It was late at night. There in the Chantry he threw himself into the throes of prayer, shaking hands tightly clasped as he bent before the Maker, hoping for an answer. The light from the candles bathed him in a soft, comforting glow, even as the rest of the building was dark and quiet.
His faith was unfaltering, and his love for the Champion was true and sure, but there were times when Sebastian doubted his commitment. He did not doubt his love for her, for he was sure of it above all else.
He doubted his ability to carry through with it. In his most doubtful moments he admitted to himself the nature of their commitment was shaky. A chaste marriage was what he promised her, but how could a marriage be chaste?
We will desire nothing and thrive on the Maker's love.
Despite telling himself this it did not quell his earthly desires.
How he wanted her, ached for her. So badly he wanted to be a brother in the eyes of the Maker and to be with his dear lady.
Perhaps he was selfish in wanting both.
So many desires stirred his beating heart when he saw her, his love, the Champion.
Even as he prayed she encroached on his thoughts. Her pale hair and light blue eyes…skin so light…He called her the Maker's light and he loved her.
But she was desire, too, and she made him want so many things. It wasn't her fault. For her part, Eleanora Hawke was enthusiastic about the prospect of a sexless marriage. He suspected sex frightened her.
He had broached the question with her, his voice halting. "You do know what this means?"
She watched him with eyes wide, smiling serenely. "Of course. It means I'll be loved for the rest of my life."
"We'll never be able to love each other-or anyone-like a man and a woman," he tried to turn the words in such a way as to not embarrass either of them.
A crinkle formed between her brow. "Oh…well, that's fine."
"Are you sure?"
"I've never had sex before this, and I see no reason why I should have it afterwards." She seemed unfazed. "I'll be fine."
She might be fine, but he wasn't sure he would be.
He frowned, realizing his straying thoughts, and tried to throw himself back into prayer.
Oh why did he so often stray in the Maker's eyes? Why did he have these thoughts.
"That's the problem with you church boys. Always on your knees." The amused voice came from behind.
He paused in prayer, looking behind to see the dimly illuminated form of Varric.
"Hawke wants us to meet at the Hanged Man. She's on some sort of quest. Something about dragons in a mine. Sounds like it'll make a great story, doesn't it? I certainly intend to be there." Half his lip quirked into a smile. "But if you're too busy I can leave you and the Maker alone together…"
"I-I was just finishing my prayers," he said, wincing at the half-truth he told.
"You know she's too good for what you offer."
"Excuse me?" Sebastian's voice was sharp.
"Do you think she deserves to be trapped in a 'chaste marriage' with you? Isabela and I have a bet it won't last more than a week before you're on each other."
"Absolutely not," he said, cheeks reddening. "She will be a sister of the faith then. She will have no need for such things…"
"Sure." A rough laugh escaped Varric's lips. "We'll see, choir boy. I think the Maker will understand if you decide to break a few vows, though."
Sebastian eyed the dwarf narrowly. "You must obey the Maker completely."
"Are you hiding behind the Maker from something? Some sort of inadequacy, perhaps?" Varric grinned.
The young man curled his fist, looking down at floor, but reminded himself that he was a brother of the faith. He attempted to respond evenly. "I love the Maker and I love Eleanora. That is all you'll ever need to know and all that will ever be your business."
The dwarf's disbelieving smile stayed with Sebastian long after he had left the young man alone in the dark Chantry.
Eleanora had greeted him warmly, a gentle smile on her face.
She ran through the details of the quest to them all and then said that it was probably best if they all stayed in rooms there at the Hanged Man so they would be ready in the morning.
"You two outta start preparing for that 'marriage' of yours and get separate rooms." Isabela's voice held a mocking tone.
"Of course we're getting separate rooms," Eleanora said. "I don't think Sebastian would have it any other way!"
She sounded almost too happy.
Indeed, he ended up staying in a room to himself.
He thought of her words as he tried to drift into sleep.
I don't think Sebastian would have it any other way!
Was it true?
"Yes," he told himself in the darkness, but doubt crept where certainty should have been.
He didn't know why, but stood from his bed and after wandering the halls he found himself standing in Eleanora's doorway.
"Hawke…" he whispered into the darkness past the door.
He heard her stir, shift in the covers. "Please, call me Eleanora, not Hawke. And come on in!" She lit a candle, sending light throughout the sparse room. Entering uncertainly, he closed the door behind him, the sound of it's clicking the only sound.
She sat on the edge of her bed. A thin nightgown was all she had on. Too much skin was visible. It was foolish for him to come here. Didn't the Church say the best way to avoid temptation was to avoid situations that foster it?
And here he was in her room, very aware of her thinly covered body. Her lips were parted as she spoke.
"Is there something you need?" She sounded uncomfortable.
He walked towards her and stared. Then all the feelings that had been welling up inside him came to the surface. He reached for her, touching the soft skin of her neck.
"Sebastian!" She sounded frightened. "Don't give into temptation! We have vows! We have…"
Her words died. Holding the back of her head, hair tumbling over his fingers, he pressed his lips to hers.
She responded nervously, placing her small hands on his chest.
Into temptation they both fell, but he whispered into her ear, breath fanning against her cheek, "Let this be the vow we break sweetest, Eleanora."
He pushed her back on the bed, hovering above her, his half-lidded eyes on her face. Then he lowered himself and pressed his face against the crook of her neck, feeling her fearfully shivering.
She gripped his shirt tightly, shutting her eyes. "I just want to be a sister, Sebastian. I just-"
He broke her words with another kiss. "Why are you so scared."
"Because!" She had no answer. Her gaze drifted to the side, away from him. "I'm a sister of the faith. Well, not yet…but soon!"
"All I want is you," he said and immediately he realized the implications of the words.
He didn't want the Maker.
Nor the Church.
He wanted this woman.
Such was to give into temptation, he thought, as guilt washed over him, completely paralyzing him. Their bodies were pressed together but never had they felt so distant.
Eleanora thought of how much she was scared of this touch, no matter how gentle, on her body.
His mind was filled with thoughts of the Maker and the wrongness of the act.
He moved himself off of her, rolling beside her on his back and stared at the ceiling. He sat up, about to leave, but then he felt a warm hand touch his own.
"You don't have to leave…" came her voice. "You can hold me, just not like that."
With only a moment's thought he crawled beside her, laying his body along the curve of her side, his arms wrapping around her thin frame.
He kissed the top of her head good night, and she snuggled comfortably against him. He attempted to kiss her lips, but she stopped him.
"Remember the Maker," she said.
With a pang of sadness he realized this was all they would ever have.