Authors note: I've never written a Dragon Age fic before so this is a foray into the unknown for me. This Hawke is a F!Hawke rogue who sided with the Templars. She's based off my Hawke though I've given her the default name here, she tended to bounce from one personality set to another but she was mostly between sarcastic and aggressive. Her romance with Fenris was that of friendship.
R&R and tell me if you want me to continue. I adore writing F!Hawke, and Fenris is a challenge that I'm sure I'd enjoy :D
Please also point out any errors you might find, I'm dreadful at proofreading and my beta has buggered off ¬¬
I own nothing here, but BioWare has part of my soul on timeshare.
The sun was setting over Kirkwall, bathing the city in a warm orange glow that disguised the fact that the temperatures were almost near to freezing outside and would almost certainly drop into the minus figures as soon as darkness fell.
The workers on the Chantry site downed their tools as the loud bell sounded out from the center of the Viscount's Way and signalled the end of the working day. After the distruction of the Chantry, the hours of the day had gone past without the usual tolling of the bells high within the towers that echoed across the whole city and many labourers had complained that they were being worked longer than they should have been because their employers couldn't work out the accurate time for them to clock off. So, after a few months of planning, a large bell had been purchased from the dwarves of Orzammar (after careful negotiations and a substantial sum of money) and erected in the large open gallery in front of the Keep.
Everyone was grateful.
Fifth bell already? Thought Hawke as she huddled down into her chair, pulling the unflattering Robes of Office tight around her and rubbing her hands together to get some warmth back into them. She was only half listening as Seneschal Bran droned on about the cost of repairs to almost everything in Kirkwall, let alone the 'ridiculous' expenditure that was happening when it came to the Chantry. She nodded and made agreeable noises when she thought they were needed but she had heard it all before, it was a weekly - if not daily - ritual to be endured. She knew what he was going to say before he said it and she was just listening enough to catch anything new that might slip into the conversation and let the Seneschal in on the fact that his voice had become mere background noise to her own thoughts.
Currently, her thoughts were on how cold it was. It wasn't even Satinalia yet and the temperature indicated that when it arrived it would be a harsh one indeed. Just what we need, she thought grumpily, workers that are already irritated, frozen to the bone. If it gets much colder, work on the Chantry will have to be suspended… That wasn't a nice thought. In her opinion, the Chantry shouldn't be rebuilt quite so soon, but there was rumbling from Orlais and the earlier threat that Sister Nightingale had spoken of deeply worried Hawke to the point where she actively pushed for work to start early. The last thing Kirkwall needed after the debacle in the Gallows was the Divine sending the might of the Chantry down on the city - so far, she had been placated with the news that the Circle was under control and rogue mages dealt with severely. But Hawke feared those words wouldn't hold them off for long.
"…any news from Starkhaven yet?" Bran's droning question snapped Hawke out of her solipsistic trance and she focused on him, frowning at the question before nodding once. She pushed aside the pair of distinctive spiked gauntlets that had been thrown casually onto her desk and picked up a half-rolled parchment bearing the seal of the Vael family.
Sebastian had left for his city shortly after the fight in the Gallows, calling upon those still loyal to his family and taking back his land quickly and with minimal bloodshed. The Prince was a very good friend of Hawke's, and she was certain that he would hold to his promise of help once he could get everything settled within his own country. He wasn't going to take back his lands at one point, swearing to renew his vows to the Chantry and leave Starkhaven in the hands of one of his distant relatives. But after what Anders did, his stance had changed. But despite all of this, Hawke knew that the former Chantry brother would come good on his word.
The message had proven her right, though it was not nearly as much as she had hoped. But any aid was welcome at this point in time.
"This arrived this morning," Hawke began with a sigh, holding out the parchment to the Seneschal. "Seba-" she caught herself and cut herself off with a wince, still not used to all the formality that came with her position. She cleared her throat and began again. "Prince Vael states that their Circle has…been causing 'problems'," she frowned, screwing her eyes tight in thought.
"There have been minor uprisings, a few escapes and, worryingly, the death of a few of the children. He has requested that the remaining children under the age of ten be sent here for their own safety. Though our own Circle is not exactly healthy right now, I think we need to take them. From what Seba - Prince Vael says - or rather doesn't say - it's not safe for them to remain." She paused with a sigh, running her fingers absentmindedly over the smooth metal of the segmented claws that made up the gauntlets on her desk. The mages were getting out of control everywhere, Kirkwall seemed like the only place that was in order despite everything that had happened. Center of a hurricane, Marian, she thought with a grimace, center of a hurricane.
"Other than that," she began again, a hand coming up to rub her forehead before trailing down to pinch the bridge of her nose as her eyes squeezed shut again, "he will return in Guardian with as many workers as he can, along with specialists and architects to aid our own."
"And what of funds?" Bran looked up at the Lady Viscount with a sharp expression that she matched with her own. He quickly turned his gaze back to the extensive message.
"Apparently Goran Vael was one for fancy parties and an expensive lifestyle," she spat, mirroring the contempt that the letter had contained for the lesser Vael that Sebastian had replaced. "He didn't leave much in the way of funds.
"Thankfully, Sebastian," Hawke either didn't notice the slip or didn't bother to correct herself, "has endeared himself to his people already. They have raised a considerable sum to 'aid an allied city-state in it's time of need'". Seeming to quote directly off the letter, she sent an almost self-satisfied half-smirk towards the Seneschal. He had never trusted Sebastian to keep to his promise and it was very gratifying to see the look of grim resignation ghost over his the man's face.
Hawke had never liked him and she had taken making him uncomfortable as a pastime while she was in office. Though if she was honest, she had been doing it for years beforehand - but now she could do it in an official capacity. It was an interesting diversion in the least, and at least trying to think up new ways to see the veins in his temples and neck throb made the dull office days somewhat bearable.
She heard the figure standing wordlessly behind her shift slightly and smiled faintly to herself. He helps too, if for totally different reasons, she thought as she pulled her expression back into one of utter professionalism as the Seneschal placed the parchment back onto the desk where it half-rolled itself up again.
"Will that be all, Seneschal?" she asked, her tone clipped for business - and also to urge him to finish whatever else he was going to moan about and leave her be. Her day was almost over and with the cold beginning to seep through the windows and through the stone around her, she was wishing the time away so she could retire to a warm fire and a hot meal.
Seneschal Bran merely gave a neat half-bow and turned to leave. Two steps from the door, however, he turned suddenly as if remembering something. Hawke figured that he was doing it on purpose and merely kept her face impassive with the slightest hint of questioning. She didn't want him to notice that she had been waiting for him to turn - she already knew that he was going to drop something unpleasant onto her plate and it was in his nature to do it when she was 'unsuspecting'. Arsehole.
"Ah yes, tomorrow morning you have a meeting to attend. I believe that it's about the annual Satinalia supper and ball that's traditionally held in Haring." With that, he half-bowed again, muttered a "good evening, Lady Viscount," and left.
Hawke stared after him, her expression truly blank. Instead of the forced mask of indifference, she stared dumbstruck at the doors to her office. Silently, her jaw began to work as she tried to form the words that just wouldn't come. She was expecting something minor, something trivial that would irk her. This downright flustered her and broke her casual demeanour.
"I…what…did…ball?" she spluttered, almost shrieking out that final word as she finally found her voice. If there was one thing that Hawke hated more than darkspawn (and uncle Gamlen), it was formal events. Especially ones that involved dresses and dancing. It wasn't that she didn't look stunning in a dress or that she couldn't dance; it was more the fact that she would be forced to rub elbows with the nobility whilst wearing a dress and possibly while dancing.
"I'll give you ball, Bran, see if I don't." It came out in a low growl as she pulled the uncomfortable, unflattering and impractical Robe of Office up one leg and snatched the small dagger that was strapped to her thigh. "Stupid, stuck up, pompous…" she grumbled under her breath before snapping her wrist forward and sending the dagger spinning across the room to land in the wood of the door with a dull thunk.
As she watched the handle wobble and quiver as it settled, a low chuckle rumbled from behind her and she spun around to glare daggers at the turned back of the one who had been there for the entire conversation. For the entire day in fact.
"And what do you find so funny?" Hawke tried to sound as indignant as possible, folding her arms across her chest and huffing dramatically. Truthfully though, she found it difficult as most of her anger had fled when she had heard him laugh. She still didn't understand how he could lift her mood with something so simple as a chuckle.
Fenris uncrossed his arms and turned with a heavy sigh, meeting her glare with a knowing smirk. He knew that her scowl was forced, that her posture was far too relaxed for Hawke to be truly annoyed. And the look in her eyes was one of amusement rather than resentment.
"You should have realised that the Viscount is expected to entertain the nobility before you took the job, Hawke," he tried to keep his voice serious, but with the childish pout that was spreading on Hawke's lips he found it rather difficult.
"Oh, well thank you for that Ser Know-It-All. Would it have killed someone to tell me this, I might have reconsidered?" Her frown deepened as the amused smirk on the elf's lips grew almost insubstantially - most wouldn't notice, but Hawke knew him far too well - she could read emotion on that face where others would say there was none. And what she was seeing there now was starting to poke at the annoyance she felt for Bran's unexpected announcement.
"I highly doubt that. And you can't blame anyone else for your lack of foresight." Fenris was growing smug, but he had yet to notice the spark of mischief that was beginning to grow in Hawke's eyes.
"You do realise that I'll need a partner for this event, don't you?" Hawke's expression turned triumphant as Fenris's face changed from smirking to something distinctly less smug. He looked as horrified as Hawke felt just moments ago. Now it was her turn to look smug.
"You want me to accompany you?" Fenris was both aghast at the concept and actually rather flattered that she would want him on her arm to such a formal event. He blinked at her, somewhat dumbfounded and rooted to the spot. He merely searched her face for any signs of teasing, any signs that she might just say 'only joking'. But he found nothing, and that let an age old nervousness creep up his spine.
Upon seeing the apprehension flicker in his searching gaze, Hawke let her folded arms drop to her side and her smile softened into one of reassurance. She took a few steps towards him, reaching out to take his hands in hers and stroking her thumb across the back of his fingers as she put on her prettiest (albeit childish) pout. "I don't see anyone else here, do you?"
Fenris was obviously growing more and more uneasy at the prospect when he saw that she was totally serious. He refused to meet her eyes as she walked towards him and left his hands limp in hers as she tenderly, reassuringly rubbed the back of them. Surely she cannot be serious? But as he met her eyes and saw the expression on her face…
"Are you sure that's wise, Hawke?" He finally broke the silence, letting the things he didn't say hang in the air between them. She was the Viscount, a noble, someone in power and he…he was nothing. An elven ex-slave. Even though, time and time again she had told him that she didn't care about that, that he was the one she would choose a thousand times over, he still felt unworthy of her. He had heard the whispers when their relationship first got around all those months ago, that the Champion had chosen some filthy knife-ear over all the available nobles in Kirkwall. Back then it hadn't bothered him quite so much, but now she wasn't just the Champion.
Hawke visibly sagged as she let out a long-suffering sigh and released one of Fenris's hands to run her fingers through his hair before letting the tips gently brush along the top edge of his ear. Fenris instinctively relaxed under her gentle touch and leaned into her hand, bringing a soft smile to Hawke's lips while her thumb absentmindedly made small circles on the back of his hand.
"Fenris, there is no one else in Thedas who I want by my side," she soothed, her voice soft and gentle as she continued her tender ministrations, causing Fenris's eyes to slip shut - though his brow was still crinkled in consternation. "Who cares what those Hightown knobs think. To the Void with them if they think they can judge me for my choice in men. Most of those haggard old dowagers and preening peahens wouldn't know a good man if they saw one. There are few noble men in the nobility, I think Gamlen proves that point quite well." She finished with an ignoble snort and wrinkled her nose at the thought of her beloved uncle in the nobility.
Though he had listened attentively, Fenris never responded to her words. He couldn't find the right words to say. Her devotion to him was still something he was confused by, nothing he had done in his life deserved the attentions of this beautiful, caring woman that stood before him. He still didn't understand why she waited for him all those years after he did what he did to her…but as time went on, he found he didn't care that the reason would forever elude him. All he cared about was Hawke. His Hawke.
After a few moments of silence, he reached out and placed his free hand upon her hip and opened his eyes to look into her openly adoring expression. With a single nod, he conceded defeat. "Very well, Hawke." It was almost a murmur as part of him hoped that she would reconsider, but her smile only grew and she moved her hand from her ear to his jaw.
Gentle fingers tilted his slightly down turned face upwards and she leaned forward, placing the lightest of kisses upon his lips before releasing him and dropping her hand to his forearm.
"Thank you," she said, just as quietly as he had before her faint smile turned mischievous again. "I'm glad that I won't be forced to suffer alone." A giggle escaped her as she watched a single eyebrow arch at her words. "Are you going to be coming to dinner tonight? Aveline and Donnic will be coming over and Orana's making her game stew again and you know she always makes too much."
Noticing the effort that Hawke was making to change the subject and put him at ease, Fenris pretended to considered her offer. He never refused, of course, and Hawke knew this. He always ended up at her estate for dinner, he also ended up there for breakfast too, but she would always give him an out. A man with his past had every right to be independent and she would give him his space whenever he wanted it for as long as he wanted it. So long as it's not for another three years, she amended.
But Fenris had been spending less and less time at his own mansion, slowly but surely what little effects he had were moving themselves the short distance from his estate to hers. It was with great delight that Hawke had noticed the spare wardrobe she had told him he could use was slowly filling up. Even one of his old swords (a wicked looking thing given to her by a Qunari as payment for finding a lost patrol along the Wounded Coast, though she couldn't recall the name) had crept into the spare room without her noticing.
It didn't surprise her when he accepted her invitation but she beamed at him nonetheless and squeezed his hand in silent thanks. "I think I'm done for the day, thank the Maker. Shall we go?" His answer was a mere nod of the head and he released her to pick up his gauntlets from the table and she went to pull her dagger from where it had stuck fast in the door and place it back into it's sheath on her thigh.
And then, without a word said to anyone, the Lady Viscount left the Keep arm in arm with her elf into the cold evening air.