"You want to know why I left Hawke?" Fenris practically shouted at me.

"No, I'm just asking to see how angry you could get." I replied sarcastically. Even when I was serious I couldn't help the way I answered. Sometimes I felt like I was programmed to deflect anything personal with attempted humour.

"We could never be. I knew it was wrong. I'd never… felt like that. The pain and exquisite pleasure. It was wrong." His voice gradually softened to a deep rumble.

"Was. Past tense. Live in now. It was wrong then. Who's to say it's still wrong?" I couldn't help it. I knew he was touchy about his past but then again he was touchy about just about anything.

He was like a stormy sea, beautiful but dangerous and unpredictable at the best of times. I suppose that was what I liked about him… Liked and despised at the same time. For six years I've been putting up with his mood swings. Following up on leads to his past.

Past is past. I lost Bethany and in a way I've lost Carver. Mother was taken by a madman and father didn't even make it out of Lothering. Yet I've been able to leave it behind. I could appreciate the friends I had. And I've wanted more. Was that so wrong? Being in my mid twenties I felt like it was time to start thinking about a… more permanent companion. The sort that can keep me warm at night.

I could have my pick of lovers but I wanted an equal. A man I could share more than my bed with. That really only left me with two men.

On one hand there was Anders. I truly liked him and was attracted to him. Despite Justice. But he was a little too clingy. Also I feared losing his friendship if we weren't well suited as lovers.

On the other hand there was Fenris… I wanted him. Only it wasn't going so well:

"Hawke- Marian.." He'd only used my first name once before. It was that night. This was going to be interesting.

"I- I'm sorry. I feel like such a fool. That night with you, it just… It was too good. Too perfect... I have never regretted killing Hadrianna despite giving her my word. Nor killing Denarius. Even my sister. She'd sold me out after all. I've never regretted it until… Us." I have never heard him speak so… tenderly. It was almost strange.

"What do you mean?" My eyes widened innocently. I never thought he would regret any of that for I certainly wouldn't.

"I just mean that you deserve someone better. Someone, who isn't tainted by bitterness like I am. I care about you. But I am not sure it is enough. There is enough decency in me to want better for you."

He lifted his hand and caressed my face. It was a tender gesture I certainly did not expect from him. I looked at him through my eyelashes hoping he would do more than just touch my face…

To my great disappointment he dropped his hand and turned away.

"I'm sorry." He mumbled as he stalked deeper into his house.

I could kick something. My plan wasn't working. On my way out I kicked the remains of the corpse still lying in his main room. Honestly I really wished he'd cleared them out after he decided to take that house. On the bright side, after six years they were little more than bones with somewhat decayed clothing. Still, a bit of a turn off. We would have never ended up in bed if we didn't meet at my house.

Ah, I shouldn't remind myself of that time. Three years ago it was, to the day. It was after he killed Hadrianna. He ran off straight after, so I went about my business and when I'd finally made it home that night he was there.

He stood on my balcony, leaning against the rough wall. He looked magnificent in that position, appearing casual, but I knew he was tense. This was no social call. He came to vent his spleen about earlier. Perhaps shouldn't have fantasized about what he looked like under his armor when he was so obviously upset.

Then again when was he not upset? I'd never be able to fantasize about him if I only did when he was happy. Oh dear. I'm starting to sound like Isabella. So there he was. Smouldering. I don't exactly recall what he said. He may have shouted. It doesn't matter. What I said didn't matter either because I know from experience that there is nothing I can ever say that doesn't annoy him. Well he's occasionally amused and then annoyed. So instead I purposely wound him up even more.

He grabbed me in anger and slammed me against the wall. I won't lie to you. I liked it. He was so close. I could feel his breath on my face. For a man that lives in a mansion littered with decomposing bodies he smelled surprisingly fresh. He had this look on his face. It was a frown but he seemed to be concentrating on something. I couldn't help but drink in his face. I've never been this close to him. I could feel the heat of his body. The foreign feel of his markings pulsing under his clothes… My eyes searched his face for traces of emotion I could recognize. I certainly recognized the anger. There was frustration and yet he seemed to hesitate. His deep green eyes smouldered at me. I realized they were focused on my lips.

His proximity and the warmth of his hands on my upper arms were enough to excite me. I tried to hold still but he had that effect on me. I shuddered involuntarily. My thigh connected with his crotch lightly and I could feel the heat of his arousal. I wasn't expecting that, but all the same it sent shivers down my spine. I didn't want to pull my thigh away. So instead I slid it lower and to my pleasure he shuddered. His eyes closed for a moment then he scowled at me one more time before he finally kissed me.

It was rough, passionate and raw. I have thought about what it would feel like often in past, but it was even better than I anticipated. I bit on his lower lip to stop myself from moaning. He certainly seemed to like that. His hands slid from my arms to… well everywhere. One hand was at the back of my neck pulling me closer while the other was cupping my breast, then sliding down my side to hitch my leg up so that he could press against me more. Soon it was too much to bear.

He lifted me up and I eagerly wrapped my legs around his waist. I don't recall getting back to my room. I just know that he threw me down and started taking his armor off. I stilled his hands. He looked confused for a little while until he realized that I wanted to do it myself. I covered each bare inch of skin with kisses and bites until he was writhing in my sheets.

We soon reversed positions and he was slowly stripping me. I think he wanted to punish me for teasing him so. He certainly got his revenge. I was soon thrashing about with passion. Since I've first became aware of my attraction to him I've imagined the moment that was about to come. I've fantasized about it often. But when he held me down as he finally entered me I almost couldn't bear it. Three years I've waited for this. It was even better than I could ever dream.

His body felt incredible against me. I moaned against his shoulder then bit on it hard. His grip on my wrists tightened. He gathered both of them in one hand above my head, freeing his other hand to roam my body. I struggled against that. I wanted to touch him too. I had irresistible urge to trace his markings with my fingers, my tongue… I wanted to soothe his pain with my desire, and perhaps with the secret feelings I harbored for him.

He was too strong for me. Despite being battle hardened I couldn't win this one. He was dominating me and I liked it. All the same I wanted to… touch him. I gave up the fight believing that I would have more chances to do with him what I pleased.

I could feel him tense. He was close. He went harder bringing me to the brink. His mouth found mine, swallowing my scream of pleasure when I finally came. He shuddered, his markings lighting up as he joined me.

He relaxed, possibly for the first time since I've known him and practically collapsed on top of me. I enjoyed his weight. Too soon he rolled off me. I snuggled to him, my head resting on his shoulder as he tenderly stroked my side. Despite myself I found it impossible to keep awake. I nodded off.

When I awoke, he was no longer next to me. I panicked. His rumbling voice chilled me to the core.

"It should have never have happened."

"Was it that bad?" I tried to cover up my pain with humour. Hoping, against hope that he wasn't about to break my heart.

"No. It was fine." Seeing the look on my face he tried to amend.

"That is insufficient. It was beyond anything I could have imagined." His eyes misted over at the end.

"Was it your markings? Did they hurt?" I couldn't help but feel guilty. I knew that he wasn't really comfortable with being touched. All the same, I thought he wanted this too…

"It wasn't that. It's just that… I could remember things. From before… I could see faces. For a moment I remembered everything."

I could not fathom his expression. It was full of regret and of course a hint of annoyance. There was something else too. I was at loss at what to say.

"When we… You had visions from your past?"

"Yes." Just then he seemed somewhat annoyed at me asking questions.

"Then in a flash it was gone."

I figured that humor was the way to go. It usually worked. Though I wasn't sure whether to my advantage or not.

"Well we can work on that… Lots of practice right?" I gave him a wry smile, hoping he'd agree.

"Perhaps you don't realize how upsetting this is for me." I kind of figured. But didn't he know I was willing to hang about till he thought about it?

Apparently not.

"I should go. I- I feel like such a fool. This shouldn't have happened Hawke." I guessed him reverting to my last name wasn't a good thing.

"Fenris-" My voice broke halfway through his cursed name. I felt quite pathetic. It was about to get worse…

"-don't. Don't leave." I tried not to look as wretched as I felt.

He was already halfway out of the door. I supposed he hadn't heard me.

2

This was before Anders. I feel terrible about that too. For different reasons. Fenris made me feel wretched. I felt like I wasn't good enough, that I'd done something wrong. And that I just couldn't help him… I'm sure he hadn't meant for it to feel that way. He was, after all just trying to rediscover who he was… And I did help for a bit (while we did it).

Anders. I felt terrible about that because I was the person breaking hearts for change. And I knew I'd done something wrong. In fact I even knew what I'd done wrong. He… well I liked him. And I felt somewhat sorry for him. I could overlook the fact that technically he was an abomination. But he was still himself… Even though there was more than just Anders in that body of his.

All I did was listen to him. I was sympathetic- being a mage after all how could I not be? I was nice. I cared. I still care. But I wasn't crazy about him. I liked him. Maybe desired him a little. But not in the way I ached for Fenris.

Anders was a little bit of a carriage wreck. He was plagued by terrible guilt after we found a templar conspiring to turn all the mages he could get his hands on into Tranquils. That was something even I could not allow. The problem was that when Anders came across them Justice made his entrance and slew them. Nearly killing the poor mage girl we were trying to protect.

He was terribly broken up about it. The next time I went to visit him he was trying to avoid the subject, pretending to keep busy by cleaning. I mean come on- he lived in Darktown! Cleaning wasn't exactly the normal thing to do there. I had to force him to talk to me about it.

"Anders? What are you doing?"

He pretended to not hear me at first. He kept on cleaning. I touched his shoulder. I didn't want to see him that way. I did care.

"I nearly killed that girl." He finally stopped.

"But you didn't kill her. She was unharmed." I tried to be nice. I knew that Anders didn't much like my jokes.

When he turned to face me there were tears in his eyes.

"If you didn't stop me… I- " he paused" -want to thank you." I hoped he had felt better.

I thought that flirting a little would cheer him up and so I did. He took it a little too seriously. I recalled the first time I flirted with him. When we'd first met. He said he'd break my heart then. I thought that it was a little presumptuous at the time.

I knew of Anders before I'd first met him in Kirkwall. My cousin- Solona Amell lived in the Circle Tower at Lake Calenhad- had written to me about him more than once. She told me that he was a little older and she mostly knew of him because of his rebellious exploits back at the Tower. He was considered a hero by many of the mages there.

My cousin eventually became a Grey Warden. I saw her briefly after the battle of Ostagar when she passed through Lothering. She wrote very little as she was on the run from Loghain who blamed the Wardens for Cailan's death. She came through and eventually defeated the Archdemon, becoming a legend. She was made the Warden Commander at Vigil's Keep after that and began writing to me with some semblance of regularity. Once she'd written about a new recruit- Anders. She used to joke that we'd make a good couple. He was something of an optimist and a joker then.

I won't deny that her descriptions left me eager to meet this ideal man and when I got wind of his presence in Kirkwall I knew I had to meet this famed Anders. To an extent I was disappointed. He was very little like the man she had described. Yes, physically he was who she said. But short of his love of cats he was a changed man.

I never told him how much I knew of him before Justice. But I couldn't help but resent Justice a little. Had he deprived me of a perfect man? I couldn't help but try to find the flirty Anders she'd talked about.

It did, however, come as a little bit of a surprise when Anders pounced on me and kissed me. All I said was that I liked teasing him.

I did enjoy that kiss though. I hadn't realized how starved for affection I was since Fenris… And though the two were incomparable Anders' desperate need soothed my ache for the time being. I wouldn't say that he could ever replace Fenris. But he was a welcome distraction.

When he said that if my door were open that night he'd come I wasn't sure whether to be happy or somewhat panicked. My door doesn't actually close! Not since Isabella last broke in… Broke is the correct word- she actually broke my lock!

Also I had to go home… I didn't much fancy sleeping at the Hanged Man. I mean that place is filthy. Plus Isabella would probably take advantage of me.

So, unsure of what I wanted, I went home. I was in middle of taking off my stinky socks when he burst in. I had been thinking about what happened between Fenris and I a few months earlier… Thinking probably isn't the right word. I was agonizing. I still thought about it every night. Sometimes I even cried a little. It wasn't really something I shared with anyone.

To an extent Anders' visit was good. It diverted my troubled mind. On the other hand he was always somewhat emotional and I wasn't sure that a relationship with him was particularly healthy.

I peeled my other sock off and threw it at the foot of my bed (Sandal could pick it up later) and stood up to greet him.

"Hey I'v-" He silenced me with another passionate and desperate kiss.

Kissing Anders felt like trying to save a drowning man. There was so much emotion in it. It was very different to Fenris' kisses. Fenris who apparently had no feelings towards me other than a passing fancy. Kissing Anders was… kind of great. But I wasn't sure that we were quite on the same page.

"Anders-"

"Shhh my love." He put a finger on my lips. Then he caressed my face, brushing stray strands of hair away. Slowly he began to undress me, then himself. His every move was gentle. He touched me as though I were a porcelain doll. Little did he know…

He was oh-so-tender. He touched me almost with reverence, slowly, building up my desire for him. I didn't realize until then how much I craved affection and tenderness. Eventually I began to respond and touch him in a similar fashion. Anders' body wasn't exactly what I expected. I thought he would be soft and slight, I knew that the type of robes he wore hid a lot. But he was nothing like I imagined. He was very very masculine. But in a completely different way to Fenris.

Anders had a very muscular physique and fine hair on his chest where Fenris was hairless. The former also had a trail of hair leading from his belly button to his… I couldn't help but be surprised at the size of it. Possibly because most of the time Anders did not act in the typically masculine aggressive way that Fenris did. Yet somehow, when he was naked in my bed aroused, wanting me he was very much so. He was much subtler than Fenris in his needs and the way he expressed them.

Believe me though, that at the time I wasn't comparing the two. I was living in the moment. I wanted to become lost in him at least for the time being.

He was a skilled lover. He built up an amount of passion in me I didn't think possible since Fenris. He did that slowly and deliberately with care I did not think possible.

When he finally let himself enter me I was more than ready. Even so I gasped at the intrusion. He stilled his movement when he heard me gasp. He looked at me with concern.

"Are you alright, love?" He held my face in his hands as he asked, searching for hint of pain in my face.

I nodded.

"Please. Don't stop." Unbelievably he smiled. Possibly for the first time since I've met him he didn't have a tortured look on his face. He looked relaxed. Happy. I couldn't help but feel guilty. Was I using him?

He kissed my neck as he eased himself inside of me. We made love for hours. Because that's what it was. Making love. I'd lost count of how many times. I do know that I was as limp as a rag doll when he was finally done. I once again fell asleep straight afterwards.

This time, however I did not wake up to an empty bed. He was still there, stroking my hair. He looked as if he'd been watching me sleep the whole time.

The look of tenderness in his warm brown eyes was unbearable. I had to look away in shame. I was confused. I was in love with Fenris. Yet, this night with Anders was something I hadn't expected.

He took my chin in his hand and turned my face to him.

"What's the matter love?" I couldn't bring myself to look at him or even answer.

Then he took a leap of faith. He asked to move in. Sadly his faith was misplaced. I panicked and let him fall into the proverbial abyss. I needed time. I was too confused.

He took my hesitation the wrong way. Or perhaps the right way. He got upset. The look of perfect happiness disappearing. He got dressed and left me.

"I won't forget this." He said. He turned away before the tears pooled in my eyes.

That night was a hellish journey of self-discovery. I tried to deal with my confusion about my feelings about the two men I seemed to care about but I didn't know what to do.

Always in my life I had to make decisions, for my family and siblings and then my companions who trusted me with their lives. And now I realized that I didn't know how the make the right decision for myself. I couldn't look at my situation objectively and figure out what was the best course of action.

Unfortunately this wasn't a battle where I could plan out the tactics. This was life. This was love.