I promise, I'm working on C&A too, but I've been playing Dragon Age 2, and this plot bunny just wouldn't let go. It's not much, just a sappy little oneshot featuring Anders and a Mage FemHawke. It does contain spoilers for Act 2, so be warned. First time writing from another point of view than that of my character, so hope it turns out okay and that I'm not too out of character. Enjoy, and please R&R! =)

Anders stood before the door to Hawke's bedchamber, hesitating. She had sought refuge there upon their return from that cave below Lowtown, hurriedly discarding pack and staff in the main hall before clambering up the stairs and slamming the door shut behind her. He still wasn't sure if the gesture meant she didn't want to be disturbed or if it had only been a product of the unbearable grief she must be experiencing.

Well, worst case is she'll just kick me out. The thought wasn't appealing. Still, he turned the knob and entered.

Hawke had hastily discarded her robes which lay before the great bed, a sight which normally would have set him aflame. Focus, Anders. He was, after all, just a man.

At first, she was nowhere to be found, but then he spotted a head of jet black hair. She was sitting on the floor, propped up against the bed and staring into the fireplace. Without a word, he rounded the bed's corner and sat gingerly beside her. When she still didn't speak, motionless and gaze lost in the flames, he did.


The lower half of her face was buried in the arms she had crossed to hug her knees against her chest and her voice came out slightly muffled. "Hey."

"Are you..." He had been going to ask if she was alright until he realized how incredibly stupid that was. Of course she wasn't, she'd just lost her *mother*. Change of tactics.

"Do you want me to leave?"

Finally, she turned and looked up at him, her big blue eyes brimming with unshed tears. "No," she said, almost pleading.

Now that he was certain that he wasn't going to be stonefisted out of the room, Anders gathered Hawke up in his arms and she buried her face against his chest, finally allowing the tears to flow freely. As the sobs wracked her body, she clung to him and him to her. Anders smoothed her hair back and rested his cheek on the top of her head, breathing in the smell of her and trying to think of anything else but the fact that there was only her shift between his hands and her skin.

This was all pretty new to him. Not the feel of a woman beside him, of course, but just *being there* for her. He had always looked out for himself, first at the Circle and during each and every escape attempt, and then with the Wardens in Amaranthine. There had been Ser Pounce-A-Lot, of course, but that was different.

Being there for someone, however, was completely foreign to him.

Maker, please don't let me mess this up.

For lack of a better plan, he simply held her close in silence. Anders didn't mind it so much, he just hoped he'd bring her some small measure of comfort.

At long last, the sobs and small hiccups subsided and Hawke pulled back, retrieving a handkerchief from the nearby nightstand. Anders watched her blow her nose and dry the tears that still clung to her impossibly long eyelashes. Maker she was beautiful, even with swollen, red-rimmed eyes. Even at a time like this, he couldn't help but drink in her soft round face, pouty lips and creamy skin. If she knew, she'd think me some sort of horrible lecher.

She was staring at the damp handkerchief, folding it over and over. "I failed her. It's my fault she's dead."

Well. He certainly hadn't expected *that*. Tenderly, Anders cupped a hand underneath her chin, tilting her face, swollen eyes, rosy cheeks and all, upwards. He looked directly into those watery blue eyes.

"It was *not* your fault," he said firmly. "You did *not* fail her." Hawke was a smart, strong, good-hearted woman, but she sometimes had the worst ideas. He pressed on. "There was nothing you could've done."

She dropped her gaze. "What if I'd gotten there earlier? What if she hadn't gone out today? What if Seneschal Bran hadn't kept us waiting an hour for the Viscount? What if..."

"You can't think like that, you'll drive yourself insane," he interrupted as he tilted her chip upwards, forcing her to look at him and not his robes. "She wouldn't want this for you. I didn't know her well, but she loved you, and she wouldn't want you to blame yourself like this."

"I know," she answered. "It's just that... with Carver off with the Grey Wardens Maker knows where and Mother gone... and Bethany, poor Bethany..." She drew a shuddering sigh. "I'm all that remains of the Hawke family."

Once again, she let her head droop, and it seemed as if a dark pit of despair was swallowing her whole. "I just feel so alone."

This time, Anders cradled her head with both hands. "You're not alone." He then deposited a light kiss on her forehead. "I'm here for you. Whatever you need."

Once more, she buried her face against his chest. "Hold me."

And so he did. He held her in his arms until the tears ran their course once again and until she fell asleep, exhausted and utterly spent.