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Fire of the Heart

By Tayhlia

Drama / Romance

Fire of the Heart

It had been happening for years, even before the two of them slept together. She supposed she should be flattered, not every girl had a handsome elf rear up in jealous defense of her at every turn. At one point, it had caused her heart to beat and face to flush, taking it as a declaration of his feelings for her. But it had been a long time since Fenris' aggressive dismissal of any potential suitors had made her feel anything but annoyed.

Gripping the mug of ale in front of her, Faith Hawke had to wonder why she had let it go on so long. It had been three years, three long lonely years since she and Fenris had slept together; since she had given her heart to a man who crushed them on a daily basis. It had been foolish of her to think he wouldn't do the same, albeit metaphorically, with hers.

Perhaps it would have been kinder if he had actually crushed her heart, Faith mused bitterly, taking a sip of the horrible liquid. Being dead had to be better than living with the knowledge that he didn't want her but couldn't let her move on either.

She had thought it would change once Danarius was gone. Somehow she had deluded herself into believing that after that bastard was dead Fenris would come back to her and stop forcing them into this limbo of wanting her but refusing to have her, claiming that she should move on but refusing to let her do so.

Only the Magister's death had changed nothing, as today's encounter with the blonde assassin proved. Zevran Arainai, as skilled a rogue as his silver tongue suggested. Handsome and practically oozing sexual desire, even Aveline had given the elf a second glance once they determined he was not the real threat.

After the group had slaughtered the Crows, Zevran had openly propositioned her. As ridiculous as it was at the time, seeing as they were covered in blood, sweat, and were a good hour away from any reasonably sanitary bed; she had blushed, almost flattered at the idea. But before she could even form a thought in her head as to how to dismiss the lustful elf, Fenris had actually growled, pushing forward and making it quite clear that Zevran's heart would exist outside his chest if he attempted anything with her. And then Fenris had the gall to act as though he didn't understand why she got angry with him.

Faith glowered at the memory, the bubble of frustration still turning in her. Unintentionally she glanced down the table toward the white-haired warrior, who was still vainly attempting to win at Wicked Grace. She had opted out of the game but had enjoyed watching Isabela and Varric cheat money out of the two dock workers stupid enough to join them. Even Anders was entertained by the show Isabela was putting on while she won and stole money from the unfortunate men.

It wasn't fair, she thought with a sigh, turning her attention to the mug in front of her, unwilling to be caught staring at Fenris again. Why of all people did she have to fall for the one that was the most complicated? The one completely incapable of making up his mind about what he wanted, inadvertently dragging her along for the emotional ride.

Aveline and Varric had questioned her on numerous occasions, wondering how Faith—a stubborn, strong willed woman who dealt with the details in her life as though they were black or white, hot or cold, wanted or, Faith's eyes darted to Fenris, unwanted—let her love life get so out of control.

Unfortunately she didn't know either. Before she had met Fenris, Faith had never had trouble getting what she wanted from her partners; of course she could also count her previous lovers on one hand. She had always been in control in her past relationships, the one who had people pinning after her, the one who decided when to end it. Perhaps it was some sort of karmic revenge, the Maker pointing and laughing, trying to make her feel the way her past lovers had.

She wrinkled her nose at the thought. Faith could admit even to herself that she could be a bitch but she never left anyone hanging the way Fenris had done to her. She had always been more favorable to the rip-the-bandage-off approach. Blowing a strand of fiery red hair out of her face, Faith frowned, if only Fenris could do the same.

"Hey," the word was slurred as someone half fell into a seated position on the bench next to her. Arching her brow, Faith eyed the arm that had draped itself over her shoulder in a failed attempt to be alluring.

"How about you," the drunk seemed to be trying to bat his eyes at her but only succeeded in making it look as though he was having a seizure. "And me," He grinned, a breath of ale and whiskey soaked air exhaling. "Head upstairs," The drunk attempted to wag his bushy blonde eyebrows. "And I'll show you a good time?"

Faith swallowed her laughter and started to respond when the man was abruptly wrenched away from her, sending his flagon of ale sloshing over the table. Jerking out of the way of the liquid, she spun around, wondering what the hell had just happened when her temper flared.

The drunk was cowering on the floor where Fenris had tossed him, slobbering a soggy apology, begging for his life. Fenris was glowing, his brow twisted into a harsh line. In less than a second the man was scrambling away, racing out the door, likely to change his pants seeing as he had just pissed himself. Laughter rang out as the patrons turned back to their business, pretending as though the event had never happened.

She scowled as Fenris turned and then stalled, a blank mask covering the startled confused look that had quickly flickered across his face when he met her eyes. "I can speak for myself, Fenris." Faith said quietly but she was quite aware that the game had stopped; the players' attention on her.

Fenris frowned.

Getting to her feet, she glared at him, all the frustration and anger that had been brewing in her mind pushing to the surface. "Why did you do that?" Faith attempted to keep her voice even and calm but she knew she had failed.

The elven warrior glowered, hiding behind the long strands of white hair, annoyed that he was being called out.

"No." Faith said causing him to meet her gaze again. "I'm not letting you off the hook this time. Why did you do that?"

"He assaulted you."

Faith gaped at him. "Assaulted? He was a drunk." She scoffed. "The only thing he assaulted me with was his bad breath. Try again."

"He was a brave knight riding in to rescue a damsel in distress, Hawke." Varric supplied, trying to ease the tension away.

Anders snorted in derision. "Fenris, a knight," he mocked under his breath.

The red haired Champion shot a glare over her shoulder. "I'm as much a damsel in distress as you are a human with height issues. I didn't ask for help." Her attention swung back to Fenris. "And I didn't want any."

"He was treating you like a whore."

"Seriously? All he did was invite me upstairs for some fun. That hardly sounds whorish." She snapped. "And besides, it's my problem not yours."

"You weren't seriously going to go with him?" objected Anders.

"Of course not." She said giving the mage a death glare. Anders held his hands up in surrender. "But it was my choice, not yours Fenris." Faith huffed. "Ugh, I'm sick of this; every man that flirts with me you threaten or attack."

"Forgive me if I do not wish to find you dead because you allowed assassins and mercenaries into your bed."

"It's my risk to take, Fenris."

"It is a foolish risk."

"Maybe." She admitted, narrowing her eyes at him. "But what would you know of risk? You never risk anything."

His brow furrowed at her, as though attempting to understand.

"They're dead Fenris. All of them. Hadriana, Danarius, your sister, everyone who hurt you, they're all gone and what has changed? Nothing. You still act the slave, refusing to live."

"I am not a slave!" he spat.

"No? You still sit in a rotting mansion, licking your wounds as though they were hours old and not years. You snarl and glow but you never make any decision of your own. You are so wrapped up in your hate of a dead man that you refuse to live and you drag me with you. What's worse is I've let you! I've let you drag me into spending my life as miserable and alone as you! You don't own me, you don't get to control who I sleep with."

Fenris snarled, peeking up at her through his white hair, his mossy green eyes swirling with heat. "If you wish to act the whore, do not let me stand in your way."

Faith dug her nails into her palm, glaring hotly at the elf, unable to believe his audacity. A dark smile spread on her lips, mocking and filled with the hurt and anger burning in her. "Good." She spun on her heel, her emerald eyes landing on Anders with all the look of a predator.

The mage suddenly paled as she approached, fear that her ire was shifted to him caused him to straighten, obviously trying to decide whether to stay or run. Abruptly she pushed him against the wall, pressing her lips onto his almost forcefully.

She knew it was wrong, using him like this, but she didn't really care at this point.

For a moment the kiss was entirely one sided, Anders in far too much shock to react. She was about to pull away, frustrated that her attempt to anger Fenris by kissing the mage was failing when Anders seemed to snap from his stupor.

His hand slid along the nape of her neck, cupping her face, deepening the kiss. His tongue teased her lips, seeking entrance, something she willingly allowed, hoping to feel something, anything for the man who had been in love with her for so many years. Anders pulled her closer, one hand sliding down her back.

Immediately Faith stiffened, her hand clamping down on his wrist. "This doesn't change anything." She ground out softly.

"I know." He admitted, longing burning in gaze. "You really want to piss him off?"

Faith looked into his amber eyes for a moment, warring with herself before giving small nod. Without preamble he became the aggressor, his lips hungrily seeking the attention he had wanted since they had met. His hand, now released, rested on her ass, cupping it in a way she assumed was supposed to be sensual.

Suddenly he shifted, kissing lightly down her chin and onto her neck, a move than sent shivers down her spine. She closed her eyes, losing herself in the sensation of touch, of being wanted. A soft moan escaped her when he found a sensitive spot on her neck. Anders lightly grazed the spot again with his teeth, earning another quiver of lust from her.

"Fasta vass."

Faith hated how her entire body erupted in heat when she heard the elf's voice, no matter how angry; a hand was running down her body, a mouth lightly nipping her neck, the touch was driving her wild.

"Fenris," his name hissed traitorously from her mouth as her body arched slightly, begging for more, pleading to be released from the celibacy she had imposed on it for three years.

The movements stopped. "Well," the voice that was not her deep and brooding warrior's caused her to crash back to reality. Her eyes flew open, her cheeks instantly turning bright red. Anders gave her a tight smile. "At least you managed to wait until he stormed out of here before admitting it was him you were picturing."

Faith pulled away from Anders, shame and indigence filling her. "What are you complaining about? You got a kiss and coped a feel." She said defensively.

"Are you sure that was a smart move, Hawke?" Varric questioned, thankfully giving her a distraction from the pitiful look Anders was giving her; it reminded her far too much of her mabari begging when she was a puppy. "Broody looked like he was half a second away from killing one of you—or both of you."

She scowled. "And what do you suggest? He's been telling me for years that he can't be in a relationship with me and that I should move on. So I am. It's hardly my fault that he doesn't like who I chose to kiss this time."

"I call next in line!" Isabela said cheerfully earning her an odd look. "What? If Hawke is back on the market I call dibs."

"I was here first." Anders almost whined under his breath.

Isabela grinned. "And I called dibs."

Faith rubbed her head, wondering what she had been thinking. She had just wanted to piss Fenris off. Now Anders and Isabela were bickering over who had 'dibs' on her.

"Hawke," Varric said quietly as the other two continued their back and forth. "Broody has been hunted by that magister for the entirety of his memory; the bastard's only been dead two weeks."

Guilt stirred in her gut as Faith bit her lip. She had known that, she had ordered herself to be patient, she had waited three years what was another few weeks? Why had she let today's events get under her skin so badly? Faith had never been a mean person; opinionated, stubborn, and maybe a little hot-tempered but she was never someone who was deliberately cruel—until now it seemed.

"What about it Hawke?" Isabela was leaning toward her, flashing Faith a perfect view down her shirt.

"You should do it." One of the drunk dockworkers announced. "We wouldn't mind, would we Stan?"

The other dockworker hiccupped. "No." he waved haphazardly around, almost knocking his drink over and flashing is hand to everyone at the table.

Isabela wagged her eyebrows at Faith's quizzical look. "You, me, and Magic-Fingers here," She teased suggestively, gesturing toward Anders. "Head back to your place and we'll make you forget Fenris ever existed."

Faith blinked, looking from the dark-haired pirate to Anders, who, to his credit, was blushing a charming shade of pink. "I am going home." She said, unable to get the look of disbelief off her face. "Alone!" she ground out the word when she saw both of them shift, as though somehow her announcement was an invitation.

Isabela settled back down, pouting like her favorite toy had been taken away. Anders had the decency to give her a sheepish half smile as though saying in one look that it had been worth a shot.

Shaking her head, Faith swept her weapons onto her back, half fleeing the Hanged Man before another person could proposition her. The night air was cold on her skin, replacing the flushed heat with a sudden chill. Bowing her head, strands of dark red hair falling in her face, she hurried toward Hightown.

What had she been thinking? What in Thedas had possessed her to kiss Anders like that? Faith made a face. She had spent years trying to convince the idiotic mage that she simply didn't think of him romantically, the idea of Justice always there, churning behind those ambers eyes; Faith shuddered.

She quickened her step, desperate to run from her actions; wondering how far she would have to go to escape from the fact she had just toyed with one of her friends emotions just because Fenris' actions (or inactions depending how she looked at it).

She made it to her estate in record time; something that was both a relief and an annoyance. Part of her wanted nothing more than to run into a few idiots in the dark and beat the crap out of them, if anything it would have been a way to relieve some of the tension eating away at her. It may not be healthy to take out frustrations on physical targets but sometimes it was exactly what was needed.

Shutting the door Faith wrinkled her nose at the shadows, reminded that for the first time in…well ever…she was alone in the house. The dwarves were off, traveling to Cumberland to deliver an item she had picked up in the Deep Roads when she 'rescued' Nathaniel Howe a week ago and Aveline had absconded with Dragon (Faith's mabari) again.

Leaving her sword and shield on the table near the door, Faith went upstairs, her frustration and anger growing with each step. She knew her actions at the Hanged Man had been stupid and cruel but at the same time she was still angry with Fenris.

Half of her wanted to find the elf that was the subject of her ire and yell at him…again. As odd as it seemed, the ability to rant was a relief; to finally expose the irritating current that pulsed with whatever the hell their relationship was for years.

Kneeling down in front of her fireplace, Faith struck the tinder. How had she and Fenris gotten to this point? How had it gotten this bad, this frustrating? They used to be friends. True when they argued everyone steered clear of them and more than once their verbal sparring turned into actual fights. It was crazy, practically dysfunctional, but it had worked, it had been exactly what they had needed, what they had wanted.

But that hadn't happened in years.

Scowling at the growing flame in the hearth as though it was at fault, Faith stood, tugging her gauntlets off as she moved. Ever since…that night, nothing had been the same between them. Before, when life became too much or she had simply wanted to let off steam, she would have gone to Fenris, burning off her emotions as the two of them fought.

Fist fights, sparring matches, and one very drunken pillow fight, it hadn't mattered, the two of them would practically dance around his manor, engaged in the heated battle that always ended the same way, the two of them collapsed on the floor, each surrendering a small amount of pride by apologizing for letting it get that far; both finally burnt out and able to talk about what was really bothering them.

In the last three years she and Fenris had only been alone with each other once a week when he came to her library to continue his reading and writing lessons (if alone counted two dwarves in the other room and a mabari who loved to run off with the quills). He never stayed longer than the lesson and they never spoke about anything but the lesson.

Faith frowned, continuing to remove her armor as she thought. Part of her supposed she hadn't wanted him to; for the first while after that night, the redhead had barely wanted anything to do with the elf. Her pride wounded; she was ashamed to admit that for nearly a fortnight after he had left her bed, Faith had honestly wanted to enact some sort of revenge. Make him hurt the way she did, the burning twisting pain in her heart and stomach as she remembered how he walked out that night. But as anger faded into hurt, all she had wanted was him again. She wanted to hear his laugh, see his smile, feel his touch.

Her hands trembled as she unlatched her chest plate. It had been three years, any normal person would have moved on by now. Any normal person would have given up on the irritating elf and gone off to find someone who actually cared, who wanted her, who wouldn't leave her in the night like she was some cheap whore.

Anger renewed, Faith fought with the buckles, nearly throwing the metal aside when she finally removed it. What was wrong with her! She wasn't some helpless noble wimp, pinning after men like they were the only thing that mattered, waiting the 'magical' day that dear old daddy fixed her up with a husband ten years her senior. When she was younger, Faith had sworn up and down that she was never going to let anyone hold that much control over her.

Abandoning the last vestiges of her armor, Faith stood in front of the mirror, staring at the reflection, almost brooding. Had she really changed so much from that short tempered little girl? Her looks certainly hadn't, that was for certain.

Round face that belied her age, freckles (the curse of a redhead as she and Aveline frequently bemoaned) scattered across her pale skin, even her dark red hair hadn't dulled to brown like her mother promised it would; in the last twenty years nothing seemed to have changed about her save her hairstyle. Without her mother around to complain about 'the proper length of a lady's hair', Faith had taken to cutting it all off, leaving the longest strands reaching just below her ears.

True she had finally developed a figure (though she was nowhere near as curvy as Isabella) and had a few more scars, Faith would easily concede that she pretty much looked the same as she had when she was young.

So what happened to change the girl who swore never to allow herself to let anyone string her along into the woman who spent three years longing for the elf that fucked her and left? Where along the way had she lost to Fenris? How had she gone from standing strong on her own to yearning for someone else to lean on?

Faith yanked her shirt off, throwing it aside; narrowly missing the fire in her frustration with everything. She should have just fallen for Anders; he was sweet in a somewhat creepy way. Even with Justice, Anders seemed far less complicated.

Heading toward the armoire for her robe, she felt a twinge of guilt at the thought of the blonde mage. She knew she should apologize to both Anders and Fenris. Part of her wanted to; she never should have let her temper get the better of her like that. Using Anders was wrong, even if the mage had enjoyed pissing Fenris off more than she had.

Huffing she flung open the wardrobe; the other part of her was indignantly childish refusing to admit that she had been the only one who had acted badly. It wasn't as if Anders hadn't relished the fact that she had chosen him to kiss rather than Isabela. If anything he had purposefully manipulated her anger so that he could get more out of the situation.

Instincts honed over years of attempted sneak attacks slammed her out of her thoughts and into reality just as she found her robe. The hair on the back of her neck rose, her skin tingling as though the eyes watching her were physically touching her. Pretending she was still searching in the mound of unorganized clothes, she reached for one of the blades she had hidden along the paneling.

Faith carefully glanced toward the room out of the corner of her eye. It was then that she realized the person in her room had come through the window. Irritation flooded her as she dropped the weapon back into its hiding place. Who else would it be? Grabbing her robe, she pulled it from the mess and turned around, shutting the doors of the armoire harder than she should have.

Sure enough, Fenris was crouched on the windowsill, staring at her.

For a moment all she could do was glare at him, hating how he still hid behind his hair as though he were afraid to look her in the eye; something she had long ago realized was an after effect of being a slave all his life. She loathed the way her heart still sped up at the sight of him, illuminated by the moonlight that was streaming through the open window he was practically ethereal. Exasperation quickly filled her, irate at his audacity to show up unannounced and uninvited.

Anger bubbling anew, Faith glowered. "The window?" she snapped, causing him to fully look up startled. "Couldn't you have come to the door like a normal person so I could slam it in your face?" Yanking her robe on, trying to maintain some semblance of decency in front of the man who had haunted her dreams for years, Faith shook her head. "But you can't do anything normal, can you?"

He looked up sharply as though wanting to object but not knowing how.

"Three years, Fenris." She ground each word out. "For three years, I've ignored my feelings for you. For three blighted years I waited." Clenching her hands into fists, she prayed he didn't see how they were shaking. "Three years of seeing you and never having you, of pretending like that night never happened; three years of waiting for you to make a choice about," she faltered on the word, unwilling to admit there could have been an 'us' but unable to let it go. "Instead, all you've done for three years is wallow in self-pity." Bitterly she shook her head. "Every time, every time I start to do exactly what you've been pushing me to do: 'move on', you act like a wounded puppy." She scowled at him. "You rear up and act somewhere between jealous boyfriend and overprotective brother."

"Hawke."

The way his voice strangled her name out caused her throat to constrict, forcing her to look away, unable to meet his eye. The part of her that still wanted him burned, throbbing with the need to hear him say her name again. Shoving her feelings for him aside, all Faith was left with was anger.

"You don't own me Fenris." Her words were soft but lethal.

He reared back as though she had struck him, obviously startled at the declaration but she wasn't finished.

"I am not your property." Gesturing toward the bed she continued. "That night that we spent together does not mean you can dictate who I am with." Sweeping her hand in a wide arch, Faith motioned from the window to the door. "And, if I want to fuck every guy in Kirkwall I can!"

Something flashed in his eyes.

"The thing you don't seem to comprehend is that you lost the right to comment on who I screw the moment you walked out and never came back!" Faith stomped toward the door, unwilling to stay near the elf.

"Hawke!" Fenris practically barked her name.

"What?" she growled, looking at him sharply, daring him to speak.

As usual, Fenris hesitated, acting as though he had no idea why he stopped her. Perhaps that was the true problem between them, the elf honestly had no clue what he wanted. "It's late." He finally settled on. "Where are you going?"

"Out to fuck Anders." she snapped just to irritate him.

An eerie blue glow lit her bedroom, out shining the flickering yellow light from the fireplace. Normally she would have felt a certain level of concern, perhaps somewhere between fear and worry that Fenris was that angry about something to react with his lyrium but at the moment it just fueled her anger.

"And here it comes," she mocked, crossing her arms in front of her chest. "Are you going to tell me I can't? Or follow me so you can give any man that looks at me with lust in his eyes a snarl and some threatening words so we can both be miserable?"

Fenris scowled. "Better to let you spread your legs to any man that passes? I've seen the way they look at you, Hawke. You are deluding yourself if you believe—"

"Believe what?" She scoffed, trying to pretend his words didn't sting. "You think me incapable of controlling my base urges? That I'm so wrought with desire I'll jump on anyone that propositions me? You fear if you let anyone close I'll prance off to a corner somewhere and let them fuck me into oblivion." Her eyes narrowed. "Or worse, you think I'm some helpless damsel that needs saving. 'Oh rescue me, Fenris, from the sinful clutches of lust. How could I ever hope to protect myself against men and their evil, evil wiles'?"

Fenris let out a low growl, the snarl of hate that so often marred his features seemed permanently fixed on his brow.

"I don't need you or anyone else to protect me, Fenris. I've been taking care of myself longer than you can remember." Faith swallowed hard, pretending she didn't see the way he flinched at her words, trying to convince herself that she didn't care how deeply she might have hurt him. "Whether you realize it or not, you rotten bastard, I'm more than what's between my legs. Just because a quick fuck and killing Danarius is all you ever wanted from me doesn't mean that all there is to me." Faith spun around, refusing to stay, desperate to avoid everything to do with him.

A hand wrapped around her arm, stalling her step. "Hawke," Fenris started.

Her temper flared and she spun around. "I want to hate you!" she shouted shoving Fenris, forcing him to stumble back. "Everything would be so much easier if I could just hate you!" Faith swung at him again, the elf still too stunned at her attack to block her. "You could never decide whether you wanted me or not!" She slammed him against the wall, pinning him there. "Every day you were there, tormenting me with those looks, acting like I was the one who left you; claiming you wanted me to move on all while scaring away any possible chance for me to. You have become the magister, Fenris, my master, deciding who I can be with and who I cannot."

Fenris snarled, his tattoos flaring. "I am not a magister."

"Whatever you say, master." She spat, taking a step back and bowing.

"You know nothing of being a slave!"

"Is it anything like having the choice," Faith shoved him, his back thudding against the wall, rage pulsing through her veins. "Taken from you? Having someone else," she hit him on the chest, pushing him flat against the stone behind him. "Decide who is right for you, who you get to sleep with?" Pain echoed beyond the anger in her emerald eyes, something in her chest aching. "How about offering something raw of yourself up and having it spit upon on the whims of another?" The look in his eyes caused a new wave of pain to rip through her chest. "Is that anything like being a slave?"

"Hawke," Every muscle in his body seemed to be rigid, trying to control himself.

"You made your choice, three years ago when you walked out on what we could have been." Faith ground out; trying to push the pain she was feeling away. Taking a step back from him she shook her head. "I won't keep playing this game with you." She jerked her head toward the window. "Get out."

Something in his stony expression twitched but he didn't move.

The lack of reaction caused something inside her to break. A cold numbness swept through her, starting from her heart and following to her extremities, leaving her empty and shaking. All the frustration, the angst, the heartache of the last three years had finally come to a head and all he did was stand there in silence. The truth hit her harder than she would have ever wanted to admit. The truth was: he didn't care what he had put her through; he didn't care that she refused to play his game anymore; he didn't care that she was telling him to leave. He simply didn't care; about what could have been, about what he had done, about her; he didn't care.

Suddenly anger seeped into her again. She wanted to hurt him, physically, emotionally, mentally, it didn't matter. For three years she had waited and ignored how Fenris had strung her along, pretended not to notice how his actions contradicted his words, acting as though it didn't matter.

"I said get out." Faith clenched her hands at her side, trying to control how they were shaking. "And don't come back."

He didn't move.

Irritation sparked in her again. "You probably don't want to be here when Anders arrives." The lie burned in her mouth but she couldn't stop it.

Fenris jerked as if she had hit him, looking at her sharply.

She shot him a spiteful grin, a dark satisfaction filling her at his reaction. "After that kiss I just couldn't say no." Faith narrowed her eyes at him. "And I figured who better to 'act the whore' with?" she threw his words back at him. Turning away from Fenris, she walked toward the door, desperate to keep pretending. "At least he actually feels something for me; which is more than I can say for you."

Just as she was reaching for the knob a hand clamped down over her forearm. "Don't." the word barely made it out, his voice low and filled with a deep growl.

Something in her snapped and she turned, swinging.

"Venhedis!" he cursed, his hand going to his lip, checking to see if she had broken skin.

"Once again you order me around!" she exclaimed, going toward him again. "So, Master," Faith managed to hit him across the jaw, the action instinctively causing his markings to light again. "Who do you approve of me fucking?" she mocked, trying to punch him again. "Or is this a situation where if you can't have me no one can?" the doubts, hate, and hurt came spilling out of her like blood from a wound. "You had your taste and you're too much of a coward for another?"

To her never ending frustration, Fenris managed to dodge her blows, always blocking or side stepping when she attacked, a rhythm the two warriors knew far too well. A scream of aggravation bubbled in her throat when he managed to catch her fist, cleanly stopping her from hitting him and steadfastly refusing to let her go.

Clawing at his gauntleted fingers that were now wrapped around her wrist, Faith fought to free herself. Attempting to use force, she jerked her arm back, trying to dislodge his grip; only the momentum caused her to flail back; forcing him to take a staggered step forward. Their feet tangled, tripping over each other in a painfully awkward attempt to stay balanced.

The two of them toppled to the ground with an audible thud; Faith gasping as the air was knocked from her lungs when Fenris landed on top of her. Heat and rage burned in her as she realized he was now pinning her to the rug-covered floor.

Thrashing madly beneath him, she tried to twist her wrists from his grasp. Faith let out an irritated growl when she finally admitted defeat; no matter how thin he seemed to be, the damned elf was practically solid muscle. Breathing heavily she looked up at him, fire sparking in her emerald eyes.

"Did you only screw me because you wanted to make sure I felt obligated to help you with Danarius?"

Fenris stiffened.

"After seeing Hadriana's power you had to have been concerned." Faith sneered. "After all, Anders and Varric nearly died fighting her and she was just a Magister's apprentice." Narrowing her eyes, her voice dropped to a deadly tone. "Tell me, Fenris, did you fuck me that night to manipulate my feelings for you so that I would still protect you when Danarius came? Well guess what, Danarius is dead." She spat. "You don't have any reason to stay in Kirkwall anymore, right? You had your cheap fuck; you had your revenge, now you're free. And what does 'free' Fenris do?" She taunted. "Nothing."

His grip on her wrists tightened; his face unreadable.

"He does nothing because 'free' Fenris is the same as 'slave' Fenris," Faith said derisively. "Someone incapable of making any decision for himself, a man unable to let go of his anger." She looked at him with a mocking smile. "A coward too afraid to feel."

Suddenly he swooped down, his lips slamming against hers.

Part of her was stunned, unable to comprehend his action but a deeper part of her surged forward, taking control in an instant. Heat raged in her like a wildfire, spreading through her veins to every limb. Anger, lust, the lines blurred, mingling and flooding the kiss with strength and ferocity; a voracious hunger that could only be satisfied by him. In that moment the world bled away.

Many people describe a perfect kiss as fireworks, a sensation of pure bliss, or a soft tender moment that wrapped around a person with a sweet contentment. But the perfect kiss had never been that to her.

A perfect kiss was heat and passion, a sort of fire that burned so hot that breathing became optional, and nothing matter more than the other person. It was rough and fervent, as though they both knew that if they stopped the world would start spinning again and tear them apart. It was a feral, animalistic desire that was sparking between them, each one vying for dominance with a single kiss and neither winning.

Air quickly became a necessity, forcing the two of them apart leaving Faith to stare up at him, her mind annoyingly rearing back into control of her body. What the hell had just happened? The redhead's logical side desperately tried to catch up, trying to piece together how the two of them had gone from fighting to…that.

That wasn't to say she hadn't enjoyed it, internally part of her felt like a cat licking its chops after it landed its prize, cheering that someone had finally broken the stalemate that had last far too long between the two stubborn warriors. But an aching numbness was quickly replacing the emotion that had fueled her response to his touch, she looked at the elf, searching for some sort of understanding.

Fenris watched her, his stony mask in place as he waited for her reaction. The only hint that he had any emotional attachment to what he had just done was written in his mossy green eyes, pupils dilated with desire.

"Is this where you leave?" Faith questioned, hating how her voice broke.

He didn't answer.

Shifting out from under him, finally released from his pinning hold, she tugged her robe closed, trying to gain control of herself. "Your memories," she stared at him, studying every line and curve of his face. "They'll return and then vanish." Faith swallowed the lump that started to grow in her throat, her eyes flickered toward the fireplace, the ghost of a memory replaying in her head. "And you'll tell me that it's all too much and you can't handle it again." She looked down at her hands, trying to will them to stop shaking. "And then you'll leave."

"No." the lone word caused everything in her to freeze. Gently he lifted her head, forcing her to look at him. "I was a fool. I thought it better if you hated me. I convinced myself that nothing could come of it, of us."

Her heart hammered in her chest, part of her soaring with hope and part of her dreading what might come next.

"But the thought of seeing you with anyone else," his hand cupped her cheek, a look of pure of longing and desire on his face. "It would have broken me."

Faith trembled, unable to pull away. Inside the stubborn fighter was screaming, demanding for her to tell the elf to shove it, that he had hurt her for the last time but she couldn't for the same reason she hadn't done anything for the last three years. It would kill her if she lost him for good.

His thumb lightly caressed her face. "I've thought about that night a thousand times and ended it in a thousand different ways but no matter how I tried I could never escape it, the memory of you, of your touch."

Her lips parted in a silent gasp, heart pounding, everything in her trying to comprehend what he was telling her.

Fenris moved, leaning closer to her, their breath mingling. "I wanted to ask your forgiveness long ago but I was a coward." Surging forward he captured her lips in a kiss. After a moment, he pulled back and she found herself lost in his mossy green eyes. "Nothing could be worse than the thought of living without you."

Silence stretched between them for a moment.

"You are a fool." Faith finally said causing him to tense. "And a coward." She added, watching him duck his head to hide behind the strands of his silky white hair. Shaking her head, she yanked him back into a bruising kiss. His arms came up, circling her body, refusing to let her go. Faith broke the kiss, looking at him as her heart pounded with a renewed vigor. "And I'm still mad at you." Closing her eyes she allowed him to pull her back to him. "If you ever—" the kiss swallowed her words.

Goosebumps ran down her arms, desire stirring in her. Pushing him down, Faith climbed atop him, tracing a line of kisses along his jaw and up to his ear where she nibbled on the tip, enjoying his guttural moan of appreciation. His hands were on her body again, igniting the lust she felt; the elf craving her as much as she wanted him.

Pausing she swallowed a surge of fear that pulsed through her. "Don't ever leave me again." the demand came out mingled with raw emotion, almost a plea as though some part of her knew that if he ever did leave her again, she would never recover.

Fenris looked at her, the only name she could put to the emotion that was shining from his eyes was love. "Nothing is going to keep me from you."

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