I think I just had to get it out of my system. DA2 is that kind of game that haunts a person and won't let go until some sort of praise will be committed. In my humble case a praise is made in form of fanfiction. (Plus, it was raining and the image under my eyelids was very, very persistent.)
I recently found out there was a kink meme for the exact same topic I based my story upon. I'm sorry if there are any resemblances between stories written for that meme and mine - completely accidental and unintentional... Still, I hope You'll enjoy reading about Hawke and Fenris again...
Thousand thanks to my dearest beta, Hatsepsut, for wasting her time over my grammatical misery :)
Bioware owns everything, I only own my obsession.
It was another grey morning, cold, filled with the continuous hum of falling rain. It wasn't exactly encouraging to crawl out of bed, so Fenris stayed under the rough blanket, listening to the sound of raindrops splashing against the windowsill. The room was chilly and it probably meant his fire had burned out throughout the night. He would have to break more furniture and the thought of any activity made him pull the blanket over his head.
Two days ago he had come home from another trip with Hawke. At first she had claimed, as she usually did, that 'it's just going to be a small job, some monsters infesting one of the old mines, nothing special'. Today, after some of his burns had healed and stopped itching each time he put some clothes on, Fenris tried to decide whether she was that good at fooling them – probably having a lot of fun making them look like idiots – or if was she really that clueless to let them ran into a mature dragon. Both options were possible. Dany Hawke was mistress of little pranks she and Varric usually played at each other. On the other hand, she really tended to forget about doing background check on the jobs she was taking. Sometimes he wondered if offering his assistance in her ventures had been a good idea.
The rumbling in his stomach finally made him fight off the laziness and he got up unwillingly. Combing his coarse, white hair with his fingers, he noticed that the books piling on the table closest to the window were thoroughly soaked. He should fix the broken glass someday, he decided, otherwise he wouldn't be able to start a fire as long as it continued to rain… Fenris pushed the books further from the window and peeked outside. Heavy clouds filled that small patch of the sky he was able to see above the Hightown rooftops, but the weather forecast was obvious. It had been raining for the third day in a row now and it wasn't going to stop.
It wasn't all that bad, though. If it hadn't been for this heavy rain, the battle with that dragon in the Bone Pit could've been ten times harder. Rain definitely didn't agree with the beast's fire and even though Hawke couldn't cast her fireballs either, she had done a great job of freezing the dragon's brain to an ice cube…
Fenris rummaged through bits and pieces of his last meal, hoping there would be something – like a forgotten apple or maybe a slice of dried bread – that would delay his inevitable trip to the larder, but rats had already taken care of everything he hadn't . Gloomily, he thought that Varric was right after all. He really should do something about those vermin, if he was going to stay in the abandoned mansion longer than a while and so far 'longer than a while' seemed to be a possible option. Almost four months had passed since Hawke and her 'merry band of misfits' helped him beat the latest group of Danarius' slavers to a pulp. Since then nothing had indicated he was still being hunted and even though Fenris wasn't planning to let his guard down, it felt somehow reasonable to make his existence more comfortable.
He wasn't going to clean the mansion though. Not… yet, anyway. There was some sort of nasty 'slave task' ring to cleaning and he irrationally resisted the idea.
He was halfway across the main hall when he heard someone knocking on the door of the mansion. Fenris froze. His hand travelled above his shoulder only to find out the hilt of the sword wasn't there. He must have left it by the bed, which ironically contradicted his previous thought about keeping his guard. He didn't expect to be attacked on the way to the larder. For a moment he felt a surge of panic; instinct told him to turn around and run, if not for his weapon then maybe at least for cover. He felt his muscles tense, ready to take flight…
Since when do slavers and assassins knock, actually?
The sound turned into heavy banging, as if someone outside was getting anxious. Relaxing slightly, Fenris looked around and caught the closest thing that at least slightly resembled a weapon and probably could be used as one. He tried not to think it used to be a plant of some sorts when dry soil began to spill from the ornamental pot. At least it was some heavy ceramics, good for smacking…
The banging stopped when he was at the narrow window that allowed him to take a look at the doorstep without being seen. His eyes widened in surprise. There was some sort of… creature standing outside the mansion, about seven feet tall with a very pointy head or maybe helmet of sorts. It was hard to tell under the blanket the being had thrown over its head, probably meant as a protection from the rain. A misshapen hunch, also covered by the blanket, made the creature look like an Abomination, but it didn't have their foul scent. Fenris was pretty sure he would be able to smell it from here, if it had one.
He watched with fascination as it swayed uncertainly and turned sideways, as if looking around. Then a small hand, awkwardly too small for the size of the creature, emerged from under the blanket and hammered on the door with new fierceness. Fenris noticed a bracelet tied around its wrist – black leather strap with a single green glass bead… He had seen it before.
He jumped to the door before the banging had a chance to stop and opened it widely. The tall figure swayed inwards when the small fist didn't land on the door and Fenris managed to catch her with one hand – tossing away the dried plant with the other. The blanket slipped from Hawke's staff and heavy backpack that she carried, and then her triangular face, framed with very wet and very orange hair, appeared from underneath. She caught her balance quickly and grinned at him, straightening up.
"So you are at home anyway! I began to lose hope..."
"What are you doing here, Hawke?" he interrupted her sharply, fighting off that awkward feeling caused by her weight in his arms only a moment ago. He wasn't prepared for any sort of physical contact with anyone yet and he certainly wasn't prepared for this red-haired mage, even though it wasn't the physical pain he was afraid of, but… She didn't seem to be offended by the tone of his voice, however. She ignored it, like every other time when Fenris scowled at her, criticized the fact she was a mage or made an angry remark about her decisions.
"It's pouring outside, I'm freezing," she said instead, clearly avoiding an answer to his question. Her teeth chattered slightly. "Can I come in?"
"You're already in, Hawke," Fenris pointed out the obvious. He wasn't certain if her shivers were genuine or if they were another one of her little acts, but he gestured her further in and closed the door. She relaxed visibly, throwing the blanket from her arms to the floor. Her backpack followed it almost instantly. Dany sighed, stretching with relief. Fenris eyed the backpack suspiciously, but it didn't explode nor do anything weird, it just stood there, a lump of material tied with burnt piece of rope.
"What's inside?" he ventured carefully. He wasn't hoping for an answer, but he got one this time.
"Some of my… stuff, let's put it that way. The most important stuff. I kinda… moved out of Uncle Gamlen's shack. For a while."
Fenris raised his eyebrows, readying himself for a heated protest, but Hawke gave him one of those 'sad kitty eyes' look.
"Can I explain it by the fire or something, please, Fenris? I'm freezing…"
His mouth formed a 'NO!', but he forced it back with a grunt and resigned. For now. He wasn't Anders to fall for kitty or puppy eyes too often, but he could make an exception just once. He gestured towards his room and Dany went there quickly. Fenris gave her backpack and very wet blanket one last offended look, before he followed her.
There was something about Hawke that immediately made her a 'right person in a right spot'. She blended in like a chameleon. Once she took a seat at the bench near the fireplace and extended her palms towards the remains of the last embers in it, she looked like she was always there. Perfect fit.
"I… there's a broken cabinet in the corner, it is probably going to burn fine," Fenris said after a while, watching her with amazement. He wished he had her skill, but even if he did, he would probably never go unnoticed with those lyrium brands on his skin. Or maybe he would? Hawke was a mage, she had a provocative, green tattoo on her cheek and temple, she never left her house without her staff, and yet…
"Cabinet?" her eyes widened in surprise. "You're burning furniture?"
"Firewood is costly." Ignoring her stare, he went ahead and built a small pyre around the dying embers. Then he reached for the book he last used and tore a page out of it.
Next thing he knew he was lying on the floor and Hawke was snarling from the bench, clutching the book in a protective embrace. Fenris was back to his feet in a second.
"What…," he began angrily, but she snapped at him, throwing him off-balance.
"Ignorant jerk!" she hissed. "Don't you dare treat books like that!"
He scowled at her, taking a step back. He wasn't ready for this. Books were just another piece of furniture left by the Tevinter merchant in the mansion – Fenris sold most valuable ones and decided to use all the rest the way he saw fit. Now he realized that maybe Hawke – a mage and a well-educated person as she was – might see it a bit differently. For a moment that too familiar feeling of inferiority overwhelmed him and he shook it off with disgust. Something in his face must have betrayed him, because Dany's expression changed and she backed off, looking away apologetically. She cleared her throat.
"I'll help you with it, if you want," she suggested and, not waiting for him to answer, raised her hand towards the fireplace, snapping her fingers. Sparks showered from them, landing on the wood and it caught fire immediately. Fenris realised it was just for show, since he knew Hawke could cast a fireball only by moving a brow while staring at her target. It made him feel even worse, angry at her for being what she was, despite the confusing certainty that what she just did, she did to ease the tension. He took a few breaths to calm himself.
"You mentioned something about moving out from your Uncle's… house."
"I did, didn't I?" she risked a glance at him, embarrassment in her eyes. "It was… a little sudden, I'm afraid."
'And you came here because?'
She turned to face him again, looking up at him with a pleading smile.
"Fenris, I need to ask you a favour. A very important one. Please," she raised her hand to silence him, continuing breathlessly. "I had to get out of there, my Mum is going crazy about me and Carver dying in the Deep Roads – or only me, in case he's going to be left behind. Varric is going crazy too, he keeps on discussing details with me and I just don't have a head for that stuff, it's far beyond my area of comprehension, you know me, right?"
She paused, awaiting some sort of reaction from him and Fenris nodded a little reluctantly.
"So they keep pushing those responsibilities on me, you know, my Mother, Carver, Varric… I just can't take it anymore, so I ran away. Only for a few days, but I need to stay somewhere…" she paused again and smiled her most charming smile. "Please, please, please let me stay?"
He was sort of expecting it from the moment she dropped her backpack on his floor, but it still hit him like a hammer on the head. Hawke staying… here? He tried that thought for a while, giving it a scrutinising look while Dany continued breathlessly:
"I swear I'll just find myself a tiny little corner and I won't bother you at all. There must be some place in this giant house that I can stay in for a few nights, right? You won't even see me, if you don't want to…"
"Why here?" he interrupted her and Hawke gave him a puzzled look. "Why don't you go to that elven bloodmage girl, or to that Lowtown infirmary your abomination friend runs?" He realised he didn't want it to sound like 'go to your mage friends, not here', but it was too late. Hawke hesitated, biting her lower lip. For some weird reason it looked really appealing.
"The Alienage where Merril lives is too close to my family, and Anders…" she sighed. "Once they start looking for me, that will be where they'll go first. Your house is the last place anyone would expect to find me… Except for the Chantry maybe, but you don't really think I can put up with that blue-eyed excuse of a saint, do you…?" her voice faded away and she fell silent, staring at him with her eyes wide opened. Fenris realised he was clenching his teeth.
"Last place, you say." He didn't know why her words put him off so hard. After all he did rather keep to himself, seldom visiting the Hanged Man for the others' company and he practically never invited them in – with the small exception of Hawke herself, who sometimes paid him short visits in the morning only to ask if he was going to join them on this or that. But…
"I… You're hardly the party type, Fenris," she began apologetically and he snorted at that. Hawke got up. "In this case… well, I think I could steal some Chantry outfit and maybe hide my staff with some sort of illusion for a few days. Thanks for letting me in, I feel slightly less soaked thanks to your fireplace."
She paused, tilting her head to the side, surprised. With a sudden guilt Fenris realised she was really ready to leave in that wretched weather, obviously believing he would throw her out just like that. Just a moment ago he thought he could, too, and that was even worse.
"The next room has some sort of a bed and a fireplace," he said, a bit too sharply and a bit too fast. "You can stay as long as you want."
For just a moment Dany looked like she was going to hug him, but she didn't, smiling widely instead.
"Thank you, thank you a thousand times, Fenris, you're a lifesaver…" she paused and considered something for a second. "Well, maybe not like that last time, when you smashed the skull of that carta thug, right before he sliced me in two, but almost. I'll just go there now and get out of your way, okay? Thank you again, I really, really mean it!"
Smiling and still talking she retreated out of the room, leaving him standing by the fireplace, a storm of thoughts buzzing in his head. Had he just invited her in – the redheaded apostate, the slightly crazed, self-appointed leader of their small company and probably the most intriguing woman he had ever met? Fenris considered the possibility of Hawke having cast some spell on him, but he pushed that thought away immediately. She wouldn't do that, this much he knew about her already. Why had he done that, then, out of his own free will? Wasn't she everything he loathed, everything his slave life had taught him to hate? Mages were unpredictable, attached to power and blood, and he had just let one of them sleep under his roof; no, he had invited one of them to share this place with him, if only for a while.
Granted, Hawke was nothing like the mages in Tevinter he knew from before. She was selfless and compassionate, even though he had a lot to say about the people she decided to stand for… Like Anders, that abomination she accepted just a bit too gladly in their team. Fenris was becoming instantly nervous around the mage, watching him with distrustful and wary eyes. But Hawke was nothing like that.
He shouldn't have trusted her in the first place, he knew that. The very moment Fenris learned what she was, he should have left, thanking her for her assistance, but nothing more. Instead, he had offered his aid in the Deep Roads expedition Hawke had planned to participate in soon. He never figured out why he had done that, but one thing followed the other and soon enough a mansion he stayed in for just a few nights became his uncomfortable home. Slowly, he had grown used to Kirkwall and most of all to Hawke - inviting him to take part in jobs she took one by one to pay her share in the expedition. Slowly he had begun to get used to her other companions as well – stern and law-abiding Aveline, a Fereldan like Hawke and her family, currently member of the city guard. Varric, the slightly too talkative dwarf, who never parted with his crossbow he quite disturbingly kept calling "Bianca". Anders, former Grey Warden, currently a runaway apostate. Merrill, openly a bloodmage, whose mere sight was enough to spoil Fenris' mood for a day. Isabela, pirate and former captain, Carver, Hawke's brother with 'big sister' issues, Sebastian, prince and almost a Chantry priest… Their company wasn't always welcomed, but Fenris had learned to know them and, in the case of some of them, even respect them. None of them was as important as Hawke, however. He was aware of the fact that others felt the same – it was her presence, something in her personality that kept them all together despite all odds.
And now she was outside his door, dragging her backpack on the way to the room he had offered her…
It was just too weird.
He sat on the bench, staring at flames dancing in the fireplace and listened.