Spoonful of peanut butter
Tomas had little interest in going to a ball. He missed Val Royeaux; Tomas missed his friends there. He felt suffocated being back in Antiva City. Although travel was made faster now that the Eluvian network had gone up, his dad was still apprehensive about letting him go back to school. Sure, it was safe in Val Royeaux right now thanks to enchantments, but his father didn't trust how long that would be the case. Tomas was determined to convince his dad otherwise, and part of that meant staying on his good side. So when the plans for the Ball came up, Tomas grudgingly agreed to go, knowing it would be important to the family.

He was feeling reasonably well considering his last flare up a few days earlier, otherwise he probably would have used that as an excuse to get out of going. Julian kept insisting that Tomas had to be there, but he did not know why Julian was so worked up about it. It seemed rather out of sort, as his brother rarely pressured him to do things he didn't want to do. Even down to picking out what mask he would wear. As Tomas walked around the ball, he steered himself towards the buffet table and grabbed a cup of the sangria. Then went and stood, watching everyone on the dance floor.

His attire
The fun thing about discovering her new identity was to see that she had no problem with dressing up with cute dresses and feminine stuff as long as it was her choice and not one imposed by external sources, like her father had been.
She had managed to use her saving to buy a modest white silky dress, pretty and humble but appropriate to the occasion. Being back in Antiva was weird, and doing the sort of activity that her father would have dreamed about was even weirder, but she guessed that the right thing to see it was that she was doing it for Thomas.
The brunette moved around trying to find her friend when she finally spotted him in a corner of the ballroom and she waved her hand before approaching him “Hello Thomas” she said, playfully doing a little bow.

https://n.nordstrommedia.com/id/sr3/c7f2...jpeg?h=365&w=240&dpr=2 = her dress
Tomas expected to see familiar faces, or rather, masks, but when he heard a very familiar voice speaking to him, his frown immediately turned into a grin. He had a million questions floating around through his head, but Imogen was there. Suddenly, the very dull party didn't seem very dull at all. He turned to face them and embraced them in a big hug. 

I can't believe you're really here, how? When? This is such a surprise!! He paused, suddenly remembering something Julian had said to him, about cheering up and maybe the party wouldn't be as dull as he expected it to be. Wait, did Julian have something to do with this? He seemed an awful lot like the cat that ate the canary earlier, I thought nothing of it until now!
“Well a pretty girl can’t reject the opportunity to see her best friend, especially if he’s going to look as handsome as you do tonight! Look at you, suits really look fine on you mister Mesonero” she said with a chuckle “He contacted me to come, and I figured that as long as I stayed away from my hometown it should be okay. I will stay for a few days before returning to Orlais” she said with a warm smile.

“How is Antiva treating you? It feels like ages since I saw you in person Tomas” she said taking a sip from her drink. Despite of the fact of all the news that she had to share weren't happy she decided that she was going to make this night special for her friend.
Well, I'm glad he invited you. Though I feel bad. I should have been the one to invite you. I just, I know how you feel about being in Antiva and I didn't want to make you uncomfortable. He smiled warmly and kissed Imogen lightly on the cheek in greeting. 

You look amazing! I don't think I've ever seen you dressed up before. I'm so glad you've cleared a few days. I've missed you since I left Orlais. Things here have been OK, mostly just working on my writing and being bored. I've been feeling OK, I haven't had a bad flare up since that one you helped me through.
“Well admittedly I wasn’t eager to return to Antiva but if there was someone that would make this trip worthy it was you” said the brunette as she pulled him into a hug after receiving the kiss on their cheek.

“I do my best, I feel a bit weird wearing something this formal but admittedly it feels better when it’s my choice and not something imposed externally” they said showing off the outfit a little “That’s amazing! It was no problem helping you but I am glad of that you didn’t need my help” said the brunette “I am here to make things interesting, at the least for a few days” they said with a wink.
Well, I'm just glad you're here. At least our dad's don't get along, so there's no risk of running into him here, but then I"m sure Julian thought of that when he invited you since he knows the situation too. He still couldn't believe that Julian had invited her, he made a mental note to thank Julian later when he saw his brother. Turning his attention back to Imogen, he smiled. Well, I think you look amazing in whatever you wear, but then you know me, I've never been big on clothing. It's just the things we use to keep from running around stark naked. He wore nice clothes of course, his family could afford them, but they weren't important to him.
“I mean I doubt that he’d be allowed in such a fancy place, he is a farmer after all” she didn’t mind his humble origin, what had driven them apart was his ambition. “I mean I do my best, I think that you look good in anything too” said the brunette with a smile “I like a bit more the more relaxed outfits because they make people look more as themselves? But that’s just a personal preference”.

“So any interesting, any news the last months? It’s been two since you left Orlais right?” asked the brunette. She had a few news but she didn’t want to overwhelm Tomas this early in the night.
Tomas nodded, and then agreed with Imogen about the more casual outfits, they were certainly more comfortable as well, it was easier to be oneself when one was actually comfortable and not walking around in some expensive penguin suit. As far as what was new, he shrugged at first, then changed his tone.

OH, I took dad to meet Rosalie. That was uh, tense. Dad doesn’t really trust her much because she’s so young. Fortunately I don’t need his permission since I’m twenty-two, I only took him as a courtesy. Tomas explained.
“That’s kind of bullshitty like sure older people can be more experienced but from what I have seen at times is more important to have someone that cares about the task or is willing to work hard on it than experience” she didn’t know Jorah but it was unfair for Thomas to not feel supported in his choices “You always have my back like, fuck it if you wanna I can even go with you whenever they do the medical shit”.

“I managed to make some magic and I even have an staff!” they told him with a smile “and I uhm…encountered a grey warden” because before giving Vincent the definitive answer she wanted to speak with Thomas but they didn’t know how to start the topic. She rubbed her neck awkwardly unsure about how to continue with the topic.
Tomas perked up, he definitely would love to have Imogen there with him when he did medical stuff, if they were available at least. He didn’t want to put them out either, but it was good having them in his corner, he definitely appreciated more than he could put into words. In fact, there was a lot about Imogen that he struggled to put into words, which as a writer, was certainly saying something.

I mean, if you’re available to be there, then yea definitely! Then he looked genuinely excited when Imogen brought up magic. Oh my! That’s amazing! I knew you could do it! What’s the staff like? You’ll have to show me when you can, I’ve heard they are all different. I mean I’ve seen my guardian’s staff. His has a sort of red glowy ball at the top. Tomas explained excitedly. Then when the topic of grey wardens came up, he looked equally interested. I’ve never met a grey warden before, what are they like? He asked.
“I am always available for you. I just need only a bit of heads up so that I can speak to my boss to have the permission to leave for a little bit” and if the boss didn’t let them they would just fucking quit, anything for Thomas.

“I have it back in my quarters, I can show you tomorrow afternoon since likely today we won’t go to bed early due to the party” said Imogen with a smile. “Perhaps we can catch up a little while I show it to you”

“I met one called Vincent, it was impressive to see someone like that in the middle of a little village wrecked by the taint” said the brunette. “They said that they are in dire need for help…and I wondered if I could help there. The taint has ruined so many lives and fuck what if I am just serving tables when I could make the world a bit better?”
Tomas smiled, it felt good having Imogen in his corner, he wasn’t sure what he would do with out them. They meant the world to Tomas, and he really felt like he didn’t say that enough. Sometimes he’d dreamt about what it might be like to go out with Imogen, but he was so afraid that if something went wrong it would ruin their friendship and then where would they be. Tomas pushed those thoughts out of his mind and focused on what was in front of him. He nodded and agreed to needing a heads up when he’d have appointments with Rosalie, and about seeing the stave in the morning, the Grey Wardens bit he tipped his head slightly trying to fully realise what she meant by it.

You want to help them like Rosalie helps them? He asked, curiously, it hadn’t quite dawned on him yet that she might mean that she would help by risking her life and joining the Grey Wardens.
“I spoke to a warden and they are in need of effectives” she said quietly “because of all the stuff going on. I was wondering…now that I do have magic on my side I could be an effective asset. I did not sign per se but I promised a Grey Warden that I would get back at him” she wasn’t looking at him as she spoke, knowing that it was a delicate topic.
Tomas wasn’t sure how he felt about the idea of Imogen being not only put in danger, but put in danger as a Grey Warden. He didn’t know much about the Grey Wardens, but he knew they lived dangerous lives. He bit at his bottom lip, he wasn’t sure what to say, he didn’t want to act like he was pissed off because at the end of the day it was Imogen’s life and they could do what they wished. Then again he also didn’t want to act like he was happy about the idea either, because he wasn’t.

It also brought up a lot of pent up feelings, feelings he hadn’t ever been able to properly express towards Imogen, feelings that he’d harboured for awhile and never said anything. It was a funny thing really, that he, a writer, couldn’t come up with the words to tell Imogen that he was falling in love with them, fuck that he WAS in love with them, and now everything felt like it was falling apart all around him. He cleared his throat and tried to find something to say, anything really.

I…. I mean, the amount I know about grey wardens could fit in a thimble, but I mean there are risks right? I mean there’s a reason they often recruit criminals. I mean there must be a reason people aren’t beating down the doors to become one? He asked.