beyond he hills

Always and Ever

I’ve been holding onto this one for a while now. I wrote it when I was wondering what Trespasser would have been like for Cullen prior to the events of Reparation. And then it turned into friendship fluff, and I am not sorry. Dedicated to @scottishvix who asked for some fluff tonight. I hope this counts :) Cullen and Cassandra and Sera and friendship. Cullen’s POV, 1300 words. 

Also on AO3. 


The Winter Palace was just as Cullen remembered it, polished and boasting, yet festering beneath the weight of the game. The Inquisition teetered in the balance, and yet, he was happy to see his friends again. Skyhold had felt too empty in the last few months. Oh everyone had passed through here and there, but it wasn’t the same, and wouldn’t ever be if the council went the way he believed it would.

Things seemed to be going from bad to worse, but there was nothing to be done at the moment. The Inquisition was gathered at the tavern, Bull and the Chargers providing the entertainment while everyone drank. It was getting crowded in the tavern, and even though Cullen had been glad to spend some time with Dorian, he needed some air.

The Winter Palace had seemed like a maze the last time he was there, inescapable. It wasn’t quite as bad this time around. Sure, he’d still had to dodge one too many questions about his personal life, but he’d been largely left alone. He suspected it was Leliana’s doing, and he needed to thank here if he ever saw her. Being Divine didn’t offer much in the way of free time.

The stars were twinkling to life above him, and he found some steps that led to a balcony overlooking the hills beyond. He took a seat, relishing in the quiet and the stillness. Orlais was sort of pretty if one looked hard enough he supposed. Even the Winter Palace wasn’t so bad in the quiet of the night.

Keep reading

“Tell me a story,” she pleads, pulling off her most effective sad puppy face. He tries not to smile and turning away slightly, says: “you’re too old for stories.”

“I’m never too old for stories! You’re too old for those pants!” she huffs and plops down on the couch. He rolls his eyes and picks up the writing pad he had been doodling on. “Okay! Fine. Tell you what though,” he starts as he uncaps the pen, “I’ll do you one better. I’ll tell you a story and draw it out too.”

This piques her interest immensely and she’s already peering over his shoulder. He pauses then adjusts his position so that the writing pad is between them. He takes her hand and closes her finger around the pen and presses the nib down to paper.

“Now then,” he begins, “this is a story close to my heart. When my mother left, my dad would sit up with me the nights I couldn’t sleep and we would do things together. He taught me this one. It’s a bit odd but just take it for what it is.”

She nods excitedly, eager to get things rolling. He takes a deep breath and taps into that memory.

“There once was a boy who had no arms–”

He guides her hand to draw a stick figure of a boy with no arms.

“He lived in a bubble and was always so sad.”

Together, they add a circle around the stick figure with no arms.

“So one day he decided to search for his happiness. He went up a hill and discovered a cave. But the cave was empty.”

He makes her draw an elaborate oval loop atop the circle and a smaller n within it, which he makes her shade.

“So he climbs up another hill and voilà! Another cave. But it’s also empty.”

He makes her repeat the loop and the shading. She goes along with it, enjoying this new experience.

“So he catches a bus and travels to the other end of the world.”

From the base of the second loop, he guides her pen to make a long c on the left side of the circle.

“The other end of the world held no surprise so he catches the bus back.”

He pushes her pen to the right side of the circle and makes an elaborate loop similar to the one on the left.

“When he gets off the bus he realizes it was all for nothing so he starts to cry.”

He lifts her tiny hand clutching the pen and repeatedly stabs the pad, ensuring the marks fall within the circumference of the circle.

“But once the tears had washed away the dust from his eyes, he saw that there was a path he had not taken. A path beyond the hills so he sets off on this path–”

He takes her hand in a further loop encircling the previous penned m. And as he slowly draws the descend towards the circumference of the circle, he lowers the timbre of his voice and wraps up the story on a meaningful note:

“At the end of the path, he found what had been waiting for him all along.”

“A puppy?”

“His best friend.”

a muslim man ruthlessly guns down two people in copenhagen and it’s immediately branded terrorism. an atheist man ruthlessly guns down three people in chapel hill and it’s about “a parking dispute”.