Anon!fail from the Kink meme over at Livejournal where this has already been posted. The prompt asked for a fic set after Fenris's quest in act 3, where the lovers reunited.
Afterwards, they never speak of it.
It seems fitting that they don't, considering how little speaking that leads up to the night that is now a mute knowledge between them, a little twist in her chest and a recurring trail of thought as she watches him .
Almost no words at all mapping their ways there, to each other.
Merely a gradual shift in the way they move around each other, the way the shadows and light fall in fractions around them; she catches his gaze over a bottle of wine in his mansion and he does not look away. Somehow, that is the moment, she thinks afterwards, watching him leave her bed and her house. A moment somewhat out of time. Nothing but a wrinkle on the map, nothing that cannot be smoothed out with fingertips that still taste of him because evidentially she can. She brushes it off, straightens her back and moves on.
Hawke certainly doesn't wear her heart on her sleeve and as far as she's concerned, Fenris hasn't got one to flaunt.
And they never speak of it.
Afterwards, it seems so easy.
They have each other perfectly measured.
In battle she quickly learns to fight at his side - a faster, dirtier shadow to his endurance and self-control. Explosive strikes to match his stamina. Muscle-memory and instinct flow into one stream of energy so quickly with Fenris, as though they have been carved out of the same kind of mould to fight the same kind of enemy even if they disagree vehemently about who that enemy ought to be.
She gives him small pieces of the world - books, history, ideas, all written down - and he challenges her stubborn ideals because he seems to somehow value them. She in turn refuses his narrow-minded reasoning because he, too, has earned all of her respect and none of her pity.
"You know too much to be that foolish," she tells him at times and hears her voice grow sharp, like steel.
"I could say the same of you," he retorts, angry but never furious.
Over the years they share countless bottles of wine, a thousand harsh debates and leave marks all over each other's carefully detached lives.
Almost in spite of himself he flirts with her, flatters her and she laughs in his company more often than she would have thought possible. He is bitter and wry, aggressive and fixed in his ways like a much older man, which irritates and endears her all at once. (She once asks him how old he is. He doesn't know.) Part of her wants to tear his world apart, another part of her wants to hide in it because for all its faults, it has fewer shades of grey and there are times when she fears the shadows will swallow her whole.
"Command me to leave and I shall," he all but begs of her one night and she wishes for a second that she had the strength because she can see in his eyes how it is going to end.
Afterwards, what she misses is this:
Those evenings in his mansion sitting side by side, pored over books and parchments like generals the night before battle.
Those evenings when she shows him the shape of letters and numbers, how they connect and relate to each other and tells him to think of it as battle strategy and movement. Tells him to think of connections, of rhythms, of how each letter needs another to form a meaning. She's not a good tutor, has always lacked patience with failure and makes up for this flaw by wrapping everything in long explanations. If he finds her irritating, he never says so and he does learn.
The light from the candles that travels across the room as they sit there, for hours. Sometimes it flickers over the spread-out books or his arm, spills over the lines of his face or gets caught in her hair that hides the words in the books words when she leans forward. Sometimes it spreads into the corners and flutters there, like ghosts.
And the hours of morning, that peculiar early light of dawn that seems merciless and bleak, when Hawke trades his mansion for her own and she can feel his gaze on her, can feel it follow her all the way around the corner that separates them.
Afterwards, it happens sometimes that they touch each other without really meaning to.
An arm outstretched, two fingers against the back of a hand, stray touches in passing. It is nothing, means nothing. Merely moments in-between – seconds, steps, breaths outside of time and place where their paths cross and their words have no meaning.
When Hawke cracks a sarcastic joke and the only one who hears it is Fenris.
When he is about to say something but comes to a halt as though he suddenly catches himself, remembering that she stands there.
When she stoops over him on the ground, hands searching for his injuries before Anders has even noticed.
When they share a meal and a strand of hair has caught at the corner of her mouth; his gaze then, as though he can't decide if he wants to reach out and brush her hair aside or push her back against the wall.
The way he keeps himself in front of her during battle and she finds herself having his back without really intending to, because her body knows better than she does that it wouldn't endure the loss of him.
The way they are still entangled.
Afterwards, she learns that three years is a long time.
Three years is an endless, unbroken string of days and nights coming to an abrupt end that long summer when Kirkwall boils beneath their feet. Hawke feels herself fall to pieces with the city; it's like Kirkwall sits in her chest, cracking open and breaking down with her. The power shifts and turns and falls outside of her reach every time and she can see it in people's faces, too, how it's slowly taking its toll on them all.
And Fenris returns, without ever having been completely gone.
Somehow, nothing could make more sense. In this quickly spinning madness they are constant.
She will not change and he will not, either. They stand here, bone-hard conviction and pride in equal measures poured into bodies that are bracing themselves against what will happen, what must inevitably happen and their only hope is that when it does, the world will be transformed in their place. Cut open in a way that makes all of this seem petty, useless.
Because his past offers nothing, she is his future and there's a dark promise in that, in wielding that kind of power, but she doesn't look away. He is standing in front of her, leaning over her and she is looking straight at him, unflinching and hard in the face of this.
"I was a fool," he says, simply.
"Oh, yes." She can't seem to take her eyes off his mouth as she answers so her words get choked, shivering.
"If there is a future to be had," he still looks at her, serious and proud and heartbreakingly vulnerable all at once, "I will walk into it gladly at your side."
And she nods, feeling naked under his gaze. If there is a future, he is in it because she can't imagine it differently and sometimes, she decides as Fenris reaches for her and pulls her to her feet, that has to be enough.
Then he kisses her so fiercely that her breath catches in her throat. His lips slightly rough like his hands and the tip of his tongue tasting of burned sugar and red wine and she feels him breathe against her neck, his hands pressed hard along her back like he can't get her close enough. With a muffled groan, she pushes into his touch, spins them around in a dance mirroring that in her memory, only this time there's a trail of hope in it, a gleam of light leading somewhere else.
"Do you want to stay?" Fenris asks and his voice is hoarse now, full of want, and it's almost enough to make her knees go weak.
"Do you have to ask?" She mutters against his throat, suckling at the impossibly soft skin there.
He steers them away from the fireplace by placing his hands on her hips – fingers gentle at first, then hungrier, greedier– and she relaxes into him. She runs her hands over his arms and shoulders and glances up at him, half-expecting him to pull away at her touch but he doesn't. They kiss for so long she loses track of everything else; the soaring rush of blood in her head drowning out the noise from outside and the chilly air in this awful place and everything that isn't Fenris's mouth on her skin, or his body, warm and hard and alive. The fireplace is a tickling presence behind them, its heat tracing a path along her spine followed by Fenris's fingers that travel over her back, reminding her of the frustrating layer of clothes that still separates them.
Clothes and metal and-
Suddenly he is the one who is sitting down, and he pulls her down over her so she's straddling his lap, catching her breath as she steadies herself there. For a moment they pause only to look at each other, to calm themselves. She smiles faintly as she sees that his eyes are wide-open and honest in a way she can't remember, in a way that makes something in her chest jump back into place. I want you, she thinks rather needlessly but thinking it makes it seem clearer, sweeps out any lingering doubts. She lets her fingers map out the features of his face, the shape of his markings and the scars that have been inflicted on him over the years. He leans back, stroking her sides and her back, his hands finding their way under her tunic as she wriggles impatiently, pushing against him.
She unfastens his armour without trouble, a muscle-memory as deep as breathing. He shrugs it off and reaches for the laces of her trousers but isn't nearly as fast as she wants so she grunts something and then her fingers are there, on his and in between, assisting. She can feel Fenris smile into the curve of her neck as she struggles out of her last piece of clothing and his hand moves from her knee up to her thigh and then inwards. For a moment she forgets how much she wants this to be slow, to last because Fenris draws a sharp breath when she places her free hand between his legs and his eyes go dark with desire and Andraste's grace, she has waited much too long for that gaze, for him to look at her like that - helplessly.
And then they are on the floor even if she can't quite remember how it happens. She only possesses a notion somewhere at the back of her mind that he owns a bloody bed and this all seems unnecessarily uncomfortable, but then she forgets it because of the sensation of his hand skimming over her body, over the curves and planes of her hips and stomach and then up towards her breasts. It's worse than fire, it's under her skin and it's driving her mad. She's already building up, too starved not to and not capable of self-control tonight, so when he touches her again, she buckles up against him, breathing heavily and he catches her gaze, smiling in amazement.
"Fenris, please." She barely recognises her voice, it doesn't sound like her.
She reaches for him, almost brutal in her determination, but he follows, just as eager but with a lifetime of self-control working in his favour; when she pushes him inside, he stills for a second, holding her gaze. Please, she thinks. Please, please, please. He kisses her as he begins to move, slow at first and then faster, building up a rhythm in tune with her low hums and pleas, her hands on his sides and in his hair.
And then she comes, cradling him against her. His strong, lean arms under her palms and his dark voice barely a whisper deep down in his throat as he tells her things in a language she doesn't understand. It doesn't take long for him to follow and when he does, he lets out a shaky breath that feels like a rush of warmth on her face.
Afterwards, they remain quiet for a long time, ensnared and entangled and breathless as the lines around them merge and alter with the way his hand rests on her back and her leg slides up over his hip and she falls asleep, muttering his name like a prayer or a curse and it doesn't really matter either way.
Afterwards, what remains is this:
They balance on his narrow bed where every movement is followed by a counter-movement and yet somehow they manage to fall asleep there, half-way inside each other in a nest of arms and legs and heartbeats softly drowning out every other sound around them. They sleep badly and restlessly, a tangled mess of sheets and nightmares and the way he pushes her towards the edge of the bed and she places a sharp elbow in his chest. In the middle of the night she wakes up, irritated and hot, but the nape of his neck is soft under her lips and when she kisses it, slow and gentle enough not to stir any too-sharp survival instincts, he drapes one arm over her and grunts softly.
She shifts, careful not to wake him, and as her gaze falls upon his face she thinks Maker's breath, but I love you and perhaps it shouldn't come as a surprise, but it does.