Went to the symphony tonight, and it really took a weight off. I was listening, and all i could think of doing was writing this. Now I’m home and it’s late and I’m on my second wind, and eating cookies, they are so worth the late night heartburn.
Hawke lifted her head from the table in a quick burst and almost smacked into Varric’s chin - but the dwarf had enough sense to distance himself in time. “Wha- what? Where am I?”
"Where do you think," he murmured in reply, and slumped into the chair beside her. "The Hanged Man."
"Oh," she replied, her throat crackled and sticky. She took a long moment to smack her lips and blink sleepily. "Good… good I was worried for a moment."
Varric’s eyes darted to ensure his door was closed before he sighed and said, “You’ve been here for days.”
"So have you," she replied, her eyes falling to the table. She hiccupped into closed lips.
"I live here."
"It certainly makes it convenient," Hawke said. She sat up more fully, only so she could sink backward into the wooden chair and drape a hand over her eyes. "Maker’s arse, dim the lanterns for Andraste’s sake."
Smacking a hand on the table, Varric rose to turn the two lamps in his room down. His jacket hung from a hook nearby, leaving him in a clay-red shirt trimmed in gold, with a wide neck that dipped in a slit half-way down his chest. His belt was absent, leavin git loose on his stocky frame.
"They retired shortly after you passed out into your hand," Varric replied, and drifted to the door. He hesitated with his hand on the bolt. "Isabela almost confiscated your pants."
"You stopped her, I assume," Hawke murmured, her head rolling aside as she squinted at him.
"I was tempted not to," Varric replied, inhaling as he turned back to Hawke. "But I paid her off. And you owe me."
"Owe you?" Hawke replied with unveiled indignation. She stumbled a bit as she got up. "After all I’ve done for you?"
"Get up," Varric muttered, and waved a hand at her. "Hand over your shirt."
"I - my shirt?" Hawke’s hands splayed over her breasts and down her abdomen. "You paid her for my shirt? I think I need a drink."
"You’ve had more than enough, believe me. You bought the whole house enough to drown." Varric said, stepping in to catch her as she stumbled again. He groaned as she leaned into him, and finally began to lead her to the bed. "I’m not made for this, you know."
"It was delightful though, wasn’t it?" A shadow passed over Hawke’s eyes as he shuffled her off onto the bed, and she sat on the end. She flexed her hands in her lap, looking down. "I love when everyone is laughing and singing, and doesn’t care a bit about what’s really going on everywhere else."
Varric tapped a thumb on his abdomen and sighed, before saying, “Makes it easier. But you have to go home some day. You can’t keep doing this to yourself.”
Hawke blinked lengthily, dark circles under her eyes. She ran her fingers into her black hair, exhaling out and slumping in the same motion. “Is that a dare?”
"No," Varric took the last few steps closer to her. "It’s looking out for you. It won’t make anything better."
Hawke’s expression wavered, something that started at the corners of her mouth and bled into the droop of her cheek. A tremor ran through her body, and she closed her eyes and dropped her head, and in another moment began to shake.
"Hey, hey," Varric said and reached for her shoulder. "Hey, none of that, beautiful."
"I’m sorry, it’s ridiculous, I know," Hawke replied, her voice warbling. She put the back of her hand to her mouth, unable to look up. "I don’t want to think."
"Come ‘ere," Varric said, and opened his arms, stepping against the edge of the bed as Hawke wrapped her arms around him. When he brushed her hair back from her forehead, she pressed her face against his chest and sobbed. Cradling her head against him, his expression softened as her fingers tightened in the back of his tunic.
"I’m sorry," Hawke sobbed into his chest, gripping him tighter. "You don’t deserve this."
Varric stroked his fingers through her hair again, before his fingers kneaded their way down the back of her neck. “Life isn’t ever really about what we deserve. And this isn’t about me.”
"You’ve been a far better friend than I ever deserved," Hawke mumbled, choking on her breath a moment before shuddering again. She turned her cheek against the dark stain of her tears.
"Don’t I know it," Varric muttered, and smirked when she snorted and glanced up at him. "But I guess you’re stuck with me either way."
Hawke gave a half-assed, flat, ‘yay’ that prompted Varric to give her a bit of a push.
"Let me walk you home, it’s the least I can do. You should sleep in your proper bed for a change."
Weight sagged into Hawke’s expression once more and she laid her head back against his chest, her voice threadbare. “I can’t. I can’t be there when she isn’t, Varric. There is just emptiness.”
He pressed his lips together in a line, glancing down at her as tugged her hair back from her neck. They stood that way for a time in the quiet of his palatial suite, her head heavy against him, and his hands plying her hair.
"What was it like for you?" Hawke broke the quiet with a whisper. "When your mother died?"
Varric’s hand faltered along Hawke’s shoulder. The smell of bile and rancid whiskey seemed to catch his senses - of pipeweed and burnt snuff. A distant voice and blame, bitter, slurred and weepy. He slowly sighed out the pent breath in him. “Maybe it’s better if you don’t go. You can take the bed… again.”
"I’m sorry," Hawke whispered, her voice nasally. She sat up and wavered, his hand on her shoulder keeping her upright. "You don’t have to go. Please don’t."
A chuckle deep in his throat, Varric said, “Who am I to refuse a lady?”
"Maker’s breath, I’m no lady, Varric," Hawke said in a groan, stretching backwards slowly to avoid the dizzy spin in her head. She reached up the bed, as though it took all her effort to move, and finally collapsed mid-bed. She spoke into the coverlet, "You and I both know that."
Varric hesitated before kicking off his boots and climbing up onto the bed beside Hawke. Stealing the pillow from her he propped it up and got comfy, before reaching for a book from the bedside. Hawke clawed at the bed to drag herself up and collapse in his lap, sighing as she did so. “Can’t even let me read, can you?”
"Nope," Hawke murmured against his lap, unmoving.
Sighing in exasperation, Varric tossed the book back down and dropped his hand into her hair again. It was a few quiet moments before he started softly humming, and they both sank deeper into the bed.
"Ahhh I love you, Varric," Hawke sleepily murmured. "Far too good for me."
Watching the tension bleed from her expression, Varric hummed a bit more before saying, “Don’t I know it.”