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Hawke's Legacy

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Disclaimer: I don't own anything, I just play in the world, and I have evil evil plans

Chapter 1

Fenris P.O.V

The few mercenaries posted inside of the hovel had been expected, hardly a challenge really. The disappointment came when he realized that the chest they had sought to lure him with was just that, a lure and nothing more. The damned thing had been empty! He wasn't even sure why he had thought there would be anything in it in the first place, considering it was one of the oldest ploys in the book. He had sent word to Anzo for some kind of aid, under false pretenses of course, but the dwarf had come up with nothing.

So he walked into the trap he knew would be too much for him. Crude though it was, he knew how many were after him this time, and knew that he had not faced such odds alone. It would not be the first time he'd had to fight through impossible odds though, and a strange part of him looked forward to the challenge. Perhaps they would catch him this time, or be forced to kill him. Perhaps he would meet his fate.

When he walked out of the hovel, the bounty hunters were even more numerous than he had even predicted. It startled him somewhat, though he did not show it. So much for knowing how many were after him this time. If he thought he had a chance before, he knew he did not have one now. They all seemed to be waiting for something to happen, a reaction from him maybe.

It was as if they were waiting to see if he was really who he was suppose to be before they took him. After all, they had been after him for some time. Attacking some random nobody was a waste of time and money to them, and he had tricked them that way before. He readied his weapon, preparing to fight them all, when he heard her. It was not a moment he would soon forget, he thought, if he managed to live long enough.

"There you are!" The woman had cried out, seemingly to him. "Where have you been all this time? Do you know how worried I was?"

Here he was, being accosted by a stranger, and for some odd reason instantly felt the need to apologize. Even the soldiers that were there to take him away looked between the two as if there were some sort of opera going on, probably wanting to know who they would cheer for before killing them both. She walked calmly down the steps, and he could not help but take her in. This was probably the last time he'd get to take in the sight of a beautiful woman after all.

Her short raven black hair framed her face, and ocean blue eyes almost seemed painfully bright to look into, but how could he not? They seemed to pull at him in a way he could not remember happening before, and he could not make himself look away. Her skin seemed unnaturally pale for the region, so he could only assume she was from someplace else. She wore the moonlight like another garment, a goddess walking among them if there ever was such a thing. As she walked down the stairs, he could not help but notice the sway of her hips, or how long and slender her legs were. It was her smile that stopped him. Mischievous? Playful? Dangerous?

"Oh, hello." She says, almost seductively, looking to the mercenaries. She's stopped walking for the moment. "You must not know this area well, to be so woefully under equipped...the boob shoulder things are a nice touch though. Do you play with them when you think she isn't looking?"

"I don't know who you are, but you'd better get out of here. This is not your business. We are here on official business to retrieve lost property." The leader yelled, in annoyance.

"I'm sure that's just the way you presented it to the viscount too." She cooed, and then her tone shifted to one of concern as she takes up walking through the group of mercenaries. "and yet I see no property, just this man here before me. He clearly can not be the property you speak of, slavery being illegal in Kirkwall, you know. If he is, then you have either wrongfully deceived the Viscount, or you have come here under false pretenses and hope that you are gone before anyone notices you were ever even here. Same thing really. In any case, you really should be more careful. A strange creature calls this section of Kirkwall home. Locals say it is a rather large wolf. I would hate for you all to be caught unawares, strangers as you are to this part of Thedas." She is standing beside him by the time she has finished speaking, and he isn't sure if her voice was meant to lure the men under a false sense of security or to assure him that he is not alone.

"You should not have come." Fenris scolds, his voice low, though he is glad at least there is one person there on his side for the moment. "They will kill you now too."

"They won't get the chance." She says, and then she looks over at him with a wolfish grin. "Even demons run when there's a wolf at the door."

With that, she looks to the mercenaries, and she is no longer human. She is a large black wolf, larger than a Mabari hound, leaping into the crowd in an instant. It shocks him, but for the moment he does not question the help he is given. If he lives through this, he will decide if he needs to kill the shape shifter. He barely registers the pain in his heart at such an thought, having had to kill temporary allies before.

Instead, he leaps into the fray as well, and soon the two have killed the group. She turns human again, and she looks as if she knows what he's debating, but she's grinning as if she knows he won't do it. It both annoys and intrigues him. Surely she can not know the struggle going on within his mind. He moves towards her not quite able to make up his mind, when there is another mercenary who steps out of hiding.

"I don't know who you are, but you have made a mistake in aiding him. This slave is to be transported back to Tevinter. Intervene, and we will kill you." The commanding mercenary stated.

"Whatever he may have been in Tevinter, he is a free man here. I will not suffer slavers in my city. You will go back empty handed, hand-less, or dead. You decide." The woman growled, almost feral sounding now.

"That's it, I want all the rest of my men out here now!" The commander shouted, but no one came.

"Awe, did I forget to mention that the we you spoke of before is dead? It's just you now." She said, a bit coyly, but her voice was choked out.

She had neglected to notice the blood mage hiding in one of the corners. Damned mage was using some kind of swirling blood pool to drain the woman he saw before him. She grabbed her throat automatically, as one does when they suddenly can't breathe, and falls to her knees. Before he could think to move to help her, the mysterious woman pushed out with her hands causing the blood mage to lose concentration and breaking the spell. That was it, his decision had been made. He thinks no further beyond this point.

She would die the moment they were free of these two. She was a damned mage on top of being a shifter. He should have known. She had probably been hired by another of Danarius's underlings to curry favor. The blood mage was dead just moments before the woman turned around to see him shove his fist through the commanders armour and rip out his heart.

"Now that's a trick I haven't seen before-Hey!" She was surprised when Fenris pinned her against the wall, digging his spiked gauntlets into her wrists and neck. "You're hurting me!"

"Who sent you? Were you suppose to wipe out the competition, and take me to Danarius yourself?" Fenris growled angrily. "Answer me, Mage!"

"I saw the note from Anzo too late! I helped you!" She cried out, in indignation.

"Anzo sent a mage to help me?" He huffed in disbelief. "Doubtful."

"That's not something I go advertising about myself, you know. This place is known as the city of Chains for a reason." She snapped back.

He released his hold on her, begrudgingly unable to fault her logic. As tenuous as it was now, he did need her help. It was harder than he thought it should be to not feel guilty for the hurt expression that crossed her face when she thought he wasn't looking. It was easier to look through the commanders things while she pilfered the bodies of the other fallen. They would be cleared out in the morning anyway.

"Mage, I require your assistance." Fenris stated, motioning her over to him. "This note may contain the whereabouts of my former master, but I...I can not read it."

"I suppose that's better than 'come here, so I can kill you quickly, filthy mage'." She replied, a bit of bite to her voice.

"Just read it." Fenris demands, annoyed at her behavior. It was easier to be annoyed, than to admit why she had retorted so.

She takes the note from him, and begins looking at it. "There's so much here...Ah, here it is...Commander Dasan, Once you have secured the lost property, you are instructed to meet me at the Reiner Estate in High Town...I know where that is!"

"Please, I know that the letter I had Anzo send was a lie, but I truly require your help. If my former master is hiding out in a mansion in high town, I can not lose this chance to be rid of him."

"Kill him, you mean. If you're going to kill someone at least be honest about it." The woman demanded.

"That man has done things too unforgivable to name, and forced me to wear a collar with a chain on it to mock Qunari customs." Fenris growls. "So yes, I mean to kill him."

"There, was that so hard? This is your freedom, you're fighting for, after all." She tried to smile, though the hurt never left her eyes. "Killing blood mage slavers, and here I didn't get you anything."

He let the comment pass, not trying to guess its meaning. He refused to feel guilty for being overly cautious. "My name is Fenris."

She immediately grins wider. "Then it is a pleasure to help another wolf...if only in namesake, of course. Everyone calls me Hawke. If you want, you can call me Bellanaris."

"If you still wish to help me, we must go now." He insisted, and hurried on to high town. He did not think to ask her how she knew what his name meant.

On the way there, just outside of the alienage they had been in, they passed by a hovel smelling strangely of cabbages with two people yelling inside. "You had my children in servitude for a year! They should be Nobility!" A woman.

"If wishes were poppy, we'd all be dreaming. It's not my fault you went off and married a dirty knife eared Ferelden apostate!" A man yelled.

He noticed how Bellanaris began walking a bit faster than before, muttering so low even he almost did not hear it. "I'm going to have to stay at the Hanged Man again tonight. I'm too sober to be dealing with Uncle Gamlen's bullshit."

"Are you-" He was cut off.

"Don't expect me to reveal anything more about myself until you have done the same, Fenris." She interrupted. Her tone left no room for argument. It was clear the man yelling inside had upset her.

"Fair enough." He replied, and let the matter drop for the moment.

When they got to high town, he stopped them. "The man inside is a dangerous blood mage, and a Magister."

"That isn't exactly a surprise. Why does he want you back so badly? Do the lyrium tattoos have something to do with it?" She asked

He looked somewhat shocked for only a fraction of a second, before answering. Of course she would know what they were, every mage would.

"Yes. These are lyrium, burned into my very flesh. My first memory is of receiving them, the pain was...unimaginable. I am told that even in the Imperium, warriors like me are rare. Perhaps they believe I should feel honoured. At any rate, without them, I would not have escaped. They have served me well."

flashback moment


 

Hawke's P.O.V.

Gamlen in his infinite stupidity had taken to hiding her messages, or shaking them for money and then tossing them out, till Carver caught him at it. That led to an interesting conversation which ended in him being jealous that she got more mail than he did. She can see now how he lost the family money. Qunari cheeses my ass, she thinks, and then snickers in spite of herself. She'll have to tell Varric that one later.

Chiding herself on getting distracted yet again, she makes her way to the alienage. She'd already had an interesting evening killing several foreign mercenaries. They'd just seen her and started attacking, but something told her it had to do with the mission she'd read about in that message from Anzo. There was no time to grab anyone else, and she was running late as it was. Hawke got to the top of the stairs and had to do a double take, the message didn't say anything about this.

Several of those mercenaries had surrounded one of the elves in the alienage, but it was one she had never seen before. There were too many for him to take on at once, she knew instantly, though he stood poised with a great sword as if to do just that. There was something in his eyes, impossibly green though they were, that called out to her. It clicked suddenly, and she knew. Anzo's message had been a lie. This man had called out for help using the only means he felt safe enough to use, and she was not going to let him die here.

"There you are!" She called out to him. "Where have you been all this time? Do you know how worried I was?"

Why in the Void did I just do that?She thought to herself. Now every mercenary was looking to her, and back to him, an opera before the death she mused. Well, time to bluff her way through this. It wouldn't be the first time, and she'd have an interesting story for Varric later if they lived. She walked down the steps slowly, catching herself smiling at him as she went.

There was something about him that almost made her forget she was about to walk through the group of mercenaries. She'd never seen an elf as young as he looked with white hair, and his skin held a rich tan that told her he was from much warmer climates. She tried to send out a sense of calm to him, seeing how agitated he was. What she said to the mercenaries was not of import. What mattered was making him as calm as she could possibly get him to be, because she was about to do something really stupid.

"You should not have come." He scolds, his voice low. Maker's balls, but he did have to have the most sinfully delicious voice she'd ever heard in her life, she thought. "They will kill you now too."

"They won't get the chance." She says, and then she looks over at him with a wolfish grin. "Even demons run when there's a wolf at the door."

Alright, here goes nothing,she thinks, let's do something stupid. She's shifted into her wolf form and begun attacking the mercenaries before he even has time to respond to her. Soon he's fighting along side her, and she can't help but rejoice. Maybe this was okay. Maybe he really was a kindred spirit after all.

When they're all dead, and she shifts back, she can see the struggle in his eyes. It's almost adorable that he's even arguing with himself whether or not to kill her. She can somehow sense that he won't, though she can't begin to figure out how she even knows that. Her father had talked to her of such things, but that had been long ago and she was too caught up in the moment to delve into memories now. There would have to be another damned interruption just when the elven gentleman began walking towards her.

The leader of the Mercenaries was having a shit fit, she supposed, for having lost all his men. She felt him before she saw him. A blood mage hiding behind one of the corners. This was not going to go over well. She'd only planned on revealing one secret, now she was going to have to reveal two. Well, shit!

The moment was over too quickly, and suddenly he had pushed her up against the wall, angrily shouting and digging the spikes into her wrists and neck. So much for her plan to help. He doesn't believe her anyway, just another angry man who hates mages. She would stand her ground, and he would let go. This was not okay. Even when he did let her go finally, she avoided looking at him.

Maybe reading that note was a mistake. Maybe helping him was a mistake. Yet she could not make herself leave now. He still needed help, she could see. She even caught him staring when he thought she wasn't looking, and then the strangest thing happened. He reveals a secret of his own, and asks for her help.

Of course, on the way, he would have to hear Gamlen's bullshit. That idiot couldn't keep his mouth shut about anything it seemed, and of course the elven gentleman Fenris would have to hear it. She would not answer his questions, not without a price. He had spurned her help, and she was not feeling kind anymore. Even as he warned her what they were facing, she decided, she'd help him with this and then she was gone.

Back to present...

She made them pause before the door.

"That's why you attacked me." She said, the realization of it dawning on her. "Your markings react to magic. Do they hurt?"

"Yes, they react to magic. The only time they do not hurt is when I use them in battle." He answered curtly. He did not seem use to revealing so much information, but she had literally done just that moments before, and he wouldn't get any new information from her (not that it looked like he could figure out why he wanted the new information) if he did not share some of his own. They were wasting time there, and she knew that he could not understand why she had stopped them.

"Listen, Fenris. When we get inside, I'm going to have to use magic." She said, feeling disapproval from him in an instant. "It is kinda what I do, ya know, being a filthy mage and all that. I need to know how my magic affects you. If I can avoid hurting you, I'd prefer it, and I may have to heal you at some point. Do I have permission for that?"

"I can handle normal magic just fine, Mage." His reaction was almost venomous to her. "You can use healing spells on me if you have to, but not until."

"I understand. Hold out your hand for a moment, please." Hawke said, reaching out to cover one of his hands with her own when he did as she asked.

Unsure of how he would react, she hesitantly let only a small amount of healing magic wash over his hand. He stood there unmoving, as the glow completely covered his hand for a moment before receding. When she looked into his eyes again to check if he was alright, his eyes were not the bright forest green she had witnessed earlier gazing up at her. They were much darker now, and held a confusion they did not before. She pulled her hand back slowly, and looked away. She still didn't understand why she felt so hurt by his reaction before, but the look in his eyes did not help it.

"Every mage has magic that feels different than any other. Now you know what mine feels like, so you won't be surprised anymore." She said, solemnly.

As soon as they go into the house, Fenris is screaming at Danarius to show himself. The man truly had to be a foul human being to elicit this much hate from someone, and poisoning that persons view of anyone else he ever happened to meet. Hawke shook her head in disapproval. If anything, she would have preferred subtlety for this part. It was doubtful that this Danarius would stay long enough to fight them now.

Demons seemed to spill out from every surface of the place. The dead bodies this mage must have used for his rituals were everywhere. The air practically stank of blood magic. Hawke can't help but gasp for air, there's so much of it that it's almost too hard to breathe. Room after room seemed to be filled with nothing else.

All she could smell now was death and blood magic. With the last room cleared, they found that not only had Danarius not stayed, but had not even been there for the beginning of their attack on the house. Fenris looked so defeated to her, muttering something about needing air before he left the mansion entirely, like the world had been kicked out from under him. When she followed him, she found that he had waited just outside the place, as if expecting another mage to attack him. Whether he expected her to attack him or not, she did not know.

"Why are you different, I wonder?" He seemed to be talking to himself, but she was mistaken as he looked to her now. "I have been surrounded by mages all my life. They are the reason this lyrium is burnt into my very body, and yet...I find help from a mage...one who continues to help me even after I have threatened death...I...do not...understand...There was no gain in it for you...No money to be had, no power to be gained...What...manner...of mage are you?"

"My very nature as a wolf is not to be collared, chained, or bound. I see no reason to shift that when I become normal again. I want to survive, find happiness - if I can, love - if I'm lucky enough, and to stay free." Hawke responded, passionately, remembering how he saw her and was angry again. "I am a person first, and a mage second, and I refuse to be controlled by those who do not understand that I am more than just a tool for their wars or amusement. I am glad that I could help you, Fenris, but I think it's best that I get going now. Good evening, and good luck in your quest."

She started walking away, seeing as how he had seemingly no more need of her, and it was only a moment before he caught up with her again.

"You used magic without a staff or lyrium. You must have been trained well." He said, keeping up with her easily.

"I was, but not like that. I've never needed those things. I have always been able to call on my magic when I needed it. Father had to teach me to rein it in, to control how much I used it, and how much I let out at one time, but magic has always been easy for me to call on." Hawke stated, a bit perturbed. "If you want to know something, just ask."

"I do not wish to appear ungrateful. Even though Danarius was not there, I still owe you a debt for helping me." Fenris insisted.

"You owe me nothing, Fenris. I helped you because I saw you needed it, more so than Anzo's note, but if you're interested I may have some jobs available. Slavers need killing and such, crazy blood mages and the like, I'm sure. Kirkwall does seem to attract them. There's even an expedition I'm trying to get partnered with to the deep roads as well. You are a good swordsman." She said, floating the job offer out there. Why was she still trying to help him? She wondered, he had not given her another reason, and she was still angry about earlier.

"That sounds...tempting." He said, and she could see the tiniest hint of a smile. So there was hope for a friendship yet. "I meant to ask about your father before, after revealing secrets of myself like you said."

"My father was a dalish elf that got caught early in life and thrown into one of the Fereldan Circles." Hawke replied, wondering where this was going. It was strange enough that he remembered her rule of a secret for a secret, none of the others had done that.

"And that man who was yelling?" Fenris asked, his eye brows furrowed.

"Ah yes, Uncle Gamlen. He lost the family fortune and blames mother and us for it. The more drunk he is, the more vocal he is about it. I'm the one he seems to scream at most though when he's like that." She said, a bit lost in thought. "He won't yell at mother for long. He never yells at Carver, the boy passes for human even better than I do. You should see him, burly shit that he is."

"I don't understand, why you?" Fenris asked, looking thoroughly confused now.

"I'm the only one of the children to have noticeable physical indicators." She answered, tucking her hair behind her small but very pointed ears only for a moment. "Ears that are small but very pointed, eyes that are just a little bit too large, legs that are just a little bit too long, body frame is just a little bit too small...it all adds up really. I'm staying at the hanged man tonight if I can, mainly for his health. If I stay home right now, I might shiv him. If you like, you can meet some of the others that will be joining us on jobs from time to time. Please, don't tell them about the wolf shifting thing, or me being a half elf. They already know the mage bit. Though, I would appreciate it if you didn't turn me into the templars though. That one's kind of a given, really."

They had made it to the Hanged Man, and she did not give him time to answer her. She entered the unusual establishment without hesitation, and began walking through it as if it held all the familiarity of an old haunt. Perhaps it did, now that she thought about it. She knew where to go almost without looking, and the familiar group of friends waved her over gladly. Varric just nodded towards the new addition with the intention of continuing the card game.

"Varric, think the Hanged Man can spare a room again?" Hawke asked quietly.

"Sure thing. You keep one here often enough, you might as well just move in." Varric chuckled.

"I'm seriously considering it." She replied, unable to hide the troubled look.

"Is it Gamlen again?" He asked, looking up now.

"I'd rather not talk about it." She replied, but Varric hadn't been looking at her, and it seems the elf behind her had given the answer she would not. She had forgotten to mention not to say anything about Gamlen. Damn.

"So who's the new comer? Did you ask for her help, or did she just insert herself into your affairs? She does that a lot." Varric asked, his attention on the elf.

"I suppose it's a bit of both." Fenris replied, after a moment of thought.

"Ha! Aveline, that's 4 you owe me. Pay up!" Varric said, with a laugh. The red headed woman nearby huffs, and passes him coin.

"Fenris, this is Varric. Story teller, rogue extraordinaire, and probably my best buddy ever." Hawke said, introducing the two, and she continued on to the others that were there. "We also have Aveline, our local guard law enforcement, and my conscience. Maker knows, without her I might not have one. Carver, my younger brother I was telling you about, finest swordsman Lothering ever produced. Isabella, our devilishly sexy rogue with no idea what other people's personal space boundaries are, and this here is Anders. Anders is a former gray warden, pretty much the only healer the refugees have, and before you ask-" She had to step in front of Fenris to stop him from charging at Anders. She has one hand behind her on Anders' shoulder, one hand in front of her on Fenris's chest armour plate.

"That man is an Abomination!" He hissed angrily at her.
"I know." The look he gave her made her cringe, and she explained. "I don't like that fact either, alright? He did something very stupid with good intentions, and now he has to live with it. There isn't a single person in this room who can say they haven't done that."

"And when he kills someone because he can't control it anymore?" Fenris asked, in disbelief and anger.

"He's asked me to deal with him should he fall." The sincerity in her voice left room for little doubt, though Anders was a bit shocked by the admission. She was not comfortable with her own magic, but to talk about anothers' magic was even more out of character for her. "Most of the mages in my group of friends have made similar pacts with each other. Any mage could fall, it's good to have a back up plan." Fenris stepped back a bit, and Hawke let go of the both of them.

Suddenly, she spun around and asked. "Speaking of, where's Merrill? She didn't get lost again did she? What about Sebastian?"

"I think Sebastian is hiding from me again, Sweet thing." Isabella purred. "Perhaps your new friend won't be so shy."

"I think I see why he hides." Fenris muttered, and Hawke tried not to laugh.

"Chantry boy is on confession duty apparently." Varric said, seeing how Hawke and Isabella's eyes lit up mischievously.

"Oh, we should definitely torture him later, yeah?" Hawke asked, looking to Isabella. "Confess things we haven't done to each other, Oh! or things we would like to do to him...while in the confessional?"

"The choices." She purred with mischievous happiness.

"Merrill should be on her way soon. I gave her the ball of twine so she wouldn't get lost again." Varric replied.

Seeing the look on Fenris's face, Hawke tried to explain. "Merrill is naive and sweet, childlike even. Her clan kicked her out for practicing blood magic foolishly trying to bring back some piece of the past that should be forgotten. I really don't see her in danger of becoming possessed by a demon, though. I can't imagine any of them wanting to stay inside her head long enough to attempt it...trust me, you'll see what I mean when she gets here."


 

Fenris P.O.V.

He saw exactly what she meant once Merrill arrived. The girl was woefully ignorant of what she was playing around with, but had somehow managed to not get possessed yet. She chatted about utter nonsense or things that seemed so random that they didn't make since, and yet he could not help but see a wild intelligence about her. How in Thedas did she not realize that Carver hasn't taken his eyes off of her since the girl walked in?

Fenris found that he could not help himself but sit down and play a few rounds of Wicked Grace when Bellanaris asked if he wanted to stay a while, though he told himself it was to study the group that would be his new working companions for a time. It was most certainly not an attempt to make up for being a complete ass earlier. She certainly was an intriguing woman, but why did she have to be a mage of all things? He had never met her kind of mage before, and if he left he knew he'd never see another like her again.

There was something else that troubled him. His hand did not hurt. It hadn't since Bellanaris had used her magic before. It felt different, better? He tried to sort things out in his mind, but everything kept leading him back to that moment when she'd shown him what her magic felt like.

Every once in a while he would catch her looking over at him in concern, but he just shook his head, and tried to focus on the cards. There was no logical reason for her to show concern for him, and yet she did. That too was puzzling to him. The others must have picked up on her worry, because soon he was having to deal with her brother.

"So, what's the deal with you anyway?" Carver asked, defensively. Fenris recognized a protector when he saw one.

"Yeah, inquiring minds want to know...or touch, you decide." Isabella said, suggestively.

"What is your story?" Varric asked, looking to him now.

Fenris looked to Bellanaris, unsure of how to proceed. He did not know how to tell them what had happened without revealing her secrets to them, something she had asked him not to do. Thankfully, she picked up on the hint, and took over. He should have known that it was a bad idea from the start, and yet he let her anyway. That grin of hers seemed to pull him in, even as he cursed it for having power over him. She sat back with a mischievous grin that had even Varric leaning in for the story that would follow.

"Let me set the scene for you. A clear night, a full moon, a hovel. After having dealt with a few strangely armoured mercs just outside of the alienage, I come up a most intriguing sight. A tall, strikingly handsome elf, great sword at the ready, surrounded by..." She pauses in thought, looking to Varric. "Twenty?" Varric shook his head "Thirty Imperial Bounty Hunters."

"There weren't nearly that many." Fenris said, in a huff.

"Oh alright...Forty Imperial bounty hunters. (Varric is trying hard not to laugh at the scowl Fenris gives her) Hopelessly outnumbered, he stands at the ready. A mysterious and beautiful woman, bathed in moonlight, appears before the bounty hunters. She walks through them as if they weren't even there, like she's walking through water and stands with the elf, who is now hopelessly drawn to her. (She leans in to him and says) That's how these stories are suppose to go, for posterity, you understand."

She has no idea how true that is, does she?, he thought. Varric seemed to be eyeing him suspiciously now, as she leaned back to where she'd been.

"They stand together, and fight their way through them all, and when they think they are done, a final ten descend upon them...Tevinter blood mages all... (Wait, now that didn't happen. Where is she getting this from? Fenris wonders.) Swords, Daggers, and a bit of magic, and they clear them all...except for one. So enraged by the attack, the elf uses all his strength to reach into the last man, and pulls his still beating heart from his chest (Anders, and even Aveline are hanging onto her every word now) When it is over...the elf captures her and pins her up against the wall (at this point Isabella is very interested, and Carver looks like he's going to kill Fenris. To his credit, Fenris is trying to look apologetic.), unsure of where her loyalties lie. She is able to convince him she is to be trusted, though he knows not if she has cast a spell on him or he is simply drawn in by her startlingly blue eyes. (She grins at him and Fenris huffs, but it is clear he is blushing. He can feel the heat from the tips of his ears. Varric is loving every minute of this, and is rapidly taking notes for use of the story later) He explains that he is newly free man, having escaped from Tevinter, and asks for her help in dealing with the former Magister that hunts him still. Demons, Shades and Ghouls await them in the mansion he was said to be, but no Magister. That filth still roams, personally protected by the black divine himself, tucked away till he is ready to send more hunters for a prey that will not be taken willingly."

She clasps her hands together, and looks to Varric. "So, how did I do?"

"I think I can work with that, a bit rough around the edges. I may need to throw in some demons and an ogre in the beginning, nothing fancy." Varric said, as he jotted down notes. "You always give me plenty to work with."

"What about three ogres at the end instead?" She asks. Varric likes her plan and makes notes for it. "How long do you think I can stay for?"

"With that story? I'm certain I can talk Cariff into letting you stay here for the week at least."

"Good, I'll be able to afford to rent it after that." She agreed. Fenris looked flabbergasted from one person to the next, surely they did not believe all that!

"But that's not true at all!" Fenris was clearly aggravated.

"He didn't ask for the truth. He's a story teller Fenris, he asked for a story. All the bare bones of truth are there, and my pitch shifts enough to where they all know which is truth." Bellanaris stated, in understanding. "You should hear some of the stories he tells about me. I'm still not sure how Griffons can come back from extinction for me and me alone, only to die again once the story is over."

"Might have to play up that whole pushing you up against the wall bit there, sweet thing." Isabella suggests, playfully. "That was my favorite part."

"Sounds almost romantic if you spin it right, yeah? A perfectly handsome elf pinning me up against the wall in the moonlight." Bellanaris agreed, with a wistful sigh. Fenris chokes on his ale at this point. "But who's to do the sweeping?"

"You at least know there's sweeping. Broody over there doesn't look like he's figured it out yet." Varric said, not even looking up from the paper.

"Broody?" Bellanaris asks, indignantly. "He's not even been here for a full card game, and you already have his nickname picked out? Mine took forever for you to stop calling me Hawke!"

"Come now, Wolf, don't be so sore about that." Varric chided, making note of Fenris's reaction to her nickname.

"Well, at any rate. I'm going to go to sleep. Fenris, will you be getting a room here or staying at the mansion? I don't mind sharing if you don't have somewhere to stay yet. We didn't when we got here." She asked, looking at him now.

"I believe I will stay at the mansion for now, Bellanaris." He noticed that she blushed at the sound of her name. "I appreciate the offer though."

"So who's going with you tomorrow?" Carver asked, curiously. He's noticed her blushing at the use of her name, but he's more surprised that she's allowed this stranger the use of it.

"Traipsing through the wounded coast? Varric, Aveline, you, and Fenris if that's okay?" She looks back to him to make sure. He nods. "Meet here at the hanged man after breakfast then. I'm going to lay down, before I fall down. Good night everyone."

When she was gone, Carver turned to Fenris. "She gave you permission to call her by her first name?"

"She said I could, yes. Is that odd? She said everyone just calls her Hawke, but that I could call her Bellanaris if I wanted. She never told me that no one else was allowed to use her first name." Fenris said, slightly confused. "Does she not like it or something?"

"You're the only one we know who can actually say it and live." Carver informed him, confusing Fenris even more. Why would she trust him with it, and not her friends? Fenris wonders. "Mother does, but only when she's mad or wants her to be decidedly more girly than she is. I don't even get to use it, I just call her Sister."

"That's it, Hawke's the one doing the sweeping." Isabella declares.

"I don't know, my money's on Broody." Varric said, getting out another piece of paper. "We taking bets?"

"Is it wise for you to make bets like this with me here? Won't she be mad you are betting on her?" Fenris asked, dubiously, eyebrows furrowing.

"If you don't want in the pool, don't bet. She'll only be mad if I don't let her place her bet later." Varric stated, and then looked at him. "You in?"

"5 sovereigns says Fenris will be too shell shocked from his life on the run to make a move, and I'm ashamed I'm betting." Aveline says, tossing the coin Varric's way.

Fenris made a mental note to remember sweeping must be some kind of code word for relationship among her friends, and would ask Bellanaris later. Did they really think he would get into a relationship with a mage? After everything that had happened in his life, that was the last thing he wanted, to trade one mage master for another. As far as he was concerned, she was a mage like any other, and should perish like any other. Yet even as he thought it, he knew it to be untrue. She was an enigma, one he intended to solve for his own sake.

"I'm just surprised you're betting first, big girl." Isabella purrs. Aveline rolls her eyes at the pirate, but she's grinning.

"8 says he confesses his feelings to her first, but she turns him down flat." Anders said, tossing his coin in.

"4 says that Anders tries to make a move no matter if Fenris does or not." Carver said, tossing his coin in. "Not that he'd win." Anders gives him a pointed look.

"9 says she flirts with him till he makes the first move." Isabella said, as she tossed her coins in. "I know my girl. She's definitely a second move kind of girl. Still won't let me try anything."

"5 says they flirt with each other till she makes the first move. This is so exciting." Merrill says, tossing her coin in. "Someone has to bet against you, Isabella."

"I'll put myself down for 10 sovereigns that says it will take her flirting and a catastrophe of some kind happening to her before he makes the first move." Varric said, writing everything down. "What about you, Broody? You a betting man?"

Fenris looks deep in thought for a moment. "You're sure this is wise? She won't get mad?"

"Wise? No. Will she be mad? Don't worry, you're safe. What's your bet?" Varric said.

"5 says Carver confesses his feelings for Merrill before the expedition gets back." He says, after a moment, and tosses his coin in.

Varric is surprised at him for even mentioning that, but laughs outright all the same. Carver is so red faced he can't speak, and poor Merrill is confused and wondering if Carver has a fever. Even Anders has to laugh at the sight. With that, the night ends for them, and he makes his way back to Danarius's Mansion. Danarius's Mansion, for he will not call it his own. Perhaps he should have taken Bellanaris up on her offer of a shared room for the night, but it was too late to change that now.

AN: So what do you think?

Chapter Text

Chapter 2

Hawke's P.O.V

Stumbling into the public area of the Hanged Man, her bleary eyes happen upon Fenris and she gives him a sleepy smile before heading to see about breakfast. Varric is already explaining the day's plans to him when she returns with coffee, and a few bits of food. Some of it she offers to Fenris, which he accepts only because the others must have explained that she was too sleepy to be anything but sincere at the moment. She wasn't up for much in the way of conversations till at least the coffee was gone though. Instead, she listened to the others around her.

Carver had argued with Gamlen when he got home, (he really was protective of his older sister, even though he tried not to act like it most of the time) and Mother had only sighed that she could not seem to hold together what was left of her family. Aveline was clearly ready for the day, but left her alone until she could hold a conversation. It was dangerous to talk to Hawke before she was awake. Fenris seemed to be engaged in a conversation about Bianca, Varric's crossbow. She caught herself humming happily at the sound of Fenris's voice, and smiled. That man's voice could do things, not that she was willing to admit that to anyone but herself, like chocolate and gravel.

"Joining the world of the living at last, Wolf?" Varric asked, with a grin.

"Just bidding my time until I can make you forget all about Bianca." Hawke murmured, sultry and sleepy all at once. "You know you have a thing for my legs, Dwarf."

"Wolf, there isn't a single person in this room -barring Carver, of course- who doesn't have a thing for your legs. Hell, Broody's been here all of five minutes and he already has a thing for your legs." Varric chided. "Besides, Bianca's the jealous type."

"I think I can help with that. Bianca needs to feel a woman on her trigger, don't you think?" Isabella says, making her way over. "Just tell me what his chest hair feels like, will you, Hawke?"

"It's only the dream of every woman in Thedas." Hawke replied, nodding in agreement.

"Ladies!" Varric pretends to blush. "I am a man, not an object!"

"Oh, but Varric...the chest hair." Isabella and Hawke quote in unison, before dissolving into a fit of giggles.

"Are they always like this?" Fenris asks Aveline.

"It's worse when they're together like this, yes." Aveline sighs. "Come on, Hawke. Those bandits aren't going to kill themselves, you know."

"Are you sure? Maybe just this once, we'll get lucky and they will have tripped and fallen on their own swords." Hawke suggested, much to Aveline's disapproval.

Hawke reluctantly pulls away from her amusement, and they head out towards the Wounded Coast. She makes terrible jokes about different names for the place, but no one takes her seriously. She carries a staff with her today, but not a mages staff. Fenris gives her a questioning look, but she just shrugs and he leaves it be. The bandits Aveline sends them after are well equipped, more so than bandits usually are, but they are dead nonetheless. Varric is already working on making the story even more epic than it ought to be, and Hawke can only grin as he tells it. She earns a playful glare from Aveline when she throws in a suggestion or two.

There is something that makes her frown though, now that she thinks about it. Fenris has yet to say much to her today, though she supposes he is having to think over a lot, and the group of friends she has introduced him to takes some getting use to. To be honest, she did not expect him to even show up today. She lags behind, letting the swords take the lead. Carver is busy bugging Aveline into letting him into the guard. Though Aveline is reluctant, Hawke thinks it a good idea, and Carver looks back at her in thanks. Varric walks beside her knowingly. She only lags behind like this when she wants to talk to him without being heard by the others.

"So what do you think? It's bad, isn't it?" She asks, not looking at him, knowing he is there.

"You sure you know what you're doing? He looks like an angsty porcupine." Varric said, looking out at the others. "He's been a slave most of his life from the sounds of it. He'll have...issues, putting it lightly."

"Varric, this is me we're talking about. When have I ever known what I was doing?" Hawke asked, playfully, but then her face turned serious. "It's strange, Varric. I can't seem to help it. There's this pull that's there. I can't explain it. I've known him a day, and I've told him things I haven't even told you. I don't even know what in Thedas makes me say those things." She watched as the dwarfs eyes widened in shock as he took that information in.

"Shit, Wolf. You didn't tell me this was one of those 'at first sight' deals." Varric said reverently, letting out a whistle afterwards.

"Is this something we're betting on now?" She asked, one eyebrow up as she looked at him quizzically.

"Bets have already been made." Varric laughed, and gives her the run down.

"Yours has the best chance I'd say. Mind if I toss in with you?" She asks.

"Sure, but you have to add your own conditions to it, or else you'll be fighting Rivaini for a share of the profits." Varric agreed. "I will suggest naked mud wrestling."

She thought for a moment and said. "You know what? I'll go 10 says no matter who makes first move, he won't tell me he loves me till after whatever catastrophe befalls me."

"Are you saying the first move could be made before the catastrophe?" Varric asked for clarification, taking out his betting book. "This will separate it even from mine."

"Yep, because I'm not into sharing...or naked mud wrestling." She said with a cheeky grin, handing him the coin.

"Pleasure doing business with you, Wolf." Varric replied, and put away the book.

"I doubt anything will come of it though." Hawke said, with a sigh, as they continued. "I am a mage after all."


 

Fenris P.O.V.

The red headed guards-woman, Aveline, looks decidedly more angry as she exits the Captains office. He had been prepared to go in and kill the man, but Bellanaris stayed his hand. They were surrounded by guards, and it would do more harm than good to Aveline if they did something like that now. So he waited. The Captain had the stink of corruption around him. It was nice to see that Bellanaris shared his view, but Aveline tried to respect the mans position if not the Captain himself. He saw Bellanaris's eyes when they heard the man threaten her friends from behind the door, the predatory instinct to defend what was hers flashed in them, and felt a sense of kinship.

"Not this time, Captain." He heard Aveline mutter.

"So I take it he's not going to throw us a party? Do you want me to put itching powder in his laundry, maybe toads in his bath?" Bellanaris asked, playfully trying to cheer up her friend. It didn't work. "Come on. Let's go see who's toes you actually stepped on."

"Aveline! Oh, am I glad to see you! The Captain just told me what you did. He might not be happy about it, but I am. You saved me!" The guards-woman insisted, as she ran up to them a few minutes later. "That was to be my post alone tonight. I'd have been dead for sure."

"You were to do that route alone tonight?" Fenris asked, in disbelief.

"Yeah, everything was quite till today. Had to hand the satchel over to Donnic though. Captain went and changed my patrol after what you lot did." The guards-woman replied.

"Satchel?" Bellanaris asked, confused.

"Yeah. Inventory lists, guard schedules, all kinds of things that need delivering throughout the city. We deliver them on slow guard shifts. Well, thanks again." She said, before she left.

"Is the Captain sacrificing guards?" Carver asked, barely above a whisper.

"We'll find out tonight." Aveline stated. "Guardsman Donnic's patrol hits lowtown then."

"Hanged Man till then, anyone?" Varric asked.


 

Hawke's P.O.V.

That night came sooner than expected, but with the way Aveline worried it was still difficult to keep her mind occupied for long. Listening to Isabella's plans to seduce Sabastian hadn't helped matters. Not that she herself didn't throw in ideas from time to time, but Hawke knew that it would not amuse Aveline to talk of such things. The woman was all duty and no fun after Wesley died...or so she thought. That certainly changed after the fight with the thugs in Low Town. Fenris, Varric, and Isabella had gone with them, and after the fight each of them looked at each other when they noticed the attitude shift in Aveline.

"Maker,...is that you Aveline? You're a beautiful sight." The man said, as he tried to prop himself up off of the ground.

"Guardsman Donnic..." Wait...was Aveline smiling?

"I mean...I didn't think anyone would get here in time to save my hide." He said, recovering.

"Smooth." Both Varric and Hawke mutter. Meanwhile, Fenris is looking at the satchel the thugs had tried to take, and Isabella was trying to peak at his smalls.

"I can't make sense of this, can you?" He asks, handing it to Hawke, making like he can't make heads or tails of all the information.

She looks at him for a moment before looking through the items. Fenris can not read, but doesn't want the others to know. He was silently asking her to keep it secret from them. Hawke doesn't know if it is to save face or hold onto some semblance of normalcy, and she does not ask it now. She does have her own secrets to guard, after all, keeping one of his was done on instinct alone. It makes her think he might stick around. He gives her a subtle appreciative look.

"This looks like ledgers, bank accounts, guard postings, dock deliveries...with the seal of the viscount. Worth a lot of money to a band of thieves." Hawke replies.

"Forget guard captain, that man belongs in government." Fenris said at once. Eyes are bulging from trying not to laugh, as they all realize Fenris has just cracked a joke. Hawke can't take it anymore, and laughs outright, while Aveline huffs and mutters something about bad influences.

"The Captain will answer for this." She says, and everyone heads back to the Viscounts office.

Seeing the former captain being taken away was a treat, but seeing the look on Aveline's face when she is told that she will be replacing the man (Pending training, of course) was priceless. Of course, Aveline was not going to let Hawke revel in the fun of having a Guard Captain in her pocket. Varric was already working on a scheme to get the Hanged Man under his name...maybe get something better than the dragons piss they serve, but Aveline was this close to wounding him before Hawke had to cart him out of the office.


 

Fenris's P.O.V.

The next day, a few of them offer to help move Bellanaris out of the cabbage smelling hovel. For some odd reason he agrees to tag along. Isabella runs interference between her and Gamlen. If it hadn't been apparent that he disliked the family being there before, it was painfully obvious now. Even the Mabari hound Bellanaris refers to as Barkspawn looks ready to devour her uncle. He does not spare a thought for why she did not bring the Mabari the day he'd met her, she'd mentioned running late before.

Fenris felt Bellanaris using magic, but could not understand how no one else noticed until he saw her hands were behind her back, her fingers making motions he didn't quite understand. Then he sees it, and does his best to hold his laughter, lest he give it away. Very high above Gamlen's head is the privy bucket. Merril and Anders exchange knowing looks, and begin placing unseeable barriers around everyone else, which Bellanaris must have been waiting for, because as soon as that happened, the bucket was poured onto Gamlen's head.

If it had been difficult not to laugh before, it was damned near impossible now, but he managed it. Everyone is laughing, except for him and Bellanaris, but even she has a feigning innocent smile on her face. He allowed himself a smirk, which she seemed to appreciate. Gamlen had been talking bad about elves again, and Merril had been looking increasingly sad throughout the time there. So the bucket had been both prank and retribution.

The second most note worthy thing that happened for him was that Fenris met Bellanaris's mother. The woman was most agreeable, a striking contrast against that of her brother Gamlen. She smiled and thanked them for helping her daughter out, while Gamlen huffed a lot and made pointed glares at Fenris and Merril. By the end of the visit, he understood why Bellanaris always seemed to want to kill the man. That evening, he was surprised to find her standing outside of the slowly falling apart mansion he resided in.

"Bellanaris? I figured you'd be tired after everything, and not killing your uncle." Fenris said, in greeting. "That alone has to take quite the effort. I almost killed him myself to save you the trouble."

"Well, the night is still young. I wouldn't count it out just yet." She said playfully, displaying a small grin. "He hits on Isabella one more time, she might save us both the trouble."

"Please, come in." He replied, the faintest smirk crossing his lips, and moved from the front door to let her in.

"Won't Danarius know you're staying in his mansion? What if he comes back and finds you?" Bellanaris asked. Wait, was she worried about him? Why?

"This isn't actually his mansion, probably an associate of his...probably dead...most likely killed by Danarius. You do not have to worry for me, Bellanaris." Fenris insisted, as they made their way to his makeshift living room.

"I worry for all my friends, that includes you now, you know." She insisted.

"I will endeavor to worry you less." Fenris replied, slightly amused.

"You know, you may want to clear the place out...if you want to live here. Make it yours, yeah?" She suggested, as he brought her up the stairs to a space he had cleared as kind of a living room. "You shouldn't have to wait for Danarius to be dead to start your life. Having something to lose, means having something to fight for...and I'm talking too much."

"I have thought about it. I might stay...for the right reasons...Bellanaris...I have questions...about everything, if you don't mind me asking." He was unsure where to start this.

"Alright, but same rules apply. I tell you things, you tell me things. what did you want to know?" She asked. They had a couple chairs there, and a nice bottle of Aggregio Pavali that sat on a table with no glasses.

He was going to ask her about the feeling of the magic in his hand, but decided against it at the last second. "How did you meet these people you call your friends? Anders is an abomination, Merrill is a blood mage, Varric seems like he's after something, Isabella is...questionable to say the least, Aveline seems to be the only one with any sense, though I haven't met this Sebastian character."

"The same way I met you...sort of. They each needed help. I just happened to be the person that came along, and they never could get rid of me." She replied.

Fenris was going to ask for more details, but she launched into a detailed account of how she had met each of her friends. Aveline had been the first of them. She had been the wife of a Templar, herself a soldier surviving Ostagar. The woman had had to kill her own husband due to the blight, and traveled with Hawke on to Kirkwall. Though he could not fathom the loss of family, having never known his own, he could see it in her eyes when she spoke of her sister Bethany. She described it all, the fight through the darkspawn, the Ogre that killed her sister, the dragon witch that was Flemeth.

Varric was next, meeting her just after she'd been there for about a year. He had quickly become her best friend though Aveline remains her closest. He rarely spoke of himself, but Bellanaris knew that she could always count on him. Varric was a shoulder to lean on when she needed it, a joke here or there. He was a story teller, a rogue, and a damned good marksman with that unique crossbow of his. It was his brother that was leading the expedition Bellanaris talked about sometimes. Varric had been tracking down a lead on some deep roads maps.

That lead to meeting Anders, and trying to help his friend escape. He worked in a clinic the refugees of Dark Town kept secret, because he was a mage and they had no one else to care for them. She felt as if she could since his own magic attacking itself. The spirit of Justice was not suppose to be there, but there was no way to undo it now. Maker help her, she could not take him away from those he helped. So she would deal with the consequences when he lost control. The horror Fenris saw in her eyes at the thought of being made tranquil, of having everything taken away, reminded him of his fear of being captured by Danarius again. So he did not voice his feelings that she had made a mistake in trying to help this Anders, which was wise considering what she told him next.

She had felt the loss of this Karl, though having never really known him. He had been close to Anders, and she had felt his pain. Bellanaris admitted to helping the mage underground as a result of the abuse of power she had seen from the templars there. Fenris was going to object to this, but she quickly admitted that her and Anders had different views on what helping the mage underground meant. She believed mages should have checks in place, just in case they fall, but that templars needed them too. Here, they didn't seem to have any. The system needed an overhaul, not a revolution. Anders tended to disagree, and called for the destruction of the system entirely.

They had met Isabella, formerly Captain Isabella, on a return trip from the wounded coast, and helped her with a dual in the chantry. The pirate had apparently freed a ship of slaves, only to be hunted for it later. She had lost her ship in the storm that landed Kirkwall with the Qunari. The two women had become like they are now almost instantly. Isabella may not have cared for the finer points of love, but she knew a great deal about sex and how to give someone what they wanted. Bellanaris admitted to Fenris with a blush, that she had wanted to know those things too, but to put them to giving someone she loved what they wanted...should she ever be lucky enough to be loved by another. Fenris tried not to think about what that meant.

She met Merrill while helping the Dalish with a locket Flemeth had asked her to deliver. The choices the naive little elven blood mage was making were reckless, and the keeper had hoped Bellanaris of all people could talk sense into her. Merrill was dead set on recreating an Eluvian with the help of a trapped demon. Carver seems to be infatuated with her almost instantly, seeing her as someone he wanted to protect. Bellanaris could only hope that her influence on the girl would keep her from demons, maybe even talk her away from blood magic.

Sebastian is the last of the group that she met before Fenris, she explains. She describes the scene in front of the chantry steps, the passion in his voice as he swears vengeance upon those who slaughtered his family. She sees the pain he hides and helps him before he knows who she is, before she knows who he is, because she has decided without him that he is a friend. She is surprised to learn that he is the last Vael, a prince of Starkhaven. He is more surprised by what she's done for him, but that does not last long. His family is not allowed to rest in peace, and she agrees to help him figure out why an allied family has chosen to kill his own. Demons, of course it is demons, but strangely no mages. The mother had thought herself above such influences, and thought she could wield the power of a desire demon.

She tells the story of her friends to him, and he knows without asking that she counts him among them now. This strange woman has friends from a lowly ex slave from Tevinter to a prince from Starkhaven, as if she sees no difference in them. Yet she hides things from all of them, things she tells him willingly when he asks...as long as he reveals truths of his own. He's not really sure how many of those he has, or why none of the others had thought to try this.

"My turn." She says, before taking a swig from the bottle and handing it back to him. "You don't have to answer this one if you don't want to..."

"Are you expecting me to explain my life as a slave? I do not need your pity, Bellanaris." Fenris spat angrily, but she was blushing and he frowned in confusion. That seemed out of place.

"No, that seems a bit too personal a thing of me to ask just yet. Also, I do not give pity. Sympathy, empathy, kindness, these I can do. To me pity feels like it demeans the experiences one goes through, and you have gone through more than most already." She answered.

"Then...I don't understand. What is your question?" He asks, still frowning.

"You spoke of the pain you endure all the time because of your markings...I was wondering...Did the spell I cast earlier help at all?" She asked, her eyes filled with worry.

Strange, he was surprised by that, and had expected different questions. Can I see them? Perhaps she wanted to, but she did not dare ask the question now. What was it like receiving them? Maybe he would explain that when she asked, he did not yet know. The question she asked baffled him, and also brought him back to the question he had not dared to first ask.

"My hand...I have been meaning to ask, and I suppose it is my turn after this, yes?" He replied, looking for confirmation that it was indeed his turn. She nodded. "I have felt magic before, Bellanaris, but nothing like that, nothing quite so...powerful and yet soothing as that. Where there was pain before, there seems to be only the feeling of power. Would you...Would you do it again?"


 

Hawke's P.O.V.

Dumbfounded by what she hears, she replied. "It was just a simple healing spell. There was nothing special I did to it, I'm not even that good with them. If it really helped so much, of course I'll cast it for you again." Without a word of warning to her, he just takes off the gauntlets, the shoulder pads, and chest plate...and his shirt. Blushing bright red, she remarks with a silly grin. "Well that takes care of my next question I suppose. Makers breath, they really do go everywhere, don't they? Pray tell me, why you are taking off your clothes?"

"You are going to cast the spell again, yes?" He asked, pausing. She nodded numbly. "Then it is best that at least the shirt is gone. Why? Do I make you uncomfortable like this?"

"No...it's just people usually try to date me or try to get me drunk before taking off their clothes." She mused, playfully biting her lip. "You take off one more article of clothing, and I'll be able to tell Isabella what colour your small clothes are."

"Oh." He says, and sits down abruptly, eyes slightly widened in shock, finally understanding why she was blushing so much. He's blushing too now, and it's the most adorable thing she's seen ever.

Without a word, she takes her chair, and moves it so she can sit as close to him as possible. Hawke closes her eyes, and takes time to calm down her magic the way her father had taught her before undertaking something she wasn't sure in. Gently, she places her hands on his chest and tries not to wonder if he is leaning into her touch. He has never asked anything like this of her, and her mind can not help but be a little bit silly. He is only after healing, Hawke. No bright ideas! Hawke makes sure her hands touch the lyrium directly, as this will hopefully send the spell further without using too much of her own magic.

The light begins to travel from her hands to his chest, and from there it spreads until it covers the rest of him. His markings light up on their own, but it is faint and strangely welcoming, as if they are trying to take in more of the magic she's sending to them. So, she sends more and waits and still the lyrium pulls at her. It would be unwise for her to make the flow of magic any more intense than it already is. Any more, and it could overwhelm him. He was breathing heavily as it was.

Slowly, she allows the magic to recede and fade away from him until even her hands no longer glow with it. She is not sure when, but at some point he had rested his forehead against her own, and did not move when the magic was gone. They stay that way for some time. She does not move, will not move until he decides to do so. Even her hands remain where they were, even the slightest change could shift them out of whatever spell they seem to have fallen into. She is pulled out of her own revere by the feeling of his hands gently grasping her own as he sits back.

"Bellanaris,...I have no words...This is the first I can remember...not feeling pain.... Thank you...I have one more question, if I may ask one out of turn?" He asked, his voice a touch husky now. "Why do you tell me things you tell no one else, your name...among other things?"

She was hesitant at first, unsure of how to answer him, but she tried. "Names are a kind of power in their own way, Fenris. You would not have trusted me without it, even though you asked for my help, and because you gave me your name even though you did not trust me. As for the other things...I just got use to hiding that part of myself...It's a lot easier to be the new family that moved in, than it is to be the new half elf family that moved in. Father had never gotten the vallas'lin. It's not that I meant to keep it from them, I just never got around to not hiding it anymore. As for the wolf?...I know Varric makes up some wild ass stories about me, but no one with sense believes they are as grand as he says. Even so...Hey, I really am a wolf girl, everyone... doesn't exactly fit well into a conversation. I just tucked it in with things I needed to hide on instinct, like being a half elf. He nicknamed me wolf because of the face I make when I know something is dead before it does...and apparently my grin is just wolfish."

"But you showed me." Fenris insisted, as he looked into her eyes.

"When you were surrounded by the bounty hunters, your eyes were wild, fierce but not afraid. You would have fought them all until one of them managed to kill or wound you severely. Backed into a corner as you were, you would have fought all the more fiercely for it. You were prepared to die." Hawke said, trying to explain. "The others...they never looked like that. I have never wanted to protect them quite so badly as that moment when I knew I needed to help you."

On her way back to the Hanged Man, she had to take a moment to collect her thoughts. That was...That was something else. The feeling she had when she touched his skin...Her father had told her that such a thing was possible, but rare. If it was what she thought it was, Varric was more right than he knew, and she was in for one hell of a bumpy ride.

Son pala (my soul) Oh this is bad. How had she not seen it before? Those eyes practically pulled at her like they were calling her home. She still had a dazed look in her eyes when she entered the Hanged Man. Varric just raised an eyebrow, but said nothing as she made her way to her room. Maybe she could sort this out in her sleep.


 

Fenris's P.O.V.

The days to follow were filled with strange adventures indeed. Even his time with the Fog Warriors had not prepared him for some of the things that Bellanaris introduced into his life. He'd seen and helped fight a high dragon, not to mention the damned things spawn, in the Bone Pit. It had taken a bit of convincing, but the miners went back to work, and Bellanaris looked out for them. She was constantly going up there to check on them and make sure they had everything they needed. It boggled his mind that she was a constant enigma to him, a mage who thought of others.

Though they had fought Tal-vesoth without him, Bellanaris had taken him with her to discuss terms with the Arishok after they had made the deal with the dwarf Javaris. The look on her face upon hearing the Qun from him was something close to admiration. She and the Arishok discussed killing the dwarf that had led them on this path, and Fenris tried not to look her way when the Arishok informed her she was in good company. A compliment like that from an Arishok was nearly unheard of, but her reaction to it. "...So I've noticed..." He would have to think more on why she said those things, and in that sultry voice she sometimes liked to use too. He noticed that he was on every mission that had to deal with the Arishok after that.

Aveline explained that it was because Hawke knew that the Qun was beyond her grasp, and she respected his command of the language. That thought hadn't actually occurred to Fenris, and he had to puzzle it out for a while. He held a powerful mage's respect. That had never happened before. It seemed that Bellanaris was always giving him something to think about.

He had finally gotten to meet this Sebastian of Starkhaven. The man was a bit too preachy at times, and Fenris occasionally found himself hating The Maker even more because of him. However, the two had developed a solid friendship, and he found himself discussing religion on a deeper level than they had previously. Sebastian had put a thought to him that he was still working through. Had The Maker allowed the terrible things done to Fenris, so that he in turn could help to make sure they did not happen to anyone else if he could stop it? It was going to take a while to work through that thought.

Fenris, by nature, paid attention to details. Bellanaris was no exception to this. He had resolved to figure out the enigma that she was, after all. Every time they went on a mission together, she gave him some new piece to the puzzle that she was. On more than one occasion though, he caught himself simply gazing after her instead.

Though he told himself he was only trying to learn what he could from observation, Fenris could not imagine what he could learn from watching the sway of her hips or how her legs moved gracefully in battle. Varric just cracked jokes about his brooding, so no one else would catch on to what he was really doing. Fenris was not sure if Varric did this things for the dwarf's benefit or his own. It did, however, let him know he was not exactly being subtle about trying to figure her out.

He noticed she carried a non-magical staff most of the time. It helped to keep the templars from noticing her, and it helped to maintain the illusion to the rest of the group that she was like every other mage. Fenris could not understand why she hid her magic the way she did. She was a mage of exceptional power, he knew. He could feel his lyrium lines as they called out to her, but had not yet worked out why she hid herself from the world. Surely it could not be simply to hide from the Templars.

No other mage had ever done that in his experience. Most mages in Tevinter would do anything to show off how powerful they were, even Merril and Anders did not hide their power like Bellanaris did. She hid the extent of her powers not only from the Templars, but her friends as well. He noticed she favored her left side when she took daggers with her. Even though she acted as if she were selfish at times, she always made sure everyone was taken care of before she thought of herself. This was especially true when out on missions.

Bellanaris seemed to have designated smiles for each member of the group, or for particular moments. He found that his favorite one was when she thought no one was looking. Fenris had found her playing with some of the children out in the streets of low town, and could only watch with amusement. They were playing some kind of kick ball game in the streets, and he found himself caught once again by her smile combined with the music that was her laughter. The smile did not go away when she discovered him, as he had feared it would. Instead, the children invited him to the game. Though he would admit it to no one, he let himself smile then too. He was finding that easier to do these days, something he had never thought possible.

She was always playing pranks too, both magical and non-magical. Merril, the abomination, and himself were always in the non-magical category for pranks. They were the ones who could sense magic. However, that left Isabella, Sebastian, Varric, Carver and Aveline for the magical ends of pranks. When he asked Carver why Bellanaris did this, Carver surprised him by becoming sullen, thinking back on times that had been. It was something that Bethany and her would do to keep the family's moral up. It was something their father had loved.

After that, Fenris found himself telling her stories to make her laugh. She never spoke of Bethany, at least not her life, and he had not asked, but he felt he could now understand why she pulled so many fun-natured pranks. Varric was a great help in this, as the dwarf felt that the world could do with a bit more laughter in it. To Fenris, her laughter sounded like music. He'd give anything to be able to hear that sound every day, and the thought shocks him. There was now a new problem he did not know how to resolve.

Somewhere along the path of studying her as an enigma he had gone from thinking he would never want to be in a relationship with a mage, to being friends with a mage, to having a mages respect, to wanting to be with a mage, to worrying the mage he wanted would never want to be in a relationship with him instead. He wonders just at what point this had all happened, but he is unable pin down a precise moment. Varric could probably tell him, if he ever got up the nerve to ask him for such advice. He supposed if he had to pick a day, it would be when he asked her to use her healing magic again. There had been a feeling of instant belonging he could not explain, but had left it alone since then, assuming it was the lyrium calling for a new master. He had seen her flirt and joke with everyone, but never actually going after them with interest. Did that mean that he had a chance after all, or that she treated him the same as everyone else and he had no shot to begin with?

One day, he realized he's made a mistake too late, he had not kept up the guarded facade he had so carefully built over the years of his life as a slave. The others were beginning to notice. More than once, Isabella caught him staring after Bellanaris now. She would often make passes at him in front of Bellanaris, or offer encouragement to him when Bellanaris was not present. Sebastian and Carver both tried offering him words of encouragement.

Aveline would just smile with some far off look in her eyes. Even Merril, as clueless as she sometimes appeared to be, commented that he had sad puppy eyes whenever Bellanaris wasn't looking. He didn't even know what those were, but she cooed every time she said it. That in itself was disturbing enough. Him and the Abomination argued more often than not now. Fenris noticed though that whenever they argued like that, Bellanaris smiled less.

The music that was her laughter died on those days. He knew he wanted to see more smiles, hear more laughter from her, not less. Strangely, those things had become highlights to him, something to look forward to seeing each day. So, Fenris worked to keep his mouth shut whenever the abomination would goad him in front of her. It was almost as if the abomination knew what he wanted, and was dead set on keeping him from it. As much as he thought about it, he would not turn the abomination over to the templars, as he suspected this would only hurt Bellanaris more. It only added to Varric's jokes about his brooding, but he did get to see more smiles from her, and on occasion she would scold the abomination for treating him in such a manner. It made dealing with the abomination worth it.

Fenris was surprised when she sent that boy Feynriel to the circle. He had assumed that she would send him to the Dalish, or simply let him go considering that she was a mage. In his experience, the powerful mages always stuck to their own, as long as the ends justified the means, and though untrained the boy was powerful. Bellanaris was always proving to be different than he expected any mage to be.

Anders had been angry, but she cited that right now the circle was the only place that could train him properly. She could not trust him to the Dalish considering that they had not been able to curb Merril on their own. The two mages could always free him later, after he'd been trained. Fenris frowned at that, but he supposed it was true. Either way, it seemed to calm down the abomination, but it was a while before the two mages were laughing together again.

It had been nearly the same when after that, they'd been asked to round up some mages that were being transferred from one Circle to another. Anders had balked at the idea of it at first, but Thrask was a good man even for a templar. Bellanaris reasons that maybe she can talk them into coming back willingly. If she could not convince them to come back before the other templars got there, there was the very real possibility of a massacre . After all, she's got plans in the works, and Thrask isn't her only Templar contact. Anders has never understood that for the underground to work, you had to have a templar on the inside.

Most of the mages had already turned to blood magic, becoming grotesque things as demons claim them. Bellanaris does not hesitate to rid the world of these. However, there is a young man who warns her of the plotting from the others. She tells him about Thrask, and lets him go. He did not reek of blood magic, but the woman who tries to blackmail her and Anders for freedom does.

They will have problems out of her later, he knows, but does not say much. Even The Abomination is not sympathetic to her, citing blackmail and murder as bad ideas for the mages plight. Surprisingly, it is the Abomination Anders that mentions she will haunt them later. Bellanaris is hopeful, but that one woman bothers her. She'll ruin the plans if she isn't careful.

None of that prepared him for the look in Bellanaris's eyes when a magistrates son explained that he killed little elvhen girls for being too beautiful because demons told him to do it. The colour in her eyes shifted and changed, and he felt the anger to be almost a palpable thing. Both Anders and Bellanaris were furious that the man would fake something that truly plagued mages every day, and to kill children....He knew it bothered Bellanaris in a way the others did not know, thinking of any children she may have some day having to worry about a monster such as Kelder. He'll lose focus if he thinks of her with children for too long, visions of her as a mother dancing around in his head, and so shoves the thought away for the time being.

Fenris was going to suggest he could kill the man, since she was too beside herself with anger to do it, but she leaped forward with a dagger he hadn't known she'd had and sliced Kelders throat. Last words be damned, she'd said. He noticed she didn't talk much after that, too lost in her own thoughts to carry on with the others. She didn't stick around to play Wicked Grace with them all as they normally did in the evenings. It did not go unnoticed, he knew, when he left for the mansion soon after she retired to her room.

In a rare turn of events, Aveline relented and agreed to let Carver into the guard. Her conditions were that he not go on the deep roads mission, that he follow her instructions to the letter, and that he had to watch over Merril while the expedition was gone. He would be her protection from thugs and templars alike. Carver and Bellanaris had a sibling bonding moment, killing slavers in what would have been their cellar, and had invited Fenris and Aveline along for the fun of it. He and Carver spoke on occasion, and on one of those he had shared the finding of his namesake...a templar that had allowed their father to escape Kirkwall.

With each passing day, the expedition drew nearer. The Hawke Siblings had finally gathered the coin to fund it, but Bellanaris had not yet said who she'd planned to take with her. Varric had to go, but that left two other available spots open to fill. He found himself of two minds. The thought of being stuck in the deep roads with darkspawn made him anxious. However, the idea of staying behind and waiting... to hear that Bellanaris was stuck in the deep roads with darkspawn and no way to know if she was safe...that idea terrified him more than words could express. A week before the expedition was to set off, she called everyone to the Hanged Man.

Chapter Text

Chapter 3

Hawke's P.O.V.

"Carver, I know you joined the city guard to get out from under all the craziness that is my life, but I have to say it. I'm proud of you, little brother. There is no one I could think of more suited to help Aveline keep this city safe, and I know that you will keep Merril safe from...well... Merril." She said, laughing at that last part.

Everyone at the Hanged Man raised a glass to him, even though they weren't at the specific table that called for the toast. It's just something that was done there. She knew that she had embarrassed Carver a bit with the toast, but that didn't make it any less true. She was proud of him. He had taken to being a good guardsman much faster than either she or Aveline thought possible.

It had been good for him. Now at least she didn't have to worry about him joining the damned Templars while she was gone, or getting killed by darkspawn in the deep roads with her. He had talked of joining the templars should he not go on the expedition. Now that he felt the need to protect Merrill, he wouldn't risk it.

"Are you sure you don't want me to go with you, Hawke?" Anders asked, genuinely worried. "This is the deep roads we're talking about. As much as I hate them, you'll need someone who knows them."

"I don't know. I'd like for you to be there, but who would take over the clinic while you're gone?" She asked, unsure still.

"I have a few people who assist me. They don't have certain skills, mind you, but they should be fine if I go with you." He assured her.

He knew she worried for the refugees there almost as much as he did. Though her skills in healing were not as good as his, she helped him out in the clinic from time to time.

"Alright then, since you're sure." She smiled. "Sebastian? Isabella? You sure you don't want to come?"

"Well I do, Sweet thing, but you know what a challenge he's been." Isabella said, smiling coyly. Meanwhile everyone else is laughing, and Sebastian is blushing enough for all of them.

"I don't know why he's acting so shy. That voice of his could make a chantry sister sin...probably already has." Hawke said, unable to hold back her own laughter now. More blushing from Sebastian.

"I'm going. You will need a sword." Fenris states. It was not a request.

"Since you insist." She said, with a blush and a small grin. She had hoped that he would want to go, but she hadn't wanted to ask and make him feel obligated. Anders looks perturbed, but says nothing. "Varric is going because he has to, so that takes care of the handsome rogue slot." She said, and as a result Varric grins and raises his tankard to her.

"Then it's settled. We'll use the next few days to pack, and then we'll head out. If Bartrand comes back without us, or says there's been a cave in or something, just give it an extra few weeks before panicking. Getting separated in the deep roads is not unheard of, and cave ins do happen." Varric making the public service announcement type things. "Also, he's my brother, and a greedy bastard... so there's that."

"You should probably tell some of the others on the expedition too, just in case." Hawke warned.


 

Fenris's P.O.V.

It seemed pointless to hang around any longer, and so he had left to go pack his things. The others had thought to do the same, and so all but Varric were gone when he returned with a tote bag of supplies a couple of days later. Bellanaris was surprised to see him back so soon, but invited him to room with her till the expedition. There was a spare bed he could use, after all. It was not something he had thought he could accept before, but having spent so much time around her and the others brought new experiences to him.

Her room did not speak of much, though it was very Fereldan. A bed, a table with food and drink already waiting, a secondary cot that was laden with her packed bags. From her face, it was obvious she had forgotten about using the bed to store all her things on for the expedition. He thought nothing of it, as he was use to sleeping in the floor of the mansion anyway. Though she blushed, he just threw his bag along with the rest of them, and they sat down to dinner.

"So what do you plan on doing with your share of the coin from the expedition?" He asked, trying to make her feel less embarrassed.

She had already begun pouring the wine into glasses for them. He had been about to reach for it, but she tried often to keep him from routinely slipping into old practices, having explained that friends do things for each other and no one person does everything. It was endearing to him that she would do what she could to keep him from feeling like a slave. He had explained once just how easy it was to slip into old familiar habits. Since then, she did things to keep him from that. Their group of friends did things for each other, and thought nothing of it.

"Mother wants to get the Amell estate back. I think she expects me to behave like a high born lady, wear frilly dresses, put away all this fighting business, and find a husband straight away. Considering she ran off with an elvhen apostate, she can take that plan and shove it." She scowled, not noticing that he was doing the same, but then she smiled. "I will help her get the estate back, though. Maybe set up my own little shop or something. I could start a library, or begin an underground mage school." She was off in her own wistful thoughts when she looked up suddenly, and asked. "What about you?"

"I have not given it much thought. I did take your advice and clear out the bodies in the mansion, but it is still in a state of disrepair. Aveline can't keep the Seneschal at bay forever. Maybe I'll just buy the place, have it fixed up proper." He said, after some thought.

She smiled brightly at that. "So you found your reason to stay. I was wondering if you would."

"Bellanaris...Why have you never asked about my life before this?" He asked, suddenly. He had wondered why she never pressed him for that information.

"Even I know there are some things that are too painful, too raw to speak of till you want to." She answered, getting a bit more food from the platter. "I have my own secrets I guard too, you know."

"I know, but I..." He began, but Bellanaris cut him off.

"You have done terrible things, unforgivable in your eyes, too new to freedom to understand what they offered. It eats at you now that you know. It shouldn't." She said, her voice strange and far off. He notices how glossed over her eyes look as she continues. "You ran, because you could not continue to be as you were, not after they opened your eyes. You kept running, until you found a reason not to run anymore...and now you feel you do not deserve the chance."

She shook her head, groaning. "I hate it when that happens. What did I say this time?"

"You've done that before?" Fenris asked, still out of sorts. What she had said was not wrong, but he didn't know if he could repeat it. "That's a rare thing, even among mages, Bellanaris."

"Not often, but yes. Fenris...what did I say?" She was worried now, he could see, and so he repeated back to her what she had said. "I will ask if you want to talk of those things, but I do not expect you to answer till you decide it is something you want."

This was a revelation for him, though she had said it to him many times before, someone who wanted nothing from him except for what he was willing to give. Was this something all free men knew without questioning it? The others of their group of friends teased each other, the pranks they all have taken to playing, but he had noticed that they never breached a preset comfort zone and they didn't have to ask where the boundaries were. Bellanaris seemed better versed in it than most, this had always been her way, and she did have her own secrets to guard as she had said before. He could not help but want to know her secrets, and the more of his he revealed to her, the more she told him. However, she had always told him to only share what he felt comfortable with sharing. He decided it was time to see if he could step outside of that boundary.

"You know how Isabella asks if I ever 'glistened' for Danarius?" He asked, carefully. She nodded. "I did, but while Isabella no doubt has a wonderfully crafted story of mutual pleasure and satisfaction complete with pictures and a how to guide, I can assure you that that was not the case. Slaves are seen as property, after all, and...and so it does not matter if they want it or not...if they enjoy it or not..."

Her eyes were wide, and tears threatened to fall from them, but she did not ask him to tell any more than that. She continued their secret for a secret.

"I nearly fell to a demons offer once." She blurted out.

His eyes almost bulged out of his skull, but he knew what she was doing, and he repeated to himself. Only what I am willing to give. The idea that Bellanaris could fall to a demons offer seemed strangely far fetched to him, now that he knew her. It was no wonder she always said any mage could fall, and that it was best to have a plan in case of it. She knew what it was like to want to give in.

"You'll think it strange, but at first he was nice. I suppose I was lured in by that as much as anything he may have done with blood magic. He told me it was love, and I believed him. I was lathered in oils...prepared as it were, by the other slaves at his instruction. I could not have been more than fifteen when it began. At first he was kind, but over the years his treatment of me began to deteriorate until all I wanted was to die...I did not want it anymore...if I ever really did..., but as a slave I did not dare object...the consequences were worse." He said these things barely above a whisper.

"I was kidnapped by the first boy who told me he loved me." She stated, her voice almost as low as his. He wondered how this had to do with the almost demon possession, but did not ask. She would explain soon, he knew. "He saw me use magic to save the life of another, and knocked me out cold. Next thing I know, I'm in a basement, chained and hung up like a pig at the butchers. They had called for the Templars, but we were so far away...It had been the perfect place to hide, we thought...Few neighbors...templars practically nonexistent...They decided to take it upon themselves to 'punish' me for being a mage. They were convinced I had placed some kind of seduction spell on their son, so that I could marry into a respectable family. I was scared out of my mind. I didn't understand, I thought...He said he loved me...My father found me after about a week, but during that time I had to endure beatings, starvation, burns, dehydration, stabbings...all while having demons whisper into my ear that they could make everything disappear if I would just give myself over to them. If my father hadn't found me when he did, I wouldn't have lasted much longer. Bethany and Carver never realized how close I came to letting a demon in. Father was able to heal some of the damage, but he had to stay up with me at night for a while after that to help me fight of the demons and the nightmares."

"I've endured similar beatings. You have scars from this...may I see them?" He asks.

The expression he sees is of indecision, embarrassment, and the remembrance of things she wished to forget but never can. After a moment, without looking at him directly, she nods. He almost regrets asking, but she has already turned. Sitting backwards in her chair, she carefully removes her tunic. It appeared that her father had not been able to heal everything, and some of the lashes had gone too deep to be healed right. Before he could think better of it, he sat closer to her and went to touch the scars, pausing only for a moment to see if she would let him. Even when she nodded that it was okay, she jumped slightly.


 

Hawke's P.O.V.

She could feel his hands cautiously move their way over the scars on her back, her mind racing as she wonders just what he's thinking now. In truth she'd been hoping he would have seen through her horrible attempts at flirting by now, but there'd been no sign from him that he'd even noticed, and she'd let well enough alone. It was nice though, to sit there and lean into his touch just a little. For a moment she could pretend he wanted more than that. What shocked her was when he began kissing along each scar line. Hawke had never shown them to anyone, and had not expected such a reaction to them. It felt as if he were trying to kiss them away, as if that were actually possible. Of course, he would know what they felt like. She had had one instance, this had been his life.

"The first time I thought to run away...I had had to watch Danarius kill a child...and used his blood ….to impress fellow magisters at a party." He was continuing their sharing of secret for secret, or story for story, but each pause was due to his kissing along the scar lines.

"There are days I hate my magic, because of people like him. There are days where I wear my magic like another tunic, because of people like you." She admitted. This seemed to shock him, as he paused for a moment, waiting for her to explain. "People like him are the reason why many do not trust mages. Look at what he did with the power given to him. Yet you trust me, even though you have every reason...every life experience as proof enough...not to do so."

He goes back to running his fingers over her scars, and kissing each scar as he goes. "I killed the first group of people who ever tried to help me...Danarius had to leave me on Seheron...There wasn't room on the boat for me, and when the Qunari attacked the beach...I got him out of there before the Qunari could get to us both...Fog Warriors saved me, nursed me to health...When Danarius came back, they refused to give me up...He ordered me to kill them, and I did...It had all felt so inevitable...the illusion of freedom shattered...but afterwards I, I couldn't...I couldn't go back. So I ran...and kept running...hunters always after me every step of the way...for three years...till the day I met you...the day you gave me a reason not to run."

"I've been going through my memories, trying to find more things I've not told anyone, just so I can listen to you talk to me some more." Hawke admits, a bit sheepishly. "That voice of yours does things, you know. I probably shouldn't have said that out loud. I was planning to keep that delicious little secret to myself."

"I worry that if you go on this expedition without me, Bellanaris, I may never see you again. The deep roads are dangerous on the best of days, and trouble has a way of finding you without you having to chase after it. I am not doing this because of the bets that were placed, or because I know no other life than that of a slave. That must be what everyone thinks of me,..of this..." Fenris stated, though he had to grin at her statement, watching as she began putting her tunic back on. "I...have never tried to get this close to anyone. My life before did not allowed it. Even looking like I wanted something gave Danarius that much more power over me, and when I was running...there was only running. There has not been a time in my life where someone was gentle or kind without trying to use me...With you, it might be different, but I...I do not know how to be...I can not promise not to mess up in this...You are a beautiful and formidable woman, Bellanaris. Tell me, is there no one else who has your attentions?"

"Hiding from the world doesn't give a girl many opportunities to find someone. Finally having Kirkwall these last few years has been nice, but there's been no one I wanted. Maybe I'm being difficult, or just extraordinarily picky." She admitted, turning to face him once more. "I understand that Anders thinks he loves me, but it's really the idea of me...being a free mage that's never known Circle life...that he loves. He thinks I will become the leader of his mage rebellion wishes, and maybe one day that will have to be true. To him, I am a weapon for the cause first, and a person second. I can not love someone who views me that way."

He watches as she hunts through her things for night clothes, and steps behind the divider to change. "You are unlike anyone I have ever met, but I-"

"No more than you are willing to give, Fenris, it has always been that way for us since the first day I saw you surrounded in that clearing. Even what you have already said is a large admission on your part. Besides, we can decide all that when we have words for it, yes?" She suggested, thoughtfully. "I do play for keeps though, and I hate to share."

"I am an ex slave, with no past, and nothing to my name. I have nothing to give you. This does not bother you?" Fenris asked, hesitant and curious.

"No, that does not bother me. There's no reason why it should. I am a half-elf apostate refugee. Even if this expedition pans out, the only thing I'll ever truly have is my name and my magic. Does that bother you?" She asked, looking at him now. "It's never been a secret that you hate mages. I just don't want you to hate me too."

"Strangely, it does not bother me that you are a mage, Bellanaris. Your speech still rings in my ears sometimes, you know." He replied, with a small grin. "Person first, mage second. More than a tool or a weapon. You are the only mage who's said such to me, the only one I can think of to trust with the power given to you. Don't tell the abomination though. He'll start with his manifesto drafts, and then there'll be no living with him after that."

"What a strange pair we make." She mused, chuckling a bit to herself.

It dawned on her again about the bed, and she blushed, but Fenris opted to try to save her from it. "Do not worry about it, Bellanaris." He insisted. "I have slept on the floor before. It's usually where I sleep in the mansion anyway."

"You could...You could sleep in the same bed as me...if you want..." She offered, still blushing. "I promise not to try to steal all the covers."

"Tomorrow is going to be hectic for those who didn't really pack. We may be able to hide from them here." Fenris said, flashing a rare smile.

"Agreed." Hawke replied.


 

Fenris's P.O.V.

A little disoriented when he wakes up, Fenris takes a moment to look at his surroundings. It takes seeing her hair to remember that he is not in the mansion, he is in the Hanged Man...the best place in the Hanged Man that has ever existed, if his opinion mattered at all. His arms are wrapped around Bellanaris in an almost protective embrace, which surprises him but explains where the extra warmth was coming from. He did not think he would take to sleeping in the same bed as someone else so well. Come to think of it, he's just had the best nights sleep he can ever recall to memory. True to her word, she did not steal the covers...She had kicked them all to the bottom of the bed. Fenris could not help but chuckle a little at this, thinking it was a good thing she was so warm.

Grinning to himself, he takes the opportunity to smell her hair. She smells like dried fruits, spices, and honey. He has never had the chance to hold her like this, and relishes it. Still asleep, she snuggles into him, and he gets a mischievous idea. Elf ears are sensitive to touch. He can only imagine that hers are the same. He wonders what it would be like to touch them, and decides he is tired of wondering things. She has always viewed him as a free man first. Free men did not sit, and wait, and wonder; they acted.

Casually, he brushes his fingertips across one of her ears. Sleepily, she begins making a pleasant humming noise. It's not difficult to nuzzle her ear, or nibble on it slightly, leaving his hands to roam to other places. She was waking up slowly, he knew this by the way she began to move slightly or the humming sounds she made turned into soft moans. The hand that came up to play with his ear had him back away, and opening his own eyes in mild shock.

"You look like a kid caught with their hands in the cookie jar." She said, with a grin.

"I admit I may have let my curiosity get the better of me." He admitted, sheepishly, his voice a bit uneven.

"Hiding as I have been, I've never had anyone touch my ears. I didn't know they could feel like that." She exclaimed.

"How much do you think we can get away with before someone tries to interrupt?" Fenris asked, tilting her face up. Was it really possible that she wanted him every way he wanted her?

"Only one way to find out I suppose." She replied, a bit breathless, unable to hold back a smile of her own.

The way she looked at him made him pause to take the moment in, and his breath caught in his throat. She looks at him with emotions that he still can not put into words, but he recognizes that he feels them just as she does. That feeling of instant belonging had not left him, and the closer he is to her, the stronger the feeling becomes. Through touch he hopes to convey what he feels, hopes that she will understand. She waits for him to choose, he knows. There were times when that had made him angry before, as if she thought he were fragile, but he has come to know that she simply refuses to take the choice from him and it warms his heart now more than ever.

As he kisses her, he tastes the wine they'd shared the night before. It only caused to heighten the natural taste of her. She reacts to everything he does first, before trying it on him herself for most things. It was something he appreciated more than she could know. Her nipples seemed to be even more sensitive than his ears if such a thing were possible, and he delights in teasing her through the fabric of her pajamas.

He discovers she likes to dig her fingernails in slightly when he does something she finds pleasurable. It is not enough to truly hurt him, and he finds himself enjoying it. The sounds she makes would more than make up for any discomfort. Though she loves the slight tug he gave her hair when he moves to kiss along her neck, he asks that she not pull his. She does not ask why, instantly understanding. He is unable to stop the quick intake of breath when he realizes she has begun to trace the lyrium lines on his skin.

Her touch is different than anything he'd ever felt before this moment. It was soothing, without a trace of pain to be found. She does not tell him he was weak, or disgusting because of the markings on his skin. Instead, she looks up at him with a kind of reverence that showed in how her hands moved on him. Fenris leans back, looking at her in confusion. He finds he enjoys her tracing the lines on him, enjoys the feeling of her touch, but can not fathom why she looks at him that way. He'd never been regarded as such before, and marvels at how this strong and powerful woman regards him so now.

"Is this not okay?" She asks, worried she has overstepped a boundary, pulling her hand back slightly. "It's just that...how strong you must have had to be...to have endured this...You're beautiful, did you know that? Each scar, every pain, tells a story words can't."

He takes her hand, and places it back on his chest, understanding now. "It's alright, Bellanaris."

She begins casting the healing spell as she runs her hands across the lines of lyrium, nothing as strong as before, but it makes him feel as if she is a life line he would be a fool to let go of and he can not make himself resent her use of magic on him. It is soothing, comforting. Even now she seeks to take his pain away. He has already decided that wherever this woman were to go, he would follow. While one of her hands still traces the lyrium lines on his chest, the other moves ever so slowly to the very obvious bulge his trousers are unable to hide.

His breath hitches, even as they continue to explore each other, as she tentatively moves her hand along his length in an unhurried rhythm. Her hand, Maker's Breath, he'd had no idea it could feel this way. He almost looses himself in the feel of her actions alone, unable to hold back a moan of his own at the pleasure of it. For a moment, all he can do is grip her shoulder as he slowly moves himself with her touch. He's never craved anothers touch as much as he wants hers now.

Every experience she gives him is new, having never had someone touch him in a way that caused this desire in him. Before her, it had only ever been blood magic and pain. She is new, and different, and everything he's ever wanted but never allowed himself to have. A part of him is afraid that he will one day react as he had when Danarius had found him with the Fog Warriors, but he can not imagine killing her. He will not allow his mind to travel darker paths, not right now.

She is intent on giving him new memories to combat the hurt the old ones leave behind. He will not deny her this, not when it's everything he's ever wanted as a free man. Deciding to show her the same pleasures she's giving him, one of his hands slowly traces up her leg. It wasn't until his hand reaches her hip that he realizes she wasn't wearing any smalls. It seems an injustice that he hadn't noticed this till now. His thumb lightly circulates that little bundle of nerves, she arches into him reflexively, and she momentarily stops moving altogether caught up in the sensation as he had been.

"Have you...?" He tried to find a way to ask, stopping his ministrations.

Was she a virgin? Would he hurt her? Maker, he didn't want to hurt her. He never wanted her to feel the things that had been done to him without care. No one should have to go through that. She deserved to find the happiness she always spoke of, but it had never dawned on him till this very moment that she had subtly been telling him that he deserved these things too. He finds that he wants them, more than he ever realized he could, and he wants them with her.

"Once, way too damn long ago, before the day he knocked me out." She answered, not wanting to think about that again. "Are you sure? We don't have to."

"What would you have me do to you?" He asked, his voice full of mischief and suddenly much lower than before, as he nipped at her ear again.

Fenris was not a fool. He knew that was an octave she could not resist. He'd noticed her small attempts at flirting, but hadn't known how to respond to them except to chuckle awkwardly. They had been another new memory she had given him in place of older ones. It had taken him longer than he now thought it should have to realize she flirted with him much differently than her playful teasing of the others, that she found reasons to include him in things more often than not.

Also there was the way she reacted to the way he simply said something, like his voice was liquid desire. She'd get this far off happy look on her face even when he would tease her about something silly she'd done. Now that he thought about it, he could probably get her to do anything he wanted...so long as he used that octave to do it. As it was, he was half tempted to try it.

"Fenris, I make decisions all day. I want you to tell me what you want." She said, to him. "Just ask me if you think it's something I won't try."

Well, he wasn't expecting that. For a moment, he just laid there staring into her eyes. He had honestly never considered being the dominant in bed. The opportunity had never presented itself in his old life, and here Bellanaris was just handing it to him in this one. First the idea alarmed him that she would want that, but as he thought about it, he realized what she meant. She was not asking him to do to her what had been done to him. No, she was telling him she wanted him to tell her what he wanted. Without warning, he was trying to touch everything all at once, kiss everywhere at once, something she began to cling to with fervor.

"You should tell me to stop." He warned, as he worked to remove her night clothes.

"Don't want to." She barely got out, hurriedly taking off her nightgown as it was clearly the only way to save it from being shredded.

He was looking at them like he was about to try that, but all that frenzy disappeared the second her nightgown was no longer an obstacle, and his eyes widened at his prize. Just the sight of her was enough for him to start thinking maybe the Maker really does exist. If there was ever divinity in the world, there was a very real possibility that she was in front of him right now, naked. The way his eyes roam over her body causes her to blush, he knows, but she does not shy from him even when he begins nibbling on her neck again.

"Tell me to stop, or you and your magic will belong to me now, Bellanaris. I will have taken your freedom from you, not the bloody templars." He growled, soft and possessive.

She did not tell him to stop. Instead, she began working on the ties to get him out of the trousers he'd slept in. She moaned for him, begged for him as he left a trail of kisses and nips anywhere within reach, having slipped into speaking broken phrases in elvhen. A language he had never cared for suddenly sounded like the most beautiful music in all of Thedas. He stopped just long enough to toss his trousers somewhere across the room, and then suddenly his hands had to be everywhere at once.

He traced the shell of her ear, felt her shiver as he began nibbling a trail along her neck, teeth nipping playfully at her collar bone. She arched for him as he continued the trail of nips and kisses along her breast, moaning while he teased her nipple with his tongue. Fenris could not help but use the new angle to run a hand over her backside and give a light squeeze. Makers breath, he thinks, there's never been a finer ass in all of Thedas.

"Do you have any idea how much you've teased me?" He growled, his voice husky and forceful. "How maddening it has been to watch as you flirt with the others?"

"Ir' Abelas, Fenris." She answered, meekly.

"Is that how you refer to your Master?" He asked, biting her nipple just a tad harder than he been.

"Ir' Abelas, Taraes." She gasped, correcting herself. I'm sorry, Master

"Good girl." He said, sternly but with a smile, returning to kissing on her neck while caressing the breast he had neglected earlier. Hearing her say what must have been the word for Master in elvhen almost undid him. "You will do what I say, when I say it. Is that understood?"

" Vin, Taraes." Yes, Master Bellanaris moaned, clawing at the bed now. Yes, Master

"Good." He replied, curtly, and laid down flat next to her. "I want you to service me, my little mage."

"What?" She asked, shocked enough to begin speaking in Trade again. Andraste's ass, her blushing was a turn on for him, sexy and adorable all at once.

"I believe I gave you an order." He stated,an eyebrow raised, his voice only revealing the faintest sounds of amusement. "Are you trying to disobey me?"

"No, Master...it's just..." Her blush got a bit darker, as she tried to admit this out loud, and even so her voice was low. "I've never done that before."

"Then you shall learn. Now, I believe I gave you an order." He said, trying to keep his face stern.

It wasn't without difficulty. After all, he had carefully constructed fantasies of this woman that he'd never dared to act upon. He'd been too afraid that he'd end up treating her as they had treated him, or that she would be disgusted with the things that he found himself wanting. However, she'd asked, and he found himself unable to keep his answers to himself. He'd told her what he wanted, with all the false confidence he could muster, hoping she wouldn't see through it to how nervous he really was. Sweet Andraste's Bouncing Tits, she could call him Master in any language she wanted to as long as he could make her blush like that.


 

Hawke's P.O.V.

Sweet Andraste's Great Flaming Ass! When she told him that she wanted him to tell her what to do, she hadn't realized he'd take it so literally. Quite frankly, it was even more of a turn on than she thought it'd be. She never thought he'd want her to call him Master, but damn it if it didn't make her want him more, the way he seemed to melt every time she said it. And now he wanted her to...to...Well, she'd better get to it. It was an order after all.

She scooted down to get better access, kissing and licking anything within reach as she went, resting in between his own legs to grab his hips for leverage. A mischievous idea ran through her mind. He wanted a little mage, then a little mage he would get. Every so often, she would send a comforting warmth through her hands as she continued to trace the lyrium lines on the lower part of his stomach. Maker, the size of him...

She knew her inexperience coloured her idea of things, but she wasn't sure how it all was suppose to fit! Thank the Maker she'd stayed up late nights talking with Isabella about all kinds of sex things. She didn't think she'd know what to do otherwise. Any small amounts of magic she used were more spur of the moment ideas than anything else. Not that he seemed to mind, if his pleasure filled moans were any indication.

This didn't seem the sort of activity one just attacked without preparations, so she began kissing along the length of him and flicking her tongue every little bit, sending the tiniest amounts of electricity along as she went. His hips jerked up slightly when her tongue playfully licked around the tip of him. She began taking him in a little bit at a time first, bobbing her head up and down she took more of him in as she went. It wasn't long until she had him in her mouth entirely, sucking and massaging him with her tongue. Heat pooled in her lower stomach, as she went about her 'assigned' task. All those sounds he was making sent shivers through her, his voice sounding like sin on holiday.

"Maker's breath, Bellanaris…I had no idea…it could feel like this…so good…Are you…sure you haven't…done this before, my little mage?" His voice was ragged, his breathing uneven, but stern as he ran his fingers through her hair. "You are…amazing. I may have to…reward you."

She hummed around him in response, causing him buck and reflexively grab a fist full of her hair. He seemed to like that well enough, she thought. Playfully, she did that again. It caused him to thrust slightly, and moan with pleasure, but then he groaned as he pulled her away from him. She couldn't help the moan of disappointment that escaped her lips, and she looked to him in confusion.

"Did I do something wrong?" She asked, her eyes wide, tentatively.

"No, Bellanaris. You did nothing wrong. I just do not want us to finish this that way, though you are going to have to save that trick for later, my little mage." He said, gruffly, looking like he had very little control left. "Crawl back up here, and lay on your back." She did as she was told. "You will not touch me for the moment. Do so, and we end things unfinished as your punishment. You are not allowed to come till I say, is that understood?"

She couldn't trust herself to speak, and nodded. He seemed to understand, setting about rubbing the pearl of nerves and then slides a finger in and out of her. Well this is a new torture, Hawke thinks, as she tries desperately not to touch him and he slides yet another finger in, no one had ever mentioned that it felt this good! Just how was she supposed to manage not touching him now? She grabs anything else she can, clutching at the sheets of the bed wildly.

Damn him! He didn't warn me it'd be this difficult! It didn't help matters that he kept getting closer to her, as if he were daring her to disobey. At this point, she could swear she felt his breath on her ear. She had slipped back into speaking in elvhen again, half moaning broken sentences.

"You've been such a good girl, my little mage." He whispers in her ear. "You are now free to touch me."

"Ma seranas, Taraes." Thank you, master. She whimpered.

"Were you wanting a different reward?" He asked, knowing what she wanted. "Perhaps you'd like to come for me?"

"Vin, Taraes." Yes, Master. She pleaded, while she clung to his neck.

"Then do it. Come for me, Bellanaris." He whispered, seductively, as he started nibbling on one of her ears.


 

Fenris P.O.V.

It hit her hard, washing over her in waves as she praised his name to the Maker. He let up, only when she relaxed against him, removing his fingers and positioning himself just over her. For a moment, he could not help but stare at this beautiful woman that trusted him so much. Her startlingly blue eyes stared up at him filled with lust, love, and adoration. At that moment, he knew, she really was his.

There is magic all around him now, her magic, and it comforts him like nothing else ever has. This magic is wholly and completely her, and she was trusting it to him. If he had his way about it, he would be the only one to see this side of her. She was already begging him, her arms wrapped around his neck, speaking loving words in elvhen. He did not need to understand the words to hear their meaning.

He wasted no time giving in to her request, and entered her with one quick thrust. They both can't help but to moan in enjoyment at the physical contact, keeping still for just a moment. Maker, she was…There was no place in Thedas that made him feel like he belonged there quite the way she did. It was almost too much, how tight she was, and he had to take a moment just to make sure he wouldn't lose control before he begins a slow pace he will not be able to keep up for long. She clings to him as if she were afraid they would disappear if she let go. He could feel her quivering beneath him, knew that neither of them would last for much longer.

"Stop." He ordered, and she stilled in an instant as she tried to stifle a groan of displeasure.

"Your magic is now mine." He said, softly and demanding at the same time, leaving no room for debate as he thrust deeply once and then stopped.

"Vin, Taeraesi. Sal." Yes, Messere. Again. She mewled happily, trying to move her hands along his back. He took them and pinned them both just above her head.

"Your body is now mine." He continued, as he thrust deeply only once, her signal to answer.

"Vin, Taeraesi. Sal!" She practically moaned, eyes rolling back. He'd hit the sweet spot. The look on her face was one of pure ecstasy and abandonment to it.

"You are to give yourself to no other, only for me." He ordered, and began thrusting deeply like before, but this time he did not have the will to stop. She was already mewling Vin, Taeraesi. Sal...Sal...Sal... "Bellanaris...I need...I need...."

"Ir'm nar, Fenris...Ir 'nar..." It's yours, Fenris. I am yours. But she was arching again, and her eyes were no longer in full view.

"Let me see...I want to see your eyes when you come for me, Bellanaris." He asked, his voice ragged. She tried not to twist out of his view, but her eyes told him she would need his help, so he placed his hands around her head in an effort to keep her looking up at him...and he never stopped his rhythm. He'd found the perfect angle to hit that sweet spot every time. Smiling down at her, he whispered. "Come for me, Bellanaris. Let me see."

When she did, he could swear it was like looking into the ocean during a storm. So many colours, so many emotions, all vying for attention at once. It's the most beautiful thing he's ever witnessed. She moves with him as her climax hits her, unable to hide her eyes from him, but it is he who can not hold her gaze when his own hits him. He can only rest his forehead against her own, eyes closed, whispering her name as if it is a prayer meant for Andraste herself.

A/N: Any Elvhen that I use is a mix of Dragon Age website stuff, and something called Project Elvhen on the Website Archives of our own. Shout out to them for going all out with that thing. It's beautiful.

Chapter Text

Chapter 4

Hawke's P.O.V.

Even after he removes himself from inside her, they could not be parted for long. The two fall into an embrace, and stay there, each caress a soft comfort. For how long they stay that way, she does not know. Time has ceased to hold meaning, or maybe it had stopped just for them. She has never felt safer than this, with his arms wrapped around her, and tells him so. He seems shocked to hear it, no doubt thinking of the many deaths he has been responsible for, just how many real beating hearts he has held in his hands.

At the same time she sees an overwhelming sense of joy in his face. She can see it in his eyes now that he loves her already, but this is a man for whom words have never come easily and for whom everything was new. The way his hands move along her body, the way his eyes gaze into her own, say everything he is not yet able. She is overjoyed he feels safe enough to share his feelings with her even in this way. It is one of the reasons she feels so safe in his arms. So whenever it looked like he could not find the words he wanted, she would give little kisses, and the tension in him would ease.

"Bellanaris...there is something I want to ask." Fenris says, after a while. "There are words I wish to say, you deserve them and more...and yet I...Will you be patient with me...till I can say them?"

"You deserve them too, Fenris, but I will wait until you are comfortable enough to say them before I say them back to you." She said, and smiled brightly, snuggling into him more as he pulls her in just a bit tighter. "Olia shar na eisi sholol sul'ema."

"What does that mean?" He asked, kissing her forehead.

"Only what you are willing to give." She sighs, pleasantly.

"Something you said caught my attention, a word you repeated many times...quite happily, I might add. Sal. What does it mean?" He asked, curious. He can see the blush cross her face.

She smiles, and whispers. "In this case? Again."

"And what does Ir 'nar mean?" He asked, a huge grin on his face now.

She could not help but look into those deep forest green eyes, as she replies. "I am yours."

Just then, someones stomach growls and breaks up the intensity of the romantic moment. Both begin laughing instantly, but neither will admit to owning the offending stomach growl.

"I suppose that means we need to try to venture out of the room and join civilization...if only to get more food, and come back." Fenris states, regrettably.

"Do we have to?" Hawke asks, with a pout. "This is the best place in the Hanged Man right now. I'd hate to just leave it." She rotates her hips against him as proof of her argument.

"Mmmhmm...I have to agree with you there, but somehow, I think it will wait for us...Bellanaris, did I hurt you? I was afraid maybe I was too harsh,...too forceful with you." Fenris said, as he began trying to tell her of his fears, which she quickly silenced with a kiss.

"Fenris, no, you did not hurt me. I enjoyed everything, and I do mean everything." She said, sealing it with another kiss. "I dare say I may never want to make another decision in the bedroom again."

"But Bellanaris...you've not seen yourself yet." Fenris replied, regretful. "I've left marks."

"Oh my...I rather like that one." She said, gingerly touching a bite mark on her shoulder. "If it makes you feel better, I've left one on you too."

"What?" Fenris asked, not believing her but there it is on his shoulder as well, and then smirks.

"I still can't believe you let me order you around like that, that you were willing to call me Master." He said, after a while, blushing all the way up to his ears.

"Well, I wasn't expecting you to take my remark quite so...literally, but I have to say...The results were well worth it." She said, with a pleasing smile as she thought back to their previous activities.

"Just so you know, there are many other fantasies I have of you." He says with a small grin. "Visu pulchra sis, mulier."

"Ir 'nar." She says soothingly. "Now, let's go get food. I want to see if we really can make it back here before anyone notices we're alive, and then you can tell me the meaning of what you've just said to me."

"It means, You are a beautiful sight, woman." He replies, with a small grin, before leaning in for a kiss.

Clothes seem like such a bother at this point, and they almost don't even make it to them, but neither wants to walk throughout The Hanged Man naked. Though there were several 'pauses' before they were actually able to make it to the door of the room. They leave the room once fully dress, and make their way to Coriff to see about food. Fenris chuckles a bit as he hears her grumbling about food puns she's used that no one finds funny.

_

Neither of them seem to notice Varric standing at the door to his room, eyebrows raised to his hairline as he watches them, not sure who's winning the bet now. He's not about to disturb them to find out either, but his mind is already racing with new material for his stories. There are several things he sees in quick succession, almost as if it's all trying to hit him at one time. The two are lost in each other with gentle caresses, small kisses, sighs, and smiles. He has to do a double take to make sure he's seeing things right.

Broody is smiling, actually full blown face splitting ear to ear smiling! This is a day that needs to be marked down on the calendar for events no one ever thought would happen. Even as Varric stares straight at it, he's not sure he's seeing things right. He may need to find the elf a new nickname if this keeps up. As it is, it looks like the elf's face might crack apart with that grin he's wearing.

Fenris looks at Wolf like she's the only light in the room, and Varric can't blame him. That woman is a force of nature in her own right. Neither of them had ever been much in the way of public displays of affection, but Varric does not miss the way Fenris caresses her face or that Wolf gently leans into the touch as if on instinct. That's another thing he can't seem to believe, even as he's seeing it with his own eyes. They can't seem to stop touching!

Every few feet, there seems to be some kind of pause that results in more kissing or a caress of some kind. Wolf would trip over one of the floorboards that Coriff needs to get fixed, and Fenris would to catch her with one arm around her waist and another holding her hand. She would smile at him, and place a small kiss on his lips. This would usually result in the pauses Varric is witnessing, as it does not look like the elf can resist her, or that she could resist the elf. At one point, Fenris gets a mischievous glint in his eyes, and really does pin her up against the wall, arms above her head as he holds her hands in one of his own...If only to kiss her more deeply, as he caresses places on her Varric pretends she doesn't have, before they break apart with difficulty and begin walking again. Isabella would have approved.

To be honest, Varric has never seen his best friend like this with anyone. She's softly smiling, looking completely love-struck as the two slowly make their way. Despite all her mischievous teasing and scheming with Isabella, Wolf has always been very reserved. The entire party could walk in and see them like that, which was probably about to happen anyway, and he doubt the two would even notice. He smiled, and went back to his table to prepare for the game.

-

Hawke is surprised to find that it is not breakfast in fact, but past noon and going well into evening. That would explain, now that she thinks about it, why everyone is sort of shuffling in right at that moment. Varric always hosted Wicked Grace nights. No one seems to really see them or says a word to them as each one heads back to Varric's room for Wicked Grace. The couple get their food, and make their own way back to Varric's palatial suite. Sadly, Hawke's room would just have to wait. Maybe they would have been more successful if only one of them had gone for food, but the thought of being parted at the moment seemed impossible to fathom.

The two are still kind of lost in their own world, even as they sit amongst their friends. Fenris has an arm wrapped around her possessively. Her legs rest over one of his own, as she holds the plate for them to pick their food from, as somehow they are able to fit onto the same chair. She rests her head on his shoulder, which is thankfully spikeless at the moment as he did not feel the need to wear his armour simply to go find food. If the others notice a change in her demeanor, they do not say so, though Varric is not subtle in his gaze.

Though she and Fenris have been unable to hide their smiles, after a while she gets a bit irritated, and looks to Varric with a sharp eye, and says. "Din ei tuav, Durgen'len." Not a word, dwarf.

"I wasn't gonna say anything, Wolf." Varric replies, raising his hands in mock surrender. He has no idea what she said, but the tone was clear enough. Both Merrill and Fenris choke on their food.

"Thu melana ema na harthem' em?" Merrill asked, looking up in shock. How long have you understood me?

"Eilar. Ahnsul? Ahn air ga'lin brithal eir? Ahnas del?" Hawke replies, thinking nothing of it, not realizing she has slipped into the language her father taught her. Always. Why? What is everyone looking at? What's wrong?

"Bellanaris, you aren't speaking in Trade. You are speaking Elvhen." Fenris whispered, in her ear. As he said that, Hawke began to look a little green, her breathing became erratic, eyes darting to check the exits.

"Hawke...Why did you never tell me? I thought I was all alone." Merrill asked, softly. "I know I live in the alienage, but still."

"You've seen Carver, Merrill, how human he looks. I'm only half. I've hidden all my life, I just never thought to stop." Hawke replied, still unsure how long it would be before she bolted from the room. Fenris gently took one of her hands, and he was currently rubbing along her spine with his other one. It visibly relaxed her. When she looks to him, it is with gratitude as she says. "Na'ran ena'ansal."

"I don't know what that means, Bellanaris." He said, with a playful grin.

"She said 'You are a blessing'." Merril translated, and then becomes instantly happy. "Oh, that's sweet. Does this mean I win?"

"Don't distract us yet, Merrill, dear. Hawke, why didn't you tell us?" Aveline asked, actually looking hurt.

"I...I just...I've always been hiding. It's become second nature. Gamlen is family, and he...Well, you've met him...It was just easier to hide, and it felt too late to un-hide when I realized I didn't need to anymore." Hawke tried to explain. Her friend eased up a bit, but Anders stared at her more intently now.

"I don't understand, it's not like you...Oh...Oh...." Anders had been about to say it's not like you look elvhen, but then he remembered what Varric said about everyone having a thing for her legs, and then he noticed her eyes were just a little bit bigger than normal, (How had he never noticed that before? Was this why she hardly ever let him heal her?) and then she tucked her hair behind her ears.

"You were saying?" She asked, before ruffling her hair back over her ears.

"Hawke, you and Carver are a part of our weird little makeshift family. Makers balls, you're practically our founders." Varric said. "Whatever secrets you have, are yours until your ready to share them. It's always been that way for us."

"Olia...shar na...eisi sholol...sul'ema." Fenris said to her, a reminder, hoping he'd said that right.

"Only what you are willing to give." Merril translated, before anyone could ask. "So, do I win?"

"It's Isabella win right now, though I have a condition to my bet that may take a while." Hawke said, with a smile, after a moment of thought. "I'm glad I didn't bet against myself."

"So, are we into sharing?" Isabella asks, sweetly.

"No." Both Fenris and Hawke state in unison.

"Well, double damn. Do I get to at least hear details?" Isabella asked, pretending to pout now.

"You were right about the electricity trick. It does wonders." Hawke says, grinning mischievously. Fenris silently nods in agreement, a slight grin on his face.

"What about the heated hands thing you were doing?" Fenris asked, looking a little embarrassed but playing along with her mischievousness. "I was quite impressed with that one."

"Now you're just being mean to me." Isabella huffs, but her smile says she isn't angry about it. "Can you at least tell me the colour of Fenris's small clothes? We have a bet going on those too."

"Where was I when that bet was placed? Now, I can see telling you what Varric's chest hair feels like, should I ever be lucky enough to touch it, but I don't know if I should be giving out such privileged information as the colour of Fenris's small clothes." Hawke replied, with a grin, thinking that she was glad he didn't actually wear any. Fenris could only blush slightly in embarrassment, but it had not been the first time Isabella guessed the colour of his smalls in public. It was, however, the first time anyone else could actually tell her what she wanted to know.

"Come on, let's play some Wicked Grace. I need to earn back some of the money I lost betting on Wolf's love life." Varric announced.


 

The rest of the night passed by with little to no incident. Carver's jaw hit the floor when he got there, realizing his sister was speaking in elvhen around their group of friends. He was like her in that he'd simply never thought to say anything to them. Gamlen's constant degrading behavior was another reason he had kept it to himself, but he should have known that this group would be different. Carver shared the latest Barkspawn verses the Guards stories, and had everyone laughing by the time he'd decided to stick around and play a few hands.

He eyed Fenris suspiciously, when he realized the next thing that had his jaw hit the floor. In all honesty, Carver never thought his sister would venture out to find someone after the mess that happened before. She had always been especially cautious after that. Playfully teasing her friends had been something new for her, but that was as far as she had ever taken her flirtatious behavior. It was good just to see his sister happy.

However it was also strange that Fenris actually knew how to smile instead of brood. He wasn't sure what his protective brotherly instincts were suppose to do about this. He wanted to see her happy, but he needed to make sure she'd never be hurt like before. It was an interesting development when he was told that Isabella held the lead, though Carvers and Fenris's bets still held, and that his sister's bet was the long con kind.

"Fenris, do you mind if I have a word with you? It's important." Carver asked, trying to appear as calm as possible.

"Outside then?" Fenris asked, curious.

"If you don't mind, yes." Carver stated, trying to ignore his sister's curious gaze. She had stood up to let Fenris up out of the chair, and he made his way to the door.

"Carver?" She asked, but he knew what her tone meant. Please be careful, I like this one.

"I just have some questions about training exercises, ideas I want to run by Aveline after I've worked them out with Fenris." Carver stated, which was only partially true. She didn't look like she trusted it, but she let it slide.

"Bellanaris, it will be fine." Fenris supplied, easing her tensions, and left when she nodded. Once they were outside of the Hanged Man, he said. "Alright, we have about 5 minutes before one of them tries overhearing why you really wanted to talk to me. So, start with the important stuff, and we'll end with the training thing."

Carver had to laugh at that, but he calmed down, and got down to business. "What I have to say won't take very long. Do you know what happened with her last relationship?"

Fenris nodded. "I am uncertain if she told me everything, but she told me enough...what she felt comfortable sharing. I've seen the scars."

"Then you understand just how much she trusts you. Break that trust, and I'll break your legs. Got that? I don't get the chance to do the whole protective brother thing very often, but I won't see her hurt like that again. It took too long to get her back to herself, and Father isn't here this time." Carver explained.

"Carver, I can not promise that I won't hurt her. This is very…new…for me. The only thing I can promise is that I will not physically hurt her." Fenris replied.

Carver made a disapproving noise, but said. "I suppose that's more honest than 'I swear I'll never hurt her'. One more thing, keep her safe while you lot are down in the deep roads. I don't think you realize yet just how reckless my sister can get."

"That I can promise easily." Fenris agreed. "Now, about that training thing."

"Now, I'm not taking about the whole glowing bit, but I was thinking maybe you could help train some of the guard in some of your sword fighting techniques, act as an opponent, things like that. Barkspawn is great, but I think the guards could use a bit of a change up every once in a while." Carver said, becoming very business like, wondering just where the others were trying to listen in from.

"It is something I will have to consider. I can promise nothing else." Fenris replied, matter of fact. "You should talk to Aveline before we get back though."

"Alright then, let's get back before Isabella tries to ply Sister with enough ale to get her to give up the colour of your smalls." Carver said, with a sigh, but the look on Fenris's face had him laughing outright. "She's already asked her, hasn't she?"


 

Fenris P.O.V.

Once back inside, Fenris sat in a previously empty chair. Isabella kept trying to get Bellanaris to describe how she performed the electricity trick, and just what were the colour of Fenris's small clothes, though Fenris wasn't sure if that was meant to annoy him or Anders. It was certainly doing both, though he was having a difficult time being annoyed with Isabella when Bellanaris began caressing small patterns over his heart. It felt like she was weaving herself into his heart, knowing that he had offered it to her without words. Anders is definitely more annoyed than him, and could not stop glaring at the two of them, which Fenris was selfish enough to take a small amount of pleasure in. He counts himself lucky to be the one she wanted.

Bellanaris just ignored the glaring from Anders, and the questions about small clothes from Isabella, fully immersed in a conversation with Merril in elvhen. Aveline couldn't be happier to be wrong about her bet, and wished them both the best of luck. At which time, Sebastian walks in and is instantly filled in on Bellanaris being a half elf, and taken with Fenris. The tevinter elf is not sure whether the look that crosses the Chantry brothers face is relief or regret.

"Don't worry, Sebastian. Isabella will still try and tempt you." Bellanaris stated, looking to her friend.

"I think he was interested in the package deal of the two of us on him, sweet thing, but since you aren't into sharing..." Isabella said, letting her sentence trail off. Sebastian is already blushing by this point.

"How long have you been trying at him?" Fenris suddenly asked, shocking everyone.

"A few months, maybe? Not long before Hawke brought you in here." Isabella asked, suddenly suspicious. "Why?"

"It's just...to have so many under your belt...you haven't even managed to get him out of his armour yet, let alone his smalls. Why is it you don't guess the colour of his smalls anyway, or do you just assume they're white like his armour?" Fenris noted, sending Bellanaris into fits of giggles. "I thought his past was filled with sin and debauchery. I'm actually surprised you didn't try and get Anders to do the electricity thing on him just to see..."

At that precise moment, Merrill pops in out of nowhere and stands just behind Sebastian. Before anyone can warn him or ask what she's doing, she charges her fingers with just a touch of electricity and slowly runs them up Sebastian's jawline and along his ears. The chantry brother is unable to stop himself from a small moan, before sitting down suspiciously quick like while sporting the deepest blush anyone has ever seen on him. Carver looks completely crest fallen, before Merrill turns right around and does the same thing to him. She goes back and sits in her seat without another word.

"Merrill, where did that come from? You could have helped us tease him mercilessly!" Isabella said, incredulously.

"But I wouldn't have teased him. I'd give him anything he asked for." Merrill says, sweetly, and goes back to looking at her cards.

"Now the only question is which him is Merrill talking about? Sebastian, Carver, or both? Do we have a bet on that?" Hawke asks, causing both men to blush furiously.


 

Hawke's P.O.V.

Waking up next to Fenris that morning only reaffirmed that the last couple of days had not been a dream. She looked up at him sleepily, realizing that he was already awake and gazing at her. He offered her a warm smile, something she is glad to see more of, and she could only return it. She kissed along his collar bone as a sleepy good morning to him. It was a sentiment he began to share, and the two began kissing each other softly. She could read in his touch everything he wished to say in words, and tried to respond in kind.

Being in his arms every morning was going to become addicting. Having someone who wanted to make love to you every morning was not a bad way to spend a life, even if she never knew the life her mother was born into. Each kiss they shared became more heated, more passionate, and soon the clothes were gone again. She vaguely wondered why they even bothered wearing them. He was only just beginning to move inside her when a very loud kind of panicked knocking began emanating from the door. This was not what either of them wanted right now.

"Maybe, they'll go away." Fenris whispered, and kissed her forehead. To the offending knocker, he called out. "I suggest you leave…now."

"Hawke? Are you in there? Hawke! I stayed up all night working on the Manife-"

"Don't you dare open that door!" Hawke shouted, angrily, though it didn't stop Anders from trying to do just that. "Maker help you, if you barge in here just so you can pretend to show me the newest copy of the manifesto, I will set it on fire and shove it up your ass! Damn it, Anders!" It's at this point the door opens, and only Fenris's quick reflexes at pulling the covers over them save them from being completely nude. Anders froze, stacks of papers in his hands, eyes wide, and he must know not even Fenris can save him from what is about to happen. "THAT'S IT!"

He bolts out of the doorway, papers flying everywhere, but it is not enough to save him. Fenris had removed himself from her, knowing this was not going to end well for Anders. He looks like he wants to go after Anders himself, but she's beat him to it, so he would just have to find pants or something. Hawke wraps the covers around her like a makeshift toga and sets off, sending columns of flames down the hallway after him. She's shouting every blasphemic phrase she can muster, and a few she just made up on the fly. Anders bolts into the public bar section of The Hanged Man, thinking that he is safe from her wrath, but she walks through that door without a second thought, and continues sending flames at him.

Most of her friends have gathered as a bit of a send off breakfast deal before the expedition sends off later in the day. They only lazily watch as one of their friends gets nearly slow roasted as he's being chased by the friend who is doing the said slow roasting. This was the best entertainment anyone could really ask for. They are too enthralled to start placing bets, which is saying something. Anders trips and falls on his ass, an arm shielding his face, trying to scoot away... not that it would do him any good.

"Bellanaris, I think he gets it now." Fenris said, gingerly, looking a bit haphazardly dressed in only his trousers as he steps just in front of her enough to place an arm around her, and looks back to Anders. "No more bursting into Bellanaris's room uninvited. Isn't that right, Anders?"

"He does truly look repentant, if not extra crispy." Sebastian agreed, solemnly, as he tried to look anywhere at anything except Hawke.

"Tel baesia aelyl!" She shouts, angrily. Not nearly enough! No one asks her to translate. She shakes her head, and continues. "You could have waited to show me the manifesto copies, Anders, but you had to act like it was urgent business, which means you only wanted to pry because you were curious or jealous or both. Even when Fenris told you to leave, you still felt the need to barge in on us. You couldn't even come up with a halfway decent lie!"

"Come on, let's get back to the room...so you can get dressed. Anders will still be there to yell at, I'm sure." Fenris said, trying to guide her back.

She looks up at him suddenly, with tears that can no longer hide behind her eyes, and she cries into his chest as he holds her close. Fenris is a little surprised at how quickly she went from anger to tears, but does not try to stop her. Hawke can hear him every so often telling her that it is okay and not to worry about it anymore. She can only let him walk with her back to their room, as she cries broken bits of elvhen she knows he does not quite understand. She is lucky that it was too early for normal customers, but at the moment she can not bring herself to care.


 

Anders sees the scars of whip marks along her back as Fenris guides her back to their room. There is a story behind them he supposes, not that she has seen fit to share it with him. He does not miss the way Fenris gently caresses the scars that grace her back, the loving embrace the two share as Hawke is guided back to the room, or the pointed glare he gets from the elf as they leave either. Their other friends can only look at him with disbelief. Everyone who had seen the two of them over the past couple days knew she was happy, so they could not fathom why he thought to interfere in that.

She had been right about everything she'd shouted at him. The Manifesto copies had been a lie, but it had been the only one he could think of at the time. This was the last time he listened to Isabella's advice. Just go in there and tell her how you feel, she'd said, she'll either accept you or light your ass on fire. He had to know if it was true that Hawke had truly fallen for Fenris.

He had to know if his chance was truly gone. Anders had always told her that a match between himself and her would be a bad one when she would so brazenly tease him, that he would end up hurting her, but that did not stop him from wishing things could be different. Visions of her plagued his dreams in the Fade. Justice shouted at him that she was a means to an end or a distraction, but she could not be both. Maker forgive him, he ached for her.

What he wouldn't give to have her for himself, and yet she chose Fenris. Had he pushed her away too forcefully? Should he have tried to let her in? Why had he pushed her away at all? Justice harped on about freeing the mages, but he was starting to feel worn down.

Was he not allowed to have any of the happiness he fought for? The day he saw her lovingly held by Fenris, that animal that barely passed for a man, had woken him up to the very real possibility that she could be out of his reach. The truth was that she always had been. Anders had not expected to find Fenris in bed with her when he barged into the room, to find them like that. The few seconds he'd been in there it was clear to him that she had surrendered herself to the man above her.

Apparently, Anders mused ruefully, when Hawke devotes herself to someone she really devotes herself to them. He is embarrassed that he's seen them this way, but wishes more than anything that it had been to him that she'd surrendered herself. He hadn't expected her reaction to be quite so volatile. The woman who beforehand would hide the extent of her magic even from her friends, had brazenly taken to casting magic in anger at him in public whilst mostly naked. Those last two words echoed in his mind, mostly naked, despite the smell of burnt feathers filling his nose.

He hadn't realized she'd slowly become more comfortable with casting her magic in public over the last few weeks. She'd literally just set his ass on fire while walking around in nothing but a bed sheet! It was something he had been trying to get her to see that she could be for the few years that he'd known her, that she could be comfortable with her magic. She was the most powerful mage he had ever run across, and he couldn't fathom why she hid it from the world. With her power, they could turn back the tide for the mages.

He hadn't realized that the mage-hating Tevinter elf, out of all the blasted people in Thedas, had done what he could not. Fenris had made her feel comfortable with her magic. Varric had tried to explain it was one of those 'at first sight' deals, but Anders hadn't listened. Instead, he had gone to Isabella for advice. In hindsight, that had not been the best of ideas.


 

"Blondie, for the sake of the story you can be certain I will tell later, may I ask what you were thinking? Walking in there like that, you had to know that was suicide. Why didn't you just listen to me?" Varric asked, as he watched Anders get up and check to see how badly his coat was burnt.

"Would you believe temporary insanity, and the ill advised idea of asking Isabella for advice?" Anders asked, with a grin. "I thought that...maybe I wasn't seeing things right.….that maybe I'd missed my chance...I don't know...I don't want to hurt her, but I...why him?..."

"Anders, are ya daft? Invading her privacy in such a way will not convince her to trust you more." Sebastian stated. "Besides, even a blind man could see that he loves her."

"I smell the burnt feathers from here. Pay up." Isabella says, in greeting. Varric passes her a few silvers.

"Hey, what about me?" Carver objected.

"Technically he made no move on her, he just invaded her privacy, and maybe saw her naked." Varric replied, checking the book. "You missed the fireworks show."

"Wait. You saw my sister naked?" Carver asked, angrily, looking to Anders.

Just then Fenris , now fully dressed, walks into the public area of the Hanged Man, luggage hanging off his shoulder, and stops where they are.

"Never do that again." He says, without looking at him, and walks out the door. Hawke comes out a little while later, now fully dressed and bags in tow. She does not even look at Anders as she passes him.

"Let's get a move on, everyone. We have to meet Bartrand in 20 minutes." Varric said, getting everyone out of their revere.

A/N: Anything Fenris says in tevene is Latin. Any elven is the dragon age and project elven on archives of our own.

Chapter Text

Chapter 5

Hawke's P.O.V.

It wasn't long before the four of them were with the rest of the expedition. The rest of their friends had come to see them off, Carver and their mother were standing off to the side with the rest of the send off party. Hawke herself was still miffed about the stunt Anders had pulled, inadvertently due to Isabella's advice, but still...the excitement Bartrand has for this expedition is catchy. She finds herself smiling that dangerously wolfish smile as he goes on, virginal plundering imagery aside, and responds to his speech.

“Risks? Rewards? What could be better?” She asks, a fire in her eyes and a wolfish grin on her lips. Despite all her hiding, she is a thrill seeker.

“Exactly!” Bartrand says, laughing.

Behind her, she knows Varric is inwardly laughing too. She is never able to stay out of trouble for long. It's what leads to all of her interesting stories, most of which barely need altering. Before the expedition heads out, they say goodbye to the friends that have gathered around them. She tells her mother not to worry if Bartrand comes back without them, cave ins happen all the time, and Varric has said Bartrand is a greedy bastard so....there's that. She hugs her brother, and tells him to keep an eye on Mother, Barkspawn, and Merrill.

He has turned into a fine member of the City Guard. Gamlen is off to the side, leaning against a building corner, clearly looking like he doesn't want to be there. Hawke makes sure to tuck her hair behind her ears, and sticks her tongue out at him with a smile on her face before she leaves. Carver laughs at the sight of it, and their mother can only smile. She can see there has been a change in her daughter.

Varric and Bartrand lead the way into the deep roads, sure of their path, one of their few moments of sibling camaraderie. Most of the hirelings share tents during the trip down, but each of the partners have their own small tents. By extension Fenris and Anders each have their own tents as well. No one really speaks to each other as they descend into the deep roads, the weight of the dangers around them finally overpowering the excitement from earlier that day. Everyone is on edge now. They set up camp, and divvy out watch shifts.

It's not long before she realizes that she can not sleep, having already gotten use to having Fenris next to her. It seems unrealistic for having only had him next to her for a couple days, but there it was. There was something to his embrace. She doesn't go to his tent though, not wanting to wake him. So, she slips past the guard and further into the tunnels they plan to travel the next day. They are too busy looking for things trying to sneak in to notice if someone sneaks out. Maybe, she thinks to herself, she can sleep if she tires herself out killing darkspawn.

It doesn't work quite the way she expects. It's just her body that tires out, her mind is still awake. She is able to get some sleep, though it is troubled. The others do not seem to notice at first, and she is able to set up a routine. Wait, sneak past the guard, kill darkspawn, sneak back, sleep a couple hours, wake, travel, repeat.
Her plans shift after they discover the cave in, and they take the smaller company of the four of them. They find Sandal first. That kid is either the luckiest or craziest dwarf she's ever met. How he froze the Ogre, she'll never know. They send him home, and set up camp a little while later. She should have known that someone would notice, but she has gotten away with it till now. It's the same routine as before of sneaking out, when she is stopped by something...someone.

“It's a nice evening for a sneak out, isn't it Wolf?” Varric says, casually, leaning against a wall. It stops her cold. “Did you think none of us would notice?”

“Well, it's not often someone watches for people trying to sneak out of camp.” Hawke replies, sheepishly, after her heart returns to her. “You would have to go for extra credit though, wouldn't you?”

“Why are you sneaking out of camp?” He asks, sternly.

“I...I can't sleep, Varric. I've tried everything. You were right, the tea was awful.” Hawke admitted, with a tired tone. “It doesn't work anyway.”

“What, may I ask, do you do out there?” Varric continues, his tone the same, staring at her intently.

“I kill darkspawn until I can't think anymore.” Her voice is so low, he isn't sure she's said what he thinks she's said.

“Wolf, that's crazy even for you. Have you....have you at least talked to Fenris?” He asks, his voice filled with worry. One look in her eyes and he knows without her answering.

“I didn't want to worry him.” She mumbles, looking off to the side towards the floor. 


 

Fenris P.O.V.

“I was already worried about you.” Fenris said, walking towards them. “Bellanaris, please.”

He can see the shock in her face, as if she really thought she had fooled them all. It does not take much to guide her back to the tents. She seems dead on her feet already, and she was going to go out gallivanting in the deep roads. Varric smiles knowingly, and shakes his head. Of course, she would think she'd fooled them. She had that way about her that made her seem invincible, and she used it to her advantage. Sometimes she used it to box herself into a corner too. Once inside the tent, Fenris turns to her, and helps her unclasp the hard leather of the makeshift armour she'd been wearing.

“Why didn't you just come to me? Did you think you could keep this pace for the whole of the trip?” He asked, gently, as he went.

“It seemed like a good idea at the time. Wait, sneak out, kill darkspawn, sneak in, sleep, wake up, travel, repeat.....That first day, you were asleep already....I didn't....I didn't want to wake you. After that, it just sort of became habit. I didn't think you would want me-.” She was rambling now, trying to answer him, but he quickly silenced her with a kiss.

“Never think that I do not want you, Bellanaris. Now come to bed, I have a couple hours before next watch. I will stay with you till you fall asleep.” Fenris stated.
She did not object, falling asleep nearly as soon as her head hit the pillow, his arm already around her. He had not been able to sleep well either, and had not went to her tent for the same reason she had mentioned. They were more alike than he had realized, and he laughed quietly in spite of himself. He had been afraid she would not want him to come to her tent when she was already asleep. He had not realized she wasn't sleeping or that she'd try something that crazy, it had been Varric who informed him of her escapades. When it came time for his watch, he quietly left the tent in search of Varric. The dwarf still wore a grin, and nodded to him.

“She finally sleeping?” Varric asked.

“Yeah. You've known her longer than me. What was she thinking, gallivanting alone out in the middle of the deep roads?” Fenris asked, wondering at the strange situations he found himself in.

“I know she said she didn't want to worry you, disturb you, whatever. I guarantee that isn't it, not that she means to lie to you either. More than likely she was trying to keep the peace between you and Anders by not sharing a tent with you. That way, Anders wouldn't pick fights with you, and you wouldn't take the bait and fight back. Wolf has always been one of those keep the peace types.” Varric stated, very business like. “Only thing is, whatever you two have is one of those 'at first sight' deals...as I like to call them, very rare you know. You'll suffer if you're not together for long stretches like that. The longer the stretch, the worse the suffering.”

“At first sight?” Fenris asked, intrigued.

“That's the only reason I can think of for why she would tell you things she hasn't even told me, her best and most awesome friend ever.” Varric replied, grinning.
__

A high dragon, in the deep roads, of course. Because it would have to be a high dragon. Bellanaris runs straight for the thing, a strange stance considering she is a mage, and Fenris is reminded of Carvers words. She fights as though she were invincible. Perhaps she is, Fenris thinks, but that doesn't mean he wants to test it. She is powerful, and he catches himself watching her from time to time during the battle. If he thought he would worry for her while she was gone alone here, he realizes that he worries for her more now that he understands just how much danger she puts herself in without thinking about it.

When it is dead, Bellanaris thinks nothing of taking scales for herself. He finds out she knows how to make dragon scale armour, and just adds that to the list of crazy and amazing things to know of her. At least they've found a way around the cave in. Some good news would be nice for a change, he thinks. Bartrand is happy enough, when they tell him the news. The entire crew sets out soon after, and things get rolling again.

Fenris insisted he and Bellanaris share a tent. She could not handle any more nights the way she had been, and quite frankly he slept better with her near him. The change was nearly instant in them both. They were more aware now, quicker to take out the earliest darkspawn, to notice something that would help the crew. Even Bodahn, Sandals guardian, noticed the difference. After they found his son, Bodahn had taken a keen interest in Bellanaris's health. The dwarf felt as if he owed her a debt he could not repay.
It seemed that Varric had been right on one point at least. The moment that it became clear to everyone that Bellanaris and Fenris were sharing a tent, Anders mood slowly began to sour. At first it was just glances, then little quips, and finally snide remarks. Fenris tried not to rise to the bait at these times, but the abomination did not make it easy. Well, Fenris thought wryly, at least he was earning his nickname. The more Anders heckled him, the more Fenris tended to brood.

Varric started joking that if he brooded like that when they got back to the surface, women would swoon as he passed, that they would be having broody babies in his honour. Sometimes the things that dwarf said made absolutely no sense. The dwarf went on to say that he wouldn't be surprised if Wolf was already carrying his broody little baby right now...Varric stopped joking when he saw the look of sheer panic on Fenris's face. The thought of Bellanaris being a mother felt right to him, but the thought of her carrying his child...it both thrilled and terrified him. In his mind, he was not yet a free man, no matter how he knew Bellanaris saw him. He had never thought to want something so far beyond his grasp. He felt himself lucky enough just to have Bellanaris as they were.

“I never expected this. Where are the Paragons? The runes? I was expecting some lost artifacts, not an entire Thaig!” Bartrand exclaimed.

“Well, let's hope they collected things, so we can clean them out, and get out of this Maker forbidden place. I could use a vacation, and some high grade liquor.” Bellanaris quipped, and set out to explore. Anders followed closely beside her.

Both Fenris and Varric looked at them in confusion. It seemed Anders had shifted tactics when they weren't paying attention. Instead of heckling Fenris about his nature, he had begun to hang closely around Bellanaris. Fenris hadn't been listening too closely before, hoping that the abomination had decided to make peace for the rest of the trip. He had been wrong with his assumption, he feared, and decided to follow behind them a bit. Varric followed suit, knowing this would go bad if a voice of reason was not there.

Anders “I don't understand what you see in him”

Hawke “You don't need to, Anders.”

A “Hawke, he hates mages.”

H “No, he hates mages who abuse their power. Until he came here, he just assumed we were all like that.”

A “Why do you trust him so easily?”

H “I...can't really explain that part. He has never given me a reason not to trust him.”

A “He hates everything you are! That's reason enough!”

H “Knock it off, Anders, I'm warning you.”

A “You tell him all of your secrets, and for what?

H “I've already told you once before. I'm not explaining this again.”

A “How great can he be?”

H “Fucking fantastic, if you must know. I'd tell you some of our pillow talk, but that's even more secret than the colour of his smalls.”

A “How can your friends mean so little to you? How can I mean so little to you?”

H “Are you seriously going to pull this melodramatic crap?”

A “I really thought you made better choices than this”

H “I see we've moved on to the condescending portion of the conversation then.”

A “What would your mother say”

H “She actually likes him, I think.”

A “He is little more than a wild dog!”

H “Alright, now you're just pissing me off.”

A “Better the damned Blooming Rose than him, Hawke!”

At that something snapped. Fenris and Varric looked to each other in alarm, and rushed towards the noise. The scene before them is not what they expected. Anders is backed up against a stone wall, looking more than just a little terrified. It is what is facing him that shocks the two coming upon the scene. A large black wolf is ever so slowly closing in on Anders, growling as it bares its teeth. Fenris recognizes her immediately, and his heart leaps into his throat when he hears the readying knock of a bolt in a crossbow. He puts a hand on Bianca, instantly stilling a very surprised Varric.

“NO!” Fenris shouts, his voice pleading, his eyes wild with worry as they bore into Varric. “Varric, don't! You don't understand! That's no wild wolf!”

“Broody, what else could it be?” Varric asked, more than a little bewildered. “How is it even in the blighted deep roads anyway?”

“Bellanaris!” Fenris cried, turning back to the wolf. He takes steps towards it, and he knows Varric is confused by his lack of fear. “Bellanaris, please!”

She turns her head to the two quickly, and Varric gasps in recognition. Fenris knew what he was seeing. Those were her eyes, the eyes of his friend, and Varric realizes what Fenris had been trying to tell him. Fenris sees the anger Anders has wrought, the guilt that suddenly flashes in them as she realizes what this looks like, and the shame that takes over as she bows her head. She is his Bellanaris again within moments. Fenris wastes no time rushing to her side, his hands on her shoulders, as he looks into her eyes to see if she's okay. She gives him a weak sort of smile, but it doesn't reach her eyes.

“Bellanaris, are you okay? Are you hurt?” Fenris asks, trying to look over her to make sure there are no injuries she would lie about.

“I didn't....I would never.....Fenris....He said....wild dog....the rose....” Bellanaris tries to explain.

“I know, Bellanaris, I know.” He soothed, as he caressed the side of her face. “It's alright.”

“You're asking her if she's alright, when she tried to attack me?” Anders cries, indignantly.

“Varric, if you would please, take Bellanaris back to camp. Lie, say we forgot something, I don't care. I need to have a private word with Anders if I may.” Fenris said, using the most civil tone he could muster.

Varric just gives him a pointed look, grins, and says. “Just leave him alive, Broody.” He walks up to Bellanaris without a bit of hesitation, and they leave to head back to camp for a few minutes.

“I do not wish to repeat myself, so I will only be saying this once, Anders. You will be quiet and listen to what I have to say, and at the end of it if you have any questions I will hear them. Is that understood?” Fenris asks. Anders can only bring himself to nod silently.

“Anders, Bellanaris has never questioned your loyalty as a friend even when I objected to your very existence, not because you were a mage but I objected to the spirit you harbor. She defended you to me, so much so that I let the matter drop simply because it was not worth hurting her to insist on being heard, no matter how right I thought I was at the time. That she had a plan in place in case of failure was enough for me. She trusts you explicitly with her life. The two of you have fought together too long not to have earned that kind of trust.” Fenris stated, his voice holding an unwavering conviction, holding Anders's gaze in his own. “What I do not understand is this current behavior you present to her. Bellanaris and I are together, so we share a tent. She stayed away at the beginning of this trip, knowing that you objected to me, thinking it would keep the peace. While it did that for a time, it became apparent that she was not sleeping.

Instead, she was fighting darkspawn in order to tire her body out, because she had tried everything else, and still she wanted to maintain peace. But I can not let her continue to run her health into the ground to keep the peace for the expedition. So I asked her to share a tent with me, as her health is more important to me than a strained peace with you. Surely you must know what sleep deprivation does someone after so long. You are a healer after all, aren't you, Anders?
Even a mage as powerful as Bellanaris can not stave off the affects of it forever. You pushed every button I have, thinking it would get a rise out of me, hoping that would push her away. When I showed that I could control my temper even around your most persistent prodding, you turned on your own friend. You try and pull secrets out of her that she has closely guarded all of her life, and then wonder why she attacks you?

Do you know why she chooses to tell me her secrets, Anders? When she saved my life, she revealed two of them automatically, only because the situation called for it. When I asked about another that was revealed to me inadvertently, she warned me that secrets cost...that I should not expect information about her without giving up information of myself. I found that I wanted to know everything I could about this person who saved my life, so what were my secrets compared to that? I shared the secrets I was comfortable with sharing, learning more of her. It became a kind of game...an exchange...a secret for a secret....a story for a story...You think you can learn of her without offering up a piece of yourself in return?”

That was possibly the most he had ever said to the man....ever. Anders soaked it all in, wide eyed and amazed at it all. She had told him the same thing when they met years ago, secrets cost. He had thought nothing of it, none of them had, assuming that they would know her secrets in time. Only Fenris had opted to share his own, inadvertently causing her to share some of them with the group.

“Person, not mage?” Anders asked, after a moment.

“Yes. That is what Bellanaris said to me the day we met, that she was a person first, and a mage second. More than a tool or a weapon. Magic is a tool, one she wields well, but that does not make her a tool to be used by others. She said that is what that means. Person first, mage second.” Fenris stated, his conviction never leaving his voice. “I will have to ask you to refrain from your current behavior. If you can not, I will not bother stopping her again. That's two you owe me for now anyway.”

“One more thing.” Anders stated, more a question than anything else. “Anders, not abomination?”

“I figured not using the barbed insult would help get the point across a bit better, that we can maintain peace without Bellanaris having to sacrifice her sleep.” Fenris answered.

“Now, we should probably go get the others.”

At this, Anders grinned and replied. “They never left, Fenris.” 


 

Hawke's P.O.V.

Fenris quickly turns around to see both Varric and Hawke standing at the top of the stairs. From the looks on their faces, it was clear they had witnessed the whole thing. Hawke was unable to hold back a smile, and Varric look like he'd just struck story gold. He had not meant for them to hear any of it, and now that they had, he could not hide the embarrassed blush that ran from the bottom of his neck to the tips of his ears. Instead of mentioning the speech, she opted to guide them into the side passage they were suppose to be exploring.

“He loves you, you know.” Varric said, quietly, after a while. Him and Hawke were up front, while Fenris and Anders followed.

“I know, but it's not something we've said to each other. Expressing himself with words is difficult for Fenris. He uses actions, gestures, touch to show what he feels he can not yet say.” Hawke replied. “If I hadn't seen him give that speech, I wouldn't have believed it.”

“So....you're behind all the rumors about a giant black wolf running about the city?” Varric asked, curious now.

“I'd rather not talk about that just yet. Let's wait till we get back to camp, and then we can talk about it, alright?” She asked. She was still feeling a bit raw from all the emotions being slung about, and seemed better to just leave it. “Besides, there's a heavy pull of some kind coming up ahead....it feels...Maker, it feels almost like lyrium.”
The stairs lead them to an alter, and on it sits the most curious looking idol. No one knew what it was suppose to depict. The most interesting thing is that both Hawke and Anders felt it calling to them the way lyrium does. Fenris could barely get near the thing without pain erupting from his own lyrium markings. That had never happened around even raw lyrium before.

“This doesn't feel right.” Anders said, sounding a bit drugged. “The magic on this is....alluring, but.....wrong.”

“I feel it, but what is it? Is this lyrium or something else?” She was going to pick it up, but Anders snatched it before she could, and tossed it to Varric. “What did you do that for?”

“Hawke, whatever that is, I don't think you should not touch it. Something about it is-” Anders whispered.

“Bellanaris!...I...” Fenris called out, his voice filled with pain, before he fell backwards down the stairs.

“Fenris!” Hawke shouted, rushing to his side. Anders wasn't far behind.

“It seems he's reacted to the idol.” Anders said, doing a preliminary checkup on the fallen elf.

“No offense....Anders....but not you.” Fenris said, painfully, through gritted teeth. “Bellanaris, please...explain...” and then he passed out.

“Shit!” Hawke cursed, as she began healing Fenris.

“What was he trying to say?” Anders asked, trying not to take offense to the fact that the one who called for peace demanded he not be healed by him. “What did he mean 'not you'?”

“Your magic is attacking itself, Anders, probably due to the merge with Justice. No offense. The lyrium in Fenris's markings reacts to magic, and it would react badly to yours. It would cause him great pain, and in return his markings would literally shut out the magic, negating any help you would be trying to offer.” Hawke tried to explain, as she ran her healing spell over Fenris. “He knows you mean well.”


 

Meanwhile

“Hey, Bartrand, check this out! It's an idol made entirely out of lyrium! I bet it's worth a fortune.” Varric declared, happily, as he tossed Bartrand the idol.
“You're probably right.” Bartrand mumbles, looking over the idol. Varric looks back at the two mages, and during that time Bartrand makes for the door.
__

“Varric, the door!” Hawke shouts.
She can not go running towards the door, but Anders and Varric do. It does them no good. Bartrand has secured it from the other side.

“Bartrand, you open this door up right now, or so help me I'll kill you when we get out of here.” Varric shouted, practically foaming at the mouth. He had known Bartrand was a greedy nug humping bastard, but he never expected this and now he'd gotten his friends caught up in it too. “You would do this to your own brother? To the men who follow you? All for an idol?”

“It's not just this, the location of this place alone is worth a fortune. I'm not splitting that!” Bartrand shouted back, triumphantly. “See you on the other side, if you make it, brother.”

“DAMN YOU, BARTRAND!!!” Varric shouted, angrily.

“He's really gone, and left us here. Makers balls, I hate the bleeding deep roads.” Grumbled Anders. “We'd best find another way out of here.”

“When we do, I'm going to find that nug humping bastard (sorry mother), and I'm going to kill him!” Varric shouted, practically foaming at the mouth he was so mad.

“Fenris is starting to wake up, we should be able to leave in a few minutes.” Hawke stated, though it seemed to be answering an unasked question.

“Wolf, I'm sorry. I knew Bartrand was an ass, but I never thought he'd stoop this low.” Varric said, when he calmed down a bit.

“Varric, there's no need to apologize. Look at it this way, you can file this under the misadventures of Wolf and Tethras story line you have going.” She said, with a smile, trying to lift his spirits. “We'll make something of this yet. Can you imagine though, what would have happened to Bartrand had we not taken Fenris along?”

“You wouldn't even get a chance at that revenge you're now so looking forward to exacting.” Anders said, catching on to her plan, in a cheerful manner.

“Thanks, Wolf, you too Anders.” Varric chuckled a little. “I needed that.”



When Fenris finally came around, he reacted about as well as Varric did to being double crossed by Bartrand. They make their way through more tunnels, mapping them to try and find a way out. For a brief moment, Fenris wishes he had stayed behind, as he would have crushed the dwarfs heart for returning without her. Yet good has come from this trip after all, though it may not be easy to cherish it at the moment. He has grown closer to Bellanaris somehow, and has established a kind of peace with Anders.
Fenris and Anders begin talking again. It is a surprise to him that both Anders and Justice understand why Fenris can not allow the grey warden to heal him. After seeing how he reacted to the idol, Anders didn't want to see what magic that attacked itself would do to Fenris. The sudden camaraderie is put on pause, as wave after wave of creatures begin attacking them.



“Andraste's tits, what the hell are those?!” Varric half asked-half shouted at them, as he began firing upon the rock like creatures that began coming at them. “Weren't demons and darkspawn bad enough?!”
“We can worry about it after they're dead?!” Hawke shouted, even as rocks began to form behind her.

Chapter Text

Chapter 6

 

Hawke's P.O.V.

 

“Enough!” A disembodied voice calls out.

Even though they have been prepared with what they were fighting, Hawke is still taken aback by what she faces now. This one, whatever it is, is much bigger than the others. Announcing itself causes Justice to instantly reveal himself, almost like a defense response. She decided to talk to whatever this thing was. Maybe the more she talked to it, the better chance Varric would have of finding a way out of this mess before things went to shit.

“I will not see the Profane harmed without need.” The voice from the loosely collected rock creature boomed.

“Without need? I'd say attacking us is need enough.” Hawke replied, angrily. “Just what are these Profane?”

“They attacked on my orders. They will no longer do so. These creatures feed on the lyrium. I would not see my feast end.” It boomed.

“They feed on lyrium?” Hawke asked, worried now, and takes a protective stance near Fenris out of habit.

“It is a demon, most likely of hunger. Do not trust it.” Justice was angry.

“You seek a way out, yes? But you will need my help to do so.” It boomed, ignoring Justice.

“Why is that?” Hawke asked, cautiously.

“There is a creature that bares the way. It has vexed me for some time. It guards a treasure trove, and a key to the way up. Defeat the creature, take the key, but leave the gold for me.” It boomed.

“Justice? What do you think? You want first shot?” Hawke asked, without looking back.

“Gladly.” He almost sounded menacing, and shocked the creature with a lightening blast.

“That was a mistake.” It boomed, almost tired sounding.

Suddenly there were more demons and profane surrounding them. They were trying to get her people to spread out, but Hawke did not let that stand for long. Instead, they directed the creatures through the hallway like structure just little ways away. She created a sonic blast that directed them to where the others needed them to be. From there it was easy for her and Justice to thin the creatures out, lightening and bright circular disks seeming to cut their way through the creatures. Varric kept a watch over Fenris as the elf plowed through the creatures, making sure that none of them got a fatal hit in. It was him the Profane seemed to focus on most for the very reason Hawke feared they would. Everything was dead within moments.

“Alright. Let's go kill the creature upstairs, and get the hell out of here.” Hawke said, feeling a bit tired. “I'm going to hang back a bit. Might have overdone it.”

That battle had taken a lot out of her. She felt drained from it. They began to make the trip up to where the hunger demon spoke of. Varric and Fenris had taken to the front, which left Hawke and Anders behind them. Justice had receded just after the battle was over. He knew that for her to admit that she had overdone it, meant that things were worse than she was letting on. Fenris knew it too, it's why he kept looking back at her when he thought Varric wasn't looking.

“Hawke, I've never seen you use that kind of magic before.” Anders commented. “That was incredible, though it looks to have taxed you quite a bit more than you're willing to admit.”

“Shouldn't have used so much of it, I think. There is a lot of magic you've never seen me use before.” She said, with a small grin. “How did you think I was able to get the structural plans for the Gallows without raising the alarms?”

“You actually pulled that off?” Anders whispered, his eyes practically bulging out of his skull now.

“Oh yeah, guess I forgot to tell you about that. I've had the plans squirreled away in your clinic for about a month now, waiting till it was safe to move on them.” She laughed. “All I had to do was sneak in, make exact copies, and then leave with them. They still have the originals, so they never saw anything amiss.”

“Hawke, the amount of lyrium you would have needed to pull that off, would have alerted them.” Anders said, in reverence, not quite believing her.

“I don't have to use lyrium, Anders. Haven't you noticed I don't carry a magical staff half the time.” Hawke chided, playfully. “Most of my spells involve rune circle lights.”

“Varric, what is this place.” Fenris asked, looking around.

“This looks like the vaults. The dwarves would have....” Varric answered, thinking back. About that time there was the sound of rumbling rocks. “....uh oh.”

Hawke quickly turned around, and came face to face with a forming rock wraith. On instinct, she rushed forward and placed both hands upon the creature. It froze momentarily, still rumbling as it was when it was forming. She'd just had to stay behind because she'd drained herself earlier. The others were shouting at her, but they didn't dare try to stop her either. Whatever it was she was doing had stopped the creature, but it wasn't going to hold it for long. She couldn't speak to tell Anders what to do to help. Without warning, the creature broke apart. The rocks didn't do more than scatter to the ground, but the magical energy behind the creature blasted Hawke across the room, slamming her against the wall and knocked the rest of them back a bit as well.

She must have passed out from the force of the blast, because the next thing she knew camp had been set up. Varric was doing some kind of a merry jig, and Anders was working on setting up an area for a fire. Fenris must have been securing a perimeter or something, because she didn't see him when she woke up. Anders was the one to notice her stirring, and motioned for Varric.

“Is everyone alright?” Hawke asked, slowly sitting up, massaging her forehead.

“Wolf, that was some stunt you pulled. I have so much material to work with when you're around.” Varric said, joyfully. “Fenris 'bout had a shit fit.”

“Glad I can be of service.” She replied, with a mock salute. “Where is Fenris anyway?”

“He'll be back in a moment. We've set up a sort of perimeter.” Anders replied, as he lit the fire.

Hawke was holding her head in her hands now, groaning. “I feel like I got hit with a dozen holy smites. Pray tell, why is Varric so fucking happy, and can he tone it down a bit?”

“I would imagine the piles of gold the rock wraith was guarding would do the trick.” Fenris answered, a small grin tugging at the corner of his lips, though she could see the worry in his eyes. “Good to see you among the living, Bellanaris.”

“Was there a key somewhere in all that gold, Varric?” Hawke teased, looking to her dwarven friend.

“Why, Wolf, what kind of rogue do you take me for?” Varric asked, pretending to be insulted.

“The devilishly handsome kind with the amazing chest hair, of course.” She replied, without missing a beat. “Practically a paragon of manliness.”

“Well, now that that's settled. Of course I found the key. We can head out tomorrow morning.” Varric said, grinning.

“You need rest after that stunt you pulled.” Anders said, as if answering the question he knew she'd ask.

“I feel fine.” She objected, even as she winced from the pain in her head.

“Wolf, you're not fine.” Varric countered. “Let us take care of you for once.”

“Bellanaris, whatever you did almost killed you.” Fenris stated, gravely, as he sat down next to her. “Anders had to restart your heart, and even then I had to keep it beating till it was strong enough to continue on its own. I literally held your heart in my hand today. I never thought…We are staying here for the night to make sure you are stable before we set off again. It is not up for debate.”

It wasn't until he took his gauntlets off that she saw them, scars along his fingers like lightening. She was tracing them with her fingers before she realized it. Most of what she did was on instinct, but there had always been someone to pull her ass out of the fire before it got too hot. At the same time though, she had never had to worry about what her actions would do to someone outside of her family. Friends were still a new concept to her, and one she cherished, but a lover? Her fighting style had not changed to accommodate these new additions to her life.

“I can heal them for you, if you'd like.” She said, softly, her fingers ghosting across the scars.

“No.” He answered, curtly, pulling his hands from her own.

“I'm sorry. I didn't mean to worry you.” He seemed to soften at her apology. “The way I fight is not typical for a mage, I know. I'd always figured since the rest of the world wanted me and mine dead, I might as well make it count for something. Save a life, free a people, fight for justice, all that lot....Now I have things to fight for that I didn't have before, reasons to live that I didn't have before. I never thought I would have friends like this, or anyone who cares for me the way you do.”

“I believe I am owed at least one explanation, before we get into the heavy suicidal mage fighter persona you wear.” Varric interjected, before Fenris could say anything. Something like what she'd just confessed needed processing first, and Varric wanted to give him the time to do that. “Do I get to know about the large black wolf now?”

“I think I'd like to know about that too, please.” Anders put in, lightly. “Almost had to bring out my brown pants.”

Hawke sighed with a grin at that. “Oh alright. For me, magic has always been....if I can think it, I can do it....mostly. There are limits, like this stunt I just pulled. When we were in Lothering, I met this girl named Morrigan. She said she was from the Kokari wilds. Anyway-”

“Wait, you met a witch of the wilds....before Flemeth?” Anders asked, completely shocked.

“She never claimed the title, but it would make sense. Morrigan was the first mage I met outside of my family. Anders....to see her....she never hid, never worried about a templar, never denied what she was. She was mystery and danger, control and strength, everything we hope to be, and everything the chantry templars fear. One day she just shows up at my place, and suddenly she's teaching me alongside Father. She said she heard my magic calling across the Fade, and that I would need to find other hedge mages to teach me or lose myself. I think....i think she wanted to make sure I didn't make her mistakes. She's the one who taught me how to shape shift into a wolf. I tried other forms, but the Wolf was the only form my magic would accept.” Hawke said, staring into the fire mainly as she spoke. “When I asked about it, Morrigan said that it's what called to my spirit. It made her happy.”

“Wolf, only you would meet two witches of the wilds, and not only live but make an impression.” Varric noted.

“Guys....I think....I think....something is wrong.” Hawke tried to say, and passed out. She barely heard the screams of Fenris next to her.


 

Fenris P.O.V.

 

They nearly lose Bellanaris again. They don't talk much when she is well again. He's still reflecting on what she said before. The rest of the world wanted her dead. Not so long ago, he would have counted himself among their number.

Now? Now, he could not imagine a world without her in it. He didn't want to imagine such a place. Bellanaris saw Circles the same way he saw slavery, and he could not see a spirit such as hers caged. Even Merrill was not so bad, foolish blood mage though she was. Anders was the only one he felt cagey about, but since they'd formed a kind of truce, even he was better than Danarius.

He decides that he can trust Bellanaris with his life, but not with her own. She has shown a considerable lack of regard for her own life. How could he have not seen it before? The hiding of her magic, the reckless fighting, running headlong into danger. He had taken these things at the face value that they were simply a part of her larger than life persona, and in part that was true.

So he walks with her now, fights closer at her side. If she runs headlong into the thick of the fight, he is right there with her. They do not have an incident like the rock wraith again. He would show her she did not need to throw away her life so recklessly. He would find a way to make her see what she means to him, to them all.

Finally, after weeks it seems, they make it back to the surface. Varric is busy discussing how the funds will be distributed. Bellanaris has been trying to hold herself back a bit better....or at least not take so many life threatening chances. She understands what he is trying to say when he looks at her now. It's as if she's had some kind of epiphany when she looks at him, realizing that he does not want to lose her. Anders....well, Anders is just glad to be out of the deep roads. The reunion party they hold at the Hanged man is an outrageous event.

Plans are being made all around, for every one of their group helped with the expedition, even though not everyone got to go. Fenris becomes edgy after a while, crowds make him nervous. He looks to Bellanaris and sees she is of the same mind. They disappear into their room at the Hanged Man, leaving the rest to fend for themselves. After a few days, Varric knocks on the door, begs not to be lit on fire, and informs him he's rich and that the mansion is now in his name.

The Amell estate belongs to its rightful owners again, though Carver spends more time there than Bellanaris does. She spends most of her time slowly helping Fenris to read. She never did tell the others about his illiteracy. They make a game of learning to read. For every letter correct, a kiss, and then for every line, for every paragraph, ext. He learns quickly, having Bellanaris as his motivation. Every once in a while there's playful banter about fixing up the place like he'd planned on. There is something unsaid between them, and he knows he should say it. Surely she knows by now, but she is one for whom words are just as important as a gesture, and he does not yet have the ability to say them.

She has never asked it of him, never pushed him. Bellanaris has always understood these things about him, and though he wants to say the things he feels, he can not. Something still holds him back, he does not yet feel truly free. They still share stories with each other, and he tries to express through touch what he feels but can not yet say. He knows she can hear it in the way he kisses her, read it in the way he caresses her skin, know it by the way he looks at her. The pressure is not of her making, it is of his own. Now that she is truly nobility again, he wonders how long it will be before some suitor takes her attentions away. They already try for her in front of him, and he does not feel worthy. Knowing that they share a bed together no matter what mansion they sleep in does not help ease his thoughts.

“This can not wait.” He hears her say, and looks up.

He'd been lost in thought again, and he frowned trying to remember what they were suppose to be doing. Bellanaris had taken them back to the Alienage, something about that boy Feynriel. Of course she thinks nothing of offering to help the boy, and Fenris is not one to let her go gallivanting off on her own to risk her life. He still hasn't figured out what she meant by all that. He's tried asking Varric and Sebastian for help, but sagely advice doesn't seem to help. It just confuses or annoys him more, and he just wishes someone would speak plainly. He still has not found a way to make her see she does not need to be so reckless with the life he cares so much for, hers.

The Fade is worse than he could have imagine, and he wonders how Bellanaris endures it all the time. The demon they speak to refers to Feynriel and him as two forgotten magics, and bargains for use of the boys soul. Bellanaris will hear none of it, and the demon is killed before more can aid him. Isabella falls to the temptation of a demon. It's not surprising considering what the demon offered her. Isabella has been talking about getting a ship again since before he'd met her, and the demon offered nothing less than exactly what she wanted, with well muscled eye candy to boot. What's strange to him is that Bellanaris isn't hurt in the slightest by her friends betrayal, just laughs and sends her back to the waking world.

Varric never wavers, of that he is thankful. He can not say the same about himself. The demon offered him power to take his freedom, and he chose the offer over Bellanaris. Where she did not react to Isabella's betrayal, she does react to his. She begs him, pleads with him not to listen to the demons offer, that she knows what he is going through now, and still he chose. The realization of what he's done hits him as soon as he's in the waking world again, that he is not above the influences of a demon, and it makes him sick. He can not bring himself to look at her when she forgives him, knowing in his heart he has committed the worst kind of betrayal. He barely speaks to anyone for days, ashamed that he has betrayed her. The look in her eyes as he chose, as he attacked her, haunts him.


 

Hawke P.O.V.

 

The city of Kirkwall always needs something, and for the most part Hawke understands. She helps where she can, taking care of the miners needs, talking with that templar for Aveline, there's an amusingly punny herbalist who asks her to find things, and she's even finding peoples stuff. Fenris has taken to avoiding her lately, even though they sleep in the same bed most nights, because of what happened in the Fade. He knows he's forgiven, but as Varric said, he needs to brood. What he experienced in the Fade is something she fights through almost every night in her sleep, but he never had.

It would take him time to process and deal with it all. So, in an effort to give him the time he needs, she sets about helping the city. He even comes along sometimes, but there's a growing tension between them now, and she worries he no longer wants her. It can't help that every available bachelor noble now sees her as worthy to try for now that she has money. She finds them repulsive, citing nothing noble about them.

Everything heads south the moment they hit the Wounded Coast. She and Merrill had been discussing plants for the garden she'd hoped to grow. Her mother had even liked the idea, and so she set about it with great enthusiasm. Aveline and Fenris talk weapons and care mostly. They all close ranks the moment they realize they are surrounded. Makers breath, Hawke mutters to herself, and it had been such a nice day too. All she's asking is one day of peace, but she won't get it, not from this city.

“Hand over the slave, and be on your way. I will not tell you again.” A mage shouts from some high vantage point.

“Fenris is a free man!” She shouts right back.

“Last chance!”

“I am not a slave!!!” Fenris shouts, his lyrium glowing. Considering how angry they all are, they make quick work of the hunters. Only one lives, for now. “Who sent you?!”

“Hadriana! Please, don't kill me!”

“Where is she?” Hawke asks, her anger palpable.

“There are old slave holding caves along the Wounded Coast. She's in one of those...I can take you.” The mage says, looking to her now.

“No need. I know the ones you speak.” Fenris says, before crushing the mans heart.

This is the angriest she's ever seen him. He's just had a past he'd hoped to forget shoved back in his face as though it had never left, and she's still not sure he's gotten over the experience in the Fade yet. Fenris calms down just enough to finally hear her. They'll just keep coming till they're dead, best to take care of it now. They head out with Fenris leading them, and when they get there he is more concerned than angry.

“Be careful, these caves were once used to store slaves hiding them from other slavers. If Hadriana is in there, you can expect the worst.” Fenris warned.

“She's not getting away.” Hawke replies like it's a promise.

It is the only thing she is able to get out before he enters the caves. The smell of blood magic unlike anything she's ever experienced hits her. Fenris is angry, but not surprised. After a while, Merrill can be heard sobbing. She has never thought to sacrifice the unwilling, only having used her own blood to do her magic, and yet Fenris charges her with being close to this already. This must be what the others of her Clan fear she will become, and it frightens her.

Merril declares she will work hard to never do blood magic again. The mirror will have to be restored some other way. Hawke sighs in relief as she hears this, at least one good thing has already come out of this. There are more demons than she thinks she saw in the deep roads. The bodies that fueled them also get up and fight, and it is almost more than Hawke can bare. Only one slave girl remains, and she is frantic.

“I don't understand....we were good! We did everything they said. Papa even made her favorite soup! Then they...they started killing everyone! Mistress said she was afraid, that they needed blood. They said someone is coming, that they will be attacked.” The poor girl cries.

“Did they hurt you?” Fenris asks, his voice full of concern.

“No, I'm alright, but I don't understand. Everything was fine until today!” She replied, still in tears.

“It wasn't, you just didn't know any better.” The grief in Fenris's voice is crushing.

“Are you my master now?” The girl asks, curious, but cries when Fenris vehemently shakes his head no. “But why? I can cook, clean. Papa even taught me how to play music.”

“If you go back to Kirkwall, and ask for the Amell estate, someone there will be able to help you.” Hawke said, out of the blue. She has no idea what provoked her to say that.

“Oh, thank you! Thank you!” She cries happily, and runs out.

Fenris rounds on her angrily. “Why are you taking a slave?”

“Fenris...I gave her a job.” Hawke replied, quietly.

Looking like he'd eaten his own sword, he replies a bit awkwardly. “Oh....well, good.”

Then it's back to more demons, more skeletons fighting them. It never seems to end. Then finally, they make it to the end. Hadriana has prepared well. Even with Hawke and Merrill together, it is almost not enough to keep the bulk of the horde at bay. Hawke begins using magics that require greater and greater amounts of energy to cut through the horde, pushing herself beyond the boundaries she had set after the rock wraith. Aveline and Fenris do their best to slash through their numbers. When Hawke has used enough magic to start seeing spots, the battle is finally over.

“Don't..don't kill me.” The woman pleads. “I have something you want.”

“There is nothing you have that I want.” Fenris declared in disgust. “There is only one person I want to kill more than you.”

“You...have....a sister. Promise to let me go....I'll tell you where she is.” Hadriana bargains.

“Tell us everything now, and we might consider it.” Hawke counters. “I doubt it, but the possibility is there.”

“Her name is Varania. She's a servant, living just outside the main city. Do you believe me? Can I go?” She pleads, but her eyes know the answer already. Fenris flashes blue and crushes the woman's heart.

After a moment, Hawke hesitantly asks. “Do you want to talk about it?..........Maybe.........maybe we should go.” She gently places her hand on his shoulder, though he is not facing her.

“Do not comfort me!” He demands, brushing her hand away from his shoulder.

Fenris flies off the handle then, angry at everything and everyone as he yells and argues in his rage, but it's his last words that stick with her most. May she rot, and all other mages with her. He seems to realize what he's said, and who he's said it to, but she is running out of the place before he can muster up the apology. She runs all the way back to the Amell Estate, and does not look back to see if he has followed.

***

It isn't long before the rest of the group begins to notice the change in her. She is volatile and angry, ready to lash out with her magics at a moments notice. At first, Anders thinks this is a great change in his friend, until he realizes she's becoming emotionally unstable. She will not answer his questions when he asks what is wrong, and bringing up Fenris suddenly becomes the wrong thing to do. He begins to wonder if Fenris broke her heart on the Wounded Coast, but he does not ask. Some things are better left unsaid, and it is not his place to ask such from her.

Instead he tries to take her mind off of the possible break up, by asking her plans for the mage resistance. She seems surprisingly more okay with violence now. The only things she asks for are no blood magic, and no innocent lives lost. Those two things will not warm anyone to the mages cause, and they will need non mage support if they are to win. He doesn't tell her that he's begun to have blackouts now, seeing as he can see she's finally beginning to crack from the weight of trying to help everyone all at once.

She still tries to help, as unstable as she is. Aveline and a couple others help her with the poison gas a fanatic elf stole from the qunari. Merrill requests help with her mirror, and together they fight for the artifact they think will help the girl with her project. The two women try to talk to her, but Hawke will have none of it. Fenris no longer accompanies her on missions, and is never seen in the Hanged Man now. The others do not know what to make of this new attitude she has.

Something is wrong with their Hawke, and the people who know do not feel it is their place to say anything. She still helps the others when they need it, but she begins taking fewer and fewer people with her on missions. After a while though, Hawke no longer takes her friends on missions, and begins disappearing for days at a time. Varric begins to hear stories of her he has not crafted. They sound like her though, larger than life and reckless as the Void.

From these stories, he gathers what her mindset is. He should have seen this coming, and maybe if he'd gone on that mission into the Wounded Coast, he could have done something. He thinks he could have stopped whatever it was that lead to this, talked her down afterwards with a drink and a few good stories from her best buddy ever. Now, he doesn't know how to help her. She won't talk to him, set on running herself into the ground.

He believes she is helping out with the mage underground, but even Anders can not keep track of her now. She has become driven. The only thing that tells him she is alive is the fact that every few days his clinic looks like it's been used without him. There's the occasional progress report on his desk sometimes. He shares these with Varric when he sees them. The two think it best to keep it from the others in the hopes that maybe she just needs to kill a lot of shit and then she'll be alright again.

***

Hawke decided to go home for a bit, a nice warm bed sounded good at the moment, but her house was anything but peaceful. Barkspawn was happily barking about, but that was to be expected really. It was Gamlin arguing with Sandal that caught her attention. Gamlin never visited the estate. For him to be there meant that things were bad, and for just a moment she assumed that maybe he wanted to hide out from the debt collectors that circled him like vultures.

“Lee Ann Dra! Have you seen her?” Gamlin shouted to the young dwarf.

“Enchantment?” Sandal asked, happily. The boy did love to make those, and the mage rebellion efforts loved what he called 'Boom'

“NO! Lee Ann Dra! Not Enchantment.” Gamlin shouted, getting frustrated.

“Uncle Gamlin, what is this about?” Hawke asked, making her way to them.

“Have you seen your mother? Leandra missed our weekly visit. I thought maybe she was still here, or that I missed her somewhere along the way.”

“She could be with her suitor, Messere.” Bodahn suggested.

“Suitor?” Hawke asked, turning to him, curiously.

“Yes, she's been getting visits from someone. They even gave her flowers. Beautiful White lilies.” Bodahn replied, thinking nothing of it.

“White lilies?” Hawke asked, panic in her voice now, “Are you sure?”

“Why? What's wrong? What do you know?” Gamlin asked, looking to her quickly.

“I may know something about that. There's been a string of murders lately, something to do with White Lilies, but maybe this is just a coincidence.” Hawke said, and then she did something she never thought she would do. She tried to console Gamlin. “Maybe you did just miss her. You know mother likes to take her time when it's a nice day out. Go home, and wait for her there, just in case. I'll get Aveline and Carver to scour the city. I'm going to the hanged man to get some more help, and search the city on my own. We'll find her, Uncle.”

Gamlin nodded his head, and didn't fight her for once, looking optimistic that he had just missed Leandra somewhere as he left the Amell estate. Hawke did not share his optimism, and wrote a letter to Aveline and Carver about the situation. Orana volunteered to take it to them, which surprised Hawke. The girl had shown to be too afraid of the outside world as of yet, but she loved Hawke's mother as if she were her own. Leandra was always kind that way.

Hawke found herself at Fenris's estate, banging on the door. He was the closest person to reach, and despite their distance lately, her mother liked Fenris. He looked confused when he answered the door, looking like he'd been cleaning the place up. His expression became one of concern when he saw the sheer panic on Hawke's face. She doesn't even have to say anything, her eyes have already pleaded for his help in a way words could never express, but her next words spur him to action.

“Mother's missing. White lilies.” Hawke barely managed to say above a whisper.

Before she knows it, the door is closed again. He comes out a moment later, fully dressed in his armour, and the two make their way to the Hanged Man. Hawke doesn't talk, and Fenris doesn't ask it of her. Varric is happy to see them, but his expression changes when he sees how grave they look at that moment. He grabs Bianca, and Anders, who had been chatting up one of the bar maids, and they are off.

There is no time to look for anyone else, and Gamlin has already found a lead for them. Some young kid, barely dressed and shoeless, has seen the woman they all look for now. Hawke gives the young kid money, not bothering to note how much, and he happily tells her what he saw. It sounds like her mother, always trying to help in her way. There's even a blood trail where the man must have hit his head.

Gamlin goes back to the estate to wait for her. The trail leads them to an abandoned building at the Foundry. The place is strangely familiar, and Varric recognizes the place as where they had found the bones for the old Templar looking into the murders. This is bad, and Hawke has thrown herself into auto pilot to get through this mess. The trail leads to a secret door, and that leads to something none of them expected.

There is a shrine to a woman who looks an awful lot like her mother. Notes, blood magic, and necromancy books are everywhere. Demons and skeletons come out of nowhere to attack them, only increasing Hawke's sense of dread. They make quick work of them, and continue to follow the trail. No one expects what they find at the end of it.

He spouts madness, talking of love and blood magic. Her mother, or what is left of her, struggles to walk towards them all. Hawke can't speak, can't move, even as demons and more come down on them. She's frozen, and it is Fenris who is finally able to reach her. He's screaming for her to come to herself, that they can't win this without her. She does come to herself, but she can't bring herself to answer him, after all, there is no winning this.

Everything hits her when she's holding her dying mother in her arms. All the signs were there, Hawke had just ignored them. Her mother talking about dating again, the white lilies, the way she asked after her and Fenris. Her mother liked Fenris, and she couldn't bare to tell her what was wrong when she'd had the chance. Now, she would never have that chance again.

She wasn't there to watch over her family, so a crazy blood mage was able to take her mother away. Hawke is in shock, she knows, but she can not make herself go through the motions anymore. She's fought through the sadness and the anger, and now there is nothing left to keep her going. She looks to him, but knows it is of no use. Anders can't save her mother. Whatever was keeping her alive, died when that man did.

She can see him struggling with the fact that a mage did this to her family. Even Justice is angry over this, but there is nothing he can do. Fenris just looks at Anders and shakes his head. Now is not the time to gloat over who is right and who is dead. The only thing that matters is that Hawke needs them to be there for her.

When they make it back to the Amell estate, Gamlin can't bring himself to speak. He never thought he would see the day when Leandra died before him. He takes solace in knowing that Hawke killed the one responsible for the death that should never have occurred, and he leaves her to grieve. Fenris tries to comfort her later, but he is not good at these things, can not think of what to say to bring her out of the darkness. Only Carver seems to understand where her head is at, when he finds her hunkered near the fireplace with a bottle in her hand as she stared blankly into the flames, and even he can offer no true help to her. The city still needs help, her friends still need her, and no one seems to understand she's been running on nothing but fumes for months.

One day.....one day she just isn't there anymore. Her hiding spot on the Wounded Coast is nice. There she can scream, cry, and kill outlaw Qunari till she can sleep again. There she is alone, and the city's demands can not reach her. Most of the basic amenities are there, yay for magic (because otherwise she would miss indoor plumbing). She spends some days naked on the beach, drunk off her ass. Isabella would be proud. She finds her lack of caring appalling, or she would if she cared enough.

 

Chapter Text

Chapter 7

 

Varric's P.O.V.

"Alright, that's it! I've had enough!" He suddenly declares to all and sundry, and stalks out of the Hanged Man.

It has been a month since Wolf up and disappeared without a word, though maybe it had been longer what with her disappearing for days on missions alone. With Fenris acting as he was, and her slowly disappearing before their eyes, Varric had been wondering how long it would take before the girl snapped. Aveline has had no word from the City Guard, both her and Carver look when they can. Carver worries more than he lets on, but he puts on a brave face for the others. Merrill has heard no word from Sundermount. Isabella has been unable to locate her. Anders says she's not working anything for the underground, but he's double checking anyway. Sebastian even searches the Chantry, thinking she may have hidden there. There's only one place left to check.

"Damn it, Broody, you open up this instant or so help me I'll skin the lyrium off you myself!" Varric is practically shouting at the door by the time an exhausted Fenris is able to open it, looking a bit clueless.

"...just exactly what are you doing in there?" The dwarf asks, confused.

"Cleaning, and repair work." Fenris answers, and opens the door for Varric to step inside. "Why do you think you haven't seen me? If I'm going to ask Bellanaris to move in with me, this place has to be fixed up."

"Wait...you mean to tell me that you've been ignoring your girlfriend to surprise your girlfriend?" Varric asked, incredulously. He doesn't know whether to shout or laugh. "This would be funny under different circumstances. Broody, do you even know where she is right now?"

"No." Fenris says, frowning as he thinks back on it. "Not since after her mothers funeral. I went to see her, but I do not know what to say in those situations...She seemed fine at the time, understandably saddened, but fine nonetheless. Is something wrong?"

"Is something wrong?! Andraste's holy fucking underthings, Fenris! Of course she seemed fine! She wears that larger than life persona like it's a second set of armour. It's not to protect against just enemies, you know, it's to protect herself from us! If I hadn't been paying attention, I'd have fallen for that act too! Ever since whatever that stunt was you pulled up on the Wounded Coast, Wolf has been out of it. I figured she just needed to go kill some shit, so I didn't worry about it, but then she started going on missions alone, and then her mother died. She started disappearing for a day or so at a time, only this time she hasn't come back. Damn it, Fenris, she's been missing for well over a month now!"

The elf look liked he'd just had the wind knocked out of him.

"How in the Makers bleeding ass crack did you not notice?! You do remember me telling you about the suffering when it came to 'at first sight deals' right? Fenris. Did you think I was kidding about that shit? I've seen it happen! Damn it to Fuck, Fenris, I've lived it! Now, what exactly did you do?" Varric yelled, though he'd asked that last question gingerly.

"It isn't what I did, it's what I said." Fenris muttered, look at the floor in shame.

She'd really been gone a month? How had he not realized? With the little sleep he was able to get, days had begun to run together. Had he really overlooked the time? When was the last time he actually slept? Makers breath, they were more alike than he realized. She had taken to avoiding him, and he had done the same to her by hiding here.

"Varric, you weren't there. You didn't see...There were more of those hunters that had come for me. I couldn't see past them, and you know how Bellanaris is...ready to help me kill them all without a second thought to her own safety...We discover Hadriana had set up in some of the old slaver caves out on the Wounded Coast. She was Danarius's apprentice... (Varric put a hand up to his forehead and shook his head. He could almost see where this was going, but he didn't interrupt.) We fought through it all, demons, slavers, blood mages, skeletons, ghouls, and finally Hadriana was dead. That woman was a torment more so than I can ever say, hounding my meals, denying my sleep, anything she thought would amuse Danarius. I was powerless to stop her, and she knew it. She would sell her own children if she thought it would please him. It was bad enough that she helped him t-to d-do (At this Fenris clinches his fists, as he shakes his head. He can't think about that now.) ...After I crushed that bitch's heart, Bellanaris tried to comfort me...It's her way...and I...I just...shouted at her, angry at everything and everyone, but what hurt her the most...What I said, Varric...'May she rot, and all other mages with her', and then I realized there were mages with me, mages I trusted, one I lo- Bellanaris was gone before I could say anything, and then she started avoiding me so I never got the chance to apologize...and then I got the bright idea to surprise her with this as an apologetic offering. I've been here ever since. I didn't realize how much time had gone by…I've not really been sleeping. Have you no idea where she could be?"

"Not in Kirkwall, we know." Anders stated, he'd heard most of what Fenris had been saying. "I've checked every underground station we have."

"I think I might have an idea where she is." Isabella calls out casually, as she enters the mansion. "Do you want to tell Fenris what you did with her first, Anders?"

"Rivaini, though I love a good innuendo as much as the next guy, now is not the time for it." Varric scolds.

"Oh, I think it is. I think it was the tipping point, the last straw as it were." Isabella said, her arms crossed as she eyed Anders. She had become rather protective of Hawke in her way.

"Damn it, Blondie, what did you do?!" Varric asks, angrily, rounding on him now.

"I...I may have... I kissed her." Anders admitted, not really looking at anyone.

"You did what?!" Carver shouted, seemingly out of nowhere, as he entered the place. Was everyone meeting here now instead of the hanged man? "Dammit, I can't even enjoy winning my bet now."

"It looked like Fenris had dumped her. I didn't realize he was in here trying to surprise her with a restored mansion!" Anders said, indignantly. "She'd broken into the clinic again to bandage herself up after one of her damned suicide missions. I tried to stop her from leaving the way she was...told her everything I'd ever felt for her...anything to keep her from going back out in the shape she was in...Damn it, Carver! You didn't see her...I'd never seen her so…broken…The kiss had been a last resort, and just for a moment...she kissed me back...but then she pulls away, looked at me as if I'd grown another head and bolted out of the clinic."

"You don't get all the credit." Fenris growled, as he began putting on his usual armour. "I'm the one who didn't realize she'd backed herself into another corner. I should have. This is the damned deep roads all over again, only worse. Isabella, if you know where she is then tell us. Anders has already punished himself more than we ever would have, so you can stop torturing him now. I'm the one who has to apologize to Bellanaris for everything."

Isabella looks surprised, but answers. "There's a patch of the Wounded Coast past the Tal-vashoth. It's damned hard to get to, but it's the only place I can think of that we haven't looked yet. She talked about making camp there once. It's either that, or start looking into other countries."

"Then let's go." Varric declared, leaving them. "I'm tired of waiting for my friend to come home."

There was a surprise when they started their way through the Wounded Coast, Knight Captain Cullen stood there waiting for them.

"I was told you would be headed this way, but you are all here...without Hawke? Where is she? I must speak with her." Cullen stated, upfront.

"We don't have time for the bloody templars today, knight captain." Carver huffed. "Sister is missing."

"Hawke is missing?" Cullen asked, instantly alarmed. "I will assist you in finding her."

"Come along if you're going to, Cullen. We don't have time to debate." Fenris declared, and they all headed out again.


 

Hawke's P.O.V.

Either she'd gotten lazy about the wards and security measures she'd set up, or she was starting to not care about that too. Which ever it was, she was now in a new predicament. More Tevinter slave hunters had shown up, and now they had her. They had tortured her, sure. They'd beaten her up a bit, yeah okay.

So why were they the one's unnerved at her indifference to them? Surely they had seen that before. She even knew what they had planned to do, the same ritual that gave Fenris his markings. Hawke could only laugh because they didn't have enough to do anything extensive like before, mildly curious as to what she would be like after they were done. That unnerved them more than anything else. Broken, bruised, and bloodied, she did not make a sound as they began to create the line work and place the lyrium where they wanted it. Maybe it was where the line work had to be thinner, or maybe she couldn't even feel pain anymore. It suddenly became too much, hitting her all at once, and she did the only thing she could think to do to keep the pain at bay.


 

General p.o.v.

"This is where she's been, Isabella?" Varric asked, looking around. It did look like a campsite, but it also looks like something he doesn't want to mention within reach of Fenris.

"She was taken." Fenris declares, looking around.

"They've left easy enough tracks, like they do not expect to be followed." Sebastian says, looking at them. "It should be easy to find them."

It was closer than they realized, and it dawns on them that she had inadvertently set her camp right next to a slavers cave. It's worse than that, Fenris notices, there are signs of tevinter blood mages. She was captured by tevinter blood mages. The realization of what they could do to her hits him hard. He begins running further into the cave system, following the signs they so casually leave, without giving the rest of the party a reason for his sudden panic.

They do not ask, knowing he must have seen something they had not, and follow as they can. He knows these caves better than they do, and they do not wish to get lost in them. Fenris stops just as quickly as he had started. There's the faintest sound, he almost isn't sure he's heard it. No one else can hear it, and so he repeats it back to them as best he can.

 

"Tajaes, ara banallen ane eirdelal. Bel ane syri ehn rosa sule eindral em. Y'ma dhru meral em: Ar dya tel har si jhaendrol, Myr as'an maer is'var'len'en eindral em."

"Maker, my enemies are abundant. Many are those who rise up against me. But my faith sustains me; I shall not fear the legion, Should they set themselves against me." Merrill says, translating.

 

"That's part of the chant of light." Cullen says in realization. "Fenris, do you know what direction that came from?"

 

"Ail si var melathen os si era'vun Melahn las car eirdalylaer em, Ar shor itha si u'vunen eil eolasa Na Lean varal." Fenris repeats the words he hears next, pinpointing the sound.

"In the long hours of the night When hope has abandoned me, I will see the stars and know Your Light remains." Merrill translates. "I think it's that way, Fenris."

 

The two agree, and head off in the direction they think the sound is coming from. The others soon begin to hear it too, followed by other voices.

 

"Ar ema harthal si lah, Ei sulahn ail si molaer, Si aelai os Na lah, Lahnal tuathe thena o' ral eral."

"What is she saying? You? Slave? Translate, or get her to shut up."

"I have heard the sound, A song in the stillness, The echo of Your voice, Calling creation to wake from its slumber."

 

"Thu ela shi cyrn ne? Ail si sesol os si maeryl, ail vun eil din, Ail si viane alasis mahn var vhenan, Isa sul ei silaimael sal'in?"

"How can we know You? In the turning of the seasons, in life and death, In the empty space where our hearts, Hunger for a forgotten face?"

 

"Ne ema virem shaerodi em, Dur si var mahn alan'en assan esayem ma dil. Ne ema rosem i'ma melahn ga em alin Ema thysajael em."

"You have walked beside me, Down the paths where a thousand arrows sought my flesh. You have stood with me when all others Have forsaken me."

 

"Ar ema rosem eisor i'Ne in ma shalasha, Eil savis ar ema mas i've'an tylol, banal Ela dana em aezaer Mar eirdaeli."

"I have faced armies With You as my shield, And though I bear scars beyond counting, nothing Can break me except Your absence."

 

"Is she actually reciting that Andrastian filth?"

"Melahn ar ema laim garahnen, Melahn ma inan thar em, Eil si rodhe os lan diana ma av'in, melahn'an, Ail si direl os ma vhenan, Ar ema si leanathe os tuathe."

"When I have lost all else, when my eyes fail me, And the taste of blood fills my mouth, then, In the pounding of my heart, I hear the glory of creation."

 

Thanks to Bellanaris and the slave that translates, the group is able to find the room she's in. No one needs time to register the blood that is everywhere, or the fact that there are several naked bodies hung up by their chained wrists. There is too much blood to tell which one is Bellanaris, or even if she's the only one that's alive. The tevinter mages realize they've been found, and retaliate...Still, the slave keeps on translating.

 

"Ne ema dan'lathem eri ar ema. Ne, ehn tuem alas'en tor os banal. Ar'an ane aron ail abelas, melys eil tae. En'an'sal'in galin ail var naslahnathe."

"You have grieved as I have. You, who made worlds out of nothing. We are alike in sorrow, sculptor and clay, Comforting each other in our art."

 

Sounds of magic and metal fill the air

 

"Tel dan'latha thys em, Tajaes os Eir. Savis galin nuva silaima ne, A'melin air holmem sule ma ga maer. Ar shor banal thysaji Ne, aelael ais ar thysaer ara'lan."

"Do not grieve for me, Maker of All. Though all others may forget You, Your name is etched into my every step. I will not forsake You, even if I forget myself."

 

"Tajaes, savis si bane ena tarsul em, Ar dya ematha si lean. Ar dya tarasyldear si tarasyl'nin. Ar dya suledin. Ahn Ne ema ajuem, telin ela dana sasha."

"Maker, though the darkness comes upon me, I shall embrace the Light. I shall weather the storm. I shall endure. What you have created, no one can tear asunder."

 

"Ehn eolasa em eir ne pai? Ne ema shael tamahn moli i've ma she'ala syl. Ne ema elitha em melahn din alin wul vaelyndroji ma sal'in. Ne valla si tadaeli os ma vhenan."

"Who knows me as You do? You have been there since before my first breath. You have seen me when no other would recognize my face. You composed the cadence of my heart."

 

There are only three mages left, but it seems Bellanaris's blood is more potent than they realized. It looks as if they are drunk on it. They fight like mad men, but each verse she speaks rattles them more, and the mages falter. It is the moment Fenris has been waiting for, a weak moment in their movements.

 

"Ove telitha manras, ar tos, Ei maes targen, si mestor dialem ail manras, si veth, Uthaanel mah dur ma shosaan, Si tajaes air si ter sai asahn ar tolema."

"Through blinding mist, I climb, A sheer cliff, the summit shrouded in fog, the base, Endlessly far beneath my feet, The Maker is the rock to which I cling."

 

"Ar tela itha si vir. Vaesar tamahn air sasha eirdeir. Temal, Ar ven mir, Ail bane vilem."

"I cannot see the path. Perhaps there is only abyss. Trembling, I step forward, In darkness enveloped."

 

"Savis ga i've em air banal'ras, Tath dya si Tajaes shi ma ghi'lan. Ar mar banal shi varem shia si laimen ven os si I've'an, Thys tamahn air din bane ail si Tajaes tarasyldear. Eil banal ra Is ema tuem dya ea laim."

"Though all before me is shadow, Yet shall the Maker be my guide. I shall not be left to wander the drifting roads of the Beyond. For there is no darkness in the Maker's Light, And nothing that He has wrought shall be lost."

 

"Ir'n banal sasha. Savis, Eir ar laia ol si vir, I ma inan dianem, or ar itha, Si Tarasyldear air amahn."

"I am not alone. Even, As I stumble on the path, With my eyes closed, yet I see, The Light is here."

 

When the fight is over, they begin searching through the hung bodies for her. There are so many, that even with her talking, it is a difficult task. Bloody and broken bodies hung like they were at a butchers. When they do finally come upon her, it is a heartbreaking sight. She has tiny lyrium lines all over her naked body, almost as if made of the finest spun silver, and blood covers her. Fenris can not bring himself to speak, can only cry silently as they search for a way to cut her down, and still she chants as though she is not aware of them.

 

"Vera nar fel'el syl, ma falon'en. Sura si I've'an'aria eil si I've'an eil eir si u'venen ail si tarasyla. Ha'mi'in eir si Tajae's vol da'lav, Eil ea Lanasten."

"Draw your last breath, my friends. Cross the Veil and the Fade and all the stars in the sky. Rest at the Maker's right hand, And be Forgiven."

 

"What is your name?" Anders asks the translator.

"Renan." The young boy replies.

"Is there a blanket around? We will need something to cover her when we take her back to Kirkwall." Sebastian asks.

"Yes, I'll get it, straight away." The boy was gone in a flash.

"Cullen, can you-?" Varric asks, looking at the cuffs she's hung by.

"I think so." Cullen replies. "I'm sorry, Hawke. This might hurt."

They have her down and unchained within moments. The boy brings the blanket back for them to wrap her up in and waits. Varric quietly tells him where to go, as Fenris and Aveline wrap her up in the blanket, and soon the boy is racing off for Kirkwall. Fenris has yet to say a word, holding her as if she were the only thing keeping him grounded. As it is, she is the only thing keeping him from shaking. He picks her up, and they begin making their way back to Kirkwall.

"Wolf, are you alright?" Varric asked, tentatively.

"Hey." She smiles weakly. "If it isn't the paragon of manliness come to save my ass. How's Bianca?"

"Sit'n pretty, as always, Wolf." Varric replied, trying to keep his voice from telling her how serious he thinks her injures are.

"How's your memory so far?" Anders asked, knowing that is what has Fenris in the state he's in. Even he can not grasp the depths of his despair of this.

"I think everything's still here. They didn't have enough lyrium to do the job right, they said. They were going to send for more. I can't see anyone, you know. They did a number on my face, so my eyes are all swoll shut. Who's here?" She asks, leaning against the one who's holding her.

"I didn't know you knew any of the chant of light, Hawke." Sebastian teased, trying to keep her light banter going.

"Well, when you repeat it so many times, I guess some of it was bound to get stuck. Did you get a good look, chantry boy? I know my face has to be a wreck, but I'm vain enough to say I'm still a beauty, and you aren't bound by chantry vows anymore you know. You could have peeked. I'm told the hero is always suppose to peek. Then again, that's according to Varric's books, and we all know what happens in those." She teased back. "Someone tell me, how bad is he blushing right now?"

"He looks like a strawberry!" Merrill squealed with delight.

"That's nothing. You should see the blush the Knight Captain over here is sporting." Isabella chimed in, "Carver is looking anywhere else really."

"No one wants to see their sister naked!" Carver huffed.

"I assume Aveline is here. How was your two week honeymoon trip to Orlais with Donnic?" Bellanaris asked. "You never did tell me…before I...kinda went...ya know...off the deep end."

"You're right, I didn't." Aveline said, with a light heart.

"Oh, I see. Good for you then. You sound happy." Bellanaris said, as happily as she could manage. The pain was still pretty bad.

"It should interest you to know that our chantry brother here is no longer wearing Andraste's face on his crotch." Anders announced. He didn't embarrass people often, but keeping Bellanaris in a good mood would distract her hopefully long enough to get her home and healed.

"No." She pretended to gasp in shock. "You don't mean..."

"I do mean..." Anders replied, with a straight face though she could not see it.

"Isabella finally got to him?" She asked, with a giggle.

"Even better...Merrill." He replied, knowing she could hear his grin somehow.

"Well, I'll be damned. Who won the bet for that? Did we even have a bet on that? I was so sure it would be Carver." Bellanaris mused. "Isabella, you've already asked if they would share, haven't you?"

"I did, but it seems no one understands the importance of sharing anymore. Sharing is caring. I was thinking you could finally divulge the ultimate secret...The colour of Fenris's small clothes." Isabella replied, jovial as always.

"Oh..." Suddenly Bellanaris became very quiet and sullen. "I don't know, Isabella...I don't think Fenris wants to see me anymore..."

"Don't say things like that, Hawke. Of course he does." Isabella said, soothingly.

"Why would he?...I'm just a mage....You weren't there Isabella...You didn't hear what he said..." Bellanaris said, unable to hold back her tears. The arms around her gripped her tightly in comfort. "How could he say something like that, something so awful, and still want to be with me?"

"Well, he looks plenty apologetic to me." Merril announced. "He's got the sad puppy eyes and everything, crying as he's been. Carrying you is probably the only thing keeping him from falling apart at the seams."

"Thanks for that, Merrill." Fenris manages to say, his voice raspy and uneven.

"You're welcome, Fenris." She says, happy to help. Sebastian whispers something, and then Merril replies. "Oh, did he not want me to say anything? Oh, my apologies then. That's not Fenris at all. No…that's someone who sounds almost just like Fenris…really…and…and…I'm just going to stop talking now."

"Fenris...?" Bellanaris says his name, but it feels more like a question than anything.

"I never wanted…this shouldn't have…I should have been there…I should have followed…Bellanaris, I'd give anything…" He tried to say. "Please…please stay…"

"Place her on the bed here, Fenris, and I'll get started. Hopefully there isn't enough lyrium in her skin to counteract my magic like yours does." Anders says. "I'll need fresh water, clothes, anything you can find. Bodahn? Sandal? Think you can help me?"


 

Fenris P.O.V.

 

Fenris brings back rags for Anders to use. Following him is Bodahn, Sandal, Orana, and Renan with more supplies. He sits beside the bed as Anders works. The list of injuries she has sustained is long, most due to her backing herself into a corner before she disappeared. There is nothing Anders can do to get rid of the lyrium lines. They had both hoped.

Bellanaris falls unconscious, some time during all of this, and they have no idea if her memory will stay intact when she wakes up. He has never been one to pray to the Maker, even with Sebastian to talk to, but he does now. Revenge? Freedom? What did those things matter if the woman he loved was not around to share in those things with him?

It all hits him in that moment, everything he's been trying to put into words since that first night in the Hanged Man. It never mattered that he felt he didn't deserve her, the feelings were there all the same. She had never given him any reason to think she would fall for those pompous fools that called themselves nobles. In his eyes, she was what nobility should try to be. He had thought the words too complicated, that he would need some great declaration or even to rebuild the mansion. He needed none of those things. She had put no conditions forth for him to meet in that way.

"Fenris, I'm going to need you to step outside for a moment. Actually, I will need everyone except for Orana to leave the room." Anders announced. "There are too many people in here, and I need hands to help."

"Come on, Messere. We can get you freshened up while the healer does his work. Serah Hawke will be alright, Fenris." Bodahn stated, gently. He let the dwarf lead him from the room.

"Anders…" Fenris says as he stops at the door. "If you need lyrium…send for me…If it will help Bellanaris…we can try it." Anders only nods, and Fenris leaves with the others.

When he gets to the sitting room, he is greeted by several waiting pairs of eyes. All the friends that came with him to find her, all wanting to know how she's doing. He has no answers for them, just that Anders will do what he can for her. Bodahn gets him things to freshen up, and though he will not admit to feeling better, it does help him to clear his mind and put things into better perspective. He sits, and waits with everyone else.

"Broody…that face you're making isn't just about finding her like that, is it?" Varric asks, already sensing the change in Fenris's mind.

"The process I went through…having these put on me. I never told Bellanaris the full extent of what it was like getting them. She never asked me for that story, never wanting me to share more than I was ready to give, and I hid behind that fact. Now, she doesn't have to ask. She knows, Varric. I never wanted her to have to know that, to have everything ripped from her…" Fenris said, looking down at his hands. "My first memory is getting them, the pain as they were burnt into me. I can't even remember what my name was before…If she can't…if she's gone…Varric, I can't…I can't lose her."

"She'll pull through, Fenris, I know my girl." Isabella said, sitting near them. "She doesn't know how not to."

"But…will she be Bellanaris?…Or the shell that I was?" Fenris asked, half hoping she would really know. "This is something I would not wish on anyone…especially not her."

"Will you stay if she isn't?" Merril asked, worriedly. Fenris snaps his head up. "Fenris…if she isn't your Bellanaris when she wakes up, she will need you more than ever. With you, there was no one to tell you who you had been before. For her, there may be all of us, but she will need you to help her find her way back."

"To leave?…I can't…I can't even think it." Fenris replies, shaking his head.

"Good." Aveline said, firmly. "I have to get back home. Donnic will want to know how she's doing, and after today…I need to get back." Fenris nods in understanding.

"She's tough, my sister. No matter what, she'll be fine. Just stick around, alright? I can't think of anyone better." Carver stated, getting up to leave. Fenris could only look up at him.

"Was that Carvers way of giving his consent, you think?" Varric asked, looking to Isabella, once Carver is gone.

"Sounds like, why? What are you thinking, Varric?" Isabella asked, eyeing him suspiciously.

"You two calm down, before you start another betting ring." Sebastian stated. "I don't think Fenris could handle it right now."

"Consent for what?" Fenris asked, not quite getting it. "We have never needed his consent."

"Fenris, part of a protective brothers responsibility…is to give his consent to the one he deems worthy…" Sebastian tried to explain, seeing where this was going now. "It's not that you need his consent…it's just a nicety."

"You've avoided the question. Consent for what?" Fenris asks, now set on getting the answer.

"Think, Broody. Why does it bother you so much when the nobles try for her?" Varric asks, looking at Fenris. The elf frowns, as he tries to think on this. "What are they trying to do? What is their goal for her? Exactly what are they trying for?"

"They want to…they want…they…" His eyes widen as it suddenly dawns on Fenris what they are trying to say, just what consent Carver has given him. He leans over suddenly, resting his head in his hands. "I still haven't told her how I…I need to tell her…Varric, I…I need her to be okay…I can't think beyond that now…"

"Messere Fenris?" Orana calls out, looking downstairs to the group. "Messere Anders asked me to send for you."

Fenris is walking up the stairs before she has finished speaking, and she leads him back to the room.

"Do you need to use my lyrium? Will it help her?" Fenris asks, worriedly, as he entered the room.

"No, Fenris. I've done what I can, I'm just a bit tired out. Even Justice is questioning why she chose not to take care of herself a bit before the beach, and you know how he gets. 'We can rest when we're dead'." Anders said, sitting in one of the chairs by the desk.

"How is she? Is she alright?" Fenris asked, taking a chair beside the bed.

"She'll be fine. She's never needed lyrium before, so I don't know how her body will handle having a constant supply of it, even if it's just that little bit. There's no way to tell if her memories are still there till she wakes up again, or if she'll be in constant pain the way you had been." Anders answered, going through the various questions Fenris would have asked anyway. "There is so much I don't understand about her now, if I ever really did in the first place."

"Bellanaris is like that, I think. Just when I think I know something, she turns the tide on me, and I have to relearn everything." Fenris replied, in understanding.

"She's the most powerful mage I've ever run across, but when I first met her she hid her magic from the world. I thought it was such a waste…There was a weapon strong enough to turn back the tide for the mages on her own, and she wouldn't fight for them with it…No wonder she did not open up to me." Anders mused, as they sat there. "Your speech got me to thinking, you know…the things she said…person first, mage second…more than a tool or a weapon…friend though she has always been, even I did not want to see what she meant…that in a way, both Justice and I were as bad as the templars…wanting to use her and her magic as a weapon. You want to know something? You were the only one of us to literally share a secret to get her to reveal one of her own…No wonder it was you who made her feel comfortable enough with her magic."

"I'm still not sure how I did that. You heard that puff story she told, I attacked her for helping me the second I saw that she was a mage…It didn't matter that she'd just helped me, or that she continued to defend me even when she sensed my intentions…and then…The more I hung around everyone, the more I began to wonder…what my life would have been like had the mages I had known before behaved the way she does. Would I still have been a slave? Would I even have these markings? I fought her, questioned every decision she ever made, and then the strangest thing happened. I realized I'd begun to trust a mage. Stranger still, I held a mages' trust and respect…but…After what I said, how can she ever trust me again? What if it's worse when Danarius shows up? What if I end up going into a blind rage and killing her too?" Fenris could not fathom a world where she trusted him now.

"Fenris, you were speaking from a place of extreme anger, a place you thought you had locked away forever…Despite what you're thinking…surely you must know by now that she loves you. She went to you for help to find her mother, even then." Anders explained, sympathetically. Fenris just looked at him curiously. "In the Circle, showing you loved someone meant giving the Templars even more power over you. They knew there was something you couldn't stand to lose. Accidental babies aren't allowed to stay with their mothers, but are given to the chantry at birth. I envy you, you know. To see her fall in love with you so openly as she has, without fear or shame…I'd give anything to have someone look at me the way I've seen her look at you."

"As a slave, I never dreamed of such things…never hoped beyond what Danarius wanted…and when I managed to dream of escape, there was only running." Fenris said, lost in thought as he brushed the hair from Bellanaris's face. "She gave me a reason not to run…The day I met her, the day I met all of you, she walks up to me like it was nothing to walk through so many soldiers…She simply said, 'Even demons run when there's a wolf at the door', turns into that giant black wolf, and attacks everyone in sight…(Anders chuckles at that.) I think…I think I've loved her since the moment I first laid eyes on her. I just didn't recognize the emotion for what it was, too angry to see it, and when I did…I felt unworthy of her.

She's shown me things I never realized I wanted. I may never get the chance to tell her now, and Varric...By the Void, he keeps talking about broody babies, and all I can think about is what Bellanaris would be like as a mother…To have children?…that's just one more thing to make me panic because I never thought to hope for it, never thought there was a possibility it was something I could have…to be a fatherThey talk about it as though it were inevitable.

I've never been able to see myself as a free man, but that's how Bellanaris has always seen me…What if I can't live up to that? What if I end up ruining everything?…Did you know…? Before I come up here, Carver gave his consent or something…at least that's what the others said it was…I bet you anything, they're down there right now placing bets on how long it takes me…"

Suddenly, Anders can't stop laughing, even as he says. "You really don't have the temperament for a slave, you know. How in Thedas did they manage to keep you so long?"

Chapter Text

Chapter 8

 

Anders P.O.V.

He can't believe his ears, as he listens to Fenris practically confess everything about his feelings towards Bellanaris. Fenris has never called her Hawke like the rest of them did. Even Anders, for all that he had wished of it, never dared to call her by her first name. It was something she had never given to the rest of them to use. When Anders stopped laughing, he left the two alone and went downstairs. He had a sneaking suspicion that Fenris was right about the whole betting thing, and for once Anders wanted to place his bet early.

"What's with you, Blondie?" Varric asked, as he walked down the stairs.

"Oh nothing, just Fenris confessing his feelings for Bellanaris to me. Speaking of which, I need to place a bet." Anders replied, jovial for once.

"Makers breath, do you lot always place bets on each other like this?" Cullen asked, rubbing the back of his neck.

"Stick around us long enough, we'll start placing bets on you, sweet thing." Isabella purred suggestively, causing Cullen to blush more.

"So what's the bet?" Varric asked, book already out.

"Quick question, have you all started betting on when he'll ask her to marry him?" Anders asked. When Varric gave him a shocked stare, he continued. "He started rambling about broody babies…and Carver giving consent. I just kind of lost it, and started laughing my way down here."

"I see, so the bets are as followed. I've got 5 on another catastrophe happening before he works up the nerve to ask her that. Rivaini has 3 on Wolf asking him to move in with her before he asks her to marry him. Chantry boy has 6 on the old master showing up before Fenris asks, and Daisy has 4 on Wolf asking Fenris to marry her first."

"That does sound like her." Anders chuckles. "I'll throw in 5 that he'll start looking for a ring within the week."

"That's a very specific bet." Sebastian commented.

"He was rambling quite a lot about everything you all said, you know." Anders said, grinning. "Something along the lines of how he never realized he wanted something so much."

"So, have you all placed bets on the mage school or her overthrowing Meredith with me, or has she not mentioned that yet?" Cullen asks, too curious to keep it to himself.

"Wait, what now?" Anders and Sebastian asked, completely shocked.

"Meredith has been getting unreasonable. She's always been harsh, but lately she's been getting worse. The tighter she squeezes, the more the mages rebel. The more they rebel, the tighter she squeezes. If something doesn't change, and soon, we're going to have a huge problem. I've had my problems with mages, what with the Fereldan Circle and all that, but this is ridiculous. She's seeing blood magic where there is none." Cullen replied, and mentally made a note of how easy it was to talk to Anders. All things considering, it should not be so, and yet there was Hawke. "After the incident with the recruits, Hawke came to me with her concerns and ideas. Her concerns, I share. Her ideas, I had never considered, but I have to admit they are sound. She wants to completely restructure the Kirkwall Circle, make it more of a school. Mages would no longer be taken from their families. They'd be able to go home, live normal lives. She's shown me the plans, outline curriculum, inviting hedge mages to teach if they wanted, everything. It would become a model for the other Circles to follow. It could work. I'm planning to go to the divine with it soon."

"Curly, you've been holding out on us!" Varric exclaimed, now impressed. "This is a betting gold mine!"

"You'd better hold to your word, Knight Captain." Anders warned, the way a big brother would. "She'll never forgive you if you don't. She lit my ass on fire just for opening the wrong door."


 

Hawke P.O.V.

She was aware of a hand holding her own, that she was in a bed, and that there was a breeze coming from the left side of the room. When her eyes opened, the one holding her hand looked up suddenly. He did not seem to be able to speak, his voice caught in his throat. It was like he was waiting for some kind of sign. She did not know what to tell him, and she sat there in silence as she tried to let the events wash over her.

There is something about him that calls to her, though she can't seem to remember what it is. His dark skin and striking white hair tell her that he is from somewhere very different than her home, if she could just remember where that was. He seems to have the same markings as her though, and as strange as that is, it is comforting in its own way. His eyes practically pull at her, calling her to remember something important. She turned things over in her mind, trying to find something to say.

"How long have I been out?" She asked. That seemed like a safe question.

"Only an hour. Anders was able to heal most of the wounds…including some of the ones from months ago. He said even Justice was worried for you, that you hadn't been taking care of yourself like you should." He answered, his voice hesitant. "What…what do you remember? Anything?"

"It's a little fuzzy…I remember…bits and pieces right now…like part of my mind is still asleep…" She replied, not really sure what to tell him.

Suddenly a blonde man walks into the room, and she tries to back away in alarm.

"Bellanaris, this is Anders...he healed you." The Elf states, a pained expression on his face. "He's our friend."

"He is…he has…a spirit…Justice?…Anders?" She is a bit panicked, but tries to calm down.

"Her memories?" Anders asked, hesitantly. She can tell that Anders is trying not to give away how hurt she had made him with her reaction to him entering the room, and she frowns.

"Not sure yet." The Elven man barely manages to say it.

She feels as if she is the cause for his sadness, and does not know a way to fix it. So she reaches out, and caresses his face, trying to comfort him. It seems to both help and hurt, as his eyes begin to tear up even as he holds her hand on his face. They are a deep forest green, and she knows she's looked into them before.

"At least her heart is still intact. Even if her memory is gone, she has an instinct to comfort you. That is a good sign." Anders states. "Maybe her memories will return to her soon. She was just joking with us an hour ago."

"I was?" She asks.

"Yes, Hawke, you were." Anders answers, and she frowns. "If it's alright, I'll send some of the others in one at a time. Maybe it will help."

When he leaves, she looks to the elf. "Please don't cry… I'm sorry things are still fuzzy right now. I don't mean to hurt anyone. It will get better, I promise…Why do you call me Bellanaris, but he calls me Hawke?"

"I'm the only one you seem to let call you by your first name. Hawke is your family name." It was still difficult for him to speak, but he tried.

"Your eyes…such a beautiful forest green…I don't understand…Why do they feel like home?" She asks. "I've looked into them before. I know them…Why can't I remember?"

He is shocked to hear such a confession from her so soon, and does not know how to answer her without making it seem like he expects things.

"Hello, Hawke. Fancy meeting you here." The young elven girl said, as she entered the room. "Pai ne sila em?" Do you remember me?

"Ir abelas, ma falon." I am sorry, my friend. Hawke looks to the man still holding her hand, her eyes filled with worry.

"Tel'telsila. Ne shor." Do not worry, you will. The young elven woman replied. "I'm Merril."

"You've kept your promise." Hawke said suddenly. "No blood magic."

"That's right. It's not been easy, but I made a promise to myself to do better." Merril said, and then she left to let one of the others in.

This time, a saucy looking pirate woman saunters into the room. "Hey Hawke. What's the colour of Fenris's small clothes?" She asked, innocently enough.

"Don't tell him I told you, but he doesn't wear any. That's why you can never guess what colour they are." Hawke laughed, mischievously, then frowned. "Oh, dear…I have a feeling I wasn't suppose to tell you that, like it's privileged information…for my eyes only."

"Oh, Hawke, you are a treasure. My name is Isabella…"

"Formerly Captain Isabella, but sadly without a ship the title rings a bit hollow at the moment… Isabella!" Hawke cried out happily.

"It's good to know your memory is coming back a little at a time, at least." Fenris said, trying not to look embarrassed, pink tinging his ears.

When Isabella leaves, she turns to him. "You're Fenris?! Why did I tell her that? Why didn't you stop me? I'm so sorry, I didn't mean to tell her something so private!…Wait…you, and I…we…are we…?"

Before she can finish her question, a dwarf comes into the room. "Wolf, good to see you awake at least. We have a few bets going on, want in?"

"That depends. You finally going to let me touch the chest hair? I need something to hold over her now that she's tricked me." She said, and cocks her head to the side, trying to figure out why she's said that, when he starts laughing.

"Don't worry, Wolf. My money's always on you." He said, when he quieted down. "Thanks for settling that bet about the small clothes there, Broody."

"Who won?" Hawke asked.

"Oddly enough? Aveline. She'll die of embarrassment when I tell her too." Varric said, with a chuckle. "I'll leave you kids alone for a bit."

"Fenris?" She asks, tentatively.

"Yes, Bellanaris?" He replies.

"When this next person leaves…and if I still don't have all my memories back…Can you tell me how we met?" Hawke asked, softly. "I think it might help."

"Of course." Fenris agrees. She sees that it is difficult for him to see her like this.

"Hawke? They tell me you're having small memory flashes when you see each of us. That's wonderful. The Maker truly smiles upon you." The heavily accented man says, as he enters the room.

"Well well, it's about time someone finally managed to pry you out of your armour. Who was it?" Hawke asked, teasingly. Sebastian blushes. Then she has another memory flash. "Merril! Oh, Sebastian, I'm happy for you both. I bet Isabella's sad, though don't let that fool you. She's probably just sad you aren't into sharing."

"Have you remembered anything about Fenris?" He asked, politely, trying not to blush.

"A little, but at the same time it feels like I'm blocking myself…why would I do that?…What happened before? Was it something bad?" She replied, wondering about it all. She looks down, and mumbles. "Why can't I remember?"

"Well, no matter what happens now, know that we are all here for you." Sebastian stated, and quietly exited the room.

Fenris proceeded to lock the door behind him, which made her giggle. It seemed to cheer him up, and her heart beats a bit faster when she realizes he loves her laugh. He sits down in the chair next to the bed, and proceeds to tell her the story of how they met. He describes how he sees her as she walks down the stairs to meet him. The way he describes her makes it sound as if it were one of those 'at first sight' deals, but he has not said those words to her. He tells of how she strolls through the soldiers as if they are nothing.

Something in the way he describes how she looks at him, also makes her think that maybe she loves him from first sight too. Even demons run when there's a wolf at the door. She said that? Just how much bluffing could one person pull off in a day? From the story she learns that she is a shape shifter, and a mage. She wonders what changed to convince him to trust her, when he tells her of his reaction to what she was. His life before would not have allowed for such immediate trust, so what did she do that made him trust her?

"You helped me anyway. You waded through blood magic and demons, simply because you wanted to help me. I didn't understand it at first, having never met a mage quite like you before." Fenris said, as if answering her. "From then on, you and I began a sort of tradition between the two of us. Secret for secret, story for story. It grew from there…you became my friend…and then one day you became more than my friend…and then I messed up. My past caught up to me, and I panicked…shoved you away…said things I shouldn't have, and you ran..."

"May she rot, and all other mages with her." Hawke whispered quietly.

"Yes…I said that in anger…Afterwords, you ran…We're told you did great things, but you had also started running yourself into the ground to achieve those great things. I never got the chance to apologize for my words, and I decided to restore my residence as an apology gift to you." Fenris admitted. "It was a horrible idea."

"Was it that bad?" She asked, curious.

"Dead bodies everywhere, the building was dilapidated. Giant spiders." She giggles at that. Fenris grins. "I think I found an ogre sleeping in the bedroom once."

"That would be quite the problem, I hear they snore something terrible." She said, laughing, and then quietened down. "Fenris?…What if I don't remember?…What if I never remember?…Are you sure?…Will you still want me-"


 

Fenris P.O.V.

Unable to stop himself anymore, he kisses her. He feels her melt into the kiss, and knows that even now she can still read his gestures.

"Never think that I do not want you, Bellanaris." He stated, resting his forehead against her own. "If you are never able to remember, we will just have to start over. A fresh start isn't always a bad thing."

"You sure know how to smooth talk a girl." She mutters sheepishly.

"I will take that as a compliment, I think." Fenris says, chuckling. "You need your rest."

He goes to leave, but a voice pulls him back.

"Fenris? Will you stay with me tonight? I don't want to be by myself…I promise I won't steal all the covers." She adds that last part like it's an enticement.

"Promise me they won't all end up at the foot of the bed, and you have a deal." He grins, making his way back to the bed.

He wakes up sometime in the middle of the night, and discovers Bellanaris mumbling in her sleep. If she did it before, he had always slept through it, and for a moment he could not help but gaze upon her now. Whatever her dream was, she was happy. She laughed from time to time, and he smiled in spite of himself. Her laughter has always been like music to him. It seemed though, that her dream was not to remain a happy one.

"Father?…Bethany?…Mother?" She mumbled, her eyes beginning to water. "Gimme hugs…I miss you…I'm sorry…my fault…I couldn't…I should've…was my job…I was to…" She starts crying in her sleep, and all he can think to do is hold her closer to him. She calms down a little, still asleep.

It is all Fenris can do to keep from waking her up now, and telling her everything, though he stays still and holds her close to him till she calms down completely. If she is herself in the Fade, then there was hope she would return to him. An idea suddenly occurred to him, and it will not leave him be till he acts on it. Fenris almost laughs at the irony that he is about to ask for help from a blood mage and a chantry brother at the same time, as he makes his way out of the room.


 

Merril x Sebastian P.O.V

The day had been a long one, but she was glad to have her friend back safe and sound. Hawke's grasp of the language was intact, if not her memories. Anders had commented on how Hawke immediately went to comfort Fenris when she saw his sadness, so that meant that her heart was intact as well. She thought about these things as she readied herself for bed. Fenris had looked out of sorts the whole day. She could only imagine the guilt he must be feeling, the worry he must be going through as only he knew what it was like receiving the markings Hawke now shared with him.

"Come to bed, love." Sebastian said, softly. "There is nothing more you can do for them now."

She knew he was right and smiled at him, but still she worried for them. There was a soft knock on the door. With everyone supposedly asleep, neither could imagine who it would be. They doubted Anders would be knocking on anyone's door ever again after what happened before the expedition. When Merril opened the door, she was more than a little surprised to see Fenris standing there.

"Fenris? Is everything alright?" Merril asked, concerned. He did have the strangest look on his face just now, and his ears were tinged with pink.

"May I speak with you and Sebastian, please?" He asked. Now she was sure of it, he was embarrassed! But why? "I need advice. It's important."

"Of course, ma falon, come in." She replied, in earnest, as she opened the door wider to let him in.

"Fenris, what do you need? With everything that's happened, I can not begin to imagine what you're going through." Sebastian commented, concern etched in his face.

Fenris sat down in one of the chairs, and was quiet. From the looks of things, he tried several times to say something but seemed unable to actually say it. Both Merril and Sebastian were now severely concerned for their friend. Whatever it was had him embarrassed that he needed help, and flustered as to how to go about saying what he needed. After about a minute of this, Sebastian tried something else. This was not his first confession, and that was beginning to look like what Fenris needed at the moment.

"What ever it is, you know you can tell us, Fenris. We are your friends. This has been a trying day for everyone, you more so than the rest of us." He stated, hoping that would get him to open up.

Fenris took a deep breath, leveled the most serious look Sebastian has ever seen him give, and asked. "How did you tell Merrill you loved her?"

Sebastian's mouth just sort of fell open, and his face instantly turned three shades redder than it was before. That was not the sort of question he had ever expected Fenris to ask him. He was use to the others outright asking him things like that, or teasing him in general, but Fenris had never bothered really. The fact that he would come to him at all meant that the matter was a serious one to him, as was anything Fenris set his mind on. So he did not laugh, but instead tried to get him to open up more about why he would ask the question.

"Fenris, that's -" Sebastian began.

"Adorable!" Merril cooed happily, interrupting and derailing his plans completely. "Oh, I'm always happy to be wrong about a bet."

"I'm sorry?" Both Fenris and Sebastian asked, confused.

"Fenris is here to ask us for advice on how to tell Hawke he loves her." Merril replied, sweetly. " Did you really have to wait for a catastrophe though? Sunny days are quite lovely too."

"It's uncanny how you can do that, and at the same time need a ball of twine in order to navigate the city." Fenris replies, with a scowl, but his voice speaks of kindness. "Bellanaris was talking in her sleep. She remembers while she's in the Fade. I'm hoping it will stick, and she'll keep her memory when she wakes up."

"That's good news, Fenris!" Merril exclaimed, happy for her friend.

"How will me telling you how I told Merril I love her help you, Fenris?" Sebastian asked, curious.

"Cleaning the mansion was a terrible idea. Declarations like that have never mattered to her, I do not know why I ever thought it a good plan." Fenris explained. "I have been a slave for as long as I can remember. There are no experiences I have that cover this, but…Bellanaris has never seen me as a slave…as less than anyone else…I do not want to mess this up. I want to be worthy of her."

"There is no need for large declarations, or grand gestures, Fenris. Think small, simple. Sometimes those things are more romantic, more meaningful, than any grand gesture can ever hope to be." Sebastian suggested.

"I'm hoping for ideas on wording, Sebastian. Merril, do you think you can teach me a phrase in elvhen?" Fenris said, it dawning on the both of them why he asked for not one, but both their help.

"Lethal'lin, I would be honoured." Merril replied, and the three of them set about to working on what phrase to teach him.


 

Hawke's P.O.V.

She wakes up to find herself wrapped up in Fenris's arms. It's not quite how she remembered things ending the day before, but hey, she was willing to count it as a win. It had been so long since she'd been in his arms this way, that all she wanted was to stay there. The last thing she remembered was making fun of Sebastian for seeing her naked. Hawke opened her eyes abruptly, remembering now. Fenris had carried her home! Merril mentioned him crying, and sad puppy eyes, and…and he had begged her to stay…Oh, Fenris! First thing's first, though, that man was going to get a piece of her mind.

"Fenris!" She cried out, angrily, jarring him awake instantly.

"Bellanaris? What happened? Are you alright?" He asked, with a start, worried as he begins checking her for injuries.

"Damn it, Fenris, I'm trying to be mad at you! Makers balls, you cut me deeper with nine words than any knife ever did. After everything we've been through, how could you say that to me?" Hawke growled at him, but all this made him do was hold her closer to him. "What are you doing? I'm trying to stay mad at you, damn it!"

"Bellanaris…you're you again…I was so afraid I'd never see you again…Please forgive me,…I never should have said those things." Fenris murmured as he held her to him. "I was angry, and I lashed out at the one person who's always tried to help me."

"Well this puts a damper on my 'be mad at Fenris' plans." She mumbles to herself. She looks up at him then. "What happened yesterday?"

"You went unconscious, and when you woke up, you couldn't remember much, just little bits…You told Isabella the secret of my small clothes, commented on Varric's chest hair, and still managed to make Sebastian blush." Fenris stated, softly. "A few of the group stayed to try and jog your memory, which helped I think…and then you…(he couldn't help but smile at the memory of it now)…You asked me to tell you the story of how we met..."

"That sounds like quite the day..." She replied, nonchalantly.

"It was." He agreed, then rested his forehead against her own with his eyes closed, he softy continued. "If you will be patient with me, I would like to try to say something. I'm afraid if I don't say it now, I might lose my nerve and never get the chance again."

"Alright..." She replied, cautiously, unsure of what he meant.

" Bellanaris, Ir abelas, ma vhenan…Ar lath ma, Bellanaris…Ne'emma lath, ma vhenan'ara." He spoke the words softly, hesitant as he made his way through them, but she could hear the emotions he was trying to convey. I'm sorry, my heart…I love you,…You are my love, my heart's desire.

"Fenris…do you know what you've said?" She asked, not quite able to believe her ears, her heart beating faster.

"Did I say the words right? I asked Merrill last night for help. She seemed to think I spoke the words well enough." Fenris replied, looking into her eyes now. "I'm sorry, my heart…I love you…You are my love, my heart's desire."

"Ma vhenan, Fenris, I've always known…You never needed to say anything…Ir 'nar." She wondered in the back of her mind if a face could break from smiling. "Is that why you were so distant before the caves, before Hadriana?"

"Most spout words as if they are nothing, but you are one for whom words hold weight…meaning." Fenris answered, going back to holding her again. "When the nobles tried for you…even in front of me…I…I did not feel worthy of you. I've wanted to say something for too long now, but I thought there should be some grand gesture on my part…So, I cleaned the mansion so that I could ask you…if you would…but I had no idea that while I was doing that…I should have gone after you at the caves…I should have realized the pain I'd put you in…I never meant..."

"Fenris..." Hawke tried to say, but Fenris shook his head.

"I need to say this,…ma vhenan. When I saw you like that, in chains hanging there with the lyrium lines new on you…everything came crashing down. What if you were never you again? What if I never got to tell you how I felt? What was my freedom without you to share it with? I don't care if I never set foot in that dead trophy of a mansion again, so long as I have you with me. You were the one that taught me that freedom did not have to mean being alone."

"Stay with me." She blurted out, before he could interrupt her.

"Always, Amatus." Fenris replied, sealing it with a kiss.

"No, I mean…Stay here…live with me…if you want." She amended, when he finally broke the kiss.

"You want me…to live here?" Fenris asked, looking surprised.

Fear gripped her as she realizes maybe this was too much at one time. He had only just now confessed his feelings to her, telling her that he loved her in several languages. She was fairly certain that Amatus meant something loving too, but she didn't speak Tevene. It had taken him a while to even come to terms with his emotions, and here she was catapulting things beyond what he could handle at the moment. Since coming to Kirkwall, Fenris had grown an independent streak a mile wide. He would not want to give up living on his own.


 

Fenris P.O.V.

He instantly realizes that she's afraid he'll say no, that it is too soon, but he can not bring himself to do it. He can only smile, and kiss her in hopes that she understands that words are stuck in his throat for the moment. He never thought she would want this for them. Her trembling ceases, but even so he can tell that she is cautious now. After everything that has happened, he is not surprised by it. He is only disappointed that he has caused this. He has a lot of work to do.

"If there is a future to be had, Bellanaris, I would walk into it gladly by your side. I was actually cleaning and repairing the mansion to ask you the same thing." Fenris states, easing more of her tensions. "It is strange. I never realized just how much stuff I had accumulated till I had to clean it all."

"That does tend to happen." Bellanaris said, with a laugh. "You should have seen us try to pack and leave Lothering."

"Listen, I need to take care of some things. I would appreciate it if you would take it easy today. Relax, have one of those bubble baths you love so much." Fenris stated, warmly.

"I think I can manage that." Bellanaris replies, stretching out.

"Good. I'll leave after breakfast, and I'll be back this evening with some things from my place." Fenris promised, giving her a quick kiss before leaving the room.

He made his way down the stairs, not surprised by what he saw waiting for him. Most of their strange group of friends had opted to stay the night, hoping for some sort of change in Bellanaris in the morning. The small smile he wore did not fade, and he noticed that even Anders had stayed behind for them. Only Varric was really awake, though Orana making breakfast would bring them out of sleep soon. It was the Dwarf he needed to talk to most anyway.

"I need you to sell the mansion for me." Fenris declares, as he takes a chair in front of him.

"No progress report?" Varric asked, an eyebrow raised, pretending to be put out. "I have my betting book out and everything."

"She remembers, Varric. I couldn't have hoped for a better miracle, except there was one." Fenris said, and waited till Varric looked like he was fit to burst with impatience. "I told her I love her. She loves me. She's asked me to move in. Now, how quickly can you sell that mansion?"

"Well that settles a few bets at least, even some of the ones made last night." Varric replied, as he began writing in his betting book. "Someone will be by to appraise the mansion later on today if you like. The repairs you've made to it should go a long way too."

"Also, I will need your help for something personal, if you can spare the time." Fenris hinted. He didn't know how much he could say with the others there, asleep though they were…supposedly.

"I already have eyes and ears out for Varania. You'll know when I know." Varric replied, still marking on things in his book.

"I hear from Donnic that you have excellent taste in jewelry." Fenris hinted again.

The dwarf was a little slow on the uptake today. He was normally much quicker about these things. Fenris was actually surprised that Varric hadn't caught on already. It took a few seconds for it to dawn on his friend what he meant. When it did, Fenris had to hold in his laughter as his friend looked like his eyes were about to come out of his skull.

"Fenris, if you're pulling my chain right now, Maker help you." Varric said, just barely above a whisper. That certainly got his attention, Fenris thought. "Are you sure? If you're not, Wolf will be devastated, and I'll have to kill you. I'd hate to have to kill a friend. Bianca doesn't like it when she gets all scratched up like that."

"I have already decided that whatever future I have, it is to be by her side. Now are you going to help me or not?" Fenris asks, standing up. "I'd like to get back here before breakfast. She's distracted by a bubble bath at the moment. That should buy us some time."

"You mean right now?" Varric asked, not believing his ears.

He was up and ready to leave within seconds, following Fenris out the door. They met Aveline and Donnic on the way there. The two had been on patrol, and thought they would swing by Hawke's to see how she was doing. There was an errand they had been asked to run by that way anyway. Aveline was thankful that her friend was doing well, and was ruefully embarrassed at learning in front of Fenris that she'd won the bet on his smalls. Donnic just laughed about the whole thing.

"So where are you two headed?" Donnic asked, trying to spare his wife any more embarrassment.

"Since you haven't had the chance to catch up on the betting, let me give you the run down." Varric obliged, and proceeded to explain everyone's bets to them, and added. "Anders is winning his right now."

"You mean...that's what this money you had us collect from his account is for?" Aveline asked, a far off look on her face as she smiles.

"Yep." Varric answered, grinning. "So, place your bets?"

"I'll go with 8 says a catastrophe, and the old master shows up first." Aveline said, handing him her coin. "That way I don't have to share with the others."

"When did you even have time to send for them, and what's with you lot and betting on catastrophes happening before I decide things?" Fenris asked, as they walked up to the dealers. He couldn't help but repeat Merril's words. "Sunny days are quite lovely too, you know."

"It's just that you like to take your time thinking things through, which is good, but life doesn't wait for you to make up your mind. Trouble has a way of following Hawke, so it only makes sense." Aveline replies.

"I hate that you're right." Fenris admitted, still smiling.


 

The shop owner watches them as they banter back and forth, meanwhile the elf is the one looking at the rings. He was not expecting that. Normally elves are not able to afford anything from his shop, but this elf did not look like the ones he normally saw on his travels. He recognized the dwarf Tethras, as being that one that skips the merchants guild meetings. Even if he hadn't recognized the woman, he recognized the uniform of the guard captain.

"I don't mean to intrude, but are you sure you can afford to buy from me? The items here are very expensive, and not everyone can." He asked, sounding as polite as he could. He noticed the way the guard captain frowned at him, and the Tethras fellow too, but the elf simply looked up at him in surprise having been lost in thought while the others bantered.

"That's a good question. Varric, you manage my money for me, will I be able to afford this?" The elf asks, with a deep frown, and proceeds to go back to looking at the rings.

"Broody, you could buy this mans shop and not notice the money was gone." Varric snickered. "Why do you think I sent that messenger to fetch Aveline to bring some of your gold?"

Wait a minute…A rich elf was almost unheard of…unless…The mention of Hawke, the Guard Captain being there, and then that Tethras fellow too. That could only mean…Oh shit. Oh shit. Oh shit! If this was who he thought it was, he has just potentially snubbed the richest customer he has ever had, and it was an elf!

"Wait…you must be the one they say carried Messere Hawke back to Kirkwall. I was told you fought alone through several dozen blood mages and their demons to rescue her." The shop owner said, realizing this must be him.

Everyone knew of the romance between Lady Hawke and the Elven Warrior. His wife was an avid follower of that particular set of stories, and would recite them as they fixed up the shop. This latest tale seemed almost too much to believe, but then again they usually were a bit fantastical. It was the romantic notion of star crossed lovers that held his wife's interest anyway, and he found that whatever made his wife happy made him happy. He would not tell her this, but he loved it when she brought home a new story to share.

"Varric, when did you even have the time to spin that?" The elf asked, looking to his friend. "It's only been a day!"

"It's not often Wolf is the one that needs rescuing. Did you really think I was going to pass that up?" Tethras asked, holding his hands up like he was claiming innocence.

"Do you have any other rings?" The elf asks, looking to the shop keep.

"I keep a few select items below." The shop owner replies, bringing up a smaller case.

"Fenris! That one." Tethras says. The ring he points to is white gold, with emeralds set in the shapes of a lotus blossom. It is one of the most expensive rings in his shop, able to cover several months bills easily. "That has Wolf written all over it."

"She does say green is her favorite colour." The elf replies, looking at the ring with approval. "Very well, I will take that one."

Varric counts the gold needed and hands it to the shop owner.

"I would wish you luck, but from the stories I hear, you aren't going to need it." The shop owner says, handing the elf the ring once he has placed it in a tiny velvet bag.


 

"Thank you all, and not a word of this to Bellanaris." Fenris says, as they reach the Amell estate, glad that they had bribed the shop owner not to breathe a word of this to anyone.

"You have our word." Aveline replies, just before Carver shows up.

"Have our word about what?" He asks.

"Varric, Aveline, one of you can tell him later. Right now, we have breakfast if you'll stay for it, and after that I have to go over to my place and pack a few things." Fenris stated.

He noticed it took Varric and the others much longer than it should to enter the house. Breakfast was in the process of being set up on the table. Bellanaris smiled at him warmly as he sat down beside her. The ring already felt like a weight in his pocket, but things were still too new for him to ask her now. The things that shop keep said made him wonder about the kinds of stories Varric had been telling about them. He resolved to find the answers at some point during the day.

Chapter Text

Chapter 9

Hawke's P.O.V.

After breakfast, Fenris left to pack some of his things. Carver and Aveline were in a corner of the room whispering too low for her to hear them. All things considering, that was quite the accomplishment. Orana was beginning to teach Renan the ways of the house. Isabella had stayed the night, but after she'd eaten breakfast, told her that she would be gone for a few days. She worried there was more to that than what Isabella felt she could tell her.

"I really messed up, didn't I?" She asked, looking down at her plate.

"What do you mean, Hawke? Did it not work? Did Fenris not tell you? Or did he pronounce the words wrong and say something silly?" Merril asked, sweetly. Her and Sebastian had remained behind for a bit, along with Anders.

"Everyone is on eggshells now. They aren't going to tell me their problems for a while, are they? I can't help them if they don't tell me what's wrong." Hawke stated, looking glum.

"The same thing could be said for you too." Anders replied, as he got another pancake.

"Alright, I deserved that." She agreed, meekly.

"Rest for a while. Our troubles can wait." Sebastian stated.

"I know, I just have this feeling something is terribly wrong. It's going to happen soon, whatever it is." Hawke mumbled. She noticed Anders shifting his gaze as if he felt guilty.

"So…do we get to hear how it all went? I'm dying to know. I bet it was romantic." Merrill said, sighing wistfully. Sebastian could only chuckle softly.

"That's a bet you'd win, Merrill." Hawke said, a small grin beginning to play across her face. "I fussed at him the moment I woke up, determined to be mad at him, but he was so happy that I had my memory back that I just couldn't do it. He apologized for everything, explained what happened after I passed out, and said all those beautiful things in both Elvhen and Trade. I asked him to live with me. Do either of you know what Amatus means? He called me that, but I don't speak Tevene."

"It means Beloved." Anders stated, with a grin. As much as he had wanted her for himself, he realized how much happier she was with Fenris. "He really went all out as far as confessions of love go, I see. Not surprising, really, considering how long he's been holding it in."

"You know Tevene, Anders?" Hawke asked, surprised.

"I've had to, where I lived in the Fereldan Circle, and it helps with what I'm researching." Anders replied, hoping to skate by on that.

"This wouldn't have anything to do with that bomb I told you was too dangerous to use, would it?" Hawke asked, feigning sweetness.

"It was, at first. I stopped looking into that after you talked to me about it, but…Hey, you almost tricked me into talking about my problems. You're suppose to be resting, you know." Anders answered, almost giving everything away.

"It won't hurt to talk about them. Besides, if you don't tell me, I'll just worry about it more till you do. Then I won't get any rest, which is what I'm supposed to be doing." She reasoned. At that point Anders looked like the game was up.

"She does have a point." Sebastian chuckled. "It's almost scary how she can reason things out like that."

"…I've been having blackouts. I think…maybe…Justice is doing things without my knowledge." Anders confessed. "I've been researching when I can."

"Anders, no…that isn't it. Justice is protective of you. This is something else, someone else." Hawke said, looking a bit far off. She leaned in close, sniffed around, and then looked at him in shock. "Someone has been messing with your magic!"

Anders looked beside himself.

"You can tell that by smell?" Sebastian asked, curiously. "Exactly how are you able to do that?"

"It's more disconcerting that someone is messing with his magic, dear." Merril stated, gently. "Though I wouldn't mind knowing about the smelling thing later."

"Thanks, Merrill." Hawke said, grateful for her friends rare tactful moment. She had forgotten that she had yet to share that particular bit of herself with the others. "Anders, I understand I'm not to do anything for today, but there is something I want you to do. Construct a timeline for me, if you would. What you remember before and after each blackout, and when they happened...or at least what day. Anything you can. Try and trace back to the first time you blacked out. Alright?"

"I can do that. How will that help?" Anders replied. She could see it in his eyes that he was glad she was back, really back.

"It will give me clues, such as what to look for before you black out if you're in my presence, maybe even figure out exactly who it is that is tampering with your magic, or at the very least how to stop them from doing so." Hawke stated. "There's not much else I can do right now, even if I wasn't ordered to rest."

"So…about that smelling thing?" Merril asked.

"Should have known she wouldn't forget that quickly. Barkspawn isn't here to distract her." Hawke said, while Anders snickered at her. "Alright, you two. I'll tell you, but afterwords you have to tell me how in Thedas you got him out of that armour of his. I bet Isabella died with envy."

"Not to mention that ridiculous belt buckle of his." Anders threw in.

"I know! Does this mean his bits were 'blessed by Andraste'?" Hawke asked, barely able to keep herself from laughing. She was silently shaking as it was. "I'd keep the belt buckle if it meant I could say that!"

Anders was laughing so hard he fell out of his seat and into the floor.

Now that Sebastian was wearing a bright red blushing, Hawke proceeded to retell the story of the deep roads. She only needed to get to the part where Anders had been a particularly spectacular ass, but she felt the need to include the speech that Fenris gave once he thought everyone was out of earshot. Sebastian was even more amazed, and quietly reflected on the strange mage who was his friend. Merril on the other hand was unusually concerned, claiming that Hawke was marked by Fen'harel.

"Merril, you don't really believe Fen'harel was the bad guy in all that mess do you?" Hawke asked, not even bothering to try to figure out the woman's ridiculous logic. "Look at it this way. Gods or not, they were putting the People in danger…into slavery. Locking them all away is exactly the sort of thing I'd have done, had I been in his place."

"I suppose it's silly of me to worry about such things, really." Merril relented, and then began grinning again in no time. "I still can't believe Fenris said all those things."

"Like I said to Varric, if I hadn't been there to witness it, I wouldn't believe it either. The man has a way with words, but it's like he bottles it up and saves it for really important moments." Hawke agreed.

"How long have you been able to turn into a wolf?" Sebastian asked, thoughtful in his approach.

"Well, before the blight hit, we were in Lothering. One day, a woman named Morrigan found us, said my magic called to her across the Fade; and that I needed to be trained by other hedge mages or else lose myself. One of the things she taught me was shape shifting, but only into a wolf. When I asked her about it, she said that form called to my spirit, and that it was the only form my spirit would accept." Hawke replied, with a thoughtful smile. "I had hoped for a dragon, but I suppose we can't have everything."

She couldn't help but think back on those years with fondness. Morrigan was a strange and wonderful woman, and Hawke found herself wondering what her crazy friend was doing after all these years. Now knowing that Flemeth was Morrigan's mother, it helped to shed light on past questions. Being raised by the equivalent of an elvhen god was no normal childhood. Hawke had always felt a strange kinship to the girl, many times running through the woods with a pack of wolves together.

"Well, I'd best be getting back to the clinic. There's no telling what's been going on in my absence." Anders said, getting up from the table. "Thank you for breakfast, Hawke. I'll let you know something as soon as I can, and please…try to rest. We still don't know what the added lyrium will do to you. If you notice anything that would cause alarm, you know where to find me."

When Anders was gone, Hawke turns back to Merril and Sebastian.

"Merrill, I need to tell you something. I've been thinking a lot about your promise, and while it is admirable, it is flawed." Hawke stated, holding her hand up, as both Merrill and Sebastian were about to object. "Let me finish. This promise is an absolute. Promises like these were practically designed to be broken. You need to know this. There will come a day when you will have to choose between keeping your promise, or breaking your promise to save the life of another. It's not that I think you'll go off the deep end as soon as you start throwing around blood magic, but you've had the time to think it through and know your limitations. You know that you need to be judicious in your dealings with such magic. Not everyone is wise enough to realize that, or to be able to handle it. I just want you to know that when that day comes, you have my trust. Considering all that blood magic itself has cost me, it is taking a lot to say that. You have my trust, Merril. Be careful with it."

"You make it sound as if it is a certainty, Hawke." Sebastian noted. He had seen her eyes gloss over, but she had spoken normally.

"Isn't it though? Things have been getting restless in Kirkwall, even before I dove off the deep end. Something is going to cause this whole city to come crumbling to the ground." Hawke replied. "I have a bad feeling about all of this, and I've come to trust those."

"You're starting to worry, Hawke. Save that for tomorrow." Merril stated, happily. "Besides, we did promise to tell you how the two of us got together in the first place, didn't we?"


 

Sebastian blushed a little, but at this point it was simply a reflex for him. The man was not innocent, but he had spent the better part of the last six years trying to repent for old ways. Now that he had finally found someone, he found himself torn between regretting all that time he'd wasted on frivolous unnamed lovers, and being glad that he had all that knowledge to pleasure the one he loved. The Maker truly worked in mysterious ways, he mused. The love he could not bare to lose came from an elven apostate, a primal mage that dabbled in blood magic no less.

She had caused him to reevaluate everything he thought about the Maker, the Chantry, and Mages in general. No longer was he a chantry brother, but he still volunteered much of his time to helping Elthina when he could. He watched as Merril told the story of how they came to realize their feelings for each other. It had started even before the expedition. A few kind words here, a bit of conversation there, talks of the Maker and the Creators shared.

It had been Isabella's teasing that had lit the fuse, and talks of that electricity trick. Before then, he had made it a point to subtly be in the line of fire for all of Isabella and Hawke's teasing, that way he would not be distracted by the one woman who he knew would never tease him. Merril was too pure a soul to toy with. She saw through things no other could see, and yet looked at the world in child like wonder.

 

After that day though, it had been unavoidable. They had started sharing bits of knowledge with each other, the excuses being that they didn't want to miss the others so much while they were gone, but the talks had continued even after Hawke and the others finally made it back. Neither of them were sure when the flirting had really started, but he could tell that Hawke was enjoying the story anyway. It was enough for Hawke to know that they had acknowledged how deeply they had fallen for each other even as she herself was falling into the abyss. Isabella had asked for too many intimate details.


 

Just then, Fenris and Varric come back in, arms loaded with things. Neither know where to put anything, and so it just gets piled into one of the corners for future inspection. Before either can go back for more things, Hawke calls them back. Sebastian and Merril both are blushing now, and Hawke suspects talks of their own future will commence when they are out of earshot. Varric knew better than to think she wouldn't worry about anything while they were gone, and belly laughs as soon as they make their way to her study.

"Pay up, Broody! She's worried already, I knew it." Varric declares, still laughing. Fenris begrudgingly hands over the coins.

"Oh, enough of that. I can't believe that was even going to be a bet. Worrying is a favorite pastime of mine." Hawke grins, mischievously. "So, who wants to bet on when things go to shit, and what causes it?"

"What are you on about now, Wolf?" Varric asks, making himself comfortable.

"Isabella's been dodgy, and not the fun 'let me feel you up' kind, the 'I don't want to look you in the eye, because I did something really bad.' kind. Aveline and Carver were grumbling about outlaws escaping to the Qunari. Someone is tampering with Ander's magic, and then causing blackouts to cover it up." Hawke replied. "Speaking of which, I made him laugh so hard, he fell into the floor."

"Will I regret asking how that happened?" Fenris asked, warily.

"I had asked about Merrill and Sebastian, when Anders remarked on the belt buckle." Hawke replied, her eyes alight with mischievous joy. "I may have put in a comment about Sebastian being able to say his bits were 'blessed by Andraste', and that I would keep the belt buckle if I got to say that."

By the time that she got through saying that, both Varric and Fenris were shaking so hard with laughter that they themselves almost fell into the floor laughing.

"I'll bet 10 the Qunari will take over the city. It is not a matter of if, but when, that will happen." Fenris stated, being the first to recover. His voice grave as he adds. "I've seen it enough to know."

"I'll go 5 that says we'll have to deal with Patrice again beforehand. She's been trying to push buttons since they got here." Hawke replied.

"Any takers on a naked mud wrestling match between Isabella and Aveline? I'd pay good money to see that." Varric asked, getting pointed glares from the others. "No? You lot are no fun. I think we could talk them into it."

"The only way you'd get Aveline to do that is if you got her piss poor drunk, took all her weapons, and then told her that Isabella was after Donnic's…honour." Hawke commented. "Isabella would do that shit sober."

"Don't give him any ideas." Fenris scowled, though only halfheartedly.

"Anyway, I'll go 8 that says Aveline will end up being the new Viscount after the shit hits the fan." Varric decided, after a moment.

"I still can't believe she's the one who guessed that." Fenris mumbled, pink tinging his ears. "Why in the void was there a bet on my smalls?"

"I'm only sorry I didn't know about it beforehand." Hawke replies. That caused Fenris to blush the way Sebastian usually does.

"I think I will not be betting on this particular venture, if you don't mind." Sebastian replied, after thinking on it.

"Hawke will be there for us when it does. That's the important thing." Merril commented. "I'll always bet on that."


 

Hawke found herself pleasantly surprised. Everyone left her alone, per Fenris's orders, for the first time in memory…Well, other than her escape to the beach, but that didn't really count as it had been under duress. No one asked for help, messengers were sent to the Hanged Man instead. If there was a world outside, she didn't know about it, too busy wrapped up in the arms of her love to notice what time of the day it even was anymore. They had a lot of catching up to do. Of course most of that time was spent never leaving their room.

She was surprised he had sincerely wanted to move in with her, though the thought had crossed her mind that maybe he was afraid of her disappearing again as much as she was afraid he would reject her because she was a mage. That was the source of her distress now. She'd had that dream again, and mornings after those were never good ones. Her mind was now at a crossroads. The doubts could no longer be denied.

"Bellanaris, what's going on in that mind of yours?" Fenris asked, coming up behind her and wrapping his arms around her waist. "I've been calling for you."

She loved the feel of his arms around her, and cherished it with a small moan from her lips.

"You love me, but…I'm a mage…Do you love and hate me at the same time?" She asked, feeling a bit lost. "Do you think I've trapped you here like Danarius would have?"

"You don't believe me?" Fenris asked, turning her to face him.

"It was just a bad dream, Fenris, but it repeats itself sometimes for me in the Fade. I watch as you crush her heart, as you yell at me, and the demons laugh and wait." She admits, her shoulders slumped. "Demons don't care if I believe you or not. They prey on that one little thought, because they know I can't answer it…what if it happens again?"

"Bellanaris…" His voice cracks, knowing her pain.

"The only thing I can do is replay that moment when you told me you loved me…It doesn't answer the question, but it does make the demons go away." She said, deep in thought.

"Me paenitet, cor meum. Te amo, Bellanaris. Es, amica mea, voluntas quidem cordis mei." He says it so low, that she's not sure she heard him.

"One day you're going to have to teach me Tevene. I don't know what that means, Fenris." She replied, resting against him now.

"It means. I'm sorry, my heart. I love you. You are my love, my heart's desire." He answers, and kisses the top of her head. "You are the only thing I am ever sure of, Bellanaris. I can not give you the assurances you need, that I will not try and push you away again when Danarius shows up, but I do know that should such a thing occur again…I will always return to you. My future is right beside wherever you happen to be."

"Mmm…These are good answers." Hawke states, pleasantly lazy. "Keep talking like that, and I may never run out of ammunition to fight the demons with again."

Fenris chuckles. "Be that as it may, I'm afraid we may have to leave the sanctuary of this room soon. If not, someone may come in after us."

"Well, I guess we can't have that." Hawke sighs, and playfully adds. "Who knows what they would be walking in on?"

"Si iter habebet? Omnia." Fenris replied, his voice dropping down to that octave she can't resist.

She does not ask the meaning of what he's said. The intent is quite clear. If I had my way? Everything. He'd guided her back against the wall before she'd realized it, too caught up in the feeling of his kisses along her neck. Her breath hitched in her throat when he would kiss along a lyrium line, and she can feel him smile against her neck as he continues.

"You two keep that up, and I might think about getting lyrium tattoos." Varric said, nonchalantly leaning against the door frame.

"Varric, I swear, any other time I would be happy to see you…really…but get out." Hawke said, desperately wanting to cling to what Fenris was still doing. "I'm still recuperating."

Varric laughed outright, and said. "Any other time, I'd be only too glad to walk out that door and let you continue to…recuperate."

"Not this time?" Fenris asked, forcing himself to stop, and rest his forehead on her shoulder, silently damning the dwarf.

"The Viscount has sent a message. It's urgent." Varric stated, serious. "It's about his son, Seamus."

"He's gone to the Arishok then." Fenris stated, as if he knew it would happen. He looked over to Varric. "If he has gone to the Arishok, there will be nothing we can do. The Arishok will have taken him in as one of the Qun. He will no longer be the Viscount's son."

"It wouldn't be the first time someone has converted to the Qun in Kirkwall, but the Viscount still wants us to try." Varric replied. "He doesn't want to lose his son."

"That man had better love me." Hawke grumbles under her breath. "I've not been back three days, and already the city can't seem to handle it's own shit."

"I'll wait downstairs for you two to get ready. Just don't take too long. I'll think you might be… recuperating." Varric grinned, and was gone before either of them could retort back.

"Sometimes I hate that dwarf." Fenris admitted, as they began gathering their armour. "Now would be one of those times."

"Agreed." Hawke replied, grinning.


 

They met Aveline and Carver on their way to the Viscount's office. Carver made wise cracks about her recuperating, while Aveline offered to kill him and help the couple escape to Orlais for a while. Hawke was seriously tempted to consider that one, but as annoying as he was, she didn't want her brother dead. She was a little preoccupied anyway, this being her first real time out of the estate since Fenris carried her into Kirkwall, and now she was noticing the way people looked at her. Hawke wondered if this is what Fenris felt all the time, seeing people stare at the markings.

"Ignore them." Fenris said, out of the blue. "They do not know of what they speak, and you are stronger than they'll ever be."

"So I can't kill them?" She asked, with a hopeful smirk.

"Not in public." Fenris replied, completely deadpan.

"Not in front of the Guard Captain." Aveline adds, though she allows for a small grin. Seneschal Bran eyes them before scoffing and turning away.

"Makers left nut sac! I swear Bran's got a stick so far up his ass, he can taste bark." Hawke grumbled. Then her face was alight with mischief. "Think we can get Isabella to sleep with him? Maybe that will help, or we'll know where his birth mark is."

"She already has. It's on his left shoulder." Fenris says, out of the blue, still just as serious as he was before. "It did not help. The stick is still up there."

"Do I even…No, wait. I don't want to know." Aveline mutters. Varric is quietly laughing. Carver has tears in his eyes, he's laughing so hard.


 

Fenris P.O.V

This will not end well, he knows, but follows her anyway. He worries that it is too soon to be taking on tasks for the city again, and that this will not be as small as Bellanaris is hoping for. She wants to get this done, get back home, and get back to recuperating. It will not be that simple, though he shares her sentiment. The Viscount begs for her to talk to his son, knowing that Seamus respects her.

"Did anyone see him leave?" Bellanaris asks, worried.

"He made no effort to hide it. I'm sure someone must have seen him." The Viscount replies, looking absolutely defeated. He already knows there is nothing he can do to save his son.

"We can try talking with the Arishok, but…Messere, you have to understand…He's of age…Seamus can choose…He's not coming back from this…He can't." She hesitantly tells him, before looking to the others. "Come on. If we're not too late, maybe we can try talking him out of this."

On the way to the docks, Bellanaris is silent, until even he can not take it anymore.

"You're brooding." Varric said, out of the blue.

"Fenris always broods." She replies, nonchalantly. "He's quite sexy about it. You should see him when he's smoldering."

"I was talking about you." Varric chided, with a light chuckle.

"I was not brooding, though I'm sure that if I tried, I would be quite sexy at it too." Bellanaris can't seem to help herself. She's more sarcastic when she's worried. "I wonder if men would swoon as I walked by. I would be afraid to know how they would have broody little babies though. One can not push a melon through a straw."

"You were brooding, and you are always sexy, if that helps." Fenris notes, looking over to her. He flashes a small grin.

"Alright, so maybe I was. Oh! Aveline, Carver, care to bet on when things go to shit and what causes it? We three already have our bets placed." Hawke admitted, then switched the subject. "Varric insists on a naked mud wrestling match."

Aveline's face went red, muttering something about bad influences. Carver just shakes his head this time, his eyes still bright with a secret that is not his to share.

No amount of the spoken Qun can calm the Arishok at the moment, though Fenris notes the man is more annoyed than anything else. The boy has already joined the Qun, but is speaking with his father at the Chantry? No, that can't be right. There would be no need to send the group if he was planning on doing that, and to involve the Chantry in something so personal...Something was not right.

"Should have known Patrice was involved in this." Bellanaris grumbles.

"A suspect in many things." The Arishok agrees.

Bellanaris nods to the Arishok before leaving abruptly. It is a sign of respect not to waste anymore of the man's time. They have a meddlesome fish to fry. They make it to the Chantry in half the time it normally takes, and there is a sense of urgency to their steps. It is too late already, and Bellanaris can not even bring herself to go near the boy. Fenris does not ask why, knowing she can smell death on the boy.

"Oh my, Hawke, how could you? Murdering the Viscount's son on Chantry grounds? They will have to listen to me now." Mother Patrice stated, walking up to them, as if she truly believes her lies.

"You murdered him?! How could you think this is justifiable?" Bellanaris shrieked.

Mother Patrice used her logic to inspire the people she'd gathered behind her into attacking Bellanaris and the others, and that would not stand with Fenris. He had wanted to go after her first, but Bellanaris was immediately surrounded and he would not abandon her. The death of Mother Patrice would have to wait. Bellanaris was distracted, he could tell, having wanted so badly to prevent this. When the last of the mob was killed off, Mother Patrice returned, but she had brought the Grand Cleric Elthina with her.

"Do you see? Heathens murdering and spouting heresy at every step!" Mother Patrice said, pointing at Bellanaris in particular.

"Yes." Elthina replied, her voice betraying how tired she was of this fight. "It is as you described...all too well."

"She see's through you, you know. Quick, Patrice. Lie harder." Bellanaris said, venom practically laced into her every word.

Fenris would later, and only to Varric, admit that he had tuned out the argument that followed between the old woman and the misguided mother. It was the woman standing next to him that he put his attentions towards. She worried him now, shaking as she was. They had not tested her markings yet, not knowing what would happen, and being much more distracted by…as Varric had put itrecuperating. Where they had faintly glowed the way his did when he found something pleasurable, hers were now glowing almost too brightly to look at. They would have been too, if not for how thin they were.

Bellanaris shook with a righteous fury, wanting badly to kill Patrice for murdering her friend. Mostly, he knew, she was angry that she had known somehow that Patrice would pull something. Her anger was directed to the fact that she had not stopped it, had not known how, and now it was too late. She was angry with herself too, because if she hadn't gone off the deep end, maybe she could have seen something to stop it. He can see all these thoughts flash through her eyes, and feels the pain of them with her.

If he had simply been there, had not said those horrid words to her, he could have helped her avoid this mess. It was too late for such things, and he knows it now. She will not kill Patrice, not with Aveline walking towards the Mother like she plans something, not when a Qunari arrow pierces the Mother's heart. Bellanaris does not even look surprised, and strangely enough, Elthina only looks more tired as she asked for someone to send for the Viscount. The man should be told about his son, at least.


 

Hawke's P.O.V.

This was not going to plan at all. Damn it all to the Void and back! Seamus may have been a misguided soul, but he was her friend. He was old enough to decide for himself what he wanted, and Mother Patrice had taken that choice from him. It had taken everything she had to hold herself to that spot, having seen the Qunari bowman just seconds before he shot the arrow.

She had to hand it to the Qun, though. When the Arishok said they take care of their own, by the Maker, he really meant it. Having lost family members, she was not looking forward to breaking the news to the Viscount. When it came to these types of things, she was about as good at giving comfort as she was at receiving it, which is to say not at all. She knew one thing for certain, that the Arishok would not take this loss lightly.

She knew the words meant for comfort one should say when talking with someone dealing with the loss of a loved one. However, she also knew that these words had never comforted her. Hawke had just wanted to kill something, maybe a lot of somethings. So when the Viscount held his son in his arms, she did not speak, hoping the silence would say more than words ever could. Fenris had been trying to catch her eye for the last few minutes, meaning that she would have to bolster up the Viscount to talk to the Arishok.

"Messere, there is nothing I can say that will help you now. Seamus did love you, and was very proud to have you for a father. You need to dig into that strength now. The Arishok will not wait." Hawke said, trying to be as gentle as she could for once.

"I am sorry, Hawke…I can not." The Viscount replied, unable to pull his gaze from the body of his son. "Please, leave me with my son."

Aveline looked to her now, and she knew what that look meant. She would have to go talk to the Arishok in his stead. Somehow, maybe with Fenris's help, she had something close to respect from the Arishok. Without being asked, she knew she'd have to go, not that she wanted it. Hawke took one final look at Seamus, before turning away.

"Don't worry, Serah, I'll take care of it." Hawke sighed, tiredly, and calmly walked out of the door.

Once out of the Chantry, Varric couldn't keep his thoughts to himself.

"So how screwed are we right now?" He asked.

"I miss Flemeth." Hawke replied, hoping that would shed a little light on it.

"Shit. That dragon form of hers would be damned useful right about now." Varric admitted.

"I have a feeling we'll miss her more here soon." Hawke stated. "Come on then, to the docks. It appears I have a death wish with the Arishok."

Somehow, and she still can't figure it out, they make it back from the meeting with the Arishok. Maybe it was where they had Fenris with them. Hawke did consider that smoldering elf a good luck charm when it came to dealing with the Qunari. As was expected, the Arishok is a keg waiting to blow. One more incident, and it will be like lighting the fuse.

The Viscount is saddened, but thankful that Hawke was able to smooth things over with the Arishok once again. She doesn't know how she keeps getting herself into these things, but she can't seem to tell anyone no when it looks like they are truly in need. A tentative peace falls over the city, as it mourns the loss of the Viscount's son. Hawke takes to hiding back in their estate again, unless someone needs something, in which case they are going to have to come to her.

As it is, she has a surprise to give to Fenris. He liked to play Diamondback with Donnic, and since Aveline was not invited to those games, Hawke opted to stay out of the way of guys night. Whenever he came over to visit, she had a tray of food waiting for them, and she went out to tend to the small garden. It was peaceful, and she was able to use her markings to help with the plants health. The end of the game was signaled when Fenris came to check on her progress some time later.

"I'm glad that you can use them in that way. Maybe you could show me how you do that?" He mused.

"Merrill actually helped me figure it out. She's teaching me some of the primal magic she's picked up, and I had the idea that maybe these markings could expand that. She's come along way, that crazy naive girl." Hawke said, looking up at him. "I've seen something regarding her that you won't like till it's needed."

"Sebastian hinted as much. Her promise of no blood magic…Bellanaris, I can't see a time when something like that will ever be 'needed'. There's just too much that could go wrong." Fenris states, he's apprehensive now.

"I know. I'm hoping it never comes to that, but I think it will, and sooner than we'd like. She knows that if anything happens, she's the one I trust not to go crazy with power when it comes to blood magic. She's never wanted power. She's only ever wanted to help others." Hawke replies. "Of course, she also knows that should she go crazy, I won't hesitate to light her ass on fire."

"You're right, I don't like it." Fenris said, gruffly. "But you're also right about Merrill, I suppose. She's probably the only mage I could come close to begrudgingly trusting with it. Don't tell her I said that. She still goes on about 'puppy eyes'."

"Come with me for a minute. I have a surprise for you." She said, not wanting to talk about this anymore. "It's a practical gift, so no fussing."

"I shall endeavor to fuss purely out of spite then." Fenris declared, smirking.

"Of course, you will." Hawke replies, one of her hands in his own as she guides him up the stairs and to their room.

There, by the wardrobe, is an armour stand. For a moment, he doesn't speak, just stares at it. The longer the silence lasts, the more nervous Hawke gets. Now she's not so sure she's done the right thing. This place is as much his home as it is hers now, and the two of them had been adding things to make it theirs instead of just hers. The more nervous she gets, the more she wants to start talking, and then suddenly she can't stop herself.

"I didn't know what day you would want to use as your name day, so I figured I would go with the day I first met you. It made the most sense at the time, though I suppose I could have gone with the first day I knew you were my friend, or the day we decided to try for each other, or something like that. Those days seem more anniversary like anyway. If we ever figure out what day it really is, then I'll get you something then. You take such good care of your armour, I figured it could use a place to hold it while you aren't in need of it. Was this a bad idea? Do you not like it?-" She is shocked out of her rambling by two calloused hands cupping her face.

"You got me a gift…for my name day?" He asked, searching her eyes.

"Yes." She said, hesitantly.

"Why?" He asked, still searching.

"Because I wanted to…Because I love you…Do you not like it?" She asked, unsure now.

"Bellanaris, it is perfect." Fenris replied, giving her a kiss. "I rather like the idea of the day I met you being my name day too. That is also a nice gift."

"You could probably get Varric to buy you drinks at the Hanged Man if you tell him that." Hawke replies with amusement.

"I have something else in mind." Fenris said, his eyes mischievous and lustful all at once as he backs her up against one of the bed posts.

Chapter Text

Chapter 10

A few days later

Fenris P.O.V.

The morning started out peacefully enough, his arms wrapped around a beautiful and sleeping woman. He groaned as soon as he heard the first sounds of disturbance from downstairs, knowing that they were signs for how the rest of the day would go. He's been dreading this moment since Bellanaris eluded to it, the day when things would go to shit. Reluctantly, he got out of bed to see what was causing such a fuss. Aveline and Isabella were bitching back and forth as to whose problem was more important, while Renan tried to calm them down, and neither had yet noticed a certain shirtless dark skinned Tevinter elf as he made his way down the stairs.

"What. Do. You. Want?" Fenris demanded, with cold authority. It got the two of the to stop bickering at any rate. "Orana hasn't even made breakfast yet. That's how early it is. What problems could the two of you possibly have that you couldn't go fight it out somewhere else? One at a time, or so help me."

"I need Hawke's help with the Arishok. I have two fugitives who are using him to hide behind." Aveline stated.

"Get the Viscount to do it. That's his job, not hers. Son or no son, no disrespect, that does not change the fact that he has used her as a crutch since he found out the Arishok has something akin to respect for that woman. Next." Fenris snapped, angrily.

"I'm going to die! There, a real problem." Isabella declared.

"Isabella, I'm sure Anders can cure whatever rash you've got this time. That's kind of what happens when you sleep around with the docks eye candy. You aren't going to die. Now, unless you want to admit whatever it is you've been lying to Bellanaris about all this time, I'm going back to bed, and neither of you are to disturb us." Fenris growled out.

He was bluffing on so many levels he wasn't even sure it would work, but the two women stared at him with wide eyes and slack jaws, so he thinks maybe it will...until he sees that Bellanaris is walking downstairs too. Of all the blasted luck, she would have to follow him down here. He'd had them just about ready to run out of the estate, and now they were going to have to listen to whatever problems they claimed to have. He'd been looking forward to staying in bed all morning, damn it! It was his day off from training the recruits, having finally taken Carver up on his offer of teaching Tevinter swordsmanship to Kirkwall guards.

She walks up until she's face to face with Aveline, her eyes barely open, one of her hands on Aveline's shoulder, with a finger pointing in her face. "If this keeps up, I'm taking that mans job, and I'm shoving it up Bran's ass." It's sleepily, but authoritative.

Then she turns to Isabella. "If this has any connection to the Arishok whatsoever, Isabella, I'll make sure that all the men you get for your ship will be the ugliest ones on record. There won't be a decent piece of eye candy on that damnable ship, and their dicks will be super tiny."

Then she turns to Orana, and her voice softens. "Orana, coffee if you would please, the strong stuff."

"Yes, Mistress Hawke." Orana replies, smiling softly.

"That girl understands me." Bellanaris says, to no one in particular.

"You're only saying that because she makes you breakfast in the mornings." Fenris countered.

"That's true too." Bellanaris admitted, and headed to the study, grumbling under her breath the whole way.

Bodahn and Sandal were up in no time, preparing the house for the busy day to come. Renan helped Orana with breakfast. There was no way Bellanaris was going to be up for talking business without it. Fenris could only shake his head at the foolishness that Isabella and Aveline tried to pull. Trying to talk to Bellanaris before breakfast was only successful if she was properly 'prepared', and Fenris was not going to share that bit of information.

Bellanaris sat down, glad that Orana would be quick with breakfast today. She would need it to deal with those two. No one talked while she ate, but instead tried to eat a bit themselves. Fenris would occasionally hold her hand, rubbing her knuckles as he did so. When she was awake enough, she eyed the two women suspiciously.

"Isabella, why are you going to die?" She asked, wary of her friend.

Isabella launched into a story about Wall-eyed Sam, who had apparently been holding onto the book...Yeah, everyone noticed that little slip up, which prompted Isabella to explain that she knew the thing was a book, but not much else. No one believed that, but didn't stop her from continuing the story. Apparently this Wall-eyed Sam character planned to sell the book, and she needed to get there before he did. Otherwise Castillon would kill her for not being able to give it back to him.

"Aveline?" Bellanaris asked, looking a little more awake than she had previously.

Aveline explains that there have been a couple more criminals that escaped to the Qunari. While the others had been petty crimes, this one could not be let go. Murder of a city guard was not something to be ignored. The only problem was that with tensions as high as they were with the Qunari, it would likely result in an incident. Fenris snorted at this, but said nothing when Aveline glared at him.

"Alright, Isabella, we'll deal with your shit first. It shouldn't take too long, and then we can deal with Aveline's criminal stuff." Bellanaris stated. "I need to be a lot more awake before going to war with the Qunari."

Now it was Fenris's turn to glare at Aveline when she tried to object about war with the Qunari.

"Alright, Hawke. I'll be waiting by the compound with a few of the guard. Be ready for anything." Aveline replied, then looked to Isabella. "I can't believe she trusts you this much."

"I know. I wouldn't." Isabella remarked, also surprised but grateful, as Aveline left.

"Renan, I'm going to need you to go get Merrill. Tell her it's urgent, and that shit is about to hit the fan. She'll understand." Bellanaris stated. Her voice seemed far off, and she's pinching the bridge of her knows as she always does when she's planning several things at once. "When you get back, I'll need you to stay inside. Make sure the others do as well. Things are going to get very dangerous, and I don't want any of you to get hurt. Help Orana set up some kind of medical triage in my room, just in case."

Renan nodded, and then he was gone like a shot.

"I'm going with you. You will need a sword." Fenris stated, firmly.

"You know…" Bellanaris said, with a smile. "I think that's the exact thing you said to me just before the expedition."

"Try not to die on me this time." Fenris replied sternly, his voice barely above a whisper, resting his forehead against her own. "As much as I love you, I have no wish to hold your heart in my hands again, Amatus."

"You know I'll always try to do what's right." Bellanaris answered, like it was a promise, but it wasn't the words he'd needed to hear.

Several moments later, Merrill arrived with Renan. He went to prepare everything she'd asked, and the group went out to the docks, where it was rumored for Wall-eyed Sam to be. Fenris kept chewing over her answer from before, and didn't like the conclusion he'd reached. This could very well be the incident that she spoke of for Merrill to be needed. If so, he may actually witness the one time where blood magic would be needed.


 

Hawke's P.O.V.

Qunari were waiting for them when they got to where Isabella had spoken of, and at that moment, she knew. Isabella was about to get the ugliest crewmen she could find if it was the last thing Hawke did, with ugly tattoos and tiny dicks. Already the Qunari were shouting for her to give over the relic, and when Isabella said she didn't have it, the Qunari shouted that she had no honour and proceeded to attack the group. It did not take them long to cut through the small group of Qunari warriors. When it was over, Hawke turned to Isabella.

"Explain." She grounded out.

"Look, I've always known what the relic was, alright? I just…didn't want to worry you." Isabella admitted. "That book is some religious thing for them, written by that Coslin…Koslyn…whatever."

"That's the creator of the Qun. If that book is what you say it is, it's worth would be without measure to the Qunari." Fenris said, in a scolding manner. "How in the void did you steal it from them?"

"Technically, they never had it. The Orleasians did, and they were giving it back. I just had to steal it from the Orleasians before the Qunari convoy could arrive." Isabella explained. "Castillon ordered me to steal it to make up for the ship of slaves I'd freed. It was either do that, or have him kill me. So, I stole the book, and ran for it. The Qunari chased me into the storm that landed me here and stranded them."

"So the reason they're here…The reason all this has happened…is because of you?" Hawke asked, angrily. Isabella at least had the decency to look guilty. "It's their damned relic. Of course, they want it back!"

"Please say you'll help me get it back. My life is at stake here." Isabella pleaded.

"Seamus is dead because of you. Aveline is about to have a war with the Qunari because of you." Hawke growled. "We will get back the relic, give it to the Qunari, deal with Aveline's shit, and then I will help you with this Castillon."

Isabella groaned in defeat. "Oh alright. We'll give it back."

Hawke takes a sigh of relief. She had thought convincing her friend to do the right thing would have been more difficult. Maybe things wouldn't be as bad as she thought. If one could avoid a war with the Qunari, she could imagine the stories Varric would be able to tell then. What they walk in on looked like a drug deal about to go wrong, and wouldn't you know it, it would have to be with Tevinter mages.

One look at Hawke and Fenris, and the mages start attacking them. Qunari show up, in an effort to get their relic back, and fight everyone there. This spooks Wall-eyed Sam, and he runs. Isabella gives chase, as Hawke calls to her to stop. Her screams go unanswered, and the rest of the group has no choice but to engage the enemy. Disappointed can not begin to describe how she feels in this moment, and killing everything in that filthy room does nothing to stop it.

The others say nothing as they make their way outside. Sam is dead, and there is a note attached. She reads the note out loud. Isabella has run with the book, and left them to deal with the Qunari on their own. She wants to be mad at her friend, but can not bring herself to do it.

Hawke sends a warning look to Fenris, knowing what he is thinking, but not needing him to rub salt into the wound. They will need to deal with Aveline's situation, and hope against the signs that everyone makes it. When they get there, everyone is already tense. Aveline will not let this go, and at the moment she can not blame her. The murder of a city guard is a serious offense.

"Let's go." She tells Aveline, and Aveline nods and turns to the Qunari guards at the gate.

"We need to speak with the Arishok. May we pass?" Aveline asked, formally.

"Not so many of you." The guard replied.

"Alright then. Hawke, you're with me." Aveline said, looking to Hawke, then back to the Qunari guard. "Will this, and two of my guard, be alright then?"

"That will be sufficient." The Qunari replied, and stood aside. "You may enter."

The look of anger on his face is apparent. To suffer such indignancy so often would get on anyone's nerves, and Aveline has had to come down here a lot lately. The Arishok would not suffer false converts, and she had a law to uphold. Aveline spoke of the murder suspects, but it was obvious he was not listening to her. His eyes were only for Hawke, and the answers she could give him.

"That is irrelevant." The Arishok says, interrupting Aveline. "I would talk with Serah Hawke about the relic."

"It was stolen by a former companion of mine. She took it and ran." Hawke replied, the sting of betrayal thick in her voice. "It is no longer in Kirkwall."

"Her part in this was known to us. Your admission to this is welcome." The Arishok stated. Turning to Aveline he continued. "Your murder suspects are part of the Qun now. They will stay here."

"Arishok-" Aveline began, getting frustrated.

"Enough. Let us talk to these 'murderers' as you call them. Come here, and tell your story." Arishok said, ordering someone who had not been visible to them until that moment.

Two elves came up to stand by the Arishok.

"One of the city guards forced himself on our sister. We took complaints to the city guard, but they did nothing. So, we paid him a visit." One of them said.

"There had been reports, and it was being looked into, but that's no reason to take the law into your own hands." Aveline said, fuming.

"It's what I would have done." Hawke admitted, earning a smile from the two elves and a glare from a frustrated Aveline.

"Not helping, Hawke." Aveline said, frustration clear in her voice.

"What? It's true." Hawke admitted. This endeavor was pointless anyway, and she was tired of dealing with it.

"Hearing this, what would you have me do, Hawke?" The Arishok asked, looking to her now.

"Honestly? I'd refuse to give them up." She admitted, ignoring a frustrated Aveline. "They defended the honour of a beloved sister, and it is no less than what I would have done in their situation. Take them, and leave Kirkwall. The relic is no longer here, and it is no secret that you wish to leave this place. I will take up trying to restore order to the city."

She knew that Aveline could not see what she was trying to do. The Arishok could count this as a win, take the new converts and begin again his chase after the thief who stole the relic. Kirkwall would be free of the Qunari, and Aveline could have her city back. The elves looked ecstatic upon hearing this, but the Arishok simply shook his head.

"I can not ignore the chaos of this city any longer." He stated, standing up.

"Arishok, there is no need to-" Aveline tried to reason, but his arm raised was a signal to the one's above them with spears to begin firing down.

Already a guard was dead. Aveline grabbed her, and they ran out of there, but not before Hawke shared a look with the Arishok…one that spoke of retribution. Hawke began barking orders as they ran along, not caring for a moment that it should be Aveline doing this. She wasn't even sure what she was saying, but the others listened and ran to do whatever it was that she said. Merrill disappeared and reappeared several times, based on her orders alone.

She kept thinking that if she just had the book, none of this would be happening. It was a waste of time to think of such things, and Hawke tried to rid herself of those thoughts. They had a war to fight, and it did not look good. If Tevinter had had all that time planning only to end in a stalemate with the entire Qun, how was Kirkwall suppose to fight off a battalion of them with no planning at all? Plans raced through her mind as fast as lightening while the others told her of their progress.

"Carver, and Donnic haven't been able to report back since they sent word that Qunari were storming the keep." Aveline reported.

"If anyone can live through that, it's those two." Hawke replied, comforting Aveline. "What else?"

"Anders is defending the clinic at the moment. I helped by setting up a defense of thorns and spikes that will attack hostile forces." Merrill reported. "He said he'll go through the tunnels when it's safe to move. I've got the same defenses in place around the alienage, the Chantry, and Gamlins place."

"Good. Next?" Hawke asked, pinching the bridge of her nose.

"Meredith is working to head off some of the Qunari soldiers, but they're pinned at the moment. They'll make their way to the keep as soon as they can." Cullen stated. "I haven't heard word from Orsino, so maybe they've made it further."

"I can work with that. Anything else?" Hawke asked, looking to the others.

"The Hanged Man has their defenses in place, and an emergency clinic has been erected for survivors that can make it there." Varric said, running up to them.

"Alright. Here's what we're going to do. Cullen, try to find Orsino if you can, but find Meredith. She'll seize power if given the chance. If she does, our plans will take longer, which we can deal with then, but we'll need to know first if it's headed that way." Hawke said, looking to him.

"Let's just hope the Viscount can stay alive." Cullen said, before running off.

"Anders already has his orders thanks to Merrill. We find any survivors along the way, we send them to the Hanged Man, thanks to Varric." Hawke stated, pinching the bridge of her nose again as she clinched her eyes closed. "Aveline, you're with me till we can get to the guard station. If they're pinned, we'll get them out, and then you'll lead them to wherever the Arishok is holed up."

"Most likely the throne room." Fenris said. "It's the seat of power in Kirkwall. If he's taking over the city, he'll kill the Viscount to take it."

"Then that is where we go. Sebastian should meet us there as soon as he finishes securing the Chantry. Merrill, Varric, Fenris, that leaves you all with me to fight through to the throne room. Aveline will cover us, and follow as she can. We will not lose this city." Hawke said, determined. "Let's go."

They ran through the city, killing Qunari and converts as they went. The converts were harder to fight, because sometimes it was not easy to tell them from the survivors, but they did it. Varric had taken it upon himself to tell any survivors they found to head to the Hanged Man. If it had been hard to keep up with her before, it was even harder to do so now, as she used the new lyrium lines for all the speed they were worth. It was something she had seen Fenris do many times.

It took time, but they made it to High Town. The sight was beyond anything Hawke had ever seen before. There were even some of the gangs fighting against the citizens and the Qunari, out for anything they could get. Merrill had taken to casting a massive root trapping spell when it came to dealing with the gangs. It was scary, but damned effective.

There was a moment of peace, one that Hawke did not trust, as they made their way through High Town. They found the First Enchanter Orsino unconscious and surrounded by many dead mages. It was clear they had given their lives to save his, as they also found several dead Qunari surrounding them. Orsino began to wake up, and look around him. Hawke could hear him mumbling about having told the others to get away while they could.

Before she could question him about what happened, more Qunari showed up. The elder elf was tired already, but he helped where he could, keeping the Qunari off of her as she fought through them. Fenris and Varric had teamed up to take care of another group of them, and Aveline seemed to be everywhere at once. They had that group cleared sooner than expected. That was what they thought, before every one of them were struck down by a Qunari mage.

Hawke was the first to recover, but she felt sluggish as she looked around to find the Qunari mage standing close to her. This was as real as her nightmare could get. To be made tranquil was a big fear of hers, but to become what was facing her was another. To have her lips sewn shut, to be blinded, and forced to wear that large collar so another could control her. To be forced to be a living weapon trapped inside her own mind, to be okay with it…

Her mind never finished that thought, as a sword sliced through the Qunari mage. She was pulled up to her feat by the very woman every mage in Kirkwall feared, Knight Commander Meredith. The others were being pulled to their feet as well, and being looked over to see if they were still capable of fighting. She looked to Fenris, and saw that he looked like he was having the same pains as when they were dealing with the red lyrium. She herself was feeling a slight pain, but she thought it was due to all the fighting.

"Wait, I know you." Meredith said, eyeing her suspiciously. "The name Hawke shows up in my reports many times, too many times."

"You should hear some of the things I hear about you." Hawke said, with a wry smile. "Some of them involve you and Orsino…."

"Knight Commander, the Qunari, they-" Aveline said, running up to them as she tried to take attention away from her friend.

"I know what they're doing. They've gathered all the nobles into the keep, and killing everyone else." Meredith said, cutting Aveline off.

"Why would they do that? Why gather them at all?" Hawke asked, confused.

"It is standard when they take over a place. Anyone of import is gathered into one location, and they are given the choice to convert or die." Fenris replied.

"How charming." Hawke said, nonchalantly. "Alright then, to the keep."

"Just what do you think you're doing, mage? Do not think I can't sense the magic in you." Meredith countered, blocking her.

"You would be able to now, considering it's etched into my fucking skin like a tattoo. It's not like you were able to sense me without them." Hawke growled, glowing to reveal some of the lyrium lines. "I'm assuming you heard of my run in with several of the tevinter blood mages? This is their handiwork. Now can we go? We've got a city to save."

"You aren't even from here!" Meredith countered again.

"Neither am I." Orsino said, coming to her defense. "And yet we stand ready to defend the city, or do you think you can do this on your own?"

"Fine, but know this, Mage. Should your allegiance to this city change, do not think I will hesitate to act." Meredith threatened, making note of the lyrium lined elf that stood ready to defend the mage she was looking at.

"Great, more Qunari." Hawke muttered. "How the hell are we suppose to deal with that?"

"They are expecting us, I should think." Orsino replied, looking around the corner as well. "Maybe we should use that."

"What do you have in mind, Orsino? Something naughty, I hope?" She asked, looking to him, a conspiratorial glint in her eyes. "Maybe waving a big giant sign saying Qunari women this way?"

"I suppose that would be distracting enough." Orsino chuckled, lightly.

"We should attack them head on." Meredith said, outraged. It was obvious she did not like the First Enchanter and an apostate mage getting along so well.

"Too risky. We need a distraction to get in." Hawke stated. "Clear the way for us, and meet us when you can."

"What makes you think we should listen to you?" Meredith asked, outraged.

"Do you really want to have that fight right now? Or maybe you'd like to help me save the city?" Hawke asked, looking to her. "You just don't want your ass indebted to an apostate mage of all things. Now, Orsino, you think you got this?"

"Easily." Orsino replied, with a smile and a light in his eyes. This girl had spunk.

"Just how do you suppose you'll do that?" Meredith asked, angrily.

"Have a little faith, Knight Commander." Orsino said, twirling his staff as he made his way to the middle of the entryway to the keep. Hawke had to give him credit for his showmanship, looking like a total bad ass as he strolls out nonchalantly to face off with the Qunari.

Hawke would have stayed to watch the kick ass fire show she knew Orsino was putting on, but sneaking into the keep was more important. She was sure to get a play by play of the event later. At first, there was no resistance inside, and then they were everywhere. Qunari attacking them from all sides, fighting them with Qunari mages to weaken them before the kill. This enraged Fenris more than she thought it would, and she wasn't sure what his reasoning was.

Did it have to do with his time with Danarius, or something else? Did he see her every time one of those things came to attack them? They were what she feared becoming the most, simply a weapon to be used for anothers war. If they ever made it through this, she would ask. Now, they made their way to the barracks.

"Carver!" She shouted, happily, finding her brother among the guards that had managed to barricade the barracks from the Qunari. Aveline was busy holding onto Donnic.

"We've got people here. Nobles, townsfolk, and the like. We've kept them safe as we can for now." Carver said, looking over her. "You look like shit."

"Feel like it too. Ran into Meredith and Orsino all in one moment." Hawke replied. "I really really miss Flemeth."

"Shit. Think we can use the tunnels?" Carver asked, using hushed whispers to keep from being overheard.

"No. We can't risk it, and Anders might not be at the clinic anymore. He's suppose to try to make his way to the Keep or the Chantry to see to survivors. If you can get them out, get them to the Hanged Man. Varric has the place set up like a clinic right now. You could try the Chantry. Sebastian might have set something up there too, but I haven't heard back from him yet." Hawke replied, knowing what he was thinking. "Take some of the guards with you. The rest will be heading with Aveline and Donnic as my backup. Check on Gamlin if you can. Merrill has the place defended, but it can't hurt. I don't know if you two will be able to make it to the estate, or if you should risk it."

"We'll find you once this is done." Carver said, then looking to a few of the guards. "Alright you lot, you're with me. We're getting these people medical attention. A triage clinic is set up in the Hanged Man, with defenses against the Qunari."

"Hawke, Donnic and the others are ready to move now." Aveline said, walking up to her.

"Good. We'll need them. There's still the fight to get into the throne room." Hawke said, in agreement.


 

Fenris P.O.V.

He's watched her through all of this. At first, he had been worried that she'd take this all on her own. However, she'd been delegating tasks out to people to cover the entire city. He could see it in her eyes that she had several plans running at once. The Fog Warriors would be impressed, if they ever hear of this. Her eyes are wild as she fights her way through the Qunari, and he sticks beside her at every opportunity. He will not see her come to harm if he can help it. This will not be like the deep roads.

When Meredith entered the picture, Fenris took a mental step back. Somewhere on her person, she had red lyrium. It hurt just to stand near her, but as she moved threateningly towards Bellanaris, he took a protective stance near her just in case. If she thought she was going to get close to his mage, that woman had another thing coming. To think that there was a time when he would have agreed that Meredith had the right of it, now seemed like the most heinous falsehood when he thought of Bellanaris.

After watching Meredith and Orsino bicker, they finally made it into the keep. He wondered if the world would implode if those two just admitted they wanted to fuck each other senseless. Many of the guards were alright, and Hawke began delegating tasks to them too. Her brother left with many of the wounded, and a few of the guard, while Aveline took charge of those that remained to be Bellanaris's backup. Just trying to get to the throne room proved to be a challenge.

When they did, he was not surprised by what he saw, though he was sure the others would be. The nobles had been gathered in the room, as he knew they would. This is where they would convert or die. What he did not know, was how Bellanaris planned to win this. He had seen enough fights with the Qunari to know that head on tactics like this one tended to fail. Then again, this was Bellanaris, and she was known for pulling off the impossible.

"Here is your Viscount!" The Arishok shouted, tossing the head of the deceased old man down the stairs. The crown rolled all the way to Bellanaris's feet, an omen if there ever was one. "Ah, Serah Hawke. So they didn't manage to kill you, after all. You truly are Basalit-an."

"You know I can't let you do this." Bellanaris said, as if they were simply having one of the talks they'd shared before.

"And yet, I can not leave without the relic. So where does that leave us, Hawke?" Arishok reasoned.

The two stood so close now that Fenris was growing nervous. This was not a time to call someone's bluff. What did she think she was doing? Standing that close to an Arishok would get her killed. He was about to say something, when a resounding knock seemed to blow apart the doors, and a Qunari soldier fell into the room dead.

Isabella sauntered into the room as if she had been expected. The look on Bellanaris's face is instantly uplifting. She has her friend back. It doesn't matter what the pirate had done previously. To know that her friend had finally been willing to do the right thing was enough that he knew Bellanaris would forgive her.

"I believe I can answer that." Isabella said, as she saunters in. "I believe you will find it mostly undamaged. It took me a while to get here, what with all the fighting and everything."

"Heroic acts of sacrifice? What will people say? They may even sing songs in your honour, you know." Bellanaris teased. Fenris snorted. Of course the woman would think to tease her friend at a moment like this.

"It's all your fault, Hawke." Isabella scoffed, looking to Bellanaris. "Everywhere I looked, I saw you calling me back."

"Now we can leave…with the thief." the Arishok said, now that the book had been given to them.

"I'm sorry, what now?" Bellanaris asked, looking angrily up at the Arishok.

Fenris knew that look. It usually didn't end well for whatever she was looking at, but this was an Arishok for fucks sake. In that moment he knew, this was going to end up exactly like it did in the deep roads, with her pulling some outrageous stunt, and him in some kind of emotional mess. Fuck it all, and the Maker's bleeding ass hole! She was going to antagonize an Arishok, because this is his Bellanaris, and of course she would.

"She will be reeducated into the Qun to be taught the error of her ways." The Arishok stated.

"Oh no, if anyone's going to kick her ass, it's going to be me." Aveline vowed.

"She's not going anywhere with you. You're just nitpicking because you want a fight. Take your book and go." Bellanaris objected, throwing out the formalities.

"The Qun demands we take her. If you do not allow this, then you must fight me in single combat." The Arishok said, with something close to happiness or respect. No one is every really sure, considering he looks angry all the time.

"No! If you want a duel, duel me!" Isabella cried out, in alarm. Fenris doubted this is what she had in mind when she came back, though he had to give her credit for it.

"You are not worthy." The Arishok said, dismissing her.

"You are not Basalit-an, Isabella, she is. He has recognized Bellanaris as someone worthy of respect though they are not of the Qun. He sees her as equal to himself. It is a rare honour." Fenris explained, trying to keep the worry from his voice.

He knows what this will mean, knows what will happen before it unfolds. She will not back down from a fight with the Arishok, will not sacrifice her friend to him. Fenris knows he can not interfere in the fight, can not come to her defense in this, and is beside himself with worry. All he can think is this can't be happening. She can't be about to sacrifice herself now of all times, not for Isabella, not now when he's finally ready to-

"Alright, when you lose, you and your lot take your happy asses out of Kirkwall with the book and no thief." Bellanaris sassed, naming her terms, her arms crossed.

"When you lose, we take the thief and the book." The Arishok countered. It almost looked like he was grinning.

"Bellanaris, are you sure about this? These fights are usually to the death." Fenris whispered, dragging her aside, as everyone clears the lower floor for the fight.

"I'll be fine, Fenris. Trust me." Bellanaris said, confidently.

"Promise me. Promise me you will make it through this alive, Bellanaris." Fenris implored, almost demanding, his hands gripping her shoulders. He lowers his forehead to her own, and whispers so only she could hear. "I can not lose you, Amatus."

"You won't. I promise, I will make it through this, Ma'fenor." She promised.

"You had better." Fenris growls, possessively, leveling her with one of those smoldering looks of his before pulling her in for a kiss.

This kiss was not as all their others had been. This was rough, filled with urgency. In all likelihood, Varric was somewhere taking notes for his latest book. When he managed to pull himself away from her, she looked shocked but nodded in understanding. He wanted her to live, needed her to live.

He stood with the others near the door, not wanting to be too far from her should something go wrong. The others that were there already joined him. He did not notice when Anders had gotten there, or that he was strategically placed just in case Fenris instinctively tried to run to her. Carver had made it there at some point, and had taken his station on the other side of Fenris. Bellanaris walked calmly to the center of the room, and prepared to face the Arishok alone.

"She'll make it, Fenris." Aveline said, trying to comfort her friend.

"She wants to live. She wont throw her life away." Merrill said, joining in the effort.

"She called me Ma'fenor. What does that mean?" Fenris asked, humoring them. He did not take his eyes off of Bellanaris.

"It means 'my beloved'." Merrill replied, shocking Fenris.

"That was some kiss, Broody." Varric commented, sounding rather impressed. His way of trying to distract him from the worry, Fenris imagined.

"I'll say. You mind trying that with me later?" Isabella asked, suggestively. Fenris can't stand it anymore, that being the last straw, and whips around to face her.

"You're the reason Bellanaris is in this mess. So, I'd keep the lewd comments to myself if I were you." He growled, threateningly. "If she dies, you die, and the Arishok can reeducate what's left."

Isabella wisely chooses to keep her mouth shut after that, and Fenris turns back around to watch the fight he doesn't want to see but can't look away from.

"What Isabella said before still holds true, Fenris." Carver said, not looking at him, his eyes on his sister. "She'll pull through. She's too stubborn to do anything else."

"My apologies, Isabella. This is something she would do for any of us, no matter what we may have done. She would do this for you under any circumstance, as you have always been her friend." Fenris said, begrudgingly. "Just do not make those kinds of comments towards me again. There has only ever been her. There will only ever be her."

"Wow." Both Varric and Isabella comment, almost reverently. Then Varric adds. "You really are great for source material, Broody."

Chapter Text

Chapter 11

Hawke's P.O.V.

She hears none of this as she prepares for the fight with the Arishok. Did the Qunari even know she was a mage? Would he have suggested a fight with her if he knew? Would he have referred to her as Basalit-an? These questions and more swirled around in her mind, as the two began circling the room.

To reveal a secret to one person had been a risk to her, one she had been willing to take, but she was about to reveal it to an entire room of nobles. To say that she was nervous about that was an understatement. She was prepared when the Arishok charged at her, thankful to the tevinter blood mages for once, as they had inadvertently given her the means to dodge an Arishok. Maybe she'd write a thank you letter later, she mused, and paid for her distractedness having to make another quick dodge. That time, he had wounded her, catching her with that great sword of his along the bottom of her rib cage.

Barkspawn thankfully picked that moment to charge in after her, wanting to play with her new toy, the Arishok. Hawke welcomed the distraction, as it allowed for her to heal herself and prepare for what she was about to do next. Without a staff, she began casting several rune barriers simultaneously, ones that would freeze an enemy should they step in it. They would fade out in time, but she needed them to be widespread in case she got caught again. The group of nobles gasped, having seen her cast spells, now knowing what she was.

She couldn't help but chuckle a little, as she smiled that wolfish grin Varric talked about so much. These idiots were about to owe their lives to an apostate mage, and they couldn't do a damned thing about it. Seamus had known she was a mage, and hadn't given one fig about it. It seemed fitting to defend the city in the place that would have been his had he lived. The Arishok shook off Barkspawn, and ran straight for her, causing her to grin even more which confused the Qunari.

She had chosen well. Of course he would come straight for her, and in doing so, he triggered one of the freezing barrier runes. Now was as good an opportunity as she was going to get, and she ran straight for him. She touched the sword with a separating spell, hoping to pull apart the metals that made it. If she could damage the sword, then she had a chance.

At the same time, she slammed her open palm into the Arishok's face, adding a fireball to it as she went. If she could damage his sight, she'd be doing even better. When he unfroze, Hawke realized that all she had seemed to accomplish at that moment was to piss him off. A pissed off Qunari was a devil to fight, and she was in for a long one. She was going to have to keep him at a distance if she wanted to avoid that sword of his.

It became a kind of dance really. Dodge, freeze, heal, damage. Thank the Maker Barkspawn kept wanting to 'play' with the Arishok. Daggers only did so much, and the Arishok seemed to laugh them off anyway. Lightening seemed to piss him off even more so than the fireball had, and he moved even faster, if that were possible.

No matter what damage she sent to him, she would always work on separating the metals in the sword. It finally seemed to pay off. It happened towards the end of the fight, with both of them winded but refusing defeat. The Arishok actually looked happy that it was a difficult fight, loving the challenge of it. For a moment, she shared his opinion, and the two shared a knowing look.

This was a dance both knew well, the taste of battle, the thrill of the fight. Though each had different weapons, they approached battle in the same way. This fight could not last forever, but there was a moment, a single moment where they looked at each other and knew they stood as equals against the other. Few would come as close to truth as this.

It happened almost too quickly to her eyes. The Arishok had hit one of the pillars in his attempt to cleave her in half, nearly shattering the sword, her repeated separation spells finally paying off. Only a large fragment of it remained, but even that was enough to continue the fight. He only needed one shot, and he got it in the next instance. She didn't dodge fast enough, and the part of sword that had stayed attached to the hilt went straight through her.

Fenris could be heard screaming in the background, desperately fighting the others to get to her, but she couldn't let herself look just yet. This was the only chance she'd ever get to try this spell, and she was going to have to take it, or lose everything. With his hands still on the hilt, The Arishok looked at her with confusion, not realizing why she smiled. He did not realize that this was the face she made when she knew something was dead before it did, and that it was him. She reached out to him slowly, and grabbed the air in front of his throat as if she were actually grabbing him.

The effect was instantaneous. The Arishok backed away from her, letting go of the sword that was still lodged in her stomach. He clawed at his throat, trying to break free of the spell, but it was no use. Barkspawn was having fun 'playing' with the Arishok, adding to the damage the spell was causing. Everyone watched, as the Arishok fell back against the stairs as he took his last breath.

"We will come back. This is not over." The Arishok declared, gasping.

"I will look for you on the battlefield when the time comes." Hawke replied, a sign of respect to the Qunari. With that, he almost smiled, as the spell overtook him at last.

She looked to the other Qunari, to whoever it is that would have been in charge after the Arishok, and glared. She must have looked the sight, glaring threateningly at a Qunari horde with a great sword still stuck through her as she barely managed to breathe, because even then they backed up. A predatory smile formed on her face as she imagined Varric somewhere behind her writing in his notebook like his life depended on it. For a mage who had hidden most of her life, she was a great source of inspiration for his stories. She was only sorry that it did not look like she was going to keep her promise to Fenris, and that was the cause for the tears that forced themselves out.

"Now get out." She growled, threateningly.

Surprisingly, they did just that, and she waited as long as she could before promptly falling into the darkness that awaited her.


Fenris P.O.V.

Moments earlier…

"NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!"

Everything seemed to slow down the moment the sword went through her, and he screamed in despair and rage. Only when he went to race towards her, it didn't feel like he was moving, and he struggled only to realize that Anders, Carver, and even Sebastian held him where he was. He called for them to let him go, that she needed him, but even as their tears fell they held fast to him. He could have escaped them, had he been of sound enough mind to realize he could simply phase through them. In that moment though, something in his mind snapped and he collapsed where he was, unable to look away from what was happening to her.

In her dying moments, she still fought the Arishok. She still thought she could win, but he did not see how she could now. But then again, why was she grinning like that? Why was she looking at the Arishok like he was the one about to die instead? He didn't acknowledge the spark of hope that lit up when he saw her crushing the air inside the Arishok.

He couldn't bring himself to hope that she would pull through this now, only to watch her die in the next moment. Yet she beat the Arishok. The Qunari lay dead before her, and she stood before the rest of the horde with fury in her eyes, and the sword still through her stomach. It was the horde that backed away, and she smiled in a predatory manner, even as tears fell down her face. She had never looked more tragically beautiful to him than in that moment.

"Now get out." She growled.

When they had gone, she fell to the ground…or she would have, if Fenris hadn't caught her. It didn't look like she was alive, but he could still feel her pulse, even now as weak as it was. Their strange group of friends were surrounding them within moments. No one in the crowd spoke, waiting on baited breath. They needed to get out of here.

"M-Merrill?" Fenris asked, looking over to her. She was in front of him on the other side of Bellanaris. Merrill could only bring herself to nod. "What- whatever it-it is, now would…now would be the time for it."

"Maybe an inversion on the blood bomb." She replied, in a hushed tone, as she tried to work subtly so no one in the crowd freaked out over a blood mage. If that happened, Bellanaris was dead. "Instead of asking the blood to leave the body, I would be asking it to stay in her until Anders can heal her properly."

"You…talk to it?" Fenris asked, numbly.

"Yes. I ask it to do things, because I am a primal mage above all else, and blood is a part of nature. I have to respect it, or else I'll turn into one of those ugly blobs you all worry about so much." Merrill replied, as she concentrated on her work. "That is why I think Hawke trusts me with this, because if it can be used to destroy a life, then surely it can be used to preserve it."

"A-Aveline, you'll need to…to r-remove the…to remove the sword for Merrill to continue. Quickly, before Meredith gets here." Fenris asked, not even sure she heard him.

The sword was removed, and hands came down with cloth of all kinds of colours. Fenris looked up to see Anders working on keeping the wound covered as Merrill worked, providing the illusion that he was the one trying to heal her. Granted, that would be true later, but the nobles did not need to know that. It seemed that Anders had gone around to the various nobles, asking for anything that could be used as medical wrap, and they had delivered. He heard whispers from the nobles, honouring the 'Champion of Kirkwall', and knowing they must be talking about Bellanaris.

"Alright, Fenris. It says it will stay in. Even her blood seems to love you. It doesn't want to see you sad." Merrill said, softly.

"We need to g-get her to the Estate. She has the place…set up for you already, Anders." Fenris said, gently picking Bellanaris up to carry her bridal style.

"I'll stay here, and field any questions. You know there are going to be a lot. I'll send messages to Varric to coordinate." Aveline said, trying to keep her voice even.

"We'll clear the way for you." Carver said, gathering several other guards to help.

The guards cleared the way in front of him, while their friends made sure nothing could get to her from all other angles. One of the small miracles of the day was that she lived so close to the Keep. Sandal opened the door before they got there, almost as if he knew ahead of time that they were there. Everything had been set up in their room, as requested, and Anders got to work. Merrill removed the spell she'd caste while in the Keep, which allowed for Anders to work unhindered by the spell.

Fenris began removing his own armour once Bellanaris had been placed on the bed. He knew what needed to be done, knew that they didn't have enough lyrium on hand to do it. They were going to need another source. Memories in the back of his mind warned him that this was going to hurt a lot, but he pushed it away. This was the love of his life, and for her he'd walk through the Void itself if it meant she'd be alright at the other end of it.

She had never asked him to do this, would never ask it of him, but there was no other way now. He took off his shirt, to give them access to some of the deeper lyrium lines, and walked over to them without a second thought. Already, he could see the two mages struggling. They had already used a lot of their magic to defend the city. They didn't have much left, and didn't notice that he had set on the bed till he spoke.

"You're going to need me." Fenris said, pulling them out of their thoughts.

"Are you sure, Fenris? She said it hurts you a lot." Merrill asked, concerned. "She wouldn't want us to risk it."

"Bellanaris isn't awake to dispute this. She doesn't have enough lyrium stored here. She's never needed it, and I doubt you all brought your reserves with you. More than likely you went through them just defending the city." Fenris countered logically. "We are wasting time that Bellanaris does not have, now get on with it!"

"If you're sure, Fenris." Anders replied, not looking at him, focused on healing his friend. "Merrill, you try first. Hawke says my magic hurts him, where it is attacking itself. She didn't say anything about you."

"When you're ready then." Merrill said, acknowledging his decision.

Fenris nodded, and she placed one of her hands on his upper back along one of the deepest lyrium lines. He knew the instant she tapped into the lyrium. It almost knocked the wind right out of him, and he had to fight himself to keep from blocking out her magic. She seemed to know when it became too much for him to bear, releasing her hold on him. He took a shaky breath, and looked over to Bellanaris.

She was doing better, but she was a long way from out of the woods. Though Merrill now looked like she could continue on for a bit longer, Anders did not. Fenris looked to him, and after giving the mage a curt nod, Anders reached out to him. He almost wished he hadn't. Where Merrill's magic made him unable to breathe, Anders caused pain to erupt everywhere, and he almost threw Anders hand away to get away from him.

It took everything he had just to sit there, and even then it was easy for them to see how much this hurt him. He could not stop himself from physically folding in on himself as he clung to the sheets in pain. It felt like a white hot iron poker had hit him everywhere at once. Thank the Maker Anders didn't hold onto him as long as Merrill had. He didn't know if he could have survived it.

"I'm sorry, Fenris. I'm sorry…" Anders gasped, as he took his hand away. "I could see…all the pain…No wonder you warned me away."

"I did offer." Fenris said, cutting him off, trying to keep the pain from his voice. "Even that is not the worst it has ever been."

"If you don't mind, I'd rather not do that again." Anders replied, with a shaky laugh. "Can you imagine what her reaction would be if I hurt you too badly doing that? As it is, she still might kill me."

"If-" Fenris began.

"When." Anders corrected.

"She'll live?" Fenris asked, barely above a whisper, unable to hide the hope in his voice. "You're certain?"

"She'll live, but we're going to need a lot more lyrium before she's fully healed." Merrill said, and Fenris released a breath he hadn't known he was holding.

"Good thing I brought gifts." Varric said, entering the room carrying a crate of lyrium. "Complements of our templar friend, if you can believe that. I do not want to know how he snuck this away from Meredith."

"It wouldn't be the strangest thing to happen around Hawke." Anders said, taking one of the bottles and downing it right away.

"Shit, Broody, you look worse than she does." Varric commented, looking over at him.

"I've been better. Volunteered my lyrium till the gifts could arrive." Fenris responds, sarcastically. "What's going on outside?"

"Aveline tells me that Meredith has officially named Wolf 'The Champion of Kirkwall' though the nobles had coined the term long before she got there. Apparently some of the nobles saw her ears during the fight, and now no one knows what to make of a half elf apostate mage saving their collective asses. Sebastian is already working on relief efforts for the city through the Chantry. High Town got hit the hardest, so they're starting there first. He's asked me to keep an eye out for Daisy to keep her safe, as some of the nobles may have seen what she did. We're not sure yet. Cullen is keeping Meredith busy, hoping that she won't try to take over the seat of the Viscount, but it's not looking good. I'm pretty sure Isabella's going to go into hiding for a while. She just needs to work through having a devoted friend. Gamlen is downstairs with Carver. The two are working on coordinating relief efforts for the poorer parts of the city. The Chantry can't be everywhere, even if they seem like it. Orana and Renan are taking care of the household and the guards that have been coming and going. There hasn't been a templar able to enter the place besides Cullen, thanks to whatever Sandal did." Varric said, going over the list. "There are a lot of people waiting to hear how she is, Broody. She shouldn't have been able to defeat an Arishok in single combat, and yet she did. They owe her everything."

"She'll have a hard road during the recovery process, but she'll live." Anders said, feeling a bit more confident about it now.

"Good, I'll go let the rest of Thedas know." Varric chuckled, and headed towards the door. "I meant it when I told Wolf I'd always bet on her."


Varric's P.O.V.

Her house had never been more crowded, and finally he had to start sending people away. As it was, he was busy writing missives to all the people inquiring about her health. Only close friends were allowed inside, and even then it seemed like a lot of people. Everyone who she'd ever helped wanted to know that she was alright. When Carver and Gamlen left to begin some of the repair work, Varric took over coordinating relief efforts where he could.

By the time morning arrived, very few people were still there. Most had gone to their homes, to begin seeing to the personal damages. Only Cullen, Sebastian, and himself that remained downstairs. Isabella had left, unable to handle the magnitude of what Wolf had done for her. Aveline had her hands full dealing with Meredith and Orsino fighting already, and according to Cullen that wasn't likely to change.

Merrill and Anders came out of the room looking worn down. They had spent all night working on her, having had to go through the crate of lyrium and another round of Volunteering Lyrium by Fenris before she was safely out of the woods. Those downstairs waited for them to clean up, before they sat in the living room to impart the news. Anders looked the worse of the two, having tried to stay away from using Fenris when he'd offered again. It hadn't just hurt Fenris to do that before, Anders had been able to feel his pain as if it had been his own.

"She'll need months to recover fully. No missions for a long while, not even diplomatic ones. If it hadn't been for all her forethought and planning, along with the lyrium, we would have lost her." Anders said, his voice grave, finally breaking the silence. "It will be years before they should attempt to have children. As it is, I'm not sure she'll ever be able to have them."

"The sword missed all the important parts for that, but Anders is right that it will take a long time before it will be safe for them to try." Merrill added. "I was able to see deeper into things, I think. I'm more worried for Fenris now."

"Why is that, Daisy?" Varric asked, looking over at her, curiously.

"When he volunteered himself, it took a lot out of him. I think using the lyrium the way we did, may have also sent out a beacon. If his old Master didn't know exactly where he was before, he most certainly does now." Merrill explained, her face more serious than they'd ever seen it. "If anything should happen to him while Hawke is in recovery, she'll never forgive herself or us."


Fenris P.O.V.

It was days before there was any sign from Bellanaris that she would wake up. Orana took over taking care of her during that time, washing her, bathroom things and the like. Fenris had used so much energy to help heal her, that he was pretty much a useless blob for a while. There was one embarrassing incident where Orana actually had to feed him. He never wanted to relive that ever again, and she and Renan had been sworn to secrecy.

After a while, there were small signs he would notice from Bellanaris. Every so often, she would squeeze his hand. There were times when she would find him in the Fade and simply rest against him. She didn't try to talk to him there for a while, and he didn't ask it of her. He wasn't sure he would have trusted it at first.

It had now been almost two weeks, and Bellanaris hadn't been able to stay awake for longer than a few minutes at a time. Long enough that Orana could help her with her things, and get her back into bed. The restoratives that Anders and Merrill provided to help speed up the healing process were also laced with a powerful sedative. She seemed to be getting well enough that after a while, they began to lessen them. While in the Fade, he did not tell her what he had done, worried that it would hurt her progress.


Hawke's P.O.V.

Waking up had been no easy task, that was for sure. Every time she thought she had it, there had been another one of those restoratives to take. Now that she was kind of awake, she stretched, taking a silent inventory of her pains as she did so. Surprisingly, there weren't that many…just one rather large spot where the great sword use to be. She really hoped someone had managed to grab that thing, as she wanted to have it mounted over the mantle to snub every noble that bothered her in her home.

After rubbing the sleepy bugs from her eyes, she began feeling around at all the bandages. Varric must be moonlighting her as a mummy, she decided. Bandages were everywhere! Just how did anyone expect her to move around in this? How long had she been like this anyway? Oh, fuck the Maker, she thinks as she realizes that someone had helped her to the bathroom when she'd been in this state of helplessness.

Well, that was going to have to stop right there, she decided without having tested her movement at all. Looking next to her, she discovered that there was a mound in the middle of the bed almost like a body pillow. What the fuck was that about? Who put this mountain in her bed? Where in the Void was Fenris?

Cautiously, she raised up the covers from her body, and promptly put them back. It was worse than she thought. Did she even have a normal skin colour anymore? Her body was an ugly rainbow of colour. Alright, first thing's first. Time for operation 'Make it to the Bathroom on my Own', she decided. On second thought, make that 'Figure out how to get out of the Bed on my Own'.

Just how long had she been in this bed? Nothing seemed to want to move right, but she finally managed to get her lower legs over the side of the bed. Now if only she could lift up her upper body without falling in pain. She managed that some time later by hunching over face first on the bed, and scooting backwards a bit until she was sitting up. Something that should have taken a couple seconds, had literally taken almost a half hour.

Deciding to take a break, and revel in her new found victory over the bed, she took a moment to look around. Flowers were everywhere, along with little cards she couldn't read at the moment. None of the flowers were dead, so either they were continuously sending new flowers, or she hadn't been there that long. Judging by her unwilling muscles, it was the former. She almost groaned out loud when she realized she was going to have to deal with Fenris at some point.

His scream had been soul wrenching when the sword had gone through her, and that meant one of two things. Either he was going to be really pissed at her for knowing she was going to get hurt (not that she'd known the how part of that), or he was going to do something really dramatic and make all kinds of crazy demands of her. That was kind of the same thing really. Either way, she didn't have enough energy to handle any of that. She hadn't meant to worry him so much, but there hadn't been any way to avoid it. She couldn't let the Arishok take her friend.

She had been able to keep her promise at any rate, though she wasn't sure how just yet. She was sure she was going to get an ear full for her craziness later. Time to make an attempt to stand…and that's not happening right now. How was she going to get to the bathroom if she couldn't stand? This was putting a serious crimp in her 'Get to the Bathroom on my Own' mission.
"Bell'anar'is, what are you doing?!" Fenris shouted in alarm, rushing to her.

'Well Fuck' She thought.

"I'm on a mission." She said, nonchalantly, realizing how raspy she sounded. "I've completed quite a few of them already. Sitting up in the bed only took a half hour. I figure in one hour, I might be able to stand, and in another three maybe make it to the bathroom. I don't know how long I've been out of it, but someone has been helping me to the bathroom, and I'm putting a stop to that right now…if I can just get there."

"Orana has been the one to mainly help you in that regard. Would you like me to call her up here? Or I can help." Fenris offered, calming down, and then added with a smirk. "We are to be married, after all."

"I'm sorry, what now?" She asked, looking rather confused. Her mind had just done a full stop.

"Bell'anar'is, in all your efforts thus far, have you looked at your hands?" Fenris asked, arching an eyebrow as he spoke.

"Well, no. There was the stretching, categorizing pains and wounds, and trying to get out of bed to attend to. I've had a very busy day." Hawke stated, unable to stop the blush that cropped up on her cheeks. Was he being for real right now?

"Then I suggest you look." He replied, with a smirk.

When she did, she was stunned. There on her ring finger was the most beautiful piece of jewelry she'd ever seen. A lotus flower made entirely out of emeralds. He wanted to marry her. Wait a minute, he really wanted to marry her?

She looked back up at him in confusion. Their souls were already tied together, weren't they? Had she neglected to tell him she belonged to him always? She didn't even remember being asked! Did he really think he was going to be able to skip that part?

"Oh no, asking would imply that there was a choice involved. There isn't one here." He said, determined, as he took to kneeling down in front of her on one knee, seeing where her mind had gone. Where she was sitting down on the bed, he was now just below eye level for her. Taking her hand into his own, he began caressing the knuckles with his thumb. "I have held your heart in my hand, stood by silently while others made offers of marriage to you, thought that I would lose you to memory loss, and watched helpless as you nearly died in my arms. No longer, Bell'anar'is. No longer will I be silent. I will tie you to me in every way imaginable, Bell'anar'is. My future is to be at your side always. You are mine, and you will marry me."

Now, normally a person making these kinds of demands would get on her last nerve. This was Fenris, and try as he might, he could not hide how scared he was in his voice. The fact that he sounded so forceful and determined only confirmed for her just how scared he was. He had been afraid that he had lost her when the rock wraith exploded, fell into despair when he'd seen the lyrium lines new on her body, and absolutely terrified when he'd had to stand by and do nothing as the Arishok impaled her with the great sword. Worst of all, he was so afraid that she would say no to him now, that he hadn't wanted there to be the possibility of it. Yet even so, he waited for her answer.

"Why did you pronounce my name like that?" She asked, hesitantly.

"I asked Merrill what it meant, and she told me that was how it is normally pronounced. In all the time that I have known you, I'd never asked you what your name meant." Fenris replied, unable to hold her gaze for very long but always looking back into her eyes every so often. "She said it meant forever, or the concept of it, or something apart from this world. That sounds like you. I could scour all of Thedas and never find another person quite like you, almost as if you are not entirely of this world. It's almost like you are from some other world, and if I let go, I'll lose you to it."

"When did you get this?" She asked, a small smile forming on her face.

"The day you asked me to move in. I snuck out while you were taking your bubble bath." He answered honestly, and without hesitation.

"One more question." She said, smiling at him.

"Just one?" He asked, dubiously, as he arched an eyebrow.

"What took you so long?" Hawke asked, making him chuckle a bit.

"Fear, mainly. I figured if I never tied you to me in this way, I could never lose someone who was not mine. But then I realized that you were always mine, since even before that day at the Hanged Man, and if I didn't do something I was going to lose you anyway." Fenris admitted, before kissing her forehead. "Now, I've been told there is to be no recuperating until after you've actually recuperated. So, I'm going to have to find some way to keep my hands off of you. Varric had a field day explaining that one to Anders. He'll never be able to say the word recuperate to a patient ever again."

"Taking a look at my stomach might keep you away. It's grotesque." Hawke replied, thinking back to when she'd looked at it.

"It actually looks better than it did." Fenris said, comforting. "Now, let's try to get you to the bathroom."


Fenris P.O.V.

Wait a minute, he thinks, that actually worked? He couldn't believe it. He honestly expected a fight, or for her to whine that he had not even asked. She had simply agreed to marry him just like that, even though he made it seem like there had been no choice? Did she truly believe there had been no choice? If he allowed her to believe that, he was worse than Danarius.

"Bell'anar'is? You do know-" Fenris tried to say, but it didn't quite make it out all the way.

"I understand, Fenris. I have always understood." Bell'anar'is said, from the bathtub and the privacy of the separating screen she had insisted on. "There was always a choice."

"How can you read me like that?" Fenris huffed, feeling deflated and slightly confused.

"It was in your eyes. I've always been able to read those." She replied. "Your voice demanded, but didn't, and your eyes pleaded with me."

"So, do you want the good news, or the bad news first?" Fenris asked, in a conspiratorial manner sure to arouse her interests.

"Oh, bad news first please!" She replied jovially.

Fenris snorted, and asked. "Why bad news first?"

"That way I'll be happy at the end with all the good news I'll be getting." She stated, as if that were the most normal thing in the world.

"Alright then. Meredith and Orsino are at each others throats again. She's poised to take over as Viscount until a 'suitable' candidate can be found." He said. It was her turn to snort.

"Fat chance of that. Why don't they just fuck already? It'd be dangerous angry revenge hate sex, like an extreme sport you know you're going to die from, but it would save the city…maybe even all of Thedas." She mused. "I suppose it could even count as Varric's naked mud wrestling thing he's been trying to get someone to do."

He tried hard not to laugh as he continued. Thinking about what he had to say next helped.

"Bell'anar'is, you have a long way to go to heal, but you know that already…Anders and Merrill say it will be a long time before we can safely try for those broody little babies Varric talks about us having." He said, gravely.

"But we will be able to…eventually." She said, almost like a question.

"Yes." Fenris replied.

"Then that's both bad news, and good news." She said, continuing her bath. "Do you want them? Broody little babies, I mean? We've never really talked about it, and I'd been keeping up with the potions before."

"I had never thought to hope for it, but then again, I have a lot now that I had never thought to hope for before." Fenris admitted. "If it ever does happen, Bell'anar'is, I hope they take after your temperament. Otherwise, Varric's broody babies jokes may never cease."

"I rather like his broody baby jokes." She teased.

"Isabella left, though Varric is sure she'll be back." Fenris stated, getting back to the bad news good news.

"I kind of figured that would happen." She replied, softly.

"The nobles know what you are now, Bell'anar'is." He said, quietly, and waited.

"That I'm a mage? I assume all of Thedas knows that by now." She said, not understanding. "I did let that secret out of the bag in front of a lot of people."

"They know that you're a half elf. Sometime during the fight, they must have seen your ears." Fenris corrected.

"Etunash!" She shouted, angrily. Shit! "Please tell me that's all of the bad news."

"Technically." He admitted. "If it means anything, the good side of that is that the nobles all love you now. The elves from the alienage have even rallied around you, though I suspect Merrill may be exciting them a bit."

"Seriously? So all those flowers in there?" She asked, hesitantly.

"Well wishes from the highest noble to the lowest pauper." He answered, and then teased. "Apparently, you're famous."

"Who knew?" She giggled.

"Meredith wants to make you tranquil, from what Cullen says, but she can't do it because the city loves you. It helps that even she owes you her life." Fenris said.

"Now, onto the good news." She said, happily.

"I did mention the flowers, the being famous, everyone loving you. You're marrying me, in case you didn't hear. That's my particular favorite bit of good news, by the way. (By this point, Bell'anar'is is in a fit of giggles) Varric is in story heaven, and writing an epic saga based on the two of us, when he isn't writing missives to everyone assuring them that you are on the mend. Apparently they want to hold a Ball in honour of 'The Champion of Kirkwall'. Carver and Gamin teamed up to help the city, if you can believe that. Aveline managed to snag the sword for you, though she doesn't understand why you would want it. The Qunari have all fled the city except for one. He's a mercenary for hire based in the Hanged Man. Sebastian and Merrill have been able to help in rebuilding the city as well. I think that's everything." Fenris concluded, slipping around the divider to make sure she wasn't trying to get out of the tub herself. She was.

"Fenris, just one more thing." She said, as he helped her out.

"Yes?" He asked, as he gingerly dried her off.

"How did I survive?" She asked, causing him to come up short. "I knew Merrill would have to use blood magic, but even then the odds were slim. I knew I wanted to live, but even with all my precautions, I couldn't plan for everything."

"If I tell you, you still have to marry me." He teased, lightly tapping her nose with one of his fingers.

It made her laugh at any rate. Fenris picked her up, and gently carried her back to the bed, before going to find her pajamas. When he'd helped her with those, he put the covers back over her again. Despite how awake she was at the moment, she had used a lot of energy to do what she did. She would be asleep again soon.

"I caught you when you fell. Merrill worked out what blood spell to use to keep you alive. Anders worked the nobles over for bandages and cloth, and made it look like he was trying to heal you as a normal healer would. You had a city guard escort that cleared the way to the estate, headed by Carver. Even then…with everything already prepared here, they weren't sure you'd make it." Fenris said, going over the events. "Merrill and Anders were already running low when they got here, and there wasn't any lyrium in the house. So…I volunteered."

"Fenris! I would have never asked that of you!" Bell'anar'is objected, unable to stop her sudden outburst.

"I know, and that is exactly why I did it. You would never ask, and they didn't even think of it. Cullen sent over a whole crate of Lyrium for them to use. Between that and me, we were able to heal you enough to where all we would need to do is give you restoratives every so often." Fenris said, stopping her from objecting again by getting her to take another restorative. "Don't fuss. I would do it again without blinking, and there's nothing you can do about it now anyway."

She huffed, looked at him for a moment, giggled, and with a sleepy expression, said. "Falon'saota."

She was asleep before he could ask her what that meant. Shaking his head, he made his way downstairs to where the others were having dinner. Varric was still writing missives, but he paused to nod at the broody elf before getting right back to it. Thank the Maker that Merrill and Sebastian had come over. He had more translation questions for Merrill.

"What does falon'saota mean?" Fenris asked, as he sat down to dinner with the others. Varric bursts out laughing as soon as he hears it.

"Well thanks for settling a few bets with that, Broody!" Varric said, laughing uncontrollably.

"I don't even know what it means. How could I have possibly settled bets with it?" Fenris asked, in disbelief.

"Even I know that one, Broody. Literally translated, it means 'bond mate'." Varric replied, trying to calm down his laughter. "She said yes. You have to tell me how you asked her, for literary purposes, you understand."

"I didn't really give her a choice in the matter." Fenris replied, in his usual serious manner, sending Varric into another fit so bad the dwarf started crying from laughter.

Chapter Text

Chapter 12

General P.O.V.

The next few weeks were hell for Hawke. She fought through the physical therapy, even when she was told to take it easy. There were a few times Fenris was tempted to use more of those sedative restorative potions, if only to get her to rest when she should. He would catch her at all hours walking up and down the stairs, trying to gain back her strength. There were a couple of times she almost fell down the stairs had he not been there.


Varric had been over the moon when she was finally well enough to talk with visitors. He'd been the first to sit with her, wanting to get the full account from the source itself, of course. Granted, it wasn't like he had left the place much anyway. When he found out that Fenris really hadn't asked so much as demanded she marry him out of fear that she'd refuse him, Varric almost died. Hawke was sure she'd never seen him laugh so hard in his life.

"You mean to tell me he wasn't joking?" Varric said, incredulously, when he finally managed to stop laughing.

"Nope. That's the way he said it, and then looks at me all nervous like I would actually say no." Hawke replied, smiling as she thought back to it, and then proceeded to give him a verbatim breakdown of what he'd said.

"Wow. Broody doesn't say much, but when he does…just…wow." Varric said, reverently. "The two of you are my best stories, you know. I'm thinking I should actually publish this stuff, instead of just telling stories at the Hanged Man. You should have heard what he said when Isabella asked to try that kiss he gave you before your fight with the Arishok. He threatened her life. Said if you died, she died, and the Arishok could reeducate what was left. Turns around and apologizes, said that there was only ever you, that there would only ever be you."

"Wow." Hawke said, sitting back against the headboard, blown away by what she'd learned. "I swear I think he just holds all his words in until they have the most meaning they could possibly ever have, and then blurts them out in some tornado of meaning."

"I'd believe it." Varric replied.


After that, Aveline had come by. Her and Donnic carried the Arishok's sword down to the estate, wrapped in some kind of cloth. They couldn't understand why she'd wanted to keep the thing, though Fenris did. Part of it was a respect for the Arishok, and the other part was to subtly rub the nobles noses in it whenever they came over to visit. That, Aveline could understand, and gladly helped her friend figure out the best location for the sword to show it off.

After dealing with Meredith and Orsino so much, Aveline needed a drink…or several. Bran wasn't making things any easier either, though Carver was great about distracting him when needed. Hawke wondered just how long she could put off writing to the Divine again. They had been keeping fairly steady contact for a while, though whether Cullen knew about it, she didn't know. Surely he was in contact with her as well.


Carver and Cullen had almost arrived at the same time, not that that seemed suspicious in the slightest. After inquiring about her progress, both seemed to want to know one thing. What were they going to do about Meredith? She was poised to take over the seat of the Viscount, without even a vote from the citizens. Carver figured it was because they would vote in his sister, a half elf apostate mage, and that Meredith couldn't stand that all the city knew that and still wouldn't let her be taken, which made Hawke laugh uncontrollably for a bit.

Cullen talked about the quality of the recruits changing. Now, Meredith was taking anyone, so long as they hated mages. This is not what the Order stood for, at least that was not the Order that Cullen had joined into. Hawke sighed, knowing she was going to have to do something about it, or they were going to lose the city to something worse than the Qunari. They would lose it to Meredith.

"I have an idea." Carver said suddenly.

"Alright, let's hear it." Hawke replied.

"The King of Fereldan. Wasn't he an ordinary sod like us at one point?" Carver asked.

"Yes, but what does that have to do with anything?" Cullen asked, curiously. "You don't want to write him for help, do you?"

"That's exactly what I want to do, or rather, what I think Sister should do." Carver insisted. "She's already been writing to the Divine, keeping her apprised of the situation with Meredith and her brand of crazy. She can write the Divine, asking to get her sacked, and get the King of Fereldan to back her up should she need it. Or maybe Sebastian could write to Starkhaven for aid, as long as he promises he'll never want the throne or something."

"And who would be Viscount?" Fenris asked, suspiciously. Everyone turned their faces to Hawke, who looked like a nug caught in a trap.

"Oh no, not me. My plans were to sit on the sidelines with snacks, maybe head up the Mage school, remember?" Hawke objected, her voice in a panic. "Aveline makes a more sensible choice than me. I could back her or something. Orsino will have to be dealt with too. Something seems off about him, he smells funny."

"He smells funny?" Cullen asked, shaking his head. "I know I should ask what that means, but I think I'm just not even going to ask about that."

"I hate to say it, but Carver may have a point in this. No offense meant, Carver." Fenris said, deep in thought. "Right now, you could write your own ticket to the seat of the Viscount. The people are practically begging for you to do it."

"That's exactly why I shouldn't do it. That would be taking advantage!" Hawke said, in a panic. She never thought she'd hear the day Fenris wanted a mage in power.

"The fact that you don't want it, is precisely why you should do it." Fenris said, sensibly. "It's not like you couldn't do both that and the mage school. You'll need Orsino to stay for a while anyway, while you work everything out, and when you have you can either ask him to step down or invite him to stay on as another of these 'professors' as you call them."

"I hate it when you're sensible, and conspiring against me. This is mutiny." Hawke muttered, causing Fenris to snicker. "Alright, it looks like I've got letters to write."


Hawke and Varric's P.O.V.

"I don't want to go." She said, stubbornly.

It was bad enough that she was having to answer to 'Champion'. Now that she was finally able to walk around again, they wanted to throw a Ball in her honour. She'd never been raised in that kind of life, and didn't feel comfortable in it, no matter how badly her mother had tried to instill it in her. What reason did a Fereldan country bumpkin have for knowing when to use what fork? There should only ever be one fork, but then again, only a Fereldan country bumpkin would think of the poor person that had to wash all those forks. If she'd known this is what was going to happen she would have let them take Isabella, and be done with it. Oh, who was she kidding, of course she would have done everything exactly as she had in the first place…preferably without the being stabbed.

"Wolf, it's in your honour. You saved the city of Kirkwall, and now they want to throw you a party." Varric replied, with a sigh, knowing this was going to be an uphill battle. "Let the silly little rich people throw you a party. You know just as well as I do that they'll leave you alone after this. It's all they want."

"No. What they want is for me to be paraded around the other rich people, and answer a bunch of questions for them. The Hanged Man can throw me a better party than the nobles of Kirkwall any day, and they wouldn't have to ask me any questions because you tell all my stories there anyway." Hawke reasoned. Varric chuckled at that, she did have a point there. "Besides, I saw a lot of them shit their pants. You'd think they wouldn't want to be around the person that could mention that. That's a lot of blackmail right there, though I suppose it would be more of a 'brown' mail really."

"Andraste's bouncing sugar tits, woman!" Varric said, unable to hold in his laughter. "You're still going!"

"And to think I was going to ask you to cause all kinds of trouble with me too." Hawke gave in, begrudgingly. "At least tell me I can wear that nice armour they had commissioned for me. I look stunning in that, and it's practical. Plus, it hugs my ass quite nicely."

"No. I'm sending someone over to get measurements for you. You will go in the girliest dress I can get made." Varric said, looking like he enjoyed watching her squirm. "You keep this up, and it'll be pink. I'll even have them add frills and ruffles."

"You wouldn't dare!" Hawke exclaimed, her eyes wide with alarm.

"I would, and you know it." Varric said, point blank.

"Come on! I haven't pranked you in forever!" Hawke pleaded.

"You've been healing all that time. Doesn't count." Varric replied, grinning.

"Varric, you can't do this to me!" She whispered, leaning in. "There's a secret I haven't even told Fenris."

"Oh? This I have to hear." Varric chuckled, waiting.

"I can't dance." Hawke admitted, her voice low.

"Is that all?" Varric asked, laughing at the look on Hawke's face. "It's not like you don't have a pick of teachers to chose from. Chantry boy was a prince, for crying out loud. I'm sure even Fenris could teach you to dance."

"You do know he was joking about going from room to room planning choreographed dance routines in that old mansion of his, right?" Hawke asked, eyeing him.

"You mean he lied to me?" Varric asked, in mock rage. "Broody, get your skinny elven ass in here! I need to have a word with you."

"You are a most troublesome friend." Fenris groaned, upon entering the room.

"You lied to me. In all of your time in that empty mansion, there was not one choreographed dance, Broody?" Varric asked, pretending to be put out again, crossing his arms.

"Not one." Fenris replied, completely deadpan. Both him and Varric chuckled after that.

"Fine then, betray me to the rich people for your stories, dwarf. Just know that if I have to go, Fenris does too, and he has to be just as dressed up as me." Hawke said, victoriously, knowing Fenris would never go for this.

"I thought we would just go in our armour? That piece they commissioned for you is quite nice." Fenris replied, smirking at her suggestively. "There's a reason why I enjoy following you."

Varric face palms to keep himself from laughing. He needed to be strong to get through this. If they saw his weakness just once in this, he'd never get them to go. Hawke looked like she smelled blood in the water anyway. They weren't going to make this easy.

"No, apparently, Varric is making me doll up in the girliest dress he can get made. That would mean you'd have to get all dolled up too." Hawke said, lowering her voice and leaning in like she's revealing a conspiracy. "And if you have to get all dolled up, I want the works. I'd be willing to bet anything you'd look like a prince straight out of the story books."

"We're not going then. The deal was that I didn't have to dress up." Fenris blanched. "Aveline can hide us in Orleis for a while."

"She's in on this too." Varric said, waiting for them to run out of arguments before they finally accept the inevitable. "She thinks it will be good for you, and she thinks that way because I may have blackmailed her with threatening to dedicate my next installment of Swords and Shields to her."

"You blackmailed the Captain of the Guard?" Fenris asked, incredulously.

"What can I say? She refused to sell the Hanged Man to me." Varric replied, nonchalantly, as if that were the actual reason.

"Sebastian could pull some strings and hide us in the chantry." Hawke suggests, hopeful.

"You really want to listen to that all day?" Varric asked, nonchalantly. Both her and Fenris cringed.

"What about Cullen? We could hide there?" Hawke suggested, looking to Fenris. "Would anyone really think to look for a couple of lyrium covered people in the middle of a bunch of Templars?"

"No good. It has the added danger of Knight Captain Meredith, and his blushing would give you away. He's seen you naked." Varric countered. "Same thing for Sebastian too, by the way. Everyone peeked, those are just the only two that would blush about it."

"We could hide in the Hanged Man. No one would think to look for us where we always are." Fenris tried, causing Hawke to look hopeful. Varric just leveled him with a look.

"Nice try, Broody." Varric stated. "I'll give you points for that one, but they've been alerted to that possibility." Or they would be now that he's thought of it.

"Carver?" Hawke asked, desperate now.

"Too close to Aveline." Fenris reasoned. "She could squish him like a bean, and then we'd have to deal with his whining. He'd probably rat us out just to watch us squirm anyway."

"Gamlen?" She tried. Fenris looks up at her, having honestly never considered it.

"He'd complain too much, ask why Isabella wouldn't sleep with him, and we'd still end up going to the Ball with the added fun of smelling of cabbages. I'm sure the rabbit jokes would start the second they could smell us." He said, after a moment of careful consideration. "Anders?"

"You would actually hide out with 'the abomination'?" Hawke teased.

"He'd just make us help him with the refugees, and we'd end up elbow deep in blood like any other day." Fenris remarked, sensibly.

"He does let me experiment with potions while I'm there." Hawke remarked, already thinking of new experiments to try.

"Bell'anar'is, the last time that happened, we almost didn't make it back to the estate." Fenris objected, blushing at the sudden memory.

"Oh? This ought to be good. What did she do, Broody?" Varric asked, laughing. Fenris just shook his head, still blushing at the memory of it.

"Oh, nothing really. I just mixed some things, a potion blew up, and I had the sudden urge to nibble on Fenris's ears like they were taffy. There was also the distinct impression in my mind that he was wearing far too many clothes, and being the concerned citizen that I am, I tried to help him out of them." Hawke replied, smiling at the memory of it. "I don't think I've ever seen Anders blush quite that shade of red before, and I'm surprised Isabella didn't tell you. She saw us on our way back. By the time she saw us, we had just gotten to High Town. Fenris had picked me up bridal style in order to try to keep me from taking off his clothes, but he couldn't seem to keep my hands pinned. I was still nibbling on his earlobes, his shirt was up to his armpits, and I had almost managed to get him out of his trousers."

"I'm just glad she wasn't of the frame of mind to remember that she was a mage, and could just shred all my clothes." Fenris mumbled, blushing brighter now. "I would have been walking around High Town in nothing but my small clothes."

Hawke was going to point out that he didn't wear any, but that was probably the point, and she just starts laughing instead.

"See, Wolf, I'm disappointed in you." Varric chuckled. "That's exactly the kind of story you tell you best and most awesome friend ever, in great detail too. With a few more tantalizing adjectives, maybe a few exaggerations about how much of his assets got flashed to all of High Town, that's worthy to be a part of my friend fictions."

"That's it. We can't hide with Anders now." Fenris grumbled, still blushing.

"Guys, relax, I'll take care of everything." Varric said, once it looked like they weren't going to be thinking of new suggestions any time soon. "You two will look fabulous. The nobles will fall all over themselves just to talk to you, and then you can come back to the mansion and recuperate. All you have to do is teach Wolf to dance, Broody."

"You're never going to let that one go, are you?" Fenris asked, a little annoyed, and Varric just shook his head no.

"It's too fun not to use." Varric added.

"Merrill would hide us." Hawke muttered.

"Yes, and then she'd give us away right afterwards to the man who gives her string. You don't know how to dance?" Fenris said, unable to hold in his surprise.

"Hiding didn't really allow for dance lessons." She replied, not looking at him. "Mother tried, but I have two left feet and no sense of grace."

"Nug shit." Varric countered, and Hawke looked over to him. "I've seen you fight, Wolf. If you can fight like that, you can dance."

"I'll teach you." Fenris replied, earning a barely there smile from her, and then became worried when her eyes lit up.

"I'm not the only one who saved the city, you know. If I have to go, you all have to go with me." She said, using her last ditch effort.

"Only one of us killed the Arishok in single combat, and then ordered the rest of an entire Qunari horde to get out while still having their Arishok's great sword in her side. I wonder who that was…" Varric said, as he tapped his chin pretending to ponder. "Don't worry, Fenris will protect you."


Fenris P.O.V.

"No, Varric, absolutely not." Fenris objected, as he stood still so some seamstress could take his measurements. "I will not give you a detailed account of what Bell'anar'is and I have done sexually, or any carefully constructed fantasies I may have or have yet to fulfill with that woman. Some things must remain a mystery, even to you. The bet on my smalls was bad enough, thank you."

"Fine, but if you won't tell me, then I'll just have to make it up on my own. You've read my books 'Hard in High Town', and 'Swords and Shields', haven't you? I'll do it." Varric warned, in all seriousness. "I'll make it the sauciest, most sex filled thing I've ever written, hands down."

"Please, those books are tame compared to some of the things we've done." Bell'anar'is giggled, as she sat down to watch Fenris get measured. "You forget. I've been asking Isabella for sex advice long before I met Fenris. She's helped me find quite the collection of informative books on the subject, and I have carefully constructed fantasies of my own."

"Is that a challenge, Wolf?" Varric asked, raising an eyebrow, looking over to his friend.

"You write, I edit?" She asked, loving the blush Fenris was sporting right now.

"You're on." Varric said, shaking her hand. "Always a pleasure doing business with you, Wolf."

"You owe me for getting the heat off of you, you know. Now he's going to fuss at me for hours." Bell'anar'is pretended to chide.

"Please, it will end the way it should, as another story for my friend fictions." Varric said, with a laugh. "That would mean that you'd owe me, right?"

"Your logic is questionable, but flawless as always, Dwarf." Bell'anar'is mused. "Remind me to pay your tab at the Hanged Man some time."

"How did I get myself into these kinds of situations again?" Fenris mumbled.

"Well, someone who shall remain nameless (Varric coughs something that sounds suspiciously like 'Fenris') went from trying to kill me to trying to tie me to him in every way possible." Bell'anar'is teased. "Don't know who that could have been. Do you, Varric?"

"Not sure. I think he broods a lot." Varric said, nonchalantly, going along with her teasing. "Women swoon as he walks past. He's turned brooding into an art form, really. They must have competitions in Tevinter for Brooding in particular."

"How else are they suppose to win the competition for the Broodiest little babies possible?" Bell'anar'is asked, feigning innocence. "They train while they're in the womb, you know!"

"Festis bei umo canavarum." Fenris grumbles. "Amens mulier."

"Oh, that sounded like an insult. I like it." Varric said, joyfully. "What does it mean?"

"You will be the death of me. Crazy woman." Fenris answered, still grumbling, sending Varric into another fit of laughter.


 

"How did we get talked into this again?" Bell'anar'is asked, as it was her turn to be measured.

"I blame the dwarf." Fenris commented, not looking up from his book.

Varric had actually asked him to go over the series he had been working on of Bell'anar'is, without the saucy bits as of yet. He'd been planning to print it, and would be sending the first book of the series to his editors soon. Some of these things were too fantastical to be believed, and he would have tossed the book aside if Bell'anar'is herself hadn't told him the stories were true. Turns out that Varric only made his stories bigger than they needed to be when he was telling them in front of a crowd. To be fair, the things Bell'anar'is did, often did not need to be embellished. Also, the dwarf tended to leave himself out of his stories, a fact quickly remedied by the lyrium lined elf.

"Yes, but how did he do it? You could always reach in and crush his heart, and I beat the hell out of an Arishok. Surely one dwarf should not be a problem. I killed a whole group of them once." Bell'anar'is mused.

"You didn't want to make Bianca an orphan." Varric supplied, helpfully.

"Surely we could teach Sebastian how to pull her trigger." She teased. "He ought to know how already, but if not, Merrill could give him tips…a couple of pointers…directions at the very least." Fenris pinches the bridge of his nose, trying to keep from laughing.

"Chantry boy?" Varric asked, mockingly appalled. "You wouldn't dare."

"I might think about it." She giggled. "You did threaten me with pink, frills, and ruffles, after all. That's quite a serious offense."


She stands before him now, the most beautiful woman he's ever seen. In all honesty, it's how he's always viewed her. To think that there was ever a moment where he wanted to kill her seemed as such a falsehood now. Bell'anar'is, his beautiful Hawke, stood before him wringing her hands in silence. As far back as his memories of her go, he can never remember a time when he's seen her truly this nervous, and it's because of him. This goddess, this beautiful and fantastically frightening creature, was worried because she thought he might not think her pretty.

The notion of that felt ridiculous to him, as he viewed her as beautiful in anything she wore. He made a mental note that he would have to remember to trust Varric's taste in clothes from now on. They had gotten dressed in different rooms, wanting to surprise each other. Now they stood staring at each other in awe and silence. It almost didn't seem real.

"Maker's breath, you look…divine, Bell'anar'is, absolutely beautiful." Fenris said, finally, breaking the silence. She blushed at that.

Bell'anar'is stood before him wearing a stunning long black dress that clung to her every curve. Only her arms were bare, not counting the dangerously low sweat heart neckline. Silver thread wove intricate designs throughout, and shown brightly depending on how she moved. It allowed the dress to highlight her pale skin, and show off the markings that now graced her skin. Occasionally there would be a hint of blue or green in the silver threading, allowing it to highlight her eyes, and the engagement ring she wore. His eyes traveled to her lips, a now deep dark red, and groaned.

"If we don't leave right now, we won't make it out of this room." He concluded, as he reached out to her.

This had all been worth it, he decides, as they make their way to the DeLaunce's estate where the party was being hosted. He had the most beautiful woman in all of Thedas on his arm, not that he was biased or anything, and there wasn't a damned thing any one of those stuffy nobles could do about it. Fenris smirked, as he looked over to her, and shook his head. This little mage was trouble if he was any judge, but she was his, just as he was hers. He chuckled a bit, thinking about how the both of them had been so nervous about this night.


Hawke's P.O.V.

Moments before…

Oh, Sweet Andraste's holy pyre, had Varric ever delivered. When she said she thought Fenris would look like a prince from the story books, she hadn't thought Varric would take that to heart. She really was going to have to pay his tab at the Hanged Man now, Hawke realized as she stood looking at Fenris now. For a man who said that he did not feel comfortable dressing up this way, he sure did cut the dashing figure. Somehow, Varric had even convinced him to wear boots.

Where in the void had she been for that conversation? She'd have lost money on that bet. As he was obviously taking in how she looked, she did not hide that she was doing the same to him, or how nervous she was about what he saw. He wore a simple yet elegant white tunic, the collar of which did not even come up as high as his armour normally did, and the sleeves fluffed out a little at the ends before coming together and being held against his wrist with cufflinks. Over this, he wore a sleeveless overcoat lined in white and gold along its collar. It was open enough with the small clasp below his chest, and the loose belt like thing that crisscrossed below his waist, that she could see he wore a small red cummerbund.

He even wore white gloves, which shocked her even more than the boots did. The overcoat he wore ended at two points just below his knees, the coat tails, she assumed, and it looked like even the inside of it was a dark red. Simple, form fitting, black pants met the almost knee high boots she never thought she'd see him wear. On the left side of the crisscrossed belt, she saw the crest of the Amell family, and on his left wrist he wore a small red band. She smiled a small secret smile as she realized he really was tying her to him in every way possible.

She was brought out of her thoughts when he reached out to her, and stated. "If we don't leave right now, we won't make it out of this room."


Back to present…

"What's so funny over there?" She asked, suspicious, narrowing her eyes at him even as she grinned mischievously.

"I was thinking maybe we should treat this like one of our missions." Fenris replied, as they continued to walk along. "The nobles already act like vultures. It shouldn't be too difficult. We might even have to slaughter one or two of them."

"Fenris!" Hawke exclaimed, eyes wide and giggling. "This is not a mission. It is suppose to be a romantic evening."

"If it were our choice, Bell'anar'is, this is not what we would be doing on a romantic evening. The clothes, surprisingly, I can understand, but not the nobles. Besides." He said, turning her to face him. "Some of the most meaningful moments we've shared have been during a mission."

"Good answer there." Hawke replied, slightly blushing.

"So, divide and conquer or hit them head on?" Fenris asked, as he opened the door for her.

"I can't even believe you'd ask such a thing, Fenris." She teased. "Hit them head on, of course. They'll never see it coming."

"You've never been to one of these events, have you?" Fenris smiled, knowingly.

"Of course not. I'm a Fereldan country bumpkin, through and through." She replied, a broad smile on her face.

"You have no idea what you're doing, do you?" He asked, looking over to her with suspicion and merriment.

"Not a clue, but don't worry. I'm a Hawke, I'll wing it." She said, unable to not laugh at her own pun. Fenris just groans, but laughs in spite of himself.

When they walked into the main room, and were announced, everyone turned to them. Hawke found herself caught in the trap of stares, and almost couldn't breathe. Fenris subtly squeezed her right hand, and winked at her, and she felt herself able to breathe again. He made a great show of taking her left hand into his own, kissing it gently before they continued walking into the room. It got the nobles talking again, and it gave Hawke a very mischievous idea.

"So that's why you didn't object so much to going to this thing." She mused, with a grin. "It's your chance to show me off, to declare to all and sundry that I'm yours, and there's nothing they can do about it."

"And if it is?" He asked, an eyebrow raised.

"Then you have to speak Tevine for me while we dance." She stated, with a playful grin. "But later, it looks like the vultures think they smell blood in the air. It's too bad they have no idea they're being hunted by a couple of wolves."


Fenris P.O.V.

He groans again, shaking his head as he chuckles at her. Her puns were absolutely atrocious, but he loves them. How she kept in good spirits when things loomed over her the way they always seemed to, he'd never know. Then again, maybe that was another kind of armour she wore. He thought of this as he watched her move through the crowd.

As much as she wanted to hit them head on, these events were designed for divide and conquer. They would have to separate for now, but Fenris found that it did not bother him quite so much. It gave him the opportunity to find out just how far Varric's stories of them ran. He hadn't had the chance before, and he hadn't dared leave her side after what will forever be known to him as 'The Arishok incident'. Bell'anar'is sent him an encouraging wink from across the room, and he decided to go for it.

"Oh, but they do make the most wonderful pair." A woman commented, near him. "How ever did she find such an exotic looking elf?"

"The story behind that is marvelous." Another woman giggled, conspiratorially. "I listen to that Varric Tethras fellow, you know."

"I do apologize for the intrusion, ladies, but the story teller Varric Tethras happens to be a friend of mine. He's responsible, it would seem, for all of the stories about our escapades, but…" Fenris pauses only for affect, leans in subtly, and lowers his voice a bit as he continues. "He has never shared these stories with Lady Hawke or I, and I'm almost afraid to necessitate it of him. If it isn't too guardant of me, could I impress upon you ladies to recount the stories for me instead?"

Makers left nut sac, was that ever the wrong thing to say! Suddenly Fenris is practically surrounded by a gaggle women, and it takes all his control to not give into the paranoid feelings that spring up as a result. He looks over to Bell'anar'is, who simply has an eyebrow raised and a smirk on her face. He's not getting out of this now. So he, turns back to the women who now surround him, and listens to their stories.

From what they are able to tell him, theirs is a story of love at first sight but not knowledge. That sounds very much like something Varric would write, never mind the it being true part. Somehow, her ten tevinter blood mages made it into the vocal telling. There were stories of romantic moonlit strolls had after killing bandits, but while plausible, that hadn't happened. The stories were always larger than life, but to hear himself portrayed as such was uncanny.

In his eyes, he was still an elven ex slave, still fighting off an old master, but not so in the stories spun by Varric Tethras. In these stories he is something else entirely. They portray a man Fenris does not recognize as himself, a man of passion and tenacity, a man whose voice can sway a room. The stories tell of such an elven ex slave, having at one time been ready to rip out the heart of the one who helped him, only to end up becoming the fiercely loyal lover and protector of the lady Hawke, ready to tear out the hearts of anyone willing to harm her. Just how had Meredith missed Bell'anar'is during all this time? It seemed that Varric's stories have never hidden that she was a mage! Ever!

The stories that were beginning to circulate because of 'The Arishok incident' were the hardest for him to hear. He did not like remembering the sword going through her stomach, the feelings that gripped him when that happened, the rush to her estate, the wondering if she would ever wake up. The many weeks of physical therapy had been a blessing, in that he was freed from the hell of waiting. However, he did not remember himself giving such passion filled speeches as what the dwarf suggested in his stories. He simply stated facts. They were getting ready to ask him how he'd really proposed to 'Lady Hawke' when the Maker finally smiled on him to free him from the torment he was currently in.

"Ladies, do you mind if I borrow my betrothed?" Bell'anar'is asked, the picture of polite and bashful. Of course, the ladies were falling over themselves to give her what she wanted, and soon he was free of them. "I see that Varric was right, you know. They really do swoon as you walk past."

She was teasing him now.

"Maker's breath, woman." Fenris quietly huffed, then teased. "Come with me. I haven't had a chance to dance with the lady Hawke yet."

"Alright, but I want Tevene from you, Messere." She whispered, seductively.

"Terribilis est aufer ridicularia." He grumbled, but continued to lead her into a dance. Your joking is terrible.

"That didn't sound very nice." She said, pretending to be cross as she pouted. "Aren't you suppose to seduce me with it?"

"Cor meum est semper ad te negotiatores tui." He offers, his lips close to her ear as he says it, sending shivers through her.

"Mmmm…That sounds good. What did you say?" She asked, curious.

"You never asked me to translate." Fenris replied. My heart has always belonged to you.

"Are the terms open to renegotiation?" She asked, her eyes alight with the mystery of it.

"No." He says firmly, and then he whispers, so low she isn't sure she can hear it. "Tu mihi causa manere." You are my reason to stay. "Nihil est semper facilis. Tu vero es dignitas is." Nothing is ever easy. But you, you are worth it.

"Fenris, that sounds beautiful." Bell'anar'is whispered, reverently.

"I had imagined proposing to you in Tevene, since you seem to like hearing it so much, but I panicked." Fenris admitted, blushing all the way to the tips of his ears. "I couldn't go through with it, and simply demanded that you marry me. If I could go back, I would change that part. I would keep the yes though."

"What would you have said?" She asked, unable to hold back the bubbling laughter, as they set up for another dance. "I would still love to hear it."

"Scio te non sunt obiectum habere, sed tibi prium, quam umquam pro me, et ego potest non nudis amittere te. Nihil est peius quam cogitato vivere sine te. Utinam stare per tuum latus semper, Amatus. Videtur ego cecidit in amore cum magia, tua magica." Fenris replied, his voice husky and filled with a deep longing, as he looked into her eyes now. "Erit tibi uxorem mihi, Bell'anar'is?"

I realize you are not an object to possess, but you are the first thing I have ever taken for myself, and I can not bare to lose you. There is nothing worse than the thought of living without you. I wish to stand by your side always, Beloved. It seems I fell in love with magic, your magic. - Will you marry me, Bell'anar'is?

"I would probably say yes to anything you asked, as long as you said it just like that." Bell'anar'is admitted, with a blush. "Do I get to know what all that means?"

"Later. For now, let us enjoy the rest of this." He replied, as he hid his eyes with his bangs.

It was something he did when he felt nervous and a bit too emotionally exposed. That was something that happened a lot around Bell'anar'is, and she had understood it for what it was. She did not push for the meaning of his little speech, even though he could tell she was dying with the curiosity of it. At the moment, he felt that he needed to breathe, his mind racing with nerves. He couldn't tell of it was paranoia that someone might be after him again, or simply nerves from saying what he had wanted to say to her even if it had been in a language she did not know.

Fenris was fairly certain that a few of the nobles there knew enough Tevene to understand the gist what he had said to her, and he wasn't entirely sure how he felt about that. They could be spies sent by Danarius. He could know of his feelings for her already, not that he had made an effort to hide them. All of Kirkwall knew that he loved her. The instinct to run gripped him, and he held onto her all the more tightly for it, loosening his grip when the feeling passed. He would not run again, not from this, not from her.

He looked around subtly again to the nobles that had seemed to understand his Tevene. The looks of barely disguised disgust were disturbing, but to be expected. The looks of congratulations were not expected, at least not to him. The only thing less expected than that was the looks of disappointment, as if they had lost something. Bell'anar'is looked up at him just in time for the hosts to announce that dinner would be served soon, and then everyone was moving to take their seats.


Hawke's P.O.V.

In all honestly, she'd been so worried about not knowing how to dance, that she had forgotten about all the forks and spoons and things. This was not her element, no matter how much Fenris and the others insisted it was. She did not feel at home here. Fenris caught her eye, and subtly moved to show she would need to move the wine glass soon. That man was more of a saving grace than he realized.

At least she finally solved the mystery of why they had so many utensils. Every course seemed like it was so tiny. There would only be a few bites, and it seemed that no one licked their fork clean. Fenris was practically a rock of subtle support. She copied everything he did when it came to the place settings.

The conversation on the other hand, she was beginning to have difficulty remaining polite. These people had the audacity to question her morals, her honour, her status as an open apostate mage, and her love of Fenris. She had saved their lives, and if they pushed it anymore, she was going to go find another Arishok to hand them over to. As it was, one in particular noble thought it would be a good idea to question those things at great length. She had seen the looks Fenris had given that man, and if he could have moved around her, the noble would be without his heart right now.

"Really, Champion, a taste for elves must run in the family. I had thought with your class, that you would pick someone more suitable." The nameless noble commented, as if it had been the nicest thing to say.

"You mean someone like your son?" Hawke asked, suggestively, surprising the man. Fenris looked over to her through the corner of his eyes.

"Why yes, he would be an excellent choice." The man replied, happily.

"And what is so great about him?" Hawke asked, outright, pinning the man down with nothing but a glare. "Would he even understand what was worth fighting for? Has he ever had to fight for anything?"

Fenris looked up at her in surprise, his eyes wide like he knows what's coming, and is debating whether or not he should try to stop her or if he should simply sit back and watch.

"I-I'm s-sorry…?" The man stammered.

"Not yet, you're not." Hawke growled, as she stood up, and addressed everyone. "Get this through your thick skulls, all of you. Your money means nothing to me, I have never needed it. Your nobility means nothing to me, I have never cared for it. Your morality is questionable at best, and I have yet to meet one of you, besides maybe our host, who has any sense of honour, and yet you question mine. You are the products of arranged marriages and alliances. I see very little happiness among you, and yet you question mine. Fine then, here it is. I am a Fereldan half elf apostate mage, I have killed and lost more than you will ever know, and I found someone who loved me for who I was before I rose to nobility…such as it is. That man has fought for me, protected me when he could have walked away, questioned every decision I ever made, and still loves me. Do you think him less than you because he was not born to nobility, because he is not human, because he came into his wealth differently than you but the same as me? He has helped to protect this city just as much as I have, and you owe him your lives."

She suddenly got very dizzy, and sat back down before she could fall.

"Bell'anar'is, are you alright?" Fenris asked, concern visible in his eyes.

"Perhaps, I should save the angry speeches until I'm feeling a bit better. Anders did mention something about that." She replied, jovially. Though shocked, the nobles recover enough to chuckle a little.

"As Nobility, it is expected of us to have manners above reproach, and that is not how many of us have behaved tonight, Champion." Messere Delaunce said. "There will always be times when we need to be reminded of how we should be. Who better than our champion to be the one to remind us of that? You have our apologies, Sir Fenris, for the rude behaviour many of our guests have exhibited this evening. I think that many are just jealous that you got to such a treasure before anyone else noticed she was one."

Chapter Text

Sorry that I've been absent for a while. Computer problems abound it seems, and my computer is deleting my things! Also I'm trying to sell my artwork at conventions, and have been preparing for that too.

There is a lemon in this chapter, just so ya know

 

Chapter 13

Fenris P.O.V.

"Think nothing of it." He managed to say, and things returned to a quiet calm throughout the dinner.

Well that was certainly interesting, he thought, as he continued to watch Bell'anar'is. She had been dealing with the nobles comments for quite some time now, and none of them had seem to get to her…until they started talking about him. Maybe they had gotten to her before, and that had just been the last straw. The dizzy spell worried him more than anything else though. It hadn't been that long ago that Anders had given her the clean bill of health so she could start going out again.

She was highly advised against missions for the moment, even diplomatic ones. If he counted this as a mission, which he should have, dealing with the Nobles would definitely qualify as something she should not be doing. He should have realized she'd get worked up when the Nobles wanted to question everything. It was a good thing this event would not last much longer. If he could get her home without killing anyone, maybe they could relax with one of those nice hot bubble baths she loved so much.

At the moment, a noble from Orleis was desperately trying to talk her into some kind of hunting party he held every year. Bell'anar'is wasn't the slightest bit interested, but since she'd exhausted her frustration out earlier, she was playing nice now. It didn't go unnoticed by Fenris, but this fellow was flirting with her too. Even if he wasn't from the area, that speech of hers really should have clued the fool in. As repulsive as this man was, he did give Fenris an idea.

Some time away from Kirkwall might do her some good. Somewhere nice, and relaxing, and away from whatever a Wyvern was. It sounded ghastly, and exactly like something Bell'anar'is would do if she were feeling better, though only after the thing started eating people or something. He would speak to Varric and Aveline later about possible places to disappear to for a while, later. Those two had been a great support for them.

The next few hours are a blur, but they finally are able to leave the party. The moon is beautiful this time of night, and for once Fenris does not feel the eyes of High Town thieves on them. Somehow, Varric really has taken care of everything. He can not help but think she looks like starlight now. The moon highlights the markings, and makes her eyes shine even brighter than they are. As much as he hates that they happened to her, she wears the markings well.

"I hate that it always takes a catastrophe before I decide things." Fenris said, suddenly, as they continued along.

"That's not technically true. There were plenty of things you decided without a catastrophe." Bell'anar'is replied, with a grin. "I can think of at least one."

"That's not a good track record though, is it." Fenris said, with a smirk. "I still remember that night as if it were yesterday, but it seems that where before I only saw a troublesome woman who was about to get herself killed, I now see a beautiful goddess that saw fit to walk through death to stand by my side."

"Going for all the points, aren't you?" She teased.

"Maybe. How am I doing so far?" He asked, smiling as they continued on.

"Rather well, I'd say." Bell'anar'is admitted, and waited.

"That night at the Hanged Man is probably the only time, I think, that I've decided something before a catastrophe. That memory is one of my particular favorites, and you're always trying to give me new memories. It took me a while to realize why you do that, why you try and give me new memories at every turn." He mused. "Tell me something, if you could get rid of your scars…the ones on your back perhaps, would you do it?"

"No." Bell'anar'is admitted. "Though I hate that they happened, they have helped in their way to shape who you see now. Had they not happened, I might be different, might never have come to Kirkwall, maybe never have met you, or we might have never started a friendship. Erasing the scars would be like erasing myself."

"That is something I will have to think on. These markings have served me well, but if I had never gotten them…I don't know who I would be now." Fenris mused. They were close to the estate now.

"You asked me earlier, to translate what I'd said to you before. Would you still like to know it?" He asked, knowing her answer already.

"I've been amazingly patient today, considering I'm not very good at it." Bell'anar'is replied, coyly. "I think a reward would be in order."

"You have, but I may have to make you wait just a little bit longer I think." Fenris stated, opening the door for her. "I'm not sure you've earned it yet."

"I put up with a nobles dinner party." She fussed, sticking out her bottom lip a little to pout.

"Yes, and you nearly passed out at that dinner party. I should not have let Varric talk us into going." Fenris said, crossly. His mood having changed so quickly caught Bell'anar'is by surprise, and he tried to rein it in a bit better. "Seeing you like this tonight…the dress…the dancing…I will treasure that always, but I have discovered that you are an incurably stubborn woman with very little regard for self preservation."

He wrapped his arms around her, and drew her as close to him as she could get, before resting his forehead against her own.

"Just because you no longer knock on deaths door, does not mean you should invite him to tea. You are not out of the woods yet." Fenris said, gently, as one of his hands graced over where the wound had been. "I would rather not lose you to the foolishness of fussing at the nobles."

"Can you imagine? Father would never let me live that down. I can almost hear him scolding me for it now." She admitted, thinking of her father's reaction, and is brought out of her thoughts by the sound of Fenris laughing, a deep rich timbre.

"I think that's the first pun you didn't mean to use." Fenris stated, through the laughter.

"The perfect pun. We must tell Varric later." Bell'anar'is remarked, giggling.

Suddenly, they were jostled out of their laughter by Anders running up to them.

"You sent a messenger to me about Hawke?" Anders called, as he ran up.

"Yes, she…nearly fainted while fussing at the nobles." Fenris replied.

"Varric owes me 10 gold pieces then." Anders remarked, with some amusement, before turning to Bell'anar'is. "Well, let's get you inside and have a look at you. You can tell me everything while I give you a check up."

"Will that mean you win more money?" Bell'anar'is asked, with a smirk.

"Depends on what you tell me." Anders admitted, sheepishly.

Hawke's P.O.V.

She shouldn't be surprised really. She'd seen the way Fenris had talked to one of the servants at the party, but she hadn't thought anything of it. Now she knew that it had been to send a messenger to get a hold of Anders. He wasn't about to take second chances where she was concerned, especially not after what he termed 'The Arishok incident'. She couldn't even get mad about it really, and just smiled as they moved their conversation into the Hawke estate.

That was something else she had come to accept. Before even the passing of her mother, many in Kirkwall were calling the 'Amell estate' the Hawke estate. It seemed second nature now. Bodahn smiled as they entered the place, going to bed once he'd seen them in. He'd stayed up to make sure that Hawke and Fenris made it home. She was going to have to do something to make sure he took a day off soon.

"Hawke, what happened?" Anders asked, when they'd sat down in the study.

"Everything was going so well. Annoying nobles talked to me, women swarmed Fenris (At this, Anders arches an eyebrow and looks to Fenris, who looks slightly guilty with the blush he has now), we danced, good times." Hawke said, rambling a bit. "I was so worried about the dancing that I didn't even think about the forks…so many forks, Anders…and then this one noble decided he was going to take it upon himself to question my decisions…all of them, and I just couldn't take it. I stood up, and gave every noble in there what for, how to, and where to shove it. I nearly faint after that, and the host apologized to Fenris."

"Anders, do you mind staying here for now? You need to tend to Bell'anar'is, and I need to talk to Varric about something." Fenris asked, looking to Anders. He had a missive from the desk in his hands. "That might be a good idea. Templars were hanging about a bit too close to the clinic today." He replied, with a nod.

"I know I should have said something earlier, Bell'anar'is, but I promise I'll tell you all about it when I get back. It's just…the opportunity has presented itself." Fenris said, a bit hurriedly, before kissing her forehead.

She was left with a confused look on her face, but nodded. Fenris lightly kissed her on the lips then, smiling at her when he pulled away soon after.

"I promise." He vowed, and then he left.

"Well that was…" Anders said, trailing off.

"Worrisome?" Hawke supplied.

"Yes, but that is a pastime of yours." Anders remarked, teasingly, then went into full on healer mode. "Now, let me give you a once over, and then you can go into detail about that party. You know you want to."

It actually took less time than she thought. She'd just pushed her blood pressure beyond what it should have been in a short amount of time. It was enough to worry Fenris, and even Anders was surprised she'd managed it, but the good thing about being a mage was that healing went much faster. After that, she went into a more detailed account of what had happened at the party. Anders laughed when she described the panicked look on Fenris's face when the women of the party had swarmed him.

"Oh, that reminds me. I may need to borrow your translating skills again." She mentioned, with a conspiratorial grin.

"Oh? Will this get us into trouble?" Anders asked, unable to hold back a grin of his own.

"Maybe. He said…Makers balls, Anders, he…He'd mentioned that he'd planned to ask me to marry him in tevene, but lost the nerve and went about it the way he did instead. I'd asked what he would have said, and I think…I think he may have actually told me." Hawke replied, her eyes wide and her voice low.

"You want me to translate a possible marriage proposal?" Anders asked, incredulously. "This will get us into trouble. Have you considered this might get us killed? I rather like keeping my heart inside my chest, you understand."

"Maybe…" She said, sheepishly. "Someone has to be the bad influence till Isabella gets back."

"Isabella…" Something about the way Anders said her name made Hawke's eyes light up.

"Since when?" Hawke asked, leaning in like there was someone there who could overhear them.

"Since even before the kiss. (Hawke didn't have to ask what he meant by that) Why do you think she got so mad at me when she saw us?" Anders replied.

"I hadn't really paid attention. Wasn't in the best frame of mind at the time." Hawke admitted, regretful.

"It's a good thing she isn't a mage." Anders stated, with a bit of a grin. "Her daggers are dangerous enough. I had to calm her down, explain to her the state I found you in, and then explain all of the other options I'd run through trying to keep you from leaving that clinic in the shape you were in. I didn't succeed with that first one until I had went through all the others, while avoiding daggers no less. Not an easy task, that. Besides being angry at me for breaking our one condition, she is fiercely protective of you."

"I don't understand…" Hawke said, a bit confused.

"The lack of exclusivity?" He asked, and she nodded. "It went that way for a while. You know Isabella. She changes when she wants to, but only then. There's no forcing that woman to do anything she doesn't want to do. Her only condition for me was that I not try for you anymore. Everyone else would have been fair game, as she called it. Even after she stopped with others, she still went to the Blooming Rose a few times a week. She'd hire them, and then spend their time playing Wicked Grace and Diamond Back. That doesn't exactly mean she'd have stopped herself from inviting someone in if she found them interesting enough, or that she would stop me from doing the same."

"That sounds like Isabella." Hawke said, with a grin. "She'll come back, Anders."

"I hope so. Justice is getting restless without her here." Anders admitted.

"Justice has a thing for her too?" She asked, surprised.

"If you can believe it." Anders replied, with a grin. "The blackouts stopped for a while too."

"I'm still working through that list you gave me from before. I haven't found a connection to anyone yet, and everyone visits the gallows." Hawke admitted, frustrated at herself.

"Both Justice and I appreciate you looking. It would not do for someone to be messing with my magic, and when Justice realized what was happening, he understood why I came to you." Anders stated. "I think I've won him over that you're an asset to the cause as you are. You running yourself into the ground in a spectacular manner may have also helped. You worried even him. That's no small feat, you know."

"Oh, you know me. If I'm going to mess up, it's always going to be epic." She replied, with a bit of a teasing grin.

"Now, about my translating Fenris's proposal?" Anders offered up. "We probably don't have long before he gets back from the Hanged Man, and I'd rather not end up dead."

"I'm not sure I can remember it exactly, and my pronunciation is going to be horrid, but here goes… Scio te non…sunt obiectum habere,…sed tibi prium,… quam umquam… pro me,…et ego potest… non nudis…amittere te." Hawke began.

"Alright, if you pronounced all that correctly, he said 'I realize you are not an object to possess, but you are the first thing I have ever taken for myself, and I can not bare to lose you.' I assume there's more?" Anders stated, after a moment.

" Nihil est peius… quam cogitato… vivere sine te." Hawke said, her eyebrows furrowed in concentration as she tried to remember the words exactly.

"He said 'There is nothing worse than the thought of living without you.'" Anders translated, and then added ruefully. "Sometimes I hate how eloquent he is with words."

" Utinam stare…per tuum… latus semper, Amatus." Hawke continued.

"He said 'I wish to stand by your side always, Beloved.'" Anders translated.

" Videtur… ego cecidit… in amore…cum magia,…tua magica." She said, still concentrating.

"He said…Hawke, I'm not sure I should translate that…That's…Hawke…I never thought he'd say anything like that about magic…ever…" Anders exclaimed, disbelief and reverence clear in his voice. "For him to say that, even as he did, is monumental for someone who's been through what he has."

"You can't just quit on me now, that just makes me more curious to know!" She objected, practically whining.

"Hawke, if he kills me for this, Justice and I will haunt you forever." Anders cautioned, but it seemed she was undeterred. "Alright, at the risk of being lyrium fisted through the heart…he said 'It seems I fell in love with magic, your magic.' Was there anything else?"

"Just one last thing." Hawke replied. "Erit tibi…uxorem mihi."

"He said 'Will you marry me'. So you were right about it being a proposal. Are you sure the meaning of it wasn't cheapened by having another translate it? You could have waited, you know." Anders said, looking over her shoulder slightly.

"No. As I said to him before, I would have said yes to anything he asked, so long as he said it just like that." Hawke admitted, with a grin and a far off look in her eyes. "It was beautiful, Anders, and the way he held me as he said it…"

"I'm only surprised he didn't ask in elvhen too like before." Anders remarked, chuckling.

"I had considered it." Fenris stated, scaring the void out of Hawke. He didn't sound cross, but he didn't sound please either. "It appears I owe the dwarf 10 gold pieces. He'd bet that it was you that had told her what Amatus meant."


 

Fenris P.O.V.

"Well, I feel like I should probably get going now. Things look like they're about to get a bit tense." Anders stated, as he rose from his seat.

"You will not, Anders. You will be staying." Fenris growled. Bell'anar'is cringed, and he realized it was because he sounded like he was angry at them. "Varric told me about the Templars. He said they had been in the clinic since you left."

"How…?" Anders asked, confused.

"I tend not to question the dwarf and his spy ring of elven urchins." Fenris replied, curtly. "You will stay here for now. Sandal has made sure, somehow, that Cullen is the only Templar that can get in here. Bell'anar'is, a word, if you please."

"Guest rooms are down the hall, past the kitchen, Anders." Bell'anar'is said, before following Fenris.

He is silent as they make their way to their bedroom. It had been his plan to tell her himself when he got back from his sudden meeting with Varric. He wasn't angry at her so much as he was angry for being robbed of the chance, though maybe it was his own fault for leaving her there with the one Varric had bet on. Fenris could practically feel how nervous she was, but did nothing to dissuade the feeling. She needed to know this hurt him.

"Bell'anar'is, did you think I would not tell you, that I would not admit what those words meant?" Fenris asked, keeping his voice even. He kept his back to her.

"That's not why I asked." Bell'anar'is replied, her voice sounded so small. Was she crying?

"Then pray tell, why did you?" He asked, still sounding accusatory.

"You have Merrill for when you want something I've said translated or for when you want to learn to say something in elvhen in order to surprise me." She stated, her voice so low now he could barely hear it. "I hadn't asked him that yet, but I was about to before you walked in. I wanted to surprise you too. I had to know if what you said was a proposal, so I could work out what to say to you."

"You…were going to ask Anders…to help you learn Tevene…to surprise me?" He asked, finally turning around to face her. the wind gone from his sails now. Well, shit.

"That was the plan, yes." Bell'anar'is admitted. "Anders doesn't even know that yet. I don't know if he'd agree to it or not."

"Bell'anar'is, I'm sorry. That was just something I specifically wanted to share with you myself." Fenris stated, still feeling more than slightly disappointed, but then wondered something. "How did you remember all of it? It was quite the paragraph."

"I had to concentrate." She still hadn't looked up at his face yet, choosing to look at the floor instead. "I am sorry. I should have waited."

He didn't understand. How badly did she think she'd messed up? He had wanted to tell her these things himself, sure, but that didn't explain her reaction to him now. She was shaking slightly, she was looking down, and he was sure he'd heard crying a moment ago. Seeing a betraying tear fall from her face, he gently cradled her chin, and guided her face to look up to his.

"I am disappointed that I could not be the one to translate that for you, but I think I understand now. I had not…considered that maybe you would want to do something similar to what I had done for you." Fenris admitted, his voice soft and loving now. "Thank you."

"But I haven't gotten him to teach me a phrase yet." She objected.

"Still, that you want to…even that is something for me to cherish." He replied, as he guided her to her writing desk to sit down, and he sat down on the bed. "Now, I believe I should explain my sudden departure. (Bell'anar'is nodded in understanding) I asked Varric to look into Varania for me. He was able to find her, make contact, and convince her that I was who I said I was. She's on her way here to meet with me."

"Fenris, that's…that's wonderful!" Bell'anar'is exclaimed, happily.

"I didn't want to mention it before, because I didn't want to get my hopes up in case it was a lie. It could still be a trap, even so. Danarius could be using her to get to me, or follow her here knowing that we are to meet." Fenris admitted. "If it is a trap, I would ask for your help, but I'm worried it is still too soon for you to fight as you do. If it is not a trap, I would like for her to meet you."

Bell'anar'is didn't even hesitate. "When is she suppose to arrive?" She asked.

"Sometime within the next few weeks. Varric will let me know when she gets here." Fenris replied, quickly. "Is it wrong for me to be nervous? What if this is a ploy? What if she really is who she says she is? What if she doesn't even recognize me?"

"We'll try to plan for everything, and if it is a trap, we have home advantage." She stated, easing his tensions.

"I like the sound of that." Fenris mused, the corner of his mouth tilting upwards slightly when she looked at him in confusion. "Home."

Well that word certainly had an affect on her. She practically melted into goo just sitting there at the desk. It really was a wonder to him how such a word could even be a part of his vocabulary. Bell'anar'is had managed to introduce yet another new memory into his life. At a loss for words, he kissed her softly, hoping that it would convey what he was at a loss to say.

LEMON WARNING!!!

Fenris was not expecting it to change into something with heat to it, but on second thought it had been months since they'd been able to make love to one another. He hadn't wanted to risk it even when it appeared to be safe, just in case the wound was aggravated. Without a word, he pulled her to stand in front of the chair without breaking the kiss, and guided her slowly to the bed.

"You have no idea just how much I wanted to rip you out of that dress at that damned ball." He said, gruffly. He began kissing trails along her neck. "Find some corner no one knew about…and fuck you senseless…until no one there could deny who you belonged to…I would have you shout my name to all of HighTown."

A garbled throaty moan was her only response, and he bit down on her collarbone slightly to illicit a gasp from her.

"Now, unfortunately, you are going to have to keep quiet tonight, my little mage." He whispered huskily, into her ear, slipping into the dominate role. "We wouldn't want the healer to barge in again, now would we?"

"Din, Taraes." She whispered back, keeping her voice soft. No, Master.

He does not tell her to stop when she begins trying to help him out of his clothes. He is already working to undo the small clasps along her back. The one bad thing about them is all the buckles and ties. Varric had to have a twisted sense of humour to include Tevinter fashion in his wardrobe choices for them. The sight of Bell'anar'is in such a dress had taken his breath away regardless.

As it slipped from her form, the dress pooled around her feet on the floor. Almost instantly, she stopped trying to work him out of his clothes, and wrapped her arms around her stomach. It took Fenris a moment to realize just what she was trying to do. She was trying to hide the scar from him, convinced that this somehow made her less beautiful than she had been before. This was something that he could not let her continue to believe.

"Drop them." He ordered, using the low octave he knew she could not resist. She only looked up at him, her eyes wide with fear and apprehension, and he tried again. "Bell'anar'is, if you do not lower your arms, how am I to appreciate all of you?"

She relented, though only slightly, by clasping her hands together before she lowered them, pushing her breasts up in an effort to distract him. This still hid the scar from him, though not as effectively as she would have liked. The look in her eyes told him that she knew what she was doing, and had a hard time relinquishing this last little bit to him. He backed away only slightly, and began to slowly work on the last of the clasps that held his tunic together.

Her eyes grew hungry as she watched him slowly work over each piece. She had told him, sometime during the party that night, that he truly had looked like one of those princes from her father's stories. Though it was hard to see himself in that light, what fascinated him the most was how this amazing woman in front of him looked as if she wished to devour him. She looked as if she were debating something, biting her lower lip as she was. When she moved her right arm to reach out to him slightly, he pulled away just a little further as if to tease her.

"Do you wish to touch me?" He asked, huskily. She nodded, and moved her right hand towards him again, her left arm still covering her scar. "No, Amatus. How can I let you do that when you hide yourself from me, when you won't let me touch every inch of you?"

"Fenris…it's…too awful…too ugly…You shouldn't want to…Please…" She tried to say, going back to holding herself again.

"You did." Fenris pointed out, warmly, causing her to look up at him in confusion.

With his torso now exposed, he pulls her gently into his arms and they stand there for a moment. Slowly, he takes her right hand into his own, placing it above his heart. He doesn't say anything yet, rubbing her knuckles with his thumb. He smirked in spite of himself. Of course, she wouldn't understand the things he thought of himself, because she did not think those things of him.

"Bell'anar'is, you see these lines as marks of strength of will. You see them as beautiful, because they are a part of me, no matter how I came by them. You did not see the shame I carried, knowing in my heart that I was a weak and disgusting creature, because I knew no one would want someone so broken. You saw stories in my scars, not of shame, but of strength. The same can be said for you." Fenris said, before kissing the hand he'd held above his heart. His lips were now a mere breath away from her own, any closer and they would have been touching.

"The scars you wear now, tell a story to me. (He caresses the scars along her back) How a young girl fought off the temptations of demons for a week, enduring torture of nearly every kind, long enough for her father to come for her. Few others could have achieved such a feat, and even though I thought myself above such influences, I gave in to a demons offer when you never have. Your father knew the minute he saw you, what you had had to go through on your own. I can only imagine how proud he must have been of you, as he watched over you at night to keep the demons at bay, something I am sure he did out of love for you.

How she grew up, and fought for someone she did not know, risking her life even when that someone did not realize she offered such help freely. Many others would have left that man there, thinking it not their place to try and help him the way you did. How did he thank you, but to pin you up against a wall, and threaten to kill you. Even so, you continued to help him. (He caresses the smallest of her scars, the markings his gauntlets had left when he'd pressed her up against the wall that first day) He was more animal than man when you offered to help him, lashing out at anyone who looked like they might have magic on them.

I had never seen magic like yours, and I was convinced you'd be another magister like Danarius. I was a fool not to realize that there could be someone stronger than he, without the need for blood magic. I was a fool not to realize then that you were what every mage should try to be; Person first, mage second, more than a tool or a weapon. Many times, I have caught myself wishing that I had simply given in to the desire I had that day to kiss you senseless instead of threatening you as I did. Would I have known that this is where we would both end up, I may have attempted it.

(He moves to caress the scar she hides, and she hesitantly lets him) How that same woman was willing to sacrifice everything to save an entire city and the people she held dear. I watched as you preformed feats of planning that the Fog warriors themselves would have been proud of. You did with a city state, what Tevinter couldn't do with an entire country. You helped the city to fight for itself, and drive out the Qun. No one else, Bell'anar'is, has ever stood against an Arishok in single combat the way you did, and survived.

Those are the stories your scars tell me. There is never going to be another woman with stories quite like yours, not for me. Your magic is a part of me now, I can feel it in my bones, and I never want it to go away. That woman, that beautiful, brave, crazy, stubborn woman with no regard for self preservation, has never hidden from me before. Don't hide her from me now."


 

Hawke P.O.V.

What was she suppose to do when he said such things to her? Surely he saw how afraid she was, how she trembled at the thought of what he was asking, but he just looked at her with eyes that spoke more than words ever could. She found herself looking down at the floor to keep from looking into his eyes, and lowered her arms the way he'd asked of her. Fenris tucked a finger under her chin, and brought her to face him again, kissing her till she found herself leaning into him, until she was no longer afraid. He was caressing the wound before she could think to stop him.

"You are beautiful, Bell'anar'is, every bit of you." Fenris insisted, moving to where she had to lay down on the bed to avoid bumping into him. "Tonight, I want to worship every inch of you, to show you how beautiful you are to me. You need to know that, I think, because I never want you to be ashamed of a scar like that again."

She wanted to tell him that she'd never thought he would think less of her. It was an insecurity of her own making, but when she tried to open her mouth to say something, he kissed the words away. He began kissing everywhere he could get to easily; turning her into goo as he kissed her breasts, kissing along the scar even though she was still nervous about it. He kissed it with such tenderness, like it was as much of a treasure as he thought she was. He was in between her thighs before she even realized it, and in her surprise she bit her hand to keep from yelling out.

"I told you that you would need to be quiet tonight, my little mage." He teased, his voice back to the deep timbre she could not resist. "What ever am I going to do with you?"

Even though he had asked it of her, well…more like ordered it really, she had never asked him to be where he is now. She had not asked him if he thought it to be demeaning for him, where he had been used so much for every purpose. It had been better, she knew, to ask him what he wanted. That had led to many surprising things, both were surprised that they enjoyed. He'd hooked one of her legs over his shoulder, and was about to kiss along the thigh when she stopped him for a moment.

"Fenris…we don't…we don't have to…if you don't want to…I've never asked this of you." She whispered, trying to convey her thoughts to him. He began kissing the inner part of her thigh anyway.

"I would not…be here…like this…with you…if I…did not want…to be, Bell'anar'is." Fenris said, softly, between each kiss. "I want this…want you…please, let me…I want you…to enjoy this."

She could only hum in response, putting an arm over her face as he began to kiss the most intimate part of her. He might not be a mage, but that tongue of his was magic. Hawke couldn't help the whimpering sound she let out when his tongue circled the little bundle of nerves he loved to tease so much. Was it possible to feel someone smile against you? She was sure she could feel him smile that smug smile of his, knowing that only he could make her sound like this.


 

Fenris's P.O.V.

He had been hesitant to try this with her, but the longer she had not asked it of him, the more he realized why she hadn't. She didn't want him feeling like he was back there, being ordered to do it because it pleased them. Yet, when he had demanded it of her, she had not only set about doing this for him, she'd enjoyed it. Now he thought it was a crime he should have corrected sooner. He would carry the memory of the little whimpers she made whenever he circled his tongue around her bud with him forever.

She bucked under him when he lightly sucked on it, and he grinned against her in spite of himself. Though she kept her voice quiet, she begged for him, gasping when he slowly moved two fingers into her. He wondered what humming against her would do to her, remembering what it had done to him, and decided to try it as he moved his fingers in and out of her. She gasped, and muffled the sound with the pillow.

"Tel dian…sathan…sathan, tel dian." She whimpered to him. Don't stop…please…please, don't stop.

He didn't know what that meant, but it sounded like begging for more. So he sped up his fingers just a touch, as he continued to suck and lick on her bud, and then he hummed again. It had been her undoing. She covered the sound, of her calling out his name, with the pillow. Another new memory, he thought with a smile, as he kissed his way up her body again.

"I think I shall cherish those tiny sounds forever, my little mage." He said, his voice filled with lust as he slowly entered her. "Bell'anar'is…I have missed this with you…"

Fenris set about a slow pace at first, not sure yet how much was too much now that they could finally be together in this way again. She responded by wrapping her legs around him, and he groaned. Makers breath, he had missed that, resting his forehead against her own for a moment. This would not be a physics defying stunt for Varric's friend fictions, but even this gentle love making shook him to his soul. He kisses her as she runs her hands along his back, gripping his shoulders, and he can't stop himself from picking up the pace.

"I have an idea." Bell'anar'is says, her voice barely above a whisper.

She isn't the only one having problems with keeping quiet, after all. Fenris had found that the sensation of being inside her again is too much to hold in, and had taken to moaning, with his face against her shoulder. He stops moving, and watches as she moves her hands about in odd motions. Suddenly he can't hear anything from outside, not even Barkspawn. The sound of the fire crackling in the fire place is the only thing he can hear, and it's so odd to him, that he moves away from her to test it.

He can't hear anything in the room, except for her breathing, and the fire. He sticks his head outside, and the sounds come back to him. Sure enough, Barkspawn is digging into the rug in the living room. Fenris closes the door, and returns to Bell'anar'is. She can't help but gasp aloud as he enters her again.

"Mea paulo magum…mea pulchra dea…Meum…Solum meum est…Tantum enim mihi." He moaned, nibbling on her neck as he continued to make love to her. My little mage…my beautiful goddess…Mine…Only mine…only for me.

She had taken to casting her slight healing spell on him again, and though it makes his eyes roll back into the back of his head, it is not what he wants this time. Gently, he takes her hands and pins them on either side of her head. When she goes to ask what is wrong, he kisses her before she can. Releasing her hands, he caresses everywhere he can get to this way. He can't help but want this to be special for her.

"Do not use your magic on me tonight, Amatus." He says, fondly, hoping she understands. "You are always taking care of me…I want…to take care of you…this time."

"Whoever said the magic was just for you?" She said, with an impish grin.

Fenris is surprised when she rotates her hips, and suddenly he is the one laying on the bed. This is something else they have never done, something else that would be normal for anyone else. He had been afraid it would remind him too much of before, but he is wrong. This is another new memory for him to cherish. He is unwilling to hold back the moan that hits him, as he throws his head back, gasping at the sensation of it.

"Bell'anar'is!"

The sight of her riding him has got to be the most exotic thing he's ever seen. The sounds she makes while in this new position are like music to his ears. He loves that he can grab her hips like this, but there is something more he wants. Gently, he pulls her to him till her face is closer to his own. What he does not expect, is for her to rest her forehead on his own the way he does to her.

"Ma' lath…" She whispers to him. My love…

He would think that this position would not do much for her, but he is wrong. She looks even more affected than him, and he is already nearing his end. Her pace has picked up, and he is afraid he will finish before her. When she lifts her forehead again, he takes one of her nipples into his mouth and begins teasing it. The affect is instant, and she begins moving even faster than she had been before.

Her moans fill the room, and his follow her. He can not help but to tease her other breast in the same manner. It is the tipping point, sending her over the edge. He follows soon after, gripping her hips as he thrusts up into her. The two rest in each others arms, not wanting to break the moment.

"That was…" He began.

"Wonderful." She sighed, happily.

"Your side…is it…" He asks, not sure how to say it.

"A bit tender, but it's fine." She replies, easing his tensions. He moves to kiss along the scar again.

"I think I've decided." He says, after a while. His head resting on her stomach, as he caresses from her scar to her hip.

"Decided what?" Bell'anar'is asks, running her hands through his hair.

"I believe I will keep that secret for now, Bell'anar'is." Fenris says, with a smirk. "As it is, the dwarf may already have bets."

Chapter Text

Chapter 14

 

Anders P.O.V.

 

“Oh good, you're alive. I was worried I'd have to send in a willing victim to check on you.” Anders said, seeing the two of them walk into the dining area the next morning. “We all know I'm never knocking on your door ever again.”

“I'm only surprised that you're still traumatized by that.” Hawke remarks.

“You would be too if someone set your ass on fire.” Anders replied.

“We wouldn't have heard you anyway.” Fenris replies, with a mischievous and slightly smug grin. “There's this thing she does that cancels out noise. It would have saved us, and maybe your feathers, if we had known that earlier.”

“Fenris! I thought you were going to stick with the recuperating jokes.” Hawke exclaimed, eyes wide, laughing.

“Bragging about magic is new for me. Let me have my fun.” Fenris said, pretending to fuss.

By now, Anders has figured out exactly why she would need noise canceling magic. The mention of recuperating hadn't helped. Maker's breath, but he'd never be able to say that word again. He was just lucky that they hadn't used the word 'healing'. He would have had to find something else to say whenever someone was hurt.

Thank the Maker that Varric walked in when he did. Anders didn't fancy having to ask whether or not he was in danger of being lyrium fist-ed through the heart. He rather liked the idea of keeping his insides…inside. As a healer, this was the general rule of things. As Varric walked up to them, he had the distinct feeling that this wouldn't be a welcome diversion.

“Varric!” Hawke called out, happily.

“I'm surprised you're up, Wolf.” Varric said, as he strolled into the room.

“Only just.” Hawke admitted. “Fenris is being awful.”

“Is he bragging about your sex magic? I have 3 silvers on that.” Varric smirked, as Anders begrudgingly tossed him the coin.

“What's the business for today, Varric?” Hawke asked, eyeing her friend now. “You look suspiciously happy.”

“Considering you should be on probation for nearly passing out while fussing at the nobles, for which I have been thoroughly chastised, fussed at, and reprimanded by several parties, there are a number of things that concern our great Champion of Kirkwall on this fine day.” Varric said, smoothly, sitting down with them. “Bartrand is back. I'm guessing Kirkwall is the only place he could hope to sell the idol. The Templars have left the clinic, after a few well placed threats to rust their armour before we help them again. They were all Meredith's men anyway. When are we going to do something about her anyway?”

“I'm waiting on word from Alistair.” Hawke replied. “He's a bit hesitant to act with the divine on the fence as she is.”

“Alistair? As in King Alistair?” Anders asked, shocked. “Since when have you been on a first name basis with the King of Fereldan?”

“Since I wrote to him for help. I rather like his sense of humour.” Hawke admitted, with a sheepish grin.

“You would. His sense of humour is even worse than your own.” Anders said, with a snort.

“Blondie, I'm disappointed in you, wasting a perfectly good betting opportunity like this.” Varric chuckled.

“There's still time.” Anders replied, with a grin.

“We should talk more about that later.” Varric replied, making a note of it.

“Indeed.” Fenris smirked, shaking his head at them.

“Anyway, there's a nobleman from Antiva, most likely a Crow, possibly looking to hire you for something, or kill you, Wolf.” Varric stated, getting down to business. “Also, there's the small matter of your name day.”

Hawke's eyes went wide, and her mouth fell open. This is not where anyone thought this conversation would go. Trust Varric to pull something like this. The dwarf pulled out a package, and set it out on the table. With an arched eyebrow raised, he waited.

 

 

Varric's P.O.V.

 

“Bell'anar'is, why didn't you tell me when your name day was?” Fenris asked, looking confused.

“It's not for another few days yet. I just…I didn't…I can't celebrate it…Bethany…” Her eyes downcast.

“Did your spy ring of elven urchins uncover this too, Dwarf?” Fenris asked, looking to him.

“Nope. Found the package at the door. Saved it from BarkSpawn. You can thank me later.” Varric stated. “I'm going to have to get onto them about missing this kind of information. This is a goldmine right here. So, when exactly is your name day, Wolf?”

“Well…I…um…” Wolf stammered.

Had she really thought she could get away with this? She must have, considering he hadn't asked this particular question in the years that he has known her, no one had thought to, and she was always good at redirecting the attention. It's amusing to watch her face change colours the more embarrassed she gets. There was something his eyes weren't seeing, and when it hit him he nearly laughs outright. The blushing, the way her eyes dart over to Fenris fleetingly, it all fit!

“Broody, I can't believe you!” Varric hoots with laughter. “You should have figured this out before me…after all…You're the only one…to have ever given her…a present!”

Suddenly, Fenris is chuckling along with him, a deep rich timbre. “The answer is still no, Dwarf.”

“While he's in the room, anyway.” Wolf teased.

“Before I set myself on fire.” Anders noted. “Maybe you should open up your present, Hawke.”

“That was sent by Varric.” Fenris continued, in agreement.

“While blaming strangers, no less.” Wolf tsked.

“I swear by my chest hair, I didn't send it.” Varric chuckled.

 

 

Hawke's P.O.V.

 

Inside the box are the most wonderfully made woven shoes she's ever seen. She knows without trying them on that they will fit her perfectly. She can't help but try them on anyway. They feel amazing, and she wonders if she will ever need another pair of shoes again. Just how did Varric know her shoe size?

“I had no idea you paid this much attention to my feet, Varric.” Hawke teased. “Should I be worried? Should Fenris be worried?”

“I'm already worried.” Fenris added, just to keep things going. “Perhaps I should kill the dwarf?”

“No, no, we should spare him for now.” She insisted, playfully, patting his shoulder.

“You only want to spare him for the shoes.” Fenris mock accused.

“Well…can you blame me? They're so nice!” She giggled.

“It wasn't me.” Varric says, fighting through his own laughter.

“There's something else in there.” Fenris notes. “It looks like a wolf's skull mask.”

“Little bit too much on the nose there, don't you think, Varric?”Anders asked, looking at it.

“It wasn't me!” Varric says, unable to contain his laughter anymore.

“There's a note with it.” Hawke said, picking it up to look at it. “Hawk. Wolf. Evanuris.”

“Hawke, that mask…it's…” Anders frowns, like he's not sure what he's trying to say. “Varric, where did you get this?”

“He didn't send it. The note isn't in his hand, or his forger's. I'm friends with at least five of them. This isn't their handwriting either.” Hawke said, handing the note to Anders to look at. “What's an Evanuris?”

“I don't know. I've never heard of it.” Anders admitted, looking at the note.

When she picks up the mask, the sound in the room fades away. All of her senses have been drawn to focus on the mask now. The mask is a literal wolf's skull, with black fur hanging off the back of it somehow. It is the same colour as the fur she has when she shifts into a wolf, and it was so soft! She wonders, what it would be like to wear it.

 

 

Fenris's P.O.V.

 

“Wait, Hawke, don't!” Anders shouts suddenly, practically leaping for her.

When he reaches her, he is instantly flung across the room. Power radiates from her so much that her feet barely touch the floor. She made no sound of distress. She made no sound at all, and Fenris was about to panic. He had witnessed mages fall to such things, he was sure, and had had to kill them under Danarius. There would be no way he would live through having to kill her.

“Bell'anar'is! Bell'anar'is, you take that mask off right now, or so help me!” Fenris growled, angrily, fear leaking into his voice. “Bell'anar'is, come back!”

He's gripping her arms tightly now, half tempted to try shaking her out of her state, not thinking yet about the fact that it has not thrown him across the room like it has Anders. It will not work though, he knows. She is locked in a struggle, or a conversation, he knows not. Many sentient items were violent in nature, but it was not unheard of for one to be benevolent. His tenuous grasp on that hope is the only thing he has now.

“Bell'anar'is, please.” He pleads, resting his forehead against the mask, his voice low. “Come back…come back to me…Please, Amatus…I can't…”

“Amatus? Na lahna ash, Amatus?” Came a voice that was, and was not, his Bell'anar'is.

“She is my Amatus.” Fenris replies, though he knows not what was said to him.

“Quare hoc dicis?” Came the voice again, finally in a language he could understand. Why do you say that?

“Ea est mea Amatus.” Fenris replies in kind. She is my beloved. “Ea ratio me manere, domus meus. Ea est et futurae.” She is my reason to stay, my home. She is my future.

“Haec aliis…Qui sunt illi? Ea stipant? Ea ducit illios?” The voice said. These others…They are her people? Her pack? She leads them?

“Et alii.” Fenris replies, unsure of where this is going. And others.

“Bonum. Ea erit opus eorum.” The voice responded. Good. She will need them.

“Quid tibi habere eam?” Fenris asked, fearful of the answer. Why do you hold her?

“Eadem ratione. Ea est Amatus.” The voice stated. For the same reason. She is beloved. “Nolite solliciti esse. Ea est potentior.” Worry not. She is strong.

Suddenly the magic that holds her up falls away, and the mask disappears. She stumbles, falling into him, and he instantly holds her to him. Her eyes remain unfocused, but he worries just a little less. He can see her in them. She has not lost herself to a demon, or artifact. She is strong enough, and he is left to wonder why someone sent this to her.

“Fenris?” She asks, after a moment, looking to him. “We need to see Xenon, today if possible. What I saw…”

“What you saw will have to wait till after breakfast.” Orana insists. “Mistress Hawke, you have just held your own against a sentient object. Even the strongest mage needs nourishment after something like that.”

“Thank you, Orana.” Bell'anar'is relents, looking rather sheepish. “I do feel a bit drained.”

 

 

Hawke's P.O.V.

 

“You can translate all that for me later, right?” Varric asked, looking to Anders, who is already handing him a piece of paper he'd scribbled the translations on.

Fenris looks like he's more worried about her now then during the Arishok incident. Every once in a while, he would look to her with a questioning gaze. She can't even imagine what's going on in his mind right now. He has an arm wrapped around her possessively, and every so often he tightens and loosens his grip. His paranoia of magic is fighting his faith in her, but he does not pull away.

 

 

Anders P.O.V.

 

He's never felt magic like that, not since the first day he met her. It had been when he'd nearly attacked her that day, thinking there was a threat to the clinic. She had the feeling of wild magic about her, something that could change the tide for the mages if he could only learn to wield her. That had been his mistake. There was no way to control wild magic, and he had nearly lost her friendship trying to do just that. She was a force all her own, and it was best to let her choose where she went.

Now they were walking off to find Xenon. The Black Emporium was the only place any of them knew that had a hope of explaining this to them. At the moment though, they seemed to be having trouble locating it. Xenon was hard to find when he thought you wanted your money back. He was impossible to find if he knew you wanted your money back.

Hawke and Varric are up front talking, while he and Fenris bring up the back silently. Every once in a while, he notices that Fenris fidget. It looks as if Fenris is fighting himself. Hawke looks back at them sometimes, her eyes filled with worry. She knows better than any of them what is going through his mind right now.

“If you don't stop that right now, she'll think there really is something wrong.” Anders stated, his voice low. “I know you're freaking out, Fenris, but if you don't reign it in, she'll think you've no faith in her.”

“It is not her I have no faith in. She has been bound to a sentient artifact, an ancient one by the feel of it.” Fenris said, finally putting a voice to his fears. “She is still herself right now, but a sentient artifact can take time to overtake a mage or no time at all, and the older they get the harder it is. An ancient one…We had better hope the two have struck an accord. If not…If it overtakes her mind…I won't…I can't…”

“Fenris, do you know why I haven't lost my mind yet?” Anders asked, a bit frustrated at him. “Hawke has faith that I can handle this, even when I do things that hurt others, even when I know I don't deserve it. She trusts me to find my way back. Don't you trust her? Don't you think she's strong enough?”

“It is not a matter of whether she is strong enough, Anders.” Fenris shot back, quietly. “Artifacts like these can overtake even the strongest mage.”

“You're the one she's going to look to in this, Fenris.” Anders replied, looking ahead. “Out of all of us, it was you who made her realize she could be comfortable in her magic. You have to be there for her, even when she doubts herself, when she doesn't think herself strong enough. Because without that support, she will fall.”

He almost doesn't hear it, but Fenris was talking more to himself than him, as he said. “It could kill her…I just got her back…I can't…I can't lose her again.”

 

 

Hawke P.O.V.

 

“Xenon, old friend, old buddy, old pal, tell me you have something.” Hawke said, casually, as she strolled into the Black Emporium.

“Hawke! Had I known……you wanted to wear……a skull. I would have……offered up my own!” Xenon croaked out, with a sound she could only guess as laughter.

“Well, you know, it just showed up and said it loved me, so…this happened.” Hawke replied, jovially. “Any ideas what this thing is? And what is an Evanuris?”

“It says……it is……I'm sorry, it was……the mask of Fen'Harel!” Xenon commented. Fenris swore under his breath, and Anders looked like his eyes were going to pop out of his Skull. Varric was busy looking for things for Bianca, pretending not to be listening in. “It says that I……can't tell you……what an Evanuris is……because that would be……cheating!……It has a wonderful sense……of humour!……You should bring it……around……more often!”

“Is there a book or something in here that will tell me?” Hawke asked, grasping at straws.

“An elvish translation book……may help you……It has the baser forms……of the old words.” Xenon replied.

“I'll take it.” Hawke agreed.

 

 

Fenris P.O.V.

 

“If you know elvish, why would you need a translation book, Bell'anar'is?” He asked, confused.

“Words change over time, Fenris. If the old translation words are in here, they could lead me to what evanuris is, and why this mask chose me.” Bell'anar'is replied, before biting her lip. “You freaking out yet? I am.”

“You are the strongest mage I know, Bell'anar'is. That you have made friends with an ancient artifact should not surprise me.” He replied, after a moment. “I will admit to being cautious, but that is always my nature. It told me not to worry, that it loves you, that you are strong enough.”

He has to try, for her, and he sees the grateful look in her eyes as he says those words. It helps to relieve some of the stress he feels. He does not see another presence hiding in her eyes, the way he can see Justice in Anders, and that helps him as well. It is outside of her then, but bonded to her. As much as his heart is in his throat now, he feels better knowing that it is not trying to take over her mind.

“Is it…Does it talk to you all the time?” He asked, curious, as they paid for their items. He's had a horrible thought, Varric and Isabela would approve no doubt, and wonders if the mask will intrude on their intimate time.

“No. When it talked to Xenon, it was like it woke up from a nap.” Bell'anar'is replied, scrunching her eyebrows in confusion. “I think it sleeps most of the time, till I talk to it, or maybe if the situation calls for action or something.”

He does not let it show how relieved he is at that moment.

“Speaking of which……Hawke……There seem to be……several Templars outside……trying to break in!” Xenon announced.

“Any way to tell if they are Cullen's men or Meredith's?” She asked, turning to the old bag of bones.

“I believe……they are Meredith's men……They have a foul stench……to them……You should be very……careful around her, Hawke!……I do not wish to lose……one of my best customers!” He replied, after a moment of inspection. “You will take……this door over here……while my security measures……take care of……my new guests!……I thank you, Hawke……for the entertainment……my security measures……will have!……They have been……quite bored that no one……gets past the gelatonous blob!”

“You really know how to spoil a girl, Xenon.” Bell'anar'is said, kindly.

“Ha! I do……what I can!” Xenon laughed, dryly. “Now go!”

 

 

Hawke P.O.V.

 

Ea – to be

vallas – writing

nu – pain

ra – it that

is – he

 

No matter now many times she stared at it, the list she come up with did not make since. There had to be something in this book that she wasn't seeing. For once, her 'partner' was silent when she wished it would tell her something. The Mask of Fen'Harel? Really? Fuck it if Merrill wasn't going to flip her shit over this.

What in the name of the Maker was an Evanuris? There may be nothing to do about it now. The day they would go to visit Fenris's sister was the next day, and she planned on being there for it. She would have to table her search aside for now. It wasn't like it was going to go anywhere.

“Bell'anar'is, so help me, if you don't get in that bed right now, I'll drag you up there myself.” Fenris huffed, in mock annoyance, a playful smirk across his face.

“I'd like to see you try it.” She shot back, arching an eyebrow, calling his bluff…or what she thought was a bluff.

She found herself half way up the stairs before she could blink, and started laughing in spite of herself. Oh, it was good to have him be this playful again. She was afraid that he would be too worried over her, watching over her as if waiting for her to fall. Instead he had taken to complimenting her strengths, constantly flirting with her in his way, and trying to teach her Tevene. He still worried, she could feel it in the way he would hold her tightly before relaxing again, but it felt comforting too.

 

 

Fenris P.O.V.

 

He was so nervous, he couldn't see straight. He would see his sister tomorrow. What would she be like? Would she hate him? Would she understand? Was she a trap? No matter how many times he tried to go to sleep, there were just too many questions dancing around in his mind for that to be a possibility.

So when Bell'anar'is began kissing along his body, he was surprised out of his thoughts. She had looked so tired staring at that paper that he just thought she'd already gone to sleep. She didn't give him any time to recover from his surprise either. Soon there was only thoughts of her, and the things she ws doing to him. As he held her in his arms, after their 'activities', he found that he had no pressing worries at all.

 

 

Varric's P.O.V.

 

Several things happened at once, as they entered the Hanged Man that afternoon. Wolf looked troubled, as if she could tell something was not right. Fenris was distracted, recalling memories mostly forgotten, even as his sister avoided his gaze. There were a lot more strangers in here than normal, but Kirkwall was by the sea, and he hadn't thought anything about it till now. Shit, this was a trap.

“Fenris, we have to go.” Wolf whispered to him.

“I don't understand. Why aren't you looking at me?” Fenris asked, looking to his sister.

“Fenris, we have to go!” Wolf insisted now.

“I'm sorry, Leto.” Varania said, looking away.

That's when he knew, when it finally clicked for the elf what was going on. He, himself, didn't pay attention to what the Magister walking down the steps was saying. His attention was on Fenris, watching the hope drain from his face. He watched as anger replaced it, as he shouted at her for turning on 'family'. Varric knew that elf would have given her everything, and now Fenris was at risk of losing more than his freedom.

 

 

Fenris's P.O.V.

 

“The Champion of Kirkwall. Is this your new Mistress then?” Danarius asked, luredly, gazing upon her now. Fenris can't stomach how he looks at her.

“Fenris is not a slave!” Bell'anar'is growled at him, her own lyrium markins sparking up.

“Oh my, she is quite the prize, isn't she?” Danarius asked, looking to him now. “I can see why you covet her, and is that a ring? She belongs to you then? You have grown bold, my little wolf. Don't worry, you'll both be mine soon enough.”

“You will not touch her!” Fenris shouted at him, angrily, drawing the Blade of Mercy she had found for him.

Before he could charge the man, he felt her hand on his, soft, warm, comforting. He didn't understand what she was doing, till he saw her walking towards his former master. She couldn't be thinking of taking his place? He wouldn't allow it. She didn't realize what she was signing herself up for.

But the eyes that looked back at him, when he'd held her fingers a touch too long, were not quite her own. The artifact had a plan then, one he wasn't sure he trusted, one that more than likely it hand his Bell'anar'is had cooked up together. What were they thinking, walking towards the man so openly? This was not going to end well, and he knew that he had to do something.

 

 

Hawke's P.O.V.

 

“Come here, child, let me look at you.” Danarius said, softly. She felt her skin crawl, but she did as he wanted. “There is a wild power about you. How has no one tamed it yet? No matter, with Fenris by my side again, you will obey me as well, I can tell.”

It was over before he knew it. She was already so close to him, he wouldn't have seen the dagger she'd whipped out, stabbing him through the ribcage and into his heart. She held him where he was, paralyzing him so that he could not access his powers as he died. Their eyes did not leave each other as the light faded from his. Finally, when the light was almost out, she leaned in closer to him.

“In what world, did you think I would ever let you get close enough to touch him?” She snarled, so low only he could hear her, and then tossed him aside. She looked to the others of his guard, and growled out for all to hear. “Anyone else wanna chance it?”

The fight that took place was a free for all. Blood was everywhere, and she could swear that she saw Isabela and Aveline actually working together. Fenris wasn't happy with her, she knew. She could see it in his eyes when she looked at him, like she had robbed him of something. Somehow, through all the magic, the fighting, and the blood, the Hanged Man didn't burn down.

“Please don't let him kill me!” Those words brought her out of her thoughts.

“You still act like you're in Tevinter. You're not, and I am not his Master.” Hawke said, coldly.

“Broody, you don't want to do this. As much as I hate my brother, even I know I won't kill him.” Varric said, his voice low.

“You betrayed your family, all so that you could be a Magister?” Fenris asked his sister, not answering anyone else.

“He would have killed me if I hadn't.” Varania spat. “What choice did I have? Death now, or death later? He had been keeping track of me after what you did for us, till my magic presented itself. I needed training, and he offered, as long as he could call in a favor anytime he asked.”

“What I did?” Fenris asked, suddenly caught off guard.

“Those markings you say you didn't want. You fought for them, competed for them, and used the Boon to have me and mother freed.” Varania answered. “Only it wasn't a gift, it was a curse, and sometimes I think you got the better end of the deal. You didn't have to watch mother suffer when she found you, when you didn't even remember us. She killed herself after that, and I was left alone. I had to fend for myself. What else was I suppose to do?”

“Why are you telling me this?” Fenris asked, pleadingly. Fuck, it sounded like his heart was breaking.

“Because these were the answers you wanted.” Varania replied.

“I know tempers are running high right now, but don't run. You two could try now. There's no threats of a Magister after you now.” Varric stated, hesitantly. “You should think about it.”

“A sister who betrayed her only family for the empty promise of becoming a Magister, and a brother who wants to rip her heart out? I doubt we'd make it five minutes.” Fenris scoffed.

“Then it will be five minutes you didn't have before.” Hawke said, and something in him softens at that, even though he still looks rebellious.

 

Chapter Text

Chapter 15

 

Fenris P.O.V.

 

“I'm sorry. I can't, not right now. I would have given you everything, happy to have some semblance of family returned to me, after everything that has happened, but you…” Fenris said, shaking his head. “You sold out your own brother for the empty promise of becoming a Magister. We may be able to talk, sit down and learn of one another again, but not right now.”

“Maybe…over letters first?” Varania asked, tentatively. Fenris nodded slightly, and she left.

“And you! How dare you…” Fenris snapped, turning to Bell'anar'is once Varania was gone. “That was my revenge, to kill Danarius…How dare you take that from me!”

“What was I suppose to do?” Bell'anar'is asked, not backing down. “I didn't want him to touch you, didn't want you to have to go through that again. Damn it, Fenris. Hadriana was bad enough. I didn't want you to lose yourself again. Was that so awful?”

That was like a slap to the face to him. He remembered now, how things had been after Hadriana, how he had shouted at her as he was doing now, how she had run from him. He remembered locking himself away, using cleaning up the mansion as his excuse to not have to think about the outside world, while she had driven herself into the ground till she broke. No, he did not want that this time, but she had taken his choice away. That was what angered him the most.


 

Varric's P.O.V.

 

“Alright, you two need to calm down before you both say something you'll regret later.” Varric stated, stepping between them. “Wolf, just…give me a minute…okay?…Let me talk to him.”

She just nodded to him, looking a bit dejected, and left. He knew this had not gone how she thought it would have. She'd more than likely hoped that she was sparing the broody elf more pain, but that didn't mean that Fenris would see it that way. He would see it that his revenge had been taken from him. Fenris was still trying to cope with the fact that Hawke was bonded to an ancient artifact, and this would just be one more log for the fires of doubt.

“He's dead…all this time, I've waited, and he's finally dead.” Fenris said, looking at the body of his former Master. “So why don't I feel free?”

“You already were free, Fenris. You didn't need him dead for that.” Varric said, knowingly. “Why do you think Wolf was the one that killed him? She never wanted you to be made to feel like a slave ever again.”

“What if it wasn't just her?” Fenris asked. Ah, so he was afraid the artifact was taking over her mind. “You saw it. The spirit in her eyes. She isn't like Anders, but she isn't just Bell'anar'is anymore either. What if this is how it starts? Little things like suggesting a plan, protecting those she loves, getting on her good side, and then slowly bending her to its will? I saw the spirit in her eyes this time. That's never happened before. How long till that's all that's in there? I'm losing her to this, and it's only been a few weeks!”

“Have you talked to her about this at all?” Varric asked, seeing where this was going.

“No, because then she'll think I have no faith in her.” Fenris said, beginning to pace. “It's not her that scares me, it's that thing she's bonded with now. Even the strongest mage can succumb to an artifact like this one if given time, and this one is ancient. What if she's fighting it off, and not telling me? How am I suppose to help her if I don't know what I'm fighting against?”

“At least now I know what you're really worried about?” Wolf said, from behind them.


 

Fenris P.O.V

 

“Bell'anar'is.” Fenris said, whirling around to face her.

“Why didn't you come to me with this?” She asked, crestfallen.

In that moment, everything else faded away. The others were taking care of clean up anyway. Coriff grumbled in the background about not being able to get the blood stains out. But none of that mattered now. The only thing that mattered was the two off them.

“Bell'anar'is…” He said, softly. “I didn't know how to bring this to you, didn't want you to think I don't have faith in you, because I do. I just don't want to lose you to something I don't understand.”

“You think I haven't worried about this?” She asked, her voice so low even he has trouble hearing it. “I worry you're going to start calling me 'Abomination' too. In all technicalities, you wouldn't be wrong. I actually have nightmares about it. How long before you leave me because of this?”

“I saw the spirit in your eyes this time, and panicked. I'd never seen that before.” Fenris admitted.

“This was the first time we'd talked to each other during a fight situation.” Bell'anar'is replied, looking a lot more relieved. “Please tell me we aren't going to keep biting each others heads off till we figure this out.”

“Most certainly not.” Fenris replied, with a wry smile. “We will continue on even after we already have it all figured out.”

“Good to know.” She hummed happily.


 

Varania's P.O.V.

 

There was a chance of hope, at least, something she had not had in a long time. Mother may be gone, but Leto…Fenris was willing to give things a chance. Letters were better than nothing. She really had been in a no win situation when it came to Magister Danarius. He would have killed her if she had refused the offer, but she knew also that he never would have made her a Magister.

“Oh, hello! You must be Varania!” A young dalish girl chimed happily. “Fenris is already here waiting for you. Have you gone in yet? Oh, he's going to be so excited. Don't let that stern face of his fool you though. The grouch is a big softy when he thinks no one is looking. I should know. I've seen the puppy eyes he still gives Hawke when he thinks no one's looking.”

The man behind her had this knowing look on his face, chuckling silently. So he was used to dealing with the overly happy dalish girl. Without another word, said dalish girl just took a hold of her shoulders as if they were old friends, and walked right back into the Hanged Man. Varania didn't even try to stop her. She was too shocked, and something told her that it was better to go along with the excitable girl.

It allowed her a sight she didn't think she'd ever see. Her little brother, all grown up, looking at the mage Hawke with love and desire in his eyes. Varania realized her mistake earlier, in thinking that he belonged to this woman. She could see now that this woman belonged to him just as much as he belonged to her. The dalish girl next to her cooed, bringing her out of her thoughts.

“See? He has those 'puppy eyes' every time he looks at her.” The dalish girl said, softly. Then a bit more loudly, she continued. “Hey everyone! Look who I found! She was just standing outside all nervous like, so I brought her in.” It was then that the dalish girl seemed to notice all the blood everywhere. “Oh dear. Did we miss the fight? I had hoped it wasn't a trap, but all's well that ends well. We can all go to Varric's palatial suite, and he can tell you stories about Hawke, and you can help Isabela try and touch his chest hair. There's a bet going as to who can successfully touch it, and – OH! Isabela, you're back!”

At this, the dalish girl lets go of her, and runs towards a dark tanned black haired woman with really tall boots, and gives her a hug. Varania would have left then, but she noticed that Fenris smiled over to her and nodded his head towards the rest of them. Hawke was busy fondly staring after the dalish girl and Isabela. The man that came with the dalish girl stopped beside her. He just chuckled, and shook his head.

“I still have no idea where she gets all her energy from.” The man said, watching the dalish girl. “I'm Sebastian, by the way. That's Merrill, the girl that brought you 'back' in here. I can't tell if she knew you'd already been in here, or if she really thought you were standing outside from nervousness, but her naivety does seem to have a wisdom to it. Come, whatever happened before, I'm sure Fenris has calmed down by now.”

That was how she ended up in Varric's palatial suite with a bunch of enthusiastic Kirkwallers and FreeMarchers, sharing stories, and playing Wicked Grace. This was not the outcome she had envisioned when she embarked on this trip, but it was so much better. Hawke offered for her to stay at their place while she got settled, because there was no way in Thedas she was going back to Tevinter. Hidden and hunted sounded a lot better than openly enslaved under a thinly veiled freedom. She was surprised to find two elves and a couple of dwarves upon entering the Hawke estate, all of whom did their best to make her feel welcome.

“I told you that you shouldn't have drank so much.” Fenris lightly chastised Hawke. “You're barely healed from everything, and you still haven't lived down nearly fainting after fussing at the other nobles at your own party.”

“But Isabela's back! I had to celebrate that. Not to mention, your sister stayed!” Hawke objected, playfully. “I drank the appropriate amount to celebrate both things.”

“At the same time. That's hardly something I would consider appropriate.” Fenris stated, reproachfully. “If you have to get up in the middle of the night to throw up, I will laugh at you and wave an 'I told you so' sign I had made for just these types of occasions. I will check and see if you are alright, but I will laugh all the same.”

“You're so mean.” Hawke whined, and went to hug Varania. “I'm glad you stayed.”

Varania hesitantly returned the hug, and looked to Fenris as she said. “I'm glad I stayed too.”


 

General P.O.V.

 

After that, Anders felt it was safe enough to sign off for Hawke to be able to go out on missions again. He would say nothing taxing, or dangerous, but there were days when even going to get ironbark turned into a darkspawn killing spree. She really wanted to deal with the Antivan that had been asking around for her, but the others agreed that that one was most definitely one of the more dangerous ones. So she took the smaller jobs, finding and returning items of meaning, and such. Most of the others took the time just to spend it with each other.

Finally, she'd had enough, and went to meet the Antivan without them. The man was a pompous ass, but also an incurable flirt. She found him amusing, at the very least, but he was definitely lying out of his ass. He was just so confident that he would be believed, that he barely made the effort with his cover story. She'd also been checking up on Bartrand, but no word had come out of that place in weeks, and she was beginning to think that no one lived there anymore.


 

Hawke's P.O.V.

 

She finished writing yet another letter to the Divine, apprising her of the situation in Kirkwall. The last time Hawke had gone to the market stalls in the Gallows, she'd nearly bolted back out again in fear. More than half the workers and couriers were Tranquil. It had been enough to make her forgo her usual small talk with various stall owners, and go straight home. It took Fenris half the day after that to get her to reveal why she was so panicked.

Being made Tranquil might not be her top most fear, but that didn't mean it didn't rank right up there with the big bad. This one just happened to be the one she was threatened with more, so it was more prevalent in her mind. Fenris sometimes had nightmares about finding her in the street with a sun burst symbol on her forehead, talking about how they could live peacefully now that she didn't have magic. Without telling the others, Hawke began making escape plans for them all. She had the sinking feeling that no matter how many letters she sent out, things were still going to go to shit before the Divine would be able to act.

She was getting frustrated with the lack of progress on any of her research. Although Anders was doing better now that Isabela was back, there were still chunks of time where he couldn't remember what he'd been doing, and that bothered both women greatly. She still hadn't gotten anywhere with her research into the mask, or what an Evanuris was, but she had more pressing things to worry about. Hawke had a sneaking suspicion that someone was intercepting her post. If that was happening, the Divine wouldn't know something was truly wrong until shit exploded everywhere.


 

Varric's P.O.V.

 

When he suggested going to Bartrand to finally deal with this mess, he had hoped it would be the simpler mission, but no. As it turned out, it was not. So, Varric took a deep breath, and prepared himself to deal with whatever weird shit they were about to walk into when they opened another door. There was nothing, no war cries, no arrows to the back, nothing. It set Varric's nerves on edge, and he wasn't the only one.

“Anybody else bothered by the fact that we haven't seen any of my brother's men?” Varric asked, as they searched the room.

“We have, technically.” Anders noted, pointing to something lumpy Varric hadn't looked too closely at for just this reason. “They've just been in bits and pieces.”

“Andraste preserve us.” Wolf muttered under her breath, certainly taking the words out of his mouth.

“What's he doing to them?” Fenris asked, looking at one of the more whole corpses.

“I'm not sure I want to know.” Wolf admitted, looking a little green. “That one looks like he's been…well…eaten.

“Great, so my brother's a cannibal now.” Varric grumbled. “Remind me not to attend any of his dinner parties.”

Things only got crazier from there. People he had known all of his life, men that worked for his brother, attacked him and his friends as if they were mad. They didn't listen to reason, just screamed and attacked. Only one of the men was coherent, and he refused to leave his hiding spot for fear that Bartrand would make him eat the red lyrium. He'd said Bartrand wanted them to hear the song the way he did.

There were more crazed dwarves to fight, more men to put down like dogs. When Varric told this story later, he decided he'd make sure it had less of this and more of him kicking Bartrand's ass for betraying them all. This should have been straightforward, something simple, not this complicated messy shit. Whatever else it did to them, the red lyrium the dwarves had ingested didn't just make them crazy, it made them twice as strong and able to handle more damage. Fenris had nearly cleaved one in half, and the man was still trying to come after them before he collapsed.

“Bartrand…” Varric pleaded, when they finally managed to get into the room, though more to himself than anyone else. “What…What did you do?”

“Anders, is there something you can do?” Wolf asked, seeing how out of it Bartrand was. “Can you help him?”

“I don't know if there's anything that can help him, but I'll try.” Anders said, before trying to heal Bartrand. When the light from his magic faded, he added. “I've done what I can for him. I don't know what's wrong, but this should give you time to…say your goodbye's, Varric.”

“Varric…?” Bartrand asked, upon seeing him, his mind clear for the first time in what must have been ages. “Why is it silent?…I can't hear the song anymore.”

“Bartrand, what happened to you?” Varric asked, emotions swirling around inside him too quickly to name. “Those were good men. They'd served the Tethras family, served you, for years!”

“The red lyrium sings, but I sold it to the lady. I had to come back. She won't be able to make it sing like I can.” Bartrand insisted. “I wanted the men to hear it too. Brother…what did I do?”

“I don't know, Bartrand. I honestly don't know.” Varric admitted, watching as his brother's state of mind disolved into what it was before Anders had helped him. “Damn it, Blondie, now I wish you hadn't helped him. This was easier when I was mad and wanted to kill him.”

“I'm sorry, Varric, I…I'm so sorry.” Wolf managed to say, right before Varric launched forward and slit his brother's throat.

“Damn it, Bartrand, I…” Varric said, almost too softly to hear. “I couldn't let him keep living like that…I couldn't…”

“Come on. We'll have someone come and take care of the body. Sebastian will know what to do, take care of any affairs that need dealt with.” Wolf said, as she slowly moved him away from the scene. “He was a bastard, but he was your brother. We will do our best for him, for you.”

“I know, Wolf, I just…” Varric said, as he tried to think of what it was he needed.

“I don't think you need to be alone right now.” Wolf stated, before looking over to him. “Come on. We'll go to the Hanged Man, and swap stories.”

“I think I'd like that, Wolf.” Varric replied,


 

Hawke's P.O.V.

 

In the Fade…

 

“So, this is Kirkwall.” She heard a man state, from somewhere behind her.

“Looks like it. Yes.” Hawke remarked, slowly turning to face the one speaking. “Something I can do for you?”

The man before her is an elf. He sits on one of the benches in HighTown's courtyard, just below the steps of the Viscount's Keep. His eyes are narrow, unlike Fenris or Merrill, and they watch her with a steely gaze now. It seems the two are evaluating each other, and Hawke has no idea what this means to either of them. He does not hold himself the way many other elves do; There is no hunch to his posture, no sign that he has ever been a slave.

He is also the first bald person, elf or otherwise, to look as if it suits him. Something in the man's demeanor shifts, and he stands. Hawke is uncertain again, but does not flinch as this man comes closer to her. The spirit that is a part of the mask whispers into her ear. This is an ally, if not yet a friend, and wants to take their measure; So Hawke continues to stare at the man as he circles her in evaluation.

“I wished to meet you.” The man stated, answering her question from before. “You are not what I expected.”

“You are not the first to think such.” Hawke remarked, on edge. She hates being scrutinized, makes her feel paranoid, but she remains calm. “What was it you expected?”

“That you are not a full elf is a surprise to me.” He admitted, now moving to stand in front of her.

“It was a surprise to most of Kirkwall not too long ago too.” Hawke hummed, in amusement. “Not to mention several qunari, but who's counting.”

“Of that, I have no doubt. Qunari like order in all things. Your very nature would both intrigue and confuse them.” The man stated, allowing a slight smile. “You do not ask if I am a demon? Most do when speaking with me.”

Hawke can't help but laugh just a little at that. “If you're a demon, I'm a great bear.”

“You know this with certainty then?” The man asked, genuinely surprised.

“Kirkwall has demons oozing out of its ears. We've been speaking a few minutes now, and not once have you tried to entice me with anything. You haven't even attacked me.” Hawke stated, in a more serious tone. “If you're a demon, you're doing a piss poor job of it.”

“Spirits are not complex creatures, and yet it is harmful to be so narrow-minded of them.” The man stated, as if he were her teacher.

“Maybe it's my experiences here in Kirkwall that have shaped that.” Hawke admitted. “This place is like a magnet for demons and blood mages. It's like the land calls to them, or something. You could be a spirit of wisdom, I suppose. Maker knows I could use a bit of that right now, at any rate.”

“While I am not a spirit, not even one of wisdom, I do have wisdom to share. That you would think me a spirit of wisdom speaks well of you. We are running out of time, however. I can not stay much longer, I'm afraid.” The man explained, amused now. “Can you not guess who I am?”

“Would you like me to?” She asked, that wolfish grin of hers on display now. The man nodded to her. “You were Fen'harel."

“Well done.” Fen'harel replied, with a slight nod. “I assume you have questions, but there is only time for one, at least this time.”

“Why send the mask to me?” She asked, not wanting to waste her question.

“Because of what I knew you could become.” Fen'harel replied, as the visions of the Fade slowly melted away.

 

Once awake, Hawke scrambled out of bed as fast as her legs could carry her, and rushed to the desk that had her journal on it. She wanted to get this written down before she forgot any of it. Merrill really was going to flip her shit, if Hawke ever decided to tell her about this, which she probably would. Fenris grumbled sleepishly from the bed, but did not get up to follow her. They'd stayed up most of the night, and some of the morning, trading stories with Varric.

Which brought her mind to a halt. They hadn't actually left the Hanged Man last night. Varric had offered one of the spare rooms in his palatial suite. The notebook she was writing in was one for Varric's stories that he kept in the living area. Thank the Maker the page had been blank already; She would have hated to have written over something he'd been working on.

She dropped the quill, and backed away from the book as if burnt. She'd just wrote a very detailed description of the conversation she'd had with Fen'harel, had described everything about the dream in the Fade. There was no way she could rip out the page, as Varric would notice it missing, but he would definitely notice something had been written in it. Laughter made her jump out of her skin, and she'd nearly turned to attack whoever it was, when she realized it was Varric. He just casually walked up to her, picked up the book, and strolled around the room as he began reading it.

“Not bad. Not bad at all, Wolf. A bit choppy in places, but I can smooth that out for you if you like. I had no idea you were interested in writing.” Varric commented, as he read it.

“I'm not. I just had a dream, and needed to write it down before I forgot it all.” Hawke admitted, stopping Varric in his tracks.

“You mean…this is a dream you had…in the Fade?” Varric asked, cautiously looking over at her. Hawke nodded, biting her lip as she did so. “And you talked to Fen'harel? like actually talked to him? (Hawke nodded again, and Varric let out a whistle of appreciation) Damn, Wolf. I always knew you'd keep things interesting around here, but damn. Andraste's lacy underthings, but I'm going to have so much fun with this. And what's this about 'what you can become'? Does that mean that the Evanuris thing isn't just a what, it's a who as well? Just how long has he been watching you? I have so many ideas now, I have to write them all down before I forget. Thanks, Wolf, this is just what I need to keep my mind off of Bartrand for a little while. It won't work forever, but it will help.”

“I do what I can.........I guess?” Hawke stated, a bit puzzled by it all.

It didn't take long for things to pick up. Varric was ecstatic about her being in contact with Fen'harel, but Hawke knew he was using that as a way to not have to deal with things. Sebastian came over later, and while he was concerned about what being in contact with Fen'harel would mean for his friend, he stayed on task with Varric about the arrangements for Bartrand. Merrill was equally as worried, and without the duty to keep Varric on task, she had plenty of time to caution her friend; who took it all with a grain of salt, and completely forgot about it the second it was over. When Fenris heard about it, he looked worried but thoughtful, but Hawke is thankful he hasn't lost his temper.

Plans were made to deal with the job the Antivan had given her, and they left soon after. Both Fenris and Hawke would need to go back home to get ready anyway. Messengers would have to be sent for Aveline and Isabela to meet them there, but Hawke needed this time with Fenris. She wanted to tell him what had happened in her dream. She'd never got past who had been in it, to explain to anyone what had happened.

BarkSpawn was waiting for them the moment they opened the door, happy to see them again as always. Orana was busy working on breakfast, and chatting with Varania. Bodahn was busy trying to keep his son from blowing up the house on accident, but managed to welcome them home anyway. When they were finally alone in their room, Hawke sank down onto the bed. She knew she should be getting ready, but the weight of what had happened finally hit her, and she needed to address it.

“What did he say?” Fenris asked, keeping his voice even. He'd remained quiet until now.

“Said he wanted to meet me, that I was not what he'd expected, that he gave me the mask because he knew what I could become.” Hawke explained, and waited.

“What do you think will happen now?” He asked, and she couldn't help but catch the worry in his voice now.

“Honestly? With Fen'harel, it's hard to say.” Hawke admitted with a sigh. “If the stories are to be believed, he played both sides off of each other. While he didn't lie, he didn't tell the truth either, and tricked them all into the trap he'd set for them. Other stories describe the pettiness, and the vices that the elvhen gods employed, enslaving their own people. I don't know what he wants now, what he plans to do, or how I fit into it all.”

“Promise me that you'll be careful, Bell'anar'is.” Fenris implored, pulling her gently into his arms. “There is nothing worse than the thought of living without you.”

“Oh, you know me.” Hawke said, a bit nervous and happy all at once.

“Yes.” Fenris remarked, with a wry grin. “That's what I'm afraid of.”

“Hey!” Hawke objected playfully, but Fenris did not let go of her just yet. Fenris rested his forehead against her own, before looking into her eyes as if he were searching for something.

“Do not go where I can not follow.” He said, simply. “and I will follow you always.”

“You sure about that? I'll take you to strange places, Fenris.” Hawke replied, grinning openly now.

“I do enjoy the view.” He teased, before letting her go. “I just…It would not do well for me to keep this worry to myself, Bell'anar'is, for either of us.”

 

 

Chapter Text

Chapter 16

 

Fenris P.O.V.

 

He has never felt at home with the Dalish. Elvhen is not a language he knows well, though he is better able to pick up pieces of conversation because of the woman at his side. He isn't sure if this is for the better or not, because now he is able to pick up on some of the things they say about him, and worse…about her. From her reactions, this is not a new thing, but it is the first time he's been able to understand any of it. He does not like what he hears, and makes a mental note to speak with her about it later.

The one they are there to take has told the dalish to tell them where he will be. No need to attack a people without cause. It is a sentiment that he understands, but it is odd for an assassin to take. He hopes that this is not a Crow issue, as dealing with the assassin's league is annoying at best. Then again, they are dealing with an Antivan, so it was likely.

“Oh look, traps.” Isabela cooed, seeing the path ahead, as she stopped Bell'anar'is from going forward. “I don't think you understand, sweet thing. When I said traps, I mean damn that's a lot of traps. There almost isn't a path to walk on, there are so many.”

“It will take too long to disarm them all.” Bell'anar'is huffed impatiently. “What do you suggest we do?”

“We are not walking through them.” Fenris stated, as he scowled at the path of traps.

“Well, now. If it isn't the Champion of Kirkwall.” An antivan accepted male jovially called over to them.

This was the assassin that they were sent here for? He looked more like that Jethann that constantly flirts with Bell'anar'is when he sees her. There was a glint to his eyes though that was unmistakeable to Fenris. This was a man who killed and enjoyed it, and they were stuck having to deal with him. That he was an elf mattered not to Fenris, an assassin was an assassin was an assassin, and this one was dangerously close to Bell'anar'is.

“I knew they would be sending someone for me, but I had no idea they would be sending you, my dear Champion.” The blond elf stated, bowing to her graciously. “Zevran Arainai at you service, my lady.”

“I…You know about me?” She asked, looking confused and a little flushed.

“Fierce, couragous, and a beauty to make the gods jealous?…You underestimate your fame, Champion.” He replied.

“I thought I smelled antivan leather.” Isabela remarked, with a grin. “It's good to see you again, Zevran.”

“Same to you, Isabela.” Zevran replied.

Fenris noticed that the two seemed very much interested in each other. It was not lost on him that Anders eyed the new person with curiosity before leaning into Isabela. How had he missed that those two were together? Had Bell'anar'is mentioned this, and he just not remembered? Speaking of which, the woman in question was asking Zevran something, and Fenris had not been paying attention.

“How does anyone know Isabela?” Zevran said with a good natured laugh.

“You'd better be careful, or you'll never know me again.” Isabela threatened, and Zevran had the decency to pretend to be contrite about it.

“Unfortunately, the man who hired you has lied to you, my dear champion.” Zevran explained, with his perverted flair. “The man who hired you is a Crow, and as I am a former Crow bent on killing them all, it would put a crimp in my plans. Let me guess, he told you some sob story to get you to come after me. Was it the one where I stole his wife? Or perhaps killed his son?”

“Something along those lines.” Bell'anar'is replied, amused at the antivan's antics. “He was rather flirtatious too, if I remember correctly. You antivan's can't seem to help yourselves, can you?”

“Only around such true beauties, I assure you.” Zevran replied, with a wink and a charming smile. Fenris was this close to shoving his hand through that man's chest if he said one more thing to try and charm Bell'anar'is from him. “I feel I must warn you though. No matter if you take me back with you, or return to him, the one who hired you will kill you. Lose ends and all that, you can imagine.”

“We shouldn't waste any time then, since they're so looking forward to killing us.” Bell'anar'is mused.

“Indeed.” Zevran replied, and set about to dismantling the traps he'd set.

Fenris took this opportunity to pull Bell'anar'is off to the side.

“I do not trust him.” He stated.

“Oh, good. There for a second, I thought you were going to demand I stay away from him or something.” She commented, with amusement. When he didn't reply, except to give her a curious glance, she continued. “It means that even if you don't trust him, you trust me. That means a lot to me, Fenris.”

Fenris just huffed at that, blushing at how such small things could mean so much to her. He has never had a relationship that he can remember beyond this, so when she says things like this, it still throws him for a loop. Before she turns to leave though, he sends her a quick smile, before returning to business. It was nice to see her blush too. After the traps had all been gathered, they began their trip to the spot on the Wounded Coast where they were to meet the one that had 'hired' them.

When the man wasn't trying to flirt with him, Fenris found that he could grudgingly enjoy the man's company. The fight for one's freedom was one he knew well, and he too had done things he regrets now to the people that had tried to help him. However, he did not appreciate the many flirtatious comments made towards his person, or to that of Bell'anar'is. At least those comments were volleyed at everyone, and not just him. They did not seem to bother Anders at all, and Isabela returned them because that was her way.

The job was exactly what they thought it would be, a trap. Bell'anar'is had a surprising habit of landing herself into traps, it seemed, enjoying how each job turned out. However, Crows were not something they were used to fighting, and Fenris would not underestimate them. Zevran's shocked expression when Bell'anar'is shapeshifted into a wolf nearly cost him his life, and Fenris found himself saving the fool man. When the fighting is over, Bell'anar'is shifts back, and Fenris pays the antivan no more heed.

“Are you alright?” Fenris asked, in concern. “That was the first time you've changed since dealing with the Arishok.”

“A bit overwhelmed, I think.” She admits, with a slight blush. “It was much too easy to lose myself in the thrill of the fight this time. We should probably get going, if you know what I mean. I don't particularly want to listen to someone else's intimacies.”

Fenris blushed at that, and followed her out.


 

In the Fade…

 

Other than the times when Bell'anar'is would come to him, his memories of the Fade are fleeting at best. So when he finds himself very aware that he is in the Fade, he looks for her. He is confused when he does not see her, and on alert at the same time. The feeling of being watched hits him, and he searches around the scenery that is HighTown, only to find a tall bald elf casually leaning against a pillar in the town square. It is then that he remembers the dream Bell'anar'is spoke of before, and he knows who this is.

“Fen'harel.” Fenris states, regarding the elf with apprehension.

“I see she has spoken of me.” The elven man replied with civility.

“She has.” Fenris acknowledged. “Not entirely sure what to make of it, and I can't say I trust you.”

“That is to be expected, though I was surprised that Hawke cut right through the normal level of suspicion.” Fen'harel remarked.

“I get why you want to talk to her. I do not, however, understand why you want to talk to me.” Fenris stated, wary of this man.

“So be it.” Fen'harel acknowledged, and his aura shifted into something much larger and more threatening than anything Fenris had ever encountered. The ethereal green form of a giant wolf stood behind the man as he demanded. “You will tell me why the woman that wears my mask is marked as a slave. Why does she wear Vallas'lin?”

Guilt hits Fenris hard, and he can not help but lower his head in shame. It is his fault, after all. He slumps onto a bench he's sure wasn't there before, but he can't bring himself to care. Seeing this, the ethereal wolf disappears, leaving just the elven man sits on the bench across from him, and waits. Fenris isn't sure how long they sit there before he finds the voice to speak.

“It's not Vallas'lin, but it is a mark of slavery.” Fenris said, finally. “They are lyrium burned into flesh. If done…correctly…the process can take days. The side effects of such a process are permanent memory loss, and for some odd reason, a complete drain in the pigment of one's hair. It is…extremely painful, and not a process one goes through voluntarily, at least not lightly.”

“Why is she not like you then?” Fen'harel asked, gesturing to Fenris' hair.

“I undertook the process voluntarily, or so I was told much later. I have very few memories of my life before, and only because I was recently reunited with my only living family. It is my understanding that I competed for them, and used the boon to have my family freed.” Fenris explained, not liking that the elvhen man was staring at him so intently. “Bell'anar'is did not. She was captured on the Wounded Coast when she was alone, and was forced to undergo the process. Though they did not have enough to complete the process properly, it was enough that it gave her temporary memory loss. I imagine that it was not enough to take the pigment from her hair.”

“Interesting.” Fen'harel remarked, after a moment. “Would she choose to remove them if she could? For that matter, would you?”

“No. They have helped shape who I now am, and the abilities they grant me have allowed me to save Bell'anar'is more than once. If I had been offered such a thing not too long ago, and had accepted, she would be dead now.” Fenris replied, a bit insulted at how the man acted like he was an unruly student. “Her answer would be something similar. I've asked such already.”

“They are not tied to a god?” Fen'harel asked, causing Fenris to snort. And he thought he was overly suspicious.

“No. They were tied to a mortal man, one that is now dead.” Fenris replied, as a slow feral grin spread across his face. “Apparently, she gets very defensive of me.”

“She is very much her father's daughter in that regard, it would seem.” Fen'harel noted. Something about that made Fenris frown, as if remembering something.

“That reminds me. I have answered your questions. It is time you answer mine.” Fenris demanded, with much more confidence than he actually had at the moment. “What is your interest in Bell'anar'is? What is she to you? What is it you think she can become? Why should we trust you?”

“She chose well, I see.” Fen'harel noted, with a nod of respect. “As evanuris, our mistake was thinking we had to be worshiped as gods when we should have always been caretakers. What is that phrase the Chantry loves so much? Magic is meant to serve man, never to rule over him? I am uncertain about this Maker, but the concept that the powerful should guard and protect the weak is something that we have lost. If I am to undo my betrayal, they will need people who will not yield to them. They will need people like her, people like you.”

“That doesn't really answer my question.” Fenris pointed out.

“Tell me,…” Fen'harel paused for a moment, as if realizing for the first time that he had not asked for his name.

“Fenris.” He supplied, dryly. “My name is Fenris.”

“So it is.” Fen'harel said, with a slight smile. “Tell me, Fenris, is she the same as other mages you have known? Other nobles, perhaps? As powerful as she is, she could have wiped out the Templars here, and proclaimed Kirkwall as hers to rule, a sanctuary for free mages outside of Tevinter, yet she has not done so. Why?”

“She is not like other mages I have known, no. She is not even like the mages in our company.” Fenris found himself answering, though he suspected Fen'harel knew the answers already. “She hides the extent of her power even now. The people of Kirkwall would make her Viscount, if Knight-Captain Meredith weren't able to object, but she's reluctant to try for it. Power has never been of interest to her. Even the estate, she only fought for it for her mother. Everything she's ever done has been for family, friends, those who could not fight for themselves, but you knew this.”

“I did.” Fen'harel admitted. “The People will need someone like her, to fight for them if the others try to take advantage again. It is a possibility, and it is not a fight I can achieve alone. The last attempt taught me that much. It will not be an easy fight, what is to come, and she will need every advantage she can get……I am afraid it is more of a curse I have given her, than a gift, the hard road the mask represents, but at least she will not be alone.”

“What do you mean?” Fenris asked. Almost none of what the man has said has made any sense to him.

Fenris, have you not realized that the mask bonded to you as well?” Fen'harel asked, looking puzzled. “If I am to understand it, you interrupted the bonding process, demanded it return your love to you. As the two of you are bondmates in all but ceremony, it must have viewed you as essential to her being. To hurt you would be to hurt her, and so it can not allow harm to come to either of you. Has there never been an instant where it acted to protect you?”

Fenris realized he was right. How had he not noticed? The spirit had spoken with him, had almost sounded like it was making sure she would be taken care of. It had…It had…Was there a presence in his mind as well, or was it just that once? He had seen it in her eyes, the spirit's desire to protect him. Fen'harel must have noticed his panic, because all of a sudden a loud snapping sound pulled him out of his thoughts.

“Why is it that she has a healthier outlook on spirits than you do?” He asked, arching an eyebrow at Fenris.

“She wasn't a slave to a bunch of Teventer Magisters bent on blood magic!” Fenris shot back angrily. “Do not mock me!”

Ir abelas, Fenris.” Fen'harel apologized with a sigh. “It is clear I have upset you. I will leave for now, and maybe next time, I will answer your questions.”

 

When Fenris woke up, he acted much the same as he imagined she had, scrambling out of bed to write down everything that had happened in the Fade. He had no clever rogue's tongue, so how to word things was very difficult to him. He stuck to the bare bones of it, assuming Varric would add flavor to it later. It was not out of the realm of possibilities, after all. His mind was too busy with thoughts to want to sleep, wondering just how much of this Bell'anar'is knew already.


 

Fen'harel/Solas' P.O.V.

 

What that Fenris had told him was troubling, but in line with what his scouts had told him. They also gave him stories that were nearly impossible to believe, things that reminded him of himself before he had got caught up in the power of what he was. He wondered if she would remain that way, or if she would fall to temptation as he had for a time. She had someone who would keep her grounded should she stray, something he'd wished he'd had at the time.

Among everything that he'd done in Arlathan, he hadn't thought that he had been foolish enough to have a child, but while he slept in Uth'then'era he discovered that he had done just that. A servant girl that he'd freed had become very fond of him, and he of her. He had not the energy to make it out of Uth'then'era to go to her when he saw that she was with child, and she never entered Uth'then'era. Instead, he'd watched her life in horror as she grew old and died. Only then did he find her spirit in the Fade; only then had he realized what he'd done.

As time went on, he occassionally watched over his decendants. Those that he had freed before had gone on to have children, and their children watched over them as well, and so on and so on. This was the first time that one of his line had ever intermingled with humans, something he wasn't sure what to think about. There was no getting around the fact that Hawke was of his line, that ink black hair of hers was the very shade his had been when he'd had hair, and her bright blue eyes were the dominant gene Esha'lin'eva had that carried through even now; and so he went in search of her life this time, to see the stories for himself.

 

You should not have come.” Fenris scolds, his voice low. “They will kill you now too.”

They won't get the chance.” She says, with a wolfish grin. “Even demons run when there's a wolf at the door.”

 

So she had inherited his ability to shift into a wolf, he thought with a grin.

 

Let me set the scene for you. A clear night, a full moon, a hovel………A tall, strikingly handsome elf, great sword at the ready, surrounded by...” She pauses in thought, looking to a beardless dwarf. “Twenty?” who promptly shook his head “Thirty Imperial Bounty Hunters.”

There weren't nearly that many.” Fenris said, in a huff.

Oh alright....Forty

 

He snickered in spite of himself, as he watches the Fade play the memory.

 

It was just a simple healing spell. There was nothing special……If it really helped so much, of course I'll cast it for you again…………Well that takes care of my next question, I suppose. Makers breath, they really do go everywhere, don't they?…………You take off one more article of clothing, and I'll be able to tell Isabella what colour your small clothes are.”

 

He watches as they sit in front of each other, and she sends healing magic through the lyrium lines. Understanding dawns on him when he realizes this is what Fenris had meant when he talked about them before. The markings on the man's body are definitely more pronounced, and when they react to her magic they lit up the area of the Fade around them. The moment after is intimate, even if they had not yet realized the pull they feel towards each other's souls. It is easier for an outsider to see, and even he knows he should not be looking upon this moment as Fenris' rests his forehead against Hawke's own.

 

Bellanaris,.....I have no words.....This is the first I can remember......not feeling pain.....Thank you.......”

 

The next memory he finds is still an intimate setting, but it seems they are sharing stories.

 

Your speech still rings in my ears sometimes, you know…………Person first, mage second. More than a tool or a weapon. You are the only mage who's said such to me, the only one I can think of to trust with the power given to you..”

 

Was that what he was doing now? Using her as a tool? He wondered. Is that how she would see it? Did he even have the right to ask for her help now, after everything that he had done?

 

Next he hears shouting, curses, and an easily recognizable grey warden circle mage bolting into the common area of a tavern. He is surprised to see Hawke following soon after, wrapped in a sheet and sending colomns of fire at the blonde mage. It must not be too bad if no one is helping him, but even so the blond mage looks like he fears for his feathers. Fen'harel finds he's a little disappointed when Fenris stops her from roasting the man.

 

It's a nice evening for a sneak out, isn't it Wolf?” Varric asked, casually leaning against a wall. “Did you think none of us would notice?”

Well, it's not often someone watches for people trying to sneak out of camp…………You would have to go for extra credit though, wouldn't you?”

 

NO!” Fenris shouts, pleading. “Varric, don't! You don't understand! That's no wild wolf!”

Broody, what else could it be?” Varric asked, in bewilderment. “How is it even in the blighted deep roads anyway?”

Bellanaris!…………Bellanaris, please!”

 

Varric, what is this place.” Fenris asked, looking around.

This looks like the vaults. The dwarves would have....” Varric answered, just before there was the sound of rumbling rocks. “....uh oh.”

 

Do you want to talk about it?………Maybe………maybe we should go.” She gently places her hand on Fenris' shoulder, though he is not facing her.

Do not comfort me!” He demands, brushing her hand away from his shoulder. The spirit does not care what else Fenris says, as he must not have, but one thing stands out. “May she rot, and all other mages with her.”

 

He watches memory after memory, seeing the things she'd done. Her mother's death, there were no words for that, but he recognized a tipping point when he saw one; and this was hers. He watched her descent into recklessness and violence, achieving great things at the cost of herself, but even then she does not take advantage with the power she wields. Really, the being naked while drunk on a 'hard to get to' beach thing was bound to happen sooner or later, but really? He found her lack of care, when the tevinter blood mages showed up, disturbing; though he understood it.

The lyrium branding ritual was…barbaric. How could she stand it without screaming? They added the lyrium as they sliced and burned. There was so much blood, so much…That she was using the Chant of Light to deal with the pain, even that did not seem possible. It was a hard thing to watch, knowing that it had already happened, the look on Fenris' face when the group found her was very telling; even as the others in her strange pack try to cheer her up.

 

I never wanted……this shouldn't have……I should have been there……I should have followed……Bellanaris, I'd give anything……Please……please stay……”

 

He now saw what Fenris meant about the memory loss, as each of her pack was able to bring out a bit of her memory, as Fenris told the story of how they met. She was truly blessed to have such a group that cared for her, that Fenris was willing to try to learn a bit of elvhen because it was important to her. The Arishok is an imposing figure, and no matter how many times he shows up in her memories, Fen'harel is surprised that Hawke can talk to the man so flippantly. It is enough for him to occasionally wonder about her sanity, and then he came across a most confusing memory.

 

If this keeps up, I'm taking that man's job, and I'm shoving it up Bran's ass…………If this has any connection to the Arishok whatsoever, Isabella, I'll make sure that all the men you get for your ship will be the ugliest ones on record. There won't be a decent piece of eye candy on that damnable ship, and their dicks will be super tiny.”

 

What kind of threats were those? Maybe he would have to have a talk with her about how to properly threaten one's allies, but then he realized that was what was different. These were her friends, and as such she knew them intimately. He could not understand how these threats worked, but he saw their reactions to them, and it was enough to confirm for him that she knew where to strike when it came to her friend's fears.

It changed suddenly, and she was glaring at the Arishok even as her Guard Captain friend was pulling her away. He watched as she barked out orders even the Captian listened to, delegating tasks to others who could do them better, get them done faster, whatever was needed; as they raced through the city. Then she was speaking with the Arishok as if it were any other day, as if she hadn't just watched the qunari throw the head of their ruler practically at her feet.

Basalit-an, equal to the Arishok himself, and she's……going to fight the Arishok in single combat to save not only the woman that had just betrayed her, but the city as well. He watches the fight with dread and anticipation. Though he knows what the results must be, to see her fight is something else. It is the last moments that shock him most. Even with a qunari great sword run through her, she fights, using a spell to seal away the air in his lungs before glaring at the rest of the qunari horde.

 

Now get out.”

 

The following memories are too chaotic to follow, but he understands now what his people were trying to tell him. This is why they felt she was the one that could help him, why they thought she should have the mask, and he agreed with them. Still, he'd wanted to see this for himself. Unfortunately, he'd gotten distracted by all of the memories, too involved in them to realize he was no longer alone. He suddenly became aware of Hawke, right before she hit him with a giant stone fist that sent him flying.

You son of a bitch!” Hawke shouted, as she sent another stone fist at him. He avoided this one, confused as to why she was attacking him at all, though that didn't stop her continuous attack on him. “Do you have any idea what you've done?! Fenris is staying at the Hanged Man with Varric because of you! He's convinced himself that I knew about the mask bonding to him. I didn't, but that doesn't matter! You fix this! You fix this right now, or so help me, Fen'harel, I will find you in the waking world and I will kill you myself!!!

She collapsed where she was, crying even in her anger. Esha'lin'eva had never fought him like this, had never been this angry at him, but he can imagine that this is what she would have looked like. It is easy to see her in Hawke's eyes. Hawke is shaking, she's so angry, her power fluctuating all over the place in the Fade. Fen'harel is not sure what she wants him to do to fix things, but he has no doubt that she would attempt to kill him if he didn't try to help her; she might even succeed at it.

Ar Tel'eolasa ahn shor sua, y Ar shor dirtha sai ish, Da'lan.” Fen'harel said gently, as he walked away to a new part of the Fade.

I don't know what will happen, but I will talk to him, little one.


 

Fenris P.O.V.

In the Fade…

 

He was aware in the Fade again, which could only mean Bell'anar'is or Fen'harel. Neither Anders or Merrill had ever tried to find him here, Bell'anar'is was trying to give him space he said he needed, and Fen'harel hadn't tried talking to him again. This place looked like the Hanged Man's bar area, and felt just as lonely without her. He sat staring lazily into a stein of something, and sighed. The feeling of emptiness did not leave him, even as someone sat on the bar stool next to him.

“There is something strangely calming about this place.” He hears Fen'harel say, and sighs internally, wondering if he could ignore the man into going away. “It won't work, you know, ignoring me. No, I'm not reading your mind, Fenris, but you are not the first to want to attempt it.”

“Why wouldn't it work?” Fenris asked, in a tired tone.

“I have a lot of time on my hands, and a singular focus. It's a nice way of saying I'm stubborn, I suppose.” Fen'harel mused. “It is amusing to see that trait passed on to another. She reminds me a lot of the person I used to be before the wars.”

“She…” Fenris said, slowly trailing off. “You mean Bell'anar'is is…?”

“A direct descendant. Yes.” Fen'harel confirmed. “Before you ask, no, she doesn't know. She didn't know about the spirit bonding with you as well either.”

“And I'm just supposed to believe you of all people?” Fenris growled, instantly suspicious again.

“You don't have to believe me.” Fen'harel stated, simply. “It's her you should have faith in, Fenris.I have neither lied nor spoken half truths to either of you. Do with that what you will.”

“Why are you here?” Fenris asked, ignoring the guilt he had been feeling.

“She threatened to kill me.” Fen'harel admitted readily. “Attacked me here in the Fade, demanded I fix what I had done or she would find and kill me herself.”

Fenris looked away, caught between wanting to be angry and feeling guilty.

“She was crying when I left to find you, if that matters at all.” Fen'harel stated, as he got up to leave. Sighing, he looked back to him and added. “Stop pushing her away like this, Fenris. It does neither of you any good, and one day she may decide to protect her heart from you. Do not make the same mistake I did. You have a chance to make things right with the one you love. I will never have that chance again with Esha'lin'eva.


 

Hawke's P.O.V.

 

Sleeping alone again resulted in restless nights, so she was awake when she heard the familiar sounds of someone trying to break in. It wasn't Isabela, not with how unskilled they seemed to sound as they tried to break into the estate. The others were all asleep, having gone to bed hours ago, and Hawke hoped that they wouldn't wake upon hearing what was about to go down. After changing into her wolf form, Hawke and BarkSpawn silently made their way downstairs. Carta dwarves, blighted ones by the smell of them, were tearing up her sitting room shouting for the Blood of the Hawke.

Smirking to herself, she couldn't help but think they were right about one thing. There was going to be blood, just maybe not her own. Between her and Barkspawn, those blighted dwarves didn't stand a chance. She only let up once BarkSpawn signaled that every one of the intruders were dead. Only then did she turn back into her normal form to clean up or even think about waking up anyone.

“Lady Hawke, are you alright?” Renan exclaimed, having heard the sounds of her fighting, only to freeze up once he saw all the blood and dead bodies in the room.

“I'm fine, Renan.” Hawke said, gently, seeing the state he was in. “Listen to me very carefully, Renan. Be very careful when cleaning up the blood. Don't let any of it get into your eyes or mouth, okay? These dwarves were blighted. More might come here, so I want you to wake the others just in case. I have to go check on someone.”

“I'll be careful, Lady Hawke, I promise.” Renan vowed, earnestly. “Wake the others, clean the blood, be careful, be safe.”

“Good.” Hawke stated, glad that he understood the need for safety in this. “I shouldn't be long, but if I am, I'll try to stop by the vendors and pick up something special to add to Orana's brilliant breakfast creations. She's been absolutely driven this week.”

He nodded happily, and she went back to her room to get dressed in something other than her night clothes before heading out of the estate. After shifting back into her wolf form, her and BarkSpawn made for the Keep, going as fast as they could in case her theory was correct. There was no time to call for the others, and most of them were in LowTown at the moment anyway. She would have taken Fenris with her, but he was going through one of his moods, and she didn't think she had the time in case her theory was correct. This was one instance where Hawke really wanted to be wrong; She wasn't.

Blighted dwarves were actually charging into the Keep! If they weren't crazed out of their minds, Hawke would credit them for having some major stones. She hadn't even wanted to attempt that, choosing a decoy as the more efficient way in. It seemed this lot wasn't worried about efficiency so long as they got what they wanted. Hawke simply shook her head before lunging at the closest dwarf, silently thanking the Maker that this form allowed her at least some protection against the tainted blood they carried.

 

Chapter Text

Chapter 17

 

Carver had never really had his sister's wolf form come at him before, but that's how he woke up, with a giant black wolf leaping over his bed to pin something down that he hadn't been aware of. Looking around, awareness and alarm slowly coming to him, he noticed that the barracks were covered in blood and the dead bodies of…were those dwarves blighted? How had they gotten in? Why did he feel so woozy? His sister was back in her more humanoid form, rushing to him, calling his name, but he could barely understand her.

“Carver!…Damn it, Carver, Don't you catch the blight! I will wring your neck, you got that?!” She was shouting, as she shook him.

“Maferath's balls, Sister, will you stop with the shouting?” He asked, his head finally clearing. “…Who drugged me?”

“The blighted dwarves, I'm guessing, but that would mean they aren't completely gone yet.” She said, talking more to himself than him. “Which means they knew what they were doing. They came here for a purpose.”

“They kept yelling about 'The Blood of the Hawke'. So, what was that about?” Aveline asked, sternly.

“No idea, but those are Carta Dwarves.” Sister said, nodding to the now very dead dwarves all over the place. “If anyone will know, or can find out, it will be Varric.”

“Alright then, you two should get going. You both need baths, BarkSpawn too. I have to stay and clean this mess.” Aveline groused, as she looked at it all.

“Be careful, Aveline.” Sister warned, concern in her eyes, before she cracks a smile. “If you go, who's going to be left to be my conscience? Varric? Isabela?”

“Maker's breath, Hawke, don't scare me like that.” Aveline replied, with an uncharacteristic like snort. “Now, get going…unless you want to help me clean this mess?”


 

About this time…

 

“Broody, as much as I like having you here, what are you still doing here?” Varric asked, looking at the miserable elf. “It's been long enough. Just apologize already.”

“Go away.” Fenris grumbled, not even bothering to raise his head from the table.

“Fine. Be stubborn like last time.” Varric shot back, too tired to be dealing with the elf right now. “That worked out well.”

Whatever reply the elf was going to give was cut off by a knock at the door. When Varric went to go see who it was, he was surprised to see Wolf standing there. She looked pissed, standing defensively as she was, the mask showing as it sat atop her head, and for the first time Varric could see the spirit's influence in her eyes. Fenris had been right, the two were bonded differently than Anders and Justice, which meant that it was Wolf that was very pissed off right now. He tried to step aside to let her in, but she shook her head and backed away a step, gesturing that she wanted him to step outside instead.

“Alright, what's going on?” Varric asked, walking out and closing the door behind him. “Fenris is-”

“I am not here for Fenris.” She all but growled, tossing something on the table they'd moved towards. A dagger from a Carta dwarf. “A band of Carta dwarves has become blighted, and yet they call for the Blood of the Hawke. Both Carver and myself have been attacked already. I want answers, and then I want to kill whoever's controlling them, because someone is.”

“Carta dwarves wouldn't do this, Wolf.” Varric said, looking at the dagger in his hands. “It would be a death sentence from the Carta clan as well as from you. No sane Carta dwarf would do that, not even a group of them.”

“Did I not mention the part about them being blighted?” She snapped, before closing her eyes. “Sorry. Bit cranky. I'm covered in blood, I need a bath, and it's still too early to go by the Vendors. I promised Renan I'd pick up something special for Orana. She's been driven this week.”

“Can't imagine why.” Varric said, wryly. “You should have her send me things, considering I'm having to babysit Broody. I'll see if I can find out something about this, Wolf. In the meantime, go home, take a bath, try to calm down some before you deal with things today.”

“Thanks for the help, Varric, I appreciate it.” Wolf said, with a sigh. She looked tired, sad, and defeated all at once.

“He misses you, you know.” Varric said, quietly, as she made her way out.

She paused for a moment, looked over her shoulder, and in the same quiet tone he had used, replied. “I know, but he doesn't trust me.”

She was gone before he could think of anything to say back to her, and with a sigh he headed back into his suite.

“She misses you, you know.” Varric said, as he entered the suite.

“I know, but she thinks I don't trust her.” Fenris sighed, not looking up from where he'd rested his head on the table.

“You don't.” Varric pointed out. When Fenris raised his head to object, Varric stilled him with a look. “That's why you're here instead of with her. You panicked at something having been done without your knowledge, charged her with lying to you when she claimed no knowledge of it, and left her side to come stay here to mope and brood. You'd better do something, and quick like, or else she will walk away and guard her heart from you forever. She's close to it as it is, Broody.”

“Then why do you think there's any hope left, Varric?” Fenris asked, looking longingly at the door.

“She was still wearing the ring.” Varric pointed out, causing the elf to look back at him. “Were there no hope at all of reconciliation, she would have handed you the ring when you charged her with lying, or she would have come in here and set the ring down on the table in front of you and walked away calmly. She didn't. Instead, she refused to come in here, because seeing you would hurt, because you don't trust her and she wants you to trust her. It means she still cares, which means you still have a chance to quit being an idiot and apologize.”

“She's not going to trust me after this, Varric.” Fenris objected, but there was no heart in it. “After the things I've said already, and then this…”

“She'll have her guard up for a while, sure, but she'll still give you a chance.” Varric replied, knowingly. “It's who she is, Broody.”

“Alright, which one of you idiots thought she would actually wait for you to find the Carta?” Carver asked, as he walked into the room unexpectedly.

“I'm sorry? What about the Carta?” Fenris asked, in confusion.

“You mean you haven't told him yet?” Carver groaned.

“I was a little busy berating him for his life choices.” Varric huffed.


 

Moments before…

 

“You didn't even go in there, did you?” Carver asked, knowingly, as his sister walked out of the Hanged Man.

Noooooo.” She admitted, with a sigh as she looked down. “Lost my nerve the second I knocked on the door.”

“Sister, he isn't going to start yelling at you the second he sees you.” Carver insisted, unable to help rolling his eyes. His sister had this air of confidence about her at all times, but it didn't mean that she actually had the confidence, not always. “The man's a mess. I should know. He's helping to train the guards every day now instead of every few days. I'm not sure he sleeps anymore. Just go in there, and tell him you forgive him.”

“It's not that there's something to forgive, not…well…it's…” She sighed, struggling to find the words. “He doesn't trust me, Carver, but it's more than that. This mask, the spirit it holds. He thinks they'll eventually take me over or something, that I purposefully made it bond with him too, or maybe that Fen'harel wants to take over my mind; I don't know. It's just…he has no faith in me, Carver, and that's worse.”

She sighed again, shaking her head, and left. Just fucking great, Carver thinks to himself, trust a guy with your sister, and watch as he pisses the chance away. That was a good idea. Not! Just then he realizes that she didn't head off in the direction of the estate, but the Merchants Guild, meaning that she never had any intentions of waiting for Varric to find the information from the Carta. She'd just wanted the chance to be near Fenris, and she'd chickened out at the last second. He had no doubt in his mind that she could handle herself, but there was no way he was going to let her deal with this alone; not this time.

Besides, it's his brotherly duty to see Fenris right about now. So, with that thought in mind, he makes his way through the Hanged Man. He says hello to Corrif as he passes, gives a pleasant smile to Norah when he sees her. With the way his sister had barged in here, it's amazing they aren't more suspicious of him, but he's never caused a ruckus in the Hanged Man either. Well, at least not until today, if it should come to that.

“Alright, which one of you idiots thought she would actually wait for you to find the Carta?” Carver asked, as he walked into Varric's palatial suit.


 

A little while later…

 

By this time, Hawke has made her way to the Merchants Guild, who had upon seeing her expression and that she was covered in dried blood, discreetly pointed her in the direction of the Carta Clan. She was in no mood to deal with fools today, and she had information to find. The Carta dwarves were in fact quite unhelpful, even when she threatened to beat the shit out of them with a cast iron skillet. Okay, so she was using a pair of them, but still. She didn't kill anyone, they wouldn't fear her if they were dead.

“Now.” She started talking, a bit out of breath from having to beat the shit out of so many of them. “When Varric Tethras gets here, and I can assure you he will be here soon, I want you to give him the information I've asked for. He knows I'm trying to find you. He knows that the Carta Clan has openly called for the Blood of the Hawke, and he will be bringing friends. Be very accommodating, or I will be back, and we will repeat this process as needed.Is that clear?......I said, Is that clear?! (A group of groans reaches her ears) Thank you for your time, gentlemen, and the work out. You've been most helpful.”

She spends her time trying to calm down, finding several things in the now open stalls for Orana to use should she wish. The woman had been trying to distract her from her depression with amazing food, and Hawke couldn't help but love that she tried. Varania had taken to training with her even more so that week. Without someone to help her learn her magic, she was an open target for demons and templars, so Hawke had started training her. They used the cellar or the gardens, depending on what type of magic Hawke was trying to train her in, but it would be some time before the young woman could get a handle on it enough to go without a staff; that was their goal.

Hawke walked into the estate, tossing the cast iron skillets onto a side table, and carried the rest of the groceries into the kitchen. Orana and Varania were talking in the kitchen, and Renan had just stepped into the room with Bodahn and Sandal. She must have looked like shit, because they all started asking her if she was alright. Orana took the groceries and shooed her out of the kitchen. Meanwhile, Renan and Bodahn told her about the cleanup, while Varania and Sandal got the supplies needed to help take care of her wounds. After all, one does not take on the Carta Clan with only cast iron skillets thinking to get away unscathed.

“The skillets aren't a surprise for Orana, are they?” Varania asked, eyeing them as she set out her supplies.

“Oh no. I wouldn't cook with those. They've been in contact with a dwarf's ass.” Hawke chortled. “Several of them actually. The Carta Clan may never be able to sit down properly ever again.”

“Enchantment?” Sandal asked, looking at her with an excited expression.

“Exactly so, Sandal.” Hawke replied, genuinely smiling at him.


 

That's about the time that Varric, Fenris, and Carver find the Carta Clan. It is a wreck, looking like a tornado had hit it. Beaten and injured dwarves are everywhere, most of which were gingerly rubbing their asses, something none of them were trying to think to hard about. One of them looked up, saw Varric, and yelped. Even in pain as he was, that dwarf moved like he'd been lit on fire.

“Well, it looks like Sister's been here already.” Carver noted, trying to make light of the situation.

“Damn it, Tethras! She said you would be here soon, not five minutes after she left!” One of the guys in charge shouted, as he hobbled over to him.

“Now, Weasel, we don't want any trouble.” Varric said, with his hands raised, placating. “We just want to figure out what branch of the Carta Clan went and got themselves blighted, and out for the Blood of the Hawke.”

“Out of curiosity, what did she do to you?” Fenris asked, looking at their warriors. “There's not a mark on your men, and yet you all look as if you've been through the pyre.”

“That woman! That woman is what happened to us!” Weasel shouted, angrily, before wincing. “Blasted woman threatened to beat the shit out of us with a cast iron skillet. We laughed, the lot of us! We didn't think she was fucking serious!”

“You mean she…really…” Carver tried to ask, but couldn't get the words out without chuckling, so he stopped.

“I'm not telling you anything Tethras! You can tell her she can go straight to the ancestors, for all I care!” Weasel shouted, holding onto his wounded pride.

“Did she mention coming back to repeat whatever she did to you?” Varric asked, knowingly.

That seemed to change the dwarf's tune. They immediately started hunting through their records, looking for anything about missing dwarves. It didn't take them long, but it was past lunch before they found out anything. There had been a group of Carta dwarves go missing, their last known location some place so far out of the way it shouldn't have even been there. Weasel gave the information they found to Varric, and bade them to get out.

“There's just one more thing, for clarification, she really beat the shit out of you all with a cast iron skillet?” Varric asked, looking at the lot of them.

“Two.” Weasel growled, red faced. “Now get out!”


 

There was nothing to do now, except for wait for Varric to catch up. After breakfast with her strange family, she and Varania had taken to working out in the garden. They practiced what she liked to call plant magic, and though Varania did not have the lyrium to aid her that Hawke did, she had a knack for it. Hawke was glad to have someone that could hear the magic sing the way she could, and the two spent the morning weeding, and nurturing the plants. Sandal spent time playing with BarkSpawn, and the others were doing odd things around the house, when Hawke heard someone simply walk into her home.

“Wolf, it's just me! Don't do anything, okay?” Varric called out, as he made his way through the estate.

“Yes, Dwarf, I gathered that.” She replied, not looking up when she spoke. “Have an interesting visit?”

“Oh yeah, Weasel was quite forthcoming when he thought you might come back.” Varric replied, with a chuckle.

“That's because I threatened to do just that, however many times was necessary for the message to sink in.” She replied, not laughing. Turning to Varania, Hawke said. “I think I'm done for the day. I've got to pack. If you'd like to continue, that's fine, but I need to get started on my packing.”

“Don't worry about us, Hawke.” Varania said, with a nod. “We'll be fine here.”

She nodded in thanks, and left it at that, walking past Varric on her way to her room. Fenris wasn't with him, but she reminded herself that she was angry at him, and kept her hurt to herself. It was so hard to pretend that she didn't miss him. No doubt Varric saw right through it. She was just glad he chose not to give her advice at this moment in time, as she didn't think she could deal with it.

“So, what's the deal, Varric?” She asked, trying to maintain that famous smirk of hers. “What did Weasel tell you?”

“Well, after complaining for a while about what you did to him without actually mentioning exactly what you did to him, he eventually found it for me.” Varric replied, handing her a map. “There's some old ruins out that way apparently, but nothing should be there. A bunch of Carta disappeared over that way, and were never recovered.”

“Alright, I'll leave after I pack. Thanks for the map.” Hawke replied, and made for her room.

“You didn't think you were going alone, did you?” Varric asked, making her pause.

“Why not?” Hawke asked, crossing her arms as she turned around to face the dwarf. “I handled the group that attacked me, and the only help I had was BarkSpawn.”

“I get it, Wolf, you're a badass. Doesn't change the fact that you're not going alone.” Varric remarked, refusing to back down. “Were you even going to tell Fenris that you were going to take this trip?”

“Why would I do that? He's too busy convincing himself that I've lied to him this whole time.” Hawke asked, defensively. “Second guessing every conversation we've ever had, wondering just how far back the lies go. Does he even love me, Varric? Because he's got a funny way of showing it right now.”

She didn't bother waiting for his answer, spinning on the balls of her feet and making her way up to her room. Gathering what she needed, Hawke packed in record time. She did not look up from her task, but maybe if she had she would have noticed the subtle differences in the room. The window was only partially closed, some drawers were slightly ajar, nothing too noticeable. She opened the wardrobe, grabbed a couple of things, not even noticing the bare feet at the bottom before she slammed the door closed again.

She was gone before Varric could say a word, using the lattice outside her window to avoid him. Map in hand, and supplies packed, she knew she would make good time before anyone realized she was gone. Had she thought about it, she would have grabbed Carver on her way out, but she hadn't and it was too late now. These Vimmark Mountains were quite a ways off, and only now was she realizing that she'd left Barkpawn behind in her efforts to leave without Varric. However, she had no doubt that the mabari would find his way to her later.


 

Carver could only stare in mild shock as he watched his sister climb down the lattice by her window with ease even with the pack hanging across her back. She was running down the street in her wolf form, with the pack strap in her mouth, before he could think to stop her. He shook his head and made his way to the front door at a normal pace. If they didn't realize she was gone yet, it was their own fault really. This was going to be one of those crazy adventures, he could just tell, and a part of him was wondering how much of a lead he should let her have before he tells them she's gone.

Of course, the second he opens the door, BarkSpawn bolts out of the house like his ass is on fire. Varric is waiting in the living room, for Fenris no doubt. The dwarf just looks at him and shakes his head. He knows exactly what he's thinking too. If those two would just stop fighting each other, the world might have something to really worry about.

“She's left, hasn't she?” Varric asked, cursing under his breath even as Carver nods to confirm. He turns and yells. “Broody, get your ass down here, she's left already!”

There is a blundering of sounds that comes from Sister's bedroom, and suddenly Fenris is bolting down the stairs, his sword slung over his back, along with a pack of necessities.

“What do you mean she's gone?” Fenris growled. “You were supposed to keep her delayed!”

“She climbed down the lattice and bolted.” Carver answered. “BarkSpawn followed after her when I opened the door.”

“We don't have time to grab anyone else.” Varric grumbled, as they all started heading out. It was a good thing they'd packed already. “At least it was a good thing I had Weasel make copies of that map.”

“An even better thing if you didn't give them all to her at one time.” Fenris commented, making Varric do a quick check to be on the safe side.

“How did she miss you?” Varric asked, once he was sure the back up maps were secure.

“I would rather not say.” Fenris grumbled, but eventually relented with a sigh. “If you must know, I…I hid in the closet.”


 

In the Fade…

 

“How is it that you get along with a mabari?” She hears, and sighs because she doesn't want to deal with this right now.

“Why are you talking to me right now, Fen'harel?” She asks, instead of ignoring him like she wants to, as she turns to face him. They sit by a fire, one very much like the camp site she'd made. “You have yet to fix this.”

“I have yet to fix many things, Da'lan.” Fen'harel replies, with a sad tone, his face turned towards the fire. “I fear it will be some time yet before I am able to fix them all.”

“Some things can't be fixed, I suppose.” She stated, as she subconsciously caressed the ring Fenris had given her.

“Don't count him out just yet, Da'lan. For one who has lived in fear, always running, always hunted, he has come far.” Fen'harel suggested, before looking over at her. “It's not you he has no faith in. It is himself.”

“Know that, do you?” She asked, still looking at the ring. “Because it's not himself he yells at when things come to a head. It's me he yells at; usually about slavers, blood magic, and mages. But it's okay when he loses his temper and tears chunks out of things in a fit of anger, because that's a mage's fault. I have never once yelled at him when he made me angry, not like that; but were I to throw a bit of magic in a fit of anger, you can bet he'd rage about mages and magic some more.”

“Have you said any of this to him?” He asked, sounding tired.

“Why? So I can get yelled at some more?” She scoffs.

“You are angry, and right now you are trying to hide behind that anger so that you do not get hurt.” Fen'harel stated, and a part of her hated how he seemed to be able to read her. “But eventually the armour wears thin, and you are alone with the bitterness your heart becomes filled with. Do not make that mistake, Da'lan. Calm yourself, and talk to him. Tell him these things, but do not shut him out.”

“Why do you sound so sure about this?” She finds herself asking.

“Because, if you did not love him, you would not be so angry at him.” Fen'harel answered, the one truth she could not hide from.

“Can we talk about something else, please?” She asked, with a tired sigh. “I just…I'm so tired…”

“He will come around, Da'lan. Try to keep an open mind when he does.” Fen'harel insisted softly, before looking back at the fire. “The dwarves that were after you, what do you know about them?”

“They were blighted, but they're minds weren't gone, and they were on a mission.” She replied, glad for the change of subject for a moment at least. “They called for the Blood of the Hawke. Why? Know something about it?”

“I am uncertain, but I do have a theory.” Fen'harel admitted. “If I am right, you will face an enemy more powerful than the Arishok could have ever hoped to be.”

“Pretend you are right.” She said, going with a thought. “What am I about to walk into?”

“A trap, but that part should be obvious.” He replied, and she snorted with amusement in spite of herself. “Grey Wardens dabbled in things they did not understand, and if I am right, you are about to walk into one of their most ancient strongholds. They trapped something there, something they could not kill, something that can manipulate the blighted. If I am right, and you find this creature, I will need you to do a favor for me.”

“Which is?” Hawke asked, arching an eyebrow at him.

“Leave the door open.” He stated simply.

“You hope to use it.” Hawke realized, shaking her head. “You won't fix your mistakes this way, Fen'harel. You'll just make more.”

“And you know this how?” Fen'harel asked, defensively.

“If there's one thing I'm sure of, it's that if you think you can control something others couldn't, you most definitely cannot. I've watched arrogance and pride destroy others who thought the same.” Hawke replied. He seemed to deflate at that.

“Had I your wisdom before I'd made my mistake…” Fen'harel said, shaking his head. “Still, it is the fastest way, the best way to fix what I have done. Will you help me?”

“Helping you doesn't always mean doing what you say, you know.” Hawke pointed out, something he seemed annoyed by. “Sometimes it means telling you off, and since when has the fastest way been the best way? It sounds like you're making excuses for your impatience.”

“Be that as it may, it is the only way I have been able to find.” Fen'harel insisted, stubbornly. “Will you do as I've asked or not?”

“What are you trying to do?” She asked, and he huffed in annoyance. “I'm not about to do a favor for anybody without knowing the particulars. Your goals. State them, or I will not help you.”

Sou'alas'diane asha.” Fen'harel grumbled, but sighed. “I wish to undo the Veil. It how I trapped the other Evanuris, the god kings that the dalish pray to now. The Veil is my creation, separating the Fade from the waking world, and I made it to save my people. It damned them, even as it saved them. It wasn't exposure to humans that took away their immortality. It was me.”

Forceful woman

“That word. Evanuris. It was on the note.” Hawke said, her mind reeling with the thoughts this presented her with. “Why would you want me to become that? What does it mean?”

She'lan'sila.” Fen'harel muttered in amusement, before his expression became serious. “Hawke, despite everything that has been thrown at you, you do not take the power you know you could. You do not take the seat of the Viscount from the Templars. You stay where you are, where the people need you to be. Even the title of Champion is unwanted in your eyes, and yet because it was given to you by the people, you accepted it. The others of the Evanuris had not listened to the people long before I erected the Veil. If they can be shown how to listen, the people will still need an advocate, a role I can not adequately fill. If they choose not to listen, I will need help to fight them, to defend the people against the god-kings that were the first of my people.”

Clever girl

“And you think I can do that.” Hawke realized.

“You are the only one of my line who has shown the ability.” Fen'harel reveals to her, and her mouth hangs open in shock.

“I suppose that would explain why you want to know about BarkSpawn.” Hawke mused, too shocked to hide it. She would have to deal with this revelation later.

“This is a lot to place on you, Da'lan.” Fen'harel said with a sigh. “I should have waited to tell you this, but it was the simplest answer I could think of to give.”

“I can accept that.” She said, pragmatically, before pinching the bridge of her nose as she often did when she thought of several plans all at once. She sees the solution before she says it, surprised into looking at him with determination. “Alright then. I'll help you with the door, and the thing you want to control; but when this blows up in our faces, you let me have a look at the archives.”

“You…What?…Just like that?” Fen'harel asked, in shock. “How do you even know I have an archive?”

“Don't tell me you don't have a wealth of knowledge stashed somewhere.” She replied, arching an eyebrow at him. “You asked for my help, and that's what it's going to cost you. You need help to fix your mistake, so my involvement isn't going to stop at an opened door. I want full access to everything, in order to help you work around what you did, and to occasionally tell you off when you need it. You're you. You're going to need it.”

“And why would you think that, Da'lan?” Fen'harel asked, still looking surprised, though slightly amused.

Hawke just fixed him with a look, and replied. “If there's anyone more stubborn than me, it's you.”

 

Chapter Text

Chapter 18

 

She knows that she shouldn't have left them back in Kirkwall, can only imagine how worried they all are, but she has bigger fish to fry now. There's so much running through her mind, it takes BarkSpawn to alert her that she's about to step onto a trap. If Isabela were here, she'd have scolded Hawke six ways to Satinday (Saturday). She wasn't here, no one was, and Hawke had left them all behind. It had been a stupid rash decision, and she'd regretted it the moment she'd stopped to camp for the night.

She always did things like this when she felt the need to lash out, choosing to run away instead. She walled herself off, because lashing out would mean a lack of control. Even when she let lose, she did so only when her back was so far against the wall that she felt like she'd become a part of it. Holy shit, she was the descendant of Fen'harel. That could explain a lot, actually. That's going to take quite a lot to process, but still. Was that why trouble always seemed to find her, or was that something that was just her? Maybe it was best just to not think about it right now, as there were more immediate things to deal with at the moment.

Now that she’s decided on a course of action, it is easier for her to compartmentalize. She wonders if maybe this is how he managed to keep things together while he was working on the Veil, and how he was so blindsided by his own decisions. It was easy for her to see the paths laid out before her, but she wasn’t always able to see how it changed others, and Hawke knew that she was not infallible. It is easier for her to admit her shortcomings when it is about her tactics, not so much when it comes to her own personal feelings. It is easier to bury herself in her work, and though she knows it is unhealthy to do so, she relies on it now.

-

In the Fade…

 

“I take it you are following after her then?” He hears, and turns to see Fen'harel casually leaning against the rock face.

“I did not think you asked questions with obvious answers.” Fenris retorted, looking towards the firelight that represented where his love was.

“She told me something troubling, but I doubt she will speak of it to you, and I find myself curious if it is true.” Fen'harel stated, joining him in where he stood. “You have phased through things, torn out pieces of things away in anger, during arguments with her. I understand that she has never been in any danger from you during these arguments, as most would worry she would be, but I want you to tell me something. What would your reaction be to her throwing about a bit of magic when she felt the same, just as angry and volatile as you during one of your bouts of anger?”

Fenris had no answer for him, had never thought about it, because she had never offered to do so. He attributed that to her control, how much better she was than the average mage. He had not considered that she may want to vent the way he did, but with her magic instead. Had she been holding back because she was being considerate of him? It was still a testament to her control, because he knew he was not the easiest of people to be around; and he knew that had she done those things in the early stages of their friendship, he would not have taken to it kindly.

“I see.” Fen'harel stated, though Fenris hadn't said anything. “Her fear is based on your temporary regressions to the man you were when she first met you, the one that lashed out first before thinking of the consequences of his actions.”

“Are you here to mock me? What is this?” Fenris growled.

“Why have you not gone to her here?” Fen'harel asked, seemingly not answering his question, but the question caught him up short.

He'd not thought he could find her here, did not know if he could trust that it was her he would be speaking with, but then realized that thought was ridiculous. She'd found him here, and he doubted very much that a demon would be willing to impersonate her. Could he really find her here in the Fade, the way Fen'harel's question suggested he could? It was certainly something to think about.

“I'll leave you to your thoughts, Fenris.” Fen'harel said, seeing that he was lost in thought now. “Though I do have one more question to ask. If she helps me, things will get worse before they get better, and she isn't likely to let it go at that. Will you stand by her?”

“I always knew she would lead me to strange places.” Fenris replied, turning his gaze back to the camp in the distance. “After everything else that has happened, that does not surprise me.”

-

Fenris thought about the conversation as the group traveled. He knew rationally that his Bell'anar'is had not lied to him, but panic and self preservation had gone into overdrive in a moment of weakness. He was going to have to do something about this, find a way to make it up to her, because he could see how it had chipped away at her. Would she even be thinking of helping Fen'harel if he had not been so foolish as to push her away? It did no good to wonder such things, and he decided to focus his thoughts on how to make up for his latest blunder.

While he hated that he had hurt her, he could not promise never to do it again. No one could promise such a thing realistically. Gifts and flowers merely put bandages over the wound that was the problem. It did not solve it. Fenris did not want to be one of those people who fell into the trap of giving flowers and gifts whenever he did something that warranted an apology, because then any time he decided to bring those things for 'just because' reasons, she would think something was wrong. With a sigh, he continued his thoughts, walking with Carver and Varric as they trailed after his love.

-

In the Fade…

 

“I have thought on what you said, Hawke.” Fen'harel stated, catching the woman's attention. She turns away from the small cabin she'd been staring at, and faces him with a look of a complete lack of surprise to see him back so soon. “I am intrigued that you would offer to continue to help me, even after you show disapproval for my original plan.”

“The mask insists you are an ally, but that you need help, and that sometimes you need to be stopped before you do something stupid, or told off after you have done the stupid something that you wouldn't listen to advice about.” She replied, bluntly. At his sour expression, she chuckled. “I take it the spirit in this mask knows you well.”

“It does.” He admitted, not liking that she could read him so well. It was always too easy to be oneself here. “Alright, Da'lan. I will agree to your continued help, and the telling off you insist will happen. I am sure you will take full advantage of it.”

“At every opportunity I feel you need it.” The woman admitted, with a mischievous grin.

“If you talk to Fenris.” Fen'harel added, making her pause.

“I'm sorry. What?” She asked, defensive again.

“You demanded I fix it.” Fen'harel replied, unwilling to hide the slow smirk that spread across his face. “You did not say how. I have impressed upon him the need to speak with you, that the two of you should be patient with each other. I can not hold his hand through this, or yours.”

“Anybody ever tell you you're an ass?” Hawke asked, glaring at him.

“It would not be the first time, Da'lan.” Fen'harel remarked, as he walked away, before looking at her from over his shoulder. “Remember what I said, Hawke. When he comes to you, hear him out. He will do the same for you, I am sure of it.”

-

In the end, it wasn't the fight she had expected. She'd prepared for it, ready to argue with him the moment it looked like he was going to shout at her or start ramming his fists through solid stone, standing defensively when Fenris showed up at her camp fire the next morning. Her eyes darted around him, at first unsure of why the others had not come with him. Then she realized he must have wanted this to be private, and relaxed somewhat, but only just. Her thoughts must have showed on her face, because he looked absolutely crestfallen at how suspicious and apprehensive she was, like a cornered wounded animal.

At first, no words were said. They just look at each other from different sides of the camp fire she'd made. It's slowly dying out, barely hot embers now, but the barrier it presents is there all the same. Then Fenris is crossing the space that had been between them, and she can't help but raise her guard up. It makes him falter a little, but he doesn't stop.

It just makes him slow down, like he's dealing with some wild wounded animal, and Hawke thinks that isn't too far from the truth. She's scared, hurt, and angry. He keeps moving towards her, and she doesn't know what to do about it, and in a panicked last ditch effort to protect herself, she calls the mask to appear over her face as he makes to rest his forehead against her own when he pulls her into an embrace. Even then he doesn't falter, simply holding her as she stands stiffly with her arms at her side and fists clinched tightly. He doesn't even say anything at first, and for a moment, they just stand there.

“Alright then.” Fenris says, breaking the silence after seeing that she hasn't relaxed anymore than she's going to. “Let me have it.”

“Let you…have it?” She asks, in confusion, as he takes a step back for her. “I don't understand. Let you have what?”

“Your anger, your frustration, your magic.” Fenris clarifies, and it's so different than anything Fen'harel could have prepared her for. “Everything you've ever wanted to say to me, but held back because I would have raged at you for it. Every burst of frustration you've wanted to unleash, but didn't. Whatever you need to do. Do it. Say it. I'm right here.”

“You…how could you ask…?” She stammers, shaking with the anger she's barely keeping in check now. “Why would you think I would…?”

Bell'anar'is, you're not going to hurt me, and we both know it. You never confront me when you're angry. (She thinks she has, and she very much wants to object to this, but he's already moved on) I have never once seen you hurl a fire ball or something because you were upset at me. You just stalk off, and destroy things elsewhere, and let me pretend you didn't use magic at all to do it. You can not hurt me, not because you don't have the ability, but because you don't really wish to do so. Now, let me. Have it.” Fenris demanded, sounding cross, stepping back from her a bit to give her the needed space. “I have faith in you, Amatus.”

That's what breaks her, and the mask disappears.

“How dare you!…How dare you say that to me!…When have you ever actually had faith in me that wasn't marred by hatred, or suspicion? You have never had faith in me! Ever!” She shouts at him, anger and rage in every word. He doesn't even blink, and somehow that makes her even angrier than she was before. “You raged, and fought, and threw your words at me because you knew they would hurt, because you wanted them to hurt! You wanted to hurt Danarius for what he did, but you couldn't, and so you hurt me instead, because you knew I wouldn't do anything! I wouldn't fight back, because that would just prove you right, that magic and mages are all alike, that we're all just grabbing for power, willing to do anything to get it, and we might as well rot together.”

There. That hurt him, but then he asked for this so right now she doesn't feel as guilty as she probably should, and more than likely she will feel guilty for this later anyway. He asked for this, demanded it even. While she'd put those words behind her as much as she could, she's never quite forgotten them. She should probably try to stop herself, but she's too angry. She's held this in for too long, and it has nowhere to go but the conveniently open door Fenris has given it. That just feels dangerous for everyone, but he wouldn't ask for this if he thought he couldn't handle it. So, let him have it, she does.

“No! You don't get to look like that. Wondering what you did, what you said, if there's some way to fix it or make it better, to be better, because then maybe they'll finally let you in. Of course, it's supposed to be me that falters. Of course, I'm the one that's supposed to be weak, and give in to a demon's offer for more power, because that's what mages do, isn't it?” She shouts. She probably shouldn't be shouting, not when they're so close to the outpost, but she doesn't care right now. Magic swirls around them, and she knows that she must look all the more terrifying for it; she knows she does, but he just stands there looking as if he is in awe of her. “I expected the uphill battle, hoped I was prepared for it, for you. I did not expect to be your emotional punching bag, for you to hate me in place of your former master, for you to fall into the habit of blaming me for every mage's mistake. But I guess I must be strong enough for it, because you kept doing it, and I never did anything, never told you that wasn't okay, that that’s not how you treat someone you claim to love, so you came to expect it, because that was the strength of a mage, someone who could take punishment and not say anything, but that's also the strength of a slave, and that's what I became to you. I became an emotional slave for you, one you could lash out at without fear of retribution, because it felt powerful to have a mage willing to prostrate themselves before you, didn't it? Someone you could lash out at, and know that they won't fight back? Because that's what Danarius did to you, and so you did the same thing to someone else, but you're not a blood mage or even a mage at all, so it's okay for you.”

The magic dies down a little, the high winds calming as they do, and she looks at him in defeat.

“I don't know what you want, Fenris. What am I supposed to say? What am I supposed to do that will make you realize I'm better than that? Did you even love me? You don't trust me. You don't have faith in me. Why would you love me?” She asks, more afraid to not know the answer than to wonder forever. “I can't…I can't keep letting you do this to me, backing me into a corner with your anger, being your emotional punching bag, dealing with your hatred and suspicion and I just…I can't…I can't do this…Fenris, I think maybe we shouldn't…”

“Don't…not that. Anything but that…I…” Fenris pleads, and she hesitates. She is prepared to leave him in order to protect her heart, as much as it would hurt her to do so, and he knows it. “Bell'anar'is, please…You're right, but you're wrong too. I used your patience to have someone I could lash out at, yes, because I knew you could handle it, and I shouldn’t have taken advantage of that. No one else was able to deal with me, to wear me down till I could think calmly again, and I took that for granted, that you would always be able to handle it, that it didn't affect you the way it did everyone else.-”

“It affects me more than everyone else!” She shouts, interrupting him.

“I know that now. I should have realized it before.” He sighs. He hasn't dropped his eyes from her once, hasn't ducked his head down, just kept his eyes focused on her. “I don't know where to go from here, Bell'anar'is. If I could take those words back, make it so I never said them, I would. I would give anything…”

“You still want to be with me after all that?” She asked, warily. She doesn't know what it had looked like, but she knows that her magic had been loose and unbridled around them, knows that Fenris has seen it, and can't fathom why it didn't make him afraid of her, or angry at her. “I'm everything you hate, aren't I?”

Amatus…Scio te non sunt obiectum habere, sed tibi prium, quam umquam pro me, et ego potest non nudis amittere te. Nihil est peius quam cogitato vivere sine te. Utinam stare per tuum latus semper, Amatus. Videtur ego cecidit in amore cum magia, tua magica.” Fenris recalled, using the very words he'd said to her that day. “I am sorry, Bell'anar'is. Your magic has always been a beacon for me, something calming and comforting, and I am sorry that I allowed my paranoia to blind me to that.”

I realize you are not an object to possess, but you are the first thing I have ever taken for myself, and I can not bare to lose you. There is nothing worse than the thought of living without you. I wish to stand by your side always, Beloved. It seems I fell in love with magic, your magic.

“You still mean that?” She asked, hesitantly. Maker, she really wanted to forgive him.

Always.” Fenris admitted, standing close to her again. “How else are you supposed to lead me to strange places?”

“And you won't mind that I'm probably going to do something ridiculous like help Fen'harel?” She hedged. “I'm sure it will be ridiculous, and foolish, and more than likely he'll kill a lot of people before he starts listening to me, but-”

“He did mention something to that effect.” Fenris replied, now looking amused at her ramblings, which confused her more. “He seems to think you will fuss at him when everything goes to shit.”

“That does sound like me.” She allowed, a bit of nervous laughter escaping her now. “At least he's not in denial by saying 'If' instead. It's not my fault he went for the more reckless plan first, and someone has to fuss at him while they help him fix his new mistakes as well as his old mistakes, and-”

Bell'anar'is…Please.” Fenris said, softly, interrupting her rambling and resting his forehead against hers once again. “I know I don’t deserve it, but please…Forgive me?”

Instead of answering, she kissed him. It is hesitant, but even so, she finds herself melting into the kiss when he began responding. Maker's Breath, she'd missed him, missed this. He wrapped his arms around her, pulling her even closer to him. She understood, not wanting to be parted from him now either. They were on shaky ground, but it was so much better than where they'd just been. She was hopeful they could build the bridges needed for them to grow closer again.

“I take it that means I'm forgiven then?” Fenris asked, once he managed to pull away, his voice obviously affected with lust and longing.

“Yes, it means your forgiven.” Hawke huffed, nipping at his lower lip before he could say anything or laugh at her for huffing at him. “You know it's going to take time for us to become comfortable with each other again, right?”

“Does that mean you want me to move out of the estate?” Fenris asked, looking slightly hurt. Though she didn't want him to, she had no doubt that if she asked him to, he would.

No, that means I want you to move back in.” She insisted, vehemently, before lowering her voice. “It's lonely without you there now.”

“I should have never left.” Fenris agreed, going back to giving her light kisses. “Varric's suite is awfully uncomfortable, and it's gotten worse by the day. It was like he was doing it on purpose.”

“I imagine he was.” Hawke remarked, moaning slightly when he traced along one of her ears with his fingers, as he began kissing along her throat.

Broody! Broody, we've got company!” Varric shouted, as he practically barreled into the clearing. “Nice to see you, Wolf, glad you aren't dead. You and Broody can fuck each other’s brains out later, but right now, can we please do something about the crazed Carta that are chasing me?”

“Where's Carver?” She asked, trying to ignore the blushing her face was doing, or the disappointment she felt at not having been able to continue whatever Fenris had been planning.

“Lost track of him a little ways back. He went one way, I went another, but I'm sure he's fine. Aveline taught him well.” Varric replied. “I am well aware of why everyone tries to outrun the dwarf when the dragon shows up.”

“It's my blood, damn it!” Carver shouted, as he ran full tilt into the clearing, only pausing when he noticed them all staring at him. “Oh, good, they've made up then. I'm sure you two will be all disgusting later, but right now we've got problems.”

-

This is not how he had imagined being forgiven, or the activities that he'd hoped for if he actually was forgiven, not that he’d actually thought she would forgive him. He'd actually planned on her leaving him for his stupidity, but didn't want to imagine that at all. That she forgave him, that she was still willing to give him a chance even when she'd obviously planned to shield her heart from him, was something else. He hoped that he would remember this moment when his paranoia threatened to overwhelm him again, that it would serve as a reminder of what he stood to lose, because he saw the moment she was prepared to leave him even as it tore her heart to do it, and he never wanted to see that look in her eyes again. He could see the spirit in them as well now, but this time it felt more like a comfort, as if it was trying to reassure him that everything would work out.

Fighting the blighted dwarves proved little use for his frustrations, as he would have rather they hadn't attacked at all. Then again, perhaps it was better to put off such physical pleasures for now. She had meant it when she said it would take some time before they became comfortable with each other again. Rushing physical intimacy wouldn't fix things, and he didn't want to hurt their chances. He wanted forever with this woman, after all.

That night, they shared a tent as they had before. Though both were hesitant about it, each could admit the next morning that it was the best nights sleep they'd had since this whole mess started. Neither wanted to leave the tent when they woke up, soft gentle kisses exchanged between pleasant morning conversation. That hadn't lasted long, as Varric and Carver started making obnoxious kissy noises in retaliation. If his Amatus just so happened to flick little bits of electricity at them every so often after that, who was he to deny himself such amusement?

-

The further down they go, the worse Hawke's dread gets. Nothing good ever happens in the Deep Roads, and Fen'harel thinks involving whatever is down here is a good plan? This is going to blow up in their faces, she just knows it. This screams bad things will happen, but Hawke has been assured of 'I told you so' signs and access to the archives to help him fix the clusterfuck this will turn into, along with fixing the original mistake, and so she tries not to let it show just how much she hates this idea. Fenris is the only one who knows of her plans, and even he looks around warily at the situation they find themselves in.

She feels the moment the trap falls, but can do nothing about it except to press on. From there it's crazed Grey Wardens, and even crazier Grey Wardens, and Dark Spawn, and it is all she can do not to gag as she cuts through them. They find the beginning of the Tethras line, and Varric can't speak for what seems like days. He's overwhelmed, and she can't say that she blames him. The more Tevinter things begin to look, the more antsy Fenris gets, and that is before they discover that the only way to get out is to undo the multi layered trap holding something called Corypheus that the Grey Wardens put there with blood magic that had been made stronger by her father. She spends the next day camped in front of the first level of the trap, trying to figure out how to undo it without blood magic, because there is no way Fenris is going to forgive her use of it; necessary or not.

She can hear him fussing with Carver and Varric, but she isn't sure what about. Rather, she's ignoring what it's about. She's too invested in trying to figure this trap out. Fenris wouldn't forgive her if she had to use blood magic to break it, she just knew it. So she is surprised out of her thoughts when Fenris sits next to her.

“I know what you're thinking, and I won't do it.” Hawke insists, still staring at the trap. “I'll work out how to do this without blood magic. I will.”

Bell'anar'is, if there's no other way, what choice do you have?” He asked, pragmatically, and she looked at him with incredulous shock.

“You said there is always another choice! That only weak and lazy mages turn to blood magic because all they want is power anyway!” Hawke stated, in her shock. “I do this, and you resent me forever. I don't want to go through that again, Fenris.”

“If we had the time, I'm sure you could work out how to get out of this place without blood magic, but we do not. There are Dark Spawn that surround us, blighted dwarves that call for your blood anyway, and a limited supply of rations between the lot of us.” Fenris pointed out, sounding a lot more reasonable than she'd been planning on him being. “You will not fall to the pull of a demon. You will not become an abomination. You are simply too stubborn for them anyway.”

“You say that now, but-” Hawke began to object.

Bell'anar'is, I understand.” Fenris stated, pointedly. “I will have faith in you always. I should have never doubted you in the first place. Now, will you please get us out of here? If I have to deal with Carver and Varric making cracks about our relationship for too much longer, I may kill them, and attempt blood magic myself.”

“Have they really been that bad?” Hawke asked, somewhere between amusement and curiosity.

“They have been absolutely insufferable.” Fenris grumbled, looking almost petulant.

“Well, I suppose, if they've been absolutely insufferable.” Hawke teased, before standing up. She took a step towards the trap, but hesitated. Over her shoulder, she added. “Since Father did this, it stands to reason I can to…that I’ll be good at it…Promise not to hate me if it turns out I'm good at it?”

“If you are good at it, Bell’anar’is, then you will not fall to it here.” Fenris replied. “I have seen stronger mages fall to less. That will not be you. Should this be something you wish to explore later, we can discuss it then with clearer minds.”

“I'll hold you to that, you know.” Hawke warned, though she had a slight smile as she said it.

-

As it turns out, she is more than just ‘good at it’. Hawke is brilliant at it, could even excel in it if she chose to pursue it. He should have known. Her father had been able to perform such magic, and not fall prey to the demons that whispered to him in the Fade. He should have known that Hawke could too. However, with each level they go through, he has begun to hear things, and he isn’t sure what that means. Even Varric and Carver look around nervously, but none of them will talk about it, afraid to acknowledge it at all.

It isn’t demons, but it isn’t distinguishable enough for him to tell what it is either. It’s almost like people are talking about him behind his back, but the party is in front of him just now, and the sound isn’t coming from them. He can no longer concentrate on what anyone is saying, without wondering if they can hear this too, but the avoidance is answer enough. It does not take away from his ability to fight at her side, and for that he is thankful. Fenris has gone through enough instances where she has been hurt, and he blames his inattentiveness in those moments as the cause.

As they lay down for another ‘was it night?’ rest, Fenris holds her close to him in the tent they share. It will be some time before they try for much else, but holding her calms him, and he needs that right now. She seems to understand, snuggling into him just a bit more. Maybe she needs the calm just as much as he does. No one seems to want to talk much, and Fenris can’t help but wonder just how bad things are going to get before they get better.

-

It was over, but as Hawke stared at the red lyrium encrusted body of ‘Corypheus’, she knew it had only begun. Fen’harel wouldn’t ask her to leave the door open if he didn’t already know that this creature would come back somehow. Maybe he thought he would be able to kill him in a more permanent manner. She’d performed more blood magic in this desolate place than she had ever thought possible, and yet Fenris remained at her side. Carver and Varric were breathing heavily, recovering from the fight they had just endured, but Fenris just gave her this little uptick of a grin, something she returned shyly.

They had survived, all of them. She didn’t know how bad things were going to get with Fen’harel’s first choice, but she knew that they would make it. His faith in her had stood, like he’d promised, and she would hold onto that instead of the anger she’d used to get here. There had been something in the cautionary warning that Fen’harel had given her, something that said he had not done the same, and regretted it daily. She didn’t want her anger to blind her, didn’t want to regret.

“Let’s go home, shall we?” Fenris suggested, his deep voice belaying just how tired he really was.

Hawke could only nod to that, and the four of them (five, counting BarkSpawn) slowly made their way towards the door that had trapped them all in the first place. If anything, this whole experience had taught her that she was going to have to start doing things differently back in Kirkwall. She had been writing to the Divine, hoping that someone would step in and stop the Knight Captain, but even the Knight Commander held out little hope that their plan was working. First Enchanter Orsino was a problem too, always acting the whiny child, no matter that she understood why he was acting that way. If he was going to have any chance of championing his cause, he was going to need to grow a backbone.

She was tired of doing his work for him, but she realized if there was going to be any real change, she’d have to take up the mantle herself. Damn it all, she was doing it anyway, with whatever Fen’harel was getting into, might as well go all in everywhere else too. She didn’t even want to think about how much planning this was going to involve, even as she was already starting to plan things in her mind. She’d been going back and forth on whether or not she should even help Fen’harel, and when they finally made it to where the trap had fallen, she knew it was time to decide. She took one look at Fenris, who gently squeezed her fingers that were interlaced with his own,………

 

and left the door open.