Chapter 17: The Family Hawke
"Stop what," he asked stripping off his shirt.
The pirate queen sat up in bed, she gave him a playful look, as he paused to admire her body.
"Stop that," she repeated, "You're grinning like an idiot."
"Can't a man be happy in his own home?" he asked.
"I know I'm good in bed Hawke, but I'm not that good."
The apostate laughed, Maker…it…it had been such a long time since he could just laugh. Laugh and not think about this horrible thing or that.
It was…a refreshing change.
Bad things were coming, he could not deny that, unless something was done about the Templars and the mages, and soon, everything would likely blow up in their faces.
He wasn't sure yet how they were going to deal with Meredith and Orsino, but for the moment it did not matter.
For the first time, in a long time, Garrett Hawke felt whole. After Mother had died, he had felt so alone, so empty. Then Isabela had left leaving him with nothing but an empty estate and a broken heart.
And yes, Isabela had broken his heart, he could admit that now. When she had gone, it…it had hurt more than anything he had ever faced before. Things had hardly seemed worth living for the longest time.
He had moved on, or at least tried to, but what came next, the exploits and other women had not left him fulfilled. Tallis had likely came the closest to bringing him back to himself, but her duty to her people always stood between them. She owed the Qun everything, and even though she had considered becoming Tal Vashoth for him, he knew that she would never do it.
So the dark cloud remained, he had tried to move forward, but…to no avail, despite his many victories, he still felt like a failure.
It had felt….it had felt like he had failed, failed Mother, failed Carver, failed everyone, including himself.
It had all seemed so…pointless, and that was how it felt for a long time…
Now, after all that pain and loss, things had slowly started to turn around. Charade coming to Kirkwall had started it.
By agreeing to move in here, for agreeing to accept him as family, she…she had saved him. He had not realized how lonely he was until she had.
How much he had missed having a family.
Then Isabela had come back, and that had hurt, it hurt worse than Andraste's pyre. Part of him had started to wonder if it would have been better if they had never met in the first place.
Part of him wanted to turn away from the pirate queen, to make sure that she never hurt him again; it was all so…tempting.
Fortunately for him, Isabela was too stubborn for her own good, and despite what she said, she did care about the people around her.
She did care about him.
She pushed him, forced him to accept that she was not going anywhere. When he tried to back away she followed. When he pushed her she pushed back, and she had not taken no for an answer.
Finally, she had broken through his defenses, and forced him to see her as an ally again, as a friend again….
And eventually, they had fallen in love…again.
it had taken some time, but he had finally let go of all that pain, all that anger, he had been able to welcome her back with open, and loving, arms.
He had missed her. Maker save him. He had missed her so very much.
He felt stronger with her here. Having someone at his side, fighting at his side, and being able to fight for someone…that changed everything, it changed him.
For the first time, Garrett Hawke felt like a champion, not simply someone pretending to be one.
Now Carver was back and Bethany had miraculously returned. It was…it was like some wonderful dream, a dream that he did not want to wake up from.
Part of him wanted to kiss his brother, to thank him for bringing Bethany back to them. Carver may not have done it intentionally, but the results were the same.
He had seen Bethany's return when they linked minds, had felt what she felt, saw what she had seen. He had no doubt what so ever that his sister was indeed back.
If only Mother was still here. If she…if she could have just seen Bethany again, she would have regained everything that they had lost during the Blight.
Years of pain would have been undone, their family reunited under the same roof.
Of course, wasn't what they had now? Carver was here with his reaver, and Bethany was here with hers. Funny that his two siblings who were as different as night and die now still sought comfort with members of the same family, Arin and Arika were both an interesting addition to the Hawkes. Fierce warriors who not only loved their family, but could defend it as well.
Hawke found his thoughts drifting back to the die that Mother…had…passed. She had feared that he would be left all alone.
He wished that he could tell her that she not have worried.
He was not alone. He had survived, and so had their family.
The Hawke family had not just survived, it had thrived.
It had grown.
Isabela, Arika, Carver, Arin, Bethany, and Charade, all his family, all his kin…the people he had come to love.
It was here. They were all safe.
That is why Garrett Hawke was smiling.
His estate, so empty for so long finally seemed full.
It finally seemed like a home.
Dinner in the estate that evening had been interesting to say the least. The Hawkes and their lovers gathered to dine for the first time, as a true family. He had even sent an invitation to Uncle Gamlen, give him a chance to meet Bethany.
He had refused, but at least had been polite about it. He had not wanted to spoil the reunion.
Isabela had been a little shy about it, but Garrett would not let her flee back to The Hanged Man. Whether she liked it or not she was a part of this now.
It was time that she got use to it.
Charade did her best to play the gracious hostess. Garrett had introduced Bethany to her as his sister who had spent much time travelling abroad. He did not mention the whole resurrection thing; he did not want to frighten their cousin. He simply told her that the Hawkes had simply feared Bethany dead that they had not heard from her in so long, that they had come to fear the worst.
The Avatar had smiled at that.
"You could say that I was dead to the world," she smirked.
The Champion gave her a playful nudge in the ribs, no point in scaring their cousin.
Bethany fell silent; she remembered the noble manners that Mother had taught her as a girl.
She would dazzle Charade with her graciousness.
Charade was pleased to meet her cousin's siblings after so very long.
She had never had the opportunity to meet Carver before, the Grey Warden in the family, she had heard of him of course from both her Father and Garrett, but it was different to meet someone face to face.
It had been at that family meal that Carver revealed that he and Arika had married. Garrett was shocked, but pleasantly so. Isabela made some lame joke about taking up a ball and chain, but Carver took it in stride, Arika had not understood it. Why would Carver take up a chain weapon, he was already skilled with a sword?
Bethany giggled, she promised to explain it to the reaver later.
As the night had gone on they had all relaxed. Carver and Arika spoke of their progress through the warden ranks, and Bethany spoke a little of her work with the elves and her time living among Arin's clan in the mountains of Nevarra.
The clan had welcomed her with open arms; mages were not uncommon to them, though they were understandably wary.
Bethany had spent her time working with their shamans, teaching those with magical talent healing and spells that would bolster the ill and infirm.
Charade found it all fascinating, both Carver and Bethany lived such extraordinary lives.
"Hey," Garrett had complained, "What about me?"
Charade had laughed.
"Being champion is exciting too cousin," she reminded him.
Hawke chuckled, grateful to not be the center of attention for once.
As the night grew late the Hawkes retired to their various rooms. Bodahn had spent the afternoon getting them ready for him. Both Beth and Carv tried to refuse, but he would not hear of it. Hawke would not have them staying anywhere but here. After everything that had happened, he wanted to keep his loved ones close.
Finally they relented in the interest of peace.
As for Hawke himself he retired to room with Isabela at his side. The pirate queen commented that they were likely going to give up her room in the Hanged Man if she kept spending her nights here.
The Champion chuckled.
"I don't know why you want to stay in that hole," he commented.
She laughed lightly.
"I like the Hanged Man; it is comfortable, like a good pair of good worn leather boots. Dirty boots, I will give you that, but still comfortable."
He kissed her lightly on the cheek.
"I can make you comfortable you know," he said seductively.
She grinned wolfishly.
"Really." She purred in a husky voice, "I would like to see that?"
The Champion grinned.
And so he did.
It was after their latest round of lovemaking that their latest conversation had begun. Hawke had had to leave her for few moments. One of Bethany's elves had shown up demanding to speak with her.
Once he had shown the man in he had returned to their bed.
Isabela purred contently as Hawke took her into his arms, she…she had come to enjoy the closeness of this; it was far more than anything she had experienced before.
But that was just Garrett, Hawke was…well he was her Hawke.
Isabela hated to admit it, but it was nice to see Hawke so happy. He had been put through the wringer the last few years.
It was about time that he found a little peace.
The pirate queen frowned.
Unfortunately she feared that it would not last.
An old problem had decided to rear its head at last.
She had received word from one of her contacts down on the docks today, she had expected it, but had still not been happy to hear the news she had received.
A familiar looking merchant vessel had arrived in the harbor this afternoon, one that she had feared for the last few years, flying Antivan colors.
It was his ship.
The Merchant had finally come for her, personally.
Hawke saw the concern on her face, his smile faltered.
"What is wrong?" he asked.
She told him the truth. How she had ran from place to place these last few years, barely avoiding Castillon's attack dog Velasco. She had known that he had been in the city almost a week before the whole Carver thing had blown up.
She had not come to Hawke because she had hoped to have come up with a way to deal with Velasco herself.
Sadly, she had had little luck on that front, now with Castillon himself here, she was out of options.
She had to turn to Hawke now.
Velasco had been staying at the Blooming Rose in the evenings," she informed the champion, "Castillon will not show his face unless Valasco says that it is safe."
"So what is your plan?" he asked.
The pirate queen smirked.
"Well first we have to find Velasco, she said," that will be easy enough, then…something exciting happens, and then…profit!"
Garrett Hawke shook his head.
"You are a master planner, you know that Isabela?"
The pirate queen chuckled.
"I'm open to suggestions if you have a better idea.
Hawke thought for a moment.
"Well," he sighed, "I could turn you over to this Velasco; make him think that I had betrayed you for what happened with Qunari, given your history in this city that would not be very hard to believe. Then once he had taken you to meet his boss, I follow at a discreet distance…"
"And when he brings me before Castillon," Isabela added.
"We end this," Garrett said coolly, "Once and for all."
The pirate queen smiled.
"What do you think?" Hawke asked.
"It is better than anything I could come up with," she admitted, "But you are going to have to sell it though."
"Sell it?" Hawke said with an arched brow.
"And I mean really sell it, "She said her eyes sparkling with excitement, the prospect of his plan had gotten her blood pumping.
It made her want to do all sorts of naughty things to him.
She gave him a fierce smile.
"You should yell at me," she insisted, "and maybe even hit me when you get me before Velasco. He'll like that, and it will make him really believe what your selling, trust me"
"I don't want to hurt you Belle."
"Don't look at as hurting me," she replied, "Think of it as acting. "
The pirate queen smirked she started kissing down his neck and working her way to his chest.
Hawke groaned softly.
"And when we reach Castillon," she purred, "You must let me handle him; this has been far too long coming."
Hawke gave his lover a strange look.
"This conversation really should not be turning you on you know," he said.
"I can't help it," she grinned.
"This…it is going to be fun!"