The scene taking place at the Hanged Man was nothing short of ludicrous. This, Anders mused, was the most inebriated he'd seen any of Hawke's friends since he'd met them. Not that they didn't deserve it, of course; Varric's expedition into the Deep Roads had ended with both of them becoming absurdly wealthy, almost overnight, it seemed. And after Hawke had bought back her family's lavish Hightown estate and was a Good and Proper Noble in the eyes of the city, it had seemed so patently obvious (to her, at least) that a significant sum of her coin would be dedicated to her favorite kind of shameless debauchery in celebration. But this? Anders hadn't seen this kind of drinking since his Warden days in Vigil's Keep when Oghren and the Warden Commander would frequently attempt to drink each other under the table between missions. It was, quite frankly, a sight to behold.
Varric was his usual boisterous self, seated at a table in the middle of the room, feet propped up, surrounded by booze and adoring fans while he regaled them loudly of Hawke's heroic battles against demons and darkspawn. Tales that were greatly exaggerated, of course, with the numbers of darkspawn growing with each repetition. Isabela was sprawled across Fenris's lap, whispering into his ear and giggling wickedly while…Maker, did the perpetually surly elf just blush? Merrill sat perched at the edge of the table, legs swinging happily as she nursed her fourth mug of ale and watched her friends, her cheeks tinged pink with liquor. Even Aveline had dropped her usual stern demeanor and was currently howling in laughter at something Varric said, wine practically spewing from her nose.
And then, there was Hawke. That woman was a force of nature. A band in the corner was playing some raucous victory song, each line of lyrics more absurd than the last, but she somehow knew every word and was standing in the middle of the table belting them out off key, her mug swinging precariously in her hand and splashing droplets of her drink everywhere. "All my friends were glorious! Tonight we are victorious!" she shouted, slurring the words together as she dropped to her knees and pulled Varric's face toward hers for a sloppy kiss. He swatted her away.
"Now, now, Hawke, don't make these fine ladies jealous when we're all having so much fun," he chided, drawing giggles from the crowd around him. She hooted with laughter and sprawled out across the tabletop, sweeping dishes everywhere, her mug now forgotten and on the floor. Anders took in a sharp intake of breath. Her face was suddenly right next to his.
"Hi," she whispered with a grin, her face flushed, and in the din of the crowd around him he made out the shape her lips more than he actually heard her voice. "You're behind," she accused much more loudly, in a very matter-of-fact voice, sliding a glass of something brown and suspiciously murky toward him with her forearm. "You are, in fact…" She took this opportunity to roll off of the table and drape herself across his lap. "Entirely too sober. We have to fix this immediately." Hawke shoved the drink in his face - the drink she had somehow miraculously managed to not spill - and planted a kiss on his forehead. "You smell amazing," she giggled. "Is that sandalwood in your hair?"
Anders felt himself growing uncomfortably hard underneath her wiggling. Maker, she was currently soaked in enough alcohol to pickle a grown man, but the reek of cheap liquor on her breath did nothing to diminish her boisterous charm. "Justice doesn't let me-" he began, but she didn't let him finish.
"Ah, fuck Justice." She waved the cup at him again. "You hear me Justice? This is a monumental occasion, and if you don't let this beautiful, beautiful man get good and soused like the rest of us…"
"No, Hawke, don't-" he protested, but it was too late. He felt the usual, alarming rush of energy clouding his vision, saw the blue streaks of light crackling along his arms, and then Justice shoved his consciousness unceremoniously to the back of his mind. No, no, no! he thought desperately, but he was powerless now.
"You know why I cannot allow that." Justice's familiar baritone boomed from his lips. If he could have cringed, he would have.
"You're the worst," Hawke complained, predictably oblivious to the danger. "Can't you give him this one night to unwind? The poor guy's tenser than his own staff, how's he supposed to help your stupid rebellion if he snaps in half from your idiotic pushing? Come on, just one night. Pleeeeease?" And then she pouted. Pouted. For a blasted Fade spirit.
Shades, that woman was relentless. And idiotically reckless. If someone heard her… He felt Justice tensing. If you lay a hand on her, I will find a way to painfully kill us both, he threatened the spirit in his head. To his surprise, though, he suddenly felt another quick rush of energy as control returned to his body, and he all but collapsed on top of Hawke in relief. "That was beyond stupid of you," he reprimanded in panic. "I've warned you not to provoke him! What if he'd struck you down for getting in the way? And if someone had seen or heard-"
Hawke giggled again and shoved a finger in front of his lips. "Shhhh. Everyone else is way too fucked up to notice what their own mouths are saying, and I believe I may have earned you-" She pressed the glass to his mouth. "-your very own cup of the Hanged Man's best barrel of rat piss."
There it was, that smug twinkle of self satisfaction that would have infuriated him to no end had it come from anyone else. From her, it somehow only fueled his desire, and he felt a flush sweep across his face. "I really shouldn't," he protested, but she was slowly tipping the cup now and he was faced between drinking it or letting it run unceremoniously down his clothing.
The moment the liquid touched his tongue he fought the urge to gag and spit it back out. Offhandedly he wondered if he'd rather drink another vial of darkspawn blood than what he had just imbibed. He forced the entire glass down and stared at her. "Shades, that was vile! What did you just make me drink?"
She grinned again, clearly pleased with herself. "Oh a little of this, little of that. I managed to scrounge up some Butterbile and Bathtub Boot Screech, did a little mixing, and. Well, you know." She opened her vest and revealed two flasks peeking out of a pocket sewn to sit directly under her breasts."
A smile found its way to his face. "You wretched liar!" he laughed in spite of himself. "That didn't come from anywhere near the Hanged Man."
Her face moved dangerously close to his, and the cup fell from his hand and clattered to the floor. "I did say you have some catching up to do," she murmured. Her lips brushed against his hairline and a shiver coursed through his body. The vest had also somehow slipped from her shoulders, revealing a very low cut tunic that had her breasts shoved directly under his chin. The potent draught he'd just swallowed was already working its magic on his system, and he let his chin rest on her cleavage as she took another dramatic sniff of his hair. "If you could just have your way with me right now…"
Anders gulped. His erection was now shoving painfully against the confines of his smalls. Was she even aware of what she was saying anymore? "Hawke, I think you've had enough to drink-"
"So catch up," she interrupted gleefully before rolling off of his lap and stumbling back to the bar. "Another round for my friends!" she roared. "And…fuck it, anyone else who wants one! We're all friends!" She swayed up to a stranger and planted a wet kiss on his lips to punctuate her statement, winking cheekily when he grinned and grabbed her ass in return.
Corff was completely unfazed by her antics. "Lady, we're runnin' out of cups on account of you lot chuckin' em on the floor."
"Bring your own cup!" she appended, yelling across the bar.
"You can have the rest of mine, Anders," Merrill offered. "You look like you could use another drink." She frowned when she caught a closer look at him. "Why are you hunched over with your hands in your lap like that? Are you feeling ill?"
"No," he groaned, a fresh wave of embarrassment flushing across his cheeks. "Yes. I don't know. Give me that." He downed the rest of the mug's contents and scanned the crowd nervously for Hawke, but immediately regretted it when he spotted her. She had shed the tunic too, shouting something about "-way too sweaty, gonna fix that now!" Her breastband was strapless for reasons he could not even begin to fathom given her ample bosom and rambunctious antics, and her pale breasts bounced in the confines of the cloth as she hopped up and down in excitement. Her toned stomach gave way to the slightest curve of soft belly, and her skintight leggings hugged her hips in the most delightful way and left nothing to the imagination regarding what was concealed underneath. He inhaled and let his breath out slowly, dabbing sweat from his forehead. That woman would be the death of him.
"You!" she yelled, pointing at another man seated nearby who had been watching her warily. "I see you staring at my tits! Arm wrestle me, winner gets to grab em!" She winked and slid into a chair across from him. He wore a bemused expression on his face.
"I'm afraid my interests lie in a…slightly different persuasion, darling," he said apologetically. "I will take up that offer on behalf of my friend here, though. I believe she's been quite enraptured by your bosom all night." A redheaded woman beside him swatted his shoulder in protest, but the blush creeping across her face was inescapable.
"Done!" Hawke roared, latching her arm to his.
Seconds later, she was on the bench beside the girl, the pair kissing and fondling each other shamelessly while the man watched in amusement. Anders sighed and stood up. This was just embarrassing.
"Hawke," he said, approaching her cautiously. She ignored him and cooed something into the woman's ear, making her eyebrows shoot up, a scandalized expression on her face. "Marian," he said more loudly.
Hearing her first name caught her attention. "Hey," she said with a grin, untangling herself from her new friend. "Find me!" she mouthed at the woman, holding up her room number with one hand as Anders grabbed her arm and marched her away from the crowd.
"Any more and you're going to die of alcohol poisoning."
Hawke hooked an arm around his shoulders and hung from him lazily. "No I wouldn't," she argued playfully, patting his cheek with her other hand. "You would fix me because you looooove me."
He maneuvered himself around her, slipped his other arm beneath her knees, and swept her into his arms. "It's bedtime for you, and that is final."
"Oooh, I love it when you're bossy," she crooned, leaning against his chest dreamily. "You'll come with me, right? And let me take this off…" Her fingers played lazily at the buttons on his coat. "With my teeth, maybe," she whispered conspiratorially.
Anders ignored her and climbed upstairs. Hawke was somehow significantly heavier than she looked, and by the time he reached her room his arms ached and sweat was dripping down his face and back, a detail that unfortunately didn't escape her notice.
"I can make you sweatier," she mumbled, reaching for his crotch with an uncoordinated hand. "Just gotta…get rid of these pants…"
Whatever she was going to say after was interrupted by her heaving the last gallon of whatever she had been drinking directly onto his coat. Groaning, he set her awkwardly by the chamberpot and slipped out of his coat and shirt, laying them in the tub nearby. He pumped the water lever until his soiled clothing was properly soaking and went to check on Hawke, who was leaning over the pot and gripping the edges with white knuckled fingers, her face now pale and tinged slightly with green.
"Anders, I think I'm dying," she slurred, her face still buried in the pot. She heaved again, and he heard another barrage of liquid slosh into the metal container. "Fix me."
He sighed and rubbed her back reassuringly. "Can't do much until it's out of your system, love." He paled when he realized what he said. It had just felt so natural, slipping out of his mouth before he could think to hold it in, and he just knew she wouldn't miss it, even in her current state.
"I knew you loved me!" she crowed. Yep, there it was. "See, you admit it, you lo-" Her giddy announcement was interrupted by another wave of heaving. "Fuck, there can't be anything left in there," she groaned.
Someone knocked on the door before cracking it slightly. "Just doing my rounds for Varric's friends before night shift officially starts," Norah announced. "Need anything in there?"
"A pitcher of water with a glass, please, and some small towels," Anders called back. "And some elfroot and ginger, if you have them."
He heard Norah huff. "Think this was a damn tea shop the way some of you carry on," she grumbled. "Alright, I got your stuff coming, just hold tight. Best be decent when I come back."
Hawke pushed herself away from the pot and collapsed her head into his lap. "You're a good person," she rambled drowsily, patting his arm. "When did you take off your clothes? You're warm. It's nice when you don't wear clothes. Should I take off mine too? I don't want to…impose…" And then she nodded off. She reminded him of a cat the way she curled around his legs. Her hair tickled his stomach, and he couldn't help but run a hand through her hair. It hadn't been cut in some time, and it was beginning to grow out in unruly tufts at the nape of her neck. "That…feels nice…" she mumbled.
Another knock sounded at the door. "Alright, I got your shit," Norah said as she stepped in with a tray of the items he'd requested and set them down on the nightstand. "Well, aren't you a fine looking lad," she appraised with approval when she caught sight of him seated, shirtless, on the floor. "Hawke's a mighty lucky lady. You two behave yourselves." She winked and left, closing the door softly behind her.
Anders sighed as he tried to find the best way to get her from the floor to the bed. He extracted himself from underneath her head, eliciting an annoyed noise and a sad "where'r y'going?" as he ran one of the towels under the bath pump and ran a glowing hand over it to heat it. She made unintelligible mumbles of protest when he wiped her face with it, but when he reached the parts of her bare stomach covered in the remnants of her first purge all over the both of them, the sound she made then was far from displeased.
No, he told himself sternly. She was so drunk she could barely open her eyes; there was no way he would be doing anything untoward to her tonight, as much as his body protested his choice. He gritted his teeth and focused on cleaning her up, but when he reached the spot underneath her breastband, she let out an entirely too erotic noise for someone that drunk and rolled over. "L'me help," she mumbled, and much to his horror, she reached behind her and yanked the last piece of clothing covering her torso over her head and threw it across the room.
"Oh, what in the world did I do to deserve this?" he groaned, covering his eyes with one hand as he tossed the towel into the bath with the rest of his clothes. This also made picking her up to put her in bed decidedly more difficult. He settled on draping one of the remaining fresh towels across her chest before scooping her back into his arms with a strained grunt. Seriously, where in the Void does she keep all of that weight? He vaguely wondered if she had lead for bones.
"Yay, bed," Hawke mumbled sleepily when he tucked her under the covers. She was so cute, the way she wiggled with her nose wrinkled up until she finally found a comfortable position. He placed the elfroot and ginger in the water pitcher and swirled it together while warming the water until it all infused together, then poured her a glass and left it on the nightstand. When he went to retrieve his clothes from the bath to hang dry, she reached out and grabbed his wrist, her grip impressively tight for someone on the verge of falling asleep. "Don' go, please."
"I'll be right back, Hawke, I promise."
He wrung his shirt and coat out with his hands and draped them across the seat and back of a chair. "You're tak'n t'long," Hawke complained from across the room. Shades, how was she still awake? "Iss cold, come back."
Anders sighed and climbed into bed next to her, making sure to stay on top of the covers. She rolled closer to him and mumbled something contentedly as she extricated her arms from the covers and threw one over his chest. He froze at what she said next. "I'm glad y'love me." She patted his chest sleepily and kissed him on the shoulder, eyes still closed. "I love you too, y'know. Didn' think y'liked me much. Glad I…wrong…"
He wondered how much of this she would remember in the morning and prayed this part of the conversation wouldn't be included. Keeping his distance from her, seeing the disappointment in her eyes when he rejected her advances, catching the longing glances she threw his way when she thought he wasn't looking - these things tore at him every day, constant reminders of what he desperately wanted but knew he should never have if he cared about her at all. Which he did, and far too much. But tonight, she wouldn't remember a thing he said, would she?
"I do love you, Marian," he whispered, planting a kiss on her head and ignoring the lump in his throat. "More than you know." He leaned back, closed his eyes, and let sleep take him as Hawke snored into his shoulder. Tonight, at least, he could be honest, and that would have to be enough.