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Keeping the Monster In

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                He was laying in the tub again, no water, just him speeding smoking the fifth cigarette in as many minutes. One of the great things about being a vampire, really. And it’s not like they were going to kill him or anything.

                He should have stripped and run the water but he didn’t seem to have the energy for that. Blood was caked across his shoulder, only a few spots of it his from a gash on his cheek that had long since healed itself. He reeked of it, along with the mud and pine of forest that surrounded their cabin, the sharp tang of gunpowder and the oil they used to clean the pistol sitting on the edge of the bath.

                Five times, one for each cigarette, they had been forced to defend themselves since abandoning their former lives. Five times the blood of Templars ad stained his clothes, his skin, his teeth. And with each attack it was becoming harder and harder for him to come back. That feral part of his nature was becoming so damned strong. But then-

                “Hawke?”

                Yeah, then one of them talks him back from the edge. They are what brings him back, because they are what’s truly important in his life.

                “Love, are you all right in there? Fenris tells me you haven’t bathed yet and it’s been quite a while.”

                He chuckled softly and pitched the spent cigarette filter somewhere in the vicinity of the toilet, hopefully to drown out it’s burning stink. “I’m fine, Anders,” he replied, sliding to sit up against the cold porcelain. He never seemed to put out enough heat to warm the stuff, even after he had fed, when he was at his hottest. “Just…ruminating.”

                “Fenris also says you’ve been smoking like a chimney and that he can smell it all the way to the kitchen and that if you don’t stop he will have to come in and bite you.”

                Another voice from farther in the cabin cried out in indignation. “I did not! I would never bite Hawke and you know it!”

                “You bit him the other night!”

                “I nipped him during sex. That’s completely different!”

                The conversation between the two men devolved into something involving the differences in bite technique and shifted away from him and his smoking habits, which suited the man just fine. Slowly he made his way out of the bathtub and eventually out of the room altogether. If there’s was one thing he needed after all the shit he went through to keep them safe, it was to surround himself with them, and let the men he loved keep him grounded. So that the monster inside him stayed there.