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Upsetting the Apple Cart, Sebastian/Elsa

Title: Upsetting the Apple Cart
Rating: PG for kissin’
Pairing: Elsa/Sebastian
Summary: Sometimes it’s a good thing to change the status quo.
Note: I was sad at the lack of Sebastian wearing Hawke’s favor, so I gave him one. Just for reference, he wears it on his drawing arm so it’s right up at eye level when he uses his bow.

Elsa groaned and shuffled the stack of mail in her lap.

“What’s the matter, Hawke?” Sebastian asked, taking his eyes off the target in front of him to give Elsa his full attention. They had been spending more and more time together to the point where if he wasn’t engaged in any duties concerning the Chantry or out in the field helping Hawke with some quest or another, he could easily be found in her Hightown estate. She had designated one of the small, private gardens on the side of her home as a practice ring and had given all of her friends an open invitation to use it, but as far as Sebastian knew, he was the only one to take her up on her offer.

“The presence of the Champion of Kirkwall has respectfully been requested, again,” she explained, waving a heavy paper invitation. “I’ve politely declined the past four invitations from this same person; if I don’t go, it’ll be seen as some sort of social snub.” She read over the date again, thinking that she probably should have opened up her mail several weeks ago instead of letting it pile up on her desk while she went out adventuring. As it was, the party was tomorrow night, meaning she only had an afternoon to either accept or decline.

He leaned his bow against the garden wall. “Well, we can’t have that now, can we?” He sat beside her, the side of his leg brushing hers. “May I?” He took the invitation from her hands and read it over. “Why haven’t you gone to any of Lord Grissom’s parties before?”

She blew her hair out of her face. “Because they’re nothing but lavish excuses to throw money around,” she said. “Everything seems so…excessive.”

“It’s true, but they do serve a greater purpose. Think of the merchants who benefit from these parties, the paid servants and others who get hired temporarily to help prepare, serve, and clean up after. Lord Grissom might be throwing money around, but at least a percentage goes into the pockets of the needy.”

“I never thought of it that way,” she mused. “Still…”

“Don’t tell me that you can’t dance. Is that why you dislike going to parties?” He bumped her shoulder with his and grinned. “Or is it the fact that you’ll have to wear a dress?” In all the years that he’d known her, he’d seen Elsa in a grand total of one casual dress that she wore around her house. It would be interesting to see her decked out in finery.

“No, that’s not it. Mother taught all three of us how to dance when we were little.” She sighed and rested her head against his shoulder. “It’s the bowing and scraping that everyone does when I attend parties like these. None of these people would have given me a second glance years ago, but kill one Arishok and suddenly people forget that I began my life here as a penniless Fereldan refugee.”

He ran is fingers through her hair. “You give yourself too little credit,” he murmured. “You’re an amazing woman, Elsa. Even if someone else would have become Champion, you still would have made your mark on Kirkwall one way or another.”

She didn’t answer him, but she did tilt her head up to look at him with an expression that made his chest ache with how much and how deeply he loved her. He cupped the side of her face with his hand and she turned her head to place a kiss on his palm. “I’ll go on one condition.”

He arched an eyebrow. “And what would that be?”

“The invitation states that I can bring a guest. Are you terribly busy tomorrow night?”

He leaned over and brushed his lips over her forehead. “Oh, I think I can spare an evening for you.”


“Will you stop fidgeting?” Isabela complained, waving a brush in the air. “If you don’t sit still, I’m going to mess up and you’ll have a smudgy face.”

“Sorry, sorry,” Elsa sighed, willing herself to stay in one spot.

“I can’t believe you’re letting her put makeup on you,” Aveline commented from her seat on the edge of Elsa’s bed.

“I don’t have any talent for this sort of thing,” Elsa replied. “And besides, Isabela has experience.”

“With what? Looking like a tart on the prowl?”

Isabela rolled her eyes, dipping the brush in a pot of color and carefully sweeping it onto Elsa’s eyelids. “I’m ignoring that remark, Big Girl,” she said, putting the brush aside to pick up a reed thin pigment stick. She held it against the flame from a nearby candle until it lit before quickly blowing it out and cooling the tip with her fingers. “I’ll have you know that I’ve had to disguise myself in several of the heists that I’ve done. I was a noblewoman in Antiva for three months for a job once; I haven’t forgotten how to dress for the part.” She used the stick to trace a mark close to Elsa’s top eyelashes, smudging the straight black line with the tip of her ring finger.

“This is so silly,” Elsa said, smoothing the velvet of her gown between her fingers. “This is just another party; I have no reason to be nervous.”

Isabela smirked, exchanging the pigment stick for another brush loaded with a rose-colored lip stain. “That’s because your very own Prince Charming never went to one of these parties before.” Her smirk grew wider when Elsa blushed. “Keep that up and you’ll do a good enough job of keeping your cheeks pink without any powder.”

“He has been spending a lot of time with you,” Aveline agreed, standing up and going over to Elsa’s vanity to sift through the few pieces of jewelry scattered on the tabletop. “And he has decided to step away from his vows to the Chantry to reclaim his lands.”

“And your point is?”

Isabela leaned back and admired her handiwork. “Her point is that you’re gorgeous and he’s not too hard on the eyes either. What’s keeping the two of you from ripping off all your clothes and going at it like two nugs in heat?”

Elsa felt the tips of her ears redden. “We’re not like that. I…we…”

The pirate put her hands on her hips. “Has he even kissed you?”

“Well, no, but…”

“I knew it,” Aveline said, crossing her arms over her chest. “He’s stringing you along.”

“No! He just wants to wait until the timing is right. He’s being the perfect gentleman.” Elsa thinned her lips and reached for a red ribbon. “He loves me and I love him. We don’t have to have sex in order to let the other know how we feel.”

Aveline’s eyes softened. “I know that, I really do. It’s just that we’ve been together through so much that I see you as something of a little sister. I don’t want you to get hurt.” She took the ribbon from Hawke’s hands and looped the long ends around Elsa’s throat, creating a choker that stood out from her skin in a striking manner. “That being said, if your arrangement makes you happy, then that’s all that matters.”

“Thank you, I appreciate it.” Elsa turned to look in the mirror and had to touch her cheeks with the tips of her fingers to make certain that the person staring back was really her. Isabela had outdone herself. Somehow, she had made Elsa’s face look delicate and ethereal using the same powders that made Elsa feel clownish whenever she tried to apply them herself.

Isabela picked up a bottle of perfumed oil from Elsa’s vanity and sniffed at the stopper. “Dab that behind your ears and on your wrists,” she said, her expression oddly closed off. “And while I agree with a little of what our dear Guard-Captain says, there’s something to be said for upsetting the apple cart.” She sighed and had a faraway look in her eye. “Take it from me, waiting for the timing to be just right only means that you have a greater chance of missing your opportunity when it finally comes around.”

She looked so sad that Elsa had to reach out and squeeze her hand. “Isabela…”

Then Isabela shook her head and her usual saucy grin was back in place. “Put a few drops of that stuff down your cleavage too, Kitten,” she advised, clearing her throat and changing the subject. “Your prince won’t know what hit him.”


Sebastian ran his finger underneath the collar of his doublet, wondering for the umpteenth time if he was overdressed. Bodhan had assured him that he looked well when he had greeted him at the door, but it had been far too long since he had worn anything formal besides robes from the Chantry. Whenever they encountered enemies, either Sebastian gave all the money he found to Hawke or what little that he did keep for himself immediately found its way into the Chantry’s donation boxes. As a result, he had nothing that was appropriate for rubbing elbows with high society and no money to purchase anything. Luckily, Varric agreed to loan him several sovereigns to find something and his luck continued to hold when he found a simple looking black outfit on the racks in Jean Luc’s shop. The doublet’s sleeves had slashing to show the bright white shirt underneath; it was understated without looking plain, elegant without being ostentatious, or at least that was what Jean Luc had said as he took Sebastian’s money. He had to admit, the cut of the suit fit well and he noticed that he had received several long stares from various women on the trip from the Chantry to Hawke’s estate.

He stood there in the main room of Elsa’s home, feeling anxious and like a young boy waiting for his first dance when her bedroom door opened. His eyes instantly snapped up, but his shoulders sagged when he saw it was just Aveline and Isabela.

“You look nice, Vael,” Aveline told him, looking him up and down with a critical eye. “Dance with her at least twice.”

“And make sure to muss her hair a bit,” Isabela added with a wink. The pirate sashayed towards the foyer, grabbing Aveline’s arm on the way out to hurry the other woman along.

“Odd,” Sebastian muttered, shaking his head.

“I hope I didn’t keep you very long,” Elsa said, drawing his attention back to the top of the staircase.

“Andraste’s grace,” he breathed, staring at the vision making her way down the stairs. Even in blood-spattered armor, Elsa Hawke was a lovely woman, but seeing her in a floor-length gown took his breath away. The cut of her dress was simple yet it suited her and the dark burgundy color complimented her fair skin. She had put her hair up in a loose chignon behind her head, curls of hair gently framing her face.

“Well?” she asked once she got to him. “How do I look?” She slowly turned so he could get a look at her from all angles. From up close, he could see that the neckline dipped just enough to highlight a hint of cleavage and the bodice laced around her sides, emphasizing the curve of her waist. “Since this was such short notice, I picked one of Mother’s old dresses that Grandmother had kept in storage all these years. I’m surprised that it fit, but I wonder how many people will notice the outdated style…”

He stopped her by picking up one of her hands and pressing a kiss to the inside of her wrist. The floral heather scent he loved on her was strongest at her pulse point, making him delightfully lightheaded. “Everyone will be too busy noticing how stunning you are to pay any attention to anything else,” he told her, his hands itching to run across every inch of exposed skin, his eyes catching a small cluster of freckles dotting the tops of her shoulders he hadn’t been aware she possessed.

Elsa reached out and smoothed a few fingers over the front of his doublet. “You look very handsome; I’m going to have my hands full shooing noblemen’s daughters away from you, aren’t I?”

“I don’t think that will be an issue,” he said with a playful smirk. “The only woman I’m interested in is you.” He held out his arm to her. “Shall we?”


Isabela pulled Aveline back behind the corner of the house. Honestly, the woman had no clue about how to properly sneak up on someone. The only thing that kept the two of them from being discovered was the fact that Hawke and Sebastian had eyes only for the other as they walked the streets of Hightown.

“What say you to a tiny wager?” Isabela asked once their two targets rounded a corner and disappeared from view.

Aveline looked at her hesitantly. “What sort of wager?”

“Oh, nothing big. I’ll bet you ten silvers that he kisses her before the night is out.”

“Could you be any more childish?”

Isabela rolled her eyes. “Look, she’s my friend too. I want to see her happy and she’s happiest around his Royal Stick-in-the-Mud for some strange reason.” She had to admit, she did find his eyes to be pretty and he could probably bring a woman to her knees with the power of his voice alone. Yet it was his sense of this is right and that is wrong that struck a sour note for her.

If she wanted pretty eyes and a killer voice without the goody-two-shoes act, all she had to do was walk into Hightown and visit Fenris. They’d had a handful of encounters over the years and he had made it absolutely clear that he was interested in continuing their situation indefinitely. He didn’t demand anything from her - he wasn’t clingy or sickeningly romantic and he made her see stars with that little trick he had with his tongue. A girl couldn’t ask for a better arrangement if she tried.

“He’s a good man,” Aveline said, breaking Isabela out of her thoughts. “And a decent one. If he hasn’t kissed her yet, what makes you think that he’ll kiss her tonight?”

“You turned away before you saw his face as she came down the stairs. The man was looking at Hawke like someone had just given him the papers to the finest ship in the harbor. I’m not saying that he’s going to pull her aside and take her in some dark alleyway….” She paused at that mental image. While she hadn’t written any of her “friend fiction” with him in it, now she entertained the possibility of starting a few pieces. “I’m saying that before he leaves, he’s going to plant one on her. After he does it for the first time, he seems like the sort of fellow to express his feelings in public later on.”

“I still say he’s going to kiss her on the cheek and call it an evening.”

“And I still say that you’re too chicken to place a bet with me.”

Aveline sighed. “Ten silvers, you said?” She weighed the money pouch she kept at her hip. “I could always use a little extra coin. Maybe I’ll even buy you a drink when I win.”

Isabela rubbed her hands together. “Then it’s settled. Come on; let’s see if Varric will hold our money for us.” If anything, she could probably get him to up the stakes and net her even more money. She gave one last look to the brightly lit mansion Hawke and Sebastian had been headed to. Good luck Hawke, she thought, crossing her fingers for her friend. Don’t let me down.


The invitation said that the party started at dusk, but it seemed as if the majority of Lord Grissom’s guests believed in the Kirkwall tradition of arriving early in order to see who else had been invited. By the time that Elsa and Sebastian stood in front of a tall, thin man dressed in black and white livery, they could tell that the party was already in full swing.

“Names?” the man said without looking up from the guest list, his voice carrying a pretentious nasal pitch.

“Messere Elsa Hawke and a guest,” Sebastian provided, watching as the man started to skim the paper in his hands and then stopped when he finally recognized Elsa’s name. He bit the inside of his cheek to stop the smile when the man’s self-important sneer fell off his face.

“The Champion!’ he breathed. “Please, forgive the wait!”

“Oh, it wasn’t any trouble,” Elsa said, trying to reassure the man.

“No, no, you shall be introduced without any delay! And the name of your guest, Messere?”

Elsa looked up at Sebastian. “Sebastian Vael, Prince of Starkhaven.”

“You did that on purpose,” Sebastian whispered to her as they were ushered inside. He could already hear the people behind them murmuring at Elsa’s declaration.

She leaned against him. “If I have to be the Champion of Kirkwall for an evening, then I’ll not have you be a mere guest. You’re far more important to me than that.”


While Elsa normally moaned and complained about having to act the part of a noble, Sebastian couldn’t help but notice that she did so with more charm and grace than those around her. Perhaps he was biased, but he admired the way she spoke to everyone that came up to them and the way she moved through the crowds of people for hours on end. Dinner had been an exercise in manners – he had forgotten about the tiny intrigues and miniature dramas that unfolded amongst a group of strangers sitting next to one another through several courses of dishes. By the time that the dessert plates had been whisked away – and dessert had consisted of a lavishly dense yet slightly flavorless chocolate concoction covered with little bits of edible gold leaf, something that Elsa had discretely explained to him that a bakery sold a simpler and much tastier version of for two bits a slice in Lowtown – he had found out far more boring pieces of information about his table partners than he would have ever liked to know.

After dinner, they wandered around the perimeter of the main room to speak with their host, who had taken them both by the arms and led them around to talk with other important nobles. Elsa kept a serene smile on her face, but Sebastian caught the tense line of her shoulders that experience told him signaled that she was at the end of her patience.

“You’ll have to excuse us, Messere,” Sebastian said, his hand warm on the small of Elsa’s back. “But the dance floor seems to be calling our names.”

The older man nodded sagely. “Ah, to be young again. I was a rather dashing figure on the dance floor in my youth as well.” He clapped Sebastian on the shoulder with more familiarity than he deserved. “If I were you, I’d keep this lovely creature out there all night for everyone to see!”

“Pompous, self-important man,” Elsa muttered under her breath, turning in Sebastian’s arms as he led her through a simple waltz the full orchestra was playing. “The only reason he invited me tonight was to show me off to the others and flaunt his status. Oh look, the Champion is the guest of honor! Messere Grissom must be so important to have caught her attention!” She said the last bit in a high-pitched whisper, her tone imitating one woman who had said the exact same thing to her not five minutes before.

“You didn’t suspect that at first?” he asked, moving with the music. It might have been a long time since he had last danced, but it seemed as if his body still knew the steps perfectly.

“Well, yes, but its one thing to know it and a completely different thing to actually experience it firsthand.” They were speaking in a conversational tone and Elsa’s face was the same calm mask it had been all evening, but he looked into her eyes and saw how upset she was. “I feel like a prize mare, here for everyone to gawk at.”

The orchestra began playing a slower tune and Sebastian gathered her closer. “There is a saying in Starkhaven that goes a friend’s eye is a good looking-glass. Pay no heed to these people. They don’t know you like your friends know you.” His hand slipped lower on her waist. “They don’t see you how I see you.”

She looked up at him. “And how do you see me?”

“I see a gracious, giving, kind soul who would rather do without than to see others suffer. I see a person who knows how to use her clever mind and witty tongue to make the best out of a bad situation.” He folded their joined hands over his heart. “I see someone who is beautiful on the inside as well as on the outside, who inspires loyalty and devotion in those fortunate enough to know her. I see a woman who holds my heart in her hands and I would trust it with no other.”

Her breath caught in her throat at the way he looked down at her. “I think it’s time that we left,” she said quietly, taking his hand in hers as they walked off the dance floor. It was easy for the two rogues to slip unnoticed out the door and into the night, both of them sticking to the shadows until they left the vicinity of their host’s grounds.

“Next time, I’ll impolitely decline any more invitations so that they’ll quit sending them and we’ll spend the evening in the Hanged Man playing cards,” she said once they arrived at her front door.

“At least the company will be better, even if the ale isn’t,” he agreed. They stood awkwardly in the entranceway; while it was true that they had spent more time together alone, it had always felt informal and relaxed. This was the first time that Elsa had invited him anywhere, making him wonder if she felt the same butterflies flutter around in her stomach as he did.

She let out a nervous sounding laugh. “I might not have gone on many dates in Lothering, but I think that we’re at the part of the evening where the customary goodnight kiss would be given.”

Ah. So she was thinking on the same wavelengths as he was. “It would seem as if we are,” he teased, stepping closer to her. Before he could kiss her, she rocked up on her tiptoes and placed a quick peck on his cheek.

“I know that what we have between us is special,” she started, her hands on his arms, “and I know that you said that you didn’t want to start anything more serious until you retook your lands, but….”

He cut off her rambling by framing her face in his hands and pressing his lips against hers. He had tried to hold out until he was worthy of a woman such as Elsa, he really had. At that first touch of her lips, all the years spent denying themselves this pleasure suddenly seemed silly. “If I’m to give you a kiss, I’m going to give you a proper one,” he murmured, his mouth brushing against hers.

“Oh. Good.” Her fingers curled into the folds of his sleeves and she practically melted at finally, finally being able to kiss him the way she had wanted to. He was better than her imagination, taking small sips at the corners of her mouth, his teeth gently nibbling at her bottom lip until she trembled in his arms. His hands threaded into her hair and she heard the plink of numerous hairpins hitting the stone pavement at their feet, but she didn’t care. All that mattered was that he never stopped kissing her.

“Inside, now,” he mumbled, his hand blindly searching for the doorknob behind Elsa. Between the two of them, they fumbled the door open and stepped inside, never once breaking contact with the others’ lips. Once the door clicked shut, Sebastian turned and pressed Elsa against the wood, his mouth devouring hers with a hunger he had never felt before. Years of longing bubbled to the surface and it seemed as if he couldn’t get enough of her fast enough. She moaned and arched in his hands as he moved his palms over her bodice, his hands momentarily cupping her breasts before raking down and running over her backside to bring her flush against his hips. His tongue tangled with hers before he moved down the column of her throat, his fingers untying the velvet ribbon there and bunching it up in his fist.

Elsa sucked in a deep breath of air, but let it out in a shaky sigh, her fingers sliding into Sebastian’s hair when he ran his nose against the swell of her breast. “You smell fantastic,” he groaned, his mouth moving to explore the patch of freckles on her shoulder he had noticed earlier.

“Score one for Isabela,” she said breathlessly, holding him close to her. She shivered at the way that desire had thickened his accent, sending delightful chills down her spine. “She said that you wouldn’t know what hit you.”

He grinned against her shoulder. “Perfume or no, I’d still find you irresistible.” He kissed her again. This is what he missed about being with a woman, these initial moments where he found out what made her sigh and what made her arch against him. The fact that he was discovering this about Elsa made it all the more profound. “I should go,” he said, pressing his forehead to hers. She was breathing as hard as he was, which only made him aware of the way her breasts strained against her bodice and pressed against his chest.

“And pray?” she teased, reminding him of the reaction he had when she had first flirted with her.

“I think I’m past that stage,” he replied, capturing her mouth with his again. “I’m diving headlong into the nearest body of cold water the first chance I get.”

Elsa put her head on his shoulder. “Does this change anything?” she asked, her arms wrapping around his waist.

“Yes and no,” he told her, kissing her hair. “I want us to continue the way that we were, but with a few minor changes. I don’t think I can see you and not do this now that I know how you taste.” He tipped her face up and gently kissed her. “And Maker, how I want to see you.”

She traced his jaw with her fingers. “Are you asking me out for an evening, Sebastian Vael?”

“No, I’m asking you out for several evenings. Are you terribly busy tomorrow night?”

Elsa smirked, thinking about how he had turned her words around on her. “Oh, I think I can manage to spare some time for you.”


Elsa grinned as she read over the thin piece of paper that had arrived for her the next morning. Running her hand over her hair, she stepped through the doorway the invitation had specified. The party must have already been going on for hours, because the band was in the middle of switching sets.

“Hawke!” Corff yelled his greeting from behind the bar. “They’re waiting for you upstairs.” He slid a mug of wine towards her, waving off any attempts to pay him. “There’s a tab started for you already.”

Elsa’s eyebrows rose. Varric must be in a good mood if he paid for the good alcohol. She thanked Corff and went up the stairs where she could hear Isabela crow triumphantly as she won another hand of Wicked Grace. She poked her head into the room, expecting all of their companions to be there, but there was one that threw her for a loop.

Sebastian turned in his chair and smiled at her. He was wearing a plain set of clothing instead of his usual armor and her eyes went straight to his right side where he had wrapped the length of red velvet around his arm. “I was wondering where that went to,” she said, setting her cup on the table as he rose.

“Deal us both in,” Sebastian said to Isabela, who cackled and elbowed Aveline, who in turn let out a curse when Sebastian pulled Elsa close and casually kissed her right in front of everyone before sitting back down, his hand on Elsa’s knee when she scooted her chair as close to his as possible. “And no pulling the best cards out of the bottom of the deck. I’m onto you.”

Varric pulled out a small sack of coin. “You know, I should give this to Rivaini since she won it fair and square, but I think you deserve it more, Choir-Boy.” He ignored Isabela’s shout of that’s not fair! and tossed the bag at Sebastian, who caught it one-handed.

“Thanks, I could use the money to pay for the tab I started at the bar.” He reached over and took a drink out of Elsa’s cup, grimacing as he swallowed. “This is their best bottle? I probably could have ordered furniture polish and had a better drink.”

“Do you know how to play?” Elsa asked, looking her cards over. Isabela was determined to win that money for whatever bet she had just won from them one way or another; she had dealt Elsa a downright horrible hand.

“My heart, I might have given up worldly vices for a time, but there are some things a man never forgets how to do.” The way he stared at her made her think that he wasn’t completely talking about card games alone. Her heart flipped and she blushed, discarding two of her cards for fresh ones off the top of the deck.

“We’ll have to see about that, won’t we?” she asked, her free hand playing with the ends of the ribbon at Sebastian’s forearm.

He winked at her, his thumb making distracting circles over her kneecap. “Oh, aye. That we will.”


Jul. 29th, 2011 07:45 pm (UTC)
You. Hey you. Stop making me want to open up DA2 again. I'm not allowed to finish until I finish Origins D:


You're stories are so sweet. I love the way you portray these characters.
Aug. 1st, 2011 03:32 am (UTC)
Thank you! I need to stop creating new DA2 Hawkes and finish up one of my Origins/Awakening playthoughs too. Why is this game so addictive? And now there's Legacy, but I don't want to play it until I'm around mid-Act III and I'm only in the early stages of Act II and...

Game! Stop being so awesome!
Aug. 1st, 2011 05:49 am (UTC)
Agh. It's a regular problem. When I started Origins I wouldn't even play the proper game until I did all 6 origin stories.

And I stopped DA2 at the beginning of Act II. Or maybe a little after the beginning because I already got with Fenris when I had to take the game back to the store ;D

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