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Champions of Kirkwall

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The twins panted as they sprinted behind their mother and siblings, their breath forming clouds in the air. She trailed a bit behind him, doing her best to keep back any threats as her brother weaved spells and threw blasts of ice or fire. Their mother stumbled, falling to her knees, and Garrett almost tripped over her.

Marian turned around, her long daggers at the ready as growls sounded, the blighted creatures making their way ever closer.

“Garrett, watch mother,” she said and jumped toward the tainted creatures, blades piercing flesh with a sickening squish.

Garrett stood with his staff at the ready, sending calculated fireballs toward the darkspawn, trying his best to avoid hitting his siblings. Carver growled as he swung his large sword and Bethany cast a wall of fire between the creatures and themselves, effectively cutting them off.

“That seems to be all of them,” Carver says, walking toward his mother and siblings. Marian stood silently about a foot away from the group, jaw tense as she glanced around.
“For the moment,” Bethany says.

“Oh maker, we've lost it all. Everything your father and I built,” their mother sounded on the verge of tears and Garrett gently placed a hand on her shoulder.

“We should have run sooner, why did we wait so long?” Bethany glares at Carver.

“Hey, don't blame me, we've been running since Ostagar,” Carver counters, throwing his hands up.

“Speaking of running” Marian snaps. “We’d best continue. If we stand around we’ll die.”

“Come on,” Garrett says softly, gently urging their mother forward. “We should get going.”

“Fine then,” Carver crossed his arms. “We follow your lead.”

Garrett grimaced but said nothing, leading them forward. Their next stop occurred when they encountered a group of darkspawn attacking a red-haired woman and hunched over man. Before anybody else could react Marian launched herself forward, slashing at the creatures, trying to distract them from the couple.

Bethany and Garrett couldn't effectively use their magic from this range and were backed into a corner, him pushing her smaller body behind him as he held up his staff aggressively. Sweat dripped down his face as one of the genlocks jumped toward him, stopped in it’s tracks by Carver, whose sword slashed it nearly in half.

Marian jumped on top of a hurlock and brought her dagger down into its head, twisting it. She panted and pulled it out before turning to the pair of strangers.

He grimaced and breathed heavily but stood tall when he saw the mages, glaring. “Apostates, keep your distance!”

“Well, the maker has a sense of humor,” Bethany said sarcastically. “Darkspawn and now a Templar.”

“I thought they all abandoned Lothering,” Garrett said, still not completely lowering his staff.

“The darkspawn are clear in their intent, but the mage is always unknown,” he said. “The order dictates…”

“Wesley,” the woman scolded, softly.

“These two are apostates, the order dictates…” he moved toward the mages but Marian stepped forward, her lithe body keeping him at bay. She glared at him.

“Just try it,” she whispered. “I could kill you before you reached your swords hilt.”

He swallowed and stepped back toward his woman.

“My name is Aveline Vallen,” she said. “This is my husband, Ser Wesley. We can hate each other when we are safe.”

Marian nodded and stepped back. “So long as he knows I stand by my siblings.”

They both nod. “North is cut off, we barely escaped the main body of the horde.”

Bethany placed her face in her hands. “Then we are doomed, the wilds are to the South, that's no way out,” Carver says angrily.

Marian and Garrett look at each other. “We can't very well just give ourselves up to the darkspawn,” she says.

“Then we go south,” he responds.

“We should travel together,” Aveline said. “Strength in numbers and all that.”

Garrett tensed and Marian placed a gentle hand on his arm. “So long as you keep your man on a tight leash,” she says.

“I am not a Mabari,” he growls. “I see the danger and I can control myself, no matter my beliefs.”

Marian looks at him coolly. “Then we shouldn't have a problem.”

They begin their walk down a dirt path, getting into another fight and by the end of it, Marian has a bad burn on her upper arm from a stray fire blast. She pulled back when her twin stepped forward, his hands outstretched to heal her.

“Save your energy,” she mumbled, pushing Garrett’s insistent hands away. “I'll live until we get out of here.”

He huffed and places his hands on his hips. “At least let me wrap it,” he said, annoyed.

“Fine fine,” she said, defeated. “Just-”

“Make it quick, apostate,” Wesley grunts. “We haven't the time to delay.”

Garrett furrowed his brow while wrapping his twin’s wound with a torn piece of tunic. “Well then maybe you should go on ahead, I'm sure you could defeat more darkspawn than the rest of us combined templar.”

Marian bit her lip to keep from laughing. “Yeah SER Wesley,” she said sarcastically. “Aren't you supposed to defend us poor country folk?” Garrett snickered softly.

“Oh stop it,” Leandra scolded. “He's right, we don't have time to be playing around. And I know I raised you better than to be so rude.”

“Sorry mother,” they mumble at the same time and Bethany giggles.

“You two are just like you were when you were kids,” she says giddily. “Still so in sync.”

They both flush red and step apart, standing awkwardly.

“We need to hurry,” Carver snaps walking up a slight incline. Bethany catches up with him giggling and ruffled his hair.

“Oh come on, loosen up a bit,” she says, smiling up at him gently. He softens a bit and smiles back, his eyes holding a warmth he had for no other.

The moment was ruined in the span of a few short seconds as an ogre ran up quicker than any of them can react.

Marian screamed, reaching for her daggers as she moved as quickly as her feet could carry her.

One.

The creature’s picking up Bethany and crushing her before she can cry out, a small trickle of blood trailing down her chin.

Two.

Carver is grabbing his sword, panic evident on his face as he tries to slash at the beast’s tough hide, screaming for his sister to say something to him.

Three.

Bethany isn't struggling anymore, can’t anymore, and the creature throws her like a discarded toy cast off by a child.

Four.

Garrett has his staff out and is trying to burn the beast, but his fire isn't affecting it, only working in pissing it off.

Five.

It grabs Carver, pinning his arms to his sides and growls in his face before clawing at the boy, his screams echoing through the area.

Six.

He's thrown at the rocks, his body facing Bethany’s, much like how they might've laid in the womb. He is no longer moving, with the dust settling around them.

Seven.

Marian throws herself on the ogre’s back where it’s short arms can't reach her. She buries her dagger in its shoulder and holds fast as it growls, it’s mouth open wide.

Eight.

Garrett shoots a small burst of electricity into its open mouth, the current traveling down the creature's body and it gives one more shriek before falling.

Nine.

Marian climbs off it, shaking with wide eyes. Their mother runs towards her still children, crying desperately for them to open their eyes as she tries to remember how to breathe.

Ten.

Garrett walks slowly over to Marian and wraps his arms around her shaking body, his own trembling mixing with hers as they looks at their still siblings. They all just stand there for a moment, listening to their mother’s heart wrenching cries before pulling back from each other and walking to her side.

“Please mother, we can't stay here,” Garrett said softly. “They wouldn't want us to...we have to go.”

“We can grieve later mother,” Marian said, placing a gentle hand on her shoulder. “Right now we should-”

“Don't you two speak to me of grief,” she growled softly, holding the two still-warm bodies of her younger children close. “This is your fault! How could you let them face that thing alone? Oh my babies!”

Garrett stood and Marian held onto his hand tightly. “Allow me to commend your children’s souls to the maker, mistress,” Wesley walked up, speaking softly. Leandra lowered her head. “Ashes we were, and ashes we shall become…” He continued the rite and Leandra placed soft kisses to the twin’s foreheads, before gently placing their heads down and standing.

“We need to continue, mother,” Marian said gently, attempting to place her hand on her mother's shoulder. Leandra turned away from her and walked swiftly, ignoring her other children.

Marian clenched her hands into fists before sighing softly. “Don't worry Garrett,” she whispered softly, turning to her brother. “She's just upset, we’ll all be fine.”

He nods and smiles gently down at her. “Yeah, we’ll keep each other safe.”

Leandra screamed as more darkspawn ran up, growling loudly. Marian and Garrett jumped into action, blades and staff out as they worked to defend their mother, Garrett pushing her behind himself and sending fire and ice at the tainted creatures. Marian narrowly dodged the blasts as she cut her way through the beasts, black blood covering her skin as they fell.

A loud roar sounded and she ran over to her mother, standing beside her brother and even more effectively hiding her body. A dragon flew off of a nearby clifftop, screeching as flames shot out of its mouth and hit the darkspawn. The beast landed, causing the ground to shake and screeched again, making them all cover their ears and wince.

Light burst from its body, spiraling around the form, hiding her transformation into a woman with white hair and striking eyes. She glared at them from down her nose and walked over slowly, her hips moving languidly. The twins pressed closer together.

Marian held out her daggers. “Watch where you step,” she warned. “I will not hesitate to cut you down.”

The woman stared her down before sighing, annoyed. “Put those down, before you hurt yourself,” she drawled.

Mirian growled and stepped in front of her brother. “Who are you?”

“I know who she is,” Aveline says, kneeling beside her husband. Garrett gasped, looking at Wesley’s graying skin. “A witch of the wilds.”

“Some call me that, also Flemeth. Asha'bellanar. An old hag who talks too much,” she laughs.

“What do you want?” Marian asked, suspiciously.

“Oh my, what atrocious manners,” Flemeth scolds.

“What my sister means,” Garrett says, rolling his eyes at his twin. “Is we aren't sure why you just saved us. We are grateful, simply confused.”

The old woman smiles at him. “I spotted a most curious sight, a mighty ogre vanquished. Who could perform such a feat? But now my curiosity is sated and you are safe, for now,” she said, turning to walk away.

“W-wait,” Marian shouts. Flemeth stops. “Could you..help us again? We need to get to Kirkwall, in the Free Marches.”

Flemeth stares at the group for a few moments before turning away. “It would seem as though I may be able to assist you once more. In exchange for a small favor, not far out of your way,” she says, looking back at them. “Would you do that for a ‘witch of the wilds’?”

“I don't care that you're a mage,” Marian said.

“I, of course, don't either,” Garrett jokes. “It would be pretty hypocritical if I did.”

Flemeth smirks before looking at the couple on the ground. “However, there is one thing we must attend to before we leave…”

“No, you stay away,” Aveline growled, standing protectively over her husband.

“What has been done to your man is in his blood already,” Flemeth says, softly.

“You lie!”

“Please Aveline, I can feel the corruption inside me,” Wesley whimpers and she kneels beside him again.

“You can't ask me to do this,” she said softly, tears welling in her eyes.

“Please my love, the corruption is a slow death. I can't…” he grips his chest over his armor and grunts, trying to keep the amount of pain he's in from showing.

Marian squeezes her brother’s hand before kneeling beside Wesley. “I'm sorry Aveline,” she said softly. “But...it has to he done. This is better for him.”

Aveline turned away and tried to keep her tears from falling as she squeezes Wesley’s hand. Garrett kneels beside her and wraps a comforting arm around her shoulder as Marian pulls out her dagger.

“Thank you,” Wesley whispered. He turns back to Aveline. “Be strong, my love.”

The blade plunges into his heart and he breathes out slowly, his chest stilling. Aveline stands, shaking Garrett’s arm off and stepping away from the group, wrapping her arms around herself. Marian stands beside her brother and ruffles his hair, smiling up at him gently.

He swallows thickly and rises. “Thank you,” he whispered. “I don't think I could've…”

“I know,” she said. “I'm just glad you're ok.”

“I just wish all of us were,” he said softly.

“This is not the end of your struggles,” Flemeth said. “Your journey has only just begun.” She turned and lead them away from the destruction in Lothering, while Garrett and Marian hold each other’s hands tightly, keeping their emotions from showing on their faces but being as open as they could be with one another.

Chapter Text

The boat ride from Gwaren to Kirkwall’s dock was long. The boat’s smell was enough to make Marian gag for nearly the entire trip and Garrett had to keep his head down in an attempt to keep the world from spinning.

Leandra had been silent for the entire boat ride and hadn't seemed to react to much of anything until they'd docked.

Hopping off the boat, Garrett nearly heaved and Marian gently rubbed his back, laughing loudly. “Aw is my poor baby brother sick?” she joked.

“I'm not...not your baby…” he said, stopping and vomiting into the ocean. “You're only a few...few minutes older…”

She continues laughing before a ruckus from the entrance of the gates distracted her. A guard is pushing people back, keeping them from entering the city.

“We only just arrived and they would throw us back to the wolves,” Aveline says angrily, crossing her arms. “Unbelievable.”

“I'm only surprised they let us dock,” Marian says crossing her arms as she watched the struggling men attempt to keep the Fereldens at bay.

Garrett rinses his mouth out with salt water, grimacing at the taste before standing.

“We should talk with that man,” Garrett says. “He may let us speak with Gamlen.”

Marian turned to her mother. “Let’s hope he got your letter,” she says.

They walk over to the soldier. “Oi, you,” he says, annoyed. “Step back, bullying your way through won't get you into the city any faster.”

Marian stepped forward, exaggerating the sway of her hips and plastering on the sweetest fake smile Garrett had ever seen. “Well surely,” she begins, whispering seductively. “There must be someone we can talk to.” She gently places a hand on his chest and bats her eyelashes at him. The soldier visibly gulped and flushed.

Garrett bit the inside of his cheek to keep from howling. She'd done this before, it was all a game and she played it beautifully. Her short dark hair framed her face and offset her bright blue eyes, bright blues that were looking at him like she wanted to eat him alive in the best of ways. Or the worst of ways, depending on your perspective.

“W-well, you can um...you can go talk to the...the commander,” he swallows and points a shaking hand toward a staircase, looking down at her body and placing his other hand on her hip.

“U-um maybe...when you’re done-” he starts.

She tenses before biting her lip seductively, smiling up at him. “Thank you very much sir,” she whispers before pulling back and walking away, grinning.

Garrett and the others follow her and he smacks the back of her head lightly.

“Really?” he asks. “You're aware that that was gross, right?”

“Hey it got us in didn't it?” she laughs.

“Please just tell me you'd never actually be with that guy,” Garrett groans. “He's gotta be the biggest creep.”

Marian smiled mischievously but she tensed, as if she could still feel his leering eyes on her.

“Oh, I don't know. He might be able to show me a good time,” she joked. Garrett smacked the back of her head again. “Oh calm down would you? I'm not going to be with him, he only gave me the time of day because of this body.” She emphasizes the last couple of words by striking a ridiculous pose and Garrett pushes her, laughing.

“You're impossible,” he laughs. She smiles up at him and takes the hand he offers her.

“You love me though,” she looks at him innocently, betting her eyelashes.

“Let us through you flaming blighter,” a ruffian shouted at a guardsman nearby, anger seething from him in waves. “We're not staying in this pit!”

“Then get back on your ship and leave,” he responds calmly. “The city has no more room for refugees.”

“Well, maybe you can help us find our uncle, Gamlen Amell,” Garrett interrupts. “If you do that, you may just be short a few more people.”

“Gamlen?” he asks. “I know that name.”

“He's a nobleman here in the city,” Marian says. “Our family has an estate.”

The guardsman looks confused. “Only Gamlen I know couldn't rub two coppers together,” he sighed, rubbing his eyes. “Whatever, if I see him I'll take you to him but-”

“What?” the ruffian shouts. “You're going to let them in?”

“I didn't say-” he hurries to argue before being cut off.

“We've been here for three days, they just got here!”

The leader shouted, “that's it, we’re carving our way out of here. Men!”

They all pull out daggers and bows, blades clash and Garrett’s forced to keep his magic from making an appearance, opting to use the small blade at the end of his staff as his only weapon, and Marian ends up doing most of the fighting.

By the end of it, she has a nasty gash on her face and a bad limp. Blood covers her leather armor, shining brightly in the midday sun and Garrett rushes up to heal her. She shakes her head frantically before hissing, “you know how many templars are here? I'm fine.”

He glares down at her before hugging her, using the contact to hide the fact he was healing her arm and leg, but having to force himself to keep from closing the gash on her cheek.

“Unbelievable,” the commander says.

The guardsman Marian flirted with earlier rushes up and looks at her nervously before turning to the commander. “Sir, are you ok?”

“Yes, no thanks to you. Where is everyone? I want this kept under control.” He glared angrily at the guardsman, the smaller man withering under his stare.

“R-right sir,” he nodded before turning to Marian and walking up to her, pulling a small handkerchief out of his pocket and dabbing her cheek with rough hands. She tenses but doesn't flinch and instead let's him wipe it off.

The man nods, satisfied, before turning away and reporting back to his duties.

“Ok,” Marian drawls, grimacing. “Maybe I shouldn't have used my feminine charms on that one.”

Garrett looks at her. “See? I told you that'd bite you in the ass.”

She grimaces before turning back to the commander. “So can you help us find our uncle?”

He sighs. “It's not my decision whether you get into the city or not, but I'll find your uncle and bring him here.” And with that the man turns away.

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“It's been three days,” Aveline paces like a caged cat, tension in her shoulders. “This waiting has to end.”

Garrett looks up from the spot he'd been staring at on the ground and grimaces. “Don't look now, but I think that's our man,” he says.

Marian looks at Gamlen and frowns, for good reason. The man's gray hair was matted and greasy, and dark bags rested beneath his eyes. He looked as though he hasn't bathed in far too long and his clothing had more stains than their own.

“Gamlen,” Leandra says, happily. She runs up to hug him and doesn't even flinch at his stench. He awkwardly places his arms around her.

“Oh um...hello Leandra,” he says, his eyes shifting up to the twins before looking at the ground. “I must say I wasn't expecting this. You're husband...dead. I must say I thought you'd pretty much be Fereldan for life.”

“Oh Gamlen,” she says, tears welling in her eyes. “Little Bethany and Carver...oh they didn't make it. Andraste guide them.”

Gamlen groans. “Oh please Leandra, don't drop this on me now. I don't even know if I can't get you in.”

“It can't be that hard for a family as wealthy as ours, can it?” Garrett asks, a questioning look on his face. His eyes had a certain coldness to them he saved for certain circumstances, usually ones that were trying his patience.

“What about the estate?” their mother asked.

Gamlen rubbed the back of his neck and refused to look any of them in the eye. “It was...sold,” he said. “To pay off a debt, I've been meaning to write you,” he laughs awkwardly before clearing his throat.

“Then there's really no hope,” she looks at the ground, sorrow etched on her face as she collapsed on the floor.

“Well, not exactly,” he says quickly, causing her to lift her head expectedly. “I've convinced a few of my contacts to meet you here. They've agreed to pay your way into the city. But um...those two,” he pointed at Marian and Garrett, “would have to work off the debt….for a year.”

“A year!” she cries, shocked. She stands quickly and the twins tense, watching her shaky form closely.

Marian quickly interrupts. “So what's a year?” she laughs a bit.

“Yeah mother,” Garrett says, smiling. “It can't be that bad.”

Gamlen looks awkward. “Merrin is in charge of the mercenary group The Red Iron, he's over there,” Gamlen points toward his left. “And Athenril, I guess you could call her a smuggler. Either of them could help you,” he says hurriedly.

“Oh Gamlen, I don't know about this,” Leandra says, looking at her children worriedly.

“It's a lot of coin, Leandra. Don't go expecting our name to carry the kind of weight it used to,” he says grimly.

The twins step away from the group to talk. “So what do you think?” Garrett asks Marian, his eyes twinkling.

She stands still, thinking for a moment. “I think we should talk to this Merrin,” she says. “A mercenary company seems the best way to hone our fighting.”

He chuckles and ruffles her short hair. “You'd be the one to think that way.”

“What way?” she asks, patting down the uneven length.

“A violent way,” he grins and begins walking toward Merrin.

She grabs his arm and turns him to look at her. “Well, what do you think we should do?”

He seems surprised but bites his lip before talking. “I think the mercenary company is the best way to keep the Templar’s off my back,” he says.

“Our back,” Marian corrects him. “They won't get you without cutting through me first.”

He sighs. “I've told you, if it ever comes to that, let them take me. I don't want to see you or mother hur-”

She walks away, waving over her shoulder. “Then let's make sure it doesn't happen.”

After a quick fight and Merrin’s approval, they have their way into the city, as well as a year of servitude.

“I still can't believe Gamlen just told him,” Garrett huffs, crossing his arm as he leans against a wall, glaring at the man. “He’s really fucking lucky Merrin didn’t turn us into the Templars.”

Marian smiles at her brother. “He's an idiot, just be glad they thought it was a good thing,” she says and looks in the direction Merrin walked in.

The man was passing coin off to get their family into the city, an awful lot of it too if she could guess the amount in the sack he handed over. She sighed.

Garrett flicked her forehead, catching her by surprise. “Hey!”

“Stop that,” he says, looking down at her seriously.

“Stop what?”

“Whatever it is you're thinking about,” he chuckled. “We've already agreed to work for the year, and the coin’s already gone through. We may as well just deal with it.”

She smiles up at him. “Well, fine. Then you'll have to deal with you poor, defenseless sister surrounded by lots of big, bad men,” she jokes. “Think you can handle it?”

He glares at her playfully. “Don't make me regret doing this,” he jokes.

She chuckles and they look toward the city. “Hell of a way to start the year, isn't it?” she says softly.

He grunts and they fall silent.

Chapter Text

We can keep you safe, for the year at least.

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“Shit,” Marian mumbled, crouching behind a pillar, narrowly avoiding her mark’s gaze. It'd been six months since her and her brother had agreed to work for The Red Iron and they weren't often on different missions, but just her luck, this happened to be one of them.

“Come on out, kitten,” the man taunted, twirling his blades. “I promise not to hurt you.”

She swallowed thickly and tightened her grip on her daggers. Just her luck that this man actually knew how to use those damn weapons. His footsteps were loud in the darkness, the moonlight barely illuminating anything.

He stepped around a stone pillar still twirling his dagger before spotting her, smiling wickedly.
He moved so quickly she could barely track him, rushing her. She moved to the side, narrowly dodging his blade.

“Oh come on, kitten,” he drawled, trailing after her. “Don't make this harder than it has to be.”
She swallowed thickly before grinning, trying her best to hide her shaking. “Oh really? This is fun, I want to keep playing.”

He laughed. “We could have a lot more fun, too bad you won't stay still.” He emphasizes his words with slashes of his blade, one of which hit her in the arm. She hisses as blood spills and drips onto the white floors.

Grinning he jumps at her again and she throws herself to the side, grunting as her arm hits the floor. Standing up, she rushes him before he can rise again and kicks him in the gut. He grunts and falls, landing on his back with a loud thud.

Flipping him onto his front, she straddles his back, placing her boots on his hands and pushing, keeping them in place.

He grins over his shoulder at her. “If you wanted to be on top, all you had to do was ask,” he says.

“Screw you,” Marian grunts, pulling her dagger from its sheath.
“That can be arranged.”

“Do you ever shut up?”

She rests the tips of the blade against the back of his neck, remembering the method Merrin taught her.

Straight through there, he had whispered in her ear, tracing a gentle finger over the sensitive flesh. Leaves less of a mess, a clean cut.

His grin fades and he glares up at her. “This isn't the end of it,” he says. “They'll come after you.”
“Yeah, ye-” she's interrupted when something hard and heavy collides with the side of her head.
She falls off his body, landing hard on the stone floor with blurry vision. She can feel blood trickling down from her temple, matting her lashes and making her already blurry vision worse. She moans as she's handled roughly, picked up and carried away, watching her blades glint in the moonlight as they're left behind.

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Garrett crouched beside the body of his mark, reaching into her pocket and pulling out a small leather pouch of coins. He carefully poured the copper into his hand and sighed, thinking about how his marks never had even a single silver on them. You’d think such rich bastards would be carrying around a bit more coin.

He put the coins in his pocket and walked away from the body, Merrin usually sent someone to take care of them.

Walking through the dark streets of Lowtown he tugged on the collar of his cloak and the wind ruffled through his short, black hair. He walked back to the warehouse Merrin led his operations in and informed him of a finished job.

“Good work boy,” he said, patting Garrett on the back. “I knew we'd have a use for you.”

Garrett grunted and began to walk away before he was stopped. “Sir,” a young woman addressed Merrin. “It seems as though the other Hawke hasn't reported back yet.”

“So?”

“She was sent after her mark at sunset, sir,” she said. “She should be back by now, it's nearly morning.”

He stroked his chin a bit. “Merrin,” Garrett started, his brow furrowing a bit. “Who was she sent after?”

“Some Hightown guy,” Merrin waved him off, clearly trying to dismiss him.

“I need a name, Merrin,” Garrett clenched his hands into fists, glaring at his boss.

“What? Planning on making a daring rescue?” he jokes. “Don't worry boy, your sister's pretty damn useful. We aren't gonna leave her to be gutted.”

He grabs a set of blades and looks at a group of new members. He seemed to debate before pointing at a thin elven girl, crooking his finger at her.

She seems surprised but nods, smiling while grabbing her bow excitedly.

“What about me?” Garrett asks. “You can't expect me to just stay here.”

“I'd be disappointed if you tried to,” Merrin said dismissively, pulling a pair of leather gloves on and walking out of the warehouse. Garrett followed him quickly.

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Marian blinked her eyes open, dried blood matting her lashes, as she she tried to look around. The room she was in was warm and dark, cool metal enclosed her wrists and kept her arms up straight. They held her upper body against the wall and she felt the rough wood of it grate against her back while the cool stone floor chilled her knees.

She licked her lips and slowly lifted her head, grimacing as the world spun. She dimly noted she wasn't wearing her tunic and tugged on the shackles a bit, making the chains rattle.

“It seems you're awake now,” a voice said softly. She squinted her eyes, trying to see clearly. Suddenly, light flared from a dozen candles, illuminating the grinning face of her mark, sitting in a large chair next to a table.

Marian glared at him despite her compromising position and he chuckled, walking over to her and kneeling, twirling a piece of her hair between his fingertips. “This could be easy, or hard,” he whispers in her ear. “Just tell me who sent you.”

Marian shivered and bit the inside of her cheek but stayed silent. He hummed before grabbing the hair at the back of her head and yanking hard, forcing her to look at him.

“Now now, kitten,” he taunted. “Don't make me hurt you.”

“Bite me,” she growled, spitting in his face.

He recoiled and wiped his face before regaining his composure. “Well, I can't say I'm disappointed,” he says, walking slowly over to the table and pulling off a whip, something shining along the length of it.
She swallowed thickly as he stared at the leather in his hand before he smiled and brought it across her belly hard. Tiny blades covered the end of it, not enough to impale, but large enough to cut and she felt blood well up from the scratches.

She hissed and clenched her hands into fists. He chuckled before saying, “oh come now, it can't be that hard. Just give me a name.” She glared up at him and he sighed. “Fine.” He pulled her into a standing position and she nearly vomited, the world spinning violently as he unshackled her from the wall and carried her over to the center of the small room.

Reaching up he pulled on another set of chains, the few inches he had on her helping him restrain her again. The height of the cool metal forcing her to stand tall. She breathed through her nose as her vision cleared and she dimly noted he was removing her trousers, leaving her in her smallclothes. She got her first good look around the room and chills ran up her spine at the tools around her. Merrin had better be fucking grateful.

“Now then,” he says, lightly trailing a finger over the marks on her stomach. “Would you care to tell me now?”

“Fuck off,” she hissed, digging her nails into her palms, prepared for the next strike, this time across the sensitive flesh on her back. She felt the blood drip down slowly and soak into her small clothes.

He pulled his arm back again and this time the strike was harder, causing more blood to well up and forcing her to cry out hoarsely.

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Garrett paced through the plush hallways of the nobleman’s home, the bright reds and oranges an eyesore.

“Come on boy, don't look at the scenery, or would you rather find her dead?” Merrin said.

“Well what do you expect me to find?” Garrett snapped, tension tightening his shoulders. “He's not likely to have brought her back here.”

“That's not what we're looking for,” he mumbled, shuffling through some papers on a writing desk.

“Then what are we looking for?” he growled.

“Something, bills or a private letter,” he mumbled, ignoring Garrett as he looked through the parchment on the desk. “Indicating another building he may be keeping her in.”

“It’s been nearly three days,” Garrett said, sounding nearly defeated. His voice was hoarse and dark bags rested under his eyes. “What if we don't find her?”

“We’ll find her,” he mumbled.

“You know,” Garrett started. “You've been searching for a while for her now, you seem to actually be worried about her.” He patted the shorter man's head, which earned him a sharp elbow in the gut and his arm twisted behind his back.

“Don't mistake what this is boy,” he growled in Garrett’s ear. “I would throw you into the river now and leave her for the wolves if you hadn't brought in more coin than all the other bugger’s I have here combined.” Garrett swallowed thickly, straining his neck to look over his shoulder at the other man. “Would you rather I left her to die? This is-”

“Sir,” the small girl they'd brought along interrupted, earning a sharp look from Merrin. “I've found something.”

He released Garrett, who promptly feel onto the hard marble floor, and walked over to her looking over the letter she handed him quickly. “There seems to be an abandoned building in Lowtown,” he said, voice calm. “Owned by the Marquis, no less. Looks like this is our building.”

He walks out quickly followed closely by Garrett, dark blue fabric billowing behind him.

“You don't think she's-” Garrett started.

“No boy,” Merrin responded. “I don't know if he captured her but I know she's not dead.”

Garrett nodded, oddly comforted by the older man’s gruff voice, and they quickly walked to Lowtown.

When they got there, Garrett didn't hesitate to kick the door down, pulling his staff out. “So much for the blasted element of surprise,” Merrin growled, glaring at Garrett as he pulled out his daggers.

Garrett’s eyes glanced around quickly and he moved quietly over the rough wooden floor. The entire place smelled of raw fish and mold and he gagged silently.

He opens a door slowly revealing a room with blood stained walls and blades upon a table. He turned away and bit his lip, forcing himself to not vomit as the smell of copper overwhelms the fish. Merrin walked into the room and kicks around a few bags before looking on the table.

“Nothing, let's keep moving,” he said, sounding strained.

They find two more empty rooms before Merrin sighs. “I don't think she's here.”

“No,” Garrett growled. “She's here, we have to find her.”

“Boy-”

“No! We’ll find her!”

Merrin glares at him. “What do you expect to find?” he spat, eyes staring daggers into Garrett.

Garrett ignores him and listens intently as he goes through all the rooms again.

We had to have missed something, he reasoned to himself. She's here.

“Boy, are you even-” he stops suddenly and Garrett looks back at him. He holds up a hand and looks intently at the ground before crouching and pawing at the wood. He does so for several minutes before he finds what he seemed to be looking for and pulls up a plank easily.

“There,” he whispers, pulling up a few more. “If he has her, it's down there.”

They climb down and land silently in a small hallway, barely big enough to hold the two of them, with a door.

Grunts could be heard on the other side of the rough wood and Garrett moved to open it before Merrin held him back. “We need to know what we are up against if we want to help her.”

He points at a couple small holes where the wood rotted away and they peered through them.
Garrett’s blood ran cold when he saw the scene illuminated by candles.

Marian hanging from the ceiling, too exhausted to keep on her feet as blood dried on her body and sweat dripped down her face. Her heavy breathing could be heard, even through the wood and his pounding heart. She was naked and it looked like her arms were about to pop out of their sockets.

“Now then,” the man said, pacing around her, anger evident on his face. “Tell me who sent you.”

She breathed deeply. “Ok, ok I’ll tell you,” she whispered hoarsely, and Garrett could feel Merrin tense up next to him. The Marquis looked astonished before bringing his ear to her lips and listening intently. “Go fuck yourself.”

He growled and brought a leather whip across her stomach making her cry out weakly. Tears leaked from her eyes and she seemed to have lost her will to scream, seemingly opting to resign herself to what he was doing.

Garrett growled before kicking the door down and pushing the Marquis against the wall roughly. The air around him was charged, electricity crackling from his skin and making the hair on Merrin’s body stand on end. Garrett saw red and wrapped his hands around the man's throat roughly, squeezing just hard enough to make breathing difficult. The sound of rattling chains rings out and a grunt as Marian falls, barely caught by Merrin.

“Boy,” he warns softly. “Now's not the time for what you're planning. Do it quickly.”

Garrett glared down at the Marquis who right this second looked to be on the verge of pissing his pants. He pulls out a small blade and sets the tip against the shorter man's throat.

“The things I'd do to you if I could,” he growls before pushing the blade in quickly and letting the Marquis fall, clutching at his throat.

“G-Garrett…” he hears a soft voice behind him rasp. Merrin’s holding her bridal style with a grim look on his face.

“We have a healer back at the warehouse,” Merrin says. “She may be able to help.”

Garrett nods before yanking off his cloak and wrapping it around his twin’s small body, wincing as she whimpered. “I know, I know,” he whispered, taking her into his arms. “You're safe now, I've got you.”

He tries holding her loosely, tries not to put too much pressure on her wounds. “G-Garrett,” she whimpers.

“Yeah sis?”

She's grabbing onto his tunic as tightly as she can, like a child. “Don’t leave me here, please I-I don’t…”

He breathes out a shaky sob and presses his forehead against here. “I’m not leaving you, we aren’t-” he chokes on his words before continuing. “We aren’t leaving you. We’re gonna get you somewhere safe ok, just stay with me.”

She nodded a bit and closed her eyes, passing out in his arms and the two walk back unaware of the mercenary’s gaze on them, protective and unwavering. His hands remained on his daggers, ready to be drawn on a moment’s notice, until they firmly shut the warehouse’s door behind them.

Chapter Text

Darktown smelt repulsive, like rotting meat and fecal matter. It was sad seeing the people there, just waiting to die, unable to do anything else. It wasn’t like they could do much to help though, they were struggling to survive themselves.

Marian clenched her jaw and followed her brother and Varric through the decrepit alleys. “So, about this healer,” she said, looking down at the dwarf. “What's he like?”

“Don't know,” he said. “Haven't met him.”

“Are you sure that we should be doing this?” she turned to Garrett, concern on her face.

He grinned at her. “He's not going to sell out another apostate silly,” he said, ruffling her hair.

“That's not what I'm concerned about,” she growled, pushing his hand away. He looked confused and she continued. “Why would he help us? What do we have to offer him?”

Garrett shrugs. “Don't know, but there's no use not trying.”

She sighed. “Fine, let's see what this man is like then.”

They used a small piece of parchment with directions and a crudely drawn map to locate the small clinic, it almost couldn't be called that. The wooden walls looked like they were on the verge of collapsing and the floors had so many stains new ones covered the old. Rubble rested in a corner, assumably because it couldn't be removed. It smelt disgusting, though admittedly better than the rest of Darktown.

When they walked through the door they happened upon the sight of a weary looking, blonde man standing over a young boy. His body glowed a light blue and his face was etched with concentration, a single bead of sweat slowing slid down his temple. He grunted before stumbling back and the boy took a deep breathe, his mother rushing to him with a small cry stuck in her throat.

The mage leaned against a wall, catching his breath as he watched the family leave. Marian watched them leave and entered, their footsteps crunching on the rubble of the floor. The mage took a deep breathe before turning to the party in a defensive position with a staff in his hand.
“I have made this place a sanctum of healing and salvation,” he said strongly, eyes shining. “Why do you threaten it?”

Marian’s hands instinctively went to her daggers before she forced herself to lower them. He's scared, don't make it worse.

Her hands fell to her sides.

“We have no intention of harming anybody here,” Garrett said, holding his hands up. “Including you.”

“Rubbish,” he responded. “What do you want? You don't seem to be in need of healing.”

“This is probably a conversation best had privately,” Marian said softly.

“We heard you were a Warden,” Varric said. “And that you may have maps to the deep roads.”

“Are you here to take me back to the Wardens? I'm not going, those bastards made me get rid of my cat,” he glared at them before looking at the ground and whispering, almost to himself, “poor Ser-Pounce alot, he hated the deep roads.”

Marian chuckled a bit. “You had a cat named Ser-Pouce a lot? In the deep roads?” Garrett looked at her surprised.

“What? He was a gift from a good friend, a noble beast, nearly got himself killed by a Genlock once,” he chuckled, fondly remembering the cat. “Swatted the bugger on the nose, drew blood too.”

Marian grinned. “He sounds like he was a worthy ally.”

“I am Anders,” he said, holding out a calloused hand. She shook it and introduced herself.

“You used to be a Grey Warden?” Garrett asked. “I thought joining was for life.”

“I guess it kind of is. The tainted forever and cursed with nightmares of the archdemon part don't go away,” he looks at the ground. “But if you keep your head down you don't have to wear the uniform.”

Garrett nodded. “Listen, I'm gonna be blunt with you-”

“Please do,” Anders said, grinning.

Cheeky bastard, Marian thought to herself.

“We are planning an expedition in the deep roads soon,” Garrett said, swatting the back of Marian’s head, making her glare at him. “We thought you may have some maps or something that may be useful.”

Anders body tensed. “I'll be glad if I never have to think about the bloody deep roads again,” he stops for a moment before continuing. “However, I suppose a trade may be in order. I have a mage friend in the Gallows who I've asked to meet me in the Chantry tonight. Help me help him, and you'll get your maps.”

“Do you suspect there will be templars?” Marian asked, crossing her arms over her chest.

“There may be,” Anders said stiffly.

She turned to Garrett. “You shouldn't go then, I'll take Varric and Isabela but you need to stay away.”

Anders looked like he was going to say something before Garrett started yelling. “I can't just let you rush into danger like that alone! Much less with another mage.”

“Garrett,” she began before he cut her off.

“If I’m there then I’ll let them take me but if you are I don’t know what they’ll do to you,” he growled, grabbing her roughly. Anders stood somewhat awkwardly nearby, watching the exchange. “I can’t let you go alone, with this man we don’t know!”

“We have enough to worry about from those bastards, if they catch me I'll likely only get a few lashes. But if they catch you, they'll take you away.”

“That doesn't matter! You can't-”

“You're a mage?” Anders interrupted. They looked at him surprised before the twins continued glaring at each other. Garrett sighed and held up a hand, calling forth a small amount of electricity, letting it settle in his palm and holding the hand out to Anders, still glaring at his sister.
Anders eyes widened a bit. “I hadn't expected that,” he whispered. “Either way, those are my terms.”

“I will go,” Marian said quickly. “I'll make sure you both get out of there.”

He nods solemnly. “Maker willing, we'll all leave free.”

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Marian walked up the chantry steps with the other rogues, the only light coming from the moon and a few small candles in the courtyard. Anders waited at the top of the steps and waved a bit when he saw them.

“Karl should be in there,” he said, nodding towards the doors. “When we get to him just let me do the talking.”

Marian nodded. “I didn't see anyone suspicious out here. Let's do this fast.”

They stepped inside the warm building, candles casting an orange glow and forming intimidating shadows across the walls. This was the first time Marian had been inside Kirkwall’s chantry, never one to turn to the Maker in times of crisis, she avoided it like the plague. Anders led them up a set of stairs toward his friend.

“Karl, there you are,” Anders whispered, relieved. “Come on, let-”

“Hello Anders,” the grey haired man said softly. “I knew you'd come.”

Anders furrowed his brow. “Of course I came. What's going on, why are you talking like that?” Karl slowly turned around, a mark burned into his forehead, the bright pink standing out. Anders face crumbled and his voice broke, “no, maker please no.”

“I was too rebellious, I needed to be made an example of,” Karl turned to people behind Marian. “This is him, the apostate.”

Marian turned quickly and saw nearly a dozen templars climbing the chantry steps, swords drawn. She cursed and pulled out her own daggers, turning to shout something at Anders.

“No,” he whispered, falling to his knees trembling. “No!” His body suddenly glowed a bright blue, forcing Marian to squint in order to keep looking at him. “You will never take another mage as you took him!” His voice grew deeper and distorted. His body radiated with so much power she could feel it pushing at her. She stared for longer than was smart, the energy he gave off pushing her back.

A templar rushed toward her, her blades clashed with his at the last moment and she jumped to the side and avoided the sharp point.

Marian swallowed thickly, turning back just in time to avoid the tip of another Templar blade. She ducked under his arm and dragged her dagger across one of their throats quickly. Anders shot out bursts of ice and electricity, finishing off nearly three templars at once.

Marian was so distracted watching him, she didn't have time to avoid the blade that came at her and it hit her in the side, causing heat to fill her abdomen as the wound bled. She stumbled back, grabbing the wound and staring down the man now closing in on her.

An arrow flew and hit him in the back of the skull, and then the Templar fell revealing a grinning Varric.

“Come on, Sunshine,” he jabbed. “You're gonna get hurt if you keep watching Blondie like that.” She growled before jumping after another Templar, digging her blade into his shoulder causing the man to scream out before she thrust the blade into his armpit, hitting just the right angle to pierce his aorta.

The battle lasted nearly ten minutes, full of cursing and the sound of metal hitting metal. By the end of it, Marian had another wound on her leg and Varric had a burn from a stray fireball. Marian turned around and saw Karl shaking his head. “A-Anders,” he whispered.

“I'm here,” he said softly, blue receding from his skin as he placed a gentle hand on his friend's cheek. “I’ve got you.” He stood close to the man and Marian could barely hear what they were saying. She felt that this was something she shouldn’t be seeing anyway.

“What...did you do?” he mumbled. “It's like you brought a piece of the fade into this world. I had almost forgotten what that felt like. Maker, Anders make it stop.” Karl's voice began cracking as he clutched desperately to the healer’s chest, tears falling down his cheeks. “I don't know what you did but it's fading!”

Anders looked at the ground, jaw tense. Marian placed a gentle hand on his shoulder and he flinched, looking at her strangely. She pulled her hand back and let it fall to her side.

“I'm sorry Anders but,” she took a deep breathe, “if I know anything about tranquillity, it's not a life worth living.”

He nodded and turned back to Karl. “Please,” the man begged before returning to his dull voice, his eyes glazed over and his tears already drying on his cheeks. “Why do you look at me like that?”

Anders bit his lip before pulling out a small blade and shoving it into Karl's chest, ending his life swiftly.

“I'm sorry Karl,” he whispered. “I came too late, I'm so sorry.”

Marian kept a respectful distance, gripping her thigh tightly, trying to think of ways to ignore the pain. Anders turned back to her and mumbled, “let's get out of here, I'd rather not be around when more templars come.”

They walked back to Ander’s clinic, Marian with some difficulty, and Varric took off at some point in the journey. Marian wasn't even entirely sure why she followed him but he didn't say anything about it. Didn't ask her to leave him be or shout or scold. He walked silently ahead of her, reaching a hand out when they came across a set of stairs and helping her up them.

He silently shut and barred the door of his small clinic, taking a shaky breath before turning to her, expecting anything but the look of worry he got.

“Are you ok?” she whispered, sitting down heavily, glad to be off her leg.

He glared at the ground. “I’m betting you have other questions,” he said, sighing as he ran a hand over his messy hair.

“I figured I’d wait until you were ready to explain that,” she said, looking at her leg and studying the wound intently. “It's been a long night.”

“When I was in Amaranthine, I met a spirit of justice trapped outside the fade. In order to live in the physical world, he needed a host and...I offered,” he said quickly. “He was a friend of mine and I wanted to help him.”

She visibly tensed. She’d heard about abominations but Anders didn't seem like one, his body looked human and he wasn't going mad trying to kill her. He sighed.

“Here are my maps, you may use them. And me if you have need of me,” he said softly, handing her crinkled parchment.

Marian took them and carefully put them away. She moved to get up but flinched when she put her weight on her injured leg and fell back, grabbing the wound on her stomach tightly as it was jostled.

“Oh you're hurt,” Anders said, rushing over and kneeling in front of her. “I didn't realize, I'm so sorry.” She tried getting up again, moving away stiffly. “Bloody hell, would you stay still? I'm not a monster, I won't hurt you.”

“I'm not worried about that,” she says back, glaring at him. “It’s not-”

“Then sit still,” he reached for her stomach. “This isn't going to get better if you don't take care of it.”

She clenched her jaw as he placed gentle hands on her wound, flinching when she felt the magic surrounding and penetrating the wound. A light blue surrounded the area and she bit her lip, pain flashing before nearly disappearing.

“I've closed the internal wound,” he mumbled with unfocused eyes, pulling his hands back. “I left the skin open so that it can be cleaned properly, but you should drink a potion.” He moves to get up but falls back down, rubbing his eyes.

“I'll do it,” she says softly, standing. “Where are they kept?”

He points vaguely toward a few crates and she digs through papers reaching for the jar. She pulls it out and stares at it hard before placing it back in the box. A sheet of paper catches her eye, not that it seemed to be anything extraordinary, there was tiny print all over it, most of which was crossed out.

Anders looks over at her and blanches. “Uh th-that is...please don't-”

“‘The oppression of mages stems from the fears of men, not from the will of the Maker’?” Marian read softly and looked at him.

Anders instantly got defensive, any fatigue wiped from his face. “That's my manifesto, for mage rights. I don't need you or anyone telling me it’s not worth it. Don't bother,” he glares at the ground and Marian reads the rest of it, every word jumping out at her.

“I think you bring up many valid points,” she said softly, carefully placing the paper back where she found it.

“Yeah sur- wait, are you serious?” He looked at her, shocked.

She rubs the back of her neck awkwardly. “Well yeah, it makes sense and everything. I don't believe in the Maker but if he does exist then why would he gift people with something he hated,” she cleared her throat. “People are often afraid of things they don't understand.”

Anders blinked at her before jumping up excitedly. “Exactly!”

Marian falls back, surprised by the child like glee on his face. “I'll admit it does need a bit of work though,” she mumbled.

He nodded solemnly. “I know, I'm working on it in secret.”

“I can help if you'd like,” she offered. “I'm sure Garrett would like to be a part of it too.”

He shook his head. “No, I don't want the two of you to get in trouble for th-”

“Anders,” she said firmly. He looked at her surprised. “I'm all for mage rights, I mean come on, I have...I had two siblings who were mages. I don't blame magic if someone's a bad person, besides having a few new voices could be a good thing.”

He smiled. “If you'd like, you can help,” he runs his shaking hand through his matted hair.

Marian looked around the run-down room, taking in the dirty floors and torn up cots. “If you'd like I can help in your clinic too,” she absently ran her fingers over a burn scar on her hand. “I can't do magic or anything, but I can patch up wounds and hand out potions and stuff. It's probably pretty stressful on your own.”

He looked nearly ready to cry with joy. “Y-yeah,” he cleared his throat. “That'd be great.”

Marian nodded. “I should get going before Garrett sends out a search party,” she joked.

Anders chuckled, the soft sound making Marian smile proudly. “He's concerned for you, not that I can blame him, having such a beautiful sister and all.”

 

“You think I'm beautiful?” Marian asked, pushing a lock of hair behind her ear nervously.

He flushed. “O-oh well yeah I just...that was a bit forward...what I meant was…” he trailed off and rubbed his forehead.

Before he could talk again Marian walked up and placed a gentle finger against his chapped lips. “Thank you,” she whispered, smiling softly. He gulped and they stood like that for awhile before Marian pulled her hand back quickly. No no no, you stop that now, she scolded herself.

“Well,” she laughed loudly. “Time for me to get going, bye Anders.” She waved as she walked out the door, closing it softly behind herself.

She took a shaky breath before walking to Gamlen’s home in Lowtown.

“Hey sis,” Garrett said, throwing down a book and rushing to meet her at the door, wrapping his arms around her tightly. “You're ok, there wasn't any trouble was there?”

She looked at the ground. “Templars made the man Tranquil,” Garrett hissed. “Anders had to…”

Garrett placed a finger to lips. “Are you ok?”

She nodded before wrapping her arms around him playfully. “Don't worry, no big bad templars will ever hurt your sister.”

He sighed. “You're impossible,” he mumbled with a playful tone, but he couldn't hide his shaking when he hugged her back.

“Hey don't worry big guy,” she said gently. “I'll protect you.”

Garrett kissed her forehead gently. “Thanks sis, but you might not have a say someday.”

She punched him lightly. “Like hell I won't, I'll kill every Templar here if they even try to take you.”

He chuckled. “You're insane, you know that right?”

“That I am,” she giggled. “But guess what?”

“You went and slept with a guard?” he laughed.

She smiled up at him. “Nope, well, maybe, just not yet,” she laughed at his expression. “Oh calm down, it's not going to happen. But that's not the point right now! We are going to be helping Anders write his manifesto,” she said happily.

“Oh are we?” he chuckled. “And what kind of manifesto is this?”

“Mage rights,” she said. “He needs help and I figured a few new voices would do some good.”

He grinned. “I'm sure that's all you wanted.”

She crossed her arms over her chest. “What's that supposed to mean?”

“Oh nothing,” he said wandering the room. “I just noticed you inspecting the dear healers backside earlier.”

She scoffed. “I was not!”

“Hm well maybe you just do that with everyone,” he teased. “I've seen you ogling Varric’s chest hair.”

Marian rolled her eyes. “That's because no one can deny Varric, you do the same thing.”

“True,” he laughed.

“Come on, we should get some sleep,” Marian said. “I know you stayed up for me.”

She limped towards their room when Garrett picked her up carefully and walked with her, despite her protests. He gently sat her down and kneeled down to inspect her leg.

“Why didn't you ask him to heal this?” Garrett asked, looking up at her like he already knew the answer. She glared at him and he sighed. “You still have issues with people healing you.”

She crossed her arms. “It's not necessary,” she mumbled. “I won't die from this.”

“Maybe,” he said, placing gentle hands to the wound. “But it's still not good given our profession.”

“Garrett…” she warned. He smirked before letting healing magic flow from his hand to her leg and she flinched, feeling it spark against her flesh. But the wound was closing and her pain decreased a bit.

He pulled back a bit and sighed. “Done,” he said. She kicked him in the shoulder, knocking him back.

“You didn't have my permission to do that,” she glared at him.

He simply shrugged and turned to lay down. She glared at him for a moment longer before gently rubbing her hands over the remnants of the wound.

Climbing into bed she listened to the soft sounds of Garrett’s snores and fell asleep to the warm presence of him at her back.

Chapter Text

“Bloody hell this is ridiculous,” Varric shouted loosing another arrow and watching it fly into a ruffian’s skull.

“Oh come on Varric,” Marian joked jumping on another's back and slitting its throat quickly. “This is fun.”

“Your definition of fun is a lot different than mine sunshine,” he teased, using Bianca to beat another over the head before Marian came over and relieved him of the duty.

“Yeah Varric this is kinda fun,” Garrett said using the blade at the bottom of his staff to pierce one of the man’s heart. “Easier than that job for Aveline.”

Marian looked around and saw all the attackers on the ground of the alienage, staining the floor red.

“I wouldn't say it's easy but,” Merrill started, walking next to them. “A lot better than fighting on the Wounded Coast I suppose. And a lot less hot. Far less sun.”

Marian ruffled the tiny elf's hair. “That's the spirit sweetie,” she teased. Merrill giggled and used her hands to flatten out the previously spiked up hair. “No more sunburn for my poor baby brother either.”

“Come on,” Garrett said, pointedly ignoring Marian’s jab at the sensitivity of his skin. “This looks like it's the place.”

“What was it we are getting here again?” Merrill asked. She leaned against her staff heavily weary from the fighting but eager to be of assistance.

“Some dwarf’s lyrium or something,” Marian said stretching her arms over her head. They entered the small room quietly. Dirt and straw covered the floor and the walls looked beyond repair. Marian instantly tensed up, feeling the shift of the air when they walked in.

“Well come on then,” Merrill said, walking up to a door to open it. “We have to-”

A sudden explosion sent her flying towards a wall and she fell down with a loud thud, unmoving. Marian’s choked on her breath, the feeling of a fist pressing harshly into her gut. People seemed to jump out of nowhere, daggers and swords glinting in the light of the fire around them. Garrett rushed over to Merrill’s side, assumably to heal her as best he could.

We should have brought Anders, Marian thought.

She quickly shook the thought from her head and turned toward the largest group of men, turning her blades toward them and attacking, which in hindsight might not have been the best idea.

Varric swore as he sent arrows flying toward the group and he lost sight of Marian. She cursed and rammed her dagger into a random thigh, hearing the scream close to her ear before turning and shoving her other blade into his face. Arrows flew past her head, lodging in the wood behind her.

“Hey, watch it,” she growled at Varric.

“Sorry sunshine,” he shouted. “It's hard to tell where you end and they begin.”

“Watch out,” Garrett shouted, directing his hands toward the group. Marian barely had enough time to get out of the way before Garrett sent a fireball at the group, igniting several of the men who ran around screaming.

Marian finished them off quickly, feeling the heat from their skin. She tried her best to ignore the sizzling sounds their flesh made, instead opting to turn away from the bodies.

“I'm so sorry,” Merrill said shakily. “I-I didn't know it was trapped...oh my, are you ok? You're burned!”

Marian looked down at her arm and smiled at Merrill, ignoring the mark. “It's not a big deal, I'll take care of it when we get home.”

“Here, let me,” Garrett said walking toward her before she pushed him back.

“Nope, you need that energy to help in case more show up,” she joked, evading him quickly.

He crossed his arms over his chest, grinning down at her. “You know you're impossible right?”

“You love me!”

“Oh how touching,” Varric laughed, putting Bianca away. “Come on, let's find that chest.”

“I think I see it,” Garrett said, walking over and opening it quickly. He looked confused before it morphed into anger. “Its empty.”

“What?” Marian growled looking into the box before throwing it against the wall. The force of it knocked a hole into the decrepit wall.

“Waste of bloody time,” Varric grumbled, starting toward the door.

Garrett sighed and picked his staff up. “Well, let's go talk to Anso, maybe he has some answers.”

Stepping out of the building they were greeted by several more fighters, all heavily armed and furious looking. “Wait, who are they? That's not the elf!”

“It doesn't matter,” another growled. “We were told to kill anyone who went into the house.”

“I'm an elf,” Merrill said, reaching for her staff apprehensively. “Though I wouldn’t say I’m prepared to be killed.”

Marian sighed and rushed toward one of the women of the group, slashing her blades dangerously. The lady jumped back, barely avoiding the sharp points.

By the time Marian did hit her the metal made a loud clank and her blade simply bounced off. The woman quickly brought her elbow down, knocking it into the back of Marian’s head. Her vision swam. Marian pushed the woman back, feeling the cold metal on the palms of her hands while she struggled against the person in front of her.

Growling she shouted, “Garrett,” before diving to the side and watching her brother send an electric jolt at the woman she was fighting. She screamed, her voice echoing throughout the alienage and fell.

Marian thought for a second if the elves who lived here were simply used to so much violence in their neighborhood or if they simply couldn’t hear. She assumed it was the former.

The others were no more easy to dispatch and Garrett and Merrill ended up doing most of the work. By the end of it, everyone was exhausted but not badly injured.

“This doesn't seem like an accident,” Varric said, panting heavily. Sweat dripped down the side of his face and he wiped it away.

“Looks like someone has some explaining to do,” Garrett responded, his body tense.

After looting a few of the bodies and taking the coin they began to walk up the steps out of the alienage, stopped by a soldier.

He glared at them. “I don't know who you are friend, but you've made a serious mistake coming here,” he spat. “Men into the clearing. Now!”

Suddenly a bloodied soldier stumbled down the steps, looking at the armored man in front of him pleadingly.. “Cap...tain…” he mumbled before falling. He didn’t get up again.

“Your men are dead and your trap has failed,” a deep voice called out from the steps before turning around a corner. “I suggest running back to your master while you still can.”

The elf walked past him, white hair shining in what moonlight made it to the alienage. Garrett stared at the elf hard, his expression unreadable. The captain seemed shocked before grabbing the smaller man’s arm.

“You're going nowhere slave-”

Before any of them could react the elf began glowing a bright blue and reached a clawed hand into the man's chest, removing it swiftly and dropping the man to the ground. He turned back to the the group in front of him.

“I am not a slave,” he growled, almost to himself, before speaking to the group. “I apologize, when I asked Anso to create a distraction for the hunters I didn't think there'd be so many,” he said, his voice echoing his regret.

“Those men were after you?” Garrett asked, hand tightening on his staff. His eyes seemed clouded and his jaw was tense.

“Correct. My name is Fenris and these men were Imperial bounty hunters sent to retrieve a magister’s lost property,” the elf glared at the ground, bitterness in his voice. “Namely myself. Crude as their methods were I could not face them alone, luckily Anso chose wisely.”

“That seems like a lot of effort to find one slave,” Garrett says, narrowing his eyes a bit.

“It is.”

“Does this have something to do with those markings?” Marian asked, tilting her chin towards Fenris and leaning against the walls of the stairway.

He lifted his arms a bit before chuckling grimly. “Yes, I imagine I must look quite strange to you. I did not receive these markings by choice, however, they have served me well. Without them I would still be a slave.”

“How did you get them?” Garrett asked, worrying his lower lip with his teeth.

Marian saw Fenris tense a bit, her keen eyes watching his body movements closely for any sign that he would turn on his helpers.

“I would prefer not speaking of that,” he said softly.

“What are they?” Marian asked.

He glanced down at his arms. “Lyrium, which provided the power my former master desire for his...pet,” he spat the last word.

“If those men were trying to take you back, I'm glad we helped,” Garrett said, quickly clearing his throat and looking anywhere but at the elf.

“I have met few on my travels who sought more than personal gain,” he said, surprised. He leaned down to pat down the captain, reaching into a pocket and pulling out a small amulet. “It's just as I thought, my former master accompanied them to the city. I hate to ask again but I must confront him before he flees, I will need your help.”

Garrett grinned. “If it means catching more slavers, we’ll help you.”

Fenris nodded solemnly. “I will find a way to repay you I swear it,” he said, turning away. “My former master has a mansion in Hightown, meet me there soon. We must get to him before sunrise.” He walks away swiftly.

Garrett turns to the group, throwing on a wide grin. “So...we’re going to help him,” he declared cheerfully.

Marian stared at him from her place leaning against a wall. “Alright, oh wise and powerful leader,” she said sarcastically.

“Good,” he said smiling before ruffling her hair. “My loyal subject.”

She laughed up at him. “We’ll need to be pretty careful.”

“More careful than normal?” he asked. “Because we normally aren't careful at all.”

“We should be this time,” she laughed punching his arm.

He tilts his head a bit. “Why?”

“You heard what he said, a Tevinter magister. He's going to be strong,” she said, losing her smile. “We just need to be careful if we’re all going to get out of this. Even that guy.”

“Oh come on sunshine,” Varric said patting her on the back. “We got this.”

She smiled and huffed a laugh. “I never said we didn't.”

“Come on,” Garrett said. “We need to get to Hightown tonight.”

Chapter Text

“Danarius, do you hear me? Your pets cannot stop us!”

Garrett huffed before rubbing his forehead, annoyed. “You're aware that alerting the enemy of your position isn't the smartest thing to do?”

Fenris glared at him. “I have no wish to hide.”

“That doesn't mean we should be reckless,” he hissed.

“He has a point,” Marian said, walking over to them. “But what's more fun than a prepared magister.”

“Yeah so much fun,” Varric grumbles. “Why do I agree to these things again?”

“Because you love us too much to say no,” Marian grinned, knocking into him with her hip.

“I think you've got that the other way around sunshine,” he chuckles.

Garrett sighed and turned back to Fenris. “Just try to stay quiet.”

Fenris didn't say anything and walked away opening a door, leading the group into a long hallway. Looking around he seemed to debate which door to take before walking toward one and opening it quickly, his hand instinctively reaching for his blade.

Garrett’s grip on his staff tightened at the seemingly empty room before moving onto the next one himself, throwing the door open and being greeted with several demons.

He cursed before using an ice spell to freeze the beasts in place and Marian took out most of them, with the occasional arrow from Varric helping finish them off.

Turning sharply, Garrett started to yell at Fenris for not helping before the look on the elf’s face locked him in place. Poorly concealed fear and anger, disappointment maybe? The look made Garrett’s chest hurt.

“Let us move on,” he mumbled, walking past the group quietly. Garrett sighed following him.

“Not that I'm not for helping a broody elf, but do you know your way around in here?” Varric asked.

“All the mansions here are the bloody same,” he grumbled. “You know one you know them all.”
He stepped into the parlor with his blade drawn, prepared for the several beasts that charged after him. He swung the large blade around quickly, knocking down a large group of them before rushing into the room to fight with Marian close behind.

Varric stayed in the doorway and Garrett stepped into the center of the room to send electric shocks toward any demons that came near him or the elf.

Said elf was hacking through the beasts with an efficiency even Garrett was a bit surprised at. His lithe body moved with an elegance that made even fighting look damn good, almost like dancing, and Garrett didn't realize he had been staring until a demon jumped at his back and knocked him down, the sound of his head hitting the floor echoing through the parlor. Fenris turned and saw the demon looming over him, rushing with his blade ready to cut it down, however, Varric seemed to have the same idea and shot it before Fenris got near. Marian slashed at the shade in front of her, watching it dissolve into the marble floor and turned toward the group.

Her eyes widened a bit at the scene playing out, her body remaining tense, ready to strike if necessary.

She watched the elf kneel and shake Garrett’s shoulder, and he only moaned a bit, turning his head away. A bit of blood dripped down his temple and Fenris growled, reaching into the mage’s pack to pull out a potion. He held up the man’s head, gauntlets pressing into the soft flesh and placed the bottle against his lips, making sure every drop was swallowed, his thick throat contracting. Garrett’s eyes opened blurrily and he blinked, squinted. “Are you alive?” Fenris asked, his expression unreadable.

Varric playfully glared at him. “Way to be blunt broody,” he joked.

“Blunt isn't bad,” Marian laughed and reached a hand out for Garrett. “You alright big guy?”

He accepted her help and stood shakily, rubbing the back of his neck with the taste of elfroot still on his tongue. Turning to Fenris he watched the elf stand again quickly, his slim muscles contracting and releasing.

“Thanks,” Garrett muttered.

“Let us finish this,” Fenris said roughly, climbing the stairs two at a time and opening the door at the top, clearly expecting more than he got. An empty room greeted him, silence louder than any scream he could've made.

He snarled, turning away. “Gone,” he growled. “If you'll excuse me I...need some air. Feel free to take any valuables Danarius left.” He rushed out, his anger seeming to be a physical presence lingering behind him. Garrett could hear him mumble a quick, “I won’t need them,” as he left.

“Oh wow,” Marian said, rummaging through a few chests. “This ring outta get me a nice round at the pub. Or I may keep it.” She inspected the small metal band thoughtfully and slipped it onto her index finger, looking at it happily.

Varric grinned. “At least you aren't trying to steal from me.”

“Oh come on Varric” Garrett joked as they began their trek back to the door, getting lost a few times. “You offered to put us on your tab.”

“Yeah,” Marian said, patting his head. “You should've been prepared for what that meant.”

“Bloody Hawkes,” he mumbled.

They step into the cold night and Garrett drew his cloak tighter around him, looking around for Fenris. Garrett jumped, startled when he sees the elf leaning against a wall, his presence powerful despite his size.

“Unbelievable,” the elf growled. “I escape a land of dark magic only to have it hunt me at every turn, it is a plague burned into my flesh and my soul. And it seems I find myself in the presence of another mage.” He glares bitterly at Garrett who's grip tightens around his staff protectively and Fenris steps forward, body tense and Marian moved closer, ready to intercept him if necessary. Garrett held his arm out, keeping her back. “I saw you casting spells in there, I should have realized sooner what you really were. Tell me then: what manner of mage are you? What is it you seek?”

Marian tensed and eyed the elf, watching the exchange closely.

Garrett swallowed thickly, looking into the fiery green orbs that were staring up at him. Eyes that screamed of fear and anger, a past of abuse and shame brimming in them. Garrett almost cried looking at the smaller man.

“I'm not seeking anything,” he said softly.

“Yet I have no doubt danger will undoubtedly find you,” he spat, before staring at the ground for a moment and sighing. “I imagine I appear ungrateful. I apologize, for nothing could be further from the truth. I did not find Danarius, but I still owe you a debt, one I intend to repay. Here is all the coin I have, and should you find yourself in need of me, you have only to ask.”

Garrett seemed to debate for a moment before speaking. “We’re planning a deep roads expedition soon and may need some assistance.”

“Very well,” he bowed slightly. “If you have need of me, I shall be here.”

Garrett stared at the coin in his hand before handing it back to the small elf. “I don't need this,” he said softly.

Fenris glared at him. “And why not?” he asked. “You performed a service and I promised payment for it.”

Garrett sighed. “I didn't do this for money-”

“Then what did you do it for?” he spat.

“What does it matter?” Garrett hissed, holding the coin back out.

“You aren't going to win this battle,” Marian joked, smiling softly at Fenris. “Take the coin back Fenris.”

“I have my own reasons for wanting to help you face your former master. Please keep this, use it to keep your stomach full or something,” Garrett mumbled.

The mage looked down at him softly and held the coin out. Fenris begrudgingly took it.

“Well not that that wasn't sweet or anything,” Varric interrupted yawning. “But I think I'm going to go, I'd like to actually sleep tonight.” He waved as he walked off.

Turning to Fenris, he bowed. “I suppose we should take our leave as well,” he said.

“Yes, you should,” he replied, crossing his arms over his chest. “I have work to do if I plan to make the manor livable.”

“I can help if you-”

“I don't need your help,” Fenris growled, clearing his throat when he saw Garrett’s fallen face and speaking softer. “I apologize, but I'm capable of doing it on my own.”

Garrett stared at the ground and sighed, running a hand through his hair roughly. “Yeah, I guess,” he said softly. “I'm just...going to go then.”

Fenris nodded and turned toward the manor’s door, opening it quietly. “Wait, Fenris?”

The elf stopped and partially turned so he could see the human over his shoulder and glared as he remained silent. “What is it?”

Garrett rubbed the back of his neck. “I figured...you don't have any friends right?” He seemed to understand the way he phrased his words may be perceived as offensive because he quickly threw his hands up in defense. “I-I didn't mean-”

“No I don't,” Fenris said, matter-of-factly. He didn’t even seem upset by the thought.

Garrett seemed surprised before responding. “Well, we have card games at the Hanged Man that the entire group gets together for, maybe once a week? Maybe you'd like to come,” Garrett said, his heart pounding in his chest.

Fenris frowned at the hopeful look on Garrett’s face before turning away. “That's probably not the best idea,” he said softly. “Excuse me.”

He closed the door softly behind himself and glared at the hard floor of the manor, deep purples and blues made up the furniture and walls and Fenris hated it. It reminded him too much of Danarius’s manor in Tevinter. He sighed and walked away from the door with the reproachful eyes of a mage behind it.

Said mage stared at the door that had just been shut in front of him and sighed, tugging on his short hair anxiously. Turning away, he headed to Lowtown with his twin at his side, to a house filled with sad looks and nightmares, stale bread and the scent of mold. A house that won't ever be a home.

We'd better make this expedition count, he thought to himself.

When they got to the door Marian rushed into the small kitchen area and saw their mother putting food away.

“Oh I'm glad you're still up,” she said. “Can I get my food to go, please?”

Leandra put her hands on her hips with a huff. “Maybe you should be home for dinner on time,” she said.

“I'm sorry mother,” Garrett laughed, walking into the small area. It was crowded with the three of them in it. “We had a job to do.”

She sighed and reached for the food. “Fine, here. Be careful out there darlings, it's not safe.”

She walked out of the kitchen and went to bedroom she and Gamlen shared.

“Good night mother,” they said in unison and she closed the door.

“Well, I'll be heading off then,” Marian said, walking toward the door quickly with her food.

“Wait, why?” Garrett asked, staring at her hard. He held his hand out, quickly stopping her from walking out the door.

“I'm going to help Anders clean the clinic,” she said proudly.

“It's a bit late, don't you think?”

She shrugged. “I guess, but he's always up this late.”

Garrett quirked a brow. “Oh? And how would you know that?”

She bit the inside of her cheek. “I've been helping him out a lot lately, is all.”

“That you have been,” he said, a teasing tone to his voice. “Aw, does my sweet sister have a crush?”

She blushed furiously and glared at him. “Shove it Garrett,” she said, turning away from him. “I'm leaving now.”

“Don't have too much fun without me,” he laughed as she closed the door behind her.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

Marian knocked gently on the door of Anders’ clinic with the small container filled with meat and hard bread. It had lost its warmth during the walk but Marian was just happy she could provide anything for the poor man.

The door softly clicked open to reveal the worn looking man with a look of surprise on his face.
“Oh, Marian,” he mumbled. “Is something wrong? I was just…” he trailed off and Marian smiled at him.

“I brought you food,” she held the container out to him and he looked at it confused. She smiled sadly. “You don't eat nearly enough or even close to regularly. I've taken it upon myself to make sure you do.” She walks into the dark clinic as if she belonged there and gently set the food on Anders’ small desk. “Now hurry up, before it gets colder than it already is.”

He walks over to the desk quietly and picks at the food, pouting. “I'm not a child,” he mumbled. “I can take care of myself.”

She chuckled while relieving the cots of their linens and folding them. “Then prove otherwise and eat.” She began sweeping the room, picking up any dirt or loose bandages to be disposed of.

“What are you doing?” he asked, his voice muffled behind a large bite of meat.

“Cleaning,” she said, setting the broom against a wall and using a sponge to scrub the hard tables.

“Obviously, I meant why,” he said, taking a large bite of bread, his eyes closing. Maker's breath that's phenomenal.

“Because you're eating,” she said, hiding her smile behind a cough.

“I'm only eating now because you brought me food,” he mumbled. “Why are you here?”

“Ah why are any of us here?” she joked.

“Could you be serious for three seconds?”

“I tried to once, worst three seconds of my life,” she said, checking to make sure the cots were free of dust before laying clean linens on them.

Anders stood up and crossed the room, looming over her. He stood a full head taller than her and his tangled hair threw shadows across his face. “Why are you here?”

She seemed startled before playing it off with a quick smile and wave. “Just to make sure my favorite healer is in tip top shape, Maker knows I may need your help someday, I'm such a klutz.”

He stares at her with a look that she can't quite discern. “Why are you cleaning the clinic?”

“Well, you shouldn't have to take care of any of this alone,” she said, smiling. “It's a big job.”

“Of course it is,” he bristled, wiping his face. “There's lots of people who need help.”

“I-I know,” she quickly said. “I'm just saying you shouldn't have to do it alone. I mean, I'm not a mage but-”

“What? Do you think only a mage can help people? Like its a requirement,” he glared at her, stepping closer.

“Wha-no! I'm just trying to say…I just want to help,” she said the last bit so quietly she wasn't sure he heard.

He sighed and ran a hand over his weary eyes. “I'm sorry, I get cranky when I'm tired,” he mumbled stepping back. “I didn’t mean to...I apologize.”

“Maybe you should get some sleep, after you eat,” she suggested softly.

She starts toward the door but stopped when Anders grabbed her arm. “Listen, I'm sorry ok? I really didn't mean it,” he said, looking at her softly. “It's just...there so much going on and there's never enough time to do everything.” He runs his hands through his tangled hair, pulling it from its tie. “There’s always something more that needs to be done and it’s so hard to trust people.”

“Maybe you need help then,” she said, looking at him kindly. “I offered before and I'm offering again. I want to be of assistance.”

He sighed softly. “You shouldn't,” he grimaced at the hurt look on her face. “I didn't mean that I don't want your help! I meant - with the templars that is, it's not safe here. If they catch you with me, they'll hurt you too.”

She grinned at him. “Listen sweetie, I've been defending apostates from templars all my life, this'll be no different,” she raised a hand to stop him from interrupting. “For all you know, I may be able to help keep you safe.”

He sighed before staring at the ground hard. “Fine, just be careful.”

She squealed and clapped her hands together excitedly, startling Anders. “Thank you,” she quickly wrapped her arms around his neck and hugged him. “Make sure you finish that.” She points at the food before stepping back. “Time to go.”

She opens the door and closes it softly behind her, waiting to hear the soft click of a lock before walking off.

Chapter Text

Marian stretched hearing her back crack in several places and sighed contently. “You coming, Garrett?” she shouted from the front door.

“Oh shut it, I'm coming,” Garrett stumbled out of the room they shared, hopping on one foot while he pulled a boot onto the other. He quickly buckled his leather armor over a light tunic and rushed over to her, grabbing his cloak and wrapping it tightly around himself. “Alright, alright I'm ready,” he said grinning down at her.

“Don't forget-”

“Got it!” He grabbed his staff quickly.

“Took you long enough,” she turns and opens the door, shivering as the cold air rushed in.

Garrett wrapped a large arm around her shoulders and laughed. “Aw maybe I wanted to be fashionably late,” he joked.

She rolled her eyes and continued walking, welcoming the warmth his body provided. “You're unbelievable.”

“Yes I am,” he withdrew his arm and wrapped his cloak tighter around himself. “I need to stop by Hightown before we head to the Hanged Man.”

Marian frowned. “Why? That's a pretty big detour.”

“I'm thinking about asking Fenris to hang out with us tonight,” he said softly.

She smiled up at him. “Well, that's sweet of you,” she said. “Do you want me to go with you? It's not safe to go alone.”

He chuckled. “Oh come on, like anybody could beat your big bad brother.”

“Absolutely unbelievable,” she mumbled. “I'm going with you.”

“You don't-”

“Well I am,” she said, walking off and waiting for him to catch up with her. “So hurry up, I want to show up before all the drink is gone.”

“You can go a day without liquor you know,” he said, ruffling her hair. He joked about it as often as she did but he was honestly worried for how often she drank. Like she was trying to drown something.

“I could,” she laughed. “But if Varric’s paying why would I waste the opportunity.”

He chuckled and they were silent for the rest of the walk, carefully eyeing the shadows for any signs of danger. Garrett stopped stiffly in front of a manor and Marian whistled appreciatively.
“Nice,” she whispered. “And it's all his?”

“Well, kind of,” Garrett rubbed the back of his neck. “It technically belonged to his old master and-”

“Ooh,” she said. “So he's claimed it as his own.”

“Yeah, it's complicated.”

“I bet.”

Garrett stepped forward and knocked sharply, the sound echoing through the small courtyard. After nearly a full minute of waiting they looked at each other.

“Do you think maybe-” Marian started before the door opened a bit and stayed ajar. She stepped forward and gingerly walked through the door before rough hands grabbed her and threw her across the room.

She grunted as she landed and felt a hard body on top of hers, pinning her down before she could reach her blades.

“It's not like Danarius to send only one,” a voice sneered over her. “He must be very confident in your skills.” The slim man raised his hand up, slightly illuminated by the blue coming from his flesh.

“Wait Fenris-maker’s breath! Hold on Fenris,” Garrett shouted, barging in quickly. His cloak billowed out behind him as he sprinted toward the elf. Fenris turned back to Garrett and frowned then looked down at her before jumping off and reaching a hand down.

“I recognize you, my apologies. I have been so on edge since coming here,” he said softly, helping Marian off the floor. “I will be sure to be more cautious in the future.”

Marian stood silently for a moment before turning to her brother. “You want to bring him to play cards?” she asked, quirking a brow.

Garrett grinned sheepishly. “Yeah.”

She cleared her throat before mumbling, “at least he's not defenseless.”

“You're inviting me out again?” Fenris asked, sighing deeply. “I already-”

“I know I know,” Garrett said quickly. “But I think it'd be super awesome if you came. We’d have lots of fun and-”

“I appreciate the thought Garrett, however-”

“Oh please!”

“Yeah please,” Marian said, giving Fenris the same puppy dog eyes her brother did.

He looked at her like she had just sprouted a second head. “I just tried to kill you,” he said softly. “Why are you-”

“Because he wants you to go and he hasn't shut up about you since he met you,” she said. “He keeps saying things about your eyes and how beauti-” Garrett proceeded to place his hand over mouth, ignoring her muffled protests.

“So please?” he asked, looking at Fenris sheepishly.

Fenris sighed before nodding slightly and Garrett threw his fist in the air happily. “Yes! Come on then,” he said, grabbing Fenris’s hand gently and walking towards the door.

“Yes, I would like something to drink before Varric’s charity comes to an end,” Marian said, following him and holding the door open for the pair. She closed it behind them and watched the elf walk stiffly through the town, looking at the shadows cautiously.

“Don't worry big guy,” Garrett said back at him, winking. “We’ll protect you.”

“I'm capable of defending myself Garrett,” he said with a ghost of a smile on his lips. Being around the mage eased him, as strange as the thought seemed to him.

“True, but I like the idea of being the big bad protector.”

Fenris chuckled and followed closely behind Garrett. Marian smiled and jumped on her brother’s back, startling the two men.

“Onward noble steed,” she shouted, pointing her hand forward. “To the Hanged Man!”

“Did you just call me a horse?”

Fenris mumbled something Garrett couldn’t quite catch but Marian quickly spoke again. (is that why i want to ride you so badly?) “Of course, now let's go little brother!”

Garrett laughed and skipped with her on his back holding her legs tightly. Fenris jogged lightly to keep up with them with no trouble.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

“Man, I lost again,” Marian moaned watching Isabela sweep her winnings toward herself greedily.

“Yes you did,” the pirate chuckled. “Lucky for me. Now strip.”

“That's because you cheat,” she laughed, throwing her head back and swallowing the brown liquid Varric had handed her.

“So what?” she laughed. “You would too, you just suck.”

“That she does,” Garrett laughed. “She's pretty good at it too, from what I've heard.”

Marian rolled her eyes and laughed under her breathe. “Make me sound like a whore why don't you.” She chuckled softly as she peeled off her tunic, leaving her sitting in the cold tavern in nothing but her trousers, breast bind, and her left sock. Isabela whistled softly.

She could feel the eyes of many on her but none of them would try anything. Partially because of all the people she had around her but mostly because of her reputation.

“Oh no, I'm sure he didn't mean it that way,” Merrill laughed softly.

“I think he did Daisy,” Varric said, patting her shoulder gently. “Garrett’s just an ass though so it's alright.”

“That's very true,” Anders laughed softly, consciously avoiding looking at Marian. “I'm just glad someone else it losing for a change.” This earned him a playful kick under the table from Marian and he chuckled.

Isabela shuffled the cards and handed them out. Fenris looked down at his hand sighing softly. “I fold.”

“You're no fun broody,” Varric laughed, throwing a couple silver into the center of the table. “Don't you want to lose some money too?”

“No I don’t,” the elf mumbled. “And I certainly would like to keep my clothing.” Garrett grinned at him.

“Are you enjoying yourself at least?” The hopeful smile on his face made Fenris flinch internally.

“It's not...entirely unpleasant,” he said, eyeing Anders and Merrill a bit suspiciously.

Garrett smirked. “Its because I'm here isn't it? I'm just too perfect.”

“Oh darling I think it's because of me,” Isabela said, leaning on the table giving everyone an enjoyable view of certain assets she flaunted regularly. “Everyone knows I'm the funnest out of the lot here. Isn't that right Marian?”

She chuckled and had another drink. “All I know is it's not because of me.”

“But why would you say that?” Merrill asked, tilting her head a bit to the side.

“No real reason sweetie,” Marian chuckled. “I'm just boring.”

Isabela threw an arm over Marian’s shoulder nearly making her spill her drink. “You could be much more fun if you'd hang with me for a night. I could show you a thing or two,” she said seductively and winked.

“I appreciate the offer,” Marian chuckled, her face flushing from both the alcohol and Isabela’s teasing. “However, I'm afraid I'm going to have to decline yet again.”

“You really are no fun,” Isabel pouted. Marian laughed.

“I told you I wasn't,” she chuckled. “Perhaps someday I’ll take you up on your offer though.” She kissed Isabela on the cheek, earning a hearty chuckle and a couple cheers for more from patrons surrounding them.

“I think you're fun,” Merrill said, playing with an elven trinket of hers absentmindedly.

“Aw she’s sweet,” Garrett laughed. “Isn't she?”

Marian hugged the tiny elf. “Yes she is. She's the cutest little thing!”

“Oh, so you'd like to bring kitten,” Isabela said laughing. “Would you agree to loosen up a bit with her there?”

Marian put her face in her hands and listened to everyone's laughter, smiling softly against her palms. “I swear Isabela,” she groaned.

“Alright everyone, give the poor girl some air,” Varric joked. “With how red she is, I wouldn't be surprised if she was actually ill.”

“Well then Anders can help her, isn't that right Anders?” Merrill said, looking at the mage.

“Oh yes Anders help her,” Garrett said, pulling Marian up and hugging her tightly, nonchalantly pushing her breasts up with his lower arm around her waist. He grinned at the healer. “My poor sister’s ill Anders, you may even have to administer CPR!”

The mage flushed and looked at the ground quietly and Marian punched her brother in the arm. “You are awful,” she growled, trying hard to conceal her laughter.

“She's not wrong Garrett,” Fenris said softly. “You really are awful.”

“Yes I am,” he joked. “But she loves me anyway!”

“Do you lot know why Aveline ditched us tonight?” Isabela asked.

“Some guard business,” Marian said, tipping her glass back again. “She said she'd be able to make it next time.”

Varric sighed before standing. “We should probably get to sleep soon, we have a certain expedition to get to in the morning.” He looked pointedly at the twins who smiled sheepishly.

“We probably should,” Marian sighed. “But we aren't going to.”

Garrett laughed beside her and shook his head. “Why would we make anything easy for you, papa dwarf?”

Varric grinned before walking away, waving over his shoulder. Merrill stood.

“I should probably get going too,” she said softly.

“I'll walk you back sweet thing,” Isabela said, standing beside her and wrapping a playful arm over the small elf’s shoulder. “It's not safe at night, especially for a pretty thing like you.”

“Oh,” Merrill’s cheeks turned red and she looked down. “I'm not pretty but...thank you.”

Isabela laughed as they walked out of the pub calling her things like “kitten” and “adorable”. Marian sighed and ran a hand through her hair, looking down at her empty cup.

“You ok there?” Garrett asked teasingly, an air of concern in his voice.

“Hm?” she looked up at him, eyebrows raised. “Oh, I'm debating having more.”

“You probably shouldn't,” Fenris chuckled absentmindedly running a finger over his gauntlet, testing the sharp edge against the pad of a finger.

“I probably shouldn't,” she agreed, glaring at the cup before raising it toward the barkeep, waiting for him to walk over and pour her more.

“Maker forbid you listen though,” Garrett said fondly.

“I never do.”

He wrapped an arm around her shoulder and leaned against her, his body weight making it difficult for her to stay in her chair. “You never have, even before all this.” She smiled softly down at her cup and took a sip.

“How did the two of you come to Kirkwall? You're obviously not from here,” Anders asked. “I've never heard the story.”

Garrett tensed a bit but hid it behind a charming grin. “Wouldn't you like to know.”

“I would,” Fenris said softly. Garrett turned toward the elf, his face showing real emotion for a brief moment before he put his mask back on.

“We were in Lothering before we came here,” he said, smiling a bit. “Everyone knows what happened there.”

“That they do,” Marian said softly, tipping her glass back hard and emptying it. Two sets of bright eyes flashed in her mind and she quickly tried forcing them out.

“Hey easy on that stuff now,” Garrett scolded gently. “Too much and you'll make yourself sick.”

“Yeah ye-”

“You really shouldn't,” Anders said, standing and coming around the table. Putting a cool hand on her red forehead and sighing softly. “This is going to be bad in the morning.”

She gently swatted his hand away. “I'm fine,” she said, motioning for another glass before Garrett covered her cup with his hand.

“She's not having anymore,” he said cheerfully to the bartender, who simply shrugged and walked away grumbling.

“Hey-”

“Marian, we have the expedition tomorrow,” Garrett said. “We can't have you hungover.”

“Too late for that,” Fenris said, leaning across the table curiously. “Looks like she'll have a massive headache come morning.”

“Drink some water before bed,” Anders said softly. “And make sure you eat something.”

She growled a bit and stood quickly, knocking her chair down. The occupants of the Hanged Man looked at her curiously, as if expecting a fight to break out. The men at her table looked concerned or surprised, a little annoyed even. She bit the inside of her cheek, hearing a soft voice in the back of her head she thought she’d forgotten.

She sighed and turned around. “I'm going to bed,” she said softly, throwing her tunic on messily and grabbing her blades before walking out, ignoring their protests.

“I swear I'm going to-” Garrett began, standing as if he intended to follow her.

“Don't, I'll walk her home,” Anders said. “I need to clean up the clinic anyway. Don't worry Garrett,” he laughed softly seeing the look on his face. “I'll keep her safe.”

Garrett begrudgingly nodded and sat back down, twiddling his thumbs nervously. “She's an idiot, keep an eye on her.”

Anders nodded before quickly heading out in the direction she walked off in.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Marian stumbled through the dark streets of Lowtown, cursing softly. Why did she have to think about them now?

Bethany’s kind eyes flashed through her mind. Marian clenched her hands into fists, leaning against a wall, her world spinning.

She saw Carver’s proud but stern smile, watched him as he drew his sword and slashed it against a tree. She punched the brick, immediately swearing and gripping her hand tightly. Tears pricked at her eyes.

Her father’s disapproving stare as he looked down at her scraped up knees but healed them anyway. Marian clapped a hand over her mouth, trying to will herself not to be sick.

“Hey there boys look what we got here,” someone sneered from in front of her.

Marian looked up and growled, predatory eyes glinting in the dark as she saw a group of guards surround her. A certain red-headed guard took most of her attention.

“Looks like we got a pretty little lady out past her bedtime,” he growled, watching her stumble.

She glared at them before grinning. This...this she could do. She forced the twins out of her mind, forced her father and his constant need to protect everyone out, Bethany’s convictions of the maker, Carver’s desire to impress.

She clenched her hands into fists, not even bothering to reach for her daggers as they surrounded her and closed in.

She didn't need them.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Anders walked swiftly through the dark streets, looking around anxiously. He believed in Marian’s ability to defend herself but anything could happen to someone left alone at night, especially in Lowtown.

He suddenly heard low grunts and the sounds of fleshing hitting flesh from nearby and followed the sound to a dark alley. Peering into the darkness he squinted, trying his best to see without the need of magic. The sounds abruptly stopped and were followed by footsteps slowly making their way towards the opening to the street.

Marian looked quite pleased with herself when he saw her, a small grin on her split lip and she wiped her chin, a worrying amount of blood on her hand. The skin around her eye swelled so much she had to have difficulty seeing out of it, a dark purple bruise covering the flesh, matching the marks on her neck.

When she saw Anders she stopped and stared at him for a minute before throwing on a winning smile.

“Anders!” she squealed happily, throwing her arms in the air. “What are you doing out so late? Is it safe?”

“I was about to ask the same of you,” he said numbly, stepping forward slowly. “Are you ok?”

She gingerly touched her face before laughing a bit. “Oh yeah, just a couple cutpurses,” she waved it off. “I took care of it, obviously.”

“Right,” he said softly. “Um, you look kind of...beat up? Could I-”

“What? Heal me?” she interrupted him. “What'd be the point?”

He frowned. “What do you mean?”

“It's just going to happen, again and again,” she said, smiling as if happy, her voice slurred. “It always does and always will, don't concern yourself with it.”

She tried stepping past him but stopped when he grabbed her arm, flinching.

“Sorry,” he said, pulling back. “But you should let me. That eye will be hard to see through in the deep roads.”

“I'll have Garrett do it,” she whispered, trying to walk away again.

“You know Garrett’s an awful healer.” This earned a small chuckle from her. “Just let me-”

She flinched as he reached a hand out to her. “Please don't,” she whispered. “Just...don't.”

He dropped his hand to his side, frowning. “Why won't you let me help you?” he asked angrily.

“Why do you want to?” she countered.

“You're my friend-”

“No I'm not,” she growled, glaring at the ground. “I'm just somebody who's forcing you to go somewhere you hate.”

The air was tense, the silence nearly palpable as they stared at each other. When she walked away again, he didn't try to stop her.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

“You can't be serious?” Garrett laughs loudly. “The entire time?”

“Yes,” Fenris smiled softly. “The man clearly didn't understand what was going to happen to him.”

“But...no trousers? The entire time?” Garrett grins. “Was he at least worth looking at?”

Fenris grimaced. “Not remotely.”

Garrett missed this, chatting away about a non-painful past. After Marian had left, Fenris asked one more question about Lothering before sensing Garrett’s aversion to the subject and changing it.

“He had thrown his bloody tunic and boots on and just left the manor like that,” Garrett laid his head down, laughing so hard his face went red and his eyes watered.

Fenris smiled softly, sure the man couldn't see. He believed Garrett to be a good man, despite his magic, and his sister seemed extremely protective of him. He deserved better than he seemed to have gotten, but then again, so did many others.

Garrett finished his hearty laughter and lifted his head, wiping his eyes. “Oh man, this makes me think of the one time my little brother Carver got so mad at Beth that he nailed her braids to the bed.”

Fenris chuckled softly, placing his chin in an elegant hand. “Why nail her braids?”

“Our mother would've killed him if he just cut her hair off,” Garrett explained. “She was already upset at Marian’s tomboyish attitude, she wanted a little girl to talk about dresses and make-up with.”

“What got him so upset?”

Garrett rubbed his forehead. “Maker, I can't remember now, it was so long ago,” he smiles thoughtfully. “They were really a pair.” Garrett drinks heavily from his glass, the amber liquid burning his throat.

“What happened to them?” Fenris asked softly.

Garrett tensed and stared at his glass hard, raising it so the bartender could fill it again before taking a long drink. “Same thing that happened to most from Lothering,” he said softly. “They didn’t make it out.”

Fenris nodded and chose not to ask for more information, knowing more than most that the past was often painful. “Why the expedition?”

“Hm?” Garrett looked at him softly with glazed eyes. He clearly wasn't as much of a drinker as his sister and didn't seem to need much to lose focus.

“Why are you going on the expedition?” Fenris repeated patiently.

“Oh that, well, my family used to be nobles,” he chuckled at the look the small elf gave him. “I know, I know, hard to believe. Don't worry, I was raised a simple person. But my mother wasn't.” He stared at his glass again before continuing softly, “she was raised as a noble, but she gave up so much to be with my father. I want to help her get some of it back, if not all.”

Fenris nodded and glared at the markings on his arms. He tried remembering before he got them, but the only sight he saw was the embedding of the lyrium into his flesh. He grimaced before clearing his head as best he could.

“Oh, I'm sorry Fenris,” Garrett said, wiping his face. “It must be terribly boring listening to me whine. I brought you here for fun, so let's have fun.”

“I do not mind,” Fenris said. “But what could we do here that would be fun?”

Garrett winked playfully. “I can think of something.” The elf chuckled softly. “What?”

“Nothing, you simply look like you need to go home,” he said.

“Aw but Fenris,” he pouted playfully, like a child. “Why don't you go home with me?”

“Perhaps another time,” Fenris said, smiling softly.

Garrett grinned, standing shakily. “I knew it, you couldn't resist my rugged good lo-”

As he tried leaning on the table his hand slipped and he feel heavily onto the floor with a loud thud. Fenris stifled a laugh and reached a hand out to the mage, who accepted. Fenris dimly noted how big they were, fully engulfing his own with heat.

“I will walk you home,” he said. “You are in no condition to go alone.”

“Aw how sweet of you,” Garrett said, batting his eyelashes playfully. “I hope you don't plan to take advantage of my inebriated state.”

Fenris chuckled softly, leading Garrett out of the tavern. “Not tonight.”

They walked slowly to Gamlen's house, with a few awful jokes from Garrett and quiet chuckles from Fenris. They saw Marian walk up the steps quickly and take a deep breath before opening the door cheerfully. The sight seemed to sober Garrett almost immediately.

He sighed softly. “I'm sorry about her,” he said. “She has a hard time talking about her emotions.”

“I did not say anything,” Fenris spoke softly, watching the door close behind her. “I understand not everyone can speak of their feelings openly.”

Garrett stared hard at the door. “Yeah.”

“Good night Garrett,” Fenris said, turning away. “I suppose I shall see you tomorrow.”

“Yeah,” he said absentmindedly, rushing towards the door. “Tomorrow.”

Chapter Text

“I can't believe you got into a fight and didn't even try to call for help!”

“Well what did you want me to do? Teleport back to the tavern?”

“Maybe think before getting into a damn fistfight!”

“Would you have stopped to try to have a chat?”

“This isn't about me!”

“I swear to the maker,” Varric interrupted them, shooting arrows through darkspawn heads and chests. “If you two don't stop I will turn this damn expedition around!”

“Shut up!” they shouted at the same time and went back to arguing while cutting down the darkspawn. They moved and fought well together but their bickering was stressing everybody out. Anders sighed as he shot ice and fire towards the creatures. Being in the deep roads already made him twitchy and their bickering wasn't helping his already throbbing head.

By the time all the creatures in the area were gone, he was sure another horde would fall upon them from all the shouting. He leaned on his staff a bit and watched them argue.

“You couldn't have thought you'd get out of it alright,” Garrett shouted. “You're lucky you got out of it alive!”

“I was fine without your damned help,” she growled, her hands tightening on her daggers. “Or you sending a babysitter after me!” Anders dimly noted that her eye was no longer swollen and the bruises around her neck were gone.

Garrett turned to him. “And why didn't you try to heal her dammit, or better yet, be there to help her with the fight?”

Anders was about to speak in his defense when she shouted back at her brother, effectively cutting him off. “Don't be mad at him,” she shouted. “I refused to let him, and it's not his fault that I got into a fight before he could show up!”

“Why don't you ever let anyone heal you?” he yelled. “It doesn't make any damn sense! You're always evading and refusing to let anyone touch you, Maker’s sake suck it up!”

Varric seemed resigned to let them finish and flopped down on a nearby rock, sighing heavily. Fenris leaned against a wall and watched the exchange curiously.

“It doesn't matter,” she responded. “All my injuries were small enough to heal on their own!”

“If I hadn't fixed your damn eye this morning you wouldn't be able to see well enough to even be here,” he threw his hands up angrily. “And your arm was nearly broken Marian! You're lucky I could heal it at all!”

She glared at him before storming off ahead of the group. “We need to find a damn way around the roadblock,” she called back, angrily.

Garrett growled and threw his hands up, exasperated. “You're impossible! Stop avoiding the-”

She ignored him and led the group through a few passageways and into a large room filled with darkspawn, causing yet another argument to erupt.

“Oh that is it,” Varric shouted, shutting the two of them up. “Marian, you go to the back of the group, Garrett you lead.” He continued shouting when they began to protest. “I'd like to finish this damn quest before the end of the age and it shouldn't be my job to play papa-dwarf! You're adults, act like it.”

Marian glared at him but stormed toward the back of the group, daggers glinting in her hands as she swung her arms. Varric rubbed his forehead and walked beside Garrett, pointing down a few corridors they thought may be the right way.

By the time they found an entrance, tempers had dimmed a bit and Marian’s breathing had slowed. Anders looked back as her as she walked quietly.

They hadn't talked even once since last night, her words still ringing in his head. Her soft please don't...just don't nearly made him sick.

He swallowed thickly and followed the rest of the group back to camp, where Bartrand seemed more than happy to get them continuing.

When they had officially settled for the night Fenris glanced around camp, looking for Marian, finding her sitting far away from the group, sharpening her blades.

“Hello,” he said softly, walking up to her.

“Hello,” she said, refusing to look at him. The area around her was dark and Fenris was almost sure it would be impossible for her to see any incoming danger from there. But it didn’t seem like she was sitting on her own to keep watch.

He looked around the area she had settled in, the dark making him twitchy. “I’m curious,” he began. “About last night.”

“I suppose I saw this coming,” she inspected the edge of her dagger before setting it down and grabbing the other. “It's nothing to concern yourself with, it was just a little fistfight.”

“And I am curious why it involved fists and not your weapons,” he said pointedly. “I know you had them when you left the tavern.”

“I couldn't get to them in time,” she said, staring hard at the metal in her hands. “I was...surrounded quickly.”

He sat down on a rock beside her, watching her hands move over the steel with practiced ease. “May I ask you a question?”

“You just did,” she said smiling softly.

He rolled his eyes. “I'm going to assume you're evading for a particular reason, but I will take that as a yes,” he saw her look at the edge of her dagger again and set it down, sighing. With nothing left to do, she picked at her nails. “Why do you seem to refuse healing so often?”

“Ah I saw this coming,” she said, grinning, leaning back. “Would you believe me if I said I hate magic?”

“No I wouldn't.”

She hummed softly. “And why is that?”

“You're incredibly protective of your brother,” he reasoned. “And he is a mage. And you seem to care for the others, Anders and Merrill.”

She was silent for a few moments, her breath seeming so loud in the dark. “Magic doesn't make the man,” she said softly. “However, you're right, I don't hate magic.”

“Then why?” he inquired again.

“This isn't a story I've told anyone,” she said softly. She seemed almost uncomfortable. “And we don’t know each other all that well. You avoid the rest of us like the plague.”

“I didn’t mean to make it seem as though I were avoiding you,” he responded, running a hand through his hair. “I haven’t had anybody with which I could spend time. But why haven’t you spoken to anyone about your aversion to healing?”

“If I tell you,” she began, a hint of a smile in her voice, “you have to promise me you’ll spend more time with us after this.”

He frowned. “Why is that a condition of-”

“Because you deserve friends.”

They were both silent for several minutes before he spoke and even then, his voice was soft. “Very well. Now why have you been avoiding healing?”

“I'm not entirely sure myself,” she said, sighing as she leaned back. “I think it has something to do with my father.”

“Your father?”

She looked at him, barely able to make out his face. “Garrett hasn't told you about him?” she asked.

“No.”

“Figures,” she whispered. “He doesn't like to talk about him.”

“Why not?”

She grinned. “I guess because he was the one who taught Garrett what the Circle was, what it was like to live in fear,” she said, before losing her smile. “He made the entire family so scared.” Fenris sat patiently, waiting for her to continue when she felt inclined to. “I guess he had to, he knew what the circle was like. None of us did, we were young and stupid.”

“How so?” he asked softly. He shouldn’t have been, but he was curious about what the Hawke household had been like. What made these two the people they were today, the man and woman who had saved him.

“Garrett and Bethany used to practice their magic outside, where anyone could walk up and see, I'd encourage them,” she said. “I used to bet on who could make a bigger fireball or something like that.” He could hear the smile in her voice. “Everytime father caught us, and he always did, he'd scold them of course, but he yelled at me most.”

“Why?”

“Because I was the one who had to protect them,” she said. “I was the oldest, and a non mage at that. I could do what they couldn't. So I learned to fight really early on, always getting into skirmishes with some local boys who wanted to prove how big and bad they were. Or how weak I was.”

He listened to her talk softly, she talked as if he wasn't here, as if she were reliving her childhood for just herself. “I'd always get hurt,” she laughed a bit. “Father would scold me and...heal any injuries I had in secret. It was never a smart idea. If I had a black eye one day, I couldn't just walk through town without one the next day. It's one of the reasons we had to move so often.”

“You couldn't have learned to fight the way you do now from local children,” Fenris reasoned.

She chuckled softly. “What a smart elf you are. That's true, when we had been settled in Lothering for a time, I had asked some of the templars there to help train me. At first they kicked me away, called me a child and said a woman shouldn't learn to fight and that I should learn useful things like how to cook.”

“I spent a short time in Lothering and it wasn’t like that when I was there,” he said.

“You might not have met the people I did,” she said softly. “Or perhaps they didn’t like me in particular. Anyway, I guess one of them saw me fighting with the boys,” she said. “He had decided he'd try to teach me how to fight and eventually the others warmed up to me, they accepted me as a sort of little sister I guess.”

“You learned to fight from templars?” Fenris asked surprised. “How did your family react?”

“Oh they were furious,” she chuckled softly. “They demanded I march over there and take back everything I had said, but I refused. I wanted to learn to fight, if I had to protect my family I wanted to be able to do it properly.”

She stopped talking for a moment, staring into the dark and he heard her shuffling, as if she were stretching out her legs. “My father said he'd refuse to heal any wounds I got from training with the templars,” she said, almost so quiet he couldn't hear. “I was so angry, I shouted and kicked and ran off to the chantry, demanding they begin training me then and there.”

“Did they?”

“Yes, and Maker knows they treated me like they did each other,” she said. “Which I was thankful for, I didn't want to get treated like some delicate flower.”

“I doubt anyone could treat you like that if they tried,” he chuckled. “You have too loud of a personality.”

She laughed under her breath. “I'll take that as a compliment. Anyway, one day we had gotten into an argument, me and my father,” she explained. “And I ran off to the Chantry again, demanding they spar with me. I didn't want to learn that day, I just wanted to get rid of some of my aggression. They agreed and didn't hold back, fighting just the way I wanted them to. I had been injured, my leg,” she set her hand on the spot where a large gash had been, where there should have been a bright white scar, but only smooth skin remained. “They had tried to take me to a mage healer, to get it fixed but I refused to let them use magic on me, I said I'd take anything else but not a drop of magic was to touch the wound.”

“How did they react?”

“They thought I was crazy,” she said. “I was bleeding so heavily they refused to accept my wish and at some point I passed out. They took the opportunity to have a healer fix me up.”

“That's deplorable,” Fenris said aggressively. Marian jumped, as if startled he were still here despite the fact she had been answering his questions the whole time. “Blasted mage shouldn't have touched you-”

“I don't blame the mage, at least not that one,” she said softly. “He hadn't been aware of my wish. I blamed my father actually.”

Fenris frowned. “Why?”

“I had been torn up with guilt about it, in the beginning he had said if I wanted to train like a bloody Templar he'd treat me like one,” Fenris stared at her, barely able to make out her features. “And now I had let a Templar force healing on me.”

“It wasn't your fault.”

“Like that matters,” she whispered. “The point is...the next day he had died.”

“How?” Fenris asked.

“My mother refused to tell us,” she said. “I assumed it had something to do with his magic and I had refused to train with any of the Templars after that. I had made friends in the order though, it was...hard.”

“You became friends with Templars?” he asked. “Did you not fear-”

“No I didn't,” she said quickly. “I became friends with men, not Templars or mages or priests. And so many of them cared deeply for me and even my family. I remember one year, for Satinalia a few of them had brought the biggest smoked ham to our home, it was huge.” She chuckled softly. “You should've seen the look on my mother’s face, but I was so happy. They'd shown up out of uniform and we all sat together at the table and ate.”

They were silent for a long moment before she breathed out a shaky laugh. “I'm sorry, what started this conversation again? I swear I should learn to stop talking. You should've told me to shut it awhile ago.”

He smiled softly. “I was more than willing to listen to you talk. You seemed to need it, and I enjoyed it. However, I had asked why you avoid healing.”

“Ah yes,” she said, standing and stretching. “Well, now you know. Just a little girl with daddy issues,” she laughed.

He chuckled and stood beside her. “I do not believe so, I believe your reasons were well founded.”

She began walking towards camp before dashing back to grab her daggers and laughing. “I guess, I don't know. Garrett never approved of my disliking healing.”

“He wouldn't. I believe I would like to thank you,” Fenris said.

“Hm? For what?”

“For telling me of your father,” he responded. “It is...appreciated.”

“No problem, I haven't talked of him in awhile, I guess it was kind of overdue.”

Unbeknownst to them, a blonde mage had been concealing himself in the dark, listening in with wide eyes and a pounding heart, his hands clasped over his mouth to keep any sound from escaping. He had wanted desperately to ask his own questions or voice his own opinions. He silently slipped back into the thick of people before Marian or Fenris noticed his absence, but kept his eyes on her back the rest of the night.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

“I swear I am going to kill that son of a bitch, sorry mother, when I find him,” Varric fumed before sighing. “Let's just get out of here.”

Garrett placed a gentle hand on the dwarf’s shoulder and smiled kindly at him. “That's probably a smart idea,” he said.

Varric scoffed. “Which one?”

“Both.”

Marian chuckled and followed the two of them through the hallways with Fenris and Anders close behind. Despite all the arguments they had yesterday the twins seemed more than willing to settle their differences in favor of helping their friend.

After many battles and more than a few healing sessions, they found a key that unlocked a way to the surface.

“Finally,” Marian punched the air giddily, bruises covering her arms. “I can't wait to see the bloody sky again.”

Varric chuckled softly. “You and me both sunshine.”

Walking through the wide halls, the team remained vigilant with Anders and Garrett towards the back of the group, ready to fire when needed. After a while of stiff silence Anders cleared his throat and spoke softly. “I’m sorry I didn't show up in time to help Marian with the fight and-”

Garrett waved him off. “Don't worry about it, she's stubborn. She wouldn't have wanted you helping anyway.”

Anders looked at him from the corner of his eye. “Why is that?”

Garrett tensed. “I think it may be because of me,” he said softly.

Anders frowned. “Why?”

“She had to grow up on the run because of me Anders,” he said. “She was forced to grow up too fast because her brother and sister had magic, Carver did too.”

“That's not your fault though.”

“I know, but she grew up never relying on anyone but me, and even then she refused to let her fears be know,” he sighed before continuing. “I remember one night, after our father died, I had woken up from a nightmare sweaty and shaking. She had been up still, sitting by the window. But when she heard me wake up she rushed over to me, held me, whispered that everything would be ok.”

“Well, of course she did,” Anders reasoned. “You're her brother, she cares about you. And she seems incredibly protective.”

“I had asked her why she was still up but she refused to answer me,” he said softly. “She had just laid down with me and let me fall back asleep, she sung me a lullaby. Cheesy I know. You've never heard her sing, have you? She's really great at it.” Garrett smiled softly, looking at his sister. “She's done so much for me, the least I can do is fret over her a bit. She still doesn’t sleep soundly.”

“How so?” Anders asked.

“She hasn’t had a good nights rest since we were kids,” Garrett said softly. “She’ll go days without sleep, finding any excuse to sit by the window with a book or paperwork, fretting over finances.”

Anders was silent for a long moment before asking, “how did your father die?”

“Hm?” Garrett looked at him with raised eyebrows before he processed the question. “I'm not sure, our mother wouldn't tell us, still won't. She says it's best left in the past, that bringing up the dead accomplishes nothing, she rarely even speaks of Bethany or Carver.”

“What were they like?” Anders asked.

“After father died, Bethany was really devout, always in the Chantry when she could be, questioning if the Circle really was as terrible as some made it seem,” he said, smiling a bit and rubbing the back of his head. “Carver was so damn stubborn, but proud. He was always trying so desperately to prove he could protect us too. I think you would've like them.”

Anders hummed and looked at the ground.

Please don't…

I became friends with men, not mages or templars or priests.

If only it could really be that way, Anders thought. If only we were all really just men instead of the lyrium that flowed through our veins, warriors who fought alongside those with weapons made of steel. But that's not the way the world works.

“Finally,” Varric sighed. “This should get us to the surface.”

“Thank the Maker,” Marian said, running her hand through her hair. “How long do you think?”

“If we're unlucky, maybe a week.”

“And if we are lucky?”

“We happen upon Bartrand’s corpse on the way out,” he said grimly, walking ahead. Marian frowned at him before following closely.

“Finally,” Fenris muttered. “I will be glad when I can breathe fresh air again.”

“You and me both big guy,” Garrett laughed. “The first thing I'm going to do is get an apple.”

“Why an apple?” Anders asked, laughing a bit. “Is it even the proper season for those?”

“What do I care? I'll be rich,” he threw an arm over Anders’ shoulder laughing. “I'll be able to get apples in the dead of winter. And I hate the taste of stale bread and dried meat. I want something fresh.”

“The first thing I want to do is take a bath,” Marian muttered. “I'm filthy.”

It wasn't true, Anders stared at her and saw nothing but the beauty that was only her. Bright blue eyes stared forward unwavering, strong arms swung loosely at her sides, ready to grab a blade at a moment’s notice. Her short hair had begun curling at the ends where it was growing longer and the dark leather of her armor made her pale skin seem even more so.

“Are you checking out my sister’s backside again?” Garrett teased, lightly elbowing Anders’ arm. Marian ignored them, keeping her eyes forward but he could see the way her ears turned pink.

“Not this time,” Anders laughed.

“Liar.”

They both chuckled and stepped back as Marian turned on them. She walked up to her brother and stared up at him before stepping around him and jumping on his back quickly.

“Come on then,” she said, pointing forward. “Let's go.”

“What, why?” he grunted at the initial shock and then held her easily.

“My feet hurt,” she said, laughing. “And besides, like this Anders gets a better view of my backside.”

“I swear, you are awful,” Garrett laughed.

“Less talking, more walking,” she said, ruffling his hair and laughing giddily as he ran for a bit.
Anders watched her smile happily, grinning himself before feeling a small flicker of disapproval from Justice. Frowning he scoped out his mind for the small corner the spirit resided, a space in which they came the closest to actual talking they'd be able to ever do again.

What have I done wrong this time? Anders thought.

A small flicker of disapproval flashed again before he got sent images of Marian and then his manifesto.

A distraction?

Something that might've meant yes was sent, a quick flicker of warmth followed by nothing. Anders sighed.

It's true, that's what she was, but he wasn't sure he'd be able to just drop her the way Justice probably wanted him to. There seemed to be more the spirit was thinking, but nothing got through.

Fenris glared at him. “You are glowing,” he said, tension resting in every muscle of his body.

Anders looked down at himself and saw blue veined across his skin, in a way it often did when he tried communicating with the spirit.

“Sorry,” he mumbled, forcing his skin to return to normal.

“Simply be careful,” the elf warned. “Do not lose control of that demon.”

Anders bristled. “He’s not a demon, he’s-”

“Oh, please don't start,” Marian begged jumping off her brother’s back and standing in between the two men quickly. She gently placed her hands on Anders chest and pushed back a bit, getting him to take a step backward before turning to Fenris. “Please? Can we just have a nice, long, stifling walk to the surface?”

He sighed and turned around, catching up to Garrett and walking beside him.

“You know Justice isn't a demon,” Anders said.

She sighed and rubbed her forehead. “I don't know honestly,” she said. “I didn't know Justice the way you say you did before you two fused. I haven't spoken with that part of you enough to know him.”

Anders frowned. “But you know-”

“I know you had good intentions and that you're a good man,” she looked at him with a tired smile. “Other than that, I'm lost.”

He clenched his jaw before nodding. What she was saying was certainly reasonable, and no real reason for him to be as upset as he was.

“Very well,” he grumbled, walking beside her in silence.

She cleared her throat. “I want to say sorry, for the other day,” she said, looking forward. “I didn't mean to come off as rude or ungrateful when I refused your healing.”

“It's fine, I understand,” he said. “Some people aren't comfortable with me.”

“It's not that I'm uncomfortable with you,” she said. “It's a stupid reason, don't worry about it. I just wanted to apologize.”

“Apology accepted,” he said softly, looking at her out of the corner of his eye. She wasn’t looking at him, as if she were ashamed. Funny, considering he couldn’t get his eyes off her.

Chapter Text

Garrett wandered the halls of the manor, looking at the walls and floor, making mental notes of things that would need to be replaced or repaired.

“Hey little bro,” Marian said from behind him, annoyed. She held a large box in her arms and looked at him with a quirked brow. “Help carry some of these. Mother refuses and if we’d like to get this done by tonight I need help.”

She set the box down heavily in her room and wiped her forehead. “Maker's breath, why she got so many new clothes, I'll never know.”

“Is she still planning that party?” Garrett asked, following her back down the stairs.

Marian sighed heavily. “Yes, she insists that we need to make ourselves known amongst the nobility.”

He grimaced. “That does not sound fun.”

She picked up a heavy box and waited for him to grab one. Walking up the stairs she mumbled, “we should have realized we would have to do this.”

“Stop fretting child,” Leandra scolded from a doorway. “I need to try to find you a good husband before you're old and gray. And Garrett darling, you need to start courting someone. Maybe Lady Alise’s daughter, she's such a lovely young lady.”

The twins groaned in unison and walked away with the sound of her making plans to meet young nobles ringing through the manor.

“Please don't make me dance with any stuffy old guys at the party,” Marian whispered to her brother.

“Only if you protect me from the same thing.”

“Deal!”

They laughed and finished bringing boxes upstairs with the help of Bodahn, their mother still refusing to aid them. Marian leaned against a wall and drunk heavily from a glass of water the dwarf handed to her.

“Oh darling,” Leandra said, walking to her happily. “We must go and find you a gown for the party!” When she saw the look on her daughter's face she laughed. “Oh it needn't be anything fancy, but you can't wear...that.” She gestured at the leather armor Marian had on a stand and then at the rough tunic and trousers she was wearing now.

Marian groaned but didn't fight when her mother dragged her away, waving at Garrett. He laughed at the pleading look his sister threw over her shoulder at him. “Oh and Garrett dear,” his mother turned to him. “You need to find some formal wear, as well.”

“What! Why?”

“It's a party dear,” she said. “You must look your best.” She glared as he groaned. “I want that outfit here by tonight.”

“Fine,” he pouted and glared at Marian as she laughed.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

“Qunari again, hm?” Garrett asked as Marian ran a hand through her hair roughly.

“Yeah,” she sighed. “This is bloody ridiculous.”

“What do you think they want?”

“Maker knows what they ever want,” she growled, aggravated. “We need to go talk to him soon. Can't have one bloody day…”

“Easy sis,” he laughed. “We’ll ask him and see what’s going on.”

“Alright alright, let's grab Fenris first,” she said.

“Fenris, why?”

“Because he actually know how to talk to the Qunari without being offensive,” she sighed. “And Maker knows we don’t want them burning Kirkwall to the ground.”

Garrett grabbed her shoulders laughing. “You're a genius, let's go get-”

She glared at him. “Have you gotten your outfit for the party yet?” He grimaced and laughed awkwardly.

“Well, I mean...I'll get it I just-”

“Mhm right,” she grabbed him by the front of his tunic and dragged him toward an Orlesian clothing shop. “Just be glad I'm taking you and not mother.”

“Why?” he asked, a playful look on his face.

“You should've seen the things she tried to get me to wear, it was ridiculous,” she moaned. “After much arguing I got my way and I don't have to wear fur or a corset.”

“I want to see what you got,” he said quickly turning away from the shop.

She jumped in front of him, blocking his path. “Oh no you don't, you are getting the damn outfit.”

“Aw but Mari-”

“You don't want Mother tearing into you about this Garrett,” she teased. “She may make you wear ruffles just to spite you.”

He grimaced and turned back towards the shop. Taking a deep breathe he spoke, fake tears constricting his voice. “I must be strong, for Mother.”

She laughed and patted him on the back. “There you go,” she said. “Come on, let's see if we can find anything comfortable.”

He groaned but followed her into the shop, grimacing at nearly every option available to them.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

“You just let them take the explosive powder?” Marian asked numbly, eyes wide. She looked ready to explode herself. “You just...and they just took it.” She made a grabbing movement with her hand.

“They did not retrieve the gaatlok, what we allowed them to take was saar-qamek,” the Arishok clarified, his deep voice echoing throughout the tiny area. The secluded area the Qunari had been allowed to stay felt like a prison and Garrett was certain that was no accident.

“Right,” she nodded slowly. “And that is…?”

“A gas, poisonous to your kind. But not before it forces your people to go mad, attacking their own,” he said, his unblinking eyes never leaving Marian’s face. The Qunari had been given such a small area in Lowtown you'd doubt they'd remain complacent as long as they did. “Trust me, you will want to retrieve it.”

“Excuse me? Trust you,” she said, anger and annoyance seeping into her voice. “You let them steal poisonous gas you bloo-”

Fenris quickly interrupted her, covering her mouth quickly. “We appreciate the warning, we will use the information well.”

He grabbed her arm hard and led her out, refusing to let go until they had all left the gated community.

“What the hell?” she shouted at him, shaking out of his hold. “I wasn't done-”

“The smartest decision would be to not piss off the Arishok,” he growled, walking Marian out of earshot. “You don't seem to understand the Qunari could take over the city if they chose to.”

“I don't give a shit, he's an idiot! Who the hell-”

“Marian,” Garrett hissed in her ear, grabbing her roughly and leading her far enough away so her shouts could not be heard by the Qunari. “I get it, you're pissed. It's already happened, there's nothing to do now.”

“Well, what the hell should we do? How do we even start Garrett?” She threw her hands up as she talked, her face turning red with frustration.

Merrill watched the argument curiously, leaning on her staff a bit. “Maybe we should check with the Coterie,” she suggested. “I've heard of them and they may know where to find him.”

Marian looked at her sharply and Garrett smiled. “There's an idea, good job Merrill. To Darktown,” he said, leading the group farther away from the docks. Marian roughly ran her hands through her hair.

The walk to the alleys was filled with tense silence from the twins and numerous attempts at conversation from Merrill. By the time they got to Darktown, Marian’s temper had been subdued somewhat and she spoke calmly with the Coterie member they had met.

“And tell that bastard I never want to see his face again.”

Marian waved over her shoulder and hummed. “Yep, got it.”

“Bloody dwarf,” Garrett growled. “I say we kill him.”

“That certainly does sound like the best option,” she replied. “I think we should wait until the end of all this though.”

“Good idea,” he said. “We are going to the Wounded Coast yes?”

“That's the only lead we have so far, so yeah.”

“We should grab Anders then,” he said, turning to walk towards the clinic.

“Why?” Fenris asked, tensing as he watched Garrett walk.

“We need someone who can actually heal, especially if we are going to be so far from the city,” he said.

“Yeah and Garrett’s awful at that,” Marian teased.

“I don't think he is,” Merrill chirped. “But, if you're bringing Anders you won't need me right?”

“Somewhere you gotta be?” Marian joked, throwing a muscular arm around the set of slim shoulders.

“W-well, nowhere in particular, it's just...Isabela invited me to…” she trailed off. “She invited me to play cards.”

Marian quirked a brow. “Oh really? Must be an important card game.”

“I-I wouldn't say important, it's just-”

Marian laughed. “Oh, Merrill sweetie, I'm playing. Go, have fun. And tell Isabela I said-” Marian whispered the rest in Merrill’s ear, making the smaller elf blush.

“Oh,” Merrill smiled happily. “I will. Thank you.” She rushed off, slim frame evading incoming bodies with ease.

“Be safe,” Marian shouted at her happily, waving.

“You're very loud,” Anders said, walking out of his clinic and drying his hands with a cloth. “I could hear you from Hightown.”

“Anders,” she squealed and hugged him quickly, surprising everyone, including him. “And I am very loud, would you like a demonstration?”

He chuckled and playfully growled, “perhaps,” in her ear. He gently placed his hands on her bottom and she laughed.

Garrett groaned from behind them. “Please, please don't make out with her in front of me. We don't need you distracted where we're going and I don’t need to throw up right now.”

“And where are we going?” Anders asked, begrudgingly tearing his eyes away from Marian’s. He set her down gently.

“Wounded Coast,” Garrett said. “We need to find a dwarf and I need a healer who knows what he's doing.”

Anders chuckled a bit before rubbing the back of his neck, looking at his clinic sadly. “Can it wait until morning? There's a lot of people in there.”

Garrett bit his lip and thought before Fenris spoke. “If I were this dwarf I would only travel at night, so as not to be found, that would decrease the amount of ground he covers. Morning should be fine.”

“Alright, but we should leave early, is that alright Anders?” Garrett asked.

Anders nodded. “That's fine,” he said and turned to Marian. “Can you come in and help? There's...a lot of people.” He looked as her hopefully.

She nodded and smiled happily. “Yeah, I’d love to.”

“I love how you don't ask permission,” Garrett teased.

She turns to him and clasps her hands together dramatically. “Oh, please mother? Please let me go?”

He laughed loudly and gently smacked the back of her head. “Have a good time, be back at a reasonable hour.”

Garrett waved as he and Fenris leave and Marian turned to Anders. “Just tell me what to do,” she smiles brightly and he looks at her surprised for a minute before leading her into the clinic.

“Can you clean up their wounds?” he points to a small group of people. “See if any of them need magical healing and make sure they have clean water and bandages.”

“Right,” she said seriously, moving through the crowded clinic with ease. She mentally ticked off everything she needed.

Bandages, glasses, clean water, spare cloths.

She kneeled in front of the cot one of the children sat on and smiled kindly. “What seems to be the problem, honey?”

The child looked at her solemnly before pulling up the leg of his trousers, revealing an oozing gash on his shin. She grimaced before pouring some of the water on a cloth and gently cleaning the wound, wincing every time the boy hissed.

“Sorry honey,” she said softly. “Almost done though. I promise.”

He didn't say anything and just watched as she finished cleaning. She inspected it a bit, wiping up any more blood that seeped from it.

“So how did you get such a gnarly cut?” she asked, her voice showing only mild curiosity. She didn’t want to startle the kid but the wound worried her, made her think that perhaps someone had attacked him.

“Running from the guard,” he said softly.

“Oh?” she quirked a brow. “And why were you doing that?”

“Stealing.”

She smiled and sighed softly, gently wrapping bandages around the child's leg. “What did you steal?”

“Bread.”

She slowed her movements a bit and looked up at him. He showed no emotion, the face of a child forced to grow up much too fast in a world that despised what he had to do to live. She could relate.

She swallowed thickly. “Yeah, those guards sure do get their panties in a bunch about that,” she joked. He smiled a bit and she grinned at the sight.

“So what's your name?”

“Carver,” he said softly and her heart sped up. He had his own mop of black hair, tangled and tousled from the wind. She cleared her throat.

“My name’s Marian,” she said, trying her best attempt at a smile. “It's a pleasure to meet you.” He looked down at her numbly.

“Alright kiddo,” she said. “All done.”

He hopped down from the table and tried putting his weight on the leg, surprised when pain didn't make him crumble. He looked up at her confused and she smiled.

“Elfroot,” she said. “Great painkiller, and the salve should help that heal quickly.” He nodded and went to walk out. “Wait,” she said, reaching into her coin purse and pulling out a few silvers. “Get yourself some food. And come back in a few days so I can clean and re-bandage that.” She pointed at his leg.

He looked at her stunned but took the coin quickly, before she could change her mind. “Thank you,” he said softly and hurried off. She smiled gently at his scurrying form before going back to any others who needed help, chancing glances at Anders throughout the day.

By the end of it all it was late into the night, and Anders locked the door behind the last patient after making sure she wasn't feeling dizzy or thirsty or hungry, that she had somewhere to go. He leaned against the closed door and sighed heavily, his body sagging.

“Are you ok Anders?” Marian walked up and asked softly, her gentle words nearly more than he could bear right now.

“I'm fine,” he pushed off the door, away from her, and sorted through his supplies. He needed more elfroot and, as always, more bandages. He needed more bloody time and less temptations from the woman he had invited into his clinic. He needed to stop getting scolded every time he looked at her. He took a deep breath, clenching his hands tightly.

“I'll...make some tea,” she said softly, moving quietly through the empty room. She poured clean water into a kettle, the metal clanging together making Anders’ head pound, and she lit a fire. “Are you angry at me?”

He looked at her, surprised. “No, I am simply...not myself,” he said.

“Is it Justice?” she asked.

“No...well, yes, in a way,” he sighed, frustrated.

She frowned and stared hard at the kettle, waiting for the water to come to a boil. “Will you tell me what’s wrong?”

“It’s nothing you should concern yourself with,” he said softly, refusing to look at her.

“And yet here I am, all concerned and such,” she joked lightly.

He sighed. “It is nothing you can fix.”

“You don't know that,” she said kindly, placing a gentle hand on his arm. “Please talk to me.”

He clenched his jaw. “I can't.”

“Why not?”
“It's not right of me,” he said softly. “You know what I am, what I can do. I will only hurt you.”

She chuckled softly, winking up at him. “I might like that.”

“No,” he said sternly, grabbing her arms and looking at her hard. The seriousness of his tone startled her, taking away any chance she had of making some snide joke. “I can't do that to you. It may kill me as surely as any Templars.” He walked away from her, facing a wall with his arms crossed. “I think you should go.”

She sat for several moments, staring into the fire as it flickered and the kettle keened. She took it off the flame and set it down gently on the floor.

“I think you're wrong,” she said softly, walking toward the door. “I'm a big girl Anders, I'm capable of making my own decisions and I can protect myself. However, if you do not want me I will not force you to have me.”

She gripped the lock tightly and slid it, opening the door wide.

“Maker, Marian it isn't-”

“Anders, hide,” she said softly, closing the door swiftly and locking it again.

“What?” he whispered, watching the tension in her shoulders.

She rushed over to him. “Please tell me you have somewhere to hide here,” she hissed, terror in her eyes.

“Why do I-”

“Templars.”

He froze and could feel Justice push his way through slowly, his skin taking on a soft blue glow. She looked at him, frightened, but not of him, for him and his heart skipped a beat at the thought.

“Yes, I have a cubby,” he said, stepping quickly toward the wall and opened a small, hidden door. Knocks sounded loudly and she could hear the clinking sound of armor as one of the men shuffled on the other side of the thin walls.

“Open up, Knight-Commander’s orders,” they shouted through the wood, knocking again. She shoved him into the small space and ignored his hissed protests to join him as she closed the door to it, shoving a crate in front of it.

Knocks sounded again and she quickly reached into his desk, pulling out any copies of his manifesto she could find.

“If you do not open we will be forced to break the door down.”

She looked around quickly and rushed over to the corner of the room, moving some of the rubble and shoving the parchment under it. She quickly inspected the rest of the room before rushing to the door.

“Alright, men open it-”

She opened the door quickly and threw on a polite smile. “May I help you?” she asked sweetly.

“What took so long?” one of them asked, suspiciously.

“Oh, my apologies,” she laughed. “I was trying to clean, this place is a dreadful mess. And I wasn’t entirely decent. May I ask what's going on?”

Anders grit his teeth as he crouched in the small, dark space, listening to the muffled sound of her lies.

“We have heard rumors of an illegal apostate in the area, one who has been reported to reside here,” the leader of the group said.

Marian furrowed her brow, looking convincingly confused. “An apostate? Oh dear, I don't know where those rumors started but they are certainly not true, this is my place.”

“May we come in ma’am?” he asked. “We would like to inspect the premises.”

“Oh of course,” she opened the door widely. “Take as much time as you need.”

Anders could hear his heart pounding in his ears as he saw the shadows of armored feet moving across the floor, the sound of opening drawers and shuffling papers. Cabinet doors opened and closed, crates looked through. The thought of them in his clinic made him sick.

“I am Knight-Captain Cullen, what is this place?” he asked Marian.

“A clinic,” she responded proudly. “For any in need of help but don't have coin.”

“You don't charge any of them?” he asked, frowning a bit.

“No,” she said softly. “These people barely have enough for bread messere, it isn't right to expect them to pay for a he-medical attention.”

“There doesn't seem to be any signs of an apostate here, sir,” one of the armor clad gentlemen said to his captain, bowing slightly.

“Right men, it seems it was just rumors. Bloody recruits,” he said, sighing. Anders could hear the soft sound of coins clinking. “Here, take this.”

Marian looked at the small bag he had placed in her hands, confused. “Why?”

The Templar smiled kindly at her. “You don't charge these people, it must be difficult providing medical attention. Use this to help them.” As he began turning away he looked at her. “I’ve heard much of you Madame Hawke, stay safe out there. And if you are in need of aid here, feel free to reach out.”

He bowed a bit and they left, closing the door softly behind them. Marian looked at the leather pouch in her hand and smiled gently, reminded of a few friends she used to have who bore the same crest on their chests.

She set the bag on Anders’ desk and walked over to his hiding spot, moving the crate to the side and opening it.

“You can come out now,” she said. He looked up at her, pale and shaking, like a lost child. When he tried to stand, he stumbled and nearly fell atop her and she helped him stay standing long enough to sit in a nearby chair.

“Th-they didn't...you said it was your...coin…” he mumbled, running a hand through his hair he bit his lip and stared at the floor.

“Anders?” Marian said softly. “Anders, everything's ok. They don't know you're here, you're safe.”

“Because you...why did you protect me?” He looked at her, fear glinting in his eyes and she furrowed her brow. She hugged him tightly and felt his arms encircle her waist tightly, pressing his face into her neck and taking a shuddering breath.

“Because you're worth protecting,” she said softly.

“Hey there lovebirds, no making out on the floor now,” Garrett joked from the doorway and Marian jumped, separating herself from the mage.

“What are you doing here?” she asked. “It’s...Maker, it's late isn't it?”

Garrett laughed and held up a couple packages, happily. “Don't worry, I brought food.” he handed one to Marian and another to Anders. If he noticed the man’s state he chose not to comment on it.

“What did mother make?” Marian asked, opening the box carefully.

“Mother doesn't cook anymore,” Garrett teased. “Now eat.”

“You too Anders,” she said, kneeling beside him again. “Eat.”

He looked at his hands thoughtfully. “I'm not hungry,” he said softly.

She clicked her tongue and picked up a small chunk of meat with her fork, holding it out to him expectantly. “If I have to feed you I will.”

He looked up at her, surprised, and became even more so when Garrett sat down beside the pair and looked at Anders. “You should listen to her, she's mean when she doesn't get her way.”

She smiled. “Only to you buddy,” she joked, still holding the fork out for Anders who bit the meat reluctantly, flavor exploding in his mouth.

His eyes widened a bit. “Its delicious,” he said.

“Damn right it is,” Garrett laughed. “Mauve is the best cook in Kirkwall, now eat your food so Marian stops giving you hers.”

Marian took a small bite of meat quietly and Anders followed suit, watched by her brother until they both finished what was brought for them.

They all stood and stretched, bones cracking in several places and they sighed.

“It's time to go now, sis,” Garrett said, ruffling Marian’s hair. “And you should get some sleep Anders. We have an early start tomorrow.”

Marian hugged Anders tightly. “Please be careful,” she whispered in his ear before stepping back and staring at the ground. She shook her head and turned to walk out with her brother.
Anders closed and locked the door behind the pair, sighing softly as he leaned against it and thought of all the events of the night.

Maker I'm not sure what to do, he thought. He felt a small heat, Justice gently pushing through to let him know he was there. He didn’t seem angry with Anders but he didn't seem to have a solution either.

Chapter Text

“Morning sunshine,” Varric chirped.

“Shove it,” Marian grumbled, rubbing her eyes and yawning widely.

“Aw is someone tired?” he teased. “Poor baby.”

“Its her own fault,” Garrett said, ruffling her hair. “She's the one who chose to stay out so late.”
She grumbled something he couldn't quite understand and he laughed. Fenris looked at Marian curiously.

“You do seem incredibly fatigued,” he said. “Is something the matter?”

“I’m fine,” she says. “I don't need sleep anyway.”

He chuckled softly. “I beg to differ, however, I suppose sleep every night is not necessary. I do recommend it though.”

The walk along the Wounded Coast so far bore no fruit, the dwarf they searched for still lost. The sun beat down on everyone, even this early, and just made the group cranky.

“There's a reason we are out here this early isn't there?” she looked at her brother annoyed.

“Remember, explosive powder, dwarf and all that,” he laughed. She hummed and scratched her head. Fenris looked at Garrett.

“Was there a reason you asked me to be here?” he asked.

“Would you believe it's for the pleasure of your company?” Garrett asked, winking slyly at the elf.

He chuckled. “Perhaps I'd be willing to believe that, given the proper incentive.”

“Oh my, perhaps we’ll have to-”

He cut himself off and reached for his staff, staring at a nearby cliff. Fenris furrowed his brow until he saw a group of men and women surround them, standing on the hills and glaring down at the group.

“You are in the possession of stolen property,” one of the shouted and Garrett looked around, confused.

“We've stolen nothing,” he shouted back.

“I have come to collect the elf,” the man sneered, his cold gaze falling on Fenris.

Garrett froze and turned to Fenris who at the moment had a mixed look of terror and fury on his face. Garrett growled and glared up at the man on the mountain.

“Fenris is a free man!” he shouted clearly, ignoring the elf beside him who look at him shocked. He didn’t care whether Fenris trusted him and his magic at this point, he refused to let these men take anyone back to a life of slavery.

“I am not going to ask again, return the slave.”

“I am not your slave!” Fenris snarled, lyrium markings glowing a bright blue even in the daylight and the group jumped into action. Marian and Fenris both ran towards the group of slavers, knocking them down quickly as any stragglers were picked off by the mages and archer.

The battle ended quickly and Fenris was shaking by the end of it, but whether it was with fury or fear he wasn't sure. He looked sharply at a whimpering form on the ground and stood over him, grabbing him by the hair at the back of his head.

“Where is he?” he growled. Garrett watched him closely as he slammed the man’s face into the sand on the ground. He made no move to stop the elf, none of them did.

“P-please don't kill me,” he begged, snot and tears dripping down his face.

“Where?”

“I-I was sent by Hadriana, she is hidden in the old holding caves to the-”

“I know the ones,” Fenris growled.

“Please, please I told you,” he cried. “Please let me go.”

“You chose the wrong master,” he said hoarsely and grabbed the man's chin, quickly snapping his neck. He refused to look at the group, his chest constricting as he told them about the old slaver caverns.

“Hadriana,” he snarled. “I remember her well, a sniveling social climber who'd sell her own children if she thought it would please Danarius. I knew they'd never let me be!”

Garrett walked toward the elf and held a hand up as if he wanted to hold his shoulder comfortingly before clenching it into a fist and dropping it to his side. “We won't let her get away,” he said fiercely, trying to channel his emotions into his words instead of actions. He didn’t think Fenris would welcome anyone’s touch, much less a mage’s. “We’ll do whatever we have to to find her.”

“Damn straight we will,” Marian said softly, but with fierce eyes. “Come on then, let's do this.”

“What about Javaris?” Varric asked. He held up his hands defensively when Fenris glared at him. “I want to help Broody, I just don’t think it’s a good idea to let him get away.”

Garrett placed his finger against his lips and thought for a moment before turning to the dwarf. “Go back and ask Aveline and Merrill to come back with you to look for him. The four of us,” he gestured towards Fenris, himself, Marian and Anders. “We will look for this Hadriana.” Varric nodded reluctantly and headed back towards the city.

“Come on then,” Garrett said gently. “She won't get away, I promise.”

Fenris didn't answer, instead staring straight ahead with a gaze sharper than daggers. Garrett thought back to his childhood, when he had been forced into hiding, always scolded when he had used his magic.

He stared at Fenris as they walked, the elf’s lithe body moving with a purpose that seemed more important than any damn Qunari. Garrett clenched his jaw and looked around them, ensuring no more slavers snuck up on the group.

They spent most of the day walking and by the time they got to the caves Fenris was so riled up nobody could talk to him without starting an argument. Marian looked at the sky and mentally counted, estimating sundown to be in about three hours. Maker, they'd been out there since morning. She sighed.

“Let's do this,” Garrett said softly, watching Fenris closely.

The elf nodded and they walked into the caverns. The rooms and halls were dimly lit, forcing them to squint to see ahead of them and the magister sent demon after demon toward them.
Garrett stopped in front of an altar with a mutilated corpse atop it, the smell already more than he could handle and he gagged.

“A blood sacrifice,” Fenris growled. “Mages will do anything they can to increase their power.”
Marian clapped a hand over Anders mouth before he could say anything and shook her head, a serious look on her face. He sighed angrily but nodded.

Garrett wanted to say something, anything, to comfort his friend, but nothing seemed appropriate until they got to this Hadriana and finished her. And dammit they would.

Fenris stepped into a large open room, his body tense, and saw a thin woman standing in the center with her face in her hands. Demons surrounded her and when the party entered they attacked, as if they’d been waiting.

Fenris growled and glowed a bright blue, his markings burning, his mind cleared of anything but the need to find her. He ran straight into a large group of the creatures and Garrett growled, trying to hit the demons without hitting either of the elves or his sister, who had thought this was a good time to jump into the thick of things.

Luckily, Fenris was able to cut through most of the creatures with no problem, his large blade knocking some of the beasts back. Marian threw herself on top of one of them and thrust her dagger into what would be its neck, jumping up and at another one.

When it was all over and with blood still drying on their armor, Marian walked slowly up to the elven woman in the room.

“Are you hurt?” she asked, softly, holding her hands out.

The woman sobbed. “Oh there's so many, Papa,” she cried. Her small frame shook and she looked pleadingly at the group.

“What happened here?” Fenris asked.

“The mistress she...she said she needed more power, that someone was coming to kill her,” the woman said, crying. Fenris looked away. “Oh maker, she cut Papa, bled him! I don't understand!”

“Did she hurt you?” Fenris asked desperately. Garrett had never seen him like this. This mad, this frightened. Seeing the usually so composed elf so shook made him tense.

“N-no,” she said.

“I'm sorry,” Garrett said, gently placing a hand on her shoulder. “This must be terrible for you.”

“Everything was fine until today,” she screamed, placing her face in her hands again, her cries echoing throughout the empty room.

Fenris sighed and whispered, almost to himself, “it wasn't, you just didn't know any better.”

She turned to Fenris, her lower lip trembling. “Are you my master now?”

He looked appalled and shouted, “no!” Terror and disgust shone in his eyes and he forced himself to look away from her.

“But why?” she cried, reaching toward him. He stepped back, refusing to let her touch him. “I can cook and clean. Oh Maker, what am I going to do?”

Garrett pointed her towards the door they had entered the room with. “The way should be clear for now, and if you ever find yourself in Kirkwall, look up Hawke, we can help you.”

She looked at him, her body shaking and nodded. “Thank you,” she said softly and ran out quickly.

“I didn't know you were on the market for a slave,” Fenris snarled, glaring at Garrett. His eyes shone, tears making them glint in the firelight.

Garrett looked confused before an angry look rested on his face. “I offered her a job Fenris,” he growled. “Maker knows she’ll need one.”

He seemed taken aback and looked at the ground hard. “Oh, that is...good then. I...apologize.”

“Let's keep moving,” Garrett said, his brow furrowed. “I want to be out of here soon.”

After a long hallway and a few more demons they entered a room with another woman in it and she looked at them with a smug grin.

“Ah Fenris,” she said, opening her arms. “I knew you'd come. Danarius will reward me when I bring you back to him.”

“He'd better get ready for disappointment,” Garrett growled, stepping forward.

She grabbed a tall staff and waved it a few times, calling forth nearly a dozen demons. Fenris growled and jumped toward her only to be knocked back by some field she kept around herself.

The fight was long but when the demons had been dispatched, Hadriana laid on the cold stone ground, blood soaking into her clothes. Fenris walked up to her angrily but she put her hand up and Garrett rushed forward, preparing for some magical assault but all she did was raise her palm in defense.

“Stop,” she shouted. “You do not want me dead!”

“There is only one person I want dead more,” he growled, raising his sword.

“I have information elf, and I will trade it in exchange for my life!”

“What? The location of Danarius?” he scoffed. “What good will that do me? I'd rather he lost his pet pupil.”

He knelt down but she rushed to continue speaking. “You have a sister, she is alive!”

He stopped moving altogether. Garrett leaned against a wall nearby crossing his arms over his chest and watching the exchange.

“Tell me,” Fenris said softly, his face hidden from view. “Quickly.”

“So I have your word,” she said quickly. “I tell you and you let me go?”

“Yes, you have my word.”

Garrett tensed but didn't say anything, watching the conversation carefully.

“Her name is Varania,” Hadriana spoke breathlessly. “She in is Qarinus serving a magister by the name of Ahrimon.”

“A servant?” he asked quickly. “Not a slave?”

“She is not a slave,” Hadriana confirmed.

“I believe you,” Fenris said softly, his body glowing blue before he shoved his hand in Hadriana’s chest. Garrett watched her fall and turned his gaze to Fenris.

“What do you plan to do?” he asked softly.

“What can I do?” Fenris spat. “For all I know Danarius sent her with this tale of a ‘sister’. Even if she is real, he has to know where she is and he has to know Hadriana knows! Trying to find her would be suicide.” He paused for a moment and glared at the ground. “All that matters is that I finally got to crush this bitch’s heart. May she rot and all the other mages with her.”

Garrett tensed but spoke softly, “maybe we should leave.” He placed a gentle hand on Fenris’ shoulder but he elf knocked it off, growling.

“Don’t comfort me,” he snarled and stepped away. “You saw what was done here, there's always going to be some reason, some excuse why mages need to do this! Even if I found my sister, who knows what the magisters have done to her.”

Garrett bit the inside of his cheek and sighed,staring at the ground.

“What has magic touched that it doesn't spoil,” Fenris finished with a growl. Garrett flinched. “I need to go.” He walked away, his footsteps echoing throughout the empty hallways, and Garrett watched him go.

“Hey, Garrett,” Marian said softly, walking up to him. “It's alright, he's just angry. He's not unreasonable.”

Garrett nodded but didn't speak, not trusting his voice. What has magic touched that it doesn't spoil.

Not even templars back in Lothering had been like that. They hadn't known what he was, or if they did they never turned him in. They had trusted Marian while she trained with them, and they had spoken with Garrett on several occasions.

May she rot and all other mages with her.

“Come on Garrett,” Anders said, placing a soft hand on his arm. “Let's get out of here.”

Garrett nodded and let the two of them lead him out, glaring at the ground and listening to the voice from the elf on repeat in his head, the words hurting much more than he had thought they could.

He had grown up with that after all, he should be used to it. But from Fenris, it was different. It was a special type of hurt, he had thought that he and the elf were close, friends even, maybe something more with the way they spoke to each other.

But that's not what it was after all, he had simply been a mage, and the other hated him for that.

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“Lowtown, hm?” Marian asked Varric. He nodded.

“Javaris said he had tracked her there.”

“Perhaps the most obvious culprit was a bit too obvious,” Anders joked.

Garrett smiled a bit and rubbed the back of his neck. “Come on, let's get this over with,” he said softly.

Marian patted him on the back. “There's a good boy,” she said and motioned for Aveline and Varric to follow them back. “Let's finish this.”

The walk to Lowton had been uneventful and much too quiet, it made Marian twitchy. “All of you, I can't fight the damned air,” a guard shouted to a group of people. “If you want to live stay out.”

“What's going on Maecon?” Aveline asked, and the guard looked at her respectfully.

“Guard-Captain there's….I can't even describe,” he started.

“Come on, son,” she said urgently.

He swallowed. “Reports of some haze, there was a cloud and a lingering mist. Anyone caught in the cloud just went mad!”

“Alright son, we’ll take it from here,” she said, bowing to him slightly. He nodded and reluctantly let them walk into the city.

“How about we let your guards take care of this,” Marian joked.

“How about I shove a canary up your coal mine,” she said. “Let's go.”

Marian chuckled a bit. “I missed her.”

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After a lot of held breath and the death of an elven fanatic the group left the side alley, most of them limping or coughing heavily.

Garrett’s head spun as he walked and he leaned heavily on Marian who seemed to have her own troubles standing. She fell to her knees, dropping Garrett heavily, and she coughed hoarsely.

Anders fell down beside her and held a hand to her chest but she backed away. “I'm fine,” she whimpered hoarsely, her eyes watering as she coughed some more.

“I'm not going to heal anything,” he said softly. “I promise, I just need to see how bad it is.” She looked at him for a long moment. “I promise,” he whispered. “I won't do anything without your permission.”

After a long pause she nodded and let him place his warm hands on her, she felt the gentle probes of his magic as it rooted out the problems.

“It doesn't look like anything major,” he said, furrowing his brow. “You should be fine.”

“Oh, that's great,” Garrett said, wincing while he sat up. “I'll take that bit of healing though, buddy.”

Anders chuckled softly and turned to Garrett, holding his hands out and releasing a burst of healing magic at the other’s lungs. Garrett could practically feel the gas slowly seeping out of his system and into the air again.

“Thank you,” he sighed, standing a bit shakily.

“Maybe you won't need to lean on me anymore,” Marian chuckled, coughing again.

Anders tensed, having to keep himself from reaching out to her again. But he couldn't, not against their wishes, not like those Templars had. He shook his head.

“You go on home Garrett,” she said. “Tell mother that we’re fine.”

He frowned. “Where are you going?”

She breathed deeply, the cool air soothing her throat a bit. “I need to speak with the Arishok and update the Viscount real quick,” she said. “I won't be long.”

“Can't that wait until morning?”

She sighed. “We shouldn't, and I'd like to finish talking with them as soon as possible,” she said. She walked off with a small limp, waving at him from behind her back. He sighed.

“The idiot could wait until morning,” he mumbled and Varric laughed.

“You know she prefers doing things as quickly as possible,” he said.

“It shouldn't take too long to update the Viscount,” Anders said, wringing his hands a bit nervously. “She’ll be fine.”

Garrett nodded and they all said their goodbyes. Walking through the quiet streets of Hightown he sighed. Everything was such a damn mess.

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Fenris stepped swiftly through Hightown’s dark streets, his own words echoing through his head. He had been unnecessarily cruel to Garrett, he knew that. But Maker, why was it so hard for him to be around the man?

He wasn't remotely wary around him, not in the way he was around other mages. He stopped in front of the the door to Danarius’s mansion, staring at it hard before glancing at the Hawke estate. His stomach churned. The crushed look that had been on Garrett’s face made him sick, the hurt in those soft amber eyes. He was too innocent, too pure to be caught up in what Fenris was.

He hated the thought of hurting the other man any more than he already had but he had to do something. Anything.

He walked over the the rough wooden door with the Hawke family crest, knocking loudly before he could talk himself out of it. The sound echoed through the courtyard and he waited several seconds before an old dwarf answered, bowing slightly.

“I am looking for Garrett,” he said, as politely as he could with his heart pounding in his throat.

“Oh I'm sorry,” he said, rubbing his beard thoughtfully. “Neither of the twins are here right now, maybe in a-”

“I shall wait for him then,” he said.

Bodahn rubbed his head a bit. “I suppose there's nothing wrong with that,” he said, holding the door open for Fenris. “He said to let you in if you ever needed it.”

“He did?” Fenris asked, his chest tightening.

“Yes sir,” he said. “Something about whenever you need it, ‘his home is your home’ or something like that.”

Fenris swallowed thickly. “Thank you,” he said, walking into the parlor and sat in a plush chair, staring hard into the crackling fireplace.

Where was that man? He couldn't still be in the caves, could he?

Fenris regretted leaving them to find their own way out of there, the halls were large and they had all looked the same. Anyone could get lost in there. He sighed.

Maker, what a mess.

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May she rot and all the other mages with her.

Garrett stopped and furrowed his brow. He had desperately wanted to say something in his defense, in all mage’s defense, but he knew Fenris would not hear it, not after everything he'd seen. And it hadn't felt right to Garrett to try to belittle what that man had gone through because of his own accident of birth.

What has magic touched that it doesn't spoil.

You. He had wanted to shout at the elf, but no words would ease the pain he'd been through, pain caused by the same magic he had. He stared at the door of Fenris’s mansion as he walked by, and decided not to walk up. He figured it was better that it be this way. He didn't want to cause Fenris any more trouble.

He stopped in front of his door and took a deep breath. No amount of fresh air could keep him from feeling like he was drowning. His whole body ached, like one giant bruise and he was exhausted.

He knew he looked like a mess and he hoped his mother wouldn't comment on it. He didn't want to talk with her about it, didn't want to talk with anyone about it. He opened the door quietly and stepped into the warm parlor, listening to the fire crackling in the hearth. He sighed and clenched his hands into fists.

“I wanted to apologize,” a deep voice sounded and Garrett looked up quickly. The elf rose from where he had been sitting and walked over to the mage, wringing his hands as if he were anxious. “I am glad you're here.”

Fenris wasn't afraid of the man in front of him, this mage had proven himself to be an ally to him, despite his magic. He couldn't discern the look on Garrett’s face and he stared at the ground instead, feeling his gaze remain unwavering.

“Yeah, I...I live here,” he mumbled, trying to crack a joke, something familiar to try to convince himself his heart wasn't on the verge of pounding out of his chest.

Fenris bit the inside of his cheek. “I took my anger out on you,” he said softly. “Undeservedly so. I apologize, I was not myself.”

Garrett cleared his throat, and spoke in an alarmingly hoarse voice. “You know you can talk to me, Fenris. I do not blame you for the way you acted.”

“You are generous,” he said. “More so than I deserve.”

“Don't say that,” Garrett whispered sternly and Fenris looked up at the man in front of him. Garrett gazed hard at the crackling fire before turning to Fenris, his amber eyes dancing with the flames. “You deserve so much more than you got, and more than you have now.”

Fenris cleared his throat, and began to walk away, anxiously bringing his hands up as if to defend himself. But from what? “I did not come here to burden you further, if you-”

“Wait,” Garrett whispered hoarsely, grabbing Fenris by the arm desperately, wanting nothing more than just a few more minutes. Please, Maker just a few more.

The elf reacted before he had the chance to breathe, throwing the mage against the wall, his body bright blue, the lyrium burning him, his eyes smoldering in the light. Fenris breathed deeply and he stared at his glowing arms which were currently gripping the mage’s tunic tightly. Garrett looked down at him, his hands holding Fenris’s wrists, but not defending himself. He refused to use magic against this man.

He instead grabbed the elf by his upper arms and flipped their positions, pushing him against the wall and pressing his warm body against the other’s.

Fenris gasped a bit but was silenced by Garrett’s lips, pressing hard against his. Fenris kissed the mage, no the man, that's all he was for now, back roughly, gripping the back of his head.
Garrett ran his hands from Fenris’s arms down to his waist and pressed himself closer, reveling in the soft noises he drew from the smaller man. He broke away from the elf’s lips and kissed down his neck, sucking gently on the delicate skin.

Fenris growled and pushed him back roughly. Garrett froze and stared at the panting mess in front of him, beautiful kiss swollen lips and glazed eyes glinting, sharp gauntlets digging into his arms so hard he was surprised they didn't draw blood.

“Garrett,” he whispered hoarsely.

Garrett gently put his hand on Fenris’s cheek and leaned in again, whispering in his ear and feeling him shiver. “My room, please,” he said hoarsely.