Fenris hated mages. It was a simple fact - no exceptions, end of discussion. It was more than just a belief; it was who he was: a former slave who hated the ones who had enslaved him and any like them which, as far as he was concerned, was all of them. He didn't believe any mage wouldn't do the same as his former master given the chance.
None of which explained how he found himself sharing a crowded bed with two of them, listening to Hawke snoring in his ear while Anders' cold foot rested on his thigh. He could, of course, have put it down to the magic he despised – claimed they used it to confuse his thoughts and make him agree to things he'd never have done willingly. But as much as he'd like to be able to explain it so easily, he knew better.
It had begun simply enough. Fenris had known Hawke was a mage from the moment he met him. How could he not, when that magic had been rather showily deployed in his own defense? But under the circumstances, he'd have been a fool to have refused his offer. He'd done better than anyone could have expected on his own – better, in fact, than he'd expected himself. But he was tired of running and that meant he needed allies.
He'd agreed to follow Hawke, but that didn't mean he'd trusted the man. Not at first, nor for quite some time after. It was a given for Fenris to distrust the motives of others. No matter where they went or what they were doing, he watched Hawke like the man's namesake, waiting for the other shoe to drop and the monster inside to come out.
When it didn't, he wondered what he was missing.
And there things might have remained, had it not been for Anders. Anders, the one most like Danarius of the three mages in their party, for all that he'd have denied the resemblance. It was that very quality that had made him the easiest of the three to deal with – Fenris didn't have to fight the ins.txtts that wanted to trust Hawke despite his magic, nor justify to himself the odd sort of contemptuous pity he felt for Merrill.
But Anders was more than a mage, more even than an abomination. He was a healer. Fenris shouldn't have been surprised he noticed.
Because while it should have followed that he hated magic as much or more than the mages themselves, the truth was that no matter how hard he tried, he didn't.
It was the lyrium that caused it or perhaps something Danarius had done, something to make him more obedient. Mages filled Fenris with rage and contempt, but magic? Magic was exciting. Merely being present when a spell was being cast sent tingling heat through the lyrium in his skin, made his heart pound and his palms sweat.
He'd learned to ignore it, to simply attribute it to a side effect of what had been done to him. A mere chemical reaction, nothing personal and certainly nothing sexual. But the effect was stronger when the spell was cast on Fenris himself. Given how often Anders healed him, he shouldn't have been too surprised when he caught Anders giving him thoughtful glances – glances he always met with a fierce glare.
He'd hoped that would be enough to get Anders to keep his mouth shut. He should have known better. If Anders had had any sense or anything resembling impulse control, he wouldn't have been an abomination to begin with.
Worse, Anders didn't ask Fenris about it. Instead, he brought it up with Hawke.
And Hawke, being who he was, acted on it. Although, if Fenris were being fair, he'd acted first. He'd been the one who'd waited at Hawke's mansion, the one to want to take their relationship beyond friendship.
He hadn't expected Hawke to agree. And once he had, well, the truth was that Fenris had never thought much past that part. He supposed he'd expected something fast and desperate, something that matched the way he often felt, as though he had to grab onto everything he wanted as fast as he could, before someone snatched it away.
But Hawke wasn't like that. Perhaps he'd never truly understood what Hawke was like, despite all their time together. No, there was no perhaps about it – even now, he didn't really understand.
When Hawke reached for him, his hands were warm with more than the fire in the hearth, more even than the heat of lust. His skin was almost humming with magic – no particular spell, just gathered power.
Fenris jumped. He tried not to, but he couldn't help it. If it had been anyone else, he'd have followed up by jerking free and running off, but against all odds, he trusted Hawke. So he stood there, biting his lip as Hawke released his arm, then trailed a finger along one line of lyrium in his skin until it disappeared under his armor. It was such a little thing, but the heat that followed the path of that find was such that he was almost surprised by the lack of visible sparks.
Hawke tried to meet his gaze; Fenris looked away.
“I thought you wanted this.”
He swallowed, forced himself to meet serious brown eyes. “Anders told you.” He was angry, but felt little sense of betrayal. You couldn't be betrayed by someone you didn't trust in the first place.
“He might have mentioned something.” Hawke stepped away and Fenris felt instantly cold. “If you don't want me to, I won't. If you've changed your mind...”
The offer hung there between them, the out he hadn't asked for. But he didn't take it. “It's fine.”
And it was, as long as it was Hawke who was touching him, the power he usually saw directed at others in flashy fireballs or bolts of ice ghosting over his skin.
And after, when it wasn't fine at all? That was all Fenris. He didn't blame Hawke, not even when he took up with Anders. Fenris might question Hawke's taste, but he never expected him to wait for him.
But he expected even less what came next.
It was a night when he was home alone, feeling too sorry for himself to go to The Hanged Man and let Isabela and Varric try to cheer him up. “Brooding”, as they'd say when they teased him about it later. Fenris preferred to think of it as not inflicting his bad mood on anyone else.
Which was why when he heard someone at the door, he didn't answer. He wanted to drink by himself, not be social. Whoever it was would go away soon enough.
Unfortunately, he'd forgotten that he'd given Hawke a key.
Even now, he wasn't sure why he didn't throw them out. Hawke was one thing, but he hadn't been alone. He'd brought Anders, and Fenris had groaned when he'd seen him.
“Not now,” he thought he'd said, but they'd ignored that. No surprise, not when it came to Hawke. The man won over everyone he met, but he was stubborn. Con.txting, too – he'd have been a great salesman if he'd been less interested in helping everyone he met. Maybe that was why at some point that night, he found himself in bed with both of them.
It had been Anders' idea to come over and seduce him that night, or so he found out later. Fenris didn't even try to understand that one. If he'd been in Anders' place, he wouldn't have wanted to share, not even for Hawke. He'd never been much good at sharing, although he was getting better at it now.
He hadn't expected it to last more than that one night. But when he'd gotten up to leave, Hawke had opened his eyes and smiled at him. “Where are you going?”
“Back home.” Fenris' tone was clipped, voice as tense as the situation. He already regretted what he'd done; no need for Hawke to make it worse.
He tensed further when he felt the arms around him as Hawke hugged him from behind. “You're not running away from me this time.”
He could have argued. If he'd really wanted to leave, Hawke would have let him go. But when he tried to move, he'd found he didn't want to.
He didn't move in, not formally. Not like Anders had. But Fenris slept there with them more often than not.
Varric found the whole thing hilarious. Isabela smirked at him and said something about not knowing he was into that sort of thing, but Fenris expected nothing else from her. Merrill said she was very happy for the three of them and she might even have meant it. Aveline had to know, too, but she never mentioned it, which was probably for the best.
Fenris didn't put a name to what they had or how he felt. Words like “love” or “happiness” still didn't come naturally to him; they seemed too much like admitting vulnerability. He still hated mages – most of them, but he was willing to admit to more exceptions.
And magic? It had always been thrilling, even when he didn't want it to be, but never like it was now, when he associated it not with healing or destruction, but with the warmth of a bedroom, lips on his skin and hands everywhere. As soon as a spell was cast, his heart beat faster and he could feel his face flush. He fought all the harder because of it, eager now in an entirely different way than before.
He was sure the others had noticed that he practically dragged the other two off as soon as the battle was over. Judging from their comments, he was sure Isabela and Varric had, in fact, discussed it at some length. He'd always considered it a private thing, but now that it wasn't, Fenris found it bothered him not at all. He had far better things to care about.