“I have to admit,” Hawke said, “you surprised me.”

Her back was to him, hands digging through the icebox at the opposite end of the kitchen from where he sat, the knuckles of his right hand raw and bloodied and resting on the long wooden table before him. Sebastian let out a quiet breath and let his eyes fall to his hand.

“It’s not every day you get to see a sworn brother of the Chantry deck someone full across the jaw for being an arse.” Her grin stretched across her voice and he did not need to glance at her to know what it loked like.

Instead, he patiently uncurled his fingers and winced at the swelling pain in the joints. “And you haven’t yet; I’m not a sworn brother any longer, and haven’t been for some time, Hawke.”

“Good thing, that,” she said from his left, suddenly much closer to him than he anticipated. Surprised at her proximity, Sebastian looked up at her, at the amused curve of her mouth. “Considering that’s the second time I’ve seen you do it.”

Any question that formed in his mouth turned to a sudden hiss drawn sharp through his teeth as she reached across him to firmly place a frigid cut of meat on his battered knuckles.

Sliding into a seat beside him, she leaned heavily with one elbow on the table, cheek propped against her hand, regarding him. He rested his free hand over the meat and waited for the cold from it to gradually numb the sting of it against his scraped skin.

“Second time,” he echoed, trying to recall an former instance when he’d done such a thing in Hawke’s presence. “Ah,” he added, remembering. “The Harimann’s.”

“Mm,” she agreed. The amusement did not fade. “Though in today’s case, I feel the good serrah was goaded a fair amount while inebriated.”

“In my defense,” he began, “he was being a particularly annoying arse.”

“A particularly annoying arse I have had no trouble in handling in the past, and would have had no trouble handling today, either.”

Sebastian’s eyes fell from hers. “I know,” he said, willing the heat away from his neck and cheekbones. “But, I was closer.”

“And the one who challenged him to make good on his drunken blustering.” The chide had more tease than reprimand in it.

“Also that, yes.”

“Who also had been partaking in the fine swill the Hanged Man provides us lowlifes,” Hawke continued, her grin widening.

“…. And also that, too, yes.”

A laugh bubbled from her throat, and Sebastian felt the bottom of his heart twist a little. “No matter how much Isabela and Varric try to convince me you’re too squeaky clean to be true, I, for one, am glad to have you with me.” There was the briefest pause. “With us.”

Another moment passed, hanging in the space between them, before he found his breath again. “I am glad, too, Hawke.”