"Just once," Hawke grouses as his daggers decapitate yet another Hightown looter, "I'd like a nice, quiet night. Maybe," he continues, kicking a flask at the group of Raiders heading for him, "a nice stroll through the Chantry court yard."
Isabela snorts and dodges the flying flask, rolling towards Hawke to escape the blast. "What fun would that be?" She lodges a dagger in the eye of an oncoming assassin.
"I would have to agree with Hawke," Anders chimes in, lobbing an ice spell at the stairs and watching in vague amusement as the Raiders start falling backwards as they slip on the ice. "A night off would be appreciated."
"Rivaini is right," Varric disagrees, knocking a bolt into place and aiming Bianca at the looter rappelling from the roof. "Bianca is intolerable when it's quiet."
Hawke shoots a look at Varric, who just shrugs as the rappeller falls the rest of the way to the ground. Isabela pulls the bolt out of the corpse and tosses it back to Varric, who nods in thanks.
"Admit it," Isabela continues as Hawke sheathes his daggers, "you'd be bored."
Hawke shrugs and ducks as Anders aims a spell where his head used to be. He hears the dull thump of a body hitting the ground behind him and stands. "Maybe," he admits, dusting the gravel from his knees, "but I still wish we could get a break."
"I," Anders begins, leaning against his staff, "would just like to go to bed at a reasonable hour."
Isabela grins. "And what would you do in bed, Anders?"
Anders grins back innocently at her. "Why, Isabela, I'd sleep, of course."
She rolls her eyes. "Well, you're just no fun anymore."
Hawke raises an eyebrow. "He's plenty of fun."
Varric sighs. "And before this goes any further, I'm headin' back to the Hanged Man."
"Ooh, wait for me," Isabela says, sashaying towards Varric. "I'll buy you a drink."
"Stop it, Rivaini," Varric replies in good humor. "I told you, Bianca doesn't share."
The last thing Hawke hears as they disappear around the corner is, "She can always join in." He looks at Anders, who just shrugs.
Hawke is awakened the next morning by Anders' frantic voice calling out to him. He lazily opens an eye and mumbles an approximation of 'what.' Where he expects to see light brown stubble he instead sees a flowing white beard.
Quickly, he is flying out of bed, hands reaching for the daggers he left in sheathes on the side of his nightstand. There is nothing there, and the mysterious white bearded man with Anders' voice is looking at him angrily, though Hawke can see a flicker of shock shadowing familiar brown eyes.
"They aren't there," the sort-of-stranger on Hawke's bed informs him. He notices Anders' staff in its usual place by the bed, but there is something off about it. It looks… smaller. Much smaller. He decides to figure it out later. He warily backs up a step and eyes the other man.
"Who are you?" Hawke asks.
The man's eyes narrow. "It's me, for Andraste's sake!" The voice that comes out of the unfamiliar face definitely belongs to Anders.
Hawke's eyes widen in surprise. "Anders?"
"Do you often have other men in your bed?" Maybe-Anders says acerbically. Hawke ignores the question and presses forward, his knees knocking against the mattress.
"Maker," he breathes, "what happened to you?"
Anders shrugs helplessly. "I woke up, and went to the privy, and suddenly I was…" he waves his hands around, indicating his appearance and trails off.
Hawke sits on the bed and raises a hand to stroke his beard. His fingers grasp air, and Anders is looking at him with an odd sort of pity in his eyes. He's quickly heading to the privy himself, which is where the closest mirror is located, Anders following behind him. He takes one look in the mirror and a strangled whimper escapes his throat.
His beard is gone.
He's downstairs, pacing in front of the fireplace. Clifford – his once fearsome Mabari war dog, now trapped in the form of a fluffy, useless white lapdog – sits at his feet, whimpering. Anders is waving his wand – the miniature version of what once was probably his staff – despairingly in the corner. The tables are laden with the various types of flowers that Anders' wand now produces.
"This," Anders says harshly, "is useless! How am I supposed to protect anyone from the Templars? What am I supposed to do," he asks incredulously, each question punctuated by an emphatic swing of the wand, "give the Templars a bouquet of daisies?"
As if to validate his claim, a bunch of daisies rain down in a sparkly, pink cloud of magic. Hawke watches as Anders gathers them in his hands and starts to tear them apart.
He is sympathetic – the only weapon that he has been able to find is a simple long sword and a gleaming silver shield. When he picked them up, thinking that they were better than nothing, the surprisingly light weight of the weapon and shield immediately informed him that they were, at best, props.
Bodahn is busy scurrying around the room, closing curtains that suddenly want to remain open. The exceedingly bright sunshine is giving Hawke a headache.
A door suddenly slams open, and Hawke peers into the entryway. Isabela – or, at least he thinks it's Isabela – storms into the room and is immediately showered in rose petals from Anders' wand. She shoots him a glare, ignoring the obvious changes to Anders' person and stops in front of Hawke. Anders shrugs in apology.
Seven dwarves trail in behind her. Hawke just blinks, taking in the very tame attire Isabela is clothed in.
"Not a word," Isabela growls. "This was all I could find." There is a note of panic creeping into her voice that Hawke understands.
One of the dwarves takes a step forward and looks adoringly at Isabela. "If you need to faint, we can catch you," he informs her.
As if on cue, Isabela faints, and the seven dwarves quickly crowd around her as she falls. They catch her as though they do it all the time. Hawke just blinks.
Anders stops waving his wand around just as Aveline and Merrill enter the room. Aveline looks as though she's going to bark something at Hawke before she catches sight of the unconscious Isabela. Abruptly, Aveline stops and stares.
Merrill continues into the room and smiles cheerfully at Hawke. "The Alienage looks so pretty right now, Hawke," she informs him merrily. "I've never seen such pretty bushes. And there are bunnies! I do like bunnies."
"That's nice, Merrill," he says absently. He's too busy watching Aveline pluck delicately at Isabela's long skirts. Aveline is irritably tucking her suddenly much longer and wavy red hair back behind her shoulder. "Why don't you go talk to Anders about the bunnies?"
Merrill nods happily and crosses the room. "You look very different today, Anders," she tells him. "Very distinguished."
"You look shorter," Anders finally says after a moment. "I like your hat."
"Isn't it lovely?" Merrill agrees.
"What," Aveline says, returning her attention to Hawke, "is going on?"
Hawke shrugs as Varric, Fenris and Sebastian enter the room.
Varric looks around and shakes his head. "You can't make this ____ up." They all look up as a chime neatly inserts itself into Varric's sentence. Varric just shrugs, as though this happens all the time.
It takes Hawke a moment to realize that Varric has a beard. Varric notices the staring and sighs in resignation. "I've tried shaving it off," Varric informs him. "It just grows right back."
"So," Hawke says, as everyone looks at him, "you and Anders – who do not want beards – have them, and mine is gone."
Fenris growls. "At least you are not clad in this ridiculous hat." He nearly spits the word. "And you are not nearly the height of a dwarf!"
Sebastian, who looks remarkably as he did the last time Hawke saw him, shrugs.
They decide to split into groups. Everyone agrees that something is terribly wrong in Kirkwall – well, everyone except Sebastian, who believes that this is the Maker's work.
"After all," he points out, "nothing bad is happening."
They waste no time splitting up and agree to meet back at Hawke's at nightfall.
"Gamlen looks distinguished," Hawke tells them that night. "And Lowtown looks like Hightown."
"Darktown looks safe," Anders informs them. "Everything is neat and paved and well-lit."
"The docks," Isabela adds, "are orderly. And the ocean is calm."
"The statues all look like pretty women," Merrill cuts in, smiling.
Aveline looks at them grimly. "The Gallows are gone. It has been replaced by a castle with a proper courtyard. Knight-Commander Meredith and First Enchanter Orsino were having tea."
They all look at her, properly scandalized.
"Something," Anders says after a moment of silence, "needs to be done."
Except that no one knows what.
Hawke is restless. Anders is staying in Darktown – partly, Hawke thinks, to hide, and partly because he's understandably worried at the inhabitants – so he is alone. It is still early, and usually he is patrolling the streets. He doesn't see why the current situation should change that, so he stands up and heads out.
He's still in the flimsy armor that he found with the useless weapons, but he decides that they are better than nothing. Besides, he thinks darkly, if Sebastian is right, then it will be a boring, quiet night.
Fenris is waiting outside his door. He sees the hat before he sees Fenris, and looks down. Fenris glowers at him and pulls the bow off of his back.
"Can you even use that?" Hawke asks as they set out.
"It is all that I have," Fenris tells him grimly. "I am… adequate using it."
Hawke winces in sympathy for the walls in Fenris' manor. "Where to?"
Fenris shrugs. "There is nothing happening here."
"The Hanged Man it is, then."
They walk by the pub twice, not recognizing the pristine exterior or the new sign depicting a man doing pull ups. Hawke raises an eyebrow and Fenris shakes his head.
When they enter, Hawke almost turns around and walks back out, sure he has the wrong place, except Isabela is sitting at a table, her expression miserable. The dwarves are fanned out around her, each with a pint in his hand.
He makes his way across the tavern and sits down across from her. He doesn't say anything as Fenris scrambles into the seat next to him, but Isabela glares at them both.
Hawke grabs the pint sitting in front of her and takes a swig. And nearly chokes. "What," he gasps, "is this?"
Isabela smiles grimly. "Cider."
"Where is the swill?"
Hawke looks helplessly at Fenris, who nods grimly. "Danarius' stores of wine are gone, as well."
"We can't even get drunk." It's not a question, but Fenris and Isabela nod anyway.
He doesn’t sleep well that night. His body is tense, and there is no way to relieve the tension. He stays in bed, staring at the canopy of his bed, until the cheerfully bright sunlight streams into his room. Bodahn is at his door, asking if Hawke would like some breakfast.
Hawke calls out no, gets dressed, and is out the door before he realizes where he's going.
He finds Aveline in the training halls. The recruits are armed with wooden sticks, Aveline pacing through them and correcting their forms. Hawke tosses his props onto the floor and grabs a stray stick, melting into the line.
His body finds the rhythm quickly, and he's following along with Aveline's shouted commands. He loses himself to the practice until someone drops his staff.
He expects Aveline to chastise the recruit and is surprised when she merely puts her hand to her forehead and says, very clearly, in a lilting sort of voice, "You're the saddest bunch I've ever met, but you can bet before we're through, mister I'll make a man out of you."
Music begins to swell and the recruits begin to move in time to the beat. Hawke stands still as Aveline picks up her staff and starts fighting through the recruits, her voice managing to stay above the music.
"Tranquil as a forest, but on fire within. Once you find your center," she sings, sweeping a recruit to the floor, "you are sure to win!"
Hawke watches in horror as the recruits attack Aveline and she dodges them perfectly, all while staying in tune with the music. "You're a spineless, pale pathetic lot," she continues, "and you haven't got a clue. Somehow, I'll make a man out of you!"
The music stops as the last recruit falls to the floor. She surveys them disdainfully and opens her mouth. Hawke expects the music to start up again, but instead the hall remains silent. "Hit the barracks," she commands and watches as they scramble to their feet and out the door.
Her cheeks are slightly pink when Hawke approaches her, eyebrows raised in question. "Not a word, Hawke," she tells him sternly.
"Not a word," he agrees.
He returns home to find Sandal happily clapping and dancing around with Merrill while Isabela sits on Hawke's writing desk. He ignores Merrill and Sandal and focuses on Isabela, who is trying to shoo a few bluebirds from where they are comfortably perched on her shoulders.
Sandal claps and points at Isabela. "I like the birdies."
Merrill nods in approval. "They are rather beautiful," she agrees.
"Get. Them. Off."
Hawke shrugs helplessly. "They do seem rather attached."
Isabela glares. Hawke hears the soft strain of music from the training hall start to pick up. Isabela freezes.
"Oh, no," she says, backing up. The birds begin to chirp in tune. "No, no, no."
"Come feed the little birds, show them you care," Hawke says – except he's singing, and he has no clue why. "And you'll be glad if you do. Their young ones are hungry; their nests are so bare; all it takes is a sovereign from you."
The music stops as Sandal starts tossing bread at the birds. Hawke sees some of it get caught in Isabela's hair. The birds don't seem to mind; they launch off of Isabela's shoulders and pick up the scattered chunks and happily fly through the conveniently open window.
"This has got to stop," Hawke says after a moment.
"Varric burst into song," Isabela tells him.
"Isn't he a bard?" Merrill asks, straightening her pointy hat. "Isn't that what they do?"
Isabela closes her eyes and looks pained before she looked back at Hawke. "He was singing about whether or not Bianca could 'feel the love tonight,'" she informs him.
"Jealous, Isabela?" Hawke asks and leans against the fireplace.
"Yes!" she exclaims.
"You know Bianca doesn't share."
"I wonder why," Merrill chimes in. "It isn't as if she's real."
They ignore her.
"My point," Isabela says, jaw clenched, "is that it is getting worse. People are singing, Hawke. Singing."
He thinks back to Aveline and the training hall. "I couldn't agree more."
Varric visits him that evening. "I've got a lead, Hawke," he says without preamble.
Hawke looks up the letter he was reading. "Well, it's about time."
Varric shrugs. "People seem to be enjoying themselves. You gotta admit – this beats the Hades out of what Kirkwall usually is."
He frowns. "Hades?"
"If you can't beat 'em, Hawke, you gotta join 'em."
"Let me get dressed."
They are standing outside of the Chantry and Hawke is marveling at the enormous stained glass windows.
"So," Hawke says and everyone looks at him. "How are we going to do this?"
"I thought we were going to steal a Chantry relic and destroy it," Anders says with a shrug. When Fenris and Aveline just look at him, he throws up his hands and says, "What? It's not like I make a habit of it!"
"But you have – oh, never mind," Aveline says before returning her attention to Hawke. "Does it really need to be destroyed?"
Hawke looks to Varric who shrugs. "All I know is that the night that this started, a new relic was brought to the Chantry, and my source saw a blue demon flying through the air."
"Destroy the demon, return the city to its normal state of affairs," Hawke says. "Easy."
"Well," Isabela says, hiking up her skirts. They slither out of her hands and fall nicely back around her feet. "What are we waiting for?"
The demon is standing next to Sebastian. Hawke pulls his useless long sword from its makeshift sheath and points it at the demon. Aveline and Fenris are next to him, weapons aimed. Isabela steps forward and lifts up a frying pan.
When everyone looks at her, she shrugs and says, "What? It's all I could find."
The demon floats away from Sebastian, who is simply staring at them. "Well, well, well," the demon says in a booming voice. "What have we here?"
Flowers suddenly float around the demon and rabbits appear below it. He chances a glance back and sees Anders glaring at his wand and Merrill smiling at the rabbits.
The demon stares at them and rolls its eyes. Suddenly, there is a black hat in the demon's hand and pulls out a larger bunny.
Hawke, Fenris, Isabela and Aveline lower their weapons.
"So," the demon says, manifesting a pair of spectacles from nowhere and putting them on. The bright red clashes with the demon's blue skin.
"You've got to be kidding me," Varric says as the demon floats around them.
"Sebastian," Hawke calls out, "are you all right?"
Before Sebastian can respond, the demon is making an indignant noise. "Is he all right?" the demon demands. "What about me?"
"Are you all right, Mr. Spirit?" Merrill obediently asks while the others simply gawk.
"All he talks about is 'Maker this' and 'Maker that,'" the demon complains, draping itself around Merrill. "I tried to tell him I don't even know what the Maker is, and then he shot me with an arrow!"
Merrill nods sympathetically. "His armor is awfully shiny," she adds, as though that was worse.
Hawke supposes it probably is.
"Exactly," the demon agrees.
"Then why not just leave?"
"Because he has my lamp," the demon explains. "I can't leave until I grant him three wishes."
"Three wishes?" Hawke asks.
"Yes," says the demon. "I'm the all powerful Genie of the lamp," it intoned, and Hawke swears that the walls shake.
"Wait a minute," Isabela interrupts and looks at Sebastian, "when did you get a genie?"
Sebastian looks helplessly at them. "Someone brought the lamp to the Chantry, thinking it was an important relic," he explains. "I was trying to get the dirt off."
Suddenly, Isabela is rushing up the stairs and making a grab for the lamp. Sebastian steps out of the way and Isabela trips in her skirts.
"I'm sorry, Isabela," he says, and he sounds sincere, "but this creature must be brought to the Maker."
Isabela snorts and thrusts a leg out. Sebastian doesn't see it and trips, going down hard. The lamp clatters down the stairs and stops at Merrill's feet. She picks it up.
"Looks like you're my master now," the genie informs her. "You get three wishes."
"Anything?" Merrill asks.
"Well, I can't make people fall in love," the genie tells her and Hawke ignores the sad look that Merrill shoots him, "I can't raise the dead, and you can't wish for more wishes."
"That's fair," Merrill says.
"Then what's your wish?"
"I wish for –" The lamp is suddenly in Isabela's hands and Merrill looks at her empty hands in surprise.
"Sorry, kitten," Isabela purrs and looks at the genie. "I wish for a ship. A large one. With a crew."
The genie snaps its fingers. "Done."
"Really?" She looks incredulously at it. "That's it? No big magic display?"
The genie shrugs. "That's it."
Sebastian has struggled to his feet and is rushing down the stairs towards Isabela.
Isabela raises her eyebrows as Sebastian charges toward her. "Genie," Isabela says, smiling. "I wish for Sebastian's armor to… disappear."
The genie grins at her and snaps its fingers. There's a puff of smoke where Sebastian is and, when it clears, Sebastian is wearing only his undergarments.
"Ooh," Isabela says appreciatively. "Now I really wish I had met you before your Chantry days."
Aveline shakes her head and grabs the lamp out of Isabela's hands while she ogles Sebastian, who is flushing a bright red.
"You can grant any wish?" Aveline demands. The genie nods and Aveline gives it a grim smile. "Then, I wish for – "
"Sorry, Aveline," Hawke says, plucking the lamp from her hands. "But I'm afraid that I'll have to take this." He looks to the genie whose eyes are beginning to cross. Hawke suspects it's due to the rapid pace at which the lamp is changing hands. "I wish that all of the wishes you granted since you've been here had never been made."
Isabela stops looking at Sebastian. "Oh, no you don't," she warns, turning around and once again tripping over her skirts.
"Undo all the wishes I've done since I got here?" the genie asks and Hawke nods. The genie shrugs and snaps its big blue fingers.
Magic tendrils suddenly wrap around him. He catches a glimpse of everyone else staring at the magic covering their bodies before the magic envelops him completely.
When he can see again, he is standing in the Chantry, daggers in his hands. The stained glass windows are gone. Isabela is in her regular attire, Varric no longer has a beard, and Anders is his usual rakish self. Merrill and Fenris are back to their original heights and Aveline's hair is once again short and tied back.
The genie is watching him, and Hawke realizes he is still holding the lamp.
"Do you think I could get the hat back?" Merrill asks, and the genie conjures one up in green. She takes it and thanks it.
"You've still got two wishes," the genie informs him.
"How did you get here?" Hawke asks, for now ignoring the two remaining wishes.
"I'm on loan from Al," the genie tells him. "Sora needed help finding Jasmine, so along I go. Except someone nicked the lamp from Sora's belt."
"I wish your friend Sora was here."
There is a poof of magic, and suddenly a kid much younger than Feynriel is standing before them, brandishing what looks to be an oversize key.
Hawke stares at Sora, who stares back.
Suddenly, the genie is tossing Sora up into the air. "Am I glad to see you!" the genie exclaims.
"Genie!" Sora says, startled. "We were looking all over for you!"
"Yes, well, here you go," Hawke says, interrupting the reunion and handing the kid the lamp.
Sora looks at them with wide eyes and grins. "Thanks!" The key disappears. "I'm Sora."
"Hawke," he replies.
"Have you seen a boy with silver hair, about this tall?" Sora asks, holding his hand a little higher than his spiky head. Hawke shakes his head. "How about a girl with red hair, about this tall?" He does the same thing, but the hand is lower. Once again, Hawke shakes his head. "Oh well. Guess we'll move on, then." He looks to the genie and says, "We've gotta find Donald and Goofy."
And then they were gone, leaving behind a very confused Hawke.
He wakes up to find the sky overcast. Anders is sprawled on top of him, and Clifford is taking up too much room at the foot of the bed. It's uncomfortable, but Hawke doesn't mind. His daggers are in their sheathes, and Anders' staff is against the wall. And when he rubs his face, familiar coarse hair scrapes against his hand. Hawke smiles.