She opened the door to find an odd man on her step. He seemed somehow harassed and very distracted.
It would take slightly more than that to rate as a remarkable sight in the scale of her experience. She glanced over him. Quite tall, very slender, he had an absolute abundance of curly grey hair and sharp, grey-blue eyes which widened enormously when he caught sight of her.
She tilted her head curiously. “Yes?”
“Barbara?” he said, more than a little cautiously, his eyebrows rising precipitously and then crashing down into a profound frown of concentration. “Or, should I say- I should- it’s Mrs Chesterfield now, is it?”
Barbara clutched the door where she’d been holding it open, her legs suddenly a trifle unsteady beneath her weight. “Doctor?”
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
“Scottish? Really?” she noted by way of gentle question as she handed him his tea and took up a chair across from the sofa where he’d deposited himself in an awkward sprawl of shockingly long limbs.
He blew a short puff of air between his lips, utterly dismissive. “Certainly. Why not?”
Barbara smiled into her cup, her grandmother’s china wide enough to mask all but the most wolfish socially inappropriate grin. “I wouldn’t have thought it of you, Doctor. That’s all.”
He fluttered his spidery fingers at her. “I’ve had it before. Always enjoyed it. Some very amusing vowels.”
An acute fondness for him threatened her with nostalgic tears and she dropped her eyes away from his. There were things about him almost the same, she thought wistfully, almost just the same. His hands were longer, narrower- just like the rest of him- but the fine bones, the flustered gestures, the elegance: these were deeply familiar. The way he pursed his lips, the way he held his saucer with an air of carelessness and yet delicate propriety.
He was wearing tartan trousers and a good coat, she’d noticed- very familiar- but the effect was rendered completely wrong by the black hoodie and thin black jumper underneath. Count upon the Doctor to dress both up and down at the same time. He’d always been singularly contrary.
I… may have already been writing this, and this gave me reason to finish it…
It wasn’t anger that spiked in Fenris’ chest as the mage touched a hand to his elbow.
“You don’t need to leave, Fenris.”
The marks flared in response to the touch, resonating with the hum of magic from the mage, and without so much as a second of hesitation, Fenris spun on his heel, seized Garrett by his upper arms and drove him up against the wall. Dark brown eyes went wide, caught off guard as his back collided with stone, green eyes boring into his own and sharp gauntlets dug mercilessly into his skin.
But it wasn’t out of anger.
After a brief moment with their eyes locked together, the haze cleared and Fenris realised what he had done. Eyes dropping, chest relinquishing a short breath and hands relaxing their grip on the mage, he made to step back, even as something stirred in his lower abdomen.
It wasn’t anger. It was want.
Neither of them said anything, incapable of a sound. And yet it seemed that both realised what the other was thinking, and Garrett acted first.
He pressed his lips against Fenris’ neck, a hand slipping around the back of his head, pulling him closer. Fenris didn’t resist, instead he pressed himself closer to Garrett, his face most likely a dark shade of red if the heat of his cheeks and ears were any indication.
Lips trailed further up his neck, teasing the corner of his mouth before the mage quickly turned the tables. Fenris found himself being pushed up against the wall - not that he minded - and for a moment, their eyes met again. Garrett lent his head in closer, and in a moment of reckless abandon, Fenris closed the gap.
He would never admit to how long he had wanted this, the feeling of the mage’s lips crushed against his own, how he had wanted to tangle his fingers in the windswept mop on his head, or how he had just wanted to be so close, bodies pressed together tightly.
It was rushed and messy and desperate, and it was obvious that neither of them really knew what they were doing. Teeth clipped against each other, noses collided, and it was all they could do to get a lungful of air before diving back in as though they might die if they stayed apart for too long. Hands gripped wherever they could, anchoring them to one another, a touch Fenris never thought he’d want, let alone allow.
And then it was over. The need to breathe finally forced them apart, chests heaving and faces glowing with a full flush that had little to do with being short of breath.
They stayed there for several long moments before Garrett stepped back, for once not quite meeting Fenris’ gaze as he ran a hand through his hair. Fenris’ brow furrowed at the mage’s odd behaviour.
“Have I offended?” he finally asked once he found his voice.
Garrett’s eyes flickered back up to him in surprise.
“Not at all. Just…” He trailed off, unable to find the words, looking away again. “I wasn’t really expecting…” He cleared his throat. “Sorry if I got a bit… hasty.”
Fenris blinked. That wasn’t quite what he had expected.
“I… did not mind,” he admitted, albeit quietly. Only now was he remembering that Garrett hardly lived alone. The last thing either of them needed at the moment was a certain twin sister to start gossiping with Isabela and Varric about this. Or a certain mother sticking her head around to corner to investigate the noise. Fenris realised he certainly hadn’t cared to be quiet.
“Oh… Well, that’s… Good.”
The last word Fenris would have associated with Garrett was ‘awkward’ and yet it was the only word the suited the mage right now. He was avoiding his gaze again, his hands were picking needlessly at the seams of his sleeves, and he was still blushing.
“Garrett, if I have made you uncomfortable-”
“It’s not that,” he interrupted hastily, sighing and running a hand through his hair. “It’s just… a bit fast. I’ve never… really done this before.”
Now that was definitely unexpected. Garrett Hawke, a man with the utmost confidence in his abilities and exuded experience and skill like it was nothing, had never kissed another person until now. Frankly, Fenris was stunned. Garrett didn’t say much about his life in Lothering, but Fenris had always assumed there must have been someone before. After all, it wasn’t as though he was undesirable in anyway. Surely he could not have been the first the mage had desired.
It seemed Garrett didn’t need blood magic to read minds.
“Go ahead, laugh,” he sighed, moving to sit down on the bench. “Maker, my sister can’t resist bringing it up.”
“She has never done so in front of any of us,” Fenris pointed out, sitting next to Garrett.
The mage simply shrugged.
“That doesn’t mean she doesn’t tease me.”
“Is there a reason you…?” he couldn’t think of an appropriate way to finish the question, but Garrett caught his meaning.
“We moved around a lot before settling in Lothering. Forming a relationship with a person is hard when you know that within a few days, you’ll likely never see them again. And then there was the magic…” He chewed on his lower lip for a second before continuing. “My father always emphasised the importance of control, of my magic and my emotions. It’s not exactly the ideal circumstance for rambunctious boys, you know. It was always just easier not to get involved. And…”
He turned his gaze away from Fenris completely, and the elf frowned.
“And?” he prompted.
“I didn’t realise it until I was about eighteen or so,” he went on, a little more quietly. “When we settled in Lothering, there were plenty of girls who were more than happy to… give me their attention. But I just wasn’t interested. For a long time, I thought it was because I had always focused on keeping things in check, but…” He scratched the back of his neck. “Well let’s just say after I caught myself staring at certain people for longer than was appropriate, I figured it out…”
There was a prickle in the back of Fenris’ mind which he quickly realised was jealousy, and shoved it to one side. Now wasn’t the time.
“I… didn’t really know how to deal with it at the time,” he sighed. “It had never occurred to me before then that it was an option, and I didn’t really know what to do. So I just… got on with my life, I guess. Hide from templars with Bethany, help mother and father, keep Carver from getting punched and Marian from spending all her coin on drink.” He listed it monotonously. “There was just… never any time. And never anyone…”
‘Until now’ hung silently in the air between them, not needing to be said. Already Fenris was recalling the feel, the warmth, the taste of Garrett’s lips, and his chest tightened involuntarily, the want creeping back in.
“Sorry, I didn’t mean to bore you,” Garrett said with an awkward laugh, still rather pink in the cheeks as he scratched the back of his neck, staring at his feet. “I must sound quite pathetic.”
“Not at all,” Fenris said shortly. “It is merely surprising. And it is nothing you need apologise for.”
“You’re too kind.”
Another silence fell between them, Garrett seeming to finally recompose himself, brushing a hand through his hair so it sat in its usual windswept state.
The want still lingered in the back of Fenris’ mind, but he knew better than to expect anything more this evening. It had been rushed and hasty, and he got the feeling Garrett would want to process his feelings before they discussed taking things any further, as the mage was wont to do. The last thing Fenris wanted to do was ask for more than Garrett was ready to give.
So the elf rose to his feet.
“I apologise if I have overstayed my welcome,” he said. “I should return home.”
Garrett blinked - was that a flash of disappointment? - but rose to his feet, inclining his head.
“Will you be alright getting back by yourself? It’s getting late,” he pointed out.
“I will be fine. Though I would not say no to company.” The words slipped out before he could stop them and was about to open his mouth to correct himself, when Garrett nodded.
“Well we’d best get going before it gets too dark.”
Fenris couldn’t bring himself to argue over being in the mage’s company, even if only a while longer.
Not only does Thomas look like a shy and nervous wreck here, but look how goddamn SKINNY he is. I mean, really, take a good long look at his legs. He’s like a skeleton. A groovy funk master of a skeleton, but a skeleton nonetheless. The poor thing is just so awkward, I want them both to be able to run away and hide.
I don’t understand why the university doesn’t segregate dorms based on richness and poorness. I mean, last year I had to live with a poor girl and it was so awkward when I bought things because I knew she couldn’t afford it. They shouldn’t let poor students bring the rich students down like that.