The first time it happens, it's a total accident. It's fire and ice and lightning and wind, glorious wind dancing at her crossbar and tugging at her string, and her coil is winding tighter in the licked-gold heat and then—all of a sudden—
Her bolt buries itself in the ceiling.
She would blush, if she had cheeks, but she is a lady first and foremost, and she utterly ignores the faint, inquisitive flicker of red flame over the mage's shoulder.
The second time it happens, she gets her own sort of revenge.
The wind is teasing her again, curling around her edges in little dancing touches and she knows who is behind it, but when she turns her sights in that direction she sees little more than knotted wood and iron. She checks herself a moment, unsure—and then, as if her attention has not gone unnoticed, a quick, hot breeze glides finger-like down her flight groove, and she cannot repress the shudder that ripples through her at the touch.
The next time her partner lifts her in battle, she scores a fine, sharp scar into her opponent's polished and clean-lined head.
Of course, as she discovers, observing the progress of her victory-mark requires her constant and studied attention on the offender in question. It is harmless at first, nothing more than her insulted pique and his playful, mocking deference; and then, somehow, it changes into something else, and she finds that she cannot quite ignore the long, lean lines; the smooth and curving crest; the dark-stained haft, straight and strong, save the place where her bolt had pierced bone-white.
She feels almost guilty, then. It is worst when her partner apologizes profusely, his fingers caught tight around her trigger as if she has done something both regrettable and embarrassing. He even scolds her that night and leaves her springs less greased than usual.
Still, she does not regret it when she thinks of that hot-fingered breeze; she even laughs to herself, quietly, when she pictures the sudden burst of outraged magic when she'd first struck.
The next morning, the dark-wooded head dips, just for a moment, in acknowledgement of her well-aimed point.
She finds that she thinks the scar is rakish.
In the end, their union is as natural as a song, as easy as the breeze he'd teased her with in the beginning. She has always been slender strings and graceful limbs and swift, straight flight; he brings to her the balance, and the heft, and the wild and flaring star that guides her strikes.
They carry it off in subtle style: in the gentle breaths of wind over her risers, in the bolts that brush across wood with their fletching instead of barbed points, in the furtive sparks that jump across the chasm between them in a burning caress. But it is not enough, cannot possibly be enough, and when at last her partner leaves her braced against the wall with his polished dark-gleaming wood just brushing her arm, she cannot stop herself—and knows from his eager flame that he desires her too.
They do not linger, both well-aware that their time is short; he is all strong fire and ice, heavy and grounding to the sweet-singing thrum of her strings, curving and recurving—he thunders low enough that she feels it in her very stock, and then, all at once, it ends in a brilliant burst of sharp-sparked lightning, and another bolt embedded in the oaken crossbeam.
Her cocking ring eases, sated; his winds die to errant gusts.
They rest against each other, content.
"Varric. What…what just happened?"
"I don't know, Hawke. But either way, I think I'm going to have to kill your staff."