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Flirting With Disaster, Elsa/Sebastian

Title: Flirting with Disaster
Rating: G
Pairing: Hawke/Sebastian
Summary: During the trip up the Wounded Coast to help Aveline’s chances with Donnic, Elsa gets challenged to a dare she can’t back out of.
Note: I played around a little with the timeline of this. This is still in Act II, but very, very close to the end. There’s an implication that Hawke and Sebastian have gotten to know and befriend the other in the three years between Acts I and II and I’ve moved an Act III flirty conversation up a bit, just because.



“You’re in a mood, Hawke,” Varric said, tapping sand off the side of his boot.

Elsa sniffed. “I am not.”

“You have been quiet,” Sebastian noted, scanning the area ahead of them. So far, the Wounded Coast had been oddly quiet, the sound of surf hitting the rock and the distant cry of birds the only things breaking the silence.

“Oh, don’t mind her,” Isabela informed Varric, spinning one of her daggers idly in her fingers. “She just has her smallclothes in a bunch about the way Donnic shot her down yesterday.”

Elsa blushed. “He did not shoot me down. There wasn’t anything to shoot at.”

That earned an indelicate snort from the pirate. “Right, Miss So, Aveline is great.”

“I was making polite small talk!” She kicked at a rock in the path. “How else was I supposed to bring Aveline up in a conversation?”

“I’m sorry, but was that a conversation? From what I saw from my seat at the bar, it looked like the two of you were involved in a staring contest instead.”

“It was pretty awkward to watch, even from where I was standing,” Varric agreed.

She put her hands on her hips. “Well forgive me for not being an adept conversationalist with a complete stranger. What was I supposed to talk to him about, how his captain wants to get inside his armor?”

Varric chuckled. “If anything, that would have been a pretty good ice breaker.”

“You could have at least flirted with him.”

Elsa frowned. “Isabela, Aveline is my friend. I’m trying to get her and Donnic together; I don’t think it would have been my place to lean over and go hello, sailor at him.”

“In all the years that I’ve known you, I haven’t seen you bat so much as an eyelash at anyone, let alone go hello, sailor.” Isabela smirked. “Truth be told, I don’t think you have the guts to flirt.”

Elsa made an indignant choking sound at the back of her throat. “Excuse me? I’ll have you know that I had the boys of Lothering eating out of the palm of my hand.”

“Honey, I’ve seen the boys of Lothering firsthand at the Pearl. You could be bucktoothed, bearded and missing an eye and they’d still think you were Andraste reborn.”

“Okay, so farmer boys in a rural setting aren’t the best of examples,” Elsa conceded, “but the fact of the matter is that I wasn’t even trying to flirt with Donnic. Not his type, indeed.” Her scowl deepened. “If I had truly been trying, it wouldn’t have mattered if I was his type or not.”

Varric and Isabela shared a glance, both of them grinning. “So, you’re saying that if you meant to, you could fluster anyone?” Behind Elsa’s back, Isabela held up ten fingers, but Varric held out his thumb in a sign to go higher. Isabela gave him a long-suffering look, but nodded her head in agreement.

Isabela smirked and walked alongside Hawke. “Well, I say you can’t.” She draped her arm around Elsa’s shoulder and gave her a friendly squeeze. “I want to see you in action.”

Elsa’s spine stiffened. “Fine. Once we head back into town, I’ll have you pick someone out.”

“Oh, we don’t have to wait until then; I already have someone in mind.” Isabela looked on the trail towards where Sebastian had gone to scout ahead.

“What?” Elsa’s eyes followed where her friend’s had gone. “Oh, no you don’t. He’s off limits.”

“But you said that you could get anyone to bend to your will, be he your type or not,” Varric chimed in. “I have complete faith in your abilities, Hawke.”

Elsa shook her head. “I can’t, not with him. It wouldn’t be…”

“What? Fair? Hawke, have you seen the looks he’s given you over the years? The man might be bound by oath not to act on them, but it doesn’t mean that he won’t appreciate your efforts.”

“And I’ve seen the looks you’ve given him. You usually go after what you want,” Varric elbowed Elsa and grinned. “What’s stopping you now?”

“You two are horrible,” Elsa said, blowing her hair out of her face. “And you’re not going to stop until I do something.”

Isabela nodded. “You know us too well. Now go get that prince.”

Elsa stumbled, but regained her footing when Isabela shoved her forward on the trail. Remembering what they were out there for in the first place, Elsa crept quietly along the path until she came over to Sebastian. “Have you seen anything?” she whispered, looking over an outcropping of rock.

“Several hounds and a few bandits. I don’t think it’s anything we should have trouble with,” he replied. He gave her a sideways glance. “I heard what they told you.”

Elsa gulped, wishing with all her might that the ground would open up and swallow her. “Really?”

He nodded, giving her a raised eyebrow look. “And knowing them, they’ve put a wager on you as well.” He kept his voice low and his eyes glued ahead so that their companions wouldn’t catch on to what they were talking about, but Elsa saw the hint of a wicked smirk grace his mouth. “What say we throw a wrench in their plans?”

She looked at him, trying to keep her expression neutral. “What do you have in mind?”

He turned to look at her and Hawke’s heart sped up at the slow way his eyes swept over her body before making their way back up to her face. “I might have been in the Chantry for a while, but I have no’ forgotten how to act the part of the wild rover.” He turned his head back to the trail ahead and gave her a slow wink. “They need to be taken down a peg or two; I’ll go along with whatever you have planned if you’re willin’ to share the winnings.”

She let out a breath she hadn’t realized she had been holding. “I do believe you have yourself a deal.”

“I’d offer to seal our pact with a kiss, but then our plan would be over before it started, wouldn’t it?”

Elsa blinked. Dear Maker, I do believe the man is actually flirting with me! She couldn’t stop the giddy feeling that bubbled up and had to restrain herself from giggling. “Oh, I have my work cut out for me,” she said, purposely pitching her voice low. She couldn’t help but feel a little thrill of feminine satisfaction at the way that gooseflesh appeared over the exposed bit of skin at the nape of Sebastian’s neck or the slight reddish tone his ears had taken.

But then he gave her another slow, lazy smile. “Somehow, I seriously doubt it.”

***

Practically everyone cringed as they stood there, listening to Aveline and Donnic talk. “It’s a nice night for an evening?” Isabela mouthed. “Seriously?”

Elsa shrugged. “Give her a break; this can’t be easy for her to do.” Her friend was more at home with hitting men with her heavy shield, not holding a friendly discussion with them. She looked at Sebastian, who was busy putting arrows back into his quiver. “And it is a nice night, if not a bit warm.” Fanning herself, she crouched down beside him and began searching one of the bodies, pleased when she found that the dead mabari had on a collar lined with gold. Very innocently, she undid the first toggle of her shirt, sighing in relief when the cool breeze hit her skin. Looking up at him from underneath her eyelashes, she arched an eyebrow. “Don’t you think so, Sebastian?”

He swallowed hard and tried not to stare too long at her newly exposed cleavage. “A little, though it could stand to be a bit warmer for my tastes.” He gave her a pleased smirk when he noted the way that a blush spread over her collarbones and up her neck before she quickly stood up.

Clearing her throat, she turned to Varric and Isabela. “We’d probably better hurry up. Knowing Aveline, she’ll be on us before we know it.”

***

The rest of the trip was spent by killing bandits and hiding their bodies off the trail. Elsa pulled out all the stops, going from the simple touches on Sebastian’s arm or shoulder to point something out to adding little innuendos into their conversation. After getting over the initial shock that her normally quiet and tasteful companion was returning her slightly bawdy overtures with volleys of his own, she began to enjoy the back and forth banter they had going on. The two of them were so engrossed in their little game that they had forgotten to wait until either Isabela or Varric were in hearing range to start flirting, which made Isabela’s surprised sputter when she walked into a dirtier comment all the more priceless.

“Here, Hawke.” Sebastian said, coming up behind her when he realized she was having trouble lighting the last signal fire on the path. “Let me.” How he managed to make his position and the hand on her hip look innocent to everyone else was beyond Elsa’s comprehension, especially while she was almost undone at the rumbling sound of his voice. This was a bad idea, she thought shakily, inhaling the scent of leather and pine coming off the man at her back. I’m going to kill those two when we get back into town. She almost let herself relax against his chest, but stopped at the last minute. She’d had a bit of a crush on Sebastian for going on three years now; letting herself act on her attraction, even in jest, was a tremendous tactical error on her part.

“The tinder doesn’t want to light,” she said, her voice coming out in a strangled whisper.

He took the flint and strike stone out of her hands. “Things like this can be hard to manage,” he agreed, stepping closer to her in order to set the signal fire ablaze. “But for the most part, all you need is the right… spark to start a flame.” Elsa stared up at his eyes, losing herself in the intense way he stared back. He licked his lips and she fought the urge to stand on the tips of her toes and press her lips against his, especially when it seemed as if he was in the process of bowing his head to come in for a kiss.

“Hawke!” Elsa guiltily spun away from Sebastian to face Aveline and Donnic. “What are you doing here?”

“I…” she took a breath. “Why don’t you tell him instead?” she suddenly asked, crossing her arms over her chest. She might have been for helping her friend out, but it was best if Donnic heard from Aveline firsthand.

“Is there something I should know?” Donnic cautiously asked. “Guard-Captain?”

Isabela threw her hands in the air. “Oh, I’ve had it with all this dancing around! Just bend her over a basin already!”

“I could draw you a few pictures of where she wants to touch you,” Varric added helpfully, watching as Aveline turned as red as her hair.

“I think I’ll be heading back to the barracks,” Donnic said, backing slowly away from them all. Aveline stared after him, looking like she was at a loss for words.

“I thought you were supposed to be my friend,” she finally hissed, her eyes narrowed.

“And friends sometimes push,” Elsa replied calmly.

Aveline’s anger lasted for all but a few seconds before it was replaced with something Elsa could only define as sheer panic. “I can still fix this,” she said. “I can explain before he files a complaint with the Viscount. And you are going to explain your part in all this to him. Double-time it to the barracks, Hawke. I mean it.”

***

“You heard the lady,” Varric said, checking Bianca over for any scratches as soon as they got back into town. “You’d better get going.”

“You’re not coming along with me? This is as much your doing as it is mine.”

He shook his head. “Nah. I’ve got just about enough info to start up a new serial; I want to get it written down while the idea is still fresh in my head.”

Elsa looked at Sebastian. “You might want to get away from the blast radius,” she said. “It could get messy.”

He gave her a questioning look. “Are you sure?”

“I’m positive. I’ll see you later.”

Sebastian’s eyes flicked up behind her, telling Elsa he was aware of the way that Varric and Isabela were hanging onto every word they said. On impulse, he took her hand and brought her knuckles to his lips. “Then I’ll keep an eye out for you.” He winked and let go of her hand, turning on his heel to head up towards the Chantry.

“Well, this has been fun, but I’ve got a date with a horrible poetry writer,” Isabela said, rolling her eyes. “I’m certain that he’ll tell me my eyes remind him of limpid pools of gooey caramel or some such nonsense.”

Elsa shook her head, her hand still tingling where Sebastian’s lips had been. “I think you secretly like all the attention he’s giving you.”

Isabela’s lip curled up. “Please, if I have to sit there and hear how my lips are like wingless, naked red birds one more time, I’m going to stab myself in the ears.” She dusted her hands off and started to walk away. “The things I do for a free drink.”

“Wait, I think you have some unfinished business that needs to be conducted,” Varric said, stopping her in her tracks. He stuck out his hand at Isabela and wiggled his fingers.

Isabela sighed. “Oh, balls.” Pulling out her money pouch, she took out twenty silver pieces. Varric grinned and let the money clink in his palm, but looked up when Elsa swooped in and snatched it.

“I’ll be taking this,” she said.

“Hey!”

She held out her hand, much like Varric had. “And I’ll be taking your share as well. The two of you should know better than to try to put bets on me.” She put the forty silver pieces into her own money bag at her hip, the pieces making a merry sounding jingle. Isabela laughed at Varric’s fallen expression before turning towards Lowtown.

“You know Hawke, I think you got the better end of the deal,” he told her. “Just make sure to buy the man a drink when you catch up to him.”

She frowned. “I have no idea what you’re talking about.”

He scoffed. “Sure you don’t. You’d better get going, Hawke. Aveline doesn’t wait for anyone.”

Varric watched as Elsa started up the stairs to the Keep. “Does she think I was brought to the surface yesterday?” he snorted. Grinning, he looked towards the Chantry. “Best forty silvers I’ve ever lost.”

***

It was late before Elsa finally gathered enough nerve to climb the Chantry steps. Her business in Aveline’s office had been finished relatively quickly; just as she thought, Donnic harbored the same feelings towards Aveline that her friend held for him. It probably would have taken them longer to realize it without everyone else’s input, but it seemed as if everything was well on that front. Donnic had caught Elsa before she had left and had thanked her for her help, sheepishly adding in an apology for his suspicions in the Hanged Man.

She was purposely dragging her feet when it came to confronting Sebastian and she knew it. Part of her didn’t want their little game to come to an end, didn’t want to suddenly go back to being friends after an afternoon of pretending that there might be something more between them. Another part of her was incredibly worried that he would catch on to how she felt about him and that things would be awkward between them from now on. She was in the middle of fretting when she accidentally bumped into someone.

“I’m sorry!” she said automatically, swallowing when she realized that she had run straight into Sebastian. “I wasn’t watching where I was going.”

“You did look like you were deep in thought.” Offering his elbow, he inclined his head towards the entrance. “Care to take a walk with me?”

They wandered out of the Chantry’s side doors and into one of the vegetable gardens. The sun was starting to set over the walls, painting everything a rosy golden color. “I never knew this was here,” Elsa commented.

“The Sisters keep the gardens to help feed the needy,” Sebastian explained, reaching up to pick a blossom from a nearby pear tree. He held it to his nose before tucking it behind Elsa’s ear.

“Speaking of,” she said thickly, her heart pounding in her ears. “I have something for the collection box.” She pulled out her money pouch and pressed it against Sebastian’s palm.

“If this is my share of the profits, then I wonder how much they actually bet on you,” he said, weighing it in his hand before slipping it into his pocket.

“It’s my share as well. I figured that it would do better helping others than sitting in my pocket.” She fiddled with the cuff of her sleeve. “About that, I…”

“I have something I need to tell…” he said at the same time.

She blushed. “You go first.”

“No, ladies first.”

Worrying her lip, she looked down at her boots. “I’m sorry that I put you in such a position this afternoon, Sebastian. I know that you take your vows very seriously and as a friend, I should have respected that. None of this would have happened in the first place if I hadn’t been griping about Donnic shooting me down.”

He quirked an eyebrow. “I thought you said that there hadn’t been anything to shoot at, Hawke.”

His teasing tone had her looking back up at him. “My stubborn pride, perhaps,” she admitted. “It tends to get me in trouble, like playing games with a trusted friend.”

“Then I for one am glad of your stubborn pride.” He stepped closer to her. “And for your information, I was never playing a game.”

Her breath caught in her throat. “Sebastian...don’t.”

He frowned. “Don’t what, Elsa? Don’t tell you how I feel, how I’ve truly felt for some time now?”

“But your vows…”

“I’ve spoken to her Grace and explained to her that I plan on retaking my family’s lands. She has agreed to release me from my vows to the Chantry.” He reached out and framed her face in his hands. “Princes were never meant for chastity.”

“You said that you were never playing,” she said, slightly embarrassed that her voice had been reduced to a croak. “But if you’re playing now…”

“’Tis no game. I’ve respected and admired you for a very long time, Hawke. You’ve been a good friend and I hope,” he took a breath and rested his forehead against hers. “I hope that you could feel something for me in return.”

Elsa leaned into him. “I do,” she confessed. “I have for years.”

The smile he gave her made her feel as if her heart would leap out of her chest. “Good,” he said, lowering his head to hers. She let her eyes flutter closed, but was surprised when she felt his lips against her cheek. “I want to pursue this, but I’ll not give you anything less than what a prince can offer.”

“So, what does that make us?”

He laced his fingers with hers and brought their combined hands to his heart. “It makes us friends, as we’ve always been. Yet now there’s a promise of something more.”

She closed the distance between them, resting her head against his shoulder and inhaling the scent of leather and incense that always seemed to cling to him. “I think I can live with that,” she said, feeling a silly grin spread over her face.

He wrapped his free arm around her shoulder and held her close. “My heart,” he murmured, daring to finally voice the endearment that he’d ached to call her for the longest time. “I think I can live with that as well.”

Comments

( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
phoenixblaze
Aug. 18th, 2011 02:35 am (UTC)
Hahaha, oh Isabela and Varric. I adore when the two of them get up to shenanigans, especially if it gets Hawke and Sebastian together!
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )

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