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1000 Forms of Fear

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Hawke had taken a steady string of lovers over the course of the day, from early in the morning until far after the sun set. When she was finally bored, she creaked her way down the stairs of the Hanged Man and settled gingerly into a chair at one of the few unused tables. She was already relatively drunk as with those lovers came much alcohol. She ordered more.

She settled in with a mug of the strongest stuff the Hanged Man had to offer and ran a hand over her hair, still wet from a bath not ten minutes previous, feeling nearly every set of eyes in the place on her. Most of them had been on more of her during the previous hours in the day but it didn’t bother her. Or at least it didn’t look like it did.

“Hawke.”

She ignored the voice, continuing to stare into the dark amber liquid in the depths of her mug.

“Hawke.”

Still, she didn’t move.

Hawke.”

With one hand around the outside of her drink, she tipped back what remained and swallowed it in one gulp before she turned her gray-blue eyes to Varric.

“Maker, woman, what-” he realized belatedly that that line of questioning wouldn’t do anyone any good.

“What, Varric?”

“You shouldn’t drink alone.”

“I haven’t been.”

“I know,” he frowned before waving over a barmaid and ordering two more mugs. Hawke downed it nearly immediately, at which point the girl came back with another.

Varric wasn’t sure what to say; ‘how are you doing’, ‘what’s wrong’, or ‘what in the Maker’s name do you think you’re doing’ didn’t seem to be the right way to start conversation. Hawke had always been a fan of dalliances, of which Varric spoke little, but she had never taken a full day to lay on her back (or utilize many other positions, about which Varric knew little) and drown her sorrows in alcohol. Not even after Bethany was taken to the Circle.

“Keep them coming,” Hawke winked at the barmaid, smacking her backside with one hand and offering her too much in gold with the other. The girl, a pert little blonde, offered a giggle and a smile in response and the alcohol never stopped flowing.

“What are you doing....uhh, with your night?”

“Holding on,” she responded with a cracked smile that didn’t reach her eyes. “And drinking. Heavily. What about you?”

“Watching you drink,” he responded with a smile of his own and took a swig of his ale.

“Shots!” Hawke shouted, standing swiftly and sweeping her arms out. She nearly topped her mug, as she swept her hands while she was standing, but the dwarf was able to catch it. “Shots for everyone. Whatever they don’t want, give to me.”

Hawke ended up with three lined up in front of her while Varric had one and the rest of the bar, minus two of the patrons, had their own.

“To the Hanged Man!” Hawke crowed before she swallowed her first, then second, and final shot all in a row before she collapsed back in her chair and began to nurse her ale.

“You’re going to end up with your head in a privy if you aren’t careful,” Varric muttered.

“Or your lap, if you’re nice,” Hawke responded, a cocky grin tugging at her split lower lip.

“You’re drunk.”

“Can I touch it?”

Varric’s eyes nearly bulged from his head and he took a drink swiftly to avoid answering.

“Your chest hair, you big lummox,” she rolled her eyes, fingers splayed out over the wood of the table as if itching to do so.

Varric snorted, half in relief and half in surprise before he relented. “Not here.”

“Are you inviting me your rooms, good sir?” she asked, batting her eyelashes in an overly flirtatious way that would’ve had Varric laughing if he didn’t think she was drunkenly serious.

“Helga,” Varric called to the barmaid and slipped another gold piece into her hand, “keep it coming in my room.” He whispered then, mouth close to her ear, “Water in a while for her. And some food later, if you don’t mind.”

The girl nodded – or woman, as she was hardly young enough to be considered a girl any longer – and smiled before she moved away. Hawke and Varric took what remained of their ales up to his rooms and settled into the table in his room.

“I want a bath,” Hawke pouted as she saw Varric’s tub in the far corner of the room, half hidden behind a dressing screen.

“Do you really want a bath or are you just trying to get naked?”

“I don’t need a reason to get naked,” she responded, hands moving to the belt on her noblewoman’s robe.

“Hawke, stop.”

“Why?” she frowned, hands tugging and letting it hang half open. It allowed for a peek at the taught stomach of a woman who spent too much time in battle and the dip between her heavy breasts. Her breeches came up to her belly button, cutting off some of the skin that would otherwise be visible. “Have something against humans?”

“In general?” Varric asked with a choked chuckle, trying to move the conversation in another direction. Hawke’s hands lifted to her hips, pushing the robe more of out of the way and exposing more of her torso. The fabric caught on her breasts, curtaining the fabric and leaving little – but some – to the imagination. “Hawke, sit down and drink your ale.”

“Only if you order me a bath,” she smirked, leaning over. The robe freed itself, the plush lining dropping halfway over each breast almost perfectly, allowing more skin and a little nipple to peek out on either. Although Hawke didn’t notice, Varric swallowed a little more noticeably before averting his gaze.

“Fine. Just sit down. I’ll be right back.” Before he stood, he took down the rest of his mug. He would need a lot more alcohol to deal with this. But he would. Her mother had just been murdered. He would do whatever she needed to bring her back to the land of the living. If it meant being teased mercilessly, he would do it. It didn’t matter if she had no idea what it was doing to him. It didn’t matter if she never did, or even if she didn’t remember the next day. All that mattered was that she was okay again.

When Varric returned, Helga getting some of the other workers to start heating the water for the bath, Hawke was nowhere to be seen. He may or may not have taken a little longer as he was throwing back a few more shots in an attempt to at least partially catch up to his charge for the evening.

When he found her, he half-wished he hadn’t.

“I thought you said you’d sit down if I got your bath organized,” he groaned, eyes averted to the ceiling as Hawke lay, splayed across his bed in the nude.

“I lied,” she responded wistfully, shifting onto her elbows to look up at him. “What? Don’t like the view?”

“Hawke,” he huffed, glancing at her face. “You’re not thinking straight.”

“Sure, there were a few women but that doesn’t mean I don’t like you, Varric,” she cracked a grin and sat up, shifting to the edge of the bed. She sat with her legs open, not a care in the world as Varric did everything he could to avoid looking below her neck.  “Come here.”

“I don’t think that’s such a good idea, Hawke.”

“You promised I could,” she pouted, reaching her hand out and contracting her fingers as if she was running them through his chest hair. “Come on.”

“Will you put some clothes on?”

“Maybe.”

The rogue groaned and stepped forward, a man defeated, until Hawke’s fingers slid across the open section of his shirt and buried themselves into the bared golden curls across his barrel of a chest.

She purred and before he knew what was happening, her eyes were half-lidded and her legs and hooked behind his back, tugging him closer to her. With her seated on his low bed, Varric’s face was on the same level as Hawke’s. Her hand that was not in his chest hair found its way into the hair on his head.

“Hawke, don’t-“

“Don’t say no, Varric.” Hawke’s voice was quiet and soft, half-broken like the look in her eyes. She was drunk and he was working on it. “Please.

That’s what broke him. He had never honestly believed he would be put into such a situation, never honestly believed that any part of Hawke would want any part of him outside of the banter and friendship that they carried on. Sure, part of him thought about it but no part of him believed there was any possibility. She wasn’t his type – he was hers, only insomuch that she didn’t really have one. At all. Even sort of.

“They’re…bringing the bathwater,” he responded, his voice catching as the hand that had been on his chest trailed its way to the belt at his hips.

“Let them,” she murmured, fingers curling into the leather and using it to tug him closer.

It was a bad idea and Varric knew it. He knew it when her lips crashed into his and she tasted like a brewery, he knew it when she stripped him down to nothing. He knew it when the women came in with the bathwater, gasped before dumping the water where they were told to and scurried out again. He knew it when his face was buried between her glorious tits and then again between her equally glorious thighs. He knew it when she returned the favor, his head thrown back and his golden hair disheveled. It almost felt wrong, taking so much pleasure from a broken woman. But she wanted it. She practically took it all herself, begging him to do things to her that he had only ever dreamt about.

When they were both spent, they drank more.  Hawke slid into the bath water, now rather chilly, and drank more, lolling in it until she was shivering and he insisted that she remove herself. They lounged in the bed and went at each other again, slow this time. Like making love, he thought briefly before he shook his head and focused on her rather than his own feelings.

The next morning, the sun streaming through the window and rudely awakening Hawke, she awoke in Varric’s bed.

She lay, blinking into the canopy with a pounding in her head and a throbbing between her legs. In fact, most of her body ached. She groaned, throwing her arm over her eyes. It as in that moment she realized that she was not only in Varric’s bed but she was also quite starkly naked.

The day previous, much like the one before that, Hawke could barely remember. She sighed heavily and tugged on the blanket, shifting onto her side and facing her back to the room as she draped the covers over her head and tried to fall asleep again.

“What the ever loving hell did I do,” she hissed, curling in on herself and swallowing the tears before they had a chance to reach her cheeks.

Varric returned to his rooms some time that afternoon, deciding that it was best to leave Hawke to do whatever it was she needed to do when she woke up. When he found her, she was seated with a steaming cup of what passed as caffe in the Hanged Man, draped in nothing but Varric’s blankets at his table.

When she looked up at him, her eyes were red-rimmed and her face was streaked in tears. Her shoulders were drooped with the heaviness of the world and Varric’s heart splintered a little at the site.

“Hawke?” he frowned, taking a tentative stop towards her.

“Please tell me…” she choked on a sob, something Varric never expected from her, and turned her face away from him for a moment. She sniffled, sighed and turned her face back to him. “…it’s okay.”

He let out a breath he hadn’t known he’d been holding and moved a little closer, setting Bianca down on the table. He didn’t move to her all the way, standing halfway between the end of the table and the chair she sat in.

“Does that mean you remember?”

“It took the better part of the morning,” she sighed again, not looking at him. She held the porcelain mug between both of her hands, staring down into the dark liquid. “There’s a lot I wish I could forget,” Varric felt a pang at that and winced, which she didn’t see, “…but not you. Is that… have I ruined everything?”

He didn’t quite know how to respond to that except to close the distance between them and slide his thick fingers beneath her chin, tilting her face towards him. “No, Hawke. Not if you don’t regret it.”

“You…you mean you don’t? It wasn’t just-“

Instead of trying to explain, instead of trying to assuage her fears – Varric leaned his face closer, his hand sliding from her chin into her hair to guide her mouth to his. The kiss was slow and gentle, Varric’s stubble scratching deliciously against Hawke’s wet cheeks.

When the kiss broke, Hawke blinked at his yellow-amber eyes. “Does…does your door lock?”

Varric threw his head back and laughed as Hawke grinned at him, the first sincere smile she had on her face since the moment her mother collapsed in her arms two days ago.

“You know, Hawke,” Varric murmured against the taught skin of her stomach, his would-be beard reddening the light colored skin there as his jaw moved and flexed, “…you’re my first.”

Hawke spluttered, before she shifted her hand to run through his hair. “Hope it was memorable”

“First human, that is. And I think we’ll need a few more thousand rounds before any decisions can be made.”