"Balls! I didn't even get my ship!"
Hawke suddenly felt a rise of anger turn her cheeks red. "In the Maker's name, is that all you care about?"
Was the pirate so selfish that she would only care about her ship and not the fact that she had betrayed Hawke at the worst time possible?
Seeing Isabela's puzzled, honey eyes settle on her brought Hawke back to an episode of her life she'd rather forget.
In the Fade
As Isabela got closer to the demon offering her what she'd always dreamed of, she felt compelled, enchanted and cursed at the same time. Hawke whispered to her, "Don't take the deal. You're stronger than this. You know it's not real."
Isabela's confused honey eyes settled on her 'sweet mage', and Hawke knew the battle was already lost —the demon had won.
The mage mouthed a silent 'I'm sorry' before getting ready to fight both the demon and her lover.
Hawke heard Aveline's not so silent cursing behind her. "Damn pirate whore."
As the guard drew her sword, Hawke channeled her magic through her hands and staff, and tried her best to keep her steely gaze focused on the demon, and not on her dear pirate queen.
With the help of Aveline and Anders – or was it Justice right now? – the mage quickly managed to drain the demon's powers. That was without counting on a certain rogue that was more than capable of hurting Hawke and her friends.
With the demon vanquished, Hawke relaxed her battle stance, and Isabela surged on her. The mage was not fast enough to avoid the sharp blade from grazing her skin; it wasn't enough to be lethal, but it was definitely enough to have the mage cry out in pain and alert her companions – or the ones that had not betrayed her anyway.
Aveline launched forward, shield held firmly against her chest and knocked the pirate out; the hit was strong enough that it knocked her out of the Fade, and Hawke sighed in relief. The mage just hope d Isabela would be back to her senses as soon as she woke up.
Justice crouched down next to the injured woman and cast a healing spell on her.
The mage briefly thanked him and got back up on her feet, praying she wasn't too late to save Feynriel . He was a good boy, and he definitely needed help, from people who knew what they were doing, not the Templars nor the Dalish, as much as the former group had wanted to help.
It broke Hawke's heart to see the young boy begging for death, kneeling before the mage and crying, asking for his pain and the voices to go away. Hawke had something else in mind, for she was incapable of doing what the boy was asking of her.
To her greatest surprise but incredible relief, her plan worked and the boy got up, hugging her, and promising to keep her updated as he would travel to Maker knows where in order to get help.
Soon enough, Hawke and her two companions woke up in a rundown house in the alienage – if it even could be considered a house.
As Hawke was still glaring at the pirate, sorrow flashed through Isabela's eyes. The glint disappeared as fast as it came.
"This ship is what I've always dreamed of, it's all I've ever wanted."
Isabela's cold voice should not have got to her lover this much, and yet, Hawke could feel her heart clench in her chest and she felt compelled to ask, even though she thought she already knew the answer, "Is that all, really, you've ever yearned for?"
Isabela stared intently at her and slowly opened her mouth and said, "Yes."
Damn Hawke for asking such foolish questions. The mage couldn't remember how to breathe properly, Isabela's words punching her in the guts.
Hawke gulped and turned on her heels to get out of the filthy air of the Hanged man. It was insufferable, choking her to the point of feeling light-headed.
But the air in the Hanged Man wasn't filthy – despite what some might say. It was Hawke, it was all Hawke, and once she was outside the door, it didn't get better – of course.
The mage couldn't believe she'd been so stupid. Letting the pirate get under her skin was by far one of the biggest mistakes of her life. Of course it was just sex to the pirate, of course all she ever wanted was freedom, and what better way to get it than to sail away on your own ship?
Hawke thought she was about to faint right there on the dirty path to Hightown, instead, she kept scowling and cursing, while trying to get her breathing back to normal.
She couldn't believe she'd been so stupid.
A few painfully long hours later, the mage was tossing and turning around in her bed, unable to quiet her thoughts and drift off to much needed sleep.
Hawke thought it was pointless after a couple of hours and gave up. Just as she was about to get up and fetch something to eat instead, she heard a ruffling noise coming from her window. Isabela.
Hawke stayed frozen in her bed, not knowing whether to be seething with anger or relieved by the pirate's presence. Why was her heart beating faster and her cheeks reddening? She was suddenly really thankful for the darkness of her room, preventing Isabela from noticing.
She regained control of her thoughts, and as soon as the pirate set foot in her room, she asked, "What do you want, Isabela?"
She didn't mean for her voice to sound so stern, and judging by the look on Isabela's face, it caught her off guard as well.
"To talk to you," the pirate simply replied.
"What if I don't want to talk to you?" Hawke replied just as sternly as before.
"I didn't say you needed to talk back, I just need you to sit back on your ass and listen," Isabela said with a cocky grin.
As the mage kept quiet, her gaze following the pirate's every move, she cringed as Isabela came to sit on her bed. Isabela kept a safe distance between them, much to the mage's relief.
Honey eyes met blue ones and their worlds collided once again.
Hawke could see clearly again. She could clearly see how scared Isabela was, how scared she was of being loved, of allowing herself to love back.
Hawke thought she understood why, when the pirate had told her she had been married, once. Now she wasn't so sure.
Isabela's voice pulled the mage away from her thoughts. "I wanted to…"
As her voice trailed off, Hawke raised her eyebrows and flashed her a reassuring look, trying to ease the pirate.
Isabela's eyes found Hawke's again and the slight nod the mage gave her was enough for her to continue.
"I wanted to apologize. For what I said." Then she paused and backtracked. "No, not for what I said, for what I led you to believe."
Now Hawke's curiosity was tingled. She raised a quizzical eyebrow and waited for the woman to continue.
"A ship – and freedom – are not the only things I've ever yearned for. You know this already. I was married once, and it was one of the worst experiences of my entire life. After my mom traded me for nothing, I was sure love was foolish, or didn't even exist. That relationships were either just about sex, or about being content enough with someone's company that you'd want to marry them and have a comfortable life."
Hawke was confused as to where she was going with this, and she kept looking for a sign in Isabela's honey eyes.
"I was wrong." The pirate quickly looked her way before looking away again and taking a shaky breath. "Our relationship is not just about sex, Hawke, but it is not comfortable either."
Hawke thought she didn't need to hear more before the pirate proved her wrong once again.
This time, Isabela looked straight into her deep, ocean eyes. "It is passionate, and also infuriating, and it scares me sometimes. It scares me to see how much you make me feel, not just in bed, but every time we're together."
"Let me finish, please." The pirate silenced her by putting a soft head against Hawke's plump lips. The pirate couldn't help but graze at her lover's lips with the tip of her finger. "I don't really know how I feel about you Hawke. I really don't. I think I need more time to figure that out; but there are some things I do know."
"What's that?" Hawke couldn't help but ask, feeling a half smile tugging at the corner of her lips.
"I'm truly sorry for choosing a ship over you. I'd understand if you'd never trust me again – if you ever even trusted me in the first place."
Isabela flashed the mage an earnest look before adverting her eyes; she couldn't bear to see how much she had hurt Hawke that day.
Instead of answering, Hawke put her hand on the pirate's chin, drawing her gaze back to her, and she kissed her for the briefest of moments, taking Isabela aback – for once.
The confusion was evident in the woman's eyes, and Hawke only softly smiled at her before taking a deep breath. "I trust you Isabela, more than you know. But what got me angry the most is not the fact that you want that ship, I know you do, and I understand why. What really got me angry, is that you made me hurt you in there, you made me fight you."
Realization seemed to dawn on Isabela's face, and she quickly grabbed the mage's arm to check her injuries. "How's your arm by the way? Hope I didn't wound it too badly, sweet thing."
Hawke put her hand on Isabela's, covering her bandage in the process. "I'll survive that wound."
At those words, Isabela's eyes filled with water and she grabbed the mage's neck, drawing her close and smashing their lips together.
"I'm sorry, love," she said as she pulled away but still rested her forehead against Hawke's. "I'm so sorry."
"I know you are," Hawke said, kissing her once again.
As the kissing intensified, Isabela pushed Hawke's back onto the pillows, straddling her and kissing her fervently. She couldn't believe she had hurt her beloved mage, couldn't believe she was ready to do that for a ship; as important as it was to her, Hawke was more important. Sure she had been under the demon's influence, but it didn't erase what she did, didn't make it okay, she realized that now. Her beautiful, sweet mage had been hurt, by her own hands, and that would never be okay.
She felt a tear roll down her cheek, but she did not care. The only thing that mattered was that her mage was safe, protected and happy. All that mattered was her lips against her own, sweet and already swollen. All that mattered was that her mage would forgive her, and that Isabela wouldn't leave her side. All that mattered was that they would be okay.
Of course, it didn't go exactly as planned, but that would be a story for another time.