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The Griffon and the Raven, Chapter 18

Prompt: smirk

“You’re humming.”

Ravena looked up from where she had been hunched over for the past hour. “Hmm?”

Dorian flicked dust off his robes and sat as regally as he could on the rickety stool she had brought down to the hidden library for him. “You. Are. Humming. Now I know that all this work gets you in this sort of cat basking in the sun after a good belly rub happy mood, but this goes beyond that.” He gave her a critical look. Then his eyes widened. “You’ve slept with someone.”

Ravena’s mouth gaped open like a fish. “Dorian!” she said, a blush coloring her cheeks and spreading down her throat.

He smirked. “And that was pretty damning evidence right there.”

Gathering up her dignity, she sat up straighter, her back protesting the move. “And what if I have?” she asked, her eyebrow arched. “I don’t see how it would affect you in the slightest.”

“On the contrary, my dear. Your moods affect me in great detail. If you’re happy, I’m happy. If you’re cross, I usually bear the brunt of your ire.” He rested his elbows on his knees and his chin on his fists. “Well, who was the lucky chap?”

She rolled her eyes and went back to her work. “I thought you were supposed to be translating those titles for me,” she said, pointing with her dusting brush at the bookshelf she had deposited Dorian in front of.

“Well, it’s drafty and my back hurts. There are also furry little abominations scurrying about behind the bookshelves over here that you won’t let me set on fire because you’re worried about your precious books going up with them.” He sniffed. “Shows how much you care for your friends, putting them to such slave labor.”

“I hardly think translating a handful of titles counts as slavery. If it displeases you so, you’re more than free to head back up to your safe, spider-free corner in the library.”

Dorian glared at the books before settling back down on the stool. “I’ve read them all. Really, Ravena, you need to expand your collection of Tevinter manuscripts post haste. There’s nothing but a grand collection of Chantry nonsense up there.” There was a pause. “It was Blackwall, wasn’t it?”


“And was he good?”

She grinned. “Maker, yes.”

Dorian rubbed his hands together gleefully. “Now we’re getting somewhere! Details, if you would.”

Ravena primly folded her hands in her lap. “A lady never kisses and tells.”

“Since when are you a lady?” He stood up and went to her. “Please? I’m living vicariously through you, you know.” After Dorian mentioned that their families were related, no matter how distant, they had gotten close. Since their trip back to the inn in Redcliffe and the conversation Dorian had with his father, the two of them had gotten even closer.

“I’d love to, but I don’t know what Blackwall would want me to say. You know how private a man he is.”

“I know, I know. I was merely hoping to be able to celebrate a bit of happiness with you.” He leaned against the newly cleaned desk and stared down at her expectantly.

She sighed. If she didn’t tell him something, she knew he’d continue to pester until he got his way. “Four times last night,” she settled on.

His grin grew wider. “Four orgasms in one evening, color me impressed.”

“No, I lost count of those,” she said, smirking smugly. “We had sex four times in one evening. He made me feel glorious and let’s leave it at that.” She cleared her throat. “Now that your curiosity has been slaked for the time being, could we please return to work?”

Dorian whistled appreciatively through his teeth. “Huzzah for Warden stamina,” he said. Then he pulled out a piece of paper and held it in front of her face. “Your list, your Worship.”

“You had it all this time?” she asked, taking it from his fingers.

“But of course. I’ve only been waiting for the opportune moment to ask you about that charming love bite your collar keeps on exposing.” He had to laugh at the way she quickly pulled the loose collar of her work shirt upwards. Bending down, he pressed a kiss to the crown of her head, sputtering when he realized her hair was covered in a fine film of dust. “And now I’m going to head back upstairs and change. I fear I’m as filthy as you look.”

“It’s just dust, Dorian. It’ll wash out.”

“These are silks, darling.”

“Which is why I distinctly remember telling you to dress in something else.” She waved him off as she skimmed through his list, her spine straightening as she recognized one of the titles from a previous paper she had worked on several years ago. “We have this in our possession?” she asked, her voice going up in pitch. Rushing to the bookshelf, she carefully pulled the book from its spot, her gloved fingers trembling as she carefully opened the cover and began to read.

“It’s in Tevene.”

“I know.” She groaned and closed the book, sliding it back in its place. “That settles it. You’re just going to have to teach me how to read. If I’m correct in my theory, this book might hold the key to settling a debate I’ve had with a rather pompous cleric. I would dearly love to see his face if I could prove him wrong.” Going back to her section, she resumed clearing out the dust and cobwebs. Dorian watched for a while, grinning as it became clear Ravena had forgotten his presence as she began to mutter dates and places to herself while writing in a notebook she had brought down with her.

She didn’t even notice him leave.

It was much later when Ravena looked up at the noise of someone clearing their throat behind her. “Dorian, I told you, if you’re bored just leave. I’ll pester you with translations once everything is cleaned and properly catalogued from the comfort of your easy chair.”

“A pity I’m not Dorian, then.” Ravena spun around at the sound of Blackwall’s voice, her lips splitting into a radiant smile.

“Hello, you,” she said, standing up. Her hands went to the small of her back and she stretched, groaning as muscles protested. “Where did Dorian go?”

“He left hours ago.”

Her brow furrowed in confusion. “That can’t be right. I’ve only been here…” her eyes went to the candle she had placed on the desk, the wax melted down considerably more than she remembered it being the last time she looked. “Okay, so there’s a distinct possibility that I got sucked into my work and I lost track of the time.” Her stomach growled loudly and she wrapped her arms around her middle.

“And you lost track of when to eat,” he agreed, laughing. “You weren’t kidding about missing meals. Come on, I’ve saved you a plate.” He wrapped his arms around her waist and tugged her up for a kiss, his teeth nibbling at her bottom lip. His hands slid down her arms until he could twine his fingers with hers.

“What have you been up to?” she asked, squeezing his hands before withdrawing to begin blowing out candles. She was satisfied with her initial progress: the spider webs and dripping piles of candle wax had been cleared and she had catalogued all the titles along one of the long bookshelves.

“Repairs,” he replied, blowing out the rest of the candles at the opposite side of the room. “The lower bailey is working well for a temporary shelter for many of the people, but there are some other buildings that would do better. The stonemasons say that the walls are solid, but the carpenters have their work cut out for them.”

Ravena frowned. “I should be out there helping instead of…”

He cut her off by placing a finger on her lips. “You’re right where you’re needed,” he reassured her. “Things are going to become even more burdensome sooner than we’d like; you need to take your mind off of matters for an afternoon or two here and there to decompress. Let the rest of us do the heavy lifting for you.” Blackwall led her out and back up to the kitchens. They both greeted the staff before Blackwall snagged a small satchel for her.

“It isn’t much,” he started swinging the canvas bag for emphasis, “but word has gone out and we’re starting to receive shipments of fresh produce, thanks to the contact you made in Val Royeaux. We’re starting to organize troops to scout out the local area; there are a few lads who are handy with snares and bows that are going out to hunt for game.” The two of them made their way towards the newly refurbished stables, Blackwall taking her hand and leading her up to the hayloft.

She looked around, noticing that he had laid out a pallet and bedding underneath the window. “Is this yours?” she asked.

He nodded. “It’s secluded, yet close enough to the barracks for early morning training. Cullen and I have been talking and he’d like for me to continue helping him since he knows I have military experience. I’m more than happy to lend a hand.” He sat at the edge of his bed and pat the straw next to him. “I’ll admit that it isn’t as comfortable as your mattress, nor is it as fancy, but it has a certain appeal.”

Ravena hummed her agreement. “Well, it has you in it,” she agreed. “That’s welcoming enough in itself.”

Blackwall laughed. “Charmer.”

“I try.” She sat next to him and leaned into his embrace. This was her favorite part of a new relationship: the flirting, the getting accustomed to how the other liked to be held. She yawned and tucked her face against the crook of his neck. “We’ll be receiving guests shortly. Varric managed to pin down this mystery contact of his and he said he received a return message from them saying that they were less than a week’s hard ride away.”

“Do you know who this person is?”

“No, but Varric said that they had some experience with Corypheus. I’m open to any help we can get when it comes to him.” She shivered, still remembering the way his hand had felt around her throat, how helpless she had felt dangling above the ground. As if he sensed her distress, Blackwall pulled her closer to him.

“I’m sure they’ll be able to help us.”

“I hope so. You don’t think…no, that would be silly.”


She pulled away slightly so she could look him in the eye. “You don’t think that Varric’s contact might be the Champion of Kirkwall, do you?”

Blackwall shrugged. “Will there be a problem if it is?”

“Only that Cassandra will kill him. She’s been seeking for Hawke for how long now? To have her stroll up to the front gate and offer her help would surely rankle.”

“You don’t think that Varric is withholding information from us?”

“No. Do you?”

“No. Varric is a loyal man; if anything, he hasn’t mentioned Hawke because she’s one of his dearest friends. I’m sure that it hasn’t even crossed his mind that she could be of some help to us, especially since we already have you. Besides, as I said, she’s a friend. With everything that the two of them went through, Varric more than likely thinks that she’s been through enough.”

Ravena looked down at her left hand. “Try telling that to Cassandra. Her temper is on a short fuse on a good day. Dropping a bombshell like this in her lap is bound to cause trouble.” She respected the Seeker, both on a professional and a personal basis. Ravena had gotten Cassandra to open up a little before the attack on Haven, but she was still worried about the fallout if Hawke ever did show up in Skyhold based on the barely disguised tension that seemed to string itself between her and Varric whenever the topic of the Champion came up.

“Lady Cassandra’s temper may be short, but she is quick to calm down,” Blackwall assured her. “She’s a reasonable woman, and besides, we don’t know if this contact is even Hawke.” He tipped her chin up and kissed her. “Let’s not worry about tomorrow tonight.”

She sighed. “All right.” She looked at her dust covered trousers. “Maker’s breath, I’m filthy.”

“We’ll just have to do something about that, now won’t we?” His grin widened when his hands drew her tunic out of the waistband of her pants and up over her head. “Ah ha! I seem to have found the solution to your problem!” His mouth traced the slope of her neck down to the curve of her shoulder.

Ravena laughed, her hands tugging at his shirt. “I’m afraid that I might have gotten you dirty as well, Ser,” she murmured. “We’ll have to fix that as well.” Dinner forgotten, she let him lower her against the bedding, her legs tangling with his.

“Perish the thought.”

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