Title: Solace and Solitude
Characters: Fenris, Marissa Hawke
Spoilers: Through the Act Two quest "All That Remains"
Notes: What is it about this scene that compels me to write different versions of it? (And why are they always in present tense?) This is my second take, with a different Hawke and a different love interest, and I could almost envision re-doing it every time I play a new Hawke/LI variation. Includes some dialogue direct from the game.
Fenris could not say what drew him to the front entrance of the Hawke family mansion, through the foyer, up the stairs to her bedroom door. Or just her mansion, now; he winces at the thought, a reminder of the gruesome events in the foundry basement. He has lived a hard life, has witnessed so many horrors that he stopped counting long ago, and sometimes he wonders how he has held onto the few remaining scraps of his sanity. But tonight it all seems as nothing compared to the sight of Leandra's unholy shuffle, to the sound of the cries torn from Hawke's heart as her mother fell for the last time.
Hawke had asked to be left alone, and yet he is here, after too many hours spent restlessly prowling the empty rooms of his house, searching for something he could not put into words. Perhaps it is not to be found here, either; he certainly has no faith in his ability to console anyone. But a part of him knows that he must at least try, and so after a deep breath he pushes past his own resistance and steps inside.
She is, indeed, alone, sitting on the edge of the bed, her shoulders bowed, and it shocks him to see her like this: bent, broken, defeated. This is not the Hawke he knows, not the proud woman who brooks no nonsense and gives no quarter. A tug at his heart pulls him forward, a few more paces into the room, and then she looks up.
He pauses. "I don't know what to say, but I am here."
She is silent for a moment; her next words are more plaintive than he thought she knew how to be. "Am I to blame for not saving her?"
A plea for reassurance is the last thing he thought to hear, and he sorts through and discards a half-dozen unsuitable responses before settling on bare truth. "I could say no, but would that help?" He takes a step closer, as near as he dares. "You're looking for forgiveness, but I'm not the one who can give it to you." She looks away, shoulders falling again, and Fenris damns his bluntness. To cause her more pain is not what he wants. He wants to take the pain away, he wants to soothe her, to hold her hand and stroke her hair, he wants... he wants...
He wants, and that is, in itself, the difficulty. His weakness, his curse. He wants what he always wants, and that is her: her arms wrapped around him, her body pressed against his, the taste of her breath in his mouth, and he cannot tell where the wish to comfort a friend ends and the desire of a man for his lover begins. To sate himself on her, when she is in this state... it would be monstrous, or so he tells himself, to avoid confronting the fears that he has buried ever deeper since their one night together, the night he... Once again he shies away from even the thought, and it takes all his strength to step back from the bed.
"I'm sorry," he says. "I should not have disturbed you."
Hawke raises her chin and looks at him anew, sitting up straighter now, the usual fire creeping back into her eyes. "Don't apologize, Fenris. You know you're always welcome here."
"Still." He glances to the door. "I'd best take my leave." A few steps, and then he pauses in the doorway, looking back, seeking one last reassurance that she will find her own way through the thickets of grief. "Hawke. If you have need of me..." He swallows, and when he speaks again, he finds that his voice is gentle. "You know where to find me."
"I know." She nods. "Thanks."
She holds his gaze for another moment, and almost she smiles; Fenris almost smiles back. "Good night." And then he leaves, stepping quickly down the stairs, out the front door, and into the chill Hightown night before he can change his mind.
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