|First Comes Love
Author: trilliumg PM
A series of unexpected events leads Marian and Fenris to consider a more permanent arrangement. Kink!meme fill, but rated T for now.Rated: Fiction T - English - Drama/Romance - Hawke (F) & Fenris - Chapters: 6 - Words: 9,765 - Reviews: 26 - Favs: 32 - Follows: 62 - Updated: 02-17-13 - Published: 07-25-11 - id: 7219191
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Response to a kink!meme prompt, which I'll post at the end.
Have I mentioned lately that I looooove constructive criticism? :-)
"Never? You've never thought about it? I don't believe you, Fenris."
Down on one knee, Marian cooed and ruffled the toddler's golden curls. The girl's big blue eyes were tinged with green, and when she smiled her little pink tongue poked out between her teeth. The armorer's daughter was absolutely darling. Marian felt sorry that the man had to watch over her while trying to conduct his day's business.
"Why would I have?" Fenris asked with a shrug. "Slaves serve their masters. For all but a fortunate few, a spouse and children are not an option."
Marian stood and took his arm. "Good day, Serah," she told the armorer.
It was late afternoon and they were weaving their way through long shadows of the Hightown market, headed in the general direction of Hawke's home. The scent of grilled meat wafted from a vendor's stall, and Marian's stomach growled as she thought of the chicken-and-olive dish that Orana had planned to cook for supper.
"I'm surprised, that's all. The way you always yearned to be free…didn't you imagine what your life would be like if you ever escaped?"
"I did," Fenris admitted. "But I imagined a life on the run. I never dreamed I would truly be free, able to settle down. Besides, it is difficult to think of providing for a family when you do not even own the clothing on your back."
Marian pulled him toward her and kissed his cheek. She felt his body stiffen. He hated it when she felt sorry for him. She tried, more often than not, to spare him those sentiments, but sometimes she just couldn't help it. Imagining his life before…she really couldn't. His existence under Danarius was unfathomable to her. Even now, having known him for several years, she would occasionally be surprised by new, unpleasant details.
Just then, a dark and familiar thought tried to make its way into her consciousness. She willed it away before Fenris could see her frown.
"Shall we pick up some fruit for dessert?" she asked, changing the subject. "Those mangoes over there look delicious."
"They do," he agreed. "And Sandal will enjoy them."
She made a beeline for the fruit stall and pulled a few coins from her purse.
Just as Marian had guessed, delicious smells were emanating from the kitchen when she and Fenris walked in the front door.
"Hello, Messeres!" Bodahn greeted them. "Have a nice excursion today? You really should take time off more freq…"
"We did, Bodahn, thank you," Marian replied. She loved Bodahn as if he were a member of her own family. But some days, he could talk the ear off an elephant. She generally didn't like interrupting people, but she made an exception in his case. And Merrill's.
"Look, Sandal," she said to the other dwarven resident of her estate, holding out the paper bag in front of her. "Mangoes!"
Sandal lurched toward her, hands outstretched, but she pulled the sack back to her chest. "Ah, ah—after dinner," she said. "And you have to eat everything on your plate first."
"Okay," he said simply, then dropped clumsily to the floor to play with Rex.
"Just a few more minutes, Mistress," Orana called from the kitchen.
Presently, they took their places at the antique cherrywood dining table. It was the first time Orana had tried the chicken recipe, but it had turned out perfectly. Everyone made sure to tell her so, amid the clanking of cutlery and the tinkling of wine glasses and the exchanging of the day's news.
She was about to say how grateful she was to have a house full of wonderful people when her eyes passed over the painting of her mother and Bethany hanging on the opposite wall. She choked back her words.
"It was a lovely meal, Orana," she said instead. "Thank you."
"You are welcome, Mistress."
"I think that sending you to cooking school was an excellent investment."
"Thank you, Mistress." Orana's cheeks and ears were tinged with pink, but Marian knew that she secretly took great pride in her cooking. Since receiving her diploma, Orana had seemed to stand a bit taller, and the members of the household rarely had to ask her to repeat herself anymore.
Marian set her napkin aside and turned to Fenris. "Are you up for a reading lesson this evening?"
Orana had gone to night school as well as cooking school, for her general education and to read the increasingly elaborate cookbooks that Marian bought for her. But for reasons noble and not so noble, Marian preferred to teach Fenris herself.
"Let's go for a walk first," Fenris suggested. "I'm feeling a bit restless."
An hour later they were lying naked in Marian's bed. Fenris peered into a book by the light of an oil lamp hung just above his head expressly for this purpose.
"Un…dyoo…lated," Hawke corrected gently.
"Why do you have me read these things?" Fenris asked, fighting to suppress the smile in his voice. "They are beneath you."
"Because Isabela has left them everywhere, and they're exactly your reading level," Marian replied, reaching over and closing the book. "If they happen to give you ideas about me being beneath you, all the better," she teased, batting her eyelashes.
"And you wonder why I never get anywhere," he growled.
Marian snuggled into to his chest and peered into his bottomless, jade-toned eyes. "I'm a bad teacher, Fenris. I need to be punished!"
"That does not become you either," he said, smirking. In a flash, he rolled onto his side and pinned Marian's arms above her head.
They woke just after daybreak. Today they would prepare for a trip to the Wounded Coast to save some nobleman's fool daughter. Fenris grunted incoherently as he dragged himself out of bed and lurched toward the bathroom, and Marian pulled the sheets back over her head.
A few minutes later, she heard a knock at her door.
"There's an urgent message for you, Messere," Bodahn announced, his voice muffled by the wall of wood between them.
She threw on her robe, opened the door, and held out her hand. "No rest for the wicked, I see."
"The reward for work well done is…more work, I'm afraid," Bodahn replied as he lay the letter across her palm.
"Thank you, Bodahn."
As she swung the door closed, the seal of the Kirkwall Templars caught her eye. She quickly loosened the red wax.
There is an urgent matter that I must discuss with you.
If you are able, come round my office today and ask for me. If I'm not in, I won't be far.
If you cannot, please send word immediately and I will make other arrangements.
With my sincere thanks,
Just then Fenris appeared from the bathroom, drying himself off with a towel.
"I never get tired of staring at your markings," Marian said with a giggle, her eyes fixed on his chest.
"Luckily for you, I never tire of being stared at," he replied.
"So, what do you say?" she asked, waving the letter in the air. "Do we go and save the nobleman's daughter, or do we see what intrigue Knight-Captain Cullen has in store for us? Obviously the nobleman's daughter is in trouble, but Cullen doesn't seem the type of man to ask for idle favors."
"True." Fenris reached for the note, and she paused for a moment before handing it to him.
"I'm sorry," she said quickly. "I forget that you can actually read now. It's so exciting!"
Fenris looked the piece of paper over carefully, then looked up at her and handed it back. "We should visit the Knight-Captain. If need be, we can still go to the Coast later today."
"Done. I suppose I should skip my bath though," she said with a grimace. She'd spoiled herself by bathing almost every day since moving out of Gamlen's house. Now, missing it was enough to leave her out of sorts until the next opportunity.
"Yes, I suppose you should."
She sighed, already feeling her shirt sticking to her skin under her armor. "You know, sometimes I hate it when you agree with me."
They dressed as quickly as they could, and with brief goodbyes to the staff, they headed out the door in the direction of the Gallows.