The information was good, or it better be. There was no time to make mistakes. If this wasn't the place then it would be too late. He tried to remain calm, to not let the panic show on his face, but it was hard. When Varric had come back without Fenris he felt a lump in his gut, and when he found that the elf had been taken by the Tevinter Mages that weight only grew. The fear crept in again as he allowed himself to think about it. They were going to take his memories again, make him a blank slate so he couldn't fight them and then use him as Denarius had. He could not allow that to happen. Not to Fenris. Not ever again.
"I think this is it." Varric said, pointing to the large estate. "Based on what that information broker told me this should be that bastards place."
"Then let's pay him a friendly social call." Hawke said, gripping his staff.
"We should be careful. Who knows how many shades and demons we'll face. There could be over a dozen blood mages inside." Anders was looking up, trying to see what rooms were lit in the house.
"Here's hoping the elf is there." Varric said, shaking his head and followed Hawke.
The mage did not answer his dwarven friend, too focused on the front door. Had they been allowed time he may have gone with a more delicate entry but right now all he wanted was to find Fenris before they did anything to him. Walking up to the door he knocked, his palms already ablaze with fire as the door creaked open slightly.
"Bind him to the table." The voice called. "Even if he's subdued he will struggle once we begin." An unfamiliar face leaned over him, staring down. "Denarius really outdid himself this time. To think his prized pet will now be mine."
The figure glanced over to one of the many apprentices. "Ellena, grab the Lyrium. I think a few more markings won't hurt. With these his power will be even more impressive."
NO! Fenris' pupils dilated as he saw them, but he could not move. They had bound him with some kind of blood magic and it was as if he were trapped in his own body, unable to fight or scream. It was a terrifying feeling, to be unable to do anything. They had stripped him of all but his pants, bearing his arms and chest to receive the new markings it seemed.
One of the apprentices looked at him. "I wonder what he's thinking."
"Doesn't matter. In a few minutes he won't even know who he is." The man said, grabbed something from a table. "Let us begin."
He felt his breathing quicken. Like this he couldn't even curse at them, couldn't fight at all. It was maddening. All this freedom, this life he'd allowed himself to have was going to be nothing more than some dream he'd never remember. All the time, the memories
his thoughts went to Hawke. They'd been separated by the avalanche so suddenly he hadn't been able to say goodbye. He'd assumed they'd meet up soon, that he'd see him again but now, now he'd never see him again, at least not as himself. After this if they met he wouldn't have a clue who the man was, or what they'd shared. All of it was going to be taken from him again. All the feelings, all the precious moments he'd held close to him were to be stripped away again and this time it was almost worse.
"What are you looking at?" He glanced at the man who was staring at him with that roguish grin, that smirk he found made him want to smile in return.
"Is it a crime to look at you now?" Garrett laughed, leaning closer.
"I did not say that, but you look like you want to say something." Fenris turned to him, tilting his head. "What is on your mind?"
Brown eyes stared at him with a glint of humor and that smile widened faintly before he spoke. "I love you."
His brows raised in surprise at the abruptness of the declaration. "I
"You?" The man pressed, leaning even closer.
There was a pause before Garrett bumped the others forehead with his own playfully. "You're supposed to say it back, you know. That's how these warm and fuzzy moments go."
He flinched a little at the tap and smiled shyly. "I
apologize. You're right that was not the appropriate thing to say
" He raised a brow and glanced up at the other man, "I do not think that the word love properly expresses my feelings."
Garrett's eyes brightened and he reached up to brush Fenris' hair from his eyes. "Then we'll need to find a proper way to say it. How about
more than love?"
"More than love. Just tell me you more than love me." The cheeky mage said again.
"I was being serious, Hawke." Fenris snorted.
"So was I." The man's voice lowered and he leaned closer. "We don't have a word for what we feel so that should work, right? I'm not witty enough to come up with a brand new word tonight." He brushed his lips over the elf's. "Well?"
His eyes started to close and his whole body shifted against Garrett, feeling the familiar presence of the other's body against his own. "More than love
yes, perhaps that will do." He smiled reaching up to tug at the man's collar. Before their lips met again he whispered, "I more than love you, Hawke, more than I can ever say."
He was snapped from the memory at the sound of some explosion nearby.
"What was that?" The man over him said and for a moment his form disappeared from Fenris' limited view.
"Master there are intruders! They're killing everyone!" The voice of the mage seemed strained.
" The Magister was cut off by a set of screams and then there was a cold gust of wind. The hallway outside the door had been frozen over and a vice called out. "Fenris!"
"Who are you? How dare you come into my estate!" The Magister was moving across the room to the door.
"I was going to suggest tea but I thought we could skip the formalities." Said a familiar voice. Hawke spun his staff around to impale a blood mage before they could cast a spell. "Anders!"
"Got it!" There was a sudden rush of heat in the room as a fireball hit the far corner.
"I see him! Fenris!" Varric shot down a couple mages and hurried to flank the magister.
Cornered the Magister turned to Hawke. "I will not allow you to take him!"
"You never had him." Hawke growled.
A flash of spells filled the room and for a moment all that could be seen was red. The Magister bound Hawke in a spell, but Merrill quickly dispelled it, allowing Hawke to close the distance between himself and the blood mage.
Garrett Hawke did not let the man start another spell before hitting him with a shockwave. The man slammed back against the far wall. The former Champion of Kirkwall flipped his staff around and impaled the man, a cold resolve in his eyes as he watched the life seep from the Magister.
The room fell silent except for the occasional pieces of the wall and roof that had been damaged. The silence was broken by the sound of his name being called. "Fenris! Fenris." He could see the forms over him but they were blurry.
"Oh Mythal, what have they done to him?" Merrill said. "What if they tortured him?"
"I don't see any wounds, but he's not really moving." Varric's voice murmured from the side of him.
"They must have used blood magic to bind him. We need to break it." Hawke said, reaching to undo the straps at the elf's wrists and feet.
"The only way to unbind him is to use blood magic." Anders said with distain.
"I can do it. I'll free him." Merrill interjected.
"Are you sure that's wise? You said you were going to stop using it."
"What choice do we have, Anders? If we leave him like this then who knows if their spell may affect him worse later on. I owe Hawke this." She pulled a knife from her belt. "Now stand back."
"Thank you, Merrill." Hawke said softly.
"Oh, don't worry about it. This will be the first time I'll use it for something good
that's a little sad to say actually." She shook her head and raised the blade over her wrists. In a quick motion she sliced across her skin and the blood from the wound rose up. Bending the power to her will she shattered the spell holding the elf.
He felt heavy but he found himself blinking and slowly moving his head. It was disjointing, as if he was struggling to figure out how to control his body once again.
"Fenris." Garrett called again and reached to help him sit up.
Fenris turned to the man, staring at him. He struggled to move his mouth, to speak. He'd been so sure this moment would never happen; that he'd never get the chance to see him again. Yet, here he was, looking at him with such a concerned expression.
"Fenris?" Garrett called again and slowly reached up, running his thumb over the other's face, and it became apparent that there was water running down his cheeks. Had he been crying? He wasn't sure; he hadn't been able to tell much of anything. Was that why his vision was still blurry? "Maker, tell me I'm not too late." Garret breathed, that pained expression filling his face. "Fen-"
"Hawke?" Fenris finally said. He'd found his voice and his body began to move more naturally. He reached out, pressing himself against the other man. "Hawke
Garrett was overwhelmed by a sudden sense of relief when the elf called his name and he quickly wrapped his arms around him. "That's me."
" He choked, feeling all that fear, that sadness well up in him as if the spell had held that back too. "I thought they were going to take everything from me again
take you away." He pressed his face into the man's throat, letting that familiar warmth sooth this fear at last. "Yet, here you are."
"You know me." The mage pulled back, looking down at his distraught lover. "I always save the day."
Relieved, Fenris smiled, letting out a weak chuckle. "That you do." He leaned close again. "You never disappoint."
"Well, not on purpose." The other laughed and leaned in to kiss him.
Leaving the mansion they disappeared into the streets. They'd left the estate a burning mess, destroying anything that may let anyone know of Fenris. Hawke didn't want to take any chance. When they were safe from the city they set up camp. Varric was already writing down what had transpired, not wanting to miss a single detail, though he embellished generously.
A little ways back from the fire Fenris stared at the flames, his eyes not truly focusing.
"Here." Sitting next to the elf, Hawke handed him a drink. "This may make you feel a little better. It's not wine but it'll have to do."
Taking the glass he stared at it. "Thank you." He held it between his hands, unmoving.
Pausing, Garrett raised a brow. "I swear it doesn't taste that bad."
not it." He raised it to his lips, taking a small sip. When he settled again he let his gaze fall on Hawke.
"Did they d anything to you?" The mage finally asked. "I saw all the lyrium
"No, no they had done nothing more than bound me." He shook his head. That fear was still fresh in his mind. "I wasn't able to do anything. When they caught us they were quick to immobilize me. I hardly had time to do much else then tell Varric to run." He gripped the cub tighter. "When they had me on that table, I was sure that was it. This dream I've been living was to be just that."
Hawke sat silently next to him, seeing the various emotions cross Fenris' face.
"But then I heard your voice
I felt happy, relieved."
"I would hope so." The man said playfully.
"I'm serious!" He glared at him. "Must you always make light of these things? I was moments away from losing everything again and you-"A hand clamped over his mouth.
"I know." Garret's eyes became serious. "I know, Fenris. I
was so afraid we wouldn't make it in time. When we found out what they were planning, I
it was all I could do not to lose it. I was sure I'd fail someone I love again. If I lost you too
it would be mother all over again, only I wouldn't even get to say goodbye." The usual cocky mage looked weak, much like that night they'd found Leandra.
He recalled seeing the man at his weakest and finally understood the jokes. "I'm sorry
I know you did not-"
let's not talk about it right now. What's important is you're here, and safe." He reached over to take Fenris' hand. "That's all I care about right now."
He smiled letting his own hand intertwine with Hawke's. They allowed themselves to sit in silence, letting their chaotic emotions slowly calm. "Garrett?"
Turning to Fenris, Hawke blinked. The elf used his first name rarely. "Yes?"
"If you had arrived later and my memories were gone
what would you have done?" Fenris didn't look at him as if that very thought pained him. That slight wrinkle between his brows formed momentarily.
Hawke thought a moment. "Well, other than giving that bastard magister a more painful death
I would have taken you with me. I entered that house with the goal of leaving with you."
"But I wouldn't have known who you were. I wouldn't have been the same person, Hawke."
Shaking his head the human smiled as he turned to Fenris. "Doesn't matter. You're always going to be you. I'd just have spent the rest of my life reminding you of that."
Fenris' eyes widened.
Staring back at him his gaze softened as he let that thought sink in. "Besides," he grinned, "How many people can claim they made their lover fall in love with them twice?"
He laughed. "No," Fenris closed his eyes, "not love." Reaching to take the man's other hand he squeezed them in his own. "More than love." He looked up.
"Much more." Garrett agreed and leaned over, kissing him softly.
Fenris' fingers tangled with Garret's and he leaned closer. The fire crackled and its dim glow was all that faintly illuminated the two lovers embracing in the dark woods.