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“Maker’s ruddy asscheeks,” Hawke wheezed, shoving away her (empty) mug as she pulled a face. “Remind me to tell Corff that if he insists on weakening the ale, the least he can do is not water it with his piss.”

“That’s right, Hawke,” Varric agreed absently, only half-listening. A quarter-listening? One-eighth, at the very least. There were rhythms to Hawke’s bitching, at any rate—he didn’t need to pay attention to the words to understand their meaning.

Hawke paused, then propped her chin on a fist, eyeing him with a lopsided grin. Even when his mind was wandering elsewhere, he was always oh-so very aware of the way she took up space. She had a talent for it. A long-legged, curvy, dangerously strong Maker-given gift. “Mm. Did you realize your voice always takes this pitchy quality whenever you’re only pretending to pay attention to me?”

“I absolutely agree,” Varric said, eyes cutting to her slyly, then away. “I would feel the same way.”

“And now you’re just being an arse on purpose, aren’t you?”

His lips twitched. “That is hard, Hawke.”

Hawke snorted and leaned back on the weakly protesting bench. They’d taken their game downstairs for once. Varric had been stuck up in his suite for a good three days trying to untangle a mess with the Guild, and he was reaching a point where the sight of his own four walls was driving him insane. Hawke had taken one look at him before tossing her giant sword into the corner and dragging him out into the main bar.

It felt, weirdly, almost like a holiday. At least he wasn’t going blind re-reading all that tiny print. There were other dangers to being out in the open, however, and one of those dangers was taking up a good deal more of Varric’s attention than he’d like.

“You know,” Hawke said, dragging her fingers through hair red enough to rival Aveline’s, both brows quirking, “if you keep darting glances over my left shoulder, I’m eventually going to become as paranoid as Fenris.”

“Impossible.” He turned his full attention back to Hawke and reached for the abandoned stack of cards. Norah was already weaving her way toward them with a fresh glass of piss-ale. “For one, you’re a very different and distinct brand of crazy.”

She grinned. “You do say the sweetest things.”

He glanced over her left shoulder again. “And two…” Varric shuffled the deck, pretending not to watch the drunk as he wove unsteadily toward their table. Toward Hawke. “And two…” He’d spotted the man taking up prime real estate at the Hanged Man every night over the last few weeks. There wasn’t anything remarkable about him—he was just another filthy, unhappy man in a city packed with filthy, unhappy refugees—but Varric made it a point to notice every new face that showed up on his turf. And because Varric had a nose for trouble when it came to Hawke, he’d definitely taken note of the way the man watched her.

Just as now there was no missing the way he adjusted himself as he lurched toward their table, eyes on the prize, as it were.

Finally making your move, I see. What a poor life decision.

“Hold that thought,” Varric said smoothly. He leaned forward, reaching for the glass Norah was setting down before Hawke could take it. “You weren’t going to drink this, were you?”

Hawke cocked her head, jagged ends of her messily cut hair (because big-ass warriors, she’d told him once, didn’t have time to visit the barber) swinging. “Well, in deference to my health, I shouldn’t,” she mused.

“Good.” Varric squinted one eye, judging the distance—then carefully flung the glass at the would-be Lothario’s head.

The glass had been full of the very finest swill The Hanged Man had to offer, but Varric had timed his shot perfectly. By the time it spun forward then down, a pale amber arc of liquid spilling through the air, the glass had already bypassed Hawke. She turned, startled, as the ale splashed over her hopeful suitor.

Less than a second later, the base of the glass hit him squarely between the eyes. He dropped like a ton of very drunken bricks.

“Now,” Varric said with a self-satisfied grunt, settling back into his seat. He picked up the cards again. “What was I saying?”

Norah cursed darkly. Patrons twisted around on their benches and stools to gape at them. Hawke sat dumbfounded, staring down at the now-soaked man sprawled insensate at her feet. She turned back to Varric slowly, shock and bemused delight warring for dominance on her beautiful face.

“Did you just—?” she began.

“Yes.”

Hawke shook her head. “Was he just about to—?”

Varric bit back a smug grin. “I’m afraid so.”

Hawke stared at him for a long minute. Norah had moved to crouch by the man, wiping at his face with a filthy rag and complaining about dwarves and Champions and the constant circus that seemed to follow them about wherever they went. “Right,” Hawke said, slapping her palms onto the table and leaning forward. Her warm brown eyes were alight with amusement and disbelief and—well hello there—growing heat. “I’m afraid there’s no helping it—I’m going to have to ravish you right now.”

“Oi!” Norah snapped, head jerking up. “Not on the tables, you two! This ain’t the bloody Rose, you know.”

Varric fanned out the cards, then snapped them together into a neat pile. His gaze, locked with Hawke’s, didn’t waver. “Rules of engagement?”

“Your choice.” She stood, leaning onto her hands, lashes dipping. Varric watched with growing interest as her simple homespun shirt swung forward, revealing a tempting swell of Ferelden-pale skin.

Maker, he was a lucky, lucky dwarf.

“Are you feeling daring?” he asked, not at all embarrassed at the way his voice dropped a register. No one with eyes and hot blood pulsing through his veins could blame him. Maker, the wicked curve of Hawke’s lips was enough to make his throat go dry and the rest of him—

Well. The rest of him do other very interesting, very interested, things.

Hawke reached over the table to brush her calloused fingertips along the scruff of his jaw, eyes dipping down to the low V of his shirt before dragging up again. When she wet her lips, he swore he could feel the hot slick of her tongue against him. “Oh yes,” she all but purred. “When am I not?”

Truer words.

“I need four numbers,” Varric called, eyes never leaving hers. “The first between one and five, the second between one and eight, the third between one and twenty, and the fourth between one and three hundred.”

Hawke scratched her nails up the rasp of his stubble to tangle her fingers in his hair. Varric shivered and shifted closer as the warrior thumbed the leather tie out of his hair, letting it spill forward.

“Numbers,” he said. “Numbers, now!”

The strange, bearded, talkative guy was the first to answer. Bless him. “One, six, eighteen, and ninety-seven!” he called.

Varric reached up to catch Hawke’s wrist, turning his face to kiss her palm. He bit the meat of it lightly, laughing against her skin when she cursed and pressed against the lip of the table, one knee lifting as if to crawl over its scarred face to reach him.

OI! Not! On! The! Tables!”

“Bedroom,” Varric murmured, reluctantly scooting his chair back and standing. He left the cards where they were. If they were stolen, they were stolen—besides, Rivaini had already marked up this deck beyond salvaging. “Bookshelf.”

Hawke straightened, hands on her shapely hips, legs spread a shoulder-length apart in a deliberately provocative manner. “Bookshelf one, six rows down, eighteenth book over.” The look she shot him would have set the Choir Boy on fire. “I hope it’s a good one.”

I’m hoping for innocent peasant girl meets world-weary lyrium smuggler,” Varric shot back, “but I’ll settle for you moving your feet. Faster would be good.”

“You’re very demanding for such a small man. Good thing I’m only too happy to bend to your will…and other things.” She leered at him playfully as she hurried around the table and practically vaulted up the steps, Varric in her wake. The wonderful thing about following Hawke was—well, no, there were a score of wonderful things about following Hawke, one of which was her unending ability to be just as world-shaping and status quo-shaking as any character he could have dreamed up. The most pertinent wonderful thing about following Hawke was the way her tight breeches left so very little to the imagination.

And Varric Tethras had an extremely vivid imagination.

Hawke’s longer legs got her to his suite well ahead of him, and she was already counting out books on the sixth row of the first bookshelf by the time he hurried in and slammed the door behind him. “Ooh,” Hawke purred, pulling out the eighteenth book. “This one looks promising. Let’s see, what page number was it?”

He bent over to kick off his boots. Props and costumes were great. Getting his trousers tangled about his calves when trying to wrangle an eager and demanding lover was not. “Ninety-seven.”

“Ah, yes.” She flipped through the pages quickly, overshooting the correct page and then skimming back. “Let’s see, page ninety-seven. Rodrigo and Talia are in the study. She’s done…something bad…and he’s, oh. Oh.”

Varric paused, then slowly pushed his foot back into the boot. He remembered the story with Rodrigo and Talia. That one took some…interesting turns. “Well,” he said, voice a little too husky. “You know where to find the trunk.”

“Are you sure you don’t want to be Talia?” Hawke quipped, snapping the book shut. She carefully slid it back into its place before moving deeper into his room, toward the trunk in question. Varric watched her go, lips curving into a slow, appreciative smile before shaking himself out. Right, no, he needed to get a few things together to set the stage. “You’d look darling in pigtails.”

“Next time,” he promised. Varric poured himself a decent glass of scotch and went to sit at the head of the table. He snagged a pile of Guild documents, sorting through them quickly and discarding the ones he actually cared about. The rest he spread before him, as if he’d been hard at work. As an afterthought, he grabbed his favorite feather quill, twirling it between his fingers.

Varric settled back in his chair, indolently sprawling as he pretended to be hard at work. His thighs spread across the warm give of the seat, and Maker but it was tempting to reach between them and… He bit the inside of his mouth, giving in to temptation. Varric slid one hand down and lightly brushed the heel of his palm over the prominent bulge tenting against leather trousers. The touch was too light to be anything but a tease, moving over hot flesh as he listened to the whisper of fabric drifting to the floor as Hawke changed.

As Hawke prepared herself for him.

He swiped out his tongue to wet his bottom lip, arching once into the solid pressure of his own fist. Then, firmly, Varric lifted his hand and reached for his glass. It trembled a little, betraying his excitement. Maker, but it seemed like he was always trembling on the edge of some emotion or another—Hawke had a way of doing that to him.

Hawke had a way of making him love it.

He didn’t look up at the first soft footfall, intent on controlling the small quaver. There were times when they came together all desperation and fear and, yes, love. Tonight wasn’t about that, though. Tonight was about having some fun.

When Hawke lightly cleared her throat, Varric looked up…and slowly arched his brows.

“Oh,” he purred, dragging his gaze up and down the generous curves of her body in a bold caress. “Daddy like.”

Daddy is a bit of a pervert, don’t you think?” Hawke teased. She spread her arms and did a quick pirouette for his benefit, showing off the costume.

What little costume there was.

It was small—Merrill-small—and almost dainty on Hawke’s rough-and-tumble figure. The waist cincher was made of supple dyed leather, stitched rather than boned in a series of delicately curving grooves. It hugged the subtle softness of Hawke’s lower stomach and ended just above the lush flare of her hips. The top of it created a wide V beneath her breasts, curving up along her ribcage to a high, tightly laced back. She’d forgone the tunic (clever girl) and stuck with a whisper-thin chemise that was barely more than an illusion of fabric. It draped low across her breasts, revealing a flash of tempting Ferelden white before tucking into the cincher, then flowing over her hips. The sides had been slit Isabela-style, hem of the front scrap of cloth just barely brushing the edges of her fawn-colored thigh-high boots.

But best of all (or perhaps, Varric mused, worst of all, depending on who you ask) was the hooded Chantry sleeves and cowl she’d managed to wriggle her way into. The cowl was a fine, rich material stitched with a half-sun. It draped over Hawke’s shoulders like the upper eighth of a cape, covering her delicate collarbone. Its long sleeves trailed down into wide bells that brushed calloused fingertips. She’d drawn up the hood demurely, but he could make out the little smirking twist of her lips, her hair tamed into two perfectly innocent braids.

“Where did you even get this?” Hawke slid her hands along the soft leather cincher, ragged nails teasing into the delicate grooves. “Have you taken to jumping Chantry initiates in dark alleys? Should I be on the lookout for half-dressed novices?”

Varric leaned back in his seat with a noncommittal hum, steepling his fingers as he unabashedly enjoyed the view. Maker’s breath, but Hawke looked good like this. It wasn’t that he didn’t enjoy her usual armor and blood-spattered leather. He was ridiculously pleased that his girl could carve the balls off an ogre and stuff them down its throat. She was strong and self-confident and…and so very Hawke. Champion of Kirkwall, smiter of the wicked. The living embodiment of every storybook heroine he’d ever come to love.

But there was something about seeing her out of her armor, literally and figuratively, that made his blood quicken. Maybe, he mused, it was because he was the only one who got to be with her like this. He was the only one who got to see her this soft and unguarded. He’d never thought himself a particularly covetous man—Bartrand had always had enough greed to go around—but by the Ancestors, Hawke stirred something dark and deep and possessive inside of him. And seeing her in delicate linens and silk, her saucy smile gentling as a flush of color stole up her cheeks and into that carrot-red hair…

Well.

It certainly got him into a Rodrigo state of mind.

And now, he supposed, it was time to play.

Varric studied Hawke boldly over his steepled fingers, gaze deliberately sliding along skin left bared by the ridiculously skimpy costume. It was so tight she was nearly bursting out of it in a riot of lush curves. The pale swell of her hips made his palms itch. The flash of deep cleavage made his mouth water.

He cleared his throat to draw her attention.

“I read the Grand Cleric’s latest report,” Varric said. At her surprised noise, he reached out and snagged one of the parchments littering the tabletop. Spidery script detailed boring Guild meetings about the rising price of vellum—but in this fiction they were creating, it was Elthina’s hand laying out Talia’s many sins. “I sent you to the initiates so you would not lack for the gentling influence of a woman, yet here her Grace reports that you are willful, disobedient, reckless—”

“I can explain,” Hawke breathed, taking a half-step forward. Varric slapped the paper across his palm with an angry glower and she stopped, color rising. Her fingers twisted together, betraying her nerves. “Please, Serrah, it isn’t what you think.”

Strands of loose hair fell across his eyes when he tipped his chin forward. His voice dropped into a low, warning rumble. “And what am I thinking, girl?”

She bit her lip and looked away anxiously before glancing back. The way she looked at him, up through dark lashes, made his blood heat with an illicit shock of awareness. She was always so hesitant around him, shy and skittish as a hare. It made him want to be gentle and rough by turns. It made him want things he had no right to desire. Maker preserve him. “I…wouldn’t dare to say,” she murmured, taking another careful step forward. The heavy curve of the hood fell forward when she ducked her head, hiding her face from him. “Your thoughts are your own, Serrah, and I would never presume to read so great a man, but… But what the Grand Cleric says, it is not true. She seeks to poison you against me.”

“And why would she want to do that? Talia.” His voice sharpened on her name and she looked up at him, warm brown eyes wide with a mix of fright and… Ah, Maker. Heat. He could see the thrum of her pulse at the base of her throat. Her sweet, young—far too young—body trembled with it.

“Talia,” Varric murmured, elbows against the armrests as he leaned forward. His eyes met and held hers. “Why would she want to poison me against you?”

Hawke hesitated.

Talia,” Varric said again. His tone sharpened, command clear. “Come here and answer me.”

“Oh,” Hawke breathed. She jerked in response, then stumbled forward, dropping gracefully to her knees at his feet. Her clasped hands dropped to Varric’s thigh and the heavy hood fell away from her face as she lifted it toward his, beseeching. “Please, Rodrigo,” Hawke said. “The Grand Cleric wants me to swear myself to the Maker’s service. She doesn’t understand that I…”

She looked away.

Varric reached out, one big finger dropping beneath her chin. He forced her to look up at him, catching her beautiful face between thumb and forefinger when she would have pulled away in maidenly embarrassment. “Tell me,” he said.

She drew in an unsteady breath, then let it out, looking up at him with a wealth of trust and love and longing in her eyes. “She doesn’t understand that I am already sworn body and soul to you. You saved me, Serrah. You took me in when no one else would have me. You made me the woman I am today, and I…I would have you be…”

Hawke stumbled, then looked away. He could see the way her lashes flickered as she fought to remember what came next.

Varric cocked his head, briefly breaking character. “Keep going with the fifteen pages of purple declarations or move on to the good stuff? Not that I’m eager to miss your touching soliloquy on the religious fervor you feel for your beloved guardian, but…”

The earnest innocence dropped from Hawke’s face like a mask, and she grinned sudden and wicked. “Skip. Blah blah oh Rodrigo, you have been a guiding light in my life ever since the death of my parents, and so on.”

Oh, Talia, you innocent young blossom, I am too old and seasoned a man to pluck you before your time,” Varric added with a vague wave. “So on and so forth…damn my weakness, I am only a man, and now I commence with the plucking.”

“I do so love to be thoroughly plucked,” Hawke murmured, sotto.

“Hush, you,” Varric said, “I’m about to be very alpha.”

“Ooh, well, I wouldn’t want to miss that.”

Varric mentally tabbed ahead, familiar enough with the story to estimate the best place to pick up. They fell easily into the familiar rhythms of the game—the characters may have changed, but they knew this dance well, even if it was unusual for Hawke to take so submissive a role. Eventually he leaned back in his chair and drummed his fingers against the armrests as he studied the gorgeous redhead at his feet, deciding on the best way to nudge their play along. Hawke was flushed and, oddly enough, weaving a little where she knelt. Varric watched as she drew in an unsteady breath, then hitched her hips almost irritably, shifting back and forth as if she were…

As if she were squirming.

He arched a brow, bemused and delighted and—oh yes—so incredibly turned on by the idea that for a moment he wasn’t quite sure what to do about it. He wondered whether it was the paternal air he was trying to adopt or the thought of him ordering her around or something else that had her so on edge, but he knew his lady—knew her better than anyone or anything in Thedas—and he could read the breathless, frustrated eagerness writ so clear on every tense line of her body.

Hawke was wet, Hawke was aching, and Hawke wanted to be plucked immediately.

Which meant playing around a little longer would be even more of a reward than usual.

Varric deliberately spread his thighs, biting the inside of his mouth when her eyes dropped to the impressive (if he did say so himself) bulge pressing against the fawn-colored breeches. It didn’t take much to get him going when Hawke was around, and Maker take him, the frankly hungry look she shot him was enough to make him ache. “Do you want to please me?” Varric murmured, mostly in character. He was doing his best with so little blood making its way to his brain, at least.

The line, he could tell, was already beginning to blur a little for them both. At Hawke’s quick nod, he shifted, letting his hips press forward subtly. Varric drew one booted foot along the inner seam of Hawke’s thigh, the very tip tracing up the pale curve toward her core. He wet his lips as he brushed over her, then very deliberately pressed the ball of his foot against the uppermost curve of her cunt.

Hawke’s eyes jerked to his, lips parting in surprised protest—and then her eyelids drooped, going half-mast at something she read on his face. She bit her bottom lip as she subtly lifted up. The whisper-thin chemise bunched around her hips as Hawke rose a scant few inches on her knees, letting the ball of Varric’s booted foot drag across her barely clothed cunt, then deliberately ground down. She hissed in a shocked breath, head dropping back. The Chantry hood fell away to reveal the most delightfully perverse pigtails.

“That’s it, sweetheart,” Varric murmured. His voice had gone deep and husky as any romance hero’s, but it wasn’t an act. Hawke gave a whimpery moan at the sound and his cock twitched in fervent agreement.

Hawke reached down to brace her palms against her thighs, hips undulating up, then back down, again, again. Varric pressed in tighter on each downthrust, eyes glued on the slow glide of her hips. The sight of it—the sound of it, the scrape of silky fabric against the rough sole of his boot unnaturally loud and unfairly hot—was enough to make his trapped erection throb in sympathy. He wanted to reach down and squeeze, but Maker, at this rate, one touch and he’d be throwing her to the floor and shoving inside, game be damned.

His knuckles whitened as Varric gripped the arms of his chair. He did his best to keep his voice as even as possible, shifting the balance of his weight against her in three slow, teasing pulses. Hawke moaned, riding the increased pressure. Her hips rolled forward, thighs tight with strain.

He had to clear his throat and hope for the best. “Take them off.”

She kept moving, kept thrusting, color spreading across her cheeks and down her neck. Varric bit back a heartfelt curse and eased up the pressure, sliding back in the chair and dropping his leg. She hissed in a displeased breath before she seemed to remember herself—remember the fraying edges of her character. Varric watched, fascinated, as strong, caustic, sarcastic, take-no-prisoners Hawke warred with timid Daddy’s girl Talia.

Hawke let Talia win, but Varric knew the clock was ticking.

“I’m sorry, Serrah?” Hawke breathed, lashes flickering as she tried to focus on him. Maker take him, he could actually smell her, she was so keyed up. “I. What do you want me to do?”

Varric shifted again, digging his nails into the wooden armrests to keep from reaching for her, and rested his booted feet on her tense thighs. “I said, girl: take them off.”

The incredulous look she shot him was nearly enough to make him laugh. Varric bit back on the impulse, though he knew his eyes betrayed the sudden surge of amusement. Hawke’s lips pursed, but she reached (dutifully, like the good girl she was pretending to be) for the heel of his right boot and began to tug. It slid off easily enough in her hands; Hawke held it for a moment, meeting Varric’s eyes.

Then deliberately flung it over her shoulder. The resounding crash was a deliciously tart out-of-character fuck that.

Varric turned his head to press a laugh into his fist, shoulders shaking. Hawke yanked off the second boot, flinging it after the first. This time it hit the bookshelf before toppling to the ground.

“As my lord wishes,” Hawke murmured, too sweetly. It made the hairs on the back of his neck stand on end. She dusted off her hands, then paused to study him with a thoughtful expression. Varric watched her out of the corner of his eye, elbows resting on the arms of the chair, mouth still pressed against one fist to hide his grin. He was just about ready to strike father figure/obedient submissive girl off their list of compatible dynamics when Hawke reached out to lightly grip his thighs.

And gently but firmly spread his legs wide.

Varric straightened with a surprised noise, cock giving an eager twitch, the traitor. Hawke looked up at him through her lashes, dark eyes sparking mischievously…and then she was ducking her head, damned pigtails falling forward. With the faint rose of her cheeks and the demure dip of her lashes, she was the textbook image of sweet, virginal maid.

The fact that she held the laces of his breeches clenched between her teeth only marred that fiction a little.

Hawke tipped her chin, pulling at the laces. Varric shifted and dragged in an unsteady breath. He could feel the hot gust of her breath against his straining cock. The ends of her pigtails—ragged strands drifting free of the messy braids—brushed against the inner seam of his trousers as she pressed in and carefully caught another loop between her teeth. The chair creaked in protest, and he’d have splinters beneath his fingernails if he wasn’t careful, but Ancestors take him, this was, Hawke was…

Hawke was swiping her devil’s tongue against the bit of skin she’d exposed through the gaping fabric. Her eyes slid shut as she hummed in appreciation.

“What are you doing?” he rasped. It took all his (what he would have once thought considerable) willpower not to thrust up toward her teasing, tempting mouth.

She hummed low in the back of her throat, palms beginning to slide up and down his thighs. “I’m helping you take them off,” she murmured. Hawke raked her teeth along the loosened material, peeling the front placket back. “Just like you told me to.”

He hadn’t worn smalls today. He hadn’t worn smalls, and her mouth was right there, her breath hot against increasingly exposed flesh. Varric cursed, hips riding up in a short, helpless rut when Hawke’s chin (deliberately, because she was obviously a desire demon come to torment him) brushed over his straining prick. “Maker take me,” he hissed. He couldn’t take his eyes off her.

Hawke’s thumbs dug into the tightening muscles of his thighs as she peeled back the other half of his fly. There was a ridiculous amount of skin exposed by the widening V, a few laces still loosely holding his breeches together. Another tug and—

And Maker’s furry nutsack Hawke was mouthing him through the material, teasing that V wider.

“Ah, ahh.” He squirmed, his head falling back at the fuckyesAncestorsgood incredible heat of her mouth. Hawke murmured soft agreement, tongue swirling over the straining fabric, dragging downdowndown until she found his cockhead through the material. The noise she made, Maker, nearly made him go up in flames. The way she moved her lips over him and pressed her tongue right there, maddening, so fucking good he was—

He was very seriously going to come if he didn’t take back control.

Ah, good girl,” Varric murmured. He reached down to slide his fingers into Hawke’s hair even as she reached between his thighs, pulling the front placket of his breeches apart the last few inches. The laces unraveled easily, and Varric swallowed back a groan as his cock sprang free. He was so hard a bead of precome was gathering at the tip, and he was fairly sure he would dissolve into pleasure if she so much as touched him.

“Ooh, Daddy,” Hawke teased, looking up at him through her lashes. “Is that for me?”

Spanking, Varric thought wildly. Spanking was seriously not out of the question.

She began to reach for him, visibly eager, and he tightened his fingers in her hair. “Not yet, sweetheart,” Varric murmured. “That isn’t part of the plan.”

“I’m improvising.” Hawke dropped her hand to his thigh, but her lips were parted and she was shifting in place again. Eager.

It took every bit of willpower Varric had left to lightly tug one of her braids, then let her go. He resumed his stranglehold on the creaking armrests. “Talia doesn’t improvise. Talia does as she’s told.”

Hawke opened her mouth in protest, then bit her bottom lip before blowing out a sharp breath. “What would you have me do, Serrah?” she said, though there was nothing young or soft or innocent about her tone. They were quickly reaching the end of their game.

“Stand up,” Varric said. “Strip. I want to see you.”

Hawke slowly unfolded in front of him, rising and rising and rising. That was one of the best things about humans, he mused as she rose to her full height. Or, at least, humans like Hawke. They were sturdy and deliciously curvy, and there was just so much of them. He watched as Hawke slipped her thumbs into the Chantry half-cape and sleeves. She had to wriggle to get out of it, shoulders too broad for the straining material, but Maker, he certainly wasn’t complaining. Her breasts bounced and strained as she tugged it over her head. He could see the tight clench of her nipples through the whisper-thin fabric. Coral-pink, he knew, atop a soft span of white flesh.

He swallowed hard, sliding one hand down to squeeze the base of his cock as Hawke tossed aside the heavy material and reached for her cincher. It accentuated her curves so perfectly, tucking in her waist just above the lush roundness of her hips and ass. He wondered how it would feel against his fingertips. Against his bare chest as he drove into her.

His cock pulsed at the image. Hawke’s fingers fumbled against the laces and she cursed, eyes on him. The air between them was electric, heady with the scent of leather and liquor and sex. He wanted to bury his face between her breasts and breathe her in. He wanted to flip her long (long, long) legs over his shoulders and press his tongue into her cunt.

Hawke cursed again. “This isn’t working,” she said. Her voice was deliciously husky. “You win. I’m safe-wording. ‘Knickerweasel’, damn it.”

Varric immediately dropped any pretense of watching her with Rodrigo’s studied air. He reached out, trembling, and shoved his hands under the flimsy chemise. The threads of her smalls were thin as twine; they snapped so easily in his hands.

“Thank the Maker,” he said with a growl, yanking Hawke toward him. Hawke tumbled into his lap with a breathless laugh-moan. She dragged her knees up, rising over him in a glorious pillar of curving flesh and flashing hot eyes. She pressed her hands along the back of his chair, arching her back even as her knees gripped his ribcage, and she—Maker—sank onto his cock with a breathy moan.

It wasn’t slow; it wasn’t sweet. They were both far too keyed up to tease now. Varric grabbed her lush hips and yanked her down until she was fully seated on him, hips rucking up with a sharp hitch. Hawke yowled like a cat, digging her nails into his shoulders as she threw her head back. Cursing, he craned his neck and caught the peak of her breast between his teeth, wetting the thin material of the chemise with his tongue. He rode out the shocked undulation of her body, lifting against her weight to rock his hips upward.

Fuck.” Hawke fumbled at the neck of the chemise, yanking at the drawstring with a breathy moan. She rolled her hips forward, moving in a careful grind that was almost enough to make him see stars. Varric pressed forward, using his strength to lift her almost completely off him before pulling her back hard into the cradle of his hips. He rode out the frenzied thrash of long limbs, tipping her pelvis forward and grinding against her clit.

She felt incredible against him, around him, clenching him so impossibly tight. Varric moaned and rubbed his face over her clothed breasts, hands gripping the butter-soft leather that was nipping her waist in so sharply as he drove up into her again, again. It was nearly impossible to find a steady rhythm when all he wanted to do was pound into her. The breathless, steadily louder shouts and cries and threats and pleas pouring out of Hawke as he sped up the hard jut of his hips made it even harder.

“Fuck, Maker, just, Varric, yes,” she hissed. There was the sound of ripping cloth, and Varric lifted his face just as Hawke yanked the drawstring tightening the neck of her chemise free. The filmy material sagged at once, dropping down her shoulders and—merciful Ancestors—freeing her unbound breasts. They tumbled forward, big and milky-pale, bobbing with each hard thrust.

Hawke scrabbled for his shoulders, knees gripping tight against his ribcage as she worked her hips, grinding herself against him with breathless little curses. Varric slammed up, ignoring the warning creak of the chair as he sank into the tight clench of Hawke’s body over and over. He lifted his face to rub his stubbled cheek against her breast, thumbnails digging into the soft leather gripping her waist as he tipped her forward—until she was covering him completely, until her large human body was nearly smothering him, fuck—and drove into her.

On thrust. Two. And then she was thrashing over him, spine going tight as she threw her head back and keened. From this angle, he could see everything—the lush curve of her waist, the line of her ribcage, her gorgeous breasts with their tight coral-pink tips, the flushed collarbone, the jut of her jaw. Even those ridiculous little pigtails half-unraveled around her face as she came apart in his arms.

Varric growled and tightened his grip, thrusting up again and again into the impossibly hot clench of her body. He barely held on long enough to see her over the peak, cock jerking, painfully hard, as he ground against her clit and watched her shudder apart above him.

And then Hawke collapsed forward with a breathless gasp and thank the Maker that was his cue. He closed his eyes, buried his face in her glorious breasts, and slammed up into her body with a shout. Orgasm rocked through him like a lightning chain, setting everything in his body alight. He surged up, spilling into her welcoming heat. Release was so desperately welcome that for a moment, Varric was afraid he’d pass out.

It was a near thing.

Finally he sagged back as the fire left his blood, leaving him husked out, boneless. Hawke made a low noise and snuggled closer; the warning creak of the chair brought a wry curve to his lips.

“Someday we’re going to break this thing,” Varric murmured, rubbing his hands up and down her spine. “Go tumbling down in a flurry of limbs.”

“And then I’ll just fuck you on the floor.” Hawke’s voice was husky, hot. Varric’s cock—traitor that it was—twitched in response. “Mm, hello.”

He groaned and gripped her waist, carefully lifting her up. He stood, catching Hawke against him when she staggered, and gladly took her weight even as he tilted them toward the bed. “You’re going to be the death of me someday,” he muttered, but really… Well, what a way to go. He tumbled Hawke back against the mattress, kicking free of the tangled mess of his breeches.

Hawke hummed and curled around his body, rubbing against him like a very big, very friendly cat. She caught her fingers in the deep V of his shirt and pulled him in for a kiss that just about stole his breath.

And once again, Varric thought, lips parting beneath hers. Hawke stroked her tongue into his mouth, flicking against his own before twining them together—long and sweet and deep. I prove that I am the luckiest dwarf in Thedas.

They stayed like that for what felt like a very long time, tangled together, tongues twining languidly. Finally, Hawke broke away just enough to drag in an unsteady breath. She shivered and pressed against his compact body. “So, Rodrigo and Talia.”

“Not our most shining moment,” he mused. Varric reached up to tug at what remained of her pigtails. “But it sure was fun trying.”

She hummed in agreement, pressing her mouth to his shoulder. “Next time,” Hawke decided, sliding one thigh over his hips, “I’m rigging it so we can play Hawke the vicious pirate queen, feared up and down the coast, and her disobedient cabin boy in sore need of discipline.”

Varric tugged her hair again, sharply, and she laughed. “You’ve been spending too much time with Rivaini,” he said.

Hawke turned her face to brush her mouth along the bristles on his chin. “I’ll let you fight back,” she purred and wriggled against him.

And, well. Perhaps he wasn’t so tired after all. Varric reached around to cup the full curve of Hawke’s ass, pulling her over him with a wide, wicked grin. “Oh,” he murmured, dragging his teeth along her jaw. “Aye aye, captain.”