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The Epic Tale of Jeon the Giant

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When they got back from the latest mopping-up operation in the wake of the downfall of Corypheus, Varric didn't even stop at the baths. He yanked off one boot, hopped across the room while yanking on the other, and landed hard in his writing chair. His armor went one way, his helm another, and then it was just Varric, in shirt and breeches and socks with holes in them, bending over the parchment he'd left behind.

"You said this village wasn't big enough for the both of us," Jeon laughed. He crossed his arms over his chest, the big muscles sleek against his leathers. "Don't tell me you've changed your mind already."

Illikor backed up a step, his eyes shifting narrowly to the right and the left. But there was no hole left for the rat to run to, and the help he was looking for never came.

*whizzzz-THOK!* came the sound, and Illikor staggered under the impact of two flying daggers piercing his chest, one in each of the shiny bronze nipples on his famous enchanted breastplate.

"Bullseye," said Jeon in a whisper.

Illikor fell in a heap. He died as he lived: like a sack of dirty laundry.

And as the villagers began to celebrate the death of their evil lord, Jeon turned his mount away toward the north. There was no place here for him, but maybe somewhere in the snowcapped mountains

Varric growled, chewing the feather on his quill. He scratched out in the snowcapped mountains and wrote somewhere, maybe down the coast, in a city big enough for him to get lost in—

He scratched that out too. He felt like crumpling the page into a tiny little wad and using it for crossbow practice, but parchment was expensive, especially up here away from everything. In the snowcapped bloody mountains.

"Dammit," he said, and wrote quickly, somewhere out there, far away, he'd find the place of his true destiny. The End.

He dashed sand across the ink and smacked the page onto the top of the stack. Then he sat and stared at it for a while, glowering. He'd been so excited to get back and put the finishing touches on the book, but now he mostly wanted to finishing-touch it right into the fireplace.

Why couldn't the stupid character stay where he was put? No, all that work to get him face-to-face with the bad guy and into a final battle, and afterward there he went, waltzing away into the wilds to...~~do good~~ or ~~fight the good fight~~ or ~~be brave~~.

Screw Jeon, anyway. That big dumb brawny nug-licking Fereldan. That hero.

Varric shoved himself away from his writing table and went in search of a mug of ale the size of his head, without even putting his boots back on.


"Mmm-hmm Mphrss?" came the tentative voice. But Varric's head was under a pillow, so that was all he got. He was good and smashed, sodden with it, mother-naked but for one of his socks. And he wasn't coming out, not for anything.

The pillow lifted slightly. "Master Tethras?"

"He's busy," Varric groaned. The flickering light from the servant's candle had started the bed spinning again. "Go away."

"But Master Tethras...there's someone here to see you."

"I cordially—" Varric hiccuped as the bed took a slightly faster spin— "invite them to kiss Andraste's left buttcheek."

"Um." The servant leaned down, holding the candle closer. "He told me— Uh, he said, if you said that, I was supposed to say, 'Why so stingy, why not both?'"

The bed spun Varric right out and onto the floor, clutching his pillow and staring up at the servant through his tangled hair. "What did— What did you—"

"I've always preferred the right one anyway," said a well-remembered voice from the doorway.

"You," Varric managed, clawing himself to his feet and staggering forward. The servant fled. "You son of a...piece of...calcified...tusket-dung!"

He tripped on his flapping sock and fell, right into the arms of his own personal big dumb brawny nug-licking Fereldan.

"Hawke," he said, his face mashed against Hawke's sternum.

"Varric," Hawke said, his voice rumbling through his body and into Varric's. "You smell terrible."

"And you smell like a fresh Dawn Lotus tenderly picked at sunset. Came here straight from the stables, I see." But Varric still held Hawke tight around the waist and kept his face right where it was.

He felt one of Hawke's hands resting on his head. "Guess I didn't want any more delay."

Varric punched Hawke companionably in the ribs and let go of him, sniffing. "So now I have a houseguest. Lemme put my other sock on."

"Not on my account," said Hawke. He peered out from under his unkempt black hair, eyeing Varric from top to toe.

"See anything you like," Varric grumbled, tottering back to the bed and sitting down in a whirlpool of blankets.

"Always. But you have a fresh cut, too, right—" he traced a finger along his own ribs and then around behind, arm twisting awkwardly— "there."

"Uh. Yeah. I guess."

Hawke turned Varric's writing chair around backward and straddled it. His extra ridiculous height cocked his bent knees way up. "Well, what about the healers? I have it on good authority that Skyhold is absolutely crawling with mages."

"I've been busy," said Varric. "You know, darkspawn this, dragon that, keeps a guy away from the important things. Like finishing his book."

Hawke's eyes absolutely lit up, and Varric cursed himself. "Really? Can I see?"

"It isn't done."

"But you said you were finishing it," Hawke pointed out.

"It's finished. It just isn't... *finished*."

"You always say that, and I always love it." Hawke peered back over his shoulder at the table. "Is it another Hard in Hightown?"

"Not really," said Varric.

"Come on, then," Hawke urged, his hands clenched on the chair-back, his eyes wide and pleading. "Tell!"

On the one hand, Varric could put Hawke off until Hawke rode away again to do whatever heroes did, and that would put the whole question to bed. On the other hand, Varric could...nope, there was only the one hand.

But Hawke looked so eager. Back when they'd been battle-brothers, or whatever Varric had Jeon call it, Hawke had always loved to hear Varric's latest scribblings right off the quill with the ink still wet. He gasped at the scary parts and laughed at the funny parts, and Varric had never met a non-Dwarf who'd even gotten all the funny parts before Hawke.

He might not have Jeon to himself anymore... but then, he surely wouldn't have Hawke to himself anymore either, not once the next call of destiny came flying in to leave Varric here alone. So why not say goodbye to them together?

Besides, who could resist those great big mabari-pup eyes, anyway.

"Oh...fine, ugh, go ahead," he said graciously, flopping down on the bed.

He pulled a pillow over his face again and cringed as he imagined what Hawke must be reading now. Jeon's shining black hair, his soft black beard, his arms the size of tree trunks but with hands as deft and gentle as a summer wind. He had a particularly shapely ass in the bathing scene, if Varric did say so himself.

Might as well have named him Jarrett Jawke and gotten it over with, he thought, and wished he could start the bed spinning again just by force of will.

It seemed to take a long time. Hawke was no scholar, he supposed...maybe Varric should have read it to him after all, as he used to, the two of them with their stocking feet up in Varric's suite in The Hanged Man, drinking and laughing over some damn story or other. But could he have managed it without choking on his own tongue and blushing himself to death? Surely a question for the sages.

At last, he felt the mattress sag next to him. It sagged a long way...Hawke was a big boy.

"I like this part best," Hawke said. "Where Jeon meets the rugged little bronto-herder in the saloon, and they end up taking on the whole crowd together in a fistfight."

Varric moaned.

Hawke's weight shifted, and his leather belt rasped against Varric's bare hip. "Can't say I think much of the ending, though."

"Well, me neither," Varric said loudly into his pillow before he could stop himself. He was probably still drunk.

Hawke put a tentative arm over Varric's chest. And when was the last time that Hawke had done a tentative anything?

"It's not...carved in stone, though, is it? I mean...you said it wasn't finished."

"Finished enough," said Varric, warily.

"But not finished finished."

Varric breathed in and out under the weight of Hawke's big arm. "No," he let himself admit at last. "Maybe not."

The corner of the pillow peeled up, and the grubby face of his own personal Fereldan poked in close and hopeful, hair askew and beard needing a trim.

So Varric kissed him, which is not something the rugged little bronto-herder had ever managed to do. Poor bastard.

Hawke kissed him back, holding him more and more tightly around the chest until Varric could hardly breathe. Or maybe the breathlessness was for other reasons.

"Well," Hawke said against the corner of Varric's mouth eventually. Varric could feel the tingles of incipient beard-burn. "Move over and make room. If I'm helping you with your book, I'm going to need a place to sleep."

But neither of them got to sleep for a good long while.