It was snowing. Big fat flakes that drifted through the chilly air and got tangled in the coniferous branches of Skyhold’s forest. Fenlin blinked, twitching her head as one of the snowflakes landed on her eyelashes, melting and getting into her eye.
“Gah,” she said, rubbing at her face with a mitten. Sitting on a wooden toboggan with her walking cast stretched out in front of her, she’d gotten distracted by the pretty snow and not realised she was staring straight up.
“You okay?” Rahlen asked, stopping and looking over his shoulder. Over his scarf and under the tuque, she could see he was concerned. “Did you hit a bump or something?” He asked, “Is your leg okay?”
Instantly feeling guilty, Fen shook her head, eye still watering. Further along the trail they were on, the two puppies were chasing each other and playing in the snow. Or they had, at her exclamation Potato had turned and now was trotting back to sniff and lick at her face.
“No, Tato it’s-” Fenlin made a thbbbpt sound as she was covered with mabari kisses. “It’s fine. I’m fine. I just, uh, got snow in my eye. I could try walking you know,” she said, hopefully looking at the snowy trail he was pulling her along. “I feel bad with you pulling me along like this.”
The worry melted off his face and he smiled. And Fenlin smiled because she still wasn’t sure how the man in front of her, pulling her along on a wooden sled, was still around. He was… just… sigh. Satisfied that she was okay, Potato let out a whuff and launched himself back at his littermate.
“Don’t worry, and the doctor said to only walk short distances. We’re almost there, but I’m pretty sure he meant on flat, solid ground. Not powdery snow.”
He hadn’t even let her hold the backpack he wore. Something about ruining the surprise, even though he was already pulling her along and Fen didn’t think he needed to carry the bag too. But Rahlen was stubborn. Something she’d come to both appreciate and lament over the last months as he helped her get back onto her feet. Literally.
“Fine,” she said with a dramatic sigh. He grinned and she tried to hide her smile into her scarf and failed, and then they were moving along again.
“My parents want to come visit, is that okay?” he asked, puffing silver into the air as they went. “I wanted to check if you’d be up for visitors before I agreed to it. They’d stay at the hotel in town, but they sort of want to meet the girl that I moved out here for. My older sister thinks you’re some sort of love witch, something about ‘doing the impossible.’”
Fenlin was sure her ears would burn through her hat, and she tugged it down, hiding in her scarf.
“You’re not impossible,” she said with a laugh. “I mean, sometimes when you’re making me to Physio you seem like you are.”
Rahlen grinned over his shoulder.
“Which kind of physio? The kind that gave you a foot cramp last night?” He asked with a wink.
“I… no you are impossible,” Fen said, scooping up a handful of snow and tossing it at him. Too light and fluffy, the handful dissipated into a disappointing shower long before it reached his back.
“Ah yes,” Rahlen said, breathing in the chilly forest air. “My sweetheart, the most gentle of all elves.”
Fenlin snorted, and they were both laughing before long.
“So?” he asked, as they entered a clearing, and he slowed to a stop. He pulled off the backpack and set it down, crouching next to where Fen sat. “What do you think?”
“Sure,” she said, still a bit nervous. It wasn’t like she had practically idolized his mother as a child. Oh wait, she had? Hahaha STRESS. OH HELLO MRS THEIRIN, I’M SLEEPING WITH YOUR SON LET ME DISAPOINT YOU IN ALL WAYS. “Yeah, I’d like to meet them.”
He smiled and leaned in to kiss her nose. “No peeking.” He said, and tugged her hat down to cover her eyes. Fenlin sputtered, but behaved, waiting patiently as she heard Rahlen unzip the backpack and move some things around.
There was some snuffling sounds, and a gentle reproach to Rahlen’s pup and Potato, and then she felt Rahlen grab hold of the pompom on top of her hat and tug it off with a flourish.
Fenlin blinked at the sudden brightness, then her mouth fell open.
“What’s all this about?” she asked, staring at the picnic blanket he’d spread out on the snow, along with a pair of thermoses that smelled like chilli. There was even a bottle of wine stuck into the snow. The two pups were milling around teh blanket, looking hopefully at the food.
“Happy heart’s day,” Rahlen said, reaching down and helping her stand up carefully. “Surprise!” He yelped as Fen threw her arms around him, kissing him deeply. But any protest died as he returned the gesture, holding her tight against him.
“I love you,” she blurted out, looking up at him. Shit. Wait. Um. Creators, she’d just ruined everything. “I- shit-”
“I love you too,” he said, grinning wide. “Come on, before your dog steals our food.” He stole another kiss though, before helping her over to the blanket and settle down.
“My dog? Yours was the one that stole a piece of chicken two days ago,” she said. Fenlin felt a little dizzy. She held up a hand, and Rahlen’s eyebrows lifted.
“Sorry, my brain isn’t working. What did you say after-”
“I love you?” he said, lifting an eyebrow.
“Okay,” she breathed. “I just thought that might be, I don’t know, imagination.” she picked up her thermos and squinted at him over it. “Are you-”
“Fen,” Rahlen said, laughing as he sat next to her and kissed her cheek. “I’m sure. Now eat. Before it gets cold.”