sunspot: two squids who are sweet on each other (squids in love)
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Title: Where I Belong Tonight
Fandom: Dragon Age Inquisition
Character(s): Cullen Rutherford, Female Cadash
Rating: PG
Word Count: ~900
Content Notes: none
Summary: Cullen can't sleep and he hears something in the night.
Author's Notes: Written as a treat for lumateranlibrarian for Black Emporium Exchange 2016. Thanks to buhnebeest for beta-ing.


Cullen watched the Inquisitor leave the war room, headed for her chambers. She seemed… different lately. Maudlin. Distant. He wondered if he should ask if she was alright, but then thought maybe it better to leave that for Josephine, who was better at talking. Or Leliana, who he assumed already knew what was bothering the Inquisitor without having to ask. He put it out of his mind and went about his duties. If he could do that, it might relieve some stress on the Inquisitor and allow her to focus on everything else she had to worry about these days.


It was well past midnight, and Cullen couldn't sleep. The pounding behind his eyes wouldn't relent and he was not planning on giving in to it. It was a beautiful night, so he decided to take some air, look at the shadowed mountains under the starlight and the pale, watery moon, and wait out the headache.

On the battlements, the stars were beautiful. His head did not feel any better, but the way the crisp air filled his lungs was refreshing. He drew a deep breath and held it, focusing on the pressure in his chest rather than in his head. Cullen closed his eyes and waited, counting his breaths and listening to the quiet of the hold behind him.

By the time he got to twenty he noticed the humming. Someone was close by, maybe on the other side of the tower. The song they hummed was sad, he thought, even if it wasn't a song he recognized. It made a good backdrop to the mountain air. Quiet, a little mournful, familiar and distant all at once. He listened until the song stopped, then decided he could try to sleep again.

With one last long look at the moonlight on the snow, he turned to return to bed, and promptly smacked his knee against the door. That's what he got for not looking where he was going. He quickly bit off a loud curse, mindful of the late hour.

"Cullen?" The other night owl recognized his cursing, evidently. Cullen ducked inside the tower, and out through the other door.

"Ah, Inquisitor. Sorry for the strong language."

She chuckled. "I've heard worse. I've said worse. Probably today, even."

Cullen leaned next to her on the parapet. She was bundled up in a fur over a horrible woolen sweater that looked to belong to Solas, maybe, or something she found in the rag heap.

"Inquisitor--"

"Please, enough with the title. You know my name, don't you?"

"Yes, of course, I…" Cullen paused for a second, suddenly doubting if he did. He only ever called her by her rank. He knew he had known it at some point, but all the rushing around since Haven, the Inquisitor flying and back and forth across the continent with her companions, maybe he was misremembering…?

"Matsora," she said, nudging him in the ribs.

"Yes, Inquis-- Yes, Matsora. You look cold."

"Uh, mountains," she grunted, gesturing disdainfully. "I'm from Hasmal, you know. That's basically Tevinter. All these mountains and this damp. Terrible."

The wind was picking up even as they spoke. Matsora shivered again and her chin sunk into the fur. Even to Cullen it was a little chilly, and he thought wistfully about dashing inside to get an extra layer. He was not going to leave the Inquisit-- Matsora out there to freeze by herself, however.

"That song…" Cullen said, before stopping again. It really wasn't his place.

"You heard that? Sorry. I don't know what it's called. My mother used to sing it. I think it had words at some point." She sniffed, and it clicked in Cullen's mind, far later than it should have. Thank the Maker he wasn't their spymaster, they'd've been ass-deep in chaos months ago.

"I see." He wouldn't pry. Homesickness was something virtually everyone at Skyhold had gone through at some point or another, himself included. He wasn't sure how to be supportive, and unfortunately for both of them, there was no one else around.

"Look at me, going on and on," Matsora said, rubbing her hands down her front. "I'm sorry, Commander, I should leave you to… whatever you were doing out here on the battlements at this hour."

He was not ready to tell the Inquisitor about the lyrium yet. Another day or two of the headaches and nausea and it would have to come out, but he still had hope that tomorrow would dawn and be brighter and better. Cullen opted for a joke instead. "Come on, enough with the title. You know my name."

"Yes, Armand, wasn't it?"

Cullen laughed in earnest and felt the tension in his head and shoulders finally relax. "Yes, Inquisitor, exactly. For what it's worth, it's a good song. If you ever remember the words, or come up with new ones, I'd be happy to hear it again."

"I. That. Okay." Matsora humphed, seemingly struggling for words. He didn't interrupt, just let her find them on her own. "That's sweet. Thank you, Cullen." She tugged him down to her level by his shoulder and kissed him on the cheek. Despite the cold, her lips were warm against his skin. He was thankful for the dark for concealing his blush.

"Goodnight, Commander Cullen. I think this helped."

"I'm glad to hear it. Have a good night, Inquisitor Matsora."

September 2017

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