Fandom: Dragon Age 2
Pairing: Fenris/Anders (Fenders), Bethany/Cullen, Carver/Merril, M!Hawke/Isabella
Prompt: So this is sort of an odd idea but bear with me here. Let's say that when Anders is asleep, he and Justice are separate in the Fade. And one night he meets Fenris in their dreams, and over time they get closer and closer in the Fade. But Anders never tells Fenris who he is, and since Fenris isn't a mage he's not as conscious of the detail in dreams (but he can remember more that the average person because of the lyrium?). Anders makes Fenris promise not to try to find him in the real world (because Justice would not be down with that) and Fenris agrees.
But as time passes, Fenris becomes more and more curious about his mysterious dream lover and finally he can't stop himself from asking one of the mages about his situation. And unfortunately, he asks Anders. Justice is indeed not down with it (pretend Anders can hide things from Justice if he doesn't think about them or something) and will keep an eye on Anders even while he's asleep to keep them apart. Fenris now has to complete a series of tasks to win Anders back from Justice. Whatever, I'm a giant nerd.
There were times that even Anders could bring himself to admit that joining with Justice had been a mistake.
He had done it for the right reasons, friendship with the Fade spirit and a longing to see Mages freed from their slavery to the Circles and the Chantry. But it was only later, tempered by knowledge and hindsight that Anders realised that he had made the wrong choice.
Humans were not like demons, nor were they like the Fade spirits. Humans were not personifications of a weakness, or a virtue. They were multidimensional, complex and full of emotions that the denizens of the Fade could not understand, but craved.
For them, life was black or white, good or evil, power or weakness. They could understand the indecision and humanity of the minds of those they sought to join with, only enough to exploit or convince them that a partnership would better serve their interests.
He believed that Justice had had some affection for him, as far as a Fade spirit could, but in the end Justice had managed to woo him into this partnership as surely as a demon had wooed Merrill.
Maybe that was why he was so hard on the little elf. It all hit far too close to home.
Sleep was his only escape, his solace in a world with alien thoughts and urges. A world where the slightest provocation could see the world shift from the greys of a mortal life, to the stark black and white of Justice.
And woe betide any that Justice saw with the black of evil.
When he slept however he felt his mind separate from Justice, the spirit unable to travel back to the Fade along the delicate tendrils of slumber. When he slept Anders felt like himself, Anders the Grey Warden, Anders the irreverent who had oogled a statue of Andraste, Anders the escape artist.
Anders the Mage, who believed in his cause but wasn’t so consumed by it that the pleasures of life passed him by.
He missed that.
As a Mage he could wander the paths of the Fade as his body rested, actively moving and controlling the shape of the world around him. He passed by faint shadows, other dreamers, ones who had little to no connection to him, or little connection to the Fade.
He had found Hawke a couple of times in the dreamscape of the Fade, dreaming of Lothering and his siblings. Knowing Hawke and their friendship had rendered the scene vivid, and he had watched. It was sad to see Hawke so happy amongst his family, but touching too when he could see interpretations of himself and the other companions living amongst the shadows of Hawke’s life.
He hadn’t disturbed him, and left the dream as silently as he had come.
The others he had seen once or twice, brushing faint tendrils against their dreams to see familiar scenes or faces and then withdrawing. His friends deserved privacy in dreams, and he was no voyeur.
Then he met Fenris.
The elf was unique, he knew that, but he hadn’t considered what the Lyrium markings might do to the elf’s dreams. And he hadn’t considered what a lure it would be for some of the demons.
Nightmares, every time he brushed against Fenris’ dreams he felt the fear and despair of the other male. And after the first few times he always entered the dream, aiding the elf with the demons, the shades of his past. He didn’t want to learn so much about Fenris, or about the horrors he had endured with Danarius, but if only a fragment of the nightmares held truth he could not help but pity the elf.
At first Fenris had been suspicious, the Lyrium markings aiding him to be more aware of the boundaries of waking and dreaming, Fade and reality. He did not recognise Anders, as the Mage’s shape, shifted when he stepped into Fenris’ dreams. It touched Anders to realise that every time he entered the elf’s dreams to aid him against the shadows that Fenris’ mind gave him the shape of Hawke.
Hawke, the one person in Thedas that Fenris associated with safety.
At first they did not speak, but when Anders started to recognise things in the nightmares, conversation became inevitable.
The dreams of Danarius and Tevinter were lessening, and in their place were twisted versions of the adventures Fenris and he shared with Hawke. There was enough truth in them to ring familiar in Anders mind, but there would be small differences.
A sloth demon, masquerading as one of the slavers, wrapping his tendrils of malaise around Fenris, making him move with a slowness he couldn’t understand. Anders could see the frustration in the green eyes of the elf, even as he fought with more of the ‘slavers’. None of them attacked Fenris, only the other party members.
Anders, wearing the mask of Hawke, watched as Sebastian was gutted by a sword, and then Aveline was decapitated, phantom blood splashing onto Fenris’ flinching cheek. This then was what Fenris feared...being helpless.
The demons hadn’t realised that he wasn’t one of their phantom tricks and he slaughtered them all, including the sloth demon that held Fenris. The elf fell to his knees, clutching at the empty air as Aveline and Sebastian vanished.
“I was not fast enough,” Fenris’ voice rumbled hoarsely from his throat, “I know I can fight, I’m a fast fighter. Why couldn’t I...”
Anders felt a stab of pity in his gut and knelt down beside the other male, “This is a dream Fenris. When this happened in reality you were fast enough. Aveline and Sebastian are alive...”
“But...” Fenris looked around but the bodies had vanished, and the landscape was wavering, “A dream.”
Anders had seen enough of Fenris’ dreams over the last few months to hate Danarius, but if he could, he would have loathed him even more in that moment for the suffering he inflicted on Fenris even now. Sure the elf was prickly and he bitterly resented Mages, but now...now having seen what magic wielded by a vicious BloodMage could do, Anders couldn’t blame him as much. Even escaped, as far away as Fenris was from the Magister, the elf still suffered.
Lyrium sang softly from the others skin, an alluring call, reaching out to him and to all the demons and spirits of the Fade. Even free of Danarius, Fenris wasn’t free of the markings he had etched onto him. And he never would be.
“No harm will come to you.” Anders said gently, “The demons are gone.”
“Demons?” Fenris’ head came up sharply, and he looked around wildly, “Those were demons?”
“Yes, demons cause nightmares. Feeding off the emotions they illicit.”
“And you are one too?” his voice had grown hard and Anders could see the muscles in Fenris’ shoulders tense.
“Ha!” Anders snorted, rolling his eyes, “I am no demon thank you.”
“Then what are you?” Fenris had come up into a crouch, staring at him warily, “One of those Fade Spirits the Abomination preaches about?”
Anders felt himself bristle, “No. I’m as mortal as you are. Maker’s breath you’re prickly. I helped you, isn’t that enough?”
“No,” Fenris growled back, “I will make no deals with you.”
“Oh for...” Anders threw up his hands, “I’m human, and I’m not trying to trap you into a bargain.”
“Then tell me what you are.”
Knowing Fenris as he did, he doubted whether the news that he was a Mage would reassure the elf at all. But at the moment it was a better solution than having the elf think he was some kind of demon or spirit.
“I’m a Mage.” He informed the other male, watching as Fenris’ eyes shuttered even more, “We’re in the Fade, Mages can...”
“I know what Mages can do,” Fenris snapped, backing away from Anders. “Get away from me.”
“I helped you!” Anders retorted, rising to his feet as well, “How can you look at me like that?”
“The question is more what you were hoping to gain by helping me.” Green eyes skittered left and right, “You’ll get nothing from me Mage.”
“Fine. Be that way.” Anders snapped back, moving away, “Next time the demons come for you, I’ll let them have at you.”
He didn’t stay long enough to hear Fenris’ reply.
Three days later he saw Fenris in real life and felt immediately guilty when he saw the shadows under the elf’s eyes.
True to his threat he had avoided the call of the elf’s Lyrium markings, leaving him to handle the dreams on his own for the last two nights. From the hunted look the elf shot people, and the sad way he watched the others, it looked like it had taken its toll.
Justice stirred at the thought and Anders pushed it away, for some reason not wanting the Fade spirit to focus on his nighttime activities. It was private, something just his...only his. In the time he was separate from Justice, and therefore...not really something he wanted to share.
Hawke had decided to bring Fenris along, despite his obvious tiredness, because the day was supposed to be quiet. ‘Quiet’ was apparently a relative term when it came to Hawke, Anders thought as he ducked through the Lowtown bazaar.
Somehow some haggling or something had turned into an epic market fight and there were people everywhere fighting and grunting, shouting and snarling. The entire thing was ridiculous and amusing and dangerous at the same time, and the Mage kept having to use Mind Blast’s to make his way through the seething mob.
He spotted Hawke standing on top of a stall nearby, blades in his hands. Beside him, Isabella was peering out over the crowd, pointing things out. But where was Fenris...?
Instinctively he let out a pulse of magic, seeking that familiar mental signature, brushing over all the minds around him until he found the one that burned like Lyrium and had the unique signature of the marked elf. Blasting his way through the crowd he made it to where the elf was squashed against the stone wall, unable to move. Panic was there from all the sweaty skin and full body contact but he still mustered up a glare as Anders blasted people out of the way.
“I don’t need /your/ help Mage.”
“Whatever.” Anders rolled his eyes and nodded at a stall nearby, “Get on top. We’ll be out of the crush.”
Fenris clearly wanted to argue, but even he couldn’t argue the sense of the suggestion. Grumpily he turned away from Anders and clambered lithely up the struts, and Anders followed, as the people crushed around them once more.
The stall top was blessedly clear of all people and the two of them sat, gazing out at the chaos below. Nearby Hawke and Isabella were picking their way over...clambering from stall to stall.
“You look tired,” Anders supplied after a few tense moments, glancing over at the other, “Were you busy cleaning?”
“None of your business Mage.” Fenris spat back.
“It’s a wonder you haven’t died yet is all,” It was so easy to slip into the old sniping habits, “What with the filth in that house of yours.”
“And your clinic is a exemplification of cleanliness I suppose.”
“I live in Darktown, what’s your excuse?”
“If the mansion appears abandoned then no one will hunt me down.” Fenris snarled at him, “That is why.”
There was silence for a moment, then...
“But the inside doesn’t have to be...”
“One more word Mage and I will rip out your tongue.”
It was a conversation killer and the pair sat in silence until Hawke and Isabella joined them.
“You two haven’t killed each other yet!” Hawke gave them a brief clap before slumping down, “Whew, so how’s the day going so far?”
“Same as always.” Anders returned, feeling a grin tug up his mouth.
“That bad huh?” Hawke stretched his back as Isabella sat herself down into the space between Fenris and Anders, “How long before Aveline gets here. Bets?”
There wasn’t any time to take that bet, as the next moment they heard the tramp of boots, and Aveline hove into view, backed by the city guard. Beside her, Sebastian stood, fingering his bow and looking shocked at the damage being wrought around him.
“I give them ten minutes, twenty tops, and then we’ll be able to go.” Hawke said, laying back on the canvas, “I’m gonna nap, wake me when we’re going.”
Entering the Fade that night, Anders was not surprised to find his mind instinctively reaching out towards Fenris’ burning signature.
He worried about the elf, he knew that he had slept little when he was on the run, and the little sleep he had taken for himself had been tired, burnt out napping. It resulted in little time in the Fade, safety from the demons, and a much sharper temper.
Now he lived in Kirkwall, and the three years had relaxed him enough that he didn’t sleep so fitfully. He now slept properly, slept deeply, and thus became vulnerable. And somehow this had become Anders problem. Clearly he wasn’t content with just saving lives with healing, rescuing Mages from Templars, and keeping Hawke’s irrepressible arse in one piece. No he had to go along and add ‘rescuing Mage-hating ex slaves’ to his resume as well.
He wanted to feel grumpy about it, but entering Fenris’s dream, feeling his spirit form shifting to take on the cheeky expression and brawny shoulders of Hawke, he felt his heart clench as he recognized the scene before him.
It was like déjà vu; he stood in the Lowtown Bazaar, crowds seething around him. Fenris was pressed against the wall, but instead of the relatively innocent nature of the honest brawl earlier in the day, this time Anders recognized Danarius and Hadriana, who crowded the helpless elf, who was once again entangled with a sloth demon’s tendrils. Hands roamed over his body, caressing, squeezing and pinching.
Fenris’ head was pressed against the stone, face turned away and his eyes squeezed shut. He looked horribly vulnerable, and was shivering helplessly, fighting sluggishly against the demonic restraints. He looked beaten, crushed, and as Anders began to move forward, the Mage saw tears begin to trickle down the ivory skin.
It shocked him to the core to see those tears, and anger flooded him. Fenris, who never cried, never even whimpered, no matter how hurt, how bruised. Fenris who would fight until either he or his opponent was defeated. Fenris who was obviously so bone shatteringly tired and hurt that the demons could exploit it.
“Get away from him.” He roared in Hawke’s voice. The demons twisted, hissing in displeasure at having their meal disturbed and Anders lifted his hands. His body might wear the shell of Hawke’s form, but the magic was his own, and the power seared the demons, which shrieked in fury and agony and fled out into the Fade paths.
Fenris’ eyes had opened, and Anders followed his gaze to the shadowed forms of he and Isabella lying dead in the dust. It was bizarre to see himself, especially since it was himself through Fenris’ eyes. He looked like himself, except for small changes, and it surprised him. Fenris called him ‘Abomination’ and ‘Monster’ and yet…when his mind manifested Anders shape, he looked like the human he was. It was touching in a way.
He moved over to the elf as the scene faded from sight, stopping just out of reach.
“You alright?” he asked gently.
Fenris lifted his head, green eyes wary, “The Mage…” he said, but it lacked his usual venom, “I thought you were just letting the demons have at me now.”
“Decided to check up on you.” Anders felt another twinge of guilt, “And I was right, you really are hopeless and helpless…”
That made Fenris tense, his eyes snap completely open, and straighten up in a flash, “Watch who you call helpless Mage.” He spat back, “Just because not everyone makes deals with demons…”
“Steady on,” Anders grumbled back, “If I made deals with demons I would have dealt with those ones, rather than chasing them off.”
There was silence for a long moment as Fenris glared at him, and Anders looked back, eyebrow rising slowly with amusement.
“True.” Fenris conceded after a pregnant pause, “Who are you anyway? You wear my friend’s form and yet you aren’t him.”
“Your mind gives me this shape to wear.” Anders responded, unwilling to tell Fenris just who was aiding him in his dreams. What would Fenris do if he knew it was Anders? Likely he would turn on him again, believe it a violation of his private thoughts. He didn’t trust easily, and Anders felt the sudden urge to win that trust. Here in the Fade he wasn’t the Anders the Abomination that Fenris loathed so much. He was the Mage who saved him from demons.
Maybe he could…
“I’m a friend.” He reassured the elf, “Your Lyrium markings call to me when I fall asleep, and when I felt you suffering in your nightmares…”
“So you decided just to help? Just like that?” Fenris’ voice was sharply disbelieving, but the colours around them were slowly bleeding into the softer greens and blues of a calmer mind.
“Shocking isn’t it,” Anders responded with a grin, “Helping other people never ever happens. Ever.”
“What do you want?” Fenris asked slowly, his voice brooking no argument, “What have you to gain?”
“You intrigue me.” Anders shrugged, trying to sound like a random Mage rather than Fenris’ most hated companion, “I’d like to get to know you.”
“Get to know me?” Fenris sneered, “Why? So you can…”
“Oh stop being so self righteous …” Anders snarked back, “I wander the Fade when I sleep. Talking to you will be interesting, rather than just aimlessly ambling around.”
The elf eyed him suspiciously but eventually nodded slowly. “If you must.”
It was as close as a welcome as he was ever going to get, so Anders nodded, hiding away his smile and the flare of triumph he felt in his chest.
It was like living two lives.
By day he hid out in his Darktown clinic, healing the desperate and injured, or he wandered about the city and surrounds with Hawke and their motley bunch of misfits. He enjoyed that life somewhat, but he could find no true contentment in it since every time he relaxed, Justice would grip him and chide him for sloth.
He still passionately believed in the cause for Mages, that would not change, but the knowledge that accepting Justice into his body had been a mistake haunted him. He knew Hawke and the others worried about him, knew that they feared what Justice could make him do.
But the hardest part, of this life, was the growing torment of Fenris.
By night he protected the brooding elf’s dreams, keeping the demons at bay and slowly he drew the recalcitrant male out of his shell. Perhaps it was because Fenris reminded him of a cat, an abused stray, who wanted to shun all company and yet craved the affection companionship offered. Night after night he patiently talked to the elf, drawing him out with little quips and jokes.
Here there was no Justice to loom disapprovingly in his thoughts, he felt lighter, more like his old self. And as such he could have more patience with the stubborn elf than Justice would ever allow him. Anders understood Fenris now, and here in dreams he could truly get to know the elf.
But in reality...
Fenris still loathed him, spat insults at him and called him Abomination at every turn. Justice, in return, was none too fussed about the Tevinter fugitive either, and the arguments were now more Justice and Fenris rather than Anders and Fenris. It hurt too much to see the elf spitting hateful words at him by the day, and then open up to him by the soft light of the Fade.
“I have told you of myself, that which you did not find out by watching my dreams,” Fenris muttered at him one evening in the Fade, plucking some pale purple stems from some grass he had managed to grow. The elf gave him a token glare as he said this, but Anders didn’t bristle. He knew that Fenris had long ago forgiven his intrusions, “And yet you continue to wear Hawke’s face and tell me nothing of yourself.”
“You know that I am a Mage.”
“Indeed,” Fenrs frowned faintly, but he no longer seemed to view it with as much vitriol, “And you have never stooped to use Blood Magic. But...” And here Fenris shredded a blade of grass, “I have asked my friend, the one whose face you wear, and he said it is customary for friends to share information about themselves.”
“You asked Hawke about a friend you met in the Fade?” Anders yelped, feeling his heart beat a little faster in his chest.
“I am not stupid Mage.” Fenris grumbled, “Months ago I too would have thought you a demon.”
“Glad to hear you’ve changed your mind somewhat.”
“Quite. This leaves us back here. I know nothing about you.”
“Well...what do you want to know?” Anders felt wary, but also had that uncomfortable feeling in his gut. Would Fenris really react so badly if he told him who he was, “I’m a mage who longs for the right to shoot lightning at fools. Oh and to rain fireballs down on every Templar in creation.”
It provoked a wistful smile, remembering the conversation he’d had with the Warden Commander back in Fereldan. Even then he’d been so much younger. But here, separated from Justice, he felt more like the old Anders. And kind of missed him.
“Do all Mages hate Templars?” Fenris growled, “It seems to be all I hear of.”
“Oh?” Anders glanced over at the elf who was plaiting the purple grass leaves together. Could he be talking about him? “Friendly with Mages are you?”
Fenris laughed, and Anders felt his stomach lurch at the sound. He’d never really heard the elf laugh before, “Hardly,” Fenris chuckled, “I have a travelling companion, who bemoans the state of Mages across Thedas constantly.”
“You don’t sound like you’re a fan...” Anders was fishing, he knew he was fishing, and this was dangerous territory, “I don’t think the Circles work personally, but there is a case for why they exist.”
“He’s...an abomination.” Fenris said quietly, and then held up a hand to forestall any loud shouting that his mage friend might indulge in, “Not like the usual kind, I’ll grant him that. He’s no blood mage.”
“Then how is he an Abomination?”
“He invited a spirit of Justice into himself. Supposedly.” Fenris rolled his eyes, “Makes him even more sanctimonious.”
“Sounds like an interesting friend.” Anders considered how to steer the conversation away from himself once more but then Fenris glanced over at him.
“You distracted me. I asked you about yourself. Not about...my companion.”
He had almost said Ander’s name but Fenris saw the hesitation there. He had wanted to trust his friend, but he hadn’t wanted to name Anders in case the Mage reported him. It touched him, another sign that whatever Fenris pretended, perhaps their antagonism wasn’t as deep as they pretended.
It had taken a bit of practice, and a lot of magical energy but looking around at the finished result, Anders allowed himself a small smile of satisfaction.
He was in the Fade, and having found the gateway to Fenris’ dreams after a bit of exploration, had used his magical talents, and that willpower of his, to shape it into how he wished. Finding the place had been a little challenging, not being able to follow Fenris’ distinct mental signature, but here he was, and now he only had to wait for the elf to sleep.
It turned out he didn’t have to wait long.
A shimmer in the air and Fenris appeared, shoulder hunched as though waiting for a demon to attack the instant he entered the Fade. When nothing happened however the elf looked up and his mouth fell open.
A forest, a large towering forest of trees, surrounding a little sun filled glade, full of soft green grass and a stream running by. Anders leant by a tree, watching as the elf gazed about him with incredulity written all over his face. Finally the elf looked over at the Mage, his face working slightly, his emotions fighting against honed instinct. He wanted to keep his face neutral, but Anders could see the pleasure there.
“What is this?” Fenris asked his voice a little raspy.
“It’s for you.” Anders said, “I did some research and put up some stronger protections, some shields around the entrances to your dreams. No demon can reach you here.”
“You...” Fenris looked around, his face for once devoid of any wariness, or bitterness. Instead there is vulnerability there and Anders realises with a jolt that Fenris has never experienced this before. The elf had never had someone look after him, treat him like he was something precious,. Fenris had never been loved. He didn’t remember his life before Danarius, and the ‘love’ he had received under the other man had been double edged, cruel as it was kind, taking away much more than it gave.
Before he had found Fenris’ dreams he never would have thought about what he might have turned into if all he had known was manipulation, pain and hurt. If all the bright bursts of sweetness in his life had been overpowered by smothering darkness.
It made him glad now that he had followed impulse and made this.
“I...do not know what to say...” Fenris haltingly said, staring at the stream burbling by and then slowly lifting his gaze to Anders.
“I’d settle for thanks...” Anders said, swallowing down the lump in his throat and trying for levity.
“Thank you.” The elf said it quietly, and slowly walked forward until he was just within arm’s reach, closer than he had ever been before, “I...but...”
“But...?” There was a but? Anders felt his stomach drop.
“I don’t want to see you wearing Hawke’s face any more.” Fenris’ voice was soft but firm, “I have thought about it for a while. You have been coming to my dreams for months and I do not like deception. You wear another’s face, you give me no name by which to call you and you share little about yourself. I..wonder if it is because you do not trust me. And now this...”
“Fenris,” Anders stepped forward, pausing as the silver head jerked up at the movement. But the elf didn’t move back, and Anders relaxed, “I wear whatever shape you choose to give me. This, here in the Fade? This is your dreamscape. You can create, or shape anything you want to. You can give me any face. You can recreate any scene, imagine anything you want. I wear this face because you expect to see it.”
“You cannot change the shape?”
“I could. But it would take a lot of effort and power.”
Fenris looked down at the ground, and he frowned slightly, thinking. Then he lifted his face. “Close your eyes.” He whispered, “Don’t open them.”
Confused, Anders did as he was asked and closed his eyes. After a moment he felt Fenris take a slow step forward, his fingertips reaching out. Something cool shivered across his skin as his form changed, Fenris’ mind giving him a new shell. And then a warm breath brushed against his skin.
In Thedas that warm breath would have made him shiver, he would have felt it more keenly. But here in the Fade it was a mere echo of a true gesture. Still it made his breath catch in his chest and his face warm as Fenris came even closer, hesitant lips coming up to brush against the soft skin at the corner of his mouth.
“What are you doing...?” he whispered softly, and felt a puff of soft air against his lips.
“I want...I want to kiss you.” Fenris’ whisper was hesitant but filled with a frustration that Anders could understand, “But Danarius...his kisses were never pleasurable. All teeth and blood and...I...”
“They aren’t supposed to be like that.” Anders reassured, hand coming up, “May I?”
He was asking more than to open his eyes, and more than to kiss him, he was asking to show him. And he knew how proud Fenris was.
“Yes.” The elf said slowly, “But you will stop...”
“The instant you say so.”
And Anders opened his eyes. He was wearing the soft clothing that the nobility of hightown seemed to wear to bed. Luxurious and sensual. His hands weren’t Hawke’s hands though, but the next second he didn’t care because his fingers threaded themselves loosely into those soft satiny strands of hair and his mouth was pressed to Fenris’.
At first the mouth under his was tense, unresponsive, so Anders traced the very tip of his tongue against his bottom lip. Slowly the mouth opened, a cautious submission. Even as he did so, Anders felt the shorter elf edge closer, his head tilting up, and the wave of possessive heat that seared through his belly took his breath away.
But he was slow, soft, careful, kissing Fenris with a tenderness that he hadn’t expected of himself. Back in his wilder days it had been all hard fast pleasure, but this...this was so much more. That’s not to say it lacked passion but the passion was simmering behind the kiss, not driving it, and Anders was lost.
Carefully he curved his arm protectively around Fenris’ waist but kept his other hand in his hair. Slowly his mouth left Fenris’ soft and now pliant mouth and drifted down to his neck. He didn’t touch the Lyrium, but kissed the soft skin at the fluttering pulse point.
Then, despite everything screaming at him to stay right where he was, Anders slowly withdrew. Stepping back he smiled softly, eyes opening to take in the sight of the elf, lips slightly pink and tender from his careful administrations, and the green eyes fluttering open.
“Ask me three questions, apart from my name,” Anders breathed, “And I will answer them honestly.”
“Are you in the Circle?” Fenris swallowed, blinking slowly.
“Are you an elf?”
“Would...would you kiss me again?”
The question was asked so gruffly, and his voice had dropped to such a low purr that Anders almost didn’t hear it. But he did and a smile crossed his lips.
Fenris stepped forward, a hesitant shy but game smile on his face, and Anders cupped his cheeks, kissing him again. And he did not stop kissing until dawn broke and Fenris slowly shimmered out of his arms, to wake back on Thedas.
“I think there is something wrong with Fenris.” Hawke spoke up the next night while they were all out at the Hanged Man. Anders’, whose ears pricked up at even the slightest mention of the elf, looked around at Hawke, his stomach clenching at the thought of something being wrong with his Fenris.
“Why do you say that Hawke?” Varric asked, leaning back in his chair, boots resting on the edge of the table, “Broody looks alright to me.”
The entire group looked over at Fenris, who was at the bar trying to procure another round of drinks for everyone.
“He looks fine to me too,” Merrill said, propping her chin on her hand as she observed the other elf, “In fact I think he looks better than he’s looked in a long time.”
“He always looks pretty damn fine to me.” Isabella supplied, leering at Fenris’ arse as he bent over the counter to growl at the bartender, “Look at those buns, fresh from the bakery.”
Anders bit down a growl and felt Justice stir faintly, listening in to the conversation. The Spirit was confused as to why Anders cared if Isabella eyed Fenris’ arse, they hated that pretentious elf didn’t they?
Justice hated Fenris, Anders...
He didn’t dare think on how Anders, the Anders free of spirit possession, felt for Fenris right now.
Hawke rolled his eyes at Isabella, “You know that’s not what I meant.”
“Mmm but it’s so much more interesting.” The pirate smirked and dragged her eyes away from Fenris to eye the others, “But I’m listening. Why do you think there is something wrong with Fenris, Hawke?”
“We routed out a coven of BloodMages today.” Hawke said, a frown creasing between his brows, “There was blood everywhere, and some young mages who claimed to have been brought there from the Gallows. Normally Fenris would have been frothing at the mouth to kill them, just in case they turned out to be Blood Mages. Instead he hangs back, and frowns but doesn’t make a sound. Even when I suggest letting them go out into the wide world.”
“You didn’t did you Hawke?” Sebastian asked, shaking his head disapprovingly.
“No of course not. But I suggested it. And normal Fenris would have ranted and raved about it for hours, days...weeks even.”
Anders felt a warm glow blossom under his breastbone, looking over at the elf who was carefully putting all the glasses on a tray to bring over.
“He’s met someone.” Isabella chimed in, withdrawing a tiny dagger from somewhere Anders didn’t even want to know about, “He been meeting them at night, in secret.”
Anders choked on his water.
“How come I didn’t know about this?” Hawke looked outraged, “Why didn’t he, why didn’t YOU tell me about this?”
“I told you now didn’t I? Anyway, I got the impression that Mr Secret is a mage. So I think our little Fenris is growing up and learning to appreciate those special talents Mage’s have.”
Of course that was when Fenris returned to the table, putting the drinks down with a grimace, “Four cups of piss, and one of piss plus sludge.” He grumbled, retrieving his wine glass from the mass of glasses.
“It may taste like shit,” Isabella drawled, lifting her glass in a toast before throwing back a gulp, “Ah, but it will get you drunk as fast as the Hightown bars. And it’s cheaper.”
“Things should taste nice,” Fenris growled, rolling his eyes, “Otherwise drinking is not pleasurable.”
“It’s called a quick swallow.” Isabella said, her smile turning wicked, “You should practice on having something shoot into the back of your throat.”
Anders nearly choked again, and a faint blush dusted across Fenris’ ivory cheeks.
“Isabella,” He growled, “Stop giving me advice.” His eyes skittered around the table, his green eyes settling lightly on Hawke and then on Anders, who was gazing up at him, “What do you want Mage?” He spat.
“Nothing...” Anders said quietly, “Nothing at all.”
When it came to romance, Anders was almost as clueless as Fenris.
Way back when, before Justice, Anders had not really been discriminate in his sexual partners. Beautiful women and handsome men were there to be enjoyed right? But he had never let any of them close, not in that soft way that true lovers did. Karl had probably been the closest, but even so, how he had felt for Karl had been a mere shadow of what he was beginning to feel for Fenris.
And that was just it wasn’t it, he was beginning to have real and deep feelings for the broody mage hating elf...and it wasn’t ever going to go anywhere.
In reality he was an Abomination, possessed by a spirit that fought against him having worldly attachments. Justice’s goals were for the future, and it seemed he cared little for Anders’ happiness and well being, unless it interfered with his end plans.
In reality he was a wanted Apostate, who hated blood magic and Templars, who feared being made Tranquil, and who dreaded the day when his choices would catch up with him and hurt those he most cared for.
In reality he was everything Fenris hated. Maybe if he had not been possessed by Justice, maybe then he and Fenris might have had a chance at least. But now...now he would only break Fenris’ heart.
But he couldn’t stay away.
Fenris’ mind called to him the instant he fell asleep, even now that he had mastered the wards that protected the elf’s dreams. He was not needed, not to fight, but Fenris called, wanting him there. And Anders did not have the strength to deny him, or himself.
Tonight Anders was leaning back against one of the phantom trees he had created in Fenris’ dream glade, sitting cross legged. And Fenris’ head lay in his lap, his neck warm against Anders’ ankles, his hair soft as it slipped through his stroking fingers. It had been Fenris who had suggested the position, saying he had once seen it in a painting in Tevinter, and had always wondered about it.
“Do I get three questions tonight?” Fenris asked, his voice a low, contented rumble, “I like getting to know you better.”
“You can ask,” Anders said, trailing his fingers through the feathered strands of silver hair, “If I answer, it will be honest.”
“I suppose that’s something,” Fenris huffed a low chuckle and closed his eyes thoughtfully, “First question then. Have we met before? Outside of the Fade?”
“Yes.” Anders answered unwillingly, “After a fashion.”
Fenris’ eyes flicked open once more to give Anders a reproachful glare, “And what does that mean?”
“Is that your second question then?” Anders teased back, grinning slightly. He still didn’t know what form he wore these days, but it made Fenris’ face soften when he saw him. It was hard, hard to be jealous of himself, or rather the face he wore.
“No that’s not my second question!” Fenris muttered, outraged, sitting up and twisting to face Anders, “You didn’t answer my first one. Have we met before Mage, yes or no?”
Anders sighed, lifting his hand to pinch the bridge of his nose, and missed the way Fenris’ eyes widened slightly at the gesture.
“Yes. We’ve met.”
Fenris nodded, leaning in to nuzzle his lips at the corner of Anders’ mouth.
“I live for your approval of course.”
“As you should.” And Fenris smirked against his lips, kissing him lightly, “It is no easy thing to gain.”
“You’re telling me...” Anders sighed, relaxing under Fenris’ fumbling affection, “Took weeks, months even, to get you to trust me.”
“Mages are slippery.” Fenris breathed gruffly, crawling forward a pace, moving half onto Anders lap, “Had to be sure.”
“Don’t apologise.” Anders murmured back, “I enjoyed it.”
A faint smile was pressed to his cheek and then Fenris was talking again, his voice rumbling around Anders like the comforting sound of thunder, “Next question.” He paused, swallowing slightly before continuing, “Did you think less of me? When you saw what Danarius did to me? Did you think me...damaged?”
Anders pulled back, hands coming up to draw Fenris into a long slow, breathless kiss. They broke from it sometime later, both panting slightly and Fenris was smiling that little private smile of his, “Never.” Anders murmured, tracing his fingers over the elf’s jaw-line and up to his delicate ears.
“Good...” Fenris purred, lowering his head to rest it over Anders chest, “Last question then. Can I see you? In person?”
The question reignited the ache in his chest, and Anders closed his eyes against the pain of it, the sheer unfairness. But he had promised to answer truthfully.
“You would not like me, in person.” He said softly, “Trust me on this Fenris. Finding me...would only bring this to a sharp, painful end.” Probably with his heart ripped out of his chest.
The elf frowned, but nodded, and Anders relaxed, enjoying the feeling of the slender male in his arms. “Look at you, all snuggled up against a Mage no less.”
“Shut up.” Fenris growled, but Anders could feel the tiny upcurve of his lips.
“I just think its interesting is all.”
“One more word Mage...”
Anders just smiled and settled in to cuddle his little elf until dawn broke and he shimmered away, out of his arms. Standing the Mage stretched and prepared to reawaken in his own body, unaware that Fenris had woken in his bed in Hightown, with a plan in his head.
It was midafternoon when Fenris came marching into his clinic.
Since, normally, the elf avoided the Darktown clinic, unless he was trailing Hawke, or being carried by the others, Anders felt justified in gaping at him as he paused in sorting through his medicines. Fenris was followed quickly by Merrill who was wearing an intrigued expression on her face, Sebastian who looked disapproving and Hawke who just looked entertained.
“Can I help you?” Anders drawled, watching the elf come to a stop firmly out of reach, “Are you bleeding somewhere under that armour of yours?”
“She,” and Fenris jerked a thumb over his shoulder towards Merrill, who lifted her hand in a small wave, “Says that you have a natural affinity for the Fade.”
Anders gut clenched.
“Ah...” he said, pretending confusion and wishing he could think of a reason to send Fenris away. Justice was listening, and Anders could feel the spirit focusing on what was happening.
“Fenris asked me about the Fade.” Merrill interjected helpfully, stepping lightly forward, “He...”
“I can speak for myself.” Fenris snapped at her before turning back to Anders, “There is a Mage who has been meeting me in my dreams, I want to find him.”
Anders desperately tried to push down the thoughts of Fenris’ dreams, of the elf’s mouth soft and pliant against his, but how could he keep it from his mind with Fenris here asking him? Roaring filled his ears and Anders felt Justice surge to the fore, taking over his body and mouth. He could still see and hear, but it was distant, so distant...
”YOU!” Justice roared at Fenris, who had taken a few steps back and was glowing too now, ”I HAVE FELT THE SHIFT IN HIM, THE SOFTNESS GROWING! YOU HAVE BEEN THE DISTRACTION FOR OUR CAUSE! I SHALL END THIS NOW!”
Something shivered through Anders as he realised just what Justice was going to do, and he fought back, suddenly and with a desperation he hadn’t known he possessed. Not Fenris, not Fenris...
Pain such as he had never known before, agony through his mind and soul as he and Justice battled for control. But for a moment, just a moment he claimed the mouth and cried out.
He saw Merrill casting a shield around Fenris, a shield he had taught her, and he saw the Dalish dragging a fighting, shouting Fenris away. He could not hear what he was saying, but dully he knew that that was probably for the best. He saw Sebastian lifting his bow, an arrow trained on him, and saw Hawke shove the Prince’s arm down, yanking the archer back out of the clinic.
Anders had a few seconds to feel relief that they were safe before suddenly the world lurched around him and he knew no more.
Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3