Because I'm a sucker for your Darren centered fics, if you're still doing it 9 with Darren?
9 - Falling. A pre-Skyhold, pre-Dawn Squad fic in which Darren is forced to face his fear of heights by someone who really doesn’t care how scared he is. Also known as one of the reasons he was moved to the Dawn Squad.
(Approx 1500 words, most under the cut) <3
“Come on, kid - check out the view!”
“N-No, that’s all right! I’m fine back here!” Darren’s mouth tasted like a handful of dust as he called his reply, taking an extra step back for good measure. “You guys just… look for me!”
They were almost at Skyhold, the difficult journey from Haven having drawn everyone to their very thinnest point. Tensions were frayed, poised to snap, and Darren’s refusal to join the rest of his squad seemed to have done it. What normally would have passed with nothing more than a snort and a shaking of the head lit a fire beneath Heralt, one of the bigger soldiers Darren made a point of avoiding. The huge man turned, marching over and grabbing the boy by the wrist.
“Fuckin’ coward, and not even in a fight either.” He hauled Darren towards the cliff edge, ignoring the blonde’s increasingly frantic protests as he dug his heels into the snow-slick ground, trying to pull out of that iron grip. But Heralt’s fingers fastened like a shackle around his wrist, and no amount of pulling or tugging could set Darren free.
“Stop! Stop it - I don’t want to! Please, don’t!Don’t!” Panic pitched his voice higher than usual, and it stirred a laugh from a few of the other recruits. But some looked on uncomfortably, the pity in their gazes tempered by relief that it was not them being targeted. “Don’t…” Darren begged again, but this one was barely above a whisper, the word dying in his throat as the edge got closer and closer. As the ground dropped away, slicing down a sheer face of rock, trees like needles at the bottom, green and brown against the white, tangled and sharp and twisting and…
He was going to fall. Darren knew he was, and he switched from pulling away to pulling himself close, clinging to Heralt’s arm like he was drowning and the tall soldier was the only thing keeping him afloat. But Heralt just grunted dragged himself out of Darren’s grip. Gruffly, he took the boy by the shoulders instead, steering him in front, forcing him forward step by unwilling step until Darren could see that deadly drop looming a few short inches from where his boots ended. A shrill, panicked sound rose to his throat but he didn’t dare move - didn’t dare fight. He would fall - he would fall - if he did!
“Please,” he squeaked, tears of fear pricking his eyes. “Please, please, please, stop! Let me go, I don’t want to—” He broke off with an aborted scream as Heralt jerked him forwards, those large hands still gripping his shoulders tight but that didn’t matter. Darren’s stomach lurched as that deadly drop rose suddenly to meet him, the sensation of falling too powerful to ignore despite his feet being planted on solid ground. He gasped hard, colour draining from his skin, shaking and wishing for the first time, deeply and truly, that he’d never left home. Behind him, Heralt laughed loudly and repeated the motion for his increasingly smaller audience, all but his biggest fans choosing to leave before things had a chance to get out of hand.