Anders threw his hands in the air and dropped back onto his heels. I dodged from his left but blood still spattered my cheek. My flamboyant healer did insist on melodrama after a battle when the injuries were relatively minor. When the wounds were serious it brought out his concentration and best bedside manner but the slash on Aveline’s leg inspired only histrionics.
“These edges won’t line up. What did that thug hit you with, a rose bush? You’re going to have another scar.”
He plunged his hands into the bloody mess again, rearranging the Guard Captain’s muscles to his satisfaction before commencing with the actual healing. His continuing monologue was as much to keep her at ease as to convey information. Aveline knew his habits as well as I did so the flow of his babble cheered us.
“Andraste’s flaming knickers, woman, don’t you know enough to use that shield?” Aveline sucked in a breath as Anders squeezed particularly tightly. Such an inhale was all the pain she’d allow herself to show but I could see how pale she was. “The thing isn’t just for bashing heads!” He kept berating her to keep her mind off the fact that his fingers were literally inside her leg, sealing the severed ends of things back together. “Maker only knows how you survived Ostagar.”
Then it was my turn. “And you, fearless leader! Why do you let everyone gang up on her like that? Are you trying to get her killed?”
Aveline grunted a little laugh. “I can take it, Anders,” she said in that steady voice that always reassured me. “Hawke distracts them enough by dancing around the edges.” Her face contorted in pain. “Besides, aren’t you supposed to paralyze them or freeze them or something?”
The hands flew out again and more of Aveline’s blood decorated my armor. “Those bastards would not hold still!” he cried in mock horror. “I sucked down lyrium potions like Isabela drinks whiskey and I still couldn’t lock them down. It was embarrassing.”
He glanced down at his work again. I could see that the ragged edges of the wound were all but closed by now. “I don’t know why I even bother,” he grumbled. “You’re just going to get hacked up again.” Aveline smiled at him as the pain faded beneath his glowing hands. He loved doing this. “And just look what you’ve done to my robes! This will never come out.”
“Can’t you just magic them clean?” she asked, all innocence.
He narrowed his eyes at her. “That’s not how it works and you know it,” he said. The two broke into relieved laughter as he stood and bent to help her up. “Next time I’m just going to let you bleed all over the Wounded Coast,” he threatened sullenly. She cuffed his shoulder affectionately, almost sending him sprawling down the path. He rubbed the sore spot. “You deserve it.” But he was grinning still.