FILL: Morrigan/Warden - imperial court

Date: 2015-09-13 06:42 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Went for a long distance relationship/reunion kind of thing. Hope this works for you!

---

"The Crux of Things"


The ballroom was crowded with feathers, silks, bejeweled masks, hats piled high with flowers. Somewhere beneath elaborate contraptions of white chiffon and golden ribbons -- the colors of the summer -- were a hundred fluttering courtiers whose primary function seemed to be propelling their outfits across the marble floor. Bright, thin music echoed beneath the chatter.

From his place on the balcony, tucked between a spiralling marble pillar and a pair of women who seemed to be either flirting or preparing to duel, Amell surveyed the gilded chaos and spotted her immediately. A dark, tight-laced dress, and no flowers for her hair; the only person in the court not wearing a mask. Her strictly schooled expression was mask enough.

She shone like moonlight on still water. Even after all these years of reunions and departures, their dance across nations, his breath caught at first sight of her.

Though she didn’t look up from her conversation, Amell knew Morrigan had seen him too. Likely she’d known his exact whereabouts since the very moment he set foot on the premises. The Orlesian court was shockingly simple to infiltrate during a ball -- with everyone already in masks, disguises were easy and unremarkable. Amell had cringed as he spent Warden money on a close-fitting vest with elaborate white-on-white embroidery, a silk undershirt with falls of lace trailing from the sleeves, tanned deerskin boots that looked golden in sunlight. He'd given enough to the order, he knew, he could spend its coin on a chance to see his love. But the white finery was perhaps the least practical outfit he'd ever owned.

The mask, though -- white, of course, trimmed with doves' feathers -- the mask he liked. He hadn't been so anonymous in years.

Mask or no, Morrigan knew he was there. Amell left his post on the balcony and wound his way through the crowd until he could slip unnoticed through a side door. He was no rogue, but he'd picked up a trick or two from Leliana and Zevran during their travels. He found himself in a dark, unattended hallway, with an open door a few paces down. He continued, stepping carefully, through to a small library. Poorly lit from sconces, without windows, and with more settees and armchairs than shelves, the room was clearly better suited to private rendezvous than actually reading.

He undid the top button at his throat. "Fucking Orlesians," he muttered.

The door clicked shut behind him. "Now, now, no need for rudeness."

"Morrigan." It was more than a name on his lips; it was supplication. A curse and a prayer.

He turned in time to catch her smirk, or grimace, he could never quite tell. It was a pained expression, and he wondered if she wore it often or only when he trespassed again into her life. Then she softened into a smile, and he saw the reflection of late nights by the campfire, the young woman who'd called him her first and only friend.

“Can I see him?” he asked, as he always asked.

She'd acquiesced, a few times, introduced young Kieran to Mother's old friend, Uncle Amell, but more often these years the answer was as today: "No. Not now."

And he'd long since made his peace with that. The boy was his blood, but not his son. Amell leaned back against a nearly bare bookshelf. "How is he?"

"He's well," answered Morrigan. Up close, she had more color in her cheeks than the last time he’d seen her, and he didn’t think it was powder. Court life must suit her. She couldn’t possibly fit in, but she’d never let that stop her from finding a place for herself. There was a touch of silver at her temples.

"And how are you?"

"I'm well, of course. Why the secrecy, love?" She gestured to his mask, his ridiculous silks. The chamber of dusty velvet and dustier books he’d ensconced himself in. "Usually I'm the one skulking in shadows."

Love. He relaxed, as much as he could in the restrictive garments. She’d grown up alone in a swamp; he’d grown up encircled in walls, packed in tight along with everyone who’d ever truly cared for him. Somedays he still feared that farflung friendships weren’t friendships after all.

But if he was Morrigan’s first friend, she was the hand on his leash. He trusted her not to let go, no matter how far apart they stretched.

Which was why she was on the very short list of people he needed to tell, "I've gone missing. I don't think Weisshaupt's realized yet, or if they have they haven't made it known, but I'm working on something."

"You never did like being locked away, by walls or duty."

Perhaps it wasn't meant as a rebuke, but it stung. "This is duty. It's for all of them, for all of us. I can't get anyone else involved, the forces at work are too strange and secretive for a larger party to tackle. But I'm going to stop the Calling."

A flash of something -- sorrow -- bright in her golden eyes. “I hadn’t -- I hadn’t thought that possible,” she said, her voice low. “I’ve thought of it. But it’s outside the depths of even my knowing. And I have so much else--”

“Hey.” He stepped closer and reached out to touch the back of her hand. Only a light caress, though he longed to hold her tight. Today, and the next day. Ten years from now. Twenty. He wanted to spend a lifetime breathless in her arms. “It’s Warden business. It’s my business.”

"If you need me, you have only to send word,” she swore, and he thought she meant it, though she had to know he wouldn’t. She was playing a long game all her own, and he would never call her from it. She drew her hand away, adjusted the chains of gold around her neck. “It seems we’re each drawn once again to the crux of things. Do we follow the storm, or does the storm itself give chase to us?”

"Yes," said Amell, and the laugh he earned from her would keep him warm for the next month at least. "Anyway. I just wanted you to know what was happening.”

“Is that all? A letter couldn’t have sufficed?”

“Well. Not quite all.” He slipped a hand down to her waist, pulled her close. She scowled, but when he bent to kiss her he felt her lips soften beneath his. Almost a smile before she melted into him. She tasted of red wine and a spark of something darker. After a year of seeing her shadow in every corner, hearing the echo of wry laughter in every crackling fire, her touch was overwhelming. Amell was dizzy with the warmth of her, with the inexorable pulse beneath his fingers. With the distant hum of her magic; entropy, the quiet sister of creation. They were two sides of the same coin and he wanted, needed, all of her. As much as she would give.

She reached behind his head, fumbled at the strings, and gently pulled his mask away.
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