Justice in Surrender: Chapter 5

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The following months seemed to improve things, in their way.

No worse for wear after his encounter, Tobias healed. Life continued much as it had been before the Deep Roads, but with the comparative security of wealth behind him. Days and weeks were lost in a comfortable minutiae of letters to the Viscount’s office, bureaucratic replies and copies of more letters from the seneschal’s assistants… and Varric’s frequent assurances that the buyer he had lined up for the best of the artefacts from the ancient thaig was ‘due from Orzammar any day’.

Still, that was fine. Leandra appeared to be recovering from Carver’s departure; all the more eager to fuss over Tobias now he was the only child she had left to coddle. He bore it with gritted teeth, and as much grace as he could manage, and held onto the thought that, once they did reclaim the Amell estate, it might even be big enough to misplace her in.

There was still work. Still people who wanted certain delicate jobs done… as there always were in Kirkwall. Tobias hadn’t sprouted enough pride to turn his nose up at them, especially now they were asking for him by name. He could pick and choose, though, and that was a nice change.

The only dead end he kept hitting—well, all right, one of the only two dead ends—was the Underground. Every enquiry he made, every word tossed into a darkened corner in The Hanged Man or the back end of The Gallows, and it got him nowhere. Nothing. No one would even admit to knowing a man named Elias, though the denials stank of falsehood.

Tobias didn’t know what to do about it. Openly showing his hand after so long hiding what he was did not come naturally. Malcolm’s voice seemed to gnaw at the back of his mind, murmuring warnings and reproaches. Admittedly, there were plenty of people in the city who knew Tobias for an apostate, but he didn’t relish the thought of the knowledge becoming widespread, especially not with the possibility of reclaiming the estate still on the table. And he definitely wasn’t prepared to push the information out there, where it could end up being used against him, simply in order to trade it for answers to questions he shouldn’t be asking.

No. If he wanted to know what Anders was involved in, he ought to approach Anders himself… which was a problem. He hardly seemed willing to talk.

That, of course, led to the second dead end: an infuriating, maddening brick wall of a man whom, despite everything, Tobias couldn’t quite bring himself to leave alone.

Anders drove him crazy. There was no point denying it… and it wasn’t just, as Carver had so eloquently put it on that Void-taken night at the chantry, like that.

It was, Tobias admitted ruefully, everything. The contradictions, the hidden things… the power. The more Anders had kept himself withdrawn, shut up in his clinic and barely seeing sunlight, the more fascinating he became. Equally, with every crumb of information he dropped about Justice, Amaranthine, the Wardens, or any of the other myriad things he seemed to so hate mentioning, Tobias wanted to dig for more.

It seemed, over time, as if his wish was gradually being granted.

Anders appeared, if not exactly to loosen up, then at least to make more of an effort at not keeping himself in total isolation. As good as his word, he even started showing up at The Hanged Man every so often. They all gravitated there, Tobias and his eclectic band of sometime followers… something about the attitude of the place, he supposed. Like Varric said, the bar was special.

The beer was dreadful, most of the wenches were ugly, and on any given night of the week you could find at least a dozen criminals, reprobates and mercenaries getting steadily bladdered at the rough wooden tables, but it had its charms. More than that, it was a space apart. Tobias had no idea how many bribes Varric had been required to pay for the privilege, but the city guard rarely looked any further than the front door, and none of the big rackets had a foothold inside, either.

You were just as likely to see Coterie faces drinking at the bar as any other outfit, or any number of independent mercenaries or… contractors, as Tobias liked to term it, foreign or Marcher. Yet, in here, their loyalties were their concern and no one else’s. Turf fights stayed outside, and any business transactions happened in the strict privacy of back rooms. If there were fights, the clientele would generally study their drinks with intense interest until the noise died down, whereupon Corff, the barkeep, would tut gently about the mess and toss a bit of sand over the bloodstains. It took at least three stabbings and a decapitation before the patrons of The Hanged Man would make much of a fuss.

So much more laid-back, Tobias thought, than the taverns further downtown, where the dockworkers and the labourers drank, and everything was divided by the intense loyalties of which street you lived on, or who was the better Wallop player.

Often, they’d take over Varric’s suite for the night, and the dwarf would get to play the magnanimous host and sprawl back in his chair, telling stories that made Merrill’s eyes grow even more enormous. Isabela would be there, smelling of cheap ale and whiskey, and Fenris, knocking back drink after drink that, very gradually, would start to erode his aura of portentous brooding. Occasionally, even Aveline might look in, and they’d all pull themselves a little more upright and smile glassily, then breathe a sigh of relief when she went. (Tobias respected the woman, but she cast a damnable pall over a great deal of his business, and she’d never made any secret of her disapproval, which annoyed him immensely. He also struggled, even now, to look at her without remembering the flight from Lothering, and all the things he’d so badly wanted to leave along that blighted roadside.)

They were good times, made better by the fact that things were truly looking up. It might not all be sunshine and roses just yet, but life was finding balance. Tobias was glad of it. And then, into all that, in would walk Anders, with his terrible coat and his tired eyes and—Tobias was a little surprised to discover—a wicked, filthy sense of humour and an ease among people that he’d never expected to see. He’d thought, he supposed, the man would be timid, awkward… unused to company. Maybe that he’d brood and keep himself at a distance, the way Fenris did (at least until the second bottle), but he couldn’t have been more wrong.

For a start, he knew a lot more dirty jokes than Tobias expected… and some of them were apparently drawn from personal experience.

“I’ve got it!” Anders exclaimed suddenly, on one particularly boozy evening, thumping the table with the flat of his palm then pointing at Isabela. “The Pearl, in Denerim. Wasn’t it?”

Tobias frowned, catching at the loose threads of conversation that had been floating around him like jetsam. Ah, yes… Isabela had mentioned that she felt as if she knew Anders from somewhere. There had been a general muttering of laughter, and the suspicion voiced that this was merely one of her varied pick-up techniques. Varric had chastised her for a lack of originality—but it now seemed there was actually a grain of truth to it.

She held her mouthful of ale, eyes widening and cheeks puffed out for a moment, then swallowed and nodded emphatically.

“Yes! You know, you’re right….” A predatory grin curled her lips as she tipped her head to the side, gold jewellery clinking, and regarded Anders in open appraisal. “Mmm. It is you.”

“What pearl?” Merrill piped up, from the end of the table. “Who had pearls? I don’t think I’ve ever seen Isabela wearing pearls.”

“Only as a necklace,” Varric muttered into his pint.

“What?”

“Drink your beer, Daisy,” he said kindly.

The elf looked confused, thin fingers curled around her mug. “Did I miss something dirty?”

Tobias, legs stretched out and feet up on a spare chair, chuckled. He most definitely wasn’t going to be the one to explain it to her. Besides, he was distracted by the knowing smirk Anders was giving Isabela and—as he brought his mug to his lips—busy attempting to convince himself that the twinge at the base of his chest was utterly, definitely, not jealousy.

Anders’ smirk widened into a flat-out dirty grin. “Yeah. You really liked that girl with the griffon tattoos, didn’t you? What was her name?”

Isabela smiled and traced a finger suggestively around the rim of her mug. “Ah… the Lay Warden. She was special. And you….”

The finger was raised, levelled at Anders, and then wriggled lewdly. It never failed to amaze Tobias just how obscene the woman could make virtually any simple word or gesture seem, purely by intonation or expression. It was probably a gift.

“…you were that runaway mage who did the electricity thing. I remember that.” Isabela picked up her pint, took a sip, then sighed happily. “Mm. That was nice.”

Tobias coughed, ale dangerously close to making a painful exit out of his nose. He’d almost mastered his splutters when Merrill frowned, evidently more confused than ever.

“What electricity thing? I saw one of those mages we fought in the caverns up in Sundermount use an electricity spell. That wasn’t very nice. Took weeks for my eyebrows to grow back.”

Varric put a hand to his forehead and rubbed wearily at his brow, shoulders vibrating a little until he got control of his sniggers.

“Oh, it’s not the same, sweet thing,” Isabela said, leering at the elf over her pint. “Not the same at all.”

“Isn’t it? Oh. But—”

“Here you go, Daisy.” Varric topped up her ale from the earthenware pitcher that sat in the centre of the table. “I’ll explain it to you when you’re older.”

Merrill’s clear, soft brow furrowed, and she looked as if she might protest, but then she lapsed into mildly perplexed silence. Isabela lifted her greasy mug to knowingly curved lips, dark eyes fixed on Anders with a stare part nostalgic warmth and part speculative hunger, and chuckled to herself as she sipped.

He just grinned, and went back to nursing the same half-empty tankard he’d had all evening, gaze dropping to its scummy innards and pale fingers worrying at the handle. Tobias tried nominally not to stare, but now there was a whole new edge to that sharp profile, backlit by warm firelight and torches smouldering smokily in their sconces. He didn’t think he’d be able to imagine Anders in a whorehouse—for what else could they possibly have been talking about?—especially given how disparaging he was of Kirkwall’s red lantern district, but maybe it wasn’t so improbable. He’d known pleasure for pleasure’s sake once, hadn’t he? A man who hadn’t ever been carefree couldn’t possibly look as weighed down by life as Anders did. Only prisoners who’ve known freedom can truly feel the pain of its loss.

Tobias’ thoughts wandered lazily as he looked at the other mage and—not for the first time—touched on who he might have been, before Justice. He’d have liked to know him, he decided; to have met the man who lived on in those brief flashes of wicked, playful glee, and dirty jokes about templars, tarts, and priests.

“You should explain it to Fenris,” he said idly, causing Anders to glance up at the mention of the name. “Might convince him mages are good for one thing, at least.”

Isabela gave a throaty laugh, but Tobias wasn’t looking at her. He was watching the unabashed, delicious grin spread over Anders’ face, and the amusement dancing in those dark eyes.

“Oh, I don’t know,” he said, meeting Tobias’ gaze levelly. “I can think of six or seven, easily.”

The close, rich air of the suite—thick with grease, ale, sweat, soot and spices—seemed to press in just that little bit more. A blade of unsullied, pure want skewered Tobias right through his middle, leaving his gut clenched and his breeches slightly pinched.

He shouldn’t keep doing this, he told himself. It wasn’t the first time. More importantly, it wasn’t fucking fair.

Anders only ever drank a quarter of what the rest of them put away, but he was always the life and soul of the evening for the time he was there. It was like watching the years peel away, as if his troubles could lift off him as easily as grime, and he’d suddenly seem so light and happy… a different man entirely, but for that same core, that same dark fire that burned within him, intense and unwavering.

And they kept doing this. The flirting. Tobias would catch himself starting it; throwing out some double entendre or gaudy quip as bad as one of Isabela’s. Anders would bat back something flippant, and then they would grin at each other, and the air would grow heavy… just like it was now. And neither of them would seem to want to look away.

The first few times, it had been fun. Tobias wasn’t used to seeing Anders so relaxed, and he liked it. He enjoyed the freedom, the warmth of this glittering, winking flame of a man who felt so familiar—as if, just for once, magic wasn’t a barrier between him and the rest of the world, but a common ground he could share with someone—but it never bloody came to anything.

Now, he could feel Isabela’s gaze on the back of his neck. He blinked, and Anders looked away first, a small smile tucked at the corner of his mouth as he shook his head and drained the last of his mug.

Tobias buried himself in his own ale, and tried to avoid catching Isabela’s eye.

He didn’t listen to much more of the conversation, such as it was. She had another lead on her damn relic, so she said. Varric had heard more rumours about various things… but then he always had.

The night slipped on and, eventually, they went their separate ways. Merrill left first, with the customary jokes about bits of string. The rest of them got in another round and, once Corff had called time and the regulars were being poured out of the doors, Tobias supposed he must have been drunk enough to think it was a good idea to engineer leaving the tavern at the same time as Anders.

It was late, and dark, and outside The Hanged Man, cool air blew down the alleyways, a thin lance to an otherwise rather sultry night. Tobias still couldn’t get used to how much warmer it seemed here than in Ferelden.

Varric had offered him use of a bed, but he’d gracefully declined, protesting that he should get back to Leandra before Gamlen actually gambled the house away from under her.

Anders, naturally, looked practically sober. The light breeze ruffled the shoulders of his coat, and he was already a few paces ahead of Tobias.

The alley smelled mainly of piss and slops. Tobias quickened his steps to catch up, wondering which route Anders would take back to Darktown. If he only had his company for a handful of cross-streets, it didn’t give him much time… though time to do what, he hadn’t quite worked out.

Fully caught up, walking side-by-side, Tobias staggered, throwing a hand out to the wall for support, his body lolling closer to Anders as he sagged. Lovely stuff… just the two of them, weaving an unsteady, companionable path into the night. His palm grazed rough stonework, other hand brushing against Anders’ arm for support. Anders stumbled, but didn’t bow, and gave him a mildly reproachful look, mouth loosely wreathed in a smile. Tobias breathed in that familiar, sharp scent; herbs and grease, overlaid with beer and the piquant ambience of the tavern. The murky light—just the yellow-edged sickle of a pale moon, and the few torches burning at the end of the street—picked at the hard lines of Anders’ face, and set twin points of silver in his eyes. There seemed to be the faintest sheen of blue to the dimness that shrouded his cheekbones, and his lips… and it didn’t seem awfully difficult to believe in possibilities.

“You’re drunk,” Anders observed mildly.

“Co-rrrrect!” Tobias grinned, straightening up. “You should try it sometime. Bugger Justice.”

“That… isn’t quite how it works, but— You know, you’re going to have a terrible head tomorrow.”

“Don’t care,” Tobias said solemnly. “Tomorrow’s not here yet. Livin’ for the moment, that’s me. Hedonisis… hedon… thing. Fun. Speaking of which, you’re very handsome. Anyone ever told you that?”

There. They were out there now, those words. Buzzing free between them, batting at the silence as softly as moths. The corner of Anders’ mouth tipped further into an excruciatingly appealing smile, and an undeniable warmth touched his face as he looked away, his gaze turning hazy.

“You really are going to regret all this in the morning, aren’t you?”

Tobias shook his head. “Not everything. Not the things I actually mean.”

“You drink too much,” Anders countered, still ostensibly studying the wall. “Has anyone ever told you that?”

Footsteps scuffed at the end of the alley. Tobias dismissed them as some lone drunk or streetwalker, fuzzily aware that, if they did turn out to be anything violent, Anders could explode with raw blue fury at them. Except he couldn’t, could he? Justice wasn’t a tap he could turn off and on, but a force that burst from him when all other control was lost.

Tobias wondered if it was very wrong that, just briefly, he found that thought arousing, but he didn’t waste time considering it. He shrugged.

“I don’t. You just always happen to see me when I’m drunk.”

The footsteps passed on a bit further, then stopped, replaced by the sound of a man relieving himself noisily against a wall. Anders shot him a look of mingled amusement and reprimand.

“It’s not good for you,” he remarked, as they walked on. “That’s all I’m saying.”

Tobias snorted. “Advice on clean and healthy living? From you?”

“Healer,” Anders reminded him, holding up a hand, index finger slightly extended. “Right here?”

It earned him another snort. Tobias stuck his thumbs in his belt loops, allowing his boots to scud the ground comfortably as he walked; long, loose steps with the darkness flowing around them, elastic and beautiful… and Anders almost close enough at his side. He turned his head, forgetting to speak for a moment—so busy just watching the way the moonlight made the other man seem smoother, younger, maybe even happier—and then, when he did find the words, they came out slightly jumbled, falling over each other in their impatience to get out of his mouth.

“You don’t… I mean, it’s not— You barely leave that bloody clinic,” Tobias managed as they crossed the expanse of the bazaar, eerily empty in the night and devoid of everything but the black skeletons of stalls, and a couple of derelicts bedded down in the doorways. “Getting you out tonight was rare enough. You don’t visit the whorehouses, or so you say—”

“It’s hard to see the attraction once you’ve seen the pustules,” Anders said dryly, though his voice lacked any real emphasis.

Tobias wrinkled his nose. He’d had occasion to use the redblossom salve Anders had given him after all, as things had turned out, and would rather not have been reminded.

“P-point is,” he tried, as they cut across another sidestreet, which opened out onto a flight of wooden steps that would lead down to the mouth of the Undercity. He could have turned off by now, he supposed. Gone home. Didn’t need to keep following Anders. He was still doing it, though. “Point is… what you do isn’t good for you. Keep yourself shut up… shut away. All alone.”

The steps were treacherous. Tobias had to concentrate on the way down. At the bottom, Anders turned suddenly, and they almost collided next to the damp, salt-stained stonework of one of the old dockers’ colonnades that led off into Darktown’s mess of tunnels and rats’ nests. He stopped, almost stumbled… and not by design this time.

This particular stratum of the city overhung the docks. The faint sound of waves, and the tar-streaked scent of the sea, floated up to take the edge off the filth. A rat the size of a small cat scampered along the bottom of the wall, and Anders started to turn away, ready to start heading back to his own little bolthole.

“Good night, Hawke.”

“Wait.”

Tobias’ hand shot out, grabbing at his wrist, surprising them both with the speed and accuracy of his reflexes. He let his fingers flex on Anders’ skin, aware of the supple warmth, the light, fast pulse, and the firmness of corded sinew and bone beneath the slim bounds of flesh.

Green eyes met dark, and the clouds in Anders’ face nearly frightened him.

“Isn’t there ever… y’know?” Tobias shrugged one shoulder, trying to make himself understood. “Something for you?”

Anders stared at him for a long, complicated moment, then shook his head.

“You’re drunk,” he muttered, turning once more to go, tugging a little at the grip still enfolding his wrist.

“Anders….”

“Really. I-I can’t— I’m sorry. It’s a bad idea.”

“What is?” Tobias demanded. “Hm?”

Anders gave an exasperated sigh. “You know exactly what I mean.”

“It’s not healthy,” Tobias warned. “Shutting yourself away from everyone. It won’t help keep Just—”

“And what do you know about it? You… you have no idea. All right?”

Anders pulled his wrist away, hard, and Tobias was sure he felt—just in that fleeting moment—the sharp prickle of magical energy nip at his fingertips. Like electricity, almost. He couldn’t help thinking of Isabela’s words, and a beery grin slid across his face.

He moved, shuffling around clumsily, insinuating himself between Anders and the wall, blocking his exit and making sure to be in the damn way whichever direction he turned.

“Oh, come on…. Why not just once, hm? The way you were talking tonight, with Isabela, I—”

“I’m not that man anymore,” Anders muttered. “You know that. You know what I am.”

“I don’t care.”

“It—”

Anders broke off, his lips thinning to a tight line as he glared at Tobias.

They were close then, facing off in the alleyway with barely inches between them. The familiar scent of the man grazed Tobias’ nose, and he ached to close the distance between them. He could do it, he knew… and he half-wanted to, itching for the chance, and almost hungry to see Anders fight back.

He wouldn’t, though, would he? Wouldn’t fight. He wanted it too much. That was evident from the look in those dark eyes, and the way his mouth had softened, lips tensely curved now, parted in something not entirely a sneer. It seemed so ridiculous to keep pretending, Tobias thought, to keep clinging to the lie that it didn’t matter, this heat and this desire… that they weren’t real, or important.

Sometimes, he wondered if Anders thought he was too good for it. Maybe he did; maybe everything took second place to his precious cause and his lofty ideals. Sober, Tobias knew it was something different… something he couldn’t understand, because he had nothing to judge against. All he knew of spirits of the Fade were whispers and things he’d learned to ignore, to guard against from the dark spaces of his dreams. His father had been adamant on that point. You never even gave them the chance to speak. That way they couldn’t corrupt you.

Not that Anders seemed corrupted. Many things, but… no. Nothing that burned as brightly as he did could be so polluted as to be beyond saving. Tobias believed that more strongly than he’d ever believed anything… which scared him a little.

“I want you,” he murmured, feeling the tension and the longing crack around them, breaking like the dark, foam-topped waves that crashed against the city’s feet on squally nights.

Anders hardly seemed to be breathing. He blinked, and a hoarse, dead gasp of a noise left his throat.

“You’re a pushy bastard when you’re drunk, aren’t you?” he muttered, his voice low and husky, marked with an odd, dry bravado.

A pang of regret prodded Tobias, and he wet his lips, almost sorry for causing that tangle of discomfort and desire written so plainly on Anders’ face.

“I do drink too much,” he said, with a small, nonchalant shrug. “Apparently.”

Anders scoffed incredulously. He didn’t seem angry, though. Just so tired, and sad.

“Justice… doesn’t understand things like this. He—I can’t… I can’t,” he repeated, little more than a whisper.

Tobias let himself sway just that little bit closer. He probably shouldn’t, he supposed. He should back off, stop all of this. It would be better for both of them. He was making a complete arse of himself—pushy, like Anders said—and trying to force inept, stupid demands on him that weren’t even all that much to do with what Tobias wanted in the first place. And yet, he didn’t seem to have control of his own mouth, or the words slipping from it, or even that ale-roughened burr he found himself using as a weapon, low and seductive.

“Maybe,” he purred, “Justice could use some instruction.”

Anders swallowed heavily, throat bobbing. When he spoke, the words were tight threads, pulled near to breaking over the things he seemed to want to say instead.

“It’s hard enough to keep control. You don’t… you don’t understand. I couldn’t ask anyone to—”

“You keep saying how terrible you are,” Tobias murmured, knowing his breath would be tickling Anders’ lips, in just the same way as he could almost taste the other man’s barely suppressed groan of need. “I haven’t seen the evidence.”

He leaned in then, so ready, so eager… and so not expecting Anders to flinch away, breaking from him with a sudden burst of fresh determination.

“No.”

He said it forcefully, but without resentment. Tobias expected the dark pull of magic to crackle between them—black fire burning in sweet spirals under his skin—but it wasn’t there. Not from Anders, anyway. Just… perfect control. Complete resolve. He turned from Tobias, turned to face the long, dim tunnel back to Darktown, leaving him with nothing but the view of that ragged, feathery pelt at his hunched shoulders, and the back of a bowed head, touched by the light of a pitted, waxen moon.

Tobias sighed, feeling foolish and clumsy. “I’m… sorry.”

The stubby ponytail twitched a bit as Anders shook his head, and let out a short, terse breath.

“If I’d met you a year or so ago, we wouldn’t have been having this conversation.” The tatty pauldrons shifted over something that looked, to Tobias’ bleary eyes, like a resigned shrug. “Huh… probably wouldn’t have bothered with any conversation, at least for a while. But it’s all different now. Everything’s changed.”

Tobias frowned. There was something about the quality of those words… the way Anders said them. It reminded him of—what did the Dalish call her?—Asha’bellanar. The witch with the amulet, and those strange and cryptic riddles of hers. Something about not being afraid to leap into the precipice of change. Well, that was fine… if you knew there was going to be something soft there to land on.

“Anyway,” Anders said dully, “that part of my life is over.”

He was trying to keep his voice firm, even… like he really thought that was true, and wasn’t worth regretting. All the same, there was no disguising that broken, discordant note of remorse, or the hollowness in his tone that spoke of more than just unnecessary melodrama.

Tobias puffed a long, resigned breath out through lips that felt loose and flabby, and decided he should probably lay off the drink for a while. Anders was right; he’d regret this one in the morning.

Still, if he was already going to regret it… well, in for a silver, in for a crown.

Tobias reached out, laying his hand gently on the back of Anders’ waist… or where it would have been, somewhere beneath the hard-edged fabric of his coat.

“Fine,” he said quietly, feeling him tense at the uninvited contact. “I’m sorry. I’m an idiot. Forget it. Doesn’t matter. But… as your friend? You’re too hard on yourself. Justice might not be human, but you are.”

Anders raised his head, turning to look at him, mouth half-open and the seed of some argument or rebuttal probably already prepared, but Tobias was ready. He leaned in, swift and brief, and pressed a light kiss to Anders’ cheek.

“You are. So, be careful,” he said, pulling back as Anders stared, blinked… and looked so ball-churningly lovely with that mix of confusion and affronted pride on his face. “Please?”

“Wh—”

Tobias shook his head. Everything seemed crowded and dizzy, and he could still feel the prickle of beard growth against his lips, the firm warmth and the undeniable scent of Anders’ skin.

This was it, he told himself. Starting tomorrow, no more drink.

He moved away, awkward and clumsy, turned, pointed himself back at the steep rank of rough, wooden steps, and forced unwilling legs to start making the climb. The night air felt cold… cold right down his bones. Tobias had made it halfway back up to the street before he raised one hand in a gesture of farewell to the man he’d left behind him.

“Night, Anders,” he called, not bothering to look back. Didn’t trust himself to, in all honesty.

He didn’t listen for a reply. Just walked away, unsatisfied longing beating a violent tattoo at the base of his gut, and his skin tingled in the cool air.

Tobias’ feet found their usual stride and, before long, Lowtown’s familiar streets and walls and landmarks were slipping by, and he didn’t even have to think about it… just as he didn’t have to think about the ache of loneliness and the sting, not of Anders’ rejection, but of realising just what it was he wanted from the man, and how badly he wanted it.

You’re an idiot. A prize-grade, first-rate fucking idiot, Hawke.

At least, Tobias supposed, with Carver off playing soldiers with the templars, he had the bedroom to himself. Easier to whack off in the dark and pretend it solved the problem… pretend it was just bodies, just the lure of forbidden fruit that appealed to him so.

Maybe he could make himself believe it.

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Chapter 6
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