Game: Dragon Age 2.
Pairing: Fenris x Lady Hawke.
Disclaimer: The characters belong to BioWare and BioWare alone. I just like to toy with them and laugh.
The Amell estate's labyranthine hallways were ground deeply into Fenris' memory. He knew what lay behind each door, what rooms connected to those, and which would be inhabited by the people he'd come to know just as thoroughly as the home in Hightown.
By no surprise, he found Leandra Hawke in the estate's smaller sitting room, book in her lap and pair of wire-framed glasses poised on the tip of her nose. A set of intelligent blue-gray eyes flicked up to his, and her lips curled into an immediate smile, lines digging into her cheeks.
"Fenris," came her greeting. It was gentle and warm as it always was, and he followed an offered hand to sit in the high-backed chair beside her.
She watched him closely. After his time spent in their company, she'd seen a great change in him as compared to the nearly silent man they'd been introduced to initially. His movements were more fluid now. Relaxed. The air of discomfort wasn't nearly as strong as it had been, following him like shadow as opposed to cloaking him completely. She was pleased to see that he no longer wore his armor when visiting, opting instead for something softer - linen and butter-soft leather.
"Is there something I can help you with?" Leandra slid a strip of fabric into her book and closed it, a delicately lined hand smoothing over the cover. "Are you looking for Emaline?"
"I am," he replied, managing a little tilt of a smile. "Carver mentioned that she isn't home. It felt... odd to leave without saying hello."
Nodding, the woman crossed her ankles, shifting on the sofa to tilt just enough towards him to make it obvious that she welcomed his company. "If it takes you long enough to say hello, she might be back. She was fetching something from the apothecary for my aches. A talented herbalist she is not, that's for certain."
Fenris set his hands on his knees, his back straight save for a slight bend in his waist. He was uncomfortable with silence now, so used to listening to the bickering between Emaline and her brother, Isabela's teasing, Aveline's warm hum (and occasional singing). So when things grew quiet in the sitting room, he found words pouring from his lips.
"I often wished I remembered my mother. Wished I could do things for her as Emaline does for you." Fenris' eyes roamed around the room as he spoke, unwilling to look Leandra in the face due to his sudden, almost incomprehensible outburst.
She chuckled, her head giving a little shake. "She doesn't offer. Only when I ask does she do things like this." Her brows twitched inward a little. She remembered her own mother very clearly. Every feature, the cadences of her voice, even her smell - it all stayed with her, even at her age. What was it like to not remember the people who'd loved you?
"It's not just that. Not really. I've seen Hawke's face when you welcome her home. Even the slightest of touches elicits some response. A smile, a laugh even. It's... difficult to make her laugh."
"You never struck me as the sentimental sort, Fenris."
Fenris tilted his head, neck twisting just enough to look at her. "I... don't really -- I keep it mostly to myself, but I am." He chuckled quietly, the sound full of disbelief. Was he really talking to her about this? Hawke's mother? "I keep things that remind me of the people I meet. Nothing large; tokens at most."
Another thoughtful nod was the woman's first response. "Why is that?" was her second, voiced after a short pause and flanked by another. The wrinkles on her forehead deepened for a moment. "If you don't mind my asking."
Shaking his head, Fenris' gaze moved to the ground between his feet. The muscles in his shin flexed, toes twitching over the stone, barely brushing the frayed edge of the rug thrown carefully across the center of the floor. "I hope that... Well, should I have these objects and forget everything a second time, I might remember them. The people in my life." A slight tightness in his throat kept his thoughts from flowing without a hitch, but he worked past it. "I have nothing to remember my old life by. Perhaps that is why my memory still fails me."
Leandra's curiosity was piqued. Whatever amnesia the Magister had left him with was a cause for some frustration, to be sure, but she hadn't expected this. Now that he'd mentioned it, however, it seemed like the most logical path to take. "What do you have of Emaline's to remember her by?"
"A ring," Fenris said with a quiet chuckle. "She gave it to me when we first met. It made me invulnerable to some elements to a certain point."
"Mm..." The thoughtful sound rumbled in her throat, fingers sliding over her book's cover to hold it balanced on her knee as she turned even more towards him. "Because of whatever magical enemy you would face while in her company?"
For a long time, all the answer he gave was a simple shake of his head. His words formed on his tongue easily; it was giving voice to what he knew to be true that he found so difficult. Any talk of emotions - and more specifically, her emotions - was normally side-stepped before he could even consider speaking of them. But he wasn't talking to Ema. He was talking to her mother.
Once that thought formed in his mind, Fenris found his voice again. "Because of her," he said. The words sounded surprisingly thick, but there was a hint of amusement in what he said, as if he could not fully believe it himself. "It reminds me of her when I pick it up, since I no longer wear it. It's... cold, but it protects me."
"Protects you from...?"
"From her. Like she does, I suppose." His shoulders gave a deliberate shrug. "I figured you would understand."
When he looked back to her, he saw that Leandra's expression had shifted. There was something distant in her eyes, as if she was looking past the stones that made the floor and to the ground below, a sudden solemnity pulled around her slouched shoulders like a too-heavy cloak.
"I do," she murmured finally, "It's a fitting token, though I did hope that you would have found a happier one."
"The memories are happy enough, I think. I require little else."