Fenris_icon.gif Anders_icon.gif

Scene Title The Way You Look Tonight
Synopsis Anders is trying on his kit before this venture into the Deep Roads. When Fenris walks in on him, it isn't long before questioning why turns into an argument.
Location Darktown Clinic
Date Justinian 24, 9:31 Dragon
Watch For Scenes of a Sexual Nature
Logger Anders

Evening, again. It is so very often evening when Fenris makes his way down into Darktown. Which, really, it makes sense. He has jobs to acquire during the day, sleeping to do in the morning, jobs to finish in the later afternoon when the twilight sets in and the world is awash in muted light that is best for sneaking about in. Besides, for most people walking through Darktown at night was likely not the best choice, and thus it was mostly quiet, and those people Fenris did see were, usually, smart enough to give the strange looking elf with the unnecessarily large sword a wide berth. So down to the Clinic he goes, walking quietly, and entering gently so if Anders has people that need to stay overnight, he does not disturb them.

There are no overnight patients tonight - though that does seem to happen often of late - just a dark and still-warm lantern hanging outside the door. It's unlocked, un-barred; he leaves it that way most nights now - at least until he leaves or sleeps. He isn't in the foyer, but in the main part of the clinic, large travel bag spread open on an examination table as he fishes gear from it. He's not in plain clothes, tonight, but in tight black trousers, over-the-knee brown boots and the unmistakable blue and silver light armor of the Warden mages. He's tied the brown leather bracers over his forearms and is now fiddling with another strip of leather to match both bracers and boots. He's got the tip of his tongue poking out between his teeth and a look of fierce concentration on his face. Whatever he's doing to it, it's being difficult about it. It's also taking up enough concentration that he misses the quiet entry altogether.

Seeing the foyer empty, Fenris doesn't linger. This Clinic has become familiar to him, as has the game of figuring out which part of the Clinic he'll find Anders in. What isn't familiar, however, is how he finds Anders. There are times, often, where it is easy to forget that Anders is a Warden. It's a knowledge always present, but Fenris doesn't linger on it. This, however, is unmistakable and undeniable. It stops him in the doorway, looking over Anders with a mixture of emotions he can't quite place and name. They swirl and reel and are uncomfortable yet somehow pleasant. Worry, respect, confusion, a touch of awe and… Well, look, there was really no denying this bit, Anders looked good in the armor. It takes Fenris a long few moments to realize that the mage is having a time with one of the leather lacings, and he steps over, remarkably quiet, the lack of footwear probably helped. Gauntleted hands come to take the leather strip from Anders' hands, securing it for him.

Fenris' quiet approach startles Anders enough that he physically jumps off the ground. Recognition is immediate and though his eyes are still dilated and his pulse fluttering in his neck from an aborted panic response, Anders breaks out into a warm and open smile. "It's this belt," he admits sheepishly, twisting his hands to show both ends. "I need to take it up a notch but I don't have anything that will puncture cured bronto hide." The stuff is a notorious pain to work with, but that tenacity can save lives in the Roads. He turns the ends over to Fenris, seeming entirely at ease with their close proximity. "As you can tell, it's been - well, a while since I had to mess with any of this nonsense."

Fenris smirks a little at that jump. Maybe it shouldn't amuse him so much, but it's adorable, and a little bit ridiculous, what with Anders in his Grey Warden regalia. "Yes, I can see that." He says, his gaze maybe lingering a little longer than it ought over Anders' chest and arms. He clears his throat, and reaches to one of the small pouches on his belt. He'd been running for a long time. He'd needed to do repairs to his own armor plenty. He kept a couple of supplies for such things. A sturdy grommetting needle is retrieved, and Fenris drops to one knee in front of Anders. "Set it where you need it." He says, waiting for the mage to do so, then starting the work of fighting with the leather. It was sturdier than the straps upon his own, but he would get it eventually.

'A little bit ridiculous' is perhaps the most apt description of Anders in general - and certainly his life thusfar. It's embarrassing, being startled like that; catching the way those sylvan eyes linger on him now only adds new depths to the bright flush creeping its way down his neck. Still, there's a part of him that can't deny being pleased. Very pleased. It makes his stomach twist in a way that is both pleasant and entirely uncomfortable and he fumbles a little as he gets the belt to sit where he isn't afraid it'll slide right down his hips. "Just - just there I think." Maker's balls, he hasn't been shy since he was - this is ridiculous.

It's a process that takes a good couple of minutes, but eventually a more or less reasonable setting is made into the belt. With a nod, Fenris buckles the belt for Anders, and slips the needle back where it came from. Looking up at the mage, he smiles a little, catching the blushing. His hand lingers on Anders' hip, and when he rises, he does so slowly, his other hand coming to cup his lover's jaw as he leans in to kiss him.

Fenris looking up and smiling at him like that - small, but genuine - isn't exactly helping his blushing problem. The hand at his hip and the slow rise help even less, so that by the time he's being kissed, Anders is a little bit breathless and nothing less than eager to respond - mouth soft and playful moving against Fen's. He almost mirrors his lover's hold, one hand wrapping around Fenris' lower back while the other gets distracted on its way up and simply rests over the one on his hip, leather glove curling over metal gauntlet to hold the hand protected within.

Fenris purrs against that kiss, low and quiet. But it's an affectionate thing, with a foot in the doorway of passion, surely, but he does not push further. Eventually, they part, and Fenris looks over that armor again. "What has you checking your armor?" He asks, finally actually addressing the elephant in the room.

There's a pleasant warmth in Anders' chest, content to linger and luxuriate in the simple pleasure of affectionate kisses for as long as he is permitted to do so. When they finally trail off, those purring kisses leave a satisfied little smile lurking around the edges of his mouth and he turns his head to nip lightly at the bit of skin showing through the gauntlet's palm against his jaw. For no other reason than it's there and he wants to. What he doesn't want to do is think about the reason he's got to make sure his kit's in order. Like, at all. "What if I told you it was entirely for your benefit, hmm?" That smile goes crooked, though the softness never quite goes out of his eyes. "I used to turn a lot of heads in this foolishness, you know."

Well, that certainly brings color to the elf's ears. He clears his throat again, looking down and away. "Used to, hm?" He says, sounding amused, though he doesn't sound convinced of the first suggestion. "As amusing as that would be, I somehow doubt this has anything to do with me at all."

Anders sighs. "If it helps, I really, really wish that was the only reason." And it isn't like he'd planned to just… not say anything. There just is no good way to explain what he has to do. "The Warden Commander of the Free Marches is missing." Okay so he's skirting the bounds of 'Warden secrecy' on this one, but the idea of being less than honest with Fenris twists him up into knots something fierce. "As is the Warden Constable - his second in command - and all of the Kirkwall Wardens." Such as they were, anyway. "That's why Adeline and those other Wardens were sent here. They've got to go after those missing and she's asked me to go with them."

It is a long moment that Fenris considers this information. It doesn't need to be said where they've gone missing. There is only one place for such things for Wardens. Fenris takes a deep breath, and then nods. "I see." He says then, though he does not sound as though he likes this idea at all, "Well, I'll settle my debt with the innkeep." Not a blink.

Prepared for some kind of … he doesn't really know what, outburst or argument or accusation, Anders is so relieved to hear the relative calm of Fenris' not-happy-but-resigned voice that it takes him a comical moment to realize what it is he actually says. "Good. Yes. Right. It shouldn't take us more than a few weeks and I can leave you the keys for this place in case you need elixirs or a place to lay low or - wait. What? Why in the world would you - " His face as it finally registers would be funny if he didn't look so genuinely terrified. "No!" An attempt to be more rational is made. "Fen, you can't. It's too dangerous."

Fenris just looks at Anders as he goes on about planning and keys and elixirs and all of this stuff that Fenris had no intention of needing. His brow knits, he had not been expecting Anders to just accept the situation as it was, but his lack of acceptance changed nothing. "I can." He says simply, "And I will."

Anders seems to realize his fatal error only when Fenris' response is so… bald-faced and blunt. "Okay, well, yes, obviously you can. I don't doubt your physical prowess but Fen you don't understand…" And here Anders seems to lose energy and focus as that fear becomes sharp and ugly in the forefront of his mind. "I wasn't exaggerating, you know. The night we met. A bit in your eye, your mouth, your nose, your ears.. if their blood gets anywhere inside you, you will die. It won't be quick, it will hurt and there won't be anything I can do to save you." And even just that idea makes his throat close up to choke the end of that sentence.

"I know." Fenris says, "Anders, I am capable of being careful. I know you have seen me in some… Unfortunate circumstances before but even then…" He sighs, realizing that isn't the way he was going to get his point across. This is not about his skill in arms, this is not about whether he could do this. It doesn't matter how skilled he is, Anders will fret, he will not like this, because the possibility will always be there. "Anders," He offers, a little more gently, "I do not say this flippantly, but I am doing this."

He is right about one thing. Anders does not like this. Anders will never like this. The fear of loss is very real and - especially right now - very raw. It makes his heart pound and his palms sweat and he has to clear his throat and put a little physical distance between himself and Fenris or he will fall apart and he just… can't do that right now. "Have you ever been through the Deep Roads? Beyond just an entrance cave?"

"No." Fenris says, as though it is the simplest thing in the world. He has no reason to lie about this. There is no move made to stop Anders moving away, he can understand the want of space, at least. Putting his back to the nearest wall, he leans, one knee bent to put the sole of his foot against the wall as well. His arms cross over his chest, and he watches the mage. No more argument offered, he is simply standing by his original assertion.

"You can't hear them coming." Anders is keeping himself mostly together but already he's pacing. "The stone that far underground mutes everything and distorts what sound remains. What it doesn't mute echoes until you can't tell which way is up. We can sense them. It's the only way we survive." Some sense better than others, but no Warden is without that early warning system. "The darkness is so complete, so total, so thick you can - " Here he almost loses it, the Warden who fears the darkness. The Warden who cannot stomach enclosed spaces. "You can't see anything. If the torches go out in a fight you're a sitting duck." He's running out of arguments and he knows it.

"And I wouldn't go alone." Fenris says, "And Anders…" There is a pause as Fenris takes a deep breath and activates his lyrium markings, "I can provide my own light. While I am sure the Deep Roads have many a beast and horror I have never seen, I do know how to handle the dark." The elf takes a deep breath. "I cannot bring myself to let you go off without me. So, I will not trust my ears, but yours. And in exchange, I will provide light when you need it."

In a soul as wild and idealistic as Anders' is, there is a sharp appreciation for rare and beautiful things. In his life, Anders has yet to have any of them directed at him. The way Fenris phrases his argument sounds like a spell, a poem, a vow, a song. It impacts Anders like a physical blow and worms itself in him deep. For a moment he stares at Fenris like he is afraid to believe that the elf is real, but that moment is broken when he crosses the room and crowds Fen back against that wall. "First, you've got to get Adie to sign off on this and she never will. And second - " he falters here, taking a shaky breath and leaning so that his forehead rests against his lover's. "You cannot die down there, Fen. Do you understand me? To lose you would - " destroy him. "I can't."

Fenris gives the phantom of a smirk, before reaching to brush his hand through Anders' hair, despite his gauntlet. Still flickering with white-blue light, it's probably not terribly surprising that he's a little bit unreal. "I have no intentions on death." Fenris says. Though, he's not been one to fear it, either, ever, really. "And fine, I will speak with Adeline. We shall see which of us is more stubborn. Though, I have something of a suspicion that she will shoot me in the thigh to keep me from following if I push as much as I have a mind to."

Those lit markings send a shiver hard down Anders' spine. The energy they give off active is both soothing and energizing in equal measure. He's struck by the entirely irrational urge to lick one - for which he is vehemently blaming Justice while shoving that thought far back in his mind. "Again, what percentage of people dying do you think is planned?" he quips, repeating a question asked once before. "I'm just … begging some additional caution. Please. For me." But the topic of Adeline (his last great hope in this madness) is drowned out when the idea of an arrow in Fenris' anything calls forth a surprisingly deep and dangerous rumble from his chest. "No." No explanation, no argument, no qualifier. Just 'no'. It would seem there's something of a lion inside the house cat after all.

"Yes, yes." Fenris says, "I am willing, not stupid. I do not think this will be simple." He's confident, not an idiot, after all, and even Fenris isn't going to try to convince himself the Deep Roads will be anything resembling pleasant. There's a small smirk at that growl, and his hand pets at the mage's hair again, trying to be soothing. "Perhaps I am wrong, then." He says, though he doesn't sound entirely convinced. He knows, after all, how stubborn he is willing to be. Which is, you know, as far as not caring one bit at all if Adeline says he may not come along. Not one fig.

Fenris isn't an idiot, but Anders absolutely is. "I hardly think willing is a strong enough term," he replies dryly. "Determined, insistent, demanding. Those might cover it a little better." And he doesn't like the idea of Fenris hurt or worse - he doesn't like it at all - but every time a new argument crops up in his head he hears those damn words again and finds the legs taken out from under each one. He leans into the hand doing the petting, rubbing into that caress like he's back to being simply a house cat. "You know the best part about your logic?"

There's that smirk again. "Conceded." He says, not minding at all. If he wasn't willful and stubborn, Fenris likely wouldn't like the person he would become. He knew that person too well. That person haunted the corners of his mind still. The elf leans up to place a kiss to Anders' temple, taking a deep breath before going back to look his lover in the eye. "What is that?" He asks, equal measures amused and curious.

That bit of unexpected affection almost derails Anders entirely. But he has more focus than most people give him credit for. He doesn't allow himself to be distracted, instead carrying over the sweet, besotted smile into his answer. "That you can't leave me behind again just because you don't like the danger." And that smile is a full-blown grin when he leans in to brush a tender kiss over Fen's mouth. "No more delicate mageflower sitting at home while you run headfirst into who knows what."

At that, Fenris laughs, though not before returning the soft kiss that Anders offers him. "Just because the world asks you to put yourself in peril does not mean that I am obligated to." He says, shaking his head slightly. Not that he's saying he will insist on Anders staying behind again, but he's not quite willing to grant that it will never happen again.

"I'm pretty sure we're beyond the 'asking' part of being in each other's peril at this point," he retorts, but he's too pleased - both by a kiss returned and by the too-rare sound of Fenris' laughter - for there to be any heat in it. "Unless I've missed something and you're actually waiting for me to ask you to risk your life following me into my own personal Void."

"I sort of assumed that you knew that informing me would be taken as a request. Intended or otherwise." Fenris says, sounding amused. So much for his want to run. He'd considered it, really, he had. He'd considered not coming down here anymore. He'd thought too hard about what this mysterious feeling in his chest was, and it terrified him. Half of him had been coming down here to address that in the first place. And yet, here he was. Posed with the prospect of Anders going off into the Deep Roads, and Fenris not being there, he couldn't bear the thought. Who had he turned into?

"I'm not going to lie to you, Fen." Anders' answer is soft but wry. "Giving you an honest answer is different from asking you to put yourself in harm's way. But…" And this is not an easy admission, though it will surprise exactly no one. "I don't think I could stay behind if the positions were reversed." Which, with the amount he cannot stand the Roads, means something. "If you can out-argue Adie we'll go with your 'keep each other safe' plan."

"There are very few people who have proven to be more stubborn than I am." Fenris says, obviously not knowing Adeline Vael all that well at all. The last of the light from his marks fades then, calmed by his satisfaction at this agreement. He looks up at the mage for a few moments before his gaze wanders once more to the armor. His hand leaves his lover's hair, passing over his shoulder to settle upon his chest. "You do wear it well, though."

"You've never tried to out-stubborn Adie." But it's more like 'fair warning' than doubt. "Still," he continues, reaching up to brush at white fringe settled over a dark brow. "If there's anyone bull-headed enough to do it, it would be you." Yep, that would be pride in his voice. Not because he isn't still sort of hoping Adie will win - the fear of losing Fenris to the taint is a real and valid one - but because he does have faith in Fenris' unique ability to surprise everyone. It's a feeling that changes a little when his lover's hand rests on his chest, but not by much. He's just a vain creature preening under much-desired attention. "Thank you. I'm very glad you think so."

"Is it as much trouble to get off as it is to get on?" Fenris asks with another small smirk, gauntlet making quiet clicks against the brigandine studs of Anders' armor. His gaze lingers on that armored form for another long moment, before his eyes lift slowly to meet Anders'. He purrs then, low and darker than the amused, pleased ones that come along with kisses and playfulness.

The weight of that gaze is like a physical thing, it spikes his pulse and makes his breathing speed and go shallow. But it's the way that gaze lifts to meet his own - the purr which is more darkness than play - that makes him swallow convulsively around a suddenly dry throat. "No, it's -" Anders loses his train of thought for a moment and licks his lips. "It's supposed to go on and off without… much time or more than one person required." Which was where a lot of armor fell down. Assembly.

"Oh?" Fenris asks, very idly. He's not looking for an answer as he holds the mage's gaze, his hand continuing the slow progression downward. Click, clack, click, metal on metal, auditory markers for inches traveled. His hand finds the belt he helped adjust earlier and he unbuckles it, pulling it free from his lover's hips with a casual confidence that comes with another of those dark purrs.

"Oh," Anders replies - the answer Fenris wasn't looking for. Swallowing again at the sound of metal against metal - at the sensation of having his belt whipped from him - Anders finds that he cannot look away from the dark eyes that bore into him, so. Which is why he lifts the insides of his forearms one at a time to his mouth where he can pull loose the knots holding his bracers… with his teeth.

The belt discarded on the floor, Fenris turns his attention to other closures. Starting from the top, working down, knowing full well the rules of removing armor from someone if you aren't trying to choke them on the weight of their own breastplate. Not there is all that much metal, but it's still likely not a terribly light thing in the grand scheme. He's not gentle about it, though. Leather is pulled tight, buckles opened with a ferocity that might be called feral if it weren't for the precisely measured fire in those green eyes. It's calculated, if fierce.

Fenris' lack of gentleness isn't a deterrent for Anders - in fact, it lights a fire behind golden eyes, bringing more sunshine than honey as the color thins to rings around heated black. He's familiar enough with his own kit to know when he can shrug out of it. But he leans in first, nosing up under Fenris' jaw and pressing sucking, nipping kisses against his throat.

The kisses to his neck get rid of that composure Fenris had been clinging to. He growls, but in a pleased, heated way that rumbles his chest and brings a fire to his movements. If this weren't armor, it would likely be tearing. Luckily, however, it is rather sturdier than that. Fenris pushes Anders just enough to get him to step backward so he can push away from the wall, pulling at the mage's armor, removing it quickly now, discarding piece by piece as it comes loose just as he did the belt. His own gauntlets come off somewhere in the mix, then his breastplate that clatters loudly to the floor.

Fenris' feral growling never fails to send heat spiraling downward into the pit of Anders' stomach - into the very cradle of his hips. He's only got a thin linen shirt under his armor and that does end up ripped before it hits the floor, but Anders is beyond caring. The moment Fenris' breastplate is free, Anders steps forward as far as he needs to in order to get both hands on all that bare skin - touching everywhere he can reach like he's been starved of it for months and not days. He even dips his head to suck at one of the sensitive places where his lover's neck meets his shoulder.

Free of clothing between their skin, Fenris purrs again. He shudders as Anders' mouth is upon his skin, and the lyrium in his skin alights under his touch. He's impassioned enough to lose all track of it this time. His arm wraps around his lover's waist, pulling him close, so they're skin to skin. Even the touch of Anders' lips is enough to elicit a low, primal moan from Fenris this evening, and his fingers grip Anders' hip roughly, digging in.

That low moan sets sparks off at the base of Anders' spine and his whole body shivers with the sound. The pain of the fingers digging into his hip makes him suck in a sharp breath and arch into the sensation; the flavor of skin and the zip of lyrium under his tongue draw a low, plaintive moan from his throat. Still sliding his palms over warm skin, Anders - with only trousers and boots left of his earlier ensemble - crowds Fenris back against the wall once more and starts the slow descent of his mouth down his lover's gloriously naked torso.

At first, it appears Fenris is not inclined to give that ground back. He hesitates, but the push of Anders' body and the beginning of the trail of kisses downward encourages Fenris to relent. His back once again to the wall, the elf shudders, and the purring returns. It's a constant sound then, just a low rumble that comes with his breath. His other hand laces into Anders' hair then, working loose the tie so he can hold more properly. Back to the wall or no, that primal passion hasn't waned.

It's an angle Anders would think of if he was thinking properly and not simply considering the logistics of what he wants right now. At this particular moment, he wants Fen's cock in his mouth and a wall at his lover's back will help provide support when he figures out just the perfect way to make his legs go to jelly. On his knees now, Anders trails hot, open-mouthed kisses along the skin just under Fenris' navel. The proper hold in his hair pulls a shivery whimper from his throat and his eyes flutter closed for a moment before lifting to meet Fen's gaze - nimble fingers already going to work on the ties of tight black pants.

Honestly, now that he's against the wall, Fenris really doesn't care. Now, especially, he really does not care. There are better things to think about than the precision of dominance in this scenario. Fenris gasps quietly as the kisses continue downward, and he shudders as Anders pulls as the lacing of his pants. They're tight things, but well made enough that they come off easily once the lacing has been undone. The grip on Anders' hair tightens, and Fenris looks down at his lover, gaze full of fire, though he smirks. There's a confidence there that smolders as much as his desire does, a boldness born of ferocity and a comfort that he not known before this point in his life.

Anders is unquestionably pushy at times - he's absolutely a bit of a brat underneath all of his baggage (or at least he very much used to be) - but he doesn't seek control. On the contrary, right here, right now, on his knees with hands in his hair and mouth so close to its goal that his breath is hot against newly-exposed skin, he is very vividly pursuing a loss of control. Nuzzling his cheek along the shaft, he sucks skin just above the root, worrying it between his teeth just enough to leave a miniature bruise. Then he's pulling back as far as the grip in his hair will allow, licking his lips and watching his lover's face from beneath soft blonde lashes as he pushes just the head of his cock between tense wet lips.

Oh. Sweet. Maker. Fenris moans, tilting his head back and looking up at the ceiling. And for awhile he keeps his composure, what scrap of it he has left. His lips part, mouth slack as his breath hitches and he shivers, pleasure running up his spine. Eyes rolling back, Fenris makes use of that grip on Anders' hair as the last of his self control is shredded and discarded much like Anders' shirt had been. Thrusting against Anders, he pulls at his hair, burying himself as deep into his lover's throat as he can manage without Anders flailing to pushing away from him. A deep, satisfied moan wracks his body with tremors of pleasure, and Fenris looks down at his lover again, his hand in his hair shifting forward to rub his thumb gently against his lover's temple.

Yes… The sensation of Fenris losing the last of his restraint is enough to make every muscle in Anders' stomach and lower back seize tight and then ripple loose with base and primal pleasure. He can take a lot - he wants this - and does manage to only choke a little there toward the peak of the thrust. It makes his eyes water and he has to swallow a few times around the tip of Fenris' cock, but even if the rough and stuttering moan resonating up his throat isn't enough evidence of his complicity, those over-bright eyes are hazy with pleasure and dark desire when they find focus on Fen's face. But even that lasts only a moment, the gentle touch of thumb to temple such a contrast to the brutal thrust in a dichotomy of sensation that feels about as close to perfection as Anders thinks he's ever known.

The wall very well was a good idea now, in hindsight. Because that moan from Anders, this acceptance of his fierceness, this relishing in it, it turns his knees into sand. He places his weight backward, bearing it on his shoulders as best he can manage. A string of words spill forth from Fenris' lips, but they are breathless and slurred through moans, and entirely in Tevene. Inevitably, surely, some sort of lover's encouragement, from the tone in which it is given. But this has completely reset Fenris' mind, and he doesn't think twice about switching into his mother tongue. But so successful was the last thrust into his lover's mouth that he does not stop with the one. His thumb continues that gentle touch to his temple, but his other fingers hold Anders' head still as Fenris sets a pace that is fierce and quick. Something of the lesson that Anders is not a delicate mageflower has settled in, at least.

Those words are a language he recognizes but this particular string is… he can't get enough grasp on the root words to even come up with context clues - except for the one enormous context clue that is his lover fucking his mouth. Everything about this is beautiful and Anders is beginning to feel a little like he is high. Breath only comes in little sucking gasps when he can get it and the slight oxygen deprivation makes all of the sensation bleed and swim together. He is never quite passive, licking and slurping at every opportunity he finds, but he submits to Fenris' hold on him while his own hips jerk - rutting up into empty air as Fen's pace pulls up choked moans and needy whimpers to spill out over spit-slicked lips and chin and jaw.

That string of lover's encouragement continues. Breathless, gasping, even if it weren't in Tevene, it would likely be wholly unintelligible by this point. The fire of pleasure radiating from his hips has turned him into a complete mess, all sense of gentleness shredded, all dignity forgotten on the floor paces ahead of them, left there with his armor. He doesn't care at all that this is not measured or kind or even pretty. It's just… Good. Good in a way that makes his back arch against the wall, and the hand that is not in Anders' hair reach for purchase against the wall that he will not find, nails simply scraping against stone. The grip on Anders' hair tightens again, and Fenris shudders, pressing into his lover's throat, moaning his name. While the tension in his muscle would be something of a warning, when Fenris reaches his orgasm, it is a sudden, almost violent thing, sending tremors through his body and pulling a cry from his lips that is ragged but satisfying, it leaves him breathless, panting, as he pulls Anders' head back by his hair, letting the other man breathe again.

It doesn't need to be measured. It doesn't need to be kind. It doesn't need to be pretty. It is good in a way that resonates down into Anders' bones. He arches into his wild lover and has only a moment to try and swallow everything he's given. He's only… partially successful. So by the time Fenris hauls him back by his hair, Anders is entirely a mess, collapsing with his head against his lover's thigh and a blissed out expression on his face. This breathing thing is going to take a minute.

Maybe he doesn't actually want him to breathe. Because in the next moment, Fenris is kneeling as well, pulling Anders down to the ground by his hair. His other hand reaches down to the closure of Anders' pants, working quickly, with that same roughness that has been present through all of this. Freeing his lover of restrictive fabric, his hand wraps around Anders' length as he takes his lips in his in a fierce, sharp kiss. It is territorial, claiming his lover's mouth for his own, purring at the taste of himself upon Anders' lips.

Anders does not resist, sprawling back onto the floor with a rough intake of some kind of air. He's determined to stay conscious for this, after all. There are varying levels and types of pain mixing and blending with various types and levels of pleasure and Anders can't quite seem to get his head above water. He yields to Fenris' kiss at first, lips red and swollen, but it is no more than the first lungful of air he gets before he is surging up into the claiming mouth. It's not a fight, he has no challenge to that claim, but he is wild in his own way and not one to be still for long. By the time Fen takes him in hand he is painfully hard and leaking copious fluid, jerking into that grip and keening out broken, desperate, feral desire.

Slicking his palm against Anders' own lubrication, Fenris pulls long, fast movements along his lover's length, his hand turning near the head to run his thumb flat over the tip of his cock, precise and practiced. Over and over again this happens, with that same fierceness, but this time desiring something else entirely. This time demanding his lover's pleasure as though it is his to take. Leaning down, Fenris bites and Anders' neck, hard enough to bruise, right upon the place where his pulse rises, so he feels his heart against his tongue.

Anders is helpless in Fenris' hands, pleasure being demanded of his body in extremis. His mind is hazy and overwhelmed by sensation, his body arced up off the floor with building, mounting tension. This is beyond his experience - beyond what he knows - and yet he does not feel distress. He feels only need and then - when the jolt of white-hot-sharp-take-claim of Fenris' bite shoots straight to his spine - he feels as though he may actually be dying. His release is a full-body affair and leaves his chest and stomach (and his lover's hand) as much a mess as his face. And he is a mess - a limp, gasping blissed out mess.

Fenris purrs approval against his lover's skin. Shifting downward, Fenris doesn't wait for the shaking to end before his tongue is lapping up his lover's seed from stomach and chest, and then his own hand, delicate and precise as a cat grooming. He looks up at Anders as he does so, watching the warm, gasping pleasure in its breaking, and smirking.

That purred approval makes Anders shiver. He isn't in any position to watch the perfect picture of sin that his lover makes licking away his mess (which is a shame) but his still-shaking hand seeks Fen's, lacing fingers if he can and keeping that hold as long as he might possibly be allowed. His eyes are closed yet, but there is a sweet, tender smile that just will not release its hold on his mouth. He has no words. Anders does not often lack for words in any situation, but they have fled him now. How could he possibly describe the kinds of sore satiation and raw, vivid affection that ebb and flow inside loose limbs and pounding heart. He can't. And so perhaps by some miracle, he is smart enough not to try.

There is no move to stop Anders from from taking his hand. In fact, Fenris takes that hold happily, lacing his fingers with Anders' and taking a deep breath. Shifting again so he is over the mage, Fenris slips his arm under his lover's neck, offering him his forearm as a sort of stand in pillow and he leans to press his forehead to Anders'. He smiles faintly, closing his eyes and catching his breath and just feeling the beat of his heart.

Anders is entirely unresistant, breathing out near-silent thanks as his head is cradled on that arm. The press of brow to brow is met with enough of a tilt to gently brush nose along nose. His eyes flutter open and the sight of that smile… it sets the ache in his chest (ever-present, these days) on a sharp and piercing point.

"You," he breathes, smiling like an absolute fool. "You are wonderful, did you know?"

At that, Fenris laughs. His eyes open again, sage meeting honey. "And you are babbling passion-fueled nonsense." He says, though he sounds amused enough by it. Color rises to his ears, then, but he does not look away. Not that he believes what Anders has just said, mind. Sure, he believes Anders means it well enough, especially at this moment, but Fenris has never had someone call him wonderful before and he's certainly never ascribed the descriptor to himself.

"I'm full of nonsense. Just ask anyone." Anders' smile goes soft and crooked, naked and blatant affection in the way he looks up into his lover's eyes. "I'll wait half an hour and tell you again, then, and then years from now when the world finally realizes the truth, they'll say 'that crazy mage wasn't just babbling nonsense after all. Turns out he was a little lost prodigy ahead of his time'." He huffs out a breath at his own silliness. "Maybe they'll be more cautious about praising a mage lest it go posthumously to my head. 'At least about that wonderful elf he always ran around with and not about anything else that might be wrong with our fucked up society. Heavens, no'."

More laughter. "You are ridiculous." Fenris says, but the tone he says it in says that those three words are stand ins for another three that his heart is screaming and his mind refuses to hear. Staunchly. Turning his head, he presses a kiss to his lover's cheek, amused, warm, comfortable.

Anders' laugh trails off easily into a contented hum. "I am," he agrees, "but we all have our burdens to bear in life." And here his tone goes dangerously, vulnerably soft - to match the way he turns to nuzzle against Fenris' jaw. "Yours just happens to be a ridiculous healer."

"Have we decided that you are my burden now?" Fenris says, raising a brow but not actually looking for an answer. If anything, he sounds amused. Purring, he returns the nuzzle, burying his face in his lover's neck.

The quip that comes immediately to mind brings with it a sunny smile stretched across Anders' mouth and the raising of weak arms to wrap around his elf in a slow, indulgent embrace. "You keep picking me up and carrying me around and putting me where you like." The amount of affection in his voice is ridiculous - especially given the lack of acknowledgement of its existence. "I'd say that's pretty burden-like, wouldn't you?"

Unlacing his hand from Anders', Fenris laughs. Adjusting himself and hastily refastening the closure of his pants, he turns, slips his arm under Anders' knees and moves to stand, picking him up, yet again. Because, really, staying here on the ground isn't comfortable.

"Not really proving me wrong, here," Anders says as he is lifted - adjusting himself back as best he can one-handed while being carried like a princess in a children's tale. And since he's embracing the role of the ridiculous, perhaps there is just one more truth he can sneak under the wire without giving offense. "I really like your laugh." Hey, at least he's nicer to look at than a sack of potatoes. Babbles more than potatoes too, but he makes up for it in other ways. "It feels good."

"Who said I was trying to?" Fenris says with a smirk, continuing to carry Anders back toward the nest of blankets in the back corner. Setting him down, a blush rises to edges of his ears again. From other people, that would be a strange comment. His laugh feels good? But Fenris understands, he knows full well the bright fluctuations in the hum between their skin that come when Anders laughs himself, or the way it turns warm and soft when he is content, or the sharp, driving fire when he is impassioned… He knows. None the less, he has nothing to say to that, and there's… Something else… Something he isn't obvious about, though it makes him look down and away.

Anders is ridiculous, but his life has made reading the people around him a kind of survival skill. And Fenris isn't just one of the people around him anymore. He's sort of become his person without Anders ever having made that conscious decision. So when Fenris looks down, looks away, the ache in Anders' chest takes a worrying twist. He reaches for hm - to lay his hand on any bare skin he can reach - but he doesn't pull. Just touch. Just a nonverbal I'm here. "Fen?"

There is a good amount of bare skin, and it is found easily. But that touch makes Fenris close his eyes. His mouth goes dry, his heart pounds, and there's something that he's realized that's twisting inside of his mind and he can't shake it. Swallowing hard, he tries to take a deep breath, but it shakes, and he can't stop the growl that follows. It comes unbidden, he's barely conscious of it. Pushing himself up to stand, Fenris turns his back to Anders and shakes his head.

The distress is obvious and Anders lets his hand fall when Fenris steps back. He moves both hands into his lap then, watching his lover's form while slight with memory. "Okay, Fen," he says simply. Whatever this really is, there is enough of fear involved to keep him seated and patient. "Okay."

Sometimes, with problems like the sort Fenris has to contend with, phantoms get pulled up from nothing. Or from scraps of reality thrown together in an amalgamation that in the light of day looks nothing like his fears but in the darkness… In the quiet moments… In the shadows, they twist and frighten and grip at his heart. And part of him wants to turn around and return to Anders, return to the warmth of his arms, to the delicious hum of their skin, to the comfort, to the rest… But he can't. That is the problem, that is where the fear lies and it's sick and wrong that this is what his mind has chosen to turn inside out but he can't bear it. Continuing to shake his head, he begins to walk away, having no words to express the shadows his fear is throwing across his mind.

And this is the crux of the matter entirely. To say Anders is a healer is not to imply that his chosen profession imbues any mystical kind of need or desire in him - but rather that he is a healer because those kinds of needs exist in him already. To see someone he… he so cares for in such obvious (to him) distress is physically painful. To see it in the wake of such joy - such bliss - is heartbreaking. But healing is the primary work where someone else's needs and desires matter more than your own. It's why Spirit Healers are so rare, Wynne always said. Not because of some required magical talent but because they must at their core be able to -

Oh Maker…

And so, faced with the hardest lesson his teacher had warned him would someday come, Anders pulls his knees to his chest and wraps his arms around them… and lets Fenris walk away unmolested.

Because there are needs he chooses to place above his own.

"I just…" Fenris begins to offer some sort of explanation, some sort of something, but it dies in his throat. Notably, however, as Fenris walks away, he does not grab his armor or his blade. He just needs to be away. Just a few feet. To know he can. To know that there's nothing tying him down, nothing insidiously worked into his heart to convince him that this is where he belongs. But that sense of belonging, that ability to rest in Anders' arms, it all of a sudden makes his skin crawl. It was different, yes, so much different than Danarius and yet, was it? Was it really? Though he hated to think on it over long, Fenris could remember when… Growling, he pushes open the door to the Clinic and steps out into the night, arming himself only in darkness and in guarding his back with the wall of the Clinic, waiting for these phantoms to pass.

Anders' own personal demons give him a unique understanding of those that haunt his lover; they also mean that moments like this (and not even he is foolish enough to think there will not be more) terrify him almost beyond sense. He does not have a good history with being left behind and the only thing that saves him from embarrassing himself in this exact moment is the knowledge that Fen would not go anywhere without sword and armor. So he reminds himself of this and forces his breathing to come back down to something reasonable. (Regardless of what he rationally knows, hearing Fen walk out the front door is almost enough to induce a full panic all on its own.) Keeping busy helps. So he pushes himself to his feet and finally finishes fixing his pants and scrubs cold water over his face and neck and reaches down into one of his own shelves for a bottle of amber liquid and two chipped heavy glass tumblers. He needs a shot of whiskey (or two or three or four) and he would bet that Fenris will want one, too.

Perhaps leaving the armor behind was in part to not allow himself to run away. But it's a good long while that Fenris stays out in the dark, just trying to breathe. Which, in Darktown, isn't always the easiest thing in the first place. But once his panic settles, the anger shows up, and Fenris is just a mess. A mess. By the time that he finally makes his way back into the Clinic, it's all he can do to put his back to the far wall of the back room and slide down to the ground, elbows braced upon his bent knees. The smell of whiskey registers, but as though through a very thick dream.

Anders is patient. A tumbler full of whiskey helps in that regard, but he is patient. When Fenris finally returns he is sitting cross-legged on top of the examination table again, waiting. He follows behind the elf at a distance that respects the tension wound tight in his body language and pauses only long enough to set the second heavy glass of poured alcohol on the floor beside him before retreating to sit knees to chest in his nest on the other side of the back room.

It's the sound of the place being placed down that shakes Fenris from his thoughts enough to react. Looking down, his brow knits, and he considers the liquor for a long moment. Eventually, however, he reaches for it, drinking deep and hissing for the bite of it, though not in a way that is unappreciative. There's a tremble in his shoulder, from… Something. Pain of any variety, a rage he can't shake, at so many things. His hand rakes through his hair, and before he can crumple he just drinks again. But there's something soothing about this, though it is not pleasant, and it is not good. The lack of questioning, the silent acceptance that sometimes this was just… how it had to be, the complete absence of expectation, Fenris could take some solace in that. No matter how his mind tried to twist it, it could not equate that to Danarius.

Anders wraps both arms around his bent legs in an almost childish gesture of self-comfort, chin resting in the groove between his knees. He is silent a while longer, listening to the soft sounds of alcohol medication and studying the tremor in his lover's shoulder. It's only the latest in a series of observations on Fenris' body and how it responds to pain. This is one he's pretty sure he can relieve with the right pressure against the right muscles, but they're not there yet.

Boy, is it ever a good thing both of them have learned to function on very little sleep.

"Have you ever heard the story of Flemeth?"

Oh, that was the right choice. That was the correct answer. Really, it was. There's a flicker of a smile, though Fenris pauses before answering to drink again. When the answer comes, though, it is provided only in a shake of his head. Which, isn't a wholly accurate answer, but the version he has heard he doesn't trust. And, frankly, he would listen to Anders tell a story he already knew. That offer laced in a question makes his heart swell and ache, and for a moment Fenris wants nothing more to just crawl the distance across the room, curling up beside Anders and laying his head in his lover's lap. In fact, he even gets far into that plan, that want, to set his glass down with a small clink. But that is the insidiousness of this particular problem. That was the right answer. That was what soothed his heart. That was what made Fenris want to cross the room, to be close, to return sharply to Anders' arms and suddenly it turns in on itself and it hurts. It hurts physically in a way that makes him turn his face away, shifting and taking up the glass again.

Anders looks small and unassuming, folded down into this compact shape, but he is watchful - oh is he watchful - and the play of emotions across that beloved face makes him hurt. He's always had more empathy than was good for him. He reaches for the bottle then, making sure the cork is tight before leaning forward and setting it horizontal on the flat surface of the floor. It's rolled gently in his lover's direction, a silent offer concurrent with the beginning of his story. It's not a happy legend, Flemeth's, but it makes for a good story and really, right now, that's all he needs it to be.

At the very least, Fenris has the courtesy to use the glass provided him. The elf does not have the courtesy, however, to be anything resembling temperate with how much of this liquor he's going to drink. Must be time for second dinner. This one has so much more kick than the first. Normally does, on the nights when second dinner proves necessary. Fenris listens, it's obvious he's listening, the subtle perk of his ears giving him away. It helps, even, something to focus on that isn't his demons. The rhythm of Anders' speech. The more familiar warmth of his lover's voice. But the problem is the comfort! And the haziness brought on by whiskey is just enough like numbness. And this wasn't of staying is just enough like… Fenris breaks, torn between his knowledge that he is safe, his want to stay, and the terror in his heart telling him that those very feelings were what he ought to fear. Not that he wanted to be afraid, he didn't want any of this tempest of emotion at all. Curling in on himself, the elf trembles, too overwhelmed to decide what to do with himself, or how to do it.

This breaking, this curling in upon himself, it's more than Anders' tender heart can bear. The urge to cross that divide and gather his love in his arms is almost painful and he knows sometimes Fenris needs space but this… He can't keep the edge of begging from his voice when faced with this. "May I come over there?" he asks - pleads. "Please?"

Oh, if Anders could hear the voices in Fenris' mind right now. The raging argument between the rational, sensible… Infatuated… Fenris and the voices of every single one of his lived experiences. 'He hasn't hurt me,' it would begin, and unbidden a 'yet' would be tacked on that he had no want of. 'If he wanted to, he wouldn't be asking me for permission for something stupid like that,' he reasons, and again appended onto the end, 'unless he is trying to get you to trust.' And from there it spirals. The power of trust, the influence of the sweet intoxication of the lack of pain, of pleasure, of just making the world stop for awhile, in some way. This time, it is not the rational part of his mind that begins. 'Why do you stay?' 'I wish to.' 'Because he has made you.' And try as he might, stubborn as he is, Fenris can only win this fight so long. "No." Fenris answers finally, firm but somehow desperate, apologetic, followed by a choked sound that if Fenris had any more tears to shed in this world (which he really, truly did not) would likely have been a sob.

"Okay," Anders chokes back. "Okay." And he has to lower his arms to let him twist the blankets in his hands. He has to bite his tongue until he tastes blood in his mouth to keep himself from echoing that sob too - because this hurts in a way he doesn't have words to understand let alone describe. But he stays exactly where he is and he does not let himself cry and though his eyes are bright and wet they are also worried, concerned. He is helpless in the face of this and he is out of bright ideas.

"Tell me what to do," he offers in a soft and serious voice. "And I will, I swear it." It is not a lack of willingness, simply a lack of knowledge.

That concession, that respect of denial does a great deal. It eases some of the fear, enough to cut the edge that was making him wholly unable to process any of it. Fenris takes a deep breath, and shakes his head. "There is nothing." Fenris says by way of answer. The swirling, mad emotion in his mind and chest will not rest. He knows this feeling. This is the feeling that says something needs to be broken. This haziness, so near to numbness, needs to end as well. There is only one thing that will do both. Thus, his next movement is sudden and likely entirely unexpected. Fenris twists, his hand balling into a fist as he hits the stone wall behind him with all the force he can manage. The wall, being stone, does not care one bit for the plight of the man raging upon it. Fenris' hand on the other hand, so often guarded by articulated metal, it gives way to the stone, bones snapping and pulling a cry from the elf's lips that is mostly anger, though not at the pain. But it breaks the loop of demons along with his hand, and Fenris gives a somewhat mad smile toward the ground, his hair obscuring his face as he curls around his hand and shakes with the pain of suddenly broken bones.

"Andraste's crispy tits!" Whatever it was Anders had been expecting, it was not that. He watches as Fenris snaps his own bones and his entire body jerks forward. But he wasn't given permission and so he holds himself exactly in his own spot. Once his heart rate comes back a little from that extreme spike he remembers a conversation tangled warm in the Land of Horrid Quilts about pain being key to a grounded reality. He takes a deep and shaking breath, counts backwards from ten and only then does he trust himself to say anything else. "Feel better?" And one corner of his mouth even twitches, because even tense and helpless and upset Anders can see the twisted humor in the last fifteen seconds. He might not like it a lot, but he can't deny it's there.

"No." Fenris says, though he takes a deep, shaking breath that is not unlike the first desperately claimed by one just saved from drowning, "But I can think again, and that is something." No more appended commentary. The haze is present, but made less daunting by the fact that he can definitely feel the shattered bones in his hand. It's mad, it's certainly funny, and it's very, very wrong, this whole situation. Despite his broken bones, Fenris takes up the bottle and glass and he stands, wincing. Moving back beside Anders, he settles down, placing the bottle easily within reach of either of them and leaning to place his head upon the mage's shoulder.

After the last five minutes, Anders desperately wants a drink. He does not care one whit about glasses or politeness or any of it. No, he's going to pull that cork and drink straight from the bottle. It burns and it makes him cough as his forearm brushes over his lips, but it does help. Fenris' body against his side helps even more and the weight of that head upon his shoulder is so much of a relief that this time he does cry, though these are silent tears that come secondary to the kiss he presses to soft white hair. He knows better than to ask about right now, but he can't help inquiring in a future tense. "Will you let me heal that before you leave?"

There have got to be healthier ways of dealing with this problem. Surely. Fenris has yet to find them. None the less, it worked, at least for now. Taking a steadier, deeper breath at the kiss to his hair, Fenris closes his eyes. "Yes." He answers simply. Not now, obviously, but he would let Anders heal it later. Likely, even, without a fuss about it. Probably. A quiet moment hangs there before Fenris speaks again. "If you have questions," He says, "Just ask them. There is no good time, and this is as effective as anything else."

Anders is quiet in the wake of that offer. He has his own thoughts to sort through and it honestly takes him a moment to organize even a rough timeline of events from the past half an hour, so much as he was simply reacting. When he finally does speak, it is not much and it is not entirely steady, but he is warm and solid against Fenris' side. "What caused… that?" Or, in other words. "Is there anything I should avoid doing again?"

Fenris doesn't push, he waits, not even sure if Anders is going to ask, or what he might ask. The least he could do was return some that poorly repaid patience Anders has shown him. Taking another breath, he continues to lean against Anders, and does not open his eyes before answering. "It… Requires some context to explain." Fenris says, swallowing hard, "It was not your fault. I…" How do you even begin to explain what in the Void that was? "You are comfortable, safe, and warm and you…" He sighs, "You don't hurt. I can rest here. That was not… There is only one other way I have ever known rest."
That is enough context that - combined with the other things he knows about his lover's past - Anders is pretty sure he knows where this is going. Already nausea twists in his stomach, which is not great when it has only whiskey on it. "And you - that putrid son of a - " He stops, takes another long breath through his nose, still pressed in Fenris' hair. The words that spring up to choke him are foolish and sentimental and would very likely be unwelcome if not actually make things worse, so he swallows hard to sink them and tries again. "I'm guessing that way was not… good."

"That… Is highly dependent upon what you qualify as good." Fenris answers, continuing to answer. It does not seem as though Anders' emotional reaction to this piece of information actually bothers him. His hand, the one that is not broken and being held in his lap as still as possible, comes up to hold onto Anders' upper arm gently. Just another point of contact, of stability, and perhaps his own silent form of reassurance. "Or, rather, what you mean by good, in this context. It was…" The snarl that comes with the next few words is not intentional, but that does not stop it from being present, "Meant as a reward, and an honor."

Yep, that bad feeling about this is just getting worse and worse and worse. Anders can feel his own muscles start to tremble, but it's from reasons so much more… complex than simple pain. "Forgive me if I don't put much faith in Danarius' idea of honor." Maker but he spits that name like its the lowest curse he could possibly come up with. Anders has always been fairly petty with regard to his own slights but when it comes to someone he cares for? He's downright vengeful.

At that, Fenris laughs, though it is a hollow, bitter thing. "That is the very heart of the problem…" Fenris says then, "He was not wrong." And though he believes the words he says, they are like acid on his tongue and Fenris practically recoils from himself, before his anger at the situation allows him to continue speaking, heated and quicker now. "What higher honor could a… Piece of property receive than to be the most… Favored of its Master?"

Anders snarls then, the sound low and vicious in a way he has only recently learned he is very capable of. "He was wrong," he argues, that shaking growing less as it is replaced by outright tension. "In so many ways…" And the fiery arguer is rearing his head now. "First of all, you don't own a person. You can't. You can keep them captive and you can treat them abhorrently. They may not even know they belong to themselves but they do." And as if that's not enough, he inhales a deep, sharp breath for the second prong, enough passion in his quiet voice to call to mind the twelve year old arguing at the top of his lungs with the Templars who told him no, he couldn't go outside today. He belonged to the Chantry and the Maker, that's why. "And even if you could own them - if we pretended for just a moment that was even a little bit valid - what's good for a robe is not good for a horse; what's good for a chair is not good for a hound. There is no possible alteration of reality that could justify the abuse of living things in your care - not a single fucking one."

Fenris sighs then. The anger is soothing in its own way, he knows, for it feeds and matches his own, that ever present bed of coals that is the basis for his own identity. And yet, it is not the point. "You misunderstand." Fenris says, "I do not think he was correct. But he was not wrong." These are two different things. "In the world in which he lives, Danarius was doing as he should, as was his right, as was his…" Fenris tries to tame the snarl, he fails, "Place. And as was mine. To him. To Tevinter."

"Then fuck Tevinter." Classy, Anders. Succinct. Persuasive. "If the entire country is full of people too far up their own asses to understand how intrinsically wrong that is then we're honestly better off without them." At some point he will have to come to visceral terms with the fact that this is the same country to which he had dreamed of fleeing for sanctuary for much of his life. At some point he is absolutely going to have to deal with that and it's not going to be pretty. But for now? Now he can see nothing, think nothing, taste nothing beyond the protection of someone dear to him - of the vengeance for all the harm he'd suffered. "That should - " But then a terrible insidious thought of his own wriggles in, whispering that gratitude or placating would of course make more sense than him being deserving of any genuine affection. He is silent for so long - still as a corpse and unable to even breathe until a sharp and ragged gasp breaks that silence. "You don't -" he stops and swallows, all of the life and fire just gone from his voice. "You know that's not - you don't have to do anything you don't want to, Fen." He tries to steady his voice and has only marginal success. "There isn't a price just to…" Fuck, he can't even finish the whole sentence. "Maker, please tell me this thing between us has nothing to do with honor or a 'price' for rest and comfort or … or anything like that."

Fuck Tevinter, indeed. But what good was fuck Tevinter? No fucking good. Fenris had had to come to terms with how very, incredibly, and inescapably pointless that statement was so very, very long ago. For now, though, he'll let Anders have his rage. Someone ought to. But Fenris himself just stays quiet, settled there against his lover. That tension, though, makes his brow knit. When Anders holds his breath, his eyes open again, looking up at the mage, confused until he begins to speak. Fenris sighs. "I know." He says, "Anders, I know. I have not done any of this thinking that you are asking any price. It is not…" Fenris shakes his head, "The short, and important, answer is no. No it is has had nothing to do with that…"

That short and important answer is a balm on raw fear, but it takes Anders a moment more to settle. He sighs and turns to nuzzle against Fenris' temple, willing his own demons to please, please just go back into their own boxes for tonight. He could deal with all of that tomorrow, but tonight there were other issues on the table. "I'm sorry, I did not intend to derail you." The nauseating terror had simply been momentarily overwhelming. "So your experiences with rest and comfort and affection are just as unpleasant as your experiences with the rest of that foul place. And those ghosts never quite leave." It's a soft spoken summation, offered with nothing but quiet warmth and gentle respect. "And sometimes you can ignore them, but sometimes they're overwhelming. Have I got the basic gist?"

"It is a valid follow up after the previous answer." Fenris says, not having much felt as though anything were derailing whatsoever. After all, he is the one who opened the floor to questions. "Yes, and no." Fenris says, "Though the nuance likely matters little. Though it is… At first," Fenris starts over with a small sigh, "At first it was easy. It was pleasant but it… Meant nothing." Clearing his throat, he tries not to let that hang in the air overly long, "It was something to escape into. Now, though, I have this… Want to return to you and it is… Reminiscent and I am unsure how to address it."

Anders huffs out a breath that might have been either a laugh or a sob had more air been allotted. "It's hard to trust yourself, isn't it?" And there's just enough bitterness to it to speak to how evidently he speaks from personal experience. "When you realize what you thought was good was poison and part of you is sick and part of you is furious and the worst part of you almost wishes you could take the knowing back so you could go back to waking up without hating yourself." His demons were supposed to stay down, he'd even said please, but this one is shared and slips through their cracks when they're so close like this. And it chokes Anders until he has to just stop for a minute while he loses his fight with more tears silent on his face. Grief adds another weight and guilt is like a noose around his neck that threatens to drag him under at any opportunity he gives it but at its core this fear he knows. "I wrestle with it every day."

Demons don't give two shits about please. Fenris knows that all too well. They care about getting the blood they demand, in some manner or another. They would have it, they would not be denied, whether they painted with it on the walls or they started a lake beneath the surface. Thus, when Anders shares his own, though its nature is revealed only in the silhouette it throws against the light cast by his very own. It would do, though, it was enough. A mixture of feelings swell in the pit of his heart, but Fenris pushes them down. He's tired of feeling so very much. This is, somehow, easier. His hand leaves Anders' arm, moving to the mage's hair, petting there only to soothe, so chaste and gentle is the touch that it could be thought as nothing else. But he offers no mouthful, just nods. Acknowledges.

That gentle touch is soothing to Anders' soul. He leans into it for a silent moment, turning one hand to rest on his knee in a simple return of touch - of connection. "I don't know how to make it go away," he says after a moment. "I just realized I'm happier with you than without you. My life is better with you than without you. That's enough reason to keep trying." He shrugs the shoulder opposite Fen, physically defensive while verbally vulnerable. "At least for me anyway." And maybe it's not the smartest thing to admit, but it's all he knows and he wants more than anything to help.

Fenris continues that gentle petting to Anders' hair as the mage speaks. Swallowing hard, he shakes his head a little. He doesn't understand, though the words make his chest ache pleasantly - terrifyingly. "Better with…" Fenris echoes part of the statement with no small amount of confusion. "Anders…" He blinks, looking up at him, "I am an escaped slave with a price on my head that could make the Empress of Orlais herself blush. I am… Violent and cruel. I know little beyond how to efficiently and effectively kill, and I-" He stops then, cutting himself off, "If, somehow, I am making your life better… I would be shocked."

"You're funny, you know." It's a light enough beginning. "You're smart. The real kind - the kind you can't teach." Which is rarer than any of the sane residents of Thedas would like to think. "You're honest with me. You don't pretend to be anything. You fought for me when you didn't even know me. Not really. The Qunari could have killed you and you hate mages and you fought for me anyway." And then carried him through Lowtown like Prince fucking Charming. "I like talking with you. I like fighting with you when I'm not scared half to death because I found you in a crumpled heap in the floor of a slaver's cage. You would have been well within your rights to leave me to deal with the whole Karl… mess. But you didn't. You refused to taint the grass for heaven's sake. Fen… I know you think I'm full of nonsense but I wasn't babbling. You are wonderful. You can growl and snarl and snap at me all you like, but I'm not taking it back. You make literally everything better. And that's worth just about anything I could possibly imagine."

It starts out light, and Fenris can't help but laugh a little, shaking his head. But Anders soon shifts to points that are much more serious and Fenris looks away. Though his ears, ever his great foil, give him away with their blushing. "I do not wear shoes, of course I care about the grass…" He says, deflecting with humor. But with statements like this, deflections that flimsy don't work. They only buy him time to swallow hard and close his eyes. "I do not like magic, but no one… Deserves what the Qun demands to be inflicted upon them like that." He says, "Besides, I understand the Arishok, and I understand that if he were given that inch…" He shakes his head, "I do not want to see that Kirkwall." There were a lot of things about the Qun that Fenris actually respected a great deal, but dangerous things demanded a certain sort of attention. It was a strange stalemate, his relationship with the Qunari. But again, he's deflecting, this time with things that are easier, nearer simple fact. Talking about the Qunari wasn't talking about them. Eventually, Fenris just sighs. "I do not understand."

Anders lets him have his deflections. The one about the grass even makes him snort a breathless laugh, though he cannot help but roll his eyes a little. Still. He does not interrupt and does not argue - says nothing at all until Fenris gets back around to the original point at hand. "I know," he answers softly. "Honestly I think most of us are pretty confused, deep down, about why the people who like us put up with us - what they could possibly see in us that makes them stick around and come back. Just that nobody wants to man up and admit it." Fenris' temple gets another gentle press of lips and then Anders leans his head against his lover's. "So you're not alone on that one, I promise." His mouth curves a little. "Or maybe it's just you and me who're lost. In which case, I'm sorry in advance, cause I'll be precious little help in sorting it out."

Somehow, Fenris is able to buy that. Maybe Anders is right, maybe Fenris just wants him to be, maybe he just doesn't have the energy to disagree with the idea. None the less, the tension that slips away from his shoulders at he kiss to his temple is noticeable. As is the wince that immediately follows. For a moment, it looks like he's going to say something, but he thinks better - or, maybe not - of it and lets it die before forming. "Did you have other questions?" He asks then, wanting to just get them out of the way if they exist.

Anders is relieved by that loss of tension, but the way Fenris starts to say more and stops makes him frown. And maybe he would have left well enough alone but… well, being asked for further questions makes it impossible to sit on. "That," he begins, quiet and without accusation. "You did that earlier too - just before everything went pear-shaped. What is it that's eating at you?"

Alright, he should have seen that coming. And yet. "They are two different things." He says, "Earlier, I wanted to tell you that it was not you that caused… That I was not leaving. But I could not bring myself to linger any longer." He sighs, moving on to the point that is harder, "Just now I - Was going to ask something of you but I cannot bring myself to do that either."

Anders nods against Fenris' head, silent affirmation that he's heard. He's understood. "Ask me?" he ventures quietly, his voice a little bit awkward but entirely earnest. "Please?" He shifts just a little turning more into the body at his side without jarring the broken hand or dislodging the head from his shoulder. "If I can do it, I will."

Ought not be surprised, Fenris, that he healer wants to heal. As Anders shifts, Fenris moves as well, to curl against his lover more fully. For a moment he just takes solace in the arcing hum shared between their skin, this thing that has come to feel like home. What he is most surprised by in this moment, however, is the fact that he has managed to stay. When the pounding fear had felt deafening, he had only go so far as just outside. When it broke and grew unbearable, he had come back inside. And though he had done so, now that his heart was calming, he felt nothing keeping him. Just a want. And somehow, now, against Anders' skin, something settles into place and the last of his panic eases. His unbroken hand reaches for his lover's, because though his panic has ceased, he can't bring himself to do this. Not with words. So instead, he asks in a different way, placing his wounded hand with a wince into Anders' palm.

Anders wraps around his lover when his movements are matched, one arm going around his shoulders. Having his question answered without words does just as well as any other way. Anders smiles into white hair and follows the arcing hum first with the envelope of his aura to ease the pain and then with fizzing restorative magic to slowly and painstakingly knit the delicate bones and tendons back where they are supposed to be. And if a few little tendrils of warmth and affection and something stronger and yet more fragile slip in there at the end, well… he doesn't seem to be at all aware of them.

Those tendrils of shy, offered emotion are practically Anders' signature to Fenris. They're present each time, though the elf has started to wonder if Anders realizes them or not. None the less, they are soothing, and this time he does notice that other… Something. It matches the feeling that has been lingering in his chest recently, and it makes him blink. But, honestly, the relief of his hand no longer being broken in, honestly, he hadn't bothered to count, a number of places is distracting. Taking a deep breath, he relaxes into Anders' hold, purring quietly. "Thank you."

"My pleasure." Anders turns his head and lifts the mended hand to his lips before settling it into Fenris' lap and reaching both arms around bare torso to pull him practically into Anders' cross-legged lap where he can hold a little tighter and nuzzle into neck and shoulders. "Always."

Fenris does not fight that pull, and ends up quite soundly in Anders' lap, burying his face into the crook of his lover's neck. For a long moment, he sits there quiet, just being, listening to the sound of Anders' heart, how through their connection and their slowing breath, it comes to match the pace of his own. Danarius may have offered him rest once before, but he had never offered him this, this sweet, heady bliss and the warmth of true affection. It had all been loyalty, dedication, duty… Yes, a sick sense of pride and gratification carefully trained into the mix, but when he was not blinded by panic he could see that comparing the two was like trying to hold a dying candle to the height of the summer sun and it was practically laughable. And then for some reason he really cannot discern, Fenris is speaking again, words spilling forth before he can think on them. "I apologize," He says, though not in the same tone that he has offered apology before, "That my mind ever deems fit to draw likeness between you and him. Danarius is not capable of the kind of beauty that you bring about by merely breathing, and it is an injustice that my mind ever tries to convince me otherwise."

"Blood mages cannot use Panacaea," Anders murmurs, taking the too literal interpretation for just a moment. "They're too tainted for it." It buys him time to let the impact of his lover's actual words sink deep into the narrow of his bones. The arms around Fenris squeeze tighter for a moment, a hug within a longer embrace, his face gone hot and pink with a flush already working its way down his neck and chest. Kindnesses like this are not often directed at him so openly. "I don't blame you," he finally offers quietly. "I blame him." And for the first time tonight Anders addresses the topic of Danarius without immediate rage or violence. He's too happy - genuinely happy - and hopeful right here, just like this. Not even the specter that looms over his lover can ruin this. Not right now. "And one day he will make a mistake. He will show himself and we will face him down, you and I. You'll be able to know that he's dead - at your own hand - and then, perhaps, you'll be able to know peace."

At first, there is the instinct to correct Anders on his literal interpretation. Fenris, however, something of an old friend with this method of deflection, swiftly sees it for what it is and stays quiet. There is a blush rising to his own face, not normally the terribly affectionate sort and yet sitting here offering compliments. The whiskey assuredly has something to do with it. He nods, then, after taking a moment to consider Anders' words. "I have never imagined anyone else being there." He says, and feels a little as though he has said this before, "It is still odd to think that is possible that will be how it happens."

Anders would argue the 'not normally the terribly affectionate sort' label - vehemently, in fact. Anders is also crazy. "I know," he says softly. "I remember." It's not the exact same conversation they'd had after the warehouses but the topic is similar enough. And, frankly, Anders is just happy there aren't any arguments about his involving himself. For the moment, anyway. "But I'm not leaving you to face that alone." He tilts his head to rub his cheek gently against Fenris' hair. "Not a chance."

Though the thought of Anders being there is strangely soothing, and he does not really want to do this thing, whenever that day comes, alone, he can't help not being able to really imagine it. The image just will not come to his mind, blocked so fiercely by the carefully crafted scenarios that over his years of running Fenris has detailed in his mind's eye to such extent that they are practically works of art all of their own accord. "I can still remember the first time I thought of killing him." Fenris says then, very suddenly, so abruptly, in fact, that he does realize quite what he has just said for a moment. Though it is true. It is odd what memories stay with you, especially when the amount of memory you needed to have was significantly cut down.

Anders shifts the way his arms wrap around his lover, one taking more of the hold and the other moving to stroke in circles over his back and sides. He doesn't interrupt - either to dissuade or encourage. He will always listen and genuinely does find himself wanting to know about Fenris' life and thoughts and wishes, but he won't take anything the elf doesn't want to give. That would just be… no.

"I had…" Fenris continues, though still it seems the words are coming before he really thinks about them, "Disobeyed him in front of guests. He was… Wroth." Why in the world was he telling this story? He can't really identify the reason, but it's jumping his lips and he can't seem to stop its want to do so. "The markings on my skin, they are durable, but they are precise." The explanation given from a mouth going dry at this memory. Why was he handing Anders this piece of information? This guarded secret that he kept, that kept him safe in the knowledge that no one else knew to try it… And yet, here he was, choosing trust. Again. Because Anders was not Danarius. He would never be, could never be, and Fenris wanted - No, he needed - To believe that. He needed it proven true. "If you find a blade sturdy and sharp enough, you can place a shunt in the line, and they will fail to function. It is -" He stops then, taking a deep breath, closing his eyes again, focusing on the slow circles of Anders' hand. Need it be explained how inevitably excruciating such a process would be? "The thought came to me first then, before eventually his tactics worked."

"Fen…" Anders breathes his name on a sharp, pained exhale. For a moment, his arms tighten, his shoulders round forward - everything in him curls instinctively around Fenris like somehow he could shield him from this. He can't, of course, memories are terribly insidious that way, but he aches for his lover's suffering. "That's the scar on the back of your thigh," he murmurs, hand resuming its circles over warm skin. "The one that startled you so." He should have been more careful. Or at least paid more attention to the particulars of the skin under his hands. "I'm sorry." Because he never wanted to cause pain. But also because - well, because someone should be. "I can't say I blame you one bit," he tells him gently. "That is unconscionable abuse."

"Yes." Fenris says, strangely not horribly unsettled by the telling of this story. Perhaps because it had practically told itself. As Anders curls around, Fenris actually does relax. Despite the terrible tale he's just laid at Anders' feet, he's successfully comfortable with this support. "You do not have need to apologize." He says, and seems to mean it. Shrugging, Fenris sighs some. "Perhaps it is. I think it is certainly worth his death. But there are plenty who would think otherwise."

"Then those people are idiots." Anders' answer comes too quickly to be anything measured or considered. He leans back just enough to press a kiss to white hair before tucking his lover's head properly under his chin. "I may not need to," he acknowledges, quiet but firm. "But what happened to you is horrifying beyond words and I am sorry for it because - " He takes a deep breath and exhales it slowly. "Too often the world takes no notice of the horrors going on under its very nose. Someone should be sorry. Someone should recognize that you were terribly wronged. Not everyone, but someone should know you've suffered and are suffering and will continue to suffer and be sorry for it." Because sometimes invisible, unacknowledged suffering weighs down on a soul until it drowns entire. Anders has seen it firsthand in the bodies they find swinging in every Circle tower. He would have been one of those bodies during the Long Year if not for the few vital voices who recognized his suffering. "I can't fix this ailment no matter how much I wish to. But this much I can do."

It is almost strange, the way Fenris curls then. As small as he can manage himself. Which, rightly, is actually pretty small, he's the flexible sort and he's had to get creative about some hiding places before. But being small, here in Anders' arms, it is warm and it is safe and he's making a point to himself now. "I do not need you to fix it." He says then, though he does not sound offended. It's more… And admission. Both to himself and to Anders, that he doesn't want this taken away.

Anders moves with the man in his arms - whether it is to take up less space or more, his embrace stays constant. "I know you don't," he admits ruefully, "but that doesn't stop me wanting to make it better." Healer; it's just who he is.

"You do." Fenris says then, very, very quietly. Little more than a whisper. It's true, as well. Though sometimes his demons twist the situation into something it is not, the fact that he can be here. That he can curl into Anders' arms, that he has had anything to do with the mage at all, really, it is progress. It is not easy, but it is something. What's more, when his mind was not turning the situation inside out, Anders was soothing and pleasant and… He stops the train of thought then, choosing not to delve any deeper.

That's all Anders needs to hear. So long as that continues to be the case, he is content. He falls silent for a little while, seemingly unaware of the subtle rocking motions he's started to make while he sits, wrapped around his lover, and lets his mind drift from one place to another. It's that lazy, unhurried drifting that both summons a jaw-cracking yawn and an unrelated question. "Does your blade have places for runes? Or your armor?"

The elf calms, settling into that hold and slowly uncurling as time goes on, feeling less vulnerable. At that question, Fenris laughs quietly. "Maker, no." He says, finding the very idea ridiculous.

Anders nods, a thoughtful humming noise preceding and then mixing with another extended yawn. "Do you know anyone who does?" He feels a third yawn building in his throat and swallows it down, rolling so that he could lie on his side without losing the perfect closeness he felt wrapped around his lover. "I found a few I'd done at the Vigil when I pulled out the armor." He is either tired enough not to realize - or tired enough to forget - how strange he sounds talking about runes like he's one of the damn Formari. "They're nothing special, just the novice runes, but they still work well enough."

"I do not exactly have a lot of friends." Fenris says, though he sounds mostly amused at the thought that me might know someone. Then, though, he pauses. "You runecraft?" He says, sounding a little confused.

Anders huffs, tired and just a little bit indignant at that amusement. Yes, in hindsight it was perhaps a foolish question, but right or not there's an aftertaste of being laughed at in that statement and it doesn't really… sit well. In the end, however, he lets it go; answering this question is usually hard enough without pursuing another topic alongside. "A bit, yes," he admits, some of the huffiness leaving his voice to be replaced by awkwardness. "I found out on accident. It doesn't feel… wonderful but it doesn't actively hurt."

Fenris can feel that awkwardness and the next sound he makes is almost pitiful. It's quiet, almost too quiet to hear. A whine, soft and mostly muffled in his own throat, as he nuzzles against his lover. There had been no mockery intended.

That sound is almost as devastating as the sight of those gorgeous green eyes filled with tears. It makes Anders hurt and he starts immediately trying to soothe it - strokes of hands over back and arm, soft hushing noises escaping his own lips, turning his head to press a kiss to the side of his face… anything to ease his love. "Do you think you can sleep?" he begins, soft and warm and tender - the tone just as familiar as question.

There is a soft huff. It hadn't been for his own pain that he had made that noise. Nuzzling Anders again, Fenris pulls back to look him in the eye. "I hurt you. I do not understand how." He says, sounding confused, a question though none was directly posed. Then, though, he nods. "Yes, likely."

That Fenris could discern this from so little impresses Anders a great deal, even if he also feels more than a little foolish. "You did nothing wrong," he asserts first and foremost. "I am… defensive and petty. A lifetime of mockery will teach you to anticipate it even where none exists. That's all." He leans forward to brush gentle lips over brow and nose and cheeks and jaw and mouth. "We should probably sleep, then."

Fenris may not be the most gentle of creatures, or even opt to have terribly many social graces, but he is incredibly observant. He nods then, and leans to place a kiss to Anders' cheek. He nods again, and shifts to allow Anders to settle down as is comfortable for him. "Probably. While it can be managed."

Anders can't help the way his mouth quirks up at the corners with that kiss to his cheek and settles down into the nest of blankets quite happily. "C'mere," he murmurs, gathering that body back up against his as close as he can while tugging a few of the thicker blankets over them both. He'll sleep anywhere he can manage to get it, Anders will - anywhen and anyhow too - but nothing makes his sleep painless or easy. And though this closeness does nothing for the dreams overrun by his Taint, the warmth of skin and the reassuring sound (no matter how muffled) of a heartbeat do much to fight off the nightmares of silence. It is enough. It is always enough.

And he does, curling against Anders. It is odd, still, this comfortable peace, but Fenris does not complain. Settling down to sleep, he nuzzles his face into Anders' neck, seeking the deeper darkness provided against his lover's skin. He breathes deep and is asleep in only a few minutes.

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