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Catching the Wind

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She was at the end of the bar. But then again, she always seemed to be there.
Hawke straightened her shoulders and walked stiffly into the Hanged Man. The Rivaini woman was leaning against the bar, mug of ale in one hand as she regaled a hapless young man with a tale of bravado. The fool was hanging onto her every word and lust coiled in his aura. Hawke’s thick eyebrow raised despite herself. Jealousy began to flare within her, but she tamped it down.
It was unbecoming for a guardsman to lose their cool with the public. Merrill appeared in her peripheral vision and brightened at the mere sight of her. Well, things were looking up. At the very least, her friend would help cooler heads prevail. Hawke resisted the urge to adjust her sword belt as she neared Isabela. The dark-skinned woman was enough to make her shift happen within moments, but she could hold onto her lust. At least, for the time being.

 

“….And then I had my boys haul him up the main mast by his knickers. The look on that man’s face!” Isabela laughed. She knocked back the rest of her ale and the man laughed uproariously.
“Keep them in line, sailor,” he complimented. Hawke tried not to grow angry at his impertinent fawning. She leaned against the bar beside Isabela.
“Is there room for one more?” she asked casually. She smiled inwardly when Isabela turned toward and something that could have been affection glowed in her dark eyes.
“Hawke! Join me. I was just telling Aryon here about one of the short-lived mutinies on my old ship. Boy, was that a turn,” Isabela bantered. Hawke nodded politely to this Aryon. The Rivaini woman signaled the barkeep to pour another mug of ale and to refill hers. Hawke raised her mug and toasted Isabela silently. The sailor laughed, touching her mug to Hawke’s.
“You goose,” she said fondly. “All done saving the day?”
“Two muggings, one domestic and three attempted rapes stopped. All in a day’s work,” Hawke said. Isabela sighed as she drank.
Aryon interjected and Isabela answered him smoothly. Hawke forced herself to drink and keep her mouth occupied. Her shift threatened to happen as she remembered the throaty laugh Isabela was bestowing on Aryon. She had uttered that laugh while atop her, dark thighs wrapped around her hips…. Aryon wouldn’t get to enter the treasure between Isabela’s legs like she had.

 

“If you need a new crew, maybe you could sign me on,” Aryon was saying. Isabela turned to prop her chin on her hand.
“I was thinking of a personal guardsman. How about it, Hawke?” she teased. Hawke blushed.
“I’m always ready, at your disposal,” she said evenly. Isabela gave another throaty laugh.
“Maybe we should discuss that privately,“ she teased. “If I obtain a ship anytime soon, come see me, Aryon.”
The young man pouted at being dismissed but tried not to let it affect him. “You got it, Isabela.”
The Rivaini woman turned on her side, giving Hawke her full attention. “Your kitten is fawning over you across the room. You’ll want to give her your attention, hmm?”
“Don’t tease,” Hawke sighed. “You know Merrill and I are just friends.”

 

“I know. I just love seeing that blush on your pale Ferelden features,” Isabela traced one finger along Hawke’s wrist gauntlet. Her lips pursed in a thin line.
“You get a blush out of me more than just on my face.” Hawke couldn’t believe the words that came out of her mouth. But Isabela took it in stride, giggling.
“Is that an invitation?” she asked. Hawke swallowed. Was Isabela bantering to enter her bed again? Or was this all just a game? She decided to press her luck.
“Perhaps you can show me that room of yours upstairs. Unless you want to trek across the city to my chambers,” Hawke murmured. Isabela grinned.
“It’s abit more….rustic than your stellar chambers. But I’m sure you can manage.”

 

With that, Isabela knocked back the rest of her ale and set the mug down. She didn’t have to call to Hawke to follow; her eyes followed the sway of Isabela’s hips.
They ascended the stairs and bypassed a few doors in the narrow hallway. All the room’s inhabitants had to be drinking and mingling down on the first floor, for it was strangely quiet. Isabela turned a key into one of the door knobs and pushed in. Hawke waited as she lit a small lantern on the bedside table. Aside from aforementioned bed, there was a small chest of drawers, a chamber pot in the corner, and nothing else.
“It’s not much, but it does when I’m here,” Isabela shrugged. Hawke found her gaze drifting down to her cleavage as she stretched her arms.
“Cozy,” Hawke agreed. She shifted, armor clinking. “Can I take a seat?”

 

“Go ahead,” Isabela grinned. She took a seat on the edge of the bed and patted the mattress. “I won’t bite.”
“I might like that,” Hawke admitted. Isabella rooted around under the bed and came up with a bottle of rum. “You sneak.”
“I always come prepared. Let’s do a shot, Hawke.”
The two women sipped at their small glasses and Hawke was impressed with how quickly Isabela downed hers. “Is your armor heavy?”
“Abit. Care to help me?” Hawke’s face flushed as the pirate neared her, an impish smile on her lips. Isabela’s clever fingers removed her breast plate. Her nipples hardened inside her tunic. “And here I wanted to bestow attention on you.”
“Attention, hmm?” Isabela waited, hand on her bare thigh. Her long white tunic barely covered her smallclothes. “I know you like the view.”
“You know me too well…” Hawke pushed the sleeves of her tunic up. Her shift started and she eased back on her hands. Isabela’s eyes traveled between her thighs.
“Well, I’ll take that as a compliment.”
Hawke coughed. “I can go if you want….”

 

“Don’t…” Hawke was surprised when Isabela’s hand settled on her thigh. She gave a low smile. “I’m used to being hounded for that….but that time was good. With you.”
Hawke’s mouth went dry. “Good times in High Town….”
“Or high above you,” Isabela climbed onto Hawke’s lap and slung her arms around her neck. “Ooooh, you’re hard, guardsman…”
Hawke let her hands trail down and cup Isabela’s hips. She gave a low smile when the pirate started a grinding motion against her cock. “Like what you feel?”
“Yes. And I’ll be feeling more….” Isabela breathed the words against her lips. Hawke wasted no time kissing her. She smiled in her head when Isabela pressed her to the bed and clambered on top.
Hawke was busy trying to tug Isabela’s corset loose so she could loosen her tunic and get to her breasts. She stopped when Isabela unlaced her trousers and worked her cock out through the opening. She fell onto her back, hissing with surprise. Soon, Isabela was grinding against her erect flesh, painting her with warmth to combat the cool of the air.
“Is….” Hawke murmured, shortening her name. Isabela’s eyebrow raised high. A pink blush stained her complexion. She worked against the head of Hawke’s erection. “Slow? How not like you….”

 

“You like it slow, you like it fast…” Isabela smirked as Hawke’s hands pulled her smallclothes low. She wriggled her hips to help. “However I…. Ah!” Isabela gasped when Hawke grasped her hips and thrust upward. The head of her cock began to split her bare pussy lips open and the pirate shuddered with desire, sinking down. Their hips flush, Hawke throbbed inside her. Her hands cupped Isabela’s breasts, as she got her laces open.
Hawke murmured against her throat. Isabela worked her hips against her. Hawke could feel the taut musculature of her thighs as she thrust against her. Hawke fell onto her back, her widened eyes taking in the Rivaini woman on top of her.
Isabela caught her eyes and her hips slowed. She rolled against her like the gentle lapping of the ocean’s waves and Hawke felt the tightness in her belly coiling tighter and tighter. Hawke gave a low growl as Isabela rode her faster and faster.

 

Small curses of delight escaped Isabela’s lips. Hawke pressed the soles of her feet into the mattress and arched her hips up. Isabela’s head tilted back as she rode Hawke’s wildly surging thrusts. Her cries spurred the half-dressed guardsman on. A fine stream of sweat glistened in Hawke’s hair. It streamed down her cheek and down her neck.
“Oh, Hawke…..yes… harder…” Isabela cried out. Her cries were as bawdy as the other calls from down the bar’s rooms but Hawke had ears only for Isabela. When she came, Hawke tried to hold onto her orgasm, stretching it as long she could. Isabela was watching her, dark eyes wide, and then her head rolled back as she moved back and forth, harder and harder. Hawke was relieved as she came in shuddering gasps.
Her hands scraped up and down Isabela’s bare thighs, up under her tunic to caress her thighs and along her belly. Isabela leaned down, half laying across Hawke. The guardsman took her weight easily, and smiled almost tenderly up at the pirate.
“Sorry if that was fast…” Hawke murmured. Isabela smacked her side playfully. She leaned down and planted a tender heated kiss on Hawke’s parted lips. Hawke kissed her back longingly. Isabela’s eyes were shining as she raised her head.
“It was just…. fine. Hmmm, very nice,” she purred. “Guess they do it hard and dirty in the guard halls.”

 

“I could show you first hand,” Hawke bantered. Isabela chuckled. She gave a sharp gasp when Hawke thrust her hips upward. Her softening cock began to surge and throb, hardening. The first time they’d done this, Isabela had climbed off her after orgasm, but Hawke intended to show her a further good time…..and she wanted to stay as close to the Raivini as possible. It was selfish, but maybe Isabela would feel as close to her as she felt to her; through sex, at the very least….
Isabela looked undecided; Hawke worked her round breasts into her palms, and thumbed her nipples as she kneaded; her hips began a firm thrust upward. Isabela had left her laying in a puddle of her own drool and release. But if she could show her she had what it took…then Isabela would stay. At least for another orgasm.
Isabela’s groans were high and continuous. Her thighs gripped Hawke’s waist as she ground down onto her length, harder and harder. Hawke had a firm hold on her renewed lust, and her hips were a blur as she thrust hard upward. She found her head lolling back and a loud moan erupted from her parted lips. Isabela leaned low, dragging her breasts across her tunic front.

 

“You want this…you want this bad….” She was murmuring against Hawke’s lips. Hawke captured her mouth in a kiss, but she broke apart to howl her passion. Isabela’s dark hair fell around Hawke’s face.
“Yes….” Hawke murmured as the moment spiraled to heated blurry goodness. Her hands gripped the small of Isabela’s back tight enough to bruise. “But you do too…”
Isabela’s dark eyes sparkled with lust and surprise registered on her face for maybe the second time since they met when Hawke rolled on top of her, pinning her beneath her weight. A blush stained the Rivaini woman’s face. Hawke pumped desperately into Isabela, her engorged length twitching. She gave a loud grunt of pleasure and lowered her face to Isabela’s breast. White lights burst behind her eyes. Hawke’s orgasm swelled over the top as her release spurted wildly, trapped in clinging warm satin.

 

Dark hands stroked through her hair and Isabela gave a soft moan beneath her. Hawke was ready to climb off her but Isabela only angled her face up so she could kiss her. Even though Hawke was pretty much fully dressed and Isabela was only half undressed herself, she counted it a victory as the kiss turned intimate. It seemed unlike Isabela, but Hawke drank in her kiss eagerly. Isabela angled her leg around Hawke’s hip and played with the collar of her tunic.
“That was…. Hmm…. You guardsmen know how to work the hips,” Isabela grinned. Hawke stared into her face, sweat pouring off her chin. She leaned her head down and pressed a stream of hot kisses across the pirate’s breasts.
“You’re just…amazing,” Hawke murmured. She licked a nipple into her mouth and sucked it gently. Isabela’s thighs widened around her.
“Usually I boot the unfortunate git who just fucked me out of my room,” Isabela murmured. Hawke raised her head, face red in a blush. “But stay a moment….”

 

Hawke gave a deliberate pump of her hips, pushing her softening cock through Isabela’s wet cave. She gasped prettily. “If that’s your command.”
“It is.” Isabela smiled almost shyly up at her. By and by they separated and Hawke excused herself to use the chamber pot. After she’d relieved herself, she shook off the drops and re-laced. Her shift began to recede and she sighed as the heaviness between her thighs vanished. Isabela was tying her corset, tunic loose around her breasts. Hawke prowled closer and surprised the pirate by helping lace her corset from behind. She dared to plant a kiss along the back of Isabela’s neck as she did.
“You’re sweet, Hawke.” For just a moment, Isabela let herself be held from behind. She even leaned back into Hawke’s torso. But before she could blink, the pirate was extracting herself from her hands. “That was great.”

 

“Yeah….” Hawke didn’t know what to say. If she returned the compliment it would wind up sounding hollow. She cleared her throat. “Are you staying in town long?”
“For abit. I have a few people to suss out, and maybe get some information.” Isabela stretched her arms above her head. Hawke tried not to stare at the back of her bare thighs.
“Need any help?” Hawke asked. At the very least if they weren’t going to be screwing all night, she could lend her some aide. Isabela turned with a smile.
“Do I look that put out? No, don’t look that way. Of course, I’d relish the help. Especially from my own guardsman,” Isabela teased. Hawke was glad she was put to comfortable areas again and took up her armor. She refastened her sword belt around her hips.
“You look freshly fucked,” Isabela teased. Hawke’s face exploded into redness.

 

“I…”
“Here, let me.” Before she could ask, Isabela was stroking loose hairs behind her ears, and making sure all the sweat was wiped off her face and neck. “Much more presentable.”
As they left Isabela’s room, Hawke hoped the next time they were joined would be in her chambers. And maybe next time she’d feel all of the pirate’s skin flush against hers without any heavy clothing in the way. Hawke made it a point to make that a goal as they walked down the hallway to the stairs.

Chapter Text

It was an interesting idea.

 

Isabela’s soft moans resounded in Hawke’s ears as she slid a hand down the front of her loosened bodice. Hawke had talked Isabela into coming back to her family’s home and it wasn’t long before Hawke had the elusive pirate in her arms. As always, Isabela was on top of her, thighs wrapped around her waist and grinding against her shaft. Hawke’s cock had formed, thickening steadily and Isabela delighted in turning her on.
Hawke had had the idea when their lips had met this time. Always, Isabela kept her tunic on. She allowed Hawke to loosen her corset so she could get at her breasts, and her small clothes always were tugged off, but Hawke wanted to strip her bare. She also wanted to take off all of her own clothes. Heavy tunic and trousers weren’t conducive to a strenuous physical tryst. This time, Hawke would get her fully naked before she joined them together.

 

Isabela may protest, but Hawke was curious to feel her. All of her. Her wet cave was a joy to part with her cock, but Hawke wanted to feel her warm bare skin full against hers. Isabela giggled as Hawke’s dark head settled beneath her chin and her lips settled along her collar bone. Hawke dragged her tongue along her clavicle and bent her head lower. One hand worked at Isabela’s dratted corset as the other ran down the curve of her ass, squeezing. Isabela purred with contentment, arms sliding around Hawke’s neck. She blushed as the guardsman settled her mouth on a bared nipple. Her lips made it stiffen.
“Oh, Hawke….”
Hawke shifted her hips beneath Isabela. The pirate had had the bright idea to climb on her as she sat on the small dining table in her chambers, the more to make her uncomfortable with. With warm thighs clamped around her, and the promise of heat sliding along her clothed shaft, Hawke didn’t mind at first. But her legs were beginning to cramp. Hawke took a gamble and stood, hands going low to Isabela’s ass. She held her against her as she stood, walking with shaking steps toward the canopied bed. “Hawke!”
“Can’t do it on the table,” Hawke murmured. She made to lay Isabela on her back, but the pirate tightened her grip around her hips with her legs and rolled on top. Hawke half lay against the scattered pillows on her elbows. Her pale features reddened in a blush. “Or did you want to?”

 

 

“Right here’s fine,” Isabela purred. Her tunic gaped open, breasts spilling out. Hawke stared. Her cock stood straight up, tenting the front of her trousers. Isabela’s eyes went down to it, and she all but purred. Before she could unlace and make it a fast event, Hawke caught her wrist.
“Wait.”
Isabela’s eyebrow curved. “I’ve never heard you ask me to do THAT when we have a moment alone.”
Hawke gave a sly grin. “Not usually… let me just get these clothes off.”
Hawke had a feeling it was a line Isabela didn’t usually cross. Her eyebrow raised higher. “Why? Everything I need is right here.”

 

Hawke gasped, pushing her hips forward as Isabela’s fingers cupped the bulge between her thighs. She couldn’t help canting her hips forward again. “If you want it, you’ll take off that tunic.”
Isabela looked stunned. Her features pinched and she finally scowled. “I can find a good hard piece of wood elsewhere. Do you want me to go?”
The jab stung Hawke’s pride. No, she wanted Isabela to be with her tonight, not anyone else. Especially someone she just met to bed and make her jealous. But jealousy was akin to having feelings, and her pirate queen didn’t dwell on such emotions….did she?
“I think you know the answer to that…”
Isabela still climbed off the bed. Hawke’s eyes trailed along her lean thighs as she moved. Her throat went dry. “Wait…”
“You’re pushing way too hard, Hawke. I can find a good time somewhere else,” Isabela all but snarled. Hawke caught her wrist. She kissed it and drew the pirate close with an arm around the waist. Isabela fought a moment, then leaned full into her torso. Hawke swallowed as she pressed against her clothed cock. “That is….”

 

Hawke took her moment of blushing indecision and planted her mouth over hers. Isabela stiffened as if she’d draw away, but a careful scrape of her tongue into the pirate’s mouth had her lips yielding to her. Isabela stroked her tongue back and clung to Hawke’s shoulders as they kissed.
“Hmmmm…” The quiet moan reverberated between them. Hawke’s mind went hazy. When Isabela fumbled with her laces, Hawke let her. She began to unfasten her tunic and slide it open. Isabela drew back when she saw inch upon inch of pale flesh revealed. Hawke’s breast band kept her small breasts from view, but Isabela’s gaze dipped to her flat stomach, following the subtle lines of musculature. “Well, I guess that’s not all bad….”
Hawke grinned toothily as Isabela’s warm hand settled along her side, running along her firm abdominal muscles. “It’s gonna get better.”

 

Isabela made to ask how when Hawke pressed her into another deep kiss. A victory was dancing in Hawke’s head when Isabela clung to her, one leg arching around her hip so she could rub against her. Unlaced, Hawke’s cock stood out through the opening of her trousers and pressed against Isabela’s warmth through her small clothes. Isabela grinned when Hawke’s hand reached down to tug the garment low. When her other hand began fiddling to unfasten her corset, the subtle look of confused anger was back on the pirate’s face.
“Keep that on, Hawke.” Hawke ignored her and loosened her corset, and tugged at her tunic with her other hand. Isabela blushed as her round breasts bobbed out of their confinement. Hawke stared down at them, pale features reddening in a blush. “Hawke!”
Hawke wrapped her arms around her, tugging her against her. Isabela made to fight, but she stiffened in her arms as their bare flesh met. Hawke tugged her breast band loose, and their breasts pressed close together. Isabela swallowed noticeably, looking vulnerable, as her largest article of clothing was dropped to the floor. Her corset rested on top of the tunic. “I can’t, I…..”

 

Hawke gazed at her tenderly as Isabela’s hands went up between them, shielding her breasts. The Ferelden woman’s gaze was almost serious as she cupped Isabela’s chin in one hand. “You’re….” Kiss. “Beautiful….”
Isabela murmured a protest, but as if she had unlocked a chest with a ready key, the pirate’s body slowly blossomed to her. Hawke grasped Isabela’s wrists gently when she made to push her onto her back. Isabela had gotten the best of her before, that first time and several since then. She did like it on top after all. Hawke knew it was because she didn’t want to lose an iota of control. Isabela stared at her at the small gesture of strength.
“What…” she began. Half bared, Hawke leaned in and kissed her urgently. Isabela clung to her shoulders.
“Let me…..Isabela, please…” Hawke murmured. The pirate looked a little interested as Hawke lowered her to her back on the bed. The dark limbs of the pirate spread on reflex. She inched backward on her elbows.

 

“You think you’re going to pin me?” A wry grin was back on Isabela’s face. Hawke nodded. Her dark hair hung in her eyes.
“I do. And you’re going to love it.” Inwardly, she blushed, but Isabela gasped, her breasts bobbing as she leaned up on her elbows. Hawke’s eyes burned into her as she tugged her trousers low, freeing herself completely. Her cock pointed straight out and Isabela’s gaze went south toward it. Naked, Hawke’s legs blurred as she moved toward the bed quickly. She climbed up after Isabela and spread her thighs with one hand. Isabela sighed as her fingers grazed the wetness between her legs.
“Go ahead and try it. I always wind up on top,” Isabela grinned. Hawke stared down at her. She climbed on top, dragging her stiff cock through the pirate’s folds. Isabela gasped and moved beneath her, trying to get her to sink in. Hawke held off, leaning down to kiss her. The kiss turned hungry in an instant and Isabela was clutching her shoulders, trying to buck her off so she could mount up.

 

Hawke was lost, mind groaning as the small gasps escaped her lips. Isabela’s body was as warm against hers as she thought and their bare skin scraping against each other made the small hairs rise up on her arms. Isabela seemed to enjoy it, despite her protestations. She was still wrestling her for dominance, trying to climb on top as always. Not this time. Hawke gave a small growl as her kisses went low along her collar bone. Hawke’s lips settled on the swell of one breast as she pumped her hips slowly, grinding her cock back and forth over the wet opening beneath her.
Isabela yelped, fingers digging into her back. Hawke grinned and gripped herself by the base. She thrust in firmly, sinking in inch by inch. The low scream that met her ear made her ego swell with pride. Hilted, Hawke took off at a resolute pace, hips pressing Isabela down. The pirate looked overwhelmed, her dark eyes wide. Her thighs pressed open on either side of Hawke’s hips, trembling. Her hands scraped up and down the shifting muscles along Hawke’s back, clawing her despite herself.
Sweat beaded along Hawke’s brow, dripping down onto Isabela’s upturned face. Her mouth was open and she seemed to be fighting her mentally. Her dark eyes were wide with surprise.
“Can you feel it?......I want you….” Hawke murmured. It wasn’t her sexiest talk, but Isabela’s eyes widened. Her thighs trembled around Hawke’s waist.
“Course I can feel it….you’re in so deep…ah!” Isabela stopped trying to fight her for dominance and clutched her back. Hawke’s hips pumped at a harder pace, smiling as a low wail fell from the pirate’s lips. She was glad suddenly her mother’s chambers were on the other side of the estate. Burying her face into the dark skin of Isabela’s shoulder, Hawke pounded into her as fast as she could.

 

The pirate enjoyed her trysts, so while she had her pinned, she was going to let her feel the full brunt of her wants. The perspiration building between their slick warm flesh was delicious. Loud white noise filled Hawke’s ears, mixed with Isabela’s moans. Hawke was congratulating herself on getting Isabela to lay back and enjoy it, as it were. She had stopped trying to push Hawke on her back, and clung to her waist with her legs. The drawback was that Hawke was rapidly approaching a climax. Her hips jolted unevenly as she tried to hold onto herself; it would be a sting to her pride if she lost herself first, and the lengths she had to go to join them without any clothes on.
Plus, Isabela would rib her forever about it. Isabela cried out against her shoulder, her nails digging into her back. Hawke tilted her head back, squeezing her eyes shut hard. She kept thrusting in unsteady jerks, trying to ride out the crest of her approaching orgasm. When she opened her eyes, and caught sight of Isabela ‘s mouth opening in a wail, her inner walls fluttering around her, she figured her work was done. Hawke’s hips moved faster and she didn’t fight the wave of heat fluttering through her belly and loins. When she erupted, warm come spurting into the pirate, Hawke was surprised to feel Isabela’s hands fall onto her hips. She held Hawke in place, riding out her thrusts.

 

Hawke tried to hold onto herself, but her face was sweaty, her hair clung in wet clumps into her eyes, and her strength failed. She fell against Isabela with a long groan. Their labored breathing filled the room.
Even if the moment was intimate, and Isabela didn’t do intimacy, Hawke felt the need to defend herself. “Sorry….just…a moment…..”
The throaty laugh that met her ears was soothing. When Hawke lifted her head, she saw a wry smile on the pirate’s lips as well as a blush across her features. “You wore yourself out, did you?”
Hawke nodded. Her gaze settled on the Raivini’s lips. “Yes….”
“And all for showing me a good time…” Isabela angled a leg around Hawke’s slim hip. “I’ll give you a moment. Then you must release me from your fiery clutches, guardsman.”

 

Her tone was teasing, but Hawke’s heart burned at her words. She deliberately pumped her hips forward and laid her mouth against Isabela’s. The pirate pushed at her waist, and Hawke wondered if in her weakened state, she’d get her off her anyhow. But then she clung to her with her thighs and Hawke fell into her warmth. Isabela’s fingers wound through her short sweaty hair, rumpling it further.
“I didn’t think you could burn at the touch like this….” The tone of wonder in Isabela’s voice filled Hawke with a surge of confidence.
“Whenever you want, m’lady.” Hawke’s grin was toothy. They kissed and Hawke didn’t fight for position as Isabela rolled on top. She didn’t separate their bodies, but leaned down, breasts pressing into Hawke’s torso.

 

Again, Hawke had to thank the Maker that her mother’s chambers were on the other side of the house.

End for now

Chapter Text

Isabela wished she didn’t have to feel so damned guilty.
Hawke’s wounds had been stabilized after her crew had bodily carried her through the streets to her family’s estate. Anders had taken over her injuries, healing those he could easily manage, and bandaging the rest. It was no secret the blond man held a flame for Hawke, and hated Isabela. The pirate really didn’t care if she was liked or not, but the man’s sniping insults as he moved to and fro from the master’s chambers with fresh linen and medicines irked her more than she liked to admit.
Isabela found herself sniping back as her nerves got the better of her.

 

“Rivaini trash!” Anders snarled. He held an armful of linen that were reddened with splatters of what could only be blood. Isabela swallowed. She hardened her gaze.
“Sissy mage!”
“Whore!”
“Coward!”
“Why Hawke hangs around you is beyond the Maker!”

 

“Maybe she doesn’t like stupid blond sissies!” Isabela’s fists were clenched. Varric cleared his throat. Ever the peacemaker, the dwarf interrupted the squabbling pair.
“Now, we all know you both hate each other, but now’s not the time. We need to focus on getting Hawke better.”
Yes, that was what Isabela wanted more than anything. She faltered and crossed her arms. She gave the dwarf an even look.
“You’ve hit the nail right on the head.”
“Fine, Varric,” Anders conceded. He made to push back into the master’s chambers, when the dwarf’s next words stopped him.
“Is Hawke stabilized?”

 

Anders paused. “Yes. She’s still unconscious, but it’ll keep her out of trouble. Better she be asleep now during the worst of it.”
“Well, that’s good. Cause I think the Rivaini wants a moment alone with her.” Varric said.
Anders bristled visibly. “I don’t think that’s a good idea, Varric!”
The dwarf crossed his burly arms. “What could it hurt? Hawke’s unconscious and Isabela isn’t going to hurt her. Give her a few moments. I think Hawke would want that; don’t you?”
“I don’t need his say-so,” Isabela retorted, but her heart was thundering in her breast. Hawke….she wanted to see her!
Anders sighed. “FINE. But if you undo any of my work, your hide is mine.”

 

“I doubt you’d get your hands on my hide,” Isabela retorted back. She pushed open the master chamber door and sidled in before Anders could retort. Varric shook his head in her peripheral as she shut the door firmly. On second thought, Isabela turned the key in the lock. Anders was going to be pissy about that, but she really couldn’t bring herself to care.
Across the wide chamber was the canopied bed. The covers were pushed back, and only covered the lower half of Hawke’s waist. Isabela swallowed as her boots carried her closer. She could make out the rise and fall of Hawke’s sternum as she breathed raggedly in her sleep. Her breast band hid her small breasts from view, and the sheets were pulled low. Isabela gasped, her dark fingers reaching to caress one of Hawke’s up-turned hands.

 

The wounds across her torso and belly were horrifying. They were bandaged tightly and red seeped through quite a few. Isabela sniffed, her nose reacting to the medicinal herbs Anders had smoking on the bedside table. The plume of smoke hovered over the head of the bed and Hawke breathed it in deeply as she lay, gone from the world.
And she really almost HAD gone. To the shrouds of the after world instead of sleep. The very possibility made Isabela’s chest hurt as if a weight sat there. First, the Arishok had refused to fight her himself. It didn’t matter if he thought her “unworthy”; the fact that he could have taken Hawke away from her had made her fear unreal.
It still was unreal. Combined with the weight of Hawke’s devotion to her, Isabela knew she had to do what she usually did.
She had to run. She blinked hard, tears forming at the corners of her eyes. Good thing her guardsman was out; she would be concerned. So, free from scrutiny, tears spilled down Isabela’s cheeks.

 

Her mind grappled with her spilling emotions. Was she…no, she couldn’t fall in love! Not again! It always came to bad things like this!
“I’m so sorry,” Isabela murmured. Her fingers stroked Hawke’s hand. She started when the woman curled her fingers, her chest rising hard.
“Isa…bela….” Her chapped lips murmured. Isabela stared down at her. The fresh scar across Hawke’s nose and face was ugly to see. Not that it diminished her natural striking looks; just the closeness to slicing half her face off was too terrifying a notion. Anders had bandaged the area right across her nose and cheeks. An ugly edge of the red line escaped the end of the bandage and Isabela’s throat tightened.
All of this was her fault. So she couldn’t stay.

 

“I’m sorry, Hawke. You deserve better…. You don’t need me about mucking up your life.” Isabela’s chest felt tight. Just as she was pulling her hand back from the woman’s, Hawke’s lips parted again.
“Isabela…”
Isabela raised an eyebrow. She leaned up on the mattress carefully and leaned down. Hawke seemed to lean into her warmth. Isabela closed her eyes as she grazed her lips over the woman’s. The familiar soft lips moved slightly. As Isabela leaned up, and was readying to climb off the mattress, a shifting of the covers caught her eye. Isabela made to adjust the sheets and leave the injured woman well enough alone, but her attention was good and got.

 

She had only kissed Hawke, and she was unconscious to boot, but she had caused the guardsman to shift. The sheets pulled half off of the pale cock jutting from Hawke’s thighs, tenting the fabric. Isabela made to tuck the sheets back over, but paused. She couldn’t help eyeing the pale appendage she was so fond of. When Hawke was in better health and awake, she loved to rile her up and banter for a romp in the sack.
Now, her cock was standing upright at attention and Isabela didn’t know what to do. She bloody well couldn’t stare at it all night. The prudent thing to do would be to cover her waist with the sheets and leave her alone. She had almost died, after all.
But the fact that she HAD almost died….and all for her, for whatever romantic notion Hawke had for her……Isabela wanted to berate her for that. But she also wanted to be joined to her. So at least one more time, she would have Hawke close to her.

 

Before she left her forever.
Isabela began loosening her tunic and corset as her thoughts whirled around on top of each other. Her eyes watched the rise and fall of Hawke’s wrapped sternum. Her breathing was a bit shallow, but there was still vitality to it. If she….did this, it would relieve Hawke’s erection. It couldn’t be very well comfortable sleeping with that kind of problem. Yes, she was helping relieve Hawke’s issue, on top of her hurts.
‘Oh, stop it, Isabela. You know you want to do this at least once more….’ Isabela swallowed as she tugged her small clothes off and dropped them on the floor. Her boots came off next. She kept her tunic mainly on, but unfastened to the waist. Isabela almost held her breath as she climbed back onto the mattress. She gently pushed the sheets lower down Hawk’s pale legs. Her waist was bared to the open air and the pirate climbed higher, making sure to stay away from her wounds. Her thighs pressed on either side of Hawke’s slim hips.

 

Isabela tried not to groan aloud as her wet vaginal lips made contact with Hawke’s cock. She rubbed back and forth against it gently. The furtive shifting behind Hawke’s closed eyelids seemed to still at her movements. Isabela gripped the base of her cock with one fist as she rubbed against her, her clit rubbing against the weeping head.
A loud groan erupted from Hawke’s upturned throat as Isabela pushed against the head of her erection, stretching herself open. The air felt shallow in Isabela’s lungs as she got the head inside and eased down slowly, taking a few more inches as her hips began to sink down. Isabela had to remind herself to lean back on Hawke’s hips as she rolled gently, moving her cock within her. She didn’t want to lean forward and accidentally brush against her belly wound.
As her breathing quickened, so did her hip’s movements. Isabela rolled like the gentle lapping of the sea, and just as wet, her inner muscles molded to Hawke’s cock. Isabela stared at the parted lips of her lover, wishing she were awake, that she were well, that she hadn’t almost been at death’s door. When Hawke was in one piece, she burned to join with her; her hands would roam up and down, caressing her curves with a careless manner.

 

Isabela could feel the nudging of Hawke’s knot, heavy and pulsing between her legs, push against her on each deep thrust.

 

It was instinctual. It was selfishness. Isabela didn’t let anyone knot her, not after the fool who’d asked for her hand in marriage. But Hawke….. Gazing on the guardsman’s scarred visage convinced Isabela the moment was right. Even if it didn’t make sense…. The pirate ground down, trying to relax herself. Her inner muscles fluttered, trying to relax around the edges of the wide knot she bumped down against.
Isabela was worried it wouldn’t fit, that she wouldn’t be able to get it in….staring at Hawke’s face helped. The beautiful rugged woman who had won her affection and trust, her bantering words, her loyalty and conviction. Her hands were always so warm on her, and her eyes so soft. The memories of better times helped Isabela to loosen up. She brought a hand between her legs and rubbed her clit as she finally relaxed enough to pull Hawke’s knot inside.
Holding still and shivering, Isabela wished Hawke were awake for this. She never let anyone this close to her…she never….
Like the rest of Hawke, her knot was overwhelming and wonderful to grip with her inner muscles. Isabela rolled back and forth, keeping her seated while she was tied in. The wonderful length and stretch was too much, too good….

 

Despite herself, she was nearing a climax. So, just like anything good in her life, it would be over far too quickly… Isabela’s head tilted back as she sped up, thighs gripping Hawke’s waist as she moved up and down. Her lips parted as a string of hushed moans fell from her throat
Before she could fall over, Isabela was shocked to feel strong hands clasp onto her waist, fingers digging into her flesh.
Isabela’s eyes snapped open. She stopped, and gaped down. Hawke’s eyes were wide open, dark orbs drinking her bared flesh in with astonished shock. A loud groan erupted from Hawke’s throat, and her head fell back, eyes closing as she lapsed back into unconsciousness. Isabela clung to her hands, lacing their fingers together. She resumed rolling her hips, perhaps abit more sharply so Hawke could feel it wherever she was.

 

“Uhhnh!” Isabela couldn’t stop the loud moan that ripped out of her throat as she came. She rocked back and forth, and cried out as she clenched onto the thickness inside her. Bright lights sparked behind her eyes as she closed her eyes. There was a twitch inside her and Isabela felt Hawke release, heavy spurts of hot cloying cum that coated her deeply.
Isabela stared down at Hawke’s still face as she clutched at her hands. Her rolling motions milked her in dizzying waves. When she couldn’t move any longer, Isabela leaned back, hands clutching Hawke’s joined fingers. She squeezed, glad for the connection.
As her skin cooled, Isabela’s thoughts went to more sensible areas. Such as getting untied and cleaned up. She had to go. She had to leave…. Disentangling from Hawke’s knot too far much longer than she would have liked. While it was nice to be that close to her, Isabela was now concerned Anders would order the door broken down or something. And it wouldn’t do to be caught astride the unconscious woman.

 

“You really are….too much…” Isabela murmured. Hawke didn’t deign to answer. As she finally was able to lift off completely, Isabela winced as the fullness receded. Her inner walls clamped onto nothing and she shivered as she leaned on one side of the mattress. Hawke’s seed leaked out slowly down her thighs. She carefully adjusted Hawk’s limbs, fingers tracing the inside of her palms as she did.
Guiltily, Isabela eyed Hawke’s limp cock. Her shift hadn’t disappeared, and was still present, despite its deflated state of satiation. Isabela made to clean off the pale appendage of the evidence of their joining, when loud knocking hammered on the master chamber door.
“Really, Rivaini, open up already! I know you can hear me!” Anders sounded good and pissed.

 

Isabela sighed raggedly. She found a clean piece of linen folded beside the bed, and used it to rub between her legs to wipe away the worst of Hawke’s release. She pulled her corset and boots on, and retied her tunic. Isabela winced as she pulled her smallclothes back on. Her damp folds soaked the fabric and she sighed raggedly.
“You always did like to get me and good and wet,” she murmured to the prone woman. Hawke’s lips parted in her sleep. Isabela paused and gave her another soft kiss on the mouth. She tried not to think that it really was the last one. On her way to the door, Isabela reached down at the pile of torn and bloodied clothing that had been cut off Hawke. She tore a piece of fabric, pocketing it.
When the door was unlocked, Anders made to dart in, but Merrill beat him to it. She bypassed Isabela, who quickly exited the chambers, face red in a blush.
“I just want to see her!” Merrill called. Varric spoke to Anders in a low whisper, and they shut the door on the blood mage.

 

Outside, Isabela quickly walked down the hall and for the stairs to the front door.
“Aren’t you staying, Rivaini?” Varric asked politely. Anders only crossed his arms and scowled at her.
Isabela paused, hand on the oak banister. “No...I must be going.”
‘In more ways than you think,’ she thought. Varric called a goodbye, but Isabela couldn’t hear it. She could only hear Hawke’s strangled moan in her mind as her eyes had snapped open beneath her.
Outside the estate, Isabela pulled out the piece of fabric. It was a strip from Hawke’s red shirt. There was an annoying blood stain deepening the fabric, but that was okay. It was a reminder….of the stupid thing Hawke had done. And solely to save her.

 

Isabela tied the piece of fabric around her upper arm, knotting it so it wouldn’t escape. The pirate sighed and hurried off down the street.
Inside Hawke’s chambers, Merrill talked idly to the unconscious woman. It helped clear her head, and when she was worried, all she did was prattle on. Merrill was shocked at the depth of her feeling for the woman, and her hands carefully smoothed the dark hair out of Hawke’s eyes, tugging her sheets up higher. The fabric twisted and Merrill was shocked to see she was shifted. Merrill knew she was an alpha, anyone had only to smell her to know her status, but seeing her shifted was a shock in itself.
Also shocking was the evident of a physical tryst of kinds. Merrill hadn’t been with very many people, human or elf, but even she knew what the drying white flecks of liquid on her cock and thighs meant.

 

‘Did Isabela?...’ Merrill blushed deeply. Well, her quick exit made more sense. She couldn’t let Anders find her this way. Who knew what he’d say and there had been far too much ugliness today already. Merrill picked up a clean piece of linen stacked by the bed and gently wiped the pale appendage clean. Moving to her thighs, Merrill’s gaze grew soft. Her heart beat a staccato rhythm.
More than once she’d wished she had the same bond with Hawke that Isabela certainly had. But being too shy had its disadvantages. Hawke may look on her fondly, and want to protect her also, but it was a friendly protection. Not the kind from one lover to another…..

 

Merrill sighed and tossed the dirtied linen to the floor. She straightened the sheets over Hawke’s waist and reopened the door. Anders bustled in, fussing over at the bedside. Merrill cast one more sad look back, and left.

End for now

Chapter Text

Hawke was angry again.

 

Merrill followed the Champion of Kirkwall and at a good few paces behind. She had taken to offering her help whenever she saw Hawke, in hopes that abit of cheer would clear her mood. And Hawke HAD been in a mood ever since Isabela had vanished.
Anders was certain the Rivaini had just come to a nasty end at last at the hands of Castion or one of his underlings, but after a fervent search of the city, no remains or body had been found. Hawke had to concede that the pirate had merely left for the open sea. She had come and gone over the past few years, and finally, she had up and left Kirkwall for good it seemed.
A whole year had passed and no sign of Isabela. And the Champion of Kirkwall was angry about it.

 

At first, she had mourned, then she was bereft, then finally, angry. Merrill had seen all the stages. Every time she had seen her anguish, shoulders broad beneath her heavy armor, lines of stress pressed between her eyes.
Merrill wondered if she had decided to visit brothels to at least alleviate her bodily needs. When she woke in her hut now, hand between her thighs, she wondered how the alpha was doing, her mind going over Hawke’s curves and lines.
Merrill bit her lip and caught up. She took hold of Hawke’s shoulder.
“Just for abit, Hawke. You don’t have to come over if you don’t want to,” Merrill said cheerily. Her heart lightened as Hawke’s eyes shifted guiltily.

 

“Just abit. I hope your neighbor isn’t “borrowing” your wine still.” Hawke’s tone was heavy. Merrill was too trusting and even when people acted against her, the elf took it cheerily in stride. Hawke told her to seek out a soldier or guardsman if her neighbor stole from her again, but Merrill never did. She claimed she didn’t have to. Hawke didn’t want to have to worry about her; but Merrill was just too naïve sometimes!
“Oh, he’s not! I’m out of wine,” Merrill said cheerily. “Maybe we should buy some?”
Hawke grunted. “If you need to…” She waited as Merrill bought a bottle from a street vendor. The odd vagrant scampered out of the Champion’s way as they entered Merrill’s rough neighborhood.

 

Merrill opened her hut’s door, humming under her breath. Hawke waited, giving a sharp look to a few scoundrel-looking people down the street. “There! Come on in, Hawke!”
Hawke sidled in, and made sure to latch and lock the wooden door behind her. Merrill straightened up a few odds and ends from her small table and Hawke sat opposite.
“It’s…cozy.” Hawke gave a small smile. “Just like I remember it.”
“Oh, you’re too kind. I only showed you my place when I moved in. You helped me find it,” Merrill smiled. Her green eyes positively shone as she poured wine into two glasses and offered one to the Champion. Hawke sipped politely, transfixed despite herself. Merrill was cute for a Dalish elf, but when she smiled, she positively shone. It was refreshing, given her dark days as of late.

 

“I did,” Hawke said. “So, why ask me over? If you feel unsafe walking these streets in the Alienage, just say the word; a guardsman can walk you to your door.”
“Maybe I feel safer with you.” Merrill’s attempt at teasing put a blush on her own face instead. How DID Isabela do it so effortlessly? She made teasing second nature. Hawke leaned back in her chair, armor heavy upon her shoulders.
“I guess you do,” she said. Hawke let the words roll off her shoulders. Merrill was just being cute as ever. At least she wasn’t fawning over her. No one had ever told her the Champion would have so many fan boys and girls.
By and by, the conversation went a weird bend. Hawke blinked in surprise as Merrill tried her hand at flirting. It came off so stiff that Hawke was certain she was misreading things. They were merely friends. But when Merrill made to pull off her heavy over tunic, and got stuck in the neck of it, Hawke helped her pull the article of clothing up and over her head. Clad in a simple under shift put her small breasts on display. Hawke was startled to feel a twinge of interest between her legs at the sight.

 

Merrill made to cover herself with her hands. Her nipples were erect beneath the thin shift. Just as Hawke was politely averting her eyes, Merrill decided to follow a line of advice from Isabela. ‘If all else fails, just slap your tits in their face!’
Blushing, Merrill stood on her tiptoes, arms coiling around Hawke’s neck. The Champion froze, blinking in surprise. “What’s all this?” she asked. Taking a stab at courage, Merrill pulled her face low, against her breasts covered by the faintest of shifts.
“I-I thought you’d want to get a closer look!” Okay, her lines really sucked. Hawke’s exhale of surprise made her nipples stiffen. Warmth throbbed between her legs.
Hawke’s gloved hands were at her waist and she firmly pushed her back, straightening her.

 

“I didn’t think you had a thing for me.” All of Merrill’s ham-handed attempts earlier came back. So, it was flirtation on her part; it was just done so clumsily it went right over Hawke’s head.
“Oh, not that bad…. we’re friends. Good friends. And I think of you, wondering if you’re doing alright…. or if you’re….. I’m babbling again. Sorry,” Merrill stuttered.
Hawke sat back down at the table, shoulders hunched. “It’s flattering, I guess. But so many people want me. It does get old.”
“Does it? I would think you’d be happy so many want to share your bed. A Champion’s bed,” Merrill’s eyes twinkled mischievously.
“Right,” Hawke agreed.

 

“Have you…slept with anyone else, since…?” Merrill didn’t say Isabela’s name but Hawke’s eyes narrowed at the near mention. “Unless….unless you don’t like other people’s beds? Do they have itchy sheets?” Merrill made a gesture to her small bed frame in the corner. “My sheets can be terribly itchy, so I mostly go without them, though it does get awfully cold at night….”
Hawke blinked at Merrill’s last outburst of thoughts. “Whether I have or not isn’t something to bring up,” she said tactfully. Merrill gave a nod.
“Well, if you had, I don’t think anyone would blame you. It has been awhile since….” Merrill bit her tongue to keep off the topic. Hawke was downright brooding. The elf cleared her throat. “Do you want to take off your armor? You could stay awhile…. with me….. if you wanted.”

 

Hawke’s eyebrow raised high. “It hasn’t been THAT long for me,” she insisted. And indeed, she had shagged a random beta male the other night. It was unfulfilling for Hawke, even if she had come. The recipient wasn’t who she wanted it to be.
“Do you feel unsafe? I could stay awhile, I suppose…” Hawke was wondering if she should ask Merrill if she wanted to stay at a room at her family’s estate. There was plenty of room, but Merrill was so independent, she could say no. Well, as independent as an elf could be. There was so much clutter around her hut, and her sheets were unfolded on the aforementioned bed.
Hawke’s cheeks burned as she tried not to imagine Merrill naked in the sheets, trying to catch a cool breeze on a hot summer’s night. “How are you getting on? Are you even eating, Merrill? You look downright thin.”
Merrill folded arms across her small breasts. “I AM Dalish, Hawke! We tend to be on the small side.”
“If your neighbors are stealing from you again, you need to tell me. I can protect you,” Hawke insisted. Merrill blushed, shaking her head. Her short hair flew with the gesture.
“They aren’t! I promise….”

 

“Where is your coin then? Have you given all of it away to the beggars of the Alienage?” Hawke’s mind was going over ways to protect her friend, when Merrill tried something different.
Her hands pressed along the inside of Hawke’s sleeve, touching the bare flesh of her forearms. Hawke stopped talking as Merrill explored the muscles of her arms with a thoughtful blush on her face. Hawke saw her trying, reaching for her, and decided to go with the moment.
It may be a more fun experience to go for someone who was a friend and knew her than one of her many fandom. Merrill tugged at the fastenings of her shoulder armor and Hawke helped shrug it off. Shoulders lighter, she leaned back in her chair as Merrill fussed over her tunic, pushing up her sleeves to grip and feel her musculature. Hawke’s eye made out Merrill’s lithe subtle curves beneath her shift. She WAS thin, much too thin for some tastes, but Hawke saw only desire in her.

 

Merrill gasped when Hawke grasped her elbows, and tugged her onto her lap. Hawke could feel her shift happening under Merrill’s squirming. She spread her knees wide, allowing it to happen. The surprised gasp against her cheek made Hawke smirk in her head. Merrill slung her arms around Hawke’s neck, a blush staining her pale features.
“I….I….” she began, for once at a loss for words. Hawke dove right in. One hand behind Merrill’s neck urged her mouth closer. Merrill started, but her lips parted and Hawke dove further into the kiss, stroking her tongue inside her mouth. Hawke was pleased when Merrill slung her arms around her neck and got comfortable in her lap. Her shift certainly wasn’t complaining. Merrill gasped prettily against her lips, feeling the urgent protrusion of her flesh.
Hawke rose to her feet, easily lifting the thin elf in her arms. A neat swipe of one hand tore her shift off and Merrill was naked. The elf blushed prettily, trying to cover herself with one arm. Hawke gently urged her arm aside. She bent her head low to taste the small curves open to the cool air. Merrill’s gasps as she pulled one nipple, then the other, between her lips was arousing to say the least.

 

Merrill’s hands awkwardly pushed at her clothing, and Hawke paused to help. Off went her tunic, her gloves tossed aside. She toed off her boots. Hawke had to admit, pulling all her clothes off was a plus for sex. She’d only gotten Isabela to like it recently before…. No, don’t think about it.
As Hawke unlaced her trousers and tugged them low, Merrill’s high gasp was music to her ears. The elf’s attention was between her legs, staring at her shifted flesh. Hawke rolled her shoulders and preened, giving a grin to the stunned elf. Merrill’s hand was between her thighs, trying to pour more wetness from herself. It had been awhile for her and Hawke was…well, substantial. Much larger than the average Dalish alpha.
At that moment, as Hawke stepped closer to the bed, bare flesh open, Merrill’s mouth formed more nervous words. “I…. wow….I saw it before…after well….after….the attack….but it’s even bigger than then!”

 

Hawke’s eyebrow raised. Was Merrill merely rambling again or had she somehow seen her naked and shifted before? After the attack from the Arishok? How? “Uhm….”
Instead of ruining the moment, Merrill took the initiative to slide off of the bed onto her knees. Hawke started in surprise as small hands pressed against her hips, holding her still. A hot wet mouth took her head and the first few inches of her erection with gusto and Hawke’s eyes rolled back in surprise and pleasure.
Her fingers tangled in Merrill’s short hair. The elf’s technique was abit slow, and she struggled to engulf her shaft with her mouth. The base was throbbing and Hawke was startled to feel her knot grow rapidly. Merrill touched it with slender fingers, a blush staining her cheeks. Hawke gave an experimental thrust of her hips, gently nudging her erection further down Merrill’s throat. The elf tried to keep up, blushing horribly.
Hawke waited, erect, as Merrill brought her mouth off, and wiped her lips delicately with the back of a slender wrist.

 

“You must want more than that…that I can give you….if you’ll have me…” Merrill’s words slowed as Hawke helped her stand. An arm slung low around her waist, the Champion lowered the elf to her bed. Merrill’s knees spread on reflex and she waited, upraised on her elbows as Hawke climbed onto the bed after her. Hawke had to admit, she didn’t think anyone of her friends would want her in this way. She had lived and seen only Isabela for so long that….no, don’t think about her. Damn her!
The high gasp Merrill gave against her ear as she fell into waiting arms was worth it. The elf’s bare flesh felt good against her own, and Hawke ground against her wetness, trying to loosen up the elf. Merrill was just so thin…. And entering her took quite abit of time. Merrill was sweating profusely under her, face bright red as she panted for breath. And only the first inch past the head was inside her.
Hawke banished the memory of sliding into Isabela’s wet cave aside. She always blossomed open for her and took her strongly. The comparison was strange, and Hawke told herself to banish the thought. Merrill was beneath her, not Isabela, and she was having a hard time of it getting her inside.

 

Hawke set her lips to Merrill’s upturned throat and gently sucked as her hand stole between their bodies. Her fingers pinched and rolled the elf’s clit gently in waves and Merrill slowly opened, wet folds burning around the inch Hawke had buried inside. By and by, Merrill urged her on with her feet along the back of her calves and Hawke knew it was okay to press on.
She still kept the pace slow, congratulating herself on her new-found stamina. Isabela had worked so hard on stoking it up…. damn it, stop thinking about her!
Merrill gasped prettily against her cheek when Hawke nudged the end of the elf’s limit. She stole a glance down between their bodies as her hips gave a powerful thrust, slow and languid. Merrill had taken her up to near the base, but there was still a good half inch to the base, and her throbbing knot. Hawke felt a flash of guilt. If this was what the elf could take of her, she would have to go slow. She didn’t want to hurt her.
But Merrill was burning around her, thighs trembling around her waist. “Please, Hawke, I know I’m not …her….but could you?...”

 

“Yes….” Passion coiled in Hawke’s belly, and she pulled back slowly, guiding her length back inside to the limit. Merrill’s thighs shook around her and she cried out. Hawke set her face against the elf’s shoulder as her hips worked slowly, guiding her stiffness in and out as firmly, and slowly as she could manage. She wasn’t in danger of spilling her seed, and she did want to make it good for Merrill. The cries and moans she pulled from the elf’s throat told Hawke she was doing a more than passing job of giving passion instead of just taking it
Her knot throbbed heavy, and yearned to be encased in slippery wet heat. But Hawke grit her teeth and continued her maddeningly slow thrusts. Merrill was just too small. Knotting was out of the question. But watching Merrill gasp and moan beneath her, small breasts bobbing as she writhed beneath her stoked Hawke’s ego.

 

Her lover may have left her for good, but she could still make another feel so good….. And Isabela was probably screwing the first alpha she met anyway. Hawke growled silently, and pumped her hips abit more forcefully. Merrill cried out, enjoying the friction. Hawke buried her face in her shoulder, enjoying the slippery wet strokes.
“Hawke….yes….Hawke!” Merrill muttered against her head. Hawke grinned, and continued her slow pace. She knew when the elf came undone, clutching her tightly, and crying out. Hawke took her lips in a swift kiss, body draped atop hers and holding her down. Merrill clung to her muscular frame, sobbing with relief. Her thighs shook around Hawke’s hips as she shuddered.
Hawke wondered if she was hurting her now, for Merrill’s whole body was shaking. “Should I…?” Hawke asked. Sweat plastered her dark hair to her forehead.
Merrill touched her face with both palms beneath her. Her green eyes shone with a touch more adoration than usual. Hawke’s heart sank, but she was transfixed. “But…you haven’t come yet…you can, you know. I want you to.” Merrill’s babbling took on a hopeful twinge.

 

Hawke wanted to come badly. She wanted to pound away in Merrill and fuck her frustrations away. But while it felt good inside her, she couldn’t go as crazy on her as Isabela would have liked it of her. Damn her!..... Hawke gave a wavery smile and tugged out. She had to go slow, for Merrill’s walls clung to her, making her grit her teeth at the friction.
When Hawke pulled out, cock still erect and painted with their juices, Merrill sat up suddenly, ignoring her body. She pushed Hawke back against the pillows. Surprise lit up the Champion’s face.
“What…”she began.
Merrill leaned up and kissed her longingly. “I want to make you feel good too….you were so good inside me….”

 

Hawke blushed as the elf slid between her legs, and took her cock in her mouth. Merrill’s hands wrapped around her knot, massaging and gripping firmly as she engulfed as far down her length as she could. Hawke’s hands twisted in the sheets. They may have been a touch scratchy, as Merrill had said, but Hawke didn’t care.
Not when she was so close, not when Merrill was applying just the right amount of suckling along her length, hands massaging her knot…… Hawke grunted as her orgasm wrenched through her middle, slamming hot come into Merrill’s mouth. The elf brought her mouth off in surprise and a few jets spilled onto her face. Hawke gasped for breath, stomach muscles tightening. Merrill gripped her hips and engulfed her again, sucking as much out of her as she could give.

 

In the end, it was just simply too much. Hawke’s knot strained, and her cock surged, spilling more and more of her seed across her thighs, Merrill’s face, and the scratchy sheets. Merrill wiped her mouth with the sheets and carefully cleaned her off, face in a red blush. Hawke leaned back on her elbows, cock falling between her legs. She struggled to catch her breath.
Merrill continued cleaning her up thoughtfully, a blush staining her pale features. She would take Hawke’s thunderous breathing as a compliment. Hawke raised an eyebrow when the skinny elf stole into her arms, pressing into her torso.

 

“I thought that was enough for you,” Hawke teased. Merrill smiled up into her face.
“It was, I just….thought you needed a hug. Everyone likes to be held, ya know,” she said. Hawke stroked her hand up and down Merrill’s back thoughtfully.
“Thanks, Merrill….”

 

“If you…ever wanted to do it again…you know where to find me,” Merrill stammered. Hawke gave her a slow smile.

 

End for now

Chapter Text

Isabela had always been careful.

 

She liked fucking alphas, but was careful to take contraceptive teas after any of her heats. Particularly after knotting. She didn’t ever envision herself bearing a pup for ANYONE, but here she was, heavily pregnant. After a knotting that the sire had been comatose through.
Isabela cursed as she swept through the rough and tumble bar. The ship she had opted to first mate on had docked for the month, and she had to decide whether to stay signed on, or find work elsewhere.
Despite her best efforts to be worthy of Hawke, she couldn’t help feeling she’d screwed herself over.

 

First was the matter of the pregnancy itself. Isabela had been so quick to leave Kirkwall after departing Hawke’s family manor, that she’d selected one of the first voyages she asked about abit too quickly. She had been assured the proper stash of medicinal herbs were on board, but about two months in at sea, Isabela had been dismayed that her moon’s blood had stopped. The ship’s healer could only confirm her worst fear. She was pregnant.

 

Oddly, the first curse in her head was to damn Hawke. It was her seed that had gotten her this way, but really, the fault could lie with Isabela. She had chosen to knot her, and Hawke had had no say. It wasn’t her fault, no matter how angry she was. Worst of all, the ship’s layman had lied to her. No one had replenished the medicinal stash and the jar labeled kajihana was empty. Well, empty but for half a twig of the red herb, as if to taunt her. Isabela had screamed herself hoarse, cursing the ship’s healer, the captain, and anyone within sight for two days straight. The voyage didn’t end for another two more months, and by then it was too late to terminate the life within her.
Second, was the fact of the matter of currency. Isabela, in her trying days as a newly made widow, would have ransacked the manor for silver items to pawn, and gold money. She certainly had after her husband had died at Zevran’s hand. And Hawke came from a wealthy family. Her estate certainly had plenty of items worthy of pawning for the sake of her empty purse.

 

But Isabela had left, cleanly and without stealing from her. Maybe Hawke had too much affection from her, but sometimes Isabela cursed herself for not watching out for herself. If she was going to keep the pup, she would need every coin she could get. And Isabela wasn’t even sure she would keep it. She had half a mind to let some poor wife adopt it.
But Isabela had to get through the day if she wanted to get through the week, and through the month and through the pregnancy. She couldn’t think that far ahead if she wanted to keep her sanity. By now she was six months pregnant, and round. She’d had to actually buy pants, and longer tunics to keep her modesty. Every alpha bloke that didn’t scent a mating mark on her prowled round to claim her. Isabela had taken a few up on their offers in bed, but had forced the rest away at sword point.
If she did desire release outside of using her hand, she made sure to keep her elaborate gold choker on. No one could bite through that and claim her.

 

It was stupid to hold onto thoughts of Hawke like this…. but she was round with the evidence of their joining. Isabela couldn’t deny it. Without evidence of a mate nearby meant a lot of snark despite Isabela’s hard actions. One sod that was undressing her had the nerve to slam her pup’s sire, saying he or she couldn’t have been that good in bed if she was looking for pleasure elsewhere.
Isabela had pulled her dagger out of her cleavage and threatened to cut out half his tongue in rage.
But now, if someone was half way decent, she could go for a turn. As her body distended outward outside of her usual figure, Isabela was starved for attention.
‘Hawke would have been all over if you if you stayed,’ her inner conscious argued. Isabela had to concede the bitch of a conscious was more than likely right. If she had chosen to keep it, stay with Hawke…then what? Be a happy little family? Hawke would want to propose. And that was a decision Isabela couldn’t fathom ever making again.

 

No, she’d have to make due with a romp for tonight at least. Someone who wasn’t going to damage her and be patient with her rounder body. Isabela scoured the bar, bypassing several chatty betas and the alphas thronging around them. Some were comely of face, and she lingered on one woman whose shortly cut hair reminded her too much of her pup’s sire. No, she couldn’t sleep with her. She wondered if she’d start crying if so.
Isabela’s eyes fell onto a dark-haired elf drinking from a flagon. He was alpha, and clearly without a companion. Isabela flowed up to him, hoping her rounder breasts would do the trick. His eyes fell down to her cleavage as she approached, then in surprise to her belly. He lifted his flagon in greeting.
“To what do I owe the pleasure, beautiful lady?” he asked. His tone held a slight accent. Well, better than Hawke’s clipped tones. Isabela focused on him, smiling devilishly.
“Just looking for company. What about it, elf? You won’t get me with child, as you can see.”

 

The elf laughed and set his flagon down. He ran a hand gently up and down the small of Isabela’s back. She tried not to arch into it. It felt like it had been too long since someone had touched her nicely, even if she did have sex a few nights ago.
“That is a strange pick-up line, my dear, but consider me yours for tonight. Do you have a room?”
“I do. I’ve been working here for a week or so,” Isabela said. The elf nodded, and offered his arm. The slight stab at chivalry jolted Isabela’s heart. Hawke had seemed carved from chivalry, always looking to right any wrongs…. No, stop it. He’d given his name but Isabela barely heard him. She murmured her own and the elf gave a half bow, letting her unlock her door.
Upstairs in her small room, Isabela gave herself up to her body’s wants. If she couldn’t focus on Hawke, the least she could do was enjoy herself. The elf proved passionate enough, eyes hazy with lust as he carefully undressed her like a prized possession. Isabela pulled on his pointy ears, pulling his face up for a kiss.
Hawke had looked at her that way, often in public like she was the only woman alive, and often in private, before, during and after joining, softening with pure emotion after they were tangled up together, lolling in bed, darkening with lust as they flirted…. stop it, Isabela!
The elf lowered her to the mattress, and made sure she was comfortable against the pile of pillows. That he was focusing so much on her pleasure made Isabela think about Hawke, yet again. Even if his coloring was different, his ears pointed, and the wrong nationality, she couldn’t help it. He was being so blasted nice!
“Don’t worry about me. Just fuck me,” Isabela commanded. The elf dropped his trousers, sporting a fine erection. He still had to play the gallant fool by rubbing her feet and thighs until her body was singing. He smiled when her knees spread wide.
“Didn’t think the night would go this way,” he grinned, before sitting back on his heels. He rubbed Isabela’s knees, spreading them carefully. He gripped himself by the base of his cock and rubbed against Isabela’s wet cave.

 

The pirate arched her back, clutching the pillow behind her head with both hands. “Neither did I. Hurry.”
The elf obliged, carefully sliding his length in. There was a bit of tugging before he was snugly pressed in to the hilt, hips warm against Isabela’s hips. She sighed against his shoulder as he slowly began to pump his hips. She didn’t fear he would prematurely climax. The determined look on his face told the pirate she would come and wonderfully tonight.
The give and take was wonderful and when her release came, Isabela was covered in a fine sheen of sweat. Eyes closed, she was startled when she suddenly cried out “Hawke!”
The elf paused in his strokes, then hurried his pace. He came a few minutes after he was certain she came down, giving a short cry aloud. Isabela covered her face with her wrist, blushing. The elf kissed her gently, and withdrew as slowly as he could.

 

He sat back on his heels, limp cock dangling between his knees. He patted Isabela’s knee. “Are you okay?”
“Yes….” Isabela shifted her hips and sat up. Her hand went to her belly. The elf picked up his trousers and pulled them on. He re-laced and stood up.
“You should think about going home then. It sounds like this Hawke is your home,” he said.
The multitude of emotions that slammed Isabela’s heart alarmed her. Excitement, sorrow, joy, affection, anger…. everything passed through her mind. She rubbed her belly, looking aside.

 

“Go on, leave,” she suggested. The elf finished dressing, wiping sweat off his face with his tunic before pulling it on.
“It was fun,” he offered. The door shut heavily behind him. Isabela pulled the sheets up over her body, hands falling to the swell of her belly. She brooded, tears pricking the corners of her eyes.

 

* * * *

 

Hawke woke with a gasp. She had been dreaming of the open sea, and Isabela crying on the deck of a ship. Her heart had seared as she tried to reach her. But she had woken, and the dream’s sad feeling stuck with her.
“What was that?” Hawke mumbled, rubbing her eyes. The mattress dipped as her companion rolled closer. Merrill yawned against her shoulder, slinging an arm over her waist.
“Hawke? You okay?” she asked sweetly. Hawke grunted, but rubbed her hand up and down the elf’s skinny side.

 

“Yeah, I’m okay, Merrill. Promise.” Hawke didn’t know how convincing she sounded. Despite all her sweetness, Merrill knew she couldn’t fully win Hawke’s heart. It had already been taken to sea by her pirate queen. The most she could offer were sweet touches and sex, something Hawke sometimes felt guilty for taking advantage of.
Merrill ran her hands up and down the bunched muscles of Hawke’s back. Hawke shouldn’t have been surprised she pulled her close for a kiss. Propping her head on one hand, Hawke accepted it. Banishing Isabela from her thoughts, she answered Merrill’s deepening kiss.

 

Merrill giggled and climbed on top. Hawke’s hands found her small hips as she mounted up. Hawke blinked up at the cute elf. She may not be Isabela, but her damp cave was warm to slide into and felt just as good.

End for now

Chapter Text

Isabela waited in the reception area of the brothel, hand on her round belly. She hated her current dress, which was far more modest and covered a lot of her skin. She thought she looked like a frumpy house wife and the analogy made her bristle despite herself. Eager alpha men and women, and quite a few betas, moved through the reception area, happy to spend coin on a physical tryst. Several looked startled to see her, and a few of the braver alphas tried to engage her in conversation, if only to be nice.
It amused Isabela that her belly put a damper on so many moods that caught sight of her. Isabela caught the wrist of one of the whores who entered the room.
“Is Zevran available?”
The woman paused, looking Isabela up and down, eyes widening at her belly. Isabela waited.

 

“Zevran! He just got back from….an errand. I’ll let him know you’re here. Welcome, Isabela,” The woman grinned. She leaned and hugged Isabela. Isabela grinned, recognizing her as a random fling in the past, and apparently the pirate’s reputation preceded her. Particularly when it came to Zevran.
Isabela coughed when one of the alpha men patted the whore on her ass, but she had no time for them. She hurried to deliver the pirate’s message and fetch her elf friend. Zevran was many things, but Isabela knew he’d be glad to see her. And she hoped he wouldn’t turn her out on her ear.
A few moments later, a tall, thin elf with blond hair tied back in a high ponytail surged through the curtains of the reception area. His eyes alighted on Isabela and though he was shocked at her status, he did look glad to see her. Striding across the room, he knelt on one knee, taking her hand in his.
“As I live and breathe, if it isn’t my favorite pirate queen!”

 

Isabela smiled as he fawned over her and kissed the back of her hand. “It always does me good to see you, my friend. How goes it?”
“I can see the bid for better news is in your corner.” Zevran stood and gently helped Isabela rise. He clasped a friendly arm around her waist, leading her away to privacy. “With child! If I thought I had any claim to your heart, I’d be jealous. Who’s the lucky sire?”
“No one you know,” Isabela said evenly. “I walked out on her, and I’m certain she doesn’t want to see me.”
“Be still my beating heart,” Zevran jested. “I should praise the Maker you thought of me to dump this into my lap. That IS why you’ve come, isn’t it?”
“And here I thought you were just expecting another roll in the hay,” Isabela teased. “But yes, I’d like to rest and collect myself. I’m due soon, and the women here would be a great help. Oh, and your face isn’t that bad to look at either in the meantime.”

 

“Isn’t it? All the pretty women I bed tell me that,” Zevran teased. He swept Isabela into his chambers and sat her on the edge of his bed. “Rest up. Don’t give me that look; I am not going to paw at you unless you want me to. I know if I’m wanted.”
“There’s another thing,” Isabela leaned back on the pillows, trying to get comfortable. Zevran rushed back to help adjust her hips so she was comfortable. She heaved a sigh of relief. “The girls know who I am, but they should start calling me by another name. Don’t want to attract any unwanted attention.”
Zevran nodded. “As you wish, my dear. May I suggest Ella? It sounds close to Bela, but that is far too close to your name for my liking.”
“Ella is fine,” Isabela said. She laid her hands on her huge belly.
Zevran sat beside her, and laid one hand on her belly. He rubbed. “Names aside, I wonder about the sire. Little birds whisper about a Champion championing a well-known pirate queen. It’s Hawke, isn’t it?”

 

The pursed lip on Isabela’s face told Zevran the answer before she could speak. Every bit of her features screamed ‘caught!’ She sighed.
“If you say ONE word, I’ll slice off a bit of your rump and feed it to you!”
“The ladies do like my ass,” Zevran teased. He rubbed her belly. “Enough with the theatrics. I will protect you and yours. We are friends.”
“You’re just trying to get into my smallclothes again,” Isabela complained. She placed her hand over the elf’s. “Champion? I don’t remember fucking a champion.”
“Hawke has….become rather elevated. You’ve been gone from Kirkwall quite some time. She’s been named their Champion, graced in all the accolades of the title.”
Isabela gaped then laughed bitterly. “She had to go and make this pup even more valuable to her enemies, didn’t she?”

 

“I rather think if she knew you had gotten with child, she’d try to keep you. No one can tame our pirate queen,” Zevran smiled cheekily. Isabela swatted his hand.
“Leave me alone,” she complained. Zevran stood and etched a bow.
“Sleep well. I’ll have one of the girls send dinner up to you.”
“Where are you going to sleep?”

 

Zevran gave a wry look. “I’m not going to try and win your affections until your pup is born. That would be highly inappropriate right now.”
“Since when did you ever stop trying?” Isabela was amused.

 

• * * * * *

 

Isabela was dreaming. She was far too huge and ungainly, but still the whores that were her friends still offered to warm her bed. They worked with her rounder belly and it felt good to have someone inside her, even if they weren’t Hawke.
Isabela dreamt of nonsensical images. A large hawk was hopping on the ground, a mouse clasped in its beak. It turned to drop the prey for two small baby birds who hopped after. The protective nature of the larger bird filled Isabela with a surge of confidence. When her eyes flicked open, she was startled to see her water had broken, wetting the mattress beneath her.
One of her friends was curled up against her and noticed about the same time she did. “Bela!” she whispered. “Your water broke!”
“Shit,” Isabela said. “Well, looks like it’s happening.”

 

“I’ll get the other girls!” the woman slid into a robe and scampered for help. She came back with five to help her through the birthing bed. Zevran tried to gain entrance with them but Isabela threw a dagger at him, forcing him out.
After hours of labor, pain and screaming, the moment of truth was at hand. One of the women carefully gauged her dilation and the real pain began. Isabela tried to think of Hawke’s soft eyes and eager smile, the kind of look that always preceded a turn in bed, but the memory was tinged sour by the pain coursing through her.
“Damn you, Hawke!” Isabela cursed under her breath. Finally, a child’s cry split the air. The women were beaming, attending her child. “Give me the news, already.”
“A boy.” One of the women held up her son as another cut the umbilical cord. Isabela was oddly touched as the squishy looking infant coiled small fists and cried out.
“Looks like me,” Isabela admitted. Despite herself, warmth flooded her heart. She reached forward. “Give him to me.”
“In a moment…. ‘Ella,’” One of the women’s eyes twinkled merrily. “We have more work ahead.”
Isabela gasped against the pillows. “I already did it all, give me my son!”

 

“There’s another coming.”
At that news, Isabela gawked at her friends. Sweat broke out along her brow. “You gotta be fucking kidding me!”
“Push, darling. Come on.”
“Damn you, Hawke…damn you!” Isabela muttered. She bit her lip as she bore down. It made sense. Hawke’s younger siblings had been twins. Isabela had no time to wonder if her children would take on any of Bethany or Carver’s characteristics when the second child was born. Isabela fell back, supported by one of the women’s arms. “Damn her….damn her!”
“I know, it all seems so hard now,” the woman said. “Syrah gave birth last month. She’ll help teach you what to do.”

 

Isabela felt overwhelmed as two cleaned boys were bundled into her arms. She didn’t know whether to feel scared or proud as the dark-skinned babies settled into her warmth. They had her skin tone, her hair. She had no way of knowing if any features of Hawke’s would come about, but they were definitely her children.
Zevran knocked and sidled in, grinning. “Can I see the baby?”
“Who’s going to stop you?” one of the whores frowned. He chucked her under the chin and moved to the bed. Isabela tugged at the covers with one foot, trying to slide it up higher.
“Babies. I’ve been blessed with twins,” she groaned. Zevran looked as stunned as she felt. He then laughed and leaned in to gaze at the quieting babes.
“Well, when you do something, do it right I guess,” he teased. Isabela made a face at him.

 

“Maker, help me. I had to take her knot….”
“Come off it, ‘Ella.’ You love them. If not now, you will one day.” Zevran’s face was almost tender as he peered toward the infants. He traced one small fist with a long finger. “They are cute. Look just like you.”
“Stop trying to get on my good side,” Isabela complained. She did smile when Zevran leaned to kiss her cheek.
“You did good, girl. Proud of you. But I doubt you want to hear that,” he chided lightly. Isabela’s eyes twinkled.
“You’re right; I don’t,” she teased. One of the boy’s mouth opened and he gave a light wail.

 

“Any ideas for names?” Zevran got comfortable on the edge of the mattress, keeping company. Isabela gave a wry smile.
“I was thinking Falcon, but I had no idea he’d have a twin. I guess Lark to match.”
“Falcon and Lark. Cute. And keeps in tune with their sire’s name.” Zevran’s eyes twinkled. “Why do I get the feeling you’ll go back to her one day?”
“I’m not,” Isabela protested. “I left. She doesn’t want me around.”
“I wouldn’t be so sure. I’m glad to see you, for one. Who’s to say the sire won’t be as well?”
Isabela sighed, the fatigue of the birth weighing her limbs down. Zevran took one of the babies and laid him on the mattress beside Isabela’s leg. “Just think… Hawke loved you so much, she blessed you with two. Just focus on that, Bela.”

 

Isabela shot him a hurt look. “She was out of it when I took her knot. In fact, she was unconscious.”
Zevran took that in stride and ribbed her. “Well, she still showed it in a way….?” His grin was insufferable.
“I guess…. is Syrah coming?”
“She will. They may need to be fed and soon,” Zevran said. He left and came back with the new mother. The young whore was a beautiful woman, infant swaddled against her chest. She congratulated Isabela and went over the fine points of breast feeding.

 

Syrah wasn’t all just talk either. After the two women kicked Zevran out, and the infants were crying, Syrah put her own baby down, and helped feed one of the boys herself. Isabela was truly grateful to have such good friends.

 

• * * * * * *

 

Hawke groaned. She rolled over in her sleep, pressing her shoulder hard into the mattress. Her dreams were strange, and filled with toys of her youth. She was holding up a carved wooden rattle over a baby who reached up with dark fingers.
Merrill’s voice, of all people, rang out in the dream, asking about the child. Hawke bent to scoop up the infant into her arms. The child’s bright eyes met hers and she brought her nose to the babe’s sweet-smelling dark hair.
“Hawke,” a voice rang out. Hawke’s eyes rose as if to greet Merrill, but the manor faded and she was on a dock beside the water, watching a ship approach the harbor. A smaller boat departed from the ship, a bent man rowing toward shore and Hawke. Hawke was pleased to notice Isabela standing at the prow of the boat, raising an arm in a wave. The child was gone from her arms and Hawke didn’t question it. She offered a hand and helped pull Isabela onto the dock. The pirate queen was giggling with her, gesturing to two treasure chests in the boat.

 

“My pride and joy,” she was saying.
Hawke blinked in the dim light, tears pricking her eyes as she woke. She scrubbed her wrist across her face, shaking. There was a jostle of movement beside her and Merrill slung a thin arm over her waist. Hawke yawned as Merrill pressed a kiss across her brow.
“When did you get in here? You could have woken me,” Hawke said. Bodahn must have admitted her last night. Merrill giggled. She was as naked as Hawke, and ran hands down her muscled torso, skimming over her small breasts. Hawke’s stomach concaved. The scar there was raised and jagged and she hated anyone touching or even seeing it. But Merrill….she was fine for reasons Hawke couldn’t explain.
Warmth pooled between her legs as her shift happened. She gave a small smile as Merrill breathed kisses across her neck and face, one small hand urging her cock to harden. Hawke sighed.

 

“You know, you’re the only one I let touch me like this,” she admitted. Merrill gave a pleased gasp next to her ear.
“I…I didn’t know. You’re always off with your fans, or the nobles. They all must get your attention,” she admitted. Hawke rolled over and trapped Merrill beneath her weight. The elf gasped and wrapped her legs around her waist. Hawke’s heart twanged with guilt as she eased so readily into her friend’s arms. Merrill was the only one she felt comfortable with intimacy since Isabela…damn her.
Hawke raised her head and captured Merrill’s lips in a kiss. Merrill kissed her eagerly, fingers scraping through her short, tousled hair. Hawke didn’t mind her wandering hands moving along her torso, scraping over the ridged lines of her belly scars. The Arishok left lasting damage to her and Hawke didn’t fully disrobe in front of her sexual partners anymore.

 

The first girl she’d undressed for had gasped at the sight of her old wound and had fawned over her, and it hadn’t the right effect. It pissed Hawke off. So, she only pressed her full nakedness against Merrill now. She didn’t mind the elf’s gentle hands.
They pressed together and Merrill gasped beside Hawke’s ear as she firmly thrust inside her. Hawke kept hold of her rising lust, making her strokes deep and short. Merrill thrust up to meet her and pushed Hawke along to come inside her. Hawke yelled into the mattress beside Merrill’s shoulder as she exploded, trying to keep her hip’s thrusts as gentle as she could make them. Her knot was a ways off from forming, and Hawke reigned in her chi to keep it from swelling. There was so much of her Merrill could take and it was so good to come inside her.

 

Merrill smiled against Hawke’s sweaty hair as she ran her hands up and down her back. The muscles bunched beneath her fingers. “That felt good,” she giggled.
Hawke yawned against her. “Yeah……”
Merrill just kissed her and all too soon Hawke pulled out. As the Champion drifted to sleep, Merrill listened to her breathing, her heart swelling. She could feel Hawke’s pain as she dreamed, and the pain roiled through her old wounds. Merrill felt on the bedside table. Her fingers scraped up her dagger and she made a fresh cut, calling on her blood magic. By and by, her incantation soothed Hawke’s dreams. Her abdominal muscles stopped concaving in her sleep.

And Hawke slept peacefully.

End for now

Chapter Text

A few months later:

 

“They’re rather easy-going after they’ve had a taste of your teat,” Zevran teased. Isabela raised an eyebrow. She and Syrah were nursing her twin boys, enjoying the languid pulls against the nipple as the babies fed. Syrah’s girl was on the mattress by her leg, chewing on her fist.
“Like you haven’t seen it all,” Isabela said. Syrah flashed her a wicked grin. She switched breasts as Isabela patted her baby, getting a burp out.
“How can you tell them apart?” Zevran wondered. He leaned on the mattress on one hand, seemingly at ease. Isabela smiled and settled her boy on the bed between her knees.
“Easy; Falcon has a string of freckles down his belly. Lark doesn’t.” Isabela made it sound easy. Zevran frowned.

 

“There has to be another way to tell them apart….”
“Oh, there is. There’s a way to tell by the curve of their mouths. Lark looks more mischievous when he’s sleeping and Falcon’s is more rounded,” Syrah said. She put Falcon against her shoulder to burp when he finished feeding.
Isabela flashed her a smile of thanks. “See, it’s that easy.”
“I must say, motherhood looks good on you, Bela. You love the boys,” Zevran said. He knew he hit the nail on the head. A conflicted look crossed Isabela’s face.
“I do.”
“And their sire….I bet?” Zevran urged. Isabela glared at him, irate.

 

“Drop it, Zev, before I kick you out.”
“Oh, don’t do that. How about dinner tonight? Syrah can watch the boys abit,” Zevran offered. Heat flooded between his thighs as the pirate queen gave a small nod.
“You’re just trying to loosen me up again after the birth.”
“I admit, you need it.” Zevran felt his blood stir further as Isabela gave a teasing smile. She covered her full breasts and shared a look with Syrah.
“Syrah, has this one bothered you after giving birth?” she asked. Syrah grinned.
“Better than some lout in the common room, you have to admit,” she said. Isabela was no whore, but she wasn’t going to rub that in Syrah’s face.
“Yes, I do have to agree,” she said. Zevran laughed.

 

“Splendid! I’ll have Chef make your favorite meal. Excuse me, ladies.” The elf stood and etched a low bow, hand at his waist. There was a definite spring to his step as he left. Isabela raised an eyebrow.
“And here I always had to ask HIM for any favors,” she said to Syrah. Syrah laughed.
Later, after washing and changing her tunic, Isabela was admitted to Zevran’s new chambers. A fire was going in the hearth and Isabela couldn’t help noticing the covers were pulled down on the large canopied bed. She had to grin to herself. Zevran looked dashing in his dark red tunic, the collar unfastened. His blond hair was loose, framing his angular features.

 

“Thank you for coming, my pirate queen,” he grinned. Isabela pretended to sigh as he kissed the back of her hand.
“You just saw me an hour ago.”
“Indeed, I did. Is Syrah okay with the boys?”
It touched Isabela that her friend was so concerned with her children. “She is….Patricia is sitting with her, to help with all three babies.”
“Good lass,” Zevran agreed. He poured her a glass of wine. “Because I’ve finally got you all to myself, and I’d rather be able to give you my full…. undivided attention.”
Isabela sipped, staring at the juncture between his thighs. “Oh, is that what you’re calling it?”
Zevran’s grin was toothy. “Call it whatever you want. I’ve missed you, Bela.”

 

“It was always good with us,” Isabela agreed. Her heart felt strangely sad, as Hawke’s face flashed in her mind’s eye. Why should she feel guilty? A good-looking man was interested in spending the evening with her. And she knew he’d be inside her before the hours were through. Her skin flushed, wanting warm hands and lips all over her. Hawke seemed to frown disapprovingly in her memory.
‘I left her….I abandoned her…..stop it….’ Isabela thought. She downed her glass of wine and reached for the bottle. Zevran served her as they sat at the small table before the fireplace.
“Eat up, my dear. And leave me some wine?” he teased. Isabela flushed as his hand settled over hers. She squeezed his fingers.

 

“Better get some before I drink it all,” she retorted. Zevran angled closer to sip at her glass insolently. Isabela laughed. She slung an arm around his neck and pressed a kiss against the side of his throat. The startled gasp that met her made her smallclothes dampen. “Go on, sit down.”
“Yes, dear,” Zevran grinned like a loon. He vaulted to sit at his place and the two dug in.
“Any plans for the boy’s future? Too early to think of academies, but one can never tell,” Zevran said. Isabela pulled a face.
“Now you make me sound like an old mother. The babies aren’t but a few months old.”
“Who knows what kind of talents they possess?” Zevran said. He sipped at his wine glass. Isabela finished cutting up her steak and chewed on a large piece.
“They’re too young to be talented. All they do is sleep, eat, and shit.”

 

“Don’t we all? We just add fucking to the list when we’re older,” Zevran grinned. Isabela raised an eyebrow at him.
“And here you’ve always been subtle,” Isabela teased. She and Zevran finished eating and chased the meal down with more wine. Isabela got up to slide across Zevran’s lap. His slim arm circled her waist.
“How can I be subtle when I have a fine woman in my lap? You haven’t changed, Bela,” Zevran cooed. Isabela set her glass down and twined an arm around his neck. They kissed deeply.
“Well, I’ll take that as a compliment,” Isabela smirked. She got comfortable on his lap, feeling his jutting erection strain against his trousers.

 

“Ah, my girl,” Zevran grinned. He leaned back, wincing as Isabela got comfortable. “Watch the balls, Bela.”
“Oh ho,” Isabela knelt up and ground against him. “You just wanted to get to the main event.”
“Indeed. Bed’s right there.” Zevran’s grin was wide. He stood and picked Isabela up. She wrapped her legs around his waist. He dumped her on the bed and tore his tunic off. Bela helped him unlace and then her tunic was pulled open.
Isabela pushed Zevran to his back, taking her favorite position on top. As they kissed, Zevran tried to part her cave with his fingers. “Wait…. You gotta be ready….”
It touched Isabela that her friend would be considerate of her condition after giving birth. She leaned down to kiss him, her thighs clamped on either side of his slim hips. His thin fingers dug into her hips as she pressed against the head of his cock, struggling to push him inside. After abit of working, their hips were finally flush and Isabela moved slowly.

 

Zevran’s thrusts were slower than his usual enthusiasm, and slowly their lust built. This time was as heated as their past trysts and as Isabela’s eyes closed, she could hear someone else groaning beneath her. That wasn’t right, Hawke had been unconscious when she had joined them through the knot…
Zevran’s sudden shout under her brought Isabela back to the moment. He began to come inside her wildly and Isabela rode the crest of her own orgasm. Zevran’s hands roamed up and down her skin, caressing and rubbing. In an instant, irritation spurned through Isabela. He wasn’t Hawke and she felt if the sire of her pups knew, she’d be disappointed. Never mind she’d had her share of alphas since running…..

 

Despite herself, Isabela felt disgusted with herself, even though her loins were more than happy. She pushed off of Zevran, watching him groan with satisfaction. His limp cock dangled between his legs. When he made to hold her, Isabela shouted and slammed a palm smack against his face. Zevran grunted in pain.
“Bela, what’s wrong?” he asked. He reached for her again. Isabela began to shout angrily, throwing the pillows on the bed at him.
“Ow! Hey! Stop it! You wanted to!” Zevran shouted, dismay across his features. Isabela slammed her fists against his chest, and shoved him off the bed. Zevran’s pale legs flew over his head as he landed on the floor. “What’s wrong?!”

 

Isabela clutched the sheets to her naked breasts. His seed leaked out of her slowly and she bent to the mattress, shaking as irrational emotion surged through her body. Zevran carefully touched her back.
“Oh, Bela. What’s wrong? Did I hurt you?”
“No…damn you, Zev!” Isabela wiped her tears away angrily. She didn’t shake his hand off and Zevran rubbed her back softly.
“It’s Hawke, isn’t it?” he asked. He braved her anger as Isabela slammed her fists against his shoulder and chest. “You’ve fallen in love, haven’t you?”
“No, I didn’t. I told you once, love’s not for me,” Isabela ground out. Zevran touched two fingers under her chin. He gave his old roguish smile and winked.
“I think it’s landed square on you. You never were one to bear anyone’s pups.”
“They’re good pups,” Isabela said idly, but her words sounded weak to her own ears.

 

“You’ll have to admit it one day, Bela. And good luck to Hawke when you do.” Malice did not line Zevran’s words but Isabela still frowned.
“I won’t admit anything,” she retorted. Zevran helped her lace her tunic back up. He grinned, dangling her smallclothes from the end of one finger. Isabela smacked him solidly on the shoulder. “You ruddy fool. Clean up.”
“Aye. I will.” Zevran stood, pulling his trousers up over his hips. He gave an elaborate bow. “Please….rest yourself. You shouldn’t rush back to your babes so soon.”
Isabela cleaned herself up with his sheets, growling when he left. She poured water from the available jug into a washing bowl and wet a rag. She wiped the sweat from her face and breasts, and ran the rag idly between her thighs, cleaning Zevran’s seed. She flung the dirtied rag to the floor in disgust.
A short while later, there was a hesitant knock on the door. At her call, Zevran poked in, slouching under her glare. He dangled a bottle of antivan wine.
“Peace offering?” he asked. Isabela sighed.
“Give me some of that,” she growled. Zevran popped the cork and poured. They sat down at the small table, watching the fire climb up the stone hearth. “You are a fool, Zev.”

 

“Yes, but you loved tumbling this fool.” Zevran sighed, his slight shoulders hitching and falling. “Was that it? The last time?”
Isabela sighed. She bowed her head. “It has to be this way.”
“I figured my luck would run out with you, my pirate queen.” Zevran’s smile was sad. “I always saw a tumble with you as a bloody good treasure.”
“Fool.” A slight tone of appreciation was in her tone. Isabela sipped.
Zevran rolled his goblet, watching the wine slosh in circles. “So…what is it about this Hawke that so captivated you? Is it because she’s handsome?”
Isabela sighed. Words she never thought she’d admit poured out of her like water rushing from a spring. “So handsome. Short dark hair, soft eyes, such a nervous smile. I don’t think she ever thought I’d want to be with her. And I showed up at her home once. She tumbled me right into her bed. And it was so good.”
Zevran smiled as she blushed. “Can’t be just the sex. Though I know what a minx you can be.”

 

“Oh, shut it, “Isabela retorted. Her eyes grew soft. “It’s more than that. It’s the little things; she always drinks half her ale before touching her food. Then she won’t drink another drop until she’s eaten every morsel. Whenever she’s in Low Town, she always gives a few coins to the children begging. Captain Aveline runs her like a ruddy errand girl, but she’s always there. She’s always reliable.”
“And the sex had to be good,” Zevran grinned. Isabela laughed, blushing.

 

“Her stamina wasn’t so good when we first started. But by the time I…..left…. she could go for hours. Sometimes all night. She’s an absolute tiger between the sheets.” Isabela’s eyes were soft. “I always made a game of pushing her by flirting with other alphas in front of her. She would always fuck me how I wanted after she got me alone.”
“Sounds like she already has a thing for you,” Zevran guessed. Isabela’s eyes darkened.
“Well, I ran away again. Lot of good she’ll want to do me. I wouldn’t want to be around me,” she said. Zevran touched her hand across the table.
“If I meet this Hawke, I’ll tell her she’s missing out. You’re one of a kind, Bela.”

 

“With two pups in tow,” Isabela complained. But thinking of Falcon’s and Lark’s shining eyes, the same shade of green as Hawke’s, couldn’t bring her mood down.

 

* * * * *

 

“Hawke, you have a visitor!” Aveline poked into the guard’s common room, to alert the Champion. She had been idly sparring with a few of the men, but sheathed her blade at the call of the captain.
“If it’s another fan or hanger-on, get rid of them, will you?” she called. One of the men grinned.
“I wish I were Champion, I’d court ALL the women.”
“I have,” Hawke groaned. Aveline turned aside, smiling.
“I think you’ll like this one.”

 

“Merrill!” Hawke adjusted her sword belt and rushed to the door. She guided the elf back out into Aveline’s office. The other soldiers were gawking at her and nudging each other. It was common knowledge that the elf received a lot of attention from the Champion of Kirk Wall, and people gossiped if perhaps she would be taken as Hawke’s bride.
“Hi, Hawke. I hope I’m not intruding, but I wanted to see you before I went to the Hanged Man. It’s a good time at night for a drink,” Merrill grinned shyly. Hawke found herself cupping the girl’s cheek with one calloused palm.
“Are you okay getting there on your own? That place isn’t known for its high-class patrons,” Hawke groused. Merrill blushed, turning her cheek into Hawke’s palm.
“I’ll be okay. Maybe I’ll see you there?”

 

“I’ll be off duty in an hour. Yes,” Hawke agreed. The Hanged Man was aways off from High Town, but she’d make the distance for an agreeable end to a somewhat mundane day. As Merrill waved goodbye, Hawke wondered again if she should ask her to move in. As the days went by and after Hawke’s random tumblings of her fans, she worried and thought about Merrill more and more. Hopefully she wasn’t getting robbed by her neighbors; hopefully she was safe.
“I know that look. I’ve seen it on your face before.” Aveline moved through the doorway, armor clanking. She sank into her chair behind her desk. Hawke crossed her arms, trying to appear casual.
“What look? I was just thinking.”
“You’re either constipated or half smitten. That sweet thing must invite a lot of bad attention. Shall I send a team of guards after her?” Aveline offered. Hawke smiled.
“Have them patrol Merrill’s street in the Alienage. I’m going to catch up with her.”

 

“As the Champion wishes,” Aveline said smoothly. Hawke waved as she left the guards barracks. Her armor clanked with each heavy boot fall and random betas and omegas hailed greetings, half flirtatious with the gesture. Hawke ignored them and made for the Hanged Man.
Inside the raucous tavern, Hawke bypassed the bar. Her eyes fell onto one stool in particular. Whenever Isabela frequented the tavern, she chose that stool to perch on. It was empty which was good; Hawke had half a mind to spill the stool’s next unwelcome occupant to the floor and rudely.
“It’s Hawke! Hey, Champion!” A chorus of greetings came her way. Hawke inclined her head politely and gladly made her way to Merrill who sat in the corner, waving when Hawke noticed her. Hawke found her footsteps quickening.
“You’re early!” Merrill beamed. Hawke leaned to kiss her cheek as she sat beside her. Pulling the elf into her lap made her relax. It didn’t even have to be about sex. There was something about the elf that calmed her. When Merrill slung an arm around her neck, holding onto her, Hawke smiled contently.

 

“I couldn’t let these scoundrels get all your attention. Two mugs of ale.“ Hawke ordered from a passing tavern server. She nodded, smiling generously at the Champion, put off in the next instant when Hawke turned to kiss Merrill. The elf kissed her back sweetly. They could take their time. Once they got back to whoever’s quarters, Hawke could let more of her armor down. Figuratively and literally.
Merrill was chattering against her and Hawke tuned in to listen. “I couldn’t quite patch that tunic you gave me, but I’m hopeful I can do better on the next one. You’ll give me your sewing? Don’t live it to Orana.”
Hawke smiled. “Of course, Merrill.”
After they finished their drinks, and the patrons began singing a tavern song, Hawke asked Merrill if she wanted to come to her manor that night. The elf looked interested. But Hawke knew she was still somewhat skittish about High Town in general. She was nervous to make a good impression on Hawke’s noble neighbors.

 

“Maybe my place? The bed frame’s been getting rickety. Maybe you could check it?”
Hawke grinned at Merrill’s non-subtle suggestion. “Oh, I’ll check it for you and gladly,” she drawled. Merrill took her arm and leaned against her shoulder as they walked the streets of the Alienage. Hawke’s reputation kept any would-be pickpockets at bay and soon Merrill let them into her small hut. Hawke let the latch down inside, locking the wooden door. As Merrill made to tidy up the mess on her table, Hawke held her from behind. Merrill gasped as Hawke ground against her, grinding her shift unsubtly against her ass.
Merrill turned in her arms and flung her arms around her neck. Hawke could barely catch the elf as she kissed her eagerly. After their lips parted, Merrill’s small hands traced Hawke’s armor. She helped her with her breastplate and gauntlets, setting them carefully on her table. A scroll smushed beneath a gauntlet but before Hawke could smooth it out, Merrill tugged at the waistband of her trousers. Hawke sat on the edge of her bed, grinning as the bed frame creaked under her weight. Apparently, they’d loosened it from its fastening to the wall at some point.

 

Merrill blushed, tugging at her clothes. When Hawke stood and slowly undressed her, her face rioted in a red blush.
“I-I was going to….oh, Hawke, I’m so glad you’re here,” Merrill admitted. Hawke slowly kissed her, feeling her lust spiral higher. Merrill’s thin curves pressed into her muscular torso. Hawke wanted to push on top of her companion, but Merrill pushed her to her back on the bed and climbed on her.
Her shifted shaft stood up between them as Merrill kissed down her throat and torso in eager nips, hands roaming. Hawke lay back, enjoying the touches. Merrill blushed as her name erupted from Hawke’s lips.

 

“Wait,” Hawke murmured. But Merrill’s small hand in the center of her chest, kept her back. Hawke waited, chest rising and falling with her heavier breathing. Merrill rubbed against the underside of her shaft, groaning as her dampness painted the erect flesh with wet swipes. Hawke grit her teeth, enjoying the soft pushes. She held onto Merrill’s hips as the elf knelt up to rub down against the broad head of Hawke’s cock.
Hawke watched the thin lines of Merrill’s belly strain as she pushed against her tip, pushing onto it. She angled a hand between them to gently tug at Merrill’s clit to help. Merrill groaned loudly and sank down. Her thighs shook around Hawke’s hips as she slid down as far as she could. Hawke took pity on the trembling elf, and helped support her thighs in her strong hands. Amply supported, Merrill rolled against her, her gasps filling the hut. Hawke thrust her hips up slowly, watching a line of sweat pour down Merrill’s jaw as she clutched onto her.

 

“Ma Vhenan!” Merrill cried out. Her head tilted back as she rolled with Hawke’s cock. Hawke kept herself inside, moving with Merrill’s rolling hip thrusts. Merrill gasped as she half sat up, face against her small breasts. The position put a strain on Hawke’s lower back, but she kept her hip movements as languid as she could. She focused her eager attention on the erect nipples in front of her face, moving her mouth from one to the other. Merrill’s hands twined through her dark hair. She came in quick thrusts of her narrow hips, as she always did.
Hawke’s ego was always stoked when she came loudly around her. When they had first begun in bed together (and even now, Hawke couldn’t call it fucking), it took a long time for Merrill to come, and she hadn’t at all inside her. She had been scared she’d hurt her. But now, Merrill blossomed open for her. The fit was always tight, but as long as Hawke kept her thrusts from their full speed, she could push along to her own end inside the elf.

 

 

And she knew Merrill loved it when she spilled inside her. Merrill clutched her shoulders weakly, fluttering around the top half of her cock. Hawke scooped her up in her arms, keeping inside as she rolled on top. Merrill’s feet clasped the back side of her calves as she trembled beneath the Champion. Hawke bit the edge of Merrill’s shoulder as she thrust in deep languid pushes, keeping her hips pressed tightly against the elf’s. Hawke’s feet strained against the mattress as she tried not to slam the thinner woman.
Merrill purred encouragement against her ear and Hawke grit her teeth, feeling a line of sweat dot her bare spine. She arched up on her hands, thrusting her hips in a slightly faster rhythm. She was so close…. If she could just come, it would feel so good enclosed within Merrill’s tight velvety grip….

 

When her end came, Hawke rode her orgasm gladly, shooting hard inside the elf. Merrill’s thighs widened, but a large amount of her seed always backtracked to spill around their legs. Merrill’s sheets were dampened again with her seed, but Hawke couldn’t find it in her to care. She grunted as she thrust the last few spurts of her release and collapsed against Merrill. Her thighs strained to keep her from slamming the rest of herself into the tight elf.
Merrill held onto her with wide arms and legs, and Hawke was soothed by her crooning voice whispering endearments. Her hands roamed up and down her back and shoulders, even going as far down to grip her ass. Hawke gave an uneven thrust, sighing.
“Merrill,” she murmured. Merrill’s lips were against hers and Hawke kissed her hungrily. Merrill’s arms twined around her neck.

 

“Don’t leave…..stay…” Merrill begged. Hawke curled up against the elf’s thin body. Merrill settled against her torso, fingers trailing along the massively raised scar across her abdomen. Hawke’s stomach concaved, but she didn’t take Merrill’s hand away.
“You really should think about moving into my home. You’ll have all the room you want.” Hawke couldn’t believe she was saying it. But her heart felt calmer as the elf giggled nervously.
“Me? In High Town? The fancy part of the city without rats?” Merrill looked curiously up at the naked guardsman. Hawke pulled her hips back and withdrew as gently as she could. Merrill tilted her head back, crying out at the sudden pull. Hawke kissed her chin and jaw reassuringly.

 

“Yes; you. I’d love having you,” Hawke murmured. She still thought about Isabela. But as the days went by, she saw her less and less in her mind every time Merrill smiled, opened her arms to her, took her inside. Her heart was damaged but it was slowly healing.
Merrill giggled. “You’d just get tired of me. I promise you.”
“I don’t think I would,” Hawke murmured.

 

“Oh, you.” Merrill stroked Hawke’s face. Hawke captured her wrist and kissed her arm. Her heart surged when Merrill went limp against her, pulling her close. Merrill’s fingers traced the deep scar across the guardsman’s nose. She loved that scar for it made her Hawke so handsome.

 

Hawke blinked as she traced her face. She smiled.

End for now

Chapter Text

Over three years later:

“You have to go, Bela. You know Castillon won’t quit ‘til he finds you.”
Isabela cast a worried look to her friend as he held onto her squirming boys. Falcon and Lark’s eyes were huge and they struggled to get down to clutch at her legs.
“I know I have to,” Isabela said. She was packing a bag with tunics and a couple of new corsets. Zevran looked away as she added her small clothes, and a few personal items. Also going in the bag was a small miniature portrait of her boys, done in an artist friend’s hand. Falcon and Lark may have her coloring, but their looks were all Hawke. Her serious purse of the lips, wide easy smiles and shining green eyes were in her son’s features.
The boys squirmed so hard, Zevran had to set them down and they ran swiftly on short chubby legs toward her.

 

“Mama, where are you going?” Falcon sniffed. He rubbed a fist against his eye, trying not to cry. Lark pouted, trying to look angry.
“We’re coming too!”
Isabela put her things down and collected the twins up in her arms. Her lips kissed each downy head as the boys babbled and cried against her. She closed her eyes trying not to cry herself. She was used to running from the first sight of danger, but she truly felt terrible for it now. She was doing it for her boys. She had to get rid of her old enemy and she couldn’t let him know about them!
“Mama has to do something very, very important to keep you both safe. Oh, I wish I could take you with me.” Isabela kissed each damp cheek. Falcon sniffled against her shoulder and Lark stubbornly kept his angry face, despite the tears. “Mama loves her boys so much.”

 

“Pwomise?” This from Falcon. Isabela kissed his brow then his lips.
“Yes, I promise.”
“When will you come back?” Lark blinked rapidly. Small tears wet his eyes. Isabela cupped his cheek and kissed him.
“As soon as I can. Uncle Zevran is in charge. He’ll take good care of you.” At this, Isabela swept a pleading look to her friend. Zevran smiled and winked, taking the responsibility with ease.
“I always do. We’ll have fun here, won’t we, boys?”
The boys looked relaxed and Isabela eased them to sit in her lap, one arm around each small body.

 

“Hopefully I’ll have Hawke’s help,” Isabela said to Zevran. The twins perked at the mention of that name. They’d been told several bedtime stories about the noble Hawke of Kirkwall. Isabela had told them about some of her deeds, and she needn’t have embellished; Hawke’s deeds were always heroic. Of course, to young ears, a mysterious guardsman would sound as epic as an operatic saga.
“The Champion!” Lark crowed. Falcon’s eyes were huge.
“Mama knows Hawke?”

 

“Yes, Falcon. Your mama knows Hawke.” Isabela’s heart lurched. As her pups got bigger, she had gone through several scenarios of how to get rid of the old thorn in her side that wouldn’t die. It would have to be Hawke. She was skilled at battle, loyal to a fault, and could call on Captain Aveline’s forces if need be. The law of Kirkwall ran with her. Isabela faltered on ‘loyal to a fault.’ She herself hadn’t shown any loyalty in fleeing. But…maybe…. Maybe Hawke would want to see her.

 

Isabela would force a chance with her if she had to. Her life depended on it. And as she looked at her children’s faces, Isabela knew she couldn’t lose.

 

• * * * * *

 

Strenuous gasps and moans filled the large bedchamber. Small hands clasped the canopy and tugged the curtain loose. On her knees, pussy stretched by Hawke’s cock from behind, Merrill didn’t have anything else to hold onto. Hawke’s hands held onto her belly and hips as she steadily plowed into her. Merrill’s tight walls clung to her on each thrust. Their labored breathing filled the air.
“Hawke….” Merrill murmured. Hawke grinned, bowing her head against Merrill shoulders from behind. Her lips left a string of hot kisses along Merrill’s spine as she thrust her hips firmly. Merrill was so close that she should stop teasing. When Hawke’s hand went between Merrill’s legs and rolled her clit between her fingers, the elf cried out, arching up on her hands. She pushed back hard against Hawke and the Champion stoked her lust along til she fell apart. Merrill fell onto her arms, face pressed into the mattress. She cried out as she came.

 

Hawke kissed her shoulder as she kept her thrusts languid and firm. When Merrill trembled around her, she pulled out gently. The small sighs Merrill made as she did made the base of her cock twitch. Hawke lay against the elf’s back, kissing her shoulder. Her pounding erection pressed against Merrill’s hip.
Merrill turned in her arms and pressed up against Hawke’s torso. Her arms slung around Hawke’s neck and they hungrily kissed. Merrill tugged on Hawke’s lower lip with her teeth, murmuring against her.
“Ah, ma vhenan,” Merrill smiled as she caught her breath. Hawke cupped her cheek. Merrill felt her cock stand upright against her and moved on top of the naked Champion, climbing on top. Hawke spread her thighs, sighing with contentment as Merrill rubbed herself against her erection. She needed to come and after giving Merrill a lengthy orgasm, she knew her erstwhile girlfriend would be happy to oblige.

 

Merrill’s cave was deliciously wet, her pussy juices coating Hawke’s cock. Hawke felt herself twitching, her hands gripping the elf’s slim hips. Merrill’s eyes locked onto hers as she sank down, trembling over the head of her cock. Hawke leaned up to kiss her throat, her lower back protesting at the angle. She kept at it, hands gliding up and down the elf’s small back.
“Oh, Hawke….” Merrill murmured above her. Hawke panted harshly beneath her. Merrill was gripping the upper part of her cock in delicious strokes, squeezing down around her. The length of her shaft pulsed and Hawke rode it, gladly pushed along by Merrill’s squeezing cave.
“Fuck…Merrill…just like that….” Hawke’s voice whined. Merrill’s heart surged. She loved that she made Hawke this unrestrained. She had a feeling Hawke wasn’t like this with anyone else. She trusted her above all else with intimacy. Merrill ground down against her, watching the Champion lean back, head tilted trustingly. Merrill’s hands soothed down the scars across Hawke’s shoulders and sternum, skimming over her breasts, and lower along the raised scars along her abdomen. Hawke’s body concaved beneath her touch, her eyes closed with pleasure.

 

As Hawke began to come wildly inside her, Merrill was struck. Call it inspiration, love, or what have you, she couldn’t let the moment go. As her Champion came beneath her, filling her, Merrill leaned down and sank her teeth along the soft upturned throat of her lover. Hawke’s gasp was strangled and surprised. Her cock surged, making her come harder. Merrill shuddered, feeling stretched beyond belief. She held her bite, putting all her love and intentions into it. By the time Hawke was spent, shuddering and gasping beneath her, Merrill leaned up on her hands, surveying her work.
The bite was very noticeable, and if Hawke favored the union, would become permanent. Particularly if she chose to return the mark onto her….. Merrill’s heart was in her eyes.
“Hawke…” her tone was pleading. Hawke ran her hands up and down her back, eyes serious and still. She didn’t look angry, but she wasn’t doing anything in return. Merrill gave a gasp of mental anguish and collapsed, face buried against Hawke’s breast. “I’m sorry, now you’re mad at me. Shouldn’t have said that…..”

 

“Merrill…” Hawke’s hand gently wound through her hair, urging her face up. A small smile was on Hawke’s lips. It was gentle, and concern was across her features. Concern for HER. “I… I don’t know what to say. I wasn’t expecting that….”
Merrill’s lips turned into a sad frown. “I- I should have asked! I wanted to…..I ….”
Hawke leaned up and gently kissed the babbling from her lips. “It’s alright, Merrill.”
“Will,,….” Hope flared in the elf’s heart. She curled her legs round Hawke’s, still joined on top of her. “Will you….one day?”
Hawke knew what she was asking. Her eyes were guilty as they slid to the side. “I….I don’t know. Not right now, at least.”
Hope and anguish warred in Merrill’s heart. “Maybe…. Maybe…. Think on it? I’m here for you, Hawke. I am….”

 

“I know.” Hawke kissed her again and rolled over on top. She worked her hips back, separating from the elf and Merrill sighed with contentment as Hawke’s seed spilled out of her. Hawke chuckled. She pulled a dry sheet across them, urging Merrill to cuddle close against her. “We always wreck the sheets. Orana is beside herself, we give her so much linen to wash.”
“I’m sorry?” Merrill said. Hawke kissed her brow.
“Don’t be…”
“I could help her! So she wouldn’t be upset,” Merrill offered cheerily. Hawke traced a finger along the tattoos across the elf’s cheek.
“You’re too sweet, Merrill. She’d like that.”

 

As the two twined together and Hawke was dozing off, Merrill’s thoughts were awhirl. She selfishly trailed her fingers up and down the Champion’s body, watching her rest. When Hawke began to fidget and groan in her sleep, Merrill calmly reopened a cut on her arm with her dagger. It may be unconventional to use blood magic to ease physical aches and mental anguish, but she longed for Hawke’s peace of mind more than anything.

 

Hawke’s hands pulled Merrill closer to her, hands tight across her body even as she slept. Merrill allowed herself to be pulled close. She wrapped an arm around Hawke’s neck and pressed soft kisses across her face. A loud snore was her answer. At the very least, Hawke was comforted with her near. And she showed it in her sleep. Merrill could be happy with this for now.

 

• * * * * *

 

The city’s noises filled her ears as Isabela stepped off the ship’s gangplank. She had booked passage on the swiftest ship she could find on short notice, and within a fortnight she was back in bustling Kirkwall. Shouldering her bag, Isabela took off down the docks at a strut, nodding greetings to the odd sailors that recognized and hailed her.
Her feet took her toward Low Town and the Hanged Man. She had kept a room there for her time in Kirkwall before, and Hawke and her companions had often found her there. Despite herself, Isabela walked faster, heart thundering. She could find Hawke very soon. If not there, Varric or Merrill or someone else would be, and Isabela could make her way to Hawke’s estate should she be absent.

 

It was odd how quickly the route there went. Isabela had trod the familiar path to the Hanged Man so often, she truly could have done it in her sleep. Her footsteps hastened and she found a wide smile stretching her lips. Despite everything that had happened, leaving, having her pups, and Castillon issuing her capture yet again, she was excited. Hawke was here. Somewhere in the city, and possibly up in the tavern ahead. And who knows, maybe she’d be glad to see her. Maybe she’d see that old spark in her ex-lover’s eyes. And maybe one day, she’d be in her arms…. maybe tonight…..
“Are you sure you don’t want to stay? There’s always room.”
“I’m sure, Hawke. I’ll be fine! Don’t worry.”
Isabela’s heart thundered in her breast as she heard two familiar voices, as familiar as her own name. Hawke? And Merrill? Hawke!

 

Before Isabela could call out, making out the two familiar shapes up ahead, she saw Hawke duck her head and capture Merrill’s lips with her own. Merrill wasn’t surprised; she melted into the embrace and Isabela felt her heart stop. Hawke clasped the elf in her arms as she pressed her up against the wall of the nearby building. The gesture looked too practiced, too intimate to be just a one-time thing.
Her chest burned and Isabela forced an exhale of breath. She had to remind herself to breathe. Her feet stopped in her tracks and she fairly stared. What was going on? Isabela could make out Merrill’s thin arms twine round Hawke’s neck as she pressed up against her. Isabela kept staring, almost counting the moments until the two separated for air.

 

Merrill was smiling up into Hawke’s face, fingers toying with the collar of the Champion’s tunic. As she unfastened the first few clasps, Hawke gave a small smile and Merrill leaned up on her toes to brush her lips across her throat. At first Isabela couldn’t see why. But a mark glistened on Hawke’s throat and Isabela felt her stomach drop to her feet.
Merrill had marked Hawke? They were mated? Isabela swallowed, the corners of her lips pulled down. They had exchanged marks? Was she too late? She should have come back sooner. She should have said something before she left!.... Isabela darted around the corner of the building, pressing a hand against her breast. Her heart was thundering and grave disappointment made her stomach cramp up.
Hawke was mated to Merrill! She was too late…too late!.... Looking back at the pair was an exercise in masochism. Isabela forced herself to. Hawke was smiling gently at the elf, kissing the back of her hand chivalrously.

 

“Go on down, I’ll watch you,” she said. Merrill flushed, but it was mixed with a touch of fear.
“You don’t have to make a decision now! I’ll wait, Hawke. I can wait,” she said sweetly. The words made no sense to the distraught pirate. Hawke leaned to kiss the elf again. It was shorter this time, but all the more tender. Isabela felt like she was going to be sick on herself. Merrill departed from Hawke’s grip and made her way toward her hut, Hawke standing guard as always, watching to make sure she got in safely.
She COULD call out to Hawke now. But after witnessing that little scene, Isabela’s usual confidence was shattered. She hastily ran toward the Hanged Man’s door and looked back one last time. Hawke’s eyes gleamed in the direction of Merrill’s home. The mark on her uncovered throat was very noticeable. Isabela swallowed and pushed the wooden door of the tavern open.

 

Hawke strode down toward the door of the Hanged Man, a bounce in her step. While she didn’t think she’d fall for Merrill that way, she was becoming more and more fond of her erstwhile girlfriend. Merrill didn’t mention titles and she didn’t forbid Hawke’s extra-curricular activities; she always made Hawke feel wanted and needed. And just maybe, she could fall in love with her. She was already halfway there, she was certain of it.
Hawke went along, going over tally marks in her head. She wanted to think it through tonight, and she paused at the door of the Hanged Man. Going in for a drink without Merrill felt futile. Varric would have a tale or two for her, but she had a lot of heavy thinking to do. A public outing would have to wait for the next day. As Hawke turned to head toward High Town, she paused. It was stupid, and it may have just been the setting, but the Champion was certain she could smell a familiar wafting of leather, vanilla and rum. Isabela’s scent.

 

Of course, she’d come to mind when considering mating Merrill. Hawke’s heart had been thoroughly broken and it had been years since she’d seen the pirate. Well, she’d have to put her aside for well and good. Hawke strode past the tavern and toward home. As she went along, Hawke’s heart grew heavier. Isabela…was she even alive? Well if she were, she wished her well, but Hawke couldn’t say she wasn’t hurt. That familiar scent riled up her heart more than she could say.

 

• * * * * *

 

The usual noise of the patrons slammed into Isabela’s ears as she closed the front door hastily behind her. The barkeep was wiping glasses and pouring ale or whiskey. Several patrons sat on stools opposite the bar, or at the random tables flung about the establishment.
Several people hailed her, calling out greetings. Isabela forced a smile and sauntered in, bag shouldered. She perched on her usual stool, glad there wasn’t anyone in her usual spot. While she was pondering the strangeness of that despite the tavern’s crowd, a familiar voice rang out behind her.
“By the glorious hair on my chest! If it isn’t Captain Isabela!”
Isabela found her smile wasn’t forced. “Varric! How are you?”

 

“Just fine. Where have you BEEN? We must catch up!”
Isabela climbed off her stool and followed Varric to his usual table. The two sat over tall glasses of ale, chattering over the past three year’s deeds. Isabela wanted to mention her sons, but bit her tongue about it. Varric was close to Hawke, and he would certainly tell. No, for now, she had to keep it to herself.
“You left so suddenly, we feared something was wrong,” Varric was saying. Isabela took a sip from her glass, raising an eyebrow.
“Yes, well….I just figured it was time. But I’m back now,” Isabela insisted. Varric chuckled.
“Kirkwall better watch out.”

 

They traded tales as the night wound on. Isabela kept skirting looks toward the tavern’s door, but there was no sign of Hawke. Varric noticed and chuckled.
“She may be in for the night.”
“I know. It may be too early to call on favors, but can you do me one, Varric?” Isabela decided to just go ahead and ask. She knew Varric’s answer before he spoke.
“Of course, Isabela. What is it?”
“Could you…..could you deliver a letter to Hawke’s home telling her I’m here? I’d really like to see her,” Isabela said. She couldn’t help the thundering of her heart. Varric’s eyebrow was raised high.
“Yes, of course. You could just up and go to her estate, you know. She’d be home this time of night,” Varric suggested. Isabela flushed.

 

“Can you do it, Varrric?” she pressed. The dwarf sighed.
“Yes, of course. Anything for a friend.”
Isablea sighed. “Thanks.”
Well, at least the way would be set. And she’d be seeing Hawke as early as tomorrow.
“Where’s Hawke tonight? I was hoping to give her my room key!” one of the tavern’s patrons pouted. Isabela cringed inwardly as she listened to the patrons talk about her lover. Well, ex-lover. Was Hawke making her stride through the obvious admirers?

 

“You would! She’s been exclusive lately with that elf. Too bad; she used to take on one or two new partners a night!”
Isabela’s brow quirked. It was hypocritical of her to be upset; she had taken on other sexual partners in the past three years as well. But it still hurt all the same.
Varric looked over his shoulder, scowling at the gossiping women. “Don’t mind them, Isabela. Hawke isn’t as they say now.”
“Now, huh?” Isabela couldn’t help but ask. Varric looked uncomfortable.
“Well, that is… “

 

“It’s fine,” Isabela said, even though it wasn’t. “Sure is crowded here. Think any rooms are available?”

 

o * * * *

 

Isabela looked around the room. Her old room above the tavern had been free for rent and it felt strangely familiar and strange to slide a few gold coins across the counter to obtain the key. Isabela set her bag down and looked around for long moments. As she went to loosen her corset and prepare for bed, and Isabela’s eyes drifted to the strip of red cloth tied around her bicep. It had been cut off of Hawke’s bloodied tunic after the Arishok attack, after she’d knotted Hawke, and as she was leaving Kirkwall. She’d made Falcon and Lark before cutting off the strip of fabric she never took off.

 

Isabela’s fingers tangled in the knot and she finally worked the fabric loose. She clutched the hard fabric tightly, but couldn’t bring herself to burn it in the room’s lantern. She slowly retied it around her arm slowly. Varric was going to deliver a letter to Hawke’s estate in the morning. She would have to wait.
Isabela loosened her tunic and slid under the covers. She missed her boys. She missed their squirmy warm bodies on either side of her, their gentle breathing filling her ears. Tears filled Isabela’s eyes.

 

Would Hawke see her? Would they be reconciled? Seeing her ex-lover kissing their friend was a sore image that replayed behind her eyelids again and again. Isabela clutched her pillow and pressed it over her head in frustration.

 

 * * * * *

 

Hawke sipped a glass of wine as she walked around her estate’s dining room. Orana was polishing something at random and she nodded a good night to the elven maid. Her thoughts went in circles. She had been happy being with Merrill, even with the surprise biting. She had a lot to think about concerning her little elf. She DID love being with her. And maybe there was a future to pursue there.
Then the old thoughts of Isabela cropped up. Inhaling her familiar scent, or something close to it, triggered her old feelings of want and hurt over the pirate. She had been hurt by her, left without even a note. But as Hawke sipped and walked around her home, she had to concede the hurt wasn’t as bad as it had been. She truly wished Isabela well, wherever she was. She didn’t want anything bad to ever happen to her. No hard feelings, not anymore. In all their interactions, Isabela had never promised a life together. She had eluded to as much, telling her about her forced marriage, and having left a past lover who had also proposed marriage. Hawke had had to accept that. And she did.

 

As she silently forgave the pirate, Hawke’s heart felt lighter. Now she could be free to take on Merrill’s mating mark with a fresh step. She could mate her back. They could be happy. Hawke touched the bite mark on her throat. She flushed, remembering how Merrill’s cheeks had been flushed as she leaned down on her to set it there, small breasts pressing into her, damp cave squeezing her length below. If Hawke chose to bite her back, it would be permanent. They would be mated.

 

And she could go on without Isabela at last.

End for now

Chapter Text

Hawke woke in good spirits and moved around her estate in her dressing robe. Orana was cooking breakfast in the large kitchen and the elf gently chided her for stealing a piece of bacon. Munching, Hawke turned to transverse the large common room toward the staircase. She was starting to ascend when the large door knocker rapped attention at the front door.
Bodahn greeted the runner at the door, accepting his letter and exchanging it for a few copper pieces. Hawke leaned against the banister, swallowing the rest of her bacon.
“Who’s it from?” she asked her servant. Bodahn smiled good-naturedly and handed her the letter.

 

“The lad didn’t say. Seal says it’s from Varric,” he suggested. Hawke raised an eyebrow. If Varric had something to say, he’d do it in person usually. How unusual. She broke the seal and started to climb the stairs, reading the scrawled words languidly. She stopped and reread the letter again, fingers clutching the parchment desperately. Bodahn noticed her actions and craned his head to watch.
“Serah Hawke?” he asked. Hawke turned a pained face to the man, and tried to work out the letter. It was hard; her brain felt like it was shutting down from the news.
“Nothing! It’s nothing!” Hawke rushed up the stairs, flinging off her dressing robe as she did. As she dressed in tunic, trousers and knee-high boots, Hawke’s mind was awhirl. Isabela was back? She was alive? More than alive, she wanted to see her? It was everything Hawke had dreamt of and wanted for three years.

 

Or was it? Hawke grunted as she swept a hand through her short hair. It was fairly tousled from sleep, and she didn’t have the mindset to groom herself fully. She called for Bodahn to help with her Champion’s armor, settling for breastplate, greaves and gauntlets. He finished and Hawke stalked toward the staircase.
She was moving on! She wanted to pick Merrill! Hawke touched the raw bite on her neck as she went. She stomped down the stairs, ignoring Orana’s call for breakfast. She collected her coin pouch and longsword, and left for the day.
It was still far too early. The morning merchants hadn’t even opened their stalls at market. Hawke sighed, but kept going. She wanted nothing more than to go to Merrill’s and greet her at her home first thing. But it was literally down the road from the Hanged Man! Isabela would be sure to find her there. She knew where Merrill lived as well.
What to do? Hawke scowled, upset. It WOULD be just like Isabela to show up and turn her whole world upside down. As usual. First, she’d left without even a letter to break her off cleanly, but now she was back trying to see her like nothing had happened! Hawke pressed a fist against her heavy tunic, over the belly. She had almost died for her and she couldn’t even say goodbye!

 

Well, Hawke had been the one to say goodbye in her heart. As turmoil and heartbreak warred in Hawke’s heart, one emotion stood out clearly in her mind; anger. How dare she show up again? Hawke was over her! She wanted to be left alone to seek Merrill. But Isabela would be looking for her. She didn’t want to be found, especially not that day. What to do?
As the sun steadily rose higher, the merchants opened stalls and wheeled carts out, crying out their wares for the day. Shutters of nearby houses opened and the streets finally started to come to life. Hawke nodded her greetings as many called salutations to her. Hawke’s eyes alit on a brown-haired woman in a fancy dress. She carried a list, and her servant carried her basket.
“Champion Hawke! Finally, I get a moment alone to speak to you!”

 

Hawke made herself smile politely. Dulci de Launcet was an exhausting noble and one of the many fawning types that wearied her as of late. “Good day to you, Lady de Launcet.”
“It’s Dulci, Hawke. Please, won’t you join me?”
Hawke knew what she was angling at. She had had her fill of admirers from the noble class as well. But the opportunity did present a way out, at least for the day. And she did need time to think…..
“Of course, Lady de Launcet. Can we go to your estate?”

 

Dulci’s eyes widened. Hawke tried her most winning smile and was pleased when the lady blushed noticeably. Dulci tucked her arm through Hawke’s and led her away

.

• * * * *

 

Hawke grumbled. She had barely gotten one bloody SECOND to think over her heartbreak and situation. The servants at the de Launcet household were just as fawning as Lady Dulci and Hawke was hard-pressed to avoid them. Dulci was angling for sexual favors and while Hawke wouldn’t have faltered at that a short while ago, she was destroyed by her heart. Merrill…. she was waiting for her. Isabela, her heart’s desire, had resurfaced. It was all too much strain and she didn’t need a sexual partner for the day on top of it all.
She was frustrated, but Hawke was too exhausted emotionally to think about sex. It didn’t mean Lady Dulci didn’t try. Her innuendos were bordering on salacious and it was driving Hawke up the wall.
“Won’t your husband mind?” she found herself asking at some point. Dulci pursed her lips.

 

“He has his hobbies and I have mine,” she retorted. Hawke was ready to turn Dulci out on her ear after being referred to as a hobby, but realized she couldn’t. She was here at the pleasure of Dulci’s leave, and might have to go ahead with what she wanted. Hawke sighed, apologizing to Merrill and Isabela silently.
“Oh?” Hawke said coolly, but she did sidle up to the lady, and slid a hand down her plunging cleavage to fondle a breast. Dulci cooed appreciation and Hawke sighed inwardly as her trousers were unlaced. Hawke made undressing far more longer than it had to go, and forced herself to kiss the woman. Dulci couldn’t fathom her slow responses and kissed her harder. She made to undress Hawke fully, but the Champion kept her tunic on. Only Merrill saw all her scars, and loved her for it.

 

Hawke made Dulci turn into someone else, anyone else, to get through the moments. She fondled her round breasts, and hitched her thighs round her waist, guiding Dulci to the bed. Just as she was starting to find pleasure, the dratted noblewoman began moaning in a high way that sounded borderline fake.
It made Hawke want to pull out and stalk out of the room. Dulci’s squeaks and laughs beside her ear made the fine hairs at the back of Hawke’s neck stand upright. She longed to fling herself off of Dulci but she had to finish up. At the very least, she could finish off Dulci and take her pleasure elsewhere. It wasn’t like this was going to make a good finish for the Champion.
Hawke focused on Merrill’s small curves in her mind’s eye as she plunged in and out of the noblewoman. Dulci was screeching beneath her and Hawke grit her teeth, wishing she’d stop. When Dulci made the mistake of grazing her lips over Merrill’s mark on her throat, Hawke truly saw red. She put her palm over the lady’s face and pushed her face into the mattress, turned away from her. The rougher treatment got Dulci off, making Hawke raise an eyebrow.

 

She pulled out, erection bobbing. Dulci made to embrace her but Hawke climbed off the bed and stalked toward the chamber door, pale legs moving quickly.
“Wait, you don’t have to go,” Dulci called. Hawke scratched her thigh and opened the door.
“I have to piss,” she lied. Dulci was already half asleep. Stepping into the hallway, three servant girls appeared to be eavesdropping and they all squealed at the sight of the half-naked Champion. Hawke gave a hint of her roguish smile and went in search of the washroom, her shift fully visible between her legs.
While she was in there, one of the bolder girls sidled in. She hesitantly reached between Hawke’s legs and touched her rigid shaft.

 

“You don’t look like you’re finished…. “she offered, blushing. Hawke sighed as she got to work, hot mouth moving over her erection. At the very least, she could do with some good head.

 

 * * * *

Hawke grunted as she swung the axe high overhead. She was half-dressed, in trousers and her under shirt, muscles in her bare arms flexing as she made the axe sing. There were several sections of tree waiting to be chopped in the courtyard and no one had gotten started. It all started when one of the servant girls fussed over how to chop firewood and Hawke had stepped in.
It was better than shagging Lady Dulci, who turned out as dull a companion as Hawke feared she would be. And the servant girls and a few boys gathered round to fawn attention over her, calling out encouragement and suggestions. Hawke liked their attention now, but she feared she was in the wrong place as it were. She grunted on each upswing, pulling the axe down hard to split the wood. Isabela…Merrill… Isabela…. Merrill…

 

In between each upswing of the axe, Hawke grunted with the exertion and the male and female servants watching giggled and squealed amongst each other. Lady Dulci appeared at the doors to the courtyard, watching and frowning, but Hawke couldn’t find it in her to care. When she set the axe down, a bold servant girl ran up, fawning over her, offering a glass of water.
Hawke drank it quickly, a line of water dotting off her jaw. The girl held her arm, and traced her fingers along Hawke’s waist, guiding her by the cock as it were to a quiet corner. Hawke stood under the partial shade and tilted her head back, closing her eyes. The girl’s mouth was hot and wet, and she was pulled along on a tide of pleasure. Hawke groaned lightly, mouth opening as she started to let herself go…..

 

“What are you doing?!” Dulci’s shrill voice rang out and startled, the girl jerked off of her erection. Hawke groaned aloud, but caught the girl’s wrist as she got to her feet.
“I was just entertaining the girl. You’ll excuse us,” Hawke growled. Dulci was not so placated.
“You are here as MY guest!” she shrieked. Hawke ignored her, and half-laced, walking on tiptoes to accommodate her swollen erection. The girl blushed and went with her. In the store room in the kitchens, Hawke let herself go in the girl’s throat. As she wiped her mouth, Hawke pulled her to her feet. The girl blushed as her dress was hitched up around her waist.

• * * * * *

 

“Oh, pardon me, Serah Hawke!” the older nobleman stood hastily from his chair. Hawke grimaced; she was the one to barge into his privacy, not the other way around. She shut the door to his study and awkwardly greeted Lord de Launcet. He was as dressed down as she in a velvet dressing robe. The eager servant girls had all but stripped Hawke, claiming they were going to wash and press her clothes. At the very least, Dulci’s husband seemed friendly. If he knew about her tumbling his wife, he seemed not to care.
“Pardon my intrusion, Lord de Launcet,” Hawke gave a tense smile. “Do you mind if I sit with you?”
“No, not at all! Wait ‘til I say how the Champion shared brandy with me,” he grinned. The older man ran a hand through his beard, and poured a cup for Hawke. She accepted and clinked her glass to his. They sipped, staring at the fire blazing in the study’s hearth.

 

“I must say, all the servants are astir with you here, Serah Hawke! Are you enjoying your stay?” Lord de Launcet poured Hawke another glass of brandy without being asked. Hawke gave a small smile.
“In some ways, I am…. pardon me for avoiding your wife.”
“Bah.” Lord de Launcet waved a hand. “I avoid her as much as I can.”
Hawke snickered in her head and sipped. Guilt assuaged her heart when she thought about Merrill, though anger tinged her mind when thoughts of Isabela crept in. She was why she was here in the first place. “May I have pen and paper?” she asked.
Lord de Launcet got up and rummaged around his desk. He produced a quill, a pot of ink and a piece of parchment. Hawke took his seat at the desk and carefully penned a thoughtful and rather apologetic letter to Merrill. Once she was finished, she waited for the parchment to dry.
“Could you have a runner send this to my estate?” she asked the lord. Lord de Launcet nodded.

 

“Instructions for your servants?” he asked. Hawke shook her head.
“No…a message for…a friend.” She hated she had called Merrill that. In her heart, the elf was so much more. But she truly was sorry for skipping out on her decision for her for a few days. Isabela had right and messed everything into a jumble yet again.
Lord de Launcet watched Hawke seal the letter and he called for a boy runner to collect it and sent him on the streets of Kirkwall. Hawke sighed and followed him to the chairs in front of the fire.

 

“So…would you be upset to my seeing what has all the staff riled up?” Lord de Launcet made far more interesting company than his wife. Hawke gave a smile.

 

o * * * * *

 

A bright-eyed servant girl woke the lord and his guest the next morning for breakfast. They had drunken themselves to a stupor and things may have progressed. Progressed to a shagging against the desk, that is. Hawke didn’t bottom for anyone, so Lord de Launcet had spread cheeks for her. Besides, she found the beta male highly more receptive than his wife. The two woke in front of the hearth, dressing robes askew, and the lord brightly gave orders to his servant.
Hawke scratched the itch growing between her legs and moved to the desk to pour herself another brandy. She made a face as the aftermath of the night before slammed into her head. The servant girl cleared her throat at her elbow.

 

“I have your clothes pressed, Serah Hawke. If you’ll join us in the dining hall…..” she said. Hawke followed the girl and dressed for the day. Lord de Launcet rejoined her in the dining hall, similarly dressed for the day. He grinned and conceded as Hawke took the place at the head of the table. The servant boys and girls bustled about, setting out the morning dishes, and Hawke nodded as strong black coffee was poured into a cup for her. She sipped quickly, wincing at the slow dull ache in her head.
Lady Dulci entered and regarded Hawke with surprise, then turned to glare at her husband as he sat at the wrong place. Hawke ignored her, slowly eating strips of bacon, dipping them into the yolks of her eggs. Lord de Launcet kept up a lively banter and Hawke answered him. At least he wasn’t annoying.

 

After breakfast, Hawke ambled to the courtyard to see if any more firewood needed to be chopped. She found the axe where she’d left it, embedded in a tree trunk. She worked it loose and walked across the courtyard, giggling servants following in her wake. Hawke sighed. She didn’t want to think what Merrill would think if she could see her now.

 

o * * * *

 

Merrill had stopped at Hawke’s estate, under the pretense of merely bidding her good morning. She had learned over the years not to beg for Hawke’s attention. She merely received it by being sweet to her. She had been received kindly by Bodahn and the strange news that Hawke hadn’t been home in two days. Merrill sighed. Of course, Hawke would revert to her vanishing ways. She probably had found a new….companion to be with until she came home.
After she’d bitten her, Merrill couldn’t say that that didn’t hurt. But Bodahn surprised her further by handing her a sealed letter. The seal was plain and when Merrill left the estate, she broke the wax covering and read the letter as she walked along. Hawke was indeed staying with someone, but the letter made it sound like she didn’t want to be there. She had apologized to Merrill and promised to be back soon. She further riled up Merrill’s heart by mentioning Isabela. Isabela? Was the pirate queen back? It could only account for Hawke’s sudden disappearance after seeing only her for the past several months.

 

On her way back to her home, Merrill almost jumped out of her skin when she noted the familiar shape and bright blue bandana of her old friend. Was she her friend still? If Isabela had bothered to talk to any of the regulars of the Hanged Man, she may very well know she’d taken Hawke to bed while she’d been gone.
Despite what she’d found out, Isabela was glad to see Merrill, and she was glad the elf looked well and healthy. She hailed her, and walked closer, offering a friendly arm around the shoulders. Merrill went concave, but did smile back at her.
“I was going to call on you, kitten! I’m back in the city, and wondered where all my friends were. Do you…. have time to talk?” A hopeful light lit the pirate’s dark eyes and Merrill couldn’t find it in her to say no.
“O-of course! I’m so glad you’re back, Isabela,” Merrill said sweetly. The two made their way into the Hanged Man and the bartender set up two drinks in Merrill’s usual table in the corner. He made to raise an eyebrow as if to inquire about Hawke but Merrill waved him off. Isabela took a long sip of her whiskey, sighing.

 

“First drink of the day. I’m so glad to be back, Merrill. I just…. I haven’t found Hawke yet. Is that strange?”
She looked so perplexed that Merrill felt bad for her. The twinges she’d gotten from Hawke’s scrawling words indicated she didn’t know what to do about Isabela being back. Her old hurt and feelings must be flaring up. Merrill had to be patient. Even if the object of Hawke’s old desires sat opposite her. It WAS an old desire, wasn’t it? Suddenly, Merrill didn’t feel so good about her prospects.
But still…. Merrill had to admit she was glad to see her old friend. Seeing Isabela’s bright smile put her at odds, and made her heart hurt all the same. She could see what Hawke had loved.

 

“So…to talk point-blank about the elephant in the room, where IS Hawke?” Isabela’s words almost made Merrill jump.
“I…I don’t know!” Well, it wasn’t a total lie. Merrill fisted Hawke’s letter in her pocket. She had no idea WHERE she was.
Isabela stared at her. “Drop the act, kitten. I know.”
Merrill looked confused. “You know where Hawke is? Then why’d you ask me?”
“No! I…” Isabela took a deep breath. Sometimes Merrill’s ramblings got the better of any conversation. “I know about you... and Hawke. You’re in love with her.”
Merrill’s eyes widened but there was no hiding. ‘Caught’ was all over her features. “I should have known you’d find out. Nothing gets past you, Isabela.”
Isabela took another sip of whiskey to clear her mind. “I’d like to talk with Hawke. Do you know where she is?”

 

“I.. I wish I could say where.” Merrill couldn’t keep the sad frown from her face. Her Hawke wasn’t hers and she was off drowning her sorrows. “I was just at her house. Bodahn said she’d hadn’t been back in two days.”
Isabela frowned into her cup. That didn’t sound like the Hawke she knew. “Does she do that often...? Go off for days on end?” The ‘who with’ was like to make Isabela mad if she dwelled on it. She took another sip.
Merrill sighed. “I probably shouldn’t say anything about it. Considering how close you two were. But that was three years ago and well, three years is a long time to be gone…. “

 

Isabela’s heart gave a twinge, seeing the odd quiet play for Hawke spreading across the elf’s kind features. She swallowed. “I know you love her, Merrill…but I have to try. You understand I have to try, right? If I don’t, I know it is completely my fault. But…at the least, I owe her an apology. She does deserve that…”
Merrill’s lips pursed together sadly. Despite herself, she agreed with Isabela, heart be damned. And her good heart wouldn’t tell Isabela no. “Of course! You should….. at least apologize. I …I don’t know if she’ll see you or accept it, but you should try….”
Isbela’s eyes softened. She reached over and touched Merrill’s hand. “Thank you, kitten…”
Merrill looked at Isabela, tears in her eyes. “You’re welcome.”

 

The elf hoped she hadn’t ruined a possible future with her Champion.

 

o * * * * * *

 

Hawke growled as she sidled into the de Launcet’s estate kitchen. She had sated herself a few times but word of her prowess spread among the staff and several girls and men vied for her…. attentions. She was starting to get sick of it.
Were she home, she would twine with Merrill and talk in gentle tones. And now everyone wouldn’t leave her alone. She was better off just leaving! But Isabela would call at her estate and then…. well, Hawke didn’t know what she’d do.
The kitchen was oddly empty in this area of the cavernous room. A few cooks were basting turkeys and chopping vegetables but they were keen workers who didn’t care about a dalliance with the city’s Champion. Hawke sighed with relief. Her pressed tunic was open down the collar and almost to her breast band from some foolish servant girl trying to be forceful and the clasps had torn. She sighed heavily.

 

“Oh, I’m sorry!” a soft voice squeaked. Hawke craned her head to the side. A servant girl was staring at her, but not with blind lust like all the rest. She looked truly repentant for intruding on Hawke’s thoughts.
Hawke’s smile wasn’t forced. “Don’t be. I’m… sorry if I disrupted your work. I’ll get out of your way.”
“No! That’s okay, I mean, you don’t have to….” The girl’s jumbled words reminded Hawke of Merrill. Heart twinging, she took another look at her. The girl was human, young, and slightly muscled. Her breasts were a good size, but she was very skinny all over.

 

“Girl!” The aggravating tones of Lady Dulci rang out and Hawke groaned, aloud and not just in her head. “What are you doing to the Champion? Get away!”
Hawke wrapped an arm round the girl’s waist and held onto her. “That’s enough of that, Dulci. Leave the girl with me.”
The girl in question was blushing as Hawke’s arm held her waist. “I…”
Dulci’s lips pursed in an annoying manner. She made to shrill again, but the sharp look Hawke shot her made her rethink her strategy.
And Hawke took the moment of indecision to escort the kind girl to a quiet corner of the large kitchens. “Thank you, sweet girl. Believe me, you’ve helped me.”
The girl’s face was positively red. “I… you’re welcome…”

 

“What’s your name?” Hawke let go of the girl’s waist and gazed curiously at her. The girl swallowed.
“Tara, Serah Hawke.”
“Thanks for getting me away from your mistress, Tara. She IS annoying.”

 

“I….she can be….” Tara bit her lip as if she’d get in trouble. Hawke merely laughed.

 

o * * * *

 

“Will you take a nightly brandy with me again, Serah Hawke?” Lord de Launcet’s eyes gleamed as he grinned at the Champion. Hawke paused at the door to the kitchens, giving a smile.
“Not tonight, my lord. Thank you.”
“It’s Hawke!” the flurry of excitement at her entrance to the kitchens was to be expected. Hawke strode in, glad she wasn’t clad in just a dressing robe. Her pressed clothes still looked fine despite the torn tunic collar.
“No, I don’t need any help. Just a kettle of water to boil. And tea leaves for two cups. Thank you.”
Hawke couldn’t help smiling as she found Tara talking to one of the kitchen matrons about her tasks. The older woman scowled at Hawke, unperturbed to her status.
“I was wondering if I could steal Tara for a few moments. Thanks.” Hawke didn’t make it a request. Tara came with her, blushing.

 

 

“Do you need help with that, Serah?
“No, no.” Hawke wouldn’t allow Tara to take the tray. She pushed out into the estate gardens. The moon was high and a few lanterns were lit along the well-manicured pathways. Hawke took a seat on a stone bench, and set the tray on a table beside it. “Please, join me.”
“I…thank, you, Serah.” Tara’s blush remained rosy as she sat, folding her hands over her skirts. “Why do you want to have tea with me?”
“Because you were kind to me. And I’m done with everyone fawning over me.” The winced smile Hawke gave made Tara’s heart thunder faster.
“But…you’re the Champion. A warrior unrivaled,” Tara stammered. Hawke waved a hand.
“Please, enough of me. How about you? How long have you been working for the de Launcets?”

 

Hawke poured for Tara, despite her protestations. Tara regaled her with her being hired on two years ago and tried to make her tasks sound more interesting than they were. Hawke did listen readily. When Tara timidly asked her about herself, for more of a tale, the story Hawke told her could have made her weep. How she’d arrived in Kirkwall, running with her siblings, mother and dog from Ferelden. Hawke’s eyes went distant as she admitted her little brother had fallen in battle protecting their mother.
Tara couldn’t help it. She set her tea cup on the tray and leaned to tentatively place her hand over Hawke’s calloused one. “I.. I’m sorry. I heard stories how you arrived in the city…I didn’t know about your brother…”

 

Hawke gave her a bright smile. “Ah, I’m sorry, sweet thing. I didn’t mean to distress the situation. It’s just such a nice evening, and I found good company. Thank you.”
Tara blushed. As they conversed, more of Lady Dulci’s practices came up. Hawke was startled to learn that the omega servants of the estate were locked below the manor in a hidden chamber during their heats.
“Why that wench…I’ll tell her a thing or two!” Hawke cursed. Tara blushed.
“Oh no, it’s not as bad as all that! It’s well furnished and insulated and no one is locked in alone. But it doesn’t give one much opportunity to…. find someone during those times.”

 

“I can imagine,” Hawke lamented. Her eyes moved over the girl’s figure before she could stop herself.
“And….well….even if I had my eye on someone…I wouldn’t know what to do,” Tara confessed. Hawke started.
“Who do you have your eye on? Tell me, sweet thing, I’ll put in a good word for you.” The gentle palm Hawke caressed beneath her chin forced a further blush from Tara.
“I…” the earnest look in Tara’s eyes explained things and Hawke needn’t have felt surprised. Unlike the other servants in the household, she was truly flattered.
“Well…. Sweet Tara…. Perhaps I could help you do something about this….” Hawke stood and held her hand out grandly. Tara took it. She found herself not caring they left the tea tray out in the gardens for the moths to alight upon. Some other servant would pick it up.

 

As Tara led Hawke back to the servant’s building behind the gardens, she could feel the eyes of her colleagues crawling over her. When she caught their gazes, Tara got the stink-eye outright and several threatening gestures. Hawke’s arm round her waist made her feel confidant and only when the Champion stepped into her room far from everyone’s eyes did Tara feel a twinge of fear.
“I….it’s not much…” What would Hawke think of her? A Champion, really, in her tiny room? Hawke gazed round at her dressing table and narrow bed. A small vase with a fresh flower cut from the gardens was on the dressing table and Hawke’s eyes softened. She urged Tara to sit and the girl blushed as Hawke knelt on the ground before her.
“It’s enough. Tell me if you want this, sweet Tara.”

 

Tara leaned down and kissed Hawke. The firm lips of the Champion brushed against hers as she leaned up on her knees, coaxing her tongue into the girl’s mouth. Tara clutched her strong shoulders and pulled her closer.

End for now

Chapter Text

“So. You’ve come back to the city. Was wherever you went not up to your standards of fun?” Aveline’s tone was slightly condescending as Isabela leaned against her desk. The pirate crossed her arms.
“Whatever. You have to have your own work for Hawke piling up. Can you find her or not?” Isabela tried to keep her own wit in her tone, but was finding it harder these days. Merrill was as upset over Hawke’s new disappearance act, and thinking of her son’s faces made her angry.

 

Aveline folded her hands together. “I have to admit, she’s been rather evasive the past three years. She still helps out, but she’s been taking too much time reaping the rewards of her status. Your doing?”
Isabela ignored the barbed words meant to hurt. “Whatever. Are you going to help look for her or not?”
Aveline leaned back in her chair, sighing. “I can’t say I’m surprised Hawke vanished if she heard YOU were back. But I do want to talk to her. Yes, I will look for her.”
Isabela sighed inwardly. “Good girl. I owe you a drink.”

 

“I don’t want it,” Aveline retorted. “Go on, get out of my office. And close the door on your way out.”

 

Isabela left the door wide open to irk the Captain. Aveline’s call of indignation was the only balm of pleasure she could get out of these strange few days.

 

• * * * * * *

 

“Guess the Captain wants to check in with the Champion. We haven’t seen her all week!” one of the guardsmen called. His companions moved throughout the market square of Hightown, looking idly.
“Ssh, you fool. If you keep a good ear open, you never know what you may pick up.” His partner retorted.
“Yeah, yeah….”
As the two men moved along, armor clinking, they could easily pick out bits of conversation. After being shooed away by a few noblewomen, they found listening in on the servant’s gossip was a lot easier. They seemed to put up with their closeness as a form of surveillance of the market square.

 

After circling the square a few times, appearing at ease, the two guardsmen could make out bits of a very interesting conversation.
“….and then she took up the other two maids to a room! I swear the Champion has the stamina of an ox.”
“Oh, next time it’s my turn. I don’t care who I have to run over!”
The two guardsmen gazed at each other and coolly made their way out of the square. “Well that cinches it. Those were Lord de Launcet’s maids. I could tell by the sigil on their aprons.”

 

“Captain Aveline will want to hear this,” the other man responded. The two guardsmen took off at a jog. Back at headquarters, Aveline almost smiled. Almost.
“Well done, men. Gather ten more guardsmen and meet me out front.”
“Aye, Captain!”
Whatever Aveline was planning, it was bound to be interesting.

 

* * * * *

 

Tara opened her eyes. Hawke was already up, and dressing. She hitched her trousers up and re-laced. She made to pull her boots on leaning against the wall, then noted the servant was awake. Hawke smiled and sat on the edge of her bed, patting Tara’s hip through her thin blanket.
“I wasn’t too rough, was I?” she asked gently. Tara’s smile was wide. She shook her head.
“No…just right….”
Hawke had definitely had a lot of pent-up frustration, about what she didn’t say, but she had been as slow as she could. Tara had only known one other besides the Champion, and she had been much too tight. After coaxing wetness with her fingertips, Hawke worked herself in slowly, mouth on Tara’s small breasts. The size comparison to Merrill in her mind urged her on to thrust Tara up against the wall, hips flexing in an urgent rhythm.

 

It had been a good night and after, Tara had eagerly shared her bed, hugging Hawke from behind. Hawke only flinched once when her small hand descended on the raised scar across her belly through her undershirt.
“Don’t worry, sweet Tara. I’ll smooth over anything that may be churning with your lady,” Hawke gave a soft grin. She started to swipe an errant hand through her tousled hair.
“Thank you…”
Before the two could exchange any more words or dalliance, there was a flurried sound of activity outside in the servant’s quarters.

 

“What are you doing? Get out of there!”
“Guardsmen! City guardsmen!”
“Hey, we haven’t done a thing!”
Tara clutched the blankets to her breasts. “What….?”
Hawke took up a stance by her door. “I’ll take care of it,” she vowed.
The door was shoved open and Tara squealed. Hawke stood in front of the bed and the next figure that pushed in behind the city guardsmen made her ease up. For a moment.

 

“Aveline! What’s the meaning of this? Who are you looking for?”
“You.” Aveline was never one for subtlety. She gestured to the Champion. “You’re coming with me, Hawke. Best not to make a scene about it.”
Three guardsmen piled in and took up residence beside a tense Hawke. She grimaced. “Have I done something wrong? I don’t remember breaking any laws, nor would I.”
“Let’s just go. It’s about time you settled your affairs,” Aveline said. The group force-walked Hawke out of the servant’s quarters. The last look Hawke shot over her shoulder caught sight of a teary-eyed Tara, blankets clutched around her thin naked body, waving sadly from her bedroom door. Hawke gave a wave back and was ducked back through the kitchens and to the front of the estate.

 

“What are you talking about?” Hawke asked her friend. Aveline didn’t seem her friend as she ordered the Champion’s armor brought out. Hawke barely had time to refasten the pieces, the guardsmen aiding her, when Aveline ordered a push out of the de Launcet estate, double-time.
“I received a visit from your old favorite pirate. Yes, I know Isabela is back,” Aveline retorted. Hawke began to visibly drag her feet and look for an escape.
“Hey, that’s none of your business,” Hawke snapped. The guardsmen beside her clasped her arms. “What the…!”
“They have my orders to deliver you and I gave my promise.”
There was times Hawke wished Aveline wasn’t so….just.

 

“Whoa, hey, since when do you…hey! Stop jerking! Aveline!” Hawke was getting downright pissed. When Aveline turned and shoved her bodily backward, Hawke went down, sputtering with rage. Aveline’s careful shove placed her head first into the de Launcet’s fountain. Hawke flailed, weighted down by her armor and two guardsmen had to fish her out. Hawke wheezed, spitting out water.
“What the HELL?!”
“You reek of girl, Hawke. And I doubt Isabela would want to smell THAT on you.”
“I’m not….hey… let go!” Hawke had five men on her arms forcing her down the streets, and she growled low in her throat. They may have been only doing their job, but they’d do well to mind who they were crossing.
“I’m tired of cleaning your mess, Hawke.” Aveline was saying as she forced the front door of the Hanged Man open. A quick perilous look around the common room conveyed Merrill wasn’t there. Good.

 

“Handle it,” were Aveline’s last words as a door to a back room was flung open. It could be rented for the odd business transaction, and was across the hall from Varric’s permanent suite. Hawke bypassed all that as she was forced into a chair at the round table, boots stumbling at the shove. She hissed and flung a glare to the Captain and her guardsmen who were dispersing the room, shutting the door behind them.
A small inhale of breath made Hawke dart her eyes across the table. She blinked and blinked again, not trusting herself. She had to be dreaming. Isabela was before her, looking as radiant and beautiful as ever. If she were truly there and not a figment of Hawke’s dreams; she looked well. What’s more, she looked healthy. Her dark eyes were bright and a hesitant welcome smile was on her lips. Hawke’s eyes darted up and down the body she had seen so often and remembered in dreams. From what she could see, Isabela was ever the same; if anything, her breasts looked a little fuller but maybe that was just an old inner want.

 

Hawke made her brows pull over her eyes in anger as she shifted back in her chair, sopping wet bangs falling into her eyes. Her clothes squished with each movement and Isabela’s eyes widened, noticing her wet state.
“Hawke….”
Just her name on the pirate’s lips and already Hawke was reeling. Damn her! She didn’t get to go and then come back when Hawke was certain she’d never see her again!
“So. Back for the rat-flavored whiskey?”
Isabela frowned sadly. “I…”

 

“I hear it’s the favorite drink of pirate whores.” Hawke lounged insolently in her chair, legs spread and eyes hooded. The distance in her eyes and the jab of her words made Isabela flinch noticeably. She swallowed.
“I….I deserve that. I didn’t know a good thing when I had it.”
Hawke blinked. And blinked again. “You disappeared. I didn’t even know if you were alive. If I knew you were, and taking every alpha’s cock along the coast, I wouldn’t have worried!”
So, Hawke had worried for her. Isabela knew she had loved her dearly, but held her at arm’s length, more for her own pride and ego. Isabela had let Hawke know from their first joining that she wouldn’t be tied down. Hawke had done everything to let her feel as free as she needed to be.

 

And all that time, she had probably worried she would leave her. Until she did. Isabela blamed herself, for the heaviness of her heart, for the sad anger in Hawke’s snapping green eyes.
“I…I’m sorry…..”
“Why ARE you back?” Hawke lifted an empty tankard on the table and tipped it upside down. “Aveline wanted to bring me here and there’s no fucking ale?”
Falcon and Lark’s bright smiles filled Isabela’s mind’s eye and her heart softened as she thought of them. She longed so much to tell her. ‘That you’re a sire. That we have two boys that remind me of Bethany’s features. That they try to be strong like you are…..’
Cowardice choked Isabela’s words, as much as her pride had in the past. “I……I’ve had time to think. And I missed you. I thought about you all the time…”

 

Sincerity pooled in Isabela’s eyes. She was never this patient, this content to be railed at by someone. She saw plain as day the hurt on her ex-lover’s face. Hawke had once cared for her a great deal. She couldn’t have turned all that off in three years, could she? Suddenly, as if a cloud moved from the sun, Isabela saw Hawke. Really saw her. Her hair was a bit longer and unkempt, sopping wet if anything from an impromptu dunk on the way over, and her armor was finer, although drenched as well. Her tunic and trousers were well embroidered, hinting at her rise in status, but the heavy scar across her nose was dark red. It didn’t mar her beauty, it merely made her stand out more. The thin lips beneath the scar pursed in exasperation, lips that Isabela had once kissed over and over again.

 

Her green eyes sparked with ire, pain and a weariness that confounded Isabela to her very soul. Hawke had once moved so fluidly, and aside from the scar on her face, she knew she now carried many more across her body that she couldn’t see. Her shuffling gait inside the room told her that. Again, Isabela cursed herself for leaving. For not staying and helping Hawke find her footing, and maybe a place at her side….
“So….you’ve had your fill of every alpha’s cock from here to Antiva?” The anger that laced Hawke’s words and the vulgarity of them made Isabela flinch. Hawke turned form her and called angrily for a serving girl to enter the back room and fetch her ale, her mug uplifted in ire. Isabela blinked. Her pups did that, raising their mugs for more milk when she fed them in public. Tears pricked the pirate’s eyes. She had to be strong, she had to push ahead…..
“I….I was with others…yes….as you were.” There, a hint of the hurt Isabela had gotten hearing about Hawke’s sexual conquests was out. And not to hint at the hurt seeing Merrill kiss her ex-lover…..

 

Hawke glared at her. “You expected me to wait? I didn’t know if you were coming back.”
Isabela’s heart thudded hard. “Would you have waited?.....if I had left a note, and explained myself….”
Hawke’s scowl deepened. Isabela could barely remember how her smile would light up her face noticing her. “You left a clear enough message; you had every intention of leaving and you did. Leaving a note wouldn’t have mattered. What would it have said? ‘Gotta run, the wind’s high, maybe see you in a few years?’ I know nothing matters to you more than your own ego. Why should I have waited?”
The words thudded as harshly as physical blows. Isabela forced herself, made herself, reach for Hawke’s hands across the table. She squeezed her fingers, glad Hawke had forgotten her thick gloves. She could feel the warmth of her fingers and it gave her a moment of strength.

 

“I messed things up, Hawke, and I’m…. I’m sorry. I know you have no reason to believe me….but I am.” All the moisture fled Isabela’s throat as she watched the stunned disbelief mar Hawke’s scarred features. Hawke looked as shaken as she felt.
Hawke’s fingers shook, but she couldn’t bear to jerk her touch from Isabela. “I.. I never thought I’d hear you say that….” She shook her head. A sullen light was in her green eyes. “Or have you really stopped trying to ruin other people’s lives?”
The question was meant to hurt, and it did. Isabela’s fingers tightened over hers. “I know you shouldn’t believe me, and I’m sorry for the…extreme way to find you again. But I had to see you. Every lover I took since I left turned into you. Maker’s balls, I should have stayed….”

 

Hawke blinked, willing tears to keep from forming. “You should have. You didn’t even leave a note…” The agony within her at the mention of other lovers formed a hollow place inside Hawke’s chest that she thought she’d ignored long ago. “I worshipped you!....Loved you….”
The deep hurt on Hawke’s face made Isabela’s heart drop to her stomach. Loved? As in past tense? She kept her hands over Hawke’s, taking the small comfort that she wasn’t forcing her touch away.
“You don’t….have to forgive me. But maybe…you can look at me one day and not be hurt.” Isabela licked her dry lips. Think of the pups…not just for them, she wanted this for herself. She owed it to herself to try and she should have trusted Hawke long ago. Her heart aside, if Isabela had shown up, belly swollen with Hawke’s pups, she knew she wouldn’t have turned her away.
Hawke watched her warily. She gave her fingers a tug and Isabela reluctantly let her go. Hawke tugged at the sopping wet collar of her tunic, exposing a good amount of her pale throat and collar bone. “Maybe…one day.”

 

There was still an undercurrent of wariness and hurt, but this was what Isabela could hope for in this first meeting again. She gave a wide smile, hoping to alight Hawke’s old feelings. The Champion watched her warily. “Great. Maybe….maybe you’d want to catch breakfast with me tomorrow morning? I’ll be here at the Hanged Man. As always.”
Hawkes’ eyes softened. It was like three years had never passed. “I could…If the barkeep decides to make a good pork stew. If not, I’m staying at home.”
“I’ll look for you tomorrow.” Isabela wasn’t sure how Hawke had done it, letting her go to flit about her wily ways. Extending the same courtesy was an exercise in patience. But Hawke’s pups had given her patience. Breastfeeding and diapering two boys at once as they made life difficult certainly had been a challenge.
Hawke fanned herself with her open collar and Isabela froze. Imbedded in her throat was a mating bite mark, small and delicate from their dear elf friend, but still, all the more noticeable with Hawke’s tunic open.

 

“I don’t wake at dawn unless I have to,” Hawke was saying. Isabela tried to smile at her, but horrible images went with the mating mark. Hawke’s body she could easily see naked, but now Merrill was equally bare in her arms. Hawke was hoisting her in her arms, wrapping the elf’s legs round her waist. Both of them naked, both of them enjoying each other….
It wasn’t a secret Hawke had taken on other lovers. But having a face to go with the stories made Isabela want to be sick.
“Dawn, midday, I’ll be here. I’ll be waiting.” The furtive look Hawke gave her made Isabela’s heart thump.
“Then I need to get going. It’s been a long day already.” Weariness lined Hawke’s eyes and Isabela was sad to think she put the look there.
“Good day, Hawke?” Isabela asked. Hawke stood and bowed at the waist chivalrously.
“Good day, Isabela.” Her words were polite and her moves polished, but the clear bite on her throat made ire boil through Isabela’s blood.

 

She couldn’t be too late…she just couldn’t be! The sudden cowardice shamed Isabela that she couldn’t force herself to call her ex-lover back. And Hawke was sidling out the into the hallway, and exiting the back of the tavern.
Isabela found herself on her feet and before she could think, she was running after Hawke. The irony, if she dwelled on it, was horrendous. Down the hall, out the back door and in a back alley, the pirate stopped Hawke with a clasped hand on her shoulder. Whirling the Champion round, Hawke only had time to get one word out edgewise… before Isabela fisted her sleeves in her fists and kissed her.
It wasn’t a nice kiss. It was hungry, angry, and above all, aggressive. Despite all that, tasting Hawke’s lips after so many years…. It was so damn good. But Isabela’s hurt omega chi roiled about as she forcefully sampled Hawke’s lips, forcing her tongue into her mouth. Hawke gave a muffled yelp, but even as her lips moved, Isabela could barely register she was kissing her back. Anger forced Isabela’s hands to tear Hawke’s tunic open further, and off went the fastenings to her breastplate. With a clear goal in front of her, Isabela shoved a hand down between them, fumbling, then tearing at the laces of Hawke’s trousers.

 

She was already shifted and hard, which should have eased Isabela’s mind. Her inner omega was not placated. She had to make her hers, had to have her…even if it was just her fingers.
Hawke roared in her mouth, but Isabela shoved her back against the brick wall of the building beside them. Her hand was busy in her trousers, pumping her shaft from base to tip in hard strokes. Warm fluid leaked from the tip of her cock and Isabela’s heart pounded harder as she worked her. Hawke’s eyes flared, but Isabela kept her lips on hers. When they broke apart, Hawke made to yell something, and she certainly DID look angry enough to, until Isabela’s mouth was above the small swell of her left breast. Isabela inhaled the alpha sweat and sweet smell that was distinctly Hawke.

 

And then she bit down deliberately. Hawke stiffened against the wall. Her hand was against Isabela’s waist, ready to shove, then she gripped down on her curvy hip instead as she struggled to hold onto herself. Spurts of warm come flooded Isabela’s fingers and encouraged, she kept her bite, and stroked the alpha to a shuddering finish. Hawke gasped, feeling like she was choking. She couldn’t help the mess as Isabela’s talented fingers drew what felt like a gushing flood in her pants. Her trousers formed a distinctive stain across the lap and Hawke leaned back against the wall, her knees shaking and barely able to stay upright.
Isabela took her mouth from Hawke’s breast. Her hazy eyes made out the shape of her mating bite. It looked nice over the curve of the Champion’s breast, and was rather close to her heart. Despite herself, Isabela silently told Merrill off about how to place a mating mark. Hawke staggered a step away, brushing at the stains across her trousers, re-lacing, and wincing as her sensitive cock was tightly encased in fabric.

 

Isabela took a step closer. “I don’t….know what came over me…”
Hawke scowled, trying to reign her panting in. “Obviously I did…… you never could control yourself!”
Isabela had the grace to blush. She inhaled Hawke’s scent on her fingers, and resisted the urge to outright lick the Champion’s seed from her finger tips.
Hawke’s pale face erupted into a tomato red. She took a few steps aside, trying to make herself more presentable. She turned to go but Isabela’s voice called out shakily.
“W-wait! Will you still meet me tomorrow?”

 

Hawke turned, shooting a strange look over her shoulder. For once, she didn’t look angry. Confused and conflicted maybe, but not angry. Secretly, Hawke couldn’t remember nutting so hard. Maybe not since being inside Isabela years ago. Hawke kept going, but waved an idle hand over her shoulder.
“Tomorrow.”
In that simple word, there was so much promise. Isabela fairly stared at the Champion’s strong gait as she picked up her swagger and walked away. She found herself leaning against the brick wall, her own legs trembling. She tilted her head back and grinned, a dreamy smile stretching her lips.

 

“Yes!”

o * * * * * * *

 

Hawke didn’t think it prudent to show her face back at the de Launcet household. She did send a runner with a message to deliver her sword back to her estate. That was one thing she certainly did not leave with during her forceful exodus that morning. After gratefully taking her longsword back from the staggering boy holding it out to her, Hawke paid the lad and made her way upstairs, settling her weapon by her wide bed out of habit. She shed her dressing robe and made her way to the bath.
Bodahn was working oil into her damp pieces of armor to keep rust from setting in. Orana was hanging her clothes up to dry. Weapon secured, Hawke settled on getting her body and mind to relax. One could be easily swayed than the other could. Hawke eased into the large metal tub, sighing at the warmth of the water.

 

 

Her fingers skimmed the raised bite mark on her throat, then the deeper, fresher bite around the curve of her left breast. Two! She had two mating marks! She had to make a decision about this. Both women had made their intentions for her clear. Hawke’s heart churned happily, then in turmoil as she went over what to do. Regrettably, thoughts of sweet Merrill went to the back burner as her recent encounter with the fiery pirate that morning captured her mind.
It was just her hand, just her fingers, but she had come wonderfully hard clutched and squeezed in Isabela’s grip. Hawke sighed as she shifted, her cock stranding half at attention in the warm water. Just the very thought of being with Isabela again, and the grip of her clever fingers, had her riled up. What to do? Well, rest. She had to get herself under control when she went to see the pirate queen for breakfast….

 

Hawke was feeling hungry enough to just jump Isabela for breakfast instead of sampling the Hanged Man’s stew. She had to get herself in better control for the next day, or she wasn’t certain just what would happen.

 

End for now

Chapter Text

Hawke strode to the door of the Hanged Man, trying not to feel like a fool. She’d gone home last night in a daze, sated and with another mating mark to bear; she hadn’t gotten very much rest. She was here to meet Isabela for breakfast, as somewhat promised, and in her hand was a bouquet of flowers from the morning market. She looked very much like a suitor courting and she had no idea where she stood with anyone. Isabela had made her intentions clear, but she NEVER made her intentions clear. Not for anyone.
What made now so different? Strange hope warred in Hawke’s chest. The feeble hope before the Qunari warred on Kirkwall that Isabela may one day relent to a relationship, a defined one, if she let her do as she pleased. Patrons of the Hanged Man called out greetings as she strode through the common room. She made her way through and climbed the back stairs to the rooms above. She paused, adjusting her tunic, then knocked. Isabela opened after a few seconds. Was she waiting for her? It gave Hawke’s heart a jolt.

 

Their eyes locked and three years passed in a rush. Hawke couldn’t forget the hurt she’d endured, but the old electricity as they met eyes startled her. Isabela was as lost for the moment. There was Hawke’s old unabashed smile seeing her. And in her hand was a bouquet. Her heart thudded. Anyone else, she would have laughed at the gesture. And she didn’t like flowers. Why accept something that was going to die in a few days anyway? But knowing Hawke had felt sappy enough to collect or buy them for her….it made her strangely happy.
“Hi.” Isabela chucked Hawke’s chin, getting her attention. “Are those for me?”
“Oh! Yes….” Hawke thrust the flowers in front of her, blushing. “If you want them…”

 

“They look good. Thanks,” Isabela murmured. In trying so hard not to mess things up, she had to pull back her teasing. But seeing the pleased smile on Hawke’s face made her heart thump. Hawke waited, boot tapping, as Isabela made the barkeep get her a tall glass to put the flowers in. She set the glass in her room and then went downstairs with Hawke.
“Morning stew?” The barkeep asked. The hung-over patrons from the night before loitered around the bar, heads down and sleeping. Isabela ordered two bowls and they were delivered with crusty rinds of day old bread.
The stew wasn’t half bad, but Hawke had little appetite for it. Varric sidled out of his suite, yawning, and waved a salute toward the pair. Isabela found herself smiling. It was thanks to Varric that the word had gotten out to Hawke in the first place.
“So…. did you sleep okay?” Hawke asked. Isabela nodded, blushing to herself.

 

“I did…. how about you?” She could have kicked herself as a thoughtful blush darted across Hawke’s features. Her mating mark had to be first and foremost on Hawke’s mind now. Isabela had surprised even herself with it.
“…Alright, I guess. Hey, potato. Usually this stew is lacking,” Hawke mumbled. Isabela giggled. She dipped her hard crust into the stew to soften it up and nibbled thoughtfully.
Hard starts at conversation were halted when an older woman pushed in and gasped at the sight of them. “You’re her, aren’t you? The Champion. Please, I need your help. My husband just died, and his will and papers were abducted by his old business partner. I’ll pay for you to retrieve them!” The woman begged.
Hawke raised a hand to still her fussing. “I’ll help you, madam. Where is your late husband’s business partner known to hang about?”

 

After obtaining a few ideas of where to find him, Hawke finished up and cleared her throat. Isabela was watching her quietly, an odd mix. “Did you want to help me…?”
Isabela finished her stew and pushed her chair back. “Sure. It’ll be like old times.”
She made her tone light, but Isabela was quick to note the tender smile that darted across Hawke’s lips at that. Hawke paid for the bowls of stew and the two shouldered their blades and made their way to the streets of Lowtown.
The lesser market was thronged with people, honest merchants trying to make coin, and whores plying their trade near alleyways. Isabela sauntered beside Hawke and the familiarity of it was oddly frightening. She swallowed and set into the ease of their once comradeship.

 

“Looks like we’ll be heading to an office in Lowtown business,” Hawke said. “Let’s bust some heads and see where this lout is hiding.”
“Bust some heads. I like it; let’s do it,” Isabela said. Her step was confidant beside the Champion’s.

 

• * * * * *

 

Heads were busted, and Hawke gained another piece of information. The late husband’s business partner had frittered away the rest of the joined business funds, but his precious person hadn’t been in the office. They checked out the docks, and a rather seedy pub that made The Hanged Man look like high society. A back room of said pub held the business partner and four hired thugs.
The scrape of metal against leather as Hawke unsheathed her sword filled Isabela with longing anticipation. Her daggers were unsheathed, and she flipped the blades in her hands.
“It’s going to be like that? You’re going to regret it,” Isabela taunted. Hawke raised her blade, standing half in front of Isabela. The pirate was oddly touched. Just like old times.
“Hand over the lady’s chest or you’ll be brought to justice,” Hawke demanded. The business partner pointed a shaky finger.

 

“Y-you have no right! Stop her!” he screeched. Hawke moved as fluidly as water, sword rising and falling. Isabela was able to stick a blade into one of the men before the Champion could take everyone out with two swings. Only the business partner was left, and he fell to his knees, pleading for his life.
Hawke had him arrested though, and took up the small chest he was guarding. “The lady will want this. Great job, Isabela.”
“You’re not so bad yourself. So strong and fast,” Isabela teased. “I could watch you for hours.”
The striking blush reddening Hawke’s pale features told her it was just the right amount of truth and teasing. Hawke coughed.
“Come on. Let’s deliver the goods to the lady. If we leave her at the Hanged Man all day, Varric will tell her the same story five times by now.”
“His stories are good even five times in,” Isabela protested good-naturedly. The two pushed through the rough and tumble pub patrons to the door.

 

“Hey, watch it!” someone barked beside them. Two men were circling each other, exchanging the odd punch that missed due to their inebriation. Isabela elbowed one of them as they passed to force him back. He snarled and unsheathed a dagger, swinging it at her. Pure adrenaline made all the noise stand still as Isabela whirled to face him. She was barely able to unsheathe, deflecting the dagger with her own. She parried a few times, grunting.
A blur flashed beside her and Hawke was on top of the man, sword held at his throat. He wheezed an apology and dropped the dagger to the floor. Hawke shook him for good measure and stood up. She re-sheathed her blade and her wild eyes told a different story as they roamed all over Isabela’s body, checking for injuries. Her gloved hand settled on Isabela’s arm, leading her to the door and outside. In the alleyway, Hawke turned her in her hands, looking for cuts.

 

“Are you okay?! Did he hurt you?!” she demanded. Isabela shook, but only from the intensity of Hawke’s concern. It was evident she did care. Her heart gladdened. She couldn’t help melting against Hawke’s side as her arm encircled her waist.
“I’m okay! You got him before he could get me,” she insisted. Hawke touched her shoulder, then noticed their close proximity. They were close enough to kiss and the realization slammed across Hawke’s features. She took a step back, adjusting her armor.
“My apologies,” she stammered. Isabela watched her with half-hooded eyes.
“Oh, don’t be,” she murmured. Hawke fairly stared at her. Isabela cleared her throat.
“Let’s get the chest back to its rightful owner.”

 

The chest had been dropped in Hawke’s haste to check on Isabela’s well-being, and luckily no one had tampered with it. Back at the Hanged Man, the woman glowed over it, and asked for someone to bust the lock open. Hawke unsheathed her blade and smacked the butt of her sword against the iron lock. It fell apart and the woman reached in, taking out a sheath of papers rolled up and tied with a ribbon.
“My husband’s will! Thank you so much, Champion. Wait, there is something I can give you…” the woman’s eyes crinkled as she found what she was looking for at the bottom. “These belonged to my great aunt. Take it with my thanks.”
Extended in her cupped hands were a small fortune in priceless jewels. Hawke smiled and graciously accepted.
“I am truly flattered, madam. May the Maker watch over you and your family.”

 

Isabela smiled to herself as the woman gushed over her again, grateful. Hawke did make a wonderful Champion of the people. Everyone liked her it seemed.
When the woman left, Varric in tow to finish up a story, Hawke raised a bemused eyebrow to her companion. “You did help and almost took a blade for me. Here….”
Isabela was surprised all the jewels were pushed into her hand. Hawke’s gloved hands folded both of hers around the precious gems, gently keeping her hands together. “Hawke, this is too much!”
“Keep it. You do look good in turquoise gems,” Hawke shrugged, but a familiar gleam was in her eye. Isabela was glad to see it.
“I…thank you…” For once, Isabela was at a loss for words. Hawke gave her a slow smile and winked. Isabela was shocked to feel a blush climb up her neck and across her face. “It’s really too much….”

 

“You always seem to help me in these outings. It’s never too much,” Hawke insisted. The old feelings for the pirate queen stirred in her breast. It felt entirely too good and only the odd thought about Merrill dampened her mood. Hawke sighed as Isabela grinned at her.
“Do you want to have dinner with me here?” Isabela asked. Hawke nodded.
“Too early for dinner. So, I guess we’ll have to fill the time.”

 

Isabela beamed happily.

 * * * * *

 

Merrill wandered the edge of the Alienage. She was so down today, she could barely comprehend if anyone was in her way when she ventured outside her door. The large tree in the area courtyard loomed high overhead. The city had kept the large tree for the elves as they wanted it, and many had painted the base with loops and swirls.
Merrill walked round it, ignoring the calls of a few of her neighbors. She unlocked her hut door and walked in. She often forgot to lock it but really that was more out of habit. The Dalish weren’t used to being indoors and Hawke had always reminded her to lock up. Hawke…

 

Merrill walked around her home, barely dodging the table and chairs as she did. There, Hawke liked that chair. And there, she could still see Hawke sleeping in her scratchy sheets, impressive body barely covered and waiting for her touch. It was just a fling, right? And Merrill had waited, and waited. It had been quite recently since Isabela had come to talk to her about her Champion.
Merrill had offered to let Isabela speak her piece and have a chance. Well, maybe this silence was Hawke’s answer. She had chosen Isabela over her. Right? Then why didn’t she say so? Hawke wouldn’t just leave her guessing and waiting and hurting like this.

 

Well, it was just a few days more to wait. She had to be patient. Merrill paced and stopped in front of the tall broken mirror near her bed frame. The Dalish artifact stood mocking her almost with its imperfections and jagged pieces missing. Merrill had tried to help restore its magical properties, but it was slow going and Hawke had definitely taken up a lot of her time.

 

Well, now she had time. Merrill sighed as she picked up a cloth and polished a corner area diligently.

 

* * * * *

 

Hawke leaned back in her seat, thighs spread as Isabela ordered them another round of whiskey. They had been drinking all evening, first with dinner, and at the pirate’s invitation. Hawke wasn’t needed at the guardsmen barracks, and she didn’t feel like going home to an empty house. So, she had gladly accepted.
A quick glance round the common room told her Merrill hadn’t come. The other patrons were boisterous, talking and singing as they sang and ate. Varric was regaling three human women with a witty tale, spreading his gloved hands for emphasis. All seemed well. Merrill…..A twinge of guilt flared in Hawke’s heart. She would have to do something…decide or….
Isabela laughed beside her, and Hawke’s attention was drawn to her. Just as before, not just her beauty, but her laughing curses and sly winks drew her eye. And her heart felt warmed by the attention the pirate had just for her.

 

“What was it about me that had you hang around?” Hawke asked as she sipped her fifth whiskey. Isabela laughed, touching her wrist. Hawke’s skin burned.
“Can I be honest? Those gorgeous green eyes and serious face. Then you turned around and I thought you had a great ass,” Isabela grinned. Hawke’s grin spread also, rather lop-sided as she battled a buzz.
“You’re just saying that,” she said. Her heart thudded as Isabela leaned close. A good look down her plunging neckline was there for the taking so Hawke got a good long look. Her clit throbbed, aching to shift. But now wasn’t the time.
“It’s true!” Isabela insisted. She arched her shoulders and poised herself. “What about me?”

 

“Your beauty. You were so tough and just so damned beautiful. Then you greeted me after you took on those three thugs yourself. I didn’t even have to jump in and you still wanted to talk,” Hawke remembered. Bethany had been at her side then…. The very thought made her sad. Hawke took another sip. She stared into her glass, eyes sad. “I missed that about you. Your wit and you were always there. Then you weren’t… I looked for you every time I had to pass the city docks.”
Isabela’s heart thudded. She couldn’t help it. She set her hand over Hawke’s and squeezed. “I’m here now. I…I didn’t know you looked for me.”
The forlorn look Hawke gave her slayed Isabela’s heart. She held onto her hand, lending her feelings silently. Finally, Hawke squeezed her hand back.

 

“I…I have something to confess. Well, I told you when I apologized…. Yes, I did sleep with other alphas after I left. They all turned into you.” Isabela’s face glowed in a blush. Hawke looked oddly touched, then preened.
“Flatterer,” she said. Isabela gave her old sultry wink.
“I try.”
“Okay, on three, sip,” Hawke suggested. Isabela called a few more drinking games and the two were fairly reeling as the night wound down. Varric walked past their corner table, shaking his head and laughing at the pair.
“You’ll need to stay the night, Hawke!” he called.
Hawke grinned drunkenly. “Not in your room! Bianca will have a fit!”
Varric nodded seriously. “Aye, that she will…” he gestured to Isabela.

 

The pirate coughed. Thanks for the subtlety, Varric. “You should stay with me. Bed’s big enough.”
By the slow grin on Hawke’s face, Isabela knew she was remembering other times in that bed. The Champion stood and shook out a few gold coins from her coin pouch. Isabela tossed a handful of silvers to help with the bill.
“Well, come on. Got to keep you safe,” Hawke insisted. Despite her buzz, Isabela was touched. They staggered up the stairs, holding onto each other. Hawke leaned against Isabela’s shoulder as she fiddled with the room key. They filed in and Hawke giggled as she fell onto the floor. Isabela slammed the door and settled onto the rug. Hawke was trying to kick her boots off, giggling. Isabela tried to help, tugging at her breastplate and armor pieces.

 

Hawke blinked, scrubbing her hand across her face. Isabela blushed as Hawke’s fingers groped along her tunic, tugging one side of it over her shoulder.
“Come on….bed…..” Isabela urged. Sex was not on her mind. When Hawke was spread out on her back, breathing evenly and near sleep, her heart surged. Isabela tugged the covers over them and curled up close to the Champion’s shoulder. Basking in Hawke’s warmth, she finally slid to sleep following her to rest.

 

o * * * * * *

 

The following morning, Isabela woke evenly. Whiskey WAS her drink of choice, after all. Hawke was still snoring so after using the chamber pot, Isabela sat on the edge of the bed, taking off her bandana to comb her hair. She watched the Champion’s face as she slept, breathing deeply as she was off in dreamland. Isabela wondered what she dreamed about. It was too much to hope it was her.
Hawke stirred, and her eyes opened, gazing up at Isabela with a dreamy gaze. “Bela?” she said. Isabela’s heart thudded. She set her comb down and leaned down to Hawke.
“I’m here,” she said. Hawke grimaced, scrubbing at her mouth with one wrist.

 

“Too much whiskey,” she said. The pirate queen grinned.
“You know me; I could drink it all night.”
“You can,” Hawke agreed. She sat up and scrubbed a hand through her tousled hair. Her tunic pulled up along her pale thighs and Isabela eyed her bare flesh. “Let’s get to breakfast.”

 

“Sounds good!” Isabela said. They finished dressing and headed for the common room.

 

End for now

Chapter Text

“Boys…. come on….get back in the tub!” Zevran snapped. It came out more pleading as two naked dark-skinned boys ran across his chambers, spattering water all over the rug. Zevran sighed, running a hand through his bangs. He jogged after the boys. Just as he reached them, the twins veered off in opposite directions. On purpose, it seemed. Zevran turned and snapped up Lark, then rounded to chase after Falcon.
Lark wriggled his legs trying to upset the elf, but Zevran was used to their little kid “sparring.” He caught up with Falcon and bodily carried both, one under each arm, like a sack of potatoes.
“Noooo, Uncle Zevran! Dun wanna bath!” Falcon yelled. Zenran deposited both in the tub, water sloshing over the side.

 

“Sit down, boys, you gotta have a bath.” Zevran tried for a stern look but it only went so far. With their mother gone, the twins thought they could do as they pleased. Only invoking Isabela’s name would get them to behave and only for so long. When their mother failed to materialize, they continued to exploit the prostitutes and brothel servants. “I’ll tell your mama what you’ve been up to while she’s been gone.”
Lark pouted as Zevran poured a pitcher of warm water over his head and worked shampoo into his dark hair. “Mama’s not here,” he pointed out.
Zevran ran his fingers through the pup’s fine dark hair, and rinsed him off. “No, but she will be. As soon as she’s done, she’ll come back for you both. So, you better behave!”
Falcon crossed his thin arms across his chest. He sputtered as it was his turn to be shampooed. “You won’t tell, Uncle Zevran.”

 

Zevran scowled. “Try me, Fal.” He tickled the thin boy to make his pout disappear though. The twins let the elf soap up their bodies and finally they were rinsing off. “Okay, time to dry off. Come on out.”
That took a lot more sloshing than was needed and Zevran had to practically wrestle both into their nightgowns but at last they were done with grooming for the night. The elf felt too harried for a make-shift babysitter. It was no wonder his pirate friend didn’t want to have pups and put it off ‘til she’d met the dashing Hawke of Kirkwall. But as the twin boys nestled under the blankets of his huge bed, green eyes shining as they waited for a bedtime story, Zevran had to admit they were just too damned cute.

 

Zevran had received a letter from Isabela, and while it said she had met up with Hawke again, there wasn’t much else to go on. Only one line about Castillon, but he knew Isabela wouldn’t be lax about her old adversary. Secretly, he wished her well with the Champion. Isabela may have said love wasn’t for her, but it was clear as day she’d fallen for Hawke. He hoped she won the Champion back over, and that said Champion would be receptive to having two children she didn’t know about. Better Hawke than him.
“Tell us the one about the raiders you fought with Mama!” Lark crowed. Falcon wriggled in the blankets, demanding a story about one of the rogues he and their mother had fought long ago. Zevran sat beside them on the mattress and began.

 

“Well, it was a rainy night, boys. This lout had cheated your mama out of forty pieces of gold and she wasn’t gonna let that stand. So, she asked for my help and out into the storm we went….”

 

* * * * *

 

Isabela saw Hawke every day. While she was content to sleep in her old room above the Hanged Man, she was mindful Castillon would know of her old haunts. Hawke’s presence throughout each day and some during the night, were a welcome boon.
As their company was spent together, the entirety of Kirkwall population took to spreading gossip mixed with the odd sprinkle of truth. Isabela was back, THE Isabela of Hawke’s heart. While it was no secret the Champion had defeated the Arishok for the pirate’s sake, everyone assumed correctly it was for love. Hawke ignored that part of the rumors, but she couldn’t say she was upset to be near Isabela again. They made a good team, and her quick wit always got Hawke laughing or blushing. Her twin daggers flashed as quickly as her blade in combat.

 

And in quieter moments, Hawke’s eyes couldn’t stop roaming over the pirate queen’s body. She was still as voluptuous as ever, even if her fuller breasts gave her pause. They looked good though and Hawke drooled in her head over the view. Such as now. While they hadn’t slept together yet, Isabela was back to her teasing tricks. She hadn’t outright felt between Hawke’s legs for evidence of her flirtation, but she did like to press those breasts against Hawke’s arm or chest just because she could.
It was like old days, only now Isabela said she wasn’t going anywhere. It was a refreshing new start. As they strolled through Hightown market looking for odds and ends or anything fascinating, Hawke offered her arm like a proper noble should. Isabela tucked her hand in Hawke’s elbow, and she found herself leaning close.
Isabela did notice that several men and women seemed to be following them. This hadn’t been the case at first, but as she spent more time with Hawke, she noticed it more and more. It seemed every other omega and beta in the market square was watching them.

 

Hawke pressed the fist of her free hand to her brow, grimacing. “I, uhm….this doesn’t happen when I go out often.”
Isabela gave a wry smirk. “It’s okay, Hawke, really. As long as they’re not filling your bedchamber.”
“No…” Hawke was glad to be truthful of the matter. She wanted to invite Isabela back to her manor and bed, but didn’t feel like voicing it in a gaggle of spurned omega and betas was the way to do it. She grandly led Isabela through the throng of people and Isabela’s heart thudded. Hawke did know how to extend grand gestures.

 

Hawke began to relax as Isabela let her arm go to look over a merchant’s stall. He thrust a few pieces of gold jewelry into her hands to try on, smelling a sale with the Champion in the pirate’s tow. One of the omega woman that Hawke unfortunately recognized as a romp that lasted a few hours, sidled up to her. Hawke blushed and her spine stiffened.
“Hawke. Champion, where have you BEEN? I missed you,” the woman flirted. Hawke sweat-dropped and tried to back off.
“I’ve been busy.” Hawke tried to ease out of the uncomfortable situation, but the woman didn’t seem to care she was within five feet of Isabela. With the pirate’s back turned, she must have thought the situation a clean one.
“Oh no no no, you don’t get off that easy! Or maybe you do…” the woman licked her lips. Hawke backed up, hip slamming into another merchant’s display table. A squawk of protest sounded in her peripheral. Just when Hawke thought she was going to have to get physical, Isabela dropped the jewelry, and she was on the woman. She twisted the omega’s arm behind her back, delighting in the cry of pain.

 

“Hey!”
Isabela tutted her with a click of the tongue. She forced the woman’s arm up higher along her back. Her free hand jabbed a dagger into the girl’s back, eliciting a shriek.
“Now now, didn’t anyone teach you not to touch what isn’t yours?” she growled. A hard light was in the pirate’s eyes and despite her witty line, she looked positively enraged. Hawke stared at her. She couldn’t help being surprised. Isabela could always handle herself, but to see evidence of any jealousy concerning her past dalliances was something else entirely. Hawke’s heart thudded faster when she dwelled on that. Isabela was jealous. And she wanted her all to herself. It was all over her face. Her heart ached.
“I was just…!”
Isabela pressed her dagger in harder. “You were just poking where you’re not wanted. Hands off the Champion. She’s not on the market any longer.”

 

Isabela looked up, expecting a witty line from Hawke. She was fairly staring at her in a new way. She blushed, gave the girl a hard shake, and pushed her on her way. The girl stumbled and tripped as she ran away. Somehow, Isabela knew the word would get around.
“Not unless you want to stay on the market for the little omegas…?” Isabela raised an eyebrow. She felt flushed from her flare of unexpected jealousy. Hawke took her hand and kissed the back of it gallantly.
“No. I don’t.” The pain of the past three years was playing with Hawke’s emotions. It was new to see Isabela jealous over her
and fighting for her sole affection. While she wanted to feel flattered, she couldn’t help feeling hurt all over again. She took Isabela’s arm again. “Come on…I could use a drink.”

 

“Me too,” Isabela said. She was surprised the Champion steered her to the noble houses of Kirkwall, and to the Hawke estate. She would have been fine at the Hanged Man, but clearly, Hawke wanted to be alone with her. Her heart thudded hard even as her stomach fell to her shoes. The front door of the estate was opened for them and Hawke gestured her in.

 

o * * * *

 

Bodahn took Hawke’s cloak; he tried to take Isabela’s daggers, but she waved the dwarf footman off. “They stay with me.”

 

“Of course, miss. Orana can serve you in the dining hall, Serah Hawke.” Bodahn was all smiles as he helped Hawke off with her breastplate and gauntlets. He took Hawke’s cloak to hang up. Hawke gestured to the narrow but tall dining hall. She sat at the head, and Isabela took the chair to her right. Orana came bearing a tray with two glasses and a bottle. Hawke took the bottle, read the wine label, and offered it back to the maid.
“Please, can you get us whiskey instead? Thank you, Orana,” Hawke said smoothly. The maid smiled and dashed off to obey. Isabela leaned back, watching the hooded eyes of her companion. Obviously, she was making strides to get her something she’d prefer to drink instead of the household wine. When the whiskey came, Hawke poured for both of them.
Isabela sipped quickly, content with her drink of choice. She finished too quickly, and Hawke poured her another glass. This time, Isabela tried to drink slower. Hawke watched her with silent eyes and it was starting to get very uncomfortable.

 

“Please, ask me what’s on your mind. I promise to answer,” Isabela said finally. Hawke sighed. She leaned back in her chair.
“I wonder if you’d tell the truth,” she murmured. Isabela frowned sadly to her, but bowed her head.
“Of course…. you deserve that from me,” she insisted. Hawke blinked tired eyes to her.
“Why come back? Why? What do you want from me?” she asked. Hawke nursed her whiskey sullenly. Her tired eyes blinked at the pirate over the rim of her glass. Isabela met her gaze and held it. The moments ticked by, too long, too silent. Isabela knew Hawke wouldn’t say a word until something was had from her. If she wanted reassurance, Isabela would give all of it that she could, never mind this was a new position for her.

 

Hawke’s eyes widened slightly when Isabela pushed Hawke’s chair back from the table. She knelt before her, plucking her glass and setting it away on the table. She clasped Hawke’s hands in hers, naked emotion in her eyes. Hawke blinked, wary once more. She had been hurt too badly and was shielding herself from further irritation. Isabela’s heart bled. Her son’s faces flashed in her mind, sliding beside the pale features of the alpha she loved best.
“You. I want you. Just you,” Isabela said. Her words were truthful, but she wondered if Hawke wanted to hear it. All the years of hurt were in her angry green eyes again. Her lip quivered. Just as Isabela was beginning to think it was a mistake and was wondering if she should leave, Hawke’s eyes softened. Just ever so slightly.
Isabela’s fingers gripped Hawke’s tightly. She had to chance it. Even if she got dumped on her face, she had to keep trying… She leaned up on her knees, reaching to frame Hawke’s face with her hands. Hawke stared at her in surprise, but she didn’t move when the pirate knelt up to press her lips to hers.

 

The kiss was very sweet and short, and tears spilled down Isabela’s cheeks when she felt Hawke kiss her back. Her fingers dug into the fabric of her tunic as she clutched her shoulders.
“Please…” Isabela whispered against Hawke’s lips when she parted from her. But Hawke only tugged on her elbows, urging Isabela to fall into her lap. There was nothing overtly sexual about the position, Hawke just wanted her close and Isabela happily twined her arms round her neck. Their kisses were soft and sweet, slowly heating to shivering slow ones that left them trembling. Isabela blushed against Hawke’s throat as the Champion parted from her, eyes soft with something that made her heart jolt. More than desire, more than lust and sex, Isabela wanted all that Hawke could give her.

 

And she wasn’t running away. Their kisses went on and on. Orana and Bodahn walked in at one point to collect their dishes, and walked right back out noticing they were both still occupying the dining hall. Finally, Hawke stood, collecting Isabela into her arms. The pirate queen blushed as her feet left the ground. She wrapped her legs round Hawke’s waist as she lifted her up, both of their lips moving and unable to part as they moved through the first floor of the manor.
“We should…go upstairs… just to talk,” Hawke said. Isabela had the sudden thought they would get to more than talking. Sudden nervousness slammed through her. She was never one to shy from sex, but suddenly the idea of being physical with Hawke again was harrowing as well as exciting. Would Hawke still want her as badly? Would she be a disappointment? Isabela was certain her belly, while still flat, had abit more softness after the birth of her twins. Would Hawke still like her?

 

Hawke carried her effortlessly up the stairs and down the hall to the master’s bedchamber. Isabela giggled as Hawke backed her up against the door, reaching behind her for the doorknob. The pirate reached back, turned the knob and they stumbled inside. Hawke tried to keep her in her arms and upright, but the sudden lurch sent them both pitching onto the rug. Isabela giggled loudly. Hawke sprang up on her knees, and off her, searching for injury.
“I didn’t hurt you, did I?” she asked frantically. Isabela giggled. She sat up and Hawke huffed a sigh. She arched a boot back and kicked the bed room door shut.
“Well that wasn’t the tumble I had in mind, sweet thing,” Isabela teased. A blush darted across Hawke’s pale face. She cleared her throat.
Geez, that was lame,” she huffed. Isabela gave a wry grin to break the mood. Both rose to their feet, helping the other.

 

Hawke’s face held an expectant look as well as a question. Isabela leaned up to kiss her again and again. Her fingers wandered down to play with the clasps down the front of Hawke’s tunic, starting to unfasten them. As her fingers grazed inside, she stroked along the edges of her intended mate bite. Hawke stared at her, shuddering openly. Isabela watched her, a touch of awe in her gaze.
Hawke took her hands in hers, and kissed the backs of them. Serious stillness was in her gaze again. “Bela….I guess it’s redundant to ask if you want to stay.”
Isabela nodded, mouth dry. She swallowed hard as desire crept slowly into the Champion’s gaze. She looked away. There was still something off, something that had to be talked about. Isabela turned Hawke’s face to hers. She leaned on tiptoe to kiss along her proud jaw.
“If you have to tell me something, go ahead. You can tell me anything,” Isabela murmured. Hawke smiled wearily. She bent to press a sweet kiss to Isabela’s cheek.
“I haven’t….disrobed for anyone. Not fully. Always kept the tunic on. I didn’t want anyone else to see.”
“See what?” Isabela’s heart was pounding hard. Hawke frowned weakly. She gestured to her middle.

 

“The Arishok’s damage. You saw what he did to me. It’s bad. And all it did was remind me that you left, that…. “Hawke bit her lip, tears in her eyes. Isabela waited a few moments for the Champion to collect herself. She rubbed her back gently.
“That’s okay. If you don’t want to show me, you don’t have to.”
A hard light filled Hawke’s eyes and Isabela knew the stubborn jut of her jaw when she saw it. “I want to. I guess I have to.”
Before Isabela could protest, the Champion was opening her tunic, clasp by clasp. The fabric fell open to the waist, showing off the hard lines of her torso and musculature. Hawke’s impressive abdominal muscles weren’t a surprise to Isabela, but the jagged scars raised along them were. The Arishok’s blade had skewered Hawke clean through. The scars were red and raised from the surface of Hawke’s pale flesh. The full expanse of the marks reminded Isabela how large the Arishok’s blade was. She knew without looking that the scars went to her back; she had been run clean through, and raised off the ground on the end of his blade. Hawke’s kicking legs as she balanced on the cutting edge of pain and an opponent’s mercy made Isabela’s mind go just a touch mad to remember. Just looking at them made the pirate feel dizzy with guilt. She had caused this… she had almost lost Hawke, just look how bad it looked even three years later…. She could have lost her. Hearing Hawke scream had convinced Isabela in a stunned moment of panic that her guardsman had died on the Arishok’s blade…

 

Hawke’s pale fingers clutched the edges of her tunic open. Isabela still didn’t say anything, and her fingers trembled on the fabric of her shirt. She began to do up the tunic, but Isabela stopped her. Her dark hands covered Hawke’s pale ones, caressing. Tears were in Isabela’s eyes, despite herself. She ran her fingertips to the top of the Champion’s ribs, just south of her breast band. She gazed into Hawke’s eyes. “If you don’t like me touching here….tell me…” she whispered. Hawke nodded. She still looked like she wanted to flee. Her stomach went concave as Isabela gently ran her fingers down, along the abdominal muscle lines. Isabela winced as her finger tips touched the raised edge of one scar. She kept her touch light, ready to pull her hand back. Hawke stared at her; her abdominals tensed.
“See…still stunning,” Isabela tried to make her words light, but her emotions were a mess. Hawke gave a curt nod, mouth stretched to a thin line. When Isabela continued to cry silently, her broad shoulders slouched.

 

Isabela retracted her touch carefully, and was surprised when Hawke wrapped her arms around her waist, lifting her up close. Hawke kissed her, wanting to forget the pain her scars caused her. Sometimes she woke remembering the pain, remembering the sick bed. The changing of bandages, the sharp pain as Anders applied more herbs. And the absence of Isabela. Hawke kissed her desperately, longingly, keeping her close. Her hands twined through ebony locks as she clutched her pirate queen.
“Please…” Hawke whispered against her lips and she was startled to feel wetness against her cheeks. Opening her eyes, she was startled to see Isabela was still crying. “It…it doesn’t hurt much anymore. Oh, Bela, don’t cry…”
“I shouldn’t have left. I’m so sorry…” Isabela murmured. Hawke kissed the tears across her face tenderly. Her hands gripped the swell of Isabela’s rear, picking her back up. Isabela clung to her neck, legs around her waist. She shuddered against Hawke’s throat.

 

Isabela clinging to her made Hawke tumble with her across the wide bed. Isabela was smiling now and Hawke’s heart thudded hard. They kissed deeply, again and again. Hawke’s hands were everywhere, staring as more dark flesh was revealed to her intense gaze. Isabela teased her, urging her to unlace her corset. Isabela sat up and pulled her boots off, smiling when abit of Hawke’s old confidence resurged as her tunic was yanked open. Isabela surprised Hawke by chucking it over her head and off. She reclined on the mattress, naked except for her smallclothes.
“Well, that’s better,” Isabela teased. Her heart gave a lurch of joy as Hawke pressed on top of her, tumbling with her. Isabela laughed, kissing Hawke’s bare shoulder. “You’re still wearing too much, Champion. Off with it all.”
Hawke leaned up, her dark hair tousled. She gave a nervous grin. But her tunic was open, keeping her scars uncovered. She nodded. “Well, if you insist…”
Isabela caressed her warm side, on the opposite side of her scars. The Champion was so turned on, she felt like she was aflame. Isabela leaned up to kiss her.

 

“I do.” She raised an eyebrow. Hawke sat up on the edge of the bed, tugging her boots off. Off went her pants and she turned, clad only in her smallclothes and open tunic. Isabela had a feeling this was the last of Hawke’s apparent armor about her pain. She kissed the slope of her pale shoulder as she unwound her breast band. Isabela couldn’t help squeezing one small breast, thumbing a nipple as she went. Hawke growled and took her lips in a hard kiss. Isabela smiled in her head as she was pushed to her back. Hawke slowly shucked her tunic off. She looked somewhat put off about it still, but Isabela’s hands all over her back, fingers sliding over the shifting muscles, felt way too good to complain about. Her shift had swelled through the teasing and now pressed insistently against Isabela’s wet cave. Isabela flopped on her back, arms above her head, breasts heaving with arousal.
“All off…” she pleaded.

 

Hawke smiled above her. Their smallclothes were pulled off and tossed aside. As Hawke was leaning on top of her, wrapping her thighs around her waist, there was an intense question in the Champion’s eyes. Isabela was about to urge her to go ahead, already, when the words that fell out surprised her.
“Not leaving?”
Isabela blinked. Her hands wandered along Hawke’s shoulders and to her face, drawing her down.

 

“Not again.” She swore. Isabela was pleased to see a relaxed smile on the Champion’s lips. When she stretched inside, Isabela cried out with more than pleasure. She was where she needed to be.

 

o * * * * *

 

Hawke knew she must look a fool, but she couldn’t help it. They had slept on and off all night, trading kisses, embrace, and fluids, if she were going to be crass about it. Isabela had taken her again and again, and after being inside her once, Hawke had to keep reclaiming her. First it had been slow and sweet. After waking a few hours later, things grew more heated and Hawke was urged on to more athletic tumblings.
Now, Hawke gazed down at the sleeping pirate. Her bandana was off, and she had removed her earrings, but her gold choker remained in place. Hawke didn’t mind. It made her look barbaric wearing only that piece of jewelry in bed. Small kisses along Isabela’s sternum and breasts roused her. She groaned, thighs rolling open as she woke. Hawke leaned into her warm body and sucked a nipple into her mouth gently. Isabela groaned.

 

“You know how I like to wake,” she murmured. Her hand swiped affectionately through Hawke’s short hair. Hawke kissed around the curve of her breast to the other one. A small bite around the other nipple forced a gasp from the pirate queen. “You were so wonderful…”
“Enough with the compliments,” Hawke grinned up at her. “I missed you. You pushed me on, Bela.”
Isabela’s heart surged at the ‘missed you.’ She wrapped her arms and legs around the Champion, leaning up to kiss her. Their tongues stroked slowly.

 

“I suppose I should repay you…..” Isabela pushed up against Hawke’s collarbone, urging her to her back. A heated kiss and Isabela’s lips were moving down her torso. Hawke writhed, not minding when she moved along her stomach. Her shift was present and throbbing urgently up between her legs. No other woman had ever excited her this much, or made her feel safe. Well, except for…. Hawke focused on the now, so she wouldn’t feel guilty about Merrill. “Especially with so many paying you lip service, I better stake my claim…..”
“Believe me, I’m yours,” Hawke groaned. Her head fell back on her pillow. Isabela’s hot mouth wrapped around the head of her cock, suckling gently as her hand caressed her base firmly. “Bela!”
“Hmm hmm…” Isabela murmured around her. She lifted off, lapping at her slit with her clever tongue, forcing out small trails of precum. “No one else gets this…you better stick to your word, Hawke.”

 

Hawke gave a strangled gasp as Isabela moved her mouth over her head and went straight down, taking half her length in one fell swoop. Her abdominal muscles tensed. “No one….damn…Bela…. keep doing that…”
Isabela blushed, bobbing her head up and down, flicking her eyes up Hawke’s torso. Her Champion was on the edge, conflicted, trying not to fuck up into her throat, and failing as her hips gave small thrusts upward. She moved with it, forcing her Champion to spiral harder and harder out of control. Finally, a hard stream of come was her reward. Isabela brought her mouth up back to the head, swallowing down as her hand squeezed her base and up, milking her.
Hawke collapsed, muscles tensed as she panted for breath. Isabela wiped her mouth on a corner of the sheets and reached for a glass on the bedside table. “You always did taste strong,” Isabela teased. She took a swallow of whiskey.
Hawke’s cock bobbed, half erect and sticky, between her legs. Isabela’s inner walls gave a pulse of desire. Hawke’s fingers tangled through her hair in surprise as she bent down to carefully lick around the sensitive head.

 

“Ah! Bela, that’s enough,” Hawke pleaded. She was so sensitive the gentle licks almost hurt. Isabela gave her a final soft lap of the tongue and leaned up on the mattress to pillow her head on her shoulder.
“Never could resist when you’re just there for the taking,” she teased. A wide grin was on Hawke’s face. “Could I ask you something, Hawke?”
“Anything,” Hawke said. She kissed the pirate’s cheek. Isabela trailed a hand between Hawke’s breasts.
“Why so many lovers? I get you wanted to have a few playthings, and I’m not one to talk. It seemed there was a fleet watching us in market.” It wasn’t easy to admit she was jealous. She wanted Hawke, and all to herself from now on.
Hawke gave a sad frown to the canopy above them. “It wasn’t you. Well, I guess in a way it was. I was mad and upset and the Champion. I could have anyone if I chose to. So, I guess I was trying to fill the part you left empty. I was….lonely.”
The hurt in Hawke’s voice made Isabela’s heart lurch. She leaned up to kiss her urgently.

 

“Never again, sweet thing. You’ve got me,” she promised. Hawke’s smile returned. She kissed her back gently.
“Good. Because I’ll punish you if you decide to leave again.” The firm hand Hawke rubbed along her ass belied her words and pushed a teasing mood. Isabela arched against her and giggled.
There was a knock at the door and Bodahn pushed in, breakfast tray in his hands. “Good morning, Serah Hawke; there’s eggs, lots of bacon, fruit…” His eyes registered the guest in his mistress’s bed and his face erupted into a blush. “I, that is….I’m sorry!”
He set the tray down and rushed out of the room, covering his eyes. Hawke gave a lazy shrug and leaned up. She pulled the tray onto the bed, and poured coffee for herself. Isabela snagged the whiskey bottle from the nightstand for her morning drink.
“And here I’m already scandalizing the servants,” Isabela teased. Hawke kissed her shoulder, and spooned eggs and fruit for her.

 

“They’ll get used to it,” Hawke promised. They kissed softly and dug in.

 

 * * * * *

 

Merrill woke suddenly. She looked around her dark hut, legs tangled in her scratchy sheets.
There was a banging at her door and longing made Merrill fling her shift on and run for the door.
“Hawke?” she called, certain that’s who it was. Hawke had always been polite, knocking instead of forcing the door as her neighbors sometimes did. Merrill unlatched the door, see she DID remember to lock it sometimes, and flung it open, beaming with want. “I knew you’d…!”

 

But it wasn’t Hawke. It was one of the Alienage elves, asking for any meat or leftovers she could spare. At least this neighbor was polite and didn’t just take. Hawke called it stealing, but Merrill was only too glad to help everyone.
“Sorry, I don’t have much. But you’re welcome to it,” Merrill said. The thin woman smiled with thanks and left. Merrill remembered to shut the door. She wandered back to bed in a daze.

 

Hawke had loved her giving nature. It had been days. Would she ever come back? Even to tell her her decision? Tears filled the elf’s eyes. She fell into bed, clutching her spare pillow. She had sewn fabric from one of Hawke’s tunics to make an impromptu pillow case. She hugged it to her face and inhaled. Faintly, she could still smell Hawke’s alluring musk. It was a poor substitute for the real thing and Merrill hugged the pillow, crying.

 

• * * * * * *

“Did you have to bring her?” Aveline asked, cross. Isabela gave a wave to the captain, even as her other hand was busy playing with Hawke’s tunic. The Champion had a goofy grin on her face as her pirate teased her. Half the soldiers in the barracks were watching longingly.
“Course I did. Isabela wants to help, and I want her to.” Hawke’s words were convincing but as they walked off, the pirate’s hand went due south, caressing the bulge between her thighs. “Bela….”

 

“Dare I say I can help you with that,” Isabela teased lowly. Aveline sighed. She threw a stack of parchment off her desk.
“Go, get off, and hurry it up. If you can’t behave yourself in front of our client, don’t show,” Aveline growled. Hawke insisted she would finish up at the noblewoman’s request, but her giggle as Isabela led her around the corner to an empty corridor of the barracks belied that.

 

End for now

Chapter Text

Bodahn opened the front door of the Hawke manor and the Champion exited, Isabela on her arm. Hawke gave a groan as she cast a look where she had to go, which was to the guardsman barracks.
“I have to go, Bela,” Hawke said. She raised the pirate’s hand and kissed the back of it tenderly. Isabela grinned.
“Be on time for dinner. Here or the Hanged Man?”

 

“Hanged Man. I know you love it,” Hawke said. Isabela stood on tiptoes to kiss her. Hawke wrapped her arms round her waist, drawing her in.
“Don’t be late, Champion,” Isabela teased. Hawke smiled softly. They kissed heatedly and finally Isabela gave her breastplate a shove. “Go on then! Or Big Girl will be pissed at me for making you late.”
“I’m not on the guardsman payroll,” Hawke insisted. She still smirked at the reference to Aveline. And really, she wasn’t. She went to the barracks to help her friend run errands and small missions, and to train the guardsmen.
Isabela waved and sauntered off toward Lowtown’s market. Sometimes the merchants had a real deal on jade jewelry and she wanted to give it a try. Her wide earrings jangled as she gave a jaunty shake of the head, hips swaying. Those that knew her called out greetings.

 

Nearing Lowtown, she did keep an eye out for Merrill. She knew she had a lock on Hawke now who adored her again, but she still felt guilty. She hadn’t meant to take her friend’s shot at happiness away. Isabela resolved to talk about that with Hawke sometime. But now….
“Hey, watch it!” Isabela winced as she bumped shoulders against a man. She winced.
“Apologies, my friend,” she was saying when the man turned.
Isabela almost jumped out of her skin when she noticed the familiar face. He had grown a full beard, but she’d recognize him anywhere. Velasco, right hand to Castillon….the mere thought of her old nemesis’ name was enough to make bile rise in the pirate’s throat. She froze stupidly in her tracks.

 

“Isabela!” the pirate winced as he took her in. Abruptly, a snarl of a smile appeared on Velasco’s face. “Castillon has been looking for you for some time. Thought you could hide forever, eh?”
Panic rose in Isabela’s chest. She tamped it down carefully as she swallowed. Where Castillon went, Velasco was never far behind. That meant Castillon….the panic began rising, slowly but surely.
“I know,” Isabela said truthfully. She lifted her chin.
“You’re coming with me.” A hard gleam entered Velasco’s eye. He reached forward, and Isabela tried not to openly cringe as his hand fisted her bicep. His grip was unnaturally strong.
“That is apparent,” Isabela tried to keep her old snap in her voice, but her confidence was fading as fast as a summer storm.

 

“This way. And don’t try anything funny unless you want a knife in your vitals,” Velasco growled. Isabela walked with him casually as he yanked and tugged her away from the market paths to the back alleys. It was a good thing Hawke wasn’t here…. Isabela had enough of disrupting the lives of those she cared for.
No matter what happened, she had to see this through to the end. Even if it meant not seeing those smiling green eyes again. Her boys! She had to be strong for them…..
Each step away from the bustling market echoed in Isabela’s ears and she swore she could hear the blood rushing in her head. Dizziness attempted to take her, but she forced her steps, Velasco partly dragging her in turn. Keep Hawke out of this, try to survive….. oh Maker’s balls, if she didn’t survive…Falcon, Lark…..
Just remembering her last words before leaving Zevran and her boys brought tears to her eyes. “If anything happens to me, keep the boys safe. And tell Hawke about them. Tell them all I’m sorry….”

 

Isabela focused on the stupid wispy hairs growing from Velasco’s chin as she was marched along. Just thinking about never seeing her boys again was enough to destroy her. She knew now Hawke wanted her still. She had just gotten her back and now…. Now she may never see her again. Isabela was suddenly sorry, sorry she would involuntarily ruin Hawke’s heart if she went, and her boys for never knowing her….
But if Hawke knew where she was going, she would get involved. She cared too much not to. Just as well. She’d have to fight this fight alone…. And in doing so, she’d lift any burden from her beloved Champion’s shoulders.

 

Isabela bit her lip as a door was opened in an alley and she was shoved through. The door slammed shut behind them.

 

* * * * * *

 

“I’m surprised you could tear yourself away from that woman for a moment,” Aveline said. Hawke glanced over a stack of papers on the captain’s desk with a rueful smile.
“That woman has a name,” she said. Aveline shrugged broad shoulders. Her armor made clanking noises at the gesture.
“Whatever. Can you focus on helping me today or not?”
“You know I can,” Hawke said. A junior guardsmen brought in a tray and Hawke smiled to see there was coffee. She took a cup gladly.

 

“Good. The guardsmen have been hearing rumors around the docks of a possible slave ring trying to enter the Free Marches. We can’t allow that to happen.”
Hawke shuddered. “Agreed. Did they have a name?”
“Someone named Castillon.”
The name seemed familiar but try as she might, Hawke couldn’t drum up any memory as to why. She set the paper down on the stack.

 

“Let’s head out then.”

 

*** * * * * *

 

Velasco cleaned his nails with the tip of a dagger, idly watching Isabela over the top of the blade. The pirate tried not to sweat but the waiting was killing her.
In that time, she had said goodbye to her boys at least a hundred times and fifty times to her lover as well. As the minutes ticked in long moments that threatened to drive her mad, Isabela sat against the wall, crossing her arms, thinking of more pleasant things. Of course, those thoughts would circle around her sons and Hawke. She remembered the first time her boys smiled at her, when she knew for a certainty after their birth that those brilliant green eyes weren’t going to darken, when they stopped pulling at her teat and began eating solid foods keeping her and the prostitutes rushing to prepare them meals; all of these thoughts kept her in a better place.

 

Even Lark’s first word, which was ‘balls’, brought a tear to her eye. The boys had, of course, learned that from her and her pup had delightfully proclaimed it as his first word, his brother scrambling to try and say it as well.
Her boy’s faces, so similar to their sire’s, of course made her think of Hawke. Her flashing green eyes, how her pale face would erupt to a bright red when she was aroused or embarrassed or both. How she’d given her the tiny ship in a bottle, promising there were a dozen sailors in attendance for her below decks. The small gestures went to romantic ones. How Hawke could stoke her lust to high spirals, and then tenderly share her passion, making her feel beloved and treasured. How she watched her sleep, when Hawke didn’t know she woke slowly and noticed that. How stoic she looked when she kissed the back of her hand like she was a precious lady. All the stupidly amorous things she did that Isabela secretly loved.

 

And now Isabela wouldn’t get to tell Hawke that she…..
Velasco sighed as a door from inside the warehouse opened. The squeal of the door made her head jolt up. “Finally,” he complained.
Isabela straightened her gait as Castillon pushed through. The man hadn’t changed much, other than obtaining fine new clothes. He grinned radiantly at her.
“Well! This is a surprise. Where did you find her?”
Velasco grinned. “In Lowtown market. Enjoying herself instead of searching for what’s yours.”
Isabela cringed inwardly. It all sounded like banter, but she knew what Castillon was capable of. Her blood turned to ice. Castillon gave an idle smile, even though it was clear by the harsh glint in his eyes that he was far from amused.

 

“Well done. Go on, Velasco. You’ve earned a reprieve,” Castillon offered. His right-hand man saluted and left the warehouse, leaving Isabela with the viper of a man she had run so long from.
Castillon smiled charmingly at her. He gestured.
“Come come, where are my manners? Sit with me. The floor can’t be too comfortable,” he crooned. Isabela slowly stood. She sat gingerly on the chair’s edge across from Castillon.
“It isn’t….” Isabela tried for cocky as she crossed one leg. Castillon tapped his fingers on the table. His nails were well-manicured, and his posture was perfect. “About the relic…”
Castillon tsked her. “I have heard you had it, you know. You must have been on your way to deliver it to me. But you turned back to Kirkwall to help the Champion? You must have lost sight of your true focus.”

 

Isabela swallowed hard. “I-I’m sorry, Castillon….” There was no use in trying to tell him it was the right thing to do by Hawke and to help protect the innocent people of Kirkwall.
Castillon gave a wry smile, even though she knew what that small dry smile could mean. “Sorry doesn’t deliver me a priceless artifact. Sorry doesn’t restore my coffers from the slaves you set free that were due to be given to me. You’ve made a lot of poor choices concerning our working relationship, Isabela.”
Isabela tried to look contrite, but she was a terrified mess. Castillon was playing with her by speaking cordially. He never liked getting his hands dirty, so she wondered how many of his men were in the next room awaiting the word to jump on her all at once and overpower her.

 

 

Despite herself, Isabela closed her thighs and tried not to look afraid. In her heart, she knew she was saying goodbye to her lover, to her boys. Oh, Hawke…..
Castillon smiled widely, showing his even white teeth, as he ticked off ways Isabela could repay his generosity. Coldness crept into her soul. He may want her dead, but he would definitely keep her alive at first, and torture her body and soul.
“You could work off your debts with your body. You won’t mind that, I should think. First you can service my men then live in chains and work off your debt, alpha by alpha, locked in a small room…”
Isabela blanched. Her fists clenched tightly. Instead of her usual righteous fury, cold dread seeped through her. Castillon COULD make that happen. She knew some of the stories that surrounded the status of his wealth and had known to get from him when the getting was good.

 

But she was caught and unless she saw an opening, she was sure as dead if she lifted a hand. Castillon may be well-dressed and not enjoy getting his hands dirty, but he wasn’t above physical violence. In one business deal with him, she’d walked in on him strangling a prostitute with his bare hands. So clearly it wasn’t beneath him.
Isabela swallowed hard. “Please, Castillon…you don’t have to do that….I’ll get your money….I will, somehow…”
“No. The time for frivolous promises is over. You belong to me now, Isabela and I will have what’s due me!....”

 

Isabela closed her eyes tightly as his large hand settled over her wrist and yanked her to her feet.

* ** * * * *

“It’s around here somewhere…” Aveline mumbled. She and Hawke stalked the streets leading up to the docks. Any attempt Aveline made to flag down a vagrant to question, the street rats beat feet, no doubt fearing an arrest. Hawke pulled a silver from her pouch and flipped it into the air. A bedraggled urchin peeled from the walls and gingerly crept closer. Hawke gave a comforting smile.
“We’re looking for a certain man. This is yours if you’ve seen anything that could help us,” Hawke urged. The young boy wiped his wrist across his nose.
“Sure, Champion! Who are you seeking?”
“A slaver named Castillon,” Aveline said. The boy flinched and looked around both ways.

 

“Heard that name. You don’t want to run into him. His man goes in and out of that warehouse there.” He pointed down the dock alleys toward a building. “But you didn’t hear it from me!”
Hawke flipped him the silver and ruffled his hair. “Head to the Hanged Man and ask for Varric. He’ll get you set up, lad. And thanks.”
“Yes, Champion!” The boy grinned. He took off at a run. Hawke and Aveline shared a look.
“He could have more than one man. Should we send for the guardsmen?” Hawke asked. Aveline shook her head.

 

“Let’s scout it out first. If we need to come back with more muscle, we will,” Aveline said. Hawke nodded. They quietly picked the lock of the warehouse door and crept in. Hawke was surprised muscled men weren’t on guard just inside. If this slaver had guards of his own, they must be further inside closer to his person. She clenched a fist over the hilt of her blade as they stalked quietly along the corridors.
Aveline held up a gauntlet, hearing low male voices. They sidled past a room where guards were noisily playing cards and betting gold. Hawke held up five fingers as she and Aveline crept past. She heard at least five men, so they could easily take care of that on their own. Aveline shook her head and pointed down the corridor. Hawke nodded.
Aveline wanted the slaver leader so they’d continue to scout ahead. If the hue was raised and the guards jumped in, five was an easy number to dispatch. Hawke prowled beside her friend as they heard a muffled conversation in a room up ahead. An accented male voice was oozing insincerity to whoever he was talking to. There was a muffled woman’s answer and Hawke’s hackles rose. She and Aveline locked eyes and nodded.
They neared the room and the words became clearer.

 

“Please, Castillon… you don’t have to do that….I’ll get your money….I will, somehow…”
Hawke frowned as the primal parts of her brain screamed for her companion. Was that…Isabela?!
She stalked forward faster, Aveline trying to wrench her back by the arm quietly. The man’s response was coming louder as she neared the room.
“No. The time for frivolous promises is over. You belong to me now, Isabela and I will have what’s due me….!”
There was a woman’s small scream of terror and Hawke burst into the room, mind red-tinged, eyes ablaze. She knew that voice, and she wasn’t surprised to see her lover shielding herself with one arm from a well-dressed man. His hand was over her wrist, large enough to crush her lover’s arm and seeing him touch Isabela sent Hawke’s mind to a primal place.

 

“STOP!” Hawke bellowed. She was drawing her blade, the rasp of steel on leather loud in the small room. Her lover’s eyes opened and met hers, shock registering in her gaze. Aveline was shouting in Hawke’s peripheral to stop, slow down, reason with him! But Hawke grabbed the elbow of the arm that was touching HER Isabela, and flung the man off of her pirate. Isabela scampered back behind her chair as Castillon went down. She had time to meet his shocked eyes, before Hawke surprised them all by driving her blade down his torso in a savage diagonal slash. The blade caught in his middle and Castillon’s screams of pain were ugly to hear. Hawke growled, spitting curses, as she set her boot on his side, and worked the blade through, effectively chopping him in half.
Castillon was dead before the two halves of him hit the dirty floor and Isabela fairly stared. Just like that, Hawke had saved her…. This time, she didn’t care for the help. It was over. Hawke leaned her blade hastily against the table, not even securing it, as she reached for her, babbling if she was okay, gloved hands searching for injury.
Isabela twined shaking arms around her alpha’s neck, shaking in her embrace. “I’m okay! I’m okay….I am!” she promised.

 

Beside them, both finally could hear Aveline’s outraged shouts. “You bloody fool! We could have arrested him, Hawke! The Knight-Commander may not have your back on this one! This was cold-blooded murder! Hawke!”
Hawke kept one hand on her lover’s waist, keeping herself tethered by touch. She took up her bloodied blade, and wiped the fluids off on Castillon’s lower half on his trousers. She re-sheathed, having the grace to blush.
“I’ll explain myself to Meredith if need be. But he was going to hurt Isabela. And we’ll find his slaving contracts for your case, Aveline. I swear,” Hawke sounded contrite, but her eyes kept roaming over Isabela. Her pirate clung to her arm tightly. Aveline sighed with disgust.

 

“Well, help me arrest those five goons before you get all gushy with her! Come on!” Aveline led the charge into the guard’s room and Hawke rushed to help. On the way, Isabela found her confiscated daggers and helped the two secure the five men. It was the least she could do for the old girl, mad as she was.
After calling in the guardsmen and sending the ruffians to jail, Aveline was barely placated with finding Castillon’s papers. Barely.
“See? He was going to send a few shipments of slaves through here. That should be proof enough,” Isabela said. Hawke’s arm was round her waist protectively. Isabela would have protested with anyone else that she knew how to handle herself, but she was truly grateful for Hawke’s outburst.
An old foe would trouble her no longer, and her lover would have the Viscount’s support if any of Castillon’s business contacts wanted to play roughly in retaliation. Slavery wasn’t tolerated in Kirkwall any longer and the Viscount wouldn’t tolerate bad juju falling on his Champion.

 

Aveline was still angry, collecting the slavery contracts and other business scrolls. Hawke spoke up finally.
“I am sorry for not following your example. But I couldn’t let him hurt Isabela. I hope you understand that, Aveline.”
“I blame this on her, not you,” Aveline snarled, glaring at Isabela. The pirate blinked. “She turns your eye to her only, no matter what the cost.”
Hawke’s serious gaze made Isabela’s heart thud hard. “Yes, she does….”
The three left the warehouse, the idly chatter and commands of city guardsmen all around the area, securing it. Hawke gave a polite salute to Aveline.
“If the Viscount wants to talk, he knows where to find me,” she said. Aveline sighed raggedly.

 

“Of course I’ll include the slaver was about to harm your lover. That would account for the alpha outburst.”
Hawke scrubbed the back of her neck with her fist. “Well….”
“Go on. I’m sure you’re not going to stay anyways,” Aveline sniffed. Hawke took Isabela’s hand.

 

 * * * * *

 

The two headed in the direction of the Hanged Man and Isabela kept half an eye out for Merrill. She didn’t see sight of the skinny elf anywhere and Hawke’s furtive glances her way told her Merrill was furthest from her mind right now.
Inside the comfort of the Hanged Man’s rowdiness, Isabela steered Hawke to a corner table from the action. Varric had settled in amongst a few merchants and ladies, spinning an elaborate tale. He waved happily to both women, but didn’t move from his perch. Isabela was grateful.
Drinks were ordered, but Isabela fidgeted nervously. Hawke’s eyes swept up and down her lover.

 

“Are you sure you’re not hurt?”
“I’m sure.”
“Then, what’s wrong?” Hawke reached for Isabela’s hand. Isabela clutched her hands tightly. Hawke’s lips quirked in a joking smirk. “Don’t tell me you have a funeral to attend.”
“What? You mean Castillon’s?” Isabela smiled, giving a laugh. “I hope the cleansing blaze of the funeral pyres reject his vile sagging ass.”
Hawke laughed in turn. She could feel Isabela’s relief surging through her chi. “I’m glad you’re here. I…wanted to thank you. For everything you’ve done for me.” Isabela’s fingers stroked the backs of Hawke’s hands. She was glad her Champion had taken off their gloves some time ago. Hawke’s fingers were warm in her hands. “I’m glad you walked in here all those years ago….”
Hawke’s smirk returned. “I was drawn in by the intoxicating aroma of stale piss and vomit.”

 

Isabela’s laughter was infectious. She gave a serious gaze up to Hawke’s shining green eyes. “It’s funny, now that I think about it, getting a ship just doesn’t seem that important. Everything I care about is here…YOU’RE here. I….I’m sorry… I don’t know what’s come over me.” Isabela’s smile was nervous, so nervous.
Hawke squeezed her hands gently. “What’s going through your mind?”
Isabela exhaled, letting loose a confession of words. “I think I….I think I’m falling for you. Just….tell me, Hawke…. If I have a chance with you?”
Hawke gave a wry look. “Didn’t you say love wasn’t for you?” She kissed the back of Isabela’s hand though. Isabela’s heart gladdened.
“I know what I said, and I know why I said it. You were right; I wasn’t afraid of love. I was afraid of being loved.”
Hawke scooted her chair closer, sliding an arm around Isabela’s waist. “Promise you won’t run off and break my heart?”

 

Isabela felt guilt tear through her. She had already done so. Her nod was fervent as she slid into her Champion’s lap. “I won’t if you don’t give me a reason to.”
Hawke nuzzled her shoulder. “I won’t…just stay with me.”
“I will…” Isabela was all shades of red by now. After sharing a nice drink and cuddles, Isabela stood and took Hawke’s hand. She took her to the barkeep’s counter to buy her old room for the night and both women ascended the stairs.
Once inside, Hawke gave her a wry smile. “We could just go to my house. The bed’s much bigger.”
“You always have that on your mind, don’t you?” Isabela teased. Hawke’s eyes were on her pirate’s lusciously round ass. She nodded.

 

“I can’t help it. You always look so good….”
“You too, sweet thing…” Isabela turned, and pulled her hair over one shoulder. Hawke came up behind her. Isabela shuddered as her arms went round her waist. “Hawke…”
“Hmm?”
“Can you help me off with this?” Isabela gestured to her gold choker. She looked over her shoulder to see her lover’s eyes widen. Isabela never took it off. That meant…. Hawke visibly shuddered, with anticipation and happiness.
“You mean….”

 

Isabela nodded. She closed her eyes as Hawke’s clever fingers found the fastenings and off went the heavy piece of jewelry. She shuddered, rubbing back against the Champion as Hawke’s lips and teeth found her throat and shoulder, setting several pre-mating bite nips in preparation. Her hands went up and down, unfastening Isabela’s tunic, sliding in to caress her breasts and belly. Isabela gasped as she was brought to her knees on the bed. She could hear Hawke push her breast plate and gauntlets off, random articles of clothing following. When she pressed up against Isabela’s bare back again, heated flesh slid against hers.
Hawke kissed the side of her throat tenderly as the head of her cock slid through Isabela’s wet folds. “Tell me you want this…”
“Yes!” Isabela murmured. She sighed as Hawke probed against her opening and tested her with a few shallow thrusts that slid through her dampness without sinking in. Isabela widened her thighs, trembling. “I already marked YOU…..”

 

Hawke’s hand steadied her hip as she held herself by the base with her free hand. She nudged Isabela’s damp cave and gently pushed upward, burying her head in slippery wet heat. Hawke hissed with pleasure. Her thrusts getting in were gentle and after Hawke finally worked herself in fully, hips flush against her ass, Isabela shook in her embrace.
Hawke chuckled behind her and gently rocked, keeping her shaft seated with the slow thrust. Isabela keened in response. “Now it’s my turn, love….”
Isabela blushed as she was taken, and pushed and nudged toward a mind-blowing orgasm. She didn’t want the moment to ever end. When Hawke’s teeth finally sank into the back of her right shoulder, setting her mating mark, bright lights erupted behind Isabela’s eyes.

 

She was right where she belonged.

End for now

Chapter Text

After giving herself to Hawke to be bitten, Isabela was flying high. She and Hawke were inseparable and Isabela at first tentatively moved in when she was asked. But despite the night or two Isabela went back to her old room at the Hanged Man, she found herself missing her mate too much. No, she’d stay with Hawke. Her heart was in the clouds and she would stay finally.
Bedroom gymnastics aside, Isabela loved waking beside Hawke, their limbs entwined in some way. Hawke’s arm was always warm around her waist and she loved kissing her mating bite over the Champion’s breast to wake her. Hawke’s green eyes would slowly open and a tender smile would dart across her lips. Isabela loved hearing Hawke whisper her name and kiss her. If they were feeling inclined, they’d get right to deeper touches. Sometimes they’d be right in the middle of things when Bodahn brought their breakfast tray. He had taken to knocking heavily and waiting an invitation before entering. Orana did the same now.

 

 

This morning, it was Hawke who woke first. Isabela felt warm pressure along her back, and warm lips moving over the mark on her shoulder. She smiled as she began to wake.
“Hawke,” she murmured. One hand snaked up her belly to cup a breast. Her nipple hardened between Hawke’s calloused fingers.
“I can’t wake without you now. Don’t sleep over at the tavern again,” Hawke growled. Isabela rubbed back against her mate. She felt her Champion’s chi coil back in response and Hawke rubbed her erection against Isabela’s ass.
Isabela purred, rubbing back against her. “How could I when I wake to a fine piece of wood like this? Oh, yes, keep doing that…”
Hawke sucked on her mating bite as she teased her mate’s opening with the head of her cock. Isabela’s vaginal lips were petaled open and glistening.
“Whatever you want, my love,” Hawke vowed. Isabela blushed, and twined her fingers with Hawke’s.
“So romantic you are, Champion. I’m so lucky…”

 

And she did feel it. Despite their lust carrying them along, harsh breathing filling the air with slaps of skin on skin as Hawke thrust against Isabela from behind, Isabela could feel her mate’s tender concerns for her underlying her caresses and thrusts. Afterwards, she lay shuddering in her mate’s arms, Isabela smiled as Hawke’s lips caressed her throat and shoulders. To this, Bodahn knocked and averted his eyes when called in. He delivered the breakfast tray and backed out, eyes covered by his hands.
“What’s on the docket for today, Hawke?” Isabela grinned as they separated and set into their meal hungrily. Hawke smiled around a few pieces of bacon. She chomped noisily.

 

“Aveline wants more of my aide for that debacle with Castillon. Not that I see it that way…” Hawke rolled her shoulders, muscles rippling. Isabela eyed her mating mark stretched across the top of her breast. Another set of teeth still imprinted across her Champion’s throat and Isabela felt sadness rather than ire.
She knew Merrill had tried claiming Hawke herself. It was just her bad luck Isabela had returned around that time and Hawke’s old love for her hadn’t died completely. Mates were for life and there was room for only one. Still, Isabela couldn’t help feeling guilty.
The mark didn’t look to be fading, which was rather odd in itself. Hawke noticed her mate staring and chucked her chin with two fingers.
“Bela?” she asked. Isabela thought of her sons. She couldn’t wait to tell her mate about them….she just knew Hawke would welcome Falcon and Lark. Happiness surged through her chi.

 

“I love you, you big lout,” Isabela half cursed. Hawke chuckled. She kissed the pirate’s cheek.
“Love you too.”

 

• * * * * *

 

Hawke practically skipped through the market on her way to the guardsmen barracks. If she were late, Aveline would throw a fit. She was definitely on the captain’s shit list for murdering the slaver, but when it came to her mate, Hawke didn’t care about the consequences.
Knight Commander Meredith had frowned at it, but she hadn’t been punished officially. Hawke would take that as it were. A slim woman was elbowing her way shyly through a few men, and Hawke noted the tall staff strapped to her back.
Merrill! Her urge to protect the Dalish elf surged through Hawke and she jogged forward, elbowing the two louts away from the small woman.
“Back off her,” she snarled. One of the men cursed, but the other saluted.
“Yes, Champion. Sorry!” He ran off, dragging his companion with him.

 

Merrill sighed. She blushed, looking up into Hawke’s eyes. Hawke found her heart pounding. The desire to check for bruises surged through her. So was the desire to step into Merrill’s personal space and put her arms around her. Her thighs trembled with the effort of holding still.
“Hawke! I….”
Hawke swallowed hard. “M-Merrill. How are you?” she asked gently.
A shy smile had spread across the elf’s lips, but just as quickly, her look of happiness to see her faded. It was like a storm had crossed the elf’s features. Merrill frowned sadly. “Okay, I suppose…not as well as you I hear. You… you’re mated, aren’t you? That’s good; congratulations…..” she stammered.
Hawke loved Isabela. She would never apologize for mating her and accepting her love confession. But she would feel bad for the look of bitter disappointment across her past lover’s face.

 

“I….I am….but are you okay?” she asked gently. Merrill tucked a strand of hair behind her pointed ear.
“No, no I’m not okay. You didn’t come back. I waited. Then well, I figured you and Isabela had a lot to talk about. Three years is a long time….And you still being in love with her…..” Merrill couldn’t keep the hurt from her voice. Hawke winced visibly as if she had been struck. “I…I know you love her….and you’re mated. I can smell it…... I’m sorry… I just….I just hoped…”
Hawke felt her heart cracking and tearing. She reached her gauntleted arms out, intending to put them around the crying elf. Merrill backed up. Hurt, Hawke stopped in her tracks.
Tears spilled from the corners of the elf’s eyes. “I… well, I’m glad things worked out for you two. I knew Isabela loved you for true. And I guess I always knew she’d come back for you…..”

 

Merrill was scrubbing at her pale cheeks, trying to brush her falling tears away. Hawke’s heart broke. She reached forward to touch the elf’s cheek, to offer some comfort, ANYTHING to make her tears stop….tears SHE had caused….
“Merrill,” she pleaded. Merrill looked up into the Champion’s anguished eyes. Her heart wavered but Merrill bit her lip and lowered her head.
“If I were Isabela, I would have come back too…but Hawke….” Merrill raised red-rimmed eyes. Hawke’s heart sank. “I would never have left you if I were her.”
Feeling a moment of panic, Hawke reached out again for her. “Merrill…!”
Merrill touched her sleeve to her eyes as her small shoulders shook. “I love you, Champion Hawke. I hoped it would be enough. I’m not like Isabela at all but I hoped….I hoped you could love me. I guess….I guess I hoped she wouldn’t ever come back. So that way I could finally have you.”

 

Hawke’s mouth was very dry, and her eyes were tearing up. Her chest felt heavy, as if someone were stepping on her lungs. She reached closer for the elf, fully intent to soothe her, comfort her, stop her pain…
Before she could get close, Merrill aimed two small palms toward her. They smacked full against her torso and before Hawke could exclaim in surprise, a blast of blue magic surged through her, knocking her forcefully back. Hawke went sprawling, legs flying up over her head. More than the pain of the strike, was the fact Merrill had used magic on her. That hurt worse than falling head over ass on the cobblestones in armor. Scrambling to her feet, Hawke looked round the market square. Quite a few omegas ran up to help her up, but Hawke brushed them off, glancing around over the tops of their head. She barely caught the green of Merrill’s tunic as she sprinted through the throngs of people, soft sobs filling the air.

 

There was nothing for it. Merrill was gone. A searing pain surged from Hawke’s left shoulder all the way down her arm to her wrist. Hawke snarled on a cry of pain. She found herself half limping toward the guardsmen barracks. When Aveline called her into her office, she snapped her fingers in front of Hawke’s staring eyes.
“What are you looking at? Hawke!” Aveline called. Hawke blinked. A hurt expression was all over her face. “Well geez, if your pirate wouldn’t sleep with you, there’s no reason to pout over it.”
“No!” Hawke said a little too quickly in response to her mate. She gave a shuddering sigh. “It’s not Bela…. I’ll be okay.”

 

“You better be. We need to hit the streets. Come,” Aveline urged her friend. Hawke sprawled in a chair opposite her desk, hissing in pain. “What happened to you? Are you okay?”
“I….got into a bit of…a tussle,” Hawke lied. Aveline tried to help her remove her breastplate, but her left arm, the one only clad in clothing instead of armor, felt like it was on fire. Hawke howled, slapping her hand away.
Aveline’s brows knit. “Feels dislocated. I’ll have Samrick set it. Only take a second. Samrick!”
Hawke grabbed the edge of the captain’s desk with her right hand, holding on as the brawny guardsman grabbed her left shoulder and with a hard twist, set the dislocation to its proper place. Her right fist slammed up and down on the desk as she grit her teeth to keep from screaming.

 

“Want to tell me who did this? Do we need to sweep the streets?” Aveline asked. Her brows were knit with concern. Hawke shook her head. She flexed the fingers of her left hand slowly as feeling came back.
“No….uhm…Aveline….”
“What is it?”
“Could you have some of the men and women watch over Merrill’s place? I… I can’t do it….not anymore….”
Aveline frowned. There was a slew of something behind the request and it was easy to tell the tussle had to have involved the plucky little elf. Aveline knew Merrill had been there for Hawke in some capacity in the time Isabela had been gone, but as to what had happened, Hawke wouldn’t answer.

 

All she would say in response was: “I’m no longer welcome there.”

 

• * * * * * *

 

Hawke made a lot of noise entering her estate later that evening. Bodahn helped with her breastplate and armor, and his idly chatter made her brain hurt a little less. No matter, Isabela could help her to relax….
“Hawke!” Her pirate beamed at the sight of her, tossing down a random book in the family study when she entered. Hawke caught the woman in her arms. The scent of her dark hair calmed Hawke slightly, but when she should have been getting frisky, she felt only sorrow. “I missed you….what’s all this now?”

 

Hawke made herself smile as Isabela tugged her thick gloves off and massaged her fingers in hers. The Champion gave a tired smile when she kissed the back of her knuckles. “You know how Aveline is. Ran me ragged all day.” Hawke didn’t voice that she had pushed for the pace. The harder she ran about looking for heads to knock about, the less time she had to be still and think about the anguished look on Merrill’s face from that morning. Merrill….
A twinge of guilt filled Hawke as Isabela leaned up for a kiss. Usually after any work, Hawke would be glad to get frisky with her new mate, but today….she felt like she’d been doused in cold water. Hawke found she still loved Isabela’s touches very much, but her lust didn’t spiral up to form the shift. Isabela noticed, for she rubbed against Hawke’s waist, looking confused.

 

“Hawke?” she asked. Hawke leaned down to give her a long kiss. Their tongues stroked slowly. Hawke cupped the back of her head, cradling her pirate to her shoulder when they parted.
“I’m just tired. I….I had my arm dislocated today.”
“Oh, Hawke!” Isabela’s hands fluttered off her mate, hovered uncharacteristically. “Which one?”

 

“Left. It’s okay, I had one of Aveline’s men set it for me. I’m just sore all over,” Hawke admitted. “Bring up some of your whiskey, will you? Let’s relax.”
But as the Champion headed upstairs ahead of her, Isabela couldn’t shake an odd feeling.

 

• * * * * * *

 

Isabela blinked in the darkness. Hawke was lying beside her, naked in the sheets as always, but she hadn’t initiated any further contact when they’d blown out the candles. Isabela had tried to rouse her, but Hawke had gently taken her hands and put an arm round her waist, claiming she was tired. She HAD said she loved her, but Isabela wasn’t placated.
Something had happened and whatever it was, had troubled her Champion deeply. It couldn’t be any bad public press or opinion. Hawke was so beloved that no matter what she did, she had her supporters. No, it couldn’t be when she was out in the field today.

 

Isabela idly lifted the sheets and tried to focus in the darkness. Hawke hadn’t shifted all evening, and while one could have a break from sex, it had never been close to a day for either of them since their mating mark exchange. The lack of intimacy tonight was a ping on Isabela’s radar that something could be up. Isabela listened to her mate breathing softly as she slept. Hawke had been an awful sleeper the first times they’d shared the same bed for something other than fucking, but she had learned to take comfort in her warmth and often Hawke would drift off to sleep before she could.

 

Isabela tucked her chin against the curve of Hawke’s shoulder, inhaling her particular musk. It wasn’t fair when her mate smelled so good, but she would get to sleep and tomorrow Hawke would be feeling better. Wouldn’t she? Isabela listened to her mate’s even loud breathing, and finally fell asleep herself.

 

• * * * * * * *

 

The next morning, Isabela woke first. She quietly headed for the washroom to pee and refresh herself. Climbing back into bed, Isabela tugged the sheets back from Hawke’s pale flesh. Her shift was half formed, cock stiffening upward. Isabela smiled and crawled down along Hawke’s legs to lay her lips along the side of the stiffening appendage of flesh. She could help it along and when her mate woke, well, it’d be a usual morning.
Hawke groaned as she felt warmth pool between her legs. She felt heavy down there and she didn’t have to look to know she was shifting. Warm wet swipes painted along her cock and Hawke gave a sigh despite herself. She ran a hand down through Isabela’s dark loose hair. Her pirate queen lifted her mouth up and kissed the side of her wrist affectionately.

 

“Morning,” Isabela teased. Hawke smiled down at her, but even as she seemed ready there was something off with her aura. Her eyes shifted to the side and she seemed….distracted. Isabela hurried to lay her mouth down along her shaft when Hawke gently pulled her mate up.
“You don’t have to…. Still hurts all over,” Hawke said. It was only part a lie. She could feel her mate’s frustration as she sighed against her belly.
Isabela ran her dark fingers along the pale expanse of Hawke’s musculature and abdominal scars. She leaned to kiss one scar lovingly. “Are you okay, love? You’ve never waited this long before. You tried to bed me after almost breaking your knee that one time.”
Hawke gave a soft laugh at the memory. “I know….I just…. There was…”

 

“Aha!” Isabela tried not to pounce as she leaned up, hair falling onto Hawke’s shoulder. “So, something did happen! What was it? Do I need to cut a bitch?”
Hawke grew quiet and ran her fingers through her pirate queen’s unbound hair. “No, nothing like that…and please don’t. I…I ran into Merrill in the market yesterday… and….”
Suddenly, all of Hawke’s melancholy made sense. But…”That still doesn’t explain a dislocated shoulder and these bruises. Did she….?”
Hawke looked upward at the canopy above them. Her lip trembled. “She said she had waited for me. But she was happy for us…. Is happy for us. I love you, Bela. But I just feel so bad…..”
There, it was out. Isabela could have been mad. She could have fallen to jealousy. But the earnest look in the elf’s eyes when she urged Isabela to go after Hawke first killed the pirate inside. She had loved Hawke, more than likely still did, dearly. And she had held back. For HER sake.
“I guess you’re not the only one….”

 

“I love you,” Hawke repeated. “And I still want you, always will. I just… I feel so bad right now.” Okay, bad was an understatement. “Like I’m sick. I just….I made her cry, Bela.”
Isabela leaned up along her mate’s torso. Her breasts pressed into Hawke’s as she kept on her right side. The pirate leaned down to kiss the small tears from the corners of her Champion’s eyes. “It’s okay, well, not okay she cried… but don’t you start crying too, love. Everything should end up right.”
Hawke’s eyes swam with naked anguish up at her mate. Her fingers twined through Isabela’s hair. “I don’t know how it can be right for her….I’m a jerk….a huge jerk!”
Isabela leaned down and kissed the tears that spilled down her mate’s cheeks. Hawke’s breath hitched, and she closed her eyes, savoring the soft touches. “I don’t deserve this….”

 

“Oh, don’t tell me what you don’t deserve,” Isabela murmured. She gently kissed Hawke, and slowly she kissed her back. “Hawke….”
“I just…. I don’t want to get out of bed today. I can’t,” Hawke whined. Any other time, Isabela would have been irate. But her heart went out to her saddened mate. Slowly, an idea formed in the pirate’s mind. She sat up and stretched.
“Well, I’ll leave you to your thoughts. I think we might need some fresh pastries from market. Maybe that’ll help you feel better,” Isabela suggested. But a wry smile stretched through her sharp mind as she plotted. Hawke almost pouted toward her as she pulled the covers up over her side. She rolled onto her right side, sighing.
Isabela got out of bed and hunted for a fresh tunic and corset. She went to make herself up for the day and poked out, half naked as Bodahn brought in breakfast for the pair. “Go ahead, love. I’ll be back soon.”

 

Hawke poured herself coffee and pursed her lips sadly at her mate. Isabela waved and headed through the manor for the front door.

 

o * * * * *

 

When Merrill opened her front door, she blanched, staring at the friendly pirate. If Isabela was anything toward her, it was always warm. She knew the pirate had been very protective of her.
“Isabela! I…..I didn’t do anything.” Funny, those were the first words she could think of? Merrill blushed with shame.
“Besides knock Hawke down. She’s resting it off. You hit hard, kitten,” Isabela said gently. Merrill blushed.
“Is she okay?” she pleaded. The hurt look in Hawke’s eyes had been enough to destroy her and she had run away as fast as she could. Only to stew all day and night about it.
“Her shoulder’s fine. Her pride is more bruised.” Isabela smiled gently. “Can I come in?”

 

“Why?” Merrill asked in response. Isabela gently cuffed her shoulder and pushed into the small hut. Merrill had always been a messy house keeper, but her place was absolutely cluttered now. Isabela sat at the elf’s table, and gestured. Merrill closed the front door and slowly glided toward a chair.
“Because I’m worried about you, kitten. Hawke is too. She just won’t fess up fully, thinking I’ll be hurt about it or some nonsense.”
Merrill perched on the edge of her chair, blinking. She looked exhausted and Isabela felt sorry for the elf. “But…won’t you? I mean… “
Isabela put her hand over Merrill’s. “Merrill….do you love Hawke?”

 

The caught expression on the elf’s face did far more to answer her question than Merrill’s sputtering replies. Isabela nodded.
“Well, I think Hawke cares about you too. Quite a great deal. Oh, don’t look so upset, she does love me, but she can love you too. If I know Hawke, there’s quite enough of her to go around. I was wondering if you’d come back to the estate and try to convince Hawke to stop moping about.”
Merrill blushed at Isabela’s bold statements. “I..I couldn’t.. You’re marked…. Mated….”
Isabela grinned. “Doesn’t meant she can’t have a girlfriend. Oh, don’t look so shocked. Mated pairs can branch out sometimes. And I know you’d never stab me in the back and try and steal her all to yourself. You’re too good to me, too.”

 

Merrill looked like she was having an aneurysm. She sputtered and brushed a fist against her flaming red cheeks. “She won’t go for it,” she decided. “Even if you’re fine.”
Isabela patted her hand. “I think she will if we both ask her. Besides, when has an alpha ever turned down a sweet thing like you?”
As Merrill was shaking her head again, Isabela decided to coax her caring nature. “Hawke’s so distraught after your little run-in, she won’t get out of bed. She’s pouting in there, sure you hate her.”
Merrill gasped. “I don’t! I miss her….but I don’t hate her!”
Isabela nodded. “I think she needs to hear it from you. Will you come back with me?’
Merrill scrubbed her cheek. “I ….I guess…”

 

Isabela nodded, reflective. “When my children come here, I want people around them I trust. And I trust you, kitten.” At Merrill’s confused look, Isabela hastened to explain. “It’s not like that. I did run after seeing her injured in bed, but I took far more of Hawke with me than I intended to….and I had her sons. Twins.”
Merrill looked like her head was spinning. Hawke’s new mate had come over, ostensibly asked if she was in love with the Champion and was fine with it, even asking her to come over and cheer the woman they both loved, and now this? Hawke had children?! But Merrill couldn’t find it in her to be jealous. “Does Hawke know?” she asked softly.
Isabela shook her head. She smiled gently at her friend. ”I will tell her. Very shortly. I thought I’d do a good deed today first and bring you home. What do you say?”
Merrill nodded, liking the idea more. And the thought of Hawke’s sons filled her with more warmth than she would have thought otherwise. Her mind turned over in circles. “When did you…. I mean….. was it after the duel?”
Isabela nodded, blushing. Merrill was astounded. Hawke had looked to be on the brink of death in her sick bed, bandaged from here to the Maker’s kingdom. “But she was so hurt! How did you?...”

 

Isabela brushed her fingers over the edge of her mating mark, that showed from the edge of her choker. “I didn’t plan it. I knew I was leaving and wanted to say goodbye…. And knowing she almost died…could have….it KILLED me. I saw her in that bed just barely alive and felt so guilty that I knew I had to leave. I honestly was just going to kiss her…..”
Isabela brooded. Her eyes drifted to a familiar tunic on Merrill’s bed. She recognized it for Hawke’s and her heart churned pleasantly. Merrill obviously wanted the Champion’s scent around her. “I didn’t think I’d ever return to Kirkwall. That I would never see her again. So I thought…if I was with her one more time I could just leave.”
Merrill nodded. “I can see that….”
“I just wanted to be closer to her, touch her once more…and I noticed she was shifted. I just….. went with it. I wanted her, and during it….she formed a knot. I didn’t think I’d get that much of her with me when I left…. But I had to have her. Before that, we’d never knotted. Not once. I just wanted to take some of her with me…..” Merrill touched her hand softly. “Do you….do you understand, kitten?”

 

“Course I do. If I had to leave her….I would want to do the same. But twins!” Suddenly, she remembered that night, and rushing into the bedchamber after Isabela had fled the manor. She remembered arranging Hawke’s blankets, finding her shifted and covered in her own fluids indicating a release. Now it all made much more sense.
Isabela beamed, her face lighting up. “They look like me of course, but you can see Hawke in their faces. And they have her eyes! You’ll love them, kitten.”
Merrill smiled at her friend. “What are their names?”

 

“Falcon and Lark.” Isabela positively beamed as she talked about her sons. Hawke’s sons. It was all too much to believe. When Isabela urged her to leave for the Hawke estate, Merrill dressed and went with her.

 

• * * * * * *

Merrill nervously sat in the Hawke estate study as Isabela went upstairs to get the master of the estate. Bodahn cheerily greeted her, but his jovial nature made Merrill even more nervous. She propped her staff up against the wall and folded her hands in her lap.
Isabela let herself into the master’s bed chamber and found Hawke reading over letters. She hadn’t gotten up, but at least she had gotten some coffee and had donned a bed robe. “How are you, Hawke?”
“Ecstatic,” Hawke said dryly. She set one scroll of parchment down. Some letters were great personal pleas, but find my lost puppy? Did the people think she was at liberty to do just anything? “Have a good time at market, love?”

 

“Yeah….” Isabela trailed a finger up and down the front of Hawke’s robe. “Sort of I took a detour.” At Hawke’s curious gaze, Isabela smiled. “I visited Merrill and convinced her to come over here. She’s waiting downstairs right now.”
Hawke stared incredulously at her mate. “Sometimes I wonder if YOU have a fancy for her. Are you sure you don’t just want a threeway with her?”
“You know you’re my sweet thing, lover. It’s just….I saw how heartbroken you looked when you told me about running into her.” As Hawke began to protest, Isabela kissed her softly. “If you can please us both, I don’t see why you can’t have a girlfriend. Our kitten is good to you and to me. And you do love her, Hawke. I’d rather you fancy someone sweet like her; I couldn’t trust you to anyone else.”

 

Hawke was fairly gaping at her lover. Isabela closed her jaw gently before any flies flew in. “You’re asking me to sleep with my ex-lover?!”
“Hawke, I’m asking you to be with your other heart’s desire. I know you love me. I love you too, you big lug. It’s cause I love you that I’m suggesting this. I know Merrill loves you too. Besides, I think we can all make it work.”
Hawke stood, dressing at Isabela’s insistence, head spinning. Her mouth was dry, and her heart thudded at the prospect of seeing Merrill gently again. But….
“I still don’t know. You’re my mate. I love you,” Hawke protested. Isabela wrapped her arms around the Champion’s neck.
“I love you too. Now go talk to her. I did take the trouble to bring her over to bury the hatchet.”
Hawke followed Isabela downstairs, head in a daze. When she stepped into the study, Merrill’s eyes lit up at the sight of her, but guilt made the elf tremble. Hawke strode closer and went to her knees beside Merrill’s chair. She looked to Isabela for comfort, who nodded.

 

“Go on, talk to her. Do what you want to. We’re bound, Hawke. I know where I stand,” Isabela said. “I’m giving you guys one hour.”
Hawke blanched as Merrill outright blushed and gave a squeak of embarrassment. “But…I can’t! You’re home….”
Isabela waved a hand. “I’ll be in the kitchen with Orana. Now hurry it up and get upstairs.”
Hawke laid her hand over Merrill’s. Both of them were trembling. Merrill’s eyes shone with tears as she gazed at Hawke. “Did…did I really hurt your shoulder?” she asked by way of greeting.
Hawke nodded, eyes shifting guiltily. Heat was flooding between her thighs even as her heart slowly began to uncoil. Her black bangs fell into her eyes.

 

“Yes….oh please, don’t look like that, Merrill. It’s okay. I got it set,” Hawke babbled. Merrill touched her left shoulder hesitantly.
“I want to look at it….”
Hawke stood and offered her arm. Shyly, Merrill tucked her hand into the crook of her elbow and the two made their way upstairs. Hawke didn’t take her to the master’s bedchambers. All of this was too weird and new, and she didn’t know how she felt about doing ANYTHING with another woman in the bed she shared with her newly bonded mate.
Even if it WAS sweet Merrill….. Hawke opened the door to a guest chamber down the corridor and smiled nervously. Merrill walked in and Hawke closed the door. She breathed a ragged sigh and pulled the heavy drapes open, letting in daylight.
“Merrill… I never….”
“Hawke, I’m..”

 

“I’m sorry,” both said at once. Merrill touched a hand to her mouth and Hawke stared at her. She coughed, face red.
“You have no reason to feel sorry. I… I hurt you…I should have come to tell you.”
“It’s okay…I got the message,” Merrill murmured, trying to keep her tone light. But Hawke could feel the waves of hurt rolling off her. Taking a chance, and remembering it was Isabela who spurned this, Hawke stroked across the room. She fell to her knees before the elf who perched on the edge of the wide bed. Hawke took Merrill’s small hands in hers.
“I do care for you…. I love Isabela….” When Merrill’s face began to fall, Hawke hurried on. She kissed the backs of Merrill’s hands. “But I do care for you…. I…”
“I love you, Hawke. I just….” Tears filled Merrill’s eyes. Hawke leaned up, cradling her face in her palms. Her heart broke all over again.
“Please don’t cry. Please. I’ll do anything,” Hawke pleaded. Tears filled her own eyes. Her feelings for Merrill seared her heart, stinging. “What can I do?”

 

“Hawke…” Merrill’s face was red in a blush. Hawke leaned in slowly, her lips hovering. She gave Merrill ample time to push her off, slap her, call her names. But when the soft lips beneath her yielded and kissed her back, Hawke wrapped her arms around the slender elf.
Hawke still wasn’t sure about doing well, anything with someone other than her mate, but Merrill was in her arms, kissing her, tugging her onto the bed and her heart was full and it was GLAD. When Hawke undressed Merrill, she did so carefully, her heart in her eyes. When Merrill drew her in, Hawke felt like all the air was rushing out of her lungs. She wanted more….wanted to give her elf pleasure.
She loved Isabela. But the mark on her throat burned with each kiss and touch. Hawke groaned as she slowly pushed into her lover, stiff with arrested lust. Merrill cried out against her shoulder.

 

• * * * * * *

 

Isabela leaned against the island counter in the kitchen. She flipped one dagger end over end and caught it, blade or handle, nimbly between her fingers. She had heard one passion-filled cry from upstairs and then silence. Glancing at the clock on the wall, Isabela nodded. Time was up.
She took the stairs slowly, making a lot of stomping noises as she came down the corridor. Taking a quick peek into the master’s bedchamber yielded nobody. Isabela poked into the guest chambers further down and found her quarry in one of the chambers.
“Can I come in, you two?” she teased. Merrill tugged the sheets up to her neck, blushing. Hawke was wrapped around her, embracing her from behind. They didn’t seem to be joined, but Hawke gave her a roguish grin all the same. It was a look Isabela recognized as a job well done.

 

“Isabela….! Uhm…okay?” Merrill squeaked. Hawke stretched lazily, her half naked body on display. Her muscles rippled as she moved.
“Come in, love,” she purred. Isabela bounced on the bed, making Hawke laugh and Merrill squeak. Isabela landed on Hawke’s legs; she rolled to her right side, where Merrill was, giving her a friendly hug. Isabela leaned to kiss her mate, and ruffle Merrill’s hair playfully. “Thank you….”
“Hawke said this was all your prompting…thank you,” Merrill blushed. Isabela gazed at the two women, fondness in her eyes for Merrill, love in her gaze for Hawke.
“I think we can all make this work. There are have been stranger unions. What do you think?” she asked.
Hawke gazed at Merrill softly. “It’s up to you, sweetness. I know I’d love having you here.”

 

Merrill blushed at ‘love.’ “I think…. I think I want to give it a try.”
“Yes! Well done, me, if I do say so myself,” Isabela teased. “We can lay out ground rules later or whatever, if we need ‘em.”
“If we need ‘em,” Hawke agreed.

o * * * * *

 

“Letter for you, miss. It just came, and that’s pretty late,” Bodahn grinned as he offered the sealed letter to Isabela. She pushed up the sleeve of her dressing robe and accepted it.
“Thank you, Bodahn,” she said. The dwarf beamed and went about his duties. Somehow, Isabela thought she’d better open and read it downstairs before joining her mate upstairs. Merrill had agreed to stay the night, and their larger tentative relationship was blooming. Isabela wanted to nurture it along, so she’d keep any bad surprises away.
Besides, the letter was unmarked on the wax seal. Who was this from? Picking up a dagger from the desk in the study, Isabela broke the seal and unfolded the parchment. Her brows lifted, and a smile was on her face when she recognized Zevran’s handwriting. Just as quickly, her stomach turned in knots.

 

‘My old accomplices, the Crows, and I have had a falling out you could say. Far be it to say, I felt the time was prudent to vacate such a team of rogues….don’t fret, my dear, as you are reading this, I will be en route to you with your precious cargo intact. Both birds have missed you and are safe in my custody. We shall be with you upon a week’s time….’
Fear mixed with joy upon dread. Zevran was in danger? And he had her pups with him?! She was going to give him a piece of her mind about that. Even with his old assassin’s guild hunting him, Isabela had to admit secretly that Falcon and Lark were better off at his side. He knew how to handle himself.
‘I have to tell Hawke she’s a papa. Sooner than later,’ Isabela thought. She was still hesitant. She had knotted Hawke without any say-so. How would she take to being a sire? Isabela walked upstairs and found herself smiling as she walked into the master’s bedroom.

 

Hawke was sitting rigidly on the wide bed, legs crossed. Merrill was in her own dressing robe, and knelt on the bed behind her, gently combing Hawke’s short dark hair. Hawke’s eyes lit up at the sight of her.
“Come to bed, Bela,” she urged, patting the mattress. Isabela put some sway into her hips as she sauntered closer. She made sure to shut the bedroom door first.

 

“With two women with you, how are you going to get any rest?” Isabela wondered. Merrill blushed. It was apparent she wasn’t sure what was allowed and what wasn’t, but for now everyone enjoyed winding down together. Even if Hawke looked half aroused and uncomfortable.

 

End for now

Chapter Text

Isabela adjusted her shift and climbed into bed on the right side. Hawke was prone in the middle, long fingers clutching the covers over her waist. Isabela wondered if she was shifted, and watched Merrill run her fingers through her short hair and smooth her nightgown down. Being surrounded by two women she loved would do anyone in, and when both were equally attractive, Isabela knew Hawke was debating what to do. What was allowed with her mate, would they all touch each other at once or one at time……

 

Isabela didn’t want to worry about the details, but she knew her mate was considerate. She would want to know what was allowable for both of them…. Isabela certainly wasn’t helping by tucking into Hawke’s side, and caressing her musculature through the fabric of her shirt. Hawke’s low groan was gratifying, even if she was being good by avoiding erogenous areas. Merrill blushed and pulled the covers back, settling in on Hawke’s left. Hawke turned to give the elf a shy smile. Isabela let her hand wander further south as Hawke leaned to peck Merrill’s lips with hers.

 

Hawke gasped and laid a hand over Isabela’s, stopping her. “You two….are too much!” she gasped. Isabela flashed an evil grin to Merrill across the Champion. Merrill was all sorts of shades of red and not much help. Isabela tried to push her mate further, but she was stoically resolved to sleep the night without touching either of them. At least too much. Merrill did have Hawke’s arm over her middle, so Isabela cuddled on her other side.
“Goodnight, Champion,” Isabela purred in a throaty voice. Hawke blushed in the middle of the bed as the pirate blew out the candles on the bedside table.

 

“Goodnight, Bela….” Hawke murmured. Merrill clutched her hand in the dark. Hawke’s heart went still when the elf placed her fingers along her side. Hawke gently clutched her, feeling comfortable. Isabela had even stopped trying to grope between her legs. A good thing too; she had shifted, and Hawke had to viably concentrate on keeping her lusts low so it wouldn’t stiffen further and be a problem.
“Goodnight.” Merrill’s sweet voice chirped in her ear. Hawke leaned to kiss her. Merrill’s lips grazed hers and Hawke fell onto her back, giving a soft gasp. Isabela giggled beside her and rubbed her tight abdominal muscles.

 

• * * * * * *

 

Hawke woke slowly, feeling heaviness stir between her thighs. She came to consciousness, sighing as heat slammed between her legs. A soft hand was caressing the turgid flesh, coaxing her to stiffness. Hawke sighed mentally as her eyes opened. Isabela. Her mate was kissing along her shoulders as her hand pumped her shaft firmly. Hawke grinned at her.
“Morning…” Isabela’s voice was throaty indicating what she wanted. Hawke’s hips tilted upward, pushing herself into her mate’s clever fingers.
“Morning…..” Hawke murmured before a new weight pressed against her left side and she panicked before registering Merrill’s soft sighs as she began to wake. Hawke froze, cock stiff and in Isabela’s hand, as Merrill kissed her neck, eyes fluttering open. She smiled and blushed, seeing what Isabela was doing beneath the Champion’s night shirt. “Bela!”
“It’s nothing we haven’t seen,” Isabela urged. Hawke fell onto her back, gasping as her mate kept up her slow torturous squeezing and gripping. Merrill buried her face in Hawke’s shoulder, blushing.

 

“She always wakes this way, doesn’t she?” Merrill asked shyly. Isabela nodded. The shared knowledge didn’t bother her, not when there was a flustered Champion to entice.
“Hard and ready to go,” Isabela purred. A blush spread through her upper body as she felt the heft and weight of her mate’s need.
Hawke looked like she was choking and trying to regain her dignity. “Could you….Bela….not now?”

“But we’re both with you, warm and needing you,” Isabela pouted. Was Hawke still going to play the old stubborn fool and not give in to her desires with both of them present? Did she really have a hang up of having them both in the same room?
Hawke winced with guilt as Merrill caressed her jawline with warm kisses. “I just…I’m sorry….maybe we could talk about it in the bath?”

 

Isabela brightened instead of wilting. Nudity would be required, and she was sure she could entice Hawke to drop her inhibitions and let them enjoy her. Flashing an aside glance at Merrill over Hawke’s prone body confirmed the elf was in just as much want and would be inclined to team up with her. In fact, it was shaping up to be a fine plan in her head. Merrill blushed but nodded.
Hawke didn’t notice and gently extricated her mate’s hand from her lap. She sat up, pushing the covers off of them.
“Okay…. I’ll draw the water. Ladies,” Hawke said gallantly. She crawled to the end of the bed to climb off with a bit of dignity intact. Merrill noted the bulge between her thighs and the way she gingerly moved because of it.

 

“Is she going to be okay? She may think we won’t want her in the same room with each other?” Merrill blushed. Isabela rolled closer and ran a friendly hand through Merrill’s short hair. It wasn’t sexual at all but affectionate and the elf smiled with relief at her friend.
“I trust you, Merrill. Do you trust me, kitten?” Isabela asked brightly. Merrill nodded, blushing. Isabela caressed her cheek and climbed off the bed. She pulled her shift off nonchalantly and headed toward the washroom. “Let’s see to Hawke’s bath, now.”
“Coming,” Merrill said, climbing off the bed quickly. In the doorway of the washroom, she was able to see Hawke’s reaction. Her eyes widened noting her mate’s bare flesh, and she swallowed hard. The bulge between her thighs stood at attention, poking out the fabric of her night shirt.
“Bela….” Hawke said hoarsely. Isabela sauntered closer, round hips swaying.

 

“Water looks good. Why don’t you get in?” Isabela purred. Hawke blinked and turned her curious gaze to Merrill. The elf was pulling off her own shift and her perky high breasts were capped with hardened nipples. She swallowed.
“I thought we were going to talk about all of this?” Hawke asked. Her words sounded weak to her own ears.
“We will,” Merrill said sweetly. She leaned to kiss her Champion’s cheek. Her hand ran down the play of muscle along Hawke’s back. Hawke couldn’t resist leaning to kiss her affectionately. Hawke groaned when Merrill snuck in a hint of her tongue. Heat slammed in Hawke’s face as she blushed.
“Oh, you’re tricksy today,” Hawke groaned.
Merrill tucked her head shyly against the Champion’s shoulder. “Well, not so much…”
“I think so...”

 

Isabela sauntered closer to Hawke, her round hips swaying. Hawke’s gaze roved up and down the lithe lines of her body, her eyes gleaming. Isabela knew she was having an effect; the hem of Hawke’s night shirt said it all. Isabela tutted her mate and took the hem of the shirt’s fabric between her dark fingers. She pulled up and tugged the shirt over her mate’s head. Hawke’s dark hair tousled with the quick disrobing, but it made her look far more striking in Isabela’s mind.
“Well, surely you won’t mind if we…take care of you,” Isabela purred. She darted a glance down; Hawke’s cock pointed upward to the ceiling and twitched at her words. She smiled.
“Uhm…we are talking….about just washing?” Hawke said weakly. Isabela gave a languid shrug. She had taken her choker off, but kept her wide earrings in. Her bandana was off, her dark hair loose around her shoulders. She was so beautiful, and Hawke’s eyes kept roving up and down her as they all slid into the in-ground tub.

 

When Merrill soaped up a rag and set to washing her back, Hawke shot her a grateful smile over her shoulder. Isabela noted how easily the two reacted toward each other in this setting and how familiar Merrill was with Hawke’s body as she washed her from behind, even sliding her fingers over Hawke’s scalp, working in shampoo to wash her hair. Hawke gave a low groan of appreciation and the sound vibrated through both women.
Not to be outdone, Isabela urged Hawke up a few of the steps so only her legs from the knees down were submerged. As Merrill took care of her back, and really, didn’t they look so familiar with the act, as if they’d had several baths together….
‘Don’t be jealous, Isabela, you were the one who left,’ she thought.

 

Isabela soaped up her own cloth and began at her lover’s collarbone, worked down her breasts and leaned forward to deliberately suck over her own mating mark.
Hawke shivered between them and Isabela noticed her cock stirring. Good. She met Merrill’s eyes over Hawke’s shoulder and the elf was bright red. She gave a small nod and Isabela trailed her kisses lower. Really, her goal was to head down south and take care of her mate’s problem, but along the way, the pirate couldn’t help lavishing attention along Hawke’s abdominal scars. Her muscles tightened with each kiss and lick and Isabela closed her eyes momentarily, feeling a surge of love make her heart throb. Then she got down to business and gently engulfed Hawke’s tip, giving small suckles as she worked her head up and down slowly.

 

Hawke was trapped, locked within her own lust, and at the first feel of her mate’s warm mouth, her hips arched off the step, leg muscles tensing. Isabela got so much pleasure from pleasuring her and it showed with each enthusiastic suck and slide along her length. Hawke was starting to enjoy herself, and the coy looks Isabela flashed up along her torso, until she remembered the elf behind her. Hawke panicked momentarily, worried Isabela’s wanton act would make her leave or feel she had to. But she was surprised when Merrill hugged her from behind, trailing her lips along her shoulder. Hawke tried to untense her back muscles, and Merrill’s soft hands ran along to calm her.
“Hmm….feels good….” Hawke murmured. She slid her fingers through her mate’s hair, urging her. She forced herself to hold still as Isabela engulfed her fully and pulled back to suckle on her head. Hawke leaned back against Merrill, sighing as she was pleasured. When Merrill leaned to kiss the side of her jaw, Hawke turned to capture her lips. They kissed slowly, breaking apart so Hawke could moan her pleasure. She was pushed steadily along by Isabela’s clever mouth.

 

Merrill nibbled on Hawke’s lower lip and sighed into her mouth. Her hands roamed all over Hawke’s upper torso, sliding over her breasts and shoulders, and along the broad expanse of her back. Isabela’s head bobbed in Hawke’s lap and Merrill’s gaze fell on a pocked scar on the back of Hawke’s left shoulder. In the three years Isabela had been gone, Hawke had gone to battle recklessly. It must have been shortly after it set in that Isabela was not coming back. Hawke had been so angry, and all the thugs of Kirkwall incurred her wrath.
In one occurrence, Merrill and Varric had come along to help on the beaches surrounding the city. A volley of arrows had been let loose at them and Merrill was shocked when Hawke jumped on top of her, shielding her. One arrow hit lucky, lobbing in between the space between breastplate and armor. Merrill had felt so guilty that she had tended Hawke’s wound herself and kept up with it. It let Hawke’s guard down enough that had led up to her attempt of seduction and to their first time.

 

And look where they were now. Hawke’s eyes gleamed with affection and love, even as her muscles tightened and she rode out the attention to her cock. Merrill caressed her Champion’s shoulders, soothing her with light touches as Isabela sucked down harder. Hawke cried out, hips raising off the step. Isabela clasped Hawke’s hips in her hands as she worked her mouth over her mate’s cock, swallowing as she came in harsh hot spurts.
Isabela pulled back and missed the next stream. Hawke slumped back into Merrill’s arms as the last spurts of her release streamed into the bathwater. Isabela wiped her mouth with the back of her wrist and gave her slumped mate a roguish grin.

 

“Now look, you dirtied the bathwater, Hawke. Lucky we were already clean,” she teased. Merrill giggled behind her. Hawke blushed and scrambled over the top of the tub. She grabbed up a towel, running it briskly over her naked body.
“S-shut up!” she blushed. Isabela climbed out of the bath, avoiding the floating flecks of white seed. Merrill took a towel from Hawke, but before any of them could approach her, the Champion tore into the bedchamber.
“Hawke?” Merrill called. There was a flurry of activity past the door.
“I…I’m going to help Aveline! Bye!” Hawke called. Isabela strolled naked to the bedchamber and propped a hand on her round hip.

 

“At least kiss us goodbye?” she scolded lightly. Hawke’s somewhat wild eyes met hers and she managed a nervous smile before darting out of the bedchambers. Bodahn met her on the other side of the door. Hawke waved him in with the breakfast tray and ran down the stairs.
Isabela sighed, toweling herself off, unperturbed with her nudity. Bodahn set the tray down and hightailed it out much in the same manner as his mistress.
Merrill wrapped her towel around her thin body and sat gingerly on the wide bed. “She didn’t have to leave…”

 

“I agree. When she shows back up tonight, we’re going to have to punish her about it,” Isabela’s grin was playful. Merrill smiled nervously.

 

o * * * * *

 

After getting dressed for the day, Isabela was shocked when Bodahn delivered another letter to her, claiming it had just arrived by messenger boy. She opened the letter quickly, and her fingers tensed on the parchment when she recognized Zevran’s handwriting. She took hold of Merrill’s wrist when she walked by and the elf looked at her curiously.
“What is it, Isabela? You look as if you’d seen a spirit!” Merrill wondered.
“I wish!” Isabela said. She shook the parchment, excitement and dread coiling through her body. “Zevran’s here ….with my pups. We need to go see them.”
It didn’t need to be said that she missed her boys. Zevran had to be at his wit’s end to take them all the way to meet her at Kirkwall. She had a feeling he needed Hawke’s help more than he wanted to admit.

 

“Oh, Maker’s breath, Hawke’s pups.” Merrill’s eyes were shining with love for her Champion. She couldn’t wait for Isabela to tell Hawke about them and she was going to meet them. “Hawke will be so happy!”
“After we deal with Zevran’s little problem, I hope so,” Isabela mused. She strapped her daggers to her back and waited for Merrill to fetch her mage’s staff. “He’s got a room at the Blooming Rose. It’d be just like him to.”
Isabela wasn’t necessarily worried about her sons being inside a brothel. They’d spent their lives up to date inside one, after all.
“Well, let’s go!” Merrill chirped. Isabela filled in the elf as they hurried to the brothel. Zevran had had a falling out with his assassin’s guild, the Crows. And the Crows didn’t take kindly to being dear-johnned. That or it could be that Zevran had slighted one of its members. Either way, they wanted his head on a pike, and he had her sons with him. Isabela couldn’t allow that to happen to her friend, particularly when he was caring for her sons.
Inside the main room of the Blooming Rose, Isabela asked the matron in charge where the rented rooms were and asked about a traveling elf.

 

“Oh, him. Here with two kids in tow. They’re in the room at the end of the hall on the second floor. Can’t miss it,” she said.
Isabela found herself bounding up the stairs, bypassing betas and alphas embracing their consorts for the hour. Finding the room, she knocked, and the door flashed open. Zevran’s grin was huge and he had his arms around her in a moment.
“Zev!” Isabela gasped, clasping him warmly. “Need I ask if you’re okay?”
“Oh, you know me. And I think someone’s missed you,” Zevran invited the two women in, glancing at Merrill curiously. Two small dark-skinned boys were seated at the room’s table, spoons in hand as they plucked at bowls of porridge. Even a dollop of syrup couldn’t entice them to try the bland gruel. But when their eyes alit upon their precious mother, both boys yelped and scampered down.

 

“Mama!” Falcon called, sprinting. Lark beat him, hopping up to hug his mother’s waist. Falcon grabbed her leg with all his might.
“Boys!” Isabela’s eyes shone with joy and she held her arms out. The twins colliding into her arms made her tumble to her backside to the floor, but Isabela went with it, falling to her back and hugging her children tight. “Oh, I missed you!”
It was when Falcon and Lark’s heads raised so they could babble about the ship ride to the city that Isabela noticed their hair was combed and they were dressed in fine clothing. She grinned at Zevran across the room.
“You did well by my pups,” she complimented. She then noticed how dressy his outfit was and tossed a bone his way. “And yourself, Zev.”
“Why, thank you.” Zevran etched a low bow and adjusted the embroidered sleeves of his tunic. “It tickles my fancy and makes me feel like a sir.”

 

“Oh you,” Isabela grinned. She sat up, both boys in her arms and kissed one face then the other again and again. “Boys, I need you to stay here and be good awhile longer. Merrill?”
Merrill nodded, getting where Isabela was going. “I’ll watch them, Isabela. Hi, Falcon, Lark.”
The twins stared at the elf mage curiously. “Who are you?” Falcon made out.
“She’s your Auntie Merrill,” Isabela said, and Merrill found she liked the title. “Uncle Zevran is coming with me to handle something so you’ll both be good for her. Then we’ll all go home.”
“Home? Across the water?” Lark wondered. He and Falcon flashed a worried look.
“No, our new home here.” Isabela’s eyes were serious. “When we return, I’ll have your papa with me.”

 

The boys brightened, wriggling against her legs. “Our papa’s here?!”
Merrill’s eyes filled with tears. Only a few years old and Hawke’s pups wanted her desperately. She wondered what kind of life they had had before Isabela came back to the city. Even without a sire, they had been well cared for. Isabela had made sure of that.
“Yes,” Isabela soothed. “She is. She’ll be…so happy to see you.” Her eyes met Merrill’s and there was a desperate light in them. Merrill understood her plight. Even after reuniting her love affair with Hawke and being mated to her, the matter of her children hadn’t been addressed. Merrill felt sorry for her friend, for even if Hawke loved her pirate dearly, Merrill hoped she would after the day’s events panned out.
Zevran caught abit of Isabela’s desperation and gently took her elbow. “It’ll be alright, darling pirate queen. If your mate is anything like you told me, all will be well.” Isabela knew he said this for her pup’s benefit, but she wished bitterly it were so.

 

Isabela sighed. “Come, Zevran. We’ve got to take care of your problem. Believe me, even I would feel guilty should anything happen to you.”
“My thanks, darling,” Zevran grinned.
Alone in the room, Merrill made sure to lock the door and she sat on the bed. Hawke’s sons wandered up slowly, whispering together in hushed tones. Finally, Falcon plucked up his courage and looked up into the elf’s face.
“You know our papa?” he asked. Merrill nodded. She combed a careful hand through the boy’s dark brown hair.
“Yes, I do.”

 

“C’n you tell us a story bout her?!” Lark asked excitedly. His small hand clutched the fabric at Merrill’s waist. She laughed.
“Course I will, da’len!” as Merrill set to entertaining the wide-eyed pups with tales of their valiant papa, she hoped Hawke would be back soon with Isabela.

 

* * * * * *

 

When Hawke had been sent for in the guardsman barracks, she came all eager smiles and was happy to see her mate. A quick hug and kiss had to suffice because she had an elf in her wake. And when Isabela explained, Hawke found herself not liking the situation at all.
“This is Zevran, my sweet thing. Remember, the one who….took care of my husband for me? He’s been a dear friend to me for years. He’s come to Kirkwall to ask my help and yours, in a matter of elimination,” Isabela said smoothly. She trailed her fingers along the exposed skin of Hawke’s forearm where her tunic sleeve had been rolled up. Hawke tried to greet the elf amicably enough, but there was something in his smile she didn’t like. As he spoke, heaping flowery praise on HER mate, Hawke seethed. He was a smarmy beta and he spoke as if he were familiar with her Isabela! In fact, the memory of her first time with Isabela swarmed back uncomfortably and she remembered Isabela’s soft words over the assassin who had dispatched her cruel husband. They had slept together. Knowing Isabela, of course they had. Hawke scowled, jealousy burning through her stomach.
Aveline harrumphed across the room. “By way of ‘elimination’, you mean assassination.”

 

Zevran shrugged, not put off by Aveline’s stoic code of morals. “I suppose you are right, dear lady.”
“I’m not your ‘dear lady’,” Aveline snapped. “That’s Captain Aveline to you.”
“Aye, Captain,” Zevran grinned, trying to pour on the charm. Hawke could have smacked him in the head for her friend. Senseless flirting never did well with Aveline.
“What did you need help with exactly?” Hawke groused. Zevran scratched his neck.
“Right. Well, I could use your sword arm. And maybe ten guardsmen. See, I used to run with the Crows….and well, I’m not with them anymore…”

 

“So you skipped your guild and now they want you dead. Great,” Aveline sighed. “Must we protect every ex-lover of yours, Rivaini?”
Zevran laughed and Hawke scowled as Isabela blushed, looking away. It wasn’t like she could deny it and her silence told Hawke the truth.
“Fine. Let’s get this over with,” Hawke said. Isabela trailed after her irate mate, her heart in her stomach. She and Zevran flashed a look and Aveline went to roust her guardsmen. They would meet the trio at the meeting place on the beaches outside of Kirkwall.

 

o * * ** *

 

“For the last time! Hand him over!”
“And for the last time, that’s not happening,” Isabela scoffed. Hawke drew her broad sword over her shoulder and readied her stance. The confrontation was already coming to a head and Aveline and her back-up hadn’t even arrived. Seagulls cawed overhead, and waves crashed upon the nearby beach. The scenery was pleasant, but the meeting belied the nice surroundings.
“My thanks, Isabela,” Zevran soothed. Hawke grit her teeth. She focused on the Crow in front of her as the assassins drew weapons and charged them. She sliced the first man in half and charged, slamming her armored shoulder into the second, knocking him across the sand with the impact of the blow. She could hear Zevran laughing in her peripheral and darting a quick glance told Hawke her mate was okay. She was a whirlwind fighting with her daggers and Hawke knew how sharp she kept them.

 

Hawke would have been content to take a few prisoner, but the Crows wouldn’t relent. So, bodies were tossed to and fro across the sand, limbs sliced off at random. Bright red blood scattered across the sand. Zevran laughed as he wiped his blade on the tunic of a fallen body.
“Champion, I can’t thank you enough. They’ll no longer be a thorn in my side,” Zevran said happily. He straightened, flashing a grin but Hawke just glowered at him.
“Yeah. Fine. Good,” Hawke said in a surly tone. Isabela recognized the look as the end of patience. Anything said wrong could break her temper in the next moment. Isabela inhaled sharply.
“Zevran…” she warned. But Zevran didn’t heed her hard look. He sheathed his blade and ran a hand through his blond bangs.

 

“Really, I was kind of worried for a moment there! But Champion Hawke here, what an arm! Hey, we should celebrate…. Maybe one last turn for old times sake?” Zevran grinned at her and Isabela blanched. Hawke was steaming a few yards away. Before she could speak up, for anyone’s sake, Hawke was stalking across the sand. She charged right up to Zevran, getting in his personal space and snarling in his face.
“You will NOT be having a turn with her. She’s MY MATE, don’t you fucking touch her!” she snapped. Zevran paled and held his palms up in front of his face. His beta instincts commanded him to obey, and obey he did.
“I….I’m sorry…..I wouldn’t….I know she’s your mate….”

 

“MINE!” Hawke snarled. She grabbed Zevran by the shoulder and shoved him to his knees. One hand grabbed at the waistline of his trousers, yanking, as her other hand went to her fly. “But you don’t care about that, do you?! Well, I’ll show you!”
Zevran grunted as he was shoved to his face in the sand. His hands scrambled for purchase, but he finally went as limp as he could, surrendering to his beta instincts. He could hear Isabela gasping nearby but he focused on not drowning in the alpha’s lusts. When she shoved inside, the muscles of his anus trembled around her length. He groaned and beat one fist on the sand as he surrendered, feeling small pockets of lust through the forceful joining.

 

Hawke slammed in and out of him, concentrating on shoving her dominant aura in and through him. As she worked to a hard and fast climax, Hawke was dimly aware of the clanging of armor as Aveline and her guardsmen arrived on the beach. A few of the guardsmen cheered her on as Aveline was yelling something faintly. In her lust-addled brain, Hawke couldn’t understand what she was saying.
“Hawke! For the love of….HAWKE!”
“Teehee! Champion tops all!”
“Shut up, Brennan!”

 

Riding the harsh thrusts, Zevran worked a hand inside his trousers and tugged at his own cock. It was stiff and excited due to the attention to his other end and he squeezed, howling his pleasure. He began to tremble, seed shooting from his erection into his palm as he moved to accommodate the Champion stretching him open.
Hawke shot her load inside the still body under her and groaned. She cast a glance over at her mate through her sweaty bangs. Isabela didn’t look mad, in fact, she almost looked hot and bothered. Hawke flashed her an alpha roguish grin and withdrew from Zevran’s ass, her seed dripping out of the well-used hole. The elf groaned, hand coming out of his trousers as he eased onto his side on the sand and Hawke had a flash of sympathy for him. But when her eyes fell onto her mate again, Hawke didn’t cast him another thought.

 

“Did you have to do that, Hawke?!” Aveline was screeching. She knelt to help the stunned elf off the sand. He spat out a mouthful and shuddered. Aveline grit her teeth and let the elf lean on her as he tried to yank his trousers back up, to cover his seed-lined rear.
“Now I know why you chose her, Isabela. What a forward….performance…. oh wow…” Zevran’s eyes got a glassy dreamy look and Aveline sighed, letting him lean on her. Hawke adjusted her trousers, tucking herself away and re-lacing. She sniffed in the beta’s direction, her indifference heightening her alpha pheromones. Despite the hard fucking, and of someone else, Isabela couldn’t deny her body was reacting to her mate’s aggressive show. She surged forward, scraping her fingers through her mate’s short hair, running through the sweaty strands to cup her jaw and pull her down to press kisses along her face.

 

Hawke gave a low smirk and accepted the attention her mate showered upon her. Her hand clutched the small of her mate’s back possessively, and Aveline sighed with disgust as her hand went lower and cupped the full swell of the pirate’s ass.
“Shall we get going?” Aveline snapped. Zevran took small mincing steps beside her, wincing. Hawke scratched the side of her jaw idly.

 

“Fine,” she said. But she couldn’t help grinning like a fool with her mate plastered against her side.

 

• * * * * **

 

The closer they got to the Blooming Rose, the more nervous Isabela became. Hawke had at first protested. Why the heck were they walking Zevran back to his room anyways? It wasn’t like any of the Crows were left to retaliate. Isabela finally admitted Merrill was guarding something in Zevran’s rented room. To put it mildly. Zevran, sensing a fly in the pudding over the predicament, kept quiet. Hawke didn’t know about her pups. And he’d leave it to Isabela.
The closer they got, the more Isabela pressed against her mate’s side, at last ducking under Hawke’s arm, throwing her own around the Champion’s waist. Hawke took the walking embrace, happy to be close. Isabela ducked her head against Hawke’s shoulder, whispering how much she loved her.

 

“I know you love me, Bela,” Hawke purred. The door of the brothel was up ahead. Isabela’s heart dropped to her feet seeing the honest smile on her Champion’s lips. “I love you too, beloved…..”
“Do you know? That it’s always been you?” Isabela paused, taking Hawke’s hands in hers. Hawke had tucked her gloves into her sword belt, so Isabela kissed her bare hands tenderly. Hawke’s eyes were soft with love.
“I do know, Bela. I love you so much. What’s gotten into you? I’m not going anywhere,” Hawke swore. Isabela’s heart cracked at that.
“Promise me, please don’t leave,” Isabela murmured. Hawke leaned to kiss her lips sweetly.
“I’m with you,” she whispered. Isabela wrapped her arms around her neck and held on. “Stop worrying, my love….”

 

But as the party stepped foot into the Blooming Rose, Isabela’s worry mounted higher and higher.
Aveline stepped in, grimacing at the rowdy patrons and prostitutes mingling in the common room of the brothel. But she was steadfast to see Zevran back to his room at least and helped him limp up the stairs. Isabela’s feet were heavy, even though she did want to see her sons again. Hawke strolled proudly beside her, unaware of what was about to happen. Outside the room, Aveline made to step aside and Zevran leaned against the doorframe. He rapped shortly, and Isabela called out.
“It’s us, Merrill!” she said. Hawke perked. Well, they’d all go home together. Her heart was glad until the door burst open and Merrill had two small boys by the hands. They cried out and ran to latch onto her mate.

 

“Mama!” they cried, and Hawke was shocked, utterly dismayed to note their skin tone was the same as Isabela’s. Her dark hair, her complexion; they looked very much like her and Hawke felt like she’d been hit in the gut. She staggered, her mind whirling.
“Bela?” she whispered, her throat dry. Isabela’s eyes were wide with fear and worry. She patted her children, trying to calm them.
By that point Hawke’s gaze had fallen on Zevran, who was smiling fondly at the twin boys. His! First, he’d had Isabela and now they’d had children together? He was far more to Isabela than an “old friend!” She’d been lied to!
Hawke didn’t respond when Isabela took her hands in hers. Tears welled in her eyes and sobs clogged her throat as she stared with naked hurt at her mate. “I can’t….. with him… his?!” she croaked. Isabela clung to Hawke’s shoulders, trying to pull her close. Hawke stepped back.

 

“No!” Isabela got out. Her fingers dug into Hawke’s shoulders. “They’re not his…no…. they’re yours.”
Hawke stared at her, aghast. She had never serviced any of Isabela’s heats, so that knotting had eluded their relationship so far. More lies! “No…..we never…”
“It was when you were gone to the world, Champion,” Zevran tried to explain. Isabela scraped her palm over her face.
“Zev, please, let me explain!”
Merrill felt her heart tearing as the pups, confused, tugged at their mother’s legs, trying to get her attention, tears spilling down their cheeks. Their mother was upset and there wasn’t anything they could do to help. Hawke’s lip quivered. If there was ever a scenario to upset her world, this was it. If Isabela had had children…..her heart broke over that. Well, if she had, she needn’t lie about it! The subterfuge could destroy them….

 

“She told me, Hawke….they are yours. Just look at them!” Merrill insisted. She set a hand on Falcon’s head, and Lark reached for her free hand.
Hawke stood crying, shaking her head. Isabela clung to her neck, pulling her down in half a hug, fighting Hawke’s natural strength and her want to pull away. Isabela’s heart was breaking. Hawke had no idea what she was asking when she’d ask her not to leave! And she was going to!
“They are yours….you have to believe me!” Isabela sobbed. Hawke stared sadly at her, shaking her head.

 

Aveline sighed, rounding the corner. Isabela and company were riling up the hallway and the brothel owner had asked her to settle the affair before she left. She stalked closer, curious as to why Hawke and Isabela were crying, and why two dark-skinned boys were at Merrill’s side, crying out for their mama and reaching for Isabela.
“Quiet!” Aveline called. She sighed as the fighting cascaded to white noise and Hawke’s ragged exhales. “What IS all the fuss about?”
By this point, the captain had had a good look at the twin boys. She darted a glance from them to Isabela. “What HAVE you done this time, slattern?”
Isabela didn’t even care about the insult, clutching Hawke’s jaw in her hands, bringing their brows to press together.
Hawke winced. “Don’t….don’t call her that….”

 

That small gesture uplifted Isabela’s heart with useless joy. Useless if Hawke chose to leave anyway, that small ray of light could very well destroy her as well as her lie…..
“Well, what is going on? Well, they DO look like you, Hawke. If you squint just right,” Aveline said in wonder. She raised an eyebrow, getting the scene. Wisely, she bowed out of the conversation. If this was between her friend and her pirate whore, she’d have to stand aside.
Hawke looked again through blurry eyes. The boys were finely dressed in small tunics and trousers, and their dark brown hair was combed carefully. Probably by Merrill while they were gone. Her girlfriend’s hand in that helped Hawke to look again. They did look so like Isabela, but also….those green eyes had to have come from her. Zevran’s eyes weren’t green…. And looking closer, she didn’t see the any sharp points to their ears. They were as rounded as hers and Isabela’s.

 

Hawke’s lip trembled with impotent hope as she looked down into her mate’s eyes. “Truly? Are they?....” she asked, daring to hope against all hope.
Isabela nodded, tears rolling down her cheeks. “That night….when you had collapsed from your wounds….”
“How did you….” Hawke had to laugh in her head. Of course Isabela could turn her body on even while she was unconscious. “That doesn’t matter. They’re really mine?”
At this point, Falcon left Merrill’s side to bravely stand before the Champion of Kirkwall. His wide green eyes made out the elaborate armor and the Hawke family crest etched into the breastplate. “Are you our papa?” he asked plaintively. His sweet voice brought tears to Hawke’s eyes.
She looked to Isabela who nodded. Hawke knelt down and looked the boy in the face.

 

“Yes, I am.” She said. Falcon grinned and gestured to his brother. Lark darted forward, and the two boys didn’t throw their arms around her, not yet. They patted her sides and armor with small clever fingers, fascinated. Hawke surprised herself by wrapping both of them in a hug. When she felt their small bodies warm against her, tears streaked down her cheeks.
Lark wriggled happily. “Don’t be sad!” he encouraged. Hawke sniffled against his head.
“I’m not….I’m very happy you’re here. I’m sorry I wasn’t there,” she croaked. Falcon wrapped an arm around her neck.
“Well, you’re here now!” he. insisted. Hawke darted a look up to her mate. She smiled tenderly.
“Yes, I am….”

 

Isabela turned aside, covering her mouth with her hand and to try and hide the fat tears in her eyes. Her face was already tear-streaked. Merrill reached to take her hand gently.
Aveline sighed. “Well….this day is just full of surprises.”

 

“You’re not wrong,” Merrill agreed. Seeing the tears on her Champion’s face and the smiles Hawke had for sons she didn’t know she had filled her with joy.

 

• * * * * * *

 

The trip to the Hawke estate was full of chatter and the boy’s seemingly endless questions. Hawke was happy to answer them, and she found her heart growing fuller with each smile. Isabela was absurdly grateful when Hawke took her arm as they walked, showing her affection. She smiled at her, but there was also a depth of sadness in her mate’s eyes. Isabela swallowed.
“I….I should have told you sooner…” Isabela whispered. Hawke raised her hand; she kissed the back of it as they walked. Lark was on her left side, fisting the hem of her tunic with one small hand, and Falcon was content to hold Merrill’s hand.
“Later… my love, I do love you,” Hawke whispered, and Isabela was absurdly happy to hear the note of desperation. So, she wasn’t the only one who had despaired.
Isabela nodded, rubbing her wrist across her eyes. “I’ll tell you anything you want to know.”

 

“Wow, is this home?” Falcon asked when they came to the door of the Hawke estate. Hawke rapped and Bodahn answered, seemingly surprised at the addition of the estate dwellers.
“Mistress Hawke?” he asked. Hawke gestured, and lead the awestruck boys in by the hand. She flashed a genuine grin to her servant.
“These are my sons, Bodahn. Boys, this is Bodahn. Orana?” she called. The elven maid set down a pile of linen and came to the entry way, also shocked to silence.
“Well, you two certainly always have a surprise for us!” Orana made out, getting by looks whose children they were. Isabela blushed. She ruffled Lark’s hair who was staring at his papa with awe.
“They’re Falcon and Lark,” Merrill chirped. Falcon took her hand, seemingly shy as they entered the main room of the estate. Their wide eyes took in the rich surroundings.
“It’s so…big!” Falcon admitted in a hushed whisper. His brother agreed, and Hawke felt a surge of protectiveness rush through her aura. She noted how easy it was to shift to affection to the twins.

 

“And it’s your home too. Shall we pick out a bedroom?” Hawke asked. Lark nodded, and Falcon grinned shyly.
Once upstairs, the three adults poked into the nearby bedrooms down the hall from the master’s bedchamber. Hawke settled on one that had two small beds that were side by side. “This will do, what do you think, Bela?”
Isabela’s heart was full to bursting. Hawke’s want to house their children didn’t seem like something she was required to do. She WANTED to do it.
“It’s lovely, sweet thing,” she whispered. The soft look Hawke shot her filled her with stupid hope.
“But we always sleep with Mama,” Falcon piped up. Lark nodded.
“Will we really be in here?” he wanted to know. Hawke’s heart hurt for the boys. They were in a strange house with a new sire, and they’d always been close to her mate.
“Well, we should all room up in the master’s chambers. Until you’re ready to brave this room alone. Okay?” Hawke suggested. The boys squealed and rushed to hug her. Hawke felt her heart lurch, as if it were too big for her chest.

 

“That sounds fine,” Merrill piped up. The boys looked confused, but Isabela was sure they wouldn’t mind bunking with all of them. Looks like anything physical would be off the table for the next little while. But right now, where it mattered for her small family, Isabela didn’t care.
Dinner was a loud and interesting affair. Hawke poured wine for the adults, and Merrill cut the boy’s meat for them. When Hawke tore off a huge chunk of her lamb leg with her teeth, she was startled to see the twins follow her example, even though they got grease all over their small hands. She was oddly touched.
Giving two small children a bath really wasn’t a farfetched task for Hawke. She remembered helping her mother bathe Bethany and Carver….the linked memory made her chest hurt, but she liked the bright smiles of the carefree boys. HER sons. Hawke cast a look across the washroom to her mate. Isabela still looked nervous, afraid of being bawled out for her omission. Hawke’s heart bled for her, but her hurt wouldn’t go away at the snap of a finger.

 

“Merrill, can you tuck the boys into our bed and start a story? I need to talk to Bela….” Hawke whispered to her girlfriend as they dried the twins off briskly with large towels.
Merrill nodded. She wrestled both into spares of Hawke’s tunics. They would have to do for night clothes until a tailor was called over to make clothes for them. Falcon laughed as his sire’s tunic fell over his feet easily. Lark’s head erupted out of the neck hole and he giggled.
“Where are you going, Papa?” Falcon asked innocently. Hawke ran a comb through his damp hair.
“To talk to Mama. We’ll be right in and we’ll all sleep together,” Hawke promised. Lark nodded, his eyes shining.
“Your bed is BIG!” he exclaimed. Merrill giggled.
Hawke met Isabela at the washroom door. She set the pile of towels down out of her mate’s hands and put her hands on her waist, steering her down the hall. In a spare room, Hawke let her mate in, and shut the door. Isabela’s hands fluttered, nervous and more than a little guilty.

 

Hawke watched her with still sad eyes. “I’m not going to stop loving you, Bela. Please don’t look like that.”
Isabela gave a sigh of relief. When she ducked her head against Hawke’s breast, she was happy when those strong arms went around her. “I’m so sorry. I didn’t know…I was just a mess….”
“You had our boys all by yourself. You took care of them. You are so strong, my love,” Hawke whispered. She ran a hand through Isabela’s dark hair. “But why didn’t you bring them to me? If you just showed up with them, and EXPLAINED, I wouldn’t have cared. I would have been so happy to welcome you! To welcome them….”
“I…I know that now….I’m so sorry…” tears spilled down Isabela’s cheeks. Hawke held her tightly, feeling the hurt in her heart assuaged in Isabela’s embrace. “After I left….I just thought you’d never want to see me again. I did leave you first.”
“That hurt,” Hawke admitted. “I thought you hated me.”

 

“I left because I loved you,” Isabela murmured. She ran a hand over her mate’s bite mark through her tunic. “I didn’t want to mess up your life. Any more than I had….”
“You’re not messing anything up. Every choice I made concerning you since we’ve met I made of my own free will,” Hawke insisted. She tilted a finger under Isabela’s chin and raised her face up to meet hers. “I’d fight the Arishok all over again for you. That was my choice. I did it to free you.”
“But…”
Hawke pressed small tender kisses across her mate’s face. When she settled along Isabela’s lips, the pirate kissed her fiercely. Hawke wrapped her arms around her tightly. Their bodies pressed tightly as they exchanged slow heated kisses that shook with the vestiges of love.
“I’m sorry…” Isabela murmured again. Hawke pinched her ass. Isabela yelped.

 

“You keep saying that, I’ll take it out of your ass,” she warned. A teasing light was in Hawke’s eyes. Isabela gave a lopsided smile.
“I still am. I should have brought your sons to you sooner…..”
“But you did. And we’re all staying here,” Hawke promised. Isabela pressed her brow to Hawke’s, giving a tentative smile. The next kiss Hawke gave her blossomed slowly and filled them with hope.

 

End for now

Chapter Text

----Waking up----

 

Sleeping with her mate, girlfriend and two small boys turned out to be a lot more relaxing than Hawke thought. Lark and Falcon fell asleep rather easily after a pair of bedtime stories. After a kiss to her mate and girlfriend, Hawke curled up round Falcon.
Now, Hawke could hear giggling as she slowly began to come to consciousness. She listened good and hard, recognizing the sound as one of her sons.
Then she could hear Isabela tutting them, not realizing she was awake. “Boys, calm down! Don’t wake your papa….”
Hawke slit one eye open and tickled Lark. The boy squealed and fell onto his back, small legs kicking. “Maaaaaa, she’s awake!”
Isabela smiled indulgently at her mate. Hawke sat up yawning, scraping a hand through her short dark hair.

 

“You two sure get up early,” she said, but she held her arm out, letting Falcon ease into a hug. Hawke yawned widely.
Isabela smiled indulgently at her and winked. “They were excited to wake up here. You wouldn’t believe….how much they wanted….”
Hawke touched her mate’s cheek, fingers trailing down to her bare neck. It touched her that Isabela took off her choker to go to bed now. It said a lot more of how she had changed around her.
“I know, Bela,” she said softly. She knew what Isabela was eluding to. The boys, who had lived their small lives without a father, had always wanted to meet her. Hawke couldn’t stop the surge of love that flared through her breast. She looked around the master’s bed chamber. “Where’s Merrill?”
Falcon giggled as Hawke lifted him easily in one strong arm. “To get something,” he confided. Hawke suddenly knew what and smiled, confidant.

 

Before Isabela could ask, the door opened, and Merrill sidled in, her slim body wrapped in a dressing robe that obviously belonged to Hawke; it hung onto her small frame loosely. She had a tray in her arms and carefully set it on the mattress. On it was a small teapot, two cups with saucers, and a few random biscuits for the boys. Hawke was touched as Merrill poured her a cup and handed the tea over. Hawke waited until the boys were given the biscuits and Merrill had her own cup and clinked her drinkware against hers.
Isabela raised an eyebrow. The ease Merrill settled in with tea for her mate spoke that they had had this apparent morning ritual before. When Hawke’s green eyes raised to her, questioning, Isabela ducked into the bedside table. She pulled out a flask and took a long swallow.

 

“Cheers, you two,” she said jovially, as the whiskey made a pleasant burning trail down her throat. Hawke grinned at her, glad Isabela was easing Merrill into their family.
“Is Bodahn bringing breakfast?” Hawke asked Merrill. She nodded and broke up a piece of biscuit for Lark. He accepted the piece and chewed happily. Hawke looked around the bed, watching her mate, girlfriend and sons. She had no idea she even had children and she was suddenly gifted with two. She gave Isabela a loving look and the pirate blushed.

 

‘Thank you,’ she mouthed. Isabela ruffled Falcon’s hair, giving her a sultry wink.

 

• * * * * * * *

-------‘Take your pups to work day’-----

 

“This is where you do work, Papa?” Falcon asked. Lark stuck his thumb in his mouth, shyly holding onto Hawke’s hand. Hawke nodded, casting a look down to the boys. She told Isabela she wanted to bring the boys to the guardsmen barracks and show them off to the men and women. And Aveline would do good knowing she was settling in with her full family.
“Yup! I’m Champion, but I do like to help Auntie Aveline with some tasks from time to time. I supply a good sword arm and muscle,” Hawke explained. Most of this flew over Falcon’s head, but at ‘sword arm,’ he stared down at his skinny limb, pouting.
“Papa? Can I be strong too?” he asked softly. Hawke’s heart thudded in her chest. She nodded.
“Of course, you can! We’ll get started on that soon. Come on, boys.”
The guardsman on duty at the front double doors did a double take and gave a short bow to the Champion.

 

“I heard you had a family, but wow!” he said in awe. Hawke smirked proudly, holding her boys by the hand. Hawke had sent for a tailor and had new fine clothing sewn up for the twins a few days ago. She had paid double to have them done within a day, so her sons wouldn’t wear out the outfits they’d arrived in. Isabela pressed her hip against her mate’s as they walked in and Hawke flashed her a happy grin. Knocking at Aveline’s door, Isabela walked in first, causing Aveline to groan.
But when she saw their children, Aveline caught her mood and greeted the twins. “You didn’t say you’d be bringing them by,” she said to Hawke with surprise. Hawke smiled.
“I thought they’d like to see me spar abit. Maybe you too, Captain.”
“I’d be pleased,” Aveline said, smiling.
Lark let go of his papa’s hand and wandered around the big desk. He stared up at the red-headed woman, eyes tracing over the details of her armor. “You’re our auntie too?” he asked, awestruck. Aveline nodded, flashing a pleased look to Hawke.

 

“Maybe not in the same way as your Auntie Merrill, but I’ll protect you all the same,” Aveline said. Lark grinned and dashed to his brother. They giggled together.
Hawke rolled her shoulders, armor clinking. She cast a roguish grin to her mate as she led her family to the sparring area. The guardsmen and women snapped to attention and Hawke pointed to one young man to strap on his armor and ready himself. Aveline selected blunted swords and Hawke smiled her thanks. After saluting the sweating young man, Hawke parried his strike and charged him suddenly. Her armored shoulder slammed into his breastplate and the young man almost lost his balance. He faltered, boots scrambling, and got his footing. With Hawke so close, he chose to try a melee strike, slamming his gauntlet into her chest. Hawke grunted at the impact and side-stepped, raising her sword between them.

 

An outraged cry rang in her ears and Hawke barely had time to blink when two small blurs rushed past her. Lark jumped up and tackled the guardsman’s waist, and Falcon grabbed his leg, both wailing with fury. The surprised man dropped his blade on reflex and fell to his knees, holding his hands up. He began to sweat as the boys wrestled him down, hissing at him. Hawke barked a laugh and set her blade down. She knelt down and patted her knee.
“Papa’s okay, boys. Come see,” she said. Falcon gave the man a punch on his side, and Lark kicked him to boot. They scampered off and stopped shyly in front of their sire. Hawke’s smile assured them, and the boys smiled. Their sire looked fine, and they’d gotten a few hits in on the supposed aggressor. Isabela covered her mouth, grinning. Aveline sighed.

 

“Well, they do have your spirit, pirate,” she conceded. Isabela’s gaze was fond.
“They sure do,” she said. Hawke winked at her mate and blew her a kiss. Isabela blushed.

 

• * * * * * *

 

---Following in Papa’s footsteps----

After the boy’s bath after dinner, Hawke sat in a corner of the kitchen, carving tools and knife in hand. Orana turned down the lantern and set the washed dishes into the pantry. She smiled at her mistress and left her to her task.
Hawke hummed under her breath as she carved. Her boys had expressed interest in learning swordplay and she could get them started on exercises at least. Falcon was a boy after her own heart, so a longsword fashioned to a child’s hand would be his weapon. It would be one-handed since she intended to carve a wooden shield to match. Hawke had a feeling Lark had more of Isabela’s style in him, so he would receive a pair of wooden daggers.

 

Hawke was very happy, listening to her servant’s muffled speech from the other room, and Bodahn’s son humming nonsense. The light was low in the kitchen and the room still smelled of spices and the evening meal. Hawke was so intent on her task she barely heard the kitchen door push open. Hawke looked up as Isabela stood over her.
“What are you doing, Hawke?” she asked, bemused. Hawke smiled and showed her the outline of the wooden weapons.
“Making practice blades for the boys. They can learn to hold their own, same as us,” Hawke said. Isabela sat on the tiles beside her mate and leaned her head on her shoulder.
“I hoped you would take to your role, but I shouldn’t have worried. You’re one in a million, sweet thing,” Isabela murmured. A delighted blush spread across Hawke’s cheeks.
“Bela….”
“Are you coming to bed? The boys are falling asleep,” Isabela teased. Hawke tilted her chin up and leaned to kiss her.
“Soon. I want to get a good start on these, so they can have them tomorrow.” Hawke’s eyes gleamed with excitement. Isabela patted her thigh.

 

“Don’t stay up too late,” Isabela said. Hawke nodded. She bent back to her task. She worked so diligently that Hawke was startled to notice the last lantern in the kitchen dim low and almost sputter out. It must be very late, for the rest of the manor was darkened and the front door locked up tight, and the servants had gone to bed.
Hawke set the wooden blades aside and put her carving tools into the pantry drawer. She tiptoed back through the dining hall and toward the staircase. Hawke sidled into the master’s bedchamber and felt her way to the bed. Soft breathing filled the air and Hawke patted the figure closest to her. Merrill, with a small bundle on her chest. Hawke undressed down to her under shirt and climbed deftly over Merrill’s feet toward the middle of the bed. She was touched when Merrill rolled toward her, kissing her shoulder.
“Hawke?” she whispered. Hawke kissed her temple.

 

“I’m here. Go to sleep, sweetling,” she urged. One of her sons curled between them, fisting the collar of Hawke’s shirt. She put her hand over his and settled on her back, closing her eyes.

 

• * * * * * * *

 

--------“A gift”----

Hawke must have been at ease, for she woke with a longing for her mate and girlfriend. A child’s giggle filled the air and Hawke told herself to be patient. She’d have to grab the opportunity and sneak in some alone time. Falcon and Lark were talking quietly under the blankets and perked when they felt her shift on the mattress. Hawke greeted her children and ruefully thought of the room she’d picked out for them. Maybe they could be talked into sleeping in there, so she could get some time with Isabela and Merrill. A subtle pounding ached between Hawke’s legs as she sat up and was glomped on both sides.
Merrill woke up, yawning. She stretched on her side. Isabela was stroking her thigh but let up with their sons conscious.
After breakfast, Hawke took her carving to the manor study, intent on finishing. It was well after lunch when she called Falcon and Lark over.

 

“What is it?” Falcon asked seriously. Hawke grinned. She uncovered the longsword and small round shield and the boy yelped happily. She held the long sword out, hilt first, for her son to take.
“I’ll start teaching you both how to be stronger. These are for you.”
Falcon stared, entranced with his find.
“And for Lark, a pair of daggers. Your mom can teach you a thing or two as well about how she uses hers,” Hawke said. Lark’s eyes were huge. He smiled. He clutched the wooden daggers in both small hands.
“Really, Papa?” he asked. Hawke ruffled his hair.
“Before we begin, let’s do stretches. Come on.”

 

Hawke began her sit-ups for the day, smiling as her pups tried to keep up. At this point with them so small, just trying was a good start. They sat up rapidly, form off, trying to match her pace. After stretching her legs, watching Falcon and Lark try to match her, Hawke led the twins to the back garden through the kitchen door. Orana was stirring something on the oven and smiled. Falcon carried his sword and shield proudly, and Lark stared down at the wooden daggers in his hands. There was a dummy stuffed with straw beside a large tree her mother had said was shorter when she was a girl.
Hawke adjusted Falcon’s shield on his skinny left arm, and put her hand over his tiny fist, helping him raise his wooden sword in a ready stance. Nodding, Hawke moved to Lark, helping adjust his wrists and posture. Hawke ambled to the side of the building, where a two-handed wooden sparring weapon waited. She shouldered its heft easily, and stood before her small pups, readying the weapon.

 

“Okay, boys. Go on, attack!” She parried their small thrusts easily, letting them slam the wooden weapons against her own. Out of the corner of her eye, Hawke saw her mate and Merrill poke out of the kitchen door, watching. As the boys stopped after several moments of hard whacking, panting for breath, Hawke knelt beside them. She tickled their chins, getting a laugh and nodded.
“A good offense is very decisive.”
“What’s decisive?” Lark piped up. Sweat glistened on his brow. Hawke ruffled his hair.
“It means a very good choice,” she said. “And you both are starting off well. We should do exercises most every day if we can help it. I intend to get you both up to strength.”
Falcon and Lark beamed at each other, puffing out their chests.
“How are my little warriors?” Isabela called. She sat on a bench in the shade, thighs crossed.

 

“Great!” Falcon crowed. Lark beamed at his mother.
“They’re starting out great,” Hawke assured her mate. Merrill sat beside Isabela, both of them watching Hawke with the boys. It touched Isabela more than she could say. For the past few years, as her pups grew, she could only imagine having a home with life with their sire. Now, it had come true.

 

• * * * * * * * *

 

---Trying to get laid---

“Hawke, they could come in any minute,” Isabela grinned. What began as a private embrace and simple kiss had heated up to something other. Hawke clutched her pirate to her, lips nuzzling at the round breasts her mate’s tunic offered. She tried to unfasten her mate’s corset but wound up cupping her ass in her hands instead.
“Just another minute…. We haven’t been together in days,” Hawke pleaded. Her shift was forming, and heat slammed between her legs as blood rushed to her cock. She was pleased when Isabela felt it and rubbed full up against her torso. Hawke groaned against her mate’s neck, as her cock was pushed against.

 

“Maybe more than a minute?” Isabela teased. Hawke nodded eagerly, looking around. The door to the family study was closed and there was a desk nearby. It would have to do. Hawke reached around under Isabela’s tunic to grasp the hem of her small clothes when the door banged open. Hawke tore her hands away as if burned and took a step back from her lover.
“Papa! Mama! Found you!” Falcon announced. He and his brother rushed forward to hug their parents. Hawke tried not to sigh externally but her mind was already screaming to finish what she started. But not while her pups wanted her.
“You did. I thought you were going to get lunch from Orana?” Isabela asked. Hawke was amazed how even her voice was after being felt up.

 

“We are! We wanted to find you too,” Lark insisted. Hawke took his hand in hers as they all made their way to the dining room. Merrill was looking over a heavy tome, brows knitted in concentration. She looked up, smiling at her lover. Isabela and Merrill locked eyes and Isabela gave a low shrug.
“Perhaps you boys can try your bedroom tonight. It’ll be your own place to guard for me,” Hawke suggested. She was pleased when the twins looked at each other and nodded.
“We’ll guard it, Papa. Make sure no creature takes it away!” Lark insisted. Hawke gave a silent sigh of relief.
“We’ll still read you your stories. But tonight, let’s try your room.”
“Why, Papa?” Falcon wanted to know. Hawke tried to be tactful, but her body was craving her mate and girlfriend.
“Because sometimes mamas and papas need their time together,” Hawke stammered. Isabela nodded.

 

“They need to show each other how much they love each other.” Isabela added. Hawke wanted to laugh, but it was true. Well, her body wanted to show Isabela and Merrill how much it loved them.
After bath time, Hawke picked up her boys, one to each shoulder and nudged the door of their bedroom open. The chambers had been dusted by Orana and the bedding changed, but the room still smelled mostly unused. It saddened Hawke a moment that most of her mother’s estate was mostly unlived in after her own brothers and sisters had left to make their mark on the world.
Falcon climbed on the left bed and hopped up and down experimentally. Lark took the remaining bed and kicked the covers low. Hawke sat on Lark’s bed and leaned her weight on one hand.
“Shall I tell about the time I made my fortune on the Deep Roads with Uncle Varric?” Hawke said. She looked around the walls of the bedroom, eyes lost in thought. The boys exclaimed and nodded. Isabela sidled in and tucked Falcon in.
“Yes!”

 

“Well, I had signed on with Varric and his older brother. They were leading the party for the unexplored parts of the Deep Roads. There was dwarven treasure we wanted to find…” Hawke began. She kept to the more “high adventure” part of the tale. Bethany’s corruption and her choice to give her to the Grey Wardens was a heartbreaking memory and would have to be told another day.
Merrill sat on Lark’s bed. The boys began to yawn as Hawke went on and on. When their eyelids fluttered, Isabela blew out the candles in the room.
“Good night, son,” she whispered, leaning to kiss Falcon’s brow. Lark was already passed out when all three kissed him. The three adults tiptoed out and Isabela wisely kept the door open a crack, so they could find their way out.
Once inside the master’s bedchamber, Hawke found herself pressed up against Merrill, kissing her as Isabela nibbled on her neck. Errant hands groped and tried to loosen articles of clothing as panting breathing filled the air.
“Finally...” Hawke breathed as she nipped along Merrill’s neck. The elf shivered in her arms. “Bela, you okay with….?”

 

Isabela shook her head against her shoulder, as her hands slid under Hawke’s tunic, sliding under her bound breasts.
“I want you first, but looks like kitten got to your cock first,” Isabela pouted. She pressed heated kisses along the side of her mate’s neck and shoulder as she and Merrill stripped their Champion. “Hurry up and get to me…”
Hawke swept Merrill up into her arms, laying the skinny elf onto the bed and sliding on top. Their limbs twined, and a flush swept over Merrill’s face as her tunic was unfastened. Hawke rested her face against one small breast, licking and sucking the hard nipple as her hips ground down against her girlfriend’s. Merrill’s thighs parted, and her legs twined around Hawke’s lean hips. Isabela was reaching to unlace her to help when a sharp cry sounded from the boy’s room. Hawke and Merrill froze, and Isabela’s hand locked where it was, down Hawke’s trousers.

 

“What are the chances they need us?” Hawke murmured. Merrill panted under her, blushing. She shrugged as Hawke moved to her other breast.
“Could be a nightmare. If I go check on them, you had better be close to my turn,” Isabela offered. Hawke snapped a mock salute.
“Yes, my love,” she purred. Isabela swatted her ass and regrettably climbed off the large bed. The soft sighs behind her filled her ears as Isabela left the master’s chamber and padded down the hall. She made sure she was covered and presentable and poked into the boy’s room.
“Falcon? Larkie?” she said softly. A sniffle sounded from Falcon’s bed.
“I had a scary dream! And Lark won’t wake up,” Falcon sniffled. Lark’s loud snoring filled the air. Isabela maneuvered around his bed in the dark and sat down with her eldest boy. She stroked his hair, letting him lean on her lap and told him a short story.

 

“You have your new sword in here, right? It’s there if you need it to slay the monsters,” Isabela suggested. Falcon murmured an affirmation in the dark.
“Okay, Mama,” he said softly. Isabela kissed his brow and leaned him down in the covers.
“Can you go back to sleep?” she asked. Falcon said he could and Isabela gently withdrew and sidled back to the door. She called a soft goodnight and kept the door partially open.
Back in the master’s chambers, Isabela sidled in to ruefully notice that Hawke and Merrill weren’t finished yet. She hadn’t been gone long, but Hawke looked to be taking her sweet time, sliding inside Merrill with short shallow thrusts that kept much of her length from slamming into her small lover. Merrill was breathing harshly, crying out on each thrust in. Her feet slid along Hawke’s calves.
“I haven’t had any in a few days either,” Isabela noted. She shucked her clothes off and ran a hand down her mate’s sweaty back. Her muscles bunched on each thrust. Hawke lifted her head, grunting on each stroke. Apparently, it’d been too long for her too. Isabela watched the muscles of Hawke’s backside flexing as she pushed Merrill over the edge.
Merrill mewled and buried her face in Hawke’s neck. Her small hands shook against Hawke’s back. Hawke raised her head and looked at Isabela with a dazed look. Isabela noticed she hadn’t come; it was evident in the coiled tension in her mate’s muscles and the sweat pouring off her brow, making her bangs stick to her face.

 

“Hawke…” Merrill tried to rouse her, and Hawke smiled, leaning to kiss her. She pulled out and planted a few kisses along the elf’s breast. She knelt up, cock bobbing and Isabela was pulled across the bed toward her.
Isabela giggled and was pulled into a hard kiss. Hawke’s mouth was wet and warm, and her tongue slid into Isabela’s mouth eagerly. Isabela loosened her corset and Hawke stripped her quickly. Merrill rolled on her side, eyes blinking sleepily. She focused on Hawke’s roiling musculature as exhaustion overtook her.
Isabela went to take her usual place on top, but Hawke growled. The noise went due south, making Isabela drip from the possessive sound. The pirate’s hand trailed down Hawke’s chest, caressing her mating bite. Hawke pressed her to her back and slid between her thighs, working herself in with short hard thrusts. Isabela could feel how desperate her mate was. Hawke pounded into her, once she was sure her mate could take it, shaking that side of the mattress. Isabela could only hold on, thrusting her hips back as best she could. She couldn’t help giving a few shrieks as her alpha thrust into her. The noises Hawke was making told her she was close, and Isabela roamed her hands down her mate’s back, gripping her buttocks.

 

“Yes, love, yes, fill me,” Isabela crooned. Hawke gaped down at her, sweat rolling down the line of her jaw. She gritted her teeth, squeezing her eyes closed. She grunted loudly, thrusting harder. Isabela was surprised when she rose to her knees, hands roaming down the insides of Isabela’s silky thighs, pushing her legs further apart.
One hand went inward, rubbing the hard nub of her clit. Isabela saw stars and squealed. She was pushed harder and harder and finally came undone, shouting. Merrill rolled over on the other side of the bed. Hawke grunted and burst a few moments later. Isabela moved beneath her, guiding Hawke through her climax. The shooting streams of hot com felt too good. Before Isabela could say a word, Hawke fell forward, curling on top of her mate. Her cock was still inside, softening, and Isabela could feel their releases leak around the base of her mate’s shift. Isabela found she didn’t care, stroking her mate’s back, kissing the side of her head.

 

“Love you,” she murmured. Hawke kissed her shoulder sleepily.
“You too,” she said drowsily, and Isabela forgave the short words feeling her mate snore on top of her.
With two small children in the house, Isabela wondered how long they had to lay connected together. But she would take the moment as it were.

 

End for now

Chapter Text

---Two years later, in Kirkwall’s Hightown Marketplace…..

“You’re Champion Hawke’s woman? You don’t look like much.”
Isabela whirled around, eyes narrowing. The noblewoman that had flung the insult was wearing an elaborately embroidered dress that covered all of her skin. Isabela smirked at her, knowing her looks topped, and she had the mating mark to show it.
“And mated. Keep that in mind,” Isabela laughed. She looked over a merchant’s wares, resolving to leave the market as quickly as she could. The noblewoman fumed and put a hand on her hip.

 

“Mated alphas still need release. If you’re not giving it to her, I can. I’ve lain with her before,” the woman scoffed. Isabela whirled, mind red as her fist came up. The woman screeched as it made contact with her cheek, and she went down on her ass, nice dress scuffed up on the cobblestones. Isabela stood smirking, rubbing her fist, until the noble rat screeched, alerting city guardsmen to the tussle. GREAT.
“That THING struck me! I want her arrested! “the woman pointed, one hand cradling her red cheek. At the very least, Isabela prayed it would purple and bruise. Isabela raised her palms to the guardsmen, a man and a woman in armor she didn’t know too well. She tried a winning smile.
“I’m Hawke’s mate. Perhaps we can come to some kind of arrangement….”

 

The guardsmen looked to each other, undecided, but the noblewoman began screeching. “Arrest her! What are you waiting for? NOW!”
The man and woman sighed and gently took Isabela by the wrists. “Just come with us, ma’am. We’ll get this sorted out.”
Isabela went with them easily enough. Hawke would be at the barracks. She’d sort everything out; nothing to worry about. When she felt cold iron manacles restrain her wrists, a thrill of dread rushed through the pirate.

 

‘FUCK. ME.’ She thought, shooting daggers at the self-righteous noble sow. When she got back out, she knew who she’d be hunting down first.

 

• * * * * *

 

Meanwhile, at the Hawke estate……

Loud breathing filled the bedroom. Merrill was in her favorite place, spread on the wide bed, her thighs around Hawke’s waist. The Champion was pressing heated kisses across her torso, pausing to lick and suck at a hard nipple as she thrust carefully into her. The boys were down for a nap and Hawke had led her girlfriend by the hand to the master’s bedchamber. Her elf’s giggles brightened Hawke’s world as she undressed and gently lifted Merrill onto the bed.
Now she was wound as tight as a spring coil, trying to keep her thrusts languid and slow. Hawke had pressed Merrill to a hard orgasm already; sitting back on her heels, looking down to where they were joined, one thumb pressing the hard ridge of the elf’s clit had been immensely satisfying. Now Hawke was strained; she wanted to come, but she needed more…power behind her thrusts. More than Merrill probably could take.

 

The sweet kisses Merrill pressed across her face as she slowed her thrusts didn’t help matters. Hawke gave her a weak smile and her hips stuttered out of rhythm. Merrill gave a yelp beneath her as Hawke thrust abit too hard. Hawke saw the look of discomfort immediately and stopped, heart in her throat.
“Maker! I didn’t hurt you, did I?!” Hawke demanded. She trailed soft fingers across the elf’s face, wishing her eyes would open. When Merrill did open her eyes, she saw abject guilt all over her Champion’s face. Merrill’s heart lightened. She kissed Hawke, feeling the pent-up tension coiled in her muscles.
“No….but…..I think you’re needing abit more from Isabela,” Merrill offered. Hawke tried to protest, but Merrill kissed her lips sweetly. “Then come back to me…”
Hawke couldn’t disagree with that. She withdrew, cock bobbing, and sat back on her heels, wincing. She was pretty hard, but her lust had receded at the moment of discomfort she’d caused. She could handle herself until she found her mate. “I’m sorry,” Hawke couldn’t help but say. She rubbed a warm hand affectionately along Merrill’s open thigh.

 

Merrill clutched the covers to her breasts as she watched her mate’s naked body rise off the mattress, eyeing her.
“Going to market?” Merrill asked. Hawke stepped into her trousers, wincing as she tucked her cock inside.
“Yes. That’s where Bela said she was going.” Hawke came back to the bed, shirtless and smiling. Merrill’s heart stuttered, and she twined her arms around Hawke’s neck, accepting the kiss the Champion pressed on her.
“I’ll bring her home. Keep the boys busy ‘til we’re back; it won’t be long,” Hawke promised. Merrill’s heart warmed, thinking of Hawke’s sons asleep in the other room. She loved them as if she’d carried them herself.

 

“I will,” Merrill promised. Hawke went in search of her tunic, flashing a disheveled smile to the naked elf. All too soon, she was dressed and heading for the door. Alone, Merrill’s hand eased up and down her belly, as she sighed over the encounter. Hawke had gotten her off so well that she was loath to leave their bed. Merrill sighed and got up to dress in case Falcon or Lark woke and went in search of her.

 

* * * * * *

 

Hawke couldn’t find Isabela anywhere.

 

She’d looked all over Hightown market, along the docks, even in Lowtown and the Hanged Man. Varric hadn’t seen her, and no one had any information. Hawke ran a hand through her bangs, hissing with frustration. Her lust had receded back, and her shift had softened, but it didn’t mean she wasn’t still concerned.
Where WAS her mate? Hawke’s feet turned toward the guardsman barracks. The junior officers were rife with gossip, so maybe they had an idea where her pirate queen was.
Two of the men on guard at the door were talking in low tones but snapped to attention noticing her. Hawke gave a salute and went into the building.

 

“Where’s the captain?” Hawke asked one of the guardswoman. She blushed and pointed in the direction of the cells. Hawke stalked that way, armor clanking slightly with her long strides. Inside the long corridor room of barred cells, Hawke saw two guardsmen push a new captive in and lock the door.
Aveline turned and Hawke strode forward. Her eyes darted from her friend to the woman in the cell and her jaw dropped. Her walk hastened to running and she clutched the bars standing between Isabela and herself.
“What is this?! Is this a trick? It’s a poor one…you’re putting Isabela in a cell. My Isabela.”
“Believe me, THIS is a surprise,” Isabela lamented to her mate. Hawke’s hands passed over hers as they clutched the bars between them.

 

Hawke scowled, whirling to her friend. “What’s the meaning of this?!”
Aveline was not impressed. “The whore struck a noble in broad daylight.”
Isabela had been pretty good about the whole exchange, but she bristled now. “WHORE?!”
Aveline settled her gloved hand on the hilt of her sword, unimpressed. “Striking nobility over a few words; I’d call that uncouth behavior.”
Isabela hissed at the unperturbed captain. “She kept throwing in my face she fucked Hawke! You’d do the same if some bit was gloating about fucking Donnic.”
Aveline flushed this time. “You leave my husband out of this, slattern!” She paused to collect herself. “You’ll have to cool your heels here until the court proceedings are done. Or the lady drops her charges. Whichever comes first.”

 

Hawke flushed unhappily. Bureaucracy could always take forever, and she had no idea if Lady Winship would WANT to drop her charges. She had been a fine conquest in her running around days, but apparently, she’d held a grudge at being dumped. “Can’t you let her stay at home under house arrest or something?!”
Aveline gave her a begrudging smile of a put-upon older sister. “I told you all that running around the past few years was going to get you somehow in the end.”
“Aveline!” Hawke pouted at her but was dumbstruck when the captain reached out and flicked her fingers on her forehead. “Ow!”
“Don’t be an idiot, Hawke.”
Hawke growled, fists clenched, but her mate’s fingers over hers stopped from a fight. “Hold on, my sweet thing. I’ll be here all wrapped up for you to take home. Hopefully that’s soon. Or whenever her ladyship deigns to unlock this door!”

 

Aveline ignored the intended slight.
Hawke sighed. She pressed her brow to the bars. There was a wide enough gap that their faces could touch easily, and they kissed shortly. The warm feel of her mate’s lips pressed warmth through Hawke’s mind. She whined unhappily.
“The boys are gonna miss you. I’LL miss you,” she whispered. Isabela reached up to cup the back of her head, fingers sliding through the short dark hairs at the base of her neck. They were pressed so close to the bars that body heat was shared, and Isabela raised an eyebrow at the extra nudge below.
“I guess you really will miss me,” she pouted. Hawke remembered her arrested lust and she glowered. Of course this would happen. How was she going to get any relief with her mate locked away?
“Don’t….don’t worry about me. I’ll save it for you,” Hawke murmured. Isabela kissed her sweetly.
“I know you will,” she said, smiling.

 

A cough came from the cell next door. “I never thought I’d see the Champion of Kirkwall reduced to mush.”
Isabela laughed at the woman. “Leave off, woman. I’m saying goodnight to my sweet thing.”
“Yeah yeah yeah….”
“Come on, Hawke. You’ve got to leave,” Aveline said. Hawke glowered at her. She pressed a few sweet kisses to her mate’s lips between the bars. “My Isabela, my love, my queen….”
Aveline coughed. “Cut the theatrics, Hawke. Time to go home. She’ll still be here.”

 

Hawke raised a fist, her wordless angry gesture rolling off the captain’s broad shoulders. As her Champion left the hall of cells, Isabela regrettably sat on the edge of the hard cot, hands between her knees.

 

It was going to be a long night.

 

 

• * * * * * * *

 

 

“Papa’s home!” Lark called. He and his brother were ahead of Merrill and Bodahn to greet her at the door. Hawke leaned to hug her sons, trying to smile. Merrill noticed before they did that something was wrong, and she tilted her head in curiosity.
Hawke’s eyes were sad as they met the elf’s.
“Where’s Mama?” Falcon asked, peeking behind Hawke as if his mother was playing a game. Hawke handed Bodahn her cloak and knelt to her pup’s level.
“Mama…..had to see Auntie Aveline at the jail. But she’ll be home soon!”
“When? Tonight?” Falcon was adamant. Lark watched his sire with wide green eyes.

 

“Jail? Oh, Hawke,” Merrill said softly. “What happened?”
Hawke hugged her boys, flashing that guilty look to her girlfriend. “She got into a scrape with someone and she got arrested…. Don’t worry, boys! It won’t be long, and Papa will take care of things.”
“Arres…..” Falcon bit his lower lip as he tried to sound out the word. He cast a confused look to his brother. “Whas that, Papa?”
Hawke rubbed his small back and stooped to smile in his face. “It….it means your Mama did something she wasn’t supposed to and has to answer for it….”
“Sumthin’ bad?” Lark asked curiously. Hawke nodded, wincing. “Like stealing Orana’s tarts?”
Hawke wanted to laugh but she kept the mirth from her face. Her mate was gone, and she had to explain it so two five-year-olds would understand. “Yes, just like stealing Orana’s tarts…. But don’t worry, she’ll make it right and be home soon.”

 

“How soon?” Falcon’s lip quivered. Lark pressed his face to Hawke’s shoulder.
It suddenly dawned on the small boys that their mother was gone and not due at their new home for who knew how long. Lips quivered and tears filled small eyes as they began to cry. Hawke picked up Falcon and Merrill hurried to assure Lark, swinging him up on one hip as the boys sniffed and wailed. Hawke pressed a kiss to her son’s hair and rubbed his small back, grateful he still wanted comfort from her. His small arms went around her neck. She felt so guilty as if she’d been the one to imprison her mate.
“Mama’s safe….she’s coming back home, I promise…” Hawke murmured. Merrill sang a soft song in elvish as she rocked Lark. He stuck a thumb in his mouth, face wet with tears as he stared over the elf’s shoulder. “Maker’s tits, what can I do?”

 

“You can talk to the barristers, right?” Merrill asked. Hawke gave a curt shake of the head. As Bodahn locked up the front door, the pair carried the children through the front foyers to the family study. It was much cozier in there and a fire was flickering cheerily in the hearth. Hawke couldn’t find it in herself to be cheerful over the circumstances, but she did have to try and put on a normal façade for her boys. All the times her mother had been calm over the years made her realize how patient she had truly been. She and her siblings had been a handful after all. Hawke said a silent prayer to her mother and patted Falcon’s hair. She could do as well as she had.
“We’ll eat in here, right?” Merrill set the boys up on a blanket in front of the fire. When Orana brought dinner in to them, Hawke got up and sat beside her sons, sighing. She forced herself to eat, Merrill helping Falcon and Lark cut up their meat. “Then I’ll read some more of my clan’s legends.”
“In Elvish?” Lark asked. A bit of potato clung to his cheek. Hawke wiped his face with a linen napkin.

 

“Of course, da’len,” Merrill chirped. Hawke’s chi still roiled horribly. Aveline had no right to lock her mate up. She could have let her come home while awaiting justice. What was she thinking…..
Merrill pressed a glass of brandy into her hand stopping her glowering, and Hawke blinked. Merrill pushed her back into her stuffed chair and Hawke sat, sipping. Her eyes hazily focused on the fire and her aura positively crackled with irritation. Merrill leaned against her leg, rubbing along her calf and shin idly as she read out loud in her native tongue. Her sons hung on to the sing-song words, playing with a few wooden blocks Hawke had carved for them. Merrill poured her another glass and as the boys wound down, falling asleep on the rug in front of the fire, Hawke was soothed by her girlfriend’s aura. She closed her eyes then opened them as Merrill rubbed her head against her knee, arm around her leg.
Hawke reached down and ran her fingers through Merrill’s hair affectionately. “Should we…put them down?”

 

 

Merrill nodded. Hawke stood and stretched. Merrill got up and pressed into her arms. Hawke was startled when her girlfriend aimed a sweet kiss to her lips. Hawke was pleased by it, but her usual pleasure didn’t rise. Not with her mate far away from home and hearth.
“Merrill…”
“Yes, da’len?”
“I’m so sorry….” Hawke pressed a soft kiss to her girlfriend’s cheek. “I can’t, not with Bela in jail…. I’m just so worried…”
Merrill nodded and kissed her sweetly. “I understand…. “

 

When they both lifted up a sleeping pup, instead of settling them in their bedroom, they went into the master’s bedroom. Hawke curled around Lark’s little body, Falcon sprawled at his side. She did sigh with a sense of peace when Merrill curled around her back. She settled her hand over Merrill’s, clutching it over her belly.
Sleep was a while in coming for Hawke, but at least she had made the rest of her little family calm enough to sleep.

 

* * * * * * *

 

When Hawke began to wake, heaviness pounded between her thighs. She could hear her sons muttering quietly together under the covers. She sat up, stoking her lusts low and pushed the covers off her chest.
“Good morning, boys,” Hawke said. Falcon and Lark grinned, their dark hair mussed.
“Hi, Papa!”
“Auntie Merrill, up up,” Lark said. He rolled over Hawke, making the Champion “whuff” in surprise, and sprawled across the elf’s prone body. Merrill’s slender arms circled the pup as she woke.
“Morning, my loves,” Merrill smiled. Hawke was amazed how cheerful her girlfriend could be even at the start of the day. Her head ached without morning tea and Hawke put her attention into getting her pups ready for the day. The more she thought about her Isabela, the more Hawke ached for her and her lust was being stoked along at a steady pace.
Merrill noticed. As Orana led the dressed boys downstairs into the dining hall, she stayed behind to help the Champion dress.

 

 

“Do you need…..some help?” she asked. Her eyes darted between Hawke’s legs. Hawke adjusted her belt and gave a wry smile to her girlfriend.
“I’m not ignoring you, I promise. I just have to make sure Bela is well…..”
Merrill dipped her head to show she understood. Hawke tilted her chin up with two fingers and kissed her.
Downstairs, Hawke took a few bites of breakfast and kissed her sons on the head, promising to tell their mama they loved her.
Exiting her estate, Hawke broke into a jog, sword scabbard banging into her hip as she did. Now that she was away from her pups, a more pressing matter was forming, and Hawke let herself be carried along on her lust, her potent aura keeping any annoying distractions away. Entering the guardsman barracks, Hawke was pleased to see Aveline wasn’t even there yet. Good. She forced her way past the junior officers on post at the hall of cells and made a beeline down to the cell that held her mate’s scent.

 

Isabela was laying on the cot, head propped on one arm, but her eyes flicked open quickly enough when she scented Hawke. The pirate’s lips curved into a pleased smile and an affectionate light shone in her eyes.
“Good morning, sweet thing. This is a nice gift you’re presenting me with,” Isabela teased, her eyes dipping between Hawke’s legs. The Champion moved closer to the bars. She had been stiffening her whole way there, but now the sight and scent of her mate had her at full mast in a few moments. She tugged at the crotch of her trousers, giving a sheepish smile.
“I missed you,” she growled. Isabela pressed up hard against her through the bars, any of her soft flesh pushing into Hawke’s protruding erection. She sighed as Isabela kissed her, one hand going through the bars to unlace her. The laces came undone awkwardly with one hand. The other Isabela ran through Hawke’s hair as they kissed.
“Woo woo! Damn the Champion’s a long one!” one of the omegas further down the way announced. Other exclamations sounded from the other cells. Hawke blushed. Isabela gave her a fierce smile and tugged her small clothes off, her tunic barely keeping her thighs covered.

 

“And all mine for the taking,” Isabela purred to her mate. She was pleased to see Hawke’s throat dart as she swallowed her own tongue. Isabela’s touches, words, and stroking chi had her ensnared. “You waited for me….can you take me?”
Hawke’s hands went through the bars on either side of her mate’s hips, clasping her warm flesh and pulling her flush against her. Her erection pressed against her mate’s flesh, but she whimpered when she couldn’t find purchase. She thrust a few times, Isabela arching one thigh high to help her, but the angle was awkward. Isabela hissed with frustration when her mate’s tip slid along her inner thigh, the heated flesh pulsing.
“Go on, Champion!”
“Yeah, show us what you got!”

 

Hawke growled, ignoring the gawkers. She pressed a quick kiss to Isabela’s lips and tugged at one hip, urging her to turn around. Isabela pressed back against the bars, presenting herself. She leaned low, arching back, and gasped when Hawke gave a few testing thrusts, then firmly began to enter, splitting her open. “Oh, sweet thing….”
Hawke grinned behind her, giving a long thrust. As she worked her way in, one of the junior officers came along, keys clanging on his belt. He balked, boots scuffling on the stone.
“What are you doing?!” he demanded, voice a squeak.
Hawke groaned as she was enveloped in her mate’s waiting hot flesh. Her cock pulsed, wrapped in wet silk. “Well, you won’t let her out….”
“Oh, Hawke, more,” Isabela whimpered. The hand Hawke had between the bars gripped her hip, holding her back onto her cock.
“Maker’s breath,” the guardsman muttered and rushed off. Satisfied to be as alone with her mate as she was going to get, never mind the witnesses in the other cells, Hawke gave a firm thrust, embedding herself fully into Isabela’s heated cave. Isabela groaned, head falling back against the bars.

 

“Fuck… Hawke…..fuck…. so good….” Isabela murmured, and Hawke’s blood boiled as she thrust faster against her mate, watching her buttocks press back against her.
“Bela,” Hawke rumbled, her chest tightening. She thrust hard, the bars jamming up against her hip, but her mate had the better angle of it. She could take the discomfort. “My…..love…..yes…”
Hawke’s mind went red in the haze of her passion. Dimly, she could hear approaching footsteps, but as long as she could keep sliding and thrusting into her mate’s wet warmth, she didn’t care who went where.
“For spirit’s sake! Hawke! Get back!”
Hawke could make out Aveline yelling beside her, but Hawke’s attention was devoted to the arches of her mate’s back, her thrusting back onto her cock, her throaty moans. When Aveline’s armored hand fell on her shoulder, Hawke hissed. She scowled, turning her head, fury in her gaze as possession over her mate erupted through her aura. Her knot had been nudging against her Isabela on each thrust, and on the next push, Hawke pushed her chi over her mate’s, urging her to take it in.

 

Isabela gave a wordless gasp, hips pushing back against the bars and the anger in Hawke’s gaze receded slightly as she got her knot in with a loud slick sound. A deep groan erupted from her as she and Isabela kept thrusting in jerky motions against each other.
Aveline yelled beside her and grasped her shoulder. Hawke let go of Isabela’s hip and shoved at Aveline with one hand. The captain seethed. Hawke had gone and knotted the pirate and there was no tearing her away. Not while their passion still ebbed high.

 

“Dammit, Hawke! You had to knot her?! Here?!” Aveline screeched. Hawke pressed her face to her mate’s head, nosing her dark hair through a gap in the bars. Her hips jerked unevenly as Isabela screamed, coming hard over her. Hawke’s heart stuttered happily, and she climaxed abruptly, thrown over by her mate’s walls clinging to her and milking her.

 

The shrill screaming of the captain dulled away to so much fine background noise as Hawke basked in her mate’s heat, giving small pumps of her hips to make certain they were well and truly satisfied.

 

o * * * * * *

 

When Hawke finally loosened from Isabela, she watched her mate sway, sliding off of her softening cock. Isabela turned and kissed her longingly. “Oh, Hawke….sweet thing…”
Hawke pulled up her trousers and tucked herself away. She reached into her tunic. “Oh yeah, I brought you this….”
Isabela stood on shaky legs and accepted the flask from her mate, fingers trailing along Hawke’s wrist, and trailing up to cup her jaw through the bars. She kept giggling, satisfied physically and emotionally.
“Oh, my sweet thing, you ARE the best….”

 

Hawke grinned, ego stoked. Isabela opened the flask and took a swig of the expensive whiskey her mate had filled it with. “Hmm, the good stuff. Thank you, Hawke….”
She winced and growled as a guardsman hollered out to the captain that the Champion was loose again. Hawke raised her fists, ready for a fight, but Aveline smacked her in the chest with a handful of scrolls.
“Take these to the Knight Commander’s barristers. Maybe you can slot in a chat with the lady pressing charges.”
“Who is Lady Winship anyways?” Isabela shakily made her way to the cot and flopped on her side. She looked at the back of her nails, apparently bored. Hawke knew she had no reason to doubt her position with her but was playing it cool to find out who the burned biddy was to exacts revenge later. That Hawke had slept with her once didn’t have to be implied; it was known at this point.
Hawke grimaced and scrubbed the back of her neck with one fist. “Erm, that is….”

 

“Oh, don’t be modest, sweet thing. You had to have rolled her for her to lash out at me like that,” Isabela scoffed. She gave her mate a slow wink to show she wasn’t mad.
“After that sweet loving you gave me, don’t scare me like that….” Hawke muttered. Isabela blew her a kiss.
“Well, off with you, you’ve disrupted the prisoners enough,” Aveline growled. Hawke shouldered the scrolls and gave the other alpha an even look.
“Fine,” she groused. The two alphas stared at each other, not giving an inch.
“Hurry up, love, so I can see your sweet face again,” Isabela crooned. Hawke gave a goofy grin and jogged off. She left the guardsman barracks and made her way to the Knight Commander’s headquarters. Pushing through the throng of knights and petitioners loafing around the lobby of the large building, Hawke made her way to the row of offices and hammered her way down each door to find the barrister she was looking for.

 

The man was a mousy beta, nervously shuffling his papers. Hawke knew she smelled of sex and she let her alpha musk wash over the man, further agitating him. “Yes, yes you can speak to the lady…she’s due….”
“Right about now.”
Hawke looked up from the edge of the man’s desk, idly lounging against it with one hip. She raised an eyebrow, regarding the irate Lady Winship.
“Oh. The one in the three-way,” she remembered. Winship flushed angrily and flounced in, dress streaming.
“How dare you slander me, Champion! First your so-called mate, now you? I thought you were a better noble than that!”
Hawke glowered at her, eyes hooded dangerously. “Stop. Just stop it. Isabela told me you slandered her. And she is MY mate. She is legally Lady Hawke and in slandering her, you slandered our pups. So, you’ll forgive ME for wanting to smack that look off your face.”

 

Winship gasped and dashed around the desk to hide behind her barrister. The skinny man held his hands up in front of him. “I don’t want to be in a fight!” he insisted to Hawke. Hawke inclined her head to him politely. She scowled over his shoulder at Winship.
“You wouldn’t!” the lady sneered. Hawke regarded her tiredly.
“No. I’m a gentleman and won’t hit a woman. Even if you’re less a lady than your title says.”
Lady Winship flushed with anger.
Hawke coughed and sat in the chair opposite the barrister’s desk. “Now, if you’d be so kind as to drop the charges against my mate…..”
Winship pretended to think about it. ”No.”

 

Hawke looked at the back of her hand. “Oh, reconsider it. As a favor to all the orgasms I gave you.”
Winship flushed with embarrassment this time. “FINE. I’ll think about it.”
“Better than nothing, I suppose,” Hawke drawled. She stood and etched a short bow. “Lady Winship.”

 

• * * * * *

 

When Hawke got back to the hall of cells in the guardsman barracks, she made a beeline to Isabela’s cell. Her mate had cleaned herself up, but her small clothes were still gone. Hawke saw flashes of her dark skin when her tunic pulled up and her body ached despite their knotting earlier. She gave her mate a lustful grin, gripping the bars with both hands.
“Where’d you get that?” she asked. Isabela was smoking a very expensive-looking cigar.
“Oh, from Stella in the next cell. And a new acquaintance of mine,” Isabela said cheekily. Stella waved from her cell. Hawke glanced at her. The woman was an omega and passingly beautiful in her own way. But Hawke only had eyes for Isabela. She whined, clutching the bars.
“I’d rather see you, love,” she rumbled. Isabela blew a few smoke rings. She ran a hand along her flat belly, smiling as she lounged.
“You wore me out good, sweet thing. But I know to keep you taken care of. And Stella would like to show her appreciation for you. In exchange for the cigars.”

 

This was taking an interesting new route and Hawke’s mind whirled as blood surged between her legs. “Hmmwuh?” she said unintelligently.
Stella clutched the bars of her cell and loosened her blouse. Her round breasts jiggled. “Come here and let me see that pole you were thrusting about earlier,” she teased, licking her lips. Hawke gaped at her then at her mate.
Isabela blew her a kiss. “It’s okay, really. And you should be cleaned up from earlier….”
Hawke stammered an “I love you” and her shaky legs guided her to the bars separating Stella from her. The woman was already going to her knees, hands reaching to unlace her through the bars.

 

“Hi, Champion,” Stella purred. Hawke had shifted on her way in, and her semi-stiff cock was pulled out through the opening of her trousers. Stella wrapped her fingers around her length, and a steady pump surged blood to it. Hawke sighed as a few kisses and licks were pressed around her head. The licks pressed harder and Hawke blinked as she stiffened and drops of precum trickled from the tip.
“Uh….”
Before she could say anything further, Stella wrapped her lips around her head and pressed lower, bobbing her head down to take her in fully. Hawke gripped the bars, gasping. Her reaction got Isabela’s attention who set the cigar aside and made her way to the bars.
“I said clean her off, not get a taste!” Isabela glowered. Hawke couldn’t stop the small gasp as she was taken in deeply again, cock pulsing in the warmth of the omega’s mouth. She suckled near the base and pulled back, lapping at the divot in her cock head, drawing out more droplets of precum. Hawke touched her jaw and pulled the woman away. Painfully, she hobbled over to her mate who was waiting.

 

Isabela reached out and grasped her hard shaft, pumping it deliberately. Hawke gasped loudly this time, gazing at her mate with adoration. She grunted as she was tugged to a fast end, spurts of her come shooting across her mate’s hand and onto the stone floor.
“Oh, that’s a waste, Isabela,” Stella complained. Hawke leaned against the bars with one hand, gasping for breath. She drew her mate closer for a kiss, purring against her lips and Isabela was placated.
“Are you feeling okay?” Hawke asked possessively, one hand going to her mate’s hip, rubbing under her tunic. Isabela gave a sultry smile.
“With my sweet thing visiting me, always. Did you make any headway on my release yet?”

 

Hawke sighed. She wiped the sweat from her brow with one wrist. “I asked Winship to drop her charges, but only got a maybe. I’ll press her harder.”
“Just not in that way, sweet thing,” Isabela warned. Hawke kissed her.
“No, not that way. I promise,” Hawke whispered. Isabela was kissing her when the guardsmen rushed in, Aveline with her.
“Pull up your damn trousers, Hawke, and get going. I’m going to ban you the next time you whip it out in my barracks,” Aveline growled. Hawke gave her friend a jaunty salute.

 

 * * * *

 

When Hawke sauntered back into her estate’s front door, she caught up both of her sons as they flew into her arms for a hug.
“Papa! Is Mama coming home?” Lark asked frantically. Falcon leaped high against Hawke’s shoulder, hugging him hard around the neck, grunting. Hawke hugged them tightly to her frame, walking into the entry way. Bodahn chirped a greeting and Hawke turned to the side so the dwarf could help take her cloak off. Merrill, sweet Merrill, was waiting like the good girlfriend she was, hands clasped before her thin waist.
Hawke set her boys down and ruffled their hair. “Soon! Very soon. I saw her today, she misses you both. And were they good?” This she directed to Merrill.
The elf nodded. “They missed your training today.”
“Well, let’s get a few hits in, boys,” Hawke ordered. She strode through the foyer, dining hall and kitchen to the back door. In the back garden, she took up her wooden stave and let her boys whack at it valiantly with their carved weapons. Moths darted up against the lanterns Merrill lit outside the kitchen door.

 

Orana called out gently that dinner was ready, and the boys exclaimed happily to the maid. Hawke tutted them and pointed to the back door.
“Always put your weapons up, boys. Come,” she said. Falcon and Lark trotted at her heels like a pair of ducklings. Merrill giggled at the sight. She slid up beside the Champion and was pleased when a strong arm went around her waist.
“Was Isabela well, truly?” Merrill asked sweetly. Hawke nodded. She leaned and kissed the elf on the cheek.
“Yes. Aveline was rightly pissed that I didn’t want to leave her.”
“If anyone can get her out, you can,” Merrill said sweetly.
“Thank you, sweetheart,” Hawke said. She pulled out a chair for her girlfriend and tucked her in. Falcon spooned up some of his meat and leaned to offer it onto Hawke’s plate.
“For you, Papa!” he insisted. Merrill giggled when Lark carefully cut his meat with his fork and knife and offered her a bite.
“Thank you, Larkie,” she said. Lark beamed, crooked teeth flashing.

 

After dinner, Hawke took a glass of brandy from Merrill and followed her to the upstairs washroom to give the pups a bath. Watching her girlfriend with her tunic sleeves rolled up, scrubbing shampoo into her son’s dark hair filled Hawke with a deep full feeling. She knew it was happiness and pride and gave her girlfriend a soft smile when she looked up. Her mind drifted, as always, to Isabela. Hawke made a mental note to take a basket of treats from Orana. Who knew what the cell prisoners were being offered for meals! Hawke wanted to deliver Orana’s roast mutton and potatoes, but she knew Aveline would have the front doors barricaded by nine pm.
Hawke resolved to bring a basket of tarts and savory leftovers for her mate tomorrow. She sipped her brandy and set the glass down to kneel down by the metal tub. “Hey, boys, stop splashing so much! This is how you do it,” Hawke jested, slapping a wave of water at her sons. Falcon squealed, and Lark attacked back, slapping the water into a high arch. Merrill sputtered as she was drenched.

 

“Larkie!” she said, but she wasn’t upset. She picked up the wriggling wet boy and pressed kisses across his face. The boy laughed so long, he was like to lose his breath. Hawke caught Falcon when he jumped up and she wrapped a large towel around him.
“That’s it, surrender, pup,” Hawke growled. Falcon grinned fiercely up at her, his damp hair standing up in wet tufts as he was toweled off. Merrill went to drying off his brother and both were dressed in their new nightgowns.
“Papa, can…” Lark stuck a thumb into his mouth, drooping his head shyly. Hawke had an idea what he was going to ask and nodded.

 

“We’re all camping out in our room. Come on, boys. I’ll tell the bedtime story tonight. And your mama wanted me to kiss you both,” Hawke said. The boy’s eyes lit up and they were placated, knowing their mother was thinking of them while she was “staying at Auntie Aveline’s.”

 

o * * * * *

 

“Come on, Winship! Get off your high horse already!” Hawke growled. The lady was dressed to the nines, face painted carefully, and hair curled in ringlets. She folded her hands in front of her waist, frowning at her. Even in her Champion’s armor and elegantly embroidered tunic, Hawke felt like a peasant in the face of such noble snobbery.
“High horse? I say! Your pirate wench committed a crime and is paying for it! Get your head out of the clouds, Champion!”
Well, she was nobility too. Hawke straightened her shoulders and gathered her disorganized chi, fine-tuning it to a point. She flung her charisma about, and Hawke smirked when Winship’s eyes widened in interest despite herself.
“I’ve asked you nicely to release my mate. Think on it, separating two mates. My boys worry over their mother and she hasn’t been with them for a few days. You’re depriving my sons of being with their mother, lady,” Hawke said.

 

Lady Winship crossed her arms under her breasts. She flushed with anger. “She struck me, Champion. I dare say your beloved mate wouldn’t stand if someone struck HER.”
“Way Isabela tells me, you started the fight,” Hawke retorted. She had the truth of it when the lady flushed. She went on. “You provoked her, and of course she would strike you.”
The barrister cleared his throat. “The paperwork for your mate’s trial has gone to the next office. We should expect a date in the next week or so.”
Hawke felt like she was choking. Damn barristers and their snail pace! She scratched the side of her jaw. “You could easily stop this…”
Winship downright smirked. “Maybe if you made it worth my time.”
Hawke stalked to the door and the look on her face made everyone get out of her way. She made good time to the guardsman barracks. As she was climbing the stairs to try and bargain with Aveline again, Hawke was startled to see two small figures darting through the crowd. She hastened her pace and gaped as she saw her sons making way to the barracks.

 

“Come on, Larkie, hurry,” Falcon insisted. He tugged on his brothers’ arm.
“But ‘Rana will be worried!” Lark said. Hawke darted a glance around, but she didn’t see the elf anywhere nearby. She jogged up and knelt, getting her pup’s attention.
“What are you doing here, boys? Alone?!”
Both boys squealed, then smiled up at her. Hawke was not moved.
“Did you run off from Orana?”

 

“…Yes, Papa.”
Just then, Hawke saw a whirl and then Orana made her way to them, completely winded and out of breath. “I just…..they took off….I’m sorry, Mistress Hawke!”
Hawke waved a hand to let her know she was fine and gave her nervous pups a stern look. “Both of you will sit in the corner when we get home. You know better than to run off from Orana, or Mama or Auntie Merrill.”
The boys lowered their heads, abashed. “Sorry, Papa….”
Hawke ruffled their hair. “No matter. Now that you’re here, I want to take you to see someone. Come on, Orana we’re heading off to the barristers….”
“Why can’t we see Mama?” Falcon wanted to know. Hawke took his hand and Orana took Lark’s.

 

“Because a cell is not a good place for anyone and your mama didn’t want you to see her there. Don’t worry, she’ll be home soon. I promise,” Hawke said.

 

• * * * * * *

 

The last thing Lady Winship had been expecting was two talkative dark pups thrust upon her.
Champion Hawke had come back, an elf maid in tow, and two small boys that had to be her sons. She could make out Hawke’s family crest stitched on the breasts of their tunics.
“Lady Winship, may I introduce you to Falcon and Lark, my sons. And Isabela’s sons.” The smirk on Hawke’s face made Winship long to smack it off. That or kiss her. Her bodily reactions were quite unnerving.
“I…” before Winship could get anything out, Hawke turned to the small boys.
“Boys, how do we greet a lady?” she asked. The twin boys etched low bows, hands at the waist. Winship was struck how mannered they were in etiquette already. She smiled nervously.

 

“Pleased to meet you, my lady!” One of the boys was chirping. Hawke ruffled the lad’s hair and gave her a winsome smile.
“I just wanted you to meet my family, Lady Winship. They’re good boys, and they love their mother. Hell, I do too,” Hawke was saying. Winship flushed, her mind going over in circles. The twin boys were watching her curiously and she felt rather put on the spot.
“Oh, very well. I’ll have my barrister drop the charges. Just take good care of these well-behaved boys.” Winship decided that taking the high road was the best route. She turned her chin up, giving a terse look to the smiling Champion. When she dropped to one knee and took up one of her hands to kiss, Winship was well and truly surprised.
“My thanks, my lady. You’ve done me a great service,” Hawke said brightly.
“Mama’s coming home?” Falcon perked. Lark clapped his hands with delight.

 

“Yes, she is! Orana, can you take the pups home? Don’t argue, boys. Just work on getting our home ready for your mother,” Hawke ordered lightly. The boys nodded, clutching the maid’s hands. Orana gave her mistress a tired smile.
“I’ll get them home straight away,” she promised.

 

Hawke gave another bow to the startled Lady Winship, her boys following her example. She dashed off, a sure spring in her step and her heart light. Her Bela was coming home.
Now to enforce that Aveline did as she was told.

 

 * * * * *

 

“Come on, Aveline! I’m telling you, Winship dropped the charges! I ran all the way here from the barrister’s offices!” Hawke argued. Aveline leaned back in her office chair, raising an eyebrow.
“We still need paperwork documenting those charges were dropped for me to release her! You more than likely outran any such message,” Aveline said intelligently. Hawke glowered.
“Yeah, well, give me a break already! You’ve had my mate for days,” Hawke glowered. Aveline raised an eyebrow.
“Yet you still found a way to get to her,” Aveline retorted. Hawke blushed to herself. She scratched the side of her jaw.

 

“Well, let me see her at least so I can give her the good news,” Hawke brightened. Aveline nodded and the two made their way to the room of cells, armor clanking with each step.
When the two made their way to Isabela’s cell, the pirate looked up, startled. She had twisted a few of her hair pins and was busily trying to pick her cell lock. Caught red-handed, Isabela could only give a lame excuse to the irate captain.
“I saw rats?” she feebly gave. Aveline hissed a sigh
“Two more days,” she vowed, turning to give Hawke an even glare. Hawke gaped at her and darted to the bars. She and Isabela entwined fingers over the bars, trying to get close.
“What’s this about two more days?” Isabela wondered. Hawke leaned between the bars and pecked a kiss against the part of her lover’s head she could reach.
“I got Lady Winship to withdraw her accusation. I was just waiting for the brass to finish up their end so I could take you home!”

 

Isabela’s face fell, and she ran her dark fingers over the backs of Hawke’s hands.” Oh, my sweet thing, I ruined it. I’m so sorry. I just miss you so much!”
“I miss you too.” More than sex, it was the intimacy, the closeness of the woman she loved. Hawke clasped her fingers tightly.
Aveline snorted and stalked away. The guardsman left on duty fidgeted nervously.
“That was just bad luck,” he said. Hawke sighed.
“Thanks anyways, guardsman,” she said. The man looked right to left and pulled a ring of keys from his sword belt.
“I’m newly mated. I know how it aches to be apart. Go ahead, Champion,” he said, unlocking the cell door. Hawke and Isabela stared at him then each other, taking in the open doorframe of the cell. Suddenly, Isabela darted forward, and Hawke burned as she fell into her arms, arching and pushing into her.

 

“Hey, let the Champion in here!” Stella called from the next cell over. Hawke and Isabela ignored her, lost in each other.
“Fuck, Hawke, you feel so good!” Isabela insisted. Hawke kissed her instead. They slid together, bodies pressed together and arching against each other. Their kiss didn’t stay sweet. Tongues stroked and touched, and Hawke’s hands roamed up and down, clutching at her mate’s hips and ass.
“Aw, hell….” The guardsman muttered somewhere outside the cell. They didn’t notice his scuffing footsteps as he dashed off.
Isabela burned, slinging one leg up around her hip and rubbing insistently against the bulge between her mate’s thighs. She smiled against Hawke’s lips as the Champion’s hands roamed up under the edges of her tunic, cupping her ass. Isabela wrapped her arms around Hawke’s neck, hopping in her arms and pushing her to the floor on her back. Hawke didn’t care about the fall, spreading her thighs and arching up beneath her mate. Isabela tore her tunic open and bit along her torso, fingers skimming past the long-jagged scar to her waist. Hawke gasped as her laces were loosened and torn open, tugging at her rigid cock.

 

Isabela purred against her breast, teeth sinking in the underside of the small orb as her fingers touched and stroked her heated flesh. Hawke could only lie there and gasp for breath as her mate stoked her higher, then her thighs were on either side of her hips, warm and pressing close, and her tip was encased in clinging hot silk.
Isabela’s back arched as she slid effortlessly onto her mate’s cock, eyes closing from the pleasure of it. There was something tawdry for fucking through the bars of a cell door but being right close and on her mate was much better.
“Fuck!” Isabela cursed lightly, eyes opening as she began to ride her mate. Hawke thrust her hips strongly beneath her, urging the rolling motions of her hips. They thrust hard against each other and sweat poured down Hawke’s temples. She ran her hands along her mate’s hips and up to hold the small of her back protectively. With her fingers digging in slightly, she could feel her pirate’s hard thrusts onto her. Isabela was quivering around her, thrusting harder and harder. She was cursing a steady string of compliments, round breasts bouncing with each movement.

 

Hawke reached with one hand to tug at the corner of the thin mattress on the cot beside them. Her mate’s eyes flashed with curiosity when it landed on the stone floor beside her bruised hips. Hawke lifted her mate and gently tossed her onto the mattress, climbing on top. Before Isabela could question, she was sliding back inside her.
Isabela moaned, knees spread wide. She loved being on top, but Hawke had shown her how pleasurable it was to submit to her alpha dominance once in a while. Hawke took the moment to sink her teeth into the top of the pirate’s breast, lips moving to suckle a nipple into her mouth as she took off, hips moving fast against Isabela’s inner thighs.
Isabela screamed beneath her and Hawke surged to take her, she was close, so close…. Screaming, that wasn’t her mate’s, filled her peripheral but Hawke deliberately drowned it out, focusing on her mate’s upturned face, parted lips and trembling hands along her back. When she felt Isabela’s clinging walls shudder around her and she was keening in release, Hawke slammed harder into her mate, and shot her release. Stream after stream of come coated her pirate queen’s inner walls. They hadn’t knotted, but the release was still powerful. Hawke’s thighs felt rubbery and weak and she slumped down against Isabela’s breasts.
Her mate’s shaking hands scraped through her hair, mussing up the damp strands.

 

“Oh, sweet thing…..” Isabela murmured against her head. Hawke grinned and planted a few kisses along the curve of her breast.
“I’ll always find a way to take care of you, Bela,” she murmured. Her mate’s croons and sighs were canceled out by a very annoying shriek.
“HAWKE!”
Isabela snickered against Hawke’s head, knees tightening around her mate’s hips. “Captain’s mad.”
“And I thought I could knot you again and properly…” Hawke gave a few jogs of her hips playfully.
Aveline tore into the cell and tugged hard at Hawke’s shoulder, trying to tug her off the pirate. Hawke’s muscles tightened as her back hunched. She growled at Aveline, hissing over her shoulder. The guardsman that had unlocked the door was standing outside the cell looking like he’d just had a verbal reaming. He looked as if he wished he were anywhere but there.

 

“GET UP HAWKE! I swear, I should lock you up too!” Aveline screamed. Hawke gently tugged herself out of Isabela. The moan of appreciation as Isabela lay back, thighs spread, Hawke’s seed slowly leaking out of her damp folds touched Hawke’s heart. She gazed with longing down at her mate, reluctantly tucking her cock away.
“But they’d just rut all night…” the guardsman speculated. Aveline’s face was as red as her hair.
“I MEANT IN SEPARATE CELLS!” she snapped. The man blanched and took a few steps back.
“You can’t hold her for two more days!” Hawke got into her friend’s face. Isabela reached for her discarded small clothes, using them to wipe excess fluid off her thighs as she sat up.
“I can, and I will! Get going, Hawke! Or I’ll ban you from the barracks!” Aveline snapped. Isabela was helped up by her mate, Hawke pressing protective kisses along her temple. She made up her cot, picking up the mattress, and depositing the spent pirate on it.

 

“I’m going!” Hawke gave back. Isabela clasped her jaw and drew her down for a kiss.
“Be good, sweet thing,” she teased. Her mate gave her a pouting look. Isabela nibbled on her jutting lower lip. “Take good care of our boys.”
“I’ll be back in the morning,” Hawke promised, her green eyes gleaming.
Isabela watched her mate get dragged the rest of the way out of the cell, Aveline slamming the barred door and locking it.
“Well, good night,” Isabela turned into the scratchy blankets, smiling smugly. Hawke smiled fondly at her, gripping the bars.
“I just hope it’s good for you,” she said. Isabela blew her a kiss.

 

“It is now that I’ve got a piece of you with me,” she teased. Hawke turned bright red.

 

* * * * *

 

Merrill only had to smell her girlfriend to know what she’d gotten up to at the jail again. Hawke had given her a sheepish grin and updated the twins on when their mother was coming home. Apparently, her little tryst put Isabela back for two more days.
“You look satisfied,” Merrill said shyly as she and Hawke washed the boys after dinner. Hawke scooped up a pitcher of water and carefully rinsed Lark’s hair of suds.
“I guess it’s obvious?” she winced. Merrill patted her knee, handing her a towel.
“I’m glad. You need that sharper release….”
“Release?” Falcon asked. Hawke gave him a shake of the head to let him know that wasn’t for the kids to ponder over.
Hawke picked Lark out of the tub and set him on his feet, briskly toweling him dry. It touched her so much to see Merrill do the same for his brother.
“And maybe I need more with you later…” Hawke said softly. Lark stuck his tongue out at Falcon and the twins began whispering in a string of hastily strung words.
Merrill blushed bright red. “Well! That is…Isabela won’t mind?”

 

Hawke gave her a soft grin, her green eyes shining happily at the elf. “This is about you and me. She won’t mind.”
“Mama’s home soon?” Falcon asked again. Merrill nodded.
“The day after tomorrow, da’len,” she said.
Hawke steered both small pups into their room down the hall. The candles were lit by Orana and the covers pulled back on the twin beds. The boys clambered up and lay down to be tucked in.
“Why can’t we sleep with you, Papa?” Lark asked. Falcon stuck his thumb into his mouth.
Hawke gave Merrill a soft look across to the other bed. “Because Papa needs alone time with Auntie Merrill.”

 

“Whas that?” Falcon wanted to know.
“You’ll find out when you’re older, Fal,” Hawke said. Merrill turned away, face red in a blush. Lark tugged her hand close and clutched it to his small chest. She began a folk tale from her clan, detailing an encounter with a dragon woman. Soon, Lark’s chest rose and fell with his steady breathing as his eyes closed. Merrill hated withdrawing her hand from the child’s grip. She bent to kiss his brow.
Hawke tucked Falcon in under his blankets and smoothed his hair back. “Poor boys. They haven’t been without their mother so long since they came here.”
Merrill took Hawke’s arm as they quietly left the twin’s room. The elf began to feel a bit naughty when Hawke led her down the darkened hallway to the master’s bedchamber. Inside, Merrill sat on the edge of the bed and watched Hawke fuss about with the candles. She turned and cupped Merrill’s cheek with one large palm. Her calloused thumb rubbed along the elf’s lip.
“I’m sorry. For leaving the kids with you while I chase their mother.”

 

“I love them, Hawke. It’s no bother,” Merrill insisted. Hawke sat beside her on the mattress and her arm went around the elf’s thin waist.
“You always do so much for me. I just wanted to help you back,” Merrill insisted. Hawke gently opened her tunic and pressed kisses along her thin shoulders. Merrill tilted her head back and sighed.
“You are helping,” Hawke murmured against her skin. Merrill slung her arms around her neck, fingers combing through the short hairs at the back of her neck.
Merrill was pleased at the slower pace. Hawke obviously had her edge taken off earlier and devoted slow techniques to make her wet and open for her. Hawke tugged almost absently at her erect cock as she kissed Merrill’s inner thigh, moving back to her damp folds.

 

Merrill raised up on her elbows, panting. When Hawke moved up her body to slide her hips between her thighs, she welcomed the gentle pace her alpha was offering.

 

End for now

Chapter Text

“Mama, look! Tarts!” Lark tugged at Isabela’s hand, pointing with the other. The pirate squeezed her son’s hand. Hawke slung an arm around her waist as they strolled through the market. Merrill was on Hawke’s other side, hugging her arm. Falcon clung to her hand, swinging it as he skipped beside the elf.
“Then we should get some. Unless they haven’t finished their drills with you, love?” Isabela asked her mate. Hawke gave her an easy grin.
“We have more swordplay to do later. But I don’t see why my warriors shouldn’t get a treat.” Hawke ruffled both boy’s hair. They giggled as the small family stopped at a stall and ordered a bag of the flaky treats.
The merchant pushed his bandana up on his brow and smiled at the Champion. “Your children’s mother is very pretty, Champion Hawke,” he said. But the man was looking at Merrill when he said it. Isabela straightened and shared a confused knowing look with Hawke and Merrill. The boys didn’t notice the strange vibe between their parents and favorite “auntie” as they chewed on their tarts, trickles of jam pouring out of the opposite end of the treats.

 

Hawke kissed the side of Merrill’s head as she wrapped an arm around her waist. She whispered something close to her pointed ear that Isabela couldn’t hear, but she was fine with that. The sweet elf may not have been the boy’s mother, but she was as close as one. Again, those kind of thoughts encroached on Isabela’s mind, but it made her think in circles. Merrill brightened at Hawke’s side, and when Falcon offered her half his tart, she gave him a bright smile, putting the boy at ease.
“Come on, Fal!” Lark nudged his brother’s arm and the two scampered ahead.
“Not too far ahead, boys!” Hawke barked. The boys heard and slowed. But they were still a good distance away. The cobble stones of the market at the edge of Kirkwall receded and sand extended before the small family. The edge of the shoreline was a beautiful sight, children playing games and fisherman hard at work.
Hawke winced as sand seemed to find ways into her boots. Isabela was rigid at her side.

 

“Where are the boys?” she asked sharply. Hawke scanned the landscape with a sharp eye. She caught motion at the edge of a rocky cliff. Of course. Now her boys wanted to learn to climb. She jogged forward, one hand holding her sword scabbard from banging into her hip.
“Falcon! Lark! Get down!” she ordered. The boys paused in their climbing, looking chastised.
“We wanted to see how high we could get!” Falcon called. Isabela crossed her arms, tapping one boot.
“Get down NOW!” She put all of her authority into her voice. The twins cringed but before they could begin to attempt to try and get down, there was a scuffle and Hawke’s heart stopped when the two small dark figures slid off the cliff wall.

 

Before she could move, Merrill was charging beside her. She stabbed the air with her staff, a burst of magic sprouting to surround the flailing children. The magic net caught the boys a good five feet off the ground and their feet waved in midair as they stared at the panting elf with wonder.
Merrill plucked both out of midair, dropping her staff to the sand. She clutched the twins to her, showing an incredible amount of strength.
“What were you thinking? You could have been hurt, da’len!” she scolded softly. The boys awkwardly clung to Merrill.
“We’re sorry, Mamae,” Falcon said. Merrill flushed then looked incredibly happy as Hawke flashed a confused look with her mate.
“Where’d you get that word?” she cast a pleading look to Merrill to explain the elvish term.
Merrill flushed, hugging the boys to her chest. “It means ‘mother’. Last I took the boys to market, a merchant asked them if that was what I was.”
Isabela felt something turn over in her chest. It wasn’t jealousy, but recognition. She liked Merrill well enough, heck even a lot. She found herself as protective of the thin elf, maybe more, than Hawke was. They were all a family unit whether anyone would question it or not.
Hawke met her eyes, flushing to herself. Isabela leaned to kiss her cheek.

 

“Well, you are as close as one,” Isabela said. Hawke huffed in her mind. She didn’t know whether her mate was teasing her or not.
Back at the estate, Merrill kept both boys on her lap, checking their thin limbs for scrapes or cuts, giving them kisses and making them giggle. The twins had quickly gotten over their near-death experience and insisted on finding a treat for Merrill from Orana in the kitchen.
Isabela led Hawke in the family study and tried to get her to wrap her mind around things.
“Merrill loves our sons. Maybe more than we do,” she teased. Hawke crossed her arms and huffed. For some reason, she felt quick to defend her mark with her mate.
“Yes, but you are my mate. Merrill is not.”

 

Isabela leaned one voluptuous hip against the edge of Hawke’s desk, leaning down toward her mate. The Champion’s eyes darted toward her cleavage and one bare thigh.
“Why are you putting her off? I know where I stand. We are well and together, Hawke,” Isabela leaned to kiss her lover. Hawke perked up against her. Isabela trailed a hand along her mating mark through Hawke’s clothing. Hawke seethed under her touch. “Maybe… Merrill could be more. We couldn’t ask for someone more loyal.”
“Makes me think you want her too,” Hawke huffed. Isabela kissed her.
“Couldn’t you try to….. make her yours too? If you love her, couldn’t you consider it?” Isabela asked gently. Hawke gave her a rueful grin.
“No one’s marked two at once. One mark would hold over the other,” Hawke mused. Isabela fingered the etch of Merrill’s teeth across her bare throat. Hawke flushed.
“But it hasn’t healed. Not even the slightest,” Isabela mused. Hawke nodded.
“I could try…”

 

“That’s the spirit, sweet thing,” Isabela purred. She settled into Hawke’s lap and twined her arms around her neck. “Now go take our sweet elf to bed and mark her.”
Hawke blushed against her shoulder. “Are you certain you don’t want to do it?” she asked wryly.
Isabela swatted her shoulder. “Oh, quit being salty, Hawke.”
“That’s your persona,” Hawke grinned. Isabela kissed her again
“I’ll put the boys to bed after dinner. Use the spare bed chamber,” Isabela suggested. Hawke nodded, face bright red.
“I’ll broach the suggestion to her,” Hawke said.
“Go get her, Champion,” Isabela said.

 

The pair joined Merrill and their sons in the sitting room. As Isabela took Falcon on her lap, Hawke settled his hand over Lark’s head and ruffled his hair. When she leaned to whisper into Merrill’s pointed ear, Isabela noticed the shy woman blush bright red.

 

* * * * * *

 

“Are you sure about this?” Merrill asked shyly. Hawke leaned against the sideboard in the spare bedroom they were occupying. She’d had Orana dust and lay down fresh bedding. Candles were lit, and Hawke was pouring wine into two goblets. She held one up to her girlfriend, eyebrow raised and a soft smile on her lips. Merrill’s heart beat a staccato rhythm. Hawke was wearing just her under-tunic, arms bare. Her belt was off, and trousers half laced. Merrill’s mouth went dry as her eyes went south.
“More sure than I can say,” Hawke admitted. She scratched at her belly idly and lifted her own goblet in toast.
“But why?” Merrill wanted to know. Hawke trailed her fingers down Merrill’s cheek softly.
“Because you love my sons as if they were your own. And I love you. I couldn’t ask for a better mate,” Hawke murmured. Merrill was touched by the reverence she saw in the Champion’s eyes.

 

“But you already have a mate. For two bites to hold….” Merrill stammered. Hawke pressed a sweet kiss against her cheek. She set her goblet down, hands roaming softly over the elf’s sides. Merrill sighed happily. The goblet shook in her hands, but Hawke caught it and set it aside.
Then Merrill was free to twine her arms around her Champion’s neck.
“I’ll make it work,” Hawke murmured against her collarbone. She unfastened Merrill’s tunic, helping her undress slowly. Her eyes lit up at the sight of the elf’s small breasts and she bent her head low. Merrill’s hands scraped through Hawke’s dark hair. Hawke lifted her head and captured Merrill’s lips in a kiss that heated up rapidly. “Besides….it hasn’t healed.”

 

At her grin, Merrill’s eyes went down to her lover’s throat. Her own bite marks were still visible, raised and white along Hawke’s pale throat. Merrill’s heart leaped in her chest. She hugged Hawke tightly, her hips rubbing against her lover. Hawke groaned as her shift slammed to being, stiffening up against her lover through their clothing.
“Where….will you mark me, vhenan?” Merrill stammered. Hawke kissed along her throat, nipping and sucking.
“Maybe here….” Nip.
“Or here…” Nibble.
“Or maybe I’ll just put it in the middle of your back, as I’m taking you….”
Heat slammed between Merrill’s thighs and her pussy dampened. Hawke didn’t just say things, she made promises. She wriggled in the Champion’s arms, her own hands unable to stay still. “Hawke…”

 

Hawke’s hand was low, helping slide her leggings off. “Maker’s breath, I want you, Merrill. All to myself too….”
Merrill was beginning to far understand how Dalish elves could be seduced to the human sides of communities when her Champion stared at her with love and desire in her eyes. Merrill grew a bit bolder, tugging at the Champion’s under shift and mussing Hawke’s short dark hair as it came off.
Hawke groaned, pleased, as Merrill’s small hands unlaced her trousers the rest of the way. One hand slid inside, cupping her erect shaft as the other pushed the fabric off her hips.
“Oh, Champion….” Merrill murmured. The cock in her hand throbbed and seemed to grow even harder. Hawke gave her a roguish grin.

 

“I love the way you look at me,” Hawke admitted. She wrapped her arms around the thin elf, lifting her feet off the ground. She walked Merrill backwards toward the bed and laid her down on it. “I love your tits. So perfect….”
Isabela was far more voluptuous than she was, but Merrill felt more than desired as Hawke climbed on the bed, cupped one breast and bent to take the other in her mouth. She writhed beneath her, trying to rub herself against any part of Hawke she could, her leg, her thigh, her waist. Hawke chuckled above her. “I love this belly. So small….”
Merrill was suddenly reminded that Hawke had never knotted her and more than likely never would be able to. Their differences in size made sex much slower between them and while Merrill loved the way Hawke devoted her attention to her needs, she felt guilty that she wouldn’t be able to bear the Champion a pup of her own. Tears pricked her eyes.
Hawke laved kisses along her belly, one large hand on her inner thigh, caressing the smooth skin there when she noticed. She crawled back up Merrill’s body to lean against her and was relieved when Merrill’s arms went around her back. Hawke leaned to kiss the corners of her eyes.

 

 

“Don’t…..don’t think about that. I love you. Let me love your body and make it mine….” Hawke murmured. Merrill began to heat up once more as she felt the hardness of Hawke’s cock rub against her inner thigh. She rubbed against it wantonly, pleased when Hawke gave a soft groan.
“So eager, little one. Let me get you ready….” Hawke’s mouth was dipping down her body as she traveled to the apex between her thighs. “I won’t let you go so easy tonight.”
Merrill cried out when Hawke’s mouth leaned between her thighs. Her calloused hands held her thighs open and all the elf could do was writhe in place as Hawke laved her tongue along her clit, and down to her entrance, thrusting her tongue to lap up the wetness Merrill produced. When Hawke pushed a finger inside her, she was sopping wet. Hawke carefully added another finger and thrust them back and forth. Merrill’s stomach concaved as she writhed on her back. She scraped her palms over her eyes, giving a shuddering gasp.

 

“Please, Hawke…” she murmured. Hawke leaned up, grinning, her mouth covered with Merrill’s juices. When she knelt between her spread thighs, Merrill could see her cock straining. Small drops of precum dotted the slit of the head.
“Are you ready?” Hawke was so sweet to always check in. Merrill wrapped her legs around her sides, hands cradling the Champion’s jaw.
“Yes….please, Hawke,” she pleaded. Hawke kissed her heartily, rubbing her tip against her wetness. Hawke’s heart was in her throat as she watched her lover’s head tilt back. Merrill’s pale throat was so open, so ready….
Hawke worked herself in with slow steady thrusts. When Merrill’s feet scraped along the back of her thighs, Hawke kept up a steady pace. Sweat sprung along her temples and hair line as she strained to keep her thrusts even and firm. She never wanted to hurt her little elf.
When Hawke sank her teeth into the edge of her throat, where it met her shoulder, Merrill cried out. She clutched Hawke’s head with grasping fingers, urging her. After she was pushed to a climax, Merrill urged Hawke to her back and took her in from on top. Hawke was sweating profusely, eyes shining with lust as she watched Merrill ride her, the last stubborn half inch of her cock outside of Merrill’s clutching silken walls.

 

Merrill leaned down and brought her lips to her own mark made in love and affection in this same position. It seemed like ten years ago. Hawke writhed beneath her, hands clutching the elf’s back as she thrust toward her own release. Merrill kept her mouth over her mark, sucking and biting, renewing it, as she winced on top of Hawke’s slightly harsher thrusts. She always tried to be gentle with her, but at the apex of her climaxes sometimes needed that extra push.
Merrill sighed happily when she felt Hawke explode, hot spurts of come filling her. Hawke’s hips kept rolling, but slower, as she spent herself.
“Oh, fuck me, Maker’s tits, Merrill,” Hawke cursed. Merrill lifted her head and smiled down into Hawke’s flustered and smug face. She leaned to kiss her, and Hawke ran her hand through her short hair.

 

“We’re mates now,” Merrill stammered, not daring to believe her good fortune. Let her old clan gossip and talk. She had a good woman and family now.
Hawke nodded, beaming. She rolled Merrill to her back and gave a languid thrust inside her, keeping them connected. “I hope it holds,” she admitted, voice filled with happiness. “You mean so much to me, little one.”
Merrill ducked her face into the crook of Hawke’s neck, sighing happily. She inhaled the sweet musk that was all her Champion and clutched her back gently. She was where she belonged.

 

• * * * * * *

 

Hawke didn’t mean to keep the spare bedchamber until almost morning. A few short hours before dawn, she and Merrill woke, trading kisses and touches. When Hawke took her hand and guided her to the master’s bedchamber, she didn’t complain.
Isabela was half covered with the sheets, dark flesh showing in patches. Hawke’s eyes lit up seeing her, and she helped Merrill in after her. The two shucked their robes and the three cuddled in the sheets in the middle. Hawke turned to wrap her arm around her pirate queen. Isabela pressed her face into her shoulder, yawning.
“All done?” she yawned. Merrill giggled behind Hawke, curling up along her back. Hawke grinned like a fool.
“I think it’ll hold,” she whispered. Isabela kissed her. She reached over her side to clutch Merrill’s hand,
“Good. Our kitten’s with us,” she said sleepily.

 

“I am,” Merrill chirped. The three faded out but a few short hours later the boys knocked hard on the master’s chamber door, calling to be let in. They had been taught to always knock now and not just barge into any potential embarrassing situations.
Isabela pulled her shift on and tossed one to Merrill and Hawke before letting in the twins. Lark and Falcon wrapped their arms around her legs and then jogged to the bed, climbing up and jumping up and down, calling for their papa and Merrill.
“Wake up, Papa! Wake up, Mamae!”

 

The elvish word sounded strange to Isabela’s ears, but knowing what it meant, she had to reflect it suited Merrill. The thin elf was blushing, and she opened her arms, hugging Falcon to her. Hawke leaned to kiss Merrill’s cheek, ruffling Lark’s hair as he flopped on her lap, giggling.
Hawke held her hand out to Isabela and invited her back on the bed and the pirate grinned as she climbed up. The small family lounged together, giggling with the twins and listening to their excited plans for the day.

 

* * * * *

Weeks passed.

 

Merrill adjusted to her new life as second mate to the Champion of Kirkwall and rarely did she see her own kind for she didn’t have much want to frequent the city’s Alienage any longer. She had a secure and safe home with Hawke and only too happily did she collect her meager belongings to live at the estate fully.
It was passing that she had left the elvish mirror artifact behind. The last time Merrill went to her old shack, the mirror was gone. Merrill was inclined to think brigands or thieves as Hawke would have suggested. That was until she found the note.
It was written in elvish and signed by a few she knew of her old Dalish clan. Not her keeper Marethari, but several of her highest acolytes. No one that she knew of had been selected as the new Second, but Merrill knew neither of them had the forthright to wish her new life well.

 

Well, aside from Marethari. The old Dalish elf had always been fond of her and had sought to find her a safe new life when she had chosen blood magic. It was only Merrill’s extreme luck and fortune that Hawke had encountered Asha’bellanar and been sent to her clan.
“Come back to the last hunting ground and see what you’ve done,” the letter had ordered. Merrill sweat to herself. What would her new family do? Isabela would have laughed and torn the letter to shreds, cursing the writer for a fool. Hawke would have sought information to the writer and either ignored the exchange or met it with blade in hand if she deemed it a danger to her person.

 

Neither were with her now. Merrill leaned against her old table, thinking hard. She wanted more than anything to just go home and ask Hawke would she should do. But she was a second mother now. Merrill wanted to embody all the honest traits of a good mother; honesty, virtue and above all else, courage. Hawke deserved that as well in her. Merrill straightened her shoulders.
“I’ll go see the clan and see what they want. Back home in time for supper,” Merrill chirped aloud. Her heart dragged as heavy as her fears. As she left her shack for the last time, Merrill hurried to the outskirts of Kirkwall to head for the Sundermount foothills outside of the city.

 

o * * * * * *

 

“Bela! Did Merrill make it back yet?” Hawke called. She sauntered out into the back garden, Falcon slung casually over one shoulder. The boy giggled from his vantage point and was tilted sideways by his sire with one easy arm.
“Papa!” he squealed. Hawke patted his rump with her other hand idly. Isabela looked up from the garden’s stone bench. She was drinking whiskey from a silver flash, watching Lark “help” Orana with the wash. His help seemed to be splattering the soapy clothing onto the cobblestones by accident, but the elf maid didn’t chide him. She helped him pick up one of Isabela’s short tunics and squeezed out the water, so they could hang it up on the clothesline.
“I thought she had. Kitten said she wouldn’t be long,” Isabela said, brow furrowing. “Should we check on her?”

 

She knew that look on her mate’s face. A rictus of determination was on Hawke’s features. She nodded simply and slung Falcon to his feet, righting the boy with steady hands.
“Orana, will you look after the boys? Bela and I will be back soon,” she called to Orana. The maid nodded, wiping her wrist across her brow.
“Of course, Mistress Hawke.”
The twins clung to her sides, babbling jokes to the smiling elf and Hawke held her hand out to her mate. Isabela pocketed the flask and accepted her hand. The two strolled through the house, picking up weapons. Hawke stood still as Isabela helped Bodahn attach her breast plate and gauntlets. The dwarf knelt to attach her greaves and adjust the skirt mail.
“Thank you, Bodahn,” Hawke said. Isabela adjusted her bandana, earrings flashing. She cocked one hip out.

 

“Should we check her old home first?” she suggested. Hawke nodded.
“Hopefully she just lost track of the time.”
“She can be absent-minded about that. Only that,” Isabela said hurriedly. Hawke chuckled and took her hand. The two exited the manor and hurried toward Lowtown and the Alienage. One quick venture in and no Merrill. Looking around the shack, both were quick to find the discarded letter.
“Well I don’t know elvish, sweet thing,” Isabela lamented. Hawke adjusted her sword belt.

 

“I don’t know what this is about. Maybe it was sent by her old clan? We could check their last camping ground,” she said, worry in her tone. Isabela nodded and the two dashed through Lowtown toward the edges of the city. Merrill was their family and they would help her if trouble were upon her.

 

• * * ** * * *

Indeed, trouble WAS upon Merrill.

 

When she’d arrived at the hunting ground, several Dalish ignored her pointedly, until one of the acolytes hissed at her to find Marethari in a cave further up in the hills. She would know what she’d done when she saw her, was implied.
Merrill made her way into the cave, throat dry. Her old keeper was kneeling, looking as if she were in the most excruciating pain and torment. She smiled seeing Merrill and Merrill knew that despite her decision, she had loved her.
But hope died like ashes in Merrill’s mouth as she saw the demon inside her Keeper’s eyes.
“Keeper! Why?” Merrill cried. Marethari held up a trembling hand, as if to deflect her.

 

“Because it could have possessed you. And I couldn’t let that happen,” Marethari tried to smile but it was a painful look. Tears filled Merrill’s eyes.
“But but…..you didn’t have to!” she cried. The acolytes entered the mouth of the cave, effectively blocking her way.
“You see what your accursed blood magic has done? If you hadn’t been her Second….! She wouldn’t have...!”
Merrill’s world was falling apart around her, and she didn’t have the want or inclination to defend herself. Not while her mentor was dying before her eyes.
“I…I….”
“You can’t even explain yourself! Let’s be done with her! She’s killed our Keeper….”
A glance behind her shredded Merrill’s heart. Marethari was indeed laying on the ground and she wasn’t moving. Her chest was still rising and falling, but her breaths were slowing. And suddenly, her chest wasn’t moving anymore.

 

Blackness dimmed Merrill’s vision as a part of her heart died with her Keeper. Marethari had still loved her to the end to offer herself to the demonspawn in her place. Seething grief filled the darkness and a wail rent from her throat.
That was when the acolytes clasped her arms, yanking her to her feet and far away from Marethari’s frail bent body.
And then Hawke burst into the cave, drawing her sword, fury in her eyes as she ran pell-mell toward her. Her sword was raised, and the acolytes screamed around her as she rained blows. A whirlwind of motion and Isabela danced around Hawke’s side, daggers flashing. Blood splattered the pair, and Merrill as well.
“Don’t….don’t….” Merrill choked. Hawke knelt beside her, spots of blood dotting her cheeks.

 

“Merrill! Are you okay?!” she demanded. Merrill felt the overwhelming love of her mate surging through their link and she fell into Hawke’s arms, wailing with fear and grief.
Isabela let the last acolyte scamper out of the cave, injured and running for her life. Isabela tutted her and wiped her blades on one of the acolyte’s tunic. “Are you okay, kitten?” she demanded.
Hawke her let her sword fall to the dirt, and her arms were around Merrill, rocking her back and forth. She recognized the silver-haired Keeper not far off and instantly knew why Merrill was in such pain.
“Marethari….is she….” Hawke asked gently. Merrill’s eyes squeezed fat tears as she pressed her brow to Hawke’s tunic and wailed.
“She’s dead….because of ME!”

 

 

“Oh, kitten, not because of you,” Isabela said gently. She rubbed the elf’s thin back, kneeling beside her mate and Merrill. “How could you think that?”
“Because….because….they were right….. my blood magic called a demon….and the Keeper let it take her….!” Merrill was inconsolable. And Hawke knew nothing but time and patience and a whole lot of love would set her second mate’s world right again. Some day.
She let go of Merrill briefly to sheathe her blade and stood, picking her mate bodily up in her arms. Isabela stood close, hand patting Merrill’s leg as they made their way to the cave. Outside, the rest of the Dalish clan stood at the ready, and they looked downright enraged.
Isabela tensed, one hand going for a dagger and Hawke’s shoulders concaved. She clutched Merrill in her arms, a fierce glare on her face.

 

 

“If you’re going to demand Merrill, you’ll never get her. I’m taking my mate home,” Hawke declared. Her tone made it not an option to ask otherwise. Several of the elven clan shifted and one of the remaining acolytes pressed their luck.
“She caused the death of our Keeper. I don’t trust a shemlen to understand how important a Keeper is to the Dalish, and she died needlessly to protect one NOT OUR OWN.”
Merrill shuddered in Hawke’s arms and while Hawke knew she didn’t doubt her love for the elf, Hawke was worried about the grief her old clan was causing her heart and mind.
“How could you…!” Isabela began. Hawke growled beside her.
“If you don’t let us through, I swear to the Maker I will cleave a way through.”

 

Several of the Dalish cursed in elvish but Merrill’s quavering voice sounded.
“I….I…. I’ll leave….I won’t return….” She promised. Hawke clutched Merrill to her chest, trying to soothe her shaking.
Murmurs arose from the clan and finally one of the more outspoken sniffed. “Go. And never return.”
“With friends like you, she doesn’t need enemies,” Isabela sniffed at the Dalish. The elves stared at the three, stone-faced.
Hawke hurried her steps and did not feel the slightest bit of relief until the rolling hills of the Sundermount were far behind and Kirkwall loomed ahead.
Merrill wouldn’t stop crying and her soft sniffles and wails tore Hawke and Isabela’s hearts. They shot a worried look over her head. Hawke was slightly relieved that her mate was on board to help soothe her other mate.

 

Back home, Hawke kept the elf easily in her arms, walking Merrill inside. The twins charged up to greet them and were dumbstruck at the sight of their mamae grieving.
“Whas wrong, Mamae?” Falcon gently tugged at Merrill’s leg. The elf couldn’t answer, wiping her eyes with the back of her hands.
“Ssh, boys. Let’s put your Mamae to bed. She isn’t feeling well.”
“Why?” Lark asked plaintively. They kept pace with their sire’s long strides upstairs and scampered onto the bed with Merrill. They cuddled tightly on either side of her, clutching her. Merrill wrapped her arms around them, crying softly.

 

“Because….” Hawke sat on the mattress and soothed her hand over Merrill’s short hair. “Mamae lost someone very important to her…and that always hurts.”
“Ooooh….” The concept of loss wasn’t too recognizable to the small children, but they understood their second mother was hurt. “We’re sorry, Mamae…”
Isabela sat on the other side of the mattress, watching Merrill sadly. “We’ll bring you dinner, sweet kitten. You don’t have to do a fricking thing if I have anything to say.”
“T-thank you…..Isabela….” Merrill sniffed. A fresh round of tears filled her eyes and she gasped trying to catch her breath. Falcon handed her his handkerchief and giggled when Merrill blew her nose loudly.
That first night was rough. The twins brought their picture scrolls into the wide master’s bed and explained the stories through memory alone, making up stories to go along with the etchings to amuse Merrill. The elf listened, nodding, but her eyes had a glazed, glassy look that worried Hawke. When dinner came, she begged and urged Merrill to have at least a few bites of Orana’s stew, even picking up the spoon to feed her.
Merrill took a few bites to appease her mate, but she soon slid onto her side, hugging her knees. Her eyes closed with exhaustion.

 

 

“Come on, boys, time for bed,” Isabela ordered. Falcon and Lark protested they were protecting Mamae’s heart which touched Merrill so much she began to cry again. Alarmed, Hawke rubbed her back, leaning to caress her hip.
“I’m here, love, I’m here,” she urged. Merrill turned her cheek into the mattress, closing her eyes.
“Put the boys to bed, Hawke,” she said softly. Always, Merrill was concerned for the twin’s well-being. Hawke leaned to gently kiss her temple.
“Be right back,” she said. Hawke helped Isabela bathe the boys and tuck them into their small beds in their chamber. Isabela told the bedtime story and wrapped it up in a hurry.
“See you tomorrow, loves,” Isabela said. Hawke blew out the room’s candles and laid her hand at the small of Isabela’s back.

 

“Good night, boys,” Hawke said gruffly. The twins chirped out their goodnights as the door was closed. The parents could hear the brothers giggling in the dark, but they were too concerned for Merrill to tell them to quiet it down for the night.
Back in the bedchamber, Merrill was sitting on the mattress, arms wrapped around her thin legs. Hawke and Isabela climbed up onto the mattress. Hawke wrapped her arms around her mate from behind, nuzzling her throat.
“My love…..it will be okay one day. I promise,” Hawke choked. Merrill’s eyes filled with tears again. Isabela wiped her tears with a corner of the sheets carefully.
“I just….”

 

“Sssh, kitten. You need to rest. You look exhausted,” Isabela said gently. Isabela fetched a shift for Merrill as Hawke carefully undressed her. When the neckline of the shift was tugged over her head and smoothed over her lithe form, Hawke urged Merrill to her side. Hawke rubbed the elf’s back gently, urging her to sleep.
Finally, Merrill drifted off. Hawke watched Isabela take off her earrings and choker and undress for bed. “I’m so worried, Bela…”
Isabela gave her mate a gentle look. “All we can do is be there for her. She is going to need us more than ever.”
“I know…”
Isabela watched Hawke shuck out of her tunic and trousers, sliding under the sheets in only her under-tunic. She blew out the candles and the two of them cradled Merrill between them.

 

• ** * * * * * *

 

Getting over a loved one’s death is never easy. Each day that passed proved troubling and tiresome in its own way. But Hawke extended her patient love and Isabela her support. Having two small boys to care for helped Merrill as well and slowly but surely, she was able to be happy again with her new life. Losing her Keeper was hard, and so was being ejected from her clan.

 

But Hawke was sure Merrill was secure in her new life with her.

 

o * * * * *

A few weeks passed.

 

Hawke cursed as she trudged home. Anders had had the bright idea to look for….something he needed from the sewers, and she had fallen into a pool of sludge. She was covered head to foot, her armor and clothing ruined. She fumbled with her house key until Bodahn opened up. His smile died on his lips and he actually retreated a few steps from his mistress.
“Mistress Hawke!” he cried, voice laden with dismay. Hawke cringed, dripping sewage on the rug.
“I fell into a mishap,” she explained lamely. “Please look after my armor.”

 

Bodahn helped strip her on the spot, tears in his eyes at the mess he’d have to clean up from the floor as well as her ruined armor. It would have to be scoured and scrubbed for days. Orana was called over and she cringed a good five feet away, eyes fearful of the mess.
Down to her soiled smallclothes, Hawke winced at her kind maid. “A towel please?”
Orana dashed off like a mad woman and when she came back, she had an armful of linen. She tossed one at Hawke’s face and the Champion grunted as she tried to wipe the worst of the gunk from her flesh, carefully drying her feet so she wouldn’t trek any more in.
“Papa!” her boys crowed from somewhere in the distance. Hawke groaned in the towel and shoved it off her damp hair. She caught sight of the twins stopping in their tracks, plugging up their noses with their hands. “Ew!”

 

“For fuck’s sake!” Isabela snapped. She stopped a good five feet away as well. Orana darted behind her. “Hawke, what did you DO!”
Hawke groaned, rubbing the soiled towel over her body, trying to pick up more sewage. She sputtered and coughed. “PLEASE just get some buckets of water….”
“Oh, I will, and you are going to the garden and out of this house!” Isabela snapped. Merrill’s voice chirped a hello from the study and when she came up front, similarly her smile died. Then she began to giggle uncontrollably.
“Oh, ma vhenan, Anders wanted you to get that dirty?” she giggled. Hawke pouted at her mate but was oddly touched her misfortune could cheer her mate further. At least there was THAT.
“Yeah well….”

 

“Please, Mistress, walk on the towel so you won’t ruin the rug in the whole house!” Orana begged. Hawke took mincing steps, making sure the towel stayed under her. She was careful not to touch anything and once out in the garden, she tossed the towel aside.
“Okay, drench me,” Hawke said. She held her arms wide, small breasts bared. Orana worked the garden pump and Merrill and Isabela carried buckets over to her. Hawke winced and stood her ground as she was doused with cold well water from head to toe. Flakes of sludge worked out of her hair and down her shoulders. She shivered and sneezed, nipples erect. “Damn!”
“Oh, quit your bitching…..” Isabela smirked. She tapped one boot on the cobblestones. “Small clothes off, Hawke.”

 

“Okay, okay….” Hawke wasn’t concerned with her boys being present. They’d all had baths together since they were small after all. She shucked the soiled small clothes and Merrill groaned.
“Can her clothes be salvaged?” she wondered to Orana. Orana shook her head.
“I think her tunic and trousers need to be thrown out. She has other outfits…”
“You heard her. Only your armor is going to be saved from this debacle,” Isabela said coyly. Hawke hugged her arms over her breasts, goose flesh covering her skin.
“More water, please.”

 

“You asked for it,” Isabela retorted. After several buckets later, Hawke was sufficiently rinsed. She still felt unclean and asked Orana to bring the tin tub out to the garden, so she could scrub down and keep the rest of the filth from the house. The sun was setting, and Merrill lit the lanterns. Orana brought soaps as well and soon the tub was filled. With cold water. Hawke stepped a foot in, wincing and then took a deep breath, sitting down. Her teeth clacked.
“Fuck that’s cold!”
“Language, Hawke,” Isabela retorted.
“Oh, you’re one to talk, pirate queen!” Hawke snorted. She cried out when Isabela poured a bucket of water over her head. Merrill worked in shampoo over her scalp and Isabela began scrubbing soap over her shoulders and torso. Hawke sputtered, gooseflesh raised. Her boys helped scoop up water and toss it over her.

 

“Brandy, please!” she begged Orana. The maid went to the kitchen and came back out with a mug of the drink. Hawke accepted the ceramic mug and sipped, trying to get warmed up as her mates washed her. Finally, she began to feel clean. The bathwater was a dingy gray and brown as she stood up, water cascading off her muscled form.
“Alright, sweet thing, out of the tub. Final rinse!” Isabela held up a bucket, grinning. Hawke sighed and held her arms out.
“You are SO getting it for enjoying this,” Hawke glowered but she couldn’t keep a devilish grin from her lips. Lark ran to get a towel as Hawke accepted the last thrown bucket to rinse off and made a point to wrap her wet arms around her mate.
“Hawke!” Isabela squealed. Hawke picked her up, naked flesh pressing into her, planting a kiss on her cheek. Merrill brought a towel with Falcon and both began drying off Hawke in sure passes of the fabric.

 

 

“Thank you, loves,” Hawke said, smiling and feeling like herself again. She wrapped a towel around her waist and followed her family inside.
“I love the view, but please get dressed, Hawke. Orana and Bodahn have seen enough of you today,” Isabela teased. Hawke blew her a kiss and made to limp upstairs. Merrill eyed her thigh as the towel pulled up.
“You’re cut, Hawke,” she said gently. Hawke glanced down, unperturbed. The cut was shallow with only a few flakes of blood that had seeped through.
“It’s nothing.”
“At least patch it, Hawke,” Isabela urged. Hawke nodded.
“Okay, okay….”

 

The rest of the night passed normally. As the three women prepared for bed, they had no way of knowing how their small world would be upended soon.

 

• * * * * * *

 

It began as a sore throat and cough the following morning. Hawke complained of light fatigue and still made to get up and dressed to aide Aveline with any tasks.
“Maybe you should stay inside, sweet thing,” Isabela suggested. Hawke leaned against the pillows, grinning.
“Why, got plans for me here?” She gave Isabela’s hip a firm swat.
“Really, love, you’re not feeling well. Get some rest,” Isabela retorted. Hawke leaned in for a kiss and slung an arm around Merrill’s waist.
“Are the boys up? I can hear them talking in the other room,” Hawke said. Isabela let the twins in and the small family cuddled as normal on the bed.

 

As the sun arched overhead in the sky above Kirkwall, the small family’s day started simply enough. But by midday, Hawke was coughing continuously, and her limbs trembled. By night she was wracked with fever, her brow clammy and lined with sweat, her flesh hot to the touch.
“What did you do in that sewer?” Isabela worried. She accepted a clean rag from Orana and wrung cold water from it to press against her mate’s brow. Hawke flinched at the cold water and fabric, green eyes fluttering open anxiously.
“I….we just..” she slurred. Merrill’s brow furrowed with worry.
“Hawke?”

 

But as their mate continued slurring her words, Merrill knew she was delirious with fever. Isabela looked downright panicked.
“What can we do?” she begged Merrill. Merrill frowned, tugging up her mate’s shift. Her eyes and fingers skimmed over every inch of Hawke’s pale flesh, looking for irregularities. She was ready to ask Hawke to roll onto her belly, so she could check her back, when she happened upon the shallow cut along Hawke’s thigh. It was a small thing, too shallow to consider a threat, but the skin around it was flaming red.
Merrill traced carefully around the edge of the puckered red flesh and Hawke cried out in pain.
“Oh, Hawke.” Isabela’s heart was in her eyes. Hawke shivered and seethed in her nest of sweat-soaked sheets.
“I’m…sorry…” Hawke wheezed. Merrill laid her hand over her brow, and fetched herbs to clean Hawke’s cut out with.

 

“For what? I’ll patch it in no time,” Merrill said.
As the hours wound on toward night, the twins poked in, pouting and upset their papa was so sick. With Hawke sweating profusely under a pile of blankets, Merrill and Isabela were half-wild with worry. She couldn’t seem to keep warm and her body kept wracking with tremors as her teeth clacked with cold. Hawke’s body was bathed in a fine sheen of sweat despite this. It conflicted, as well as her continuous fever.

 

“Go and get Anders,” Merrill finally said as the hour drew on nine o’clock. She cared not one whit if the mage would be mad for upsetting his night routine. Their mate was nearing danger in her health, she knew it. Isabela nodded, face blanching. She ruffled the twin’s hair idly and told them to go to bed. Orana gently collected the boys by the hand and led them away, as they called out plaintively why Papa was so sick.

 

o * * * * * *

 

When Anders was led into the master bedchamber of the Hawke estate, Isabela was pleading with him, as she led him by the wrist. Anders was so confused to her somewhat contrite and odd behavior he didn’t have it in him to rib her. Casting eyes on Hawke put a bad taste in Ander’s mouth and he got the gravity of the situation instantly.
Rushing to the bed’s side, he knelt beside Merrill and pushed the blankets off to do a quick scan of Hawke’s body with his staff.
“How long has she been like this?” he asked Merrill. The elf’s eyes were wet with worried tears, but she looked more put together than Isabela. Another look at Hawke’s rolling eyes and pain-wracked face made the pirate begin to weep on the spot.

 

“Since morning,” Merrill fretted. She clung to Hawke’s hand, trying to ignore how clammy it was. She couldn’t voice in her head the possibility that Hawke could die. It was unfathomable to imagine. The Champion of Kirkwall was nigh invincible; death would never come to Hawke’s door.
But Anders pushed aside the bandage covering Hawke’s thigh and gasped at the red flesh around her cut. “This is bad. When we were traipsing in the sewers well….she must have cut herself there. It can only explain this bad an infection.”
Merrill had figured it was an infection, but not how bad it was. She stammered and listed the herbs she had used to bind Hawke’s cut. Anders nodded and counted on his fingers.
“We’ll need Fever’s Dream and Forget-Me-Not. That should bring down the swelling and flush out the toxins,” Anders said. The servants were peering into the bedchamber, horrified expressions on their faces. Anders called to Bodahn. “You, good sir, please run to Master Hemlock’s shop in LowTown. He’ll be closed, but tell him I sent you. And get the herbs back post haste.”
“Right away, sir!” Bodahn yelped. He paused to collect coin from Anders and ran for the stairs.

 

“Mistress Hawke….” Orana gulped in the doorway. The kind woman that had saved her and offered her a job looked to be near death’s door and she didn’t know what she’d do. Her poor boys….and her poor mates. Merrill tried to help Anders, but the pained expression on her face was heartbreaking to see. Isabela lay on the other side of the bed, not intruding on Hawke’s space, but clutching her hand despite herself. Tears streamed down her face as Hawke babbled aloud.
“Not like Father….Bethany…. Merrill?” Hawke panted. Merrill wiped her sweating brow with a damp cloth, trying to smile for her. It was a pained attempt.
“Yes, my love?” she murmured. Hawke’s eyes swung toward her rather wildly. And then she spoke utter nonsense for what she said next made little sense in context.
“When the new one arrives…..if she’s like Bethany…don’t let her….demons….” Hawke murmured, panting. Her eyes shone with a feverish plea. “You must promise me!”

 

Merrill had no idea what she was promising but when she clasped her love’s hand and murmured “I promise,” Hawke seemed to relax. Only so slightly. She turned her head on her sweat-soaked pillow to gaze at her pirate queen. Isabela was crying, clutching her hand. Hawke tried to reach up and touch her cheek with trembling fingers.
“I’m so sorry….not to see the princess…..” Hawke panted. Isabela gave a shake of her head. She clutched Hawke’s hand to her cheek.
“What are you talking about, sweet thing? If you’ve been seeing someone else, I swear,” Isabela tried to give a haughty laugh, but worry was naked in her gaze. She blinked wet eyes. “I can’t…. please, get better, Hawke, or I’ll never forgive you.”
Hawke groaned as Anders washed her cut out again. “I want to meet her too…the little princess.” Her hand grazed Isabela’s flat belly and the pirate shared a confused look with Merrill. Anders got the gesture and snorted.
“With child again, Rivaini?” he raised an eyebrow. Isabela flung her hands up.

 

“I don’t know! No!” she decided. She hadn’t had a proper heat in a few months. Well there had been that small half day that felt like half a heat but it was no proper few days of rutting…..
“Why do you think she is, Hawke?” Merrill asked sweetly. Hawke gave a mad grin, sweat rolling down her cheeks.
“I just know. Father told me,” she said. The next look between Isabela and Merrill was of more worry.
“Hawke, your father has gone to the Maker,” Merrill said carefully. “Years ago, you might add.”
“Tell him you can’t go then,” Isabela was more to the point. “You’re staying with us and the boys….”
“My boys….” Hawke’s eyes grew wet with worry. “I’m so sorry, Bela….”

 

“You’ll get better….and train them right,” Isabela murmured. She leaned down to press kisses across Hawke’s cheeks. “Please….”
Anders reflected the normally cocky pirate must indeed be worried if she was showing such naked concern even in front of him. Their dislike for each other was openly known but he would not rile the woman on Hawke’s apparent death bed. Bodahn returned within the next ten minutes with the needed herbs and Merrill helped him grind the medicinal plants to a pulp.

 

“Here…..this should help,” Anders murmured. He lined the open cut with the mixture and Merrill carefully covered the cut with a fresh bandage. Now all they could do was wait.

 

• * * * * * *

 

As the hours wound down toward dawn, Hawke’s fever broke, and she finally stopped sweating. Merrill and Isabela lay on either side of her, dozing on and off. When Hawke asked for water, they woke instantly, and Anders stirred on a chair across the bedchamber.
“Hawke! Are you okay? How do you feel?”
Hawke groaned and tried to sit up. “Wasted. What happened to me?”
“You had an infection. I’m sorry for asking you to go down the sewers. It was my fault,” Anders leaned on his staff and walked closer to the bed, smiling down at the confused Champion. Merrill tucked the sheet carefully around her mate’s body and Isabela fetched a cup of water.

 

“I feel exhausted,” Hawke murmured. Merrill pressed kisses across her face, making Hawke smile. Isabela pressed kisses along her brow as she settled an arm around Hawke’s shoulders, helping her to sit up.
“Please rest. It was really touch and go for awhile,” Merrill chirped. She scrubbed moisture from her eyes. Hawke leaned to kiss her cheek.
“I’m sorry,” Hawke murmured. Isabela tilted her chin toward her and kissed the Champion.

 

“Thank Anders. He came out in the middle of the night to help patch you up,” Isabela said. Anders was surprised her usual snark for him was absent from her tone. He inclined his head politely to the three on the bed. As he left the bedchamber, two small dark figures darted past, white nightgowns flapping.

 

Anders left, letting his thoughts circle around. True, he was never alone with Justice inside him, but seeing Hawke’s family life made him want the same thing she had.

End for now

Chapter Text

“Whispers of want, ache for glory; mages will not suppress their inner temptations!” The armored men and women yelled in the marketplace. The metal of the sword emblems on their breastplates shone under the sun. The templars were in full force today, and Hawke noticed many mages had left their staves at home to avoid harassment. Preaching at best; imprisonment at worst.
She reached out and took Merrill’s hand, hurrying her along. These past few weeks, Hawke had opted to guard Merrill, Isabela or even Bodahn and Orana when they had to do shopping for the household. The templars were busy lately it seemed, rounding up any mages for arrest and preaching Knight-Commander Meredith’s rhetoric.
Merrill seemed to shrink in on herself; the staff slung across her back was a dead giveaway, but not many outside her clan knew of her tampering with blood magic. As Hawke knew it, her mate had lessened in its use over the past few months, going back to old incantations and spells instead. She had even offered a few pages of her sister’s old spell notes and Merrill’s eyes had glistened as she accepted them.

 

 

Bethany would be happy for them, Hawke knew it. She wondered how she was doing in the Grey Wardens and hoped to see her again one day. The way things were riling up in Kirkwall, that day could be sooner than later. Hawke wistfully tucked away the hope of introducing her sister to her pups as the templars pushed through the crowds, knocking back a few men and women. Hawke stood her ground, shielding Merrill. The plate at her shoulder crashed into the breastplate of a pushing templar.
“Excuse me,” Hawke said coolly. She clenched a gloved fist, showing her intent if the man didn’t get out of her way. The templar made to bark a command at her then recognized her.
“Champion Hawke, what are you doing with this mage? Has she done anything suspicious?” The templar tried to peer past Hawke at Merrill. The elf cowered against Hawke’s back. Hawke spread her feet and kept the templar from her mate. Ire and protection wove through Hawke’s aura and Merrill wove support into it. She puffed her chest out.

 

“This woman is my mate. Step aside,” she commanded. The templar made to protest but a higher ranked woman, who wore the badge of a captain, called him over.
“Leave off the Champion! Be quick about it,” she commanded. Hawke nodded her thanks. Her reputation and being neutral to the Knight-Commander helped in spades. She hurried her mate along. Merrill clutched the shopping basket, pale face almost white with fear.
Hawke ducked aside, cupping Merrill’s face and kissing her brow. “It’ll be okay, Merrill. I won’t let anything happen to you.”
“I know, ma vhenan.” Merrill brightened. Hawke helped her purchase the items Orana had written down and she rushed her mate home. Only behind the heavy oak door of her family estate and the latch was put down did Hawke begin to relax.
“Larkie, get down from there!” Orana was calling from the study. The two adults sauntered into the study to watch Orana gently lift her son from the high mantel of the fireplace. The boy tucked against the elf’s shoulder and looked chastised, noting Hawke’s rueful look.

 

“Hi, Papa….”
“Where’s your brother?” Hawke asked. Falcon rolled over on the rug and chirped out a greeting. There was a commotion in the entry way and Hawke heard Bodahn rush to unlatch the door.
Hawke heard Isabela before she saw her. Her pirate queen was toting a small barrel.
“What is going on with this city? I had to draw Heartbreaker to get a good deal on this whiskey!” Isabela cursed. She had named her daggers, of course. Heartbreaker’s twin was Bodice-ripper and it was like Isabela to choose such jaunty names. Hawke took the barrel and hoisted it up on one shoulder, taking it to the kitchen.
“I thought we discussed you going with a guard or two. At least take Sandal with you,” Hawke suggested. She would suggest Bodahn, but the elderly dwarf was so good-natured, he didn’t exude a sturdy aura not to be messed with. Sandal, although simple, at least had a few incantations up his sleeve and was able to protect his charges and himself.

 

“Boom!” Sandal insisted from the corner of the entry way. Isabela blew the simple dwarf a kiss and followed her mate into the kitchen.
“When I get a ship, we should just all leave while the getting is good,” Isabela suggested. Her eyes took on a far-off glaze.” Just think, the open sea, the gulls cawing overhead, salt on the wind and thunder booming on the horizon….”
Hawke set the barrel down and leaned against the edge of the wood-stove. “You’re so beautiful when you’re going on about the ocean.”
“I’ll show you one day, Hawke. Just you wait,” Isabela grinned. “The captain’s quarters, decadent and awaiting the captain’s Champion…” She pressed against Hawke’s torso. Hawke glanced over her shoulder to the back door. She led her mate out to the back way and surveyed the high stone wall that separated their garden from the estate next door.
“Boys!” Hawke called. Stamping footsteps sounded from inside and the twins erupted out into the back garden, boots stomping on the cobblestones.
“Yes, Papa?” Falcon stood up straight. Lark grinned up at his father. Hawke gestured to the stone wall.
“Boys, you need to do something for me. If anyone climbs over that wall, you’re to take up weapons. Get me or one of your mothers but defend yourself. Do you hear me?”
Both boys nodded rapidly. “Yes, Papa!”

 

“Shall we practice?” Hawke strode to retrieve her wooden practice stave. The boys scrambled for their wooden weaponry and began raining blows against the stave. Hawke took a good stance and let the twins have at it. She waved the stave at random, letting her sons dodge it.
When Bodahn ambled out to the garden to watch, Hawke waved him close. She wiped a line of sweat from her brow with her wrist and pointed her long wooden stave toward the deadening tree in the corner. It had become an impromptu practice dummy and at her gesture, the twins ran over to whack their weapons against it.
Before Hawke could ask, Bodahn alleviated her concerns. “The front door is latched and locked, Mistress. With all the goings on in the city, mayhaps we keep it locked at all hours?”
Hawke nodded. “An excellent idea. We should be vigilant.”
“I’m sorry your dear sister can’t be here…..” Bodahn cleared his throat at the dart of guilt on the Champion’s face. He hastened to soothe her ire. “It’s a good thing she can’t see all the turmoil broiling about the mages of this city.”
Hawke nodded. “I just pray she’s warm and safe. The head of her order seemed a good man. I just wish…”

 

Bodahn awkwardly patted the human’s arm. “She would be happy for you, Serah Hawke.”
“Thanks, Bodahn.”
Hawke heard a high giggle from the kitchen and after darting a look to make sure the boys were okay, wailing away at the thin tree, she headed inside. Isabela had uncorked the barrel of whiskey and was urging a glass on Merrill.
“Just a few sips! That’s the good stuff, kitten. Go on!” Isabela urged. Merrill’s cheeks were flushed, and she attempted another sip. She coughed.
“So strong, Bela!” she admitted. Isabela slung a friendly arm over her shoulders.
“That’s why it’s the good stuff.”
“Hi, mates,” Hawke grinned.
Isabela pressed into her arms and after a kiss, Merrill leaned against her shoulder.

 

“Oh, did I tell you, Pouty Boy has a lead on a ship for me? We should head out to get my clues,” Isabela said. Hawke giggled in her head at the mention of Fenris. Only Isabela could get away with openly teasing him with nicknames. The ex-slave was not one to be trifled with ordinarily.
“Let’s go ahead and talk to him. Maybe we should head out after dark. The templar patrols will be mostly gone by then,” Hawke suggested. Merrill nodded, looking relieved.
“What do we need a ship for?” Merrill wondered. Orana moved past them with a stack of china dishes for the dining room. Hawke helped bring out the glasses.
Isabela laughed. “What DON’T we need a ship for? I say it’s best to have one, you’ll see. Besides, even if things don’t go to hell in Kirkwall, we could do with a way to travel for vacations and the like.”

 

Isabela knew how attached Hawke was to her mother’s home. There would be no way she could ask her to leave Kirkwall indefinitely. But having an option for travel, well, that was always a plus.

 

• * * * *

 

The trek through Hightown outside its many estates was thankfully uneventful. Aveline’s guardsmen were on patrol and many knew Hawke, saluting her and her mates. Pausing by one manor tucked away in the corner of a square, Hawke rapped the door knocker.
Isabela was rocking on her tiptoes, excited to hopefully be near possession of a ship again. Hawke smiled fondly at her mate and cast a careful glance over Merrill’s shoulder. No templar patrol was nearby, thank Andraste. The front door was pulled open and a familiar face showed in the crack of the open door. Fenris’s white hair seemed to glow under the moonlight and the tattoos under his chin and jaw pulled with his wry expression.
“You are prompt today, Hawke,” he grunted. Isabela grinned as they all pushed in and Fenris latched the door.

 

“Isabela was too excited to be late,” Hawke admitted. The four moved past the entry way, past turned over and damaged furniture. The estate was not truly Fenris’s but claimed by him after killing some of his old master’s underlings. He had moved the bodies of the felled party, but housekeeping was beyond him. The manor was in obvious disrepair and dusty to boot. Merrill eyed a portrait of one of the past owners, slashed at random places.
“You really should hire a maid, Fenris!” The elf chirped. Fenris shrugged his thin shoulders. He led the small family to the manor study, his favorite room in the estate. He even slept there apparently, if the pile of blankets in the corner indicated. A fire was going in the hearth and cast the shabby study in warmth.
“And possibly have them report me? I don’t think so, Merrill,” Fenris groused. He sat in an overstuffed chair. Hawke sat opposite him and Isabela leaned against the back of the elf’s chair.

 

“Well, don’t be so pouty, Fenris,” Isabela teased. “Come on, what’s the hint we need?”
“Hint YOU need,” Fenris corrected. “I don’t know all Hawke could do with a ship.”
“Sure,” Isabela agreed. She traced a fingertip down Fenris’s pointed ear, tickling him. “Pretty please with a wench on top.”
Fenris coughed and brushed her hand away. If Hawke didn’t know any better, he was blushing.
“Shipmate Maeve is in port to claim her captain’s ship. Apparently, he’d been killed, and his ship has been docked ever since.”
“Which ship is it?” Isabela’s eyes gleamed.
Fenris shrugged. “The Stormy Lover.”

 

Hawke gave a wry grin to her mate. “Sounds about right for you.”
“Oh quiet, sweet thing,” Isabela teased. “Wait, that name is familiar….”
“It should,” Fenris offered. “The Stormy Lover belonged to an Antivan named Castillon. Someone you were speaking of at great length. The shipmate is at the Hanged Man. Possibly being entertained by your dwarf bard.”
“I could do with a drink anyway,” Isabela declared. “Let’s go!”

 

• * * * *

 

“I have GOT to see this,” Varric declared. He had tagged along with the small family toward the docks after their trip to the Hanged Man.
Isabela was hugging onto Hawke’s arm, embracing her affectionately. It was thanks to Hawke’s wrangling with the shipmate that Castillon’s ship was now hers. And she had gone into her family’s coffers to make the purchase. Isabela was dumbstruck how lucky she was to have such a wonderful mate. The deed for the ship was curled carefully in her fist and she whapped the paper against her mate’s side. Luck had indeed fallen into her corner the past few years.
“I can’t believe she’s mine!” Isabela crowed. Hawke grinned at her affectionately.
“Let’s go see your ship, Captain.”
“Straighten up or I’ll keelhaul you,” Isabela teased. Hawke saluted.

 

“Aye.”
“A real ship! What was your old one like?” Merrill wondered. Isabela linked her free arm in the elf’s. Varric brought up the rear as they clambered to the docks. The moon was still high, but some ship hands were still at work or going about their business for the captains. The large galley ships stood, docked and waiting in the water.
“A real beauty, she was….. Oh, there she is,” Isabela said excitedly. The four clambered up a gangplank. Two shipmates blocked the path.
“That’s far enough, you lot. Our captain is….away, but we’re in charge,” one said. Isabela’s smile was wide as she opened the deed for him to see. One of the men blinked, obviously not able to read, but the other, a rather large man, darted in to scan the penned words. He could read apparently.

 

“Your captain’s mate sold the Stormy Lover to me. I’m Captain Isabela,” Isabela declared. Hawke’s heart surged with pride for her mate. She looked every bit the captain even without a large hat. “What are your names?”
“Shaw,” The man who couldn’t read said. The other stood up straighter, despite his salt-stained clothing. And for good measure, it seemed. The man was a bull of a specimen, tall and broad-shouldered. His muscled arms were twice the size of the hardiest warrior they knew.
“Craven, Captain.”
“An unlikely name,” Varric drawled. Craven straightened despite the teasing words. Isabela scanned her eyes up and down the beefy man.
“I’m in need of a crew. If you want to stay on, meet me here in the morning. I’ll be having my own guards hold the ship.”

 

Shaw’s face fell. “Are we to leave ship now…..Captain?”
“You bet your ass. Get your things and leave,” Isabela suggested. Shaw ran for below decks but Craven stayed for a few extra words. Despite his name, he had some spine. Isabela noted it.
“I’ll be back, Captain. Castillon never had a bad word about my services. I’d say go ahead and ask but…. I’d be glad to take on service under you,” the man declared. Isabela chuckled.
“I’ll bet.”
Hawke’s anger filtered through and Isabela turned to tuck into her mate’s arm to soothe her. “Just watch your words, man. She’s a mated woman.”
Craven nodded, eyes widening as he recognized the Champion. “Aye, Champion Hawke. The Captain should always be met with respect!”

 

“Oh, I like him,” Isabela admitted aloud. “Come back tomorrow, Craven. I think I’ll keep you on for sure.”
“Aye, Captain! I could do with a bit of wenching I guess in the meantime,” the man teased. He went to collect his things and ambled off the gangplank with a grumbling Shaw.
Merrill’s eyes were wide at the exchanges, and she wandered the deck, curious. Varric turned to Hawke.
“Let’s make sure no crew is left below decks.”
“Time for a hasty retreat for them if so,” Hawke agreed. After securing the ship, Varric saluted Isabela.
“I’ll be back with some help. They’ll guard the ship for you come morning.”

 

“Thank you, Varric. Would Bianca mind if I kissed you?” Isabela teased. Varric stood as tall as his short stature could allow and grinned.
“She is the jealous type,” he said good-naturedly. He patted the haft of his beloved crossbow slung over his shoulder. “I’ll be back shortly.”
“She’s mine, all mine,” Isabela wondered. Merrill cast a grin at the pirate, now every bit the queen she was as they wandered the deck.
“Just don’t sail off and leave us,” Hawke said. It was only half a tease. Isabela pressed into her arms and rained kisses on her face.
“After what you did for me? I think not, sweet thing. In fact, you could do with some rewarding for getting me this beautiful ship….”
Warmth surged below the belt and Hawke grinned. “Oh? Care to explain?”
“You’ll see soon enough…sometime tomorrow I intend to anoint the deck with your seed,” Isabela purred.
Merrill blushed as she caught the words. Isabela pulled her into their hug.

 

“I’d never exclude you, kitten,” she promised. Merrill blushed. The two women were in some ways getting used to their arrangement with Hawke, and Hawke had walked in on them comparing their bodies together before. If they wanted to get closer, who was she to argue.
“Sounds good,” Hawke drawled. Merrill ran her hand along her waist and the Champion grinned. Varric came back on deck with Worthy and a few of his dwarven companions. All held axes and swords.
“Worthy, good to see you,” Hawke greeted him. The dwarf smiled.
“Anything to help the Champion’s mate! Congratulations, Captain,” Worthy saluted with his axe. Isabela beamed.
“I suppose we should head home,” Merrill suggested.
Isabela nodded, drawn back to reality. “We shouldn’t leave the boys so long.”
“Worthy and his men will take care of things,” Hawke agreed. “We’ll be back tomorrow.”

 

“Good night, Champion!” one of the dwarves said. The team took up positions along the deck and the small family exited the gangplank. Varric yawned.
“I should see after the Hanged Man. Maker knows they miss my stories already.”
“Be sure to include the tale of Captain Isabela’s new ship,” Isabela suggested.
Varric laughed. “Will do. Good night, Hawke family.”
The walk home was filled with laughter as the three mates made their way back to Hightown. After knocking and Bodahn unlatching for them, the three checked on the pups. They were camped out in the hallway outside the master’s bedchamber and Hawke picked up Lark. Merrill picked up Falcon and they tucked the boys into their beds.
“Two hours ‘til sunrise,” Isabela yawned. Hawke stood waiting as Merrill helped unfasten her breastplate and gauntlets. They undressed slowly.
“Want to fill the time with abit of celebration?” Hawke grinned. Her shift extended, and she wriggled out of her trousers and small clothes.
Merrill giggled, extending a hand to clasp the base of her shaft. Hawke sighed at the squeeze.

 

“Girth,” she said by way of confirmation to Isabela. It seemed to be an inside joke and both giggled. Hawke pushed both women on to the bed.

 

o * * * * *

 

Hawke yawned and leaned back in her chair. The twins had knocked and pushed in to wake them up a few short hours later. Breakfast had been called for and Orana and Bodahn served everyone in the dining room for a change instead of lounging in bed.
Hawke leaned her head on her hand, yawning again as she watched her mates help the pups with their food. She scratched her dark hair, trying to wake up fully. When she felt a delicate foot play with hers under the table, she smiled. Hawke smiled more to realize it was shy Merrill trying such a bold move. Her mate was turning red but smiling at her across the table. Hawke gave her a slow wink.
Isabela couldn’t wait to bring the pups to the Stormy Lover and hurried everyone along. When everyone was dressed for the day, Hawke smiled as her mate fidgeted.
“They’ll love it,” Hawke assured her. Isabela beamed at her.
“I forgot to tell you, I found the most amazing hat shop in Lowtown! I’ll need a hat to suit my ship.”

 

“You do, Captain,” Hawke leaned to kiss her cheek. Isabela beamed as she slid her hand into the crook of her elbow.
Worthy and his companions were waiting on the deck of Isabela’s ship. Two of the dwarves were taking a nap, but Worthy and another of his friends were awake, axes propped on their shoulders.
“There’s the captain,” Worthy said. He saluted with his axe. Isabela beamed as she led her family up the gangplank. The twin’s eyes were wide as they walked cautiously over the wooden deck.
“Mama, is this your ship?” Falcon asked, his voice small. Isabela beamed. She held his hand and Merrill held onto Lark.
“It sure is, son. Go on, look around, it’ll be yours one day.”
The pride Isabela felt as her boys rushed over the deck, yelling in excitement, made her heart almost hurt. Hawke seemed to sense the soft moment and rubbed the small of her back.
“Going to interview shipmates today?” she asked. Isabela nodded.

 

“Later. Let’s see what the captain’s quarters holds for us. Coming, kitten?”
Worthy was put in charge of the twins as the trio of mates made their way below decks. The galley kitchen was at least cleaned up hastily after the exodus of the old crew the day before. Isabela rubbed her hands together as they pushed into the captain’s chambers. An elaborate diamond chandelier hung from the ceiling and a large bed was built into the ship’s wall. Isabela liked the velvet coverlets and canopy but turning up the desk revealed a few more of Castillon’s papers.
“What did he NOT put his dirty paws into?” Isabela wondered. Merrill pushed a hand into the mattress of the bed, giggling to herself. She noted the wide smile on the pirate’s lips and called out.
“What are you smiling about? Is it dirty?”
Isabela sighed. “No, kitten. I think I’m just happy.”
The honest statement got Hawke’s attention. She caught Isabela’s eye and smiled widely. All her love was in her gaze and Isabela felt her heart thud hard. She had won the Champion and she didn’t know if she’d wanted to in the past. Now she had Hawke. And she was going to hold onto her family with all her might.
Now that she had a ship to herself again, Isabela knew her life was full and complete.

 

 

Isabela wrangled with Merrill for abit of alone time with Hawke. The shy elf sighed and took the boy’s hands. She gave a mournful look to her mate and Hawke gave her a tender kiss goodbye.
“I promise to devote some extra time for you when we get back,” Hawke purred. Merrill blushed and nodded.
“I look forward to it, ma vhenan,” she sighed. Hawke kissed Merrill again and patted the twins on the head. After a stern warning to behave and sending off Worthy and his men, Isabela was as alone with Hawke as she was going to get. Despite the goings on that was always happening on the docks nearby. Men and women shouted and haggled, rolling barrels or procuring other items for their ships.
Isabela sauntered up to her mate, boots clicking on the wooden deck. Hawke waited for her, grinning. Isabela extended a hand and set it between her mate’s breasts. As she kept walking, Hawke moved with her, guided backward. When her back pressed suddenly into the main mast of the ship, a surprised “oof” escaped her lips.
Isabela was against her, hand groping her cock non-subtly through her trousers. She found the head through the fabric and gripped it firmly. Hawke pressed her head into the mast, sighing as blood rushed between her legs.

 

 

“So…anoint the ship, huh?” Hawke drawled. She gasped as Isabela purred against her lips, kissing her deeply. Her hand clasped her shaft, cupping her through her clothing. Isabela pecked a few affectionate kisses around her mouth then chewed on her lower lip.
“Hmmm yes. Maker’s balls, you are the best, Hawke…”
“Always glad for a confidence vote,” Hawke teased. Her hand rubbed her mate’s shoulder as she lowered to her knees. Isabela’s hands ran up and down her thighs, feeling Hawke’s muscles tense through her trousers. She unlaced her quickly and fished her cock out, lips already outlining the weeping head.
Hawke tilted her head back and gasped toward the sky as her mate suckled down near her base and kept here there, then bobbed back up. Watching her shaft disappear into her pirate’s mouth and hearing her small moans of approval made Hawke throb. And it was odd to be serviced by hearing random dock workers in the background. Were anyone truly paying attention from shore, they’d get an eyeful. But no one saw, and Hawke kept her moans low.

 

Isabela’s mouth was warm and teasing and one hand steadily pumped her base as she bobbed up and down
the top of Hawke’s length. Hawke’s shaft ached as it throbbed in the warm enclosure of her throat. Too soon she was gasping, one hand cradling the back of her mate’s head. She tried not to push, but she was so close…..and Isabela was suckling her in just the right way…..
Hawke grunted loudly as the first spurt of her seed erupted into her mate’s mouth. Divine pressure molded around her head, coaxing more and Hawke’s abdominal muscles tensed as she came again and again. Isabela finished swallowing and cleaned her off with a few languid swipes of her tongue. Hawke’s cock twitched, far too sensitive for the moment.
“You didn’t get….any seed on the deck,” Hawke gasped. She slumped against the mast, knees wobbly after her massive orgasm. Her mate stood, stretching along her torso languidly. Hawke’s nipples hardened as she felt her mate’s breasts rub up along her belly and breasts. Her hands gripped her pirate’s hips, fingers sliding beneath the hem of the short white tunic.

 

Isabela wrapped her arms around her mate’s neck and hopped up to wrap her legs around Hawke’s waist. Hawke was forced to catch and steady her. Her knees wobbled dangerously.
“That’s because you’re going to put it in me,” Isabela purred. She captured a hard kiss from her Champion and Hawke groaned as she fell on her rump. Isabela urged her away from the mast and onto her back on the deck. The sun arched high overhead as Isabela shoved her mate’s trousers further off her hips, exposing her cock to the gulls flying overhead. Hawke’s ass was also exposed, digging into the hard wood of the deck that was, unfortunately as Hawke was noticing with her mate’s harsh thrusts to take her inside, unvarnished recently. Quite a few splinters stung and dug into her rump.

 

Hawke’s hands squeezed over the warm flesh of her mate’s hips. Her eyes gleamed as she stared up at her mate. Isabela’s head was tilted back, and she moaned her pleasure as she rode her. Hawke arched beneath her pirate, smiling as Isabela almost screamed. Her fingers scraped the thin straps of her mate’s smallclothes which Isabela had shoved to the side in her haste. Hawke longed to snap the flimsy garment off, but her mate needed some modesty after this open tryst in public.
“Ohhh, Hawke….yes, fuck me, Champion,” Isabela was murmuring. Hawke growled below her. She tried to loosen Isabela’s corset, so she could get at her breasts, but her mate was pushing them along at a steady rate. Hawke had to make do with cupping the round orbs through her tunic. Hawke scraped her thumbs roughly against the nipples through the fabric of Isabela’s tunic. Isabela slammed a hand directly onto her chest and Hawke grimaced, then purred as her mate deliberately stroked her mating mark over her breast through her clothing.

 

“Bela,” she moaned. Isabela grinned above her, and her hips moved up and down, and her inner walls squeezed. Hawke bit her lips, riding out her mate’s orgasm, before erupting. Isabela sighed at the familiar warm surges inside her. She leaned down on her elbows trying to catch her breath. Hawke ignored the wood digging into her bare ass as she cupped her mate’s cheek and kissed her temple protectively. “Your ship must be amply blessed by now….”
“Oh, leave off, you cheeky thing,” Isabela laughed. She sat up, and the sight of her vaginal lips petaled around the base of her shaft had Hawke twitching again. She sighed when Isabela dismounted. Hawke sat up and tugged her trousers up. She groaned climbing to her knees, so she could cover her ass. The unvarnished surface of the deck felt like it’d gotten a cut or two into her but there was no way to see to know.

 

* * * *

 

After Isabela and Hawke got cleaned up and presentable, and Hawke had hitched her trousers up, wincing at the sores on her rear, men and women began to peek up the gangplank of the Stormy Lover. The word must have gone out from Worthy and his friends, for they were coming to interview for a spot as one of Isabela’s crew.
Isabela was pleased to note the tall blocky form of Craven in the line. The burly man smiled and saluted her with two fingers to his brow. After questioning the woman in front of her, she gave a nod and Hawke directed the woman below decks to find a sling in the crew’s quarters.
“I knew you’d come back,” Isabela grinned. Craven beamed. He bowed his head politely to Hawke who was outright glaring at him.
“This ship’s been good to me. Even if Castillon did smell all wrong,” Craven admitted. Ah, disliking her old enemy, another point for him.
“I need a good first mate. How’s about a trial run and we’ll see if you’re up to snuff,” Isabela smiled. Craven nodded.

 

“I’ll keep the position, yet, Cap’n. You’ll see,” Craven promised.
Hawke leaned to whisper into her mate’s ear and as Craven moved across the deck to allow the man behind him forward for his turn, he reflected on how much had changed in the past few years. Just a few short years ago, he had been chained in the brig of another ship. A woman’s frightened face peered in at him and his fellows in manacles. Then without warning, she had docked the ship and struck the chains from them all and urged them to run.

 

She was smiling today, but Craven still recognized that captain as Isabela.

 

End for now

Chapter Text

Hawke lay on her belly on the bed. She was naked, gripping the sheets in both hands. The ship’s wooden surface had done a number on her arse, not to mention Isabela’s passion. Now, her mates were busy digging and plucking splinters from her upturned rear.
“Yowch! Watch it!” Hawke griped. Isabela rubbed the swell of her ass affectionately, far from any cuts.
“I would say I’m sorry, sweet thing, but it IS you,” Isabela teased.” I couldn’t help myself.”
Merrill blushed as she retrieved another jagged piece of wood with the tweezers. Small tugs of her fingers wove healing magic through her mate’s cuts. “On the ship’s deck, really? Can we try that?”
Hawke grinned at the blushing elf. She rubbed Merrill’s thigh through her leggings. “Sure if you want, love…..”
“Heal up first,” Isabela suggested. Merrill nodded, eyes lit with concentration.

 

 

“Your perfect bum sure got it.”
“You think my ass is perfect?” Hawke was full of herself. Merrill nodded, face red.
“Well, yes….”
“Oh, hush, Hawke,” Isabela snorted. Hawke raised up on her elbows and preened. The muscles in her shoulders rolled.
“Keep teasing me, I’ll have a problem. That you should really help me with,” Hawke grinned. Isabela gave her a sultry look. From what she could see of Hawke’s privates from her leaned up position on her elbows, she was unshifted, but that could very well change. The pirate ran her tongue over her lips.
“Well then, what do you have to show me?....”

 

“Papa! Mama!”
Hawke buried her face in a pillow as her sons ran into the master bedroom. “Knock, pups!” she grasped a corner of the sheets to tug over her hip.
But the twins were already inside, and they couldn’t keep from staring at the debacle occurring. “Are you okay, Papa?” Lark asked. Falcon tugged on Merrill’s arm idly.
“Yeah, well….” Hawke mumbled into the pillow. Isabela smirked at her mate and ruffled her son’s hair.
“Papa got an owie. On her bum.” Isabela’s grin was insufferable. Merrill leaned down to affectionately tuck a lock of hair behind the Champion’s ear. Hawke smiled up at her.
“Mamae, use your magic to make Papa better,” Falcon urged. Merrill nodded and moved the sheet aside. She continued prodding at Hawke’s bare ass, face knit in an expression of concentration. She dug out another splinter and Hawke yelped.
“Be brave, Papa!” Lark suggested. Hawke gave her son a wry smile.

 

“You got it, little Champion.” At her son’s insistence, Hawke bit back each gasp and stifled moan. The pleasure she’d gotten for this pain was worth it, after all.

 

• * * * * * *

 

Isabela toed her boot over the debris on the dirt floor. Squeaks from a nearby stack of barrels caught her attention. Darktown, the connecting tunnels below Kirkwall, was a downright squalor of a place and it was always startling to see the ragged children and peasants trying to survive here.
Merrill shuddered and moved beside her noticing the rats. “By the Dread Wolf,” she muttered. Isabela agreed with her and both women watched Hawke off to the side. Their mate was conversing with Anders. The blond mage was waving his thin hands, trying to persuade Hawke for….something. Isabela found she couldn’t pay attention, instead trying to rifle through random crates without appearing like she was looting. Someone’s torn trousers? Really?

 

“I don’t know, Anders. You haven’t proven to be a friend to the Chantry. Why do you want to go in…” Hawke was saying. Anders gave a small laugh and continued. Isabela raised an eyebrow. The mage had always been trying with her in the past, but he was apparently hiding something. She hoped her mate had the sense to see it.
“Very well.” Hawke gave a curt nod of the head politely to the smiling mage. “We’ll head to the Chantry later in the week. Or when you like.”
“Of course. Thank you, Hawke!”
Hawke took up Merrill’s hand as they left the rough-shod clinic. Isabela took the crook of her arm on her other side. “What did Blondie want?” she asked.
Hawke looked troubled. “To enter the Chantry with me. He can’t be allowed by himself, could he, having spoken out against them. But as to why, I’m not sure…..”
“Anders DID help with the maps for the Deep Roads. And other little things, I’m sure,” Merrill chirped. Hawke gave her a tender smile and squeezed her hand gently.
“He has been a friend. I should help him then….”

 

“You’re too good to everyone, sweet thing. I say let him find his own way in. It’s cause the Head of the Chantry likes you, is all,” Isabela pointed out. And it may be true. But Grand Cleric Elthina was fair to everyone, it seemed.

 

“Let’s get home,” Hawke urged. She stopped to pull coins out of her pouch and give them to some of the rough and tumble children dressed in rags. Her mates followed.

 

* * * *

 

Hawke grumbled. She left Knight Commander Meredith’s office in sour thoughts. The older warrior had been congenial enough, but Hawke had taken to disliking the hard gleam in her eye more and more. The woman seemed to get off on punishing any mage she could find, and even Orsino, with his impeccable reputation, had caught her ire.
The First Enchanter had always been fair to Hawke and her companions, and now he beckoned across a hallway of the Gallows, desperation in his gaze. Hawke nodded and Varric hurried at her side. These types of meetings called for diplomacy, and so she had ventured out when called without either of her mates. Merrill, for her mage status, could not be allowed inside the Gallows walls. She’d never leave them. And Isabela would have riled Meredith up and possibly caused another incident where she’d find herself arrested. Again.
Hawke closed the door of Orsino’s office behind her and Varric. “To what do I owe the pleasure?” she asked. The elf moved around his desk, scattering scrolls as he went.

 

“Enough pleasantry. I fear we don’t have the time for it,” Orsino worried. He coughed. “There have been rumor of blood mages meeting in the streets of Hightown at night. Please investigate this matter for me….if they are blood mages, they must be arrested. If they are innocent, I would have word to keep Meredith’s templars off them. Please, Serah Hawke…”
Hawke nodded, feeling a headache coming on. “Of course, Mage Orsino. I will walk Hightown tonight and hopefully have an answer for you.”
Varric sighed as the pair left the office. “It never ends does it, Hawke?”
“No, it doesn’t…”
“Drink?” Varric suggested. Hawke gave a rueful smile.

 

“I need to check on my family. If Bela IS there, send her home, would you?”
“Course, Hawke. After she has had her fill of my glorious chest hair.” Varric puffed his chest out, teasing. Hawke gave his shoulder a punch, but it was in good nature.
The streets were full of templars, and a nod was given to Cullen across the square. Citizens and mages were on the rush to go about their errands. Many mages left their staves at home, but Hawke still recognized the hand motions that went into enchantments at odd intervals. She hoped they’d be careful and always her thoughts went to the mages in her own life; her late father, sister, and mate. Too late for Father, Bethany was out of reach as a Grey Warden, and Merrill….
Hawke hurried home. At her special knock, Orana unlatched the door. Bodahn and his simple son had already departed the city, much to Hawke’s dismay. She really did need to hire another man servant or two to help protect the women in her household, but with unease roiling through the city, the task was a highly ambitious one. A loud bark filled the air and Hawke staggered to find her footing as her mabari jumped to greet her.

 

“Down, dog!” she insisted. Her boys ran up, petting the mabari and greeting her. Isabela WAS home, Hawke was glad to see. She accepted a hug from both of her mates, accepting a kiss from first Isabela, then Merrill.
“I’m having a carpenter come over later, sweet thing. He needs to take measurements,” Isabela said. Hawke slung an arm around her waist. Her hand settled on the swell of her mate’s ass, squeezing.
“Uhm, why?”
It seemed an odd request with the civil unrest in the city.
Isabela gave her a look as if she were daft. “For your bed. OF COURSE.”
“Uhm, why?” Hawke asked again. Isabela ruffled her hair and moved to pick up Falcon.

 

“I want a replica of your huge bed for my captain’s quarters. Just indulge me, sweet thing,” Isabela huffed. Merrill giggled beside her.
“I think it’s a great idea,” she chirped. Isabela gave her a soft smile.
“Thanks, kitten.”
“It IS a good idea, Bela!” Hawke was quick to say. “I’d love to have a copy of that bed in your quarters on deck.”
The sultry smile Isabela gave her was worth it. “Well you have to admit, our night there was cramped. I never needed so much room before you, Hawke…. And you too, Merrill!”
Hawke gave her a roguish grin. They had tried out the captain’s quarters in a test of how life on the open sea would be. The current bed wasn’t big enough for all three of them. At least when they were involved in a sexual marathon. Hawke had had to climb off the bed and pound into Isabela from a standing position at the edge of the mattress.
Hawke blushed and coughed at the memory.

 

“Can we sleep on the ship again, Mama?” Falcon grinned. Isabela nodded.
“Perhaps soon, sonny-boy.”
“Don’t call me that! I’m a warrior!” Falcon huffed. He and his brother walked through the kitchen to take up their wooden weapons to the garden. Lark gave his mother a shy smile.
“You can call me that, Mama…..”
“Thanks, pup.” Isabela leaned to kiss Lark’s head. “And I ‘ll call your brother what I like!” she raised her voice, so Falcon could hear. Her son stuck his tongue out at her but grinned to take the ire away. Isabela leaned against the doorjamb of the open kitchen door watching her sons. They WERE getting taller and with Hawke’s tutelage, would get stronger. It was a good but sobering thought.

 

Hawke picked up on her softer thoughts and moved close to lean her head against her shoulder from behind. “Thank you.”
“For what, Hawke?” Isabela asked. Hawke chuckled against her. Her hand moved over Isabela’s corset and stomach beneath.
“For them. For this gift. Just…I don’t know what to say sometimes.”
“Say you’ll always want me,” Isabela teased. Hawke’s other arm looped around her waist. She squeezed her from behind.
“I do.”
Isabela’s throat was dry, but she licked her lips. “……Say you’ll always love me.”

 

Hawke paused, then squeezed her gently. There wasn’t an inch between them as the Champion embraced her from behind. “I do, Bela. Love you always.” Her voice was hoarse and gruff.
Isabela turned her head to notice Merrill walking in, smiling, then blushing. She made to walk out but Isabela gestured her closer. When the shy elf approached, it was Isabela that slung an arm around her waist, drawing her close. The three women held onto each other contently. Hawke murmured something to Merrill’s ear and Isabela smiled to hear the words of love given to her mate’s second companion.

 

• * * * * * *

 

Hawke held tightly to her son’s hands. One on each side, both clutching a hand, meant she couldn’t go for her blade easily if anything happened. The marketplace was brutal. People were outright shoving and arguing, over what, Hawke didn’t know. She called out and yelled for clearance. Falcon and Lark’s eyes were wide beside her and they clutched her. She shouldn’t have left the house with them. But Orana, and her mates were all off procuring items and food for the household.
And since Hawke had foolishly decided not to get to work on hiring another man servant, she had to take the pups with her. No use trying to leave them alone. They’d probably climb the chandelier just to see if they could. Hawke raised her voice again.
“Move it! Make way!”

 

Falcon puffed his chest out and he and his brothers called out, adding their voices to their sires. Hawke felt a surge of love for them as they made their way to the merchants. Whiskey for Isabela, crystals and candles for Merrill, and a handkerchief for Orana. Hawke picked out more items Merrill had asked for when there was a surge of commotion and templars poured into the marketplace, clearing a rough path.
And then Knight Commander Meredith was there, long blond hair swaying with her hard pace. She stopped, boots clacking on the cobblestones as she recognized the Champion.
“Champion,” she greeted. Her greeting was congenial, but the lines of stress between her eyes weren’t. Hawke gave a stiff nod.
“Knight Commander.”
Meredith blinked. She focused on Hawke’s sons. “So the stories I heard were true. Congratulations on your heirs.”

 

Hawke allowed a small smile on her lips. Her hands settled on top of her son’s heads. “Thank you….”
“They’re from the pirate, aren’t they? Better her than the mage you took as mate,” Meredith sniffed, her opinion of the mages apparent. Hawke stiffened with fury.
“See here, Knight Commander….!”
Meredith went on. “I heard the pirate was their mother…but llllllllllllllllllI didn’t think she had the desire to mother pups. A few of my recruits mentioned spending time with her before their training.”
Hawke was red with rage, but she took up her son’s hands and she moved them quickly past the Knight Commander’s entourage. “I’d say good day, but I don’t wish that for you,” she bit out.
Cold merriment twinkled in the older woman’s eyes. “The feeling is mutual, Champion.”

 

As Hawke stalked off with her progeny, Meredith reflected on the days when mages did as they were told, and she and the Champion had almost been friends. It had been a few short years ago after Hawke’s famous battle with the Arishok. She had healed remarkably well and had gotten into scrapes at the Hanged Man. She was furious over something, and some whispered it was a broken heart.
Meredith had had to arrest her after yet another brutal bar brawl, and instead of locking her in a cell to cool her heels, she had procured wine and talked it over with the new Champion instead. Meredith had felt pleasure when she had gotten Hawke to focus on a new goal to drive her anger, and the ruffians of the city fell to her wrath during the next few weeks and months. Her companions helped her clear the streets and Kirkwall was all the safer. Because she had spent a few more moments to urge Hawke to do good.

Meredith reflected these days were just spiraling to insanity. She had to keep her vigilance. Nobody else could.

 

* * * * *

 

Isabela cursed as she undressed. Merrill was with her, anxious and more nervous than she was. The midwife they found was readying to leave the city, but she had opted to take their gold for a reading.
“Breasts sensitive…..” the woman ran her hands over Isabela’s generous figure, cupping the undersides of her breasts. Isabela hissed and swatted her hands away. “Have you been sick to your stomach?”
“A few times. I thought it was the spices in last weeks dinner,” Isabela admitted. Merrill was watching her with wide eyes. She looked to be hoping for a child more than she was.
“More amorous than usual?” the woman asked. Isabela’s lips curved into a smile.

 

“How can I not be when my mate is Hawke?”
The woman chuckled. “She is an ox, I’ll grant you that. Well, congratulations, my dear. You’re expecting. At least a couple months along as far as I can tell.”
Isabela sighed, expelling her breath in one long exhale. She should have been anxious but slow love for Hawke moved through her instead. Merrill leaped into her arms, giggling and hugging her.
“Another pup, Bela!” she exclaimed. Isabela hugged her tightly, closing her eyes.
“Aye, and it’s probably you that riled Hawke up good to have done it…” Isabela teased. Merrill blushed. The pirate dressed; Merrill fluttered beside her.
“Do you need anything? Do you….”

 

Isabela laughed, and they left the woman’s hut, arm in arm. “I’m fine, kitten! Don’t worry yourself sick over me. That’s Hawke’s job.”
The two women were giggling and whispering together as they entered the Hawke estate. Both lit up, seeing Hawke stride out of the study. She was in her house tunic, bare knees showing above her tall boots. She smiled widely at the two women.
“Did you get your tasks done?” she asked. Isabela found herself moving to kiss Hawke hard, then sweetly. Hawke looked stunned when she parted from her lips. “Well, I’ll take that for a yes.”

 

“Yes, Hawke. Come, kitten, let’s see where dinner is getting to, so we can all relax.”
Hawke found herself liking the gleam in her mate’s eyes. She followed her mates into the kitchen.

 

* * * * * *

 

“Cap’n wants us close to the ship. You know what she said,” Craven said. The other ship’s crew nodded, and a small spritely woman grinned up at him. Craven felt something move in his chest and he just nodded. “We gotta keep up our watches through the night. If something goes down, we’re here to man the ship.”
“Nothing’ll happen here. Kirkwall is too sturdy,” one of the men said. Another man walked by, a loop of coiled rope around his shoulder. Another of the men was on his hands and knees, varnishing the deck. The captain had insisted they make it as smooth as a pup’s backside, for some reason.

 

“You remember that business with the Qunari a few years ago. Them attacking the city folk like that. And that was just a short stint!”
Craven nodded. “Cap’n Isabela says we stay on the ship and we will. If something DOES happen, and the city goes tits up, we’ll be ready to shove off. At HER command.”
The men and women nodded, moving around in their tasks to maintaining the Stormy Lover. Even tied up at dock, there were plenty of chores and maintenance to do. Craven leaned against the prow of the ship, eyes scanning the buildings of the city just beyond the docks. Kirkwall was roiling beneath the surface, a festering anger that threatened to explode.

 

If it did, they would be safe where they were.

End for now

Chapter Text

Hawke murmured with appreciation. She was where she liked to be best, between Isabela’s breasts. Isabela was on her back on the pillows of their huge bed, legs around her hips. Her fingers were in Hawke’s hair, tousling the short hairs at the base of her neck. Hawke purred with happiness, wrapping her lips around a nipple. Isabela arched, her face contorted. It took Hawke a moment to realize she looked uncomfortable.
“Ow,” Isabela admitted. She stroked Hawke’s head to take the sting from her word.

 

Hawke raised her face, gazing up at her mate. “What’s wrong? You’re so sensitive…” her hand was cupping her mate’s left breast, and she eased up at the look on Isabela’s face. Isabela shrugged and gently pushed at her mate’s shoulders to get her off and to the side. Hawke rolled to the side but cuddled up close. Her hand ran over the pirate’s side, tickling her ribs.
Isabela covered her eyes with her wrist, but she was smiling. “What’d you do to me, sweet thing? You must have worn me out.”
“You are really tired these days,” Hawke said, worry in her gaze. The master door opened, and Merrill eased in with a tray. There wasn’t any whiskey or rum on it, but cups of tea. There was a cup of brandy for Hawke and the Champion accepted the chipped tea mug and drank deeply.

 

Isabela watched her with obvious envy. But she thanked Merrill all the same. “Thank you, kitten.”
“You should have some tea, Bela. I made it for you,” Merrill chirped. Hawke wrapped an arm around her slim waist and leaned to kiss her cheek.
“What’s with you? You never skip out on whiskey, Bela,” Hawke wondered. She didn’t notice the subtle look between both women. Merrill shrugged out of her robe and raised her eyebrows at the pirate. Isabela raised one shoulder in a subtle shrug.
Before Hawke could gather the look between her mates, her mabari charged in and bounded up onto the bed. Angela looked positively pleased to see them, tongue lolling as he pounced onto the mattress. Her sons had asked once why a male mabari had gotten a girl’s name and Hawke had blushed, recounting when she was a small child. She had been asked to name him by her father, and had settled on Angela, deciding he must be an angel sent to protect her parents. So Angela he remained.

 

All of the women protested, and Isabela heaved a sigh as the hound settled half on her leg, resting his snout on her belly.
“Down, boy, down!” Hawke commanded. Her mabari uttered a growl at her and Hawke gaped at the beast.
“What’s gotten into you, boy?” she demanded. Angela settled his head down against Isabela again, making the pirate wince.
“Get this beast off me, Hawke,” she pleaded. Hawke sat up and pulled her robe around her shoulders and made to grab Angela’s collar. The dog growled full out and settled between her and Isabela. Isabela flashed her mate a surprised look.
Hawke settled into the mattress, very put-out. “He’s never done that to me before. Are you okay, Bela?”

 

“I’d rather have you, sweet thing. But he is warm,” Isabela sighed. Hawke took her hand up near the pillows. Angela still growled at the movement but allowed their fingers to intertwine. Hawke grumbled into the pillow, trying to settle her head near Isabela’s without jarring the riled up mabari any further. She untensed slightly when Merrill curled along her back. She sighed.
“I’ll train him or something. Sorry, my love,” Hawke lamented. Isabela gave her a wink. But she gave an annoyed sigh as Angela shifted, big paws flailing, to settle along her side and hip. Once he was rooted in, he fell asleep, loud snores filling the air.

 

• * * * * *

 

“This is getting really annoying, boy!” Hawke growled. Angela growled back. She got hold of his collar and managed to drag him off the bed. But by the time she’d gotten her mabari onto the floor, the boys had knocked and then crashed in to spend time with them. Her mates barely had time to pull their shifts on and one was tossed at Hawke, kneeling on the floor by the foot of the bed.
“Good morning, da’len,” Merrill murmured, giving both boys a hug. Isabela propped up on the pillows, her shift barely covering her breasts and stopping at mid-thigh. Hawke’s eyes traveled hungrily up her body, but she willed her lust low. She pulled her shift on and glowered at Angela as she sat on the edge of the bed.

 

“At least he’s off me,” Isabela sighed. Lark rolled over Merrill’s leg and scrambled to lay his head on his mama’s breast. Isabela winced, but stroked his dark hair. “Careful, Larkie.” That too should have set Hawke’s mind. Her mate was being a bit too careful. And no whiskey? Her mate would rather die than skip out on a drink.
But Angela was acting up and being a pain in her rear. All through breakfast, he kept trying to get on the bed as the family lounged. The twins giggled down at the whining hound, but Hawke and Isabela were not so amused.

 

As the day wound on and everyone dressed, Hawke resolved to stay and solve the mystery. She sat cross-legged on the carpet in the main room and got her mabari’s attention.
“What’s gotten into you boy? You gotta stop annoying Isabela. She doesn’t like your grubby paws as much as I do. Are you mad at me?” One of her hands was on top of Angela’s head, stroking his ears. He cocked his head to the side, panting. But the good spell was broken when Isabela dared to exit the estate study. He barked loudly and bounded over to rub against Isabela’s bare knees. She sighed raggedly.
“Down, boy, or I’ll skin you.”

 

Hawke knew she was kidding, mostly. She knew the boys loved her mabari as much as she did. Isabela patted his head idly, giving her a strange look. But a memory overlaid her mate. Hawke recalled many years ago when she was a scabby-kneed five-year-old, her mother being besieged by the hound’s attention when she was newly pregnant with Bethany and Carver. The similarities riled within Hawke’s mind and she neared her mate, inhaling her scent obviously.
Isabela stiffened, and Hawke was pleased to see her nipples hardening against her tunic. Hawke gave her wolfish grin and settled a hand on her waist.
“Should you be wearing that?” Hawke asked, gesturing to her corset. Isabela turned her chin up regally.
“Why?” she asked. Hawke could hear a tremor in her voice. She stepped closer, ignoring her mabari’s growl. She turned her head and growled back. Angela dropped his snout to the floor, posturing to her alpha aura.
Hawke ran a hand lightly over the lower part of the corset, over her middle. She grinned longingly. “Are you pregnant?”
Isabela smiled when her mate began sniffing at her, trying to see. Isabela slung an arm around Hawke’s neck, smiling when she steadied her with her arms around her waist.
“Okay, I was going to tell you soon, but I did go to a midwife with kitten…..”

 

Hawke yelped excitedly, and Orana looked over with alarm from a task. Her sons looked up from their wooden toys with wide eyes.
“You are, aren’t you? Yes! Bela, that’s great!”
“Calm down, sweet thing!” But Isabela laughed when Hawke hugged her, lifting her feet from the floor in her enthusiasm. “Or don’t…”
“It’s gonna be a girl and I’m gonna be here for every step. I promise,” Hawke vowed, eyes alight with adoration. Isabela’s heart melted.
“I know you will, sweet thing…in fact, I demand you do.”
“I will. Anything you need, I’ll get it. Anything you want, I’ll do.”
“Hawke….”
“You shoulda told me, Merrill!” Hawke exclaimed happily to her second mate. The elf gave her a rueful but shy smile. Both women drew her in and Merrill laid her head on Hawke’s strong shoulder.

 

“Bela wanted to tell you! We weren’t counting on your mabari letting the cat out of the bag,” she admitted.
“Who says it’s a girl?” Isabela wondered. Hawke grinned over at her. She kissed her lips, short pecks of affection.
“I do. Bet it’s a girl. We have two boys already.”
“A girl would be great,” Merrill chirped. Hawke laid her hand over the elf’s ass and squeezed.
“It could be a boy!” Isabela interjected.
“What could be a boy?” Falcon asked. He and Lark sidled up and wrapped their arms around Isabela’s legs. Isabela moved her hip, and the small family all sat on the ground, hugging onto the boys.

 

“The new baby,” Merrill chirped. The boys looked from her to Isabela, and the gesture touched and saddened the elf. If only she could take her mate’s knot….she could also….
But the happiness that excited the twins revitalized Merrill’s mood when Hawke explained their mother was pregnant again. Isabela’s heart went out to the elf. Before Hawke could embrace her and cheer her, Isabela kissed both of her cheeks and a jaunty smile was on her lips.

 

Merrill smiled her thanks to the pirate.

 

• * * * * * *

 

“I’m sorry, Champion, so sorry….” Orsino was sweating and perplexed. He looked no where near put together as he usually did in his office and Hawke was beginning to panic.
“What’s happened, Orsino? I thought that business with the mages gathering at night was concluded,” Hawke said. Orsino’s eyes were wide with fearful tears as he handed her a scroll. Hawke broke the seal and read the scroll and her panic became a full fury within her.
“Isabela! They have her….who are THEY….” Hawke reached to draw her sword, despite no body near that deserved a stroke. Orsino raised his pale hands.
“I heard talk of some of the dissenters wanting to subdue you, Champion! I had no part in this, you must believe me!” Orsino seemed genuine, so Hawke lowered her blade. She re-sheathed but was on her way down the streets in a hurry.

 

“They’ll pay for this!”
The strikes between mages and templars were spiking in strange sporadic fits of crime. This new injustice directly upon her enraged Hawke. Renegade templars with mages had teamed up outside the spectrum to directly involve her. Well, consider her involved.
Worry for her unborn child also coursed through her blood. Her mate was pregnant! How dare they touch her? Knowing Isabela, Hawke knew she would have put up a fight. She wouldn’t have been taken easily. Meaning she would have had to be incapacitated.
Hawke seethed. She didn’t care they were mages, they put their hands on her mate. They were going to pay! The note said to meet up outside Kirkwall’s gates, on the nearby beaches. Hawke’s boots turned up sand as she stomped down the surrounding bay, hurrying down the pathways.

 

A group of mismatched mages waited down the shallow trail ahead and Hawke drew her blade, charging to a run to meet them.
“Just wait, Champion! Wait....!” one of the men was yelling when her blade met his neck. Hawke moved through the screaming mages like a whirlwind, killing or maiming as she went. The remaining templars began to crawl away, pleading for their lives. Hawke made out the downed body of her mate, on her back and eyes closed. She was alive, her mind insisted. She was alive, Isabela was alright….
As she dropped her blade and lifted her mate’s body into her arms, she was still warm, and Hawke was relieved to see her breasts rising and falling with each breath. She lowered her face to her lover’s breast and wailed as the fear she had been fighting overwhelmed her.
Isabela came to slowly and she slowly lifted her hands, lethargy exhausting her limbs. “Hawke?” she croaked. Hawke raised her face, tears lining her cheeks.
“Bela, are you alright?!” she demanded. Isabela touched her brow, wincing.
“What did they DO to me?” she made out. Hawke rained kisses on her face, a fierce smile on her face.

 

“I took care of ‘em. You never have to worry about them,” Hawke vowed. Isabela held onto her mate as Hawke brought her slowly to her feet, taking her weight easily.
“Mages?” Isabela made out the robes of the fallen bodies. Hawke nodded.
“If they want us to side with them, they should stop messing with my family.”
“But kitten should be protected,” Isabela insisted. Hawke nodded.
“She will be. She’s not touched blood magic in a long while. I hope she’s left it all behind.”
“She has us, Hawke, of course she will,” Isabela said. Her legs were feeling less rubbery, but she liked Hawke’s arm around her waist. The two made their way down the blood-speckled beach toward the walls of the city.

 

“I just have a bad feeling, Bells. Like the whole city is going to go up in flames. The mages and templars won’t let there be peace. It’s going to end in more fighting,” Hawke said, worry in her tone. Isabela squeezed her waist, hand over the heavy fabric of her tunic.
“My crew is manning my ship. We have a way out if everything goes tits up,” she said. The worry wouldn’t leave Hawke’s face.
“This was my mother’s home. It’s my home now too, and our son’s home. I just hope both sides will cease and see reason.”
“I wouldn’t count on it, Hawke.” To dispel the look of dismay on her mate’s face, Isabela stroked the back of her hair. “Even if they can’t see reason, we’ll bludgeon sense into their heads. You know I’ll help you.”
A rueful smile crossed Hawke’s lips. “Not while you’re carrying our child.”

 

Isabela frowned. “Now see here, Hawke, I’m not going to be laid up like some prissy matron just cause you knocked me up. I can fight.”
Hawke paused to kiss her cheek. “I know you can, but I want our baby, AND YOU, to be safe. Please, Bela, for me. Be reasonable!”
“I’ll start being reasonable when you stop making love to me like a precious queen. It’s your damn loving that got me this way,” Isabela half complained. She leaned to kiss her mate’s cheek. “It WAS good loving…”
“Cause I was all slow and made you wait a few times….” Hawke’s grin was insufferable. Isabela lifted her tunic and pinched the flesh around her waist. “Ow!”
“Oh, hush up, I’ll take it easy. Somewhat. Unless something big is happening….”
“Cause something big is always happening to us,” Hawke agreed. “But please….”

 

“We’ll discuss that when the time comes,” Isabela said. Hawke sighed. She took her mate’s hand.
“If the time comes,” Hawke fretted. The two made their way back into the city. Hawke insisted on carrying her and Isabela finally stopped complaining. She nuzzled her mate’s neck, turning down the collar of her tunic, kissing and nipping her. Hawke’s hand moved up to caress the swell of her ass. She didn’t let her down until Orana opened the front door of their home.

 

* * * * *

 

Late one night, Hawke rolled out from under her mate’s arms. She carefully crawled to the foot of the bed and climbed off. She shrugged into her robe and quietly padded to the hallway. Taking a moment to peer in at her sons, Hawke made her way slowly to her mother’s chambers.

 

She hadn’t been inside since her mother’s brutal murder but had asked Orana to dust and clean up occasionally. Lighting a candle, Hawke carried it inside and watched the shadows dance across her mother’s canopied bed. She swallowed and made her way to the dresser. She found her mother’s necklaces on top of the wood surface. Knowing her mother’s habits, Hawke knelt by the bed and pulled a box out from underneath the mattress. Inside was a stash of gold and currency. There was a small fortune stashed in that box. Hawke smiled ruefully.

 

After the life her mother had had, leaving a rich family, and forced to flee Ferelden years later, where she’d married Father and had lost that life, of course she would stash a sizeable fortune under her bed. Hawke took up the box and took it with her. Of course her mother had the right idea. A good amount of money at easy access.

 

Just in case. Hawke took the box back to the master bedchamber.

 

• * * * * * * *

 

“Hawke, you must come with me. Grand Cleric Elthina wants to speak to us. All of us,” Orsino said. He meant the heads of power in the city. With the Viscount dead, he, Knight Commander Meredith and the Champion of Kirkwall were the highest titles in the city.
Hawke walked with him in the streets rapidly. Her long sword clanged along her back. “Of course. Whatever it is I can do to help…”
Fire exploded from the nearby Chantry building, booming and echoing with unnatural light and cadence. Several townsfolk threw themselves to the ground or gawked and pointed. Hawke grabbed Orsino’s thin arm and pulled him to the ground. When the initial worst of the tremors had passed, both rose to their feet. Hawke stared, jaw dropping. The beautiful Chantry building was decimated, gutted by fire that licked the remains of the walls.

 

Suddenly, what they had been going to do flashed through the battle-scarred areas of her mind. Hawke swallowed. “Did Elthina….” Her forehead felt warm all of a sudden and Hawke was startled to feel something wet seep along her brow. Her gloves came away bloody at a brief inspection.
“She’s dead! Everyone inside is dead!” A townswoman screeched. Nobles and elves tried to enter the flaming ruins to search for survivors but the fire beat back their attempts. Hawke coughed. Clanking footsteps filled the air and a troop of templars charged up, halting in unison. At their head was a familiar face.
Knight Commander Meredith didn’t look too surprised. In fact, she looked more than resigned to her task. “And so it begins. I must gather my forces at the Gallows. Meet me there as soon as you can, champion. I’ll leave this….murderer for you to deal with. He’s your companion. Do as you see fit.”

 

Anders waited nearby, shoulders shaking. The apparent righteous guilt making him bristle with quivering energy told Hawke who the culprit had been.
The templars didn’t bother him but followed their commander. Sparks from the out-of-control fire fell down onto their armor as they moved past the flaming building.
Orsino looked beyond dismayed. He looked decimated. “So it’s come to this. I don’t know if we can win this war, Champion….but thank you. I will leave your….friend for you to deal with. I must return to the Gallows. Meredith cannot be left to rule alone there!”
Hawke watched, dumbfounded, as the head mage took off towards the Gallows. She felt like she’d been punched in the head a few times and dunked underwater, things just had happened so quickly. Soon, her companions all found her, standing over a slouched Anders. Hawke was relieved to see her mates in one piece, as well as Varric, Aveline, Donnic and Sebastian.

 

Anders had her jaw in his hands, gently healing the gash in her forehead. There was such a loving look on his face that Hawke was startled to notice it and his true feelings for her. She swallowed as the mage smiled sadly to her, eyes wrinkling with understanding. Then the weight of what he’d done crushed the small moment. He sank down onto a nearby crate, despondent and empty of emotion.
“There’s nothing you can say that I haven’t already said to myself. Vengeance took me over. I couldn’t stop him. Justice once told me that demons are just spirits perverted by their desires. I made my friend a demon and he did this.”
Sebastian cut him off. “Do not hide behind your ‘spirit.’ It was YOUR hand that did this!”

 

Anders held his head high, eyes looking anywhere but at Hawke. “Kill me now before there is nothing left of me.”
Fury filled Hawke’s being, but sadness weighed her heart. He was her friend and he USED her. Used her to hurt others! “I know ….you would have changed it if you could.”
‘Wouldn’t you?!’ her mind screamed.
Anders shuddered. “But I’ve proven I cannot. If I couldn’t control Vengeance now, I never will. I need to die.”
Sebastian snorted, hand going for his bow. “I can help him with that…”
“I might have understood if you’d only told me!” Hawke bit out.

 

“You condone this?” Sebastian looked flabbergasted.” The brutal death of an innocent woman of faith? Someone you knew! Who TRUSTED you!”
Hawke winced. Again, she could see Elthina’s kind smile, the way the wrinkles at the corners of her eyes pulled with each word and soft look. She truly had been almost a living saint.
“I wanted to tell you!” Anders went on. “But what if you stopped me? Or worse, what if you wanted to help? I couldn’t let you do that.”
“I never would have helped you,” Hawke finally ground out. “Elthina was an innocent pawn in your struggles. You cast her aside as if she meant nothing to anyone.”
“The world needs to see this!” Anders argued. “Then we can all stop pretending the Circle is a solution.”
Anger lined Hawke’s words. “So it’s up to YOU to decide how things should be?!”
“It’s obvious how things shouldn’t be!” Anders protested.
“You really think this is the answer?!”

 

“Hawke, let me end him. If you won’t, I will. He doesn’t deserve to live after….this!” Sebastian notched an arrow to his bow. Anders stared at him dully, neither moving to flee or defend himself. Hawke held up a hand toward Sebastian. The nobleman waited, arrow lowering.
“Things can’t stay as they are…..”
“So you start a massacre to prove a point?” Merrill looked ill.
“I’m not proving a point! I’m changing a world!” Anders insisted. “You’ve never been part of the Circle; I have. The people fear what we can do, but to use that fear to bludgeon us into submission is wrong! And they do it with our blessing…. If I pay for that with my life, then I pay. Perhaps then Justice would at last be free.”
Hawke covered her face with her gloved hand, despair on her face. “Anyone?” This she addressed to her companions.
Sebastian snorted. “If I’d been in that Chantry today, would you be waffling? You know what must be done!”

 

“Bold plan,” Isabela put out. Everyone turned to look at her. “Well, I thought so.”
“He wants to die.” Fenris was to the point and as blunt as a sword. “Kill him and be done with it.”
Aveline had her own say. “Belief is no excuse. Sincerity does not justify…..this.”
“He should be made to pay for his actions.” Donnic was ever the just soldier and his words reflected that.
Merrill frowned. “He should come with us. Do what he can to put things right.”
Varric groaned. “I think I’m sick of mages and templars!”
Anders lowered his head. “Whatever you do, just do it.”
Hawke faltered then looked to her mates, her friends. “Just go. GO.”

 

Sebastian was outraged. “No, you can’t let this abomination walk free. He dies, or I am returning to Starkhaven. And I will bring such an army with me on my return that there’ll be nothing left of Kirkwall for these maleficarum to rule!”
Hawke dragged Anders to his feet and gave him a push to get going. The thin mage stumbled. “Don’t interfere, Sebastian!”
Sebastian held up his hands. “I will not fight you, Hawke. My death now would serve nothing. I will return to Starkhaven, but I swear to you I will come back and find your precious Anders. I’ll teach him what true Justice is!”
As the nobleman stalked off in the fray, the remaining party members fidgeted.
“One less to help us, brilliant,” Isabela mumbled.
Anders sighed. “Thank you for my life. I’ll try not to make such a mess of it this time.”

 

Hawke smiled sadly at him. “I could never kill someone I called a friend.”
Anders smiled back. His eyes held a haunted light, but he would live. He clutched Hawke’s hand, squeezed.
And then he turned the corner and was gone. Truly gone from them forever.
“We’d all best get to the Gallows, and quick; it’s going to be quite a show,” Varric lamented.
“Before we go, you have to head back,” Hawke said. Isabela suddenly knew what she meant when the Champion took her hand.
“You have to stay safe. Take what you need from the house, but you have to get going.”
Isabela frowned. “Oh no, you’re not telling me what to do! I’m with you to the end, Hawke.”

 

Hawke clasped both her hands in hers. Her face held a pleading look. “PLEASE. PLEASE. Listen to me, Bela. You have to stay safe….”
“I have to be at your side!” Isabela insisted.
Hawke’s eyes darted between them to her mate’s middle. “For the baby. Please go.”
Isabela sighed, biting her lip. “Already this pup is giving you reasons to molly coddle me…..”
Varric stirred. “You’re pregnant again? Congratulations!”
“This is beside the point,” Aveline complained. Her husband gave her a rueful look.
Isabela turned back to her mate. “And besides, I’m not going.”
Hawke didn’t care the city was going to pieces. She cupped her mate’s face in her palms and sweetly kissed her. “Please. For me. For our boys.”
“I can fight… “ Isabela protested. Hawke leaned to kiss her again. Her argument stopped.

 

“I know you can. But the boys cannot. They need you to protect them while I go help.” Hawke’s eyes were filled with love, fear and anguish. So much fear, as much as when her sister had lain ill in the Deep Roads….. Isabela’s heart turned. The least she could do was alleviate a portion of that fear.
“I…I’ll keep them safe…”
Hawke sighed with relief. They kissed again until Aveline cleared her throat.
“We really should be going, Hawke,” she retorted. Isabela couldn’t find it in herself to tease her. Hawke’s hand settled between them, over her flat belly. She rubbed there, such love in her gaze that Isabela couldn’t fathom going against what she asked.
“You better not die, or I’ll kick your ass.” Isabela ran her fingers lovingly over Hawke’s cheek to take the sting from her words. Hawke nodded, love in her gaze.
“I will come back to you. Just get to the ship….”

 

Isabela let Hawke slide from her embrace and her arms felt heavy, languid without her mate in them. Templars rushed the group from down the street and Hawke jerked her head to the side.
“Go!” she yelled. Isabela could only manage one more anguished look and her eyes met Merrill’s wild gaze momentarily. What about kitten?
Before she could think, Isabela was running. Running to protect the babe in her belly, rushing full out for the Hawke estate to collect the rest of their family. She had promised to keep them safe.

 

And anyone who stood in the way of that safety deserved her blades.

 

• * * * * * *

 

The boat swayed in the water as Donnic and Aveline rowed. Hawke sat at the prow and Merrill pressed into her side. The Gallows grew larger and larger and they could hear commotion and fighting already from within the fortress. Hawke laid her gloved hand over Merrill’s. Worry for her second mate suddenly made her feel sick to her stomach. Why had she let her come? She was the worst mate ever….
The boat touched shore and the party climbed out. Before they could investigate and join the fray, Fenris spoke up. His deep voice grated like dropping rocks with the words that Hawke couldn’t believe she was hearing.
“Hawke, wait a minute. You can’t fight the templars like this.”

 

 

“The hell I can’t. We need to take a side and I’ll help Orsino and the mages. It’s the right thing to do,” Hawke said. Fenris glowered from beneath his white bangs.
“Stop letting your feelings for your family rule you,” he snapped. His eyes flashed from Merrill back to the confused Champion. “You know what mages are capable of. And I’ll be damned if I’ll let them walk free to do as they want.”
The moonlight glinted off the tattoos lyrium had traced into his face, neck, arms, and really all over his body, Hawke imagined. She shuddered. The mage’s work on the elf was never a pretty sight and Hawke had to imagine the pain had been unimaginable when the lyrium had been put into his skin. But still….
“You’re leaving us? To help Meredith?!” When Fenris nodded, Hawke sighed with exasperation. “I never thought our friendship meant so little to you. Stand down, Fenris!”
“No!” there were trace amounts of fear with the rage in his eyes. “I would rather die than side with the mages any day! I thought you knew that, Hawke.”

 

“I stood up for you where it counted! You’re stabbing me in the back!” Hawke yelled. Merrill clutched her arm.
“Fenris, maybe we could…. “ Aveline began.
Fenris shook his head. “I’ve made up my mind. Good luck, Champion.”
Hawke watched, flabbergasted, as her friend strode off to join the templars. “I can’t believe this!”
“I thought he would side with you no matter what,” Donnic said softly. Hawke sighed. Her heart shredded even further.

“Let’s just….find Orsino. Before he’s taken out.”

 * * * * * *

 

Further inside the fortress, the party dispatched random templars until they found the head mage in a far-flung corner of the stone building. A thin stone bridge connected the platform to the maze of hallways. The head mage was forlorn, staring off the edge of the platform to the ground far below.
“Why don’t they just drown us as infants…” he muttered to himself. Hawke’s eyebrow raised. She hurried to the elf’s side.
“Orsino?”
“Why wait?” Orsino’s wild eyes met hers. “Why give us the illusion of hope?!” Rage lined his vision. “I refuse to keep running. I won’t wait for her to kill me!”
Hawke paused then spoke. “I hope you’re not giving up before taking a shot at Meredith….”
“I’m not giving up….” Orsino glowered at her. “I’m giving in!”

 

“Stop!” Hawke said, noting the dagger he pulled from his sash.
“Meredith expects blood magic? Then I’ll give it to her!” The head mage didn’t try to attack her but drew up the sleeve of his robe to slice a gash down his exposed forearm. “Maker help us all….”
“No!” Hawke yelled. Her companions were shouting behind her but Orsino let the blood pour over him in waves of red magic and he let it happen. The nearby fallen bodies of the mages and templars that had been slain were pulled into him and Orsino was transformed into a gelatinous mix of pale limbs and monstrous intention.
Hawke charged at what was Orsino, blade drawn. The battle was intense, drawn out and harrowing. Hawke was surprised how exhausted she was as she took a second to breathe on the far side of the platform. Aveline and Donnic were side by side, weapons rising and falling in tandem. Varric was on the far side of the platform, keeping his distance to lob volleys of arrows from his crossbow into the creature’s broad pale side. Hawke noted her mate was beside him, keeping her distance to fire blasts of magic from her staff.

 

Hawke’s heart was in her throat when the Orsino monster turned toward the pair furthest away, and inflicting damage from a distance. She was running and leaping before she could think, and Hawke leaped, landing on the creatures’ shoulder. She slammed her blade straight down into the larger skull that looked most like the Head mage and twisted as hard as she could. The creature roared, its many arms flailing. One thin arm tugged at her waist, but Hawke kicked it off her, digging the sword in deeper. The creature thumped to the ground and Hawke hopped off, wrenching her blade free.
She didn’t even mind or care when Aveline and her husband hurried to help her drive the finishing blows to the feebly reaching creature. Finally, what was Orsino lay still. Hawke wrenched her sword from the creature, body lathered in a cold sweat beneath her clothing and armor. Her wild eyes met Merrill’s and Hawke took her into her arms, crushing her to her front.

 

Merrill cried out. She clutched Hawke to her, fingers clutching the back of her armor.
“Merrill…I shouldn’t have let you come…” Hawke murmured. Merrill turned her face down to her and kissed her sweetly. Hawke kissed her back. “You must go help Isabela…”
“No…..I can stay, Hawke. I need to…..” Merrill insisted. Hawke kissed her gently, holding her chin with one hand. Blood that was on her glove smeared accidentally onto Merrill’s pale cheek. Blood that was smeared across her breastplate pressed into the elf’s tunic front. Merrill winced.
“My love, you must go find Isabela. Go to the ship with her. Protect her and our pups.”
Merrill’s heart seized and lifted at ‘our pups.’ She did consider Isabela’s children almost her own.

 

“Hawke….” Merrill protested. Hawke kissed her again, hands moving to the small of the elf’s back. Their bodies pressed closely.
“Please, Merrill. Protect them all. By any means necessary.”
At those words, Merrill somehow knew Hawke meant to use blood magic. But she hadn’t touched it in months. Its power was amplified to use, but like a drug or substance, to get clean it was best to have a clean break. But if her family were truly in danger….. Merrill knew she would use it.
“They will be safe, my love,” Merrill vowed. “I promise.” Hawke kissed her tenderly. She bent to her ear and whispered her love. Merrill hugged her around the neck tightly. Merrill knew Hawke was sending her away….. and she herself was heading for more danger. The elf tried not to think it was the last time she was touching her lover.

 

With one last sad look, the elf turned and ran. Hawke watched her get to the boats at the Gallows dock with a heavy heart.

 

 

* * * * *

 

When Isabela arrived at the Hawke estate, she was dismayed to see across the city that parts of Lowtown were on fire, as well as Hightown already from the Chantry’s explosion. The flames were still a good way off from the street where they lived, but they could easily creep to home and hearth….
Isabela cursed and dodged nobles running to and fro on the street, ducking under the statue by the front door for the brass door key. At her hard jostle, the small statue toppled over and promptly broke as if to mock the pirate even further with the panic roiling through the city.
Isabela cursed, then cursed herself for worrying about the dumb statue, and grabbed up the large key. She unlocked the front door, ran five feet into the foyer, screeched to a halt, and ran back only to latch up the door tight.

 

The city was going to heck in a handbasket so no need for stupid surprises at this point. Isabela burst into the front room, bellowing for the twins. “FAL! LARK!”
The twins yelled from the kitchen. Orana emerged, holding their hands tight, her pale face even paler with fright. Isabela patted the boys on the head and clutched the elf’s elbow with a comforting pat.
“We have to go, Orana. Pack up a bag and help get the boy’s things. We need to go. NOW.”
The hard level of authority in her voice seemed to snap Orana back to some semblance of help and she ran at a hard pace up the stairs to collect sacks and stuff the boys and her clothing in. Isabela heard the boys follow her and she dashed up to the master bedchamber. She grabbed a sack and rooted under the bed. In went the small box Hawke’s mother had stashed gold in. Never knew if they’d need the currency, but Isabela wasn’t going to let a small fortune go missing to looters.

 

Isabela frantically threw in few odds and ends of hers, Hawkes and Merrill’s things and clothing. She gave the large bed and familiar chamber a sad look before rushing down the hall. Isabela didn’t have time to say a quiet prayer to Hawke’s deceased mother as she pushed into her old chamber. The pirate grunted with frustration as she tried to hurry, but at least she found a few necklaces that Hawke’s mother had once worn. Into the sack they went. Dumb to think of at a time like this, but if they couldn’t come back….. Hawke would be glad she came in here…..
A loud thud from the front foyer made her arms break out in gooseflesh. Isabela darted a harried glance to the back hallway where Orana’s and the boy’s rooms were. She dropped her sack quietly to the rug and eased down the large stairwell, Heartbreaker in hand.

 

Intruder…..it had to be….well, Isabela wasn’t in the damn mood to put up with looters starting their breaking and entering. They were going to be drawn up by their nutsacks….
As Isabela dashed down the last curve of the large stairwell, she drew her second dagger and prepared to rush the hapless wit. Wide eyes met hers and Merrill squeaked in surprise. Her staff was held at the ready, magic lighting the edge. Both paused and exhaled as one unit.
“Merrill! Are you okay?!” Isabela’s frantic eyes made out blood across the elf’s tunic and sleeves. She sheathed her weapons and hurried forward. “Is that yours?!”
“What? No!” Merrill gestured at her bloodied state. “Orsino turned and we had to….never mind. Hawke sent me to keep you safe, and that’s not here. We need to go.”
“Where bloody well IS Hawke?” Isabela growled, but she did agree the going better be getting good. She clutched the elf’s arm in hers and hurried up the stairs to collect the sack she had dropped, and her sons. “Orana! We’re going now!”
The elf emerged, and the twins ran to Merrill, but yelled with shock at her blood-stained appearance. Merrill hurried to soothe them she was fine even as she hurried to grab a few things of her own. She found her spell notes and tossed them in with her spare tunics into her own sack, moving around and trying to find small pieces from the main sitting room that Hawke may want to keep.
Isabela hoisted the sack over one shoulder and barked out to her pups to hurry up and present for the front door.

 

 

“Hawke’s not going to want that antique tea set. We have to go NOW!” Isabela snapped. Merrill nodded. She wiped the blood from her face with a handkerchief and let it drop to the rug. Angela ran from person to person, riled up. Isabela knew he’d have to go with them. No better protection than a mabari hound, plus Hawke would be pleased they’d saved him.
The twins were pushing and dragging a large sack between them and Isabela growled with impatience. “Sons, now is NOT the time!”
“Mama, we have to bring this!” Tears were in Falcon’s eyes. “Papa will want it and we had to….”
A glance inside from the mates told them it was a shield with the Hawke family crest. Hawke had it over the mantle and how they’d gotten it down was beyond them.
“Fine, fine, but we’ll have to help. When we get outside, we are running for the docks. But you are NOT to go anywhere without either one of us. Do you understand me?” Isabela asked. She shouldered the sack with the shield as Orana took up the one she’d packed.
Falcon and Lark nodded, small faces serious.

 

“Let’s go,” Merrill squeaked. She unlocked the front door and the women and children darted out. Merrill stopped in her tracks and ran back.
“What are you doing?” Isabela demanded.
“I forgot to lock the front door!” Merrill gave back. Isabela flung one hand into the air with frustration. Once Merrill was satisfied the door was locked, they darted down a side street toward the dock area.
“It’s all on fire!” Orana said. Tears streamed down her face. “I have to see if my papa will make it out!”
Isabela cursed in her head, but she turned to the elf servant with a sad look on her face. “If you want to search for him, I won’t stop you. It could be a dangerous search, and I can’t help you. We have to get Hawke’s children to my ship. You’ll be safe there if you come with us.”
Orana looked upset but she came to a decision. “I’ll… I’ll go with you…. Maker save me!” Merrill clutched her arm as they hurried off. The closer they came to the docks, the more harried the city folk were.
Several men and women pumped water from wells to carry over to the nearest buildings on fire and it was through this melee that Isabela and Merrill led their small party. People were yelling and screaming with panic as the fire stoked higher against their efforts.

 

Sweat roiled down Isabela’s face as she led the way. She almost collided with a few robed individuals and even though Merrill was a mage, she tensed anyways, fearing a confrontation.
Then one of them turned and the pirate recognized the long dark hair and pale features. The way the woman was staring at her, she knew she was recognized too.
“Isabela?” Bethany asked. Isabela gasped. She smiled and reached to embrace the woman in Grey Warden robes.
“Bethany! I didn’t think your order would be called in here,” Isabela smiled. The way Bethany glanced over her group saddened the pirate’s heart. “Hawke isn’t with us. We’re heading to my ship in the bay. But she was at the Gallows last Merrill saw….”
“Hi, Bethany,” Merrill squeaked. Bethany hailed her and moved to hug the sweet elf. She knew Hawke had had her for a close friend, at least to her recollection.
“Was Hawke okay last you saw?” Bethany asked. Merrill nodded seriously.

 

“She was. And on her way to confront Knight Commander Meredith. Please help her get to us,” Merrill pleaded. Bethany nodded then her gaze settled on the boys that clutched at Isabela’s legs.
Hawke’s sister looked surprised. “Yours?” she asked Isabela. The pirate nodded.
Bethany swallowed. “Hawke’s?” She knew how her sister had felt about the pirate before she was taken away. When Isabela said yes, there was a lightness in her chest. Bethany breathed a sigh of relief.
“Well, there is that. Protect these boys. And thanks for making my sister an honest alpha at last,” Bethany grinned.

 

“Bethany, we’re taking the fight to the Gallows!” another Grey Warden called out. Bethany nodded and turned to say goodbye to her sister’s family.
“Take care of yourselves. I mean it. Look after Hawke’s children,” Bethany said. Merrill nodded. Isabela gestured to Orana to reach into the sack she’d given her. When Bethany was handed one of her mother’s necklaces, tears filled her eyes.
“I never thought I’d see this here, with all this going on. Thank you, Isabela,” Bethany said sincerely. Isabela gave her a one-armed hug (that shield WAS heavy after all).

 

Isabela gave her one final grin. Then she led her children away.

 

End for now

Chapter Text

Hawke and her somewhat smaller party moved through the fortress building of the Gallows. They happened upon odd groups of templars. In one instance, a troop of templars were on their knees praying. Hawke got the jump on them, leading Aveline and Donnic in to hack and slash where they knelt. Varric jogged after, notching another metal arrow into his beloved Bianca, and making sure to cover their rear.
Hawke almost ran full into a body, and before she could raise her sword, familiar features had to be taken in again and again before her sword hand lowered. Wide green eyes, similar to her own, took her in.
“Bethany?!” she asked. Her sister looked as battle worn, and two other Grey Wardens stopped at her side. Bethany held a hand up, halting her colleagues.
“Hawke! I came…well I came to help,” she said. Hawke felt herself smiling, even as tears filled her eyes. The frantic energy of the night, her grief and fear at sending her mates off to Isabela’s ship…..Isabela, Merrill, Falcon, Lark….Mother….

 

“We can use all the help we can get,” Aveline spoke up. Bethany clasped her arm in greeting and Varric hugged her waist.
“Sunshine,” he called her. Bethany gave a terse smile.
“I’m glad to see you,” Hawke admitted. The group moved toward the market area of the Gallows.
“Me too,” Bethany declared. Her eyes sparkled. “I saw Isabela…she had your sons with her.”
Hawke breathed a sigh of relief. So Isabela was on her way to the ship with their boys. Good. “Was Merrill with her?” she demanded. Bethany nodded, sensing a link there to the plucky elf. She wondered how deep it was, with the pirate as her mate.
“Yes….I’m just so glad despite all this. Father’s line will go on,” Bethany declared. Hawke grinned, suddenly proud.
“Mother…she….” Hawke tried to get out. Bethany swallowed.

 

“She’s dead…isn’t she?” she asked. Hawke felt weak, like her heart was slain on the spot. She swallowed, her mouth was so dry. Her fault…it had been her fault…
“Yes….” She had to admit. Who knew how much time they had left together before the Grey Wardens took her sister away again.
“Poor Mother…..” was all Bethany had time to say. Hawke wanted to curse at the lines of templars waiting for them in the Gallows market square. She had only a few moments with her sister. And they were intruding on even that! Meredith was waiting at the head of the armored soldiers, a self-indulgent smirk on her face if there ever could be one. Captain Cullen stood beside her, and his face held no help, at least none that Hawke could see. Her party formed up behind her as they descended the last of the stairs. She scowled to notice Fenris right beside Cullen, as obedient as any templar.
“And here we are Champion, at long last.”

 

Hawke glared. The fury of the night, of the actions that had led to her sending her family away, that she may not get to join them, the destruction to her city, all of it erupted in her outburst. “I was afraid you were going to let everyone else do your fighting!”
Meredith was nonplussed.” Not at all. I am here to see order restored. What happens to you now is your own doing.”
Hawke seethed. Her love for Father, Bethany beside her, and Merrill gone with her other mate and their sons surged through her. How dare she bring war on mages when the world needed them too?
“You are no mage.” Meredith went on. “But in supporting them, you’ve elected to share their fate.”
Cullen spoke up, diverting her attention. “Knight Commander! I thought we intended to arrest the Champion!” His brows furrowed as if he couldn’t believe what he’d just heard.
Meredith lashed out at the tall man. “You will do as I command, Cullen!”

 

“No!” Cullen looked heart-broken but resolved to get his say. “I defended you when Thrask started whispering you were mad. But this is too far!”
“I will not allow insubordination! We must stay true to our path!” Meredith unsheathed her weapon and the great sword glowed with an eeire red light not of any other forged weapon.
“Andraste’s dimpled butt cheeks!” Varric cursed suddenly. Meredith smirked.
“You recognize it, do you not? Pure lyrium, taken from the Deep Roads. The dwarf charged a great deal for his prize….“ Meredith purred. Hawke knew she meant Varric’s brother Bartrand when she said ‘dwarf.’ He’d been seduced and driven mad by an idol taken from the Deep Roads, an item forged of rare red lyrium. And she had smashed down that idol to forge the shards into her own weapon.
And judging by the crazed look in the Knight Commander’s eyes, that same madness had passed to her.
“Turning the idol into a fancy sword won’t save you!” Hawke bit out. She felt Varric shift behind her and knew he was notching an arrow into Bianca.
Meredith turned her fury to the templars and Fenris. “All of you! I want her dead!” She pointed the glowing red sword directly at Hawke. Hawke unsheathed and readied her sword.

 

“Enough! This is not what the Order stands for; Knight Commander, step down! I relieve you of your command!” Cullen ordered. Authority laced his words and the templars shifted behind him. Fenris darted a look from him to Meredith.
“My own Knight-Captain falls prey to the influence of blood magic?” Meredith’s eyes darted over the templars. “You all have! You’re all weak! Allowing the mages to control your minds, to turn you against me! But I don’t need any of you! I will protect this city myself!”
Cullen moved to Hawke’s side. “Enough, Meredith! Stop this madness!”
“Idiot boy!” Meredith cursed. “Just like all the others!” She brandished the blade and let its magic coursed through her. “Blessed are those that stand before the corrupt and the wicked and do not falter….”

 

Sufficiently raised with power, Meredith pointed the tainted weapon at Hawke’s group. “Kill the Champion!”
The battle raged on, surely as a summer storm. The templars moved in with Fenris and Hawke was dismayed to have to press him back. She resolved to not kill him. He had been her friend.
The fighting became a mess.
After several harrowing attacks, Meredith staggered back, from the onslaught of attack. She was clearly winded and weakened, if not by Aveline and Donnic’s hard attacks, then the lyrium-laced weapon itself.
“Maker! Your servant begs you for the strength to defeat this evil!” Suddenly, red power laced through the warrior, surging through her and tossing her impossibly high in the air in a backward leap. The red power expanded from her sword, filling the nearby statues of the Gallows.

 

Hawke gaped as the statues begin to shift, to move in jerky motions as metal scraped on stone. Bethany clutched her sleeve and Varric cursed. She could hope and wish Fenris would come out of this ordeal alive because she would not kill him.
The statues of the courtyard were coming to life and were descending upon them. Hawke turned and ran for the far corner of the courtyard, dragging Bethany with her. She had failed Mother and Carver….. she wouldn’t let her sister die too! Meredith’s power did not discriminate, as the statues of soldiers and slaves alike woke and began to clamber down from their perches. The many-arms of the soldiers whirled, brandishing metal weapons.
Bethany gave her a slight push. “Go! I can cover your attack!” She brandished her staff. Hawke gave her one final anguished look, and charged into the center of the courtyard, Donnic and Aveline right behind her. The statues at least seemed to take damage despite their formidable outer casing, and after several sweaty moments, one slave fell, and the group moved onto the other statues.

 

Hawke ran full sprint around one of the soldier’s tall legs, hoping to take the attack from behind. The soldier moved suddenly, tracking her movements, eyes gleaming down at her from a twenty-foot height. Before Hawke could run or leap away, his foot was raised and slamming into her side. Hawke’s vision went to white as she flew through the air and landed fifty feet away. Her ribs hurt awfully, and it was taxing to take a breath. Colors spotted the air before her wide eyes as she wheezed and tried to roll to her knees. Red pain pulled down her limbs and Hawke cried out.
Even as her vision and breathing finally began to clear and Hawke staggered to her feet, pushing up from the ground with her sword to gain her footing, she could hear Meredith yelling curses. The templars had stopped trying to attack her friends and were going for the statues instead.
“It’s not enough that they make innocents suffer! No, we must also have insult added to injury!”

 

Hawke staggered to limp back to the fray, but Varric, stolid Varric, was by her side suddenly, supporting her weight onto his shorter shoulder. “Easy, Hawke! They got the rest of ‘em!”
And Hawke could see the templars, Cullen, Donnic and Aveline had taken out the rest of the soldiers, the metal behemoths twitching or laying still on the courtyard stones. The few templars that had been killed littered the courtyard as well. Hawke couldn’t make out any white hair on the fallen bodies. She hoped suddenly that Fenris had managed to get away.
Hawke’s attention was drawn back to the Knight Commander. Meredith was hard-pressed to defend herself against their combined assault, and staggered backward, sword arm raised in defense as the red lyrium coursed through her and made her eyes glow in an ungodly way.
“I will not be defeated!” she spat. “Maker, aid your humble servant!”

 

Before Cullen could direct the templars to attack, something had gone horribly wrong. The lyrium continued coursing around the Knight Commander, then continued to enter her and her shrieking screams indicated a horrible recourse. Her soul was extracted through her open mouth as her body slumped to its knees, head upturned as if to curse the heavens, red flames licking at her limbs.
Several of the templars cried out. Cullen even looked affected. But at his silent command, as he sheathed his sword and stepped aside, the other armored soldiers did likewise and stepped back. Hawke limped past, leaning on Varric’s shoulder. Her eyes met Cullen’s through her sweaty bangs and he nodded in something like understanding.
“What do we do now?” Donnic asked as they rowed back into the city. “The city’s on fire! Where are the other guardsmen?”
“Are there any left at all?” Aveline mumbled. She leaned against her husband as he rowed.
“I have to get to the docks.” Hawke would not be swayed. “We’re leaving on Isabela’s ship. Come with us.”

 

Aveline shook her head. “I think Donnic and I could make our way through the countryside. Find some semblance of order to attach to and then….”
“Guard Captain!” A voice raised out as they stumbled into the city again. Aveline’s face lit up with a fierce smile. A few ragged ranks of the city guardsmen trotted up to meet her, saluting and awaiting orders.
“We go save the innocent and take them to a safe place. Varric, are you coming with us?” Aveline asked.
Varric shook his head. “No, I’ll help Hawke.”

 

“Go with them, Varric. I’ll be fine,” Hawke insisted. Varric reluctantly stepped away, and watched the Champion take a faltering step and regain her equilibrium.
“Are you certain? It’s no bother and the city’s in flames,” Varric said. Hawke watched the gathering flames moving across the rooftops.
“I’ll be fine. We’ll all meet again, won’t we?” Hawke said to her friends. Aveline clasped her arm, then surprised Hawke by hugging her. Donnic even gave her a brief hug himself.
“Of course we will. We will meet again. Go to your family,” Aveline said. And Hawke realized the situation was indeed grave when Aveline did not try to insult her mate.
“Until we meet,” Hawke said. She refused to say farewell. Varric shook her hand one final time and Hawke was left to say goodbye to her sister. She and Bethany stood opposite, not knowing what to do, then they were hugging. And Bethany began to walk away. Hawke felt her heart drop to her feet again, not as bad as when they found the Grey Wardens for her in the Deep Roads but just as bad.

 

Then Hawke was alone, stumbling and running toward the docks. She did encounter ruffians and stray templars on the way, even a few rude mages throwing power demons at her that demanded she return battle to.
Hawke felt her staggering limp become more pronounced as she came onto the docks. She hoped she could at least make it.

 

• * * * * * *

Craven had never been so glad to see a commanding presence when he had spotted Isabela rushing down the docks. She was carrying a large sack, holding onto one of her son’s hands. Merrill was holding the second son by his hand, and another elf was in their midst, hurrying with them.
“Bout time! Andraste’s tits!” one of the women sailors muttered. The other sailors hurried to unfurl the sails and tie off lines. They had been in a horrible state of half-action, idly tying and untying certain lines, ready to cast off, yet unable to. Their captain wasn’t there. But she was here now. Craven shoved off the gangplank and met Isabela on the docks.
“Good to see you, Cap’n,” he greeted. Isabela blinked when the burly man leaned down and picked Falcon up, hoisting the lad easily to one shoulder. He hurried her up the gangplank onto the top deck. Another two sailors hurried off to grab up the sacks Merrill and Orana carried and help them along. One of the women lifted Lark up, hurrying them up the gangplank.

 

“Is everyone here? We’re ready to go?” Isabela snapped to, all business. The men and women nodded, rushing to get to their positions. Craven nodded, setting Falcon on his feet on the deck. The boy stayed at his side, fisting his tunic, staring at the flames lighting up the city. Lark was set down and the boys stared at each other, fear in their wide eyes.
“Aye, I made sure everyone stayed on deck as you commanded. We’re up on provisions, ready to cast off. I’d say now would be the time,” Craven said nervously. Other ships had already left, and several looters had already tried to get onto the ship. His bulk had aided in shoving them off the gangplank into the water, but others would surely try and sooner than later and with more force behind them.
Isabela’s eyes were wide and wild, but she shook her head. “Hawke said she’d come. Not without her.”
One of the women sailors uncoiled several lines of rope. She frowned up. “But, Cap’n, we don’t know if….”

 

The boys gasped, and Craven set a kind hand on each of their heads. Isabela whirled to her.
“Don’t say that! Hawke is the Champion of Kirkwall, she’ll get out and get to us and THEN we’ll leave!” she snapped. Merrill’s eyes were wide with fear and worry. Isabela hugged her briefly. “Ready your positions until we do.”
The woman shut up and the sailors sprinted off. Craven stayed at Isabela’s side at the top of the gangplank. The fires worried him, but he knew Isabela was far off more worried, almost quivering beside him. She held her stance strongly, but Craven could tell her worry for her mate was far more encompassing.
The waiting was brutal. It seemed hours had passed, and in that time, templars and mages had rioted onto the docks, battling each other. The sailors were put to work, putting out flame arrows that had made their way onto the deck by accident, or on purpose. Merrill, Orana and the twins had been put below decks, but Craven glimpsed the four camped out on the top stair leading below. Isabela fingered the handles of her daggers. Craven wondered if something had truly happened to the Champion and how he could broach that possibility to his captain.

 

But a limping figure soon took that horrible decision away from him.
“HAWKE!” Isabela bellowed and was off the gangplank, running on the docks toward her lover. Craven ran after her, worried about the stray templar soldiers also on the docks. The Champion looked quite the worse for wear.
Her sweaty bangs hung in her eyes, a partially healed gash was over her brow, blood and other fluids were sprayed across her armor and person. The limp hinted at a deeper injury. Before he could offer to help, Isabela ducked beneath her mate’s arm, helping her lean on her.
“Bela,” Hawke smiled weakly. Her joy seeing her lover was all over her face. Isabela hurried her along and Craven flanked them as they staggered up the gangplank. “Ease off, big fella.”
Craven stepped back from the captain’s warning but ready in case the Champion needed help.

 

“The Champion!” one of the sailors called. The others gave a ragged cheer.
“NOW we cast off!” Isabela ordered. The sailors ran quickly and comically to their tasks. Craven pulled up the gangplank and the ties to the dock were cast off. The wind filled the unfurled sails and Stormy Lover was slowly on her way, inching out of port.
Hawke stayed standing at the prow, eyes darting over the dock. The templars and mages seemed to have forgotten them, and the ship WAS getting away. Isabela tugged at her arm.
“Come on, let’s get you taken care of…”
“No, not yet,” Hawke murmured. Her eyes continued scanning the horizon. “Not til we’re safe.”

 

Before Isabela could protest, there was a cry and Merrill and her sons were running up on deck, surrounding Hawke. Hawke gave an ‘oof’ of surprise as the twins hugged onto her armored legs, and Merrill took her arm. But she still didn’t relax her watchful stance.
“Hawke, are you okay?” Merrill leaned up to kiss the corner of her jaw. Hawke turned her face to her briefly, a sad look on her face.
“Merrill,” she said weakly. But Hawke wouldn’t lean down to kiss her fully. Isabela took her other arm, and put her hand over Hawke’s gloved hand, urging her to lower her sword.
“Hawke, we’re getting out of the harbor. We’re going to make it,” she urged. Hawke shook her head.
“Not yet. I have to watch.”
“I’ll keep watch, Champion,” Craven spoke up. Hawke’s fatigue was clearly all over her face and her stance. And her sons were beginning to blubber and cry against her legs.
“No, not yet,” Hawke insisted. Merrill murmured on her other side and Isabela tried to coax her to at least sit on the deck and rest herself. Rest if she wouldn’t take her armor off at the very least.

 

Finally, after what felt like an hour but maybe was only twenty minutes, Merrill and Isabela convinced Hawke to retire to the captain’s quarters.
“Okay….” Hawke’s slow gait threw terror through Isabela. She and Merrill locked eyes and nodded.
“Bring fresh water, for washing and drinking,” Isabela called to one of her sailors. The thin man nodded and ran off to one of the barrels of supply water.
Hawke grunted as she shuffled down the stairs to the cabins below decks. They passed the galley and the crew’s dining room, and past several small cabins. Isabela opened up the captain’s quarters and the boys tried to help loosen Hawke’s greaves. Hawke slumped in one of the chairs at the table in the large chamber and weakly protested.
“Oh, stop it, love, we need to take these off,” Isabela murmured. She paused in her cleaning of her mate’s face with a clean cloth then leaned to kiss her. It was a short, desperate kiss and she was relieved Hawke’s lips moved to kiss her back. Merrill was unfastening her breast plate.
Hawke’s heart moved in her chest when she noticed the tears in her son’s eyes as well. She tried to smile for them. “We’ll be fine, boys. Don’t worry.”
“But we were worried!” Falcon tugged at her arm. Hawke leaned to kiss his brow and Lark’s.

 

“I came back. I promised.” Hawke met her mate’s eyes at that. Tears filled Merrill’s eyes. Isabela swallowed her own tears as she and Merrill undressed their mate. The purple splotching along Hawke’s ribs made both women gasp and the twins began to cry. Hawke winced.
“See, I didn’t want them to see that. Ow,” Hawke wheezed. Isabela didn’t even know where to start.
“Kitten?” she asked. Merrill took up her staff and began trying her healing, glowing lights spreading over Hawke’s pale skin. The wheezing breaths Hawke took terrified her.
“There….it should help…There was a ….crack. But now your ribs should be fine. Maybe abit bruised….. you should take it easy, Hawke,” Merrill murmured. Her throat felt too tight with constrictive emotion. Hawke felt her shoulders sag and almost relax. And she knew she had to work a bit longer. To get her family to calm down.
“Yeah, I shouldn’t let any more twenty-foot tall statues kick me…..”
“Statue?!” Merrill squeaked. Hawke put her hand over hers.

 

“It’s okay….I promise. Bela? Do we need to do anything else with the crew?” Hawke asked. Isabela shook her head.
“You stay here. I’ll make a few more rounds, but Craven will get us if something….happens. That’s what a first mate does,” she insisted. Hawke’s features relaxed finally.
“Okay….boys, let’s get ready for bed…” Hawke said. The murmurs of her sons filled the air as Isabela excused herself to check on the crew.
A few of the men were in the crow’s nest and along the beams, keeping watch. Craven had the wheel and he kept a sharp look on the horizon as he steered the ship well. Isabela stopped beside him, casting her gaze to the dark horizon as well.
“No one near us yet,” Craven responded to Isabela’s unspoken question. Isabela heaved a sigh.
“Have some of the other men or women take over from you in shifts. And always get me if someone approaches us.”

 

“Aye, Cap’n,” Craven said. Isabela nodded. She moved along the deck, talking to some of the men and women. They all responded and answered, going about their tasks. Isabela was pleased to see that one of the women had kept all but one lantern dimmed out so as not to attract any other ship’s attention. Only then did Isabela amble back below decks.
She bypassed one of the woman sailors, a beta, who was on her way to the galley for a late meal. The cook had taken up residency in the galley, perched on a high stool and half dozing. Loud weeping sounded from one of the smaller cabins. Isabela poked into it to note it was the women’s cabin. Orana was near inconsolable, one of the women omegas putting a friendly arm around her shoulders. Isabela knelt by the weeping elf.

 

After several moments talking to her, Orana’s tears finally slowed. Isabela patted her knee and moved back to her chambers. The twins had their nightgowns on, at least she or Orana or Merill had thought to pack those, and they and Merrill fussed over Hawke who was stripped to her under tunic and small clothes. Lark was tracing the edge of her raised abdominal scar that showed from her half open tunic and Hawke winced slightly. But she didn’t move her son’s hand.
Isabela’s heart winced as if wrung out. Hawke had made it back to her. She was lucky this night ended this way. She changed to a simple shift and moved to Hawke’s other side on the bed. The twins lay against her legs and waist, holding onto her. Hawke looked slightly uncomfortable but didn’t move her sons. Her mate’s green eyes met hers and Isabela leaned down to kiss her lips softly.

 

Hawke squeezed Merrill’s hand on her other side as they settled down. The twins began to snore lightly and finally, the Champion closed her eyes.

 

End for now

Chapter Text

Hawke barely got any sleep. She knew her small family fared no better. When she opened her eyes, Hawke was shocked to see Isabela gone. She shouldn’t be surprised, she WAS captain, but after their flight from a flaming Kirkwall, Hawke was understandably on edge.
Merrill was hugging onto the pups, both boys wrapped up in her arms. Her tired eyes lit up when Hawke stirred. Hawke leaned over and planted a kiss on her lips and on the boy’s heads. Falcon and Lark stirred, calling out to her and looking for their mama.
“I’ll go look for Mama. She’s probably at the wheel or….checking on everyone,” Hawke gave. Merrill smiled tentatively. Hawke stroked her cheek and kissed her again. “Are you well, love?”

 

“I’ll be fine as long as we’re all together,” Merrill whispered. Hawke smiled lovingly at her. She gave her a softer kiss. Merrill for her part was so glad to have woken up in the wide bed Isabela had fashioned and crafted for her captain’s quarters. It was like having a piece of home floating with them.
Hawke tugged her undertunic on, hoisting her trousers up over her smallclothes. She found her boots at the foot of the bed and tugged them off, running a quick hand through her tousled bed hair as she went in search of her mate. She could hear the twins clambering to follow and gave them a sharp shake of the head.
“Stay with Mamae a moment. Then I’ll take you to the galley,” she ordered. Falcon nodded, and Lark flopped down on the bed, sighing with childish exasperation. Merrill knelt up and reached for a comb on the bedside table to settle their dark hair.

 

Long-term thoughts crowded the edges of Hawke’s quick mind, were they going to live on the ship now? Where was the new baby’s crib going to go? Was Kirkwall completely gone? Could they ever go back to see? When she climbed up on deck, a bright cheery sky greeted her, but Hawke moved with single-minded purpose. She faltered and had to catch her footing as the ship rocked. One of the women sailors hopped over a line of rope, giggling at her misfortune, for she was as sure-footed as a ship’s cat.
Hawke laughed, going to her knees to hug her mabari by the ruff as he bounded up to her. “Well, boy, aren’t you enjoying all this?” she asked. The mabari whined and leaped to lick her cheek.
“Aye, that one will leave a mess all over deck,” one of the sailors grumbled. He had possession of a dust pail and broom as if to confirm his new position. Hawke tried not to smile as she made her way to the wheel. Craven was beside it, speaking to the smaller figure steering and Hawke was glad to recognize her mate confidently at the helm. Isabela’s eyes were tired, but she grinned when Hawke stepped up the small staircase to the wheel. She was wearing a large hat, complete with tall plumage. It was cocked at a jaunty angle and completed her establishment as ship’s captain.

 

“Get any sleep?” Isabela asked. Hawke ignored Craven who stood at attention and leaned to kiss Isabela’s cheek lovingly.
“Some. To make sure the boys relaxed. Are you okay?” she asked. Isabela nodded.
“You’ll get used to the odd shifts the longer we’re out here.”
“Two ships off in the horizon since dawn,” Craven said suddenly, pointing. Isabela craned her eyes to the distance.
“Could be merchants running from Kirkwall. If it’s pirates, we’ll be ready for a fight,” Isabela declared. Craven nodded. He padded the machete slung at his belt.
“Aye, Captain.”

 

“I’ll protect you and your crew, but need we fight every ship?” Hawke wondered. Under the bright sun beating over the ocean, she wondered if her path as Champion were well and truly over. Isabela didn’t take it to heart, leaving the wheel to Craven’s large capable hands as she turned to snug her arms around Hawke’s waist.
“You knew my pirating ways when you first met me,” Isabela said. Hawke nodded. She leaned down, and their mouths met in a proper kiss. “We’ll take what we need or can profit from, but I’ll not have us being boarded. We fight ruffians and merchants, but not innocents. I can’t stand innocents being claimed.”
Hawke knew she was referring to the slaves she had once freed. She nodded seriously. “I know your heart is good, Captain Isabela.”
“Oh, you sweet thing,” Isabela smiled, placated.
“Are we safe now?” Hawke’s eyes softened and one of her hands settled on Isabela’s belly. Too soon, she would have to stop wearing her corsets and wear bigger tunics. Damn Hawke and her potent seed. But as Hawke caressed her belly, she found herself not caring.

 

“Well as we can be,” Isabela whispered. She found pleasure in the way her mate’s eyes lit up. After accepting a few kisses, Isabela turned her attention back to her first mate. “Have you gotten any sleep, sailor?”
“An hour or so, Captain. I had Mel take over for me in the middle of the night,” he admitted. Isabela nodded.
“I’ll write up the shifts. Good job for getting us out of there last night,” she said. Craven’s broad shoulders pulsed as he flexed with pleasure. Hawke found herself scowling at the large man. A sniff told her he was alpha, and her inner ego roared at the realization. Isabela carried her mating mark, and their child, but a properly motivated alpha could still be a threat. Hawke growled low in her throat. She stepped between the captain and the first mate, standing up to her full height. Even at her highest, without going on tiptoes, she didn’t meet Craven’s broad shoulder.

 

Craven stared at her in surprise and inclined his head politely, his old slave instincts kicking in. But he really did only respect his captain and would not intrude on her relationship with the once Champion of Kirkwall.
“I’ll hand the wheel off to Mel soon. I haven’t eaten,” Craven offered a way out. Isabela nodded then strode down from the wheel platform to the main deck.
“Sailors!” She thundered. Hawke followed at her elbow, curious. The men and women lined up, or if they were unable to get down from the rigging, paid attention from on high. Isabela met their eyes and nodded, satisfied. “The Stormy Lover will be a tight-knit crew. My family and I are living on board with all of you. But should I see anyone, alpha, beta or omega, staring at my mate’s ass, you’ll be hung off the side feet first for an hour. Got that?”
Hawke wanted to laugh. But she noted a few of the women sailors, betas and omegas, had been staring at her bare arms. She settled a sure hand on her mate’s waist, offering assurance.
“Aye, Captain!”

 

“And I’ll be taking your whiskey rations,” Isabela added. Hawke leaned to kiss her neck. She had to make due with the crook of her neck that met her shoulder, with her large choker in the way.
“Not while…”
“I’m pregnant, yes,” Isabela huffed. She patted Hawke’s hand. “We really should be getting you and the boys some more clothes. Kitten too.”
Isabela turned in her mate’s arm, nuzzling Hawke’s neck and loving the purrs that came from her throat as she kissed her mating mark. Hawke knew it was to stake her claim in front of the beta and omega sailors, but she held onto Isabela with tightened arms. Hawke couldn’t help yelping in surprise when Isabela’s hand snuck down to her ass and swatted her hard.
“I think you know that’s MY ass,” Isabela purred. Hawke grinned.
“All yours,” she promised.

 

The pair noted the elf moving cautiously on deck, trying to hold onto Falcon and Lark. Everyone was dressed in the outfits from the day before and the boys looked highly excited. The crew moved around them easily, going back to tasks.
“Boys!” Hawke took her turn to thunder her words. Falcon and Lark stopped in place. “You’ll stay with either one of us or Orana on deck. Understand?”
“Yes, Papa.”
“Good. I suppose we’ll drill as the day starts….. like usual,” Hawke said. Isabela nodded and ruffled her son’s hair, moving down deck. Merrill stared after her. Hawke took the moment to put an arm around her second mate.
“Has anyone bothered you?” she asked suddenly. Isabela could handle herself. Merrill was much too shy.
“No, Hawke. Everyone has been respectful,” Merrill said urgently. She blushed happily when Hawke leaned to kiss her.
“Tell me if I need to knock any heads,” she said. Merrill giggled.

 

“A pirate already?” she asked. Hawke paused.
“If we can’t go home….” To Kirkwall she meant. “Then yes.”
Hawke and her small family made their way to the galley. The cook woke up, almost falling off his stool, and served a morning stew. The boys ate heartily, but Hawke found herself picking over the chunks of whole vegetables listlessly. Well, she’d best cast off her higher societal palette if she was going to get along with her mate’s crew. Hawke made herself eat a chunk of spice-less potato to appease her sons and urge them to eat. Falcon grinned, a large mouthful of stew pooching his cheeks out. Bits of the liquid dribbled from his brother’s mouth. Hawke’s heart gave a sharp turn when Merrill reached to carefully wipe their faces with a cloth. Too easily she could have lost them or been lost and never see this sight again….
Hawke placed a hand against her ribs, taking a careful inhale. They still hurt terribly, and she took it slow. The worried look Merrill shot her put resolve in Hawke to heal up right. She couldn’t do this to her mates.

 

Inside the captain’s quarters, the small family went through the sacks, distributing possessions. Hawke was touched to see a few of her mother’s necklaces. She bestowed a loving kiss to Isabela’s cheek in thanks.
Hawke helped move the boy’s possessions to the narrow room off of the captain’s cabins that had been saved for the twins. A pair of hammocks waited, and she grunted, moving one of the sacks.
“What the devil is in here?” she wondered. Looking at the twin’s furtive shared glance, Hawke paused and looked inside the sack. Her face registered surprise as she pulled out her family crest shield. “You took this with us?”
Falcon scuffed his boot on the wooden floor. “If we can’t go back….we knew you’d want it.”
“It’s our name on there,” Lark added. Tears pricked Hawke’s eyes. She knelt and held her arms out. The twins went into her arms, wondering as their papa hugged them tightly, sniffling back tears. “Papa?”

 

“It’s okay…you did so good. In fact, you both should keep the shield in here and guard it for me.”
Falcon and Lark beamed. “We won’t let anyone touch it!”
“Good lads.” Hawke ruffled the boy’s hair and helped them prop the large shield against the wall of their small room. But when she went to adjust the hammocks, the boys retreated back to the captain’s chambers.
Okay, in due time….. Fleeing their home from an attack had sufficiently frightened them all.
Merrill plucked at her tunic from the day before, trying to be cheery. “Isabela says we’re drawing up to that small port. Not for long though.”
Hawke went with her on deck, the twins in tow and gazed at the horizon. A small port town stood waiting and Isabela moved about the deck calling orders. This place looked far removed from the larger Antivan cities, but best to be on guard.

 

Hawke leaned against the railing beside her mate, watching the ship get pulled into dock. The boys giggled, pointing up at low-flying seagulls that cawed out in defiance. She flexed the muscles in her arms and grinned at Isabela when she eyed her.
One of the omega males passing by with a coil of rope almost tripped over his own feet seeing that. Hawke would have rushed to right him, but Isabela barked at him to get back to work.
“Or it’s your ass over the side if you’re looking at my mate’s!”

 

“Yes, Cap’n!” the man winced and rushed off across deck.

 

* * * * *

 

“I can shop for myself,” Hawke said dryly. Isabela fussed with her under tunic and placed a firm palm against Hawke’s sternum, pressing between her breasts. Hawke was stunned at the forceful blow but found herself grinning at her mate. Sometimes it WAS a turn on for her.
“Craven and Mel and Justin are going, not you. Stay, sweet thing,” Isabela ordered. Hawke turned to lean against the ship’s wheel, wrapping an arm around the captain’s waist.
“Aye, Captain,” she purred. The look Isabela gave her was coy, but she was glad Hawke was feeling abit more at ease after the events of the previous day.

 

When Craven returned from the small port town, he had a few outfits folded in brown paper and tied with string. The twin’s outfits were simple affairs, without family crest or sigil, but serviceable. Same for Hawke’s new outfit. She raised an eyebrow at the white shirt, pressed and starched by the merchant. The trousers were simple, and Isabela turned the garment over then scowled at her first mate.
“I thought I said no looking; do you need to be hung off the side of the ship?”
“Aye, no looking. It was what I could gather from first meeting the Champion,” Craven admitted. Hawke held the trousers against her waist.
“Looks like they’ll fit,” she said.
Isabela still gave Craven a glare. “No looking at her ass.”

 

“Yes, Cap’n.”
Hawke turned to her mate with something that could be described as regret on her features. “Kirkwall really has fallen, hasn’t it? I’m not Champion anymore.”
Isabela swallowed. She trailed her fingers down her mate’s cheek. “We can check on the city once the danger’s gone. But…that could be so.”
“Mother’s home….” Hawke looked forlornly across the deck. One of the sailors was supervising the twins drilling with their wooden weapons. Isabela leaned her head on her mate’s shoulder.
“I am sorry, Hawke. But you’ll always be my champion. Our champion.” Isabela kissed her mate’s bare shoulder.
Hawke’s eyes softened. She knew Isabela well enough to know she was trying to offer comfort when it did not come easily to her. She settled her hand on Isabela’s waist, holding her against her. “Thanks, Bela.”

 

The ship took off from the small port and back out to sea. The sun was arching toward the far side of the sky, dappling the horizon in shades of orange and red. Craven led the twins by the hand toward the wheel but thought of it when he saw how content the captain was, the Champion at her side. Isabela was “showing” Hawke how to properly man the wheel, and she was teasing her mate from behind, hands running up and down her under tunic and beneath, caressing the flesh beneath. Craven led the boys belowdecks and to the galley, as some of the crew went in for dinner.
Merrill and Orana rushed up to join them and took possession of the captain’s sons. Craven let go of their hands and waited for the women to serve the boys first.
“Potato AND stew? Thanks, Cookie,” Craven teased. The man gave a wink from his good eye. The other was covered by a scrap of cloth.
“What’s that?” Lark asked one of the women sailors. She was pouring out a good amount of a white paste from a jar over her potato and lathered it about.
“It’s hot, laddie. Just a dab?” she asked Merrill. Merrill nodded her head.

 

“Just a taste, Lark.”
“Me too!” Falcon piped up.
Isabela stalked into the galley and the sailors lifted their mugs to her.
“Here you go, Cap’n!” the cook offered. Isabela raised her eyebrow at the large potato on her plate.
“We’ll need to stock up salted pork or something,” she decided. Hawke stuffed a huge bite of her potato into her mouth and chewed rapidly.
“Tell me we have something to drink,” she asked her mate. Isabela winked.
“Well YOU have something to drink,” she pouted. The cook handed a hot steaming cup of tea to the captain instead of whiskey.
“It’s just a few more months,” Hawke murmured. Isabela nodded.
“I’ll be popping out. Help me,” she muttered. Hawke gave her a rather wolfish smile.

 

“Anything you need,” she promised.
“When’s the baby coming?” Lark asked suddenly at their table. Merrill shared a smile with Isabela.
“Not ‘til some more months, son.”
“Can we help with the baby?” Falcon asked. Isabela nodded rapidly.
“YES, you can.” But Hawke knew Isabela had taken good care of the twins as babes and would do okay here as well.
Hawke gave her mate a forlorn look. “We need to buy a cradle.”

 

“We’ll secure a cradle,” Isabela said idly. She was thinking how she needed to have it nailed into the planks of the captain’s quarters to prevent the babe from sliding around with any harsh ship rocking. Unless they secured a home elsewhere. But the ship WAS home right now. They could make it work.
When she leaned back at the table, Merrill laid her hand over hers and squeezed. Isabela accepted the doting, smiling gently at the elf. She’d been so protective over Merrill that now she was protective over her pregnancy. It was all very touching.

 

• * * * * * * *

 

Hawke was surprised by the strings of islands they passed through as they headed out towards the middle of the ocean. Isabela had one of Castillon’s scrolls rolled up on the table in their quarters, and a map was laid beneath it. She was heading out here for a reason. But the current string of huts that lined one small island, that had sand as white as the moon, and water as blue as the sky, was where they set anchor for one afternoon. The crew happily clambered down to peruse the small stands available and take a few hours of shore leave.
Craven was left to guard the gangplank, and Isabela was surprised when Mel stayed with him. Her boots sank into the sand as she stepped off the dock onto the island. Hawke was dressed in her simple outfit, holding her hand in the crook of her arm.

 

 

The island’s inhabitants wore light clothing, the better to work in the hot sun, and the boys took off their boots to run in the sand. Hawke kept a sharp eye on her progeny as Isabela looked over a merchant’s stall. Her large hat marked her as someone of importance, and the tanned islander echoed his prices over a tray of jewelry. Hawke nodded as her mate picked out a pair of jade earrings. She reached into her pouch and paid for the earrings and Isabela clutched her arm.
Further in, Merrill latching onto her other arm, Hawke was surprised to see what had to be refugees.
“Did you come from Kirkwall?” she asked a man. He nodded, looking somewhat ill from travel.
“Aye, serah. The heads of the city are dead. There’s some guardsmen about still, but many fled when chaos stayed.”
Hawke sighed. Merrill looked sad. “I hope Aveline can turn things around.”

 

“At least we know Old Girl has it covered. She could scare off the Blight itself,” Isabela offered. Hawke was worried for her, and Donnic.
“No way of knowing,” Hawke breathed. A search through the gaggle of refugees told her no Varric. There were a few dwarves, but none of them were her gregarious friend. Isabela knew she was worried and squeezed her hand.
“Varric’s fine. Bet he’s holed up with Red and her boring stick of a husband. Surrounded by guardsmen, that’s the safest place in the city now I bet,” she offered. Hawke smiled nervously.
“I hope so.”
“Were I them, I’d claim the old Viscount’s quarters,” Merrill chirped. Hawke laughed.

 

“Good girl, I’ve taught you well,” Isabela teased. Merrill blushed. Isabela didn’t mind when her hand descended to pat her belly.
Hawke gave a few refugees coins from her pouch, taking in the news of smoke, fire and fleeing a city beset by templars and feuding mages. It was heartbreaking. She was certain her mother’s estate was gone in the destruction. The forlorn thoughts were placed at bay when her mates hugged her arms on either side. Hawke sighed and clutched them close. They were all she had.
“And the Champion!”
Hawke stopped in her tracks at the mention of her title. Isabela tugged her arm urgently.

 

“The Chantry is right looking for her. I wonder where she went?”
“Boys!” Isabela yelled. Falcon and Lark scampered up to them, Craven close behind. Hawke gave him a nod. It was good of him to watch her sons while they were in an unfamiliar community. As they walked away from the town’s inhabitants and refugees, Hawke felt clearer.
Her sons hugged her mates by the leg and Hawke smiled down at them.

 

Yes, they’d get by.

 

End for now

Chapter Text

Isabela was as round as the moon. Hawke rested her head on her hand as she turned on her side toward her naked mate. Life on the Stormy Lover had gone from days to weeks and months and Isabela was showing with the evidence of their loving. It soothed Hawke’s heart and made her ache when she saw her mate taking careful waddling steps. Craven had stepped up, taking the crew in hand and wrote their shift schedules and oversaw the ship’s supply purchases. He even supplied a good beating now and again if anyone came back from shore leave drunker than a skunk.
It was a good thing her sons picked up their courage and had been easily moved to their narrow cabin down the hall. Hawke had had time to reestablish her physical relationship with both her mates. But Craven and her sons were not at the forefront of her mind now.

 

Merrill on Isabela’s other side. Her pale flesh moved against Isabela’s darker tone. Hawke’s eyes darted from her sleeping pregnant mate to her second mate, desire lighting in her eyes. Merrill leaned to give her a soft kiss, but touched Isabela instead, small hand moving soothingly over the child within her.
Isabela groaned in her sleep and Hawke kissed her cheek. Merrill gently rubbed the bulge of her belly, singing softly. The child quieted and stopped kicking, giving Isabela peaceful sleep once more.
“Is she kicking?” Hawke asked softly. Merrill nodding, eyes shining. Hawke reached to touch her cheek with two fingers when she saw tears in her gaze.
“He,” Merrill guessed. “And he’s quieting now. Poor Bela.”

 

With her two mates naked in bed beside her, and one of them pregnant, Hawke’s heart surged with love. “I love you, Merrill.” Her alpha pride puffed out when Merrill blushed in the dim light, smiling at her.
She leaned to soothe Isabela’s dark hair back from her face and pushed to press her lips to Hawke’s. Hawke leaned back, and Isabela began to stir, her fingers fisting the shorter hairs at the base of her neck.
“Hmm,” Hawke had time to say before she was drawn down for a long kiss. Blood thumped between her legs and Hawke groaned as she began to shift again, pushed on by her mate’s pheromones. “Bela?”

 

Isabela nipped her lower lip and took her mouth in a longer kiss. Hawke pressed small kisses across her face when she was let go. “Hawke. I want mutton.”
Hawke had to process what Isabela said and smirked as she sat up. Her abdominal muscles tensed as she stretched her limbs.
“Another craving huh? It can’t wait for morning?” True they were anchored at a port town, but all the establishments would have been locked up and closed by now. But Hawke’s alpha ego was stoked high as her pregnant mate went on to ask her to alleviate her cravings and needs. She would do anything for the woman carrying her child and staring at her with love and lust in her gaze.
“I’m hungry. The baby wants meat. Juicy mutton only my sweet thing can bring to me,” Isabela purred. Her words were honeyed, and her hands splayed over her round belly as she shifted back onto the pillows. Merrill and Hawke helped her. “Do it, Hawke. Bring me a nice snack.”

 

“Yes, my love,” Hawke murmured. Her alpha ego roared when Isabela lay back, breasts jiggling above her belly. She winked at her saucily.
“Where are you going this time of night? The town is all asleep!” Merrill wondered. She tugged on her shift. A bucket of drinking water was stowed in a barrel in a corner of the cabin and she went to draw a ladle of cool water. Isabela accepted the tin cup with a murmured thanks and drank deeply.
Hawke tugged on her clothes, regrettably tucking her cock into her trousers and lacing up. She winced as she pressed against the seam of her pants.
“I’ll find a way to get my mate some luscious mutton,” Hawke drawled. She fastened the clasps of her tunic and went to collect her sword. Merrill perched on the edge of the large bed, stroking Isabela’s belly. The pirate queen allowed it, drawing the covers up over her legs and resting back.

 

Hawke blew her women a kiss and walked backwards out of the captain’s quarters, drinking in the looks of love from her mates as she went. She quietly eased the door closed and moved down the long corridor belowdecks. The kitchen was quiet, though the oven light was on. Cook usually camped out in there, dozing off on his stool if he needed to cook overnight. The small cabin with her sons was quiet. Hawke risked a look inside their door. The twins were wrapped up in their hammocks, fast asleep.
Hawke nodded and shut the door. Further down she could hear minor arguments and laughing behind the crew’s doors. If some of the crewmates got frisky with one another, Hawke couldn’t say anything to that. As long as they kept their hands off the captain and Merrill, she cared not what they did.
But Hawke did pound on one of the chamber doors and opened it a breath later. Craven was here, blinking sleep from his eyes. A few of the other men lay in hammocks or bed rolls around his massive form.
“Hawke?” he croaked. Hawke grinned into the dark room.
“I need your strong arm for an errand. Care to help?” Hawke asked casually. Craven got up, pulling his trousers on and a large tunic over his head. He left it unfastened to the waist and tied his machete to his belt.
“For the captain, anything.”

 

Hawke glowered internally at his choice of wording, but she liked the strength the other alpha displayed. In a scrape, he was more than welcome to be there.
Craven called to a few other sailors, and a few alpha and beta males and females lined up to clamber down the gangplank onto the dock as quietly as could be allowed. Hawke laid a hand to the hilt of her sword as they went along. The town square was deserted; the inn lanterns had been extinguished hours ago and all the houses were dark.
“Where to, Hawke?” one of the men stage-whispered. Hawke pointed to the local inn.
“Well, they gotta open up.” After a few loud knocks, everyone sighed with frustration. That wouldn’t do.
“Anyone bring an axe?”
When the inn keeper jerked away in his bed, it was to a loud thumping of axe on wood. And it was coming from his front door downstairs! Throwing on a robe, the man ran downstairs, and gaped at the strangers spilling into the dark common room.

 

Lighting a lantern, the inn keeper stared at the smiling faces. “What are you doing?! You’re gonna pay for that door, serah!”
Hawke settled her fist on the hilt of her and leaned her hip casually against a table. “Come on, good sir, I notice you keep some sheep in your yard.”
“Wha….” The change of subject made the befuddled inn keeper struggle to keep up. “What of it?!”
Craven took up residence behind Hawke, folding his massive arms across the barrel of his chest.
“My mate craves mutton. I know you have some. My sailors were in your inn earlier,” Hawke said in a light accusatory tone.
“Well, I’ll be selling it tomorrow…when we OPEN!” the inn keeper snapped. He went to collect the pieces of the front door, cursing under his breath. “Just get out!”
“Well, I think you’ll find it best just to give it to us,” Hawke cajoled. Some of the sailors drew blades and handled them casually. The inn keeper began to sweat.
“But!....But! You keep out there!”

 

Hawke and Craven both shouldered the inn keeper, knocking him to the ground. A quick rummaging in the inn’s kitchen procured a plate of mutton. Half of the mound of meat was sliced up but Hawke knew she could get it served up right quick for her mate back aboard ship.
The small group whooped and exited to the quiet town square, causing some town inhabitants to open their windows and look out questioningly to the sudden noise.
Back aboard the Stormy Lover, Hawke proudly carried a platter into her mate’s chambers. Merrill had lit a lantern and her mates were waiting. Cook had fried up a few prime slices of the mutton in his skillet and a few boiled potatoes seasoned with rosemary had been added to the platter, as well as a few sliced vegetables. Hawke beamed proudly as Isabela’s eyes roved over her, from top to bottom.
“Oh, sweet thing. Hawke, you are the best,” Isabela breathed. Merrill accepted a kiss on the cheek from Hawke and both helped Isabela tuck in. Isabela ate half the mutton almost in a few quick breaths. She fed her hovering mate a few bites from her fork and caressed her cheek lovingly.
Hawke beamed with pleasure and grinned at her pirate queen. “Aye, as you say my love…”

 

“Where’d you get it?” Merrill chirped up. Hawke leaned to kiss her softly.
“Don’t you worry about that, sweetheart. Do you need anything else, Bela?” Hawke purred. Isabela rubbed her thigh, moving upward. She finished chewing.
“We are so fucking after this.”
Hawke grinned as she unfastened her trousers. “Aye, Captain. Permission to come aboard.”
Merrill squeaked as Hawke lowered her pants. Isabela watched her mate lift the platter to the floor and make room.

 

“Maker, fuck yes.”

 

• * * * * * *

 

Merrill looked at the edge of the forest that emptied out toward the dirt roads that led to the town square. The boys had wanted to get off the ship and she had wanted to look for any spirit artifacts in the surrounding lands. Hawke had suggested they stay in the woods to stay away from any inclination of trouble. It suggested a rather unorthodox way to how she’d obtained Isabela’s craving the night before, but Merrill didn’t think less of her mate for it.
The boys were gathering leaves, acorns and pinecones, bringing her what they found most interesting. Merrill giggled and accepted the small daisies they plucked from the dark soil. Her attention was brought full round to Falcon piping up about a strange stone he had stumbled upon, literally.

 

“I hit my leg on it!” the boy pouted. Merrill knelt down and massaged the area, feeling a bruise form. She lowered her staff toward the small boy, watching the magic illuminate his round face as her magic healed the small hurt.
“What is it?” Lark asked, attention diverted from his brother’s hurt, to the oddly shaped stone.
“A shrine, da’len,” Merrill murmured. Strange interest seized her heart and she smiled as her fingers traced the ancient runes. “It’s for some kin of spirit of this land. I think.”
Elven rites and traditions had been lost for centuries and centuries now. Any inkling of any grasp of ancient knowledge was garnered tightly by Dalish Keepers, but there were fathomless quantities of knowledge that was forever lost to the elves. Half of the runes were unrecognizable, and Merrill could barely read who the shrine was for. The name was not known to her and she began tidying the stone of leaves and grass.
Falcon and Lark helped, their small hands carefully tugging up the wild grass growing over the stone’s runes. “Looks better,” one of the boys said. Merrill giggled.

 

“It does. But we’re doing it for the spirit.”
“Why?” Lark wanted to know.
“Well, if this was your stone, wouldn’t you want it cleaned up?” Merrill asked gently. The boys nodded, gaining some semblance of understanding. The stone was clear of debris, grass and weeds. Merrill traced the runes of the spirit’s name with her fingertips and murmured softly in elvish.
“Whas that mean, Mamae?” Falcon asked. Merrill knelt before the cleaned shrine. She looked rather serious.
“It was a prayer for the spirit. Kind of faint, but I can feel him nearby in the land.”

 

“Really?” Lark and his brother looked around curiously. Merrill nodded.
“Yes. Well, it’s good we helped him out.”
The boys nodded seriously. “Papa’s waiting for us,” Falcon added.
Merrill tied her staff across her back and took up the boy’s hands, one in each. As they headed toward the port town, she could sense the pleased affirmation of the hill spirit.

 

• * ** * * * *

 

Hawke beamed proudly down at her mate. Isabela, wearing a longer tunic to cover her belly and rear, clung to the crook of her arm, captain’s hat cocked at a jaunty angle and a smirk on her lips. With the child growing into the third part of the pregnancy, Isabela couldn’t wear her corsets. Her breasts were larger to Hawke’s delight, even if Isabela complained that they hurt. And even though her ankles were swollen half times as naught, her mate kept wearing her thigh-high boots. But damned if she didn’t look good and Hawke knew she looked a fool sharing each smile her mate shared with her.
Her pirate queen was happy. With her, wearing her mark and carrying her child. Hawke remembered an evening years ago after they’d lain together the first time. She had sat on the edge of her bed, grinning like a fool and basking in Isabela’s glow as she dressed, searching for her smallclothes. She had said love wasn’t for her. But damned if love didn’t look good on her now.

 

Isabela moved her hat up on her brow, noticing Hawke staring down at her. “What is it, sweet thing?”
“I was thinking,” Hawke purred. She rubbed her hand possessively over her mate’s arm. “That you’re so beautiful.”
Well, it was the truth. Isabela blushed, smirking. “Oh you,” she murmured. Hawke moved her hat to the side to shield them from the town’s inhabitants and leaned down to kiss her. Their mouths met sweetly.
Loud screeching came closer and closer down the town square and Hawke’s attention was drawn to the cacophony that was intruding on her moment with her beloved mate. A familiar flushed face was before her and Hawke remembered the breaking and entering the night before. But her mate approved of her method. Pirate’s ways and all. And it had put the craved mutton into her mate’s belly and helped feed her child. It all would benefit her in the end, so she had done it.

 

“What?” Hawke mumbled, trying to dispel the flustered man from her path. The inn keeper would not be swayed this time. He dogged her steps, easily getting in Isabela’s way, who stopped quickly due to her large size. Hawke bristled as Isabela reached for one of her daggers, tied at a sash loosely fastened over her belly so she could reach it faster.
“Hawke, make this go away,” Isabela commanded. Hawke was already a step ahead of her, charging into the inn keeper’s space and backing him up by force.
“GET THE FUCK AWAY FROM HER,” Hawke growled. The man blinked in her face, enraged. He cared not that her mate was pregnant, and he was a nuisance that was gaining a crowd. Several of the town inhabitants crowded the square, staring. Isabela darted a quick glance around. There, Mel was at one of the stands, and one of her men was entering a farmer’s house, for Maker knows what reason. Where was everyone else? Luckily, she spotted Craven easily, an easy head higher than the tallest man.
“Craven!” she called. Hawke bristled.

 

“I can handle this!” she snapped. But Hawke let her words die when she saw Craven shoulder his way non-too-gently towards them. He WOULD be handy right about now. Two men went flying to the side as he charged through.
The inn keeper signaled to a few soldiers of the area. “This woman broke into my inn and stole from me last night! I want her arrested!”
“Aw fuck,” Craven muttered, one hand going to his machete. Isabela drew one of her daggers, Heartbreaker this time, and tried to take up stance. Craven stood fully in front of her. Hawke was glad for his strength and charged back to defend her mate.
“Throw your arms down so we can straighten this out,” one of the armored men suggested. Hawke drew her sword.
“I don’t think so,” she snarled. Isabela was glad for her response and stayed behind the wall of Craven’s back.
“Stop!” Hawke yelled suddenly, and Isabela’s blood went cold. The melee began, and Craven kept it back from his pregnant captain as much as he could. But when ten armored men all piled on him, even he fell beneath the brutality of their attack.

 

“Captain!” he bellowed. Isabela turned to stab one of the men in the crook of his arm where fabric met armor when she was pushed from behind. Hawke screamed somewhere nearby and she fell heavily. The wind was absolutely knocked out of her and Isabela couldn’t take a breath. After several shaking moments where she was certain she’d lose consciousness, her lungs forced a breath and Isabela heaved a ragged breath. Her lungs hurt, her legs hurt, her arms burned where she’d tried to break her fall, but worst of all, her belly hurt.
The realization of that forced the rest of her hurts from Isabela’s mind. She rolled on her side, arms going protectively over her belly. Tears forced their way out of her eyes as the urge to wail overtook her. And she couldn’t fully stop the instinctual urge to bemoan the random attack as the effects began to make themselves known. Wetness dripped onto her thighs from within and Isabela was so worried, so deathly afraid what was unfathomable for a mother was happening to her.

 

Hawke’s worried face coming into view only told her the worst was upon her. Hawke had sheathed her weapon and was sliding her up into her arms, picking her up from the dirt, murmuring impotent words to not worry. How could she not?!
Craven had knocked five of the men off them and the other soldiers stopped their attack when they saw what was happening to the pregnant pirate.
“I still want her arrested!” the innkeeper either hadn’t seen what had happened or didn’t care, but his shrill words poured rage into Hawke’s blood.
“Get the fuck away from her!” she screamed. Craven shoulder to her side and the two rushed off, sailors of the Stormy Lover trailing behind as they noticed the scene. The town’s inhabitants stared, dumbfounded as the gaggle of sailors took off down the dirt road, and hopefully for a healer.
“Hawke, I don’t think it’s this way…” Craven gently tried to get the ex-Champion’s attention. Tears lined Hawke’s face as she snarled at him.
“Then you tell ME where the bloody healer is!”
“Isn’t it back in town?”

 

“We’re not going back there!”
“But Hawke…!”
Isabela began to weep suddenly, clinging to Hawke’s sleeve. “Hawke…the baby….”
The look of anguish that tore Hawke’s visage burned its way into Craven’s mind and would be forever buried into his memory. Never had he see someone care that much for their mate.
“I’m sorry, I’m sorry, it’s all my fault,” Hawke babbled to her. Isabela clutched her sleeve, pinching the flesh beneath enough to bruise.
“PLEASE….. help me!” she begged.
“Hawke?” a familiar voice called, and Hawke’s head whipped to the side. Merrill was leaving the edge of the forest, the twins in hand. The boys stared at the scene and Hawke winced, wishing they didn’t have to see.

 

“Kitten,” Isabela wept. Lights and orbs gathered from the edge of the forest and cut off the sailor’s way into town. Hawke cursed, and Isabela felt herself lowered to the ground. She blinked, and Merrill’s worried face hovered above her. Isabela sniffled as she lay, her head in the elf’s lap. Their sons had fortunately been pulled to the side by one of the sailors. She could barely make out Hawke arguing with Craven a short distance away.
“They’re not letting us leave!” Hawke cursed.
“What do they want? It’s just spirits…” Craven said.
“I’ll cut a way through if I have to!” Hawke was livid.
“Maker help us, we need a healer!” one of the sailors called listlessly.
“Then forge a way through this!”
THIS was a mass of spirits milling and obscuring the way through to the dirt path to town. It didn’t seem like it could be an obstacle but there it was. Every step Hawke, Craven or one of the sailors took, they seemed to be moving in molasses and were all but rooted to the spot.

 

Isabela whimpered. Her wavery vision focused on Merrill above her. The elf was crying too, holding her in her lap.
“Bela….I’m sorry,” she whispered. The two women latched onto each other, Merrill longing to soothe Isabela’s pain and Isabela longing for things to be the way they were just earlier that day. The swirling orbs focused on the two women and Merrill looked up, attention secured on something other than the tragedy of this day.
“Dalish, thank you for your help,” a voice intoned, deep, and oddly feminine in decibels at once. The marked androgyny made the spirit a faceless threat and Isabela cringed in Merrill’s arms.
“It….it was….I’m sorry,” Merrill stammered. “I just don’t want this to be happening!”
Isabela could hear the pain in her mate’s second mate’s voice. She loved their child, she didn’t want her to lose it. Tears clogged her vision. But she was….it was inevitable….
“You are here. You cleared my shrine. You served when no one asked you to.” The swirling spirit moved around the two women, blocking them from the rest of the sailors. From Hawke, from Craven, everyone. Panic clutched Isabela’s heart.

 

“She can’t house her child. The pain has been inflicted.”
Isabela began to weep. The spirit’s next words made little sense, but they forced their way into her grief.
“This one can house the child. Her body is open and ready. Will you allow the exchange?”
“I….I….” Isabela looked up at Merrill with confusion. The elf was easily as confused. Her tears fell off the edges of her jaw onto the pirate’s upturned face.
“WILL YOU ALLOW THE EXCHANGE?”
Isabela had no idea what she was agreeing to, but she would agree to anything to save her baby. Fear surged through her as pain wracked her womb and blood ran between her legs. And suddenly she wanted Hawke badly. Where did she go? Just when she needed her most!
“Yes! Yes….anything…”

 

“Bela…” Merrill cupped her face protectively, holding her. The lights swirled around them, dashing from Isabela’s round belly and to the elf’s middle. Isabela blinked as the light dissipated, the pain gone. There was blood between her legs, but there was no more cause for injury or pain. It was simply gone. Her alarmed hands moved over her belly, which was flat again, as if she had deflated, as easily as a balloon deflates with the prick of a pin. Alarm surged through the pirate. Her child! Where was it? DID she lose it?..... Emptiness surged through her and alarm made Isabela’s breath quicken. She couldn’t even feel it anymore!
Merrill’s alarmed cry rang out and Isabela pushed to sit up, one hand going for her dagger. Before her astonished eyes, Merrill’s belly extended, her tunic tearing and raising against the protrusion of pale flesh. Isabela’s hand clapped over her belly, searching, wondering. The elf squeaked, hands roaming and when her eyes rose to meet Isabela’s, equal terror was shared between them.

 

Isabela rushed to hold onto the elf, lest she fade away too. But as her hands moved over Merrill’s now very round belly, she felt a flurry of movement beneath her skin. The baby, HER baby, was well if the kicks against her hand indicated. Merrill blushed, squeaking with surprise. She breathed hard, so hard, as if a hand were pressing down her chest and making it very hard to try to collect herself. Isabela’s mouth was agape as the two women stared at each other.
They were beyond shock and sailing well past that emotion. They could only hope to keep their sanity as they came out of the current cloud of confusion.
The swirling lights dissipated finally, and Hawke collapsed to one knee beside them. She fell so suddenly, it was as if the spirits were holding her, then released her to her flailing motion. Hawke reached for Isabela, hand hovering over her flat stomach. Her questioning panicked eyes met her mate’s and then both looked down upon Merrill. Her pale belly was round, holding a baby obviously in a late trimester. Hawke’s hand descended and rubbed the ball of her stomach.

 

“Merrill?” she questioned. The elf tried to smile through the tears running down her face.
“Its safe. The spirits made it so,” she said. Hawke cast an anguished look to Isabela. But her arms were going around Merrill, gently lifting her into her arms, her larger size not marring her strength in the slightest. Merrill slung an arm around her neck and her crying eased against Hawke’s shoulder. Hawke’s tears slowed but she still felt like weeping, more out of confusion and the whirlwind of the past hour’s events.
Their child was safe. It made Hawke’s heart ache to know her second mate had helped, in some way. Even if they couldn’t knot, Hawke’s seed had made its way to root somehow in the elf. But it was Isabela’s child! Hers and Isabela’s…Hawke’s gaze settled on her mate, who was laying in the cradle of Craven’s strong arms. She looked like a doll in his massive embrace, face turned into his tunic front. Hawke gave him a terse nod as they made their way to the ship.

 

They should set sail this very night. Hawke’s family was safe, and she intended to keep them that way. Her worried gaze picked out her sons, trailing the head of the party, each holding a sailor’s hand dutifully.
As they ascended the gangplank of the Stormy Lover, Hawke rushed to carry Merrill below decks. There was so much to do, help Craven round up the sailor’s tasks, set sail, set her new pregnant mate into bed, and check on Isabela….
The sun was setting as Hawke strode across the deck, carrying Merrill down to the captain’s quarters. Her mind was solely on her family. She prayed to the Maker that this would work, this would hold…. It had to. The spirits made it so. Right?
“Hawke,” Merrill murmured sweetly, hugging onto her neck. Hawke accepted a loving kiss from the elf but gently tucked her in.

 

“I’ll be right back,” she promised, one hand moving over Merrill’s belly. Merrill was thrilled to feel Hawke’s warm hand over her stomach, soothing the kicking child inside her. The rapid movements almost hurt at first but now felt strange and good at once with Hawke’s hand quieting the babe. Merrill squeaked with surprise, settling back.
“Please,” she begged. Hawke’s eyes were full of love for her, but as she hurried from the cabin, her heart was a whirl of fear. She came onto the deck, and saw her boys taking up residence on either side of their mother. Isabela was looking out over the sea at the ship’s prow. The sailors moved quickly around her, helping set sail.

 

Hawke swallowed. She approached her mate, her heartbeat thundering in her ears.

End for now

Chapter Text

Falcon noticed his father approaching the ship’s edge before Isabela did. He tugged at the hem of her tunic and his brother spoke up on her other side. They lit up at the sight of Hawke, but Hawke had eyes for their mother.
Isabela’s tunic was gray, but the smears of blood around the waist were unmistakable. Hawke settled one hand on her mate’s shoulder. Isabela brought her hand to her face and Hawke’s heart sank as she realized she was crying. Hawke took off her cloak and wrapped it around her mate, effectively wrapping her in her love, and from view of the crew.
Hawke sighed with relief when Isabela leaned back into her. Their sons leaned on either side of them.
“Bela…..are you?....”
“I have no baby. I don’t know what ‘okay’ is,” Isabela mumbled. Lark stared up at them, and at Isabela’s lack of round belly.
“Ma….what?...” he began. Isabela sighed raggedly.

 

“I don’t know, Larkie. But Mamae has the baby inside her,” Hawke said gently. The twins shared a confused look. In a world with mages and spirits, this was just one more mystery added.
“Is the baby okay?” Falcon asked worriedly. Both women shuddered. Hawke moved a sheaf of her mate’s dark hair and pressed a kiss to the side of her throat. Since being marked by her, Isabela had worn her golden choker less and less and Hawke appreciated being able to kiss her mating mark. Hawke poured love and support through her kiss to the mark. Isabela molded back into her arms.
“We….we think so. Mamae is sleeping now, so we need to be quiet when we go to bed,” Hawke offered. Isabela’s thoughts went dark as her hand smoothed over her flat stomach. Hawke would want to protect and dote on the woman holding her child. It was only natural of her alpha instincts. It still hurt though.

 

“I have a few more rounds to go over. Go, Hawke,” Isabela said. Hawke reluctantly let her go and took her sons by the hand. The look she gave her mate was one of unspoken anguish and pain.
Isabela’s face went neutral, walling off her emotions from her. Hawke sighed and led the twins down to the galley kitchen.

 

• * * * * * * *

 

After telling a story and tucking the boys into their hammocks, Hawke wanted to look for Isabela. But she found herself heading for the captain’s quarters instead. One candle was lit and in the dim light, the Champion could make out her second mate’s round shape half covered with a blanket. Hawke’s heart hurt as she took in Merrill’s round belly and thin legs.
Her alpha’s heart told her to search for her other mate, but her alpha’s paternal instinct made her legs carry her to the bed. Hawke stripped to her under tunic and climbed under the covers. At the feel of the mattress dipping, Merrill turned on her back, and sputtered, stuck like a downed turtle. Hawke was quick to adjust her and help her move against the pillows.

 

“Hawke?” Merrill murmured. Her eyes gleamed with such love Hawke could have wept. She found herself smiling fondly as her hand dropped onto her mate’s now round belly.
“I guess….we found a way,” Hawke murmured. Merrill nodded, eyes gleaming. She held Hawke’s hand against her middle and cuddled closer. Hawke dropped a kiss to the top of her head.
“In a way, yes…oh, Hawke, I can’t wait to have him! I feel so close to the twins but I’m even closer to this pup…” Merrill’s words were innocent and happy, yet Hawke felt a twinge of pain for her first mate. Oh, Isabela… she prayed her pirate captain was not taking it out on herself while she was in bed with her pregnant mate.
“You keep saying ‘him.’ I think it’s a girl,” Hawke protested gently. Merrill pulled her in for a deep kiss. Hawke was astonished at the amount of tongue she used. When Merrill initiated intimacy, she was not that showy for it. But Merrill kissed her now as if she were drowning. Hawke let herself get pulled into her whirlwind kisses. “Hmmm…”
“A boy. It’s a boy,” Merrill insisted. Hawke nodded. She put an arm over her round belly and held her close.
“I’ll defer to your judgment, my love.”

 

“Hawke….” Merrill blushed. “Where’s Isabela?”
Hawke looked down. She felt so much guilt over the exchange, certain she had caused the events leading up to it. If she hadn’t stolen the mutton, if she hadn’t walked with her pregnant mate into town the day after……
“I’ll go check on her soon. You should get some rest, little mother,” Hawke murmured. Merrill’s giggles soothed the balm of her guilt only slightly.

 

o * * * * * *

 

The sky was dark when Hawke extricated herself from Merrill’s arms. She bundled the blankets over her belly and kissed her brow, dressing in the dark. A quick round down the crew corridors told her no captain.
Hawke sighed when she noticed the twins had gotten out of their room and were laying on the deck at the foot of the rope ladder leading up to the crow’s nest.
“Up,” she commanded gruffly. Falcon rubbed his eyes, but Lark darted a glance up into the dark sails.
“Mama’s still up there…” he said. Hawke nodded.
“Back to bed, pups. I’ll get your mother down.”

 

“No.” Before Hawke could pick her jaw up from the blatant disregard to her order, her son went on. “Mama went up there and she’s sad. She’ll want us to make sure no one bothers her…”
Were she just a crew hand, Hawke would have agreed. However, she was the captain’s mate and she’d been through a horrifying experience. Hawke’s place was at her side to help soothe her mate. She growled and was placated at how quickly her young sons snapped into rigid postures, waiting her next words.
“I’m going up. If your mother asked me not to, then you’d keep me away. Am I understood, pups?”
“Yes, Papa….” Falcon and Lark waited, heads ducking. Hawke patted them to take the sting from her words and climbed up the rope ladder carefully. The salt air was cool the higher she went and finally Hawke bumped against the bottom of the crow’s nest. She pushed for the hatch to climb up, but the hatch thumped from on top. There was no give and she couldn’t complete her climb.
“Isabela?” Hawke called.

 

“Go away,” Isabela said. Hawke’s heart lurched as she heard the tears in her voice. Hawke banged a fist against the bottom side of the hatch.
“Bela, it’s me. Please, can I come up?”
A tense silent moment. Then Isabela gave her the answer she didn’t want. “No. Not now, Hawke.”
“Please, Bela,” Hawke pleaded. She leaned against the beam the rope ladder was nailed to and pushed against the hatch again. “I, I’m here….if you need me, or a shoulder….”
A small sob and Isabela spoke louder. “NOT NOW, Hawke. Please.”
It was only the please that forced Hawke to agree with her mate’s decision. She sighed and cast an anguished look up at the hatch separating her from her mate. The mother of her child….even if the babe had been cast to Merrill…it was the truth! She waited long moments in the cold, leaning against the hard wood of the beam.

 

“O…okay, Bela…. Please come down. I’ll be waiting,” she said. No answer. The wind whistled through Hawke’s hair as she climbed down. She sighed. The pups were waiting at the top of the steps leading below deck instead of their room, but they took off running when they noticed Hawke approaching.
It was their loyalty to Isabela that had Hawke saying goodnight to them instead of punishing them. As she shut the thin door to their narrow room, Hawke hoped she wasn’t making a mistake today.

 

• * * * * * *

 

When Hawke woke the next morning, she was glad to see Isabela in her own bed. She was curled up on the far other side wrapped in a corner of the blankets. Hawke reached for her, but Merrill began to wake, sputtering with surprise as the child kicked again and again.
“Oooh, he’s kicking,” Merrill squeaked. Hawke moved back over to the elf and helped her sit up. She rubbed her belly, talking in low tones to the pup. The baby finally stopped kicking and settled. Merrill was purring happily, twining one leg with Hawke’s. Isabela rolled over and Hawke’s attention went to her. Her heart pinged when she saw the pirate’s flat belly.
“It’ll do that,” Isabela offered. She sat up and reached for her tunic. Hawke swallowed as she reached for a new corset, fastening it around her smaller torso.

 

Merrill smiled down at her large belly. Her hand reached for Isabela, but the pirate was quicker. She rolled off the bed and put on her earrings and bandana. Her wrist gauntlets came next and Hawke breathed a sigh of relief when she didn’t put her old choker on. She could see her mating mark and longed to kiss it to calm her lover.
“Can you?....” she began to ask Isabela but Isabela cut her off.
“Hawke can see to you, kitten. Don’t push yourself,” she offered by way of advice. Hawke’s heart hurt at how easily Isabela avoided touching either of them. Her heart actually hurt at being ignored by her first mate. Merrill looked equally stricken. She rubbed her belly, tears in her eyes. Isabela tugged on her boots and stood up.
“Isabela….” She called. But the pirate left. Hawke wanted to go after her but her pregnant mate was struggling to sit up. Hawke helped her. She lowered her head against Merrill’s chest, letting her hold her.

 

“I’m sorry, love,” she said softly. Merrill ran her finger through Hawke’s tousled hair.
“I’m not,” Merrill said “Only… I worry for Isabela.”
“I do too.” Hawke lifted her head and the elf leaned down to kiss her lips. Her heart gave a happy surge. “I’ll get to her, Merrill. I don’t want you worrying. Just focus on being a healthy mother.”
Merrill glowed at her last words. “I never thought…that I could….” Her hand on her belly conveyed her thoughts. Hawke smiled lovingly at her.
“Me neither. It’s my fault we can’t knot….”
Merrill shushed her and kissed her brow. “You’re so big. Not your fault.”
Hawke blushed. “I…”

 

Merrill cast her a decidedly sultry look. “What, it’s the truth, da’len.”
“Merrill…” Hawke kissed her cheek and helped the pregnant elf up. “Let’s get you ready.”
“I can handle myself,” Merrill giggled. But she accepted her mate’s help to dress and groom for the day. Hawke pulled on her trousers and pulled her tunic on.
“Do you want to go up deck?” she asked. Merrill nodded.
“Food first. The baby is making me so hungry,” Merrill admitted. Hawke smiled, leading her out of the captain’s quarters. Her pups were already in the kitchen galley, downing large bowls of porridge. The fact they were eating it readily spoke of their hunger, so Hawke nodded approvingly to the cook. Belatedly he put a small pot of honey on the table for the boy’s porridge.

 

Mel and a few of the sailor omegas sidled up in line to collect their own bowls from Cook, and one of the men squeaked at the sight of Merrill on Hawke’s arm. Merrill accepted everyone’s halting congratulations. It was just a strange circumstance. But the story of how the pup had gotten there had spread fast. It was common knowledge the babe was made between Hawke and Captain Isabela’s union.
The pups gave Merrill a hug, exclaiming over the baby and some of the crew had questions as well. Hawke set Merrill carefully on one chair and fetched her breakfast. Cook handed Hawke a separate plate of sliced meat as well as the porridge. Merrill didn’t complain over the mismatch of dishes, eating rather quickly. Lark poured her a cup of water from the pitcher on the table.
Falcon cleared his throat and Lark followed his brother. Hawke watched them.
“We’ll do drills soon, boys,” she ordered. The boys nodded and headed for the stairs.
“Yes, Papa!”

 

Mel got up without being asked, set her bowl back with the cook, and followed the twins up deck. Hawke nodded in thanks.

 

o * * * * *

 

Merrill did well on deck. The crew set out to make things comfortable for her, even as they ran to coil line, tie off knots and complete their tasks. Hawke cast a sad look up to the wheel area. She knew the captain was there and saw Craven’s tall form move past. Her alpha instincts urged Hawke to make good on checking on Isabela. Her mark was showing, but another alpha was nearby. And their child was no longer inside her.
Merrill almost slipped, and Hawke steadied her easily. She patted the child inside the small elf, eyes distant. She blinked when Merrill cupped the side of her cheek with her palm.
“Check on her. This can’t be easy,” she said wisely. Hawke smiled with thanks.
“You’re taking all this well,” she observed. Merrill nodded.
“I’ll keep an eye on the boys. They started swinging their weapons,” she said merrily. Hawke cast a look over her boys, nodding with approval.
“Feet wider, Fal!” she called. Falcon did as she asked and grunted into another swing with his wooden sword.

 

Hawke jogged quickly, so she could get back to the rest of her family as quickly as possible. Craven was going over a map with Isabela and she nodded as he pinned down a course on the parchment. Craven straightened at her approach.
“Champion.”
Hawke nodded and cast her gaze to her mate. Isabela looked put together, but she couldn’t keep ignoring the situation forever.
“Isabela. Will you come with me a moment?”
Isabela gave her an even look. Affection warred with indecision. “I…not now, Hawke. Are the boys okay?”
“Aside from trying to follow you?” Hawke dared a step closer. She longed to rub her mate’s arm, but Isabela was just out of reach. “They’re drilling.”

 

“Good…” Isabela blinked and fixed her gaze on the horizon. “I need to navigate.”
“See you later?”
“Not that many places to go on a ship,” Isabela snorted. Hawke gave her an anguished look. She wanted to take her into her arms, Craven be damned.
“Bela…. The baby is safe. You know that, don’t you?”
The look of rage Isabela shot her stopped Hawke in her tracks.
“GO.”

 

Hawke had to comply with her wishes and slunk off like a kicked dog.

 

 * * * * * *

 

It was nearing night again. Hawke let her pups try a few knots under Mel’s supervision as the other sailors moved quickly around them. She grunted with disapproval that her mate hadn’t come down from the wheel area. She knew Craven was navigating for her, but she wasn’t leaving that area of the deck. The sun was setting, and Merrill longed to go below deck. One of the omega males offered her his arm and Hawke nodded her approval at his questioning look. The thin man beamed and asked Merrill about her health.
Merrill’s voice chirped as she answered. Hawke stalked to the wheel area, a plan formulating in her mind. Isabela had liked a more forward response in the past. Perhaps she had to apply it to this strange situation they all found themselves in.
Isabela had been lounging against the railing but straightened when she saw Hawke approaching. Craven leaned against the wheel stand, steering with one large hand. He raised an eyebrow at the woman stalking toward them.

 

Hawke kept coming until she was pressed up against Isabela’s body. She sighed with a moment of relief, feeling the familiar curves press up against her torso. Her hands boxed Isabela in on either side on the railing and she leaned in. Isabela was properly flushed, her face curious. She tilted her chin, giving Hawke a rather haughty questioning look.
“What?” she demanded.
“BELA, come with me,” she growled. Hawke was pleased to see Isabela quake in response. She leaned close, inhaling the side of her naked throat. Confidence raged through her blood and Hawke smiled against her flesh. “We need to discuss this NOW.”
“This what? What is ‘this?’” Isabela demanded. She shoved Hawke off of her and Hawke was quick to anger, her alpha’s pride wounded. Craven made a step toward them, but Hawke growled at him to stay put. She was placated slightly the large man actually listened and rooted to the spot.

 

This close, suddenly Hawke noticed the heavy air of whiskey on her mate’s breath. Well, she couldn’t be upset about that. There was no baby to endanger with her drinking….Maker! Sudden grief welled through Hawke’s heart and she knew her mate had to be suffering even more.
“THIS, us, our baby… And Merrill!” Hawke exclaimed. Sudden tears pricked the pirate’s eyes and Hawke wanted her to get it out. Maybe then she would come back into the family’s embrace.
“It’s not ours, is it? I don’t…. I don’t know how all this happened…” Isabela gestured to Craven and the large man tossed her a flask. Hawke sighed as she tipped the flask back and took a heavy swig.
“It is! How else do you think Merrill got this big?” Hawke protested. Isabela gave her a disapproving frown.

 

“You should see to her. She’s fit to pop as it is.”
Hawke could hear a trace of jealousy in her mate’s words and her heart ached. “Isabela!”
“Just leave me be, Hawke!” Isabela thundered. Hawke winced under her onslaught. She reached for her again.
“Please…..”
“Go….go!” Isabela swung a clumsy fist. Hawke let her clip her chin, letting her get any frustration out. She took her fist and kissed it sweetly, letting her go.

 

“As you wish…we’re waiting for you!” Hawke insisted. Isabela growled at her, drawing hard at her flask again.

 

End for now

Chapter Text

Isabela regretted punching her mate. But Hawke had kept pushing, and she couldn’t keep trying to think about the logistics of Merrill’s pregnancy. Now it was full night, and her shadowing pups had at least been put to bed. She could only thank Hawke for that. Her poor boys were as confused as she was, but at least they were taking strides to protect her heart.
And she felt rotten enough as it was, losing her child. Even if it had somehow been transferred to Merrill’s womb, she had still lost it. It was no longer inside her. It was a fact. Isabela sipped from her freshly opened bottle of wine, brooding and brooding hard. Even after washing up, changing clothes and having a fitful night’s sleep, she still felt unclean and guilty. Feeling trickles of blood seeping between her legs had terrified her. And she had still lost it.
Sort of.

 

Merrill suddenly round with pregnancy was a relief yet a stab of hurt in her grief. It was their child. The spirit had said so. But it was so sudden and strange Isabela couldn’t still believe her child was safe. It was gone. Out of her!
Angela whined and rubbed against her leg. Isabela leaned against the railing and slid down to sit. The mabari laid his head in her lap, giving soft snuffs. He panted happily when Isabela rubbed his ears.
“Shouldn’t you be with Merrill?” Isabela muttered. Angela tilted his head to the side curiously. The hound had been overly protective of her….before the day before. The fact he stuck by her instead of the other pregnant woman told Isabela her grief was be showing and badly for the mabari to stay at her side.
As Isabela hugged the hound’s large head in her lap, she closed her eyes. In a way, it was like hugging onto Hawke since he’d been at her side so many years. As she dozed off, Isabela heard a scraping sound on the wooden deck. She blearily opened her eyes and saw Angela dragging off her bottle, his large jaw clamped around the thin neck. Isabela grunted and made a grab for it.

 

Angela panted and tugged eagerly back at the bottle. When it fell to the deck between them, Isabela saw the point was moot. Rolling onto its side, it was apparent the bottle had been drained. Not one drop spilled, it was good and empty.
Empty….her belly was empty. Just like her arms were, except for scrambly mabari. And her heart…. Isabela watched Craven approach the wheel area slowly. He ducked around the sole lantern that was lit and gave her a slow look, assessing her for hurts. Isabela had locked the wheel in place and taken quite the break. But like hell she was going to leave her little corner right now.
He unlatched the locking mechanism and took the wheel in hand, steering easily into the dark horizon.

 

“Shouldn’t you be off to sleep, Captain?” he asked politely. Isabela scoffed. She kicked childishly at the bottle and watched it roll across the wheel area and down the small set of steps to the main deck. One of the sailors called out after it and the clanking stopped suddenly.
“Shouldn’t you not be bothering to ask me?” she retorted. Craven shrugged a massive shoulder.
“Aye, if you wish,” he said politely. Isabela impractically wished he weren’t so polite in a split second of childish fury. She wanted to fight someone else and her mate had abided by her wishes and left her alone.
But her ship’s crewmate had done nothing to invoke her ire. He was just doing as he was bid to, and then some. Isabela sighed, feeling deflated. Her anger was being rapidly replaced with loss and fear and the feeling was like to gut her.

 

As the hours slouched toward dawn, Isabela did find a place to sleep in the women’s cabin. Mel gladly gave over her hammock and Isabela was touched at the blankets and pillows given for her comfort. Even if they knew not to talk about it, they were all sorry for her loss.
Isabela fell to a fitful sleep, trying not to think of what could have been, a small dark-skinned infant with Hawke’s green eyes crying to be fed. She covered her face with one of the blankets offered her and tried not to shudder.

 

• * * * * * *

 

“Boys, wait for me!”

 

Isabela cringed when she heard Merrill’s voice in the corridor. She was in the communal washroom the next morning, sharing the sink. One of the omegas, a slim man, trimmed his beard neatly. He wisely averted his eyes and gave room for Isabela to set her towel and soap down on the sinks edge, making her way out. Isabela peered out, watched Hawke led their sons into the galley with her pregnant mate.
Pure jealousy ran furiously through her veins. Isabela bit her lip and choked back her rage. Wasn’t it her child in the elf? She had seen it happen. And yet, she still didn’t believe it. Seeing the elf glowing as Hawke helped her along made her feel ill. Sick of her own feelings, sick of avoiding everyone, and sick with herself.
As her eyes fell upon her mate’s handsome features, Isabela felt too sick to contemplate joining them or grabbing a breakfast with her family. She had lost her baby. Merrill had saved it, somehow. Would her attractive mate be able to impregnate her again? Or had she damaged herself permanently?

 

Isabela herself knew it was a futile question. The only way to test the waters would be to, well, test the waters. If they tried again and it took, the answer would be all too obvious. But as Isabela’s eyes traced her mate’s features longingly, another fear sliced through her gut with frozen precision.
Would Hawke ever want her again, want to touch her, stroke her, make love to her? It was too soon to ask herself such a stupid question, but her fear was very real and very vivid in these harrowing days after…the spirit.
Isabela made her way quickly to the stairs and jogged up along with a few of the sailors up on deck. The sun flared brightly into her eyes suddenly and Isabela shaded her face with one wrist as she made her way to one of the masts.

 

Damn Hawke. They’d gotten busy against one of those masts when she’d help secure the ship for her. Isabela tried not to remember her giggles, how happy she had been and Hawke’s pleased moans.
“Captain!” one of the women asked her over to look over their barrels of water. Isabela nodded when the woman said they should fill up at the next port. They needed more salted meat too.
“We’ll get it,” Isabela promised idly. She rubbed a hand over her middle, surprised as always to find her belly flat. The woman noticed, her eyes going soft.
“I know you don’t want to hear this, Cap’n, but I know how hard this time is. You will get past it. Believe me, I know.”
Isabela blinked, taking in the omega sailor. She looked for a mark on the woman’s throat and didn’t find one. Suddenly, her own grief didn’t seem to matter much in the wake of the friendly sailor who had suffered the same loss and didn’t have a mate to support her feelings through it.
Still, she wanted to lash out at Hawke and her pain made Isabela feel imprisoned. The pirate swallowed.

 

“Thanks. But get back to work.” Her words were flippant as was her usual role as the captain and the omega grinned, going back to it.
Isabela was climbing up toward the crow’s nest, when she heard her sons come out on the deck. She angled a look down and Falcon caught her eyes. Her eldest boy whispered to his brother and the two took up stances at the foot of the mast, where the rope ladder nailed in place waited.
“Falcon! Lark!” Orana made her way on deck with the boy’s wooden weapons. They took up stances and saluted each other with their weaponry and turned to whack blows against the foot of the mast. The wooden weapons made an odd thonk thonk sound against the rope nailed to the mast.

 

Isabela blinked and saw Hawke leading Merrill out, guiding her effortlessly. She sat the elf down on a chair that was nailed to the deck. Isabela forced herself to watch when Hawke dropped a loving kiss on Merrill’s forehead. Hawke darted her head, and Isabela knew she was looking for her. When she saw where the twins were, she tilted her head back, and caught a glimpse of her high up in the sails in the crow’s nest.

 

Isabela turned her head away as Hawke gave a wave. Hawke slouched her shoulders and went to monitor her son’s drilling.

 

* * * * * * *

 

o
In the next two days, Isabela made her way back to her own chambers. Hawke almost jumped out of her skin but had made room for her in the large bed hastily. Merrill even chirped a greeting and would have taken her hand to put on her belly if she hadn’t tucked herself away.
Isabela had said good night to the elf, but had shot Hawke a sad look, tugging a few of the blankets over her. She hadn’t been trying to be intimate with her other mate, but Isabela still felt like she was intruding. It was her that was pushing her mate away, and that wasn’t Merrill’s fault.
Isabela couldn’t help feeling it was her own. She had to just jump into that fight with Hawke. Just like in the past, always backing her up. Isabela’s eyes moved from the sad look on Hawke’s face.

 

The two didn’t bother her and Isabela forced herself to get some rest, curled on her side far from Hawke’s hand. Hawke pressed her cheek into the pillow beside Merrill’s head, trying not to pout. Her frustration was palpable, and Merrill stroked her tousled dark hair affectionately. She longed to ask Isabela something, get her closer to them, for her heart was fairly breaking too. She wasn’t in love with Isabela like Hawke was, but she did love her. She had been her best friend for years.
The days stretched on and Hawke was visibly trembling with frustration, her pain visible to all the sailors. Craven ducked out of her way when he saw her. He even backed off if she approached the captain.
Isabela had yelled at her in one of her attempted visits. Hawke had bowed her head the first time, but this time she was ready for a fight herself.
“Dammit, Bela, stop pushing me away!” she yelled. Isabela glared at her.

 

“You don’t know what this is like for me, Hawke! Stop pushing me!”
Hawke raised both palms up. “I’m not trying to…..but please come back to us. Merrill misses you too, and dammit, I can’t think straight without you!”
Her words pinged through the fog of the pirate’s pain slowly. Her grief parted slightly, to accept the truth of her mate’s words. She missed her. MISSED HER. Even kitten missed her. She wasn’t advancing her position with Hawke, she truly was as lost.
“I…. “ Isabela lowered her head. Her crossed arms gave the signal not to advance. “I….. I can’t…. I’m sorry…”
Hawke shifted her footing, and Isabela was certain she’d leave off. Warm hands rubbing her elbows made her long to unfold her arms and fall into Hawke’s.
“I love you. It’s not your fault. And…the baby is healthy. I can feel it kick,” Hawke said softly. She could see Isabela’s lower lip trembling. A few tears trailed down her cheeks. Hawke rubbed her cheek with her thumb, wiping them away. “It’s not your fault….”

 

Hawke was certain Isabela would let her embrace her. She would cry, and they could move past this. But Hawke was startled when her mate’s gauntleted wrist slammed into her chest, pushing her back.
“Not now. I can’t…” she muttered. Hawke stared at her mate, her heart in her throat.
“I’m waiting,” she promised.
Isabela turned her back, staring out at the sea.

 

• * * * * * *

 

When they made their way into the next port town, Hawke was so upset, she was bristling. Isabela may have gone back to sleep in her own bed, near them, but she was nowhere near forgiving herself, or her if Hawke was being honest. All that WAS her fault. This she was certain of.
As the captain and her family and crew made their way to the local tavern, Hawke followed her pirate’s long stride. She wanted to catch up, but Isabela had made it abundantly clear she didn’t want to be bothered. It was bordering on obtuse concerning their children.
Falcon clung to her hand and Lark took his Mamae’s. Merrill chirped an answer down to him and Hawke let her gaze linger on her belly, as always. Merrill had said she was in the mood for something sweet, so she’d see if the tavern keeper had anything sweet baked up for sale.

 

Hawke led her small family to a table and was on her way to the bar to ask for the tavern keeper. Bartenders filled large flagons with whiskey or beer for the patrons. Hawke shouldn’t have been too surprised to see Isabela ordering a flagon. Craven said something to her and took his leave. Hawke watched the large man walk off and made her way towards Isabela.
AS she passed through the throng of people, Hawke was dismayed to see a young man, alpha by the smell of him, leaning against the bar besides her mate. Isabela still wasn’t wearing her choker, to Hawke’s relief, but her mating mark didn’t deter the young pup in the slightest. He seemed to be flirting hard, and what made Hawke sick to her stomach was the way Isabela let him. She leaned close to him, tracing her fingers along the muscles along his forearm. The young alpha was bad enough, but her own mate allowing this to happen!... That just wouldn’t do.

 

Hawke growled as she stalked forward, her rotten mood forcing a wedge through the crowd, and allowing her space to stride through. The young man looked up with surprise into her scowling face. Her words caught him off guard as she grabbed him by the collar and yanked him away from Isabela.
“You. Get away from her. NOW.”
The alpha struggled, flailing as Hawke yanked him forcibly off his stool. He half fell to his knees and Hawke began to drag him across the bar. The patrons stared, and the sailors readied to help should she need it.
“She wanted to talk to me!” he insisted, his voice raising in anger. Hawke kicked the back of his knees, forcing him in front of her and to exit the bar. The man yelped with pain at the kicks. “Hey, what’s the deal?!”

 

“She’s MY MATE! You stay away!” Hawke screamed in his face. Her fist raised, and everything went red. After several long moments, the man was on his back, Hawke was on top of him, her fist rising and falling into his face. The sailors of the Stormy Lover surrounded her, and some cheered her on.
At the sight of town soldiers coming up, Mel reached forward to touch Hawke’s shoulder and alert her. The alpha blinked, sweaty bangs falling into her eyes.
“Serah Hawke, come on. We need to get away,” she pleaded. Hawke ignored her and went back to smashing the alpha’s face. She could feel a surge of admiration behind her and noticing the look Isabela gave her made Hawke stop. She dropped the young man in the dirt and rubbed her bloodied knuckles across her tunic front.

 

“Well then, that was something.” The look Isabela gave her was full of pride. The depth of emotion in her dark eyes made Hawke’s blood smolder. She got up from her knees and reached for her mate.

 

End for now

Chapter Text

Hawke dropped the alpha in the dirt, standing over him and over his head to get to her mate. The young man wheezed for breath, one hand cradling the fractured hang of his jaw. But Hawke didn’t care about him. Her blood seethed, her skin aflame when she slid her hands around Isabela’s waist, drawing her in for a deep hug. Her heart thundered happily when Isabela held onto her neck, coiling one leg around her waist and holding her close.
A clatter of armor rattling filled the air and some of the sailors squinted to make out who was approaching. One of the beta males whistled and tensed.
“Look alive, it’s the screws!” Everyone turned to watch with alarm at the approaching soldiers of the town.
“Run!”

 

“Cap’n, we gotta go!” Craven called beside them. Hawke and Isabela shared a glance and darted a look for the rest of their family. Mel and a few of the men were gathering up the twins and guiding Merrill between them. They took up the head of their party, everyone all but jogging to leave the town behind them.
As the docks came into view, Isabela laughed aloud. Hawke’s lips quirked up into a nervous grin to hear it. Isabela sounded almost her old self. Was she getting there?
“You almost missed out, Hawke. A young alpha trying to take your place.” Isabela’s words could have sounded caustic but warm teasing was in her tone. Hawke took that for a good sign, the subject of the alpha not withstanding.
“I’m too much alpha for you.” Hawke raised one bicep for her to feel as they stood by the gangplank, letting the crew jog up. Lark and Falcon got a firm swat on the rear to hurry up by Isabela and her hand was gentle on Merrill’s arm.

 

The look the elf shot them was of pleased gratitude. She gave her mate a wink and waddled up, Mel and Craven all but lifting her by up the elbows on either side.
Hawke’s heart surged with warmth for her Merrill but when she cast her gaze to Isabela and her pirate queen crooked her finger to follow, Hawke went along willingly. Isabela led her to the wheel area, waiting as the crew cast off lines and unfurled the sails, readying the ship to leave. The last time they’d had so much excitement in a town scuffle, well….
Hawke’s eyes went down to Isabela’s flat middle. Her eyes softened, and she prowled after her. Isabela turned and blushed as Hawke was in her personal space, grazing the side of her naked throat with her lips. Isabela’s breath hitched, and her hands ran up the back of Hawke’s neck, scraping through the short hairs there gladly.
Hawke didn’t know who had started the next kiss, but she was falling into Isabela’s mouth, tongue stroking hers. Her alpha pride roared hearing her pirate murmur against her. Hawke cupped Isabela’s jaw in her hands and gazed down at her, awe and love in her eyes.

 

“I missed you,” she growled. Isabela stared at her, blushing. Only Hawke saw her truly vulnerable side and it humbled her.
“I…Hawke….” Isabela lowered her gaze and Hawke lifted her face, her palm cupping her cheek.
“Say it. Say you missed me. I was going out of my mind,” Hawke pleaded. Isabela shivered at the predatory growl in her mate’s tone. She gave a slight nod, twining her arms about Hawke’s neck.
“Yes… I missed you….”
Hawke kissed her again and heard footsteps coming up into the wheel area. By the heaviness of the gait, she guessed Craven.
“We’re ready to leave, Cap’n… never mind, I’ll handle it,” he said. Hawke was glad for his arrival. Their family was safe, and he would ensure the ship got well on its way. Her hands settled over her mate’s smaller waist and lifted. Isabela pressed against her gladly.

 

Hawke heard a loud grating clicking sound and darting a glance to the side, saw Craven latch the locking mechanism of the large wheel into place. The ship would move at the direction latched and for now, it would do. Hawke silently thanked the first crew mate as she heard him move down from the platform. Without asking, she knew he would look after their twins.
The wind was rising, as stray droplets began to cascade from the blackening sky. Hawke nibbled the side of Isabela’s throat, pressing her bodily up against the wheel itself, wrapping her leg around her waist as she pressed close. Isabela gasped, pleased at the erection she could feel pressing up against her. She had been so afraid Hawke would never touch her again….well, the hard rod of flesh trapped behind two layers of clothing was her answer.
Isabela knew her fear-riddled question was moot now. Her mate DID want her, was touching her and would never leave her side. The baby would be talked about. But now……now…
“Hawke….”

 

“Was he handsome?” Thunder echoed across the sky, accompanying Hawke’s growled question. Isabela blinked up into her mate’s handsome scowl. The spattering droplets became a steady stream of rain, the water pelting both of them.
The sudden shift made Isabela blink. She gave a saucy grin, fingers trailing down the front of Hawke’s tunic. When she circled her mating mark, she could hear Hawke gasp.
“Who? That skinny twig?” she scoffed. She trailed a heart over Hawke’s breast, circling her mating mark. The mark on her throat burned in response to Hawke’s swirling chi. “No….”
Hawke pulled Isabela up into her arms, trying to keep the chill of the rainwater from slogging them down. Their clothing pelted to their skin, and Isabela’s bandana hung limply over her loose hair. Hawke’s bangs plastered over her brow.

 

“He thought he could touch what’s mine…” Hawke’s growl was half teasing, half possessive. Isabela melted at the sound. She pressed herself against Hawke’s torso, feeling the heat come off her in waves. The pirate kissed her champion on her nose scar and leaned down.
“What’s yours you can touch….” She teased. Her hands raked down Hawke’s back and cupped the firm swell of her ass through her trousers. Hawke grinned at her. The next kiss she pressed was hard and full of passion. Lightning forked across the sky and the thunder roiled and rocked as hard as their pressing bodies. Hawke was gasping beside her cheek, one hand moving low to caress the smoothness of her pirate’s thighs, angling up to hesitate at the hem of her smallclothes. It was obvious she wanted her. But her pregnancy, the baby going to Merrill and everything made doubt line Hawke’s green eyes.

 

Isabela gave a small cry and grasped Hawke’s wrist. She angled her hand into her smallclothes, guiding her finger her damp cave. The storm began to pick up, silencing her small gasp when Hawke gently slid two fingers home. Isabela was half aware of the crew running at full speed down on the deck below. The rapidly swelling storm was stoking as high as their passion and what was about to happen between them and Isabela welcomed it. The sails billowed, cracking at the sudden gusts of wind that filled them; the Stormy Lover surged forward away from the small port and away from local retribution.
The wind whipped around them, ruffling their hair and the clothing they loosened so Hawke could get at her mate. Hawke pressed her brow against Isabela’s, staring into her eyes as she fisted her cock in one hand, pressing it against the wetness between her pirate’s thighs. Isabela half sat on the wheel platform, legs widening. Her lips opened in a soft gasp as Hawke pressed firmly in. Her hips rolled slowly, urging Isabela to loosen. The urging wasn’t needed.

 

Isabela’s thighs clamped around her mate’s waist as she thrust in. She was pleased feeling Hawke shudder, her shoulders quaking under her hands. The wind whipped faster around them and seemed to rejuvenate Hawke’s movements. Isabela stared in awe as her mate thrust harder against her, her jaw clenched in concentration.
Hawke was lost in Isabela. Truthfully, she couldn’t have stopped even if a dragon landed on deck beside them. One of her hands clutched one of the spokes of the ship’s wheel as she thrust harder against Isabela. Warm wet silk gripped her cock and she groaned loudly with abandon. To Hawke, Isabela had been like the wind. Certainly, in Kirkwall, she had been elusive, cagey and a prize to be won when she let her. She wouldn’t let her slip through her fingers now.

 

Isabela watched lightning crack across the sky behind her mate’s head, grinning at her. Her cries of passion were gaining volume and Hawke kissed her, drawing her moans into her mouth. To Isabela, Hawke was like the storm itself, rising and surging against her. The rain pelted them, and Hawke gave a yowl beside her cheek.
Isabela had a hand up under her mate’s tunic, caressing the smooth roiling muscles beneath her soft skin. “That good?” she teased. Her gasping made her words hesitant.
Hawke thrust her tongue into her mouth and snapped her hips hard, burying herself to the hilt. Spurts of precum were pulled from her as she thrust away in clinging silk. She yelled aloud, not caring who heard. All that mattered was Isabela and their pleasure. Hawke’s grasping fingers tightened around the spoke of the wheel. Her knuckles whitened from her grip. “Are….you?.... dammit!...”
“Yes…” Isabela murmured. She tugged her mate’s earlobe between her teeth clenching Hawke tightly with her inner muscles. The howl she got from Hawke was worth it. “So close….”

 

“Then come with me….” Hawke growled. Her commanding tone made wetness leak around the base of her cock buried within her pirate and she knew Isabela was coming or close to it. Her cries of passion indicated when she’d finally done so. Isabela didn’t think she’d come this time. It was all so fast, and she would have been pleased to have gotten Hawke’s passion even if she wasn’t brought to the brink.
But Hawke never went for anything but broke when they mated. And it showed in the way she all but pushed Isabela over the brink and to cloying heavy release. Isabela’s back was thrust up against the hard wood of the platform, but she didn’t care.
“Oh, Hawke, oh….” Isabela moaned. She kept coming and Hawke moaned beside her face. Her mouth was on her naked throat, suckling her mating mark and Isabela screamed as she came again. Or it could have been attached to the first. “Hawke!”
Hawke yelled and snapped her hips hard. She wanted to stay buried inside as long as she could as streams of come pounded out of her shaft. Isabela widened her thighs further, urging her on. Hawke could only give it all to her, hissing with the rumbling thunder of the raging storm.

 

Their breathing was ragged, and Isabela lifted her head from her mate’s shoulder. Hawke pressed kisses against her face. Her legs trembled, and Isabela clung to her. She sighed when Hawke pulled out, as slowly as she could. Isabela pressed her thighs together, trying to keep as much of Hawke’s seed in as she could. Her small clothes were soaked, and the sticky feeling was slightly uncomfortable. Hawke’s shift was receding, and she laced back up easily. Isabela squeaked when Hawke lifted her into her arms, hoisting her up easily. She could feel her mate’s legs quack still.
Isabela nuzzled Hawke’s throat, grazing by Merrill’s mark there accidentally. Her mate stiffened, but her mate’s hand over her mark over her breast soothed her. Merrill….Both of them naturally gravitated toward the pregnant elf. Isabela wondering over her child inside her. Hawke worrying over her pregnant mate as was second nature. “Hawke…that was….damn…”
Hawke gave a laugh. “That good? I aim to please you, my love.”
Isabela blushed, feeling warm in her mate’s arms even as the rain pelted down. “Oh, you ruddy fool!” She latched onto Hawke’s throat, kissing along the edge opposite Merrill’s mark. Hawke purred.

 

The cooling water felt good against their over-heated skin. Their wet clothing clung to them and helped the cooling process as it were. As Hawke walked her down from the wheel platform, Isabela saw Craven watching them. He waved and signaled to her that the pups were below deck. Good, they hadn’t been near. She had needed Hawke so badly she didn’t have time to worry about putting them in their room.
Craven whistled and one of the beta males jogged with him past the captain and her champion, to unlatch and secure the wheel. The Stormy Lover was moving at a fast clip, but Isabela knew her first crew mate would make certain the path was clear. Their clothing was as wet as the couple’s, but Hawke knew they hadn’t had quite as much fun as they’d just had. Her grin was cocky as she angled Isabela to the side, so she could start sliding down the staircase leading below decks and keep her pirate queen’s legs from banging into the wall.

 

Crewmates talking and laughing from further down the corridor alerted Hawke and Isabela they were close to company. Some of the cabin doors were open and there was a small line protruding from the galley kitchen, indicating a meal had just been lain out. As Hawke’s boots stepped down onto the corridor floor from the last step, she was struck by her mate’s deliberate kisses. Isabela latched onto her neck beneath her earlobe and the sensitive spot being grazed by her teeth and lips had Hawke stiff within moments. Her cock surged against the seam of her trousers, pressing and searching for her mate’s warmth again. Hawke groaned.
The captain’s quarters were further down the corridor and they’d have to get past all the crew members and possibly their sons if she tried. Isabela slung her arms around her neck and gave her a heavy hooded look that Hawke was helpless to obey as her passion surged.

 

Her mate needed her and now. They’d have to chance it. Hawke ducked behind the stairwell and pressed Isabela up against the dark wall, hopefully from view. Isabela was pushed up against it, her legs going around Hawke’s waist. Her giggles became sighs as Hawke tugged her smallclothes to the side and fished her cock out of her trousers.
Hawke grunted, pushing Isabela up higher and thrusting hard into her. Isabela’s head thumped back against the wall and she moaned. As her moans rose in volume, Hawke tried covering her mouth with her hand. When Isabela sucked two of her fingers into her mouth instead, Hawke tried to quiet her by covering her mouth with her own.
As her pace increased with speed, Hawke’s grunts rose with the power of her exertions. Isabela clung to her back, fingers digging into the fabric of her tunic. Hawke angled one hand down the front of her mate’s tunic and loosened the corset, lips moving along the curves of her breasts. Hawke could taste the raindrops dotting her mate’s flesh and took the time to gather them up. With her mouth. The whines her mate gave spurned her on.

 

Hawke pressed her palms against the wall, fucking Isabela hard against it. Her mate was so open, her wet walls clinging to her cock. Her shaft throbbed terribly, and Hawke felt so hot like she was going to crawl out of her skin. The passionate way she reveled in her mate told her Isabela appreciated it and reciprocated. The heels of her boots dug into Hawke’s ass, holding her where she was. Hawke was dimly aware of a few chi signatures attracted to what was going on behind the stairwell, but luckily no one intruded.
The crew certainly knew their captain’s and her champion’s penchant for carrying blades on them. Hawke’s jaw was grasped and turned toward Isabela’s upturned face. He mate’s lips were parted as if waiting for a kiss, harsh ragged breathing thundering between them. Hawke stared into her eyes, her love, her passion and her intentions for her pirate made doubly clear by the fucking she was giving. Isabela was pushed over the edge and her clinging walls gripped her so deliciously that Hawke let go, flooding her again and again.

 

Only when she had nothing left to give, did Hawke stop, legs trembling, arms weak as she held Isabela up against the wall. Her pirate covered her face with weak kisses, murmuring to her. Hawke took that as a good sign and reluctantly pulled out. Her mate slumped into her arms and Hawke lifted her carefully. Her legs staggered, and she almost went down. But after making certain their clothing covered everything important, Hawke carried her mate from behind the stairwell and down the corridor.
They had to bypass a few crew mates lingering at the end of the food line. Luckily their sons weren’t anywhere near. Mel called that she had them inside by the stove. Hawke called back a thanks and Isabela gave two of the omega sailors a satisfied smirk.
Isabela lifted her head from the crook of Hawke’s neck where she had been latched on and sucking as her mate opened the door of the captain’s quarters and entered with her. Merrill looked up quickly and regarded them with a smile, then a dismayed look of exasperation.
“Merrill?” Hawke murmured. She set Isabela on her feet and the two staggered to the table and sank into chairs beside each other. Hawke’s knees spread, and she gave a loud sigh as she rested her legs. Merrill waddled closer, giving Isabela a smile, but her irritated words soon conveyed her thoughts.

 

“What are you doing? You’ll both catch cold! Hawke, you’re miserable when you’re sick! Get into a warm bath, you two!” Merrill yelped. Her hand settled over her belly and Hawke gave her a smug grin. Leaning up to press a few kisses along her second mate’s cheek, Hawke was pleased when Merrill gasped beside her lips, but she still gave her a firm swat on the shoulder.
“And then who will have to take care of both of you? Really!” Merrill scolded. Isabela laughed. She turned over the large tin tub in the corner of her chambers and called out to a crew mate to fetch buckets of water.
“Look at the claws on Kitten!” she teased. Merrill blushed, but took her damp tunic when Isabela undressed. She slid a robe on so her crew wouldn’t see more than they should. Hawke pressed Merrill into one of the nailed-down chairs and laid a kiss against her brow.

 

“You rest, we’ll handle ourselves,” she promised. Merrill pouted, but watched as a few crew mates sidled in with buckets. They filled half the tub and then kettles of boiling water were brought in from Cook to warm the water’s temperature. Merrill closed the door to the cabin after asking Mel to keep the twins in the galley. She nodded.
Hawke slid in the tub behind her mate and began washing her back. She whistled lightly, and Isabela leaned forward, arms on her thighs as Hawke rubbed her lower back with the sponge. Isabela watched Merrill from behind her damp bangs. She leaned forward in the warm water, bracing her weight on Hawke’s legs on either side of her.
Hawke gave her kisses along her shoulders but nothing overly amorous. Isabela hoped they could just all move past the darn awkwardness. Merrill helped pour pitchers of the warm water over her mate’s head, and then Isabela’s, to wash the soap away. She handed them towels as they got out and sat down, leaning back and grimacing as she tried to get comfortable.
Isabela tugged her shift on and regarded the elf with a sad look. She coughed. “Merrill?”

 

Merrill looked up, surprised.
“Let’s get you comfortable. I remember how much my back hurt with the boys….”
Hawke’s eyes softened. Merrill knew she was wishing she’d been there for that pregnancy. And Isabela couldn’t even finish carrying this third child…. Merrill nodded and accepted the pirate’s hand up. Her dressing gown swished, tugging on the swell of her belly. Hawke threw her under tunic on and knelt before Merrill to whisper to the pup. She kissed her belly, stood, and helped lift Merrill into the large canopied bed.
Merrill sighed as Isabela stacked the pillows and both took up a space beside her. Isabela looked like she was going to cry. Merrill shyly took her hand.
“Here…” she guided Isabela’s hand to her belly, watching the pirate’s eyes widen in shock and a touch of fear. “I know you’re afraid, and hurting, Bela…. but the baby’s okay. I can feel him moving. He’s healthy. I promise.”
Isabela bit her lip. Tears filled her eyes and her lip quivered. Hawke watched her try to reign in her emotions. But it was Merrill’s next words that made the tears fall.
“I wouldn’t have this baby without you, Bela. Thank you.”

 

Isabela smiled through her tears, hand pressed against the baby inside the other woman. She gave a small cry of surprise as she felt a familiar rapping press up against her palm. As familiar as it had been inside herself……“I….I can feel it kicking! It’s really going to be okay….isn’t it?”
Hawke leaned to put her hand on Isabela’s leg. “Yes.”
“Him. I think it’s a him,” Merrill guessed, leaning back against the pillows, sighing as the pup rapped a series of kicks. “Oh, oh calm down…”
“The pup only calms but slightly,” Isabela laughed through her tears, trying to offer her own advice in that area. Merrill smiled sweetly to her. “At least until Hawke starts talking to it….”
Hawke leaned to kiss Isabela’s cheek softly. She rubbed her brow to hers and gave Merrill a soft wink. She laid her hand over her belly beside Isabela’s and the three lavished attention to the unborn child they all had a part in. Hawke spoke in low tones and the rapping intensified then quieted.
“I still think it’s a girl,” Hawke said suddenly. Isabela laughed, and Merrill protested.

 

“It’s definitely a boy!”
“Kitten may be right.”
“It’s a girl,” Hawke insisted.
There was a thud outside the captain’s door and when Hawke sprang up to answer, she was surprised, but not really all that much, to find her sons camped out on the floor there.
Both boys grinned sheepishly up at their sire. “We didn’t want to knock….”
“Figured it was Papa and Mamas alone time.”
Hawke blushed to herself. She helped them up and pushed the door open.
“Not right now. Come in and say goodnight to your mothers.”

 

Falcon and Lark ran to the bed and carefully climbed up. Isabela kissed each downy head and Merrill let them cuddle up. Falcon patted her round belly, saying goodnight to the pup. All of the adults shared an indulgent smile between them.
Isabela felt the ache in her heart slowly thaw. The hurt wouldn’t just vanish overnight….but still, with her mate and sons beside her, Merrill pressing her hand to her belly and assuring her, things would get better.
In time.

And with the arrival of their child.

 

End for now

Chapter Text

Merrill woke first. The baby moved restlessly sometimes, and the heavy sensation always jarred her from a deep sleep or a light one. Her hands on her belly and whispers only did so much. Hawke’s voice seemed to soothe the pup everytime, but her mate was fast asleep. And she didn’t want to wake her yet. Isabela was asleep too, and Merrill was loath to wake her. She’d had a traumatic time of it losing the baby. They were all lucky it was inside her now.
Merrill carefully climbed off the edge of the large bed and made her way to the cabin’s small washroom to pee. The baby seemed to rest on her bladder half the time and she felt ungainly navigating there and back. Climbing back on the bed carefully, Merrill soothed Hawke’s bangs out of her eyes, her fingers tracing her face lovingly. Hawke… she was so lucky to have gotten her child anyhow. Hawke’s under tunic was pulled high along her belly and Merrill traced the scars there slowly. The raised puckered edges of the scars were traced smoothly, and Merrill couldn’t help leaning on her side to plant a kiss there. Her poor mate had had a time of it through the years. Her body had so many scars and sometimes her limbs trembled. Merrill had seen it.

 

 

Hawke spread her legs, head lolling on her pillow. Merrill licked her lips. She was already half shifted so Merrill helped it along, small fingers curling around the shaft and tugging until her shift was complete. Hawke groaned in her sleep. Merrill leaned on her side, making sure to stay off her belly as she gently wrapped her lips around the head. Hawke’s sleepy moans filled her ears and Merrill blushed happily. She worked the shaft deeper into her mouth and when Hawke opened her eyes and groggily stared, her lips where wrapped around the base of her cock.
“Merrill?” she croaked. Merrill’s eyes twinkled merrily up at her. She released her cock and kissed the side of the head.
“Morning. I think you’re up.” She gave Hawke’s cock a slow pump to emphasize her words.
Hawke gasped, hips levitating up. She stared up at the ceiling of the chambers, panting. “You don’t have to do that,” she groaned. Merrill took her in again and Hawke’s words faltered again. “At least let me make you comfortable!”

 

Merrill had to agree, her back was starting to hurt from the angle she was in to avoid smushing her belly. She laid her cheek against her mate’s thigh, stroking her.
“What were you…..oh!” Merrill blushed when Hawke picked her up effortlessly and laid her against the pillows. Merrill half sat, half lay and Hawke touched her cheek gently with her palm. The bobbing erection between her thighs belied the tenderness on her face.
Isabela began to stir and laughed when she noticed what was going on. “Getting your way while she can’t move, sweet thing?”
But the pirate was teasing and both of them knew it. Hawke barked a laugh and rubbed her thumb along Merrill’s lower lip.
“Kitten started it.”

 

The elf’s mouth opened, and her eyes widely pleaded with her mate. Hawke braced her arms against the headboard and aimed her cock for that sweet mouth and groaned when warm wetness engulfed her again. She fought to keep her hips from thrusting harshly. Isabela rolled closer, rubbing Merrill’s leg, then swatted her mate’s naked ass. The muscles there clenched from the impact and her small subtle movements to establish some kind of rhythm.
“I’ll bet she did. Go ahead and give her what she wants,” Isabela urged.
Merrill murmured around her and Hawke gazed down at her mate, lust and love in her gaze. Her toes dug into the sheets as her sweet mate bobbed fervently onto her. Hawke closed her eyes, tilting her head back. Merrill’s eyes traveled along her mate’s muscular torso, greedily taking in the movements that heralded her orgasm. The clenching of her teeth, her up tilted chin, her eyes closing, her hand tangling in Merrill’s short hair affectionately.

 

Hawke gave a startled gasp as she began to come. Merrill lapped at her eagerly and took the head into her mouth for the next few spurts. Isabela reached to clasp Hawke by the base and help stroke her off. Hawke fell back onto her rear and rolled to the side to keep from falling onto Merrill. The elf wiped her mouth with the back of her hand and reached for her. Hawke twined their fingers together as her breathing thundered in her ears.
The three could hear commotion down the hallway outside the captain’s quarters and Isabela sighed. She patted Merrill’s leg affectionately.
“Make nice, you two, I’ll get the boys,” she offered. Hawke reached for her hand and kissed the back of it lovingly.
“Be at breakfast in abit,” she promised. Merrill blushed as she settled against the pillows. Her hand descended upon the swell of her belly.
“Thanks, Bela,” she chirped. She ran a tongue over her lip, gathering up the rest of Hawke’s release. Isabela gave her a naughty smirk.
“Taught you well, did we?” she asked. Merrill blushed. Hawke curled against her side, leaning close, hand roaming along her inner thigh to part her.
“Go on, love,” Hawke purred. Isabela gave her a pointed look.

 

“I expect some time later,” she said. Hawke tensed but the saucy wink the pirate gave her told her she was clear to take her time with the pregnant young mother-to-be.
“Yes, my queen,” she breathed. Isabela sidled out of the captain’s quarters. Hawke huffed a sigh against Merrill’s shoulder. Her mate twined her fingers through her tousled dark hair.
“Hawke,” she pleaded breathlessly. Hawke hardened as her shy mate skillfully wove her chi teasingly through hers in a very un-shy manner. The look she gave Merrill was of delighted surprise. Merrill’s small hand went between her legs and found her hard. She pumped her hand over her, not even trying to mask her efforts. Hawke sighed with pleasure as blood surged between her legs, thickening the shaft. She skimmed her fingers gently between Merrill’s thighs, carefully tracing her wet vaginal lips.
“Can you take abit more?” Hawke asked. Her thumb rubbed teasingly around the elf’s clit.
Merrill nodded eagerly. Her rounder breasts bobbed.

 

“Yes, ma vhenan. Just come here….”
Hawke was delighted to fall into her mate’s arms. She had to position her weight on one arm and her shoulder to stay off her belly and the pup inside, but her hips still had traction to pump steadily away. Merrill cried out against her head, fingers clawing down her side and back. Hawke grinned to herself and her eyes made out the sweat forming at the elf’s temples, her pale body moving beneath her. She leaned to gently kiss her brow, furious protection for the second mother of her pup surging through her. She would die to protect them both, she would fight to her last breath…..
Merrill felt it. The protective fury of a new sire. And all of its benefits directed at her. She clenched around Hawke’s shaft, but her eyes were wide with love. Hawke grinned roguishly down at her. She crested the height of her orgasm but kept it back long enough to bring Merrill over, clawing at her and crying out. Her little elf was so sensitive carrying her pup. Her walls accommodated her even better and if Hawke could find traction to angle a look between them, she wondered if her elf had taken the last stubborn half inch of her fully. She couldn’t tell. With her mate pregnant, her pheromones weren’t calling to trigger a knot so Hawke couldn’t test the thought.

 

Hawke braced her weight on one upper arm to lean and kiss her Merrill across her face over and over as she shook against her. Merrill’s thighs squeezed around her hips. Merrill was catching her breath, smiling up at her. Hawke stroked her hair out of her eyes and kissed her. Their tongues meshed but the kiss was more loving.
“I love you, little mother,” Hawke murmured. Merrill smiled happily and Hawke’s heart could have broken. Merrill trailed her fingers up and down the sweat along her back.
“I love you, Hawke.”
After a few more soft nothings, the pup stirred and kicked up a storm. Merrill cried out in surprise, but Hawke was quick to rub her warm hand over the bulge, talking to it.
“Ssh, pup, be good to your mother. Papa says it must be so,” she growled softly. Merrill giggled. She laid her hand over Hawke’s over her belly.

 

• * * * * * *

 

When Hawke emerged with a refreshed Merrill, Isabela was glad to see her mate take up possession of their sons again. Hawke sat her pregnant mate into a chair in the galley and got her meal from Cook. After eating, she called for the twin’s attention.
“Falcon, Lark.”
Both sat up straight.
“Get your weapons. We’re going to do our exercises and drilling. I’m sorry I had to wait so long to do it….”
The boys exchanged a look. They knew there had been a lot going on with their parents, all three of them, and most of the feelings revolving around an unborn brother or sister.
“It’s okay, Papa! And we’re ready,” Falcon promised. Lark nodded, setting his spoon down. The look of relief on their sire’s face was refreshing to see after all had happened.
Isabela finished her morning whiskey and raised an eyebrow at Hawke over the rim of her cup. “Don’t run them over the ship’s prow.”

 

“I would never,” Hawke promised. The boys grinned as their parents bantered together. Hawke made sure Merrill had her tea and took a cup for herself.
Cook took the twin’s bowls and patted them on the head.
Once on deck, Hawke ran with the boys up and down the deck, hopping over stray lines of line and rope. The twins were tireless and outpaced her, but she did far more sit-ups correctly when it came time for that exercise. Hawke regrettably didn’t have her old practice stave, and Isabela’s sailors had had to cut and shape a piece of tree trunk to match the height of her usual practice weapon. It was as high as her shoulder, and the handle was tied off with rope for some form of a grip, but Hawke was not pleased with it. She’d like to purchase a new wooden stave, accurately weighted and carved off.
But for now, she danced backward, easily holding up the heavy carved off tree trunk. Lark was faster with his twin wooden blades. He landed two solid thumps and danced back, grinning. Falcon grunted as he charged, raising his practice sword and ducking behind his wooden shield. He used the shield to deflect Hawke’s low swipe and whacked with his other hand.

 

Hawke called out low words of encouragement and suggestion as she trained her boys. Finally, after a solid hour of hits, with more than a few bruises gained by both, Hawke suggested a new dance partner. Craven had been watching and he sincerely hoped it wouldn’t be him. He didn’t want to hurt the captain’s boys by accident.
One of the skinny betas was called over. He held up a sword scabbard for a practice weapon instead of a blade and paired with Lark. The boy was doing well against him when the beta accidentally lunged instead of falling back. The sharp cry of pain from the boy was more of alarm but Hawke still froze hearing it.
Suddenly, Isabela was beside her, both rushing the beta male up until his back collided with the prow of the ship.
“I, I didn’t mean to! He’s not hurt, is he?” the man was sweating heavily now as Merrill made her way to the crying boy to check his wrist.
Isabela seethed in his face. “I don’t care! You’re gonna pay for that hurt with your hide! Hawke!” she snapped. But her mate was right at her side, fists clenching the fabric of the man’s tunic at his shoulders, keeping him in place.

 

She shook him bodily. “Yes, Bela?”
“Over the side! Now!”
The man began to cry with fear as he was hoisted up. Craven pushed beside Hawke, taking one of the man’s legs easily with one fist, letting Hawke grasp his other leg with both hands. Together, they lowered the flailing begging man upside down over the side of the ship and held him there.
Isabela turned toward her son, kneeling beside a concerned Falcon asking after his brother, to check on his hurt. Merrill was holding his thin wrist with her hands glowing, indicating a healing. She let him go with a kiss to his palm and Lark carefully swung his hand and angled his wrist.
“Are you okay?” Isabela asked. Lark nodded. His brother cuffed his shoulder with his fist playfully.
“I’m okay! Mamae helped,” Lark said. Merrill smiled affectionately down at him. Isabela hugged one of Merrill’s arms smiling.

 

“Glad you’re here, kitten.”
Merrill nodded, smiling at her friend. “Me too. On your ship, I mean. Captain.”
“Enough with the formalities, kitten. You’ve got my baby in there, it’s not like we’ve not seen it all,” Isabela teased. Merrill giggled, blushing.
Hawke wished she were closer to hear her mate’s words, but her focus was taken down to the wailing over the side of the ship.
“Pleeeeease, Captain, I’ll be good! I’m sorrreeeeee!....”
Craven lifted a thick eyebrow as he and Hawke glanced at each other.
“It was an accident,” he offered. Hawke nodded. She braced her hip against the side, leaning to hold onto the thin man’s calf more evenly. Craven’s one-handed grip on the other leg filled her with a touch of envy.

 

“We’ll wait for Isabela’s command,” she said. Hawke was used to waiting. But Isabela didn’t make her wait these days. But she did, however, make the beta sailor wait a good ten minutes. His cries were beginning to sound pained.
At her signal, Hawke nodded, and she and Craven pulled the sailor back on deck. The man wheezed, falling to his knees as his hands shook. All the blood had rushed to his head, and his coloring was slightly purple.
Isabela sauntered up and when her boots came into focus, the sailor jumped up and shakily saluted.
“Don’t touch my sons again.”
“Aye, Cap’n!
Hawke leaned against the prow and gave her mate a wry grin. “Way to crack that whip.”

 

“You love it.”
Craven turned from their bantering to gaze at the sea. The sun was still high overhead and the chatter of the crew at work and the twin boys drilling filled the air. He was just glad to be here, far from his old life. There were deep gouging scars along his wrists where he’d been manacled for years. Isabela had seen them but didn’t question their origin.
He hoped his stalwart service would be enough to excuse his sordid past.

 

o * * * * *

 

“Bela, wait!”
“I can’t! The boys are running ahead….Boys!” Isabela shouted.
The twins yelped and sprinted back along the town’s dirt road.
“Yes, Mama!”
“You wait for me….”
“Yes, Mama…..”
Hawke walked along with Merrill, her hand in the crook of her arm. Hawke’s eyes gleamed as she took in her pregnant mate. The elf was positively glowing. Her shorter hair was growing out and fell past her neck. She was fit to burst any day now and she insisted she wanted something sweet and she was going to leave the ship to find it. Hawke could only agree to help her stretch her legs and try and secure some pastries at the local inn.

 

Isabela, for her part, was just glad nothing strange seemed to have fixated on them. They’d had enough trouble at ports for a lifetime. Merrill squeezed Hawke’s arm as she was led into the local tavern. Hawke hovered, and made sure no patron got too close to the pregnant elf. She wore a rogue’s cloak and hood to keep her features hidden as the last port they’d been in had a notice up concerning the Champion. Anyone who had seen Hawke was to report to Kirkwall authorities. Merrill wondered who was in charge now and what they wanted with her mate, so they weren’t taking any chances.
She knew the old Knight-Commander had blamed Hawke responsible for the rupturing war between the mages and templars. And many might consider that apt information. Isabela took the boys to the bar and bantered with the barkeep. She juggled a few gold coins and after an exchange, came back with a tray of pastries. Merrill squealed with delight at the sight as Hawke helped her into a chair. She leaned back, patting her belly.

 

“Thanks, Bela!”
“Go on, kitten. I know you’ve had a sweet tooth lately. I’d rather have my meat.” Here Isabela winked saucily at her mate. Hawke’s blush was visible from the folds of her hood. She served a pastry to the boys, one a piece. The rest were going fast.
“The baby will come soon,” Falcon chirped. The adults shared a look. Without a home but the ship, Merrill would be giving birth there. It was odd to think about. But Isabela accepted a rolled-up scroll from Mel who flagged her down in the inn.
“It will. I don’t know if we’ll have secured this by that time….but the baby will grow up on land as well,” Isabela promised. Merrill only nodded, trusting her, but Hawke took a peek at the scroll, taking it from her mate. A map of a string of islands was inked and drawn on the heavy parchment.

 

“Where’d you get this idea?” Hawke asked her. Isabela grinned.
“Castillon left many documents in my quarters. We’re lucky this one has us landing within rights of an island.”
Merrill beamed. “Our own island? Oh, the baby will be so happy.”
“He will. And you too, kitten,” Isabela declared. She leaned to rub the swell of her belly.
“I still think it’s a girl,” Hawke lamented. Her boys grinned.

 

o * * * * *

Outside the tavern, a couple of men were following Craven. He frowned, trying not to slouch his wide shoulders. He had agreed to meet Mel for SOMETHING. She had asked him for some of his time, and he had no idea what the sailor wanted. On his way, nibbling on some purchased roasted nuts, Craven noted the two men had been staring at the brand tattooed on his inner arm. A sleeve usually covered it, but they had seen.
Slavery was considered illegal in the Free Marches and Ferelden, but still, there were unsavory people that would skirt any laws they thought they could to earn a profit. Such as Castillon. Craven sighed in his head. The Antivan had purchased the lot of slaves he’d been in years ago, and on their way to port, the captain of the vessel had launched anchor and struck the chains from everyone below deck. Isabela had been younger, and quite frantic, as she yelled at everyone to take off for the trees. She and her men would handle Castillon’s approaching forces themselves.

 

It must have been fate that put Craven in with Isabela’s company once more. He’d needed a job, but she seemed not to have recognized him. He didn’t blame her. It’d been a rainy night and lightning had arched high overhead, as he ran with the other slaves toward freedom.
“Hey you! Who do you belong to?” one of the men called. Craven ignored him. He saw Mel ahead, and when the woman waved, he gave a curt shake of his head. Her eyes narrowed, and her hand went to the blade at her belt. He hurried toward her.
“No one,” he was forced to say when the man kept pace. His partner sneered.
“I seen your mark. You were bought by someone, and we’ll take the bounty on you. You shouldn’t have run, slave.”
Craven saw red by that point. He turned and picked up the man by the throat, his large hand gripping hard. Mel dashed up beside him, unsheathing her blade as she went. The other man barely had time to grab his own weapon and steel rang on steel. Several townsfolk stopped to watch the fracas.

 

“Craven!” Mel was yelling beside him. Craven blinked. The man’s face was purple, so he dropped him. And gave him a kick for good measure.
“I’m not. I’m not,” he muttered under his breath. Mel gave the second man a kick to get him going. She sheathed her blade and leaned against his stolid arm.
“Not what?” she asked. Craven winced. Apparently, she had missed most of the shouted words. She had, right?
“I….I’ll tell you sometime,” he muttered. She took his hand. His large hand dwarfed both her own as she turned it over, looking for hurts.
“What’d they say to make you so mad?” Mel asked. Her eyes were very blue as she stared up at him. Craven swallowed.

 

“Later,” he promised. Mel nodded and let his hand go. They collected several of the sailors on their way back to port. Together, they walked up the gangplank onto the Stormy Lover.

End for now

Chapter Text

“Look out!” Mel said. She and a few of the sailors of the Stormy Lover turned the corner quickly and ducked out of sight. A line of armored men and women clanged past.
“Local screws?” one of the women asked. Mel shook her head.
“No, they have an insignia on their armor. Never seen it before.” The insignia appeared to be an eye fringed with lines of flame. It intrigued her.
“Make way, make way for the Inquisition!” one of the soldiers called. The townsfolk stopped and also made sure to stay clear of the advancing line. Surprisingly, there were a few dwarven scouts at the head of the procession of humans and elves in uniform.
“What is that? Inquistion?” one of the men wondered.

 

“I don’t know. We should get back to the ship,” Mel said. On the way, she was glad to see Craven’s large form parked at the foot of the gangplank. He had drawn guard duty and his stolid form and hand on his machete hilt deterred anyone from getting too close. Isabela’s sons were at his feet, waiting. She made sure to give a flirtatious wink to the large sailor. Craven blinked slowly, face reddening.
“Is the Captain back?” one of the sailors wondered. Craven nodded.
“Merrill wasn’t feeling up to port today. She went to lay down and Captain and the Champion went with her.”
Falcon’s eyes shone. “Mamae was tired.”

 

“I hope she feels better!” Lark chimed in. Mel took his hand and one of the betas collected Falcon.
“After she has the baby, she’ll have abit more energy. Abit at least,” Mel said. The boys nodded.
The crew made their way on deck and Craven’s eyes met Mel’s. She gave the tall man an assuring smile and was satisfied to see a blush dart across his cheeks.
Well, the way life was progressing was looking up.

 

• * * * * * *

 

Hawke helped Merrill onto the wide bed and pressed kisses along her temple. Isabela was looking over her maps on the chamber’s table, brow wrinkling in worry. Her worry extended as she gazed at the dozing elf. She was so wide and due any day now. Hawke laying at her side, curled up tight around her, told of her own worry. Her large hand was splayed over the swell of her belly, gently stroking her as she slept.
The two met eyes across the chamber. Isabela tried to smile but she looked down at the maps.
“Bela?” Hawke called softly.
“We can get to the island; it’ll just take a few weeks. I wish we had bought off that official earlier…”

 

Hawke nodded. Her family name still had some clout and she had helped Isabela negotiate the island in Castillon’s documents. That had been an interesting meeting to say the least. Hawke and a few of the sailors had secured an impromptu “meeting” through force of arms and Isabela had smacked the finely dressed man in the face with Castillon’s documents.
Hawke had added some of the last of the gold in her mother’s small chest to name the island theirs in deed. The document was wrapped up and carefully stored in Isabela’s chest on the table in her quarters, but they had no idea what they’d find when they reached the place. Was anyone living there, would they listen to their authority or would they have to empty the land themselves through brute force?

 

Hawke would do anything to secure a new home for her family. Her gaze softened as she watched Merrill sleep. Lines of exhaustion lay around her eyes and Hawke kissed her temple gently. Her little elf was so fatigued nearing her birthing time, and Hawke could panic instantly if she dwelled on it. She had no idea how Isabela had done this, and without her…..
Hawke swept her gaze to her pirate queen, guilt in her green eyes. Isabela smiled gently at her though and blew her a kiss. She set the maps down and made her way to the bed. She loosened her corset and curled up on Hawke’s side. She curled around her back, basking in her mate’s strength. Hawke turned her head to give her a kiss, her limbs still curled round Merrill.
“How did you do this?” Hawke asked her quietly. The ‘without me’ was in her gaze and Isabela’s mood sobered. She wished she had come to Hawke sooner, wished she had let her take care of her. Her pups would have been in the best care, and Hawke loved her. She wished she’d gotten better sense sooner.

 

 

“I should have come to Kirkwall sooner. Should have…..” Isabela murmured. Hawke rolled on her back, surrounded by her mates. Isabela lay across her torso, pillowing her head on her breast. Hawke kissed the top of her head and twined an arm around the pirate’s back, holding her close. Isabela felt the slightest twinge in her hand as her Champion stroked her back.
“It’s okay, Bells. I just wish I could have been there when the boys were born….they must have been so cute….”
Isabela blinked hard to keep tears from forming. She wished it too. She leaned up and kissed Hawke fiercely. The kiss turned sweet and affectionate and Hawke murmured loving words each time their lips separated but for a moment. Isabela lifted and buried her face in Hawke’s tunic front.
“This one will have our full attention. I think you’re up for the task.”
“I am,” Hawke murmured. “We made this baby…and I’ll do what I can for her.”

 

Isabela’s heart pained. She reached across Hawke’s torso to stroke Merrill’s arm. “She’ll be a good mother too….”
“Are you jealous? Please don’t be,” Hawke murmured. She kissed Isabela’s head.
“Not for her. Merrill helped us. But I just wish…..”
Hawke turned Isabela’s face up to her. “I know, Bells. Me too.”
Isabela cuddled on her mate, closing her eyes. Hearing Hawke’s steady heartbeat against her cheek helped.
Merrill whimpered as she began to wake and both of them rubbed her limbs, and the swell of her belly, offering her anything she needed. Merrill’s eyes opened, blinking sleepily as she grunted with surprise as the baby kicked rapidly.

 

“Just some water, please!” she begged. Isabela leaned to peck a kiss on her head, before springing for the water barrel in her chambers. Hawke spoke quietly to her and Merrill’s hand caressed her cheek lovingly. Isabela’s sharp eyes made their way to Merrill’s hips. They were rather narrow still, her former spritely form filled with the baby inside her, but the fact of it was she may still be too thin. How was she going to pass the baby?
Isabela kept her worries to herself. She knew Hawke was worried sick as it was. Only drilling their sons in swordplay kept her mind at ease at all these days.
“Here you go, kitten, drink up,” Isabela suggested. She climbed on the bed and carefully handed the tin cup to the pregnant woman. Merrill leaned up with Hawke’s help and drank deeply. A line of water trailed from the corner of her mouth.

 

• * * * * * *

 

It began early one afternoon. Merrill had protested she needed some fresh air and had waddled up to deck. Hawke had been drilling her sons but had rushed over seeing her on the arm of one of the beta males.
“I’m fine, Hawke, go on, Falcon and Lark need you,” Merrill chirped. Hawke had an agonized look on her face but gave a nervous smile. She dropped a few kisses to her mate’s brow, smiling when Merrill patted her hip softly. The ship was anchored inland, within stone’s throw of a small port town. They had lain anchor abit further from the majority of the docks and ships, to stay away from other’s authorities. A local midwife was hired, and she was kept on deck since and offered a place in the woman’s quarters.
For it was all really just a matter of days now.

 

Isabela adjusted her wide hat as she watched everyone from the wheel deck. The midwife was with Merrill now, fussing over her. Her first assessment of the elf had not been forthcoming. She had commented how thin Merrill was, despite the large swell of her belly. Privately, she had spoken with Hawke, and Isabela had pushed in to be part of that conversation.
The narrowness of Merrill’s hips had been brought up again. Hawke had blanched even paler at the assessment. The unspoken threat of the baby’s journey towards danger hung over their heads. Isabela had had to cling hard to Hawke, forcing her to calm down through bodily touch. Only after she had calmed could Hawke go near her second mate and try to appear unfazed.

 

They were dancing a delicate dance to keep worry from the young mother-to-be and Isabela worried it was in vain, even if they kept in step with nary a word to prove otherwise.
When Merrill uttered a sharp gasp, clutching her middle, Isabela had taken off. She took off her hat and flung it to a sailor who caught it, securing it for her. She knelt beside her chair, Hawke at her side. The smile Merrill tried to give them was fraught with pain. It was apparent she had entered her labor pains. Trickles of water dripped from her legs and onto the deck. Both women stared down at it.
“Well, that’s it, then. We’ll need to get her to bed,” the midwife said nonchalantly. Hawke picked the elf up easily in her arms, carrying her below decks. The twins stood, wooden weapons in hand, staring after their sire and Mamae. Isabela knelt before them, stroking a small shoulder in either hand.
“Mamae’s going to have the baby soon. Don’t worry, pups. Everything’s gonna be fine.”

 

Isabela wasn’t sure she believed it herself, but the grins on her boy’s faces was reassuring.
“We’ll be good and wait!” Falcon saluted his mother with his miniature sword. Lark cuffed his shoulder playfully. Mel strode up, coiled rope looped around one shoulder. She gave a nod to her captain.
“I’ve got them, Cap’n. Go on.”

 

Isabela gave her a grateful look and hurried after Hawke below decks.

 

• * * * * * * * *

 

Isabela didn’t know what she had been expecting. She helped her mate and the midwife, fetching boiling water from the galley, and tools and doing anything she could to help, but hours later, the labor pains had only stretched on.
Merrill was almost dilated, but lay in a puddle of her own sweat, weak and feeble. Hawke had her hand clenched tightly, the knuckles of Merrill’s thin hand turning white as she squeezed and gasped through the pain. Isabela was getting worried. Her own labor had been a few short hours and the twins had come in quick order. She was expecting the same for some reason.
But hours later, Merrill still wasn’t anywhere close. She was fully dilated, and the midwife had encouraged her to push, but there was no sign of the baby’s exodus from the birth canal. Nothing had breached Merrill’s opening and Isabela and Hawke were near pale with worry. They spoke to Merrill, fetched her things and urged her, but still there was no sign of an infant being expelled from her. The midwife was growing frustrated and worried herself, brow lined with worry.

 

Merrill herself knew something had to be wrong and was laying, gasping with shudders of pain in between trying to push. Her pain made Hawke’s heart shred. She had done this to her, it was a good thing they hadn’t been able to knot before….
“Hawke,” Merrill whispered, chapped lips parting to form her name. Hawke bent to kiss her cheek, her eyes wet with tears.
“Keep pushing, sweetheart. Please? It’ll be over soon,” Hawke lied. The midwife pulled Isabela aside. Craven had been called in to fetch something and he had lingered, eyes averted from Merrill’s bare legs. He sidled up with Isabela. As Captain, she had serious decisions to make concerning those on board.
“I think we need to make a decision,” the squat woman said. Beads of sweat lined her brow but her eyes were hard. Isabela swallowed.

 

“What even are you suggesting, woman?” she asked in a dangerous tone.
“I’ve seen long labors like this before. The baby’s in distress. At this point, it’s either it or the mother. I suppose the sire should be asked….” The midwife’s eyes fell on Hawke. The strong alpha was slouched, guilt slumping her body in visible lines.
Isabela clutched the woman’s shoulder hard with one hand. “That’s not an option!” she snapped. Hawke gestured to Craven. That she would want him near the visibly distressed laboring woman was huge in itself. She took his large hand and laid Merrill’s in it, squeezing, before letting go to sidle up with her mate and the squat midwife in the corner of the captain’s chambers.
Craven leaned to croon encouragement in his deep rumbling voice and tears fell from Merrill’s eyes.

 

“What?” Hawke snapped at the midwife. The shorter woman would not be cowed.
“This is a bad labor. The elf can’t pass it; this is apparent. We need to make a decision for mother or for the infant…”
Hawke’s fists clenched and it was only Isabela bodily getting in between her and the midwife that stopped her from attacking her. “You can’t be suggesting that! Bela!” she snapped, looking to her mate. Naked worry was in her eyes. Isabela’s heart bled.
“We have to figure something out, Hawke!”
“I’m not going to decide this!” Hawke snapped. Isabela’s eyes flashed at her.

 

“Do you?....” she was going to ask if she wanted to see Merrill dead and tripped over her own words. Neither of them wanted to see it. Isabela swallowed the hurtful words. “We just need to….” Hawke’s eyes glazed with alarmed hurt at her misstep. They stared at each other, slowly leaning together.
“I have a suggestion,” Craven spoke up. Hawke gave a short curt gesture with her hand and the midwife took his place. The tall sailor crowded in their space, leaning his head low to murmur his words and not alarm the pregnant elf.
“In…my past,” here Craven had almost slip he had been a slave. He went on. “I saw a difficult birth. The mother was the same as Merrill. Very thin. She couldn’t pass the child.”
“What are you saying?” Isabela asked. Hawke clutched her hand tightly enough to bruise.
“Well, one of….us there had learned of a new technique. He passed a knife shallowly, from hip bone to hipbone, low enough to reach the child through the cut. The child was pulled out and able to catch breath. And she was fine.”
“And the mother?” Hope warred with despair in Hawke’s heart. Craven’s eyes twinkled.

 

“She was fine too. Had to be stitched up good, but she lived.”
“Hawke, we have to do that. Kitten is too thin to pass the baby,” Isabela pleaded. Hawke gave a terse nod.
“We need valerian and carryme root,” she barked to the midwife. The woman raised a bushy eyebrow.
“I haven’t suggested the mother need be drugged,” she drawled. Hawke showed the woman a clenched fist in warning.
“NOW. Craven is going to show you where to cut and we’re going to deliver our pup.”
Craven kept his gaze from between Merrill’s legs and uncovered her waist. He traced a gentle line with one large finger below the swell of her belly, between hipbones.
“We’ll have to go quickly…” he suggested. The midwife looked alarmed but agreed.
“We need more knives,” she suggested. Isabela ran to the galley to demand more from the cook. He had several utensils boiling in water on the stove and fetched her a few clean sterilized knives. Isabela wrapped them in a towel and charged back. The lines of curious sailors in the corridor she ignored, though she felt the pulse of their encouragement. She entered the captain’s chambers.

 

Hawke was giving Merrill a hasty draught of the two numbing herbs she had ordered, and the elf coughed trying to get it down. Hawke urged her on, desperate love in her gaze.
“Love, you must drink it all,” she urged. Merrill’s eyes were naked with worry, wide and filled with tears as she finished. She slumped back, and the Champion climbed up on the bed to hold her upper torso, taking her in her arms. Isabela held up a piece of the sheets to shield Merrill from seeing what was happening below. After deemed sufficiently numbed, the midwife carefully cut, as shallowly as she could, where Craven had indicated.
Isabela blanched as Merrill lay in Hawke’s arms, listening to the Champion speak lowly to her. So much blood, oozing down. She tried to peer closer as the midwife bit her lip and peeled the flap of skin aside carefully and reached in. Suddenly a small infant was in her bloodied hands, the umbilical cord still attached inside the elf’s stomach.
“Oh, oh,” Isabela murmured in surprise. Hawke’s surprised gaze met hers and they both looked down Merrill’s body. Craven held a towel to the infant’s face as the midwife cleaned the mouth out and the infant screeched in surprise, tiny fists clenched in fury.

 

“Oh, Hawke,” Isabela breathed. And she could see it was a girl as the midwife held her aloft proudly in both hands. She was put into Craven’s large hands suddenly and the sailor crooned down to the furious squalls drifting up to him. The midwife cut the cord and went to work on the afterbirth, tugging it free with the opening, and moved quickly to stitch Merrill up. The elf’s legs moved languidly as fatigue surged through her. Luckily the numbing herbs had kept much of the pain from her.
Merrill burst into tears, hearing the baby’s cries. She lay, unmoving, trying to peer down. “Is….”
“She’s here. We all have a daughter,” Hawke rumbled to her. Merrill laughed, tears streaming down her face. Hawke leaned to kiss her face lovingly. Isabela clutched Merrill’s shoulder tightly, offering her strength as she watched the new pup. She had her coloring, darker in tone than Hawke’s, wisps of dark brown hair damp and curling. Isabela offered a towel and Craven carefully laid the pup in Merrill’s arms. Hawke and Isabela supported her and all three of them gazed at each other then at the new pup. She sniffled and cried, stopped, as if unsure, then squalled again.

 

“I guess you told us, sweet thing,” Isabela gave. Hawke gave her a lop-sided grin. She was relaxing into her role of proud sire immediately now that danger was far from her family.
“I did. It’s a girl. I knew it!” Hawke leaned to kiss the pup’s small squishy brow, and then Merrill’s lips. Isabela felt something in her heart turn seeing them share a small moment together. She was so glad kitten was alright and would be fine. The baby was here.

 

But still…..
After a few moments, Hawke noticed her first mate had slipped out. “Stay with her, Craven,” she ordered. Merrill’s eyes were fluttering closed. The pup curled up on her chest, quieting. Her heart ached but Hawke left her small family to go after Isabela.

 

• * * * * * * *

 

After a hasty announcement in passing, Hawke passed through the lines of sailors, their cheers ringing in her ears. Her sons were bouncing up and down, eager to meet the baby and check on their Mamae.
“Soon, boys. Just a few more moments,” Hawke promised. She patted them on the head affectionately and made her way up top. She glanced around the deck and glanced upward. Of course, the crow’s nest. The night was dark, the stars out overhead as Hawke climbed the rope ladder. Wisps of a breeze whistled through her short hair. Leaning against the mast, Hawke pushed at the closed hatch above her. It thumped once, then began to give. Hawke pushed up with it, climbing up into the crow’s nest.
“There you are,” Isabela drawled. She was drinking from a flask, brooding and staring off into nothing. Hawke sat beside her and put an arm around her shoulders. Luckily, Isabela didn’t pull away.

 

“Our daughter’s here. Why’d you come up here?”
“I….I don’t know…. She looks like me, but she’s kitten’s. Not ours. Not mine. Right?” Isabela uncharacteristically fretted. Hawke’s heart pained at her mate’s words. She put her hand over Isabela’s and gently lowered her flask. She turned her chin up and kissed her lips sweetly. She put all her love and devotion into it and was pleased when Isabela leaned into her, murmuring against her.
“She is ours. Did you see her? She looks just like you,” Hawke purred. Isabela’s eyes were still sad, so she pressed a few kisses across her face. “Come back with us and see. She’s all of ours. Merrill carried her too.”
“She did….” Isabela sighed. “Okay, I’ll come down.”

 

“Good girl,” Hawke said. She took the flask and took her own swig. The whiskey made a good burning stream down her throat. They climbed down and the twins rushed up, happy to see their mother back on deck. She patted their heads, smiling.
“Think kitten can handle these two?”
“She’ll be fine. Come on, boys, we’re going in to meet your sister,” Hawke said. The boys exclaimed excitedly. They quieted at a look from their tired sire.
“Now what are we gonna name her…..” Isabela wondered.
Hawke gave a shy smile at her mate. “Merrill had a few ideas. Magpie or Starling. She liked Starling.”
It boosted Isabela’s heart that she was as equally included. She beamed shyly. “Those are good names.”
“Let’s all pick together,” Hawke suggested.

 

Pushing into the captain’s chambers, the couple saw the midwife was gone, hopefully for the night. Merrill was stitched up, her torso covered with a clean nightgown. Her legs were covered with clean sheets. She was fast asleep, longer hair tousled as she sprawled across the pillows. Hawke didn’t blame her.
“Slowly, boys,” she warned as the twins charged up to Craven. For the baby lay bundled in the crook of his massive arm. He rocked the infant slowly, her face scrunched up in sleep. Merrill had fallen asleep with her hand on his arm, close to the infant as she could get. Seeing the devotion on the sailor’s face told Hawke her earlier fears were unfounded. Craven would protect her children as equally. She didn’t begrudge him guarding her second mate as she slept. She gave him a smile in thanks.
“What’s her name?” Falcon asked. He and Lark stood on their tiptoes, meeting Craven as he leaned down so they could look at the bundle in his arm.
“We’ll decide that soon enough. You are to protect her and your mothers. Can you do that, sons?” Hawke asked. Falcon and Lark nodded quickly.

 

“Course we will!”
“We’ll look after her.”
Isabela and Hawke shared a fond look. Hawke enjoyed the soft love in her mate’s gaze.
“Thank you, boys.”
“Say goodnight to Mamae and let’s be quiet leaving.”

 

Falcon touched his Mamae’s hand, whispering goodnight. Lark chirped a goodnight as well, and they left the elf sleeping heavily. Isabela took the baby from Craven and tears filled her eyes as she sank into a chair. The curve of her mouth was hers, and the shape of her jaw was all Hawke. She wondered what color eyes she had. Darting a glance further, Isabela was surprised to see the tips of the infant’s ears were pointed like an elf. She gave Hawke a confused look.

 

Hawke looked equally confused but shrugged. Ears aside, she looked like their child. But it was apparent the baby had taken abit from Merrill as well while inside her. Isabela couldn’t find it in her to bemoan the difference.

End for now

Chapter Text

Hawke’s eyes snapped open as she heard the snuffles of her infant. Her hand tightened, registering the warm bundle on her chest and she relaxed, feeling the baby’s tiny feet kicking out against her torso. When she looked around, she caught Isabela dozing at her side, face pressed against her shoulder, and Merrill awake, watching her.
Hawke’s eyes softened. “Go to sleep, Merrill,” she said softly.
Merrill reached to stroke the back of the baby’s head. Her fingers cupped the dark brown curls protectively.
“I’m leaking,” she said plaintively, and Hawke smiled to see the dart of fluid across the front of her night shift. She tried not to stare; she knew her mate was in a large amount of discomfort with her breastfeeding. Merrill took the infant as Hawke sat up and stacked the pillows so the elf would be comfortable.

 

Hawke stoked her lusts low as she tugged Merrill’s shift off so the baby could get to a breast. She woke, rosebud lips open to wail. Isabela opened her eyes at the sharp squall. Her eyes softened as she watched their daughter feed. The diapered infant was wrapped in part of a tunic, one of Hawke’s, cut down to size and wrapped around her. They really DID have to obtain some baby clothes at some point.
“How’s our little Magpie?” Isabela asked, yawning. She leaned against Hawke’s side, eyes closing despite herself. She reached, one long finger extended to the baby’s balled up fists. One tiny hand opened and clutched the digit. Isabela’s heart skipped a beat. Merrill’s eyes were soft with love as she fed the infant.
“Hungry. Oh, that feels strange… sometimes it hurts,” Merrill winced. Isabela nodded in understanding.
“With the twins, it was a lot. I was lucky I was near some friends who were new mothers also,” the pirate offered. Hawke’s eyes softened.

 

“Bela…..” she began. Isabela let the baby hold her hand, her sharp eyes retracing every feature of hers.
“I know,” Isabela said. Merrill’s eyes filled with tears but Isabela leaned to wipe her eyes with the corner of her sleeve. “Now, we can’t have you all weepy, little one.”
“I’m sorry, it’s just….” Merrill sniffled. Magpie lifted her lips from her nipple and yawned. Hawke took the baby and burped her. Her large hand gently rubbed the tiny back of her child carefully.
“Tears of happiness, little mother,” Hawke crooned. Merrill nodded. She curled up against her mate’s muscular side, reaching for her shift. The baby yawned and turned deeper into her sire’s arms. Hawke’s smile was infectious even if they all looked blasted tired.
“Oh, she messed, sweet thing,” Isabela noticed. Hawke sat up carefully and moved to stand, moving Magpie to the table.
“I’ll change her.”

 

Isabela watched her do the task with a lot of love in her gaze. Hawke hadn’t been there for the early days of the twin’s lives but was really making up for it. She didn’t seem to care she was volunteered for the messy jobs. Isabela put a hand on Hawke’s hip to prevent her from bringing the baby in.
“Go on, her cradle is sturdy,” she suggested. Hawke balked, but reluctantly laid Magpie into the cradle. The base was nailed into the floor and wouldn’t lurch with the ship’s movements. Still, she felt untethered as she laid her child in, standing and gazing in after her. Hawke bundled her carefully as Isabela had shown her. She bit her lip and slowly retreated back to the bed as the infant slept.
Her mates latched onto her as she climbed back in, but Hawke had eyes only for the cradle beside them.
“She’ll be fine, ma vhenan,” Merril said sweetly. She was already nodding off against Hawke’s shoulder. Hawke wrapped her arms around her mates and blinked as sweet warmth pulled at her limbs with promises of rest. Isabela was kissing her neck, purring as she drowsily told her to relax.

 

“She’ll be fine….” And Isabela was asleep. Darkness pulled behind Hawke’s eyelids and she finally fell to blessed sleep.

 

• * * * * * *

 

“Hold her head….like that…. Very good, Fal,” Merrill said. Falcon was sitting in one of the chairs in the captain’s chambers, tongue poked in the corner of his mouth. He carefully cradled his baby sister and stared in fascination at her rosebud features.
“She sure sleeps a lot,” Lark commented. He stood by the chair and peered down into his sister’s face. Falcon carefully held the bundle to his chest. His sister yawned and burrowed against him.
Hawke smiled and gave a loving smile to her mates. The twins noticed they looked exhausted as anything and hard to imagine the beautiful sleeping baby was the cause of it.
“Babies need their rest. Right, Bela?” she said happily. Isabela gave her a loving smile.
“Best she does and leaves us all to rest,” she teased. She combed her fingers through her son’s hair. Falcon giggled and leaned to kiss Magpie on her nose.
“Magspie, hi,” he said.
Hawke laughed. “Magpie, son.”

 

“Magpie. What’s it mean, Papa?”
“A small bird. Just like you two are,” Hawke offered.
“We’re not small; we’re Hawkes!” Lark gave a fierce grin. Hawke felt pride move through her heart. She gave him a nod.
“Yes, you are.”
“Can we drill later, Papa?” Falcon asked. Isabela leaned and carefully took Magpie from him. Her daughter burrowed into her chest, molding to her voluptuous breast. Merrill looked slightly empty, so she carefully passed the girl to her. Merrill relaxed and gazed with such adoration at their daughter, it was moving.
“You bet. What say we…”
“Cap’n!” A hasty knock admitted Mel. She saluted jauntily and smiled at the children. “Big squall a ‘coming. We should reroute our course.”

 

Isabela sprang to action. She picked up the baby, depositing her into Merrill’s arms. She then picked up Lark and Hawke followed suit, picking up Falcon. They placed the twins on the edge of the large bed and moved towards the door to head topside.
“I think we should. Sweet thing?”
Hawke cast a look to the boys and her mate and child. She gave a smile. “Boys, watch over your mamae and sister. I’ll be back down soon.”
“Yes, papa!” the boys chirped. Falcon crawled up beside Merrill to gaze down at the waking baby. Magpie squirmed and began to wail as thunder crashed overhead. Merrill hummed and rocked her.

 

Hawke firmly shut the captain’s door and followed her mate down the hallway. Cook cursed from the galley, as pots clanged, and the ship rocked hard to the left. Hawke lost her footing and grabbed at the wall. Isabela paused; she had a definite set of sea legs as it were, and she didn’t stumble once. And what a set of seas legs…..Hawke grinned and followed her to the stairwell.
Rain was pelting down hard, plastering their hair to their heads. Craven was steering on the wheel deck and Isabela made her way there quickly. He was trying to read a map, attempting in vain to shield the scroll from the rain. He tucked it away into his shirt and leaned against the wheel.
“Craven! Can we stay the course?” Isabela asked by way of greeting. Craven frowned. His large hands held onto the wheel, holding it in place. The veins in his forearms stood out though and Hawke knew the current had to be a bad one.

 

“I don’t know, Cap’n! I think we should make for one of the islands yonder. At least wait out the storm!” he suggested. Isabela nodded.
“Oh, very well. Storms come and go. Let’s take an aside,” she commanded. Craven nodded, notching the wheel to the right and holding it in place with his strength. Lightning arched across the sky and all three ducked out of reflex. A chorus of booming thunder echoed it.
Hawke could hear the sailors running to and fro on the deck below, cursing and crying out at the loud thunder.
“Will we be alright?!” she asked her mate. Hawke slung an arm around her waist, holding her close. Isabela nodded. Her bandana hung limply over her damp hair.
“Course! We’re getting out of here!”
“I hope the baby’s okay,” Hawke worried. Isabela was worried too.

 

“She will be. We’ll make sure.”
The pair stayed with Craven, reading off his map as the rain lightened the further they got off course. Dark clouds still dotted the sky, but at least the sun was trying to poke through.
Isabela took up a spyglass and hummed softly, looking through it.
“Small island ahead. We’ll set anchor off shore,” she said. Craven nodded.

 

“Aye. Cap’n!”

 

&& & & & & &

 

“She fussed the whole time,” Merrill said tiredly. Magpie had stayed awake, even though they were far from the storm at sea. Her wide green eyes took in her family as she chewed on a fist. The twins were taking advantage of her being awake, making faces and talking to her. The infant merely stared.
Hawke sighed. She rocked Magpie in the crook of one arm, letting Merrill fall against her other shoulder to rest.
“We’ll be at this island at least a day, I think. Shall we go ashore?” Isabela asked. The twins brightened then looked after their sister, asking if she could go too. Merrill watched them curiously.

 

“Maybe for abit. It’s too much excitement for such a little one,” Hawke said. Magpie continued staring up at her, rosebud lips pursing together as she sucked on a fist.
The crew came ashore in threes and fours, taking a few trips in the ship’s dingy. Hawke splashed out of the small vessel, helping drag the boat toward the sand. The twins hopped out after and waded after their sire. Hawke gave a grin and propped a boat against the side of the boat, halting its rocking motion. Magpie was awake, small squishy head covered by a bonnet much too large for an infant’s head. She fairly stared, wrapped in Isabela’s arms. The pirate carefully climbed out and took her daughter ashore. The twins flanked her on either side, casting furtive glances at the small copse of woods further in.
Hawke reached up and helped Merrill hop down, her hands strong around her hips. Merrill giggled, blushing prettily as Hawke swept her to the side to avoid splashing down in the drink.

 

“Thank you, ma vhenan,” she purred. Hawke leaned and stole a kiss, smiling when Merrill melted against her. Hawke’s arm was strong around her waist as they made their way to their family.
Some of the sailors took out instruments, small pan flutes and pipes, striking up a jaunty tune. Fish were caught and a fire set up and Cook began roasting skewers for everyone. Merrill got the first one, and Isabela waved her to it. She was the mother feeding the baby after all.
As everyone talked and jibed, Hawke gazed tiredly at the landscape. This wasn’t their island. Not the one they’d obtained documents for. But she was getting a feel for what it would be like to live on it. Her family would have a new home.

 

Falcon dropped part of his fish, but Craven gave him his. Lark showed his brother how to cup his hand under his mouth to catch any more fish. Magpie wailed as the sun beat down. A few of the sailors held up large palms to shade the baby. The singing actually quieted her, and she stared at the faces beaming down at her.
Isabela noticed Hawke’s serious expression and bumped her hip with hers. “We’ll get there yet, sweet thing. Then we’ll set up anchor awhile.”

 

Hawke gave her a smile. She nodded.

End for now

Chapter Text

Isabela stood beside the wheel, spyglass held to her eye. Craven held the wheel and Hawke craned to peer at the horizon along with her mate. Their island was there, the medium sized droplet of land surrounded by pristine blue water. Their document read “Moon shaped islet number three” due to the string of islets that connected it on either side, but Hawke knew it would be home.
Now to get rid of the specks she could see milling around on the beach. Isabela grunted beside her as she angled the spyglass from the pirates to the flag on their anchored ship. It was nowhere near as big as the Stormy Lover but looks could be deceiving. There could be twenty more sailors stashed below the small deck.
“Could be a fight. A big one,” Isabela murmured. Hawke settled a hand along her waist and leaned against her shoulder.
“We’ll handle it. They’re on OUR land,” she growled. Isabela shivered and leaned to peck a kiss on her cheek.
“Family needs some solid ground sometimes.” She agreed. Hawke grunted.

 

 

“They’ll get it.” Her thoughts swirled as always, around their new baby, and her sons. Merrill deserved a place not to worry as well. Mages were still hunted across Thedas. As if her thoughts had summoned her, Hawke noticed her second mate walking carefully across the deck. Her sons stopped whacking their weapons together and scurried to flank her.
A few of the sailors rushed to help Merrill. She was carrying the baby who was swaddled tightly and laying in a sling around her neck. Hawke rushed off the wheel deck and Isabela followed. Magpie was asleep, face nestled against Merrill’s breast. The elf smiled for her and Hawke leaned for a kiss. Merrill blushed happily up at her as they parted.
“Is that it there?” Merrill chirped. She patted the baby’s back carefully. Magpie’s lips moved in her sleep and she nestled closer. Hawke nodded.
“Our home.”
“Damn right it’s ours,” Isabela put in. Merrill gave her a soft smile.

 

“I can’t wait,” she said. Isabela patted the elf and leaned to stroke her daughter’s face with one curved finger.
“Stay here with the pups, kitten. Hawke and I will clear the refuse.”
Merrill’s eyes glinted with a fierce light. “Be careful. I mean it.”
“We will,” Hawke murmured. Isabela nodded and gestured to Craven to angle the ship away. They had to have been spotted even by the most incompetent vagabond and they’d need to swing away to give the illusion they were passing by.
But they’d circle around the islets and be back as the sun set. Hawke wanted the element of surprise to dispatching the undesirables and Isabela had it all planned. The sailors went about their tasks, but those on downtime sat on deck, sharping daggers and swords.

 

The sun angled high overhead and arched toward the west slowly. Hawke sat with her mates and baby, watching Falcon and Lark spar. As the sun begin to settle along the horizon, contrasting against the ocean in waves of orange, Hawke stood.
She offered Merrill her hand and led her to the captain’s quarters and helped settle her and Magpie into the large bed. Hawke watched her mate settle against the pillows and unwind the baby’s sling. Magpie pressed against Merrill’s breast, fist clenched against the soft flesh as she slept.
“I’ll be back,” she purred. Merrill smiled and leaned up. Hawke bent to kiss her lips sweetly.
“Don’t be reckless, Hawke,” Merrill chided. Hawke touched her cheek and leaned to kiss Magpie’s soft curls.
“I won’t,” Hawke promised. She left her there and joined Isabela on deck. The twins put their wooden weapons up and watched ten sailors line up, ready to depart for the island.

 

“Boys, you stay with Cook. Do everything he says,” Isabela ordered. The twins nodded. The chubby man wearing his custom apron saluted.
“We’ll have to get the evening meal ready, won’t we lads?” he asked. Falcon and Lark nodded, but their eyes followed their parents as they readied their weapons. Hawke strapped a massive two-handed long sword to her back and Isabela sheathed Bodice-ripper and Heartbreaker.
Hawke took her mate’s hand, thumb running across her knuckles. “Ready, love?”
“Yes.” A hard glint filled Isabela’s eyes. “Let’s make them run.”

 

Everyone quieted as they filed into two dinghies, rowing quietly toward shore as dark began to descend across the landscape. Hawke found herself grinning as she picked out targets. Her hand reached over her shoulder, clenching the hilt of her long sword.

 

& & & & & &

 

The first man to fall was a sleeping scout at the edge of the island. He woke barely in time to try to shout before he was knocked out with a blow to the head. Hawke nodded. They could limit casualties where they could help it. But the next two they encountered a good way in sprang to their weapons. Hawke hamstrung one, leaving him falling to his knees and hissing in pain, while Craven blocked the second from his weapon. A heavy fist on his skull rendered him unconscious. Isabela nodded as three sailors fell on the first man crawling, his ankles bleeding, gagging and hog-tying him. And rather quickly at that.
“Let’s go,” Isabela whispered. The sailors and Hawke nodded, jogging quietly toward a few bonfires they could make out through the trees. A few ramshackle huts had been raised quickly and Hawke wondered how many people were in the crew.

 

Then the hue was raised, and all hell broke loose in their direction. Hawke moved beside her mate, her longsword rising and falling. Isabela was still as fast as ever, dodging and weaving with her blades, but Hawke remained glued to her side. No harm would come to her mate on their land, she was bloody stubborn to see that remain so.
Hawke was beside her mate, kicking a thin door to one of the huts in. There was a small firepit inside, the smoke wreathing out through a hole in the slanting ceiling. But Hawke’s attention was on the five people inside, all bare, skin glistening from interrupted activities; half were screaming while the other half were scrambling for blades.
“Throw your weapons down!” Isabela yelled. Craven shouldered his way through the short entryway and when he stood tall inside, two of the betas shrank back. The other three, alphas all, didn’t listen to Isabela.

 

“Fuck you! Get ‘em!” One of the alpha women spat. She and her two companions sprang up, uncaring about their nudity, and met Hawke and Craven first. Craven countered with his machete, then slammed his other forearm across one of the men across the face. He went down like a sack of spider monkeys, and the other alpha woman screamed as Hawke pressed her back to the hut wall, her blade knocked from her grasp. Hawke pressed her blade close to her throat and gave a grin. The last one, who obviously carried some authority by her tone and elaborately jeweled blade, was pressed to surrender by Isabela’s blades. Isabela stood tall, one dagger held to her throat, the other upraised above her head.
“Worth your life?” she asked. The woman grunted, fear mixing with fury in her dark eyes.
“No,” she spat.

 

“If you’re the captain, call your crew down. My men and women have them all down for the count as it is,” Isabela said casually. Hawke had to laugh as the naked captain flushed with rage. Isabela didn’t allow her or any of the others to touch their clothes and were marched out naked as jaybirds. Isabela’s crew laughed as the betas and alphas tried to cover their charms with their hands.
“What the fuck do you want with us? We set anchor here first!” the captain spat. Isabela gave her a kick in the back of her thigh, almost tumbling her.
“This here’s our island. We have papers. Not that we brought them to a fight,” Isabela drawled. Hawke shouldered her long sword and stood tall at her side.
“By order of Antivan law. This is our island, so step off.”
“Well said, Hawke,” Isabela nodded. She gestured with her dagger to the remaining conscious crew. “Get out of here! And don’t let me catch you here again.”
“You can’t do this, Isabela!” the naked captain recognized her then. “I’ll have your head on a pike.”

 

Isabela tugged her arm up behind her back and pressed her dagger into her throat. The woman shrank back into her. “Take mercy where you find it. Get out.”
The rival pirates were ejected through much catcalling and cheering from Isabela’s crew. She threw a branch into one of the camp’s firepits, banking the fire higher. The sparks rose high into the dark night.
“Mel, select five crew to take guard on the beach. Three will guard the ship. The rest of us will camp here.”
“Get enough rest, we’ll need to start building tomorrow,” Hawke ordered. The sailors grinned and went about their tasks. Craven and Mel were among the five selected to camp on the beach. They took a few torches from the campfire and marched out single file. The dinghies moved back and forth between the anchored Stormy Lover and the beach, transporting supplies and Isabela’s family.

 

The twins splashed down in the water as they neared the sand, helping the sailors pull the small boat further onto land. Merrill was seated in the boat, cradling Magpie. The infant cried but quieted when her parents neared and helped Merrill out. Hawke took the baby, allowing Merrill to tie the sling around her neck. The baby leaned into her familiar scent, eyes wide, but quiet as Hawke carried her through the dark toward the campsite. Merrill had her arm slung through Isabela’s and the women giggled as they followed their mate.
“Was it much of a fight?” Merrill asked. Isabela laughed.
“A cut here or there, but we let them run. I wouldn’t sully our land with blood,” Isabela boasted.

 

“We would have if it went badly,” Hawke promised. Her strong arm cradled the curve of the baby slung against her. Magpie’s feet wriggled and she moved against her sire, babbling softly.
“We’re really gonna live here?” Falcon asked. He and Lark hopped over a few tree branches and sat in front of the large campfire. A few of the sailors broke out bottles of whiskey and rum and shared them. Isabela took a draw on one of the whiskey bottles and handed it back to one of the omegas.
“Yes, son,” she said. “Guess we’re camping tonight.”

 

The boys giggled as one of the sailors piled a few blankets on top of them. Hawke sat on a log in front of the fire, seeing to her baby. Magpie wriggled her legs and stared up at her. Hawke pressed her lips to her soft forehead.
“I hope we know what we’re doing,” Merrill said. Isabela helped her down on a pile of blankets and slung an arm around her shoulders.
“Not too often I do. But we have a home, kitten. That is worth celebrating,” Isabela beamed. Hawke stared at her, love in her gaze. Isabela grinned at her.

 

& & & & & &

 

The sailors were put to work on building sturdier homes. The house for the captain and her family was built around the trunk of a massive tree. Rooms were added and wooden walkways built attaching the larger house to the other establishments that sprang up under nearby trees.
Hawke didn’t like the baby being out under the open air at night and had opted for the children to be on the ship until their home was complete. It took some weeks. A few times, Isabela had had to sail with Stormy Lover to a nearby port to pick up supplies and more timber. A token force was left to guard the beach when they did, and the building picked up steam as the weeks dragged to months. Hawke was helping Isabela purchase new bedding and curtains for the main room when she realized the house was almost done.

 

“We have everything for Maggie?” she asked on one such outing. The baby’s nickname was picked up immediately by the twins and had stuck. Mags was also used in passing.
Isabela was picking through swaths of fabric held on a merchant’s arm. The woman tucked each bolt of fabric over on each other when Isabela shook her head at the pattern. Isabela grinned at her mate. Hawke was dressed in her best new clothing, tunic nondescript and without her family crest. Merrill fit into her old tunic and leggings with ease and looked regal even in her simple outfit. The way she hung on Hawke’s arm spoke of decadence. The baby in question was slung around Hawke’s neck and shoulder, bonnet tied over her soft scalp.
“Craven and the men carved a new cradle for her. We have everything she’ll need and….” Isabela trailed off. Hawke’s eyes softened. She and Merrill surrounded the pirate. Hawke could offer only one hand, squeezing her mate’s shoulder. Merrill hugged her free arm.

 

“It’s okay. We almost have it done. It is a lot,” Hawke breathed. Isabela nodded, eyes shining. The merchant looked away until the pirate had her composure.
“How about this selection, madame?” she asked. Isabela nodded. The feather in her large hat waved with the gesture.
“That one,” she said confidantly. Hawke squeezed her hip and rocked the baby who began fussing. Craven was waiting outside with the twins who were staring at everything in the market. Craven was dressed in a new jacket tailored for his enormous size. Hawke wondered how close he was getting to Mel, who had made the article of clothing for him. She hoped close for Mel’s sake. She was falling head over heels it seemed.

 

The small family took up their pups again and Craven followed as guard. The sailors were filing up to the ship, purchases tucked under arm over carried slung over their shoulders. Isabela smiled as they filed up the gangplank.

 

“Let’s get home,” she said. The loving look Hawke gave her was worth it.

 

• * * * * * *

 

“What in all Thedas are you doing, Bela?” Hawke exclaimed. They had just landed back at their island and Isabela was hard at work getting up to mischief. Hawke was holding the baby, watching as her mate climbed onto a barrel bigger than she was. Merrill was on the sand, helping a sailor do something to it that Hawke didn’t know what about.
“Starting our distillery, of course!” Isabela crowed. “Didn’t expect whiskey and rum to fall out of the trees, did you?”
“Well, no….” Hawke rocked Magpie carefully. She reached to help Lark hop across a set of tools so he wouldn’t trip. “Hey, watch it, pup.”
“Sorry, Papa,” Lark grinned. Falcon handed a beta sailor a hammer when he asked for it.

 

“We’ll need our own supplies. AND we’ll need a way of making money. Can’t do mercenary work forever, sweet thing,” Isabela said idly. But Hawke knew she meant it. Their sons were getting taller and the baby was sitting up already. Their family was getting bigger and would need all three of them. Isabela didn’t say it aloud, but Hawke knew she wanted them to be safe.
“I agree. It was fine for a time helping out in Kirkwall. But we don’t have to be in danger all the time,” Merrill chirped up. Hawke gave her a wry grin.
“Thanks for backing me up when you did,” Hawke drawled. Merrill smiled but a small blush was across her features.
“Well…” she stuttered. Falcon tugged at his mamae’s hand.
“We have our own room in the new house!” he crowed. Lark looked as excited. The sailors grinned as they went about securing the large barrels. Isabela accepted one of the beta’s hand to hop down safely.

 

“No more ship for awhile, boys. This is our home,” she announced. Falcon and Lark looked excited and Hawke had to smile. The large house was made of purchased timber and the walls and floor were stout and firmly hammered into place. The ceiling was finely made and there was no need for a temporary fire pit. Isabela had purchased an actual metal oven and had it installed with pipes venting out of the kitchen roof. The table was large, and chairs had been made for all of them.
Hawke smiled as she carried Magpie through the new kitchen and to the front room. Chairs had been made here too and glass had been purchased and installed for the windows. The new curtains were hung. A shuffling sound and Hawke turned to notice her mates following her. She turned and leaned into their open arms. The baby was pressed between them, gurgling at the attention from all of her parents.

 

 

“Is it enough, Hawke?” And here Hawke noted a trace of uncertainty in Isabela’s voice. Hawke nodded. She pressed her brow against the pirate’s.
“It’s so grand. It’s good, love. It is,” she promised. Isabela beamed.
“I got a bed to scale for all of us. We’re sleeping indoors today,” she promised. Hawke grinned. Their things had been brought into the master bedroom and Hawke sat on the edge of the wide bed. The mattress had been purchased in port and had taken five sailors to carry in. She patted Magpie’s back, smiling at the simple but well-made furnishings. The baby’s cradle was set in the corner by the large bed and Hawke could see it being taken into the third bedroom once the girl got bigger. And the thought that she could relax and see that happen made her truly happy.
But for now….

 

“You’ll go right to sleep tonight, right, Mags?” Hawke asked softly. Magpie stared up at her, burbling. “Papa needs time with your mothers.” The baby stared at her with her green eyes. Hawke grinned, bouncing her.
“What ARE you planning, Hawke?” Isabela leaned in the doorframe, smiling wickedly. Hawke felt the jolt all the way between her legs. She smiled.
“A tasteful exploration, hopefully,” Hawke drawled. Isabela grinned.
“Me or Kitten first?” she asked. Hawke leaned back, cradling the baby to her chest. She spread her knees. Isabela sat beside her and began rubbing her thigh in a very unsubtle way.
“You if you keep pushing me like that,” she growled. Isabela dipped a hand further up to the junction between her thighs. She gave her growing shift a firm squeeze, smiling as Hawke gasped. Hawke pouted, rocking the baby.

 

“Really, in front of the children,” she teased. Isabela took Magpie, smiling down at her. The baby reached up to pat her face.
“I expect a thorough report later, sweet thing,” Isabela purred. Hawke grinned at her.
“What are you two going on about?” Merrill asked. She came in carrying an armful of bedding and made up the baby’s cradle. Hawke gave a soft smile as Isabela laid the baby in it and they all stood looking down at her.
“Hawke has plans on us later,” Isabela teased. Merrill blushed. But the look she gave Hawke was one of longing.
“I’d like to see that,” she stammered. Hawke found herself blushing under her mate’s gaze.
“So, should we begin or….” Hawke gestured to the bed, grinning.
The twins began calling from the second bedroom. “Mamaaaaa!”
Isabela laughed as everyone looked at each other. “Later. Let’s have dinner with the crew first.”

 

 

Merrill brightened. “Yes!”
Hawke patted the baby as she began to flutter asleep. They left the front door wide open so they could hear her if she woke and the crew brought dishes from their own houses. Everyone ate on the wooden walkway and chattered excitedly. Isabela smiled as the sun began to set and lanterns were lit in the other wooden houses.
The crew said goodnight to the captain and Hawke gently closed the front door. They took dishes to the kitchen to wash up and Falcon and Lark were dressed for bed.
“Go on, to bed,” Hawke urged. She slung one of the boys across her shoulder and patted his rear with one hand as she carried him to his room.
Lark giggled as he was gently tossed on one of the narrow beds. “Good night, Papa!”
“You like it here?” Hawke asked as she tucked Falcon into his own bed opposite his brother’s. The boys stared at her and nodded.
“It’s so sunny, and warm, and the baby likes it here too,” Falcon said. Lark nodded, pulling his covers up to his chest.

 

“Good,” Hawke said. She blew out the lantern and opened the room’s window. “Good night, pups.”
Hawke made her way to the master bedroom. Isabela was rocking the baby as Merrill covered her breasts up from a feeding. Hawke prowled in and took the elf into her arms, making her squeak in surprise.
“Oh, no fair, my hands were full,” Isabela complained. She rocked Magpie and laid her in the cradle, bundling her. The baby’s eyes were closed, and she breathed evenly.
“Get over here then,” Hawke growled. Merrill had pushed her onto her back and taken up residence over her lap. Hawke grasped her hips with both hands and urged her to grind down. Merrill gasped as she was pushed against the hard shaft of her mate’s shift. She blushed in the dim light.

 

Isabela began undressing, laying her earrings and choker on the dresser. When she climbed onto the bed, she was completely nude. Hawke smiled as her cock throbbed at the sight.

 

End for now

Chapter Text

Magpie was coming on her third name day when she started exhibiting signs of magic. She had been playing in the sand, bare legs browning under the sun, as her brothers played around her. The sailors were across the beach, some working on the distillery, others sunning themselves, or sparring with their own wooden weaponry.
Lark noticed this and nudged his brother. They grabbed their weapons and ran to join in. Craven ruffled Falcon’s hair with a large hand and the twins got to work. They were nearing their tenth name days and were growing tall. Magpie reached out with chubby hands, grunting with effort, then sparks of green magic erupted from her fingertips. Merrill, Hawke and Isabela ran to her side rather quickly, Merrill first to put her hands around the baby’s and calm her magic.
Magpie stared up at her mamae as her magic was pulled into her, funneled between their hands. “Just like that, da’len!” Merrill urged. Magpie gurgled up at her.
“Ma,” she grinned.
Hawke ran a hand through her tousled hair. “What was that!” she breathed. Isabela gave her a rueful look.

 

 

“Should have known we’d have a mage. It tends to run in your family, doesn’t it?”
“A mage?” Hawke couldn’t help looking worried. She bit her lip, trying to smile as her baby giggled up at her, feet pushing in the sand happily. “Damn…”
Isabela scooped up the baby, heart warming as her daughter’s eyes lit up. “It’ll be fine, sweet thing. We’ll make it so.”
Merrill nodded. “There’s so much I can teach her. The life of an apostate is not so bad….you know this, Hawke.”
Hawke winced, looking guilty. Her own father had been an apostate, separate from magi circles. But the old worries of keeping temptations from her mage family members reared in her thoughts. The one time she wasn’t as vigilant with Bethany and the Blight threatened to consume her….
“Well, mages certainly have fought back for their place,” Hawke murmured. The war that had started during their run from Kirkwall supported that. Anytime they heard news from nearby island communities confirmed it. Her actions to defend the mages left in Kirkwall had sparked some kind of revolt all across Thedas. Mage circles were abandoned. It was a strange thing to get news of on the way outside looking in. She wondered if somewhere, Bethany would approve.

 

 

The baby squealed as Isabela bounced her.
“Oh, you sweet thing,” she was murmuring. Magpie patted her face and leaned up for a hug. “I should have known your children would always be some work.”
But Isabela had a smirk on her face, so Hawke didn’t take it as a slight. She gave her usual roguish grin, rolling her bare biceps under the sun.
“You love it,” Hawke grinned.
Isabela was rubbing her nose against Magpie’s. “You know, I do.”
Hawke’s heart soared. She grinned at Merrill who slung an arm around her waist. “Well when you put it that way.”

 

Hawke watched Merrill take Magpie from Isabela and both of her mates knelt on the sand, talking together. Merrill was explaining spells to the pirate and the baby stared at them. At least she hadn’t touched blood magic, not since Kirkwall. Maybe all their past secret arguments about it had finally rung true. Hawke could only be grateful.
The cuts along her arms had healed, some leaving faint lines of scars. The silent way she’d kiss those marks could only show her heart for her mate. Merrill would have to be the one to guide their daughter. And not in the dangers of blood magic.
Hawke swallowed. So many years ago, she remembered Father doing the same with a very young Bethany. His deep voice telling her what she needed to do…. She had been a few years older than her daughter, but the similarity was striking. Hawke blinked back tears. Her daughter was staring at her, chubby hands reaching.
“Da!” she called. Hawke knelt and swung the toddler to her shoulder. Magpie giggled. Hawke pressed a kiss to her dark brown curls, inhaling the unique baby scent of her scalp. The kiss she pressed to the sharp tips of her daughter’s ears earned a giggle.
“When can you begin teaching her?” she asked her second mate. Merrill’s eyes sparkled.

 

“She won’t keep lessons at this point. We’ll have to wait. And monitor her magic use,” she said wisely. Hawke gave her a rueful smile. She rocked Magpie who was giggling in her ear. Island life had been strange for her to get used to. After the hubbub of Kirkwall, the comings and goings and want for her aid, it was strange to wake with her family slowly and take each day as it came. The only extenuating task seemed to be drilling the twins and watching her mate work the rum and brandy distillery under the large palm trees.
Hawke tried to keep her muscles up. She worked the twins hard, and they were growing lean and willowy, small muscles forming. They did enjoy jogging with her on the beach with a few of the other sailors after breakfast. The hours passed slowly on the island, but Hawke found she liked seeing her mates happy. And the pups loved their home.
Hawke sat on the sand, long legs sprawling. Magpie settled into her lap, small hands clutching her forearms. Hawke cast her gaze down the beach where Falcon and Lark were sparring with Craven and another of the men. She smiled when Isabela sat beside her.

 

 

“How are you?” she asked softly. Hawke gave her a tender smile.
“Fine. All of this….never thought you’d want it. At least when I met you,” Hawke admitted. Isabela gave her a loving look. She trailed her hand along Hawke’s forearm, trailing her finger across Magpie’s pudgy hand.
“When I first met you…I knew you’d be fun. You always are.” But Isabela leaned in to kiss her mate’s cheek. She whispered in her ear. “I was wrong back then. There’s more and…..I’m glad I came back.”
“Me too,” Hawke blushed. She bounced Magpie in her lap. “I love you, Bela.”

 

“I know….” Isabela kissed her cheek. “I love you too.”
The smile on Hawke’s face was bright. Small zaps tingled her forearms and Hawke yelped as Magpie begin surging spurts of green magic. “Merrill!”
The tentative whine in her mate’s voice spurned Merrill to action. She knelt down and captured her daughter’s hands gently, talking to her in a soothing tone. The baby’s brow furrowed, then her face lightened to a smile. She listened to the soft elvish words from her mamae and calmed.

 

& & & & & & &

 

Isabela cast a shrewd look over her children. The twins were holding onto their sister’s hands, one on either side, and walking slowly with her. The toddler was happy to see new people in this community some islands over from their home. They had an established series of stores and her crew loved to shop there when she could make the journey. And they’d had to often, to have clothing made for a growing baby. Magpie’s new outfit was finely sewn but plain without family crest. Same as the rest of her family.
“That’s her, isn’t it?” Isabela overheard. Her hand settled over the hilt of Bodice-Ripper. “The Champion.”
“Ex-Champion. Kirkwall’s a mess.”
“Fits Varric’s description. Tall, slender, dark hair. That scar….”

 

Belatedly, Isabela realized her mate had kept her rogue’s hood pulled back. That useless hood was settled around her shoulders as she basked in the island sun, looking over wares. She wondered if she had time to whisper the potential danger to her mate when the decision was taken out of her hand.
“Champion Hawke!” an old man had taken up pace beside her mate. Isabela froze. Her mate froze as well, features frozen in a rictus of confusion. “That is you, isn’t it?”
“I….I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Hawke gave. She met pace with her pups and picked up Magpie to her shoulder. Her twins flanked her, staring at the old man in confusion.
“Aye, twin boys, same as Varric said,” the man nodded to himself. He reached into his satchel, but instead of a weapon he pulled out a bottle of wine. He grinned, extending it out to the confused ex-Champion. And Hawke was too polite to refuse the gift. “For you, for helping the city always.”

 

 

“You’re a Kirkwaller,” Hawke said in response. She stared at the name on the bottle. It was from a high-end company that sold their brand in the city. Or was it used to now?
The man nodded. “I’ve friends in the Circle. They say you helped them. Helped them get away to live the lives they wanted. That’s just, well my way of thanking you. For doing the right thing.”
Hawke blushed. Isabela strolled to her side and took the baby. “It was nothing.”
“It wasn’t nothing,” the old man insisted. “Thanks, Champion. You always were of the right stuff, I knew it.”
A few of the islanders that heard pressed a few bottles in thanks and Isabela had to bag most to keep up. By the time they left the market, they had a good ten bottles of very well aged wine and brandy. Top-shelf as it were.
“Well, this is a nice surprise,” Isabela drawled. Hawke shot her a worried look. She had pulled her hood back over her features after the recognition.

 

“We don’t want them knowing where we live, do we?” she asked.
“We won’t. But still, good wine and brandy. Damned good names,” Isabela grinned. Merrill was going over one of the bottles with Hawke.
“Is this a good one?” she chirped. Hawke nodded to her mate.
“Yes.”
“Then we’ll share some later,” Merrill suggested. Hawke gave her a soft look.
The sail back to their island took the rest of the afternoon and as Isabela’s crew secured the Stormy Lover, she rowed back to shore with her family in tow. Isabela opened the door to the room off the kitchen at the back of their house. Mainly it was used for storage of food stuffs and other supplies. Isabela pulled out the bottles and lined them upon the shelves built into the wall.

 

“Well, that’s a right nice collection to start,” Isabela grinned. “Which shall we start with?”
“Antivan red. That’s a good one,” Hawke said. She bounced Magpie to her shoulder.
“Right for upper society,” Isabela drawled. “Your good tongue and all.”
“Oh hush, love,” Hawke blushed. Isabela grinned as she popped the cork and went in search of glasses for the three of them.

 

 

& & & & & & & &

 

Hawke gave a nervous look into the master bedroom. Isabela was combing out Merrill’s hair. She had grown it longer and it was a very becoming look. Her elf beamed catching her eye. Both women were wearing their skimpy night shifts and the bare glimpses of thigh had Hawke smiling to herself. She loved…..being with them. To put it frankly. But her mates were smelling more and more alluring. Hawke had had a heat with one or the other at a time. But so far Merrill hadn’t synched up with Isabela. And her pirate could leave her sleeping for days after a heat. But the scents she noticed now were enough to make her heart quicken and shift form. Hawke took a deep breath, staggering to capture her sanity.
“The boys are laying down. How’s Mags?” Hawke asked. Merrill nodded to the other room. Magpie’s cradle had been put in there the previous few months and she was taking to sleeping alone.

 

 

“Sleeping like a kitten, like Kitten,” Isabela giggled. She gave the elf an affectionate squeeze and lay half on her side grinning at Hawke. Hawke swallowed. Her cock was already hard and straining against the front of her loose trousers. The looks her mates gave her was bordering on salacious and more than a little expectant. While she loved the intimacy and then some, they did have three children. Three should be enough. It was why she started spending on Isabela’s belly. Her mate was not happy about that and it was showing. “Are you coming?”
“Really? You’re going with that?” Hawke taunted. She unfastened her light tunic and the looks her mates gave her torso as it was revealed was more than alittle gratifying. Merrill leaned up to help unwind her breast band. The small kisses she placed along her side as she did so told her she would be wanted for more than a simple embrace. Hawke smiled at her second mate, cupping her cheek in one hand. She leaned to kiss her. The unsubtle loosening of her trouser laces from her other side told her Isabela didn’t want to sit this one out. Hawke whined in Merrill’s mouth and gasped as she leaned back from her kiss. “Isabela!”
“What, it’s not like you can be surprised at this point.” The grin on her pirate’s face was smug indeed. And she’d found her prize, hand cupping her shift and squeezing firmly. “And yes, I’ll be going. With that.”

 

Hawke smiled, a few beads of sweat dotting her brow as she eased her hips back, sliding out of her trousers. Merrill’s hand ran along her bare thigh, caressing her. They both took an angle of her and Hawke gasped as she was stroked, her mouth against Merrill’s, and Isabela’s doing…wonderful things. Hawke could only tangle a hand through the pirate’s dark hair to show her thanks. When she was done, Isabela swallowed as much as she could, wiping her mouth with the back of her hand.
As Hawke lay panting, body glistening with a fine sheen of sweat, she was jarred back to the now with Merrill crawling up her body. Her thighs pressed on either side of her hips and Hawke groaned as she stirred again.
“You’re both going to kill me one day,” she said. But one hand steadied Merrill’s hip as the other caressed her thigh, fingers zeroing in on the elf’s clit. Merrill gave a sharp cry and gave her a hooded look of lust. It was so unbecoming of her usual shy nature that Hawke had to swallow with anticipation.

 

“Oh, we wouldn’t damage you, sweet thing. We need our goods as it were,” Isabela purred. She lay along Hawke’s side, caressing her flesh and kissing her breasts. Hawke turned to kiss her, then her attention was brought to how much of her length her second mate could take. She helped the elf gently begin to ride her. The moon arched high over the island.

 

& & & & & &

 

When Hawke woke, she had to use the washroom so she hopped out of bed as quietly as she could. Her mates were tangled with each other, Isabela wrapped around Merrill’s side. The contrast of their skin tones was pleasing to look at and Hawke hurried with emptying her bladder. She thought about stopping to check on the pups and the baby, when a sweet smell wafted to her nose. Wafted? More like floated out and slapped her in the face.
Her mates were waking and the soft sighs they gave told Hawke they expected much more of her. And what’s more, her cock couldn’t agree more. The previous night couldn’t begin to compare with the hunger that began roiling in her belly at their scent.

 

“Heat already?” Hawke murmured. The mattress dipped under her weight. Merrill turned to press into her arms, naked curves flush against her. Isabela curled along Hawke’s other side, hands stroking wherever she could reach. Hawke couldn’t stop from touching both back in kind. The closer her right hand got to the juncture between Merrill’s thighs, the higher her moans became. The honey sweet scent of her heat fanned brighter and Hawke gave her a soft grin. Isabela’s scent spiked and Hawke gasped against the elf’s shoulder. She turned her head and her lips were taken in a hard kiss. Hawke moaned as Isabela stroked her tongue with her own, hand between her thighs and coaxing her shift to stiffness. Not that she needed the help.
It was like the previous night hadn’t happened. Hawke was as hard as she could remember being during a heat and she wanted to sink into one of the two women beside her, claim them, fill them, over and over as their bodies asked for. Both of them in heat at once! Her overheated brain threatened to short-circuit at the thought.

 

But she could hear the boys moving in their bedroom, giggling and talking. The baby would be up any moment. Hawke groaned. Once they got started, she wasn’t sure she’d be able to stop. No, the pups had to go to someone else. At least for today. If both heats went on, they need to be taken care of.
“Mate…..pups….” Hawke whined. Her mind was slowly being glazed over with red passion. Her words reflected her current one-track mind.
Merrill gave a gasp against her shoulder, shaking. She and Isabela gazed at each other, warring a silent battle without words. Hawke made to get up herself, erection be damned, to collect her pups. Who should watch them….Craven or Mel. Whoever was up, whoever was first…
Isabela gave a groan of disappointment and pulled her white tunic on. She left her boots where they were and didn’t bother with her corset. Her dark skin was flushed darker yet and she gave the two women on the bed a blistering look of lust. “If you get started, Hawke, I expect a turn when I get back,” she all but growled. Hawke gave her a look of soft lust as much as she could manage. Merrill was half on her chest, kissing along her collar, hand dipping between her legs.

 

 

“Both of you…I swear,” Hawke groaned. Isabela’s gaze drifted up and down her mate’s shifting musculature and she left the master bedroom with a moan. She tried to collect herself. If she had time, she’d splash cold water all over her face. She felt so overheated that any bit of water was like to sizzle off her flesh. The twins were playing on the floor with their carved wooden soldiers, giving her a smile. Isabela tried to be congenial to her offspring, but she was on fire. She gently but urgently told the twins to gather up some things, they’d be spending the day and possibly the night with Craven or Mel.
She didn’t register the twin’s excitement. They did love Craven and Mel. Isabela hurried into the third bedroom to collect Magpie. The toddler was awake and keeping quiet to herself. Isabela gave her a changing and collected some of her things. At her look, the twins hurried to keep up with their pirate mother. Something was up and they knew to obey her.

 

The crew was up and about, some lounging outside their front doors, windows open to air out the wooden housing. Everyone was barefoot, everyone was amicable and happy. Some of the sailors hailed greetings, but some had already scented her. The few alphas quivered and deliberately went inside to avoid any altercation. They did not want to face Hawke’s wrath and Isabela was mated and out of bounds. The betas that remained outside watched her avidly, but politely averted their gaze when they were noticed by the flustered pirate queen. She found Craven and Mel eating breakfast on the sand. The boys chirped greetings and sat on either side of the large man. Mel took the baby, hoisting her on one hip. The pair only had to inhale to know the situation. Craven turned his stolid frame away so he wouldn’t ogle his captain. The shudder that passed through his broad shoulders spoke of his reaction in so many ways.
“Sorry it’s so sudden…” Isabela was saying but Mel smiled as the baby patted her face with one palm.
“It’s fine, Isabela. I imagine we’ll keep them a few days.”
Isabela nodded, shivering. “Yes…. Boys, listen to Craven and Mel. And look after your sister.”

 

“Yes, Mama!” Falcon nodded gravely. He didn’t understand why his mother was shivering in the heat, but he’d do what she asked. Lark nodded, plopping beside Mel to talk at his sister. Isabela left her pups in good hand and all but ran back to her house.
She could hear the moans before she reached the master bedroom. Throwing open the door, she surveyed her mate on top of Merrill. The elf’s head was thrown back, delicate throat white and open. Hawke’s face was buried against her shoulder, nipping and biting as her hips churned between Merrill’s open thighs. They noticed her at the same time and a pulse of want came from Hawke and an affectionate caress from Merrill. Isabela tore her tunic off and hopped onto the bed. She took one of Hawke’s hands and kissed each finger before laying it between her damp thighs.

 

“Hurry, sweet thing,” she urged. Hawke pounded more urgently, but her thrusts were as firm as she could make them. A glance between them told Isabela that Merrill was taking more of Hawke than she could have before Magpie’s birth. An interesting thought, but her lust had the better of her and jealousy roiled that it would be HER turn soon.
“Just let me do this!” Hawke growled at her. Isabela ran her nails down the back of Hawke’s thigh, hearing her yelp in response and jog her hips in response. Merrill mewled under her, sweating. “Isabela!”
“That’s right,” Isabela purred at her. “I love how you say my name.”

 

The lustful grin Hawke shot her made her even more wet. Merrill buried her face in Hawke’s shoulder, murmuring her name. Hawke turned her head and gave her a hard kiss. Soon Merrill finished for this time and Hawke slid out on a tide of her release. She kept her hand between Merrill’s thighs, knowing she felt so vulnerable after, but soon Isabela was pressed against her, trying to straddle her hips. Hawke growled and let go of Merrill, reaching for the pirate’s hips. She threw her on her back and slid between her thighs.

 

& & & & & & &

 

“Are you sure this is a good idea?”
The captain of the small ship gave a grin in response. “Surely you haven’t forgotten Isabela’s intrusion into our fun? We settled that island rightfully and she had to stick her neck into it. I don’t care if she drudged up papers somewhere. We were there first!”
“Aye!” the other pirates cheered. The woman settled her hand on the hilt of her jeweled blade. She had a few short years to brood on her options. Other raids had taken up her crew’s time but now was a time for vengeance.

 

The third islet in the string of islands they had been ejected from would know their wrath. It was high day, but the surveillance of the other pirates had grown lax. The captain noted this. The two dinghies they rowed to shore revealed some of the sailors working a distillery. Good, they could take some rum on the way out. For now, their quarry was somewhere in the series of wooden houses built along the tree trunks ahead. They made their charge fast and silent, only bothering to knock out one or two sailors that noticed. The rest were oblivious to the danger they could face.
The captain made her way in through the back door of the largest house that had to be the captains. That bitch Isabela was going to get it. One of the alphas behind her snickered in anticipation when they heard a string of moans from one of the bedrooms. She didn’t have to glance to know he’d been affected, erect and straining.

 

“Focus,” she snapped over her shoulder in a harsh whisper. The man grinned lasciviously at her. There was a few muffled shouts and thuds from the master bedroom and the woman captain collected herself. It was almost good they’d catch Isabela with her pants down. They’d have no defense. Even her alpha would be slow to realize the danger.
When the door to the bedroom was kicked open, a few things happened all at once. The pirate began yelling her intentions, the elf on the bed yelped, hands wreathing in magic, Isabela grabbed a dagger and while her men behind her were unsheathing, the half-stunned alpha on the bed reacted quicker. She had been inside of her adversary, but she hadn’t knotted for she pulled out, springing for a jug of water on the bedside table. With one arch of her arm, she hurled it straight at her. Water flew out of it in its overhead arch and the captain barely had time to duck and it smashed into the face of the man behind her. The loud oof! He expelled startled her. The crash of the pottery against his face spurred her to action.
“Isabela! You bitch!” she screamed. Isabela flung a dagger at her she barely managed to knock away. As she advanced into the room, Isabela was tugging another from under the mattress, unperturbed to her nudity. The magic the elf had called up enveloped her, immobilizing her. The captain yelped in surprise. She hadn’t known Isabela had a mage close at hand. Too late, she realized her mistake. And Isabela’s alpha, the once Champion of Kirkwall, was climbing off the bed, naked, musculature roiling with her rage as she advanced upon them. A flick of her eyes told her of the sword in the alpha’s hand.

 

“Cap’n, I can’t move!” one of the men yelped behind her. The captain hissed.
“Shut up!” she told him. Hawke roared and charged into the tight-knit band of immobilized pirates. They went sprawling into the hallway like so many pins and the captain winced as one of the men half fell on her. The elf advanced, hand outstretched. One of her arms draped across her pale flesh to protect some of her modesty. Isabela had no inclination or time for modesty. Neither did her alpha.
The Champion prowled after them, shoulders bunched with her rage. She lifted the sword high with both hands. Her cock twitched in the open air, as potent as her anger.
“Wait! Wait!” The captain screamed. The alpha blinked, a fraction of her blood lust receding in that instant. She turned the sword so she struck the man beside her with the butt of the hilt. He went down like a sack of potatoes.
“WHAT ARE YOU DOING IN MY HOUSE!” The alpha roared. Isabela sidled up behind her, dagger in hand. One hand passed over her mate’s twitching side, stroking her. Her alpha shook with pent up rage. A fine sheen of sweat coated her torso from earlier activities.

 

Isabela’s gaze settled on her and she recognized her. “Haven’t you gotten the message?? This is our island!”
The captain winced. Her fingers twitched as she longed to reach her weapon. The elf mage secured behind the pair had them all in her grasp.
“Can’t blame me for trying!” she gave. Isabela seethed. Her chi was a riot of lust and anger, not nearly as hot as her mate’s but it was reaching its peak.
“Do we have to kill you all in our hallway to get the message?!” she demanded. The elf yelped behind them. The alpha turned her head, softness in her gaze. She said something in a low murmur and the mage calmed. Just so.
“No!” the captain winced, hating how she sounded. The men sprawled along side her twitched, the longing to flee all over their features.
“We won’t come back. Right, Cap’n?” one demanded. The captain found herself nodding.

 

“Fine, fine!” she agreed. Isabela’s alpha grunted. She gave some of the men and her a kick and the elf loosened her hold. She and her crew scrambled to spill out the front door of the main house and the sailors of her crew regarded the spectacle with surprise.
“Captain!” one of the betas called, and several stopped what they were doing to help give chase to the opposite crew. Hawke stood in the doorway of her home, sword in hand and naked. She glowered at the pirate captain, potent chi roiling.

 

“GET. OUT.”
“Fine,” the captain snapped. Isabela’s crew had them well in hand and the march back to the beach was a fast one. As they were observed rowing back to their ship, the captain heard a barrage of mirthful exclamation, over their speedy expulsion, to how Isabela and her mage and alpha had subdued them all during a heat. The captain took it that Isabela’s alpha was often talked about in such regard.

 

‘The Ex-Champion of Kirkwall still has her thralls,’ the captain thought. She spit over the side of the dinghy into the ocean.

End for now

Chapter Text

Isabela hugged Merrill as they watched their mate across the sand. She was playing with the twins, little Magpie hoisted to one of her strong shoulders. Isabela giggled as their daughter shrieked with laughter once then lapsed to her usual silence. Hawke tickled her and got another giggle before she fell to her bum in the sand. Isabela noted her mate’s legs were as shaky as theirs since their heats ended yesterday. Falcon and Lark took the opportunity to tackle Hawke and Hawke’s laughter was loud and happy as she fell to her back, covered with her pups.
“Hawke….she’s sure something,” Merrill sighed. Isabela kissed her cheek affectionately. Hawke stopped and tickled Maggie. Maggie giggles carried across the breeze. She then quieted as was her way it seemed. Only Hawke would get a word or two from her when prompted.

 

“That’s an understatement. Just wow,” Isabela sighed. Her heart swelled with pride and love. Their shared heat with Hawke had worn them down to sleeping for a day and a half after the last vestiges of lust had left their bed. Their poor sons had watched Maggie faithfully at Mel and Craven’s, and were just happy to be back in the captain’s household. Now weeks later, Isabela had cause to wonder if Hawke’s seed had done the job yet again. She felt nauseous and exhausted, yet strangely happy. “Was that….the first time you knotted?”
Merrill sighed, a touch of joy lifting her heart. She gave the pirate a shy grin showing all of her teeth. “I can’t even begin….to thank you enough. Having Maggie must have loosened something up, even having me cut open like that. We never could…before now!”

 

Isabela gave her mate a rueful smirk across the sand. Hawke hugged the toddler to her shoulder and waved to her mates. They waved languidly back, studying her form across the way.
“We both birthed a miracle with Maggie. She is all of ours,” Isabela declared. She giggled. “I didn’t mean to intrude….but with both of us like that….”
Merrill leaned her head companionably on her friend’s shoulder. “I didn’t think it’d happen. It’s okay, we were both in heat! So Hawke would want us both near.”
“Aye, for the harsh pounding and then you going in for the kill, you sweet kitten,” Isabela teased. It was true she could handle Hawke’s unleashed passion. She liked the somewhat rough treatment Hawke was forced to when Isabela stoked her lusts high. It suited her needs. But afterwards, Hawke had sunk into Merrill’s arms, and through the soft murmurs and kisses was welcomed between her thighs at a slower pace. It was that slower pace that had worked. Or maybe Hawke hadn’t been at full engorged levels of arousal after knotting Isabela, but they had finally joined fully.

 

 

Merrill blushed as she remembered her shrieks. The fullness of her mate’s knot had her yelping with pleasure as she tried to adjust to Hawke’s size. Hawke had been patient with her pace, and she had Isabela to thank for that. Hawke had been as entranced, aiming glances between their bodies where they were joined. The kisses she brushed along Merrill’s collar bone were meant to be comforting, but Isabela had seen the shudders that had run through Hawke’s body. Hawke had meant to offer her comfort through their first knotting, but Merrill had wound up being the one offering her comfort. As much as she could while shuddering and shaking through a series of orgasms Hawke had pulled from her. The knotting….it could have been too much. Even now two days later, Merrill was still walking funny and the twins had even commented on it. But damn, if it hadn’t been enough to accept her mate’s knot at last.
“Do you think….” Merrill blushed to herself. Isabela smiled.

 

“Maybe. Here, there’s room for more.”
“My old clan was wrong.” Merrill’s tone sobered. “Hawke saved me. All humans aren’t out to destroy the Dalish.”
“That she did,” Isabela drawled. Hawke approached the two, Maggie raised high. The dark-skinned girl with sharp-tipped ears shrieked happily once, a cry to recall she did have speech before she reverted back to her silent adoration of her sire. She grinned and reached for her mothers. Isabela accepted the babe first and bounced her to her shoulder. “Hawke….”
“Hi,” Hawke grinned. She was wearing a sleeveless tunic and her lean biceps gleamed under the afternoon sun. “What were you two going on about, loves?”
Merrill giggled, leaning in for a hug. She slung an arm firmly around Hawke’s waist, holding onto her. She aimed a whisper to her mate’s ears and Hawke flushed happily. Merrill giggled as Hawke slung her arm around her waist and lifted her.

 

“Oh, were you talking about more?” Hawke purred. Merrill slung her arms around her neck.
“Me next, Papa!” Lark called, asking for a rare lift. He and Falcon were getting bigger and were rarely lifted as it were. Ten was a big age. But Hawke slung an arm around both her sons and lifted them with Merrill. When she lowered her giggling family, she noticed Isabela watching her with a soft expression. Her daughter was snuggled against her shoulder, thumb stuck into her mouth.
When Hawke leaned in to nuzzle her other shoulder, lips going for her bare throat, Isabela shuddered with pleasure. Magpie’s eyes opened from her sleepy blinking as her sire gave attention to her mother.

 

“You know if you….are…..” Hawke’s eyes darted to her flat middle. “You’ll tell me?”
“Of course, sweet thing,” Isabela relaxed under the kisses her mate pressed along her mating mark. She had left her golden choker off over the past few short years, proudly wearing Hawke’s mating mark for all who would see it. It was a huge transition from how she was, and Isabela didn’t reflect on if it wasn’t strong. She loved Hawke. Would be loved by her. And she was pleased with the life they had built.

 

& & & & &

 

A few months had passed. Hawke was delighted when Isabela began to show with proof of their joining and was happy to dote on her proud pirate queen. Isabela barely put up with it at first, aiming daggers and shouts at her happy mate, ordering her away from her every step. Only her pups would she allow to dote on her first in the morning.
Until one morning, Isabela called for Hawke and her mate came running as usual.
“I missed you,” was the sheepish response.
Their joy was only slightly tinted sad by Merrill’s response. Even able to knot at last during their shared heat, Merrill hadn’t conceived. It certainly wasn’t by lack of trying. Hawke had consoled her mate when she’d cried. For hours she soothed her, the pups coming out to the beach to give treats and random presents to cheer Merrill up. Craven even bought a few flowers he’d picked from the forest. They were white and beautiful, and Merrill’s hands trembled as she accepted them, thanking the large sailor who only gave her a gentle smile and a nod to Hawke as he walked back to the beach.

 

 

Magpie’s random spurt of magic got her tears to stop.
And, as Hawke had whispered to her second mate, they’d have years still to try for another. If Merrill wanted that. Merrill had perked up. Maggie was as much as hers as Isabela’s and she was assured that she had done her part in having Hawke’s children.
Hawke was secretly worried. The Stormy Lover had pulled into port at a large town on the main continent, just below Antiva. The port was bustling, and her family was carefully watched over as they made their way through market. The sailors had pulled straws to who would stay on the ship and the rest peeled away to do shopping, to visit an official bathhouse or the local brothel.
On that note, Hawke noticed Mel had disappeared with Craven and smiled to herself. The two had decided to share a small house and seemed to have grown closer.
“Oysters! Oysters and clams!” A vendor cried to Hawke’s right. She set her hand on top of Lark’s head out of habit as she cast a side glance to her pups. They were dressed in their best and Maggie had pushed her new bonnet off her head. It bobbed along her back, dangling around her neck by its ties. Falcon had a firm hold of her hand.

 

Merrill was giggling by the children and her soft voice make Hawke smile. Then she saw the wanted poster. There was a few copied by hand and pasted up by the port’s announcement board. There was a crude sketch of her, her scar looking far too jagged and large across her nose. The poster read “By order of the Inquisition, report the Champion of Kirkwall to…” There was further instruction, citing her as the culprit of causing the Mage and Templar conflicts, and she was to be turned in. Hawke swallowed. At the bottom of the posters, was a stamp. The fiery eye of the Inquisition seemed to stare at her mockingly.
“Ma, can we?....”
“No! No clams at port. You’ll be sick for a week,” Isabela said. She covered her mouth with her wrist and gave Hawke an agonizing look. Hawke took her arm and led her to a nearby alley. As Isabela leaned to retch, she stayed, patting her back calmly.

 

“Your child sickness is lasting longer than last time,” Hawke murmured. She rubbed Isabela’s back. Isabela wiped her mouth and stood up shakily.
“Your pups are taxing on my strength,” she retorted. But she gladly took her mate’s arm and leaned against her. “You should cover your head, Hawke.”
“You saw the posters?” Hawke asked, tugging her rogue’s hood forward. Her features were darkened in shadow. Isabela nodded. She inhaled her mate’s unique spicy musk and sighed, feeling better. Her stomach stayed still as they made their way back out to the stalls. Falcon was holding Maggie on his hip, his stockier strength apparent. The boys were close to 11 name days and their height was alarming. Hawke was sure she’d be looking up at them in a few years.

 

As her eldest son met her eyes, Hawke found herself grinning. She looked between Falcon and Lark, noting the small differences that could tell them apart to those that knew them well. The small mole along Lark’s jaw picked him apart. But lately Lark had taken to parting his black hair a separate way. Their clothing still matched, however. It could be a trick of her eyes, but Falcon looked to have stronger arms than his brother. Lark was more lean than his twin. Falcon may have inherited her musculature in the end. They were still growing though. Time would tell.
Hawke sighed in her head. Falcon, her pride. Lark, her joy. And Magpie was her little princess. Maggie struggled against her brother when she caught sight of Hawke. Falcon struggled to hold her, then helped juggle her to Hawke’s waiting arms.

 

As the warm small body pressed against her shoulder, small arms round her neck, Hawke sighed again with happiness. “What are we getting?”
“Foodstuffs. And some more kitchen knives. We shouldn’t have to keep using your blades or Craven’s machete,” Merrill chirped. Hawke nodded.
“We should get a new whetstone for the island. Everyone can use it.”
“Good idea, Hawke,” Isabela said. She clutched their pouch of gold and silver tightly. Hawke’s mother’s stash of gold was almost gone, and it was more silver than that, but enough to get what they needed and save the rest. Isabela had half a mind to open up her small island to let new sailors come to live. They had need of a local seamstress and tailor as it were.

 

Her own crew still kept a schedule to watch her ship and the beach in their day-to-day. Even now, three had been left behind to guard the island community. It was theirs. Isabela would make sure of it.
A few workers of a local restaurant were calling out prices for tables and platters of their dishes and Isabela smiled. “Let’s sit, shall we?” Merrill took her other arm and Hawke followed, daughter raised to her shoulder.

 

& & & & & &

 

“Be done in an hour,” the bent woman said. She held out a wrinkled hand and Mel dropped a few silver coins in. The woman clinked the coins together, smiling. She shut the door to the tiled room.
Craven sighed as he disrobed. Mel’s eyes roamed over his large torso, along the thick flesh along his side, and the muscles of his arms. As of late, her gaze always settled between his legs and he half stiffened out of reflex, giving her a shy grin.
“Well, we’d better get in,” Mel said briskly. But it was Craven’s turn to stare as her robe fell around her feet. She wasn’t as buxom as many ladies, and her arms were all wiry muscle from years of sailing. But her belly was flat and her thighs soft, and the rest of her just as soft. Mel was smiling when his eyes traveled back up to her face. “Aye, I’m still here, Craven.”

 

“Me too. Let’s get in.”
Island life had its own area of ways to obtain daily hygiene. Isabela had had several wooden tubs made and everyone got their soaks in. But the water was mostly cold unless they took time to boil pots of it over a fire.
Sometimes, a good soak in a bathhouse was just the thing. Mel had made the suggestion so Craven had fixed the straw drawing so they could get away. He was congratulating himself as they slid into the hot water. Steam rose up around them. Mel grabbed two chunks of soap and handed him one. They got to work then Mel angled around him to wash his hair and then scrape the soap down his broad back. She lathered it all in, grunting as she kneaded his large muscles. Craven smiled to himself, relaxing in the hot water. Mel’s hands were small, sure, but she had the callouses of a sailor. He didn’t mind the rough prodding into his muscles.

 

She crept around his broad side, pushing at his large arm to scrub along his chest and belly. Craven waiting, smiling down at her. Mel traced her fingers softer down his inner forearm. Her fingertips traced the edges of the brand mark. And Craven felt the bottom drop out of his stomach. Cold tendrils crept up his spine despite the water’s heat.
“That looks like a seal,” Mel said. Her pretty face was pursed in concentration. She worked the soap around, then over. The brand was well and scarred. It wasn’t going anywhere.
Craven grunted in response. He lowered his eyes. Suddenly, the heat between his legs dissipated, deflating his ardor.
“I thought you’d had a hard life too. Most sailors do,” Mel was saying. She lifted Craven’s jaw in her hand. The look of understanding in her eyes was too much. Craven swallowed. “I didn’t know it was….”

 

“It was Castillon,” Craven rumbled. “I was sold to his possession. The captain…she broke all of our chains and let us free a few years ago. But I’d been a slave for years before that.”
“I see….” Mel’s voice was soft. She traced her fingers down his chest, smoothing stray wisps of hair down his front. “Isabela wouldn’t stand for an injustice. That’s not how she leads our crew.”
“Aye….” Craven swallowed. “It….it doesn’t bother you?”

 

“Bother me?” Mel raised her head, confused. “Slavery is illegal. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen. When I was a girl, a nobleman came to my father’s shop. There were two men in chains beside him, carrying his parcels. I went to offer them water, but the nobleman got upset and my father made me go to the back.” She bit her lip. “I just wanted to give them water. My father didn’t report the nobleman. So yes, that bothers me.”
When Craven made to get out of the tub and away, Mel’s hands were on his face. She pressed her brow against his. His beard rasped against her cheek.
“But not in that way. We’re still a team. If you’ll have me.”

 

Craven wrapped his arms around the thin woman, burying his face against her shoulder. The soft hands that wound down his neck and back were gentle and made him shudder.

 

• * * * * * *

 

Hawke carried the sack of new bottles onto the Stormy Lover. A few merchants had recognized her and shortly after accepting more gifts of wine and brandy, Hawke had ushered her family onto the ship quickly. Granted, this port was part of a larger city than the island communities around their home, but it was alarming that she was recognized. There were probably wanted posters of her in many ports across Thedas and the isles surrounding it. Everyone, possibly.
“I have to get the rest of the crew….Who went to the brothel?” Isabela asked one of the crew that had been left behind, rather matter-of-factly. He counted off two male betas and one female omega. She sighed. “I’ll be back, sweet thing.”
“I’ll go with you,” Hawke said. She pulled her hood forward, collecting her blade. “Stay here, boys.”
“Papa!” Magpie cried out once, reaching. Merrill rocked her, saying something softly in elvish. Magpie stuck her thumb in her mouth and settled down. Hawke leaned to kiss her brow and then Merrill’s cheek.

 

“Should I be alarmed you’re being recognized here too?” Isabela mumbled to Hawke. Hawke took her hand as they walked off the gangplank.
“I don’t want that to be, Bela. I don’t want them to come after my family.”
“But what about you?” Isabela asked. She relished the feel of Hawke’s hand in hers. “Will they find you?”
“No. If I have to stay on the island, so be it, love,” Hawke promised. But even as she said it and saw the smile on her mate’s lips, she couldn’t help it. Guilty. She felt guilty. She had been at the base of the conflict between the mages and templars of Kirkwall. That conflict had erupted and spilled out across Thedas. And blame was pointed directly at her. What did the Inquisition want? What could she even do?

 

Hawke pushed into a few of the brothel’s rooms, knocking hard and finding Isabela’s sailors. Isabela was teasing the omega about her choice of a time, a rather large and muscular lad. He blew the blushing woman a teasing kiss as he hitched his trousers up. Hawke kept her gaze from his many….endowments as she helped the omega walk to the front room. Her legs were just so wobbly.
“Out, out, I don’t care,” Isabela was saying to the two betas she’d rounded up. The young men grinned sheepishly but were dressed and accounted for.
“Why are we leaving so early, boss?” one of the beta men asked. He yawned, scratching at his side as they were led to the street and port. The omega gave a soft cry and her legs tumbled. Isabela didn’t mind when Hawke swung her up into her arms to carry back to the ship.

 

 

“I’ll explain once we leave,” Isabela said. “Had a good tumble, girl?” The omega squeaked in Hawke’s arms. Her arm twined uncertainly around her neck.
Hawke gave her a smile and gently asked she keep her hood pulled forward while her hands were full. The sailor nodded.
Once on the Stormy Lover, preparations were underway after roll call was essentially ticked off. The omega staggered on wobbly legs when Hawke set her down. Hawke gripped her elbow to keep her upright and the sailors teased her.
“Went to the brothel, eh?”
“Who was it you picked? They wore you out!”
“Hawke, can you take her to the barracks? She needs to rest and get her legs back,” Isabela suggested. Hawke sighed and picked the omega back up. She tried to ignore the flicker of interest from the girl’s aura and kept her chi resolutely still.

 

Back on deck, Hawke saw her mate had called attention. Those that had work to secure the lines kept an ear open as they guided the Stormy Lover out to sea.
“There are agents looking for Hawke. And I don’t have to ask you to keep silent on where she is,” Isabela was saying. The sailors nodded. All of them liked the couple and their island home. They would protect both in an equally loyal fashion.
Hawke settled by her sons and listened to their stories of what they’d seen at the market stalls. But her mind went back to the city they’d fled, the damage her joining the mage’s side had caused, the templars that had shown her respect and let them leave. Was Varric alright? Was Aveline and her husband? Was the city a fire-laden crater of what it once was, or had there been steps to rebuild?

 

And if the Inquisition did have the right to question her, what could she possibly do to help? Hawke couldn’t keep the guilt from twisting her gut in knots. She had been partially responsible for the expulsion of thousands of citizens, and the deaths of countless others. Hawke flicked her eyes to her mate who had finished her speech and was joking with Mel.
She had to keep those thoughts at bay. They’d left, fled in the wake of the flames erupting from her mistakes. They were safe, their pups were growing, and her mates were happy. Hawke felt a more genuine smile curve her lips as she approached Isabela.

 

And their new pup would be born into loving arms.

End for now

Chapter Text

“Which one do you want?”

 

Hawke scrubbed the back of her neck with one fist. Isabela was showing heavily, and while she appreciated her rounder breasts and doted on her belly, her mate was far more tired lately. Hawke was content to abstain herself from rougher intimacy, but Isabela had given her a cheeky suggestion. Hawke had only gaped at her and refused.
Yet next time in port, Isabela had insisted on dragging her to a high-scale brothel to have a “fun afternoon,” as she called it. Hawke had gone along, mainly to placate her. Her strong Isabela wouldn’t have listened and really, Hawke found if she went along with her, they always had a lot of fun. They had done it before, before the Arishok, before the three years she’d gone….
There was a gaggle of “available” girls artfully posed against the backdrop of the brothel entrance. It was very high-scale and while the girl’s outfits were abit more risqué, they still covered everything while they were outside. A pretty girl with red curls was taken aside by Isabela and the girl blushed as her pregnant mate gave her comments on her voluptuous curves.

 

Hawke blinked as Isabela leaned to whisper into the girl’s ear and the girl blushed bright red. Her eyes settled between her legs and Hawke gave a nervous look.
Merrill, sweet Merrill, wouldn’t have gone along with this. Well, for love of her, she would have, but Hawke knew her sweet mate deserved a gentler approach to their union. And Maker help her, she’d always tried to give that to her.
Isabela merely reveled in lust with her and lust could be shared. And she so wanted to please her in her delicate state.
Hawke was starting to feel an itch in her crotch when her mate beckoned her closer. The other girls waiting in front of the brothel eyed her none too subtly. Hawke lit up at Isabela’s smile, her dark eyes gleaming with mischief for her. Hawke took her hand. When she leaned in to kiss her cheek, Isabela twined her fingers through her hair and giggled.
“Sweet thing, this is Ardith. She’s eager for an inspection of your goods.”
“What have you been telling her?”

 

 

Hawke gallantly held a hand to the whore who took it, blushing.
Ardith gave a grin. “That your sword needs a tight sheath to grip every inch of you. Your lady didn’t say how thick a sword it is, though…”
Hawke coughed. Isabela trailed her fingers along her bare forearm.
“You’re cute, girl, but I’m no lady.”
Hawke’s eyes went soft as she regarded her mate. “You are to me…..”
“Oh you, sweet thing,” Isabela purred.
She led them to a private room. Hawke had shifted by the walk upstairs, her cock straining against her clothing. Isabela leaned up to kiss her, one hand going low along her waist. Hawke smiled into the embrace. Then new hands were on her, going under her tunic and caressing her skin. Hawke’s stomach concaved. She made to say to keep her tunic closed, but the girl was attuned to the situation and read her mood clearly. She touched her under the fabric but didn’t try to part the clasps. Hawke sighed as her trousers were opened and pushed down. Isabela sank into a comfortable chair and watched with bright shining eyes. She licked her lip at her mate.

 

Hawke gave her a rueful grin as the girl got to her knees to sample what she was offering. Hawke had to sigh at the attention. Soon she was hard, and throbbing and she had to decide whether to urge the girl up and out of her clothes and onto the bed when Ardith bobbed down near her base and kept her there, sucking. Hawke groaned as she crested an orgasm, hips thrusting forward.
Isabela grinned as she rubbed her belly, leaning back to get comfortable. “Tastes good, doesn’t she?”
Ardith pulled back, lapping around Hawke’s sensitive head, one hand gently stroking her base. “Now I see why you call her sweet….. so good….”
Hawke helped her to her feet and the girl tugged at a few clasps and her dress began to fall around her waist. Hawke grinned and helped strip her. Her shift was hard again, and she stepped out of her trousers, closed tunic falling around her naked waist. Hawke had to admit she needed a hard ride and the girl was luckily sopping wet when her fingers stroked between her thighs. Ardith widened her legs and murmured encouragement. Hawke barely gave her breasts a squeeze before she was sliding between her thighs, pushing in.
The girl welcomed her in and moaned as she pulsed around her shaft. Hawke wondered if the girls in this brothel were given aphrodisiacs, for she seemed really into it. There was no faking her bodily reactions. Hawke found her hips pounding faster and faster and she gave her Isabela a roguish grin. Isabela gave her a sultry wink and her gaze dipped down to where she was joined to Ardith, her cock’s base thick where she split the girl’s cave open. The bed rocked steadily from her thrusts.

 

A loud cry rent the air and Hawke’s attention was brought back down to the girl gripping her so tightly. She knelt up, holding the girl’s thighs open, and her hips churned faster and faster. When she came, lights flashed behind her eyelids and Hawke grunted deeply. The girl mewled beneath her so Hawke helped her by rubbing her thumb over her prominent clit. The girl shuddered around her, milking her cock.
Hawke gave a few more languid thrusts and withdrew. Her cock bobbed between her legs, not quite ready to shift down. The hungry look Isabela was giving her urged her flesh to thicken and stand upright. She walked closer to the stuffed chair Isabela was in and leaned to kiss her. Isabela giggled when Hawke fell to her knees to kiss and nip along her inner thighs. Hawke’s hands pushed her loose tunic up.
“No smallclothes?” Hawke teased.

 

“Oh you, I’m ready for you,” Isabela purred. Hawke couldn’t pass up tonguing her a few times, lapping up Isabela’s juices eagerly. She stood between her soft thighs, pressing in carefully.
Ardith watched on the bed as the alpha half stood, half leaned between her pregnant mate’s thighs, fucking her slowly. No, not fucking. Their sighs of pleasure indicated they were enjoying the motions, but the way they held each other’s eyes spoke of more than fucking. They were loving each other, and Ardith swallowed. She didn’t think it was real but seeing the way the alpha made love to her mate told her it was very real.
When they were done, Hawke withdrew carefully and helped clean her mate up. She pressed kisses to Isabela’s flushed cheek, helping her up once her legs stopped shaking.
“Sorry, did we run over any time?” Hawke asked Ardith. The girl had cleaned up and was wearing a light shift. She waved a hand.
“It’s fine! That was good to watch too….” She blushed. Hawke gave her a grin and let Isabela take her arm and lean against her. Her hand descended on Isabela’s belly, rubbing the babe inside.

 

“Are you okay?” she whispered. Isabela nodded as they left and took the stairs to the first floor of the brothel.
“More than okay,” she giggled. “I’m glad my sweet thing had some sweetness left over for me….”
Hawke blushed, recalling how the prostitute had called her seed sweet. She turned bright red. “Oh, Bela….”
“Come on, let’s go get our daughter from Merrill. Kitten has all three pups, and she needs a break,” Isabela suggested. Hawke brightened looking forward to seeing her second mate.
“She loves them so much,” she protested. Isabela leaned her head against Hawke’s strong shoulder.
“I know she does. Come on, let’s go.”

 

Hawke led her mate back to the market square.

 

& & & & & &

 

Back on the ship, the twins told their parents of the goods they saw with Merrill. She had needed a few magical items, and they were happy to carry the bag for her. Merrill held Magpie up on one shoulder, bouncing her. Their beloved daughter was hers in so many ways and gave a high giggle once when her mamae kissed her round cheek. Merrill lit up at the sight of her mate and Isabela.
“Did you have fun?” she chirped. Hawke coughed loudly and Isabela laughed.
“In so many ways, kitten,” Isabela teased. When she made her way up the gangplank, she noticed Hawke gazing at her round belly with wonder and walking up behind her. She blushed.
“Papa? Are we going home?” Falcon asked. Hawke blinked. She smiled down at her son.

 

“Of course, son. We’ll drill on the way.”
After Falcon and Lark got their weapons, Hawke grunted. She had Falcon hold his wooden long sword out with one hand. She measured him with her eyes and then felt the length of his thin arm. He and Lark were gaining small muscles as they got bigger, she was pleased to notice. She also noticed her son’s wooden weapons were smaller compared to their size.
“You both got bigger. I’ll need to have new weapons made for you,” Hawke said out loud. Falcon flashed his brother a surprised look and they both giggled aloud.
“Truly, Papa? Great!”
Hawke ruffled her eldest’s hair. “Let’s do some sit ups then.”

 

As the Stormy Lover left the port, the boys tried to keep up with the Champion as they did their exercises on the open deck of the ship. Isabela watched from the wheel deck, adjusting her wide hat to keep the sun out of her eyes. Hawke’s belly was still flat, thanks to their exercises, and her eyes traced every line of her wiry biceps. Merrill kept hold of their daughter and seagulls cawed overhead as they sailed out to sea.
Falcon yelled happily as he and Lark beat Hawke in their counts up to fifty. The three had their feet tucked under a hard pile of rope coiled on deck to keep momentum. Mel took a light hop over the rope on her way past, smiling.

 

Isabela inhaled the salt air happily, eyes drifting from the horizon to her family on the deck. Yes, this was the life.

 

• * * * * * * *

 

“You don’t need anything in particular, do you?” Merrill chirped beside her. Hawke shrugged, bouncing Magpie to her shoulder. The vendors cried out beside them as they pushed through the market. This port was abit busier and hoping to blend in with the crowd, Hawke had opted to shop with Merrill and their toddler.
“Not that I can think of. Well, maybe we can check on the twin’s weapons,” Hawke suggested. She hadn’t the carving tools to make new practice weapons, so they’d come back to this port to check on their order with a woodsmith. Merrill clutched the crook of her arm.
“Isabela wasn’t feeling well….”

 

Hawke sighed. Isabela stayed on the ship, citing nausea. Her belly was positively huge now and the twins had stayed on deck with Craven to guard the ship. Hawke had promised Isabela they’d be fast, and after a kiss, she took her second mate by hand, and carried their baby in her free arm. Feeling good with half her family, Hawke doted on Merrill, making jokes, buying her few trinkets she didn’t ask for. But now….
She leaned, ducking out of her rogue’s hood to capture the elf’s lips in a deep kiss. Magpie gave a sudden giggle beside them, tugging on Merrill’s longer locks of hair suddenly. Merrill gasped when their lips parted and looked up into Hawke’s face, blushing.
“What was that for?” Merrill beamed.
“I don’t need a reason to kiss my beloved,” Hawke murmured. Merrill smiled, stroking the toddler’s cheek with one finger. Magpie grabbed hold and held tight.
“Oh, Hawke,” Merrill smiled, and the world seemed brighter. Hawke beamed and tucked Merrill’s hand back in the crook of her arm.

 

They walked through the bustling crowd, listening to the vendors calling out around them. Hawke noticed a line of soldiers, their matching armor gleaming under the sun. She angled Merrill out of the way and only when her mate was safely tucked under her arm did Hawke see the sigil engraved on the breastplates. That same gleaming eye, ringed with lines of fire. It seemed to see through Hawke, and she ducked further into her hood.
The Inquisition. They wanted her….. to punish her for the conflict they’d fled from. She couldn’t leave her family, she couldn’t…. But Kirkwall’s conflicts could be laid squarely at her door. The sudden guilt that roiled up in her throat tasted of bile.
“Oh look, Hawke, roasted walnuts,” Merrill said. Hawke gave her a gentle push, laying Magpie into her arms.
“Go ahead and get a few bags for us. I’ll be right there.”

 

Hawke kept her gaze on Merrill as she moved along. Then she ducked back toward a makeshift bar (a strip of wood balanced on two barrels made do) set outside one of the local taverns. A mustachioed man was pouring tankards of ale from a small barrel hoisted on one shoulder. A young girl at his side collected silver pieces deftly.
“Ale?” he grunted toward Hawke. She flipped a silver to the girl and nodded deep in the confines of her hood.
“Aye,” Hawke said. She took the offered tankard and took a sip. The ale was surprisingly cool; the barrel must have just been collected from a cool basement. She leaned out of the way as a retinue of the Inquisition’s forces broke away to complete shopping or buy a drink. Hawke tried not to tense as they surrounded her at the slab of wood making a workspace for the tavern worker.
“Seeker has us seeking. Damn this strange force. Any rumor or evidence of foreign magic. Ha! We’re no mages!”
“Didn’t you hear? The Lady Morrigan is asking for the foreign magics. Inquisitor’s going up against some ancient evil.”

 

“Ancient evil being any lord with a stick up his arse.”
“No, seriously! It’s no one of proper flesh and blood. Some ancient magister risen from a tomb held by blood magic….
“Aye, his seal was laid by some mage named Hawke….”
The hairs along Hawke’s arms rose. Blinking, she could see the dim crumbling passages of the ruins Grey Warden Larius had led her party through. Down, down into the earth they had gone, following strange passages of light laid behind by a mage thirty some years ago….. a mage whose voice was familiar. Her father….
“That’s not who’s important right now! That damned devil that came out….. Corypheus….”
That name triggered a sliver of fear along Hawke’s spine as if she were struck by lightning. But….he was dead! Corypheus was dead. She should know, she’d delivered the killing blow herself! Again and again her sword had gone into his torso, and one final strike into his skull let the emaciated body-corpse fall emotionless at her boots.
Hawke sputtered and forced herself to swallow the ale in her mouth. The liquid went down hard.

 

“Well he ain’t dead no more. Blasted mages and their dark magic….”
Hawke set her tankard on the wood strip, nodding a thanks to the sweating tavern worker. He nodded and went to serve a line of dwarven scouts wearing the Inquisition sigil. Hawke shouldered her way as confidently through the soldiers as she could, but she hunched into her hood as she did.
She blindly groped through the crowd until she felt safe enough to pull the hood back from her eyes to search for her mate. Sudden worry for Merrill and their daughter made her stomach cramp. Hawke found Merrill at the next store, trying to reign in her harsh breathing.
“Hawke! What is it?” Merrill giggled as Hawke grabbed her close. Magpie grinned at her.
“Nothing! Come, let’s get back to the ship.”
Hawke was suddenly glad that the twins had stayed behind with Isabela. Less family to secure. As she led Merrill up the gangplank, Hawke located them guarding the top of the stairs. Falcon jogged up to greet her, reporting that their mother had thrown up and was laying down.

 

“I’ll go check on her,” Hawke murmured. She ruffled Falcon’s hair. “Stay on guard.”
“Yes, Papa.”
The ship was cool and dark as Hawke made her way down the steps. She parted down the hallway and made her way to the end of the passage. Pushing into the captain’s quarters, Hawke smiled to note Isabela was resting in the large bed. The covers were askew, and she was resting against the pillows. One hand was splayed across her belly and a soft smile was on her lips.
“How was the market?” Isabela asked. Hawke padded closer and sat on the edge of the bed. She leaned to kiss Isabela, one hand rubbing her belly. She banished the memory of the cool stones, the creepy crawly attackers in the dark, the crumbling walls, the archways extending over seemingly bottomless pits. They were here, they were safe. And she’d killed Corypheus. She was sure of it.

 

“Just fine, Bela. How’s the pup? And you?” she was quick to add. Isabela sighed, rubbing her mate’s hand.
“Restless. Making me ill. Your damned seed is potent,” Isabela half cursed. But a fond smile was on her lips. Hawke leaned to kiss her.

 

No, she couldn’t focus on old evils. They were laid to rest deep beneath the earth in a crumbling fortress. Nothing could harm her family now…. Nothing. Hawke would make sure of it.

 

* * * * * *

 

Isabela was in her last trimester with her fourth pup and Hawke was happy to stay on the island, making their community work. A few new sailors and their families had been allowed ashore and had built their own small homes. One was a tailor, so new clothing was purchased or bartered for from the middle-aged woman. Another was a blacksmith. Getting his small forge onto the beach and to the area around Isabela’s distillery had been a bitch and a half.
But he’d gotten to work sharpening blades, making weapons and helping with any building. Craven was often seen with the burly man, carrying anything that needed carrying.

 

Hawke stood on the small deck connecting the captain’s home to the wooden walkways connecting to the other houses. The shade of the trees high above kept the setting sun’s rays from her eyes. Merrill had opened a bottle of her stashed wine in the storage room. What was one more gift opened and enjoyed? Merrill had gone back inside to check on the stove and the stew cooking. Falcon had clambered after and Lark was playing with Magpie on a blanket on the wooden floor of the great room.
Outside, Hawke swatted at a mosquito. She should light the night torches. They were made with sweet grass and kept most of the insect life at bay. But the sun was moving so slowly, light fading. As night and darkness descended, Hawke found herself thinking. It was a new thing in her life to be living on an island, but she couldn’t see her family living anywhere else now. Their small island was secure and all that lived with them were trusted. Her children were well looked after and had their own private beaches to drill and play on.
“I wish I could have some of that.”
Hawke turned, beaming. Isabela was coming out of the front door, round with their child. She set her glass of wine on a railing and put her arms around her mate carefully. Isabela chuckled as she pressed kisses along her neck and shoulder.
“That was my last glass,” Hawke offered. Isabela nodded against her shoulder.

 

“You always find other ways to tempt me, sweet thing.”
Isabela sounded so relaxed and happy that Hawke wanted to ease into the moment. Their fourth pup would be born at home, home, and wasn’t that a fine thing to think of? Magpie was almost five and had been born at sea. Their fourth’s first memories would be on this island. Kirkwall’s fall was so far behind them, but once in awhile it came nipping hard at their heels.
But not tonight. Hawke grinned into her mate’s face and leaned to kiss her. Isabela accepted it and twined her arms around Hawke’s neck.
“Aye, I do, do I? Pray tell, what temptations do I carry for you,” Hawke teased. Isabela’s eyes sparkled.
“What’s below the belt, and in that pretty head of yours. And oh, those honeyed words from that silver tongue of yours,” Isabela purred.

 

Hawke nodded, pretending to think. She kissed Isabela’s cheek softly. “Any aches or pains?” Her hand fell on Isabela’s belly and rubbed. Isabela laid her hand over hers and squeezed. The light from the setting sun seemed to shine in her eyes.
“None more than usual,” Isabela purred. Hawke picked up her glass, draining it as she went back inside with her mate. The lanterns were lit in the kitchen and Hawke carefully helped her mate into her chair at the table. Bowls and spoons were laid out and Hawke noted Lark bouncing Magpie on his lap.
“You can put her in her chair, son,” Hawke suggested. Lark picked the baby up and set her in the highchair that had been carved for her. Magpie patted her hands carefully on the slab of wood pressed up against her belly. Falcon turned from the wood oven, helping Merrill carry the large pot of stew. The elf ladled a healthy serving into everyone’s bowls.
Hawke smiled as her family sat down, passing out utensils and pouring water from an earthenware jug. “Go ahead, loves.”

 

Isabela winked at her.

 

End for now

Chapter Text

Hawke’s heart was in her eyes as she held Isabela’s hand. Her water broke early that morning and she was in the middle of her labor pains. The sailors had rushed about, taking care of things and fetching whatever they needed. Merrill was on her other side, saying soothing things to the sweating pirate. She was naked from the waist down, legs spread wide for the midwife.
Between labored breaths, the pirate cursed her mate. But there was a flash of fierce love in her eyes to belie her words. “Fuck….ah! This is….the last time!” she swore.
Hawke wiped her brow. “I know, love. Push…..”
“Are….the pups… okay?” Isabela wondered. Merrill nodded. She gripped Isabela’s other hand.

 

 

“Of course! Mel’s with Magpie and the twins are guarding her,” she soothed. Isabela gave her a sweet look and began moaning with pain again.
Hawke grinned when the midwife pulled a tiny infant at last from between Isabela’s thighs, checking each tiny limb as the red-faced infant squalled in protest. Her heart turned over at the naked appeal from the infant’s cries.
“You did great, Bela,” she swore. Isabela lay back in a sheen of sweat, eyes barely slit open to look at the infant the midwife’s assistant was helping clean off as the afterbirth was seen to.
“And all to tear up my fun bits,” Isabela lamented. She cupped Hawke’s jaw suddenly, stroking her cheek. Hawke blinked, her gaze drawn from the crying baby. “First time…. Oh, sweet thing…”
“What do you mean?” Hawke murmured. She leaned to kiss Isabela’s lips sweetly. They had four pups. Her words didn’t make sense.
“First time….birthing with you,” Isabela explained. Tears pricked the corners of her eyes and she scrubbed them away. Hawke leaned to kiss her mate’s cheek softly. Isabela turned and caught her lips.

 

“Bela…” Hawke murmured. Then the midwife was laying the new bundle into her arms and Hawke’s attention was brought to the dark-toned infant. She wasn’t as dark as her brothers, but somewhere in between. Her little eyes slit open and stared at Hawke, her rosebud lips opening and closing as she snuffled with confusion. Hawke grinned and leaned to kiss her sweet brow. The girl was a bit on the small side, very much the smallest baby they’d had. She was so small her hiccupping cries seemed far too large for her. “H-hello….”
The baby gave a soft wail, as if unsure, and burrowed in her blanket, trying to lean into her sire’s warmth.
“Well, she’s attached,” Isabela said weakly. Hawke kissed the baby’s brow again, inhaling her sweet scent as she reluctantly handed her over to her mother. Isabela gazed tiredly into the pup’s face. “All little toes and fingers here….”
“Oh, she’s so small,” Merrill breathed. She stroked the baby’s pudgy fist. The baby squawked and latched onto her finger. Merrill looked to Hawke with tears in her eyes. Hawke smiled so widely her face felt like it would crack. But she couldn’t stop.
“What do you think?”

 

“She’s so small…..like a little sparrow hatchling,” Merrill wondered. The baby kicked her tiny feet against Isabela’s chest, giving a small wail. “But so loud!”
Hawke knew they were all thinking of their four-year-old mage, who was nervous and confused by the commotion today. Their Magpie was such a quiet baby and barely cried. It seemed the new babe was trying to make up for her size.
Isabela smiled, closing her eyes in exhaustion. “Sparrow? It seems apt.”
“She’ll be Sparrow,” Hawke agreed. She laid her hand over the baby’s back as Isabela held onto her. She began sniffling and crying and Isabela didn’t argue when Hawke bundled her back into her arms. The infant curved into her warmth naturally and Hawke felt the instant connection wrap hold of her heart warmly. She rocked the baby, grinning.
“I’ll tell the pups, and the others,” Merrill offered. She leaned to kiss Sparrow’s scrunched brow. “I’ll be right back my tiny da’len.”
Sparrow stared at her mamae and cried out again. Craven was perched on guard outside the captain’s house. The sun was high overhead, arching toward sunset in a few short hours. He gave the short elf a craggy smile. “Is the cap’n okay?”
“Isabela’s fine,” Merrill purred. “Oh, the baby’s so cute, it’s a girl!”
“Congratulations,” Craven rubbed the back of his neck with a large fist. Merrill patted his arm and found Mel down the beach, entertaining Magpie with a story. The twins were idly playing next to them, picking out shells in the sand. The boys looked pensive and nervous and perked up when Merrill approached.
“Mama’s okay?” Lark asked. Falcon bit his lip.

 

Merrill nodded. She knelt to hug both boys firmly. “She’s fine, just tired! Come, you’ll want to see the new baby.”
“Boy or girl?” Mel asked. She bounced Magpie who stared at Merrill with wide green eyes.
“It’s a girl!” Merrill plucked the toddler from Mel and kissed her round cheek. “Just like you, my little mage.”
Magpie gave a nervous smile and clung to her neck. The twins were bouncing and raced ahead back to the house. They clattered onto the wooden deck over the sand and burst into the front room. The midwife’s assistants were fetching something, and they pushed past them into the master bedroom.
“Come in!” Hawke called. The infant was still curled protectively in her arms. She grinned at the pensive twins poking in the doorway almost nervously. “Come meet your sister.”

 

“Sparrow,” Isabela said from the bed. She looked like the queen she was, laying against several pillows, cleaned and dressed in a fresh nightgown. Hawke gazed at her lovingly.
“She’s smaller than Mags was!” Falcon exclaimed. He peered over his sire’s arm into the infant’s face. The baby sniffed and wailed again. The boys noted she was louder than Magpie had been as an infant as well.
When Merrill came in with Magpie, Hawke saw how distraught her first daughter was. She clung to Merrill’s neck and Hawke murmured to her to switch kids. Magpie pouted as she was set down, but only so Merrill could accept the newborn. She crooned to the staring infant and settled next to Isabela, the twins drawing close. When Hawke knelt down to her height, Magpie stared at her papa. Papa looked so tired but happy.
But her feelings were sorted to calm when Hawke picked her up and straightened. Magpie clutched her papa around the neck, giving a shy smile to her. Hawke kissed her cheek, bouncing her. “You’re the first sister, and Sparrow’s gonna need your help. She’s so little. Will you help her when you can?” she asked gently. Magpie got it and nodded, giving a shy grin.

 

“Papa,” she said. Hawke’s heart burst all over again and she bounced Magpie to one shoulder. Isabela patted the bed beside her as Hawke approached and Magpie scampered down to hug her mama carefully.
“My little Magpie. We love you so much,” Isabela said, playing with a lock of her child’s hair. Magpie blushed happily. She turned her gaze to the infant who was crying out again. Merrill rocked her, murmuring in elvish.
Isabela had to stop touching her to take the new loud infant to breastfeed and the boys got uncomfortable, choosing to leave the room. Once the infant was fed and burped, Hawke gladly took her, smiling widely. The infant quieted for her instantly.

 

The newest addition to the Hawke family was welcomed right in.

 

• * * * * * * *

 

 

Skyhold truly was a cradle of security.

Its name alone told of safety, held far away from any malingering forces of the world. Nestled high in mountain range and accessible only by one long stone bridge, it was a good find and truly needed for the Inquisition. Varric recalled the march there after the fall of Haven. The Inquisitor had scouted ahead, followed closely by only the elf mage Solus. Whether it was his finding or hers, was still up for conjecture.
The fortress had been abandoned. By who, Varric knew not. But it was theirs. Claimed for the Inquisition and their forces.

 

The dwarf strolled through the grass in the courtyard, chewing on the end of a pipe. It wasn’t lit and he was in search of a match, but once outside the main hall of the castle, the bright sun and commotion of the Inquisition moving around him caught his attention. The dwarf leaned against a low stone wall near the building allocated as the tavern and watched the soldiers, scouts, castle workers, cleaners and all move about their tasks. He moved down the stone steps to the lower level toward the merchant stalls and barn.
Orders were called out, horses were led by the horse master named Dennet, his fine steeds walked out along the grass outside the barn across the way for exercise.

 

A tall black-bearded human helped the horse master and Varric raised an eyebrow to himself. Grey Warden Blackwall seemed a good enough man, secretive as he was. From the hints Varric had gathered, the man was besotted with the Inquisitor, a dwarf woman from the clan Cadash. Her past involvement with her criminal family could have been a black smear on her reputation but Varric knew her personal ambassador worked day and night to make the Inquisition’s reputation sterling and heroic. Lady Montilyet must have magic in her blood for the vast majority of Thedas’s nobility, their biggest movers and shakers, held a firm relationship with the Inquisitor. Even Empress Celene of Orlais, saved by an assassination attempt by their friend Cadash, was on friendly terms with her.
Varric shook his head at the tall Warden who went about his chores with Dennet.

 

“Good luck, Blackwall, she’s all after the Bull.” Iron Bull, a Qunari mercenary and leader of the band The Bull’s Chargers, was boisterous were Blackwall was stoic, flirtatious where he was shy. And he had a wicked sense of humor. Varric chuckled over the Inquisitor’s choice in men as he strolled along, hopping over a puddle in the grass. “Maybe it’s the horns, I dunno….”
“Hey Varric, you gonna write more of your next chapter?” One of the castle workers called. Varric winked at the girl and inclined his head.
“Perhaps. If I find the inspiration,” he drawled. The girl blushed, clutching her basket.
“But I finished chapter fifteen of ‘Hard in Hightown!’ I have to know what happens next,” she pleaded.

 

“Our guardsman friend will receive his due. Believe me,” Varric assured her. She flashed a smile and went on her way to the kitchen. He ‘borrowed’ a match from a soldier, and lighting his pipe, made his way back to the main hall. Climbing the stone stairs took a bit longer, but once inside the high double doors, Varric made his way to the right of the entry way toward a side fireplace. A table and a few comfortable chairs had been set there out of the way and Varric found his notes and papers and settled in. Puffing a few smoke rings, he watched the usual cacophony of noise.
Inquisitor Cadash was holding court, answering petitions from her elaborately carved throne at the end of the hall. The nobles took note to her answers and Varric laughed to himself.

 

“Better you than me,” he murmured, wishing his friend well. He dipped a quill in a pot of ink and set the tip of the pen to a fresh sheaf of parchment. Suddenly, Varric’s thoughts went back a few weeks. How he had sat like this, scrawling a letter that he had had to hide and save in secret. The darkspawn calling himself Corypheus had attacked Haven. Varric remembered, he had gone with Hawke down to the bowels of the Grey Warden fortress. THAT had been a harrowing battle. Hawke had been truly heroic, leading the attack against the tall darkspawn with Fenris and Isabela on her heels, while he had hung back with Merrill to fire from a safe distance.
Isabela, Merrill….. Varric could only hope they were doing well with Hawke, no matter where they were. He had left his letter behind with a merchant he’d bumped into at an Antivan port city that had claimed to have seen the ex-Champion pass through. Maybe he would see Hawke and be able to pass on his words….

 

‘I wouldn’t ask for your help if I didn’t think it was needed, but Corypheus has returned….’

 

Considering Corypheus’s prison had been sealed by Hawke’s family blood, she may have a hand in helping stop the threat. Varric could only hope the letter found its way to her hand. He didn’t even have any idea where Isabela had landed them. He could only hope it was safe for the sake of their family.
“What are you writing now?” a stiff voice sniffed beside him. Varric grinned up at the scowling face of Cassandra. Her scarred face was pinched with a touch of consternation. But she tended to look at everyone that way.
“Why, my dear Seeker Pentaghast! Just a few notes for an old serial. Why, interested?”

 

Cassandra blushed and moved past quickly. She mumbled something under her breath about needing to speak to the Inquisitor. Varric chuckled and leaned back in his chair, smoking. He hoped the merchant met Hawke again. He hoped his letter was read. He wondered what she would do if she did read it. Would she come?

 

Varric could only hope.

 

* * * * * *

 

Sparrow was a few months old when the family sailed with Isabela’s crew back to the Antivan coast. Falcon and Lark took their turns carrying the baby carefully, slings tied around their necks. Isabela was glad she had such caring sons. She was glad she’d had them in every glance. Falcon was growing as muscled as Hawke was. Lark, her lean shadow. It was strange, always strange, to feel such pride. But she felt it.
“I got her!” Falcon insisted. He held the baby in the crook of one arm, the sling carefully tied around him. Lark nudged his shoulder but when to pick up Magpie. She had turned five, but everyone still liked carrying her if they could. Lately she had been getting independent and flaring out her magic to stay on the ground.
She flared it now and a few startled merchants stared at her.

 

“Da’len!” Merrill called out with a touch of alarm.
A few local templars were walking across the courtyard and Hawke rushed to her mage daughter. Kneeling down, she checked on Lark, who quickly insisted he was fine. The boys had been alerted to guarding Magpie’s status when they left the island and he cast a worried look at the templars too. Hawke nodded and knelt down, stooping to peer into Magpie’s face. Recently she had a short staff carved for a child’s size and hand and they’d left it on the ship. Magpie looked like she wanted to clutch it, her chubby fingers flexing nervously.
“Mags,” Hawke said patiently. Magpie lifted her eyes, lip trembling. Hawke chucked her chin with one finger, giving a soft smile. “No magic on your brothers, remember? You could hurt them.”

 

Magpie’s lip trembled but Lark hurriedly assured her he was fine. “I’m strong, remember,” he declared. Hawke gave her son a nod. She took Magpie’s hand, leading her toward her mothers.
“If it’s not at home, always take a look around first before magic. Can you do that for me?” Hawke asked. Magpie nodded, tilting her head to look up at her sire.
“Yes,” she said simply. Hawke beamed down at her. Keeping her cool had certainly helped. It reigned in any spurts of magic and kept her status a secret.
“Good girl,” Hawke said. Magpie swung her hand high and low as they walked. Merrill and Isabela met her eyes, but a silent query passed between them. They would discuss their concerns in private.
The family walked along the pathway to the marketplace, looking over wares. Mel and Craven bypassed them, waving as they went.
“Figs! Fruit and figs!”
“Need a blade sharpened? Come on back…”

 

Hawke passed Magpie’s hand to Isabela who smiled at her small daughter. She was a few steps aside from her family, casting a sharp gaze and counting her children. Sparrow was asleep in her sling, Falcon had a firm hold of her, Lark was looking at something with Merrill and their mage was watched over by Isabela. A middle-aged man coughed in front of her and Hawke gave her attention to him.
“Yes, messere?” she asked. The man squinted at her scar and went through a stack of parchment and envelopes. He tugged one envelope free and held it out to her.
“I didn’t order a message,” Hawke said, refusing it. She turned to go but the merchant coughed.

 

“Serah Hawke. I know who you are. A short fellow by the name of Tethras wanted me to hold onto this for you. And you’re here. Please take it,” he urged. Hawke’s eyebrow raised high and the intrigue of what Varric would want made her extend her hand. She shoved the envelope into her tunic front and hid it on reflex as she stepped back.

 

Varric must have paid off the message’s fee for the merchant ignored her after she took it and didn’t ask for a payment. Hawke’s mind whirled with thoughts, not all of them good as she continued on with her family. Somehow, she had a bad feeling about the words inside the sealed letter.

 

• * * * * * *

 

Hawke spent the rest of the evening doting on her children. Magpie needed hugs, and when she was sent off with Mamae for magic lessons, she took her fourth child from her eldest. Falcon grinned at her as Hawke took sparrow and sat in the sand, cradling her on her legs. Her baby’s large eyes took her in, and a toothless smile stretched her lips.
Hawke gave her a thumb to nibble and chew on and her thoughts spun over and onto themselves as the sun began to set. She’d finally found a moment alone earlier to break the seal on the envelope and read Varric’s message. It wasn’t good. She was surprised to read he had given his aide to the Inquisition they’d heard about. Apparently, he was using his spy networks to aide the Inquisitor.

 

But what’s more, the name Corypheus was put in the letter. Corypheus, an ancient Tevinter evil that had boasted of entering the Golden City and finding it empty of the Maker. Corypheus, who she had slain.
The gossip she’d heard from Inquisition soldiers before seemed to make the contents of the letter true. Had he come back? How? The how wasn’t as important as the danger he brought. Hawke swallowed as her baby cried out and clutched her fingers tightly. Her heart pained.
Could she go? Should she? Hawke knew Isabela or Merrill going with was not an option. She wanted to protect her family. And Isabela would have something to say about THAT…..Hawke bit her lip and stroked Sparrow’s round cheek.

 

She’d have to keep this a secret. Until she decided. Until she knew what to do. Hawke hated keeping anything from her mates and the subterfuge could make her sick if she dwelled on it.
“Hey! Wait up!” Lark called across the sand. Hawke’s attention went from her burbling baby to her other children. Her tall sons were sparring and laughing, rushing each other across the beach. Some of the sailors called encouragement. Isabela was laughing and teasing Mel. Craven bent to pick up her other daughter, Magpie smiling up at the large sailor. Merrill chirped up at him also.
They were here. They were safe. And Hawke didn’t want to take that away from them.

 

But their happiness? Hawke felt terrible and cradled Sparrow to her chest. Her baby curved into her warmth, large green eyes open and trusting. No, she couldn’t decide. Not right now. She needed to be with her family.

End for now

Chapter Text

Magpie stared past Hawke’s arms into the face of her sister. Sparrow opened her rosebud lips and erupted a loud wail. She covered her ears and grimaced, but her sire only laughed and rocked her, talking softly to her. Sparrow quieted for her, of course, and rarely anyone else. She loved being fed by Mama and Mamae could get a few moments quiet with her singing, but her younger sister had latched onto her sire. Magpie knew she didn’t like it but there wasn’t much she could do about it.
Magpie picked up her child-sized staff and tapped it across the sand. She heard her papa call after her. Hawke was staring after her, smiling sheepishly.
“Where you going, Mags?” she asked. Sparrow wailed loudly again, and Hawke murmured down to her. Magpie grimaced.
“Mamae,” she said simply. Hawke nodded. She stood up, cradling Sparrow. Her little arms were moving as she wailed listlessly. Hawke’s soft voice quieted her.

 

“I’ll go with you,” she offered. Magpie bit her lip. She liked being with Papa, but the new baby soured that outlook for her. Even her brother’s teasing couldn’t get her to be happy about it. Her mothers spent so much time with Papa to quiet and calm the loud baby and there wasn’t enough time right now for her. No time for magic lessons, or too many Papa hugs. Magpie grimaced.
“I’ll go,” she said simply and quieted. Hawke watched her, walking from a short distance, matching her short stride. Magpie bit her lip, focusing on where she put her staff on each step. Falcon and Lark came up behind her, surprising her. Her fingertips spurted green static jolts of magic and Lark yelped as he was knocked on his rear. Falcon dodged a zap and rubbed his bare arm where she’d gotten him.
Hawke frowned with concern from ten feet away.
The twins shared a quiet look, then both of them knelt down beside the little mage. “Did we scare you, Mags?”

 

Magpie lowered her head, lip quivering. “Yes…” She remembered what Mamae and Papa said about her magic. No using it on her brothers. But she couldn’t help it, it just came out.
“Well, we won’t scare you,” Falcon said confidently. He patted his sister on the head. “Want a piggyback ride?”
Magpie brightened. The only thing that would have been better was if Sparrow was asleep and Papa was free. “Yes,” she said quietly. Lark carefully took her staff and Falcon knelt for her to climb on. He bounced her, hands holding onto her legs, then took off at a jog. Magpie began smiling widely.

 

At the very least, her brothers could give her hugs.

 

• * * * * *

 

 

“You’ve been sweeter than cream lately, sweet thing. Anything I should know?” Isabela drawled. Hawke pulled the last of the children’s clothes off the clothesline under the trees of the connecting walkways. She gave a sheepish look to her voluptuous mate. She hoisted the basket against one hip and came off the sand up onto the wooden deck connecting the captain’s house to the other households.
“Just being a good mate. I thought that was fine,” Hawke couldn’t help teasing. Her pirate latched onto her arm, leaning into her torso. It felt good.
“It is. I was just wondering. Sparrow’s so attached to you and well…everything….”

 

The usual thoughts of the Inquisition and Corypheus poured guilt into Hawke’s heart. She put the basket down and put her arms around Isabela’s waist. She lifted slightly, and Isabela giggled as her round breasts pressed into her torso. Hawke felt warmth flood between her legs and her mate gave her a knowing smile as she felt her nudge her below.
“I didn’t think laundry got you excited,” Isabela purred. Hawke laughed. She nuzzled her lips down the pirate’s throat. Her teeth scraped her mating mark along the side and Isabela purred. “Oh, sweet thing…”
Hawke intended just to hold her, but the sudden surge of lust had her in a pressing situation. “I swear I didn’t plan that.”
“Oh, it just happened?” Isabela laughed. She ground up against Hawke’s torso. “I can think of worse things to do in an afternoon….”

 

“How are you?” Hawke murmured against her throat. They had joined once since Sparrow’s birth, and it had been a slow affair. To feel her mate want her had her stiff and aching.
“Needing you,” Isabela purred. Hawke banished lingering thoughts on her decision, Varric and the Inquisition aside. She picked Isabela up and walked off the deck onto the sand and out of sight into a cluster of trees. Out of sight, she gave her attentions to Isabela. Tunic parted, smallclothes tugged off, smooth legs parting for her. Afterward, Isabela held her as Hawke panted. Stray locks of hair clung to their sweaty brows and Isabela’s smile was smug and wide.
“Well, that was a nice surprise…. What’s gotten into you?” the pirate grinned.

 

“I just love you,” Hawke murmured. Isabela leaned up and sought her lips. Their kiss was sweet and heated. As her mate held her, Hawke wanted to be the one to comfort her mate. But she would take every touch from Isabela. She couldn’t sit on her decision forever.

 

* * * * * * *

 

The household was dark and silent. Hawke gently slid Merrill to her side and off of her. Leaning over she tucked the blankets over her mate and pressed a kiss to her brow. Isabela was on her other side, curled up and deeply asleep. The baby’s crib was still in their room but after a brief look, Hawke was satisfied that Sparrow still slept. Her footsteps were light as she padded out to the hallway, clad only in a loose tunic. Her bare legs flashed as she moved quietly.
Hawke peeked her head into both back bedrooms. The twins were asleep, light snores filling the room. Falcon was hanging half off his narrow bed. Their legs were getting longer, they were growing so fast. Hawke made a mental note to have larger beds made for them. She swallowed. Guilt squeezed around her heart. A peek into Magpie’s room told her that her daughter was safe. Magpie was curled in a ball in her sheets, black hair spread across her pillow. Hawke wanted to smile seeing her, but her heart was troubled and her mind equally so.

 

Sparrow was having her first name day tomorrow. Isabela and Merrill had baked her cake the night before, and it was covered and stored in the ice box. The smell of cake still hung in the air as she padded through the dark kitchen and out the back door. The stars were out above the palm trees that shaded their house and Hawke took a few steps off the back deck. The sand was cool under her feet and Hawke took a few steps. She leaned a hand against the bark of one of the trees and her fingers found something etched in. By the glow of the moon, Hawke could see the letters carved in. ‘Falcon Hawke. 9:……” The year was traced by Hawke’s long fingers.

 

This was their home and her son had marked it their place. Hawke’s heart felt full to bursting. Her sweet children, her mates. Could she leave them, even for a time? Soldiers went to war all the time, but Hawke was not allied with the Inquisition. At least not yet. Varric was. But Varric liked to be in the thick of things. At all times, it seemed.
His call for help did spark something in her that refused to be dampened down. And it was her family’s blood that had gotten Thedas in trouble with the ancient magister turned darkspawn. It was her father that had tried to seal him and it was the blood flowing in her veins that could possibly help seal him again….. Hawke didn’t want to think about the blood in her children’s veins. No, she would take responsibility and stop him.

 

Her family needn’t be anywhere near Corypheus. It should never fall to them.

 

• * * * * * * *

 

“Warrior. That’s what she’ll be,” Falcon said confidently. His brother punched his shoulder. Even though he was broader in size, it still stung. Falcon winced and leaned away from Lark. “What, she will be! Same as me.”
“Quick and silent. Assassin. Like Mama,” Lark retorted. Falcon gestured to his twin’s wooden daggers.
“You mean you too!”
“Well she’s not a mage. At least, we don’t know yet,” Falcon responded. Both boys swept a sharp look up and down their pudgy baby sister. Sparrow was watching them with wide green eyes, then her face erupted into a toothless grin. Falcon gave her a finger to chew on.

 

“I use daggers, you’re on sword and shield. We have our mage,” Lark said. He mulled over and gave a laugh aloud. “Archer! She should be an archer and watch all our backs!”
“Yes,” Magpie agreed. She was playing in the sand next to them watching her sister. Sparrow was sitting up easily now that she was a year old. The sailors of Isabela’s crew were readying her party and smells of cooking meat and sliced fruit filled the air around that part of the beach. Sparrow, however, had no idea about the festivities and what they were for. She was just happy to watch a small crab walk past her bare feet. She scuffed them in the sand and crowed out loud. The crab high-tailed it away from the group of children. Lark waved a finger over her and Sparrow latched onto it, using his hand as leverage to try and stand. The twins held their breath as Sparrow strained and tried to push upright, then fell on her diapered bottom. She huffed and grinned uneasily.
“Look at that!” Lark marveled.

 

“Soon,” Magpie told her sister. Sparrow grinned up at her, gums flashing. Her curly black hair was getting long and hung past her shoulders. Falcon ruffled her hair softly and picked her up in one arm. Sparrow clung to this collar and cried out into his ear. Falcon winced slightly then bounced her.
“Papa, she tried to stand up!” he called to his sire. Hawke moved away from the sailors, arms gleaming under the sun in her sleeveless tunic. She grinned and leaned to chuck the baby’s chin.
“Good job, Sparrow!” Hawke took the baby and swung her up on one hip. As always, she was alert to her first daughter’s feelings. Magpie was biting her lip, playing with her child-sized staff, swaying back and forth. Hawke gave Lark a look and offered Sparrow. “Here, take her.”
“Yes, Papa,” Lark said. He grinned when Sparrow clung to his collar and tried to hug him. He carried her over to Isabela and Merrill who talked excitedly to them. Hawke knelt down and got Magpie’s attention.

 

“Do you want a lift?” she asked. Her five-year-old grinned. She put her staff down and held her arms up.
“Yes,” Magpie said simply. Hawke swung her up and Falcon retrieved her staff. The love suffusing through Magpie’s being swelled over to her and Hawke tried to bask in it. Soon, it had to be soon, but let her hold their love, before it soured or withered away….
The usual feeling of guilt roiled through Hawke’s belly. She squeezed Magpie tighter as she neared her mate. Isabela was shading her brow with one hand, staring off at the horizon.
Two shapes were approaching. Hawke frowned, holding onto Magpie.
“What’s that?” she asked Isabela. Isabela grinned. Her golden earrings flashed under the sun’s light.

 

“The Kraken and The Dim Horizon. I know their crews and they want to trade with us awhile.”
“New neighbors?” Merrill chirped. She looked excited. Hawke wrapped her free arm around her waist.
“As long as they abide by your rules,” Hawke nodded. Isabela grinned.
“Bring something to the table, help with my distillery and keep all debauchery from the children’s eyes. Yes, that’s about it,” she laughed. Isabela looked excited but Hawke saw a glimmer of an opportunity. Two new captains, two teams of sailors that did not know her. She could have an out when she was ready.

 

Hawke hated to think of this, but the way toward the Inquisition was clearer.

 

End for now

Chapter Text

Months passed.

Sparrow and Magpie were getting bigger and the twins were downright tall. Hawke sighed as she ducked beneath the palm trees. She opened the door of the newly built shed behind the captain’s house. Silently she closed the door behind her.
Hawke pulled a tarp back as she hunkered in the shed. It housed tools, and anything et cetra the sailors didn’t need at the moment. It was also where she’d hidden her armor, leather jerkin and traveling tools. A small satchel that held dried meat, a packet of tea, fire starter, two hunting knives and a few small cooking pots.

 

She had slowly compiled bits of her old armor. The breastplate was recognizable by shape as the Champion’s. Hawke had originally thought to leave it in the family room of the house. Her pups could look at it…and hopefully recall the sire that loved them. Hawke swallowed. No. She needed all of her armor. Breastplate. There was the recognizable insignia on the gauntlets, greaves or other pieces. She’d have to wear a cloak over it all while she was on the road. Hawke touched her Champion’s helm and decided she may leave it. She usually went without a helm in battle and it would be lighter traveling without that anyway.
A couple of tunics and trousers were wrapped and waiting in her travel satchel. Hawke sighed as she counted and recounted the dried foodstuffs. Tonight, she should try and hide abit more. When the time would draw nigh, she would grab up as much fruit from the kitchen as she could.

 

Hawke sighed as she drew the tarp over her escape pack. She hated thinking of it that way. The captain of the Dim Horizon was planning on taking expedition to the main continent in a month or two. She had promised Hawke to keep her departure date quiet and didn’t ask when Hawke had whispered not to mention to Captain Isabela. The captain had, thankfully, not asked why.
“Hawke! Where’d you go?” Merrill’s voice rang out. Hawke quickly ducked out of the shed and shut the door behind her. She shielded her eyes with one hand, smiling. Merrill was holding onto Magpie’s hand and both smiled to see her.
“Merrill.” Hawke strode forward and kissed her. The small hand curling behind her neck was soft. “Where are the rest of the pups?”
“Bela’s sparring with the twins. Mel has Sparrow,” Merrill assured her even as Hawke’s eyes darted about for the baby. Magpie tightened her grip on her mamae’s hand at the mention of the baby. Hawke smiled and bent to pick her up.

 

“Well then, let’s go find them,” she suggested. Magpie smiled and Hawke’s heart tugged as Merrill slung an arm around her waist. With her daughter in her other arm, she felt whole. Her heart thundered dangerously, riddled with guilt. They may not love her again after….
Loud shouts and curses rang from the beach. Hawke grinned to see Lark facing off against his mother, the tall slim pre-teen almost a direct reflection of the pirate. Isabela had a pair of wooden daggers and was circling her son, teasing him with bandied words. Lark followed her path, daggers raised. Isabela feigned right and Lark met her strike with both of his. They clashed and circled. Lark darted in and Isabela cried out in triumph. She darted back as her sailors cheered encouragement. Lark was grinning, his black bangs falling into his eyes.

 

A clash of strikes and Isabela knocked one of Lark’s daggers out of his hand. He evaded, darting behind his mother to pin one of her arms behind her back. She laughed and when he let go, wrapped an arm around his neck and kissed his brow. Lark grinned at the affection and ambled back to his brother, the sailors laughing. He had won that one, so Falcon punched his shoulder. He had yet to best her, Hawke knew, and maybe one day, it would be soon.

 

“Hawke!” Isabela called. Hawke eyed Mel who was holding Sparrow to her shoulder. The baby was actually sleeping, and in someone else’s arms. Hawke nodded to herself and met her mate. Isabela kissed her.
“Good job, Larkie,” Hawke called. Her son grinned.
“Did you see? He’s getting faster,” Isabela purred. Hawke nodded.
“Amp up their training? They’ll best us,” Hawke said. Isabela nodded, her eyes shining.

 

“Shouldn’t that be the aim, sweet thing? When they’re captaining their own ships, they won’t need us to protect them,” Isabela said idly, and Hawke’s heart turned over at the thought. She nodded, swallowing back her parental fears. And that was if they had the luxury of growing with all three parents….

 

“Yes. You’re thinking ahead for them, Bela,” Hawke said. The kiss she received filled her with guilt.

 

* * * * *

 

Hawke tensed in the hallway. She leaned against the wall, but one leg was pushed in front of her, tensing her frame. She heard a familiar wail in Magpie’s bedroom and wanted to rush in. But she told herself to calm. She had asked for this. Inside, Merrill was telling Magpie a story. Her daughter was tucked in and being good. But Sparrow was wailing, as Isabela rocked her and tried to shush her.
“Mama?” Hawke heard Magpie’s small voice. She bit her lip. She wanted to rush in and help. But her mates had agreed with her. It would help to have Sparrow used to others putting her down. She had latched onto Hawke so much to do everything. And deep in her heart, Hawke knew it would help. When she did leave….. Guilt panged her heart and Hawke pressed a palm over her breast, grimacing to herself.

 

“The hunting song?” Merrill asked. Isabela sighed in agreement. Hawke heard shuffling and peeked in. Merrill had taken the baby and rocked her to her shoulder, singing softly in elvish. The melodious words coaxed the ear to relax and Magpie yawned in her bed. Isabela ran a hand over her daughter’s hair. She stood beside Merrill gazing into Sparrow’s worried face. Her wide green eyes were wide, darting from her to Merrill but the elven melody lulled her to relax. She yawned widely finally. Merrill smiled and passed Sparrow into her crib. Isabela leaned to put an arm around the thin Dalish.
“Good job,” Isabela complimented. Merrill agreed. In the hallway, Hawke sighed with relief. For a change, not seeing her had gone over well. If they kept this up, she could be put down by anyone. Especially when she wouldn’t be there. Dammit, don’t think about that right now!

 

When her mates exited the back bedroom, they smiled to see her waiting. Hawke pushed off the wall and put an arm around both of them. They peeked into the twin’s room, calling another goodnight, and then retired to the captain’s bedroom.
“You did a great job,” Hawke said. She leaned to kiss Merrill softly. Merrill purred.
“Young mothers in the clan sang that song. I thought…it would help.”
“You’re a young mother too,” Isabela teased. “How’re Mag’s lessons going?”

 

“She retains lessons so well,” Merrill admitted. Hawke smiled as her mates bantered. She climbed into the bed after them.

 

* * * * *

 

A few more weeks passed. It was a quiet night and Hawke found herself alone with Isabela as Merrill took up the option of putting Sparrow down. She was going down easier now. She didn’t need to wait in the hallway and Sparrow didn’t cry so much anymore. She only cried once or twice, and Merrill or Isabela could soothe her to sleep.
Isabela stretched out on her belly on the master large bed, huffing. “Lark’s going to get the better of me. His dagger strikes are getting better. Should I be alarmed or pleased about that?”

 

Hawke intended it to just be a quiet night. Merrill was tucking Sparrow and Magpie in and the twins had already said goodnight. She had purposefully insisted on her mates being the ones to put Sparrow down in the past few months. How she had cried at first, she was so Papa’s little girl it hurt Hawke’s heart. But now she was getting used to it and went quietly with Merrill tonight. But Isabela stretched on her side, night shirt riding high up on her thighs and offering a flash of what was between her legs. At night, Isabela didn’t bother with smallclothes. Hawke sighed somewhere inside as her clit began to extend and swell, her cock forming. She cupped the base and tugged, helping it along.
“I don’t know. I say it’s a blessing. Our sons will protect us,” Hawke suggested. She sat back on her knees as her cock throbbed between her legs. Isabela rolled on her side and shoulder and got an eyeful.

 

“Well, I’m the luckiest mate there is. You’re always offering, aren’t ya?” Isabela laughed. She rolled closer to touch her and Hawke let her. The door was closed, Merrill was occupied. Then Hawke’s attention was drawn to her mate’s large brown eyes, her curved lips, the jewelry still in her ears and lip. Her bandana was off, and her black hair tumbled over her shoulders. Her throat was bare, and Hawke could see her mating mark clearly from this position. She had given it from behind after all. That spurned Hawke to surge over Isabela’s back, helping her shed her shift quickly. Hawke pushed her urgently to lean on her arms and slid into position behind her, pausing to shuck her night shirt off quickly. Isabela’s giggles rang in her ears and then a long moan as Hawke gently pushed in. She latched her mouth over her mating bite from behind, sucking along the teeth imprints urgently. Isabela’s thighs widened and her wet cave drew Hawke in.

 

“Ooooh, you sweet thing….” Isabela moaned. Hawke smiled around her neck and shoulder, her hips thrusting forward firmly. Lust pushed her on, but love kept her thrusts firm and long. Compared to past joinings, it was far more tender. Isabela just basked under her attention, whining and keening with each thrust. As the moments passed, melancholy threatened to dampen the scene. Hawke was happy, inside her mate who was arching to meet her thrusts, moving trustingly under her. Was it the last time? Before she left? Ever, if she was able to return? Hawke faltered and Isabela aimed a look over her bare shoulder.
“Get out of your head and fuck me,” she murmured, panting. Hawke swallowed and tried to give a roguish grin. She could only be glad there weren’t any mind sex powers on Thedas. She leaned to press a kiss to Isabela’s lips, no matter how it cricked their necks.
“Sorry, Bela….” She purred. Hawke’s hips gave a sharp thrust and Isabela gasped beneath her. Smiling again, Hawke focused on the tide of lust prepared to push her over the edge. Isabela squirmed under her but was pinned under Hawke’s thrusts, only able to take what she could give. She whined highly as she came and Hawke kept going, gripped in clinging silken walls.

 

“Oh, Hawke,” Isabela panted. She squeezed deliberately over her and Hawke grunted as her first shot exploded inside her mate. She kept going, riding her thrusts, pumping her hips against Isabela’s ample round rear. She leaned on one arm over her mate’s back, groaning. Her breasts dragged along the pirate’s back as she tried not to crush her. Isabela’s feet twitched beneath her and she purred. But she didn’t push Hawke off. “And all I had to do was lay here to get your attention.”
Isabela was giggling but a moment of panic reverberated with the guilt that lay at the bottom of Hawke’s heart. She moved a sheaf of her mate’s dark hair aside so she could kiss and suck the back of her neck. Isabela squirmed where her mouth laved over her mating bite. “Hawke?”
“S’okay,” Hawke murmured. She planted a series of kisses across the back of her mate’s shoulder. She pulled back and off Isabela’s back, and to the side. Isabela rolled to her side to face her. Her thighs fell open and Hawke eyed the drops of her seed that jostled out of her pussy with the movement. “I just wanted to….”

 

“Aye, I’ve got you where I want you,” Isabela grinned, happy. She laid her head against Hawke’s torso. Her fingertips traced over the bite mark over her breast. Hawke’s heart panged. She leaned to kiss the grinning pirate.
The door opened and before Hawke could pull the covers up, she saw it wasn’t any of the children, but her second mate. Merrill pushed in, shoulder-length hair unfastened. She gave the sight of her naked mate a look and a smile to Isabela who waved her in. “She’s down. Both girls,” she said.
Isabela rolled over and gave Merrill room into the bed. “Good job. I’ll do Sparrow tomorrow night,” she said.
“Your turn if she wakes before morning,” Merrill offered. Hawke’s heart panged.
“I’ll take night shift if you want.”

 

Merrill agreed. “Sure!”

“Sparrow can’t handle it if she doesn’t see you ever,” Isabela reflected. Hawke dearly hoped that weren’t true.

 

• * * * * * *

 

Falcon opened his eyes and looked around the bedroom. Good, Lark was still asleep, snoring loudly in his narrow bed. He pushed the covers off and stealthily padded to the door. Carefully opening it, Falcon slid out into the hallway. There weren’t any happy shouts coming from his parent’s bedroom and his sisters were quiet as well.
That meant the cookies were all his.
The broad-shouldered boy made his way to the kitchen, bare feet decisively picking out the quiet paths on the hardwood floors of the main room. He pushed open the kitchen door and slid in. Only to almost trip over himself when he noted his papa lounging at the small square table beside the stove, plate of cookies unwrapped before her.
“Papa!” Falcon said. But Hawke gave a grin and patted the table opposite her. Falcon took a seat, his nightshirt riding up. “I was just….”

 

“Wanted a spot of something sweet too, eh? Don’t worry, I’ll tell your mothers one of the sailors took the rest,” she offered. Falcon grinned as he took a large cookie with icing smeared over the top. The cookies were a new recipe from Mel and the icing was made with coconuts picked from the island trees. It was really good, even cold as it were. He took a large bite.
Falcon swallowed the bite of cookie, as Hawke seemed to study him. “What is it, Papa?”
“I should have your new practice sword ready,” Hawke murmured almost to herself. She cleared her throat “Your arms are getting stronger, aren’t they?”
Falcon nodded happily. He made a muscle. “I’ll be as strong as you.”

 

The look that darted across his papa’s face was strange and almost pained. “I think you will be. Stronger too. But that’s not for many years, right?” Hawke made herself smile to put her child at ease. “Is a two-handed practice weapon okay with you, pup?”
Falcon nodded. He felt abit odd having to retire his wooden shield, but two-handed fighting was what Papa specialized in. He’d get more fighting expertise from her. “Yes!”
“Good.” Hawke poured fresh milk for the both of them in ceramic mugs. Falcon felt important and grown-up when Papa clicked her mug against his. “Cheers, Fal.”
“Thanks, Papa,” Falcon said happily. Between the two of them, they finished all the cookies and Hawke took care of cleaning the plate. He giggled as he helped clean the mugs. The evidence of their subterfuge was wrapped up. Hawke ruffled his dark hair as they made their way to the back bedrooms to wake up his twin and sisters.

 

 

* * * * * * *

 

Hawke opened her eyes slowly. It was still dark out and dawn was a good hour or two away. The darkness of the night was limned with a subtle grey light that would erupt with the sun’s rising. When she’d gotten up in the night to pee, she’d opted to take up the last spot on the edge of the bed. She’d done this the past few nights so as not to arouse suspicion from either mate. As she carefully climbed out of bed and into her trousers, toeing on socks and boots, Hawke’s eyes swept over her sleeping mates. Guilt twined through her chest and belly, threatening to choke her. Isabela looked happy, hair flung across her pillow as she slept on her back, one hand reaching for her. Merrill was tucked into her side, face pressed to the pirate’s shoulder trustingly.

 

How that trust would quickly evaporate with what she had to do! Hawke swallowed as she blinked stray cobwebs of sleep from her eyes. She ran a hand through her tousled black hair and pulled a tunic on. She carefully opened the master bedroom door and slunk out, shutting it soundlessly. Hawke knew which floorboards creaked in the main room, so she left by the back door. Hawke eyed the painted ceramic mugs her pups had made for themselves, lined up from the previous night’s dish washing.
She couldn’t help feeling bad as her boots sank into the sand. Dawn was still two hours away. Hawke pushed under the palm tree branches around the shed and pushed in. She uncovered her pack, and quickly pulled on the leather jerkin that was waiting. Breastplate, greaves, gauntlets were clasped into place. Hawke tossed a cloak over one shoulder as she shouldered her pack. Her long sword hilt was tied over one shoulder and she ducked out of the shed, one eye on her house.

 

No one was up. She didn’t have to sneak but Hawke couldn’t slinking under the branches toward the far side of the beach. She avoided the Stormy Lover’s crew and their more permanent houses. The captain of the Dim Horizon was going over inventory with one of her sailors.
“Are you ready?” she asked. Hawke nodded.
“Yes.”
“Are you certain you want to go?” the captain asked. “Did you say goodbye to your kids?”
Hawke’s shoulders slumped under the weight of her pack and breastplate. She pushed her cloak into place. “Yes….”
“Alright, let’s move!”

 

As the sailors of the Dim Horizon finished carrying packs of supplies up the gangplank, Hawke followed with her own gear. As the sailors unfastened lines and unfurled sails, she went below deck. She couldn’t even leave a proper note… she didn’t know how she was going to help the Inquisition with such a bad foot forward.

 

* * * * * * *

 

“Papa….where’s Papa?”

 

Isabela’s eyes opened to find her bed half empty. Merrill was there and was waking as well, confused by the children’s cries. She sat up and pulled her shift on.
“Merrill. Wake up, kitten,” Isabela yawned. The elf sat up, rubbing a fist in her eye.
“What is it?” she asked. Isabela shrugged and pushed her hair over one shoulder.
Both women were used to waking with Hawke haven’t gotten up to handle one or more of the children, so they saw no reason for concern as they exited the master bedroom. Falcon had Sparrow raised to one shoulder, a panicked look on his face.
Lark was tossing books and other items in the main room. Isabela sighed as she noticed Magpie watching her brother, a worried look on her face. “What is going on here?” she asked loudly, using her captain’s voice. Lark looked up, guilty.

 

“Ma,” Falcon gulped, rocking Sparrow against him. He held one hand out, a crumpled piece of parchment in it. Isabela took it, raising her eyebrow then fear and confusion fell like a stone in her belly. It was in Hawke’s hand and didn’t make much sense. Many words were crossed out with splotches of ink, and what was there made fear rise in the pirate.
‘I received the call to help….Varric, the Inqusiition…. Corypheus has returned….I am sorry.’
Isabela bit her lip as she turned the parchment over, looking for more. There wasn’t any. “What is this?!” she demanded. Falcon gulped.
“I don’t know. But Papa’s gone,” he said miserably. Isabela shared a look with Merrill. They moved through the main room.
“Her sword’s gone. But she could be hunting in the woods,” Merrill said sensibly. The twins exchanged a look.

 

“Her armor’s gone. She left the helm but….” Lark said, holding out the Champion’s helm like an offering. Isabela’s hands shook as she accepted the helm. Hawke didn’t like wearing it even to battle. She depended on her skill to keep that item of armor from being a necessity.
“Search the island,” Isabela commanded. Merrill gulped. Both of them darted out of the captain’s house. The sailors up and doing small tasks didn’t mark anything wrong. Even with the captain and Merrill in their night shirts.
“Where’s Hawke?”
“I duno, Cap’n!”
“Wait, the Champion’s missing?”

 

“Not missing. Gone!” Isabela growled. She and Merrill rushed to the huts housing the temporary residents. Sailors of the Kraken were up and having breakfast at their communal firepit. Isabela stalked past to their captain.
“Well, I am blessed today,” the bearded man teased Isabela, eyeing her bare thighs. Isabela punched him. She needed an outlet to her anger and fear, and it felt good.
“Shut up! Where the hell is the other crew?”
“The Dim Horizon? They pulled anchor a few hours ago. Could be your mate went with them?” the captain rubbed his jaw, glowering. That was going to leave a mark.

 

Isabela’s thoughts whirled. The other ship was truly gone and hours ago. She hadn’t touched based with their captain to where they’d be heading first. And Hawke thought she was going to give them the slip?!
“Ready the Stormy Lover,” Isabela snapped to Mel. She and Craven had run up to help. Mel was holding Magpie’s hand. “I’m going after her.”
“Why would she go?” Merrill gave a cry beside her. Isabela flashed a look of hurt with the elf.

 

“I don’t know, kitten. But she’ll regret it.”

 

End for now

Chapter Text

The sailors moved about on deck, calling out orders and curses as they worked. The captain of the Dim Horizon hailed Hawke as she came sky-side. The ex-Champion brushed errant bangs out of her eyes as she tried to match the ship’s lurching rocks to greet the woman. Her mabari hound, Angela, scampered after. When Hawke had taken her things aboard the Dim Horizon a few days ago, Angela had bounded after. Hawke had pushed and pleaded for the hound to stay, but he had refused to budge from the ship. So Hawke had left with one companion from home at least. It was that or risk getting noticed from the noise Angela had caused.
“We port Antiva-side in two days. Do you want to move on with us or get off there?” the woman asked. Hawke sighed. Her heart weighed her steps as heavy.
“Get off there. I’ll take a horse further inland,” Hawke muttered. The woman nodded. She peered at the ex-Champion’s unsmiling handsome face.

 

“I get the feeling you didn’t tell Captain Isabela you were sailing with us. No matter. If ever I run into your mate again, I’ll tell her your conscience is heavy. You sure as heck look it,” she said wisely. Hawke gave a weak smile.
“Thanks,” she muttered.
Some of the sailors called out good morning and Hawke nodded back. She leaned against the railing of the ship, inhaling the salt air. She preferred this smell on her mate’s ship. Sailing into port for supplies for the island….
‘You did this to yourself, Hawke. Get to the Inquisition, help them, help Varric. Then go home.’
She only hoped she COULD go back home. Hawke knew Isabela being mad would be the least of her worries. She hoped she wouldn’t bar her entrance from the island and her family.

 

Hawke sighed. She went over the letters she had penned last night, how they had brought tears to her eyes and she’d slept poorly for it. She’d written one for each pup and hoped her oldest would read Sparrow’s and Magpie’s to them. One to Merrill, her sweet mate. One to Isabela, mother of her children.
Hawke had written she was sorry at least once in each letter. Six times sorry she was to do this to them. She’d asked Falcon to continue his training and spar with Craven and the sailors. Lark to practice his dagger strokes. Both to watch over their sisters. Magpie to listen to her mothers and learn her magic lessons. Sparrow, just words of love. She was so small….
The letters for her mates was even harder. Hawke regretted the last time she’d made love to Merrill had been a few weeks ago. Isabela had been far closer to her leaving and Hawke regretted not sneaking her second mate away. But maybe that was for the best. She wouldn’t have that close of a memory of their intimacy to tear her heart asunder.

 

And Isabela….Hawke had written she hoped Isabela understood. She wasn’t leaving her for hopefully too long, and it was solely to help the Inquisition. She’d written she loved her and would be back for her. Hawke resolved to make this true. She would offer up any information on Corypheus and use her own blood to help seal him if need be.
But she wouldn’t give her life. She would make sure to exit any dangerous missions to ensure she would get back. Hawke had promised. And she didn’t want to break her promise.
Hawke sighed, setting her chin on her folded arms on the rail. She remembered the soft kiss she’d given Isabela when they’d fallen asleep. How Merrill tucked against her back. She hoped she would get back to them soon. Their touch was already receding from tactile memory.

 

Angela nudged Hawke’s leg. She reached down absently to pat his large head. She wished the hound had stayed with her pups. But at least she had the mabari to anchor her to home.

 

& && & & & &

 

“Hold these for a Captain Isabela? Will do,” the merchant said. He accepted the six sealed letters and tucked them away in a leather parcel and tied the string. Hawke watched him place the parcel on a shelf with several others.
“Thanks,” Hawke said, handing him a small pouch of coins for the fee. The man juggled the bag and nodded, stowing it in his desk drawer. “And if Captain Isabela asks…just….well, just give her the letters.”

 

The bearded man noted the regret in the warrior’s eyes. Her scar stood out prominently on her nose and her black bangs hung in her overwhelming sad green eyes. But then the captain’s name registered something, and he laughed.
“Isabela? Really, that Isabela? Hell, I haven’t seen her in years! She was a friend of my buddies down at the tavern. We had a real good time….”
Hawke’s fists clenched hard over the strap of her bag until the knuckles stood out white. She knew her mate had a past. Heck, she didn’t think she’d ever win her heart ever. But to hear it yet again combined with her guilt was enough to blow her temper. Hawke angrily stalked to the door of the notary’s shop and slammed it on her way out.

 

Men and women moved quickly through the port’s market area and Hawke moved with them. The activities around her moved with an air of normalcy and bustling motion, but Hawke’s mind and heart were with her family. They were a few days without her. And she was already out of her mind with worry for them. Was Sparrow sleeping okay? Hawke had had her mates take turns to put her down. Magpie had needed more attention from her since Sparrow’s birth.
And her sons….. They had been young when she’d first met them. Hawke regretted the rift that Isabela and her past foolishness had gone into creating such a rift that Isabela felt she had to leave. She wished she’d been there for her first pup’s birth. She had been glad Isabela had come back to start another chance with her. And had even embraced Merrill into their family. But now….
“She’ll bloody hate me.” Hawke wanted to get this business over with to get back home but almost dreaded the initial reunion with her mate. Isabela was going to be more than pissed.

 

“Who, serah?” the nearby merchant asked. Hawke looked up, brushed her off. Then she turned the corner to a nearby stable and pickets of horses grazing.
“Fine steeds for sale or rent!” the barn owner called to passing townsfolk. Hawke saluted the man.
“I’ll take one. To buy.”
“This grey mare will do you fine, serah. She’s swift and sure-footed,” he declared, holding a palm out. Hawke pressed ten gold coins into his hand and the man smiled. “Her name’s Buttercup.”

 

Hawke shrugged at the name and went to collect the mare’s saddle and bridle. After greeting the mare with a carrot and a few moments to acclimatize to her presence, Hawke saddled her and led the mare by the bridle away down the street. The mare nipped gently at Hawke’s tunic sleeve, above her gauntlet, and Hawke smiled. It was good to have another companion, of the animal variety.
Angela padded beside her, giving his mabari grin to no one in particular. The horse nickered softly at him and lifted large soft eyes to Hawke. Hawke patted her nose and paused to step into a stirrup and mount her. Buttercup waited patiently as she did; sure-footed she was. Hawke got up without any problems and pushed her shoulder bag to balance against one side of her waist. She whistled down to Angela to get his attention and touched her heels to the mare’s sides.

 

“We ride,” she commanded gently. Buttercup whinnied and spurred forward. Angela barked and gave chase alongside. At least they were on their way.

 

 

& & & & &

 

Craven was worried.

 

He walked along the deck of the Stormy Lover, who was running out to sea at fast a clip as the sailors could work her. Mel was hopping along the beams above, checking on lines and knots with a few of the men. Craven came up to the steering platform and sighed. Isabela was at the wheel, staring off into the horizon. By the jut of her jaw, he should know to steer clear. He cleared his throat and approached anyways.
“Cap’n…”
The dagger that was thrown at him he saw coming. He knocked it away with his machete and then jogged to retrieve it. Isabela’s hand was out, waiting, and Craven offered her the dagger, hilt first.
“Cap’n…”

 

“Don’t,” Isabela snapped. Her hands were clenched on the wheel. Craven waited. Isabela sighed. “I’m going to kill her….”
Craven’s mouth turned down in a frown. “You won’t…. she’s your mate.”
“She left,” Isabela hissed through gritted teeth. “I’m going to beat her bloody…..”
Craven coughed. “After a few hits…..maybe that’ll be enough.”
“The pups were crying!” Isabela hissed. Her fury turned to Craven who waited. He blinked.

 

“All of you did.” When Isabela raised a fist to him, he let her beat on his barrel chest. “Cap’n, did you think that maybe Hawke feels she needs to help this Inquisition?”
“I did,” Isabela ground out. “She always has to be the bloody hero. I thought when we left Kirkwall, that would be over with. Her first need should be to us!”
“It is,” Craven agreed. “I’ve never seen such a dedicated sire.”
Isabela was quieted. She muttered under her breath, but Craven saw a lot of the rage leave her face. Craven patted her shoulder, his large hand falling heavily there. Isabela was oddly quieted, her rage distilled to a point of silence. Worry then swept in to replace the odd moment of emptiness and Isabela’s head hurt.

 

She had left her pups with Merrill and she’d had to try to console the crying elf before leaving. Isabela felt bad for putting the whole household on Merrill, and hoped the twins were helping her keep it together. Well, they’d better.
A few ports. Then she’d return to take the burden off the pup’s second mother.

 

Isabela had to find Hawke. She’d drag her home if she had to.

 

& & & & & &

 

 

Falcon walked outside, his father’s helm tucked under one arm. Mamae had been nigh on inconsolable after Mama had left on her ship and neither of the twins or pups were allowed to go. It had put the pre-teen in a sour mood, and he knew his brother was feeling as rotten. After holding Mamae and cuddling the teary-eyed girls between them, he had begged off, pretending he needed to use the washroom.
But then he’d ducked out on the back deck and onto the sand, retrieving Papa’s helm where he’d hidden it in the shrubs. The cool dome of metal did nothing to soothe him, yet his small hands cradled it reverently. Papa had worn it in battles during the events at their old home in Kirkwall. Mama had said so and Falcon remembered Papa wearing it with her full armor one time. But she rarely liked wearing her helm and left it off most times as not. That one memory stuck in Falcon’s mind like a gleaming gem.

 

Without thinking, Falcon lifted the helm and fitted it over his head. His hair cushioned the heavy metal against his head and wobbled slightly when he moved his head. It was a little too big for him. But it fit his papa well. Falcon peered through the open visor of the helm, trying to imagine how the rest of Papa’s armor looked with it.
Heavy footfalls sounded on the deck behind him and Falcon whirled to face his brother. He yanked the helm off and cradled it protectively. His twin stared at him, mouth open to call him in to help when his eyes fell on the helm in his hands.
“Papa’s helm…”
“Yeah,” Falcon said. He clutched the helmet to his chest suddenly. Lark advanced on him, brows pulled taut over his flashing green eyes.
“That’s where it went. Give it here, Fal.”

 

Falcon scowled at Lark’s command. “No,” he growled. Lark took a fighting stance. He raised a skinny fist.
“Give it!”
“Take it!” Falcon cursed. He set the helm on the sand and Lark lunged at him. They rolled on the sand, each trying to grapple for the top position. Sand got into Falcon’s mouth and he hissed. He aimed a knee up at his twin’s stomach and shoved him off. Lark wheezed and slammed a small fist against Falcon’s chest. He was leaner but the strike still hurt. Falcon panted for breath.
“Boys!” Mamae’s worried voice lanced through both of them like a lightning bolt. Lark shoved off of Falcon and brushed sand off his pants.

 

“Mamae,” he winced. Magpie actually had hold of Sparrow’s hand, helping her toddle along the sand as Merrill strode forward with her staff to inspect their bruises. After the staff passed glowing over their limbs, and their small hurts were healed, Falcon lowered his head, accepting Merrill’s somewhat sheepish railing. She didn’t know how to do it and it sounded like she was going to break out with an “I love you” anyways, despite their scuffle, and it not being her fault.
“I don’t know what I’m going to do with you two! I need your….we need your help! Isabela saddling me with all four of you and then….” Merrill bit her lip, tears filling her eyes and Falcon was lanced with more guilt. She was thinking of Papa. How could she not be? She wasn’t even gone a few days and Mama gone on her ship less than that. This was all too new.

 

“We’re sorry, Mamae. It won’t happen again,” Falcon promised. He took his mamae’s hand and squeezed it.
Lark caught his eye and gave a curt nod. “Yes, very sorry.”
Mamae squeezed Falcon’s hand back and pressed her other palm against Lark’s cheek. They looked so much like Hawke it hurt. “Well, good! Or I’ll have to punish you both, the lot of you!”
“Yes, Mamae,” Lark winced.
As the twins reassured their mamae, Magpie shook her head, somewhat disgusted with them. Their mamae needed their help and their dumb ol’ fight had put her in charge of the baby. But Sparrow was being oddly quiet, her green eyes welling with tears in odd intervals. Mama was gone. Chasing after their Papa. It wasn’t a good place for them to be. They’d hardly eaten or slept. It was a downright waking nightmare.

 

So Magpie squeezed her sister’s pudgy hand and helped her along. “Easy, Sparrow. See, you’re doing fine,” she muttered quietly. Sparrow’s eyes widened at her sister’s words. She rarely spoke and she knew it. She mumbled and clutched her hand.
“Pa,” she gave a small wail. Magpie squeezed her hand.
“I don’t know,” Magpie answered. The confusion on the toddler’s face made her heart feel too big for her chest. Magpie swallowed. Falcon carried Papa’s helm under one arm and knelt to pick the baby up with one arm. She let him collect Sparrow. Lark made a noise beside him and Falcon reluctantly tossed him the helmet. Lark held it between both hands, staring down.

 

Then he took his mamae’s arm and guided her back to the captain’s house.

 

& & & & &&

 

A couple weeks of travel and Hawke neared the mountain range she knew Skyhold to be in. There were a few well-worn paths heading up into the heights and not so oddly, a few soldiers and scouts, even common folk, more than likely seeking an audience with the Inquisitor.
Hawke sold Buttercup to a soldier and followed the gaggle of villagers up the stone pathways. Angela doggedly followed, eager to get to where they were going. Hawke reached down to pat his head. More than once, she wished Angela had stayed on the island. Her pups would need his strength. But at the very least, Hawke was glad Angela was stubborn enough to push to go. She wasn’t completely alone, and she already felt that. Angela barked and rubbed at her side. His head was higher than Hawke’s hip and she almost stumbled.

 

Buttercup’s large eyes almost made Hawke feel guilty, then her new owner led her away. Hawke settled her hand on Angela’s tall head, rubbing his ears. The higher they climbed, the shorter her breath came. But as the group of soldiers and commoners ascended up the stony pathway, she became used to the atmosphere and breathed easier.
A few turns around rocky outcrops the higher they went an hour or so in, and Hawke was startled at the long stone archway connecting the castle’s entrance to the mountainside. The castle waited, poised like a drop hanging off the edge of a leaf up in the sky. The engineering looked precarious at a distance, as if a fortress weren’t meant to be built there. But it was staying and intended to. Hawke felt her vertigo sway as she crossed the long archway, the commoners chattering excitedly. Soldiers in the Inquisition armor waited at intervals, long spears or swords held. Their eyes moved over the supplicants, but they allowed all to press up to the open gates. A few soldiers halted everyone, asking a few questions and going through bags.

 

But it seemed all were being allowed in to placate the Inquisitor with their concerns. Hawke patted Angela’s head and tugged her cloak forward, so the long sweep of it would cover the Champion’s insignia. She clutched the strap strung over one shoulder carrying her long sword.
“Halt, messere. What is your name?” one of the soldiers, carrying a scrap of parchment asked, quill poised to jot down a note about her.
Hawke lied. “Seran.”
“Serah….Seran.” The man frowned as if realizing how strange that sounded. But he went on. “And what is your business with the Inquisition?”

 

“I’d like to seek Inquisitor Cadash’s aide with a dispute at my manor,” Hawke went on. Lying felt unnatural, but she didn’t want to be recognized. Not by strangers, that was.
The soldier nodded to himself, quill scratching over the parchment. “Most do. Well, move to the great hall. There’ll be a line, and you’ll have to wait your turn. Understood?”
“Yes,” Hawke nodded. She strode forward past the front gates, the villagers behind her moving up to add their name to his list. Her boots sank into patches of grass oddly and she stared down. In a fortress built high up in the sky, it was just unexpected that anything grew here. Angela sniffed along as she moved past a few merchants hawking wares under their tents, toward a set of stone steps. The great hall had to be that way.
As Hawke moved up to the next level in the grass outside the fortress walls, a short red-haired dwarf caught her attention. She would have overlooked him, had he not been wearing a jaunty red tunic, open at the chest of course, leather overcoat half unbuttoned. He turned and Hawke recognized Varric. He still was clean-shaven to defy his roots, and his hair was tied back in a topknot. He was ambling along, dodging scouts and workers, a pipe dangling out of the corner of his mouth. Then Varric turned and their eyes met.
Hawke was surprised how quickly she moved to greet him, heart glad when a smile stretched the dwarf’s lips. “Hawke! You’re here!” he said.

 

Soon they were shaking hands, then Hawke found Varric wrapping his arms around her waist, hugging her affectionately. She laughed and clapped him on the back. It was like the fall of Kirkwall had never happened, and they would head to the Hanged Man together.
“I got your message, my friend!” Hawke exclaimed. Varric laughed, and they squeezed tight, before he let her go, looking up at her face.
“I can’t thank you enough for coming….come on. Let’s find a quiet spot,” he suggested. Hawke nodded, seeing the wisdom in that.
“I didn’t think the ex-Champion would be welcomed most anywhere,” Hawke admitted. Varric lead her across the grassy courtyard toward an adjoining building. The door was open and lute music wafted out. Before they could enter, a bald elf leaning on a staff ambled past. Hawke side-stepped politely, but he stopped to chat up Varric with a curt question.

 

Varric always took the friendly approach to a situation and decided to introduce her. So Hawke had to assume he was one of the Inquisitor’s close advisors or allies. “Well, Solas, you caught me. May I introduce Marian Hawke to you?”
“A pleasure.” A bit of kindness couldn’t hurt. The elf blinked as Hawke shook his hand and seemed to mull over her name.
“Hawke? The Champion of Kirkwall?”
“Ex-champion, please,” Hawke winced. As her fingers drifted back from Solas’s, she had to blink away the flash images that had permeated into her mind. A deep sleeping place in the ground, roots twining over a pale figure as he lay unmoving and dreaming….

 

Likewise, Solas was frowning and Hawke wondered what he’d glimpsed from HER. He mumbled something in elvish and Hawke shrugged.
“I didn’t mean to disturb you,” she answered in his language and Solas’s eyes widened.
“You speak elvish?” he asked in the common tongue. Hawke nodded.
“My second mate is Dalish.”
Solas’s face darted in a frown over that for some reason. Disgust? Pity? Why? He was elvhenan as well. But he had no facial tattoos. Perhaps he had been born in human surroundings like other half-elves. Solas forced a smile.
“My apologies, I didn’t realize. Just goes to show you can’t judge a book by its cover.”
Varric laughed. “You should have read mine on our doings in Kirkwall!”

 

“Well, I’d be quick to give word to the Inquisitor, or Josephine. Cassandra will be cross indeed when she finds out the Champion is here,” Solas said. Hawke tried not to wince.
“I’m ready to meet the Inquisitor,” she declared. Varric slapped her on the lower back.
“And we will. I think we need a moment of quiet. Before the Seeker seeks our heads,” Varric offered. Solas shrugged.
“As you wish,” he said non-committedly and went on his way. Hawke darted a glance after him as she followed Varric into the somewhat raucous tavern.
“Wil he be alright?” she asked. Angela padded after, panting as Varric led them up a few flights of wooden steps. Varric chuckled as they passed the second landing and moved to the third.

 

“Baldy is never quite what’d you’d call ‘alright.’ But he’s good in a pinch.” Varric paused, listening to the singer on the main floor. “I swear the singer’s chatting up Sera with that song. No matter,” he said. Hawke shrugged.
“Who’s that?”
“One of our best archers. Also an in with the Red Jenny’s,” Varric said in an off-hand manner. “Come on. Let’s get higher up.”
Hawke followed him to the third rising. “You always were an odd dwarf, Varric.”
“Only that I know we’re not going to fall up into the sky. And it’s quieter up here. Come on.”
On the third rising, a slim tall man with shaggy blond hair watched them with gaunt large eyes. His pale gaze made gooseflesh rise on Hawke’s arms. Angela didn’t seem to mind and bounded forward to nudge him for a pet. The man jumped, but then hesitantly pet the mabari.
“Good boy,” he said. Then he genuinely smiled. “You ARE a good boy!”
“Hey, kid,” Varric greeted him casually. The man smiled.
“Hi, Varric.” He stared curiously at Hawke. She offered a hand.

 

"Hawke."
“Cole.” The young man shook her hand hesitantly, almost as if he’d never done it before. He stared at their joined hands, then slowly let go, peering at her intently. “Do not worry if you can help it.”
Hawke stammered. “I beg your pardon?”
Cole nodded, as if sure of whatever it was he’d seen in her face. “Your nest is very full. Two mothers. Four chicks. They’re so very loud, singing of anger and sorrow. It hurts to be away from them.”
Hawke stared at the gaunt young man, mouth slightly agape. “How did you!....”

 

Varric interjected himself smoothly, and Hawke got the feeling the strange young man was used to his help. “Don’t mind him. Cole sees what most can’t.”
Hawke, however, felt unclean, as if she’d been peered at while naked in the bath. Such a look of vulnerability almost into her soul. Was Cole reading her mind? He could see her family? He seemed to pick from her thoughts as easily as one picked a bouquet.
Cole went on, thinking to soothe her. “You shouldn’t blame yourself…..he would have escaped without you!”
Corypheus. It had to be. Hawke shouldered her long sword and tried to find even footing back to reality. “Thank you? I think?”
Varric cleared his throat. “Go on, Cole. I’ll take Hawke from here.”
Cole nodded, agreeing with him. “Yes. You are her friend.”

 

Varric opened the door leading out to the adjoining parapets and she took a deep breath of the clear cold air as the door shut behind them.
“Strange company you keep in the Inquisition.”
“You’re one to talk with your old party members. At least you kept two as your mates,” Varric teased, trying to settle Hawke’s discomfort. She did smile at that. “So, was that true? FOUR pups??”
Hawke eased back into the comfort of thinking of her family. She swallowed past the guilt to boast of them. “He was right! You met the twins. Magpie was next, born at sea. And that was a strange thing in itself…”
Varric produced a small bottle from his coat pocket. He uncorked and took a swig, offering it to Hawke. She set her pack on the parapet and leaned against the stone wall, accepting it. “Strange to have gotten another child on the Rivaini? I’d think she’d be used to it.”
Hawke had to laugh with her friend. It felt good to again.

 

“Well, something bad had happened to Bela when she was pregnant. We had gotten into a brawl and…” Hawke coughed into her fist. “It was my fault. She’d gotten hurt, but a spirit that Merrill had helped wanted to help us….”
Varric nodded. Magic doings were not that far-fetched there, after all. “Was it able to?”
“It did. It transferred the babe from Bela to Merrill. That was strange in itself,” Hawke admitted. “But Merrill hadn’t conceived. She was able to have my pup anyhow….”
A wistful good smile spread across Varric’s face. “I’m glad Daisy ended up with you too. She needed a good mate.”
“I just hope she wants me back after all this. Bela too,” Hawke admitted. She pulled hard on the bottle and handed it back. Varric loped over to the edge of the wall and called out to a messenger.

 

“She will. Hey, boy. Give word to the Inquisitor to meet me up here at her leisure. And tell her I have a visitor she’ll want to meet.”
“At once, Varric,” the man bowed his head and took off. Varric saluted him off and turned back to Hawke. He stroked Angela’s head. The mabari was of a height with him.
“Isabela gave you her heart. Even if she offers her anger first, remember that once this is all said and done,” Varric declared. Hawke gave a soft smile.
“That was nicely said. Write that in your next story.”
“Oh, I intend to,” Varric drawled. “Now, the fourth pup?”
Hawke smiled. She dug in her tunic pocket and pulled out a brooch. She opened it and showed off the miniature painted of her family. She felt bad for nabbing it, but she DID need to see their faces while she was gone. It was all she had at the moment when touch and embrace were far away.

 

“Sparrow. The smallest baby we had. Isabela carried her…..no spirits this time. After our miracle baby, that was most welcome,” Hawke declared. “So small but so loud. Magpie doesn’t know what to think of her. But I hope she’ll love her same as I do.”
“And the twins?” Varric asked. “How are they getting on with your big household?”
“So good,” Hawke admitted. “They’re getting stronger all the time. And they help with their sisters.”
“I hope they continue to do so,” Varric said. He took a sip from the bottle, watching the sun lope toward the horizon. “Good lads, they are…”
“Varric?” a feminine voice called out. Hawke stood at attention as Varric moved forward to greet the dwarf woman in a finely stitched doublet. Her outfit spoke of wealth and Hawke had to conclude she was the new Inquisitor. Angela leapt to his feet, approaching to sniff the newcomer who allowed it.

 

“Inquisitor. I’m pleased to introduce Marian Hawke, Champion of Kirkwall,” Varric declared, spreading a hand toward her. Hawke stepped forward, hoping she didn’t look too tired from her travels.
“Though I don’t use that title much anymore. Inquisitor,” Hawke greeted formally, offering her hand to shake. Cadash’s shake was firm and hard, she noted. She was not a stranger to battle.
“I figured you might have some friendly advice about Corypheus,” Varric offered. Hawke nodded.
“Well. It seems we have much to talk about,” Cadash blinked blue eyes up at her. Hawke leaned against the parapet beside her to match her height.

 

“About the darkspawn’s revival? Yes….. though you dropped half a mountain of him. What I’d done pales in comparison…”
Varric searched his coat’s pockets for a match and lit up his pipe as Hawke spoke with the Inquisitor. The sun was a few hours off from setting and there was a nice golden sheen surrounding them. They were safe high up here in Skyhold.

He hoped it would remain that way.

 

& & & & & &

 

Isabela flung into the tavern, both arms sweeping the double doors open wide. Craven, Mel and a few of her sailors flocked after. Their captain’s mood had been erratic ever since tying up at the docks, and she ordered a drink, staring glumly down into it. That she’d still be in shock despite her fits of anger surprised no one.
Craven was just ordering a drink when he heard the talking beside them. “Champion? Kirkwall has no Champion! They’re trying to right clean up and that woman fled like a bitch with her tail between her legs….”
Mel met his eyes and started when Isabela turned to the alpha that had said that, fist flying for his face. The man went down off his stool, legs over his head and his friends jumped in place.

 

“Fuck you! Get off me! Fuckin’ blighter….” Isabela cursed, trying to break out of her sailor’s hold. One of the alpha’s friends aimed a punch, her detractors had to drop her, and Isabela ducked, then flung her fist up at his jaw. Craven sighed and picked up a chair, throwing it bodily into the group of men. They went down hard.
Mel and one of the betas each took an arm and dragged Isabela back, kicking mightily between them. She was yelling curses at the alpha’s group of friends. Many were sprawled, holding their heads. The others were rendered unconscious. Mel met her lover’s eyes and nodded. Craven flipped a silver to the innkeeper for a room and the sailors got their captain in.
“You should rest, Isabela! We’ve been moving non-stop since dawn,” Mel pleaded.

 

Fire crackled in Isabela’s eyes. “Not until I find Hawke.’
Craven lent his voice. “Cap’n, we all need food and rest. You most of all. How can we hope to find her without any sleep?”
Isabela’s shoulders slouched but her aura still crackled with energy. “I need a drink…”
It took a few tankards of ale, but their captain finally passed out, head in Mel’s lap. She had excused the other sailors to find their own room, and Craven had stayed because Mel had stayed. Isabela’s features were distorted in her sleep, and she looked far from restful. Craven touched his lover’s calf where he could reach her without jostling Isabela.
“What else can we do?” he whispered to her. Mel’s eyes were very sad as she surveyed the passed-out pirate in her lap. She stroked her long dark hair where it spilled out beneath her bandana.

 

“Be there for her. Help her. She commands us and it is her ship. But we have to save her from herself,” Mel murmured.
Craven agreed.

 

End for now.

Chapter Text

Hawke surveyed the room she’d been given. It was in one of the buildings around back behind the castle’s tavern. There were adjoining rooms but luckily Hawke had been given her own. That was how she preferred it and she didn’t want to hear the merriment of others when sleep and dreams may give her glimpses of her family.
Her mates…pups….Hawke fisted the brooch in her tunic pocket. She sighed. The surgeon in the room next door had introduced herself and her few patients still on bed rest. Hawke had shaken her hand readily enough but she still felt lonely.
Hawke pushed out the door to step outside. Her boots crunched on the grass and she covered her eyes with one wrist. The sky seemed closer up here and the blue was dazzling to her senses. Angela padded beside her, panting happily. And that’s when Hawke heard the shout.

 

It wasn’t one of the soldiers practicing swordplay nearby, but a familiar one, his tone anxious. That was Varric! Where was he and why did he sound so distressed? Hawke jogged to one of the nearby doors of the surrounding building and pushed in. She barely had time to let her eyes adjust when she made out Varric. The dwarf was bodily ducking and Hawke saw Cassandra fly past him, arm outstretched. Varric’s dodge made her strike miss and she almost spun out on the floor from the force of her momentum. The sight would have been comical had Varric not looked fearful.
“Wait! Wait!” The dwarf was shouting to Cassandra, panting as he righted himself and ran around the edge of a nearby table. The Seeker was hot on his heels and Hawke was advancing, hand reaching for her sword hilt, and missing. She’d left her weapon in her room. But her dagger was attached to her belt, so she drew, charging the Seeker directly up against the brick wall. Angela barked wildly beside her and his jaws latched onto Cassandra’s leather pant leg. She grunted with pain, pushing back up against Hawke’s strength, but she could not be budged.

 

Hawke began to press her dagger into the soft flesh of the woman’s throat when Varric pushed forward to grab her arm. “Hawke! I’m okay!”
Hawke flicked her eyes to him but kept her hold on the Seeker. “Are you sure about that?”
“I missed, didn’t I?” Cassandra hissed between grit teeth.
“Just a love tap,” Varric insisted. “Ease up, it’s alright.”
Hawke reluctantly let the scowling woman go. She re-sheathed her dagger and snapped her fingers to Angela. To her credit, Cassandra didn’t cry out with pain the whole time Angela had his jaws on her. “Why were you swinging on him?” she demanded.

 

Cassandra smoothed her hair back and glowered at Varric who backed up again. “He lied to me about you. He knew where you were the whole time…”
Hawke blinked. “Not really. He didn’t know where exactly.”
“I had to leave a letter for her,” Varric explained. Cassandra glowered. Hawke wondered whether she ever chose to look other than irate and constipated.
“You still were deceitful,” she insisted. Hawke crossed her arms.
“You’ll keep your hands off him. I’ll be watching you.”
Varric patted Hawke’s arm, feeling suddenly pleased. “There’s the watch dog I know.”

 

Hawke gave him a confused look, as her battle high receded. She blinked to keep a headache back. “Watch dog?”
Angela barked.
Varric nodded. “I missed that in some ways. And lying for my friends? Oh yes, I’d do it again.”

 

Hawke had to smile at that as Cassandra stalked off.

 

& & & & & &

 

Isabela cursed as the crew tied the ship off at port. Craven caught Mel’s eye and they both nodded, charging after the captain as she ordered the gangplank dropped. Once it thumped onto the dock, she stalked off quickly.
“Tie off!” he shouted to the crew. They all nodded and went about their tasks.
Isabela’s anger had not dissipated in the slightest and Craven was running on empty trying to keep up with her. He and Mel had barely gotten any sleep in the past few days. This was the third port and the third town. He feared they wouldn’t find mention of Hawke here either and Isabela wasn’t going to like that.
A few taverns and bars were looked through, but the owners and barkeeps alike had not seen her mate. Isabela was fuming when she ordered a bottle of brandy. She pried the cork off with her teeth and spat it out. Craven sighed as Isabela took a long pull then kept sipping, throat bobbing as she swallowed the liquor.

 

“Fucking hell,” she cursed as she came up for air. Mel sighed.
“Maybe we should get a meal, Cap’n,” she said. Isabela waved the bottle.
“I’ll eat when I’m good and ready,” she glowered. Mel held her hands up.
Isabela decided to sit at a table with a few rough and tumble sailors. Her own crew had stayed on the ship, and Craven could only be grateful. The captain was bad enough to babysit now without adding everyone else in. But Isabela was not proving tractable at all. She drank heavily, laughing raucously with the rough men who showered attention and compliments on her. Craven hoped Isabela wouldn’t try to bed any of them, for he’d protect her. She was Hawke’s mate. And she would feel bad about it later, he knew.
Mel tensed at his side and Craven drank a sip of water slowly. “We should stop this,” she said tersely. Craven agreed.
“Let’s interrupt. She’ll be mad but…”

 

Isabela’s punch at the man next to her shouldn’t have surprised him yet it still did. He must have said something that riled the pirate up for she began a brawl with the sailors she had erstwhile befriended. The rest swore or laughed and tried to get the better of her. Craven yanked one of the sailors back with one large hand, tossing him up and over his shoulder for good measure. The crash behind him was satisfying and he knew the man wouldn’t be back up for more.
“Cap’n!” Mel yelled. She unsheathed her blade and rushed to defend Isabela from one of the sailors. She shoved his sword back with hers. Isabela unsheathed and joined the fray, shoving one of the men back from advancing on her sailor.
“Back up, asshole!” she swore. Local soldiers flooded the tavern and Craven cringed as they surrounded his captain and lover. Mel offered her sword hilt first and held her other palm up. Isabela did not comply. She fought the armored soldiers and Craven grabbed one of them up by the throat to stop from knocking her out.

 

“Cap’n!” he pleaded. Isabela swore, then threw her dagger at one of the soldier’s feet in a non-agreeable manner. The captain of the team reached to her other sheathed dagger, taking it quickly.
“Fine, fine! Hey, watch the hands!” Isabela cursed. Mel kept pace beside her as the soldiers clapped manacles on her wrists and led her to the jail house. Craven ran quickly behind.
“We’ll get you out, Cap’n,” Craven promised. Isabela cursed and kicked, finally having to be carried off by three of the soldiers. Mel wrung her hands as they were halted outside the jail house doors.

 

“She’s going to get herself hurt the way she keeps going on!” she fretted. Craven patted her shoulder. He sighed when Mel pressed her face into his large shoulder
“They’ll let her cool her heels, then let us post bail. Come on, we should look through the ledgers in her cabin and get the coin,” Craven insisted. Mel nodded. They took off for the docks, ignoring the blond elf passing them, his own prisoner in tow.
“My, you have your hands full,” the man observed to the soldier at the front desk. Angry feminine shouts erupted from further back in the jail house. The man sighed and scratched a name down on the ledger in front of him.
“Zevran. Thanks for bringing this lot in,” the soldier said. Zevran handed the man over and collected a small bag of coins. He jingled it merrily, tossed it into the air and caught it with his other hand.

 

“Anytime. Good luck with that wildcat I hear,” he grinned showing even white teeth. The soldier winced as another man poured from the back. His eye was darkening from a punch, swollen and angry.
“Could you help us?? She’s like a demon!” the man gasped for breath. The soldier jumped up and Zevran shrugged, joining the men at the back of the corridors. Five soldiers were trying to herd and or shove a woman into a cell. She was Rivaini by the look of her, then her head turned and Zevran gasped.
“Isabela!” he exclaimed. Isabela spit at the man beside her and was cuffed for it. The assassin angrily stepped forward. “Let her go!”
“Friend of yours, Zevran?” one of the soldiers growled. The elf nodded. He shoved at two of the men to back off his manacled friend.
“She is! What’s she done? Come now, it can’t be that bad.” Zevran figured it wouldn’t hurt to pour on the charm. Isabela rolled her eyes, but her wrists were released from their binds.
“Started a brawl at the local tavern.”
Zevran snickered. “Again?”

 

“It hasn’t been that often a thing!” Isabela huffed. Not since her pups, of course.
“Right.” Zevran juggled his new coin pouch, hefting the amount. He then tossed the pouch to the captain of the soldiers and saluted him. “Well I’d say that covers her. And I’ll take her off your hands.”
“Oh, I bet you will,” Isabela couldn’t help drawling. Zevran’s wit was easing her perpetual bad mood as of late. Damn Hawke….
“What say you?” Zevran pressed. The mustachioed captain nodded, pocketing the pouch of coins.
“Fine. “ He aimed a huge finger at Isabela’s face. “Don’t let me catch you here again.”
“As if I’d be caught in this cesspool again,” Isabela hissed. Zevran took her by the elbow and led her away.
“Really, now, Isabela, they’ll just lead you right back to that cell,” he scolded. The grin on his face belied his words. Isabela cuffed his shoulder.
“Shut up, Zev,” she retorted. “Not unless you got more to drink.”

 

“And then some.” Zevran led her to a small inn he was rooming at and bought another bottle of whiskey. They shared it in the corner of the main room, both drinking and catching up.
“She’s gone? Truly gone? I doubt that,” Zevran said. Isabela glared at her friend.
“Well she’s certainly not at home! What the hell do you mean?” she asked. Zevran held his hands up.
“Anyone with eyes can see she loves you. And you have pups together. It’s not forever. She’s just off to do a thing for the Inquisition. She’ll be back after it. I know it.”
Isabela had to admit Zevran was making sense. Even if she didn’t want to believe it. “She could have told me…..”
Zevran nodded, sipping from the bottle. “Yes, she should have….You’re mad about that. And you should be.”
“Wait ‘til I get my hands on her….”

 

“Could I have a turn before you turn her into a pulpified mess? She really is a skilled alpha….” Zevran drooled in memory. The smack he got he should have anticipated. But not the tears springing in Isabela’s eyes. “Well, hell, this is serious.”
“You think?!” Isabela spat out. She put her head on her arms. Zevran patted her hair calmly.
“It’s a new look, Bela. But you’re in for the long haul. I get that.”
“Fuck her leaving!” Isabela said suddenly. Zevran nodded.
“I’ll agree with that. Fuck her leaving!”

 

The bottle was passed back and forth and Isabela laughed as she and Zevran staggered through the streets back towards the dock, swaying every which way together. As they tripped up the gangplank to the Stormy Lover, the sailors on watch exclaimed and rushed to help them up.
Craven almost collapsed at the sight of her. “Where were you?! When we went to post bail, they’d said you’d gone!”
“Cap’n, we were worried!” Mel insisted. Isabela just laughed and waved her bottle, leading Zevran below deck. Craven kept a hold on their arms lest they trip and fall down the staircase.
“Met up with Zev! Zev, this is muh crew,” Isabela slurred. The elf laughed and they stumbled into the captain’s quarters. Isabela collapsed on her bed and sniffed at Zevran plopping in one of the nailed-down chairs. “Don’t be getting any ideas.”

 

“Never, dear friend,” Zevran insisted. As they talked on through their inebriation, Isabela finally began to relax. For the first time in days. When she fell asleep on the captain’s bed, Zevran covered her with the coverlet and blew out the lantern.

 

He hoped Hawke could be found. For Isabela’s sake.

 

& & & & &

 

Hawke sighed as she pushed into the castle’s make-shift tavern. A Qunari was laughing boisterously in the corner, entertaining a m