Warnings: Slight smut
Summary: Leliana tries to get Ellana and Josephine together.
Notes: Second part after Certainties. 3045 words. Patrons get to read fic a week early!
Secrets were hard to keep in Skyhold. Leliana knew everything, though she shared rarely and people talked, a lot. Nothing was kept to a small circle of close friends. There was changes in relationships in the inner circle that were talked about in the main camp at the base of the mountain. Nothing was secret.
When it came to the Inquisitor and the Ambassador’s feelings for each other it was less of a secret and more of a conspiracy.
And Josephine could see a conspiracy a mile away, even though she was unsure of its origins or the people behind it. Something was definitely going on, and she suspected Leliana to be at the centre of it – while her friend was the Spymaster had spent most of her life discovering and keeping secrets, Josephine could read her easily. Too easily. And she was definitely up to something.
She saw the Inquisitor and smiled at her from the door to her office, the two of them heading towards each other and meeting at the throne. Josephine took a breath at the sight of her close up, eyes bright and skin flushed pink from the cold air of the Undercroft. Blonde hair a little tousled from the breeze down there, her smile warm and inviting. For a moment Josephine forgot herself. Her position, her composure, leaning in to kiss the woman, managing to pull back slightly and take her arm instead, fingers running down the hard muscle of her bicep and settling on her forearm.
“Lady Montilyet, how can I help you today?” Ellana asked, a little breathless, head inclined towards Josephine’s.
“I wish to talk to you about something, will you walk with me to the garden?” she asked. “If you have time,” she added in a rush of air, flushing slightly.
“Of course,” Ellana said, raising a hand to wrap around the fingers on her arm, squeezing them gently. “I always have time for you Josephine.”
The Ambassador smiled at that.
Slowly they walked through the main hall to the door leaning out to the garden and into the fresh air and warm sunshine. Josephine smiled as the sunlight hit her face and Ellana watched her, wondering if there was a way to get more sunlight into the woman’s office. More warmth. An Antivan amount. Magic wasn’t really her thing, give her a great-sword and she could find the biggest animal and present it to Josephine in a heartbeat but the ambassador was more refined than that, deserved better than that.
Deserved the human courtship she obviously was born for.
She frowned and looked around her as they crossed the garden, settling together on the bench of the gazebo. They were quiet for a minute as Josephine looked around at the regulars in the garden. Mother Giselle, the woman that tended the garden, a few people attending the Chantry, most just enjoying the sunshine. Summer was coming to Skyhold finally. Ellana was looking forward to it.
Finally Josephine turned her attention back to Ellana with a smile.
“So, Ellana what did you see on our short walk here?” Josephine asked.
Ellana frowned for a moment, looking around her wondering if she had missed something obvious, some sort of surprise of message she was supposed to see. Josephine chuckled lightly, and Ellana looked back to her, trying to will her with the sheer force of her own smile to say her name again. In that voice, that accent, in that tone that suggested so much more than the Inquisitor deserved from the woman.
She really needed to reign her thoughts in.
“Perhaps to you it is not so obvious,” Josephine said. She rested a hand on Ellana’s small knee, managing to keep it there and look casual about it for a few seconds before she snapped it away. “You are used to people watching you, following you, talking about you.”
“Yes, though I have noticed an increase in it lately, I was trying to determined th cause, or perhaps the trigger. Did I do something weird with my hair, am I missing a button, do I have an injury I can’t see?” She shrugged. “Why? What did you see on the short walk here?”
“A lot of people who were interested in us, I have definitely noticed an increased in the interest in our rela-friendship,” she stumbled over the last words, blushing a little and Ellana nodded.
“That makes sense actually,” she said, “I am often watched, closely, carefully, obsessively, but there are new observers, new people interested. And there are more people watching you lately than I would li-than normal.”
The slip was as inelegant as Josephine’s, more so, but the Ambassador either didn’t notice or didn’t care, even as Ellana blushed bright red. She didn’t like so many eyes on her Ambassador. On her friend.
On the woman she loved.
“I had hoped you could provide answers,” she said, leaning back on the bench. Ellana followed, their shoulders touching, so different but so similar. She sighed, smiling.
“I am sorry Josephine. Perhaps I can find some answers for you. Ask some questions.”
“I would appreciate that. I do not know what is going on and I do not like it.”
This time Ellana placed a hand on the Antivan’s thigh, tight muscle through soft silk and she almost lost herself in the feel of it, caressing her gently for a second before stopping and letting her hand fall to the side.
“I will look into it for you my friend,” she said, forcing the words out.
“I believe Leliana is at the head of it. She is lying to me about something. Keeping something about me, from me, which she knows annoys me greatly.” Josephine huffed and Ellana chuckled, she was cute when angry. “Perhaps you will have better luck than I.”
She was tempted to kiss her, ignore her head and listen to the aching in her heart but instead she stood, smiling down at Josephine.
“Would you dine with me this evening? We can talk about it some more, perhaps I will have answers by then and if not we can have a relaxing evening together.”
Her voice wavered but instead of laughing Josephine sat up and smiled brightly, eyes shining and cheeks flushed and she was so beautiful.
“I would be honoured,” she said softly.
Ellana simply nodded and managed not to skip away.
Leliana loved secrets.
Secrets were power, the world was full of them, and Leliana liked to collect them and keep them. Use them and love them. Secrets were wonderful and everyone had them.
Conspiracies were better.
Conspiracies were fun.
She recruited Iron Bull and Cassandra into her little plan to get Ellana and Josephine together. It needed to be good. Needed to start them off into something wonderful and lasting that. Straight up telling them seemed too blasé, shutting them in a room together a little too cliché, it needed to be good, make an impact on them.
Except Leliana couldn’t think of it. Bull wanted to strip them and put them in a room together, Cassandra thought they should surprise them with a big romantic gesture but she wasn’t sure what.
So they were a little stuck and people were starting to notice them, notice the Inquisitor and Josephine, notice something was going on. Leliana could normally put together a good conspiracy, keep it secret and safe, but as the days wore on, she felt like she was being as watched as her targets.
“Inquisitor?” Josephine called as she headed up the stairs to her chambers. She felt nervous, not quite sure why. She had been inside the other woman’s private room before, had dined alone with the woman before, but still she was nervous.
“Ellana?” she called again, smiling when she saw the young woman waiting for her beside a table of food for them both.
“Josephine,” the young woman smiled at the Ambassador. “Come in.”
Josephine however couldn’t move, stuck still for a moment as she took in the sight of Ellana Lavellan. She was used to seeing the young woman in her armour, or her beige outfit, she enjoyed the way she looked in them and was used to it.
She had never seen her in a dress before.
It was green, light and floaty around her legs, cinched in to her waist and strapless showing off taut muscles and pale skin. She smiled, trying not to let the other woman see how flustered she suddenly felt. She was beautiful and Josephine nearly told her so.
Nearly told her everything.
“You look lovely Inquisitor,” she said softly.
“Josephine,” she chided, “it’s Ellana. And thank you.”
She was flushing slightly, down over her chest and dipped her head when Josephine continued to stare. She had wondered that maybe the dress was a bad idea, but she wanted to impress Josephine, she wanted her to see her as a woman and not just the Inquisitor. She was pretty sure it had worked.
She was pretty sure Josephine was thinking the same think.
Gone were the indigo and gold silks, and in it’s place a casual evening dress of red cotton, over dark leggings. She had long sleeves and a high neckline but it was fitted perfectly to her curves and Ellana wanted to gather her up in her arms and kiss her.
“Have a seat,” she managed to say instead, “please.”
She waited until Josephine approached her, moving slowly, flushed cheeks that matched Ellana’s own and she suddenly have no idea what was going on between them right now. The Ambassador sat, sweeping her skirt beneath her, and then brushing her hands over her legs to smooth any wrinkles Ellana watching every graceful movement of the material over her body.
“You’re beautiful,” she blurted out. “I mean, in that dress, that dress is beautiful.” She groaned and dropped down in the chair opposite her.
“My usual attire is a little like your armour,” Josephine said, sounding calmer than she felt. “It is my protection and it is nice to change into something different. Though I wasn’t sure if I should have.”
“You should have. Definitely,” Ellana said quickly, “I thought the same.”
“I have never seen you in a dress before, perhaps we should reconsider your outfit for the Winter Palace.”
They talked about it for a little while as they ate, Ellana talking Josephine out of a dress for the Winter Palace but promising to wear pone for the party they would have to celebrate saving the world. Ellana liked Josephine’s confidence in the fact they would save the world, liked the confidence the woman had in her.
“So, tell me, have you discovered anything about our voyeurs?” Josephine asked. Ellana chuckled, collecting up their empty plates, and pouring the Antivan a second glass of wine.
“Seems to be the best way to describe them for now,” she said, with a smile.
“Very well,” she said, “I’m afraid I’ve discovered very little, though I know that both Bull and Cassandra are involved somehow.”
“Are you sure?”
“Bull is obvious wherever he goes in Skyhold, the place is mostly elves and humans of average height,” she said. “And Cassandra would make a terrible spy.”
Josephine laughed, light and beautiful and Ellana beamed at her, the sound warming her.
“What could they possibly doing?” she said, with a sigh.
“I wish I could tell you Josie,” Ellana said, and Josephine smiled, standing. “Are you going?” she squeaked out.
“No, no,” Josephine smiled. “I was thinking we could move and sit beside the fire. I swear the weather is getting colder not warmer since Wintermass.”
Ellana stood, and followed a slightly shivering Josephine to the small settee. She set her own glass down on a little side table before fetching a blanket for the Ambassador. She spread it over her, and moved to stoke the fire.
“Is that better?” she asked, softly, sitting down beside her. Josephine spread the blanket over the both of them, moving a little closer to her. Ellana tensed up for a second, but after a deep breath relaxed a little.
“Much,” Josephine answered finally, blushing bright red.
They were quiet for a little while, settling into each other’s embrace further and Josephine couldn’t breathe properly, her stomach doing flips at the proximity of the other woman. She was pretty sure this was too much, too far, too close but she didn’t want to move. Didn’t want to leave this warmth.
“What do you think it’s about?” Josephine asked, voice quiet. “This little conspiracy?” Feeling bold with her wine, and a little sleepy, she rested her head on Ellana’s shoulder. “Is this okay?” she asked.
“Yes, of course,” she said, with a little hiccup. “And I have no idea, our friendship cannot be that interesting surely?” she asked but Josephine didn’t answer. There was a little snore and Ellana chuckled, taking the woman’s wine from her hand and setting it down. Feeling bold and completely enamoured she put her arm around her, stroking her soft black hair and closing her own eyes for a little while.
“You’re beautiful,” Ellana whispered before she fell asleep too.
“She hasn’t come out yet,” the scout said as Leliana approached the Inquisitor’s door, the young woman stepping out from behind the massive throne and into the light.
“Nothing for a while. I listened for a little while, but I think they’ve fallen to sleep.”
“In bed?” Leliana asked.
“I don’t think so Sister. I heard them talk about the settee and there has been no movement since,” the scout said. She smiled and Leliana nodded.
“Thank you,” she said.
“Do you want me to stay on?”
“No, go and get some rest,” she told the young woman. The scout nodded and disappeared behind the throne once more and out of sight. Leliana moved into the shadows herself, waiting to see if there was any movement, wondering if now was he time to make a move.
“Ellana?” Josephine asked, stirring against her shoulder.
The two woman sat up straight, turning to look at each other flushing in the low firelight. The sun had set, the flames the only light and Josephine smiled at the Inquisitor.
“I’m sorry,” she said, “I fell to sleep on you.”
“That’s okay,” Ellana said, “I fell asleep as well.”
She shifted a little, still sleeping an arm still slung around Josephine shoulders. She didn’t move far, pulling Josephine closer as she got comfortable and the Ambassador moved into the embrace, smiling brightly at her.
“Yes, of course.”
They didn’t move and instead they giggled, before falling silent again. Ellana couldn’t help it any longer, couldn’t keep it in any more.
“I heard you,” Josephine said as Ellana went to speak, “I heard you tell me I’m beautiful.”
She couldn’t quite meet the blonde’s eyes as she spoke and Ellana smiled, tipping her head back up a couple of slim fingers on her chin.
“You are beautiful Josephine,” she said. “I’ve wanted to tell you this for so long.”
Ellana cut her off with a swift kiss, fingers sliding up her cheek and into her hair and pulling her closer to deepen the kiss. Josephine moaned softly, shifting to face the Inquisitor, wrapping her arms around her and holding her close to her.
“I’ve wanted to do that for so long too,” Ellana said when they pulled back slightly, breathless and flushed.
“I as well, but I never thought…I never thought I was worthy of your affections.”
“You never thought you were worthy of my affections?!” Ellana said, moving to look at Josephine’s face and the sincere look. “I’m a Dalish Elf and you’re a noble woman!”
“There is much you need to know,” she said.
“You can tell me anything Josephine,” Ellana said softly, leaning forward to brush her lips over hers once more. “You can trust me.”
They kissed again, Ellana shifting to press the Ambassador back against the sofa and rest her wiry body over hers. Josephine groaned gently, unable to stop the way her hips jerked as one of the Inquisitor’s strong legs slipped between her thighs and pressed down.
“P-perhaps later my dear,” she said, with a breathless chuckle and Ellana mumbled something in ascent, kissing her harder now with a long moan as Josephine’s hips pressed up once more. She pulled back then, sitting up and Josephine’s beautiful face fell. “Do you want to stop?” she asked.
“Not at all,” Ellana said, feeling confident for the both of them. She stood and held out a hand for Josephine to take, pulling her up to her feet, and leading her over to the bed. “Unless you don’t want to?” she asked.
Josephine smiled, reaching behind her and tugging at the ties of her dress. Ellana smiled and moved to help her, kissing her as she pulled the material from her body.
Leliana didn’t have the fine hearing of the scout who had been watching Ellana’s door before, but she knew the sounds as the two women moved around above her, the soft giggle of Josephine, and the edge of a moan.
She needed confirmation though, to be sure, and silently the spy slipped through the heavy door and up the stairs. She smiled as the noises became clearer, more obvious to her ears. Soft moans and harsh breaths that she could catch even through the door and down the stairs. She continued to the top and edged open the door, looking through the gap.
In the darkness, she could make out the movement of bodies, pressed together, moving slowly on the bed. They were breathing hard, moaning gently, whispering to each other, words in common tongue, and Elven and Antivan – most of which Leliana couldn’t catch and didn’t want to hear.
Leliana smiled to herself. She had done nothing to get them together and yet her little conspiracy seemed to have worked. Hopefully they were happy.
She went to leave when she caught a few words in Antivan and Elven the two women spoke to each other in their passion.
I love you.
She was good. Even when she didn’t do anything.