tw: for violence, slavery, general brainweird, sex, and the like.
a steady clinking of metal on metal; the rustle of chains and shackles. the relentless moaning of tortured souls and the sting of fingers that defile you the more and more often they touch you. lyrium burns, a hot searing path across your skin like the blade that sinks into your flesh deep enough to make the markings stand out. a ritual that screams in your ears.
to think, you have done this to yourself.
you're no stranger to pain. white hot and blinding. all these markings etched into your skin and they flare with power, they flare with pain. they burn. you burn.
b u r n i n g
you hate the way he touches your skin. the gentle ghosting of fingers when you've done a good job, when you've been a good boy, are more vile than those times he grinds into your markings to make it hurt. more disgusting is the way he puts you on your knees, or grabs between your legs, and the worst of it all is that sometimes you don't hate it.
he used to be a different man when you were younger.
perhaps he simply got tired of having to play nice. when you were finally in his clutches he had what he wanted, so sure that the world would keep it that way. so self-righteous that he now had the most prized sought-out pet of all the magisters he shows you off to.
you stand behind him, intimidating. he commands you do ugly things--to kill, maim, simply slaughter for his own amusement. he uses you up day by day, slowly but surely.
until you feel you've nothing left to give anymore.
but you do give because your entire purpose is to do just that. hadriana reminds you day in and day out. even your name is not your own. everything that you are has been given to you. nothing belongs to you, not even yourself. she makes it hurt, digs in her nails into those open wounds and fills them with salt from her mouth.
what was meant to be an easy endeavor in seheron turned into anything but. little wolf your master commands and you do as you're told.
and k i l l.
you pull the hearts of warriors from their chests still dripping and red. you look to danarius and he fights as well and there's nothing but the most self-assured look on his face. but he is wounded as are you. the boat that passes by is a reprieve.
they've no place for slaves.
they leave you behind and, for the first time, you have a chance to be free. but slaves don't think of what freedom may taste like. you are panicked and confused, growing sick with a fever from wounds and blood-loss. dizzy and tired.
you've never been your own and, lost here now, you feel even less still.
the act of being undone.
they find you some time later. half-dead, bleeding and broken, with a dullness to your eyes and a numbness in your body. separated from yourself you lay there as they brush fingers through your hair, voices softly whisper. one speaks in dulcet tones and through your haze she is covered in fog but her voice is kind and gentle.
you wonder if this is what a mother may sound like.
the fog warriors ask nothing in return for treating your wounds, for nursing you back to health. they do not ask about your markings and allow you to share yourself with them. the blackened part of you lightly flakes off, bit by bit, in the months you spend with them.
you learn they wish to become independent of imperium and qunari rule. they dream of freedom. a slave doesn't entertain the notion of ever being free and you've never known anything else. you wonder if this is what freedom is supposed to feel like. they are strength and they are pride.
they give to you without asking for anything back. no.
they fill you up with hope. such a terrible, dangerous thing.
you stand among them.
(the bodies of the only people you could once call friends. strewn out across the ground. kill them all, he says, and you do.)
the air is copper.
the sword feels heavy.
your heart feels black.
time to go home, my little wolf.
and you do...
you run instead.
for a long time you try and hide who you are. there is nowhere that you travel that danarius--or usually his men--don't find you. it always ends the same way; blood-splattered and gory. his biggest mistake was giving you the power with which to defend yourself. he gave you the very blade with which you will pierce his heart.
every encounter and the seed of hatred burrows deeper. every month that goes by has you shedding more and more of the emotional baggage he's saddled you with. formerly afraid to show your face in public, to endure the scorn and ridicule and the very judgment of eyes burning into the marks on your skin, you learn not to hide yourself.
perhaps you become bolder with each escape you make.
(perhaps you're just beginning to see that maybe you're worth at least a little bit.)
you never dreamt of being free. a slave isn't afforded that sort of thinking. however, you grow tired of living in darkness and you take to the sun. some part of you is not yet free, but every time you make your own choice--to stand upon the shore and feel the ocean spray, to listen to the birds in the trees on warm summer afternoons, to sit amidst a raging downpour and feel the rain against your skin--you believe that this is a luxury that others take for granted.
you become single-minded in your goal: you will kill him.
you will take all your anger, all your hurt, all your trauma, and you will give it back tenfold. you will be his little wolf no more. you may not ever regain your memories and you may never recover from what he has done to you, but you may be able to achieve something that feels like justice.
you lay your traps, your breadcrumb trail through kirkwall. the seed ready to be sowed. they follow, they always do. without fail.
hawke is something of an accident.
he is a pleasant enough accident. the party takes out numerous men for you, do your dirty work so that you may catch one silent break even if only for a few moments. you've heard of him, mostly through the grapevine, and you'd had no need for any of his particular services before.
you apologize for the trouble and ask for his help in a way that leaves little room for discussion.
you're not looking at him but, instead, at the staff upon his back.
you head to danarius' mansion, your heart firmly rooted in your chest and beating wildly against the cage of your ribs. like a bird finally willing to fly. everything about the mansion is familiar and leaves another feeling, like roiling, in your gut. that, you learn, is the disappointment in finding that he ran. funny, you think, that he might finally be afraid of you. empowering, even.
you owe hawke a debt and you worry what he may try and take from you.
little bits and pieces of you seep from those gentle cracks that hawke makes in your armor. he comes back, time and time again, asks you to accompany them. it was one debt you owed, but every time he helps you with your own personal matters, you owe him anew.
he is a mage and, yet, you know he is nothing like danarius.
his voice is gentle around you, as though speaking too strongly would cause you to break. he knows you're stronger than that but it doesn't stop him from taking careful considerations. hawke is an enigma that you've yet to figure out. you wonder if you ever will.
his interest in you is...shocking, to say the least. it doesn't make you uncomfortable but it does make you question the reasons why. but you watch his eyes as he talks, the curve of his mouth, how he sometimes talks with his hands. you begin to notice his subtle intricacies and it scares you.
more than that you start to learn about everyone else. you've always been alone. you still feel alone. alone when there are so many around you, aching to learn your story, to learn who you are. you hope varric doesn't turn your story into one of his works, despite how much hawke jokes that you should write it all down.
what do you do when you stop running?
you start over.
can you start over?
revenge is a dish best served cold but it tastes so fucking bitter.
you always remember hadriana's cold gaze, her sharp words, the sting of her hand or the heel of her boot. you remember the way she always looked upon you with disdain, with annoyance, she always called you elf. she reminded you that you were never your own. while she and danarius live, you can never be your own still.
you stand over her with sword in hand, with steadied breath and a heart beating so wildly in your chest. anxious. you feel anxious and scared but determined for the sweet taste of vindication.
she tells you that you've a sister. that she will make a deal--her life for information on her, on varania. (something in the name ignites a little spark in your head, an aching between your eyes that you can't get rid of.)
there are no words to explain how you feel.
you kill her anyway.
you crush her heart and feel it splatter in her chest. hawke tries to reason with you and, in many ways, you know he's right. however, that doesn't lessen the blow, your confusion, it doesn't make anything better. nothing will make this any better.
what has magic touched that it doesn't spoil?
(and yet as you look at him, his blue eyes full of worry, the staff strapped against his back, you hesitate to say it. magic has not spoiled him. you can't say it. you won't take it back.)
i have been thinking of you...
eyes on the floor. anywhere but his face.
in fact i've been able to think of little else...
frantic. frantic. panicked heartbeat.
command me to go and i shall...
sharp intake of breath. finally look.
did i say anything?
reach forward, grab his arm. press forward, finally meet his lips.
its like your world coming undone. its like you're coming undone. everything is suddenly hawke and the deep, heavy resonance of aching. of allowing yourself to long for something you know that you've no right to have.
but as he turns you and pushes you against the wall, his hands are gentle, he does not take. he gives. he leaves you room to protest. you do not.
(the night is a flurry of color and sound. of your heartbeat, of his. the sinuous stretch of muscle in his shoulders, his arms, the way his hands grip your hips as you writhe in his lap. he does not control, he only gently leads. his fingertips burn a searing path across your skin as you bite your lip and arch your back and revel in that feeling of being broken down and put back together.)g a r r e t t
the sun is warm on your face, butterflies dance by on the breeze. under a tree you sit, a smaller body next to you--she laughs and its like angels singing. it feels bittersweet. it feels short-lived, but its there. in her melodic voice she says a name...
rattled down to your core, your hands are trembling where they perch on the mantle.
was it that bad?
you smile, the ghost of it on your lips, as you stare at the dancing fire.
it was better than i could have imagined.
you leave anyway. you can't bear to stay, not with the memories you're ungracefully trying to capture. they're like water, sand, slipping through your fingers to be forgotten again. it scares you. that garrett hawke might be the only good thing in your life, that he might unlock the mysteries that you've been searching for.
maybe you no longer want to find them?
you feel like a complete and utter fool. you can't allow yourself to rest. you can't allow yourself to settle. not until you see this supposed sister. not until danarius is finally dead and gone. then, perhaps, you'll be kind to yourself. maybe one day you won't hate yourself so much.
betrayal is the most bitter feeling.
you thought that, maybe, you'd finally have some type of family. as much as you knew something was wrong--she knew where you were, she could have found you at any time--your soul ached to grasp as the concept that you were once loved. that, maybe once, you were worth something.
so stupid, to hope for your happy ending. the ending that could never be afforded to a slave. but you remember her. she speaks your name...it feels wrong.
this is your new master, then? the champion of kirkwall? impressive.
vile and disgusting.
fenris doesn't belong to anyone.
anger that boils, fingers that itch.
do i detect a note of jealousy? it's not surprising. the lad is rather skilled, isn't he?
shut your mouth, danarius!
you're seeing white, burning blue. for all the good hawke does standing up for you, it doesn't lessen how sick you feel. it doesn't change the racing of your pulse; you can finally have him in your grasp. even the blood splashing against your face feels cold--nothing compared to the heat of your ire.
when he's there, on the ground, bleeding and panting...you feel something like justice.
as his heart explodes something inside you breaks. when you're stopped from killing your sister, something else falls. and learning that you asked for all of this turns your stomach to rot.
it doesn't feel like it should.
what should it feel like? vindication? what does freedom really feel like? you thought that without having to run you could finally begin to figure it out. you're no closer to the truth than you were when you started. three long years. three terrible, dreadful years without the person that came to mean more to you than you can put into words
i am alone.
i'm here, fenris.
hawke has always spoken so much truth. you admire the honesty, but you've never been able to see it. you've barely been able to admit your feelings to yourself and, yet, he sees through you so effortlessly. are you truly that transparent or is there simply something about him? at times you feel he knows you better than you've ever known yourself.
but you remember that he's never seen you as a slave, he only knows you as you are now. and while you tiptoe around the white elephant in the room, he acknowledges it and charges headfirst. he asks the questions that you have trouble answering, he plucks you apart piece by agonizing piece. you're bitter and he doesn't protest, he accepts it. that facet of you. every facet of you.
you thought it better if he hated you, and that is why you left. you thought it better if you were alone, because you never felt like you deserved anything less.
he does not try to change you.
he does not try to control you.
i need to understand why you left, fenris.
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 would stay. tell you how felt.
what would you have said?
he picks at that part of you that has trouble with words. but for the first time they come from the heart, not from rehearsal, not from some shallow part of yourself that has said the words over and over. they don't come from anything but the butterflies in your stomach and the swell of your heart. you face rejection and you face it headlong.
nothing could be worse than the thought of living without you.
when he kisses you it is sweet and it hurts but in the best possible way. with his arms around you is when you finally realize that you're not alone. that you are home.
perhaps you're free after all.