The last few days have proven to be exhausting. Battle after battle with the darkspawn have kept us all on our toes. How any of us are still standing is beyond me. Fortunately, we have come upon a large cavern that is cut off from any other entrances. Anders assures us there are no darkspawn in the immediate area. We should be safe.
All begin unloading their gear with a weariness known only to the battle worn. The mercenaries have earned their coin.
We setup our camp only to realize our tent, as well as many others, will be a bit tight tonight. While the cavern may be big, between the fires, tents, men and gear it is quite cramped. Bartrand insists on taking up a good majority of the space bringing in his excavation equipment, not wanting it to be tampered with.
He is so trusting.
“Maker, I am exhausted,” I lay my battle axe on the ground and lean into the cavern wall. My side has given me no relief over the past few days. I am now sure the injury is worse than I let on that first day. I’ve taken potion after potion but for some reason, any hit I’ve taken thereafter has only proven to make it worse, “Much more of this and I am going to collapse.”
My hand goes to my side and Fenris speaks up, “Hawke, is your side still bothering you? You should have had Anders look at it when it happened.”
Anders looks to me, “Look at what? When what happened?”
“It’s nothing Anders,” I reach for the straps to remove my armor but lifting it over my head is proving to be much more difficult than it should.
“Hawke,” Fenris and Anders say in unison. Hearing my name come out of both of their mouths lets me know I am in trouble. They are not happy that I hid my injury at all.
Anders approaches, his anger clear on his face, “Blast it girl. Are you really hurt? Why wouldn’t you tell me?” He lifts my armor over my head and just having the weight off is some relief.
“Remove your shirt. I need to see what you’ve done,” he demands.
“I’m fairly certain it was the darkspawn’s doing, not mine,” my joking brings a frown to his already angered face.
“Stop joking around. Let me see it,” he reaches up to remove my tunic, since I seem in no hurry to do so.
“Alright, Anders,” I brush his hands away, “But can we at least do this in the tent. No sense in giving these men another free show.”
He seems to come to his senses, and a blush creeps along his cheeks, “Oh, right. Let’s go then.”
We enter the tent, not bothering to close the flap, since the only person in view is Fenris. With the other campsites so close, we are nearly on top of each other. The rest of our view is filled with the backs of two other tents.
Now that there is no adrenaline coursing through me, I feel every ache. Removing the tunic is slow going. Anders, frustrated with my pace, grips the hem and lifts it from the back ensuring I do not have to raise my arms. He folds the tunic over my head and it slips down my arms and onto the floor.
“Maker,” Anders’ hands are quickly on my sides. The feel of his skin on mine makes me close my eyes and I have to fight not to think about his hands elsewhere, “Why, did you keep this from me? And how, in Andraste’s name, have you been able to wield that damn battle axe?”
I kept it from you for this very reason. I cannot function when you touch me. I want to say the words aloud but decide now is not the time, so I choose to ignore his original question and answer the latter.
“Uh… adrenaline,” the look he gives me causes me to lose my humor, “Look, as a warrior, you are taught to fight through the pain. If I were to collapse every time I was injured, I would be quite useless.”
Realizing he’s made me upset, his features soften, now showing genuine concern rather than anger, “Hawke, why didn’t you tell me?” he is holding me now, gently, tenderly. It makes my insides somersault. I want to stand on the tips of my toes and kiss him. The need is so great I find myself leaning into him. He mistakes this for a sign of weakness and begs me to lie down.
“Just do it. It will be easier for both of us,” I do and after he’s ensured I am comfortable, he places his hands back along my side. His hands are warm and I can feel the energy already pulsating through them. He begins his slow examination of my body. His hands smoothly, gliding along my ribs, my stomach, my hips. His touch makes my body ache in all new ways and I bite into my lower lip.
“This shouldn’t hurt. I’m sorry,” again he mistakes my body’s reaction to him.
“Doesn’t hurt,” I close my eyes not wanting to see his reaction to those words.
“Oh, well I promise it will be over soon,” just as my body is getting used to his touch, slow tendrils of magic pulse their way through my body. The sensation has me arching my back. I lose all sense of time as my body begins to thrum with his power. When he pulls his hands away the pain is gone, but in its place is burning need to feel him inside me. I open my eyes and see his hands are shaking. They cover his face muffling the sound of his ragged breathing. He is spent.
I reach up to place my hand over his, but by the time mine reaches him his hands are gone and I am left cradling his face. He presses his scruffy cheek into my palm and brings his hand back up to cover mine. He holds it there for a moment, almost as if he is absorbing the energy he poured into me a moment ago. He places a kiss in the center of my palm and lowers my hand back to my side.
“Now, you need to rest,” Slowly he gets up and retreats from the tent. Closing the flap to allow me some semblance of privacy.
If I wanted the man before, it is nothing compared to what I am feeling now. My body still thrums with his magic and every inch of me begs for a release. I know I shouldn’t but the need is so great, I slip my hand under the waistband of my pants.
“Leave it alone, mage,” Fenris’ voice breaches my sleep.
“I just don’t understand. Why in Andraste’s name didn’t you tell me,” Anders voice rises with every word.
“You were alone with her most of the night. I didn’t realize she hadn’t told you until today. You can’t blame me for that,” the rest of the argument is spoken low enough I can not decipher anything else.
Oh, sweet Maker.
I sit up gingerly, expecting pain but to my surprise I feel none. Rising, I stretch but there is no need.
I feel no pain… at all.
My muscles aren’t sore. My feet don’t hurt. No wonder Anders looked so drained. He’d not only healed my side, but my entire body. I locate my top and slip it over my head as I exit the tent. Fenris and Anders both look up at me, the shame at being caught arguing about me plain on their faces.
“You are well now,” Fenris stands. He makes his way to me and gestures for me to lift up the shirt. He needs to see for himself that Anders did what he said. I oblige, raising it just enough so he can see the bruising is gone. Satisfied, he returns to his seat by the fire.
“If you were so concerned, you could have come in to check on me,” I know it sounds flirty but as good as I feel, I just couldn’t resist.
“I told them to leave you alone. Let you rest. Shit, Hawke. Anders told us how bad a shape you were in. You could have told one of us,” I didn’t expect Varric to be so concerned. I take in the three men sitting in front of me. Their concern lifts my heart. I may have lost much over the last few years but these men are family. They are home.
“I’m sorry,” my voice cracks with emotion. I take a seat between Anders and Fenris and prop my feet up next to the fire.
“Hey, no need to get all teary-eyed on us, Hawke,” Varric has told me he can’t stand to see a human cry but I am far from tears.
“Ha! Like I would get all emotional,” three sets of eyes tell me they don’t believe me. “I really am sorry. I didn’t want to put anyone out fussing over me. I’m not some squishy mage,” I elbow Anders playfully in the side, “or delicate flower to be coddled. I know I should have said something and I let my pride get in the way. I won’t do it again.” They all seem satisfied with my apology and we settle into our usual banter, but soon my stomach is growling.
“I’m starving,” I get to my feet and look around, trying to spot Bartrand’s men.
“Come on, we will all go grab whatever they’ve made for us tonight,” Varric says and the three of them stand and follow me to the smells of something roasting.
With full bellies, we lounge around the fire. Varric tells stories and we pass around a bottle of wine we snatched from Bartrand. Varric wasn’t pleased with the idea, saying if Bartrand found out he’d murder us in our sleep, but we figured it was worth the risk.
“So, Hawke,” Varric starts, “What are your plans after this?”
“Oh, you know. Raise hell. Live a little,” I giggle and take another sip. The wine might be going to my head a bit.
“No, really. There could be untold amounts of treasure down here. Even split three ways, you could set your family up in Hightown, if you wanted.”
“My family has rights to a spot in Hightown already. The illustrious Amell family,” this is not news to any of them. They have seen how hard my sister and I have fought in effort to win the estate back.
“You know, I knew an Amell. She’s the one who gave me Ser Pounce-a-lot,” he smiles in memory.
“Wait,” I sit up straight, “You’re telling me the Warden Commander, Hero of Ferelden, is the one who gave you your cat?”
“Yes. We found him abandoned and she wanted me to leave him at the keep. I ended up carrying him around in my pack. He didn’t seem to mind though. Loved adventuring in new places.” We all turn to look at him incredulously.
“Fine, don’t believe me. She also saved me from being turned over to the templars and conscripted me, but if you don’t want to believe me about the cat, then I doubt you believe that as well,” he frowns and it borders on a pout. I feel this is my cue to turn in for the night.
“Well, I am off to bed,” I stand and can feel the full effects of the wine. I may not be drunk but slightly light headed and extremely relaxed.
“I should get to bed too,” Anders says, “After healing you, I probably should have rested myself.” We walk together to the tent and he holds the flap open for me. I duck in and grab my tunic and comb from my pack. When I pull my shirt off, I feel Anders eyes on me and I turn to face him.
“You are beautiful,” he breathes out the words, and the reverence in them makes my heart stop. However, before I can react his fingers reach for the bridge of his nose and I can see he is in pain.
“Headache,” I ask.
Quickly he drops his hand, “No, I’m fine.”
Walking up to him, I take his hands, “No, you aren’t. I saw how much it drained you to heal that boy in your clinic. I remember holding you up so you didn’t collapse. And, I know you healed more than just my rib,” he starts to protest but I cut him off, “Anders, I feel no pain. None. Where are the scrapes from where that Emissary knocked me on my ass? My muscles aren’t even sore. I know you did that.” I let go of his hands and put my sleep shirt on.
“Lay down,” I command.
He hesitates, not knowing my intent but after a moment he complies.
“Get comfortable,” another command and another hesitant reply. He reaches over, grabbing his pants and sliding them on and then he removes his robes. His torso is bare and I take in the lovely sight. Where Fenris’ body is all taut muscle, Anders is soft. The outline of his abs just barely visible. His chest and shoulders are much more defined but still they lack the rigidness that Fenris holds.
I kneel at the top of his bedroll and lift his head. Crossing my legs, I place his head in the center and loosen the band holding his hair. I run my fingers through, loosening the knots, and remember my comb is on my bedroll. I grab it and begin combing his hair. This wasn’t my original intent but it seems to be relaxing him. I continue until all of the knots are freed and set my comb aside. With the tips of my fingers I massage his scalp in slow circular motions. Slow, soft moans goad me on. His temples are next, followed by his neck. By the time I am finished he is nearly asleep. Gently I lift his head and replace my legs with his own pillow. I lean down and place a kiss on his forehead. He looks up at me then.
“Thank you, Hawke,” he smiles a sleepy smile and closes his eyes.
I wake to soft, hot breath snaking its way along my neck and shoulder. It sends a chill up my spine and my body spasms in response. I turn my head to find Fenris tucked in so close to my body, yet still managing to not touch me. His body frames mine and I know if I were to shift any further back he may light up like the night sky, but I am uncomfortable. I scoot towards Anders, lining up nearly flush to his back. I can feel the body heat radiating from him and realize a moment too late that moving was a bad idea. Fenris shifts, moving his body towards mine, again as close as he can be to me without actually touching me, and I am stuck between the two of them. Both men so close I could easily close the distance and wrap my arms around either one. As tempting as it is I try to remain still and close my eyes, begging sleep to return.
It’s been over an hour. I cannot sleep. Not like this. Trying to keep my body stiff is only making me hurt. My hip bone is pressed into the floor and my arm is falling asleep.
Time to cuddle with someone.
Surely Fenris is the lesser of two evils, but what if he lights up? Will he be mad? He doesn’t like touch. I know that.
Groaning, I close what little distance there is between us and I wrap my arm around Anders. He snuggles his back into me and I am left breathing in his scent. It’s not unpleasant,sweat mixed with herbs, and it stirs unwanted thoughts in my head, and other places.
Maker, this was a bad idea.
It’s not long before my eyes get heavy again. Hugging Anders’ body into mine is quite comforting.
“They need to wake,” Fenris’ anger breaks through my slumber.
“Aww, come on Broody. They’ve been through a lot the past few days. Let ‘em be,” Varric’s calm voice.
I am wrapped in warmth. My head snuggled into his shoulder, our legs intertwined, his hardness pressed into my thigh. All I want is to take advantage of his closeness and kiss him but as my mind starts to come around. I am aware that this is my doing. He’s turned me away at every opportunity. He doesn’t want to pursue anything with me. I know he is afraid of hurting me but I can’t help thinking a part of him just doesn’t want me. If he did, wouldn’t he have tried something when he had me nearly naked and writhing under his touch? Wouldn’t he have been the one to follow me down the the water that first day?
Fenris enters the tent, his anger a palpable thing. I can’t concern myself with that at the moment. I bring a finger to my lips, asking for his silence while I slip out from under Anders. Moving my legs and then rolling his body away from mine. Looking up, I see confusion mixed with the anger as Fenris backs out of the tent, returning to Varric.
The next time I think about sharing such close quarters with these men, someone needs to slap me.
“Anders,” shaking him, I try to rouse him. He moans but makes no move to get up. I try again, a little louder, a little harder. After another shake, his eyes crack open. He smiles up at me, “Morning, beautiful.”
My heart thuds in my chest, I am sure trying to make it’s escape into his hands, “It’s time to be going.”
Growling out a yawn, he stretches. His lean body on full display. He shifts his hips and I am captivated by his hard cock protruding from his waistband. I have to fight the urge to reach out and touch him. Tearing my eyes away, I begin gathering up my gear. I try not to look but my eyes continuously find their way back to him. He adjusts himself as he realizes he has been on display. I turn my back to him and ready myself for the day. When I turn, he’s standing only inches away from me, “I think that was probably the best night’s sleep I’ve had in ages.” his smile is so sincere that I return it, but my nerves catch up with me and I look away from him.
“Let’s go,” I state curtly.
His smile falters. I push past him to the campfire. Varric hands me a mug of tea, “You two sleep well?” He grins at the two of us and it takes everything I have in me to not just walk away.
I force myself to smile, “Quite well. You?” I bring the steaming mug to my lips and the warmth is more than welcome.
“Well, you know, I had Bianca. She’s really all I need to get me through the night.”
“Your attachment to your weapon is disturbing, dwarf,” Fenris groans.
“What about you Blondie? Sleep well,” Varric’s waggles his eyebrows at Anders.
Obviously confused by the gesture, “Actually, yes. Maybe I should do more healing before going to bed. Usually I have a bit of insomnia but right now I feel great.” He shrugs like it’s no big deal.
“Uh-hu, healing. You stick with that Blondie,” Varric chuckles to himself and gathers up his pack.
Anders looks to me questioningly. I shrug and start gathering up my own pack.