They named her Stella.

Her raven-black hair hung in long, curly tresses around her
face. She had russet skin and blue-green eyes the color of rusted copper. She
looked like neither of her parents, but both of them at the same time.

She was the most beautiful thing Fenris had ever seen.

He watched her now as she leaned down to pick a flower. Her
small fingers closed around the stem of the flower with more delicacy than
Fenris thought a child capable. When she pulled the flower from the ground, she
let out a proud shriek that sent birds flying for cover and she ran over to her

“Mamae!” the child shouted louder than was
necessary, causing Hawke’s head to snap to attention; her face momentarily
masked in panic. It took her only two seconds to assess that there was no danger
and her face relaxed. A smile burst across her face when her child reached her.
“Mamae, look!”

Stella held the flower out to Hawke so that Hawke could see.
It was slightly damaged now after being crushed to the child’s chest, but Hawke
smiled all the same, looking from the flower to her daughter’s face. “It’s
beautiful, Stella. Is it for me?”

When Hawke reached to take the flower from her daughter, the
child shook her head vigorously, crushing the flower to her chest again.
“No, papa!”

Hawke’s blue eyes flicked to Fenris’s own and he felt
himself smile. Hawke’s smile widened and she looked back to her daughter,
“Well, papa is right over there,” she said, nodding in Fenris’s
direction. “Why don’t you go give it to him?”

The child turned and when her eyes found his, he knelt down
to her level and held out his arms. That was all the encouragement the child
needed. She rushed forward, running in a way that made Fenris fear for her
safety. Thankfully, the distance the child had to go wasn’t too far and she
reached him safely; running straight into his embrace and wrapping her small
arms around his neck. He lifted her easily, hugging her close to his chest.

“Papa!” she exclaimed, wriggling in his arms,
causing the need for Fenris to readjust his hold on her. He shifted her to his
side, wrapping one arm under her for support.
She smiled at him and with his free hand, he brushed strands of her hair
out of her face. It was a futile effort; the breeze just blew them right back
into place. He sighed internally and cast his gaze to the flower.

“For me?” he asked, bringing his fingers up to cup
her hand. She nodded, releasing the flower to him and wrapping her arms around
his neck once more. She snuggled her face into his neck and yawned.

Hawke, watching from a distance, stood and came over. She
grinned as she approached, nodding to their daughter. “Nap time?”

Fenris shrugged and leaned forward, offering to let Hawke take
the child. Instantly, the child’s arms tightened around Fenris’s neck and she
gave a sharp, “No!”

Hawke laughed. “I suppose it’s Papa’s turn to put her
to bed.”

With a nod, Fenris turned and entered their small cabin. It
was a warm day, so the windows were open, letting in a soft breeze. He carried
the child, already beginning to fall asleep, to her room.

The room was simple. There was a small bed tucked into the
far corner, a toy chest at the foot of it. They had been outside today, so –
surprisingly enough – all of the child’s toys were still put away. There was a
large, circular rug in the middle of the room where she usually played. A
dresser was backed into the far wall and, next to it, a wood rocking chair
rocked softly with the breeze.

Fenris walked over to the bed and gently disentangled
himself from the child’s grip. He set her down gently and covered her with her
quilt. He turned to walk away when a small hand caught his finger.

“Papa..” the child whispered. Fenris turned and
saw her eyes open and turned to his. They looked almost sad and Fenris felt his
heart break. He tilted his head and knelt down beside the bed. He reached up
and brushed his fingers lightly through his child’s hair.

“What is it, love?” he asked.

She scoot to very edge of the bed opposite him. She patted
the empty spot next to her. “Papa.”

“You want me to lay with you?”

When the child nodded, Fenris slowly climbed into bed next
to her. He curled himself onto the bed as best he could, but his feet still
hung off the end. She moved forward, nuzzling her face into his chest. Fenris
moved his hand, placing it gently on top of her head, and began to stroke her
hair. Quietly, he began to hum a soft lullaby.

Minutes passed. It hadn’t taken long for her to fall asleep,
but still, Fenris remained, softly humming and stroking her hair. In time, the
lullaby stopped; and, eventually, so did his hand. He closed his eyes, and with
the soft sounds of his daughter’s breathing filling the air, he fell asleep.

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