Scars of the Past (Rewrite)
Trigger Warning: Story mentions non-descript rape and implication of abuse
There was an odd bubble of exhilaration churning in Quinn's stomach as her group made their way to Lowtown. It was silly; it wasn't as if this mission had any bearing on her. It was a favor to a friend; a close friend. A small voice in the back of her mind laughed at her, jeering the word 'friend' and immediately bringing to the forefront of her mind Fenris' taut and gorgeous body. She felt her cheeks burn, the memory and fantasy rolled into one automatically causing her to lust for the elf to appear in an instant; all right, she retorted silently to herself; an ex-lover. Once again her own mind mocked her; one night hardly constituted a lover. Oh hell, Hawke didn't know what Fenris was to her. She hadn't for years.
Part of her still felt a little raw; Fenris had spoken Aveline and Varric about the fact he was tracking down his sister while keeping her in the dark. It smarted more than she would have liked to admit. But it wasn't like Fenris had any obligation to tell her; it wasn't as though they were in any sort of normal relationship.
Logically she shouldn't care. It was his business. He knew she was there for him if he ever needed her. But logic, it seemed, did nothing to stop the ache in her chest, knowing that he had kept the secret from her, no matter his reasoning.
Quinn glanced at the elf, her lips quirked in an off-angled smile. Fenris was clearly a bundle of nerves next to her, the look like he was going to bolt crossing his face every few steps they took. To any other, his face would have been unreadable, a permanent scowl marring the otherwise handsome face but to her, it spoke volumes.
She could tell by how his brow was furrowed that he was anxious, rightly so seeing as he was about to approach a link to his past that otherwise would have remained a mystery. His moss green eyes were darting around before dropping to the ground, similar to a deer sensing he was cornered but unsure what to do about it. Even the way he walked clued her into how nervous he was about meeting his sister.
Brushing aside the fact all these conclusions were brought about by far too much study of the white-haired elf, Quinn nudged him lightly, an action that would have caused any other in their group to quite possibly lose their hearts with how tightly he was wound but she trusted him not to take hers. Some would call it foolish to court danger like that, Varric would call it romantic, Hawke wasn't certain what she would call it.
He tensed, hands twitching as though reach for his weapon. The elf looked sideways at her, hiding behind his hair defensively.
"It'll be all right." Quinn said softly so the others could not hear.
"And what if it's not—" Fenris barked far louder than he meant. His ears burned red, stopping mid-sentence as he glanced at Aveline and Anders who were walking (arguing) behind them. He shrunk slightly into himself as though to shield from an assault. "'All right?'" He repeated her words lowering his voice. "What then, Hawke?"
"Then we deal with it as it comes." She said practically. Knowing it would be of little comfort to him, she sighed, offering him a soft smile she hoped was comforting. "Worrying about what might be won't change anything, Fenris."
He eyed her, still half hidden behind his white hair.
"The only thing we can do is prepare for the worst and hope for the best." Quinn stated almost cheerily.
It was that attitude that had gotten her through most everything. The Maker still loved hitting her with some devastating blows: the deaths of her family, the battle with the Arishok, her heart skipped a beat and ached all at the same time, Fenris; but in the end there was nothing else to do but stand back up and continue going. The only other solution was to give up and Hawke was too stubborn—or too stupid—to do that.
Fenris' eyes sparkled for a moment, the corner of his mouth turning up ever so slightly in one of the half grins that made Quinn melt. "Your ability to approach life like that is enviable, Hawke."
Shrugging lightly, she winked. "That's why you all love me."
She blatantly ignored the way her heart tugged at her work; wishing, albeit for a brief moment, that the elf really did love her. Traitorously Quinn could have sworn she had seen a flash of longing in his eyes, as though he too wished that things were different between them. Shaking her head, trying to brush away any negative thoughts on Fenris' lack of feelings toward her, she changed the subject.
"Isabela and Varric are due back any day now." Hawke had forgotten where the two rogues had darted off to; she knew that Varric had told her when he left a few days back but honestly she hadn't really been listening. "Do you want to join us for drinks later if they make it back tonight?"
"We'll see." Fenris said though it sounded much more like he was teasing her if that look he was giving her was anything to go on.
Fighting the urge to stick out her tongue at him for his noncommittal response, Quinn walked the rest of the way to the Hanged Man in a comfortable silence with her elf—the elf, stupid brain.
Behind the two of them the two 'A' names of her group continued to bicker; Anders trying to convince Aveline that the guard should do something Meredith's iron grip on the Viscount seat. Anders rarely did anything but complain these days; she wouldn't even have asked him along if it hadn't been the concern that the whole thing was a set up. If Danarius had followed Fenris' sister into the city and was lying in wait they would need a healer and, for whatever else Anders was, the mage was an excellent healer.
Stealing a glance at Fenris she smirked, jerking her head slightly to the two behind them and rolling her emerald green eyes. She was rewarded with a smile brimming with laughter, her attempt to relieve his tension partially successful.
Coming to a stop outside the door to the Hanged Man the two finally stopped arguing, Anders huffily jutting out his jaw like a spoiled child denied his toy. Aveline frowned at the man before turning her attention the elf.
"Are you ready for this, Fenris?" the redheaded guard questioned.
Any hints of amusement that Quinn had managed to bring out faded as Fenris pressed his lips tightly together. "No." he said quietly.
A small thread of amazement pulsing through Quinn when he admitted it openly; thankfully Anders kept his mouth shut.
"But it must be done." Fenris said straightening.
He reached toward the door but then stalled, looking to Quinn in hesitation. She shot him an optimistic smile, hoping that today went well and Fenris would really find some of the answers he sought.
The Hanged Man seemed unusually dark compared to the bright sunny day they had just come from. As their eyes slowly adjusted, Quinn scanned the room. The place had a surprising amount of people in it for midday but they weren't the normal faces she knew and that put her on edge.
A group of five sat near the door, talking loudly and eating. Three were in the corner near one of the wood burning stoves and another group of three was at the hexagon table by the bar. Four people were at tables against the wall. Only one table held a lone person, an elf at that, causing the brown-haired rogue to make the elementary deduction that that occupant was they were looking for.
The elf was pretty if a little harsh looking, Quinn decided. Quinn was surprised to see the elf had red hair, less coppery than Aveline's but definitely of the same color range, and it was pulled into a sloppy bun atop her head. Somehow she couldn't picture Fenris with the same color hair. She had always imagined him with deep black hair.
"So," the woman said as they grew closer. "It really is you." Slowly she looked up, raking her eyes over them with an almost disappointed gaze.
Her eyes were the same jade green as Fenris' but they were filled with an emotion Quinn could not place; but something about it unnerved her.
"Varania?" Fenris stared at her as though the world was spinning around him. "I…" he hesitated. "I remember you. We played in our master's courtyard while mother worked. You called me…"
The woman shifted. "Leto." She supplied getting to her feet.
The feeling of dread Quinn had gotten when entering was growing.
"That's your name." Varania was now refusing to look at them.
"What's wrong?" the concern in Fenris' voice caused Quinn's heart to skip a beat, suddenly realizing why she was on edge. Everyone in the room had stopped talking. "Why are you—"
Quinn spotted movement at the stop of the stairs, a man dressed in ornate robes moving forward. "It's a trap!" she exclaimed going for her bow.
"Ah, my little Fenris," the man cooed coming down the stairs, four armed men following him. "Predictable as always."
A look of dawning horror played itself out on Fenris' face and she could see him pale, leaving no doubt in her mind who Varania had led here.
"I'm sorry it came to this, Leto." The red-haired elf said remorsefully.
Fenris looked at her sharply and took a menacing step toward her. "You led him here!"
"Now, now, Fenris. Don't blame your sister." The sickeningly sweet tone made Quinn want to vomit. "She did what any good Imperial citizen should," the man came to a stop next to Varania, a self-satisfied smirk on his lips.
"I never wanted these filthy markings, Danarius." Fenris spat. "But I won't let you kill me to get them!" he practically snarled.
Danarius laughed as though it was a joke. "Oh, how little you know, my pet."
Quinn did not miss the flinch that crossed Fenris' face at the nickname. Cold gray eyes flickered to her, moving unabashedly up and down her body as though undressing her.
"And this is your new mistress, then?" That disgusting smirk was directed at her now making her skin crawl. "My, my, the Champion of Kirkwall? Quite lovely,"
Her grip on her bow tightened and out of the corner of her eye she saw Fenris bristle and Anders take a step forward as though to stop the man from leering at her.
Danarius gave her a slow and leisurely smile, confident in his words. "Surely a woman such as yourself understands, I'm only collecting my property. No need there to be a fight between us."
"Fenris doesn't belong to anyone." She said, glaring at the man's audacity.
He smiled at her, eyebrows rising. "Do I detect a note of jealousy? It's not surprising," Danarius turned his gaze onto Fenris, the very action causing a flutter of fear to dance across the eyes she knew so well. "The lad is rather skilled, isn't he?"
A cold sinking feeling dropped in her stomach like a rock. Understanding crashed over her in waves, the missing puzzle piece she had somehow overlooked in her conversations with Fenris. The elf's defensiveness, his submission; Maker even his aversion to touch which had clearly stemmed beyond the uncomfortable feeling his markings made; he had sidestepped and unconsciously hinted about it for years but she had never seen. It had never even occurred to her.
The amount of rage that filled her at what Danarius had done to Fenris, what he had taken from him burned in her; making her thank the Maker, not for the first time, that she was not a mage or else Danarius and everyone else in the room would have been fried to a crisp.
Fenris' tattoos flared, the elf snarling like his namesake. "Shut your mouth, Danarius!"
Danarius let out a bored sigh. "The word is 'master'." He corrected motioning for the mercenaries around the room to move.
Hawke brought up her bow and let loose her first arrow before the magister could react, watching with pleasure as it embedded halfway through the foul man's shoulder causing him to stumble backwards.
"Funny," she restrung her bow, blowing a strand of brown hair out of her eyes. "I thought the word was: corpse."
All hell broke loose after that. The men strategically placed about the room got to their feet just as the four who had flanked Danarius charged. Aveline and Fenris leapt into the fray; Aveline bashing her shield into one of them, knocking him back into another. Fenris charged at Danarius only to be repelled by a magical shield the like of which Quinn had never seen. Most magical shields were varying shades of violet depending on the strength and what they repelled best, magic or melee; this shield was a pulsing red with streaks of purple that made the hair on her arm stand on end.
Dodging out of the charging blades, Quinn began to fire arrow after arrow in quick succession. Three men fell before they realized that she was just as skilled in the small space as she was in open ones. Two of the mercenaries came racing toward her, determination in their stride, intent on downing her.
Grinning, she swiftly ducked under the first swing, yanking the dagger that was at the bottom of her bow out and burying it hilt deep into the first man's gut. Summersaulting out of reach, she rolled onto her feet, oddly enjoying the look of surprise on the now bleeding man's face. Somehow, despite all her battles that look of shock that an archer managed to escape close combat never got old.
The second man seemed to try an alternate approach and swung low. She jumped over the blade and lashed out with the hand that still held her bow, smashing into the man's face and feeling the sickening crunch of his nose beneath her knuckles. He stumbled back, cursing as blood spurted out.
Pulling an arrow from her quiver, Quinn stabbed it into the man's throat. Ignoring the gurgling sound he made, she yanked it back and quickly shot it into the first man who had attacked her, who had finally gotten back up and was making to attack her again.
An unearthly wail echoed in the room and she had to muffle a gasp as a wraith exploded from the ground right next to her. Sweeping her dagger out, she swiftly sliced through the area of the thing's neck. It collapsed in a puff of black smoke.
Heart hammering, Quinn looked at the room, realizing that Danarius must have summoned creatures of the Fade because his men were failing. Jumping atop the nearest table, she sheathed her dagger. Shrieks and wraiths were annoying to take down but had no strategic ability whatsoever.
Drawing an arrow, she aimed and let it fly, rolling her eyes at the screeching sound the thing made. It wasn't as though the constructs could feel pain. Three arrows later along with help from Anders' blast of ice shards the shriek fell.
"Hawke!" Aveline's gruff cry caught her attention. "I need back up now!"
Leaping across to another table, Quinn knocked the abandoned plates and mugs off with a kick of her boot. Firing an arrow, she couldn't help but smile when it dropped one of the four creatures that had backed Aveline into a corner instantly. Four more arrows brought down the second and two managed to fell the third as Aveline took care of the final.
Tossing a health potion at Aveline, the brunette nodded at the look of thanks and turned back to the battle. Anders was blasting any wraith that dared come near him, a ring of dead bodies around the mage while Fenris was alternating between battling the conjurations and beating against the shield protecting Danarius.
Narrowing her eyes, Quinn aimed, noticing the tiniest flicker in the shield near the mage's left hand. Carefully lining the shot, she fired. The arrow flew through the air, narrowly missing Fenris who was shoved into its path by the three shrieks he was fighting.
Danarius let out a scream of fury, his red-violet shield dissipating as he looked at the arrow now protruding from his hand. Fenris spun around and immediately charged, ignoring the shrieks now clawing at his back.
She shot two more arrows off, one right after the other. They found their targets perfectly, the shrieks jerking backwards and looking for the culprit all while making that horrid noise. Reaching for another arrow, Quinn scowled; realizing the momentary lapse in Danarius shield had finished and the man was using the blood she had spilled to fuel an even stronger protection.
Two rage demons burst from the ground. Anders was hit from behind, the magma-like monster clawing its hand down the mage's back and setting fire to his robes. Letting loose an arrow, she quickly reloaded. The arrow hit the rage demon, sizzling and sinking in as it turned to ash but the distraction had been enough. Anders doused the flames and spun on his heel, throwing his hand forward and covering the rage demon in ice.
Looking back at Danarius, Quinn frowned, determined to get the man to drop that Maker-awful shield. She aimed her shot at the same pulsing point near his left hand.
Suddenly something wrapped around her ankle and gave a sharp yank.
She hit the table with a dull thud, her bow falling from her grip as her head bounced against the wood. Hawke could feel her forehead split open, blood immediately dripping down her cheek. The grasp on her ankle tugged her farther down the table. Gruffly someone flipped her over, her quiver digging painfully into her back.
"Get off of me!" she shouted at the man was who was attempting to pin her down.
Quinn brought her knee up, trying to hit him in the groin. He shifted easily, avoiding the blow and continuing to hold her down, his heavy muscles clearly winning over her willowy stature.
The man cackled at her attempt, kicking her legs apart, going for the dagger on his belt. Freeing one of her hands she reached up and clawed him down the face, desperate to distract him long enough to throw his weight off of her. Blood began pouring down his cheek, earning her a few curses that she didn't understand. The man backhanded her sharply across the face had enough to make her cheek smack the table, stunning her momentarily.
"I'm going to make you pay for that!"
He grabbed her flailing hand, narrowly avoiding being hit in the nose and slammed it against the edge of the table. A cry tore out of Quinn as she could feel the bones in her wrist snap, despite her bracer attempting to absorb the blow. Gritting her teeth she swung her free hand at him but he batted it away, hitting her broken arm against the edge again.
The man released that arm, satisfied she would not move it, and pulled his dagger from its sheath. He grinned at her manically. "Let's see what makes you scream, Dog-Lord."
Involuntarily Quinn cried out again. "NO!" she struggled against his strength as he pressed the dagger closer and closer to her neck.
Suddenly the man gurgled, his eyes widening and a look of shock on his face, blood bubbling up through is mouth. Quinn swallow hard, relief filling her when she saw Fenris behind him, hand halfway through the man's chest. Other than thanks for the rescue the only thing she could think was how damned fast could Fenris move? Last she had seen, the elf was on the other side of the room.
The now heartless (literally) man was pulled off of her and thrown to the floor. Quinn sat up, swinging her legs over the side of the table. Her head swam for her a moment, her uninjured hand unintentionally reaching out for Fenris. He steadied her, worry and anger filled moss-green eyes boring into her.
"I'm fine." She said reaching for a potion, nervously aware that it was the last health potion in the pouch.
He hesitated for a moment longer before giving her a curt nod, launching himself back into the battle. Drinking the potion in a single sip, Quinn got unsteadily to her feet, seeking her weapon as the red potion slowed the bleeding of the wound on her head, closing the large gash into a much smaller cut.
Quinn secured the bow on her back and picked up a sword. Using a sword in her off hand was something her father had taught her to do long ago but even so; it felt strange to do it without an accompanying blade in her other hand. Fighting her way across the room, she made it to Anders. The blonde looked at her for a brief moment before freezing the two charging wraiths.
Anders reached for her hand, the blue glow already around his fingers. He just managed to heal the bones in her wrist when the buzz of magic around him stopped and he slumped over, blood coming from a wound on the back of his head. Quinn started to swing the sword but was hit with a stone-fist across the face hard enough to fall to the floor.
Two rough hands tried to grab hold of her but she kicked out with her foot, catching whoever it was in the gut and forcing them to stumble back. Tightening her hand around the hilt of her stolen blade, Quinn lashed out, horror filling her as she realized at the last moment that the person who had attacked her and Anders was Varania.
As a magical shield sprung into life, the elf's green eyes looked at her with a hate that made Quinn shiver; eyes that were so similar to Fenris' looking at her like that was almost nauseating.
Using the wall to support herself as she got to her feet, Quinn held the sword out, pointing it at the woman. "I should kill you for what you did to him."
"You'd never understand." Varania responded, ice forming a spike at her fingertips.
Batting the thrown shard away, the sound of it shattering on the ground rang over them. "No." Quinn spat. "You're right, I would never understand." She shook her head. "That man would have done anything for you." Something flickered across Varania's gaze that, if Quinn hadn't known Fenris as well as she did, the rogue would have missed it and all that it implied. "But you already know that, don't you?"
Varania's fireball hit the wall behind Quinn, scorching the wood and narrowly missing the brunette who flung herself out of the way.
"I don't know much about Tevinter," Quinn stated, flexing her grip on the sword. "But it seems odd to me that one member of the family is a slave," She flicked her eyes to Fenris who was near the door with Aveline, fighting a few wraiths and a rage demon. "While the other," Her attention focused back on the red-haired elf in front of her. "Is not."
In response Varania tried to hit her with a bolt of purple-white lightning. Spinning away from it, Quinn darted across the space between them, stepping over Anders prone body and shoving the startled elf against the pillar behind her.
Quinn scowled staring at her. "What did your freedom cost, Varania?" she demanded, the sinking suspicion that filled her when she learned of the elf's freedom burning hot. Pinning the redhead against the pillar with her arm across the elf's throat, Quinn's hand clenched around the sword, wanting desperately to be wrong about what she suspected. "How is it that you are free and he was not?"
Varania struggled. "You think Leto the victim in this? He fought for those markings, spent a week battling in an arena for the privilege." Quinn swallowed the bile rising in her throat at how Varania had said 'privilege' as though she really believed it. "And when he won, he was granted a boon."
"Which he used to free you?" Quinn's tone was hard. "And this is how you repay him? By leading the very man who Fenris has spent nearly a decade trying to stay away from right to him?"
"Freedom was no boon in Tevinter." Varania bemoaned. "I look now and think Leto got the better end of the bargain."
"Better to struggle in freedom than to have all your choice taken from you." Quinn snarled dropping the sword and swinging out with her fist, releasing the elf so she had the satisfaction of watching her stumble with the blow. She connected with Varania's jaw, splitting the woman's lip open. "If it were up to me, I'd kill you where you stood for betraying him." Quinn landed another blow. "But for now as Fenris' sister, I'll leave that decision up to him." Her knuckles grazed the woman's chin again. "In the meantime, I think I'll settle on beating the crap out of you."
Varania scrambled backwards, realizing very quickly that her magic was doing little to hinder Hawke's approach. The rogue seemed to be an expert at dancing out of the path of every damned attack just in the nick of time. Varania reached up, pressing her fingers in the blood coming from her lip.
Quinn's brow furrowed, watching the elf rub the scarlet liquid between her fingers and suddenly she felt a change in the air. "Fuck!" the brunette cursed.
Falling to her knees, Quinn tried to stop the world from spinning, her energy sapping from her limbs. Dizzy she realized she was shaking. Varania moved closer, Quinn could see the elf's feet enter her view. Fumbling for the dagger on her belt, she wondered how, in all the time she had been battling blood mages; she could have avoided being hit directly from one of their Maker-awful draining spells.
Varania kicked the dagger out of Quinn's hand, clawing her fist a little more, increasing the drain on the rogue. Quinn collapsed to the ground, feeling as though she had just hiked a hundred miles through the Deep Roads and fought the damned Archdemon all while suffering from the plague. Her ever-growing-heavy eyes flickered toward the battle, seeking one last glance at Fenris.
Then, her world went black.
Across the room the two warriors continued to cut a swath through the risen enemies, oblivious of what had just occurred. Aveline rammed her shield out, shoving three risen corpses against the wall, causing one to fall to pieces. Fenris spun his blade around, lashing out at the six conjurations that were advancing on him, slicing them all cleanly in half.
Turning, Aveline scanned the room as Fenris ghosted toward the remaining wraiths. "The moody mage is down!" she shouted causing Fenris to glance at her, wondering why she told him; he cared little for the abomination. "And I don't see Hawke!"
Something unreadable flickered across the elf's face. Determination filled him, and as he cut through the charging enemies. Scooting around one of the many fallen bodies, Fenris tried to get a better view of the room, searching for the woman they all followed.
True to Aveline's word the abomination was collapsed by the bar, the blonde mage surrounded by a semi-circle of dead mercenaries and corpses. Fenris blocked an incoming attack and shoved the fiend back, trying to make his way toward the mage, knowing that was the last spot he remembered seeing Hawke.
His heart stilled when he saw a familiar looking quiver and broken bow near the unconscious man.
Rearing back, Fenris decapitated one of the walking corpses and made a shriek disappear in a puff of black smoke. "Hawke!" he shouted, desperate to find her.
"LETO!" the name was shouted startling him, not because he held any recognition to being called it but because it was quite an odd thing to shout in the middle of a battle. Looking behind him sharply, Fenris felt his blood run cold.
In the area near the stairs where Danarius had remained for most of the battle, stood his sister…and Hawke.
His eyes widened in horror when he saw Hawke on her knees, a golden cage around her. Blood was dripping down the cut on her forehead and he could see Hawke shaking. Two light green eyes that often made his heart beat faster looked up, pain and fear in them, they flickered to Varania, who Fenris realized in horror was holding the spell.
"Let her go!" Fenris snarled stalking forward, batting a charging corpse away without an effort.
Varania paled at his approach, taking a step back but didn't obey. She glanced toward Danarius who had finally noticed what the redheaded elf had done. Fenris clenched his hand on his blade, leaping over a dead body, now feet from his target. Suddenly the shield that Danarius had been using to protect himself shifted into a wall between the three of them, pushing Fenris several paces back.
Fenris growled swinging his sword against the shield, his hate and fear growing when his greatsword merely bounced off it. Using the full force of his strength, he swung again and then and again, each blow reverberating up his arms but doing little to the force field keeping him from her.
Giving up, he dropped his blade, attacking the shield with his fists, looking at Hawke's fear-filled gaze with one of his own. Fenris let out a string of curse words and tried to phase through the shield. Agonizing pain shot through his hand in response causing his lyrium markings to burn. Smashing his fist on the shield, his heart pounded.
"What is this?" Danarius' cool voice caused the rage in Fenris to boil.
He slammed into the barrier again, trying to get through, helplessly trying to stop the mage's approach to Hawke. The idea of Danarius near her angered him more than anything he had ever felt before.
"My, my, my," With a wave of his hand, the conjurations around the room stilled, startling Aveline at the lack of resistance. "What an interesting development,"
"Let her go!" Fenris hit the wall again, not even noticing the burning sensation the blood-magic shield caused anymore.
Danarius sneered at him, that vile glint in his cold gray eyes was one Fenris knew all too well. "'Let her go'?" he repeated glancing at Hawke as the brunette got to her feet, her hand on her bleeding head. Even from this distance Fenris could see that Hawke was shaking. "And why should I 'let her go'?"
Hawke took a step forward, making to attack the man. Her mouth opened, ready to bite back one of her ever-so witty retorts when instead she cried out, the glowing cage closing in on her for a brief second. The sound of pain she made wrenched through Fenris.
With renewed fervor he attacked the shield. "STOP!" he growled, desperate to get through, to make them pay for hurting Hawke.
Just as suddenly as they appeared, her screams stopped. The rogue was wavering where she stood, the cage no longer pressing in around her. Danarius watched the whole exchange with a knowing smirk spreading across his lips.
"Perhaps I was mistaken," the mage mused aloud, turning his attention to Hawke who glared at him murderously. "Perhaps it's not you who desire him," The gray eyes that haunted Fenris' nightmares flicked to the white-haired elf. "Perhaps it is him, who desires you?"
Hawke spit in his face. "Go to hell."
Danarius' temper flared, the telltale signs Fenris recognized so well appearing. The man wiped the spittle off his cheek. Danarius snapped his fingers and around Hawke the cage began to close in again, bringing forth those awful cries that chilled Fenris to the bone.
"Stop it!" Fenris frantically tried to get through. "STOP!"
Hawke's fists were clenched at her side, her bloody knuckles turning white as she screamed. Fenris slammed his hand onto the shield, beating against it again and again, desperate to stop her pain.
"You will not leave this city, Danarius." The Guard-Captain said determinedly as she came up behind Fenris.
How the redhead managed to keep her cool while Hawke was being tortured Fenris didn't know but her words did the trick. Danarius nodded at Varania who stopped the spell, the cage walls jerking back out. Hawke fell to her knees, gasping. She looked up, tears shining in her eyes but she tried to smile, to comfort him.
"Will I not?" Danarius asked mockingly.
Aveline stood her ground. "Threatening Hawke will not improve your chances."
Danarius threw his head back and laughed. "Really?" he clenched his bleeding hand.
"Aveline, look out!" Hawke shouted trying to move forward but recoiling when she was burned again.
Fenris dodged to the side as the walking corpse hit Aveline across the head, causing the woman to black out. He readied to attack but the corpse had collapsed on itself, the job it was summoned for done.
"There, just the four of us now." Danarius seemed inordinately pleased with himself.
"You think you've won?" Hawke demanded getting to her feet again, a strength that Fenris had always admired about her showing. "You have no idea who you're dealing with. Aveline is right; you'll never leave this city in anything but a box."
"Do you?" Danarius' words caused Fenris to shudder. He remembered that tone; Danarius always used it when he was leading someone into a trap. "Do you know who you're dealing with?"
Hawke shot him a cheeky grin. "A man who will have his heart outside his chest before the day is out."
Danarius stared at her for a moment, gray eyes raking over Hawke as though he could somehow see into her. The mage nodded at Varania and the golden cage surrounding Hawke dropped.
Instantly the rogue reacted, a dagger appearing out of nowhere in her hand and heading in Danarius' direction. Laughing as though it was some grand joke, he caught her by the wrist and throat. He wrenched the blade out of her hand, tossing it aside.
Fenris began to hit the shield again when Danarius shoved Hawke against the wall, his hand wrapped around her throat and her feet barely touching the ground. She tugged at the fingers slowly tightening around her neck, trying to break free.
"Do you know what my pet has done, Champion?" Danarius asked in a sickeningly sweet tone, watching the rogue for a reaction.
Fenris snarled, desperation to get through the shield burning in him again.
"Do you know who he has killed in my name?"
"Those deaths are on you, Danarius." Hawke said, a gasp escaping her when the grip on her throat constricted. "You can't mar him with your foulness."
Danarius chortled at her words. "You have nerve, Champion. I like that." He leered earning him a look of disgust from Hawke's ever reddening face. "I like a little fight in people, just ask Fenris."
"Let me go and let's see how much you like my fight." She said, landing a grazing kick in his gut.
The heavy presence of magic pressed off from Danarius and he squeezed, cutting off her air. "I am not a fool, Champion." He sneered. Hawke began to frantically claw at the mage's hand, fighting to breathe.
"Stop!" Fenris howled, terrified that Hawke was going to die before his eyes. "Let her go!" he hated the begging sound in his voice.
"Ah-ah-ah, giving orders is my job, my pet." Danarius simpered.
The nickname caused Fenris to flinch, forcing back the horrid memories. To Fenris' relief, Danarius let Hawke drop. Hawke fell to her knees, her dark brown hair falling over her face. One of her blood-stained hands was holding her throat as she gasped for air as though it would somehow help her breathe; while the other shook, trying to support her.
Before she could even think of reacting to her temporary freedom, Danarius grabbed her by her hair, forcing her to her feet. His other hand wrapped around her throat again, holding her in place as he dragged her toward the shield that separated Fenris from her
Hawke fought, trying free herself from Danarius' hold but her struggle only caused him to yank her head back, eliciting a gasp from her. Fenris let out a noise sounding like a growl, fear throbbing in him. The elf slammed his hand against the shield, feeling it vibrate under his palm. Despite himself, he stilled when she looked at him, a world of emotion in the green eyes that he lived to see shine.
"What a touching moment," Danarius sneered.
Fenris shifted his gaze to the man.
"I'm still waiting for an answer, Champion."
Fenris clawed the shield as the mage leaned in closer to Hawke, talking in her ear like a lover might.
"Do you know what sort of person you're protecting?"
She tried to move away from him but he held her tight. Breathing heavily, Hawke focused on Fenris as though he were the only thing in the room, steadfastly refusing to play Danarius' game.
"Did you know that he was eager to serve?" Danarius was now watching Fenris as well, searching for a reaction. "Did you know that he begged to stay by my side? That he obeyed whatever order I gave to him without question."
Hawke squirmed, one of her hands holding the nape of her neck in the attempt to lessen the pain of his hold on her hair. Her other hand tugged at the grip on her throat.
"Including kill his own father?"
Fenris bowed his head, not wanting to see her reaction to the truth. He had not known who the man was; the elf who had displeased Danarius so much that day. Hadriana had gleefully informed him when she visited him that night. It had been the first kill Fenris ever had that pushed a thread of guilt through the warrior, the first kill to plant a seed of doubt about his service to Danarius.
"Do you know how he warmed my bed at night, Champion?" Danarius asked quietly.
The elf recoiled, humiliation replacing his anger for a second. Danarius' lips brushed her ear as he spoke but Fenris felt his heart still; knowing what the mage was intent on revealing. He wanted to shout, to do anything to stop Hawke from finding out but there was nothing he could do.
"Do you know how I made him scream for me?"
Hawke had stilled in her struggles, her green eyes flickered to Fenris and then dropped to the ground. Her breaths grew sharper, her gaze somewhere around Fenris' feet.
Danarius grinned manically next to her, watching the look of shame on Fenris' face as though it brought him some sort of revolting type of pleasure. It likely did. "He did whatever I asked of him."
How disgusted she must be, Fenris thought clenched his hands into fists.
"So tell me, Champion, do you really know who you're defending?"
Fenris' heart hammered in his chest, waiting for her to reject him, to declare her repulsion for what he had done.
"I know exactly who I am defending." Hawke's words were filled with unwavering pride and strength. "I am defending a man who fought against your evil."
Peering up at her through his white hair, he was shocked that instead of revulsion on her face, there was something else. It wasn't an emotion he knew how to name; only that it was the same look she always got when gazing at him; the same look Anders gave Hawke in the beginning; the same look Donnic gave Aveline. The look always caused his heart to quicken, though he never understood why.
"Fenris is not tainted by what you did to him." She said firmly. "You did not break him. In spite of you, he has grown stronger." Hawke continued. "And nothing you tell me will ever change the fact that you are the monster here, Danarius. Not him."
Hope surged in Fenris like nothing ever had before. After how he had treated her three years ago, he had assumed she would never speak to him again. When she showed up the following week, Hawke had acted like nothing ever happened and Fenris had been relieved and disappointed.
Part of him had longed for her. She haunted his mind every day and every night for the past three years. Yearning for those moments when she thought no one was watching and would look at him with that nameless emotion.
When Danarius had shared with her what Fenris had done he had resigned himself never to see that look on her face again; that the nameless emotion would be replaced with the same bitter loathing he felt toward himself.
But he was wrong.
Her emerald eyes were shining at him, glittering with it.
Reality came crashing down on Fenris a moment later when he realized that Danarius was laughing. "What loyalty you inspire, my pet." The mage mocked. "I wonder exactly what it would take to turn that dedication to me." He pulled her head back, forcing her to look at him, his hold on her neck tightening. "What would it take for the Champion of Kirkwall to give me that same allegiance you give Fenris?"
"That is something a foul pig like you would never understand." Hawke declared valiantly.
Fenris' blood ran cold when he saw the mage's fingers dig into her slender neck, forcing her to gasp for air. "Let her go, Danarius." The rough threat in Fenris' voice which usually brought forth fear seemed to only amuse the mage.
"Why would I do that?" Danarius mused pulling Hawke closer to him. She gasped at the sudden movement, her hand clutching the nape of her neck to lessen the pain. Fenris growled, hitting the shield again. "I'm just getting to know the Champion, Fenris." His other hand ran down her arm, caressing her.
Hawke tried to squirm away, nausea at the touch on her face.
"Have you?" Danarius was resting his cheek on hers.
Fenris clawed on the protection, the fury at seeing him touch Hawke burned in him, something he couldn't name driving it.
"Have you been with her?"
Fenris didn't respond but that was enough.
Danarius threw his head back and laughed. "Would I like her?"
A flicker of fear crossed Fenris' face, recoiling at the question. He was unaware that he was breathing heavily trying to will Danarius to die.
"Come now, pet," Danarius ran his hand down the side of Hawke's body. She tried to bat his hand away but he gave a sharp tug on her hair. "You know what I like."
Fenris scowled as the man rested his hand on Hawke's hip.
Danarius grinned at his reaction. "Would she scream for me?" his lips were brushing her ear again. The mage started to move his hand back up, sliding slowly over her leather vest heading for her breast.
Rage exploded in the elf and he pounded on the shield violently. "Don't touch her!"
Danarius' gray eyes flared dangerously. "I'll do so much more than touch her, Fenris."
Fenris slammed his hand into the shield, pain radiating up his arm.
The mage drew a dagger and slid it under Hawke's throat, pulling her back. Instinctively Hawke's hands tugged on the man's arm, trying to pull the weapon away from her. Fear sparked in her eyes as the dagger pressed harder against the pale skin of her neck.
"NO!" Fenris exclaimed.
"I'll make you a deal, Fenris." Any amusement Danarius had been getting at the situation seemed to have faded. "I'll leave your Champion alone,"
Fenris growled at him.
His moss-green eyes narrowed at the man.
"If," Danarius smirked. "You come with me without a fight."
Swallowing hard, Fenris' gaze darted between Danarius and Hawke.
Hawke's eyes widened when she realized Fenris was considering it. "No!" she struggled but quickly stilled when a thin line of red appeared on her neck. "Don't, Fenris!" she begged. "Don't do it." Her fervent shout was cut off when Danarius spun her around, backhanding her across the face.
Fenris twitched as she collapsed to the ground with the blow. He hopelessly smacked the shield, watching as Danarius dragged Hawke to her knees, using her hair to pull her head up again. The dagger was back on her throat.
"Silence!" Danarius demanded.
"No!" Hawke gasped, the blade digging into her throat for a moment. "It doesn't matter what you do to me, you're never walking out of this city with him, Danarius."
"Is that so?" Danarius sneered looking at Fenris. "Does she speak the truth, my pet?"
"Nothing I could do to the Champion would have any effect on you?" He asked with a knowing smile. "Perhaps you're simply not thinking hard enough." Danarius retorted. "I wager that I could do many things to you that would bother my pet greatly."
"Screw you." She snapped.
Danarius tugged on her brown locks, forcing her to gasp with the sudden jerk but didn't respond. A dangerous spark entered his eyes. "Perhaps I should simply make a trade."
Fenris blinked, not understanding.
"I'll give you your freedom, my pet." Danarius announced slyly
He stared at the man, waiting for the other shoe to drop.
"In exchange for her."
Fenris recoiled. "No!" he immediately shouted.
Danarius smirked. "How marvelous would it be to return home with the Champion of Kirkwall in chains instead?" The mage pretended to be lost in thought. "She would have to be broken of course." He said the words as though the idea meant nothing. "The trip back home might suffice for it."
Fear clenched in Fenris' gut as he bowed his head, hiding behind a curtain of white hair. "No." he whispered. He couldn't let that happen, he couldn't let Hawke experience the horrors he did.
"No?" Danarius questioned, pretending to be confused. "You think it would take longer to break her?"
Fenris looked up sharply, hate blazing in his eyes.
"I suppose without Hadriana's help I would have to be more," Danarius paused. "Hands on with her, but I'm sure I won't mind." He assessed Hawke's body as though she was a prize cut of meat.
Fenris jerked. "NO!" he shouted panicked. The idea of Danarius doing to her what the mage had done to him, no he couldn't let that happen.
The mage continued as though he hadn't heard. "It will insure she is properly broken. After all," Danarius said, his smile disappearing. "I must learn from the mistakes I made with you."
"No!" the word strangled from him again.
"What was that?"
Fenris swallowed hard and then dropped his gaze to the floor. "No." he repeated softly. "I will go with you."
"Fenris, don't!" Hawke cried out, her pleas stopped at the sharp tug on her brown hair.
Looking at her, Fenris felt his heart ache. Tears were burning in her eyes as she looked at him, pleading silently for him to recant. Fenris turned his gaze away, unable to handle the emotion that she brought about in him.
"You will go without a fight?" Danarius demanded.
"Yes." Fenris felt everything inside him shatter.
"Fenris—" she objected, falling silent at the pressure of the knife on her throat.
He steeled his heart. If it meant she would live, he would give up everything for her. "I will go with you. Just, let her go."
A movement caught his attention and Fenris' heart leapt to his throat, words of protest and warning refusing to come out. Hawke flicked her wrist and knife slid into her hand. Fear pounded in his veins, his hand pressing against the shield, trying to tell her not to, desperate to make her stop. Danarius would kill her, deal or no if she attacked him.
A single tear ran down her cheek. "I love you, Fenris." She whispered causing his blood to run hot and then cold.
Suddenly she twisted, burying the dagger into Danarius' gut up to the hilt. The blade against her throat cut into her before Danarius staggered back, hands going to his stomach. In front of him, the red-violet shield flickered and then disappeared.
Fenris threw himself across the line that had separated them, forgoing his greatsword. Across the space in seconds, he wrapped his hand around Danarius' throat; using the strength that lyrium in his veins gave him to lift the larger man into the air.
"You are no longer my master!" Fenris snarled digging his gauntlets into the man's neck and ripping his throat out.
Dropping him to the side, Fenris turned to Varania, who was cowering back. "I had no choice, Leto!" she tried.
"Stop calling me that!" He shouted advancing toward her.
"He would have made me a magister!" Varania tried to explain. Any attachment he might have felt toward her dissipated when she spoke those words. "You have no idea what I've had to do since mother died. This was my only chance."
Fenris glared. "And now you have no chance at all!"
Thrusting his hand forward, her grunting cry of pain washed over him. Tearing her heart out did not give him the satisfaction he had hoped. Tossing the organ aside, he watched with hate and anguish as the red-haired link to his past fell dead at his feet.
Terror suddenly pulsed through him as he turned, remembering the rogue who made every day worth living. Hawke was on the floor, her hand clutching her throat, blood spilling out between her fingers.
Fenris skidded to his knees beside Hawke, yanking off his gauntlets and adding pressure to her wound. He searched the pouch attached to her belt that she kept her potions in, growling when he only found a few vials with the yellow liquid identifying it as stamina not a health potion in it. His eyes shot to the abomination, fear surging when he realized the mage was still unconscious. Looking back at her, his stomach dropped.
She had attacked Danarius knowing that she might not survive.
"Why did you do that?" Fenris demanded roughly, turning to the dead bodies near them in search of a health potion. "Why?"
Hawke grimaced, trying to shift, her back leaning against a pillar. "I couldn't let you go with him." She said trembling as more blood fell from her neck.
Fenris let out a few choice curse words in Arcanum. Scrambling toward Danarius' dead body, the elf yanked the medicinal pouch off. He dumped the contents on the floor near Hawke, one of his hands automatically going back to help apply pressure. Capturing a vial of red potion, he bit on the cork and pulled it out, spitting it aside.
Smelling the potion to insure it was what he was looking for; Fenris felt relief flood him as the scent of elfroot wafted up. Hawke's breathing was growing heavy and farther apart. "Don't you die on me, Hawke." He snarled, gathering the rogue in his arms. Brushing the long strands of brown hair wet with blood off her face, he pressed the vial to her lips. "Drink." He ordered.
Of all things she smiled at him, swallowing the potion. Her body racked with coughs as she partially choked on the liquid. Fenris' grip tightened on her when she leaned back, relaxing in his arms. He pulled her hand away from her neck, checking on the wound. It had shrunk in size until it was nothing more than a small gash.
Fenris cursed looking at her, his heart still hammering from nearly losing her. "You could have been killed."
"I'm glad you're safe." She deflected.
"Festis bei umo canavarum." Fenris growled, letting her go and getting to his feet as though the emotion squeezing in his chest could disappear just by moving away from her. "Why, Hawke?" He asked looking at her. "Why did you do it?"
Hawke hesitated, slowly getting to her feet, using the pillar to support her. "I couldn't stand the thought of you losing everything you've fought so hard to get." She bowed her head, something he couldn't place flickering across her face. "Not for me."
"So you thought killing yourself was the only option?" Fenris exclaimed frantically.
Tears burned in her eyes as she looked up at him. "I couldn't let him take you! Not because of me!"
"It was my choice to make!" He wasn't entirely sure why he was arguing with her about it; he hadn't wanted to give up but at the same time Fenris was still terrified at how he almost lost her forever.
Hawke shook, a tear escaping and running down her cheek. "I know you don't feel anything for me, Fenris but that doesn't stop what I feel for you."
Fenris recoiled at the words, realizing for the first time that she had thought he didn't care; she had believed that he felt nothing for her as though seeing her everyday and nothing having her didn't torture him.
"And I couldn't let him take you knowing that it was because of me. I couldn't let you sacrifice your freedom for me." She finished, oblivious to his racing thoughts.
"Don't feel anything for you?" Fenris repeated, adrenaline pumping in his veins. "Hawke, I ended it with you because I thought it would be better if you hated me—I deserved no less. But it wasn't better. I have thought of your touch every day and every night since." He moved toward her, taking in the stunned look on her face. "If I could go back, I would stay and tell you how I felt."
She opened her mouth to speak but failed. Licking her lips, she tried again. "What," Her voice cracked. "What would you have said?"
"Nothing could be worse than the thought of living without you," Fenris whispered, sliding his hand along the nape of her neck and pressing his lips against hers.
In less than a second she responded, her hands coming up and wrapping around him, the passion she had unveiled their first night together pouring out as though a dam had broken. All at once Fenris felt as though he was flying, his world exploding in a pulse of color and hope as she kissed him back.
"Andraste's tits, Hawke. We leave you alone for three days and you turn the Hanged Man into a slaughter house?" Varric's voice from the doorway caused the two of them to pull apart, looking at the sudden appearance of the dwarf. Varric's brow furrowed, amber eyes studying the position Fenris still held Hawke in. "Wait, were you and the elf kissing?"
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