The Inquisitor did not remind him of her.
The ways she moved was nothing like the distracted sway of her gait. The tips of her ears were round as any human that ever lived. Her steps were long and proud; the turn of her lips the most foolish thing you had ever seen. Even when she joked with the maleficar, her lips were but upturned: the quiet humor showedmore in her eyes.
When Leona smiled, it was with her whole body. Even when she returned, newly recruited to the Grey Wardens, in better humor than he had ever seen, her body was still controlled, little, clever grins only lingering on the lips and in the eyes.
The only thing the Inquisitor and the Warden had in common was their curse.
The only thing they had in common was the duty that crept up and closed a steely hand around his heart whenever his eyes lingered on them too long.
But that sense of duty was stronger now, thank the Maker, than ever it was before.
Cullen closed his eyes and saw the Kirkwall Chantry splintering into a thousand pieces, alight with the red glow of lyrium, the burnt electric tang of magic and greasy smoke as it filled the air when battle set the city aflame for the second time in six years. It pressed his heart like a vice, until there was nothing but cold indifference when he opened his eyes again to the Inquisitor weaving a defensive spell around Tethras, a blue aura gracing her fingertips as they danced a complex pattern of ancient runes.
There was little magic touched that it did not corrupt, even less that it did not destroy.
He banished the thought of both Leona and… Minas. He could think her name. It had no power over him now. The Warden was long gone, and here, now, he thrust his blade deep into the chest of some wretched abomination, veins alight with the crisp, bright thrum of a holy Smite. If he never saw a Ferelden mage again, Cullen would die a happy man, and the memories of a tower plunged into darkness and blood and screaming despair could lie forever buried.
Their enemies lie sundered in the dust around them.
Cullen did not notice the wound struck between the plates of his shoulder until the Inquisitor was upon him, palms thrumming with warm, clear traces of healing magic, and he hissed as a bolt of Silence wrenched itself from his flagging body before he could call it back. Leona took another step closer, frowning, and he jerked away, shield-arm hanging heavy. "No. It's fine. I can wait until we reach the keep—tend to the others."
The frown did not suit her round, jovial features, and it did not stay, though she arched an eyebrow at him in a fashion that, he realized with a turning stomach, told him he would be asked to speak with her about the incident later. He'd done nothing wrong. Perhaps he had lost control for a moment, but she should not have approached him in such a manner.
Cullen nonetheless did not relish the thought of explaining.
"As you wish, then!" Her hips swayed as she walked, flicking an unconcerned wrist toward the sky in a flamboyant gesture as she returned to Tethras and Sera. She shattered the tension that had developed between them when she added: "Don't come crying to me when your arm falls off—you'll have to deal with Vivienne. Or maybe Dorian."
Cullen scowled. Dorian was the last person he wanted to deal with.
"Oo, tough luck, Paladin," the dwarf chuckled.
He did not reply, but sheathed his weapons and set to staunching the flow of blood while Leona tended her rogues. The dull stinging each time he pressed a bandage to the damaged juncture was sufficient distraction to keep Cullen's mind far away from what he might have felt were it the Inquisitor's gentle hand pressed to him instead, lips upturned in a warm, foolish smile.
It was better this way.