|Viva La Kirkwall
Author: Faeruy PM
Written for a DAWC challenge: "Write a crossover setting Dragon Age to another TV show or movie, with the cast of DA characters filling in those of the chosen series" This is DAII characters and setting, with RENT/La Boheme plot.Rated: Fiction T - English - Romance/Friendship - & Carver H. - Chapters: 2 - Words: 11,160 - Reviews: 4 - Favs: 1 - Updated: 10-15-11 - Published: 10-07-11 - Status: Complete - id: 7445516
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Varric sat in the tiny flat he shared with Carver Hawke, scribbling furiously in a leather-bound book. Carver was in a corner, sharpening his sword on a whetstone. They lived in squalor, just one room in an abandoned building. The room was empty save for two beds, two chairs, and a single table with a candle on it. Times were tough in Kirkwall. Varric frowned at the page and mumbled.
"Feastday Eve, it's dark as the Deep Roads out there. I sit here, alone, with Carver, who's sharpening the broadsword he hasn't touched in a year." Varric's brow furrowed, and he started erasing. Carver looked up, annoyed.
"It's a piece of shit sword. Won't sharpen."
"So I hear. Why this sword Carver? Some romantic reason, I hope, I need a reason for my new story..."
"I want to do something worthy of a Grey Warden." All of a sudden, a bird flew in the open window and perched on the sill. Varric went over and picked it up. He pulled a message out of the tiny tube attached to it's leg.
It's me! I hope you're all doing well. I wish you could be here this Feastday, but I understand if you can't. Anyway, Gamlen and Charade are here. We miss you guys, especially you Carver. Ass. Oh and I hope you like the portable campfire. Just don't burn the place down. Also Varric, I'm sorry to hear about Isabela but you know... she's Isabela.
Varric crumpled up the piece of paper and tossed it out the window.
"Hey!" shouted a gruff, indignant voice. Carver's head shot up.
"Fenris!" Varric cried as he raced to the window and looked down at the lyrium-tattooed elf. "Come on up!" The elf gave them a wave and started walking around to the other side of the building. Carver returned to his whetstone. A few moments later, the sounds of a fight broke out somewhere below them. Varric looked at Carver, who merely shrugged.
"Bar brawl?" Varric was about to respond to that when another pigeon flew in the window. He sighed and collected the new message.
As you are probably no doubt aware, I'm planning on retaking my throne at Starkhaven. Unfortunately, in order to do that, I need money. I must ask you now for the rent that the two of you have owed me for the last year.
Maker be with you,
"You got any money, Varric?"
A third pigeon zoomed in through the window and crash-landed on the floor.
Hey Varric sweetie,
I'm having an itty bitty problem with the ship ceremony I'm planning, and it's name is Aveline. She just doesn't know what she's doing. Could you maybe help her out a bit? Please? For me?
Varric rolled his eyes and scribbled something on the back of Isabela's note. He picked up the pigeon and launched it back out the window.
"Are you actually going to help her?"
"You're whipped, my friend."
Down below, out of view of the dilapidated flat, Fenris was fighting off a legion of bandits. He was holding his own fairly well, glowing and ripping hearts out of chests, but the sheer numbers were slowly wearing him down. One bandit got in a knife in under his ribs and the elf collapsed; the glow of his tattoos slowly dimming. Suddenly there was a blue flash, and the rest of the bandits fainted dead away. A hand reached out to the curled-up Fenris.
"Are you okay?" Fenris only shook his head. The hand turned over, palm down, and a warmth filled his body. "Better?" He nodded, and reached for the hand. As Fenris got to his feet, he got a long slow look at the man who saved his life. He was tall, human, blonde, and obviously a mage. He wore an ostentatiously feathered robe and carried a long staff. His eyes were brown, but there was hint of something strange behind them. Fenris couldn't quite put his finger on it.
"I'm called Fenris. Thank you."
"Fenris? Come on, I've only done a temporary pain block. Let's get you back to my clinic and fix you up. I have a support meeting for Grey Wardens and others who have the taint at dusk, but you should be fixed up by then."
"Me too. Not like you. Not darkspawn tainted, just... wrong."
"You could stay for the meeting. And we could do dinner afterwards. I just got paid." The mage, Anders, grinned brightly. Fenris realized he hadn't let go of the man's arm. He suddenly felt very nervous.
"I was going to meet with my friends..."
"You know you're cute when you're nervous? Your tattoos glow. Come with me."
"Alright. Yes." Fenris felt that this Feastday would be far more promising than the last.
Back in the apartment, Varric was packing a few things in a satchel; mostly odds and ends and his favorite crossbow, Bianca. He glanced at Carver, still sharpening his sword and staring out a window.
"You should come with me. It could be fun, we could get a drink at the Hanged Man."
"Flat broke, dwarf."
"You'd think Grey Wardens would get a stipend or something. Don't stay cooped up here all day."
With that, Varric slung his satchel over his back and left. Carver stopped sharpening the sword and laid it on the bed beside him. He peered out the window and watched as Varric turned the corner. The dark-haired boy shoved the table, hard enough to send it into the wall, and picked up his sword again. He began shadow-sparring, blocking and parrying an invisible enemy. He started slow and quickly picked up the pace; lunging forward, lightly stepping backwards, until his movement became a graceful and deadly dance. As he was performing a whirling sweep, there was a knock on the door. Carver sheathed his sword quickly.
"Varric, what did you forget this time?"
"I need a candle." The voice was lilting and feminine. Definitely not Varric.
"What? Who is that?" Carver crossed to the door and opened it. Before him stood an elf with short raven-hair. She was thin and frail-looking, delicate features and mesmerizing green eyes that took up most of her face. Carver couldn't speak.
"Oh, this isn't the shop. Oh well. I don't suppose I could borrow a candle off you, could I?" Her knees buckled slightly when she finished speaking, and Carver ran to catch her.
"Are you okay?"
"I"m fine... I just... well I may have forgotten to eat today. But you're too kind, really..." she trailed off as Carver just stared at her with a glazed look on his face. "What is it?"
"Nothing. You just... remind me of someone" Carver stammered a bit. He realized his hands were her waist. He let go as if his hands were burning and went over to the table, ostensibly looking for an extra candle.
"I get that a lot, actually. Who is she?"
"She died. Her name was Bethany." His voice darkened and he refused to look at the elf girl.
"Oh.. I'm sorry. So do you have a candle I could borrow?" Carver fumbled a bit, but ultimately found a stub. He handed it to her, and she took it with glee. "Oh thank you so much! It will be so helpful to my work." She went lightly to the door. If Carver hadn't just seen her nearly faint, he might have been tempted to call it skipping.
"Do you need a match?" He called out after her. There was no answer from the other side of the door. He sighed and was about to pick up his sword, when he heard a knock on the door. He opened it, and there she was, still with the candle.
"Did you need a light?" He asked. She only shook her head.
"No, I can take care of that myself. I think I dropped something though, a shard of glass, part of my work. I swear I had it when I came in... maybe it's on the floor somewhere, only be careful, it's really sharp. I wouldn't want you to cut yourself." When she stopped speaking, Carver realized he had been staring again. "Is there something on my face?"
"No... it's just you look familiar."
"Like your girl friend who looks like me?"
"Sister, actually, and she didn't exactly look like you, after all, she was human like me, and you're not... But that's not what I meant. I feel like I've seen you somewhere before."
"Do you ever go to the Blooming Rose? A friend of mine got me a part-time job there. I keep the books and do a bit of dancing, and occasionally they have me do a magic trick or two. They don't let me do any of the really dirty stuff... Isabela says I shouldn't."
"Oh, you're the one who does the light show there!"
"It's a living. Not a good one, but then again, I don't need much." Out of the corner of his eye, Carver thought he saw a glint of something. He picked it up, it was a mirror shard. It felt odd, strangely old and evil. He quickly pocketed the piece.
"Oh did you find it?"
"No, just a piece of a broken bottle."
"Oh well. It was nice to meet you..."
"Carver. Carver Hawke."
"I'm Merrill. I hope to see you soon Carver." She stood on her tiptoes and kissed the warrior lightly on the cheek. She danced merrily out the door and waved. "Thanks for the candle!" When she was out of sight, Carver let out a repressed sigh, and reached into his pocket for the shard. His hand came up empty.
The door of their flat burst open. Varric walked in, dragging a beat-up, but very happy Fenris behind him. Fenris was carrying a large satchel, which he dumped out on the small table. Food, booze, and other festive Feastday items spilled out.
"Look who it is Little Hawke!" Varric shouted, shoving the Grey Warden towards the elf. "And for Feastday."
"Carver, you haven't seen anyone but Varric in years, and all I get is 'hi Fenris'?"
"Sorry. Where did you get all this stuff? Finally take the job with the guard?"
"No, not at all. Gentlemen, I have found us a benefactor this Feastday Eve. He's surprisingly charitable for living in Darktown, and is quite talented to, even if he is a mage. May I introduce to you my dear friend Anders?" The scruffy blond mage walked in through the open door. With a mischievous grin, he waved his staff, sending little light motes dancing around the dim flat. Obligingly, the three men applauded, with Fenris being the most enthusiastic. Anders threw his arms around Fenris and pulled him in for a kiss.
"So tell me Anders," Varric inquired as he brought out his notebook and quill. "How did you get so flush? And meet our friend here?"
"It was a lucky thing, actually. I was in my clinic in Darktown, when some Hightown bitch came in. I was just doing a massive healing spell. She came up to me, and said that she had a problem. There was a dog next door who just wouldn't stop barking. She asked me to kill it, quietly, using magic. She promised to give me a hundred gold if I could pull it off. I'm a cat-person myself, and I wasn't about to turn down the money. So I killed the dog. I think it was called Bon-bon or something. Anyway, it was after that that I was walking by your flat here, and I found Fenris in trouble, so I took him home to patch him up." Varric and Carver exchanged looks at that last bit, but said nothing. Fenris stood behind Anders, holding him by the waist and nuzzling his neck. Varric shrugged and picked up an apple from the table. It was fresh and healthy looking, unlike anything they'd bought in a long while.
A man in blinding white armor strode through the door. Or he would have strode, if he hadn't tripped over the piece of twine on the floor. One end was tied to the handle, the other went somewhere else entirely.
"Hello boys! What's with the string?"
"Sebastian." Fenris, Varric, and Carver groaned in unison.
"What the fuck are you doing here?" Fenris let go of Anders and got up in Sebastian's face.
"I need the rent. Now."
"Bullshit," Varric said. "You said we could stay here for free."
"I need the money. I need to get back my throne at Starkhaven. I might be able to see my way clear if..."
"If?" Carver said menacingly, his hand on his sword.
"Get me Isabela's ship. It was originally a Starkhaven ship; it's been stolen many times over, but it legally belongs to my family's navy."
"And how are we supposed to do that?" Carver asked.
"I don't care. Just do it. Otherwise, you guys are gone." With that, the exiled prince turned on his heel and strode out the door. Varric stuck his tongue out at his retreating back.
"That guy needs to get laid." Anders said.
"Oh by the way, we have a meeting to go to tonight, a sort of support group for Wardens and others with the taint. You should come along." Fenris said, returning his hand to Anders' hip.
"I might stop by, I could get some good stories. But first I have to go help prepare Isabela's ceremony." Varric said, slinging his satchel back over his back and following Sebastian out the door.
"Carver?" Fenris inquired. The Grey Warden only grunted.
"I'm sure he'll catch up later... he looks preoccupied. Come on Fenris." The mage and the elf walked arm and arm out, and Carver stared after them for a moment, somewhat wistful.
Varric went down to the docks with his satchel. In front of a freshly painted boat, the guard captain Aveline was struggling and she didn't look happy. There was a string of lanterns lying on the ground, and a half-erected podium at one end of the dock. The redhead was attempting to put together the dais, but she wasn't having any luck.
"Varric? Shit, I told her not to ask you." She stood up quickly, smacking her head into an over hanging board, and sending the whole podium crashing to the ground. She winced.
"Well, if that's the case, then I'll just go..."
"Wait... no, please... I really could use some help right now." Varric set down his pack and pulled out some tools. The two of them worked in silence for a time; Varric worked on the podium, while the much taller Aveline concentrated on hanging up the string of lanterns. It got to be too much for the gregarious dwarf.
"So, how are you Aveline?"
"This is weird."
"I should be on patrol, watching out for my guards, and yet here I am, struggling putting together a ceremony, and for what?"
"For your girlfriend. Aveline, I know this story, it's an old one. She's got you wrapped around your little finger."
"She's crazy and selfish, and you don't trust her an inch, and yet you keep going back to her." Varric wasn't really talking to Aveline now, but her eyes narrowed.
"It's not that way..."
"Oh yeah? Has she ever pouted and look sad and called you 'Puppy'?" He brought his hammer down hard on the dais.
"Does she look over your shoulder when you're talking to her?"
"Maybe... Look, were you in love with her?"
"Did she stare at every sailor in the Hanged Man?"
"More than stare."
"Shit." She fumbled with the last lantern, and Varric wasn't sure whether she was referring to that, or Isabela. He decided on the latter.
"Look on the bright side Aveline,"
"I'd still be in love with the wench anyway." Aveline finally got the last lantern up, and Varric got out his crossbow, Bianca.
"Here, watch this." He held a match under the head of a bolt until it caught fire and then took aim at the dark orbs. With a sharp twang, the burning bolt shot through all of the lanterns and landed in the far wall. It didn't look like much now, but at night, the glow would be beautiful.
"You know what, Aveline? I suddenly feel a lot better now!"
"Somehow, I feel a lot worse." Varric chuckled as Aveline trudged back to her other duties. Unseen by either of them, a dark-haired elf girl was humming as she gathered up a long strand of something.
At the flat, Carver had gone into another sword-dance. This time his invisible opponent seemed to be much larger than himself and, even in practice, Carver was losing. Sweat creased his brow and his face was red with rage. There was a knock on the door, and Carver was so stunned he dropped his sword to the ground. He scrambled to pick it up, and the door creaked open. Merrill was standing there, holding a ball of twine.
"I decided this isn't a night for being in the Alienage. I want to go out and do something. Would you come with me? It could be fun." In one swift move, Carver brought the broadsword up and held it at the elf's neck.
"Who the hell do you think you are? You barge in here, interrupt my work, and ask me to take you out? On Feastday Eve? Do you have any idea? You with your magic, those eyes, that smile and... fuck it..." The pressure on Merrill's neck lifted. Carver sheathed his sword and paced the room. "Leave me alone. I should tell you... if you knew... I should... NO! Today is not the day. Just take those big green eyes and go." He slumped down on the bed and cradled his head in his hands.. Merrill crept towards him and sat down cautiously.
"I don't know what I did, or what you're so angry about... but if this is about your sister... maybe it would do some good to get out for a bit. Forget about the past for a bit. Don't let it stop you from living today. I like you Carver, I want to go out with you. Tonight. That's it."
"Forget about the past. Huh. Funny coming from someone dealing with old magic." Carver mumbled. Merrill started.
"How did you...? No. You know what, it doesn't matter. You don't want to go out with me, I get it. I just thought..." Merrill looked away from him, blushing. She slowly stood up and headed towards the door. "If you change your mind, find me." Once the door shut behind her, Carver rubbed his temples and groaned.
Anders, Varric, and Fenris walked into a clinic in Darktown. There was a circle of chairs already set up, and about half were occupied. The three latecomers took a seat and a scruffy, downtrodden blonde man spoke first.
"Faleni." Said the flame-haired elf sitting next to him.
"Nathaniel." That came from a dark, brooding young man.
"Oghren." A gruff dwarf with a red beard took a swig from a hip flask.
"Janeka" An older woman with green eyes nearly spat out her name.
"Larius" The man was also older, and heavily scarred.
"I'm Anders. Let's begin."
"Who are you?" The elf woman lazily pointed a dagger at Varric, who was scribbling in his notebook.
"Oh, I'm not... I'm just... I'm Varric." He said, putting his notebook away. The elf, Faleni, nodded. She twirled her dagger and sheathed it again.
"Right then. How are we all today?" Anders asked around the circle.
"Lousy. I've lost everything, and I'm going to die young, early and alone." Alistair, the blonde man, was slurring his words and slumping in his seat.
"But how are you today?" Anders asked insistently.
"How are you today?" Alistair merely shrugged.
"Not awful, I guess. But it's hard. I don't know how long I've got, and I have no home - not really - and no friends. And the nightmares, and the taint, and the compulsion to kill darkspawn." There were nods and murmurs of agreement all around. Suddenly everyone was trying to talk, trying to tell their story. Varric furiously tried to write it all down.
They reeled out of the clinic hours later, strangely uplifted despite the depressing talk. Varric didn't even mind when he had to shoot a bandit trying to steal his wallet.
"Darktown. Great place too live." Fenris said sarcastically.
"Because Lowtown is so much better." Anders countered back.
"Guys... we live in Kirkwall. It sucks no matter what." Varric entered in.
"We should just go..." Anders sighed dreamily. "Any place in the world would be better."
"How about Llomerryn? You and me?" Fenris said, draping an arm over the mage.
"What would we do there?"
"Open a tavern? I serve the beer, you could do light shows. I could rip people's hearts out if they get angry." His free arm moved animatedly, picturing an invisible tavern in a licentious city. Anders snuggled deeper into his lover's shoulder.
"You do know how to turn a boy on!" Fernis leaned over and kissed the mage deep on the lips. Varric smiled at them and snuck away, not wanting to intrude. He strolled over to Lowtown, where the vendors were out in full force, hoping that people would buy last-minute Feastday Eve gifts. He was about to head into the Hanged Man when Aveline ran smack into him. She looked a bit harried.
"Oof! Oh, sorry Varric, I didn't see you."
"What's going on?"
"Only everything. Just take a look at this." She reached into the pouch on her belt and pulled out a fistful of notes. "Everybody needs something. Half of these are from Isabela."
Varric guffawed. "Of course."
"That's not even the worst. The last one says she's currently at the Hanged Man with Diana Hawke..."
"I'm trying not to see it like that. We're okay... really... now I've just got to take care of this gang problem in Darktown..." With that, the redhead was off again. Varric didn't get very far before he was intercepted by Carver.
"Hey Junior! You're out!"
"I had to get away... that elf... Merrill... a date..."
"Wait, slow down. Tell me the whole story." Varric surreptitiously pulled out his notebook, and attempted to look attentive. Carver rolled his eyes, but started to talk anyway.
Fenris and Anders walked leisurely arm and arm, occasionally throwing cow-eyed looks at each other. They browsed through the merchandise on sale, not with any real purpose, just enjoying the view. After four or five stalls that seemed to hold nothing, they came upon one selling high-quality armor.
"Fenris, you know there's a large hole in your chestplate? Why don't we buy a new one? My treat."
"Anders, I couldn't..."
"Of course you could. Let's do it! And don't worry... I won't pay that much. I've yet to meet a seller who can out bargin me." Anders suddenly took on a very dark look, and started poking at the armor. The vendor looked a tad frightened.
Meanwhile, Varric just looked confused.
"Wait... so this very sweet, very beautiful elf comes to your apartment, asks you of all people to take her out, and you... run away?" Carver sighed.
"I know. I'm an idiot. Come on, let's get a drink. I'm out of shape as it is, why not make it worse?" His eyes grew large as he stared at one of the stalls. "There she is!"
"Merrill!" The dark-haired elf was busy haggling with one of the merchants over a gold decoration. Her desire for it was obvious, and the seller was taking full advantage of her naiveté. Carver took a breath and walked up behind her. He picked up the trinket and snorted.
"Worthless." Both the seller and Merrill turned on him.
"Hey!" Merrill practically snatched the piece out of his hand. Carver lifted it above his head as high as it would go.
"You don't need this crap."
"I..." she said, trying in vain to jump up and grab the object.
"Yeah she does. Needs it for a project she's working on. Don't ya honey?" The vendor interjected.
"You could get it cheaper at the next stall."
"No you couldn't! I'm the only one selling it! Ten gold."
"I swear I saw it for three."
"Really? Where?" Merrill stopped jumping and Carver brought his hand down. The vendor grumbled.
"I'll sell it for six."
"Done." He handed the trinket to Merrill, who took it gleefully. She counted out four gold pieces to the vendor, who took them grudgingly. "Listen Merrill, I'm sorry about this afternoon. Can I make it up to you?"
"How?" She eyed him warily, toying with her prize.
"Dinner? We're all going to the Hanged Man tonight."
"Sounds like fun." Varric came up behind the two of them.
"Umm... hi. Merrill? I'm Varric." He stuck out his hand. She took it gently, and he shook it with vigor. "Pleased to meet you."
"And you as well. Are you a friend of Carver's?"
"I'm his roommate." He let go of her hand, and turned to the human. "Hey Junior, remember, there's Isabela's ceremony."
"Right. Like I could forget."
"Speaking of which..." Coming towards them was a dark-skinned woman in a very short dress. She lazily plucked something from a nearby stall and put in her her pouch. She waved at Varric and Carver.
"Hey guys! Have you seen Aveline? I need to find my ship."
Isabela and the others eventually caught up with Aveline, and Fenris and Anders, and introductions were made all around. There was a group gathered around a large, gaudy looking ship with the name Siren's Call 2 on the hull. The lanterns were glowing merrily as Isabela stepped up to the dais in the growing dusk.
"Ladies and gents... and those who are neither. I want to thank all of you for coming out to the christening of my ship. It was a long time getting her. And some people wanted to stop me getting her. Somebody told me that the Siren belonged to him. This man, he wouldn't know what to do with her. He has no idea how to make a girl like her shudder and sigh, and ride the waves as high and as fast as she can. He does not realize that she is a wild thing, she doesn't need some weak-willed man to dominate her, she needs a woman, a partner..."
"Is she still talking about the ship?" Merrill whispered to Carver.
"I'm not sure."
"... We should all be able to soar on the sea's wings, like a hawk in the air. Come on everybody, sing with me! Kareeeee! Kareeeee..." As she kept going, she got one or two people to join with her, reluctantly. A raven-haired woman in mage robes was one of them. A redhead wearing a guard uniform was not.
Varric threw a hand to his head. "Oh no..."
"Kareee! Thank you!"
The after party at the Hanged Man started off a little bit rocky, with the bartender waving them away.
"Please... no! Go! Don't want you here!"
"Why not?" said Isabela, affronted.
"Your group comes in here all the time, and you drink all the liquor, and you never pay your tabs."We will tonight." chimed in Aveline.
"No. Uh-uh. No way." There was a sudden shift in the room, and the bartender found a bunch of pointy objects in his face.
"My friend Bianca says otherwise." Varric said, holding his crossbow up to his shoulder. The bartender sighed, and gently pushed it away. He turned back to the bar and started to pour pitchers. The group spread out over several tables, most avoiding the one in the corner occupied by a Chantry sister and a brother in white armor.
"Oh no... what's he doing here?" Fenris groaned. Sebastian overheard the elf and grinned.
"I just came to propose a toast to Isabela and the Siren's Call 2." He was smiling, but his voice was pure malice.
"Fuck you." spat out Isabela. "You tried to take my boat."
"Starkhaven's boat." But his reply was half-hearted. He spotted Merrill next to Carver. Ignoring everyone else, he stood up and bowed to her.
"Merrill, I'm surprised. I didn't expect you to be hanging out with thieves and bandits. They don't agree with me, but I'm only trying to make Starkhaven and the rest of the Free Marches a better place. Just imagine, a united Free Marches with a strong military and government would severely cut down on the banditry and murder and corruption. Your people could move freely through the woods. These people? They're mercenaries. Free Marches? There's nothing free about them." He sat back down. Carver looked like he was about to clock the smug prince. Varric stood up quickly on the table and held his mug high in the air.
"Dearly beloved, we are gathered here this Feastday Eve to celebrate the apparent death of the Free Marches. We are a lawless, godless, and hopeless bunch, and we clearly need Sebastian to lead the way. So I say let's raise a glass, or mug, or whatever... TO KIRKWALL!" Varric took a deep draught of ale and wiped his mouth with his arm.
"TO KIRKWALL!" chorused the crowd. Varric wasn't done yet.
"My friends, to a city that will give you everything you need, if you know how to get it. To making a living by killing the people who are trying to kill you and then taking their stuff..." He continued in that vein for some time, but the power of Varric's oratory and the alcohol content of the ale kept people engaged.
"Aveline, did we take down those lanterns?" Isabela asked, throwing her arms around the big woman's neck.
"We did." Aveline said shortly, her face set in stone.
"Why are you looking at me like that?" Isabela kissed her on the nose. "Lighten up, puppy." There was a cough from the Chantry sister next to Sebastian. Isabela laughed.
"She's my sister, sister." She put her lips on Aveline and kissed her deeply. "I think the platform still needs packing up." She laughed again and twirled out of Aveline's arms. The gaurdswoman sighed, and left the tavern.
Anders stood up on the table next to Varric, who had taken a pause to drink.
"To a town where the templars can't tell if you're a mage even if you walk around with a staff and Tevinter robes!" The scruffy blonde man shouted, raising up his own staff. His eyes took on a strange blue light.
"Or even if you cast a spell or started to glow right in front of them!" Merrill chimed in from just underneath him, holding a flame in her hand. Isabela and Fenris both leapt onto another table.
"To the Qunari!" They said in unison. They clinked mugs and drank deeply. Varric drained his dry.
"To Diana Hawke!" The toasts continued, making less and less sense as more and more booze was consumed. Sebastian stood up, and helped Merrill get off the table.
"So Carver doesn't know about..." He asked her.
"Know about what?"
"Was there an us? I don't remember that there was." Sebastian was nonplussed by her frank dismissal.
"He certainly doesn't act like he's with you."
"It's new... and slow."
"Where's he now, Merrill?"
"He's right...wait where did he go?" She tore out of Sebastian's grip and went running out of the Hanged Man. Sebastian watched her leave, then stormed to the bar, pulling out a fistful of coins.
"Here's for my table." He slammed down the coins and left the tavern to the revelers.
Merrill found Carver outside, staring off into the empty street. She sidled up to him, and slapped him on the face. He whipped his head around to face her, startled and hurt.
"What in Andraste's ass was that?" He rubbed his stinging cheek.
"I thought you were going to stop being rude... and all you've done since we got here is ignore me!"
"I'm trying, really I am Merrill. But I'm not perfect. I've got... issues."
"We've all got issues Carver. Life's too short to dwell."
"I should tell you Merrill."
"It's the mirror. When I first touched it... but it's also keeping me alive. If I can fix it... I could cure the taint... I think. I hope."
"I'm tainted too. I was in the Deep Roads and I... I'm a Grey Warden now. Oh Maker... the nightmares." His whole body slumped. She caught his shoulders and forced him to look her in the eyes, her large, limitless green eyes. He grabbed her fiercely around the waist, hugging her to him and burying his face in her neck. She stroked his hair absently and spoke softly.
"I have nightmares too. I can't sleep at night."
"I'm a disaster, Merrill."
"I should tell you Carver... I tied a piece of twine to your door the first time I left. I wanted to find your place again." He lifted his head and smiled her, still holding her small frame as close to himself as possible.
"I'd forgotten how to smile until you skipped out. And part of me was hoping that you'd skip back."
"Shall we try it? Give it a shot?"
"I think..." Carver seemed nervous and took a deep breath. "Yes." He put one hand up to cradle her face, just staring at her face. Slowly he brought his mouth to hers, touching her lips gently with his own. The kiss deepened until the two of them were lost, oblivious to everything around them. Aveline rushed past them into the tavern.
"Hey puppy, are we packed?" Isabela called out. She was dancing in between Fenris and Anders.
"Yes. And by next moon, I want you to be." That stopped the pirate short.
"Puppy?" Aveline ignored her and turned to Varric, who was surrounded by avid listeners.
"Varric, your flat is locked and boarded. Sebastian sent a note to my lieutenant to take back the boat. Luckily he's loyal to me. There's rioting on the docks and there's a surprising amount of hawk calls out there." A cheer went up from the crowd, as well as a few screeches. Varric stood up again.
"You know, there's an old Tevinter saying for times like this..."
"What's that, dwarf?" A female mage in the corner called out joyfully.
"Viva la Kirkwall!"