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To Find a Hawke

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The Inquisitor had opened a rift and led himself and Varric inside. Physically into the Fade. She had offered to explain, but he didn't want to hear it. He only wanted one thing. He knew her magic so well, he could feel her nearby the moment they crossed the Veil. Being physically in the Fade caused the lyrium in his skin to burn and glow in a way it never had before, and being unable to stop it on his own was more than a minor annoyance. But he could ignore it, at least until he found what he was looking for.

He followed the feel of her magic through the Fade, not really noticing where it was taking him and half-hoping the elven Inquisitor was paying more attention. Varric, he knew, was surprisingly directionally challenged. Fenris slowed when he heard the music, and the Fade around them took on new shapes.

The world slowly closed in, white walls forming around them. He heard a voice singing along with the music, a voice that was both familiar and unknown at the same time. A pair of hands started to drum out a beat, likely on a table nearby, and another voice laughed softly. That laugh, he knew. It wasn't what he'd come looking for, but it was a good signal that the one he was looking for was nearby.

The laugh had belonged to Adelaide Hawke's mother, Leandra.

The music was coming from a harpsichord set up in a corner. And there, Adi sat, her fingers dancing across the keys as she played the slow melody. It was slow, but not sad. Almost peaceful, actually. He hadn't expected that.

"You always play such pretty songs, Adelaide," Leandra said.

"Thank you, Mother," Adi responded with a bashful smile. "But it wouldn't sound half as good without Bethany's voice."

"You really are terrible at accepting compliments," Carver chided. It was a pleasant scene, but something felt a little off about the way they gathered around her.

"Sister, you play beautifully," the other girl said. Bethany. Adelaide's sister, the twin who had died in the family's escape from Lothering. Fenris had never seen her before. The rest of the room took shape around them. A fire crackled merrily in the fireplace, and above it was a family portrait. Adelaide and Leandra looked many years younger than Fenris had last seen them. Leandra sat next to a man with dark hair ad the signature Hawke blue eyes. Her hands were stacked with his, and behind them stood, from left to right, Adelaide, Bethany, and Carver. "I hope Father heard our song," Bethany said, pulling Fenris's attention away from the portrait.

"I'm sure he did," Adi said kindly.

"Are they demons?" Fenris whispered to the Inquisitor.

"I don't feel any malicious intent," she whispered back. "Demons feel different. I think they're just spirits who want to keep her smiling."

"It's good you bought back the family estate with the coin you got from the expedition, but will we have to leave soon anyway?" Carver asked. "With the tensions rising between mages and templars, it might be a good idea for you girls to leave while you can."

"Like I'm going to take you-know-who on the road already," Adi objected, catching Fenris's attention. "She's still too young, and with the unrest in Orlais there's bound to be more bandits on the road, and more refugees."

"Well, you're perfectly-" Carver began, only to get interrupted by a child's squealing laughter as a girl no older than three sailed down the banister. Adi's eyes went wide and she quickly jumped away from the harpsichord and caught the child as she came off the railing.

"Festis bei umo canaverum," Adi said exasperatedly. She paused, then sighed. "Oh, joy. I'm starting to sound like him now."

"Aren't you going to tell him about her?" Bethany asked, assisting in the wrangling of the unexpected child.

"He left me, not the other way around," Adi reminded her sister, causing a painful zing to go through Fenris's heart. "If he's not ready for it, I won't force anything on him..."

"But if you don't, she might grow up never knowing her father," Bethany protested. "Are you sure you're okay with that?"

"Oh, Maker, of course I'm not!" Adi admitted. "But I'd rather her not know him at all than to know him and..." She sighed softly. "Would it be better for her to never know him, or to get to know him only to wonder why we were left behind?"

The spirit masquerading as Bethany didn't get a chance to answer.

"I am here, Adelaide," Fenris said softly. He rarely used her first name around the others, and that was enough to catch her attention. Hawke sighed softly, and the room created by the spirits faded. As did the spirits pretending to be her family, including the white-haired, blue-eyed little girl in her arms.

"No matter how far into my mind you go, you spirits never manage to make a perfect copy," she said, no longer playing along. Her gaze, instead of meeting his, was directed down at her feet. She didn't seem to even want to look at Fenris if she didn't know he was the real thing.

"We're here to take you home, Hawke," Varric said. "You think there's a spirit here who would impersonate me?"

"I know you like his books, but the books aren't him," Adi said dejectedly, not looking up.

"What about me?" Elgara spoke next, holding up her marked left hand. The mark crackled with a surge of magical energy that no spirit could accurately recreate. Adelaide had looked up at the elf's words, and when she felt the magic radiating from the Anchor, her eyes went wide.

"You're real?" she asked softly, looking from one person to the next. She cautiously approached, laying one shaky hand on Fenris's cheek as she stared into his eyes. His gaze met her beautiful, striking blue eyes, and he hoped she could see the depth of his love for her, how afraid he'd been for her when he found out that she'd left to help the Inquisition. How he mourned her when he received the letter from Varric. As he watched, her eyes started to shine with tears. When one slipped down her cheek, he put a hand to hers and wiped it away with his thumb.

"I am real," he promised. "And I will not leave your side again."

"Fenris!" she cried, throwing her arms around his neck and causing him to stagger back a few steps. After taking a moment to regain his balance, he embraced her as well.

"Maybe we should hold off on the touching reunion until we're out of the Fade," Varric suggested, looking nervously at the glowing orbs that were slowly surrounding them.

"They're spirits of Joy," Elgara explained quickly. "They're reacting to Hawke's emotions. But you're right, I need to close the rift before it starts attracting demons."