I was given the prompt “Varric Likes Small Frogs” by downboy so here is my attempt at a little ficlet!
Varric does not like small frogs.
As a general rule, Varric disliked nature, and the noisy, slimy, bug-eyed things tended to hang out where all the worst kind of nature was. Bogs, swamps, marshes, disgusting places Varric was all too happy to avoid. Even picturesque little ponds that seemed lovely enough in a painting or on the page were always lousy with mosquitos and frogs and WILDLIFE.
Varric swatted an offending insect on his arm and readjusted himself on his seat, an overturned bucket that kept his ass well enough away from the soggy Hinterlands dirt. Sighing deeply, he hoisted Bianca onto his lap and began to scrub off the evidence of the day’s adventuring.
He probably wouldn’t have noticed Cole looming over him if it hadn’t been for the choir of croaks and chirps and peeps, all of a sudden much louder and more present. Varric popped his eyes up to greet him, but was met instead with Cole’s upturned helmet, held loosely in the boy’s spindly fingers and positively brimming with tiny, noisy frogs.
“Kid did you…fill your hat with frogs?” Varric asked slowly, not wanting to sound judgmental. Cole blinked, his huge, owlish eyes shuffling back and forth between Varric and his helmet, the bundle of frogs squirming and chirping merrily in his grasp.
“Yes,” he said finally, extending his hat just a bit closer to Varric. “See?”
Varric grimaced slightly and leaned away, and Cole stiffened. He quickly drew the helmet back to his chest, peering into the mass of teeny wriggling things.
“You don’t like them,” he said quietly, watching one of the frogs spring free of the group and land soundlessly on the hat’s wide brim.
“No, no, they’re great kid,” Varric said quickly, willing himself to lean a little closer to Cole’s hat. He was now acutely aware that the frogs could start launching themselves at him at any moment. “So why in your hat? Were they not happy down by the water?”
“The seasons are changing,” Cole said a little wistfully, reaching into his hat to let one of the frogs clamber onto his hand. “They call out, the cold is coming, soon it will be time for them to sleep.”
Varric nodded and watched Cole bring his hand up to his face, closely observing the tiny creature through his veil of bangs.
“But they don’t WANT to sleep. They want to sing and swim, savor skittering things.” Cole blinked, and the frog blinked back. “They want to be awake.”
“And it’s always nice and warm in Skyhold,” Varric said with a smile. “Lots of bugs too.” Cole nodded.
“They will be happy there. And they’ll be happy in my hat. For a little while.” Varric chuckled warmly at Cole, who looked so pleased with his helmetful of frogs.
“Well kid, I think-” One of the frogs suddenly rocketed itself straight at Varric, who let out a manly yelp and flinched, throwing an arm in front of his face. The frog landed gently on the back of his gloved hand.
Cole’s laugh was airy and strange, but not unpleasant.
“He likes you,” he said as Varric reopened his eyes and carefully brought the little critter closer. It stared at him earnestly with its tremendous eyes, and just behind it, Cole did the same.
“It’s….cute,” Varric resigned, watching its little frog throat puff and wiggle as it chirped. Cole beamed, gently scooped the frog from Varric’s hand, and slinked away. The choir of noise spilling from Cole’s hat faded back into a low, ambient murmur as the boy wandered towards Bull, who’s general enthusiasm about everything would probably include a stupid amount of small frogs.
Well, if Cole liked them…
Varric could like small frogs too.