Adaira Trevelyan usually kept to herself and she kept true to that as she observed everyone eat and drink at the small tavern in Skyhold. Well, not everyone. Cole was nowhere to be found by sight, although she could sense him at the edge of her consciousness and Solas was… somewhere. She'd found him sleeping in a dark corner of the library and knew that he was traveling the Fade. She didn't think Vivienne would dare be caught in such… riotous company. She was surprised Cassandra and Cullen were there, but they seemed to be having a good time.
Sent to the Mage's Circle in Ostwick when she was six, she learned quickly how to meld with the shadows and become unseen. The Templars had been terse at best, and could get downright mean if she bothered them. Even the mages living there hadn't cared for her much and so she had found solace in her books and training. She didn't have any real friends until she was fifteen, when a boy named Gareth came to the Circle. He had been late in developing his magical abilities and that had put him out of anyone's notice, mage or Templar.
Gareth used to get into a lot of trouble and because of that, was often put into solitary confinement. Adaira understood how lonely it could be, as she had been placed there many times before. She would sneak down to the basement and talk to him or give him food. They became friends and were practically attached at the hip from then on, at least until the Circle fell and all the mages and Templars started going crazy. In the midst of trying to escape the chaos, they were cornered by Templars. He had taken a blade meant for her and there had been nothing she could have done. A furrow creased her brows. Maker, she missed him. Shaking her head of such thoughts –he wouldn't want her dwelling on his death anyway- she continued to observe the members of the Inquisition.
They were playing Wicked Grace, a card game. It was a card game based on deception and being clever. You were losing if you had a hand with little to no matching suits. Two sets of matching suits was a fair hand. The best hand was apparently when one had a set of four of the same suit. If the Angel of Death appeared, the person won the game. It was intriguing and she liked watching them play. To her surprise, no one was cheating. She had expected at least Varric to cheat, what with his light fingers and all. He was being honest – as honest as someone could be in Wicked Grace. She knew the mechanics and had played very little. What cards she and Gareth had been able to get their hands on were either mismatched or too faded to read.
With a wicked grin on her face, Adaira saw Josephine was winning. Of course she was. Josephine had just the right amount of cunning and wile to be a natural at this game. The Iron Bull was out, but he hadn't gone out before Sera did. Sera was too busy listening to everyone talk to really pay attention to her cards. She watched as Cassandra and then Dorian quit playing. Blackwall quit soon after. It was just Varric, Cullen, Leliana and Josephine now. Why Cullen was still playing was beyond her, but she had an inkling Varric had goaded him into it. The red tinge to his ears also signified that the ex-Templar had had a little too much to drink. He would be losing soon.
Five minutes later, Leliana was collecting her winnings. Josephine was shaking her head with a bemused look on her face. Varric was grinning and looking very smug at Cullen, whose ears were now bright red, whether from blushing too many times that evening or too much to drink. She crawled back into the shadows as they concluded their get together, and one by one they all left for their prospective beds for the night. She watched as Cullen stumbled out of the tavern and she felt a twinge of concern. There were a lot of steps to reach his quarters.
Moving quickly with a nimbleness a rogue would be envious of, she followed him across the grounds. It wasn't that hard, considering he was concentrating too hard on not falling over. Once he reached the stairs, however, he stopped and released a soft curse. Adaira figured she should help him.
She cleared her throat, "I uh, couldn't help but notice your predicament."
He jumped as she knew he would, "Sweet Maker!" The sudden movement must have been too much, however, as he started to fall over. In a useless effort to right him, she swiftly moved to his side but she was not strong enough to hold his weight with such force. With a grunt, they both hit the ground and she was thankful that this area of the courtyard had not been paved as her back would have been feeling very sore if it had been. As it was, the breath had been knocked out of her with the force of his body falling on top of hers. He desperately tried to get off of her and untangle their limbs while profusely apologizing.
"Cullen," she tried to get out, but his knee connected with her thigh and she hissed. "Cullen." She huffed as he continued his movements. "Cullen!" her voice came out sharp and did as it was intended to do. He stopped moving and looked at her. "Stop moving." Quickly, she wiggled out from underneath him and back onto her feet again. Bracing herself, she helped him up. Slowly but surely, they made their way up the two flights of stairs to his room.
"I fear I may have…" he grimaced. "Over imbibed tonight. I do apologize."
She snorted, "You're fine. Everyone gets drunk now and then."
He frowned, a rather upset look coming across his face, "Why were you not there with us tonight? No one has ever seen you drunk."
She almost told him that she was there, she just hadn't participated, but that would probably be awkward to explain. "I was not invited," she said simply and it was true. No one had told her that they would be getting together that night. She had just happened to be hanging out in the tavern when they arrived.
"I thought I told Vivienne to tell you," he said.
"Ah well there's your problem. Never tell Vivienne something you want to get done. More often than not, she either ignores it or forgets about it shortly after," she replied. "Can you place your weight on the wall here? Try not to fall over." He did as told while she open the door to his office. "Okay, back on me now."
Cullen became very serious in that moment, "I apologize. Next time I will tell you myself."
She rolled her eyes, "No need get so serious about it. Anyway, think you can get up the ladder?"
"Perhaps it would be best if you went first, so that you may help me through." She nodded and gracefully climbed the ladder. As he began to clumber up after her he said, "You know, one would think you were a rogue than a mage."
"I learned quickly that it was better for me that way," she replied. He fumbled on the ladder but caught himself. Why he had insisted his rooms be up high she didn't understand. There were a lot of things she didn't understand about Cullen. Grunting, she tried to steady him as he struggled to right himself. She sighed in relief when it was over with.
He swayed, but she quickly balanced him back out. She made him sit on his bed. He waved her away when she tried to kneel down to unlace his boots. Rather than argue with him about it, she watched as he dipped his head… and started to fall forward. She caught him before he hit the floor and he chuckled.
"I apparently do not hold my liquor well," he replied. She opted not to make the comment that he drank way more than was necessary. He did not attempt to move her away when she knelt down again to remove his boots. Making quick work of them, she set them by the nightstand. Not wanting his doublet to get rumpled, she proceeded to unbutton it. Out of the corner of her eye, she noticed his blush and rolled her eyes.
"Quit being embarrassed, Cullen. I am only assisting you undress because you are too inebriated to do so on your own. If it bothers you so, pretend I am one of your men assisting you with your armor."
He cleared his throat, "My men are not beautiful women." He coughed then, "What I mean is, uh…" She folded the doublet and put it on a chair, then moved back to the bedside.
"It's quite alright. Drink loosens one's tongue," she said, although she felt something flutter in her stomach. She needed to get out of there before she did something to embarrass herself. "Lay down and try to get some rest. You will feel sick in the morning. Don't worry, I'll take care of that."
He did as he was told and once he was comfortable, she started to leave. "Thank you," he said.
She smiled, "Good night, Cullen." Then she descended the ladder and was out the door before he could reply.
"Good night…" His eyelids were heavy and soon he fell asleep, dreaming of green eyes and reddish brown hair.
Later that evening, Adaira snuck into his room and placed a potion on the bedside table and, after a moment's thought, scribbled something on a piece of paper and placed it under the potion. She told herself it wasn't because she liked him, but she knew that was a lie.
I'm sure you are feeling rather unwell this morn. This potion will help – do not worry, it doesn't taste nearly as bad as that healer's… what's her name again? Gillian? Anyway, make sure to eat and drink a lot of water.
The next morning, when everyone was feeling the effects of a hangover, Cullen was as sharp as ever. When Cassandra demanded to know how he could be feeling better than them – after all, he had drank more, he merely smiled and said it was a secret.