'Hawke isn't dead, her heart still beats and her breath still clouds up a mirror. But to Isabela she might as well have been. Take a chance on love? Isabela wished she had never heard of the word.'
Isabela thought she knew when someone died.
Their heart stopped beating, the life faded out of their eyes, their skin turned cold and their smile vanished from existence - never to be swallowed up by the human eye ever again.
Hawke's heart still beats (a slow, but steady rhythm), her skin is still warm and soft even though it shouldn't be, her smile appears sometimes when the apostate is trying to be polite (not when she generally feels like smiling) and the only thing that signals to Isabela that Hawke is not like others is by how lifeless her icy blue eyes - how sullen they've become.
Hawke isn't dead but to Isabela she might as well have been, because why? Why did this have to happen? Hawke hadn't been kind to the templars situation -Isabela knew that much - but surely they could see that Hawke was not the enemy Meredith was so desperately trying to sniff out?
Isabela sniffed hard as unexpected tears started to well at the corners of her eyes, willing them away with a grumble as she stalked towards the Hanged Man with her fingers wrapped gently as possible around Hawke's wrist - unable to believe that she had managed to will herself into thinking that yes, yes being in love, being loved…It was possible.
"Screw it!" Isabela swore under her breath, willing herself to remain composed as she got closer and closer to the establishment - knowing very well that this wasn't her at all, knowing that before she'd…She'd of walked away.
Now? It was hard for her to decide to leave Hawke alone for one moment, even foolishly allowing herself to sleep at Hawke's estate and cradle the apostate in her arms; wishing and wondering if anything would change if she showed more affection than usual. Would it bring Hawke back?
"Where are we going?" Hawke's voice awoke the former captain from her thoughts, making her halt in her path to the tavern door and turn to face her companion with wide eyes.
She hated the sound of Hawke's voice in a monotone; void of any feeling or emotion - no happiness, no anger, no sincerity, no laughter, no desire, just a bit fat nothing that held no familiarity towards the Hawke everyone had grown to love over the past years of the refugee being nothing but a…
Broody, arrogant, yet loveable apostate who had stolen their hearts with her rare smiles and protective attitude for all of them; who had stolen Isabela's without her even realizing so.
Isabela glanced down at the wrist she was holding tightly in her hand, looking down at it both fondly and sadly - refusing to meet Hawke's eyes even when Hawke tried to grasp her face between her long fingers; slamming her eyes shut and swearing devotedly in her Rivaini tongue.
"I'm taking you to see your friends Hawke," Isabela managed to strain out of her lips, eyes still trapped shut by her own stubbornness. "They said they wanted to see you. Hey, maybe they're here to buy you a drink! I bet you haven't had one of them in ages, eh?"
Her own joke felt hollow and to Isabela's absolute horror, when she opened her eyes she was greeted with lifeless eyes and a forced smile that didn't make Isabela feel as good as it had felt when she first saw Hawke truly smile at her.
Love? Isabela wished she had never heard of the word. Wished Hawke had never murmured it into her ear since she had confessed her feelings. Wished that it never existed. Wished that she was the one without the emotions, wished, wished, wished and Isabela knew that despite how hard she wished - it would never come true.
"I'm not allowed to drink." Hawke stated bluntly with her forced smile leaving her face, cold blue eyes torturing Isabela's shut again. "Orana said it wasn't a good idea. Said that I'd die if I…"
Isabela yanked hard on Hawke's wrist, forcing herself to turn away from her companion and storm her way into the Hanged Man where it was unusually quiet compared to how it had been a few months ago.
When Hawke had been alive and broody. When Hawke had been alive and arrogant. When Hawke had been alive and they had both been in love. Isabela hated the word, but she didn't know how else to describe it. It was like poison on the tongue, but it was the only thing that was keeping Hawke alive.
They were all waiting for her when Isabela stumbled inside (her silent duty following in behind her) with unreadable expressions twisted on their features, looking as hollow as Isabela felt with their eyes that flickered past her shoulder and then to the floor, ashamed.
Aveline got up first, pulling Hawke into a hug that is so fierce that Isabela can't help but think she hears Hawke's bones creak at the muscle being pressed down onto them - that one thing being one of the little things that kept Isabela smiling when Merrill turned her eyes on her, looking for answers when Isabela had none.
Aveline's whisper was enough to make Isabela slump down into the seat the Guard Captain had left for her, eyelids sluggishly closing to avoid looking at anyone at the round table they sat at.
"Why are you hugging me?" Hawke's voice however was deafening and it took all of Isabela's will not to force her hands over her ears to block it out. "Have I done something wrong?"
"No Hawke you haven't done anything wrong…" Aveline's voice again, this time more soft and gentle - it sounded like Aveline was a lot closer to tears than Isabela had realized. "Why don't I take you to Isabela's room for a lie down? You look tired. Are you tired?"
Isabela forced her eyes open again to stare at the now empty table, not shocked to see that all of the group had left to take Hawke to lie down in her room, not shocked to discover that she was alone and hollow and wishing for release from it - wishing even though she knew it would never be granted.
It was obvious what they were doing. They weren't just making sure Hawke was safe, that hug from Aveline wasn't just a friendly greeting; it dawned on Isabela that they were all saying their last goodbye and that alone made her blood start to boil at the stupidity of it all.
Really they were doing Hawke a favour (Isabela told herself every night Hawke slept by her side that the reason Hawke was still breathing was because of love) at ending her misery like Aveline had advised - ending a solution that turned out to be a horrible consequence for someone like Hawke.
She was allowing them to say the last goodbye out of love, out of hope and out of sheer desperation that was so raw it was tearing Isabela up from the inside out every time she looked into Hawke's soulless eyes (silently waiting for something to reappear) with such expectation that it hurt.
When they all filed back in with tears in their eyes, Isabela stood up with her fingers curled into fists; amber hues demanding answers that her mouth could not in fear that her heart might jump out of it.
Varric wiped at his eyes angrily, planting himself at the head of the table with a grunt and a shake of his head.
"We couldn't do it." He muttered after a few moments of Isabela staring down at him. "We tried but…It isn't our place Rivaini."
Aveline's eyes merged with her own for a mere second. Hardly noteworthy, but at that precise moment Isabela knew what they had all been implying as soon as the words had tumbled out of Varric's mouth like a drunken slur. She knew what they meant.
Isabela pushed herself away from the round table, stumbling carelessly through the crowd of drunks and patrons that were in her way - ignoring the high-pitched shrieks of Merrill and Ander's shouts - until she managed to get to her room; opening it wide to stare down at the occupant in her bed.
Hawke is still so short compared to her. So small and timid looking even though Isabela knows better; was that the reason why none of them could end her misery? Because of little meek Hawke?
With a cough to gather Hawke's attention, Isabela shut the door and walked over to where Hawke lay - not surprised to discover that Hawke was staring at her wide awake with cold unblinking eyes.
"Isabela." Hawke murmured once Isabela had sat down next to her on the bed, feeling calmer than she had ever felt even when all those memories washed over her on what she used to be like. She got angry a lot. But now she was silent. Silent and not angry.
Isabela stopped Hawke from saying much more by pressing a finger to her lips, tracing the blazing sun that was printed forever on Hawke's forehead; blinking away the tears she had never wanted to cry.
"You make me so angry Hawke," Isabela whispered with a bow of her head, feeling more and more guilt-ridden every time Hawke's warm breath tickled her cheek. "You make me so bloody angry and I can't look at you like this!"
Hawke blinked slowly at her, looking more and more like a goat that knew it was up for being slaughtered anytime soon.
But that would require emotion; the one thing Isabela knew Hawke did not possess any longer.
"Sorry." Hawke said with a forced smile which she only used when she thought it was the right time - either when everyone else was smiling or when Isabela was staring at her through the night when they were in her bed, trying to sleep. Looking haunted.
Isabela held in the urge to slap that stupid smile off Hawke's face, knowing it would do her no good in hurting Hawke more than she already had by keeping the apostate alive when Hawke had made her promise not to keep her alive if the templars forced tranquillity on her.
"Sit up sweet thing," Isabela ordered after a moment of staring blankly at the print of the blazing sun on Hawke's forehead, reaching behind her for the dagger that she had kept in her sheath all this time - ready and waiting for this moment. "I don't want this to be done awkwardly now do I?"
Hawke did what she was asked, the dark joke Isabela had muttered completely lost on her even when Hawke attempted to understand - to understand what she had lost to not comprehend Isabela's joke. Was that what it was known as? A joke? Flickers of memories washed over her for a moment before that too was gone as quick as a blink.
"Haha!" Hawke shouted with another smile, curious on why Isabela's hand was wrapped around her waist and why the former captain decided to poke her stomach with such a sharp dagger that ripped at her night robes. "You're hurting me. I thought I was supposed to laugh. Was it not a joke?"
Isabela let out a bitter laugh, cupping Hawke's cheek with a smirk that hurt her face at the lack of use. "You wouldn't know a joke if it smacked you around the face love."
Her smile faded slightly when Hawke's strained smile greeted her again, once more making it painful enough that Isabela had to look away from her again.
"You didn't smile like that." Isabela growled out, the light touch of her palm against Hawke's face tightening dramatically. "You never smiled like that. You're a ghost of what you were Hawke. A ghost and I can't let you be like this. I can't."
"Why?" Hawke asked with that whirring tone that all Tranquils had laced in their voice.
"Because you aren't the Hawke that I want," Isabela answered back with steely eyes, turning her head slightly so that she was now only looking at Hawke's eyes and forehead - the burning sun dragging Isabela further into despair. "She's dead and she's been replaced with you."
The anger in her voice surprised Isabela to the bone, but the truth makes the anger rise and without thinking about it properly Isabela crushes her mouth against Hawke's own; forcing her frustration down hard onto Hawke's lips - hoping for some sort of reaction that would cause Hawke's slack lips to move on their own accord.
When she got nothing of the sort apart from Hawke's even breathing, Isabela clenched her eyes shut and drove the dagger in her hand deep into Hawke's stomach - breathing heavily at the gasp that it managed to steal from Hawke's lips.
She wrenched the dagger free from Hawke's stomach and caught the trembling woman when she started to fall forwards, showering her with the affection she had been too scared to allow when Hawke was Hawke.
Isabela stroked Hawke's hair fondly, cradling the woman to her chest and allowing herself to plaster kisses across Hawke's face; knowing it was the last time she'd see Hawke's eyes open again, even if they were void of any emotion.
"Don't get used to this." Isabela heard herself whisper as she patterned kisses up and down Hawke's neck - not truly knowing if she was saying this to herself or the woman who was slowly dying in her arms.
Hawke did not return her embrace, her arms remained slack at her side and her eyes were just as vast and emotionless as they been before - showing no pain or misery or relief. Detached.
Isabela's eyes stung with wetness that she hadn't felt in years, such a powerful passionate sting that it forced her to place her chin on the top of Hawke's head; shushing herself and cradling Hawke's gasping body when the tears got too much for her to hold back.
It was stupid really because she should have known when she had sat Hawke down and told her that she was falling for her, she should have known that it would never last because these sort of things never did; she had been a fool in thinking that this time it'd be different.
Isabela felt Hawke's arms move slightly upwards and before she could comprehend what was happening, the captain let out a breath she had no idea she'd been holding when the apostate's arms circled around her waist - returning the embrace with such fierceness that it caused Isabela to wheeze.
"Hawke!" Isabela said with a snappish tone lacing her words, removing her chin off Hawke's head to stare deep into the apostate's eyes; searching for something that would give it away that Hawke was…
She never managed to get sight of Hawke's eyes before the apostate's lips were pushing at her own, lips moulding and tongue rubbing against her own like a vicious wild animal - feeling more like desperation than the vacant touch Isabela had experienced for a few months since Hawke's tranquillity.
"Isabela…" Hawke moaned into her mouth and that was enough for Isabela's mind to blur and for her heart to beat faster than it ever had, returning Hawke's groan with her own - gripping harder onto her companion and sucking greedily at Hawke's lips until she was sure they would bruise.
Then as soon as it had begun, the feel of Hawke's tongue in her mouth and the touch of Hawke's skin against her own vanished and was quickly replaced with Hawke slumping against her shoulder - the hot breath that Isabela had silently craved now impossible to feel anymore on her skin.
It didn't take long for Isabela to realize that Hawke had truly been alive for the last moments of her life. Was this how all mages felt when they were rid of the burden of Tranquility? Did they remember who they were as their life faded gradually away?
She pushed Hawke's chin up, allowing her one last look of the woman that had changed her in more ways than one; looking down upon her fondly, knowing that Hawke would always haunt her unintentionally and knowing that she'd avoid her dreams a lot more now.
Isabela brushed a thumb across Hawke's still-warm lips, staining it with blood off the blade of her dagger. The job (her stomach squirmed in disgust) was done.
And now she had a bigger reason to see Meredith's head roll around the Gallows, a bigger, stronger reason that she'd fight for one last time.
She placed a soft kiss on the blazing sun on Hawke's forehead and interlinked her fingers with Hawke's own.
Meredith would pay for this.
I saw a picture the other day as I was browsing the kink meme of DA2 and it showed a Tranquil!Anders with a heartbroken M!Hawke trying to communicate with him.
Therefore it gave me an idea! :P
Isabela is sooo OOC, shoot me.