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Sea Whiskey

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“Isabela, please give me the Maker damned whiskey,” Aveline huffs.

She was sitting beside a half-sober Isabela whose arm has grown two sizes in the past half hour.

The snake had come out of nowhere. One minute the group had been finishing off the near never-ending stream of bandits on the Wounded Cost, and the next Isabela was bum first in the sand with a snake slithering off into the bushes. With no healer, and nobody wanting to bet that today would be the day Merrill became an adept at healing magic, Hawke and Fenris had set out at a run to bring Anders back. Fenris, in all his worldly glory, had told them it’s best not to move a snakebite victim lest the poison circulate faster.

So Aveline was left in charge of a wounded Isabella. A wounded Isabella who wouldn’t hand over her whiskey.

 

"Last time I bend over to help you pick up your bloody shield," Isabela mumbles, her words sabotaged by the bottle she had attached to her lips.

"I’m sure Hawke enjoyed the view." Aveline made a grab for the whiskey but, as always, Isabela was too fast. Even drunk that girl can move, Aveline thought.

"Probably," She took another swig of her alcohol, a drop missed her mouth and slowly made it’s way down her chin..

"Damnit whore, let me pour some of that on the bite to sterilize it!" Aveline was too old, and too tired, to deal with this today. Why was the woman always so Maker damned difficult?

"You do care, GC," Isabela purred. She smiled up at Aveline then turned her attention out towards the ocean. "Have you ever been on a boat?"

"How do you think I got her from Ferelden? On the back of the dragon?" Aveline lunged for the bottle only to be outmaneuvered once again by the pirate.

"Stop it, you’re not gonna get it from me, big girl. You’re just making yourself look silly." Isabela took another long pull just to watch Aveline’s left eyebrow twitch.

The waves crash against the sand and return home many times before Isabela spoke up again. “Did you like it?”

"Did I like what? Watching you get bitten? A little, though if I knew you would be such a pain I would have taken the bloody bite for you," Aveline grumbles, searching her backpack for a potion or something, anything, to the help the drunken trollop.

"No, I know you enjoyed that. I meant the ocean. Did you enjoy riding it?"

Aveline’s hands still. “I can’t say I did, no.” She digs through her bag again.

"Why?" Isabela’s eyes are fixed on Aveline. She blinks once. Twice. Finally Aveline lets out a sigh.

"I was running away. I had… Wesley… I had just watched my husband die. I wasn’t in any mood to be happy."

"Hmm," Isabela takes another drink. She watches as Aveline goes somewhere, like how she goes somewhere when she fights. Her eyes are different, aware of her surroundings but not present. Isabela looks at her almost empty bottle. "Here, it’ll help. Don’t even think about pouring it on my leg. It’s gone numb and that’s prime whiskey. Cost me a fortune. Not my fortune, but a fortune.It’s meant to be drunk not poured onto a numb leg."

Aveline takes it, a mechanical movement, like a sword swing she’s been practicing since she was old enough to pick up a stick.

The waves make a siren’s song to Isabella as they come and go.

"I hated my first time in a ship as well," Isabela whispers. Aveline hands her back the bottle. "I was going to see my husband… I didn’t… I didn’t even know what he looked like."

"Sometimes I forget Wesley’s face," Aveline chimes in. The bottle passes back to her and she takes a long drink, a drink meant to drown.

Isabela waits for the Guard Captain to continue. Instead she’s handed back the bottle. “I’ve never forgotten his face. I tried, at first, you know,” she takes a long drink. “But I can’t. The only place I ever came close to forgetting everything is out there,” she points to the ocean. “Surrounded by all that blue, the sweaty men-” Aveline snorts at that, “and the waves reaching heights you can’t even imagine… I lose him for a while. I always find him again, but for a little while I’m free.”

Aveline reaches for the bottle only to find it empty. She raises her eyebrow that’s long since stopped twitching at Isabella’s swollen arm.

"Whiskey wasn’t ever gonna stop it," Isabela hums. Aveline isn’t sure if she’s talking about the swelling or something else.

"Do you think…?” Aveline starts. The alcohol is making her light headed. She’s always surprised at how quickly she gets drunk. It’s like her body doesn’t know it’s the size of a bear’s.

"Want to join me when my ship comes in?" Isabella reads Aveline’s mind. "Out beneath the blue?"

"I think-" Aveline is cut off by a cry.

"Isabela! Hold on! We’re coming to save you!" Merrill cries.

"Please tell me it didn’t get any important bits, Rivaini!" Varric laughs, out of breath from keeping up with Hawke’s long legs.

Hakwe is at the head of the party, dragging Anders behind her.

"I think, one day, that would be nice. But… " Aveline stands up, making way for Hawke. “Not yet.”

"Hmmm," Hawke is close enough that Isabella can see her sweat drenched hair.

Isabela smiles as Hawke falls to her knees. “How are you? Has it gotten worse? Did you pour the whiskey on it?” Her hand hovers over Isabella’s arm, unsure what to do.

"It’s fine," Isabela purrs. She kisses Hawke’s forehead lightly. She smells like salt water. "Just let the mage do what he does best."

Hawke hovers over Isabela as Anders works. He pushes magic into her and pulls the poison out. “You’re lucky , the poison wasn’t deadly. It’s used as a paralysis, not to kill,” Anders murmurs to no one in particular.

Hawke watches, her knuckles turn white as waves continue to crash into the sand.

"Don’t worry Hawke," Aveline touches Hawke’s shaking hand. "Isabella isn’t going anywhere. Not yet."

"Not yet," Isabela agrees. She looks up into Hawke’s bright blue eyes. “Not for a long time.”