"I ordered too much parchment for the office. Oh, and there's some extra solid ink, the kind you use for your manifesto?" Hawke said, only faintly aware that he might have been babbling. He touched the cigarette tucked above his ear, checking to see that it was still there.
Nervous habit. If only he could smoke around Anders without earning him those disapproving glares.
Anders didn't look up from his task, which at the moment was adding distillation essence to a batch of boiling lyrium and concentrator agent. One false move and the entire thing could blow up in their faces, and Hawke was choosing now to make small talk, which he was horrendous at.
"Why are you telling me, Hawke?"
"Do you want to use it?" Then, because Isabela told him that Anders would probably prefer to take the supplies into darktown and use it there, "I've set you up an extra desk in my office -"
"What, is my office not good enough for you?" Damn. That wasn't what he wanted to say, but the words were out of his mouth now, and it was ten kinds of awkward. Hawke did what he always did to compensate for awkward - he made it worse. "You'd rather sit in this shithole all day? You're going to catch consumption from this chokedamp."
Anders waited for the mixture to reach the potency he wanted - this was work, and it was for Hawke, actually - and moving the entire pot off the heat before snarking right back. "Oh, so you want me to sit in your office and get black lung from breathing in your tobacco smoke all day."
"I can wait until you're not there to smoke."
"As if. Your hand's shaking right now and you've barely gone a half hour since the last one."
His hands were shaking too, but not from the lack of nicotine.
"And if you think this is such a 'shithole,'" Anders added, "maybe you should stay in that hightown mansion and send some runner down for your potions instead."
Anders packed the newly sealed vials in a crate stuffed with sawdust and scraps of cotton, handing the entire thing to Hawke and then turned sharply away. It looked like he was doing busywork; folding linens and tidying up. Anders' place was a mess. He never just tidied up.
Hawke was being blatantly ignored.
"Yeah well, maybe I should." He snarled, plunking down the sovereigns he owed for the potions, and stormed out clanking in those loud metal boots of his.
That did not go well.
"Anders hates me."
"I can't begin to imagine why." Varric peeked over his spectacles, giving Hawke an appraising look. Hawke was sitting - inclining, slouching, leaning all at the same time - in one of his low chairs in that wastrel way of his, blowing smoke rings into the ceiling. A tumbler of whiskey graced the hand that didn't have a cigarette in it.
"I'm ... I mean," Hawke slurred, waving the hand with the whiskey and splashing out nearly half a shot, "I'm decent looking. I'm built like a house. I ... I have good hair. Everyone else likes me."
"You don't say."
"Well, maybe not you, or Anders, or Aveline, or ..." He waved vaguely in the air again, this time with his smoking hand, scattering ashes over himself. "Fenris likes me. Fenris is my friend."
"You might want to examine that. See if there's a solution in there somewhere."
"I just don't have time for bullshit, you know? There's too much bullshit in this world. It's not like ..." He made an attempt to sit up straight, but he was simply too big for the chair. "It's not like I don't have a moral ... com ... con ... compass or anything, you know? I only kill bad people."
"What's with the boss?" Isabela strolled in with her chimes of jewelry, setting a tankard down next to Varric.
"He's drowning his sorrows."
"Anders hates me."
"And he keeps saying that. Want to take him off my hands, Rivaini?"
"You'd sleep with me, won't you, Isabela?" Hawke slurred, pushing his own tumbler against the new tankard on the table in the mimicry of a cheer.
"Not when you're this drunk I won't."
Hawke hiccuped, pointing vaguely in the direction of himself, "am I that bad, Varric? When even Isabela won't sleep with me?"
Varric snorted into his drink.
"I take offence to that," said Isabela, folding her arms.
"Hawke, you might want to reconsider your ... attitude." Varric pulled up a blank sheet of parchment. "We should write up a list."
Hawke made a face. "A list?"
"Hawke wouldn't be Hawke without his attitude," said Isabela. "Have you tried giving him presents?"
"I always botch it up," His memory drifted to the morning's potion pick-up and his offer of fresh parchment and ink. Hawke winced visibly.
"How about some obvious gifts? You know - flowers, chocolate," Isabela began.
Varric interrupted that stream of ideas immediately. "Flowers and chocolate? For Blondie? You're not serious, Rivaini."
"He can't exactly misinterpret them, anyhow. Those are pretty obviously romantic gifts."
And that was how, mid-afternoon the next day - having sufficiently slept through his hangover and been evicted from his home for being snarky at his mother - Hawke found himself in the market district in an Orlesian chocolatier.
The girl minding the counter had a bright, cheery, shrill voice that was giving him a migraine, so he just hummed and nodded to all of her silly, 'what's this girl like you're buying for' prodding questions.
He paid way too many sovereigns for one teensy bag of truffles - weren't truffles mushrooms? - and a little pink card they stuck to the front with some sort of sticky tack. The florist was next.
"Oh, we have this new plant that's just all the rage in Antiva right now. It has these snapping petals and doubles as a door guard." The florist was an older lady with a stiff upper lip who offered that sneer of a smile only after spotting the little bag from the chocolatier in his hand.
"What's it called?" Hawke stared at the red, open petals. They were pretty enough, and damn if he was getting something as common as roses.
"Snapdragons. These are specially bred for their ... carnivorous behaviour."
Dragons were impressive, right? Snapdragons, doubly so. "I'll take it."
Hawke felt a little ridicoulous, carrying a potted plant and a little gold-leafed bag with a pink card on it to darktown of all places, but Isabela assured him that it would work even if he chanced to jam his foot down his throat again.
"What is that?" Anders asked, eyeing the strange plant.
"Do you want me to distill it? Is this some sort of new poison you're developing for the Red Irons?" Anders picked up the plant and poked one finger into the middle of three red petals, which promptly closed and bit him. "Andraste's tits! What the fuck is that thing?"
Hawke sqeezed at the base of the flower, and the petals released Anders' finger obediently. "Um, it's a present?"
Isabela was wrong. This couldn't possibly work. Hawke decided to hide the hand holding the bag of truffles behind his back, but Anders spotted it first. "And what is that ... pink bag?"
Hawke thrusted the bag in front of him, a little too fast and a little too clumsy, and his fist and the bag connected with Anders stomach. "Ur..."
Anders caught his breath and took the bag off him, "another present?"
Hawke peeked at the card in front of it, which read, 'To my darling sister' and he put his face in his hands. This couldn't possibly get any worse.
"You bought me ... flowers, and chocolate?" There was a knowing smirk on Anders' face now, and Hawke was half expected to be laughed at. Damn Isabela and her blasted ideas.
"Yes?" Hawke managed, through clenched teeth. He desperately needed to hit something right now, and he needed to get away so he didn't end up punching Anders. Again.
And Anders laughed. Hawke would have been mortified if he didn't look so beautiful doing it, his face breaking into that sunny, open expression that he never saw on the man before.
He was staring, until the self-consciousness set in and he felt the need to snarl. "Well, if it's all that funny to you, I guess I'll just be going."
And he would have done, walked right out of there and sent runners down here for the potions and perhaps find himself another healer, but for the fact that Anders was clinging to his arm.
Anders was clinging to his arm.
"Oh, Markus," Anders hadn't called his name in months, not since - and he found himself rooted to the spot. That voice, saying his name. "You are so damnably cute sometimes."
Cute. Hawke. Six-foot-seven. Built like a house, with a cigarette tucked behind his ear since Anders hated it when he smoked around him, and two flasks hidden about his person because he always burned through the first one by late afternoon. Hawke. Cute.
He could only let out an undignified grunt, which only made Anders smile harder.
"I am not. Cute." Hawke huffed, and tried to pull himself away, convinced that Anders was just making fun of him now.
"Shut up. Just... shut up." Anders shook his head at him, rubbing at his temples, and Hawke was about to scream 'nobody tells me to shut up' and then his arms were full of Anders, and his mouth was full of Anders' lips and tongue, and he thought, isn't it great that at least I can't put my foot in my mouth with him on it, and finally it clicked that he was kissing Anders.
They had to come up for air eventually, but he refused to unwrap his arms from around Anders, it being proof that he didn't mess this up, for once, and maybe they would have gone back to snapping at each other again the moment he moved away. But Anders was holding onto him too, purring approvingly against his collarbone, muttering something he couldn't hear.
He ducked his head a little, "what did you say?"
"I said," Anders whispered, near his ear, filling his head with cotton. "Sometimes I don't know whether to kiss you or kill you."
Hawke smiled, and for once it didn't look like the smile of a hyena. Then he dipped down for another kiss, drinking in Anders.
"You can't smoke around me. Will you be fine with that?" Anders quirked an eyebrow. "I'm guessing we'll be around each other more often."
"I can stop," Hawke mumbled. "I can trade one addiction for another."
Anders' eyes widened. That was a confession of eternal love if there was any, coming from this chain smoker. "And what would that be? More whiskey?"