questionablewit: (profile)
[personal profile] questionablewit posting in [community profile] faemused
[Entanglement AU set a year or a bit more in the future, in no way shape or form canon, locked to [personal profile] birdhousesoul]

Hawke is chopping wood. The sleeves of the short-sleeved shirt she's wearing are rolled up as far as they can go, leaving her shoulders bare; it's cool out, breezy, but chopping wood is hard work even when you have her muscles.

She's still muscular, in a lean way. Thinner than she was, without regular access to brickstuff, which might have been unappetizing but was at least nutritious. Her hair is longer, shaggier, pulled back with a brown headscarf to keep it out of her face; her clothes are the usual shirt and trousers and tight-laced boots she's always favored, though much patched and darned. It's not an easy life up here, but she gets by. The villagers have accepted her by now. She's been here almost a year, working as a hunter and trapper; it was a small enough place that they didn't have one of their own, and while at first they might have been wary of the strange woman who'd walked into town, they were won over over time. Friendly gifts of meat and fur will do that. Taking down a rabid bear who'd attacked over the winter had helped rather more. They don't ask about her past and she doesn't cause trouble, and all in all it works.

Behind her is a house, more like a shack, only two rooms to it. When she'd arrived it'd been so long abandoned and run-down no one else had cared that she'd moved in. It'd taken months to fix it up, but those were months she looked back on with pride. Staring down at her hands, sawing and hammering wood, making things fit together, half-remembered lessons from her childhood spent watching Malcolm Hawke at work. You have to work with the grain, not against it. If you go against the grain you'll break the wood. Make it want what you want. She's fiercely proud of her tiny, still pretty pathetic looking shack. It keeps heat in and cold and rain out. Mostly. And it's hers.

The planet is Xestsemon, the feudal one she visited not long after arriving in the Void. She'd liked it at the time. Dirty and misogynistic and flawed, but familiar, the sort of place she knew, a society she could blend into and hide in. Rat-spit mountain villages are much the same no matter what world you're on.

Hiding had been important, for a while. It hadn't been hard. Wait until the station was just about to leave, slip down-planet with Teo, tell everyone you're coming back with someone else so they wouldn't look for her until it was too late. Plant a few false leads and move, as fast and far as possible, away from the few spaceports the planet had. Up into the mountains. One tiny speck of a person on one planet in one gigantic universe, multiverse. It went beyond a needle in a haystack, and that's just what she needed to accomplish.

It's not such a lonely life. She still has her dog, though he's beginning to show his age and then some; the rabid bear had gotten a good swipe at his side, and the scar is still there. Teo's slowed down a lot. But they manage. And she takes pride in that, too. She holds her pride close, because it's such a surprise to have it again.

And if there things she doesn't let herself think about, people she doesn't let herself think about, it's impossible to tell here, in this moment: Hawke, shirt-sleeves rolled up, woodcutter's axe in hand, chopping wood for the fire and then pausing to wipe sweat from her brow.
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