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.
Hawke sat alone in her room, staring at her hands clutched in her lap, lost deep in thought. In fact, she was so focused on her inner thoughts that she didn't hear her bedroom door open, nor did she notice when the lone figure stepped inside. It wasn't until she felt the bed shift and a hand on her shoulder, that she realized she was no longer alone. Hawke knew without looking up, that it was Isabela.
They sat in a comfortable silence for what felt like hours until Isabela finally spoke, "I feel like I should say something. I…"
Hawke finally looked up at her, "Isabela, you don't have to say anything. " She tried to choose her words carefully, "I know you are no better than I am when it comes to these things. Really, I'm okay"
Of course Hawke wasn't okay, and they both knew it. It wasn't so much that Hawke was worried about Isabela stumbling over words of comfort. If she was honest with herself, she did appreciate having the other woman by her side. She just didn't know how to accept her presence. She just lost the last of her family. Well, if you don't count Uncle Gamlen, which she didn't.
She learned early on that trust wasn't freely given. Her father and sister were both apostate mages. The entire family was constantly on the run from the Templars. The mages locked in the tower were tolerated at best. Those that stayed hidden were not only hated but feared. They were considered dangerous and more often than not, evil. The ignorant believed that apostates were more prone to give into the temptation of demons. The truth was that any mage was susceptible; having free will had nothing to do with it.
Because they were constantly on the run, Hawke learned that establishing friendships was a useless waste of time. Why put forth the effort to get to know someone when you were just going to lose them. Then again, it all goes back to trust. Could Hawke trust these potential friends with her family's biggest secret? She learned at a very young age that the answer was no.
After her father died, it was Hawke's responsibility to take care of her family. At least by this point, they were relatively safe from the Templars and established in Lothering. Her family, and especially her sister, became her main priority. When it really came down to it, Hawke had all the friends she needed in the form of her sister. Bethany was everything to her. Sure, she would just as soon die for her mother and brother, but Bethany understood Hawke. She was the only one able to see through the mask of sarcasm and indifference and see the real person hiding underneath.
Her thoughts were interrupted by a single word, "Bullshit!"
Isabela was right, it was bullshit. Hawke was clearly not okay. The question Hawke had to ask, did she trust Isabela? The simple answer was yes. Isabela was the only other person Hawke had ever met that was able to see past her walls, just like Hawke was always able to call Isabela out if she chose to. Though, it was rare for either woman to do so.
For the first time, she found herself being completely open and honest with someone other than Bethany. Maybe it was because of her weakened state, or maybe it was because she knew she couldn't get away with anything less, but Hawke didn't feel like fighting. She felt her walls slowly dropping, and so she answered honestly and without sarcasm.
"You're right. It is bullshit. I… I'm not okay."
Hawke narrowed her eyes at Isabela before responding, "My family is all I have, or I guess, had. " Hawke took a deep breath and sighed before continuing, "When my father died, I took over for him. It was my responsibility to look after my family. I failed. Carver was killed before we even got here, then a year later, Bethany gets taken from us. Now… Now my mother is gone as well."
Isabela looked over at Hawke. Lost for words, she didn't know how to respond. In all the years they've known each other, she had never been this open. Granted they did share a lot of personal stories but they were always vague. It was always a matter of reading between the lines, a method of communication they were both adept at. This was something new; leaving Isabela confused and unsure.
In typical Hawke form, she attempted to deflect the situation, "What's done is done, time to move on, right?" Hawke smiled, but it was all for show.
She stood and walked to the fireplace, staring at the flames as they danced.
"At least you had a mother that cared. You have something you can hold on to. It's more than some can say."
Hawke had to admit that Isabela had a point. She had a mother who loved and supported her unconditionally. While she may not have approved of everything Hawke did, she always stood by her daughter. Hawke knew that no matter what, she would never lose her mother's love. Despite always being on the run, they were a very close family. Her parents would have never considered selling her for all the money in the world, let alone a goat.
She turned around then only to find Isabela standing beside her also lost in thought. They need say nothing more, at least not with words.
Hawke pushed Isabela hard into the wall and crashed their lips together in a bruising kiss. There was nothing gentle or tender about it. Teeth and lips clashed, tongues fighting for dominance. This kiss was raw and hard and primitive.
They only pulled away for want of air, and stood panting, each trying to catch their breath.
Hawke looked into Isabela's eyes. "I don't want to think anymore. Just help me forget, at least for tonight."
Isabela nodded in understanding and roughly pushed Hawke onto the large bed. They spent much of the night like this, communicating without words. Isabela did everything in her power to just make Hawke feel good, to help her forget the pain of loss, of losing everyone she ever loved.
She didn't leave until Hawke had finally passed out from exhaustion. She knew that neither she nor Hawke desired a sleepover. Hawke wouldn't appreciate waking up next to her in the morning. She stood and got dressed. Without looking back, she made her way back to her room at The Hanged Man.
Hawke woke up the next morning sore and bruised. Last night had been almost more difficult for her than actually watching her mother die. At the time, adrenaline coursed through her body. She was in survival mode. It wasn't until she had a quiet moment to herself that she was really able to reflect on what had happened. Looking back, she was glad Isabela showed up last night. Neither woman was particularly good with words. However, both women were quite adept at communicating through sex. Isabela knew exactly what Hawke needed and she didn't fail to deliver.
She went about her morning routine before slowly making her way downstairs. Before she reached the first step, she noticed her Mabari, Deogie, lying in front of her mother's bedroom door, whining softly. She shook her head sadly before making her way over to him. She leaned against the wall next to the door before slumping down next to her dog on the floor.
"C'mere boy" She said while slowly reaching out a hand to her best friend.
He let out a soft whine before turning around to lay his massive head in Hawkes lap. She started lightly stroking his head, seeking the comfort only he could provide.
"I failed her. I'm sorry boy. I know you miss her, I do too and it's my fault she's gone." She said, tears welling in her eyes.
He looked up at her then, cocking his head to the right and whined slightly in understanding.
"All I had to do was keep them all safe. I failed them all." The tears were now falling freely down her face. "First Carver was killed by that bastard Ogre, and then Bethany was locked away in that prison of a mage tower, and now mom. Had I only paid more attention to her, she might still be alive. Mom told me about him once. If I had asked more questions, found out more about this man, I could have stopped him. I was supposed to make time for her. She had nobody left and I couldn't even keep her safe. How did I not notice the while lilies before? What kind of daughter am I?" She knew Deogie couldn't answer her, but it didn't stop her from having a one sided conversation with him.
"I'm the worst daughter ever. The only thing I had to do is keep my family safe. Instead, I failed all of them." She knew she was repeating herself, but it was the one thing, she just couldn't look past. At that, Deogie lifted his head from her lap and stood up, pressing his head against her chest. She wrapped her arms around him and just cried. She shed all the tears she had been holding back. It would be the only time she cried about this. Her Mabari was the only one she could openly break down in front of.
Slowly she pulled away from her faithful companion. She wasn't sure how much time had passed, but she knew there was still much to do today. She stood before addressing her Mabari, "Thank you. I know I can always count on you."
As she walked back towards the stairs, her walls came back up and she put her mask firmly in place. The time for mourning was over. There was still much left to do.
Two days later, Hawke found herself back at her estate surrounded by friends and what little family she had left. Much to her surprise, the Circle allowed Bethany to attend the funeral. She was there now talking quietly with a family acquaintance, her single Templar escort hovering closely behind her.
For her part, Hawke tried to stay as isolated as possible. It wasn't an easy task, what with having to play hostess. She spoke with anyone that approached, accepted their condolences with grace and ease, until the next guest approached. This pattern continued well into the evening.
Isabela glanced over at Hawke for what seemed like the hundredth time that day. To anyone, Hawke appeared calm and at ease with a slight tinge of sadness. Isabela however, was not anyone. She could clearly see the weight of the evening bearing heavily on her shoulders. She masked it well, but to anyone that really knew better, her eyes clearly revealed pain and burden.
The pirate slowly made her way over to Hawke. Determined to speak with her in private, she maneuvered the rogue away from the other guests. She positioned herself just so, making it clear to anyone that Hawke was not to be approached at this time.
"You looked like you could use a break."
Hawke smiled gratefully at her companion, "If I have to hear one more 'I'm sorry for your loss' I think I'm going to go crazy. I don't know most of the idiots here. Come to think of it, I doubt my mother did either. We both know they don't give a shit about my loss."
Isabela just shrugged at the comment, "That's nobility for you."
"Yeah well, they can have it." Hawke sighed at that, "Really, if I knew it was going to be this much trouble I would have stayed in that damn shack."
Her only response was a quirked eyebrow and half smirk.
"Okay, so this is better than the shack. I guess there are some positives, I was able to get my sister released from her prison for the day at least" Hawke didn't expect that when she requested her sister's presence at her mother funeral that Knight Commander Meredith would grant the request. Much to her surprise, her sister was able to attend not only the funeral but the gathering at her estate as well.
"Speaking of your sister, you've been avoiding her all day."
"I've done no such thing," Hawke replied defiantly.
"And now that things have calmed down, I expect you plan on finally going over to speak with her?"
"Why of course Isabela, I can't wait to tell my baby sister her mom is dead because of me."
Before Isabela had a chance to respond, Hawke was heading towards her sister; someone else she had failed. Really when it came down to it that was the one thing she excelled at; destroying the lives of those she loved the most.
"Well, it's about time you made your way over here"
"You know me… always something or someone keeping me busy." They looked at one another then, a mock scowl on Bethany's face.
Bethany threw her arms around Hawke in a tight hug, "It's so good to see you. Maker, I've missed you."
"You say that now." Suddenly, Hawke found her shoe quite fascinating. Without looking up at her sister she continued, "It was my fault you know. I was too wrapped up in myself to take notice of any danger."
It felt like ages before Bethany replied, "You can't be everywhere at once. Mother's death is as much my fault as it is yours."
"Just like you being taken to the circle wasn't my fault." Hawke answered sarcastically "I should have let you join the party. "
"Who knows what would have happened if I did go with you. I could be dead right now for all you know."
Hawke shrugged before casually answering, "At least you would be with Father, Mother, and Carver. "
"Don't do that."
"I don't know what you are talking about," Hawke casually replied.
"You know exactly what I am talking about. You're closing off again, pretending that you don't care. You can't hide from me. You know that as well as I do. So I got caught. It's not great, but it could be a lot worse. At least I'm willing to look at the positive, which is a lot more than I can say about you."
Hawke said nothing, but Bethany could tell she was getting through to her.
Bethany put a hand on her shoulder and looked her straight in the eye.
"None of this was your fault. I repeat, you can't be everywhere all the time. You're only human. None of us blame you."
Hawke's brow scrunched at her sister's comment, "But…"
"No buts. We both know it's true. Besides, I'd rather talk about a certain pirate friend of yours," Bethany replied mischievously.
"I can't think of what you mean." Try as she might, Hawke could not suppress the huge grin on her face. She missed this.
"Are you still going to tell me it's, 'just about the sex'? You can't really still believe that."
"Of course it's just about sex. Really incredible sex," Hawke added as an afterthought, "but still, sex nonetheless. Really Bethy, when have I ever been different?"
Bethany didn't really have an answer for that. Her sister had never done relationships. She fought it tooth and nail. Anytime someone tried to take the sexual relationship to the next level, her sister bolted. The fact that Isabela never tried to lay claim to her sister was probably the only reason they were still together. Fight it as they did, Bethany was well aware that the two women loved each other. She just wondered how long it would take before either was willing to admit it. With a sigh, she admitted defeat… For now.
"Okay, I get it. There is nothing else I can say. I'll just have to take your word for it."
Before Hawke could respond Bethany's Templar escort was at her side.
"It is time."
Bethany turned back to her sister then and gave her a tight hug and a kiss on the cheek.
"It was good seeing you again Myk. Hopefully next time it will be under better circumstances."
"Take care of yourself Bethy."
As she reached the door, Bethany looked back. What she saw gave her hope. Isabela was back at her sister's side, a hand on her lower back, leading her gently and lovingly up the stairs to her room. They might not be able to admit it yet, but Bethany knew what she saw. With that, she turned back and allowed the Templar to lead her back to her prison, a small smile played at her lips. Her sister had finally found love.
Hawke lay in bed, her face covered with a towel to hide what she considered the most ridiculous bandage she'd ever seen. Anders insisted that the bandage must remain in place to protect the stitches that now lined her face. She was informed that she was quite lucky she hadn't lost the vision in her right eye. As it was, she was likely to have a scar running from her eyebrow to her chin. It was a small price to pay for someone's life.
Anders had been able to stop most of the bleeding before heading back with her to the estate. When they arrived at her home, he had her lay on the bed while he determined the extent of the damage.
"Seriously Myka, you're lucky to still have your head, let alone your eyesight. How you managed to pull that off is beyond me."
Hawke had been lucky she just managed to jump away from the Arishok's large blade, Sataareth
before it cut her head in half. Had she been a second later, she wouldn't be alive to hear the seemingly endless lectures from her concerned companions.
"But I did and that's all the matters. Though if everyone keeps badgering me, I may start to regret my amazing reflexes," came the rogue's cocky reply.
"This is serious. Don't you understand? You could have been killed!" Anders yelled.
"I get it, but what's done is done. I'll live to see another day. There is no point getting so worked up about it."
"I don't know about that," Anders sighed regretfully, "I did all I could, but it's going to scar. I am sorry," He bowed his head in resignation. Anders prided himself on his healing skills. When it came to the art of mending, there really was nobody better. The fact that he couldn't heal the wound without leaving a scar left him feeling useless and deflated. This wasn't just some random person on the street; this was one of his best friends.
Hawke shrugged, "What's a scar or two? It's not a big deal. Besides, I bet I could use it to my advantage if I tried."
Anders shook his head, "Only you…"
Hawke cut him off before he could continue.
"Anders," she said seriously, "can you do me a favor?"
Hawke sighed, "Whatever you do, don't tell Isabela about the scar."
The mage scrunched his brows together at this; trying desperately to understand why Hawke had made such a request.
Noticing his confusion, she continued, "It's just not something she needs to know, okay?" While not an outright lie, it wasn't exactly the truth either. Hawke was going to scar, there was no getting around that, but it was in the past. She couldn't do anything to change that and she didn't honestly believe she would if she could. She knew that Isabela would blame herself and that was the last thing she wanted. Hawke made the decision to duel the Arishok. Nobody forced her into it.
"I don't understand you sometimes, Hawke, but I will keep your secret."
"Thank you, Anders." Hawke smiled as best as she could with stitches and a bandage firmly in place.
"You'll need to leave that bandage on for 24 hours. I'll be back tomorrow to check on your wound and redress the bandage."
With that, he left.
After looking in the mirror, Hawke grabbed a towel and went to lay down on her bad. Once she was comfortable she placed the towel over her head. She knew she looked absolutely ridiculous, but it was better to the alternative. Truthfully, the towel was to help sooth her concerned companions. Everyone, including Isabela, was upset with her. The bandage made her look a lot worse off than she really was and she didn't need anyone worrying about her. She was alive and at the end of the day, that was all that really mattered.
Throughout the day, her companions came one or two at a time to visit her. Sometimes they had words of encouragement and hope. Though generally, it was more along the lines of, "Hawke! What were you thinking?"
Her response was the same every time, "I did what I had to, and I lived to tell the tale." She also made sure to assure them that she would have done the same for them had they found themselves in Isabela's situation.
Isabela had yet to stop by. Hawke knew it was only a matter of time. The pirate wouldn't leave without saying goodbye first. Yes, Hawke was certain Isabela didn't plan on sticking around. If their roles had been reversed she'd be on the first ship out of the city.
Hawke woke with a start. She had been asleep, Deogie draped across her feet at the foot of the bed. Someone was silently sneaking into her room. It was only due to her rogues training and senses that she was able to detect the other intruder at all.
"Well, look who finally decided to grace us with her presence!" Hawke exclaimed sarcastically.
The figure froze mid-step, looking much like a rabbit that just saw the predator stalking it.
"Isabela!" Hawke looked down at the pirates hand, she was just able to make something out in the dark room, "And you come carrying a note. Really? You couldn't even say anything to my face? You really are a coward."
Isabela looked properly chastised, "Myka, I…"
"Save it, Isabela." Hawke interrupted. "Really, I should have expected as much." Hawke removed the towel that was still resting on her face She then leaned over and lit the candles on either side of the bed.
Isabela sighed, "I shouldn't even be in this situation. I never should have come back!" She was close to yelling now.
"Then why did you?" Hawke asked, none too calm herself.
"I don't know! It's your fault; you and your damn morals."
Hawke took a deep breath before responding, "If that will help you sleep at night, then by all means, keep telling yourself that."
"This isn't me. I don't think about things like this. Don't you see what you're doing to me?"
Hawke slowly extricated herself from her covers. She then stood up and walked over by the fireplace. She re-lit the fire that had died down sometime that night before speaking again.
"Probably the same thing you are doing to me." came her quiet reply.
Isabela walked away from the door to stand by Hawke next to the fireplace. A small gasp escaped her lips when she looked upon the rogues face for the first time.
"You are such an idiot, you know that I hope." That anyone would risk their lives for her as Hawke had made her terribly uncomfortable. She did not deserve it.
"I'd have done it for any of you. We're all a team and I'm not known for leaving one of my team behind." Hawke failed to mention that she was well aware none of their other companions would have put her in such a situation. Both women were already well aware of that fact.
"I could have handled it."
Hawke scoffed, "Really Isabela? How exactly do you figure?"
Instead of answering, she chose to turn the subject back to Hawke.
"How badly were you hurt?" Isabela reached out gently for Hawke's face.
Hawke backed just out of reach before the pirate was able to make contact with her skin."Just a flesh wound."
"You had a towel covering your head."
"Do you see how this bandage makes me look? Don't tell me you wouldn't have done the same. I have a reputation to uphold."
"This is serious Myk." The pirate replied angrily.
"Why does everyone keep saying that? It is my face after all." Hawke reached out and grasped Isabela's hand, then looked her in the eyes before responding, "Really Isabela, I'm fine. It's just a flesh wound. Ander's even says it's not going to scar. I'll be good as new in no time." Hawke replied with a half-smile.
Hawke was not a liar. Sure, she was known for telling half-truths or even omitting the truth altogether. However, she never told a lie outright as far as she could remember. While a part of her felt bad about lying to the pirate, a greater part felt she had made the right choice. Deep down, she knew she would never see the other woman again. Hawke didn't feel bad about her scar so she couldn't think of any reason why Isabela should feel guilty. It was Hawke's choice to duel the Arishok. She could have given Isabela over to him and nobody would have batted an eyelash.
Hawke could still see the Arishok blade as it flashed toward her face, a blur of silver. Mortally wounded, he had put hideous strength into a one final killer blow to take his foe to the afterlife with him. Too close to avoid the strike entirely, she had thrown herself backwards and caught the edge of the razor sharp steel along her cheek and chin before falling out of range with a cry of agony.
"So, when do you leave Kirkwall?"
Hawke looked into Isabela's eyes; daring her to lie.
The pirate stepped away in order to put some distance between herself and the woman before her. Isabela was never one to stick around long enough for a tearful goodbye. While Hawke had forced her to do this face to face, she was not about to lose her composure now. Leaving the city would be best for both of them. Neither woman knew the first thing about relationships. It was better to leave now, than to risk the two of them getting any closer. Myka risking her life to save her was proof enough of that.
"There is a ship setting sail first thing tomorrow morning. I booked passage before heading over."
"Be sure to send a letter. Ya know, since Merrill will miss you." Hawke was not ready to admit that she too would miss the other pirate. The truth was, Hawke was still unable to accept her feelings to herself let alone the woman she loved.
Isabela was about to say something offhanded and sarcastic, but instead, "She'd be better off to forget me," came the serious reply, "Come to think of it, you all would."
"All good things must come to an end." Hawke mused.
When Isabela didn't reply, she continued, "Well, it was fun while it lasted."
Isabela grinned, "Yes, it was, wasn't it?"
Myka nodded in agreement, "It's not every day I find someone that can keep up with me."
It was true. Hawke had never met someone that could match her stamina and thirst for adventure. It wasn't even entirely about sex. She was never one to sit idle, preferring to go out looking for something to do rather than sitting quietly in front of the fire. She always knew if she grew bored or restless she only needed to seek out the pirate and together, the two of them would find something to keep themselves entertained. At least I can still drink with Varric and traipse around the garden with Merrill. Hawke thought to herself.
Hawke's smile slowly started to fade, "Why did you do it, Isabela? I thought you'd be long gone once you got your hands on that relic."
She had been just as surprised as the rest of her companions when Isabela stormed the keep, relic in hand. When she told the pirate she would give her the relic, she fully expected the other woman to skip town. With that item, she would be free. She would no longer be trapped in Kirkwall. Hawke wasn't stupid, she had no illusions that sex alone, no matter how amazing, would keep the woman away from the sea for any longer than necessary.
"I couldn't let you have all the fun, could I?"
"Why not? I need all the fun I can get!" Hawke replied, laughing softly. "All joking aside though, I'm glad you were at least willing to help the city out. Everyone appreciates that, whether they realize it or not."
Isabela let out a long sigh. It was now or never. She might as well come clean. After all, she was leaving first thing in the morning and it wasn't as though she had any intention of returning. She figured she was on a roll. Apparently, doing the right thing could come naturally to her. At least it could when Myka was involved and she didn't actually think about what she was doing.
Isabela took a deep breath and looked the other woman straight in the eyes, "I didn't do it for them. I did it for you, Myka. It was always about you." Hawke stood there, staring at Isabela in shock. Before she had a chance to reply, Isabela turned away from her and fled from the mansion.
So much for a memorable goodbye, she thought. The less they said the better. Deep down she knew she was falling for the pirate. It didn't matter. She was leaving and Hawke was not about to stop her. As much fun as they had together, romantic feelings would only complicate things. She didn't know how to deal with love and commitment. In fact the very thought made her want to run as far away as possible. Sure, she'd miss the trouble they got up to, but at the end of the day, this was for the best. She grabbed the towel off her nightstand before lying back in bed. With a loud sigh, she placed it back over her face. Things would never be the same again.
Hawke was restless. There was yet another social-event-of-the-year, dreadfully boring and pretentious party to attend tonight and there was no way she would show up sober. Every time she attended a party, one noble or another was trying to push their sons off on her. A few drinks and some stories with Varric at The Hanged Man ought to put her in a better mood. At least that way the evening will start off pleasantly enough that she might survive the pack of weaselly nobles tonight.
Hawke weaved her way through the streets of Lowtown, lost in thought. She was so distracted she found herself coming to an abrupt stop when she collided with something. Looking down, she realized it was none other than Merrill. She hadn't spent much time with the elf lately. Most of her time had been spent dealing with the growing tension between the mages and Templars. The last thing she wanted to do was draw attention to her elven friend. Between the constant battles and seemingly endless obligatory parties, she had little time to entertain her companions.
The rogue extended her hand, helping her friend up. Before she could offer an apology, the other woman spoke.
"Oh, Hawke I didn't see you there. Well of course I didn't see you. If I had, I'm sure I wouldn't have run right into you."
Myka held up her hand cutting off any further explanation, "It's fine Merrill, I wasn't watching where I was going either. No harm done."
"No, I'm not hurt, Hawke. I'm glad you aren't either."
"Where were you headed anyway, Merrill?" Hawke asked.
"Oh well, I was heading home, but I think I managed to get turned around again."
Hawke smiled down at her friend, "Yes, it would appear that way. Come on, I'll walk you home."
"I don't want to keep you from what you were doing. You've been very busy these days. I'm sure I can find my way…eventually."
Hawke threw an arm over the elf's shoulders, gently guiding her towards the Alienage. "No arguing. I haven't seen you in ages. Besides, I was just planning on killing time before attending another lovely party." Her tone making it clear she thought the party would be anything but lovely.
"Oh, I don't know. It sounds fun. I've never been to a party."
"Trust me, you're not missing anything. It's the same thing over and over. Everyone seems to have a son that I should drop everything for and marry." Hawke scoffed before continuing, "As if I'd ever consider marrying their slack jawed sons."
"Well maybe if you told them that you would prefer their daughters…" Myka laughed causing the mage to stop midsentence.
"That's assuming I'd actually want to marry their daughters, Merrill."
Merrill scratched her head in contemplation before responding, "Well, I just figured… I mean I've never seen you courting a man. There was just Isabela and all those other women you brought home. Naturally I thought you preferred, well... women."
"That may be, but I don't do courting. I don't do relationships, and I sure as hell don't do marriage. That is the last thing I want. My life is my own. I'm not about to get tied down to some noble only interested in my breeding."
"You miss her don't you?"
"Isabela of course. I miss her. She was always so nice to me. Always patient and understanding. She made time for me when nobody else would." Merrill trailed off, seemingly lost in thought.
Hawke smirked, "Well sure. I mean, we used to get in all kinds of trouble. Never a dull moment with her. That and the sex. You know, I still haven't met anyone that can match her stamina. But Merrill, she's gone. All we can do is move forward. There is no point thinking about it. Isabela is gone."
"You loved her!" Merrill blurted out before thinking to shield her comment.
Myka blinked rapidly in confusion, clearly thrown off by the others revelation. She didn't love Isabela. What they had was very basic and primal. Sure, she considered Isabela a close friend. When she was still in Kirkwall, it was her company Hawke sought the most. That wasn't love. They just understood each other. The pirate knew how to have fun and Myka was not about to deny herself that pleasure.
"Merrill," Hawke replayed calmly in order to make her point clear, "What Isabela and I had was not love."
Merrill didn't understand why Hawke and Isabela both insisted that what they had was not love. It was obvious to anyone with eyes, and maybe even some without, that they were crazy about each other. Maybe if they had been more upfront with each other Isabela wouldn't have left Kirkwall. She missed the pirate dearly. She didn't want to blame Hawke, but sometimes she couldn't help but think her selfishness was at fault.
"Well look at that… your house. It was great seeing you again Merrill. I should head back home. I need to get ready for this party." Hawke turned and fled from the other woman before she had a chance to reply.
Merrill sighed before opening the door to her home. Hawke really was a curious woman. She only wished there was something she could do to help her friend as Hawke had helped her numerous times before. For now, there really was nothing to be done about it. With that she stepped inside and shut the door. Heading towards her mirror, she decided she had her own troubles to worry about. With that in mind, she got back to work.
Aveline had had enough. Whether Hawke wanted to admit it or not, she was moping and Aveline was going to put a stop to it. It had been one whole year and the rogue was still being as evasive as ever. The warrior stormed into the house as soon as Bodhan opened the door. She hardly acknowledged the dwarfs greeting before rushing up the stairs in route to Hawkes room. She threw open the bedroom door not caring that she almost ripped it off its hinges.
"Enough is enough, Hawke!" Aveline was angry and she wasn't afraid to show it.
"Some people do like to sleep Aveline." Myka didn't know what her friend's problem was. The party the night before had been nothing but boring and uneventful. The only saving grace was the never ending supply of sweet red wine. Something Hawke made sure to take advantage of.
"It's almost noon! Not to mention you've been drinking…again."
"Well yes, that is what one tends to do at a party after all. And could you keep the noise down, that much drinking does have some unpleasant after-effects."
"Hawke, this is serious, Drinking isn't going to bring her back." Aveline replied softly.
The rogue sat up in bed, rubbing her temples in an attempt to soothe away the headache that seemed to be growing by the minute.
"What is it with everyone?" Myka replied angrily. "None of this has anything to do with Isabela. Trust me, if you had to attend even one of these parties, even you would be getting drunk."
"Are they really so bad?"
"Yes! If I'm lucky someone just needs my help locating their lost dog. Though more times than not, it's just a glorified dating service. If I want sex, I'll go to the Rose."
"There is more to life than sex. Love and marriage isn't as bad as you seem to believe it is."
Hawke sighed. No matter how many times she tried to explain it, Aveline never seemed to understand. She was convinced that if she just talked about how wonderful marriage was, Hawke would just up and change her mind.
"Look Aveline, I'm glad you found Donnic." Hawke smirked, "Though if I hadn't gotten involved, you'd still be sending him copper flowers."
"Funny." She retorted, though her expression said otherwise.
"Seriously, I appreciate your concern but there is nothing to be concerned about. I am the Champion of Kirkwall. I'm not meant to settle down and have a gaggle of kids. You found love and you're happy. I'm happy for you, but that's not me. It's not what I'm meant for."
"Fine, but drinking yourself to oblivion every night isn't the answer either. You're lonely, I understand that but…"
"I am not lonely," Hawke replied adamantly. "When I seek company, I can spend some time at the Rose. I feel like a parrot these days… Always repeating myself." Hawke said muttering the last to herself.
Aveline sighed, "What is it going to take for you to realize you're hurting yourself?"
"I'm fine, Aveline. Aside from a little boredom here and there, life is great."
"Clearly, I can't change your mind overnight."
"Or ever. Was there anything else you wanted, or did you just come here to lecture me?" As far as Hawke was concerned, this conversation was over.
"Actually, I was hoping you could accompany me to the Wounded Coast. There are some bandits that have been giving us problems. I'd rather not get the guard involved."
Hawke grinned. This was more like the Aveline she knew and loved. "I'll meet you downstairs in ten minutes."
Aveline knew she was not going to get through to Hawke today. It was obvious to everyone but Hawke just how much she had been hurting since the pirate left town. Though, truth be told, Aveline wasn't convinced acknowledgment on Hawke's part would be enough. The other woman truly believed she was not capable of love. Until she realized that she was, she would continue down this path of self-destruction.
Hawke was like the sister that Aveline never had. She really did have her best interest in mind. She was not Isabela's biggest fan, especially considering her role in the Qunari invasion, but even her 'relationship' with the pirate was preferable to watching Hawke get drunk every night and jump in bed with the first tolerably attractive woman she met. She just hoped in time, Hawke too realized that her life was worth more than she made of it.
The three days Hawke spent with Aveline hunting bandits in the Wounded Coast had worked wonders to lift her spirits. While she generally liked the hustle and bustle that was the city of Kirkwall, her duties as the Campion became too much for even her to handle. Standing at the front door to her mansion, she almost wished it had taken longer to ferret out and dispose of the bandits. With a sigh, she opened her front door and strolled inside.
As soon as Hawke stepped through the foyer, Bodhan caught her attention.
"A message just arrived for you not ten minutes ago." He stated cheerfully before placing said message in her outstretched hand. "A Templar delivered it."
"Oh, what now?" She replied testily. As if remembering her manners, she hastily added, "Thank you Bodhan."
Once Myka was bathed and changed she read the message, curious to see what the Templars wanted from her this time. To her surprise it was a response to a letter she had sent to Knight-Commander Meredith some weeks ago. She smiled when she saw her request had been approved. Without wasting any time she changed out of her house clothes and headed straight to the Gallows.
Hawke was stopped by a Templar when she reached the main gates leading up to the mages living quarters.
"You are not permitted to continue forward." The Templar stated.
"I'm here to see my sister, Bethany Hawke."
The Templars eyes widened slightly at that, "I'm sorry Serah, mages are not permitted to have visitors. Even if the visitor is the Champion."
"I beg to differ." Hawke replied with a smirk. Handing the letter she received earlier in the day she continues, "I happen to have permission from my good friend, Meredith. Now if you please, I'd like to see my sister."
The Templar paled slightly, "Right of course, right this way."
A few twists and turns later they arrived in a large grassy courtyard. Benches were placed evenly throughout the perimeter. In the center was a large fountain. Just another way to give the mages a false sense of security, Hawke thought to herself.
"Please, wait here. We'll have your sister brought out shortly." Before Hawke could reply, he was gone.
Hawke strolled around the courtyard before seating herself on the wide ledge of the fountain. She hadn't seen her sister since the day she battled the Arishok. They were able to speak briefly before storming the keep. After the duel, she was in no shape to see anyone. While they had been able to exchange letters, another perk that comes with the title of Champion, they had not seen each other face to face. The rogue was slightly nervous. While she could easily evade her friends, her sister was another matter entirely. Bethany had a way at dragging the truth out of her. Or, when Hawke was being particularly stubborn, her sister was still able to see what she wasn't saying. Still, Myka was looking forward to speaking to her sister face to face. She missed the easy relationship they once shared.
Fifteen minutes later, Hawke watched as Bethany approached. As soon as she was in reach, Myka enveloped her younger sister in a bone crushing hug.
"Maker it's good to see you again, Bethy"
"I missed you, Myka"
Hawke stepped back, holding her sister at arm's length. A slight smile graced the rogues face as she spoke. "You look good. They're treating you well I hope."
"Given the circumstances, yes. I'm able to teach children not to fear their gift. I'm helping them learn to control it. That alone makes it almost worth it."
Hawke stepped away from her sister, turning back to sit on the fountain once again. She looked up at her sister then staring into her eyes as if searching for the truth in her words. Sighing, she realized her sister really was content with her current situation. She took a bad situation and made the best of it. Hawke still blamed herself despite her sister's protests. Still, she was glad Bethany was able to look at the bright side.
"Good," Hawke said definitively. She didn't completely understand, but she wasn't about to question her sister… again.
Bethany scrunched her eyebrows together, concentrating on her sister's scar. "Anders wasn't able to heal that?" She hadn't seen her sister since the battle, and was surprised at the damage left in its wake.
"Oh he healed me. I mean I'm here to tell the story after all." Tracing her scar as she continued, "This is just a reminder of the fun I had playing with the Arishok."
"How can you smile at something like that?" and Hawke was smiling; a half smile was playing on her lips as she spoke to Bethany.
"It's served me well. Really, you wouldn't believe how many women find it irresistible."
Bethany frowned at her sister.
"It's a reminder more than anything. I use it to my advantage, but I know its cost. It's served me well thus far."
"How are you holding up?"
"I'm holding up well, all things considered, though I'm bored off my ass. But that's to be expected; I'm not getting into so much trouble anymore. Aveline is happy about that." Hawke mused.
Laughing lightly, Bethany replied, "You and Isabela are perfect for each other, you know. You're so much alike, it's not even funny. Still, I can't help but hate her a little. She betrayed you. All said and done, she used you to get what she wanted."
Hawke shrugged, "She came back."
"But she shouldn't have left in the first place!" Bethany responded exasperated.
"Why not? I told her she could take the relic. You truly think I expected her to hang around? It was her ass on the line, you know? Trust me, I was as surprised as anyone when she returned. I couldn't let the Arishok take her, not after what she did."
"I lived with you my whole life and yet there are times that I don't understand you."
"I did what had to be done."
"How long are you going to lie to yourself? I know you love each other."
"Bethany," Hawke warned.
"Don't Bethany me. You know as well as I do that you can't lie to me."
"Even if I did have feelings for her… and I'm not saying I do," Hawke hastily replied, "it doesn't mean anything. She is gone. We've both moved on. There is no point dwelling on the past and what we could have possibly had. It was just a disaster waiting to happen."
"Maybe, but I know you are not happy."
"I'm not unhappy. I'm just… bored." That is what it came down to. Hawke didn't know what to do with her free time. Since coming to Kirkwall she had someone to share her burdens with. Someone who wasn't afraid of getting in trouble, someone who enjoyed the thrill just as much as she did, who looked forward to hours of sex after the rush of the chase wore off. Try as she might, Hawke couldn't find anyone quite like that.
"Have you thought about seriously looking for someone else?"
Hawke scoffed, "No. I don't date or do the whole courtship… thing. And if you could only see how often some noble's son is thrown in my direction, you'd understand. I know you just have my best interests at heart, but really, I'm fine. Things aren't as bad as they might seem. I'm the Champion of Kirkwall. I have a purpose and that's all that matters."
A Templar approached and cleared his throat, "I'm sorry to interrupt, Champion, but your allotted visitation time is up."
Before Hawke could reply, most likely telling the Templar where he could shove his allotment and exactly how deep, Bethany placed a hand on her sister's shoulder, "It's okay Myk."
Hawke nodded her head in reluctant understanding, "It was nice seeing you again, sister."
Before the younger Hawke could reply, she found herself enveloped in a tight hug. Myka stepped back after a few moments and turned and walked away without saying another word.
Bethany sighed for what seemed like the hundredth time that day. Myka really was stubborn. She'd almost admitted that she did indeed have deeper feelings for Isabela. The mage couldn't help but think the realization came too late. She loved her sister and wanted nothing more than for her to be happy. However given their current circumstances, even she was beginning to think that may not be possible.