As always, many thanks for reading, faving, commenting and adding this story to Your alerts :) It's the first time I'm getting so much attention and it feels REALLY good ^.^ I guess there are benefits of writing for a big fandom...
Also big thanks for my beta, Hatsepsut, who did a fantastic job putting up with my ignorance of Perfect tenses... ^.^
Without further babbling, I hereby present You the last chapter. Have fun!
The rest of the night was even worse than his nightmares.
Fenris was pacing the room restlessly like a caged wolf. The more his anger at Hawke vanished, the more he was beginning to hate himself, furious for lashing out at her without thinking. Of course, what she had done was also wrong, but it wasn't even a tiny bit as wrong as shouting at her the way he had was. And what she had said…
He heard that some tragedy had happened to the Hawke family on the way from Lothering, but he had never learned what it was. He suddenly remembered Aveline, who had begun to speak something and fell silent after Hawke had given her a warning look. Fenris wasn't one to pry, so he never felt inclined to learn about details… And it didn't help one bit that he had learned them tonight, when Hawke had been screaming at him, her eyes dark and desperate.
He didn't remember his own family – the ritual in which he was given his tattoos was so horribly painful, the shock had wiped out all memories he could possibly have. He didn't know who his mother was, whether he had any siblings or even if they were still alive… And until now he had never thought about it much. He tried to imagine how would it feel like to know his brother or sister his entire life and then lose them, but he couldn't.
If only he had known, if only he had any brains in his head, he would never have said any of those things to Hawke.
Fenris felt a desperate urge to slam his fist against the wall or at least break some furniture, but he restrained himself, thinking about the redhead mage in the other room. He had disturbed her enough for one night – actually, it was enough for a lifetime. No doubts she would leave in the morning and never come back. He decided he should leave too. There was nothing for him in Kirkwall, if…
He paused, before his mind finished the sentence with: "if there was no Hawke he could be with". He tried to rephrase the sentence, adding "at least from time to time" at the end and replacing "be" with "travel", but it still felt like he was hiding something from himself. He definitely wasn't ready for that.
Hawke, the redhead mage with an amazing smile, who hardly ever agreed with him and never ceased helping other mages… But at the same time the only person who had ever shown him so much kindness and attention.
And he had just treated her like a traitor. No, worse. He had treated her like a mage.
Again, not wanting to make noise, Fenris bit his knuckles until he drew blood.
It was already bright when he heard her leaving the room. He rushed to the door but stopped, not opening it. What was he going to say? Apologies seemed worthless; besides, he didn't even know where to start. Fenris listened to Hawke's steps until they disappeared in the distance. To his surprise, it didn't sound like she was leaving the mansion, rather as if she went deeper inside… Even more to his surprise, he realised a sudden sense of relief and even a trace of hope awakening in him. Maybe…
In the distance he heard a knock on the door.
This time he reached for his sword and marched out, fingers tightened around the handle. Hawke was nowhere to be seen in the main hall. When Fenris opened the door, holding his sword so it was clearly visible, he found Hawke's brother waiting on the doorstep.
"Fenris, good morning. I hope I'm not bothering." Carver's eyes darted around the hall, scanning the area. "Have you seen my sister lately?"
"It depends," Fenris hesitated. "A few days ago I accompanied her to the Bone Pit. Why?"
"She got out of… home yesterday and no one knows where she is now,' replied Carver, his face frozen in an expression of his usual mild suspicion. "Mother is worried sick."
"Maybe she's at the infirmary in Lowtown," Fenris heard Hawke's silent steps deeper in the mansion and coughed loudly. The steps paused. "Have you checked there?"
"It was the first place I went to," Carver tilted his head to the side, a gesture he did almost identically like his sister. "It started last night, when Merrill and Varric came to Uncle's… house to ask Dany to a game of diamondback. I went with them instead and it turned out no one knows where she has disappeared to."
"Barracks?" suggested Fenris, coughing again. If Hawke was going to be any more restless, her brother was going to notice. Carver was already looking at him in a weird way.
"Just left them. Are you sick, Fenris?"
"Bad case of dragon-induced influenza," he gave Carver a cold look and Hawke's brother decided not to pursue the subject further.
"I see. I heard the beast was gigantic, twenty feet tall or more…" the boy hesitated for a moment. "At least Varric was saying so. Anyway, I'll be going. Let me know if you see her, right?"
"I'm sure she is doing fine," Fenris ensured him. Carver snorted.
"Isn't she always, that brilliant sister of mine? I keep telling Ma that, but she won't listen. She keeps saying Dany was kidnapped. Poor kidnappers, if you ask me. They'd have to put up with her."
Closing the door behind him, Fenris realised he wouldn't mind putting up with her. Too much. As he expected, Hawke was waiting in the nearest corridor, peeking curiously outside.
"You didn't tell him," she said, a statement rather than a question. Fenris shrugged. "I… Thank you. This was unexpected."
"Hawke," he started and fell silent. She tilted her head to the side. "I…" Fenris paused again, looking for words, but now, standing face to face with her, it was even harder to find any than a few minutes ago in his room. He watched her orange hair, her eyes with dark circles underneath, telling him she didn't sleep much this night and he couldn't say anything except… except…
"I am sorry."
Her eyes widened a little, as if in surprise.
"There is no need to…"
"Hawke, I am sorry," he repeated solemnly. "I never should have said… what I had said. I hope you can forgive me."
'And please don't leave', he added in his thoughts, watching her face for any hint of reaction. She stared at him for a moment, one eyebrow raised slightly in disbelief. And then she smiled.
"I think I can, actually," familiar green sparks appeared in her eyes. "Would you mind not moving for a minute?"
"Not moving…?" Fenris began, but she quickly took a few steps and wrapped her arms around him. He froze, expecting a sting of pain from where her skin touched his, but he realised… She wasn't actually touching him, keeping a distance of an inch between them, enough for Fenris to feel her warmth, but nothing more.
"I know that what I saw in your dream wasn't meant for me," Hawke began silently, her lips close to his ear. "But I now understand why you never let anyone touch you. And this is the closest thing to a warm hug I can give you without hurting you more."
Slowly, Fenris raised his arms and put them around her, pulling her, closing that small distance she created. Part of him wondered if there had ever been another time in his life when he had held another human being in his arms... A second part felt the smoothness of Hawke's skin, smelled the fresh, ginger scent of her hair, felt her heart beating next to his own…
"They don't hurt anymore," he whispered hoarsely. Maybe he imagined that, but her heart seemed to speed up a little, before she slowly freed herself from his embrace. They stood motionless for a moment, looking at one another until Hawke raised her hand and rubbed her blushing cheek. Fenris realised that this silence was not supposed to last forever, even though he could spend the rest of eternity staring at her. He felt an unexpected warmth not only in his body where he held her, but deeper inside, where she had reached with this casual ease of hers, touching him in a way he had never hoped to experience.
"Thank you," he said simply, aware that there was nothing more to say.
"No, I thank you," Hawke smiled. "You didn't rat me out, but I should be on my way back home, before Ma starts pulling her hair out."
Fenris nodded, only a bit reluctantly. The moment was gone, disappearing like a broken soap bubble. Hawke went passed him towards the room he had offered her… just yesterday? He felt like it was years ago. He watched the redhead mage walk out, heavy backpack rested on her shoulders.
"Maybe I should walk you home?" he offered, but she shook her head.
"I can manage, it's not that heavy, you know. Besides…" she hesitated and gave him a smug look. "Besides this would ruin the lie you told my brother. No, I think my location for last night should remain a secret. Our secret."
For a second Fenris got distracted by those two simple words. 'Our secret'. That wonderful, soap-bubble moment was long gone, but her warmth remained and he realised it wasn't going to leave him. Maybe not ever. It was strange and new – an overwhelming feeling of attachment, but he didn't mind.
"The Deep Road's expedition should be starting soon," Hawke continued, and he managed to concentrate on her words again. "I don't know when, but Varric was definitely telling me that. Sometime around a fortnight from now. I think," she hesitated and laughed. "Anyway, once I know for sure, would you consider joining us? I'm not going to force anyone – in fact, I know already that Anders is not interested into getting down there and neither is Isabela…"
"Let me know when you plan to leave," Fenris said, interrupting her. "I do not expect to be occupied with anything else, so I'll be ready to join." He tried a smile and got a wide grin from Hawke in return. "It's always a pleasure… Dany."
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