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One Good Interrogation Deserves Another [Closed]

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65
#1
(( 3 Firstfall, Evening - Joscelyn Hawke ))

Turnabout's fair play.

It was a common saying, though one Edwin hadn’t completely understood before. Oh, he got the jist of it well enough. One could not be faulted for doing unto others as they’d done unto them. But he’d been a soft boy, and even when he’d been forced to grow a spine, he found he liked “an eye for an eye” much better--if he was going to be applying mostly meaningless sayings to his personal quest for vengeance.

That wasn’t an apt phrase to use now, though, and he found himself drawing far more on the former as he made his way to the Hanged Man. What Josc had “done unto him” was pounce at the slightest inkling that he might have less than noble intentions toward Aveline. Of course, Varric had also done as much, but as far as Edwin knew, Varric wasn’t making eyes at his sister.

He trusted Addie to make her own choices, but he saw so much of himself in her. She had a big heart, but she hadn’t learned to guard it very well. If what he’d seen was true, she fell hard and fast, and if things with Josc went pear-shaped, she was going to be hurt. Badly.

So he’d taken it upon himself to act as the big brother who’d been absent from her life these past eight years. He had no plans to be aggressive, and certainly no mind to forbid anything. It was absurd, for one. And he wasn’t exactly eager for his sister to hate him after he’d just gotten her back.

But he did need to have a… talk with Addie’s paramour. That was the sole reason he’d come to the Hanged Man this evening, and as soon as he stepped through the door, his gaze moved to Josc’s table. She was there, of course, feet propped up on the table like usual. No hopelessly misguided barmaids hanging around, though. Pity, but enacting the same sort of show Josc had made of things would certainly tip her off to his hand.

Instead he strode over with his usual amount of irreverent swagger. “Just the woman I’d hoped to see.” He sat down, not bothering with the pleasantries. “I’ve found myself in a generous mood, and you haven’t benefited from that generosity in some time. So, what’s on the menu for this evening?” He turned in his chair to survey the other patrons. “Anyone catch your interest tonight?”

Josc had been rather forthright, past a certain point. But Edwin was as partial to subterfuge as he was theatricality. In his mind, a set up sounded much better. No, he didn’t intend to push her into the arms of someone else. He wasn’t even planning on a nudge, this evening. He just wanted to see what she did, and perhaps casually pry some information out of her along the way.
 

Joscelyn Hawke

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Noble
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57
#2
Josc was having a nice relaxing evening people watching. Often she found herself in the thick of the action, but tonight was one of those nights she was just content to be, have a few conversations here and there and forget her worries for a while.

Part of her was also hoping Addie would walk through the door after sneaking out again. Seeing her was all too infrequent, but she understood the caution. She’d hate for something to happen to her, or for her to get caught by her family.

She did find herself looking at the door when it opened due to that, and was nearly disappointed every time it was the person she hoped to see. When she saw Edwin though, she perked up a little, wondering if he would grace her with his presence tonight or if he had business with Varric.

Josc saw him saunter over out of the corner of her eye when she went to take a drink of her strawberry wine. He sat down without even a hello, which caused her to turn her head and give him a wide grin, “Just the woman I’d hoped to see. I’ve found myself in a generous mood, and you haven’t benefited from that generosity in some time. So, what’s on the menu for this evening?

She lifted a brow at that, and he looked around the room, “Anyone catch your interest tonight?

She snorted, “Look at you all down to business tonight. Aveline is having quite the influence on you, I think.

She took another sip and offered him a drink from the bottle, “I’m afraid your services won’t be needed tonight. I’m not looking for that kind of company at the moment.

She dropped one leg off the table, but kept the other set upon the wood. “However, I’d love to hear about how things are going for you? Someone has been all smiles when I have had the time to visit.

Her brow lifted and there was a curious twinkle in her eyes.
 
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65
#3
Josc didn’t seem offended by his demeanor. Quite the contrary. “Look at you all down to business tonight. Aveline is having quite the influence on you, I think.”

Edwin’s lips pressed into a sly smirk, and he leaned forward in his chair as though it were some big secret. “In more ways than you know.” He winked at her, fully embracing the bravado, and added, “I suppose you’re right, though. I’ll have to spend more time around Varric; re-learn the art of bullshitting.”

Suitably amused, Hawke tipped back the bottle. Not as much liquid sloshed as normal, which meant she was taking it a bit easy tonight. Just as well. Alcohol was a healthy lubricant when it came to extracting information, but she didn’t need to be plastered. Neither did he, for that matter, though a few drinks wouldn’t hurt. He accepted the bottle from her and took a swig.

“I’m afraid your services won’t be needed tonight,” Josc said casually, “I’m not looking for that kind of company at the moment.”

Well that was… not unexpected, he supposed, but it was curious. Addie’d said they weren’t doing anything exclusive, but perhaps Josc decided it on her own. Uncharacteristic of her, but then Edwin could admit he didn’t know her well.

He opened his mouth to respond to that--to ask for more details on this sudden change--when Josc cut him off. “However, I’d love to hear about how things are going for you? Someone has been all smiles when I have had the time to visit.”

Edwin faltered quite visibly, a light blush stealing to his cheeks. He knew it was ridiculous, considering. And if he’d known any better, he might have thought Josc was well aware he’d come here to get information out of her. But no. He should have expected this turn of events.

He hadn’t, for whatever reason. He also hadn’t anticipated the satisfaction he would feel at the comment.

“I’m glad to hear Varric is doing well,” he deadpanned, recovering with something resembling grace. His lips tipped up in a smirk, though, and he said, “You shouldn’t think I have anything to do with that. Perhaps she received a very lovely fruit basket before your visit.” Edwin could not help his smile, thus making a complete hash of his feigned indifference. “I may have made a habit of taking up what free time she has. And if that’s contributing to a more tolerable workday, then I am grateful.”

This conversation wasn’t about Aveline, though, and it certainly wasn’t about him. Shooting Josc a suspicious glance, he asked, “Don’t think I’m letting this go, Hawke. You can’t just say you’re ‘not looking for that kind of company at the moment’ and expect me not to follow up. Are you ill, perchance?”
 

Joscelyn Hawke

Prominent member
Canon Character
Noble
Post DAI Timeline
DAO/DA2 Timeline
Posts
57
#4
“In more ways than you know.” He leaned forward, the smile on his face was part of his charm, but there was something warm in it too. Not everything right now was part of his facade, which boded well for how correct her assumption was, “I suppose you’re right, though. I’ll have to spend more time around Varric; re-learn the art of bullshitting.

She shook her head, smirking at him, "I think I like what you're learning from Aveline. Seems to have relaxed you a bit more at least. Maybe you should just embrace the change?"

She was teasing of course. Edwin would always be a bit of a rogue, but she had a feeling that was one of the things Aveline actually liked about him. She went on to relax a little more herself, and dismissed the need of his usual assistance, while getting in a question of her own. She liked her friends happy, and it seemed that Edwin and Aveline were a much better match than she would have expected knowing both of them apart from one another. Then again, Edwin had always been a bit closed off, so she didn't get to know him like she had many of her other friends.

His reaction to her question was absolutely delightful, the blush spreading on his face and whatever he was going to say to her next seemed to have been forgotten.

I’m glad to hear Varric is doing well,” she laughed when he said it, shaking her head, “You shouldn’t think I have anything to do with that. Perhaps she received a very lovely fruit basket before your visit. I may have made a habit of taking up what free time she has. And if that’s contributing to a more tolerable workday, then I am grateful.

By the time he finished his statement he was practically beaming, which was pretty much the same expression she had seen on Aveline's face lately. "I think its doing more than contributing to a more tolerable work day."

Her expression turned away from mischievous for the moment, and something truly warm spread across her features. She reached over, and patted his arm, "I'm very glad you are in each others life, Edwin. I was worried about her for a long time, now I don't have to be."

He redirected the conversation a moment later, “Don’t think I’m letting this go, Hawke. You can’t just say you’re ‘not looking for that kind of company at the moment’ and expect me not to follow up. Are you ill, perchance?

She only laughed a little, pulling back her hand and taking another drink. She wasn't ill. She just wasn't interested. Being partial to a specific persons company did that, apparently. Who knew? She rolled her head to the side to look at him, her eyes narrowing a bit, but she didn't express her suspicion of his line of questioning. "You really wanting to get me laid tonight, Thatcher?"

She sighed, a dreamy look on her face as she finally gave in, "I told you I've become a bit infatuated with someone. Nothing official between us, but I'm just not that interested in anyone else's company right now. I mean, that could change, but I'm not sure I want it to. It's such a weird thing for me..."

She trailed off, looking down at the bottle, a silly grin on her face, "Mother likes her quite a bit too."
 
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65
#5
"I think its doing more than contributing to a more tolerable work day." Well, he certainly hoped so. Josc reached over and patted his arm, a warm smile on her face. "I'm very glad you are in each others life, Edwin. I was worried about her for a long time, now I don't have to be."

His heart squeezed a bit at that. He could protest easily enough. The words were there in his mind, though they hadn’t quite reached the tip of his tongue as they usually would have by now. The fact that he didn’t immediately feel the need to sell himself short--to give himself an out if he somehow destroyed this thing that was gradually becoming less and less fragile--spoke perhaps more greatly of Aveline’s influence on him than anything else.

But Aveline wasn’t why he’d come here tonight. He rather thought she’d get a good laugh out of this, if she knew about it, and would likely remind him Adelaide was more than capable of making her own choices.

He didn’t doubt that in the slightest. He’d never treated her like a child or some breakable doll the way their mother sometimes had--when she could be bothered to care. So he wasn’t about to start now. He just… needed to hear Josc’s side of things, for his own peace of mind.

"You really wanting to get me laid tonight, Thatcher?"

The immediate, rakish, and completely fake Edwin Thatcher answer would be to say something like well one of us should be, but he felt no conviction behind that statement, and no desire to explain that, actually, he was quite happy with the glacial pace he and Aveline had taken things at so far, thank you.

So he said nothing, merely affecting an amused look, a smirk on his lips, one brow arched.

"I told you I've become a bit infatuated with someone. Nothing official between us, but I'm just not that interested in anyone else's company right now. I mean, that could change, but I'm not sure I want it to. It's such a weird thing for me..."

“I’ll say,” Edwin answered with a soft snort, though his expression softened somewhat.

Maker, she almost had that same doe-eyed look on her face that his sister had worn. Had she been that way before, when she’d first told him about the young woman she’d met? Either he hadn’t been paying enough attention, or the infatuation had grown.

"Mother likes her quite a bit too."

Edwin’s sudden alarm did nothing to further his goal of seeming like an only mildly interested third party who certainly had no insider information whatsoever. “She’s met your mother? When?” Realizing his mistake, he tried to recover with something resembling grace. “That does seem quite unlike you. More like the actions of someone who would like to keep this woman around for a good period of time.”

He had a choice to make now. He could dance around the subject, certainly. Josc had somewhat done that, but then they’d been on an even playing field. She’d known he knew exactly what she was talking about, whereas Josc lacked critical information about his role in all of this.

It also seemed unnecessarily cruel, even if it might get him a few morsels of candid information. The biggest counter to that, though, was that he didn’t actually expect Josc to lie to him once she knew who he was.

So he sat back in his chair and regarded her for a moment before finally saying, “You’ve probably guessed by now that ‘Thatcher’ is not the name I was born with. I appreciate that you’ve never asked for details, but some of them… well, some of them are a bit more necessary now.”

Edwin had the strange and sudden worry that she might be cross with him for deceiving her. Not in general, but tonight. He supposed he’d deal with that if it came to pass.

“My family name is Orland,” he said, having some trouble getting that name out with anything less than bitterness. “Addie is my sister.”
 

Joscelyn Hawke

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Noble
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#6
She’s met your mother? When?” His outburst surprised her, and she nearly fell back in her chair. Her brows knotted at the center, as she cast her gaze in his direction. “That does seem quite unlike you. More like the actions of someone who would like to keep this woman around for a good period of time.

"Well, one of the few ways I get to spend time with her is when she comes over for tea with my mother. I'm a bad influence, but Leandra is all courtly grace." She smirked, though she was still eyeing him warily. "You seem awfully concerned about her meeting my mother though, and it doesn't seem to be about me."

She didn't really speak to the rest of it, but she wouldn't mind having Addie around more. In less precarious situations, just being able to spend time with her without worrying about her getting caught or having chaperone's around when all she wanted to do was sling her arm over her shoulders and pull her closer. No he primary concern over his little outburst -- which he admirably tried to recover from -- was why exactly he even cared about this since she hadn't mentioned Addie's name to him.

It seemed she was going to learn the reason a few short moments later.

After watching her for a moment, Edwin say back, though he certainly didn't relax. If anything he looked more tense than he had before, “You’ve probably guessed by now that ‘Thatcher’ is not the name I was born with. I appreciate that you’ve never asked for details, but some of them… well, some of them are a bit more necessary now.

"I figured it was on a need to know basis," she shrugged.

My family name is Orland,” It was as if he struggled to say the name, and Josc just sat there staring at him as he continued, “Addie is my sister.

That was... not what she expected. At all.

She blew out a breath, gave him a look as if for a brief moment she didn't believe him. Was he fucking with her? Considering how much shit she gave him over Aveline, she wouldn't blame him. But no, as she looked at him, she could see it. That's when Josc laughed hard enough to hold her stomach as it rattled through her body.

"I'm sorry... give me a moment," to her credit she was trying to stop laughing. It took her a few moments to take some deep breaths, a sip of her drink and dropping her feet to the floor and bending over in her chair.

"That was... not exactly what I was expecting you to say," she said, still trying to meter her breathing. "And I'm not laughing about you being her brother, but more the sneaky way you came into this conversation."

She shook her head one more time, before finally recovering herself. She leaned over towards him, lifting her hand to his face but not quite touching him, "Yeah, I can see it. Though I bet it would be more obvious when you smile."

Josc rested her elbow on the table, propping her chin on her hand and finally reached a state of calm, "Does she know you're here?"
 
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#7
He waited for Josc’s reaction, watching the expressions play across her face. The briefest hint of disbelief, then recognition, then something Edwin hadn’t expected. A laugh. No, not just a laugh. That was far too pedestrian a term for what happened to Josc.

In that moment, she was overtaken by some malevolent force that saw fit to make her outright guffaw in a side-splitting display that had Edwin looking around to see if he’d missed something, and had everyone else looking their way to see if they’d missed something.

Convinced this was some kind of involuntarily inverse reaction to what he’d said, Edwin just looked at her, one brow arched.

"I'm sorry... give me a moment," she said, near breathless.

Edwin’s questioning look was joined by a tentative smirk as she tried to get a handle on herself.

"That was... not exactly what I was expecting you to say.” She’d stopped laughing, but apparently she’d already sucked in every breath she’d been meant to take for the next several moments. “And I'm not laughing about you being her brother, but more the sneaky way you came into this conversation."

He gave as theatrical a bow as he could while still being seated. “Anything less would have ruined the mystery.”

Josc leaned forward and looked at him, lifting a hand to the same place Aveline often seemed fascinated by, but not touching him as she did.

"Yeah, I can see it. Though I bet it would be more obvious when you smile."

Edwin did so intentionally this time, his somewhat crooked grin bringing out that single dimple as if to confirm her suspicion. “I see they got to you, too.” He snorted softly. “I’ve recently been told it’s my best feature, and she’s blessed with double the ability. It really isn’t fair.”

At long last, Josc had collected herself and seemed merely amused by the whole thing, which was a far cry from where he’d landed when she’d interrogated him. "Does she know you're here?"

“Why yes, of course. I spoke to her just this morning and confessed my plan to speak to her paramour and ask all of the questions I’m sure she doesn’t want me asking.” There was a strange amount of self-awareness in Edwin’s voice. He very nearly sighed at his own antics. “No, she doesn’t. I’d appreciate the discretion, but I can’t stop you from telling her.” He frowned, then added, “I’m not sure I want to, either. The last lie I told her was bad enough.”

Maybe he shouldn’t even be here, but it was so hard not to want to protect her. She hadn’t seen the things he’d seen; hadn’t been exposed to the world the same way he had. And he didn’t want her to suffer from any more heartbreak than she’d already endured.

But what could he do about it? He had no say in the matter, only a collection of feelings he wished he could turn off.

“I’m aware I don’t know everything there is to know about you, Josc. I’m sure I don’t even know the half of it. At this point, I don’t even know Addie as well as I should. I missed so much of her life…” His fingers curled tightly around the handle of his mug, but he forced them to ease. “What I do know is that she’s quite taken with you. She speaks of you the same way… well,” a cheeky little smirk tugged at his lips. “Comparisons needn’t be made. I just… need you to understand. Addie… she’s brilliant, and kind, and generous. She’s somehow survived everything my family has done to her--and everything they’ve done to me--while still retaining a hopeful outlook on life and a desire to be better.”

Edwin sighed, dragging a hand over the lower half of this face. “I don’t worry you’ll break her, Josc. If life hasn’t done that to her yet, I don’t believe you have that power. But beyond my ridiculous brotherly concerns… I just hope you see all of that, too, because you’re missing out if you don’t.”

Those weren’t the words he’d expected to say. Far from it. But Edwin had reached a strange sort of inner peace as he spoke. Or perhaps it would be better to call it an equilibrium, because there was little peaceful about it. He just knew that threats and bluster and probing questions undercut the thing he truly cared about, which was that Addie was happy, safe, and well out of the reach of people who would never understand who she was,
 

Joscelyn Hawke

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Canon Character
Noble
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#8
I see they got to you, too.” Edwin said, putting that smile on display, the dimple popping up on cue. “I’ve recently been told it’s my best feature, and she’s blessed with double the ability. It really isn’t fair.

It really isn’t,” she said with a soft laugh and a small shake of her head.

Why yes, of course. I spoke to her just this morning and confessed my plan to speak to her paramour and ask all of the questions I’m sure she doesn’t want me asking.” Josc just grinned wider as he spoke, more amused than anything in this situation. “No, she doesn’t. I’d appreciate the discretion, but I can’t stop you from telling her. I’m not sure I want to, either. The last lie I told her was bad enough.

We’ll see if it comes up. I’ll at least wait a while. It will be a fun thing to share when things are more calm for all of us,” she shrugged, still smiling.

Edwin though, seemed to grow more serious by the minute, which drained a little of Josc’s humor from her face. She didn’t know the whole story, especially not why he was among the riff raff of Lowtown when he was a nobleman’s son. She could only hazard a guess it had to do with the lord of the manor, and his controlling tendencies.

I’m aware I don’t know everything there is to know about you, Josc. I’m sure I don’t even know the half of it. At this point, I don’t even know Addie as well as I should. I missed so much of her life… What I do know is that she’s quite taken with you. She speaks of you the same way… well,” There was a secret smile peeking through all of this seriousness, and she knew what he was referring to. “Comparisons needn’t be made. I just… need you to understand. Addie… she’s brilliant, and kind, and generous. She’s somehow survived everything my family has done to her--and everything they’ve done to me--while still retaining a hopeful outlook on life and a desire to be better.

Josc nodded along with everything that Edwin was saying about Addie. She saw these things in her too, and some of them were definitely some of the reasons she was smitten with the girl.

I don’t worry you’ll break her, Josc. If life hasn’t done that to her yet, I don’t believe you have that power. But beyond my ridiculous brotherly concerns… I just hope you see all of that, too, because you’re missing out if you don’t.” As he finished, she sat back blowing out a breath.

Edwin…” she paused as if trying to find the right words. How could she explain feelings she didn’t fully understand herself. “You’re sister is all those things, how could I miss any of that when spending time with her.

She took another drink, and sighed. “I know I’m missing out on a lot already. I try to get her out of the house as much as I safely can. She’s able to do it on her own now, thank goodness, but I’d give anything if she had more freedom. When we do get time, it's spent more enjoying each others company than talking about feelings. Not that I would know what to do with that kind of talk anyway.

Another drink, and she gave Edwin a look, “I’m not gonna pressure your sister into anything she’s not ready for, and she’s gonna need time to get free and on her own feet before she can make any decisions more than just having fun together, you know?
 
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