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

Chapter 17

Waking up with a sleeping Hawke in your bed is amazing. Waking up sticky and hurting, not so much. It was the hand resting on my back that actual made me open my eyes, though that unmistakable peppermint smell that was Anders magic kept the panic at bay. I rolled carefully away from Garrett's chest to look up at the mage. His smile was tentative, a slight lifting of the corners with a touch of sadness to his eyes. I opened my mouth, ready to apologize for causing him pain, but he placed a finger to his lips and motioned to my bathing chamber.

I nodded and carefully extricated myself from Hawke's arms. He snorted but didn't move, making me smile. When I went to stand, on the other hand, my knees nearly gave way and the pain in my groin was intense. Anders leapt forward and wrapped a supportive arm around my waist. My very naked waist. His cheeks flushed at the sight, even as his eyes darkened. Nice to know I could have that kind of effect on him, even in this state.

He closed the bathing chamber door behind us and set me carefully on a small stool next to the tub before starting to run the water for the tub. Sometimes dwarven plumbing can be even better than a shower. While Anders was preparing the bath, I took a good look at myself. Bruises in the shape of fingers were beginning to form along my hips, and there was a lot of blood between my thighs. More than I expected, certainly. More than my first first time.

Anders returned and silently asked about healing me, fingers aglow with sparkling blue light. I nodded with a smile, sighing with the wash of cooling relief. Bruises vanished and the sharp aches faded. He then helped me stand with an arm around me, easing me back into the steaming bath water. I hissed as I leaned back against the side of the tub, still slightly raw, but it was a pain that spoke of passion that I really didn't mind. When Anders moved to heal me again I shook my head no.

“So,” Anders began,”what happened to two weeks bed rest?”

I laughed. “Well, we were technically in bed, so I guess I was still following orders, Doctor.”

He snorted. “That's not what I meant and you know it.”

He slipped off his feathered coat and rolled up his sleeves, reaching for a washing flannel. “So, I guess you're with Hawke now.”

I looked him in the eyes, still sad while smiling. “No, Anders. We're with Hawke now. I'm not about to take him away from you. You need each other.” I reached out to touch his arm as he dunked the cloth in the water and began washing my shoulders. “Don't hold your feelings inside, Okay? Talk to us about what's going on with you?”

“Justice is furious with you right now.” he said, languidly running the cloth across the back of my neck. “He is trying very hard to take control and hurt you, but I won't let him.”

“Um...thank you?” I stammered.

“But you've already been hurt, haven't you?” He stopped washing and looked me deep in the eye. “Last night, with Hawke. He lost control, didn't he?”

I blushed slightly. “Well, I guess, near the end, after I...”

“Went down on him?”

“Yeah.”

Anders sighed and moved down to the end of the tub, taking one of my feet and washing it with the cloth. “Something we don't really discuss is that Hawke is a Berserker. During battle he let's go of that part of him that controls his responses and just goes on instinct. It's usually something that's brought on by adrenaline and endorphins. And sometimes he loses control during sex, especially when he's with someone new. He didn't mean to hurt you, and he'll be really apologetic when he wakes up, but that's the way it is.”

I looked down the line of the tub at this master of a mage, flushed and washing my feet. “Anders? Has he...hurt you?”

“Yes, but-.”

“But you kind of liked it didn't you?” He nodded imperceptibly. “It's okay to like a little slap and tickle every once in a while. Or even every time as long as it's consensual and doesn't break a bone or something. Don't be embarrassed by it.”

Anders returned to the side of the tub and kissed my cheek. “Thank you for understanding. And don't be ashamed to call me for healing after being with Hawke, okay? I know what it can be like.” He stood and handed me the cloth. “Now, I hear our mutual love starting to stir. I'm going to head out and reassure him that you're all right. There's a lot of blood on your sheets right now and he'll panic.”

He was at the door when I called for him. “Hey! Thanks. I appreciated that. You know, the talk and the help washing.”

“Any time, love.” he smiled, before walking out into my room and softly closing the door.

Oh, I'm a 'love' now am I? Interesting.


Garrett still panicked, even with assurances from Anders that all was well, and stormed into the bathing chamber, white as a sheet, eyes frantic and completely naked. He froze in the doorway for a moment, staring wide eyed, then ran forward, jumped in the tub and bent to take me in his arms, face buried in my shoulder.

“Garrett!” I exclaimed, arms reaching around to hold him. I shift my legs to allow him room and he slid to fill it. He was shaking in my grasp. “Hey! Hey, come on big guy. All's well, see? I'm okay, I promise.”

He mumbled something into my neck and I nudged him with my shoulder to make him raise his head slightly.”I blacked out when you were going down on me! I should have warned you! I'm not safe when I get excited. And then I woke up and you weren't there and there was all this blood and -”

“Hush,” I soothed, running my fingers through his hair. “I’m okay. Anders explained what happened and we'll just have to be more careful from now on, okay? Safe words or something.”

Garrett lifted his head to stare at me incredulously. “You mean- you mean you're not leaving?”

“What?” I cried. “Why would I leave?”

“After...after what happened with your husband, I thought maybe I might have scared you away.”

“My husband hit me. You were just...overenthusiastic.” I grinned at him. “And enthusiasm can be a good thing.”

Garrett laughed with relief for a few moments before realizing that the two of us were completely nude in a rapidly cooling bath tub. He helped me to stand and found a couple of drying cloths to wrap around us while he ran to his chambers and I found myself a house robe. I quickly stripped the bed and replaced the sheets with fresh. I'd have to wash them in cold water and see if I could find some salt. Didn't want some inconvenient stains. Or maybe I should just get some new ones.

I had planned on returning to sleep once the bed was made, but I found I couldn't sleep, so I headed down to the study. From the sounds in the hall, neither Anders nor Garrett would be joining me anytime soon, so maybe some reading time would be in order. Normally after a bout of amazing sex- and it was absolutely amazing- I would indulge in a small amount of chocolate, to keep the high going just that little bit longer. But unfortunately there wasn't any in the house and the Hightown bakery wouldn't open until just after five bells. So instead I decided that trying to relax might be the better option and found a text on Chantry history that should put me out like a light. I curled up on the couch, feet curled up underneath me and flipped the cover open to the beginning.


“Hush Garrett! Don't you dare wake her!”

“But she looks so damned uncomfortable!”

“Just tuck the blanket around her and go and tell Bodahn we'd like to have breakfast in the study this morning.”

“Yes, Mother.”

A few moments later, once the sound of shuffling feet disappeared in the distance, “All right, young lady, I'm fairly certain my son woke you anyway, so you may as well open your eyes.”

I grinned and peeked at a smirking Leandra, seated in her favourite wing chair. “You caught me.”

“Yes I did. None of my children have ever been able to fool me, and that includes you,” she admonished, pointing at me with one of her knitting needles, her work spread across her lap.

I smiled at that, loving that she considered me a part of the family. I sat up straight, blanket falling to my waist. “How long have you been home, Leandra? How was Lady Rothschild's?”

“An hour or so. Millicent is an old gossipy hen and her husband is a boor, but I still had fun. Speaking of which, I am officially inviting you to dinner next week. It's at the DeLauncet's so we'll have to dress you in the best. That Dulcie just loves to rub it in my face that I gave up Guillaume for Malcolm. Not that I would have it any other way, of course.”

Leandra looked positively giddy chatting about the DeLauncet dinner, that I didn't have the heart to tell her I really didn't want to go. Nobles were more exhausting than a hundred bandits and the prospect of dancing had me shuddering.

Soon enough, Bodahn entered the study with a large tray filled with plates of eggs and bread, pots of jam and pitchers of juice and coffee. I had yet to develop a taste for Thedas' version of coffee and so stuck to their version of orange juice, but only after squeezing out the juice of a few sweetberries first. Everything seemed to taste that much better with sweetberries. Garrett, Anders, and strangely Fenris followed behind carrying baskets of pastries, as well as clean plates and utensils.

They set down the mountain of foodstuffs on one of the desks that dotted the room. “Will there be anything else, my Lady?” Bodahn asked.

“No, thank you, Bodahn. And please, I keep telling you to call me Leandra.” she said, standing to move towards the breakfast plates.

“Of course, my- Leandra.” he stuttered, blushing slightly before heading out the door.

“OOH! My Leandra! How cute!” Garrett teased, bumping his mother with his hip.

She slapped his arm playfully and began ladling food onto a plate. I watched them playfully poking at each other for a few minutes, thankful that they had this time. The thought of Garrett and Leandra losing this because of some bastard of a delusional blood mage made my mouth dry. That, of course, is when my stomach decided to growl and it was time to stand and fend for myself among the breakfast foods.

The moment the blanket fell from my lap, three sets of eyes swivelled towards me. Garrett smirked and let his eyes roam across my body. Silk house robe, barely reaching the tops of my thighs and tied loosely, he was remembering just what I looked like without it and I flushed.

Anders looked wistful, as though he wished he too were a part of Garrett and I. I decided then and there, that one night he would be. I would convince Garrett to let us make Anders happy. I grinned at him and blew him a kiss, making the mage's eyes brighten.

And Fenris. Oh my. The elf's eyes were nearly black with desire, making my breath hitch and my stomach flutter. I felt like a deer in the headlights, frozen by his eyes. I had always laughed when someone told me about the sensation of drowning in another's eyes, but damn it! I really was drowning in those beautiful green orbs. I found myself taking a step towards him, towards those deep, penetrating eyes.

It was Leandra that rescued me. She looked from the boys to me and back before setting down her plate and taking me by the arm. “Come dear, let's find you something nice to wear today. I'll take you to my dressmaker for next week's dinner.”

She steered me from the room before I knew what was happening and had me in my rooms and sitting on my bed. Finally, I was able to breathe, to blink, and I gave her a thankful smile.

“Well,” she began, turning her attention to my wardrobe,” you and Garrett certainly seem to have an interesting relationship.”

I burst out laughing, I couldn't help it. “Interesting. Yeah, I guess you could call it that.”

“Garrett has been in love with Anders for some time now, and I think you might have been the catalyst that finally brought them together. And I know that they both love you as well, kind of the binding agent for their lives,” she continued, pulling a skirt, blouse and corset from the wardrobe and throwing them on the bed. “But Fenris? That poor man has been through so much, I'm not sure that either of you would be able to handle a relationship with the other at the moment.”

I stared at Garrett's mother, mouth agape. When in the hell did Leandra get so damned intuitive? She certainly didn't seem that way in the game. In fact, I'd always kind of disliked Leandra, blaming her son for things that really weren't his fault. Malcolm's death, Carver's, even poor Bethany's in the Deep Roads. I mean, in a way I understood that need to lash out at something, someone, when there was a tragedy, but her children should have been the last people she should take her anger and sadness out on. When my Amy had been close to death, I had taken each of my other children in my arms and kissed them and told them it would be all right. Later, when a doctor told me that it could have been so much worse, I slugged him. He I could take out my anger on, though I did apologize later. He laughed and said it happened all the time.

“So, Dear. Get dressed. Come down and eat. And then we'll go spend all of my son's money.” Leandra said with a happy grin.

I shook my head as the woman closed the door behind her. “I will never understand this family, swear to God.”


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