You will find lyrics from the song 'For Good' from the musical Wicked by Stephen Schwartz scattered throughout.
All rights to 'For Good' belong to Schwartz and Co,.
Dragon Age and all its characters belong to Bioware
Hawke awoke slowly, sighing in contentment as he felt his companion shift slightly by his side. Leaving his eyes closed, he concentrated on just being: on feeling where she lay against him, on hearing the regular ticking from the clock in the corner and on tasting her extraordinary scent on the air, a strange, exotic mixture of spices, the sea and something muskier that he couldn't name.
He could tell that she was awake just from the pattern of her breathing, but he didn't feel the need to break the perfect silence that existed between them just yet. Her head resting on his shoulder, he trailed his hand lightly up and down her spine, smiling to himself when she shivered a little.
Playfully, she slid the instep of her foot down the front of his leg in a place she knew he was ticklish, and he let out a small snort before he knew what he was about. He was forced to bite the insides of his cheeks to prevent himself from bursting out into full blown laughter. Evil woman.
Satisfied her goal had been achieved, the evil women in question snuggled closer to her lover, laying her head on his chest and drowsily mumbled, "Morning, sweet thing."
Finally opening his eyes to a room filled with brilliant summer morning sunshine, Hawke gazed down at the woman tucked up against him.
"Morning Isa-" he began, and then stopped, a slightly befuddled note creeping into his voice "There's red in your hair."
He felt her smile against him. "I know, sweet thing." she replied, absent mindedly trailing her fingers across his chest. "It only comes out in the sun. Which Kirkwall doesn't see a lot of. Even if it is warmer than Dog-Land."
Hawke prodded her in the stomach and she gasped. "No knocking my homeland. Even if some of my countrymen do have an unhealthy obsession with their Mabari's..."
She prodded him back " Fereldan smells of wet dog."
"You forgot rotting garbage" he countered with a smirk, poking her again.
"Ah yes. I was trying to forget that part." She poked him solidly in the chest.
This, of course, precipitated a poking war which only stopped when Isabela poked him savagely in the abdomen, and her fingers brushed against raised flesh. She froze, and then, almost trembling, she carefully ran her fingers along the jagged scar that cut a vicious diagonal line across his stomach. It was terrifyingly long, over a hands-breadth.
She had given him this scar. As surely as if she had run him through herself.
Because he was noble, brave and good, and had refused to abandon her even though at the time she hadn't thought twice about abandoning him.
Because he had refused to hand her over, even after everything she'd done.
He accepted the Arishok's duel for her, and at first Isabela wasn't truly worried. Yes, the Qunari was massive, and he carried a bloody big axe, but it was Hawke duelling him. Hawke could take care of himself. The concept of Hawke dying was so foreign, so alien it had never even occurred to her as a possibility.
But as the battle raged on, she began to have doubts. Hawke fired dozens of spells, but few seemed to do any real damage to the Qunari. Hawke's mana was depleting fast, and while he remained mostly uninjured, that was only because he ran, and he couldn't do that forever.
Hawke cast a spell that made his movements almost too fast to follow. Still not fast enough.
Minor blows on both parts. A bleeding cut to Hawke's thigh. A small crater in the Arishok's arm. They traded blow for blow, sword against staff, toe to toe.
And then the Arishok feinted to Hawke's left. He twisted away, and the Arishok's second weapon plunged towards him. Hawke realised his mistake mid-turn, and there was a look of sickened surprise on his face as the sword slid into his abdomen.
Time slowed for Isabela, and her vision narrowed until all her horror filled mind could comprehend was Hawke and the sword that impaled him.
She saw his life's blood cascade down the wrist of the Arishok as he lifted Hawke off the ground. The Qunari's face was a gore-splattered mask of triumph.
Hawke struggled, jerking pitifully, desperate to free himself.
A hawk trying to fly free.
Isabela watched horror-struck as Hawke's staff, lovingly polished and cared for, slipped from his grasp.
And in that moment she was certain he was going to die.
No. Not Hawke!
She despaired. Tears poured down her cheeks as she made deals in her head with Andraste, the Maker, Merrill's Creators, ANYONE that would allow her to die instead of him.
She was going to throw herself at the Arishok. Beg for his mercy. Hawke was Basalit-an, wasn't he? Surely that meant something! She'd go with the Qunari, accept whatever punishment they deemed fit as long as they let Hawke LIVE-
Then Hawke suddenly rallied.
Something gave him new strength.
Half dead as he was, impaled on a sword high above the ground, he seemed to suddenly shine with an inner light. He drew mana from some deep well inside him, and his hands and eyes glowed like hot coals. Hawke stretched forward, tearing himself even more on the blade, and pressed his flaming palms to the Arishok's eyes.
Roaring in agony, the Arishok dropped his weapons, and Hawke, and clutched at the smoking holes that were once his eyes.
Hawke slowly staggered to his feet, letting out a blood-curdling scream as he pulled the sword free of his stomach. As soon as it was out, he placed a basic healing spell learned from Anders over the wound. It was just enough that he wouldn't die of blood loss.
Wincing at every movement, Hawke retrieved his staff and turned to face the Arishok.
The Qunari was in too much pain to move. He cowered- yes! A fearless Qunari cowered!- on the steps that led to the Viscounts throne. As Hawke approached, the Arishok gazed at him through ruined eyes.
"One day..." gasped the Qunari "we shall... return."
"I don't think so" Hawke snarled, and then with all his might, he drove the sword end of his staff deep into the stomach of the once mighty Arishok.
When the nobles had finally finished cheering, Meredith declared him Champion. Then there was all sorts of other nonsense to deal with and everyone seemed to forget he'd just been on the brink of death. Eventually, he turned to face Isabela with a tired, feeble smile. He swayed a little.
"Well" he started "I think that went rather well. Don't you?"
Then he fell to the ground in a dead faint.
She had given him this scar. As surely as if she had run him through herself.
Sensing where her mind had gone, Hawke immediately pulled Isabela's hand back to his chest and began teasing her, trying to pull her out of her troubled reverie.
"So, you have red in your hair? My, my, what WILL Aveline say to this? After all those times you teased her for being ginger... I don't believe you'll ever be able to live this down!"
Isabela did not reply. Hawke sighed, and lapsed into silence.
Whereas the silence of before had been comfortable, the one that stretched between them now was thoughtful, but tense. Isabela was obviously thinking about something, and without knowing what she was thinking of, he could do little to help her. He blew his fringe out of his eyes with an irritable 'huff!'. Wishing he could get inside her head, Hawke settled for stroking Isabela's back again. Infuriating woman.
And the silence stretched on.
A few hours later, Hawke was feeling pleasantly drowsy and just about to fall asleep again, when he felt her sit up by his side.
"Hawke?" she ventured.
"Mm?" he replied sleepily barely bothering to open his eyes."
"Ethan? I... want to... tell you something."
That got his attention. Isabela rarely used his first name, though he had asked her to. He sat up properly, and stared at her.
She was sat on the edge of the bed, wearing nothing but a short, very immodest- actually, no, he still wasn't sure what counted for immodest on Isabela- nightgown. Her usual blue bandanna was missing, as was her normal jewellery. She had even taken her lip piercing out. She suddenly looked much younger to Hawke, and slightly frightened.
She turned to look at him, gold eyes staring into blue.
"Ethan" she said again. "I have to tell you something, and if you interrupt me, I...!" she clenched her fists in frustration, and Ethan nodded in understanding. "And if you laugh at me, I'll gut you, I swear I will!"
"Laugh at-?" Hawke began and then tailed off as he caught her furious glare. Smirking a little, he mimed sewing up his mouth, and had to bite back a chuckle when he caught her angry mutter of 'stupid, smart-arsed Champions...'
Isabela took a deep breath to compose herself, and hesitantly and refusing to look at him, began to speak.
"I've heard it said that people come into our lives for a reason. That they... change us, bring something we must learn. And we are led to those who help us most to grow. If we let them." And here she smiled, and briefly flicked her eyes up to meet his and he couldn't help but smile back. But then her face turned serious again as she continued. "Maybe we help them in return. But once we've met them, we can never be the same. Now, I don't know if I believe that's true..." Isabela tailed off, then looked Hawke straight in the eye, her gaze steady, and said in a clear, confident voice; "But I know I'm who I am today because I know you."
And Hawke sat in shock as Isabela leaned into him and placed the gentlest kiss he'd ever received from her on his lips.
Then she flumped onto her back with a sigh.
"I love you, Hawke." she announced to a stunned ceiling. "How can I not? So much of me is now made from what I learned of you. And I think we ALL know I love myself." she finished, smirking cheekily, unable to resist throwing in a smart comment. But then her smile faded and she screwed her eyes up as she asked "So, am I kidding myself? Or could you ever feel the same way? Because I'd like to know one way or the other NOW, before I get in too deep to sail my way back out."
She grinned feebly, and then lay on her back, hands oh-so-casually folded behind her head. Waiting for Hawke to deliver the verdict on her heart.
Which Hawke proceeded to do by swooping down and kissing her like she'd never been kissed before. And that took some doing, Isabela had had plenty of good kisses before, but she felt this one all the way down to her toes, and little bursts of gaatlock went off in her brain.
Hawke took Isabela's face gently in his hands. "Of course I love you, you stupid, strong, proud idiot. I knew I loved you from the moment I saw you crying during my battle with the Arishok -yes, I saw!- But I knew you had to be the first one to say it, or you'd never accept it."
Isabela stared at him thoughtfully. for a moment.
Then out of nowhere her fist flew at him and socked him on the jaw. He reeled back across the bed, clutching his face and wondering what in the Maker's name had just happened.
"You BASTARD!" Isabela's voice ripped through two octaves. " Do you KNOW how long I've been agonising over whether or not to tell you? Four months! And you could've saved me all the trouble of-!" Isabela's ranting cut off in a strangled hiss as she pulled her fist back, ready to let fly again.
Which is when Ethan tackled her and threw her onto her back, pinning her in the middle of the huge bed. He grinned while she glared and suddenly they were kissing frantically, her hands were working lower and lower as his worked feverishly to tear off her by-now very immodest nightgown.
Hawke awoke slowly, sighing in contentment as he felt his companion shift slightly by his side. He could tell she was awake just by the pattern of her breathing.
"Hawke?" asked Isabela from his shoulder.
"Mm?" he replied sleepily.
"If you tell Aveline about the red in my hair, I'll cut off your hand." she stated matter-of-factly.
The befuddled expression he wore was priceless.
"Huh?" he asked. Intelligently.
Isabela grinned wickedly. "Maker, Ethan, have you listened to ANY of Varric's stories? Hook hands? Peg legs? You're with a pirate now. We apparently don't need all these superfluous limbs, so for a crime as dire as dropping me in the shit with Aveline, it seems appropriate to cut something off!"
When Hawke's confused expression persisted, Isabela relented with a laugh. Tapping the red ribbon he had tied around her bicep on their first night, she explained "We need something to mark you as a pirate. But maybe we'll go with Merrill's idea and get you a parrot instead."
Hawke groaned at the word 'parrot'. She knew how much he hated birds.