Myka Hawke did not believe in love. No, that wasn't entirely true; she believed in love, she just didn't believe that she was capable of such an emotion. Which is why when Isabela propositioned her the first night they met, she saw it as the opportunity it was, a chance to scratch an itch, no strings attached.
After solving Isabela's problem named Hayder, she saw her sister home and then she and Varric, along with Isabela, made their way back to the Hanged Man. She figured at the very least they could all enjoy some drinks. If Isabela was really what she believed her to be, Hawke figured she might also get lucky.
Several hours and many drinks later, she found herself in Isabela's room just as she had planned. After they were both sated, she got dressed and made her way home. There was no cuddling or clinging, no declarations of feelings; it was really in her opinion, the perfect way to end the night.
This arrangement went on for months. Hawke would meet up with her companions, take care of whatever business they had for the day, fight whoever needed fighting, walk her sister and other companions home, and then head with Isabela back to the Hanged Man. The two women would enjoy a few drinks, and then relieve any residual tension. She never stayed the night. There was an unspoken agreement between the two of them.
By the end of the year, they had raised enough money to accompany Bartrand into the Deep Roads, and in spite of his betrayal, the artifacts and treasure they brought back with them were worth a large sum of gold. Despite her protests, Hawke, at the insistence of their mother, refused to allow Bethany to accompany her, Isabela, Varric, and Fenris. When she arrived home weeks later, she was just in time to helplessly watch that pious bastard, Knight-Captain Cullen, take her sister away from her to lock her away in the mage tower. Weighed by guilt, Hawke used much of her share to buy back the Amell family estate. It was the only thing she was able to do for her mother, the woman who had lost so much.
Bethany was everything to Hawke. She was the only person Hawke trusted with her true feelings. To most, Hawke hid behind a wall of sarcasm and indifference. Her companions knew she was anything but uncaring. She always went out of her way to help those that were truly in trouble. Granted more times than not, she claimed she would not do so without reward, but everyone knew that was just another facade.
Hawke was punishing herself. One of her self-imposed goals was to protect her sister and keep her safe. When she was locked away, Hawke had failed not only her sister, but herself as well. When Bethany was taken, something in Hawke changed. What little glimpse of feelings her companions ever saw seemed to get buried completely underneath the mask she had spent her life perfecting.
Slowly, over the next three years, Hawke started going out and living again little by little. It started with her going drinking and socializing with her companions. Later, she started seeking someone to entertain for the evening. However, it was never Isabela, and it was never more than one time. While Isabela and Hawke had never been exclusive, there was still a sense of familiarity and stability; two things Hawke fought hard to ignore. Then one night she returned home to find Isabela was there waiting for her.
It had been their first time together in almost three years. Hawke couldn't believe she had held out for so long. Isabela was a master at everything when it came to sex. Hawke thought she was good, but Isabela never ceased to amaze her. Thinking back, the worldly pirate had taught her something new almost every time they were together.
Isabela was sitting at the end of the bed lacing her boots back up. Once she was finished she turned to face Hawke before she spoke, "I should go, I wouldn't want to take advantage of your hospitality"
It had been so long since they had been together, and Hawke really wasn't ready for the night to end. Without thinking she found herself speaking, "I like it when you take advantage of my hospitality."
It was so unlike Hawke to push the situation. They had a good thing going… Sex, with no strings attached. Really amazing, mind blowing sex was more like it, but it was still all about the sex. So, Isabela's next words caught Hawke completely off guard.
"It was fun wasn't it? I missed this, and well, if you still want to do it again…" Isabela trialed off clearly lost in thought. She slowly turned around. A look of horror clearly written on her face, "wait, you're not thinking of bringing feelings into this?"
Feelings? What did feelings have to do with anything? Hawke truly did not understand what Isabela was getting at. They had a nice arrangement. They each knew the other was adept in pleasing them in ways no one else could. Hawke knew exactly what buttons to push to get Isabela off. There were no emotions involved. This agreement was never about developing feelings for one another. It was simple about pleasure.
"Isabela," Hawke replied cautiously, "when has this ever been about feelings?"
"I know" Isabela trailed off seemingly lost in her own thoughts, "It's just…Did you know I was once married?"
Okay, Hawke wasn't expecting that. She was still lost on the whole feelings triad. Really, she didn't know what to say. Isabela, married? She didn't think that was even possible.
Isabela continued on, seemingly unaware of Hawkes reaction, "I was his plaything, a prized possession." Isabela laughed, but there was no humor there, "My mother gave me away for a goat and a handful of gold coins. She didn't even haggle over the price" Isabela finished, clearly offended by that last statement.
Hawke was still at a loss for words. Love and marriage were two things Hawke sought to avoid. This however, was a loveless marriage, something she could actually understand. She knew she had to say something, though what she did say, took them both by surprise, "So you had a loveless marriage. Are you saying you've never experienced true love?"
Isabela laughed, "Oh, I've been in love. I fell in love with a man not long after my husband died. Of course then he went and ruined everything when he foolishly asked for my hand… I freaked and ran. I refused to be tied down again"
Hawke thought a while before responding. She had been called emotionally unavailable before. She truly did not know how to love, nor did she know how to be loved back. Isabela on the other hand, did know how to love.
"You're not afraid of being hurt, you're just afraid of hurting someone else." It wasn't an accusation, more like a realization. One that Hawke didn't exactly mean to say out loud.
"What? No, it isn't like that. It's just easier this way. Now, if you are doing trying to confuse the issue, I'm going to go." With that, Isabela walked out of Hawke estate.
Hawke was more than confused. What was Isabela getting at? Did she really think Hawke had feelings for her? She kept telling herself over and over that she didn't do feelings. So why was she so worried about what Isabela thought? If it was any other person she would have just let them walk out and ignore the whole situation. Then again, if it was anyone else, she wouldn't still be sleeping with them after three years. She thought back to a conversation she had with Bethany years before.
Hawke wound her way slowly through the streets of Lowtown to her home, or more specifically the dirty hovel she shared with her mother, sister, and uncle. It was the fourth time in the past few weeks she found herself drinking with Isabela in the Hanged Man. Or at least it always started with them drinking. One thing always led to another and she'd always find herself in Isabela's room, seeking a much needed release.
When she finally arrived home, she entered as quietly as possible, not wanting to wake any of its sleeping occupants. When she made it to her room, she was surprised to find Bethany not only awake but waiting for her to return home.
"You're not as sneaky as you might think"
"Who said I was being sneaky?" was Hawke's only reply.
"The real question is, who is going to break the others heart first?"
Hawke was truly perplexed by her sister's statement. Sure, Bethany knew her better than anyone, but what did the heart have to do with anything?
"Bethany, surely by now you realize it's just about the sex. I mean honestly, when have I been interested in anything serious?"
"That may be Myk, but then again, when have you ever gone back to the same woman more than once, maybe twice if you found her exceptionally… entertaining?" came Bethany's reply after just a moment's hesitation.
"What can I say?" Hawke replied with a smirk, "The woman knows what she's doing"
Bethany just started up at her sister doubt written clearly on her face.
"I don't do relationships, and I don't do love. Look, nobody is going to get hurt. Isabela and I have an understanding. Feelings will never become an issue."
Bethany was not convinced. She knew if anyone could win her sister's heart, it would be by someone who was as indifferent to love. However, she also knew not to press the issue; the situation was out of her hands. Although she also knew when feelings did become an issue, she'd be there to say, 'I told you so.'
Bethany shrugged, "Okay. What do I know about relationships and sex anyway?"
Hawke just shook her head at her sister as she crawled into bed. That girl had a lot to learn. Relationships were trouble. So she was sleeping with Isabela on an almost regular basis. It was still all about the sex. Why pay for something when she could get something better for free? Emotions were definitely not going to become an issue.
She shot one last glance over to her sister before blowing out the candle on the nightstand by her bed.
"Get some sleep, sister; we have a lot to do tomorrow." With that, she rolled over and fell into an easy sleep.
Slowly, Hawke climbed into her large bed. 'I don't do feelings and I sure as hell don't do love' at least that is what she kept telling herself over and over as she laid awake in bed. Maybe Bethany was right all along. Maybe feelings were starting to become an issue. She couldn't let that happen. She didn't know how. As she drifted off to sleep, her last thoughts were that she was in trouble.