A Dragon Age one shot because I miss the old Anders. Rated M for sexual content, non canon for story purposes. F!Hawke/Anders. Thanks again to those who have favourited and/or reviewed.
Hawke slouched against the wall of the clinic waiting for Anders to work his way through the little huddle of people queuing by the door. The apostate looked tired and even more dishevelled than usual.
No-one here has come down just to chat, see how he is she thought sourly. They all want something from him. She grimaced slightly. Even me. She had nipped down in the hope of getting him to have a look at a sore shoulder, but on seeing the crowd of people and his obvious fatigue, had decided against it. She watched him from the corner of her eye as he helped a small girl up from the examination table and sent her off with an affectionate pat on the head. It didn't seem fair, really. He was kind, talented, could even be funny when he let his guard down - which he hardly ever did. He kept people at arm's length, socialised very little even amongst his companions and was wary of strangers.
And rightly so, I suppose. An apostate and a Grey Warden on the run. Even the notoriously prickly Fenris had people dropping in to see him socially seemingly unfazed by his terse conversation and unpredictable mood swings. The city guards played cards with him for goodness' sake! When people went to see Anders it was either to warn him about Templar raids or to talk business.
The last of the patients left with a nod of thanks and she sauntered over to him, pursing her lips with concern as he flopped into a chair rubbing his eyes, his face drawn.
"Hawke. What can I do for you?"
She shrugged. "Nothing. Just wanted to see how you were."
He peered up at her suspiciously and she noted his pallor, the dark circles under his eyes. Somehow all of that seemed to accentuate the planes of his face. I always forget what a handsome man he is under all that earnest bluster she found herself thinking.
"Sorry," he said shortly. "Tired. And lately everyone seems to wantsomething." She flushed slightly and cleared her throat.
"You need a day off."
He barked a laugh. "Chance would be a fine thing."
"No, really." She propped herself on the examination table. "You look terrible."
"Close the clinic tomorrow, I'll make sure we have no work and you and I will go out drinking in the evening."
Anders made a face. "Can't drink. Justice won't let me. He doesn't much like me having time off either. 'Distracting', he says."
"Bugger Justice. Listen." She leaned forward suddenly, cupping a hand to her mouth. "Oi. You listening to me?" Anders recoiled in surprise, opening his mouth to speak.
"Shut it, Anders. You in there," she continued. "I want you to give him a day off. One day. I need him sharp and you need me to help you so you'll do as I ask. He needs a rest and some damn fun."
"Hawke, it doesn't work like that," said Anders reproachfully. "Justice –"he paused.
Anders' brow furrowed in confusion. "Justice has…agreed." he said slowly. "I don't believe it. One day. I didn't know he could…"
"Doesn't matter. We got a day. Meet me at the mansion tomorrow afternoon." She stomped off.
Anders stood for a few seconds, mouth open.
"What just happened?"
He felt distinctly off balance and more than slightly alarmed at the sudden turn of events. A day without Justice in his head and no responsibilities? It was unimaginable. It was quite likely he wouldn't even notice the difference, though. But a day with Hawke. Anders felt his stomach flip. Time spent in her company without anybody stabbing anybody else - well, hopefully - and without Justice's disapproval ringing in his head whenever his thoughts (or eyes) strayed. A day without worrying Justice would suddenly manifest and kill the next person who got him angry. A day to…just be himself. Whoever that was.
He pressed his lips together. I'm not sure I know how to be myself any more.
He paused in thought at the clinic door before shutting it firmly and began to tidy up.
He arrived at Hawke's mansion the next afternoon to find she had gone out. Her maidservant, Orana, ushered him in.
"Mistress Hawke said to tell you she'd in back in a few hours and I was to give you lunch."
"Oh, that's not necessary, but thanks."
"She said you'd say that and to ignore you, sorry Ser. I'm also to tell you that if you don't eat she said she'll cut a hole lower down than your mouth and stick food in that way if need be."
Anders blanched. "She generally goes through with her threats. Best not to test her."
"As you say, Ser."
After a lunch that, in Anders' opinion, consisted of a few too many courses, Bodahn bustled up. "More instructions?" he said, yawning sleepily and stretching.
"My Mistress said that after lunch you was to rest and then bathe." She's bloody bossy but I'm too tired to argue thought Anders wearilyas Bodahn ushered him upstairs. He turned in surprise. "Her room?"
"Bigger bath in here, Ser. And there's clothes to change into when yer done."
"What's wrong with what I'm wearing?"
Bodahn shifted uncomfortably. "She said, and I quote Ser, 'it's his night off and nothing screams apostate like a man with a big stick wearing a dress, so tell him he has to change or face the consequences'. Sorry Ser."
"It's a robe not a dress!" Anders exclaimed indignantly.
"Nonetheless, Ser." Bodahn bowed and left, shutting the door behind him.
Anders sighed. The bed did look very comfortable. He wandered around the room running a curious finger over the lute, shuffling through papers on her desk and picking up brightly coloured vials before weariness overtook him. Flopping down onto the bed, he fell asleep almost instantaneously.
Hawke arrived home in the early evening, washing and changing into her casual clothes quickly in the guest room before knocking lightly on her door and pushing it open.
Anders stood in front of the fire and her throat tightened briefly. He's wearing the clothes I left him. Carver's clothes. He was taller and more broad shouldered than Carver had been but also more slender and the loose trousers sat low on his hips revealing a strip of pale skin that Hawke had the sudden, irrational urge to run a finger over.
"You know, Hawke," said Anders thoughtfully, continuing to face the fire. "There's a bit of a funny taste in my mouth and I never fall asleep that quickly. You didn't happen to get the servants to put anything in my food did you?" He turned his head to look at her, eyes narrowed.
Hawke kept her face carefully blank and shook her head slightly, eyebrows raised. "Orana is sometimes a bit heavy handed with the garlic." She said innocently. Anders stared at her for several moments and then smiled.
He looks different she thought. And it's not just the clothes. His posture, his expression, even his voice...
"Something the matter?"
Hawke bit her lip. "You look...good. Relaxed." Younger.
"And you look annoyingly surprised. A few hours' sleep and scrubbing an inch of dirt off can do that to a body."
She moved closer. "You could have shaved." A belt knife appeared in her hand and Anders yelped in shock.
Her left hand snaked around his hip to his lower back and held him in place whilst her right disappeared behind his head. There was a soft snick and his hair was suddenly down, softening the angular planes of his face.
"Two things there" smiled Hawke and his heart was pounding with both fright and her unexpected proximity. "No Justice appearing to thump me for coming at you with a knife and you now have appropriate hair for our evening out."
He moved away reluctantly, scowling, and gently pushed the hand holding the knife away from his face. "Appropriate? And just how does you letting my hair dow– oh." He rolled his eyes. "Very funny. You do realise I nearly died of a heart attack just then?"
She grinned broadly, unrepentant. "Sorry. Come on, let's go. There're tankards of ale with our names on at the Hanged Man."
"...and I said to him that's the only pussy you're going to touch in your lifetime!"
Hawke threw her head back and roared with laughter, Anders watched her, his face slightly flushed, eyes twinkling with mirth. She wiped her eyes. "Another?" They regarded the table littered with empty tankards.
"Maker, yes." He gestured to the barmaid.
"I'm surprised we haven't seen any of the others here yet. I wonder what they're up to"
She could have bitten her tongue at her off-hand comment when she saw his face fall slightly but he recovered quickly. His mouth twitched and he leaned forward conspiratorially. "Well, Isabela's probably wrapped around some strapping young...person. Same could be said for Aveline." Hawke snorted as she remembered the awkward romance between her friend and the softly spoken city guard. "Merrill, brrr, Maker knows what she's up to right now, I shudder to think. Sebastian will be on his knees in front of some chantry boy...oops!" He clapped a hand over his mouth and shot her a sly look. Hawke laughed, scandalised.
"Fenris will be sulking in a corner somewhere, polishing his enormous sword, no doubt." He struck an exaggerated pose, arms crossed, lower lip stuck out, glaring up at her from beneath his hair. She pinged his lip gently with a finger, smirking, and he resisted the urge to dip his head and catch it in his mouth.
"Now, now..." said Hawke, with mock disapproval. "He's not that bad really...although you're right. Sometimes he does have a bit of the sulky teenager about him. He's been through a lot, you know."
"Oh, protective aren't we?" Anders lounged back in his chair, folding his arms. "He moons after you constantly." She blushed. "And he's got to be compensating for something. I mean, look the size of that sword."
"...says the man with the big stick."
"And I'm pretty sure the belt doesn't match the shoes, if you know what I mean..." he waggled his eyebrows at her.
"I'm sure I don't!" she retorted, grinning. "And...I don't really see him like that...although he is handsome, I'll admit."
Anders regarded her for a moment, face still. "I'll start pouting more if you like that kind of thing," he said softly. She shook her head at him reprovingly and caught his hand, squeezing gently.
"You don't need to – "
The tavern door banged open suddenly revealing Isabela closely followed by Varric. Both looked serious as they strode over to their table. Hawke sat up, dropping Anders' hand, face alert.
"What's going on- ?"
They marched straight past her and up the stairs towards Varric's room. Her eyebrows nearly slid off the top of her head when realised that Isabela was dragging the dwarf after her by the front of his tunic. His door slammed shut and she heard the crash of furniture being knocked over.
She turned slowly to Anders, mouth open. "Er..."
Anders bit his lip. "Maybe she wanted to see the extent of his dwarven ingenuity..?"
They both collapsed into laughter.
Anders is such a bitch, she thought, choking on her drink for the umpteenth time that evening. She watched his face, animated and mobile as he spoke, hands gesturing expressively. His snarky, teasing observations about herself and her companions had her giggling and him grinning evilly. This is him when he's not got the weight of the world on his shoulders or Justice in his head. He's so...likeable. Charming. He's always been attractive, if a bit hunted looking, but tonight I'd definitely consider...oh. Her thoughts came to a screeching halt.
Tonight he's not himself. Remember that.
Anders peered at her suddenly serious expression. "Feeling alright? If you're going to be sick there's a spot over there in the corner that hasn't been vomited on yet."
"No, I was just thinking..."
The tavern door opened to reveal Fenris. His eyes skimmed the patrons and settled on her immediately, flicking briefly over her companion and the assorted tankards scattered across their table. He strolled towards them. "Good evening, Hawke. I trust you are well. I...hope you'll introduce me to your…friend."
Anders looked up at him and grinned at Fenris' surprised double take. "Evening."
Fenris' brows lowered and Hawke took a gulp of beer to cover her sudden discomfort. "My apologies. I did not recognise you." The elf folded his arms and glared murderously down at him. Anders nudged her.
Hawke spat her mouthful of beer out all over the table and Fenris eyed her shaking shoulders with suspicion.
"And what, may I ask," he muttered darkly "is quite so funny?"
She hid her face in her arms, snorting helplessly and, at this, Anders let out a great belly laugh and buried his face in Hawke's shoulder, both of them convulsing with mirth.
Embarrassed at her lack of control, Hawke tried to pull herself together, raising streaming eyes to the irritated elf.
"Oh...oh...oh..." she looked up to see him glaring at her through his hair and collapsed into peals of laughter again.
"I'm...I'm sorry Fenris," she managed finally. "Anders told me a joke earlier...and...I just got it" she took a deep breath and blew it out, wiping her eyes.
Anders raised his head from her shoulder, still shaking with residual giggles. "It was a good one. Great punchline" he gasped. She smacked him on the chest, hand over her mouth.
"In which case," Fenris was moving to grab a nearby chair and eyeing Anders mistrustfully, "you'll indulge me by telling it again. Would you mind if I joined you?"
"Actually," said Hawke hurriedly, seeing Anders stiffen, "we have to go. Patient waiting at the clinic. Emergency. Said I'd help Anders with the...you know." She gestured half-heartedly at the mage. Anders nodded. "Yes, I do need help with that" His mouth quirked in amusement as he got up rather unsteadily.
"See you tomorrow, Fenris." She flushed both at his chagrined expression and her transparent lie and made for the door, tugging Anders after her.
She hadn't got far when Anders stopped suddenly, removed his arm from her grip and took a few steps back towards the elf. Hawke tensed.
"Oh yes, Fenris. Just remembered. Varric said he wanted to speak to you urgently." said Anders conversationally. "He told me he'll be rearranging his room and might not hear you so to just go in when you have a moment. Something about slavers...?"
Fenris rose immediately and started up the stairs. Hawke grabbed the grinning apostate and dragged him outside where she drooped against the wall, giggling helplessly. "You are evil!"
"Yes I am." He draped his arms around her, propping his chin on her shoulder and she rested against the warmth of his chest. He smells like soap and home.
He sighed. "We don't have much time left. Would you like to go for a walk?"
"What do you mean 'not much time'?" She pushed herself back and craned her neck to look at his face.
"I suspect Justice will be back by midnight. It's the way he thinks, precise, logical." His face darkened.
She took his arm, a strange ache spreading through her chest. "Come on then, I heard the tower strike ten not too long ago."
They sat in a shadowed corner of the docks, looking out at the sea.
"Am I very different then? Don't lie, I know you were surprised when you came to collect me."
She rested her head on his shoulder. "It's difficult to explain. You're still you, but more...relaxed. Happier. You look younger, you're funny. Your voice is different too, and the way you speak and move. Freer."
Anders pouted. "I'm only a few years older than you, I'll have you know. And I'm always funny!" He looked away briefly and the continued, voice flat. "But tomorrow I'll be me again. The other me. And that'll be it. Justice made it clear that this is a one time thing. It won't happen again and I think he'll be watching me closely. I'll be even more...under his control. I'm not sure you'll like the other Anders as much."
"I like the 'other Anders' too. He's still you." She trailed fingers down his chest, watching him.
"No." His eyes moved across her face taking in the dilated pupils and soft mouth. "He's not. But right now I don't care." He closed the distance between them, slanting his lips across hers, tasting, gently exploring, pressing her against him until she was dizzy from sensation. He murmured against her mouth, capturing and recapturing her lips hungrily. "I want you. I've wanted you for so long. But I want you to myself, is that selfish of me?"
Wordlessly she shook her head, pulling him further into the shadows of the crates, lying back and aligning his body over hers. Her hands crept under his tunic and caressed the warm, smooth skin of his back, walking her fingers gently down the outlines of his ribs.
"Tonight you can have me. I want you to have me. I'm all yours." She smoothed a hand around to stroke his belly and felt him tremble.
"Wait" he gasped, pushing himself up. "We shouldn't be doing this here...there should be privacy, candles, a mattress at the very least! But...I want this so much. While I'm still me."
"We're running out of time. You're still talking. Stop talking." she pulled his face back down and kissed him fiercely. She felt him stroke a shaking hand down the side of her chest, warmth spreading from his fingertips. He moved to her neck, nuzzled lower, mouthing the material, finally pulling her blouse up and off, fastening on a breast. He rolled, taking her with him and trailed his hand lower, grazing her abdomen, leaving a trail of tingling heat where his fingers touched. She gasped as his fingers danced over her core, pushing her smallclothes aside and cupping her, a stab of desire shooting straight to her belly. He groaned at finding her so wet and pulled at a nipple with his lips, rubbing her lightly with a finger, making her buck into his hand and whimper as he dipped in and out, circling and stroking.
"Anders" He felt her tighten around his questing fingers and laved her nipple with his tongue.
She reached down and closed her hand gently over his length, making him gasp and press himself against her before impatiently shoving his trousers down over his hips. He huffed in surprise as she rolled him on top of her and then gave a shaky sigh as she positioned him at her entrance.
"It's not perfect, I know," she said, resting her forehead against his. "When is it ever? But tonight it's all we get."
He framed her face with his hands as she guided him in, pressing into her slowly until their hips met. Her eyes drifted shut and her mouth fell open in a soft O of pleasure as he hilted himself in her, stilling for long moments. "Maker, you're so beautiful, Hawke." He began to thrust slowly, withdrawing almost completely and then easing in, stretching her, the sensation almost too much to bear. She pulled at his lower back, tried to make him go faster but he only kissed her more deeply and continued his languid, maddening rhythm. Footsteps came and went along the docks and for a while the only sounds were their bodies moving together, their soft gasps and bitten moans. She felt the heat building low in her belly, each slow, electric thrust making her yearn for the next. She raised her hips to meet him, rising and falling like the waves behind them and he caught his breath. He pushed himself onto his elbows and without increasing his pace began to thrust more sharply, each time going a little deeper, thrusting a little harder until he was hitting the bundle of nerves deep inside her.
"Anders, please..." she felt him shudder in response and wrapped her legs around him, back bowing, whimpering into his chest as he slammed into her again and again until suddenly the orgasm hit her and she clutched at him, trembling. She felt him stiffen, his hips jerking uncontrollably before he emptied himself into her with a stifled groan, face buried in her neck.
They lay still for a few moments, breathing heavily, mouths moving gently together until he pulled away with a sigh and slipped out, rearranging his clothes. He smiled at her sadly and then turned to look at the moon slowly rising over the lip of the sea. He pulled a leather strap from his pocket and tied his hair back whilst she regarded his haunted profile. Say something, anything to break the tension.
"You didn't glow at me when I said 'fuck those whining circle mages' earlier, that's got to be a good sign. I'll try it again tomorrow, test the water." He chuckled, shooting a reproving glance at her but sobered quickly as she sat up. He flinched slightly when she touched his arm. "I can't believe things will go back to how they were before. You worry too much, Anders."
He turned suddenly, hugging her fiercely and then pulled back, running a hand through his hair. "I don't want it to. That was...I haven't the words. Wonderful. Please know that I would never hurt you" he said softly, searching her eyes. "I love you." She opened her mouth but he put a hand up to silence her. "Listen, Hawke, let me try to explain. When Justice is in here, I'm not...the me that's here now. Things are...clearer. Sharper. All I can focus on is the mission, the injustices being done to mages everywhere. Everything else just sort of...fades into the background..."
He lifted her chin with his hand. "I would never hurt you but he might. I couldn't live with that. I know that one day I'll have to make a choice between everything I want for myself and what I- we have to do...and I won't choose you, Hawke. I can't. He won't let me. That was the bargain. We're bound together until things are made right." He hesitated and then pressed his lips to hers. "I don't want to leave you, it's not fair. I wish things could be different."
He took a breath. "He'll be here soon, I don't want you to- . I should go."
"I'll see you tomorrow."
She watched his retreating form and heard the clock tower strike midnight across the docks. At the distant peal he paused, head lowered and then turn to look at her for a long moment, face suddenly devoid of all expression. Then he wheeled sharply and continued onwards, shoulders straightening, steps firming, eyes sweeping the shadows of the docks purposefully.
Justice is back then. Hawke swiped at the wetness on her cheeks angrily and set off for home.
She dropped by the clinic the next day on the pretext of 'women's problems', leaving Fenris and Sebastian standing uncomfortably outside. Anders was sitting at his desk and he rose when she entered, nodding a curt greeting.
"How are you today, Hawke?" His voice was modulated, controlled and his movements quick and precise, no hint of the humour or affection from the evening before. "I'll have someone drop your clothes off at the mansion later." There was little warmth in his face.
"It's...fine. I'm fine. Thank you. I just came to..." her voice died at his level gaze. She felt her heart contract and her eyes blur and she started to turn away when she felt a hand on her arm. His face was strained. "Thank you for last night" he said, voice low. "For everything. I won't forget it."
Her throat was closed and she couldn't speak, instead she dipped her chin sharply and left.
Anders watched her go, closing the door behind her and resting his forehead against the smooth wood. He heard the low murmurs of concern from her companions, terse replies and felt a stab of jealousy, a wave of despair. A memory rose, unbidden, of her soft body beneath him, her arms holding him tight, her hitching breaths in his ear and he shivered. Even as the memory threatened to overwhelm him he felt it retreating, being drawn away from him and shoved to the back of his mind.
No. He begged, hands fisting in his hair. No, please. Please let me have this. Let me have this one thing to remember...
Outside he heard Fenris suggested he come over with a book later and Hawke's hesitant acceptance, their voices fading. He heard Sebastian refer to an apostate recently recaptured and he shook his head, sudden anger sharpening the edges of his vision.
He pushed himself away from the door, drew a sheet of paper from his robes and scanned the ingredients needed for the compound - they would ask Hawke to help with the gathering later.
So much to do.
Anders rolled up his sleeves and went to work.