A/N: Originally written (and posted) on the kink meme - I forget the prompt now, but it had something to do with Hawke attempting suicide after Fenris leaves her and how the group reacts afterward. Interestingly enough, I find it very hard to write dark stuff, so I ended up writing this over a period of months during the times I was hopelessly depressed about stuff in general. Those moods don't strike me often hence the length of time it took to write this piece. I like how it turned out and just recently got it to a friend to edit, and even though she suggests it could have been much darker - it seemed plenty dark to me!
Trigger warning - attempted suicide and feelings of hopelessness.
It would be over so quickly.
Blessed, all consuming peace.
No more arguing, no more petty squabbles – they were all so petty; so pointless now.
Everything was pointless.
Losing her father, and then Carver on the run, so violently... Bethany in the cold, lonely, unfamiliar deep roads, gasping as she seized like a rusted gear.
Mother said she didn't blame her; never did, no matter what she might have said in the past. How could Mother forgive when what she did was inexcusable, unforgivable.
She remembered how her beautiful mother loved and doted on them; all four of them. When they lost father, she remembered being frightened that her mother might break, but she didn't.
She never talked about him. Marian was never completely sure why, but instead, she cuddled them while they cried and stroked their hair, wiped their tears; never shedding tears of her own. Not that any of them saw, anyway.
And then Carver.
She had been the oldest!
The one 'in charge'!
The one who should have looked after her little brother.
But what did she know? She should have been the one that should have shoved him out of the way of that Ogre and accepted its deathblow to...
It should have killed her instead of him.
Because just what had Carver's death achieved? Marian had stumbled over the loss she felt and told her mother Carver wouldn't have wanted his death to be in vain.
And Marian believed that when she said it.
But Carver's death was meaningless. It didn't save them from the darkspawn; didn't slow the monsters down.
And still, angry, bereft words echoed in her head.
How could you let him charge in like that?! Your little brother! My little boy...
He'd never be back. Mother would never touch him again, never stroke the soft, downy hair at his temple, nor would Marian argue semantics with her brother; shouting until they were both hoarse of voice, slugging eachother on the arm for good measure; fifteen minutes later angry words forgotten over mead and a meal, only to be bickering again half an hour after that.
Her little brother was dead.
And it had been all her fault.
After Carver... she watched over Bethany like a hawk. They did everything together, Marian even tried to teach her sister to pick pockets, but the girl was about as graceful as an ox, all top-heavy. And they'd laugh. Laugh about that, laugh about everything, laugh knowing that Carver and Father were watching over them, probably having a good chuckle too.
But Marian had a secret.
Marian laughed because she was too scared to stop.
She laughed because if she started crying, she didn't think she would ever stop.
Then one day it did stop; the well dried up; the same day Bethany stopped.
Just like that.
There wasn't an Ogre to save her from; no big bad. Nothing Marian could fight – nothing she could do to make up for the past. No one could see it, no one could know it had her in its clutches.
A smatter of dark blood on her lip after a brutal battle, or the panic on her Bethany's sweet face as the sour tang lingered in her mouth – for everyone knew of the ravages of Dawkspawn blood – should have been Marian's first indication. She recalled the fatal spot all smeared across that blushed mouth. But it was too late before Marian looked at Bethany; too late did she check her over to make sure that she was fine.
She had owed it to Mother; owed it to everyone that had come on the expedition.
But it was too late.
She didn't do what she should have done.
Too wrapped up in the drama and circumstance of being abandoned by her one-time business partner, Bartrand, to even breathe... Marian didn't do what a big sister should do.
She let Bethany down.
It took her.
That blighted taint.
It wasn't fair to Bethany's memory that she never got over Carver.
His death had taken her legs out from under her; left her writhing in pain on the ground, hers had been the kick while she was down.
And somehow Marian thought that she never really got back up.
Mother said she forgave Marian as she begged for it; whimpering on her knees, trying to sob when the tears wouldn't come, pathetic sounds against the emptiness of their new home.
Mother demanded she go on, but she saw how she looked at her; those cold eyes because Marian didn't cry for Bethany.
She wanted to cry...
She couldn't, and wouldn't, forgive herself even if Mother told her she should. She should have saved Bethany, saved Carver, saved Father; saved them all. Isn't that what she was born to do?
What good were all the lives of the people in Kirkwall to her without the ones she cherished most?
He'd left a small light on somewhere within her. They were both broken; for different reasons, but inside his softness; his gentle tenderness which no one else got to see, made her feel again; made her see a future. Made her hope that all was not lost and perhaps, just perhaps, life was worth living.
She clung to that; to him, instead of the dead places inside her.
She loved the sound of his voice. It lulled her, warmed her, teased her, sent tingles through her. He was so passionate and emotional; she was so cold and needy. But she never said anything; she'd rather die than solicit his pity... and he seemed to know that; seemed to get her.
Marian would only ever see him, preferring to leave everyone else at arm's reach. He understood when others didn't.
She couldn't keep him away; and maybe some part of her selfishly didn't want to. No one would ever leave her again if she didn't give them the chance, but he was exempt and she wasn't sure why. She couldn't stop him when he touched her; and couldn't stop herself from touching him; speaking intimately in the dark of night, opening themselves to one another. He ripped down every wall she tried to erect before she could get the first brick laid.
Then she stopped trying to keep him out.
Her mind could recall it, with cruel clarity, that night; the one bright night that found her like a fawn lost in the wood. He came and swept her off her feet. Every kiss they shared, every swipe of his tongue over her skin, every embrace and words uttered in a language she didn't know but adored, every thrust into her willing body spread heat like a fire raging out of control; couldn't get him close enough; deep enough.
And he filled her that night, more than once, in every way she needed.
Without a doubt, he was the one to cleanse her soul of its darkness; patch up her holes like a well loved quilt.
They were both broken, but they were eachother's salve.
Or so she thought.
That was her fatal mistake; the blow that left her shattered and deader than before.
She'd truly not thought it possible.
But when he abandoned her that night, the light she let him nurture inside her heart sputtered and blinked out, leaving behind only a burned, charred hole; and the careful lines of stitching he used to make her whole again had snapped and twisted into horrors worse than before.
The guise of existence.
Life reduced to a dull, disconnected buzz she heard sometimes when she wasn't busy listening to her soul gasping desperately; when she wasn't busy pretending to be alive inside.
In the last days, she took no visitors; saw no one.
Except for Mother.
Marian would pass her in the hallway, and she'd touch her hunched shoulders, or run an affectionate hand through her hair. She showed Marian the white lilies that 'someone' had sent her; obviously a suitor; her mother's voice lighter than it had been in years.
Once, Mother even came into her room, collecting linens and she thought she heard her mutter something about bathing; something about being presentable because that nice Elvan boy wouldn't want to see her like this.
Spiritless eyes saw her mother as she roamed the halls of their home; how she looked like them; Carver and Bethany, and the haunting old spirits the 'nice Elvan boy' chased away with that beacon inside her... but they came back and wanted blood.
. . .
Let them have it.
What good was it to her now?
For nights – she wasn't sure how many – she'd laid awake in bed, stroking her forearm; clawing it, marking it. And under the skin she could see the dark vein that carried the unlucky liquid of her life.
She knew pressure points, and pulse points... all the sensitive little rivers of blood underneath the flesh that held her body together. She knew of them and how to exploit them. A flick of a dagger; a slit in the skin blooming red under a glinting edge.
Why couldn't she put an end to it?
There'd been many excuses – all of which she couldn't remember; that no longer mattered.
Why couldn't she put dagger to flesh this time? Why, when she brought death to so many, couldn't bring death to herself; bring peace?
What was she waiting for?
Somewhere, hidden away in the back of her mind, she knew when and where.
Then one day, when she didn't know what day it was; what time it was, it was time.
That day she ate in the kitchen when no one was home, white lilies arranged on the table. So Mother had someone to watch over her; maybe someone that even loved her. She didn't mind if Mother moved on; it was her right to be happy.
Marian was the one that had no right to be happy.
She thought happiness might have been on the doorstep with him at her side, but happy dare not venture in for tea.
No, she had no right.
So it was after her meal; nothing fancy; something she couldn't remember, something she no longer tasted.
And after her bath; lacking expensive salts or fragrances.
Skin still damp and dressed in her night chemise; sat in front of the fire, dagger in hand.
She wasn't sure how long she sat, staring, mind blank; soul so heavy it felt packed full of rocks. Not pretty rocks; not shiny, sparkly ones, but dirty, cracked, ugly rocks. The ones that lay untouched on the beach because they lost their luster nestled under years of stagnating sand and cold, cold water.
It wasn't hard.
Her skin wasn't tough as hide like in Varric's stories. She wasn't a woman above all other women; a paragon of her kind, invincible and immortal.
The blade pierced her like it did anyone else.
She bled like everyone else; red and sickeningly warm, dribbling down her palms when she pressed deeper, and drew the blade across her skin.
She wasn't special.
People didn't leave you when you were special.
People stayed when you were special.
But she was alone there, in that home; in that life.
And she was tired of it.
"Maker, save her!"
She sounded broken. Not like when Father died; different somehow.
"Marian?!" his voice called out to her, feeling herself being lifted into his arms. Her body throbbed dully; couldn't open her eyes; couldn't do anything.
Limp and lifeless, but lingering.
There must not have been enough time!
She was still alive; she should have done it in the cellar, and locked the door.
She wanted him to go away; wanted everyone to leave her; cursed them for finding her in this state.
Why wasn't she gone?
Where was Father and Bethany and Carver?
Where was the little kitty she had when she was a girl that died so many years ago? The one that Mother said was sleeping!
Why wasn't she with them?
"Help her!" she heard her mother cry hysterically. "I don't know what I'd do if -"
"Marian!" She heard it again; that voice she loved, but unlike she'd ever heard before. Her name. Not Hawke, but Marian. Somewhere floating between pain and nothingness she heard him; so heavy; so sleepy.
Warmth; the feel of heat on her chest, and his breathing, ragged and loud in her ears drowned out the sounds of a world she wanted so desperately to leave.
"Your heart..." he whispered; the revelation an echo in her mind.
"Her heart!" he cried as she felt the icy wood of the floor against her back, edging out lingering pain. She didn't want to touch it; didn't want to be cold anymore. She wanted the warmth back.
Don't leave. Please don't leave.
"It beats! Leandra! Get Anders! Quickly!" A pried eyelid gifted her the blurry view of his visage creased in concern, and she didn't think that she ever saw anything more beloved in her life than that face.
And then she didn't want to die.
It was a feeling that was so certain inside of her that she latched onto it, drawing the strength to flutter the open eyelid before it slammed shut again; darkness taking over.
She didn't want to leave.
Not if he was there.
But sounds were muffled again as she wandered in the dark; the tearing of fabric, the manipulation of her useless arms, of lolling head, and then she felt an overwhelming heat bleed into her.
He didn't stop saying her name, even when it no longer sounded like her name; a lifeline; a rope tossed down to her in her dark pit.
Marian reached out for it, hand closing around the life he offered.
She just hoped it wasn't too late.
"'Thank you' doesn't seem ... enough."
Marian stared at her wrapped wrists.
She wanted to tell him many things, but her words were stunted, hesitant.
Did he want to hear them?
How much could she say before she drove him away for a second time?
Would she even know how to talk to him since she'd tried to do herself in?
Would things be awkward and uncomfortable now?
"He refused to let you go, you know."
Anders was in the room, leaning over her, both his hands and his magic probing efficiently to check her over one last time.
"Sandal came for me, and when I arrived, Fenris had both your clothes stripped off. He was holding you, trying to ward off shock. There was a blanket wrapped around you, but it wasn't big enough for him." Anders chuckled slightly, feeling Marian's forehead with the back of his hand. "Let's just say that I've seen more of Fenris' backside than I ever wanted to see... But, even so, not a single piece of your skin touched anything but his, and he refused to let you go." Seeming satisfied, Anders nodded, removing his hand. "So, I healed you as he held you. It looked... painful for him."
A quiet knock on her door frame caught both of their attention.
Fenris was standing in the doorway, his face contemplative.
"I had better get going."
She smiled gratefully.
"Plenty of sleep, plenty of fresh water and simple foods." Leather bag in hand, Marian watched as Anders took his leave. Fenris gave Anders a respectful nod as he passed, but there were no words exchanged between the two.
And finally he crossed the threshold.
His presence in the room made her heart feel light. In fact, it felt lighter than it had in a long while.
He closed the door to her chamber, then approached her bedside.
"I am pleased to see you are awake."
"Mmhm." She motioned with her hand for him to sit, the long arm of the nightdress concealing the unsightly dressing. The huge bed was chilly without anyone else in it, but she remembered a night when it had been colder...
His weight on the side of the bed almost beckoned her forward, but she held her posture as well as she could despite wishing she could just fall into him.
"You look... better than before."
Raising a hand awkwardly to her messy hair in an attempt to smooth it out, knowing full well that wasn't what he meant, she smiled slightly. "Thanks."
They sat for a moment, just kind of looking at eachother before Fenris cleared his throat, pulling his hand out from around his back. In it was a long, narrow box with thick satin ribbon wound around, and a bow at one end.
She recognized it instantly.
Marian's brow creased deeply as she looked from the offering to his expectant face, her voice weak. "I love those."
Tugging gently on one end of the crimson bow, he made quick work of it, and put the unbound ribbon aside. Lifting the top off to reveal the carefully handmade confections, all sweet, decadent milk chocolate, some decorated with tiny drizzles of white chocolate, some rolled in shaved dark chocolate, others with patterns of waves or swirls... Each one a tiny masterpiece; each one different. Marian felt herself breathe in a great, unfettered breath.
The familiar sweetness as Fenris raised the box between them made her grin as he offered her first choice.
A quaint little chocolatier had set up shop on the way to his mansion in Hightown, and sometimes she'd tote a box of the fabulously expensive treats with her to their politely refused everytime she offered; said simply that he didn't require such decadent things. But once, after being plied with wine, Fenris did try one.
It had tickled her to no end the way he tried to hide the pleasure he got from the simple piece of candy, so she never forgot which piece he chose, ready to offer it as he desired.
But he never chose it again. In fact, he never touched another piece.
Hand ghosting over the box in mock indecision, she watched Fenris' face; the way his eyes followed her movement. Finally making her choice, she picked up her favourite; the same one he had chosen.
Back then, she had let him pick freely which piece he wanted from a brand new box. Unexpectedly, he'd taken her very favourite! She had half a mind to demand he share with her, since, afterall, it had been the only one she had been truly looking forward to. But it was much better to watch him try to deny enjoyment from something he'd already made his mind up to dislike.
A rich caramel square drenched in waves of milk chocolate.
Picking it up gingerly between her fingertips, she brought it to her lips, and bit it in half.
It tasted even better than she remembered it.
Turning her hand around, she offered him the remainder of the confection, a little smile at the corner of her mouth. He, as usual, was unreadable; his face set almost in a grim line.
Her wistful smile dissipated.
Perhaps he was angry.
Perhaps it was a good time for her to voice her appreciation.
"If you hadn't come when Mother called for you..." she started lowly, staring at the candy. "I suppose I wouldn't be here to enjoy this. So... thank you."
When he still didn't lean forward to take the chocolate from her, she squeezed it a bit tighter in both reflex and reaction. It was growing soft between the warmth of her fingers, and his hesitation gripped her heart a little.
After what she did, she didn't expect anything from him nor from anyone else.
He had once said that killing oneself was a sin in the eyes of the Maker. She assumed the sentiment was serious, though she hadn't really given it much thought until very recently.
But what if her attempt, and subsequently her failure, had been of the Maker's design? They say the Maker had a plan for everyone, afterall. Could all of this had been part of that destined fate?
Maybe she believed that, and maybe she didn't.
And because she wasn't completely sure herself, she couldn't expect anyone to understand, or believe, that her rash action had actually granted her clarity. Now that she was out of mortal danger, and she had a moment or two to think, her attempt on her own life had been both a sort of spiritual and physical blood-letting. Looking back on the past with nothing but blame and regret would only serve to destroy her.
Did she still feel responsible for her sibling's deaths? Perhaps she did, but it was different now. She wasn't haunted by them anymore, but she knew, in the end, she would answer for all the things she did in her life and, at that point, pay in whatever currency was required.
She needn't make that decision for herself.
No, until the day her life was taken from her by an act of the Maker, like the rest of her family, save for her mother, she'd attempt to live the best way she knew how.
Shifting her gaze, she looked back to his familiar, handsome face. She did hold out hope, however, that Fenris would be part of that life.
"I did not leave because of anything you – or rather, we did. There were... memories." His jawline tensed. "I lied when I said I couldn't remember. They were just... too painful. And I was a coward."
Marian found herself envious of his courage to admit such things.
"If I could go back, I would stay. Told you everything." Sorrow flickered over the features of his face; slack and loose. "In fact, I had been working on a way to speak to you... but I have no clever rogue tongue." He shifted on the bed. "These things do not come... easily to me."
He put the box aside, and cupped her hand gripping the candy with his own, gently, bringing it down to his knee. "And then... Leandra. She came to fetch me... and I felt fear like I have never known. Seeing you, laying there, lifeless..." he shook his head slowly "I knew then, that if I could manage to bring you back from that darkness... I would never let you go there again."
Tears, hot and unbidden, rolled down her cheeks, meeting their end on a bandaged wrist.
His confession struck something in her; his bluntness almost too much; too raw. And like rushing over a fallen dam, the tears just came.
The first tears in years. She had almost forgot what it was like to cry.
Swallowing hastily, the half piece of candy slid down her throat.
Eyes widening, she coughed weakly but it was too late; the candy was gone.
"Are you alright?"
"I -" she gasped, then cough again. "I swallowed it!"
It took him a moment to realize what she was talking about, but once he did, he laughed. A small, grumbling bark of laughter she knew was uniquely his.
And somewhere within them, the darkness parted.
She blinked again, and chuckled in spite of herself, his hands on her face, brushing away salty trails.
For a moment, they laughed together. It wasn't loud, nor hearty, but it was sincere.
"That was your favourite piece."
Blinking in surprise, the rest of the wet on her lashes quickly disappeared. "How did you know that?"
"That's the first one you eat out of every box." he said, rather matter-of-factly.
Speechless, she looked down at the leftover bit. "Well, I..." She had no idea that he had been paying that much attention to such a small detail.
Raising her hand to his mouth, he took the treat between his lips, cleaning the smudged chocolate left over from her fingertips with sweeps of his tongue.
His warmth was like an extension of her very being, but embraced her from the inside, and she could no longer keep her eyes open. Concentrating on the sound of his breath and the tentative movement of his body, he laced their fingers together and tugged her forward, meeting her halfway into the distance between their bodies.
A long desired press of lips found them easily opened against one another, seeking, but tender, tongues twining, the taste of chocolate and sweet caramel mingling. Heart pounding in her chest, he breathed in her unwitting moan of pleasure; his greedy exploration of her mouth drawing delicate whimpers.
It wasn't just the sweetness of the confection, but the overtone of Fenris himself, that had Marian wanting so much more; to taste him deeper, to drink as freely as she had before.
Rolling the warmed caramel from his mouth into hers, she had no choice but to accept it, her grip tightening on his hand as she took it into her mouth. For a moment it was passed idly between them as they kissed, through lips and over tongues, but eventually the small bit that was left stayed with her.
"Marian..." he whispered; his breath erotically sweet on her mouth. "I made a mistake leaving you." A lingering peck on her swollen lips. "Please forgive me my folly."
"Only if you will forgive me for being so bloody stupid." she countered, their foreheads touching; leaning.
Taking up her head in his hands, he kissed her thoroughly once again, and she melted into him like the sugary sweet in her mouth, completely at his mercy like she had always wanted but feared to be. This time was different; they were different. She felt his mind; his intention behind his kisses; the unspoken words they shared.
Letting loose her head, his caresses made their way down her neck and shoulders, over her arms, and the angle of her elbow to her bandaged wrists, and he clutched them passionately, causing her to flinch and hiss in discomfort.
Abruptly, he pulled away, releasing her altogether, shock splashed over his face. "I-!"
She shook her head against the panic, not willing to let him bolt like a deer, trying to infuse calm into her words.
"I'm alright. I just didn't expect you to..." The skin on her wrists was tender, but he'd been guilty of surprising her, that was all.
Fenris growled in anger, turning his face away. "I had better go."
"No! Don't -!"
Reaching out to him, she caught his own wrist in her hand. She hadn't noticed before, but it was bound similarly to hers – his in cloth and not in the airy, sterile smelling gauze.
Realizing she wouldn't let him go so easily, he turned back to her, retaking his seat on the bedside, but keeping more of a distance than before.
She had lost ground and it made her heart ache a little.
A fine pair they made...
But he didn't give up on her when it mattered most, and she'd not give up on him.
Fenris' eyes were sunk in his face, the constant lines under his eyes darkened and heavy. The scowl had returned, and it looked like he hadn't slept in weeks, though it was more likely a couple of days. He wasn't wearing his usual armour, just a linen tunic and leather trousers.
But around that wrist she stubbornly held fast to, was a stained, raw edged bunch of fabric. She was intensely curious about it, and once he caught on that she was examining it as best she could, he struggled, albiet weakly, to free himself.
The material wasn't clean, but it looked familiar; a fine weave, only really possessed by the genteel of Kirkwall, but, it had to have been torn from a larger garment.
She had a shift made of such material.
Actually, the shift she had been wearing the night she made the attempt on her own life… it had to have been the same!
Smoothing a thumb over the blotchy, soiled wrap, his name caught in her throat.
She was hesitant to let him free, but she did so in good faith.
Much to her relief, the only movement he made was to look down while fingering the loose end of the knot.
"This... is the hem of your nightdress.
You were cold as death when I found you. Your body... I... I did not think you could have possibly been alive." A deep breath filled his chest before he continued. "But somehow..." he trailed off, silent a moment before continuing. "I tore your dress and tied these strips around your wrists to stem the flow until Anders arrived to heal you."
She couldn't help it.
Her shifts were cool, white cotton, but the cloth wound around his wrist was irregularly patterned, small white bits edged out by – now that she knew – huge splotches of her own blood.
And he wore it...
As a memento?
As a reminder?
As a warning?
She wanted to ask him, but the words evaded her, forcing her to pack away the thoughts until she could be more deft with them.
The general story was there as she heard it, but he'd left out a few of the more sensitive details.
And in the end, his words were few, wrought with no small measure of hesitation.
It had been Anders that had given her the most revealing facts.
...when I arrived, Fenris had both your clothes stripped off. He was holding you, trying to ward off shock. Not a single piece of your skin touched anything but his, and he refused to let you go. So, I had to heal you while he cradled you.
Her eyes traced the silver trails meandering up his arm that disappeared under his sleeve.
It looked painful for him.
He didn't seek recognition for what he'd done, even though he had saved her life. But he'd been like that – shunning any attention; uncomfortable under anyone's scrutiny no matter the real intent.
She'd let him have that for now, but she'd force him to admit that he called to her then; gave her the will to hold on so she could spend this moment with him. He deserved to know how grateful she was.
She had been more than horrible to everyone she knew; selfish and thoughtless.
But the only forgiveness she desired in that moment was his.
"You called me Marian."
He did not reply.
She considered, for a moment, how to explain the unexplainable. "I... was lost. If I had not heard you, I might have never come back..." She sought his gaze. "My name. The way you said it. It was the most beautiful thing I'd ever heard."
"Marian." he said firmly; confidently.
She bit her lip as a shiver raced up her spine. If she had been standing, she'd have been too weak in the knees to stay upright.
"I have another request to ask of you."
Finding her voice evaporated, she only nodded.
"It requires a promise. You must not take it lightly, and answer me truly."
Again, a nod.
Taking up her hands, he squeezed them lightly.
"Promise that you will not attempt to take your life ever again." Raising the backs of her hands to his lips, he kissed one, and then the other. "I cannot bear the thought of living without you."
A lump rose in her throat, and she nodded her head. Things, now, were clearer than before. She wasn't sure how, but she felt confident that was a promise she could keep, though she couldn't manage to get the words out.
"Give me your promise." he said lowly, his hands tightening around hers.
Of course I promise! Marian wanted to shout.
His hands clamped around her upper arms, possessively, desperately, his voice a beautiful rumble in his chest.
"Speak!" He begged, pupils blown, more onyx than jade, searching her face. He looked not angry, but resolute; unyielding.
"Yes!" she managed to choke out, wondering if she could ever truly convey the dedication to the new chance at life she'd been given. "I promise. I will never -"
And his lips were on her again, demanding her silent submission. She could do nothing but acquiesce to his will; hot and consuming.
His long, thin hands peeled back the blanket under which she sat, revealing milky skin that rarely got to see the sun, nor the gaze of another. Sitting on his knees between her legs, he hoisted her into his lap, her muscled legs wrapped around his waist, as he pressed his face into her bosom.
Holding her there for a long while, the two breathed in one another, limbs wrapped contentedly around eachother's body; a possible mimicry of how Fenris had saved her.
He shifted in her arms, lips kissing, nose nuzzling.
A hum of appreciation vibrated through her chest from his.
Appreciation quickly turned to need, at least for her, and soon she was arching against him.
His face, apprehensive, looked up at hers.
"Perhaps we should..." he paused, puffs of breath against the skin of her collarbone a hesitant question "...postpone such activities while you are recuperating?"
"I need you as much as I need rest." She said into his hair as he nestled his face back into her bosom. "You make me feel alive. I've waited too long for your touch."
Stroking a finger up the long edge of his ear, she felt him shudder. His fingertips pressed into the softness of her back, his breathing becoming shallower; faster. She needed him so badly, in so many ways. He was the link in her broken chain; he'd always been that. They might have hurt eachother in the past, but, if his presence was any indication, she knew his heart.
"And I, yours." he growled.
Taking up the familiar hemline of her shift, he drew it up and over her naked body underneath, tossing it somewhere behind him. Worshipping her breasts with tongue and lips, she wiggled her hips atop him, uselessly.
But when she whimpered in frustration, he acted quickly.
He was different than before; his hands held her tighter, his kiss needy. Low sounds from deep in his chest came while he lowered her to the bed with intent.
Parting her legs with a firm hand, he stroked the length of her sex, already wet, already ready. She nearly cried at the rush of sensation, pushing upward to meet his hand. Marian could feel her face burning up as he unintentionally teased her; slipping in a finger when it wasn't at all necessary.
He flicked his eyes up to hers, and she stared back at him, a shy smile on her mouth. She was so incredibly weak to his very presence; her adoration far past that which was normal or even sane, it took only a syllable in that voice, or the mere hope of physical contact to render her useless and wanting.
Now aware that she was more than ready to receive him, he freed himself from the confines of his trouses, took a hold of his length, and slid the blunted tip through her slippery folds.
"Maker, don't stop." Marian whimpered, gripping the sheets in her hands.
Held in his tattooed hand, he worked his shaft purposely between her plumpness, soaking himself.
She'd pressed her head into her pillow, unable to keep her eyes open, pleasure threatening to completely overwhelm.
Suddenly, he stopped touching her, his heat rescinding.
Mouth gaping with desire, she raised up on her elbows.
Something lay in the green depths of his eyes; something she had no words for.
It looked like her own soul.
Fenris held her eyes; the only thing she saw; the most beautiful thing in the room.
Leaning into her lips, his smooth chest brushed against hers.
Returning the heat of his body, he murmured.
"Do not go where I can not follow, and I promise I will never stop."
With a shudder, and flutter of eyelashes, his weight welcome upon her, she made her declaration to him.
"Then I don't ever want to die."
Kissing her soundly, Fenris, once again, spoke against her lips. "I'll hold you to that." And then sheathed himself inside of her with a single motion.
Outside the sun was setting.
Birds twittered, perched on the window boxes; flowers bursting with blooms of brilliant colours.
On her nightstand was the open box of dainties Fenris had brought her.
Downstairs she could hear the sounds of supper being prepared, and her mother and Bodhan talking in the hallway.
In her bed was the man she loved. His arms encircling her; heavy and locked around her body.
Naked beneath the sheets they lay, intertwined and sated; for now. He had been confident and single-minded in their lovemaking, taking the reins to deliver her pleasure, but so gentle she had been brought to tears again.
The mingled scent of life-affirming sex and blessed release permeated her bed once again. She'd almost forgot what it, and he, smelled like. So warm and alive against her, she never wanted to move from that spot in the crook of his arm, and vowed not to until she had him once more at the very least.
Peeking up at Fenris' sleeping face, she kissed his chin ever-so-gently.
Rolling slowly over in his embrace, she stretched out her arm to reach for the box he'd brought. Plucking her second favourite piece of chocolate from it, she placed it in her mouth, the sinful flavour instantly melting on her tongue. With a contented sigh and a silly grin, she nestled herself back into his warmth and fell back asleep.
Things would surely be perfect from now on.