It had started with a few drinks at the Hanged Man.

Hawke and the merry band of misfits she called friends were toasting a job well done, after her successful return from the Deep Roads. Carver had left to become a Templar, following in the footsteps of his namesake. Everyone seated around the table in Varric's suite could see that Hawke's smiles were a bit strained, forced. They knew she was likely trying her hardest to bury the profound guilt at her brother's departure. They all exchanged concerned glances as she plopped down into a chair.

Whenever there was a lull in the conversation, her eyes would grow distant and she'd stare into her mug of ale, vacantly, preoccupied. And then Varric would snatch up his lute and begin playing a tune, a silly ditty that he'd learned when he was a boy. And she'd lift her head and the same pasted-on smile would return.

'I've joined the Templar order. There's no point in trying to talk me out of it. It's done.'

'You realize you're related to an apostate?'

'See, Mother? I told you she'd only think of herself.'

Hawke found herself glowering, blankly, at the cracking fire in the grate. She didn't notice when her comrades started filtering out of the room, some alone and others in pairs. Aveline muttered something about posting the new duty rosters, and drained her mug before leaving. Isabela and Merrill departed, arms draped over one other, singing loudly. Sebastian, who hadn't touched a drop of alcohol, politely bowed to Varric and left. Fenris lingered, awkwardly, by the door, before calling a good night to Hawke. She barely caught it, but raised her hand automatically in farewell.

She supposed she should feel a little remorseful at her treatment of him. But the strange numbness left by her brother's parting, compounded with the faint tingling in her skull from the ale didn't leave much room for anything else. He frowned, and disappeared.

Only Varric and Anders remained.

Varric, always being the good host, didn't want to kick them out of his suite, but it was late and he was exhausted. His brother's betrayal had weighed heavily on him, too, and he could feel his bed calling his name. Hawke seemed too drunk and detached to notice his yawns. He nudged Anders, who had his face on the table, his sixth empty mug still clutched in his hand.

Anders' head snapped up at Varric's touch, and his vision spun.

'Aaaaand this would be why Justice doesn't usually let me get drunk. He must be feeling extra charitable,' he thought, putting a hand to his eyes and pinching the bridge of his nose. 'Gonna be feeling this one tomorrow.' He blinked blearily up at Varric, who jerked his head in the direction of Hawke.

Anders looked at her. Somewhere in his ludicrously drunk brain, a spark fizzled into existence. He smiled stupidly at her back.

"Take her home for me, Blondie," muttered Varric in his ear. The dwarf put a hand on Ander's shoulder and gave it a squeeze.

'Right, take her home. Just walk her home and make sure she isn't attacked or something. I can do that,' Anders got to his feet – well. Lurched, is really more the term for what his legs and feet did to get him out of the chair. He stumbled for a moment before managing to make it around the table to her side. Varric pinched the bridge of his nose. Maker willing, there would be no surprise ambushes waiting for them on their way to Hightown.

His mind buzzed with all the things he wanted to say to her, to confront all the unspoken attraction between them. He wanted to flirt with her and be smooth and charming and –

"Hel - hi," was all he could manage. 'Real smooth, moron.' She looked up sharply, and he could tell that she was just as drunk as he was. His heart leapt when her flushed face lit up at the sight of him. She clumsily got to her feet – she'd probably had twice the amount of ale Anders did – and awarded him a blinding smile. A real one. Perhaps she had become too sloshed to remember her sadness, or maybe she really liked seeing him. He hoped it was the latter.

"Anders!" She took a step forward, stumbled and fell against his chest. His arms automatically came around her waist to steady her. She swayed on the spot and gave an uncharacteristic giggle. Anders felt heat rush to his already warm face. 'Damn it!' He cleared his throat and released her, quick, as if she had scorched him. She didn't seem to notice. Varric had a palm to his face, embarrassed for the both of them.

"I think Varric wants us to go," he said, struggling to keep himself from slurring. 'Maker, I want to kiss her.' He swiftly smothered that urge and gestured to the door.

"Alright then!" she said, and slung her arm around his neck and they shambled out the door. "Night, Varric!" she shouted over her shoulder, and gave an extra-large wave. Varric groaned and shut his door. If he woke up tomorrow and they were both passed out downstairs, he'd never live it down.

Anders and Hawke made their way out of the Hanged Man, which was, thankfully, deserted. They were draped about one another, both using the other for support. They told each other jokes and stories, laughing merrily and yelling at those that would silence them. And when they arrived outside Hawke's Hightown mansion, she decided it would be a good time to belt out the lyrics of the tune that Varric had sung.

"When we are in the tavern, we don't worry about mortality! But we hasten to have a good time, at which we always work up a sweat..."

A dog howled in the distance. She had to stop because she was laughing so hard. She clutched Anders' robes to steady herself. They stumbled, and fell against a brick wall that lined the stairs leading to the courtyard outside her mansion. Anders wiped a tear from his face, his cheeks ached from smiling, and his stomach was cramping from laughter and booze. He joined in, his voice just as off-key as hers.

"What use to postpone it, my chosen one - it's got to happen soon anyway. You'll do it, so come, do it quickly - on my side, there's no delay!"

Somewhere above them, in another mansion, perhaps, window shutters opened with a BANG and someone started shouting.

"Shut the hell up down there! People are trying to sleep!" came the screech of an old woman's voice, Hawke's neighbor. Hawke turned to Anders, made a hilarious face somewhere between guilt and mirth, and pressed her finger to his lips to stifle his own laughter. His pulse jumped at her touch. His hands found her waist without thinking. "Shhhh!" she hissed, her own cackles shaking her body. They stood together in the shadows, hidden for the moment, their heartbeats racing at the thrill of being caught. Well, hers was. His had found a new reason to pound against his ribs, and it was her fingers fisted at the neck of his robes. She was so close, too close. He could count the freckles on her nose.

"Come on," she hissed, as the old bat upstairs continued ranting about keeping people awake. She gave a quiet snort of laughter and covered her mouth with her hand. Anders grinned. He wondered vaguely if this was a habit of hers, waking up the neighbors. The woman next door seemed to be waiting. He could vaguely see her silhouette against the yellow candlelight from her window. Hawke's hand found his and he was being pulled. He followed, as elegantly as his drunk body would allow him.

When they were just outside the door, an upturned cobble in the street caught the toe of his boot and he fell headlong with a loud grunt. His hand was still clutching Hawke's, and he just managed to roll himself onto his back when she fell atop of him. The air was knocked from his lungs and he couldn't draw breath for a moment. Her hands on his face and concern in her voice when she spoke his name didn't really help either.

Lucky for him, the shrew of a woman next door had spotted them. She shrieked out Hawke's name, who got to her feet as quick as the drink would allow, and yanked a dizzy Anders up by his robes. Stumbling, chaotically, they managed to unlock her front door and all but trampled over each other in their haste to get inside.

The door shut behind Hawke with a snap and she pressed herself against it, catching her breath. Anders was doubled over a few feet away, his hands on his knees as he struggled to inhale enough air. The dizziness subsided and he stood, still wobbly, still monumentally drunk, but able to breathe now. Hawke looked at him and winced apologetically as he massaged his aching ribs. "Sorry about that!" She stepped around him and into the foyer, pulling at her gloves and removing her staff. She set it by the door.

Anders waved her apology off as he followed her. She draped her arm around his neck and gave him a smile. His heart skipped a beat or two. "It was fun, though, right?" she said with a laugh and he agreed.

"Maybe next time you could not fall on top of me and crush all the wind from my lungs?" he asked, teasing, and she stuck out her tongue as they climbed up the stairs. A feat made more difficult by the fact that they were hanging off one another, still remarkably drunk after their long walk from Lowtown.

They slipped inside her bedroom, and she pulled away to rifle through an assortment of papers on her desk. Secretly he grieved at the loss of her warmth at his side. He sighed, and moved towards the bed and sat. Silk sheets. He tried not to think about the implications. With a stretch and a sigh, he fell backwards onto her mattress, his arms pillowing his head. He was getting tired, he realized, and scrubbed the back of his fist across his eyes. He didn't notice she was getting up and moving around the room, until he heard the door close with a soft click.

He looked up. She was standing with her back pressed to the door. She had changed clothes. 'How did I miss that?' he thought, bewildered. She wore a simple dressing robe, deep burgundy and embroidered with her family crest. And instead of her usual boots, a pair of slippers were on her bare feet. She was staring at him, her expression unreadable. He swallowed.

"I… Maybe I should go?" he said, his voice cracking a little. Heat rushed to his cheeks at her smile. She was approaching him now. 'Oh, Maker, what have I gotten myself into?'

He made to sit up, to move off her bed, to extricate himself from this predicament, but suddenly she was there, sitting astride his stomach, legs bent at the knee and pressing against his ribcage. He was suddenly aware he didn't really know what to do with his hands. He settled for fisting them in the sheets of her bed beside her knees.

Her hands, however, knew exactly what to do. They were moving across the buckles of his robe, pushing greedily at the fabric of his coat. Even in his hazy state of mind, he knew she was moving too fast. His hands released the sheets and grasped her own, stilling them. She looked at him, confused.

"W-Wait," he said, and he could hardly believe himself for stopping her. One hand released her own to cup her cheek and stroke his thumb gently at her cheekbone. She sighed and leaned into the touch. He knew they should stop, that this was the drink talking, that she was just lonely in this big house with just her mother and he knew –

But his thoughts were obliterated, because she had leaned down and was kissing him, fierce and frantic, and her slender fingers pulled insistently at his coat's buckles, shoving the coat from his shoulders to reveal the loose white tunic he wore beneath. And his fingers were threading through her hair, angling her face so that he could deepen their kiss. Her tongue invaded his mouth, hot and wanting. He groaned against her lips as she pulled his arms free from the coat and yanked up the hem of his long tunic to sneak her fingers underneath.

He shivered involuntarily at the sensation of her fingertips, which always ran hot with magic, as they glided across his muscular stomach. 'Shit, how can she still do this to me?' he thought as her devilish mouth found his jaw. It twitched at her touch. His fingers found her thighs and clenched a bit against her bare flesh. 'Maker preserve me, she's perfect.'

"Mm, Anders. I missed you in the Deep Roads," she whispered, her hot breath ghosting over his earlobe and neck. Gooseflesh arose on his arms and a shiver spread across his skin like ice. He could still smell the Hanged Man's ale on her breath. Had any other woman with such a smell on her propositioned him in such a way, he would probably be revolted. But Hawke was different. He chuckled a bit. She delighted in the rumble of his chest.

"I wanted to go with you," he pointed out, his own lips finding her neck and nibbling at the junction where neck became shoulder. She half-sighed, half-moaned at the gesture, sending lightning bolts of pleasure through his whole body. His jaw clenched a bit as he fought the urge to flip her over and make her really understand what those sort of noises did to a man like Anders. 'Glad Justice decided to shut his mouth for one night,' Anders thought viciously. He assumed the drink had silenced the niggling thoughts in his head that told him to stay away from her.

Hawked granted him a quiet laugh, that caused her whole body to vibrate against his. Her tawny eyes scorched down at him as she sat back. He suddenly felt as if there wasn't enough air. Her lips were parted, she was a little breathless, and the color in her cheeks from the ale and the loose curls of her raven hair, freed from her leather hair tie, cascading down around her face made something in his chest writhe with need. Her fingertips rested underneath his long tunic, just at the waist of his leggings. She didn't speak, didn't ask. She didn't need to.

Anders sat up swiftly, one hand on the back of her neck, one hand bracing himself against the mattress, and, Maker, her lips were soft against his, her fingers scratching at his flesh as she hastily loosened the strings at his waistband.

He knew he should stop her, but flames, he really didn't care. He leaned back against the mattress, bringing her lips down with him, and his hands moved to the tie of her silk dressing robe. His deft fingers made quick work of the black ribbon knot, and his fingers slipped inside. He expected to find more silk, or cotton.

He froze when his fingers found more flesh, instead.

He felt his head might explode, his blush was so intense. 'Maker's breath! She's absolutely nude under this!' His fingers found lacy undergarments at her hips. 'Maybe not totally,' he amended.Hawke had sat back a little, looking… shy? He had never seen that expression on her face before, and he never seen a more erotic sight in his life. His hands dove fearlessly under her robe, caressing her hips and moving up her sides to her ribcage.

He could feel her pulse leap at his touch, and her lips were on his again, needy and achingly sweet. He never wanted the sensation to end. His fingers pushed at her silk robe, revealing bare, freckled shoulders.

He couldn't get his fill of her. His hands were everywhere, caressing every inch of her he could find, until –

Her robe fell further down her shoulders, slid past her shoulder blades, and his mind short-circuited. He had always suspected that the freckles on her face and hands continued elsewhere, but he had never had proof. Until now. For a minute or two, he was simply immobilized by the sight of her. Perhaps she decided he was taking too long, or perhaps she was feeling shy again, because she leaned down to kiss his mouth, her fingers tugging adamantly at the ties of his leggings.

But he couldn't focus now. They were simply… there, out in the open. 'What on earth does one do with breasts? And Maker, all those freckles!'´ he thought feverishly. This wasn't like his time spent in Ferelden's circle, where sex was just a game. Quick trysts in the corridors when the Templars weren't looking was nothing compared to this. He wanted to… to give her the same feelings of electricity in his blood that she was granting him, but he simply didn't know how to force his muscles to work. He quickly became frustrated at his inexperienced fumbling. And those damned breasts! They were so perfect, with nipples the same color as her lips. He could feel them pressing hotly against his chest, their warmth bleeding through the thin material of his shirt.

After several moments of kissing a preoccupied and distracted Anders, she sat back and covered herself with her hands. He was disoriented by the sudden lack of her warmth pressing against him. He looked at up dazedly, and she pouted down at him. His hands rested upon her thighs, unsteady and totally thrown off balance by her sudden cold shoulder.

"Do you know how much I suffer under your gaze, messere?" she said, tilting her chin up in mock arrogance. "I am a person, not an object!"

Anders gawped at her, completely dumbfounded. Her smile was gentle, reassuring, as she reached forward and removed the leather tie in his hair. She spent a moment smoothing his blonde locks away from his face, running her fingernails lightly across his scalp. He couldn't help but close his eyes; the feeling was beyond description. And then she was gently grasping his hands, guiding them over her body and, flames, she felt good. She was whispering, murmuring, arching into his touch. He was sure he'd feel embarrassed that she had to teach him, if his brain wasn't already completely full to the brim with the singular objective of making sure those noises never stopped coming out of her.

And her hands guided his down, across the flat plane of her stomach, to the apex between her legs, pressed against his hips.

He balked a little, unsure, but the look she gave him, soothing and encouraging, provided him the nerve to continue. And, Maker, the sounds she made! She was crying out, moaning, writhing at his gentle touches. After a few seconds of that, she was a trembling, panting, wriggling mess. Anders had no idea he could do that to women. 'Flames, what other secrets have women been keeping from me?'

She seized his face and kissed him, fiercely, desperately. Her hands yanked at the material of his leggings, pushing them down to his knees. "No more games," she hissed in his ear, and for the first time, her fingertips brushed the hardness of his arousal. Stars burst before his eyes and he gasped in spite of himself.

She gave a breathless chuckle, and so fast, too fast, she had pushed aside his smallclothes, and he was free. His jaw clenched, fingers grasped her hips to steady her, as she adjusted her own and then she was –

Anders cried out as she seated herself, his length filling her entirely. She arched, moaned, head thrown back. 'Shit, shit, shit,' was about all his brain could come up with as she rolled her hips, achingly slow. She paused a moment to remove the tie from her hair, allowing her dark hair to cascade down her shoulders. She ruffled it a bit and looked down at him, eyes scorching him down to his soul. His hands were trembling a little as they gripped her thighs and backside. She leaned down to kiss him, her lips and the heat of her core around him so much, too much. He groaned against her lips, hips twitching with desire.

She didn't need much more encouragement.

Her hand grasped his, moved it from her hip, up over her breast, and held it there. He stared in awe as she rode him, her free hand bracing herself against his thighs. She rolled her hips, setting a steady pace. But no, that would not do. He gave a low growl, deep in his chest, and pushed his hips against hers, faster, harder. She gasped raggedly, her own hips moving against his, seeking more friction, to ease the ache that had been built up inside her. Anders felt like his skin was on fire with sensation. The tight grip he had over his magic wavered, slipped. Tiny shocks of blue lightning crackled across his fingertips, across her breast, and she inhaled sharply through her teeth at the sensation.

His hand glided from her breast, down her belly, back to the small nub she had shown him earlier. His palm flat against her hip, fingertips pointed towards the ceiling, he pressed a thumb there, rubbed a slow circle, rolled the sensitive bundle between his fingertips.

She trembled. She whimpered. She made noises that Anders had never heard before.

Her hips moved erratically now, and he could feel her walls shuddering around him. He sat up, arms coming around her waist to support her, to hold her against him, and buried her face in her breasts. He kissed, nibbled, licked, pursued her jumping pulse point down her neck, and his hands slid down her backside to squeeze. She was close. She moaned, raggedly, her hands threading through his hair and pulling. He lifted his face and her lips were there, her teeth nibbling and biting at his lower lip. They tasted the slight tang of blood. More lightning manifested at his fingers, and his large hands found that special place, his finger crooked upwards and electricity sparked over her skin.

She practically wept his name, clenched around him as she crested the peak, head thrown back in ecstasy, and he groaned against her neck, his own release hastening after hers. She hummed softly at his pulses, the short twitches of his hips against hers. They sat like that for a long time, allowing their heartbeats to return to normal, for their shudders to cease. Her hands were on his face, tracing his jawline, kissing his brows, his forehead, his lips. Her fingers threaded through his hair, her eyes roamed his face.

He pressed a kiss to her neck, lingering there for a moment, blowing out the breath he didn't realize he had been holding slowly through his nose. His hands traced slow circles at the base of her spine. 'Shit. That was probably good, but… maybe not.' Looks like Justice was waking up.

"Should I go?" he said quietly, without moving, without looking at her. A chill had settled in the pit of his stomach. Her fingers paused in his hair.

"Do you want to?"

"No," he replied emphatically, arms tightening around her.

"Then you have your answer." A kiss to his neck, and she gently wriggled from his grasp. He released her, reluctantly, and she slipped from his lap, her fingers lingering on his jaw as she moved away to retrieve a basin of warm water and a rag. She returned to his side and settled beside him. The rag was warm against his skin, but it only made him ache for her searing heat again. He tried to distract her from her mission, his head dipping to kiss at her neck, his arms slipping around her back, coaxing her playfully. It didn't take much to convince her. The basin and rag were soon forgotten.

Morning found them lying, curled around one another, in a mussed tangle of blankets. The rest of their clothing had quickly been shed in the preceding tussle. Anders couldn't remember the last time he had slept so soundly. Silk sheets were a gift from the Maker, he was certain of it. Well, and the gorgeous creature that was dozing in his arms. Hawke's head was pillowed on his bicep, her face nestled against his chest. He stared shamelessly, engrossed in her. He lifted a hand and brushed the backs of his fingers against her cheekbone.

She made a quiet noise of appreciation and smiled sleepily, wriggled deeper into his arms, murmured something he couldn't quite catch. He chuckled and pressed a kiss to her forehead.

"I could start fires with what I feel for you, Hawke. And maybe I will, just to prove it."

The hangover was worth it.