I Am Yours (Rewrite)
"Cause your presence still lingers here,
And it won't leave me alone.
These wounds won't seem to heal,
This pain is just too real,
There's just too much that time cannot erase."
"So you're just going to sit around waiting for him?" Anders snapped, his temper flaring not for the first time since he had brought up the subject of her night with the one person the mage might hate as much as he hated Meredith.
Bowing her head to hide the flash of pain the shot across her pale face, Laela Hawke hid behind the strands of long red hair that she had forgot to secure when she left on the 'short walk' Anders had talked her into that afternoon.
Ever since word of her night with Fenris had reached the blond mage she had known this conversation was coming, it was as inevitable as the tide, perhaps because Anders was as chaotic as the churning waters they were currently near.
"You say that like I'm sitting at home wasting away to nothing." She retorted, side stepping his question.
Anders scowled. "No one saw you for a week, Hawke."
Laela frowned, not wanting to remember how shamefully she had acted the first day after Fenris had broken her heart by leaving her bed. For twenty-four hours she had gotten smashed, drinking any ounce of alcohol she could find as though she could drown the ache in her chest with booze. It had been somewhere around her third bottle of whiskey that the call of the Fade had seeped into the real world and she wasn't certain if the creature in front of her was her mabari or a demon.
If it hadn't been for Bodahn and Sandal finding her in a puddle of alcohol in the cellar she was certain she would have made a stupid mistake while intoxicated that would have cost her, her life or at the very least her soul. It had taken her two days to recover from that binge, making time to see only Varric and Aveline.
"I didn't see you for a month once." Laela almost winced at her lame retort.
Anders touched her arm, stalling their steps and causing her to look back at him, her gray eyes meeting his amber. "Why?" he demanded before his softening his tone. "Why wait for someone who will never understand you? Never respect your gifts?"
"It's not that simple." She said softly.
"It is." Anders insisted. "He was an idiot to leave you."
She looked away from him, refusing to let him see the way his words made her flinch. "He didn't leave me." The redhead lied, knowing that she wasn't convincing anyone, least of all him.
Fenris had his own reasons for running that night; ones she had yet to share with anyone. As far as Laela continued to insist, the two of them had parted amicably. Not that anyone believed it; the first time the two of them had been on a mission together after that night had been met with tense silences and a horrible dance of avoiding looking at the other. No matter how she tried to insist that Fenris was not at fault for the strain of their relationship (or lack thereof) everyone in their group suspected their own version of the truth.
"Bull." Anders' grip on her arm tightened. "Look me in the eye and say that again." Silence followed his demand. "He will never love you. Not like I can,"
Her head shot up, eyes wide.
"Is it so hard to believe? I love you, Hawke." His hand reached up and touched her face, barely seeing her recoil slightly. "I love you." He repeated as though it would somehow prove something to her.
"Anders," her voice cracked.
Suddenly he was kissing her, his lips slamming against hers with a thirst she had not experienced since the night with Fenris. But it was wrong. Unlike with Fenris where everything had been a burst of heat and emotion, all Laela felt with Anders was the mechanics, the sensation of nerves, lips touching lips. The void in her heart left by Fenris remained empty.
Her hands pressed against his chest, trying to push him away from her but he didn't seem to understand her intent as it only seemed to make him deepen the kiss, pushing his body against her until she was trapped between him and the rock wall. Turning her head away she managed to break the kiss but Anders barely seemed to notice her discomfort, lust still shining brightly in his amber eyes.
"Be with me," he begged, still holding her in his arms, unaware that he had her cornered. "I'll care for you like that mage-hater could never do. We could be happy together." Anders smiled at her in a way that made her skin crawl. It was nothing like the tentatively intense looks Fenris had given her that reduced her to jelly. "Love me,"
Slowly she shook her head, swallowing the lump in her throat. "I can't." His grip on her arm started to tighten. "I can't give you my heart when it already belongs to another." Laela tried to scoot away from him.
"He hates you!" Anders exploded, grabbing her by the biceps and starting to shake her as though it would emphasize his point. "You are a mage, Hawke! He'd sooner kill all of us than let one mage even entertain the idea they were free!"
"That's not—" she started to object but he didn't seem to hear her.
"How can you care for that monster?" Cracks of vivid blue began appearing along Anders' face. "He's practically appointed himself your Templar!" Laela bit back a gasp of pain as his fingers dug into her skin. "How can you care for him, Hawke?" Anders' voice began to change. He treated you like a whore!" She tried to break free but only succeeded in him holding on tighter. "How can you love him? He's already broken your heart once, are you waiting for him to rip it from your chest next time?"
"You're hurting me!"
Just as abruptly as the color had come, it vanished, leaving a dark look on Anders' face. The blond took a step back, releasing her but not moving enough to let her pass. "He'll kill you, Hawke." Anders said quietly. "That wild dog you've taken to your bed will kill you and every other mage with you one day."
"Don't call him that!" Laela snapped angrily. "You don't know anything about him, Anders. What gives you the right to judge him?"
Anders' amber eyes flashed blue for a moment. "What gives him the right to condemn us for existing?"
"If he had his way every mage would be locked in the Tower, guarded or made Tranquil. Every word out of his mouth is one long rant against magic, Hawke." Anders cut her off. "'What does magic touch that it doesn't spoil?'"
Laela flinched, looking away from him, unable to deny the pain she felt at hearing the blond repeat Fenris' words. "Look at his life, Anders. Do you really blame him for hating the thing that has been instrumental in his torture for his entire life? He hates magic for what was done to him the way you hate Templars. You both try to see this world in black and white, good and bad but the world isn't like that."
Anders shook his head. "You're a fool if you believe there's good in him, Hawke. Why can't you see that?" his voice was strained and a look of pure longing flashed across his face before he turned on his heel and half stormed off in the direction of Kirkwall, leaving her alone in the little alcove of the Wounded Coast.
Staring after him, Laela tried to stem the ache in her chest. Slowly she began to walk, choosing a direction at random; she was halfway down the coast before she realized that she couldn't out run her pain. Collapsing onto a rock that jutted out over the water, the tears she had been holding in began to fall; tears for her heartache, tears for Anders' proclamation of love and her inability to reciprocate, tears for the understanding that had fallen in love with a man who hated what she was.
It wasn't right.
Her mother always told her the heart loved whom it wanted and the person rarely had control over it. Laela had never truly believed her, like everything else in life, she wanted to believe that everyone had a choice.
Now she knew there were some things that were senseless.
She was in love with a man who abandoned her bed and chose to torture her by remaining at her side; a man who wore the crest of her family name on his belt but turned cold in his interaction with her. How could the wounds of her heart heal when he haunted her every step, her every thought? How was time to erase him from her mind when everything reminded her of him?
For years she had argued that Fenris was more than what was done to him; defended him to nearly everyone in her group; had fought with her mother about her association with the elf. For years she had stood alongside Fenris, trying to help him learn what it meant to be free and for one brief moment they had had it all.
That night, after Hadriana, what had been done to him hadn't mattered; all that had mattered was each other. Only everything had crashed and burned, his memories came flooding back only to leave which caused Fenris to panic and flee, leaving Laela alone and realizing that her friends had been right all along, Fenris had broken her heart.
Hugging her knees tightly to her chest, she absently rubbed the spots on her arm that she was certain Anders had bruised with his grip. Laela didn't have the luxury to mourn her heartache; she didn't have the time to let her feelings get in the way of what was needed. Between the Arishok, who had taken a liking to her for reasons that escaped her, the Viscount who seemed to think she was now his personal valet for the Qunari, and any one of a dozen things in the city that seemed to demand her attention, she couldn't let herself be seen as a simpering woman desolate after she was abandoned like a whore in the night.
A shiver ran through her spine as she thought. Was Anders right though? Fenris actively opposed any and all things that worked toward mage freedom. Granted Laela could understand why, the apostates they had seen around the city had been some of the worst examples she had seen—hell the mages in her group of friends were hardly beacons.
She knew at some point the tension in the city would come to a tipping point, whether because of the Qunari or because of Meredith, either way, Laela wasn't certain if Fenris would stand by her side if she chose to defend mages. The redhead knew without a doubt that she could not bring herself to kill Fenris, no matter if they were on opposite sides of the battlefield. But could he kill her?
Closing her eyes, she bit her lip, trying to get her emotions under control. She loved him, despite how he had hurt her. But he didn't love her, did he?
"Hawke?" a confused vibrato came from the path behind her.
Laela stilled. She knew that voice.
"What are you doing here alone?" Fenris' feet crunched on the loose ground as he came toward her. All she could do was tighten her arms around her knees, unable even to wipe the remnants of tears off her face. He was kneeling next to her. "It is not safe to be alone out here."
"You are," she whispered softly.
He regarded her with surprise. "Are you well?" the concern in his voice caused something to twist painfully in her. When she didn't answer, Fenris seemed to feel the need to elaborate. "You were crying."
Laela looked at him, or tried to. The moment she met his soulful green eyes, a stab of pain tore through her heart and she dropped her gaze. Her eyes found the Amell crest still affixed to his belt. Why did he wear it? Why when he left her?
"Hawke?" he called her name again.
Swallowing hard, she shook her head, turning back to the view of the water. "Is there something you needed?"
"I—no." Fenris was caught off guard. "I had come to escort a merchant to a caravan; I was on my way back to the city." She didn't respond. "Hawke,"
Closing her eyes, she tried not to be aware of how he settled on the rock beside her, his piercing look nearly tangible on her skin. Taking a deep breath, Laela slowly let it out. She could smell him in the air, the scent of lyrium mixed with earth. Another piece of her heart felt as though it was breaking, being this close to him but still so far.
His hand covered hers, causing Laela to jerk. Her heart pounded in her chest. The first touch he had initiated since that night, why was he touching her? He nodded to her arm and she looked.
"You're injuring yourself."
Several crescent shaped crevices were skinned into her arm, not deep enough to draw blood, but enough to show how tightly she had been gripping her arms. Laela relaxed her hand, hoping and dreading that Fenris would stop touching her.
He didn't move.
Closing her eyes, she shook her head. "You're killing me." She could feel him go still. "I never thought it would be love that would destroy me." Laela said bitterly, opening her gray eyes and looking at him. He seemed stunned. "And you don't even know." Her hand unconsciously clenched his. "I feel like I'm unraveling at the seams, Fenris." She met his gaze. "You torture me."
Fenris pulled back as if scalded.
Reaching for him, Laela ignore the look on his face. He did not know what to do, stay or flee and it was written all over him. Removing the crest she held it in her hand. "You left me." her hand was shaking. "But you remain," Tears were filling her eyes again. "You wear this as though I branded you." Clenching her hand around the crest she felt its edges dig painfully into her palm. "Do you hate me so much that you think me like the magisters?"
"I do not hate you." He responded immediately.
"Then why?" Her body shook. "Why do you stay? Why do you wear my family's heraldry? Why do you look at me like that?" Dropping the item to the ground she covered her face with her hands. "I can't lose myself, not now. Not with everyone who depends on me," Laela looked up at him. "Why do you stay?"
"Command me to leave and I shall."
She felt as though he slapped her. "Command?" she whispered, her heart wrench in her chest. Shaking her head she tried to swallow the lump in her throat. "Command? Fenris I will never command you to do anything!" Laela turned away from him. "I am not a magister I don't wish to own you," Closing her eyes, she let out a breath. "I don't wish to hurt you."
"What do you wish?" his voice was hesitant.
"To love you," the words were out of her mouth before she could stop them. A tear ran down her cheek. "I can't pretend to understand what it was like to remember everything and then lose it again. But I know what it's like to have the world, to have everything only to have it ripped away,"
Gazing out over the water, Laela watched a bird swoop in the air. "For one night, it didn't matter." Once she started she found she couldn't stop. "The problems of the city, of my friends, none of it mattered. I had you," Cringing on how it sounded, she bowed her head, hiding under a cascade of red hair. "And you wanted me," Two tears made twin trails down her cheeks.
"Laela," her first name fell from his lips, causing a shiver of desire to run down her spine. He gently turned her head to face him, wiping her tears away. "I am yours."
She blinked. "I don't understand,"
He tugged a scrap of red fabric from his breastplate. Recognition hit her like a ton of bricks. It was the ribbon from her corset; it had torn the night they had been together. Why did he—her eyes shot to the crest and then at him.
"I am yours." He repeated.
Her fingers traced the edge of the fabric. "But you left, you," she trembled. "I don't understand."
Fenris ducked his head. "The chains are broken but are you truly free?" He whispered. Laela recognized it as something Flemeth had said. Her brow furrowed. "I am chained to the past and I do not know how long it will take for me to be free of it," She met his green eyes, hating how they tugged at her heart. "I cannot ask you to wait," He gave her smoldering look that caused heat to spread through her. "But I remain yours."
Laela's lips parted her mind racing. Slowly she tugged the red fabric. Fenris twitched a masked look of resignation on his face. Wrapping the red ribbon around his wrist she secured the knot. Her fingers tangled with his hand.
"For as long as you wear this, know that I am yours."