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Unconditional (Except When It's Not)

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Hawke hadn't seen it coming.

Oh, it made sense, when it was all said and done. None of it was really all that surprising. She just hadn't seen it coming.

Life was like that.

*

Hawke woke up to someone pounding drums in her head. That's what it felt like, at least. She had the sinking suspicion that it was just an absolutely horrible hangover, but drums seemed just as plausible just then.

"Sleep well, princess?"

With a groan, Hawke rolled over. A few seconds later, she realized that she was on the floor. Well, technically she was on a carpet, but it still counted as the floor in her mind.

Varric grinned down at her.

Hawke blinked a few times. "When did you get so tall?" she asked, a bit more petulantly than she'd intended. She blamed the hangover. Or the drums. Whichever it was that was trying to make her head fall off.

"I'm guessing the alcohol hasn't completely worn off, huh?" Varric asked lightly, both of his eyebrows raising.

It took her a second to figure out what he was talking about. Which, come to think of it, probably meant that he wasn't wrong.

Varric was still grinning, but after staring at him for so long Hawke was starting to realize that it didn't quite make it to his eyes. They looked much too serious.

"What happened last night?" Hawke asked, grimacing as she pushed herself up into a sitting position. The world spun a little bit around her, and her stomach made it very clear that it disagreed with her choice of movement.

Varric opened his mouth as if he was about to reply.

Fenris's face flashed in her mind, memory following shortly behind it. It's too much. This is too fast.

"Never mind," Hawke said quickly, holding up her hand. This time, the grimace on her face had nothing to do with her hangover. "I remember."

If she hadn't been staring straight at him, Hawke probably wouldn't have noticed the flash of emotion that flickered across Varric's face. As it was, even though she saw it, she didn't know how to interpret it.

Varric's grin grew a bit less toothy, shifting into something almost gentle. "Come on, Hawke," he said, offering her his hand. "Let's get you some water."

*

"—and it's not even that he left that bothers me so much!" Hawke said, taking another sip of her ale. "I would have been fine with it just being for one night, or from time to time, or whatever, if he would have just told me that's what he wanted."

Varric grinned at her from behind his own mug. "So Rivaini has said. Many, many, many times."

Hawke rolled her eyes. "Isabela exaggerates," she said pointedly. "There's never been anyone else in bed with us any of the times I've slept with her. I've never been involved in any orgies with her."

"Yet," Varric added.

Hawke opened her mouth to argue. Then she thought better of it and nodded a bit sheepishly. "Yet," she admitted. "But the point still stands!"

Varric took another drink from his mug. "I'm still not sure if you're mad at Fenris or not," he pointed out.

"Neither am I," Hawke muttered, sinking a bit lower in her seat. "I'd be fine with it if he just decided that one night was all he wanted. It's just—"

She trailed off, biting her lip a little.

"Just that he implied he wanted more than that?" Varric filled in after the silence drew out for a bit too long.

Hawke nodded. "Exactly."

Varric shook his head. "I've got to say, Hawke, you can really pick them."

"I hate you," Hawke muttered, taking another large gulp from her mug of ale.

"No you don't," Varric said cheerfully.

Hawke wanted to argue. She really did. They both knew he was right, though, so there wasn't much of a point in it.

*

"I miss Isabela," Hawke said, sprawling out on top of Varric's bed.

Varric looked up from the papers he was reading, glancing over at her from the nearby chair he was sitting in. "You mean that you miss sleeping with Isabela," he said teasingly.

Hawke rolled over so that she could prop herself up with her elbows. "It's not just that!"

Varric raised his eyebrows.

"It's not!" Hawke protested, rolling her eyes. Then she gave him a half-hearted shrug. "I mean, that's definitely part of it, but it's not all of it."

"I'm sure she'll show back up eventually," Varric said, a hint of amusement in his voice.

"I know, I know," Hawke agreed with a sigh, "but it was convenient. Both of us knew exactly what the other wanted, nothing more and nothing less."

The corners of Varric's mouth twitched. "Happy endings?" he suggested. "Preferably more than one of them each?"

Hawke stuck out her tongue at him.

Varric stopped even trying to hide his grin.

"I'm serious," Hawke said, shaking her head. "I've been halfway tempted to start flirting with Anders again."

That was enough to make Varric's grin fade. "Hawke—"

"I said halfway," Hawke said quickly, her own face growing a bit more serious. "I'm not an idiot, Varric, no matter what a lot of people think. I know he's at least half in love with me. I wouldn't do that to him, not when I can't offer him anything more than friendship and—"

She trailed off, trying to think of a good way to end the sentence.

"Happy endings?" Varric suggested again, wagging his eyebrows suggestively.

Hawke shifted, reaching down towards the end of the bed so that she could grab one of the pillows there. Then, in one fluid movement, she tossed it straight at Varric's head.

He ducked, and the pillow flew straight over his head. And landed in the fireplace.

Varric turned and glared at her.

"At least it wasn't actually lit?" Hawke suggested, trying her best to make herself look small.

Rolling his eyes, Varric stood up and went to retrieve his soot-covered pillow. "For the sake of my personal belongings, Hawke, please get laid soon."

"I'm trying!" Hawke protested. "But I'm banned from the Blooming Rose until they forget about that incident with the assassins, and I don't know anyone else who'd be interested." She paused. "Well, not anyone who would be interested in sleeping with Marian Hawke rather than the Champion of Kirkwall or Lady Amell."

"Nobody?" Varric asked, brushing off the pillow as he walked back towards the bed. "You don't know a single person who'd want to sleep with you?"

Hawke shot him a pointed look. "Anders is off the table, as we've already discussed," she said, holding up her hand and ticking off fingers. "Fenris is out, for obvious reasons. Aveline and Donnic still aren't interested, or at least they weren't the last time I asked."

Varric opened his mouth as if he was about to say something. Then he closed it.

Hawke simply continued. "Sebastian clearly is out. Merrill is like a sister to me. You're not interested."

"Says who?" Varric asked, cutting in.

"Very funny," Hawke said, rolling her eyes. Then she actually looked at him, and she sat up a little straighter. Oh. Oh.

*

"I'm not looking for anything more than friendship."

Hawke rolled over in bed so that she could see Varric's face. "Hmm?" she hummed. "What was that?"

The expression Varric was wearing was unusually serious. "I mean it, Hawke," he said. "This isn't—" He hesitated for a second. "You're a friend. A very good friend. But my heart belongs to Bianca."

"She's a lucky woman," Hawke said lightly, her gaze flickering past him to where his crossbow was hanging on the wall, "but I'll take whatever you want to give."

There was a somewhat distant look on Varric's face as he smiled at her. "She's something, that's for sure," he agreed.

Hawke leaned in and pressed a kiss against his forehead, mostly chaste but with a hint of something more to it. "Friends?" she asked lightly as she pulled away.

"Friends," Varric said, grinning at her.

The two of them settled into a comfortable silence.

"Whenever Isabela comes back," Hawke said thoughtfully, "would you possibly be interested in—"

Varric cleared his throat rather pointedly. "I'm not the orgy type."

There was silence for a moment. Then Hawke let out a disappointed sigh.

"Maybe ask Choir Boy?" Varric suggested.

There was a long pause before Hawke burst out laughing.

*

"You're sleeping with Varric?"

Hawke blinked in surprise at the familiar voice coming from behind her, and she glanced over her shoulder with a raised eyebrow. "Oh, hey Fenris," she said, gesturing at the empty chair next to her. "Have a seat."

Fenris stood there for a long moment, hovering uncomfortable behind her, before somewhat reluctantly sitting down.

"What was the question?" Hawke asked, taking a sip of wine.

The look Fenris shot her was very much unamused.

Hawke smiled into her glass before taking another large swallow of wine. Then she sat it down on the table. "Sorry, sorry, I couldn't resist," she said. "And, yes, sometimes. Why?"

Fenris hesitated again.

"He's a lucky man," Fenris said carefully, and there was a hint of something in his voice that Hawke couldn't quite interpret.

That said, it sounded almost like...

Hawke sat up a little straighter. "Of course, I'm also occasionally sleeping with Isabela," she said slowly.

Fenris snorted. "Isn't everyone?" Then he paused, frowning a little. "But I thought you just said you were sleeping with Varric."

"I said 'sometimes,'" Hawke said. "It's not... we're just friends. Varric and me. Isabela and me."

"Oh." Fenris's face was unreadable, but Hawke thought that she saw a hint of confusion in his eyes.

Hawke narrowed her eyes. "Fenris, what is this about?" she asked. "Is this about what happened with Danarius? And your sister?"

Fenris shifted uncomfortably. "Yes," he said, "and no."

Hawke tilted her head, but she didn't say anything.

"We have never discussed what happened between us three years ago," Fenris said awkwardly.

Oh. Oh. That wasn't what she'd been expecting in the least bit.

*

"We're going to need to have a talk," Hawke said quietly, pressing a kiss against Fenris's bare shoulder. "About, well, you know what it's about."

Fenris shifted a bit, so that he could meet her gaze. "Varric," he said. "And Isabela."

Hawke nodded, but she didn't say anything. She just watched Fenris's face.

After a moment or two, Fenris sighed. "It's not my place to make any demands."

"Demands? No, it's not," Hawke agreed. "But requests? That's something else."

Fenris just shook his head. "It's still not my place."

"Does it bother you?" Hawke asked, tilting her head a bit.

There was long pause. "Yes," Fenris said, "and no." A very awkward look flashed across his face. "I'm honestly not certain how I feel regarding Varric."

Hawke felt her eyebrows raising. "I notice you didn't mention Isabela," she said slowly.

If anything, Fenris looked even more awkward.

"You've slept with her too, haven't you?" Hawke asked, her mouth twisting into a grin. "Haven't you?"

Fenris looked away from her, turning his gaze towards the ceiling. "Varric is a friend," he said, very pointedly ignoring the question. "It may take some time to get used to, but I believe I could become used to the idea."

Hawke leaned forward to press a kiss against Fenris's cheek.