Chapter 3: Few Against the Wind
Maker, though I am but one, I have called in your name.
And those who come to serve will know your glory.
I remembered for them.
They will see what can be gained,
And though we are few against the wind, we are yours.
"She did what?"
Elisabeth grinned when the question joined the cacophony of others as her dearest friends nearly tripped over their tongues in shock.
"She asked me to marry her. I said yes, by the by."
"What, like it's so weird?" Sera added casually, dropping herself into Elisabeth's lap with a smacking kiss on her cheek. "Been together for ages. 'Bout time I made an honest woman out of her."
"That statement is the opposite of so many things I hardly know where to begin," Dorian said in a daze, staring at the pair of them like they'd each grown a new head. "I just…when are you even going to...?" Elisabeth looked up at Sera and smiled.
"Tomorrow work for you?"
"You're on, Tadwinks," she replied with a wink before looking over at Cassandra. "You can do it right? Marry us? You've got the hat and everything." Cassandra appeared to be utterly flabbergasted, then strangely close to tears.
"I…I would be…of course. The garden is prefect for a wedding this time of year."
"But there's so much to do!" Josephine interjected frantically. "How will we get the license so quickly? What of inheritance, or property matters? Do we even know what is Elisabeth's own versus what belongs to the Inquisition? And the party! How in Andraste's name am I to organize a reception with so little –"
"Breathe," Elisabeth laughed, reaching out to rest a hand on Josephine's forearm. "I'm a fourth child. The only thing I have to share is my name; all the rest is the Inquisition's. And I think it's best we just keep this all within the family, don't you?" Josephine stammered for a moment, cut off as she was in mid-panic, before breaking into a tearful squeal of delight and leaping up to throw her arms around both of them.
"Not that we aren't all delighted, but what's brought this on?" Dorian asked.
"It's all ending, innit. Don't get this many people together without something big about to happen." Elisabeth looked up again when she felt Sera start to fidget with the edge of her collar. "Endings can get right off. Why not start something to even it out, right?"
"I think it's a damn fine idea," Bull declared, raising his mug with as wide a smile as Elisabeth had ever seen on him. "Good on both you girls."
"Here, here!" Varric added. "But you're crazy if you think for one minute we're not gonna have a party. I'll take care of all the details so Ruffles can enjoy herself."
"Why do I suddenly have a bad feeling about all this?" Elisabeth asked with a wry laugh as the gathering broke down into excited bursts of grand half-plans. After a year of peaceful distance from the mess in the Frostback Basin, surrounded by friends she'd thought scattered to the winds with the realization of her most improbable dream naught but hours away, she couldn't remember a moment where she had ever been happier.
Sera leaned over her abruptly to grab a mug, which she promptly chucked at Bull's head. It landed neatly on the point of one of his horns, and they both broke into riotous laughter. Sera clung to Elisabeth's shoulders and howled with it, wiping at her watering eyes when it subsided. She grinned down at Elisabeth, red-cheeked and bright eyed, and Elisabeth loved her like nothing she'd ever loved before.
When they kissed, she forgot about the crawling, prickling heat building in her hand for seven entire seconds.
Sera was pretty sure that if she rolled her eyes any harder they'd roll right out of her head, so she waited until Josephine's back was turned before she did it. No need to have her trying to manage the piss out of loose eyeballs on top of everything else. Some night off that would be.
She took another swig out of the wine bottle she'd nicked from the bar and watched the all the people dancing about the tavern. A couple of noble tossers had come by to see what the ruckus was about, but the Chargers had chased them off as a present. Was her party, after all. Hers and Bethy's.
Andraste's tits. Elisabeth was her wife. She'd stood up before the Maker and everyone and sang the words from the Chant without even needing to look down to remember them. They were frigging married, like for real, forever married. How was this ever scary? Sera's face was starting to hurt from all the smiling.
She heard Elisabeth laugh from across the room and looked over to watch her struggling to dance with Cullen. "Why don't I lead, Commander?" she smirked as she flicked her wrist and changed their positions, taking them both through the movement much easier than they'd been going. "If only so I can retain use of my feet to walk to the Very Important Meeting that you and Josephine have been on about all evening." She winked over at Sera when she spun the jackboot out, red-faced and stammering. What a night.
Someone cleared their throat to draw attention to themselves right behind Sera and she yelped in surprise, nearly dumping half a bottle of Ghyslain red all over the front of her dress, which good old Lady Priss-Pants had just made very clear would be a capital offence. She whipped around to see who had almost gotten her murdered on the night of her own bloody wedding and was genuinely startled to find Leliana.
"Félicitations, my dear girl," she said warmly, offering Sera a bundle of something wrapped in cloth with parchments tied on top. "I couldn't be happier for you both. Please accept this gift from Warden-Commander Amell and myself." She leaned over a little closer to add quietly, "I've included the schedules of several minor lords and ladies who have proven rather…trying, if you find yourself in want of entertainment while Elisabeth is stuck with the Council."
"Aw, what a great present!" Sera put the package aside and leafed through the papers to find a good mark. "Brilliant. Thanks!"
"Of course," Leliana smiled. She sat down on the edge of the closest bench to where Sera was perched on the edge of a table. The quiet between them was companionable enough, but something in the air was starting to set Sera's teeth on edge. Sister Scary didn't just slum around parties for no reason.
"I don't think I've ever seen Elisabeth this happy," she said eventually, making Sera look over at her. "Even with everything that's going on." Sera narrowed her eyes at her.
"What d'you mean, 'everything that's going on'? She can handle all this court rubbish."
"Of that I have no doubt." Leliana pulled out a hip flask and took a sip before she continued. "But it must be more difficult than it could be with the anchor beginning to pain her."
Oh, no. No, no, no.
"It's not 'paining her' or whatever," Sera snapped. "It's fine. She's fine. Everything is fine." There was no room for creepy-crawling fear tonight. She didn't need the pity in Leliana's eyes.
"Sera," she started gently. Gently. Like Sera was slow or something. "The others may not have noticed the signs yet, but I know you must have."
"Of course I bloody have," she spat. "But everything's going to be fine. Dorian and everyone will help find ways to keep it from getting worse. Everything is fine. I will make everything fine. Keep your frigging nose out."
The hand that landed on her knee was more threatening than it was comforting. "Keep your voice down. There is no reason to panic. I only wished to hear how she was doing from the woman closest to her." She squeezed once and let go, standing up and looming over Sera. "Rest assured that I am using every resource available to search for a solution myself. I will not ask after her again if you can promise to let me know when the situation changes. Is that acceptable?"
Sera glared up at her, holding on hard to the anger to keep her head above the fear. "Sure. Maybe," she answered through gritted teeth. Leliana nodded curtly and turned to leave, weaving her way through the crowd until she blended back into the shadows. Sera focused on the feeling in her chest, the heavy, churning heat that she knew how to hold, how to understand. It was going to be fine. She was going to shoot anyone or anything that made it not fine.
"What's on, lovely?"
Elisabeth was there, outside of her head. Tall and proud and a little drunk, just enough to keep her eyes dark and her shoulders loose. Smiling down with that special kind of half-smile that Sera knew was only hers.
"Nothing to worry your pretty head about, prat." She reached out and grabbed a handful of Elisabeth's white dress coat to pull her in close. Just a few more minutes, that's all Sera wanted. A few more minutes not to notice the dark circles under her eyes and the tension in her jaw, not to see that she almost couldn't bear the touch of anything on her left hand. A few minutes more to keep her Bethy young and happy and in love before they put the weight of the world back on her shoulders.
She curled a hand up into Elisabeth's hair and kissed her the way she liked best; a nice, easy slide from gentle to 'get a room'. No one and nothing was going to give her those minutes, but she knew how to take them all on her own.
It was rather lovely in its way, a great swath of land so long untouched that the wilderness had nearly reclaimed it. Maker knew it was a nice break from the endless parade of Orlesian cities, at the very least.
Elisabeth leaned against a still-solid looking section of stone railing as she looked out from the tower, taking time to enjoy the green smelling air. Part of her was already beginning to dread the implications of what they had discovered here, for the fate of the Inquisition, for the safety of Thedas, for the sanctity of history. But for a few minutes, she wanted not to care. Just a few more breaths of calm before the storm began.
Someone came up behind her, leaning against her back as arms braced the railing under her own. "No more holding out on me, Tadwinks," Sera said, propping her chin up on Elisabeth's shoulder. "We're married now. If there's another naked girl out there, you have to share."
Elisabeth laughed. "Even if there was one, she'd be an ant from up here. And ants are naked all the time, so I hardly think it would be noteworthy." Sera snorted and turned her head slightly to nip at Elisabeth's ear in retaliation.
"Just so you know, this…whatever this is – is not our honeymoon."
"Maker forbid," Elisabeth groaned. "I don't want the Qun, the Inquisition, or whatever else is going on here within a hundred leagues of our honeymoon."
"Good answer. Knew I married you for a reason."
Elisabeth chuckled and pulled one of Sera's arms around her. "Any thoughts on where you want to go? We could always stop by Kirkwall and scandalize the nobility by making use of Varric's wedding present."
"What, the key?" Sera made a thoughtful noise. "Could fit a lot of fancy underpants on a chain net. Might be fun."
"I more meant the title and estate, but I must admit your idea has its merits." Elisabeth threw a sly look over her shoulder at the emerging realization. "You know, that would make you Lady Trevelyan as well, wouldn't it?"
Sera growled and flipped Elisabeth around, bending her back slightly over the railing. "Shut it. S'a long way down, yeah?"
Elisabeth grinned. "Why yes it is, my dear Comtesse."
"Arse," Sera accused.
"Whatever milady insists."
"Put that smart mouth to better use, you tit," Sera rolled her eyes and yanked Elisabeth down by a handful of her collar. Laughing too much to kiss properly might have been one of the best problems Elisabeth had ever encountered.
"Wrap it up, lovebirds," she heard someone call from the stage of the tower above their heads. When she cracked an eye open, she saw the grizzled beard and fond smile of Thom Rainier looking down at them. "If I have to hear one more story about stripweed from Dorian, I'm holding you personally responsible."
Sera flipped him an archer's salute without looking, pulling a very particular maneuver with her tongue that made it difficult for Elisabeth to pay attention to anything else. It was easy to let the world slip away, to feel the thin leather and callused skin brushing against her face, the smell pine resin and sugar sharp upon the clean, free air. All until the near-forgotten heat prickling in her hand flared to sudden, painful life.
"Ah," she hissed, jerking back suddenly and whipping her hand away from Sera on instinct.
"What? What's happened?"
"It's nothing," Elisabeth deflected, clenching the hand into a fist before trying to shake the pain out. "Just another flare. It's fine now."
"Like piss it is," Sera said shortly. "That's the fourth time since we've been here. Dorian's ward-whatsit isn't working, is it?"
"I'm sure it just needs a little adjustment, that's all." Elisabeth tried to put on a reassuring smile, to push down awareness of the searing magic constantly snarling just beneath her skin. She didn't want to think about any of it, the pain, the crushing responsibility, the black, billowing guilt that her selfish fear would soon leave the woman she loved above all else alone in the world.
Sera frowned and opened her mouth to call up to Dorian, stopping at the creak of leather as Elisabeth tightened her grip on the railing. "I'll get him in a minute" she promised, weak in the face of her own fast-unraveling fate. She raised her hand, smoothed her thumb over the line of Sera's jaw and swallowed hard.
"I just want a few more minutes with you."
Bloody, pissing, frigging shit. Sera reached the end of the hallway again and took a minute to kick the stupid marble before starting back the way she came. She was tired enough to fall over and anxious enough to climb out of her own frigging skin. Her hair was well on end by the time she reached the other end of the hallway. The door stayed shut.
How in Andraste's ruddy name had it gotten so bad so fast? Qunari in the elfy shite, elves in the dwarfy shite, great barrels of exploding horribleness in the normal people shite. How many almost ends of the world did she have to see before whoever was up there decided she'd learned the lesson? Piss, what even was the lesson?
The voices behind the door were getting angrier and angrier with each pass. Even Josephine was yelling now. Sera couldn't tell about what, damn the thick, expensive wood to the Void, but whatever was going on had to be bad if even her composure'd gone out the window.
Sera stopped mid-step when she felt the air stale shift. The little hairs on her arms stiffened at the spark of magic in the air as she heard Elisabeth scream.
"Shit! Damn it!" Sera dashed over to the door and pressed as close as she could to hear what the piss was happening.
"We saved Orlais, and they're angry. We saved Ferelden, and they're angry. We close the Breach twice, and my own hand is trying to kill me. Would one thing in this fucking world stay fixed?"
There was a sound then, a muffled crack like a hand hitting the wall, and Sera pushed back in horror as Fade-green light splintered through the door in twisting vines. She was leaning against the opposite wall and trying to get her breath back when the door swung open a minute later.
Elisabeth looked like she wanted to kill someone. Shoulders heaving, arms shaking, hand constantly spitting off magic. She slammed the door closed behind her and snarled.
"Bethy?" Sera tried hesitantly. She went stiff at the sound of her name, turning around slowly. Even her eyes were glowing with that horrible light now. When she saw Sera, she broke to pieces.
It took Sera three big steps to get to her. Elisabeth wrapped her good arm around Sera and held on hard.
"Knock-knock," Sera blurted out in a panic.
"…what?" came the mumbled reply.
"Knock-knock," Sera repeated. Elisabeth sighed into her shoulder.
"Moo!" Sera laughed frantically. "Piss, I said it too soon. It was supposed to be moo instead of who. Funny, right? Please laugh."
She did. Weakly at first, like she was forcing it, but then there was more. And then it was scary. It wasn't long before her whole body was shaking and she was struggling to breathe through it.
"I'm going to die," she laugh-sobbed. "I'm going to die and you're telling knock-knock jokes."
"No." Sera said, shaking her head and pushing Elisabeth back far enough to see her horrible Fade-green eyes. "You're sick and I'm telling knock-knock jokes. Because you like to laugh when you're sick to forget about how bad you feel. Know why I know that? Because I'm your frigging wife and I know how to take care of you! Will you just bloody let me already?"
Sera felt her heart sink right to her stomach when Elisabeth shook her head. "Can't," she whimpered breathlessly. "Not safe now. You have to go. You have to –"
"Are you frigging mad?" Sera shoved Elisabeth back into the wall as she yelled. "I'm not letting you out of my pissing sight!" Elisabeth was still shaking all over, tears leaking from the corners of her eyes as she sank down to the floor.
"You don't understand. I don't know what's happening and it won't stop. I could hurt you. I could kill you." Sera swallowed down her own fear and knelt down in front of her.
"Then that's how I go, yeah?" All the blood drained from Elisabeth's face. She opened her mouth to say some other stupid self-sacrificing thing, but Sera cut her off right quick.
"Shut it and listen. I'm. Not. Going. Anywhere. We'll fix this. We'll get you better and we'll go home. This is shite, frigging all of it is just shite so just forget about it. Just you and me now. Just like always." She tried to smile as she swiped her thumb across the dampened scar on Elisabeth's cheek. "We promised the Maker and everything, right? Don't make me go and get Cassandra to beat you up with the Chant. She'll do it."
Elisabeth managed a sad little shadow of a laugh at that, holding Sera's hand to her face with her own. The mark flared again in her off-hand, magic lashing against Sera's side in crooked lines of fire. Elisabeth tried to jerk away, but Sera would have none of it.
"Don't even try it," she warned, holding on that much harder. "Not letting you go. Not now, not ever."
"Get back," Elisabeth warned as her hand started to spasm uncontrollably, energy building no matter how hard she clenched her fist. "Everyone get back now!"
She collapsed to her knees, fire splintering all the way up her arm as she sloshed down into the marsh. She managed to shove her hand down into the muck before the mark discharged. The resulting explosion burned away the muddy water as it blew her backwards. It was a struggle to get back to her feet as the others ran over to help.
"I'm alright," she panted. "It's alright. I'm alright." The sounds of scraping metal and war cries crested over the rise of the ruin crumbling into the hillside.
"I need to reapply the ward," Dorian said shakily, glancing over at Sera and Bull as he moved closer to Elisabeth's side. "You two should go clear the way so we can move as quickly as possible." Sera went ashy grey at the suggestion, terror and rage warring on her face as she protested.
"No, I won't leave–"
"Please," Elisabeth begged, eyes beginning to sting as the pressure of magic built ever faster beneath her skin. "Please. I'm right behind you, I swear." Sera swallowed, stared at her for a long moment, then nodded reluctantly. She bolted off towards the fighting with Bull on her heels.
"She'll shoot you when she finds out you were lying, you know," Dorian said with pale humor as he brought his hands over Elisabeth's arm. He winced in pain when a tendril of magic snapped out across his fingers. "Blessed Andraste. I can't even find what's left of your hand to start the ward."
"Is there anything you can do?" she asked through gritted teeth. He shook his head even as he spoke. "I may be able to freeze the gauntlet to maintain the structure for a few more minutes, but even that will break. I…Maker's Mercy, Elisabeth. I'm so sorry."
"It's alright, Dorian." She looked at him with the closest thing to a smile she could manage. "It's going to be alright."
"Is there…is there anything I can do for you?" Elisabeth nodded, pulling her right glove off with her teeth and baring her hand.
"Please take off my ring and give it to Sera. She won't take anything else."
Dorian winced and complied. Her hand felt bare without it. As he pocketed the ring, she struggled to pull her off-hand knife from its sheath. With great effort, she gripped it as hard as she could manage and held out the arm to prepare for the spell.
"I'm not dying without a knife in my hand," she ground out.
The ice hurt almost more than the heat spiraling up her arm. Dorian whispered apologies she couldn't hear over the blood roaring in her ears as he pulled her to her feet. He tried to take most of her weight, but she knew she couldn't risk being that close to anyone when this last failsafe gave way. She pulled away hard and began to stagger down the overgrown path towards the mirror.
Every step was agony. Her surroundings began to fade as she walked. There was no stone, no earth, no water. By the third mirror she passed through, there was nothing left but the will to go forward. Everything she saw was stained the color of rust, thick and lurid as half-dried blood.
The air she entered was so thick with magic that she could taste it. The veil was all but gone in this place. The Qunari mage glowed lyrium-blue in the center of it, radiating a power that made the anchor sing.
Sera was pinned down, shielding herself behind a gnarled ruin of a tree that was fast burning away. Elisabeth lengthened her stride, forced herself faster, faster, faster. Leapt on the mage's back and sank her knife into the muscle.
She grasped for thoughts of her as the end began.
The knife kicked as she forced it down between the bones. The ice around her hand shattered as the blade sheared against the spine. The mark discharged as the mage's great horned head pitched back in the moment of his death. The force of the explosion sent her flying backwards, falling through the hot-cold flash of sensation as she passed through the eluvian at speed.
The mirror shattered behind her as she hit the brush on the other side.
It didn't feel like anything more than glass. Just a shard of dull, useless glass, so cold that it pulled the heat from her hands. Something splashed across the surface of it, dripping down to the ground when she wiped angrily at her eyes again. Stupid frigging mirror. Stupid fucking magic.
She didn't bother looking up when she felt someone big sit down in the dirt next to her. Bull had left her mostly alone after Dorian went to tell the others what'd happened. Must have been close to an hour now. He'd be back soon. Bull was here to get her ready to leave.
"I'm not going," she snarled. Or tried to, at least. The sound that actually came out of her mouth could've been a whipped dog trying to talk. Bull's hand on her back just reminded her how much everything hurt.
"I know," he said simply. She looked up at him in surprise and saw him staring at the shattered mirror. "She wouldn't want you to stay here forever, though." Sera couldn't summon up an answer, couldn't hold on to the anger long enough to stay above the grief. He wasn't all the way wrong. But she couldn't bear to think of what it meant if he was all the way right.
"It's not fair," she whispered. Her hand looked wrong with both rings on it. It would never be right again.
They sat in silence, alone with a shard of glass in the ruins of the dead people who'd taken Beth away. She didn't know or care how long it was. The glass started to warm in the sun. Faster than it should've, Sera realized distantly. Fast enough that the tip of her fingers were starting to burn.
"Ow!" she jerked her hand away and dropped it, watching in horror as it stopped falling before it hit the ground. Quick as a flash, it flew towards the broken frame and melted into the surface. The other shards of glass that littered the ground started to do the same, and the air crackled with magic so strong that Sera could feel it on her skin. When the last piece hit the surface of the mirror, she could see to the other side again.
Sera was already halfway across the clearing when someone stumbled out and crashed to the ground.
"Bethy!" She'd started dragging herself across the dirt with one arm, stuttering to a stop as they started to get close. Her armor was in shreds. Sera started begging the Maker, Andraste; piss, even the frigging Stone that she was still alive.
Bull helped her turn Elisabeth over on her back, and Sera nearly choked when she saw those stupidly, beautifully blue eyes looking back at her.
"Hey," Elisabeth said weakly, flashing a little smile with bloodied teeth. Andraste, was that the best she could come up with after coming back from the dead again? Sera laughed wetly and pulled her arm back to knock her on the shoulder, freezing half-way when she looked down.
"Boss, your arm…" Bull trailed off, staring. It'd stopped spitting out the horrible green light, but it was black and stiff as burnt leather up to the elbow. Elisabeth looked down with them, watching as it crumbled away to ash.
"Huh." Sera watched her tense her shoulder and slowly raise what was left of her arm, shaking off the last flakes of the muck.
"Did he do this to you?" Elisabeth nodded, grunting as she tried to push herself up to sitting instead of asking for help. Sera ignored her noises of protest and helped her anyway. She was a stubborn arse, and Sera loved her so much that it was hard to breathe.
"He did," she sighed when she finally relaxed, leaning her head back against Sera's shoulder. "And I'm afraid he's not nearly as dead as I would like."
"Can't wait to hear this story," Bull said as he glanced over his shoulder. "But we should really get you to a healer. Who knows what else that piece of vashedan did to you."
"No arguing," Sera added on, finding her tongue again at last. The smile Elisabeth gave her was almost sleepy. Her eyes slipped closed.
"You got her?" Bull asked, ducking his head a little to look right at Sera. She nodded, and Bull took off running towards the mirror that lead the way back to Halamshiral.
"It doesn't hurt," Elisabeth murmured. Sera looked back down when she felt Elisabeth turn her head a little more into her shoulder, like she was making herself comfortable. She opened her eyes again and full-on grinned, pinked teeth and all. "It doesn't hurt, Sera."
"Good." Sera wanted to laugh and cry and scream all at the same time. She pulled the too-big ring off with her teeth, then moved as gently as she could to push it back on Elisabeth's finger. "Because if you ever take this off again, you're a pincushion. I mean it."
"Yesser," Elisabeth slurred, straightening her spine long enough to brush her lips against Sera's. It wasn't the first kiss they'd shared that ended with blood on Sera's tongue, and it wouldn't be the last.
It was, however, the only time in her life that Sera Trevelyan cried for joy.
Elisabeth slumped down hard on the stone bench, still buzzing. The others wouldn't be far behind, but for the briefest of moments in this uncaringly lovely garden, she was alone with what she had done. If she was honest with herself, beneath the fast-fading rage she was exhausted by simply being out of bed.
She glanced up when she heard rapid footsteps on the gravel. Her reflexes were still so dulled that she barely caught sight of Sera's hand before it cuffed her upside the head.
"Ow! What was that–"
"For ignoring the bloody healer, you git!" Sera responded angrily, kneeling down in the dirt and moving straight for Elisabeth's ruined arm. "Not supposed to be out of bed for another fortnight and you pull this shite." She unpinned the sleeve of the dress coat and rolled the fabric up, examining the bandaging beneath it for blood. The touch of her hand still stung sharply, but Elisabeth could see no evidence that she had reopened the burn.
"Was a bit badass, thought, wasn't it?" she offered as a meager defense, throwing on a dashing grin when Sera looked up. Her anger fractured quickly.
"You know it was, arse. 'Bout time you put those daft piss-heads in their place," she nearly laughed, pinning the sleeve up around Elisabeth's arm before clambering up on the bench beside her. "But I swear to frigging Andraste, if you try something like this again I will tie you up. And not that way, so don't even bother with that look."
"Spoilsport," Elisabeth accused lightly, leaning into Sera with her good shoulder. "When did you stop being fun?"
"When I had to start being the responsible one." Sera leaned back against Elisabeth, threaded both arms around her waist and groaned piteously into her shoulder. "It's horrible, Bethy. Stop being a tit so I can go back to normal already."
"Darling, I just directly insulted the representatives of the most powerful nations in the South and disbanded a military order created by a martyred Divine," Elisabeth replied, dissolving into disbelieving laughter as she finally gave voice to the enormity of her actions. "I don't think I'm allowed to be responsible anymore."
Sera looked up cautiously. "Is this happy laughing or going mad again laughing?"
"Happy!" Elisabeth nearly yelled in her enthusiasm, leaping to her feet in a burst of excitement. "Don't you see? No more politicians, no more magic, no more Inquisitor! We can do anything!" The weight of the words compounded with the unstable understanding of her own balance and sent her stumbling forward. "Oh, Maker. What are we going to do?"
Sera jumped up to steady her, helping her back down to the bench before taking a step back. "Easy," she said, folding her arms over her chest. "You're going to stop being daft and stay still long enough to get better. Then there's work to do."
The serious expression broke into a familiar smirk as she pulled out a small insignia, red set in bronze. "Plenty of other piss-heads who need knocking down, yeah? Not to mention Solas-Fenny-Whatever-He-Is. I'll eat my boot before he gets away with all this rubbish." Elisabeth managed a thin smile when Sera pressed the thing into her hand. "What's with the long face?" Sera asked with a frown. "You knew what you were marrying into."
Elisabeth barked a little laugh. "That I did," she agreed, tracing the Jennies' symbol idly with her thumb, a stilted sort of sorrow trickling through her chest. "I'm just not sure how much of an asset a crippled knifeman would be to you."
Sera took hold of Elisabeth's chin, tipping her eyes back up. "We don't have assets," she said simply. "We have friends."
She leaned down and kissed Elisabeth firmly on the mouth, letting one hand slide around the back of her neck. "We'll figure it out, yeah? Once you take your bloody rest," she added on with a hard pinch. Elisabeth yelped and laughed and burned with so much love that she wondered how her broken body could contain it all.
Sera grinned and opened her mouth to speak, but stopped abruptly when some distant movement caught her eye.
"They're here." She set her jaw and squared up her body like she would have on the field. "Don't care how angry anyone is. First person who yells at you is getting a punch in the nose."
Elisabeth levered herself carefully to her feet, wrapping her good arm around the front of Sera's shoulders as she turned to watch. "Josie looks much less like she'd like to toss me off a cliff than I thought she would," she observed. "And if I didn't know better, I'd say Cullen almost looks…relieved?"
"Still punching if they get mouthy," Sera muttered, reaching up to rest her hands on Elisabeth's forearm. "You ready for them?" Elisabeth smiled to herself and pressed her lips to Sera's hair.
"Where's the fun in being ready?"
AN: Took my time with this one, eh? Special thanks go to the lovely and talented NQ Wilder for helpful editing notes, and to everyone who stuck with this story through the nigh geological period of time in between updates. I'm sad to see my girls' story finish up once and for all, but it's been a wild ride the whole way through.