WARNINGS: CHECK THE FIRST CHAPTER
A/N: Thanks to all the people that reviewed, alerted and faved. While I don't have kids of my own, I do have a niece that I love with all my heart and pray that nothing bad ever happens to her. And yes, the person talking in chapters 1 &2 is Flemmeth. She demanded a cameo. Like always, tell me what you think and any mistakes that I might've missed.
Garret Hawke had grown very distant from the man he used to be in Lothering. Sometimes, and as time passed fewer times, he wondered what Bryant would think of him now if he'd chosen to leave with them. But he never dwelled on those thoughts for long. He couldn't. Bryant had made a choice that gave all of Lothering the time to flee. Questioning his sacrifice diminished it. The best men and women of the Chantry died that day and Hawke wanted to honor those deaths.
The mage had many ways to make an impression. To the elves and the women and children of Darktown, he was the hero that saved them from slavers. The one that appeared when they needed and rescued them without caring what kind of person they were and that they had no gold to pay him for it. He was the one that made them want to be better people and ashamed of the things they did either for survival or because they knew no other way.
To his family and the rest of Kirkwall, he was the joker. The one that held nothing sacred at the expense of a laugh. More often than not, he said the worst thing possible in any situation. It made people think he was mocking them and the people with him groan in exasperation.
To his enemies, or anyone that incurred his anger, he was a ruthless man. The one that had no qualms about killing a person in the most painful way possible in retribution or holding back death, giving hope of mercy, until the information is given and any hope squashed with a wave of magic. His fame as a man to not be crossed had been well earned. It made people afraid of telling the templars of his magic or his sister's. But it made his children a horribly big target and, because of it, only a handful knew of their existence.
Since looking into fearful green eyes and realizing the elf Fenris wanted to rescue was a child, he couldn't help but think of her as Cecily. Bryant had loved his little girl's green eyes… Watching Fenris and the girl, who had not said a word during all this time, holding each other with the strength of people thinking they had lost each other made his anger grow against the magister that almost separated them tonight.
They were like him. That child could be any one of his kids. He could be Fenris. And the fear, fear he kept trying to ignore, gripped his heart and left him breathless. If anyone knew about his kids… If they ever learned of their whereabouts… This could be him or worse….
The moment was broken when Fenris eyes caught his. Wild, angry eyes shining with hate. So much hate…
"If I find you have done anything to her when you took her…"
The words had a gravely tone to it, almost like a growl. With a start, Garret realized the hate was directed at him. Just once he'd like to save someone and have them be grateful for it… Especially when he did it for free.
Closing the door, he noticed Aveline rolled her eyes before taking a seat at the table. Varric only shook his head before following the guardswoman. They both looked as if they'd gone against a dragon and the dragon flew off as the winner. But their reaction told him volumes. After all, they were expecting this of the elf.
Garret shrugged, throwing Fenris the one smile that always made his mother glare at him with a tiny hint of a smile she thought he never noticed.
"Well, let's see… Mother insisted on a bath and clean clothes before food, but Carver was the one stuck getting the water for the bath. Isabela came with one of her tunics, which Bethany accidentally set on fire. Oh, I know what I did! I sacrificed one of my favorite tunics for her to wear. Sure, Mother was the one to make sure it somehow fitted her, but I think the green color accentuates her eyes. Don't you agree?"
There was a collective groan, and he was sure Isabela rubbed her face. At least it made her stop looking at the little girl with a disappointed look.
"Accident, Andraste's sweet perky ass! She knew what she was doing," she said dropping the comb she still held in her hand on the table before sitting on Varric's lap, "I personally think it was revenge for telling her about that one time in Denerim with your cousin."
She finished with an amused giggle. The dwarf had to be more tired than he let on, as he didn't try to dislodge the woman. Hawke hoped her words distracted the elf, but apparently it made things worse.
He placed the girl on the floor and she ran behind him. A little scared girl clutching her father's right leg and staring at the rest of the world with big sad, fearful eyes. Because Fenris was her father, be it by blood or circumstance, Garrett didn't know. He knew the look of the girl… He'd seen it in the countless orphans that littered Kirkwall and it never failed to break his heart. No child should carry that look
"Your sister is a mage too?" Fenris cried, fear clouding the usual anger in his eyes.
The song of his tattoos increasing as they suddenly glowed blue and the elf seemed to turn almost hazy as the Veil weakened around him. It was surprising and enthralling, but all he could think was how he didn't notice all that yesterday. He blamed it on the late hour it all happened.
Now, it was all very clear. Fenris and the girl were special because magic had been used on them to make them special. Against their will. And given what he knew of lyrium, it had to have been painful beyond measure. To have survived it was a miracle. Added to that pain came the knowledge that they were hunted continuously. No wonder the elf was a wild thing with a hatred against magic and mages.
"We escaped a land of dark magic only to have it hound us at every corner," he spoke, sadness, despair and… was that defeat…
"Well, I'm sorry my existence offends you. You are welcomed to go now and continue with your life, you know," he said carelessly.
Fenris might've been a slave. He might currently be almost feral. But Garrett would not apologize or feel guilty for things he did not do. He was not a magister and he hadn't even set foot on Tevinter and he refused to be grouped with them.
Fenris was going to say something. Probably something nasty and mean to hurt him. Hawke wondered when he'd h use the glowing thing on him.
"Perhaps you should ask him where the gold Anso told us about is exactly."
"We are not accepting his gold, Varric. Didn't you find something to sell on that mansion?"
The dwarf laughed, taking an amulet and showing it to the group, "I found plenty, Hawke, but we're still going to end up short."
The elf trembled, hands clenched in a fist that made him wonder if the elf had hurt himself. The little girl held his leg and Hawke wondered if that was the thing that held him in place.
The elf suddenly scoffed and picked the girl again. He opened the door again without a second look and Hawke realized he was going to lose a good warrior. He'd probably be stuck with Carver for the rest of his life.
But then, the worst nightmare Hawke had ever had came true. His little girl. His beautiful Cecily. The one that most resembled her other father in temperament. The one Bryant himself had named because her eyes were like his mother's. She came out of room, giggling and running with her arms outstretched towards him.
He picked her up. He would always pick her and Malcom if they asked or needed. And she cried out in delight. Her face shone with happiness. Both his kids were always happy. Small little hands grabbed his nose, almost poking an eye out of him. She leaned forward, when he turned his face away from her fingers, wet and sloppy was the kiss she gave his cheek. The first one she ever gave, despite Bethany's and mother's urgings for hugs and kisses.
The door was opened for everyone to see. The elf was still on the threshold, as he turned when the sound his baby made coming into the room caught his attention. A set of green eyes staring at the scene. One of them the eyes of a mage hating elf.
Blue stared deeply into green.
'If you dare, I will destroy you,' he thought.
But the elf was not truly staring at him. He looked haunted. Pained. Regretful. And something told him that whatever it was that gave him that look was something he did not want to know… Even when all he wanted was to ask the warrior if he was okay.
No one moved, except for Cecily. Until Fenris shuddered, the haunted look gone as he went back into Gamlen's house.
"I am sorry. If I appeared ungrateful to you or your friends. We… we have our reasons to hate magic, as you can well imagine. Don't get me wrong, I know magic does have its uses, but it is very easy to stray. And when you wield that much power, straying leads to horrors unimaginable."
The elf spoke in a clipped voice. It reminded Hawke of the times he watched Bryant and the other templars memorizing parts of the Chant. There was feeling on the words, but they didn't feel completely real. Almost as if he was still learning how to act like a regular person instead of a slave.
'But what kind of civility could he learn while running and hiding?'
"Hey, I'm not saying you should go around hugging every mage that crosses your path, but at least keep in mind that this is not Tevinter and I'm not a magister, okay?"
The elf smiled. Still just the bare bones of a smile, but a smile nonetheless. It made Hawke grin like an idiot on the inside.
"If I forget, I'll just take a stroll to see where you live."
Isabela laughed, almost waking Aveline and, apparently, Varric too. Bethany popped her head from the back room to see what was happening. She had the tousled look that said she just woke up, which meant that Cecily had escaped her crib again. No wonder no one came after her.
"Ha, ha, very funny," he deadpanned, watching him smile with the little girl still staring at him with those sad eyes made him think of some way of helping them.
He could offer Fenris his aid if this Danarius came for him again. He could offer him a job of sorts. Well, he kept telling Aveline he was working. Sure, their savings for the expedition will be less, but he'd been thinking of finding a warrior before Carver found a way to annoy him to death.
"Look, if you're staying around and need some gold, I'm willing to help you out."
A raised eyebrow from both Isabela and Fenris. The former suddenly cackling and excusing herself before sauntering out of the house.
"Not giving you the gold, but working to get it. And once I get the gold for Bartrand's expedition, we'll be going into the Deep Roads. I know, big thing, but mother and Bethany are willing to care for the kids. Adding yours doesn't seem like a problem for them.
"Perhaps we'll be staying," Fenris began, looking down at the girl with a warmth that had not been there before, "Levana needs time to recover from this."
"Beautiful name, for a beautiful little girl," Garret said, "This little one here is Cecily. Malcom is still sleeping. What can I say? Twins run in the family."
He shrugged again, watching his sister come out of the back room while yawning loudly. She took one look at the scene.
Aveline and Varric were asleep on their table. Fenris and Hawke were staring at each other. She shook her head, almost as if trying to wake up more and began preparing breakfast, cursing a little when she asked Garret if he'd made bread and he told her no.
Fenris shuffled as if uncomfortable.
"She's… She's happy and does not look like you at all," there was a catch in the elf's voice.
"She takes after her other side of the family. Just remember that you did not see them and they don't exist."
Garrett extended his hand, but the elf looked at it, cocking his head a little to look at it through his bangs. The mage let his hand fall.
"Where are you staying?"
There was silence. Broken only with the sounds of Bethany cooking the porridge.
"They know the place we were staying, but I find myself willing to face my former master," Fenris began, "I cannot live with a wolf at our backs and my daughter deserves better. I believe we shall be moving to the mansion we rescued Levana from. If he wants it back, he has to pry it from my cold, dead, fingers."
He wanted to stay quiet. He really did. But his mouth betrayed him.
"Cold, dead fingers? Seems like a waste of a perfectly handsome elf."
Bethany squeaked and Fenris chuckled. It was an adorable moment.
"If you want to stay there, let's wait until they wake up so we can begin fixing the place."
The warrior scowled, "Why would it need fixing? It is not mine and I do not care for it."
"For starters, there might be more traps waiting to be triggered by the wrong hands. Second, Varric always says those mansions have escape routes. It'll be fun to find them and know them just in case you or Levana ever needs them. And, the palce is filthy and has broken stuff all over the place. She can hurt herself just walking around. We don't want that, do we?"
"No, I don't want that. And finding an escape route sounds good," it was dragged and reluctant, "But we can't stay at our old place either."
"Don't worry. I have an idea, but you two should be tired. She refused to sleep, though she didn't speak either."
"That is my fault," he said, "She only knows Arcanum and I have been remiss in teaching her the common tongue."
"Well mother did say she was bored. She can teach her while we clean your brand new house and tomorrow she can continue her lessons while we go to Sundermount."
"I have never left Levana alone since we escaped," Fenris confessed, "What is in Sudermount?"
"Mother is safe. She's no mage. And we have a promise to keep with the Dalish."