The loud pounding against his front door startled Fenris. He didn't really want to answer the insistent knocking, and since the outside world should think this mansion was abandoned months ago, he decided it would be prudent to pretend there was no one home. He wasn't going to be caught off guard though, so he grabbed his sword, and moved on silent feet downstairs to the foyer. He'd simply peek through the windows near the door to see who it was.
He was halfway there when his sensitive ears picked up muffled voices and a click from the door. He frowned in irritation when he recognized who was invading his temporary home. Quickly he moved into the shadows next to the door, and pressed himself against the wall.
"Really, Isabela," Hawke's voice drifted through the open door. "Maybe he's not home." He sounded like he was trying to be stern, but Fenris could hear the laughter hidden behind the words.
"Nonsense," she replied. "Where else would he be?"
"Oh I don't know," Hawke said as they made their way carefully around the traps Fenris had left. "He could be out shopping for lace curtains to brighten this place up."
"Lace curtains?" Isabela snickered. "How would he hang them without snagging them on those spiky gauntlets he's always wearing?"
"Hm, good point. Maker, I hope he removes them to relieve himself," Hawke said with a chuckle.
Isabela let out a purring sound. "If not, then I imagine he'd need to have a… delicate touch."
Fenris rolled his eyes. He stepped from the shadows behind them. "I see it is time to invest in better locks."
The way his two uninvited guests jumped and spun around to see him was comical, and Fenris allowed himself a small smile of amusement. Their faces reminded him of two children caught peeking at their Satinalia gifts. Hawke, who had been looking at him guiltily through thick lashes, suddenly tilted his chin back up and stared at Fenris intently.
Fenris' smile faded and he swallowed, uncomfortable with the intense scrutiny.
"Oh good, you're home!" Isabela exclaimed, pulling his attention away from Hawke, and totally disregarding the fact that she'd just broken into his home. "We came by to invite you to play Wicked Grace with us at The Hanged Man tonight."
Fenris frowned, and shifted uneasily from one foot to the other. "Maybe some other time," he said. "I have nothing with which to play." Hawke had been generous enough to share the proceeds from the jobs Fenris assisted him with, but he had recently restocked the larder, and purchased a new sword to replace the one that had been ruined by the jaws of the dragon they'd slain at the Bone Pit.
"Nonsense! We'll play for clothing!"
Hawke groaned. "Isabela-"
Isabela grinned wickedly. "Oh come on Hawke. I want to see what color his underwear is!"
Fenris didn't want to respond, but found himself opening his mouth anyway. "My… underwear?"
"Well I've already seen Hawke's, so you're next on my list." Isabela said with a wink.
Hawke rolled his eyes at her, then turned to Fenris. "I can front you a sovereign or two," he said. "Otherwise I'd suggest wearing layers. She cheats."
Fenris hesitated. He had yet to visit The Hanged Man, although he had also received an invitation from Varric on more than one occasion. He'd been reluctant to accept. After his initial angry confrontation with Hawke, he hadn't expected any of the mage's friends to take kindly to him. In fact, he'd been rather shocked the first time Hawke had shown up at Danarius' mansion to cheerfully ask him to tag along on an adventure.
They'd spent some time talking that day, the first time they'd ever been alone together. He'd been snappish and surly at first, but Hawke had merely smiled at him, and continued to ask his questions.
"Had I known Anso would find me a man so capable, I might have asked him to look sooner," Fenris said with a small smile.
Hawke's smile lit up the room. "Flatterer. Maybe I should be thanking Anso."
"Maybe you should," Fenris said with a chuckle. "Perhaps I will practice my flattery for your next visit? With any luck I will become better at it." Where had that come from? Was he flirting with this mage? He told himself it was difficult not to return such an open smile.
After spending the last few weeks being dragged through sewers, trekking through The Wounded Coast, and even clearing a local mine of a dragon infestation, he'd learned that Hawke was always cheerful. It could be rather annoying sometimes. Like now, for instance.
Hawke noticed his hesitation and grinned at him widely, "Isabela, I think he's afraid of us."
"What?" Fenris demanded in surprise. "Why would you think that?"
"Well," Hawke said, drawing the word out, "I'm a future magister, and Isabela here is plotting to have you stripped down to your smalls before midnight. Who wouldn't be a little intimidated?" He rubbed his knuckles through his beard thoughtfully. "I'm not sure which one you should be more afraid of, actually."
Fenris winced. He hadn't thought Hawke had been paying attention to his argument with Anders about freedom for mages, but apparently he had. The moment they are free, mages will make themselves magisters. Once again, he had put his foot in his mouth around the other man. He did believe mages were dangerous, he just didn't see anything malicious or power hungry in Hawke. So far. He still watched the other man closely. His friends clearly looked to him for leadership, and that put Hawke in a position of power, which could be dangerous.
"I am not afraid of either of you," Fenris finally growled. "I will come tonight."
Isabela bounced happily, drawing both men's eyes to her ample cleavage. She stepped close to him and practically purred. "I hope they're black," she murmured. Then with a wicked smile and a wiggle of her fingers at both of them, she slipped past him and out of the mansion.
Fenris swallowed nervously, and looked back at Hawke who was grinning fondly after Isabela, his eyes firmly on the sway of her scantily clad hips. He felt a small jolt of something near his heart, but refused to acknowledge it.
Once the door closed behind her Hawke looked back at Fenris, and the elf felt his breath hitch. Hawke was a very handsome man, and it was a little nerve racking to be the center of his attention. His black hair fell over his forehead messily, just long enough to get in his eyes, and Fenris often found himself tempted to brush the locks aside so he could get a better look at their whiskey color.
As if reading his mind, Hawke reached up and brushed his hair back. "So, did you want to borrow those sovereigns?"
"I am not sure when I'll be able to pay you back," Fenris said warily.
Hawke snorted dismissively. "We'll work it out."
"Then yes," Fenris replied with a grateful dip of his head. "Thank you."
"Poor Isabela," Hawke said with a chuckle. "She really wants to know what color your underwear is." He leaned closer conspiratorially, "I think she just doesn't want to lose our bet."
"What bet?" Fenris asked in confusion.
Hawke leaned a little closer, and Fenris felt the lyrium in his skin tingle in response to the mage's nearness. He inhaled slightly, the scent of ozone after a lightning storm filling his head.
"I bet her that you don't wear any," Hawke said with what could only be defined as a sinful smile.
Before Fenris could do any more than blink in shock, the other man winked at him and made his way out the door after Isabela. "See you tonight," Hawke called jauntily over his shoulder with a backwards wave.