Author's Note: The usual stuff. Dragon Age and all its characters are not owned by me and I make no profits. This is nothing but pure, ridiculous fun.
No. Hawke dismissed that choice as too obvious.
But then she'd remembered the ribbons, left over from the trim of a ball gown Leandra had worn to the viscount's last gala - perfect little ribbons in red and green and gold, fitting indeed for a dwarf whose favorite shirt and sash were just those colors.
When she actually held them up to compare with his clothes, she saw that the match wasn't perfect - the green too bright, the red too pale - but, all in all, a worthy choice of decoration. She laid all twelve of them out on the nearby pillow and set to work, a comb her only implement. At the first stroke through flaxen hair, she giggled, and was glad she'd thought to add a little something to Varric's drink this evening. All the tugging and twisting - not to mention the challenge of tying little bows with silken ribbons that slipped more than they caught - well, if not for the soporific, he'd surely have woken midway through this delicate procedure and ruined all her fun.
The next morning, Hawke dropped by the Hanged Man bright and early. But all evidence of her handiwork had disappeared. And that, said Isabela, meant her efforts counted for naught.
Varric said nothing. But later that evening, Hawke returned home to find a sealed envelope waiting on her desk. Inside were twelve little ribbons and one scrap of paper, which read, "Watch it, Chuckles."
Isabela's turn was next and, to Hawke's great frustration, she stuck to the same basic theme, but improved upon it by leaps and bounds. Instead of ribbons, Isabela used the smallest of beads all woven through, and every braid connected to form a tapestry of chest hair, golden and glinting as a finely woven textile.
Varric had got half of them out by the time Hawke arrived and saw them. He gave her a look and declared, "Game over. Rivaini wins."
And that should have been the end of it, but Hawke couldn't bear to lose. And her next idea was surely a winner. So she flirted with Corff just enough to lean closer and tip something into the stew. Varric was guarding his drinks far too closely these nights, but he'd have to eat eventually. Drugging half the Hanged Man's paying customers was the price she was willing to pay to ensure that Varric slept soundly.
Hawke was certain her work would take all night. For one, there were several steps involved. First, she borrowed Isabela's technique and set down a base of interwoven braids. Then, the needle and thread. Since she hadn't embroidered in years, she had only planned on the one nug. But progress went more swiftly than expected. She added another and then a few more. It would have made a sweet domestic scene, except for the fact that two of them - serendipitously - appeared to be mating, lending the whole thing an air of weird nug orgy.
Varric was busily pulling threads by the time she arrived late that morning.
"You'll pay for this," he said.
He took to watching Hawke and Isabela, but pretending, of course, that he wasn't. Hawke took to gloating, certain now that she wouldn't be outdone.
But a few nights later, to her great surprise, she was nudged awake by Varric, whose stomach she'd been using as a pillow. One of her hands was lodged in an open jar of wax. And no matter how she protested, he refused to believe she'd had no part in the prank that had turned his glorious pelt of chest hair into row upon row of what appeared to be waxed mustaches, all with splendid Orlesian curls.
"If you want the hair on your head to not get shaved off, this ends right here," he said.
"Right here with the two dozen small mustaches?" Hawke could never resist a good set up.
In retrospect, Hawke wasn't sure if she'd acted out of a competitor's drive to vanquish her foe or out of curiosity at whether Varric would ever make good on his threats. Ultimately, the why of it mattered little. And even the discomfort of the Kirkwall sun beating down her newly shorn head couldn't diminish the remembered thrill of seeing Isabela's jaw drop at the sight of Varric's chest.
"I hope you realize, this means war," he'd said.
But Hawke still beamed. Not as brightly, however, as the red four-letter word she'd dyed and stenciled into Varric's mane of golden chest hair.