AN: A kinkmeme fill - my first one in a long time! Prompt: Basically the idea is that healing magic always feels nice because it's mending your wounds and erasing your aches...but Fenris's lyrium tattoos augment and heighten the sensation, possibly all the way to boner levels. For that reason he doesn't actually like having healing magic used on him, it sort of makes things awkward and leaves him feeling more than a little vulnerable. It's a bit of a point of contention between the rest of the party and himself, because he often refuses healing magic even when he's injured pretty badly.
Well, one day he bangs himself up good (after Danarius perhaps,) and after the adventures are over he's laid up in his hole of a mansion in a good deal of pain with injuries that haven't been treated properly, magical or no. Mage of your choice comes in determined to get him to agree to being healed and finds out the truth of it. Sexytimes ensue! But more than actual porn what I'm looking for is Fenris trusting his partner with that sort of vulnerable state and letting himself and his tattoos be touched by someone and learning to relax.
The slaver's blade is poisoned.
Fenris does not realize this, not at first. At first it is only another pain-starred ember in his skin, another spur to his flank to madden and drive him forward at once, hurtling him towards the man who had once been his master as straight and swift as an arrow in flight. It is only a small pain, this dark-blooming mark halfway up his thigh, only the shadow of a thought—and then even that shadow is burnt away by the blaze of terrible euphoria as his master's heart falters in his hand, and trembles, and bursts.
His sister speaks; Hawke speaks; he speaks himself, and the words are worth nothing in that wild light.
Then grief follows, equally terrible and equally strong, and for a long time he does not remember the wound again.
The sight of it shocks him, later, when he has at last stumbled free of his sister and his memories and Hawke to the solitary sanctuary of his ruined mansion. He strips to bathe himself and the ruined, blood-stiffened leather sticks to his skin; he peels it back, carefully, and winces as the motion lights fresh sharp sparks of discomfort along the edges of the wound. It tears nearly a handspan wide across the thickest muscle of his right thigh, not deep enough to maim but not shallow enough to ignore, and as Fenris frames it with one bared hand a violent curse bubbles briefly in the back of his throat before it is swallowed again.
He knows the look of poison. He has seen too much of it not to recognize it, has seen the wild insensate ravings of those Tevinter unfortunates who crossed the wrong magister, their spittle frothing and blackening as they were eaten from inside; has seen the quicker, deadlier work of Seheron's warriors in the throe of a hunt, tipped arrows silent and swift and a thousand times less cruel. This is not so bad as either of those—it will not kill him, at least—but the torn edges of the gouge are red and angry, the deepest part of it burning with a bite too sharp for a simple sword-wound.
"Venhedis," he says aloud, and clenches his fist. He will need—
Not yet, he thinks, and searches through his discarded belt until his fingers close around a cool, red-glinting vial. Elfroot will do little for poison, or the disquiet of his mind, or the soft bruised place in his heart—but for now, for the moment—it must suffice. He throws it from him when it is empty, but Hawke's flasks are no delicate wine bottles to shatter against his unyielding stone; rather it strikes the wall and drops, still whole, to the ground beneath it, spinning a great circle around its narrow open throat.
He could crush it, Fenris thinks savagely. He could take that throat in his hand and squeeze until it broke like bone, like the voice of a once-god pleading for its life—but the flask comes to rest at last, quietly, and Fenris sees that his fit of rage has damaged it after all. A long thin crack runs lip to base, catching the muted daylight in a faint silver flash, marking the place where he has in one blow robbed the thing of its only purpose. Worthless, now. Ruined.
Fenris pushes to his feet, limping to the small bathing room adjacent. He does not look back again.
The next time Fenris wakes it is early evening, his room cool and blue with dusk. He is not sure—and then the voices come again below him and before the thought can form he is already up, reaching for his sword, lyrium singing in his skin as he stumbles towards the door—
"You know, I don't think he's home." Varric's voice.
Varric's voice, and the sudden sharp spike of pain through his thigh buckles his knees. He gasps when he hits stone, gasps again at the tile's chill against his bare skin, and clutches convulsively for his bandages. Everything is hot—his thigh, his throat, his forehead—he is sweating—
"Should we check upstairs?" A woman—Aveline. Aveline and Varric. Not slavers. Not slavers. His master is dead.
No. He drags in one breath, and then another, and rests his forehead against the stone at his knees for only the briefest instant. Then he carefully pushes to his feet, and with the fingertips of one hand against the wall he limps to the clay basin set on a half-forgotten chest, nearly full of fresh rainwater and gleaming with twilight. A waxing moon flickers briefly in the basin's face; it vanishes under his fingers as he wets his forehead, his throat, brings a cupped hand of water to his mouth. It is harder than he expects to swallow.
"Let's try Hawke's, first. If he's not here, he's there."
Yes. Leave. There is nothing that matters here.
"All right," Aveline says doubtfully, and Fenris grips the edge of the chest with trembling arms as two pairs of booted feet cross his great hall, pause at the door, and diminish into nothing.
He is so hot. He sinks, shaking, to the edge of his master's bed and carefully unwraps his bandaged thigh. It does not—look worse, at least, though dried blood scabs and cakes the edges of the slice. He cannot tell if it is healing. He thinks he sees new skin.
It feels worse.
Fenris cleans his thigh, rewraps it in fresh bandages, and swallows what he can of the water from his basin. Abruptly he finds himself on the floor, near the unlit hearth, cold stone against the flat of his bare back and arms and calves. He does not remember moving; he does not have the strength to stand again.
He will sleep, then. Only for a few hours. A free man may sleep when he wishes; a free man may choose where to lay his head.
How curious, Fenris thinks distantly, that freedom should feel so much like death.
Sleep comes in fitful bursts, interspersed with violent, horrifying dreams of Hawke and Danarius and waking moments as hazy and blurred as the Fade. The moon rises and sets; the sky pales grey and then pink and then gold; the room lightens with day and burns his eyes with tears.
He is ill. He knows he is ill. He musters the strength to drag himself to the chest with the basin atop it and manages to clean and redress his wound again, his hands shaking so hard he can barely knot the wrapping. It still does not look worse; it still does not look like it is healing. Every heartbeat throbs from thigh to toe with unwelcome, unmanageable heat, and Fenris closes his eyes. Isabela will have an antidote. Isabela will know someone with an antidote, and the next time they come to see him he will—he will—
The next time—
"Come on. Fenris, come on."
Hands on his face, his throat, his bare chest—water at his mouth. He sucks at it greedily, feels it course down his chin. The skin around his eyes is hot and tight and sore; even through his closed lids the world is too bright to dare opening them. He gasps for breath.
Hawke's hands. Hawke's voice.
"Fenris, please. Wake up, you bastard. Maker, you can't take him, not now—come on, Fenris, come on, wake up—"
"Hawke," he says, or tries to say, but all that emerges is a rough graveled croak.
Her hands cup his cheeks, her fingers cool and gentle against fevered skin. "Look at me. Fenris, look at me."
He does, though it hurts, the light too white and the world too hot, Hawke's face a dipping watery blur of color and anxiety. His lips work without words. He does not—want her here. Not like this. Not with him like this.
"Water?" she asks, misinterpreting his grimace, and though he does not want her here he does want water, and as she brings the glass—where she'd unearthed it, he has no idea—to his lips a second time, he swallows, chokes, swallows again. Then he pushes her arm away and rolls to his side, vaguely grateful he had not had the strength earlier to disrobe entirely. The dark, thin linen is snug from waist to left knee; the other leg he'd rolled high, above his wound, the fabric worn enough even so to let the floor chill through it.
"Hawke," Fenris says again, stronger, and turns his head as she tries to look into his face. "Why are you here?"
"That's a stupid question," she tells him, not ungently, and he knows if he were to meet her eyes in this moment they would be—too soft. "No one's seen you since Danarius died. They were worried." She hesitates. "I was worried."
You should not, he wants to snap, because the glass is cracked clean through, but he knows despite the fog of poison and pain that he is not well and her worry is not unreasonable. Instead he says, "I would…ask a favor."
"Fenris—" she starts, her voice trembling. Her hands clench on her knees. "Of course."
"Isabela…" he says, but the next words flutter from his grasp like so many birds. He closes his eyes, trying to slog through the muddied swamp of his mind, trying to remember— "Isabela has antidotes. Knows them. I need…"
Hawke sucks in a breath through her teeth. "You're hurt. I knew it."
"I am—I will live."
Hawke snorts—and then her hands are on his head, behind it, lifting it carefully until a folded blanket pulled from the bed slides between him and stone. Disoriented even from this little movement, he does not realize until the bandages are pulling free what she next intends, cannot muster the strength to say her name until she has already bared his wound to open air, her fingertips like chips of ice on his hot, swollen flesh, the bandage pooling in a small white-and-scarlet tangle at his hip. He is on his back again. He does not know how.
Hawke's lips thin, and even through the clouded wash of his own hurt he can name the look for anger. For fear. She says, "I can't believe you didn't tell me about this."
"I have…" he pauses, dragging in a breath, "had worse."
"This is poisoned."
Fenris grits his teeth, exhausted beyond reason, in pain, ashamed, still reeling from a death that ended nothing but his own purpose. He wants a reason—he wants Hawke away from here—he wants, desperately, not to be alone. "Isabela—"
"Is nursing a hangover the size of the Chantry. She's been out for hours and Fenris, I could do this so much faster—"
"No," he snaps, startling them both, and Hawke leans away from his vitriol. He watches her throat move as she swallows, hard, but instead of the sharp reprimand he expects she only pulls a cloth from a satchel, and wets it, and carefully begins to wipe his face.
"You're sweating," she murmurs, and does not meet his eyes.
Venhedis. He cannot—the water is too cold on his face and his thigh hurts and there is something wrong in his chest, something too tight—and he says, shuddering, "Hawke—"
The cloth pauses on his cheek, but he has no more strength, and when it resumes its path down his jaw and throat Fenris allows himself to drift behind the heady soaring of his fever. Water trails cool and soothing over his neck, his shoulders, the dip of his collarbone.
Hawke says, her voice small and tight, "I'd have thought you'd trust me by now, that's all."
It is a struggle to open his eyes again, a harder thing to meet her gaze. One corner of her mouth is bitterly crooked, a smile too hard for the name, but when his hand falters in the lifting to fall awkwardly against her knee Hawke shakes off her temper like a dog in a stream, her smile turning rueful as she drops her hand briefly over his. "Sorry," she murmurs, squeezing once. "I'm sorry. Worst sense of timing. I won't bring it up again."
Somehow he finds a laugh, though it comes out rough and too dry. "For now."
"Until you're strong enough to argue back, anyway." The backs of her fingers brush over his cheekbone. "You know me too well."
He does, and he is ill, and Hawke is here and afraid for him and Danarius is dead and he—trusts her. Not only with his life. With more than that.
Fenris says, "I would explain."
She touches his cheek again, too deliberate to be an accident, and then the cloth comes, folded, to his forehead. "You don't have to."
He stirs impatiently, hot with fever and sudden frustration at his own inability to speak. "Your—the magic—" he tries, and a brilliant stab of pain rockets through his thigh and hip. He looses a hollow breath, eyes clenched closed, and nearly snarls, "I cannot master it. What it—does to me."
Hawke starts to speak, checks herself. Then she says, so quiet he can barely hear her, "I've been hurting you?"
"No," Fenris tells her, too roughly, and his throat catches in fire. The glass of water is near empty before he can speak again, before he can find some last shred of reason. "Pain…would be easier."
"I don't…" Hawke says, her brow furrowed; then comprehension lights all at once behind her eyes and were he not ill already the shame would sicken him—but despite the faint coloring of her cheeks her hand remains steady, and her voice remains steady, and her eyes do not fall away from his. "I didn't know. I'm sorry."
As if the concealment were her own doing. He says, explanation and apology both, "The lyrium."
"Of course. And Anders—"
Fenris would snort, had he strength; as it is he settles for a pointed glare, and Hawke's mouth twitches as she leans closer, as she brushes his sweat-dark hair from his eyes, as he turns his face into her hand and stays there.
"I'll go get Isabela," she tells him softly. "I'll be back before you know it."
Speak, coward. "No. I—Hawke. Stay."
She drags in a breath; her fingers spasm briefly against him. "Are you sure?"
He wishes to be. "Yes."
"All right," Hawke murmurs, and bends to kiss his cheek; at the last moment Fenris turns his head and catches her mouth, and if she understands the promise he means by it she does not falter beneath the weight. Instead she cups his jaw and kisses him again, edging desperation, and then she tears herself away and straightens and places one cool palm beneath the fevered gash, just above his naked knee. She says, "I won't hurt you."
She will. He knows she will, knows as surely as if the collar had been clasped by his own fingers how totally he has bound himself to her, how the hurt she sets her hand to runs too swift to his glass-cracked heart. Master of nothing—free of freedom. Even here.
"Heal it," he says, and closes his eyes, and adds for his own sake, "Hawke."
He feels more than hears her breath catch in her throat, the sharp arrest of motion after great shock; then her other hand comes to join the first where it frames his split skin, and she says without only the slightest waver, "Tell me when I should stop."
Fenris gives a short nod; then the first cool burn of healing magic begins to unfurl across his thigh, pricking faintly at the cut edges of lyrium like root-tips probing earth before driving inward. It is gentler than he remembers, and more terrible, and at first the quiet tension scraping at the back of his mind is enough to keep memory apart from life. The floor is cold, even now, even through his own fevered heat and the duller flush of shame. The sun moves from shade to light and back again with the passing of the heavier clouds; Hawke breathes beside him where she kneels, dark bird through his half-closed eyes, and when the light kindled between her fingers swells enough to cut through sun and flicker white stars across her face he turns his head away.
The magic grows stronger. It whispers to him like a dream's song of another life, another face, of sharper smiles and pleasure never separate from pain. Each blow a caress—each soft whisper a promise of cruelty—and somewhere beneath the fever's burning he knows the lyrium has caught flame too, lit by Hawke's magic like fire set to rivers of oil.
It is not a tingling, not quite—rather the muscles loosen and warm, long-ignored aches vanishing altogether, and behind that spreads a slow and steady heat that ripples under his skin like stroking fingers. It touches his thigh, his knee, the knotted muscles of his calf; an old soreness gives way behind the ball of his foot and Fenris stifles the groan in his throat. She will kill him. Is killing him.
"Speak," he says, his voice low and rough and dry. Hawke looks at him, her fingers lifting with surprise, and he nearly groans again at the loss. "Please."
Her eyes soften; her mouth twists. "What am I, a mabari? Speak. Sit. Beg. What do you want me to speak of?"
"Anything." Anything but a man not dead two days.
"I can't believe it's taken seven years of near-constant haranguing for you to finally tell me why you always fight my healing."
A laugh rasps free. "Under duress."
"Mm." She goes quiet a moment, eyes locked to his thigh; then she says, "My father taught me to heal. When I was very young—with Bethany. She was a natural at it. Much better than me, anyway, and I always thought I'd never know someone more suited to healing than her. Carver and I always used to run to her when we'd been somewhere we shouldn't have, and even though she threatened to tell our father every time she never did. I can't tell you how often she helped us hide the scrapes from hopping Barlin's trapped fences to get at his pears." Her lips turn up, then thin again. "And then she died. And Anders showed up instead and…anyway. I don't know why I'm talking about this."
Fenris watches her eyes pinch at the corners. It is not the same thing, but— "It is not—the magic. Your magic." Her gaze slides to his without voice; he closes his eyes against a sliding bead of sweat. "It is dangerous to be…vulnerable in Tevinter. Immeasurably so, for a slave."
"Even for you?"
"And the lyrium…"
"The Imperium was not made for mercy," he says, his voice flat, and hates himself even as he says it, for telling Hawke, for remembering, for finding new chains even now to bind him to a dead man who will not die. "Danarius enjoyed my weakness."
She says nothing. He cannot bear to look at her; rather he listens to her steady breathing beneath his own, and feels her fingers rearrange themselves at his thigh, and feels the thrumming hum of her magic slide deeply beneath his skin. And yet—and yet. And yet a mage has rooted deeper in his bones even than that. He wonders if he should be bitter.
He wonders if he should be glad.
"I don't think it's a weakness," Hawke says at last, after so long a silence Fenris has nearly forgotten the conversation. He sighs, recovers the lost thread, sighs again as Hawke continues. "Choosing to be vulnerable, I mean. When there is a choice. When you're with—" her eyes dart to his and away again, "—someone you trust."
He trusts Hawke. He knows he does, has trusted her so long he has forgotten the time when he did not. Otherwise, he would not have told her; otherwise, she would not be here. He trusts Hawke.
Otherwise, there would be no sweet heat twisting in the pit of his stomach, between his legs; no low groan caught at the back of his throat.
His thigh is a tangle of warmth and pain and the cooler wash of magic, lyrium catching up the light and redoubling it, blowing through his veins with all the wild strength of a burning wood. It hurts—and it does not hurt, and somewhere between the knowledge of Hawke's hands on him and his own fading fever and the terrible bliss of healing magic his mind comes thin and shuddering with memory. Just like this—but not like this, a colder floor and colder eyes, harder hands on his bared skin, neither gentleness nor care in the magic driven into him and he is so tired, three days without meaningful sleep, and hungry, and her laugh comes low and biting as she teases him to the point of pain and whispers are you tired, slave—
The wrench of magic tearing out of him is enough to make him cry out again. He is half-hard already and sick with fear and he can't remember—he can't—and then cool, dry fingers are on his cheeks, on his shoulders, no magic and no fire to burn him. His name. Hawke.
"Breathe, lover," she's saying, half-laughing behind the anxiety, and somewhere he finds air again. "Good. And another one, Fenris, come on—"
"Forgive me," he says, when he can speak. Three years gone, and still he cannot keep his mind his own around her.
But Hawke is unoffended, her hands lingering on his shoulders, the heel of her palm pressed against his hard-beating heart. "Nothing to apologize for. Do you want me to stop?"
She asks. She asks, and were he to say yes he knows that she would without hesitation. There is a strength in his limbs that was not there before, the waning of disease and illness, and when he pushes himself to his elbows and then further Hawke lets her hands fall away. He touches his chest where the lyrium knots, where his heart still races; then he finds for himself the open place in his thigh, the edges pink and raw with new skin, muscles knit, poison sapped, less than a quarter deep as it once was.
Not whole, not yet. But healing.
Fenris finds Hawke's hand, unknots the fingers. He cannot quite meet her eyes, but she does not resist as he replaces her hand on his wound, as his own hand settles gingerly atop hers. "If you wish," he says, because he is not a coward and he trusts Hawke, and because he may make his own choices, "I would…prefer that you continue."
She looks down at their hands, flickering to his hip, then up again, faint color at her throat. Not unaffected by his inability to control himself; not dismayed, either. "All right," she says, and does.
He does not lie back again. Instead he leans closer until his shoulder brushes Hawke's, until her hair ghosts over his chest as she turns back to his wound. This way he can see her magic spark into light, quiet and without cruelty; this way he can feel the shiver of her spine when another soft noise slips free at her touch. He is drunk on memory; he is fevered with wanting; he has—had enough of restraint.
The lyrium flickers in long streams of white fire. His pulse quickens as the skin draws together, then closes at last; Hawke's magic thrums in his veins like the low string of a lute plucked over and over, a thing with its own life and an answer he can scarce put words to.
"There," Hawke murmurs, and her fingers stroke over the sealed line, twice, quick. "Right as rain."
She looks at him. There is a question in her eyes, faint hope; he grips her hand, grips his own fear by the throat. "Three years ago—I was a fool."
"We've never discussed it."
"You never wished to."
"You've ignored my wishes before."
She laughs, a sudden, restless thing, not quite enough to hide her nerves. "Only when they were worth ignoring."
As if it were so easy. His heart hammers at his ribs. "Nothing can be worse than the thought of living without you. Hawke, I should have stayed."
Her eyes close. "It will kill me if you leave again, Fenris."
A terrifying power. He says, "Hawke—"
"Idiot," she gasps out, and looks at him, and they neither of them mark the tears standing in her eyes. "You've held my heart almost since we met. You don't even need the lyrium to crush it."
"I am yours," he tells her, his voice dropping, and she covers her eyes with one hand. The other clenches around his own so tight the knuckles whiten.
"Not yet," she says at last, when she can speak, and Fenris cannot pretend he is not relieved to hear the note of teasing in her voice. "I refuse to take advantage of a man still wounded."
"Whole enough." Almost true.
Heat explodes in his chest. Hawke's voice is dark with open suggestion, her hand loosening to stroke across his thigh. Her cheeks are pink, three years of lost time enough for memory to shy between them, but reserve now is impossible, and instead Fenris shows her a bruise on the inside of his left calf and says, almost steady, "This, too."
She lets out a soft huff of a laugh, but the slow drag of her palm down one leg and up his other has nothing of amusement in it. Light catches under her hand, tracing down towards his toes and up along the inside of his knee, a drop of white ink spread in water; her magic pulses, just barely, in faint rhythm, and when at last the light is gone the bruise has gone with it.
"Where else?" she asks, and her voice dips.
"Here," Fenris says, turning his arm so that she may see the rough, scraped place from a shield's edge. Her fingernails tease up his knee, worry the edge of his linens, whisper over his thighs and the clenching muscles of his stomach. She brushes him with the side of her thumb, just barely, and that is enough to startle out a gasp; then her hand curls around his forearm and her magic slides from her skin to his, as easy as a promise. His head falls forward, towards Hawke, the shudder the driving throb evokes nearly enough to drop him to his back again. One palm flattens to the floor as he braces himself on a trembling arm, struggling for discipline, eager to abandon it, unable to fathom how this moment has come into existence.
"Where else?" she whispers.
"Here," he says, and she traces her way to the muscle of his shoulder; "here," he says, and her arm wraps around his side; "here," he breathes, and her hands spread over his chest as he finds himself on his back again, as Hawke bends over him, as he drags her leg across his waist. They are both flushed, gasping, grasping at each other with trembling hands; then Hawke splays her fingertips at his waist and slowly, so slowly, healing magic uncurls in long pulls of heat up his stomach, his chest, fingering along his throat; and down his hips and thighs and the slender, paired lines on either side of his cock.
"Again," says someone—not Fenris, certainly, because that voice is rough even for him and thick with emotion, but Hawke laughs all the same, breathless, and her hands slide to his shoulders, magic dragging behind them in trails of heat. His arms are above his head, leaving him bared; she finds new lyrium above his elbows and at his highest ribs. He shudders. She sighs.
He is aware, distantly, that he is nearly writhing beneath her, but there is no crush of shame, no driving need to conceal from her the desire she stokes in him. This is Hawke, and he trusts her. Even with this.
"Oh, flames," she rasps, and her hips press against his, once. "I'm not going to make it if you don't keep still."
In answer, he hooks one arm around her neck and drags her mouth to his. One hand scrabbles to brace on the stone by his ear, barely enough to keep her weight from crushing him—but it doesn't matter, not in the slightest. Her mouth is sweet and hot and entirely open to him, as if he is somehow worthy of this, and when he pulls her closer the hard desperate sound that slips from her lips to his is enough to spike the heat in his chest to something roaring.
He is not wholly well—no healing, even Hawke's, could undo two days of fever and poison so easily—but for this he is more than well enough, and when Hawke shifts her weight to her knees and begins to carefully slide the dark linen down over his hips, he does not check the hiss of want that slips free and he does not check her.
"Tell me when to stop," she whispers against his mouth.
Never. Never. Only this, until there is nothing left of him but ashes.
The back of Hawke's fingers brush over him, hard and wanting, not a teasing touch but nothing of real substance, and he lifts his hips until she can pull the rest of the linen free, until he can bend his new-healed leg and kick the cloth away. The stone is not so cold, now, the flat of it warmed with his heat and her own, and somewhere he thinks of the bed not so far from them for inconvenience—and then Hawke kisses him again and her fingers close around him and there is no thought in his head but more.
Her hand is slick with sweat and some oil he had not noticed; she moves gently at first, and in long slow draws, the both of them uncertain of each coming moment. It is too much—it is not nearly enough—and when her other hand spreads and presses against the muscles of his stomach just below his navel he gasps and arches off the floor beneath her.
"Show me," she breathes, ragged.
He curses in some language or another and fumbles for her hand, tangling his fingers with hers, a lifeline too ephemeral to be real. He shows her—long, hard, straight pulls, not over-rough and not tender, and when she takes up the rhythm it is an easy thing to close his eyes and clench his fists and abandon himself without compunction to—trust.
His mouth opens. He arches his neck. Hawke chokes out a word that sounds like Maker and feels more like a curse, and then her hips settle in the cradle of his hips, his legs drawn up behind her, and Fenris is so close, so close—but this will not be the first, not like this, not after three years, and with an effort more suited to the slaying of some beast without a name he takes her wrist and pulls her away, pulls her towards him, pulls her mouth to his.
He says, "Stop."
Hawke laughs into his mouth, her fingers just as eager as his on the clasps of her boots, of her robes, of the undershirt and smalls beneath them. Three years. He is mad. She is mad, for waiting, for wanting him, for wishing beyond reason that he might come to his senses and come back to her. Not so impossible as he'd once thought, not with death and broken chains at his back rather than his wrists, but—so close.
Not close enough.
"Let me—" Fenris starts, his voice shaking, his hands shaking. "May I—"
"Oh, yes," Hawke tells him, bare and beautiful and without hesitation, and though the world spins a moment when he rises it is not enough to slow him. His world has tilted anyway, irrevocably, recentered not on Hawke but on some new knowledge of himself, masterless, untamed, unbroken. A man who might make his own choices and not regret them.
Fenris pulls Hawke to her feet, leads her by the hand to the bed against the wall. She comes willingly, and sits when he does, and if for several minutes he does nothing but press his mouth to the soft flesh of her throat, to her breast, to the hollowed place between her collarbones, it is only one more of his choices.
Somehow he moves to his side; somehow she comes with him, her lips on the high driving pulse in his throat, his palms flat on the curve of her spine. Her head rests on his bent elbow; her leg drapes over his thigh, soft against the new raised line of her healing. He kisses her and her hand drops between them, a careful touch to bring them both into place, and then he rocks forward and she comes to meet him, and for the first time in three years there is nothing left between himself and Hawke, not even his own memory.
It is not a hurried thing, after that, but neither do they linger. It has been too long for both of them, too hard a journey to delay so near the end, and even were he not wound so tight already he would have no wish to prolong this. He wraps an arm around her waist and pulls her closer, bending her back, pressing her skin against his own shoulder to toe; she twines one arm around his neck and drags the other down his chest, laughing at the sparks of lyrium-light that follow, that stutter him from his rhythm.
"Are you—close?" she asks eventually, her face buried in his neck, teasing abandoned, mouth open and hot on his shoulder.
"Yes," he groans, because he is, and her teeth dig into his skin—and she comes, clenching around him, an impossible heat matched by no fever, no memory. It drives the breath from him like a blow—even before she has begun to ease he comes behind her, silent, his chest tight to bursting.
Nothing will take this from him again.
They lie together afterwards, naked, sated, Fenris unwilling to be parted from her even now. He is not tired, could not sleep even if he were through the hurting of his heart; when he does shift only to ease a twinge in his thigh Hawke huffs, wordless disapproval, and pulls him closer.
She kisses him, lazy and tender. "I hope," she murmurs, "that's not all you've got in you."
Fenris laughs. "No, Hawke."
"Good," she says then, and kisses him again. "Tell me you won't poison yourself next time."
"Not by choice," he says, and adds, "Hawke, I broke your flask."
"I saw." Her fingers trace the lyrium where it curves over his chin, dance down his throat. "It doesn't matter. It's solid stock; there's another purpose in there somewhere. I just have to find it."
Fenris closes his eyes, smiling despite himself. Only Hawke—only this, and freedom, and a choice. "It will be found."
Hawke laughs, and when he touches her arm she rolls her weight atop him, her hands on his jaw, her thighs at his waist, a shift of her hips like a vow. "I love you," she says, as if it is an easy thing, and bends forward until her forehead rests against his own. "Tell me when to stop."
"Never," Fenris says, and is free.