Fenris is pulled away from the soft edge of sleep by Hawke's fingers sliding along his back. He shivers as the callus rough fingertips trace around the raised lines of his markings, what started out as cautious investigation and curiosity having shifted into a comforting gesture in quiet moments such as this. He turns his head enough to see Hawke stretched out beside him, resting his weight on his elbow.
Just back from a run on the Wounded Coast, Hawke hadn't hesitated to drag him upstairs, push him down across the bed and strip him of his armor, in all senses of the word.
Fenris stretches, arching up into the hand continuing to stroke his back. Their activities have left him with bruises along his hips and thighs, a dull heat that still carries the impression of teeth on the back of his shoulder. A pleasant contrast to the aches and pains that yet linger from their earlier battles.
"I'm surprised you're still awake."
Hawke smiles, the motion edging into a leer. "What can I say, I'm insatiable."
"I hadn't noticed." Fenris' voice is muffled by his pillow.
There's a chuckle and then a stretch of quiet, filled with the near silent slide of Hawke's fingers along his back, the faint rasp of the sheets as Fenris shifts his weight, burying his head further into the pillow. He starts to drift off again, lulled into a quiet lassitude by the careful drag of fingers.
"You told me once that your markings still cause you pain."
Fenris stiffens, silently curses the reflex when he feels the brief hesitation in Hawke's caresses . Hawke doesn't stop, but he doesn't say anything either, a silent acknowledgement of Fenris' reaction as well as his intent to wait for an response.
Fenris has been expecting this conversation for some time now, has felt the too gentle touches along the raised skin, has seen Hawke carefully watching him after every battle, taking in every flinch and wince as he tried to shake the ache out of his limbs.
The feeling of contentment that had settled over him fades. He had hoped that he might never have to discuss this, which he knew was naive. It was easy, not to talk about it, to just let things lie for as long as they were able.
Turning, Fenris lifts up on one elbow, regrets the loss of Hawke's touch as his hand slides away. He wants to reach out, take the hand in his own until the sharp press of skin and bone drives away the hard curl of anxiety in his gut.
Hawke watches, no sign of pity, just patient waiting.
"There is some degree of pain, yes." Fenris smoothes a hand along the bed spread, the sheets soft and warm from when they had been lying across it.
There's a frown and Hawke catches his hand, thumb tracing a curl of white scar across the back of his hand. "How much pain are we talking about here?"
"It is nothing I cannot endure," Fenris assures him. "The pain is at its worst during battle."
Not quite a lie. It is only during battle that he draws on the lyrium beneath his skin deliberately, and while active it is the hot press of cold iron beneath his skin. Burning, always burning, the price he pays for being able to cut down those who would stand before him, or dog his steps in his search for freedom.
There's a pause as Hawke thinks it over and Fenris has a moment to hope that is the end of it, before Hawke says quietly, "So it hurts even when you are not fighting." There is no escaping what's coming, and Fenris lays quietly, waits for Hawke to put the pieces together. "Does it hurt every time they glow?"
Even expecting it, Fenris can't help the way his heart leaps.
Blue flares along his arms and back in response to his spike of anxiety, spreading down his spine and legs in a wave of prickling irritation. A sensation that will grow to a slow throb, the skin around each curving line becoming tender and painful the longer the glow continues.
Fenris fists his hand into the blanket, struggles to remain calm as the lyrium starts to burn. It is difficult after years of letting the pain hone a sharp edge to his temper.
He doesn't know how to answer the question that Hawke is really asking. Hawke had been intrigued the first time they slept together, hands sliding and pressing over the glowing blue lines, a quip about Fenris being quite literally turned on smothered by a kiss. Having run out shortly afterward, it wasn't until three years later that Fenris had had to endure an awkward conversation that amounted to him admitting that as good as his control was, the lyrium always reacted to his stronger emotions, lust being one of them. By then he was grateful to have Hawke back in his life, as well as desperate to keep him. It had seemed better to simply forgo mentioning the way the markings pained him, in battle and in bed.
But now Hawke is asking, watching him with pinched eyes that hint at suspicion, if not outright knowledge. Saying yes means that Hawke will stop touching him and he doesn't want to - no, can't - live without that anymore. But saying no will be lying and he doesn't want to do that anymore either.
With Denarius dead he had thought his hatred would fade, burn down to embers at least. He finds that his hate hasn't lessened in the slightest, turning thick and ugly during moments like this when the damage Denarius wrought still manages to leave him twisting in fear. The pain lives on, Denarius' mark on him. A living reminder of what he had once been and could never be.
"Fenris?" Hawke prompts when the silence stretches. Fenris' fist is glowing now, a bright burn traveling up his arm. Hawke shows the first signs of concern, placing his hand over Fenris', the blue light shining between his fingers. "I'm sorry. I didn't mean to upset you."
It's the lack of hesitation that does it, the way Hawke doesn't think twice about touching him. It gives Fenris the courage to speak when all he wants to do is run, or get drunk enough that feeling becomes a distant memory. "Yes." He takes a deep breath, turns his hand around to curl their fingers together as Hawke watches him in confusion. "It hurts every time my markings glow."
Hawke doesn't jerk away, but he does grow still, his mouth pressing into a tight, thin line. His grip doesn't lessen, but Fenris can feel the twitch as Hawke grinds down on his instinctive reaction to let go. "Why didn't you tell me?"
"Because doing so changes only how you see me. It won't make them hurt any less." Because this is the first time he's wanted someone to grab a hold of him, to push him down and claim him as theirs. That someone has let him do the same.
Fenris fights back the urge to snarl when Hawke only shakes his head, the glow from his markings highlighting the shadows on Hawke's face.
"It's nothing I can't handle." Fenris tightens his fingers, doesn't know what to think when Hawke does as well, their knuckles turning white from the effort. "It has always hurt, and I do not know if it always will, but there is nothing I can do about it beyond getting drunk every night."
He'd tried that route, running from Hawke after their first night together. If it dulled the pain it took away everything else as well, and Fenris wasn't willing to pay that price anymore. There were only so many times he could wake up alone and hung-over.
Hawke huffs, and it's more sharp exhalation than a laugh but it's something and Fenris will take it. "Not what I would prefer." Hawke sighs, shifts closer, the sheet sliding further down to expose the sharp curve of Fenris' hip bone. "I don't like the idea of causing you pain."
"You don't," Fenris bites out with more force than he is comfortable with, has a moment to feel the sting of regret before Hawke smiles. He exhales, ignores instinct for more recent lessons and reaches for Hawke, fingers curling around the back of his neck. The hair at the base of Hawke's skull is warm and soft, and Fenris sinks his fingers into it even as he draws Hawke in for a kiss.
Fenris doesn't try for gentle, it isn't in him right now, with pain and longing twisting beneath his skin. Hawke's mouth is warm, opening willingly to a dance of lips and tongue that helps Fenris to settle into something that - if it isn't quite calm - is enough that sharp glow of lyrium fades into a pale shimmer.
"I didn't think it was something you needed to know," he says when he pulls back, close enough that he can feel Hawke's hitching breaths against his sensitive lips. Hawke's hair is rumpled and Fenris can't resist running his fingers through it some more, stomach clenching at the way Hawke rumbles in appreciation. "I never thought I would have - " he stops, ends up making a gesture that encompasses the two of them in Hawke's bed, and hopefully everything else.
"A home," Hawke says quietly.
Fenris' breath catches in his throat and he nods, swallowing. "Yes. I did not think I would ever have this, not after escaping from Danarius. And as you know, I have no memories from my time before." Hawke's hand smoothes down his arm, rough fingertips catching on the raised lines. It's a shock of pleasure mixed with raw ache, a sensation that thrums deep in his gut. "I am happy with you when once I thought I would never be. I thought telling you would change things."
Hawke nods, acknowledgment rather than agreement, judging from the thin set of his lips and the tension Fenris can sense in his frame. "What did you think I would do?"
"I imagined you would leave," Fenris says shortly, forcing himself to lay still rather than press closer. He plucks at the blanket, determined to finish what has been started, if only so that he never have to speak of this again. He registers the look on Hawke's face and huffs. "I can admit that my fears might not have been exactly...rational. But you can hardly say that you are comfortable with the idea of causing me pain."
"I am not," Hawke admits, matter of fact. "But if what you say is true, then you will always feel some manner of pain, regardless of who you are sleeping with. If given the choice, I would prefer that you remain in my bed." Hawke makes a sound low in his throat, almost a growl, and presses in, weight and warmth pushing Fenris back into the bed. Hawke's breath is warm against the join of his shoulder and neck, a rough scrape of motion as his beard rubs against the soft skin. "I must admit, Fenris, that your fears are somewhat misplaced."
Hands sliding up Hawke's back as if with a will of their own, Fenris struggles for dry rebuke but misses, voice shaking too much to carry it off. "Oh please, do enlighten me."
Hawke laughs, drags his teeth over a curl of lyrium, lighter than he might have earlier but still with enough pressure to make Fenris shudder. Fenris makes a low noise of objection when Hawke leans back, fingers catching at Hawke's arms in an attempt to pull him back down. Hawke resists, trademark grin fading. "If you are to be afraid of anything, it should be that I would ever be able to let you go."
Fenris' fingers tighten, will undoubtedly leave a small pattern of bruises curling along Hawke's bicep, but Hawke doesn't flinch, just continues looking down at him. He can see the cresting of some fierce emotion behind Hawke's eyes, the lingering sensation of teeth and the heavy press of his body a claim to match the softly spoken words.
It hits Fenris low in his belly, the flash of heat and hungry desire to stake a claim of his own. "I cannot imagine my life without you."
Hawke grins, a flash of teeth as he shifts his hips between Fenris' parted thighs, pulling a rough groan out of them both as their cocks slid together. "I suppose we are stuck with one another."
"I can think of worse things," Fenris mutters. He hisses as Hawke rolls their hips together, before fisting a hand in the hair at the nape of Hawke's neck, drawing him back. "No, I want you to fuck me."
"Again? Are you sure?" Hawke leans back, gently probes where Fenris is still loose and sensitive from earlier. His words urge for caution, but Fenris can feel the possessive grip on his thigh, see the steadily growing hunger in his eyes, an echo of what Fenris can feel clawing at his insides.
"Yes." He lifts his leg to press at Hawke's back with his heel, urging him forward.
Hawke doesn't need to be told twice. After a few careful probes with his fingers, he pushes Fenris' thighs up, hooking his knees over his forearms. The position forces the air out of Fenris' lungs, and he can only gasp for breath when Hawke slides in on a single thrust. It burns, but the sensation soon fades, replaced with a twisting heat, fine edges of pain as his tattoos flare to life, fed by lust and an almost stifling want.
Their joining is rough, biting fingers and the scrape of teeth, the hard slap of flesh and rustling of sheets. What drives them now is sharper than unspent adrenaline, creating new bruises as marks of ownership, the wet, all consuming press of tongue and lips as they rock together. Fenris comes with Hawke's hand around his cock, his orgasm pulling Hawke down with him as his body clenches.
It's a few minutes after they've settled, their rough breathing evening out into a slow rhythm, that Hawke shifts to the side and starts tracing the aching lines of Fenris' markings again. The glow is gradually fading, the ache sliding away to be buried beneath the blissed out hum of his body's satisfaction.
"Are we okay?" Hawke asks in the quiet that settles between them.
Fenris sighs, body relaxing into the soft touches and the slight sting as Hawke's calluses catch on sensitive skin. "Yes."
There will always be pain, he thinks, and the idea doesn't bother him as much as it used to, not with Hawke's claim marking his skin. A reminder that pain isn't always bad.