Garrett Hawke sat at his writing table, staring into space and idly twirling his quill. The fire in the ornate fireplace had begun to die down as midnight approached and the room was beginning to feel a bit chill. Autumn was approaching. While the days were still quite hot, the evenings had begun to get cool and the wind whistled through Hightown carrying with it a hint of seasons changing. Hawke sighed and set his quill down as he leaned back in his chair, pondering the changes his life had undergone in the several seasons since he and his family had fled Lothering.

So much had changed. First they had lost Bethany, which had been a huge blow to the whole family. Hawke remembered their lessons together with Father, playing together in the fields near their home, teaching Bethany and Carver how to hunt small game. Then as they had gotten older, Hawke had practiced sparring with Carver and spellcasting with Bethany. The image of the sweet little girl who had grown into a beautiful young lady was a bittersweet one that Hawke would always carry with him. Mother was never the same after Bethany died, and then after Carver impetuously left to join the Templars she had become a mere shell of the vibrant and loving woman she had once been.

It had been hard to watch his family fall apart at the seams, then once it was just him and his mother, Hawke had really begun to see the effects of everything on her. Then, tragedy. He would never forget watching his mother die as he held her mutilated body in his arms, or how she told him just how proud she was of him and how much she loved him. Hawke's throat tightened at the memory. It had been a couple of years, but he knew the emotional wound of losing his mother may never heal. He blamed himself entirely, as did Carver, which only served to drive the wedge between them even deeper.

Of course he loved his younger brother, but it did not seem to matter what he did, Carver always resented him and pushed him away. Hawke hoped that being in the Templars would give Carver something else to focus on; an opportunity to grow, even if that meant that they could likely never have a close relationship because Hawke was an apostate. All he had left now of his life back in Lothering, was his mabari, Fang, who was currently curled up in front of the fireplace.

Now, on top of everything else that had happened, Hawke, in order to protect Isabela and Kirkwall, had killed the Qunari Arishok. The people of Kirkwall were lauding him as the "Champion of Kirkwall", a title that only seemed to add to Hawke's troubles. The attacks on him and his companions while trying to complete errands or help people had increased steadily. It seemed that his reputation preceded him everywhere. Hawke did not feel like a champion. Mostly, he just felt profoundly alone. With his whole family, excluding Carver, dead; and with Fenris…

Hawke stood up and stretched, trying to derail his train of thought. Thinking of Fenris was too painful. After their one night of frantic and needy love-making, shortly before Leandra's murder, Fenris had pushed him away, shut him out. Years of admiring, flirting, talking, reading, and fighting together had culminated in what Hawke had hoped would be the next step of their relationship, but he had been wrong. He wondered if Fenris had ever felt anything at all…maybe what happened had been because of the stress Fenris had felt leading up to and after killing Hadriana. Hawke tried to understand Fenris's reasons, but the echo of Fenris's words from that day often came back to haunt him.

"What does magic touch that it doesn't spoil?" the elf had spat in Hawke's face after killing Hadriana and discovering that he had a sister who was in service to a magister.

Hawke's expression had remained calm, but the comment ran deep. It reminded Hawke that Fenris likely despised everything that he was, which only made it all the more confusing that they had been together in the first place. Now they politely avoided one another. Fenris was still willing to help Hawke hunt down slaving rings or clear out bandits, but beyond lending Hawke his sword, Fenris remained mostly silent and when he did speak it was to their companions, not Hawke directly. It was painful, but Hawke was trying to move on. He had even considered going through with the political marriage his mother had wanted for him.

Heaving another large sigh, Hawke left his room, intending to get some wine so that he could get his mind off of everything and perhaps drink until he felt things less acutely. As he came down the stairs, however, Hawke was distracted by a commotion in the foyer.

"Messere, please!" Hawke heard Bodahn's voice issuing from the foyer. "Tell me what you need and I will fetch Master Hawke right away!"

"I have no time for this, dwarf!" the curt reply was rough, gravelly, and quite deep. Hawke would know that voice anywhere.

Hawke stood frozen on the bottom step, his heart racing. He wondered why the appearance of the elf had such an effect on him now, when they had been fighting side by side for quite some time since Fenris had left him. Perhaps it was because this was the first time Hawke was seeing Fenris in private since then…

Fenris stormed into the main hall, and as their eyes met they were both momentarily at a loss for words. Hawke noticed that Fenris looked tired, haggard, and a little thin. Yet the elf maintained a lithe and lean muscular figure. His silver hair and markings contrasted with his tan skin, and his dark green eyes were as mysterious as ever. Hawke recovered himself first.

"It's alright, Bodahn. I was awake anyway. I'll take it from here," he nodded to Bodahn, signaling that the dwarf should go get some rest then he turned to look at Fenris again. "If you'll follow me…"

Fenris nodded and followed as Hawke led him into his study. He walked to the fireplace then turned to face the elf.

"Clearly this is an urgent matter. How can I help?"

Fenris cleared his throat, but now did not seem able to meet Hawke's gaze.

"I found her, Hawke. Varania. My sister. I've arranged to meet with her at the Hanged Man tomorrow afternoon…"

"But you think it might be a trap," Hawke guessed.

"Yes. I think…Danarius may use her to get to me. I….I need your help, Hawke."

They stood in silence for a moment as Hawke considered the situation. He had already begun planning.

"Of course I'll help, Fenris," Hawke said placing a reassuring hand on Fenris's shoulder. The second he touched the elf, however, he felt the faint tingle of lyrium and quickly withdrew his hand. Fenris had an odd expression on his face and took a step backward. The whole atmosphere in the study had changed and Hawke swallowed hard against the light-headed feeling that was coming over him.

"You should…go…get some rest," Hawke said, turning to stare into the fire, hoping that it would be easier to breathe if he was not looking at the slender elf. He could still feel the faintly lingering tingle of lyrium on his hand. It triggered memories of Fenris's lyrium markings on his body, their skin pressed together…

"You have my gratitude," Fenris said quietly, then turned and left.

Hawk sighed in relief as the tension he had felt left the room with Fenris. Then he sat down at the desk to draw up a floor plan of the Hanged Man, and figure out the best plan of attack in case the meeting did turn into an ambush. Hawke almost hoped that it would. It could be their chance to finally free Fenris from his past, and help him start building a future…whether it included Hawke or not.

A/N: Please review. Let me know if I should keep going or not.