Power in Stories

“There's power in stories, though. That's all history is: the best tales. The ones that last. Might as well be mine.” – Varric Tethras

Kirkwall Freed – 9:38 Dragon, What Makes Us Happy

“So what’s the little mite’s name?” asked Varric as he reached into the crib to rub the five day old infant’s belly. The sleeping boy made little response other than to shift restlessly, one tiny hand coming to gently rest against the dwarf’s fingers.

Treva smiled at her oldest friend as she moved to the other side of the crib. As she reached down and cautiously brushed at the few sparse strands of white-blond hair on the tiny head, she answered softly, “Mathis.”

“That come from Blondie’s side of the family?”

Unlike a few of her friends, Varric’s tone didn’t change when he talked about Anders. There was no anger, no outrage that shone through, just the same normal tone that he’d always had when talking about him. While she could understand the rage, it also hurt, and that made her extra thankful for Varric’s company.

“Sort of,” she answered. “It was his name. His real name.”

Frowning, Varric asked, “You sure that’s a good idea, Hawke?”

Treva shrugged in response. “Who’s to know?” she asked. “He refused to give his name at the Tower, that’s why they called him Anders. All they ever knew about him as a boy was that his family was from the Anderfels originally.”

Sighing, she looked at him and continued, “I wanted him to have something of his father’s.”

The dwarf chuckled at that, commenting, “Hawke, between you and Blondie, the boy’s probably going to be bursting with magic. And he’s obviously not taking after your side of the family.”

She laughed at that and curled her fingers in the fine hairs on her son’s head as Varric’s comment was certainly true. It might be that Mathis’ hair would darken with age but it would never be so dark as hers. Both she and the twins had inherited the black hair of their father, not a one getting Leandra’s color which had been a fine auburn before the gray.

“Maybe the blue eyes will stick,” she said with a smile. “Mother always called them the Hawke eyes because Carver and I both inherited them from Father.”

Treva then closed her eyes and breathed, “I think I understand my parents a little better now.”

“Oh?” asked Varric casually.

“I…I don’t want him to have magic, Varric. Not now. Not when the world’s trying to fall apart around us.” Tears stung at her eyes and she opened them to blink them away furiously. Cupping Mathis’ tiny face, she asked, “Is that terrible of me?”

There was silence for a moment then her friend gently laid a hand on her shoulder as he said, “Can’t speak for myself but word has it that parents always worry about their children, no matter what. Magic or no magic.” When that managed to coax a little smile out of her, Varric continued, “He’s got the best chance out of anyone to grow up okay. Come on, Hawke, you and Daisy to teach him magic along with the lot here? A bunch of overprotective aunts and uncles to babysit whenever and threaten anyone who tries to touch a hair on his head?”

“You’re right,” she interrupted. “The boy’s hopelessly ruined.”

Varric just grinned brightly then added, “And maybe a templar to help raise him.”

Treva abruptly froze and stared at the dwarf for a moment before stammering frantically, “There’s…there’s nothing between me and Cullen, Varric!” He merely arched his eyebrows at her, everything about his demeanor saying that he didn’t believe her for a second. “We’re friends!”

“Hawke, that’s what you told me about Blondie too. Right before he moved in with you.”

She snapped her teeth shut over a retort and felt her cheeks growing hot as she bowed her head. Half of it was embarrassment that she’d been so obvious and the other was the fact that she still honestly didn’t know how she felt about Cullen. After a moment, she looked back up at Varric and growled, “Don’t you dare put that into one of your books.”

His eyes lit up and Varric smiled before saying almost dreamily, “A templar and a mage in love. Forbidden romance. People would be all over it.” As she reached out and smacked his arm, the dwarf laughed and said quickly, “I’m not going to write anything that’ll put you in danger, Hawke.”

Treva sighed and straightened from the crib, running her hands back through her hair in exasperation. “Nothing’s happening with Cullen, Varric,” she insisted. At his dubious look, she added, “Not that I haven’t thought about it. But…”

“But?” he pressed as he drew his hand out of the crib as well but stayed by it, leaning his arms against the end while gently rocking it back and forth.

“I don’t know if it’s real or just my emotions screwing with my head. There were times I broke down in tears for no reason!” Throwing up her hands, she collapsed into the chair that someone had dragged over next to the crib while she’d still been recovering from the birth. “He’s become a friend, Varric. I don’t want to sabotage that friendship, not with what we’ve both taken upon ourselves.”

What she didn’t say – couldn’t say – was that she was still, even after the Chantry and everything, struggling with the convoluted tangle of emotions that all focused on the memory of Anders.

“Hawke,” said Varric gently and she lifted her head to look at her friend. The dwarf shook his head and asked, “What do you think would make you happy? Because you haven’t been that in a long time.”

“I…I don’t know.”

“Maybe you should consider that before anything else then.”

Treva sighed at that. “It isn’t that simple and you know it.”

“So delegate. You’re going to need to anyway with the kid, so do it a bit more than you might need. Get out of the Gallows every once in a while. We worry about you, Hawke.”

“I know.” Turning her head, she looked at the crib sadly before saying, “Mathis has to be my priority right now. After that…we’ll see.”

The dwarf sighed, saying, “I suppose that’ll do.” He then hooked his thumbs into his belt and added, “I should probably be on my way. Last boat’ll probably be heading out soon and despite you living here now, I really don’t care to stay. Place is still too creepy.”

Treva smiled and said, “I’ve already convinced Cullen to get rid of the rest of the Tevinter statues to try and solve some of that. It’s just a matter of when we can get organized enough and not have to deal with an internal crisis.”

“Crisis?” he repeated. “Anything you two need us for?”

“Just the usual templars who don’t agree with the changes we’re making. Cullen’s already weeded out the worst of them and the mages have been good about coming to me when something happens with one of the others. Nothing we can’t handle and both of us would rather keep the issues quiet. The last thing the city needs is to think that the Gallows is going to erupt into violence again.”

Varric nodded then smiled, saying, “Well, you and Curly seem to be doing a good job in regards to the populace. From what I hear, though, you may be in the city sooner than you expect.”

“Oh?” she asked even as she mentally rolled her eyes at the nickname he’d put to Cullen. It was apt given the man’s hair had a strong tendency towards curls but still hadn’t been what she’d expected from her friend.

“Nobles are itching to get a new Viscount in place, Hawke, now that it seems the city’s starting to settle again. Way I hear talk going, a lot of them are wanting to put you in the seat given that you saved them and all.”

Treva paled before stammering, “I can’t…I’m the last person who wants the position, Varric. Plus I have the Circle, the mages…I can’t leave them.”

“Well,” he drawled, “you’d better be thinking of a better candidate. You and Curly both.”

“We will. And thank you.” Managing a smile, she added, “For the advice and the warning.”

Varric just shrugged as he turned to head towards the door, saying, “What’re friends for? I’ll see you later, Hawke.”

“Later,” she returned then sighed, sinking back into the chair as she reached out to rest one hand on the edge of the crib. Tilting it towards her, she found an honest smile creeping onto her face as Mathis was looking up at her. “What do you think?” Treva asked. “Would you like a templar for a father?”

When he just grinned and waved his arms before sticking a finger in his mouth, she laughed.

“Well, we’ll see, little one.”

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