Unlike other elves, Fenris did not purr. He growled, he spat, he scoffed and oh how he brooded, but he did not purr.
Merrill purred constantly. Fenris thought it was the most annoying thing in the world, to hear how happy and content the blasted blood mage was. All. The. Time. It was all Hawke’s fault too. He was always treating her like she was so special.
So, when he was wounded after a battle with a gang of slavers on the Wounded Coast, he finally snapped. “Enough with your infernal purring blood mage!”
Anders looked down at Fenris with a confused stare. “Um, Merrill didn’t come with us, remember? You’re the one purring.”
Fenris glared at the abomination. “What?! I do not purr!”
Yet the purring sound continued unabated as Anders continued to heal Fenris’ wound. Fenris reached up to his chest and felt the rhythmic rumbling there. Fenris felt his face heat with embarrassment. “Fasta vass! How…how do I turn it off?!”
“I don’t think you can,” Anders said gently. “From everything I know about elven physiology, it’s an involuntary reflex. It happens either when an elf is particularly content or happy, or if they need to self-soothe after a traumatic event.”
“I…I have never needed to self-soothe after being wounded,” Fenris blustered.
Anders shrugged and stood up, helping the elf back onto his feet. “Sorry, but maybe ask Merrill. She might know how to control it.”
Then Anders walked off, having other injuries to tend to, and the purring finally ceased.
Fenris thought no more of it. A week later he joined Hawke and the rest of his companions for a game of Wicked Grace at the Hanged Man. He was enjoying himself when Anders finally arrived. Immediately Fenris tensed and frowned at the apostate’s presence. When Anders sat down next to him, everyone was shocked when Fenris began to purr. Loudly. Merrill was clear at the other end of the table and even she could hear that it was coming from Fenris.
“Oh, I think someone has a crush on you Anders!” Merrill teased.
Anders laughed at the idea before Fenris could even retort, which made the elf even angrier. “How…how do I turn this off? Merrill!” Fenris blustered.
Merrill shrugged. “I don’t even know how I turn it on. It just sort of…happens.”
“Kaffas!” Fenris spat and stormed out of Varric’s suite.
Fenris was half-way back to Hightown when he realized the purring had stopped again. Why was this happening. He had never purred when he had been a slave. Slaves who dared show signs of contentment, or Maker forbid self-soothing, around Danarius, they were quickly punished. They’d all had the purring instinct literally beaten out of them.
Fenris didn’t know if he’d ever purred before he’d had his marks branded into his skin, but he certainly never did afterward. He had been on the run and free for several years. Why would he start purring now?
Once at home, Fenris immediately opened a new bottle of wine and sat himself by his fireplace. The very idea that he had been purring because of Anders’ proximity rankled the elf. Yet at the same time, he realized he didn’t feel the same level of vehemence towards the mage as he once had.
Despite their differences and constant spats, Anders still always healed him during every battle they were in together. Then there was the mage’s clinic. Fenris had seen the man healing and taking care of all who came to him. Human and elf alike, none were turned away.
Fenris sighed and then realized he was purring. Again. Was it because he had been thinking of Anders? He was about to smash his bottle of wine against the wall when someone began to knock loudly on his front door.
When Fenris went to open the door, he saw Anders standing without. He was about the slam the door into the man’s face when the damnable purring became louder.
“Um, hi,” Anders greeted, almost shyly. “Look, I talked to Merrill and…I think we need to talk.”
Fenris sighed and nodded, stepping to the side and inviting Anders inside. Once back upstairs, the elf offered Anders some of his wine, which the mage took gratefully, with a small ‘shut up Justice’ said under his breath. Fenris’ purring grew louder.
“So, Merrill and I talked after you stormed out,” Anders began. “She clarified a few things about purring for me.”
“Did she also explain how to control it?” Fenris growled.
Anders shook his head. “She confirmed my assumption. It is a completely automatic reflex, and not one that can be consciously controlled.”
“Why is this happening now? I’ve never purred before, for any reason,” Fenris huffed.
“Merrill said she’s seen some elves who have had their purring suppressed,” Anders continued. “She’d met a few former slaves living in the Alienage. As you know, slaves are generally discouraged from purring in most Tevinter households.”
“Don’t remind me,” Fenris replied. “Shall I regale you with how Danarius discouraged his slaves?”
“I’m pretty sure I can imagine,” Anders sighed. “I know Danarius is a monster, and if the day ever comes that he sets foot in Kirkwall, I’ll happily stand by your side to take him out, once and for all.”
Anders looked at Fenris in surprise when the elf’s purring became even louder.
“Wow, I didn’t know it could get that loud,” Anders smirked. “You must really like me.”
“Do not be absurd,” Fenris grumped, despite the fact he could feel heat creep across his face and upwards towards the tips of his ears.
“The purr doesn’t lie,” Anders stated. “Merrill was quite insistent on that point. She claims some of the former slaves she’s helped started to purr again after meeting someone they fancied. Having the freedom to express it finally broke down the barrier that had caused them to stop purring in the first place.”
“So?” Fenris questioned.
“So, you’ve only been purring around me,” Anders said. “Look, I’m not asking you to marry me or anything. Maker forbid. Just realize that some part of you likes me, and that’s why you’re purring whenever I’m near you.”
Fenris rose and paced in front of his fireplace, desperately trying to make his purring stop. “Festis bei umo canavarum!” he growled.
Anders chuckled. “I’m sorry, I’ll go now. I just thought you should know. If you want, I’ll ask Hawke to not take us on missions together anymore and I’ll stay out of your hair.”
As Anders rose to leave, Fenris felt a wave of panic overtake him. “Wait!”
The mage stopped and looked at Fenris quizzically. “How…how do you feel about me? About all…this?”
Anders smiled genuinely at him. “I’m quite flattered. Often the only elven purring I’ve heard is the self-soothing kind from my patients. I never thought any elf, much less you, would like me…like that.”
“I see,” Fenris’ shoulders and ears drooped in disappointment.
“Are you…interested in pursuing…whatever this is?” Anders asked.
The elf looked at him and a mix of emotions cross his face for a moment before he sighed. “Perhaps. I’m not sure. Why did it have to be you?”
“Because I’m incredibly handsome and charming?” Anders joked as he moved closer.
Fenris smirked. “Always so sure of yourself, aren’t you?”
Fenris felt Anders’ hands on his hips and once again the purring became louder. “Leave it to you to be able to be grumpy and purring at the same time.”
Fenris huffed as he looked up into the mage’s eyes and saw a combination of kindness and desire reflected in them. He felt his breath quicken as Anders studied his face, the mage reaching up to gently cup his cheek. Fenris surprised himself by leaning into the touch as Anders’ thumb caressed his skin.
“Oh Maker,” Anders sighed. “I never thought you would ever…please let this be real.”
Fenris realized in that moment that Anders had been hiding his true feelings for him all this time, probably assuming that he hated mages far too much to ever contemplate becoming romantically involved with him.
In response to Anders’ plea, the purring increased again and changed its tenor into one that sounded almost…reassuring.
Fenris blushed when he realized that his own emerging feelings were being laid bare by his purr. There was no way to hide from them now.
Anders suddenly pulled him impossibly closer and bent his head, crashing his lips into Fenris’. For a moment, the elf was shocked but he quickly melted into the kiss as his purr began to vibrate with approval.
Anders chuckled into the kiss. “You can’t hide anything from me now, can you?”
Fenris let out an exasperated sigh. “Shut up and kiss me already, damnable mage!”
Anders was only happy to oblige.