This will end up being the dump for my one-shots looking a little deeper into the relationship of my Hawke & Fenris - the things that came before the events in Unexpected Propositions.
Chronologically (and logically), they will make no sense, they'll probably jump from one act to the next and back again like a hyperactive child that's been given too much candy.
They might be fluffy, smutty, angsty or anything in between.
This one is...rather emotionally charged. Given the subject matter, it's understandable.
It probably makes very little sense because it's a spur-of-the-moment thing.
As always, BioWare owns all. I'm just a kid playing in the sandbox.
It had been one week since he had appeared at her door.
One week since he had kissed her so passionately.
One week since he had walked away.
One week since he broke her heart and left her feeling numb.
On the first day she cried.
On the second day, she stayed in her room and spoke to no one.
On the third day, she drank herself stupid in the Hanged Man but didn't tell Varric or Isabela why.
On the fourth day she received a letter from Bethany and she brightened. Then she wrote her sister a letter telling her everything. It made her feel better, lighter. She couldn't tell her mother. She knew Leandra liked Fenris, but some things she couldn't talk to her about. Especially not when it came to that, to him. But Bethany, sweet Bethany. Hawke's confidant, her little sister and the only one she truly trusted with this. She knew she wouldn't tell anyone, so she had no reservation in telling her exactly what was in her heart; her head.
The letter eased away some of the hurt, the tears that fell onto the page were of blessed relief for being able to spill all her thoughts onto the page. Some of it made little sense, she wrote herself in circles, but it was out there. On paper. She had shared it, and she felt better for it. He would no longer be a shadow over her heart, though his presence would probably linger there for a long time.
He had killed a small part of her that night when he walked out, but she was damned if she would let it show.
On the fifth day, she gathered Varric and Isabela so they could take Merrill back to the Dalish camp up on Sundermount to get the ancient carving tool that Hawke couldn't pronounce the name of. She was all smiles and jokes, teasing and joining in the idle banter. Generally, she was the same as she always was - but Varric in particular noticed the sadness behind her eyes, the mournful expression she wore when she thought no one was watching. He never asked her directly, he knew it would get him nowhere. But he had noticed the lack of a certain elf as quickly as if she was lacking a shadow. That's what he had become to her, after all. He followed her everywhere, and she would often be found alone in his company just sitting in comfortable silence. Or talking about nothing.
Isabela was the first to suggest the possibility they had slept together on the night Hawke had gotten blind drunk. Obviously, she wasn't drunk enough to divulge what had happened - but her jovial mood had popped like a bubble at the mention of Fenris. All she managed was a sullen "stupid elf" before she sunk into what seemed like a deep depression and hardly spoke for the rest of the night. She was so bad that night that Varric even relinquished his bed so she didn't have to go back to Hightown. He had dozed in his armchair, keeping a careful eye on a very fragile Hawke as she slept. She had muttered the elf's name several times that night; she had cried in her sleep too. Varric made a mental note that he wouldn't let the Tevinter elf off lightly if it was true that he was the cause of his friend's woe.
His blade was sorely missed against the Varterral. Hawke had grown so used to shadowing him in battle, she had fallen into such a sync with him that she was vulnerable without him. It was if she had forgotten how to fight alone, and if not for a well timed thrown dagger from Isabela, Hawke would have most likely been impaled by one of the fell creature's long legs. After the Varterral had finally fallen, Hawke had to be helped back to Keeper Marethari for healing. She laughed most of it off, of course. She blamed everything else of course, but Varric and Isabela exchanged a glance that said they both knew the real cause.
It surprised both the dwarf and the pirate that Hawke decided to give Merrill the Arulin'Holm, but neither of them questioned it. The elven girl was overjoyed and her excited and bouncy return to Kirkwall buoyed Hawke - but there was still a fringe of sadness that followed her, one that only Varric seemed to see. He wanted to call her out, to confront her, but he knew it would do no good and he would probably alienate Hawke by doing so. Her let the issue drop, though he continued to watch her closely.
On the sixth day, Hawke indulged her mother's want to spend money on frivolous things. She followed her around both High and Lowtown playing pack mule for all Leandra's shopping. Her mother bought her eldest a few dresses that she knew she'd probably never wear, some nice shoes for herself (that even Hawke was slightly jealous of) and, to make up for dragging her daughter around, a rather expensive enchanted ring. Hawke didn't have the heart to tell her mother that she found an almost identical one with a stronger enchantment a few weeks earlier in a chest along the Wounded Coast - she would just have to pretend that they were one in the same.
And then it was a week. Part of her wanted to just stay curled up in bed, to sit there remembering everything she could about that fevered night of passion with the man she had wanted for so long. But she found the more she tried to recall the look of raw, primal need in his eyes, all she could see was the deep well of hurt and sorrow she had seen before he walked out.
Seven days. She hadn't seen him since then. Was he still even in the city? Had he not just fled her bedroom, but her life altogether? She was torn in two over her reaction to that possibility. Most of her didn't want to even think about that prospect, that it was too painful a concept to grasp - but a small part of her reasoned that it would be easier to move on if he wasn't around anymore.
Reluctantly, very reluctantly, she dressed. Even more reluctantly, she steeled her resolve and left the estate. She would go to him, or at least see if he was still around. She didn't want to know the answer, but she had to resolve this. She couldn't even see the way forward at the moment, and confronting him had to grant at least a hint of the path ahead.
Her steps faltered as she reached the top of the stairs to the Hightown Estates and she fumbled the top step. Bracing herself on the wall, she felt as if the ground swayed under her feet. Squeezing her eyes shut, she tried to not sway on the spot. I'm ready for this, she told herself over and over even as her resolve guttered.
She forced herself to straighten, opening her eyes and trying to see through the haze of dizziness that threatened to send her bouncing all the way back to the Chantry square. Biting her lip nervously, she peered around the wall into the dark corner where the tattered door to the ramshackle mansion loomed silently. Her stomach flopped as she traced the cracks and crumbling stonework up to the chimney. It was smoking. He was there. Her mouth dry, tongue cleaved firmly to the roof to the point where it was hard to swallow, a sick feeling in the pit of her stomach. Was she really ready to do this? She could run back down the steps and pretend she was going to see Sebastian all along, but instead, she just stood there.
Yes, she thought, frowning, I am ready for this.
Though she hardly believed it.
Holding her breath, she strode up to the door with her head held high. She half expected it to fly open, but it just loomed imposingly in a way it had never done before. The door was more than a door. It was what lay behind it, and the possibilities within. It terrified her.
Swallowing hard, ignoring the sick feeling, and taking a deep breath, Hawke opened the door. She winced at the creak of the hinges, it seemed ten times louder than it normally did and her pulse spiked. The urge to flee made her grip the handle so tightly she thought it might mould itself to her grip, but she would not run. She couldn't. She had to do this.
She was shaking. Letting out a ragged breath, she prised her fingers off the door handle and closed it gently behind her. Fully expecting to see the man she didn't want to see, yet longed to see appear on the landing at any moment, she paused briefly. When he didn't show, she gritted her teeth and strode towards the stairs with more conviction than she truly felt.
At the top of the stairs, she kicked an empty wine bottle and sent it skidding across the unevenly tiled surface with a clatter. She flinched at the sound and curled into herself slightly, chewing at her lower lip with renewed vigour - though if she chewed much harder she would draw blood.
He had been drinking. He had been drinking heavily. And, going on the number of smashed bottled and ruined paintings and furniture, he had been taking his temper out on inanimate objects. But why? Did he feel as hurt as she did? Was it guilt that drove him to it? Or was he just frustrated because he had glimpsed something briefly and couldn't get it back? He probably blamed her, hated her. Maker knows, she felt as if she had used him even though it was him that came to her.
But she wouldn't run. She squared her shoulders and tried to appear as if nothing was wrong. As if the inner turmoil she felt inside wasn't there. She rapped briskly on the door to the room where he spent most of his time and entered.
He had dragged one of the armchairs that were usually by the table over by the fire, the back towards the door. There were bottles stood like soldiers by both arms and even though she couldn't see him, she knew the chair was occupied by the way it sagged. She could see one bare arm hanging over the side and he had his feet propped up on the bench he had pulled in front of him.
"Get out." It was a barked order, his voice spiteful and full of malice. It promised danger, should it be disobeyed. Hawke stopped instantly, swallowing hard against the knot in her throat as she tried to recover the pieces of her resolve. It was no good, it had scattered at the sound of his voice, hoarse from too much drink and too little sleep.
Reluctantly, she found her voice, though it was far more shaky and weak than she'd like. "Is that what you want, Fenris?"
He shot up from the chair so fast that she jumped, dropping the book she forgot she was carrying and staring at him like a rabbit caught in the sights of a predator. Her heart thudded in her chest as she met and held his gaze. He looked alarmed to see her there, but there was no anger. He looked tired, but above everything, he looked sad.
"No." It was a whisper, drawn from his lips before he had a chance to stop it. The simple truth. Her leaving was the last thing he wanted. "Why are you here, Hawke?"
She blinked at him dumbly for a moment before her eyes darted about, looking for an excuse. Anything other than tell him she wanted to see him, wanted to make sure he was okay. Suddenly, she couldn't just tell him she wanted to make sure he hadn't run off - and she certainly couldn't ask him what last week was about. Her eyes fell on the book and she stooped to pick it up.
"I uh…" she ran her fingers over the gilt letters branded into the well-worn cover as she attempted to stop her voice from giving her away. "I brought you a new book to read. You've been doing so well recently, I thought you'd want to step up. This," her voice quivered and shook. She dug her short nails into the faded canvas while she tried to regain what little composure she could. "This was one of my favourite books as a child. It's one of the few things I managed to save from the Blight when we fled." She trembled visibly as she recalled the moment, frowning and closing her eyes as she heard her mother chastising her for saving a book of all things. But Hawke couldn't help it, it reminded her so much of her father - reading to her night after night.
Fenris stared, watching her trembling knuckles turn white as she clutched at the book. He wanted nothing more than to go to her, to take the book from her and hold her in his arms. To kiss her, to comfort her. But he couldn't, he just stood as if rooted to the spot, watching as she opened her eyes again.
"I uh," she cleared her throat, trying to force down the traitorous stinging in her eyes. She wouldn't cry here because he would know that her tears were not from the memory of Lothering. "I think…I would like you to have it." She nodded, mostly to herself, as she held it out towards him.
"No Hawke. I couldn't take something so precious from you." His voice was so gentle, so soft. She hated him for it.
"Too late for that," she muttered under her breath, refusing to meet his eye as she still held out the book. She saw him stiffen, however, and inwardly cursed his good hearing. "Just take the damn book, Fenris." She demanded with more conviction than she felt.
Reluctantly, he stepped forward silently and took the book, turning it so he could read the golden letters on the cover. 'Cautionary Tales for the Adventurous". It wasn't a thick volume, but it had obviously been read many times. Fenris was a little in awe of it, despite it being just a simple book. It wasn't just a 'simple book' though. It was Hawke's memories, a cherished item that she had saved from the Blight's path. And she was giving it to him. He was speechless.
"If you get stuck or…anything," she said, breaking the silence that had felt uncomfortable for the first time for years. "Just let me know and…well, I know it off by heart anyway so…"
"Thank you, Hawke."
She nodded haltingly, giving him a weak smile. The last of her resolve fled and she took a step back, turning to go.
Fenris let her, unsure of what to say - and even if he knew, he didn't know how to say it. He wanted to stop her from leaving, but he didn't know what to do if he did. "Hawke, wait…" He blinked, puzzled slightly and wondering if that had truly been him calling for her to stop.
She paused in the doorway, turning slightly and resting a hand on the rotting doorframe.
"I…" It was his turn for his voice to falter. There was so much he wanted to say to her, but he didn't know what those things were. And he wanted, above everything, to apologise. But he just couldn't find his voice anymore.
She smiled weakly. "I know, Fenris," it was like she had read his mind. "Just know that what I told you last week…it's still true. And always will be." She paused, frowning at the splintering wood. "I will always be here, Fenris, and I will wait for you. But if you want to leave," her voice broke, eyes squeezing shut as she forced back her emotions so she could continue. "If you want to leave, I won't stop you." Then she couldn't bear it any longer, and she left quickly and quietly without looking back. She didn't stop walking until she got home.
Fenris merely stood, Hawke's book in his hands, staring at the empty doorway. His heart pounded in his ears as he replayed what she had said. Looking down at the worn cover of the book, he ran his fingers over the gilt letters like Hawke had done - but he didn't see them even though he ran his eyes over them. All he could hear was a memory. An echo of Hawke's words from that night. The declaration she had mentioned, a stab that drove deep into his heart and hurt far more than any blade.
"I love you, Fenris."