A/N-Ah and here I shall mention that have you not played the game fully, you will be subject to a least one game spoiler and some confusion.

Un-beta'd and quickly written, I don't claim perfection for this piece. My muse screamed and I heeded, then posted.

Standard disclaimers apply. Dragon Age and its characters etc blah blah blah are not owned by me, I merely toy with it for my own fantasy.


Leliana's ballad was never meant for such an audience. It wasn't meant for any audience. She hadn't even wanted to set the notes to vellum. The melody and the ache in her heart had taken control. Her hand had taken up quill and ink and forced her pain into haunting verse. She had worked on it for weeks and then hidden it safely away from curious eyes. Yet, there she was, strumming the music upon a borrowed lap harp and singing of her greatest sorrow.

Damn those courtiers and their lust for new music. Damn their want for a romantic tragedy amongst the sudden flood of heroic sagas and poems. Damn the archdemon and its horde of darkspawn that butchered and destroyed. Damn her traitorous mouth for agreeing to perform her secret ballad. Damn the new King Alistair's banquet announcing his betrothal to the Lady Cousland.

The ballad came to its heart-wrenching conclusion. She held the last notes, tasting her pain anew. Tears threatened and her throat tightened, but she willed herself calm. The great court of Denerim burst into startled applause. Leliana flourished a proper bow. She returned the borrowed lap harp to its tearful owner. Smiling and apologizing for singing with a cold voice and rusty fingers, she made her way through courtiers.

At last, the doors to the gardens stood before her. She sighed in relief.

"Leliana?"

The Orlesian bit off a curse. So much for slinking away unhindered. When she turned to face the Hero of Ferelden her mouth smiled.

"I know you were heading to the gardens to be alone, but..." Elissa trailed off. Her eyes flicked back to the colorful crowd. Among the courtiers was Alistair, who was trying hard to keep the hands of a pretty young girl off him. He looked over, smiled bashfully at Elissa and nodded to Leliana. "It was a very powerful song and you looked so lonely."

"My dear Warden. Please do not worry. I merely wish for some fresher air. So many perfumed bodies in such close proximity." Leliana wafts the air by her nose.

"Oh." Elissa blushes. "Well, even so. I know singing about Marjolaine so openly could not have been easy."

"Yes, Marjolaine." Her eyes look away from Elissa's concerned gaze. They shut the pain out for a moment before flying open at the sudden vise around her chest. "Oof."

At least the Warden was not wearing her plate mail armor. Her strength was enough to make the embrace more than uncomfortable.

"Just remember that we are here if you need us." Elissa released Leliana in time to see the strained smile.

"Thank you, my friend."

"Don't stay out there too long. You might catch a chill." Ever the leader, looking out for her troops. She returned to the banquet and her royal fiancé.

"Maker's breath." Leliana hissed, then escaped into the gardens.

Drunken singing followed the fleeing woman. She increased her pace hoping to leave it behind. The dusty scent of autumn flowers and fallen leaves teased her nose. Below her normally silent steps, leaves crunched, adding a second harmony to the still-loud baritone's. She was being followed.

"Blood and Damnation!" Leliana stopped and waited for the drunk to catch up. Perhaps he could be quickly dismissed. A short, stout shadow still barking out the ballad she had so recently performed, entered into view.

"Oghren?"

The forever-inebriated Dwarf grunted. "Finally, thought you'd never stop."

"What do you want?"

"I finally found a human liquor that makes my beard itch." Oghren held up an uncorked glass bottle and two simple cups. "Swiped it from the cellars."

"Thank you, but I do not wish to drink tonight."

He thrust a filled cup into a reluctant hand. "Nonsense. After singing that piece of work? I can't believe you'd rather drown in your own sodding tears than in this cup."

Leliana raised her brow. "Fine. Just one. To what shall we toast?"

"Hadn't thought of a toast. Just about gettin hammered, which you can't do with just one drink. Even a lightweight human like yourself."

"I'll have you know I once drank an entire regiment of Orlesian guards under the table. Marjolaine had to bribe a stable boy to carry me home." Leliana chuckled. "But the hangover was so awful I refused to drink for several weeks after. Marjolaine could not do anything to convince me to drink again. Eventually she had to threaten to withhold..."

Oghren looked at her curiously. "Withhold what?"

The former Bard blushed darkly.

"Huh? Oh. OH! Ha!" Oghren roared with laughter. "She must have been quite the vixen in the bedroom. Tell me how she convinced you. I want all the details."

"I don't think so." Leliana tossed back the fiery sauce, coughed. "Thank you for the drink. I shall let you finish that. Alone."

Oghren let her walk a few steps. "She still has it, doesn't she?"

"Pardon me? She still has what?"

"Your sodding heart."

Leliana looked back and scoffed. "A small piece, but Marjolaine never got it all."

"Was talkin about a certain fiancee to the new King."

"You're drunk."

"Yup. But I'm not deaf." Oghren hummed a few notes. "You wrote that for Elissa."

The drunken warrior filled both cups again.

"A toast."

Leliana hesitated for only a moment before accepting the proffered drink. "So now you've thought of one?"

"To the sodding women that picked someone else."

Together, they lifted their cups and drank. Then they drank another and another. They drank until their legs grew wobbly, their vision unfocused, their minds drifted, and their hearts' pain was drowned until morn. Hangovers be damned.


A/N- Much love to all who read this through. I do so hope you enjoyed yourself. If you did, then please review and such. And if you did not, ah well review and tell me it did not satisfy your fanfiction lust.