Characters: Anders, Saoirse, Sebastian, Fenris
Summary: Sebastian suffers from a bad case of foot-in-mouth.
She left Anders tending to the apostate's wounds, once she was sure the hysterical girl was unconscious. Anders gave her a grateful look. "Come back in a moment?" he said. "I don't think she'll want to wake up alone with me. And I know she won't want to wake up alone…"
She nodded, then climbed up the entrance to the slaver caverns. Sebastian and Fenris were waiting for them, making sure they weren't ambushed by more of the bastards. There was no money in this little side operation of theirs, but she was grateful the archer was able to spare the time when Varric was unavailable.
Fenris was always willing, of course. Relations between the two of them had smoothed, somewhat, since Anders had moved in. They rarely spoke, but there was none of the charged violence left, and he obviously appreciated the opportunities she afforded him, both for coin and revenge against the slavers he hated so much.
She clambered up the steep slope to the entrance, hearing the soft tones of Sebastian's brogue floating down, and smiled. He was a good man, Sebastian, despite his constant attempts to get her to be devout. She was willing to put up with the crushing boredom of the grand cleric's little "chats" because it made him happy and his gentle attempts to convert Fenris always made her smile.
When she caught the word "abomination" however, she froze. Still out of sight, she pressed herself into the ground and listened in increasing outrage.
"It's our duty to tell the templars," Sebastian was saying.
"Then why haven't you done it?" Fenris sounded drily amused, but then, that was little different to how he normally sounded.
Sebastian heaved a heavy sight. "I guess I was hoping they would come to it on their own."
"And then you wouldn't have to betray Hawke's friends?"
"That's not reason enough to allow a maleficar to walk free." What? There was a long silence, in which she could hear the archer shifting from foot to foot. "Which of us should do it? Should we draw lots?"
"Nuh uh. You want to turn them in, you work it out with Hawke."
The pair fell silent and Saoirse stayed where she was, breath suddenly heaving in her chest and heart pounding in fear. That's not reason enough to allow a maleficar to walk free. Anders. Merrill. They were both maleficar, although she doubted what Anders was came under any strict Templar definition other than kill on sight and Sebastian was talking about turning them in.
"Saoirse?" Anders' voice drifted up from the cavern and she startled, standing up and turning.
"Up here Anders!" she called, making sure she made enough noise and looked calm enough she hoped that the two men at the entrance didn't know she'd been there the whole time.
"We'll need someone to carry her. I'm… " not strong enough she finished for him. Those scrawny arms of his.
"Fenris?" she called.
"You want me to carry an apostate?"
Much rather you than Sebastian. "You're the strongest you thickhead. Get down here."
The elf heaved a sigh and clambered past her. She had to resist the urge to hug him as he passed. Even after all they'd been through he wasn't going to…
"What are you looking at, Hawke?" he snapped. She stifled a grin.
Still a dick though.
"She's back there. Be gentle with her. They… did things." Fenris gave her a long look, then nodded and made his way down into the cavern.
"Hawke," Sebastian said as she clambered the rest of the way out of the cavern. Her eyes slid away from him. "Good work back there. These scum need to be taught that we will not stand for slavery in the Free Marches."
She raised an eyebrow at him. "No. We won't," she said shortly. Sebastian frowned at her tone of voice, so she forced herself to put a bright smile on her face and started twirling her staff. He smiled then, and looked away, and she had to suppress the urge to bring the pointed aura of Li'l Leandra down on his smug, tanned face.
They walked back along the wounded coast, Fenris cradling the unconscious form of the apostate remarkably gently for someone so fearsome in battle. Anders was vibrating with energy and outrage - the treatment of the girl putting him right on the edge. Fenris, used to him in that state, ignored him. But Sebastian seemed unable to.
"You seem very angry," he said.
Anders shot him a look of pure venom. Normally Saoirse would step in here - calm him down, but today she just couldn't bring herself to care.
"And here I thought the chantry was against mind reading,"
"Did something happen to you in the circle? I understand there were problems in Ferelden."
Maker, Sebastian. Are you that sodding ignorant?
"Are you saying a mage can only be unhappy in the circle if demons are involved?" Anders' tone was surprisingly even. "No. It's not about Uldred. It's not about being beaten or raped by a Templar…" she saw Sebastian wince at that, which made her even more angry at him. He had no way of knowing if Anders had suffered that way. To flat out ask him - in company… especially given the crumpled and broken apostate they were gently carrying back to Kirkwall… but Anders hadn't finished. "That does happen, but I've been fortunate. It's a larger principle. The freedom every man woman and child born in Thedas have as a natural right."
Her heart ached that he could think himself fortunate. She opened her mouth to say something back to Sebastian about ignorance and hypocrisy but didn't have time to start before his next words sent her into a seething rage.
"You were given to the circle. I was given to the Chantry. Hawke was driven away from home by the darkspawn. None of us are free."
None of us are free.
Holy sweet fucking Andraste. Sebastian.
"Were you born this stupid or did the Chantry train you up to it?" she said, forcing her tone light.
Sebastian looked at her, eyebrow raised. "Excuse me?"
"Are you seriously comparing your time in the Chantry to Anders' time in the circle?"
Anders gave her a warning look but she ignored it. "So… you're comparing something your parents chose for you because you were the youngest son of a Prince, to being ripped bodily away from your mother in shackles?"
"I'm not even going to start on how ridiculous it is for you to think being driven from your home by a darkspawn horde has any resemblance whatsoever to the Chantry taking mage children from their families and locking them up never to be seen again."
"I was merely trying to show how we are all victims of circumstance Hawke…"
"Circumstance in my case was a sodding blight. Circumstance in yours was just your parents being dicks."
"I hardly think insulting my dead family…"
"Shut up Sebastian. Circumstance in Anders' case is the sanctioned enslavement of an entire section of the population. If you're going to fucking compare them, make sure you understand how sodding ridiculous the comparison is first, you sanctimonious arse."
"Hawke I don't think your reaction is reasonable, I did not mean to cause offense."
She stopped on the path. "What did you want to do then, Sebastian? Why did you bring it up at all? Oh, I'll just ask the trauma victim why he's so intent on stopping other people from suffering the same fate that he did and not expect him or his loved ones to get a little bit stroppy about it?"
"Shut up Anders."
"Hawke," Fenris' deep rumbling voice cut through their discussion and she rounded on him, the things she could say to the elf bubbling and dying when she remembered he had stood by her at the entrance to the cave.
She sighed instead. "Yes Fenris?"
"You've embarrassed him long enough," the elf's lips were twitching in amusement. She glanced back at the Prince, who was frowning, his dark cheeks flushed with a deeper red. Anders and Fenris continued past them while Saoirse stood looking at Sebastian for a good few minutes.
"I… I'm sorry, Hawke," he said eventually.
She cocked her head on one side then nodded. Sebastian sighed and started to walk after Fenris an Anders, but she caught his arm as he passed.
"If Anders or Merrill find themselves at the Gallows because of you, Sebastian, I'll kill you myself."
It took him a long time to follow her, and he didn't speak again.