miss_m_cricket: (DA2: Anders Blue light magic)
[personal profile] miss_m_cricket
Title: Untamed Magic
Author: [livejournal.com profile] miss_m_cricket
Fandom: Dragon Age 2
Pairing: Fenris/Anders (Fenders), Bethany/Cullen and Aveline/Donnic
Comm: [livejournal.com profile] dragonage_kink
Rating: PG-13
Prompt: Varric's on-going story about the 'hopelessly romantic apostate waging an epic struggle against forces he can't possibly defeat' is a hit with the ladies of Kirkwall, from the dredges of Lowtown to the elite in Hightown. Possibly on Isabela's advice, he threw in a little m/m love interest for the apostate in the form of an escaped slave, and the fangirls have turned rabid. They demand more of the UST between those two RIGHT NOW. Cue Varric and Isabela (and possibly Hawke) instigating even more arguments between the unsuspecting Anders and Fenris to fuel Varric's stories.

Summary: “We’ll make you a deal Hawke.” Varric said, leaning forward, “We imply the sexual tension with Blondie and Broody in this issue, and if it does well you have to help us ignite more of it. If it doesn’t, we’ll stop writing and stop antagonising Blondie.”

“Done.” Hawke said, sure that this time Varric had misjudged. Surely the women wouldn’t want to read about two men wanting to rip each others clothing off.



Untamed Magic

“She was with blood mages! Who can say how far their corruption had spread!”

It was supposed to be a quiet night out at the Hanged Man, a night of companionship and drinking. However it seemed that having Anders and Fenris in the same room was just begging for trouble.

Hawke rolled his eyes at Aveline who just shook her head at both of them. Varric and Isabella were smirking into their drinks. Sebastian eyed the pair with an air of faint disapproval before he looked down into his glass of water. And Merrill, well she was watching the two men with her fingers laced under her chin, eyes moving back and forth between them avidly.

“Not all mages give in to use blood magic! Not all mages are like the Magisters of Tevinter!”

“I have seen very little to suggest otherwise!”

“Anders...Fenris...” Hawke tried, helplessly, knowing even as he spoke up that it was hopeless.

“And yet you travel with us!”

“Someone has to keep an eye on you, Abomination!”

“Justice is not a demon!” Anders shouted, slamming his tankard down on the wooden table.

“Oh yes, you are so different from all the others!” Fenris spat, half rising out of his seat.

“THAT’S ENOUGH!” Hawke roared, causing silence to fall around the suite of rooms Varric owned. There was even a lull in noise from downstairs in the bar proper as the Fereldan glared at the Mage and former slave. “You’re both as bad as one another! This is supposed to be a fun night out and you two are ruining it.”

There was silence for a long few moments as Fenris and Anders glared at one another resentfully before Fenris got to his feet, throwing a few silver coins down onto the tabletop. Then silently he stalked out of the room.

“He’s impossible.” Anders muttered, but before he could continue Hawke interrupted.

“I don’t want to hear it Anders. You’re equally as bad as him.”

“He refuses to even consider that perhaps his viewpoint is wrong!”

“Like you?”

Another silence, this time surprised as everyone looked at Merrill, shocked that the little elf had spoken up.

“What do you mean like me?” Anders frowned at her, “The Circle enslaves mages! He should understand that!”

“Neither of you seem able to empathise with one another. It’s very sad. I think you’d actually get along if you did.”

“I’ve empathised enough!” Anders stood, emptying his tankard before copying Fenris’s motion of tossing coins onto the tabletop, “But that elf! He doesn’t know the meaning of empathy!”

The company listened to the sound of Anders boots thumping down the stairs, and then the door of the Hanged man opening and closing with a loud thud.

“Well that went well.” Isabella said, leaning back in her seat and resting her boots up on the table.

“What do you mean ‘that went well’?” Sebastian said, looking at her bemusedly, “They both left.”

“Do you see any blood on the floor?” Isabelle retorted, plucking a tiny dagger out of her belt and beginning to clean her teeth with it, “Has Ander’s heart been ripped out of his chest? Did Anders or Justice incinerate Fenris?”

“No...?” Sebastian drew out the word, eyebrow inching up, “But...”

“Well then...I think that counts as it going well, don’t you agree Hawke?”

“They’re both impossible.” Hawke scowled, drinking down his glass of ale, “They’re both grown men and yet they insist on squabbling like infants.”

“They’d miss one another if one of them died.” Merrill said, causing everyone to stare at her again, “Nobody quite gets Anders riled like Fenris does.”

Hawke had to acknowledge that that was probably true, and was about to say so when he caught sight of Varric and Isabella across the table. Isabella’s face looked suddenly gleeful and Varric was smirking as the pair shared a look.

~*~

“What are you two planning?” He had waited until the others had gone home, Merrill accompanied by Aveline, who was always concerned the elf was going have her own fascinating mugging experience and Sebastian leaving soon after, blushing at the crude gestures Isabella was making to accentuate her story, and muttering about stopping by the Chantry on the way home.

“Why whatever do you mean, sweet thing?” Isabella crooned, looking rather like the cat that got the cream, “We’re not planning anything.”

Hawke just lifted one eyebrow.

Varric chuckled, “Don’t worry Hawke, it’s nothing that will involve blood or death.”

“Well that’s a relief. So what is it?”

The pair shared a glance and then Varric leaned in, “You know those ’Untamed magic’ short stories going around?”

“I’ve seen them. Bethany mentioned she was reading them to mother.”

That made Isabella choke on her rum and then start laughing uproariously, Varric just looked half amused, half concerned, “Your mother hasn’t read them has she Hawke?”

“No, she just said she was glad Bethany was still keeping up on her reading...why?”

“Well...” Varric drew the word out as he so often did when he wasn’t sure how much he should tell someone about something, and Hawke’s eyes narrowed, “I wrote them.”

“I helped.” Isabelle chimed in, saluting him with her glass.

“That doesn’t fill me with confidence.” Hawke drawled, “What are they about?”

“Well...” Again Varric drew the word out, “It’s about a handsome romantic apostate mage battling against the evils of the world facing insurmountable challenges and odds.”

It took Hawke a moment to realise who he was referring to.

“Anders? ’Untamed Magic’ is about Anders?”

“Yes...and of course we’ve taken inspiration from...our various adventures...”

“VARRIC!”

“What? C’mon Hawke! You can’t get in the way of a good story!”

The man glared at him before turning his look on Isabella, “So what was with the look tonight. Did you get a new idea?”

“Actually yes.” Varric answered, smirking faintly, “Daisy helped us actually.”

“You see...” Isabella grinned, “’Untamed Magic’ is incredibly popular, from the lowest mercenary woman down at the docks to the highest born ladies of Hightown. And they’ve been itching for a love interest.”

“Right...” Hawke drawled, beginning to get a sinking feeling about where this was going.

“And Daisy is right!” Varric said, “Nobody gets Anders riled quite as much as that broody elf.”

“By riled, we mean, hot and bothered rather than blue and glowing of course.” Isabella chimed, smirking.

“You are going to write friend fiction about Anders and Fenris, and sell it to all the women of Kirkwall...?”

“Well, they’re not exactly friends are they?” Isabella chortled, “And that’s what will make it so glorious. Nothing is more attractive than snappy snarly unresolved sexual tension.”

“But it’s not unresolved sexual tension.”

“It could be!” Isabella pouted at Hawke, “Stop being such a spoilsport.”

“We’ll make you a deal Hawke.” Varric said, leaning forward, “We imply the sexual tension with Blondie and Broody in this issue, and if it does well you have to help us ignite more of it. If it doesn’t, we’ll stop writing and stop antagonising Blondie.”

“Done.” Hawke said, sure that this time Varric had misjudged. Surely the women wouldn’t want to read about two men wanting to rip each others clothing off.

~*~

He had been so wrong. So wrong.

Hawke stared at the mad, seething mass of women crowding around the stall manned by Bodahn and Sandal, and at the brightly coloured covers of Untamed Magic being clutched by the ones exiting the crush.

“This is crazy...”

A male elf walked past, lifting an eyebrow at the crowd and there was a sudden surge of brightly coloured fabrics and squealing and then the elf was enveloped by femininity. Hawke took a step forward, half reaching for one of the blades attached to his back, wondering if the women had turned rabid, but paused.

The elf had not been attacked, but rather he was being mauled in a whole other way. Long feminine fingers were stroking his ears and hair, and there was a general sound of cooing coming from the mob. Hawke just stood there and watched, feeling his eyebrow steadily inching up towards his hairline.

“We’d better not bring Broody through the marketplace.” Varric said behind him, chuckling wickedly, “Can you imagine his reaction if they mobbed him like that?”

“What’s a couple of ripped out hearts in the name of good quality literature,” Hawke snarked back, pinching the bridge of his nose, “I suppose you win, although I don’t see why you need my help provoking them. They antagonise each other without anyone even trying.”

“Isabella has some ideas.”

“Oh I’ll just bet she does.”

“Ohhh,” Both of them turned to see Merrill and Sebastian rejoin them. The little elf had wanted to look at something being sold down in the main courtyard, a poultice or potion or something she hadn’t seen before. Sebastian, in his tireless role as moral supervisor, had stayed with her to make sure that the vendor didn’t swindle her. Now Merrill was staring at the elf enveloped by women, “Isn’t that sweet!”

“Does he need...help?” Sebastian asked, unsure, looking towards Hawke, blue eyes concerned.

“Would you need help if a group of women that size wanted to stroke you? I wouldn’t.” Varric chuckled.

Sebastian flushed and fidgeted, “Well...”

“I think he’s enjoying himself well enough,” Hawke jumped in before Varric could make Sebastian bolt for the Chantry, “Andraste’s great flaming arse...I’m glad I’m not Anders or Fenris. You didn’t use their actual names in the story did you Varric?”

There was silence.

Then.

“VARRIC!”

~*~

A day or two later Hawke got a tip off from one of his sources. One of his friends from Athenril’s pack had seen slavers, along with a low ranked Tevinter mage, hanging around the docks. They had paid for a warehouse, and were stocking it with ‘cargo’ until they departed for Minrathos in a few days time. So far, Hawke’s sources suspected, they had garnered a good handful of Fereldans and poor Free Marchers from the city’s Darktown slums.

There would likely be a larger number of guards than what had been seen outside the warehouse; they would want to keep their heads down without attracting the attention of the City Guard. Hawke had considered just telling Aveline and letting the Guard deal with the slavers by the letter of the law. But he knew that if an official warrant was obtained, the slaves would be moved silently somewhere new, and he might never find them again.

So he sent a few notes, paid a few discreet visits, and then met up with some of his companions at the entrance to Lowtown and the Docks.

Fenris, naturally, was there, restlessly moving around, chomping on the bit to get there and deal some death to the slavers. All of them knew Fenris’s views on Tevinter and the slave trade in particular, and none of them were going to stand in his way.

Merrill was sitting on the dusty ground of the street, legs folded neatly under her, leaning her back against the sandstone wall behind her. The sun’s warmth hadn’t left the golden stones yet and Varric was taking full advantage, leaning against it beside the little Elven mage. She was entertaining both of them by making little purple clouds puff out of the end of her staff and form odd shapes.

Aveline too stood nearby, surveying the other three, before fixing Hawke with a stern, but not unfriendly look. He knew why she was there, to keep tabs on what was happening, and to add some legitimacy to his vigilante exercises. Still he wasn’t about to dismiss her help, the woman was far too handy with a sword to risk pissing her off that way.

“Hawke.” She greeted, moving toward him. Fenris’s head came round at her voice and he too forwent his restless pacing to join the Guard Captain in front of him. Out of the corner of his eye he saw Merrill and Varric join them as well.

“Anyone else coming?” He asked, looking around the group.

“Isabella said she had her own work to do.” Merrill said, shrugging as Aveline quirked an eyebrow at her, “She said she had a tip off about her relic.”

“Choirboy is leading some ‘Save Our Souls’ chant up at the Chantry.” Varric contributed, rolling his eyes, “One day I’m going to find some dirt on that boy and then the fireworks will fly!”

“What about Anders?” Hawke asked, rolling his eyes at Varric, “Is he coming?”

No one seemed to know, and Hawke pursed his lips. “We’ll give him a few minutes and then...”

“No need.” Fenris grumbled, jerking his head towards an alley to the right. Anders hurried into sight, a sheepish grin on his face as he apologised.

“Sorry, sorry...”

“Time clearly has no meaning for some people.” Fenris’s said, contemptuously avoiding looking at Anders.

“You are such a bitch.” Anders shot back, “And yes I use that word deliberately. Female dog, as well as other less pleasant connontations.”

“Your big words do not excuse the fact you were late Abomination.”

Hawke rolled his eyes again, and opened his mouth to interrupt when something heavy trod on his foot. Looking down, frowning, he saw Varric wink, and remembered his deal with the dwarf. Huffing a sigh the man folded his arms, and waited for the argument to wind down.

“Only by a minute or two! Maker’s breath you’re annoying!”

“You hesitate, people die.” Fenris pushed his advantage, glaring at him, “Or slavers get away.”

“Speaking of,” Anders said, glaring back at the elf, “Don’t we have some we should be hunting? Rather than whinging at me for cutting into your precious bitter time?”

“When you’re both quite finished,” Hawke said, examining his fingernails, “I’d hate to interrupt something so vitally important.”

There was silence for a few moments and then Fenris inclined his head.

“I apologise Hawke. Let’s move on.”

As the group moved off, Varric heard Anders mimicking Fenris, “I apologise Hawke. Let’s move on. Look at me I’m Fenris the swot.”

The dwarf grinned and added it to the growing pile of mental notes.

~*~

Bethany had read the new instalment of Untamed Magic before it had even come out, courtesy of Varric and his infallible contacts. But it still gave her stomach a jolt when two of her Mage friends began discussing the issue over breakfast in the Gallows.

“I thought it couldn’t get any better and then boom, a sexy deep voiced elf.” Marlena sighed, propping her head up on one hand dreamily, “Anders is so lucky.”

“It gave me tingles.” Rhian agreed, fanning herself with a wicked grin, “The arguing, the aggression, the burning want. I was just waiting for someone to get pushed up against a wall.”

“Oh well sex is definitely going to happen.” Marlena agreed, popping a fruit into her mouth and sighing blissfully, “What do you think Bethany?”

“Oh...of what?” The former apostate said, attempting not to spill milk down her front, or blush.

“Untamed Magic of course. Anders and Fenris.” Both woman made mmmmm sounds and then giggled, “So growly. Do you think he’d purr in bed?”

“Anders would be the purer,” Marlena nodded, “Fenris would rumble and growl and get all possessive.”

“Oh Maker...neck biting...”

“I’ll see you later.” Bethany bolted to her feet, scooping up her tray and rushing off to the kitchen, where she could leave her dirty crockery.

But even though she’d left them behind all she could think about were Anders and Fenris and that damn book. Varric hadn’t even pretended it wasn’t them, and it made her skin prickle to think of the men she’d travelled with, in that way. Anders who was so passionate about Mages, so sensitive. Fenris who snapped and snarled and pushed everyone away, but who really just didn’t know how to be friends with someone.

Did they really stare at each other so heatedly? Was this a new thing? Or had she just missed it when they had all followed her brother around.

Scooping up the small soft bound book she retreated into the Circle section of the Gallows, finding a small peaceful courtyard and settled down to read again.

”You know nothing of me.” Anders shouted at the elf before him, his gaze flicking from his face to the great double handed blade in his hands and then back.

”Your magic puts us all at risk!” Fenris hissed at the apostate, green eyes glittering as he glared at the other man, “Any moment you could succumb to a demon and turn on us all. You could slaughter us all as a price for freedom or justice!”

At least Varric hadn’t let the cat out of the bag about Justice, Bethany thought, wincing at the idea of someone hunting Anders down because of a trivial novella. Still it was a risk to advertise him as an apostate so widely.

”Not all Mages are weak!”

“Not all Mages are strong either. One day you will realise just how weak you are, and submit. Or you will choose power over slavery and become a true Abomination.”

“Careful Fenris,” Anders breathed, honey eyes smouldering as he smirked at the elf, “Someone might think you care.”

“I don’t.” Fenris snapped back, pushing past him, a faint flush colouring his cheekbones, “You’re a danger to us all. Nothing more.”

“What are you reading?”

Bethany let out a high pitched shriek, head snapping up as she jumped in surprise. She had been so wrapped up in the story; Varric really knew how to spin a good yarn, that she hadn’t heard the other person join her. Looking up, eyes wide, pulse thundering, Bethany blinked as she caught sight of the Knight-Captain, Cullen, standing there with his hands slightly raised as though to assure her he wasn’t trying to scare her.

“Whoah there.” He said, smiling slightly, “Sorry I didn’t mean to startle you. I just...thought, since I saw you here I’d stop and talk to you, but clearly you were busy. I apologise.”

“No, no...” Bethany hastened to reassure him, cheeks flushing and feeling incredibly foolish, “I’m sorry, I was a little absorbed. I’m glad you came to talk to me...” Was that too forward? She wondered wildly, blushing again as she looked down at the book in her hands, Maker, what he must think of her.

“Oh,” when she looked up though, he looked pleased, hazel eyes warm as he watched her, “Good, I didn’t want to intrude.”

“It’s nothing important, Knight-Captain.” She said, waving a hand at the seat beside her, “Would you like to sit?”

“Thank you my lady.” He sat, Templar armour clanking softly as he did, “I wanted to make sure that you were doing alright here, after your Harrowing. I’m sure you miss your family...”

“I do, but it’s not as bad here as I had thought.” Bethany hastened to reassure him, “I thought it would be like a prison, but I enjoy teaching the Apprentices, and you and the other Templars I met with my brother have been really good about me being a former apostate.”

“I can understand the desire to be free.” Cullen sighed, watching her, “But Mages need the Circle; they are too dangerous on their own. I’ve seen what damage they can do when evil takes hold. I cannot let that happen here. Even the most seasoned Circle Enchanter can succumb, but with all the mages under close watch, then the chances of a slow spreading corruption are greatly lessened.”

“Not all mages will fall to it though.” Bethany said quietly, “It seems a shame to lock us all up for the weakness of a few.”

“There are strong mages.” Cullen agreed, nodding slowly, “I met a number of them in Fereldan and here. No solution is perfect though...”

“My brother said that you told him you once knew an Amell, in Fereldan. He said...he said you were fond of her.” Bethany bit her lip, wondering once more if the question was a bit forward, “Was she the Hero of Fereldan?”

“Yes.” Cullen sighed, rubbing the back of his neck and flushing, “She was an incredible woman. You...remind me of her.”

There was something soft there in his gaze, something that made her breath catch in her throat and her pulse beat louder in her ears. Their gazes held for long moments before suddenly Bethany heard someone calling her name.

“I must go.” She said, standing abruptly. So flustered was she that she didn’t notice the book slide from her lap to the ground, “Thank you Knight-Captain.” And then she was gone, leaving Cullen rubbing his head.

“By Andraste, not again.” He groaned softly, bending his neck to thump his head lightly against his thigh, “Urgh...”

His gaze fell on the soft bound book, the book that Bethany had been so wrapped up in when he had approached her. Reaching out he scooped up the text and thumbed through it, eyebrow lifting at the title.

Untamed Magic? He thought frowning slightly, was Bethany reading a forbidden text on magic?

He tucked it away into his pouch. He’d read it later and maybe next time he saw her he could give it back to her. Maybe if it was really about Magic he could talk to her about it.

Feeling pleased, he stood and left the quiet courtyard. He had recruits to train after all.

~*~

There was definitely something wrong with everyone.

For the past few weeks there had been more people than usual loitering around his clinic, all of them female, and there had been a lot of giggling going on whenever he walked by them. It was unnerving to look up after healing someone to find a number of eyes watching him avidly, hands covering their mouths as they twittered away to one another.

Anders had thought himself used to the weird nature of the people who lived within the walls of Kirkwall. He did follow around Hawke after all, and had met a number of the cities more quirky personalities. Even his travelling companions veered onto the odder side now and again, some more than others. It left him feeling like he was used to the unusual personalities, even if they grated against him. Like Fenris.

Thoughts of the elf made Anders frown as he sorted out some herbs. How could he not see that the mages were as much slaves here in Kirkwall as he had been to Danarius? How could he not empathise with their plight? How could he just blithely suggest handing Mages over to the Templars? The Mage growled under his breath, slamming his mortar and pestle down on the wooden countertop with a satisfying thump.

That damn elf was so ruled by his hatred and his past that it was a wonder he hadn’t combusted from his bottled up inner fury, Anders thought bitterly, crushing the herb viciously with the pestle. He didn’t even give Mages a chance, just lumped them in with the Magisters he had known back in Tevinter. No matter what he, they, did, Fenris saw them as threats, as monsters to be locked up or killed.

It wasn’t fair.

“Blondie? Blondie?” he faintly heard Varric’s voice behind him, and then Hawke was there, gently prising the pestle from his grip and setting it down on the bench.

“I think it’s dead Anders.” The other man said wryly, quirking an eyebrow at the Mage.

Anders blinked at him, a quizzical frown creeping onto his features as he looked down at the herbs he had been grinding.

A completely destroyed lump of green mash stared back at him, ground beyond any usefulness and certainly beyond even recognition. Anders groaned and ran a hand through his hair, smiling sheepishly at his friend. “Oops.”

“Little frustrated are we Anders?” Hawke teased, but there was a hint of concern in his eyes, “Maybe you should let loose at the Blooming Rose. Might do you good.”

“Justice definitely wouldn’t approve of that.” Anders replied, rolling his shoulders and turning around, “He sees that sort of thing as a distraction.”

“Of course we shouldn’t annoy the demon.” A sarcastic voice drawled from the doorway to his preparation room and Anders scowled as he took in the elf he’d been thinking about standing beside Varric, “You are after all just his vessel.”

Anders didn’t notice the smug smile spreading across Varric’s face, or the despairing eyeroll that Hawke performed behind his back, all his attention focused in on Fenris scowling at him. “We are one, how many times do I have to tell you that?” he snapped, taking a step forward, “And Justice is not a demon!”

“So you say,” Fenris growled back, arms folding tightly across his chest, “But you are still an Abomination and therefore just a tool of the ‘spirit’, rather than a real person any longer.”

“You know nothing of me!” Anders roared, lunging forward and gripping Fenris’ arms, pushing him a few steps back, out into the main body of the clinic. He didn’t hear the conversations dying out around them, didn’t see the heads turning to watch them and he definitely didn’t see the avid looks the pair of them were getting.

No he was a little absorbed with the way Fenris’ markings sang under his touch, and then the way they lit up as Fenris snarled, shoving him back. “Do not touch me Mage!” He shouted, markings shining in the dim light of the clinic and unhearing of the gasps of the clinic occupants.

Silence fell as the two men glared at one another before Anders took another threatening step forward, causing Fenris to settle on the balls of his feet, ready to dodge or attack. Which was when Hawke neatly stepped in, diffusing the situation quickly, “Honestly you two. Is it so impossible to just get along?”

Fenris didn’t answer just shrugged his shoulders and Anders sighed, “Apparently.”

“Just collect the mage and let’s go Hawke.” The elf huffed, folding his arms once more, “You said there was a job to do.”

It didn’t take long for Anders to gather up his staff and pack away his potions, before heading out and locking up his clinic. People still hung around the outside, which was strange, and their eyes followed him and then Fenris, which was stranger. But as he hoisted his bag of emergency healing supplies, and strapped his staff to his back he put them from his mind, following Hawke down the stairs.

There was silence as the crowd watch the little group disappear into the shadows of Darktown and then there was a collective sigh of pleasure from all around. It was followed by a collective giggle and then everyone was chattering and dispersing, some to the Chantry, some to the markets and some to the docks, spreading the tale of the encounter throughout the city within a few hours.

~*~

Aveline was not a woman to waste time on meaningless frivolity, and while it put her out of step with Hawke’s other friends like Merril or Isabella, it had won her the respect of her guards. So while sometimes she wished she was more feminine, she also was glad that she was who she was, and did what she did.

That didn’t make her unaware of the books being pawed over by Brennan and the other female guards. And it didn’t make her any the less curious when she heard them giggling and sighing about how romantic ‘it all was’. Indeed she resisted temptation until she heard one of them mention Fenris’ and then Anders’ names.

Normally Aveline would stay out of her friends personal lives, but she was fond of the cantankerous elf and she knew how intensely private he was. He barely left that mansion of his, took very rare odd jobs around the city, and was generally unnoticed by most of the population of Kirkwall. Anders too had to be careful, being a Mage Apostate in a city with lots and lots of Templars, and a Knight Commander who ruled with an iron fist. To hear both their names mentioned wasn’t cause of immediate panic, but when she heard them more and more she began to worry.

It was simple enough to acquire one of the books that the girls were so fond of, and her eyebrows lifted when she read the authors names. Varric and Isabella had written this? Why would they mention Anders and Fenris?

“You’re eyeing that book like you’re expecting it to bite you.” Donnic observed wryly, glancing at her over the glasses he sometimes wore to read.

They were in bed, Donnic with a book on garden herbs and spices on his lap, and Aveline, who hadn’t even opened the cover of Untamed Magic, laying beside him.

“It’s just...” Aveline sighed, tapping her fingers against the cover of the book, “Varric wrote this, and Isabella.”

“You’re always saying that Varric spins a good tale,” Donnic reminded her, looking at her properly now, “And you know Isabella is good at telling stories.”

“It’s not the writing skill I’m worried about.” Aveline sighed, green eyes troubled, “It’s the content. Once I see what’s in there I won’t be able to unsee it.”

“That’s a little melodramatic don’t you think love?” Donnic drawled, “I mean it’s just a book, not like there are pictures anywhere.”

“They don’t need pictures.” The Captain of the guard sighed, “But Fenris and Anders keep getting mentioned in relation to this book. I need to know why so I can be prepared if something goes wrong.”

Donnic’s smile softened and he leaned across to kiss her softly, “That’s why I love you.” He smiled, tucking a single strand of ginger hair back behind her ear, “You’re so loyal to your friends.”

Aveline smiled, letting him shower her face with kisses before moving back and letting him get back to his book. Sighing, with a distinctly doomed expression on her face she opened it up and began to read.

~*~

It wasn’t every day that the Captain of the Guard burst through the doors of the Hanged Man, at least not looking like a horde of ravening darkspawn were after her. As such there was a distinct lull in the noise of the pub, drinks halfway up to mouths and conversation pausing as all eyes turned to the woman striding through the room, plate armour clanking.

“Ow!” Yelped Isabella as one gauntleted hand wrapped around her upper arms, “Hey! Steady on muscles!”

The entire inn’s patronage watched the guard drag the pirate up the stairs and all of them heard the door slam shut on the suite of rooms Varric rented. There was silence for a few moments and then everyone went back to what they had been doing.

Inside Varric’s rooms however Aveline was standing, glowering darkly at the dwarf and the former Captain. Isabella was rubbing her arm and glaring back, while Varric sat, eyebrow raised, waiting for the rant to begin.

“Why in the Maker’s name would you write this?” Aveline barked, throwing down the book on the table before them, before folding her arms. Isabella’s face cleared up instantly, but Varric sighed.

“You owe me a sovereign.” The former pirate informed the dwarf, “I told you she’d read it.”

“You win Rivani.” Varric sighed again, handing over the coin reluctantly, “Serves me right for betting against you.”

“This, this is not funny!” Aveline scowled at them both, resisting the urge to stamp her foot, “Anders is a wanted apostate. Fenris is a wanted slave. They both want to fly under the radar, not have a series of scandalous Novella written about their lives!”

“We didn’t say where in the city Blondie’s clinic was.” Varric soothed, “And we certainly didn’t say where Broody’s mansion was. Unfortunately, that didn’t stop some of the more enterprising women from finding out just where the clinic was.”

“And what if the Templars come for him!?” Aveline threw up her hands, “You know he’d rather die than be captured!”

“He has escape routes.” Isabella said reassuringly, golden eyes understanding, “We wouldn’t hurt Anders Aveline. He’s our friend.”

“Then why would you write about him sharing heated glances with Fenris? They hate one another.”

“We have a theory on that.” Varric smirked, “At first we just thought that the aggression between them could be tweaked to be unresolved sexual tension for the story. But lately we’ve begun to wonder if there really is something more there.”

“You’re kidding...” Aveline sighed, “How do you figure that?”

“Welll,” Here Varric steepled his fingers together, “Broody doesn’t attack Daisy nearly as much as he winds up Blondie, and he loathes blood Mages.”

“And Anders is constantly trying to convince Fenris that the Mage cause is a just one. I think it really upsets him that Fenris refuses to see his case about them being slaves. Sure he tries to convince us all, but Fenris is the person he really wants to change their mind. We think there is a mutual attraction there, but that they are both too scared to act on it. Yet.”

“Yet...” Aveline said, pinching the bridge of her nose, “Maker’s breath...”

“You’ll see Captain.” Varric soothed, pouring her a glass of wine. “We know what we’re doing.”

“You do?” Hawke’s voice came from the doorway, “And here was me thinking the pair of you were making it up as you went along.”

“Hawke!” Isabella grinned at the man, and grabbed a glass of wine for herself, “We were just filling Aveline in on the story.”

“Lucky Aveline...” Hawke drawled, watching the guard captain gulp down the wine, “Speaking of, I saw something interesting on the way down here.”

“What?” Aveline asked, bracing her hands on the table and pulling a face, “Varric you need some better wine.”

“Wine is not meant to be gulped my dear Captain.” Varric snorted, “So no, I save my better wine for when it will actually be tasted on the way down.”

“What did you see Hawke?” Isabella asked, finishing off her own glass and setting it down. “Fenris writing love letters to the apostate mage of his dreams?”

“You wish you were that lucky.” Hawke chuckled, “And really...you have to see it to believe it.”

The four of them stood in front of the noticeboard. Aveline’s mouth was slightly ajar, Hawke was shaking his head and Varric and Isabella were chuckling gleefully.

The board was set in a side alley on the descent from Hightown to Lowtown, a part of the city all folk could reach, but not set out in the open where just anyone could look at it. Hawke had looked after a bunch of women had shown it to him, knowing that he was friends with the pair in question.

It was a Fenders board, and there were already some ‘Spotted!’ notices, as well as some artwork and notes about how they could encourage the inevitable getting together of this pair.

“I need another wine.” Aveline groaned, turning back towards Lowtown and ignoring the excited whispering happening between the co-conspirators behind her.

To Be Continued...
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February 2012

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