Jellyfish - A thousand little stings
“Vint,” said Dorian, with misapplied pride.
“Traitor,” Fiona offered, with gloomy vehemence.
Her hands were not just diminutive, he noticed, but immaculate as well.
“Oh, I’ve gotten that, too,” she said. Under her careful magic, the tiny paper cuts along his palm receded, numbed and pinked without puckering, along with the softly fading marks criss-crossing his fingers. She was an absolute marvel with healing. He barely felt a thing. Her concentration didn’t show, though it was evident in her voice as she continued their game.
“Good one.” Dorian chuckled. “How about-”
“This is a terrible way to pass the time,” declared Fiona. She ran her small hands once more over Dorian’s palm, icy blue tendrils of light leaking and thinning into nothingness, and then released him. “I think this is all I can do for you. I hope it helped.”
“Immeasurably,” he replied, flexing. In his restored hand, she pressed a tiny pot, which he opened and sniffed with care. It smelled neither potent nor comforting, nor of anything in particular. A pale yellow mystery. “What’s this, a balm? Tell me I’m not holding some backwoods Southern recipe made of mushrooms and bear fat.”
“Beeswax. For the tips of your fingers,” Fiona sighed. “If you intend to continue your studies with such enthusiasm, the wax will help you turn pages faster, and with fewer injuries.”
He capped the pot and gave her a smile, one that he relied upon for gratitude and apologies in equal measure. Allowing himself some immodesty, it was an effective smile. But she didn’t return it. In fact, as he studied her face, he could not remember having seen so much as a smirk from her in all their time at Skyhold.
“Dorian, your last insult, what was it?”
The corners of his mouth fell, just a fraction. He hadn’t the strength to lie, to conjure brightness. Perhaps she’d taken that in her ministrations, as she took his pain. Most of it, at any rate.
“Disappointment. It was the only thing that came to mind,” he said. “Though, according to the rules it wouldn’t have counted, and I would have lost the game.”
Fiona did smile then, a thing fit for weeping, and went to the railing that circumnavigated the library. She clutched it lightly in her hands. Such small hands.
“Is the hurt lesser or greater for being unspoken? I can’t tell.” She looked up at the dust motes and dark, downy feathers drifting in the tower. “But no, as you say, it’s not technically an insult.”
Dorian held the little pot of wax tighter, and sparks of stubborn pain returned to his cuts.
“My dear Grand Enchanter, technicalities are everything.”