Title: Strawberries

Rating: M

Summary: Some things must be broken completely before they can be fixed. Male Hawke/Fenris

A/N: Thanks for reading. Review please.

"And in apology, he sent me not roses, not chocolates, but strawberries. I did not understand at first, but eventually I figured out why. We were eating strawberries before our first kiss. Tell me, how often do you find a man who is good, pure in his intentions, and can remember a romantic detail such as that?"


It was raining, but Fenris went anyway. For an hour, he had paced in his home, debating whether or not to go. Surely Hawke would understand if he didn't turn up for his lesson. The rain was thick, heavy, and felt like pinpricks. There was no one out in the street. The sun was beginning to set, and he did not relish the idea of being soaked. Yet he looked forward to his weekly lessons, and he did not want to miss it or disappoint Hawke. So he decided that a little water could not frighten him.

After donning a cloak that was drenched in minutes, he walked from his mansion in Hightown to Hawke's little estate. Pausing outside the door with his hand raised, he was uncertain again. He did not want to get water all over his friend's nice carpet. He would make a mess the second he entered, and he wondered if it would be best if he stood under the roof for a few more minutes to dry off. A chill shook him, and he reprimanded himself. He was being foolish. Again.

That was how things were with Hawke. With anyone else, he was always himself without worry or fear. He never held back. Hawke was different. He was always pausing, uncertain, always thinking through every action he took around him. Something about the Champion made him self-conscious even after all the years he had known him, after their tumble three years ago, and their renewed relationship.

Knocking before he could have further thoughts, he was surprised when Hawke answered instead of Bodahn. He was dressed finely in his dark red, cotton clothing with silver cuffs. Shocking blue eyes regarded him with warmth, a knowing smile on his lips. In the rogue's hand was a towel. Fenris realized with chagrin that Hawke had been waiting on him. He couldn't help the small frown that came to his lips as Hawke stepped aside to let him in. There were towels on the floor as well so that he wouldn't drip on the carpet.

"You were prepared," he accused as he stepped inside. Hawke shut the door and chuckled.

"Let's just say that I was hopeful," Hawke told him, tossing the towel over his head and helping to dry his hair gently. Fenris's armored hands came up, covering the human's fingers with his own as they worked. The sharp tips of his gloves dug into Hawke's skin, but the man didn't complain. "It sounds better," he said, taking the towel away. "Besides, I was under the impression that you quite enjoyed the book I picked out last time. You were hesitant to leave."

Fenris paused, running his hands through his hair to flatten it down. "It was…interesting," he admitted reluctantly, glancing up to see Hawke's reaction. As always, there was no taunting in his expression. Once again Fenris scolded himself for looking at Hawke and expecting to see Danarius.

"That's why I chose it," Hawke told him, fingers gently unbuttoning the cloak at his throat and folding it over his arm. Fenris remembered a time that he would not have let anyone so close to him. Now he didn't give it another thought.

Water had soaked through the heavy cloak and onto his armor. As they moved into the foyer near the staircase, firelight reflected in the tiny beads of rain. Hawke handed his garment and the soaked towel to Orana, kindly asking her if she would take care of them. She hurried off in the direction of the washroom. Fenris's eyes roved over the large painting of Hawke's mother, commissioned just before her death. An urn containing her ashes sat just to the left of it, fresh flowers to the right on the fireplace. It was a suitable shrine for such a lovely, sweet woman. Her loss had left the world just a little bit darker, especially so for Hawke and young Bethany. The fire and rage in Hawke's eyes when he had found the mage responsible still brought a shock to Fenris when he thought about it. He had never seen such an expression on Hawke before.

Unopened envelopes lay spread across Hawke's desk, inscribed with various crests and seals with different degrees of importance. The letter opener was sitting halfway out of an opened letter. It appeared as though Hawke had cut it open but never read it. He was bad at answering mail quickly, spending too much time thinking over his response. Fenris had watched for many hours while he composed a letter to his sister, careful to sound happy for her and not guilty at his lack of ability to protect her from the Circle. It had been a hard feat with Bethany's intuition.

Bodahn was nowhere to be seen and neither was Sandal. The enchanter's glittering tools were spread out on a table, untapped runes sitting in tiny bags and spilling out. Hawke had never used runes much, relying mostly on his strength rather than magic. While he supported the mages—much to Fenris's disapproval—he had a natural wariness around magic that made Fenris think he understood the dangers. He was comfortable to have Anders light the fire or tend his wounds, but he was not comfortable with blood magic or the Fade. It was that simple guard that had made Fenris turn from potential rival to friend.

Suddenly Hawke was by his side, deft hands unbuckling his armor from behind. Fenris made a sharp noise in his throat and turned around to catch the human's hands, always wary. Hawke met his challenge with a soft smile. "You can't very well stay in these wet clothes, Fenris. You'll catch cold."

It had been weeks since they'd made up and become lovers once more, but Hawke had not touched him intimately since that kiss by his fireplace and the events after. Knowing more than he probably should about the abuses of Fenris's master, Hawke always let those types of encounters be his choice. If Fenris wanted him, he had to initiate it so that a question of whether or not he was bullied into the situation or instinctively following 'orders' would not arise. At least, that was how Fenris saw it.

Nodding his assent, he allowed Hawke's hands to ghost over his skin and unbuckle the spiky armor he wore nearly all the time. He removed his own gauntlets and sword as Hawke set his carapace by the fire to dry. Once he was standing in just his slim pants, the ribbon around his wrist, and a dark tunic, he expected Hawke to look, at least for a moment. Instead, the human turned away and called for Orana. The elf appeared moments later with a fresh change of clothes. Hawke handed them to Fenris.

"I bought these for you a few days ago," he explained at Fenris's puzzled expression. "If you would like to change, feel free to go to my room. I will be there in a moment. I need to get your book." With a pat on Fenris's arm, he went into the study.

When Fenris just stood there, Orana approached him cautiously. "Would you like help?" she asked.

"No," he said to her, brushing past and going to Hawke's room. Up the stairs, he ducked into Hawke's room and shut the door. Setting the clothing on the bed, he began to strip. There was always a sense of surreal tension when he was in Hawke's house. He knew he was just clinging to his last life, finding a new master to serve almost instinctively. Hawke did not want that, and there was always a bit of shock when Fenris was treated with kindness. He had become cynical and hard in his time away from Danarius. It was difficult to push that aside.

Hawke knocked before entering, and Fenris found that slightly endearing. They had both seen each other completely nude before, so there was no reason other than polite respect for him to do such a thing. It made Fenris smile as he opened the door. Hawke entered with the leather bound book they had been reading last week, a feather marking the page they had left off on.

"I was thinking that I should maybe let you borrow a few books," he said as he entered. "You can practice even when I'm not there. You're a very quick study, Fenris, and you like to read."

Fenris didn't answer as Hawke handed him the book. The cool leather felt strange on his fingers. He was not allowed to even touch the books in Danarius's mansion. The servants were the ones who cleaned and dusted them. He was always surprised by the texture of the pages and the beautiful print.

"Would you mind? You can even pick out the books, if you want," Hawke continued, walking past him and sorting a few things on his desk.

"I wouldn't mind," Fenris replied, sliding his fingers over the pages. Books had turned out to be a whole new world for him, telling him things that he would never have learned any other way. They held secrets of medicine and romance and monsters he had never heard of.

Hawke settled down in his chair and picked up his quill, dipping it into the well of ink. "All right, read the first page for me," he said, gesturing to the opposite chair. Fenris sat down and opened the book, running his fingers along the dark letters. He began reading as Hawke filled out his mail, switching eventually to writing in his journal. Fenris didn't mind the split attention. Whenever he stuttered over a word or needed help, Hawke understood and asked him to spell it. He would then ask him to sound it out and see if he could figure it out. If he could not, Hawke would supply the word for him.

These little moments were proof that Hawke was listening to him. It was all he needed to continue. They usually read for an hour or so, and Fenris was making considerable progress, finishing not three pages but five pages by the end of their lessons. He barely stumbled and didn't have to ask Hawke to explain the story so much. Instead, he explained it when Hawke inquired as to whether or not he understood. He had. Hawke was not the most brilliant teacher in the world, but there was no one else Fenris would rather have teach him.

Hawke never coddled him, never pitied him for not understanding. He was to the point, understanding, and ready to respond to questions. If Fenris needed help, he helped. Hawke did not mock him for his ignorance but sought to correct it.

Eventually the candle burned out, and Hawke glanced up in alarm, his work finished. He had been staring intently at Fenris while he read, listening carefully. Fenris stopped as Hawke relit the candle and stifled a yawn. "Maybe that's enough for tonight," he said. "You should let your eyes rest."

"We went over, I think," Fenris replied, staring at the fire which had burned down into nothing but smoldering embers. He'd noticed the dimming light somewhere in his mind, but he had been so focused on reading that it hadn't really bothered him.

"I think so, too," Hawke frowned, "but no harm done, I guess."

Fenris put the feather in place and closed the book, sliding it toward Hawke. Hawke took it and stood up, pushing in his chair. "Do you want to borrow a few books, Fenris, before you leave? I don't see us doing much this week besides running a few errands for the Viscount. It'll give you time to practice."

Staring up at him, Fenris suddenly didn't feel very much like leaving. A warmth had spread across his whole body, and he was feeling rather relaxed. He knew that if he left, he would have to go back out into the rain and probably wear that wet cloak all the way back to his house. Standing up, he pushed his own chair in. "I would like that." He walked closer to Hawke and put a hand on his chest, marveling at how small the human made him feel. Hawke raised an eyebrow at him.

Moving very deliberately and keeping his eyes locked with the human's, Fenris took the book from his hand and placed it on the desk. He swallowed, his mouth going dry. He didn't think he'd ever get used to initiating such things. Catching on, Hawke put a hand on his upper arm and pulled him closer, hot breath ghosting over his lips. "You sure?" he asked, and Fenris had to smile. Always his choice.

In answer, the elf kissed him and locked his arms around his neck, clicking their teeth together. Hawke tasted of sweet wine and smelled of ink and parchment. It didn't hurt like it used to when Hawke's hands slid up his shirt and held onto his waist with soft fingers instead of bruising force. It didn't feel quite as strange when Hawke kissed down his neck and over his marks, following the glittering patterns with his tongue. It didn't bother him as much when Hawke's calloused hand dipped into his trousers and turned him into a liquid mess of sensation and ecstasy. He wasn't as self-conscious as he cried out Hawke's name, and later, when they were both spent, he was happy to be tucked into the human's side with the blankets over them. It almost felt like he belonged there.

When Hawke woke up, he was not expecting to see Fenris still there, curled softly against his side as he slept peacefully for once. In fact, he could not remember Fenris ever having stayed the night at his mansion. It was not an unpleasant discovery, and he actually smiled as he gently extracted himself from the lanky elf's arms and pulled on his cotton pants. Running a hand through his mess of dark hair, he used the wash basin to rinse his face and then went downstairs. Orana blushed a delightful pink at seeing him without a shirt, politely turning around as she dusted his mother's picture. Bodahn scolded him for making her so uncomfortable.

"Sorry, Bodahn," he said quickly, "I just came down to check my mail. Did anything arrive last night or this morning?"

"You've been checking often, Messere," Bodahn chuckled. "Is there something you're waiting for?" The dwarf produced a packet of mail, mostly junk.

"Just news from the Viscount," Hawke replied, sorting through it. "I'm worried about this mess with the Templars and the mages. There's only so much the Grand Cleric can do." He frowned as he realized that there was nothing with the Viscount's seal on it. There was, however, a red envelope with a most curious crest that Hawke could only vaguely recognize. Orana came over with her head down and her fingers clasped.

"Master, would you like breakfast now or later?" she squeaked.

Feeling badly for putting her on the spot and withering under Bodahn's glare, he chuckled softly. "Whenever you feel like it, Orana. I may be leaving early today. I wondered if you might run me a bath?" She nodded and rushed out of the room. Hawke held up his hands at the dwarf and smiled. "Okay, I'm sorry."

"You really shouldn't do such a thing, Messere! She is the only lady in the household, and I'm sure that makes her nervous considering her past," Bodahn scolded.

"Enchantment!" Sandal added viciously.

"I'll get dressed after I take a bath," Hawke said to placate the both of them, heading upstairs. He shut the door behind him quietly and hunted for a pressed shirt in his dresser drawers. After finding a pair of pants and shirt to wear under his armor, he glanced back to see glittering eyes staring at him from his pillow. He smiled and leaned over the bed to give Fenris a brief kiss.

"Good morning," he greeted. It was strange to think of Fenris as his lover after such a long time. Three years ago, he had given up all hope of any sort of romantic relationship with the elf. But they had managed to work through it somehow, though it had certainly taken a long time. To see Fenris in his bed, where he could kiss him as he pleased, felt like a dream.

"Uh, did I sleep late?" Fenris asked, taking in Hawke's appearance. With no windows in the room, it was difficult to judge the time.

"I don't think so," Hawke shrugged. "Aveline would be here to wake me up if we had." The guard had a knack for sending him wakeup calls on the days he was lazy in the form of Officer Branon beating down his door.

Fenris glanced down, almost looking awkward. He had a light blush on his cheeks and slowly crawled out of the bed. He headed toward the fireplace where his armor had been brought up sometime that morning or the previous night. Hawke caught him around the waist and spun him around, planting another kiss on his lips. It was out of character for him. He knew Fenris was finicky about physical contact, but it felt like the morning after they should have had three years ago. He wasn't going to let it go so easily.

To his surprise, Fenris didn't fight him on it. He even kissed back. Pulling away, Hawke rested his forehead against Fenris's. "Before you run away and I don't get to see you again for another week, would you mind taking a bath with me?"

Eyes softening, Fenris actually smiled. Things had certainly changed. "If you like."

"You have no idea," he whispered, kissing him again before tossing his mail onto the desk and taking his hand. He led him down the stairs and into the washroom where Orana finished filling up the bathtub with hot water. The room was full of thick steam, baking their skin pink. The servant excused herself as quickly as possible with much stuttering and blushing, and Hawke helped Fenris undress. He took his time, turning an everyday task into a slow, sensuous process that ended with more kisses than they had ever shared before.

Back in Lothering, he'd had quite a few lovers with all the visitors and soldiers pouring in all the time. With his sister and his father both being apostates, they had to keep a low profile. Sneaking into voluptuous women's rooms at night was not the best way to do that. That hadn't stopped him, though. He had often ended up in drunken trysts with female soldiers at the tavern or even male soldiers. Never had he taken the time to actually form an emotional bond with them before having sex.

To say one thing, it felt different with someone he actually cared about. The motions were slow, achingly so, and sweet. Every kiss meant more, every touch or gasp his partner gave brought him pleasure as well. He liked seeing a smile on Fenris's face, and he liked hearing a low groan in response to his ministrations. It was nothing like having sex with a stranger. Hawke was glad for that.

After pulling the last bit of cloth from his body, Hawke took the time to appreciate his sculpted form with an unflinching gaze that made the elf squirm. It might have been comical had Hawke not been so serious about it. Fenris was all sinewy and wiry muscle. He was slim and lithe, almost feminine in the soft bones of his face and tiny waist, but there was no mistaking he was male.

Finally Hawke took pity on the poor soul and kissed him, pulling him into the warm, swirling water. The elf settled between his legs, and Hawke began running a sponge over his clawed back. There were many love bites on his neck and scratches down his back. Hawke was sure to kiss each one as he rinsed it. Both of them fell into a lazy sort of reverie. Fenris leaned against his chest, pressing their wet skin together as Hawke ran the sponge over his pectorals and neck. Their hearts beat in sync, the dull thrumming putting Hawke at ease as the water cooled.

"I thought we'd go to see your sister today, if that's all right with you?" Hawke whispered in his ear, nibbling on the tip. The scent of Orlesian oil permeated the air, swirling around the room with the steam.

"The sooner the better," came Fenris's strained reply as the sponge slid over his thigh underwater.

"Who do you want to bring? Aveline and Varric are good against magic-based attacks," he said, one hand creeping around the elf's waist to rest just at his belly, lighting running his nails over the flesh there. "Hmm, we shouldn't bring Anders or Merrill. Mage against mage tends to get a little…messy." Fenris groaned as Hawke chose then to slide his fingers around the elf's organ, giving it one slow pump. Hawke set his chin on Fenris's shoulder, kissing his neck as the other hand ran along his side.

Fenris leaned his head back, panting as the hand worked him slowly and professionally. Hawke peppered kisses behind his ear, other hand coming up to thread his fingers through the snowy hair. "Sebastian will probably like to go," Hawke remarked idly, "but his bow is no match for the speed of Varric's crossbow. It won't be as effective." He smiled into the elf's shoulder as all he could manage was a moan. "Isabela is fast. Maybe we could use her? That is, if it's a trap."

The water was beginning to feel colder as his skin heated up. Hawke could feel himself growing aroused as the elf squirmed in front of him, digging his nails into Hawke's thigh. Fenris's heart beat faster against his chest, and his breath came out in little pants. His glittering eyes were closed. "What do you think, Fenris?"

Fenris growled. "I think you're a tease, Hawke," he accused, thrusting up into the hand.

"I think you're right," Hawke chuckled in his ear. The noise was cut short, however, when Fenris reached back and gripped his own erection. It turned into a strangled moan that he muffled against the other's neck as pleasure shot through him. "Dirty trick," he said breathlessly as the fingers moved. "Here, turn around."

The hand let go of him, and Fenris turned to sit on Hawke's lap, straddling his waist. The tub was just wide enough for Fenris's knees to rest on either side of him, thankfully so. Hawke cupped his face and brought their lips together, panting into the kiss as Fenris's hands wrapped around him again. Hawke shamelessly explored the defined muscles, rippling beneath the pads of his fingers. The skin was like silk against him, shining with a sheen of sweat and water, and he ran his nails over it to mar it, earning a growl that vibrated in his mouth. Fenris twitched against his thigh, and he bucked up. The elf broke the kiss to moan even as Hawke gripped the back of his neck and pulled him back down to muffle it.

He pulled on snowy hair and turned the elf's head to lap casually at the marks on his neck, sinking his teeth in hard enough to leave a mark but not hard enough to draw blood. Fenris let go of him and ran his nails along Hawke's thighs, not holding back. He felt the skin tear and winced. There were already several bruises on his back. Fenris was anything but a gentle lover. Hawke let go of his hair and let his hands drift down to probe at his entrance, slipping a finger inside of him.

Fenris gasped before squirming as he hadn't expected it. Hawke smiled against his lips, trying to catch his eye as hot breath brushed against his cheek. His heart kicked up a notch, making him swallow dryly. Fingers were running over his face, over the outlines of his faded tattoos all done in deep blue ink. Sweet kisses, light as a feather adorned his jaw, accompanied by small nips every once in a while. Hawke slipped another finger in all the way to the knuckle, his other hand coming to curl around the elf's erection.

"Hawke," Fenris said in his ear, deep voice rumbling against his chest. The human took mercy on him then, angling just right to hit the spot that would make him see stars. Fenris reacted just how he expected, and he was prepared. The bite in his shoulder stung just a little less for that, but still bled. Crimson mingled down from the elf's pointed teeth even as they kissed, dribbling over Hawke's lips and into the water. He would be sore from that. The fingers were extracted, and Hawke guided the elf to where he needed to be.

Fenris sank down without hesitation, making them both writhe with pleasure at the sensation. It buzzed along Hawke's veins like magic, stronger and more potent than any type of alcohol he'd ever drank. He clicked their teeth together as he began to thrust, moving inside his lover with startling alacrity. The water provided enough lubrication to make movement easier, though slower. Fenris's hands settled on his shoulders as Hawke dipped his head down to lavish a nipple and tease with his teeth.

The pleasure was enough to make him want to curl his toes, each groan or breathless gasp muffled so as not to scar the household. Eventually the coil curled tightly in his belly, and he sensed his release was near. Gripping Fenris in his hand, he stroked the elf's arousal in time with his thrusts before spilling over. Fenris's groan followed shortly after, and Hawke wrapped his arms around the elf's neck to pull him down into a kiss.

A tongue invaded his mouth, taking his breath away as he moved a few more times. When the both of them stilled, Fenris buried his head into Hawke's collarbone, drawing in heated breaths. A languid haze of spongy bones and liquid limbs settled over the both of them, Hawke's fingers coming up to knead Fenris's lower back as the elf slipped off him. Twice in one night would no doubt make him sore. He almost felt bad, giving the bite mark on his neck a lazy lick of apology.

"We should get dressed," Hawke whispered in his ear, "if we want to go see your sister." He said it reluctantly, but the day was probably already halfway over, and he did not want to wait much longer. Whether it was a trap or not, he was still unsure. Regardless, he meant to see it through. Fenris wanted to try. If they met his master there instead, Hawke was fairly certain it would be worth it to take the mage down at last.

They clambered out of the bath with weak limbs and dripping skin. Another distraction caught them on the way out while Hawke was drying the elf off, but it was just a few friendly kisses and shameless pawing. Hawke felt as though he were eighteen again, living on love. The buzz spread through his veins like a wildfire, and he was fairly sure there could be nothing that could ruin his good mood.

Escorting Fenris out of the door, he pulled him once last time into a breathtaking kiss before allowing him to duck out the door. No doubt the nobles would be talking about it for the next week, as they always did whenever one of his more exotic friends came to visit. They were especially fond of chatting about Fenris as he had been seen at least twice coming into Hawke's estate by night and leaving only in the morning. Hightown was full of gossip. The elf's strange tattoos didn't help either.

As he walked with wet hair toward his room, he stopped at the disapproving cluck from Bodahn. "Mistress Leandra would look down on such poor conduct, Messere," he said good-naturedly. He was smiling, only teasing. "The nobles will not let that kiss pass without judgment."

Hawke chuckled. "With the wild rumors going around and the tales Varric spreads, they have more important things to gossip about than my love life, I'm sure."

"Oh, I doubt it," Bodahn shook his head, eyes crinkling. "The eligible ladies in this town have nothing better to talk about." The dwarf turned around and produced three letters from his workstation, two white and the third a dark red. "These came while you were, uh, otherwise preoccupied."

"Strange," Hawke muttered, glancing at the red one. "That's two with the same crest. I've seen it somewhere before."

"Then perhaps you should read them, Messere," Bodahn suggested lightly.

Hawke shrugged. "That's probably a good idea. Will you ask Orana to send me up some breakfast? I'm famished."

"I'm sure, Ser," Bodahn laughed as Hawke began to ascend the stairs. He ran his fingers over the darker letter and then over the seal, trying to recall where he had seen it. The parchment was of fine make and slightly wet at the bottom. Curious, he rushed to his room and procured the letter opener. Setting the wet letter down, he opened the one that had arrived first and began to read.

There were three sheets of parchment inside, only one of which contained any writing. It read simply, in an elegant and educated scrawl:

We have something very important of yours.

Raising an eyebrow and feeling growing apprehension, he snatched the wet envelope and tore it open, not bothering with the tool. Tipping it over, he caught a bound lock of hair that tumbled out. Blood smeared in his palm, and he realized what had made the envelope damp. The hair was soft, pitch black, and bound in a tiny, red band that he would recognize anywhere.


5 chapters max. Short series. Review if you want me to continue. Thanks for reading. Review please.