The finality of his words hit him harder, dug in far deeper and did more damage than any blade ever could. It made his blood run cold and froze his body to the chair as Quinn left the tavern. They had discussed the time when this would happen. That even before they met there was a clock ticking down. It hurt more than having his heart torn in a lesson as a Crow.
An older man sat nearby, hearing more than he should have. The Antivan’s jaw must have hung loose, since it stirred the old man. “Ya better go get ‘em.” Zevran didn’t need much more than a kick in the behind to move. He was out the door, running down the street. It was hard to find Quinn, as the rogue was sure he did not wish to be found. It was probably an error to have asked to meet once more, but it brought back so much in his heart.
Even when asked by Isabela when he happened to be in Kirkwall Zevran turned the offer down. It was nearly against his own mind, his previous self. Quinn had given him a new lease on life. He was nowhere to be found. Zevran found his mind to be far too addled to search and collapsed in the road in frustration. “Don’t you leave me yet!” He felt far too wrong calling out like a child. But he also could not care less. “Please…”
The desperate display was unbearable to watch. It made him feel terrible, to have called him there only to make things worse; for the both of them. He hadn’t really gone all that far, sticking close to the wall of an alley between some crates and a stack of trash. The warden covered his mouth with a shaky hand, heart just about being torn out by the pleading of the Antivan. Such behavior from the former crow was unseemly, practically unheard of. It made him feel sick to know he was the one who had pushed him into that state.
Without any of his previous inhibitions, Quinn emerged from his hiding place; quickly kneeling beside Zevran and wrapping him in a tight hug. It seemed as though neither of them were really as willing to give up on each other as they had hoped to be. There wasn’t any moving on from one another, and it was painfully obvious.
Quinn, with his hood pulled up and his cloak shielding the both of them, nestled his face in between the conjunction of his neck and shoulder. One of his thin hands weaved through the rogue’s dirty blond hair, while the other held him fast in his embrace.
"Okay." Was all he could manage, simple and soft; just above a whisper. "Okay. I won’t. . Not.. Not ever. I’m sorry." Quinn pulled back a moment, knelt in front of the bedraggled elf. He brushed his thumbs against his cheeks, slowly pulling in close. The warden placed a chaste kiss to Zevran’s lips, pulling away only a few inches. His golden eyes stared into his love’s, thoughtful and holding back an array of emotions that moistened his eyes. He gulped, quietly noting there was a small group of onlookers now. "We should leave now, before the whole town comes out to look at the moody elves on the ground.." A weak chuckle escaped his lips, a small smile accompanying it. ". . Or do you wanna give them something to look at..?" Another soft laugh left him, breathless.
A brow quirked at first, looking at the relic in Quinn’s hand. Not long after his brows knotted in the center, the thin-lipped frown giving away the internal turmoil. They had spoken of what would happen after so many years. The mage would have to suffer the same fate as every other Grey Warden, possibly much sooner than the others. He would have to go to Deep Roads and fight until taken by the Darkspawn.
“I remember you telling me. Before the final march.” It broke his heart to know that even after all these years, he still cared for the other dark-skinned elf. His voice even broke as he spoke, soft as if he didn’t want to be heard in the loud tavern. Zevran looked away from the hand and the ring, attempting to focus on his mug of ale, but looking more through it than anything else.
“I could say I am jealous. You see me after all these years to tell me you are going off to die.” He paused, inhaling sharply, trying to control the raging emotions within. “May a jealous man ask a simple question?” Another pause, his eyes lifting to meet the Warden’s golden orbs. Did he ever love looking into those eyes, bright like the earring he gave years prior. “Do you still care for this weary man as i care for the one before me?”
There was a pause from the Warden, silence for a minute. He stared into the Antivan’s eyes, absorbing the question that had been asked. Against his better judgement, Quinn tilted his head down and gave a small, breathless laugh. What kind of a question was that.
He shook his head slightly, to himself, before looking back up with a pained lopsided smile on his face. “You really have to ask? Zevran. .” Quinn took a breath in, pursing his lips as he looked to the side. His hand, balled with the earring inside it, came up to gently press against his mouth. The mage turned back to face his old companion.
"Even when my mind is so far-gone with taint, and I’m a thousand feet below the surface, I’ll always care for you." He shook his head once more, opening his hand up and staring down at the jewelry again. That smile, devoid of any real mirth, settled on his lips again. "You know, we’re both making this a lot harder than it has to be. Maybe seeing you wasn’t such a good idea. ."
The mage snorted, reaching u to his ear to put the earring back in place. His eyes flicked up towards Zevran’s face. “Sorry, for dragging you here. None of this was needed. Look, um, just. .” He fumbled as he stood, making to leave. Just what, exactly? Forget this happened, move on, and be happy? “Never mind. This was obviously not a good call on my part.” He lingered for a split second, staring at Zevran, before finally turning towards the door. “Good bye.”
It was one hell of an occasion indeed. Even if they had parted ways what felt like ages ago, it was painful to see him in front of his eyes. As soon as his hands reached for the golden hoop he felt as if his heart were to break apart once more. Quinn’s normally chipper and even playful demeanor was gone.
Just like the day they parted ways.
The time spent apart gave him time to go into Antiva and began to work his feelings out. Mostly against his former employers. Zevran took a few into his bed, of course, but it didn’t have the same movement, the feeling. It was all empty. Even fighting without the mage behind him felt like he was missing a limb.
It made his stomach feel like an acrobatic act, his mind raced to find something to say. It would be impossible to hide his emotion behind the normal playful act. If the dark-skinned elf’s act was gone, so was his. The ring came back across the table, he carefully watched Quinn through the corner of his vision. There was a twitch.
The ring stayed where it was set. Zevran shook his head. “I gave it to you for a valid reason.” His gaze lingered on the ring, looking just as pristine as the day he gave it. Memories flooded his mind of that night. “Even if you wish to return it, I cannot accept it.” Eyes closed and his head shook from side to side, a faint smile tugging at one side. Quinn was the first person who felt right.
Quinn’s words still stung, the thought he was finally cutting the last ties nearly pushed him to simply walk off. It wasn’t something the Antivan was willing to accept. It seemed the feeling went in both directions. “Are you sure you even wish to do this?”
Stubbornly, Quinn kept his hand held out a little while longer. When it was evident that the other elf wasn’t going to take back the earring, he recoiled into himself. His already small being seemed to shrink even more, tucking his legs underneath him and holding the ring close to himself. His gaze left Zevran, settling upon the gift he had intended to return.
It was so small, and yet it held so much meaning. He knew that. He knew it well. But he just didn’t feel right holding onto it any longer. Not that he didn’t want to, Creators, he didn’t want to give it back. Apparently that was evident, much more than he would have liked.
Quinn closed his hand around the earring, rubbing it’s smooth surface with his thumb. He stayed quiet a minute, eyes still downcast as he finally spoke up.
"Does it matter?" A small sigh. "I’m not certain of too much these days, honestly. But I am certain that I’m not going to be able to do this later. Unless you plan on vacationing in the Deep Roads. ." Quinn finally looked up, shaking his head a little. It was about time he just talked to Zevran, instead of leaving him in the dark, like he had when he left.
"I’m sorry. For not talking to you about it, before. I should have. I really, really should have. But I thought, if I just. . left, then maybe it wouldn’t matter so much. You’d be able to move on, and forget me." He lost his nerve, mouth shutting. He managed to at least keep his eyes up, though they weren’t focused on Zevran’s eyes.
It took a minute longer before he finally piped up, voice hushed. Small and uncertain. “Have you ever heard about. . the Warden’s Calling?”
It was worrisome that he would, after all this time, receive a letter. Simple, concise, no extra prattle or flourish on the handwriting. Much like the man that took his heart. At least some things wouldn’t change. Except for the parted ways bit. It was the first time he felt right, had regrets when something went awry and when the eventual happened, it left him aching.
The handwriting was obviously his. There was no mistaking it. But now memories of dark skin, hair like a starless night and golden eyes came flooding back. It was strange that he wanted to meet up. The door shut behind him as he scanned the crowd inside, feigning disinterest and looking weary on purpose. It was easy to put up a front, his hair hiding the unmistakable tattoo on his face marking him as a Crow. The hair gave him less of a clear sight but it was the safest thing to do.
He spotted the person in question, ordering a drink to be polite and walking over to the table. “It has been quite some time. What is the occasion?” His voice played quietly with the tone used, another front to hide his feelings as he slid into the spot opposite of the warden.
His breath caught in his throat for a minute as he saw the unmistakable visage of a crow coming into the tavern. Heck if he thought the man would really get his letter, let alone read it and do as requested. In a way, he had been hoping that it would just be thrown away and this meeting would never be held.
But there he was, in the flesh. Zevran Arainai.
Quinn reminded himself on how to breath when the other caught side of him and began to make his way over. He almost smiled, excited to see the Antivan after so long; but was quick to wipe it away and focus himself on the reason why he’d called him here.
His eyes focused on his clasped hands that were on the table, gathering up his courage. Which was funny to think about. Him, the cocky grey warden that defeated the arch demon, trying to arouse all his courage to talk to his ex. If this were any other time, he would have laughed at himself.
Golden eyes finally settled onto the other’s face, and he took a moment to take in the view. Creators, why did he have to look so wonderful. . Quinn nodded his head slowly, agreeing. It had been some time since they last saw one another. A long time. Quinn tried to present Zevran with a small smile. Silent reassurance that this wasn’t too serious. Even though, for all intents and purposes, it really kind of was.
"Right. The occasion for this. ." He cleared his throat, one hand covering his mouth. ", this impromptu meeting.. Really, I hadn’t thought you’d actually show up. I mean, not to say that you wouldn’t simply because you didn’t want to, but I didn’t know if it was actually you in town or just another hand-Antivan elf." He caught himself, if only barely.
The mage was swift to continue, not lingering on that. “Ah, anyways, yes, I. I wanted to give you something. It was yours to begin with, anyways, and I don’t think I’ll have another chance to give it back.” Quinn reached up to his right ear, hand unsteady as they unfastened the back of the golden loop earring there. He dropped his hands down, looking at the item with a openly wistful expression. “I. . Please don’t take this the wrong way.” He tried to begin, his voice unusually soft and melancholy. His thumb rubbed at the earring’s side. “But, I think it’s for the best. That I return this.”
Quinn looked up then, his lips pursed and expression purposely devoid of emotion as he held out his hand, presenting the earring to Zevran. He would have made the display seem a little cold had his brows not twitched slightly, giving his internal turmoil away. He was never very good at hiding his feelings from Zevran. He seemed to have perfected masking himself to others, but to the former Crow. . He always always felt vulnerable.
Sparrow held her hand out for the spirit to land on before dismissing the little thing. A couple of strands of her spell landed in the palm before slipping off into nothing. “There are many rules. Know what you are summoning. Demons always try to disguise themselves, but it becomes easy to discern what is what and even if it’s safe enough to summon. Study the Fade first.” She went back to relaxing against the table, smiling comfortably. She liked how he was worried for her. It wasn’t that what she did was deemed safe, it was always a fine line between what was useful and what could prove fatal.
“Always have two methods to dismiss the spirit in case something goes awry. I never weave their shells to be perfect.” Her finger slowly traced a lazy circle on the table. She laughed, looking up to her cousin. His hand came out to rest on hers. It didn’t feel odd, it was comforting. The first time she actually enjoyed having another person be in contact. “I promise to be safe. But you’re also a Grey Warden. It worries me that even though the Blight is behind us… I mean darkspawn still wander.” She nearly laughed at the thought. Barely figuring out who he was, that she still had living relatives, she was already fretting about him.
But it made her happy that he was thinking the same thing. “Don’t worry about your feelings. It seems we both at least are happy about finding family. I just wish that our meeting wouldn’t have to end soon. I… maybe you could help me with healing spells or something.”
An amused, lopsided smile quickly stretched itself onto his face; rounded front teeth peeking out. He snorted in a good mannered way, shaking his head at the concern that was thrown back at him. Eventually the head moving turned into laughter and he rubbed at his eyes; then threw his arms to the side, palms up as if weighing something.
"Darkspawn or the Fade. Both are pretty scary." He laughed, somewhat shallowly as he weighed the the two things in his hands. "Guess I’m lucky to have to deal with both, on some degree. Sorry Sparrow, I am completely hogging all the fun and excitement."
Quinn dropped his hands onto the table, folding them. His face was turned down, eyes on his clasped hands. Thank goodness his cousin was only a mage and not a mage and a grey warden like he was. Then she’d have templars and darkspawn on her tail.
Still sobering up from his amusement, he perked up slowly when she continued. The warden nodded, agreeing quietly to her remark on them being happy to have each other. Really, it didn’t even matter if they didn’t know one another well; they could always learn more later. It was just so nice to finally have family.
The darker of the elves finally looked up, tilting his head a little.
"I’d be happy to. But . . y’know, if you wanted, we could always just travel together a little ways? I’m headed to Orzammar. If you’re going that way, it’d be smart to go together. Or rather, I’d really like it, if we could talk more." Quinn fumbled a little, but was quick to right his speech.
The small furrow in his brow, how the corners of his eyes and even the corners of his mouth tightened gave her an inkling of what he initially thought before dismissing her to be a spirit healer. He even went on to talk about his own healing experience. “I can heal, but not very well. Small cuts and the like. But it’s what you think.” She smiled before reaching a hand out to the side. A small fuzzy ball of some sort, glowing pale but shifting colors as if excited to be out of the fade. It was a weak spirit and eager to accept whatever small task Sparrow could give.
“I can summon spirits. These little ones are common and are very weak. But if I have the will and the mana, I can ask for a larger spirit like honor or valor. But those take much more preparation and need a temporary shell, which I can weave together. Quite useful in fights.” She looked away for a moment, the little spirit flying playfully around her head as well as Quinn’s. The little ball looked cheerful from the way it was bobbing around. “Although, I haven’t had time to actually practice a different use for the weaving I use as a temporary host though. I’m sure it has quite a different practice that could prove useful…. oh. I’m rambling, sorry.” She grinned as if being able to finally discuss a concept no one else else would understand.
Quinn kept his eyes on the small orb as it flitted around the room. To be honest, he wasn’t really sure what to say. This seemed benign and all, but some things usually seemed alright before you realized they weren’t. Summoning spirits just didn’t sound safe. At all. Though, he mused, his shape shifting could also be deemed unsafe and dangerous.
The warden shook his head as his gaze settled back onto his cousin. He smiled, reassuring her that he didn’t mind her continuous talking. “No need to apologize. You were saying that Uldred taught you how to do this. . ? I can’t imagine you’d dabble in this, art, without being a little weary. Summoning anything from the Fade sounds like a dangerous business. . You make sure to be as safe as possible, right? I’d really hate to have found my cousin only to lose her to a summoning gone wrong.” He cracked a lopsided grin, not intending to come down quite as heavy as his words might have sounded.
Quinn paused a moment, before letting his smile drop and his expression become thoughtful, serious. His hands loosened around his cup.
"I mean it. All playfulness aside, I just found you. My own flesh and blood, an actual person I can call family. It’s been.. so, so long since I’ve had anyone to call that.” His whole demeanor took on a sullen visage, and he hesitantly leaned forward. One of his hands left the cup he was holding, and rested softly a top of Sparrow’s own thin hand. “Please be safe. I don’t think I’d be able to deal with anything bad happening to you.”
He leaned back once more, retrieving his hand and placing it in his lap; the other one following soon after. Quinn gave a small laugh and a shake of his head. “Sorry. I swear, I’m not usually so dour.”