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The Griffon and the Raven, Chapter 21

Prompt: morning

There was nothing better than waking up after coming back from a long mission to cool sheets, songbirds in the window, and a warm woman in his arms.

Blackwall grinned at the last one. Without opening his eyes, he knew that Ravena was tucked against his side with her head on his shoulder and her hair sliding across his chest. He tightened his arm around her, enjoying the quiet of the day and the blissful feeling of being back with the woman he loved.

The Iron Bull had asked Blackwall if he’d like to accompany some of his Chargers on a scouting mission to pick through the ruins of Haven. The Chargers hadn’t found much worth salvaging, aside from some trinkets that would put a little extra coin into the Inquisition’s treasury. It had been pretty uneventful, actually, or it had been until Rocky had set off some mild explosions to clear the massive blocks of packed-in snow so they could get inside the Chantry. The cabin that Ravena had stayed in had somehow avoided the fires from the attack, and the landslide hadn’t completely destroyed it either. It had taken some time to uncover and sift through several feet of snow, but Blackwall had managed to find a few things worth salvaging, a familiar battered-looking journal among those items. Blackwall had thought that the snow and ice had ruined the pages, but he tucked it into his satchel nonetheless, hoping that maybe Ravena would be able to fix the damage somehow.

He still hadn’t given it to her, namely because she’d all but ambushed him as soon as he returned. She had sent a messenger to meet him at the stables, a note in hand that informed him of the Inquisitor’s whereabouts and the desire to speak to him as soon as possible. The tone of the note had been urgent, so after depositing his gear in the hayloft, he strode straight to her chambers.

Instead of the serious debriefing and update that he had been expecting, he had been greeted by a platter of food, warmed wine, a steaming bath, and a very naked Ravena, who had crooked her finger at him in invitation from the previously mentioned steaming bath.

If this is how I’m to be welcomed back, he had told her, reclining in her arms as they soaked in the tub. Then I should leave with the Chargers more often.

He stared down at her now, the backs of his fingers softly running over her arm. She stirred, her eyes fluttering open.

“Good morning,” he murmured, tipping her head up for a kiss.

Ravena hummed against his lips. “It is indeed,” she answered. Stretching, she draped her leg over his hip, smiling as he used his hand to hitch her knee up higher. “I missed you.”

“I missed you too, my lady.” His lips skimmed across her throat before he nibbled at her collarbone. “You have no idea how much.”

“I didn’t even think to ask last night, but did the trip go well? Was there anything worth recovering?”

Blackwall shook his head. “A few things that happened to be in the Chantry. Another trip to the lower area might be worthwhile, but we didn’t want to risk it with so few people, especially when the entrance to the lower stairwell seemed dicey.”

“That was a smart idea. Did you happen to find…”

“No. The snow and ice were too deep to look for any of the bodies left unaccounted for. We recovered many of the bodies we had to leave behind while coming to Skyhold, but I fear that the mountain has buried the rest for good.” He smoothed over the sad frown on her lips with a finger. “I know you were hoping to find everyone. I’m sorry.”

“No, thank you. You and the Chargers went out and brought back who you could. I appreciate your work.”

Blackwall leaned in and briefly kissed her. “I did manage to find something of yours.” He smiled when she visibly brightened. “That journal you always wrote in when we were out in the field.”

She propped herself up on her elbow. “You actually found it? I thought it would be lost forever!”

“It’s pretty damaged, but if there’s anything worth recovering, I’m positive you’ll be able to restore it.” He made a move to roll out of bed, intent on dressing so he could head back to the stables and retrieve her book, but she threw her arms around his shoulders.

“Just where do you think you’re going?” she asked, rolling with him so she was partially perched atop of him.

“Well, I was going to collect your journal, but I guess that could wait.” He ran his hands down her back and grinned. “It’s not every day I have a woman pinning me to the bed.” His smile widened when Ravena’s hands began to wander, fingers tracing over his ribs and then lower towards the line of muscle at his hip. Somewhat self-conscious, he attempted to suck in the beginnings of a belly that no amount of exercise could dispel, but his breath stuttered out on a groan when she pressed her lips to his shoulder and gave him a playful nip.

“Do you have anything planned for the day?” she asked, her hands moving upwards and into his hair, her fingers massaging his scalp.

“Training. Cullen wanted to run some more advanced drills with the newer recruits now that he’s confident in some of their abilities.” He grabbed hold of her hips and sharply turned to the side, spilling her across the mattress. “I suspect he’s wanting to get in a second pair of hands before we leave for Crestwood. How’s Cassandra, by the way?”

“Livid. She still refuses to speak to Varric without mentioning how deceitful he is at least twice in a single conversation. Varric’s taking it all in stride, but I think that’s only because he’s looking forward to working with Hawke again.” While The Tale of the Champion had described his and Hawke’s friendship, it was something different to see the two of them in the same room together. Varric’s normal personality seemed to become amplified; his smiles a little bigger, his jokes coming out a little easier. Hawke seemed to be the same: where the woman had been polite yet deathly serious on the ramparts, it seemed as if a rather heavy load had been taken off her back just by being in Varric’s company, her cares she had burdened herself slowly easing off her shoulders, even if only for a little while.

“Is Varric truly being that tolerable?”

“Well, he started in with his own sniping a day after Hawke left to get a head start to meet her Warden contact. I suspect that we’ll have a fun-filled trip ahead of us trying to keep the both of them from drawing blood. I’ll handle Varric if you’ll watch Cassandra.”

He snorted. “Deal.”

Her finger swiped idly across his chest. “What about you? Have you had any dealings with Warden Stroud before? From the way Hawke described him, it sounded as if he’s been in the Order for quite some time.” She smiled and snuggled closer to him. “Will I be regaled with tales of brotherhood once we meet him, any embarrassing stories I can bring up later?”

Blackwall stilled under her hands. “Probably not. The name sounds familiar, but I never met him personally. I work alone, remember?”

“That’s too bad. It seems as if you’ve heard most of my best stories from the road, and yet I haven’t had a chance to hear many of yours.” She leaned up on her elbow again and smoothed away the frown lines that had appeared on his brow. “But I understand. You’re a private man; you’ll tell me whenever you’re ready and not a moment sooner.”

“Thank you for understanding.”

“It’s one of the many things you love about me.”

He laughed. “As well as your humility. And what of yourself, my lady? What has you occupied today?”

“Crestwood. I know that you’ve only returned last night, but I fear that we’re going to have to head out first thing tomorrow. Our scouts are sending back disturbing tales of the undead rising from the local lake, and while I hate to push anything so serious to the side, meeting with Stroud is of utmost importance. Once I have more facts, then we can work on a better list of priorities.” Ravena had read and re-read the reports, just to make certain that she wasn’t missing anything. By all accounts, the undead sightings were few and far between, and the town of Crestwood wasn’t in any imminent danger. If it had been anything else, she would have dropped everything and headed over days ago. The idea still stood, should she see for herself that the town was unsafe.

“We’ll look into everything once we can see the situation for ourselves,” Blackwall said, echoing her thoughts. “When do you meet with your council?”

“After lunch. Before then, I need to talk with the quartermaster to go over supply requests, answer letters with Josephine, and see to this Dagna person we’ve hired. She sounds interesting; I wanted to give her some time to settle in, but I really do need to speak with Harritt about upgrading my blades. If he has anything better, I’d like to take something out on the field with us for testing.”

“It sounds as if you have a busy day ahead of you.” He tipped her backwards so she was flat against the pillows and loomed over her. “Yet I can’t help but wonder if you’re too busy to add one more thing to your list.”

“Oh? And what would that be?”

“To spend a morning fooling around with your favorite person in your inner circle.”

Ravena laughed. “Love, you know I adore Dorian, but I don’t think he’s attracted to me in that manner. Besides, did you know that we’re distantly related? It’d be like kissing a cousin, or worse, a brother.”

Blackwall rolled his eyes. “You know what I meant,” he said, kissing her cheek, her chin, any bit of skin he could reach.

“Yes, but I do enjoy that long-suffering look you give me. Yes, that one, right there. It’s adorable.” Her laughter stilled and turned into a breathy moan when Blackwall pinned her to the bed by his hips.

“Shut it and kiss me,” he murmured, his mouth brushing hers as he framed her face with his hands and tangled his fingers into her hair.

So she did.

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