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August 11, 2011
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Reflections

Pairing: Vlad Hawke (M!Hawke) / Fenris
Genre: Drama / Romance
Note: A fic written from vampy6667's contest.
Beware for the mention of blood and bad images! But nothing you guys can't handle, I'm sure of it. ^^

***

Pain... Everywhere. That was the first thing he felt when he woke up. It was like his whole body was on fire. Gritting his teeth, he tried to open his eyes to see where he was, but the place was mostly dark. There was still a dim light, coming from a fire at a few feet from him. At least, he thought it was probably a fire.
He couldn't see it... and he couldn't move either.

He was stuck. Half of his body was trapped under numerous stones boulders. He felt like his legs were being crushed... or maybe they were already broken.
The pain was strong. His whole body seriously hurt. He could feel hot liquid on his face. Probably blood. As he tried to move his head on the right, his forehead met a metal rod. It moved slightly and he hissed in pain as he felt like the flesh was being torn. A steel rod had went through his right shoulder, adding another serious injury.

But what had happened ? Where was he ?

« … Hawke ? » He heard a grunt near from him and immediately recognized the voice. It was Varric. « Hawke, can you... hear me ? »

« … yeah. » he said, weakly, turning his head on the other side. His friend was lying at a few feet from him, holding on his precious crossbow. He was injured too, but not as much as him. His leg seemed to be stuck under a shattered stone wall. He had a bleeding cut on his forehead and his clothes were torn in different places. But otherwise, he looked alright. « Varric... »

« Good... you're still alive. » the dwarf said with relief. Unlike Vlad, his voice was still as strong as before. « I was worried... »

« I think... death didn't want me... or something. » he tried to laugh but suddenly coughed and spit blood. He closed his eyes, feeling dizzy. « Maker... »

« Hey, don't go to sleep, Hawke. Open your eyes. Vlad Hawke, I'm ordering you to open your eyes. » Varric said firmly. Hawke smiled, tried to swallow and opened his eyes. Every bits of his body seemed to hurt. « Good. Stay awake. »

« It... hurt like hell. »

« Yes, I can guess that. You look like a broken bloody doll. » Varric looked down and tried to move his stuck leg. « I need to... argh! Free my leg and go get help... If help is not on the way already. I bet the explosion was loud enough to wake up the whole town. »

« What happened ? » Vlad asked, breathing slowly. « I... don't remember well. »

« Don't you remember? » The dwarf looked at him and smiled sadly. « We... I think it was a trap. »

« A trap... » Vlad repeated, hissing in a pain, and finally remembered.

*** Two hours ago ***

It seemed like a normal evening. With a simple task. To help his friend Aveline investigating an old building that was supposed to be a slaver basement. At first, it had been a rumor. But the different reports of suspicious coming back and forth of people during the night did bring the guard Captain's attention. She originally didn't want to ask Hawke for assistance, but the rogue had heard of the rumor and insisted on going with her... most to her distaste.
She enjoyed traveling and fighting beside her friend, but sometimes she wished he'd listen to her and stay away from trouble. Just for once.

« Come on, Aveline. » Vlad had replied with a charming smile « I always attract trouble, it must be my good looks ! »

« Right... I'd prefer if you actually attract good things, or use your good looks to stop Isabella from trying to make me read the stories she wrote on Donnic and I. » The warrior said, sighing.

« Oooh, Isabella wrote stories on you two ? She didn't even tell me ! Do you think she'll let me read them ? » Merrill asked with a smile. Aveline and Varric both cleared their throats, while Vlad sighed and shook his head at the elf's obviousness. « Oh... is it dirty ? »

« I don't think you'd enjoy them, Daisy. » said the dwarf « Trust me. I think you should stick to reading what I write. »

« Let's not talk about this now. We're here. » Aveline said as she stopped in front of a building.

Hawke looked up and nodded. The building was high and mostly made of old stones. It seemed abandoned for a long time, but that was probably not the truth. Trouble was probably waiting inside. The rogue would have normally brought Fenris along, but he already had planned to meet the elf later. The warrior sent him a letter this morning asking him to come over for serious talking. The rogue didn't know what to expect, but hoped it would be good news. Ever since Danarius was killed last week, the elf had refused to leave his mansion or talk to anyone. And the rogue missed him.
He shook his head, sighing softly. He should first concentrate on whatever could be waiting for them. It was probably not as empty as it seemed.

And he was right. Once inside, the group soon met slavers who immediately attacked them. The fight was long and tiring, but when the last man fell, the building was silent once again. They all decided to take a look around, but the search was useless. There was nothing on the ground floor.

« Well, seems like that was it. Only slavers, but no slave. » Aveline said, shaking her head as she turned around to leave the place. « I think we can leave, Hawke. »

« Yes, I guess so. Wait here, I'll be right back. » said Vlad as he walked up stairs leading to another floor. He expected to see nothing special but when he reached the top of the stairs, he saw an old-looking mage, probably a slaver, looking at him with wide dark eyes. And a mad grin. He started cackling, rubbing his hands. « Ah... looks like we nearly missed someone. »

The man was standing in front of several barrels. He kept on cackling madly, shaking. The rogue frowned, feeling something was very wrong.

« Death is here, death is here, and so are youuuu... » he said. He repeated this a few times, talking louder and louder.

« Hawke, what's going on ? » The rogue heard Aveline saying downstairs as she heard the mad chant. But Vlad didn't answer her, watching as the man turned around and raised his right hand. « What's upstairs ? »

« Dwarves, powder... fire for you! » the old man repeated as he created a ball of fire. Vlad felt the hair on the back of his neck raise up as he heard that. Dwarven powder? Like the barrels he saw in the Deep Roads, when he had gone looking for the Grey Warden Nathaniel.
Time to run.

« OUTSIDE !!! » He yelled down the stairs as he turned around. « NOW !! »

There was a violent explosion behind him. He felt being thrown in the air, hitting a wall.
And then, darkness.

*** Present Time ***

« Damn it... Dwarven explosives... » he said in a low voice. He didn't have enough strength to talk louder, but Varric was close enough to hear him properly. « And I thought... only that dwarf... Temmerin... had some. »

« Obviously not, but for now, it doesn't really matter, right ? » The dwarf said, sighing. « Part of the building collapsed. Half of it, I think. And we're stuck whoever knows where... »

Vlad nodded and slowly turned his head the other way, trying to take a better look at the place. The fire burning nearby gave enough light to a few feet ahead of them, but that was it. They couldn't see the sky and the roof, or what was left of it, was barely high enough for a grown man to stand full. They seemed to be in a wide room. There were boulders, bits of wood and metals scattered everywhere around them. The place was silent too, as if Varric and him were the only living souls trapped here... and that was probably true.

« Aveline ? Daisy ? » He heard Varric calling. But there was only silence, broken occasionally by the crackling of the burning fire nearby. « I hope they're alright... »

« Weren't you... with them ? » Vlad asked. But Varric shook his head.

« I was close to the stairs, but they were near the door when they heard this... mad chanting. Hopefully, they managed to leave the building. »

« I hope so... »

*** Outside ***

A big crowd of curious people wasn't what Fenris had expected to see when he arrived in Lowtown. Hawke was late for their meeting and when the elf had gone to his mansion, Bohdan had told him that Hawke was in Lowtown for some important business.
And important business usually meant troubles with Hawke. If he was right, then he trusted the man not to have gone killing some bandits or slavers alone. The rogue was a skilled fighter, but not foolish enough to simply start a fight without considering the odds.

But that was hours ago. It shouldn't have taken him so long. So, the warrior had decided to look for him. He couldn't keep the scowl off his face. He was already nervous, knowing he wanted to talk seriously to the man, and adding the worry made him grumpy.
But his anger soon faded into confusion as he saw many people talking among each other and guards shooting to stay back.

« Hey Fenris ! » The elf saw Isabella standing nearby, waving at him. « You're missing the fun. »

« Your kind of fun is never safe, Isabella. » he replied, joining her. The pirate shrugged and nodded to the crowd. « What's going on ? »

« I heard an explosion. » she said « Some building has collapsed. Or at least, half of it. It was old and abandoned, but it still awakened everyone. Didn't you hear it ? »

« No, I didn't. » Fenris answered, looking in the same direction. He could see a little hill made of broken stone and wood pillars and half of a building that looked like ready to collapse at any moment. Guards were trying to keep the curious people away, telling them to go back home. « Have you seen Hawke ? »

« No, I- »

« Please !!! My friends are still inside !!! » Isabella visibly froze as she heard the voice. Fenris frowned, recognizing it too. It was the blood mage. « Hurry !! »

« Kitten ! » The pirate called as she rushed and pushed away the men and women standing in her way. « Out of my way ! Move ! »

Fenris followed Isabella, still frowning. What was Merrill doing here ?
When he arrived, he saw  the pirate holding the small elf's head in both hands. Merrill had a few scratches on her face, her clothes torn apart on the arms, chest and legs. She didn't look seriously injured, but mostly  upset.
Aveline was here too, injured too but less than the small elf. She was barking orders to the guards, mostly to get enough materials to secure the place and make sure nothing collapsed.

« Hurry up ! » she yelled « They may still be alive. No time to waste ! »

« Yes, captain ! »

« Aveline ? » The red-haired woman turned to Fenris, looking serious. « What's going on ? »

« Fenris... » She sighed, frustrated, and looked at Merrill who was crying softly, hugged by Isabella who was trying to comfort her. « It's a matter of the City Guards, but... we're trying to save the lives of whoever may still be stuck inside and alive. I've no time to explain. »

« Where's Hawke ? » He asked. When met by silence, worry slowly filled his green eyes. He looked at the collapsed building, and back at the guard-captain, rising his voice. « Aveline, where is he ?! »

Before she could answer, Merrill let out a sob.

« He's inside ! With Varric ! They're stuck !!! »

*** Inside ***

« I think I almost made it... »

As the minutes passed, Vlad felt more and more light-headed. His lower body didn't hurt anymore... as he couldn't feel it at all. It was as if everything down his waist were gone. It was a horrible feeling and the rogue knew if he didn't get any assistance soon, the rest of his body would follow.

« Finally ! » Turning his head, Vlad saw Varric freeing his leg from the collapsed wall. He smiled at his friends, nodding in congratulation. « Now, your turn, Hawke. »

« I can't move... » he said « I... can't even feel... my legs... »

« Ah... that's not good. » the dwarf said, crawling to him. His leg was freed, but still injured. He couldn't possibly walk normally without being healed first. « Let me see... damn it ! »

The dwarf couldn't help cursing as he saw his friend's body. Half of it was stuck under hug stone walls and boulders, something impossible for the dwarf to remove by himself. There were bleeding wounds nearly everywhere he set his eyes, a metal rod had went through Hawke's right shoulder and his face was partly burned and covered in blood. The human's armor was ripped beyond repair and his right arm was twisted in an odd way.
The sight almost made him sick.

« That... bad, eh ? » his friend said with a small smile « I... knew already. »

« This isn't good Hawke. Hang on. » Varric took of his coat, leaving him bare-chested, and proceed to rip it to bits « I will tend your wounds first. »

« Didn't you... like that coat ? »

« Yes, well, you'll buy me a new one once we're out of this damn place. » Vlad chuckled and immediately winced and coughed, spitting blood in the process. « Stay still ! And don't try to laugh or make jokes ! I swear, when Fenris told me your joking way would get you killed one day, I didn't think he was actually serious ! »

« … Fenris... » As he wrapped a bit of cloth around his friend's left arm, the dwarf looked up and saw Vlad staring at the roof. « I... was supposed to... meet him tonight. »

« Well, I'm not sure how much time has passed since the explosion, but maybe he's actually outside, looking for you. »

« I want to... see him... » Vlad whispered. « We were supposed to... talk... »

« Yes, well, you will talk. Once you're out of here. » Varric said with half a smile. « Don't worry, you'll see Broody again. »

« Just one more time... » Vlad whispered as he closed his eyes. Quickly, Varric slapped him gently across the cheek. No need to add injury, but he had to keep the human awake. « That... hurt... »

« I'm sorry but you mustn't go to sleep. Not the right time for that. » As the minutes passed, Varric kept talking to Vlad to make sure he was still awaken. He had managed to make some cheap bandages for all the wounds he could see, but knew it was far from enough. Vlad was still bleeding. He wished Anders were here.

« Come on, Hawke. » he said « Help is on the way ! »

*** Outside ***

« One, two... THREE ! » All at once, three guards removed together an heavy wall that blocking an entry to the inside of the half-collapsed building. But as soon as they removed it, they realized that there were more boulders on the way. They cursed and turned to Aveline. « Captain, this way is blocked too ! »

« We have to go through this one. » she said firmly « The other way around is too unstable. Keep on moving ! »

As the guards kept working cleaning the way, each block after each block, Fenris was pacing back and forth the ravaged building, a deep frown on his face. He was worried. Very worried. After Merrill had said how the human was stuck inside with the dwarf, he had tried calling for him, with no success. Vlad either didn't hear, was unconscious... or even dead.
He shook his head, refusing to consider the last option. Hawke was a strong man. He'd make it through this. He had to.

« What's taking so long ?! » he growled at Aveline and the guards. The woman had refused to let the elf helping, saying his anger could make him be very reckless and put them all at risk if he hurried too much to find a way inside the ruins. « Hawke could be seriously wounded ! »

« And Varric too. » Aveline answered, reminding Fenris that Vlad wasn't the only one in danger. The elf just growled back, and went back on pacing. « Fenris, stay calm and wait. We'll find him. »

Merrill, who had stopped crying was looking back and forth Lowtown and the collapsed building. Isabella had left to go get Anders. For once, Fenris hadn't protested and had even approved. As much as he hated the mage, he knew he was also the only one who could save someone from death with his healing abilities.
Donnic, who just finished convincing some remaining curious people to leave, walked over, sighing.

« The guards can't go faster, Fenris. » he said calmly. « It's too dangerous, the building could collapse if we removed the wrong stone or anything that may support what's left of it. »

« I... I know. » Fenris sighed in frustration. The guards were doing their best, he knew it. But he was worried sick. He wouldn't stop worrying as long as he didn't see the man alive and well. « I apologize. But I- »

« Isabella ! Anders! » Hearing Merrill's shoot, the group saw the pirate running to them, the healer right behind her. The mage looked pale, and very worried.

« Did you find them ?! » he asked. « Hawke and Varric ! Where are they ?! »

« If I knew where Hawke was, I wouldn't be standing here, mage. » Fenris said, frowning. The mage glared back at him before looking at the building and gulping. The sight was making him extremely nervous.

« A corpse ! Over here ! » Freezing briefly, the group quickly ran to the guard who was waving. Fenris could feel his heart beating loudly. A corpse. Someone was dead. But it couldn't be Hawke. It just couldn't be him.
Just as they arrived, two city guards carefully pulled out the body out of the ruins. A man with gray hair in a ripped leather armor. The elf let out a sigh of relief. It wasn't him.

*** Inside the building ***

« And when he lost the last game, Anders had to take off his pants. The whole place was laughing at him ! And the best thing is that he actually did it, smiled and screamed « Enjoy the show ! » ! Haha! Ah, how I wish Blondie would do such things again. He's been so moody lately, it's annoying... »

As time passed, Varric kept on telling Vlad events that had happened at the Hanged Man when the human hadn't been here. The dwarf knew he had to keep the human awaken. If he ever fell asleep, he'd most likely not wake up again. And he wasn't going to let that happen.

« I... wish I were... here to... see that. » Vlad said. The bandages Varric had made were wet with blood and he had trouble breathing normally. He still had some strength to speak, but his voice was very low.

« That was fun. » Varric said, chuckling. « Once we're out of here, you can be sure that I'll force Blondie to play again and make sure he'll loose ! That won't be hard ! »

« Yes, you will... have fun. »

« WE, Hawke. You'll come too. »

« Don't think I... will be able... to. » Vlad said before coughing blood, making Varric wince. « I... don't think I... »

« You'll make it, Hawke. You always did, and that won't change ! »

« Bethany... » The dwarf raised an eyebrow, wondering why Hawke was mentioning his sister. « Varric... you'll write to her and... say that... I love her... right ? »

« No, I won't. » he said, frowning. « You will write this letter and tell her yourself ! »

« My... little princess... » he sighed. « I... used to... call her that when... she was a child. »

« Hawke, you- »

« And Fenris... Varric... » He turned his head to him. « I... Fenris... »

« No. » Varric said firmly, gently touching Vlad's arm where it didn't seem injured. « I won't tell the elf that you love him or whatever, you'll tell him yourself. I'd rather kiss my brother's ass than doing this ! And trust me, I'd be ready to brace the smell ! »

The dwarf got another laugh that was cut short as Vlad started coughing violently to the point having trouble to breath. Cursing himself, Varric tried to steady Hawke, telling him to stay calm and breathed calmly. After a few seconds, Vlad finally caught his breath again, but was wincing each time he tried to breath. It wasn't a good sign. Looking desperately around him, Varric started calling again, hoping someone would hear this time.

« HELLO ?! ANYBODY HEAR ME ?! » For a moment, there was no answer. Then he tried again. « HELLO!!! MY FRIEND IS DYING !!! »

« At least... you... admit that... I am dying... » Vlad said. The Champion of Kirkwall sighed softly, feeling his lungs burning. Was he really going to die and see his parents and Carver again ? He liked the idea of seeing them again, but he didn't want it to happen this way. He didn't want to leave Bethany behind. And Fenris... he wanted to see him one last time.

« HELLOOOO !!! I- »

« … hear.... voices ! »

The two rogues froze as they hear a new voice. It was unfamiliar, faint and distant, but they knew they didn't imagine it. Varric started calling again, trying to guide whoever was outside. He actually didn't care who it could be, as long as they could help. If it was a slaver that was lucky enough to escape, the dwarf could swear that life really liked to play sick games.

« … you.... hear us ? »

« WE HEAR YOU !! » Vlad was impressed that his friend could still screamed so loudly, even after being wounded. The dwarf would never cease to surprise him. « OVER HERE ! OVER HERE ! »

« This way ! » The voice was clearer and was joined by several others. Still a bit faint, but they had no trouble hearing them now. They were very close.
After a few minutes, some of the boulders near them started to move.  

« One, two... THREE ! » Aveline's voice. With a loud noise, the stones fell off the way and Varric and Vlad could see some light coming through. A city guard crawled inside. When he looked up, he immediately called. « They're here ! The Champion is here too ! »

« Hawke ! » A few voices called Vlad's family name. Someone threatened a guard to kill him if he didn't move and cursed in a foreign language before crawling inside. Vlad smiled faintly. It was Fenris.
Immediately, the elf looked up and crawled quickly to Vlad's side, ignoring Varric. His eyes were wide as he saw how badly the man was injured. Vlad could see Varric moving away and talking to someone who just crawled in the room. He focused his eyes on Fenris and could see the relief and worry on his face.

« Fenris... » he said softly. « Sorry... for being... late. »

But before the elf could say anything, he was roughly pushed aside by Anders.

« Maker's breath, Hawke ! » he said, looking at him « This is much more serious than I expected ! »

« Just hurry up and heal him, mage ! »

« Shut up and let me check his wounds first, elf ! » Vlad simply stared at them silently. His heart was filled with joy at the sight of them, but he stayed silent. He was so tired, he didn't think he could talk anymore. He couldn't see clearly too, but it wasn't important to him anymore. He knew he was safe, now. « Hawke, listen... I can't heal you in this state. »

« What ?! What are you- »

« Let me finish ! » Anders said roughly to the elf before turning back to the rogue. « First, we have to remove that rod from your shoulder. Then, the guards will remove these stones blocking your legs. It's going to hurt a lot, but I've no choice. Here, take this. »

Pulling a small cloth out his coat, Anders rolled it into a ball before making Vlad taking it in his mouth. Vlad just nodded, trusting the healer to know what was best for him. He watched as Anders mentioned for Fenris to remove the rod in one fast movement. He'd mend the wound after that. Growling, but knowing he had no choice but to obey, Fenris moved behind Vlad's head and took the rod firmly in his hand. The rogue gritted his teeth at the pain it brought up but nodded at him to do it.

Without any warning, the elf pulled the rod out. And knew that if Vlad didn't have the cloth to bite on, everyone outside would have probably heard his scream of pain.
Blood began to pour freely from the wound and Anders quickly put his hand above it and worked his magic to ease the pain and heal the rogue.

Meanwhile, outside, the guards were still trying to clear the way to allow more people to go inside to assist the Champion. Varric had managed to crawl out and joined Isabella and Merrill who welcomed him with a hug.

« I was so scared ! » said Merrill. Varric chuckled and winked.

« Come on, Daisy, nothing can possibly beat me. » He said before turning back to the building.

« My, my! Is the chest an eye candy for me? » Isabella asked, seeing Varric didn't have his coat anymore. The dwarf just chuckled and smiled.

« That's another story, Rivaini. Anyway, Hawke should be fine. »

« He's alive ? Oh, thanks the Creators ! Where is he ? »

« Still inside... But we- » A loud noise startled them as the ground started to shake again. As the group looked, they saw in horror that the rest of the building was starting to collapse.

***Inside the ruins***

The unstable walls were shaking too violently and started to fall around, interrupting Anders's spells. People started shooting as everything was slowly collapsing. The entrance the guards created to get to Varric and Vlad had damaged one of the foundation walls.

« Everyone out !! » Aveline screamed « Back away ! Anders ! Fenris ! »

Looking up, Anders saw the roof cracking and starting to fall on him. With a yelp, he quickly moved away and crawled outside, knowing he had no choice to or he would be crushed under the stones.
Hearing a brief grunt, Fenris looked down and saw Vlad had been knocked out by a piece of roof. He knew he couldn't possibly leave with the man, so he did the only thing he could think off : he covered Vlad's body with his own and shut his eyes. He felt stones falling on him, making him hiss in pain until he felt something something hitting him square on the head.

And everything went black.

***Outside***

After a few minutes that seemed to last for hours, the dust cloud from the building collapse slowly began to disappear. Aveline tried to look around for any wounded people, and managed to see her husband, Varric, Isabella and Merrill, coughing but all unhurt. The guards also seemed to be fine.
Hearing a few coughs behind her, she turned around and saw Anders limping toward her.

« Maker's breath... » he said, coughing « That was... close. »

« Pleased to see you escaped. » she said, nodding. « Where are Hawke and Fenris ? »

She saw Anders freezing and looking up at her with wide eyes.

« You... you didn't see them ? » Her eyes widening at his reply, she rushed to the ruins and looked around. Even if the whole building had collapsed, the ruins covered a large part of the field. Large enough to make the search difficult. Maybe even more than before.

« Damn it ! »

***Somewhere***

He wasn't sure how much time had passed but when Fenris opened his eyes, the first thing he realized was that he could barely moved, sharp stones and woods pressing against him and cutting his skin. Hissing softly in pain and blinking a few times, he managed to adjust his eyes to the darkness and saw that he was still half lying on top of Hawke. Moving slightly, he felt sharp pain on his back as he hit a wall that had fallen right above them, and pain on his head. Putting his hand on his forehead, he felt warm liquid on his palm. Blood.
Groaning, he looked back down as he felt some movement under him. Hawke was wakening up.

« Hawke... » he whispered. The rogue didn't answer right away and finally groaned again as he opened his eyes. « I'm here. »

« Fenris... » he stammered, before coughing. Blood landed on the Fenris's face, but the elf didn't care much, knowing the rogue was still seriously injured. « So... cold... »

That wasn't a good sign. Before the rest of the building collapsed, Anders had managed to heal the wound on the rogue's shoulder and partly the one on his head, but that was all. Even if he had managed to protect him by using his body as a shield, the rogue still needed urgent healing.
But they were trapped. Fenris could feel the weight of a wall on his back. It wasn't heavy enough to crush him, but even with his abilities, it still prevented him from moving at all. He tried to call for help, but he heard nothing in return.

« They'll come to us... » he whispered, looking at the rogue. Vlad swallowed, trying to breath properly and nodded. « And that stupid mage will get you back on your feet... I think he managed to leave in time.»

« I... hope so... » Vlad shivered violently for a few seconds before sightly relaxing. Fenris was doing his best not to crush him under his weight. He wasn't heavy for the human, but new he could make any internal wounds worse if he wasn't careful. « I... I'm sorry. »

« Why ? »

« I can't move... I can bare... barely feel... my arms... » he said, shivering « You may be... stuck here... for nothing. »

« Don't be foolish, Hawke. » the elf glared, even if he wasn't sure if Hawke could see him. « You'll make it through. »

« So... sleepy... »

« No ! » Moving a bit sharply, Fenris winced as he put his hand on Vlad's left cheek. « Stay awake. Do not fall asleep ! »

« You... don't make a nice... blanket for sure. » He heard the rogue saying. He could swear he was even smiling. « And... these stones don't... make a good bed. »

« Festis bei umo canavarum... » he groaned. Why should the rogue joke in such situation ?

« Wha... ah... let me guess... you're upset... again. »

« It means « You will be the death of me » ! » The elf replied. « And I'm not talking about our current situation ! »

« Then... what ? »

« Six years ago, I decided to stay with you, in part because I owned you. But I also thought you could help me. » Fenris wasn't sure why he was saying that now. But right now, he needed to get this out of his chest. And to have Hawke focused on him. Anything that would keep him awake. « And you did. Hadriana is dead. Danarius is dead... I am finally free. »

« … but ? »

« But... » The elf sighed and looked aside. « But none of it feels like it should. This freedom tastes like... ashes. »

« Right now... it tastes like... stone dust. » he heard Vlad chuckling before wincing in pain. « Ouch... strange... I always thought it... tastes like chicken. »

« Yes, go ahead. Laugh. Joke. That's your answer to everything, isn't it ? » Fenris groaned.

« Relax, Fenris... ugh... » Vlad winced and Fenris could feel he was trying to move his arm but failed to. He probably couldn't move anything else, partly because of their current situation but also because of his injuries. « Tell me... what were you... hoping for ? That's not... all, isn't it ? »

« Indeed... » Fenris sighed. He wanted to have a serious talk with him, and he was actually having it despite the serious situation they were both stuck in. And despite his usual sarcasm and the injuries, the human was still willing to listen. « I thought finding Varania would open up a new world, one that was lost forever. But it's gone, and I can't get it back. »

« Killing her would... have been a... mistake, Fenris. » Vlad said before taking a few big breaths. « Family is... sacred, but... you have it here. With us... In Kirkwall. »

« Kirkwall, my home ? » The elf said « I don't know... even if it's right, what do I do now, Hawke ? »

« Beside... being half on... top of me ? » The rogue answered before shivering sightly. « Change... change your clothes... join the ch-chantry... I don't know. »

« I don't think I'll go that far. » The elf couldn't help smiling a bit. However it didn't last long as he felt Hawke trying to move his arm again. It was twisted badly. After hesitating, he reached and took the rogue's hand, gently squeezing it. He felt a weak squeeze in return.

« Leave the... past. Fenris, look... at me. » He looked back at the rogue, feeling nervous at how weak the rogue's voice had become. « You... need to think... about your future. About your new... life... as a free man. I told you before... that... you should stop... living with your past. »

« I know... » the elf whispered, remembering their conversation after Hadriana's death. « And you're probably right... Maybe it is time to leave this hatred behind. It's poison, yet I continue to swallow it. There is no one left to blame... what I have done, I have done to myself. »

« That's... not true. I am here... Fenris... You don't... have to go... through this alone. »

« Don't I ? » The elf whispered sadly. He felt Vlad squeezing his hand in return. The rogue's hand was gently stroking his palm. A light touch, and yet it meant a lot. The rogue never stopped defending him, fought Danarius for him, for his freedom... always with these deep blue eyes that never stopped showing affection, after all these years.

It was time... how many times did he stop himself from going to Hawke's house and begged for forgiveness over abandoning him after that night ?
He heard Vlad coughing sightly and when he looked back, he saw the champion was fighting hard not to sleep. Feeling a knot in his throat, he took a deep breath and talked again.

« We... have never discussed what happened between us three years ago. » he stopped and waited for a reaction. He felt the thumb stopping to move for a few second before it went back on caressing his palm again.

« I... tried to... talk to you, but... you never... wanted to listen. » He heard Vlad saying. The sadness in the rogue's voice was painful to hear, but not surprising to the elf. « But... I waited as... You... didn't want to... talk about it. »

« I felt like a fool... I thought it better if you hated me... I deserved no less. »

« Fenris, you... you know how I... feel about you. » The elf closed his eyes and nodded, remembering the numerous times Vlad had tried to voice his feelings to him. But each time, Fenris had refused to listen. Each time, he had felt like ripping not only Vlad's heart, but his own heart as well. « I couldn't... »

« I know. I was still hoping you would... But you're right... it isn't better. That night... I remember your touch as if it were yesterday. » He said before looking back at the rogue. He never forgot all the touches, the kisses, the looks... everything that had made this night wonderful to the elf. « I should have asked for your forgiveness long ago... I know this isn't the best time for this, but... I hope you can forgive me now. »

« Before I... die ? »

« You're NOT going to die. » The elf said painfully, even if he knew it could still happen. The rogue was getting weaker and weaker. « I will not allow it ! »

« I... Fenris... » The rogue swallowed with difficulty, his voice low. « I need to... understand... why you left... Tell me why. »

« I... » The elf didn't have any answer. Despite asking himself the same question for the last three years. « I've thought about the answer a thousand times. The pain... the memories it brought up... it was too much. I was a coward. If I could go back, I wouldn't have left. I would have stayed, Hawke. You would have waken up to find me by your side... still in your arms. I would tell you how I felt. I would... »

« What would... you have said ? » The rogue's voice was barely a whisper. Fear gripped the elf's heart violently and he felt his eyes burning. The man he had fallen in love with was slowly falling asleep. And might not wake up again.
But he couldn't let that happening. Gently, he leaned down and pressed his lips against the human's forehead before looking at him again.

« Nothing could be worse than the thought of living without you... » he said, hoping the other man would believe him. At first, he got no answer but a small smile slowly appeared. It was barely visible for the elf, but it meant a lot to him.

« Oh...  I don't know. » For a moment, he thought his heart was going to explode. Even if he would accept Hawke's rejection, the pain would still be agonizing. Then, he heard the man continuing to talk. « This... might be fun... to hold over... you... a while... longer. »

Sarcasm and humor... This human, Vlad Hawke, had always enjoyed playing with people's nerves. But Fenris smiled, knowing he did deserve it. He had barely heard the last words, but knew what it meant : Hawke was still here. Unlike him, he never left.

« I'm sorry... Fenris... » The elf's smile slowly disappeared, wondering what Vlad was apologizing for. Then, the elf realized he could barely feel his breath anymore. « ... »

« No... no, you're not. » The elf glared at him. « You won't die ! You'll be saved ! »

« I hear something ! » A voice above him startled him. He lift his eyes, listening more carefully « Over here ! »

« Donnic ! » The elf tried calling, recognizing Aveline's husband. « Donnic ! Hurry up ! Hawke ! »

« Hang on, Fenris ! We're right here! Give us a minute ! » Aveline.

« Broody ! I hope you managed to keep Hawke alive ! » Varric.

« Don't you dare dying, Hawke ! I'm here ! » The stupid mage, Anders.

The elf felt hope invading him. They had finally found them. He smiled and let out a small nervous laugh. The nightmare was almost over. He looked back at the rogue and saw that his eyes were closed. He leaned and kissed his forehead, still smiling even as he felt the sharp pain on his back slowly returning as the wall that had kept him down was slowly being lift by the city guards.

« Not the right time to sleep, Hawke. » he said. « We're almost safe now. »

But he got no answer. His smile disappearing, Fenris leaned and listened to the man's breath... but there was nothing.
Hawke wasn't breathing anymore...

***Ten days later***

Orana had rarely seen so many people in the mansion at once. Well, except for the master's friend's wedding, last year. It was a very happy event, something she had never seen before... but now, the air was thick with tension, even when she tried to offer something to eat or drink.
There was no celebration. Nobody was smiling, worry written on everyone's face.
But she understood, as she felt the same way.

Sighing softly, she entered the master's bedroom, a small basin of cold water with a clean white cloth in her hands. The mage, Anders, was standing beside where was sleeping Hawke. On the other side, Fenris was sitting on a chair, his eyes also firmly set on him. If she didn't know what had happened, she would say they were just watching him sleeping.
A nap that had been going on for days... ever since what had happened in Lowtown.

« Messere, I got what you needed. » she said, putting everything beside Anders. The mage smiled gently and nodded. « Is there anything I can do ? »

« No, it's alright. I didn't need anything else. » He said, wetting the cloth before gently washing Hawke's face with it. The man had the sheets up his waist and wasn't wearing any shirt. He wasn't as pale as when they brought him back to the mansion, but his skin still wasn't as tanned as before. « Thank you, Orana. »

She bowed and quietly left the room, leaving the two men alone. Downstairs, Bohdan was talking to his son.

«... And remember that when he will wake up, he will probably want something to eat. » the old dwarf said. Sandal smiled and clapped his hands in delight, which confused the young elf.

« But, Master Hawke is still asleep. » she said « Messere Anders and Messere Fenris are still at his side. »

« Orana, he's not wounded anymore. His friend is a very talented healer. » the old draw said gently « Now, he just need to rest. And that can take time. I've seen something like that happening to the Hero of Ferelden once. Poor lad had been seriously injured in a fight and only woke up three days after his friends had made sure he was safe. »

« But it's been more than three days... and a whole building fell on him... » The little elf said sadly. « Master Hawke is a good man. I don't want him to die... »

« Orana... » Bohdan took her hands, smiling gently. « He's one fine strong man. He will make it. »

« Do you really think so ? »

« No, I believe it. » he corrected. Sandal still had his smile and hold out a stone to Orana. A little green flower was carved into it. Hesitating at first, she took it and smiled, thanking him.

« Enchantment ! »

***Inside Vlad Hawke's bedroom***

Three men in a room, and yet none of them were making a sound. The fireplace was lightening the room and casting Anders's shadow over Hawke's sleeping form. The mage was done washing the rogue's face and nodded to himself. The burns had disappeared and the wound on his head was gone.
It had been hard work, and the rogue nearly died a few times, but now all the wounds were gone. Hawke just needed to rest.

« Are you done ? » And the elf needed to go and leave the room. With a mid-glare, Fenris was staring at Anders, visibly wishing the mage would stay away from Hawke. However, he hadn't moved or protested each time Anders had been working his magic or washing the rogue's face clean. He might hate the mage, but he was not stupid. He knew it was necessary to make sure the rogue would be safe.

« I'd be if you'd stay quiet. » Anders replied, glaring back. « And if you were elsewhere. »

« I told you already, mage. I am not leaving. »

« Neither I am. I am the only one who can provide him medical care, so deal with it. »

« I've been dealing with your presence for the past ten days. » The air was thick with tension as the two men kept on glaring at each other before turning their attention back to Hawke. The guards had found him and Fenris just as the elf had been calling for help, saying that the rogue wasn't breathing anymore. Anders had almost panicked at this, but had managed to stay calm and concentrate on reviving him. It had been very close, but the man had been saved just in time. A few more minutes, and it would have been too late.

The man's body had been severely damaged, with both legs and arms broken, head injuries and several internal wounds which could have been fatal to a mere human. But Hawke was different and strong. He had managed to survive long enough for Anders to act.

Fenris couldn't deny this. If the mage hadn't been here, Hawke would have died. Right after their talk. His own injuries hadn't been as serious, and healed only after Aveline threatened him to cut his head off if he kept on refusing to let Anders fixing his wounds. And the elf was certain she hadn't really been joking. The woman wasn't the kind to joke around. She wasn't Isabella.

The pirate had stayed a few hours after Hawke was brought back into his mansion, before going back with Varric and Merrill to Lowtown, saying she'd stay with the blood mage to make sure she was alright. That woman was very annoying, but he couldn't deny that she also had a big heart. Just like Hawke.
As for the dwarf, he came everyday for any news. But so far, nothing had changed. The man was still asleep. Anders had said countless times that there was nothing strange about it, but it didn't make the elf feel better.
So he had decided to stay at the mansion every day, leaving only at night before coming back in the morning. He was doing nothing but waiting for the human to wake up.

« Mmm... »  Both Fenris and Anders were brought out of their thoughts as they heard a noise. They looked at Hawke and saw the man was still asleep, but had sightly moved his head. The first move since he was brought back to the mansion. The two men couldn't help smiling a bit, knowing it was a good sign.

« Well... he will be fine. I guess we better leave and let him rest. » The mage said, nodding at Fenris. But the elf frowned and kept his eyes on Vlad.

« I'm not leaving until he wakes up. »

« He probably won't if you keep on hanging around, doing nothing but brooding all day. »

« I haven't asked for your opinion. »

« At least, I am REALLY taking care of him. » The elf glared, setting his gaze back on the mage. Anders simply glared back, crossing his arms. « Unlike you. »

« I am, by staying here and making sure the abomination you are doesn't do anything dangerous to him. »

« What ?! I'd never threaten him ! Unlike you, I really do care for Hawke ! »

« I do care, that's why I am here ! »

« And for how long ? Just one night, and then you'll leave him again with a broken heart ? »

« How dare you ! »

« Excuse-me... » A third voice spoke up and the men saw Bohdan coming into the room. « But we can hear you from downstairs. You two should go elsewhere, or you will wake him up. He needs to rest. »

« It's not necessary. I was going to leave anyway. » Anders said before turning to Fenris. « You better know what you're doing. Because if you make Hawke miserable again, I swear I will- »

« Just leave, mage. This is none of your business. » The two men glared at each other for a moment before Bohdan cleared his throat and got their attention.

« Messere, please... »

« Yes... I'm sorry. » Anders said, nodding at the dwarf, before looking at the elf. « You don't deserve him, Fenris. »

Bohdan left the room, with the mage in tow, and closed the door, leaving Fenris alone with the sleeping man. He shook his head and removed his gauntlets and chest armor before sitting on the bed, his eyes on the door.

« You don't either, mage. Don't you dare judging me... »

« You two... are so bloody annoying... » Though it sounded weak and sleepy, a new but very familiar voice spoke up and immediately caught the elf's attention. Looking down at Hawke, he saw the man moving his head again, slowly opening his eyes and turning his head to him. « Can never have... a simple talk. »

« Hawke ! » The elf said, frowning « But... for how long have you been awaken ? »

« Long enough to hear you two having another fight. » Back to his usual stupid answers, but Fenris didn't mind at all. The man's voice wasn't very strong, but still sounded much better than when they were stuck in the ruins. « You're alright, Fenris... »

« My wounds were meaningless, compared to yours. » He said.

« What about Varric ? Merrill and Aveline ? » Vlad sighed, still feeling a bit tired. « What happened ? »

« The mage healed his leg when we found you two, so he's fine. And Aveline and the blood mage managed to get out before the first collapse. » the elf answered « As Donnic's patrol was in Lowtown that night... the City Guards were fast enough to act. ». 

« But why were you in Lowtown ? » So many questions... Fenris understood them, but wished the man could stop talking and just relaxed. He smirked bitterly. Back in the ruins, he had to make sure Hawke didn't fall asleep, but now he wished it was the other way around. « And... what's wrong ? You look sad. »

« I am not... I'm just relieved. » Vlad lift his hand and tentatively touched the elf's cheek. In return, the elf held it in place and turn his head to kiss the palm. « I almost thought you weren't going to make it. »

« So did I... » The rogue said. He tried to sit up with the help of his other arm, but groaned and laid back down. His body was still too weak from his long sleep and the intense medical care he got from Anders. « Damn it... I've spent enough time on my back... »

« You still need to rest... » The elf said, letting go of his hand and staring at him for a moment. Just as the rogue was about to ask him what was on his mind, he laid down next to the man. For a moment he just watched him before slowly scooting closer until he had his arm wrapped around the rogue's chest, his top of his head touching Vlad's stubble-covered cheek. « Is this... alright ? »

« … More than alright. » And it was the truth. Vlad could almost feel his heart about to burst out of his chest, just like when Fenris had asked for forgiveness. « You... you won't leave again, right ? »

« I'm here to stay... Hawke... » The elf slowly lift himself up and bent down until his lips met Vlad's. The kiss was slow at first but quickly hardened as lips and tongues started a dance that was last played three years ago. The rogue wrapped his arms around him. His muscles were still sore but he still had some strength. Slowly, he turned them around until they were facing each other and broke the kiss.
The elf groaned faintly in protest, but when he opened his eyes, he saw the rogue smiling warmly in return before burying his head on the warrior's chest, holding the elf firmly close. « Hawke ? »

« I love you. »

« You... what ? » To hear Vlad saying that so bluntly shocked him briefly, but long enough to have the rogue looking up at him seriously. « Hawke... »

« Is it really a surprise to you ? » he asked before going back at nuzzling the elf's chest. « You already knew, Fenris... I may not have said it directly, but... I made it quite obvious these last years. »

« I... I know... » The elf thought bitterly at all the times the rogue had showed his affection for the elf, despite what happened the morning after their night of passion. More than once did he catch the man looking at him with longing eyes. More than once did Vlad try to tell Fenris how he felt about him... the last time being the night after Aveline's wedding at Hawke's estate. They had had an argument and Fenris had made it clear that he still didn't want to talk about their first night. He had told the rogue to move on, to find someone else... the elf shut his eyes and hold the man a bit tighter at the thought. « I'm sorry... for having been such a coward. »

« I already forgave you, Fenris... You needed time, and I accepted to give it to you. I was such a stubborn bastard. »

« You still are... and don't you dare changing that. » He heard Vlad chuckling at this, before sighing.

« Just don't move... for a while. » Vlad said. The elf just nodded and hold the man close before kissing the top of his head. They had been in this position once... but it was Hawke who had been holding him, against his chest not the other way around. « I... just want to make sure that I'm not going to wake up in those ruins... Or worse... »

« I'll be here when you wake up. » The elf said, gently stroking Vlad's black hair. He didn't want Vlad to think the nightmare wasn't over. « You'll open your eyes again, Hawke. And you will see me at your side. Today, and tomorrow... and the day after... If there is a future to be had... I will walk into it gladly at your side. »

He heard no answer, but Fenris didn't mind. He just kept on holding on the man. In one of the books Hawke had given him a few years ago, it had been written that a man who spent his life trying to protect people was actually one who needed protection the most. After what happened that night, seeing how everyone tried their best to save the rogue... Fenris couldn't disagree.
As he kissed once again the top of Vlad's head, he closed his eyes, knowing he'd provide the protection and love Hawke deserved.
My longest fic so far, I think. And I didn't even put as much details as I wanted to. I wonder if I failed terribly with this one... :icononionfailplz:

Ah well, at least, it is done.

Written for :iconvampy6667:'s contest and won 1st place, yay! ^^
I got lot of trouble to finish this story, been so busy and tired with work. A real pain!
Sorry for being so late! :icononionemocornerplz: I hope you will like it! ^^;
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:iconda-vhenan:
da-vhenan Featured By Owner Aug 28, 2012
Wow. This was so beautiful. :heart:
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:icondragonsfeather:
DragonsFeather Featured By Owner Aug 29, 2012
Thank you! :hug:
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:iconlalouveh:
laLouveH Featured By Owner May 7, 2012  Student Traditional Artist
it is rare that I put in the written favorites, so honestly it's the best thing I could read like fanfiction
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:icondragonsfeather:
DragonsFeather Featured By Owner May 7, 2012
Thank you very much! ;3; :hug:
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:iconlalouveh:
laLouveH Featured By Owner May 7, 2012  Student Traditional Artist
it earned ^ ^
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:iconnotationn:
notationn Featured By Owner Oct 31, 2011
Ooh, I like it very much. Great story!
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:icondragonsfeather:
DragonsFeather Featured By Owner Nov 1, 2011
Wow, thank you very much! :D
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:iconmirachravaia:
MirachRavaia Featured By Owner Oct 8, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
I love it! This story is just what I have been looking for (as the type of story that I imagine in my head, but never get to writng...). Thank you!
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:icondragonsfeather:
DragonsFeather Featured By Owner Oct 8, 2011
Thanks a lot! ^^ I had such story on my mind for a while but never found the time to write it, actually. ^^;
Glad you loved it! :)
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:iconmirachravaia:
MirachRavaia Featured By Owner Oct 9, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
I like to imagine a story where the magisters capture Hawke when trying to recapture Fenris, and he agrees to get the lyrium tattoos and serve them if they let Fenris be. But Fenris leads all companions, and they save Hawke just in the middle, or even after the process. Only Fenris' care saves him from losing his memory and personaliy, as he gradually remembers about their love... *sigh* But I'll probably never get to writing it, I have too many stories in LotR fandom I want to write first.
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