New fandom for me! But since Inquisition came out, and I had started this... months ago, I decided to finish it.
Unbetaed, so any mistakes are mine (cuz I'm dumb and all that stuff).
Rain plummeted down in merciless sheets, as if the Maker himself was trying to scrub Kirkwall clean. Water rushed off the roofs in streams and crashed to the stone below with a deafening roar.
Hawke did not look away from the fire in the hearth, eyes dull as she leaned her shoulder against the mantle. "Yes, Bodahn?"
"I… Sandal and I were just going to the market, before it gets worse. Is there—"
"No, thank you," she replied tightly, shoulders hunching forward as she recrossed her arms, "Ask Fenris to escort you. The Invisible Sisters are getting restless."
"Of course, messere. I…"
The dwarf looked helplessly to Orana and the elf could only shake her head, but Hawke didn't see and he eventually left.
"Messere," Orana tried cautiously, "I know nothing can ease this pain, and she was such a nice lady, but your—"
"Please, Orana," Hawke interrupted, finally fixing the serving girl with a despondent stare, "don't."
The elf opened her mouth, then closed it again and curtsied before leaving the same way Bodahn had. Hawke didn't know where the girl would go, but she was grateful for the privacy all the same.
It had all been so public… The discovery, the investigation, the funeral… She half expected to look up and see her mother standing beside her at the hearth, smiling the melancholy way she did, and hear her say how proud her father would have been. She knew she shouldn't have, but Hawke looked up, and the empty space beside her felt like a vacuum, leaving cold and loneliness in its wake.
Something solid and warm pressed against her leg and she looked down at the mabari with a rueful smile, reaching down to scratch absently behind his ear.
"Gamlen's all I have left, you know that, Allistair?" Ferelden's king would have laughed if she'd told him that he was her dog's namesake, but it had seemed fitting for fierce warrior hound. "Well, Gamlen and you. Bethany can't leave the Wardens." Bethany… She'd nearly lost Bethany in the Deep Roads, the same way Aveline had lost Wesley… Hawke shook the thought out of her head, but another replaced it: Carver, broken and bloodied in her mother's arms. She could remember the sound his bones made as they shattered, the sickening smack of flesh on stone… She'd watched him run past her, watched him throw his life away. She could have stopped him. Helped him. Something!
Allistair whined when her fingers stilled, prompting her to start again, and it grounded her. It was the past, it was done. Nothing would change it.
And Bethany? her mind hissed, Mother?
She had insisted on bringing Bethany on the Expedition, convinced they'd need the firepower of two mages… And if I hadn't brought Anders… Again, she shook away the thought, but its claws were already digging in.
She would be dead, along with father… and Carver…
She'd tried to save her. She'd done everything to keep her safe!
Except keep her safe.
She'd tried! She'd helped Emeric, killed DuPuis… for nothing. Hawke forced a breath into her lungs, but it felt like she was drowning. Her knees hit the floor and she couldn't hold back the sob that tore form her chest, making her double over as the tears broke free. Allistair slunk down beside her, his heavy head resting on her knee as she cried. The flags under her hands were hot from the fire and she could feel her palms blistering, but ignored it. I deserve it, she thought dismally, I watched Mother die. I watched Carver die. I let Bethany fall to the corruption.
He hadn't been alarmed when Hawker hadn't emerged from her estate the first day, and after the second, he told himself that she needed time. Her motley crew of friends had gone their own ways at first, but now… It had been five days with no sign of Hawke. And Anders was starting to worry.
That was a lie, he'd started worrying the second they'd stepped into that Foundry. Hawke was a force of nature in combat, a tempest of inky black and striking blue, blades slashing from every direction, yet never still long enough to get targeted. That night, he had seen panic on their "fearless leader" for the first time. Even in the Deep Roads, she had never shown her worry over her sister. But in that Foundry, it was if they weren't even there. Hawke had bolted headlong through the narrow, crumbling corridors, cutting down foes with no care for grace or challenge.
She had tripped for the first time since he'd met her.
It was almost surreal, to have watched her sprint around a corner, slip on a patch of gravel, and crash to the ground. Before even he or Varric could offer a hand, she'd taken off again, and even Isabela had stared incredulously after her.
She'd grown frantic, voice cracking as they ran along the trail of blood. Hawke was never frantic. Hawke was always calm.
And when that Maker-damned fool had smiled and beckoned Leandra to her feet…
Hawke's expression had gone blank for an instant, and before any of them could blink, she'd thrown herself at him. Anders had never seen such ferocity in her face, such malice and violence in her form. Battle was an art to Hawke, yet in that cavern, every blow was meant to hurt, every slash to draw blood…
He'd tried to flee, and Hawke had vaulted over a Shade to bury a knife in his back. Her lips had moved, and Anders was sure she had whispered something before she'd twisted.
Leandra had shambled toward her, and Hawke had caught her without hesitation, dropping to her knees to cradle what remained of her mother. It had felt like trespassing to listen to them—to Hawke apologizing, to Leandra's reassurances—yet the three of them had stayed, waiting yards away as they said goodbye.
And then Hawke had broken.
Tears had streamed down her face as she bent over her mother's body, cradling the woman close as her shoulders shook. She'd begged, pleaded for Leandra to come back, for Andraste, the Maker, anyone not to take her away. Isabela had turned away, and Varric had looked down at his shoes, but Anders had watched, and his heart had broken.
Hawke was strong, of that he had no doubt—the rogue had put him in his place on more than one occasion—but this… This was different. That was what he told himself as he ascended the steps to Hightown, head ducked against the pounding rain.
"Ah, messere! Didn't expect to see you here!"
Anders started at Bodahn's voice and managed a smile before it fell as he recognized the scowling elf behind the dwarf. "Hello, Bodahn." If her manservant was there, perhaps Hawke had finally left home. "Is Hawke with you?" He had to shout to be heard over the rain, but the dwarf frowned and shook his head.
"Afraid not. She hasn't… been herself of late. You understand."
Anders frowned as Sandal wandered back over, Orana following behind. "Is she alone?"
Bodahn looked up at Orana quizzically. "I… suppose so, but—"
Anders didn't wait, starting through the streets toward Hawke's estate. Fenris yelled something after him, but Anders didn't care. Hawke shouldn't be alone.
She also shouldn't be alone with you.
Sometimes he hated Justice.
He was soaked through when he finally got to the estate, and shoved the door open without hesitation. Allistair—it always made him smile to think of the ex-Templar turned monarch—looked up at him when he entered, but didn't move away from…
He could see the steam rising from where a Hawke's hands met the stones and called out instinctively. Her head jerked up and he could see that her eyes were red as he strode across the room.
"Hawke…" he sighed, dropping to his knees and taking her hands in his. He turned them over and sucked in a breath as he examined the blisters and blackened patches of skin. Her nails were charred nubs and her fingertips burnt black and cracking.
"I'm fine," she grumbled, and he shot her a long suffering look.
"You're a liar," he replied, letting the magic pool in his hands. She took a long breath as the cooling tendrils snaked along her skin and he took the chance to give her a once over; her house robe was wrinkled, her hair was unkempt, and dark circles rimmed her eyes like bruises. "Talk to me, Hawke."
"About what?" She was hedging, the hostility in her voice gave it away.
"Just… don't, alright Anders?" she huffed, sitting back on her heels. Allistair whined and she shot him a dark look as Anders smirked to himself. He had to give to the mutt, the mabari was smart.
"I know this isn't Hawke. I know she was important to you, but it wasn't your fault."
"Just… Just listen," he insisted, focusing on her hands, "You've done nothing but run around helping people—doing good. This isn't your fault. This isn't because you didn't do enough. It's just a tragedy." The magic faded but he didn't release her hands, still staring at the tender, young skin. "You can't carry everything on your shoulders all the time. Some of us wouldn't mind taking the burden for a while."
What in the name of Andraste did you just do?
She didn't pull her hands from his right away, and as she stared into the slowly-dying fire, he took the chance to look at her again. There was sadness around her eyes now, the usual sparkle of mischief and self-assurance gone. It was Hawke's face, yet now she looked… different. Empty. Without thinking, he cradled her cheek in one hand, tracing the scar along her jaw with his thumb; he could remember the thug who had given it to her, a Carta dwarf who'd managed to get close and get a knife on her. She'd thrown him off the cliff and laughed when Anders had fussed over her.
Now she was crying again, tears sliding along his palm and she finally let her bravado—her confidence that was so distinctly Hawke—fall. She sobbed against his chest and Anders wrapped his arms protectively around her shoulders, tucking her head under his chin. And for an instant, he was struck by the unfairness of it Hawke was practically a saint, doing nothing but good for a city founded on hurting others to improve your own lot. She of all people should have been exempt from this kind of pain, and she had already suffered so much…
And you would make her suffer more.
It wasn't fair. It wasn't right. She didn't deserve this.
"I know it won't change anything," he finally murmured, "but I'm sorry. Leandra didn't deserve that. And neither did you."
Hawke sniffled and sat back, wiping her eyes on the back of her hand. "I know. Sometimes I wonder if Meredith isn't right…" Anders felt a thrill of panic until a small smirk pulled at her lip. "But then I remember that Meredith is a bitch and all my best friends are mages."
His laugh showed his relief and Anders shook his head. This was more like the Hawke he knew; not quite, but it was a start. "Well thank the Maker for that," he replied dryly.
She chuckled quietly, looking back at the smoldering embers of the fire. "Anders?" she finally asked in a voice barely above a whisper, and he found himself leaning toward her instinctively. "Will it ever stop?"
"When we… when Karl…" She sighed, raking one hand through her hair in that way that had become so characteristically Hawke to him. "Did it ever stop hurting?"
For a second, he didn't answer, thinking. Karl… Maker, it felt like ages since he'd contracted Hawke to help him… "No," he admitted sadly. He doubted it ever would. Karl had been… Well, special. I told you to run away with me, you damned fool… "But it fades a little."
Hawke nodded, finally looking back up at him. "Did you ever tell him?"
Anders couldn't help the quizzical quirk of his brow. "Tell him what?"
"That you loved him."
Maker, did Hawke know everything? He shook his head with a rueful smile and shifted so his arms were wrapped loosely around one knee, the other stretched out in front of him. "No… No, I didn't." And that made him sad. How long had he known the older mage? How long had he had that opportunity and let it slip away? Too long.
"Would you have? If you'd known?"
He looked up at her again and nearly drowned in the cerulean depths that stared back at him. Her hand scratched absently at Allistair's ear, but her attention was on him, as if his answer were the most important thing she'd ever hear. "I…" Would it matter, whatever he said? He should have. He should have said it once. But he wouldn't have. He'd been… well, not a child, but pretty nearly. He'd been scared of everything: death, the Circle, the Templars… love. "I love you," he blurted without thinking.
For a second it didn't seem to register, and Hawke looked down at the mabari who had all but crawled into her lap, but then she froze, her eyes got a little wider, and she slowly turned to look at him again. "What did you say?"
Anders took a quick breath through his nose and tried again. "I love you," he repeated, shifting so he was sitting cross-legged, elbows set on his knees and his hands knotted between his legs. "I know this isn't… It's not the best time, but I don't want to… I don't want to lose someone else without having said it." He paused, risking a glance at her as Allistair whined plaintively, but she ignored him. "You don't have to—"
Soft lips like sunshine met his roughly and he had to put a hand out to keep her from bearing him to the floor, but it took only an instant of confusion for his brain to catch up, and he slipped his free hand up to thread through her hair. She shuddered against his chest and he almost groaned, her knees tightening around his hips when he kissed her back, his tongue tasting the curve of her lip. She gasped and he took the chance, coaxing and exploring until they both broke away breathless. Her cheeks were pink and her eyes were shining—thankfully not from tears—and he let his hand slid down to massage the back of her neck as she leaned her forehead against his.
"Please, Anders," she finally mumbled, cradling his face in both of her hands, "Make me forget."
Oh, Hawke… He kissed her again, gently this time, and sat forward so he could wrap his arm around her waist, savoring the shuddering sigh she let out when he pulled away again. "Whatever you want," he whispered. Before she could answer, he rolled them away from the hearth so he was hovering over her on hands and knees and she let out a breathy laugh. That, he decided, was a sound he wanted to hear more of. That was how Hawke was supposed to sound. He kissed her again, trailing his lips down along her jaw to her neck and she let out a hum of delight as he traced her pulse with his tongue. Allistair growled somewhere behind him and he pulled back to shoot the mabari a pointed look and Hawke laughed again.
"It's alright, Allistair," she said, peaking around his arm to look at the animal, and he wagged his tail a few times before trotting away. She laughed again and Anders rolled his eyes. "I'm sure he thought you were attacking me."
"Not yet…" He ducked his head to kiss along her neck again before dragging his teeth along her throat and she gasped; he sucked at her pulse point and she hitched a leg over his hip to pull him down, her fingers dragging down his back and he moaned against her skin. "Maker, Hawke…"
She arched against him and all conscious thought seemed to leave his brain. "Yes, Anders?" she purred in his ear, slipping her hands under his coat and deftly undoing the buttons of his shirt. When her fingers finally traced along his chest, it felt like being kissed by fire, and he wasn't sure he ever wanted it to stop.
"I never thought… Maker, I've dreamed about this…" He didn't know why he was saying it but he couldn't help it. He swallowed and cradled her cheek in his hand again, watching the way the corners of her eyes crinkled as she smiled up at him.
"You're not dreaming, Anders," she reminded him with a smirk.
That was Hawke. "No, I'm not." He kissed her again, slipping one hand between them to tug the sash off her house robe and tossed it aside. He could feel Hawke smile against his lips and pulled the velvet robe open, his palms sliding over skin of her waist. Again, their tongues dueled and she rolled her hips against him insistently, making his breath catch. She would surely undo him…
"Messere? Are you in?"
Both sat up quickly, Hawke clutching her robe to her chest, cheeks darkening as her house staff returned. Anders would have laughed at her embarrassment if he hadn't been just as mortified that her servants had nearly walked in them.
"Y-Yes Bodahn!" She said quickly, pushing him back so she could scramble to her feet. The dwarf looked up from where he was setting down his satchel and coughed awkwardly. Hawke's eyes swung around frantically before she gave up and just held her robe closed; the sash was gone. "Did you find everything you needed?"
"Yes, messere, um… Should we…?"
"If you don't mind," she replied quickly, trying to keep her expression composed. She knew she no doubt looked a mess, and the current state of her clothing was a dead giveaway. And in that instant, she realized she'd nearly forgotten. A small smile tried to sneak onto her face, but she remained firm as the dwarf bowed and herded his son away, into their adjoined apartment. Orana was blessedly absent, and Hawke decided not to question it as a pair of arms snuck around her waist and something pressed insistently against her backside. Now, she smiled as Anders nuzzled her ear. "Make me forget again," she murmured, turning her head so she could see him.
Anders paused for only a second before nodding. "Anything," he replied, turning her around so he could kiss her again, and took her hand in his. She let him lead her up the stairs and into her bedroom, he kicked the door shut, and then pressed her back against it, pinning her wrists beside her shoulders as he nipped down her neck. She gasped, pressing her hips forward against his and he growled, grinding against her. His tongue traced the outline of her collarbone and she sighed, her head falling back against the heavy wood door as he ventured lower and lower. He kissed the swell of her breasts, releasing one of her wrists to roll up her breastband. When he caught her nipple in his mouth, the sound she made was almost a cry and he felt the hand he'd released knot in his hair.
"Don't stop," she begged and he obliged, sucking lightly as he let his hand slide down to cradle her bottom.
Maker, he'd spent sleepless nights imagining what it would be like to touch Hawke, to taste her… His mind had taunted with dreams of it so often he nearly expected it every time he closed his eyes: Hawke under him, Hawke's lips around him, Hawke riding him… The thought made his manhood ache painfully in his breeches and he moaned against her breast. He had to know… He dropped to his knees, letting her other wrist go to drag to pants down her legs, and gently nudged her knees open.
"Sh." He pressed a kiss to the inside of her thigh and she grabbed his shoulders with both hands, legs quivering as he slipped a finger under her small clothes. She was wet and warm and he almost couldn't bear the sound she made as he stroked her folds.
"Fuck, Anders, please…"
He smiled to himself and pulled her smalls down without taking his hands from her body. Not yet… He'd dreamed of this too many times to stop it. He stopped his ministrations to hook her leg over his shoulder and she looked down with confusion on her face.
Until his tongue pressed insistently into her sex and she nearly melted, only her leg over his shoulder keeping her from sliding to the ground as he tasted her. And she tasted sweeter than he could have ever imagined. She was shaking as he circled her clit, and when he slid one finger inside of her the moan that slipped past her lips was so loud he was sure the Chantry had heard. Let them, and let Sebastien pray on it, he thought smugly, curling his finger so she whimpered with need.
"Andraste's tits, Anders," she finally gasped as he slowly pumped the single digit inside of her, "I can't…"
He sat back on his heels, withdrawing his finger from her with torturous deliberateness, licking his lips. Her cheeks were flushed and her chest rose and fell dramatically as he let her leg slide back down off his shoulder. She tugged him up by the front of his coat and then shoved it off his shoulders, wasting no time in finishing her previously-attempted endeavor of unbuttoning his shirt. That soon joined his coat and she kissed him hard, stepping out of her abandoned clothes and backing him toward her bed with such insistence that he didn't dare refuse her. He held onto her hips as she started undoing his breeches, her fingers teasing along the outline of his length until he felt the mattress against the back of his knees. She stepped back to triumphantly shove his breeches down his legs and he kicked them off, straightening to push off her house robe and pull her breastband over her head. And finally she was naked, bare for him to see every Maker-blessed inch… He spun them and pushed her back onto the bed, leaning over her to press an insistent kiss to her lips.
"Hawke," he started, trying to get his racing heart under control, "Stop me now, or I won't be able to leave you again. If you don't—"
"Stop talking," she interrupted, trailing one hand down his chest to stroke his manhood and it took an incredible amount of effort to breathe evenly.
So he did. He stopped talking. She slid back toward the pillows and he crawled after her, fascinated by the play of muscles beneath her skin. So much he had never seen, that had always been hidden under layers of leather and mail and dirt and blood. She looped her arms around his neck and he kissed her again, sliding one hand down her leg to hook it over his hip. The warmth of her sex teased him and he groaned against her mouth; now she snuck her tongue past his lips to tangle with his and he bucked his hips forward instinctively. She moaned and kissed him again, tongues dancing and he couldn't wait. One stroke, and he was buried inside of her. For an instant, his mind went blank and he could think of nothing but the fact that it was Hawke stretched out beneath him, her head thrown back, her hair fanned out on the pillow. Hawke, who had always seemed so… unattainable. She rolled her hips experimentally and he gasped, burying his face against the crook of her neck and digging his fingers into her hip.
"Maker, Hawke," he forced out, grabbing the headboard above her head for support. Without waiting, he pulled out of her and thrust forward again. She hooked her legs around him and scratched her nails up between his shoulder blades. And Maker, if it made him a masochist, he didn't care, but it felt divine. The pace he picked was fast and merciless, and she cried out as he pounded into her over and over. Maker, this was Hawke. Hawke moaning and clinging to him, Hawke babbling pleas and encouragement in his ear… He pressed his lips to her neck and suckled the skin, feeling her body tighten around him as she shivered.
"Anders…" she moaned, sliding a hand up to his hair and tugging insistently until he pulled back to look at her. Her eyes were unfocused and she was panting as he slipped a hand between them, his thumb rubbing circles over the bud at the apex of her sex. "Maker, don't stop, I—"
All at once, her entire body tightened and she came with a shuddering gasp, and Anders grabbed her hips as he followed swiftly after her, spilling his seed inside her with a muffled groan. He fell onto the bed beside her with a huff and she automatically curled up against his chest, her head tucked under his chin, and he found himself smiling. For the first time since he'd met her, Hawke looked at ease.
She'd forgotten, at least for a little while.