A/N : Kink meme de-anon. Rather light on the kink. lol
Prompt was F!Hawke overhearing Fenris singing in the tub.
"Your vegetables look amazing, as always, Amelia!"
"Serah Hawke! Welcome!" the red-headed vendor smiled widely as the Champion of Kirkwall approached. Setting down a heavy looking crate of apples, she wiped her hands on her apron. "You are looking very well this evening."
"I'm sorry for showing up so late..." Igraine Hawke said sheepishly holding up her wicker basket. "I see you're already packing up."
The woman waved her hand good-naturedly. "Oh, no apologies necessary, Serah. I am glad to see you at all! What can I get for you?"
She left more coin than was necessary for the produce to try and make up for keeping the good lady late, and a few minutes later the Champion was walking away, a colourful basket in her arms.
With a little sigh, she realized she still felt tense from the day's... challenges.
Today had started like any other until she reached the breakfast table. Igraine could practically smell the tension in the air when she walked into the dining room. Her mother and Bethany sat at opposite ends of the table, not looking at eachother; eating in complete silence. In fact, neither one of them even acknowledged her presence as she came into the room, swooping upon the communal plates of finger friendly breakfast foods. Grabbing a random handful of anything clean enough to carry with her as she pretended to be running behind schedule, she departed the soon to be battleground as quickly as she arrived. One of them would give her a talking to later and the other would demand Igraine choose sides. Wisely she decided it was too early to deal with that drama and fled.
The rest of the morning kept her busy. A meeting with the seamstress' apprentice who stuck her painfully – and more than once – while making preparations for some alterations; stopping by Gamlen's shack in Lowtown to 'discuss' the latest financial threat to his life, also dispersing related, or unrelated funds for a 'loan'; following a bored and babbling Merrill at her behest around both Hightown and Lowtown's markets... and finally, running a supply errand for Anders because he was too damn paranoid to go and do it himself.
Yes, the day had been irritatingly unremarkable.
Adventuring was nothing like daily life in Kirkwall. Sure, perhaps it was safer than the Deep Roads or the Wounded Coast, but the city had its own perils. Actually, when it came right down to it, her own home was sometimes a dangerous place to be. Though, unlike the open road where one was concerned about bodily safety, the threats during peaceful times in Kirkwall were mostly to her sanity amidst the inane day to day happenings.
Often she found herself pacing like a caged tiger without something risky and physical and exciting to keep her interest.
Sometimes she longed for the thrill of the unknown; the chase, the hunt, the kill.
After all of that, and with the day drawing to a close, she decided to head for home. Unfortunately, taking one step into the estate to hear her mother and Bethany shouting at each other had been enough to make her regret it.
"Bethany! Don't be ridiculous! He's a Templar, for Andraste's sake!" Leandra's tone indicated the conversation was moving in an undesirable direction.
Oh, Maker. A Templar? Igraine sighed. All she really wanted to do was have a nice bath and go to bed early, but now that would be impossible. A side in this argument would have to be chosen if she revealed that she was home; peace and a good night's sleep many mediatorial hours off.
Her mother continued her point, as was customary, which always pissed Bethany off more. "Besides, it would never work between you two and it would put the rest of this household at risk!"
"That's rich coming from you, Mother!" She heard the mage spit back.
Maybe it was better if she came home later.
Like when the two of them were asleep, later.
Turning to retrace her steps, she eyed Orana's abandoned wicker basket sitting by the door. She grabbed it and beat a hasty – but quiet – retreat.
That's also when she decided to pay a visit to her favourite companion.
It was a short jaunt from the market to Fenris' home, and an excited spring made its way into her step. Dusk was pulling its dark cloak over the city, the shadows lengthening with every stride.
Igraine hoped he hadn't eaten yet.
Raising a hand to knock on the weighty wooden door, she reconsidered the action. He wouldn't have locked it anyway; he never did. It wasn't her habit to knock... but she didn't usually show up unannounced either.
Knock or don't knock, but just decide!
Butterflies began to form in her gut; pink bloomed on her cheeks. She was just coming for a visit; a nice, platonic visit. Making dinner didn't mean anything; they had broken bread together many times before.
So why was she standing outside of his mansion in the dim light of early evening feeling like a twitterpated teenager with a crush? Admittedly, she did have a little thing for the former slave, but that was as far as it ever went.
That's as far as it will ever go. She reminded herself. He won't ever look at you that way.
With a cleansing breath, she put her hands on the door handle and let herself inside.
Closing the door behind her, coolness swirled in the air. It was always dark and dank in Fenris' mansion. She wasn't quite sure how he managed it, but she and the others often came to take advantage of the blissful temperatures away from their own stuffy dwellings.
Perhaps someone was here now.
She almost hoped someone would be, then all the attention wouldn't be on her alone. Since the heat broke on her face, she was having trouble keeping her mind where it belonged.
Straining against the heavy silence, she closed her eyes. It didn't sound like he had any company...
Even after years of living in the decrepit manor, he still only utilized two rooms. The main room that was formerly that of his master held his meager belongings; a bed, table, some books – ambitious volumes he used for 'practice' – and a constant roaring fire over which meals were prepared.
The other room that he, most thankfully, used on a regular basis was the bathing room. In fact, he was the one person who had not taken advantage of her hospitality; not once had he bathed in her home.
It's a pity, really.
Shaking her head much more vigorously than required, she attempted to banish the thought of him laid out in her tub only wearing a smile... and maybe some bubbles...
She cleared her throat awkwardly.
As for his own facilities, she'd actually not seen them all the time he lived there, but she knew he made use of them; for he was the cleanest of all her companions. Actually, it was more than just his looking clean that tipped her off; he smelled clean.
And not just clean, but rather pleasant; sort of delicious.
Igraine felt the flush return to her cheeks at the thought.
She wasn't sure if it was his natural odour that was so enticing or if he bought some special soap – not that he seemed the type – but whatever the case, it appealed heavily to her femininity.
With another shake of her head, she swallowed the thought down.
Opening her mouth to signal her arrival with some jovial comment, she started for the main staircase.
But before the first words escaped her lips, her sensitive rogue ears twitched causing her to halt completely.
There was a hum; a low bass tone that seemed to creep along the floor, seeping into her soft soled feet.
Setting down the basket looped around her forearm, intended destination abandoned, she turned her face toward the sound, body following willingly, silent footfalls edging towards the door to the east wing. Pressing her palm against it, she noticed the door was ajar, the deep, warm bass flowing past her as a steady current.
Someone was... singing?
Though she was unable to make out any words, the voice itself became clearer as she neared its source. The tone was clean and unfettered; strong but soft; a quiet power beneath the surface. The melody was beautiful in its simplicity. No decorative runs, no trills or strong vibrato; only a confident and natural wave of rise and fall.
It sounded more like a lament; a requiem, dark and rich, that left her skin prickling.
It was also perfection; a voice that belonged to a practiced individual; a voice she could get lost in.
At a loss to recognize even a single word of the verse, she found herself slipping back into the hypnotic spell that had encouraged her feet to bring here here; delivering her as far as they could. Only for a second did she come back to herself and realize where she was and what was separating her from the music.
A closed door.
Not just any closed door, but if she remembered correctly, this was the door to the other room Fenris used in the mansion; the room she had yet to see.
Eyebrows knit together as she took a moment to realize what that might have meant.
Igraine had heard rumours of a device with the ability to record and playback music being developed in Orlais, but she'd never thought Fenris would have been interested in something like that. He had never mentioned music before; whether or not he liked it or even knew anything about it. After all, he had never even learned to read words as a slave let alone read music.
Her mother, a child of the noble Amells, had been immersed by privilege in all things feminine; art, music, theatre. Passing on what she could to her children once leaving all that behind, Igraine was the only child who adopted her love of artistry.
Perhaps this was a good stepping stone to something concrete between them; a common interest that she could cling to when he seemed to fight so hard to push her away.
A hopeful little smile passed over her lips.
But for now...
Daring to place a palm against the cool barrier, she not only heard but felt.
The masculine timbre of the voice, delicately accented, achingly familiar, flowing through her limbs tingling and alive, compelled her heart to tighten. Convinced that the reverberations from such earnest emotions could exist as no such recording or reproduction, she was rendered breathless beneath it.
Forcing herself to again listen to the words that were presented, she realized the song was being sung in the tongue of the Tevinter Imperium. Arcanum was what Fenris called it. She wouldn't have recognized it at all except for a few choice words she'd heard the elf use when he'd involuntarily slip back into his old tongue.
With one palm still awkwardly pressed against the wood, addicted to the swell of his powerful resonance, she slid down the door frame noiselessly.
The floor on her backside was a cool contrast to the heat building inside her chest. Feeling slightly dizzy, she tipped her head back, allowing herself to let go... allowing his voice to caress her, generating another appreciative smile.
This made getting up and enduring the day worth it.
Who knew that Fenris, of all the Maker's children, was an outstanding singer?
What she did know of Fenris was that he was ...complicated... to say the least, but hearing him like this loaned him an air of vulnerability; fragility. He rarely let his guard down, but sometimes when the wine was flowing, he would open up. The pain in his voice when they spoke of things long ago would take hold of her heart much like the sound of his voice in her ear and the tremble against her palm did now.
She mused that he would be quite upset with her if he knew she was eavesdropping on his impromptu musical performance, but she decided that hearing him like this was worth his wrath.
His voice both calmed and inflamed her; tension flowing out of her as easily as the sound from his lips.
And then it stopped.
Mouth automatically forming a pout, her eyes darted to the doorknob. In the dimness, she thought she saw a pinpoint of light winking at her. A closer look revealed a keyhole cut through the brass plating.
Why hadn't she noticed that before? Some cunning rogue she was.
Shutting one eyelid, she angled her head to peer through the tiny hole.
Toned, lithe legs jutted out from the tub. Knees pressed against the side, thighs disappearing beneath the edge and into water she couldn't see. Matching silver lyrium brands snaked around his feet, curling around the strong line of his calves and down... until she could no longer see them.
Eyes drinking in the scant view of his flesh, her mind worked overtime to catalogue and remember every angle and visual texture of the parts of him she could see.
Attempting to control her breathing, her racing heart pitter-pattered relentlessly... and then he stood.
Slowly, oh so painfully slowly, lapping, splashing water filled the silence. Instinctively, she turned her head a little to the side, trying to see what she couldn't see; what she shouldn't see.
Igraine swallowed tightly. From her voyeur's seat, it looked like he was going to begin towelling off.
His hand passed over a masculine hip line; straight and pronounced but unnaturally slight, reaching for something.
Her jaw dropped open as her peeking eye narrowed.
The definition of the side of his toned belly was of the quality of fine chiseled marble as it ran south and out of her line of sight.
Elves were highly sought for their beauty, but now that she'd seen one relatively close up, Fenris, the former slave, was certainly no exception.
A long, fat, curvy line of lyrium with offshoots similar to those on his arms and legs, blemished his pale, delicate skin, wrapping around his side and back over a trim, muscled thigh.
At the same time, she couldn't help but hope that she was witnessing a sight few others had before.
If only she could just see a little more...
Shifting, her forehead knocked rather inelegantly against the dull brass knob.
A pregnant pause came from both sides of the door; all movement frozen.
Oh, Andraste's ass...
Then his figure, absent through the peephole amidst hasty splashing, flung the door wide open, but she was too fast. Melting into the shadows of the hall, she was already sprinting with a haste typically reserved for use on the battlefield. Snatching up the basket, she dashed into the main room to make herself look innocently busy.
Dinner seemed rather awkward between them that evening, but it always was to an extent. And if he suspected anything – the strange metallic sound at the end of his otherwise private bath for example – he didn't show it. Watching him, the firelight illuminating his pale skin, his tourmaline green eyes flecked with experience and exquisite pain... oh, Maker's breath... She was doing it again.
Sometimes he could be so cold and hard – not without just cause – but now when he had that wall of his up, she would always remember what she saw; what she felt, and what she heard come from the ruined man who was more complex than he probably ever wanted to be.
Thoughts such as those left her in awe, and she caught herself staring at him more than once – but from the confused look on his face – he caught her too. 'Accidentally' dropping a piece of food in her lap or spilling some wine on her tunic dispersed the uncomfortable air, and she'd laugh, maybe snort for good measure and she'd see him shake his head and sigh.
Playing dumb was second nature to her; and she learned early on that due to her natural charm and practiced denseness she could be dangerously disarming, and she used that to her full advantage... Not only in times of conflict, but also times when one needed to tread lightly in relations of a more personal nature.
Thanks to that, further awkward moments passed without scrutiny.
Later on, however, in the quiet darkness of her bedroom, she felt a strange peace when she thought of seeing him so bare; so emotional. A tantalizing peep of his flesh was nothing compared to the depth of the soul she was sure she saw within him.
...And somewhere in that soul perhaps there was hope for him as well.
Until the day she was caught in the act, she could be an admirer, simply witnessing his song, concealed in shadow, awaiting the day when he might sing his song to her.