It’d be a simple thing to answer Anders’s question, if Hawke didn’t know just how he’d make light of it.
Fenris knows things. Many things, about most things. He tells her of Rivain, and Par Vollen and Seheron and Nevarra, of the Fog Warriors and the Fog Dancers, the Orlesian nobility and the Antivan royalty, the Black Divine and the magisterium and the Circle in Minrathous. He tells her of Ashkaari Koslun and enough of the Qun to untwist the contemptuous curl of the Arishok’s mouth when she addresses him. “You hear much when people regard you as little more than furniture,” Fenris replies when she asks how he even knows all that, but that’s just him, she thinks: had it been her, she would have wasted away in idle fantasy, not learned foreign tongues or woven together the web of Thedosian politics from fragments of conversations.
After a lifetime of casting spells first and asking questions later, though, now she tries to understand instead—and when Fenris starts helping himself to her books after learning to read faster than she did the rules of diamondback, she cracks one open of her own for the first time since Lothering.
(Not a picture book and not a book about dragons. And not Hard in Hightown either, as far as Varric is concerned.)
Fenris never lies. He lied to Hadriana, if that can even be counted as such, but it’s because he broke his word that once that Hawke realises it’s only ever held true otherwise. Fenris only says what he means and always means what he says, and though his honesty has the sharp, serrated edges of rashvine nettle sometimes, once the welts have worn off she’s most often left having to admit that he has the truth of it—and when the entire Kirkwall nobility turns into lickspittles, trying to simper their way into the Champion’s good graces (or into her leathers), she comes to think of Fenris’s forthrightness as an uncut gem: perhaps not as pretty as a stone cut and set, but worth that much more.
Hawke, though? She’s—well, not a liar the way Varric is, but she skirts and shirks and twists the truth, maims and manhandles it, has perhaps even left it for dead a few times. At least with Fenris, though, truth comes to her a little easier.
(Anyway, she’d rather not suffer the smug look on his face whenever he pokes holes in her attempts at deceit.)
Fenris tempers her. With the city-wide revelation of her magic—now the Maker’s grace and not His curse—comes something that no title could ever match: the elation of being a known apostate yet untouchable, the unspeakable relief of the first breath after staying underwater a little too long, an intoxicating rush that she has to swim against lest it carry her too far from herself. It’s little things at first: her reveling in Cullen’s stammers and stutters, a casual mention of her magic to sway the nobles of the Keep her way, a misdirection hex cast to make some arsehole bumble off the pier for calling Merrill “knife ear.”
But when treading the line between freedom and excess becomes a balancing act worthy of an Antivan tightrope walker in the storm, when the line all but vanishes—then she has but to look at Fenris, branded with the hubris of mages, to be stirred away from the Void that sings to her.
(Alright—she can’t quite keep herself from teasing Cullen just to watch his nug-wheel brain run.)
The answer to Anders’s question is simple: Fenris makes her a better woman—perhaps even a good woman, when she wouldn’t be otherwise. “By being the perfect example of what not to do?” Anders would say, though, and it’s not that she doesn’t want to argue with him well into the next age—she just doesn’t have any breath left to waste when a certain elf keeps taking it away.
(She’d complain, but nowhere are her breaths, her heart and the truth of her answer safer than in Fenris’s hands, so she lets him have them.)
So—the sex, she jests instead. She’s with Fenris for the sex.
listen. listen to me. jensen ross ackles could wear 12 goddamn wallet chains and a tower of fedoras on his stupid head and 17 douchey scarves and denim on top of denim on top of denim all at the same time and guess what. he’s so hot. sofu c cvjkin hot jesusus fucjgjfjn