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15 April 2015 @ 08:04 pm
FIC: Following the Whispers (Dragon Age: Inquisition, Trevelyan & the Team, Trevelyan/Iron Bull), PG  
Title: Following the Whispers
Author: megan_moonlight
Date of Posting: April 15th, 2015
Rating: PG
Fandom: Dragon Age: Inquisition
Characters/Pairings: Maxwell Trevelyan/Iron Bull (Pre-Relationship), Maxwell Trevelyan, Iron Bull, Leliana, Varric Tethras, Dorian Pavus, Sera, Cremisius "Krem" Aclassi, Dalish, Bull's Chargers
Disclaimer: All the characters © David Gaider/BioWare. I make no money from this.
Summary: Maxwell has to learn that everything gets more complicated when a person overthinks what they have been through. He also had to protect those who became his friends.
Spoilers: "In Hushed Whispers" quest
Warnings: Implied Violence, Swearing
Beta: lil_1337
Author's Notes: Part 2 of the "Finding Your Place" series.
"In Hushed Whispers" was a very emotional quest to me and I had to write something about it. I got emotionally invested in this game.
Mentioned at: At AO3 *HERE*




*FOLLOWING THE WHISPERS*


Maxwell Trevelyan walked through the woods near Haven in search of elfroot and anything else that could prove to be helpful in the next few days. Since he wasn’t far from the village anyway, he just decided to go alone, though he did inform Leliana, Cassandra and the Commander of his plans. He knew the risks of going alone anywhere, especially now, of which he assured them repeatedly. The problems was that he couldn’t just sit around doing nothing, and he was quite capable of collecting herbs by himself, no matter what the others had to say about it. At least he could count on Leliana to not question his choices, though he was quite sure she had sent someone to keep an eye on him.

He needed to get away for a while, because he kept thinking about everything that had happened lately, and adding to it all the responsibilities that never can wait, Maxwell felt over whelmed. It was still difficult for him to come to terms with what Magister Gereon Alexius had done, even if it had been more than two weeks since Maxwell, along with their new ally, Dorian Pavus, had come back to Haven from the Redcliffe castle. And since they came back from the future. The future he had hoped will not happen after all.

It was curious and scary at the same time, how actions of one person, even if they had meant to save someone they cared about, could change everything so drastically and lead to so much destruction and chaos spreading throughout the whole world. Maxwell gritted his teeth just thinking about it. Alexius was a powerful man. A man who did not care about any consequences, or the price, as long as he got what he wanted. Fortunately he was locked away now and would stay that way for the foreseeable future.

Memories of the future of Redcliffe still frightened him even if the whole team got back safely. He promised the others and himself that he will not allow the breakdown to happen and he will stop the Elder One. He had no idea if he was strong enough, but he had to try, even if it meant he would have to sacrifice himself.

When he had taken Varric and Iron Bull to the Redcliffe castle to help Enchanter Fiona, he had never expected what had happen next. It was... indescribable. It didn't matter who he’d have chosen to go with him then, really, it would be just as bad, he knew that. But seeing Varric in the red lyrium cell, after everything Maxwell has heard about Varric’s brother, Barthrand... he couldn’t even imagine how difficult it must have been for the rogue in that future. He had seen how clouded Varric’s eves had became when he had told him about it after they got back, and even if he had kept assuring Maxwell that he would be fine, Maxwell kept blaming himself. It was his fault Varric had to suffer through all of this, even if he knew that logically, none of it had happened. It would not happen.

Varric had mostly looked like he’d rather not talk about any of this, so Maxwell left him alone. If the rogue ever trusted him enough to talk about red lyrium, Maxwell had told him he would be there to listen.

“Thanks, but I’m fine. So far at least.”

“What do you mean?” Maxwell had asked then, and Varric had laughed. Maxwell realised, however, that it must have been how he dealt with difficulties, since he looked resigned more than anything else, but still had tried to make light of the situation.

“You see, for some reason the Seeker was never a fan of me,” he said as he shook his head. “And since we got back, I have a feeling she wants to throw me in a cell. Or something equally entertaining.”

Maxwell did not say anything to that, though he did have a feeling Varric was not telling him something. He decided not to pry. “You could always try hiding somewhere?” He replied instead, trying for a smile.

Varric snorted. “Right, as if that would have stopped her. I guess I’ll just go to the Singing Maiden, maybe someone there will want to play. A round or two of Wicked Grace always makes me feel much better.”

“You mean winning money makes you feel better.”

“Well, yeah. True. And who knows, maybe I’ll actually come up with an idea for my next book,” he had said and a ghost of a smile had appeared on his face right then.

Maxwell plucked the next elfroot from the ground as he looked around. He had almost a full pouch of roots by then and he noticed the sun was already setting. He briefly wondered if he should walk around some more, they never had enough of elfroot after all, but he decided that he really didn’t need to give Cassandra and the Commander any more reasons to doubt or question him.

Securing the pouch and attaching it to his belt, he went back to Haven. It wasn’t far and he didn't see anything beside a couple of nugs and rams, so the way back was quiet.

As he passed the blacksmith’s place he noticed Harritt was still working and Blackwall was standing by the house and watching the sky. Not wanting to bother them, he went to the main gates right away, nodding at the soldiers he saw on the way. Once he was near the Haven Chantry he has heard Leliana quietly talking to one of her rogues in the tent.

He wasn’t sure what they were discussing, but Leliana was pointing at the map on the table, then took out a small dagger and handed it to the hooded agent. “Send them a message. They will know what to do next.”

“Yes, Spymaster. I’ll send someone back when I reach the castle.”

As the women left the tent, Leliana looked right at Maxwell, rolling up the map she had been looking at.

“What was that?” He asked as he stepped closer to the table.

“A map of Redcliffe and the nearby forests,” she answered shortly. “After everything that happened I decided to send more people there, to keep an eye on the city. We still don’t know if Tevinter sent any of their agents there, but Cullen agreed that we need more people observing the area.”

Maxwell nodded after she stopped speaking. She turned around to look through papers in the bag, and it made Maxwell wonder how hard was she working on securing the area since Maxwell and the rest of the team had came back. Judging by the way she was scanning everything and planning, she probably hasn’t taken a break from it.

“Are you okay?”

Leliana put down the note she was looking at, but did not turn around to answer. “Right now we need to focus on securing our position more than on anything else. But yes. Thank you for asking.”

Telling Leliana everything had been just as difficult as telling Varric. They had became friends, if Maxwell could say so. He knew the Spymaster being secretive, spending time mostly in her tent or preparing new plans was just the way she was. She felt best when she was talking with her people or with Josephine, and she rarely spent time with the others unless it was to meet at the war table to plan their next move. Or if Maxwell himself went to meet with her.

Since their conversation in the storage house, her attitude towards him had changed a bit, and they had started to talk about more than the Inquisition only, even if it had been difficult at times. That was why she had been the first one he talked to after getting back to Haven, not Varric, Iron Bull or other advisers. After having seen what had happened to her in the future, Maxwell felt like Leliana should find out before anyone else.

Finding Leliana trapped, tortured and exhausted had shocked him. At first he had barely recognized her, because he would have never guessed how much she had suffered for their cause. It was terrifying. He had no idea how to react when he saw her bound, but as soon as he had recovered from the shock, he moved to help her as fast as he could. After everything Leliana had been through, she still kept fighting. It was impossible for him to look at her the same way again, when she had sacrificed so much to save him and the world.

“Can I help you with anything? I know your people are good at what they’re doing, but is there anything that needs my attention?”

“No,” she replied. “You should focus on finding out more about the breach and the Elder One. If I need anything, I’ll let you know.” She sealed and hid two notes in the pocket of her coat securely.

“If you’re sure.”

“I am,” she stepped out of the tent, but before disappearing, she turned to him. “You should go to Cullen if you need something to do. While you were collecting herbs, a couple of soldiers came back from patrol. You might want to look into it.”

“I will.”

Just as Leliana suggested, after talking to the Commander Maxwell learned that the soldiers had found another rift in Hinterlands, hidden in the cave in a forest. They hadn’t approached it, since it was visible once you got closer to the cave, but sent messengers to warn the Commander and the Herald that the animals stayed away from the area, and this rift seemed to be much bigger than the other ones. Maxwell decided that it was better to set out and close the rift as soon as he talked to everyone and consulted the advisers. And he probably should wait for the next batch of healing potions as well, since he had learned not to go anywhere without a few ready.

Maxwell decided to ask Dorian, Sera and Iron Bull to go with him. He knew each of them would agree, of course. Also, it would be a great chance for him to test the new skills he didn’t have a chance to use before; skills he had decided to learn right after talking to Bull about what had happened in the Redcliffe castle.

Maxwell was sure he would be never able to forget the image of Bull’s lifeless body after he, Varric and Leliana had sacrificed themselves so that Maxwell and Dorian could go back in time. Watching Bull fighting and being struck down, it had been almost too much. If Dorian hadn’t been there with him, Maxwell would have run to help them right away, consequences be damned. He was still furious with himself, because he had left his friends there. Yes, he had done it to change everything and not let Alexius take over, but still, he couldn’t let go. He had watched his friends dying. And then had talked to them about it.

Only after talking to Bull, did Maxwell had find out that Bull hated demons. He always had, but still never refused to assist Maxwell with closing the rifts and fighting demons and shades before. When he had heard, his first reaction was to promise Bull that he would protect him as much as he could, only later realising how had that sounded, when Iron Bull was at least half again his size bigger and definitely much stronger.

Bull seemed dismissive of the idea at first, which had left Maxwell confused, but he still felt like reassuring the warrior. He couldn’t help feeling responsible for all of this, and, well, he had finally admitted to himself that he had developed a crush on Iron Bull. It was hard not to, when Bull’s constant jokes and his attitude never failed to made Maxwell smile more than anything else. He felt protective and he couldn’t help it, didn't matter if some might think of it as ridiculous.

For this reason Maxwell had spent as much time as he could between fighting and meetings with the advisers, on learning how to cast protective barriers.

Yes, he wasn’t a Spirit magic specialist. Far from it. He preferred Storm magic himself, and knew a bit of Winter magic, since they had been useful, and had left the school of Spirit magic to Solas. The elf not only knew a lot about it, but also had promised to help Maxwell master casting barriers. Soon he had found out that Solas, even if demanding, was a good teacher and in a bit less than two weeks, Maxwell had managed to cast a barrier that was strong enough to protect someone from an attack.

So, the newly discovered rift in Hinterlands was an ideal time for Maxwell to try out his newest skill. After all, practical training during a fight was much more useful than casting spells around animals and randomly found objects.

As he predicted, Dorian agreed to go with him, Sera agreed as soon as he promised to go drinking with her afterwards, and he talked to Iron Bull on the way out of Haven. The warrior only snagged his axe from the tent and turned to tell Krem and Dalish to keep an eye on everything.

Both nodded at him, though a smirk appeared on Krem’s face as soon as Maxwell told them where they were going. “Just remember, chief, keep your axe in front of you.”

“You’re real fun today,” Bull rolled his eye, but turned to his lieutenant. “Hope you remember your advice when we’re training, because you’re going to get your ass kicked.”

“Don’t worry, chief, I’ll be waiting,” Krem nodded.

“Asshole,” Bull murmured, but punched him in the arm, a popular gesture among all the Chargers, looked like. “Dalish, tell the boys to be ready when I get back. If you get bored, you can go to Cullen and ask if there’s something you can do. And keep an eye on this one,” he pointed at Krem, to which the warrior snorted and the elf laughed out loud.

“Sure thing, chief. I’ll tell Skinner and Rocky. Have fun,” she said with a casual salute. The grin did not disappear from Krem’s face even as the warriors waved at them and went back to the tents of the rest of the Bull’s Chargers.

“We will, thanks!” Sera shouted after Dalish, smiling, and walked off, leaving the rest to make sure they have packed everything they would need.

A corner of Dorian’s mouth lifted in a smirk as he stepped closer to Bull. He was adjusting the buckles of his robe again, as he fastened his staff securely to one of them. “Your lieutenant does sound like he knows what he is talking about, I have to say.”

“Krem’s a smartass, but yeah, he’s a fighter.”

“Will they be okay?” Maxwell asked, watching Krem and Dalish join the rest of their team.

“What do you mean?”

“Do they often work without you there?”

“We’re mercenaries, boss. Fucking good ones,” Bull bared his teeth in a broad smile. “We’re used to doing more than one job at the same time. More jobs, more coin, right? Besides, Krem knows how to lead people and which jobs to take. He’s been doing it since we started working together.”

Maxwell nodded and turned to check straps on his own robes, before he heard yelling.

“Hey, lazy asses, come on!” they all had turned to see Sera who was already near the forest. She was walking backwards towards the main road, looking impatient. “Those pissfaces won’t kill themselves, yeah?!”

“Well, she is quite right,” Dorian commented, sighing. “If we go now, we might be back before the weather turns worse. Camp or not, I refuse to spend the night in the middle of a forest when it’s raining. ”

***

Casting barriers was much more difficult during a fight, but what spell wasn’t? Though Maxwell felt satisfaction when he had managed to protect Bull from the attack of Rage Demon and had cast a barrier around Sera who had been shooting at the demons. The rift was difficult to close, but fortunately they had healing potions and the bruise on Dorian’s arm and the claw marks on Sera’s back disappeared quickly. However, they both could use a rest, even if Sera tried to convince Maxwell that she was fine and ‘the frigging creepy bastards’ weren’t good enough to injure her.

When they were back in Haven, after going to the Singing Maiden with Sera just as he had promised, Maxwell ended up going to Bull’s tent, hoping the warrior wasn’t asleep just yet. He had been right, fortunately.

He was standing next to the tent and observing as Krem and the dark skinned man whom Maxwell recognized, but whose name he was not sure of, were trying to sing a song, as the others around them kept drinking. They all seemed to be focused on keeping up with the words of the song until they started laughing. Maxwell couldn’t help smiling. By then it was his usual reaction when spending time around those people.

“Hey, Boss.”

Maxwell noticed Bull had turned to look at him, and smiled weakly. “Can I?” he asked, pointing at the empty space in front of the tent, and as soon as Bull nodded, Maxwell sat down.

“So, what’s up? Sera out drank you?”

“She did. Though, honestly, I told her right away that I’m not much of a drinker, really. One tankard is more than enough for me,” he smiled back, but as soon as he said it, he sighed, pinching the bridge of his nose in resignation. He had learned there was no point in pretending around Iron Bull, but for some reason he still felt like he should prove himself to the warrior. He wasn’t sure if Bull would want to talk about it, but Maxwell still felt guilty.

“Okay,” Bull turned from the Chargers, focusing his attention on Maxwell. “What’s wrong?”

There was something in the tone of Bull’s voice that made Maxwell want to lean against him. It was almost the same tone voice he had heard the warrior use when he talked to the Chargers.

“You probably have better things to do than listening to me,” he said quietly, looking down at his hands.

Bull did not say anything for a while, and Maxwell felt the urge to just get up and leave. Then he heard Bull stepping closer and with a corner of his eye he saw the warrior sitting down right next to him. Setting his axe on the ground close to his hand, so he could grab it if anything happened, Bull turned to him.

“I don’t have much to do now. To me it looks like you forget that there are people who are here to help you.”

“I know that,” he replied. And after a while he added, more quietly: “I’m sorry, you know.”

“For what?”

“When I found out how you feel about demons, I felt guilty. I still do. You probably wouldn’t have to be around them as much if not for me. And then what had happened in Redcliffe...”

Bull snorted at that and only then Maxwell looked up, surprised.

“Okay. Let me tell you, Boss, even before we started working for you we got jobs where we had to fight demons. Yeah, I hate the fuckers, but fighting them is nothing new,” Bull said, and the way he smiled made Maxwell feel a bit better. “Is that why you can suddenly cast barriers around everybody? I thought you said you’re a lightening expert.”

“I meant it when I say I can protect you, you know,” Maxwell answered, shrugging.

“I know you can, Boss,” Bull winked at him, which looked ridiculous when one of Bull’s eyes was covered by the eye patch, and Maxwell shook his head. He could feel himself blushing at the comment, and there was simply no way Bull wouldn’t notice that. “You care. That’s your thing.”

Maxwell let himself smile at that as, along with Bull, he continued to watch the dancing and singing Chargers. It was surprising how Iron Bull managed to lift his spirit in such a short time, even if Maxwell still felt guilty. However, when he sitting next to the warrior, he felt like he wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.


 
 
*Mood*: geekygeeky
 
 
 
Julie: Original ★ fanfictionragnarok_08 on April 16th, 2015 12:24 am (UTC)
This fic is really good :DDD
Megan Moonlight: writemegan_moonlight on April 20th, 2015 05:07 pm (UTC)
Thank you very much :)