Betaed by Lisbet, thanks sweetness! 3


To Hawke, it had been the longest week in the history of man. And to top it off, Fenris looked completely unfazed by it all; he acted like he always did. Hawke had noted that Fenris would turn his head and check up on where he was, and when he saw Hawke, he would smile. Or what was a smile when it came to Fenris. It looked mostly like a little tick in the corner of his mouth, but his eyes got all warm and friendly. Funny, really, Hawke thought to himself, that Fenris would smile with his eyes, but not really move a muscle in his face.

Hawke made the mistake of looking over at Isabela, who laughed when he blushed weakly, knowing he was caught staring and smiling like a loon. And just at that very moment, Fenris decided to make it worse. Maybe it was on purpose, maybe he was completely ignorant, Hawke didn't know. But the elf turned around and faced Hawke directly. "Tonight," he said, ignoring Varric and Isabela who just stood and stared, or waited for whatever stellar garbage was sure to come from Hawke.

"Yeah?" Hawke said, trying to look indifferent to their onlookers.

"Would you prefer that I pick you up?" Fenris asked, shifting a little on his feet, which was all that gave away that he was uncomfortable.

"Oh... uhm..." Hawke gaped, "You chose."

Fenris raised a brow. "I will pick you up, then." He did that little shy smile again, still shuffling his feet. Hawke figured that he -really- didn't want to have this conversation here.

"All right," Hawke said, nodding. He saw Fenris shoot giggling Isabela a death glare as he left toward the exit of Lowtown.

"Smooth, kiddo," Varric laughed once Fenris was gone. He hit Hawke lightly on his shoulder in a friendly way. "We'll make a suave young man out of you, yet."

"Wait! Wait!" Isabela cut in. "You two on a date? You. two. on. a. date?" She laughed till she cried, and then she pinched Hawke's cheek, who growled in response. "That is just priceless!"

"Why that?" Hawke argued in a childish tone and crossed his arms.

"Because…" Isabela gestured up and down at Hawke. "It's obvious, innit?"

"Not really, no," Hawke huffed.

"What she means," Varric cut in.

"What she means," Isabela repeated, "is - what in the Maker's name does Fenris see in you? Do you have something impressive tucked away under those rags of yours that we haven't heard of?"

Hawke's cheeks burned, much to his own annoyance. "I hate you both," he said, lacking any real conviction. "Go back to your cards and drink."

"Will do," Varric said, and grinned at Isabela.

"Oh, Varric!" She fanned herself dramatically. "Don't you -dare- look at me that way. I am a respectable woman!"

"I would -never- do that to you, Miss Isabela," Varric feigned shock. "I have standards!"

"Yeah like what? A pulse?" Hawke growled, annoyed, as he pushed Varric out of the way, so he could get on his way home.

"Something like that," Varric laughed.

"Hey, Hawke!" Isabela yelled after Hawke's back as he attempted to escape them. "Don't shoot your load before you get your pants off!"

"Shut up!" Hawke muttered to himself, much too low for Isabela to hear, and a good thing, too, as Hawke's ears were burning with embarrassment. Damn Fenris that he hadn't waited just two more minutes until Varric and Isabela were inside the Hanged Man.

"Mother?" Hawke called as he came back home. He heard an answer from the living room, where he found his mother in a chair, reading a book. "Ah, Garrett," she smiled.

Hawke scratched his head. "Uhm, who did you expect?"

"You're right," Leandra said with a silent sigh.

Hawke left her side and went toward the stairs to his room. He turned on the bottom step and looked over at her. "Mother? If that white-haired elf knocks at the door, would you tell him I will be right down?"

Leandra didn't even look up at her son, but nodded ever so slightly.

"Great." Hawke nodded to himself and walked upstairs to change. He had been so happy when he had been able to buy this house for his mother. He had hoped that to restore her childhood home to her would bring a smile to her face, but it didn't. He undid his jerkin and carefully placed it in the corner, and pulled off his filthy shirt under it. Sometimes he couldn't help but think that she would have been happier if it had been Carver who was here, and he who had met his destiny in the Deep Roads. She had lost everything, hadn't she? All hope for her bloodline? She had lost father, Bethany and Carver. All she had left was him. And he was a piss poor substitute, champion or not. If he had to be honest to himself, he was more than a little heartbroken that no matter what he did, it never seemed to make her smile, or even admit that she was proud of him. Who would have thought? After all, it wasn't every day that a farmer's son from Ferelden became the most important man in Kirkwall. Apparently that went over Leandra's head, though. And it didn't make it better that he, in the most awkward of ways, had indulged her in the whole 'no grandkids' thing. Hawke pulled a clean shirt over his head and sighed in bliss. It was good to be back home, no matter what. Now he looked forward to a good meal, and a good night's sleep. And of course Fenris. He just hoped that he wouldn't ruin everything, the way he had with the dinner last week, and that he wouldn't blush like an idiot all the time, mostly because of Varric and Isabela.

He couldn't prolong it anymore once he had freshened up, and finally walked back downstairs to where his mother still sat in the chair like a statue. She looked up from her book and at Hawke. "So is it at least the same man as you went on a date with last time?" she asked.

"Yeah," Hawke admitted, squirming slightly, not really comfortable with discussing things like this with his mother. He walked through the half light of the living room, and pulled a stool over and sat next to his mother and stared at the flames in the fireplace. He didn't know what else to say, so he just sat by her in silence.

"Did he like my cookies? You never did tell me."

Hawke smiled. "He loved them." He gingerly placed his larger hand on top of Leandra's.

"Good." Leandra nodded. She paused and then quickly shot Hawke a look. "You certainly are tightlipped about it, could it be because you -"

"No, mother," Hawke said, cutting her off. "I'm tightlipped because it's private, and because it makes you uneasy. I don't want to upset you."

"There are some fine young ladies of nobility who have noticed you, son." Leandra said, placing her other hand on top of Hawke's. "Would it kill you to try?"

"Maker! Mother, honestly," Hawke whined.

"For me?" Leandra looked at her son with sad eyes.

Hawke pulled his hand back, and stared into the flames, not answering her. He didn't know what to say. One thing was angry Leandra, but this! How could he turn her down? And on the other hand, how could he not?

"To think that I will never hear the patter of little feet across the floor here," Leandra whispered. "I used to imagine that you and your siblings would grow up here, but life wanted it differently. And with Carver and Bethany gone... there is only you left. And you won't even grant me that one wish."

"Mother," Hawke sighed, but when he heard his mother sniffle, he cringed. "All right, you win, mother," he mumbled. "Maybe I could be happy like that; I don't know."

"Of course you could, son. Marriage is not so bad. Even your father grew to love it." She laughed a little at a memory that she didn't indulge Hawke in. Her gaze grew steel hard again. "You just have to set your mind to it, my son."

Hawke was about to say something when he heard a knock at the door. Bodahn and Sandal had retired some time ago, so Hawke got up to get it. "I have to go. Will you be all right, Mother?" he asked as he stood.

"You are still going out with that man?" Leandra asked, surprised.

"Yes, I am." Hawke said, "I can't very well decline his invitation now."

Leandra's lips were a fine line, but she nodded.

"Besides, it's not like it's a -real- date, it's more like friends having dinner," Hawke said over his shoulder as he opened the door. "Fenris," he said, and desperately wished that the beginning heat in his cheeks would go away. "You look different." He looked up and down his friend, dressed in a long black coat and what seemed to be a white shirt. Hawke had never seen him out of his armor.

Fenris smiled weakly. "Thanks."

Leandra came up behind Hawke. Fenris bowed slightly. "Oh, Mrs. Hawke, I didn't know you were still in."

"Mother, this is Fenris. Fenris, Mother," Hawke said, watching as they shook hands awkwardly.

"I hear you liked my cookies," Leandra said.

"I did, they were delightful," Fenris agreed. "Thank you."

"Great!" Hawke ushered Fenris out the door, and waved at Leandra. "See you later, mother."

"Yes, son. Don't forget."

"I won't," Hawke mumbled and walked away with Fenris in the dark.

"She doesn't care for elves, does she?" Fenris asked casually as they walked across the little square.

"It's not as much elves, as the fact that you are male," Hawke said, inwardly kicking himself for saying that, but now that it was out, he supposed he couldn't just make Fenris forget that he ever said it. Not without magic, at least.

"She doesn't like males?" Fenris asked surprised, and then just laughed a little. Fenris' chuckle stopped and he turned to look at Hawke seriously. "Or just those males who pick up her son for dinner?"

"A little of both, I suppose," Hawke said. So what was a little lie between friends?

Fenris shook his head, amused. And Hawke couldn't help but feel a little defeated.

"She wants me to marry some noble woman, - any noble woman, really," Hawke suddenly blurted out, not sure why he felt like telling Fenris this. "It's something about grandchildren and bloodlines..." Hawke pocketed his hands for lack of other stuff to do, as they walked along.

"I see," Fenris said softly.

"You do? Cause I don't," Hawke whined.

"Come now, Hawke, you cannot be that blind," Fenris said, stopping dead and turning to look at Hawke in the semi-dark of the market of Lowtown. "You are her last remaining child; of course she wants to see you carry on the family name." Fenris blinked, indifferent to Hawke's misery. "She's a noble, so of course she would put her social status and family name above all else."

Hawke raised a brow, not sure if Fenris had just insulted his mother or not. "S'pose." He mumbled, which sounded dumb even to his own ears.

"Food always makes you feel better," Fenris said, turning around sharply, and starting to walk again.

"It does," Hawke grinned.

When Fenris stopped, Hawke looked up, not noticing where he had been going. He had just followed Fenris' feet. "Are you serious?" Hawke huffed as he stared up at the huge wooden hanging man that hung outside the dump of the same name. "You're taking me to eat at the Hanged Man?"

"I am."

"But why? Haven't you been around Kirkwall long enough to know there are other places?" Hawke was stumped, and he knew that if he went in there with Fenris, then he would either never hear the end of it, or their date would fizz out in playing cards with their friends or whoever was there. Lose, lose scenario.

Fenris crossed his arms over his chest and looked annoyed. "I happen to cherish food amongst friends." His lips twitched almost unnoticeably, "Without someone to share it with, food is just nourishment."

Hawke was surprised by the sudden profoundness from Fenris, and even if every fibre of him didn't want to go in, he still followed Fenris inside. Once inside, it was like any other night, people would greet them both, and Fenris would go to the bar to get a beer, while Isabela went to get him a chair so he could join the card game they had going. Hawke just sat down and smiled at Varric, whose face split in an amused wolf grin. Hawke was more than surprised when someone held a beer in his face. He looked up to find Fenris holding a mug out to him. "Thank you," Hawke mumbled with a smile, and noted that Fenris had not gotten a round of beers; he had only gotten one for Hawke and for himself.

"You looked like you needed it," Fenris said, walking around the table to sit and join the card game.

Hawke sat and looked at the card game, but didn't join. He never really cared much for gambling, it was more like a drunken hobby than anything. Maybe this was Fenris' way of showing him his place? That he might have felt that Hawke -might- have put a little more in their first date than just expensive food. And what better way to kill an unwanted growing crush, without offending the person, than to gently and politely show them what they meant to you. And that was just what Fenris was doing. There was no Hawke and Fenris; there was the gang, which Hawke was lucky enough to still be a part of. Hawke put down his empty mug and leaned back in his chair. And that was okay, wasn't it? He could live with this, being surrounded by friends, whom he knew were loyal to the bone. All right, so mostly loyal at least, but he wasn't one to look a gift-horse in the mouth.

Isabela folded her cards and tossed them on the table. "Bastards," she said without any heat, and stood up to go to the bar. "You want one too, Hawke?" she asked, looking down on Hawke, who was completely mesmerised by the card game as a whole.

"Sure," Hawke said, getting up following Isabela to the bar.

Five minutes later they both sat with a mug of ale in the bar. Isabela leaned in and studied Hawke. "Are you okay? You seem tired or something."

"It's been a long week," Hawke offered.

"And what's with the hot date? I somehow thought it meant going -"

"Just don't." Hawke held up his hand to stop Isabela's words. He smiled to save the situation. "It's not my fault you thought we were getting down and dirty."

Isabela rolled her eyes. "With the blush you sported, I'm pretty sure I wasn't the only one who thought that."

Hawke ignored her and held out his mug for the barkeep. "Fill it up," he said. He didn't look at Isabela, or answer her in any way. When he got his mug, he just eased back on the barstool and looked out over the Hanged Man and her patrons. "Slow night, huh?" he said with a little characteristic Hawke smile.

Isabela might not have been the queen of good manners, but she could see the bitter acceptance on Hawke's face, as if it were a mask he tried to hide. It was in complete contrast to his words, small talk about patrons, beer, and the weather. She just listened and mumbled some replies. She couldn't even find it in her heart to make fun of him. That would be like kicking a man when he was down.

Hawke was very drunk when he finally called it a night. He just left his mug on the counter and leaned clumsily in over Isabela. "Bedtime," he slurred, and stood up, easing his way through the mostly empty chairs of the tavern.

Isabela watched him struggling to exit with some of his dignity intact, even if he was practically falling down drunk. As soon as the door closed behind him, she looked over at Fenris, who looked up from his card game and at the empty chair where Hawke had been sitting. "Fenris!" she yelled loudly, drowning out all the talk and laughter. He looked straight at her, and she nodded toward the door. Fenris folded his cards and excused himself. He glared at Isabela as he left, but he left none the less.

Fenris didn't have to look far to find Hawke. He had not made it up the stairs to the market place yet. He was mumbling to himself as he slowly slid against the wall, not able to stand on his own. "Hawke." Fenris said softly, wrapping an arm around Hawke's waist, and draping Hawke's closest arm around his neck, pulling the Champion to the feet. "I think you need a hand."

"No I don't," Hawke slurred. "I can take out whatever," he burped, "comes at me." He leered drunkenly and shot a fireball at the stairs.

"Maker!" Fenris recoiled as much as his hold on Fenris would let him. "Don't ever do that again!" he scolded, shaking Hawke a little, but not too much.

"Why?" Hawke looked honestly surprised that Fenris didn't appreciate his little party trick. His smile fell and then he nodded grimly, mostly to himself. "Ah yes, the magic-phobia thing..."

"Don't be ridiculous," Fenris scoffed as he half-pulled, half-carried Hawke over the market place of Lowtown. Never had it seemed this long a walk to the Hawke estate! "You could have set us both on fire, you idiot."

"There's that, too," Hawke mumbled, and then chuckled. "Hey, Fenris?" Hawke looked up at Fenris with a grin and a faint blush. "I think you're super. I really do. As in I really, really think you are..." he smacked his lips, "super."

"Hawke…" Fenris sighed, annoyed.

"I really like you, you know. And..." Hawke was silent for a little while, and then he surprised Fenris by grabbing the front of his shirt and pulling him close, so that they almost tumbled down. "I really want to kiss you."

Fenris' eyes widened. He could feel Hawke's hot breath against his cheek, and the Champion felt warm and soft against him. That was all wrong, all wrong! "No!" he growled and pried Hawke off, starting to walk again, pulling a confused Hawke along behind him.

Hawke could feel the disappointment rise in his chest. "Oh... sorry. I just thought that maybe you - " For once he chose his words carefully. "Were thinking the same as me."

"Well, I'm not," Fenris huffed, praying to the Maker that they'd be at the Hawke Estate soon.

"Oh…" Hawke literally went limp, and Fenris had to let him sit down on the stairs leading to the Hightown market. "I'm such an idiot... I thought that maybe all the looks and smiles..." He wrapped one arm around his knees, and the other around the back of his head, his forehead resting in his knees. Fenris thought it made him look like a little kid who was hiding from something that scared him.

"I am the one who should apologize, not you," Fenris said softly, feeling the lie on his lips. But this was just better; this was how it was supposed to be. No need to complicate things. "I didn't mean to..." He trailed off, and then took a deep breath, listening to Hawke breathe in small panicky breaths, down into the fabric of his sleeve. "I promise I didn't mean to lead you on in any way."

"It's fine," Hawke said, deflated and bitter. "Isabela was right," he mumbled to himself, as he struggled to get to his feet again, ignoring Fenris' outstretched helping hands.

"What did she say?" Fenris asked, slightly curious as to why he would have told this to someone like her.

Hawke turned around on the stairs and looked down at Fenris, who still stood a couple of steps below. "That you'd have to be crazy to find me attractive." He shrugged. "It's all right, I don't blame you. I had just hoped -" He fisted his hands and swayed, sobering a little by this whole conversation. "I had just hoped it was different. But it's not. So..." He shook his head, and turned around, walking up the stairs on stiff uncooperative legs, but holding up on his own.

Fenris swallowed the emotional lump in his throat and walked after Hawke. "Everything will look better tomorrow, don't worry." He walked slowly next to Hawke, making sure he didn't fall face first as they crossed the Hightown market.

"Not really, no." Hawke whispered, not looking at Fenris. "Tomorrow I will wake, knowing that -" He shook his head again. "No, let's just not talk about it."

"Okay," Fenris said, reaching out to help Hawke up the last stairs, only to have his hand swatted away angrily. He walked Hawke to his front door, and then politely melted back into the shadows, and made his way toward his own home.

Hawke closed the door and stumbled into his hall. He was drunk and angry with himself for being such a blundering fool. Of course Fenris didn't like him -that- way, whatever had possessed him to even think that? Sure he had looked at him with those expressional eyes, smiling, but honestly so did Merrill, and well... He stepped into the front room to find Bodahn, Sandal and Gamlen there.

"Le-an-drah..." Gamlen spelled out with poorly hidden frustration. Gamlen turned to Hawke. "Oh, there you are, boy! Have you seen your mother?"

"What?" Hawke blinked, confused, "She's not home?"

-tbc