Tale of the Stranger (or How I Met Selena Hawke)

Chapter 13

"She'll be fine. Go home and get some rest."

"I shall stay."

"She's just exhausted from fighting that demon. I promise that she'll be okay."

"And I said I shall stay, mage."

"Ugh! Fine. But if you wake her I'm setting your ass on fire!"

Someone had left the curtains open and now that damned sun was shining in my eyes. I started to roll from the bed when it dawned on me that I shouldn't be here. My eyes snapped open, then immediately shut to filter the skull searing light. Why does it feel like I have the mother of all hangovers without the great night before?

I tried again, more slowly this time. Okay, I had somehow made it into my room at the estate and -I wiggled my fingers and toes- seem to be none the worse for wear. I ached all over and had a killer headache, but those would disappear over time. I could deal with it.

I pulled away my blankets and looked down. Okay, someone changed me into a night dress. Not sure I really wanted to know who that might have been. At least I still seemed to be wearing smalls, wonder of wonders. So it probably wasn't Hawke that changed clothes. I chuckled at the thought.

"Selena?" I turned to see Fenris, Anders' desk chair pulled up to the side of the bed. He was sitting ramrod straight, hands clenched in his lap as though fighting not to move them. He was looking down at me in concern, so I smiled up at him reassuringly.

"Hey," I tried to say, only realizing at that point that my throat felt like I'd been screaming at a week long football match. Fenris jumped up, pouring me a small wooden cup of water from the nightstand, then easing me into a sitting position before helping me to sip it down.

"Anders has asked that I fetch him when you woke," he said after I lay back down. Damn! I felt worse than I thought. "Is there anything you need?"

I shook my head and he was gone. I wondered why he had been here, sitting vigil as it were. Had I been that bad? Were they afraid of a relapse or something?

Before I had a chance to delve any further, Anders appeared in the doorway, followed by Fenris and Hawke. The mage was smiling, which definitely put me at ease. Couldn't be life threatening if the healer was smiling, right?

"Well, good morning, sweetheart," he exclaimed jovially, claiming Fenris' forgotten seat and placing a hand on my brow. "How are you feeling, other than half dead?"

"Funny," I croaked, mock scowling. Anders smiled as his tingly blue healing magic began it's slow descent down my body. Hawke laughed and Fenris frowned. All was normal with the world. I sighed as my eyelids slid closed. Nothing could go wrong now, right?

Everything was a shattering, searing green light. The land twisted and turned with no purpose, fading away and coming into focus at random. I stood on the edge of a massive cliff of deep green rock, overlooking a boiling ocean of green water. I was nude, save for a forest green cloak the was long enough to pool around my feet.

Beside me stood another figure, also cloaked, hood pulled up to conceal their face.I didn't know who this figure might be, but I felt safe, secure that they meant me no harm.

We stood on the cliff and watched the torrential landscape roil before us. Eventually, the figure sturned to me slightly, still concealed from my questing eyes.

*Do you know where we are, Selena?" they asked. and it was 'they'. A multitude of voices, male and female, old and young, came from their lips. And it was beautiful.

*The Fade, I suppose,* I replied, looking back out to shifting water. *In a matter of speaking. This is what will happen to Thedas unless you are able to complete the tasks put before you."

I turned to stare at the figure in shock. *What do you mean? This isn't Thedas!"

*Not yet. But if you are unable to complete what has been set before you, then the Inquisitor will be unable to complete her own tasks and all of Thedas will perish.*

"What the fuck happened?!"

"I'm not sure. She's begun seizing! I need you to grab her ankles, Fenris get her upper body. Hold her down while I figure this out!"

The cloaked figure turned and began making their way down the now visible path away from the edge and I rushed to catch up.

*Wait! Why am I here? Why are you showing me this?*

*You need to be aware of the consquences of your actions. Or inactions. Be prepared, Earth Child. The world I created hangs in the balance.*

I opened my eyes more slowly this time and was greeted by three very handsome, very worried faces. I smiled, though every muscle in my body was screaming as though I'd run a marathon with no training.Anders' magic curled around me once again and I sighed in pleasure when my pains eased away.

"Well if you're that desperate not to talk to us, you just had to say," Hawke said, smiling, settling down at the end of the bed, hand resting on my feet while Anders continued to work near my head

"Sorry. Wasn't a planned exit," I answered, wiggling the digits beneath his hand.

"That's all right, love. Apparently your tussle with Allure took more out of you that I thought," Anders said, pulling his magic back, making me feel almost ready to take on the world. "It's my fault."

"Don't be stupid, Anders!" I exclaimed, sitting up and flinging the blankets from me. "You couldn't have realized that I'd pass out again, and if I hear that come out of your mouth again, I swear I will put you over my knee and smack you!"

Hawke laughed uproariously "Careful! he just might like that!" And the spreading blush told me that Garrett was right.

"All right, boys, what's on tap for today?" I asked, making my way to my armoire for clothing. Anders came up behind me, taking a hold of my shoulders and steering me back to bed.

"Rest for you, love. You had a Void taken day yesterday and managed to have a seizure this morning." I sputtered as ha manhandled to get me to sit on the bed. "Garrett is taking Leandra to some luncheon or other and I've got to put some hours in at the clinic. You are going to lie here and think about what you did."

"You are such a prat, Anders!"

Hawke was laughing hard enough that tears were beginning to stream down his face when he stood and took Anders' arm, leading him to the door. "Comeo on, gorgeous, before she makes good on her threat to spank you!"

The boys were gone before I realized that Fenris was still in the room. "Fenris? Are you okay?"

"I would stay."

I looked the elf over with curiousity. He was leaning against the wall near the door, head bowed and staring at the floor. His shoulders were slumped as though the weight of the world were upon them.

”Come sit with me here on the bed. Anders can’t bitch that I’m not resting if I stay here and we can’t talk if you’re way over there.” I patted the other side of the mattress, then snuggled into my pillows as the elf made himself comfortable.

We sat in silence for a time, watching the light filter through my window, before he spoke.

”I am sorry.”

”For what?” I asked, turning slightly towards him.

”I froze. At the Harriman’s. You were forced to talk to me down.” He looked down at the clenched fists in his lap, refusing to meet my eyes.

"I wasn’t ‘forced’ to do anything, Fenris. You were hurting and needed a friend to help you, that’s all.” I reached out and lightly touched his leather clad arm. He flinched slightly but did not pull away.

”And is that what you are? My friend?”

”I would like to think so. And as my friend, how about helping me escape this place for a few hours?”


”Well, fuck.”

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