We were given new armour and sharper weapons when Cullen finally received news of the Blood mage's attacks throughout Orlais. I knew he still doubted me, but with the King of Ferelden by my side he didn't challenge me. Whenever Alistair was around Cullen tried his best to make an impression. However when he wasn't around I noticed the icy glares that he would cast in my direction. I told Alistair about this and he informed me that Cullen still felt that I shouldn't be there. Because no one, especially Cullen, liked to disappoint a king, Alistair had taken advantage of his status and arranged for me to have regular visits with Bethany at the Gallows. Our visits were always in that same room, but I could see her for longer and Alistair convinced the Templar's to move in more comfortable chairs for us. Bethany and Alistair had found it very amusing to talk about embarrassing subjects that involved me. However, it seemed that they were becoming closer and it pleased me.
I stood by the fighting ring, trying to wipe the sweat covering my face and dripping down the back of my neck. The sun made it unbearable to stay inside, but now that I was outside I wished someone could throw cold water over me. I was stripped down to my small clothes; I could feel a pool of sweat forming between my breasts. I ran into the shadows, brushing a cloth over my face. I leaned against the wall and watched Alistair practice some of his 'moves.' I didn't know how he could stand the heat, but he was stripped down to just his loose trousers. A lump formed in my throat when he came outside to join me, the sight of his rippling muscles had made me even hotter. Tearing my eye's from Alistair, I noticed someone watching me; I had to blink a few times to remove the sweat from my eyes. Using my hand to shade my eyes from the sun, I noticed that it was Cullen who was watching me. Before I could pretend I hadn't seen him, he started walking towards me. I cursed under my breath.
"I hope your not getting comfortable here," he said unpleasantly. I couldn't blame him for disliking me, I had made something bad into something worse, and who's to say I wouldn't do it again without a thought.
"Don't worry as soon as this mess has been dealt with, I'm leaving and that is a promise." I did not meet his eyes, afraid to see the hate in them.
He came closer 'till he was inches from me. "Just remember that this is all your fault." He snarled. I backed away from but he kept coming closer, before I could step around him he had me back up against the wall. His arm cut my escape. "You are a disgrace to this city and a disgrace to your family. I wonder what your mother would say if she knew you abandoned the city she loved so much." Before I could retaliate, Cullen was suddenly flying backwards away from me. Alistair was suddenly in front me, his chest visibly rising and falling in anger. Cullen was instantly on his feet; once he saw Alistair, his expression became apologetic.
"Having fun are you?" Alistair shouted. I realised a crowd was gathering and I reached out to take hold of his arm. He either didn't notice the crowd or didn't seem to care as he slid his arm over my shoulder. He stood silently, but angrily, waiting for Cullen's reply.
Cullen held his hands out as an apology. "I'm sorry Your Majesty, I didn't mean to speak to her so strongly." He lied, but it sounded convincing even to my ears. However, Alistair was having none of it.
"You harass her again and I promise you're status as Knight-Commander will be terminated." At that moment, his voice was terrifying and I was scared he'd end up doing something drastic if I didn't step in. I tugged on Alistair's arm, after a few tugs he looked down at me and I pointed towards the growing crowd. He followed my finger and suddenly he began to relax. He looked back at Cullen briefly. His expression made it clear that Cullen wasn't worth his time. He kept his arm around me as we walked away. I noticed a few people in the crowd sigh with disappointment that there wasn't going to be a fight between the Knight-Commander and the King of Ferelden. I could feel the disappointment in Alistair too. I had never seen him so enraged, a strange feeling rippled through me.
When we entered the Hanged Man, I left Alistair at the bar and leaped up the stairs towards Varric's room. I found the dwarf in deep conversation with someone. It took me only seconds to realise who that someone was. My heart stopped as both Varric and Fenris turned to see who had walked in on them. Shock registered on both their faces. I don't know what made me do it, but I ran across the room and flung my arms around them, I felt them awkwardly pat the lower of my back. I guess what I did next startled both them, as well as me,, I sloppily kissed them both on the cheek and backed away to beam at them. Varric was the first to speak. "Hawke, what are you doing here?" He wasn't mean about it but I could tell that he had never expected to see me again. Fenris couldn't take his eyes off me, but it seemed that he couldn't form any words.
"I've came to see you silly." I didn't know where my words were coming from, it was like I wasn't myself anymore and someone else had taken over. Varric didn't look convinced, both his eyebrows rose quizzically at me. My body sagged as I finally came back to myself. "Why else would I be here? Stupid blood mages." I grimaced.
Varric looked bored but I saw a hint of concern in his eyes. "When will you ever be free, Hawke?"
His question was rhetorical but I felt a need to answer it. "When I'm dead." Fenris flinched as I said this, I caught his eyes but they were unreadable. I guess my sudden appearance might have been hard on him, because the last time we were in the same room together, he had broken up with me.
"Are you here alone?"
I didn't hesitate. "No, Alistair is downstairs." I motioned by pointing over my shoulder.
"Alistair?" Varric pushed.
"King of Ferelden." I said as if it was obvious. Of course neither of them knew that he was even out of his country.
"What are you doing here with him?" Fenris suddenly asked, a hint of jealously in his tone.
I bit my lip before answering. "Well were not here as friends." His eyes clouded over and he didn't say anything else. I felt jealously was stupid, if he really felt that way after all these years then why did he give me up in the first place. Things may have turned out differently if he had just learned to commit himself to me. But turning the blame onto Fenris did not change anything or relieve me of my guilt. Varric motioned for me to sit down on a chair, he clicked his fingers and a few human women rushed over three glasses of ale. Fenris downed his without even tasting it. He kept his eyes on the ground, silently waiting.
"Why don't you go fetch Alistair?" Varric said to me. I was out in a flash and back even quicker with my arm through Alistair's. I pushed him down onto a chair that was beside mine. He looked around bewildered but the dwarf and lyrium scarred elf caught his eyes. Varric held his hand out to him. "It's a pleasure to meet your acquaintance, Your Majesty. I hear Ferelden wouldn't be the same without you on the throne." Alistair took his hand and nodded, still confused at this sudden meeting.
I leaned towards him. "Alistair, I'd like you too meet Varric and Fenris they helped me out a lot when I lived here. They are dear friends." His head perked up when I said 'Fenris'. Of course I had told him all about Fenris. I hadn't been subtle with how I described him to Alistair and I knew he thought Fenris an idiot for breaking up with me. He looked Fenris up and down; I wish knew what he was thinking. Unexpectedly, Alistair held his hand out towards Fenris. I half expected Fenris to scoff at the guesture but it seemed like everyone wanted to surprise me today, he took Alistair's hand firmly in his.
"My pleasure, Your Majesty." Fenris said as if he always had the pleasure to meet with important people.
I could taste the manly pride in the air and decided it was time to change the subject. I turned towards Varric. "So Varric, how's business been?" I had heard a rumour of him taking over my job as the boss of the Bone pit mining. I knew he would be a far better boss than I ever could have been and not because I was a screw up. Varric had dedication and patience for a man who bossed around a group of wining lower-class men. I unfortunately could not stand thier wining, and once or twice had clobbered one of them over the head.
"To be honest, Hawke, not good. I took a leaf out of your book and punched one of the miners when he tried to force me into giving him more money than was due. Now the miners are threatening to leave if I don't publicly apologise and raise their wage's." He was clearly distressed but I knew he wouldn't submit to their threats without doing it on his terms. So basically he was telling me the business was bust. Leaning back in my chair I shrugged sympathetically.
Alistair gave me a stern look as I looked at him and I knew it was time to go. I slammed my hands onto my thighs and slid to the end of the chair. "Ok. Well, it was nice catching up but it's time we take our leave." Alistair was already half way out the door; I waved back at the two men as we left the room.
X X X
One candle sat on the dressing table lighting the whole room. I was already under the silk covers curling up against Alistair. He was propped up against the cold wall at the head of the bed staring blankly into the dark, one arm snaked around me. "So that was Fenris?" He suddenly asked without warning.
"Yes." I didn't know where this was leading and I was scared to know.
"He doesn't like me." He stated. He didn't seem sad or pleased with this; he was merely stating fact.
"Fenris doesn't like anybody, I don't even think he likes himself." Fenris never had any friends, I was the only person he talked to about personal things and even then it had only been simple things that I could have guessed.
"He's an idiot." He said. I didn't understand why he felt the need to tell me things I already knew.
"I know, Alistair. Why are we talking about him?" I perched up and my elbow and looked at him. He stared off into space but his arm tightened around me.
"I'd never leave you." This time he turned his head to look at me. His other hand came up and stroked my face. I crookedly smiled as the blush crept into my cheeks. Alistair always found a way to make me blush and each time it made my stomach flip.
"That's good to know." I smiled and leaned in to kiss him softly on the lips. As I went to pull away, his hand entwined in my hair and pulled me back to him. He kissed me sweetly; with his arm that was around me, he pulled me underneath him. I snaked my leg around his and pulled him closer. All thoughts of Fenris were lost.
As our kiss deepened, Alistair became more excited. His hands smoothed across my belly sending shocks through me. I bit down on his lip, which only excited him more. He cupped my bottom in both his hands and moved himself in between my legs. I could feel the bulge beneath his trousers, sending my head spinning. We had always stopped before getting to this point, then fall asleep in one another's arms, but I found myself desiring more. It didn't register to me that I wasn't scared, which I usually was if Alistair got too excited. He had always understood and had happily fallen asleep with me. His hand slid over my thigh and propped my leg up around him. His tongue flickered into my mouth sending waves of desire through me. He started to moan as our hunger intensified.
I could feel my heart hammering against my rib cage but I didn't want it too end. Pulling him closer, Alistair started lightly kissing along my jaw and down my neck, lumps formed in my throat from where he kissed. I felt a tiny prickle as his teeth bit into my skin, through the haze the sting didn't register. Arching my back, Alistair's hand cupped into the small of my back keeping me steady. I pushed lightly on his shoulder; he rolled over onto his back. I propped up on top of him lying along his hard body. Resting one of my hands on his chest, I gave him a slow, sensual kiss. Abruptly, I pulled away and rested along him. "I'm sorry, Alistair." I whispered. The fear had engulfed me when I finally registered where this was leading. I had wanted it too but I wanted our first time to be special. Not when we had just finished talking about the first man I had ever loved.
He stroked my hair. "You never have to be sorry, love." He kissed the top of my head. Rolling back onto the bed, he gathered me into his arms.
"I want it to be special. Because you're special." I said as my eyes drooped. Alistair mumbled something that didn't make it too my ears as the darkness took over.
X X X
The next morning, I found an empty space where Alistair's body had been. I leaned up on my elbows and scanned the room. He wasn't here. I quickly slid out of bed and pulled my new armour over my head. Quickly checking myself in the mirror, I took out my brush and combed through the knots in my hai; I had to clench my teeth as I yanked at them . I was still pale after yesterday's sun, which wasn't at all surprising. If I wanted a tan, I would have to stay outside for a week. I put the brush back into the bag and left the room. We had been staying in one of the quest rooms at a new tavern called 'The Fishers Wife' that was in Hightown, just a two minute walk from my old estate. I had learned from Bethany that no one had lived there since I left and I had every right to take it back. I was still thinking about reclaiming it but I knew as soon as I was done with the mage's rebellion I'd return back to Ferelden with Alistair. We hadn't said as much but since he said he'd never leave me, I just assumed. Of course, I knew I had to confirm it with him sooner or later.
Walking out into the streets of Hightown, I saw for myself that nothing much had changed. I gazed at the building that was once the Chantry; they had recently finished rebuilding. I mentally cursed Anders. I still had to take my revenge but I was also still thinking of the fifty ways of torturing him. I walked silently with my head bowed so I didn't attract the attention of any nobles. I didn't look where I was going, when I bumped into someone with armour. I looked up to see a freckled face framed by red hair. Her eyes looked on in shook as she saw me. "Hawke?" She asked, softly.
"Hello, Aveline." I looked straight into the eyes of my old friend and felt like crying. She looked much older and her hair looked darker than I remembered. From her letters that I had read but ignored, I knew she had a child. I'd have thought she was too proud to let a young child to run circles around her. But something in her warm appearance told me she was happy. Beside her as child of about three peeked around her legs at me. I was too elevated by being near my old friend that I couldn't bring a smile to my face. More guilt filled me as I realised I had abused our friendship as well. The child was a girl, with fire red hair that supported the thousand freckles on her rounded face. Her eyes were like large blue sapphire's that twinkled with the young innocence of a child. She looked like a much younger version of Aveline just cuter to look at.
"What are you doing here?" Aveline asked, taking my attention away from her daughter. She wore the same shocked expression as everyone else did. Clearly, I'd made a surprising move by coming back here. Had no one expected me to come back? Did they even want me to? I knew that Cullen definitely didn't want me too but we had never been on friendly terms.
I kicked at a stone by my feet. "I'm here to help." I said softly.
She snorted. "Oh really, well don't run out on us. We might need an extra hand." She turned on her heel and guided her daughter away. The girl looked back over her shoulder, I politely waved but she turned away. My face dropped and I carried on toward Lowtown. I didn't feel like running after Aveline, because I didn't want to grovel. If no one wanted me here, I'd just be sure to leave as quickly as I could.
I found Alistair talking to a small man just outside the Hanged Man. They shook hands and the small man walked away. Curiosity drove me to confront him. "Who was that?" I asked, before Alistair caught wind of me. He spun on his heel, surprised. A smile spread across his face when he saw me.
"He's agreed to take a message to Denerim for me, I've been looking all morning for someone who was on his or her way to Ferelden. Sorry I didn't leave you a note, I didn't figure I'd be out this long." He gave me a short hug. Then he noticed the grim look on my face. "Bad morning?" He asked.Well If you counted waking up alone and bumping into an old friend who clearly despised me then, yes, yes it was. Nodding in response, he gave me another, longer hug. But even that didn't help my bad mood.
We headed towards the docks to begin preparations for the attack. There were already templars stationed at each entrance into the city, including the sewage drains. Cullen would not make it easy for the blood mage's. From my calculations and findings I figured there were at least thirty blood mage's heading towards Kirkwall. Since ten mage's had been with our group and none of them had been dead bodies, rumours said that fifteen mages had attacked a city in Orlais before five or six more mage's had killed a large number of traveller's near Antiva. That was my estimate, but obviously Cullen thought differently.
On the boat to the Gallows, I sat closely to Alistair who was talking to a woman opposite us. She seemed thrilled to be talking to the King of Ferelden, and I had made it abundantly clear that Alistair was mine by kissing him while he was talking. He had been shocked and quietly scolded me for being rude and jealous. I just sat there happily, as she shot jealous, icy glares in my direction when she thought Alistair wasn't looking. I just sat there smugly smiling, and poking my tongue out at her. Yes, I was in that mood. I was the kind of mood were if I was having a shitty morning then I wanted to make sure everyone had one too, just so I'd feel better. I tried desperately not to let that happen to Alistair since he was excited about his letter to Denerim. We hadn't had a full-blown argument yet and I knew putting a dampening on his day would encourage one.
Cullen was the first to approach us and from the intensity of the look between the two men, I knew yesterday hadn't been forgotten. Cullen was on his best behaviour today. "We've had word that a blood mage attacked a young, pregnant woman not far from here. The woman is alive but barely. Five templar's were sent out to check the area. Still no word but that might mean they still haven't found anything." His voice was full of doubt. And I knew we didn't have much longer too prepare.
"How long?" I asked.
"Maybe a day or two but we have to start getting the people into safe areas. The Guard Captain had her guards directing the people into secure warehouses. Which will be protected by the guards." Cullen seemed to have temporally forgotten who I was, as he was whispering into my ear.
"Any idea on the numbers?"
He gave me a strange look and turned to Alistair as if I wasn't there. "Forty, give or take."
Alistair pulled at my arm as Cullen turned to give orders to his templars. We walked toward some steps just as a loud thunderclap sounded above us. Glancing up, grey clouds blanketed the sky. Rain started to fall, drops landed on my face. I looked back at Alistair, the drops of rain dripped into my eyes so I had to squint to see him clearly. It didn't occur to me that we were both getting very soaked, as it rained harder. But nothing could pry my eyes away from the intense look Alistair was giving me. "I've been meaning to ask you something." He stood awkwardly in front of me.
When he didn't say anything, I frowned.. "Is everything ok, Alistair?"
Alistair looked down at the floor. "Um, yes." His hair looked dark and soaked from this position. I reached out and ruffled it, which made him look up in surprise. I snatched my hand back awkwardly.
I noticed his body shaking, which had nothing to do with the cold rain. My patience was wearing out. "Alistair, come on. What were you going to ask me?"
He bit his lip. "Ok, so I'm going back to Ferelden after this is all done and I was wondering if you'd come back with me." I smiled then. a small smile. He didn't seem to notice it as he stared blankly at me.
I took a step closer, and threw my arms around his neck. "I thought you'd never ask." Before kissing him fully on the mouth. I could feel him smile beneath my lips, as his arms encircled my waist.