Rating: M / R sexual situations.
Warnings: soft-core smut.
Beta: la_baroness, a million thanks over. All mistakes remaining are my own.
A/N: Act Three; after 'Alone', bent canon in that it assumes 'All That Remains' has yet to happen.
Sleep Without Dreams
The Chantry bells have long since signaled the passing of the seventh hour and he is late.
He's late and yet he makes no move to cross the courtyard, to knock on her door. The bottle of Aggregio threatens to crack from the pressure of his grip.
He is a fool. He had accepted the invitation without thinking. An impulsive, reckless response made without thought. He is no tactician, but even he knows the folly of engaging an enemy with such complete carelessness.
"She is no enemy," he grips the bottle tighter, shifting from foot to foot. A guard posted near the stone pillars eyes him.
His feet move him forward without his volition or consent. His fingers grasp the knocker. He rolls his shoulders, tense muscles pulling against the movement.
"Ah, Messere Fenris! Come in!" says Bohdan, with his cheerful smile and knowing eyes. Even the dwarf can see how utterly out of place he is, how he does not belong in the foyer of Hawke's mansion. "I'll just be a moment. Messere Hawke and…"
Before he can move, shouting from the rooms above floats down, angry words falling over the balcony. Hawke. And her mother.
"More suitable? You're joking. Please tell me you're joking."
"This is no laughing matter, dear. What of the children? Have you given any thought to them?"
"Is this really what you're concerned with? The wellbeing of hypothetical children? Or is it the thought of what might happen if -Maker forbid- one of your noble friends find out your daughter has no shame over being bedded by an elf?"
"What? The neighbors might hear?"
He is a fool. He sets the bottle of Aggregio on the side table. The voices have faded, the argument moved on, but he has already turned away.
The dwarf waits next to the door, and he opens it with a sad shake of his head. To his credit he says nothing, only closes the door with a soft noise behind him.
He stands in front of the fire and the wine is bitter in his mouth, against his tongue. It heats a path from mouth to chest to stomach, spreads a slow haze of warmth through his body. Perhaps, this time, if he drinks enough, he will be able to sleep without dreams.
He removes his gauntlets, dropping them where he stands. His armor follows, cast into a heap as he takes another drink and sags into a chair. His markings reflect the firelight as he extends his hand, flexing his fingers, turning his wrist. His mouth twists, and he drops his hand.
No shame. Hawke may not have shame, but the mother… he hadn't needed to hear the heated words to understand her distaste. He is not such a fool that he doesn't realize it is a sentiment most in Thedas would share, that he has no doubt about his place in Hawke's world.
The bottle is almost empty when he hears her step, the sound of her staff when she leans it against the wall.
She sets the bottle of Aggregio on the table beside him. When she walks slowly around the back of his chair, her fingers trail along the fabric behind him. He tilts his head back, resting it on the stained material, thinking he is far too drunk to deal with Hawke's complications tonight.
She stands in front of him. Meeting her eyes would be too telling, so his eyes trace damaged tiles in the ceiling above him. Webs of cracks split and merge, chaos in dirty plaster.
"You missed dinner."
He imagines her hands, fingernails biting into palms.
"I had my fill, thank you."
The words are as sour as his drink.
"So Bohdan told me," she turns to the chair next to him, sits down with a sigh. "Dessert wasn't much better than the main course, to tell the truth."
It surprises him when she reaches for the bottle held so tightly between his fingers. He doesn't want to let go, almost doesn't.
He watches from the corner of his eye as she drinks deeply, head tilted back, eyes almost closed. She lowers the bottle, turning it to look at the label.
"I see we're drinking the good stuff tonight."
"I hadn't planned on company."
When she hands the bottle back to him, her fingers brush his. The warmth in stomach expands and fills his chest, makes him feel as though he's floating.
Such a fool. There is no future to be had for them, but there is no denying he wants it all the same.
She moves more quickly than a mage should be able. One heartbeat she sits staring into the fire, the next she kneels before him, one hand resting on his leg.
"I -" his voice cracks around words, useless. Now he can't help but look at her, hopes she sees what he cannot say. Human noble and escaped elven slave. Tales beginning as such and ending with anything other than misery did not exist outside fantasy.
Were he not so weak, he would walk away.
"You have said you are mine," her eyes are wine-bright, intense, and angry and he wants to shift under her scrutiny.
He swallows. "Yes."I would gladly walk beside you.
"Then why can't you accept that I'm not going to bolt at the first sign of trouble, or the first fight I have with my mother. Why can't you see it works both ways and I am yours?"
The bottle trembles in his fingers, against his mouth as he drinks to avoid her eyes. He swirls the last of the wine in the bottle and then dangles it over the arm of the chair.
The glass cracks when he drops it on the floor.
"It's… not such a simple thing," his voice isn't his own, his eyes flick to hers and away. He lifts a hand, curling fingers around the nape of her neck.
She leans into his touch.
"No? How is that?" she says against the inside of his arm. Her breath is warm on his bare skin and he imagines the smell of wine.
His fingers twitch, tightening in her hair. He knows it hurts and this is why her face flushes, cheek hot against his arm.
"How is it not simple?" she asks again.
I am an escaped slave; an elf. Your mother is right, your nobles… will not accept this.
"No," her voice is hard, battle-ready. "That's the easy answer."
She moves and her hands are on his knees, palms flat, warmth bleeding through his leggings. There is no magic at play here, only the fire of her hands sliding up his legs.
Gentleness is forgotten when he pulls her closer and a little whine of protest sends sparks of something raw and painful through him. Leaning in and meeting her eyes, he can see her pupils dilate and hear the catch of her breathing.
"What would you have me say?" his voice is rough in his ears, harsher than he expects, but she doesn't flinch.
Kissing her… it should no longer surprise him. She is a mage, with soft hands and smooth limbs and skin unblemished from the scars of battle. It shouldn't surprise him, but it always does, the way she responds to him.
She is aggressive; her teeth and tongue push against his own and giving no quarter, all heat and the sharp of her teeth. She bites down on his lip, hard enough there will be marks and he can't help but growl into her mouth.
Hands, slim and hot, move to hold the sides of his neck and he knows she can feel his pulse because his heart hammers as though it might escape his body.
Circling her waist with his free arm, fingers digging into her finery, he pulls her up into the chair without relinquishing her mouth. Her legs fit along his, trapped against the sides of the chair.
She makes a sound that carries into his throat, twists against the bitter taste of cheap wine and then she pulls away, breathing fast and hard against his ear.
"I would have you say, that what we have," she takes the point of his ear in her teeth and flicks the tip with her tongue, "is worth fighting for."
His answering groan makes her tremble and then his hands are on her knees, crushing silk robes, exposing flesh far softer than any cloth. Biting at her neck, hands working her robes up over her hips -no smalls, this, not his traitorous foolish desire for a human noble- is what makes his breath hitch.
Her hands grab the hem of his tunic and pull it up roughly. There's no hesitation in her movements as she hooks her fingers in the waist of his leggings, tugging laces from loops.
Leather cords catch and then give, and the skin under her ear, the point of her pulse, is fluttering and tastes of salt under his tongue.
He bites, sucking, pulling blood to the skin, marking her.
He feels the keening sound she makes from his chest to stomach to groin and he cannot breathe. He breaks from her and kisses the welted skin, the damage he has done, a soft and gentle apology for something which he does not regret.
Will you leave this, for the world to see? Wear it before your friends, your mother, your nobles?
Blood thrums in his ears, rushing with the sound of her panting against his neck and although she could not have heard his question, he hears something like, Maker, yes.
He takes her wrists in his hands, pushing her back. She looks down at him, blinking, and he wonders if he looks as bereft as she.
She stares, eyes flicking over his face.
"You would have me walk beside you, not three steps behind," a long pause, the words sticking in his throat, "knowing what it will cost you."
He tells himself it is only the wine that makes her eyes shimmer when she answers, "I've always known."
They lay in his bed, tangled limbs and sheets and the smell of sex. She's propped on her elbow next to him and traces a scar on his stomach, following it with her finger between two seams of lyrium. "And this one?"
She leans in and runs the tip of her tongue over the line and grins at the way his muscles twitch.
"Tease," he says, fingers brushing the rounded tip of her ear.
Her smile becomes something he can only think of as wicked, then she's moving and pushing the sheets from where they've caught on his hips, and her mouth -hot and wet and perfect- surrounds his soft cock.
"Venhedis," is all he can manage as he grows hard against her tongue. Really, what else is there to say?
She is almost asleep, eyes half-closed and her head on the pillow next to his. He traces the line of her neck, running a thumb over the bruise he left.
"And this one?" he asks.
She laughs, but it's an unladylike snorting sound, "A mouthy elf."
"You should heal this," the flesh is warmer there, beneath the pad of his thumb, "before you return home."
Her eyes close. "Mother will have to live with it."
He watches her breathing, watches as she rolls over in her sleep. One arm is stretched out and her fingers twitch as she walks in the Fade.
The mark on her neck has gone from red to purple; he knows if he looks, he'll see the marks his fingers left on her hips.
Fenris feels a half-smile tug at his mouth, shakes his head at the wonder of feeling… whatever this is. He lays down facing her, fingers splayed on the bed sheets, not quite touching hers.
She dresses as the first light of day taints the clouds the color of Aggregio.
He watches from his bed, eyes almost closed. She won't be able to tell he's awake; he knows the room is too dark. She stands in his doorway, facing him, and he keeps his breath even, steady, without really knowing why.
Her staff is held at her waist and her other hand is on her neck, over the mark he knows she wears.
The sparkle of healing magic surprises him, almost enough that he opens his eyes.
Something crawls into his throat, sits heavy on his chest.
She turns and leaves and he rolls onto his back, blinking.
He is a fool.
"Elf! It's about bloody time!" Isabela is grinning at him, leaned against one of the stone pillars in the Hightown courtyard. The sun is well up, casting strong shadows.
He is late and doesn't care.
Anders is sitting on one of the benches, scowling at the world in general, a little wisp of mage light darting around his head like an angry wasp. "Perfect. Can we go, Hawke?"
Hawke stands apart from the others, smiling. She has the nerve to blush and look away, almost coy. The sweetness of it makes his stomach roll.
"Shut up, Anders," she says, but she laughs. It feels harsh against his skin, bitter.
She's looking at him as though she expects something. Before he turns away, scowling, he thinks he sees her smile falter.
"I… come on, then. I…" she's stuttering, stammering, but she takes the lead as usual, looking over her shoulder only once.
Isabela takes a skipping step, falls in beside Hawke, then peers at her neck. She turns, walking backwards as she beams. "Well, I didn't know you had it in you, sweetling!"
He can see Hawke blushing, the flush creeps across the back of her neck as she stomps to a halt, glaring at Isabela.
"Truly?" Anders sounds annoyed. "Most of us grew out of that phase."
It takes everything he has to move forward, see for himself. Isabela chucks him on the shoulder, walking away, leaving him alone with Hawke.
The mark is there for all the world to see.
He is a fool.
"I'm sorry," she says, under her breath.
"You… are sorry?" it comes out as a question.
"The magic I used this morning. It woke you, didn't it?" she pauses, blushing again. "Those fingerprints on my ass… well, they fucking hurt, Fenris."
Her hand reaches out, fingers brushing the edge of his gauntlet, and he lowers his head, swallows.
"Walk with me?" she asks.
He finds he can't speak; he does not trust his voice to be his own. Instead, he simply falls into step beside her.
Notes (of a self-indulgent author):
Yeah, I ship that.
Mhm. Leandra should be dead, considering it's Act 3. Call it bent canon and we'll both be happy.
As always: concrit and comments welcome. If you just want to flail over the elf, all fangirly like, well, that's okay, too.