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The Griffon and the Raven, Chapter 49

Prompt: balcony

The Great Hall was filled with the sounds of music and laugher, of the crackle of fire and the smell of good food. Raoul had even managed to distract Josephine into having as much fun as everyone else was, the two of them sitting close to the other and looking devotedly into the other’s eyes. Yet even surrounded by friends she had come to love as dearly as family, Ravena felt the need for quiet and solitude. She milled about, making sure to spend time with each of her companions, before slowly making her way to the doorway leading up to her chambers.

“My lady Inquisitor. Leaving your own celebration so soon?”

She turned at the sound of Blackwall’s voice. “I’m not one for big parties.”

“I remember. You said the same when we closed the Breach.”

She laughed. “You have a habit of remembering everything I say, don’t you?”

He grinned. “It’s a habit I hope never to break. Who knows when I might need to use your words to my advantage, to remind you who promised they’d stop leaving their socks in the middle of the bedroom, or other such important discussions?” He moved in, his hand pressing against the door at her back and leaning towards her until their chests brushed. “I know you might not be a fan of large parties, but what of a smaller, more intimate gathering?”

She slid her hand up his chest. “Oh, I think parties of that sort are my favorite ones to attend.” Her free hand blindly searched for the door handle. Blackwall pushed against the door and then allowed Ravena to lead him up to her rooms.

They made love slowly, hands long-since memorizing familiar planes and angles. Clothing was shed at almost a leisurely pace, laces and buckles as familiar to the other as their own garments. Fingertips and lips pressed against scars, each telling a story of endurance and survival. Breaths mingled and stuttered as they came together, their bodies joining as neatly as two pieces of dovetailed wood. Names rang out in sighed exhalations as hands clasped together. The passion that they both had for one another was still there, but now that it seemed as if they finally had a chance to breathe, if felt different. This quiet, tender display of affection was just as warm, but more like a carefully banked fire instead of an out of control conflagration.

Blackwall rolled to his side, his arms automatically gathering Ravena close to his chest. “It’s hard to believe that it’s over,” he said, nuzzling her cheek.

She raised an eyebrow. “Oh? I seem to recall us being able to go a few more times before calling it over,” she teased, resting her leg on top of his hip and wiggling her toes against the back of his thigh.

He huffed a laugh against her hair. “Minx. You know what I meant.”

Ravena curled up closer to him. “I know what you meant.” She was quiet for a while. “It almost seems too good to be true.”

“We’ve been through a lot. We should take what happiness we can find as a blessing.”

“You’re right. And we have been through a lot, but it’s all been worth it in the end.” She kissed him, sweet and slow. “There’s no one else I’d rather have at my side than you.”

“I feel the same way.” He ran his hand over her back. “So, it’s later.”

She smiled. “Yes, it is.”

“And we promised to speak of our After. What will you do now?”

After leaving a kiss on his shoulder, Ravena propped herself up on an elbow. “Oh, I don’t know. Certainly there must be some lose ends that need to be tied up, but after? Perhaps I’ll quit the Chantry research work and go completely freelance. Or I could finally work on that paper I’ve been meaning to write.” She looked at him, her finger tracing idle patterns through the hair at his chest. “Either way, I’m going to need a partner.”

“And where do you think you’ll find someone like that?”

She smiled. “I think I might have someone in mind.” Stretching, she walked her fingertips across his bicep. “And you? Do you have any plans, now that this is over?”

He made a great show of thinking about his options. “Well, I did hear that a freelance researcher might be in need of a bodyguard while she’s out in the field. She’ll more than likely need someone to make sure she doesn’t fall asleep on her work and nag her to eat regular meals too.”

“Is that so? And if it doesn’t work out?”

Blackwall shrugged. “Oh, I don’t know. A house? A dog? Do you think that Mark of yours could cook eggs?” He played with her hair, letting it slide between his fingers. “Or we could just continue as we are, no eggs necessary.”

She laughed. “Good, because the only ways I know how to cook eggs is scrambled and hard-boiled.” Her fingers stopped wandering and she grew thoughtful. “Do you mean it?”

“What part?”

“The house and the dog part.”

He cupped her cheek in his hand. “It would be nice to have something to call our own that isn’t as grand as Skyhold, but ultimately I don’t care what happens, so long as we’re together.”

Ravena smiled. “Careful, talk like that sounds far too much like a marriage proposal.” She thought he’d join her in finding humor in his words, but he stared back at her with a dead serious look on his face. “That was a proposal,” she breathed, her heart beating fast.

“Was it?” His tone gave him room to maneuver the conversation into several different directions, depending on her reaction.

“I don’t know, was it?” She pressed her hands on his chest and pushed until he was on his back. Moving over him and slinging a leg across his hips so she could sit astride him, she stared down. “Thom Rainier, did you just propose to me?”

He smiled up at her, his hands warm on her waist. “Well, it wasn’t quite the wording I would have picked, but…”

“What wording would you have picked?” She waited, breathless. She thumped him on the chest. “Well?”

“I would have said something on the lines of how you are the love of my life, my motivation for becoming a better man. Then I would have said something like Ravena Celeste Trevelyan, would you…”

Yes!”

His smile widened until his face hurt. Laughing, he slid his hands down to cup her behind. “You’re not even going to let me finish, are you?”

“Sorry, sorry.” She sat back up as regally as she could and nodded. “Please, continue.”

“Ravena Celeste Trevelyan, would you share your life with me, would you grant me the honor of calling you my…”

Yes!” She had to laugh at his raised eyebrow and irritated huff that was ruined by his brilliant smile. “It’s a beautiful start, but I don’t think I’m going to be able to let you finish it.”

“Then I’ll have to go a simpler route.” He reached out and gathered her hands in his. “Will you marry me, my lady?”

She leaned down and pressed her lips to his. “Yes,” she breathed. She kissed him again. “Yes. Maker, how I love you.”

“I love you too,” he replied, heart swelling so much with all the emotions he had for this woman that he feared it would burst.

“You do realize that we’re going to have to make up a story on just how you proposed,” she said, laughing when he tipped her back onto the mattress. “Cassandra will love this version, but do you really want they were in bed naked when he asked her to spend the rest of her life with him to show up in the official biography Varric’s been working on?”

“Then I’m just going to have to ask again once we’ve decided to get dressed. How does a sunrise proposal out on your balcony sound?”

Our balcony,” she corrected. “And it sounds marvelous. Just for the record, I’m going to say yes when you ask.”

“That does take a lot of worry out of it,” he teased. He wove their fingers together and pressed their joined hands above Ravena’s head.

“A hound,” she mused.

He looked up from where he had been nibbling at the line of her throat. “Hm?”

“The dog.”

“What, no tiny, yappy dog to put in your purse?”

“If that’s the kind you really want, then I think I can tolerate all the barking.”

“No, I think a larger hound would do fine. They’re noble creatures. We can teach it to shake hands.”

“And Sera will probably teach it to pee on people’s things on command.”

“And Dorian will teach it to fetch new bottles of wine from the cellar.” He kissed her, murmuring his approval when she wound her legs about his hips.

“At least we can boast on having a talented pet. And I do already have the house in Tantervale, but if you don’t like it, we can always give it to Henri and then look for something for ourselves.”

“Tantervale has always been one of my favorite places in the Free Marches,” he told her. He’d never dared to hope to speak of the future, to let those little seeds of someday and daydreams of their lives after Corypheus sprout and take root. Now that someday had suddenly become today, he couldn’t help but be excited and terrified at the same time.

Ravena seemed to pick up on his feelings. “Whatever happens, we’ll see it through,” she gave his hands a reassuring squeeze. “Together.”

“Together,” he repeated. Bending his head, he kissed her to seal their pact. “Always.”

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