Fandom: Dragon Age
Pairing: Marian Hawke/Merrill
Notes: Set sometime in the middle of the game.
Summary: Merrill explains a morning ritual to Hawke and tries not to dwell on what it means.
They lie breaths apart on the bed, faces turned up to the ceiling, occasionally glancing back down at each other. Their hands rest atop each other in the center of the bed. Hawke's is on top of Merrill's. She feels safer that way.
Merrill never expected to spend the hours of her morning like this, barely clad in the elegant bed of a far more elegant human woman. Hawke is strong and beautiful and perfect. Merrill is silly and awkward and oh, so flawed.
The sun is well and truly up now. They should get out of bed, and in a few minutes they will. Instead, Merrill opens her mouth to confess it all to Hawke: she shouldn't be here, Hawke is too good for her, this is not where she belongs, she belongs nowhere at all.
As always, Hawke looks at her at the last second, those bright eyes knowing, and she squeezes Merrill's hand a little. The love in the gesture silences Merrill like the knot rising in her throat. One second, two seconds, Hawke will find something to talk about to make it all better--
"You were awake before me, weren't you?" Hawke says. "I'm getting lazy already."
"Oh, no," Merrill says awkwardly, blushing in the face of that warm smile, the glint in those eyes. "You weren't--it's not like that. I wasn't really awake, you see. I was...it's complicated, really."
"You can tell me, you know," Hawke says.
So of course Merrill can't not tell her, she can't ever keep her mouth shut around Hawke like she knows she should. "I was examining my dreams," she says softly.
One eyebrow lifts on Hawke's face, so very elegantly. "Is that a Dalish ritual?"
"Not really," Merrill says. "Not exactly, anyway."
"Tell me about it," Hawke says, and it might as well be a command, although from the patient look on her face she doesn't realize it.
"The Keeper used to tell me that dreams could be messages from the Beyond," Merrill says. "Since...since I--since I started restoring the eluvian..." Since she began to deal with demons. Since she started using blood magic. With anyone else, Merrill would wait defiantly for the scorn here, ready to defend herself in the most brittle and determined way possible. She knows what she's doing; why can't they see that? But with Hawke, she merely waits fearfully for disapproval. Somewhere along the line, she lost the ability to defend herself from Hawke.
Hawke tilts her head into the pillow. "Well? I want to hear about the messages in your dreams."
Merrill shakes her head a little. "There haven't been any," she confesses. "But I keep watching them. Because if a demon tries to get too close--through the, the blood magic, you know--this will be my first warning. Maybe I'll be able to catch it in time."
"So every morning, after you wake up, you check your dreams for demons," Hawke says.
"Yes," Merrill says.
"But you haven't found any."
"No," Merrill says. "No, thank the Creators."
"You're sure about this," Hawke says.
"I think I'm sure," Merrill says nervously. She wants to turn into the pillow and bury her face, all of a sudden, because she can see where this is going.
"What have you found?" asks Hawke. "What do you see in your dreams, Merrill?"
And there it is. Merrill could refuse to say anything, she knows, and Hawke would understand. But she wants to tell Hawke about her dreams, even though she's afraid of the reaction, afraid to speak them. Her eagerness outweighs her fear, though. She needs to hear what Hawke will say. "Sometimes I see the eluvian restored, elvhen culture whole again," she says. "Because of me. It's so good to see that, Hawke! But I know I have to watch those dreams very closely. Those could be from pride demons. But--"
"But what?" Hawke's voice is quiet.
"They're not the most common dreams," Merrill says. "I'm not sure you want to hear about those."
"Well, you don't have to tell me," Hawke says.
And sure enough, Merrill does have to tell her. She bursts out with it. "There's one that keeps coming back--that won't go away--and in it, you walk away from me with my shadow instead. Because you love it more than you love me."
Hawke blinks at her. Then she smiles, a little wearily, a little sleepily. "I'm sure that one doesn't mean anything." Her smile broadens and brightens. "Your shadow isn't anywhere near as cute as you are."
"Oh, Hawke," Merrill says.
"I don't know how to feel about messages in dreams in the first place," Hawke adds. "Lots of my dreams are about you. Does that mean the spirits are spying on us? That's a little creepy."
Merrill starts to laugh, giddy with relief, and then she can't stop. Words fumble their way up between giggles, the same words as before, stupidly. "Oh, Hawke!"
Hawke's hand closes tightly over Merrill's, then tugs, drawing her close. It will be all right for another day.