A Moment's Rest

Hawke sees the humor in everything, even dangerous things, deadly things. Anders speculates it is what made him champion, and if he is to ever tell this to Hawke, he would whole heartedly agree.

Once again he comes home in the dead of the night; his body a mess of blood and bruises, but on his face plastered a smile fitted only for those who have cheated death. Anders can only groan at the sight.

"You should see the other guy, Anders," he says as he drops his cloak, wet with blood and rain, in the hallway.

Anders long resigned his pleading to Hawke to be more careful, as he won't be. Nor will he beg him to take him with him when they go to the Gallows, as Hawke has always flat out refused.

He just, groans, and wakes Orana so that she can prepare a bath for him.

Meanwhile he urges Hawke to follow him to the privacy of their bedroom, where he would give him as much healing as he can. Hawke follows, quiet and obedient, he knows Anders doesn't like it when he does this, and he has the decency to at least act guilty. Not unlike his Mabari when Anders catches him rolling on the bed.

In their bedroom, Hawke begins stripping the rest of his clothes without being asked. But whatever straight face he's trying to put on for Anders. Anders can see the obvious effort he has to make to move his fingers and limbs without the clumsiness that comes with pain. Hawke manages to ditch the chest plate, but Anders is the one who has to pull his boots off as Hawke lets out a sound of both pain and relief.

Champion or not, death had come close this night.

The wet shirt under Hawke's armor positively peels off his skin, revealing ugly purple and yellow bruises, most not from this night but from the night before, or the night before that one. He has a long cut on his side, and scratches from swords that had barely touched the surface of his skin before he managed to cut down the assailant. Loosened breeches reveal but a path of bruises still, they are all new.

"Bloody dwarves; always go for my legs first," Hawke explains, following Anders' steady gaze.

Anders doesn't listen, his hands on the cut on Hawke's waist, ignoring Hawke's flinch while he traces his fingers over it. "I'm going to have to stitch this," he says more to himself than to Hawke, who never even pays attention to the lengths Anders has to go through every single time just to… well, he doesn't like thinking that particular thought.

He takes out the needle and thread again, and wonders why he even bothered storing it in the first place.

Hawke's a tough one, or rather a little jaded. Twenty stitches and except for a couple of flinches he shows no pain or discomfort as Anders threads the needle through thick skin. He would never admit it to Hawke but Anders admires this about him. He is happy that Hawke's gaze is focused on their mantelpiece, so wouldn't have to explain the smile on his face.

He would never hear the end of it but Anders can't help the swelling pride that comes with the sheer fearlessness of his love, the Champion. Even more so because he is just as kind as he is brash and strong.

Yes, he is proud, and a little worried.

"Why do you let them do this to you, my love," he says, almost whispers, as he removes the needle and thread and examines the newly stitched wound.

"I can't help myself," Hawke answers, just as softly. When Anders glances at him he looks apologetic, and Anders suddenly feels the urge to kiss him.

He heals the surface of the stitched wound to prevent infection. An old technique he learned in the Deep Roads, where he learned to use magic in both sparing and efficient ways.

The remaining time he spends mending everything else, so that by the time Orana informs them that the bath is ready (and Anders manages to convince her that she can go back to her chambers); he knows that most of Hawke's wounds will be as good as gone the next day.

In turn, Hawke with every mended bruise regained most, if not all, of his usual smug energy that fills the room like a musky smell that Anders just can't get enough of.

Leandra had insisted on a bathtub, and Hawke, though agreeing to the idea had refused to place it in the living room or the yard, which were apparently perfectly normal places to put a bath it in Kirkwall. Instead he had placed the tub in the back of the kitchen, until he could make other arrangements. When Leandra died, Hawke never bothered to move it.

With dinner many hours away, the kitchen was again as cool as outside. Hawke shivered at the touch of that cool air against his bare skin. He even tip-toed to the edge of the bath, which looked ridiculous, Hawke being as big as he was. He lowered himself slowly, without Anders' help although he offered his hand. A sigh of relief follows when the warmth of the water relieves the aching of his muscles in that unique way only hot water can.

Anders lets Hawke accustom to the warmth as he fetches the items Orana set out for them. A sharp blade, a sponge and an ointment he'd bought from a salve-maker at the alienage. A mixture made of elfroot and spindleweed, to speed recovery and ease pain.

Without being asked to, Hawke leans forward so Anders can start with his back. But Anders pulls him gently back from the shoulders. "Rinse your hair first, I want to cut it." He'd already convinced Hawke to shave himself weeks ago, after an unfortunate encounter with a mage and a nearly fatal fireball had scorched off the left side of his beard. The hair on his head was to stay if he could keep it clean. Now it was way past shoulder length and filled with grime and dwarven blood.

"Don't cut it too short," Hawke says.

"I won't, lean back." He cuts it to chin length, patiently cutting few strands at a time, making sure they're even. When he's finished Hawke pulls a hand through to feel, and he makes a sound of indifference, which for Anders counts as approval.

Then he washes Hawke's back finding a couple of bruises and cuts he missed before. He heals them along the way as he moves down Hawke's body: his arms, his chest, his legs. He even examines Hawke's feet because Hawke insists.

When Anders is sure he has examined every inch of him he moves back up his body. More or less as a reward to himself, he squeezes calloused toes, hard calves and broad thighs.

Anders loved Hawke's legs, he remembers them spread wide at his mercy on tangled sheets, and licks his lips at the thought.

When he finds Hawke's cock in the in the water, he strokes it twice and watches Hawke's eyes going dark.

Just after that tiny bit of gratification he gives, Anders realizes something significant. "You know I can't lose you," Anders says, his words and actions oddly unrelated. Hawke isn't really listening; his head tilted to the side, eyes glazed and mouth a little agape.

"Hawke," Anders repeats, and he strokes him again, this time a little harder.

It still takes a second for him to process the words. And when they do he looks at Anders, suddenly very tired and out of touch. "Yes?" he asks.

For his reaction he gets rewarded. Hard, slow strokes under the water. Hawke sighs and turns his head against his shoulder. He swallows and his eyes start closing.

"Promise me." Anders says. His face so close to Hawke, Hawke's shallow breaths tickles his cheek.

"What –" Hawke breath hitches when Anders brushes a thumb over the tip of Hawke's cock. He tries again. "What shall I promise?"

"That you'll never die."

Hawke laughs, and then moans as Anders continues his fondling and rests his head back against the rim of the tub "Never?"

"Never," Anders says.

"I'll never die." Hawke says, and even with his breathing heavy, his eyes closed, his hips rocking up into Anders' experienced hands, he sounds so sincere that Anders can swear he believes it as he says it. "I'll be one of the undying, and live for thousands years."

"And a thousand years more," Anders adds, and laughs.

"Hmm, naturally," Hawke agrees.

Anders kisses him sweetly as Hawke comes with a groan against his mouth and with perhaps more strength than his body should allow. When he is spent, and Anders strokes out the last of him, his body goes limp in relief.

He leans back into the back of the tub and then, as if remembering something, leans up and gives Anders a swift kiss on the side of his mouth.

"We should do this again, upstairs, properly." Hawke says with such seriousness Anders scoffs.

Hawke hums something, and ducks all the way down the water one last time before stepping out. Dripping wet he ignores the towel Orana set out for him and shakes his head, like his Mabari does. With long strides, as if he was wearing both sword and shield instead of nothing at all, he made for the living room.

Anders watches him disappear through the doorway, and sits there until he can hear Hawke yelling at him from the top of the stairs.

"Anders, don't make me come and get you."

He rolls his eyes, but still stands up and follows.

In the living room he can see him, leaning over the balustrade. Naked but lacking all self-consciousness to care.

As much as Anders wants to scowl at him instead of smile, which, Andraste, will only encourage this kind of behavior. It's all he can do.

It just goes to show that this particular champion doesn't break that easily. Which is an encouraging thought.