Dragon Age 2: The Templar's Hawke
Author: Banbha
Who: F!Hawke/Cullen
When: Act I

A/N: This is a bit of a prelude to new story. This was bopping in my head for a couple of days now, as I'm going through the umpteenth time in DA2. But have you noticed that Cullen's voice is softer with F!Hawke? And I swear, he is close to outright flirting with her while on duty! Sly man.

"There has to be some way that everyone can live in peace." Sorcha responded to Knight-Captain Cullen. The templar knight's face softened as he contemplated her words that not all mages were evil and doomed to become abominations. After all, her sister Bethany was the sweetest person she knew and had that kind temperament. If anything, thanks to father's teachings, she abhors any mage resorting to blood magic as final measure.

"Perhaps you are right, sera Hawke. If mages got more training about the Chantry, then maybe they wouldn't think about going to blood magic as a means to an end." He paused and looked at her with an indescribable look that made her flush a little. "I will have to think on this."

"Please do. Life is not black and white, Knight-Captain. We all have our personal demons to deal with but what we do with our past experiences determines how we shape the future. But I think you are a reasonable man and want to do what is right and just." Sorcha gave a slight nod.

"If you had told me that over a year ago back at the Fereldan Circle, I would have adamantly argued with you that it was not so. But," Cullen paused again, a small smile tugging at his mouth. "I have matured since then and have tried to look at individuals, not a group."

"That is commendable."

"Templars don't have it easy, sera, especially in Kirkwall."

"Neither do the mages. But then, neither do the refugees or residents of Lowtown. Life is not easy but we all muddle through somehow."

Cullen chuckled lightly and smiled wider. Sorcha couldn't help to notice how nice his smile was. This man was meant to smile. She found herself returning it and ducked her head a little. The flashes of warmth running over her skin made her self-conscious. No, Sorcha thought, we can't be going there now. Not with a templar! Her sister would never forgive her.

"Sera Hawke," Cullen spoke gently. "I would love to continue this discussion. It is refreshing to see a rational person talk about matters of this nature in a calm and reasonable way. I have to admit that you have gotten me thinking on quite a few things."

"I… I think I would enjoy that as well." Sorcha answered. "But as Knight-Captain aren't you on duty all the time?"

The templar laughed warmly and shook his head. "My recruits believe that but I do sleep and other things off-duty. If you are inclined," he dropped his head, suddenly looking like a shy young man, "meet me tomorrow evening at the dock."

"Okay, then I will see you tomorrow evening."

That was how it all started. After helping out Cullen with the missing recruits and having a brief discussion, Sorcha was meeting regularly with the Knight-Captain. Her friends suspected she was seeing someone but never asked her or spied on her whereabouts every other evening in the weeks following the return of Kerran. Sorcha still led her freelance party around Kirkwall, helping the helpless and all the time, gathering the sovereigns needed for the expedition. Though, there was a dry spell now for work, and Sorcha was visiting Cullen every evening. Their friendship had grown close and she liked the man under the templar armor. He was kind and polite, always being the gentleman to his lady friend. Mother would love him if she saw past his position in the Chantry.

"Your thoughts are far away, Sorcha." Cullen gently prodded her as they sat on a bluff outside of Kirwall's imposing walls. A gentle breeze came off the water and blew the bangs of her close cropped hair into her green eyes.

"Oh, just recalling these past few weeks, Cullen. Mother would like you but…"

"You don't think she could see past the uniform I wear and see me as the man." He nodded. "Trust me, I understand. The Templar's have received an unjust reputation, though in respect, a few of the order have deserved the reputation. I would like to see it change someday."

"It might change sooner than you think." Sorcha stared out at the sheltered harbor.

"The trouble with the apostates." Cullen answered somberly.

The warrior turned her gaze to the man, his blue eyes reflecting the setting sun. "Not only them but some in your order, the rumblings from the Circle, and a little discontent in the Chantry. It seems Kirkwall is holding its breath for something."

"I fear you are right. Where in Fereldan, there was the Blight but now, with King Alistair and Queen Mara, they are setting things right again. The people love them and Fereldan is happy and peaceful. Have you ever thought of returning to Fereldan, Sorcha?" he turned to gaze at her, his expression unreadable.

"Sometimes. However, where would I go? My last home is razed and news that I have gotten says the Blight has poisoned the ground beyond any healing. At least here, I have friends and family."

"Is there no one that you are close with?" he asked so softly, Sorcha wasn't sure she heard Cullen right.

"Are you asking if there is someone special?" she raised an eyebrow at him, a small smile making her lips curve up at the edges.

"I hope I didn't offend or being too forward but we never have talked about…" he stammered.

Sorcha let out a low chuckle and rested a hand on the templar's knee. "I didn't think templar's were encouraged to have… relationships."

"Guard Captain Aveline was married to a Templar. It isn't forbidden for any of us to pursue …uh…. love."

Give the man credit, he never flinched from Sorcha's gaze or her touch on his knee. At least, when they spent these times together, both were dressed casually, ready for walking around the area and only carrying a simple knife on their belts. For Sorcha, it was a time for her to unwind and be a woman. She took her hand off Cullen's knee and rested in her lap, fingers idly plucking at an invisible thread on the leather pants.

Cullen grabbed her hand back, his long and strong fingers wrapping gently around it, bringing it up to his lips, brushing his lips across her knuckles. Sorcha's heart began to flutter, her green eyes meeting his blue-gray. Aveline's words came back to her when they talked about Wesley and knew now what her friend meant that she married a man, not a templar.

Turning her hand over, her wrist exposed, Cullen leaned down over it and placed a feather light kiss on the pulse point. It was gentle, romantic, and yet, incredibly erotic. Sorcha thought that this man shouldn't know these things about what made a woman's heart race like hers was doing now. If her fingers weren't curled up within Cullen's hand, she knew it would be cupping his jaw. He straightened up and looked at her.

"Sorcha, I have to make a confession. I have immensely enjoyed our time together and from our talks, I have grown to admire you for your intelligence and wisdom. But, your beauty and compassion has struck hard at my heart for some time."

"You… you never mentioned anything." Sorcha was speechless.

"The time was never appropriate to say anything, lest I would offend or scare you off. It isn't easy for a Templar to find friendship or even love. I hold great affection for you. You have managed to entrench yourself in this cynical man's heart."

"You are hardly cynical, Cullen." Sorcha smiled gently.

"Not when I'm with you. You help me see reason and truth, and that there is still wonder and goodness in Thedas yet."

"Cullen…" Sorcha began, but she couldn't think what to say in response. Before she could continue, Cullen pulled her to him, wrapping a strong arm around her waist and the hand that had just had hers, caressing at her face. Her breath shortened, her chest fluttering hard.

Their heads moved together and lips touched softly. Sorcha found herself responding to Cullen's warm full mouth on hers, sighing as his hand grasped her head. The kiss was tender and tentative but as she melted into his arms and his lips, the kiss deepened, their mouths parting to each other. Sorcha wrapped her fingers behind his neck, the close cut of his blonde hair smooth under her touch. Of their own volition, her fingers caressed through his hair and at his neck. His mouth grazed at her lower lip and across to the corners, trailing kisses along her strong jaw line to where it met with the ear lobe. She moaned softly as Cullen's mouth kissed at the sensitive skin behind her ear.

"My Lady Hawke," he whispered huskily in her ear.

She turned her head to Cullen, eyes half closed, feeling flushed and chest constricted. His eyes held passion and want in them but he was holding back. Giving her another deep kiss, letting it linger as he pulled back, Cullen rested his forehead against Sorcha's.

"Now I better show some restraint and escort you home." His voice was roughened from passion.

"After all that?" Sorcha gave a soft snort.

Cullen chuckled softly, "I would not have you out here in the rough where brigands could walk around the corner. No, you deserve better."

"Thank you for considering my honor, Knight-Captain." Sorcha teased and giggled as he nipped at her lips.

"Behave, sera Hawke!" he mocked growled. With a fluid motion, he stood up, pulling Sorcha up to him. They stood there for a moment, looking at each other in wonder and new found emotions. Cullen gently brushed a strand of Sorcha's rich brown hair from her eyes. "Maker's Breath, you are truly beautiful."

They arrived at Gamlen's hovel in Lowtown with no mishap and stood in the shadows by the stairs. No one recognized the Templar Knight-Captain in civilian clothing. The whole time they walked back to the city, they were arm in arm, like a couple in love. From passing matrons, it brought a smile to their faces. Those men who knew Hawke, grumbled at their own misfortune.

"Thank you for seeing me safe and sound, Knight-Captain." Sorcha teased Cullen lightly and softly.

"Keep that up, sera, and I will not be so nice next time." He grinned down at her, his fingers caressing her face. Leaning in, Cullen placed a lingering kiss on Sorcha's lips. "Until next time, Sorcha." He promised and stood back, fingers trailing off her face as the man turned and walked back toward the docks and the Gallows.

Sorcha sighed happily and waited for her heart to stop hammering and the flush to recede. Who would have thought that feelings would develop between the Templar and warrior. Pushing off from the wall, Sorcha walked up the stairs to Gamlen's home.

Leaving her friends at the Hanged Man, Sorcha took a ferry over to the Gallows. Thrask and the blood mages should have made it back before her and she did want to check up on them. Talking with the Templars would have upset Bethany, so Sorcha left her sister behind. It was funny to think that her sister was trying to guess who her suitor was. The warrior woman only smiled and continued on with whatever she was doing.

Anders even commented on Sorcha's certain glow, quipping lightly that it was good for her. Though, Sorcha wasn't blind to the hidden looks from the apostate healer. She didn't think of Anders that way and was glad to have his friendship. He wouldn't understand that not all the templar's were bad. Sure, Cullen had some past demons that he worked through in the past but the Chant of Light brought the man back to understand what the templar's purpose was.

Sorcha agreed that the magi needed protection. Some needed to understand that freedom comes with responsibility and if said responsibility wasn't taken, then chaos came from it. Such as the fall of Starkhaven's circle. She shook her head. That young prince she met, Sebastian, must know about this latest tragedy to his home. Still, convincing the apostates to go with Thrask back to the Circle displeased Anders. She tried to explain to her friend that they are more danger to themselves and to others if they continued as they were. Above all, Sorcha pointed out, the magi resorted to blood magic.

The ferry docked at the Gallows, shaking Sorcha out of her reverie. Walking off the shallow boat, she headed up to the main courtyard and smiled to see Thrask had indeed returned and was talking with Cullen. Cullen turned his gaze to her and smiled briefly as she approached the templar's.

"Gentlemen knights," Sorcha greeted Thrask and Cullen. "I'm glad you made it back safely with your charges, Thrask."

"I owe you a huge thank you for convincing Grace to come along quietly. If Karak…"

"That is why I tried to avoid that confrontation." Sorcha laid a comforting hand on the knight's arm.

"If you have nothing further of me, Knight-Captain, I am going to go see to the recruits." Thrask gave her a brief nod and departed, leaving Cullen and Sorcha alone at the foot of the steps to the Circle.

"He is too caring of a man to be bound to the templar order." Sorcha commented.

"I agree but he does help keep some of the peace among the mages in the tower. Care to take a walk, sera Hawke?" Cullen asked her, with a gleam in his eye.

Settling her greatsword over her shoulders, Sorcha nodded and kept the same leisurely pace with the Knight-Captain as they headed down to the entrance of the templar's section of the Gallow's. Cullen led her around a corridor to a section of suites that housed the templar officers. Stopping at a door, he turned to her with a smile. His hand opened the door and waited for her to enter. Once inside, Cullen locked the door and grabbed Sorcha's hand, pulling her to him. His mouth found hers quickly, taking her in deeply. A small yelp sounded from Sorcha and she shifted in his arms. Cullen pulled away and looked at her in concern.

"The armor is in the way of truly kissing you, love." She gave a small huff.

"By the Maker, I thought I had hurt you!" Cullen laughed and gave a quick peck at the tip of her nose. He began with undoing the buckles to his gauntlets. Sorcha helped him, knowing how to undress out of heavy armor. The clang of pieces being dropped to the stone floor echoed in the room. After Cullen was divested of the plate and was stripped down to his undershirt and pants, he helped Sorcha with her lighter armor. He took advantage of her pinned in the plate pieces to kiss at her mouth, neck and ear.

As the last piece was dropped to the floor and the couple in their underclothing, Cullen wrapped his arms around Sorcha's waist. He leaned down and started to softly kiss her. Their passion fueled slowly in them, making them both ache with need to satisfy. Cullen's hands slipped under Sorcha's shirt, roughened fingers caressing across her skin. They traveled up her spine, kneading and grazing up her body. When they reached the breast band, his fingers deftly worked loose the pinning and unwound the cloth.

Sorcha gave a small gasp as Cullen's hands played over her freed breasts. "Dear Maker!" She breathed, "I thought you never done this."

"I never said that, my love." Cullen answered throatily. "It has been a while since I've done this."

"Then your hands didn't forget what to do." Sorcha sighed deeply as he grabbed her beasts in each hand and caressed them. Tiring of fighting with the shirt, he pulled up her shirt over Sorcha's head and tossed it to the ground.

Cullen started to push her back towards the bed, kissing at her lips and down her throat. Sorcha's hand grasped at his broad shoulders, giving sighs of pleasure and her body sending little shudders of delight at the templar's attention. As the back of legs hit the edge, Cullen lifted her up and laid her down, settling his own body over Sorcha. Reaching a hand up to her face, he cupped it with his fingers and sank down to her lips, taking the woman he cared for deeply.

-)O(-

Cullen's fingers lazily caressed Sorcha's hip, the covers of the bed all crumpled and tangled between their legs. A smiled curved on her face, enjoying the gentle touch from the templar captain. She turned onto her back and smiled up at his content face. His head was propped up on his hand, his caressing finger now grazing the skin of her mid section.

"You will be leaving for the Deep Roads soon?" he asked.

"Bartrand has his money and the expedition will be heading out day after tomorrow."

"I can't say I'm thrilled about this adventure. The Deep Roads are dangerous and few have made it back."

"Are you going to miss me?" Sorcha searched his eyes.

"Of course I am." Cullen replied seriously. "I don't want to see anything happen to you, Sorcha."

"I've fought darkspawn before, Cullen. I can take care of myself. I'm probably Bartrand's saving grace down there because his hirelings don't have the experience."

"Still," he tried to protest more before Sorcha placed her fingers on his lips to stop them.

"Have some faith, Cullen." She said softly.

He kissed her fingertips, taking her hand, kissed the palm, the wrist, down the inside of her arm where the skin was the most sensitive, before he captured her mouth with his. Stopping to catch his breath, he looked at her, and gave a small smile. "I can have faith in you, Hawke. Please, make it back." His voice caught and he swallowed a lump.

Sorcha rolled Cullen over to his back and straddled him, loving the man one last time before their lives diverged.