A sequel of sorts to Marked, set around five years later. M for sexual content. Non canon for story purposes. Thanks to Midsummer as always. FemHawkexFenris.
His marks had brought them together, they both agreed. They were connected one to the other, whole sentences expressed with a simple tilt of the head, a brush on a shoulder. When opinions differed, as they often did, it was touch that reunited them, words, then, were redundant and unnecessary.
Neither of them had expected to live through the maelstrom that was Kirkwall in the final days before the sundering. Afterwards as they had all looked around, shell shocked, heads still ringing, they had instinctively stepped together, bodies barely touching but close enough to share warmth. A brief farewell to their companions was said, plans to reunite whilst lying low hurriedly made. Not with Anders, though. He stood apart, his eyes moving over the both of them. He was leaving, going into hiding and Hawke couldn't look at him. Betrayer. His halting apologies she'd barely heard, conscious only of Fenris' hip pressing against her side and she'd left with a curt nod, hurrying through the bloodstained streets to her mansion, Fenris following close behind.
They'd barely made it through the door before they were tearing at the other's armour, startling Bodahn and Sandal who scurried into the servants' quarters. They didn't even make it upstairs so desperate were they to devour, to feel as much of the other as possible. Locked at the mouth they wrestled out of the rest of their clothing and then Fenris had simply picked her up and and all but slammed her on her desk, papers and vials crashing to the floor. He hilted himself in one smooth thrust, making them both cry out, setting a furious pace until they had careened over the edge, gasping, lips joined and knuckles white. Breathing hard, he'd remained inside her for a few moments afterwards, studying her face, cupping it in his hands whilst her fingers traced his chest, before finally slipping from her and carrying her upstairs. They burrowed beneath her sheets, limbs entwined. He whispered in her ear that he would never leave her.
Little changed over the next few years. Unrest in Kirkwall settled even as it grew in distant lands. Out of their companions, the only ones they saw regularly were Varric and Aveline. Merrill had gone in search of other Dalish clans, still seeking ancient knowledge, Bethany back to Ferelden to try and support her fellow mages. Isabela and Anders were irrevocably gone. Hawke could not help but feel a pang when she thought of them, and, eyes hooded, lost in her memories, she'd feel a soft touch on her face, a comforting hand on her back and she'd relax into him, look up to see him studying her attentively. He was a constant presence, solid and reassuring, fierce and passionate. During the heated nights his intense green gaze would hold her own until she forgot herself in his eyes and touch. He never told her he loved her, never uttered the words, but she felt his adoration in a million small ways, in the glances over his shoulder at her during battle, the sweep of his lips across her abdomen as he gently explored her with lips and tongue, chuckling at her whines of impatience, the trailing of his fingers down her arm when they walked together in the evenings.
Together with Varric and Aveline they worked with the City Guard stabilising the criminal elements battling for dominance following the uprising, the four of them a practised and fearsome unit. This continued for months until Aveline shyly announced one day that she and Donnic were expecting a child. Hawke was overjoyed, spending a lot of time with an unexpectedly maternal Aveline as Donnic assumed the Captain's role in her absence. When the child was born, a boy, Hawke held the tiny wailing creature with a mixture of awe and longing. Aveline joked that the baby was showing signs of being as grumpy as Fenris and Hawke, chuckling, had looked up to find him watching her with a soft expression, smiling slightly.
She had known for some time that children were impossible for her, a serious injury years ago had put paid to any thoughts of having her own baby. You cannot grieve for what was never lost she told herself. She made plans, though, and one evening curled around him in their bed she tentatively raised the subject, back pressed against his chest and words half muffled by a pillow.
"I...have found a woman. An elf."
"No, I- . Listen. I want a child. Your child. She has three of her own, all healthy. She says she can carry yours. For us."
He was silent a long time, lips buried in her hair.
"And this is what you want?"
"Then I will do it." His mouth moved over her shoulder.
He went to meet with the elf woman a few nights later at his mansion. Hawke sat by the fireplace downstairs, unable to sleep, images of him with someone else, anyone else, spooling over and over in her mind. A means to an end, nothing more she told herself fiercely. He returned in the early hours, crashing through the mansion door and startling her. He staggered into the living room and she could smell the wine on him immediately, saw his reddened eyes. He moved towards her, collapsed on his knees in front of her and buried his head in her lap.
"Couldn't. Not with her. Not with anyone...no-one but you..." he murmured, hands grasping desperately at her hips. "I'm sorry, Hawke."
She reached down and tangled her hands in his hair, raising his face towards hers. "It's alright, my love. Come to bed."
Upstairs they moved together tenderly with the intimacy of years, each watching the other intently. Sitting astride him, the moonlight shading his markings she saw almost for the first time the sea-green eyes, the lean, muscled body, felt the soft, smooth skin and wondered at his wordless devotion to her.
They never spoke of children again.
During their time together she only ever saw him break down once. Varric had gone on yet another expedition to the Deep Roads claiming inactivity and impending middle age was making him fat. His troupe had set off an ancient trap and the dwarf was killed getting the rest of the team out safely. Aveline was the one to bring the news, weeping unashamedly in the living room. The two women had held each other whilst Fenris sat silently, head down. She woke that night to find him gone from their bed and padding downstairs she found him sitting in front of the fire, face in his hands. He raised his head when her fingers combed gently through his hair and she saw the wetness on his cheeks. When she leaned down to capture his lips in a soft kiss he pulled her onto the floor urgently, pulling at her nightclothes, and, rolling them, entered her with a swift thrust that made her gasp and him groan. Their lovemaking was urgent, grief stricken, the two of them spitting in the face of their own mortality, clinging onto the other for dear life. They lay there for hours afterwards, talking softly, taking comfort in each other's bodies.
When Bianca was recovered from the Deep Roads, Fenris mounted her above the fireplace with a strange reverence.
Time passed, they took less and less work, delighting in the other's company. Remembering, she knows she has never felt so content, been so loved, even if he never said the words.
But then things began to change. It started slowly, little things she started noticing, misplaced objects, curious marks on the walls of the mansion. One afternoon as they rested in the cool of their bedroom he rolled over to push himself up, looking at her questioningly.
"I didn't say anything."
He looked puzzled. "My apologies."
She'd catch him staring down into the street or he'd stop, head tilting as though he was listening to something. One night she awoke to find him standing by the window, the moonlight dappling his body. She went to him, put her arms around him and he hissed softly.
"What's wrong?" She saw then a faint sheen of sweat on his forehead. He felt impossibly hot under her hands.
"The...marks. The brands."
"More so recently."
"I do not know." She studied his profile, face creasing in concern and then took him back to bed, tracing the lines and whorls as she had done years before, until he fell into a restless sleep.
He started having nightmares, waking her with hoarse, terrified shouts. He would never tell her what they were, would only hold her with clammy hands when she woke him, whispering 'you're safe' over and over into her neck. Returning to the house she would catch him leaning against the walls, hands rubbing his marks, murmuring to himself. Sometimes he would leave the mansion alone, returning at dusk, unable to say where he'd been or what he'd been doing. She followed him once and watched him sit on a bench, staring into space for hours before returning home. He caught her by surprise, his eyes moving over her as he turned suddenly but did not seem to recognise that she was there. After he had left she returned home, shaken. He was there when she arrived and greeted her with warm enthusiasm.
One morning she entered their bedroom to find him sitting on the bed holding his sword, shaking his head slowly. He looked up at her and she saw then his eyes were wide and fearful.
"I can't remember how to buckle this on."
She took him to the healer that day, pacing up and down in front of the tiny room. The mage came out and drew her aside, face creased with worry. "I'm sorry. I'm not sure, it's not something I've seen before, but...it's...I think it's lyrium poisoning. There's nothing I can do, the brands..." she shrugged helplessly.
"Not long. Months. Weeks."
They left with treatments for the pain and some for the hallucinations and nightmares, holding tight to one another. That night she broke most of the furniture in the mansion, raging and desperate. He stood watching her silently and then, quietly as a shadow, slipped forward to catch her arms and hold her fast.
"Let me alone, Fenris."
"You are harming yourself" he kissed her bruised and bloodied knuckles. "Please don't do this, it's not helping. I would not see you hurt."
"It's too late for that!" She began to cry then, dry heaving sobs. "How can you be so calm? It's not fair. For you to escape, break that bastard's hold over you only for those marks to..."
He bent his head to hers, hair brushing her cheek. "These marks brought me to you. Without them I would never have found you and I do not, I cannot, regret one single thing that happened after. Please, Hawke, I don't want you to either." He folded her in his arms and she clung to him.
He took the potions and was lucid most of the time. He refused the pain treatments saying he wanted to feel as much as possible whilst he still could. She sent missives to the others, desperate letters seeking knowledge and cures but to no avail. She opened the door one afternoon to find Bethany, Merrill and Aveline standing there and any hope she may have had evaporated at their stricken expressions.
"I asked." Said Merrill, biting her lip as they sat by the fire. "I mean, I asked around. You know. In the Fade. Quite a few times, actually. But no-one could help me."
Hawke drew in a quick breath. "Don't ever mention that to him. Thank you, but he would never have forgiven either of us even if you had found something of use."
Fenris began to leave the mansion less and less, the heat and bustle of Kirkwall too much for him to bear. Merrill and Aveline still visited, Bethany left again for Ferelden, unable to witness her sister's pain. Fenris found distraction in her and in Aveline's cheerful, active boy, watching him pelt around the mansion with tolerant amusement. In the evenings she would read to him from the Book of Shartan, up in their room and he'd listen, eyes shut, hand upon her thigh stroking slowly. Knowing his marks were painful she tried to be gentle when they made love but he only held her more fiercely, whispering softly to her in Tevinter, words she did not understand.
One evening he had retired early, exhausted, and she had stayed up sitting in front of the fire, when there came a soft knock at the door. Opening it she took a step back in surprise when she saw Anders standing there, half hidden in shadow. He looked older, thinner, the moonlight slanting across the sharp planes of his face.
"I received your letter about Fenris" he said softly. "I'm sorry I couldn't come sooner." He studied her features. "Maker, you are just as beautiful as when I saw you last."
"Anders..." She couldn't seem to draw in a proper breath. "I never thought I'd see you again. Not after...is there anything you can do for him?"
"No, I'm sorry. It's...I'm sorry, Hawke." His heart contracted as her face fell. "I have brought something for him, though. For the pain. It'll get worse, eventually it'll be intolerable." He handed her a small vial. "This is a potion that will..." he took a breath, dropping his eyes from hers "...ease his passing." He reached out as if to take her hand but she flinched and he drew back.
"Are you saying what I think you're saying?" He gave a short nod and stepped away.
"I must go, it's not safe for me here." He turned to leave and then paused, back towards her, head down. "I was in love with you, Hawke. I wish things had been different. This is all I can give you, I'm sorry. You won't see me again."
She said nothing, fingers white around the vial. She watched him melt into the darkness of the street and stared into the dancing shadows long after he had disappeared.
Hawke doesn't leave the mansion much anymore.
Orana, Bodahn and Sandal are long gone and the house requires surprisingly little upkeep. She finds she prefers the solitude and silence, padding through the house in the long afternoons, fingers brushing the books on the shelves, figures on the desks. Aveline still visits, Merrill has gone, disappeared in search of other clans. Hawke turns away more visitors than she entertains.
Waking early in the still mornings she fancies she sees a silvered figure watching her from the corner of the bedroom before melting away soundlessly, feels fingers brushing her face in the moments before she's properly awake. Retiring to bed after a long, quiet day she will glimpse a bright green gaze from a cracked mirror and her heart will stop until she shakes herself, blaming a trick of the light, the dust in her eyes. She will not find Merrill to ask if he haunts the dusty mansion, watching her. She doesn't want to know. She falls asleep feeling his eyes move over her skin, re-living the last memory of him, the last time she felt his gaze on her, green as summer fields.
The pain is bad and he lies atop the sheets, even the light pressure of the covers too much for him to bear. She reads to him and his lips curve into a smile at the familiar words, his hand rests on her abdomen and she feels the heat of his fingers, the slight trembling of his limbs. She closes the book, kissing his pallid cheek, strokes his forehead with cool fingers, he sighs.
"Hawke...I'm tired. I think it's time for me to sleep. But...I don't want to leave you." Her lips tremble.
"I got to have you for this long, Fenris, I am grateful for everything. I never knew why you stayed, never asked. But I have to let you go, I know this. Please don't worry about me, I'll be fine. Sleep, my love. I'll watch over you." He holds her gaze oh green green eyes with his own as he drains the vial and rolls to face her. He reaches up, already heavy lidded, to touch the wetness on her cheeks.
"I will always love you, Fenris."
She feels his words rather than hears them, whispered across her cheek with the last rise fall of his chest. A sense memory branded into her skin forever.