disclaimer: disclaimed
dedication: to everyone who went so hard for the LAST horrible fic i wrote. y'all cute.
notes: so i've been to a WILD wedding and a quiet thanksgiving these last couple weeks, so here's some stupid fanfiction for y'all, written to my new cousin-in-law's band
notes2: paris, africa — top less gay love tekno party

title: beautiful little idiot
summary: Fenris does not have the patience for this. She is his witch, and she should know better by now. — templar!au coda; Fenris/Merrill.

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"Witch," Fenris says, frustratedly and to no one in particular, "when are you going to learn to lock your door?!"

Kirkwall's alienage bustles around him, a familiar echo as he lets himself into the witch's abode. There's salt and smoked rat on the breeze; his stomach rumbles, but it's cut by laughter and sawdust, the faint green haze rising from the sewers. The sound cuts off abruptly as he closes the door behind him; she's gone out somewhere, and he is here alone.

Fenris exhales heavily.

She is going to get herself killed.

There is not much to do. Fenris divests himself of armour, leaving it clanking in a pile with his sword at the door. It's not often he is free of the armour completely, but it is a freeing thing, to not have to carry the weight.

She leaves books out. Fenris is never sure if she does this solely because she knows that eventually he will be about, or if it is simply that she has too many books and not enough shelves to keep them on. He muses, idly, about the possibility of learning to build a bookshelf. It can't entirely be a difficult pastime, and he supposes the witch would appreciate somewhere to keep her books that is not the ground.

Fenris drops down into one of the chairs at the table, out of sight of where that cursed mirror had sat for a near decade. The thing is gone, now, moved out to the Hawke Estate on the Wounded Coast where Hawke's mother currently resides, but the space where it stood still whispers.

He shudders. He knows the witch has cleansed the air a hundred times over.

But still it lingers.

He closes his eyes so that he doesn't have to look at it, anymore. Early morning sunlight streams in bleary white-gold through the hole in the roof—he needs to fix that, eventually, or find someone to fix it for him; the witch will catch a cold—and he breathes in, slow and steady.

The alienage is not his home.

Fenris does not have a home.

But the witch's place is something akin to it. It is quiet here, and he is untroubled.

Time passes, though he couldn't say how much. Morning's pale gold lengthens and darkens into afternoon, and the alienage bustle grows loud enough to leak through the door. The elves with work in Kirkwall's higher rings are making their way home; Fenris is startled to realize that the day has passed him by, and that it's already that time.

He tips his head back, eyes still closed, and has to hide a grin as the witch finally makes her way through the front door, come home to him again.

For a moment, it's very quiet.

And then:

"Hello," she says. Fenris can practically hear the way she's blinking, owlish, confused. "You're here? Again? I didn't expect you back—"

"Witch," Fenris sighs. His eyes stay closed, and he doesn't deign to look at her, only tilts his head further over the back of his chair. Light spills through his eyelids strange orange-red. Fenris doesn't need to see her to know that she looks as she always does, in tatty greens and browns, earth colours, dark hair and wide brilliant eyes, a bundle of herbs clutched to her chest. He can smell them; they scent the air.

"I really didn't expect you t'come back?"

"Your bed is more comfortable than mine," says Fenris. This is true, mostly because Fenris does not have another bed.

"Y'don't have a bed," the witch retorts, sharper than she'd likely intended to.

Fenris keeps his eyes closed, and very carefully crooks a single eyebrow. It's a strange sensation, upside-down. It never fails to amuse him when they think along the same lines. "I have your bed, witch. Is that not the same thing? There is no one else in it."

"No!" the witch sputters. She's probably turning sunset crimson. The image is deeply entertaining. "That's not—why would y'even—it's my bed, Fenris, I'll be in it?!"

The corner of his mouth twitches up, unbidden. It is not that he is laughing at her, but—she is very ridiculous, sometimes, his witch. Of course she's going to be in her own bed. Of course he's going to be there, too. Where else would either of them be?

"Fenris!"

And the amusement gets to him, finally.

Fenris laughs.

"Dread Wolf take you," Merrill mutters. She's frowning, he can hear it in her voice. "Don't y'have anything better t'do than die?"

"Witch," Fenris drawls, "who are you talking to?"

"The elfroot," she says, and he listens as she putters off into the kitchen. Her feet are near-silent on the floor, but the clatter as she searches for water for the herbs is an oddly familiar thing. He has not been here enough to know it, and yet—

Fenris knows it all the same.

He rises from the chair, and pads after her. It is strange to move so freely through a space that is not his own, for all that in so many ways it is his own. The larder is Merrill's domain, through no fault on either side. Fenris knows that it is where she retreats when things are too much. The sun comes in here, and he thinks that this helps her more than she realizes.

For long moments, he can only watch.

Merrill is swift on her feet, the dredged remains of the elfroot already cut away and disposed of. The leaves, pale green as they are, have been plopped into a tankard full of what must be clear water from the cistern. And she has brought flowers, as well, tiny purple blooms that she has tucked in between the leaves of the elfroot.

It is so unashamedly Merrill that Fenris truly does have to smile.

He pads over and leans over her, a long line of heat up her back. It strikes him that she is so very small; her shoulders and her hands and the sharp cut of her waist. There is nothing to her, and it makes him want to set his teeth into the round of her shoulder and take more of her away.

"Witch," Fenris says, quiet and low, a skein of warmth running through the words. He's pleased when she shivers. "You did not answer my question."

"Y'didn't ask a question?"

"I asked, is it not the same thing?"

"It isn't!"

"Are you sure?" he says, right into her ear. Again it strikes him how she's so slim, the bend of her neck the colour of sweet cream in the sun. He thinks about putting his mouth there. It is a fairly pleasant thought; her skin is salted and sweet and there, so close he can near taste it already.

Fenris indulges it.

Merrill's breath catches in her throat at the barest touch of Fenris' mouth to her neck. He does not understand; they have been here before, have they not? It will not be the first time they have touched one another, nor will it be the last.

"Fenris—" she starts.

"Hush, witch," Fenris murmurs. She gets strange ideas into her head when she talks. Worries. Wrings herself into circles, into knots; it is better than they do not talk, then. She cannot misconstrue his meaning like this. Fenris puts his hands on her hips, draws her backwards into him. The witch moves easy, allows him to bodily place her as it please him, and it pleases him to have her close.

There, he thinks. She cannot think this is anything but what it is.

Fenris hooks his chin over the witch's shoulder. "Witch," he says again, voice dropping lower and smooth, now, smooth, "Are you sure?"

"Until a minute ago I was?" says Merrill. Her voice pitches a little high, a little hungry. It's rare to hear his witch like that. Fenris grins into the thin skin of her nape, feels the pounding of her pulse beneath his lips.

"I thought y'didn't—"

"I do," Fenris murmurs, cutting off that sentiment before it has a chance to take root. "Your bed is the only one I wish to be in, witch."

His witch sort of crumbles against him. Fenris finds himself holding her up, but it is not a difficult thing. Merrill is bird-light, hollow-boned, feather weight. He's carried heavier swords.

And he does not mind carrying his witch.

Fenris sweeps her up. Her hair is getting long, sneaking out of the braids she'd kept it in all these long years, loops of ink-coloured darkness that he sometimes has a mind to run his fingers through. Isabela used to call the witch kitten; would she purr, if he did? Would she enjoy it?

When he is away, this is what preys on Fenris' mind. They have not always—he knows very well that they have not always been gentle with one another, he and his little witch. Especially he with her; Fenris is very aware that he has left marks on her skin that he had no business leaving, and in his darker moments he wonders whether he deserves forgiveness for this trespass.

But his witch does not struggle as he lifts her into the air.

Fenris does not have the patience for this; she is his witch, and she should know better by now. He would find it in the tone of her voice if she did not wish this of him.

Merrill's home—his home, for what worth is a home without her in it—is small. Ten long strides from one end to the other, a sharp little turn-off into the bedroom, into their bed.

Fenris dumps her on the sheets and is halfway through tearing her vestments from her before he realizes quite what he's doing.

Her mouth is red, but not red enough.

He freezes.

"Fenris?" Merrill asks, blinking up at him. "What is it?"

"It is nothing," he says, and the moment passes. The blood hazes away, and then he is in closer, kneeling between her legs, the rough drag of her nails against his back. Her palms close convulsively at his back, and they are both shedding what clothes they can.

Fenris bites down at her pulse. His witch keens, and fenedhis, he's going to make a mess of her. He wants to make a mess of her. Merrill rolls her hips into him, thoughtless, needing friction, needing pressure, needing

"Witch," Fenris says, strained. "Stop."

(He cannot—not yet. Her, first. His witch, first.)

Merrill stops.

Fenris drops even further, flat to the bed, bare palms skimming down her sides to the roll of her leggings. He listens as her breath dies in her lungs, strangled to a gruesome death when he presses his mouth to her abdomen. A wash of heat rolls over him: strange, fragile warmth that buzzes beneath his skin and leaves him lightheaded at the sight of her prone before him.

He doesn't ask, but he doesn't think she expects him to.

"Witch," Fenris growls, instead, voice low and rough, tongue thick in his mouth. "Tell me what you need."

"I thought y'didn't want me t'talk?"

She is going to be the death of him. Fenris settles between her thighs, pressing into milk-white skin, the warm flush of her blood so close to the surface here. The scent of her arousal clogs his nose. half-giddy with it, and it takes every ounce of self-control Fenris possesses to not tear the scraps of her smalls off with his teeth.

"Merrill," he says, her name a shattered, sacred thing in his jaws. "I need to hear it."

His witch inhales more sharply than he's ever heard her do in his life. She reaches up to curl her fingers into his hair—again, Fenris thinks about touching the dark of her hair, and gentility, and the hunger for the both of these things threatens to swallow him whole—shaking, just a little.

"Satha," she whispers, the old tongue like music in her mouth. "Isalar'ar."

"One day, witch," Fenris says, grave, "You will have to teach me what that means."

Fenris is delighted—as delighted as he can be—to find that his witch has turned crimson from the tips of her ears all the way down to her chest, colour flooding into her. She claps her hands over her face.

"Satha means please," she whispers hoarsely through the gap in her fingers.

"And isala'ar?"

"Erm," he witch starts, her voice so high and strangled now that Fenris wonders if she's getting enough air. "It's—oh, Creators, it's I need. But only t'do with—with lust. Desire. Please tell me t'stop, Fenris!"

"Desire?" he echoes. "Truly?"

Merrill nods, cheeks vibrantly red. "Y'don't say it in polite company, people tend t'get the wrong idea!"

"And if I would have you get the wrong idea, witch? What then?"

"I don't—I don't know—"

Fenris chooses this particular moment to drag his teeth along the long fine edge of her ear. It is very interesting to watch all thought flee from her mind. She lives in her head, his witch, always so concerned with what their people have lived through and lost and found in spite of it. The mirror was never his preference, but there are times that Fenris understands. And it is a terrible thing, to understand. He digs a thumb into the sharp jut of her hip. Her accent gets thick when she's this close to losing what little of her mind she has left.

He sucks the tip of her ear into his mouth, just to make her lose the rest of it. "May I finish what I started, now?"

"Oh, uh, I s'pose," Merrill says, glassy-eyed.

"Satha," Fenris says, crookedly, and buries his fingers inside of her. She gasps like she's drowning, hips jerking, desperate already for teeth and tongue and cock, his cock.

It's not enough.

He wants to hear her scream, but he wants—needs

"Tell me yes, witch," he manages through his teeth. "I must hear it."

She pulses around him, the tight wet clench of her cunt burning and perfect. Fenris drags his thumb over the bundle of nerves, there, because he cannot help himself and she twitches. She will say yes or she will say no, and they will continue from there.

(As always, if she says no, he will not touch her again. But Merrill has never said no.)

"Merrill," Fenris says, like a warning.

"Yes, Creators, yes," she hiccups, half out of her mind already. "Why d'you always—"

Fenris swallows the question before it can leave her lips. He always asks, and he has never told her why. But there is a reckoning coming, and he will tell her soon. Not right now. But—

Later, he thinks. I will tell you later. But I will tell you. I will.

Merrill curls dreamily into his side, bite marks all along her collarbones blooming into purple-violent marks all over already. There are fingerprints along her hips, mottling yellow-blue. He is always too much for her.

Fenris looks at them out of the corner of his eye, and hates himself.

"I am—sorry," he says, very quietly. Evening falls softly, pinwheels and wrinkled fabric, the alienage breathing out at the end of a very long day. Fenris is not very good at apologies. He is still trying to learn.

"For what?" the witch asks. She is more asleep than not. It is not the proper time to have this conversation, and yet have it they must.

"You will have bruises."

"Oh," says Merrill. She turns her face towards him, palm curled up by the swell of her mouth. "Y'don't have t'apologize, not for that."

"I have hurt you."

"They're not bad bruises, Fenris," his little witch says. She hesitates for a moment, and he holds his breath, waiting for the inevitable crash. "I—I don't think I'm s'pposed to, but I like them?"

Fenris exhales. "Why? Why would you enjoy that, witch?"

"Because it means you were long enough t'leave a hurt."

Fenris props himself up on an elbow, careful not to jostle her and upset the delicate balance. There are things here between them that they need to crack apart like gems in rocks, shake out like little pearls. Hawke taught him many things, but mostly she taught him not to let things fester. It would not do for the witch to allow it, either.

"Do you think I am going to leave?" Fenris asks her.

Merrill blinks at him. "Everyone leaves. It's what people are meant t'do."

Something rumbles forbidding in Fenris' chest. He can't name it, being so far away from himself, but it is there. It feels how a broken bone feels, after it's well on its way to healing: tender, and as though any little push will put it back to broken.

His witch is not meant to be alone.

"I am not leaving," Fenris says.

"But y'will," Merrill says, tipping her head and blinking slowly. He thinks that she is very much like a cat, sometimes. "You're going t'go back to Tevinter, or t'find Hawke, or, or something? And it's fine—" she hastens to add, when Fenris opens his mouth for a rebuttal, a contradiction that wouldn't make sense because it isn't as though she's wrong, "—I don't mind! I even like being alone, sometimes. It's not so bad, y'know."

"You are lonely," he says.

"No," says Merrill. "Not really. But I'd like t'sleep, I think?"

Fenris makes a quiet sound of acquiescence. He shifts a little so that she dips forwards, closer into his chest. He isn't entirely sure how to do this, or even if this is the right way to go about trying to apologize for more years than he rightly wants to think about, more cruelties than he perhaps truly knows.

She is very resilient, his witch.

And she slips into sleep very quickly. The movement of her shoulders eases, the slowing rise and fall as her breath evens and the Fade calls her home. It is startling to think that Fenris would have left her like this, and not even all that long ago, when the scars along her arms would have set his stomach to churning.

In some ways, they still manage to set his stomach to churning, but the reasons are different, now. Fenris cannot stand the thought of hurting her. It is a worse thought, were it self-inflicted.

All he knows, now, is to be with her.

Idly, Fenris slides his hands into his witch's hair.

Oh, he thinks.

Soft as silk.

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fin.