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Sticks and Stones, Sebastian/Elsa

Title: Sticks and Stones
Rating: G
Summary: Being forced to watch Hawke fight alone nearly killed him.
Note: I don’t know about anyone else’s Hawkes, but Elsa took a rather sound beating before winning the duel with the Arishok by the skin of her teeth in-game. For continuity’s sake, this takes place a little bit after Flirting with Disaster.


Sebastian clenched his hands into fists and stared at the battle in front of him, feeling more powerless than he’d ever felt in his life. Beside him, Aveline flinched, her hands reaching for her sword.

“We must stop this madness,” she hissed, watching as her friend was tossed into the nearest wall like a child would throw a rag doll, Hawke’s head making a sickening crack as it hit the stone. “She’s going to die without our help.”

Fenris shook his head, looking just as frustrated as his two companions. “She’ll surely die if we do help her. The Arishok has demanded a one-on-one duel; to intrude would sully the honor he has bestowed upon Hawke. He would have her killed for being weak enough to have to rely on her allies.”

“And here we stand, unable to do anything,” Sebastian growled, holding his breath as Elsa threw a flask at the Arishok’s feet. The Qunari hadn’t stipulated any rules besides this being a duel to the death between them, and Sebastian was pleased to see that Elsa was fighting dirty. Whatever concoction she had stored in the flask had severely slowed her opponent down, buying her enough time to uncork a health potion and shake the blood that had seeped down from her scalp out of her eyes. He watched as she threw a smoke bomb, using the cover to dive in and attack from behind, her poison-coated daggers steadily chipping away at the Arishok’s health.

Even though the tide had seemed to turn in Hawke’s favor, Sebastian couldn’t help but pray for her safety, especially when it seemed as if the Arishok was feigning injury in order to lull Elsa into a false sense of security. He would have shouted a warning, but just as he opened his mouth, the Arishok lunged forward, his sword going through Hawke’s armor like a hot knife through butter, catching her underneath her ribs. “Elsa, no!” Sebastian heard himself roar while halfway stepping off the steps they had taken refuge at, his hand reaching for an arrow without him even realizing that he was moving.

“Wait,” Fenris said firmly, clamping his hand over Sebastian’s arm. They both stared in horror as Elsa seemed to slip further down the Arishok’s blade, her mouth open in a silent scream. Her arm flailed backwards, but Sebastian noticed that she was using it to gain enough momentum to plunge the dagger she held tightly in her hand into the Arishok’s eye. The Qunari let out a mighty bellow and dropped his sword, causing Elsa to fall to the ground as well. Somehow, she had managed to free herself of the pinning blade and she lunged at him with the last of her strength, sinking her second dagger hilt-deep into the side of his neck. As one last attack, the Arishok batted her away with his massive arm, causing her to hit a nearby pillar. Just as she slid down the stone column, the Arishok collapsed. Elsa’s friends held their breath, waiting for one of the combatants to stir. Sebastian’s heart leapt into his throat when Elsa stood on wobbly feet, her hand leaving a bright red streak on the pillar as she steadied herself.

“We will return…” the Arishok said, his voice gurgling before his last breath rattled past his lips.

Elsa sneered at the body. “I don’t think so,” she wheezed, fumbling at her belt for a health potion. Fenris couldn’t have held him back if he had tried; Sebastian ran to Elsa’s side, uncorking several more potions he kept in his belt pouch at all times.

“Can you stand?” he asked, handing her one. He couldn’t stop himself from folding her into his arms and holding on tight, especially when she leaned heavily against him, her arm trapped tightly against the wound to try to staunch the bleeding.

“Yes, but I don’t know for how long.”

He wiped a trail of blood away from the corner of her mouth and began searching his pockets for something, anything, to act as a temporary bandage. “We’ll get you to Anders,” he promised.

“Just get me home,” she said, her face going pale as she saw Meredith and Orsino come towards them. “Do that and I’ll put you permanently on my tab at the Hanged Man.”

Sebastian didn’t spare the mage or the templar a second glance. He wrapped an arm around Elsa’s waist and led her out of the Viscount’s Keep, leaving Fenris and Aveline behind to deal with the aftermath. Halfway down the long flight of stairs, Elsa made a whimpering noise at his side and her legs crumpled underneath her, forcing him to carry her the rest of the way. Kicking the door to her home open, he bellowed for help.

***

Elsa felt herself slowly come to. The first thing she noticed was that she could hear Anders on one side of her, explaining to someone about the extent of her injuries. I’m shocked that I even made it past the throne room, she thought, listening to the long list of ailments she had suffered. I’ve got to pay Lady Elegant more for her potions when I see her next. Keeping her eyes closed, she floated on the feeling that potent healing potions and high level healing spells always gave her.

“And she’ll wake soon?” There was no mistaking the deep, rolling voice to her right. Worry had thickened Sebastian’s brogue and Elsa had a somewhat delirious thought that should she die right now, she’d die a very happy woman if his voice was the last thing she ever heard. Maker, I must have cracked my head harder than I thought if I’m thinking like this.

Soon is relative,” Anders said, his voice going into his Teacher Mode as if often did when he tried to instruct Elsa on how to care for patients when she went to help him at his clinic. “What she needs now is time to let her body properly heal. Potions act like emergency bandages and while spells can completely heal wounds, rest is necessary in order for the body to return to normal.” There was some scraping to her left; Anders must have been moving her bedside table back to where it belonged after using it for whatever he had needed it for. “Don’t worry; she’s perfectly healed and knowing her, she’ll be up and having us running about the outskirts of Kirkwall before we know it.”

“Thank you, Anders,” Sebastian said. “I don’t know what we all would have done had we lost her.”

Anders’s voice floated from beyond Elsa’s bedroom door. “I’ll come back to check on her once I finish in my clinic. Keep an eye on her in the meanwhile, Vael.” She didn’t have to open her eyes in order to know that the mage was gone, disappearing down the stairs and into the kitchens to go through the shortcut to Darktown via her wine cellar.

Sebastian picked up Elsa’s right hand and she could feel the warmth of his breath as he kissed her knuckles. “Both eyes,” he swore quietly. She felt him linger over her fingers again before she let herself sink back into unconsciousness.

When she woke next, Elsa was sore all over. She stifled a pained groan and carefully opened her eyes. Weak sunlight was streaming through her windows, telling her that it was very early in the morning. Her body protested as she turned her head to the right, her mouth curving into a small smile at the sight next to her. Sebastian had dragged one of her chairs next to her bed, his long legs stretched out in front of him and his boots stacked one on top of the other. He was asleep; his hands folded over his stomach and his head resting on his shoulder at an angle sure to give him a crick in his neck. Dark eyelashes were fanned across his cheekbones and his face was slack, giving him an endearing air of vulnerability. She must have made a noise because without moving, his eyes snapped open and he was instantly alert.

“Elsa,” he breathed, leaning an elbow on the mattress. He winced at the pain in his neck, but it was such a little thing, especially when he saw that Elsa’s eyes were finally open. “How do you feel?”

She cleared her throat. “Like I’ve been thrown around a room by a very angry Qunari.” She tried to sit up, but nothing wanted to cooperate with her. “And stabbed. Did I mention being stabbed?”

He shuddered. “Maker, don’t remind me. That’s a sight that I’ll be taking to my grave.” Reaching out, his hand sought hers. “You scared at least ten years off my life; don’t ever do that again.”

Elsa tried for a flippant chuckle. “As long as Isabela refrains from stealing any more sacred texts, I don’t think I’ll be entering any more duels any time soon.” Giving up on the sitting up attempt, she curled her fingers over Sebastian’s. “Did I at least get a scar?”

He rolled his eyes, but pulled the sheets down. Aveline and Orana had cleaned Elsa up after Anders had finished healing her, Aveline hovering like a mother hen the entire time. He didn’t know which one had picked the thin-strapped camisole and matching pair of sleeping pants, but he let his hand ghost over her midsection, his fingers hovering right over the bottom curve of her rib cage. “Anders did the best he could, but you had so much tissue damage that he couldn’t help leaving a small reminder.”

Elsa’s fingers found their way under the hem of her camisole and she blindly felt for the raised edges of skin. “It’s not that bad,” she conceded. There was a short stretch of jagged flesh that went from her ribs to her breastbone; nothing quite as horrific as she’d expected, which was a testament to Anders’s healing powers. “I’d have hated to come out of this without some sort of war wound. How else would Varric embellish the story?”

He shook his head. “He’s already been busy adding his own spin to your tale. If we went with his version, you singlehandedly ripped the Arishok’s head from his neck with your bare hands and then kicked it across the room where it landed in a nearby planter box.”

She grinned and tried to laugh, but stopped short when her muscles protested. “I can always count on Varric to liven things up. Still, I can’t believe he’s warped events so quickly; it’s only been a few hours since I passed out.”

Sebastian’s hold on her hand tightened. “Love, you’ve been asleep for nearly two full days. Isabela started taking bets on when you’d wake up.” She could feel the small smile against her knuckles when he raised her hand to his mouth for another kiss. “It seems as if she owes me ten silvers since I said that you’d wake sometime today.”

Between the shock of being out for so long and the fact that Sebastian had gambled, she managed to arch her eyebrow. “And what made you think that I would come to today?”

His lips slid down and around her wrist, momentarily distracting her. “I had faith in you, my heart.” His eyes lowered and his kisses went further up her arm until he reached the inside of her elbow. He stayed there for a moment before looking up at her. “Maker, I’m a fool. You’ve only woken and I haven’t asked if there’s anything that you need. Would you like some water? Medicine for the pain? Anything?”

Elsa sighed at the lack of his breath against her skin. Truly, having him near made her forget about any lingering pain. “Water would be nice,” she said, trying to keep her voice even as she finally managed to scoot further up on the pillows into a semi-sitting position. She watched as he moved to pour a glass of water from a nearby pitcher, noticing the way he tried to stifle a yawn. “How long have you been sitting with me?” she asked after taking a few sips, her hands shaking so much that Sebastian had to help hold the glass.

“Since Anders said you would make it.” He’d only left her side momentarily to bathe and eat meals, choosing to keep his vigil in the chair he had pulled close to her bed.

“And you haven’t slept.” It wasn’t a question. She knew from experience that Sebastian could go without sleep for a long time; he’d often volunteered to stay up on watch duty whenever they went out of Kirkwall in order to let some of their heavier fighters rest. Yet she could see that beyond the relieved look in his eye, he was nearing the end of his endurance.

“I caught a few naps here and there,” he said, neatly dodging her statement. Reaching out, he tucked a stray lock of hair behind her ear. “Now, is there anything else I can get you?”

“Actually, there is one thing.”

“Name it and it is yours.”

She smoothed the sheets next to her. “Get in here with me and get some proper sleep.” Even though she had been out for a long while, just sitting up and drinking water had drained her.

“But…” The offer was incredibly tempting, but he paused. While he had only recently abandoned the vows he had made to the Chantry in favor of seeking out his lands, he had wanted to take things slow with his and Elsa’s new relationship. Sleeping in the same bed with her seemed improper.

“Come on, Vael. I don’t have cooties.” She eyed him, knowing that he was probably thinking things over in that lovely brain of his and coming up with all sorts of excuses as to how ungentlemanly it would be to share a bed with a woman. “If it makes you feel any better, I barely have any strength to sit up, let alone do anything naughty. Your virtue will be completely safe from me.”

That earned her a wry chuckle. “I’m afraid that I’ll hurt you,” he confessed.

“Nonsense. I’m not made out of glass – I think the Arishok proved that quite well when he threw me against the wall. You’re exhausted and knowing you, you aren’t going to leave this room until I get a clean bill of health. It only makes sense that you get some rest as well.”

“Your logic astounds me,” he said. She could tell that she had won when he let go of her hand long enough to unlace his boots. Elsa groaned slightly at the pained twinge that went down her side when his added weight on the mattress made her shift with him.

Sebastian froze at the sound. “Tell me where I need to be,” he whispered, his eyes large and looking down at her for any sign of discomfort.

“Right here is a good start,” she answered, reaching out and dragging his hand until his arm was draped over her waist, the weight comforting. In the low light, Elsa could see that her bared arm looked as if it were painted in a wash of dark purples and sickly greens. Idly, she wondered if her entire body resembled one gigantic bruise. Belatedly self-conscious, she marveled at how Sebastian could bear to look at her. I must seem disgusting to you, she thought miserably, burrowing her face against the crook of his neck.

“Never,” Sebastian said fiercely, moving backwards so she was forced to look up at him. She felt her cheeks redden when she realized that she had said the last bit out loud. Very gently, he framed her face with his hands, his thumb brushing against her bottom lip. “You’re a brave, fearless woman, Hawke. I sat here for hours on end just watching you, thinking what a miracle it was that this gem wandered into my life.” With the same care, he carefully gathered her in his arms and laid a kiss at her temple. “When things were at their worst during your duel, I was terrified at the thought that this vivacious life could so easily be extinguished and that I could do nothing to help. Even bruised as you are, seeing you breathe is one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever witnessed.”

Elsa felt her lip tremble even as Sebastian’s thumb caught a tear at the corner of her eye. “What did I ever do to deserve someone like you?” she wondered.

A thaisce, I wonder the same thing on a daily basis. Out of all the wicked things I’ve done in my lifetime, I never thought I would be worthy to experience this…” He brought her hand to his chest so her palm rested over his heart. “This joy, this contentedness.”

Elsa’s fingers curled around the fabric of his shirt. “Even if the object of your affection is all black and blue?”

He nudged her nose with his. “And now you’re just fishing for compliments, dearest.” He kissed her cheek, his lips barely brushing the corner of her mouth. “Get some rest. I might have won the bet on when you’d wake, but I’d like to win the bet I made with Varric on when you’d be up on your feet and running the rest of us all over the Free Marches as well.”

Her lips quirked upwards into a tired smile. “And when will that be?”

“I wagered we’d be stocking up on supplies in a week.”

Settling against him, Elsa let her eyes drift shut. “I’ll see what I can do.”

Comments

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
liltxangel83
Oct. 11th, 2011 07:09 am (UTC)
As always, Elsa and Sebastian are absolutely adorable! I finally got the Exiled Prince DLC a couple of months ago and just about melted into the floor the first time I hear him speak lol

As for Hawke vs the Arishok... I almost always play as a mage, and she usually comes out of the fight having used only one or two health spells. When I played as a rogue, I exploited a bug and won the duel in 30 seconds flat :P But the one time my husband played, as a warrior, his male!Hawke came out of the fight with only one health potion left and no stamina potions left. He probably would have looked about the same or worse than Elsa lol
iceprincessd
Oct. 12th, 2011 04:32 am (UTC)
See? Sebastian!Brogue makes toes curl! :D

I think almost all of my Hawkes have had bad luck dealing with the Arishok, even when I make sure to level them up well. Elsa was stabbed repeatedly and my mage pretty much ran around the room in circles going "Crapcrapcrapcrap...." while trying to cast. I think Vivian was the only one who came out looking somewhat decent and that was because she had her dog fight with her.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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