Disclaimer: The original characters and setting belong to Bioware and no copyright infringement is intended when writing this story.
Description: Hawke is at her wit's end when it comes to Fenris, and Xenon poses an offer she can't refuse. A miscalculation sends her into a past that is unrecognizable and foreign - will she take a step in the direction of understanding, or will she die at the hands of her own lover? Fem!Hawke/FenFen
Warnings: AU, adult situations, foul language (come on, it's me writing this!). This is rated M for a reason; I would ask that you don't read it if you aren't mature enough to handle the material.
"I'm...sorry. All I wanted was to be happy, just for a little while."
I scrunched my nose, attempting to banish the thought into the miniscule, rear part of my brain that housed the "this confuses the hell out of me" section.
The section of my brain that was admittedly, alarmingly, growing.
Not one for dwelling on such dour things, I thought it would be better to move past it all. Forgive and forget, make new memories, forget about an electrifying one night stand and try to resurrect a shaky friendship.
I didn't foresee that forcing our impromptu naked soiree from my mind would be so…difficult.
Ever since Fenris had walked out of my bedchambers, our professional life had been troublesome - not even to mention our personal life, which I wasn't even sure we had after that night.
That night. The night where too much wine, pent up frustration, and sexual energy built and collided, blowing smoke in our faces. The night where I thought Fenris had overcome his prejudices in order to let himself be with me - but I was wrong, and I didn't know how. I knew that he didn't relish being touched, least of all by a mage - but I had imagined him getting over his aversion, seeing past our differences.
Damn it all, I'm never playing drinking games with Isabela ever again. I knew I would have never let him leave my home had I been in my right state of mind; I would have asked him to stay, followed him like a nuisance until he agreed to tell me why he was so damn conflicted. He hardly spoke of his time as a slave, and when he did his words were limited to curses against Danarius's name - how was I supposed to know what would trigger an inconvenient response from him?
In the past, we had supped together, spoken to each other (very little, but it had been known to happen), and I had even been in the process of teaching him to read. Now, however, I was unsure of how to be in his presence without feeling the fool.
I should have known that sleeping together would change things - but I had no idea that it would force my entire relationship with the man to plummet. It was a miracle that I could coax him from his decrepit mansion and out into the world of bandits and slavers.
I sighed, watching as my breath took form in the cold air, a ghostly white gas floating above my head and disappearing. My brow furrowed and I looked down, trying to mask my frown from my companions.
The things I did for my comrades surprised even me. Anders had pestered me until I promised to buy him a certain herb that he had found in The Black Emporium; an expensive herb that would help to heal a young patient's severed spine - delicate work that Anders insisted would require extra help. I didn't know much about healing, myself, or I would probably question this declaration.
Being a mage did not mean I was proficient in the healing arts.
Mage. Perhaps that was why Fenris did not wish to be with me; he hated mages, after all. Could he not realize that I didn't try to be an apostate? Not that I planned on prancing into the Gallows to tap Meredith on the shoulder with my staff, but I at least attempted to be diplomatic.
Most of the time.
Well, some of the time.
Why did he insist upon torturing me?
"You can go home, you know." I tried not to snap the words at my comrades, the three unusually quiet people who dutifully followed me into the dark. "I do not mind taking the herb to Anders by myself before I head home."
Being followed every second of the day had ill effects on my psyche.
Maybe I was still uptight from Fenris's rejection; maybe I had grown tired from a long day of trekking.
Either way, Marian Hawke is not in a decent mood.
"You never know what sort of trouble hounds the streets of Kirkwall after nightfall," my redheaded companion said, raising an eyebrow. Her pale face glowed in the dim lamplight that guided our feet downwards. "I would hate to leave you at the Emporium only to find you dead and stripped in a gutter by morning."
"Your mental imagery continues to fascinate me, Aveline," I said dryly, striding up to the entrance of the Emporium, eager to end the evening and go home.
My bedding has never sounded so sweet.
"She's right," Fenris begrudgingly added from further behind. "Kirkwall is dangerous, even for one who braved the Deep Roads."
Passing the golem at the entrance, I immediately marched over to the dirt-encrusted trays that bore the magical herbs and roots Xenon had accumulated over the years. I had no idea how long they had been here, but I hoped they were still effective.
Trying to remember how Anders had described the herb, I combed over the selection, mildly distracted by my own thoughts.
"Why would you care, anyway?" I muttered to myself, lifting something green. It dyed my fingers an ochre color; I scrunched my nose and set it back down, indiscreetly rubbing my fingers against my robes.
"Because I do not wish to see you injured," Fenris said, startling me with the nearness of his voice.
I huffed, barely avoiding knocking over a coat rack.
I thought it was a coat rack.
It may have been a staff.
"It doesn't matter, Fenris."
"It does matter," he said, his brow furrowing. "Your life-"
"That's not what I'm talking about," I barked, reaching out and yanking out the plant that best resembled what Anders had described.
"Then what are you talking about?" If you cared, you wouldn't have shut me out. I don't even know what I am to you - not a lover, not a friend, not a rival.
I wasn't sure of anything anymore. I just knew that I was tired of my life being so complicated. I considered calling him out, demanding answers...
But that wouldn't do much for my pride, groveling like a starving animal. I would not grovel for answers, least of all from the proud elf. After all, I didn't care that much.
I shook my head. "Forget it." I pushed past him. "Just leave. You seem to be good at it."
Fenris groaned, and annoyingly, I could feel his consternation. "You do not understand." I heard him inhale, and then sigh. I could not hear his footsteps, but I knew that he had left my side.
Why could we not sit down like adults, and discuss this...thing that went on between us? There would be no denial of my attraction for him, but for all the love of the Maker, I could not put up with this...this wall. He was confusing at best, oxymoronic at worst. I began to wonder if he even had a clue of what he felt.
"I don't wish to see you hurt, but I'll break your heart if you attempt to grow close to me. Good luck trying."
Maker damn you, Fenris.
Even the Fenris in my head frustrated me.
Angered, I dropped my coin onto the table and glared at the golem in the corner, daring him to challenge me.
You don't care, Hawke. You don't care.
"Something troubles you," said Xenon from his chair. "Is there something you search out, here in my...collection?"
"Have a potion that cures confusion?" I answered a question with a question, ambling over to stand in front of the old antiquarian. "I could have a drought."
"Not a potion, I'm afraid," he said, voice booming across the walls. I searched his - was that even his face? - for any movement, but saw none. "I do carry a rock, however." He gave a chuckle, as if this amused him. "Urchin!" he cried. "Fetch the stone I speak of."
"That's unnecessary," I said to the creepy antiquarian. "I will have to figure it out on my own or move past it."
Some things are more important than my romantic troubles - like the Qunari, maleficar, and the ever-pesky Templar worries.
Not everything is about you,
I reminded myself, pressing my lips together.
"Oh, but this will help you," Xenon insisted as the urchin boy returned, bearing a funny looking rock in his hands. It didn't resemble anything that would ever grow in the ground; perhaps it was some sort of gem, better found in a cave. It was green, and glistened in the muted light of the Emporium, a subtle beauty in a rotting atmosphere. "Whisper your confusion into it, and it will help you find your way."
I smiled, knowing it would probably help, but also knowing it would be foolish to waste money on something I should do for myself. "I don't believe I have the funds-"
"For no charge," he said. "One time usage, Mage." The boy held it out, and I stared down at it. It twinkled up at me, a muted darkness roiling in the depths of it. He held it out as an offering, so I conceded and picked it up, examining it closely.
It was no bigger than my palm; I rolled it around, watching the morphing light glint off it in a spectrum of greens.
"Hawke," Aveline called from where she stood, perusing the artifacts. "It is getting late – I have duties in the morning."
"One moment," I returned, still thoughtfully watching the small jewel. "And I just...whisper to it?"
"Whatever you like," Xenon said.
"It will help?" I asked suspiciously, still unsure. "It won't, say, set me ablaze or transport me to the moon?"
"Unless those are two of the things that confound you, then no."
Hmm. "I'll endeavor not to be vague, then."
Walking away from the ancient man, I placed the shiny object against my lips, feeling foolish.
What confounded me? Fenris. Everything Fenris. I wanted very badly to care for him, but he responded to every advance I made with two steps backwards and yet refused to sever his hold on me. It was a cruel dance, one neither of us were willing to quit.
It would all help if I just...knew.
"I want to understand him," I whispered earnestly, closing my eyes as a sudden light-headedness overcame me.