Title: Challenge Accepted
Game: Dragon Age Inquisition
Characters/Pairings: m!Lavellan/Cassandra, OCs, brief appearance by Vivienne
Disclaimer: World, locations, Cassandra etc belong to BioWare. I'm just borrowing them to give myself an acute case of feels.
"Ow. Ow. OW!"
The increasingly louder cries of pain were followed by a vehement string of elvish that sounded suspiciously like curses, and then by a remonstrative reply also in elvish but higher pitched.
Cassandra bit back a wry grin as she rapped her knuckles against the doorframe. "Permission to enter?"
Tighe looked up at her from where he was perched on the edge of an infirmary cot, shirt halfway off and something just this side of sheepish in his eyes. "Permission granted."
"Though I don't know if y' really want
to," Lira chipped in as the warrior crossed the threshold. "He's bein' a right baby at th' moment."
Tighe wrinkled his nose at his sister's commentary. "It hurts
"Good," she shot back, clearly exasperated. "Maybe next time you'll think twice when this bonehead challenges you to some stupid competition." A dark look at the lanky blond leaning against the wall.
"Do I want to know what happened?" Cassandra interjected before Tighe could retort.
"Hadrel challenged me t' see who could reach th' battlements first," the elven mage answered, still looking not quite sheepish. "Without usin' th' stairs."
"Climin' th' wall," Lira supplied with a nod. "Yes. The idiots are lucky they aren't dead."
"We've gone climbin' before!" Hadrel protested, lilt thick on his voice.
"Mythal'enaste.... In trees
. Or up cliffs
. Nature is easier to climb than mortal-made. As you can see." Lira looked up at Cassandra, huffing hair out of her eyes. "I don't know how you put up with this idiot, I really don't."
The warrior chuckled. As a fellow younger sister, she knew exactly where this tirade was coming from. "Mostly because he's my
Tighe snorted. "I love you, too, princess.
She ignored the salty comment. "So, what is the damage, exactly?"
Lira sighed. "Dislocated shoulder, two cracked ribs, he may've messed up elbow an' wrist, too, but I dunno yet."
"My hand slipped," Tighe supplied defensively before Cassandra could ask. "'Bout halfway up."
"Halfway-" the warrior swallowed an incredulous snort. Even at the lowest, that was a good twenty feet. "How are you not dead?"
"Sorry to disappoint, emm'asha
," he teased, grunting in pain as his sister felt along his arm for other injuries. "There was a roof, 'cause we were... OW
... near the OW!!.
Lira sighed in exasperation and snapped something elvish and impatient before concluding, "That's broken..." as she gently pressed Tighe's left wrist.
He muttered something that sounded a lot
like curses. "What am I supposed to do about it?"
"Well," she began as she stood. "I can fix your shoulder, but if one of your shem mages can do anything about the broken bones... it might be a good idea. Unless your girlfriend wants you to be Lord Inquisitor Sulkypants for the next two months."
Lira, I have responsibilities. I don't have two months
"Hence the suggestion to magically aid the process," she cut him off, raking hair out of her eyes.
"It... might be something to consider," Cassandra chipped in, sitting next to him.
"But Vivienne's the only one good at healin' spells, an' I'll get a lecture an' a half if I go to her."
"What are you, five?" Lira demanded as she finally gave in and pulled her hair back. "Lectures haven't scared you in decades, big brother."
"You don't know Vivienne," Tighe grumbled. "Her disappointed frown is worse than Keeper- Elgar'nanes masa
She snatched her hands back at his yelp of pain. "Emm'abelas
, Tighe, but I hafta get your shoulder back in. Y' can't just walk around with it popped out of joint."
," he repeated his earlier complaint through clenched teeth.
"Take my hand," Cassandra instructed, interlocking her fingers with those of his good hand. "Squeeze when it hurts. And Hadrel, I believe it will go better if you help
, rather than just watch
." The blond elf muttered something under his breath as he pushed away from the wall. Whatever he said earned him a scolding look from Lira, but Cassandra didn't particularly care. She just focused on the task at hand. "One of you steady his arm, and the other pull on and roll his shoulder to try and get it back in joint."
Tighe made a face. "That hurts just listenin' t' you talk about it. Though now I'm curious how you know what t' do."
"It's quite simple," Cassandra replied, giving Lira a subtle nod. "Like many other things, this is something I learn through experience."
"Doin' it, or havin' it done t' you?" he probed, fingers tightening as Lira began pulling on his arm. "Falon'Dines av'ingala
The warrior brushed her thumb over his knuckles. "Both, actually. It is inevitable, with being a Seeker. Either in training or in actual combat, it happened to almost all of us."
A small smile quirked her lips. "There are a few lucky or skilled enough to avoid it. Daniel was one."
Tighe's grip tightened further and he sucked in a hard breath through his nose as Lira was forced to let go and try again. The second attempt was quickly successful, pulling a sharp yelp of pain from him, along with some more elven curses. But he tentatively rolled his shoulder, slumping in relief with barely a wince when it became plain that, at least, was fixed. "Thank the Creators..."
Lira gave him an apologetic smile. "Abelas, isa'ma'lin."
He shrugged with just his good shoulder as he gingerly released Cassandra's hand and stood. "Not like you had much choice, da'mi
. Were you just goin' t' let me suffer?"
She rolled her eyes. "Sil gara
. You would have deserved it."
Cassandra cleared her throat before Tighe could retort. "I think it would be best if you went to see Vivienne now, Inquisitor."
The mage chuckled. "Fine, fine. But I'll need you to hold my hand through the lecture I'm sure t' get."
"Don't worry, I'll protect you," she assured him with a teasing smile.
"B'fore y' go," Lira spoke up. "After seein' your mage, that arm needs t' go in a sling, regardless of how much she can help. T' take some a' the weight off the muscles. Especially with the broken ribs."
"Understood," Cassandra nodded. "I will see to it." Both she and Tighe were quiet for the first couple minutes as they slowly made their way down the hall, until the warrior commented, "She is quite knowledgeable, your sister."
Tighe nodded, pride gleaming in his eyes. "She was trainin' as a healer's apprentice. Almost done, too, b'fore... well..."
The Seeker simply nodded, knowing the destruction of his clan was a wound not yet healed. "It does make me wonder, though, why did you go to her and not one of the Inquisition's mages?"
This smile was
sheepish. "I didn't want you to know. It was a stupid thing t' do, and I'm truly lucky I'm not dead, I know that. But Hadrel's challenges... They're one a' my best memories from my clan, and havin' him here... I don't want t' tell him no."
"It's like having a piece of home come to you," Cassandra ventured, remembering how much it had bothered him that he was changing, drifting further from his roots.
"Exactly," Tighe nodded, swaying slightly and making Cassandra wonder if she'd be better off carrying him. "It's somethin' to assure me that who I am now
isn't so different from who I was then
." He grinned wide enough to bring out his dimples. "You shems've got me speakin' King's Tongue an' wearin' shoes
. It's a bit of a challenge t' stay me
. 'Specially when I'm head over heels for a beautiful holy warrior with stars in her eyes an' steel behind her smile."
"Very poetic," Cassandra allowed, face going pink. "But flattery will get you nowhere. Especially when it is so obviously a figment of your imagination. Most likely brought on by the pain."
"Nope," Tighe insisted, barely catching himself against the wall as his knees wobbled again. "You're my beautiful warrior princess an' there's nothin' you can do about it, emm'asha
She snorted. "Definitely
brought on by the pain. Enough of this." The last was brought on when he stayed where he was, hand braced again the wall, jaw clenched tight. Cassandra scooped the elf up off his feet, one arm under his knees and the other around his back.
He laughed as he wrapped his good arm around behind her neck. "Does this make you my knight in shinin' armor?"
"Only if you are my damsel in distress," Cassandra shot back, nudging open the door to Vivienne's stairs with one elbow.
"Touche," he surrendered, still grinning as Cassandra made her way up the stairs, carrying him as if he weighed nothing. "Though I do seem to have the 'distress' part down."
"You are quite good at getting yourself into distressing situations," the warrior muttered.
Tighe made a silly face at her and pressed a quick kiss to her cheek as they reached the top of the stairs. "Whatever y' say. Just protect me from the big bad healer."
Cassandra chuckled. "Now you do
sound like a damsel in distress." She raised her attention to the dark-skinned mage. "Vivienne, we need your help..."
Vivienne did manage to greatly accelerate the healing process for Tighe's wrist and ribs--all the while lecturing on how he simply could not
do foolish things like this anymore, did he need a reminder of how they needed him
, how many people looked to the Inquisition for hope? They didn't need to see the Herald of Andraste, their leader, suffering injuries after agreeing to a childish and inane challenge.
He just sat and took it, his relief at the lessening pain outweighing the discomfort of the reprimand. When all was said and done, he was down to two weeks of taking it easy. Still not ideal, but better than the two months
Lira had forecasted.
He thanked Vivienne profusely, promised to be more thoughtful in the future, and released his white-knuckled grip on Cassandra hand. "I should prob'ly go find somethin' t' use as a sling for th' sake a' th' muscles. Like Lira suggested."
"A wise idea," Vivienne nodded. "Your sister has a good healer's head on her shoulders. It will also serve as a visible reminder not to push yourself too hard during the healing process."
The elven mage nodded his understanding and started down the stairs. Cassandra stayed right behind him. "Y'know, vhenan
, the danger of me faintin' is past. Much as I appreciate your help you can go your own way now."
"My way lies with your way," she replied stubbornly. "At least until I'm sure you've actually followed your sister's advice."
"It really is very cute the way you worry over me," Tighe chuckled, leaning against the wall. "Not to mention enjoyable."
Cassandra gave the only appropriate response to his teasing--a scoffing snort--and shepherded him along. "Let's take care of that arm."
And take care of it she did. She helped Tighe find something to use as a sling, helped him get it settled in the cradle of fabric, and proceeded to lurk around the rest of the day to help with things he couldn't do with his dominant hand out of commission. And when the muscles cramped in rebellion halfway through the night, hard enough to wake him up and curl him in a ball, Cassandra woke with him, and her strong fingers kneaded and rubbed at his shoulder until the muscles--and Tighe--relaxed enough for him to get to sleep.
It wasn't until the end of the first week, however, that the Seeker made a discovery that--once again--challenged the devil-may-care goofball persona that was what everyone thought was
Tighe Lavellan. It was the sort of thing that didn't click in the moment, indeed it was several hours later before it dawned on her. Fortuitously enough, she was talking to Tighe when it hit her.
"You know, Inquisitor, I made a most... interesting observation earlier, when I went to look in on the horses," she began, linking her fingers with those of his good hand, partly out of affection and partly to prevent escape. "The part of the wall where you took your tumble and hit the roof on the way down, it's right next to a haystack nearly as tall as the stable itself. I'm just curious how in the Maker's name you missed the haystack and hit the roof instead."
Tighe ducked his head and blushed, trying to escape her gaze if he couldn't avoid the question. "I didn't miss," he muttered, so quiet she barely heard.
"What?" An eyebrow quirked.
"I was aimin' for the roof," he admitted, eyes on the ground.
"Why in Andraste's name would you try
for the option that hurt more?" Cassandra demanded, confused and mildly annoyed at his reluctance to answer. Was he trying to force his way into being given a break? Did he think it would just stop his fall and he could jump down?
The elf sighed, unthinkingly raked his bad hand through his hair, noticeably swallowed a curse or two, and finally answered, "Sometimes th' agents' or pilgrims' children'll play in th' haystack. I didn't want t' risk hurtin' anyone."
"Besides yourself," she corrected slowly, once again reminded how many damned layers
there were to this man.
He nodded sheepishly. "B'sides m'self."
"Tighe." Cassandra tipped up his chin so he would meet her eyes. "That's a good reason." She kissed his forehead.
"So y' think I made the right decision, then?" Tighe whispered, smile slowly spreading across his face.
"I do," she whispered back, brushing another kiss against the bridge of his nose.
"Y' don't mind th' extra challenge this poses?" He half'nodded toward his still-splinted wrist. If he thought the Mark complicated things, broken bones were a thousand times more annoying. Cassandra had to help him with a lot
"Not for a second." She hesitated playfully, waiting until the mage pushed up on his toes to press her third and final kiss to his lips. "Challenges tend to be the fun part."
Tighe chuckled, pulling back just enough to murmur, "I can make you regret saying that, vhenan
"I am well aware," Cassandra replied wryly, settling one arm loosely around his shoulders. "But you won't, because then I would make you regret that
He grinned, freed his hand from hers, and cupped it against her cheek as he kissed her again. The look in his eyes when he pulled back was clear. Challenge accepted.
It was going to be a long week.