I awoke next to a warm body and was initially surprised until I realized that I wasn't in my own bed either. I rolled on my side, propped my head on my bent elbow and looked down at the elf beside me. His white hair was tousled and his alluring eyes were closed. I longed to touch him but didn't dare wake him.
I had been waiting without knowing it.
Three long years.
It took him three years to come back to me but I am glad I waited. Just to see him smile, it was worth it. Now that he has come back, I don't know if I can ever let him go.
When we first met, I was bait for a trap he set to get my assistance against some slavers. I would have helped him outright if he had simply asked. But he didn't know me yet.
Something sparked between us, even at that first meeting. I knew it was anger for both of us. I was angry because he was inconsiderate. He was angry because I am a mage. But after I helped him, our lives became entangled, interwoven like strands on a tapestry. We agreed on almost nothing.
Three years went by. He fought at my side. We talked from time to time. I watched him drink his way through Danerius' wine cellar, occasionally smashing a bottle against the wall for good measure. I pressed the issue of mage's rights and he called me a fool for doing so. He always turned to the Tevinter Magisters as examples of the evils of free mages. I am a free mage and have not turned to blood magic nor become an abomination. I think this still makes him wary of me. Maybe he fears I will one day turn to this dark side of magic and he will have to kill me. I would rather die by his hand than become an abomination. Neither shall come to pass if it is within my power to prevent it.
Then there was the night everything changed three years ago. Slavers came looking for Fenris and we learned the Hadrianna was in the Free Marshes. He demanded we go and pay her a visit. Once we found and defeated her, she begged him to spare her life in exchange for information about his sister. He gave his word that he would not kill her. Once he had the information, he plunged his hand into her chest and stopped her heart.
What does his word mean?
I think this question plagued his mind as well. He left immediately and we did not see him again. Not along the Wounded Coast, not at his mansion in Hightown, not at the Hanged Man, not even among the desolate and dangerous streets of Lowtown. It was only when I went home that I found him, sitting on a bench in my great room. He was agitated. He did not question killing her for she had made his life a living hell. He was angry and frustrated, and my kindness did not soothe him. It was only after I asked him why he really came that things changed.
It was so quick. I grabbed for his arm and his tattoos flared. He grabbed me by the arms and I kissed him. Our lovemaking was passionate, almost angry. Gentleness was gone but neither of us needed that. It was pure passion. We made it to my bed without my mother seeing us – thank the Maker! We stripped off his armor and I saw for the first time how his body had been branded with lyrium. Tattoos ran from his chin to his feet, in gentle twists and turns like vines growing on brick. As invasive as vines, this lyrium branding must have been excruciating to bear. They were heart-wrenchingly beautiful. Beauty and torment. My heart ached for him in one way while my body ached for him in another.
We made love that night, born of pure passion. I awoke to find him fully dressed, staring into the fire. He was aloof and distant. When I asked him why, he was evasive. He said our lovemaking made him remember his life before the tattoos. I wasn't sure if that was meant to be a good thing or a bad thing, but before I could ask, he left.
We never spoke of that night until tonight.
We met his sister in the Hanged Man. She was a lure for him to be caught in Danarius' trap. It was a trap that would spring on its maker as Fenris ended his life and Anders, Varric and I took down Danarius' guards. Fenris would have killed his sister but I stopped him. I would not allow him to kill his own sister, even if she was training to be a Tevinter mage.
When I went to find Fenris at his mansion, he was pacing before the fire. He started cursing me at first sight in a language I didn't recognize. When I asked what it meant, he said, "You will be the death of me." His hate, his bitterness, was eating away at his soul. He was truly a free man at last, and didn't know what to do with his freedom. I told him to start over. I said I would help him. At last we came to the topic of us.
I let him talk without interruption. He paced as he spoke, as if the motion would help the words to flow. "It's been three long years and yet your touch feels like yesterday. I was a fool and a coward. I am ashamed of myself. I should have told you then how I felt."
"Nothing could be worse than the thought of living without you." Then he leaned in on my chair, his hair falling in front of those exquisite green eyes and asked for my forgiveness. Of course I forgave him. How could I not? Even though he abandoned me three years ago, we still worked together, fought together, and there was always a simmering passion between us. Passion that exploded once again as soon as we touched.
So now I lay here, watching him sleep, desperately wanting to touch him again. To reassure myself that this is real. I love him, but I cannot tell him that. I may never be able to tell him that. We will see what the future holds for us. There may come a day when he can accept my love. We are opposites in everything mage-related but I would kill any number of slavers to keep him free. I would kill anyone to keep him free.
I lost the battle to keep my hands to myself. I reached out gently and traced his bottom lip with my finger. His eyes opened immediately and he grasped my hand. We stared at each other wordlessly for several long moments. His green gaze hypnotized me as it always does. Then he turned my hand over and kissed my wrist softly.
"What would you have of me?" he asked.
I shook my head. "Nothing."
A hint of a smile crossed his face. "I don't believe you."
After all we have been through, he knew me too well. "I want only what you are willing to give."
"I have little to offer you, as you know. But I choose a path to walk beside you."
I smiled. He could not offer me his heart, it was too bound up in hate, but I was willing to wait and hope that someday he would feel free enough to give it. I had already given him mine, even if he did not know it. Our future would be a rocky one, but it would be exciting.
"I do have one question for you," I said, daring to shatter the peace between us. "Your sister said your name was Leto. Danarius renamed you Fenris. What shall I call you now? Do you wish to be called Fenris or Leto?"
His fingers splayed out as he intertwined them with mine. "I shall have to think on it. But first," he added, pulling me on top of him, "I want you." We made passionate love for the second time that night.
Afterwards, as I was drifting off to sleep, I heard him speak softly. "I think I would like a new name."