A/N: From wondering just how far Hawke would go to have Varric's back. And how much they'd inevitably badger each other over it to make it less weird.

Also totally because it's tough having a bro who is such a sexy beast.

Equal parts smutty and silly.

Chapters: One big oneshot.

Length: ~6k total.

Beta Love: I had people volunteer to read this time, as well as those I asked! It was great! Points go to (by penname) evilblood, stellasmooth, skeasel and analect for being lovely. =)

Dragon Age belongs to Bioware. Not me. At all.

"All right, Varric – who did you piss off this time?"

Mairead Hawke shuffled the staggering dwarf from her shoulder to a the low-set chair in his suite (if you could call it that) at the Hanged Man, her sense of urgency making him hit the seat a little heavier than if he'd had all of his faculties under control. "Come on, Varric, talk to me here. I need you to keep talking."

"If I had a sovereign for every time I heard that," he managed with a cough as she grabbed a questionably clean towel from the basin near his bed. He paused. "Well, then I'd have a sovereign."

"I know, right? Here, you're sweating it out." She pressed the cloth into his hand, and he only barely registered willing his hand to grip it and drag it roughly across his forehead. Any sensation was comforting in that it proved that he was, in fact, not dead yet.

"Must've been in that last drink," he thought aloud as his friend flurried around the room, emptying the contents of her hip pouch onto the table. "Thought it tasted worse than usual."

"Worse how?" When he didn't respond right away, she threw a cork at his face, hitting him squarely in the forehead. When he protested, the relief across her features was equally mixed with the level of irritation she saved especially for him. "Hey, worse how!"


The collection of bizarrely-colored vials rolled around, the clinking of glass ringing in his newly hyper-sensitive ears. When she muttered under her breath, she may as well have been shouting. "Great. Very informative. They should make you one of those big, ugly statues in Orzammar. Varric Tethras – Paragon of Being Really Fucking Helpful."

He chuckled, and the tightening of his diaphragm churned his stomach. He scrambled from his chair to the wall, retching into a squat, ornately-painted vase by the window. As he emptied the contents of his stomach, he noticed with no small measure of amusement that the Hanged Man's watered-down excuse for dwarven ale tasted better on the way back up.

"You know," he said between spasms, "this vase was from Ortan Thaig. One of Bartrand's prized collectibles."

"Don't worry about it," Hawke said, bronzed curls tumbling over one shoulder as she patted him on the back. "If it's that valuable, fate dictates that one of us would've puked into it sooner or later."

At that, Varric laughed heartily and, to his relief, found his innards blessedly empty. His feet, however, were a different story. Like they were suddenly filled with lead pellets, down to the space between his toes. It occurred to him that now would be a good time to focus and do his part to save his own hide.

"Cloves," he said, struggling to stand.


"The ale tasted like cloves. I know for a fact – oof! - that even terrible Dwarven ale doesn't. No cloves in Orzammar."

A light went off behind her eyes, and she took off like a shot for the creaky wooden table, rifling around in the now-absurdly-loud bottles. He had managed to pull himself to his feet by the time she returned, two vials in hand.

"We have to figure out what it's doing," Hawke explained, yanking the towel from his still-clenched fist. "I give you the wrong one, it kills you. In addition to the poison." Without warning, she shoved the rough cotton in his mouth, nearly gagging him again.

"For crying out loud, Hawke," he choked out, "If you wanted me to stop talking, there are nicer, less violent ways to-"

"You're not coughing up blood," she announced after checking it and tossing it aside. Then her hands were everywhere, touching his ears, nose, fingers, neck. "And you're getting cold."

"I don't feel cold."

"You've also had a lot to drink." She ripped the cork off of a particularly warped container and emptied the contents into a tankard left on the table from earlier. The whole thing turned a sickly-looking green, and just as he thought the nausea was gone, she shoved the drink into his hands.

"If you wanted to kill me," he said, staring down into the now-flat beer, "you could just wait twenty minutes."

"Down it," she said, crossing her arms. "Now, Varric."

"Wasn't drinking what got me into this mess in the first place?"

"No, your big mouth and entrepreneurial spirit did that." She leaned against the wall next to him. "Though we spend enough time here to notice any new faces, so it must've been a pro job. Someone probably shelled out some decent coin to get this done."

Varric snickered. "I'm flattered."

"You're a peach. Bottoms up."

He swallowed hard, staring into the mildly fizzy abyss. As he lifted it to his mouth, he saw Hawke's nose wrinkle sympathetically. Oh, this was going to taste like it smelled.

Varric was long-practiced at drinking vast quantities of vile things. It was a dwarven talent, the single thing from his homeland of which he could boast, and one he'd honed since he was a kid. He prided himself on it as an adult, and had not yet met an ale he couldn't handle.

Yet, even to save his own life, swallowing this stuff was like going to Blackmarsh and drinking an entire lagoon dry. When he'd finished, he dropped the glass like it was molten and groaned loudly.

"Is this how the Archdemon felt when it died?"

Hawke gave him a good-natured kick and squatted next to him, bringing the priceless-antique-turned-vomit-catcher preemptively closer. "You big baby. I thought dwarves were supposed to be tough."

Varric smirked and motioned grandly, if more clumsily than usual. "You're thinking of those specimens of manliness from Orzammar who judge by the size of their battleaxes and beards. I was born up here, in the land of you weak-bellied surfacers."

"I apologize on behalf of all surface-dwelling species for making you a complete and utter pansy."

"Thank you. Apology accepted."

A shiver ran down his spine, and his tongue felt thick in his mouth. "Hey," he said, considering how his voice could sound normal despite it, "how long does this take to kick in?"

Hawke frowned. "Why?"

"I'm not sure," he said, staring at his hands as a blue tinge spread like a spiderweb from his fingertips downward. "But I think I'm getting worse."

His friend followed his line of sight, cursing and pressing her hands over his forehead.

"Not good, I take it?"

"No," she said, rubbing her hands together and covering his ears. The warmth was almost painful at first, but soon turned into a pleasant throb. "The stuff they gave you is designed to slowly stop your heart so you pass out and never wake up. Just looks like you're too drunk at first." She turned her attention back to his hands. "Now you're losing circulation all over. If you had just drank the antidote right away, this wouldn't have happened!"

Varric tilted his head and regarded her with a keen kind of scrutiny. "How do you know so much about poisons, exactly?"

She smirked despite herself. "Hate to break it to you, Varric, but I haven't always been an angel."

"Hate to break it to you, Hawke," he weakly grinned right back, "but you still ain't one."

She smacked him a little too hard on the shoulder as she stood. "You'll be fine, but we need to keep your heart pumping fast for a while until the antidote gets to do its thing. Come on." She pulled him to his feet (no small feat, dragging up an uncooperative dwarf!) and gave him a shove. "You can't stop moving. Do laps around the table or something."

"Laps?" Varric snorted as he stumbled in an attempted loop around the chairs nonetheless. "Can you hear yourself, Hawke?"

She cracked an invisible whip. "Mush!"

"When I get this thing out of my system," Varric huffed, "you're in for one of my patented surprises."

"You'll have to catch me first. This is good endurance practice. Or it would be, if you'd go faster."

"You want a saunter, go find yourself an elf. As a matter of fact –" No sooner had he started his witty comeback (ain't that always the way!) than it was like the floor gave out from under him. The room went dark for a moment, and as the light filtered back into his vision, he found himself half-collapsed into a cupboard and with an increasingly desperate Hawke trying to shake him back into consciousness.

"Varric? Varric!"

"At your service." He tried to sound flippant, but it came out mangled and strained, and his world spun a little, making him yearn for the fancy puke bucket.

"Thank the Maker. I didn't want the last words I ever said to you to be a dwarf crack." She loosened his shirt and checked his ribs for breaks. "You went down pretty hard. I don't know if it's the ale or the poison, but you're clearly not able to keep walking around."

"So what now, then?"

Her answer was to scoop an arm around his back and hoist him to his feet, half-dragging him to the bed like a ragdoll. He would have taken the time to admire her strength, if he wasn't so busy trying to will his feet to move. As she propped him up on the bed, she worked quickly to remove his boots and jacket.

"You know," he said thoughtfully, "undressing me would be much more romantic if the atmosphere were just a tiny bit different. Lit a few candles, maybe. Less imminent death."

"Yeah, yeah," she said, tossing them aside, "keep with the wisecracks. That's how I know you're doing alright." When she moved to slide his sleeves down, she bit back a few vulgarities. "Your hands, Varric. I need to keep you warm if you're not going to be moving."

He was about to ask what she had in mind when she shrugged off her leather chestpiece and shoved his hands up under her tunic, resting in the warm folds beneath her breasts.

He swore. Loudly. He couldn't honestly tell you why, if asked – his reason changed from the sudden searing heat to the placement of his hands and back again every passing second.

"Hawke, what in the name of -"

"I know! I get it!" Her grip on his wrists tightened. "But if I don't keep your hands warm, you risk losing your fingers and you'll never be able to wield Bianca again. Is that what you want?"

"Hey, don't drag her into this."

"Besides, I've been told by no less than five male and female whores at the Rose that I have a fantastic set. You should consider yourself lucky."

"I do." He did his best to look anywhere else. "Like a champ."

A moment of awkward silence passed between them, and Varric felt some warmth enthusiastically returning to his face. Surprisingly, he didn't welcome it back. At all. He had always been a gentleman when it came to women. Especially Hawke. He knew that she held him close akin to a brother – though she'd never actually say so, especially after what had happened to her actual siblings (though his track record with brothers was no better) – and so this awkward intimacy and his body's inevitable reaction to it was some kind of torture.

"It's been a few minutes," Hawke said, shifting. "How's the sensation in your hands? Try moving them."

Varric briefly wondered which of his ancestors he had offended to land himself in this situation. He also considered, for just as brief a time, what it would be like to succumb to the poison versus have Hawke kill him later for having fondled her, albeit under her own instruction.

The desire to live in the immediate future won, though, and he tentatively wiggled his fingers. "Well, I'm not dead yet."

She pulled his hands from beneath her shirt to look at them, dismayed and doing her best to hide the panic from behind her eyes. "Not good. Your circulation's not improving." She held an ear to his heart, and he did his best to ignore the sensation of her unguarded chest pressing into his stomach. "And your heart rate's slowed." She sat back as she straddled him, a hand on her forehead as her thoughts spilled out like marbles. "You're getting worse. We need to get the antidote traveling through your body, which means we need to get your heart going faster, but you can't move around a whole lot and it's not like I can scare the hell out of you-"

"I beg to differ. You're terrifying when you do that thing – what was it? Oh, right. Flirting."

"...and I can't give you another dose for an hour and I haven't been able to keep your body heat up even in your hands, never mind the whole of you."

Varric shifted underneath her, distinctly uncomfortable in a way that was completely unrelated to the gradual slowing of his heart. "Well," he said, laughing nervously despite himself, "at least you've made one place warm."

She rolled her eyes, but froze before she could say anything in retort. She stared intently at the intersection of their hips, where her thighs pushed against what was threatening to be a very obvious erection. Her eyes met his, and there was a kind of determination in her features that was eerily akin to the one he'd seen her wear when she drew her daggers on someone.

This was it. He was going to die.

Well, he thought to himself, there were worse ways to go.

To his surprise, however, her hands went for the waist of his pants rather than the knives at her hips. Then, before he could protest, she had whipped them off with a flourish that reminded him of the traveling performers that entertained children by pulling the coverings from tables without breaking a dish.

Not that anyone in the Hanged Man had ever heard of tablecloths.

When she yanked his knees over the side of the bed and went for his smalls, his brain – and his mouth – decided to kick back in.

"Whoa, whoa. Taking advantage of an injured man, lying here defenseless? Shame on you, Hawke."

"One," she said, adjusting her sleeves, "you're never defenseless, and I know that all too well. You'd have to be tied up and gagged. With really good knots. And maybe some wards. Two, I think we've just figured out the way to get your heart going without you killing yourself in the process."

He swallowed hard. "Are you sure someone didn't slip something into your drink, too?"

Hawke tensed, and he cursed his involuntary reactions. His adrenaline seemed to have an extra defensive setting: fight, flight, or snark.

"Look," she said, staring him down. "Like it or not, this gets your blood going. So, unless you want me to go get Isabela or Fenris to come up here and do it in my place, you're stuck with me. With her, there's a one in three chance you'd need to discreetly visit Anders in a week, and I don't even want to think about what Fenris would do with his mouth on your-"

Varric held up a hand to stop her. "You are an angel. A sadistic, smart-mouthed angel. I'm sorry I ever doubted your intentions to save my ungrateful backside."

Smirking, Hawke settled herself between his legs and checked the pulse point in his thigh. "Damn right."

With some effort, Varric propped himself up on his elbows. Ignoring the sharp, tingling bursts that shot up his arm, he glanced at his leader with a lopsided grin. "Though I always did wonder just how far the elf's tattoos went."

She stood, laughing. "I thought I was the only one!" Pursing her lips, she turned toward the door. "You know, I could still go get him..."

"Thanks, but no thanks."

She shot him a warm smile, and he felt the knots in his stomach loosen somewhat. The relief was short lived, however, as she started to shuck the rest of her armor. Something in him wanted to look away, but the other half reminded him of what they'd be doing shortly anyway. Might as well enjoy the view.

And it was a very nice view.

She'd made a sizable pile on the floor when he couldn't help but open his mouth again. "You know, I can't tell if I'm getting turned on or having a panic attack."

"Either way, I'm doing my job right!"

He chuckled. "You'd be a terrible whore."

"I know. It's why I kill people instead." She sat on his knees, tunic pooling around her thighs. And that was all she had left on. There was absolutely no way to hide how hard he was now.

He hissed through his teeth when he first felt one hand wrap itself around him, moving up and down in soft, testing strokes. Her hands were far less calloused than he'd thought their line of work would have afforded, and her touch seemed purposeful and experienced. He filed that little detail away, vowing to find a way to tease her about it later. "Handjob Hawke" had a certain catchy ring to it.

Also, it occurred to him how horribly unfair it was that she seemed to be perfectly reasonable about all this. He chalked that one up to her not being the poisoned one here.

"Varric," she said in a tone that caught him off guard, "relax."

Her hands slowed, and it took sheer force of will for him to not moan in frustration at the change. "You know dwarves," he said without meeting her eyes, "tall people make us nervous."

She laughed, and he noted the change in her voice, wondering if it was his imagination. He watched her slide backward off of his legs, instead kneeling between his thighs at the edge of the bed and settling herself to his eye level with a wide smirk across her face.

"A little closer to home?"

He sighed and sat up fully, shaking his head. "This isn't funny, Hawke."

"You're right. This is hilarious." She was still grinning when she took up her ministrations again, reveling in every inch of his expression. "I never get to see you so awkward. It's great."

"I can't believe you're enjoying this."

"Why not?" She shifted her grip, making his breath catch in his throat. "You treat any awkward situation I get into like some form of entertainment."

That made Varric smile and close his eyes, fondly remembering what may have been his greatest handiwork. "No, you having to kiss the Arishok? That wasn't just funny, that was solid gold."

At the mention of the Qunari leader, something passed over Hawke's expression. Just a flash of some emotion not acted upon, and something anyone might have missed. But not Varric. Interest piqued, he chased it.

"Hey now, what was that?"

She snapped back to attention. "What?"

"Just now. When I mentioned the big guy. You looked-"

"I don't know what you're talking about."

Delighted at the chance to turn the tables, Varric leered sideways at her. "Now's not the time to be coy, Hawke."

"Not talking about it."

"Come on, you can't just leave a man hanging in suspense like that! It's too cruel."

"Drop. It."

He beamed down at her. "When have I ever?"

She glared back up at him for a moment, and he got to enjoy feeling smug for about five short seconds before she lowered her mouth onto him and he folded inward at the sensation with a deep moan. It had been a long time since he'd last had this done, and he marveled at how he could have forgotten how warm and wet could wipe one's brain completely clear.

No wonder the Blooming Rose was doing so much business with the templars lately.

"We're not talking about the Arishok," she said firmly, pausing to make very deliberate eye contact. "Are we?"

"Arishok who," he managed, admitting his defeat through a few short breaths. "Is he Viscount?"

He'd pry the answer out of her later, Varric thought as he moaned, sliding his fingers into his comrade's hair. But for now, he let himself enjoy the feeling of her tongue as she worked herself into a slow rhythm that seemed designed to drive him absolutely mad.

He didn't know much about the human body aside from the details Isabela insisted on divulging to Aveline when they were out on patrols together, and even then, he was almost positive that most of it was made up just to make the guard captain uncomfortable. Isabela was hopelessly filthy after all, one of the reasons he and Rivaini got along so well.

Deciding to chance that dwarves and humans at least shared a few things in common, he ran one broad hand to the back of her neck, rubbing his thumb in wide strokes behind her ear. She hummed appreciatively and took him in deeper, encouraging him to explore the sensitive areas at her nape and shoulders with his hands when their position allowed.

As the blood returned (albeit only somewhat) to his legs, he barely noticed the sharp pains that came with your nerves waking back up and flushing out toxins. His brain didn't seem to have room to register anything else at the moment.

"Maker, you're good at this."

She brought a hand up to take over while she spoke. "Like I said, Varric, I-"

"Haven't always been an angel?"

She shot him a very feral-looking grin, and the thought that she could be reacting to this just as much as he was hit him like a bolt to the chest. All of a sudden, the room felt a lot smaller. And warmer. Much, much warmer. "Hawke-"

"How are you doing?" she interrupted, briefly back to business mode.

"Getting there." He stretched, feeling the familiar pins and needles covering his entire back and arms. "My limbs don't feel like ironbark any more, to say the least."

She opened her mouth, but snapped it shut before speaking. "I could have made a "wood" joke just there. But it was too easy."

He chuckled, ruffling her hair. "Keep it classy, Hawke."

"You know it." She beamed up at him, genuine relief spread across her pretty features. She was always pretty – he distinctly remembered telling her once that the blood on her face just made the blue in her eyes sparkle, which earned him a laugh and a haughty pose. Trying to look fashionable while covered in darkspawn gore had sent her other companions into hysterics, and she'd insisted on being called "My Lady" the rest of the trip.

Varric would call her anything she wanted if she'd just put her mouth on him again. Say anything. Of all the times to be at a loss for words...

Luckily, he didn't have to find any. Hawke leaned back to her toes, giving him a friendly slap on the backside as she stood.

"All right," she said firmly, hands on her hips. "You ready?"

He couldn't help but smirk as it dawned on him that between her stance and her words, she acted exactly as she did right before each time they set off for a fight. And this particular instance was no different. He briefly pictured her wedding night, Hawke punching her new husband in the shoulder before stripping down to her smalls and declaring "All right, come at me!"

As she sat on his lap and draped her arms over his shoulders, he snickered. "You're going to make some man very happy someday."


"Nothing." He slid an arm around her waist, scratching his head a little. "Say, Hawke, before we do this, don't you need a..." He paused, searching for the right word. "Hand?" His fingers traced circles over her backside to illustrate his meaning, and she shook her head.

"I'm good to go."

"You sure? They may not be back to a hundred percent yet, but-"

Exasperated, she took his free hand and shoved it between her legs, shivering when his fingers made contact with the already very slick folds hidden by her shirt.

Varric's eyebrows shot up in surprise, but quickly melted into a smug grin. "I'll be damned." He ran a few fingertips slightly deeper, and Hawke bit down hard on her lower lip, hanging her head. "Is that what gets you off?" the dwarf asked, his usually smoky voice suddenly heavy and low. "Getting reactions out of people? No wonder you liked tormenting me."

"Damnit," she hissed as he starting exploring her with well-trained digits, burying her face in his hair. "This is not a time to be probing me for details, idiot!"

"Nice choice of words."

She glared, pulling his hand away and repositioning it on her back. "That's it. No more talking."

"If you insist."

It took a moment for her to settle her knees on either side of him comfortably, and she leaned down enough to wrap her arms around his neck.

"Hey, Varric?" she said tentatively, the ire gone from her voice.


She hesitated. "Don't make this weird."

He laughed, staring up at the wall. "I still can't believe we're doing this."

He felt her sigh against him, and he could hear the sarcasm in her voice. "It's like a dream."

"Or a nightmare. Is this that Fade thing?"

She laughed, and the familiar sound eased some of the tension. "Let's find out, shall we?" That said, she lifted her hips, and he guided her downward to ease onto him slowly.

Varric sucked in a sharp breath, burying his face in her chest as he forced himself to stay still. Restraint, he reminded himself. The gentlemanly thing to do was give her time to adjust and not–

The word "gentlemanly" temporarily left his vocabulary as Hawke rolled her hips against him, raising herself up so that gravity could do its work and pull her back down again. Well, he thought, moving his hands to grip her backside, if she didn't want to wait, he was more than happy to oblige.

It didn't take long for them to find a common rhythm, Varric lifting her with hands and thrusts, and Hawke sliding against him. He could feel her inner muscles moving in response, and he wondered at just how much of that she was doing on purpose. He groaned at a particularly tight flutter, and jerked her close. One arm wrapped itself around her waist, pulling her hips to grind against his with each movement. The other traced its way up her back, lightly dragging his fingers along the length of her spine.

She shuddered, and a wicked thought struck him. He did it again, gently running the same fingers along the curve over her hip. Each tiny muscle sprang to life at his touch, and he realized that at this moment, Hawke was a giant bundle of nerves.

He could work with that.

He let her fall back just enough to snake a hand to the intersection of their bodies, and was rewarded with a stifled moan as he lightly pressed a calloused thumb at the point where it would do the most damage.

It was like he had found a crack in otherwise impenetrable armor. She'd been restraining herself a fair amount to this point, but as he started working that tiny weakness to the fullest, her limbs were trembling and the snap of her hips was more erratic, more desperate.

"You're a sensitive thing, aren't you?" he murmured as she arched to hide her face in his neck, her hands wrapping themselves in his hair, tugging his ponytail free. "Who knew."

She just growled something unintelligible and more than likely threatening against his jaw in response, but made no move to stop him.

The vehement response of her body teased at his self-control, though years of learning the concentration required for marksmanship meant that the dwarf's hands were steady in the face of nearly anything. He had also realized when he began that these motions were in his muscle memory from years of calibrating Bianca's mechanisms, and the two acts were eerily similar.

Not that he'd ever tell Hawke, though. Not if he wanted to live.

All of a sudden, she moved her hands against his shoulders, bracing against them to push herself back. "Stop," she manged through a few choked noises in her throat. "At this rate, I'm– "

"Right behind you," he breathed, feeling the telltale coiling tension sink lower. "You did a number on me earlier." He picked up the pace, both in his hand and his hips. "Go ahead."

"But– "

"Do it," he growled, surprising even himself as the words escaped his mouth.

Apparently, that was all it took to push Hawke over the edge. She came with his name on her lips and her arms wrapped tightly around him, frantically gripping at anything she could hold onto. He followed shortly, his own cries stifled by the fabric of her shirt as he pulled back to spill himself on his stomach.

It was only moments before he eased himself down to his back, and Hawke rolled off of him to do the same. They lay sprawled like that, staring up at nothing as their faculties and regular breathing patterns gradually returned to them.

After what seemed like an eternity of silence that both of them dreaded breaking, Hawke spoke first.

"Say it, Varric."

He knew exactly what she meant. "I owe you one."

"Say it nicely."

"Thank you, Serrah Hawke, for riding me like a stallion so that I didn't die."

She snickered and made sweeping gestures at the ceiling. "My benevolence knows no bounds." She rolled over to face him, suddenly glaring. "Next time, do what I say when I say it!"

He raised an eyebrow and grinned. "Or what, you'll fuck me to death?" At her dismissive snort, he made a squeezing motion in the air above him, fingers spread wide. "But you know, Hawke, you should sleep with more dwarves. We have big hands, after all, and your ass is the perfect size."

He closed his eyes when he heard the incredulous "What?" he knew was coming from the other side of the bed.

"It's a good thing!" he said between her halfhearted swipes at him. "Men like a decent handful!"

"I'm going to poison you again and let you die," she said, staring blankly at the ceiling. "And when they call me in front of the Viscount, I'm going to explain to them that you told the Champion of Kirkwall that she had a big ass. And I will be exonerated."

"And they'll all stare at your backside as you walk away to freedom."

They both had a good, long laugh, and Varric wasn't sure if it was at that certain thought or the entirety of the last hour's events. He didn't care either way. They needed it.

Hawke got up first, stumbling over to a drawer that she knew contained a few towels. She threw one at his face as she set to the business of cleaning herself up, shaking her head all the while.

She had pulled on her clothes and was reaching for her leathers when Varric finally tossed his own towel aside, watching her.


She turned to him, sliding her dagger belt into place. "So?" She smiled warmly. "This is our little secret. I, for one, really don't want that kind of attention, or to be expected to do this every time someone gets poisoned."

He sighed in relief, agreeing wholeheartedly. "Can you imagine? Isabela would be stealing Crow's Wort from Anders every other week."

"Exactly." She sat next to him, handing him his clothes. To his satisfaction, his body stood and moved freely, not having to spend an extra millisecond on the complicated buckles and catches on his coat and gloves.

Hawke nodded in approval, looking up at him earnestly. "Feeling all right?"

He didn't know whether she was referring to the poison or not, but either way, his answer was the same. "Yeah," he said. "I'm good." He paused. "Are you?"

She shrugged, but he saw the clear smirk on her face. "I'm not that delicate. Besides," she pushed off of the bed with her palms, taking a few steps toward the door. "We didn't kiss, so it's okay."

"Is that how that works?" He walked with her, the thought of speaking his honest mind rolling around in his head.

"Hey, Hawke?"


He shifted his weight back and forth a few times before continuing. "Thanks. For..." He stopped. "Just thanks."

A golden smile lit up her face, and she clapped a hand on his shoulder. "I will always save your stubborn, shady ass."

"I know, I know." He stretched his stiff limbs, feeling the familiar warmth rushing through them. "Want to go shock the hell out of my would-be assassin?"

"Love to."

They had almost made it to the door when he stopped her. "Oh," he said, suddenly very chipper. "I almost forgot."

She turned to him, frowning. "What d– mmph!"

He'd pulled her down, planting a solid one on his savior's mouth before closing the gap to the hallway in a few quick strides.

The dwarf walked out still wearing that wolfish grin, leaving her a few steps behind, sputtering in her fury.

"Damn it, Varric!"