Letting out a laugh the blonde replied “Ya know, I make all o’ m’ own weapons. I could probably do it if I wanted. Find some quiet place, set up shop.” It sounded good, maybe some day he would. “If ya had tha time ya could teach there, maybe teach the local guards a thing or two about usin’ a sword. I swear most o’ the people I see don’ even know which end ta point where.”


It was a nice thought, but he wasn’t sure he would be settling down any time soon. The world was wide and had much to offer, and he planned to see the most of it that he could, and keep his back to Erebor for as long as he could manage.

“Time, hm?” Hawke reflected. That was something she was still getting used to having a share of. In Kirkwall, she couldn’t get twenty minutes to herself without a problem erupting somewhere, and since then, she’d been on the run from…well, damn near everyone.

Sorry Bethany, she glanced at the stars and the single moon: a constant reminder of how far she was from home. I know I promised we’d stop running.

“I’ve helped train guards before, actually,” Marian said as her gaze came back down and refocused on Fili. “As long as they aren’t as thickheaded as your average Free-Marcher,” she laughed; memories of Aveline barking hot-faced orders. “It should be a piece of cake." 


Fili seemed to be in easier spirits now. Hawke pushed herself to stand again, using his shoulder for purchase. "Get some sleep,” she ordered, tugging lightly on a golden braid as she passed. “It’s your turn to cook breakfast." 


It happened all at once. He barely had a second to be disappointed — and apprehensive — at her suggestion before all hell broke loose. Hawke was a falling tree, suspended in mid-air for a moment before she brought chaos down upon both of them— he couldn’t see, and now there was an elbow in his ribs, his shin bruised on what might have been a knee, the pair of them nothing but flailing limbs in chiffon and silk. He was barely aware of his swearing, loudly and quite creatively as they fought to the surface like drowning swimmers, breaking free of the opulence in stereo gasps.

“Sorry!” It was blurted out almost in tandem with hers, the two of them jerking backwards from a position so close as to be almost cross-eyed. There was babbling, apologies and nervous laughter that came out oddly strangled, but in a strangely short time, they fell silent, panting from the struggle. It was then that Kili felt truly strange.

Her hands were pressed to his chest, feeling like brands in contrast to the cool skin of her shoulders, where he had clutched at her to arrest her fall. He should pull away, apologise, help her get up in that stupid stunning dress… but his limbs refused to obey him. He stayed there, and rather than ease out to normal, he felt his breathing become even more laboured as he felt the warmth of her own breath on his cheek. It was hard to breathe — why was it hard to breathe with her so close? They were breathing the same air, so entangled it was difficult to tell whose limbs were whose. He was lost in a sea of ruffles and scarves, all red and blue and green and gold. So many of them… on their heads, surrounding them like a cool silk blanket.

Somewhere else that the monsters couldn’t see them.

“Told you you’d tumble.” His voice was barely audible, a low rumble in his chest as his breath caught again, and what was meant to be teasing came out strangely husky. More of the jewels had fallen from her eyelids onto her own face, turning her into a glimmering creature in the dark, a swathe of autumn leaves and flame-coloured gems. Slowly, and with no input at all from his brain, a hand rose to brush them away, callused and too rough for all this finery. His hand lingered there even as the last one fell, and he could feel the itch of one of them against his own cheek. He laughed, barely a splutter of breath before it petered out.

“They look better on you.” He murmured, restless eyes scanning her face; her eyes, her flushed cheeks, her lips… She wore gold lipstick tonight — how had he not noticed that? Gold, not like the metal, but the shifting shades of a late autumn oak. He’d never considered how much he liked gold, until now.

She was closer now… the distance she’d created earlier gone completely as their noses brushed again. Something in the back of his mind roared at him to back away, to leave it alone and retreat into the safe confines of his privacy again, but a much larger part of him refused to hear it. It was that part that turned his hand to cup her cheek properly, it was that part that allowed his eyes to slide closed…


And then, with a clatter and a burst of glaring light, the door to the closet was flung open, and the Victors jerked apart as though burned as the shriek rang out.

There you are!”

Marian felt the rumble in Kili’s chest as a vibration in her own; running just below her heartbeat. There were stars in her vision –no, wait– on her cheeks. Kili’s fingers batted at them gently, then stayed as if stuck. He went to laugh, but that got stuck too. His eyes, though, were having no trouble moving ceaselessly.

He smelled good. Cicero had sprayed him with something, definitely, but it wasn’t that. This was the scent Marian knew from hiding with Kili under his blankets during that storm. The one on his jacket when he left it hanging on top of hers. She used to roll her eyes and complain that it got her jacket “all cigarette-y". When had she stopped doing that?

The sudden contact of noses sent tiny shocks up her spine. In her sparkling peripherals she saw his fingers vanish and instead felt a warm palm. She tipped her cheek to be flush with it, smiling when she felt the callouses no Capitol pumice stone could smooth away. Hands that had been knuckling his chest for balance, spread out across it as Marian leaned in, closing her eyes to everything but Kili…


Lightning struck.

Hawke didn’t so much roll as spring off him like a startled cat as the door flew open and light from the hallway spilled into the room. 

“L-Livia!” she managed, struggling to her feet in the whirlpool of fallen coats. “We were just–!”

“Save it, Talons.” Livia interjected sternly. Was she trying to keep from smiling? Fuck, it was impossible to tell in this light.

Behind her, Cicero wasn’t trying to keep from doing anything. The stylist had doubled over in a fit of laughter while Prisca hung onto him for dear life.

“Kili was feeling sick!” Hawke said, a bit more loudly and stubbornly than intended as she held out a hand out to help him up. “I went to check on him and we got locked in here.”

Only Livia’s eyebrows moved. “He looks fine to me.”

“Oh, oh, oh!” Cicero had recovered himself enough to gush and fix his bouffant. “I have got to go find Caesar!”

“Is that nece–?” Hawke tried. Too late. He was long gone with Prisca galloping after him like a high-heeled pony. "So…“ she cleared her throat and tried to concentrate. It wasn’t easy. In her mind, the moment before Livia had thrown the door open was replaying over and over, like a clip from the Games. Marian watched it from every angle before glancing from her escort to her partner, and the jewel still on his cheek. "Does anybody need their coat?”




There aren’t many stockings left to hang above Hawke’s fireplace at Christmas, but the two that remain (a bear stitched in one, a dragon in the other) are always jam-packed with “treasures” like this, from one sibling to the other. 

Don’t forget to wink at yourself in the mirror when you’re done. >;)

He recognized the brand immediately and narrowed his eyes at it. Isabela must have taken Marian to “LUSH” to find this… The same place where she got those strange spheres that left sparkles in his tub for a month. Garrett subconsciously scratched at his chest, the memory of them tangled in his chest hair an unpleasant one.

Cautiously, he popped off the cap and sniffed it — surprisingly pleasant — before he gave it a very thorough examining for any sparkly agents of evil. Satisfied, Garrett closed the tub and his lips twitched up into a smile.