i love how violet is nodding off and then catches herself when she realizes someone is coming

SF&R, Side Stories: On This Winter’s Night

For @slothquisitor , @thesecondsealwrites , and @missragdoll84 .

Because he never owned a purple pen.

This fits between chapters 28 and 29 of Songs Forgotten and Remembered.


The lamp is burning low upon my tabletop
My glass is almost empty
I read again between the lines upon each page
The words of love you sent me.

-“Song for a Winter’s Night” by Gordon Lightfoot


25 Firstfall, 9:36 Dragon

Thea delicately brushed the snow out of her hair with gloved hands as she stepped into The Rose, the only bar in Kirkwall still open this late on Satinalia. Coming to the City of Chains had not been her first choice for spending the holiday, but she had known that this year would be difficult for Ravenna, so soon after Carver had died. Ven could have come home to Denerim, of course: Bethany and Leandra had done their best to persuade her to do so, but Thea understood. Sometimes, it was easier to just put some distance between oneself and the pain. It had been simple enough for her to slip away for a few days to come visit; personally, she suspected that her aunt and uncle were slightly relieved they would not have to spend another holiday running interference between Theadosia and Rendon Howe, both of whom had dropped all pretense of civility once Nathaniel had left. Besides, tomorrow when Ravenna was sleeping off the nasty hangover she was undoubtedly going to be nursing, Thea would be able to spend some time with someone else.

Despite her best efforts, a small smile stole across her face when she thought of just who she would be spending the day with. He had offered to come for the holiday itself; Anora had even invited her to spend Satinalia with them, but they both knew it was a bad idea. They were still adamant about keeping… whatever this was… quiet, and that meant exercising an abundance of caution and discretion. And so Thea found herself alone on Satinalia night, sauntering up the bar and ordering a glass of her favorite whiskey as she hopped up onto one of the barstools she could swear were set higher than they needed to be. To her slight annoyance, she realized that there was a pair of very, very inebriated young men seated beside her. One, the blonde, looked vaguely familiar, and after a moment Thea recognized him as Ven’s maybe boyfriend, Anders. The other, dark haired man…

“Oh you have got to fucking kidding me…”

Thea slipped off the stool and came around to the other side of Nathaniel Howe, who looked to be several sheets to the wind and none too coherent. She would have recognized him anywhere: he had been her best friend for many years before he had vanished without a trace. He glanced at her, but she knew she probably did not look much the same as she had five years ago. Even had Nate been stone sober, he may not have recognized her. Instead, he just tilted his head curiously before it fell hard against the bar.

Why did you think this was a good idea?” She grumbled, clambering up onto the stool beside him.

“You’re pretty,” he slurred, his eyes half shut. “Almost as pretty as Cataline.”

“Ah. Remember her, do you?” Thea’s voice was sharp with bitterness, but at the moment she didn’t care. She was fucking proud of herself for keeping her temper in check as it was. “You also remember how you left without a word? Broke her damn heart and just about killed me? Any of that ring a bell?”

“Cataline… I love her… wish I’d told her…”

Thea sighed, throwing back the rest of her whiskey in a single gulp before signaling Corff the bartender for another. “Yeah, Nate. I wish you’d told her too. She misses you like crazy, you know that, right? I do too, obviously. There’s so much I wish we could talk about; so much I just can’t tell Cat…” She gave another long, slow exhale. “If I anyone would understand what I see in him, it would be you,” she murmured quietly, the faintest hint of regret creeping into her tone. “For Cat though… for her it is something different. She’s head over heels in love with you, you idiot, even now. One of these days, you are going to figure that out. I just hope it’s not too late when you do.” She sat and sipped her whiskey, listening as Nathaniel mumbled incoherently, occasionally catching Cat’s name in the inebriated litany. After she finished her second drink, she retrieved her phone out of her pocket and called a local cab service, then pulled a handful of bills out of her wallet and beckoned Corff over.

“This,” she slipped a bill over the counter, “Is for my tab. This is for theirs. This one,” she rolled her eyes, “Is to get them safely into the cab I just called, and this one is to buy your silence. I was never here tonight, you understand?” Corff nodded, his eyes widening slightly at Thea’s generosity. Meanwhile, she turned back to her friend, who was dozing fitfully. Before she could think better of it, she reached into her handbag and pulled out her favorite purple pen. She tested it briefly on a cocktail napkin, then she carefully took Nathaniel’s hand in hers and traced a series of numbers in the violet ink. Blowing briefly to dry the ink of her handiwork, she placed the pen back in her bag. She knew that, whatever bullshit Nathaniel still needed to work out, he would have to make the decision to come home on his own. That being said, she was not above giving him a little nudge.

With a small, sad shake of her head, Thea leaned down and pressed a firm kiss to Nathaniel’s cheek, trying to ignore the tears that were welling up behind her eyes. Just one more secret from Cat. I’m starting a damn collection. She slipped her gloves back on, and then disappeared into the dark, silent winter night.


24 Firstfall, 9:41 Dragon

“Teddy girl, where do you want this box of ornaments?” Nathaniel gestured to the cardboard box at his feet that Cullen had just retrieved from the attic.

Thea glanced over to where he was pointing. “Um… set it over by the mantle. Thom is setting up the tree this afternoon, but ornaments usually don’t go on until everyone gets here later tonight. Just make sure it stays closed or the girls will get into it and we’ll have no end of a mess.” Johanna and Susanna looked up from where they were lounging by the fire, tails twitching with annoying nonchalance as if to imply that they were offended by the very implication they might cause feline mischief.

As Nathaniel walked past her with the box, she pulled her pen out of her pocket and began absently scribbling a list of tasks she still needed to complete before that evening on her hand. Despite Cataline’s best efforts to break her of the habit, Thea was still notorious for writing reminders and other notes on her hand rather than putting them in her phone or on a notepad. I still need to bake the dinner rolls, and bring the beer up from the cellar and put it in the fridge, and…

“Thea?”

She looked up to find Nathaniel staring at her hand. “Yeah, Nate? You ok?”

He pointed to her pen. “You write with purple ink.”

Thea shrugged. “Yes, it is yet another one of my quirks, I suppose. I’ve always loved writing with purple ink, and this is my favorite pen. I’ve had it for, what, six or seven years? I keep replacing the ink barrels because I can’t seem to part with the pen itself.”

“So, you would have had that pen say, five years ago? Maybe on a Satinalia night, in a late night bar in Kirkwall where a very, very drunk young man was pining over his lost love, and woke up hungover the next day to find her phone number written on his hand in purple ink?”

She looked at him, her head tilted slightly to the side and a small smile creeping across her face. “I suppose it is possible that, five years ago, I may have been in a bar in Kirkwall on Satinalia. It is even possible that I had this pen with me that night. As I said, it is my favorite.” Thea paused, then held her arms out to her friend. Nathaniel stepped forward and wrapped her in a tight embrace.

“And yes,” she murmured against his chest, “It is also possible that I found my best friend there, shit faced drunk and missing the love of his life. And it is possible that somewhere in the depths of whatever was left of my soul, I wanted to remind him of who he was. And that he still had a home to come back to.”

He pressed a kiss to the top of her head. “Thank you, Thea. And I’m sorry it took me so long to get the message.”

“That’s ok,” she smiled.

“You’re home now.”

Everything is going wrong. 

Isobeau watched from the lawn couch the Kilmaster’s had placed in the lounge section of their tent reception as Ellis, yet again, escaped the prying questions of his aunt and uncle. Despite her best effort, her hazel gaze disobeyed her wishes and drifted to view the paladin and her two girls with a frown turning down on her lips.

I can’t do this anymore. You win.

She dropped her eyes from Odessii and took a moment to stare at the near full champagne bottle and pursed her lips as she internalized the split second decision she’d just made. Suddenly, the green tinted glass was placed in the grass at the corner of the couch and Isobeau was taking quick strides towards somewhere else. Anywhere else.

“Oi, girl! Still planning on splitting the bottle?”

“Nope,” she responded flatly. “But thank you for the consideration.”

She heard the gnome who’d offered her the champagne whistling behind her, but she kept walking. Her gaze was set stiffly on a tree that was just out of earshot of the reception tent. It was out of sight. Her hands clutched at the hem of the skirt of her royal blue gown to hold it up out of the dirt, not that it mattered much. Minutes later, she was sitting in the grass at the base of the tree trunk. The view was nice. She’d known Greystone was stunning, but she’d only now taken the time to attempt to appreciate the scenery it offered. It didn’t last very long, though, before Tweak’s face was blocking out the rolling hills he had his back to. He quietly placed the bottle of champagne she’d left behind between them. She swept her eyes over the offer, but ultimately ignored it, deciding to seek advice from the half-man instead.

“Have you ever told someone you loved them and not meant it?”

She could see that the little gnome wasn’t at all expecting the question that seemed to breeze past her lips so easily. But with such a heavy curiosity being heaved upon him, he sat before the dark haired highborn and shook his head.

“I personally have never, no. I’ll tell people that I like them, or enjoy their company and not be honest about it, but I never lie about love.”

She sighed in response with a frown permeating her features. "He told me that yesterday, you know? We’ve known each other all our lives and all our lives we’ve shared these feelings that we were too young to name. And then he asked my brother to court me and then my father died and I couldn’t handle it so I disappeared. I came back with the intention of getting him back, but he was to have an arranged marriage with someone that ended up not working out, and then he met Odessii and I know…“ she paused and sighed, as if continuing caused her physical pain. “I know he has feelings for her. And I don’t mind, I really don’t. I want nothing more than for him to be happy and if that’s what she brings, then that’s what I am happy with, but why say that?” It was clear by the sudden word vomit, her spilling every thought to this… stranger, the tequila was wearing on her. The situation was wearing on her.

He only sat there quietly for several moments, his body shaking with a sigh. “Dove, you love the boy, aye?”

She remained silent for a moment. No one had asked her point blank yet and she wasn’t prepared for anyone to. Finally, she nodded weakly and looked towards her lap again. “More than anything.”

Suddenly, the bottle of champagne was being thrust out towards her and Tweaks began a story. “Several years ago I had a wife, and I let her slip just outside my reach. Inches and I would still have her . You will -not- make the same mistake I did. Saunter that ass back on in there, and act with confidence.  He seems like an earnest enough boy, I doubt he would be false to you. If I’m wrong, you can stab me directly in the heart. You’ve got to lay it on the table, talk to the boy.” He drew in a breath, going full parade ground, drill sergeant yell. “GO!”

She jumped slightly at the sudden command, but she shook her head. “I… can’t. I won’t force him into something he might not want.” She reached for the bottle, but couldn’t bring herself to bring it to her lips. Instead, she set it down in her lap and let her head fall lazily against the tree trunk. “I’ll just dance and… find someone else, I guess.”

“Will you ever find another man like him?”

She laughed lazily and shook her head, her eyes closing against the leaves the sky they nearly blocked out entirely. “Nope. Never.”

“Then why the devil would you let him slip? You don’t even know what he wants, so go fucking ask him.”

She grinned at him and leaned forward slightly, squinting to get a good look at his face. “What’s your name again? I like you.”

“Me? I’m Tweaks Shadowspanner. But you can call me Uncle Tweaks. Now get fuckin’ going.”

Suddenly, Ellis was approaching the two of them slowly… hesitantly. He nodded towards the gnome, realizing he might be interrupting. “Tweaks,” he simply said in greeting. “May I borrow Isobeau from you? If it isn’t any trouble.”

Tweaks looked up at Ellis, then back to Isobeau. She watched as he offered her a single wink, then pivoted on his heel immediately, marching off back to the lounge area, leaving the bottle of champagne with the two of them. Isobeua’s hazel gaze glanced up towards Ellis, but there was no real thrill in her eyes. She simply looked back towards the bottle in her lap before moving it off to the side, having little interest in the alcohol at this point. “You’re back,” she stated flatly.

“Of course I am.”

She couldn’t see him, but she heard the grass make way for his steps as he walked closer and turned to slowly slide down the trunk of the tree, now sitting beside her, but facing the side. She could see him playing with his fingers out of the corner of her eye, but neither of them spoke.

“I’m sorry for being awkward back there. It never should have turned in to an us defending our stance on our relationship instead of you and I… separately.” His voice finally broke the silence, but she couldn’t bring herself to respond right away. Instead, she simply shook her head and forced a smile to her lips. Remember… you don’t care. Really, it’s not something you have to apologize for. We’re not officially anything and like I said yesterday, I left and you owe me nothing.”

He offered a little nod, but she didn’t catch it. Her gaze was still glued to the panoramic view of the cliff side that lead down to the ocean. “You might not think that I do, but I feel as though I’ve been an ass.” Another sigh.”I mean what I say and I say what I mean. I’ve loved you for a long time and I want things to be clear between us. I just want you to know everything before you decide if you want to be with me.”

Please… stop saying that. He utter those three words to her again, and all it did was send a sharp sting through her chest. “Then tell me,” she retorted softly. Her chin turned so her gaze was forced to meet his. “I’ve been begging you to tell me and not that we’re at a breaking point… Please, Ellis. Just tell me.”

She kept her eyes on him, watching him turn towards her more and then sigh. “…Even if you’re going to get mad and likely yell at me, I accept the fact that you might walk away from me and never speak to me again. I still promise to come to your birthday, even if you’re really mad. And I will still love you even if you tell me to pound salt.” Oh no… The pause he left to clear his throat was deafening. She couldn’t guess what was going to follow, but the tears were already threatening the rims of her eyes. “I slept with another woman.”

At first it was utter disbelief that left the raven haired girl colorless despite the tears that immediately began swarming her cheeks. Tell me you’re lying. Please. Let this be a test. She fell silent as she struggled to search for the proper words, but she couldn’t keep looking at him. To say it hurt would have been an understatement. When words finally left her tequila stained tongue, they were choked and broken. “Who was it?”

“Does it really matter?” His voice was soft on her ears. Don’t you dare comfort me. “Would it make it any better if I did? Or would it make it worse?”

“Of course it matters,” she shot back. Don’t say her name. Tell me it wasn’t her. “Is she the other possibility you mentioned? Tell me I haven’t smiled at her today.”

She watched as he turned his gaze from her, his chest falling with another sigh. “It isn’t anyone’s fault but mine. So please, don’t punish anyone but me. I’m the one that deserves your wrath.”

She shook her head and brought the back of her hand up to her cheeks to brush the tears from her cheeks. “Had I returned?”

Ellis simply nodded. “You returned after her and I had already met. She was one of the other women I was telling you about.”

“That’s not what I asked you,” she stated, her voice becoming stronger and, unintentionally, more angry. “When you were in her bed. Was it after I came back to Violet Pointe?”

Ellis lifted his chin, meeting her gaze. “Not after I came to visit… ”

“Give me a time frame, Ellis. How many days. Stop beating around the fucking bush and just spit it out.” Stop it. You don’t care.

“Why is that so important?” He frowned. “This past week, okay? Isobeau, I… ” You don’t deserve me. He sighed and got to his feet, ready to walk away. “I don’t attribute any excuses to this. I realize I’ve made a mess and I’ve changed how you will forever see me. But I had to tell you, regardless of what it might mean for us.”

The girl was furious. “You wouldn’t even kiss me because of your stupid Paladin honor and the promise you’d made to Ametiel.” Her voice was coming out loud enough for those in the tent to understand she was yelling, but not make out her words. “How the hell did you think this was going to go? Did you think that if you professed your love for me before it’d magically change everything? What did she have that I didn’t?”

He face her, but she couldn’t read anything from his expression, nothing but the shake of his head.  “That had nothing to do with it. She isn’t better than you that wasn’t what it was about. I needed you to know that I still feel that way for you no matter what.” Another agonizing sigh.  “I know I can’t magically fix anything.” Her tear stained gaze moved to the handkerchief he presented for her, but her muscles were frozen. Even if she’d wanted to, she couldn’t bring herself to reach out and take it. 

You left. You broke the promise. Her chin quivered as as she thought of her next question, her gaze now falling back tot he lush summer grass. She couldn’t bear the truth the micro expressions would show her. “Are you in love with me? You keep saying you love me, but are you in love with me?”

“It took me this to realize that I am. And now I’m losing you. And it’s what I deserve.” As he finished speaking, her hazel orbs found his odd gaze. They were misting over, but he had managed to find the secret to keep himself together.  She wasn’t sure what hurt more: that he’d lied to her or that he lied to her and was now telling her that he loved her. It wasn’t the childhood love, though. No… Her chin quivered again as she bit back more tears. Instead of offering him a verbal response, she walked herself into his arms and pressed herself to his form. “Tell me what you want. Forget about duty. Forget about honor. I need you to spell it out for me. I’m about to convince myself that I don’t care and I need you to promise me that it’s worth it.”

She didn’t feel his arms come around her right away, but she waited. fifteen years for this moment… She could wait a few more minutes for him to pull her close or push her away. Finally, she felt him move. His arms came around her small frame and pulled her close to him. “I’d like to ask you again when I get back, if you’d let me court you. And I will ask you because I know that I want you to be a part of me for the rest of my life in matrimony.”

~mentions: @light-finds-a-way @odessii-dragonblade @tshadowspanner @alistandra @iankilmaster ~

anonymous asked:

Any chance you could write a drabble in which for once Violet isn't criticizing Cora and is actually defending her/complimenting her? I just really believe that after all those years, Violet is actually quite fond of Cora.

Hi Anon! I loved this request, thank you!! I hope what I came up with is something of what you wanted. 

The force of Violet’s impatient footsteps rattled the crystal tear-drops hanging from the gas lamps lining the hallway. The runner covering the wooden floor absorbed most of the agitated sound, transforming it into a blunt thunder as her feet fell heavily in succession, one after the other, until she was within sight of her destination. Before she could reach the closed door, it cautiously creeped inward as someone stepped out. Thinking the gallery to be abandoned, Dr Clarkson let his shoulders fall forward, resting one hand on his hip and wiping his brow with a soiled handkerchief. Violet was close enough to hear the staggered sigh of breath push outward, close enough to see the somber set of his jaw. Clasping her hands harshly to still the jitter of fear that flared beneath her breast, Violet pointed her chin out and started walking once more.

Startling to attention, Dr Clarkson wiped any trace of emotion from his face and straightened.

“How is Lady Grantham?” Violet asked, keeping her voice quiet, even.

“Resting,” Dr Clarkson answered.

“And she’ll recover.” It was said in Violet’s usual tone, the tone she used with those who served her. The tone that left room for no arguments, no responses other than a meek ‘yes my lady’.

Dr. Clarkson’s eyes, which had only briefly met hers before concentrating on the folding of his kerchief, flickered up once again. He licked his lips, he stuffed the folded linen in to his pocket, he hesitated.

A cold chill over her exposed arms had Violet wishing for her shawl, wishing for something to twist her hands into and pull tightly around herself.

“Dr. Clarkson?” Violet pressed.

“There was substantial blood loss at the birth,” Dr Clarkson explained tiredly, “and now with the infection…”.

“But will she live?” Violet meant the question to come out strongly, more like a certainty, but the words themselves drew out the faint hint of a break in her voice.

“Lady Grantham is quite ill,” Dr Clarkson said finally, carefully and Violet turned away, her steps toward the bedroom deliberate, measured.

Easing the door open, Violet squinted, looking into the room, the curtains drawn and the fire lit. Cora’s maid busied herself with gathering linens, soundlessly moving from one chore to another, tidying up what Dr Clarkson had muddled.

Robert did not move, even as she came near. He remained perched at the edge of his chair, his elbows on the bed holding Cora’s hand, his eyes fluttering in a dim shock as he focused on his wife.

Standing by his side, Violet looked over at Cora. Feeling Robert’s eyes trained on her, hanging his hopes and fears on her reaction, Violet quelled any outward response. She blinked hard and fast however, a fierce and sudden burning behind her eyes blurring the room.

She had never seen Cora so still, her daughter in law usually flooding the space around her with an abundance of animation. Her pallor was accentuated by the dark curls that stuck to her fevered face and Violet leaned forward, tenderly brushing them aside, her stomach rolling at the heat that kissed her hand.

“Oh God,” Robert choked out behind her and when Violet turned in his direction she saw his head was now in his hands. “She’s going to die, isn’t she?”

“Now, Robert,” Violet cautioned. Her eyes flicking back to Cora, she saw her coal colored eyebrows twitch down at the sound of his distressed voice.

Robert shook his head, his face still buried in his palms.

“It’s all my fault,” Robert lamented lowly.

Violet stepped away from the bed, laying a hand on her son’s arm. “Of course it isn’t!”

Robert looked up at her with watering, pain wrinkled eyes. “It is, though. If she didn’t feel pressured to give me an heir we would have been content with Mary and Edith.”

“Cora is a good wife who loves you,” Violet said steadily. “She is strong. And you must be strong too.”

Robert let his eyes fall closed, listening to his mother’s words and after a moment, nodded.

“Mama?” Robert asked, his voice small and uncertain, bringing Violet back to the days of his boyhood. “Do you think she will be all right?”

“I do,” Violet stated. “Now, the wet nurse has just arrived. Why don’t you step out for some air and make sure she and little Sybil are settled.”

Robert cast his worried eyes at Cora, reaching out and tracing the top of her hand with his fingertips.

“I’ll stay with her. Go.” Violet ordered.

Reluctantly, Robert rose, his eyes lingering on the bed before he turned and left the room. Violet exhaled, a faltering deep breath that she hadn’t realized she’d been holding. Bringing Robert’s chair closer, Violet sat down, pushing up the lace sleeve of her dress and plunging her hand in the bowl of icy water on the night table. Ringing the cloth out, she placed the cool compress onto Cora’s forehead gingerly, carefully arranging it so that it covered her brow completely.

“Now don’t you dare make a liar out of me, child,” Violet scolded gently.

Cora’s lips parted and a soft moan passed through them, the sound making the heaviness in Violet’s chest fall to her feet. Clearing her throat, Violet looked away, the old leather volume on Cora’s night table catching her attention. Taking hold of the book, Violet rested it on her lap and read the title. Little Women. Violet grunted and opened the book where Cora’s place holder was nestled.

“In the cold gray dawn the sisters lit their lamp and read their chapter with an earnestness never felt before. For now the shadow of a real trouble had come, the little books were full of help and comfort, and as they dressed, they agreed to say goodbye cheerfully and hopefully, and send their mother on her anxious journey unsaddened by tears or complaints from them.”

Violet paused in her reading and looked up to see Cora’s clouded eyes, opened but unfocused, looking in her direction.

“Would you like me to continue?” Violet asked softly.

Humming in consent, Cora’s eyes fluttered closed once more. Biting down the smile that tugged at her lips, Violet smoothed out the page and began where she had left off.

A/N: Inspired by this.


Angie’s standing with her forehead practically to the surface of the door of the apartment on the opposite side of the hall. An almost blushing, floaty smile on her face, hands cupped on the wood, she whirls around at the sound of Peggy stepping outside of her room and closing her door behind her.

“Angie?” Peggy asks curiously.

“Oh, hey, English,” Angie chirps, straightening, her smile tamping down into something less entirely ebullient as she glances at Peggy, then the door she’d been in front of, “Just wishin’ Evelyn good night. She’s not gonna be at dinner.”

Evelyn. The one who works as a lounge singer at a club at midtown. The one who lives in 3B.

Nodding, Peggy doesn’t think much of it. “I see. That’s very nice of you. Willing to accompany me, then?” she smiles.

Angie grins. “Of course!” she falls into step with Peggy, starting quickly into an innocent chatter about her day and Peggy’s day and if Peggy thinks they’ll have something unique for dinner.

Peggy doesn’t think so, and is proven correct minutes later. Sharing a commiserating smile with her before she has to take a seat at a table away from hers, Angie’s done well before she is and slips away.

Peggy’s not particularly bothered. She’s known for a while how fast Angie eats.


The next time Peggy sees Angie, she’s sitting in the public area of the Griffith lobby. It’s morning, before the normal start of a day shift, and a blonde, almost sandy haired, pretty woman - Evelyn, Peggy’s mind fills in from that first afternoon she’d walked into the Griffith - is sitting across from Angie in a chair close enough that their knees are almost pressing against each other’s.

“Good morning,” Peggy greets, bothering to interrupt the air of privacy Angie and Evelyn had cultivated out of sheer propriety, barely paying attention as she strides past.

Glancing up, smile tugging up in a responding hello, Angie waves.

Evelyn, twisting in her seat to peer at Peggy walking by, smiles and waves as well.

Granting the two distracted, well-meaning nods, Peggy’s out the door and down the street before she realizes there was something peculiar about her friend and her across-the-hall neighbor.

Chalking it up as not knowing Evelyn as well as she might, Peggy puts it out of her mind.

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