As a bodyguard, Fenris was intimately familiar with the concept of putting somebody else’s life before his own. It had been his job, his mission, that he should die before harm came to his Master. However, he had been good at his job. His enemies often fell before they could seriously injure him, a fact that left him brimming with pride, only heightened by the approval from his Master.
Old habits died hard. Even though he was far from Danarius’s clutches, he could feel himself slipping into the old ways. He strode behind Hawke with a menacing glare to anyone who might dare expose their blade towards them, shoulders squared, and fingers twitching for his sword. Every stop left him on guard, slouched now, always looking over his shoulder, he was prepared for anything. No harm would come Hawke’s way, if he could help it.
But this was Hawke. Handsome, witty, wonderful Hawke. He had no desire to see harm come to him regardless of the circumstances. A strange fact, considering he was a mage. However, he was a mage who had shown him nothing but respect and control. The innate urge to protect him came from something deeper, something more, rather than just old habits. He wanted to believe that more than anything.
At first, it had been hard to swallow, but Fenris had come to accept that when he was a part of Hawke’s team, he was an equal. He and Isabela had come combine skills to make a deadly team, and his newfound friendship with ex-prince Sebastian was quickly blossoming. Hawke definitely seemed to approve. He liked his rogues. Fenris had seen him strike with a dagger before, given the close contact of the situation. He couldn’t help but wonder if he ever wished he had been raised as anything other than a mage. The way he talked about it set his mind wandering.
As an equal, he had quickly learnt that it meant that he did not have to watch his own back all the time. Others would watch it for him. That didn’t mean he would let his guard down, not ever, not on the battlefield, but gave him some comfort. The only reason Danarius wouldn’t have left him for dead was his value. But Hawke’s team? They cared. Or at least, most of them did.
“Close one!” Hawke had yelled to him, a grin on his face, when he struck down a thug creeping up behind Fenris with a blast of fire that singed the ends of his hair. Fenris had turned to see the man burnt to a crisp, his poison daggers slipping out of his hands. He could have died, right then and there, and Hawke saved him.
It would only get more intense from then on.
He found himself in a tough situation. More and more enemies were creeping up on them, jumping down and swarming them. It took everything they had to fight them off. There was no way they were leaving this battle not bloody and bruised. Being a warrior meant he was used to fighting up front, in the heat of the battle. Sometimes he was so blinded by the battle that it was hard to register what was truly going on. He turned just as a blade came for him. There was nothing he could do. He couldn’t move fast enough, even with the way time seemed to slow around him.
Then he was shoved. Fenris collapsed to the ground with a thud and a groan. The world spun around him as blood splattered on the floor before him. But it… wasn’t his? He looked up and saw Hawke, gasping, clutching at his stomach. What was going on?
“Hawke!” came Sebastian’s yell before an arrow was lodged in the attacker’s skull, dropping him to the ground.
Fenris pushed himself to his feet, ignoring the throbbing in his head, only to come to realise that Hawke had taken the blade for him. Blood was slipping out from between the gaps of his fingers, his knees threatening to buckle. He needed help and fast. Luckily, Isabela and Sebastian seemed to have taken care of the rest of the attackers.
“I’ll take him to see Anders,” Fenris said, wrapping his arm around Hawke and letting the man lean on him for support.
“Ugh,” Hawke groaned at the comment.
Fenris couldn’t help but let a smile tug on his lips. “I feel the same way, my friend.”
Hawke needed time to recover. Fenris had no desire to wait around in Anders’s clinic any longer than necessary, even if he worried for Hawke. He would get better, he was sure of it, he had sustained much worse injuries than this one. So, he ended up twiddling his thumbs in his own mansion. He sat by the fire, staring down at the flames as they danced.
A knock on his door had him snapping out of his thoughts. He shuffled over, opening it, only to find Hawke with his stomach bandaged, a stick in his hand, and a smile on his face. Fenris blinked owlishly at him.
“What are you doing here? You should be resting,” Fenris chided. He certainly shouldn’t have been up and walking around. Did he walk all the way from Darktown to his mansion? And if he was going to do that, wouldn’t it have made more sense to go to his own comfy estate, where Bodahn could look after him?
“You better let me in then,” Hawke said.
Fenris huffed and helped Hawke inside, closing the door behind him. He found one of the better chairs for him to sit on and helped him down. Hawke let out a long sigh of relief when he was seated, leaning his head back against the chair.
“I just wanted to make sure you were alright. You hit your head pretty hard. Sorry for that, by the way. Did Anders check you over after I passed out?” Hawke asked.
Fenris pressed his lips together for a moment. “I’m fine. You don’t need to apologise, don’t be ridiculous. You saved my life.”
When the words left his lips, he felt his heart pound. Hawke had saved his life. The idea that someone would do that for him was overwhelming. His mind wandered into unsavoury places. He had thought all the flirting had been in jest, but what if he meant something more? What if Hawke felt something for him that he could not comprehend?
“I wasn’t going to let you die, Fenris. I’ve said it once before but it would be a waste of a perfectly handsome elf,” Hawke teased, grinning. Fenris rolled his eyes as his cheeks faded into pink. “But seriously, I don’t doubt Isabela and Sebastian would have done the same for you. We’re all looking out for each other here. And it didn’t kill me! Me getting hurt and living is much more preferable to you dying.”
“Well… thank you,” Fenris said. He took a seat on the chair next to Hawke’s. The idea was mindboggling, even though he knew they were all supposed to be equals. He knew that if it had been Hawke, he would have done the same thing.
Hawke chuckled. “It’s about trust. I trust you to watch my back, and I hope you trust me to watch yours.”
“After that display, how could I not?” Fenris said, cocking an eyebrow and smiling a little. Hawke was a foolish man, but he made some very good points.
Maybe his trust wouldn’t be misplaced this time.