The flute rang merrily in the hall of Haven's little tavern. Tobacco and the crisp smoke from the fire laced the air, nearly overpowering the scent of stale ale soaking into the floorboards. At a corner table, warmed by the flames, sat Ser Varric Tethras and the Lady Trevelyan.
"All right, Motley—I need to know—why the Templar? Do you just really enjoy making things complicated?"
Leona grinned, rocking back in her seat. She propped both boots on the edge of the table with a care-free shrug. "The heart wants what it wants, Varric, and so does my—"
"I was going to say 'depraved sense of humor'."
He raised a brow. "Right."
She tipped an amber glass to her lips. Antivan brandy singed her tongue with a delightful tingle. "Former Templar," she mused. "Perhaps I want to see what sort of man he can be."
Varric let out a short laugh. "There are simpler ways. You don't have to get somebody in bed to get to know them, you know."
Leona shook her head over a mouthful of brandy, extending her index finger alongside the glass. "It's not about that."
"Then the sexual overtones you use while flirting are…?"
"Fun." She waggled her brows, then sobered. "But mostly necessary, actually. Subtle wasn't working."
"I know Curly can be dense, but—"
"He looked at me." Varric gave an incredulous furrow of his brow, but Leona continued, shaking her head. "A lot. Right after my first attempt sealing the Breach. He liked something, but whenever I went to make conversation he'd straighten up, get all proper. Told him I liked his company, appreciated his work. It wasn't until I started standing closer than was strictly necessary that he started blushing, and not until I winked and told him he could lecture me all day long that he actually figured it out. Maker—" The mage finished off her drink and thumped the glass down on the table and pressed a hand across her eyes. "I asked him about chastity vows."
His mouth fell open. "You didn't."
Leona flipped both feet off the table and let her chair and boots crack back onto the floor. "I did."
"Andraste's tits, woman!"
"I know." She rolled her neck along her shoulders to find Dorian shaking his head and pulling out the chair just beside her. "Perfect timing."
"Indeed." The Altus seated himself neatly, still fixing Leona in a disapproving gaze.
"Good of you to join us, Sparkler." Varric grinned. "Would you care to show Leona the error of her ways?"
He folded his arms. "I'm hardly the person to ask, but even I wouldn't make such a crass error."
"I apologized later." The woman in question downed her brandy, and Varric immediately confiscated the glass.
"You do realize this is good stuff, right?"
She offered a lopsided grin. "I'll get the next round."
"Not the point," Dorian observed.
They sat in silence a moment, the lute and crackling flames filling smoke-leaden air. Mages entered and drank, left quickly and quietly, still unused to their status in this new Inquisition. A young woman refilled their brandies—Dorian requesting one of whatever the others had been drinking—and Varric reluctantly waved off Leona's offer of payment.
Over his first sip, the Tevene asked. "…did he claim a vow of chastity?"
A sly smirk captured her features. "No."
He shrugged, swirling amber liquid in his glass. "Well—now that you know, it would be a shame not to make use of the knowledge, yes?"
Leona tipped the brandy to her lips, grinning around the mouth of the glass, and slung an arm over her fellow mage's shoulders. "You're a man after my own heart, Dorian Pavus." She offered a toast.
He accepted, grinning, and clicked his glass against hers. "And you," They downed the brandy together, "a woman of mine, good Leona."
Varric groaned. "And you're both buying your own rounds from now on."