Disclaimer: Dragon Age 2 belongs to Bioware, and I am not them. I just like to play with their toys. This story is shameless unabashed Fenris/FemHawke schmoop fluffiness. Sorry, crazy-mage/crazy-Dalish/inconstant-pirate shippers. :D This story's a loose sequel to "Morning". There will probably be a "Night" eventually, but I haven't felt inspired yet.
He could watch her all afternoon.
If a black-clad mercenary wasn't currently trying to lop his head off with a giant axe, rather. The mercenary was slow. He was not. It gave him plenty of time to observe his amorata dance around like liquid, her blades flashing in the noonday sun.
He stepped aside as the mercenary lumbered past him; he crouched as the heavy axe whirred over his head, then stepped lightly to the side and stuck one glowing hand into the man's back.
The road west was little more than a suggestive track of dust weaving through fields of dusty wheat, punctuated by villages that were (quite logically) very dusty. Summer heat had begun to build and both he and Hawke had taken to wearing loose light hoods to keep the sun from pale skin.
She was already browning up like a nut, though. Delightful little freckles had appeared on her skin, golden and fair. The road rand parallel to the main highway toward Cumberland and Orlais, passing through the Planasene Forest on its way. By all rights it should have been quiet and boring, traveled by farmers with hay wagons, not heavily-armed gangs.
Yet another axe swung toward him and this time he leapt, letting it whistle beneath his feet. For this man his sword hummed, lopping off the arm at the elbow and sending him reeling back into the stubbly wheat at the side of the road. It likely wouldn't do much for the crops.
Too slow, again. Idiots.
Yes, the freckles. He would make a map, he decided. Each one counted and accounted for. Sometimes as she slept, he traced words from dot to dot. Words — the precious thing, just one more gift she had given him.
A few other Tevinter words that he was glad she didn't yet know, as they were not suited to a lady and his roguish one would take great glee in using them inappropriately in an attempt to get him to blush.
Him, blushing. Not bloody likely.
He paused to look at her again, and it was _almost_ enough to let one of the hulks get a blade into him.
Almost. For this one his sword stabbed in, punching through the scale armor and out the other side, the hulk's eyes widening in shock and then slackening, the gleam of life in them vanishing.
Silence fell. He knew this silence well, the pause after the last blade had finished its work.
Hawke knelt to use one of the hulk's cloak to clean her blades, fastidious as always, "We're trying to be inconspicuous. Do normal people have to kill this many bandits to travel? It seems excessive."
"You do seem to have a remarkable knack for offending the criminal population of a region," he agreed. He tugged the hood of his cloak up, using it to shade his eyes as he studied the road. The hulks had staged their ambush in the shadow of a few large boulders, one of the only visible landmarks in the broad fields. This part of the Marches was flat and unpleasant. He would be glad when they reached the forest, if only for variety.
"It won't always be like this," Hawke said, a frown puckering at her brows. She was a practical woman. She searched the pockets of the dead for anything they could use — including signs of who might have paid them, of course — and then sat down on the edge of the road, where dead grass marked field from path.
He didn't know whether she said it to reassure herself, or to reassure him. Regardless. He looked at her. She was dusty. Blood splattered her hands and clothes. She was a beautiful, violent mess.
"If it was, it would be no tragedy." He crouched closer to her. "Hawke. I have no great dreams or expectations." He brushed the stubborn lock of hair away from her cheek, the one that always seemed to tickle her eyes, to make her seem so young no matter how many years he had known her. "Every day I wake to the sound of your breath, I am content — be it on a blanket by the road or a mansion in Hightown. We walk together, and I am complete."
It was the truth, as plainly spoken as he could say it. He had never known peace or plenty, never known security. To him the world had ever been a hostile and forbidding place, bent on his destruction or the destruction of his will. He had never placed faith in anything but his own strength and his own refusal to be dominated.
She had crept into his heart like a shadow, finding cracks he had not known he possessed. She had dispossessed the hate in him as surely as water wears away rock, until Danarius had come and he had finally, by the Maker, ended it.
And he was yet living. Free. No more Danarius. No more ties to Tevinter. He had laid to rest his sister and the ache of the life he had lost, and mourned it — in his way, though no one could understand it, except perhaps for her — and the span of his life lay before him like a road for which he had no map.
No map but her. He read the language of her body as clearly as words.
Her breath stuttered — "I want you."
Her eyes darkened, widening as if to seek light in the darkness, — "I need you."
Her head tilted toward him — "I trust you."
Her lips touched his — "I love you."
In time, they rose and pulled the bodies from the road, leaving them piled together out of the way for the carrion eaters to find. As the noonday sun slipped along the sky and dipped toward dusk, they started walking again, following its path into the west.
She slipped her hand into his.
His fingers tightened.
And they walked on.