what I was wearing and squinted. It looked like he was about to say something before –

"I found dinner!" Bull butted in happily, walking in from the same direction Dorian had. Both my eyebrows raised as he stumbled forward with a bloody looking wolf clutched in his huge hand.

"Ugh. Not again, Chief."

I'm just going to take a wild guess and say the wolf interrupted their special time together in the woods. I watched him start to skin the thing so that he could set it over the fire to cook. I stared blankly into the fire for awhile, watching as the flames seemed to dance as the light flickered across everyone's faces as they spoke quietly. A few of the Inquisition scouts ambled by, keeping watch for any activity outside of the camp.

I sat there and ignored their banter, thinking about where my friend could have gone. I didn't see him around the fire, maybe he was sleeping in one of the tents? I allowed my eyes to scan the darkness out around the camp, not really expecting to see anyone or anything. Apparently I was wrong, because in the distance, I could see a the faint outlines of a figure and a wide brim of a hat standing by the pond that I had fallen into maybe an hour ago.

Letting a breath out of my nose, I slipped my damp boots on and attempted to make my way out there quietly. It seemed unlikely, since every time I took a step my boots made a squishing noise from being wet. Frigging hell. There were a few rocks in the grass that I stubbed my boot on and I cursed silently, almost falling on my face in the process. Regaining my balance, I walked slowly and waited for my eyes to adjust to the darkness. Out here it was almost impossible to see.

When I got closer, Cole was standing near the waterfall, his feet at the edge of the pond as his eyes focused into the dark. He was looking out toward something I seemingly could not see. The light from the fire, back at the camp, offered little in terms of illumination. The moon would occasionally peek through the clouds and greet us with a dim glow.

Even with such little visibility, I could see the expression on his pale features. His eyes looked despondent. Lost. The sound of the crashing water behind his figure seemed muted as I focused on him. A small frown tugged at my face, seeing that he was gradually getting wet from the mist that floated around the base of the waterfall.

"Cole." I called, stepping a bit closer. He made no indication that he'd heard me as he continued to stare out into the distance. Silently hoping that he wouldn't lash out at me for 'sneaking up' on him, I gently grabbed his arm near his elbow. He jumped, turning toward me with widened blue eyes. I stared back worriedly, "You're getting wet."

My voice sounded drowned out, even to me, as I tried to speak to him. So I opted for dragging him away from the pond about halfway to camp. He didn't even seem to put up a fight as I led him away. We were still out of sight, though, as the underbrush and trees seemed scattered about to offer protection.

My thoughts kept flickering back toward that look on his face. I've seen that expression before. It was the same one I used to give myself in the mirror years and years back, when I was wracked with the guilt of not being able to save my siblings. I could only stand by and watch. Foster homes are not all sunshine and rainbows.

Shaking that thought out of my head, I turned toward him and began to wipe his face off with the long sleeve of my sweater. At least he wasn't soaked, like I had been when I fell into the pond. The possibility still remained that he could get sick since he was more human now. I knew not his limitations and what he was vulnerable to, but it was better to be safe than sorry.

Cole didn't speak a word as I fretted, thoughts buzzing and zipping around in my head. His expression had not changed as the moonlight slowly died out as it hid behind the clouds again. Seeing that look on his face almost felt like it physically hurt me. I would never wish that pain on anyone, especially not him. Sure, I've seen that same look on his face when he thought no one was paying attention. When no one was around talking to him or he wasn't helping people around Skyhold. No one seemed to notice, either. But I saw.

I thought that maybe if I let him have some time alone, he could work it out. Whatever it is. That is what I did, after all. So I would leave Cole in the silence, to think. But not everyone copes the same way and the heaviness in his eyes seemed to only get greater and greater with each day. Little by little.

I was wrong. But what do I do? What can I do?

"You're hurting." He finally spoke as I let my hand fall to my side. I tilted my head, looking at him almost incredulously. Cole was sitting out here looking completely miserable and he tries to address my feelings?

I made a noise that sounded like a mixture between a grumble and a sigh, "I should be the one saying that. I'm not blind."

"I never said you were … blind." I shook my head at his statement and heard him shift around, holding something up to me. Peering down at his hands, I could barely see what it was but offered a small smile in response. He'd been picking Blood Lotus. The distraction wasn't going to work on me, though.

"I don't need to be gifted to know that you're in pain, you know." I informed my friend in attempt to get him to elaborate. I wanted him to talk to me, give me something to go off of so that I could try and ease his pain. If at all possible, that is. The thought that I might not even be able to help made my shoulders slump.

"You feel it, too. Right here." He pushed his hands against the middle of my chest, "I'm hurting, so you're hurting. H-How can I … How can I help people if I just cause more pain? I don't-"

"Cole, it's called empathy. When you see someone that you care about hurting, you can feel it too. It's … hard to explain. But don't worry, it's normal." Not something I was used to, either. I was never really an empathetic person, but it seems a lot has been changing lately.

"But … I don't matter. You shouldn't-" I felt anger flare in my chest and I glared up at him, making him pause and choke back whatever it was he was about to say.

"I shouldn't? I shouldn't what? Not care?" I snapped and growled in frustration and I gripped his hands. No. I couldn't get angry, especially not now. It's not like he could control what he was feeling. I knew that.

"If it helps." Cole's voice came out flat and I hissed, trying to bury the sharp pain that laced through my body in response. Trying to push me away won't work!

"Too late, can't stop now." I fumbled around, grabbed the Blood Lotus from his hands and turned toward the camp. "Grab your bedroll and meet me in my tent." I spoke before I walked off without looking back. I could hear him following from behind, his shoes making a squelching noise as he walked. Which told me he must have been wading in the water. My brown gaze flicked to the darkened ground beneath my feet, a frown etched into my face.

I ignored the curious glances of some of my companions near the fire, slipping into my tent and putting away my little gift before curling up underneath my blankets. It wasn't long until I heard the flap to my tent move and a figure crawl in. It bothered me how Cole could so easily just dismiss himself like that, saying that he didn't matter. He did. To me, anyway. And I'm sure that Varric would have a few choice words to offer if he'd said something like that around him.

When he was just about settled into the bedroll next to mine, I grabbed his shirt and pulled him into my arms. Grumbling about how much of an idiot he was, I felt him wrap his arms around me in response. I don't know what it was that was bothering him. Well, I may have a slight idea, but I would give him something that I never got to have in times like this.

I remembered wishing that someone would be there for me. To just listen. To care. Everyone was too scared to say something to hurt me, I was left alone in my thoughts to 'get over it'. I wouldn't let that happen to Cole, because he wasn't alone. He would never be alone, so long as I had a say in it.

I felt him start to quiver as he squeezed me tighter, burying his face into my chest. No words passed between us. None were needed, as we both slipped off to sleep.

I awoke the next day with a jolt as someone kicked my foot from outside of my tent. I snorted, opening my eyes blearily and looking up at the offending person.

"Heading out soon." Came the gruff tone of the tanned man from the Chargers. Dimmed light came from behind him and poured into my small tent, telling me that it was dawn. Stitches, I think his name was. I grumbled a response that was incoherent, even to me, and let my head thump back onto the flat pillow that came with the bedroll I was currently on.

I looked down and saw that Cole was still curled up right beside me, his arm rested limply on the slight curve of my waist. Sighing, I ruffled his hair.

"Time to get up." The only response I got was a sleepy grunt as he clutched the back of my shirt. I've never cuddled before, so this was kind of new to me. I could see why people liked it, though. I felt the contentment buzzing around in my chest as he blinked up at me sleepily. He looked cute with his hair all ruffled up, blue eyes unfocused from sleep.

It took awhile, but we eventually untangled ourselves and began to get ready for the day. I rummaged around in my pack, making sure everything was there as I stood next to my horse. My bedroll was strapped to the back of the saddle and the tent was put away, I began to think. Worry.

I was never good with words and couldn't sufficiently comfort people the way most could. I'd never really cared to figure that part about socialization out, finding it far too confusing and not really worth my time. I only learned what I needed to know to 'fit in' and not stand out, really. I hefted myself onto Skittles and felt her shift underneath my weight as she adjusted. I felt inadequate and wished I could do more.

Everyone was relatively quiet as we steered our horses down a trail slowly, their hooves making only light clopping noises. The dirt beneath would get kicked up a little, sending it floating through the fresh morning air. The sun was out and it was completely clear today, making it warmer than it was yesterday. It was welcomed as I stared forward and followed Bull to wherever we were headed.

We didn't get far when Rocky, the dwarven man from Bull's Chargers, came out of the bushes and informed us of a Venatori camp that he'd scouted ahead and saw. We were going to ambush them, so that brings us to the present as we crouched in the bushes a ways away and watched them amble about in their camp. It looked like they were simply scouting the area, only one of them being a warrior.

I was crouched next to Bull, Dorian and Cole as we stared. Well, I glared, feeling hate and rage course through me at seeing them. I still couldn't help how I felt about the group. Not only at what they'd done to me, but when I started to learn about what else they did … it only proved to strengthen the amount of hate I held for the group.

I pulled out an Antivan Fire grenade and clutched it in my hands as I shook, but felt a hand being placed on top of mine.

"The rage will only make your arrows miss." Cole repeated quietly what Sera had said to me many times before during our sparring sessions. Varric had even said it once. I shut my mouth and began to even out my breathing, not even realizing until now that I had almost been hyperventilating.

I heard a soft discussion at my left between Bull and a few of his Chargers on what they were going to do. We stared, getting ready to ambush them – but never got the chance.

I heard a loud roar as it grumbled through the air, causing my face to turn pale and my body to freeze in place. Everyone crouched lower, seeing two bears lumbering into their camp. Fucking. Bears!

We watched as they ripped through the camp angrily, hearing the Venatori mages and rogues scream as they tried to fend them off. The tents were swiftly torn down by the angry wildlife and they were able to take out one of the bears. In the end, the only thing left was a bloodied and injured bear while everyone else lay strewn out in the camp, torn apart and dead.

I stared blankly, thinking about how anticlimactic that had been. Peering over, I saw the blank looks of almost everyone else in the party as they saw the sorry state of their enemy's encampment.

The Venatori's plans were, to put it simply, for world domination. They wanted to rule over Thedas and have allied up with a wannabe God. But …. these ones got their plans foiled by the angry wildlife in the Hinterlands. It was quite amusing, now that I think about it. Scoffing, I chucked my Antivan Fire grenade out at the camp and watched as it exploded into a mass of raging fire and engulfed what was left of the tents that were torn apart. Ah, yes, the injured bear died too. I hate bears.

"That was quite excessive, no?" Dorian commented, "Though I will not disagree, I detest the group just as much as you."

"We could have found some valuable information in that camp …" Bull glared down at me with his one eye, but I didn't really see any fire behind it. He wasn't really mad, but probably a wee bit disappointed, so I sighed.

"Sorry. Sometimes I just … want to make things go –" I wiggled my fingers with a blank expression on my face, "Boom."

I got a slap on the back, making me jump in surprise, as I heard someone start to laugh from behind me, "You're not so bad, girlie!" Came the rough voice of Rocky, their demolition's expert.

"Oh no … no no. We don't need another one." Dalish groans, holding her head in her hands as her blonde hair tumbled forward. The pale blonde man, who I think was named Grim, grunted from beside her as he looked over at me.

Hours later, we sat in the bushes in another location as we overlooked a burning Venatori camp. Smoke rose angrily and billowed into the sky. Some of the men ran away out of the tents as they were on fire and tried to roll around to put it out. I stared passively, pockets now completely empty of Antivan Fire grenades. Screams echoed in the background as my companions looked exasperatedly at me. Well, most. A few of them looked almostamused, but that's beside the point. I may or may not have had five of them when we traveled into the Hinterlands a few days ago.

I also may or may not have done this just to spite Bull.

"Someone really needs to keep those away from you if you can't learn to control yourself, girl." Bull actually sounded a little irritated now. I don't know what's gotten into me today, but I felt like terrorizing the Qunari. I never got to get back at him for being an ass and selling me out to the Ben-Hassrath, so here I am.

"So it's 'girl' now? That hurts, Bull. Right here, where my heart is supposed to be." I put my hand on my chest and frowned. He stood up and stalked over in my direction. I, still crouched, flew into a standing position and looked at him defiantly. The warrior completely dwarfed me as he stood within arms reach with his head held high, so my defiant look probably didn't work on him.

"Shit." I heard Krem say from somewhere in the back, along with some quiet whispers. He wouldn't hurt me, right? No.

I flinched when I saw his huge ass hand come up in my vision as he reached around to my back. I felt him grasp a huge chunk of my sweater as he lifted me off the ground, my feet dangling as I stared up at him with widened brown eyes. You're fucking kidding me, right?! It was like he was just lifting a kitten by the scruff of it's neck, making me hiss and flail. He simply smirked at my failed attempts to wriggle away.

"You will pick 100 Elfroot leaves for Stitches while we're waiting for the others to return." He spoke authoritatively, shaking me side to side. "Got it?"

I glared and crossed my arms, looking over at my friends for help. Dorian looked like he wanted to laugh, but was covering his mouth with his hand as he composed himself. Varric was in a similar state, but did not speak up in my defense. Krem was conveniently averting his gaze with a small smirk as he looked at the underbrush at his right. Cole just sat there with a passive look on his pale face, his hat almost completely covered his expression. Hey! I thought friends were supposed to have eachother's backs! I practically screeched in my head.

The only response I got was a small twitch of Cole's lips, but he didn't say anything.

God damn it.

Sighing, I allowed my body to slump from my position as Bull turned and dropped me next to Stitches. I fell on my ass, feeling like a scolded child and I saw a tanned hand come into view holding out a pouch to me.

"Alright, I kinda deserved that one." I conceded silently, grabbing the pouch and standing up to follow everyone as we made our way to the horses.

It took me hours to even get remotely close to the number of Elfroot leaves that Bull had asked for. I stayed within screeching distance as I ambled around looking for the damn plant. Did I mention before that I was bad at finding Elfroot? In the game, you could use a blip thing. I had no such luxury here. I'm pretty sure I've said that before, though.

Sighing, I looked at the fat pouch that was strapped to my belt loop at my right. It was full enough, I thought. Though the amount was closer to 70 or 80, not 100. It's not like he will sit down and count them one by one, right? Chuckling, I turned and made my way back to where everyone was waiting just outside of the Crossroads. The horses were tied off, yet again, to a fence as the others simply sat around in the grass and relaxed as they waited.

Blinking in confusion, I saw Lynn and Sera come into view somewhere in the distance just as I stumbled out of the brush near the woods. My boots crunched on the path as I walked over and stopped so that I was away from everyone else. I spotted Cole standing up to walk over to me, I crossed my arms and tilted my head.

"The Iron Bull is not actually angry with you." My friend spoke as he walked up to me, "He can't go … easy on you in front of them. The Chargers. It's to keep respect, leadership."

"I was kind of being an ass anyway." I shrug and see him nod as if agreeing with me. I choked, did Cole just –

"I said some things to The Iron Bull. When you were hurt. I said things I didn't mean because I was angry, scared. He cares, you know. He sometimes wishes he didn't tell them." He spoke softly, grabbing my hand and pulling it toward him as he stared down at it. "The Ben-Hassrath."

"Are you … saying I should forgive him?" I responded after a moment or two, brown eyes downcast. I mean, I wasn't really angry at him anymore. But part of me still felt a bit put off about it because I'd almost died.

"Yes. Holding onto it hurts you. Hurts him. He can tell." Why must Cole always act as my voice of reason? Sighing I allowed a small smile to slip on my face as I looked up and locked gazes with him. He was right, I could forgive him but that doesn't mean I'll forget what he did to me. Trust cannot be so easily earned back, after all.

"I'll try." I responded and he seemed to brighten, his blue eyes lighting up.

Third Person

Lynn and the rest of the party had gone to Redcliffe for a couple of days to finish off a few errands that she left unfinished since her last time in the Hinterlands. They slowly made their way back, with an extra tag-along.

While they were there, they stumbled upon a young Dalish elf who was looking for someone by the name of Angel. Startled, Lynn asked what the girl looked like and he'd explained Lyn's sister to a T. He'd even mentioned that she dressed oddly at times, because she wasn't from around here.

Some of the others didn't seem to trust him, mostly Cassandra, but Lynn decided that he could come back to Skyhold with them to reunite with Angel. Said young elf was walking beside her presently, his big purple eyes alight with hopefulness. Eren had a rather carefree demeanor, albeit a bit irritating at times, as he walked with a prance in his step. His black hair fell passed his shoulders, the left side completely shaved off which was the side his black vallaslin was on.

Lynn watched in her peripheral as Sera twinged Eren's pointed ear, flipping it so that it bounced.

"Ow! Fenedhis, woman! What did I ever do to you?" He whined in his higher pitched voice, looking at her with a frown on his slightly feminine features. Even for an elf, he looked quite delicate and could almost pass as a woman. The Inquisitor chuckled. Sera had been giving the young elf grief ever since he'd tagged along back at Redcliffe.

"You're too elfy, that's what! You even use those words. Use words that make sense!" The blonde elf pushed, causing Eren to grumble under his breath. Sera had quite the distaste for anything Dalish and Lynn almost felt bad for the poor boy.

"Enough, you two. You've been at it since Redcliffe." Cassandra ordered from beside Sera, "It's starting to give me a headache."

"Agreed." Solas spoke, not even bothering with looking over at the two.

"But I'm not –" Eren began, but was cut off.

"Enough." The Seeker emphasized in a more stern tone, causing the elf to deflate and slump forward. His lip stuck out in a pout, but otherwise didn't say a thing. The leaves on the tall trees rustled as the wind blew by, it was a clear and beautiful day.

They neared the meeting point and saw the second group already waiting for their return. The Chargers were all sitting around in the grass talking amongst one other. Bull and Varric were walking in Lynn's direction to greet her. Dorian was rummaging around in his pack for something. Lyn and Cole were … holding hands?

The Inquisitor grinned devilishly, seeing the two stare at one another with the same look she's seen Sera give her at times. The wavy haired elf wondered if the two even knew, yet.

"Eugh!" Sera sounded grossed out as she looked at the same scene before them, her round face scrunched up in disgust. The two in question broke out of their daze and looked over at the loud elf at her side. "Why is she so close to it?"

"The same reason why we're so close?" Lynn smiled at Sera, getting a raised brow from her. The statement slowly sunk in. The blonde archer shook her head furiously, choppy blonde hair flailing about as she tried to get that image out of her head.

"What?! That's gross!" Sera blurted, her hands opening and closing in front of her. The archer did not agree with who Lyn had chosen, finding it dangerous and creepy. It just wasn't natural!

"Love you too, Sera."

"N-No. Not. Not usThem!"

First Person

We had to make camp that night, seeing as how we were only about halfway to Skyhold by the time it got dark. As we neared the mountains, the snow on the ground began to get thicker and thicker. It was much colder now and I could see my breath every time I exhaled. A rather large fire was built in the middle of our small encampment as we sat around to warm up. I looked up and saw that it was clear out, the stars twinkling in the distance.

I stared for awhile, remembering some of the things I'd learned back home about them. How distant they actually were and how vast the universe was. It made me feel rather small, actually. Every time I stared at the stars I got the same feeling. It was humbling, but still fascinating all the same.

Looking to my right, I saw Cole sitting on the snowy ground beside me. Our layers helped with staying warm as we sat in front of the fire.

"What do you see when you look at the stars, Cole?" I asked, genuinely curious on his interpretation of them. I watched as he peered up at the sky and tilted his head, blonde hair falling to the side so I could see his curious gaze. He was quiet for awhile and I let my eyes slowly trace his features. My hand twitched and I got the urge to draw again, the sky as the backdrop and the way the light from the fire lit up his face. It was quite the sight.

"They are so far away … some of them are gone. Burning bright, like the sun but distant. The light is warm and takes longer to get here." I smiled at him as he spoke, "There are so many of them."

"The universe is a vast place. It is inconceivable even to the people in my world." I sighed, leaning back and falling into the fluffy snow as I stared. I could hear the dull hum of quiet conversation between the others across the fire. "The stars are very much like the sun. Though ours is considerably smaller than most."

"Some of their songs are older than the rest, bigger. Brighter." Cole fiddled with the hem of his jacket, his blue gaze flicking down and over to me as I lay on the ground beside him. Silently I wondered if perhaps I wasn't simply thrown into a different universe, just to another world across the galaxies. Snorting, I sat up and shook my head. Thinking about it would just give me a headache and I didn't really want to know, anyhow. Too confusing.

When I looked over, Cole seemed to give me a look but otherwise didn't say anything.

"Here I thought it was confusing when the Kid and Chuckles talked." Varric was not far away as he sat in front of the fire with a small journal and a quill.

"You were able to comprehend the entirety of Cole's analysis of the stars?" Solas sounded intrigued, though bordering disbelief, his face showed none of it. I swear, that man needs to smile more. I was also a bit surprised he was even having a civil conversation with me. Well, if one could even call this a conversation in the first place.

"What do you want, an Astronomy lesson? They've accomplished much from my world and it would take … a very long time for me to explain what I know." I scratched my head, not realizing how arrogant I sounded. I was honestly thinking about the possibility of writing a book or drawing some diagrams. "I could sketch some things, but that seems like too much work. I don't know the minute details, but its fascinating."

Bah. I'd be called a lunatic, it's not worth the trouble. I bet the people here still thought the sun revolved around the planet. I chuckled underneath my breath.

"I admit, I find myself curious about this other world you speak of." The bald elf answered, hands folded in his lap as he looked away and into the fire.

"Yeah yeah. A thirst for knowledge, seems like you. If I ever find a way home, I should throw some texts back through for you." I paused for a moment, "If at all possible, that is. I don't even know how the hell I got here."

"I still find it hard to believe …" Varric seemed to have put his quill away, only holding his journal now.

"She's not lying." Cole offered in my defense, "Sometimes I can see flashes. Memories of tall buildings. Metal carts that drive with no horses and paintings that move."

"Is that why you stare at me a lot? I bet they are quite interesting, yes?" I rocked back and forth with my legs crossed and looked up at him, referring to my memories of home. Thinking about it still made me a bit sad, since I missed it at times. But now I just don't think about it at all, having given up on the idea of even returning.

"They're harder to see, like trying to see through muddy water. I reach out, but that only makes it worse. Kicking up the dirt, cloudy, murky. I have to wait until they surface."

"I bet that's not the only reason you stare at her, though." Varric muttered, just loud enough for me to hear. I snapped my attention to him and squinted, feeling my face heat up.

"So, what are you writing?" I quickly steer the conversation away from me, pointing at the small book in his lap.

"Oh, you know. Just ideas for my new book about the shit the Inquisition has gone through. The Inquisitor said it was alright." Varric shrugged, running his stubby finger over the binder almost lovingly. I tilted my head, thinking that it was actually a good idea to write down the things that the Inquisition is doing. Didn't he do the same thing for the Champion of Kirkwall?

I knew little about writing, only that it was difficult. I'd tried to write a few fanfictions back home, but never anything serious. I did, however, like to read. Reading was a great pastime and with the right book, it could be quite enlightening. I read one of Varric's books once and he was a pretty good writer. Though I'd never tell him that.

"I mean, think about it. The Inquisitor gets into all kinds of trouble; falling through a rift and surviving the Conclave, learns she can close said rifts, falls into the Fade physically. And we haven't even defeated Corypheus yet." The dwarf continued, his hands gesturing in front of him to emphasize his point.

"Well, if put like that … Yeah." I responded slowly, realizing that the voices I heard speaking before were now mostly quiet as they stared at Varric as he spoke. He seemed to have a knack for that, getting people's attention and telling stories that enthralled them.

"I'm not even sure if the readers will believe half the shit I write about." He pauses and looks around the camp, "Oh! Not to mention the romance found along the way. The people love a good romance."

I groan, wondering how that could even be remotely interesting to people reading the book. I wouldn't mind reading the parts where the Inquisitor is in peril and the battles along the way. But romance had never appealed to me, no matter how much my sister tried to shove it in my face back home.

I half listened as he continued to talk about how the Inquisitor found love with Sera and how odd of a couple they were. Then there was Blackwall and Josephine, though the two of them were not together. The Warden seemed to prefer to pine in silence, offering small gestures of affection from time to time.

"Then there is Bull and Dorian. Two worlds tearing them apart, Tevinter and Qunari, with only love to keep them together." Varric spoke dramatically, hand over his heart with a wide smirk on his face.

"Could you make it sound angrier? Love is a bit soft." Bull spoke up from not far away as he eyed the dwarf interestedly. Dorian, however, did not look at all amused that their personal lives would be put into a book for all to see.

"Please stop helping the dwarf." Dorian sounded exasperated as he looked over at us. A few of the other's chuckled at his expense.

"How about passion?" Varric threw out a different word, getting an approving nod from the Qunari.

"Yeah, that's better. Love is all starlight and gentle blushes." Bull motioned toward me with his huge hand and I narrowed my brown eyes at him.

"Why the hell are you pointing at me?!" I practically screech, but was promptly ignored.

"Passion leaves your fingers sore from clawing the sheets." He practically growled out, continuing as if I hadn't even spoken. I felt my face turn pink at the implications, fighting to keep an image from forming in my head.

"Ah! Let's not forget the oddest couple of them all." Varric added swiftly, as if just remembering. Oh my – fuck. Here we go. I had a tingling sense for the incoming shitstorm. "The surly woman from another world, who has a soft spot for-"

"Shut up, Varric!" I cut him off, hoping that he wouldn't continue. "I'm not soft."

"Innocent spirit boys?" Dorian offers helpfully, completely throwing me under the bus. I felt my face turn a shade darker, hearing Sera make a disgusted noise in response from my right. She was sitting next to Lynn, who was observing all of us curiously as we spoke. Vivienne was across the fire and I couldn't really see her, but I saw enough to decipher that she was eying me warily. Blackwall had his eyes closed and his arms crossed, but I could tell he was listening.

"She didn't even deny it!" Sera protested, the fire illuminating the disgusted expression on her face. Her eyebrows and nose both scrunched up in distaste as she looked at Cole. I frowned, but otherwise didn't speak up. Why should I? It wouldn't really matter.

"It's quite obvious the two are close. I mean, they do share a tent." Dorian drawled, threading his fingers together as he glanced back at me. Or rather Cole and I. I knew that he was fascinated by him and the possibility (I was still not even sure, so I won't make assumptions here.) of him having an attachment to me that went beyond friendship. I blushed and looked away, trying not to think about it.

"Is that bad?" Cole asks, tilting his head to the side as he looked over at Dorian then back at me as if he heard my inner turmoil. I sincerely hoped he didn't hear me. He would, no doubt, ask questions later if that were the case. The thought of trying to explain to him the depths of my feelings kind of terrified me, to be honest.

"No, they're just being idiots." I grumbled to my friend quietly.

"But I like cuddling, it makes me feel warm. Content." I let out a nervous squeak when he said that, pretty much announcing it to the camp. I heard someone choke, but I was unsure of who because I refused to look up at the group. I bowed my head to allow my messy waves to cover my face, which was now likely completely red from his declaration.

Peeking up, I saw Solas looking at us with a troubled expression on his face. He also seemed a bit irritated at me as he flicked his gaze in my direction. I frown and look back down at the snow beneath me.

"You don't feel any adverse changes, Cole?" I heard the elf ask, sounding a bit concerned for his welfare.

"No. Should I?"

Sera squawked in horror and Bull boomed with laughter alongside a smirking Dorian. I lifted my head and stuttered out,

"I-It's not-" But I was cut off as Sera and Vivienne's simultaneous protests drowned out my voice.

"She cuddles with it! That's frigging gross!"

"You really shouldn't encourage that thing, my dear." Vivienne put in as she stared at me disapprovingly.

"Like that!" I finally finished after hearing their collective voices. Son of a bitch, this couldn't get any worse. I felt a surge of irritation at the both of them for referring to him as a 'thing' and an 'it'. I let out a growl, wanting to tear into someone's face with my fingernails. Though I was unsure which one, at this point.

"Solas is not a thing!" Cole sounded genuinely offended as he looked over at the tanned mage.

"Well said." Solas sounded almost amused, though I could see the lingering irritation underneath his eyes.

Averting my attention, I saw Bull's Chargers and the little elf mage that we'd taken in somewhere in the background conversing quietly with one another. I focused on them, trying to put my mind on something else. It was quite obvious most of the companions disapproved with how close I was with Cole. I hadn't heard a word from Cassandra, though, as she sat quietly somewhere in the back and simply pretended she wasn't hearing anything. The same went for Lynn, as she observed from the sidelines. For that, I was grateful.

The only ones that were accepting were Varric, Bull and Dorian as they seemed to poke fun. It was like they enjoyed getting that reaction out of me.

At this revelation, I made a tactical retreat to my tent while mumbling for them to get me when it was my turn for watch.

Chapter Text

"So, Eren. You are Dalish, why are you not with your clan?" Solas asked of the young elf, who was walking beside us with a bow strapped to his back. There was also a staff, which told me that he wasn't purely a magic user. Both elves seemed to use said staffs as walking sticks as we made our way down the path. Eren looked over at the older elf and replied in a dainty voice.

"Don't have one." Eren smiled, "After I got my vallaslin, I started to show magical talents and was thus abandoned in the wilderness. Wonderful family, yeah?" He sounded oddly chipper for a person admitting they'd been left alone to die in the woods. Though it was almost undetectable, I did notice a little bit of bitterness made its way into his tone when he spoke that last sentence. I frowned when I looked over at him. Guess he's one of thosepeople? Covering up their pain with smiles and laughs.

Hmmmm, so he was a late bloomer huh? I didn't know that it was possible that it could happen like that. Magical talents, that is. I always thought that mages were always born with their magic and able to use it as such, but I was wrong. I still had a lot to learn about this world.

It was rather interesting, how the magic worked in this world. Magic, in general, was as fascinating as it was dangerous. I knew about the possibility of possession and all the like, but couldn't help the excitement I felt whenever I saw someone cast a spell. It was … beautiful. All dangerous and destructive things in nature are actually quite beautiful, though. I knew this.

"My condolences." Solas offered with a solemn bow of his head. Eren waved him off, a smile still on his face as he gave the bald elf a wink.

"Doesn't matter. I found my place in this world on my own, I don't need a clan to do it for me."

"So you don't care what those piss-pants have to say? Yer not so bad after all." Sera let out a giggle after she spoke and I looked away. I was still a little upset about what happened the night before and had distanced myself from the group as a result. Which was why I was kind of lingering around the back and just listening to them talk.

"I never said that, Da'len." He replied slowly, having given her some odd title that I couldn't understand. "The Dalish are rather closed minded, I admit, but that does not mean I care for them any less." Eren didn't seem to hold a grudge on Sera for being so belligerent toward him the whole way back. In fact, he seemed to almost treat her like a child as he spoke in a calming voice. Blinking, I shook my head to clear my vision at the sight of Solas' lips twitching in what seemed to be amusement.

"Pppbbbtthhh." Sera stuck out her tongue at him and turned away. Eren was still smiling as he ruffled the blonde elf's hair affectionately, only to get his hand slapped away as she scooted out of reaching distance.

"Alone and unwanted. Throw away the old name and start anew." Cole spoke from beside me, gaining the attention of a few of the people ahead. Eren, in particular, who looked a little perturbed. His purple eyes seemed to flicker with pain for a second before it was completely gone. Like it was never there.

"Yeah … about that." Eren's face faltered, "Can you not do that?"

Cole had been making comments here and there, as per usual. But it wasn't until now that he directed said comments about Eren. The elf mage seemed almost a little disturbed about what he could do, treading cautiously around the spirit like he would jump out and bite him.

Our feet crunched on the thin layer of new snow that had formed on the ground as we made our way into the mountains where Skyhold was located. I exhaled, seeing a white mist form in front of my face as I stared at the group in front of me. Eren was beside Solas, as the two had been talking about some magey stuff that I could not understand. Dorian had put a comment in here and there and it all seemed to just fly over my head. Nerds. The rest of the group trudged on, unaware of the small conversation happening in the back.

After a few beats of silence, Cole finally began to speak again. He tried to reassure the young elf, "But you're not alone. Not unwanted. You have her."

"Look, I have no idea what you are but I'd appreciate it if you stopped doing that … thing you do."

"I'm sorry, I just wanted to help."

When Eren looked away, I could tell that his posture seemed to straighten a little as he peered off into the distance where Skyhold was. I'm going to go ahead and assume that this 'her' Cole spoke of was my sister. It was no secret to me that Angel had been incredibly close to the mage before we found her. She, dare I say, almost seemed broken up over the thought that she may never see him again.

We were ambling up to Skyhold's gates when I started to ponder the situation further. I knew that my sister was rather close to him, so I'd been observing him closely whenever I could. He didn't seem to have any ulterior motives, but I couldn't be completely sure. Until I was, I'd keep an eye on him closely. The last thing I needed was my sister getting hurt again.

I vowed that once I discover the nature of their relationship and get a good feel on what kind of person he was … I'd have a little talk with him.

Third Person

Cole stood down in the lower courtyard next to Lyn and Eren as they waited for Angel to come down from her workplace (The kitchens). Someone had been sent up there to get her so that she could come meet her friend. A few of the others opted to stay as well, which consisted of only Solas and Lynn. The others had trudged on, intent on relaxing after the long journey. He could practically hear the curiosity vibrating off of the two elves as they stared at the young elf mage.

The blonde rogue scooted a little closer to Lyn, looking down at her to get a better read on her. She seemed interested as well, but knew something that they did not. She was apprehensive, unsure. He knew that his friend did not trust people so easily and saw her giving Eren looks since they'd been traveling with him. Cole brushed his fingers over hers, offering some kind of comfort. It worked, because her posture seemed to loosen as she leaned closer to him. Her thoughts a little less muddled, less anxious.

Something had changed about his friend these passed few days. Ever since that night out by the pond, when he'd been wallowing in his fears and self doubts. Lyn had found her way to him and consoled him without question. Even when he tried to brush it off and try to worm his way around it, she was persistent.

Always with the persistence, stubbornness, being hardheaded. Though he did not think those to be bad traits, just parts of her.

The cuddling had been unexpected. Not in a bad way, either and was almost disappointed when they didn't again the next night. Though, they had still shared the same tent and slept side by side. Well, she slept but he didn't. Cole found that he didn't have to sleep as often as most people did.

His body did not require sleep every night, yet. He found that sometimes his stomach would make odd noises and it would pain him. Hunger, Varric had told him. He knew what it felt like to be tired, Lyn had helped him with that. His change brought a lot of new and difficult things to him that he had yet to get used to.

Being human was … hard. But it also let him learn, let him grow. Cole liked that part. He also liked the array of thoughts and emotions that seemed to come with it. Spirits were different – they just were. Before he had been almost stuck in-between, things were much simpler then. Now the world was so much more vivid, so bright and brilliant. So … real. Yet at the same time it was so silent, nothing but whispers of what once was. At first it had pained him, all the new sensations (And lack thereof). The rogue was slowly adjusting. Adapting.

Soon enough, Angel came trotting down the stairs as fast as she could. Eren was practically vibrating with excitement as he met her halfway through the lower courtyard and pulled her into his arms enthusiastically. The small group of friends slowly made their way up to the couple as Angel practically latched onto Eren like he would disappear any second.

Now that they stood closer to the couple as they embraced, Cole could tell that they were like the Inquisitor and Sera. Their relationship, that is. They clung to each other as the young elf rubbed her back and whispered things to her that even he could not hear. They were relieved, content.

When couples were together they seemed to shine brighter, songs delicate – stirring and more alive. It was a marvelous sound and it almost made Cole feel a little sad that no one else seemed to hear it.

"They are happy." Cole spoke finally from beside Lyn and the others as they watched the joyful reunion. "Their songs were muted and dulled, before. But when they're together like this, it's so vivid. Away too much, longing for one another. Reaching out."

"I'm glad they were able to find the boy." Lyn agreed quietly, her arms crossed as she stared at them with a small smile on her face. Even though she did not trust the Dalish elf, she was happy for her sister.

"Ma vhenan." Eren said softly as he held the teen, his fingers running through her wavy black hair. Angel's song seemed to flit around, brightening and trembling as he did so. Cole tilted his head, watching as her eyes started to water, tears slipping down her face. Happy tears. "I looked everywhere for you."

Cole didn't notice the way Solas seemed to recoil slightly at the sight of a human and an elf being so close. The Inquisitor was intrigued and a bit disturbed, but didn't say anything.

"Eren …" Angel's voice wavered, holding onto him tightly. "I-I thought... I."

"Shhh." He pulled her away and silenced her with a soft kiss before allowing her to bury her head into his chest again. He'd seen people do that a lot, but had never found any interest in it. Not until recently, that is, as he thought about what it might be like to do the same to Lyn. How would she react, he wondered? He peered down at her, seeing that her face had turned pink as she looked away from the intimate scene before them.

Lyn looked up at Cole hesitantly, feeling his gaze on her. He saw as her widened brown eyes seemed to flick to his mouth, thoughts jumbled and confused. Curious about what it would feel like. Or were those his own thoughts? He didn't know, but his heart thrilled at the idea. Before he could open his mouth and blurt anything out, Lyn spoke up.

"A-Ah... H-horses. Heh. Horses need tending to!" She rattled out swiftly, face flushed and eyes looking around nervously. When he tried to concentrate on her, her mind was filled with thoughts of the horses – saddles, bridles, brushing them. She forced things in her mind as she scuttled away off toward the barn, leaving Cole feeling almost disappointed.

Was there a certain way he was supposed to go about this?

Which brought him to his current predicament as he stood in front of Varric nervously inside of the Herald's Rest, hands fiddling with the hems of his patchy long-sleeved shirt. He'd just gone out and blurted it, causing the dwarf to drop his quill and spill ink all over the table in front of him. He cursed and started to wipe everything up to put it away. His journal, thankfully, was not damaged.

"Wait wait wait." Varric finally spoke, his voice slowly lowering and getting quieter. "Y-you want to what?"

He sounded like he couldn't believe what he had just heard. Cole opened his mouth to speak, but was cut off by the dwarf as he continued.

"Are you guys even an item, yet?"

"Item? Lyn is not an item, Varric." Cole sounded almost offended as he looked down at the dwarf with scrunched eyebrows, but only got a chuckle in response.

"No no. It's a figure of speech, Kid. I didn't mean it like that." Ah, those. He never really could understand them and intended to ask at some point, but his thoughts were currently on one thing at the moment. The blonde rogue nodded, waiting for him to continue. "You have to wait for the right moment. Women like that kinda crap. The romance, the –"

"Lyn hates romance novels. She got angry at Angel for trying to … confuse me."

"Well, shit." Varric put in eloquently, scratching his chin thoughtfully. "Always knew she was different, but … hey!" He snapped his fingers and pointed at the ceiling, something seemed to have dawned on him. "Her and Cassandra are kind of the same, don't you think?"

"Brash, hardheaded. 'Got to get the work done, can't slack.' Yes. They are the same sometimes." Cole agreed, kind of. They were also different, though. "But Cassandra does not make me bright, happy. Heart stutters – chest warm like the sun on a clear summers day."

"Who's thoughts were those?" Varric sounded intrigued at that last sentence, tilting his head up at the lanky boy. He seemed to have forgotten what he was about to say. Cole peered down at him through a mop of hair and replied softly,


"Damn, you have it bad." Varric chuckled as he spoke. The dwarf's thoughts were carefully guarded, as if he didn't want him to hear. He'd never done that before, why was he doing it now? "Alright, these kinds of things are normal."

"Hmmm, yes. Quite." They heard Dorian as he strutted up to the table, a skip in his step. Varric raised his eyebrow, wondering what he was doing in the tavern this late- Nevermind. He saw Bull sitting smugly over at the table with the Chargers, looking like the cat that just got the cream. "Tell you what, Cole. You ever need advice on how to correctly pursue a lady, I'm here for you. A dashing man such as myself has plenty of experience to offer."

Varric shook his head at his offer, closing his eyes with a grin on his face. "Did you not hear him? The Kid just said that she doesn't like that romantic crap, you'll end up getting him stabbed or incinerated."

"Nonsense! Even the most boorish of women have a tender spot for someone. A few lessons from me and he'll have her purring in his lap in no time." The Tevinter waved his hands enthusiastically, completely confident in his words. Varric paled at the idea, about to object before someone else butted into the conversation.

"Yeah, Varric. You think she'd stab or incinerate Cole? That's a bit harsh." Angel popped out of nowhere her black hair was up in a ponytail as it bounced to the side when she tilted her head, holding a plate full of food that he'd ordered. The dwarf blinked, seeing her set it in front of him gently. The teen stood up straight, putting her hands behind her back and smiled at the three innocently. She spoke in a peppy tone, "It would only be minor disfigurement."


This was why the tavern was never a good place to try and have a private conversation. They were slowly starting to create a small group discussion, when it had originally been something between only Varric and Cole.

The scraggly rogue in question was simply standing there watching them as they spoke, his head tilted slightly to the side. Varric tore into some pheasant, looking up at the three. He silently vowed to have a talk with Dorian about what he was going to teach the poor Kid. He didn't want him accidentally trying to seduce Lyn. That would … not turn out well. His writing supplies were sitting quietly beside him on a stool as he chewed silently.

"Out of sheer curiosity, have you had any other odd thoughts or … urges, Cole?" Dorian put his hand up to his face as he thoughtfully fingered his curled mustache, looking over at the awkward young man. The metal embellishments on the Tevinter's stylish outfit glinted from the torchlight nearby. "A purely academic question, I swear."

Angel made an uncomfortable sounding squeak, as if just remembering something. Her brown eyes were wide as she stared up at the two of them and she slowly began to back up. Cole looked between the teen and the mage with wide blue eyes.

"No." He looked at Angel, "Yes. Maybe?" The rogue began to fiddle around with the hems of his sleeves as he averted his gaze with a thoughtful look on his face.


"Angel said it was normal." Cole spoke quietly, "I sometimes wonder what Lyn looks like underneath her clothes."

"W-What did I tell you about saying those things out loud?!" Angel practically squawked, turning a deep shade of red as she looked away. The teen felt second-hand embarrassment for the poor guy. Dorian looked like he was about to burst into peals of laughter before he was interrupted by some distressed sounding coughs. Varric started pounding on the table, his eyes almost bulging as he held his neck with one of his hands. The only thing the other three could do was stare at him in shock, unmoving.

His face turned purple.

"Mother of –" Someone shouted from the doorway and the sounds of fast paced footsteps could be heard before they saw Lyn grab Varric out of his seat and promptly began to do the Heimlich maneuver on him. The woman had to do a few thrusts with her arms before a rather large piece of pheasant came flying out of his mouth.

The dwarf wheezed, both hands clasping on the worn out gray table in front of him so hard that his knuckles turned white. Lyn stared at the offending piece of meat that was now sitting in the middle of the table with an annoyed look in her eyes.

"You know, Varric. Usually people chew their food before they swallow it." She drawled, not at all amused by what had just happened.

"S-Shit." He was finally able to say between his breaths. "Sorry, got a little … surprised, there." Lyn raised her eyebrow in question, looking at the other three as they stood silently. Angel's tanned complexion was pale as she stared down worriedly at the dwarf. Dorian was shocked to silence and Cole was frowning with a guilty look in his eyes.

"I'm sorry, Varric." The spirit spoke, "I didn't mean to scare you."

"What, dare I ask, did you even say to scare him?" Lyn sounded unsure if she even wanted to know as she peered up at Cole through her messy waves, but asked anyway. She'd walked in right when Varric started to pound on the table erratically, almost choking to death on some pheasant. What had caused him to choke, she wondered?

"I was asking for advice. Because sometimes I-" Cole couldn't continue as Varric lunged forward and covered the rogue's mouth with his chubby hand. Three voices spoke up simultaneously,


"Nuh uh!"

"Not wise."

Lyn's stare turned flat as she took in the scene before her, the three of them looked almost panicked as they stared at the scraggly rogue. Poor Cole seemed confused and a little scared at the close proximity of so many people. Angel, Varric and Dorian looked over at Lyn with unconvincing smiles. Cole twitched and looked like he wanted to run, because they were pretty much squished up against him as if trying to prevent him from doing something.

"What did I tell you about blurting ideas for my book, Kid?" Varric lied, looking back up at him and giving him a look that said 'not a word'. Lyn didn't look like she believed any of it.

"Yeah … I'll just … be over here." She lifted her hand cautiously and stepped away from the four. The woman shook her head and muttered something underneath her breath that no one could hear. They sighed in relief once she was on the other side of the tavern.

"Alright, we're going to have to have a little talk." Varric spoke quietly, looking up at Cole. Dorian seemed to agree, an amused grin plastered on his face.

"I'd say."

First Person

I started training again a few days later after everyone had a sufficient enough time to rest from our excursion in the Hinterlands. I stood in front of Sera who was scowling at me, but didn't say anything otherwise. The small disagreement at camp on our way back to Skyhold popped into my mind. She hadn't directly confronted me on her dislike of Cole, yet, but I certainly hoped she didn't snap on me. Or worse, try to revoke our friendship. She wouldn't do that, right? I silently fretted as she sighed,

"Alright, next thing will be teaching your arse about caltrops and poisons." The blonde elf tossed a pouch at me, which looked like it could clip onto a belt. "I did ya a favor and got some, since yer payin for your armor already."

Sera picked at her ear with her pinky finger, a nonchalant expression on her face as we stood outside. It was evening, the sky painted with hues of orange and red. The sun glinted off of the rogue's blonde hair, making it look more vibrant than usual. I grunted, looking down at my elf friend.

"Thank you, Sera. But how will I be able to pay you back?" I rose a brow, opening the pouch and seeing that it was fully stocked. This must have cost a buttload of coin because it was filled with a multitude of caltrops and a few vials of what I assumed was poison. "How much was this?"

"Blegh! Ya don't need ta pay me back." The blonde elf waved off like it was nothing, causing me to blink slowly. I'm sure this was her way of giving me a gift, but couldn't help feeling a bit bad for just taking it from her.

"Seriously." I drawled, "I'd feel bad for taking this without giving something in return."

"She's a stubborn one, ain't she?" I heard Blackwall comment from just behind me, causing me to raise a brow and look his direction curiously. He'd walked up into the training area from the direction of the stairs that lead to the lower courtyard. We were standing in the upper courtyard in the training area, Cassandra not far away training on a dummy. The faint slashes and thuds in the background were drowned out by our current conversation.

"Stubborn arse." Sera agreed and laughed. I gave them both a flat stare. It's not my fault, it was how I was raised I guess. Makes it kind of hard for me to take things without giving something back in return, otherwise it's almost like I'm a freeloader. And I am most certainly not a freeloader. "If you insist, maybe we can have some drinks sometime."

I groan, not even liking the idea of drinking ale. Any type of alcohol and she knows that, too. But …

"You know, I've been meaning to ask you something Lyn." Blackwall spoke up, crossing his burly arms. Raising a brow, I crossed my arms as well and tilted my head in question.

"Ask away, Warden." I addressed blandly as I strapped my newly acquired pouch to my belt loop, curious about what he would even want to talk to me about. Blackwall and I never really conversed at all, to be honest. The thought that he even wanted to speak to me out of the blue like this interested me a little.

"What is the nature of your relationship with that … with Cole?" I heard the Warden ask curiously, causing me to snap my eyes in his direction with a frown. He'd had to correct himself, which lead me to believe he was probably going to say something that would offend me. Potentially.

"Oh for- Really? This again?" I almost whined, but kept my tone as even as possible. Or, tried to. I had been wondering when Sera would bring this up, but it hadn't occurred to me that anyone else would. Well, besides Vivienne or Solas. I avoided the Orlesian mage like the plague, though, so I certainly hoped we didn't have a confrontation. Solas, on the other hand, had yet to speak to me about anything. He was an assbutt, but at least he was tolerable.

"It's just natural to be curious. Sera and I have been wondering, isn't that right Sera?"

Sera scoffed, looking a bit miffed that she'd been outed. "Yeah, whatever."

"We're friends." Was my simple reply as I crossed my arms again. It wasn't a lie. They didn't need to know the extent of my feelings for the spirit and I fully intended to keep it that way.

"You cuddled with it!" Sera's eyes flew open, looking at me with a snarl on her face. "'We're friends' she says. I bet that ain't the only thing you did with it." The blonde elf sounded like she was getting a bit worked up as she flailed her hands to emphasize her point. My face flushed in embarrassment. Was this seriously how they saw me? I notice someone I'm interested in and 'BAM' we're bedding each other? That's bullshit.

I looked up at Blackwall and saw him nodding slowly, eyes closed. They were serious.

"You think I'm –" I choked back a laugh. Though I felt no amusement, I could feel irritation starting to worm its way into me as I stood there in front of the two. "Even if it were true, I don't see how that would be any of your business. You don't hear me complaining about how you and Lynn get all jiggy with it in your bedroom!"

"That thing ain't natural, it's different! It could – It."

"Cole's dangerous. Unpredictable. We aren't even sure what he is. Don't know what he might do. I wouldn't turn my back on him." Blackwall defended Sera, getting a furious nod out of her. I felt my gaze turn flat as I stared at them with a deadpan look on my face, rage starting to boil over underneath. Everyone's been jumping to conclusions, which hasn't been working in my favor (might I add).

"If we're going to talk about things that aren't natural, what about me?" I spread my arms out, trying to keep my face from showing just how angry I felt but was starting to fail. "I'm not even from here, let alone this God damn planet and you're friends with me just fine!"

"But you're a person. It's not even human!" I hissed at Sera's rebuttal, my face morphing into that of rage. I didn't even attempt to hide it now, seeing Blackwall take a small step back in my peripheral. Sera stood straight, solid on her statement about him.

"Yet he maintains more humanity than most people I've ever met." I bit back, pointing at her with a shaking hand. "Cole used to be different, I admit. He did things he regrets today, but he's changed. You can't honestly tell me that people can't see their wrongdoings and transform themselves for the better. It takes a special kind of person to be able to do that and if I'm the only one that can see it, then so be it!" I could feel my nostrils flaring as I looked at her with fiery brown eyes. Sera was oddly quiet after that, as if she was thinking about something to say in return. Her jaw was tensed as blue eyes glared at me defiantly.

"Do you really believe that?" Blackwall sounded like he didn't want to believe me. I snapped my gaze in his direction, expecting to see him looking at me with a disappointed look on his face. Instead I took in his slumped form as he peered down at me almost sadly.

"Most don't have the courage to admit they were wrong, that they needed to change. They don't even attempt to right their mistakes. But even fewer people actively try to rebuild themselves and become a better person." I responded, my body still shaking from the overflow of emotions that had coursed through me just seconds ago. I looked over at Sera, "He's my friend, just like you are. You don't have to agree with our friendship. You don't have to agree with anything. It's not like I'm asking you to cuddle with him, Sera."

"I'm just scared, okay! I frigging admit it, there! Y-you put up with my shite and never tried to push me away 'cause I was annoying or whatever." Sera shook her head and looked away at the ground with grief written on her features, making me pause. "We give each other hell one minute but hang out the next like nothin' even happened! Yer like my sister, ya know? And I ain't gonna let you get killed by that … that thing!"

I didn't even know how to respond to that, to be completely honest. She really thought of me as her sister? My body seemed to unwind a little after that, seeing her look back at me with a disapproving frown. Blackwall had gone oddly silent after my little tirade, but still remained where he was.

"You don't have to like my decisions, Sera. You trust me, right?" She seemed to nod slowly at my question, "Well, trust that I know he won't kill me. I'll be fine."

"I'm shootin' his scrawny arse full of arrows if he does, yeah? I won't hesitate!" The blonde elf marched off toward the tavern, officially calling the training session to an end. I sighed, shoulders slumping. I knew that she would never learn to accept him or like him in any way, but I suppose this was better than what could have happened.

"I wouldn't stop you." I heard Cole's even voice from right behind me, making me jump a little in surprise. Sera ignored him and shut the door to the building and Blackwall nodded before leaving without another word.

"I-I … ahh, didn't see you there." I stuttered as I turned around to face him, feeling nervous all of a sudden.

"You trust me." Cole breathed, as if he just now found out. I tilted my head, how hadn't he known that? "I knew already, but hearing it out loud made it real." He sounded happy and I saw his lips twitch into a ghost of a smile. It was faint, but I could see it. Most would not be able to see the minute changes in his features or the slight difference in tone when he spoke. Which was largely why they thought he was so creepy. He was hard to read. But so was I. We've been around each other enough to where I could determine them as such. I mean, it's not like I stared at him all the time. (Denialdenialdenial)

"Of course I do. I'd be an idiot not to." I grinned, walking by and nudging him on the shoulder. Since training was over with, I fully intended on using the rest of my time being as lazy as possible down on my makeshift bed. Because, no doubt, Sera would be pushing me harder as the weeks went on. It was going to be an experience.

The next week or so was spent just like that. I would work in the stables and when Sera was actually back from whatever stuff she had to do with the Inquisitor, she was teaching me new things. When she wasn't there, I would practice myself.

I often times would observe my sister and her boyfriend from a distance in the taverns at night, still unsure of how I felt about the Dalish elf. Don't blame me, I was kind of overprotective. Eren didn't seem that bad, but I've been wrong before.

There was also the fact that Cole seemed to come find me whenever I had time off, eager to spend time together. Don't get me wrong, I was the same way. Sometimes we'd just sit in the barn loft and talk. Or sometimes we'd even just sit together somewhere and watch people as they milled about Skyhold doing their business. People watching was, and still is, one of my favorite pastimes. Call me weird if you'd like, it's just something I did. (That's toootally not why I was trying to become a police officer, I swear. To get paid to watch people, that is.)

Our behavior seemed to bring even more odd looks from some of the people of Skyhold, however, seeing the odd young man practically cling to me like a lost puppy. Others thought it was creepy, I could hear their whispers. Which only served to enrage me at times, but I stuffed it away for later. I'd deal with my anger during sparring sessions with Krem, who had no problem with throwing me around a bit. I thought Cole's behavior was rather endearing, actually. He was like the perfect combination between unsettling and adorable. I giggled quietly underneath my breath at the thought.

I paused my work and stared blankly at the wall. I needed to stop giggling. I really did. It was starting to creep me out.

I was just finishing up with my work down at the stables that night as I checked the stalls to make sure they were locked. I sighed, making my trek out into the barn and intended to head up to the loft to get cleaned up so that I could attend the sentencing of Blackwall this evening.

Yeah, he'd gone missing four days ago leaving only a note that an Inquisition messenger found. The Inquisitor had quickly gathered a small party and went to Val Royeaux to investigate herself.

As it turned out, Blackwall wasn't actually Blackwall. He had been living under a false identity this whole time and his name was actually Thom Rainier. A man who was wanted for ordering his men to kill a family, including children. I still didn't know all the details, but it didn't sound promising. This came as a surprise to me and it seemed to almost make sense, considering his behavior about a week ago.

Since that time when Sera, Blackwall and I had that small disagreement I'd been thinking about his reaction to my little speech. It seems he had been trying to make up for his past mistakes, though not in a way that is recommended (might I add). As cowardly as he was with his actions, he tried. Most don't. Even if part of the reason was to hide from his past and try to forget what he once was.

I sympathized a little, I suppose. Sure, he deceived us all, but I didn't get my panties in a twist over it. Unlike most of the others had, because they seemed pretty bothered about it. We'd hardly knew each other, so my opinion was not quite as biased as everyone else's. I didn't have feelings of betrayal to cloud my judgment, so I didn't exactly hate him for what he did. Though I didn't really like him, either. But I do know that I doubt I'd ever actually trust him, myself.

I entered the Skyhold main hall, immediately noticing the temperature difference from what it was outside. It was rather chilly today and the inside of the stone building was a huge relief as I ambled my way over to where I saw Angel and Eren sitting. They were laughing amongst one another, sipping tea with – Solas.

I stopped, staring at the three with a slight squint. That bitch. She was sitting at the table next to the rotunda, sipping tea with the enemy! The torches on the wall beside them lit up the scene before me, making it look warm and inviting. Though with Solas there I kind of doubted it'd be inviting.

I knew that Eren and Solas seemed to get along quite fine, seeing them conversing with one another from time to time as they milled about Skyhold. Biting back my pride, I stomped up with purpose and took a seat right next to the group, grunting in greeting as they peered over to see me. The three continued their conversation as I looked around and saw that the main hall was more packed than it usually was. It got this way whenever the Inquisitor was going to sentence someone, everyone crowding to see her verdict.

Some people stood in groups, speaking amongst one another. The light from the large window at the end of the hall allowed the sunlight to pour in and illuminate that half of the large room. At some point, Varric had taken a seat with us along with Bull. The two of them having a conversation of their own. I, on the other hand, did not converse with anyone. I simply sat there and took everything in silently.

Nothing different, really. I never knew the correct things to say anyhow, so I opted for silence unless I really did wish to throw in my input.

"I miss home..." I heard Angel mutter sadly as she poked her empty tea cup. Eren rubbed her back affectionately, trying to offer comfort. I had no idea what they had been talking about, but when I tuned my hearing in that was what I heard first. "Don't you, Lyn?"

"Not really." I replied silently, looking at the uneven stone wall. It was a half-lie. Here I found purpose, somewhere I belonged. However, back on Earth ... It was the place I was born. The place that I was so used to. My expression was that of forced passivity as I stared at the wall, the torchlight flickered and made the shadows nearby dance back and forth.

"Litter, pollution, loud people, no family – not really much to miss." I heard, causing me to blink a few times. I shook my head, realizing that I'd just gone and blurted out my thoughts. God damn it. I blame Cole.

"Yeah, but what about the technology? The towering buildings that are so big that they go passed the clouds, or … the monuments created, societies that could be visited. So many cultures and languages it's hard to count. What about that? There is a lot to miss, Lyn." Angel perked up, defending our home with passion.

"In your opinion. We could find all those things here just fine." I paused for a moment, "Well, most of that. Not the technology or towering buildings."

"You really have buildings that are that tall? You're shitting me, right?" Varric rose a brow, looking a wee bit skeptical. Bull was watching everyone with his keen eye, seeing their faces shift and twitch. He probably knew what was truth and what wasn't.

"We also have machines for just about anything. We have one that takes passengers into the sky and flies us across the world!" Angel smiled, sounding a bit peppier now that she was talking about it. The teen's small hands were balled into fists as she held them up in front of her chest.


"Nope!" Angel smiled impishly, holding up one of her hands and waving him off. "You know how here it takes daaaays for a letter to get delivered, then even longer to reply and send one back?" Varric nods, "Well, back home we have machines that send them back and forth within seconds."

"Now I know you're lying." He chuckles, taking a swig of his ale. No one was going to believe her, but I wasn't going to go and tell her that. She would just get angry at me and do it anyway. My sister never did like getting told what to do. This was precisely why I never shared the minute details of our world, since most of the things there were damn near unthinkable here.

"Not at all!" Angel puffed out her cheeks, pouting a bit. "I'd show you the machine, but the battery is dead." She pulled her phone out of her pocket and began to pet it lovingly with a dopey smile on her face.

Varric mouthed the word 'battery' probably wondering what in the hell it was. Bull was staring at her interestedly. He could probably tell that she wasn't lying, which made it all the more amusing. I smirked behind my hand, staring at the group. Solas didn't seem at all surprised at her explanations, a knowing glint in his eyes. Eren's features brightened at the sight of the phone.

"She showed me how that worked when we first met! She's not lying. That thing painted a portrait of me within seconds, too." The purple eyed elf piped in with an excited grin, pointing at the little object in the teen's hand. "And it even had moving paintings inside of it. She said they were recordings of some sort."

"If it's dead, why do you keep it?" Solas inquired and Angel looked over at him with brightened brown eyes. It seemed she liked talking about home, because her mood had already lifted at the thoughts of it.

"Because the battery can be charged with electricity." She pointed at the charge port, showing the bald elf. He stared at it interestedly, "The right amount of electricity. Eren tried to charge a battery once and it exploded because he put too much into it."

Said elf laughed nervously, looking at the teen with a sheepish grin. "S-Sorry about that."

"Have you found out how we could get home at all, Lyn? No theories?" Angel sounded hopeful and I shook my head, causing her shoulders to slump slightly.

"Look, Girlie. After this is all over, I'm sure the Inquisitor will be more than willing to help you find your way home." Varric tried to comfort her with words, but I knew that it was quite unlikely that we'd find a way back. If my theory about falling through the Fade was correct, that is.

"Thanks, Mister Tethras." Angel bowed her head with a kind smile. "I'd greatly appreciate the help."

"I've searched the Fade extensively but have not found any indication as to what could have caused it." Solas pondered aloud, "It is almost unheard of to pass physically through the Fade."

He was still looking for a way to send us home? I didn't know whether to feel grateful or laugh (because he likely wanted me gone as soon as possible.). I didn't know Solas well enough to know his motives, though. So perhaps he was just doing it out of the goodness of his heart? Hah. Hah.

"I suppose you don't say 'impossible' because you guys actually did go physically into the Fade before?" I asked, scratching my chin thoughtfully. "Sounds like some freaky shit."

Bull grunted, as if agreeing with me.

"You what!?" Eren sounded incredulous, looking at Solas. "What was it like, Solas?"

"It was fascinating." The bald elf sounded breathless and began to regale him with the story of what had happened. He got the occasional comment from Bull or Varric to add something in that he'd forgotten. Eren, all the while, was staring at him with starry eyes.

Eventually I had to focus my attention on the Inquisitor once she arrived to sit on her thrown. Curious, I stood up with the rest of the people to listen to what she had planned for Blackwall. He was upset that she brought him back, saying that he wanted to accept his punishment. Lynn stated that his punishment was to be up to the Wardens, once Corypheus was defeated. It was a rather short exchange and I hadn't really expected anything less of the elf. She was a very kind woman and obviously believed he was a changed man. She didn't look at him with as much disdain as many of the other companions did.

"Well, that's that." Varric sighed, "We're gonna be going on another one of those full group missions again, Screech. Ya plannin on coming along?"

"How soon?"

"Couple days, maybe." The dwarf answered, standing up from his seat. The armor that I'd ordered should be done by tomorrow or the next day, so I'll at least be protected if I went.

There was also the fact that I needed to correctly dispose of the rest of my bullets. I had no idea how to destroy them without hurting myself, so the only option I saw was to shoot them off. I didn't want to bury them, because the chance that someone finds them is still there. Maybe with target practice or using my gun in battle until I was out? I fully planned on melting the bastard in the Undercroft once I was finished.

I sighed, "Yeah, I'm coming. There's something I need to get done, anyway."

"Awwww, how come you get to go off on adventures and have fun?" Angel whined, looking up me. I blinked, feeling a little irritated that she thought that this was a game. She should know by now how unforgiving this world was, but here she is …

"This world is not all fun and games, Angel. These are real life and death situations. I could die."

That only caused Angel's face to pale a little as she stared at me with widened eyes. "I-I know that! But- Ugh!" She turned and stomped off, causing me to scrunch my eyebrows in confusion. What was wrong with that girl?

I walked lazily back to the barn, so that I could sleep. It was dark out, now, and the moon was bright enough to cast enough light on the walkway so that I didn't trip. I stared at the ground, making sure I didn't end up tripping anyway.

When I finally did make it to my destination, I creeped my way up the staircase and saw a figure sitting on the square hay bales that I'd claimed as my bed. The torches below cast just enough illumination to show me that it was Cole. He sat atop the mass of animal skins and a ratty blanket that was haphazardly strewn across the area. Sighing, I made my way over.

I couldn't help the fact that my boots made a clunking noise as I walked over, pushing bits of loose straw and hay aside as I kind of drug my feet. My friend looked up at me and it was then that I realized why he was sitting up here, pretty much waiting for me to get back. I frowned, seeing the sadness that lingered in his eyes.

God damn it. It had been happening much less lately, the amount of times I see him just dwelling on things and looking depressed. But he'd never actually directly sought me out like this before. Taking a deep breath, I made my way over and took a seat right beside him.

I didn't even know what to say, really, so we just kind of sat there in the silence. The occasional sound of a kitten tumbling by to fill the air. Other than that, it was pretty quiet. Should I just ask him what was wrong? No. Maybe ask him if he's okay? Cole didn't seem like the type to just lie and say he was alright. It seemed as though I didn't have to ask, because he knew. He always knew.

"The quiet never bothered me before. Thoughts too loud, overwhelming. I'd sit alone upstairs in the tavern, dulled hums of the conversation below. Now it's my own thoughts that are strong, unrelenting. They demand my attention." He spoke up, causing me to peek over at him. He was staring out at the aged wood on the far wall of the barn, a blank look on his face.

"Yeah... They'll do that to you." I responded softly. I knew the feeling, but it worried me how he was handling it. I knew that he had his own 'demons' that he had yet to conquer. To be quite honest, you never get rid of them. You just learn to live with them. I wondered how he would overcome them. I stared down at the floorboards, frown on my face.

"Sometimes I feel like I'm choking. Gasping for air, chest aches. Eyes stinging, can't get rid of it. It hurts." Cole's voice wavered slightly as he fiddled around with the wooden pendant I made him. "I've tried to make myself forget, but I can't."

I stared at him and couldn't help the horror from gripping my chest at the thought. "Y-You tried to make yourself forget?"


"But … then you wouldn't be you, anymore. You would have forgotten yourself!" I snapped my mouth shut, cursing underneath my breath as I turned away. I felt kind of selfish. If he wanted to forget, who was I to stop him? Because if he forgot himself and became someone else entirely, he may have even forgotten me. Stupid. This wasn't about me. I wanted to hit myself for being an idiot.

He was quiet for awhile, as if thinking about something. I didn't try to push, either, afraid that I would only end up pushing him away. That's the last thing that I wanted to do.

"How do you do it?"

"Do what?"

"Old pains whisper like old songs. Quivering in the depths of your being. It never leaves. I can sometimes see glimpses, but nothing like I could before." Cole explained, voice quickening as he went on as if he were remembering the things he'd seen. I couldn't help but feel the blood drain from my face as he spoke, completely laying everything out for the both of us to see. "Your family hurt you when you were very young. Now they're just titles attached to feelings. Mother – Abandonment, resentment, selfishness. Father is the same way, though you never knew him. Papa, too, but he took your -"

"I know." I cut him off before he could continue. Shit. I looked around, making sure that no one was down here at the barn with us. If it weren't for the fact that we were alone, I would have snapped or run away by now. How'd this go from being about his grief to my past pains, again? Why did he turn the conversation in this direction? Of all things to do.

I cringed, the memories from back then flitting around as they emerged from the dusty depths of my mind. Ah yes, of course. I never really liked sitting down and thinking about the past, nothing ever good came out of it. It still hurt, yeah, but it was more like a muted ache now. Before I was put in the foster care system when I was 8, a lot of crap had happened. But even after I went into the system, it never stopped. I'm not sure what I felt about him knowing these things, to be completely honest.

This was not something I willingly put on display for anyone, really. I felt vulnerable and exposed as I allowed myself to lean forward and curl into myself a little as if it would help. Not even my closest friends (when I had them), knew about the things he was talking about. Not even my sister. But here I was, allowing him to see it. Feel it. Know it. There had to have been a reason behind the question, though. So I let him to continue, albeit with a little reluctance.

"But that's not where it ended." He prodded, my eyes closed halfway and I breathed deeply. Calm. Instead of lashing out, like I normally would have, I permitted him access to some of my deepest secrets. I trusted him. I had to remember that. I trusted him.

"Is … is there a reason we're talking about this?" I asked, feeling apprehension creep up as I sat there. I balled my hands into fists and stared at my feet.

"Yes." Was all he offered, not even continuing. It was quiet for awhile before I realized he expected me to answer. I sighed,

"No, it's not." I gritted out with a bit of trouble. Sure I got to live with my Aunt for a time, but eventually she couldn't keep us either. "Not all foster homes are as nice as they seem. Some only care about the money."

"Still small, not strong enough. Watching them hurt your siblings. Fighting. Helpless. Weak. 'Doesn't matter, it never did.'" Cole breathed and I closed my eyes tightly, he continued sounding almost scared as his voice shook. "Dark. So dark. You held the knife and wanted to do it. You needed it. But you didn't. You didn't let the darkness take you. Winding, curling, it stuck to you and tried to pull you down but you didn't let it. You didn't fall. You didn't disappear. How? How did you do it?"

Despair. That's what he was talking about. He seemed to nod at this, as if agreeing.

My brown eyes widened and it was like something clicked in my head. It was right then that I realized why it was he was digging around in my head. Was this his way of asking me for help? Was he still agonizing over what he had done back at the Spire? What happened to the apostate Cole? Sure, I wasn't beaten within an inch of my life or anything quite as grievous as what happened to people here. I had experience, nonetheless, in handling the torrent of emotions that came after emotional and physical trauma.

I never liked doing this whole touchy feely thing, since I always found it so difficult to speak about the memories. It used to be because it hurt too much to speak of them, but now it was mainly because I didn't want to make people uncomfortable. It was almost like they felt obligated to offer their condolences or feel pity toward me. I didn't want that. But Cole wasn't offering that. So I would do it. For him.

I sighed, looking over at him to study his features. He was staring forlornly at the rafters of the barn, his blue eyes held an amount of anguish that it almost frightened me. It wasn't any worse than it was back at the waterfall, but I still didn't like seeing that expression. I was just able to see it now, with the torchlight from below. I wanted to take that away from him, make him feel better. Tell him it was alright. Everything will be fine. But the only thing that could come out was –

"C-Cole … are you...?" I paused, not knowing how to word my question. He seemed to know, however.

"I can't know for sure, but … the real Cole. His father beat him, killed his mother." He confided, "His sister might have died, too. I don't know if that was real or what the demon made me think. Then the Templars threw him into the darkness and starved him."

I remembered him talking about what had happened to the apostate Cole, back with the Templar man. How he'd come to be in this world. My eyes were downcast as he spoke and I felt it, a heavy feeling in my chest. I wished I could do something. Anything.

"What … what they did to Cole still hurts you, doesn't it?" I was quiet as I said it, watching as the shadows on the walls danced and flickered.

"It still hurts. You said that it would go away with time, but it still hurts. Especially when I'm alone to think about it." I could hear the pain that laced his words and I cringed inwardly. I felt like I was partly to blame for the decision back then, but no amount of 'could have' and 'would have' will make any difference now.

"All the time?" I pressed, trying to get him to elaborate.

"No. Sometimes it fades, but only for a little bit." Well, that's a start. I looked over at him again, my fingers twitching as I tried to think of a way to offer some comfort. I was never good with words, only able to say things as they are. It never bothered me much, but right now I wished I knew the right things to say. The correct combination to perhaps ease his pain. I, instead, continued in the only way I knew how.

"It's different for most people. How I overcame my problems may not be the same way you can overcome yours. Sometimes people can't –" His eyes widened, fear written on his pale features. I continued hurriedly, "But I knowyou can. Believing in yourself has a lot to do with it, I suppose."

"How do you know?"

"You've gotten this far, haven't you?" I answered with my own question, watching as he simply stared blankly at the ceiling of the barn. "What are you doing when the pain fades?" He seemed to contemplate for a second and I waited as long as he needed me to. Though it only took perhaps a minute.

"When Varric tells me stories and teaches me new things. When Solas is talking to me and sharing his experiences in the Fade. When I'm with you." Cole listed, slowly taking his eyes off the rafters and looking to his side at me. I offered him a smile, which he returned. His eyes, though, still held the weight of his feelings.

"The pain is as much a part of life as the happiness we feel. That's the shitty thing about life – about time. It doesn't really heal anything, it just teaches us how to live with the pain. And sometimes we find people that make it that much more bearable." I offered quietly, hands clenching into fists.

"It scares me." Cole muttered, his hands fidgeting with his hand wraps as he stared down at them. His hair casting a shadow on his eyes, making it hard for me to decipher what he was feeling. His voice shook as he spoke, which told me enough. "The … despair, it's my greatest fear. I don't want it to take me."

"It won't." I shifted and put my hand over his. "You have us. Sometimes that isn't enough for some people, but God damn it I'll try to make it enough." I bit back the growl I was going to release at how inadequate I felt right at that moment. No amount of reassuring could just get rid of what he was feeling, I knew that much. "You're too important to me … to just lose you like that."

"Am I?"

I stood up and crouched in front of him. Maybe if Cole knew that he was important to someone, it would help him start to overcome this. Make things easier and I could show him. Words couldn't do that. I felt nervousness swirl around as I grabbed his hat and set it aside. He stared down at me curiously, a small frown etched into his face.

"Yes." I answered quietly, my small hand shook as I reached up to brush his blonde bangs away. I leaned forward and even in the dim light, I could see a small blush form on his face. Smiling, I let my fingers thread into his hair as we locked gazes for a moment. Right before I leaned in the rest of the way and gave him a soft kiss on the forehead.

I heard a sharp intake of breath, feeling his arms slowly wrap around my waist in response. My damn heart was beating so erratically, I wondered if he could hear it. Feel it, even, as he pushed his face into the crook of my neck and pulled me closer. I shivered, feeling my face flush a brilliant red. Perhaps since it's so dark, he won't notice when he pulls away. Yeah.

We stayed like that for awhile. Words never did come to me that well, but at least my actions didn't falter. That's good.

"I'm here, whenever you need me." I finally spoke up, letting my cheek rest on his shoulder. I heard him make a noise that sounded kind of like a grunt as he squeezed me tighter.

"Thank you." Cole mumbled and I could swear I felt water trickling down my collarbone just now. I frowned, "Just don't leave."

Maybe, just maybe, I could help him. Keep him from falling apart again, just like he almost did before. Keep him from getting crushed by the pressure of his burdens, or at least lessen it enough to keep him from going mad.Something. One thing I did know, however, was that I'd never just leave him.

"Never." I squeezed him, offering reassurance. Getting through things like this was a process. It couldn't just go away overnight and I intended to be there for him every step of the way.

Cole wasn't alone. They weren't alone. After that revelation, it didn't seem like the silence was all that terrifying anymore.

Chapter Text

I was jolted awake the next day, hearing a loud 'THUMP'. My eyes flew open and I let out a pained groan, turning my head to the side. I'd fallen onto the floor of the loft from my small makeshift bed. It hadn't been a far drop, but it still hurt nonetheless. I blinked the sleep out of my eyes, seeing a messy mop of white-blonde hair come into view from my bed.

"Sorry." Cole mumbled sleepily, a small frown on his face. The little bastard must have hogged the bed and knocked me off. I huffed, sitting up and hearing my bones crack as I stretched. I looked over at my friend, who had curled back up but was still looking at me blankly. My lips twitched as I took in his disheveled appearance.

"I needed to do something before work, anyway." I mumbled, standing up and dusting myself off.

We were going to head out to the Emerald Graves tomorrow, from the sounds of it. I quietly wondered how many of these group missions we'd have to do before this Ball that Empress Celene was holding. Not that I wanted to go, of course. I'd probably end up getting everyone kicked out. It's just … something was telling me that after the Ball, something was going to happen. It was a foreboding feeling and it made me a little uneasy.

I didn't want to end up getting chopped to pieces during battle, so I'd had some armor specially made for me. It took all of my savings, which wasn't much. But for one set of leather armor? It was just enough, especially with the materials that Lynn so kindly donated to me.

Which brought me to my present predicament. Dagna was smiling up at me with that cheesy grin of hers. I'd met her back when I was talking about what kind of armor I wanted and all the like. She was a cute little woman, really. I almost wanted to squish her cheeks. Which is odd for me to have such girlish urges. Ugh.

Originally I'd asked Harritt, the old blacksmith, to craft me some armor but Dagna had butted in at some point and began to regale me on the wonders of enchanting. I understood none of it, naturally. She'd heard about my world and was intensely interested to know about it and what we had accomplished. It had surprised me at first, because usually people were all 'oh, you're crazy' or 'that's bullshit'. But not her. She'd said nothing was impossible and that she really wanted to know how I did it. Of course, I didn't know.

"I added a little extra something to your little ensemble. I hope you don't mind!" Dagna smiled widely up at me, her eyes twinkling with wonder. I was broken out of my thoughts from her statement and I blinked a few times, my vision focusing down at her.

"Errr... as long as it doesn't explode in my face …" I was a little hesitant, because she gave off that kind of vibe. Ya know?

"No, no. None of that. Did you … want it to explode? I can make something that explodes. Fire and everything."

"No!" I snapped, but paused after that last sentence clicked in my head. Fire? "Weeeeell, maybe another time."

Dagna giggled, walking over to a chest on the side of one of the stone walls. The undercroft was different than I'd seen in the game. It'd been such a long time since I saw, anyway, I don't think I would be able to tell which looks like what anymore. My memory of the game world was kind of hazy, at this point. I sighed, seeing her hold up a bundle of belts and leather. Some pieces of shiny metal glinted from the light the torches provided on the wall nearby.

I slowly started to change into the armor they'd crafted, Harritt was too busy working on some weapons at the forge to even notice so I thought it was alright. I grumbled, feeling irritated when I got to the buckles and straps that held certain pieces in place. The poor woman was stuck with teaching me how to put it on correctly for the first time. Though she didn't seem to mind at all.

"You've seriously never put armor on before?" Dagna asked, sounding like she didn't believe it. I nodded, feeling a little embarrassed. "It's a wonder you haven't gotten chopped to pieces."

"I'm lucky." I thought I'd never say that. Ever. But it's the truth. I was lucky enough up to this point to even survive like I have. There was also the fact that the party I always traveled with was pretty proficient at fighting. The enemies were usually focused on them and not some puny civilian woman in the background. Though now I won't look the part of civilian and would likely get targeted. Practice makes perfect, right?

I rolled my shoulder once the armor was put on, making sure that I still had mobility. Oddly enough, I did. Even though there were metal pieces on my shoulders that strapped onto my torso, to provide me with extra protection. A rather light-weight chest plate, which was the large chunk of metal I'd seen earlier, was strapped rather snugly underneath the jacket. It wasn't anything fancy, really, just a sleeveless gray leather jacket that buckled in the front. The tail-flaps to said jacket fell just behind my knees and my leather pants were baggy on me and had pockets just like my cargo pants did.

To put it simply, the armor was made for a male body. I tucked the cuffs of my pants into my boots and stood up to grin over at the dwarf woman. She seemed to appraise the work done and looked over at the old man that was working at the forge. The light from the morning sun was bright enough now to illuminate the whole room.

"You did a good job, Harritt! Wanna come take a look?" The redheaded dwarf called, getting a grunt from him in response. Almost all old men I've met in this world were either grumpy or … well, grumpy. I had yet to meet any cute old people that were nice and liked to talk about the old days. Was this just a thing in my world?

"Don't you rogues like the tight fitting leather for more mobility? I thought I was making armor for a man!" He griped, looking at how baggy it looked on me. Yeah, when Dagna took my measurements I'd told her to make some sizes a little larger than what they really were. Also, men's pants never stick to their ass so why do I have to have tight leather pants? I'd rather not announce to my enemies that I have a rather large rump. Nope. No thanks. I tilted my head at the pale man in confusion and I could practically see his blood pressure rising.

"It fits just fine, sir. I like it." I tried to reassure, thinking that he was upset about not making it right. He frowned underneath his huge orange mustache and squinted down at me, crossing his arms over his broad chest.

"Armor must fit it's wearer correctly, lest you wish to die? I will not be responsible for a kid dying in battle because –" Seeing a vein bulge in his forehead, I stumbled away and grabbed my clothing from the floor. I then proceeded to throw the door open and scuttle to safety. On the other side of Skyhold. The bald blacksmith looked like he was about to have a frigging stroke! I darted toward the exit of the main hall, the doors still cracked open to reveal the clear sky outside. "Get back here, kid!"

"Maybe another time!" I yelled back, scurrying down the staircase and toward the barn. I felt excited that I finally had my armor and couldn't wait to show it off. It was still rather early in the morning, but it wasn't my turn to feed the horses this early so I still had about an hour before I had to head down.

I sat up in the loft fiddling around the straps and belts that adorned my armor, memorizing them the best I could. I practiced with unbuckling and buckling them and all the like before I had to take it off and put on some clothes that I could work in. I spent the rest of the day in a rather good mood, my steps a little lighter and my face less 'growly' as Varric liked to call it. I sometimes wondered why he didn't just nickname me 'growly' instead of 'screech'.

Just when I was about to leave up to the loft for the rest of the evening, I was stopped by Varric as he entered the barn with a grin on his face. Was he always grinning? Does his face ever get stuck like that? Maybe it already was. I tilted my head in question, he spoke up.

"We're playing Wicked Grace in the tavern tonight, wanna join?" The dwarf crossed his arms and offered me his signature smirk. Wicked Grace, eh? I've heard them talk about it a few times before. It was some card game, from what I gathered, and I never really bothered to learn the rules or whatever.

"Huh. I have no idea how to play."

"Bah, Ruffles will show you! It's easy, come on." I thought about it for a moment before shrugging. It'd been awhile since I sat around the whole group (Last time we were around a fire and they were jumping to conclusions, remember?). Yeah, not a good thought. Hopefully by now they had either forgotten or just didn't care anymore.

"Alright, whatever you say. Just let me get washed up, I smell like shit." I looked down at myself and scrunched my nose, "Quite literally."

"Doesn't start for another hour anyway, take your time." The dwarf looks at my dirtied state and seemed to agree with my idea of washing up. I nodded and he turned to walk away, waving lazily in my direction. Sighing, I trudged my way up the stairs to grab a new set of clothing before heading to the washrooms.

It didn't take me long before I was changed and washed as I headed over to the Herald's Rest. I had a small money pouch stuffed in my pocket with only a designated amount. I wasn't stupid enough to go to a game night with all my money, you know. Never was really one for gambling, but what's the worst that could happen?

I threw the tavern door open and ambled in lazily, shutting it behind me. My boots thudded on the floorboards as I walked. It was empty, save the large group of friends sitting in the middle of the first floor with one huge table. Cards, candles and drinks were strewn our haphazardly around the table and they were laughing amongst one another.

Dorian and Cassandra sat side by side on the furthest end nearest to the staircase, the latter taking a small sip from her huge mug. Lynn and Varric were next and so on and so forth. The only people I didn't see here were Vivienne (Thank fuck) and Sera. Silently wondering where Sera even was, I made my way up to the group of friends. I almost felt out of place, with their smiling faces and loud bickering but stayed nonetheless. Maybe it would get better?

"Bull, move your fatass over." I complained quietly, not wanting to interrupt, as I stood next to him. He had the whole end of the table to himself as he sat there. He flicked his one eye up at me and grinned, moving his stool to the side. Grunting, I sat down between him and Cole.

"Glad you could make it, Screech." Varric called from over the table and I saw a tankard set in front of me. I simply stared at it, then back at Bull who had been the one to set it there. While I was sitting on that little stool, I felt almost dwarfed next to the huge Qunari. My head barely made it to his shoulders, causing me to grumble. I wasn't a short woman, not really. The people here were just tall! Yeah.

"You aren't getting me drunk." I drawled, "I don't even know what kind of drunk I am. I do not intend to find out." I muttered at the end, thinking about all the embarrassing things I've seen people do when they were under the influence of alcohol. Stupid things, too. Not for me. Nope.

"Have you ever gambled before? It's quite habit forming." Dorian spoke from the other end of the table. I would have made a joke about my being Native American and about casinos, but that joke would fly over everyone's head. Unfortunate. I sighed,

"Yes. But only a little, it's not really my cup of tea. But here I am."

"The machines always stole your money. You once got thrown out of a casino for punching it." Cole spoke from beside me, causing my eye to twitch.

"Great, announce to the table that I have bad luck. Thanks, Cole."

"You're … welcome?" He sounded a bit confused, probably at the fact that I was practically screeching in my head in horror. I was totally going to lose all my money. My poor hard earned silvers. Such sad. Wow. So depress.

"It's okay, I'll show you the ropes." Josephine said with a dainty smile.

"More money for me." Bull grunted, feeling completely confident in his abilities to play this game. I wouldn't put it passed him. He used to be Ben-Hassrath (Harseholes) and was pretty much trained to see if someone was lying and whatever. This was going to be … difficult.

And it was, because it wasn't even an hour later when I sat there at the table in nothing but my underclothes (Which was a tank top and some shorts, thank God.). Josephine had suggested that I put my shirt and pants up, but I think that she rigged the damn game so that she could get them. My poor cargo pants and t-shirt. I whined quietly, seeing her fold them delicately and put them aside next to her seat. The tanned woman looked smug as she glanced over at me, brown eyes crinkling with happiness. I pouted and looked away, seeing the amused faces of the rest of my friends.

At least I still had my boots. If you thought I was going to put my boots up, you're crazy. I love my boots to death.

"I think I'm out for the night." I spoke up as Josephine dealt the cards. She seemed to pause for a moment before skipping me entirely, "I'm broke."

"You weren't lying when you said you had bad luck. Unless you're just shit at playing." Varric laughed heartily as he took a drink of his ale. I think I even heard Lynn snicker at that comment, causing me to squint in her direction. Those asses.

"Probably a bit of both, I'd imagine." Dorian couldn't help but jab at me for it, a small smile on his face as he looked in my direction. I focused my eyes on one of the many candles that sat at the worn out table, watching as some of the wax dribbled down the side.

"Hah. Hah. Laugh it up, guys." Was my unamused reply as I looked down and began picking at the planks on the table with my chipped fingernails. I wasn't pouting. I refused to admit I was pouting.

"Do not worry, I could never get the hang of this game either." Cassandra tried to make me feel better and I nodded in her direction, silently thanking her. At least I wasn't the only one that was horrible at card games, yeah?

I crossed my arms over my chest, feeling the need to hide because I thought it was a brilliant idea not to wear a bra. I'd assumed it would be a quick game and I could just go throw myself in bed and sleep, but no. I didn't need to announce to the table how cold I thought it was now did I?

I did not foresee this.

It didn't escape my notice how my friend at my left seemed to be squirming in his seat. Turning my brown gaze over to him he appeared to be, I shit you not, glaring at Bull. Blinking slowly, as if it would clear my vision, I stared at Cole for a moment. His piercing blue eyes were on the Qunari at my right. I turned my head up at said Qunari and saw that he was, of course, staring at my chest. Or trying to, since I had most of them covered with my arms.

I made a noise of disapproval and tried to move my arms up higher, as if trying to shield myself more. This was the last time I was going to play Wicked Grace. First and last. My impulsive behavior got me into this predicament and I planned to avoid the situation at all costs, now. Another reason to keep me from casinos, I suppose. I blame my genes. (Heh, get it? I'm Native American. Hah. Hah. No? Alright.)

Alright, if it bothered him that much I would go put something on. I mean, I was planning to anyway … but with the way Cole was acting, I really would not be surprised if Bull spontaneously combusted. I should do it now rather than later. Wooo, I thought Cassandra's glare was scary. I'm just glad it wasn't directed at me. Nope. All the nope, on the nope train to Fuckthatshitville.

Please don't blurt stuff out. Please don't. That's the last thing I need is a table full of buzzed friends to be laughing their asses off at me again. Cole's glare seemed to almost disappear, like it was never even there as he looked over at me curiously. I frowned, gripping my arms together uncomfortably. I'll be right back. I tried to convey silently.

He seemed to understand as he nodded minutely. Of course he understood, he could pretty much read my thoughts. My lips twitched and I stood up to make my way to my room on the third floor. Which, by the way, I hardly ever used anymore, aside from storing things.

I was walking out of the room with a tunic on, finding that shorts would be completely fine anyway. I had just needed to cover my torso, in the very least. I stepped out, the door creaking shut quietly as I ambled toward the staircase. Only to get knocked over and fall on my ass, feeling a rather heavy solid object tumble over and roll onto the floor beside me.

"Ow, mother fucker!" I yelled as I fell back and hit the floorboards.

"S-Sorry!" I heard Cullen's voice right next to me, causing my eyes to snap open as I flew into a seated position. Okay, not an object. I'd run into a person. I turned to glare at him, but my rebuttal was quickly forgotten as I saw him scuttling away on the floor and trying to cover himself at the same time.

Because he was naked.

"Oh for-" I snap out, holding my hand up to cover my vision and prevent myself from seeing his … little bits. "Seriously?! You're a-ahh … kinda naked, Cullen." I watched as he only got redder at my statement, his face and neck changing colors. I could have sworn the poor man was about to burst into tears or something through the mortification he probably felt right now, his light brown eyes impossibly wide as he stared over at me. He stood up and stuttered out apologies as he scrambled for the door to run outside and to his office.

Okay, I used to live in a house full of guys when I lived with my Aunt. So I was pretty much desensitized to the whole half naked men thing. (Even though this one was completely naked, but that's beside the point) I know I know, 'But they're related to you' I get it. But they had friends, and I never really cared to look. Still don't care to look, as Cullen stumbled away in his embarrassment.

Guess there was a reason most of my family thought I was aromantic and/or asexual. Heh. How wrong they were.

I stared blankly, still sitting on the floor in the dark. That was incredibly cliché, it was like I was in some horrible fanfiction or something. Let's take the game's most attractive character, take his/her clothes and armor off, and make them run into the main character of the story. By accident, might I add. Bonus points if they either have big boobs or is ripped. Next thing I know, I'm going to find Cullen in his undergarments tied to my bed one day.Because plotI'm totally calling it.

I scoffed at my thoughts and pushed my hands on the worn out wood to stand up so that I could peek down over the railing.

"Dare I ask what happened?" I leaned forward and called down, seeing only the Inquisitor and Varric still lingering around speaking to one another. "Eh... I take it the game is over?"

I got a giggle from Lynn and she assured me that game night was indeed over. Well darn, I still wanted to hear some embarrassing stories that they seemed to love to share. Or maybe even see Josephine take everyone's money, because the reactions they got when they went broke was always hilarious. Mainly because I was the one to go broke first and I wanted to revel in their misfortunes, just like they had with me.

"Can we cuddle tonight?" I clasped the railings in surprise, turning my gaze over to Cole. How in the hell – Rogues are so sneaky …

I suddenly found it amusing how Harritt seemed to think I was a rogue when I couldn't even sneak to save my life. I felt my face heat up and I offered a small smile. I didn't even have to think about how to answer his question, really. Sleep seemed to come easier when I lay next to him.

"If you'd like." Was my answer, feeling him grab my hand and lead me toward his room. Well, one good thing is I was already dressed for bed anyway.

Once we were settled, I realized how much I missed having an actual bed. It was so soft and comfortable I could already feel myself starting to relax as I burrowed underneath the blankets. My back was against the wall and my eyes slowly adjusted enough with the dim light offered from the window coming from the moon.

"The Iron Bull is a … pervert." Cole spoke from his position on the bed. He was facing me and I could faintly see his expression, which seemed to be blank at the moment. It sounded like the word was foreign to him and I remembered a time when he had no idea what a pervert even was. I let out a quiet laugh. He sounded confused, "You are laughing?"

"That's just Bull being … Bull." I explained, brushing it off like it was nothing. And it was, it wasn't like he would actually do anything about it. He knew that I had little interest in those kinds of activities.

"He wondered how your breasts would feel in his hands. They're big, so he –" Surprised, I put my palm over his mouth to silence him. I didn't really want to hear Bull's lewd thoughts. It would just make me feel all awkward around him. Eugh. Though, I did notice that this time when Cole repeated another man's thoughts out loud he almost sounded … bitter. Like the thought itself left a foul taste in his mouth.

"I-I get it. Did it bother you that much?" I asked, removing my hand as I felt my face pinken. Silently glad that he probably couldn't see how embarrassed I was, he seemed to contemplate something for a moment. I couldn't really see, either, but I could see the way his eyes seemed to squint and his mouth twisted into a little frown.

"Yes. The anger was buzzing, curling, tightening – I … I wanted to hit him. I don't like it when he thinks of you like that." My body shook as I felt amusement bubble around. The fact that he was being so protective was kind of cute. "Y-You're happy? But I don't want to hit The Iron Bull, he is my friend."

"No no." I chuckled lightly, "But I'd probably end up punching him if he grabbed me, though. I don't take too kindly to people touching me."

"But … you let me touch you."

"You're different." I scooted a little closer, curling up against him and smiling. "Get some sleep, yeah?" The only response I got was him wrapping his arms around me and pulling me up to his chest. I hummed in contentment and drifted off not too long after that.

We were standing near the gates of Skyhold the next day, the horses having been saddled up and ready to go awhile ago. I stood there, next to my friend, as we waited for the rest of the party to ready themselves for the upcoming mission. I tried to ignore the occasional glance from Vivienne, who was standing not far away, but it seemed life was not that kind to me. I was granted with the gift of the woman's company as she strode over to me, her hands adjusting her white fashionable robes.

"I would have a word with you about the Inquisitor's demon pet, if you will." She spoke and I had to bite back the urge to growl at her words. What is with people and calling him a demon? Or a pet, for that matter?

"Whatever you want said, can be said here." Was my icy reply and I watched as she flicked her brown gaze between Cole and I. My friend stood quietly at my side, watching the exchange. I would have normally tried to keep my mask of indifference around the woman, but the fact that she insisted on calling him a 'demon pet' seemed to grate on my nerves. It was bad enough that Sera referred to him as an 'it' when she spoke of him. "Though, I do insist you stop calling him a pet like he is some animal. He's a person, just like you and I!"

"Oh, poor dear … It's a demon. It's always the most harmless looking ones that are the most dangerous." Vivienne sounded almost concerned. And I wouldn't know if she really felt concerned or not, I didn't know the woman. The only thing I did know, however, was that I did not like her.

"Oh, for fucks sake!" I hissed, jabbing my finger in her face. The tanned mage took a small step back, out of reach as I pointed at her. "Just mind your own damn business!"

The Orlesian mage looked down at me disdainfully before holding her chin up high. "Charming. Just know, whether Cole is a demon or spirit is irrelevant. Neither can be trusted."

"I'd much sooner trust him with my life than I would you."

"Him? Who killed so many? He was the Ghost of the Spire. He brought matters in the Spire to a head. Without him, there would be no rebellion." I noticed that Cole seemed to tense at the mage's words and I felt my self control snap. If she'd come over here to comment on my outfit or make snide remarks that referred to me, I wouldn't have been so bothered. But I felt intensely protective over Cole, and the fact that she'd brought that up pissed me off. I could feel my anger boiling just at the sight of her, right then.

My body begin to shake as I wound up my arm to swing at her, intent on punching her in the face for insulting him. I didn't get to, though, because I felt someone grab my arm to stop me. I tried a few times to wriggle out of their grasp, but to no avail. I peered over, seeing that it was Cole that was preventing me from hitting the woman. He had a disapproving look on his face and my attention snapped back over to the mage, my eyes narrowed dangerously. My reaction did not go unnoticed by the woman as she stood there with a disturbed look on her face.

"Leave." I ground out, watching as the woman looked from Cole then back to me again. Vivienne turned and strode away without a word. It's not him that she needed to be afraid of. I wanted to hit the woman for being such an insensitive prick. I knew she had her own reasons for seeing him in that light and I refused to try and see things from her point of view. I refused to think about it. What's done is done. What matters is now. Once she was out of hearing range, I whispered angrily. "The rebellion would have started anyway … people are just … that's just how we are."

Cole didn't answer me.

It took a couple of days to get there, but when we did I was in awe. The place was … stunning. I'd seen forests and all the like back home but this was as beautiful as the game depicted. No, that just didn't do it justice. It's more than that, the way the trees would sway and the way the warm breeze would tickle my face and make my hair shift. There was no litter, no pollution, just fresh air and greenery. Everything was so lush and filled with life.

"Beautiful, isn't it?" Krem spoke from beside me and I looked over and nodded, smiling up at him happily. His face turned red and he let out a cough into his fist, looking away. Blinking, I tilted my head in confusion.

"Are you alright?"

"Yeah, fine." The warrior peered back over at me and I rose a brow. "You should smile more, it looks good on you." He smirked, seemingly regaining himself.

"Not creepy?"

"Only if you force it." He gave me a genuine laugh, patting me on the head before he turned away and walked up to the group. I grunted and follow after him, still looking at my surroundings.

Most of the places here on Thedas were so beautiful, in comparison to my home world. Sure, back home there were tourist locations that looked wonderful. Places that I'd wanted to visit if I ever got the chance to. But it wasdifferent here, untouched by technology and overpopulation. Earth was infested with too many humans, I thought. It was a damn shame.

"Alright, we're going to be splitting up again." The Inquisitor spoke as she walked up from a small ravine, Cassandra at her side. We'd been left near the entrance while she walked in and had a little chat with someone. "I spoke to Fairbanks and he reported some men that call themselves The Freeman of the Dales. They've been terrorizing people in attempt to claim this area as their own."

"Guess we'll just have to crash the party, right Boss?" Bull grinned down at the small elf and smashed his big fist into his hand. Lynn looked up at him and offered a kind smile, the chainmail underneath her white leather armor glinted in the sunlight. She was wearing that armor that only elf rogues could wear, her feet were out in the open. I idly wondered how she dealt with the snowy conditions in that armor. Solas did that, too. Their feet being bare even in icy weather baffled me.

"We can't allow these people to remain without protection. That is where we come in." As it seemed, the Inquisition was far too busy with other tasks (again) to actually send extra forces here to the Emerald Graves to help the people. So Lynn decided it was best to just come and do it herself, along with the party of course. We split up in the same way we had last time, finding it easier to keep a routine going to make battle much easier. That and the Chargers were with us and splitting them up didn't seem to make sense at all.

As we passed a cave, where I knew some bears were located from when I played the game, I looked around feeling a bit apprehensive. I really did not like bears since I'd arrived here.

"Don' worry, we killed em last time we were here. Scaredy pants." Sera snickered as we made our way by the cave, vines dangled near the entrance. I huffed quietly, looking down at my feet and kicking the grass. The ground was littered with ferns and yellow flowers as they flitted and swayed in the light breeze. It wasn't my fault bears were out to get me.

"Aw, don't worry. I'll protect you." I let out a groan at Krem's statement as I heard his heavy footfalls from right behind me. I didn't need protecting! I was getting better. We made our way through the long grass on foot, having left the horses back at the Inquisition camp. Riding horses through a forest was never a good idea, after all. Unless you planned on getting cloths-lined by a branch. I turned around to give Krem a snarky comment, but saw him and Cole staring at one other as we walked forward. I slowed a little so that I was standing beside Cole as we continued our trek.

Well, maybe they were glaring. I couldn't be too sure. Did I miss something, here?

"If you guys are done gazing into eachother's eyes, perhaps we should keep an eye out for hostiles? Possibly … bears?" I fiddled with the straps on my vambraces. When I looked up, I saw Dorian watching the three of us with a rather amused grin on his face. I rose a brow but decided to simply shrug it off. Whatever.

"Rift!" I heard someone yell from not far ahead, causing me to snap my attention in their direction. Cassandra had unsheathed her sword and had her shield positioned in front of her, in a battle stance. We were near a bend in the river when I saw the green tear crackle and Lynn's hand seemed to glow in response.

Or demons. Those too.

Loud inhuman shrieks pierced the air, causing the hairs on my arms and neck to stand on end. I froze for a second, feeling the blood drain from my face. The sound was … terrifying. I pulled my bow out and notched an arrow, making my way forward just as the others had. Since there were so many of us, it didn't even take that long to dispatch the first wave of demons that had appeared from the rift.

I was, however, there when the second wave came. A terror demon pounced out of the ground right beside Bull and I could have sworn I heard him scream. Okay, maybe he yelled. I could see the fear on his face as he began to bash the thing with his oversized sword.

Me? Well, I was standing in the back with the rest of the archers and mages. With so many allies bustling around and battling with the ugly things, it was hard to get any clear shots without almost hitting someone with an arrow.

Suddenly, my body was sent flying causing my world to shift upside down as I tumbled in the soft grass. I heard Sera and Varric yell from beside me, obviously in the same predicament. When I looked up through my mess of rusty hair, I saw the spindly form of a terror demon towering over me as it let out a shrill cry. I screeched in response, my high pitched voice carrying over the battlefield. I think Sera might have screamed, too, because she was scrambling into a standing position from right beside me.

The thing was fucking ugly! It had so many eyes on it's green head and it's mouth extended all the way down to the middle of it's chest, razor sharp teeth protruding out. It stopped shrieking and looked down at me as I scuttled backward, ready to club it if need be. I doubt it would do much, since its claws were so long and sharp. Before it could do anything, however, it was shield bashed to the side by Krem. The warrior spun and started to hack away at it, giving us enough time to recover.

I stood up right next to Sera and began to fire arrows whenever I can. Once everything was done and over with I finally realized that I could have just pulled out my gun and unloaded into that fucker. Stupid. I couldn't even think straight because of how damn scared I'd been. Okay, so I was terrified. Scared was not a sufficient enough word to describe what I'd felt. I'd never seen a demon before and I sincerely hoped I didn't see one for awhile.

I knew how unlikely that was, though. Because Corypheshit.

"Shite. Now I owe you a drink, don' I?" Sera griped as she stomped over to Krem, crossing her arms. "Me an' Screech almost got torn to bits, yeah? Frig. Demons shit up everything!"

I'd thank him later. I tread around the group carefully, not wanting to step in demon gore, and made my way in another direction. I walked up to Cole, who was standing near where the rift had been located and staring over at us with an almost disturbed expression on his face.

"You're … uhhh, covered in … stuff." I pointed out the obvious, pointing at his armor and hair. There was even some on his face! Everyone else that had been on the front lines was in the same predicament as he was. Though Cole seemed to have quite a bit splattered around all over his leather armor and even in his hair. I stifled a giggle, allowing my fingers to stroke a chunk of his blonde hair that fell in front of his face. The blood was green and … gooey.

I was actually kind of relieved a pride demon didn't appear through that rift, because that would have been devastating. Even though we had the advantage of numbers, at the moment.

"We should probably get cleaned off in the river or something." I mumbled offhandedly after my friend didn't reply. He seemed awfully quiet as he stared off into the distance.

"I second that statement. It's getting dark, anyhow." Cassandra spoke from behind us and I turned to look at her. The Seeker fought with all that she had and it definitely showed, because even she was covered in the crap. Lynn nodded from beside her and began to tell everyone to set up camp for the night. Tomorrow we would split up and get rid of these Freeman dudes.

But first I kind of wanted to see what the water felt like here, since it was so warm. At least it wasn't blazing hot, because the leather I was wearing right then would probably make things so much worse. I wondered what they did when they were in the desert? Did they just put up with the heat and drink lots of water? Or maybe they had some kind of enchantment in their armor?

A question for another time.

Third Person

Cole couldn't help but feel kind of warm and fuzzy when Lyn fretted over him like this. Any previous thoughts he'd had about her almost getting hurt were set in the back of his mind. She had grabbed a damp handkerchief and started to clean his face and hair off, a soft look on her face as she did so. The lanky rogue was currently crouched near some bushes as she knelt in front of him and did her work.

"I'll clean off your coat and hat if you let me." She offered that smile of hers as she tugged on his jacket. He didn't even protest, shrugging the thing off and handing it to her. "I-I'll be right back."

Lyn scuttled off, face red from whatever reason. She was cute when she was like that. Her song flickered and sang differently when they were close, dancing around and happy as the days went by. The rogue couldn't hear his own song, for whatever reason, but wondered if he could he would be able to hear his reaching out to hers. Reaching, wanting, longing for her attention. That's how he felt, that is.

Cole watched as she seemed to make snappy remarks back and forth between a teasing Lynn and grossed out Sera. The three really liked to say mean words to one another, but they never really meant them. Just like Krem and The Iron Bull. Once she was done, she'd set his things aside and stomped over to the two and promptly began to tear off her leather armor right there. Pieces of metal and straps, coats and boots went flying into the soft grass nearby.

He heard a choking noise from beside him and he peered over curiously, seeing Krem standing nearby. The warrior looked like he was coming to talk to Cole but had paused when Lyn started to yell at the two elves. Said woman was now in the tank top and shorts that she usually wore underneath her armor. The woman lunged forward and tackled Sera, wrestling on the edge of the river.

The sky was relatively clear, a few clouds billowing by as the sun cast it's warm shine down on everyone as they cleaned themselves off. The only ones who were having 'fun' at the moment being the two elves and his friend. Though they kept as quiet as possible, just in case anyone nearby heard them. The last thing they needed was an ambush while the Inquisitor was completely armorless.

Krem took a seat beside the blonde rogue and they simply sat there in silence for awhile. Cole could feel the unease radiating off of him, though couldn't get much more than that. Eventually the warrior finally spoke up.

"The two of you seem pretty close, hmm?" Krem spoke as he fiddled around with his armor, trying to hide the nervousness inside as he sat next to the spirit. Cole knew that he didn't like it when he did his 'thing' to him, finding it rather creepy. Unnatural. Not right. Just like many others. He didn't mind, though. The warrior did not seem to dislike him for it, however.

Cole stared out at his friend, seeing her grab Sera by her ankles as she began to drag her into the river. Said elf was trying her hardest not to scream as she was launched into the river, coming up for air seconds later with her short blonde hair plastered to her face. Inquisitor Lavellan laughed hysterically at the scene before her, Lyn smirked at the elf and shrugged.

"Sunlight flits through her hair, fiery strands glinting like the blaze within her soul." He described, looking at her rusty hair as the sun's rays seemed to bring out the red in it. He finally answered the question, "Yes."

"Well, that sounds about right." The warrior's armor clicked as he crossed his arms and looked over at the rogue as he crouched next to the bushes. He was mostly hidden as he watched over the camp. "She's definitely a tough on, ain't she? Despite not being from here." She was adjusting well.

"You watch her a lot. When she spars – with a fierce tenacity not seen in most. The little smirk she gives when she thinks she won. The way she-" Cole gasped, turning his ice blue gaze over to the warrior. They locked eyes for a second, blue on brown. "You like her."

Krem's lips twitched into a frown and Cole didn't even know how he was supposed to feel about that. The blonde rogue's eyebrows scrunched underneath his mop of hair. He knew that whenever Krem and Lyn talked or wrestled around, he felt kind of agitated. He didn't like it and didn't know why. It felt like it was itching, clawing, grabbing at his insides.

"It's not like I could take her from you, anyway." Krem's face was that of forced passivity. His feelings were murky and hidden. "I've seen the way she looks at you. I can't get in the way of that."

Cole felt his face warm up as he averted his gaze to the tree behind the warrior. Yes. She did look at him a certain way, didn't she? He liked that about her.

"But, if you hurt her …" The warrior's voice got lower, deadlier. When Cole's vision focused on the man, his face was scrunched in distaste. He didn't want to see her get hurt, he worried for her. Just like Cole did.

"You don't want to see the fire dim, dulled, weak. I won't do that, I want to protect her." He rocked back and forth on his feet, trying to offer reassurance.

"I know what you are." The warrior continued with almost a growl, "Know that if you slip up, I'll be there when you're not. I'll make you regret it." Cole stared through him, finally seeing the dam break as his thoughts and feelings poured forth. Krem couldn't keep them away for long, he felt so strongly about it.

"'Take his place, make her see me instead. She deserves someone better, someone human.' You can't! She's … she's mine! Mine to protect, mine to defend – shelter, keep from harm!" Anger made it's way onto Cole's pale features, "I won't let you!"

His voice was raised, if only a little, but didn't seem to attract the attention of the three playing in the river. A few of the others seemed to peer over curiously, however. The lanky rogue felt his body begin to shake at the thought that Krem would try to take Lyn from him. He didn't like it. It hurt. The thought of it even being a possibility. The thought of her going to him instead. Seeking comfort in him instead, not Cole. Not … No.

When had he started thinking of her as his? The thought itself almost terrified him. Did he want to posses her? No. The look on Krem's face. His thoughts, his feelings, what he wanted. The warrior was feeling the same thing, so was this normal?

"Then don't give me a reason to." Was Krem's answer as he frowned at the rogue, suppressing a shiver at hearing his inner thoughts being pulled forth. Splayed out for the world to see. He'll never get used to that. How could Lyn just … allow that to happen? No. Cole wasn't a bad kid, just different. If a bit creepy. But different, nonetheless.

Krem cared a lot about her and still feared that the young man would only end up hurting her. He, after all, was not completely human. Who was to say he wouldn't turn on her someday? The Chief did say he was a demon, but Lyn always insisted that wasn't the case. He was a spirit turned human. Solas said there wasn't really much of a distinction, that they were both one in the same. Either way, the warrior did not like it.

First Person

The next day I emerged from my tent rather early and I was greeted with the sun barely starting to light up the sky. Only a few people were awake then and I didn't even attempt to take down my tent, seeing as how I had to sneak away so that I didn't wake up Cole. He still slept with me all the time when we were out on missions and all the like. It made things easier. Less tents to put up. Not that I was bothered by it, it just meant more sleep for me.

I cinched the belt that went around my waist and adjusted my vambraces, hoping that they were put on correctly. I heard soft footfalls to my right, coming from the underbrush next to the trees. Sure enough, Solas stepped out and stared at me expectantly.

"A word, if you will." He spoke quietly, not wanting to wake people up. Or maybe it was because he didn't want to be heard? What had he been doing out there, anyway? Suspicious. I simply gave him a look and nodded minutely.

I grunted and walked over to him, feeling the familiar weight of my bow bouncing on my back as we made our way down toward the river. Once we were there, I watched as some leaves slowly drifted by on the surface of the clear water. It had astounded me yesterday, when I was swimming. Normally standing out in waist deep water made me nervous, because of the numerous amounts of litter and glass that was usually found on the bottoms of lakes back home. There were tons of lakes in Minnesota, you could hardly travel places without encountering one. So it wasn't that hard to find places to swim. Here, there was no such thing to hurt my feet. Unless I stepped on a jagged rock or was bit by some wildlife, that is.

I don't think I'll ever get used to the magnificent views that were shown to me, here. I sighed, looking up at the clear sky and breathing in the fresh air.

"This world truly is wonderful, Solas. One should not take it for granted." I felt my lips twitch as I looked over at the bald elf. He was staring at me curiously before I turned away again, "I'm assuming that is not why you wished to speak to me. What is it?"

I saw his posture straighten as he stared out passed the river next to me, "It would be a moot point to try to separate the two of you, now." He finally spoke, his voice even. Straight to the point, I suppose he knows by now not to dance around the subject. "As it would likely upset Cole."

"I probably wouldn't have listened anyway." I adjusted some of my straps again, feeling uncomfortable. "He is important to me. I would not push him away simply because you don't agree with it."

"Though I must concede, he may very well become fully human after all. I never thought to see it." He continued, seemingly not hearing my snarky jibe just moments ago. I turned to look at him, eyebrow raised.

"Something tells me this isn't why you wanted to talk, though."

"He is quite attached to you, it would be fairly easy to hurt him. Manipulate him, even." Solas clasped his hands behind his back and his voice turned deadly serious, "Should such a thing come to pass, it would come with ….tragic consequences."

My thoughts were put on pause as I stood there, frozen. His words took awhile to register, but when they did. I opened my mouth to speak, feeling a bit nervous. He'd killed those mages that summoned his friend, Wisdom, to this world. So I knew that he meant serious business.

"W-Wait. Did … did you just subtly threaten me?"

"Take it how you will." The elf's chin was held high as he turned to look at me and I couldn't help the smile that spread across my face. He would so readily protect Cole and that in itself was enough to make me feel a bit of respect for him, despite the fact that he'd just given an implied threat. Cole needed these kinds of people in his life, people that felt he was important enough to fight for. Important enough to be there for, whether he liked it or not. I barked out a laugh, seeing his usually blank face turn confused. A frown formed and his eyebrows knitted together.

"Don't worry, if I did somehow hurt him … I probably wouldn't even fight back if you attacked me." I waved him off, trying to get rid of the nervousness that had settled in my stomach. Solas did not know me that well. Just that I was an impulsive and angry woman, so it made sense that he would not know that I'd never hurt Cole. He didn't know just how important the spirit was to me, did he? I tacked on at the end, "You're still an ass, though."

The elf sighed, looking like he'd decided it was just best not to try and understand my odd outbursts. To him, I was probably just another weird human.

"I fear what may happen if he loses his purpose." Solas elaborated and I bit down the urge to sigh. This again. Though, I had enough time to think about that. Since our last conversation was pretty much about the possibility of Cole becoming something he was not. I spent a lot of time dwelling on that last argument … a lot of time.

"He is the same compassionate young man that you knew yesterday. Months ago, even. It's just who he is." I turned my brown gaze out toward the river again, seeing the sun casting it's rays on the sparkling water. "Losing that will be losing an essential part of himself. He wouldn't let that happen and neither will I, if I have any say in it."

"I am almost surprised you did not threaten my life like you did Vivienne." Solas paused for a moment and corrected himself, "Ah. Apologies, Madame de Fer."

"Well, that's an easy one. It's because I hold some semblance of respect for you, despite your ass-hattery. Vivienne is just a bitch, there is no changing that." I explained, seeing his gaze turn flat.

"Ass-hattery … I see. I had not accounted for that." He sounded almost sarcastic. Almost. Damn, I didn't know Solas could be so … sassy. I snorted, looking back toward the camp and seeing everyone starting to wake up and get ready to go. We were quiet for a few beats before I spoke up again.

"I need to go pack up my tent." I waved and left, not looking back to see his expression. That was possibly the first semi-civil conversation we'd had, ever. Today was going to be a bad day, wasn't it?

Chapter Text

Since Solas and I had actually had a semi-civil conversation earlier that day, I'd assumed the day was ruined. Doomed for bad luck, because shit like that doesn't happen for a reason. And I'd thought I was right, at first. Since I'd had my first encounter with a great bear here in the Emerald Graves not long after that. Now let me tell you one thing, the bears here are fucking huge. They're gray and at least twice the size of the ones I saw in the Hinterlands.

At least they didn't appear in packs.

I'd panicked and unloaded a whole magazine from my gun into the oversized furball, leaving it twitching on the ground with barely any life left in it. Bull had to be the one to put it out of it's misery with his gigantic sword. I was too busy hyperventilating in the background to even reload and finish the job. It's funny, because I got more worked up over the bear than I did with the terror demon yesterday.

Another thing, before we'd split up earlier that day, Lavellan had explained to everyone that we were to meet up in another three to four days at the Inquisition camp that had our horses. I was, of course, stuck with Bull and his Chargers, Dorian, Varric and Cole. At least I wouldn't have to put up with Vivienne's judgmental stares or Solas' disapproving glances. The two mages seriously rubbed me the wrong way.

Guess that's just bound to happen, though. I got along fine with the others. Mostly.

I was tuning out their banter, as per usual, but one thing seemed to have caught my attention. My ear twitched and I focused on Bull, who was talking to Cole not too far away. Was it just me or did the Qunari look back at me with a grin?

"Yes … when we get back, you're going to spend an evening with a nice lady named Candy." I heard Bull say to Cole, putting his big hand on top of his hat. My friend tried to peer up at him from the bottom of his floppy hat,

"Can I lift my feet?"

"She's gonna lift a lot more than – Ah!" I had grabbed the nearest object, which happened to be an apple that was in Krem's hand as he walked beside me, and chucked it with all my might at the back of Bull's head. It hit him with a 'thud!', falling softly in the grass just behind him. He turned around, rubbing the back of his head with a frown on his face. I tried to push away the image my brain seemed to conjure of Cole curled up next to a different woman, but failed. Cole whipped around to look at me with widened blue eyes, mouth opened like he had been about to say something.

"I'll lift you off the ground and chuck you off that cliff!" I practically screeched as I pointed my shaking hand at Bull, feeling anger starting to course through my body. What the hell was wrong with him?! Was he purposely trying to get under my skin for what I did back in the Hinterlands?

"Gee, girlie. If I hadn't known any better, I'd say you were jealous." Bull smirked over at me and I felt my face heat up. My threat bounced off of him harmlessly. It was like I was a chihuahua threatening to bite at his ankles.

Also. I was totally not jealous.

"S-Shut up!" I stuttered, crossing my arms and looking away with a scowl on my face. "I don't care."

"You're not really that good at lying, Screech. Might wanna work on that." Varric chuckled and I saw a Dalish and a few of the other Chargers tense, taking out their weapons. I opened my mouth to ask what was wrong, but was interrupted when some men jumped out of the bushes just ahead of us. They were dressed in armored chest plates with matching lion heads. I cursed, recognizing them as the Freeman we were supposed to driving out of the area. Or 'party crashing' as Bull called it.

Everyone readied themselves as our enemies pulled out their swords, an archer in the back notched an arrow and fired – signaling the start of battle. Bull strafed to the side, the arrow completely missing him as he lunged forward with a cry. There weren't very many of them, which confused me at first because why would they attack us if they knew they were outnumbered?

Shrugging, I pulled out my gun and began my work at getting rid of my bullets. My hands were shaking from the adrenaline rush I usually got when people were fighting, but I was able to hold it steady. Kind of. Whenever I knew that I had a clear shot, I would put a bullet into someone's head or chest area. I'd, of course, missed a lot and had to reload but I did alright nonetheless.

My suspicions from earlier were proved correct when I saw a few more jump out from the treeline, but other than that I think the rest may have run because of the loud noise my gun was making. The resounding cracks and bangs echoed in the sky and I faintly noted that the wildlife, again, was dead silent. The only sounds coming from the clashing of metal on metal or the screams from the battle.

At first it had surprised the enemies, giving my friends enough time to take advantage of the distraction. I heard one of the men scream and start to run away. I don't know what happened to that guy, to be honest. But by the time the battle was done, everyone was looting the bodies. Bull was talking about trying to find information for any nearby camps we could raid.

I sighed, adjusting the straps on my armor with a frown on my face. I still did not like killing people, despite having lived in this world for so long. I didn't like it, but I've learned to tolerate it. I still couldn't help the stab of remorse every time I looked down at the dead bodies on the battlefield. Still couldn't help the nightmares I got and the horrible way my thoughts would turn dark at times. I couldn't help it...

Demons and animals were easier to kill, however. Humans? Not so much.

I heard a sigh from right beside me as hands grabbed at my jacket. I flinched and snapped my gaze in that direction, seeing Krem tugging at it. He looked at me with an exasperated expression on his face.


"Just take it off." He stated and my face turned red as I backed away. What the hell?! He seemed to have noticed my expression, because his face flushed as well and he stammered out. "N-No, y-your jacket! Your armor is not b-belted correctly."

He must have noticed me fiddling around with it all day. Oh. Jesus, I really made things awkward didn't I? I shrugged my jacket off and allowed him to fix the belts, making sure everything was fit snugly. All the while I stood still, my face set in a small scowl. Apparently I still had yet to learn, because I'd forgotten a couple of the belts for my breastplate. I grunted, feeling my armor get tugged at a few times.

"Sorry." I apologized, not only for being an awkward idiot but for not being able to put my armor on correctly.

"It's fine, we all go through this point in our training." Krem reassured, cinching the last belt and standing up straight and offering me a smile. "I mean, usually it's before you go out into battle. But you're not one to follow the rules, are you?"

"Logic dictates I should be dead by now. I don't even follow the rules of nature." I drawled with a flat look in my eye, pulling my leather jacket back on.

"When we get back to Skyhold, we could spar while you're in your armor. Should get used to wearing it." He explained as he tapped my breastplate and I couldn't agree more. I needed to learn how to move around more fluidly now that I was wearing the heavy leather. It didn't help that I had a breastplate and some shoulder pieces to add onto the weight. Who was I to complain, though? I was protected and less likely to get chopped to pieces. "We can't have you getting that pretty little face of yours cut up, now can we?"

"Oh, hah hah." I replied blandly, "That's what you're for. Warriors tank while the squishies like us stay in the back."

"... Tank?" Krem sounded confused, raising a brow down at me. I facepalmed. Oh right, they wouldn't know what tanking is.

"A term from my world to describe the meatshields in the party."

"Fwahahaha! M-Meatshield?! That's a little harsh, don't you think?" He laughed, obviously amused at my logic for battle.

"Well it's true isn't it? You guys go up there in your shiny armor and wave your ass big swords around to distract them, while we sit in the back and do the real work."

"Now that's goin too far." Bull grumbled, his arms crossed as he squinted down at me. I offered a shrug, my lips curved into a small smirk. His eye narrowed, but before he could continue Varric butted in.

"Now now, guys. We all work together as a team, that's how we get things done." The dwarf had his oversized crossbow resting on his back as he held his hands up in a mock surrender. He smiled up at everyone, obviously amused at our antics.

"We found some documents, you might wanna see this!" Rocky spoke from a small distance away, holding up some folded pieces of parchment. He was standing above a body that was riddled with arrows and I forced myself to look away. Bull and a few of the others left to walk in their direction, leaving me to stand at the edge of the small path that acted as a road.

I felt my hair being brushed to the side of my face and I fought the urge to flinch away again. What is it with people and touching me today?! I snapped my gaze to my left, seeing Cole standing there with his hand still clasped in my hair. He held a small bunch of the rusty locks gently beneath his fingertips. My face faltered and I immediately felt bad for almost snapping at him for no reason at all. Crap.

Well, it's a good thing I didn't.

"I got you this. It reminded me of your hair – the sun makes it red like fire, glinting and glimmering." He lifted a small red flower up and I felt nervous all of a sudden, butterflies in my stomach. Cole's head was tilted in such a way that his hat hid most of his face, but I could see the pink that seemed to dust his cheeks. I swallowed, trying to mentally beat my nerves into the corner so that I could formulate a coherent reply.

"I a-ah... T-thanks." I stuttered out and felt myself turn even redder. Smooth.

Before I could take it from him, he smiled minutely and began to put it in my hair. I felt my skin buzz at the contact, but otherwise didn't protest his attention. So I suppose now I'm going to be walking around all day with a red flower in my hair, which is quite uncharacteristic of me. However, since Cole gave it to me I couldn't find it in me to even take it out. When we continued our trek to a Freeman camp they'd located, I ignored the looks I seemed to have been getting because of the thing in my hair. Even so, I felt oddly happy that I'd gotten the little gift from him.

It was a long day and we'd ambushed only two camps and saved a few travelers from the assholes that we were assigned to get rid of. Now I understood why Lynn had wanted to come here to get rid of them, because they were completely terrorizing the people to get what they wanted. Being deserters from both sides of the war, they didn't seem to have any qualms with hurting innocent people. War. I really hated war.

No one seemed to get seriously hurt, thanks to our meatshields and mages, but I did notice how Cole and Krem seemed to fight side by side every time we got into a scuffle. They usually weren't too far off from me while I turned our enemies into pincushions/target dummies (when I used my gun), and I silently appraised their teamwork. The two didn't even have to speak to one another in order to get around and dispatch the enemies efficiently. With only the occasional look that seemed to pass between them when their shoulders bumped during battle. Well, one thing is for certain, none of the enemies got close enough to attack me. For that, I was grateful.

At the end of the day, we were settling down at an Inquisition camp near a shallow bend in the river. I smirked, putting my hand on my hip as I looked over at the two in question as they still seemed to be standing side by side. Krem would occasionally glance over at Cole with a smirk. The blonde rogue did not seem to notice, however, as he stood there silently and observed everyone as they went about their business.

"You guys have some good teamwork, I've got to admit." I commented offhandedly, getting an incredulous look out of Dorian and a rather loud cackle out of Varric. Krem's lips twitched into a small frown and Cole looked blank, as usual, as they stared over at me. I blinked confusedly.

"Ohhhohoho maaaaan, Screech." The dwarf spoke between chuckles as he bent forward. "Y-You're joking right now, right?"

"No?" I rose a brow, looking down at him as tears seemed to pool in his eyes in his amusement. What the hell was so funny? "Can't I pay them a compliment without getting laughed at?" I huffed as I stomped off to put up my tent. People, I swear.

"That girl is as clueless as most men." Dalish murmured, getting a few 'Hey!'s out of the party and I ignored the rest of their little conversation.

I took off my bag and began to put up a tent for myself that the Inquisition seemed to have stored away in their little camps. Most of the others usually just used the tents that were already put up, but I always put my own up for obvious reasons. Sharing my space just made me nervous, unless I really trusted someone.

"The food out here is absolutely dreary." Dorian grumbled unhappily as I finished putting things together. I turned around and I saw him looking down at the small rations that we usually carried in our packs. The solemn look on his face almost had me laughing. It wasn't that bad, was it?

"Do you need me to fetch you a fainting couch?" I jeered, remembering one of Vivienne's comments awhile back. Even though I hated the woman, that had me giggling like an idiot. Fainting couch. I got a scoff out of the Tevinter.

"I am not Madame Vivienne."

"You're right, you could always just faint into Bull's arms." I agreed, nodding my head sagely. The mage seemed to almost contemplate my statement, causing me to chuckle lightly.

"Oy! 'm gonna go fishing, anyone wanna join?" I heard Dalish yell from the other side of camp and I perked up. Fishing? I always loved fishing. I stood up and jogged up to her with a wave, completely forgetting about the conversation I'd just been in. Bah, he probably finds my absence a blessing. The blonde elf nodded to me, her grey eyes crinkling as she smiled.

We both got in a regular set of clothing and made our way over to the river, which was just through the bushes and a small outcropping of trees. It was mostly hidden from the camp, but we were within screeching distance if anything happened. Not only that, but we both had our weapons on us, anyway.

I watched as the spindly elf woman waded into the knee deep water in her bare feet, taking her time as to not slip. Dalish crouched forward, holding her hands in the river and waited. Soon enough, she twitched and stood abruptly. A rather large fish came flying onto the shore at my feet, landing in the soft grass and flopping around. I blinked, brown eyes widened. What?! Back home we used fishing poles or maybe even spears but … this woman was using her damn hands!

"What's the matter, don't think you can do it?" The blonde elf grinned as she wiggled her fingers and I huffed, slowly wading in the water to stand right next to her. She began to teach me how to grab them from the water. It was all a game of waiting for the right time, really. It was incredibly odd. My bow lay forgotten on the shore with a rope and my quiver of arrows.

I couldn't really seem to get the hang of it, at all. Figures. Nothing ever comes easy for me and I could feel myself getting irritated. Dalish already had three fish sitting on the shore not far away. I swatted at a fish, feeling inadequate. Maybe I'll just go get my bow and bow fish! Fuck yeah!

"You have to be gentle and calm, coax it into your hands." A voice spoke from right behind me. I squealed, flying into a standing position and whirling around. I was about to lash out at the person who had just spoke into my ear. So frigging close!

When I turned around I saw a rather concerned looking Cole standing there. He blinked a few times before responding.

"I didn't mean to scare you."

"How did you sneak up on me?! I'm in the water!" Rogues!

"The water doesn't mind, I listen to where my feet want to go." He replied like it was the most obvious thing in the world and Dalish chuckled from not far away but otherwise remained quiet. I looked down and noticed that he was still in his leather pants and … his shoes were still on.

"Cole … you're supposed to take your shoes off when you come into the water." I pointed out, gaze trailing back up to his face. He, at least, had enough sense to take off his leather jacket as he stood there in his white undershirt. His hat was missing, as well. I assumed he didn't want it drifting away in the river by accident.

"Oh." Was his blank reply as he bent down to take them off, but I stopped him with a grin on my face.

"It's a little too late now, might as well just wait." I put my hands on his shoulders and turned to look at the glittering water, "Do you want to help?"

When I looked back he seemed to contemplate my offer, "The fish don't like it. It's dry, parched, and they can't breathe. They're scared." My shoulders slumped in response.

"Sorry." I guess that's one of the reasons I never saw him eating meat (Or almost anything, really. But usually it was fruit or sweets.), he would be able to tell they were scared before they were killed for food. That one's obvious, how had I not seen that? Shit.

"Oops!" I heard Dalish yell and I snapped my gaze over to her, seeing a fish fly in my direction. What the hell!? I lifted my hands and caught it, feeling the slimy bugger flop around in my hands and I bit back a shriek as I tried to hold onto it. The fish had to have been as big as, if not bigger, than my forearm. It resembled a salmon of some sort, it's grey scales glinting in the sun. I fumbled around before I saw Cole's hands come into view as he tried to wrangle the thing out of my grasp. He was able to grab onto it. But not before I saw the thing slap him in the face, causing him to drop it into the water with a loud 'splash!'. He was just fish slapped.

"Ah!" Cole staggered back and I simply watched, my hands held up, as he tumbled backward and into the river. I stood there, a blank look on my face as he emerged and gasped. The water wasn't exactly warm, so it must have felt awfully cold to him.

"Heh, fingers slipped." I heard the dalish elf say from the shore as she grabbed her catches and strung them up to take to the camp. The fact that I hadn't even been able to help her didn't register as I stumbled forward to my friend.

"Are you alright?" I asked as I knelt down to help him up, the bottom of my shirt getting wet as I leaned forward. His white-blonde hair was completely plastered to his face, hiding his eyes and most of his face. He kind of reminded me of one of those sheepdogs back home. With that image in my head, I burst into a fit of giggles.

"I-It hurts." Cole coughed from his spot in the river as he reached up and lifted his hair out of his eyes. I felt kinda bad for laughing at him after that and I sighed, grabbing his arm to help him. The cool water felt crisp on my skin as I reached into the water and hefted him up, he stumbled forward a little but he was able to stand on his own.

I was about to apologize for laughing at him when he got hurt, but when I peered up at him the words kind of just died in my mouth. I don't think I've ever seen his blue eyes without his hair obstructing my view, before. Now that it was wet and pushed aside, I was gifted with such a chance. The only thing I could think about right then was how gorgeous they were. And –

Cole's lips curled into a little smile and I felt my face heat up as I turned away and cursed underneath my breath. I silently wondered if there would ever be a time where I wouldn't bumble around like some fool around him. "W-We ahh... should probably get dried off."

I turned away and began to climb my way back up onto dry land, not even looking back to see his expression. Not dealing with this. Nope. Not now. I walked over to my stuff that was abandoned during my attempts at catching fish barehanded. I bet Dalish was using her magic to get them! That bitch. I knew she was a mage.

I grumbled underneath my breath as I strapped my bow and quiver on my back and wrung out my shirt. I remained crouched on the soft grass. I wasn't really that wet, just from the waist down. Not like Cole was, anyway. My poor friend was completely drenched, like a drowned rat. I turned my gaze over to him, seeing him facing away and squeezing out his shirt much like I had.

God damn it. I always took pride in the fact that the male body never really effected me in any way. Any body, really. I never looked at people like that, it was just a thing. For the longest time I'd thought there was something simply wrong with me, or that I was 'broken'. But eventually just accepted it as another oddity in my life. But for some God's forsaken reason, from my place on the ground not far away I could not help but let my eyes trace over his lean figure. The fact that his clothing was wet did not help and left little for the imagination. My gaze paused at one point and I felt my face flush once again as I looked away.

Nope. Not thinking it. Not at all. No. I sat there, fighting in my mind and trying to beat the image mentally out of my head. Cole's fighting style required a lot of crouching and pouncing, since he was a dual wielding rogue and all. Not only that, but whenever I saw him watching people in Skyhold he was usually crouched somewhere. Normally in some bushes so … he had some pretty well built thighs and – no. Nope. Don't do it, Lyn. Cole had a nice ass.


I peered up at him through my messy hair and saw him staring down at me curiously. I looked like a kid that just got caught with their hands in the cookie jar as I sat there in the grass with my hands held up in front of me. I was unsure if he heard me, but I had no intention of finding out.

"Eh... heh heh. What's that? Dalish is calling us for dinner?" I rattled out distractedly as I stood up and darted into the bushes and over toward camp.

Sometimes I really hated my life.

I screeched inwardly, not only at the fact that I'd likely gotten caught checking my friend out. But at the fact that I'd never done that. Never. I remembered going to classes in middle school and listening to the teachers prattle on about hormones and all the like, but I never really listened. Because I never had to deal with my menstrual cycles. Never had to deal with these kinds of things in my life, even the feelings or urges. I'd gotten curious at one point, which was why I had an ex. But they're called exes for a reason, yes?

What was different about me now? Was it because I was attracted to him? So, it took me being attracted to someone for me to actually start to look at someone? I wasn't sure if that was a good or a bad thing. Fucking hell, feelings shit everything up. I grumbled under my breath and sat on a log near the fire to dry off, crossing my arms with a scowl on my face.

"What's the matter, Screech? You look agitated." Varric, for the most part, actually sounded concerned. My eyebrow twitched and I shrugged, not really wanting to talk about it. What would I even say, anyway? 'Oh yeah, Varric. Let me regale you on the inner workings of my mind. By the way, I think your adopted son is hot.'

Nah, I think I'll pass.

I grunted, staring blankly at the fire. I heard another grunt and I peered over, seeing Grim looking at me. The blonde man from the Chargers that never talked and only made grunting noises to convey his messages. I grunted again, turning back to glare at the fire like it did something to wrong me.

"They're communicating." I heard one of the Chargers say in fake awe, but I didn't look over to see who it was.

It took a minute, but eventually I heard the bushes rustle at my left and I stared intently at the fire like it held life's answers. Perhaps if I look busy, he won't ask any questions. Oh, how unlikely that would be. I heard Varric chuckle underneath his breath,

"You're completely drenched. Did you go for a swim?" He asked and I assumed he was talking to Cole, who slowly ambled over to the dwarf and took a seat.

"I've never been swimming before." He replied in a chipper voice, "The water's cool embrace was refreshing, crisp. But it hurt when it got in my nose."

"Glad to hear it, Kid."

That night I retreated to my tent early, feeling a wee bit nervous that he'd try to talk to me in front of everyone else. It was alright when we were alone to talk, since things came easier in private. But I suppose I'm not really one for being open to everyone else about how I felt about things. Though I never got the chance to wait up to speak to him, because as I fell asleep before he could return to the tent.

I was jolted awake because could have sworn I heard a muffled yell. My whole damn body twitched in response and I sat up and looked around in the dark tent. I was alone, which struck me as odd. By now, Cole usually was at least sitting in here with me.

Slowly, I poked my head out of the tent and saw an Inquisition officer looking off into the distance toward the road. My eyebrows scrunched, seeing the sky starting to slowly brighten. Perhaps I was just in a semi-sleep state and was simply hearing things? It was still hard to see outside but –

Pausing, I held my breath and listened. I heard something, but wasn't sure of what. It sounded like whispers coming from over by the river. It didn't look like anyone was awake, but who could be out this early in the damn morning? Solas had been out by himself before, which was kind of weird. Feeling a bit curious, I slipped my boots on and slowly stepped out of my tent into the morning air. Here in the Emerald Graves, the mornings weren't as cold as the Hinterlands or up at Skyhold.

The fact that I thought I heard a yell had me on guard and I nudged the Inquisition officer, whispering for her to wake the others. She seemed startled, but I didn't wait for her answer as I crouched and slowly made my way into the bushes. If anything, I could always just yell and the few people that were awake could come aid me.

It was odd, the fact that I was even able to keep my footsteps so silent in the first place. My walking was always so clunky and loud. Guess I never actually tried. Either that or my Native American ancestors were granting me the strength and knowledge – no? Okay. Bad joke.

The whispering died off, eventually and I was able to see the clearing where we went to go catch our fish, seeing a few dark lumps laying in the soft grass not far away. I scrunched my eyebrows, still standing just out of sight and didn't see anything move.

Should I wait for the others? Because I swore those lumps were bodies laying near the river. My brown eyes scanned the area carefully and a glint caught my eye. Cole's hat. I took an intake of sharp breath and didn't even think as I darted forward, feeling dread settle into my stomach. What if one of those bodies were his? What if he was seriously injured? Fuck. What the hell was he doing out here alone?!

My footsteps were no longer quiet as I stumbled about three feet from the bodies I saw laying in the grass. I saw small dark stains, which I assumed was blood, splattered around one of the bodies. He was laying on his back, eyes wide open and staring blankly at the sky. He was dead, obviously, judging from all of the blood on his body. His chest armor was what got me, though. He was one of the Freeman that we'd been hunting down.

Cursing underneath my breath I looked at the other one, but he was dressed similarly. No Cole. Fuck. Shit. This couldn't be happening. This must be some horrible nightmare, right? I was just dreaming, having another one of my episodes. Yeah. That's it.

I heard a groan and I looked over to the less bloodied body and saw him twitching. He was still alive. My face contorting into rage, I stalked over to him and kicked his leg.

"Where is he?" I spoke hoarsely, feeling the anger starting to come back. I was going to slip into a rage if I didn't get answers soon and I knew it. I've been doing pretty good lately with not doing that, but I was not in the mood for stopping to take some deep breaths. I was far beyond that as I felt my emotions starting to spill over and take hold, completely overruling any logic my brain tried to throw at it. It didn't escape my attention how the man moved his head to my right, upstream and I peered over. "That way?"

The man groaned, shaking his head. "Fuck off." He spat weakly, trying to get into a seated position. I was having none of it and I lifted my foot and kicked him as hard as I could in the middle of the chest. I heard him wheeze and fall back on the ground, his armor making a loud clanging noise. While he was regaining himself I pulled out the rope I had been planning to use for bow fishing and bound his hands in front of his body. His arms were pretty cut up from battle, blood seeping out of his wounds and onto his long-sleeved shirt.

"Did you follow us, is that it?" I ground out, throwing his bound hands into his lap and grabbing his hair to sit him up. He let out a cry, his one eye looking up at me. The other one was swollen shut and he already looked half dead, to be honest.

"What makes you think I'd tell you anythin'?" The man sneered and I grabbed a fistful of his hair and yanked on it in response, getting a grunt out of him. I pulled his head so that he was forced to look up at me, my face contorted into semi-hysterical rage.

"What happened?!" I heard a yell from behind me and I didn't take my eyes off of this man in front of me. He knew where my friend was. He knew. I know he did, because he was with his buddies when he was ambushed. Why didn't they just ambush the camp while we were sleeping? Why just take him? "Screech?"

I recognized the voice as Varric's and I felt my body begin to shake. The light in the sky was enough to allow me to make out the man's features, now. He had dark brown hair the fell just passed his shoulders, tied into a low ponytail. He had very little facial hair and looked rather young. What was a young man like this doing in war? What business did he have going around to terrorize people like his buddies did?

"Oh … shit." Varric spoke again, no doubt taking in the situation and the menacing glare I was currently giving the man in front of me. "Listen, Lyn. You can't … you need to calm down." He never used my real name.

I let out a shuddering breath and I couldn't seem to tear my gaze from the man below me. I wanted to … I wanted to kill him. It was his fault that Cole was gone. His fault that he was possibly hurt. Possibly dead! No. I couldn't think like that, I would have saw his body down here too if he were dead. Not dead. Please not dead.

Third Person

Varric was used to Lyn always looking grumpy and angry as she crossed her arms and seemed to keep at a distance. He also knew that wasn't who she really was. She was a good kid, he knew. Her heart was in the right place. The dwarf did not, however, expect to ever see her expression like it was right then.

Her rust colored hair was messily draped into her face and she had this … wild look in her eyes. Face contorted into complete hatred. The animosity practically rolled off of her shaking body. He'd seen that look before, when they thought they were about to do something they'd later regret. Something he would never wish on someone else. He's seen it all before, like a vicious cycle.

"You don't need to do this." Varric spoke up, trying to get through to her. Lyn didn't seem to hear him as she started to kick the man, yelling and asking where her friend was. It was a heart-wrenching sight, the woman looked like she was about to break down into tears. The man would let out grunts and wheeze as she sent her foot into his gut over and over again.

"Andraste's ass, what's wrong with her?!" The dwarf heard Stitches ask incredulously and Bull walked forward to appraise Lyn's handiwork as she continued to kick the shit out of the guy and scream.

"What happened?" Was all the Qunari asked, as if what was occurring was the most normal thing in the world. He stood there, burly arms crossed over his large chest as he looked down at the small dwarf. Varric shook his head,

"Cole is missing and she's – She. God I can't watch this …" He grumbled, putting his fingers through his hair and turning around. Varric didn't even want to know what had happened to the kid and didn't want to really think about it. He'd damn near adopted him and could feel it too, the loss. How would they even begin to find out where they'd taken him? And why?

"He is going to tell me where he is." He heard Lyn say in a bland tone, making him snap his gaze in her direction. The woman had her dagger out as she stood over the beaten looking man. He stared up at her with a defiant glare. "I'll make him."

"He's prolly dead anyway, hun. No point chasin' a dead trail." The man kicked out at Lyn but was rewarded with yet another foot to the stomach.

"Fuck off!" She screamed, eyes widened as she looked down at her weapon. The woman seemed to steel herself before frowning down at the man in front of her. This had to be done.

"No. You can't do that, Lyn. Back away from him!" Varric watched as Krem tried to walk up to the girl, but was stopped by Bull who looked down at him with a frown on his scarred face. He turned back to the girl, who still hadn't taken her eyes off of the Freeman.

"I used to be Ben-Hassrath … I'd be more suited to this job than you, girl." Bull spoke in an ominous tone and the dwarf saw the Freeman's eyes almost bulge at his statement as he started to tremble. So, he knew.

"If he won't speak to me, you can take over." Lyn replied and knelt down, holding her dagger out. The metal glinted in the morning sun, "Where did they take my friend? If you tell me, I won't let my Qunari buddy over here hurt you." She spoke in a sweet tone that made Varric feel sick.

"You're just going to let her do this, Chief? Do you realize how this'll effect her!?" Krem protested, but otherwise didn't try to shove passed his superior. Bull shook his head,

"Sometimes you have to do questionable actions to get things you need." The Qunari explained, "If we don't get the information out of this man, Cole could die. If he hasn't already … "

"She doesn't have to be the one to do it!" He bit back.

"No! No no no! Alright, please just don't kill me!" The man broke down, looking up at Bull with terror clear in his brown eyes. "They're keepin' people captive in a Veridium Mine about a mile upstream! Sister Costeau sells em off for coin. M' sorry! S-So sorry!"

"Chargers! Get battle ready!" Bull ordered, turning around and walking back to camp. They all yelled an affirmative as they scuttled back to camp. Varric walked up to the girl and put his chubby hand on her shoulder. Normally she would have flinched away, but she simply stood there looking down at their captive with a contemplative look on her face. He knew what she was thinking. She blamed him for Cole going missing. She probably wanted him dead.

"Lyn … come on. Just leave him be, we might need him." Varric tried to reason, almost begging her not to go down that road. The look in her eye, he didn't like it. Lyn didn't have to use her dagger yet and had only kicked the crap out of the man. The girl's arms were starting to shake, "What would he think? What do you think Cole would think if you just killed this man in a fit of rage?"

Varric only ever used their actual names when he was dead serious. And he was. The girl did not need this on her conscience after what's all happened already. He's heard mumblings from Cole about her night terrors and episodes that she sometimes had because of her transference to this world. Because of the shock to her system to suddenly have to kill or be killed in this harsh reality.

The dwarf was just now starting to completely believe her story and that alone almost scared him. The thought that she had to adapt to such things so quickly. Most wouldn't be able to.

"You're right. I will not kill him in a fit of rage, Varric." Lyn sounded less hysterical now as she crouched down again to the man. "Look at me." She ordered as she lifted her dagger up to the bottom of the man's chin. He started to hyperventilate and Varric took a small step forward, unsure of whether he should try and stop her.

"P-Please. D-Don't –" He hiccuped, "I-I only joined b-because I had to!"

"I know." Lyn smiled and swung her hand, socking him in the face with a left hook. She stood back up as the man lay on the ground twitching, looking dazed as he stared up at the clear sky. The woman stared down at him disdainfully, "You're still an ass, though."

The woman scoffed and turned around, stalking off toward the camp as she sheathed her dagger. Varric let out a breath he hadn't known he was holding.

First Person

He couldn't have been more than twenty years old, probably about the same age as me. He was an asshole, sure, but Varric was right. He didn't deserve to die. I wondered, though, if maybe it was just my own cowardice that kept me from plunging that knife into the man's throat. Just the thought of feeling the warm substance on my arms made my hairs raise in disgust. Not just at the idea of having it on me, but at the fact that I've done it before. A few times.

Upon closer inspection of the scene, I'd noticed that it wasn't only his hat that he'd left behind. He'd also left pieces of his armor and his daggers, which had been laying next to the bodies. It appeared as thought he'd been down by the stream for whatever reason and was likely ambushed by these assholes. Why? I didn't know, didn't really want to think about it. The captive Freeman we kept with us mentioned selling people for coin. Did they not know he was a rogue and could possibly kill them in their sleep? What a bunch of idiots! I hope Cole killed them. I really did.

I belted my armor on correctly this time, walking out of the Inquisition camp and up to everyone else as they stood by and waited for everyone to get ready. The Iron Bull was pretty set on saving Cole, just as I was. I knew then, that he wasn't as bad as I'd been making him out to be in my head as of late. He cared for him, whether he admitted it or not.

It wasn't long until we were making our way up the road to the Veridium Mine that Dorian had said he knew the location of. The Tevinter had been oddly quiet during the whole fiasco. He'd been tasked with healing the Freeman captive enough so he could walk and lead us there. Said captive was still shaking in fear at the sight of the massive Qunari as he was pushed forward at sword point.

"You wouldn't have had to do that, you know." Krem spoke from my side as I pretty much stomped in the direction of the mine. He must have been referring to the fact that it probably would have scarred me, no doubt. I snorted. It was true, yes, but –

"I'd do anything for the one I love." I sounded confident, "Even if it meant having to deal with another nightmare."

I noticed how Varric seemed to falter in his steps ahead of me before I mentally played back what I'd just said. Oooooh. Well, shit. The concept of love, at one point in my life, would have made me recoil. But, it seemed a lot has been changing as of late. In more ways than one, it seemed. There's really no point in denying it, now. I don't even know how I didn't see it until just then. How had I gone that long without even so much as a thought? How stupid.

"I see …" Krem muttered and I looked over at him, seeing a sad smile on his face. I nodded to the warrior and continued onward without much of a thought, eyes even fiercer than before. I refused to allow another person to be taken from me. Never again.

Chapter Text

The last thing Cole recalled was sitting down at the river, enjoying the water. He'd intended to wash off, since Dorian suggested it not long after Lyn retreated to her tent. Something about smelling like fish and how 'The repugnant odor would drive any woman off'. Sometimes the rogue wondered if he would ever understand what goes through the Tevinter's mind. Lyn didn't seem to care, either way. However, before he knew it, he'd heard footsteps not far off and only had enough time to grab his dagger and crouch behind some bushes.

As it seemed, the Freeman were scouting the area for some reason or another. Walking upstream to their destination, but they were pretty close to their camp. Almost too close.

One of the men stopped, sniffing the air like a dog. "Do you smell that? I think there might be a camp nearby." He must have been referring to the fire. Cole crouched low, ready to strike if need be.

"Sister Costeau isn't gonna be happy knowin we didn't bring no one." The younger of the group offered, his hair tied up and out of the way. "Where's she sellin' em off to, anyway?"

Even from this far away, the youngest one asked the question not out of just curiosity but out of doubt. He regretted joining the Freeman after some of the things he saw them doing. It had been a bout of childish whim that brought him along, following a superior officer to desert and form the rough group that now called themselves the Freeman of the Dales. 'Bad idea, these people aren't what I thought they were.'

"That's none of our business, boy." The older one snapped back and his shoulders slumped in response.

"Is there a camp over there that I see?" One of them squinted and Cole could have sworn he felt his stomach drop. The only one on watch at the moment was a few Inquisition officers that kept an eye out on the roads and whatnot. The others were still sleeping and it was barely dawn, yet. They wouldn't be up for another hour, at the very least.

If it meant keeping his friends alive. It was worth it. Cole popped out of the bushes and slashed at one of the men. The one he'd gotten went down like a sack of potatoes and he turned to go to the next one, but was knocked to the ground by a shield. The rogue felt the air leave his lungs as he crashed into the dirt, forgetting that he should have probably been wearing his armor before attacking so blindly.

But his friends might get hurt …

That's when everything seemed to get hazy as he was knocked around and his vision blurred. He could have sworn he heard the others arguing silently as he lay on the ground. The youngest of the group had spoke up about something, because he'd suggested they just leave Cole where he was. There was hope yet for the young man. He, however, got beaten pretty badly and left behind by his buddies to die for questioning their orders.

"Looks like a farmer's boy, couldn't..." Their voices would phase in and out as his consciousness slowly slipped. "No armor, see?"

"He'll have to do." Cole had gotten hit in the head pretty hard and before he knew it, his eyes rolled back into his head and he passed out. He never recalled ever getting knocked out before, since he never had to put up with people ever actually seeing him. Or remembering him for that matter.

But when he started to regain consciousness after Maker only knows how long. He blinked his blue eyes, seeing blurred shapes standing above him. His head hurt so bad that it took awhile for him to even be able to keep his eyes open for long.

Where was he?

"Poor boy, none of you happen to be a healer do you?" A woman's voice asked, causing him to wince. The sound hurt, causing his head to throb. The only response she got was a few 'no's. Cole sat up and the woman he'd heard was crouched at his side. He knew she meant no harm, not only by the look on her face but the worry that seemed to seep off of her as she got closer to him.

The woman almost seemed to mother him as he tried to stand up, "Oh, no. You shouldn't stand so soon. Do you see the bump on your head, hun? Sit back down." The brown haired woman pushed him back down on the dirt floor against a rather jagged wall. The other side of the space he was in was lined with metal bars.

He was in a cell with four other people. Cole's thoughts immediately flickered to his friends and their camp. Had he been able to distract them from finding them? No, there was only three after he was done with them. They must have taken him hostage and brought him here. But why?

Cole didn't realize it, but he'd started to shake from the anxiety that he was feeling. Once the realization popped in that he would likely be unable to get out of this cell unless he was somehow saved. He knew how unlikely that would be. How would they even begin to find him? What was going to happen?

"Shhhh, it's okay. Listen to me, okay? Everything will be alright." The woman hushed, looking at him with sorrow on her features. 'Too young. Why? This war...'"My name is Gertrude, what's yours? Let's introduce ourselves, okay?" She tried to placate him, to keep him from becoming hysterical. Gertrude spoke in soft tones, almost as if coaxing a skittish horse down from being riled up.

"C-Cole. I am Cole." He spoke through his ragged breaths.

'BANG!' a shot echoed in the distance, muffled by the fact that it came from somewhere far outside of the cave he was in. It caused the rogue to snap his attention out passed the bars of their glorified cage. The sound, he knew, meant someone had died. But the sound also shot hope into his body. Was she still alive? Were they still alive? Even though he knew the unlikeliness that they'd ambushed the camp after he'd taken two of them out, he still feared for their safety. It seemed that they were okay, though. The sound was followed by a few more, then even more.

They were in a rather cavernous cave, torches nailed to the wall to provide enough illumination for them to see. Some tattered wooden furniture, crates and barrels were scattered around haphazardly and a number of the Freeman people that had attacked him were lingering around, though now they were standing on edge from the odd sounds outside of the cave. Sunlight somehow found a way to pour in from somewhere at the top at the far end, sending daggers of light spreading throughout the ground.

Soon enough, Cole was greeted with the sounds of battle and yells not far from the mouth of the cave. Hope bloomed in his chest, but he still felt fear for his friends. What if they got hurt? He looked himself over and found that he, of course, did not have any of his weapons or armor. Still sitting there in his leather pants and white undershirt. He can't help like this! What was he supposed to do?!

Cole squinted his eyes at the crumbling brick wall on the far side of the cavern. He saw a face appear just on the other side of one of the holes for only a second before it disappeared. A grey figure darted off to the left and behind some crates and his breath got caught in his throat. There were still people fighting outside and this person, he knew.

Lyn was on the other side of the crates as the archers were too busy discussing whether or not they should help them outside. He watched as she took aim, pointing to his right and away from the gilded cage he and the others were in. She did not want to risk hitting them by accident.

'CRACK' It resounded within the hollowed out cave, causing his ears to ring. Cole could faintly make out the terrified screams of the other prisoners before another followed. And another. Until it paused as Lyn took cover behind the crates to reload her weapon. The archers from the front lay on the ground dead not far away before people started to pour out of the wood walled room to his right.

"What in Andraste's name was that!?" One of the men yelled, fear and horror flitted around the group as they looked around for the enemy. Cole saw the other captives curling up against the wall in their fear. He stood up and shuffled closer to the metal bars to get a better look.

"Are we being attacked already? There's still battle out –" The other man, a rogue, was interrupted as another 'Bang!' echoed in the cave. The odd ammunition that she used for her weapon pierced through his light leather armor and a small spurt of blood sprayed out of his back as he dropped to the floor.

A few more of the men dropped, some of her shots missing and hitting the wall behind them and kicking up some dirt and dust. He heard her curse as she fell behind the crates to hide again. Her sudden attack had caused an uproar among the small group as they crouched in a small battle formation.

"What the hell are you thinking, Lyn!" Cole saw Krem rush forward, sword and shield at the ready as he thudded to a stop right beside her hiding place. When he turned, he saw four enemies ready to attack. "Shit …"

"Get them!" Costeau, the leader, called out as she aimed her weapon at the warrior and the rogue-in-training.

"God damn it!" Lyn cursed and popped back up with her gun, firing off frantically at the group. Her nerves made the rest of her shots miss as they skittered off the stone wall yet again. Her gun started to click. Her face contorted into frustration at seeing four more people left in front of her. Krem dove into battle with the skill of an experienced fighter, taking on two of the men at once. The leader stayed behind, watching her three lackeys as they tried to take out her enemies.

Cole felt dread settle in his stomach when he realized none of his other friends came in from the mouth of the cave to assist her and Krem. She had run ahead? Why!? She could get killed, because of her lack in fighting at close combat.

"Run!" Cole yelled, his voice finally coming back to him. If she died, he didn't know what he would do. The thought itself sent his thoughts into a frenzy, everyone else's faded from his mind as his own took hold. Eyes widened, his thoughts tumbled out of his mouth in a rush of jumbled words. "Cold, frigid, dread settling in my stomach like a block of ice. No, can't be happening."

"Fall back and get the others." Krem tried to order, but Lyn was undeterred as she dodged around one of the men's attacks with a scowl on her face.

His friend's brown gaze flicked to him for but a second before she glared back at the two in the back. An archer and the leader. The clashing of metal and screams from battle were but background noise as the woman in plate armor started to laugh.

"Lyn!" Krem warned as he slashed at one of the men, sending them to the ground in a motionless heap. Red splatters could be seen on the warrior's armor. The other enemy that was trying to attack Lyn focused on Krem instead, letting out a battle cry and charging at him.

"I'll put you down like the demon you are." Costeau's voice wavered from underneath her full helmet, her hands shaking as she held up her weapon and shield. She feared the small woman's weapon, which was resting at her side in her hand as she glared over at the two.

Lyn scoffed, the metal on her armor glinting in the sun as she stood on the other half of the cave.

"I don't appreciate it when people take what's mine." Lyn growled, glaring at the woman. Hers? There was something … different about her. He couldn't quite put his finger on it. She was serious. She was going to try and take these two on without help!

"No!" He called frantically, scrambling to the cell door at his right as he started to shake it. "C-Can't help, can't get out. New weapons, new armor, new to fighting – can't hold it right, not yet. Not yet. You can't do it, don't!" The sounds of the metal door clanging did not deter her anymore than his pleas did as she stuck her hand in her pouch and threw a handful of caltrops on the ground right in front of Costeau. The woman with the mace was at his left while the archer was at his right, which meant …

Costeau scoffed and Cole watched in distress as an arrow was fired at Lyn but skittered off of the metal piece that was on her chest, falling harmlessly onto the gravel. The archer tried to notch another arrow but was met with a blur of black that hit him in the middle of the head, sending him stumbling back with a cry. She'd thrown her gun at him. His friend unsheathed her dagger and pounced at him faster than he's ever seen her move, sending her weapon into the bottom of his jaw without even a second thought. Her face set in fierce determination.

There was no way he was going to get her to stop.

With a wet gurgle, the man fell and she turned around just in time to strafe out of the way of an incoming mace. Lyn was about to dodge the enemy's attack again, but she didn't have to. The warrior was knocked back by Krem's shield. He'd dispatched the man from earlier and was now glaring rather angrily.

Their movements were almost a blur at this point as Lyn and Krem seemed to take turns attacking the woman, even though the latter looked almost upset that she'd decided to stay. The battle was more important, however. Costeau, for the most part, seemed confident in her skills as she used her shield to hit Krem across the face and send him to the ground.

She didn't get a chance to jump on him as Lyn popped forth and tried to distract her. Because that's all she seemed able to do. Distract. Her swings and stabs were almost clumsy as she tried to attack. Cole watched with trepidation as Lyn dodged, dipped and strafed as the heavily armored woman swung the weapon at his friend. At least her training in dodging Sera's stick was paying off. His hands were clamped so tightly onto the bars that his knuckles were turning white.

The warrior on the ground recovered as fast as he could, stumbling into a standing position. Lyn evaded another swing, staggering back with her mouth open as she panted from overexertion. Even though she knew she had next to no chance at defeating her opponent, she remained. For him. He knew that, now. But she shouldn't. Shouldn't have come down here. Shouldn't be doing this! It was all wrong!

"You know, he is kinda cute. What use could we make of him, I wonder?" The warrior wondered aloud, her voice echoing from her helmet as she tensed her shield arm. He watched as Lyn's self-control seemed to snap right then, anger boiling over as she let out an enraged yell. His friend lunged at the woman blindly, only to get slammed by the woman's shield and sent tumbling on the dirt floor.

Costeau turned and her shield met with Krem's.

Cole cried out, as if he'd gotten physically struck himself. She stood back up and lunged at her again, seeing that she was occupied with her other friend. Her stubbornness. Her persistence was going to get her killed this time. While she was blocking the Charger, she thrusted her mace into Lyn's side. He heard her grunt in pain as she stumbled back, but glared at the woman like she was the most disgusting thing in the world.

A small flit of hope appeared as he saw white robes and the familiar curled mustache of his Tevinter friend appear just on the other side of the cavern. The warrior was too occupied on Lyn and Krem to notice.

"And if he's a virgin, they sell for much much more. Isn't it -" She got cut off by some fire as it engulfed her head and she let out a loud wail of pain. The woman pulled her helmet off and tossed it to the side in her panic. Lyn snarled rabidly, likely at the warrior's last statement, and saw an opening as she lunged forward and latched onto the woman's plate armor. She started to stab blindly in the seams to get at her body, but couldn't seem to do it right.

"Vishante kaffas! Get out of the way!" Dorian yelled, a trail of curses in his home language followed. His friend kept getting beat on the side of her body with the mace, the warrior screaming at her to let go. She wouldn't, Cole realized, she wouldn't let go because of him. This was all because of him, wasn't it?

Blood started to seep out of her leather pants and hip area, but she was relentless in her quest to kill the woman. Krem and Dorian were standing not far away now, watching in horror as the woman latched on like a leech and attacked her in a blur of frenzied movements.

"Fucking piece of shit!" Lyn screamed, finally pulling her dagger up to stab through the seam of her armor that lead down to her collarbone and chest area. "Rot in the Pit for all I care!"

Why hadn't she just aimed for that in the first place? Answer: Blind rage. She wasn't thinking clearly. He already knew that. The warrior eventually toppled over on top of Lyn, who was panting as she continued cursing. Her brown eyes were still wild and unfocused for a few beats before they finally fixated on the heavily armed woman that lay limply over her body.

A few of the others rushed in, swords and bows at ready as they slowly took in the scene before them. Cole was still standing at the door, shaking as he stared at his friend that was underneath the enemy. Krem walked over and pulled the woman off and Lyn sighed in relief, trying to redirect her attention to keep from looking at the bodies.

She never liked looking at the bodies.

"Why didn't you listen?" Krem ground out, sheathing his weapon and setting his shield aside. Lyn glared up at him with a defiant look in her eyes as she attempted to stand. She stumbled and her breath hitched in pain, before falling back onto the ground with a whine. The woman didn't answer.

The left side of Lyn's body was bloody and obviously pretty beaten up underneath her leather armor. It had protected her, sure, but it did little against that woman's mace. Dorian had rushed forth to tend to her wounds and make sure they weren't as grievous as they looked.

Cole could faintly make out the sounds of Gertrude trying to direct someone to get the key to the cell, but his vision seemed to almost tunnel at this point. He didn't even look to see who opened the door before he darted forward and up to his friend, who was still sitting on the ground as Dorian casted some major healing spells on her. Stitches had arrived as well and was digging around in his pouch for some bandages and poultices to get her fixed up enough to move. Everyone else, for the most part, seemed relatively unharmed. Aside from some bruising and cuts from battle.

He stopped only feet away from her and crouched next to his friend, staring at her worriedly. Lyn turned her gaze to Cole, her eyes glinting with irritation.

"What the hell were you thinking?!" Her voice cracked, sounding almost broken. Scared. "Going out alone in the dark like that, you could have gotten yourself killed!"

"Killed. Killed, you could have gotten killed. Rushing ahead, alone, why didn't you wait for the others?" Just like before, she rushed out unthinking into battle. She risked her life for him. Why for him? Why? She could have waited for the others to come in with her! If it hadn't been for Krem following after her, she'd likely be dead.

"Because they heard us coming, what if they moved you guys or … or killed you!?" Lyn ground out angrily, "I wouldn't let that happen."

"N-Not again. It was like before, you're hurt because of me. W-why?" He trembled when his eyes focused on her wounds that Stitches was still tending to. The man hadn't made a noise from his spot and sometimes he'd see Lyn's face scrunch when he poked or prodded the wrong area. "You should have just –" 'Left me' he was going to say, but was stopped when she poked his chest. She knew what he was about to say and she couldn't even read his mind. Her blank expression switched to that of annoyance.

"No." She cut him off, almost snarling. "Don't you dare finish that sentence!"


"You mean too much to me to just leave behind, you idiot!" She almost screamed as she clutched onto his white undershirt and yanked him forward. He stared down at her, both glaring at each other with varying levels of frustration.

"You could have gotten killed!" Cole spoke louder, feeling anger boil and roll over his body in waves. He had to be louder, his emotions screaming at him. He didn't even want to think about it. He couldn't.

"A sacrifice I was willing to make."

"Y-You can't! No!" Cole began to sound frantic at her easy dismissal of her own life. Did she really think so lowly of herself?! "You're reckless – careless! Unthinking. Anger roiling around as it blinds your senses, I-It-"

"Sometimes people do reckless shit for the people they love. It's just a fact of life!" Lyn refuted, her face turning pink at her declaration. Her confession. Cole's mouth was open but the words he was about to throw back died in his mouth. He stared, open-mouthed at her as the words slowly sunk in. She … she loved him?

"Alright, that's enough you two." Bull shoved them away from one another, preventing any further arguments. Well, he shoved Cole away because Lyn still couldn't really move from her spot on the ground. The two looked away from one another, refusing to meet gazes. Cole stayed near her, but did not speak as she was slowly patched up enough so that she could limp back to camp with assistance.

Lyn was being reckless and throwing her life on the line because she loved him. Cole was unfamiliar with the feeling, but the he was torn on what to feel about it. On one hand, he was happy that she loved him. Overjoyed, even. He wanted to embrace her and let her know how it made him feel. But it was causing her to almost kill herself in the process. He was killing her.

The thought terrified him, the fact that she did so without pause when it came to him. Usually she was cautious, hesitant and calculating in her actions against the enemy. But what he saw that day showed him just how blind to logic and caution she could be when it came to this. To him.

First Person

Well, the cat was out of the bag. So to speak. And it ran away hissing and screaming, because Cole was avoiding me now. No, he wouldn't walk away and hide. He would stand nearby but would refuse to look at me and that made it even worse. I was too afraid to try and initiate a conversation, for the fear of one of us saying something that would only end up irritating the situation even more. He obviously greatly disapproved of my actions back at the cave.

I could see it now. 'Cole Greatly Disapproves'. I'm so fucked.

What the hell was I thinking!? The words just tumbled out of my mouth back there, like word vomit. Not even a couple hours after finding out that I loved him and there I am blurting out half-assed confessions! I really hated myself sometimes. My mouth had a hard time filtering itself when I was so angry. And oh, had I been angry. Angry was not a great enough word to describe it. I was pissed. That warrior woman had sent me into a blind rage back there and it took me awhile to actually fully calm myself. It didn't help to know that Cole had wandered off on his own and almost got himself killed in the process. I was still upset about that, to be honest.

Well one good thing did come out of this little adventure. I was now bullet-less (If that's even a word), which meant that I could melt down my gun when we got back to Skyhold. It was by sheer luck that I even had enough to reload a couple of times back there. Had I waited, I could have prevented myself from even getting as injured as I currently was. My left thigh and hip area was pretty fucked up and my armor was mangled to the point that I'd need to get it repaired when we got back. Harritt was going to have my head.

I groaned at the thought. At least Dagna would be there to calm the grumpy old man down.

It was mostly numb, thanks to some herbs that one of the Inquisition officers happened to have. Well, it was like a potion of some sort. A poultice? Most of the healing that I needed would have to be done by Solas, which I have to admit, I was not happy about that. At least it was not Vivienne, because I would rather have my leg amputated than ask her for help. Okay, maybe not that bad.

The rest of the days spent in the Emerald Graves consisted of me staying at the Inquisition camp we were all supposed to meet up at when our mission was over. The only one that stayed behind being Cole and Varric. Varric stayed because he heard about our spat in the cave and wanted to be there for us. He was the only one that came into the tent regularly to visit. The dwarf, thankfully, knew not to talk to me about it. I was not in the mood to speak about it, anyway.

Cole never visited me. He simply sat on the outside of the tent and kept watch the whole time. Almost like if he left I would end up getting attacked and killed. Had it really bothered him that much? I felt a stab of remorse course through me at the thought. I didn't mean to hurt him, but I couldn't leave him behind like that either. I couldn't just …

I had even gotten a lecture from Bull and Krem, the latter seemingly disappointed in my reckless behavior. He expressed that quite thoroughly during our talk and I felt effectively scolded by the two. Kind of like a child, really. In the end, I thanked Krem for looking out for me. Despite the fact that I'd been the one to be an asshat this time. (Okay, so maybe I was an asshat a lot of the time, but I'd never admit it out loud.)

By the time everyone met up to head back to Skyhold, I was well enough to at least hobble around and get on top of my horse with the assistance of Bull. My friend, yet again, refused to talk to me as he kept his piercing gaze on the road ahead of us. He, dare I say, looked almost angry. For this long? Cole never struck me as the type to hold a grudge.

The others noticed, as well. Noticed him being upset and my hurt and saddened expressions. No one commented but I assumed they'd been filled in on his capture and the results as such. Not only that, but they were too busy discussing the results of the mission to really notice much else. Solas had checked me over himself before and during our journey, making sure that my wounds were tended to correctly. The elf tried to ask how I was, but I didn't answer. I was quiet the whole time, lest I absolutely needed to answer.

When we finally got back to Skyhold after days of traveling, everyone was gladly running to the tavern for some rest and a drink. The ride back, might I add, was hard on my ass. My wounds, too. But those were already coming along quite nicely, thanks to Solas. Why was he being nice to me all of a sudden? Well, I'd assumed he would simply not help me because we'd never been on good terms. This was, after all, the first time I'd seriously been injured outside of Skyhold around him.

Maybe he wasn't as bad as I've been making him out to be? I wouldn't let him know that, though.

I wanted to help the other stablehands, but with a glare from our resident hobo-mage, I decided against it and made my way slowly up to the loft I'd claimed as mine. The thought of being able to lay in my makeshift bed made me want to groan in relief. I missed it, despite it being all prickly and uncomfortable at times. It was my bed.

Imagine my surprise when I saw the familiar lanky shape of my friend, his oversized hat hiding his expression as he sat on my bed with one leg drawn up to his chest. I hesitated at the top of the stairs but eventually took a deep breath and walked forward slowly, trying not to make it seem like I was still limping. Still hurt.

"Did you mean it?" I knew instantly what he was talking about as he stood up from his position on my bed. Cole's voice came out quiet, almost a whisper. "My thoughts were jumbled. Angry. Buzzing in my head, everyone else harder to hear. Harder to see."

Straight to the point, I see.

I sighed, looking down at the ratty floorboards of the barn. "Yes." It came out so quiet, even to me. "I … it came as a surprise to me, too. I- W-When you were taken from me. I –" My throat closed up at the thought of just how horrified I'd been when I found out he was taken and possibly even dead. The damn word, it was so foreign. I grew up knowing very little of love, but I knew one thing for certain. This was what it was. I'd never felt it for anyone before, the amount of affection I held for him. Just him.

"You shouldn't." His voice was almost a whisper, but it was enough to fill me with dread. A fear of rejection surfaced as I stared up at him with unease. "You need to stop."

I was forcing down the pain that those words seemed to cause me. It was like they ripped into me, tearing at my insides. I didn't like where this conversation was leading. The way he was looking at me, it made me … nervous. For once, I was almost scared that he would hurt me. He seemed to have caught that stray thought, because his head turned to the side as he frowned. He didn't even want to look at me. Oh Gods … no. Please no.

"D-Do you even know what you're asking me to do?" I choked out, feeling my body start to tremble. Maybe this was his way of saying that he just didn't feel the same way? Love was, after all, a very complex emotion. It was many in one, so vast and even complicated for me to understand. Self doubt won out and I could feel tears starting to form in my eyes as I looked away angrily.

"I know. I know a lot more than you think." He retorted, voice sounding passive. "You got hurt because of me. I won't let that happen, not anymore." He was dead set on this, wasn't he? I only knew how to deal with things one way when I felt vulnerable. I lashed out.

"It was my decision to run out like that, not yours! And you think pushing me away will help!?" I snapped back in irritation, "What kind of backwards thinking is that!? It's bullshit and you know it!"

"Y-You can't. Can't. T-This can't happen! Not when I –" My friend stuttered, breathing ragged.

"I can't do it. I won't." My voice wavered as I spoke, I clenched my teeth together and let out a breath before continuing. "You mean the world to me and there is nothing you can do to make me stop!"

The silence that followed was almost deafening. It ticked on, the only sound I could hear was my own breathing, my own heartbeat as it thudded relentlessly in my chest as I glared up at him defiantly. I saw tears form in his eyes, his expression softening. But it was gone as fast as it appeared, before his face hardened into a look that I knew people only made when they were dead set on something. Nothing I could say could budge Cole on his decision. He really didn't want this, did he? But I held my ground. I always did.

"I don't matter." Cole stated, his voice sounding almost defeated. There he went again, thinking that he didn't matter. He did. How could he not see that? I reached out and grabbed a fistful of his shirt, dragging him down closer to me so that I could get my point across easier. I'd just have to show him, then. His eyes widened in alarm as our faces were mere inches apart.

"You're an idiot, sometimes." I replied lowly, acting completely on impulse and leaning forward the rest of the way to plant a soft kiss on the corner of his mouth. I felt something just then, like a spark within my chest. It spread throughout my body and made my hairs raise. Just as the feeling was starting to intensify – he stiffened from the contact and backpedaled out of my reach. We both let out a gasp, though obviously for different reasons.

Cole stared at me with wide eyes, looking almost horrified at what I'd just done. (Little did I know he was only surprised.) I felt pain erupt inside of me, rejection coursed through my body. Of course.

The last thing I saw of him was that look on his face before he disappeared in a cloud of smoke. I couldn't help the whimper that escaped my mouth as my shoulders slumped forward.

Once he disappeared, it seemed like everything went quiet. Everything … the horses, the sounds outside. Even my heartbeat. Realization slowly set in. He never willed himself invisible on me before. Never. He hardly ever did, to be honest, since his change. He especially didn't do that to me. He's never just … left.

I don't think I've ever quite felt it before, what was going on right then. It was like a hole opened up in my chest. My expression remained blank as I slowly took in the situation. No. I've felt something similar. Usually it was just a dull ache, though. This – this was almost like stabbing, searing pain. It wasn't just rejection I was feeling, I realized. It was something else entirely. Something not known to me. I looked down at my chest fearfully, as if I'd see something there scratching and eating away at me. That wasn't the case, however.

I turned on my heel and darted toward the stairs, intent on trying to get rid of it. I didn't want it! I didn't want this! I stumbled my way across the lower courtyard and up the stairs, tripping on someone on my way there. I looked back at them but I didn't even register who it was as I ran toward the training grounds.


Bull was talking to Krem and Cassandra was reading a book silently in the corner, the evening sun glinting off of the ground. The stone path crunched underneath my feet as I ran up to the two talking. Bull stared at me before shaking his head,

"No. Not this time, girl. I don't feel like kicking the shit outta you." He refused with a frown on his face. My brown eyes flicked over to Krem, begging. I could see pain and anger flit through his gaze before he walked over to grab some practice weapons. I was still hurting, injured from the incident in the Emerald Graves. But I needed this. Something told me that if I didn't somehow find an outlet for my emotions ...

What's wrong with me?

He handed me two dulled daggers and he held his own dulled short-sword and motioned for me to come at him. I was sloppy, reckless and unthinking – just like I had been back in the cave. My senses were so dulled that I didn't notice the pain, my body screaming at me to stop. I didn't even notice the wet trails falling down my cheeks, expression oddly passive for the amount of turmoil that seemed to flit through my mind.

Krem didn't even seem like he was trying as he blocked and parried my frenzied attacks with ease. I don't even know how long we fought before his face set into an expression I couldn't read as he knocked my weapons out of my hands and sent them flying. I made a frustrated noise, lunging forward at him even though he still had a sword in his hand. He dropped it, stepping aside and tripping me easily.

I fell onto my hands and knees, staring at the rocks and dirt underneath me. My breathing was ragged, vision blurry. A shadow loomed over me before I saw knees come into my line of sight, warm arms encircling me as I was pulled forward into a hug.

I sat there, staring blankly and refusing to believe that I was crying over this. Something so little.

But w as it so little?

Even with my dulled senses, I realized Krem was hugging me. He was trying to comfort me without words, because he knew that I never liked talking things out. Was this what it was like to have an older brother? I was always the oldest, the strongest. My siblings always looked up to me as the rock, the one that didn't stumble when times got rough. It got so tiring at times, trying to be the strong one. Being the one to hold your head high even through tough times. It was difficult.

I didn't move, nor did I speak or respond to him in any way. I just sat there, completely lost in my thoughts as I stared forward blankly.

Third Person

She'd given him something that he always longed for. To be so important to someone. Even though he'd never outright said it, never really thought about it anymore. It hurt to just let her go like that, but it was for the best. This way, at least, she won't get herself killed. He didn't want to know what he'd do if she died on him. Them being separated was far better than her laying on the ground dead. Motionless and just … gone.

He was deep in thought when she turned to stumble away.

It's better this way.

He repeated that sentence in his head over and over, as if to convince himself. No matter how wrong it felt to let her run away like that. To see that expression on her face. To see her … break. It's better than her being dead. This world taught him that sometimes he had to make decisions, no matter how hard they were. Bad or worse? Hurting now or killed later?

It's better this way.

He watched from the loft as she ran up the long stairs and into the upper courtyard, tripping over Varric in the process. The dwarf turned and looked at her with a confused expression on his face and she looked back at him only briefly before she turned and continued to her destination. He looked back over to where Cole was standing, no longer cloaking himself in the barn loft as he watched her run off.

He knew Varric would come and check on him and ask what was going on. He'd tried to talk to him on the way back to Skyhold, too. He always worried about him. Always. So it didn't surprise him when he heard the dwarf's voice from behind him only minutes later.

"What happened? Screech looked like a complete mess just now." Varric sounded concerned as he walked up to stand right beside Cole. He looked down at the dwarf with a frown on his face, not even realizing the pained look that still lingered in his blue eyes.

"Lyn says that people are reckless when they love someone. She loves me. B-But she can't. She can't. I told her to stop." He explained, finally speaking to him after days of silence. He couldn't take it anymore, how was he supposed to deal with this? Was it normal? Was what he did the right thing to do? It hurt him, seeing her like that. Varric paused for a moment, grabbing the rogue's arm to gain his attention.

"So wait, let me get this straight … she tells you that she loves you and you pushed her away for it? Shouldn't you be happy?"

He was. Cole shook his head furiously, looking down at Varric through a mop of blonde hair. "She almost died – protecting me. Reckless, unthinking, thoughts clouded by rage. She jumped into battle without a thought!"

"Alright, listen. There's always going to be danger out there in this world, that's why she's training her ass off everyday so she can get better." Varric began, putting his hand on Cole's shoulder in attempt to calm him. "You can't expect to protect her from everything. Pushing her away isn't going to solve anything, it'll just end up breaking the poor girl's heart. I'd never wish that kinda thing on anyone else, it's pretty painful."

When he didn't answer the dwarf after a few long minutes, Varric let out a sigh and continued.

"You should be there for her, instead, and help her get stronger. I understand how you feel, I fear for her too. But she's strong, she's proven that hasn't she? Screech has gotten this far, I'm sure she can do it. That woman's so stubborn, I bet death wouldn't even want to take her." He chuckled and stepped back to get a better look at Cole, who was still staring out toward the upper courtyard.

She wouldn't always be helpless. Well, she wasn't necessarily helpless anymore. Just inexperienced. Pushing her away had been the wrong thing to do.

"I did it wrong."

"Yeah you messed up pretty bad, Kid." Varric sighed, giving him a pat. The dwarf then looked out toward the upper courtyard, as well. "Best go clear up any misunderstandings as soon as you can."

When Cole made his way into the upper courtyard, he was greeted with the sight of his friend kneeling on the ground next to the tavern and Krem holding her against him. The girl looked like she wasn't even responding to his attempt at comfort, but even still the blonde rogue felt something sharp dig in his stomach at the sight. He wanted to go push them away from each other, as petty as it sounded at the moment. The warrior seemed to have taken notice to his arrival, because he turned and glared at him from his place on the ground in front of Lyn.

Krem stood up abruptly, stalking in his direction with an incredibly pissed expression on his face. Jaw clenched, hands balled into fists, the warrior looked menacing as he strode in Cole's direction.

"You lying piece of –" The rogue saw it coming before he even did it, crouching and avoiding Krem's punch as he felt the air shift just above his hat. Cole frowned, but didn't bother to try and retaliate. He knew that he was simply angry because of what he'd done. He knew.

The blonde rogue dodged and twisted out of the way of the warrior's attempts to inflict pain on him and eventually he stopped and settled with glaring at him with his angry brown eyes.

"N-No! I did it to protect, preserve! But I did it wrong!" The rogue spoke quickly, trying to explain what he'd told to Varric just minutes ago. The time long ago when she was almost taken by the Ben-Hassrath flitted through his mind just then. "Cold, motionless, dying in my arms. Blood. So much blood. Fire fading away … gone. Dead. She could have died, l-like before! B-But." Cole stared at Lyn, who was sitting on her knees near the tavern with her hair covering much of her expression. He wanted to apologize and tell her he was wrong, tell her why he had done it.

"That's a load of crap! Do you honestly think hurting her like this was how to solve your issues?!" Krem shoved his hand in Lyn's direction, pointing at her with his face twisted into fury at the rogue in front of him. Cole could even hear his unspoken words as he continued his tirade, 'Talk to her, not push her away. What an idiot! What was he thinking?'"She would probably do it again and again, no matter what. Because she loves you, whether you like it or not." The warrior almost sounded bitter, just then. But he was right, and Cole recognized that.

"I want to make it right..." He spoke softly, his nimble fingers fiddled around with the hem of his sleeve.

Lyn's head lifted, rust colored waves falling out of her face and he took in her despondent expression. His stomach clenched and he felt sick, because he knew that it was his doing. She stood up slowly and simply ambled by, not even glancing at the two of them.

"I need to be alone for awhile." Lyn's tone was that of forced composure, her eyes red and puffy. She refused to look at them as she continued down to the loft where she usually slept.

"Probably best if you wait until she doesn't want to burst into tears at the sight of you." Krem muttered disdainfully, knowing all too well that the woman had almost gone into a hysterical rage. Her anger was what she always threw around so carelessly when she refused to feel what was in the moment, if it was too much for her to handle. Anger was just easier, more efficient than laying around and blubbering like a fool. But that opinion might be subjective. Some may believe the anger would only end up causing one to do things they regret and crying was an easier and safer release.

"She could have died." Cole forced out again, repeating an earlier statement but trying to make a point nonetheless. He allowed his hat to hide the almost disturbed expression that made it's way to his face. It was the only thing he could think about all the way back to Skyhold.

"I know." Krem ground out.

"I'm sorry." Cole paused, thinking about how he'd run into the cavern after Lyn and how she was probably alive now because of the warrior. "Thank you. For keeping her safe."

"I didn't do it for you."

First Person

I'm always fine. Eventually.

I spent the rest of that night laying on the square bales that were my bed, staring up at the rafters. I couldn't seem to get any sleep, though occasionally I'd feel myself drift off and I could swear I felt someone petting my hair. But I'd jolt awake and the sensation would stop. Perhaps it was just my sleep addled mind playing tricks on me.

The next day wasn't that much easier, either. I went to work, as sore as I was, and continued on like nothing had happened. Though I didn't really speak to anyone and they seemed to notice my change in demeanor. My usual scowl was missing and replaced with a passive look on my face, eyes seemingly duller. I still went on, though.

I refused to curl up on the floor of the loft like some sniveling little child. No matter how much I wanted to.

I lamented silently over the fact that I'd likely just torn our friendship to pieces. I mean, usually when people hurt me like that I hated them. Despised them, even. But I just couldn't bring myself to hate Cole for what he'd done. I couldn't even get angry at him. It's not like he did anything to earn that anger, in the first place. Sure I was angry, but it wasn't directed at him. I was angry at myself for being so brash and unthinking. How was I to know if he actually felt the same way for me?

Feelings like that, I knew, were pretty difficult to understand. Even for me. I've said it before, but it was true. Loving someone left you open and vulnerable to getting hurt, to getting attacked. Used. Hell, I wasn't just afraid for myself here. How easy would it be then, for me to hurt Cole? If he actually felt the same way, that is. Hypothetically, since for all I know he's avoiding me because he doesn't even see me in the same light and doesn't want to hurt me more. But judging by he and Krem's argument yesterday …

Hurting him would be unintentional, something I'd say or do because of my rough behavior. I wasn't exactly the most delicate with people and I had very little tact when it came to speaking. I'd only end up hurting him in the end.

Perhaps it was better this way.

The thought caused me only more pain as I grunted and shook my head. I should stop thinking about it, for now. Things always found a way to work themselves out, for better or for worse. I knew one thing for sure, though, once I was able to contain my little issue I'd try to reconcile with him. I refused to leave him, despite what happened. If he'd let me, that is.

"So … hows 'bout that drink ya owe me?" I heard from behind me as I walked around to make sure all the stables were locked up for the night. The bolts made 'click click!' noises as I jiggled them absently. "You look like ya need it."

I felt her slap her thin hand on my back and I turned to look at Sera. She was grinning, though the look in her eyes told me she kind of worried for me. Of course, the elf would never outright say it. She usually made me feel better by either pranking me or … drinks, I guess?

"I don't drink, Sera." I spoke for the first time that day, my voice sounded bland.

"Come on! We have a bunch of others an' we're having a party tonight. Small get-together. It'll be fun, yeah?" I rose a brow at her, thinking of all the stupid things I'd get myself into if I ever actually drank any alcohol. I mean, I've tried it once (Just one drink) but I despised the taste of the stuff. It was just downright disgusting.

"Sera …" I tried again, with a small frown twitching onto my face.

"I'll even pay for yer drinks!" Sera grinned, grabbing me by the wrist and pausing to look at my disheveled appearance. "Might wanna get cleaned up, though. Ya smell like shite."

Ah, the perks of working with horses. I get my own brand of stank.

"Whatever, a few can't hurt. Right?" I sighed, finally conceding. "Only this once." I didn't plan on ever doing it again, but I did owe her for the caltrops and poisons she bought me. Which, by the way, saved my ass back in the Emerald Graves. She may have said that she would buy my drinks for me, but I still planned on bringing my own silvers to pay for them.


When I walked into the tavern that night, I stood up straight and put on a mask of indifference. The atmosphere was warm and inviting, besides the usual smell of alcohol and stench of … people. People being cramped into one building never did end in there being a 'good' smell. People stink.

Quite literally.

Angel and Eren were here, which wasn't a surprise. I knew that my sister drank a little back home, despite being under 21. In America you had to be 21 to drink, which I had no opinion about. I knew I was quite biased when it came to alcohol since I hated it so much. Despised it, really. It's surprising I even accepted Sera's offer in the first place. I sighed, walking up to my sister and looking over at the dalish elf with a flat look in my eye.

"Hello, Eren." I crossed my arms and looked down at him as they sat at the rickety looking table in the far right corner. Said elf looked up at me and gulped down his drink with a nervous look on his face. He knew that I was keeping an eye on him just in case he hurt my sister. I had yet to have a talk with him, however. Angel let out a long breath out of her nose, probably knowing what was coming.

"L-Lyn." He acknowledged in his high pitched voice, holding his tankard up to cover part of his face.

I leaned forward and forced a smile onto my face, "If you are getting her drunk to take advantage of her, you will not wake up tomorrow."

He gulped, purple eyes widened in alarm as he offered a rather shaky looking smile in response. "I-I … wouldn't do that t-to her."

"Good boy."

"Lyn, Eren is one of the nice ones. Trust me." Angel's eyebrow twitched in what seemed to be irritation. I looked to her with a passive look on my face. She's said that before, about some of her exes that only ended up using her. Or sometimes they'd simply 'date' her for her looks to show off to their friends. Sometimes I'd even see their hungry looks when they thought no one was looking, those ones were the ones that left her and never contacted her again. Angel always wondered why and I never told her that it was my doing.

Since my sister was what most would call 'attractive' she had a lot of people that looked at her. That's usually all they did, though, is look. People look and see things on the surface and judge based on just that. I only hoped Eren proved to be different than the rest, because I'd hate to have to do it again. He had yet to slip up, however. I chuckled,

"I would not be an older sister if I did not look out for you, yes?" I offered, looking back over to the young elf. He was actually closer to my age, to be honest. Angel was almost 18 years old and he had to have been about 20 years old. As long as he didn't harm her in any way, I had no issue with their relationship.

"I can take care of myself!" Angel spoke up defiantly, crossing her arms over her chest. "You don't always have to coddle me like some child."

I felt my irritation rise and it must have showed because I saw her practically bristle in response, ready to argue and defend her lover. Though I did not feel particularly ready to argue at that point, feeling almost drained. I hadn't even gotten any sleep the night before, so I simply sighed and nodded. The teen's face crumpled and she seemed almost confused at my response as I waved at her and walked over to Sera's table. She was, after all, the one that invited me here.

Said blonde elf was hanging out where Bull and the Chargers usually sat in the Herald's Rest, the table was almost full aside from an open stool between Sera and Dorian. When she noticed my approach she waved me over, pointing at it enthusiastically. Lynn was at her side taking a small sip out of her cup as she spoke with Bull from across the table. I paid them no mind as I took a seat between the two, only to have a huge tankard slammed in front of me.

"There ya go. Drink up, Screechie." Sera pretty much ordered and I grunted in response, pulling the thing over as I peeked into it and took a small sniff. The shit smelled rank as hell and my nose scrunched in distaste. There was almost a sour smell to it that made me want to push it away and refuse, but I'd already agreed. So …

"Ale is horrendous, why not try some fine wine?" Dorian offered once I'd gotten settled at the table with a few of the others. True to Sera's word, a bunch of other people were out and about in the tavern drinking and eating some special food prepared by the cook. Is it just me or did I see french fries before I sat down? Angel must have been at it again.

"Wine? You're joking right?" I asked with a straight face, "I'm not a drinker at all and you want me to jump right into having wine."

"They don't even have proper wine here in Skyhold. Had to buy some myself, you see." He spoke as he swirled it around in his fancy looking chalice, "Consider yourself privileged! I usually do not share, darling." He spoke as if imitating a certain tanned Orlesian mage. I snorted.

"I think I'll pass."

"Your loss." The Tevinter shrugged as he took a delicate swig of his drink, legs crossed as he sat up straight in his stool.

I took another look at the tankard in front of me and took a sniff, again. Sour. The hell with it, might as well get this shit over with right? I lifted the thing up and took a huge drink. It wasn't the smartest thing to do on my part, seeing as how I'd never had this in my life.

I was immediately rewarded with the nastiest taste ever, I swallowed it and started to cough erratically. Sera and a couple of the others started to laugh at me as I sat there wheezing with tears in my eyes. That shit was strong! Or maybe I was just being a baby, I wouldn't know.

"T-That shit tastes like … ass."

"How would you know what ass tastes like? Is there something you'd like to share with the table?" Varric spoke from the other side of Iron Bull. My eyes widened and I looked over at him,

"Oh, I didn't see you there." I lifted my hand and made a sign with my pointer finger and thumb, implying that he was too small for me to see. "As for how I know. Your mother."

I heard someone spit out their ale at my horrible 'your mom' joke. I wonder if anyone else has made these kinds of jokes here in this world? I have never heard them.

It was about an hour later that I finally realized that I was actually starting to feel a little different. I mean, it wasn't a huge change. I was simply more relaxed and my problems seemed far off in the back of my mind as I listened to Varric tell stories of some of the shenanigans he got into when he was with a man named Hawke.

I silently wondered if they'd gotten into any 'Hawkward' situations in Kirkwall. Heh. Heh.

It was kind of warm in the tavern, I thought as I stared out at everyone as they conversed. I'd almost half expected drinking would make me delirious like the time Sera drugged me. That was, however, not the case. I was still my quiet self, albeit a bit more giggly as I enjoyed their banters that night.

That is, until someone popped the question. Now I'm assuming tact kind of goes out the window when you're drunk? Because they'd been avoiding the subject until then.

"So, what happened between you and the spirit boy?" Dorian finally asked, getting a few shocked looks from the table. Like 'why did you ask?!'. I hummed and took a sip of my drink.

"I have no idea what you're talking about, Mage."

"Ooooh … so I'm 'mage' now. Hits me right where it hurts!" The Tevinter put a hand over his heart and looked at me in mock offense. I snorted and averted my gaze, opting for simply looking at my drink instead. It was my second one … maybe third? I can't remember.

"Nothing really." I shrugged nonchalantly, "I kissed him, he didn't like it. We're avoiding each other." I summarized, cursing myself in the back of my head for even sharing that much. What the hell?! Shut up Lyn! Varric seemed to give me a look, but otherwise didn't comment on my little predicament.

I heard most of the table groan in response to my statement, causing me to look up curiously. Bull looked absolutely pleased with himself as I saw people throwing piles of silvers and even some sovereigns in the space just in front of him.

"I told you, why did no on listen to me?" Varric let out a breathy laugh, "This is why I don't bet against Tiny when it comes to people."

"I was so sure Cole would kiss her first!" Lynn had her head in her hands as she shook her head.

So what, am I simply a game to them? Something to bet on and make fun of? Logic was telling me that wasn't the case, but since I was already in a horrid mood it only served to irritate me even more. I didn't even try to yell and I simply frowned, downed the rest of my drink from my tankard and stood up to walk away. I heard them speaking to one another as I left.

"You said we'd be ass-deep in trouble for asking that. This is more like knee-high." Dorian complained to the dwarf, who chuckled in response. They'd obviously expected me to do something more drastic.

"I didn't specify who's ass, did I?"

"Leave it to the dwarf, always lowering the bar." He sassed back, causing a bunch of the others to burst into peals of laughter. Short jokes. Gotta love 'em.

That was the last thing I remembered that night, everything seemed to go by in a blur. I think I may have blacked out or something. It seemed I was a lightweight. Not that it mattered because I was never doing that again. That shit tasted nasty and …

When I woke up the next day, the sun that was piercing through the windows felt like it was burning my eyes out of the sockets. I almost expected to hear them sizzling like eggs on a pan. I suppressed the urge to groan as I blinked sluggishly at the high vaulted ceiling. Wait, high vaulted ceiling?

My senses were slow at coming back to me, and I took notice how I seemed to be laying in a rather plush bed with two warm bodies pressed against me on each side. I say bodies, because when I tried to move I was pulled up against someone like I was their teddy bear. I felt the blood drain from my face as I slowly realized I was, indeed, not sleeping in my room. Or the loft.

Fuck my life.

Chapter Text

I heard a soft snore at my right and I slowly allowed my head to turn in that direction. I saw Sera curled up underneath the blankets. Swallowing, I turned the other way and saw Lynn clutching at me like I was her personal teddy bear. I think I mentioned that, though.

Squeaking, I bolted into an upright position and felt my vision waver. Sera grumbled and seemed to regain consciousness as I pushed myself up and over the bottom of the bed, tumbling onto the cold unforgiving floor. My body jolted and I groaned in agony. Holy hell that hurt, especially with how my head seemed to pound and make the room seem to spin.

"Ahh … whaa?" Sera's sleep addled voice spoke from her spot on the Inquisitor's bed. Yes, my surroundings finally came to me as I lay in the middle of the Inquisitor's room. Only then did I realize I was fully clothed and I had jumped to conclusions all too soon. Shit!

"What the hell am I doing in your bedroom?!" I yelled as I sat up on my knees, trying to untangle myself from the blankets that I'd inadvertently dragged along with me during my tumble. I looked up at a sleepy looking Lynn. Both elves winced at my loud voice. Sera's face morphed into irritation.

"Keep it down, will ya?" The blonde elf ground out as she put her hand on her head in her messy hair. Lynn, for the most part, looked a little relieved.

"You broke down last night after Dorian asked about your … situation." The wavy haired elf explained quietly, her usually delicate voice sounding groggy from sleep. She yawned, "We brought you up here with us and forced you to sleep it off."

Oh hell, I got the crying jags. I felt embarrassment flood my system as I cursed underneath my breath. When I looked back up, I saw an amused looking Sera and a sorrowful looking Lynn. At least one of them sympathized with me.

"I'm gonna go get ready for the day." I grumbled, standing up to leave. I paused mid-step as I got to the staircase and looked over at the two and mumbled almost shyly. "Thanks."

I turned and stumbled down the staircase, not looking at their expressions as I opened the first door with a small creak.

"Lyn." I heard the Inquisitor's soft voice from just above me before I took a step out. I looked up, seeing her leaning over the edge and staring. I blinked and tilted my head in question. "Don't be angry at him … he … he tried to talk to you last night, but –"

"Oh, hell. I made things worse didn't I?" I muttered underneath my breath, opting for staring at the stone wall instead.

"No. Well, maybe. He tried to apologize but you were too busy on one of your rants."

"So I didn't get the crying jags?"

"You wouldn't stop yelling around and it was getting everyone nervous, so we took action."

So I was an angry drunk, then. Well, this would probably be my version of the crying jags. Because crying was for sissies. I grumbled underneath my breath and wondered just how many people remembered my state of mentality last night. Obviously Cole did, he didn't come off as the type of person to even drink. Good for him.

"Sorry about that. I'm not a drinker, so I doubt you'll ever see me like that again." I paused, thinking about how that might be a lie. Unless I got incredibly pissed at someone, I wouldn't yell around like a madwoman.

"You were also throwin' those weird fried potato whichamajiggers at the backs of everyone's heads. Funny, innit?" I heard Sera's voice from Lynn's bed and I groaned. I threw french fries at people!?

Never again.

I turned on my heel and tried my best not to stomp out of the room. I at least owed her that courtesy, since they saved my ass last night. I don't even want to think about what else I would have ended up doing and not knowing, had they not forced me out of there.

Ugh, I felt like complete and total shit. My body hurt so much that I didn't even feel sad about my little predicament at the moment. Is this what being hungover felt like? I'd never felt it before, but I'm assuming once I get enough water in my system I should start to feel fine.

I hope.

I quietly padded through the gardens early that morning, making my way up onto the walls of Skyhold so that I could make my way to the tavern unseen. I got to the last tower and slowly opened the door and peeked into the tattered looking room, boards strewn out on the cold stone floor. Good, so far. I'd encountered a number of guards on the way here, but they didn't seem to pay me any mind. Idly, I smoothed my hair down as I opened the door into the third floor of the tavern. I felt the warm air rush onto my face and I shut the door behind me and descended the small set of stairs, hearing my boots thud on the old wood.

When I looked up, I saw Cole sitting in the corner with his hat drooped over his face to hide his expression. I could feel his gaze lingering on me, however. I tried to suppress the shiver that wanted to pass through my body at that moment. I was unsure of what had even happened last night, but I felt horrible that he even had to see me like that. I stared at him passively before turning and opening my door. What I was greeted with when I opened my door was not something I expected to ever happen.

No, let me correct myself. I called it, after all, didn't I?

"Oh – you've got to be fucking kidding me!" I screeched, feeling my head pound from the sudden loudness of my voice. The person in my bed turned his head to look at me, fear in his light brown eyes as he squirmed and made noises of disapproval. My eyebrow twitched in irritation as I stepped forth and slammed my door shut. I winced, yet again, at the loud noise.

Okay, I knew we all got drunk last night but this was … uncalled for. Cullen was laying in my bed tied up to the posts with some rope, a makeshift gag stuffed into his mouth and wrapped around his head. Oh no, that's not the worst part. He was only in his undergarments. When I peered over to my nightstand I saw a piece of parchment folded so that it was standing up, big bold writing 'Hope you enjoy your gift, Screechie.'


Of course! I remembered just then that Cullen was trying to flirt with the Inquisitor in his inebriated state and Sera had been a wee bit jealous. Well … more than just a wee bit, if she tied him to my bed to humiliate him. Inquisitor Lavellan had been the one to even convince him to drink with everyone, saying that he had work to do and all. But with her big sparkling grey eyes and elfy charm, she got him to come and relax. Apparently he wanted to 'relax' in other ways too. Cullen, you dog.

"Fuck." I cursed, flipping my knife out from my pocket and seeing the Commander start to squirm even more frantically now. "I'm not going to hurt you, calm down."

He didn't seem to hear me as he continued to struggle in his binds, horror written on his features. Okay, maybe sawing at his binds would be a bad idea. I set the thing on my dresser and slowly walked up to him with a frown etched into my face.

"Cullen." I ground out, trying not to sound overly pissed. Because I was. My small fingers untied the gag in his mouth and words poured out of the Commander's mouth that sounded suspiciously like a prayer or chant. "Cullen!" I yelled rather loudly, seeing him wince at the same time I did.

Apparently I wasn't the only one hungover.

"Maker have mercy."

"I'm not going to – Ugh!" I ruffled my hair in frustration and untied his hands, seeing him give me a wary look. "I didn't do this to you, so don't look at me like that. Maybe you should not have flirted with the Inquisitor, last night."

"I did what?" The Commander's face turned even redder, if at all possible. I stared at him blankly as he seemed to fumble around for something to say. I suppose I could sympathize, he couldn't even remember flirting with his boss. The head of the Inquisition. Not only was it unprofessional, she was already in a serious relationship.

He seemed to fidget in place as I turned away and began to shuffle around in my dresser. I grabbed one of my larger tunics and a pair of pants, throwing it in his direction as he fiddled around with the ropes around his ankles.

What was I? The Queen of Awkward Situations? When I first arrived in this world, Cullen happened to be the one to handle my favorite pair of underwear. I saw him naked, and now he was tied up in my bed like some virgin sacrifice! Oh, let's not forget the fake love note. I scowled and turned to see him covering himself with my blanket with an almost timid look on his face. Like a shy maiden, he is.

I bit back the urge to laugh at the sight before me. I'd have thought the Templar would be more aggressive or maybe even at least angry at his predicament, but I must have misjudged his demeanor. I'd assumed since he was a warrior …


I let a huff of breath out of my nose as I crossed my arms, "I will have a talk with Sera about keeping you out of any … future occurrences. First it was the fake love note, now this. Though I'd like to know how her scrawny ass got you up two flights of stairs. You're easily twice her size!"

"I'd really rather not think about that, right now." Cullen still sounded incredibly embarrassed, though less than before. I think it may have been because of my lack of reaction at his bare body. I grunted, turning toward the door and walking up to it.

"Just cover yourself up this time. Running around Skyhold unclothed is not something I'd recommend to do a second time." I offered plainly, not even looking back to see his reaction to my statement. If I gathered from earlier encounters, he was probably red as a tomato right now.

When I opened the door, I saw Cole standing there as if he were waiting for me … or eavesdropping? I watched as his blue gaze flicked behind me and irritation flitted through them. I frowned in response,

"Cole." I greeted placidly, hoping he'd move so that I could get by and let the Commander in my room change. Thankfully, he stepped back and allowed me to close the door for the poor man. When I turned to walk away, I felt him grab my arm and turn me around so that I was facing him. His mouth was opened as if he were about to say something and I felt my body react like it normally did when he touched me. It liked the contact, wanted more even. My mind was a different story, however, and I smothered the feeling viciously as I clenched my jaw.

The blonde rogue's grip on my arm released as I saw his expression crumple.

"I-I oohh... crap. Don't look at me like that, it – Shit." I squeaked out and backed up a little at the 'kicked puppy' look he was giving me just then. "I'm sorry, Cole. I just need a little time, we can talk later?"

Cole stood there for awhile, staring almost through me. I felt horrible for possibly yelling at him last night again, he didn't deserve that. I mean, it wasn't even him that I was angry at. It was me. Myself. I watched as he seemed to nod almost minutely and disappear right before my eyes. How in the hell does he do that?! Is it a rogue thing? I squinted my eyes and looked for his shimmering form but saw nothing.

I sighed and turned away, walking out the door and onto the walls of Skyhold. I planned on talking to him about things later, once I could sort things out. Right now, as I was, it would be a bad idea. I didn't need to end up snapping at him for no reason and making the situation worse. That's the last thing he needed.

Cleaning myself off was my first task, since I smelled like a tavern. Did I ever mention how taverns smelled? Alcohol was not a pleasant scent, might I add. It seemed I wasn't the only one that had that thought in mind, because while I was in the washrooms I happened to see Angel as she was walking out. I nodded in her direction and continued on with my business. Once I was finished, I planned to go and at least spend some time alone before I went to get stuff done for the day.

By the time I was on the other end of the fortress, I stood there quietly and watched the sun rise higher and higher into the sky. The wind blew across my face softly, making my hair shift side to side. It was crisp and clean, just like always. The mountains, gotta love it. I was there for awhile, judging by how I could now hear people bustling around down in the courtyard. I took a deep breath and closed my eyes.

I heard footsteps behind me. I turned around curiously, seeing my friend standing there calmly. "How do you always know where I am?"

Cole stood there, fiddling around with the pendant around his neck. He would glance up at me occasionally, shifting his weight on his feet as if thinking of the right thing to say.

"Our necklaces. They remember being whole and they call to each other. I follow the whispers." He finally answered as he fixated his eyes up to me instead of the wood pendant.

"Brilliant." My face scrunched up in what was probably grief. I really did not want to be bothered, or confronted about our little mishap from days ago. Being alone is how I was used to coping with everything, thought about things and sorted them out in my head. Eventually things got better, it just took time. I knew that I would never just leave Cole, even if he didn't feel the same way about me. I couldn't do that to him. I just needed time to bury those feelings and try to forget about them, that's all.

"You're doing it again." He sounded pained as he poked the middle of my chest gently and I flinched a little at the unexpected contact. "It hurts more, now. I did it to protect and keep you from harm. But I yanked on the thread too hard and it … it broke."

"I'll be fine, Cole." I tried to reassure him, taking a small step back.

"No. no no no. I don't want to see the fire dim, dulled, weak. I did what I said I wouldn't!" Cole was starting to sound frantic as I stared up at him with uncomprehending eyes. He looked guilty, remorseful. "I did it wrong. All wrong."

"Look, it's alright. This kind of stuff happens all the time." I smiled sadly and tried to reassure him, "Just give me a little time to recover, okay?"

"You're smothering it!" His voice rose, sounding like I'd done the most offensive thing possible. I paused, blinking in confusion. "The song used to be bright, playful and happy. Now it's quiet, dulled and muted. A-Afraid of being heard." His face twisted in grief and he whispered, "I'm sorry. Don't leave."

"Leave? I'd never leave you, Cole." I peered up at him through my wavy hair, frown on my face. He probably still feared that he would lose friends, just like what happened before. No. I didn't like seeing that look on his face. He'd already gone through enough and I felt like I was simply making things worse. Feelings for people always complicated things and I silently cursed myself for even allowing this to happen.

He stopped my train of thought with a hand as he cupped my face. I could feel the affection buzzing and spreading, calming my thoughts. It was involuntary now, the affect he had on me. I thought about smothering it, but decided against it when I saw the look he was giving me. I leaned into his hand and sighed. Cole smiled as he gazed at me with his icy blue eyes. I tried to see beyond the mess of white-blonde locks that always seemed to get in the way and I let out a shaky smile.


"Of course not." I pushed the offending pieces of hair away gently so that I could see him better. I watched as his eyes drifted closed and he continued in a softer tone.

"My skin tingles when you touch me, I like it." He spoke, running his thumb along my cheek. It made my hairs raise and I liked it too. Very much so. "Warmth. It curls, coils, spreads around in my chest – making my stomach flutter. Y-You make me … feel things."

It took a moment for my brain to even process the words fully and I almost couldn't believe what I was hearing. I sucked in a breath, feeling my heartbeat increase. Did he know what he was saying? What they meant? I felt the same thing, obviously, but I never acted on them. I didn't want to push something on him that he may not want. I was just being careful.

"Yes. I know more than you think. Why does everyone think that I don't understand?" Cole seemed a little upset, a small frown forming on his face. My eyes widened and I put my hand over his.

"That's not what I meant, I-I … It's just …" I fumbled around for the right words. Everything was new. New for him. New for me. He went through all kinds of crap and was still in the process of learning how to make friends and be human. Still learning about himself. I was kind of the same way, yet not as extreme. Feelings did not come easy for me. Feelings were dangerous. Feelings got you hurt. And they do, I still think they do. But... "I don't want to overwhelm you, that's all."

"You won't." His expression softened, "So gentle, caring – You always worry about me … thank you."

"I worry because I care." I let a small smile slip onto my face as I poked the wooden pendant around his neck. Yes, I cared. A lot.

"I'm sorry I hurt you. I was scared, panicked … I said things that …" Cole paused, appearing as if he was trying to find the right words for what it was. "Fear pressed down, surrounding and suffocating. Thoughts like a haze of fog rolling around in my head. I didn't want to lose you. Still don't. Pushing you away was wrong. I won't do it again."

I was afraid, he was afraid. It made sense now that I thought about it. My fear of losing him caused me to act so rashly and I almost got myself killed. He feared the same thing and ended up pushing me away. I understood.

"It's alright. This is one of the hard parts about being human." I sighed and closed my eyes, reveling in the warmth that I felt with his hand on my face. "I'm still working on how to better control my anger and I've been human all my life. You're still learning. Messing up is part of the lesson, after all. I shouldn't have yelled at you like I did. I'm sorry, too."

When I opened my eyes, he was staring down at me with a contemplative expression. I felt the pad of his thumb slide over the corner of my mouth as his gaze seemed to linger there a little longer. "You kissed me."

I felt my face heat up immediately, heartbeat thudding in my ears. "I ahh... uhh. Yeah. I-I kinda did...didn't I?"

Mother of –

I could have sworn he leaned forward a little, my face flushing even more. He was close. So close. Almost too close as I felt his warm breath ghost over the skin on my face.

"C-Can we do it again?" Cole's voice sounded so quiet but since he was so close to me, I could hear him just fine. Though that was a surprise in itself since my heart was hammering in my chest I swore I could hear nothing else. We locked gazes and he looked almost as nervous, if not more so, than I did just then.

"W-What …" Was he serious?

"Yes." Cole whispered and I squeezed my eyes shut. Shit. He was serious. Well, of course I wanted to. I wouldn't have done it in the first place if I didn't want it!

I felt something soft brush against the corner of my lips where his thumb had touched just seconds ago. My brown eyes flew open in alarm and I took a sharp intake of breathe, realizing that he was kissing me. It was different than the one I'd given him back in the barn, since it had been me doing it. This time … he was the one initiating the contact. The energy I usually felt when he got so close crackled and vibrated. Almost like electricity. I stared forward like an idiot and I could feel my face as it was set ablaze.

That wasn't the only thing on fire, no. It was like the small kindle inside of my chest ignited, bursting forth and causing my heart to stutter to a stop. Then it started up again, much faster than before. My hands moved up and clutched at his patchy shirt as I moved closer.

Not really one for self-control, I didn't even think as I turned my head slightly and pushed my lips fully against his. Rather forcefully, might I add. I'd never wanted something like this so much in my life.

Cole seemed to freeze underneath me, unsure of how to continue. Was I doing this wrong? When he didn't respond, I let out a whimper and pulled away. He didn't let me, though, and he leaned forward to mimic me. He fumbled around a bit, clumsily, as he tried to figure out how to kiss me back. But he did.

It was awkward at first, unsure as any first kisser would be. It was rather cute, really, as I brought my hand up to gently touch his cheek. He was really warm and his face was flushed. I idly wondered if he was experiencing the same thing I was right then. I allowed my eyes to close as I leaned into him even more, feeling him do the same.

Happiness was not a sufficient enough word to describe how I felt at that moment as tears pricked the sides of my eyes. Nothing else seemed to matter, then. Not the Ben-Hassrath or the Venatori or even Corypheus. I understood now, why people sought out this feeling. When we pulled away, my eyes fluttered open and I stared up at him and tried to convey just how I felt. I couldn't find words.

The love I knew before from my family was only destructive, painful and used to control me. Used to gain an upper hand in order to get something. An ulterior motive. Always. I knew now that that wasn't what it was. It's not what it's supposed to be, anyhow. Love only hurts when you're afraid.

I wasn't afraid anymore.

Her song flitted flickered and sang a harmonious melody. And for the briefest of seconds, Cole could hear his own song – echoing from within her. It had reverberated through his senses, causing him to freeze up. Only for a short moment, however. It was as beautiful as it was exhilarating. The look on her face when they pulled away was that of pure adoration. For him. Only for him.

It felt like the world changed just then and everything didn't seem so terrifying anymore.

He liked being human.

Eventually we had to part ways because we both had things to do. But I was in a pretty damn good mood, I've got to say. Out of all the ways that situation could have ended, I almost didn't expect it to turn out so … well. Most things didn't, to be completely honest. When things always turn out bad you kind of just learn to accept it and expect it to happen. So it came as a surprise, to me.

I slowly made my way over to the undercroft with my head held high, eyes brighter than before. In my arms, I held a bundle that was my leather pants. Parts of my armor had been damaged from battle during my stay in the Emerald Graves, so I fully intended to take it in to get repaired.

When I opened the door that lead to the undercroft, I heard the door squeak as I took a step inside. I was greeted with the sight of the small dwarf coaching Harritt on how to correctly apply something to armor. I didn't know, but I stood nearby for a couple of minutes before they were done chatting away. Well, more like Dagna was chatting the poor man's ear off as he stared at her with an irritated look in his eye, but that is beside the point.

"I damaged my armor in battle and would like to get it repaired." I spoke plainly as I held the thing out.

"The thing is damn near in tatters! What'd you do?!" Harritt grabbed it out of my hands and looked at how the part on the thigh seemed to be completely ripped open and all I offered was a shrug.

"Without it, I may have been shredded. So … Thanks?" I smothered the urge to fidget around nervously because I did not like the look he seemed to give me just then. It was the look adults give their kids when they know they did something wrong. Harritt's eyes narrowed as he folded my leather pants up and turned around without a word, walking over to a table to set it down.

"Dagna …" I addressed, seeing the woman look up at me curiously.

"Is there something else you needed?"

"Well, I kind of needed to destroy something." I murmured, "But I have no idea how. I need it gone, for good."

"Lemme see what you got." The small woman put her hand on her hip and tilted her head with a small smile. I sighed, feeling like I almost didn't want to do it. Because I didn't, but it's useless now anyway. I dug in my pocket and took out my gun, cringing as I held it out to her. "Is this … from your world?"

For the most part, she seemed awed as she grabbed the heavy piece of metal out of my hands to examine it. I nodded in affirmation, watching as she turned it around in her hand and fiddled around with every groove and ridge she could find.

"And you want to destroy it? What is it?"

"A weapon. One that could cause more bad than good if it got in the wrong hands." Was my flat reply as I crossed my arms. I felt I needed to get my point across, "The Ben-Hassrath attacked me to get to it. Thankfully they were unable to attain it and I'd like to prevent any future occurrences."

"That bad, huh? Well, if you really want to …" Dagna almost sounded a little put out that she couldn't keep it and look at it. I didn't blame her, really. She seemed, for the most part, incredibly interested in my home world and had a thirst for knowledge.

"My apologies, it's just too dangerous to have around." I nodded, following her as she walked over near the forge where a smelting furnace sat.

What came next was almost physically painful to watch, but I stayed nonetheless. It wasn't like I didn't trust the woman. No, I take that back, I didn't trust anyone. I knew she was a good person, but I couldn't just walk away and assume she would do the right thing. I had to ensure the thing was destroyed for good. It took awhile, but it was able to get done.

I let out a quiet whimper, seeing my most prized possession reduced to nothing but a block of material. I had to remind myself that I was doing this because I didn't want anyone else to get hurt. I didn't want those assholes to take it and end up using it against the rest of Thedas. They already had a technological advantage over everyone else, they didn't need more. That's what's wrong with people, they keep wanting more. More and more. I sighed, turning toward the door with a frown on my face.

It's alright, though. I paid a lot of money for that gun, but that was of little use in this world. I most certainly wasn't going to sell the thing for money. That'd be reckless and just … greedy. If I were greedy I would have just accepted the Ben-Hassrath's offer for information in trade for Gaatlok. That was a no.

Didn't mean I wasn't sad about my loss.

I stayed down there only briefly to answer a few of her questions about it, which was mostly the same as what Krem and the Chargers had asked before. It was mostly the same, anyway. I had, however, told her about how we harnessed electricity in my world to power most of our things. The idea seemed to intrigue the woman and I offered to try and explain more in detail later.

Which brought me to the main hall of Skyhold, people bustling about and the dull hum of conversation traveled around me. It was about midday when I walked out there and the sun illuminated the half of the hall I was currently standing on. Somewhere passed the crowd of people I saw the bald head of Solas and two people following close behind. Upon closer inspection, the two people were Angel and Eren.

What were they up to now?

The small group entered the rotunda, where Solas spend most of his time doing whatever weird bald mages did, and I followed close behind. The door was creaking shut when I stopped it, slipping in behind them and practically inviting myself in.

I hadn't expected to see what I did when I entered the room. Solas was standing next to his desk, books and papers strewn out here and there, as he held onto the end of Angel's iPhone charger. His fingertips were resting on the metal parts of the outlet prongs as my sister set the contraption down on his wooden desk. Eren, seemed to be vibrating with excitement as he stared down at it.

The familiar sound of a phone starting to charge with it's little beep echoed through the empty round room. I stayed a distance away, watching with interest as the bald elf looked down at the thing with a curious glint in his eyes. But not before seeing them widen in disbelief as the phone turned on. Angel giggled.

"It's alive! Alive!" The teen did some odd dance as she hopped on one foot to the other. But her celebrating paused as the screen lit up and showed a picture of one of her favorite K-Pop idols. She squealed, but it was cut short. Solas, in his surprised state, accidentally put too much electricity into the charger and I watched as the iPhone was promptly fried right before my eyes. The machine sparked before the screen sizzled into blackness.

"Awww..." Eren deflated, looking down at it sadly. His shoulders slumped forward and I watched as Angel's expression turned from gleeful and happy to depressed all in a span of a few seconds. I couldn't help the short cackle that escaped my lips.

"No! M-My baby!" Angel didn't seem to hear me as she lunged toward the thing on the desk and tried to grab it, only to hiss and toss it from one hand to the other with a panicked look on her tanned face. It didn't take much brainpower to realize the thing was hot as I observed them play hot potato with the damn thing. What did she expect? I could have told her what would happen, since her boyfriend already fried her battery with his 'magey powers' as she called them. Eren stepped forth to help and the phone was tossed to him and he had a similar reaction as he tossed it back and forth and hissed.

"It burns!" He cried, tossing it at Solas. The bald elf held it in his hands for a few seconds before he tossed it back onto the table with a loud 'clunk!'

"That went well." Solas commented, a small amount of sarcasm escaping his tone. I blinked, looking down at the phone and sighing.

"Should have asked me, I would have at least been able to do it correctly." Dorian spoke as he leaned onto the railing on the second floor, peering down at our small group as we stood around and looked at the phone on Solas' desk. "Our resident hobo, after all, is not the only mage in Skyhold." I could have sworn I heard him mutter something about having better hair than him, too. Oh, Dorian. Solas didn't even have hair.

Said hobo didn't answer, only staring up at him with an irritated gleam in his eyes.

"Mages killed my babies!" Angel's hands were making clawing motions as she looked between Eren and Solas. "This was your idea!" She blamed Solas as she pointed at him with her bony finger.

"It was sheer curiosity on my part, I had not expected to see the picture light up." Solas spoke, nodding his head in Angel's direction. So it was his idea to try it, was it?

"Is there something you'd like to share with the class, Solas?" I waved my hands and opened my palm to motion to the other two in the room. My sister looked over at me curiously, as if just now realizing I was there. Eren seemed nervous, as he usually was.

"I assure you it had been unintentional on my part." He spoke cautiously, looking between Angel and I. "But I had stumbled upon your dreams in the Fade. I saw what your world looked like and needless to say … I was intrigued."

I nodded, wondering what he thought of our world and if it helped him any with trying to even find a way back. Though I did feel a wee bit uneasy that he may have seen the contents of my dreams. The contents … of my dreams.Shit.

I totally didn't have perverted dreams or anything. I looked at Solas as the silence fell in the room at his statement. He seemed to give me a look and I felt my face pale. Okay, sometimes I had them. Maybe once or twice. Well, it would certainly explain his extreme dislike for me, since the object of said dreams was usually … yeah.

I forced myself to think about something else, refusing to feel embarrassed for being human.

As for going home, it would be nice to find a way back at least. Not that I wanted to, anymore. But I'm sure Angel would appreciate the opportunity. Speaking of Angel, she looked beyond pissed just then. Her glare could have melted steel and I felt my body involuntarily shiver as she directed it at Solas.

"I have to put up with Lyn's demon boyfriend digging around in my head and now I've got you sifting through my dreams!" She seethed and I felt myself bristle at her statement of Cole being a demon. "Can't I have any privacy around here?!"

I bit the inside of my cheek to keep myself from retorting with a comment of my own about Eren being a spineless little bastard. The poor elf didn't do anything to me, so he didn't deserve my scathing comments. I had to remember that.

"Apologies." Solas' posture stiffened as he clasped his hands behind his back. "I was under the impression that you wanted find a way back to your home world."

"Any progress on that?" I asked before my sister could blurt out anything else that may be taken as offensive.

"Only that I now know that your stories are legitimate. I had my suspicions before, as did a few of the others. Leliana did much research on the two of you but … alas you both seem to be ghosts. Even the most proficient of spies have difficulties evading the Spymaster's connections." The bald elf explained as he paced, one of his delicate hands coming up to rest underneath his chin. I peered up, seeing Dorian still looking down at us with that grin of his. Nosey mage.

I huffed and flicked my brown gaze over to Solas, "This suspected spy almost got mauled by the Spymaster herself." I spoke dryly, referring to what happened in the dungeons at Haven during my first week here on Thedas. "Is she so convinced I am not a spy, now?"

"It seems unlikely."


"There are always possibilities, but if it's any consolation I do not think you a spy."

"How sweet of you."

"Don't push your luck." Solas gave me a look that told me to shut up before he turned to Angel and Eren, who were watching the exchange silently. I tuned him out as he began to speak to the two about the possibility of making amends somehow. Bastard! He never offered to make amends whenever he was an asshat to me!

As he spoke I made the most ridiculous face I could at the back of his bald head, crossing my eyes and sticking out my tongue. I heard someone snort and Solas stopped talking. I schooled my face into indifference as he turned to look at me curiously. I raised my brow in response.

He turned back around and began to talk again. This time I pushed my thumb on my nose and wriggled my fingers, sticking my tongue out childishly. I wasn't fast enough that time as he whipped around and saw my childish behavior and scoffed. I clenched my hand into a fist and pretended to cough into it.

"Must you always be so immature?" The bald elf asked in a rather chill tone. I shook my head and shrugged my shoulders.

"I don't know what you're talking about, Solas. It seems I have … come down with a cold." I fake coughed again and turned to walk toward the door. "I shall retire to the tavern for soup and bread."

As it seemed, I headed to the Herald's Rest at just the right time. The Inquisitor had called a small meeting with the inner circle and we were currently sitting around waiting for everyone to show up. Maybe only half of the group sat at one of the larger square tables as they chatted away. I sat silently on my creaky stool and munched slowly on the soup and bread that I'd ordered. Angel and Eren had made their way from Solas' little cave and joined me.

I was seated near one of the walls, the window cracked open to reveal the outside of the upper courtyard. Occasionally a crisp breeze would slip through and cool off my face. Cole stood quietly next to the wall not far from me and, as usual, we were both silent as everyone chattered away like old women.

"There's definitely something different." I heard Angel ask from her place just across from me and I grunted, feeling a bit confused at her statement.

"Different?" I asked from behind my mug of water, looking at the wavy haired teen as she seemed to scrutinize my reaction.

"You guys aren't acting all … coupley, though." Angel spoke as if she were simply thinking out loud, now and I felt my eyebrow twitch. I wish she'd just come out and say it. I knew now, though, that she was likely talking about Cole and I as we lingered near each other like usual.

"Is that even a word?" I drawled in response, lowering my mug onto the worn table. Something seemed to dawn on me as a question flew out of my mouth without even thinking, "Wait … how are couples even supposed to act?"

"I don't know." Cole sounded just as confused and I only offered a shrug when I peeked back at him. It seemed as though the spirit fidgeted a little under my gaze. Thinking nothing of it, I turned back around and took a small sip of my water and closed my eyes.

"Still kinda gross." I heard Sera say from next to Angel, obviously overhearing the conversation and deciding to put her two cents in. I felt my eyebrow twitch, yet again, but otherwise kept quiet.

"You know what's gross?" Bull spoke up in a low tone, almost ominously. I peeked over at him curiously, hearing Sera answer.


"This 'druffalo stew'." Bull pushed it away, "I know a mean Qunari stew recipe, I should make it sometime." He laughed loudly as if at some unknown joke, causing some of the people in the tavern to pause before going back to their activities. Odd, I thought the stew tasted really good.

"Soooo, didja guys play 'hide the zucchini' yet?" Angel just happened to ask from across the table as I was in the middle of taking another drink. I choked on the water, feeling some of it spew out of my mouth and nose back into the cup. Did they even have zucchini here?

Judging by the grossed out/incredulous looks, I assumed so. Sera, despite thinking it was gross, giggled evilly and snorted. "Heh. Zucchini."

"What the fuck, Angel?!" I hissed when I was finally able to form a coherent response after I was done with my coughing fit. I felt my face quickly change colors as my sister replied.

"Hey, I wasn't the only one that was wondering." The teen shrugged and grinned impishly, "After that huge fight you guys had, it wouldn't surprise me if – Yeowch!" The girl was cut off as a loaf of stale bread bounced off of the middle of her forehead, landing on the table with a small 'thud!'. By the time she opened her eyes to glare accusingly at me, I was gently dabbing my face with a handkerchief.

"Finger slipped." I explained flatly, "What about you, Angel? You and Eren seal the deal, yet?" I watched in amusement as the girl flushed a deep red.

"Sometimes it's on the dresser, other times it's in the washrooms." Cole spoke from behind me but ended up pausing for a moment, "Once in the kitchen?"

"Adventurous, I see." I nodded sagely, hearing Sera make a disgusted noise from her spot next to Angel. The blonde elf whipped her head in her direction and yelled,

"Frigging hell, I eat food outta there! I don't need yer girlies flappin' all over in my food."

"T-They weren't flapping a-anywhere!" Angel defended, looking absolutely mortified when everyone at the table seemed to quiet down and take notice to the conversation just then. Eren's face turned red all the way to his pointed ears as he sat silently beside my sister. If anything, the poor dalish elf looked even more embarrassed than my sister as he practically vibrated with anxiety. Sera looked at the human's chest and nodded, as if agreeing.

"Yeah, right? They're too small fer that." She laughed loudly, getting an angry look out of the wavy haired teen. The elf and my sister began bickering back and forth about how breast size didn't matter.

"How do I make it stop?" I groaned, dropping my face into my hands and shaking my head. The evening was turning out just fine, sitting at a table eating with some friends before the small meeting. Then the conversation had to steer in that direction.

"You think this is bad … you should have been there with Hawke and the crew." Varric chuckled before he continued, "Or Isabela. Maker, that woman would make your sister seem like an angel. No pun intended."

I sighed and went back to eating, seeing the rest of the group trickle in slowly. Once everyone arrived, Lynn informed everyone that they needed to go and get somethings done before they headed out to the Hissing Wastes. So, basically, she was looking for volunteers to come along with her before they left. It was estimated that we'd leave in about a week or so. I wasn't one of the volunteers, opting for staying to help with the horses and stuff in Skyhold this time.

Cole, Bull and Solas had been the ones to volunteer to go with the Inquisitor. Which was odd, because Sera usually went along with the Inquisitor whenever she left. Since they were a couple and all. So, once they were all ready to go the next day I couldn't help but be there to see my friends off. Cole, too. Obviously.

"You could come along." Cole said for the second time as he looked over at me, his hands were fiddling with his hand wraps. We stood in the lower courtyard as they got ready to leave. I silently wondered why he seemed so nervous. Things had gone back to some semblance of normalcy with us. Well … if there was even a normal when it came to us. But at least it wasn't like we were walking on glass whenever we were near one another.

I did notice, however, that he seemed more nervous than usual as of late. I mean, I say that because he wouldn't stop this incessant fidgeting of his where he would pick at the hems of his shirt cuffs. Or pull at his hand wraps, even as far as pawing at the tables as he peeked over at me.

We were standing at the gates of Skyhold just before they were to leave and he was all decked out in his armor. I shook my head with a small smile, pushing those thoughts in the back of my head. I'd think on it later.

"The mission to the Hissing Wastes will take a lot out of me. I doubt I can handle both." I answered honestly, turning my gaze up toward the upper courtyard. I also planned to get some training done before we left, but that was beside the point. I noticed him flick his blue gaze behind me a few times but didn't really think anything of it. "Just be careful, okay?"

"I'll try." I felt him put his finger underneath my chin and I looked up at him curiously. Cole leaned forward slightly and I assumed he was going to give me a peck on the cheek or something. But he went straight for it. I froze up when his lips brushed gently on mine, feeling my face turn completely red. We were in public! He pulled away and looked at me with an anxious look in his eyes, "D-Did I do it wrong?"

"N-No j-just …" I responded hearing Sera make some gagging noises from not far away behind me. I buried my face into his shirt to hide my expression. I squeaked out, "That's why."

When we stepped away I glared over at Sera just in time to see her in the middle of giving Lynn a kiss, too. I made a loud gagging noise and yelled, "Get a room, you two!" Sera pulled away and made a ridiculous face, giving me a look that told me I would regret it later. Ah shit …

Solas was looking at me rather gravely but did not comment, otherwise. We stared at each other silently for awhile, equally blank looks on our faces before we turned away pretty much at the same time. I sauntered off, giving Cole a pat on the shoulder as I left.

As for Sera, I did regret it. Because the next day she'd called me over for a bout of training. I'd been in the middle of sparring with Krem with my armor on when she suddenly appeared and began to roughhouse with me. The blonde elf was a rogue and since I was pretty much a rogue-in-training, she tried to teach me some of her cool rogue abilities. Can you guess what happened?

Nothing. I couldn't seem to grasp anything she tried to show me. She was what one would call a 'Tempest' and could do a many of things for her specialization. Which included using these weird elixirs that had many benefits. I don't know about you, but the idea of cloaking myself in fire did not appeal to me. And as much as I liked electricity, that didn't appeal to me either. No matter how much she assured me that it wouldn't hurt, I refused to try it. I, dare I say, was too scared.

We then moved on to these throwing knives and she had to coach me on how to throw them correctly. I missed every time. Though, by the end of the week I was at least able to hit the target dummy three out of the ten times while I trained. It was a small improvement, but something nonetheless.

The knife fell to the ground with a soft 'Thud!' "Frag!" I threw another knife and missed, "Scrap!"

I was running out of swear words to use.

"You should perhaps take a break, you've been at it for hours." Cassandra offered from her spot on a stool nearby, looking up from her book. The evening sun hit my back, casting a long shadow on the ground just ahead of me. I glared at the dirt and shook my head, getting into the position Sera had taught me.

"I'll get it even if it kills me." I spoke and kept throwing the things at the target stubbornly. My arms were getting tired as I swung them with a scowl on my face.

"While I admire your determination, your arms are shaking and weak. Being unreasonable with your training regimen will only set you back if you get injured." The Seeker stood up and closed her book calmly. She looked up at me and I saw the faintest hint of a smirk form on her face, "Trust me, I know."

I sighed and walked forward to start collecting my throwing knives. "You're right."

The warrior ambled off after that, leaving me in silence as I took some of them out of the dummy. Most of them, however, were on the ground. Grumbling silently underneath my breath, I put them in my pouch and slowly made my way into the Herald's Rest. I'd promised Angel to eat dinner with her and Eren, anyhow. It was about that time.

I wasn't surprised when I saw the teen sitting alone at a table, talking with her boyfriend. I strode up to the two and took a seat across the table where a plate was already set. It seemed I was having some odd combination of boiled eggs and rice or something. Not that I was complaining, I liked eggs.

I was in the middle of chewing when I looked up and saw Angel staring at one of her boiled eggs with a rather concentrated expression on her face.

"Eggs?" She turned the thing around in her thin fingers and looked at it plainly, "Egg-zema!" 'Eczema' Right. Hah. Not funny.

"That wasn't even funny, Angel." I pointed out, seeing Eren look at her curiously. Please don't tell me she's going to go on one of those wild punning sprees. Because they can get pretty bad.

"I know the joke was a little … dry." Angel shrugged and looked at me with a rather cheesy smile on her face and I suddenly got the urge to slam my head into the table. No. Oh gods, no.

"You deserve to get mauled for that one, it was so bad."

"Don't you think you're being a little rash?"

I let out an unamused grunt and stared at her through my messy hair, "Well, I kinda walked into that I suppose. Fair enough." I conceded, hoping she'd stop now that I admitted defeat.

"Egg-scuse me, I've got work to attend to." Angel stood up, struck a pose and walked off toward the kitchens. I stared at the place she was sitting at just seconds ago, trying my hardest not to let my eyebrow twitch psychotically. That left me alone with her little lover, Eren. Speaking of which, I had yet to speak with the little elf.

I leaned forward with my elbows resting on the table as I examined the dalish elf with an evil gleam in my eye. Eren seemed to notice and began to almost sweat underneath my heavy stare.

"Soooooo. Eren, right?"

"Y-You know, there's this uhhh... this thing I needed to do." He tried to offer as he ran his pale fingers through his black hair, looking at me apprehensively. I shook my head and threaded my fingers together, resting my chin on them.

"No no, I insist. You should stay." I forced a smile onto my face, "You've been with my sister for awhile now, I'd like to … get to know you."

I watched his neck move as he swallowed, looking at me warily. It's not like I was going to jump across the table and tear off his face.

"She has grown rather attached to you. I've seen this happen a couple of times, she falls in love – they leave and she is hurt. Fortunately for her, usually they get hurt too." I explained gravely, seeing him twitch. I could have sworn his purple gaze seemed to harden a little.

"I would never do that to her." Eren spoke with conviction, his high pitched voice sounding confident for once.

"You also kept her safe and you're probably the only reason she's still alive. So I'll give you the benefit of the doubt. Just don't fuck it up."

We were relatively quiet after that as I finished off the food Angel made for me. It was a comfortable silence. For me, anyway. Eren seemed deep in thought for awhile before getting up to leave. I was left to think about where we were about to go. I didn't remember going to any place called the Hissing Wastes, since I hadn't gotten that far in Inquisition. I rarely thought back on it, anymore, really. It seemed almost wrong for me to think of this place as a game. It was, at one point. But these were real people, real … friends. Even though I wasn't quite as close to everyone else as I was with Sera and Cole, I still cared about the rest of them nonetheless. Even Solas.

Maybe not Vivienne.

I would never let them know that, however. Letting everyone know that I was secretly kind of soft would be like telling them I could transform into a dragon. They'd look at me like I was completely insane. Good. Best keep it that way.

Inquisitor Lavellan really had an unusual amount of stamina if she could keep going on missions back to back, because as soon as she returned … we were going to get ready to leave. That woman is either extremely determined or inhuman. Well, she's an elf – who knows what those things are capable of?

And now I felt like a racist ass. I glared at my empty plate and got up to leave. Hopefully things didn't get too out of hand on our way there. Knowing the family luck, I genuinely doubted that.

Chapter Text

Cole had been observing couples interact more closely as of late, ever since he and Lyn had grown closer. It hadn't interested him before, but here he was. He noticed that usually two people like to spend time with one another, which he understood completely. They'd do things like go on dates, eat their meals together, and show random acts of affection throughout their time near one another. Things he intended to try and do.

Though said couples never did like him randomly staring at them from some corner or in a bush. Things were much harder now that he couldn't just walk around unnoticed. The rogue had a feeling that he'd have to ask for help, again, when it came to other things. How was one supposed to court another? Was there a correct way to do it? What if he did it wrong?

Which brought Cole to his current predicament as he stood in front of Lyn's sister nervously. He thought he'd try to eat lunch with Lyn to start out with. Angel was bustling around in the kitchen, the chef having taken the day off and left it in her care. The teen was quickly becoming popular with her new and intriguing menus. The wavy haired teen turned to look at him and smiled kindly, brushing off her apron that was tied around her small waist.

"Is there something you needed, Cole?" She asked softly. Her demeanor toward him had changed since he and her sister had grown closer. Angel felt happy to see Lyn the way she was.

"What does Lyn like to eat?" He questioned, shifting on his feet at the entrance to the kitchens. One would think it to be more practical to simply ask the woman herself, but the thought almost seemed to make his anxious state worse. Cole also found that he was often afraid of doing things wrong or accidentally saying or doing the wrong thing. It had been there before, sure, but now it was almost overwhelming. Angel seemed to think about his question, the smile never leaving her face.

"She's not really a picky eater. Were you going to eat lunch with her? That's cute!" The brunette clasped her hands in front of her body and shifted her weight back and forth in happiness.

"But … I don't eat."

"No, you don't have to. You should find something to eat with her, though. Trust me!" Angel scurried around, putting together a small meal as she wrapped it up in some cloth for him. She even tossed some sweets in there, just in case.

"Can't believe it's happening. Should I give him candles, maybe a little picnic blanket? Get the atmosphere right. No. She'd hate that." He rattled out her thoughts without even thinking, getting a squeal in response.

"S-Stop that!"

"Sorry." Sometimes Cole couldn't help it, since Angel and Lyn's echoes were usually very quiet and when they got louder – the ripples bigger – he couldn't help but let his mouth run. Sometimes it didn't want to listen to him.

"It's fine." 'Not really.' "Just take this, she's probably hungry anyway."

Cole took the bundle from her hands and stared down at it curiously. He's seen people do this before, but for some reason his feelings wouldn't listen to him. His nerves kept shuffling around, making him feel uneasy and jittery. The rogue looked down at his free hand, opening and closing his palm curiously. Why? It hadn't bothered him much before. If anything he had been getting better with his emotions. Getting used to them. But after they kissed, it was like … a switch had been flipped.

Those wouldn't listen to him either. His feelings, that is. The things in this world rarely did, now that he thought about it. Cole came to know that it wasn't always a bad thing, however.

These new things, at first, seemed almost terrifying to Cole. It was unknown. Uncharted territory for the spirit-turned-human. He didn't understand why he felt the way he did around her, but simply thought it would go away. They never did. Having to adapt to all those new things was hard enough, but when he learned that he saw his friend in a different light … increasingly more difficult.

But he didn't want them to go away. He didn't want her to go away. If there was one thing that terrified him more than the unknown, it was the thought of losing her. So he would do this. The blonde rogue paid no mind to the fact that two sets of footsteps seemed to trail behind him as he made his way out to the barn. It mattered not, he was a man on a mission.

Angel had waved Eren over on their way through the tavern and she fully intended to see just how this went down. For research purposes, of course. It totally wasn't because of her unusually curious nature when it came to her sister's love life.

They crouched nearby as the blonde rogue slowly walked up to the grumpy woman in the stables, a small bundle in hand. Angel and Eren were almost doubtful that his idea would even work since she expressed such a dislike to such 'mushy' acts, as Angel called them.

"Would you like to... eat lunch together?" The scraggly rogue sounded unsure if he'd worded it correctly as he held out his little gift to her, a small tilt to his head. The couple watched as the normally cranky woman turned into a complete stuttering mess in front of Cole.

"I-I … ahh … well. If y-you'd like?" Lyn's brown gaze flicked down to the white bundle in the rogue's hands and up to his face a couple of times before her face turned a faint shade of pink.

"Holy shit." Angel whispered, covering her mouth to keep herself from making much noise in her amusement. "I never thought I'd see this."

Eren seemed at a loss for words, not ever seeing any other expression on her face other than 'pissed off' or 'even more pissed off'. It was quite the sight.

First Person

And there I went again, bumbling around like a damned fool. I really did need to get a hold of myself. We sat quietly outside of the stables in the soft grass, the cool breeze fluttering by and cooling off my body. I'd been working pretty hard in the stables, so the cool air was welcomed. The sun seemed to glint off of Cole's blonde hair, his hat sat discarded on the ground right next to him.

"Did I do it right?" I heard him ask and I refocused my attention to him. Cole seemed, for the most part, completely stoic as usual. Aside from the way his hands couldn't seem to keep still as he stared down at his cookie. "When they do things like this – the couples – always worrying, fretting, nerves so overwhelming. My palms are sweaty. What will she think?"

I felt myself snort before I could contain it, getting a frown out of him. I held up my hands, as if to placate him. "No, I mean. Uhh... you don't have to do this just because you see other people doing it, too."

"But I want to. I want to make you happy." Always eager to please, I see. It's rather cute, actually. I allowed my eyes to soften at his statement, he was trying. That's what counted. It must have been hard for him, to suddenly have to deal with this.

"What makes me happy is you. You don't have to act a certain way to do that." My voice came out confident, words tumbling out without a thought. It took a second to process my statement before my face flushed and I looked down at the apple in my hand like it was the most interesting thing in the world. My brown gaze flicked up to his face occasionally, seeing a soft smile slip onto his face.

I felt him place his hand on my head, giving me a gentle pat. I stared up at him curiously through my hair. He had this adorably perplexed expression on his face as he stared down at me.

"I am showing my affection." Cole seemed to be struggling for a second, trying to form the right words. "It's warm, tepid – spreading and growing … ah, here-" He clasped my hand and placed it on his chest. Well, that sufficiently described how I felt right at that moment. Certainly one for words, wasn't he? "I'm sorry, sometimes I don't say it right."

"That's not true. You can say it however you like." It was a part of him I found quite endearing, actually. Though I do admit that sometimes it was a little hard to understand him. But it was just his way of expressing how he felt, how he saw things. It didn't necessarily mean he was doing it wrong. He was just different. I set my half eaten apple in my lap and tucked my hair behind my ear so that I could see him better.

"You understand."

"Most of the time, yes. Just because you do things differently doesn't mean that it's wrong."

"People are afraid of me because of it. 'It's not right, creepy, shouldn't move like that.' But not you … never you." Cole's voice came out softly as he began to fiddle with his uneaten cookie.

"They're simply afraid of what they don't understand. That'll always be there, whether you're human or not." I tried to reason, feeling a frown etch itself onto my face. I really disliked when people were so quick to judge others. Despite the fact that I sometimes did it. I grabbed his hand and held it, "You don't scare me."

"No, I don't." Cole's fingers curled around mine, "Thank you."

It was maybe a couple of days later until Lynn announced that she was ready to take off, effectively pushing us into action. I didn't know how to feel about our new mission, to be honest. It was to be a learning experience and to help develop my fighting skills, because how was I to ever get better if I didn't get out and actually do it? I refused to admit that a big part of the reason was also because I couldn't stand the idea of being separated from Cole – er, my friends. Yes. A month and a half was a long time!

I cinched the last belt on the saddle and stood back to appraise my handiwork. The brown mare flicked her tail, completely calm as I walked up to her and began to pet her soft velvety nose. I smiled softly at the animal, my horse. Skittles. She nipped at my pocket, a silent question for a treat. Laughing lightly, I pulled out my lunch and handed it to her. The horse devoured my apple out of my hand and I turned to look around, seeing everyone checking their supplies and strapping them to their own respective horses. We were just outside of the stables, getting ready for our long journey.

"Came to see you off, dearest sister." I heard Angel's voice from behind me. I turned and saw her standing next to Skittles with a small grin on her face. "They say you might not be back for awhile, thought I'd at least wish you luck."

"Luck. You know how unacquainted our family is with that word." I drawled from my place next to my horse's head. The sun shone off of my sister's hair, making it look almost brown in the light. Angel tilted her head to the side with a grin on her face,

"Yeah, well. Kyle seems to absorb most of the bad luck, so you should be fine." She spoke as she waved it off with one of her hands, referring to our other sibling. He was also an avid gamer, as were most of the people in our family. Even mother, who I'd much rather not think about at the moment. I sighed,

"Suppose you're right."

"Didja name her?"

"No." I replied almost immediately, looking at the horse with a forced frown etched into my face. I saw a pale hand come into view to pet the horse along with me, their hand gently running fingers down the nose of said horse.

"Skittles." I heard Cole mumble and my face crumpled in response. Damn it. I didn't want anyone to know. "She likes you. All of the horses do, even Lynn's hart. Calm, confident and serene – you care for them. You also feed them and that helps."

I couldn't help the short laugh that burst passed my lips as I turned to look at him. Of course, feeding the horses also helps with bonding. Well, the same thing went with most animals really. Even humans. Feed them and become instant friends! Though humans were a little more complex than that. A little. Angel was giggling,

"S-Skittles? You named your horse Skittles?" My sister let out a short cackle at the name, peering up at me through her long waves as she bend forward and held her stomach. Was it really so funny? Though I do admit that it was a little silly to name my horse after a certain fruity snack back home. Skittles were probably the only candy I ever ate, aside from the occasional chocolate.

"You once named your pet tree Jeffrey." Cole pointed out and Angel's expression morphed into shocked horror so fast I was pretty sure she got whiplash. I'd totally forgotten that she even had a pet tree at some point. It had died, of course. It was a sad day when I walked downstairs to see a mourning Angel in front of her withered little tree. Perhaps she should have watered it.

"Is there anything he doesn't know?!" Angel yelled in a high pitched tone. It seemed that since she's arrived at Skyhold, she's been encountering a lot of Cole's antics. The both of them are okay with each other, but I could tell that she was still a bit creeped out by him. I couldn't help but make it worse,

"Ceiling Cole watches you masturbate."

"Noooo no no no, don't do that! I won't be able to do anything without looking over my shoulder, now!" She sounded completely freaked out as she looked between he and I, brown eyes so wide they almost bulged out of her eye sockets.

"I'm sorry." He said softly from his place at my side and I suppressed the urge to grin like a maniac.

"He didn't even deny it!" She shrieked and turned to run away. I watched her scurry up the stone stairs without even a glance back. I coughed into my hand, looking up at Cole with amusement flickering in my eyes.

"Ah, I just love doing that to her." I sighed, feeling content at the fact that I was able to actually make her run off this time. With Cole's help, of course. Torturing my sister was actually quite fun once you got into it. It reminded me of the time she tried to apologize to me for doing something incredibly mean by complimenting me. 'Nice hair', she'd said. 'Nice mustache', I'd replied – still upset at her. Good times.

On our way out of the Frostback Mountains we made our way into Emprise du Lion, which was just a stop on the way there. The horses were left behind at the Inquisition camp as we headed into a tattered looking town. The snow was still falling from the sky as it slowly started to build up on my shoulders, the crisp substance crunching underneath my boots. I sighed, seeing my breath come out in front of me.

Walking out in the snow like that really reminded me of home. Being from Minnesota, we encountered loads and loads of the fluffy stuff. I lifted my hand out as we slowly ambled down a slope and watched some