Because it's ever so much fun to have multiple WIPs going at once, here's a DA2 piece. I've had four Hawkes to date romance Fenris-a male mage, a female mage, a male rogue and Fallon, my female fighter. I was a little surprised to find that Fallon was the one who spoke to me.
There's an awful lot of Fenris fic out there. I hope my small contribution will please.
Fenris tied the red scarf back around his wrist and smiled back at Fallon Hawke, who was sprawled in glorious, disheveled abandon on the bed, the sheets rucked down around her waist.
"Shall I meet you here tomorrow?" he asked. "We can walk to the Hanged Man together. When are we supposed to meet Varric and Isabela?"
"Do you honestly need to ask after all this time?" Fallon asked with a grin. "Not until after lunch, of course. Come over here a little early and I'll feed you. I don't fancy risking the Hanged Man's mystery meat if I don't have to."
"Very well. I will see you then." He turned and started out the door, hearing her voice soft behind him.
"Be safe going home, Fenris. Good night."
He started to close the door behind him, only to hear Drake's imperious bark. Fallon called from within, "Do you mind, Fenris?" He opened the bedroom door a little.
"Not at all. Stay in bed and stay warm. It's cold tonight."
The mabari squeezed out to join him, its stubby tail wagging in gratitude and paced at his side down the stairs. When they reached the front door, Fenris opened it for the dog, then closed it once more and went back to the fire to get warm before he went back to the abandoned mansion. Drake would bark to be let in when he was done.
Fenris was not looking forward to going home; if home it could be called. The mansion was chill and dank at the best of times. He'd laid in a supply of firewood for the winter, but he suspected it wasn't going to be enough. Kirkwall did not often see snow, and what it did see did not tend to stick, but winters were miserable enough. The frigid damp coming off the sea killed many a destitute soul in Darktown every winter. A small, weather-tight space that could be heated was worth a squatter's life and many of them had cost just that much. Fenris tended to live in the one upstairs room in the mansion during the winter, the windows covered with the thick curtains, the fireplace kept going as best he could, firewood piled along one wall so he didn't have to go out and let the heat out. It never really got what one would call warm, the fire would have to have been fed and tended constantly for that to happen, but it kept the deathly cold away.
The warmth of Hawke's house was alluring, and the warmth was only one of many reasons he was tempted to stay. But he could not bring himself to do so. It was only recently that he had been able to bring himself to come to Fallon's bed again, after that first wonderful experience three years ago. She had never pressed him to return, though he knew that she had wanted him to. Instead she had simply waited patiently, foregoing a relationship with anyone else, never saying anything to him that might imply that she was angry or annoyed.
He'd heard plenty from the others though. "Andraste's sagging tits, you are such an ass, Fenris!" Isabela had exclaimed one night over cards with him and Varric. "Go back to her! Hawke loves you, but you can't expect her to wait forever while you get over your hang-ups! I know for a fact that Anders would be with her in a flash if she so much as crooked a finger, and he's not the only one! Maker knows I'd love to get my hands on her tiller! That's a waste of a perfectly awesome woman! If you're not going to go there, then at least tell her so and clear the field for the rest of us!"
"Rivaini's got the right of it, Broody," Varric had concurred. "Hawke's awfully lonely there in that big house since her mother died, what with Bethany in the Circle. Not that she ever complains, but if you know her, you can see it in her eyes. Sure, she's got the house staff and her dog, but that's not like having someone with her she can actually talk to. Not to mention the other things."
"You know, my life would be much simpler if you'd just move in with Hawke," Aveline had groused at him in the Hightown Market on another day as they watched at some distance while Hawke set her business partner Hubert back on his heels. "I wouldn't have to fiddle with my patrols to hide the fact that you're squatting in the mansion and she'd be a damn sight happier. How about you get your nose out of your navel and think about somebody else's problems for a change?"
Standing before the fireplace, holding his hands close to the flames, Fenris wished that it was as simple as that. He honestly didn't understand why he could not bring himself to move in with Fallon, but he suspected that it had something to do with a desire to hold onto his new-found independence as long as he could. That and the fact that these days when he was with her, he felt like one of those Tevinter artifacts the crackpot academics dug for sometimes in Darktown; something of unknown and dangerous potential being bared particle by particle with careful little picks and soft brushes. What would happen when the artifact was fully revealed? Would it be locked away in a display case somewhere or discarded as something of little worth? He didn't think he could bear either result.
Drake's bark sounded from outside and Fenris went to let the mabari in. The dog's dark eyes regarded him with an oddly quizzical look for a moment, and then it gave his hand a small lick in thanks, turned and paced back into the house, towards the stairs. Fenris slung his cloak over his shoulders and let himself out.
Fallon heard the door close and lock downstairs and sighed. Not tonight, then. Damn. She got up, went to the washstand and cleaned up at bit, then to the wardrobe to get a warm nightshirt and pair of stockings. She regarded the resulting reflection in her mirror with wry amusement. Breaking news, Lowtown! The Dog-Lord Bitch wears granny gowns to bed. And stockings! And here you thought it was spikes and chain-mail lingerie!
The plain fact of the matter was that she was pushing thirty, she'd had a bunch of bones broken and magically healed, and in the winter she felt the cold now. More she suspected than did Fenris, which was odd, given that she was a southern girl and he a northern boy. Other than a cloak, he didn't wear any more clothes as a concession to winter, not even anything other than those little socklets on his partially bare feet. But the lyrium tattoos extended even there. Fallon thought that they must keep him warm. Certainly his skin always felt warm, warmer than usual, as if he were perpetually running a fever.
Will the lyrium sustain him beyond his natural span? Or will it burn him up untimely young? No way to know, I guess. He says that he is the only person he knows of who has had this done and lived, though the magisters apparently do all sorts of magical experiments on slaves. It's one of the reasons Danarius wanted him back so desperately. He was not only a status symbol and a prize, he was a prototype.
After such extreme objectification, Fallon was not surprised that Fenris had trouble relating to people as a person. He tended to snap from one extreme to another, clinging to her almost desperately in their most intimate moments, then pushing her away immediately afterwards, fleeing back to his chilly sanctum. Being with him was like trying to coax a shy wild animal to feed from your hand; a direct look at the wrong time, a too-loud breath, the tiniest move and it would flee back into the forest, never to be seen again.
Sometimes she honestly wondered why she bothered. But she'd lost that battle with herself a couple of years ago, after he'd slept with her once, and then fled. She'd tried to be sensible then, to set aside a man who was obviously too damaged to sustain a relationship. She'd tried to be open to other possibilities-not Anders, more of the same, although in a different way-but others. People in her new social circle, ironically enough the sorts of people her mother would have approved of. But it didn't work. They were vapid, selfish, self-absorbed, unworthy of notice. The only other person she'd ever thought worthy of her time in Kirkwall outside of her immediate circle of friends had been the Arishok-and she'd had to kill him. When Fenris gave her one of his rare, shy, unguarded smiles and it had sustained her for a week, Fallon had realized that she was lost. For better or for worse, he was the man she loved, and she would simply have to resign herself to living on what little he could bring himself to give.
Which makes nights like tonight damned cold, she reflected, moving to the hearth to use the tongs to place a hot brick in one of the quilted wraps made especially for that purpose. It even had the Hawke family crest on it, which seemed stupid and pretentious to her, but the housekeeper had insisted that such was only proper. She slid the brick down to where her feet were going to be, pulled the blanket up from the foot of the bed and crawled under the covers.
Drake materialized at the side of the bed, looking at her with a hopeful whine.
"You may as well," she told him resignedly and he woofed happily and leapt up onto the bed. Considerate animal that he was, after a bit of circling he curled himself up in just such a manner that his back was pressed against hers, providing maximum warmth. But then, he'd had a lot of practice…
Looks like it's shaping up to be a one mabari night. That's right, Kirkwall, you're absolutely correct. Fereldans do sleep with their dogs on a regular basis, Fallon thought a bit waspishly as she drifted off to sleep. Only it's not for the reasons you're thinking of and nowhere near as exciting and perverse as you might imagine!
"You're a monster!" Fallon snarled at the blood mage Huon late the next evening. Dropping his wife Nyssa's body to the ground before him, the mage began to glow ominously with the power he'd stolen from her life's blood.
Many would have quailed from the sight, ran from the shades and minor demons that were erupting from the packed earth of the Alienage. But Fallon Hawke kept her eye on the prize, sprinting towards the mage himself, knowing that the sooner he was taken down, the fewer summoned creatures they'd have to deal with. Fenris, knowing the same, was right at her side.
Huon however, was cunning; he disappeared in a puff of black smoke just as they reached him. Spinning around, the two warriors caught sight of him on the opposite side of the courtyard and started running in that direction. But the ploy had given Huon time enough to get off some sort of blood magic spell. Fenris had never encountered anything like it before. Fallon stopped in mid-step, was lifted off the ground, surrounded by a scintillating red aura. A scream burst from her mouth and Fenris shuddered to hear it even as he kept running. He'd never heard Fallon make a sound like that-she'd been known to scream with rage in battle, but that was nothing like this agonized sound. Unnerving as it was, he knew that her best hope was for him to take the mage down. His Tevinter blade swung swiftly, even as Bianca stuttered her multiple bolt attack, Drake launched himself at Huon's throat with a mabari roar and Isabela appeared behind the blood mage's back to drive her daggers into his kidneys.
The mage went down under the combined ferocity of their attacks, then the four turned their attentions to the shades and rage demons Huon had summoned up. When all was quiet once more, they rushed to where Hawke lay limp in the dust. There was blood leaking from beneath her eyelids and out her nostrils and mouth and it dewed her upper lip in tiny dots.
Fenris pulled out a healing potion, lifted Fallon's head and poured it through her lips. To his relief her throat moved as she swallowed the potion, but she did not open her eyes.
"Try another, Broody," Varric suggested and Fenris did so. Once again she swallowed but did not regain consciousness.
"Maker!" Isabela swore, stripping Hawke's gauntlet. The tiny droplets of blood were on the top of her hand as well. She shoved the gambeson up Hawke's arm and there were red smears on the skin. "I think she's leaking!"
There was the sound of a door opening.
"We need Blondie," Varric declared. "Let's go get him, Rivaini."
"No," said a soft voice with a Dalish accent, "You need me." Merrill was pacing towards them, her large green eyes luminous in the light of the lamps surrounding the vhenendahl. Fenris bristled. Merrill had not run with them since Fallon had refused her the arulin'holm. "Anders cannot help you. Only blood magic can mend what blood magic has marred. The mage called the blood out of her body. She hasn't much time."
"What are you waiting for, then?" Isabela snarled.
"Until you can guarantee me that Fenris won't gut me for doing it," Merrill said simply.
Fenris found himself the subject of two fulminating, brown-eyed stares. He glanced over at the blood mage and then back down at Hawke, so still and silent, her blood seeping into the dust. Everything in him howled against the idea of using blood magic to save Hawke, but it howled equally loudly at the thought of losing her.
"You are safe, so long as you do nothing other than heal her," he said gruffly.
"Not very friendly, but I suppose it will do," Merrill said. She walked over to Fallon, pulled the small dagger from her belt and slashed her palm open, scattering the blood over Hawke's body, then clenching her fist. There was a reddish shimmer and a muted whoosh of air. Sheathing her dagger, Merrill said, "She will be all right now, though she may need to rest a day or two."
"Thank you, Daisy," Varric said sincerely.
Merrill nodded. "I did it for you, Varric. Because of how you looked after me when I was first here." She gestured in Fenris' direction. "I certainly didn't do it for him. Or Hawke." She strolled back off into her house without another word.
Fallon moaned a little and opened her eyes. "What in the Maker's name was that?" she whispered.
"Blood magic," Fenris replied. "Some new spell the mage had come up with."
"Inventive little bastard, wasn't he?"
"Merrill fixed things, Hawke," Varric said, relief obvious on his face.
"She did? I should thank her then. That hurt."
Recollecting Merrill's last statement, Varric said, "Later. You look done in. Can you walk? Let's get you to the Hanged Man. You can sleep in my room if you like." Hawke shook her head.
"No offense, but I just want to go home, Varric."
The dwarf gave her a dubious look. Fallon saw it and chuckled.
"I think I can make it. But if you see a wheelbarrow along the way, feel free to tip me into it."
They did not find a wheelbarrow, but it was not needed. Fallon managed to walk slowly up through Lowtown and into Hightown and for a wonder, for once the night-time streets there were quiet.
"Why don't you all come in and have a drink, get warm before you go back," she said to her friends at the door.
"You still have that good brandy?" Isabela asked, her eyes lighting up.
"You mean the horrendously expensive blackberry stuff? Yes, half a bottle."
"Then I'm in," the former pirate said.
"And your favorite dwarven whisky for you, Varric. There's plenty of that left, since you're the only person who can stomach it. I've got some good wine for you, Fenris."
"I will not be drinking. I will be helping you," the elf said firmly.
"As you like."
They entered the house. Bodahn scurried out, exclaiming over Fallon until she told him not to fuss, then went to see that the fire was stoked up in the library and her friends' drinks were served. Drake went and curled up before the fire, licking the remnants of Huon's blood from his face and body. Fenris helped Fallon up the stairs, her arm draped over his shoulders. Settling her in a chair before the fire in her room, he began undoing buckles with fevered haste, setting the armor aside on the floor to be racked later. Removing the gambeson and padded trousers he found the insides of the garments to be blotched with blood. Hawke's shirt was even worse, with great saturated patches.
"You're going to need a bath," Fenris noted. Fallon groaned.
"Maybe just a wash-up tonight? Bath tomorrow? I don't think I can wait for the tub to be filled. I just want to go to bed. And I could use another health potion. I feel bruised all over."
Fenris gave her another of the ones he carried. That seemed to relax her, she'd obviously still been in pain. Orana, who had been awakened by Bodahn, scurried in, then scurried back out to fetch the hot water and bath supplies Fenris requested. He had Fallon stripped completely by the time the former slave returned. He was disturbed to see that Hawke was shivering a bit, despite being close to the fire.
"Get me my oldest flannel gown if you would, Orana. And some old stockings," Fallon directed. When the girl had done so, she was dismissed. "Go downstairs please, and see if my friends would like something to eat. Perhaps some of Mistress Berrybay's bread, if it's done. And thanks for getting up."
"It is no trouble, Mistress, I am happy to do it," the girl said, dropping a curtsey before she departed. Fallon sighed when she had gone.
"I do wish she'd stop acting like I'm going to beat her."
"It may take some time. Maker knows it has for me."
Hawke's eyebrow flew up in surprise. "You've never acted like you expected me to beat you, Fenris."
He shrugged, dipped a washcloth into the washbasin, rubbed soap on it and began washing her. "That is not what I meant. If you've known nothing but slavery your whole life, then it is hard to leave that way of thinking behind. I've had many more years than Orana to work on it. She still doesn't believe she is free. She will come to in time."
"Have you come to believe? Really?" Fallon's eyes were intent upon him for a moment, then they closed and she sighed in pleasure as he rubbed the hot, wet cloth over her chest and arms.
He paused in the washing for a moment to consider. "I…for the most part, I think, yes. There are still odd moments, when I first wake up for instance and wonder what my Master will want me to do today. Then I remember that I have no master and it is up to me to make of my day what I will. Which is exhilarating and terrifying at the same time." His mouth twisted in one of his wry smiles. "Because if I fail, I have no one but myself to blame."
"But if you succeed, then no one but you deserves the credit," Fallon murmured with a smile. "It does work both ways."
"I am not so sure about that. I've had help-you, Varric, even Isabela and Aveline. If I make a good life for myself, you all will have had a hand in it."
"It's nice of you to say so." Fallon yawned and he hastened his cleansing of her lower body, legs and feet. The bathing was a very intimate act, but there was no sexual feeling in him this evening. Hawke was obviously unwell and he too shaken about how close he had come to losing her earlier that night. The Maker, he reflected, must surely have some love for Fallon Hawke that she'd fallen to a blood mage's spell while just across the courtyard from another blood mage skilled enough to counter it.
He began patting her dry. She smiled drowsily up at him, enjoying his ministrations. When he'd dried her down to the hips, she went ahead and pulled the gown over her head. He looked at it curiously, a well-worn, almost ratty garment in a grayed white color that nonetheless looked very soft and comfortable. She'd never worn anything like that around him before. Usually they just peeled right out of their clothes and got down to things, or occasionally she would don a silky nightgown first to entice him. He loved the sensation of running his hand over her body sheathed in silk. She also never put thick stockings on when she was with him, though she did that now as soon as he'd dried her legs. Despite the time he spent with her roving about Kirkwall, and the evenings he spent in her bed, there were apparently still things he didn't know about Fallon Hawke.
"Give me a hand up, will you please?" she asked and he complied, helping her out of the chair and over to the bed, then giving her a boost up with a hand beneath her rump. Fallon slid beneath the covers, shivering. "Thanks. Damn. Forgot to tell Orana to warm the bed first."
"Shall I get you a brick?"
"No, it will warm up soon enough." No one who had been on the receiving end of Hawke's ire would have believed the sweetness of the smile she gave Fenris then.
"I will go check on the others," he said; then more softly asked, "Would you like me to come back?"
She nodded, startled. "I would, very much. But only if you want to."
"I will be back in a little while."
Varric and Isabela had ensconced themselves in the library with the liquor, in chairs near the fire. A small table with some bread, butter and cheese was between them. Fenris helped himself to a large piece and spread butter liberally upon it. It was still warm, the yeasty aroma rising to his nostrils. He devoured it in three bites and took another.
"How's Hawke, Broody?" Varric asked, Bianca cocked up against his chair.
"Very tired. She went straight to bed."
"I'd feel better if one of us stayed with her tonight," Isabela commented, with a pointed look in Fenris' direction.
"I will do that," he said.
She blinked, apparently surprised at the lack of argument.
"You sure, Broody? Because Rivaini or I could do it."
"I will stay."
Varric got to his feet. "Well then, if that's settled, I'm headed back to my own bed. Coming, Rivaini?"
Isabela rose somewhat carefully. Fenris noted that the blackberry brandy was almost gone.
"Come on, oh Paragon of Manliness. Maybe we'll find some Invisible Sisters to beat up on the way home."
Fenris let them out and locked the door behind them. When he started back up the stairs, Drake joined him. They entered the room together, and Hawke cracked an eye open.
"Come to bed, Fenris."
"I need to wash up a bit first myself."
There was enough left of the now-cool water and a couple of clean towels to accomplish that. Fenris stripped his armor and racked it, making a mental note to clean it on the morrow, along with Fallon's, which he also put away. Then he washed himself, dried off and slipped into the bed on the opposite side. Fallon immediately wriggled towards the center of the bed.
"Come here. You're always warm and I'm selfish and cold." He did so. Fallon promptly turned her back to him so that he could spoon in close. She knew that Fenris did not like to sleep with someone at his back.
He put his arms about her flannel-covered form and snuggled close. She made a pleased, inchoate sound and snuggled back against him harder. Just for a moment, the feel of her soft-clothed warmth brought a whisper of memory to the edges of his mind, the sensation of his mother's arms about him and the echo of her voice. Then it was gone.
Not that Fallon inspires motherly feelings in me of any sort, Fenris noted to himself wryly. The memories, which occurred with increasing frequency these days, did not upset him as they once had. He supposed that he'd absorbed a bit of Fallon's fatalism, her belief that things would occur in their proper time. She was always willing to talk with him about the memories, to help him puzzle them out and that made them easier to bear.
He buried his nose in Fallon's feathered black hair, catching the faintest scent of blood. She'd need to wash it in the morning. He would help her with that. The exertions of the evening caught up with him then, and he drifted into sleep.
In the small hours of the morning, he woke with a start, tattoos glowing bluely. The dream had been an old, recurring one. Danarius turning to him for pleasure, in the absence of another slave that pleased him. Being ordered to strip, to submit, on his knees on Danarius' soft mattress. Head down, hips up, legs spread. Waiting for the invasion, the pain, the burning, hateful pleasure that was so different from what he shared with Fallon. Craving it. Until Danarius was done, and sent him away from his soft bed to Fenris' hard pallet in the slave quarters.
Because slaves didn't sleep in the master's bed. Ever.
It was blindingly obvious now that he thought about it. Probably not the only reason he'd not been able to move in, but certainly a contributing factor.
Slave habits. They linger with me still.
Because a slave didn't deserve warmth, didn't deserve good food. Just the leavings from the master's table and whatever blanket he deigned to throw upon the floor.
Fenris sighed, aware that the dream had not only brought revelation, but arousal, and that his hard length was twitching against Fallon's backside. He moved back a little, preparing to slide to the other end of the bed, when she turned suddenly and looked at him with concern in her sleepy blue eyes.
"You…could say so."
"Got you hard. Danarius?"
There were times when Fenris appreciated Fallon's blunt, straightforward manner and times when he wished she had even the tiniest bit of diplomacy in her. This was one of the latter.
"I…uh, yes. I am sorry. I should go."
"You're not going anywhere." Her arm, which was under him, he realized, suddenly tightened, drawing him close, while her free hand reached for the drawer in the bedside table, opened it and drew out a handkerchief. She handed it to him.
"I'm not in any condition to do you right now, but I can help while you take care of yourself. I'm up to that much."
Fallon sighed patiently. "Yes. While you jerk off. I'll nibble on your ear." She smiled, the sleepy look giving way to a more aware, speculative one. "I've never watched you jerk off before. This should be fun."
"Yes. I'm always too involved with my own feelings when we have sex to really watch you. Go ahead."
Long accustomed to taking direction in this particular area, Fenris closed his hand around his member and began to pull gently. Fallon stuck her nose close to his ear and breathed into it. He shivered. Her hand began to move idly over his body, tracing the lines of his tattoos. She was not a mage, so it did not have the impact that it did when Danarius let his power trickle into them, but the skin along the edges of the tattoos was sensitive and it was stimulating in a different way.
They continued in this way for some time, Fallon stroking his body and sucking the tip of his ear and kissing him. It felt very good, but it wasn't enough to allow him to culminate.
"Perhaps we should just stop," Fenris said eventually. "You're tired and I will be able to go back to sleep in a little while."
Fallon obligingly stopped her caresses. "Why don't you tell me about your dream?"
"I…I don't know if I'd feel comfortable doing that."
"Why? I know that it upset you-I woke up to the glow. Perhaps you should talk to someone about it."
"It…It is embarrassing, Fallon."
"Is it because it was about Danarius? Did he do something to you that you like better than what you and I do?" There was no accusation in her tone, Hawke simply asked the question, but Fenris reacted as if she had in fact accused him.
"NO! No, it was nothing like what we have! There is no comparison!" The tattoos flared into life again.
"Is it because you like being with men as well?"
"No! I prefer what I do with you!"
She smiled at his vehemence. "That's as may be, but you didn't wake up hard as a rock because you were dreaming of me."
"Fallon, I..." He pushed himself up on an elbow, made as if to get up out of bed, took one look at her face and stopped. Her expression was as gentle and patient as ever, but the dark shadows around her eyes reminded him of the reason he was here. Settling back against the pillows, the blue light fading, he was rewarded with a grateful smile.
"Thank you. I really don't want to be alone tonight," Fallon admitted softly. "It's all right, Fenris. You don't have to talk about it if you don't want to. But you should know-I don't mind, whatever it is. Given the life you've had, it would be astonishing if you didn't have a kink or two. If you like taking it in the ass-"
"-if you do, then we can get some toys and play around, find something you like. If you'd like to do that to me, then I'm game. I've never suggested tying you up, I was afraid that it would frighten you, given your history. But if you trust me and want me to do it, or vice versa, I'm good with that too."
He shook his head in wonder. "You are the strangest woman, Hawke."
"Compared to Isabela? Merrill? You take that back!" She was grinning and he suddenly found himself smiling back.
"Point taken." He considered for a moment. "I don't think I can be tied up. Not for long and not so long as I'm awake."
"Ooooooh. You know, you're probably right. I hadn't thought of that." Fallon looked intrigued. "Might come in handy someday."
The odd conversation had taken care of Fenris' aroused state. He moved closer, laid his head upon her shoulder. Fallon curled her arm up around him.
"It is not that I do not trust you, Fallon," he said softly. "But I don't want to talk about Danarius. We killed him, you and I, and he needs to stay dead. Talking about him, to…get off, as you would put it," he was choosing his words carefully, thinking about them as he went, "using what he did to me in the past…it brings him into our bed. And I do not want that."
Fallon went very still for a moment. Did he just say our bed? "I can understand that. I'm sorry if I upset you with the suggestion."
"I am not upset. You are an extraordinarily understanding woman, Hawke, and I appreciate that. I don't know of too many people who would put up with me the way that you do."
"I know plenty who would like to try."
His eyes met hers. "To get me into their beds. Because I'm exotic, unique. No better than Danarius, in their own ways."
"I thought we weren't talking about him."
That small, endearingly shy smile appeared. "That's right, we weren't." He turned his head into her neck and kissed it, and she lifted her other hand to lightly stroke his face and the silver hair. By the time weariness claimed her once more, he was already snoring lightly against her skin.