Going Back Home

Some part of him wanted to go back to her. A part he had thought to be lost when Danarius branded him, marked him as his own, unworthy of free will and choices. Now, though, it was back, and the sudden pain hit him with such a force, that he couldn't breath as long as he watched the flickering light behind her window. He had left as soon as she fell asleep. Unsure of how to handle the situation he rather fled than looking into her eyes the next morning, finding, that what he felt wasn't true – at least for her. She'd be probably glad, she wouldn't have to end their pitiable excuse of a relationship herself, for what could she want with him anyway?

He wondered that since she came to him every other day, looking for him, asking questions no one did before, caring in a way he couldn't understand. He was a broken man, torn between the fear of his newfound freedom and the shadows of his past, a burning thirst for vengeance running through his veins. And she – she was all beautiful, a fragile bird of innocence and happiness, too good to realize that he'd only drag her down with him into the darkness of his inner demons. How could he let that happen?

And then, there was that part about her touching him. Her fingers left a trail of ice and fire on his skin. It didn't hurt, but at the same time it was unbearable. It threw him back into a life he had forgotten, into things he couldn't understand. And with it came his old companion: fear. She didn't notice. She was like a blossoming rose under him, like the never-fading sun, her eyes were promising safety, yet, her touch brought a new kind of agony.

They laid together, afterwards, almost touching, lost in thoughts. She had her eyes closed, turning to him, putting her hand over his heart as if she'd done so a hundred times before.

"Thank you."

His world drowned in darkness as memories danced in front of his eyes, memories he was sure couldn't be his own. And no matter how hard he tried, he couldn't hold onto them, couldn't understand. They didn't stop until he fled her bed and house and life.

He was halfway out of the town before he realized, that he couldn't go. It weren't the lone hallways of his stolen home or the numbing taste of the red wines in his cellar that drove him back, not even the simple companionship with those few he dared call friends. All he could think of was her eyes – though they'd now be filled with disappointment, maybe even hate – that won't ever again touch his soul, her smile that won't ever again ease his rage. He didn't know, how he could dare meet her again, but the very thought of not doing so was worse.

The dark shape of Kirkwall in his back, he sneered. He, who'd sworn to never let himself be bound by anyone or anything again, couldn't bear the thought of being separated from Hawke. No matter that she probably wouldn't want to see him again after he left. No matter that he'd never be good enough for her.

When would she wake? What would she think? Would she be worried when he wasn't in his mansion? Would she search for him? Or would she know that he left out of free will? That he couldn't bear her touch, her care?

He'd have enough time to go back, to pretend he was just out to get something for breakfast, to act as if nothing happened. He could still set it all right. Instead he sat down, hidden near the top of the Sundermount, his eyes never leaving the slowly rising sun that colored the Free Marshes in a red the same shade as blood. Blood they had shed for each other. He waited as the day passed by, ignoring the battle inside his heart, a battle between staying and running away, bravery and cowardice, love and pain – or was it the same?

What did he know about love? What did he know about caring for someone? He was a slave, trained to kill at his master's command, taught to feel nothing. She knew that and still she played with emotions he couldn't understand, she dragged him into a world he was utterly helpless in, she…

It was futile, he couldn't get angry at her, couldn't blame her for his faults. His always present anger – the source of his strength – failed him.

He waited for three days, watching the never-ending dance of sun and moon, trying to figure out what he would do now, or rather what he still could. And all the while he tried to find that hidden place inside his mind, that Hawke had touched, that contained a past that had been taken from him. He remembered Danarius and Hadriana, the pain and the numbness, the lack of fight against his fate. Nothing more.

When he returned he did so like he left, in the middle of the night, unnoticed by anyone. He settled back into the house he never really could call home, impatiently waiting for something to happen – Hawke storming in with fury in her eyes, demanding where he had gone, Anders burning down the whole place for hurting her, Varric trying to get him to do the right thing. But no one came.

A new found determination to not let things between them end like this drove him out into the night, right in front of her door. Before he could think about it, he let himself in. This time there was no light in her room, but that made it all easier.

"I'm sorry, Hawke.", his voice was barely a whisper. "I was … I shouldn't have …"

The words broke out of him, somehow all right, explaining him and his fear.

"Fenris?", the voice of Oriana let him stop immediately. "She's not here. She ran off after… The others are probably with her."

She watched him for a long minute. "I'll tell her, that you came to –"

"No!", his sudden outburst startled her. "You won't tell no one, that you've seen me. Do you understand? No one!"

With that he stormed out, not caring that he shoved her rather roughly out of his way.

Of course she wouldn't wait for him. She had people at her side who were far more reliable than him, who wouldn't hurt her, who weren't too cowardly to apologize to her in broad daylight. She didn't need him. Just as he didn't need her. How easily he could have been killed these past days, just because he couldn't take his mind off of her. What a fool he'd been, believing that there could ever be more for him than death and pain and disappointment, thinking that he could find happiness in the arms of a woman.

It would always be like this. He'd hurt her, just like she'd hurt him. Better to end this before it would be too late to go back. Whatever chance they may have had once, it was gone.

It took him three years to realize, that being with her, was worth all the pain in the world. He'd seen the hurt in her eyes, the darkness his leaving left in them. But she didn't say a word. She smiled with her companions, laughed about their jokes, acted as if nothing ever happened between them. And it was just that: an act. She never looked at him directly, made sure they never touched, never spoke more than necessary. No one noticed, but none of them had been there, none of them had left her alone after she opened her heart and soul to them.

Still, going back was harder than trusting her the first time. This time, it wasn't just him being reluctant to let his guards down. He knew he'd have to apologize, but how could he possibly explain to her, what had happened that night, what her touch had done to him?

In the end, he just went to her, trusting her to understand. And she did, of course she did. And she waited for him to take her hand, and place it over his heart, just as she had done it back then. And when the memories came, he talked, and she listened and the fire is his veins died for the first time he could remember. She took him back, healing both of them with the ease only truly good people possess. He still didn't think he deserved her, but maybe it was time for letting her decide for herself. He owed her that much. And, somehow, he owed it himself, too.