“Where are we going?” Merrill asks quietly, pressing herself closer to the cracked wall beside them as she and Carver slip further into the empty alley in Lowtown, both of them keeping an eye out for Templars, Blood Mages, or any of the other dangers that were currently tearing through the streets of Kirkwall.
“To the Docks. Isabela’s got a ship waiting,” Carver replies, almost wishing for the tenth time that Merrill had gone with Garrett instead of him when the group had split up that evening. Not that he wanted her anywhere near that insane battle with the Knight Commander, but she probably would’ve been safer with his brother and the others than she was with him right now..
“Are we really leaving Kirkwall then? Forever?” Merrill asks, and Carver can hear the small touch of sorrow in her hesitant question. He could sympathize with her to an extent; Kirkwall was a shit pit of a city, now more than ever, but they’d all lived here together for nearly a decade, probably the longest amount of time that he and Merrill had ever lived in a single place, and in spite of everything this wretched city had really grown on him.
But Garrett was right - they had to get out of Kirkwall for now, let things cool off before anyone else razed the city to try and find them. In his anger Carver had replied that executing that abomination of a mage would’ve solved most of their problems, and Garrett had taken that suggestion about as well as anyone would’ve expected. Carver can still feel the ache in his jaw from the punch it had earned him.
“We might still come back, someday..” Carver eventually replies when he notices how long he’d let the silence linger. He doesn't want to make any promises to her that he wasn’t sure he could keep, but still, he couldn’t see most of them having a life here again after today..
Anders could never come back to live here again, obviously, so Garrett wasn’t likely to come back, and their loyalty towards his brother was really the only reason that Fenris and Isabela had stuck around too. They’d all follow Hawke as they always had, while only Varric and Aveline were likely to stay behind, if only for the sake of picking up Kirkwall's pieces once the smoke cleared.
Carver himself was leaving these Templars behind, and with her clan having moved on weeks ago Merrill had little reason to stay, not that she’d be welcomed back to them anyway. Carver wasn’t happy to see her losing the home and family that she’d chosen for herself now, of course, but he did like the thought of them staying together a little longer.
“I hope we do..” Merrill mumbles, folding her arms across her chest as Carver steps out into the streets, scanning the area to make sure it was safe. The pathway leading to the Docks wasn’t far, but the last thing Carver wanted was to be dragged into a firefight when it was just the two of them. They’d left their armor behind, choosing more tattered clothes to help them blend in with the scattered Lowtown citizens, and Carver was definitely regretting that particular decision right now. “Do you think the others-?”
“Shh! Templars are coming this way!” Carver whispers sharply, taking a step back into the alley just as a pair of armored men rounded the corner further up the street. Merrill tenses up beside him, still so wary of them even after so many years in the city, but right now their known relationship with the Champion was far more likely to damn them than to protect them. “Perfect.. If they catch us now we’re done for!”
“Quick, turn towards me!” Merrill commands promptly as the approaching footsteps get louder. Carver keeps his gaze on the Templars for a moment longer before he turns towards the elven woman behind him, having no time to question her before she suddenly grips his shirt and pulls him down into a heated kiss. Carver lets out a short gasp, bracing his hands against the wall behind Merrill to catch himself, and his heart pounds hard in his chest as his surprise fades away and he focuses instead on the warmth of Merrill’s mouth against his.
Maker’s breath, her lips were so soft..
He hesitates, then presses himself closer, sliding his hands down from the wall to gently grasp her face, and he feels her grip on his shirt tightening as he gently traces his thumbs along the length of her ears, a soft shiver going through her body that has him sighing when he feels it against his own.
He distantly hears the Templars stop at the end of the alley, one of them scoffing something to the other before they move on, and relief fills his chest along with the burning warmth from Merrill's touch as their footsteps fade away.
The seconds pass, slowly turning into minutes, and eventually the need to breathe properly finally breaks them apart completely. Carver draws his head back slowly, trying not to look as out of breath as he feels, and the dark flush across Merrill’s face sends another pleasant rush of want through him.
“S-Something Isabela told me about.” Merrill explains shakily after a beat of silence, looking like she’s trying very hard (and failing) not to smile. “Something about.. doing things like that in public making people embarrassed..”
“That.. sounds like something she’d say.” Carver replies quietly, leaning forward as the temptation to kiss Merrill again starts to grow. She starts to lean in as well but then pauses, as if remembering that the others are still waiting at the Docks, and he doesn’t want to risk being caught by Templars who aren’t so easily swayed from their hunt.
With a sigh, Carver steps back to give Merrill room to get around him, but Merrill beams before she suddenly leans upwards, standing on her tiptoes to press another soft kiss to his lips before hurriedly stepping away to cross the street.
Carver stands still for a moment before he blinks himself out of his stupid, grinning to himself and following Merrill into the shadows, already so eager for the two of them to get into the safety and privacy of the waiting ship.