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Tension and Release

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Fenris was only doing this for Hawke.

That was a lie, of course, but Fenris stuck to the lie. He repeated the lie to himself as he went to bed that evening, the sky the dull reddish pink that heralded snowfall. Fenris repeated the lie as he got up that morning and stared out of his window to the street below and the thick blanket of snow that covered the ground. Fenris repeated the lie as he showered and dressed, pulling on thick socks and his boots, shrugging on a sweater and then his leather jacket, and, after much grimacing, pulling on a hat and gloves. The snow was still falling, big, fat snowflakes drifting down from the sky, and Fenris wasn’t going to let himself freeze because of vanity.

This is for Hawke. This is for Hawke. This is for Hawke.

Fenris repeated the mantra as he locked up his apartment and trudged downstairs to the covered garage. He started up his bike and rode down the quiet morning streets of Kirkwall, down Hightown’s winding roads and navigating down even narrower streets to reach Lowtown and the Lowtown Community Center, the headquarters and pet project of the Hawke family. He had promised Hawke he would help prepare the center for the annual Wintersend dinner, where Kirkwall’s poor would gather for a hearty meal, gifts, and whatever else Hawke could manage to give them. Hawke never forgot where they came from, and was always determined to give back to the city and its denizens. So Hawke (and the entire Hawke clan) came together to create a charity that helped with Kirkwall’s massive refugee and homeless population, offering food, shelter, and opportunities where few existed. And when Hawke was running short on helping hands, they turned to their friends for a little bit of assistance.

“C’mon, Fenris.” Hawke cajoled last week when they had just finished a round of sparring at the gym. “Just a few hours of work, and we’ll feed you! Everyone will be there!”

“Everyone?” Fenris had asked, wiping the sweat of his brow with a towel. “Including your nosy mage friend?”

“You can say his name, you know.” Hawke retorted. “You’ve known him for at least a year now. It won’t kill you to say the name Anders, will it?”

“Hmmph.” Fenris grunted, but he agreed to assist Hawke and the others, purely out of the goodness of his heart, and not to see Anders. No. Not in the slightest. Why would he want to see Anders? He was obnoxious and demanding and pushy, and he never knew when to shut his mouth. His pretty mouth, made for smiles and quipping and saying utterly obscene things- no! Fenris shut those thoughts away before they consumed him. Anders was forbidden. He knew what it was to chase after things that were bad for you, and Anders was certainly not good for Fenris’s health.

Hawke was why Fenris was here, pulling into the parking lot of the Lowtown Community Center. He was here to help Hawke, and not to moon over Anders and attempt to flirt with him. The things he did for his friends, Fenris thought as he parked his bike under an overhang and kicked the stand down. He looked around the parking lot and groaned when he caught sight of the only other vehicle in the lot. It was Anders’s teal van. Well, it was once teal, but someone had painted a giant tiger on the side, with lightning shooting down from the sky and smiting the wicked (the wicked were portrayed by Templars in armor that dated back to the Dragon Age). What wasn’t covered by the elaborate mural was covered by a random assortment of stickers and decals that Anders had collected over the years. There was the decal “My Cat is my Copilot,” right next to a sticker from the Wounded Coast National Park. There was a “Fuck The Chantry” sticker on the bumper, right next to a “My cat is smarter than the Knight Commander” sticker. There were dozens upon dozens of stickers layered on the back of the van, and Fenris could have spent hours reading each one. Instead he made his way into the center, pushing on the front door so it swung in and he could enter the building.

It was warm inside, for which Fenris was grateful. Someone (Anders, most likely) had started the heater, and the little bits of snow that had fallen onto Fenris’s jacket and into his hair melted into drops of water. Fenris could hear the sounds of something moving further inside the building, like someone dragging furniture across the linoleum floor tiles. Anders, Fenris thought, and he made his way down the hall and past the kitchen into the main room in the center. The lights were on, and someone had moved the chairs, tables, and couches to one side of the room. The other side was filled with medical equipment. Fenris could hardly guess at everything Anders had brought. It seemed like he had transported his entire clinic from Darktown up to the center, and Fenris had no idea why.

“Hello?” Anders called out from behind some enormous cabinet on wheels. “Hawke, is that you? Get your big arms over here and help me move this next to the ultrasound, will you?” And since Anders was struggling with an enormous machine that was taller and much wider than him, Fenris made his way over and took hold of it before the whole thing toppled onto the ground (or onto skinny Anders).

“Not Hawke, but I can manage this with minimal complaint.” Fenris said dryly. Anders snorted.

“Fenris. What dragged you out this early in the morning?” Anders asked, his tone somewhat caustic. Fenris pulled the cabinet along as Anders pushed, leading them to an elaborate machine next to a padded couch. Fenris distinctly remembered that couch being located at the front of the center and not in this more private corner of the all purpose main room.

“Hawke wanted me to rearrange furniture. And help you, obviously. Were you really planning to move all this on your own?” Fenris gestured out towards the boxes of medical equipment neatly stacked near the back door. Anders snorted again and emerged from behind the cabinet. He was bundled up in his canvas jacket that was more patches than jacket. He had a chunky red wool scarf wrapped around his neck, his jeans had holes in the knees, and his leather boots were scuffed. The laces looked like they were on their final strings. The greatest sin was the hat perched atop Anders’s head. It was white and pink, and had two enormous sappy blue googly eyes stuck to the front. There were large, fluffy white cat ears sewn to the top of the hat, and two long pink strings dangled down to a pair of mittens shaped like cat paws. Overall, Anders looked like an eight year old child in love with princesses and cats teamed up with a disillusioned punk to dress their model.

Not that Anders was a model. Of course not. What nonsense! Pretty golden eyes and interesting facial features did not a model make. And those interesting facial features, that long nose and wide mouth and far too pretty eyes- they were all arranging themselves into an expression of dismissive irritation and mild disgust.

“Obviously. You didn’t have to bring your fancy ass down here, you know. Is that Antivan leather?” Anders pointed to Fenris’s jacket and boots. “How can you afford Antivan leather?” He sounded positively outraged, and Fenris already felt himself bristling up with hostility. He told himself that Anders did not mean it in the way Fenris was taking it, but Fenris felt as if Anders was questioning why he, an elf, would have something expensive and finely crafted. It made Fenris feel as small as he felt when he was in Minrathous. When he was with Danarius.

“I save my money and Varric invests a small sum.” Fenris replied, voice frosty. “And Antivan leather has excellent protective properties.”

“You could have just bought a warding charm and put it on your bike, instead of riding around like a demon.” Anders retorted. “Lots cheaper, and safer too.”

“My riding is not an issue.” Fenris snapped back. “And with the way you drive that rust bucket you have no room to talk!”

“Don’t you dare call Wiggums a rust bucket!” Anders demanded. “He is a fine van with a colorful past, and has more soul than your death on wheels bike!” Anders seemed done with the conversation, and he flounced away to the stacked boxes. Fenris watched Anders walk, his jeans outlining his long, lean legs and bony features. Others might find him unattractive, but Fenris had always found himself drawn to Anders’s skinny frame and sharp features. He looked like he needed someone to tuck him into bed and make him sleep, and it awoke something fiercely protective inside of Fenris.

Fenris once again scolded himself for falling into old habits. Bad habits. It was not enough to leave Tevinter behind and to try and form an identity for himself free of Danarius’s influence. It was not enough for him to slowly tear apart his fear of mages and magic, speaking with a therapist who specialized in working with Templars with PTSD related to magic. It was not enough that Fenris had made friendships with mages now, strong friendships that had held him together. What use was all of that when he was so terrified of admitting his attraction to this one mage and instead fought with him every time they met?

“Andraste’s Tits, this is heavy!” Anders gasped as he lifted up a box, and in a few long strides Fenris reached him and easily took the box from Anders’s arms.

“Where do you want it? Fenris asked. Anders gestured over to an empty table pushed against the far wall of the room.

“Over there. It’s got pamphlets in it.” Anders explained. “I may have printed too many.”

“Mage rights pamphlets?” Fenris asked.

“If I said yes, will you burn them?” Anders fired back.

“No. But I will question your good sense.” Fenris retorted. “This is hardly the crowd you need to preach to. Most of them are your patients.” Anders’s patients were loyal to their healer, the one person who ran the one clinic available to them in their time of need. It helped that Anders was a skilled healer. The Grey Wardens gave their people the best training, and Anders was among the best. His skill was admirable, and his passion undeniable. Fenris just wished that Anders was less inclined to preach to them. It was hard enough for Fenris to swallow his pride and ask for a checkup without Anders being so smug about it.

“Hold the lecture, then. They’re information on the clinic schedule and what sort of emergencies require a healer.” Anders replied as he lifted up another box in his arms. “And this one has pamphlets on how to deal with bed bugs and lice.”

“I see.” Fenris replied. He crossed the room and set the box down next to the table, Anders following right behind him.

“There’s another box full of signup sheets for different classes too. You know, basic first aid, CPR, “ Anders explained. “I thought it might be useful for Lowtown residents.”

“No magical healing?” Fenris asked. He thought that Anders would eagerly take on students.

“It’s a rare enough talent, and the certification to teach it is nearly impossible to get in this city.” Anders grumbled. “Fuck the Chantry.”

“It hasn’t stopped you before.” Fenris pointed out.

“How do you know about that?” Anders asked sharply.

“Word gets around.” Fenris replied airily. He always had a knack for eavesdropping. It was how he survived being in Danarius’s household. He might have been what amounted to a pet in a golden cage, but Fenris knew more about everyone’s personal dramas and private lives than anyone would have suspected. He had to know in order to survive. Now he mostly listened to rumors for fun. Another bad habit, but one Fenris indulged in.

“No, Fenris, no one is supposed to know about those unless they’ve been invited in. You’re not a mage, how do you know?” Anders asked desperately. His expression was pinched and anxious, and Fenris felt guilt swamp him. He was only having a bit of fun. He hadn’t meant to scare Anders.

“I apologize.” Fenris said. “I heard Hawke speak of it. Your secret lessons are safe with me.”

“They… they are?” Anders looked at him, wide eyed and bewildered. Confusion was good look on Anders. Then again, most things looked good on Anders. He had the sort of face that Fenris liked looking at.

“Yes. I have my reasons to dislike magic, but you are… you are a skilled teacher and should be a tutor to young talent. In any other city, any other country, you would be.” Fenris said, and he felt his face flush.

“That’s almost sweet of you.” Anders murmured thoughtfully. There was a moment where he looked open. Vulnerable. Fenris wondered if he could say more, do more, finally let Anders know that he didn’t hate him, that he was fond of him, that he cared- and then Anders’s mouth slid into a smirk and his eyelids half closed over his golden eyes. He looked as smug as a cat with a saucer of cream.

“Who are you and what did you do with the real Fenris?” Anders teased, and when Fenris flushed even pinker he laughed brightly.

“Come on, Fenris. I’ve got more boxes and I doubt Hawke is going to come in any time soon.” Anders said, and he returned to his work of moving boxes. Fenris silently followed, moving boxes and setting up the pamphlets and papers. As Anders fussed over the positioning of everything, Fenris silently rearranged furniture and set out already wrapped presents for the children who would visit the center tomorrow. There was the makeshift throne decorated with paper mache where Bethany Hawke, dressed as Andraste, would sit in tomorrow to hold council and give gifts to the children. Fenris glued some of the paper flowers back onto the gold painted paper mache. In dim enough lighting (or with the eyes of a child) the throne was rather impressive. Fenris was satisfied with his work. He and Anders worked silently together to prepare the center for the upcoming Wintersend feast.

When it was all finally done it was early evening, and the snow had been falling in thick flakes all day. Fenris checked his beat up phone and read through messages from Hawke. It was a flood of messages, and Fenris slowly scrolled through them.

“Snow 4 dayz, Mum says stay home!”

“Fen, stay put! Ice on roads, v. Dangerous!”

“Dude. Did u wreck?”

“Fen. Fennnnnn.”

“Fen did u wreck ur bike? R u bleeding? Should I call Anders? Fen!!!!”

“Making funeral arrangements 4 u. Cremation w/ ur murder bike ok?”

“See? Even Hawke thinks you ride a death machine!” Anders said with a laugh. When Fenris turned his head he saw that Anders stood close and was peering over his shoulder. The silly white mitten shaped like a paw dangled down and rested against Fenris’s shoulder. A lock of golden red hair clung to Anders’s neck. His long, pretty neck, pale and covered in freckles. Fenris swallowed.

“It is perfectly safe.” Fenris croaked. Anders grinned and placed his hand on Fenris’s shoulder consolingly. His hand was warm and heavy, and Anders squeezed his shoulder once before letting go. Fenris felt his touch linger, even through leather and wool.

“You keep telling yourself that. Hey, want to go grab dinner? There’s a Nevarran noodle place right around the corner, they’re always open.” Anders suggested. “We can walk over, pick something up, walk back.”

“And stay at the center? All evening?” Fenris asked.

“You think either of us can drive home? The snow has to be a foot deep by now.” Anders replied. “We’ll walk over to the noodle shop, buy some food, and spend the night here. The storm should blow over by tomorrow and the roads will be clear enough to go home, wash up, and then return to the center to help with the big dinner.” It was a sensible plan

“What do we do for warmth? Bedding?” Fenris asked, mostly to be contrarian. Agreeing with Anders was new. He didn’t know how to treat that delicate conversation without going too far and saying too much. Arguing was easier.

“We can use some of the supplies. Hawke won’t mind. We’re setting everything up anyhow.” Anders assured him. “Look, do you want food or not? I can buy if you forgot your wallet.”

“No. We- we can go.” Fenris said. “I am hungry.” It was just a walk down the street for food. Perhaps a walk would clear his head and remind himself that he was with Anders. That, no matter how attractive, attentive, and understanding Anders could be, he was still Anders. If Fenris opened up and let himself be vulnerable with Anders… well, Fenris didn’t know what would happen. He didn’t want to find out.

The walk to the noodle place was quiet. The snow muffled there footsteps, and no one was out in the streets. There was evidence of activity, paths carved through the snow and several mutated examples of snowmen lining the streets. There were even some risen Andraste forms in the snow, where children (and perhaps some adults) lay down and spread their arms and legs before moving them back and forth along the ground. Fenris picked his way around the snowmen and Andrastes, and his breath formed a warm cloud of vapor in front of his nose and mouth as he moved.

“How do you know the snow will stop tonight?” Fenris asked. The question had nagged at him since Anders declared that the snow would stop. How did a man who spent more time inside a hospital than outdoors know about snowfall?

“Kirkwall doesn’t usually get this sort of weather.” Anders explained. “But it happened all the time in Ferelden. It just isn’t cold enough for it to snow tomorrow, and there is strong evidence that the storm clouds will move on sometime this evening. Atmospheric pressure, color of the clouds, all that.”

“Right.” Fenris replied. They began to walk on a slick patch of ice, and when Fenris slipped Anders gripped him by the forearm and guided him along the sidewalk.

“Not used to ice, are you?” Anders said with a smile.

“It did not get cold enough in Minrathous or Seheron for ice.” Fenris retorted. Was Anders laughing at him? He felt like a fool.

“Best way to get across is to waddle a bit, like a penguin. Small steps.” Anders advised. “Probably a little undignified, but it’s easier.” Fenris cautiously followed his advice, waddling over ice patches until he finally reached concrete. They did not come across any other ice patches on their way to the restaurant. Anders did not let go of Fenris’s forearm until they were inside the restaurant ordering food. They carried their steaming takeout through the snow filled streets back to the center, Anders guiding Fenris around patches of ice.

Once they returned to the center they began the extensively difficult process of stomping their boots and brushing snow off their clothing. Anders set the bags of food on the floor as he unwrapped his red wool scarf from around his neck and took off his ridiculous kitten hat. He shrugged himself out of his jacket. Underneath it all he was wearing a thick, cream colored cable sweater. Fenris surreptitiously glanced at Anders as he took off his jacket, watching as the sweater climbed up his torso and revealed his sharp hip bones, the trail of dark gold red hair that led from the belly button further down into the waistband of his ragged jeans- Fenris blushed and turned his head. He removed his jacket and hung it up on a hook. He should not stare. It was rude to stare.

He couldn’t help but stare.

“I’ll put the kettle on. Someone’s always got tea in the kitchen cupboard, it will be fine.” Anders told Fenris as he took their food and walked down the hall towards the center’s kitchen. Fenris followed. Anders had already taken out the kettle and was carefully measuring out water. He moved about the kitchen with practice, as if he had been in it before many times. He set the kettle on the stovetop and lit the burner.

“Look through that cupboard on the far right, that has all the tea.” Anders called out. Fenris rooted through the cabinet, pulling out box after box and placing it on the counter. Mint, green tea, black tea, raspberry tea, lemon chamomile, and more. Fenris selected a black tea flavored with spices familiar to him. There was cinnamon and anise, and it smelled like his childhood. He selected his packet and glanced back to Anders.

“What tea do you like?” Fenris asked.

“Get me the chamomile.” Anders said. “And bring some mugs over, they’re in the cabinet to the left.” Fenris picked two coffee mugs. One was decorated with a sleepy dragon sipping from a mug while saying “Just another Tuesday.” The other mug was covered in sketches of cats. Fenris handed the cat mug and chamomile packet of tea to Anders.

“Thanks. You even got my mug.” Anders commented. He tore the paper packet open and set the tea satchel into the mug.

“You have a mug and tea here.” Fenris commented. He did not ask why, but the question hovered between them, unspoken.

“I run a lot of clinics here, since people prefer going up to Lowtown instead of down to Darktown.” Anders said with a shrug. “Sometimes I stay the night, when I’m running back to back blood drives or something. It’s nice to have some things of my own around when l’m here all the time.”

“You would have the cat mug.” Fenris grumbled. He sat down on a stool in the kitchen as Anders watched the kettle. His golden red hair slipped out of its tie and spilled along his neck, clung to his sharp cheekbones- beautiful. Fenris held in his sighs. It would do no good to sigh over Anders. Beautiful men expected to be sighed over, and Fenris would not give Anders the pleasure of being right. He pulled his noodle bowl out of the bag, and grabbed the packets of chili sauce he collected from the restaurant. Fenris dumped the packets over his noodles, took out his chopsticks, and stirred the sauce in.

“Maker, you like spicy food.” Anders observed. He grabbed his bowl and rooted through the drawers for a spoon before leaning against the counter and carefully opening up the lid of his noodle bowl.

“And you prefer bland.” Fenris remarked. Fenris picked out his rice noodles and slurped them up. The chile burned against his tongue, and he nibbled on a piece of chicken in his bowl. It tasted of basil and the heat of the chile sauce.

“Teriyaki chicken is perfectly respectable!” Anders declared as he scooped up a spoonful of rice and chowed down on it. Sloppy, Fenris thought. No manners. But somehow he was still appealing.

“Do you even know how to eat with chopsticks?” Fenris asked. Anders shook his head.

“Kinloch Preparatory Academy had no interest in introducing its students to more exotic fare. Ferelden cuisine was too good for us, Cook would say. We were lucky to have three square meals and a roof over our heads.” Anders recited. His eyes looked slightly glazed over, and his expression looked bored. He shook his head and grinned.

“But we’d sneak in all sorts of treats from the outside. Karl, he’d-“ Anders shut his mouth and glanced away. The air in the room went tense, and Fenris remembered just who Karl was. Anders’s husband. Ex husband? Former husband? How did one describe a deceased spouse?

“What did Karl do?” Fenris asked cautiously. Gentle, he told himself. Be gentle with Anders on this. Fenris had never met Karl, none of their friends had, but Hawke always told them it was a sensitive topic for Anders.

“His mum would send in big batches of cookies for the holidays.” Anders murmured, staring into his bowl of rice and teriyaki chicken. “All sorts of cookies, everything we could have dreamed of and then some. And she always said that she just couldn’t decide what sort of cookies were good enough as a present, but we knew she made them for all of us who didn’t have a family to send us things.”

“That is kind of her.” Fenris remarked.

“Karl was a lot like his mum. Generous, you know.” Anders said, and he slowly approached the island counter Fenris sat at. He hovered, face full of uncertainty, at Fenris’s shoulder.

“Can I?” Anders asked, looking at the empty seat next to Fenris. Fenris gestured at the stool.

“Certainly.” Fenris replied. Anders set his rice bowl down and sat next to Fenris.

“Water should be ready soon.” Anders murmured.

“Hmmm.” Fenris hummed. They were silent, but the tension hadn’t abated. There was something between them, Fenris knew, a sort of magnetism that drew them together and made them snarl and snap. There was an attraction that could not be denied, but they always denied it. Fenris didn’t like the thought that he was running to another Mage to satisfy his needs. His darker, cynical self whispered that he was replacing Danarius with Anders, and Fenris had to constantly remind himself that Anders was not Danarius. He would never be Danarius.

Certainly not in that outfit, Fenris thought with a bit of a smirk. Danarius wouldn’t be caught dead wearing something like an old wool sweater or an ugly hat. Anders clearly opted for comfort, not style. Or his style was simply more appealing to Fenris’s sensibilities. He would not be afraid of the consequences of ruining one of Anders’s shirts.

“You know, you’re good company.” Anders said. “Most people would change the subject or pry about Karl. You just- I don’t know. Let it sit. Let it be.”

“It does not mean that I do not care or am not curious.” Fenris replied. “I simply have better manners.” Fenris’s sardonic statement brought a smile to Anders’s face and made him feel light as a feather. He had made Anders smile a real smile!

“Whatever it is, I appreciate it.” Anders said gratefully. “Isabela always asks if it’s been a dry spell after Karl died all those years ago- it’s been nearly six years! Of course I’ve gone out and- well. You know.”

Fenris did not know, but he could imagine. He saw it quite clearly- Anders flinging himself recklessly into one night stands and quick, dirty stolen moments. Fasta vass, it was an image!

“I just don’t get close to people that way. Not anymore.” Anders continued to say. “For a while I thought maybe Hawke, but they are devoted to Isabela. So I’m single and not so ready to mingle.”

“Hmmm. Same.” Fenris muttered. Anders grinned and gently nudged Fenris’s side with his elbow.

“A handsome man like you is single?” Anders teased. “Surely not!”

“My ex was a narcissist who viewed me more as an extension of his arm than as an autonomous being.” Fenris grumbled. “I am- I don’t feel like I’m ready to let go of my freedom when I just found it.”

“Sounds like you’re well rid of the bastard.” Anders said. “Good on you. Doesn’t mean you can’t have sex, though. Reclaim your body, all that. Your choice, of course.”

“I- it’s a thought.” Fenris confessed. It was tempting, and Fenris couldn’t help but think of what sex would be like with someone who didn’t expect him to act as a well oiled machine or a blank faced doll. Danarius always wanted perfection, and Fenris felt empty with him even at the heights of physical intimacy. It was too cold. Would it be different with another partner? Fenris couldn't say.

It would probably be different with Anders, Fenris thought with some fondness. Anders was the sort who would laugh at everything. Fenris could see it now: he’d get tangled up in a blanket or pull a muscle, and then there would be giggles and soft kisses and terribly jokes. It would be fun, and Fenris had never associated sex with fun before.

“I would need to find a partner.” Fenris eventually said. “Making this entire conversation an exercise in hypothetical reasoning.”

“Knickerweasels, Fenris, you’re an attractive man! Handsome, clever, good sense of humor, and you’ve got the sort of voice that makes people weak at the knees!” Anders exclaimed. “I could easily find ten suitable people who would gladly jump into bed with you for a tumble!”

“At this time of night?” Fenris teased. No one would be out after dark in Lowtown. Not in this weather.

“Andraste’s Tits, I’d sleep with you if I didn’t think you would tear my heart out of my chest.” Anders said. Fenris flushed right up to the tips of his ears.

“Truly?” He asked. His voice sounded hoarse even to his own ears. Anders blinked, his long lashes dark crescents against his pale cheeks.

“Yes, Fenris. I would have sex with you if you wanted.” Anders repeated.

“Right now? We haven’t even- that is, we aren’t-“ Fenris fumbled over his words, flustered and flattered all at once. Handsome? Him? Danarius had always said he was a dog with no natural beauty, only wildness. Yet another thing he seemed to be wrong about, Fenris realized.

“Maker’s arse, you’re a romantic.” Anders breathed out, his golden eyes wide with surprise. “That’s adorable.”

“Shut up.” Fenris said automatically. Anders chuckled and bumped his shoulder against Fenris’s. The touch seemed to release the tension in the room, and Fenris gently returned the gesture.

“You’re cute when you’re flustered.” Anders remarked. “So, if we’re going to have sex, what are the parameters? What do you like? What do you hate?”

“No one had ever asked that before.” Fenris murmured. “I will have to think about it.”

“I can do just about anything, but I hate being gagged. Also I hate having chocolate syrup poured on me, it gets stuck in my hair and is a bitch to clean off.” Anders said casually. He turned in his stool so he was facing Fenris. Fenris kept his eyes trained on his bowl of noodles swimming in chile sauce.

“We can start vanilla.” Anders suggested. “Kiss. See if you like it.” Fenris considered the proposal. A kiss was not too invasive. It did not demand much. It was intimate, of course, but a kiss was a small price to pay. If he didn’t like it Fenris was certain Anders would stop. If he liked it, well. Well.

“Just a kiss. And you stop if I ask.” Fenris demanded. Anders shrugged.

“Of course.” Anders agreed. Fenris set down his chopsticks and leaned forward, expecting the worst. He screwed his eyes shut and gritted his teeth. But a kiss didn’t come. Instead, Anders felt a warm hand cupping his face, cradling his cheek and jaw. It was a gentle touch.

“Relax, Fenris.” Anders murmured. “I’m not going to hurt you.”

“Sorry.” Fenris muttered.

“Don’t be.” Anders replied. “I’ll just have to help you relax.” There was a gentle touch to his forehead, and Fenris felt the rough bristles of Anders’s unshaven chin brush against the bridge of his nose.

“That doesn’t count!” Fenris exclaimed, and Anders chuckled before pressing another kiss to the tip of his nose. “And not that either!”

“Hmmm.” Anders hummed in what sounded like agreement and pressed a kiss to Fenris’s cheek, then the other one. Fenris sighed, but he couldn’t help the smile that crept onto his face. Anders was always the sort who did things his own way and in his own time.

“That’s good.” Anders murmured. “You have a nice smile.” Anders’s breath was warm on his face, and Fenris felt comfortable. Anders’s hand moved, tilting Fenris’s face up, and Fenris did not flinch.

Anders’s mouth was soft. He didn’t demand anything more than a press of their mouths together, but Fenris couldn’t help but tremble. This was what he was missing. Warmth. Fenris hesitantly opened his mouth when Anders’s tongue pressed against the seam of his lips. He lifted his hand and placed it against Anders’s shoulder.

“That alright?” Anders murmured when he pulled away. He pressed his forehead against Fenris’s. Fenris opened his eyes. Anders’s mouth was pink and a little swollen, and his breathing was shallow.

“I think I may need more practice.” Fenris replied, feeling a little shy and unsteady. Anders grinned and tugged Fenris forward until he straddled Anders’s lap. Fenris was not alarmed. It felt good, he trusted Anders, and his entire being felt light and excited even as he squirmed a little to make himself more comfortable. When Anders groaned and tilted his head back, Fenris decided that it was time to show off a little of his own skill. It was different with Anders, Fenris told himself as he pressed feather like kisses along Anders’s long neck. Anders was warm and reciprocated every touch. He seemed to enjoy Fenris’s company, and when his hands snuck under Fenris’s sweater they were warm and pleasant on his skin.

“I think you’ve got some natural talent.” Anders said, so close that the words were said into Fenris’s mouth. “It’s an honor to practice with you.”

There was more kissing, more touching, and Fenris tried to hold himself perfectly still while sitting on Anders’s lap. But part of him ached for closeness, and that part of him was consuming all his critical thinking and leaving him with nothing but raw instinct. Closer. Faster. More. He needed, he wanted, and he pushed even more.

“Shhh, Fenris, it’s alright.” Anders murmured. “Take it easy.” His hand slowly stroked down Fenris’s spine, pressing and petting him like he was one of Anders’s stray cats. But instead of it feeling demeaning, Fenris found it comforting and a little charming.

“Sorry.” Fenris murmured, pulling slightly away from Anders to try and breathe. Why was it so hard to breathe?

“Don’t be. I’m flattered. I- well, if we’re going to do this, we should do it properly.” Anders declared. “Bed and everything.” He seemed to have as much trouble breathing as Fenris.

“Bed?” Fenris repeated. The lack of oxygen must have made him mishear Anders, but no. Anders seemed perfectly serious.

“There are some beds in the back we can borrow. I set one up for myself when I got here, so…” Anders trailed off, giving Fenris a suggestive little grin. “I can bring some things, and we can… experiment?”

“What sort of experiments?” Fenris asked cautiously. Anders smiled and pressed his lips to Fenris’s cheek before tilting his head up to whisper into his ear.

“The good kind.” Anders murmured. “And nothing you don’t want. Meet me at the top of the stairs, third door on the right.” The rough bristles on his cheeks and chin scraped against Fenris’s smooth cheek as Anders pulled away. Fenris slowly got off the stool and stood up. His legs were trembling. Anders seemed to slink off the stool like one of his cats, all sinuous movement like a dancer. Perhaps his tales of dancing a “spicy shimmy” and seduction were not just stories after all. Fenris stumbled up the stairs while Anders remained below, gathering whatever he thought they needed for sex.

Sex. With Anders. Suddenly the prospect seemed more than a little daunting. Fenris opened the door to the room Anders told him about and sat down on the edge of the bed. The bed was a fold down queen-sized bed, one that could be hoisted up and put away against the wall. Anders had already put sheets and covers on the bed, clearly anticipating to spend the night here at the shelter. There was even a floor lamp that he had moved from one corner of the room to a spot near the bed. Fenris ran his hand over the thick comforter. It was good, sturdy cotton. A dependable fabric, Fenris thought, and dyed a pretty dark blue shade with little patterns of Andraste’s Grace and elfroot printed in a seemingly random pattern. It was domestic and a bit old fashioned housewife-ish.

Danarius would have never had this on his bed, Fenris thought, and suddenly Fenris felt a little less unsteady. This was his own choice of his own making, and it was nothing like Danarius would have had. This was his choice. Fenris carefully unlaced his boots and placed them at the end of the bed when Anders quietly entered the room. He shut the door behind him and set the items in his arms down on the bedside table. He sat down on the bed next to Fenris and began removing his own boots. The mattress dipped under his weight, and Anders hesitantly leaned against Fenris’s body.

“How are you feeling?” Anders asked.

“Nervous.” Fenris confessed. “I have no idea what I’m doing.”

“You could’ve fooled me.” Anders replied with a gentle smile. “But I’m nervous too.”

“You?” Fenris asked. Anders had seemed so certain, so confident! Even now he took Fenris’s hand in his and comforted him.

“Yes. We can hardly be in the same room together without arguing.” Anders explained. “We have such- well, there’s this tension between us. But maybe if we, you know.” There was a pretty pink flush on Anders’s face, a bright color that stretched from his forehead all the way down to his neck and disappeared into the collar of his sweater. Yes, Fenris thought. There was always tension between them, an underlying tension that never seemed to ease.

“You think that if we have sex, that tension will end.” Fenris stated.

“Yes. Maybe. Can’t possibly make things worse. I think you’re attractive, you find me attractive, we’re consenting adults- so sex.” Anders reached towards the items on the table and picked them up before laying them out on his lap to display them for Fenris’s inspection. He stared at the motley collection of items and wondered what Anders was up to.

There was a carton of strawberries and a bar of chocolate. There was a feather Anders must have plucked off a feather duster in the utility closet, and packets of lube and condoms. And Anders also brought up a small bottle of lotion Fenris distinctly remembered from his clinic, something that smelled herbal and sweet and fresh. And then there was a scrap of maroon silk patterned with tiny dark blue dots- a tie. Fenris looked over the objects apprehensively.

“Thought we could play a game. Sensory deprivation is supposed to heighten the experience, after all.” Anders explained casually, but then his golden eyes held a devious sort of glint to them.

“So, I thought we’d start with a massage. Then you can blindfold me.” Anders said frankly.

“Me? Blindfold you?” Fenris didn’t think anyone would ask to be blindfolded, ask to have power taken from them, but Anders was not anyone. He was Anders, and he was always surprising.

“Yes. I give you a good massage, get you nice and relaxed, and then you can have your filthy wild way with me.” Anders said casually. “Brought some fun things to bring with us, we can just relax and have a good time. Forget about us arguing and just enjoy ourselves.”

Fenris could see the appeal in forgetting, even for one night. Forget the tension, forget his fear, just live in the moment and fuck Anders’s brains out. He hadn’t even realized he moved until he had knocked Anders onto the bed and had straddled his hips while kissing him. Anders seemed nonplussed and returned the kisses with equal enthusiasm. Even when Anders rolled them over and pushed Fenris back into the pillows, Fenris didn’t feel trapped or upset. Fenris could push him back. Fenris could walk away. He could do whatever he wished, and he wanted to be here with Anders. Just one night and nothing more. Not if they didn’t want it.

“You are gorgeous.” Anders murmured. “Maker, Fenris, how do you walk down the street without turning every head?” He lifted the hem of Fenris’s sweater and began to push it up over his abdomen. Anders’s fingers danced across his stomach and Fenris giggled. Anders grinned and took off the rest of his sweater before tossing it on the floor.

“It’s easy to remain unnoticed in this city. Drive fast and wear a helmet.” Fenris replied. He pushed himself up onto his elbows. He reached for Anders’s sweater and pulled it over his head. Anders’s golden hair rose in the air due to static. Fenris laughed, and Anders joined him.

“You are adorable.” Fenris finally said when he could breathe again. “What next?” Anders stretched over him and grabbed the bottle of lotion from the table. He opened the top and squirted some in his hands. It smelled of lavender and elfroot, sweet and sharp. Anders rubbed his hands together, warming the lotion.

“On your stomach, Fenris.” Anders ordered. Fenris raised his eyebrow and waited for an explanation. He would not take orders without a good reason. Anders sighed and slowly scooted off Fenris’s lap.

“Your back is a mess of knots.” Anders explained. “If I’m ever going to get you relaxed in bed with me I’m going to have to work out the kinks in your back.”

“We could work out other kinks.” Fenris suggested. “More interesting ones.”

“Did you just- never mind.” Anders said. “Stomach. Now.” Fenris shook his head and rolled over. He felt Anders straddle his legs, a warm, heavy weight on him. He felt his cock stiffen underneath him and he ordered himself to stay still as Anders’s lotion covered hands began to touch his back. It was a familiar scene, though Fenris had never been the one to lay back and be serviced. This is different, Fenris told himself even as his erection died. Anders wants to be here, and he wasn’t being taken advantage of- but Fenris couldn’t help but wonder. He enjoyed it until he had thought of what he did with- no. Danarius would not taint this moment too.

“There’s no need to be servile, Anders.” Fenris muttered, still thinking of service and how much he hated being a personal servant to someone else’s whims. “I don’t need to be tended to.” Anders scoffed and his hand slapped Fenris’s bicep. It was gentle with no real anger or strength behind it, but Anders then returned to massaging Fenris’s shoulders and neck with a vengeance.

“I am not servile.” Anders grunted. “I’m trying to be helpful. And keep on breathing, Andraste’s Knickers, how am I supposed to know this is working if you stay as stiff as a board?” But his hands never stopped moving, even as he berated Fenris for being so tense and touchy and that he would never do something he didn’t want to do, especially in bed. As Anders rambled on and on, Fenris relaxed. Anders wanted this, and Fenris could enjoy it. He was allowed, no, encouraged to enjoy this.

“Other parts of me are getting stiff.” Fenris murmured. “Perhaps you should massage them as well?”

“You’re as bad as Hawke.” Anders grumbled, his hands on Fenris’s lower back.

“Have you slept with Hawke?” Fenris asked. The question flew from his mouth without a thought, and he tensed his entire body. It was over now, obviously it was over-

“No. I’ve slept with Isabela, but not Hawke.” Anders replied cheerfully. “That was ages ago, of course, and she’s now monogamous which seems impossible but it’s true!” Anders’s hands slowed, then stopped, resting lightly on Fenris’s back.

“You alright, Fenris? Did I hurt you?” Anders asked.

“No.” Fenris said shortly. “Just… you’re certain about sleeping with me.” Fenris wanted it, fasta vass he wanted- but did Anders?

“Absolutely.” Anders replied automatically. “Knickerweasels! Fen, roll over.” Fenris hesitantly rolled onto his back, and Anders took his face into his hands and kissed him firmly.

“You are attractive, desirable, and I am very, very interested in having sex.” Anders declared once he pulled away. “And I think I need to show you just how interested I am.” Anders reached over Fenris and pulled another object off the table. The maroon silk tie dangled from his fingertips.

“Will you trust me if I blindfold you?” Anders asked softly.

“Will you not have sex with me if I refuse?” Fenris asked instead. He eyed the tie warily. He was curious, but he wasn’t sure if he was willing to try. Once again he wanted to explore, he wanted to know, but experience and fear held him back.

“No. We don’t have to use it, and it’s not conditional.” Anders explained. “We’re having sex regardless.”

“Then why bring it? Why do all this?” Fenris asked. It was strange to prepare so much on the spur of the moment. Why make so many plans? Why be so flexible with ideas and- and Fenris realized then that he could trust Anders. Anders wouldn’t demand anything Fenris wasn’t willing to give. He would listen. And knowing that Anders would listen to him took away the fear.

“Probably won’t have a second chance at this, so I figured we can try everything.” Anders said, and a flush overtook his features and spread down his chest. “If you’re up to it, of course.”

“I’m… I will try.” Fenris said hesitantly. He took the tie in his hands and tied it against his eyes. The silk was cool on his eyelids.

“The moment you want to stop, you let me know.” Anders told Fenris. “Let me help you sit up a bit.” Anders was gentle as he guided Fenris back against the pillows before he stopped touching Fenris. A moment later he pressed a kiss to Fenris’s cheek.

“You don’t have to be so hesitant.” Fenris grumbled. “I’ve had sex before.”

“I like taking my time.” Anders murmured. “I’m going to take your pants off now.” Fenris lifted his hips and squirmed so he could kick off his pants and smallclothes. Eventually he was naked, exposed, and blindfolded. Yet Fenris did not feel afraid.

“How the fuck do you fit your cock into your pants?” Anders whispered, his voice full of the reverence that was usually reserved for Chantry hymns and prayers. Fenris smirked.

“Practice.” He said crisply. There was a light touch on his cock, and then another. The touch wandered up his abdomen and circled around his nipples. It traced up his sternum, up his neck, and then back down. Fenris frowned. It didn’t feel like a finger. It was too light, too wispy to be flesh. Hair? No, it wasn’t hair.

“Are you tickling me with a feather?” Fenris asked. Anders laughed, and the mattress dipped under his weight as he sat down.

“It obviously isn’t working, is it?” Anders teased. He moved then, straddling Fenris’s lap, and Fenris gasped at the feeling of Anders’s bare legs against his own. His legs were prickly with hair, rough against his thighs, and when Anders adjusted his body his hard cock pressed against something else warm and silken and hot-

“Am I allowed to touch?” Fenris asked. Anders, who had been pressing kisses and little nibbles against his neck, giggled. His breath was hot against Fenris’s skin, and he pressed harder against Fenris. Fenris bucked his hips, desperate for more friction.

“Touch as much as you like, sweetheart.” Anders murmured, and Fenris gladly complied. His fingers tangled in Anders’s hair as he pulled him close and kissed him. He liked kissing Anders. Anders kissed aggressively, but he did not hurt Fenris. He was playful, he nipped and teased and smiled and laughed, and Fenris hadn’t known that sex could be fun before now. He returned the kisses and Anders’s touches with his own, pulling him close until there was no space left between them, cocks trapped between their stomachs.

“Where’s the lube?” Fenris asked. He felt a little clumsy, only able to feel where Anders was and not see. But he must have been doing well, because Anders was writhing on his lap and gasping for air while cursing and praising him in equal measure.

 

“Table, I’ll get it.” Anders replied, and Fenris felt him stretch away and return. He pressed a cool plastic tube into his hand, and Fenris grinned.

“Good. You can take orders.” Fenris teased. His fingers fumbled to unscrew the cap, but he managed it. He squeezed a liberal amount of lube onto his fingers and rubbed the cool gel between his fingers to try and warm it up.

“You’re bossy in bed.” Anders commented. “I like it.” His voice was breathy, and the sound sent jolts of pleasure down Fenris’s cock. He liked that Anders was loud and kept up a running commentary of Fenris’s actions. Anders liked when Fenris kissed his neck and jawline. He did not appreciate the pinch to his ass, thank you very much, or the comments that he was too skinny. He very much liked Fenris biting his nipples and loved a few light slaps on his ass. And he seemed to love frottage. He squirmed and mewled and tried to get closer, and Fenris had to stop him several times so they could prolong their time together.

“Good.” Fenris replied. “Move your legs, I’m stretching you out.”

“So you’re planning to fuck a naughty mage into submission?” Anders joked as he moved so that Fenris could move his hand and use his fingers.

“No.” Fenris retorted. “I’m planning to fuck a mage because he and I are enthusiastic equal partners.” Fenris slowly inserted one lives up finger into Anders and added another, slowly stretching him out and grinning as Anders squirmed and groaned. He must be flushed from his cheeks down, Fenris thought with no small amount of pleasure, and he wished he could see it. But Anders was right. There was pleasure in losing one of your senses. It made everything else more intense.

“Fuckkkkk.” Anders whined as Fenris fingered him. “Fuck fuck shit fuck!”

“I’m planning to get to that fucking business soon enough.” Fenris replied, crossing his fingers inside of Anders and curving them slightly. “Patience.”

“Can’t be patient when you sound like that!” Anders gasped. “Fuck! Maker, fuck me!”

“I’m flattered, but I am hardly a god.” Fenris replied as he stretched his fingers slightly and Anders cried out. Fenris used his free hand to tug at Anders’s hair. He cupped his neck and pulled him closer.

“Tell me what you look like.” Fenris ordered. Anders groaned and tucked his head into Fenris’s neck. He loosely wrapped his arms around Fenris and bounced a bit on Fenris’s fingers.

“I’m all pink.” Anders said, his voice shaking like a leaf on a fall breeze. “Always get pink like this, I’m a wreck. My hair’s a mess. My neck has bite marks. And I’ve got precome all over my stomach.”

“I know.” Fenris murmured. “Condom. On my cock. Now.”

“Got it.” Anders croaked, and even as he trembled he stretched and grabbed the packet. Fenris heard the foil tear and then there was a long pause. He curled his fingers again and grinned when Anders moaned.

“What are you waiting for?” Fenris asked.

“Allergies. Are you allergic to latex?” Anders asked, and fuck- nothing was hotter than Anders being a professional healer while fucking himself on Fenris’s fingers. Even in the midst of sex, Anders cared about health and safety. It was both adorable and arousing all at once, and Fenris would have liked to spend more time thinking on why he found it so attractive. But he was rather busy having wild sex, so he did not linger on the thought for long.

“No. Why do you ask?” Fenris asked.

“I’ve got sheepskin condoms too, and I’m clean- should have had this conversation before all this, but considering that I’ve been your healthcare provider and you test yourself almost as regularly as I do-” Anders groaned again when Fenris stretched him with three fingers.

“Habit.” Fenris replied. “But I am fine with latex. Just put it on.” Fenris didn’t know that putting on a condom could be sexy, but somehow Anders managed to make the act arousing. He was slow, deliberate, and once the latex was snugly fit onto his cock Anders wrapped his hand around Fenris’s now sheathed cock. He could feel the coolness of the lube through the latex, and Anders’s firm but careful, slow movements were enough to make Fenris thrust his hips up and into Anders’s fist. Anders was still bouncing up and down on his fingers, and Fenris took a hold of his hip with his free hand to try and slow him down.

“Andraste’s tits will you just fuck me already?” Anders whined, and Fenris complied. Though he could have simply removed his hand and moved Anders onto his lap, Fenris removed his fingers and flipped Anders onto his back instead. Anders let out a startled yelp, but he hurriedly scrambled and reached for Fenris. Fenris felt Anders’s hands grasping for his forearms, he felt Anders’s legs loosely wrap around his waist and tug him forward, he felt Anders grip his cock and place him at his entrance. Anders was a little demanding and needy, and Fenris felt the same way. He pressed himself into Anders, and he loved the way Anders’s legs tried to gain purchase and grip him tightly.

“Impatient.” Fenris teased, though his voice was breahy and he could barely speak. He started with slow, shallow thrusts, thrusts that Anders egged on. Fenris tried to find Anders’s mouth with his own, pressing clumsy kisses to his chest and making his way up to his jawline. Anders turned his head and met him halfway, Their kisses were clumsy presses of mouths and bumping of teeth, and the two of them giggled like fools when they kept bumping their noses against each other. And when Fenris thrust harder and faster and his hand reached out to grab something to hold onto, Anders’s hand was there, and they held each other through their orgasms.

Untangling themselves afterwards proved to be quite the challenge. Both of them were sweaty and exhausted, and Fenris found that laying on top of Anders was surprisingly comfortable. Anders helped Fenris take off the blindfold, and Fenris couldn’t get enough of looking at Anders. He was flushed and looked utterly satisfied sprawled out on the cotton comforter, and if Fenris wasn’t so exhausted he would be tempted to fuck him again just to watch his golden eyes turn hazy with lust. But as they were both tired and rather content for the moment, Fenris was fine with sharing lazy kisses. Anders didn’t complain, so Fenris didn’t move beyond easing out of Anders and tying off and tossing the condom into the trashcan across the room. It landed inside the can with a satisfying thud.

“You’re… you’re pretty good.” Anders murmured with a silly grin plastered on his face. “Really good. Haven’t had something like that in… ages.”

“I didn’t realize sex could be fun.” Fenris replied. “Thank you, Anders.” Anders flushed and lowered his eyes, as if embarrassed.

“That’s sweet of you, Fen.” Anders said. “Do you- well, it’s pretty late, and cold. And we’re already here and naked…”

“I’ll spend the night in your bed with you, Anders.” Fenris said, rolling off Anders to dive under the covers. The cotton fabric was cool against his heated skin. Anders tried to follow him, but he winced and clutched his leg.

“Ahh, Andraste, fuck!” Anders complained with a hiss of pain as he rubbed his upper thigh. “Leg cramp.” Fenris chuckled and reached down to massage the cramp as Anders squirmed into a better position on the bed. Once the atmosphere and ardour had cooled, the room had grown rather chilly, so when Anders finally dove under the covers he snuggled close to Fenris.

“I had all sorts of plans too, but now I’m too tired to do them!” Anders complained, almost mouthing the words into Fenris’s chest. “I was going to feed you strawberries and have you eat squares of chocolate off my stomach!” Fenris ran his fingers through Anders’s golden red hair and combed out the snarls in it. The quiet between them was new. New and pleasant. It was peaceful. Serene. Fenris had never found Anders serene before, but now here he was, a strange, new part of Anders previously undiscovered. And if he was seeing new parts of Anders, what was Anders seeing of him?

“It’s not too late to feed each other strawberries.” Fenris pointed out cautiously. “And if you have other ideas, I’m more than open to trying them out at a later date.” If Anders was willing, Fenris wanted to explore what they could be together. He wanted more nights like this, nights filled with sex and laughter and exploration. But he wanted days filled with them bickering and grabbing lunch and walking over ice patches, or riding through Kirkwall on his bike, or going to the Wounded Coast for a camping trip- Fenris wanted it all, and he wanted it with Anders.

“A… later date?” Anders asked hesitantly. He pushed himself up onto his elbow and looked down at Fenris. His golden hair fell across his shoulders, tumbled and gorgeous and touchable.

“I don’t think the tension between us has gone away.” Fenris explained. “I think we’ll have to do this again. Maybe have breakfast, hold hands. That sort of thing.”

“Romantic.” Anders retorted, but he lowered himself down on top of Fenris and began to kiss him, slow and open mouthed, and Fenris could feel himself growing a little hard again. Oh well, Fenris thought with a grin as Anders took charge and took him in hand. He and Anders would have this discussion again, and Fenris was determined to convince Anders that he was in the right.

-

“Maker’s Tits, we let you two stay alone in a building for one evening and you two fuck like nugs during mating season!” A loud voice exclaimed from the door. Fenris blearily opened his eyes and gazed over at Hawke, whose large frame filled the open doorway.

“Ohhh, are they still going at it?” Isabela asked eagerly. Her head peered out from behind Hawke and she whistled low, gazing at the clothing flung about the room.

“Fen, sweetheart, make them go away.” Anders groaned as he rolled over and flung a bare arm across Fenris’s waist. Fenris glared at Hawke, who ignored them in favor of gaping at the half empty box of strawberries.

“Holy shit, did you eat Merrill’s strawberries?” Hawke exclaimed. “She needed those for a cake or something!”

“There’s a whole ‘nother box down there, Hawke let me sleep.” Anders complained. “Fenris kept me up all night.”

“All night?” Isabela repeated, her eyes alight with unholy glee. Fenris shrugged.

“Not my fault he has no stamina and needs a nap.” Fenris replied, and even when Anders gave him a lazy slap on his arm it barely stung him.

“He’s insatiable and for some reason likes having sex with me.” Anders complained. “I’ll never get a full night’s sleep again.”

“Like you were before.” Fenris retorted, but he pointed to the door. “Hawke, Isabela, leave. We’ll be down in an hour to help prep the center for dinner. Make coffee.” He rolled over to face Anders and curled up into him. It was warm, he felt safe and happy, and Fenris did not plan to move until- well, he didn't want to move at all right now.

“Only an hour?” Isabela asked with a laugh.

“Only an hour if we have coffee. Otherwise two.” Anders said firmly. “Go. I need sleep.” And when the door shut behind Isabela and Hawke, they could still hear Hawke loudly complaining about the box of strawberries, their voice fading into the background.

“How fast do you think we can fuck before we go take a shower across the hall?” Anders murmured, his eyes alight with mischief. Fenris grinned and pulled Anders on top of him.

“I suspect we will get better with practice.” Fenris declared, and as the two of them tumbled back into the sheets amid laughter Fenris felt incredibly at peace.

“Happy Wintersend, Anders.” Fenris said softly.

“Happy Wintersend, Fenris.” Anders replied.