Fenris_icon.gif Anders_icon.gif

Scene Title The Morning After
Synopsis Fenris wakes up, Anders goes to sleep, Anders wakes up, things get… Weird.
Location Lowtown Inn
Date Bloomingtide 27 9:31 Dragon
Watch For Poor life choices, sexual tension, traumatic stories.
Logger Fenris

When, eventually, Fenris stirs, he has no idea how long he has been asleep. It's a disorienting, but pleasant sensation, waking up here. The room is dark, but whether that is due to drapes or nightfall, the elf didn't know. He had no sense of time, of day, only that there was no harsh light beating redness to the inside of his eyelids. Taking a deep breath, Fenris turns his head, taking in the smell of the innkeep's laundry soap, and the cedar and dried flowers she stores the linens in. It's pleasant and homey. And for a glorious moment, Fenris just basks in it, the warmth of the room, the dark, the lack of pain. That last one especially, it was the most keen, making every other sensation sharper. The softness of the blanket was like fine cotton, though he knew better than to believe it, the warmth of the room like a good back, though surely he wasn't all that warm at all. He was actually capable of feeling and it's worth lounging in.

Taking a deep breath, he shifts and stretches, every joint in his body cracking, though it is not unpleasant. A release in a way he had never actually had. He couldn't remember a time truly without pain. Even the easing that Danarius had offered him was just a numbness, a heavy, intoxicating forgetfulness that gave him relief but also made him compliant.

It isn't until Fenris opens his eyes that he remembers he's not alone. Not moving from his place in bed, he turns his head toward the window, toward the chair he last saw Anders in. The darkness of the room is thick, but he's just woken up and his eyes adjust quickly.

Anders is here, just as he said he would be. His hair is dry now, but there isn't much more that can be said for the mess of loose curls that fall around his shoulders. It's dark outside, but the barest sliver of dawn is already in the sky; a new day is on the horizon. It is this that Anders is contemplating when Fenris begins to stir, one hand bracing the side of his face with that elbow resting on the arm of the chair he was still curled in.

The noise of popping joints is enough to pull him out of his thoughts. Even though there is a touch of wariness around the edges of his eyes, his smile is warm.

"There is fruit and cheese on the table if you're hungry."

It's a neutral enough statement - hard to take a wrong way no matter the mood woken in.

Fenris doesn't know how to feel about this situation. On the one hand, Anders had said he would stay, and there was an odd sort of comfort in having a promise fulfilled. On the other, however, he really hadn't needed to. And while the lazy warmth of his body, the easing, the true easing, of his pain was something he was grateful for, waking up and seeing him there… Thinking back to the bad ideas he'd had… It affronts him in a way he doesn't want to look at too hard. It is this that causes his gaze to drop, pulling away from Anders even as it had begun to linger about the rose gold tussle of his hair, the curve of his neck as he leaned upon his arm, the broadness of his shoulder.

Clearing his throat, the warrior pulls himself to sitting without a word. The glow has long faded from his marks, but there's a liveliness to them now that he can't quite place. Without his armor, he's shirtless, and Fenris looks down at his own chest. Free of his gauntlets, he traces one of the lines near his hip, experimentally. When it does not react, he sighs quietly, relief. His hand comes up, all why he distinctly does not look at Anders, back half to him, and pulls through his white hair, brushing it free of his face in a rare moment.

Eventually, however, with a deep breath, he pulls himself from bed. There's a moment where it looks as though his legs might not wish to support him at all, but he manages. Everything felt like it was made of cotton, even his own joints. Without the steel of pain, he wasn't sure his own body was even real, or how much he could depend on it. It had been his constant companion, his gauge for the world around him, and bereft of it, it's a little like swimming weightlessly. For once in his life, he does not reach for the bottle at his bedside upon waking. This will take adjustment. To the table he moves, and sits down, beginning to eat.

"Thank you." He says then, simple but full of meaning.

The wariness tightens a little more around Anders' eyes as he watches Fenris' silent transition into full wakefulness. There's enough unease, enough off-balance behavior, that he cannot help but start to worry his lower lip between his teeth.

When Fenris sits up, Anders is ashamed to admit that his once-over is selfish in nature and not at all appropriate. When Fenris levers himself up to stand, however, it's the healer's practiced eye that observes the transition - he is not entirely irredeemable. But it's the thanks that eases some of his tension. His returning smile is still hesitant, but it is entirely warm.

"You're quite welcome." And then, because it is not in his nature to be unkind without provocation, he eased them further from the apparent source of discomfort. "The pears in particular are delicious."

If the elf notices he's being watched, or in what manner that watching is directed, he doesn't let on. Especially now that he's started in on eating. Fenris hadn't realized how ravenous he was. And without the ever present haze of his pain, even taste is brightly. It's almost too much for him after a moment, and his eating slows. He takes a breath, leaning back in his seat, having to pause. The comment about pears just gets a small nod.

But what good was small talk? Finally, he looks once more over to Anders, working up the courage for it. He hasn't forgotten that harmony that came along with Anders's touch. It's inscribed in his mind, the ink still wet. And yet, it was just ink. There was no etching, no scarring, no burning. It wasn't a sharp memory, like so many of his were. He had forgotten what something felt like when it was profound but not traumatizing.

What sort of nightmare was his life? It made him confront that thought with a laugh that comes from nowhere. At himself, at the situation, and the pure ridiculousness that was his very existence. That he was sitting here, eating breakfast at daybreak, shirtless, with some mage he had just happened to run into… Yesterday? Was that yesterday?

"How long was I asleep?"

Anders has already eaten. With Fenris devouring what's left - which is a generous amount - and his singular banal attempt at filling the silence left unengaged, there is little enough for Anders to do except return to his own thoughts.

The fingers of his free hand twitch, torn between an entirely irrational desire to stay and the all too rational need to go.

The sound of Fenris' laugh is enough to startle him out of his reverie, flashing a quick grin in return before he can think better of it. "Almost all of yesterday and all through the night."

In other words forever, he counted.

Fenris blinks. It would have had to have been that long, with the fact the sun was starting to rise. But it was either five minutes of a full day, and the realization that it is the latter makes him reel a little. Taking a deep breath, small observances catch up with him. The twitch in Anders's fingers, the wariness around his eyes, the grin. He's still waking, and it all takes a moment to fully process.

"Let me return the favor. You're in no state to go walking across the city." Fenris says, and nods toward the bed. It is a comfortably, if not simply, appointed thing. Even with its quilts. There's a smile offered, but with how rarely Fenris gives them, it's a little awkward, dusty and unused.

The offer softens something intangible about Anders - the way he holds himself or the easing of the skin around his eyes and mouth - honey eyes warming even as he shakes his head.

"I don't sleep much," he explains. "It's a - " The lie comes so easily but given… given things, the usual lie didn't feel right. "It's partly a Warden thing. Especially when there are active Darkspawn relatively close by." The rest of his insomnia is all his own affair, as is evidenced by the awkward, almost shy way he returns that rusty smile.

"I need to meet with Adeline today, at any rate. I owe her that much." He doesn't sound at all like this is a meeting he is looking forward to, but he can be determined when he needs to be.

"Anders." Fenris says, using his name… Was that the first time? Yes, yes it was. There's an incredulous look. "When even was the last time you slept?" Not that he has all that much room to talk. Fenris doesn't exactly sleep easily, or often, either. None the less, he dislikes this level of impracticality. And after that whole talk about Anders being an inpractical person and everything.

The use of his name is enough to make the mage Warden jump, all of his attention focused on the elf sitting at the table. The question that follows is met with a blank stare and then a moment of quickly-concealed panic when he can't remember. "Do catnaps count?"

It's not a serious question, really, but it has some merit. "You don't sleep in the Deep Roads alone. Not if you want to wake up."

So roughly two weeks or so. Though if he's honest, probably the last full night was before the incident at Ostwyck - and the last good night had to have been before Amaranthine.

"Warden stamina's not all for show. I'm fine."

"Go. To. Sleep."

It's not a question, but there's no heat behind it either. Fenris just fixes him with a look, a look that says he's not buying it. Not for a moment. While he's not going to stop him from leaving, there's no good reason for him not to sleep. Yes, he had a meeting. Something told Fenris that Grey Warden meetings probably had a tendency to be delayed by unforeseen circumstance.

Fenris was willing to be that unforeseen circumstance.

Though his features do soften after a moment. "Please."

Anders knows an order when he hears one. Normally, even just the suggestion is enough to raise his hackles and pick a grand old fight, but it's hard to be angry when a good portion of him wants to obey - to trust someone else's eyes for a few hours and let his body rest.

But this isn't Nate and it certainly isn't Oghren - nor is it even Sidona, who knew what to expect from her Wardens even when she could not (or would not) give them what they need. It's Fenris, who doesn't know that sleep is part of the price paid for their ability to preserve the world for another day. It's Fenris, who has enough on his plate without adding Anders' own weirdnesses into the mix.

It's Fenris, and despite knowing how little it actually matters in the long run, Anders can't quite bring himself to expose the parts of his underbelly that would leave only one impression: weakness. Knowing that a handful of the world's most powerful people consider him a coward and a fool is mildly galling, but it seems there might be a different opinion - one that actually carries.

The 'please' is the real spanner in the works. Anders doesn't want to refuse him, but this time it's his turn to show the leading edges of the fear that twists and coils. "I don't… think that would be so much of a great idea'"

See, there's this thing about Anders, this thing that has proven itself true though the short time that Fenris has known him. He can't seem to keep his emotions off of his face. Fenris sighs and shakes his head. No, he doesn't know exactly the price that the Wardens pay. No, he doesn't know Anders's deep darkness, that inevitably keeps him up at night. He knows nothing of that, and he doesn't care. Anyone who can stay awake for two weeks at a time and refuse an offer like this has a reason to fear sleep.

The look he gives him then is mildly disappointed. "Whatever it is you're afraid of my seeing," Fenris says, more observant, it seems, than he sometimes lets on, "I think we're a bit beyond that at this point."

Memory is hot in his mind, though it is not painful, of Anders twisted up inside of his own emotions. He couldn't have kept anything last night a secret from him if he'd wanted to. He was well, well beyond caring whatever it is that turns and chokes inside Anders.

Anders pulls a face, half because that was more perceptive than he was prepared for and half having to concede that in this, Fenris has something of a point. "Perhaps," he allows, torn between the growing number of reasons to do as he's told and the very immediate demands of his mind to keep its wounded places out of reach.

In the end, it's the annoying sense of fairness he's always carried (for good or ill) that makes the decision for him. It wouldn't have been fair to have asked for Fenris' trust as he had, then not to give his own in return.

"Alright," he concedes, shoulders slumping a little in both fatigue and the kind of fearful resignation that seems to permeate the entirety of Kirkwall these days. "I'm not entirely certain what happens out here when I sleep deep enough to enter the Fade. So just… don't kill me unless you have to, yeah?"

He's only half joking.

Fenris nods. Honestly, he's not even in his armor, he's not really all that jumpy. It's a wonderful, what not being in constant, severe pain will do for a person's tolerance of others. Sure, Anders was a mage, but… Well, he had no real want to kill him. That wasn't something he was used to either. And after a moment of thinking about it, he almost recoils. Almost changes his mind, tells him to get out. But it's fear that does that. Fear that there was something more hands on that was bringing about that feeling. Because once, long ago, he hadn't wanted to kill Danarius either. This man, though, isn't his old Master, and not blinded by agony, Fenris is actually able to see that.

For now, at least.

"I have no want to kill you." He even admits it. That's something, indeed. He goes quiet after, thinking. A few beats of the heart pass, Fenris letting Anders see to getting himself to bed. Eventually, though, he does speak again, quieter than before.

"How?" He asks. A question from last night. One that had never been answered.

That makes Anders laugh once, low and quiet under his breath. "That comes after you know me a while."

But he's agreed to do this, so he unfolds himself from the impossibly small space he'd taken up on the chair and stands. One decent stretch is all it takes to remind him just exactly how exhausted he actually is and his hands are at the base of his shirt and tugging an inch or so up before he pauses, shakes his head and lets it drop back into place.

The bed is actually comfortable and Anders wriggles against the covers like a Mabari hound to settle himself before tugging up the obnoxious quilts.

"How what?"

Even with the serious nature of the line of questioning, it doesn't stop Fenris from glancing over as Anders begins to tug at his shirt. Noticing himself doing so quickly, he looks away, turning his face toward the window instead. Thus, he only hears Anders's wriggling, doesn't actually watch it. Though it does make him smirk a little, recognizing the sound for what it is.

How to even explain it? To him, his question makes perfect sense. Someone who had no idea how his marks worked, though, it had no context. Taking a deep breath, he looks over toward Anders again.

"When…" He starts, stops, realizing that's not the clearest way to word the question. "How did you…" A pause, he swallows hard, looks away, "When you touched me, there was no pain. That… Doesn't happen."

Anders is patient as Fenris struggles to figure out how he wants to word what he needs to know. He is warm and comfortable - and even in the company of someone who doesn't want to kill him yet! He has time. When it does come, Anders' face falls. It's not an unreasonable question by any stretch, but Anders doesn't think he'll like any of the few answers he has.

"There is some kind of outside magic tied into your marks. Like a spell that uses them as an energy source so it never stops." He shifts a little and props the side of his head up on his hand. "I didn't recognize the spell but it felt… I don't know how to describe it. Like a slightly insidious oil slick, maybe? It could have something to do with why touch in general hurts."

As for why his doesn't…

"I'm a Spirit Healer, that could have something to do with it. There aren't many of us and one of the things we're trained to do first is to focus our latent magic into the relief of pain. My teacher called the technique Panacaea. People feel better just being in the same room with us. It's not perfect and there are more focused ways to keep people from hurting when we actually have to touch wounds to fix them but it's the best example of the discipline as a whole - everything we do is meant to be done without pain."

He laughs at himself a little, then, bitterness touching an otherwise pleasant sound.

"That's why I make such a bad Warden, according to the Commander. 'Healers always do'."
Fenris looks down at his arm as Anders explains. Extending it before him to examine slowly, turning. It's not often that he actually stops and looks at these things. Most of the time he can't bear to. He sighs. Of course, there would be something more, beyond just the lyrium laced into his skin. Of course there would be some magic sitting there, ever present and unwanted. His nose crinkles a little, and he lets his arm drop.

"I see." He says, simple but with a touch of something else. Some sort of bitter color to his words, it might be disappointment? It's hard to place, mingled with the disgust lingering from the inspection of his own skin. There's a small shiver then, but what brought it on, that's open to debate. For a moment it appears he may be inclined to ask something, else, but thinking better of it he stays silent. Best just to let Anders sleep.

There's more to the explanation Anders should give. Or maybe he shouldn't give, but the idea of withholding it from Fenris in particular makes him somehow uneasy. He can't really pinpoint why except that he can't justify not saying anything the way he can with so many people.

But the way Fenris looks like there is more he wants to ask… then doesn't?

"What is it?" he asks quietly, both because he wants to put off the other thing for a bit longer and because he genuinely wants to know.
"It doesn't seem much of a reason to be a poor Warden." Fenris answers with a shrug. A relatively unrelated question. No reason to keep Anders awake for it. Glancing out the window again, the sky has gotten significantly lighter. Rising, he moves to the window and begins to pull the drapes closed. They're thick enough to make sleeping during the day bearable.

"Ah. Yes. Well. Wardens… basically our job is to, you know, kill things that want to destroy life as we know it. My magic can be forced into directions that would end up killing, but doing that just feels…" Anders shrugs the shoulder not helping to support his weight and looks down, embarrassed to admit such things to someone who clearly has no problem killing. "It just feels wrong, to me. I don't like doing it. I can, if I have to, but I hate it. It feels wrong to set someone on fire when a good stick in the eye works just as well."

There it is, the mage Warden is a wuss with his own magic.

At any rate, he's out of good stalling options. "It… may also have something to do with the markings themselves. Being made out of lyrium, I mean."

Closing the drapes, Fenris moves back to his seat, watching Anders a moment. There's a small frown, but he doesn't actually know what to say to that. Half the time, he wants to kill people. Or, at least, winds himself up enough to believe he does. In his considering that, however, it's a long enough pause for Anders to decide to speak again. Blinking, he cants his head.

"What would that have to do with it?" He asks. It's not as though a mage has never laid a hand upon him before, and that's about all Fenris can think of the lyrium mattering with. Well, perhaps a Dwarf would be different, but he's never really had the opportunity, or want, to test that either, and Anders was most certainly not a Dwarf.

"Well, to be honest, I think the lack of pain is down to the Panacaea and all of the damage that had been done by the lyrium and your body fighting with each other. But the… resonance? That weird pulsing hum? You felt that too, right?"

Because if that was all inside Anders' head, he was even sadder than he thought.

"I think… well. Ah. Right. I was with the Wardens in Amaranthine. The Warden Commander there she…" Sidona is hard to talk about. All of it is hard to talk about. "She has my phylactery and the Ferelden Templars wanted me dead. There were other Wardens there, too. I had a job to do, but nobody looking over my shoulder all day. Despite my best efforts, I made… sort of friends, I guess. I even had a cat. But the Commander…"

Anders shudders.

"I hate her. She's very efficient and always gets the job done, but she's cold, manipulative, willfully cruel. The woman is a spider inside and out. But she makes it hard to argue with her, you know? Adie did - Maker, did she ever - but after she left… Things got bad. Very bad. The Commander made a deal with - "

He cuts himself off there, shooting Fenris an apologetic look.

"Well, with the closest thing to a demon I think I've ever seen outside of the Fade." It's vague, he knows, but anything more specific could tangle Fenris in things he doesn't wish to be tangled in - given the adamant nature of his refusal last night - and Anders respects that.

"There was… the Darkspawn attacked the city of Amaranthine at the same time as they attacked our Keep. Not only did she give orders that none of us were to help the city, she closed the gates and set it on fire with the people still inside just to keep those Darkspawn busy while we fought them off the Keep."

Speaking of it has what little color there normally is draining away from Anders' face, lines of tension around his eyes and in the tendons of his neck.

"I heard them screaming - begging - and I did nothing. I watched her make a deal with the Architect and did nothing. I questioned - not disobeyed - and she killed my cat. One of the Wardens with us was Justice. He'd once been a Fade spirit but a demon had trapped him out beyond the Veil." It's a slightly over-simplified version of events, but Anders is tired and the details can come later if they need to. If he stays alive beyond the next five minutes.

"When he heard what had been done to the people in the city - thousands of innocents sacrificed - he confronted the Commander to demand answers. She cut him down in cold blood. He was… he had been my friend and he was one of us and she cut him down. I wasn't going to let him die. I'd stood by and let her do so many terrible things that just… one more was too much. I don't know exactly what happened. He's… in here with me, somehow. When I sleep it lets him back into the Fade for a while. I can talk to him then. But when I'm awake it's like… I can't hear him or feel him, but I've got a much larger pool of mana to draw from and processed lyrium potions taste bitter now, but other than that I feel essentially the same. Certainly look the same. Which is good, because even friendship isn't worth losing this face to an abomination's boils."

It's not a great joke, but he wouldn't be Anders if he didn't at least try to inject some humor into the situation in the moments that have a 50/50 chance of leading up to his death.

Fenris nods. Yes, yes he had felt that. The mention of it makes him look Anders over, something like fondness, though it passes quickly and the warrior looks away. Some sort of strange harmony at his touch didn't mean he knew him, didn't mean he had to like him. He reminds himself of that, but still the feeling remains. Being affection-starved wrecks havoc on a person like that. And then, though, Anders begins to explain.

Where to even begin?

The expression on Fenris's face changes through the telling of that tale. It starts confused, moves to angry, and then just goes still. He just stares, unreadable as the story continues on. It is hardly a believable story, but who in the hell could make up a story like that even if they wanted to? He blinks, and just lets the story hang in the air for a very long time.

"You're an abomination?" Fenris says. Leave it to him to oversimplify this situation. What else, though, was… Again, where to start? He shakes his head, confused and more than a little shocked. Though he's not growling, he's not rising, he's not glancing for his blade. Without his pain he's not so trigger happy, as it were.

Anders didn't miss that initial fondness. It kicks something warm to life in his chest, but it makes all the rest of this so much worse.

The silence is the absolute worst. It's heavy and uncomfortable and pricks at the parts of Anders' mind that still question his own reality. The longer it goes on the heavier it seems, until it's all Anders can do to focus on keeping his breathing steady instead of escalating into the borderline hyperventilation that lurks just on the horizon.

"I mean, maybe?" The question is high and tense, followed immediately by a hard swallow and a sucked in shaky breath. "I don't feel like one at least. I don't hear voices or feel any strange urge to kill virgins or kittens. I have never and will never practice blood magic. I still have control over my magic and it's not been any harder to heal. But I have a piece of the Fade in me somewhere, so. Maybe?"

Hey, at least he's honest.
There's that silence again. Eventually, though, Fenris just takes a deep breath. Pushing the plate of fruit and cheese away, he leans his elbow on the table, burying his face into his hand. Of course. Of course that was the answer. It figured that only damn person he could ever remember touching him without pain was a… Looking sideways over to Anders, he sighs. No, while he'd probably say it later when he was angry, Anders wasn't an abomination. He would have felt that. Or at least, he's choosing to believe that he would have.

"The Maker has a sick sense of humour…" Fenris mutters, not really paying much mind which language it comes out in, and thus its something of a hodge podge.

It's a hodge podge, but Anders when he was younger was a nerd. Not at all now, of course. Now he's cooler than cool. But there was a phase. Needless to say he knows enough Tevene at least to parse out what Fenris mutters and snorts a dry laugh before laying his head back down on the pillow that smells like the elf that used it last.

"He must."
Oh of course. Not at all now. Definitely. No time for nerding with all of that abomination time, and being a Warden. Definitely. Only after Anders has responded does Fenris realize how much that sentence had been mangled. Looking over to him again, his gaze lingers once more. Well, that explanation at least lets him in on a bit of why his time asleep might be a bit… Different. And all of this likely /should/ have Fenris throwing him out on his ass, or killing him, or something.

And yet.

All he really wants to do is feel that hum again. Sighing at himself, he rises, walks over, and grabs the bottle beside the bed. It's with a soft 'thump' that he sits back down, hard, upon the same armchair Anders had spent the night in.

"Good night."

Good night.

Out of all the possible responses to his story, this one… was not on Anders' list of likely scenarios. The tension isn't gone from the silence, but it's decidedly less uncomfortable.

He could have been killed; he could have been flung out into the street. At the very least, Fenris could have been far nastier. That it all comes down to half a bottle of wine and 'good night' seems… surreal. So when Anders adjusts his position to a slightly more comfortable one, he returns those two words with two of his own before drifting off to sleep.

"Thank you."

Fenris doesn't respond to that, at least not verbally. There is a very small, lopsided smirk. Then though, he's lifting the bottle, and drinking without much pause. Yep, this definitely required wine. A good amount of wine. Not enough to be a useless guard, but enough to shut up his mind.

Anders was't kidding.

At first it seems like maybe he was wrong - or like perhaps whatever strange peace had settled between them with that earlier resonance might be enough to drive the usual demons away. But life is never quite so kind as poetry.

Less than a full hour into dozing, his breathing changes; from deep and peaceful breaths to short, sharp panting. It's harsh and erratic and shaking with the whine too high-pitched to do more than whistle slightly as it leaves his throat.

It's after that when his muscles start to clench, the acidic burn of terror fighting against the paralysis of sleep. He breaks out in a cold sweat and mutters under his breath in a language that is at once musical and harsh. The tiniest cracks of Fade blue - almost exactly the same tint as Fenris' lit markings - appear in the skin around his eyes and there's a burst of energy as he exhales a truly pitiful whimper.

When he sits bolt upright in bed, he's only been asleep around 90 minutes. Even though the cracks around his eyes fade quickly back into nonexistence, he manages somehow to actually look worse than before he slept.

It's the whimpering that gets Fenris's attention first. While Anders slept, he'd acquired yet more wine from… Somewhere. It's probably stashed through different places in the room. Where, though, is anyone's guess. He wouldn't ever say as much, but really, the drinking problem here is pretty evident. The light catches his attention next, and his brow creases. Taking a deep breath, he finishes a second bottle of wine. It's then that Anders sits up.

Maybe it's the wine, maybe it's something else, but his sitting up urges Fenris out of his seat. Crossing the room, he takes up a place at the edge of the bed, within reach. There are no words, not yet, just a presence there, a sign he isn't alone, even though the room is dark and quiet.

Anders is shaking. It's not abnormal after a bad night, but it's impossible to tell exactly how long he was out with the heavy drapes drawn and the room in darkness.

He can hear movement over the sound of his own blood rushing through his ears, but not enough to tell much beyond 'movement'. He jerks when the weight and body heat settles in next to him, but he makes himself smaller as opposed to lashing out.

People have different responses to trauma.

It's a moment more before he remembers who he is, another two before he gets to 'where' and 'when'. Even so, he doesn't sound sure of himself at all when he hesitantly ventures a single comment.

"I did try to warn you."

"It is fine." Fenris says, voice quiet. There's no move to get any closer, seeing Anders pull himself small. There's even a small shift to be just a touch farther away. He's not there to hurt him, perhaps surprisingly.

"You've only been asleep around an hour and a half, try to settle." He says, the gentleness almost awkward on his voice. It's not often that Fenris tries to be soothing.

The sound of Fenris' voice is like the blade that cuts the string. Anders slumps forward in relief, shaking hands scrubbing over his face and back through sweaty hair.

Part of him wonders if that's a smart response - if trusting Fenris might be the thing that gets him killed. The awkward attempt at soothing gentleness is reassuring in more ways than the elf could possibly know.

"I - is that all? Truly?" He feels disoriented and slightly nauseated - usually signs of a much longer fight than that.

"I think… I think that might be all I've got."

"Yes that is all." Fenris says, voice still soft. Turning sideways, he curls a leg under himself, so he can look at Anders more face on. And in a moment of surprising action, maybe it really is the wine, he reaches out to place a hand upon Anders's shoulder. It just sits there, warm, not grabbing, not pushing, just there.

The muscles under that hand are tense and trembling, like a wild animal still in the initial shock of a trap. Anders doesn't move at first - there's a moment where he doesn't even breathe. Everything is always just… so much when he first wakes up, even under ideal circumstances. But Fenris' hand is warm and he can't remember the last time touch was simple and not given at cost or for ulterior motive. It feels good in a way that is at once primal and yet small - soft and yet brittle. Before he even really knows what he's doing, Anders leans into it, chin dropping to his chest and muscles slowly easing back away from that cliff's edge of tension.
And he had been doing so well too.

All of those little pulls to reach out, Fenris had bit them back. And now, here is Anders, leaning into his hand, leaning enough to make skin to skin contact, and there's that hum again, and Fenris shivers, though not unpleasantly. Damn it, he had been doing so well. But he doesn't really bother to chide himself too much, just turns his hand, lifting it away just long enough to brush back a bit of Anders's hair instead. The action turns into a slow petting of his hair, still trying to be soothing, the hum coming and going as the touch breaks and returns, though it is strangely not jarring, the breaks never all that long.

The resurgence of that hum, the resonant harmony between their skin, it forces a harsh and shuddering breath out of Anders, but every breath afterwards is so much easier. Color returns to his face and his eyes lose that haunted look, fluttering closed almost as soon as his hair is touched. It's one of those things he doesn't admit to often, but there is significant evidence for cat blood somewhere back in Anders' heritage; touches to his hair are one of the quickest ways to make him melt, but with the intermittent energy from the on-and-off harmony, he's … yep. Actually purring. It's a small kind of bliss that hasn't come often in his life. He knows - he knows - that he needs to move away soon, that he should pull back and go start in on the work that needs to get done. And he will, but this is too… this moment, he knows, is one of those rare good things that never last. He's going to take a little window of time and enjoy it before it goes away forever.

Somehow, for some reason, that purring actually makes Fenris smile. Probably the mixture of wine, and his own enjoyment of the harmony that seems to happen with their touch. Abomination or not, Fenris can't really deny the pleasure of this. Though, wasn't that the whole point with demons?

He opts not to think about it too hard. Because for once in his life, his sorry fucking excuse for a life, he can touch someone without wanting to peel his flesh from his bone and he can't say no to that. Maker forgive him, he can't.

It's definitely the wine that leads to the next thing though.

Definitely the wine that leads to him leaning into Anders, breath sweet with smell of grapes and alcohol and pears, and press his lips to the mage's. He'd hate himself for it later, probably. Probably.

That was future-Fenris's problem.

That press of lips comes from seeming nowhere and startles Anders enough to gasp, but it's not from distaste. The combination of warmth and harmonic resonance makes him pliable and he returns the kiss gently, savoring the sweet combination of pears and wine and lyrium and that indefinable savory tang beneath all of it that he suspected was uniquely Fenris'. It feels… It isn't rushed, it isn't forced, it isn't an obligatory springboard to the things that let two people forget who and how miserable they are. He's never in his life tasted anything like this and as one hand comes up to cradle Fenris' jaw and tilt his head ever so slightly for a new and better angle, Anders can think of nothing except for the impossibility that he is stupidly, deliriously happy for the first time since -

Oh fuck.

Oh fuck.

Pulling away is physically painful - his body crying out for the warmth and comfort of which it only got too small a sample - but he does it all the same, face crumpling in that unattractive way it only ever does when he's trying not to cry. There is hot shame twisting in the pit of his stomach and he doesn't know why. It's not like he's been celibate in the years since Karl was taken - and guilt certainly never stopped him then. But, as is often the case when right in the middle of a strong emotion, he can't quite grasp enough of what he's feeling to understand the how's and why's. All he can do is react and right now that means scrambling out of the bed and shoving his feet into their (thankfully much cleaner) boots.

"I have to - " He straightens and pulls a leather tie from one of his pockets, pulling his hair up into a tail to get it out of his face and trying very hard to ignore the phantom sensation of slender fingers playing in it. "I shouldn't have imposed, I - " There are fine tremors in his hands again so he hides them behind his back and clenches them into fists. "I'm sorry, but I really do have to go."

The growl that comes from Fenris is very different than the ones Anders has heard before. It's pleased, even, from his throat and not his chest. The touch to his jaw tilts his head easily, and the press of his lips grows more firm. His arm finds Anders's waist, wrapping around him but not holding him in place. There's a shudder from the elf, almost overwhelmed by the bright, warm pleasantness that comes along with this. Neither had he ever known something like this.

As Anders pulls away, there's a small noise from Fenris that could almost be called a whimper.

He swallows hard, takes a deep breath, the haze of the hum gone from his mind. Letting his judgement come back to him. He drops his gaze, drops his head, shaking his head. Fuck. Future-Fenris showed up a lot faster than he'd accounted for.

"No, it is I who should be sorry." He says, quiet, "Though you are correct, you should go." He's already rising, opening the cabinets in the side table, drawing forth another bottle of wine.

Hair up and boots on, Anders reaches for the small satchel of things that survived his latest venture into the Deep Roads. The long band goes over his head to hang diagonally over his torso and rest against his hip. It's all he has left to gather before leaving, but with his hand on the door he hears Fenris' answer.

No, it is I who should be sorry.

And for some reason this strikes Anders deeply - strikes him as wrong. His hand drops from the door and he turns on his heel. He's already in for the copper; he'll absolutely go for the sovereign if it means he has only one injured party to be held accountable to and not two. Crossing the room in three strides, he twists himself around the hand holding that wine bottle, reaching with both hands to hold that face this time where he can kiss him more thoroughly, the harmonic hum from their touch making a simple firm press into a searing thing that leaves Anders entirely without his own breath by the time he pulls back to search lovely green eyes with his own earnest golden.

"Don't ever apologize for giving wonderful gifts. It's a terrible sin," he breathes against a mouth he wishes very much his conscience would let him kiss again and again and again. There's a smile when he says it, small and sad, but then he (reluctantly) lets his fingers slide from warm olive skin, turns on his heel once more and is gone - out into the early morning to see to his own business (and calm down a fair bit) before he goes to give Adie the report that is due her.

What is it with this man? This man that can trample through his problems, apparently in many different ways. In the places that carry dust and darkness and pain, the places he kept locked, he has things hidden. Under tables, behind drapes, in the shadowy corners of his mind and soul. And yet here is Anders, and it seems this man can just walk in. Just waltz on in and make himself at home in places he was perfectly content being left well enough alone.

Except he wasn't.

Even Fenris can't convince himself of that lie.

He doesn't expect the turn, he doesn't expect the approach, and the haze of wine makes him not realize until his skin is ringing that Anders is about to touch him. There is no flinch. For the first time in his life he isn't flinching away from someone's hand and as Anders kisses him again, there's a searing sharpness at the corners of his eyes. Despite the small, pleasurable noise Fenris gives at the kiss, when Anders pulls away and looks him in the eye, there is a shine over that green that wasn't there before. That moment hangs in Fenris's mind, hangs itself like a painting over a mantle, the sight of golden eyes and the hum of hands upon his face and the lingering sweetness on his lips, He doesn't think he'll shake that image for a long time, or the sound of those words.

He shivers as Anders pulls away.

And yet he does not stop him from going. There's no call out to him, no reach, just a silent watching. As the door closes, Fenris lets out a breath he didn't realize he was holding and pulls the cork from his bottle with that unique, hollow pop. But as he pulls it to his lips, he stops. Recorking the bottle, he stands, beginning to pull his armor back on, though much slower than he normally does. He's going for a walk.

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