Title: Long Overdue
Game: Dragon Age Origins
Characters/Pairings: Leliana, Jowan, f!Cousland, Alistair; Leliana/Jowan
Disclaimer: Dragon Age world and characters belong to BioWare. I get nothing out of this other than enjoyment. And feels.
Despite her fervent desire to sit down and have a long
heart to heart with a certain mage, Leliana didn't get a chance the whole journey to Denerim. Between the grim atmosphere, the speed with which they travel, and various untimely interruptions, they'd made it all the way back to the Fereldan capital before she got a chance to say two words to Jowan.
"We need to talk." Nothing had ever felt more like a blatant statement of the obvious.
Jowan sighed. "I know." He raked one hand through his hair. "Just... after." He nodded toward the burning city. "Let's make sure we both survive, and then we can have as long a conversation as you want."
Leliana took a deep breath, and smiled as she reached over to give his hand a comforting squeeze. "Deal."
The darkspawn hordes did not
make that an easy deal to keep. Fortunately he'd gotten really good at ducking, and whoever designed the Grey Warden armor understood how to protect
a mage without overburdening them. Jowan dodged another axe swing and petrified the hurlock responsible with a wave of his hand. He yelped and ducked again as another hurlock appeared, swinging wildly, and let the brute's momentum shatter its own comrade.
And so it went. As they fought for the square, the Alienage, the market, Fort Drakon itself. Every battle was a flurry of dodging, spells, and prayers for enough rest he didn't exhaust himself entirely before they faced the archdemon(assuming Riordan's plan even worked). Regardless, he was beginning to feel it by the time they stood outside Drakon's gates. Marta was also looking slightly winded, and Leliana had already been forced to refill her quiver with arrows scrounged off dead archers at least twice now. We can do this
, he told himself, but that got a little harder to believe when they found Riordan's body in the prison courtyard.
Progress through Fort Drakon itself felt measurable in inches for how long each advancement took. But finally they emerged onto the roof.
"Well, this is one way to feel tiny," Alistair remarked glibly as they stared at the wounded and raging archdemon.
"And we have to kill it," Marta snarked back. "Let's get on that, shall we?"
There was something significant about the looks she gave Alistair and Jowan that made Leliana feel profoundly left out. But she shook off the sensation and charged in with the others, determined to do her part--even if she wasn't a Grey Warden. And, as it turned out, her focusing on crowd control--picking off the darkspawn that filtered up to the roof--allowed the Wardens to concentrate on the dragon. They did their work well, and it was obvious the archdemon knew it was in dire straits. The bellow it unleashed rattled the stones, and a fresh flood of darkspawn poured onto the roof. Even with the help of the dwarven warriors who had joined them, there were just too many. Leliana was just a little rushed, her aim just a little off in her haste.
And the genlock she'd been targeting swung true, its serrated blade gouging deep into her side.
<><><><> Jowan heard her cry out and instinctively swiveled in her direction. Leliana was clutching her side, her face white, as a genlock hauled back its bloody sword for another swing.
It didn't get the chance; he made sure of that. In fact his aim was good enough--or lucky enough--the stonefist he cast had probably made pulp of the thing's skull.
Leliana looked his way, her grateful smile morphing into fear as she did. "Watch out!"
He spun to see a shriek lunging at Marta's unprotected back. Even as he raised his hand and froze it mid-leap, another one appeared out of nowhere and knocked him to the ground, its bladed fist sinking into his shoulder up to the knuckles.
At least it's the left one, was all he could think as his free arm instinctively came up to protect his face. Lightning coursed from his fingers, followed by fire, as he fought his way free. The shriek's twitching corpse tumbled off him, the blade doing yet more damage on the way out of his shoulder.
Marta appeared and offered him a hand up-"Thanks"-even as she turned to holler at Alistair, "Go, now!"
The warrior nodded and charged toward the archdemon, roaring a battle cry.
Jowan frowned, blinking away spots. "Wait, won't he-"
"Just wait," Marta cut him off, jaw tense as she watched.
The archdemon lowered its head to belch fire at the charging Warden, but Alistair dodged to the side and dragged his blade down its neck as he ran. The star-metal blade cut easily through even dragon scales, and the archdemon fell. With a last ringing cry, Alistair spun the blade point down and drove it into the dragon's skull.
The result could only be described as a delayed explosion, a few seconds passing before a brilliant purple-lit shockwave flared out from the dead dragon and knocked everyone on the roof off their feet. Jowan, of course, landed hard on his bad shoulder and couldn't stop the groaned curse as he rolled over to get back to his feet. Marta stood as well, hand resting on his shoulder in a silent check that he was--mostly--alright.
Which he was, but- "I'm going to need you two t' explain that to me," he mumbled, good hand pointing shakily to where Alistair was getting to his feet, still very much alive. "But later," he amended, "first I need to talk to Leli..." He didn't see her. "...ana..." Why couldn't he see her; she'd been right there. He started toward where he'd last seen her, gait slightly unsteady as his shoulder began to throb. "Leliana?!"
Dazed mutterings in Orlesian answered him as she clumsily made it to her knees. "J-Jowan..."
And Jowan's heart lodged in his throat as he hurried across the remaining distance between them. Without her hand in the way, he could see the full extent of the gash in her side. "No, no, no, no..."
He hastily---roughly--knelt next to her, left hand managing to curve against her jaw as his right pressed against the wound.
"It's not... that bad," she mumbled, even as her head lolled and her skin went clammy under his touch.
"And I'm next in line for the Sunburst Throne," Jowan snarked to cover his rising dread as he poured all his remaining energy, every last bit of mana he had left, into healing the wound. (Healing had never been a strong suit of his) I can't lose you, not now. His heart rate began to slow as her breathing even out. "Don't ever do that again. Getting grievously injured is my thing, remember?"
Leliana laughed giddily, resting her forehead against his shoulder--the good one, fortunately--as her color started to return. "Maybe I figured it was my turn, no?"
He tipped her chin up so she'd meet his eyes. "Well, I hereby absolve you of having to take a turn ever again. " He pressed a kiss to her forehead, heedless of the grime. "I don't... I can't lose you, Lel. Ever."
She grinned and threw her arms around his neck in a gloriously tight hug, whispering "Same," as she kissed him on the cheek.
Getting down from Fort Drakon's tower proved almost as arduous as getting up it had, given the state the two of them were in. But they were still alive, and that was a feat in and of itself.
"You should let someone take care of that shoulder," Leliana said, grimacing slightly as Jowan helped her around the last of the debris between them and the palace gates.
He blushed a little and cleared his throat. "I was figuring we could patch each other up while we had that talk."
"Ah." She pretended to mull it over as they followed the others inside the palace. "I like this plan quite a lot."
"I thought you might," Jowan replied with a boyish grin, squeezing her hand.
And so they did; after getting themselves the necessary supplies and locking the door. Both of them eased out of armor that had begun to stick, and then Jowan very gingerly pulled off his shirt and Leliana rolled hers up and tucked it under her breastband.
"So," she began, wringing out a towel to start cleaning off his shoulder, "where do we start?"
"With me apologizing for kissing you out of the blue," Jowan said hesitantly, his fingers tracing lightly over the pink skin of where her wound had been. I did better than I thought. Desperation's a funny thing... He sucked in a sharp breath as the water dripped over the hole through his shoulder.
"It was hardly out of the blue," Leliana protested, carefully cleaning the wound before she began stitching it closed. "Not with what almost happened after we killed Marjolaine."
"Good point," he admitted. "And I don't think I can do much more for your side, actually. You might ask Wynne to double-check it, but I think it's healed."
"Mm." She tugged her shirt free, letting the material fall to drape over her midriff again. "What you said on Fort Drakon, about not wanting to lose me... you meant that."
"It was can't lose you, and with all my heart." He paused, bit his lip. "You're the first person to make me feel... good enough. Like my mistakes aren't all that define me, and you're kind and thoughtful and sweet and you want to help... Are you really surprised that I'm falling in love with you?"
The words slipped out far more easily than Jowan had anticipated, and he heard Leliana's breath catch, her hands pausing briefly as she moved to stitch the back part of his shoulder wound, before, cautiously, "You... you love me?"
He winced, and not just from the sensation of the needle and thread tugging at his skin. "Yes. But if you don't feel the same way, say the word and I'll vanish to the opposite end of Thedas if you want." That really was much more likely; she'd noticed his growing feelings--he was lousy at hiding them--and was trying to let him down as gently as possible. That was when he noticed she was giggling as she finished the stitches. "What?"
Leliana sighed as she cut off the thread and circled back in front of him. "Jowan, you wonderful idiot, I said 'Same' up there for a reason. The last thing I want you to do is go away. That would make it ever so much harder to do this."
And with that, she leaned forward, braced one hand against the arm of his chair, and kissed him.
"Oh," was all Jowan could say when she pulled away for breath.
"Have I made myself clear?" Leliana whispered mischievously, combing her fingers through his hair.
"Uh-huh,"he mumbled, head still spinning as he kissed her back.
"Just to make sure," she said when they parted for air, "I love you, too. But I should probably finish with your shoulder before we forget ourselves, no?"
It was a good point, and Jowan reluctantly nodded assent. But neither of them stopped smiling like idiots for the duration of the evening.
Even when met with Marta and Alistair's knowing looks.