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Adrift

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"That BITCH!"

Varric huddled under the table, glad for the thick oak over his head, as Isabela threw another bottle against the tavern wall.

"I said 'don't go' didn't I? Nothing good could ever come from a group calling itself 'The Inquisition,' but nooo she had to go!" another bottle shattered, and the wine coated green glass shards were beginning to accumulate at Varric's feet.

A good pair of leather boots is a wonderful thing, he thought. Too bad he wasn't wearing any...he really should have timed all of this better.

"'It'll be over before you know it,' she said. Well! It's over now isn't it?!"

Varric heard Isabela bury her third dagger into the oak table, and had to count to himself again.

Does she still have one left? Or is it two? he shook his head, Nope, better count on three more, just in case.

"And you!" she finally turned her attention to him, "You sent for her! You knew she couldn't help herself, always going off and doing something completely ridiculous because 'it's the decent thing,' but you sent for her anyway!"

Shit! Varric grabbed a flat hunk of wood to use as a shield. It was all that was left of one of the chairs, which was too bad really...he really liked that chair. It was one of the few here that he could sit on without his feet dangling.

"Isabela..." he began, "Let's just take a deep breath and not do anything hasty..."

"Hasty?!" she shrieked, "Oh, no! Let's not get hasty! Hasty people do things they regret, like going off and martyring themselves in the fucking Fade, or killing dwarves!"

K-Thunk!

There goes number four...two more to go then.

Isabela stomped towards him, the glass crunching under her boots, and Varric inched back a bit to get further out of her reach.

"Varric!" she called, "Don't make me get under that table, or Maker help me I'm going to have a new rug made out of your chest hair!"

"You'll stop throwing sharp objects?" he asked, hoping to strike a mutually agreeable bargain.

"At you?" she scoffed, "Oh Varric, I'm pretty sure that I'll run out of things to throw at you well before I'm ready to stop. Now get out here!"

Still clutching his makeshift shield, Varric backed away from the haphazard mosaic in progress and got out, keeping the large table firmly between him and Isabela.

The oak table was completely covered in spilled wine and daggers, and Varric was glad to have spent the last half hour under the thing.

His eyes found the pirate, but Varric was struck by how utterly miserable she looked. There was blood on her hands from where she must've picked up some of the shattered glass, and her hair was soaked in sweat...and wine? She was completely sloshed, totally off her ass drunk. He looked around him, and there wasn't an intact bottle in sight.

Maker, with the amount of wine everywhere, it's a miracle that there was anything left for her to get so drunk on.

"Isabela?" he ventured, "Shit...you're really hurting aren't you?"

"What the fuck do you think?" she replied, though the rancor was completely gone now.

He took a step towards her, but hesitated, "You're not going to try to drive a dagger into my kidneys if I go over there, are you?"

"What? And kill off the only other person around that gives a shit about Hawke?" she pulled out three more daggers from Maker knows where and tossed them aside.

She threw herself down onto one of the remaining chairs, completely defeated, and ran her bloodied hands through the strands of hair that had clung to her face, attempting to get them out of the way.

Varric chose his way across to her carefully, not wanting to have to pick glass out of his feet, and found a stool by Isabela to sit on.

"That bitch," she whispered, "How could she?"

Varric reached out to wrap his arm around her shoulder, and he was surprised to feel Isabela lean into the embrace.

Even more surprising was that she began to cry. Really cry. Like, shaking sobs and snot and everything. It was as if every cry she ever had in her chose this single moment to pour out, and Varric found that he couldn't keep his eyes dry either.

Varric didn't really know how to help comfort Isabela, and realized that if Hawke were here she'd likely have kissed her or some shit. Somehow he didn't think that Isabela would appreciate that, and so, it was a long while before the pirate would stop shaking.

Once she had finally calmed down, he asked, "Feeling better?"

Isabela grunted.

"I feel like shit," she said, "No, scratch that. Feeling like shit would be a step up right now."

Varric nodded, "I bet."

When he first realized what had happened, that Hawke hadn't left the Fade with the others, was probably the worst thing he'd ever felt. It was like falling forever, all of your insides jumbled up in your throat, and no way to know which way was up. It was like each second was so surreal that you took a breath just to get to the next one, hoping that it was all some sick joke that Hawke was in on. But that punchline never came, and the world just fell apart.

At least in his case, he was just Hawke's dear friend, not her lover. Not the person that she had to come home to.

He looked at Isabela, and at once felt both totally ashamed for not doing more to avoid what had happened, and furious at Hawke for being such an idiot.

"If I ever see her again, I'll kill her," he grumbled.

"As long as I'm in on it, you'll get no complaints from me," Isabela said.

Varric chuckled, "You know, it's just like Hawke to bring out the best in people."

"Oh, that woman hasn't seen my best," she threatened, "Just you wait, she'll be wishing for the Fade once I'm done with her!"

The moment lengthened, and the uneasy silence settled between them, glaring in how poorly it masked Hawke's absence.

"Will we see her in our dreams you think?" Isabela finally asked, a glint of hope shining in her voice.

Varric laughed, "Shit, I hope not! Can you imagine? We'd never get any sleep!"

Isabela laughed with him, and the sound of their mirth was strangely comforting in their grief.

The woman straightened, and Varric let his arm slide back to his lap.

"That bitch," Isabela leaned back against the oak table, like a figurehead at the prow.

She closed her eyes, and Varric could swear he heard her say, "That wonderful, wonderful bitch."