As a reminder:
Dragon Age is owned by BioWare, David Gaider, Felicia Day (Tallis) etc. etc. All the characters belong to their respective owners. I’m just making them dance like puppets for my own amusement and yours. So, while the world & characters belong to someone else, the action and story are mine.
So, probably NOT keeping the title. But, for now it tickles my geek bone.
This completes Chapter One of this story. If you missed the either Chapter 1.1 or Chapter 1.2, just click those links. Ready for the next tease? :D
The roaring fire cast bright runners of light over the bedroom. Shadows flared and sizzled on the floor and walls. Outside, the wind still shrieked bloody murder. Inside, things appeared to have calmed down. Appearances were deceiving, though.
From where he lounged on the bed, Anders watched Hawke pace around the room, gathering things for her trip. Her agitation showed in the haphazard way she packed. Some items she thrust into the knapsack without care, while others she methodically folded into neat packages. At one point, she’d rolled a candle into a pair of socks and stuffed the both back into a drawer. He’d offered to help and had been curtly rebuffed.
He didn’t want to have this conversation. Maker, he didn’t want her to go at all. But if she took off in this mood, she was going to get herself killed.
“Miri, you’re trying to fold a book. Please, come sit down for a minute and talk to me.”
Hawke glanced down at her hands and made an exasperated noise. “I don’t want to argue, Anders.”
“Fine, I don’t want to argue either.” They were going to argue, he just knew it. Sighing, he braced himself and plunged ahead. “Why don’t you not go, this once? Why do you have to chase after that damn elf every time she crooks her little finger?” Anders stopped; his head fell back against the padded headboard. Mmm. Yummy foot. Now, she has to listen to what I have to say.
She stilled and pivoted on one bare foot to look at him. “Oh, I do, do I?”
“That’s not what I meant.” Well, actually it rather is what I meant. But you don’t want to hear that. He strove to keep that thought off his face. Usually, she could read him easily. Not when she was like this, though.
“Then why’d you say it? You must have meant it. People come to me for help, all the time. You don’t have a monopoly on helping people, you know!” She glared at him. “If you have a problem with that, maybe you should leave.”
He leapt to his feet and roared at her. “Stop right there!” Faint blue lightning crackled in his eyes as he struggled to control his temper. Since moving in with her, his life had stabilized. He was better able to keep his fury contained. It didn’t mean that it was gone, though. It was still there, bubbling just below the surface. Waiting to rear its ugly head. It was worse during their infrequent fights. Power arced over his skin in fits and starts as he wrestled it back down.
Hawke stood motionless, green eyes wide.
Damn. Good job on scaring her. He continued in a more normal voice. “You’re trying to start a fight. I didn’t mean that the way it came out. While you do always seem to be bailing her out, that isn’t why I don’t want you to go.” He took a calming breath. “She’s dangerous, Miri. She’s dangerous and she uses people. Uses you.” Of course, that isn’t the only reason I don’t want her to go. He hadn’t missed the longing in Tal’s eyes whenever she looked at Hawke. He didn’t think it was for Miri’s martial prowess, either.
“Didn’t you hear what she said, Anders?” All the fight drained out of Hawke and she abruptly sat down on the bed. “Thousands of people – many of them mages! – are going to be killed simply because they left the Qun. Why did she even give up the scroll?”
“I thought she wasn’t going to?” That had baffled him, too.
“That is a question I intend to ask her, once she wakes up. How long will she sleep?”
“If left alone? All day. But you can rouse her. If you hit her hard enough.” There was still enough spite left in him to wish that he could watch when she woke up Tal. Or wake her up, himself.
Hawke surged back to her feet. “That won’t be a problem. She’s lucky that you healed her at all.” She snatched up her knapsack, emptying it out onto the bedspread. She began to repack it with precision. Her back was ramrod straight.
Anders stared at the stiff back of the woman he adored. She was angry that he had healed the elf? “What’s going on, Miri? Why are you mad at me? I haven’t done anything wrong.”
After a few moments, she gave a weighty sigh and shrugged. “I know. I just…I don’t know. Yes, you’re right.” For a moment, she seemed to soften somewhat. The tension left her shoulders and her glance lingered on Anders for a moment. Then her face darkened again. She stomped over to the wardrobe and yanked the door open. “I don’t know if I should go and help her again. I don’t know if I can ignore her request, though. I am furious at her for…for…” she trailed off.
“Wulf and Orana. Do not forget it’s her fault. I repeat: she is dangerous. Why can’t someone else go this time?”
“Who else would you recommend? Aveline? She’s fabulous and all. But she just married that guard-boy. Fenris? That beacon of subtlety? Isabella would refuse – you’ve seen how she runs anytime anyone with horns even looks at her crosswise. Varric, I will be asking to come with me. Someone has to watch my back. And you are apparently too busy to do so.” She slammed the wardrobe closed again, without having retrieved anything from it.
Understanding dawned. “Ah, now we come to it.” He got up and tried to pull her into his arms but she shoved him backwards.
“Sweetheart, I cannot leave. I cannot leave the refugees right now. Not with things so unsettled. You know better than anyone that shit trickles down. With the food shortages and unrest…they’re the ones suffering the most.”
She tossed his own argument back into his teeth. “And you have to be the one who saves them, is that it?”
Anders exhaled heavily. “Maker save me. No, I don’t have to be the one. But, I do seem to be the only person who is doing something. Do you want me to leave it to the viscount to take care of the poor, the refugees? He can’t even keep track of his own son or control that madwoman, Meredith!”
“Then give Aveline instructions! You know she wouldn’t let them suffer from neglect. Plus, she has the manpower that you don’t have.” Hawke’s tone turned wheedling. “I can’t do this without you by my side.”
He just snorted at that flagrant blandishment. “You managed just fine without me for many years.”
From the massive door, a small cough sounded. Bodahn stepped into the room, clearly uncomfortable at the intrusion. “Excuse me, messeres. But, I wonder if you wouldn’t mind coming with me? The young lady is up and asking for you.”
Hawke glanced over at Anders. “I thought you said she wasn’t going to wake up for a while?”
“She shouldn’t be awake yet. Unless? Bodahn, did something happen to her?”
They started for the door, trailing after the servant. Bodahn had the grace to look a bit uncomfortable. “It may be that she woke when I accidentally dropped her head on the floor. Err, twice. While getting her tucked into the guest bed.” His face flushed slightly and he added, “I did apologize most profusely for it but the young miss didn’t seem to mind.” He strode on, leading the way to the guest quarters. “I suppose you will want to be reprimanding me for this gross misappropriation of my duties?”
Anders glanced over at Hawke, trying to repress the giant grin trying to eat his face. Her eyes were streaming tears of silent laughter. Finally, she was able to gasp out in a reasonable approximation of her regular speaking voice, “Ahh, no. No, that won’t be necessary, Bodahn. Just don’t do it again, hmm?”