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And There She Was

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=The Collapse of the Abyss=

And she stepped out.

There was chaos all around them. The fighting, warden against warden, warden against demon, soldier against demon, everyone against demon. The pulsing of the rift. But all Varric really saw, beyond the obvious threats to his life, was her. Hawke. Hawke, all in one piece.

She'd never looked more beautiful than she did in that moment, lit up by the green glow of the rift. Mostly because she was alive. Alive was a great look on Hawke.

Varric dropped Bianca like a hot stone and ran to Hawke. He grabbed her into his arms, close and tight. He only reached her chest, but he had momentum and in the next moment he was kissing her hard and deep.

He'd run ahead. He'd run ahead in the Fade and left her and she'd stepped back out.

She was kissing back.

That was all that mattered in his world. This moment was theirs.

Until the Inquisitor coughed. Then coughed again. Then coughed louder.

"I can hear you," muttered Varric and let go of Hawke. She steadied herself and stood up straight.

"Rift closed. You didn't tell me about this," said the Inquisitor. The Inquisitor waved her hands in the air as if to say 'I don't know what you're doing, why you're doing this, what just happened, I'm not the Chosen One Probably So Much For That, and I need ale'.

She continued: "I have to deal with what just happened, but Varric, you need to tell me if I nearly ruin your love life in case you turn into a demon from desperation or some fool thing."

"It's new. I think. Is it?" said Varric to Hawke, giving her a half smile.

"Varric..." said Hawke, her eyes soft. "Bianca?"

"Oh shit!" said Varric. "Bianca!" He grabbed up his crossbow, petting it, and checking for scratches.

"I'm sorry, honey," he murmured. "Daddy won't do that ever again."

While Varric cooed apologies to his bow, the Inquisitor was waylaid by soldiers to discuss where she'd gone.

"That's not what I meant. I meant Bianca. The real Bianca, not your crossbow" said Hawke. She looked concerned. Not a great look on her. Varric didn't like concerning her.

"There'll be Words," he said, looking up at Hawke. "Maybe more than words. But--"

"So I left Stroud behind," said the Inquisitor. "If anyone noticed." Beside Varric, Hawke flinched and looked guilty.

"Mustache is dead? That's a bleeding shame," said Sera with feeling.

"Thank you, thank you for noticing," said the Inquisitor. "I want out of here now. We are all leaving. We are all going home and everyone can kiss who they want as long as it's not here."

She held out her arm, pointed it northward, and started walking. Cassandra yelled out a correction. The Inquisitor came back the other way, still leading. Cassandra called out that the Inquisitor should really make a speech. The Inquisitor started climbing to a high spot instead of escaping.

Varric stayed where he was until things were sorted out, holding Bianca and thinking about Hawke, Bianca, and what it meant to nearly lose Hawke for good. How Hawke's lips had felt. Hawke said nothing, but she stood beside him. Her hand was a weight on his shoulder that was both light and as heavy as the world all at once.


The tavern was lively, in a 'we averted part of the apocalypse today!' kind of way. Maryden had composed a new ballad, and the Chargers were joining in. Loud. Off-key.

Varric and Hawke had their own corner of the bar. No one chose to join them.

"Listen. About there. Back there. What you said about Bianca. And kissing you with your friend dead and all, that was wrong of me," said Varric. He gazed at the ale he was nursing in his hands. "I know 'us' was just a joke between us. I didn't mean anything by it with that whole 'I never told Cassandra about us' crack. But the moment, it caught up with me. You know moments. They're momenty."

"Varric," said Hawke, placing her hand over his. Her hand was rough, like his. And like the top of the bar. The bar could really use some tender care, he thought to himself.

"Yeah, Hawke?" said Varric, looking up at her. Her eyes were a brown that he knew a thousand flowery words for. All he could think right now was: Brown. Pretty.

"I'd be proud to have you," she said and leaned in to kiss, lips soft. "I just think you should know that, before you talk yourself out of anything."

"Well, I'll keep that in mind then, won't I," he replied, touching his lips.

"You should," said Hawke, downing her drink and waving for another.

He looked down at his again. He wasn't sure if he was talking himself or her out of it.

"I found religion. It dumped us in weird dream hell and is over there drinking with Bull," said Varric. "I'm not exactly the dwarf you knew. It hasn't all gone in the letters."

"I know. That's my fault. You were happier before I blew into town, Varric. I don't want to put you through that again," said Hawke. She leaned on the bar, chin in her hands. Great, he was talking her out of it. That was good, that was fine.

"It's not. Kirkwall was a powder keg. You're why anyone survived that mess."

That was not what he meant to say. That sounded like 'we could be a good idea' talk.

"Doesn't feel like it," she said. She wasn't looking at him now. She wasn't looking at anything but her own memories.

Guilt, thought Varric. Couples should have a lot in common and their points of commonality was massive guilt and witty quips. And sheer sexiness, he added.

"Let someone else tell the Wardens. Stay here. You can do a lot of good, Hawke."

Shit. He was terrible at telling girls it wasn't them, it was him.

"For your inquisition?" she asked, glancing over at him, braids falling over her left eye.

"Yeah. And for me. I mean, I'm not committing to anything here. That kiss was due to extreme duress but I think we've spent way too much time apart." He spread his hands wide to show how the tavern was exactly the sort of place they should hang out together now forever.

He was terrible at telling women it wouldn't work out.

Hawke leaned in and gave him a quick kiss. "I can."

Sometimes it was okay to be terrible at things.


In Varric's bedroom, later, they experimented. With them as people. And in bed. And Varric found out what it was like with a human.

Dwarf/human mechanics were interesting. Iron Bull had given him some friendly tips about sex between the big and small. By which Varric meant that when Iron Bull had hit on him. And Varric had said 'how'. And Iron Bull had given him a lecture on leverage and sizing. And Varric had fled.

This did not make Varric want to flee. Human/Dwarf interesting was not like Varric/Iron Bull interesting. This was the sort of interesting Varric liked. It was an experience to write home about. Well, not really to write home. Not that he had much of a home to write back to thanks to his son of a bitch brother. Sorry, Mother.

It had been a long time. He'd been loyal to Bianca. Still felt guilty. Knew he was going to catch hell for this. But she wasn't there and wouldn't be there. And Hawke had been there ever since Varric had shown off with his fancy crossbow and that mugger. And every time after that.

"You're narrating in your head again, Varric," said Hawke overtop him, patting his cheek.

"Just a little monologue. Feeling neglected?" He grinned up at her, his undone hair laid out on the mattress. He was too short to be on the pillow and her to be on him without someone who wasn't a decent height (Hawke) hitting their head on the wall.

"Mhm," she said, rolling her hips. Varric gasped.

"I was enjoying the moment. Now it's time to really indulge," he said.

The sex was great, after they'd gotten past the height difference - Hawke liked to be on top. She was tall, he was not. Obviously. With him at chest height, she was too tall to lean down and kiss him. But tall enough that once things had really gotten going, Varric received a solid smack to the face with her breasts.

Sex had been delayed on account of laughter. Hawke demanded that Varric never put that in a book.

Then they resumed.

And resumed some more.

Andraste's Skinned Knees, she was was amazing.


"Glad you took my advice about the Wardens. And then whatever else reason you used to stay," said Varric, Hawke's legs in his lap. They were relaxing on the couch in his room. His desk was neglected, his latest story languishing while he'd focused on Hawke. Cassandra would never forgive him.

"Eh, you were short-handed after the elf left," she said. He started rubbing her feet and she let out a moan. He did it again, same spot, same reaction. Weakness found.

"Thanks, Hawke," he said, because it was time he said it. "See? You do make things better. No one's dead, everything's in one piece, we saved the world."

"People are dead," Hawke said.

"Okay, less people are dead. I was putting a spin on it. You know what I don't miss about home?" He changed the topic. You couldn't save everyone and they both knew it. But their new loved ones had made it and that was amazing and beautiful all on its own.

"Mm, what? Keep doing that," she stretched her legs.

"Yes, ma'am. I don't miss the human remains everywhere. That was just strange."

"You're right, this place hasn't got half the skeletons and rotting corpses as Kirkwall. Remember Fenris' house?"

They both shuddered.

"I try not to. He's doing okay, I got a letter yesterday," he said. In fact, all their old friends were doing well despite expectations, probability, and known logic.

"Good. Good. I'm staying. With you. The world has a hero, it doesn't have to be me. I can just... live." She dropped her head back to rest on the arm of the couch, nudging her foot against Varric's hands for more rubs.

"Don't jinx yourself, or we're going to find ourselves leading the Qun next month, Hawke," said Varric. "And I, for one, look terrible in ceremonial robes." He patted down his chest to show how much nicer this shirt was than some foreign duds.

"Mm. How about in one of their shirtless numbers?" Hawke lifted her free foot to trail it down Varric's chest.

"Maybe," he said. "Show them the goods."

"Your magnificent pelt." A light pet with the free foot again.

"I hear it's warm in Seheron..." Varric pulled her to sit up. A vacation was beginning to sound nice. Maybe after all this whole apocalypse business was behind them...

"We'd have to save the mages," she said.

"Stop making a to-do list. We're going to retire to a nice tavern and I'm going to write books and you're going to herd cats and it'll be great," he said. "I mean, you're definitely qualified for it. You can have a couple calicos, some tabbies..."

"I can't imagine what I'd do if I wasn't fighting all the time," she said, looking up at the ceiling.

"You make money like trees grow leaves. I'm sure you'll find something." Hopefully not involving a den of dragons this time. He didn't say it out loud. She might reveal she wanted the den of dragons and he wasn't sure he was ready to know that about her. No matter how much he loved Hawke.

She knitted her fingers together on her chest, smiling wistfully. "True. I'll keep you in the manner you're accustomed."

"Oh sweetheart, let's aim higher than that."