I thought it was funny the few comments I got all mentioned the fact this is AU, to be honest I don't really write it and you can clarify that just by looking at my story list…but I think I had enough confidence in this to actually go through with it. Despite the few reviews, I got quite a bit of a story alerts for this so please enjoy the second chapter!
Chapter Two: Blow Away
"So what do we do?" I wondered aloud, looking down at the pile of bags and suitcases that had collected on the floor. Our circle near the middle of the room had wandered over as we all looked over the mess we had made.
"Well," Isabela started, picking up her backpack and slinging it over her shoulder, "I get seniority," she laughed. "My room is straight up the stairs, across from the bathroom," before turning to leave she gave a wide smile. "With my name scratched into the door…" The smile remained as she bounded up the stairs, with a slam of a door following soon after.
I glanced at the second floor and walked up, wishing I had been a bit more selfish earlier and grabbed a room for myself before the others got here. When I reached the landing I saw why Isabela was in such a hurry. I rushed back to the first floor and let out a defeated sigh.
"There are four of us but only three rooms left…" my eyes widened as I resisted the urge to slap my forehead, "but you guys knew that." My shoulders slumped and let my rear hit the floor, putting an arm around Haseo as if he was the only thing that could hold me up. Was I being a bit overdramatic? Yes. Did I care? No.
I watched as Fenris and Anders exchanged a quick glance before they gathered their things and made their way upstairs. I opened my mouth to protest, to ask them to stop but Anders beat me to my own words.
"You girls share," he instructed with a coaxing and ever so charming voice. I had to know how much he practiced to sound like that. I extended my hand forward but they were too far gone. I looked over my shoulder at the wide-eyed Merrill and quietly sighed, trying not to sound too disappointed.
"You might have to deal with his snoring," I pointed towards Haseo who gave a quiet whine in protest as if to say he didn't snore. I patted his head and gathered my bags, heading up towards the only room left available.
"Oh I don't mind," Merrill insisted, grabbing her suitcase and following me up. "I'm from Ferelden as well, you know, I'm used to the dogs."
When I got to the landing I glanced in each of the taken bedrooms, sans Isabela's whose door was still shut tight. Fenris had chosen the corner bedroom, farthest from my own. My heart tugged a bit as I quickly looked away before he caught me gazing. Isabela's room was next to his and next to hers and to my own was Anders. His door was still open like Fenris' was and but he gave me a smile when I passed by. I smiled back than made my way into my own room. Fixing my bags, I opened the door and searched for the nearest bed to put them down on.
"Well this is very nice, it's bigger than my room at home," Merrill commented, placing her case on the other bed across the room. I had to agree with her there, it was rather spacious. Each bed was tucked into a corner of the room, Merrill's dresser was next to her bed, and mine was at the end. Merrill's bed looked out over an armoire that was big enough to fit both of our things and next to it was the television. While my bed on the other hand faced the glass door that lead down to the deck.
I wanted to keep that bed but the polite, lady like woman in me pointed towards it silently, hoping she got my meaning.
"What?" she followed my point and wildly shook her head. "Oh no, it's much too distracting, I'd never get to sleep!" She let out a laugh, than sat down next to her case, popping it open to unpack. I would have mentioned the curtains but it seemed that this went my way so I shut my mouth and followed suit, opening my bags.
"So I was wondering," Merrill started, laying her clothes out neatly on the bed. Haseo, who had been sitting quietly by the door, moved in and curled up on the circular rug in the middle of the room. He'd make his way to my bed eventually.
"Yes?" I answered after a pause, like she was waiting for confirmation. While listening, I pulled the old sheets off the bed and began dressing it in mine.
"How old are you?" she asked with a somewhat awkward chuckle. "I have a pretty good feeling I'm the youngest one here."
"Twenty," I answered, and I didn't doubt Merrill's thoughts. As for the other housemates, Isabela didn't look old exactly, she just looked experienced and that can age someone whether they want it to or not. The same could be said of Fenris. But Anders…well I wasn't sure about him yet.
"Ah, I knew it," she mumbled, "I'm eighteen," she pointed towards herself to clarify and I nodded.
"My brother and sister are eighteen, did you just graduate too?" I questioned, grabbing my sheet and airing it out. I let it flap and Merrill let out a giggle as if it was funny.
"Yes," she gave a single nod than grabbed the pendant of the necklace she was wearing, playing with it between her fingers. "I start school in the fall, did I mention that?" she asked curiously. Her unpacking seemed to be put on hold for the moment.
"Maybe," I shrugged; to be honest I didn't really remember.
"Well I do, it's a university right outside of the reservation a lot of my people, oh, um, elves attend if they want to continue their schooling," she slipped off of her bed and inched towards Haseo, placing her hand on the dog's head. He opened one eye to examine her than shut it soon after.
"Oh," was all I could really think to say. Sad as it was, my understanding on Elven life was kind of limited. Though someone in this house suddenly made me want to expand my knowledge a bit.
"Not very exciting," she commented on her story with a frown. She let out a long sigh than got back up off the floor to resume her unpacking.
"Not boring," I commented back. "Normal," I huffed and sat on my freshly made bed, patting it loudly so Haseo could jump up. He rightly did so and laid his head in my lap as if I was his pillow. I shook my head and got up gently, finishing what was left of my stuffed bags.
"I suppose that's why I came," she started again, tucking her black hair behind her ear. "No one on the reservation would ever come out here, the Keeper," I stopped and gave her a look, asking for an explanation.
"Oh," she gasped, "she's kind of like an elder or leader I suppose…" She shook her head, "anyway, she didn't really want me to go, she thinks I'm too naïve to be off on my own like this," she crossed her arms over her chest, an act of defiance to a woman who wasn't even present.
"Well, you really aren't alone if you're staying with us, right?" I asked with a smile. I didn't really know Merrill all that well, obviously, but she seemed nice enough. I imagined we could be good friends Maker willing; we were sharing a room after all.
"That's true," Merrill agreed with a smile, cheering up a bit. I guessed thinking about her…Keeper, I think it was, might have been hard. I wasn't sure and I didn't know if it was my place to ask yet.
When I had finished unpacking I slapped my hands together as if I had accomplished something great and turned towards the glass door, daring to venture out onto the beach. When I opened the door I was hit by a blast of heat, such a difference from the cool, controlled air in the house. I walked on to the step and closed the door behind me, making my way down.
"So pretty," I murmured to myself, admiring the clear blue water. I kicked off my shoes on the deck before running out into the hot sand, ignoring the temperature. As soon as I reached the water I knew I'd forget it in an instant, and I was right. The cool waters rushed over my feet as I sunk into the wet sand. Almost forgetting where I was, I kind of lost myself, playing and spinning around. I was filled with this new excitement.
I only stopped when I turned towards the house and saw Fenris standing on the porch, watching me. He was too far to tell, but I'm sure he was laughing at me. He had to be.
"So," I called to him, letting him know I caught him staring, though apparently he didn't care. "You think I'm funny, huh?"
He didn't answer, just shook his head as he made his way towards me. I felt my legs freeze up, almost as if I were experiencing stage fright as I waited for him to come. When he did I felt those same green eyes peer into me.
"You really don't care what other people think," he wondered aloud, reaching for my hair. I tried hard not to flinch as he pulled a white feather from it. "Do you?" he asked, flicking it off into the air. I watched it fall for a moment before the wind took it and blew it away.
"Maybe," I let out coolly, crossing my arms over my chest. "Did you enjoy though show though?" I was trying to make it as if he was the bad guy in all this. I was the one dancing like a crazy person on the beach; if he came outside, he'd be oblivious not to notice.
"I only caught the last minute or so," he mumbled with a blush. Ah-hah, I inwardly grinned, so he wasn't as composed as I thought he was. He gave a quiet chuckle before clearing his throat. "I was coming to get you, in fact," he motioned towards the house and started for it, I followed behind.
"Why?" I inquired, kicking the sand a little as we walked to the deck.
"Isabela said we're having a house meeting or some such," he shrugged and heaved a heavy groan as if he was bothered by it all. He opened the back door porch for me and I soon found myself inside, the rest of my housemates seated around the dining room table.
"There you are Hawke," Isabela grinned, getting up from her seat. She wrapped an arm around Fenris' waist and pulled him into her. He rolled his eyes, but didn't protest…though I wanted to.
"What do you need?" I asked, teetering back and forth, shifting my weight. Isabela so close to Fenris was making me uncomfortable and I wasn't sure why. It wasn't like he was my boyfriend, by the Maker; he wasn't really even my friend yet.
"We need to set up a chore list or whatever," she waved, letting Fenris free and taking her seat again. I nudged Fenris towards the table and followed him as he led me there.
"Okay," I nodded, sitting down, trying not to take small delight in the fact the sexy elf chose to sit beside me and not the empty seat next to Isabela.
"Well, I work weekend nights and weekday afternoons," Isabela mentioned with a flip of her dark hair, leaning on the table to expose her assets. She was shameless, wasn't she? I wasn't sure who she was trying to impress, everyone else or herself. I supposed it didn't make much of a difference.
"What does that have to do with anything?" Anders asked, trying not to look at the view she presented before him. I had to give him merits for trying being a gentleman I suppose. Fenris on the other hand looked as if he was going to slam his head into the table if this continued any longer.
"I'll make the meals," he offered, than got up and headed back towards his room. Anders scoffed, glaring upstairs as if Fenris could see his look through the floor.
"That takes care of that, I suppose," I offered with a snicker. Anders wasn't having it though. He seemed determined to make this bigger than it was until I grabbed his hand and forced him back into his seat. My forcefulness must have surprised him, though it didn't seem to put him off that much.
"I'll clean up after meals," I suggested, not able to think of anything else. Keeping my room clean was a given and plus I would have help there. I wasn't going to touch the bathrooms unless it was desperately needed and I hated vacuuming with a passion. Putting my hands in rather nasty dishwater would have to do.
"I'll do the vacuuming," Anders sighed, glancing around the room to see if it was going to be a hassle. I didn't envy him at all, that was for sure.
"That leaves all the odds and ends to me and you, Kitten," Isabela grinned, slapping Merrill in the back playfully. Though it seemed the younger girl drifted off a bit at the end, because she let out a rather loud squeal from the surprise of it.
"Right," she nodded, slowly coming back to Thedas, "odds and ends…what does that mean?"
"It means you tidy up," Anders explained with a frown, obviously looking down on her a bit. He could learn to hide it better but I guess some people are better at masking their feelings then others.
"Okay," Merrill smiled and started to do just that. From the lack of life some of the furniture had collected quite a bit of dust. Merrill found the duster as if it was calling to her and went to work without a word. We watched in awe for a moment before shrugging and going back to our own things.
Anders and I made our way back upstairs before he grabbed my arm, stopping me in front of Fenris' door.
"What was with you?" he asked bluntly, leaning against the doorframe. "We were having a meeting and you just up and go, rude of him, wasn't it Hawke?" Anders glanced at me as if he expected I automatically agreed with him.
He just had to make this awkward, didn't he?
"Uh," I started, trying to find the perfect words. I really wasn't in the mood to be a bitch, but so far Fenris was the housemate who appealed to me the most. I sighed. "He thought his part was done so he left," I nodded, "no big deal Anders, so let's go." I second-guessed my final choice of words there. It made it sound as if we were going to the same place.
"So, you need to bring Hawke to help fight your battles," Fenris almost sneered, his back facing us. It was almost as if he wasn't giving Anders the satisfaction of seeing his reaction, something the blonde man loved getting, and even I knew that in this short amount of time.
"No," he defended, backing away, growing annoyed. Yet, if I wanted to, I could have pointed out that he pulled me over here. I looked from one man to the other. They barely knew each other yet they didn't seem to get along at all, maybe it was just meant to be.
"Than next time, don't drag her along," damn, he all ready knew.
"Ah!" Anders let out angrily before turning away, leaving me in Fenris' door. I didn't know what else to add, yet as I turned away I felt him grab onto my shoulder.
"Hmm…" I glanced at his hand then up at his face. He looked a bit nervous and I had to hold myself back from asking why.
"Never mind," he shook his head and let me go, turning back into his room. He didn't shut the door behind him though and for that reason I had to smile a bit.
As I passed Anders' room, I knocked on his door frame and grinned. "Maybe next time," I cheered, and he waved me away as if I were some pest. Though at that moment, I most definitely was. He didn't seem to like it when I was sarcastic. I couldn't help my laughing as I made my way back inside to rest. It had been an exciting few hours since I arrived and the day was hardly over yet.
For some reason why mind went to the idea of Fenris cooking, since he jumped on the job so quickly he must be good at it. If he was good at it, why was he? Did he enjoy it or was it his job? Did he cook for his family…his girlfriend? I pushed the last part of that question out of my head as I went to the armoire to find something new to wear. I pulled the red scarf I always wore from around my waist and placed it on the bed as I searched.
Deciding on a long white tank and black leggings, I pulled off my jeans and slipped the more comfortable clothes on quickly. Grabbing the scarf again I aired it out once before tying it like a headband and pulling it tight and secure. I sighed and stretched, trying to get used to the difference between this new room and my old. The only similarity was the fact Haseo was taking up the entire bed.
I left him there as I ventured back outside, sitting down on the top step to just look over for a little bit. I wondered if I'd ever get sick of this view, or if it changed a little bit every day. The water never stopped moving, so couldn't it?
"Nice, isn't it?" I heard a voice call out to me from the yard next door. I stood up and glanced over, spying a woman standing on the opposite side of the waist high fence. Her bright red hair stood out clearly against her rather pale complexion.
"What? Are you a mind reader?" I joked, getting up and walking down to meet her. She seemed a little daunting as I neared, but kind in her own way too.
"You one of Varric's renters?" she wondered, looking me over. When the wind picked up she moved her hands to the back of her head, tightening her short pony-tail.
"That I am," I answered with a smile, holding out my hand for a shake. "My name is Hawke," I greeted.
"I'm Aveline," she shook my hand than let go, gesturing towards her house. "My husband Donnic is inside right now but I'm sure you'll see him sometime soon," she smiled, obviously happy thinking about him. That made me a bit jealous, I wanted to do that too one day. I tried not to make my pout too noticeable. After a moment she shook her head, trying to clear it. "Anyway, I have a question."
"Okay," a tilted my head towards the side, curious as to what the stranger wanted to know from me. I didn't think it was going to be anything bizarre but…you never know.
"Is Isabela staying here again?" she asked with me a tone that seemed somewhat distressful. I think I saw her trying not to roll her eyes as she said the brazen woman's name. I had to laugh.
"Sorry to disappoint, but she is," I crossed my arms over my chest, a smirk playing on my features. "Shall I call her for you?" I asked, feigning all seriousness. Aveline shook her head and let out a beaten sigh.
"I thought by now she would have moved on from this place," she mumbled, looking over at the house, almost trying to see if Isabela was doing something she would disapprove of…which she most likely was. Aveline seemed refined and disciplined while Isabela had trouble keeping her breasts inside her shirt. It was amazing the information one could get from only first impressions.
Almost like the Maker himself willed it Isabela slammed open the porch door, stepping onto the deck. The moment she caught me talking to Aveline the widest of smiles came across her face.
"Why if it isn't my favorite buzz kill," she sneered, leaning over the fence as if she were looking for something, overtly so. "Is that husband of yours around?" she asked quietly, a playful cheekiness in her voice.
"He's hiding from you, you whore," Aveline told her straightly, pushing the woman back, off her yard. I took a few steps away, eager to watch the scene before me.
"So mean big girl," she shook her head sadly, an act, obviously. "Didn't you miss me at all?"
"Miss you coming to my house at three in the morning, stark naked, banging on my door? I think not," she huffed, crossing her arms and looking away. That had my eyes widen. Was I going to have to deal with that for the next few months? Could I handle that? I tried not to look too shocked as my mind processed that. It didn't make a difference though, Aveline caught me.
"I feel sorry for you Hawke," she nodded in my direction but the dirty glare never left Isabela. "This one is like a virus, she never really goes away…like her infections."
"Hah!" I let out unintentionally. When Isabela's head whipped to face me, I covered my mouth. "It just slipped," I admitted, my voice muffled.
"I'll get you back for that," she challenged and I gave her a subtle look, one that said bring it before I headed back inside. My stomach was starting to ache with hunger and I was hoping Fenris was going to start dinner soon.
Like he knew I wanted it, I found him in the kitchen, cooking away. In the few hours I've known him he never looked quite as sexy as he did right then…
Dinner at the table that night had been filled with various fights and laughs. It was official, Fenris and Anders hated each other though no one was really sure why. Anders would make a joke at Fenris' expense, Fenris would give him no reaction at all, and if he did it was blunt and curt, and Anders would get angry and the rest of us would laugh. I liked both the boys but seeing how they were going to put up with one another was going to be interesting.
After I had finished cleaning up, Isabela made her way to the fridge and let out the loudest sigh I had ever heard. She wanted to make sure everyone heard her.
"What is it?" Anders asked, not looking up from his book as he sat on the arm chair. Though he asked, his tone was uninterested. He licked his fingers and turned the page, still waiting for her reply.
"We have no booze," she almost shouted, slamming the refrigerator door.
"Now that you mention it, where did the food come from?" I asked, almost positive none of us had left the house since we arrived this afternoon.
"Varric stocked it this morning I bet," she mumbled, rubbing her temples as if the lack of liquor was giving her a headache. "But he forgot the ale? What's wrong with him?" This question was directed at no one in particular, yet everyone gave incoherent answers of not knowing why. "It was rhetorical," she snapped.
Merrill, who had been quiet up until now, made her way to the window and looked out. Spotting something that excited her, she jumped and pointed.
"Whose car is that?" she wondered, looking back out at it again as if it was going to vanish if she wasn't watching it.
"Mine," Anders' hand went up for a second, a curious look on his face before he went right back into his book.
"I've got some money on me; I don't mind paying for it if someone goes to buy…" Merrill offered, and Isabela ran to her, giving her a tight hug.
"Such a good Kitten," she murmured. I wouldn't have been surprised if the younger girl had started purring just then. "I'll go, where are your keys?" Isabela demanded, letting Merrill go and made her way towards Anders, looking thoroughly determined to search his person.
"Absolutely not," that got his attention. He nearly slammed the book down on the table. "I'll go get it myself," he sighed, trying his hardest to move away from Isabela who looked rather pleased with herself. As Anders made his way towards the door he slowed his pace and stopped, turning back towards the room. "Come for a ride Hawke?" he asked me, his eyes somewhat gleaming.
"Sure, why not…you do know where to go right?" I teased, walking out as he opened the door for me. I skipped down towards his car and looked it over. I knew next to nothing about cars but it looked nice enough…and it was black. I opened the passenger side door and slipped in, the leather seats hot from the sun that had been on them all day.
"It's not a perfect car," Anders mentioned as he sat in the driver's seat, starting it up. "But it's decent enough considering most of my money goes to my tuition."
"Tuition," I started, "what are you studying?" I couldn't help that I was little bit curious. I looked at him from the side as he took off down the road, the beach house growing smaller in the side-view mirrors. His blonde hair almost glistened in the orange light of the setting sun.
"Medicine," he beamed. "I want to be a doctor." The smile was ever present as he gave me a quick look, hoping I was impressed. And to be honest, a part of me was. The other part didn't like the gloating but I suppose making it that far was something to be proud of, I could over look it.
"That's really cool," I smiled back, leaning over to roll down the window. I put my arm on the edge and rested my head on it, letting the humid air blow into my face.
"So," Anders wondered now, making a turn. I had no idea where we were going, Kirkwall was so new and everything was just…different from Ferelden, from Lothering. "What do you think of everybody?"
"Oh," I sat up straight and gave it a moment of thought. "Merrill seems sweet, Isabela is…fun?" I wasn't sure that was the right word, ballsy maybe was a better one.
"What about Fenris?" the question seemed friendly enough but I heard the slight seething feeling beneath it.
"I like him," and I did.
"Why?" he asked now, stopping in a parking lot. I gazed out the windshield to discover we had arrived at our destination.
"I don't know," I shrugged, than flashed him my best Hawke smile, "I like you too, so does it make a difference?" He had no answer for that as he mumbled he'd be back and got out of the car. I watched him enter the store than relaxed into the seat. He didn't make me feel tense; it was more like I knew if I gushed about how I liked Fenris he would lecture me. He had that type of face and maybe I had a trusting one. He liked me well enough it seemed, though I wasn't sure why.
The ride back to the house wasn't filled with as much flirting or conversation. I believe he was still taken aback by my confession of liking him though it meant very little to me. He was a new friend, but perhaps he liked the jump the gun? I didn't know yet but something told me I wouldn't have to wait long to find out.
When we presented the drinks, Isabela let out a loud cheered and I hoped Aveline's warning wouldn't have to come to fruition tonight. She called down Fenris for celebratory drinks and he surprised me by actually coming down. Isabela grabbed the first bottle she found, organized the five glasses in a circle and poured the ale.
"A toast," she cheered.
"To what?" Merrill asked, clutching her glass in her hand. She looked between all of us, eagerly waiting for an answer.
"To us?" I suggested, holding up my glass. It wasn't brilliant but it was the only thing I could think of.
The rest of the housemates nodded in agreement, Fenris' gave me the smallest of smiles.
Isabela scoffed down a few bottles of…something…before passing out on the living room couch. I felt a little bad she couldn't sleep in her own bed the first night here but I wasn't moving her. Merrill, the little thing, had a problem with the first glass but enjoyed watching Anders and Isabela engage in several drinking games. He had the common sense to quit while he was ahead.
I, on the other hand, nursed a few glasses throughout the night. Fenris was nursing too, though his choice was an entire bottle of some wine that was hard to name. He had gone back to his room earlier than the rest of us, of course.
It was nearly midnight when I headed up, a bit sad to see Fenris had shut his door for the day. I wanted to say goodnight but bothering him just to say that seemed a little bit desperate. So with heavy shoulders I went to my own room to get ready turn in. Haseo, who had been downstairs with me, was now curled into a ball in the middle of the room. I stepped over him as I prepared for bed.
Walking towards the glass door to shut the curtain I spied Fenris leaning against the rail of the porch. My hand gripped the handle and I must have been a little tipsier than I thought as I opened the door to talk to him. About what? I had no idea.
As I came up next to him he didn't seem bothered or annoyed, instead he gave me an almost knowing smirk as he handed me the bottle he had been drinking out of. I put my lips to it, taking a sip.
"Agreggio Pavalli," he started, "of all the wines in the world Anders could have picked, he had to get this one." Fenris shook his head and took the bottle back, chugging a bit down.
"Don't you like it?" I had to asked, finding he was making me confused. "You've been drinking it all night."
"I'm a complicated person," he almost laughed as he said it.
"I don't doubt that," I mumbled back, grabbing the bottle again to take another sip. It might have been the liquor, or maybe the moon was playing tricks with the light, but it looked like he was smiling at me. I handed the bottle back as I leaned against the rail, watching him finish whatever was left. When it was empty he chucked it somewhere on the beach. I should have disapproved but somehow I didn't care.
"Do you…" I trailed off, my eyes finding his, "want to talk about why you're complicated?"
"It's not very interesting," he shook his head, almost as if my question wasn't believable.
"That I do doubt," I frowned, turning around to face the house. I didn't expect him to spill his guts, but anything to solve a little bit of the puzzle this mysterious elf presented would have been great.
"Why so interested?" he asked, walking a little bit away to sit on the bottom step of the stairs that led to his room. I watched him carefully, the buzz from the wine clouding my judgment, my word control.
"You're very handsome," I smiled, "I want to know about you," I admitted. Of course this was the truth but had my head been a bit clearer I might have been a bit less obvious.
"Not tonight Hawke," he started for his room but I grabbed the hem of his shirt before he got too far away. He looked down at me and shook his head again, grabbing on to my hand so he could pull away. "You're drunk and I probably am too," he confessed.
I looked away for a moment, falling deeper into a haze before climbing a step to reach his height and kissing his cheek, turning away just as quickly.
"Good night," I waved, heading back to my own room.
Maker allow I didn't remember that in the morning.