“Hawke,” Fenris said, and he hesitated.

“Mn?”

“When did you know - ?” Fenris began to ask, but he stopped, trailed off, the question aborted before it had finished forming. Hawke had only to look at him to know what the unspoken words had been. Fenris held himself too carefully, his gaze too purposefully directed away from Hawke, his spine too straight. Hawke watched the way his elegant fingers played so nervously along the sharp silver edge of his cutting knife, and he paused to gather his thoughts to answer as best he could. Fenris kept his eyes averted, turning the knife once more to chopping carrots, the soft thud of the blade against the cutting board the only break in the sudden silence.

Neither of them were particularly skilled cooks, but more often than not, when they decided to spend the night at Fenris’s mansion, they tended to find themselves side by side in the kitchen, pooling their limited experience in the hopes of creating something edible. Fereldan fare, more often, simple and hearty – except for the rare occasion when Fenris got the itch to feed Hawke something from Tevinter. Those forays generally involved a great deal of very hot peppers, unfamiliar spices, and, eventually, a trip to one of their favorite Hightown restaurants, as Fenris could remember so little of how his homeland’s food was usually prepared that their forays had a very low success rate.

Regardless of if they made anything either of them could stand to eat, Hawke looked forward to those nights – the quiet murmur of their voices in the big empty mansion, the way they moved around one another so easily as they worked in a kind of comfortable dance. It was homey and it was domestic and Hawke loved how solid and how safe it felt, how Fenris relaxed and smiled, bumped his hip as he passed, talked, freely, about whatever came to mind. It was something he had wanted to give to Fenris for so long and here, for a few scraps of hours several times a week, he finally could.

Instead of answering right away, Hawke chose a question of his own.

“Well,” he said, “When did you know you were in love with me?”

Fenris jerked in surprise, and cut his finger, and stared at the bead of blood welling up until Hawke reached for his hand. He healed it quickly, and simply, and Fenris didn’t flinch. He knew the feel of Hawke’s magic with the same sort of casual intimacy which he knew his morning breath.

Fenris said, “I’ve never told you I loved you,” and Hawke only grinned.

“You’ve never had to.”

Fenris frowned at him, and sucked the remaining blood from the closed wound, and didn’t answer until he had looked away. “When your mother died,” he said, and picked up the knife again. “And you?”

“I don’t suppose you’d accept it if I said it was the first moment I saw you.”

“Festis bei umo canavarum - !”

The glare levelled at him earned a chuckle. Fenris stuck the knife pointedly into the cutting board and rounded on him, and Hawke lifted his hands.

“All right,” he amended. “Maybe not love. But I did know – something.”

“Something,” Fenris repeated, flatly.

“It was – something,” Hawke said. “It was like a blow. Like lightning. I saw you and it was like feeling something click into place.”

“You aren’t usually this ridiculous.” Fenris was still frowning, still glaring, but he let Hawke move closer. Hawke didn’t try to trap him between himself and the counter, giving him room to flee if he truly wanted to. Fenris let him reach for him, letting his fingers play softly against the upper backs of his bare arms.

“I was missing something,” Hawke said, “And then I met you, and I wasn’t anymore.”

“Have you hit your head?”

“You did ask,” Hawke said.

“You didn’t know me,” Fenris said.

“But oh, did I want to.”

He was still frowning, clearly unsure whether to be displeased or not. Hawke moved a little closer, and he let him.

When?” Fenris asked again.

“I don’t know,” Hawke said. “Not when it started, not when I was aware of it.”

“But?”

Hawke relented. He said, “I’ve never felt the way I feel about you about anyone – and that comes from day one. But I didn’t let myself think about it. I didn’t examine it.”

“And?”

“And then Hadriana’s men ambushed us. And I realized what it would mean to lose you.”

He watched Fenris turn the idea over in his head, weigh it, look for imperfections.

He couldn’t find any. He nodded at last, and turned back to the cutting board. Fenris was soft and relaxed as Hawke slid his arms around him from behind.

He said, “Do you think we should add another potato?”