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Walking A-Boat [Closed]

Joscelyn Hawke

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57
#21
When Josc pressed it, the effect on Merrill was obvious and Josc felt her chest tighten. She had not wanted to embarrass her, and had just wanted to reinforce that she could tell her anything, even something like that.

"My! Look at those clouds! Those are perfect cloud for... uh, blood magic!" Josc only half glanced at the clouds, knowing that Merrill was just trying to latch onto anything to distract from the conversation, especially since she was casually speaking about blood magic. "I really should be going. I have to summon a demon.."

Josc shook her head, looking at her in a little disbelief, "Now you know that's not something you need to do. Merrill, please..."

Merrill pushed off then, as if trying to escape from her, and ended up stumbling and falling over their prisoner. Josc moved to help her but she was already on her feet, trying to leave again, "Sorry, sorry, I really... I should just.... go.."

"You shouldn't go off on your own. Just come back and sit, we'll head back to town together." The worried expression seemed to deepen in her features. "I won't press again, okay. You can talk to me about it when you're ready."

Just then Josc picked up a sound, like men marching in armor and the excited yip of a familiar canine. She gave Merrill space, while still keeping an eye on her. "See, Algernon's back, with the guards. We'll all be able to head back together."

As if on cue, the group crested the nearby hill, making their way down the road with her mabari leading the way. He looked so proud of himself that Josc couldn't help but smile a little. When he saw them, he ran ahead, and started running circles around Merrill, while looking at her expectantly.
 

Merrill

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35
#22
"Merrill, please..." It hurt to hear Hawke try to fix the situation and as her friend tried to assuage her, Merrill could do little more than try to run away faster. What a mistake this has been.

Merrill thought she might simply run off without another word said, but she stumbled and in that stumbling she almost found herself turning back and rushing to embrace her friend. She wanted to let it all go, to say all the things she'd been holding in. Wasn't she allowed that much? Hadn't she endured enough, leaving her clan and hiding among the humans, that she was permitted the chance to open up for once in her life? Maybe so, but she didn't turn and run and throw her arms around Hawke they way she wanted. Instead, she just looked at her friend and froze.

"Just come back and sit, we'll head back to town together." Merrill took a step back. "I won't press again, okay. You can talk to me about it when you're ready." That made her pause. A secret part of her wanted Hawke to press the matter. But before she could do anything else, Algernon came barreling down the way with guard behind him. He pressed forward and ran around her. The elf bent down to scratch his ears, eliciting a happy whining.

She might have left it at that. She might have stood up and simply walked back with her friend but Merrill reached deep within herself once more and spoke up carefully. She wouldn't say everything she wanted to, but she couldn't say nothing. "I'm sorry," she started, although she was not sure if there was anything to apologize for. "You matter to me, Joscelyn. That's all I was trying to say.."
 

Joscelyn Hawke

Prominent member
Canon Character
Noble
Post DAI Timeline
DAO/DA2 Timeline
Posts
57
#23
Merrill seemed frozen in her spot now and Josc just wanted to comfort her somehow. She hoped her words had achieved that at least partially. Algernon was happy to be back, and after Merill had scratched between his ears, he bounded over to Josc, who did the same, adding in some chin rubs too.

"I'm sorry," Merill spoke again, and Josc pressed her lips together. She'd spent a lot of this conversation messing up, so she kept her first impulse in. "You matter to me, Joscelyn. That's all I was trying to say.."

Josc moved over to her then, ignoring the sound of the wagon as it got closer, finding it telling she had called her by her full first name instead of just Hawke or Josc. She hoped she wouldn't flee, and she wrapped her arms around her in a hug, which was likely going to far. "You matter to me too, Merrill."

She didn't let the contact linger, in case it sent Merrill off running again. She turned to talk to the guards, explain what had happened with the man who had threatened them, and exactly what they had found in the crates. They started loading everything up, including the man, and Josc turned back to Merrill.

"They said there should be enough room in the cart for us to get a ride back to town. You want to stay at my place for a little while after that? Just while I get things sorted?" Probably a tall order but she wanted to make sure Merrill was okay, not just from their awkward conversation but from the fight too. "It's okay to say no. I can send Algernon with you once we're back in town if you want some help getting home."
 

Merrill

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#24
"You matter to me too, Merrill." It made the elf's heart leap before sinking to an entirely new low. Hawke had changed her life. Saved her, really. From ridicule and ostracizing, from being an outcast, from being alone. In some cases it was also more literal: she'd also saved Merrill from templars and spiders after all.

But you could care about people in many different ways, and it was clear to Merrill that she and Hawke were talking about two very different things She gave a sigh, leaning into her friends embrace to rest her head on Hawke's shoulder for the briefest of second. Her thoughts in those moments were her's alone, a myriad of futures and what ifs playing out in the span of a few seconds. Then pulled away, walking still, but looking away.

"It's not the same," she said carefully. "We both know that..."

Hawke attended to business with the guards, leaving Merrill a moment to look down at Algernon and scratch his ears again. Instead of a rousing back of appreciation, the mabari tilted his head and gave a half-whimper. Merrill nodded. Smart lad, he knew what was going on. He licked her hand for a moment. All Merrill did was smile and nod in thanks. A little thing, but she was starting to understand that little things weren't ever really little at all.

"They said there should be enough room in the cart for us to get a ride back to town. You want to stay at my place for a little while after that? Just while I get things sorted?" Merrill was almost about to say something when Hawke continued. "It's okay to say no. I can send Algernon with you once we're back in town if you want some help getting home."

Merrill wanted to run, but decided not to. "It's fine," she decided. "A cart ride would be nice and your home is always so warm. And there no rats or people throwing rocks at you. I.. wouldn't mind sitting there. The company is perfect."

With a dainty hop, she eased her way into the cart and sat for a few moments before speaking up. "What am I, Josc?" A strange and loaded question. "A friend? An obligation? Something else?"
 

Joscelyn Hawke

Prominent member
Canon Character
Noble
Post DAI Timeline
DAO/DA2 Timeline
Posts
57
#25
"It's not the same," Merrill said before Josc disengaged to speak with the guards. "We both know that..."

Josc knew. She just hadn’t really faced this kind of thing before. She’d been enamoured with someone before, someone she’d never have and had no chance of having. But they weren’t someone who had always been around.

And her heart was gravitating towards someone new. It was a spark of something, but something Josc wanted to hold onto hard. She didn’t want to hurt Merrill, but as much as she cared about the elf, that spark hadn’t lit up in her for the elven woman. A dear friend, that’s what she thought of her.

"It's fine," Merrill said and Josc was thankful she had agreed.. "A cart ride would be nice and your home is always so warm. And there no rats or people throwing rocks at you. I.. wouldn't mind sitting there. The company is perfect."

That made her smile, and she got up on the back of the cart with Merrill, Algernon prancing along behind them as it started to move.

Leandra would be happy to see you,” she said offhandedly. She knew Bodahn would probably try to overfeed the woman too.

"What am I, Josc?" Merrill popped out the question, and Josc felt like a rock fell in her stomach, "A friend? An obligation? Something else?"

She thought it was an obvious answer, “You’re one of my dearest friends, Merrill. You have been for some time. You’re family to me.

It felt insufficient, but she didn’t want to stumble over trying to explain what that meant unless Merrill prodded. Even with that thought, she added one more thing, “And family takes care of each other.
 

Merrill

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35
#26
“Leandra would be happy to see you,” Hawke said. It was a small thing to say but it help meaning for Merrill. Perhaps more meaning than Hawke understood. It was hard to tell if she was good with people out of sheer charisma and luck, or if something else was going on. Part of the charm, really.

For Merrill, it was a reminder that she was a part of something. Even if she was away from her clan, there were people in her life who care for her. Who saw her as a friend or even some type of distant family member. Isolation in Kirkwall was difficult, even within the walls of the Alienage. Having Hawke and the others there to help her meant the world. Leaving her clan had been a trying experience and every day in the city wore her down a little more. But the promise of friends and adventure kept her going. Even if it seemed that some of the things that she wanted were out of reach.

And then Hawke said more. Turns out she did know exactly what to say. “You’re one of my dearest friends, Merrill. You have been for some time. You’re family to me. And family takes care of each other.”

Merrill nodded. It wasn't what she wanted to hear but it still felt good to hear. "I don't know what I would do without you and the others," she admitted. "No matter what happens, you'll have me there to help you as much as you've helped me. That's good, right?"
 
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