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The Griffon and the Raven, Chapter 25

Prompt: Safe
Note: I've been looking at this and I think if I hadn't used this for the prompt, I probably would have made 24 and 25 one long chapter since they happen so soon after the other.


Ravena looked through the crowd of people gathered in front of her. Wardens and Inquisition soldiers were standing there in awe, but the faces she truly wanted to see weren’t there.

“Come on,” she said, draping Hawke’s arm over her shoulder and wrapping her own arm securely around the other woman’s waist. “Let’s get you to a healer.”

Hawke shook her head, even as she leaned heavily against Ravena’s side. “Varric first.”

Varric held his arm close to his chest and coughed, causing an alarming bit of blood to spatter his lips. “Nah, this is nothing. Come on Hawke, we’ll share a healer and talk their ear about how much worse we’ve had it before.”

After checking with Solas to see if he had any injury and being waved off by the mage, the three of them limped their way over to where a makeshift aid station had been set up. Ravena had just finished getting them settled when she felt hands slapping at her back.

Shitey arse-biscuit!” Ravena turned around to find Sera glaring at her, face red and eyes watery. “I told you not to do something stupid, but did you listen?” Sera slapped at her arm again.

“Where’s Blackwall?” she asked, dodging her friend’s hands and looking over her shoulder. “Is he hurt? Are you hurt?”

“You went and fell ass over teakettle into the Fade and you’re asking about us?” Dorian demanded, moving Sera aside and grabbing hold of Ravena’s shoulders. His hand shot up and tipped her face towards him, his eyebrows furrowed as he looked her over for injuries. “I’m fine, by the way. Thank you for asking.”

She rolled her eyes at him. “You didn’t give me a chance.” She put her hands on his shoulders. “I’m okay, I’m not hurt.”

He looked at her critically. “You’re covered in blood and demon guts and who knows what else. You’re filthy and disgusting.” Dorian’s mouth quirked into a grin as he embraced her. “But you’re alive, which is all that matters. Give me a moment to work myself up into a fit worthy of your recent brush with death.”

Ravena moved so she could include Sera in on the hug. “Everything’s okay,” she said. “No need to cry over me.”

Sera sniffed. “I ain’t cryin’,” she argued, her arms hugging Ravena almost painfully tight. “Just got some dirt in my eye.”

Ravena was going to reply, but then she heard a commotion several feet in front of them. She stepped away from Dorian and Sera as Blackwall made his way through the crowd, his eyes fixed on her. Her heart flew into her throat at the sight of blood streaking down an ugly gash on his forehead and matting the side of his beard. He was limping, armor stained nearly black with gore, and hair slicked to his head with sweat, but Ravena thought he was the most beautiful person she’d ever seen in her life.

“You’re hurt,” she said, eyes welling up as she reached out to him. He didn’t reply, he merely grabbed her and pressed his mouth to hers in a messy, relieved kiss.

“You’re safe,” he breathed, feathering kisses along her cheeks and eyelids. His arms trembled as he crushed her to him. “You came back.”

She sobbed against his neck, body aching and something in her chest unraveling with relief at being in his arms again. “I promised you I would, didn’t I?” She pulled back only far enough to trace his face with her fingers. “One pathetic archdemon isn’t enough to keep me away from you.”

He barked out a serrated laugh, his forehead resting against hers. “Solas told me where you were,” he said, taking her hands and leading her into an unoccupied tent. “But the others? How are they?”

She stepped inside, her fingers quickly undoing buckles and setting aside plate armor. “Hawke and Varric are with the healers. Hawke lost a lot of blood and Varric had some internal injuries, but they’ll both pull through.” She unlaced his gambeson and peeled him out of it and the thin layer of padding he wore underneath. “Stroud…” she bit her lip and looked away.

He cupped her cheek in his ungloved hand. “I understand.”

“We were up against a demon that fed off our fears. I could never hear what it said to anyone else, but it whispered things into our ears, made us see things that would break our spirits.” Three of her companions had been unreadable, but Hawke had railed out into the darkness, anger burning brightly through whatever fear had gripped her. “We were almost to the rift when the demon confronted us all. It was huge; there was no way that we all could have taken it on and lived.”

Blackwall wordlessly undid the familiar clasps and buckles to her armor, setting each piece next to his own. “What happened?”

“Stroud saw it before us all. Someone had to stay and distract the demon so the rest of us could escape. Hawke tried to stay behind, but he wouldn’t have it. He…he…” Ravena swallowed hard, her brow furrowing.

Blackwall held her, his arms a comforting weight that anchored her. “He was a good man,” he said. “I might not have known him long, but he was honorable and someone I looked up to.”

“I’m so sorry, Thom,” she said, breaking away and looking about the tent until she found a canteen of water and some rags. Wetting one of them, she gently began to clean the blood on the side of his face. “You’ve lost so much today.”

“And we would have lost more, had you not stopped the demon.” He held onto her wrist and looked her in the eye. “I would have lost everything if you hadn’t come back.” He softly hissed when she applied a thick layer of healing paste to his cut, her fingers seeking out any other injuries hidden from her view. He did the same to her; hands tracing the now familiar landscape of her body, eyes seeking any sign of discomfort. They eventually made it down to the bedroll someone had set out, both of them shaking as exhaustion took its toll.

“Forgive me,” Ravena whispered against his mouth, turning her head away to let out a yawn. “I want…”

He hushed her with a kiss. “Just holding you is enough.” He buried his face in her hair, his hand lazily making a path from her ribcage down to her hip and back, overjoyed at the rise and fall of her chest against his. “What did you see, in the Fade?” he asked after a long while.

Ravena was silent and Blackwall thought she had fallen asleep, but she spoke up. “Failure,” she finally said, her hand splaying against his back. “The demon showed me a world where the Inquisition was taken away from me and there was nothing I could do to stop things from happening.”

He held her closer. “That won’t happen,” he vowed. “You have us at your side, no matter what.”

“It was Redcliffe all over again,” she confessed. “You were just…gone.”

Blackwall pulled back and tipped her chin up so she could look at him. “I’ll never leave your side again. Whenever you go out, I’ll be with you. Promise me, Ravena.”

“I promise.” She gave him a wry smile. “Though I think you might regret that. You’ll eventually tire of me.” Her tone was teasing, but her eyes were uncertain.

Never.”

Her lips trembled and she tucked her face against his throat so he wouldn’t see her expression. “I love you,” she breathed.

“And I you.” The two of them held on to the other. Outside their tent, order was slowly emerging from chaos, but for that moment in time, none of it mattered. All that mattered was the reassuring sound of the other’s heart and the steady rhythm of their breath as they eventually fell asleep.

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