Things had changed between Anders and Fenris recently, ever since that night.
It had happened a few weeks ago, about a week after Fenris had killed Danarius. It was the first time they had all gathered in Varric’s suite at the Hanged Man for a round of Wicked Grace since the incident with Danarius. Fenris had been drinking and instead of being his usual, mage-hating, prickly self, he had started to become somewhat handsy with Anders instead.
At first Anders was concerned by the change in behavior, but the touch-starved mage couldn’t resist enjoying the small touches the elf kept giving him. At first it was a touch on his arm, then touches to his shoulder and eventually an arm snaked around his back.
The others saw, of course, but said nothing and Anders merely shrugged in confusion.
Later, after everyone else had left, Anders found himself dragged into an unoccupied room down the hall by Fenris, who pushed the mage against the wall after closing the door and very thoroughly kissing him.
Then even more shocking, the elf had begged him for sex. Anders hadn’t indulged in so long, and at first Justice railed against the distraction, but when Fenris began to remove Anders’ clothes and kiss alongside his neck, he couldn’t deny the frisson of want that ran through him.
So, that night, Anders thoroughly ravaged Fenris. The elf just kept begging for more and Anders was all too eager to comply.
The next morning, Anders awoke alone and had almost wondered if that entire night had just been an erotic dream until Fenris confronted him on the way back to Darktown, warning Anders to never speak of it to anyone.
Well, at least Fenris was back to himself again, Anders shrugged.
Since then the tension between them seemed greater even though they bickered far less than before. They barely spoke to each other anymore. When Fenris was around, Anders wouldn’t bring up his tirade about mage rights anymore, while Fenris stopped ranting about keeping mages locked up.
One morning, Hawke by Anders’ clinic and requested that he accompany Varric, Fenris and him up to Sundermount for a mission. There had been no patients waiting and Anders was in need of some fresh herbs for his potions so he readily agreed to join them.
They were about half-way up towards Sundermount when Fenris stumbled in front of Anders. The mage was about to make a quip about the elf’s drinking habits when all of a sudden Fenris fell backwards into his arms in a dead faint.
“Fenris?!” Anders shouted as he caught the elf and gently lowered him to the ground. Hawke and Varric can over as Anders began to use his magic to probe and see what could be wrong.
“What happened? Did the elf drink too much again?” Varric joked and Anders scowled. Hearing the same thought from another suddenly made the mage ashamed of having similar thoughts.
“I don’t know yet,” Anders said. “Please go on ahead without us, we’ll catch up.”
Hawke and Varric shrugged. “Alright, we’ll wait for you outside of the Dalish camp.”
Anders then began his examination of the still unconscious elf, probing slowly with his magic. He found no evidence of alcohol in the elf’s system. That was strange. Fenris usually had at least one bottle of wine each night, or so he claimed, but based on Anders’ probing Fenris clearly hadn’t had any wine for at least a full day.
Anders also took note that Fenris’ stomach was empty and he clearly hadn’t eaten recently either. At first, he thought perhaps lack of food was why Fenris had fainted. More probing however showed that Fenris had probably eaten but hadn’t been able to keep it down, as there was evidence of stomach acid burns in his throat.
Fenris was clearly not well. The mage probed to see what kind of infection the elf may have but could find no evidence of any. Perhaps a parasite? Anders probed lower until he reached the lower abdomen and when his magic found the cause he recoiled in shock, falling backwards onto his rump.
Anders stared at Fenris in shock just as the elf slowly started to come to. Fenris looked up and slowly sat up, looking over at Anders.
“What happened?” Fenris asked. “Why are you staring at me like that, fool mage?”
Anders shook himself and replied. “You fainted, right into my arms.”
The tips of Fenris’ ears turned pink in embarrassment. “I assure you that will not happen again.”
“I’m afraid it might,” Anders said.
Fenris looked at his quizzically. “So, something is wrong with me? I had wondered why I couldn’t keep food down for the past few weeks.”
“Weeks?” Anders looked shocked. “You should have come to me about this!”
“I have been ill before,” Fenris shrugged. “It will pass.”
“No, you don’t understand,” Anders continued. “I…I still don’t understand it myself. You…you’re male…but…there is no easy way to say this but…you’re pregnant!”
Fenris looked at Anders as if the mage had finally lost his mind. “I’m…what?! Don’t be ridiculous. I can’t be.”
“I don’t know how it’s possible,” Anders said. “Let me probe you again, and make sure. Please?”
Fenris sighed and nodded.
Anders gently removed Fenris’ utility belt and lifted up the bottom part of Fenris’ armor, laying a hand directly onto the elf’s abdomen, which had Fenris blushing several shades darker. Anders then felt out with his magic and immediately found the spark of life he had felt before. It was definitely a baby and as Anders checked on its health, realized it was half-human. Could it…?
“Fenris, I need you to be completely honest with me,” Anders said as he withdrew his magic and his hand. “Besides myself, have you had sex with anyone else recently?”
Fenris shook his head. “No, only you. I have no idea what even came over me that night. I’ve…I’ve never wanted sex, especially after…Danarius…but for some reason that night I wanted sex with you more than I have ever wanted anything before. It was almost like I was possessed.”
“I remember,” Anders smiled. “I will always cherish the memory of that night. You made me feel something I hadn’t in a very long time. And it seems somehow that union resulted in…this.”
Fenris’ ears drooped as he looked up at Anders and after removing his gauntlet, held his hand over his abdomen. “So, I am pregnant?”
“Yes, and it’s half-human, so unless you were canoodling with some other human besides me,” Anders shrugged. “Then the child is…well…ours. Unless you decide you don’t want it? I can help you terminate it. No one ever need know…”
Fenris furrowed his brow in thought for several long moments. “I…don’t know. I have never thought about having children…”
Anders reached out and took Fenris’s bare hand in his. “You don’t have to decide now and I will support you in whatever decision you make.”
Fenris nodded. “Thank you.”
“Let’s go meet up with Hawke and Varric,” Anders suggested, as he stood and helped Fenris to his feet. “Perhaps the Dalish have an explanation for your current…condition?”
“Yes, but please don’t tell Hawke or Varric just yet. I…need time,” Fenris asked.
Anders nodded in agreement, helping Fenris put his utility belt back on before taking the elf’s hand and leading him back up Sundermount.
The rest of the way up Sundermount was quiet, except for Anders’ internal bickering with Justice. A child was a distraction. But it’s a child. There is no justice in the death of a child. At one point Anders wasn’t even sure if he was arguing with Justice or with himself or both.
Before they were in sight of the Dalish camp, Fenris let go of Anders’ hand and put his gauntlet back on. Once they rounded the corner of a hill and saw Hawke and Varric, Hawke looked relieved to see them. “Feeling better Fenris? You really should stop hitting the bottle so hard.”
Fenris scowled at Hawke and pushed past him, heading straight for the Dalish camp. Hawke grumbled about now he’s in a hurry?
After they had concluded their business and helped the Dalish by routing a few monsters from a nearby cave, Hawke and Varric were anxious to get back to Kirkwall.
“Go on ahead,” Fenris insisted. “I have something I wish to discuss with the Keeper in private. Anders, if you would, I would prefer if you remain.”
Hawke and Varric looked at each other. “Wait, you want Anders to remain, while you speak with Keeper Marethari in private?”
Fenris sighed. “It is a private matter concerning my health, Hawke,” the elf sounded exasperated. “I need the Keeper’s advice and as a healer it may be of use for Anders to understand in case I require his assistance in the future. Now, please go.”
Hawke looked dumbfounded but quietly turned to leave, taking Varric with him.
“You know Hawke will continue to pry until we tell him,” Anders reminded the elf.
“I know, but I need more time to process…this.” Fenris admitted.
The pair then sought out Keeper Marethari, who invited them both to warm themselves by her campfire. “Was there something you needed to ask me?”
Fenris and Anders took turns explaining the situation and once the Keeper understood, a hand flew over her mouth in surprise.
“Oh, by the Creators,” Marethari breathed. “I didn’t think I’d meet a carrier in my lifetime!”
“A what?” Fenris asked.
“You’re a carrier! Male carriers are very rare. Only a handful are ever born in a generation,” Marethari tried to explain. “It is said that in ancient Arlathan male carriers made up about one percent of the elven population, but since the fall, they’ve become almost non-existent.”
“So, you’re saying that some male elves are born with the ability to become pregnant?” Anders asked.
“Yes, and their children are always extraordinary,” Marethari said. “What I’ve never heard of is one who mated with a human before. Tell me Anders, I know you are a mage, but what is your specialty?”
“I am a Spirit Healer,” Anders explained.
“That explains it,” Marethari mused aloud. “Male carriers tend to be drawn towards Spirit Healers as they are equally rare, even among the elves. There has always been a special bond between male carriers and spirit healers.”
“Would that explain why I…was insistent that Anders...have sex with me? It was an almost uncontrollable urge.” Fenris asked.
Marethari nodded. “Yes, I think so. It is believed that because male carriers are so rare, they have a heightened need to procreate, once they meet someone compatible.”
“But I’ve known Anders for years, so why now?” Fenris wondered.
“Perhaps Danarius had you under some sort of spell?” Anders suggested. “The spell could have been suppressing your true nature and when he died, the spell could have been broken.”
“So, Danarius knew what I am?” Fenris asked rhetorically before looking at Marethari. “Do you think my lyrium brands could harm the child?”
“Those markings are…lyrium?” Marethari asked. “I don’t know. Do they give you any special abilities?”
Fenris nodded. “When I activate them, I become stronger and I am able to pass through solid objects.”
“That is concerning,” Marethari frowned. “I would recommend you stop using that ability until after the child is born.”
Fenris thought back to how much he’d used it as they had fought the monsters earlier that day and hoped he hadn’t done irreparable harm already.
“Keeper, I have been unable to keep any food down,” Fenris thought to ask. “Do you have any recommendations to help ease that?”
“Oh yes, I have a recipe for a simple potion that your mate could easily make for you,” Marethari smiled.
Fenris looked at Anders after she mentioned the word mate, while the Keeper explained the potion to the mage. Anders said something about it being easy and he could make a batch if they stayed the night and he had some time the next day to gather the herbs needed.
“It would be my honor to let a carrier and his mate remain in our camp,” Marethari invited. “I have some potion stored that we keep on hand for any pregnant female. I will bring you some of the potion so that you may join us for dinner and I will have a tent made up for you both to sleep.”
Once Marethari left, Anders refocused his attention on Fenris. “Don’t worry about her calling you my mate. I will not lay a claim on you if you do not wish it.”
“Thank you,” Fenris said gratefully. “I didn’t like the idea of belonging to yet another mage…although this situation I suppose is quite different than the one with Danarius.”
“I have no wish to force anything against your will,” Anders reassured the elf. “Believe it or not, despite all the years we’ve spent bickering, I do actually care about you, and your well-being.”
Fenris took a moment to study Anders’ face and saw the sincerity reflected there.
Marethari returned with a small vial of the potion and it worked well enough for Fenris to eat some of the rich venison stew that was being served for dinner that night.
After dinner, Anders noted how tired Fenris was. The mage excused them both and led a very sleepy elf to the guest tent that had been prepared for them. Once inside the tent, he helped Fenris remove his armor. There was only one bedroll so they would have to share but Fenris was sleepy enough not to mind.
The next morning Anders woke up to find Fenris still lying next to him, with his hand splayed over his abdomen. “Hey, good morning. How are you feeling?”
Fenris looked up at him. “Better, and I’ve made my decision. I will keep the child.”
Anders’ heart lept. “You will?”
Fenris nodded. “Marethari said a child born from such a union as ours would be extraordinary. I must give this child the chance to become whatever it is destined to be.”
Anders sat up all the way covered his mouth with his hand. “Oh, Maker…”
“What’s wrong?” Fenris asked, sitting up beside the mage and noticing the tears streaming down the mage’s face.
“I just realized…I’m going to be a father…”