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Autumn Whispers

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A struggling male figure managed to reach the side gate of a familiar-looking mansion before collapsing. Red fluid saturated his shoulder and chest. If he had a choice, he would rather not collapse face first. Vaguely above him, someone screamed. Cumbersome footsteps vibrated the ground and more talking ensued, then he was turned on his back. Though his eyes were closed, the red haze of agony and urge to throw up remained. He had been certain of impending death, dreaming of beautiful gods dancing in the coraline skies. Don't want to struggle anymore, this is agonizing... 

 

“Maker, It’s an elf! Get Master Fenris NOW!”  Attendants carried the bleeding victim to a spare room, with different ranks of Healer-mages in white and red robes rushing in. They were seasoned medical personnel who saw blood on a daily basis, but as they combined their healing spells to staunch bloodflow and repair severely damaged internal wounds, could not help but be horrified by such brutality. Who would do such a thing? He looked so innocent. Two adepts in training had green pallor to their faces. Tubs of hot water, the medicines, and almost every equipment was smeared crimson. Much later did they recognize Zevran Arainai, for his face had been bruised and gashed seriously. The patient laboured to breathe through injured lungs, so a senior mage focused her mana on the lungs. Nothing more could be done for his burning fever. 

 

Fenris rushed in, still clad in his spiked armour, closely trailed by a shorter young woman in simple robes. The tall warrior’s lyrium glowed as his emotions and anxiety ran high. He was barely gasping from his sprint. “Can you save him?” he demanded, an intimidating sight, though he had not unsheathed his Greatsword yet.

“Yes, Sir. He needs a long rest. Now out of danger,” One of the healers responded.

“How long? Will he make it?” Fenris growled, gripping the fellow’s shoulder so hard that he squeaked. The lower half of his body and his gauntlets turned translucent.  Every mage in the room paled and tittered nervously. The black-haired girl placed a restraining hand on Fenris. Everyone had been waiting with bated breath if the man would be flung to the opposite corner of the house, or stabbed through the heart.

 "He- will live, we have done everything we can. Soon as the fever breaks he should be better." As the man stuttered, Fenris did not relent his grip. He wondered, how is it possible she can touch him? No one dares * 

“Uncle Fenris, they won’t fail. Don't worry” she repeated a third time. He frowned, ears pricking and turned to answer. The magic faded and once more he looked normal. But she was now gaping at the patient.  Why, because she had never seen another exotic Elf besides him! Her mother forbade her to visit the Alienage (region of immigrants elves), let alone traipse to Dalish encampments.

Still, a sickroom with so much blood was not for one of such a tender age...  Fenris suddenly remembered their original purpose and motioned they leave the room. “Sabriel, you shouldn’t follow me in. Come away. Are you alright?” Fenris led her outside, one hand to block her face. That unfortunate mage rubbed his shoulder, a baleful glare when Fenris and his friend walked off.

 “But -- I…” she scowled and protested.

Fen would not have been so lenient with others, but he had a soft spot for youths. "That was not a sight for you, I specified that I would go in myself." He grumbled. 

“Uncle Fenris, who’s that? Bit worried there... So were you really going to hit them?” she ignored his point and grinned.

 “He is--- a friend. Stop that violent imagination, I'm changed.” He rubbed his forehead, relieved that no one had been hurt in his blind panic. (with the sharp spikes he did so gently)  “Ah yes, don’t you need to go for training?”

She snorted, a very unfeminine sound that almost triggered him to laugh, but he swallowed it back. “Nah, I’ve to be at the Chantry today. I’m not going. Don’t tell Mum. I’m with you, anyway, not with bad company. Ok?” She grinned. 

 

Although Fenris didn’t approve of preaching nuns who seemed like brainwashers, he was going to pretend he did not hear that. Sabriel often bent the rules. “I still want to see you walk in to the sparring class. At least. If she does not meet me, I won’t have to speak. ” The youths went to combat-sparring sessions and duels at one building and history, culture, religious classes at the Chantry.  

“That’s much much later. Can’t I follow you around, Uncle Fen?”

Sabriel fingered his longer pale hair and admired those viridian slanted eyes, like beautiful glass jewellery. He took his role as guardian quite seriously and shook his head. “No. Since you don’t want to attend religion, maybe you can… mix with your friends. Or, something else. It’ll be fine.”

Fenris had been deprived of a normal childhood and education, all the more he wanted her to have a better prospect. While waiting for her, someone at the library had talked with him about that. When she pressed for a reason, he listed the options. “I didn’t have choices, squirt. Remember you said you’d cheer me up? This is not it.”  He closed his eyes.

She thought about it. “Then, I will. Don’t worry, know you want to wait for that handsome one to wake up. Wow.” He managed a smile. Yes, he had won the short term battle! After listening to her account of trivia, Fenris decided to accompany her as Zevran might not wake so soon. They walked together to the city’s training Academy about fifteen minutes away and he stopped at the gate. Her friends were all blushing and waving, blowing kisses to him. He didn’t pay them attention.

“I can't wait to talk to him. Don’t worry so much.” she urged him, not letting go of his hand.

 “Yes. I know. If you skip lessons, I will punish you.” He feigned anger. They shared a laugh.

“Take care now, goodbye.” He watched until she joined her classmates.


 

Fenris returned to the mansion. After Danarius perished, Varric had rallied some buddies to spruce up the place so he was never alone for long. At first, the reclusive warrior had been upset about the lack of privacy but through these years, he had learnt to appreciate their kindness. Sabriel was the niece of Aveline one of the bravest Knights he had the pleasure of fighting alongside. Her mother Esme was connected to the Order of the templars but had always made Fenris welcome in the feasts she organized. He had many duties, one of which involved being bodyguard to famous clients.

 Coming upstairs, he hurried to check on Zevran. He hardly recalled when they had been together,the last time. Could it be a coincidence? Although Fenris didn’t take to people easily, watching how frail he now looked, he wished he could apologise for his brusqueness before.   Zevran was coy and humorous, liked to regale them with his adventures even if he didn’t always want to pay attention.

 

“I don’t know if you can hear me, Zevran. Come back,” he whispered, patting his hand, not covered by the bedsheets. The injured assassin looked gaunt and wraithlike, his breathing labored from broken ribs. His face tattoo had smeared off and a scar had etched along his right cheek. His beautiful golden locks had lost their sheen and braid. A mage softly spoke about his condition, that Zevran might wake up in a week if he did not have concussion and there was minimal suffering as they had cast a Deep slumber spell. It was best to give him fluids if he roused.

This time, Fenris was calmer and dismissed the servants. He rinsed a washcloth and sponged the patient. Had to watch out for high fever and infection. At one point, his eartip moved and he seemed to twitch his fingers. Zev was Antivan so when he murmured something, the warrior did not understand. When you get better, I’ll listen to all of your speeches. Fight it  Then he noticed how cracked and ashen Zev’s lips were and squeezed some drops of water through them. He licked his lips and his throat bobbed. Fenris smiled.

The last time they had met, the assassin had kissed him while tipsy. Then Fenris pushed him back, Zev's wounded rejection, he remembered nothing more.  Who could possibly have done this to Zevran Arainai? He was always quite friendly... He soon fell asleep from ruminating.

 

*****

As Fenris stirred from his vigil beside the painted elf, people announced a name and knocks continued. “Coming. Who is it?” He could not help being irritated.

 

“Me, Alistair. I got word Zev is here, with news?” the friendly redhead waved and popped his head in. Then he saw who was lying in the bed.

Fenris said, rising from the chair and inviting him in.  “He’s still not woken up. What news do you mean?” Normally he got along well with the templar, since he was without magic and his chattering did not grate on the nerves like Zev and Isabella.

 

Alistair began explaining about random riots and wars breaking out in the other regions. Then a servant came in with bloodstained documents. They had been found on Zevran and two other Crows. Those two refused to speak at all, having their wounds treated and held for questioning by Aveline. “Um sorry Fenris.”

He looked at him quizzically. “Why?”

“Zev being so badly hurt. He wasn’t always the nicest person, but we fought together. Though I suspected him, he became alright. I hope he gets well. Soon. ” Alistair tried to hold his emotions in check.

Fenris nodded imperceptibly. He appreciated this sentiment. “It’s fine.” They tried to decipher the seals and documents. When some people returned to continue examining the unconscious elf, Alistair declared, “Um I’m famished! Anything to eat here?”

 

“Yes of course. You’re always hungry.” Fenris smiled.

                                          *******************************************

 

Zevran thought he he was hearing Rinna his ex lover crying out to him. He wept. And his mother. Wait, weren’t they dead? Why does life have to be so damn rosy Maker? He demanded. Wet droplets dribbled into his parched throat and a cold liquid spread across his face. Without opening his eyes, Zevran tried to jerk away but a firm hand pressed him down. He was left in peace.

The distinct aroma of coffee and moving items, footsteps assaulted his senses.

“Hey Zevie!”

He moaned, feeling a hammer on his skull. Who the hell dared to call him that? His heavy eyelids cracked open and the first thing about this person was the stubble on his chin and then the friendly face. “Alistair? Where…” Zevran instinctively moved, jarring his chest and coughing.

“Ah no no. Calm down, you’ve been out for two weeks.” The other man eased him down.

 He caught his breath and found he could speak but at a whisper. Alistair leaned closer. “Really? Where is this?”

“Fenris’ home.”  At the mention of his friend, Zev was filled with mixed emotions. He also wanted to cry but not in front of others. The templar helped him to hold the cup so he could drink water. 

Then someone else asked loudly, “Uncle Alistair! Is he finally alright now? The cool elf guy?”

The templar blocked his view and spoke to her.  But in she came, Zevran’s vision was blurry but he made out her dark short hair and she was holding a staff. “This is Sabriel Kitana, niece to Aveline. Ah I forgot wait wait.” Because the patient had been bleeding they had stripped him of the loose robe too. Alistair covered him with a blanket.

 

Sabriel was now at the foot of his bed. “Hello. I’m Zevran Arainai. Normally I would bow but…” The Antivan felt delighted with the attention.

“Wow! Is that an Elvish name? Yep pointed ears,” she noted. He chuckled.

 Alistair protested, “Sabriel, don’t be rude. And he’s sick.”

 His weakness faded temporarily.  “No I’m alright. Nice to have a visitor, hehe. You may notice I am… not clothed.”  Mischeviously, the elf began to push away the blankets.

“Might I speak, she is underage. You’ll catch a cold.” The man stopped him from doing so.  She had a confident poise and instead of a dress that Zevran expected, she wore a masculine coat and leggings.

“Uncle Alistair, I’m fine. C’mon.” She rubbed her staff and then leaned it against a wall. 

The elf tried to figure out how they were related. Totally different, or maybe she had a different mother…. “Congrats Alistair. Your niece is, nice.”

They stopped bickering. “Oh he’s not my uncle in that sense. I also call Varric, and Fenris that. They’re my friends. Cos I’m adopted amongst everyone.” Sabriel explained. She tried to look for the famous antivan tattoos that she had read about. 

 

“Look not too long. We also have important things to discuss. When you’re better, Zev.”

Zev felt weary again, but looked forward to Fen's homecoming.

 

When the door closed, the patient gingerly shifted his sore body more comfortably. Lying on his side, he was less dizzy. “Yep I won’t stay too long. Sleep.”

“Can I talk with him? Fenris?”

 

“I already sent a messenger. He’s busy now, on some mission. They said you have knives and lots of tools. Why?” Her brown eyes were wide as saucers.

He let her feel his ear tips and touch his hands. “I’m an assassin. You aren’t, scared?” Partly because of the bloodloss and consideration he didn’t elaborate.

“Nope. I’m doing combat lessons at the Academy. Using staff, not good with blades yet. How is the pain?” 

He was quiet because of a throb of pain. 

Sabriel dug in her bag and opened a small vial of rose fluid. “Hm I think you are still in pain. Want to try this? Helps with pain.”

“Oh sure.” Not blushing, she helped him to apply it to his right shoulder.  “You made it?” He yawned.

“Alchemy class. We’re to make a few in case of injuries.”

“So smart.” He smiled charmingly.  This time Sabriel tucked hair behind her ear and chuckled. She said he ought to eat something.

 

*********

Then Fenris came in without armour, less intimidating. Homely clad in a grey shirt and pants. Beside him, Sabriel was balancing a bowl of food on a tray, which smelled heavenly.

Zev exclaimed in Antivan, forgetting his condition and sat up very quickly. He guessed that it was a kind of chicken soup. His vision went dark around the edges. But it did not matter, the handsome Tevinter Elf had come!   

“Don’t move, you’re not well.” Fenris chided, holding out his hand.

Zevran said he was alright though he paled. His chest ached again.

“Hey uncle, wanna feed him?”   

Fenris glared at Sabriel but not in a fatal sort of way. “We are friends. Can you Stop implying something?” That was the familiar low husky voice Zev remembered. “You can feed him.” Fenris gave her the chair and tucked the blankets.

Internally the warrior wanted to shout yes you didn’t die!! But the danger was past so no need to be demonstrative. Zevran was quite disappointed, expecting more warmth. After all he’d almost died.

He relished the food. But Zev was never one to endure long silences and asked, “Oh you have a niece now?” Fenris did not do small talk well.

 

“No. She is my charge… hey didn’t you introduce yourself? Alistair came isn’t it?” He nudged the girl.

 

“Yep I did. Maybe you’re too tired, still in pain.” Zevran didn’t mind. He admitted he may have forgotten. After some time, the stoic elf came to stand on his other side.

“Good that you’re awake. I almost- threatened the mages.”  He had no tone in his voice, just neutral.

 

“Yea! Lucky nobody died! I hoped to see more action, ” she bantered, with some sound effects. Fenris glared.  Zev mused, Hm this is odd. No one has dared to make fun of Fenris

“Argh, that’s too dramatic. I don’t--- won’t kill innocents.” Fenris rumbled in exasperation.

Zevran chuckled, reaching out to hold Fenris' bare hand. It felt rough with scars and damp.

The warrior frowned at him. “What is it? Does it hurt?”

 “Um yes. Stay a while.” They talked about herbs and medicines. Fenris could read the labels and Zevran lay back listening to his voice. Later he murmured- Did he glow blue?

Fenris said, “Not that much. Okay that’s too much excitement. You deliberately forgot what we planned, squirt. He is a guest.”  She said sorry but cheekily. With some food and medicines, the antivan fell asleep.

“What was it, uncle Fen? Weird tongue,” She bounced.

“I don’t know either. It’s antivan, his country.” Softly Fenris turned down the lights and they left the room. “Oh yes I’ve to check on him. And meet Alistair about other things… will you be going home?”

 

“You’re not seriously angry are you? Wanted to cheer you up.” He marvelled at their friendship and trust, despite his own difficult personality. 

“No I’m not. If I truly am, I would leave you. It's better that you go to your house before it gets too dark. Go,” Fenris replied, gesturing at the evening sky. She made her most pleading expression and begged to stay. He sighed. 

 

*****

Zev’s migraine worsened, when he tried to recall what happened. A lot of time to, as he was confined to bed. Some old friends came, even Wynne. She had been disapproving of his bisexual nature, yet she came. He really liked Fenris, they were such opposites!

Perfect starter to ask the girl about him. She was kind enough to drop in at least once a day.

 “Hello Zev! Er how to pronounce your name?” 

“Come in.” He looked up from the boring novel and said his name with emphasis on the R.  

“Oh, don't mean to interrupt, sorry, ” Sabriel said, moving to leave. Now the Antivan felt chilly so his legs were covered by extra blankets. 

“No no I’m better company today. Wish I can go out. ” Zevran complained amicably.

She enquired about his health and made him eat some fruits as well.

He wanted to be coy. “So, you've noticed this.... flame between Fenris and I? ”

 

The youth gasped almost dropping her pen. “Er… that’s true. Actually Uncle Fenris was pissed off when they said don’t know when you’d be fine. Hasn’t exploded like that for a while, Aveline told me not to talk about the past. Those bad men.”

He nodded, good that they understood the broody elf so well. Who was the "Aveline"? Zevran did not recall any of his colleagues with that name. 

 

Sabriel was gazing at him in unconcealed fascination. “What colour are your eyes? Not green?”

“No, hey we have the same brown eyes.” Zevran beamed. She peered at him. He was pleased to talk about mundane stuff and not worry too much.

"Wow yea! I always thought elves have really bright crystalline blue, or green or violet eyes! Oops."

"Depends on which clan you are from. I'm from the city, so I guess I look different. And, you are still going to check me, though I've confirmed it, yes?"

Sabriel found her pen and twirled it. "Well, Alistair says you've a really long patience. Hope you won't mind me asking questions. " Zevran was pleased with the compliment. This would indeed be an enjoyable stay even if he was aching all over. 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter Text

Part 2: Sabriel’s journal

 

I love Fenris the most out of all my adopted fathers! He had been distant and brushed me off a lot but when I had felt lost, uncertain he had come through for me. Aunty Aveline said he’s outwardly calm and steady, unless you provoke him. His blue-white veins cause him pain sometimes. He hates being plied with endless questions, other than needing more physical space. Maybe I had, before I understood personal boundaries.  

Still, I’m glad I persisted in trying to befriend the lonely warrior and though he still does not talk that much, Fenris has a kindness that’s unique.

The turning point of our status arrived, when I had lost my patience with his brooding and ignorance of me. I Like you for what’s inside here, Uncle Fenris! Not because of how you look or magic or not!  I pointed to my chest.  Forgot if we were arguing and I had come to his house, but though the servants had let me in, he ignored me. Then I got his full attention, refusing to budge from standing in front of him.  “I didn’t mean to be rude and angry. They burnt lyrium into my flesh. You- are right. And I don’t talk to children everyday. Apologies.” At last he glanced at me with an apologetic face.

Of course I didn’t understand who or what are mages or elves and so on, as a kid. I just showed him my picnic basket of food and we shared them. He asked me what kind of breads or scones they were, evidently not seen them before. Amazing how food can open the way for conversations. One of my hobbies is comparing friends' likes, dislikes with mine. He gradually relaxed, because I didn’t care about his history as a slave and he truly relished all the foods that my matron prepared. No extras wasted. 

 


 

Six years later, I know I can count on Fenris-- he’s more encouraging than my stuckup mother and an excellent listener. He lets me talk about anything and we have the most scintillating debates. Fen is my best friend and peerless. Wonder did they like each other before, Zevran? What’s Antiva like, wow!!

So it was quite odd that Fen didn’t respond as passionately as I expected, when we visited the injured guy. If Zevran was just a normal friend, Fenris wouldn't have wanted to hit the healer! The other adults also talked about what they found.  I fully expected and wanted to see Fenris hug, but nah. Haha!

 I'm sure I don’t need to say he’s handsome- he already is confident and happy. Alistair says not to be rude, still I don’t think Zev minds. He eats too little though. Since he asked about what I noticed, I thought I’d try a question of my own.

“Zevie? Sorry, can I ask you a question? You need not answer if… ” I watched his angular face, now with a deeply thoughtful expression. He had not flipped the pages at all. Didn't Ali claim that he's more sociable? Hm. Glancing at the cover, it was the history of some noble war. 

Facing it down on his lap, Zev smiled. “No problem. Ask away I am free..”

He patted the chair. I came straight out, “Eh do you - love more than one person at a time?” I took a seat and mixed some tea to help with fever and aching. A jar of herbs needed careful measuring, so I didn’t have chance to see his expression.

 After a short silence, the elf’s merry voice said, “Oh, that. But, you are much too young for me to answer explicitly. Fen won't be happy, no. I get along well with most people, yes. And yourself?”

He always turned the question back to me! I muttered something vague. Sometimes when he’s up to it, he can feed himself and is more alert. Today it’s good that his voice is less whispery and he can sit up without aid for a short period. Some men had came to change the dressings, cleaner each time.

I come back earlier than Uncle and don’t want to do homework, so I visit our new guest. Elves are so cool to me haha! Although he is quite new to me, we don’t have much problem conversing.   Few days later, I saw him outside the bedroom, straining to keep his balance and leaning on the wall. He was frowning and the other hand was pressed to his side. I think he had been wearing leather armor but now clothed with a loose pale robe. His golden hair reflected the light.

“Hey, what are you doing? You're still weak! ” I dragged a chair over.

 “Morning Lady Sabriel. I’m fine. I don't want to be a cripple forever, no?”

I pointed firmly at the chair and he took a seat. I almost burst out giggling at the cute way he liked to end questions with no or yes. But I must not waver.

“You won’t be. Healers said to remain in bed. You’re too thin!” I shook my head.

 “Perhaps, I can  manage to eat more today.” Zev smiled.

“I’ll call them. Wait a while.” He agreed and I went to make arrangements.

 

I made him eat a breadroll first. Then I supported Zevran down to the dining hall. He made small talk with every serving girl. It was a refreshing change from the long silences that Fenris had. “Ooh you’re joining me? Again?”  He asked when I sat beside him.

“Yep. Lessons are cancelled. Why, I’m not nice.”

Zevran slit his eyes. “Seriously, not bored by me? Not at all, this is your house. Heheh.” Presently, he was curious why I didn’t like to attend lessons. “I know the Chantry can be dull but combat sounds, exciting. One day let’s exchange tips. I don’t use the staff.” He doesn’t sound dull alright.

 I laughed. “Er yes! Because the fat sisters there are always scolding me for not being neat and so I run off. They need exercise. Duh.”

He chewed his food and rubbed his chest, amused.  “Do your mother, and Fenris know? Cute.”

“Not unless I go back. Mother will lecture me and restrict me, so I prefer to be here. I wanna meet different people, it’s just mages or templars. Oh yea you’re neither right?”

“Nope. I’m from Antiva, and an assassin.” He still managed to make that sound like the announcement of some awesome news.

“Oh dear, are you in pain?” He hadn’t stopped rubbing his chest. I checked but there was no bleeding.

“It hurts to laugh. Ribs are slow to mend… never mind. Do go on.” It is wonderful, I barely have people listen more than chatter at me, or order me around. Zevran is good at both. I think it’s true that some Elves are jovial and want to socialise.

We established that blockhead or dumb Alistair changed his name to Zevie, ‘horrible! I’m no child.’ Haha! On whether he came across those who talked so much but didn’t want to hear advice:

“Of course, it’s so common! I have to take orders from them, they pay me. But I’m not supposed to fail. Lords, dukes are pompous fellows, always jabbering. Before we set off, I’m bored but no choice. Got to listen for the key information. I’m glad we can speak like this.” He bade for me to take some untouched morsels.

“Why? Can’t you just go?”

“Eh that’d be disaster. And I may tell them, this isn’t possible, take options 2 or 3, but they never listen.” This was the first time in almost 3 weeks, Zevran could come outside, being confined to the bedroom when he fell ill and the weather had been too erratic and chilly. The healers insisted he must stay where it was warm.

After a short rest, the blond elf asked to explore the mansion. I must have been showing my disagreement, for he pouted. “What, I can’t?”

“I didn’t say so. Oh how about the study? Fenris hardly goes in, still he doesn’t mind me reading inside.” I waited for him to amble slowly to me, my heart squeezing a little. He’s only here for a while, then he’ll leave for another land … yet why am I feeling this way? Because he shouldn’t be this feeble, for a very active person. The study was not very huge, the original desk remained, and the shelves had some of the books I needed for studies.

I shook my head to dismiss these sentimentalities and asked once more if he needed a break. Zevran’s hazel eyes seemed to dilate with astonishment. “You are worried, about my health? I want to read and write something. That won’t be too taxing.” 

 

“Ah yea. You’re under my, our care.” He didn’t joke about this, just picked up a gilded pen and tested the blank papers.  

“Can I use these? Fenris can surely come to talk to me. When’s he coming back?”

 

I looked them over. “Yea go ahead. Oh. He is busy now. I’m not sure.” Uncle had told me to keep the explanation brief, they were investigating why Zevran and two other Crows had been hurt this badly in our town, but it would impede the patient’s recovery. I thought Zevran was referring to the love and passion he harboured. Men and men together aren’t right to me, but what’s the use of telling him that?   Fenris said he was uncomfortable about such a relationship, but didn’t know how and when to discuss it. Zevran soon located a red colored tome and smiled as he recited some of it and then wrote in neat handwriting. When he was done, he handed me a page.

“Dear one, can you give this to him?”

 

“But..” I was going to say Fenris barely read poetry. He prefers things that are straight to the point and simple. Zevran thanked me for my kindness. “One problem, Fen may not get it.”

He beamed and said it was alright. “I want to wait up for him but he’s so late. Please.”

 

******

 

Another day, Fenris had some time off duty and we were having tea at a shop. “What does he mean? He wrote it himself?” He asked, showing me that sheet of paper.

“No Zev copied it from a romance novel. I think he’s like this character Adeline in how the love is not repaid.” I saw his neutrality become annoyance.

Fenris grumbled. “But I’ve made it clear, we are just friends. Perhaps his mind got damaged, argh! He is mad. All these years.... ”

“I’ve tried to say no, but he's so eager to wait for you, Fen. Hmm all these years?”

 

He nodded, swirling the cup of coffee. “I mean after so long, he has not changed his ways. I don’t understand all these.... poetic stuff. Did you tell him? ”  Sometimes it embarrassed Fenris to admit this, but he was open with me. Being a former Tevinter slave, he hadn't got much education, though the elf has a knack for various dialects and languages. (He is so streetwise in a sense!!)

 

“Yup. But I also didn’t want him to faint. Hey don’t blow up the shop.” I made a stunned face.

 

He smiled, ears pricking. “Such nonsense, squirt. My powers don’t cause explosives. That’s observant. I did visit him last night, does he feel better? He was fast asleep.”

I told him what I had seen. Fenris was pleased, but scowled when I said looking forward to the next progress.

“Hello there won’t be Any progress. Remember not to let him come outside. He had a lung infection.” That sentiment warmed my insides, and I could not resist beaming, it's a gruff concern but nevertheless - a positive thing! Yeay!

Usually Elf would focus when I spoke but now he looked up at something behind me.

 

“All these endless meetings and chasing criminals. Venhedis. Sabriel, take care of him. I need you to promise me.”

 "Why, you’re leaving? Already.” I felt crestfallen. Fenris’ green eyes shone.

He looked quizzical. “For the mission, not for good. We still have more words to share. This Arainai is a pain. As for you, why am I hearing some complaints again? Can’t you see I have enough problems?” 

He pressed a hand to his forehead.

Aw man, though I had stopped skipping classes, the adults were still complaining about me Behind my back. Damn.  I truly felt sorry and touched his right arm where one of the most swirly tattoos was. My touch never fails to calm him. * "I'll be good tomorrow, sorry Elf."

He was able to control the pressure of his claws not to cut into his face too. Fenris did not jerk away. We had yet to understand why.

Fenris finished his coffee and one of the men came to speak with him. They used a different language. “Oh you can still see Zevran during breaks. Maybe we can spend more time together, I should be back tomorrow.  Want to talk with Varric?”  Uncle smiled again, and I was proud he could find some humour.  I said alright and watched him strap his weapons. Today he was using two smaller swords.

“Be safe Fenris. Er should I explain to him?”

“No need I’ll do it. Thanks, you too.” He ruffled my hair and hurried off.   

 

 

A Litany of Apologies

While observing Zevran from various angles, reading, speaking to people or just doing nothing, I opened my sketchbook to secretly draw him. My day had gone badly and I wanted to be alone. That meant the second library. Engrossed in my art,  I never heard him come up in stealth until his breathing fluffed my hair. I snapped the pages shut and jumped up.  “Wow.  Did you draw them?” the elf commented.

“Why did you sneak up on me?” I had forgotten his background and snapped.

“I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have… I was looking outside.” Zevran said, nodding to the French windows. “Forgive me. ” His tunic was half open, revealing bandages.

 

 

 

  

Chapter Text

I didn’t have the mood and walked to the end of a long table. The chair was so tall, I used to hide here from the world! Today I couldn’t control myself, my hand was shaking and tears dropped wetting some pages.

The injured elf had not left. “Er Sabriel? What happened?”

I lied there was no problem, also I felt embarrassed to cry now. His voice was sincere this time, free of sarcasm and jokes. “Are you angry, that I frightened you? Are you alright?”

How could a day, a trivial issue go SO WRONG? Mother had come home, and hyperventilated on me! Am I not her child? I had been so thrilled winning a duel, yet her face had darkened and she began yelling how sloppy I was, to pick up the messes. How did I expect her to come back so soon?

Zev’s concern furrowed his brows. Hesitantly I told him and he took it all in. “Sorry… usually I tell Varric, Fenris. I Hate my mother! She always wants me to be a Real girl, but I don’t want to. I’m like this bird in some ornamental cage. She…doesn’t understand me, how I don’t want to be a princess type of girl, all fluffy dresses, boring speeches, and gossiping.”  I mocked her.

“It’ll be alright. Not now, but it has passed, no? She- should not have shouted. You are fine as you are, a woman.”

I rubbed my eyes. “I see. Why did you come out of bed?"  Zevran shivered slightly. 

“I got bored. I want to talk to someone. Can I see the drawings? They’re nice.” He smiled and was truly keen to hear the story behind each one. I soon forgot my original hurt and misery. “Oh a mabari hound. I want to draw one. May I?” I lent him my pencil. So cute, they were just circles and dots. He tried with both hands.

Zevran chuckled,said I was the pro at this.  “Shucks. Tell me do you think it’s that bad to tear my dress when I’m training with arrows ?”

“No. I suspect she had a bad day? And you too. Don’t worry. ”

Zevran understood when I explained how tightly laced the corsets and cortes are for girls and that mother had forced me to wear one. Then during archery, I had to tear the corsets and tight skirts , so I could move more fluidly. 

He looked sympathetic. “But, back to it Sabriel, you were expressing yourself. How’s your shooting?”

 I grinned. “Everytime I hit dead centre! When all the swords are taken, I train with the arrows. Because at home and here, there aren’t targets so I practise with the ironwood bows there.”

“Wow! Look forward to see you in action, darling.”

Zevran and I talked at length about the contrasts of training with knives, daggers and bows, short and long range stuff. He had learnt a repertoire of all, but excelled at sneak attack and daggers the most. I loved how sincere he sounded, generously sharing his expertise. Then there was a scent of blood, when he coughed into a fist. He paled visibly, gasping. “What’s wrong? Zevran!” He trembled and failed to catch his breath.

He was trembling very badly.  I leapt up, went to assess his condition. Today most of the healers had returned home. Fenris hadn’t come home yet. Shit! Blood had soaked through his bandages on the right side of his chest. Zevran tried to speak, that he had difficulty breathing suddenly. I looked around for something he could lie down, but other than the floor there was only this desk and the chairs. What should I do?

“Am…  Fine.” He was stubbornly gasping. The most important thing for a patient was to keep warm. I had left my cloak in the next room. Since it sounded like a wet cough, there could be internal bleeding so he might choke. Bad idea to lie down. “Zev, hold on. I’m going to keep you warm, get help. Just lean back alright? Hey listen to me!” I instructed him. His eyes rolled back. I rushed to take the cloak and cover him, before sprinting to the nearest Healers’ clinic. The best healer in town was Anders, who was known as Abomination to some. I was so frantic that I began shouting until two lady mages agreed to go with me. He was not around. 

 

 


 

Zevran was forced to be in bed until they could diagnose why he had relapsed. The servants had carried him to the nearest bedroom. I was pacing outside and felt as angry and upset as Fenris had been. Yet, he could not be more grateful. I came in when they were done.

His voice was not weak as he exclaimed, “Shit. I should have controlled the coughs. Didn’t you hear I’m fine?” The Antivan glared at me, pissed. His dressings were changed and two blankets covered him.

“No! You relapsed. Sick. And you were going to pass out.” I coolly retorted. “Why couldn’t you keep warm?”

Zevran’s cheeks flushed and he muttered something I didn’t understand. A lady mage chided him and he settled down meekly. She told me the medicines and dosages of instructions were in a basket. I asked her why, he had seemed much better these days.

“The nights are chilly and your friend is not sleeping enough. It seems he overestimates his stamina. We have taken some blood samples, it may be other causes as well,” she answered.

My heart ached and instead of weeping, I felt like making him pass out. She had said he’s my friend… is he? She smiled and I remembered my manners to offer them hospitality and drinks. When I was back, but did not go into his room, Zevran called me, coughing again.

“Are you alright?” he asked humbly. “I can’t reach.. the medicines.”

I took the basket and read the labels. “Yes. She says you don’t sleep enough. Why didn’t you say so?” I tried to suppress my irritation. Here I thought he was open minded about genders and behaving like a----- a typical Male!

He let me feed him the potions. “I really felt better. And you were sad.”

I shook my head, my tears blurring a little and took a breath. “Why must men always talk like this? Pretend you’re alright.” Once Fenris had got hurt in attempting to rescue me, he could not heal unless he rested. But Fenris ignored his injuries and then collapsed. I would never forget that!

 

“Ah I get your point. Because we can’t afford to look weak, yes?” I chuckled, despite myself and felt his forehead. He needed more rest.. “You know, I didn’t have caring parents either. My father was from the Alienage I think… and mother was Dalish. I was sold at a young age, to brothels. Something like the Blooming Rose. You are not alone.”  I got up.

Inside I thought oh god but aloud, I said he should sleep. Zevran asked softly if I hated my mother, the court life.

“Yes.” In my hand was a glass bottle and I felt like breaking it without feeling the cuts.  An unspeakable surge of emotions, vulnerable--  why did they do that to him, is the world so unfair welled up in my chest. The fiery heat threatened to overwhelm me.  I set the bottle down.  

I hurried to the other side of this bedroom where the windows were and the curtains billowed. The panes were shut, but why was there a wind? My hands! They were encased in a glittery gold light, oh no no. Not again. Not now!

Behind me, Zevran called my name. “No, stay back!” I ran out, trying to contain this Forcefield inside. I needed to find a place to release it, too much. The emotions turned to a pressure in my heart and my brain. Where’s Alistair when I need him? He was the only one I’d told, as Fenris was deadset against magic. Over the years, the elf had trained to discipline his external lyrium, but mine manifested at strange times. Sprinting down the stairs, not caring if I fell or not, and past shocked servants people asking if I was fine, I spread my hands. The front doors opened. "Please send for Alistair, hurry!" 

The front gardens, bushes lit up with mana-flames and then all the excess was drained. Some of the lawn was blackened and scorched. No one is hurt, great.  Vaguely, someone asked me, “Missy the windows…”  I hit my forehead. A row of windows on the ground floor of Fenris’ house had completely broken.

“Er don’t worry. I, I will tell Fenris when he’s back.”  The servants here have seen me in this state a few times. He hates magic, what excuse should I give? I asked a messenger to send for Alistair. With luck, he would get here first to help me control it.

 

I returned to his room. Zev was still awake and watched me in concern, pale. “Sabriel? What happened?”  But he was not fearful, just stunned. Basically, I’ve out of control powers. How can I tell him that?  I surveyed the room, ignoring his questions that everything was undamaged. Maybe I should say some boys and I were sparring and broke the panes.

I ran to the windows, to see if Alistair had come. He usually rode, but today a carriage came. Some men saluted and I saw the redhead get down, and a pale haired figure leapt down, swinging his greatsword too. My heart sank. Fenris! He would see the chaos, when I’m not ready yet!

“Zevran, don’t tell them I’m here. I… there’s a problem. And they’re coming now.” I told him urgently while searching for a hiding place. They walked very fast, as warriors and there wouldn’t be time for locking my bedroom door. Ah the wardrobe here! I opened and squinted amongst the old clothes. Looked like enough room for me to fit in. He was just stirring awake. Good, maybe he wouldn’t say anything then.

“Huh? I didn’t see…” I showed thumbs up, put my finger to my lips and got inside the cupboard, shut the doors.

Footsteps approaching and Fenris called for me. He didn’t sound angry. They were talking. Their voices were muffled from where I am. Still, I could hear Alistair wondering why I’d summoned him but I had disappeared? No, why must he say that? The buffoon! The lyrium elf asked Zevran if he had seen me. My heart raced.

He said he was in pain and had collapsed, the whole tale but leaving me out. I could kiss him. When the doors closed, and only silence ensued, I popped out.

“They’ve left. You were like a lunatic, darling. Should I be scared?” He sat up and coughed a bit. I poured him some water.

I explained briefly that it was a secret from my guardian and my family. Maybe Alistair had told Aveline.

“I think… it’s templar magic. But they’re taught to control it whereas mine is not constant. I always exploded things outside. Luckily no one has died. Anyway thanks so much. ”

He beamed and yawned. “Kiss me?” I kissed him on the cheek.

“Why would Fenris be upset?  Just talk to him.” Zevran commented.

Yea I would have to. But what if he hates me? 

 


 

The stables in Hightown is another place I run away to, a couple of hours away from the city. The sky’s rose blush was over the horizon. I fed my horse and had the urge to take off somewhere into the Dalish forests. But I was hungry. I still had some arrows in the quilt and a longbow I had kept here. When something bothered me, or my episode worsened, riding while shooting at trees had a calming effect on my soul. Aveline used to do this too.

 

My horse whickered. I tensed.  “Sabriel, are you alright? Did people attack the house?” Fenris’ urgent voice preceded his silent footsteps. I didn’t dare to face him. The elf stopped somewhere to my right.

Yea I didn’t hear wrongly, it was my friend. Because he seldom went too near others, on some days his tattoo-sensitivity was higher and discomforting.

But will he still be my friend, any longer? I swallowed and said, “No. No attack, it’s just Mother screamed at me. And Zev collapsed, and I--- (should I lie about boys throwing things) It’s all so messed up.”  I rubbed my hair and slowly looked up at him.

Fenris frowned. “The windows broke. And outside, was burnt. I couldn’t find you!” He was a little out of breath, did he run all the way here? His face was sheen with sweat and he was glowing slightly. I had sworn not to trigger a lyrium state, but now…

“I’m sorry, Fenris. That was me. Maybe you’ll hate me.” I had held back the rush of pain and grief but now it just broke loose. I covered my face. A whisper of cloth and he stepped closer. After a long while, to my disbelief his hand pulled me close to his chest. Wouldn’t it be painful to hug me?

“It’s… alright. Tell me slowly, one at a time. And I brought some food. ”

My dear friend is UNBELIEVABLY---  Temporarily no words could sum up my happiness! I made a mental note to be extra good after this, gulping it down. Fenris chuckled.

He let me talk, only asking questions when he felt confused by my rapid fire words. We were sitting on a haystack. His green eyes were expressive with so many things.

“But you didn’t want to talk to me? I… I’m not angry now. I was worried sick. ” Fenris replied in an emotional voice. “I couldn’t wait for news, the guards took too long! What if something happened to you?”

I repeated how chaotic today had been, and my heart ached. He must be so exhausted and frantic.

Then he added, “Sorry that she hurt your feelings. Try to put it behind you. Are you less sad now?”

 

My eyes were swollen. I swiped my face. “How to? She’s always and Still looking down on me. I’m her daughter, but I cannot compare to her. How I must be neat, cultured, polite, not raise my voice, wear a dress a corset, softspoken not to fight…” I listed in a counting, bored voice.

The elf smiled wryly. “I know. You’ve told me before. It can’t be worse than what happened back there.”

“I'm so sorry! Did you ride here?” I noticed he had removed his heavy armor and his arms were sleeved by a dark shirt. So he could endure some form of contact. 

“Nope, I couldn’t wait anymore. Went to every possible place, and if I didn’t see you here, I don’t know. Never mind. How messy, exactly?” Fenris said.

“I unpacked my weapons, eh and then no more servants, I’d set them free. That was Main Fight one. I couldn’t stand her yelling, and she told me not to give a defiant look and to stand where I am. But I walked away. I don't want to hear superior tone of voice.”

“Umhm. I’m proud of you, squirt. You care for other servants and slaves, always have. Those were perhaps foolish moments. She doesn’t look down on you, Sabriel.” He reasoned, ears pricking forward. “Could have waited for one of us, or Aveline, Alistair to help you with that. Maybe she thought, why an empty house? Too Sudden.” His eyes widened and his tone became lively.

I was astonished by his calm insight. Didn’t consider those before. “And Zevran, we were speaking and next moment he coughed until he bled. Hard to get healers, Is he going to be alright?” I asked to stall time. Didn’t want to talk about my wild magic yet. He scowled but his anger was not much.

“That one is dumb, bleeding not stopped, lung infection, wants to run outside! What a child. Deserves a thrashing.” He flicked at the hay and scowled.

I laughed. He grumbled. “Oh has Zevran always been so? How did you meet? Has been a while since eh?”

Fenris nodded. “And I will come to it. Now, when did you have this, effect? Magic? Is it like mine?” He was thrilled and worried at once. I closed my eyes, went way back to something only I remembered with clarity (because my friend’s lyrium state doesn’t let him remember much when it’s too far)

“Once, when you came to rescue me. With another guard, or friend. You were outnumbered. I was tied up to my mouth, and then the bastards, stabbed you. Or hit with spells. Somehow, this… gushed out of me seeing that, and burned off my ropes. My hands were gold and white. A man screamed and tried to catch my hair but he vanished in white light. I…I was shocked. The place was not scorched, only where the man had been. ”

Elf rubbed his chin. “Can’t picture it, I guess it was a good thing. Was it red fire, or mana fire? How did it look like?”  Mana-fire should be blue or pale, than dark magic. It didn't feel like any of those, because I don't get drained when I used them.

“I’m not sure. You think.. of abominations, don’t you Fenris? So, I was near the templars one day asked Alistair. He thought it’s like, a Cleansing type of templar magic… ”  He shook his head and took my hand gently.

“No you’re not. Those people harmed me. If I hated you, why would I be so worried?”  I said what if I couldn’t control it?

“I could’ve shot Zev. Or the servants.”

“Sabriel, you didn’t. I trust Alistair can help. He told me a bit just now. Blasting Arainai might do him some good.”  He deadpanned. Huh? Then I got it, Fenris was joking. “I shouldn’t judge you. When I was being an asshole and bitter, you were really kind. But couldn’t bring myself to say much.”

For the first time, Fenris told me in more detail of how the lyrium burning was done, so excruciating that he knew nothing before he escaped from tevinters. He found that being grabbed by the arm or touched was aversive. That’s why most of the time he wore the iron gauntlets. Recently, he had some clothes made of a fabric that protected his skin sensitivity.

Then, Zevran….   “Oh! Cool.”

He tapped my forehead. “Huh so you fell asleep until want to hear about him. Come on. It’s late.” He helped me to my feet. I took my bow and followed the warrior out. He said we could take the house near here, which used to belong to the Champion.

 

 

 

Chapter Text

We slept comfortably till late morning. I rolled over and almost fell off the spacious bed. Snoring beside me, my pale- haired companion looked younger and peaceful. I smiled. Refreshing and nice, Fenris having a rare lie-in. Usually after being plagued by violent nightmares, he could never return back to deep sleep. My hand wanted so much to stroke his cheek, but I stopped as his eyelids flickered.

I carefully got up to use the bathroom. Outside I met some neighbours who offered to share their food with us. Last night, as Uncle had keys we had not needed to announce our arrival. However, one of the men had been shocked by Fenris’ markings and exotic appearance. Thank goodness he hadn’t brought his over-sized sword, which’d have caused a major panic. Maybe that man had never seen him before, odd! " What? No no, don't be scared. Yea I'm his ward, and Fen is harmless. Quite friendly too." Perhaps I exaggerated some facts, haha! Most importantly, I persuaded these kind folks not to eject us before filling our tummies.

When I came back upstairs, Fenris had awoken. I told him the great news. His reaction to my speech was: “Huh you told them I’m harmless? Not an easy endeavour to smile.” 

"Yea let them see the cute side of you Fenris!"
He grumbled he was not like a baby kitten. Nope I didn't mean that but he ushered me out as I attempted to elaborate. Haha!

Over breakfast, I was brimming with more questions.  “And then? Was it a templar who helped you?” I helped him to spread some jam on the slice of bread, noticing his wince as he flexed his fingers. On some cold days, the pain of his tattoos tingled to the nerves. Would not be wise to touch him or he'd be grumpy.

 

Fenris sounded quite calm. “Let’s see, I think the templars came in much later. It’s fine, no need that much. Thanks. Your side...." He smiled, pointing to the left side of his cheek and watched me lick a dollop off.  

 

Mrs Bobbins, one of the plump motherly types, had invited us to sit together at the refectory. Quite a number of them stared or gaped at Fenris. Hadn't they read Varric's tales about them? The Companions of Kirkwall series was a hotseller, all seven of them even the pirate had her own volume! Woohoo. Some girls were pouting jealously at me. He had chosen not to face them.

 

“No problem. I just want more story.” I smiled widely for both of us. 

 

He frowned and closed his eyes briefly. “More story? I can't remember them in order, maybe you can try to imagine on your own. Ahhh, I remember a village with an old medicinal man. Running around made me hungry, so I was stealing food. That's much harder than stealing coin, I discovered. All the very angry people. But they weren't to blame, everyone needed every piece and scrap of food in the poorer places. This man gave me a type of--- necklace with feathers. Strangely, I couldn’t understand what he said, but I accepted it. He insisted I had to take it. And traced my arm's linings gently, but his touch did not cause me pain. It’s supposed to ease the discomfort.” Fenris related all this in his steady voice, which can be a monotone but wow, I liked the visuals. 

He tilted his head at someone who waved at him, looking super baffled.

“Oh I’ve seen that, I think! Awesome! Such a kind guy.” I savored the soup and dipped my spoon watching the ripples.

 

His face softened and his gaze was distant. “I don’t want to lose it, so unless the pain is terrible, I don’t wear it.  I never got a chance to thank him. Few kind people, if only there are more in the world.”  He imitated me stirring the soup.

 

“There’s all of us, from Varric to me, now Zevran too. We care a lot.” Fair enough, I didn’t know the other elf so well yet but he had good vibes. I hoped that would ease my dearest friend's lingering hurt and pain. Trauma had left its mark.

 

“Of course. You. So chatty, friendly, brave and enjoys sharing food. Um, this is nice. What about you?” Ha, what sweet compliments! 

 

I sucked my spoon. “Well I just try my best everyday, to reciprocate goodness to loved ones... Feel better? I’ve never heard you speak this much before, Fen! Awesome.” I made a thumbs-up.

If Fennie gets irritated, he tends to correct me shortening his name, but today he let it pass. “Oh I had no idea you do art. Zevran told me.”

I didn't know why I blushed. “Well, they’re for fun. I had some paper and watched others outside a building and just imitated them. I couldn’t pass the entrance tests for the selection though.”

“I haven't seen them all. But, don’t give up. Keep trying.”

“I won’t. Thanks. Why can’t he keep secrets? ” I wished I could rough up Zev. Yep, shall visualize that!

Fenris smiled. “Agreed, he's lousy with secrets. In fact, I don’t mind if you show me stuff like that. Stops me from brooding.”

Varric often did not address him by name, something along that line. “ Then, can we call you broody?”

“Hey what? No, I don't approve. Not unless-- I ground you for a month. ” He started to frown, then could not contain his laughter. He changed it to a cough. 

“Fine. I don’t mind. I can even sleep more, and gaze at cute guys.” 

“I shall chain you to the bed. Sure about that? ”

We laughed at the same time. I liked to make the brooding elf laugh, it was a melodious welcoming sound. He was not too uncomfortable with the curiosity when some came to make small talk. Still, Fenris said he preferred to leave soon.

 


Fenris decided to take the day off. I don’t think they would be able to protest anyway. I joked about the consequences. Zevran was up and this time he had dressed in two layers. I was touched by Zev's genuine concern for us. 

While joking around, Zev said “I can show you how to be a lady, my darling.” He winked and kissed my hand.

Fenris beamed, not speaking. He was still standing but his eyelids were heavy.

"Fen, you can go and lie down. I won't leave again, don't worry," I said, taking his hand gently. I hoped to convey how sorry I was, but could not say it. Fenris slowly took off his outer garment, hung it on a rack and wiped sweat off his brow.

 

“Yea you look like crap, seriously.” Zev remarked. 

 

“I’m fine. What kind of etiquette do you mean?” Fenris asked, playfully punching his shoulder. They laughed.

Zev said he was well versed in nobility behaviour, having become a woman cross dresser on some missions. Wow! Yea with makeup I bet he can carry it off and I don’t doubt he’s an actor of many roles.

He suggested beginning with tactful ways of speaking to assess what was my level.  

 

Roleplaying, with my cursing:

 Zev: alright, I’m in need of a favour. And you’re my friend, Sabriel. How do you decline?

Me: No way. I’ve done so much. What more do you want?

Zev: Hey I’m your friend. That’s quite crude. Is that your real answer?

 I was laughing too much at his indignance. Ok, at least I didn’t say fuck off. Wait what sort of favour? Can it be done?

Zev: just assume it is easy. Hm it’s gonna be tough. No wonder she would shout at you. Shall we aim to change that?

Me: yep I still like being like a guy. But, I can change a bit when I’m with Mother. And at feasts. The last time, I almost kneed someone in the groin.          (Both Elves tried not to guffaw.)

Zev: Why did you need to? In your skirt?  

Me: Yup. 

Fen: I think they either insulted me or her family. I understand but doing that in front of a crowd, was quite hard to manage. Prejudice won’t change. Also you tore the dress. 

Me: And we left early. What I wanted.  But I won’t have them label you rudely. You’re like my family, uncle. 

Fenris chuckled.

Zev: You can defend him. It’s so sweet. Maybe you can say, shall we talk about this outside? Then you do whatever you wish. Aw, but your dress will be hard to do that in, no?

 Me: Umhm. Ok lemme try again. I will think about it, and answer when I can. Better?

Zev: Yea good. See, you are capable of talking gently. And if I insist? Like, I really need money now.

Me: ooh. Sorry I can’t. But I’ll find someone who can. Haha

 Zev: then apologising though you don’t feel like it. Maybe you could work on it. So, you’ve messed up my place.

Me: But I don’t feel sorry. Won’t it be obvious? I mean, especially when I’m glaring and feel like shouting back.

Zev: They might. But not if you look sincere. Inside you can cuss, swear everything but not let it pass your lips. That’d be much nicer, less screaming, no?

 

Me: Yea. Shall I offer to clear some of it? But I don’t want to do it all.

Fenris chuckled, hair falling in his eyes.

 

Zev: Sure, it’s like you partly agree, partly not. It’s true you’re angry, I am too if I’m shouted at. Ah, I reply in a sarcastic manner. Gotta admit, that’s not perfect too.

Me: Like how so?

(pause) Okay one time I was being ridiculed for being the most failed assassin of the Grey Warden. I did help in the Blight. My original task was to finish off the whole group of heroes, sadly my allies were useless bums. Alistair and Morrigan a witch were always goading I must be hiding something, and ready to poison their food in camp. I was like, oh really? As if a crow has no common sense, to turn on the saviors right away. I made fun of them too.

 

Me: Aww, yea. I don’t know how to be sarcastic though, more like right out blunt. Coz I mix with warriors.

Fen: don’t look at me. I tried to stop you from spouting nonsense. (now he lay down more comfortably)

Zev: Right. Sarcasm and insults are the first reactions, what you want to say. But imagine you truly need the person to be happy with and about you. It doesn’t have to be long and boring.

Me: Oh yea. Like how you said it, when I was frightened. Were you sorry then, Zev?

 The rogue was still beaming, yet in those eyes he meant them. I shouldn’t disappoint him. “Thank you. Would you mind being my etiquette teacher? Though, may not be paid.”

Zev laughed. “It’s fine, you’ve let me stay here. And I’m still weak. But it means you’re obliged should I get into some… ah…” I said ‘shit’?  “That’s bad. I certainly do Not want to be in shit or crap. Remember your status.”

 Now that Fenris had fallen asleep, we lowered our voices and Zev told me more stories from his experience. Midway through, I took both of his hands. He smiled and tugged me to sit down. “I do not mind helping you, it all comes naturally to me. And Fenris, will he ever let me get closer to him?”

 It had not been easy, all I could do was not to force the reticent warrior to open up but patiently wait for him. “Zev, it wasn’t easy for him to get better. And when he is reminded of the pain he suffered,when he witnesses slavery and shit, it comes back. It’s best not to, rush him.” I debated whether to be honest about my worries if they did get together. The other guys who worked with Fenris before, said he had loved Hawke, the female Champion but an accident had killed her. He must have been devastated and not want to risk his heart broken again.

The other elf waved his fingers in front of my eyes. “What is it? You’re thinking a lot.”

 

“Other stuff happened after Orsino and the bad Knight commander were defeated. It’s not my place to tell you,” I said at last. Zevran’s ears pricked, his gaze becoming distant. “We all start as friends first… why don’t we spend more time together? I don’t know how to put this kindly, Fenris only loved his Hawke and he once told me, it’s too risky to fall in love again.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter Text

Zevran refused to be an invalid, so this evening, he was showing Fenris and Sabriel how to lay out silverware and the cutlery positions, the right way. When his stamina improved, he intended to find the assassins who’d survived a similar assault as him and investigate. Now he was corresponding more with Alistair.  Fenris was busy with other cases. Alistair had stepped down as king and was currently head of the Ferelden Templars based here. 

The doorbell rang.

Sabriel asked where and how he learnt about table settings. Zev proudly shared his experiences. Humility was not his highest virtue.  As they were occupied, only Fenris went to receive the guest.

“How are you, Fenris? Let me know if you need more sleep. So hardworking,” Aveline said. She was decked out in full military gear, red hair loose today.

“I’m fine, sometimes it’s tiring but good to see you.” Fenris said, smiling and shaking her hand.  She had news to share while they walked in.

Sabriel looked up. “Oh she’s here. Aveline. Er, we haven’t exactly told her about you. Why don’t you come inside for a while?” She tugged his hand, toward the guest rooms.  Zevran declined. “No, I have nothing to hide.”

He let his fiery amber eyes meet her steely green ones. 

“Hey Auntie! We’re about to start dinner. Sit! ” her niece greeted.

Zev used his merriest, flirty voice to introduce himself with a flourish and bow. 

Aveline speared him with a glare. “ So, the infamous Antivan Zevran. You don't seem to be at death's door, hm ” she responded dryly.  

“Thank you for your utmost concern. Don't use that word:  infamous. I would rather say handsome and charming.”

Sabriel glanced at Fenris, who shrugged. “Can we all be friends here? He’s still recovering and our house guest.” She piped up. Fenris said something positive along the same lines.

 Aveline looked doubtful and scanned him from head to toe. He was the shortest elf.

“Yes. For now he’s not in a condition to go to prison, or be interrogated.” Fenris remarked. Sabriel gasped.

Zevran frowned. “Why am I to go there? I’ve been assaulted, and I almost died!” He lost his patience and his full accent emerged. An argument ensued, for Aveline was not known to be patient. If she had not deposited her sword, it would definitely be unsheathed. "Are you threatening me, assassin? How dare you raise your voice at me?" Her voice rose in octave.

Fenris interjected with some points, but Zevran barely registered them. He punctuated his concerns with "yes and nos".  With lovers and friends this was an endearing trademark but now he was extremely hurt and on edge.

"Can we all calm down? Zevran, nothing has been confirmed yet. Aveline, sit down." Fenris tugged out a chair beside him for her. This was the first time he actually had to speak louder than them and he frowned.

Sabriel tried to steer the topic to the varieties of food as they were served. "Yum don't they look good?" Oh no, would this become a disaster? No one anticipated how fiery Zevran's temper could explode. As Aveline settled down, her mood eased. She said they would be investigating the matter, but it was because of his Crow status.

Zevran frowned. “Ex-Crow, how many times do I need to repeat that? Have you considered maybe They are the aggressors, yes? I thought this is a fair system, no?”

Aveline went into the complicated procedures and reports they had to do. Fenris did not look directly at him and seemed to be listening. With great difficulty, the blond held his tongue though his ears were hot with humiliation.

The teenager nudged him and said softly, “Don’t worry, Zev. I won’t let her do that. You’re not evil.”   

He smiled sadly. These templar-people were a stick in the mud, rigid with authority. Assassins were the very opposite of whom they would support. How could Fenris be so cruel and cold-hearted to agree with that woman? As the women moved onto other matters, both men fell silent and focused on their plates.

When Zev came out from his reverie, they were talking about him again. As if he did not exist. “Auntie, he’s just got well. We did a lot to help him recover. He’s not a bad person,” Sabriel vouched for him. At least he had made one friend in this house, and it was surprising who rooted for him, the underdog. After a long discussion, Aveline said she had not meant to be condescending but Zevran should not be venturing out without escort. He felt as if he were a little elf again being bartered. Fenris still does not trust me? I’ve not lifted a single knife or poison to hurt them. He could not help fixating on this and had to take deep breaths to calm himself.

 

About 8.30 pm  

Fenris walked beside him when he excused himself for bed early. “Why don’t you trust me? I quit the Crows a long time ago, maybe they wanted to finish me off, yes?” He demanded, ignoring that Fenris was a dangerous person to piss off.

The warrior remained infuriatingly calm. “It is not that. We will protect you. However we’re not in a beneficial position if we make it public you’re here. So Aveline worries.”

 Zevran scrutinized his face for some semblance of concern. “Did my friendship not mean much to you? We fought back to back, many times.”

Fenris supported him as he stumbled on the stairs. He seemed to be thinking over, or not remembering. The Antivan shook his head in disbelief.  As Zev was preparing for bed, Fenris stood in the doorway and replied, “Yes. But I did not expect her to visit, and you were to be low profile until the right time. Alistair said you had fought the darkspawn. That will be taken into account.” He sounded neutral and dispassionate.

 “Fine. I hear you. Now can I be alone?” Zevran snapped, without facing him. Every injury that he had sustained recently seemed to conspire against his weary body now.

The healers had cautioned against being agitated. Oh but did they really care?

Fenris said he was sorry.

“Braska! ” Zev muttered as he massaged his temples. Even if he had been an assassin, so what? He had not engaged in illegal activities yet in this town. Shemlen they were so picky and.... 

Then Zevran saw the half used container of salve that the kind girl had used for him. 'I can make more, she said' Beside it was a folded card that he had not seen before. 

A detailed drawing of a kitten and a marbari hound. Below she wrote: Hi Zev-run Thank you for what u said. I've never really believed in myself before. I just saw this cat near school and it went with a hound. So I wanted to make this. Get well soon. Sorry I don't know how to spell your name.

Sabriel

The elf read it over again and blinked back tears. Few had given him gifts like that. Zev lay down, planning to write back. His inner turmoil evened out as he drifted.

 

                                            *********************************************  

 

Sabriel

I couldn’t believe Auntie was prejudiced because of Zevran’s previous status. And it’s terrible for him to get so worked up. He had lost his memory of what had transpired before he collapsed here, but he is not a bad person. Most of all, he had joined the Wardens and Alistair against the Fifth Blight, killing darkspawn. That should count for something noble.  Zev had stopped being a member of the Crows, I thought? They can’t possibly send him away, not now when I am building a rapport.

When Fenris passed my room, and Aveline was seeing me in my new dress, I bade them to reconsider about imprisoning Zevran. They looked at each other and seemed to reach a common understanding. 

I heaved a sigh of relief.  “He lost his memory. Hey, I don’t understand. It’s politics right?” That sort of adult-matters, boring, faking and causing migraines. 

 

Fenris smiled. “Yes. You look nice. I don’t want our efforts to go to waste, after nursing him back to health, Aveline. If he stays unseen there shouldn’t be a problem?” he asked her. I brushed at the lace.

She said she was worried they would be perceived as shielding a Crow from justice. In the end we decided as long as Zevran cooperated with investigations when he felt better, he should be fine. But for now he had to remain unseen by the public.

When Fenris was tucking me in, I murmured,"Does he still fancy you, Fenris? He told me some tales." Of course I hadn't been there when they were together years ago, but how strongly he had reacted, when the healers said Zev might not wake up, and how well they were getting along mostly.

The room was much too dark to see my best friend's expression. Fenris had been sitting at the foot of my bed, busying himself tickling or massaging my feet. Heard him yawn as he shifted to get up. "It's late now, Kit. Perhaps, not sure." 

 

 


 

 

Few days after, we had put this matter behind us. I was looking at my friend’s invite to the Alienage (but wasn’t allowed to go) while doing homework. Because some lady elf (I forgot her name) used to be a blood mage? Fenris had dragged me away from her, yelling at me in public. I could not accept such a huge, strong overreaction!

Someone knocked on the door, so I crumpled it and stuffed inside my textbook. “Yea? What.”

“It’s me. Are you dressed? Want to talk,” Fenris said, sounding quite merry.

 “Just a moment.” I had to cover my really short underwear, as it was quite hot these days I never wore much at home. Didn’t know he was home early. “Okay. Come in.”

The tall elf had combed his pale hair, wearing a dark robe with a high collar. It was unbuttoned and exposed some of his markings and muscles. I gaped.

Zev peeked in from behind. “Wow, pretty chic” His sultry voice was peaked. Fenris nudged him back.

I laughed. Fen cleared his throat, as Zev flirted with me. “I cooked a small meal, with his help. Would you like to join us?”

Wow, of course! Fenris let me adjust his sash and feel the shimmery material. He hugged me briefly. And the shorter assassin wore a red waist coat with gold trimmings.

“Can’t wait. This is a first! Woohoo!” We headed downstairs together. The table had been set with candles, some orange dessert in a prominent place while a few other dishes were laid out. 

Zev added, “I decorated and fried the bacon. He didn’t want to let me cook, can you imagine? I'm a gifted cook!” He shook his head, but not in a serious way.

Fenris quirked a smile and said, “Did not notice you cooking before. Wouldn't want a fire, ha! Besides can't recall then.” I thought it was a smirk, but he still looked like hot elf.

“I did! You were just eating and not asking who did!” Zevran retorted amicably.

"I did not! As if I was stuffing my face. I usually chop firewood. Those were not light all right? " Fen glared. His green eyes glittered. " Fair point. But Merry's cooking was ugh (he made a face)" 

Who was merry? I thought they were very funny bickering. Had their grudge been forgotten? I needed to check, but how? That day had not gone too well, if only Aveline had come later. I hope he saw my note.

"Sorry Aveline got angry. Is everything settled? " I asked Zev. 

 “Yes we’ve talked about it. I’m going to be useful so no one will kick me on the street. By the way thank you for the card. Nice art.”

The shorter elf gave me a slip of paper and mouthed, for you. Oh? 

Perhaps jealous, Fenris interrupted and urged me to try the food. “Which one is yours?” I asked.  He indicated one of the bigger plates.

“The egg, omelettes. I know they’re your favourite. It’s with herbs this time.” To Zev he said something in elvish in a jesting way. While I sampled a bit of all, I remembered he was still weak.

 

“Are you tired ? I know it’s draining to cook. You’re back early, Fenris.” I wondered.

 “My thanks. I was resting and reading recipe books in my room. Just bursting to try them!” Zev spoke in his lively voice.

“No I didn’t go out today. It was quite nice cooking. ” My guardian began eating too, his exquisite leaf eyes shining. The orange dessert had not risen properly in the oven. They had been tempted to give up after four tries. As they modestly described everything, my eyes filled with tears- two Elves who want to cook for me, I love them so much!

Good thing they did not notice that I was falling apart sentimentally. I swallowed back the lump in my throat. "Thank you! I will cherish this moment." I told myself not to break down.

 

“If they are inedible, please do not force yourself. This is my first time.” My best friend pricked one ear and frowned. 

“I’ll eat everything. Can’t let it go to waste.” I reassured them.  While Zevran chatted with him in elvish, I was imagining them as their totem animals-  Crow and the Wolf. I tried it out and wow it was so nice like a title. Both elves looked up astonished.

 “Hey Zev, why do they call it Crow? As in the bird?”

He liked her curiosity. “Oh crows are in a flock no? That’s the idea, in a manner of speaking… everyone has own goals but need to work together on some missions. Not all wish to let his brother or sister be better than himself. The birds also do this, they eat their own share then call for the rest.”

I was apparently his most willing audience. The others had told him to shut up or wanted to go to sleep when he explained these stuff. Fenris uncorked a bottle of red wine and filled their glasses. Mine was a fruit juice.  “And Fenris, you’re the Great Wolf. Some myths have it as an immortal destroyer, but I think you’re really noble and graceful.” I was visualizing him training, hefting a twohanded weapon but not in a cumbersome way.

Some of the lyrium markings swirled on his hand as he was listening to me. Zev was fascinated and could not avert his stare. New phenomenon to him. Fenris concentrated on his glass, wiggling his fingers and eventually the swirling tendrils stopped.  When he looked up, noticing how astonished we were he smiled and replied calmly, “Ah I see. Not always, I’ve bad days. Such a sweet tongue. Then what about you? What animal would you like to be?”

 “Wow I’ve many in mind! For now, hmm I wanna be a cat. A black panther- a symbol of rare independence.” I traced an outline in the air. Fenris said that I'm more unique than a wolf. 

Zev lifted his glass beaming. “So the Crow, Great Wolf and Panther! Awesome, no? Yes.”  We laughed and toasted to that. Then he wanted to know more of Fenris’ magic, which the warrior explained neutrally.

Strangely I heard another voice, but not them say Rinna. 

Who could that be? My friends were eating but had not heard it. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter Text

“Fenris, I was thinking we could do this more often. We have such a wonderful partnership, right?” Zevran suggested optimistically, taking a bite of baked fish. He made everything seem easy and graceful. One day when I had come home early, the Antivan wanted me to balance a book on my head without letting it drop.  Then as my footwork improved, I should be able to do it naturally. Regular practice can improve my feminine elegance. His patience with me far outshone my instructors at both the Chantry and the academy. Perhaps memories were hurtful, but Zevran didn’t mind talking about them.  

Fenris replied practically, “If I’m not exhausted bashing people. Perhaps yes, we had no choice but to work well together.  I always wondered where you vanished to when I did the actual attacks. I’m remembering flashes, did we go into the forest?”

“Hurrah you remember! Sabriel keen to know our story? But you can tell it, Fenris. I’m thirsty.” He picked up his wineglass, grinning.

The tall elf smiled shyly.“I’m not fantastic at tales. We were going on a diplomatic mission to Sundermount, with Merrill. Zevran has Dalish blood and so does she. I didn’t take it too well, not really a forest person. Merrill went because she can speak fluently but didn’t know how to track paths. Rather unusual that I let them lead. Did I get it right?”

“Yea that girl was hopelessly talking. What is the saying- ahhh head in the clouds. I looked out for danger and stopped them walking into mudpools, traps and all those gross stuff. He didn’t like her much. Because of…”

Oh that was her name! The petite doe-eyed green clothed lady and short black hair…  Fenris caught my glance, probably reminded of the day I met the female elf who invited me to her home in the Alienage. She had not been carrying a staff so I had no idea of her identity. “Perhaps you’re new to this Zevran, but I loath blood mages. Magic cannot be trusted.” His voice was quiet, but sliced through the air.

But can’t I talk to her? Did he need to drag me away from her, in front of so many people ?  I had been cringing from Fenris’ lecturing that afternoon, in the busy streets of the Alienage. His grip had hurt tremendously, as if he had forgotten about my welfare. When we got home, I had locked myself in the library and refused to talk to him for two days. Fenris had been very vocal even through the thick doors about what kind of company I shouldn’t be keeping. I found it difficult to forgive him.

Fenris seemed to sense my moodswing, from the hurt reflected in his face. I looked at the orange jelly and cut a piece.

 

Thankfully Zevran interrupted us from that broody train of thought.  “Alright yes ,so where was I? Long trek up to the main clans, and there are many many little clan villages along the way. Merill wanted to explain every single painful detail, from which statue is which god. I could tolerate it only just a second longer than our dear Elf here."

While he narrated the tale, I asked some questions able to picture everything that he meant. I think he can be the city’s official story teller or maybe release a book of adventures! “I am quite a good listener, but history tales are boring when there’re so many things to take care of in the jungle. Felt so hot and sweaty, I craved for something cooling! With all the bugs yuck. How I missed the city! Cities can be messy and dirty, but more shelter from heat. Fewer instances of wild beasts, haha ” Zevran rose and fussed with the flowers. Really? So he didn't like nature? Haha

 

“So you couldn’t stand her either? She is-- quite nice. When I talked to her for, maybe few seconds.” I said carefully. Fenris did not object and sighed.

 

“No no she’s adorable, haha! Until she asks me why are you Dalish, why did you not stay in the forest, how did your mother abandon you? Aw poor kitty. That’s not good for ego, yes? Let’s not think about the magic part, I know nothing much and prefer to keep it that way, yes?” He had come closer to me now and offered to refill my cup with the fruit juice. While doing that, Zev didn’t have problem continuing to chat. I answered ' yup' to all.

Being Dalish or not didn’t matter as the clans saw the men as outsiders. No doubt that Fenris looked very strange, and exotic to them... So their mission was almost jeopardized by prejudice and superstition. Humans to them were shemlen, a lower caste. I had not understood what it meant, when I walked past some city elves before. I felt a big indignant on Fen and Zev's behalf too.

"I only knew one pathetic phrase- Ma serannas which is thank you. Fenris suppressed his impatience and magic to the maximum. Good thing he let us do most of the talks.  Don't know how we managed to communicate, some Keepers simply had no taste for our charming exteriors! We were more than capable of helping them!  But at the very least, we could sleep in the safety of the encampment and resupply. I bought some fine weapons, to add to my repertoire."

Then I wondered if the mission of goodwill had ended well. Anything less than that would be a wastage of effort.

 

"I forgot... Fenris did we succeed or not?” The blond chuckled, turning to him. 

 

“We made it out somehow. Lots of giant spiders and lizards to vanquish. Venhedis- overpopulation. I didn't care to listen unless someone bothered to translate. Me Focused on cleaving those bastards, ” Fenris failed to suppress his low husky laugh.

“Hey I did hack at them! Assassins cannot survive frontal assault, it needs subtlety, precision. Wow my daggers almost corroded from the strong acid from spiders. I didn’t need to use any toxins for a month.” Zev retorted good naturedly.

 

I gaped. “Cool! Oh yea you can work in tandem together, your sneak attacks, Fenris doing the frontal assault and Merill, she helped?”

They nodded, agreeing she used some conventional spells to back them up. Luckily they were not severely wounded, she was no expert healer. “I suffered from fever from the bites, I believe. Much as I wanted to leave quicker, I was forced to lie down. Caused a delay.”

I nodded sympathetically, my heart softening. “That’s true, Fenris, if you are tired don't force yourself.  No one is immune to poison. Zev, were you hurt?” 

 Fenris beamed. The Antivan put an arm around me. “Perhaps being part Dalish came in useful. My wounds healed quicker. Merrill panicked and ran back to camp. ”

I blushed and as his hand didn’t move from my shoulder, I touched him. Where was Fenris’ home then? At the same time as I wondered, a maid servant supplied the answer- Seheron. Fenris frowned as she took our empty dishes and went off.

 

*******

When we were sated, I thanked them for the story. I hoped to avoid discussing about the incident and planned to rush upstairs. But Fenris had moved quickly to intercept me, maybe I had been too distracted by the maids laughing with Zev.

“I… er, did your hand hurt? I am sorry.” He started examining my hand.

 I wanted to summon some just anger, but it failed to come. No idea what to respond without triggering another of his emotional outbursts and no matter how much we all empathise with his suffering...  if Fenris cannot and will not move on, must he also stop me from talking to anyone who's into magic?  It's not that I couldn't forgive him till now, but all my internal rationalizing was driving me nuts too

“You didn’t know about her. I shouldn’t have-- lashed out at you.  But I thought the worst and... the Alienage is not a safe place. Couldn't you try to understand? ” He spoke with conviction and worry, his brows furrowed. 

My internal self retorted: So what? Please don't continue! I'm not weak, and she won't  hurt me! How can you distrust us so much?  Aloud, I said it was fine and pulled away. His grip was not very hard but he took some time to release me.

I could not bear to look directly at him, yet Fenris' voice and gaze seemed to sear. By now I was already halfway up the stairs. Yet he went on quickly,  “ I'm probably not the best with words. But, I can't let this pass, without at least trying. Sabriel, why the silence? Are you angry? ”

 I stopped, my hand on the railing. “Yea I was. Fenris, she didn't tell me about magic. Only normal things, like what to eat, and wear, and animals. She would have accompanied me home. I can't forget what happened, when you came.”  Then I continued until I reached the second floor. No more following footsteps after me...  As I turned, the elf was standing in the middle of the landing, head down. 

Felt as if we could never attain the same level of understanding....

"I see. I hope you liked what we made." The elf replied and flashed a faint smile. 

"Definitely. Hey don't be so broody. I feel like using my staff to hit you." I folded my arms in my coolest poise.

Fenris shook his head and closed the distance between us. "Really? Dream on, I can phase through anything. How dare you. " He scowled, but his lips quirked. Well, I couldn't stay mad on such a perfect night after all. 

 


 

Before bedtime, I opened the paper and was astounded by Zevran's calligraphic script! 

Dear Sabriel mi amiga,

My name is spelt Zevran Arainai. But it is no problem however you spell. I’m so touched you took the time to draw me this beautiful exquisite art!  A friend gave me some Dalish gloves but sadly I lost them. Nobody wrote me letters unless they needed my services. I’m glad you will start to believe more in yourself, Sabriel. I’m useless with art, worse than a small kid.
Right now I can’t buy you a gift yet. It’s customary for Elves to give something in return. Was in a bad mood that day, should I have tried to be polite to Avalene? How to spell that? Hm Fenris said hers is a strong man’s name. How about yours?

Ma Serannas for everything. Sincerest thank you in Dalish-elven. If you like, we can write short notes, yes? I’m quite free.

 

Sincerely, Zevran

 

The next day when I awoke, a container of bruise-healing salve was on my desk. Illegible scrawl of a short sentence, and Fenris' signature. I screwed open the cap and inhaled the delicious scent. The bruise was not visible anymore on my left wrist. A bit of smarting so I tried some. I guess Fen did not realise the full extent of his power when he got mad. I Made a point to compromise next time. I admire his simple gestures, even if it is blunt...

 When Zev suddenly spoke, the container slipped from my grasp and rolled on the floor. "Ah, no wonder he asked me how to spell some words." I had not heard any sound, but the slim elf was now standing in the doorway elegantly.

"Oi stop doing that! Being sneaky!" I gasped and yelled. He pointed to himself and looked innocent. Then he slipped out and closed the door. As I brushed my hair, I remembered his letter and my heart melted. When I was dressed in my favorite blue robe and slippers, I came out. The blond elf was leaning on the balustrade and watching the servants' bustle.

"Good morning. Sorry about that, had a shock... You've such awesome handwriting." I stood beside him.

"No it is I who should be apologizing. Bad habit of an Assassin. " He replied, not staring at me. His voice was serious now.

"Will be nice to learn from each other, no? I wish to do art like that."

"Of course." Shyly, I put my arm around his waist. He kissed my forehead. 

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter Text

This dawn, I did not dream about how Fenris rescued me and my untamed powers, like I normally did. But someone talking about Rinna. The same voice had spooked me when we were having dinner but I thought it had been my hallucination. Sensual, feminine yet not completely…   My dreams of the past are usually vivid, though I don’t wake up screaming and in a sweat. So I’d never shared about these to stop them worrying.   I couldn’t see in the mists and called out who are you. The person paused and spidery fingers caressed my forehead.

  She sobbed. I squinted but still could not see any solid person. Never tried talking in the Fade before, was it an evil demon?   ‘Who are you?’

 Rinna

 Why have you not gone to the light yet?   I asked.

   Resounding silence. Spirits don’t rest because they are seeking someone, I remembered a Chantry verse. ‘Do you search for someone?’ I immediately thought could the target be Fenris? But he would never consort with demons…

In the distance there was a crack of something against a cheek, plea for mercy, for love, and then her anguish as Rinna the spirit answered me.

 What?   As I thought that, my physical body was conscious again and I felt myself return. I allowed my eyes to adjust to my familiar room and darkness. She had shown a bracelet of red petals and repeated his name… Then I went back to sleep again.

 


 

It was almost lunchtime when I walked by the weapons-room. The former Crow was examining them. I asked him who is Rinna harmlessly. It should have been.

Zevran stiffened. The sword he had been holding clattered loudly. “What? How did you know that?” Colour drained from his face so rapidly as he raised his voice. “I’ve never told anyone for years!” The elf snapped. His lashout was so defensive that I hesitated.

 

I was still bleary from sleep and didn’t understand such strong emotion. He ran his shaking hand through his golden hair and crouched down beside the sword. Zevran did not gasp as he picked it by the blade. His red fluid ran freely but he was transfixed by something else and didn’t even notice me calling the servants to grab a cloth.

 They had told me he had a fiery temper but he had always kept it in check, always polite to us. Two servants came and spoke to him softly. Zevran had silent tears tracking down his cheeks. He let them clean up and I apologized, holding a cloth around his cut right hand.

“Zev? Want something warm to drink? Come on.”  He did not answer, and let me bring him to a room we usually reserved for guests. Even though there were chairs, the Antivan did not move to sit and I continued keeping pressure on the wound. I guided him to a chair.

A warm cup of Kirkwall tea was set on the table. Mary, one of the servants he always spoke to, called him until he finally looked up. She was a mousy half-elf without pointed ears and they usually spoke local dialect. I could only understand his name. Mary took out a kit and while I held Zev's hand , she bound it.  Murmuring elvish,  he bowed his head and made himself small. Hair concealed his face as he clasped his hands on his lap. I bit my lip.

 

Mary and I looked at each other, and she whispered what’s wrong. I shrugged and asked if there was any mail and did Fenris leave any messages? My guardian usually roused earlier than me even if he had no work, to train at a secluded location. The way Fenris shows he loves me is this personal space, he never interrupts my sleep and if there is anything urgent, he will entrust messages to Mary. We spoke for a while, wondering if Zev would recover his usual self.

In unison, we both laid our hands on his back. Zevran sighed deeply and huskily said, “I am… alright now. Thank you.”

 “Sure, then I’ll be going to do chores. Zevran take the healing potion on the table alright? Master Fenris says he will be back earlier today, missy and to do homework. He doesn't want to get complaints again. ” She chuckled.

I smiled and moved to leave as well. " Nah I'm good. Aww why does Fennie have to say that?"

 But Zev bade me to stay. “Sabriel. How did you know about her?” His usually bright honey colored eyes were glassy and his voice was frail. Only Zev could still look graceful with undried tears.

 

“I’m sorry, I had no idea…”

“Stop!”  he snapped, semblance of fragility broken. I slipped one hand to my belt where my spare knife was.   He rubbed his forehead and said, “I mean, tell me how. Do not say sorry. Rinna…  was someone very precious to me.” Acute pain crossed his handsome features.

 

“I will. Drink this first. Please.” I offered him the almost cold tea. Zevran smiled faintly and accepted. “I heard a voice. That day at dinner, but it could have been a mistake. And we were happy, I didn’t want it ruined. Last night, or morning, I dreamt of her calling for you…”

 

“Did you see her?” Zevran interrupted. His shoulders slumped when I shook my head.

I went into as much detail as possible but it was not enough for him, not until I said, “Before I woke, she said your name again and there was this… red bracelet of petals. You’re very angry. I shouldn’t have…”  I wrung my hands.

 

“Don’t be sorry. I am not angry, just very mixed up. She’s… was my lover. I gave my everything to her, we were more than friends. Did she say anything about Taliesen?”

Lover? It sounded as if Rinna had been highly important to him, not like the casual sex Zevran liked to discuss. For the first time, I noticed the bone weariness and acute pain lacing his voice, ageing the elf.

Zevran talked about this murder of Rinna that a man Taliesen had done in front of him. It sounded complex.. He did not build a picture of how she was like, but I was certain she must have been perfect in his world. They had been in the same Crow-cell, to go out on missions. “Although I had not cut her throat, I hadn’t believed her. She did not accept a bribe. The source was wrong. And I listened to Taliesen, when I Shouldn’t have! He was my close friend. So I did not question him.Ah I was such a fool, an idiot. I really wanted death, and I tried to… you are, crying?”

 

He frowned as I began to weep. It was weird even though we had just lived together for a few months?“Don’t die, Zev.” Zevran’s fingers traced my face tenderly.

Then I hugged him without shyness, without restraint. Maybe Rinna had wanted me to. He gasped.“You’re not a fool and it’s not what she would have wanted! Nor what we would want, there are many many people who worry and care about you. How can you not see? ” Now my transient emotionality was gone and my no nonsense self prevailed.

 

And I did not let go until Zevran coughed. “Ah, I appreciate the care, but… I can’t ”

 

I stood up and glared down at him, Aveline would be proud ( I'm the same as her when my instincts ring true)“You… cried. For me?” He said softly.   

Zev was getting depressed.  “A lot of the time, I’m not… seeing that. Everyone wants me to shut up, that I’m unfaithful, lurid, irritating, a pest, a sinner. Maker can’t count how many have died by me.  I tried to forget, to be cold and evil. Sometimes it helped, sometimes no.”

 

“You will answer to my fist if you keep on like this. Stop… trashing yourself! It’s Normal, because we’re not without conscience, emotions. I care, coz you’re my friend, even if the world does not! You’re a Real dumbass douche bag if you actually hurt yourself dammit! Rinna would… be happy you helped to fight the darkspawn… It was heroic, and crazy but good. Worthy.” I wound down my tirade, remembering some of their tales.

 

Zevran closed his mouth and scowled. “Hey hey! Why are you cussing so much? Don’t waste my effort to coach you. I… I get it. Calm down. Are you seriously going to hit me, eres me mejor amiga?”

 

I shoved my hand back in my dress pocket. “Maybe. What’s the word?” Why did I wave my fist at him? 

 

The sunlight was back in his face. “It means you’re my beloved friend too. Thank you for telling me about Rinna. Will you tell me, again if she comes in the Fade? Please?”

I agreed to. Comfortable silence as we ate some food. Zevran enjoyed the fruit pastries and said so. I thought everything would be back to normal. He asked, "If I may... Sabriel how long have you had dreams? Are you scared of the... otherworld?"

 He did not sound mocking. I hesitated. What if he thinks i am crazy too?

"I can tell you but can you keep this a secret? Fenris and Aveline get worried and they already have problems. And when I told friends they scorned me." I had not looked directly at him till now.

The elf reached out and held my hand without lust. "Yes. I won't judge you and I've seen plenty."


"Okay... eh I have not been able to control this... skill? Or curse. I am not scared and wake screaming. Mostly it was about how I got kidnapped and Fen being hurt. Once of someone whom I didn't know but he appeared to me. They didn't harm me. "

Zevran nodded. "Oh. Wow you are brave. I mean I would run away." We laughed together. 

"The voice that said her name, was not in dreams?" He mused.

I shook my head. "Yea not sure what it was. But I just met Rinna last night. Should I start freaking out now?"

He raised his brow. "You have an oddly slow reaction my friend. No offence"

I smiled. "Yea I am that. Why did you cut yourself? You need your hands."

Zev replied," I was angry with myself. Not uncommon for me to have injury. I'm good with pain."

Usually I would remark you are a nutcase. But I should not judge him. "Tell me if you need help. I've to review a douchebag romance novel. Maybe you can gimme ideas. Argh!"

He laughed and read it.   "Why douche? Hero sacrifice." Zev was puzzled. He's a fast reader.

"Noo they Just got married! Then he stepped in front of the villain squidman's sword. Impaled through the heart! Then exiled for 16 years cant come to land! Bloody hell." 

"Eh, put like that, perhaps you are right. Maybe he thought he can protect the girl? And you'd be angry at someone who did it for you, I take it?" Zevran wondered, flipping to the middle pages. 

"Better not. Especially as I'm no damsel in distress."

He laughed. "Yea! So definitely we should move away even when you can't fight no? Why is there exile?"

"Oh because it's the Davy Jones curse, he is an immortal with his heart locked in the box. Later, when Jack Sparrow defeats him, the ship is theirs and the crew need a captain. So substitute this heart for his dead one. He healed but he can't come back to land. Need to be bound. Sorry if it's confusing." The elf was fascinated by it. 

"Ooh. Not at all, I understand. Very nice romance, it's my favorite kind of story."  I said he could take his time to read it as I could finally move on to an action story for the next lesson. The elf grinned.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter Text

 

Neither Zev nor Fenris talk to Headmistress Lelianna much. She used to be a travelling companion with the Grey wardens, a bard cum assassin. Students hardly get to see her, though she Founded Kirkwall's renewed religious Chantry now.  SOOO boring to write my essay about how to be grateful to our Makers. After the Rinna issue had passed, Zevran just had a bandaged right hand, none the worst for wear. At the moment, he was regaling me with stories about their adventures.

 “So why not? Not pretty or sexy enough for you eh?”  I beamed.

“No she was both. Red hair, bright blue eyes. Like a deer if I may say.  Time may have changed that. (how he pronounced her name was simply unique and exotic) Lay-lea-na had been friendly enough, when I failed my mission. She did not mock me like Morrigan did.”

“Who’s that? Sorry I’m lost.”

 He smiled. “A witch. Hm, someone like a mage with more nature magic, shapeshifting. Lelianna asked about what I did, and when I told her, she condemned me. Ah you are Such a sinner Zevran! You must repent, the Maker will hear our prayers, forgive and love all thy enemies. Blah blah.” His imitation had me in stitches.

“Aw you find it funny? I am wounded.” He shook his head, frowning and shoving an invisible knife to his chest. He even gasped dramatically and pretended to fall into a chair.

I applauded as soon as he recovered and looked at me. He grinned.

“No no. I think that sucks. We are All sinners, Zev.  She killed people too didn’t she?” I waved my hands in protest.

“Of course! I vaguely remember the darling was angry I mocked her visions. I said wow you are so funny when you’re mad. Then next moment she said I am forgiven and we have much in common. Ah, the thrill of the hunt. That’s before doing the actual slicing and murder.” Zevran had a delicious cleverness to his voice and watched me doodle something.

 

“Yea I.. see. In our lesson we were discussing about not to judge others. You came and then left. Heheh.”  Being bored at home, and unable to train as his hand was hurt for now, Zev accompanied me to some lessons. He was intrigued by sexy boobs, and history, geography.

 

He said I looked ravishing and kissed my hand, fluttering my heart.

 “You are better today? Please,  go easy on the alcohol. May have liver cancer.” I scowled as he uncorked a bottle of wine.

He sipped a little. “Hm. What’s that?” I begrudgingly gave him a mini lesson about the effects of over consuming wines and strong alcohol. That’s what we cover in alchemy 101 and years ago, I had been terrified to find Fenris on the floor when I visited. He said he had a burning pain in his side. During the period of recovery, they confiscated all the wines in the cellar. It had been the only available drink left in this manor (which had belonged to that shit Danarius)  and Fenris had no experience with the right nutrition.

We all stayed vigil by his bedside as Varric, Anders and people forcefed and lectured him. In sulky defence, my Elf friend said slaves didn’t know about those.  Yet, he did not rail at me and wanted to listen to my accounts of shooting arrows, training and provoking teachers. Fenris has always been lenient on girls. : )  Anders diagnosed that it was not cancer, thank the Maker but stomach ulcers!

"Don't drink in excess! It's not good on an empty stomach." I concluded. 

Zevran accepted this and slotted it back into the shelf. “Don’t worry. I still want to have more years to disturb and seduce women.”

I shook my head in exasperation. Presently, he asked me did I mind that he was a sinner who’d slain many? “No you’re not. As I’ve said before, I accept people. We’ve all done wrong.”               

He was about to answer but was distracted. Cocking his head, Zev beamed, ears pricked. “Aha he’s home! Can chat!”

I had to come out of my room before I could hear servants speaking, and the front doors closing. Fenris looked dishevelled, bruised, with blood staining his armor. Unlike our guest, I decided not to go down just yet. Our arrangement is for him to rest, have some quiet time on his own, then if he wants to, the quieter warrior will seek us out. I couldn’t hear what they were saying. The tall elf leaned his sword against the wall, moving to unstrap his boots.

He used to run around barefooted with just a piece of leather, easily getting blisters and cuts. I think Aveline managed to cajole Uncle into protecting his feet at last haha!

 *****

I still didn’t know what to write for the lousy essay so I read some notes. Fenris called me softly, my door was ajar. “Hello. Want to have dinner together, squirt?” He sounded really drained, his voice softer than usual, but still pleased to be home.

“Ok! Let me finish up.” I waved and smiled at my best friend. “Come in. Rest.”

He gingerly sat on the side of my bed. “Good to be home. Take your time. A difficult mission.” He yawned.

“Fenris, sorry. Oh no are you hurt? Let me see.” I examined his countenance, no blood but a plaster to his forehead, uncombed white hair and he was absently massaging his leg. He smiled, green eyes twinkling.

“Here and there. It's ok, no bleeding now. ” We held hands, me being extra gentle not to cause pain.  “Oh, Zevran is going out. He asks if you want anything from the night market?”

What?  “Let me talk to him first.” My guardian sighed. 

I hollered his name, racing down. The smaller elf was already dressed by now and strapping weapons to his belt. “You’re going out-- now? But it’s late.”  

The Antivan continued preening himself in the hallway mirror. “Yes a short stroll. Would you like me to get you something, jewellery or a night snack? I’m perfectly capable of defending myself, ha! Do not worry. ”

"No thanks. Just...." 

From somewhere behind me, Fenris deadpanned, “Make sure you don’t get hurt, Zevran. I DON'T HAVE enough stamina to chase more assholes tonight. Don’t act like a child.” No wonder his voice is known as "wolfish", the more uptight Fen is, the more sonorous and growling he sounds. 

 When the Antivan did not answer , Fenris scowled and his voice raised , “Do you hear me? Arainai.”

 “Yes yes Lord Fenris.” Zevran beamed and opened the door. I scowled but waved back.

 “Do not call me that!”  Tall elf dropped into a chair and rubbed his face. “So have you eaten, Squirt?” He exhaled slowly, eyes closed.

 

“I’ve asked Betty to make some food. Yup, I did but let's eat together. Don’t get up, let me bring it here.” I stopped him from rising. Fenris smiled.

Then he wolfed down the roast chicken and everything else wiped clean in mere minutes. I ate brownies and a cup of camomile tea.

"So few you're eating? What are those?” Fenris indicated the brownies. I bade him to try one. He made a soft joyful sound. 

"Yea I did have dinner just now. Next time gonna buy more. Have mine," I gave him the last one in my box. 

 

Later Fenris encouraged me for updates. He’s awfully concerned for me, so I don’t really mind if I never see my own father again.

 “Today was about gratitude to the Maker. Zev knew Lelianna and he was arguing with her there’s no god and so on. “

 

“Oh THE Lelianna.” His tone was frosty.

 

“Why are you angry?” I wished I could change the subject. Fenris breathed hard and his knuckles were white pressed to the table.

 

“She stared at me, like I am a monster. The way she talked of Orlesian elves being serfs, that they are equally treated. She said these markings look beautiful. Where was the Maker when I suffered? Carved into my flesh, not by choice. ” His cheeks flushed, brows furrowed.  

I called his name, afraid by the consuming rage that might follow. The white veins on his throat were beginning to shimmer. I looked for a hiding place. Indeed why does God not intervene, why didn’t he stop them from hurting Fenris? He must have been so scared and helpless.  

 

I floundered for a subject change. None, but maybe…. “I know of your pain. She shouldn’t talk so much about serfs and sinners. That’s why Zevran didn’t like her. You know, I will write that in my homework that I don’t think gratitude is possible to the Maker when people are hurt but no justice is done.”

Fenris stopped glowing and seemed to snap out of the anger. The feral glint in his emerald eyes was calming. “Zev asked me , do I think he is a sinner? For taking lives.” I said, relaxing.

 “Really. What is your answer?” He picked up an apple and examined it.

 “No I don’t. Because we all have flaws, no one is perfect. Not even Lelianna, and she has killed too.”

Fenris lowered his head awhile. “As have I. Sorry, for frightening you. I meant, no one came to help me when I was tortured. After that were the countless beatings when I could not please him. Yet she and her group preach about loving the enemies, blessings and gratitude? For what? She compared her face -painting which’s nothing like mine. I can't forgive nor forget the past. Not entirely.” His voice was still bitter but the intensity had lowered to a gentle simmer.

 “That’s so… fuckedup of her. I’ll talk back when she comes to my class.” I looked at my hands, expecting the spark of just anger to kindle, but it was nothing. 

 He smiled, crossing his long legs. “Hey don’t use that word. Wonder will the grade go down if you write like that? You don’t need to prove it or say anything to hopeless people.” As he ate the apple, he gently brushed my sleeve, a signal that his sensitivity to touch felt tolerable today. I opened my fantasy book and continued reading.

 

*********

Hours flew by. Fenris had not gone upstairs, just leaned back on the sofa and fallen asleep. He can’t sleep deeply, plagued by nightmares. The first times I stayed over, I was freaked out by his heartwrenching shouts and moaning. The night servants would stop me from running in to comfort him, because he didn’t know what he was doing. If there were objects beside his bed, they would be smashed as his Lyrium state became active and hurt. In the darkness, Fenris had been illuminated and pale, thrashing and lashing out at imaginary demons and foes. Although I didn’t mention I had seen him like that, eventually the warrior asked for sleep potions that reduced the intensity of nightmares.

Then he had helped me to shift my belongings to a room further down. I hope I don’t hurt you, don’t wake me up suddenly all right? It’s really important. He had reminded me countless times. Fenris moaned softly now and I tensed. Then a most fleeting smile curved his lips. I wished the Maker could have done something at the time. He’s a good elf.

 

I got a blanket and covered him. Then I crept to the dining table and continued reading by the fireplace. When my eyelids drooped, I gave up waiting for Zevran to come back and glanced to Fenris, who was stirring. He rubbed his neck. “Hey.”

He noticed the blanket and cocked his head.

 “Hello. Want to go upstairs?” I asked. Fenris folded it neatly and patted the couch.

 “It’s fine. What’s that about? Not sleepy?” He rubbed his eyes.

 

I read him the beginning chapter and the elf listened peacefully, one ear tipping every few seconds. The fictitious characters were fearing each other’s Gifts, powers. That seemed to remind Fenris of his life.

“Thank you for reading. Tell me, do you fear me? You can be… honest.” He was focused intently on my forehead or perhaps I was too sleepy to see straight.

“Ah yea. How about in the day?” He agreed and carried me upstairs. I felt really safe in his arms, clasping my book.

 

“You’re also my best friend. How would Zevran say it, mi amiga. Something like that.” I think Fenris added. “I know that I instil fear in people.”  A note of sadness in his soft voice. He should not worry so much, I only meant I feared him when he got angry and wanted to kill. Otherwise, he had made so much progress and learned to control his powers and temper.

 

Some humming roused me. Eh was Zevran back? I saw a mop of white hair and asked if it was Fenris. “Yes?” He was still beside me, in a chair.  

“Why didn’t you go to bed? Nightmare?”

 

“No. Er, I wanted to… be like that person in that story. Watching over you.” I could not tell if he was smiling.

“Oh. Haha, thanks Fen. I’m honored to be your friend and hope we can always be. What a nice voice by the way!”

 Fenris cleared his throat shyly. “Same. I heard a tune somewhere…I'm going now. Oh let’s talk more in the morning. I’m taking some days off.” I nodded and watched him pad softly out and his shadow blocked the hallway lights.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter Text

 

 From Sabriel's night journal: 

My dream flashbacks of what happened to me as a child repeated often but never did I wake up screaming, and my heart rate was normal when I dozed off to real sleep afterwards. No one should be worried about me, when it was not a prophetic sort of nightmare like Alistair about the Archdemon. I accepted it as natural and a reminder of how much Fenris means to me.

Now I decided to keep a record of each detail of this past, to retell should the occasion arise. That night I had only explained how I discovered my power, but not the regularity and the clarity of everything. Because I can’t add another worry to Fenris’ life, when he is just beginning to feel more optimistic.   

Kidnappers had come for me, in my old house. I was gagged and bound, dangling off the kidnapper’s shoulder. Screaming and kicking as much as I could and satisfied that some of them cursed when my feet connected with faces. I could not hear properly what they said, after a purplish haze smothered my senses.

I blacked out and then heard some voices shouting to give up. I was still bounced vigorously and made out a figure with white hair and a longsword running to me. Then people blocked him.  My groggy mind wondered, is he the elf who won’t talk to me? Then I got tossed against a pillar, my head missing by an inch. Finally the world stopped moving, but my hands were still tied. Someone had also secured my ankles tightly. Shit! I think it was some kind of big room.

All were still fighting, clang of swords, grunts, the men in black against the uniformed guards, and… Fenris! Is that him? First time I had ever seen him become an incandescent blue glow, sweeping through some people. They dropped like flies, and retrieving the huge sword he cleaved at others. Uniformed guards were also being slaughtered.

My throat burned from screaming too much and I watched all the action. The good side seemed to be losing men, only Fenris and one man remained standing. But I just focused on the Lyrium elf who was still blue. How did he do that? Metallic scent of blood filled my nostrils and I coughed. He was not barehanded but wearing the metal gloves, one of it darkened with wet fluid. He swept his sword in a warning arc, his lips moving and panting.

The blackshirts surrounding them were far too many. I yearned to call out his name, to ease the tension and exhaustion on his sweat-drenched face. The foes had evil- looking crossbows, like Uncle Varric’s Bianca. Then Fenris cursed, an arrow embedding itself in his back! “Ah shit! How…” the remaining guard shouted, parrying someone’s weapon clumsily. Their reflexes were slowing.  Somehow the warrior remained standing, breaking my heart.

Red had smeared on white hair and all over his face. His wild green eyes connected with mine and he mouthed my name. I shook my head hard, don’t come any closer! Turn back, please! You’re hurt!  But Fenris ignored my silent urges, grit his teeth and summoned some strength to stab someone with his gauntlet. At the same time, Fenris slashed others that charged carelessly from his left. Ring of steel and more blood.

Fenris did not take his eyes off my position but spoke something low and fierce. Suddenly my long hair was being grabbed a burning spike of agony, and I screamed. When the red haze left, something sharp was pressed to my neck.

“Tell Them to stop, or you die!” The thick accented voice ordered me.

I attempted to but could barely breathe.

 “Let her go, scumbag.” Fenris growled, aiming the Greatsword at him. His voice was strong though his arm trembled.

The person cackled. “We don’t see no money. And look, you’re outnumbered. All of you will die here. Maybe if you produced some gold… ”  Once again, the asshole commanded me to speak. Beneath the vestiges of my petrifying fear, some force within me defied his threat: How dare you command me? !

“I am fine. Walk away,” I said hoarsely, as Hot Rage sparked inside.

The knife near me shifted and they talked. Fenris lowered his head, his grip slackening on his weapon. My friend’s eartips were twitching. Suffering, death, agony, must save them, damn this! Help me Maker!  

I jerked at the rope. Then some crossbows twanged and both men cried out. The human knelt, sobbing that he wanted to surrender. Fenris closed his eyes and swayed on his feet, the sword clattering from numb fingers. 

Every shot they fired fuelled my searing emotions. Don't they dare hurt him again! 

In the split second when the inner Fury roared with the urge to be unleashed and my hands filled with golden flames, Fenris looked at me once and ripped the heart out from that captor. Tossing it aside, he rushed past me. The ropes melted from the scorching tidal wave, causing some bloodcurdling screams. I did not suffer any blisters. The nearest blackshirt had not run off and suddenly his evil smile was replaced by horror when I glared at him. My sight was engulfed in ivory and gold fire radiance  Yes take them all! Slay them for causing us pain! Protect Fenris  the voice shrieked in glee and justice.  

After that, the screams and power all died out and all I saw were smears of black around where I stood. My head was spinning.

Faint sounds of groans and fighting were audible. I'm free now, where do we go now? 

Fenris came up to me, not glowing anymore. “Are you all right?” he asked breathlessly, but did not wait for an answer. He was coated in sweat and blood. It took a few tries before I managed a nod. Fenris told the man to follow and lifting me into his arms, broke into a run. Were they still pursuing us?

Metallic cloying smell, mixed with armour... 

“You’re bleeding, Fenris! Stop. You need to rest!”  Those crossbows! What if he can't stop bleeding? He cannot possibly continue like that! “Put me down, Elf. Stop,” I implored with my sore throat, touching his chest. However he did not hear me. Gradually, my sensation of being bumped slowed. Fenris' breathing sounded ragged, his heartbeats too fast. My ear was pressed close to his chest. Felt him shivering from fatigue.

"Are you hurt?" He may have muttered that, and then the last vestiges of stamina gave out and he let go of me. He hit the ground. My eyes filled with tears. Fenris, you should have gone for help.  I repeated over and over : No I’m not hurt, Fenris don’t leave me. You’re hurt but I can't help you! DON'T DIE! DON'T LEAVE ME ALONE. PLEASE I'M SCARED! 

The silver lyrium looked washed out on his ashen skin. Blood seeped from his mouth, accentuating the internal injuries he must have from all those cruel embedded arrows!  I ignored the pain of the spiked gloves and held his hand. The shock of it sank in and I cried hard. Fenris was barely breathing. I didn't know what to do, should I take off his breastplate? Did he have a pulse? Through all that metal, he might suffocate. I leaned close, hearing his gasping. 

Eventually somebody consoled me that it would be all right. Hands coaxed me away from my benefactor, as I weakly resisted. Kind voices with blurred faces said Fen would not be in any more pain. I did not take my eyes off the makeshift stretcher as the healers carried him away.

( At this I stopped writing, for my vision had clouded over. He barely knew me then and yet he risked his very life to… ) Then that survivor had attempted to accuse me of being a cursed witch,  ranting senselessly. The end of the flashback was his pure horror like I was some demon, but I knew I had no regrets

Since Fenris slipped into a coma, no one but us knew what I had been capable of. Whenever I reflect upon it I felt momentarily empowered and strong

 


 

I padded out, noticing Zev’s room had a sliver of light. “Zevran? Are you sleeping?” I called then remembered his acute hearing. No need to be loud. He opened the door and smiled.

“Sabriel, hi. Eh you’re not tired?” He pushed some hair from his face. I liked his honey-warm voice, always reassuring.

“Can, can I talk to you?” I let him hug me and invite me inside. Zevran lay across the bed, leaning on one elbow and I sat, telling him in a rush about the dream. Throughout, he did not say anything only raising his brows and sharp intakes of breath. “Did you… hear me scream just now? Sorry, if I'm noisy. I don’t know if… ”

 Zev brushed my cheek, rolling the ‘Rs’ as he answered, “Always worrying if I’m affected. No I didn’t. It’s not at all your fault. Screaming is normal. Hm, but Fenris did  two nights ago. I truly wanted to help, but the night servants, they stopped me. Said it’s dangerous, it is?”  He bit his lip and drummed his fingers on a leather bound book.

 “Yes, very. It’s better not to touch Fen, he’s not aware and may kick or hit you. And that blue magic hurts. I found that it won’t hurt me, not sure why.” Hadn’t Fenris taken sleeping draughts? Poor guy.

We were quiet for a while and I thought Zevran had dozed off. “Um then why aren’t you sleeping?”

The bookcover said it was a history of kings in Fereldan.

 His face was in shadow despite the table light. “Well, it’s not unusual. Being an assassin, constantly alert. I tend to wait till really late before I lie down or I just cannot. Sometimes I talk to myself. Or drink Antivan brandy.” He chuckled, lightening the topic and sounded unlike a killer at all. “Trust me, milady you look really worried. I am all ears.”

His tanned hand with calluses covered mine. My heart grew lighter with his touch.

 

“I know. Thanks, Zevran. Fenris doesn’t remember what happened. I don't want him to be stressed about this too. I mean, I’ve told him once but not how many times I dream. Has he… told you about Danarius? The magister that put the markings on him.”

 

“Ah perhaps. It’s hazy, only remember my time fighting alongside Alistair, and the darkspawn. So the nightmares about that guy?” I said a better word would be fiend. “Let’s move on, my friend… Why did they catch you? For ransom?” Zevran moved closer to me.

His honey eyes reflected concern as he leaned forward. “I don’t know… was very young then. After, the power didn’t return until someone insulted my friends. I don’t want to hurt innocent people, it was good that it protected us. But, I need to understand it.”  Zev made no comment, just yawned. Oh, he must be sleepy.

“Fun with the history book eh? Haha, good night Z.”

I stood up to go. “Welcome. Darling stay for awhile please?” Zevran implored.

“Sure. You afraid of the dark?”

“No I just want some.. companionship Sab.” I wanted to correct him, but his features relaxed in sleep, his lips parting in gentle snores. Even if he is a sinner, I don’t feel this assassin is evil, unlike the cold blooded murderers news we heard about every other day.

The Antivan kept his promise about the Rinna dreams, which he brought up occasionally. Though Zev still had a lingering regret about this, he felt hopeful someday she would visit him in the Fade. I was working on that, but not to worry Fen with the supernatural aspect of this ‘favour’.

On the good side, we also continued writing notes that illustrated and proved his sincerity and his affection!

Dear Zevran, It’s really nice to see your name and get it right! And really exciting to talk to another elf! My spelling on names sucks. You’re very welcome. I wanted to make you that drawing. No trouble at all.  Aunty Aveline means no harm, and I wish we had been able to introduce you in a better way. She’s actually not a rash person, calmer than me. Fenris respects her a lot. Her sense of right and wrong are clear, though I am still talking to her about your good points Zev. I think, Aveline is named after a knight in Fereldan history.

  Theré’s a legend of another Aveline who disguised as a male to take part in Arena games. She had been adopted by the Dalish, got trained with their archery and so on. When she removed her helm they were so outraged. She won ! But they could not accept it. Not sure if she was exiled. Not sure if you heard this tale… oh you’re part Dalish. Am I wrong?  

Is the lady elf really called Merry? Haha! I like the way you talk to us and it’s comfortable. As in, you are not spiteful and proud. Some asses or fools talk so much without meaning. I don’t understand how anyone can be angry and think poorly of you, when you’re such a pro at everything. I think you’re a steadfast and wise friend, Zevran.

Pro is our youth lingo for expert. J Ah I’m digressing so this will be much longer than the other note. Shall secretly smuggle this paper, when you’re not looking. Fun! Wanna make it like a game?

Oh yes Fenris likes having you here with us. I’m sorry if he’s not direct, cos he’s quite shy. It took me almost six years, and after that incident, to have this closeness.  Mainly, because those tattoos make his skin highly allergic on certain days, that’s why we can’t do prolonged hugs. I like matching fingers with him, which he suggested as a kind of love too.  Give him time all right?

Will you be going back to Antiva, Zev? Haha, I don’t know what my name means. Think my parents just liked the sound of it. 

                Yours truly, Sabriel

 

******

The next time, I received his heartfelt response bound with a red ribbon on my desk, beside it was a long stemmed rose, still with dewdrops. It was so sweet of Zev! When I had run upstairs today, past him, he had pretended not to notice anything. He would be at home most of the time, with barely enough sleep and not fully recovered internal injuries. They didn’t let me know, but I saw Zevran taking another batch of herbs, very groggy on some days. The matters he helped with were translating and deciphering paperwork that Fenris, Aveline and the rest didn’t have patience to go through. The Antivan got some rewards when they succeeded, I supposed.

I intended to start reading it right away, but Zevran persuaded me to have lunch with him, and our schedules had been different for the past week. (More on this later)

I was tickled by what he had wrote, and easily pictured his voice too:

Dear Sabriel,

I’m speechless by your nice words and really going to cry. Because you’ve touched something inside me, I thought was lost. I had to recopy the first page which got wet haha! Let’s see, yup I’m part Dalish. I don’t know much about them except they’ve very good reflexes, archers and my mother was one. She fell in love with my father a woodcutter.

You’re quite observant and eloquent for one so young. I’m an elf, live longer than humans so it’s a matter of experience. When you see me in the morning, don’t be alarmed alright? I’m a bit stressed if you and Fenris will not recognize me. There’s been some changes to my… appearance that would help with subtlety, then I’ll be able to look more local.  

 

The lady elf Merrill you mean? Merry is fine, close enough. I take it as no problem, she didn’t correct me. Thank you for the Aveline story. No I have not heard of it yet, they don’t respect women in the Arena? Did you mean in Fereldan?

I cannot imagine women being non warriors, the Dalish and Antivans include women in sparring and duels, and they are equally competent in the wars. Is that so, Aveline can be calm? True, I meant no disrespect, regret we could not have met on better terms. I would have apologized, but felt quite hurt and emotional. You are kind to vouch for me, Sabriel… will it land you in trouble? I would not want her to fall out with you.

No problem, I enjoy reading long letters. Not that I’m busy. I’ve not yet recovered, maybe you know. Being an assassin, it’s not customary to show anyone how weak I am so I hardly admit. But we do live together, so I shouldn’t scare people fainting and coughing blood, no? The lung infection has cleared, thank the Maker. 

[ at this part, I felt pity stirring for Zevran, that he still remains positive must be hard]

Oh this question, how can anyone think poorly of me. But they mostly think so. Even the other Crows were jealous of me. Shall I repeat how many glares and scornful words came my way? But I don’t want to sound pathetic, really. If you promise not to laugh, I can tell you more. Only the group’s hound and the dwarves with the cart walked beside me, and guess where Zevran ranked? Too honest, I should’ve told them I’m from some other guild : )  I feel nothing like that with you and Fenris. He knows my past, and maybe you don’t have the full understanding and prejudice of what my identity meant. Can I ask that we continue, without barriers? My grasp of the human language is not so smooth. If you are unsure what I’m trying to express, I’ll explain again. It’s all good don’t worry. When you’re not rushing off somewhere and Fenris is free, can we spend the day together? The servants are fine, but they don’t really count as friends. Or lovers haha.

The good in me, you think so? Wow such as? Please tell me! I am all ears. The healer said I should try to be calm and happy. He was angry that I quarrelled with Lelianna, braska how did he know? I like to curse Braska in my tongue, means shit. Good jest. Yea I know you like my tales, my dear. I’ve many more but shall keep the best for the last.

Cannot wait to see you both when you’re back.

Love (yes I mean it haha), Zevran

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter Text

We had more than a talk--- Fenris being really upfront about himself and his unpredictable Gift. Rather vehemently, he said, "You must be cautious near me! I cannot forgive myself if anything happens to you....." 

I waited till he finished his points (he had a great many)  and met his green gaze steadily. “Fenris, I do hear you. You mean you're dangerous, and we should not let down our guards. But, you’re also my hero! Because you rescued me. Did you know how many weeks we waited for you to wake up?” I looked away for a second to compose myself. He had suffered immense blood loss then, and his life had hung by a delicate thread.... I still choked up remembering that.

“Er, one week? Surely I was not that frail,” he replied, embryonic smile forming. 

 

“Longer than that. So regardless what happens I ain’t abandoning you, Fenris!” 

 

He ran his gloved hand through his hair, looking exasperated. At home, my friend substitutes the metallic gauntlets with leather gloves. On some days, his palms feel more sensitive. Also, when the weather turns chilly, we observe from his stiffer, slower movements that his muscles hurt especially where the veins had been etched more deeply.

"It's not about abandonment. When people got too close, I hurt them. Especially if I've sudden moodswings, you have to keep your distance. Couldn’t control the surge of power from-- this curse. I never told them about how… how Hawke, Arielle truly died. ” 

Then Fenris folded his arms and hugged himself, shivering. His head was bowed.

My heart ached, I couldn't do anything to console him.  “I am so sorry, Fen. Don't force yourself to relive it, if it's bad.”

Some of the magic veins shimmered, giving me some static where I patted his shoulder. However nothing drastic that would harm us. He sniffled, gasping, tears trickling down his face. I was stunned, he never cried in front of me. Feeling how much he trembled, I was weeping a bit too. His voice was muffled by his hands.

"But-- I can't bear it alone. I couldn't believe how small, and fragile a spark of life is.   She had just become the Champion of Kirkwall, driven away the enemies and Meredith was gone. We were very much in love. Whenever we embraced and my emotions quickened, the memories came back. Did I mention that before?” Suddenly, Fenris sounded a little calmer.

“Yea it is like stimulation right?” I said.

His stable voice was laced with pain and intensified with every word. His eyes fell close.  “I would break it off, and Hawke was angry and didn’t understand. She kept insisting it would be all right. When we had… sex, I think the lyrium became too much! It was just so bright. I tried to stop and  withdraw. In battle I can, but that night I failed.  She lay there in the bed, awfully still. I begged her to wake up. She looked at peace, just white. She was not breathing, only then did I try to rush her to some mages. They just tried stupid methods, much too late. Too slow.... "

And his voice became harsh, his green eyes confused and grieving. "I killed her! I was a monster, kafass!" 

“Fenris, don't talk like that. I'm here, and it wasn't your fault.... ” I reached out to offer some comfort. Yet he pushed my hand away and covered his face, sobbing.

That means, Hawke did not die of an accident that Varric and Aveline said ? But why? 

So far, we basically knew Fenris despised being near mages, as their casting and magic tended to create a horrible stinging, prickling sensation all over his body. Even if he deflected spells, the backlash was awful too.

He’s some sort of weapon, yet you live with him? Freak!  A bully had taunted me. I had demanded to know what he insinuated. I didn’t get what " weapon" meant, because he should be treated with dignity for who he is!

“I.. I need to be alone. Tired, ” Fenris murmured, getting up and heading upstairs. He had began phasing into his blue Ghost form. Worriedly,  I watched until he went into one room and the door slammed. 

Then Zevran came out from the downstairs guestroom, looking quizzical. Had he heard what Fen said?

But Zev did not ask, though he had come out just as Fen rushed upstairs. "Hello. Can you help me to find some books please?" 

“He's hurting so much inside. I hope he gets well,” I said, while searching the shelves.

Zevran was on some medication to relieve joint-aches. He did not probe what happened. I wanted to ask for advice, because this elf was so much better with feelings. Yet it was not right to disclose my guardian's burden. 

Over the next few days, Fenris did not come out from his room, though the maids made sure he ate something.

 


 

It must be horrible that your Talent kills your loved ones. But I didn’t think I’d be injured by that ghost-like power according to templar training sessions. Mine was grouped as a Cleansing aura, similar to Alistair’s Holy Smite. He had been able to deter waves of demons and black magic concentrating that power. During a break, I read up about the Sciences of Templar cleansing aura.

Aveline was in her office. She was delighted to see me, until I wanted to discuss this. Of course I did not talk about Fenris’ secret. “Is he… sick or hurt? He never replied my messages.” She asked, when we had tea.

“He’s- um -sick, sleeping in. Aunty can I talk to you? Am I.. immune to magic?”

“Ah, Sabriel. Yes, having a templar ability exempts you from magic attacks, and darkspawn. Didn’t Alistair and Cullen explain those in class?” She poured me some tea. She looked exotic with her short ginger hair, having decided long hair was a hassle. Today, Aveline opted not to wear armour and was just wearing a shirt and trousers.

 

“Ok. Then, what about Fenris’ lyrium state? It’s not touchable. I notice that when I hold his hand awhile, it’s just a spark.”

 

“Honey it’s dangerous. We never go near him until he’s back to normal. Did he hurt you?” Aveline exclaimed, holding me.

 

“No! He won't ever hurt me. I just need to know! ” I lost patience and my voice was raised. “Fenris IS normal. Aren’t you all his friends?” Why did she label him like that too, as a freak?

 

She looked sorry and took deep breaths to calm herself. “That didn’t come out right, sweetheart. Yes, we are. Listen, it is best to give him space when he’s like that. I am sorry. You felt nothing much, but I have seen scores of people who just died on the spot. Fenris was… concerned he may hurt you. And now that assassin lives in the same house. ”

“I can trust them. Zev is all right. He won't hurt me, Ave.”  We stared at each other, until Aveline nodded.

“Would you show me your ability?”  I couldn’t always replicate the emotions needed, so now I simply pictured Zevran being sold and passed around like a thing and how badly he had got hurt. The heat accumulated in a tight ball in my chest and I cupped it in my hands. Aveline gasped as I aimed at the wall. Smoke fumed and the sign of a tranquil mark scorched.

My hand was still flaming (not a physical fire just a Force) and I asked her to let me hold her. “You’re not my enemy, so it’s not angry.” I said smiling when Aveline looked at our joined hands but she was unhurt. Her skill was Indomitable Will, able to stand fast during danger.  Silently I implored the aura to retreat and opened my eyes. The force obeyed. So far I’d only tried this with other knights. But not yet with others.

 

“Looks like you can defend yourself. Alistair speaks so well of Zevran. If you’re sure…”

“Yup I am. He’s quite friendly, I hope you can give him a chance!” Then we talked of other matters. And then I had a great idea!

 


 

I rushed home that evening. Stopped outside Fenris’ room and listened. “Hello Fenris. I.. I wanna tell you something. Are you there? It won't take long." I leaned my ear against the door and only heard faint shuffling sounds. 

After the longest silence, Fen finally replied, “Ah. Wait a moment.” Stuff being moved and he cursed softly when a particularly heavy object was dropped. It sounded like kafa?

I hoped he was not crying. He had been so distraught. Finally the door clicked open and I saw his bare feet first. 

 

“You really- want to come in? Messy, ” he rumbled. Fenris smiled faintly, his pale hair dishevelled, in a crumpled blue shirt and shorts.

 

“Yes! I’m immune. Give me your hand, and get into that mode.” I held out my hand.Then I looked behind him, wow! The state of his room was as if some bomb had blown up stuff- rumpled clothing, boxes, trunk half open with miscellany spilling out of it. 

“Sorry? I’d been finding the necklace. Sabriel…” Fen blinked.

 

Shyly, the warrior slipped on the necklace and cleared a space on his bed for me to sit. The feathers matched his skin, and the brandings stopped shimmering.

I held out my hand again. He frowned and stared at me as if I had gone mad or become an abomination haha!

Right away he resisted. “I won’t. Do not be rash.”

“I want to prove this to you. Please. We have never hurt each other, did you notice?” 

Fenris repeatedly refused me, until eventually he said, “I’m not sure about this. When can you summon it?”  I concentrated and my right hand was aflame.

“Fenris trust me.”  He nodded, and his eyes glazed over as he activated the marks on his left hand that I was facing. The elf grasped my hand quickly.

The sheer blue power skittered over my arm but it was not painful, just a faint itchy sensation. Fenris blinked. “Incredible. And you’re in control now. This- isn't painful.” His tone was curious.

“Yea! So you don’t have to worry about hurting me. See, I'm not affected at all because Cleansing aura is the opposite of mana. I do some training on it, outside of defence lessons. " Proud of myself! I haven't been declared as a templar status yet, but this rocks!  

Fenris did not speak for a brief moment. "I see. That is... good." As usual he downplayed his happiness. He started gathering his clothes. 

"And?" I prompted. 

"Oh can you help me to arrange these?" Fenris said practically. I moaned flopping down on his bed. He chuckled. "Why?"

"Omg this is siong man! How long do you wait till you clear stuff? Uncle. Omg." I wrinkled my nose. My guyfriend is hilarious and inserts some crazy slangs.

"Squirt is that a curse? Hope not. I can't help it, the mess. The female servants take care of the outside  chores. This is my place. And I had to find it." He murmured. 

"Nah It means super stress- Don't know where to begin! And omg is oh- me- god  Youth lingo." I rolled over to peep at his trunk. They were metallic things and looked rusty. 

Fenris motioned for me to get up. He closed the lid and nudged it under with his foot

"I know. You can help me sort some clothes for Zev and maybe, color code the wardrobe?" He had his back to me, but could not conceal his sheer brimming joy. 

"I thought you might be more.. enthu about my sharing. Fenris I  was worried when you locked yourself in. No we. As in all of us!"

"Just fine. I had some things to do, such as learn spelling and copy passages." I gaped. What? When did that happen? I surveyed his mostly black clothing and pants and found some cream and green!

"Why do you need to learn? These are not worn. Please try them."  I suggested. He took the pile and chose a green tunic feeling the material.

"I'm told that if not I will be like some crazed barbarian, Sabriel. Stupid Cullen. He chooses the longest passages." Fen deadpanned. I could not help laughing imagining the endless banter.

"Hey, stop laughing! It's boring to learn history. I want to copy out short fiction passages, Alistair allows it. And less boring. You're supposed to help me. What type of friend are you? " Fenris started buttoning his shirt and growled.

"Ok. But this is eh- hard to read. Should write slower and bigger. Sorry. Don't be angry ok?" I didn't mind helping him, that is if he could take criticism. Uncle Varric had regaled us of all the famous times our Elf hurled away books, slammed the tables when they tried to instruct him.

He nodded without comment. His aura was still tranquil.

Then he kissed my cheek when I least expected it. I was counting out some coins that he had amassed. Fennie had saved lots of change. I blushed.

"Er ok. Now did you change the sheets? Zev washes his own clothes, I've seen that. Quite good!" 

"I think I did. Can't remember.... He is quite domestic. Maybe I don't have to find another manservant." We burst into mirth. 

"But if I am very sleepy I don't bother. Didn't know you become so.. particular. Don't be so fussy. " Fen remarked, still happy. And he took a good long breath and made a thumbs up. 

Haha, I denied I was fussy. 

"She forgives you. Have  you forgiven yourself?" I added, as he came beside me and briefly held my hand. 

Fenris went still and had not finished his sash knot. I completed the knot. 

"I could not. But I've been thinking these days that I still have this life. She always nagged me to be a better person. To let go. Wow you've become wise, since when have you changed? " 

"Nah I'm still me, hehe. Let's go out for a meal. Zev said he feels better and needs fresh air. Is that alright?" Haha i made that up last minute, but was sure Zev could improvise.

Oh gosh, the super scribbly and large writings, noooo! "What? I just can't read. You need to work on this again." I remarked.


Fenris disagreed, " Ha, the guys had no trouble. You need to check your eyes. Let's bring you to a physician." That was adorable!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter Text

 

 

Zevran’s hair was now cinnamon brown, his fringe trimmed shorter, his pointed ears peeking out from under a braid. He had chosen to wear one of Fenris’ white shirts, with some elvish patterns adorning the front. Because Zev was shorter, the fabric hung loose. Still, Elves could be sophisticated in any clothing, regardless if they were nobility or not.

“So what do you think? Am I still dashing and handsome?” His accent was stronger when he was excited about stuff.  I was about to sit opposite him, though Zev beckoned me to come closer.

I chuckled. “Yeah! Don’t worry, still handsome. Hm what about the three lines here?” My fingers touched my left cheek. Zevran was figuring out how to keep the long spaghetti on his fork. I leaned over to help him.

 “Sorry, I didn’t notice what you said just now.” The Antivan’s gaze met mine, and his pupils appeared to be molten gold at this moment. 

Amazed by that, I went red as I repeated myself. “Oh that’s a symbol of the Crows when I reached senior status. For now I won’t be painting that.”

 Oh yea, he wanted to avoid being recognized. “How’s the food? You’ve not eaten this before? It’s spaghetti and can be made with this carbonara sauce or other flavours.” I explained the stuff laid out on the table as Zev sampled some of each. He liked having more pepper.

As his hands moved, I caught sight of some green or brown twining tattoos on his biceps. Would it be rude of me to stare?

 “Haha maybe a long time ago. When I’m on a mark, there’s no time to eat a full meal. It’s nice.”

“What’s that, a mark?” He meant the assassin’s targeted victim. Whenever the ex Crow talked about his hectic life, he sounded merry as if it didn’t perturb him. But I remember how his mask had cracked before, and I was in no hurry to bear the brunt of his hot temper. “Just wondering, how long does it take to make a tattoo?”

 He smiled mischeviously, pulling up one sleeve to show me the vine-like patterns. “If it’s a small one, may be an hour. It was almost an entire day, for my chest to my stomach. (I cringed at the thought of the pain it must cause) Ah mi querida, you look upset thinking of the pain?”

 “Yea. Was it like, compulsory to have them? I mean it’s not like the victims will want to look at your… um.” I tried to think of a substitute word for 'naked body'.

He was not at all perturbed gleefully going into the topic! “In fact some of them will. I provided many services, other than poisoning and spying, I went to bed with several—clients. Sometimes, because I loved them I couldn’t finish them off and reported them -- missing. ” Zevran confided even though I had not asked for this much detail, because he relishes telling tales especially revolving around sex. Me and Fen have always shied away from it. 

Since the Rinna incident, in which he lost his temper when I apologized, I thought it best to be quiet. Why doesn't he control his feelings better? Shouldn't assassins be devoid of warmth and conscience?

“Sabriel, remember we were talking about who are not sinners? Then I got distracted. Some mages asked me before if I had a crisis of conscience.”

I nodded, trying to saw open a shellfish. “Yes. And I said we all are. Cos we’re not in heaven, we’re on a journey on this… earthly plain. Did you have the crisis then, Zev?”

He offered to help me scoop open the shell. Seriously Zevran said, “Yes. With them I always tried to feign nonchalance. My old friends Alistair and Lelianna didn’t believe I asked for forgiveness from the Maker. Maybe they did not mean to be so cynical. Right it’s open.”

“Thank you. I see.” I didn’t plan to comment anymore on this sensitive topic as he became quiet. I watched how carefully he placed the fork and spoon on the empty plate and listened to the servants’ chatter. Today Zevran was in a listening mood, seemed lonely.   “Oh I can’t wait to read your new letter.”

That wistful loneliness evaporated with his warm disarming smile. “I know. You’re not shallow, and it is quite consoling and fun. Do you feel more at ease now?”

“Well, yea. Unless you start tossing knives or needles around, should be okay. Varric said you would likely sleep with a weapon under your pillow." He was offended by dwarf and said it sucked to be gossiped about behind his back 

 


 

“Hello we have a guest today!” I skipped in at midday. Zevran was bringing platters of sandwiches with some of the servants and grinned.

 “Oh where is he or she?” He looked behind me.

I beamed and setting down my bag on the couch, took out a glass jar with leaves. He scratched his head, glancing at the door. “This is Fluffy, my science project. We’re to observe how much they eat and the life cycle into a butterfly. Awesome!” I gushed, putting the jar at my spot on the table.

 

“What? Er this is where we eat. Why are you putting it there?” Zev replied, curling his lip.

 

I pouted. “He Is my pet and I’ve to look after him. Please. What’s wrong?”

We had a mini- argument about that, not shouting but Zevran was grossed-out by insects. “He won’t die when you just leave him a while. Don’t be ridiculous.” He was grumbling other stuff which I didn’t understand. I watched Fluffy eating a leaf and tuned that out.  

 Just then Fenris said ‘I’m home’ When he is not that busy, he comes home early so we can eat together! He deposited some books on the front table and a smaller sword on the weapons’ rack. I think Cullen had been tutoring him. We greeted him too.  I introduced my new guest excitedly.Fenris liked Fluffy and touched the glass to say hi. That is why he’s my best friend.

My annoyance with Zev fizzled out, and he said in hurt pride, “She won’t listen to me, Fenris. Can you convince her to put it away? So disgusting.”

“I thought you’re an animal lover.” I smiled. Fenris asked me if I would like to. I shook my head.

 Zevran did not find that amusing. “That’s a bug. It’s eugh. Will you take it away or not?” He folded his arms and snapped. His accent thickened.

 “Sorry with all due respect, I need to look after him.” How could he force me, did we not agree to be respectful?

“Fenris!”

 “It should be alright, we don’t have birds coming in. Actually Zev, she has always brought in a stray creature or two. Too bad I’m allergic to cats.” He explained patiently.

“It would be fine if it’s not that thing.Braska

Fen chuckled. “Still, it’s not good for his blood pressure.  I’ll take a bath. You can start first, don’t wait.”  I reached out to take a sandwich but Zev whisked the platters away. Darn!

He moved to the farthest end of the table. Our dinner table is rectangular. I sighed and patted the jar cover. Mary chuckled and said we’re both stubborn.

 “Aw,  don’t be upset. I just wanted to… lighten things up.” I said after I washed my hands and came beside him. Zev did not answer.

How awkward. Why must he be so petulant? I went to the kitchens. Some of the cooks were talking. I asked them why he was moody. “Oh he wanted to make lunch for you guys. It really is not everyday we put worms at table,” the washer woman remarked.

 

I racked my brain…. There’s an oriental tradition* of offering tea to the teacher when he or she is pissed. I can do that! There was some premium tea in the pot so I took a small cup and put it on a tray.

 

As I balanced it carefully and slowly walked over, Fenris had come out drying his hair. He smiled.

Without speaking, I started tipping the pot to fill cups. Then holding one with both hands, I approached Zev who stopped chewing. “I’m sorry.Will you accept my token?” I bowed my head and offered him the cup.

 He did not speak for a long time. Then, “Yes. Hm I’m impressed.” He said without heat in his voice.

The elf was still sullen but the fire had faded from his eyes. I observed his turned almost amber when Zevran lost his temper.

“Hey squirt do I get one too? So cute.” Fenris chuckled. I did the same for him.


 The next day, I snuck this into his room when he was asleep.

 

Dearest Zevran maestro,

Of course I won’t laugh at you. So you mean you were behind the group? My guess, and that must have been hurtful. Weren’t some friendly? I asked Alistair what he thought, he said because you had set a trap for them and they could not trust you. We are keen to understand your side of stuff…  How long were you at the back?

Ah I saw the dwarf boy Sandal, I think. He helps with Fen’s enchantment stuff and repairs. He is pitiful he only speaks very little, because it’s autism. It means he cannot use complex words nor understand relationships with people. It happens more in boys. They are specialists in certain areas, very smart, like him knowing about explosives and runes.

My class has a boy like him, so we are asked to be more tolerant and patient. He is new, partly why he’s easily agitated and start shouting, takes very long to calm down. He will stay in a room by himself, until they figure out how to help him, aww.  

Sandal’s father looked worried when he still replied short words to Fenris, who pities him. At first, I saw Fenris scowling and asked, are you angry?   No, he feels sorry for the poor chap. They’re very good with animals.

There’s this true story of a cat who helped an autistic boy. Quite funny, he would run to talk to her and say ‘I love you’ ignoring Everyone else! Nor will he hug or care about them! It is all indirect… so Zevran have you seen people like that? Are you patient? Yea, that Aveline was Fereldan too and they didn’t allow females in duels and competitions. That all changed when men were conscripted yet there were not enough forces against the rebels and darkspawn.

 

All sexes are equal in your countries? Antiva and Dalish? Cool! Can I ask you a big favour? If you’re going to visit any Dalish, can I come with you please? It is alright if it troubles you too much.  I don’t think I wanna ask permission from aunty or the others, because they won’t allow me. When you’re better, can reply me like that? Thanks! I did ride past Sundermount with Aveline once when we were practising archery. Thought I saw some people flash into the trees. After that she said it’s too dangerous to go on my own. Fenris doesn’t like to. When I met Merrill, I wanted to ask her if I can go but I don’t have the chance to.

  Thank you for making us feel less shy and awkward. Sometimes, haha we have not much to say. Especially when he’s sleepy after missions and I’m dreaming. Do we bore you? It was quite normal when I was younger, Uncle said he did not know what to talk to me about… about mages and Tevinter and all that would be too heavy. It’s nice when you talk, Zev! In fact I was worried about your silences these days. Is something bothering you? Do you tend to withdraw and stew in angry silence?

I’m like that, and know it’s bad but because I can’t solve anything by screaming. I only raise my voice at Mother, which is always a frigging disaster.

I was shocked when you shouted at me, and cut your hand. I didn’t know what to do. Do you cool down fast? Aww, all these are so many questions hope you don’t have a headache. Understand if you don’t wish to mention some.

Oh I checked in a dictionary, brother is hermano in your language. Want to learn more. Great you don’t mind long letters. I express myself better like this. Haha, sure you are free to cry. But I didn’t do anything special… I’m stunned. Elves are my favourite people and exotic, handsome (I’m blushing hot) and your eyes are like jewellery. I love eating meals and spending time together. Oh, not at all, your background does not matter to me. The inner values are more important, such as you are a great listener, passionate and supportive. I’m an introvert, feeling these is a kind of ‘power’. Oh dear, please don’t cry again when you read this part. And I don’t see myself as superior to any race.

 All my friends outside except the traditionalists-funks, want to fight for equality of rights. I hated it that people made Fen a slave, if I had a choice I would lead an army to wallop them.

The girls envy I’ve two of you live with me, heheh! Er love is… okay what type of love? I was hearing this song, Suerte what does it mean? I didn’t know you hate bugs, Zevran. I really like most of them except bees. Sorry. Are you alright with animals?  

See you around!  Sabriel


 

Since he had been mad at me, I didn’t expect him to respond kindly.

Bueno mi querida bonita Kitty,

 

Means goodday to you my beloved friend, a variation of Antivan. I think I shall answer from the back. Oh that bug, no I don’t like them at all. You were really naughty that day. But it’s alright, don’t do it again. Let's see.. I like some animals that look nice like colorful birds, and some dogs. The warden had a dog and I was grieved when it died bravely. You might be happy that cats are royalty in Antiva city, they sit on cushions and eat expensive dishes of food. Dogs there are lowclass. Er there's more but you may not like it. I noticed you think all elves are animal lovers. Haha what if one is not? 

Would that piss you off Kit?

Suerte means a celebration of life, good fortune. Yea you’ve a great many questions, hope to cover all of them. I do not mind, why will I have a headache? You’re cute. Nope I won’t cry, come now.  Really, so you’ll help us revolt against humans? Don’t be impulsive, calwn. Fenris will be very happy that you all want to free slaves! Same, I would join you if there’s a chance. It’s noble ideals.

 

Oh wow you’re so deep. I’ve no idea about autism or introvert. Ah thought it was on purpose, when Sandal would not talk properly. Then there’s no cure for them? Why does it happen? I got impatient with Sandal, full of guilt now. Not at all, you are both very interesting company, I’m not bored. Forgot how long I stayed behind, maybe a year or so. Yea Alistair was jealous of me.  : 0  We had problems and he felt that I was some callous killer. Since he did not move to woo the girl, why should I not? Hm you mean support me? Overall we worked well together for a ragtag bunch haha!

Well yes I’ve a hot temper. I wish I can control myself, apologies I remember. I was not angry with you, Sabriel, but sad and helpless that Rinna is gone. I cannot make up for the wrong… when I almost married her.  And I feel bad for asking you everytime. I wish she’ll come talk to me in dreams or Fade. Also depends how deep is my anger. Sometimes if it’s just a small quarrel, I flare up and walk away. I’d almost stabbed business partners before. But I don’t regret that. They got drunk and humiliated me loudly in taverns, that I have no parents. It pissed me off. How dare they insult me.

You have no need to fear, in your home I don’t carry sharp things. I am relaxed. Why did Varric say that? : ( Is he not a rogue too? Rogue is another word for assassin.  As a sinner I’ve made many mistakes but once I’m indebted to my saviours, I take my oaths seriously and try to repay them.

So you do that "stew in long silence"? That is bad, indeed. Won’t it be more painful to hold it inside? That day when you ran out, asked me not to talk to them where you went, we were all worried.  Wonder if Fenris had said he was shouting at us -- how can we let you go missing. It is the past now, more than two months, I do not mean to be petty but to explain... He really loves you, that Wolf. Like you said to me, as long as three people in the world care about us, then there’s hope. It is the wisest advice ever, hope you can count me as one more.

  Now for that rather important issue, you wish to come with me to meet the Dalish? Is it because they seem exotic? Feeling troubled is not an issue, querida. As you have mentioned, will your family, especially Aveline trust me? I don’t know if it is a good idea to sneak off as you have suggested. I actually know the keeper of the present clan a few days from Kirkwall. LiaRineth allied with us during the Werewolf blight. I asked Merrill to be our messenger, they are good friends as well. Perhaps we can plan this ‘quest’ more carefully when I’m stronger.

  Do you know they are resentful of humans? It can be dangerous. When we were negotiating for an audience with an older Elf mage (he was evil) the sentries almost riddled us with arrows. Luckily I came in front and they held back. Real stress to convince those dalish not to slay my human friends. It did not help that Sten the qunari and Shale were threatening displays. Shale was a golem. Wait, don’t you intend to talk to Fenris? Let’s not hurt him again please. Of course, I understand this is to be hush, for now.  Truthfully my Dalish is quite pathetic and I would need someone’s tutelage. Otherwise they may be pissed with me too, yes? You would be my responsibility, I don’t mind looking after you. But my confidence is lacking, for I’m accustomed simply to be alert for danger and myself.

I want to learn how to use the two sticks for the noodles, chopsticks? Feel free to tell me when I go overboard chattering. Why are you not awkward during Fenris’ silence? I will be so uncomfortable and squirming :- )  The other day he remarks how I should imitate this kind of silence. Mostly we talk about what we did together. I haven’t given up on romancing him yet, he is So mature and honourable. Don’t worry, I didn’t bring up the slavery bit. In fact I never asked him about the markings, except that they’re unique.

 

Write back!

 M ucho amor, (much love)

Zevran

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter Text

The pale haired elf frowned and tried to peep at the word list. Like for elementary school, Fenris learnt from a list, occasionally with dictation. The informal lessons were not regular though, depended if Alistair or Cullen were free at the same time.

“What word is that? Pronounce clearly.” He glared at the quill.

"I have! Aris-to-crat,” Zevran had wanted to give him spelling! He rolled the Rs, whisking the paper further away. Fenris acted as though he had not tried to cheat. I smiled.

“You can do it,” I encouraged him.  Slowly Fen made a small ‘a’, his brows furrowed in concentration. He had not managed to write every alphabet in the same font yet. So some looked very big, some tiny and slanted.

“Come now my voice is clear. I’ve tried to reduce my accent  too.”

“He understands.” I said to appease the hot-tempered elf. After thinking for few more minutes, the lyrium elf produced (Ari). The rest of the alphabets got wiggled together.

“Zev, patience. Restraint.” I wanted to emphasize that, since he admitted he bullied Sandal before. During one of our very enlightening storytellings, I tended to interrupt the Antivan if I didn’t quite ‘see’ the colors and pictures clearly. My favorite tale is about how young Zev partook in the prince Azrin slaughter! I immediately laughed till I had stitches at the point of : I managed to get through eleven guards, before being kicked out the window then got robbed blind.

"What? Did you break the glass? Sorry , but I add the sound of you shouting Ahhh or woooo!" I remarked when he accused me of being evil.

"I don't recall everything. The damn thing was open, hey I could have died, and you jest!" Zevran said trying with his serious face, amber eyes flashing. But he started smiling in a lopsided way.

"Yea, but here you are, still hot-looking, Zev! No cuts on face,  did the water feel good? Awesome dive, backwards or.. um legs first?" I could not resist adding.

"You are incorrrigible,  amiga! How should I know, just that Antivans dislike water! By far you are hard to.please, you want directions size who how what. Would you like me to laugh if you said you failed missions?" With one hand he tapped as if an invisible list of stuff on his palm, petulant and his voice in his singsong pitch.(which adds drama and flair to Zevran)

I said sorry and nodded vehemently. "Can do, its only fair Zev. Cos I want to make a story about it and want to be more sure of what it looked like."

"Really? Then where will I hide once this goes out? I regret speaking of this, shall cry in my corner." He sniffed and tickled me when i pointed to the left side of our room- go go, feel free to stand there.   "I will torture you and.. wallop you if I see my name tarnished," he teased grinning. It is surreal talking nonsense with a dangerous assassin, but Zev soaked up attention like a pro. 


 

Now that we were all more familiar with each other, I truly wanted to help Zev, with buttoning his vest and sort of ‘remind’ him to eat according to the healthy foods list. Oh yea, I also confiscated the wines. Sometimes Zev said I drove him nuts and he’d be pissed but after a while I would appease him somehow. Unlike us, he could appreciate beautiful things so whenever I made an artpiece he was distracted and forgot his temper. Yay! 

But even if I planned to write about the Azrin case, I would change his name! That's honor.

 Back to how we were utterly rubbishing Fen's time with spelling: ))     Zevran made a face at me. He pouted at all the wrong words that Fenris had scribbled out. One cannot tell that they are fierce warriors , more like softies!

“You shouldn’t always point out mistakes, Kitty It’s not polite. How will you feel if I do it also?” He folded his arms.

 

“Sorry. It’s true, though yes? Contigo!” I said gleefully.

 

“Not again, that’s broken antivan my dear. I thought it’s a song, is it not complete?” Zev said, trying to suppress a chuckle. He coughed.

 

“Yea it is! I heard it at a music festival, and my friend showed me the lyrics. But I only copied a few. I love the word contigo and suerte. ”  

 

“Contigo means with you, suerte is something like lucky, fortune.. ha you can’t use them like that,” he responded, shaking his head. “Actually I wish to go to a music festival. Would you mind accompanying me?” I was fine with it.

 

Fenris laughed, his shoulders shaking. Zevran and I are a great cheering team, even when we don’t intend to joke.

His large green eyes glittered.  The quill was bent and some ink had spilled. “I’m hopeless at this. Not going to be a language person,” he gasped. 

We assured him together not to be disheartened. “Thanks. But from your face Zevran it is quite bad?” Fenris tried not to continue laughing again.

“Ah yea. Only ‘elf’ is right. Sabriel, since you are becoming less blunt, I think it’s Only* fair I become sharper yes?”

I asked my favourite 'huh' word. “Ah I mean excuse me?”

 

 “To point out your flaws more.”  I was arrested by a giggling fit at that. “Sabriel, hey.”

 “Fenris, he’s SO bad and petty!” I received a playful jab to my shoulder.

 

Fenris said "contigo and suerte" too.  Zev began giving some examples.

 

“Umhm. Seems that I’m at the lowest level of elementary? I want to read those animal books you have. They’re fun,” my best friend revealed in a greatly innocent tone. He yawned and rubbed his nose bridge.

 

“Yup. Let’s take a break now. Something sweet to help.” I gestured to the yogurts at the centre of the table. Fenris said “Break, yes. But that’s too sweet. You both like it?” He stretched his long limbs and rose to his full height.  The yogurt had some fruit pieces inside. Zevran hated the taste of milk and the odours, so after experimenting with a number of brands, we went shopping for a few cups. He really needed more calcium to heal faster. Recently a medic found one of his cracked bones on the ankle had not fully healed.

 

“Which do you want? Kitty.” He tweaked my ear when I put my finger to my chin. Never can I decide immediately what I want. Zev chose the mango flavour and opened the seal. “Well I’m not a kitty. Kit is fine. Fen’ll become a pro one day.” I made sure that Fenris could hear me. Even if he does not expressively show his happiness, it boosts his confidence.

 

Zev grinned. “Yes it is good, awesome to look on the bright side. Because I recall your favourite animal is the cat hence kitty.” I decided to take the blue flavoured one.

 

“Yup, more like big cats. You’re like a cat too! In behaviour, and grace.”

 

“Am I to be pleased with that, or some odd… hint?” 

 

 I softened my gaze as he glanced up. “Of course. No hints. I can flatter people if I want. Er let me try this… la felicidad tiene tu nombre y tu piel. Did I get it right? Forgot what it means.

 

Zev laughed. “Good you got the accent right. But, are you certain to say this to me?”

 

“Um why not?”

 

“Happiness has your name and your skin. I suppose this song is about, romancing and desires? Wow.” With one hand, Zev undid the top clasp of his shirt. Last week, when he had done that I didn’t understand so guess what. I helped him to close it back.

 

“Well it involved a lot of dancing. Is it a practice in Antiva?”

He was pleased when I looked at his muscles and some of the not scary tattoos. To not hurt Zev’s feelings because my first reaction when I opened his door and saw the dark patterns over his back, was nausea and it would be worse to puke right there!  They may be art to some people but not me. Fenris’ lines, I had been accustomed to seeing. And he had called out but I ran off. 

 

“Just to try out new words. To practice on some boys I like. In case. “

“You can practise with me. Strange, why did you run off that day after you wanted to come in?” He frowned. Aw man, can't he not wonder? 

I tried to find a nice way to explain. I called to Fenris when he had quietly come behind us. Phew!  Good save Fenris!  “Zevran, I cannot allow you to hurt Sabriel’s feelings. Didn’t we talk about being at a friends’ stage first?”

“Ah yes yes. Key word is practice.” He was following some of the lyrium lines and sounded distant. Yes, the Antivan had short term memory and was already distracted, Haha

“So is the cookie nice? Plain cream crackers.” I wanted to know. Fen took another one to nibble at.

“Good. Not too sweet, the… dentist was nagging and being very rough. If he were not Donnic’s friend, he would be dead.”  I dragged out a ‘Noooo’ He shrugged.  

 

Zev shook his head. “This is not sweet. We sampled a few. I’d rather eat this everyday than drink milk.” He had reduced night outings and when the guards did not update about suspicious assassin like guys, the exCrow liked to check out the markets and groceries.

Yea that was cat-like, one moment ago Zev had been angry but now he was relaxed.


 

 

Hey Zev hermano! Querida and all of that sound lovely. Oh, then you’re not refusing me outright. : ) Very happy, but I don’t know how to tell them. Can you help me, Zevran? Yea I see your concerns. I know and believe that Aveline will listen to reason eventually. Hence this is why I’m starting to think about all these plans now, for enough time. Impressive! I can just imagine you fighting werewolves. Not at all,You will be fantastic at Dalish!

 I have an idea, let’s eat dinner together, all of us! What do you think, don’t pass out ok? Because I want Merrill (and possibly Anders) make up with Uncle Fen, then maybe we can talk with Aveline nicely. Varric and Alistair are always nice. Anders seems nuts talking to himself while healing. I like it that he is an ardent cat-lover! While waiting for my friend, I stroked all the refugee kitties Anders adopted.

Normally I was a bit nervous of him and also don’t see mages all the time. He let me feed them and we chatted about kitties for hours! Haha. What (outraged face drawing) ? I cannot stand non animal lovers. Then it is not true what I picture, aww. Joking not that I would be pissed if they are not passionate as we are. Fenris is fine with every creature yay : p as long as they don't rub on his tattoos. 

I need to help you, my new mission- to care for bugs hahah! It can be overcome, the disgust. Or fear of creepies. That's heartening abt cats in Antiva, what happens to dogs? I wanna know ; 0 

 Zev, how do you find Anders?  Really feel like persuading Fenris to let me invite them. But it won’t be easy I know.

 Oh, that is a rumor I heard, Dalish resenting humans. I’m not afraid of danger, we’ll be together yes? I like your accent loads, you seem to have cut down on the questions at the back. Merry (haha) and the great Zevran protecting me, everything will be fine. Please tell me about the golem! Are they invincible and immortal?

On the silences with Fen, nope I don’t feel awkward or uncomfortable. I would sit near him while he’s sleeping or polishing his sword or eating. Haha you’re so funny. Nah Fenris doesn’t mean that you need to be like me, it’s impossible. We’re all unique individuals. Then I’ve a question, why do you not like silence? It can be relaxing and fun. Must beware of the assassin’s hot temper. I’m sorry that he shouted at you, no he did not mention that. Fenris simply listened to me complaining and was quite soft. Maybe he got too tired searching for me. I thought he would sound angrier..

  It is normal to be sad and mixed up… though I know little of grief. My father abandoned me, he isn’t dead but he may as well be. Varric and Fenris are better fathers.  Aveline and Donnic are fine, though I think I might be sidelined  when they have kids. But shan't worry about that now.   

Sure,I can’t see Rinna, I wish I can tell you but no. I just hear her and how shall I say this, we are on the same frequency…. I like your positive attitude and charm. Oh no, you’ve not recovered fully yet? Please take it easy. Definitely I won’t go ahead, if you’re ill. Get well soon!

 Yea you stabbed those insulting jerkholes? In this case, it was not your fault, how can they shame you in public? I forgot you’re an orphan Zev and yes I’d also be violent in your shoes or boots. It’s from the phrase ‘walk in another’s shoes’

 Cool I like it that you honour promises.  It is normal to make mistakes. Actually I thought most of you elves are perfect. Thank you for not scaring me haha. Varric is eh—I actually don’t know if he is a rogue. He uses Bianca his trusty crossbow and does many many businesses. His hobby is writing stories about our adventures. Aww, I feel like weeping. Three people love me, as in Fen, Alistair and Aveline. And now I have Zev too right?

 

Hugs,

Sabriel

 

 

 

Chapter Text

One night, close to my bedtime, I heard Fenris open his door and speaking to someone. The other person laughed and I smiled, ah Zevran had returned from his short investigation. They were standing outside the hallway, with the blond leaning sideways against the wall on the left, his animated voice rising and falling with gestures. I did not understand the dialect Zev was using, and Fenris listened, responding with his trademark wolfish tones. His back was to me.

Now I’m barefoot, can I sneak up on them?  Fen usually pretends not to know my approach, he has acute hearing!

I kept my head low, sneaking closer.

Zev greeted me, unruffled, “Hi bonita, haven’t slept yet?” I smacked my forehead. Busted! His hair was plastered to his brow, though he did not appear to be hurt physically.

“Nope. Are you ok? Boo Uncle Fen!”  My guardian poked me as I straightened.

“Yes I'm fine, thanks.” He was quite intent in his smouldering gaze of Fenris.

Fenris turned to me, brushing my hair from my cheek. "I’ve to go in a while. Don’t stay up too late.” 

Oh, I just noticed he was geared in his armor, only he had not strapped on his sword and gauntlets yet. 

“Out this late? Be careful. Don't go please," I pleaded, hooking my fingers on his belt. The other guy folded his arms.

“A night patrol further down Lowtown. It's my roster. And I am a weapon, you know. Relax." My friend patiently tickled my hand until I released my hold. 

Zevran remarked, “Before that, a moment with Fenris please? It’s important.”

Oh from his slightly irked tone, did I interrupt something special?

“Yes. Would you bring some tea and water over for us, squirt?” They continued that strange lilting dialect.   As I was walking down to the kitchens, I glanced up and Zevran seemed to close his personal space distance to Fenris. Come on, how did I know he was going to romance him again??

 

When I returned, the Antivan was helping Fenris with his armor.  “Thanks, I understand…. I should be going now, almost late!” He gulped down one glass and rushed out. I responded bye and watched him leaving. 


 

Zevran had removed his shirt and was running a comb through his messy hair. His only table was covered by things.

“Er…where do I?”

“Ah thank you darling. Hold on.” The elf got up gathering up scrolls and sweeping a space for the tray. One was a dagger, sheathed. Its handle was colourful. Zevran kept it inside a drawer. All his ink tattoos were visible and in various patterns I couldn’t describe. They resembled nothing like birds.

I thought it best to leave him alone, since he was moody. “I’ll go to bed now, Zevran. See you.” He did not answer, more focused on the windows.  

 

Therefore imagine my shock later, when Zev came to seek me out. I think I had fallen asleep for a few hours when the knocks sounded in a familiar rhythm. I said come in and turned to face the door. He was wearing a thin white shirt and seemed pale and ghostlike, feet soundless on the carpet. 

 

“Ooh I did a new letter for you,” I mumbled, pointing to the short envelope on my desk. At the same time, I fumbled for the table lamp switch.

 

“Oh Cool!” Zev smoothed the paper and elegantly took my chair, smiling. My heart squeezed that he looked so cute! Illuminated by light, his effeminate features were much accentuated.

 

“I thought you’re tired and annoyed?” I scratched my head.

 

“Just now, we were spending time... But not your fault. Anyway shall we talk about - the camping?” He said brightly, fatigue wiped from his tone.

 

“Er Fenris…” I turned to the door.

 “Won’t be back till tomorrow. I am babysitting you, Kitty. Why do you want to visit the Dalish?” Zevran was really candid today, quite a significant change and that almost made me jump up. But I felt too lazy and comfortable. He leaned back, and there was sufficient personal space.

“Because Zevran! I want to really see and talk to real Dalish in the forest! It’ll be like an.. adventure and I like wildlife too. Will you allow it? I know you can take care of me.” I strained to see his face, which was blurry in my inferior vision. So I could just judge from his voice…

 The elf chuckled. “Umhm. I didn’t say no, yet. I think it requires a lot of planning. I doubt I can walk that far. Even if it is near Kirkwall. There’s also permission issues, your family, Kit.  Merrill saying I’m horrible at the language. Not ready.”

 

“Omg it can’t be. How come?” I almost fell off the bed and his hand gently nudged me to lie down.

“We met up. What she said I can’t answer, can’t understand and I am rather slow at it. She’s quite patient I give her that.  What is that omg?”

 

“Ohmi god. I have confidence in you Zev! We can take the horses, the stables are a few hours from here. Hawke gave them to Fenris.” If only I could see Merrill again, we really had a fun girl time! That boded well, Zevran and her getting along fine.

“You are making me embarrassed. ” Zev cleared his throat.

 “Fantastic you went to her home Zev. Yeay!” I beamed, making a peace sign. He said once she invited him home but subsequently they met at a café nearby, or if he was helping the templars, she also went to the Academy. Awesome to picture them!  “I think can apply the omg to her house. The woman cannot go near anything edible, the water tasted… yuck and I didn’t dare touch the food. Is it all right for you to see her outside the Alienage?”

 “Yea. Fenris doesn’t like me going there. We talked, but he still gets worried. I don’t know how to start to tell him about… this.” My best friend can be very stubborn on my safety, other than the anti-magic stance.

 “I understand. He is right, not a good place for humans. They’ve cleaned up crime, but not all the citizens there, respect humans. Maybe she can find you when she comes to your school, that will be good. If our schedules are… same.” The elf smoothed the wrinkles on my blanket and his voice flowed soothingly.

“Yay. I can’t believe you barely talk with children! Then again I’m not a child.”

“A young woman, are you not? Haha quite true, I mostly speak with adults.” He grinned.

 

Of course I was burning with curiosity if he liked Merry in that sense!  He was gasping. I giggled too.  “I don’t want to laugh anymore, please stop. Having a cramp. She is not my type. As in, I cannot relate to her ideas and she sees me as just a friend. Besides I can’t stay with her, my health will.. suffer. That is what I’ve to talk about as well, Sabriel.” He paused.

 What? Worries surfaced when I heard Zev’s confession. He had almost passed out twice when alone. Once was outside. Feeling tired and weak, the elf also noticed the sky darkening. Actually when he managed to ask someone, they stopped him from getting up because there was nothing wrong with the outside colors but “I could not see anything, like this fading black or spots. Perhaps not enough sleep, or exertion.  I… have to be honest.”  The second time had been early this week, while he was out in the garden. The servants had been busy and after some time, Merrill called to him through the locked gate. And Zev had no strength to move much.

 

I squeezed his hand. “Zevran I’m so sorry! You didn’t tell us. When? You should lie down.” Also I think I asked if he felt panicked. He admitted his initial fear, that becoming blind would be a huge burden.

 

“I’m much better. Eh now I am telling you. Yesterday a friend made me go to Anders’ clinic. He said I have low blood pressure. Nothing wrong with my eyes. Don’t be sad, Kitty.” I moved in and invited him to lie down beside me.

Zev smiled, as a friend would. “I do not feel weak now. You sure.. don’t mind the closeness?”

I shrugged, “Just awhile. No taking off clothes. Is there any pain, behind your eyes?”    

 

Zev smelled of fragrance, a mix of flowers and wine and Antiva? My nose gave a good whiff while I tried to make it subtle. Haha! We don’t just rely on our sight.     

 

“No pain. How does this feel?” His voice had dipped really low though he was not facing me. Zevran looked much younger, his eyes closed. 

Although he has been staying with us for sometime, and he can be annoying, I still felt a fangirlish urge.  “Er a new thing. When I was young, I wanted to… sleep with Fen when I had nightmares. Usually he is worried about kicking me. Just once did he relent, and he faced away. Comfy.  And YEA! Have I mentioned how psyched I am with both of you! It's not everytime one can experience living together with Hot Elves!”

I talked about the ancient history when men and elves used to live in harmony, until the Great Chasm**. Both sides betrayed each other which led to division and suspicion of motives. Until the time of the Blight and the Archdemon, nobody would make peace…

 

Zevran chuckled. “You're cute. This... history is new. But yea you’ve told me, in letters. Now I’m both happy and worried.”  The latter feeling because he was not such a perfect soul and I was expecting him to be haha! “Perhaps my… grandfathers and the before generations, were that noble. My blades have tasted much, bloodshed.” As I was tracing his cheekbone with my gaze, he looked at me with perfect honey eyes.

 “Ah Sabriel?” If he had not spoken I would have felt hypnotized. “Let’s eat something, I’m hungry.”

 

“Oh ok! Yea let’s go right now, wouldn’t want to worsen cramps.”  He said he would wait outside. I wore something warmer.

Betty the night shift lady heated up a light supper of broth and some loaves for us at the spare guest room on this floor. Zevran said his body had cravings for food at the most odd times. “I used to take the nightwatch for three nights. Now I can’t and I get so hungry when I’m sleepy too.” He sighed and dipped his bread.

 “Hey it’s alright, Zevran. Don’t do that, you need to sleep more. And yep eat more. Did Anders say if you have too little blood?” 

" Yes but I am eating more now. Do not worry, you'll be updated. Thank you." He sounded hesitant when I gazed at him.

 

We chatted on a mentor-student level. I told him about how guys treat me as their ‘brother’, when I had some crush on my seniors. Who were always taken. “That was before I met Alistair and then Fenris. Never again do I want to feel so... weak and pathetic again.” I reasoned. 

“Kit, to Love is not weak. I have been hurt countless times. Can it really be avoided?I see why you mock romance stories. That may be true some guys view you as brother, but I can help you there.” He grinned.

 “Of course I will avoid it. How do you recover from breakups? Like, you cannot eat nor sleep?” I cringed.

He pondered this and discussed some exlovers or flames. One of them was Isabela, who helped Aveline and Fenris before. They had been a loose couple. “Ah I think she didn’t like weak men. You know, after so many losses, I lower the expectation that romance can last. Not exactly a fine example, Sabriel. But it is not weak.” Zevran’s voice and smile made me forget that he once suffered. His voice suffused with great fervor! I argued in a friendly way that not-eating or sleeping over relationships would make us get ill.

 

But he begged to differ. " That's a part of life. After some time the pain eases and we find others to love no? Is it really your father is..."

" Oh that. He left us. He didn't even give a shit if I'm alive or not. But I don't need him." I said defiantly.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter Text

A month after, I tried to find a right moment to tell Fenris about the Dalish excursion. During a particularly interesting week, Fenris returned in a perpetual buoyant mood, eager to talk about successful cases and bearing gifts for everyone. 

I preferred Zev to broach the subject, he will be so much better at it than me.

“He won’t be as angry with you as me. I’m not sure how much trust I can push, Kitty. I am with you, ” Zev replied every time. If he were to suggest the plan, he might be perceived as separating me from family. Because aunty Aveline and Fenris are my guardians, though I don't go over to her house that much. Zev's standing with her was not great.

I didn’t want to ruin Fenris’ rare happiness. But I really  couldn’t wait any longer!

 

“Eh Fen, is it ok if I go with Merry and Zevran for a camping trip? ” If possible I did not want to mention where specifically. Now we were all together in the main hall, and I was standing, half- hoping that maybe my friend would readily agree or not hear properly.  The warrior was flipping through newspapers, his side to me.

I had rehearsed possible answers many times the day before. Zev waited seated behind me.

Fenris frowned at me. “And I am not invited to go, Sabriel, why?”

“Because… we’re going to explore some jungles and history, plants and I doubt you like that.” His expression did not change, but at least his  brandings did not illuminate fully.

Zevran smiled and gently motioned for me to continue. Of course the rogue was the most diplomatic in negotiations,  but if he were to suggest first, my guardians were more likely perceive him as a bad influence.  ‘why don’t I make a letter to mum and then a memo to Fenris then they’d just see it later?’ My original plan. ‘It won’t help, they’d be much angrier yes? I think it wise to ask for permission. I am not important, you are.  If Fenris does not agree we should respect him,  Zevran had talked me out of it. Aww. Also my best friend did not have patience for memos.

When Fenris responded with a long silence and stiffened, frowning, I heard my own heart fluttering. My knees weak, I sank down beside Zev. “Oh. Is this something- did he put you up to this? I can’t allow it,” Fen said coldly, his neck tattoos swirling. This was a sign of fluctuating anger, a stage before full-blown phase Blue.

Fenris glared at the Antivan, green eyes blazing, his jaw clenched.

 

“No. It's me, I want to go. Please don’t be angry, Fenris! Hear me out.” I pleaded, clasping my hands. I was extremely concerned Fenris might hit or throw something. 

 

He cut in, “This is too dangerous carissime! There’s nature HERE, Sabriel, don’t you remember? And I can protect you. I forbid it! ” A moment of tense silence, as we looked at each other. He was trembling.

Anger, and hurt, wounded. Because of past abuse by cruel people, he had a tendency to express both anger and pain together... I didn’t understand the foreign word but I had an emotional urge to cry. 

Back when I did not always want to go to school, Fenris would take me on horse rides and field trips to lesser known locations, not far from Kirkwall. We shared many picnics, if my housekeeper did not bake scones and sweet teas, Fenris somehow brought food.  He really meant the times we bonded specially---  just him and me. All these rushed in now unbidden, nothing can come between us, the littlest of gestures, his wide eyed happiness when I listened and the rarest of smiles, meticulous- true- sincere

 

Then Fen looked away, his white fringe concealing his face, while I fought my internal chaos and guilt. I dug my nails into my hands. His chest rose and fell shallowly. 

Ah this is SO Messed up, Maybe I should forget about this. How cruel that I am thoughtless.--  But this is so important for me too, why can't we be reasonable about arguments?  In the end I could not talk about these, just “I—respect you, Uncle Couldn't just leave, knew you won't be assured.” The warrior's knitted frown softened a fraction.

I glanced at Zev who was perfectly calm. He said evenly, “I have been searching for my lost relative. She has joined a Dalish clan, near Kirkwall. Dear girl wants to experience the forest life and understand their culture. Merrill knows the place and we will plan very carefully. No unnecessary dangers. ” 

And I was so glad and relieved that Fenris started breathing normally again! “You can come as well, we understand your concerns.”

That astonished me, and I looked at Zev huh?  Neither of the races got along, which had been why I had to visit my Alienage friends with escort. 

Fenris fixated me with a neutral frown. “There are Dalish people here. You don’t need to traipse off to the wilds.” 

“For how long? The thing is, I do not know when I can take the days off. You are certain you know the place, Zevran?” Sternly, he addressed Zev but in a logical way, not losing control. 

 “Yes Merry and I will be surveying the area first.”

Fenris nodded. In fact while planning, we had not yet decided on the length of time. The jovial elf discussed that everything also depended on his health and stamina. 

 “Yea, if he’s ill and too tired, we won’t go through with it. That’s for sure.” I touched Zevran lightly on the sleeve. 

"Thanks. She is so sweet."

 “Then, I will have to consider it. You ask if it is ‘ok’  have not decided, have you?” Fen steepled his fingers, that protective tone again. He pricked one ear.

“I really wanna go, but-- ” My hope was extinguished with my reply, and I could not look directly at Fenris. He did not get over bad moods easily, knowing him well even if he sounds stoic and fine initially, still meant he does not compromise easily. Softly Zev asked me to hug him. I don't mean to exclude you at all, Uncle Fen!  How strongly I yearned to express these sentiments, but the words were stuck. 

The angry elf hid his face behind the newspapers. I was not sure how to express my apology and guilt, so I waited with my hands open. ( He preferred touching hands to hugging.)

Fen put down the papers and instead of touching hands, he pulled me close and I laid my head on his shoulder. “Vobis cor meum” He whispered. Though I didn’t understand any Tevene , his tone was free of malice. I patted his back.

From the corner of my eye, Zev smiled and made a thumbs-up as he quietly left us.

 


 

The reticent steadfast elf said nothing about this for four days. I also noticed he tried to be present and home more often.  Fenris would suggest we eat together, but I gave monosyllabic responses. Elves have greater empathy, but if Fenris was affected by my sullenness, he did not probe nor react.

One day he gleefully took my hand and said, “I’ve a surprise for you.” 

I was curious.  “Ooh what?”

Fenris beamed. Fluffy, my striped caterpillar was growing fat these days and I kept him near the furthermost window. Today another glass jar with leaves was beside it. “Eh what’s that?”

“Look. I thought it can be company.” His voice was light.

As the bug crawled out from its hiding place, I squealed. “So CUTE! Kawaii! How did you get it?”

“I saw this tree, or bush with them. I told the gardener not to kill all the caterpillars and saved one. Do you like it, carissime?” Fenris waited.

I pictured him attempting to be gentle while capturing the Little pink one and nodded vigorously. “Yea definitely! I think I shall name her Kawaii. Means super cute.”

 

“A good name. You’re not still- angry with me?” I looked up from the bugs and studied the fearless elf clad in a sleeveless golden tunic and leather pants. His fringe covered one ear. All his markings were exposed today, probably he felt allergic and if he scratched at them would break the skin.

He stroked one arm with a frown.

 “I’m- not. I remember those times, it was so special. I guess if you don’t consent, I won’t go.” I said, even as my heart was sinking. I pointed to a soothing balm we had got as a sample on the table.

“I’ve been thinking about it. If Zevran can prove he is able to ensure your safety, I might agree. Merrill is Dalish, but she cannot cook. He says I can come... But I may not be able to.” Fenris was telling me eagerly. He screwed open the lid.

His right bicep’s tattoos had some redness. I began to apply the balm for him. “You will really stay if I don’t give you permission? What about Aveline and, your mother?”  Or maybe I’d find some way to sneak off for a while, just a few days from here anyway.

 “Ah, them. I’ve--- tried to tell Ave, but she didn’t answer. Hehe.”

"You should speak to her again. Want to have some sleep, then I'll give you an answer."  Fenris yawned and headed upstairs.

I didn’t feel that much of hope, and glumly watched Zevran looking at his assortment of light armor and clothes.

 “Hm how goes it?” The elf did not need to turn around when my hand was ready to knock.

“Eh I've to wait again. He… is stalling. Aw man. Are you packing Zevran?” I came in, as he smiled at me.

 “Not so fast. The friends here have kindly tailored some of these for me. Care to give me your opinion?” He grinned, holding up a blue shirt. They are Fereldan design, because Kirkwall fashion has earthly tones and is generally grey. The elf agreed not to undress his private area, just trying on shirts.

“They’re All wonderful on you.”

 “You should continue flattering, bonita. Ah did you notice Fenris used some- um fanciful language? He won’t tell me what he meant.” Zevran remarked, tying the sash for his decided clothing.

“Yea I… think it’s Tevene. Or qunlat, I never ask and he seldom translates. Cari--- one sounds nice. He keeps calling me that.” I puzzled.

 

My impatience was soon forgotten with idle chatter and the cute charming Antivan’s opinions. Then Fenris said he had come to a decision.

“I do not mind you going, Sabriel. However I need a favour.” He looked determined and resolute.

Zev waved gracefully. 

“Zevran I need you to show me the area and the routes. You and Merrill have been to this Dalish encampment before?” Fen addressed him sternly.

 

“She has! I plan to, soon. Anytime when you’re free.” Did I see Zev blushing at the ears as their gazes met? Fenris smiled. He said it was not meant to be a request but a statement.

 


 

Over the weekend, dawn breaking, we rode to the forest to get familiarized with the route. Mine was a mare, Zev rode a silver stallion and Fenris’ was his favourite white stallion. I don’t remember their names.  Zev just read the map occasionally. Both elves were alert and attuned to their surroundings. Our horses were mostly cooperative, but the merry elf’s one was not. Zev had to wrestle with his to keep it on the path. “Can you kindly do something to help me? I’ve not ridden for months.” He appealed with wounded pride at our chuckles.

“You ok?” He was sheen with sweat.

 

“I am fine, but someone’s not happy with me.” Zevran dismounted, panting slightly. “Maybe in a bad mood?” I got off to stretch my legs and passed him the waterskin. Fenris worked magic with the unhappy horse, stroking it and giving it some fruits.

“He totally rocks at this with horsies. I fell off too. Sorry about that. Looks like my mission is cut out for me.”

 

“Huh?” Zev's features were furrowed in genuine shock that he forgot to say 'excuse me' Haha!

“Why to transform you to love animals Zevran!” I said chirpily. To which our Maestro covered his face and moaned.

 

“I like most of them alright? You wound my pride!” he retorted.

 

“Clearly not enough, horses are very sensitive. Did you let Kipper smell you earlier on?” Fenris said joining us. Then Fenris took Zevran’s hand and asked him to get re-introduced. Kipper whinnied and blew hot breath into the petite elf’s face, and he sighed. His patience was being challenged. Zevran’s hair was all messy.

 

I made a thumbs up.  “Such a miracle taming, Uncle!” Fenris’ ears twitched and he laughed.

“Well, I’m better with horses than people. Now you feed him.” He handed Zev a pouch of nibbles. Kipper nosed his hand to which the elf said don’t wet him. Fenris teased him.  “I thought All of our peoples especially the Dalish are good with wildlife?”

 

“I was born in the city, and I took the ship or walked to most places.” Zevran grumbled , folding his arms.

 

“Wah so tiring and siong* isn’t that?” I remarked. "No I was fine. You should try those. Have you both taken a ship before?"

Fen had but he got seasick. He escaped Seheron by ship.

"Nope. I hope to, if they see me as mature enough." I said. Right away the broodyelf said I had no need to traipse outside of Kirkwall.

 

Chapter Text

 

Hola Sabriel,

Well, you are right. Querida is something like sweetheart and mi is "my", a term of affection. I mean it nonetheless. Hope you do not mind. I see.

WHAT? You want to invite Anders to the house? (Thank the maker I am on the bed or I’d pass out) No I squinted and his name is there, and Merrill too. It is up to you, but I don’t want all of them shouting. I know Anders and Fenris don’t like each other. Your idea of a dinner together is marvellous, though I am not sure that Aveline will grow to like me in one day. Fenris tends to give in to you and Varric more. Oh, the dwarf can be so bossy but he laughs anyway. You are asleep, Sabriel, when I have SO much to tell you! (hearts) Now my sleep is better and I won’t wake every hour. Merry gave us scented candles and I’ll put them in front later. What colors do you like besides blue?

Glad to be of service for laughter. No no, you make me out to be so lonesome---  some silence is fine for me.  Because if the deep silence is that long, I will be Melancólico, no? I don’t know the English word for overthinking.. Never mind that you forgot I’m an orphan, actually it’s rather common in Antiva. Most Crows are orphans on the streets. Father perished from some wasting disease, and mother was my first victim. She succumbed when I was born and the brothel ladies raised me. Indeed it is why I am open about love and sex. Wow, I do not mind being adopted. Ah, but your mother would be horrified by me no? (Haha) Think I can take nagging.

 Forgot to explain about the candles, they each have different scents. Merry insisted on giving them when I said Fenris has nightmares. When I put a few on his table, he accepted the candles without questions. Then when I told him who made them,he looked surprised but moody. I love the way his big green eyes shine and his laughter. It's wonderful, yes? Now I am using the orange ones, apparently citrus reduces stress. The purples are lavender and promote sleep. Fen scowled and muttered some of his special language. Why does he not like gifts? I love them. Thank you, I am alright now.People never resist my charm and friendliness, but most don’t stick around long enough. I do hope we can find a way to keep in touch, even if I have to leave. Because old enemies may implicate you all… I can’t let that happen. Not so soon, though, I don’t wish to collapse while fleeing. That has happened before and I felt really helpless.  Don’t be sad.

Yea, Shale should still be alive. Golems are immortal but not born so. The dwarves accepted a ritual to be… covered by rock. The word ‘Immortal’ is for them, not us. We elves can be squished & hurt, like mushrooms. It is true we are long-lived. That book is indeed correct—it is unhealthy for us to love humans due to the very wide lifespan gap. Age differences.  I know, but I can’t control my passion. A killer must learn to forget sentiment, it is reckless to subject the heart to pain. Up there my head repeats this but down in my chest it still persists…

Do you still think love is weak mi querida? Why do you want to be cold? (You did not ask me this, I just am curious. No problem if it’s too personal) Not at all, I love humans, I don’t want them to be squished. Star signs?

Yes yes I do seem to fit this Libra. Charismatic : this is the charm thing right? Of course! (smiling face)

-love beautiful things, idealistic, diplomatic, graceful 

-Romantic :  I absolutely agree! Really, Venus is love? So Marvellous! But I am a little hurt by these points---  wishy washy and indecisive : (  I can make decisions rather firmly, especially who to ally with. These qualities are not absolute I hope?  Once Isabela and I were looking up at the stars, on the sea there’s not much to do at night. She was tracing the Llomerryn Northstar, Great Bear and all that.

Are those the same as the ones you speak of? How about your star? And what star will Fenris belong under? I hate following rules too, agreed. They are so boring and confining. Whoever gave me a job, included hundreds of rules.

Did I tell you two Wardens led us, because Alistair was content to be a follower? The first man died, and the second Warden was a woman. Sadly I forgot their names. She was always flexible about rules. We agreed not to prolong the suffering of victims. How I miss them. 

Mucho amor meaning Lots of love

 

 Zevran!


 

Fenris

They were with a contingent of guardsmen to clear out raiders at the Docks.

He was coming down with a fever----- his body complained. It was as if acid was coiling in his joints and cold chills made him shiver involuntarily even by the heat of the day. The elf leaned against the nearest wall, setting down his greatsword.

 

From faroff, Dwarf asked something but Fenris could not understand. Then he concentrated on the mouth’s movement. Varric said drily, “You look pale, Broody.”

Fenris hated admitting any form of weakness but the dwarf was right and this seemed serious because Varric had stopped. He wondered why the ringing sound in his ears would not let up.

“You jest. I am the same. Come, we shouldn’t hold the rest up.” He smirked and continued walking, albeit more wobbly. Donnic was looking at him oddly too.

 

When the fools assaulted, Fenris gave a warcry, illuminated blue. Instinctively, his mind slipped into Melee-fight mode, that disciplined warriors’ state.  His tattoos glowed, causing some measure of pain but he was accustomed to this Tevinter-legacy. Years of hardship and abuse had honed the elf for intensive combat.

 But today he did not feel a blinding rage, and his sword felt weightier than usual. Still, ignoring that sensation, Fenris attacked.

Only after the last man was down, did he stop for a breather. His head ached. An unexplained weakness brought him to his knees. “Hey Elf!” Varric cried and peered down at him. The sweat that bathed Fenris did not bring relief but was chilling.

His vision tunnelled and he had no energy to respond. He thought he was falling.

When he came to, he found that his head propped against something and he was lying on the floor. He blinked, trying to clear the dark spots. Someone touched his face softly. He didn’t like it and grumbled.  Male voices, that was familiar. Aveline’s husband, dwarf and a soft feminine voice. She laid a cooling hand to his brow.

“What.. happened?” Fenris asked with increasing effort. He had to close his eyes against the sunlight.

Donnic replied, “You seem to be ill. Will you let us unstrap your armour, Fenris?”

No! He turned to the side and hunched himself protectively. “No need!” The lady was some kind of Adept, training as a healer-mage. As she waved her hand in the formation of a rune, Fenris wanted to disagree, but he lacked the energy. So sleepy....

Varric took stock of the situation. Dusk was falling and it would not be easy to send Fenris home now. Hightown would take more than six hours of walking. The nearest solution would be the dwarf’s other safehouse close by the Docks. Fenris was trying to swallow some water, his hands were trembling so much that a friend had to hold the waterskin for him.

Then Donnic and another man supported him to a stand. “Broody come on, you’ve not visited my new place yet.”

 Broody looked dazed and allowed them to support him to the main stairs. A friend was carrying the Blade of mercy.

  


 

In the house, Fenris' ashen face was apparent, as white as his hair. His alert green eyes were glassy and unfocused. The men had managed to remove his armor, despite his struggles.  The dull tattoos did not sting the Adepts , who were trying their utmost to quell the fever. Varric rubbed his chin. That lyrium always repelled magic but seemed to be losing their strength. Except for trousers, he was naked and glistening with cold sweat.

“Broody can you hear us?”

He had been sitting up but had fallen back on the pillows. Elf’s lips moved, without voice. “Sir you need to drink this,” a male Adept urged, stirring something in a mug. Varric asked to inspect it.

Smelled like elfroot and feverfew. “Want sleep- go away!” Fenris snapped, turning his head away.

Donnic frowned. To everyone’s astonishment, the quiet mousy man coaxed him to swallow the herb. Fenris glared and cursed at everyone. But his words lacked heat. Someone wrapped a blanket around him, the texture causing an itch but he was too cold to fight it. That darkness was returning.

“Zev… Sabriel… waiting. Got to...”

“Don’t ya worry, Fen. I’ll tell them. Enjoy your dreams,” dwarf piped up.

After drifting for a while, he cracked open his eyes. The place looked different, his body was so heavy and his throat was parched as sandpaper. Fenris breathed and attempted to get up, but strong hands pressed him down. “Donnic?” how could his friend be stronger and not let him leave?  “Armour?”

Looking down, he realized he was naked. “It’s alright. To heal you, we had to take it off. It’s over there, no one will steal it. Try to rest,” Donnic said, with a smile.

“But- venhedis…” He felt weak again and had to lie down. Soft downy pillows. They asked him if he ever got ill before. He could not remember.

 

*********

  Journal 

 

The blood rushing to my ears deafened me, what! Our dear friend had collapsed? Was he injured, how why?  Zev’s firm arm stopped me from fainting.  No! Then had my nightmare been real?

Fenris’ subdued tone: I have to go on this long journey. Farewell.

‘No! Why can’t I come too, Fen? Where are you?’ I yelled, fumbling in the mists. He then appeared briefly and kissed my forehead. I tried to hold on to him, but the Elf seemed to be fading. His voice was sorrowful as he apologized to me and that it was too dangerous. As he became more transparent, until only his bare left hand could be seen resting on my shoulder. ‘Fenris! Come back! I can’t let you do this!’ I cried out.

Are you dying? Going somewhere?

I am sorry, he whispered and then I was alone.

 I would recognize his deep voice anywhere in the Fade. It couldn’t be a demon! I had snapped awake and rushed down to his bedroom. I touched my face and realized how my heart ached and tears were streaming down my cheeks. Since the door was ajar, I peeked in, squinting. He was snoring, glowing slightly.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter Text

In the morning he had been fine. “Squirt what happened? Why are your eyes swollen?” Fen asked, catching my arm. I didn’t want him to see me like that so I made some excuse at first, but he did not buy it. “Talk to me.”

 

“Can you not get into danger today, Uncle? Are you alright?” I pleaded, feeling his forehead.

“I promise. I’m still here and warm, real. It was just a dream, don’t worry.” And he said he was needed today, as they were shorthanded. It would just be a routine patrol after some petty thieves and he should be back in time for dinner.

 


 

Nightfall  Around ten pm at the mansion

 

 

Now Zev was speaking to the messenger and I was staring into the flames, numb and shaking. After he thanked him, the door clicked shut.      

“It is not so bad, my dear. Fenris is now at Varric’s house and will come home tomorrow. He caught a chill.” The Antivan said gently and I felt his slight weight beside me.

“I… He’s Never been sick! Injured only,” I responded, covering my face and leaning on my knees.

Zevran was quiet for a moment. “I’m shocked too. Fenris is strong, and the only time I saw him faint was when some mages did a ritual.” He sounded tired.  

 

I turned to him. “What? When did… he doesn’t tell me!”

Zev hugged me and as I leaned my head on his chest…..  “I had just come back from scouting. They stopped me from going closer. Some mages were chanting and Fenris was in the centre of their circle. Fenris didn’t have his armor, all his markings were glowing and he knelt over a person. I guess it might have been a friend? After they finished, he keeled over and I was shouting at them : how dare they tap so much? He did not wake up for days. He was being used like a supply. ”

 

I shook my head. Perhaps my friend had not remembered. “Horrible! I didn’t know mages would USE Fenris like that! You looked after him?”

 

“Yes. He was pale, his body felt cold and his markings were dim. Later when he awoke, the first thing he asked was did they save that person? He could not even sit up and yet he didn’t talk about his condition!  This stays here, do not tell him I spoke of it. ” Zevran’s ambers were pensive, his lips pursed.

 

“Why not? He does appreciate how kind people are and he'd like you more--- ”  I protested.

 The exCrow shook his head and touched a finger to my lips. I promised.

“He has either forgotten or doesn’t want to be reminded of weakness. Male pride, you see.”  Wow he was so noble and humble that he didn’t need or want Fen to thank him. “I would’ve looked after him anyway. He couldn’t exert too much for quite a while but had a great appetite.” 

Sounded like Fenris had burnt too many calories and needed replenishing. I agreed to keep it a secret, but was definitely going to read up why and how mages could tap lyrium from him like that. I felt a protective surge.

Zevran was singing a song softly, which soothed my fraying nerves. I think it was Antivan.

We just know, from what he says, that he can phase through enemies and it grants him preternatural strength to wield two handed weapons. Because most elves will choose to wield lighter class weapons such as bows or daggers.  

“I’m not going to allow them to hurt him again,” Zev swore vehemently. Our eyes met. 

"That's exactly what I'm thinking too. Why can't we go now?" I stood up.

"Let us retire to bed. It is very late, and the messenger did not tell where the place is. If he is not back in the morning, we go together yes?" Zev answered, rubbing his face. That was indeed true. 


 

Chapter Text

 

 

 Fenris

Varric and Donnic wanted to help him get dressed, but Fenris declined. Buttoning a shirt should not be that exhausting, he reasoned. This dawn, he had woken up refreshed by the peaceful sleep and taken some food. He could not wait to go home, where nobody would forcefeed him bitter herbs and subject him to waves of magic. Thankfully, Elf noted that he was on the first floor of Dwarf’s house so he need not navigate stairs. His legs held, as he made his way to join them.

 “Why don’t you have another lie-down, Broody? Take the time to check out my wonderful house.” Varric joked.

 “I slept the whole night.” He replied cheerfully, focusing on putting one foot in front of the other. His head was woozy but his vision was clearer than yesterday. “Miss my bed. Thank you, both of you.”

They laughed. “It is quite a long walk. I’ve called for a carriage. When it comes, we’ll wake you. Relax.”

Fenris yawned and took a seat on the inviting soft couch. He still felt hot and feverish but had no intention of letting his friends know or they would stop him again. Somehow his temporary eagerness to deny his feebleness had ebbed away. Just a few minutes. Then the elf started, feeling the surface bump below him. Donnic told him they were on their way to his home. Fenris had not even realized when they had carried him. His head was on his arm braced on the side of the carriage. For a moment, he roused and looked at the buildings. Then the call of sleep was too strong to ignore.

 

Then he heard familiar voices calling his name, Zevran, Mary their trusted housekeeper and his adopted godchild, Sabriel. Blurry bobs of light rushed out of the house toward him. Odd, why was his vision like that?

“Is he alright? Why don’t I see him, Donnic?” She sounded so protective and concerned that a funny tingling warmth emitted from his chest. Usually these brandings would only light up when Fenris was triggered by negative feelings , but now the lyrium reacted pleasurably.  He felt a smile tug his lips. Why do they panic? It was just one night away.  

“He is coming slowly. Chill,” Dwarf told her. “No hug for the little man?”

“You know I love you, Uncle V!”

Zevran added to all the mix of the voices, “Hello Donnic, Varric. We received the message. Gracias.”

 

“Er, who are you? ” That was Donnic who sounded baffled.

“Ah yea I am Zevran. Thanks for looking after him. Mi cara, don’t worry. He’s right there, I see him. ”

Fenris moved to the open door of the carriage, eyes narrowed against the sunlight’s glare. He stretched his long legs, an arm braced on the handle. People urged him to be careful and they supported him off the steps to the firm ground.

He had to swallow to speak when Zevran asked if he felt all right. The other elf smelled of spice and leather. He felt woozy, but didn’t want them to worry. “Hey Fen, you’re pale.  What happened?” the girl asked, grasping his hand.

“Careful Squirt, he’s glowing,” Varric warned. Sabriel had not told them yet, that her aura was able to cancel out the lyrium. She said something which he did not catch.

“I’m just tired, my friends. Sorry for the wait.” Fenris felt breathless, but tried to speak in reassuring tones. So woozy he had to lean against one of the men for support. Sabriel repeated his name and he hoped holding her hand briefly would calm her down.

So much physical contact reflexively made the magic in his veins hum and thrash. Burning itch.  Behave yourself now - Fenris focused on his inner will, commanded the pathways to stop "sparking" (the closest name coined for his condition). Spurts of ants biting, then another aura cancelled out the surging lyrium. Carissime's opposing Gift. 

He smiled his thanks.

“Oof, this is heavy,” Donnic said, lugging the Blade of Mercy on the ground.

 

*****

 Sabriel

 

Mary heard them come back first. I had been threading my laces through my shoes, but tossed that aside. Fenris! I ran out to the garden barefooted, feeling the grass tickle my soles. Varric and Donnic came out. I didn’t really want to hear what they were saying.

After the longest time, Fenris stepped out and would have crumpled had they had not supported him. He smiled, but his gaze was not focused. Sweat plastered his hair to his brow and he looked even thinner without his grafted armour. Zevran urged me to be patient and to calm down. Fenris was glowing slightly, should be a good sign.

“I’m just tired, friends. Sorry for the wait,” he murmured, squeezing my hand with his bare one.  Donnic and another man were transporting his equipment in. “You need to lie down.” I felt like nagging. Fenris agreed softly.

We all did our part to make him comfortable in the guest-room downstairs. I dusted off the pillows and Zevran said he’d gather the scented candles, spare clothing for Fenris to change. Varric was the only one giving a running commentary about what kind medicines they had given him and the healing mages.

Broodyelf was now Sleepy-elf which sort of made me smile though I was so anxious. Suddenly, Fenris coughed really hard, till he paled. Sweat broke out over his face and he could not catch his breath. Mary was ready with a brew, but he was much too weak to hold the cup himself. Zev said something softly, looking worried. My heart couldn't bear it as I patted his back.

Elf's clothes were saturated with sweat. Thankfully the herb worked quickly, and his gasping eventually eased.  I told him not to go it was a bad omen! That nightmare. But I couldn't mention this in front of the rest. They all exchanged some trivialities, and somewhere in there, my friend thanked them for their help. He did not move to lie down yet.

Elf beckoned me to be closer. I looked down at the patterns on his feet, so he wouldn't see me upset. “You don’t have to worry.” He whispered. "Thanks." His toes touched mine.  

Of course I was worried! He looked as pallid as he had been when he got wounded on my behalf. Elf used his thumb to wipe the tears from my face.

“Guys, sorry for the trouble. You can go now.”  Our guests said their goodbyes and Mary and some servants bustled around. 

 “Are you hungry, my darling? Fevers tax a tremendous amount..... ” I did not really hear everything Zevran was saying- he gets nagging when upset.  

A fresh jug of water was on the side table as well as some bottles of potions.

“Nope. Go ahead guys.” He lay back on the pillows, patting my hand. I put the back of my hand to his brow, still hot. Now he was wearing a loose dark robe. Mary opened the pink blankets, but Fenris did not seem to notice. 

 “Yup we ate. Rest, I'm keeping vigil.” I watched him sink back onto the dark pillows, his lips apart. The others had talked about feverfew and elfroot to ensure that he got better. His forehead and face were unmarked and not as sensitive as the other parts of his body. Using a wet cloth, I sponged him. As he drifted off, I looked at our linked hands, Zev on his other side and I felt Fenris’ calloused skin on mine. He had never reached out to clasp my hand before. Though his grip was slack, I did not want to pull away and treasured this moment. "That vision happened, you're hurt." 

Zev frowned. Fen did not hear me. I sighed. 


 

“Wait, don’t you have to go anywhere? At all?” He roused in a while, his eyelids dozy and his voice nasal.

 “Nope, it’s the weekend today. No rush.” I looked up from my reading. “That nightmare, it was some kind of omen. When the messenger said, we- we panicked. Why did you collapse?" I bit my lip. Fenris shifted to be more comfortable, on his side facing me. 

His hair stuck out at different angles, and seemed damp with perspiration. Not wanting him to be startled, I slowly reached out my hand to his arm. He did not flinch away and relaxed as I refreshed the rag to his face.

He took a moment to observe this spare guestroom, breathing quietly.

“Oh. Perhaps was too hot. I wouldn't have known it to be a vision. But I'm here now, it's all right." Sleepyelf said neutrally. Of course his calmness influenced me.  Still, soon as  I told him how frantic we had been, he let down his guard. Fenris’ eyes sparkled, his ears pricked. He said in a low voice, “I understand. Well, have to take it easy these days. Have more time together.”

I cheered up at that, bringing his hand to my cheek.

“Don’t run in the rain, you hear me?” I scowled. He denied ever doing that although I had not seen either of the elves carry an umbrella. ‘It’s just not manly. I do wait for the rain to stop’ he grumbled good naturedly.

 


Impossible for him to be entirely alone, the house receiving a constant stream of worried friends. Brimming with concern.  Normally solitude was what Dear Elf desired, he cannot stand being seen as weak.  Fenris’ fever fluctuated, at times he was well enough to eat his meals at the dinner table, then the next he was feverish and confined to bed. Donnic arranged for the servants to collect cooling spring water. It was much more effective to bring down such a high temperature. One moment, Fenris complaint of chills, and we swathed him with blankets. And the next, he had tossed them all off and sweating so profusely needed several changes of bedclothes and wiping down. When the men roused him to get changed and feedings, he got mad and refused to sit up. "Go away, don't need clothes," he slurred, waving us off. 

Just as well, it was sweltering summer made cooling off more daunting. My sick friend drifted in and out of lucidity and murmurings, his lanky body sheenly wet, battling this virus for close to a week. The sole bonus was all admirers could admire Fenris' toned muscles and exquisite markings without him being self conscious. He could only endure wearing shorts, any shirt felt too stuffy (he was so ill that he did not care about propriety)

Anders said it was likely to be heatstroke, coupled with an elven form of virus. Thankfully, he stabilised Elf's quick pulse-rate.  The news made me cry, though I made sure to have a facade when I tended to Fennie.  We brewed yarrow and elderflower teas, natural remedies to relieve internal heat. Sometimes he was defiant and refused to drink all the doses. We gently coaxed him to stay hydrated. Much later, Fenris said the back of his throat and mouth hurt. Poor guy, suffering ulcers. "It's all the inner heat, you poor puppy...." motherly friends fussed over him. Normally he would refute about being cute, but he was too weak. Because he did not feel like eating normal foods, we stuck to making light, soft stews. 

We discovered a new fetish Elf had for juicy fruits, if he was in a foul uncooperative mood it was enough to show him a slice of melon. He would quirk a smile and his eartips would prick. I wondered why the healers couldn't do a major restorative spell to have a major boost for Fenris' immunity. Overhearing that, the patient fought the illness so fiercely that the fever was defeated that day. 'you're as brave as a tiger, Fennie' 

Elf smiled and lay back on the pillows, his chest rising and falling. 'Thank you. I can't have done it without help. So achy...' He grimaced, gingerly flexing his arm muscles.    

**************

 Zev and I came back early whenever possible to spend time with him. Fen refrained from snapping at me and if he was not tired he would ask about my day. Not exceptionally broody, so I thought it was fine. Zev said Fenris bristled and snapped at most of the men. He sulked at that revelation. Fen did not do that to us women. "Not fair. I'm helping with work too." I smiled.

Fen is soft on a few of us, can't be helped.    "Really? He is grumpy just let him be." After all Fenris had courage to admit his faults. Still, it was inevitable that the lyrium elf was reminded of his traumatic past, unable to do physical exercise. 

Past the danger stage, lost some weight and tiring easily, today Broody went on about a group of people called the Fog Warriors. Now, I had heard that account before. He was focused on somewhere beyond me as he described how he had single- handedly slaughtered them. I was making some blue balm to apply to his aching muscles and tattoos.

 “Why these sad stories? It won’t help you recover faster.”

“Oh. I am sorry. Should I try to make it merry?” At the acute hurt in his face, I chided myself and apologized. Broody had his head bowed.

“Hey that was unkind of me. You need to let it out, by all means Fenris. I shouldn’t…” I was scared that he’d clam up with bottled up anguish. His immune system was already poor now.

 He had moved closer to me, much to my astonishment (usually Fen would withdraw from contact when upset)  “No no you are right. Being an ex-slave was not a bed of roses, but I apologize for having sad tales. Hm, let’s see. You are free to correct me, my friend. I wish to… try being different.” Taking the scoop from my hand, he started applying the balm to his right arm.

 

There was silence until I looked at some shoes! “Oh I’ve something, Fen! One of my friends had her heeled shoe broken and she had to limp around. None of the boys offered to help or carry her, haha she was so upset. I’ve a question, for fun. What if a damsel in distress breaks her shoe when you are saving her? She expects you to carry her. What’ll you do? ”

 He smiled.  “Ah yea those roleplays. I don’t have to. Why can’t she get better shoes?”

 “You’ve always been a gentleman- elf! That is the setting, Fenris. ”

 “Haha I don’t claim to be one. Those are Varric and Zevran’s areas of expertise. And I think Alistair. I’ve quite a long sword to carry and wield. That is in the story?” Fen said, putting his arm around me as I stirred another container.

 “Yup, you still have your usual gear. What about consider letting her lean against you--- oh dear oh dear!” An image popped in my mind and I started shaking with mirth.

 “Hey why are you having a naughty smile and laugh Squirt? Out with it!”

 “Ok I’m picturing her getting cut. Ow-ow! Your armor is very pricky. If you carry her like that (I made the action of cradling the woman to his chest) she’ll look very different when you let her down. Isn’t it?” She would not look pretty anymore from all those cuts. At first he frowned.

 

Fenris suppressed a laugh and coughed. “Pure nonsense. The answer is still no, she is not lame and I’m not carrying her…”   He was about to reply more, when Mary came in with some drinks on a tray. Fen and her talked about something in Elven as she collected the used plates and utensils. We applied the medicines after meals, so it won’t be toxic and did not have to be washed off.

He had eaten slightly more today. Feeling the need to stretch his legs, Fenris got up from bed. I noted that he did not turn pale or wobbly, but his hand tightened on my shoulder as I supported him. “You are so funny and half crazy, child. I won’t carry or kiss some stranger. Hm, what about the other shoe? Surely it’s still not on her foot. Or she can toss it at the enemy.” He started warming up to the roleplaying.  

 

“Yea it is! Because the crux of it is how you will rescue the damsel. Gah.” I pulled a face as Fenris shook his head firmly.

 

“Footwear is important, and I see that she can't limp fast on one shoe only! That’s my answer, stop criticizing it.” He chuckled, his brows raised.  

 

“No take it as she won’t. Friend told me, at all costs must get a cobbler to mend the shoes. They're too expensive to throw. Ah Fenris! Went out of point. But very cute!”  I countered, laughing again.  

 

“Either very thrifty or stingy. (that killed me haha) Then perhaps that option for her to lean on me, ignore being cut. Hm this is interesting, like a game planning. You don’t have to hold me anymore, my friend. Let me consider how to continue the story…” Fen said gazing at the outer city. He was able to stand straight, both hands holding the windowsills.  “Ah might I suggest that you cherish your life and run, Venhadis! My arm may have been wounded in a battle. You’re too much in love with the notion of rescue. ”

He had carried other women and girls before. They hadn’t been so cooperative. “You carried me. I wasn’t impaled but… what if it’s Isabela?” I had heard of the feisty pirate, rumours were they had had a fling.

 

“That depends. Isabela can take care of herself.  Sabriel, there doesn't seem to be a problem. If she wants to escape, she must get rid of cheap lousy shoes. I've run barefoot, surely she can too! Not to mention I’ve to distract a demon.”

 

What? He laughed, spark of mischief.  “Whoa whoa when did a demon come in? I didn’t have it so complicated Fenris!”

 

“ In most stories, the hero rescues the woman from some demons. So there is a big one, and I draw its attention away. The foolish woman ought to run for her life. Then I will drop her off at a shoemaker’s. We had a hostage problem once and I did without having to carry anybody.” Now he climbed back into bed and I took the chair once more.

“Cute. I love how this is turning out. And you won’t be sending her home?”

“She should be grateful I saved her ass from demon- clutches. No that is incorrect. I am Not CUTE. That is like some lost puppy. Or baby animals. I won't coddle the victim. Accept that.”

He shrugged. So Fenris alright! He can just crack jokes with such blunt innocence.

“Even if you carry a big sword, you’ve a softie -heart. Oh Fen, I’m so proud of you! Doesn’t matter about other flaws. ”

“Hehe thanks. I will disagree about the softness part. What was it, softy- softies one?” he smirked. I explained that their hearts were like cake.

He frowned. “Yuck, that's a gross image! Ignore my grumpyness. Thank you, for listening and this game. Does Zevran play this too?”


 

Uncle Fen cuddled me close for warmth in the armchair closer to the fireplace. Even though he felt healthy enough to venture downstairs this evening, not trembling from frailty, Fenris could not exert too much. While he used to rush down, now the recuperating Elf needed to hold the banister and take each step carefully. A manservant hovered close by, from my instruction.

“I’m not made of glass. You’re like a mother,” he joked when he reached the ground floor. The rainfall was extraordinary these days with billowing winds, and whenever Fenris came out from his bedroom I’d remind him to wear an extra layer. Maybe more than five times! Normally his brandings would be painful when fabric clung to his skin and he was wearing long sleeves now. Yet he was smiling at all the care we were showering on him.

“Could it be because I’m here? Having the opposite of lyrium.” I mused.

He nodded, eyes shining. “Yes. I am better, and they don’t glow as much.” I looked at his left palm’s tattoos as he reached out to cup my cheek. Each of his long fingers had a blue line that joined into a star in his palm. I had been intensely sad looking at this, when he woke up one day and recalled how Danarius’ people had inflicted them on his body. Fenris must have been chained and they had not spared the inside of his palms too. To my astonishment, Elf had cheered up and remarked, “Hence I don’t have to wait for a shooting star to wish. If you like, you can make two wishes.”

I blinked back tears and laughed. “Sure! I’ll have to think carefully don’t rush me.” Fenris looked impatient.

 

Then we invited Zevran to answer this scenario, once he had wrapped up business.

“Of course you must carry the girl, Fenris! I won’t miss the chance to carress her soft lips and sweep her off her feet. Adding a demon is so much challenge, haha!” Zevran rubbed his hands together, grinning.

“Ah Maker. Unless you slay it first, where will you get the time to do all of that? Oh yes Sabriel says she insists on holding that broken shoe too.” Broodyelf pointed that out. Zev laughed merrily.

 

“It would be so awesome to act it out. But anyway all of that won’t be a problem. I shall be the dashing Elven prince and succeed. My lackeys will kick ass.” He told his story with all his dramaticness, haha! When he wrapped it up and we laughed, he suddenly remembered. 

"Hey Kit, what was it you said, what omen?" Fenris softly said 'hm?' beside me.

"Eh, I don't really remember."  I shifted uncomfortably. "Think was a bad dream." Zevran scowled and said he wanted to clarify about omens, if it was important. 

At first I thought Fenris wouldn't cut in, he listens really well and deeply. Perhaps he was tired. "It doesn't matter, the past should just be left alone. Good story, thank you." He kissed my forehead. A well of love and gratitude rose in me and I smiled hidden by his shirt. 

I did know what the other guy was hinting at, but why bring it up now? "Ok. I am sorry. Does it hurt, it is rather chilly these nights. Want to retire, querida?" 

"I am fine, actually I've spent too long in bed. I want to stay here, now. Perhaps.... pray a little." I thought I must be hallucinating! Since when does he want to pray? 

Zev scowled, but he did leave us alone. My friend had closed his eyes, and leaned back against the pillows, we had brought them out to make it more comfortable.

I watched him for a while, mesmerized. Without looking at me, he commented, "I hope he doesn't bother you too much. Understand, he can be noisy." I asked if he was really praying. Fenris smiled. "I do see it as a good thing... that day I was very sick. My friends were right there." Wow! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter Text

 

“Hey Zev, what will you like as a gift?” I was thrilled to plan for Christmas. Did the Elves celebrate this occasion?

He chuckled, twirling a pen. "Oh, for what occasion?"  I explained about Christmas. 

Celebrations of Christmas are not public and commonplace here in Kirkwall, but I knew some human friends who held small private parties. I just liked to customize presents for friends. Of course Fen and Aveline always decline my offer to buy stuff.

“Well anything leather is good. But please don’t spend on my account. I don't mind," he added. 

“Zevran, shall I treat you? Fenris has always reminded me to save money. But we can choose the not too expensive meal places.” I already had some cafes in mind. 

He nodded absently, brushing his long fringe, amber eyes full of thought.

He was helping with my Geography project, to have some information about at least three countries or cities and what each is famous for. Zev was really helpful and I liked the first complete section- 

About Antiva:

Trading port, Leather- like rotting stench

Fishwives Brandy and the finest wines, nobles, skilled diplomats and merchants  (Exclude the assassins, sex, prostitution & piracy, including them would be disastrous for my grade!)

He beamed. “Gracias, mi cara. Would not be gracious of me to reject, no? Ok I can talk about Fereldan too. It has a milder winter than Haven, where we found some killer cultists. There’s Redcliffe and Denerim, which do you want to know more about?” He leaned back and propped his feet on the next table.

“Both! I like hearing your voice.” I flipped to a fresh page.

 He cleared his throat. I got the hint and refilled his wine glass. “Denerim is a marvellous city, not as great as Antiva of course. There’s a sprawling marketplace, always packed with humans, houses, divided into the rich, middle and poor quarters. There’s also an alienage there, with emaciated elves of skin and bone. It’s overcrowded and though they have some kind of leader, he tends to be controlled by the arl. Bedbugs had fleas on them in the inns. Maybe you can ask Alistair too, he has a sister there.”

Zev was patient with all my questions on detail, though he still frowned and complained if I was too insistent. The colors and details were unnecessary for the project, as I only needed to do one page for each region; fodder more for my future stories. Then I noticed Seheron was a humid jungle island, the largest in Thedas.

“Oh wasn't Fenris from there ?”

Zev nodded. “Hm that is a huge nation, Seheron and Minrathous perhaps. He did not talk about it. Not a nice place for him, no? Do you want to choose it?” I shook my head.

Zevran said he had never been there, but Sten a Qunari without horns and violet eyes, hailed from there. The Qun were a structured society of fearsome warriors , whilst exiles were known as Tal-vashoth. And "Tevinter imperium" was always a sore topic for Fenris, when he used to emote in anger, later he would stalk off to be alone. Initially I wanted to go after him to console him, but my family explained to give him space. Best not to mention that accursed country. 

Zev rubbed his chin. “Really complex, I think they were all at war and still deciding who’s the king.” Very few books in the official and non- official archives were compiled about Seheron, which was a pity. I visualized baby Fenris with his family. That inspired me to make a sketch of them, although I had no idea how they really looked like, or if his father was as cute as him ;) Still that would trigger his sadness 

 

In city central, there was also an Underground Library archives where the youths hung out. Because it was a refuge for refugees, runaways and elopers, they didn’t welcome adults. Zev asked if I could accompany him there, as he was really thrilled to experience it. “I can try. Yea as long as someone of our gen is around, maybe you stand a chance of sneaking in!”

He pouted. “You’re saying I’m haggard?” I didn’t mean it in a rude way, of course haha!

 

********

Fenris had made a partial recovery and helped Alistair with a mission yesterday. But he sure needed more rest today. We tread carefully and spoke softly as he is a light sleeper. I checked on him over five times but he had not budged from lying on his side, back to the open door. Although I was eager to talk to Broody, he had been ill so I sighed and tried to study some more.

Not expecting any visitors, I perked up at familiar voices. When Merrill heard Fen was sick, she just intended to drop her get-well present in a paper bag and sneak off. I had been in the kitchen drinking juice, when I heard her voice: no no I should be going. He doesn’t have to know I…   

“Merrill! Don’t go.” I bade her, running to the front door. She was wearing a yellow blouse, earrings, short skirt and slippers today. The she-elf was no beauty but her pixie-like nature was cute. “Yeay you’ve taken my fashion advice. I approve.” I pretended to assess her.

“I know Fenris doesn't like me. And I wouldn't want his sickness to relapse being angry with me. And I’ve to buy some food, Lethallin. Bye! ” She hugged me briefly and thanked the maids.

She was one foot out the door when we heard Fenris speak,

 “Sit down Merrill. We have not spoken for a year.”  

I grinned. He did not smile, but his eyes were soft as he descended the remaining stairs. Clad in a dark tunic that showed his markings and blue trousers folded at his ankles (because they were so long he had almost tripped) he looked like your average friendly neighbour. I waved at him. He raised a brow, thinking I was weird.

I wondered, “You’re not sleeping anymore? Chill.”

“Hm, slept alot. Hello, Merrill.” Now the lyrium elf perked a small smile, gesturing for her to sit down opposite us. Fen turned aside and coughed into his fist.

“Relax, Merry! He won’t be angry. I won’t let him.” That earned me an indignant retort from Fen, who had not missed a thing from his coughing. His green eyes were lucid and not dazed like few days ago. Zev and I just talked some nonsense then asked Fen a question like- can we go out. He simply agreed without any problem! Haha. But no worries, we didn't really steal a single copper.

 

I gave one example of how he groggily handed me his money pouch, without finding out why. He scowled. "How unkind and cruel. Ha next time I'll be sure to empty my purse into a strongly locked box!" As he smirked, I had a serious case of chortles. He tried to scowl, but holding back on laughter.

Merrill flushed and began babbling. Maybe she thought we were really fighting. Hm, she misses physical cues like that!

"Hey I am in a good mood. Slow down, I can't catch that."  Fenris listened, pulling on a coat.

We sat down together. He started eating a bun, while I measured the cup for his cough medicine. She beamed. "Ah I forgot what was my point. Wow."  

I can redirect his temper well haha! But maybe he would lecture me later. 

The magic truly worked out for both my friends. I curled up in a corner and noted what they talked about- a mostly accurate dialogue

 

 

Harmony between Merry & Wolf! (Fen means wolf too)

 

Merrill: Ah I’m glad u are better. Um you sure I’m not imposing? I don’t want to trouble you.

 

Fenris: Calm down. No you’re fine. I’m supposed to take it easy. They are nice. How do you make the candles? (she explains and he seems to relish hearing about the process)

He smiles when he reads her card.

 

Merrill: ooh I actually meant for you to open it when I’m not here. It’s so ugly isn’t it? Wanted to make a forest of elves but um- 

 

Fenris: I like it , especially the cotton for the clouds. Ma serannas (the card is white with his name and Get well soon and the rest are too cursive to make out. picture does not look much like a forest but the pointy ear beings are sweet!)

 

Merrill: Really? Oh yea you said the Dalish would fly up and eat clouds once. 

They both laugh about that.

 

Fen (solemnly) : Merrill, I’m sorry I was not nice last time. Can you forgive me? I shouldn't have generalized about all mages. 

 

Merrill: No problem. I've forgotten most of that. Maybe I was also not easy to talk with! Hm I think I’m younger than you by a few years. You’re like a strong warrior, fearless and protecting us.  (how my heart rises to hear this!)

 

He laughs shyly. ‘Thanks. I’m a little weaker these days.’ His voice sounds congested by mucus.

She frowns and takes out a scripture and a brown pouch. 

Merrill: Sabriel, I think these herbs are better for elves. You could help Fenris add this in hot teas, it's much faster to ease the stuffiness.  That’s what Anders gave? When I got ill, my neighbour was so kind, she made these herbs. Human medicine makes us cough more. Trouble sleeping?

He is listening attentively.

Fen: Yes. I was tired of drinking water and having to go to the bathroom. Doesn't hurt to try that. How many times do I take? (he peeks into the pouch)

 

Merrill: After food, three times a day. Within two days of taking it, the worst coughing cleared up and I slept better. 

Fen smiles in appreciation, and he moves to get up.

I touch his shoulder. "I want to help. Stay and rest, Fen." 

"Okay. Don't use another cup, mine is that black mug, upside down. " He settles more comfortably, adjusting the  

 

Later on a more serious adult-note: 

 

Merrill: Can I ask you something? Did you really hate me for being a blood mage? (squeaky) Now I don’t practise that, I’m training in nature druidic arts. And help my friend in the aroma oils and candles business.

Fenris: No I hated what they did to me, in Tevinter. Good to know, it must hurt to cut yourself yes?

I- meant it when I said sorry about your Keeper’s death. Certainly we did not see eye to eye. Must have been almost ten years back, I wish to move on.

I make the mistake of suggesting he nags her because he’s cute and caring

 

Fenris with smouldering glare* :  I Don't nag. Why are you standing so far away huh? Afraid of being punished. Later we need to have a serious talk. 

Me: Eh why? Isn't it true you care? Only the way of expression is.... owww! 

(Fenris pokes me in the side but not too hard)

Merill squeals : Aww u are both SO adorable together! You’re truly a good father to her!

 

Fen: Yuck I don't want to be adorable. But yes, I guess it looks that way, for now. I don’t really have much experience being a father though. As a friend it’s less burdensome. She's my sister, adopted.

 

I'm not that insulted, but I scowl and he smiles. When I come up behind him, he gently puts my hand to his cheek. 

 

Merrill (bouncy):  Wow despite that you don’t like it, you have Puppy-eyes Fenris!

 

Fenris (sighs): I shall save my strength and not argue. Where were you rushing off to? So afraid of me?

 

Merrill: No I really have to buy some fruits. What kind do you like? I’ll buy them together. And I’m a bit hungry.

 

Fen: Stay and eat with us. Please don’t trouble yourself. I haven’t paid you for the candles you gave earlier too. (she declines and says they have a good profit, but he nevertheless has the tenacity of his Wolf. I think he’d estimate and pay her anyway.)

 

My housekeeper had come over earlier. So we partook of a nutritious meal! There was shepherd’s pie, curry for Zev and Mary and other meat stuff for Fenris to tempt his appetite. ‘Wow! This is wonderful that we’re all together! Can I … can I come more often?’

 

Fenris (beams) : Sure, I don't mind. But she has to do her tutoring and homework first before chitchatting.  I was bored with less visiting when I got fever. (we look sad) Hey don’t need your pities and puppy eyes too. I should feel well enough tomorrow.

I moan. 'I don't always chitchat." 

Fen and I have had many special moments together, but with Merry and Zev, I hope to make my vision of everyone together a reality!

**************

For this one, I got a messenger to send it to Zev as he went for a mercenary job.

 

Hey Zevran hermano,

So sorry for the late reply! I didn’t know you were away until today. Fenris didn’t want me following you. I was quite annoyed but can't stay angry. Because I'm a softie to cute elven men.  

Yes all those Libra stuff seem like they would fit you. Hehe, don’t worry the traits are not absolute. I do believe that you’re faithful in choosing allies! (longing face)  I haven’t got a chance to speak to Isabela yet, only heard fantastic exaggerations of her adventures.

How did you both meet, Zev?  You have always evaded my questions about the past with “that smile” I remember in your language, the ‘a’ behind is for girls so I change to amigo as you are male. Although Fenris says he does not like Isa in that way- she would come on too strongly, they’ve been in a team before!

Moving on, I find Elves more reliable, and same for a certain dwarf. Varric remembers my birthdays without fail and he will remind the others.  Sometimes Fen and Aveline will be my parents, so I don’t feel so leftout seeing complete families. Alistair is not bad. He teaches us a lot about getting in touch with feelings---- you were together in that Blight yes?

 And my birthday is August 14, Leo. The part about how I expect 110% from people is true. But I am not so courageous haha. I love gifts, if I may shamelessly add.

 

In here, I can tell you slightly more about him! More of his strengths =)  Starsigns....  I think Fenris may be a Capricorn because of his dry wit and down-to-earth personality. (Sometimes he doesn’t know when he’s joking too, cute) Remember when we had the story of the rescue of the woman? He made up the demon part and said he won’t care about saving her unless she abandons her shoes haha! I think I had stitches. Or Aries won’t be too far, the fire when he’s really angry. Aries’ rage is collateral, but I seem to see less episodes of Fenris in a rage to my relief. It can be detrimental to his health. Merry and him are getting along well, since she came with her getwell present! Yay! I think Merry is a Gemini. Merrill needs a good man to take care of her-- couldn't you help?  I can just picture you laughing, but I’m serious.

Anyway he has been in a great mood, talks more. They have both reconciled, which is wonderful then I won't have to secretly visit Merrill without Fen knowing.  He says his tattoos hurt less because I’m near and he’s happy.  

Now I smell something delicious, can’t wait to eat them! Fen has been learning to bake from the cook. Mary is away, so we are doing some chores ourselves. Tomorrow Uncle will go on a mission. I always try to make extra food and tonics for him, it's so strenous and exhausting working till late.

I noticed today Fen didn't take a longer nap, was trying to wield his Blade of Mercy and train! Oh no! He still has quite a hacking cough---we're worried the few weeks virus can become lung infection. Aveline and me accompanied him to the clinic yesterday, he said his whole body was still aching. Fenris was ordered to take an hour's nap in a quiet room.  Anders said:  Stubborn guy won't tell you this, but in my scans, I found that his lungs have been susceptible to past infections. Though I don't know if he had strong immunity as a kid up North, at some point Fenris would have been down with pneumonia, lungfever before. Because my contacts have been to Tevene area and the humid weather is a negative factor. But don't tell him I revealed this. He will punch out my lights."

We are quite sad, but gotta stay vigilant to nurse Fenris back to health. He will take a bit longer to recover from coughs.

Hey Zev, don't let Fennie know about this ok? 

Back to it:  Fen tried to insist  'I'm fine I don't want to have weak muscles. ' but then he couldn't breathe and had to rest. I asked him to tell me about the origins of some swords, then can be productive.

That worked. We made some herbal tea to quench thirst too. Bluntly, Fenris criticized I won't be suitable to wield two handed weapons.  Ouch, I have pride you know! Then he laughed at my indignance. I replied: do not look down on me.

This weekend Fen will be home and going to sleep in! Though one late morning he had deep shadows under his eyes and he said he had a migraine from disrupted sleep. Now he is no longer a fugitive on the run, but sometimes the past comes back to haunt him. How I loath the magisters of Tevinter! They had no brains: to deprive him of food and rest when he was supposed to guard them?! Wearing armor is enough of a burden, let alone holding such big weapons. They were truly vishante assholes and bitches (they don’t know I’m swearing on paper) 

At least assassins like you have brains. You know, I Love you Zevie! Come back soon safely alright?

 

Hugs from Kitty  (As I wrote the last line, I laughed imagining Zev’s hearty laughter at my compliments. I missed him )

  

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter Text

While Fenris was unpacking after his latest mission, I opened the book he had slotted this memo in. Paper was creased and had many fold-lines. Could Fen have changed his mind about giving me this many times? He needn’t worry, I didn’t mind if he made mistakes. He wrote very big, was easier to decipher and I just found out why he disliked being too close to magic casters -- backlash of his marks!

 

Hello Kit,

Sorrie I can’t spell u real name. how the stay with Avalen  and Donic? I want u to spend more time with them as they r your people. Fameli. I didn mean to chase u away. Today back from protecting a group- mages.  I don’t hate them so much but still tattoos can itch or painful. Best to sleep far from them.  Have been thinking of Hawk, and my sister, will she really be able to go afterlife? Is she happy? Im not sure if got maker or god. No proof of aid.

Sister was Varania, I killed her, Do u know this? I cannot talk of it, but now alone wish to do here. Feeling not sad but not angry too. I think Va  had magic , but I forgot… used much coin 2 pay for her ship. When I had memories come, she and I played in a garden.  Sister said she alone , but suddenly came the venhedis-old man who did this to me. I could not belief! Why did she bring him, I was veri  shock n angry! She said my childhood name Leto, no choice but to sell me back 2 become magister - higher ranking mage than anders.

As" Leto" I wanted and had contest for markings but I didn understand! They told me do not hurt sister, but after D was dead, I stuck hand into her chest. Varic and Merry were there, shouting oh no. It happened so fast- I just felt so betrayed. Alone, hurt, anger. Kit, what must u think when see this? I ask before if u scared by my actions? (Sad face) Was not myself. Today sleep was nice, peace replaced by dreaming of Alis, Donnic, dwarf , zev and u.  

Took long time and mistakes to make this, maybe not long enough for letter. I liked how u do it with Zev. A bit envy Im slow with words n reading. Friend read and changed so this part is ok. He didn’t see about sister part or he will faint.

Can’t wait to see u! Going to meet soon.

 

            Wishes from Fenris

 


 

I swallowed a lump in my throat at his sheer and pure joy on the last line. But he had been so grieved by V and betrayal. 

Of course when he came to fetch me from Donnic’s, he still had his veneer of calm as usual. That is our elf's nature, his emotions are quite hidden and reserved in public. Noticing how bedraggled and sleep- deprived Fenris looked, as well as a sheen of sweat all over, Aveline invited him to stay the night. I could see the hesitation of his curled lip. “Welcome! Do come in Fenris. At least take a seat,” I urged, holding out my hand, grinning.  

The lyrium elf was wearing boots, I saw, but they were soundless as was his loping way of walking. His touch was gentle despite the metallic gloves. 

Aveline talked to him. His voice was raspy and soft. Then she thumbed towards the kitchens.

“You two have a chat. Sabriel don’t give him a headache alright? I’ll get some food and drinks.”

I said no I wouldn’t.  Shyly Fenris seemed to be waiting, not moving to remove his armor which must be a huge burden after the long journey. He had only laid down his sword at the front rack. Also, he remained standing and studying our whole place. I tried to guess what he was appraising, that the plaster was peeling? My aunt and uncle are simple people, warriors, and the few paintings passed down from people, were old. One had even fallen off and Donnic just dumped it behind a chest of drawers. This foyer is much larger than at Fenris’ mansion. The only new things were a vase of flowers I had bought today, one of my animal art that had yet to be framed and the round satin cushions with patterns. “Ah Fenris?” I prompted.

“Umhm?” He smiled as I patted the seat next to me.

 “It must be heavy, you can take it off. What’s up?” I did not get his reticence. They were familiar with one another no? I was glad when he started to unbuckle his cuirass. He had to be fatigued, but he still elegantly perched on the sofa.  I also helped to take off the gauntlets, which I had learnt to do when he was in pain sometimes.

 “No I’m fine with it. It’s not a problem, Sabriel. I… just don’t know if I am imposing. ” He was now speaking more, his voice soft. I smiled and was glad he responded similarly.

“Nonsense. You’re our dear friend. Do you like jellies? These are lemon and peach drinks.” Aveline said, placing down a tray with glasses of desserts. 

“Thank you. Sounds good. Oh I saw your art, they are lovely.” He mused, as he unlaced his boots.  Later he added we were too kind. Why does he have to be so distant and formal?  I wanted to ask. Aveline nudged me, mouthed ‘no’ and clinked the spoons.

I got distracted by the peach fruits. “Yay my favourite! Fenris, you want the yellow or orange?”

Under all that spiked layers, the elf was just wearing a dark tunic that accentuated his muscles. “I’ll take yellow.” He arranged all the armor carefully on the side, then drank the lemonade. I told him about how we had chosen fruits to make the jellies with. Fenris had always been an excellent audience. His sparkly green eyes were happy. “Tell me, have you made more friends? Passed the tests?” he wanted to know.

After I regaled them with my tales, my glass wasn’t finished but they had drank theirs. He did wince, almost covering his ears when some doors banged and stuff dropped. “Sorry, that’s Donnic with his home improvement projects. Work is busy and yet he got some tools for carpentry, arrgh.” Aveline explained, a hand to her temple.

“Oh.I see.” Fenris smiled shyly. Donnic yelled out something.

As I spooned some jelly, Elf put his arm around me. I leaned my head on his shoulder.

Soon it was time for bed but Fenris was being cautious and polite again. He peeked at one of the spare rooms, rubbing the markings on his right arm and undecided. I had opened my door, that Donnic had pasted a bunny picture outside. 

“Do you really want me to sleep inside with you? I- I can go to the guest room. ” They had managed to persuade him to wear a fresh shirt that was non-allergenic. Of course Fenris still looked like a ‘weapon’ but I would never see him that way, he’s a person overall. (We would argue about this time to time)

 “Why not? There are two beds, so don’t worry I won’t hog the bed!” I tugged him until he followed me in.  “Sleepover! You’re our guest, Fen! The other rooms are messy.” Aveline told him not to fret and we totally trusted him. Oh yea maybe he was concerned about our gender difference and we had always slept in our own rooms. 

"You can lie down on that bed nearer the window, Fen. Will it be too cold? And picked out a new blanket for you." I wanted elf to be comfortable, what did he like or not like? Usually in his house, I barely noticed what kind of new clothes Fen wore. Also he hardly did shopping for other stuff than groceries. He thanked us about five times before finally resting and looking out the window. Fenris spent some time observing and then closing the panes, leaving a small gap for some breeze.  

"This will suffice. I don't feel that cold now."

As I bounced on my pale blue bed, he faced me and scratched at his neck. The shirt had a collar, and he had left it unbuttoned. “What’s it like,sleepover?”

 While I elaborated, I heard his stomach growling.

“You didn’t tell us you’re hungry. I’ll get you some soup and bread,” I offered.

“Oh don’t trouble yourself, Kit. I’m really tired.” He said, stifling a yawn.

I said no problem and that he should relax. When I came back, Fenris had dozed off upright. He was so drained that even when I whispered into his ear to lie down properly he did not awaken. 

I must have slept for a while, when I awoke to the sound of someone eating quietly. Fen had not used the chair or the bed, instead he was kneeling on the floor, taking the soup. “Hello. It’s nice.” He smiled.

 

My heart ached, that he didn’t feel it was alright to eat in bed or even use my desk. “Please don’t kneel, Fenris. Won’t your legs hurt?” He looked very surprised and said he was worried it would spill. Was it because of his previous life, when they forced him to eat on the ground?

“It’s alright. I know you’ll be super extra careful. I can’t have you sit on the floor.” I knew my voice came out sharper than I intended. He changed the subject and started talking about how he had missed us, while on the mission. I indicated the chair and held out my hand, as Fenris might have a cramp sitting with his legs folded. He accepted my help, but did not discuss why.

I really wished he wouldn’t worry about making mistakes, because this wasn’t Tevinter or Seheron anymore. Yet, the words wouldn’t come and he may be hurt. 

 

 

Chapter Text

 

Did you know how Fenris had dawdled giving me his crumpled sheet? After clearing his throat a number of times, he said, “Ah I’ve been meaning to give this to you.Are you busy?”

Varric said it was Fenris’ habitual nervousness, when Hawke had complimented him, he was so embarrassed and taken aback he coughed. 

After sending off some guests about official stuff, Fenris only approached me now. I was doing my homework at our dinner table. As he murmured, he was fiddling with his gauntlet straps.

I smiled. “Kind of. Why?” He placed a book beside me.

“I hope you can read it. When, when you’re alone of course.” Fenris spoke, with his back to me. He methodically started to clean one of his short swords. It’s unbelievable how restrained and indirect he can be, even though we’ve known each other for so long!

“Yeay it's a letter you wrote! Want me to reply soon? ” I touched the creased sheet.

 He turned around, his emerald eyes soft and innocent and smiled. “Not sure how much you will be able to read. Can talk about it next time. No rush.”

 “It had better not be in Qun, Uncle.” We laughed.

“I only speak Qun not write it. It is in Common.” Fenris tried to scowl, but I could hear the mirth in his voice.

“Drink some water if your throat is parched.” I said, grinning.

"Don't be rude. I know what you're implying. Ha. Do your homework." I moaned, laying down on my book.  

My elation of writing back to Broody was so overpowering that my first drafts were scribbles! He would not have been able to read that.

 


 

Dearest Fenris,

So happy to get a letter from u! Before I start, I LOVE You! It’s super important for me to tell you this. This is why I’m using purple ink and pink might hurt your eyes. I’m going to use simple words so you can understand alright? Yes there are mistakes but I have no trouble understanding.

My stay with them was good. Boring but good- I could sleep in and ate a lot of fried stuff. Uncle Donnic cooks so well. Oh he likes to play Diamondback with you? Haha! Can I play too? Sounds fun. He says you let him win.

 It must be so horrible when she betrayed you. I am clear about the people you’ve slain, Fenris and I will not start to fear now. You need our support, not judgment. Your other name was Leto? Writing all that was a good idea to help with the healing process. Saying ‘I’m sorry’ cannot help. I sincerely want to make you happy, need to make more jokes. Ali (haha u shorten his name, and he allows this? ) and Varric and Zev are good company. 

I had not known of Varania before. Dwarf had compiled all your adventures in the Companions of Kirkwall book, a whole collection. Of course, I merely skip to the best parts about you, Aveline and Hawke.  No problem, just write my name as Kit.

Don’t worry, I'm sure she understands. Without the E, symbolizes a bird of freedom. : ) Hawk, a small  species of eagle! I have only went to one funeral, heard speeches being read that the departed will always be in our hearts, and never truly gone. Hope that is consoling.

And You will always have me, Fen. Please allow me to share your burdens (worry face) 

Ah I forgot to ask if you are better now, past few days you dozed off before finishing food.  I shall quietly put this when you’re sleeping.

Zev is fine, hey why are you envious? He is funny and charming but cannot replace the special time we have before he came. You are both very important Elves to me. I’m very happy with so much progress you’ve made, keep it up! It seems that Hawke may have sent us along so you won’t be alone again, Fenris. Our only worry is being forgotten, we don't want you to forget us ok? hahaha 

Can I learn some Tevene? I only know the curses haha. You can answer me anytime and no need to be perfect.

             Loads of hugs x Love, Kit 

 

The following morning, he woke late. “Wow you are so fast. I cannot read that quick.” Fenris was chewing something and bringing the milk carton to the table. I gestured if he minded drinking tea. Normally we would have choices of teas (herbal and red), coffee, wine (but sadly I was never allowed) or milk. Sometimes there was chocolate. Today, I had gone ahead to fill his cup as it was nice and piping hot. The servants can eat first or with us.

 

He nodded his thanks and passed me the sugar. Josephine, a new serving girl, happily called his name. The elf smiled shyly.

“Forgot to say, can you wait till I’m out? Before you read mine?” I said, stirring three heaping spoonfuls of sugar in.

 

Fenris raised a brow. “Why? Because you said something bad? Did you get a shock?” I gently covered his free hand with mine. He cocked his head.

“Nah if I were shocked, I would’ve packed up and gone in the night.”

 

He sighed in relief. “I am not convinced. They- were angry when I killed her.” His voice was small and tight. I glanced at the servants, who remained calm.

 

“Yea but no one’s panicking right now.” I pointed out. Fenris was quiet for a moment, scooping an omelette onto his toast. “By the way I made the egg. It’s misshapen.” The girls chuckled.

 

“Never mind, it’ll taste good. Thank you. What about yourself?” he looked concerned.

 

“Those are two eggs in one. I’m fine, you need to eat more.” He started eating it. The subject change worked, as he pondered and suggested that he wanted to make some food for me. The usual foodstores would be closed for their break and those who didn’t want to cook would need to walk further to buy groceries. School was in the morning sessions for this term.

“I know how to fry simple stuff, ham, egg, bacon. Oh yes mustn’t forget the vegetables.” I pressed my forehead. Fenris chuckled. “You always push the greens to us. Vegetables are important too.” I moaned. Yes that was kind of true. Zev had made it a game of adding more to my plate when I thought they were gone.

The girls told him that they had those covered, and he should sleep in on his offdays. Fenris insisted he was not weak. How I longed to give him a long hug! Before I could see if his markings hurt, the elf made them light up and touched my forehead with the back of his right hand. I was startled. Fenris chuckled.

 

“I don’t have a fever.”  My cheeks and heart warmed at his initiative to check on me.

 

“Sure. How does it feel to have lyrium on your face?”

 

“Er, really warm and ticklish. You look nice, Uncle!” Upon looking closely, not all the patterns were lit with the same light, some were less bright. He let it fade slowly.

“Do they hurt when you sustain this mode?”

 

“Yes. So I refrained from using my talent this week. Hmm, what if I cannot understand some of your words? You’d have to be here.” He said, twirling his fork.

 

“Hey I made it VERY neat. You wound me. I believe you will manage." I rubbed my eyes pretending to sob.

Fenris chuckled. “Well sorry. This is my first time seeing purple ink! Looks beautiful. I will cherish it.” I didn’t quite look at the elf when he spoke, though his voice inflection had deepened an octave.

 

How thrilled we were, to hear that Zevran was returning soon! On the front table was the mail, bills and one in his handwriting! Yes! Beautifully calligraphed of Fen's name and address. He told me to open it and recite the mail, it ought to mention both of us. Part 1 was also to me, but one page Zev specified To my dear querida Fenris 

Uncle said he figured out his name and the last part of my letter. “I can tell you now, don’t use the curses. It’ll bring war upon us. Unless I hit my head I shouldn’t forget any of you,” Fen said when he walked by.

“Ok. Zev wrote back, there’s one for you. But I may vomit if I read it out to you.” I took out the page which was marked for Fenris.

“Hm really? You are odd. You shouldn’t vomit unless you’ve a tummyache. Squirt. Thank you.” Fenris’ brows knitted as he attempted to read.  Then he took it and went to the study downstairs. There are a few study-rooms, and the ground floor’s one is the smallest with the adult books in other languages.

 

 

Coming up Next!  news from Zevran’s mission, Anders, isabela stuff  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter Text

 

Part 1   

Hey there my Wildcat,

I was missing you both, nostálgico! When the messenger caught up with me, just as I was about to depart the tavern at Amaranthine.  I see you remember my alias name, Casiel. You just might make a good spy, under my wing of course. Ha! That is, if your mother doesn’t know.  No I don’t agree with being indecisive at all. I’m very clear what colors and food I like. Indeed, amigo is for male and amiga is female. Fenris is special, how can any person be like him? I don’t just mean his tattoos of course. Is he doing better, is he in pain?

  I am sorry you had a hard time, Sabriel. I hope you don’t need to be defensive against me. No problem, as I said you do not need to answer if it’s not all right. Don’t worry, my feelings are not so easily hurt. Wow really elves are more reliable? That’s really kind of you to think so. Still, I am confident you shall meet many more humans who are noble and kind. Alistair is a fine example. Yes I knew him and Isabela well. No no you’re mistaken, I’m sure I would have told you about Isa! What smile? I have no idea what you mean and I only have 2 kinds of smiles, one is a smirk and one is my usual happy smile! Maybe you should tell me when I come back.

Can’t reveal what we do on this mission, but do not worry..  so far I am not injured. It was a close shave that my friends noticed our food was poisoned. I killed my marks cleanly. I’m immune to some forms of poison, by the training we had. We had to ingest stuff like magebane and certain kinds of  toxins. But I cannot avoid the occasional fever and stomach upset though. Varric and Anders are with me, I’m liasing with them and getting to know the two better. Anders said he used to be a Grey Warden. Do you know what that means?

What? Roleplay as Merry’s boyfriend, you are joking? I do not mind for a day, and perhaps I can train her to attract some guys, yes? She is not my type. I prefer adventurous lasses. I see, Gemini is another star with two brains? Cool. I’m happy that you are all getting along so nicely. Fenris needs more friends.

Will you mind if Fen and I are together? I checked that kit also means baby fox! Haha now I think of it in a different picture. Going to bed, shall continue tomorrow…

 

 


 

Part 2 ( another type of paper with much messier writing)

 

We are not in Kirkwall now, have to find a ship that’ll send our messages. Truly sorry that this may be later than I hope… Yes I do remember your power. How the garden got burnt up, dios mío! (Means Oh maker!)

Then you can poke and prod Fenris without causing him pain? Really cute and funny.  I was learning to use the crossbow with Varric. I suck at it, this is how you teenagers will say so right? I’m not yet at ease with him yet, though he is a really patient and friendly dwarf. It’s so heavy to carry a crossbow, and my shooting always misses the spot! He isn’t an assassin, more of a businessman. He doesn’t fight dirty. In turn I showed him some of my skills. Not bad at all. We make a good team. Anders would cast spells, but he almost scorched my hair once! Horrible aim.

When we were fighting darkspawn, Oghren my friend was smelly, filthy and grumpy. I had a fondness for him though. My weapons of choice are sword and daggers, or two daggers. : ) Oh yes you’re much better with range weapons correct? I wish to learn from you humbly, Sabriel. When people ask me to teach them how to be a Crow there’re many aspects from poison making to lockpicking. The experience is gained from young, so it is virtually impossible to reach my level. You didn’t always need to work hard, the idea is to get connections and to understand the root of jealousy. Did I tell you people were pissed with my arrogance? I hope I am more humble now, after seeing the death of people I loved. It hit me so hard when Rinna died, then I thought I could marry the Grey warden, when all of the blight was over. But we all cannot control the Fates.

I sprained my ankle so tonight I can rest. You have no idea what a relief it is for me to be alone! Varric talks so much I get a migraine. Anders can heal me completely, I suspect but he refuses to do it. I think he does not like me very much, which is fine. It is unsurprising how many people I accidentally rub off the wrong way. He’s such a moper.   Haha I can tell you a bit about Isabela, but don’t let your family know ok? She hired me to assassinate her husband, and that was how we met. We were more than friends haha. I have always disagreed that she’ll challenge opponents and underestimate her weaknesses. Assassins try not to confront enemies directly, for we’re not as strong as Ali and Fen. What else, she loves cardgames, cheats a lot, is a pirate queen…. True Varric is correct. She likes both women and men, does that sound shocking to you? I am bisexual too, forgot if I mentioned this. Mostly I like women more but I keep an open mind.

 

I can barely restrain my anger seeing Anders these days, when he spoke badly about Fenris and Isa! He does not know how close we all are! So pissed I almost whacked him.  I am shorter but I have the advantage if I go first.  What an estúpido-  Antivan for asshole. Because he was drunk, does not excuse him from being so rude.  He looks down on Isabela and said Fen is stuckup. I was not here, but didn’t they all work together before? Your dwarf says he doesn’t mean it. I think I’d rather heal slowly on my own. At times I’m a little chilled to hear his other self talking with the other voice. Did he really use this Justice thing to heal me? If I were conscious, I would try to run away.

Forgot if I have expressed my gratitude fully. So when I felt stronger, I wanted to earn something to pay Fenris back. He has refused my money outright, so I deposited into the bank account. Haha I found a way, don’t tell him. Alistair said he’ll do the white lie. Although we were stressed when he fell ill, it means he did not suspect a thing. I’m glad Aveline still continues paying his salary, though he couldn’t work for that time.  He did force himself, I know, and that’s why we argued. Indeed he’s really stubborn. So you managed to convince him to stop training? Wow see, the softheart to ladies. Before I left, Fenris was still coughing yet he sneaked out on a night patrol. I tailed him and sure enough, he had to rest often. Alistair was so worried. Maybe he wanted to earn more?

  

Yes Tevene people sound horrible and brainless, of course they’ve less brains than me. Not to mention the sheer callousness.

Cannot wait to come home! If he struggles, would you mind reading to him that letter?

 

                                    Saludos,

                                              Zev

 


 

As he signed off, he heard Anders arguing about some manifesto. The elf sealed the envelope and placed it carefully among the rest of the messages to be delivered. He could not sleep as soundly on the move, for it reminded him too much of his fugitive days. Zevran had not forgotten about the people who had tried to maim him and two others. Were they from other guilds, who hated the Crows too? Zevran felt so exhausted that he lay down and drifted off.  He dreamt of Rinna for the first time. But she was so far away in the mists. He tried to speak, to apologize but she did not seem to hear him.

The cabin was shared with Varric. In a moment, the elf heard him bustling in and the sound of items being dropped and the thud of Bianca.  Varric hummed a tune to himself and said, “Hm so tired already? Thought you might want a sip of this brandy.”

He continued keeping his eyes closed. The scent of brandy was uncapped. “Sorry to disturb ya, elf. G’night.”

Zev smiled, sensing that the dwarf had come round to peer at him. The bottle was set on the table, he heard it. He listened until Varric moved to his own bed before he spoke. “Thanks, leave it.”   

Dwarf said when they got back, and if Fenris was around who would be Elf 1 and Elf 2? Zevran chuckled.

 

 

 

   
 
 
 

 

 

 

Chapter Text

When Zevran returned after his mission and his injuries were fully healed, we were ready to embark on joining the Dalish Clan! It was headed by Nylian-Aerilaya , his Keeper friend and meet his cousin! Merrill was helping me with the packing. Fenris came in asking for the possibly-hundredth time if we were sure. He was given a clean bill of health by two healers. “Can you not go, carissime? There are Elves here too, and the Alienage tree.” He was piercing me with those olive, beseeching eyes, as he paced and stood near to us.

 

“Since they are both in fine health, it's the right time to go, Fen.”

 

“Relax Fenris. Do not worry, we will take good care of each other! And this clan is Really nice, they will even welcome you if you wish to come.” Merrill answered positively. She reached out one hand, then remembered he did not like touch. She was seated beside me.

Fenris stared at her outstretched hand, as if he did not know what to make of it. Then he huffed and fingered the rope for drawing the curtains. His white hair was sticking up all over the place. I tried not to be impatient with my friend, especially after he’d opened up and been more forthcoming to us.

“Fenris, we will be ok. You promised to let me go, when we were planning. Then you got sick, so we postponed. Remember?”

Now Broody stopped playing with the curtain string and nodded slowly. His lyrium lit up gradually. Merrill gasped. I told her it was alright- glowing did not mean Fen was angry.

“Doesn't that cause you pain? Please don't be angry.” 

Fenris said something inaudible, searching his multiple pockets. Normally the shirts he owns don't have many pockets, it's a probably a new one we bought for him. Colourful silk with multiple pockets at his hips. He will only wear dark plain colours out.

I went near to him and touched a wiggly pattern on the side of his left arm. It prickled me for a while, I heard Fenris exhale slowly and the power receded. “If it sucks, I promise I won’t stay and come right back.” These linings were also scars, how rough his arm felt.

I smiled at Merrill, and the light of understanding dawned on her face. “Ah do you need time alone together? You can check through them Sabriel.”

 

I waited for Fenris to decide. “No it is fine. Squirt, found—ah I got this for you.” He reached into his trousers’ pocket and held out a trinket-thingie with purple string. I gaped and cupped it with both hands—an exquisite figurine of a lady, with some engravings at the bottom. “This is Andraste. I don’t pray a lot but they were blessing some amulets the other day.”

He moved away, not to go out but to sit down. I beamed. “Thank you so much! Te amo, ma ser…. Oops. Is it ex?”

 

He chuckled, ears twitching. “I get it. Ma serannas you mean? What is… ex”

 “Expensive.”

“Not at all, don’t think about that. No price is too much for (he coughed and I thought I heard) love. Merrill, do you have a protection charm?” He rumbled, and looked at her. The she -elf was now hovering in the doorway.

 

“Oh you’re sweet! Yup I have them.”  Fenris said he only got two as he held my hand.

“Argh sweet!”  He cringed and made a balking-face. We chuckled to his denial. Merrill said she’d go look for Zev who had gone missing in action in our home. 

 


 

Aveline surprisingly had smoothly agreed to this. She felt it was good for me to go on this educational trip, which also meant her trust in Zevran had improved. I looked at my half open bag with a notebook and some cheap stationery. One of the first things Zev reminded was I had to update my mother and guardians, even if it was just for a month or so. Zev did not nag, merely said they would naturally want to know if we will be fine and I was more fortunate than the orphans in Thedas.

I had been sorry to instil Zev’s jealousy. Maybe it was why the Antivan did not really talk to me today.

 

“Any more instructions, Fen? I’m all ears.” I gently touched one of his pointed ears. He allowed it for a few seconds, then trapped my hand.

“I know this sounds… nagging. But will you hear me out? Don’t go anywhere alone without them. In the forest, dark is very dark. There may be poisonous creatures, be careful. I hope the charm protects against ghosts, or demons. Not all of them are benign…” His expression remained neutral, but I noticed some worry-crinkles at the corners of his eyes. His palm felt damp.

“Okay, I will bear them in mind. I appreciate your gift. Anyway it will be day after tomorrow.” I turned my back and let him fasten the charm. His fingers tickled me. I giggled.

 

“Update me. I am trying to arrange some free days, but for now it is impossible.... have finished reading all of your response.” Leto-Fen almost growled and I felt his warm breath on my neck. Then he sounded like he was much happier. Very few are not intimidated by rapid moodswings.

  

“Oh! I see, did you understand? I used simple words.” I scratched my head to remember what was the content. Almost three weeks ago.  “Your other name was Leto, Yeay!”  Said -elf stroked my hair. When I checked, the amulet was on.

 “Umhm. I read it three times, wanted to be sure. I am- happy. You want to call me that?” he asked wistfully. He leaned on my shoulder so I could glimpse his flash of viridian green eyes.

 “Leto-Fen. Best of both. Can ?” A snort gave me the answer. I apologized.

 “It was before I got marked. Ha, but I may not turn around immediately.” He smirked. “I will come as soon as I can. Almost done with my writing, Kit.”

 “That’s good. Don’t tire yourself too much, alright? Drink more water, less wine and eat more. I should be allowed to nag you.”  Crucially important to actually speak these instructions for me, even though he opened his mouth to argue indignantly. I did not want to have another episode of him getting ill. 

Leto/Fen is making so much effort despite his imperfections. I will die defending his honor AND swear (secretly) to look after him when I’m mature enough and earn some money as an Elite archer or soldier!

His reply was cute and not old:  “Yes to all of the above options. No to the last one. Oh yes, I forget, same thing- don’t open my letter until I’m out. Ha.” He gave me a brief hug and went outside.

 Zev also received a charm, different from mine. His was on a brown string, a bit longer and was a small cloth bag with herbs. Broody’s instructions to them were not the same and because I was there, he did not mention about me but it was definitely in his “rant”. Merrill shook his hand. “I’m so happy that we are getting to know each other much better now. You look like you need more sleep, Fenris.”


 

Then we all went to bed. I knew my dear friend wouldn’t sleep much, without the help of potions. I fell asleep for a couple of hours, then awoke to some soft rapping. One serving man said Fenris wanted to speak with me.

I stumbled to his room, and his door was open. “Sorry to wake you. There you go.” Fen was not wearing his shirt, all his tattoos were gleaming slightly. He rose from where he sat at his desk and gave me an envelope.

 I took it. “Never mind. Don’t you want to switch on the fan?” Beads of perspiration trickled from his throat and his brow. The sweltering season was upon Kirkwall. Few days ago, the men had all bought some stand-fans together- Alistair, Donnic, Anders, Varric and etc. They had helped him to shift some here, while Fenris also assisted them with carrying.

 

Flopping down unceremoniously on the pallet, he patted his blanket over his scarred naked lanky body. I was about to press the switch, when he held up his hand. “Later. I feel ill when it’s continuous wind. I’m fine. See you.” Fenris lay down and closed his eyes.

I whispered bye, wondering if he meant his joints hurt and ached. Maybe it was arthritis? Normally he won't tell me.

Merrill was spending the night with us and she was bunking down with me. She was still wide awake and counting the birds on my wallpaper, dancing around my room. “Yo Merri, was… was Zev moody just now?”

 

“Not really, we were laughing at his funny stories. Why?” She beamed seeing I had a letter but not asking why. She knelt on the mattress beside my bed.

 

“You can lie on my bed, and I can take this you know.” I offered, but it was fruitless.

Then she snuffed out my lamp and lay down. I could see her silhouette.  “What happened between you? Is he angry?”

 

I shrugged. “Zevran has a hot temper, he said he can be petulant but mostly he won’t… ignore me for a day. So are most elves unforgiving? ”

 

She wouldn’t feel insulted, for Merrill had the sort of naivete that Fen and Zev had lost. Mainly because she had not been orphaned and harshly tortured. She had fallen silent and I thought she must be exhausted. At last, she said, “If you mean petulant, or get angry, I know quite many of us are. When I was practising bloodmagic, Fenris would frequently scold me. He is much- softer now. Remember not to tell him so, hehe. Zevran- I don’t know him as well but maybe give him time. Men aren’t so petulant, right Kitty? You ok with Kitty?”

 

I smiled hearing her pixie bright voice suffusing with harmony. I can’t believe she used to do necromancy sort of mojo. “Ah no. I bet Zevie insists on calling me that. Thanks, goodnight.” 

 

My dreams were all adventurous, either me soaring above the mountains or in one of my favourite fantasy epics battling demons and qunari. A very vivid one stayed.  Fenris spoke fiercely waving his sword while I was whirling my staff and unleashing lightning. Hordes of black things. Sabriel, the Vanquisher of Evil--- a figure with flapping large wings and long hair pronounced in a deep, low feminine voice. Then Alistair in silver, appeared beside Fenris, who was in white armor as blinding as his hair. They saluted her and knelt. Wild Wolf and Proud Gryphon*, be at ease.

She hovered closer to me but her face was shrouded in a red mist. Her long hair was all scarlet red and she raised a spear with snakes encircling it. It looked like diamond plates of spiky armour. Who are you? Why do you say that of me?

It is wonderful you’ve many valiant friends. Now you are sleepwalking, so I can finally see you. My sister.  

I shook my head. What? Look lady, you’re sorely mistaken. You must be a demon. In my hands materialised my bow and I took aim. But my arrow bounced off her chestpiece. Dream-Fenris and Alistair stood beside me, left and right and stopped me.   

 

Chapter Text

                    

On our second day, after I’d helped to gather some roots there was a breaktime of greens yet again. Dalish seldom eat meat, because most animals are sacred to them. Normal deer are not hunted, unless on special days. (A species called halla is off the menu, a small white deer) The hunters sang some rituals as they killed wild animals mercifully. Before eating the meat, prayers of song were also offered to the gods. Still, most meals consisted of raw or semi cooked herbs, potatoes, edible wheats. I listened respectfully as they conducted these rituals. Zev did not speak the Dalish fluently, though I saw him bow his head respectfully in the rituals. Merrill never did tell us where she went, but she acted normal.

I had to credit Zev for being surprisingly fatherly of my welfare! He could have went ahead to socialize with them, as his cousin hadn’t come yet, but he didn’t. “ Zevran, I can be alone you know.” I said as I couldn’t walk so fast and was lagging behind. Being here amongst his mother's kin, wouldn't Zev want to bond more closely with the Dalish?

“No I shouldn't leave you alone. I’m to take care of you and Merrill. Dios, what’s that you plucked?” the elf asked, his brows knitted. He gathered up a plant I’d put in the basket. “That’s not edible, Kitty.” Zev tossed out a stalk with red berries on the grass.

“Really? Oh crap, what if I poisoned you all? Sorry sorry! They look juicy, like normal berries.”

Usually the men would go on the hunting parties whilst the young girls like me would be helping with gathering fruits, vegetables, washing and domestic stuff.

He smiled. “It causes stomach pains. Relax, takes time to recognize which is good. For the edible plants, there are always ants and bugs on them.”

 

“Ok. Oh yea why aren’t you chatting with them? Where’s your cousin?”

 “Plenty of time for that at camp. Eh she should be back, today.” Zev raised his hand for me and two others to stop and disarmed a trap. Phew. “It is touching that you care. But… I really don’t know what to say. ” He tucked his hair behind his ear and sighed.

I chuckled. “Come now, Zev, you’re feeling shy? She’ll like you for sure! You've the charm. It’ll be fine!”

“No, I mean how to tell her about what I do, for a living. I don’t want to scare her,and- I had to get my letters translated. The language barrier is one factor. Say where is that Merry? Did she tell you where she vanished to, first night?” He cast his glance to the foraging party in front.

“Strange. No, I don’t think it’s wise to tell Fen that. He’d get worried. ” I was thinking about what to write in my response, on top of answering his multiple questions. Can't wait!

Zevran’s brown eyes glimmered and he stroked my hair. “Yes I agree. Do you miss being in his mansion? I’m so envious of how he hugged you. I didn’t see that wrongly, no?”

I flushed, remembering his lips on my forehead and his sudden strong hug. “I--- I didn’t expect that either. He almost gave me a heart attack. You- saw that? Only Merrill I thought.”

He said he had gone downstairs first with our belongings and then he returned for something. “Zev, I wanna know something. Are you—angry with me?”

“Querida why would you think so?”

“One day, you just ignored me. After- after I said maybe I don’t need to write back, and then you said I’m luckier than the orphans in the whole of Thedas.” He did not walk faster, but matched my pace. A woman beckoned to us in Dalish, in an excited voice. He said later he’d explain that, but now we should hurry - the scouts had found something

 


 

Boo Fenris carissime,

As promised here's our update.  We’re all safe, Zev and Merrill are very caring. ;)  Can’t believe have to wake up at the crack of dawn. So sleepy haha. The firelight is too dim, so now that there’s some daylight, seizing chance to write. Yup Hawk is always watching over you, I haven’t started painting that picture so I just described the scene first. Whenever you’re worried or upset, think of it. This is a type of calming the mind technique.

Fenris, I’m really curious, like when you fight do you go into a ‘State of mind’? Cullen and the others were laughing when I said I “seriously” want to write about that.    What asses, haha!

You don’t have to feel bad or give me any gifts. I think you remembered once and you attempted to cook a meal with the others’ help. It was the most delicious meal I ever had. Yes it’s quite special, also called birthday for humans. Aww, I see. I wouldn’t be able to get used to strange beds outside either. I hope you didn’t just sleep on the floor.

That time when we had the sleepover at Donnic’s, I didn’t get why you had to kneel. Sorry if it’s intrusive of me to comment. It doesn’t matter if glasses or things drop or soup spilling. Nobody can be perfect. You can totally trouble us. When you are our guest, it's our job. 

Ok, definitely we shouldn’t say we pity you, understood.  Wow thanks for the praise:  I’m kind and my tone is nice.... ;)   Still, maybe they were all worried about you when she died. They just- didn’t know how to console you. You meant it was better if they just kept silent?

Indeed the diamondback is fun! : ( Yea you were so stingy didn’t want to loan me money. Playing with toy money doesn’t have thrill. Now you cannot hit me, because it’s paper. Joke! Never mind, and you’ll surely forget to whack me when I use your money for the next games.

Nah I don’t know why I remember this much, and some dreams also. It’s useful for art stuff, but bad when I want to forget my enemies. Leto means ‘The Hidden’, when we get back I’ll find the myths book to show you the picture! She is the mother of the gods Artemis and Apollo! Maybe you’re a good hider haha. I do like the idea of you having dual identities. Te amo is such a nice word, I want to use it 100000 times! haha, and I just learnt Vhenan means my soulmate. So lovely! Ah yes forgot to talk about actual camp, all the men and girls go to separate parts of rivers to bathe. Water super cold, and I got shy. Got to see many tattoos on their backs. Some patterns nice like animals, but some make me ill. I've actually seen some etched marks on Zev's back, but he insisted not painful. Jagged lines.

Alright, then I can help you improve, Elfie. Do you prefer to go through what you had written, then rewrite some sentences? Or you want it to be spoken? You put ‘Elfs’ for plural - it should be ‘Elves’ For names, you shorten our names but doesn’t matter. Names start with capitals. By the way I LOVE your signature. Don’t change it alright?  Should be: correct (my) errors.

 

Wow nar vere lerno victoria, can I say that everytime? No no you don’t need to be my father, Fen. I want you to be stress-free, you had so many problems before. I still remember how you hugged me, I was shocked. So unpredictable, yet – sweet! When we go through the mistakes, let’s use some colored pens. Then it’ll be easier, because when I study I always make colors for some notes. Omg! Isa wanted to pluck out your eyes! Gross.

Maybe Zev will include that, he’s a really great ranger. But nervous about meeting his pretty cousin, don’t know why. Hope to see you soon, Fenris! Shall we make a surprise?”

                                                                                        Yours truly,

                                                                                                Kitty (I feel like a cat)

 

 

 

 

Chapter Text

I brought Fen’s message with me to camp and opened it as soon as I got the chance. The plan was for me to share a tent with Merry, but she somehow took off when we reached. So I was sharing Zev's tent (he had initiative not to look as I got changed, great!) Then Zev fell asleep quickly.

Donnic had gifted me with a crystal torch! Now was the best time to use it, I rubbed it in my hands. It's a safe alternative to flames, once warmed it will light up.

Fen had evidently used more effort and other than some alphabets squiggling together I could almost hear Fenris speaking eagerly

My dear Sabriel,

I’m so glad and happy that you don’t judge me. it’s so nice Hawk is like a bird among trees and watch over us. Oh I want to ask questions. What present you might want, for Name-day? I always forget, sorry, even with varric remind. Feel bad I haven’t buy gift, this special to human youths?

I don’t remember when I born. Ya, Leto my name before, up north. U really want to call me, may not answer fast. : )

No I will not be angry wif u carissime!  Means friend in tevene, my language. But I don’t want to tell meaning other words. Becos cursing no good.  Zevran using (Te amo) is also in tevene but in different way. Please correct me errors, I need improve… Yes I’m alright, just more tired. Making sure all of them don’t go astray and stay alive is tough. Outside not used to the beds and the camping out feel cold. Oh I did not have trouble in Ave and Don’s house, very soft bedding. Ha make more jokes, I’m not so alone. Yea, they are all good friends. 

Zev said three of us with Isabela had worked together before, he had some stories in that reply. I don’t remember all of that. She had also liked my eyes, that said want to use as necklace (shock face). Not funny, she not sound mind. 

I wish to explain why felt angry when people said sorry for me. I did not want pity and Varania’s betraying me. After she dead, what was the point to be sorry?? 

But, Sabriel you’re kind, always been… and your tone is nice. Mayhaps Ive change.  Yes very shy to say love aloud, I do understand and why would I be worry if not love? Thank you. Donnic is funny and yes of course u can join us. Maybe not with money, cos you need to borrow mine. Cannot (smile face) sorry. 

Well okay, Zev cannot replace what we have. You remember so much? Wow. Soon you all going to meet Dalish. I hope Zev gets what he wish. Thats unexpected... U wanto know more about other elves?  Amused  you feel we can be wiser, better than humans? Im not sure to be flatter or concern abt this. We not exactly one " people" , it is really noble u want to help poor oppressed people, however be careful of the cunning ;( Sad to say, not all "my race" good. Some take advantage, liars, cheats. 

Just noticed Ave paid me money though I couldn't work , so have to help her these days.

You are my responsibility, Kit.  Now know why parents need to repeat what to do, or not. I shall need trust Merrill and Zev first before I'm free to go there myself.  Nar vere lerno Victoria- only the living know victory. That’s a good phrase in my language too. Hm does it sound profound?

Write back soon

                                                 Te Amo, your friend always: Fenris

 

I blinked back tears that he felt responsible for me and had actually spelt that word right. We had intended to leave silently. But as Merrill and I passed his bedroom, Fen came out. He whispered my name and then I felt the wind knocked out of me. He’s- actually grabbing me so tightly? The moment was brief but time seemed to freeze. I did not turn around at first. “Sleep well, Leto Fen. We’ll be ok. ” My voice was husky.

He chuckled, albeit in an unsteady way and asked me to look at him. Before he closed his eyes to kiss my forehead, I glimpsed how full of emotion- unspoken and strong yet vulnerable his large green eyes were.

Chapter Text

I noticed the new girl had arrived, on the fifth or sixth day. Merrill had suddenly returned and was cooking a type of broth. She didn’t tell us where she had gone off to, and I sure hoped it was not some blood magic ritual. At first, I had been a little hurt, as she had promised Fen and Aveline to accompany me. Then, I tried to see it as everyone has their private business, just like Fenris didn’t want to relive every sordid detail of his agonizing past occupation, nor the ritual that made him look exotic.Now he would not be defensive when strangers probed him when he felt calm, merely ignored them. I did offer to whack them when I heard, but he smiled and declined.  

Zev was rather calm and greeted her casually. I had expected him to demand an explanation, but he didn’t. That, I had been curious.

“Hey Zev, I thought you’d be irritated about her vanishing on us?”

“Ha, I could find out if I wish. I’ve seen nothing suspicious, so that’s alright. You didn’t write that to Fen, no?” He rubbed his chin.  Our secret-honourbound agreement to reassure my guardian. The Antivan smiled and touched my cheek. “He may still be sleepless and worrying about you.”

I detected a note of tempting wistfulness, even if his smile did not fade. “Hey he does care about you too. Otherwise he wouldn’t give you an amulet of protection.” When I moved back after our hug, I fingered the symbol that smelled of spices. Zev nodded.

“Oh querida, you’re too kind. Hm what was it you wanted to ask me that day?”

 

I frowned. “Er when?”

“The day you said I ignored you for an entire day, if I’m jealous. Did you mean that time?” he remarked honestly. I nodded. “I’ve a short memory. But I can’t be angry with my friends for that long. Case in point, Isabela- she let me down before, but I render help if she needs it.”

 

“Ah yea! Because when you said to me, I’m luckier than the orphans in Thedas, you had that tone of envy and like that. Are you jealous?” I snapped my fingers, imitating his expression.

 

“How wicked, Kitty, I don’t believe I looked that upset! And it is true, but forgive me if I was too harsh. Many elves in my homeland and alienages are orphans. Fen too. Perhaps I could have been. But forgot why I said so.” Zevran admitted.

I didn’t realize how the pang in my heart had shown up, for he reached out and clasped my hand. “We don’t have to look back on those sufferings in the past. But I still thank you for your pity. Be sure to donate money to me next time alright?”

I feigned a shocked expression. “What? I’m not- Eh maybe, when we’re grown up, we will definitely see how to improve the lives of your people.”   We may joke now, but I fully intended to help more orphans and slaves become free. He laughed. Once, people said slaves were born into magisters’ houses to serve them, so they must have had parents. But due to such cruel hardship, the parents probably don’t live to ripe old age.  

Then he asked if I missed my mother, and Donnic. Zevran can be really emotional and empathic. “I miss Leto the most, he’s very good to me. Because he doesn’t force me and we have plenty to talk about, some days. Or rather, I talk and he’ll listen, hehe. Actually, oddly with you elves, I don’t have problems communicating. Likely he'll be coming next week! ” I closed my eyes. 

 

“I also can’t wait. But he might miss the comforts of living in the city. We were not born in the forests, and after living rough, I understand all that.” Zevran laughed at my naivete.

 

******

Another time,

“Hey why are you hesitating? That’s her isn’t it? Go!” I was munching on a type of Elven wheat bread. 

At the rate he was combing his hair, regardless of how much abundance it was, soon he’d become bald. Haha! “I- I’m not hesitating! I don’t know how she’ll react, how to tell her about myself, no! Stop- rushing me, mind your own business,” Zev grumbled and adjusted his leather armour straps for the millionth time. All of us were wearing some form of armour, which felt sticky and hot in the humidity. But if I did not, my family wouldn’t allow me to leave! Fen, Donnic and Aveline, they’re my family. Zevran as well.

“She’ll probably not understand even if you explain about Antiva all that. I support you!” I smiled.

He got up, took a deep breath and approached the group of ladies. She was a brown-haired elvish girl, and they had welcomed her with some flowers around her neck! I watched him embrace her and finally talked to her. This was the Third day she had come , now or never.

Merrill sat beside me, wiping her hands and beaming. I couldn’t help probing the mage, and this was the best time.  “Merrill, we got worried when you disappeared. Where did you go?”

“Oh I’m sorry. I had to meet a friend. Guess I forgot to tell you.”  She did not cast furtive glances or sound wobbly or guilty we'd uncover some secrets.

“I slept beside Zev. He’s a gentleman. It’s nice they are reunited.”  I replied. Then she took care of my needs, as if everything was normal.

When she had finished talking with her group, Zev brought her over. “Her name is El’ynth. Ah, the closest word I can pronounce her name.” His ears kept twerking and he was both happy and shy when he introduced her. The girl said some Dalish words, not ‘andaran atishan’.

 


Zevran

The slight pinch when some bug had nipped between the centre of his palm had not gone away. Zevran thought nothing of it, listening to the other Dalish talking and keeping an eye out for predators. Antivan- Crows are highly resistant to agony, so this is nothing. He flexed his hand, continuing to gather firewood.

After a few more hours, the elf felt the humidity and heat more acutely. His right arm was numb and his pulse was irregular and louder in his ears. Huh? He murmured, “Not feel---- so good.” The throbbing worsened and Zevran felt nauseous, bile rising up. Someone held him up when his knees gave way.

“Zevran, oh gods! Someone, come please!” the lady’s accent was exotic and strange. Hadn’t he spoken with her before? But his vision was tunnelling and colors were blotting across crazily. He smiled in ecstasy.

---

 Merrill & Fenris

They were at the back of the group. It was his cousin who alerted her to come, panicking.  Zevran was supported by another Dalish and Fenris. The city elf looked calm, but his markings were unstable and flickering. “Is there a healer here?” Fenris demanded. The Antivan was smiling and speaking feverishly, not pale but his right hand was swollen to the size of a hive and inflamed.

Ignoring Fenris, because there wasn’t time to translate, Merrill instructed those who had noticed to stop and help. She took a cleansing breath. “Fenris just hold him still. We’re going to make a herb first. Then we get him back to the Keeper right now.” She wondered if he would resent her way of taking charge. But Fenris agreed without hesitation, doing as she needed. She rummaged in her pack and located some cutters to remove his glove. The swollen area prevented them from yanking it off, which would also trigger more pain. Sabriel went to get some clean stream water so they could clean the wound.

Zev flinched at the jabbing pains but the firm grip would not let go of him. He tried to raise his head but it was too much effort. Fenris and her watched as both male and female elves expertly made a foul smelling paste from bark and some grasses. “What happened? He was ok just now,” the human teenager whispered to Fenris.

 "Not sure. He just collapsed. Maybe it’s a poisonous bug. Be careful. I’ll get him a fresh shirt.” He rummaged in the pack finding a simple loose shift.

Oh dear, Zev thought and felt the urge to giggle. Shiny haloes around sexy women surrounded him. He relaxed. Merrill wound the cloth with the paste around his hand and pressed it to his chest. “It’s done. He will fall asleep, and I cannot let go of him. Please make a litter for him, and we’ll head back. Ely‘nth can you identify the type of insect that bit him so we can talk to the Keeper about it? Ma serannas.”

 Sabriel was talking with Fenris, since they were leftout of untranslated dalish. “Fenris, sure no bites? Let me see.” She examined his exposed skin, and he did for her too.

 “No I feel alright.I was worried. He will be the death of me, festus bei cunavarum.*

After Zev was settled with a fresh tunic, no armor to aid with breathing, he said gently, “Merrill, thank you, am not aware you have mustered some herbs? ” Fenris commented in his low voice.

 Merrill grinned, blushing. He smiled. He didn’t compliment people easily! “Er yes. I am not so skilled with magical spells for this yet, but all of us need to know which plants and herbs relieve pain and poison and illness. I’m glad my mentor taught me.”

“Cool cool!” his ward exclaimed, thumbs up. “Leto, it’s nice all these elf unity! I’d have panicked and started screaming. Didn’t Zev mention it hurt?” Kit clapped her hands 

Leto scowled. “No, he was trying to act strong. But collapsed- vishante, should take better care of self! ”  But his ears tweaked when the people who heard smiled admiringly at him.

 


 

Zevran

Ely ‘nth’s large green eyes were filled with tears, and her hair tickled his face when he came to. His tongue felt very large and as dry as sandpaper. Zev coughed when she blurted in their dialect. “Wait--- please no understand. Lyn.” She went away, and propped his head up for a sip of the skin. Cool liquid dribbled down. Zevran tried to get his bearings and breathed easier. What happened? His mind was dull like cotton wool, his hearing imbalanced. The tent looked dim. His right hand was bandaged and throbbed with steady pulses. But it was not a blinding agony. He was perspiring, cold and warm, only in his smalls.

A rough hand on his forehead. Fenris’ sonorous voice: “Hey you awake? It was a wasp-ant. You were careless. Don’t do this again. Or you’ll see my fist.” His green eyes were large as he leaned closer. Zev grinned and promised softly. He lifted his trembling free hand to touch Fenris. The warrior sighed and matched fingers to him.

“Rest. It’s thankful Merry knew what to do…..”  Broody spoke more than normal, but his eyelids were heavy. Sorry, I thought the wound was nothing big. Beautiful to hear him tell me stories. I really love you, te amo Fenris!  

The day was hotter when he awoke the next time. Unsure how long it had been….  People speaking in common. Sabriel scrambled over with a roll of bread and some meat. “Don’t get up. I just made some food.” He beamed and sat up slightly to take it. She shook her head. “I’ll feed you say ahhh.” Zev opened his mouth. He heard he had been down for almost four days.

“Thank you Kit. I guess I’ll need help. It’s still swollen.”

“Yes! Merrill couldn’t use magic but she made herbs. Then we hurried back to camp. You weren’t pale but you were talking nonsense Zev. High fever, Fen was so upset that he had to control his tattoos. Why did you keep silent? It’s serious!” she scolded him, although not on the verge of a breakdown, she was upset.

Zevran had more energy to talk now. But he could not speak quickly, needing to breathe deeper.“Oh querida, I felt just a pinch. Here let me show you.” He pinched her hand a bit to demonstrate. “And I had training to endure pain. If I screamed , I’d have failed assassin training. Should be better now, I’m hungry.”

 

Then they took turns to take care of him. Last time, when the Grey Warden’s companions were with him, they had not always been so warm. This is awesome! Bueno! “Fenris?”

“Yea?” The ex Tevinter elf was checking his bandage. “Don’t exert too much.” So he leaned over and kissed him. Because Fenris had been taken by surprise he turned and Zev’s lips brushed his ear. He cleared his throat, reddening at the cheeks. “Well… um I wrote you back. It’s in your bag.” After a while, he closed his eyes and leaned over shyly. The Antivan wanted to exclaim DIOS! HE’S REALLY KISSING ME! But he couldn’t, because their lips and tongues were intertwined.

Fenris shifted back and brushing back his long fringe, focused on somewhere beyond him.                                                        

 

 

 

 

Chapter Text

                                                  Fenris (Leto)

 

The only other companions now in his huge mansion were the maids and occasional visitors. Fenris thought he liked solitude, and sometimes forgot they were away. Varric got people to play Wicked Grace with him, sometimes. There were just too many criminals and illegal immigrants, occasional dragons invading the Bone Pit investments. Alistair and Aveline weren’t unreasonable, they urged him to take some days off to join Zevran and see how they were doing in the forest. But responsibility and friendship were his values.

After a gruelling day, he came home and began gushing about his day, once more forgetting the absence of Squirt and Zev. Hearing him, an older manservant came out and asked, “Hello Messere, do you need help? Shall we prepare the hotwater?”

Fen sighed, kicking off the boots and removing his armor and metal gloves. “Yes, not too hot a bath. Thank you.” He felt like shit-- his prior injuries groaned from exertion- where he had fractured his left shoulder, kneecaps, other sprains. Luckily the burning lyrium seemed less intense today. If not for his fatigue, he had the impulse to vent his temper somehow.

With a free hand, he swiped at the beads of perspiration on his neck. Awful humid sun today! They were so slow to call him that he dozed off on the couch first. Usually he would clean off most of the blood and gore at the Keep, but today he sorely needed another wash.  The lanky elf gingerly stepped into the warm water and applied some herbal Chamomile soap in.

Sabriel had bought it as his “birthday” gift. Few Elves outside of clans actually kept track of birthdays, of course Fen had no idea of his exact age, but well, she still came up with one for him, based on something called Star signs. They were some charts detailing character traits such as positive, grumpy, courageous, wishy washy etc and groupings. "I'm sure you're a Scorpio. Coz your quiet yet passionate charm. Or Capricorn the dry wit. Then we can pick any day, it will be so fun!"  He did not mind anything, but gently turned down too costly gifts.

 

“Can't believe I actually miss you all so much already! Ha.” He smiled, watching some bubbles rise from the tub, but not reaching out to pop them. Running his hands through his pale greasy hair, Fenris relished the comforts of being pampered and such a delightful aroma.

At first, he had been fine with the lengthy silences when the servants went back. Subsequently, he spoke to Mary who was the most intelligent of the servants. She was half-elf and very organized, and Fenris trusted her with important matters. Also, she was intuitive enough to tell him stuff that he didn’t always wish to hear. “I hope you can stay. We all like you and can you manage the rest? My contacts said some of the servants lied to me, when I gave them free time they went to the brothels and gambling dens.” Without hesitation she’d supported him though she was reluctant to lead. Having been a slave himself, the warrior could never crack down hard on them.

 

Passing by the Antivan’s room, he looked at how neatly Zevran had arranged his clothing. Fenris smiled- he had actually classified them according to borrowed and new. Someone had bought him that garish colored yellow green shirt! Then three doors down was Sabriel’s room. He did remember how they had embraced, as he sank down on the blue bed. He carefully placed a box of blue items he had reserved from the jewellers. Earrings, clips and some keepsakes.

 ‘Yuck I’m not a pink-person, Fen. I’m glad here, you allow me to choose the colors!’ Yes, he had been really astonished she was determined to stay with him, and from a temporary arrangement it had grown. ‘Haha I do not really like pink too. Too lazy to change the red curtains though.’  All their talks and discussions, and arguments.

Fenris blinked back tears, an ache filling his heart. How much his love had increased--- since the day he awoke and she’d been so worried and didn’t move from her vigil. Like Hawke, and yet her own self.

When Zevran suddenly showed up, Fenris never spoke about how jealous he felt when the antivan seemed to replace him. Once, he had his passion for Zevran. A long time ago. But Fen did not like to share anyone and in that aspect the Antivan had not been suitable for a stable relationship.

That day when she talked about going, perhaps it was illogical to think so, but stung like his sister’s betrayal--- and thus he had been furious and hurt. Mostly- hurt by an arrow through the heart. Fenris had yearned intently to be selfish and cut off their plans. How could they just exclude him from something so important? The teenager had been angry, but she didn’t yell, instead doing the withdrawal and the deliberate ignorance. But it had been all right in the end, it has to be ... Fenris found that a tear had fallen from his eyes.

 Mary asked if he was all right. The door was ajar. He took a breath to compose himself and said of course. “You may like to know, Zevran and Missy wrote back.”

 

“Maker! At last, where is it? Can you read them to me?” Fenris grinned and kissed her on the cheeks. She chuckled.

 


 

Now after about two weeks, Fen admitted to himself he Needed to go to the camp! His desk at home was so disorganized that it took longer than expected to find the maps Merrill had marked. As a male, he did not have many things to pack.

Having fulfiled his debts and obligations, Elf was free to go. “Why didn’t you disapprove of them going? I thought you had concerns about Zevran.” He had spoken with Aveline. She beamed.

“Once she’s made up her mind, there’s no changing it. Every bit a Vallen. I told my sister it would be an educational trip, let’s keep our excuses the same all right?”

 

He chuckled. “Yes! I’ve never felt or heard the woman nag at me. Apparently she behaves differently when they are alone.”

***********

 His horse, Dancer, started limping when they got to the crossroads where the right turn up the hill should reach the camp. ‘If they haven’t moved already’ Leto mused. He had sent a message that he would join them soon, the rough date. Dismounting, he coaxed the horse to show her legs. He did hope Dancer’s chronic injury would not resurface, when he had bound the sore area with a poultice before this journey. “Are you in pain girl?”

 

She whinnied and nosed his hand. It meant she was eager to continue. “No my friend. I can’t do this. Let’s find somewhere safe.” Leto tugged her harness. Daylight was fading, in about five hours. Presently he saw some lanterns lighting a small area of what seemed like taverns. ‘Motel for travelers and their mounts’ Perfect. (On some days the elf felt like being his Leto self, remembering about dual identities)

At first he thought maybe he should conceal his unusual marks, so the humans wouldn’t flee out of terror before helping him. The people barely noticed him. Fenris got Dancer settled with sufficient coin for food and care, until he returned again. Usually Fenris didn’t bother to smile, but tonight he made an effort to be civil. He planned to sleep outside, as he could not afford to rent a room for himself, but the kind tavern owner offered him a spare bed.

 

The next morning, he woke with the dawn, shouldered his pack, checked he had not forgotten any potions, rations and weapons, he continued trekking. He had decided best not to don the heavy breastplate and two-handed axe— instead some knives strapped to his boots and a shortsword. He considered himself an excellent navigator, so he adamantly refused to believe he was lost after coming across the same broken bough on the third and fourth time. Kafass, Leto growled, referring to the worn map and frustrated and feeling his dormant temper rise.  Hawk as a bird flying in the forest. The image soothed him and he took a rest. He didn’t intend it to be too long.

The sunlight was glaring directly into his closed eyes, when the elf awoke. He almost fell off the rock he had been using as a perch! Oh Shit…. venhedis... Then Fenris’ attention was caught by a red songbird fluttering clumsily towards a bush. His gaze lit, a hidden unseen path. Your name means the Hidden, Leto. So cool , his best friend had said.

 

He ate quickly, now certain where he must go. Along the way, his elven hearing detected voices on the wind, rustle of trees up ahead. Dalish hunters are the sentries and they tend to point at strangers with arrows. Fenris spread his hands, knowing they could hear him and said softly ‘Andaran Ati’shan’  Some tanned lean people emerged from their hiding places, flanking him. He suppressed his instinct to activate the tattoos’ defence and waited. In heavily accented voices, two of them asked his name.

 

Then he heard a familiar female voice. “Hey Fenris! You’re here, this is good. He is our dear cute friend!” Merrill exclaimed, coming out from the back group. Not holding her plant-staff, she was in a leather cuirass, her hair windswept and sweating slightly. She ran to him and then remembered not to hug him. But Fenris wanted to thank her now, and shyly clasped her gloved hand.

“I knew you won’t be lost. Here, take a drink. We’re passing the message to Sabriel and Zev. Oh yes his cousin’s with us too….”  She chattered.

“Okay. Where are they? This is the camp isn’t it?” The sentries lowered their shortbows. He understood this was their unspoken request to show he was a peaceful ally. He yielded his only sword, pommel facing up, to them.

As he walked into the settlement, the Dalish all stared, but their wariness had gone. The people he most wanted to see, rushed out from the crowd to embrace him. “Ah please, be at ease. Ow.” He closed his eyes.

Sabriel was studying his green spiked armor. “Wow you changed the color image, Fen! Damn, you took so long. Got lost?” She chided. Zevran laughed until he coughed.

“Yes it’s new.”

 

“It’s viridian, blends with the forest. Think I can name it that. I love you!”

 

He smiled, unbidden tears longing to trickle from his eyes and gently accepted her hug. “Kit, Amor meus amplior quam verba est.

 

*******

                                                           Sabriel

I thought huh what does that mean? But it didn't matter. AT LAST, MY IDOL is here, with us! Everyday I had stayed up till the night to watch out for his white hair and been disappointed. Zev said maybe he needed some more time. We should have enclosed another updated map, taken some action, check with this Keeper if they had relocated their campsite. It would be a real shame if he got lost!

On the third day, Fenris never looked more imposing, sophisticated and with a veneer of strength and resolution, striding in with his new viridian-armour.

As I brushed his forehead, I noticed he was breathing harder than usual. We made a space for him at the logs. “You walked here? All the way?” Zev asked.

“No. My horse hurt her foot, I needed to find temporary lodgings for her. But I was not lost.” Leto declared with some touch of arrogance. I offered him the bundle of potatoes and a waterskin. They showed him how to eat, while I dreamily observed him. He answered simply to Merrill's questions and translations of the other rangers.

When the others left us alone to chat, he leaned back against a trunk, closing his eyes.

I checked if he was in pain.

 “I liked your update. Got Mary to read so it’d be a little faster. Meant a lot.” He cleared his throat and beamed. Being elves, they are much older than me, and that knowledge saddened me because I couldn't cure his fatigue.

“I have plenty of tales to tell you,”  Until he said this with an exceptionally radiant and peerless smile, with that eternal charisma!

 I couldn't wait to let him know that. “Yay! You Are very handsome. What is it in Tevene huh?”

 

Fenris chuckled. “Well you can say quam decorus, how handsome you are. Such flattery. Ha. We were vastly outnumbered by too many illegal people in Kirkwall.”

I could spend the rest of camp listening to him talk.  

 

 

 

 

Chapter Text

        

When he could not sleep, Zevran was looking for something in his pack when he came across an envelope with untidy scrawl. He borrowed a crystal torch, carefully peeling open the seal and reading it. How had Fenris quietly slipped this in without him knowing?  

 Avana Zev,

            Your name easy to spell. I remember what you send that day when not in. Tho cannot say it well, not good with words. You surprise me. Sorrie this late, hope you can read this. When we back, maybe spend more time together? Forest never feels safe from experience. Ur cooking is good, take care of girls.

  Ha, why u ask me to take off the spiky armor? Isab said that. I’ve never let anyone too close, since Hawk died… Fog warriors were first kind to me, yet Dan ordered me kill them. Sometimes haunts my sleep. How to forget this sad storees? Cannot read second part of your paper, maybe tell me when back? Friends say they will vomit if read to me, haha. I think its too mushie?

  Ya I speak qun and tevene. Really, how is it special? : ) I saw some new knifes with regular blacksmith. Have asked him to keep. Do u also try different swords, big small, arrows? Aveline not bad with range arrows. I learn many, was Must where I come from. Varania said I had compete in some kind of fighting arena match. I often break the bows.

Nice to live together and its no problem if u wanto stay longer. I forgot thank you take care of house when I got sick. No, I don’t go back Seheron. Qunari are not friends, just they respect if we face them bravely with honor and their own language. Actually, what I knew was relate to combat rules, such as basalit – an are only worth to challenge the king, Arishok. But his men later stabbed us behind, so mages and I support Hawke. Did not know if would make it, tough battle.  I like the sound of antivan. Because Varric exaggerate that I use kafass a lot in his ‘Companions of Kirkwall’ book, Sabriel said she only read my section more and tries to imitate the way I say. Can u distract her with other things? Yea they are good men though does not mean we don’t disagree. You know, now Aveline still get angry when she lose, then they did not see but when I take good cards, they say my magic hand cheats. Ha, not always.

Avana means good to see you again.                                  

                                                                                   Truly,  Leto Fenris

                                                                                   

Zevran beamed and then had to refrain from laughing out loud from this. Whether he’s Leto or Fenris, he’s just too irresistible and charming! 

Chapter Text

 yeay I’ve prep this update for quite a while, it will be siao2 ~  meaning zany, not quite solemn :DD a bit of Hadrianna ex slavery, but merry! 

 

We saw a thin woman with a sharp nose talking with Fenris. She didn’t look familiar to me, perhaps one of his friends from the Alienage. He chuckled, as they looked at her basket of food, strolling casually. Jason said that he was intimidated by Fenris’ physical appearance. “Ahh, maybe I’ll just go off now. Some other day--- hey!” He yelped when I pinched him and steered him to face them.

When I had brought up his personalized jokes with dialects, my guardian’s curiosity could not be sated until he personally met my pal. So cute! Very few are able to earn Fen’s admiration before he sees them, so this was already a major achievement.

“I can’t stay, I’ve to look after my sisters. Really,what if he scolds me?”  Jason attempted to run off, but I held him back. 

 

“Rubbish! He’s very kind and a perfect gentleman. Don’t be so cowardly.” Right now they were approaching us. Fenris helped her over some steps.  “He’s really looking forward to meet you. Hihi Fen! This is Jason, the class clown. Remember, he told me all those jokes with jialat and those funny slangs?”  

The woman smiled timidly, curtsying. She reminded me of a timid bird, her nose and ears were very sharp. Orana was also much shorter than Fenris.

“Jason, nice to meet you. This is Orana.” He extended his hand to Jason, smiling. Today Elf wore leather gloves, so shaking hands would not hurt us. Fenris shied from public displays of hugging and kissing, but I knew he was in a great mood when his soft green eyes glittered. "She has been showing me where to buy the best local produce." 

Jason began cracking jokes, even more hilarious, to lift his own nervousness. Fenris’ laughter was musical. "You don't have to be shy, my friend. I'm really a normal elf. Despite my appearance." It's so nice and gentlemanly of him to help J feel at ease. Also, modesty 

Who is she? An ex girlfriend? I asked her how to pick fresh vegetables and her shyness melted away for a bit. 

 

*********

One of Fenris’ good qualities, besides being a quiet listener, was he never supplied confidential information about people. Of course all the more me and Varric would be curious and want to know. He would calmly deflect us. And I am so proud of him for not becoming the angry -broody he used to.

Orana and Jason happened to be walking the same route back. She was now working as a babysitter.  When we parted ways, I could have Fenris to MYSELF, MWAHAH! (oops nobody else should hear my fangirl evil laugh, nor does he hear it!)

 “Is that your gf?”

 “Sorry? (I abbreviated) Gf—oh not at all. She used to be under a magister. We saved her.” Fenris replied, giving me the keys. “Here, test the lock.” I always struggled to open the door myself, which concerned him if nobody else accompanied me back. It always felt stiff. Even though Hightown was much more secure now, with some rogue traps to deter burglars, Fen still advocated being careful of perverts and suspicious characters. I gave it another jiggle. I knew he could easily penetrate locked rooms with his Gift, doing the magic-fist. But when I mentioned it, Fen refused to. “Then I’d have to pay another sum to have the lock fixed. I’m not going to entertain you. You’re almost there.” He picked up the baskets of groceries again. I had to exert more force, grumbling before the satisfying click occurred!

“Why do you think that? Orana being my… um -”  Elf’s voice faltered, indoors and he elbowed the door shut. I followed him into the kitchen and we laid out the stuff on the preparation table.

I wiped my brow. “You’re very appealing to all women. And men too. Hehe.”  

He coughed, in the process of taking off his armour. I poured him a cup of water. When he laid the pieces down in a corner, he replied shyly, “Maker, don’t say that. We are--- acquaintances. I didn’t want her to continue as a slave. She felt alone, after her family were killed. I pitied her.”

As Fenris sipped from the cup, his voice did not rise in volume or pitch, but his shoulders stiffened and he clenched his jaw. I wondered if the cup of water would be sent flying.  “Did I mention the bitch? Hadrianna, Though I’d rather not speak of it.” He said after a long pensive silence. Fen’s eyes were closed, as his grip on the cup slackened.

 

I didn’t want him to feel anguished. “Not really.  Hey Fen, did you like Jason?”

 

“Oh yes! He’s indeed a joker, I approve if you want to be together.” Now was my turn to choke, more from surprise that the solemn elf could change to a jovial mood to tease me so rapidly!  When I recovered, Fenris’ smile was radiant.

 

My eyes were wet and held my side from amusement. “He- he can’t be my date! He’s totally nonsense, siaosiao. I let him copy my homework, and he always makes me happy. Mum gets mad when she sees us talking, she thinks he’s a bad influence. Jay’s playful, but hilarious. Remember not to tell her ok?”

 

He laughed his low reverberating laugh. “Of course not, I’m good with secrets. And that’s a great word! At least he won’t be unpredictable.” He stopped me from touching his ears. Then it was bath-time.

 

To my astonishment, during tea, he told me about Orana. Like him, she had served Hadrianna the bitch that had been Danarius' second-in-command. Even Zevran had changed the subject when someone made the mistake of bringing up her name in front of him, and he had almost stabbed the fellow. After people restrained the snarling elf, he had left in a huff. Fen tried to refrain from foul temper outbursts at home, unless he lost patience. 

I admit I find it hard not to be angry when we have a row. Still, the good times rank more.

Fen did not talk of H, more keen on the timid elflady's role,“But she is innocent. She had never learnt any combative skill, content to cook and serve their basic needs.  Years after I escaped Seheron, the vishante bitch sent a warning and we raided her Slave holding. And we found Orana, she was the sole survivor.” Fenris had his back to me and was looking out the window, his voice tremored slightly, but since the tattoos were unlit, he was fully in control.  

“Oh. It’s so heroic you saved her yay!” I wanted to praise him so!

 

“I did not do it alone, the others helped us, a lot. Orana still calls me a hero. I felt so embarrassed that I avoided her for some time.” He thoughtfully fondled one of his pointed ears and admitted in his hesitant, bashful voice.

 

“You are! Before, you gave your family freedom. You don’t give yourself enough credit. She’s completely right.” I made a thumbs up. 

 The elf beamed.  “Hm that sounds familiar, someone said that before. I just don’t want trouble. It’s a pain to be too unique. ”

 

“Ya, Sebbie, that Sebastian*. Just now you were happy, do you like her?” 

 

Fenris did not blush now and raised a brow. “We’re acquaintances. Sometimes we bump into each other, she shares cooking tips, how to pick the better foods. I said once when I tried to do frying, the oil came out. Quite painful.” Most small wounds go unnoticed, which’s the concerning factor. Because all the lyrium lines cover them up, it can’t be seen by the naked eye.

 

“When? Are you alright? You should’ve told me.” I didn’t let go of his left hand, heart sinking.

 “Yes, Kit. Er, I think- a few days ago. Forgot, It’s only a scar now. You don’t have to be sad.” He pouted, mirroring my face until I laughed.  “Orana said because it’s wet and should use more coatings of flour. Fish tends to splash, painful to learn. But I don’t want to give up.”

I got some cooling cream to apply to his hand. “God, you should leave it to Zev or the others to russle up something. Donnic’s great too. You’re a warrior, need your hands. Please.” I swallowed back my tears and managed to sound coherent. He caught the cap of the tube to screw back.

“I know. Sometimes I just want to try something else, other than slaying and fighting, and violence. My life before-- was full of that. And I wanted to do something small for my friends.” He handed me back the cream and pushed the box of tissues to me.

“So, was the fried meat I made all right?”  I didn’t want to waste any of his great efforts, after all he had been scalded too. Of course I said it was delicious. Fenris smiled and we began sorting the groceries. I couldn't bring myself to speak more and while looking at one of the leftovers he had prepared for breakfast, blurted: Er I wasn’t crying. Because there’s some dust in the house.

Elf replied gamely, “Yes I heard about dust mites being in the air, Kit. Hm, I don’t feel like cleaning up later, perhaps we’ll ask the rest. How goes your allergies?” Ah he actually didn’t forget I got rashes from dust mites in the school attic, which the healers had nagged me to stay away from billows of dust! Soon, my “internal tempest” became normal again. He does make a supportive dad! "Yup I have to make sure my skin keeps moist. Thank you." "Ha no problem you are my dear friend and sis. "

 

*********

                         A Fun Outing!

 Since Leto was in a great mood from receiving his wages, he offered me and Uncle Varric a treat. We think of him as Leto when he’s in a buoyant-mode as it made him young and carefree for the moment! To show you our height differences, the dwarf was no taller than my shoulder. He encouraged us to buy anything we wanted to eat or use. Varric said the elf owed him big money, haha!

“You go ahead.” The tall elf said, even as I peeled a big prawn and offered it to him. I love seafood, and they are also rarely available. Antiva seemed to have more of that. Zev said he may join us later, when he had finished doing something.

I wondered why not. Varric said maybe he felt shy. Fenris was checking out some sausages on display, the banner looked new and the queue had become a crowd.  He was wincing, tired or getting blisters so we found a bench.

That was when Elf revealed an unknown weakness. He said into my ear, “I think I can’t eat that. I suspect my chest was red and itchy, and I hadn’t used my powers that day.” Varric was fondling Bianca, when I glanced over. “Don’t tell him, or it might show up in his next book.” Fenris urged.

“No I won’t. So far he’s only written great stuff about you all. Sorry I wouldn’t eat in front of you if I knew. Aww.” I felt down.

 

“I see. But my friend found a version with me swearing in every sentence. The f word, damn.  (at this I chortled at his feigned fury) Think I want to get some hotdogs. And drinks, want anything?” He is ever caring and considerate. He likes squishing 3 hotdogs into his mouth, when ravenous. We decided on having the same cold-teas to avoid confusion. When Varric saw him going, he chortled.

“Hey Squirt, he’s getting much cuter by the day eh? So, gonna marry him or some angsty- broody for a boyfriend?”

 

“Huh? No!! I’m too young for that! Besides, Mother may want to do some shit arranged-marriage thing, you gotta stop her! I’m serious, Alistair and Zev just laugh it off. Aunty has talked sense into her that love can’t be forced, but she can become old-fashioned again.” I moaned, remembering how I almost blew up. Varric thought the best solution would be to have Fenris roleplay as my date, as Mother’s opinion of him was stellar. “Yup! Though, I’ve not talked to him about it yet, what if he gets shy? Once when we did, he worried about our age gap, when he’s not that old right?”

 

Then Leto had returned with a paperbag and asked us to take one more hotdog each. The serving girl had brought over our drinks. “That day was some kind of celebration of victory-free dinner. Donnic insisted that I go. Some of the food didn’t have labels, or too long names. And I took this triangle pie thing. Later I found it had prawn. Right away, my chest felt very itchy and also my throat. The only water was wine, so I drank that. Felt much worse. Do you think it’s allergy?”

 

“Oh no. That sucks. Yea it sounds like it. Did you tell Blondie about it? Anders.” Varric explained Blondie was his nick for the mage.

Fen said yea, and they told him to take some big horrible, bitter pills. But they made him so drowsy that he went to his bed in the barracks, and fell asleep. “Was cured the next day, only I coughed for a while. So I won’t eat that. Is it good?”

 He was not at all envious of my enjoyment of the prawns. I ate ten in all : )  And then they joked, about how Fenris loved to ‘dance in his big mansion’ Plus “ Ah I gave private exclusive dance lessons.”  WAH! Varric got all thrilled by that. Leto smirked as we burst out laughing.

"I will kill you slowly dwarf, if you don't take out the version of my swearing every few seconds." He added, patting Varric on the back. 

"It's harmless, and more people bought copies. And you get popular, I've more buyers. Win-win! Never mind, I can duck while you try to kill me! And many witnesses, it'd be too careless, LetoFen." Varric replied sportingly.

Fenris sighed. "I didn't ask for popularity. And please don't mix both names, eugh. You're a bad pal." That only worsened our laughing fit. He chewed his lip, managing to make us look like loonies while he was the rational one.

I said could we have the private dance lessons too? He said there were no discounts as he had to get a profit. "You should pay me some of that copyright of 'Companions of Kirkwall', shortie. How to pay you back for Wicked Grace?" 

 "Remember Kit, don't play with elves. They're like that." I shook my head and said, no I thought it was fine for Fen to be naughty. Lol!  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter Text

One of my wonderful flashbacks:

 

When Fenris had been in a coma, after my rescue, I had been frantic if he’d ever regain consciousness. Aveline and I were at his bedside, and Fenris had tried to speak my name. That alone invoked a very powerful surge of emotions and pity in me.
I remembered crying when he pressed his bandaged chest and winced in agony as he strained to sit up. One of his thighs was heavily bandaged. “Don’t move, please! Thank you, for saving me. I don’t know if you heard me then.” 

Elf lay back, his breathing uneven, but his wan pallor had receded. “Don’t mention it. Why- sad?” He was frowning in concentration and his fingers shook with exertion to reach me. I wiped my tears and picked up a glass of water. He eagerly drank as I held his hands to the cup. 

“Taste good." He sounded better, not as husky. I blushed, he did not let go of my hand as he went back to sleep. I did not want to disturb him so I got up when Fen relaxed. He said not to go. 

"You're tired. Sleep. Promise to be back again."

Elf smiled. "Don't care mages."

 

His time spent in bed resting was fruitful for our bond, which had been weaker than a spark, but strengthened by my determination that he shouldn’t go through more solitude. He once said it was wonderful that I never probed about the Danarius past or the reason behind his strange predatory appearance. However, I could never read his ability to conceal the degrees of agony he endured. The elf did not ask for pain relief, until he passed out and the healers discovered. Alistair had overheard him “ordering” the mages not to give him too many drugs. He hated the vulnerability. Then we had a huge row about how silly and pointless that was.

(I discovered a few pages which I had sketched of our time together)


Fen was so drained by his wounds, that he lacked strength to sit up all the time. He had been cut almost everywhere and several crossbow bolts had impaled him. On some days when I dropped by, and he was unresponsive, I had wanted to shake him, but they warned of repercussions.

His first words were: where am I? I told him he was in the emergency ward at Viscount Keep. 

Me: Hi! I made you another card today.

Fenris (low voice): Oh. Thank you. It's nice, all the colors. (I didn't know he could not read then. He rubs a bandaged shoulder, sitting up)


Me: Get well soon. Then I can bring you some place to relax, Fen. Aveline keeps reminding me not to disturb you. Let me know if you feel sick or want to sleep.
(I intend to stay longer and hide when donnic comes looking for me)

Fenris: Not at all. She is your aunt, I gather? Did they hurt you? Those bastards.

Me: I'm fine. Except I got a bit cut on your... metal things. (he looks crestfallen) Indeed you are very spiky. I wrote you many cards, some were too long. Do you like the horse I made?

(it's a wooden carving my clumsy attempt)

He has a melting smile. "I like them all. Yesterday when you left, I couldn't sleep more. You drew all these?" He gestures to other cards. I tell him who made which ones. He dozes off but without saying he's tired. Probably he got bored. My heart is pierced at the sight of the bandages, though now they are clean. He smells of sweat and medicine.


Me: I'd better go now. Rest well....

(a green eye opens) Fen: Already? You don't need to go. I like to hear your voice. Sabriel is it?


Me: yep. Or you can call me Kit, short for my first name. Cool, I'll stay, save your strength. I'll hide when they chase me away.  

(His laugh is cute) I also like your voice, Elf! Your humour is cool! Also I read your section, that Uncle V wrote. " It is a plague burnt into my flesh and my soul. Why did you say that?"


He looks far off. " I meant magic. These tattoos make me... who I am, Kit. I too am sorry, if I was rude before. You stood there in the rain, with a basket of food and I didn't come out right away. Can we start afresh? I am Fenris. "

He holds out his bare hand, there's a star joined by the silver lines on his palm. We shake, I am careful not to hurt him. " It means Wolf. Once they thought of me as Little, but not now. Still you shouldn't be troubled for one so young."

(I didn't understand half of what he meant maybe just gaped)

Fen smiled shyly. I really liked him and looked forward to visiting everytime. He was always considerate that I shouldn't go home late. Then one day when I dropped by, he was folding the bedclothes, looking a bit strange in human borrowed-clothing. The fabric was loose about his lean figure, that it tugged at my heart. Being this frail, shouldn't he lie down for another few more days?

"Um you're going back already? Can I- can I go back with you?" 

He was stunned and did not reply. The bells rang, for meal time. He swayed a bit on his feet, and I supported him. We went down to the Refectory. I repeated my concerns, that maybe he should rest a bit more.

Fenris had a surprisingly patient tone: Yes. I don't want to be an invalid. Have bothered them enough. Are you sure, you want to... come? My house is not- that good.

Me: Yup. Is it because I'm too young? I don't have many friends. (I try to stifle my sadness) Does it bother you?

Fen: Not at all. I just haven't had people staying over. I'm alone and not used to looking after others. How about your parents?

I forgot if I explained how horrible the fighting was between those two. Once the others made arrangements for some temporary help and fixing up of Fen's house, I went back with him! Yay Everytime I remember that very moment, BEST DECISION I'd ever made! I had been so focused on explaining why I had to accompany my recovering hero, that I didn't care much about the disadvantages. I had drawn myself as a kid with a laden trunk, standing outside his mansion. Then I went in and called for him.

Hm too bad I didn't remember my childhood from there, just that I won't regret it! His elfieness didn't matter too much

 

Chapter Text

 When we bid goodbye and thanked the clan for their hospitality, Fenris looked mighty relieved to be on our way back. Then we went to the halfway inn and stable to collect Dancer.  Zev and Merrill preferred to be on foot so no need to borrow horses.

“Leto do you need to take a break?” she asked every now and then.

“No. Just let me know if any of you are. I can endure a lot of strain.” He may sound really haughty and resilient, but it’s a warrior ego.

When the porticullis of our city was within sight, Zev exclaimed, ‘yeay now we’re home!’ He was talking to Fen. Then their voices were a musical murmur. It was a safe route now, out of the forest. While I asked Merry “Don’t you want to join the clan? You seemed very happy in the forests.”

She beamed. “Yes I know, and I’ll visit them again. It’s nothing like my native clans and the Keeper. And I want to see Fenris more often.” Did I imagine she had a red flush to her cheeks or was it makeup? I giggled.  

“Hey but don’t forget we all want to share him ok?” I replied in jest. Since we were a foursome, I decided to spend a bit of time to chat with each ELF! Zev thanked me again for looking after him. 

Inside Kirkwall,  Fenris passed the reins of his horse to a fellow guard for a public stable. They made a bit of small talk. He was actually smiling. 

“I can’t wait to take a proper bath! Merrill, will you be alright going back? You know the way?” He was so polite and concerned for all of us!

 “Ah yea. I think so.” She looked a little dazed by the humans milling about Hightown again.

Zev replied, “I’ll walk you back. Need to buy something.” We parted ways.

 

The rest of our short stroll home, and up the long flight of steps to his mansion, Fenris was quiet. “Um, are you tired? Let me help.” I gestured to his pack, slowing my run up. Sometimes my legs would ache as well, it’s really intensive exercise on this level. He smiled, allowing me to take it.

We flopped down on the nearest couch when we were in. Yeay! Fen rubbed the back of his calf.

“You’re cute. I wonder if you read what I wrote?”

“Aww yup. I read it coupla times and= wanted to cry. Why do you always make people cry?” I said, noticing the trend of his moods.

“Sorry. Which part?” He rubbed his chin. Nope, usually we don't recall what's in letters and his memory can be fragmented at most.

“Don’t wanna tell. Have a good rest, Elf! ” I hurried to the bathroom. I did remember, it was when he said he felt like a responsible parent. Not ready to discuss that yet, and I felt my face heat up.

When he had been asleep, I used to fantasize kissing him. Yet, he would often talk about case studies that humans and elves couldn’t live happily ever after. I beg to differ, because most girls want security in older men. 

I hoped Fenris didn’t feel too hurt by my abruptness. Didn't want an argument today.... 

 


 

    Fenris x Merrill banter II On Jewellery and hair 

Approximately a week or so later... 

 

Merrill: Wow I like your hair Fen! It’s so nice even when you don’t comb it. I saw some fans gaping as you rushed by them yesterday.

 

Fen: Oh- haha. That’s why I won’t be coming outside until much later. Though Isabela and Zevran keep nagging me to keep my fringe like this. Their focus on physical. I can’t see when I’m chasing assholes. 

Merrill: But they are right! Don’t have to. You’ll be warmer with long hair!

Kit: Yes Fen, the weather will be colder soon. 

Fen (still sombre and practical): Hey it should be my choice. I really don’t like to feel sweaty hair on my neck.. Wait (peering closely, his leaf green eyes focused) You colored some of your hair?

 Merrill: Yay you noticed! What do you think, ok? (she has made some blue streaks for hers) 

Fenris compliments 

Kit: Mum doesn't allow me to dye much, but I wanted to experiment so badly. So nice that Donnic’s friend had a discount and this red isn’t too brightly obvious. Nice?

 

Fen (twirling a strand of mine) : Umhm. I just noticed, don't have to be so bright and glaring. I might be too stunned. Colourful hair is allowed in school? 

As usual he cracks jokes with his deadpan expression, we chuckle. He is pleased

Kit: Yea as long as young adults don't cause gang-fights and not purposely get eyebrow piercings, lip piercings 

Fen folds his arms : Better not. Why get into fights and do those things? Aveline and I agree, we'd be upset... 

Kit: Relax, I won’t be rebelling. Coz if I have detention I won’t be able to accompany my elves.

Our beloved Elf pokes me softly in the back and embraces me briefly. "Yes being with us is more pleasant. I think there's risk of infection poking so near the face. Besides, can use money for more worthy causes." His growly voice makes me have happy goosebumps 

 

Fen: Actually black is an excellent color. When I looked at a mirror, a friend said maybe I used to have dark hair. Perhaps the strain of the ritual transformed the color, my brows are black, looks close doesn’t it? A barber tried to colour for me, but it became grey. How funny I looked, ha. Another time, I think the chemical was itchy and I washed it off. Besides, having to sit that long, I can't.

 Kit: I requested for white, but they don’t have it. You’re So special! I'm envious man

(I highlight my hair red)

Fen: Unless she stares, she shouldn’t notice the difference. Ha!  Come, you shouldn’t be standing. We’ve just finished lunch, do you want anything?

 (Merrill hands him a large tome, and he looks puzzled but accepts it.)

Great, I’d love to! Oh yes I made you both lucky charms.   (She produces two pouches, both beautifully embroidered. Mine is a beaded one with a cat charm and Fenris takes out a complex symbol on a thin chain.) 

Fen: Oh. I don’t really wear amulets. Not comfortable. Sorry. 

Merrill looks a bit sad. I accept it on his behalf. ‘Or maybe it can be hung in his room! Doesn’t hurt to have a bit of extra protection’ I said.

Fen: Yes. Nothing personal, Merrill. Feels like a collar, to have something hanging and sometimes strings itch on hot days.

 Thank you.  (He smiles and that clears his worried expression, She cheers up and hugs him. He is stiff at first, and then relaxes. After a moment, he steps back and thumbs behind.)

" I'm going to cut fruits. Sabriel, get her some food."  

I loop both long necklaces over myself, grinning. Sometimes I thought of God as a kindly old man with a halo. I got her settled with some of our extra food and baked rice.

 


 

Later, while we are washing up in the kitchen

Me: Fenris, why do you not like amulets? You're not angry with her I hope. It's a nice gesture to be protected, even if we don't share the same faith." 

Fen: Not that. Slaves are chained when we—no, they aren’t put to work. (One hand absently traces around his throat) Yes, I know she is being nice. Oh, what is your religion? Most people here are Andrastian and students have to go for the class...  Do you share the faith?

Elf is a nonbeliever and we have never discussed much of religious stuff. Me: No, in my vision it is an old man with creation-powers. Mother used to go to another place called Church, it is a male One God. I enjoy learning about different religions and customs too. 

He smiles. "Oh I see. Lots of people have tried to convert me. Is he the man figure on the cross, you wear it sometimes?" 

"Yes. I think the best is not to force anyone, after all we have freewill. You too, Elf. If you like, I can tell you some stories when I find the book. Can't remember much." Fenris is happy about that, his ears tweak in joy. We make the kitchen neat and he eats some fruit. 

"Kit you forgot your manners." I run out to speak to the she elf.

"Thank you Merry! I forgot to say that just now. And got criticized." Fenris pretends to knock my head. We laugh. 

We talk about piercing of ears. I suggest enthusiastically for them to try, it's so fashionable! 

He remarks I’ve way too many ear holes. ‘You were about to cry, and yet went through with it. Why would I dare to?’

"Nowadays guys also wear earrings. How about magnet earrings? You just fix them like that." Merrill takes out a box and helps him to affix one to his left ear.

"Hmm really? I'm not one to follow the trends. So happy, Kit?" I love it that they are more than just casual friends now. Hence I am smiling.  We take his arms and nudge him to the hall mirror. Because he is uncomfortable with reflection in his personal space, we agreed to just have this big one (after obsessive quality checks it was Not an eluvian-y magic doorway portal. )

Our handsome guy observes himself in the reflection with a grin. The silver sparkle of the trinket complements his hair. "Yes it doesn't hurt. Maybe I won't mind it for a while. Thank you."

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter Text

 

“Messere you need not worry, we won’t laugh at you if you make a mistake.” Leto-Fen glared at the basket of items in front of him. Mary was showing us how to identify exotic fruits and edible items. (No he doesn’t know I nick him that now haha) We were sort of debating with him that he can ask us anytime for help, if he can’t read or unsure how to identify foods and potions. And I was overjoyed when he surprised me, “Hey Kit, can we read this together?”

He had found and cleaned a trunk of books, and this thin volume of Short Fables around the Region popped up. Of course I agreed, this is a first time he’s asked me right out. I beamed at him, though Fenris did not quite smile back.

 “Er I don’t know how to describe to you, but I’d rather not ask for help. It’s not that I’m upset. Does that make sense?” He frowned, but not with anger.

 “Oh, but you look upset now. Relax.”

 He exhaled slowly and addressed her. “I’m fine. Hm I can always look at what others take, which should be edible. So this one can be eaten raw, but this one cannot?” Fenris picked up a kind of fruit that was new to all of us. He asked in the market dialect, and Mary corrected him.

We heard that when he used to be a slave, if some magister assigned him to gather men or intimidate enemies, he got by with pictures or through descriptions.

“I’d better bring an expert along for marketing.”

Tired of that, elf brought his attention back to our reading-time. His finger passed over a word. We read it together.

“Is that a human word?” he wondered.

“No, in fact I don’t know it either. I think it’s VERY BRAVE that you’re willing to ask for help! We admire that.” I used my pencil to make a smiley at the sentence.

“Ha, don’t vandalise this. You’re madder than usual today, cara. But I don’t want to ask for help. It’s weak.” He took my pencilcase and found an eraser.

“Fen, you know how we always think the best of you. That sort of mindset needs to change, no wonder guys always run about refusing to ask for directions getting lost,” I felt I had to speak up, one of my more brutal-honesty moments.

“Really? How do you know we are lost? I mean, they.” He leaned back on his folded arms against the backrest. I gestured to the maids who came to share their experiences. The men servants they knew were mostly like that. “Nah, I never feel lost. I’ve been in Kirkwall a long time. And what another person tells me, won’t be my way of seeing either. Look.” He took out a map and pointed to a secluded small house that was his friend’s. “My friend said take two left turns and I can see it. But I couldn’t. To me, it’s straight down, then another curve.”

It’s our precious bonding time that counts, even if Fen is impatient and has very short attention spans. It used to be just ten minutes and as he enunciated some words, I noted that he didn’t curse or lose his temper, and actually remained focused for an hour.

Zev came back. I was facing the door so I nodded when he greeted us. He set down the packages, evidently had went shopping. “Ah what’s this?”

My other elf finished the last sentence and flashed a tired smile. I clapped. “Excellent, we’ve read a total of 10 pages altogether, 2 short fables.” Fenris beamed, saying he did enjoy the stories.

Zev said he wanted to join us, when we had eaten afternoon tea.

“Great. Then I’ll doze off, can you all roleplay? I like that.” Broody said, as they hugged briefly.

I used to be skeptical if a gay relationship would work out and normally Fenris refrains from emotional displays. Still, I couldn’t stop grinning at the sheer love they share now.  I hadn’t known at all, until one day when I came back after an excursion, I noticed they had not kept their armors neatly. The servants told me both were sleeping in.

 

To my questions later, I’m sure Zevran would have shared but they didn’t discuss with me. Fenris had said, “Thank you for being concerned. It’s kind of--- private. Nothing changes, I still love you Kit. ” Aww, he remembered my fear and insecurity that when friends married, they would ignore me and distance themselves.

Then they changed the subject to other stuff. I respected their closeness and hope Zev did not go. Sometimes when Zev didn’t come back for days, we talked at length how to cope if he had to leave Kirkwall.

 

**********

 
To the stubborn elf, for the last time don’t run off without telling me when you need stitches. Can’t risk another fever, do you really want to be laid up for another month? Please ensure he complies with what I’ve drafted, he insists to sleep in his own bed. Is the bed clean? - Anders

 I saw this on the dinner table, taped to a board. My friend growled, resting for a moment against a pillar as he ambled out of the room. A row of stitches across his abdomen. I told him to lie down.

‘Not now, Squirt. Huh I deliberately put this away, who made it up? Vishante! ’ His ears pricked, as he covered the note with something.

‘But they’re right. Does it hurt? I thought you’re skilled!’ I made sure Fen eased into a chair with a cushion. He was only in trousers.

‘Left myself open. I can’t sleep at that clinic, too noisy. Don’t support that nagger, whose house are you in?’ He was really grumpy today. Maybe it hurt more than he let on. He scowled, his brows knitted without looking at me.

 

‘Sorry. That’s not what I mean, how can I help?’ Still, the lyrium was unlit, no rising real anger. I gently touched his shoulder.

 

‘Umhm, good. Ah bring the potion kit over. Thanks.’ With his instructions, I helped him to disinfect the wound, which did not look too red and swollen. Normally none of the adults allowed me to watch if the pus leaked from their wounds. I tried to be as gentle as possible and he tolerated this, without gasping. Anders had instructed not to cover it with a bandage, since Fen was home it should be left to heal exposed.

As I was almost done, his warm hand touched my cheek, his thumb raised. Our eyes connected and I could see the pupil in the centre of his green eyes! “Pretty.”

 “Hm?” He pushed my fringe behind my ear.

 I talked about being able to see his irises and Fenris’ eartips reddened. “Oh. You didn’t have to kneel. There’s a chair.”

I repeated he ought to lie down. “Yea I know. It’s just- the clothing sheet is a bit wet. Was planning to change it soon.” He turned his puppy gaze at me.

 

My favorite chores are sweeping the floor and locating missing items, not laundry. The elves either do their own beds or ask the males to help. But this time, Fen wanted my help. I hesitated. I love him more than anyone, yes, but the pungence of sweat is offputting! “Ah ok, there are fresh sheets? How long since the last change?”

 “Let’s see, could be three months ago. Last week I was out, and I bathe,” he replied indignantly, reading my mind. Or maybe I was skeptical with my face. I offered to support him upstairs, but he waved me ahead.

 

When we were in his room, Fenris held his side while searching for a fresh one in the cupboard drawers. What I expected of him to ask: Can you please help me, thank you sweetie or carissme! I was smiling in that fantasy. Instead the cloth was dropped over me, and he said, “So, have you changed bedsheets before? Sometimes I did them.”

I exclaimed gah, dragging it down so I could see.

His lips were pinched though now he had let go of pressing his abdomen. He had the half naughty smile. “Yup, but normally someone helps me perfect it. Oh where’re the others? Can they help?” I peeked out for a second. No response.

 

I discovered he had passed out, not in the usual sleep-posture but across the mattress, his lanky legs off the edge. The tattoos glowed faintly. “Fen? Are you alright?” I asked fearfully, checking the injury. No blood, phew. He didn’t wake up, though I called him a few times and tapped his hand. He was gasping. (from experience, if people shout at him or shake his shoulder, they will be hit or kicked) “Just rest, I’ll get someone to-“

 

As I moved, he said weakly, “I heard you, Kit. Headache. They’re out.” Fenris elbowed himself up, wincing. What if he was all alone, as he used to be, and passed out on the floor? I felt paralyzed by all those scenarios, that I didn’t hear what he said until he tugged my wrist. “Hey, why do you look pale?” He summoned some energy to sit up.

 “Oh Fen, you’re hurting, I’m not sure what to do!”

He blinked and smiled softly. “You just have to help me change this. Doesn’t matter if it’s not perfect, Sabriel. ”

“Yea but you need something to rest on first. Wait, I’ve an idea.” That time, Aveline and me had got a spare thin mattress, while planning for a sleepover here! Fenris looked much better when I returned and had taken some water.

 

Before he lay down, he demonstrated how to tuck in the sheets. Then I did the rest. When I was done, I tiptoed out.

 ******

 Later, Aveline came over and we brought some soup up to Fenris. When we knocked, he said he had to wear a shirt first. “I don’t mind if you don’t wear anything,” I teased. The elf still looked waif-like, rising from the low mattress. Aveline supported him to the bed.

 “Thank you. We can talk, I’m kind of tired but can’t sleep.” His voice was feeble.

While I listened to them, Elf squeezed my hand tightly.

“Indeed she’s very kind to me. I can’t imagine living here alone again. Would be too quiet.” I was gazing at his lyrium patterns on his leg, half lying beside my friend. Elf was able to eat on his own, but he could not finish it.

 As they chatted, I felt him carress my hair. “I know. She’s more like your child now, could consider an official adoption.” Ave suggested.

 I said yeay I would like that. Fenris smiled. “Hm I shall have to consider. I do prefer those that mistake us as siblings, we’re in that playful stage after all.” So cute! In my imagination he was my Prince Charming! No horse needed….

“Before you write the report, what the hell happened Fen?” Ave got all serious.

 “Um an axe, a clean one. It’s the disadvantage of not using a shield*. Look, I’ve no strength to debate about using a shield and sword. Can I not write a report?”

Evidently he had learnt those tactics too but he was used to fighting with only gigantic swords two handed. She had the authority of a mother regarding that. Fen chuckled. " If you write the who, what, when how questions I can finish the report less than an hour."

 Ave said wryly, " Yes that was when you were new to the structure. I'll see." Elf closed his eyes and fell asleep. Haha!


 

(2) From Varric: Boo Broody one, here’s a list of bounty-hunters we can join. They pay more. Just like old times before. And u didn’t come for game night. Ya alright bud?

 

This was the mail in our almost full box. Had been close to a week. Fenris said he was not in pain but he preferred not to come down.

On the way to school, Varric met me and asked why didn’t he have any replies. “Oh sorry I just remembered to get the messages and letters. Fen’s hurt and tired. So he can’t go.”

 

Cool, a new mail for me at my desk and labeled: My Cute friend Fen should be feeling well enough, he could write to me.

 Dearest cute fren,

Ah forgot how spell your name again. Apology. Wanted try this new papers and pen found… thank you for being patient and helpful.  Have to visit Anders tmr, to remove the stitch. Feel a lot better , can eat more today. Want to try to walk outside, need fresh air.

The mission before was exciting. Protected your mother, her friends and staffs the caravans. Reached a small town at Fereldan, near Denrim- not sure if spelled so. Did you miss me? I think Cullen sent word that we are safe. No one left me alone! : ( The men keep chattering. Only Donnic, we don’t have such urgent need to. Many kinds of food not seen before, some pies, and cakes. If no rush next time, I can buy some for u all. Madam does not order us around, is patient and concern if we have eaten.

Strange, she's not same with u at home? That day, she ask a lot details how u doing.

Did u see the jewel box? After u went camp first, smith had kept those. He’s fren, have discount. I’d like see u wear some of them. Tell me if nice.

Ave seems to like collecting shields, she bought again new. Pls thank her for making the food. I wanted join dwarf n buds as bodyguard, but too weak.

Really, I don’t know where Zev goes. He had better take care.

 

See u soon,

 Fenris

 Yea I had seen the large heart shaped jewellery box but had not tried on the pieces yet, they were all my favorite blues of different shapes and shades, sparkling! When I heard footsteps outside my door, I wore a brooch of a peacock and a dangling hairpin.

And it was my dearest friend! “Oh you look wonderful!” Coincidentally he was also wearing a matching skyblue robe, cos when he’s in pain he won’t wear armour. I flattered him too.

"Come closer, I wana tell you something." He was quiet when I asked if he could roleplay as my date for a festival dance.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter Text

 

Although I smiled while I asked Fenris the Question, my skin prickled with adrenaline and my palms got sweaty. Please say yes! None of the guys I like has asked me. Unlike the last time of the Dalish excursion, there would be ample time for planning and discussion as was my guardian’s style. The festive dance was in a month’s time!

Fenris said, "I'm happy you are wearing the new hairclip I bought. Nice."  Then he went into the store-room.

He didn’t say anything more, until we both headed downstairs later. I didn’t see any of the maids around, though there were some baskets with cloth over them on the dinner table. Fenris said he had bought them earlier- three containers of what looked like dessert- and from the second basket long loaves. They had requested time to go visit their families so today’s meals would be simpler. “This one is sweet, the man told me. I’m having the salty one.”

Those were his only words, which I tried to analyze for any hints to my previous request. He set the container with more fruits at my area.  Nope. His tone was neutral.

As I was searching for the utensils and we worked in tandem for lunch, it was an easy silence. Could it be that his injury had not completely healed yet? Then we dug into our respective desserts. “Yum it’s custard, and there’re rasp and blackberries! What is yours?” I chose to sit opposite my friend, didn’t want to miss his expression. Sometimes even if any of them were moody, I started off about exchanging views on the food.

Fen tasted his and swirled his spoon in the yellow mush. “Mash potato. Normally at this time will be crowded, glad I went earlier.” Aw, had he forgotten about just now? I cleared my throat. He looked up from stirring the mash and said, “Oh about that festival- it will be crowded? Did you ask other people, cara?” He slipped the spoon into his mouth and hummed.

My heart sank from the little hope stirring. I knew he isn’t comfortable with big gatherings, but being on those bodyguarding- missions for diplomats, wouldn’t he have got accustomed to them? “No guy has asked me yet, and it won’t take long. Coz if I ask the boys I know, they’d definitely make fun of me. Will be nice if we can go together, Fen!" I tried to suppress the impatience rising in me like a bird waking from an egg.

Carefully he swallowed and setting down the spoon, he applied jam to his bread slice. “How about Jason? Wouldn’t want you to be standing-out, from the others. I’m no teenager Kit.” He blinked, the sparkle in his green eyes, small smile. Oh! How could I have missed that meticulous part? He always pondered and brooded on many factors. Is that an almost-yes?

“He can’t. Eh and he’ll annoy me. Don’t worry, this is for everyone young, old, elven, dwarf, all. The first time that the town organizer has planned it like that. Not all can dance, but we can try the large variety of foods.”

Fenris nodded slowly, seeming to weigh what I told him. Under the table, fingers crossed.

 

Then I remembered I had one leaflet in my file! I went to my bag at the couch and came back with it. Elf read quietly, his finger following the key words, chewing. Usually at our book sessions, he mouthed the words. It was not an outright no, there was still a chance. I was too keyed up to sit down.

He pursed his lips. On mission stuff, the guys said Fenris always agreed quickly without hesitation. Alistair said he had a strong sense of loyalty and reciprocation. “If you’re stressed, think it may be too much for you, then I won’t go.” Maybe I could ask other girls, but it’d suck for me to dance with them or be alone.

I nibbled at the edge of my bread. Fenris finished his bread and continued the potato. His response startled me, not a direct yes, but still gentle and sweet. “I’m honored that you consider inviting me amongst so many friends. Yes it sounds and looks interesting but I can’t dance. To be honest. The dancing I mean, was how I ran from room to room practising my ability to go through the walls.” He laughed.

I beamed. “Yea I guessed as much. But you elves are graceful. I’m not too good with dancing either.”

“Really? Don’t your parents make you go, all those times?”

“Me almost trodding or kicking some of the men. Then turning down the gays. I would always slip over to eat, when Mother left. Father doesn’t care about me….” Fenris looked puzzled so I explained about how father didn’t bother about me as I wasn’t a son. All he did when I visited at home was to replace my stuff in front of me, with his own stuff. He was sympathetic.

“Mea Culpa. I had no idea, no maybe I forgot when you said so. I- understand. Are you going to ask Zevran?”

“I’m sure he knows but he’ll be surrounded by the mature people. What is mea coo” I nodded when he gestured if I still wanted to eat more. Fruits don’t fill a hungry tummy, it was crying out. Annoyed with my body, I ate a plain medium loaf.

“Oh that means I am sorry. Hm if this is really important. I don’t want you to be down, Sabriel.”

"Does that mean a yes? I love you!”

He stood up, picking up the empty containers and one basket. “Ah, I still have to see how is the roster. Sometimes changes can be last minute. For now I can’t promise yet. I may be late, and I don’t really have clothes for formals.” Yup pragmatic and logical. Not sure if his body ached from touch, I started bouncing on my feet. He chuckled. “I don’t want the red uniform.”

There would be plenty of time to shop for clothing and I also wanted to buy non- metallic framed dresses myself. Mother always gets me yucky pink and orange when I’m more of a blue person.

“I already have an idea what colors suit you, Fen.” Even though the rain had started outside, I didn’t feel any gloominess or cold. YAY! BEST DAY EVER!

“Er I hope not red or yellow.” He was focused on looking for something inside the drawers so his voice was distant.

“Black satin, and blue. Ha! I know you well!” Although it looks pessimistic, the dark colors accentuate his pale hair and markings best. And those are his favorite colors.Before buying any, he hoped to save some money so he said let’s check his wardrobe.

“I remember wearing that smooth black shirt, forgot where I put it.” Fenris sifted through a pile that wasn’t on hangers and tossed them on his bed.

 “Aw man it’d be covered in dust by now. Varric’s got connections, so does Aveline they won’t be ex.”

We took a lot of time organizing the pile into wearable and needs-washing, or hang up. I thought it would have drained his energy, but Fen set my leaflet on his desk and said in a fatherly way, “I hope this is the right time. Do you remember we talked a bit about the wide age gap between Elven and humans?”

Why did he want to talk about this now? I had my back to him looking for a clip to pin it to the calendar. There were many new stuff and gifts on his desk too. (It’s quite usual for the elf to talk when he doesn’t face us directly, old habit!)

“It’s not possible for all of us, to be together in that kind of love. Hawke and I faced much problems. Some don’t accept it, and most elves in the Alienage don’t get their hope up. You are kind and good to me. Won’t be fair to… lead you on. Are you okay?”

He always found it tough to talk feelings, and from those pauses it seemed like this was not the only moment Fenris had been mulling over it.

Is my heart broken? I braced for it and the expectation of rejection, the shattering of my inner fantasies.

None of those. Because I don’t agree it’s impossible for humans and elves to fall in love. On both sides, if there were more half- elf offspring, wouldn’t it strengthen the ties between our races and prejudice fall away?

“I hadn’t been able to move on, after Varania. You are like family. " I’m just a sister to him?

“Carissme? Can you look at me, please?” The elf was right behind me now, his shadow over the paper. “Doesn’t matter if you don’t find it now.”

 

“Fenris, I’m fine. I don’t see what we have, as that at all. Why do you fret so much? F-r-e-t.” I lied when I turned around and he stepped back a bit. He had changed to a tshirt of a cartoon frog smiley, that time the guys played a prank on him when he was dazed from painkillers and he’d worn it outside. Then he had been pissed haha!

He seemed relieved, though his penetrating Green-gaze did not seem totally convinced. Now Elf perched on his bed. “Cool you still like this shirt, hehe.”

He made no further comment on that tragic topic and nodded.

“How is your leg? Let me see.” I pulled up my skirt, these days the mosquito bites had caused an allergy of hives. My left calf had become inflamed and itchy.

“Ok now. Here I’ll help you write the new word.” I picked up a pen. Fenris dutifully copied any new words he felt curious about.

In his letters, though they were still not as long as four pages he had improved! “Does your side hurt?”

 “No. You can see.” He lifted up his shirt, besides the tattoos, the wound only had the faint trace of the stitches. “So it’s fret, means worry? Nice word. What does flabbergast mean?” In learning mode, the elf got distracted and it was always best to zone in to that.

 

He offered to help me ask Alistair and those single guys he knew. “Donnic will confirm the roster at the next meeting. I’m sure he won’t mind. They are more social.”

I turned my puppy eyes on him- since mine are chocolate colored, yup they achieve that effect. Fenris sighed and circled a phrase ‘unrelenting love’ Haha yup!

 

I sent a silent prayer to Andraste, Please let me love him, as long as we can be together I will sacrifice anything. Don’t let him suffer any more pain goddess. “I think we get along well, because I’m quiet too. It’s people that engage me.”

 

“Fair enough, thank you for thinking of me.” I knew I would always be a sister figure to most boys and men. At least now it was out, he wouldn’t try to bring it up again.

 


 

The next day Fenris was in a buoyant mood and handed me a folded paper. He did not wear a shirt. This time he said softly don’t open it yet. I was about to ask why, but he went into the weapons room and began training with two swords. I wondered how he trained with a single sword, because for dual ones you could whirl them in oppositional arcs. Even if Fen was indoors, no force in Thedas would distract him. His dedication and lithe moves were like a dancer’s! I watched him awhile then went inside to read it.

You’ll always be my friend, that’s why I say carissime, Tevene for dear female friend. I’m sure you have many who care for you, no need to be someone else. Perhaps they don't mention yet. It’s a value to listen more, no?

New tevene non swearing- can say amicus to me. Means Good friend for men. Indeed there's distinction between male and female verbs. Perhaps antivan borrows some from tevene... Like te amo. Just Zev says it as ''tee"

Will you mind come with me to do papers, need help fill forms for taxes. Also do the adopt, I really cannot wait. Now Im training. Deadline is soon, can go anytime tmr. Don’t know how to spell long word.

Let me know, yes? I dun mind Letofen   

    ~ Fenris

 

I walked by two hours later, hearing the metallic sound of blades being sheathed. “Leto, yes let’s go! ” He was still emitting a soft blue light and hearing me, he turned around and smiled.

“Hm now? Good you’re happy.” Fenris took a swig from a waterskin, sweat raining off his muscular torso. I was so riveted by the markings and the aesthetic appeal that even when he came really close, I forgot about odor. It’s not true that they all smell of the woods and nature, when he held his sodden towel near my nose. I coughed and turned away.

“Why are you like that? You said heroes should be fresh from the fight, something like that.” He said, deliberately not going right away. His lips twitched.

“Eugh. I didn’t mean that. Quickly go!” Wow I didn’t see that coming. When did he suddenly memorize the lyrics that I casually mentioned?

I'm holding out for a hero 'til the morning light He's gotta be sure And it's gotta be soon...  Gah! and he actually hung the towel on my shoulder. I brought it to the wash pile. 

Chapter Text

 

TO MAGE I CAN TAKE CARE OF SELF. NAME IS NOT STUBBORN. HERE’S PAYMENT. (angry face)   Fenris

I smiled when Elf pasted this note on the moneybag. “Wah this is much nicer than the usual squiggles on the practice, Leto.”

“Hey, I can be neat. Want to come along? I’ll drop this off at the local branch.” He stashed it into his slingbag, which he hardly uses except when he is on errands. However on missions, he stubbornly tries to make everything fit onto his belt.

“Do you still hate Anders?” As we were on the way, I asked my friend. Their feud had been legendary and they had both liked Hawke very much!

“Sometimes. But I won’t fight with him if that’s what you are getting at.” He said monotonously. “Don’t want to be disciplined by humans what to do, what not to do.” I knew he had quite a high rank now from all his unique experiences and skills, though unsure what his title was.

“Are you Captain Fenris? Nah they won’t dare to discipline you. They’d be half dead or sobbing for mercy.” That made him chuckle. He didn’t answer directly, just that he respected Cullen and Aveline too much to make trouble.

“Well,because if all capital letters means you’re mad.” I said.

“Oh I hadn’t told you, I was really sick from the heat-magic. Hadn’t been an urgency to speed up the healing. Idiotic man smugly cast. I should have puked in his face,” He confided. Was it his stitches? Elf didn’t specify where, but my heart softened.

When I saw Anders, he was going to answer for that deed! As if he had telepathy, Leto added, “I’m better, don’t have to confront him. Not worth effort.” His leaf green eyes stared piercingly at me.

I gaped.

“Hm I will be stressed if you assault him. Mages are petty, Kit. Bear in mind.”

“Aw am I that transparent?” I moaned. 

Elf said he didn’t wish to write a report if someone hit the medical staff. As mercenary, he didn’t have to do much paperwork, which was why he had turned down their repeated invitations to train and be on patrol, fulltime with everyone. However, when some bigshot had seen his Gifts in action, he got signed on. 

“The good things are the benefits and subsidies for supplies right? I even thought medical would be free.” I mused.

 

He sighed. “It is, to a certain extent. Don’t worry, you read that Elvhen, that’s us, can heal faster right? Let’s focus on that.” His calloused finger touched my cheek. I said I looked back fondly on the times he had more freetime to bring me exploring. He beamed. 

 

“I still will, when I’m free. Want to get more familiar with your classmates.” I moaned, not group outings! Then I said I won't assault anyone. I can be a lady! He arched a brow in doubt.  

******

 My dear Varric, thank you for showing me how the business works. I understand Dwarven society more now. It’s a huge difference from Oghren’s one. He was born and bred underneath. Have u been to Orzammar? Should be the spelling

Zevran

 One night when our dear Fenris and me were lying down together on the low mattress, we had fun telling stories. “Tell me if you’re feeling tired. You can close your eyes I don’t mind.” Usually people have some hot drinks and snacks as they go about these gatherings. My friend did not want to attract bugs and rats, nor have cavities so we had eaten some before coming in. 

Wow he has become a neat-freak! Lol! 

“Hm sure. Anyway as I was saying, why do girls want to think it’s fresh from the fight, when we are bleeding and sweating? I tried it that day.” He beamed, propping himself on his elbow. Every mood made him illuminate, even happiness and some of the patterns on his arms and chest were lit. “You didn’t like it.”

“Um you don’t have to do it literally! It’s a concept, and it’s a song. The girl’s dream, haha!” Then I wanted to make a romantic ride into the sunset on a handsome steed. Fen burst out laughing, that I bet his ‘picture’ of this image was probably weird. He was improving on imagery and remembered certain phrases better associated.

“Ok I’m seeing a struggling skinny horse. It’s limping, and the battle was from dawn to dusk. Harsh.” He sounded as if he was stifling more laughter. I laughed too.

“Noooo! Time isn’t the same for fantasy. Fen! Gahhh. Any bedtime stories?” He was solemn, as they would be about his scattered past and stuff, and what little Tevene tales had been wiped out. Yet, tonight he was trying not to be pessimistic.

When I got up to get some snacks, Fen was breathing deeply and still. So I gently lay down and cuddled.To have the Feel of romance, we had doused all the lights. Out of the blue, he asked why the small pixies are elves in some tales.

“You see how tall we are. Do you believe so, my friend?” He rumbled. I tickled his ear.

After some silence, “Hm I’ve got one. Try not to interrupt, I need to focus. Once there was a brooding grumpy elf that had been asleep for a very long while. Until a child came wishing she could speak to him again. They hadn’t talked since an adventure….” His voice was gravelly, yet steady and lilting too.

 My heart jumped. Why--- that’s US! My eyes filled though I closed them. Fenris had remembered the time I stayed vigil with him, hearing every word that Aveline and me had told him. Don't give up, we are waiting. There was a poignant richness and tenderness that we would not fully appreciate if we were looking at each other. “He thought he felt a soft kiss to his lips, then they looked at the many well-wishes and cards, souvenirs everyone had sent. He had no idea so many cared. One day the girl brought a big book about the hero-tales called the Companions of Kirkwall. She said it was important for him to understand how heroic he had been. Even if the elf did not think so. So far, sounds alright?”

His hand brushed my cheek and his eyes glittered.

 

I said softly, “Oh it’s perfect and beautiful. Thanks.” I sniffled, and used the heel of my hand to rub my eyes.

 

“Kit why are you crying?”

 

“No, I’m- not. Why do you talk about yourself as 'he' and third person?”

 

“Oh. If it is meant to be a fiction story, I prefer this way. They don’t live happily ever after, as the story is yet unwritten. I mean, the future. But the elf has become less grumpy and impatient. Occasionally people will offend him and there’s a lot of arguments and banter. But that does not last…. I’m sleepy.” He yawned and turned on his other side.

“Yup can the girl kiss him again?” Without waiting for his answer, I pressed my lips gently to his cheek. Could feel the long scar traced to his ear. He tickled me.

“May kick you.... Later, for-  bathroom, go back--” His voice was slurred and deep breathing followed. I lay back too.

 

I vaguely felt the elf toss and turn beside me, but no kick or punch nudged me. Helped that I’m a very deep sleeper. Then it was the sound of the regular dog barking and I opened my eyes. White light sparkled through the windows, giving the elf a sunshine aura-effect. His pale hair gleamed as well as his tattoos. My throat was sandpaper. Fenris was on his back, his right leg stretched over mine and comfortingly warm. His mouth was open. Since it had been a warm night, we didn’t use any blankets. I gingerly tried to ease my foot from under him.

I apologized softly, hoping he’d be able to lie in. Fen shifted his leg and his eyes flickered. He smiled lazily.

“You didn’t - ?”

“Nope and congrats you didn’t kick me at all. Wonderful sleep mate!” He stretched and sat up, coughing. “Leto, no hurry. It’s early.”

 

“Yes, I have to pee. Will be back.” He ambled out. I closed my eyes, and later felt him come back to lie down again. He had spritzed himself with cologne and he settled down. “I did not have any bad dream. It’s…. refreshing. Maybe the positive imaging helps.” Since he was unused to falling asleep again in heat, we just talked about trivial, the animal books we were reading, about what kind of horse he wanted to be and if it was a good idea for me to become a wild cat.

On practical matters, I said, “It’s good you did the chores by yourself. I wouldn’t. I’d just be messy if it’s myself.”

 

“Not always. I don’t clean everyday, and it was why I tried to discourage you from staying with me. I didn’t know much of domestic things, fighting was all I did and bathing. Eh, some friends showed me and criticized I was sloppy too. Didn’t take that too well, I squat here. Not as if I planned to stay forever. Especially Anders. He grumbled how can I get well in a filthy place, so the next moment when I was laid up with a fractured leg, or arm I can’t recall… hm, the air smelled of those herbs. Then he was in my face showing me basil, thyme rosemary blah blah. Hey, don’t laugh. Not funny.” I was in stitches at the way he painted the picture, seeing a furious red faced mage nagging at him to take care of himself!

I gasped an apology. He didn't look appeased when I shared my mental picture of that. "Hm but I wonder how did you look? Bored, pissed, annoyed?"

"Eh, I can't remember. It's from what I see, so I didn't look in any mirror. That's it, I'll-- cut your pocket money. Ha!" Leto suggested, smirking.

I didn't believe he would be that ruthless.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter Text

 

Then I stayed over with some classmates for a project. On the day that I returned, eager to see Leto again remembering the happy smiles as we were exchanging tales, Elf was not present. Odd, Fenris did express he would be home by now. I asked the maids if he might have gone out.

Odd, before I packed yesterday, a messenger had dropped me a short memo: Dear cutefren, can't wait for you to be back. Lets eat together ~~ Leto

 

“No Missy, he's having one of those days, intense pain. Wants to be alone.” one of them said. I dropped my stuff and rushed upstairs. Zevran was leaning in the doorway, saying something. “... not weak, te quiero. Might be the foul weather, or you're overworked.”

I strained to hear my guardian's voice, but I couldn't. “Zev? Is he alright?” I asked as the Antivan turned around. Though he smiled, he blocked the doorway and I was trying to peep.

 “Sorry. Not a good time, we can't find the painkillers and he says to leave him alone. I've missed you, how have you been? ” He shut the door softly and gave me a hug. I chuckled and accepted his embrace. My family is not big on hugs and shows of affection, so at first when Zev was like that to all of us we had shied away. 

"Ha! I'm fine. Well, let's see, last week you went away to Fereldan for like, three days. I did see you before I went over to Peggy's. And Fen was fine then, it sucks.” I allowed his hug for a brief moment and then shifted. Zev nodded grimly.

 

As I looked at some of the furniture, I thought I should be able to locate his emergency  medi supplies....

“I'm one of the few who can get close to him. C'mon I think I remember where the painkillers are. Not many left, he hadn't needed to take them.” Zev followed me to one of the rooms we rarely entered, it was quite messy. After hours of fruitless rummaging, the maids chipped in too,  we lugged out a very old worn first-aid box.

I dusted off one amber vial labelled Strong dose Sleeping-potion. Do not take more than 2 at a time. “Missy is that really a good idea?” Jo asked timidly, wringing her hands.

Is it safe to take this, no expiry date?  Not sure if sleeping potions ought to look like such a dark gross slosh... 

Something crashed and Fenris shouted, 'Venhedis faasta vas! 

"No choice, he can at least have some relief. Have you sent for a healer yet?”

Zev said Fenris had refused because they couldn't heal him completely.  Oh god, that sounded damn agonizing. I told them to get a healer while I went in carefully.  “Fen? It's me Kit. I've found a potion. Want to try it first?”

Hunched over at one corner, Fenris was perspiring profusely, all the blue markings flashing erratically and snaking, making him shiver consistently. He gasped for breath. I approached slowly, because in this heightened state, he could not control his lashing out. Some things were scattered all over. Fortunately, none were glass that might cut us. His light tunic was bathed in sweat, his pale strands darkened and wet. His tanned face was pallid.

When I held out the vial, the elf grabbed it from me. “Kit? It's you?” Fen whispered in delirium , his eyes clenched shut and gritted teeth. Would the drug take effect quickly enough? Gulping it down, he retreated backwards, gasping. 

“Yea, I'm home. How's it going?” I began to organize the fallen books and papers into neat piles. Waiting for the right moment to use my soothing touch on his hot skin. Whenever the tattoos are activated, his skin temperature rises like a feverish pitch. Previously when he had been angry and lit up, I found that I could diffuse some of this raw energy with a touch. After regaining his senses, Fenris had been worried, insisting I should not have approached him so recklessly. 

The vial skittered across the floor, empty. He said, "Like hell" and something incoherent. 

Fenris had a couple more spasms and his eyes were glazed and feverish. I had been witness to this only sporadically, as my friend tended to suffer more in silence and in the wee hours. Judging from the thick sheen of sweat trickling, it had been quite severe.

“I'm going to try to touch you now, ok? Let me help.” I tried to speak calmly, even though I was emotionally stirred by the unfairness of it all. My right hand began tingling and its familiar golden aura came to life.

“No, stay back-- danger! Will stop... soon” He curled into a foetal position, face covered by his knees. He moaned.

“No, Fennie you won't hurt me. It's alright.” I reassured him. The moment my fingers made contact with his leg, Fenris went out like a light. He slumped against me. At last he could have a rest from the torment. 

The door opened and they asked me what happened.

“He's so tired now. Hey Zev, can we help him into bed?” Other than a moan escaping his lips when contact was made on the fabric, Fenris didn't awaken and was quite heavy to me. The guys undressed him. 

“How long did he feel this pain?” I asked when we were outside.

Male attendants carefully laid cold rags over his naked prone body. I just noticed the deep shadows under his eyes. Zev said he had been fine, just very quiet the day before. “He didn't glow at all, and I read to him. After I drank quite a bit, I fell asleep only to hear querido moaning. The humans couldn't hear him, but I could. Poor thing.” Zev sounded choked up.

“Yea. He will be alright now. I got his note we could eat together today.” Though slightly depressed by this, I knew it wouldn't be fruitful to cry and panic. Normally Fen didn't want us to worry. Before I went to bed later, I noticed he was on his stomach telling people not to touch him and leave the cold rags over his body. He sounded weak, but back to normal.

 

**************

 

Varric visited the next day, with a basket of varied flowers. “Is our Fennie alright? Heard it was quite bad. Normally he won't miss Wicked Grace.” I hugged the dwarf.

“Hm Mary said he's still asleep now. Hahah Fennie, he would get upset.”

“You holding up ok, Squirt?”

I explained how I found the last potion and my power. He also thought I must be a mage. Then Orana showed up. They wanted to wait for him to awaken. After chatting with them until 10am, Zev came down with a smile, that Fenris felt better. “So can we go see him?”

The elf answered immediately, when I knocked and we all asked together- Can we come in? "Ah I want to come outside, just a moment." The sound of the wardrobe banging shut and drawers being dragged.

 "You ok, broody?” Varric was posing with his basket of flowers so it would be the first thing Fennie would see. I laughed.

The door clicked open. Fenris had worn a loose robe without sleeves, a bit pale but he smiled with chapped lips. “Hello Varric... Why the flowers? I'm not a woman.” His voice was raspy. But he did touch the petals and brought it to the guest table. The Tevinter still walked gingerly, barefoot, wincing. I reached my hand instinctively to support him, but he carefully veered away from us. Kept his physical distance.

We took breakfast together, Orana speaking more than usual, Zev providing some stories. Varric shot my friend concerned looks but could still juggle the chats. Impressive! The sole thing he worried about : Yo so we can't touch ya? Fenris and I were quietest. He chewed thoughtfully. The neighbors had bestowed us pancakes and I was having fun coating mine with maple syrup. “Squirt, sorry you had to see me like that.”

“It's fine, I'm not a child. Does it still hurt?” I remarked, focusing on the golden syrup.

“It's now a dull ache. Wow isn't that too sweet? Varric, I don't mind not having flowers really.” He listened to their banter, and I noticed that Orana was opening up more. Fenris had to blow his nose every now and then. Good thing he had managed to eat more food.

 

“Fenris, what happened? You got sick? " Orana said. He rubbed his nose, sniffling.

“Yes, didn't cover up. Cold stops the pain getting worse... Thank you Orana... Excuse me-” He took the box of tissues into the kitchen, having a sneezing and coughing fit. Our guests didn't want to wear him out, so they left. He had wanted to talk more to the elven girl so looked wistful. Or was I imagining that sentiment?

 

*******

Fen needed more quiet time to rest. Closer to the evening, when Mary and Zev had finished conversing with my friend, they came out. “He wants to spend some time with you. So good, monopoly.” he griped, folding his arms and narrowing his eyes. I shrugged. “We're like bro and sis. Don't worry. Remember don't touch him or you'll be punched. My leg was itchy too. Dang.” They fussed over me a while.

My heart pounded, surprisingly, as I raised my hand to knock. Through the gap, the pale haired elf was propped up on some pillows, flipping a magazine. He had taken off his shirt and the air smelled of herbs. A heap of tissues was beside him. “Hello, come in. Did you have a good time?” Fenris greeted, his cute ears pricking. He sniffled.

“Yup. Was it because of my absence, it got worse?” I stopped at his feet. He frowned, motioned me to come closer.

“Not at all. Happens every now and then, but normally I can endure the slight ants-bites. It can't be cured, regardless of which mage comes. They're only temporary relief.” The elf paused and leaned back. The magazine was about horses, breeds and what they liked.

“Kit, you seem to inherit this worry. Can you do me a small favour?” he added.

I looked up from the pictures, whoa Leto had not said that to me before! Unless he wanted me to do chores. “Don't worry too much, like adults. You're still young. I'm tougher than this crap, it does not define me.” Fenris sounded perked up, despite his exhaustion. “That'd be a big help.”

 “Eh... I can't control that. Hm, but when they freaked out, I didn't.” He smiled and held out one hand. I placed my smaller hand in his.

“Good job. Had been meaning to say this, when I got the last report of that exam. Sabriel, was it because I got hurt, that you couldn't study well?”

I shook my head, watching how the patterns swirled over his upper arm. I didn't know what to say, just that I couldn't help myself, if it affected my routines. I thought he'd dozed off and stood up. “Kit, read to me. Did I tell you, I used to take care of horses? In between jobs. They're very accepting. What's this?” I tried to pronounce these longish scientific names, because he was tired he didn't repeat them but he smiled.

 

“That's so cool, it's why you're a pro! Then you knew the horses by heart?” He couldn't remember specifically, but talked briefly. I adored his voice, even if he had a cold.

“Ha, pro. Did I hear correctly, you called me Fennie? Yuck.” He seemed to recall and his brows angled down. I attempted to deny that. “Better make sure it's not in public, I'll disown you. So naughty, all of you festus bei umo canavarum. You'll be the death of me. ” His irritation seemed mild, but with his stoicness, I wasn't sure.

“Sorry. Hey, you shouldn't be too upset. Sleep.” I tried out and tripped over the wordings. Lol! “Can repeat it again? Please.”

“No need. Don't be the death of me. That potion has a blasted hangover. Remind me to take the mild one in an hour.” He closed his eyes. Not for the first time, I strongly wished that someone could have swooped in to rescue him from this fate! Sure, he was not frail that agony would paralyze him but on these bad days, he couldn't exert much.

Unlike the previous time of his coughing, Fenris obediently lay down without the insistence to train. One day, he almost passed out just going outside to water the plants. When he didn't come in after that, we noticed him kneeling with a grimace on his pale face. “Stop panicking, I wanted to see the ants.”

 But Fen was determined not to let this setback his recovery. So he unwillingly accepted our help, when we finally got through to him. “What if you get some fracture? It'd worsen the pain. Don't be so bloody stubborn.” Donnic and Alistair were nagging him.

 

Dearest Fennie, get well soon! Love from all of us Zev wanted to see and hear his reaction. He sneakily planted it at the study-table, ask Fennie to go over to take something and we would be going out!  Just as we stepped out the back door, the said elf exclaimed something in his language. I think was the festus bei bei something!

“Get back here! I'm NOT Fennie!” I almost killed myself with stitches and we hurried off to the markets.

 

When we got back, Fenris seemed fine and writing something quietly. “Um are you mad? Don't be, we are joking. No hard feelings k?” Zev said, changing fresh daisies for the vase. And I said “what's that beibei thingie?”

 

Indignantly, he declared, “I won't repeat myself. Hm, quite angry at first but it's bad for health. I'm writing a reply for the wishes.” He covered the paper and motioned for us to go away.

**********

The memos were split into different papers(to be dispatched) - he had repeated the first line. 

Sorry to worry you all, I'm much better. TO ZEV, I AM NOT FENNIE N I WILL SERIOUS- POUND U INTO GROUND when better. varric, merry maybe can consider giving u treats next week. Yes i do want to play wicked grace, have miss that much. 

Ali, Donnic, Cullen I like the getwell cards, u don't have to send me that many haha. Really, i have fangirls? Pls keep them away from me, I dont like crowds. I don't like to do inventory, am well and ok enough to be on patrols! Cullen, i have many thousands of notebooks alr, thanku.    

Yours truly Fenris 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter Text

 

While we were half dozing off in his room, Fenris vaguely mentioned the other duties he underwent, such as being made to lie atop strangers’ beds without choice, and nude, tried to escape but got forced. He chose the words ‘room servicing’. I wondered why. Being concerned I might be too young to process what really went on inside whorehouses and the sex industry, Fenris used to tell off the colleagues when they blabbed about it. He got all flustered and pissed off. Maybe it was partly why I had never got to see the famous Rivaini. Right now he was at ease, his stomach rising and falling. I was lying on the lower mattress, couldn’t see Fen’s face from my angle. Together we were running through a deep-breathing exercise and since I pestered him for some ‘how can I join the Guard’ tips, the elf felt this would be an excellent peaceful start. I counted to 10 myself. Indeed with more oxygen, my mind felt clearer.

“Hm? Do you really want to relive it?”

I raised my head, but now Fenris had turned over, hiding his face. His voice was muffled.

“Let’s see… I don’t remember a lot, except some of them were all right, and gave me money to buy food. The wickedest magisters, older ones threatened to starve me and my sister if we did not obey. I’m not sure if Varania had been touched. Then after I received these marks, when not body- guarding, they made me take off everything. Exposed, so cold. Why didn’t I refuse, maybe additional threats, or bespelled." Self-loathing laced his baritone. 

A longish pause, just how his slow breathing quickened and he felt guilty, saying, "Squirt, do stop me if these sound too--- disgusting. Been a long time, since---Since I've mentioned to a friend." 

Fenris paused to find the right translations, very concerned if I might be upset and repulsed. I didn't speak but I listened. I pictured his expression to be frowning and reflect self-doubt and hurt. So groggy I doubted I’d remember much of this. Horrible old men being rough when they ‘handled’ a cowering young Leto, abusing, mocking, torturing him if what he did was not deemed pleasing enough. He said 'weak, broken, tired, could not feel' many times. What a hellish ordeal, never ending nightmare. 

From his ragged sigh, the monumental effort of revealing these seemed to age him.

 “Fennie, I understand now, why you don't allow people too close. What’s important, that you’ve become so brave! Did you- cry after that? I'm so sad for you. ” I reached out and laced my fingers through his. I 

He was silent but did not shift away. “Um, not really. In fact I’m not sure why I start remembering some frags now… I know how painful kicks, punches and whiplashings could be and when I fell no strength to stand up myself. Think I woke up dazed and lying in a new cell, wherever they wanted to bring me. I know you won’t judge me, carissime.”

Unlike previous times whenever we silently supported him, Fen did not thank me but the atmosphere lifted, as if all that internal pressure had been released momentarily.

 

I dozed off until I felt his hand on my forehead. Took a while to hear what elf was saying, but his voice was bright. “Did that meditation work? Sleep comes faster. I knew that.”

“Yup, don’t-go-ok-now-elfie?” I said. He rumbled.

I vaguely felt my sodden pillow replaced gently by another fresh one. Why was it getting more humid and hotter? Absently I fanned myself with my nightie, wanted to take it off. Too lazy to. When I next blinked open my peepers, was looking up at my ceiling and I couldn’t move my body. Oh because a figure was lying atop my stomach on both arms, deep in slumber, Fenris looked younger, burdens temporarily eased. Gosh how lucky I am to be next to such a cute elf! my crazy mind had a fangirl moment. The marks glittered with a strange rhythm of their own. 

His lips were tipped by a tiny smile, for now he was not experiencing pain. When I slowly touched his pale hair he did not move. Hm then I couldn’t take off my shirt which I normally did. His hair was damp and looked darker grey.

 

After a while, Fenris apologized and pushed himself up, massaging his stiff neck. “It’s ok don’t worry. Why am I in my room now?” I murmured. 

“I carried you in, and you wouldn’t let go of my hand. So I slept. Did I.. touch you wrongly? Sorry.” He got all flustered. Rubbed down his face with both palms.

I shifted on my side. “No, just nice. Um, what you said, are you better now? Sorry I can’t do more." 

Fenris averted his gaze to my windows. “Yea, I’ve never spoken of that in years. Never to the… gang. Isa won’t keep secrets. Not sure if you can forget about it, was the past of myself anyway. Do you really think I was brave, Kit? But I haven’t been able to close that chapter, for good.”

I nodded slowly. “Yea you were! That kind of stuff takes immense courage to... confront.”

 

Fenris stayed silent.  I could see his withdrawal that he folded his arms and did not turn around. ‘God, if you can hear us, Please heal Fennie, he has been so alone and desolate. I'm scared he will hurt himself from that agony! Even if he’s not of my religion, he needs Your love and healing! I want to take care of him too, in my own way.’ I repeated this mantra as I took a bath. The heat of my Gift fought to rise but with the meditation I quelled the emotional tempest. My nose was a bit red from crying so I washed my face again before I came out.

When we went down to eat, he was smiling and talking normally with the maids. I greeted them all. My friend got up to pull a chair for me, beside him. (My heart twinged that I didn't want him to feel older than he already had with so much burdens) 

At one point when Zev said if he wanted to share some secret, he scowled.

Then he scooped another slice of ham and set it on my sandwich. “Yay! You fried it?” He chuckled, and Zev said they were magic food.

“What about me?” The Antivan held out his empty plate. 

“Well the plate is nearer, you can help yourself.” Fen replied bluntly and motioned with a fork. He chewed. I chuckled, though I bet later Zevran would ask me why he was so partial. In that way, I felt elves can be quite longwinded as they are much more passionate than humans and dwarves. From my experience with dwarves, I didn’t feel they were as sensitive and more rugged. Or they were broody, kept to their own kind. 

“Did you know this mansion did not belong just to D but also to other Tevinter merchants? And many demons and people died here.” Fenris remarked casually as we were having dessert. Later, Ave and Donnic were going to drop by. Plenty of red bean soup left.

Mary coughed while I glanced at him with my mouth hanging open. He laughed. Cute.

“Whaaa---- you mean there’re ghosts?” I shivered.

Fen scoffed, showing me his glowing arm. “Silly, as if I would be able to stand it being covered with this, one of my gifts is in getting rid of unclean spirits and demons. When I had told you before, you ignored me insisted had to stay with me, coz Madam is worse and fiercer. Ha, I just couldn’t picture how she can be more unpredictable than all those entities. Besides I would protect you all!”

 Wow my heart swelled hearing that! That is why I said I’m proud of him that he is brave to overcome those challenges. I wonder if he had told anyone else, or perhaps he didn’t remember? Fen put his arm around me and nudged me to come closer. “Are you full, do you want more?”

“Nope need enough for Aunt and uncle.” I replied. Now that he seemed stable and calm, and his mana was a gentle thrum on my skin, he should have moved on. I also said 'I wish you'll remain happy now, in this lifetime' and Fennie did not comment. His eyes were dreamy.

After they had their fill, Aveline came over to my room whilst Donnic and Fenris discussed other matters and had their man-time. I was curious whether he had mentioned those atrociies inflicted on him, to her.

She frowned. “Ah no. He always got angry if the pirate and friends asked too much. Is Fen all right?”

“Last night he told me a bit. Eh I couldn't see his face coz he was lying on the bed, and me below. It must have been horrible. Aunt ' Line, don't ask him alright? It was just a spur of moment thing, I think Fen wants it quiet." I didn't want anything to change between us. Nope, he never talked about that again. 


 

  

He’s Featured in my essay!

When a classmate read this out on my behalf I felt really shy. I had no idea Elf had actually overheard half of it.One day, while we were having lunch in a quiet café, he smiled and said, “You really wrote that essay well. About me as your best friend.”

I stopped playing with the greens and cleared my throat. “Huh how did you know, Fenris ? I asked my pal to read it for me, too shy. I didn’t want to go all red in front of the assembly. Got a grade A for it too. About five of our entries got selected to be read out. ”

Fenris’ emerald eyes twinkled.  “I happened to be free that day and walked my friend’s son in. Latecomers would be penalized, if they run about alone. It was good. I love how you describe me, thank you.” His voice became gravelly and from us having eye contact, he blinked a bit faster.

“You’re welcome. I meant every word.” Normally I would be the one in an emo mess and the men would sort of mock me. That’s why I don’t like reading out touching stories! But I didn’t miss how Fennie bent down to cut his food, then swipe at one eye with his bare hand. Being his free day, the elf donned a black silk shirt without armour. 

I couldn’t hear his murmur. So I grabbed an extra napkin and pushed it over. “I’m sorry? Can’t hear you.”

As Elf looked up, I could see a slight redness around his eyes. He drank some tea. I looked away to give him a moment.

“I’m fine, carissime. Why didn’t you choose someone else? Like the rest. They love the attention.” Fenris poked at his roast meat. He didn't want to admit he had cried. Aw.

I said under two hours, we had to decide quickly. It had been an inclass module, about paying tribute to ‘My favourite’ series, to express our gratitude. Lol.

“You should ask me for permission. I’m an introvert.” Fenris pouted.

I apologized with a grin. After our meal, we walked around town. I said if he wanted to go home early, no problem. But Fenris held my hand and there was a little spring in his step. I pointed out interesting stuff, not planning on buying anything, which he listened and made small comments of agreement. I thought since he felt bashful and emotional, earlier subject was over.

“Sabriel, I want to show you a new place. It’s where I train sometimes.” He sounded excited. Away from the central square, it was a quiet path leading behind some unfamiliar buildings.

It was a neat field, scattered with broken pillars around the perimeter with a fence. There was a weedy tree at the corner. “Fen, aren’t we trespassing?” He grinned and slipped his blue arm through, making a gap and motioning for me to step in.

“No. I’ve patrolled here many times, just to clear off the drugtakers and illegal activities. When I need some air, this is great.” His tattoos became silver- mode again, and touching my back he guided me over the uneven surface of pebbles among the grass. Wow! “Today, my house will have many and I want us to have some special time. Can I hear that piece again, when it’s back from marking, Sabriel? The whole thing. No one has given me such a gift, before.” He turned to face me, hands on my shoulders. His voice was composed, but child-like. I agreed, turning red… my guardian looked hotter right now, even if his robe was crumpled and his hair was windswept. When I said my legs were tired from the walking, he dusted off a smooth looking stone and we sat together.

 Would he mind if I hugged him? Fenris gasped, but stroked my hair without jerking away. “So, why? I think you know everything.”

“So that I can reply about your good points too. No I don’t. You can’t refuse.” He responded in a mock-fierce way and gently leaned back. “Let’s do the meditation. Close your eyes.” We left hours later, when Fenris was certain his house would be vacated of guests. As I held his hand, I had no worries about my bickering unsupportive parents, nor bullies nor problems for the moment. I'm content

                                  ****************

  Fenris agreed that she recite out the piece, with her back turned. He had been close to weeping outside that time, thankfully not now. “I’m not looking at you, really.” He leaned back, focusing on her fairylike voice with his special ears.

 

‘Many people will start with ‘my best friend is my grandma or someone they did not choose to be with, usually family, or their pets. I don’t want to have a cliché intro. We often overlook other races. In some places, elves are still far from liberty. Well I’m going to talk about my favourite Elf, he is not only my friend but my hero, my adopted big brother too--- Fenris!

I’m sure most of you have seen or heard of his heroic deeds before, from Varric’s tales. He has great fighting prowess with heavy cumbersome weapons, but they are skilfully wielded. His original name was Leto, meaning ‘the Hidden’ and is actually a goddess. There was ridicule that his name meant ‘Little wolf’ but no, the true significance is even greater and nobler- Fearless conqueror of the gods. When he feels depressed, I like to remind him of positive stuff like that.

 Still, my friend is simple in his needs- he just wants to be a normal warrior who upholds justice. He can be reserved and seems unapproachable, to those who don’t know him well. In fact, it took a long while for us to warm up to each other. I hope to change the misconceptions. Fenris just does not like sudden grabbing or rough touch, because most contact hurts his allergic skin. There’s a whole new level and depth to ‘walking in another’s shoes’ I shan’t delve into the bitter past, that’s not the point. Of course, friends admire me for being lucky to have such a handsome guy escorting me haha. Intrinsic qualities also matter, even if he were not as cute I will love him just as dearly too.

As long as you treat him with respect and kindness, he rewards you tenfold with his dry humour, wit and shy smiles. Eg: when Varric asks why doesn’t he have a beard, he can reply with a joke and his visualizations are hilarious, like when I tell him a normal story, he will transform it to something else. I remember one that Fenris changed it to many demons, instead of just one dragon. And then he looks baffled and indignant when we laugh hard. Fenris does not mind not receiving a reward, his care is unconditional, loyal, steadfast and honorable! In spite of previous hardship, that there’s some spark of these qualities in my best friend is truly a marvel.  Once when I ran away, feeling like no one will understand, Fenris was beyond upset and worried! I expected him to bellow at me, when I was found but instead he listened to my troubles and brought me food. I can be so silly and impetuous. The least that I can do is to support him when he feels a setback and low confidence. I feel sorry for all the moments when we argue, because he did not have proper nutrition from his previous life, negativity may affect his health. Thankfully, with all our support, Fenris has learnt to accept aid and become much happier.

I just have so much overwhelming love for him, and I dearly hope he’ll let me repay him in full. This tribute is my small attempt to summarize our time together and if he weren’t so shy, he will be eager for more friends. Varric said he was a porcupine, but I think a nicer metaphor would be a tiger or wolf that bides its time in the foliage.

One day maybe I’ll have the courage to let him know all of these without passing out and that we create as many optimistic times for the future. Gratias tibi, as it would be in Tevene for Thank you!    

 

He was delighted. “This is perfect! And yea, the shortie said I was a porcupine, how shit. When my friend told me, I was quite angry that they gossiped behind my back, wanted to make Varric 10 centimetres shorter!” He just remembered vishante, he had forgotten his vow to wallop those gossips! What sort of friends were those? Sabriel laughed. He chuckled, it was so easy for them to take his humour. “You won’t hit them, Leto! Hehe.”

Fenris carefully stored the sheets of paper in a clear file. “I really appreciate this, Squirt. I might take a bit more time than a few hours to write what makes me happy about you. Don’t have to be sorry, I may have been wrong too.” He found it much easier to admit his flaws when they spent time bonding like this. She thought they could write about Zevran who’d surely enjoy the extra attention. Fenris also ticked Donnic’s name, he owed him quite a lot of favours.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter Text

After Fen was bedridden from tattoo-pain for that week, he resumed his normal duties again.

Hey both my Loves, (some hearts)

 For so long, I haven’t received any notes or letters. No paper fell under the table either. Am sad, are you angry? And why are you ignoring me Fenris- amado mio? I know that we are all busy people, but can we try to meet one day for dinner out? My treat! I’ve got a bonus from odd jobs around town, nothing risky just diplomacy and spying. With Commander Cullen’s permission of course haha. I do miss our family time dearly. Can I ask you both something important? Fen-querida, Kit, are you worried that people will hunt for me and that we got to be so distanced? I have tried not to overthink these silences, but my heart has doubts lingering. Is there no more room for me, for you spend so much more time together?

Perhaps I sound awfully weak of the soul. I cannot guarantee that I won’t go. And I have always believed in sincerity to all of my benefactors. Would you be able to reply by pen or talk? I don’t want to have false, high hopes and expectations, but I cannot help it these times. Fenris you trust me, no? Your subtlest expressions mean everything, when I flirt with those men they are just strangers. I do not love them. Please don't mistake those. After I finish helping Alistair and Lelianna I will be home, please don’t go off without talking to me!

Yours always,

Zevran Arainai

 

 *************

 Dear Fen -chan, I MISS YOU when you’re not in, are you ok? seems very tiring, when I come back from school u are still asleep. There’s this play that will show tmr night, can we go together? Action, not boring. Please please! ~~~~ Lots of hugs x kisses Elfpro

 

 Hello Kit/ Elf pro, what’s the chan for? Sounds cute. Yea mostly on night rosters very tired. Ha same, I miss our chats. (smiley) When these late shifts done this week, wanto make u gingerbread cookies. Not enough choc, I know u like sweets. How ur studying? I’m fine, unhurt. Sorry to be angry that time, not ur fault. Yes I can. Thank you for telling me. Looking forward!  

Hugs, Fen chan

 ************

 

While I was doing some newspaper clippings, Fenris showed me that letter. The ink was smudged in some places, we figured that Zev must have been vehemently emotional from the pressure of the quillpen’s marks.

“No date, saw it at the library, this morning. Why does he say all that?” he hovered beside me as I recited it aloud. 

“I had been hoping he wouldn’t ask this of us. It will be hard to be that close and then he will leave eventually. Vishante!” The pale haired warrior confided, dropping one hand gently on my shoulder. “Calm down, Uncle. Zevie is the opposite of reserved. Yea I think he’s jealous and lonely.”

I didn’t feel that upset or emo, since I barely saw Zev these days. He’s like a grandpa to me, I’d be more worried if Fen, Aveline or my friends here wrote like this.

“Sounds like you do care eh?” I asked, patting his hand, feeling the ‘jumping’ sparks of lyrium. “I know, you don’t want to risk that heartache and all those feelings.” Fenris sank down beside me, his dark brows knitted and looked at me beseechingly.

“Does this mean you want to talk ? I- don’t really.” He was frowning and addressing the plants sternly opposite us. We had got a dwarf fern from a nursery. Sometimes I smiled when Fenris absently batted at the leaf while he tried to focus on some spelling.

I rubbed my chin, setting it carefully under a paperweight. “Hm he is right in the sense…. If these hurt and stuff gets buried under our silence, he’ll act rashly. When people yell and upset me, I don’t always have the chance to correct them. Or I tell them to shut up which worsens it, plus my mother always skirts around Father. Those suck.”

 

Fen took a deep breath, tamping down the markings. “Those are not good either. He shouldn’t be feeling angry about us, we have always lived together. When I am direct and honest, he gets upset more than once. Especially we disagree on our status. I said it’s better to be lowkey, so people don’t tease me publicly. I don’t mean I am ashamed of him. He’s a fool.”

 “Oh man, then you fought? When?” I hadn’t even noticed how the elves had been getting on, just the times Zev looked after Fen and made sure he took the painkillers at the right times. He didn’t remember specifically, just that they hadn’t spoken for weeks and then they were assigned different duties. Normally Aveline didn’t like Zev to be delegated to the warriors’ missions. Does she know if they’re together?

“Nah they won’t tease you so badly. Heheh. Oops. Owww.” The elf would always pinch my ear when I spoke out of turn. “Whyyyy?”

“Don’t mock me Squirt. I read that ears are very strong by the way.” Then he poked me in the side. I begged him to stop, it hurt and itched. He kept that up and I was helpless haha!

 

We had a great time watching the play that night, Fenris smiling all the way. Zev was not in when we returned and Fenris stifled a yawn, walking to the stairs. “I’m beat.” Which meant ‘The Talk’ or to me ‘The Reckoning’ would need to be postponed to next time. I called out goodnight, running past some servants to the bathroom.

Being in euphoria about how well life is going in general, I was still hyper and wrote Zev a memo- Boo Zev sorry about not writing. We came home, didn’t see you maybe we’ll talk tomorrow? Fennie had nightshifts and he’s gonna sleep early. Hope u will be ok.     From ProElf girl

 


 

Indeed, next morning, our other room-mate was back and seemed to be acting normally, singing Antivan songs and cooking us breakfast. His hair was no longer as auburn as the time he highlighted it. I was the latest to come down, led by the aroma of poached eggs and coffee. Fenris’ eyes were still half lidded and he drank from his cup, not saying much. Zev wanted feedback about his cooking and hugged me. “Do try some! Bueno honey. How’s the food?” Mary and the serving girls replied positively and I made a thumbs up, eating my share of the egg. On one plate there was some yellow and black mush.

“Zevie what’s that? Still sleepy, Fennie?” I asked, watching Fen cover his mouth and yawn again. He sighed and rubbed his eyes, chewing.

 

“Ah that’s black bean burrito with salsa.” When would be the right time to start? As I shifted my cup slowly over to the centre of the table, I nudged Fen under the table. Whatever the outcome, wouldn’t affect me as much because I had a great night! I cleared my throat when he blinked at me.

Looks like he had forgotten our Plan, being really groggy last night. Aw, what about their relationship? I whispered: Ready to talk about him? The Antivan had his back to us and was gyrating to his own rhythm.

“Now?” Fen said in a super-low flat voice, “Zevran, we saw that letter. Want to go into it now?”

 

“Yea! I just want to know how you all feel. I’m fine with what you decide.” Zevran stopped and turned around, still with a cheery smile but his ambers burnt with intense concern. I swear, a fire could spark from them! Fenris was quiet. I could help him along a bit and said brightly, “We forgot about writing letters. Sorry. In fact I did put one for you. Why are you upset?”

We both glanced at the Seheron elf. He said with minimal eye contact. “I do love you too and trust, or I’d never have let you stay here. It’s been like--- eight months? Almost a year.”

Zev came to the table, holding the top of his chair. I just noticed his plate still had food. The way he pulled out the chair and then settle down was as if in a slow motion play. “You are all precious to me. Amado mio , I understand if you need to protect yourself after that difficult time, before. I don’t care for others, I care for US, now. Are you ashamed of me? Fenris.” Zevran’s voice became sentimental and higher in octave.

I offered him a tissue box, but he declined. I urged him to eat and we liked the food. Fenris grumbled in his language first. “I know! Maker, Zevran I can’t talk well about emotions like this! Not since Hawke was gone, it’s been painful to love. When did I say I felt ashamed or tire of you? Being quiet is my way, doesn’t meant I’m angry, nor that I’ve changed.” Fenris spoke almost without taking a breath and I noticed he clenched his fist, his eartips were flushed. Zevran nodded slowly, and his own stiffness went away.

Wow, I seldom heard Fenris speak So extensively about his emotions before! Still, it must be psychologically taxing for him, so I remarked about how delicious the cooking was. While Zev shared how to prepare the food and how he made the bacon crispy, I expected Fen to leave us and recover in solitude. He used the back of his right hand to tickle me and supplied, “We were not at home at the same moments. And I had a lot on my mind, many night missions.” Zev murmured something in Antivan.

“Are we all okay now? Kinda hot here.” I fanned myself. They chuckled. I said I’d to change my sheets. Would they kiss, if I moved away from the scene? I rounded a corner and ducked into one of the storerooms near the staircase. Aww, they were talking too softly for me to hear! Zev was back to his chirpy mode, gesturing with his cutlery. I couldn’t see how Fenris was reacting from this angle.

They both had today and tomorrow off, so I kept trying to spy on them and ask the rest if there was any progress? One day when I heard some intimate noises from a closed door, I lingered outside. Got a heart attack when someone poked my back from behind, gravelly laughter. I composed a serious face and turned. Fenris,with his arms folded, asked, “What are you doing?”

“Er, I was... looking for something.”

“Tell me, I can help.” He said, with a disbelieving smile. His green eyes were alert, bet the afternoon nap helped.

I touched my ear. “Um, one earring dropped--- hmmm outside this door. Wonder if it rolled underneath.” Fenris squinted at my ears.

“Nothing missing. I’ll shout if I step on something. You’re trying to eavesdrop on us right?”

“Hehe, of course not. I’m Good! I do have a swan earring missing, Fen. Don’t be mad.” I feigned my angelic expression but ducked away from his hand. Noooo he was going to pinch my ear again.

He pouted and held out his arms. “Am going to give you a free hug don’t want?” Yay! On his more-affection days, the reticent elf called it a ‘free hug’ and I relished that. It also meant we could hold him a bit longer.

“The pain management is better now?” I asked, nuzzling his soft silkshirt.

I felt him shift back and he leaned casually against the railing. “Yes, Zevran had made me some special brews, all natural. They’re much more effective than those potions. I gained back all the sleep I lost. Didn’t feel relaxed enough to doze off, outside.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter Text

                            

I absolutely had a wonderful time ‘dancing’ with all of my handsome friends. Zev could go because we would be in costume. I thought I recognized some men who invited me or shared food with me, despite their faces obscured by big masks. We girls wore only eye-masks. As I was looking on the feet of a partner worried I’d trod his toes, I wondered when Fenris would show up. Since today was a public Fest everyone didn’t have to work or go to Academy. Might he have forgotten? Please don’t be on a last minute errand! Vishante

I cursed myself, forgot to remind him about the costumes we had chosen from the tailor’s. We had had a quiet evening, and he hadn’t been in pain. 3 weeks ago, our Cutest Elf had been bored but obligingly tried on different robes until Merrill, Orana, myself and a new man were satisfied. That man looked impeccably cleanshaven but no one introduced me. “Alright this is the last one, I’m having a migraine and I’m hungry. Why not just take black, I like that color!” Fenris grumbled, coming out from behind the curtain with the exquisite sapphire shirt. We all exclaimed YES let’s take this one! In unison.

“Of course you can choose black, but it’s so exciting to see you match all these different ones too. Other than white and grey, they make you pale,” I assessed him. He said he’d pay for that and one other dress that Merrill wanted to collect. The tailors were making last minute adjustments.

Just then, the other man who’d been picking masks beckoned him to try a couple at a mirror. “Eh who’s that? They know each other?” I asked the girls.

Orana didn’t know.

Merrill smiled. “Ah sorry, he just came in we forgot you don’t know him. Sebastian.”I was happy for his social circle expanding.


 

A boy I did not know, smiled and took my hand. I felt distracted, looking around for other cuter targets. Aww, perhaps he got cold feet seeing the numbers of peoples and went back early. I recognized Donnic who had taken off his mask and was eating.

“Uncle, did you see Fen? Did he forget?”

 “Nope he can’t have. There was another announcement yesterday that we could knock off earlier in case some haven’t bought clothes yet. Don’t worry, he’s always late. Ha.”

“Huh really? When we go out he’ll be early. What if he’s nervous of this crowd?” I didn’t forget his long hesitance, his concerns. My friend said he didn’t wish me to be the misfit in case my classmates mocked me. Then I hadn’t wanted to hear the rest of the ‘Elves and humans don’t have happy endings’ speech. I still moan when he goes into that. Oh gods, that’s the problem living with an Elfie Brother

 Donnic wiped his brow. “Doubt I’ll put this mask on again. Yes he’s always late for nights out too, but we like him coming so we don’t ask why. He will be here, Squirt. How’s the skirt?”

 “I’m fine. How do I look?” I had chosen a light golden skirt, back part of it trailed on the floor. When I got it made I forgot about how short I am, as my feet hurt with heels. I had been wearing heels that day of measurements. Other than that, Mother and Aveline had helped me to pin up my red highlighted dark hair with some clips Fen had given me. I wanted him to see me wearing this beaded finch clip, which had made him so happy when he’d a crappy time. He had beamed when he thought a bird sat on my hair haha! Mother had not commented though the red dye seemed brighter these days. Donnic made a thumbs up and offered me more food.

I also talked to Sebastian, religious guy at last. He had a funny accent, making my name lyrical like a song. Of course I couldn’t nickname him that. “You look like a real lady, Missy. I met Fenris few years back, he’s So different now! It’s incredible he listens to you all choosing clothes for him. The old him would rather be sleeping at home, haha!”

I chuckled. “I rarely hear of you, Mr Sebastian. You were a priest and a prince? Fen seems to admire you a lot.” Yep he did. I was busy listening to Seb reciting me some lovely poem that I didn’t hear someone come from behind me.

“Aha there you are, my friend! Why are you always late?” Seb teased.

Fenris sounded breathless, “Hello. I’m sorry to be late, Kit. Did you wait long? ” I beamed and shook my head.

YAY HE’S HERE WITH US! WITH ME! He was wearing that new blue shirt we had picked! His skin glistened with sweat. “Are you alright? I got worried. Until they said you’re always late.” I replied. I couldn’t hear his answer, people were too loud. Though he had grumbled about feeling the itch, he was actually wearing this Orlesian silver mask so he looked like my hero wow!

As the music played, we began to follow the rhythm by reflex, my left hand mirroring his and I looked into his eyes. Because he was late, he didn’t join anyone else and wanted to spend time with me. When it was the second bell for supper, some people began going home. Together we took off our masks and others garnered his attention. But we remained holding hands. I made sure to record this detail and sketch it so I can remember it forever!!

"Thank you, I know you don't like crowds, I am so proud of you!" I said when we were walking home.  ‘of course I won’t break my promise’ Fenris simply smiled, but did not elaborate on what he had been caught up in.

Glad he did not seem to be injured. 

 ********


 

 

 In Memoriam~Arielle Hawke  

 Normally Fenris likes ventilation, but now he shut the door and turned to me.

“I need a favour, from you. Zev will be jealous. Can you… will you help me to sort those items to donate or sell them? They’re… important.” As my friend spoke in his most gravelly voice, he was so overwhelmed that he had to clear his throat several times when his voice faltered tersely. The magic snaked over his upper arms and blinked erratically. Reminded me of a glowfly.

“Belonged to her. New people moved in and--- before I had time to go and pack Hawke’s , some already got discarded outside. I felt upset. The couple have a son about your generation .... and wonder what he was thinking, I wept while picking up the crest, things we shared together.... He was concerned I hadn't eaten and gave me some bread," His smile was sad.

“He apologized for their rudeness and was helpful. Somehow, managed to bring them all back.”

My heart ached for him, how alone he must have felt! “Why didn’t you tell me? I’d not have let you go there alone!” I said softly, offering him a hanky. Fenris swiped his wet face with his hand.

“Do you need a moment? I’ll come back later.” As I peeked outside, the female maids looked really concerned for us.

“Not really. I… strangely don’t want to be alone tonight, Kit. Thanks.” He dried his eyes and frowned at his coat hanging on a hook. “I guess I forgot to tell you, or maybe you had already went to bed. Close to Festival Night. Time blurs into white. For years no one had been interested to purchase Hawke’s mansion and I could… could still pretend she was away. Sometimes I….dreamt of what could have been. The items being here means that's almost impossible, she can't, won't be coming back.” He touched his heart and sighed.  

I made affirming encouragements, too bad I’m short or I’d be able to offer him my shoulder. When I said so, Fenris chuckled and said I could never sound serious about serious matters. He lay down to rest, and I scooted closer, noticing that Fen had lost some weight, I could feel his collarbone and his wrist too. “You haven’t been eating well huh? My mission from today on is Operation Elf Weight gain. Buying more junk food.”

“I ate a lot at the festival, food was nice. Nah don’t want to become an oversized ball.” He could not smile, but I was tickled by the image of him as "Mouseball Elf" and doodled a picture his head was smaller than rotund body! He fell asleep, allowing me to stroke his bangs. I taped my doodle to his calendar.


 

He got a grip on his anguish. Later that night, he wrenched open the stiff door of the spare room. Fenris has undoubtedly awesome strength because of his Gift, the boxes and trunks were so huge and he’d lugged these back, all by himself! "Oh gosh, I would only be able to take them one at a time. You're amazing." I remarked. He shrugged.

"Oh, I didn't actually carry everything at once, or my back would hurt. I appreciate this, cara." 

We looked at one trunk of books and small paintings first. There were many of a lady called Leandra, who was her mother and some of another younger lady. “Bethany. I wonder if she’d like to have these things. She- she left Kirkwall after the wars. Should I write to her?” He was actually consulting me!

Oh man would that be a good idea? “I’m not sure, hmm I’m with you. Yea, but does Beth know how… her sister died?”

He sighed, but smiled a little. “Your bad habit of shortening everyone’s names. Eh I don’t think I can mention that. Perhaps, when she comes I can… try.”

“No no, she’ll hurt you Fen. Then will have a mage-warrior Riot part 2, gahhhh.” Now he took a deep breath and said nothing like that was going to happen.

“We’re likely to meet at the Hanged Man and it will be an adult civilized conversation. Hm, maybe Varric will be there to calm us down. We’ll see, I need to plan it all carefully…..” He could not bear to open Arielle's journals and letters yet. 

I could not fathom the depth of his love for the Champion.

Reply to me Part I (His grammar has improved just some errors, and he reads steadily)

Excellent Essay! Congrats on being chosen, and I am proud of you. I don’t have structure take this as like a longer letter than usual okay?

Will I become more famous now? A bit worried there. I almost can’t believe that I have so many good qualities. U are Angelum meum too, my Angel. All of you, even Cullen and unexpected allies help me not to focus too much on myself, to reach out again and again. Even Merry, always giving me free candles and herbs. I don’t think she can make a profit, have advised her to stop but like how we used to bicker about magic and plight of “our people” she does not get the point. I’m surprised we are harmony now. = )

Think I can start on your good points, u are also my very best friend! No problem for me to listen, unless they scolding u. You act so much like Arielle, it’s both happy and sad for me too. She used to be angry if I brood, threaten to beat me up also. Would snatch away the wine bottle if I drank too much.

Indeed, before u came regular, I had no idea what to say, remembering some interesting past. Do u? That time my house still not fix complete, me still recovering. When rain, you got so excited and run up stairs, to a room I cannot lock, saying: Elf lets see the leaking roof. Oh no. I tried to distract and chase after u, so funny now I picture it. Not patched properly, so much water it made me feel bad. U found joy in these simple things. All kind of tiring but how cute u were. When I flashback how easy I got angry, why so childish I ask myself? Then Aveline said she cannot look after you all times, so I prep a room. It was hard not be upset, when you didn’t want leave me though your mother came pick you up. Some nights, we called but you hidden until they gave up. That time u didn’t care my body hurt, just hung on tightly and wanted to stay. 

It’s impossible to stay angry with any of u too long, am I going soft? Sometimes start laughing at wrong times. I agree, some gratitude can help me relax, I’m in a good place now doing what I like, though I only know fighting best. Have freedom shelter, stable, can sleep late, improving in grammar and company. Anyway back to it, u do write and draw very well, much better than any of us. Pls don't give up, write and paint More so that we have chance to buy your works next time! It’ll be great to decorate the walls with your paintings. I have framed the "forest with hawk", when I’m in pain and miserable, cheers me up. Thank you.

I wish to help Madam understand you better. I’m calm enough for it. Indeed I didn’t have much memory of my own, slaves don’t live together when given work. Don’t worry, not flashback. I’m honoured to be at your side, carissime. Let’s not worry about repayment of debt, I’m content now this mansion that seen history, is now warm and I don’t live alone.

Yes, I often question why the Maker had been really unseeing and unjust to me, all those bad events. Yet Sebastian keeps reassuring He cares for me, though difficult to accept at times. Sorry forgot to introduce u that day. No I did not have ‘the hots’ for him. He has been kind, but sort of like a grandpa. Why u imagine so much huh? In fact wished he would stop praying aloud, drove me nuts.

 

Coming up: possible Beth-ris I’m not sure where Beth has gone we shall see and more of what Fennie considers this little family lol!

 

 

Chapter Text

PART 2 mini essay

 

Leto recited this second part about a week later, with some clearing of his throat. He didn't mind me looking directly at him, though his deep voice did not have much tone, sometimes he smiled and poked me on the side.

Dear Kit, yes I can spell ur name now! I miss her sometimes, but today I'm feeling fine. The books we used to read together or rather she would read, while I struggled to understand, then I got angry and stomped off. I wish I had tried harder. So it is quite strange when some of your friends come up to me and say they like me. Will it be all right to say you have her inner strength? She had a bit of magic and also used daggers. Zev is more jovial than her, I can't always understand his flirting and he is never serious. I'm glad he did nothing indecent. At the borders of some countries, he had a scandal- reputation. Didn't trust him not to molest any of you. Maker he can be so infuriating, I cannot predict what he will do next. Now I learn to trust.

Oh u didn't tell me why u like elves so much? Is it because I'm your friend? Instead of viewing us as One race, I'd like it if u see me separate from them. I don't hate the Dalish now when we met them for the trip, but those at Seheron didn't save slaves. It is only recent - youths care about us. Haha yes I want to be simple and for justice.

I don't know, not angry or sad much, when Zev talking with other people. He seems to know everyone. Yet sometimes when others tried get close to Hawk, I was angry. Hard to explain why, : ) Are u certain u cannot wait for me to be ur Lover? What if I stop u talking to others, Kit? (At this I laughed and he couldn't stifle his laughter too )

There was this Qun convert Tallis-- I remember her, she asked us about marriage and I did not like her. It means the person sells themselves over to the oxmen and generally agrees with their rigid laws. Tallis unwise.

Hmm....  I'm not sure if going to marry Z... we have got problems and differences, remember that talk? You can all see how fond we are of each other, though being close with another man is quite new to me. Or perhaps I can't remember.

 

He told u abt Isa? Zev and her were more than friends, and they claimed a lot of things they did with me. Er I don't feel ready to talk about that, maybe next time. Isa favorite game to guess underwear, ha but I never ans. Sometimes good she will sleep so I didn take off armor. Isa is not always reliable, she can cheat alot hasn't paid me back. She cause the Qun invasion being reckless! 

 

Kirkwall not  so open to same-sex marriages yet. Elves have got together in some Dalish ceremonies outside. Ah he said that Merril also loves women, she and his cousin very close. I marvel that u want to learn Elvish Kit! It's not easy, u are doing well. In cities most can understand talk with humans. When I left Seheron, barely knew much Common and had to hear closely 'food' 'rest' and 'coin' Listened and learnt. Not true, I didn't hide in a Mage tower, why u listen to those clowns? (smiley)

Talk is easier, I don't know everything. Thanks for praise Im wise, u didn't see when I was clumsy and dropped things. Previous life had to serve food drinks to guests, I broke plates. Did fall down stairs, oww! So be sure to walk slowly, don't rush

 

U seem enjoy the camping, except waking early? I can wake any time, surrounded by bugs, sounds, rain, always have sweat-- didn't like those. Haha me used to sleeping in house with bed. Hard bed also good. Once shared tent with another Dalish, he put his foot near my face,  imagine how to sleep like that, and rain very loud. Hm I dun mean being negative--- I love how we got to talk, take care Zev, wow his hand was so big swollen.

 

(when I had impulsively said yay I wished to run away. This part was deadly serious, he frowned at me disapprovingly. ) kavesh how can u say u want to do so?Tough is not sufficient, can't ever let down your guard, always worried hungry, cold and tired, fast heartbeats. 'the hunt' After a decade, I still get nightmares from those hunted days. Gracias tibi for everything, especially secrets, making me smile even when u are being an imp. I had not sign up to be parent, but it's good and more comfortable with your friends as well.

 

Sincerely, Fenris (not Fennie)

 

“I love it! That's the best essay ever! Yay” I exclaimed, kissing the pages. Fenris smiled, sipping some juice. After speaking so much, I thought my friend would naturally want his solo time. But no, I couldn't evade an important speech!

“Promise me you won't consider running away. I can't bear the thought of the worrying. If you need to be alone, you can hide in any of the rooms here.” Fen swallowed, his wide green eyes eagerly passionate and he squeezed both my hands in his calloused scarred ones. “That's something you should not follow my example. It was not the same then. Even if we don't answer right away, does not mean we don't hear you.” I nodded.

“I know. Actually I meant something else.” He waited. But he disapproved when I explained that in order to empathize with poverty and slaves, my friends and I 'wanted to gain experience as runaways' Big mistake haha, he got really uptight. Noooo! "You aren't clumsy, maybe it was an accident. Sucks." I winced picturing him tumbling down.

Fen smiled. "Ha, perhaps or I could have been drunk. Anyway, don't run away. Unnecessary to gain such experience." Though he sounded stern, I knew he cares for our welfare.

 

Chapter Text

 Fenris resisted the impulse to get up from the table and pace once again. He ordered yet another pint of cheap beer although he detested the taste. Since this would just be a normal conversation, he opted not wearing full armour, just a dark shirt and trousers. I should go and look for Bethany, maybe she’s lost. Has she forgotten where the Hanged Man is?  he fretted. 

Varric came by and asked him to chill. “Nah why would Sunshine be lost? She’s not that innocent young girl we used to know. It’s been years Broody.”

"I am not Broody. Just that being away for so long, she might have forgotten. Gah.” He uncrossed his legs and prepared to strap on his large sword again.

“We’ll take care of that, you need to reserve this table. It’s the only one not right in the centre,” Aveline quipped honestly. Fenris returned her smile- her take-charge motherly attitude never failed to sooth his nerves.

She said she had already sent some friends to look out for Beth. “So, did she describe how she looks like now?” He unclipped the rolled paper from his belt and handed it to Aveline. The woman, remaining survivor of the Hawke family had longer hair, hated Orlesian dressing so likely to wear pants and mercenary gear, and not assigned to any fixed group of adventurers. He found her style very easy to read and understand and his heart rate tripled as the moment approached….

 

Hey Fenris,

How are you? I was very surprised you chose to write to me, after what…. Almost fifteen years after the riots. I cannot wait to see you! You sound like an entirely different ,changed person! I don’t mind meeting at the Hanged Man, we used to all go there for cards. Sometimes I got news from dwarfie, and a bit from Isabela. I remember you the most though, how you loved my sister. The filth should be all right, Denerim and other cities are quite bad too. Yes I am sad that Sister is gone, she took on too much stress as Champion. 

Will you be wearing that spiky armour? Or in uniform? Aveline said you’re more handsome than ever haha! Oh I vaguely remember what you said to me the first time, I’m a viper in the midst, how I wanted to punch you. You hated magic, so Fenris I hope you don’t still have an issue with mages. I’m not exactly in a Circle. I will be in dark pants and a white blouse, my hair is grey now. This is truly impressive, if no one helped you to edit this, what a leap of improvement!

  Hugs, Beth  

Pls send love to Merrill and the rest, can’t wait to reunite

 

Fenris rubbed his face. “Why does she still say I’m handsome? I'm still me.”

“Well you are, just yesterday some fangirls wanted to ask where you live.” She grinned. He blinked seriously. “Don’t worry, I gave some false location. Where we commanders live is strictly private.”

 

He thanked her. His ear twitched. Ave said they had planned to meet up but Beth had something come up about a year ago. “So do you want to talk alone? Need backup?”

"No need for backup, I'm a civilised elf," he rumbled. Ave smiled.

Someone yelped 'Beth-ris', making him jump. Had Squirt somehow followed them here? She had coddled and begged in the evening.

“Please Uncle! I’m almost 20 now, I wanna see Bethris, kissing.”  It was their affectionate combination of a would be romantic couple pairing.

“I am sorry. Yes you are bigger now but it will be very late and I cannot have Madam seeing you there, no pubs. I will invite her to come stay with us, so you can see her then,”  he had reiterated and blocked the stairway.

 Phew it was his imagination. Maker, Andraste whoever you are, grant me the strength to talk to her about this burden. I will take full responsibility  -- he said inside, bowing his head and closing his eyes. Deep in rumination, the voices hushed around him, but Fen did not look up. Not until a female voice tentatively asked, “You are Fenris right?” He gasped as fingers hovered near his sensitive skin and the tattoos swirled in the presence of a mage. She moved back.

He blinked and his gloved hands were sweating, itching. “Yes.” He stood up uncertainly.  She had Hawke’s features, deep amber eyes,grey -haired,as she had promised on paper. His memory recalled her younger self an apostate with a red scarf.

Beth had her hair in a loose ponytail and she didn’t carry any weapon, just breathing hard. “Come, sit down. Do you wish to drink something? On the house.” He walked over and pulled a chair. Had she run all the way here? Oh yes, humans have less stamina than elves.

She beamed at him.

“Thanks. Yes, maybe a light alcohol. I want to be awake. Wow you haven't changed a bit! Still handsome. I've missed your voice. Though you were obnoxious about all mages being evil.” She winked. Fenris chuckled and took his own seat.

“I am sorry. Hope you were not too lost, I should have been there at the docks.” He did not mind her jibe one bit. The bottle came and he filled a glass for her, his hand was quite steady though his stomach had butterflies.  Fen intended to get straight to the point but how to? ‘I killed your sister. Can you not hate me?’ Although he had roleplayed and rehearsed this scene millions of times over the past nights, the words wouldn’t flow. They spoke on casual everyday stuff, about friends.

"Wow is it really true you're dating now, many suitors? And become a dad wow. Happy for you , Fenris."

 He almost choked on his drink. “Ah no that’s just a rumor. Zevran is with me, and no I don’t have children. I look after Sabriel on their behalf, the kid insists on following me….” Fenris felt at ease and it was like their friendship had taken off on a good start.

“Oh yes forgot to ask, how is Merrill? Are you ok with her?”

 “I am. She is now selling handicrafts and herbs near her home. Same house, though now they’ve changed the district names. She is not with a clan now. Awhile back, Zev and her searched for his cousin, we did a camp together.” Bethany was nodding and pleased.

Soon she looked drowsy and stifled polite yawns. He invited her over to the mansion. She only brought a light pack. As he escorted her, he touched his belt and noticed he had forgotten the keys. Ah! She observed the surroundings and the new street lights. “Hm I hope some of my friends are still home, I forgot the keys.” He pressed the bell. He could always phase through the lock, but best not to waste money later.

“Wow no more ivy walls,” she commented.

As the door flung open, Zev greeted them. “Hello sunshine! You are Beth yes? I am Zevran.” He hugged her and kissed both her cheeks.

“This is her first time, can you give her some space? Sorry about that.” Fenris apologetically extracted Zevran from close contact.  He was not perturbed in the least. Now that it was past 1030, Sabriel would have school tomorrow. He had reminded her to go to bed early, though he could not wait to have them meet each other. “Come, make yourself at home. I’ll prepare the guest room.”

“Don’t worry about it Fenris. I’m fine, just sleepy.” Zev then engaged her. Fen found some of the new staff and asked them to prepare a warm bath. He had to watch them in case they screwed up, this week Mary had been sick so they were still misplacing items.

 He went into the guestroom which was dark. Suddenly a voice shouted ‘Fennie’ and grabbed his leg. The elf was not surprised as he had excellent hearing, so he just disentangled himself. “Maker, I’m busy. Don’t sneak up on me. Where were you?” He tweaked her hair. “Help me to clean up, Bethany will sleep here.” She began making excuses that she had school tomorrow, but Fen now blocked her escape route.

“Alright sorry. You’re not scared of us anyway. Has she eaten?” Kit asked, as he began sweeping the floor and asked her to find new bedsheets.

“Yes. Be careful of the dust. She might want dessert.”

Just as he was adjusting the bed curtains and smoothed the fabric, he was suddenly emotional and fatigued, could not remain standing. When would be the right time to talk about the issue? His mind could not come up with the proper words.

Kit: Yeay Bethy is here! At last! Fen had been so wound up that he rushed out much earlier than the intended time. Now he was looking dazed and tired. It worried me. I rubbed his shoulders. “Did you eat? Don’t drink on empty stomach, aww.”

He sighed and patted my hand. “I didn’t drink. I ate something. Hey, did you finish revising for that test?” At this, the elf was suddenly alert, his greens shining. I moaned. “Yes yes! So tomorrow then I’ll talk to her?” I peeked out, Beth had gone for a bath. "Yes, but wait for your turn. Come on, I'll tuck you in bed." I am so grateful for such a responsible parent! And I wanted to protect him during the moment of truth.

 


 

Fenris

 On the fourth morning after breakfast, he decided to get to the point. Couldn’t procrastinate any longer. “I have to tell you something. Serious.” The woman was reading a volume in the upper study. Fen hovered in the doorway. What happened, came out in fragments.

“I tried to get Anders…. But after what happened he had went on exile. I brought her to some minor healers begged them—she had no pulse. Nothing they can do. I--- I am sorry. If you are angry you have every right to be.” He couldn’t look directly at her while he talked. He clenched his fists, gradually lifting his head. Why was Beth not answering? She had a slight frown, her lips apart and her breathing slowed. She should be thunderstruck, furious, disbelieving. Fenris whispered, “Do you- are you going to hate me? It was my fault.”Although he had braced himself since before her impending arrival, his heart still was foolish enough to harbour a tiny spark of hope.

And he felt the world tilting, his vision darkening, he forgot to breathe normally. Physically he reached for a nearby chair for support and his hearing was suddenly impaired. It took a very long while for him to register someone calling his name, thick and slowly. “Fen? Fen can you hear me? Are you ill?”

Beth noticed how pallid white he had become but his marks did not glow habitually. She didn’t understand why he was choosing to talk about her sister now.

She called out for help, and the young Sabriel rushed over with two men assistants. The mage summoned a healing spell, it made her hands glow pink. “Stop! Miss Bethany don’t hurt him. He didn’t mean to kill your sis. It was an accident!”

Beth raised her hands up. “No, I want to heal him. Fenris?” Sabriel glanced at him but did not move.

Then he took in oxygen, his tan flooding back to his face. “Kit what are you doing here? This is between us! I’m not sick, just go.” He waved impatiently to the men who left. “I’m sorry—I think the lyrium, these marks got too strong for her and Arielle, she…”  he couldn’t say the word and his throat was sore. “This isn’t your concern, Kit. I need time, don’t be like that now.” He couldn’t control his anguished tears trickling and he steered her out. 

Then Beth found her voice. “You are saying that Arielle died from lyrium overload? And you didn’t try more to help her?” She sounded accusing and paced a bit.

Sabriel repeated forgive him, as Fenris’ remorseful large eyes met Beth’s. “Forget it! I’m leaving!” Hawke’s sister swept out past them. He tried to catch her arm but she was too fast for him.

Full of turmoil and worry, Fenris turned on his friend, “Wait! You ruined this! I did the wrong myself, why couldn’t you do as you’re told? Venhedis! Now she’s going to be lost! ” All the patience evaporated from Fenris, he was trembling with adrenaline and anger, his vision was clouded/ He pointed outside. “I DIDN’T NEED help dammit!”

He was not mean-spirited and cruel, yet even as she was on the verge of breaking down and explaining, he couldn’t repress the final outburst. His marks pulsed and ached. His forehead was damp. Fenris hurried to find his easiest light armor to wear and hastily headed out.  Zev had heard the commotion, but thought they could handle it, so he just came out. “Fenris amor, what happened? Can I help?”

The lyrium warrior grumbled, avoiding Zev’s touch, his glare focused onwards. They were now downstairs. That determination that made them admire him so much but vibrating with anger. “No time, I’ve to find her. We--- argued, it’s all a mess- I meant to explain properly faugh!” Then the front door slammed hard.

Zev’s ears pricked. The teenager looked dazed atop the stairs, her eyes were swollen and her nose was red. She folded her arms. “Hi what’s going on? I heard the shouting and he’s gone out. How can she be lost? Are you alright, darling?” Zev casually walked up the stairs. They embraced. “I didn’t do wrong. I thought Beth would hit him—he blamed himself what and how Hawke died. But it’s not! I saw her raise her hand, and he looked pale. Yet he’s – angry, mad at me. So unfair!” She explained in a rush.

 

“No no, shhh. They won’t hurt each other, not Fenris. Aveline said she’s a gentle, good lady and Fen knew her before. He’s- maybe worried about her. She hasn’t come back for years. Makes sense, no? I am sorry about all that, let them all calm down. The fresh air will cool them all down yes?” The quarrels did not faze Zevran, he had seen many conflicts before. His lover did not remember, yet Zev could recall the times they had argued with Isa when they were a trio. As they had been drunk, Fenris had opened up about the real reason for Hawke being gone, his guilt and turmoil. He rubbed her back and suggested they have a cup of tea.

Sabriel smiled weakly. “Can you make those chocolate cookies? Your style?”

"No problemo." 

 

 

Chapter Text

 

Fenris began asking the few contacts he had, including Anso, the spunky mage's whereabouts. He would have searched all over by himself, but he was much too worried, tense and impatient to think straight. He thanked them when they yielded nothing and cursed himself. Then along one route, Donnic was on patrol. “Did you see her? Bethany.” Fenris gave him a brief description as Donnic had not met her yet.

 

“Wait, I think so.” Donnic turned to one man for confirmation who nodded. Fenris felt his headache lift and he straightened.

“Which way?” They had seen her run towards Lowtown. They asked him to join them for some activity. “No I can’t. I’ve to catch her, thanks. See you.”

Why was he getting all frantic like this? She must hate his guts by now, that he had failed Hawke and was no defenceless child 'But I need to make this right! I have to.  And this bisexual feeling---disturbs me. I've feelings for both male and female, will I betray Zevran? No, it’s not that I love her I just want to ensure she’s all right. That we talk properly and then I’ll leave her alone.'

Fenris panted as he slowed down from a full-out sprint. Being in reverie, he could usually focus on the task and exceed his limits. His mind wouldn’t let him be. “Please, Arielle, watch over her.” Would Beth be at the Hanged Man? Fenris hitched a ride with a friend going in that direction. Over these years, the shortie had established an entire chain of pubs and taverns such as the Flying Pirates in the district. Although they didn’t stick well in memory, Fenris thought he’d try all of them.

 

“Hey Broody what’s up? Rather early to be getting drunk….” Varric shocked him when he popped out from one door.

 

“Dwarf did you see Bethany? She’s—she ran off suddenly, worried for her..." He was so Relieved to see a familiar face. 

 

Varric raised his hands. “Nope, sorry. Sunshine can take care of herself, Elf. She's smart. Calm down. What happened?”

 Despite his turbulence, Fenris smiled, because good old Varric had always known his limits. He probably meant the time the elf had overstrained himself and blacked out. “ Fine. It’s complicated, not just that. Take care.”

“You’re gonna get hungry running around. Take this.” He held out a paper bag of something. Fen started to refuse but dwarf nagged him until he surrendered. He waited till people were out of sight before wolving down the sandwich. Then he heard the sound of someone grumbling and the broom swishing.

Merrill! Beth had mentioned she missed her, she might be there! Fenris waited for a wagon to cross the path and jogged in that direction.

**********

In front of Merrill’s house, the medium stall decorated with some ribbons streaming down the sides, with a miscellany of handicrafts gathered a few more customers. Another woman with the female mage were collecting payments and chatting with them. Some leaving almost rammed into Fenris and oogled him briefly. He stepped back, waiting for them all to leave the area, ignoring them.

He tried to peek through the windows but could not see whether Beth was inside or not. Desperately, he looked up at the sky- Please be here, Andraste I barely pray but I need you to help us. I don't want her to be gone. Not yet.

Finally Merrill was available. She held out her arms beaming, “Hello there Fennie! Vanyo and I started making new tapestries and shawls, would you like to buy something today? Anything we can help with?”

"Not today, Merrill. Has Beth come by? ” He glanced distractedly at some of the colors but didn’t have the mood. At this moment the door opened and a hooded woman (taller than the elves but the same height as Fenris) came out with a canvas. Her back was turned while she was lugging out a large canvas. “Hey, is this the one you are talking about Merry? The one with the Vhenedahl tree?” Her voice was muffled. The mage said yes.

Fenris moved to help the lady with it, but did not really give her a second glance. Together they maneouvred the canvas until it was in a good position. Vanyo thanked him and he said it was no problem, wondering where he had seen this cape before. The stranger was wearing a mask and quickly looked away when their eyes met. He cocked his head and tuned into her necklace, jingling with bells. It is her!  Beth had discussed how Leandra specially made two bell charms, one for Hawke and one for her. It still gleamed golden and had that frequency of chiming.

Careful not to grasp her too hard with his claw, Fenris said her name once and brushed the hood. “Beth, are you all right?” The hood fell back and revealed her hair and face. 

“Go away. I’m fine!” she snapped coldly, jerking away from him and moving to the door.

“Surely there’s no need to be upset, Lethallin. What is going on?” Merrill went on. 

“Can I explain, please? ” He pleaded but found the wood slammed in his face hard. With reflex, he was uninjured but a poker further stabbed in his heart by: ‘Nothing more, I don’t want to see him again!’ The bolt turned. Of course this was no barrier against him, but she had made it clear. 

"I truly regret what happened. An accident, I would have given my life to save -"

Bethany repeated the same words louder, cutting him off. His knees felt weak, no more adrenaline left.

Merrill scratched her head. “Aw maybe she doesn’t like my tea. It’s much tastier than the watery one, I’ve a tin outside here. Come on, Fenris let’s drink it together.” From nowhere it seemed, she produced a teapot and strained the leaves into cups, serving them on an adjacent table.

He numbly watched Vanyo speaking happily to some customers. “Ah sorry Fenris, what happened? I’m hungry too, want some lunch?” She had evidently heard his stomach rumble. Normally her inane questions drove him nuts but today he felt strangely touched by this. Elves should stick together! A tiny voice inside said gleefully. As they shared a vegetarian meal with some fruits, Fenris sighed. “No I’m not all right. It’s been—a very long morning. I did something bad and she’s angry. Rightly so.” He watched the door keenly which did not budge an inch.

“Ah I see. You can apologize and she is sure to forgive you. Maybe later. Did you sleep well?”

Fenris expected this kind of reaction from Beth, yet it did nothing to cushion the blow of her adamant hatred. Merrill looked at him sympathetically, her oval eyes larger than a deer's. Last time, he would have cursed with impatience at her inane stupidity. Something along the lines of: I DON'T WANT YOUR PITY! Now he was too tired.

“I’m not certain that will work. Not much sleep...” The tea scalded his tongue and he gasped. Merrill refilled his cup and bade him to be careful. His migraine ached.

“I need some space.” He closed his eyes and massaged his temple. When he came to, there was a long queue of people waiting excitedly for something and children cutting the queues and jumping up. The aroma of freshly baked pastries and sweetness made his tastebuds water. Both Sabriel and Beth had exclaimed how much they wanted to indulge in chocolate cookies yesterday, when he received a box from a grateful client. In no time, the girls had finished the supply, bonding with what they thought should be the ideal textures. They hardly noticed if he had eaten much, but he had not overtly minded.

Merrill said ruefully, “Ah they are always in business even when they come just twice a week. Lucky! Too bad I can’t bake.”

“Really? Smells delicious, think I want to get some. Excuse me.” He peeked over the shoulders of humans to see the assortment of pastries. In the centre with an attractive sign was giant cookies with toppings. No he could not afford to miss buying them!

 

******

Bethany grumbled if that infuriating elf had left yet. She couldn’t stand the pain in his face and posture. Why did he have to ruin their stay together? Why did he enjoy reliving the past? Nothing can bring sister back. Had Arielle died in pain? Can’t believe that I ever thought and idolized him as brave! He’s a coward. All along Varric and Aveline claimed that the cause was over exertion and a possible cardiac arrest. So, he couldn’t bring himself to tell them. Mother always spoke about Andraste forgiving sinners. This is different though, how could she? 

 

“Hey Sunshine, are you still angry? What exactly did Fenris do?” She was asking now, persistently and curious. Somehow, she had managed to unlock her door. Beth folded her arms.

“Anyway he’s buying some limited edition cookies from that stall. If only I know how to bake food too, then I can get some business,” Merrill commented wistfully.

Bethany considered whether to tell Merrill what he had done or not. “Was- do you know if my sister was in pain when she died? How Fenris said it. It's important.” 

“Sorry I don’t remember. I doubt he went to the wake, he was not himself and someone would always watch to make sure he was ok. Donnic was scared he might do something self harming. And then…. ” Beth frowned, visualizing that time. To them asking, Fenris had immediately declared to kill oneself was a sin against the Maker and his bristling recoil defences, when people simply brushed near him. Back then.... 

Before he shared about that tragic incident, she had actually softened to his naïve charisma (he seemed to be unaware of people falling for him) and taking initiative to look after her needs and showing her around town.   How baffled he appeared,  clammed up when fangirls and boys alike followed him about! He couldn't completely hide his surprise and some lighter emotions properly, not from one as introspective as her. She felt some fondness for the changed Fenris, no longer a sourpuss 

Yes she was still very angry and shocked, but she couldn’t deny that intense grief and sheer difficulty in his confession. 

Then that very same husky voice spoke from outside the window, “I’ve bought cookies. I am sorry for what happened and I know it can’t change the past. I understand if you can’t forgive me. Here they are.” His blue hand phased through the glass with a small paperbag. As she took the cookie and chewed, she felt her anger melting away, his shy laugh, how he protected her from over enthusiastic friends, that they did care for him and how his ears reddened at teasing. Telling stories, an excellent listener, that child jumping to his defence. Don’t hurt him Miss! He is very sad. She also had an unfamiliar energy, was not lyrium not any magic. What is it?

 The bolt couldn’t move and Bethany cursed, struggling with it.

“Wait! Merry, he's left? Where?” It was getting dark and she squinted but could not see his pale hair at all in the distance.

“Not far. Let’s go!” The girls created two floating light orbs and searched for the crestfallen warrior elf.

 


 

“Wait! Fen, ah…” He stopped walking--was his hearing actually deceiving him? How he envied others smiling, laughing and going home together, closing up.  He had just finished two cookies, making sure to save enough for Sabriel… he wanted to make it up to her. ‘I am so fucked up with this friendship business. Need to keep my head low. Ah Hawke, you’d know what to say. I miss you.’

His foot tread on something sharp. "Kavesh." He had worn sandals but they had worn down.

Breathless voices urged him to stop. They asked why must he walk so fast? Fenris stopped, wincing when he rested weight on his injured foot. Bethany and Merrill were gasping and looked up. For awhile they sat together quietly, and he worked the shard out from below his foot. 

Beth firmly grasped his foot and Fenris watched as some pale light and a featherlike sensation healed the scar. 

“You’re- not angry anymore?” She finished off with a rune tracing motion and grunted. He flexed his toes and strapped the sandal back.

“Don’t remind me, Elf. Who says I'm not? You have a lot to account for!” She scolded. 

Merrill looked confused, and miraculously she excused herself- that they needed privacy. Fenris couldn't believe it, and smiled. “Come on, don’t want to miss the last ride back home. Knowing you, you wouldn’t have the sense to eat when rushing about. Men." He nodded.

 

Back at Hightown, they were just in time to order the final share of hot noodles from a closing store. Fenris gulped it all down, oblivious to the heat. “Ah as I guessed!” she triumphantly declared, blowing on her bowl. The man said it was on the house. The way he waved aside their money was like he thought they were bickering lovers.

 

“I’m quite lousy at taking care of myself. They always nag me to gain weight. Ha.” He said dryly, smiling. “I don’t have gastric pains. Sometimes Kit does and she’ll be very moody. Bethany, I know isn’t possible right now, but-“

 

She shook her head. “I don’t understand it, that was Such a long ago! And I left without knowing. But now, I see how much the rest and Zevran, they love and care for you! Yes, your young daughter seemed convinced I was about to blast you or something. Fenris, why did you suddenly want to tell me? You could have kept it forever.”

 

Fenris found the barriers he had erected around himself were dissipating. They had eye contact, her defiant amber against his repentant leaf-green.  “True. I wanted to. It has been locked inside me for so long, though at times I might have hinted. But I was afraid of--- alot of things. Actually, since I collected Arielle's things when the new family moved in, the pain got worse. If I did not go near her street, I could pretend she was just away....  Still, this is not easy to lie about. I did love her, if I could turn back time I would have….” He blinked the hot tears that crystallized his vision and sniffed.

 

“Shush, don’t talk rubbish. You had better not worry them! Fenris. Anyway I cannot hate you, it’s pointless to talk about ‘what if’ at this moment.”

Then they finished their meal in silence and she voluntarily held his hand as they walked the rest of the way to his mansion. Fenris reminsced how Arielle always reached for his hand when she felt vulnerable. Some cats tumbled about in a flurry of claws in a back alleys,their yowling and shrieks irritating citizens.

She asked him, I remember you like dogs more, how about cats? I like how independent and strong cats can be. The elf beamed, she could feel his fingers curl about hers too like his lips. "I think they don't quite like me, either I'm stared down, or they flee. Kit made me take scraps of chicken to befriend a few near our street. I guess some can be cute. Haha."

As Bethany watched a retreating cat, he said dogs were more faithful and if she felt akin to felines? She laughed. 


 

Zev opened the door this time as well. He beamed and shook their hands. He smelled of food. “How are you both? We’re making dessert, something savory.”

 

“Thanks Zev. We just ate. I could eat a little.” Beth replied, he was so warm. Zev then kissed his lover, who closed his eyes in rapture. She blushed and glanced at one maid who was whispering to Kit. They were stirring the sticky mixture and pouring them into cups.

“We’re In love, yeay…” Zev stopped and exclaimed it hurt when Fenris punched his shoulder.

After Beth went upstairs, Fenris carefully approached Kit. He politely waited for them to finish serving the dessert on the trays. “Hi, these cookies were fresh and I got them for you…” Kit remained silent and washed her hands. This time, he did not feel a pang and braced himself as he apologized and followed her. She said she’d go to bed earlier.

 ***********

  Kit

I was still very hurt, how could my friend just yell at me? May as well go to bed, I didn't feel like forgiving yet.  Think Fenris said something along the lines of being sorry, then went into the bathroom. In a short while, I heard a soft knock on my door and it opened. Felt the elf’s weight near my leg. “You asleep? I know now you’re not in the mood. But these are very nice. I had two. They sell just twice a week, ” He said conversationally, his voice lightened. The rustle of the paper near my table, and I was facing that direction. I didn’t answer. His calloused rough hand touched my back.

“Want you to know I didn’t mean to shout. I couldn’t find her for awhile, got worried that she was lost. And then yes, she hated me for a while. But talked through it, it’s kind of settled now. ”

 

Maybe that was the end of it, so I breathed deeply. The elf didn’t move to go yet, he gently tucked in the blankets around me and his shadow moved as he went to my windows. “I understand--- your worries for me. mon ange. Gracias.” I slowly opened one eye, Fen was illuminated by the moonlight, and he was glowing silver. Then I felt a breeze and his finger stroked my hair, then he whispered some tevene into my ear. “Forgive me please? I hope you can hear me. Tomorrow I’ll take the day off, let’s all talk. I’m sleepy.” He yawned and then I felt his presence shift.

“Remember to close the bag with the ribbon so the ants don’t crawl. Bye.” The door creaked open.

 

Cool! I couldn’t fight the urge. My saliva drooled haha “Fennie! Yay so I can eat them right now.” I turned on the lamp and looked inside, grinning. Smelled like heaven! Butter and chocolate

“There are 10 inside. You will get indigestion. Um, you heard me? Are we friends again? Sorry for being a grouch.” He padded closer and put his arm around me, sitting beside me. I felt his bare skin, he hadn’t worn a shirt.

 

“Later you should wear a Pj. It gets cold.” He chuckled and said- take one, then remember to brush your teeth. “Oh yes I’ve to send you to the dentist soon.”

 

I moaned. “Hey I'm still sore. I really didn’t want to talk. Especially that she seems more important than us duh. You didn’t want me.” I still had to get that out in the open, my ego was pissed.

 

“Not at all. I wouldn’t have waited so long for this if you’re not. I just got to know Beth again, we didn’t exactly love each other….” Now he stifled a yawn and rubbed his eyes. “Tired.” I tugged his hand. After a bit, Fen climbed into bed and drifted off. I smiled and closed my eyes. Usually he didn’t want to do this, out of propriety. I listened to our soft heartbeats. His face was relaxed and he glowed softly.

 But after awhile, practicality took over and Fen shifted to get up.

“Ok-lie down. S’alright. The Cookie king forgives you, I haven’t yet.” I made a deep booming voice. His adorable laugh was infectious. Then I divided one cookie in half.

 

“Squirt, no need. Tomorrow. Night.” He stretched and elegantly rose, holding the piece. He won’t ever hurt me, I trust him. Sometimes like this morning the fight could be intense,but we always patched back good as new.

****

 

After the adults finished talking about the boring serious matters, I asked Elf if he liked chocolate. He smiled. “No problem, any flavour will do but not particularly that. I like the white kind, not too sweet. Enjoy them, my throat is sore. Love you.” Fen and I were on the couch side by side, and then he somehow leaned on my shoulder and dozed off. Beth said perhaps he hadn’t enough sleep, so she reminded the guests to lower their volume. He may be imperfect but I wouldn’t trade places.

She was looking at me strangely, like mages do when they are concerned about something. "What is it?"

"Even if I was really pissed, I couldn't have harmed him. He's way too strong. Your aura-- what is that? It doesn't feel like mana or lyrium or spell." 

Quite true, unless enemies cheated almost no one is Fen's match, yet he had been weakened. "Coz he is more than kin to me, and it seemed like was about to get hot. I hope you'll both be ok now." Fenris' fingers tickled my arm. "Eh it's like I am counter-lyrium, and I'm having a bit of templar training now. If magic is awry, I can help to blank it out. The similarity is if I get upset or too angry, it can be dangerous." His white hair tickled my face. He whispered, I trust you 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter Text

Dear Fenris & Zevran-chans,

Remember what this word means?  It's good.

Today is my third day in my own town, bored! Spoiling for handsome guys. How are you doing? Fen, I hope your aching is less. In fact I’m tempted to come back haha, when I take a carriage it’s just 2 hours away. I’m down and annoyed that Mother has already assigned I’ve to be her successor in diplomacy, like Josephine Montilyet. She’s quite famous in the inquisition. Getting allies and all those talking stuff. Is it a great danger to be caught up in it? Sounds some are worried the Fade will tear open more, some countries have it tearing open and spirits, demons escaping. But my missing of you Elves eclipses that small worry. I wanna be in the action yeayy!

I don’t like being human at all. They’re full of problems, even knowing their lifespans are shorter than others. Notice I don’t say ‘ we’ , nope I don’t consider myself one. Haha yes, I was telling you why I adore elves- because you’re my friends, very best ones and you will always be attractive!! No beard hair, no wrinkles. No offence Zev, but Fennie is more handsome. Now I’m happy again. Is it mi amor the right word? Hey you had better be faithful to him. I cannot picture you with a dwarf gahh, horrible perversion! Too many details. Ahh yea, do old 3000 year old elves become wrinkled? I was seeing a Lord of the Rings book, and the picture of a king with long flowy hair, zero wrinkles still super hot.

Fenris, enclosed is a present I hope you like it! This exquisite tapestry of horsies is just perfect. I remember your passion about them. The artist who made it is famous in Denerim. Wish I can be as gifted as him on needle stuff. I can’t wait for us to visit the horses again! How often do you check on them? Can I learn to groom them? I’ve not ridden in a long while.

 

Loads of love, Sabriel!

 

I got a note from Zev that he didn’t mind my jokes and gamely described in colorful metaphors about his buddy Oghren. He had received some picture cards from the guy, because the fighters of the dwarf kingdom didn’t learn reading and writing. Fenris wrote his letter in caps, dark blue ink. I laughed so hard my stomach cramped!

DEAREST KIT,

I’m not angry, don’t worry. It’s clearer that I write like this. The not beloved one Z keeps correcting my errors, feel like punching him! Don’t believe his nonsense that we lie in bed naked together everyday!! He keeps complaining it's hot so he refuses to be in decent clothing even when our helpers are in. Some got so shocked.  Hence this mail shall be more or less perfect.

Oh the -chan behind it means cute, I'm guessing. But I don't want to be cute. 

Yes I LOVE the present! How thoughtful of you....  I shall hang it up in front. You may not manage this art yet, but I'm confident it will be soon. Such talented youths. Haha I can't do any tangible art than doodles of random splashes.

Stick by what you love and dun worry about what your family opinions may be. We will support you, carissime ;)  At first we worried about the unsteady Fade, but I definitely will not go anywhere close to it. It is painful and tiring enough when I'm involved in banishment of monsters. The priests and holy people use chanting, I continue slicing the solid forms until they die and suck back into the Fade.

There’s no pain today, it’s just slight itching… you may feel sick if I explain more. Thanks.

 

Recently they found some odd mages that have markings on their skin too. They’re of different patterns. I felt bad, even though I don’t like them. They were in pain and needed to calm down. Where I came from, only slaves had these rituals done on them, and many died. I didn’t mind taking care of them until some help came. Kirkwall is not involved for Inquisition, I hope it stays that way. My motto: Keep your head low- I still stand by it : ) Ah no, trust me it’s not exciting to be sprayed by blood and gore and screams. U are frightening me.

Yes I hear your sadness with being compared to others. Why does she not allow u freedom to be different? Previously I have spoken to Mdm that u love training and your interests, that are opposite of her. She didn’t look happy but she listened without interrupting. The housekeeper Mrs Brown, she took care of you yes? She said I can be her son, I’m shocked. When she was teaching me about baking cake, she told me he died in a war and miss having a child to talk to. I couldn’t do much when she started crying. Mrs Brown said he’d be about my age if he had survived. In the end I said it would be great that I’ve an adopted mother. Haha.

Wait am I seeing this right? You don’t like humans, wrote as ‘ they’. Hmm, I don't hate all humans, most of you guys are, except Zev and Varric, Merry. Unless they are bloodmages, I’m fine with humans. Elves are also full of problems too, be assured. What, 3000 and not old and decaying? They must have some magical cure, hmmm.

Ha, thank you for your praises! I’m very happy. Who’s going to be ur boyfriend? Let’s talk about that when u come back, I enjoy seeing u blush. No elf can see eye to eye, those of us in Alienages versus those in forests. Pictures in texts get it wrong. I’ve been thinking about religion and if the Maker exists. When I’m very upset, I do pray but it’s all broken up.

Sebastian says it’s fine. He said since Beth angry with me, I can’t do much but tell the Maker. I don’t expect very much, but I hope we can still be friends. Now she’s staying over with the rest, but avoids me. Do u think u can pray for us? 

And I’m reading more about your “Gen” , it’s fascinating how it varies from “my time” Plenty of colored swearing, and they haven't been subject to as hard a life as I had.

I don't check on the horses as often as I might like, of course I can show you how to groom them! : ) I used to take care of some horses in between mercenary stuff, fair pay and they help me feel calm and accepted. Dancer is getting old, I will be sad when it is her time. When we are both free let's go see them again. 

Thank you for reminding me. Come home soon!

Kind Regards,

Amicus Fenris

**************

When did my dear friend become part of the supernatural- banishment team? I really wanted some new tales! Swashbuckling, I want to kick ass too yeayy!

Then my smile faded, "Now she’s staying over with the rest but avoids me." It must be very hard for him that Beth was not on speaking terms with him. He wouldn’t tell me if he wasn’t still concerned. I just had to intervene if I ever met up with her.

Cool, Fen did enjoy training some youths with melee weapons now, even though he didn’t believe all humans respect him. I may not have the strength for carrying huge cumbersome weapons, but I badly want him to be my instructor!! Oh for the romantic Teacher-student love blossoming!Because he doesn’t like crowds, the groups are always a maximum of six only. I heard he is very strict and treats every student equally. At home, when I asked, Fenris would say, “I’d be too lenient and soft on you. Then you won’t gain anything. Besides they’re much too heavy for you.”

 

>> In the works :Training combat time

 

 

 

 

Chapter Text

In training room, Fenris with his students. It has been awhile since he’s free to coach them, 6 of them 2 guys and 4 girls. The elf shows Joshua the right way to wield a spear.

Fenris: Make sure you don’t poke your eye. Aim further from your body if you want to rotate it.

That’s it for today, everyone. (he slots his longsword and scabbard back onto the rack, then makes for the exit)

May: Wait! Sensei can we talk to you? Did you miss us? 

Fenris doesn’t really want to, but they all look so eager and hopeful. He takes a swig of water.

Fenris: Er, sure. But sorry, I cannot remember your names, so not that much. Why not we take a bath first? Will be back.’ ( He scratches his shoulder, the tattoos are allergic to sweat and he sorely needs to washup. They are beside themselves with excitement and chorus of happiness. When he returns they’re all seated on the floor. The boys have short hair, while the girls have different hair lengths.)

Mindy: Welcome back Sensei Fenris! Wow you have a new shirt, you look hot! (he is clad in a plain black cotton shirt, muscled arms are exposed)

Fenris (smiles): It’s not new, this is the standard offduty shirt. Oh what is that word? I have not heard it yet.

Josh/Mindy: means mentor, revered teacher!  (he can’t help laughing)

Fenris: I see, but I don’t think I am that perfect or revered! I learnt from all the past experiences I had, before… (the hard times loom in memory as with the familiar melancholy but he stores that away) Anyway why don’t you tell me about yourselves? May as well get better acquainted.

May: ok! I’m in Sabriel’s class, and so good! She lives with you. My name is May like the month and thank you for sharing your expertise with us Fenris. We care a lot about Elves, especially you. (the others also speak, Allegra waiting for them all to finish. He gently gestures for her to speak.

Allegra: Um, my name is what my father wanted, for me to be a musician one day. Allegra is a bit hard to say, most people use my nickname Moh instead. (they’re surprised that Fenris is carefully taking notes in a small notebook)

Fenris: That’s a very interesting meaning. I will try to remember. So May, Caleb, Joshua, Mindy, Hanna without a H and can you write your name for me? Thanks.

Joshua: Did you get ill because we were naughty that day? Later Alistair scolded us, we didn’t know your skin hurts all the time. Then you went off, they said you got ill.

Fenris (serene green eyes): Not at all. Ever since Tevinter, I’ve always been in pain and allergic. Think I was injured in a fight. Which day was that? I’ve forgotten.

Caleb: Yea was some time ago and you had been arguing heatedly with a man about something. And then we kept screwing up. You didn’t speak much after that. We’re sorry.

Fenris: Don’t worry about it, I don’t remember a lot of things. Let’s put that behind us, I won’t be sick from getting angry. (he’s misty eyed but manages to remain composed) True that I have a bad temper sometimes. My friends nag me about it all the time.

They volunteer to help with clearing up stuff. Fenris remembers something. ‘Oh do you have allergies? When I came back, there were so many flowers in my room I couldn’t stop sneezing. I hope you didn’t buy them.

Mindy: Really? We thought all elves enjoy plants. Maybe others bought them too haha. Your friend Casiel*  said he adores the romantic idea of it.

Fenris: ha. Not really we don’t all dance under the moonlight naked. That’s a Dalish custom. Ahh that friend, ignore him. When it’s hot and I sweat, the markings are quite uncomfortable. I have to take baths often.

Josh shows him numerous scars on his neck and legs. ‘I’ve always itched too and I scratch them. So we do get it.’

May: Oh that’s why you don’t like being touched and grabbed suddenly. We’re constantly reminded not to bang into you.

Fenris: yes they are right. (he takes out a big tub of Elvish brand moisturizer cream and a scoop) You can try this one, after I’ve seen a few healers when I scratched a lot and got infected I find it more suitable.

(The students smell and test the cream. It’s got a delicious flowery fragrance.) Glad you like it.

Allegra: It’s nice we talk like this. Can we do it again sometime?

He smiles, feeling a stir of affection for her. “Sure, I’ve to go in awhile. How about this, think about what kind of training we’ve covered so far and I don’t mind feedback and questions. Now I’ve to go.

(Zevran has come in without knocking. He calls them all darlings and speaks Antivan. The girls are flattered) “Darling can we go for lunch now?”

Fenris: Hey, we talked about what nicknames are ok. Darling is not ok. Don’t embarrass me. All right, take care of yourselves.

Zev is kind of envious that the students focus on his paramour rather than him. "You are proud of them no?" He just beamed and did not answer

 

 

Chapter Text

 

Approximately 6 months after prev chap’s events,

I wondered what had happened to the bubbly and ever positive rogue. I knew it was perfectly normal for him to be absent for days at a time, but not this long. No memo or letter, or message given to our friends and servants. Today when I walked by Zevran’s room to call for him, it seemed really empty. Quite a number of clothes were scattered over the bed, his pack and boots were gone. It didn’t feel right to rifle through his belongings, so I just slid open the drawers. Only one dagger was left, I remember he has an entire collection and also a pouch of lockpicks. “Zev? Are you in there?” I asked, opening a door partition to the right side of his room. Nope he wasn’t there either.

Fen might know, though he wouldn’t be back till later tonight. The hardworking elf couldn’t be present, though he updated me almost daily via bird messengers. He and Aveline had been posted out of Kirkwall on assignment for the past two weeks. I missed him loads too, but at least I knew Fenris wasn’t missing in action. So I asked the servants. One guy, Joe the part time gardener, said, “Eh, let me see, the other night Z seemed very worried about something, but told me it’ll be ok. He’ll inform Master Fenris when he’s settled some affairs.”

“Huh? But too rushed to give us even a short note? What else?” I didn’t feel the cause for outright panic yet, but I wanted to cover all bases. When was the final final time I had actually spoken to Zevran? Likely because he had been extremely stealthy from the assassin’s training, plus being a Dalish. Sadly I couldn’t remember, maybe it was before I stayed out for extra training and visiting Mother.

Before Fennie left, we had a long bedtime chat (which has drawn us closer in love yay and I cherish) He wanted to retire early so he lay down and let me massage his sore arm. “If you feel alone here, why not go and stay with your mother? She has written to me if you’re all right, sounds like she misses you.” Elf had patiently counselled me, and I listened because I value my best friend’s wisdom and he sincerely wants the best for us to heal our rifts. I didn’t really think one visit could change Mother so much, but I kept my promise. I smiled, remembering how much he laughed when I said- if you become her son, then you won’t stand the nagging either.

Zev, you could have tried to say goodbye! I double-checked the front desk usually stacked with bills and important documents for any indication, signs or scribbled notes? No luck there. I decided to quit worrying, maybe Alistair or his friends had included him in a secret mission. When I saw Donnic and Anders, they also had no inkling. Until Mage recalled, “Although yes, that guy collected an assortment of herbs. Rushed me, said he couldn’t wait too long.”

 

*****

I could barely concentrate on sword training, though I had been anticipating the upgrade from staff fighting! Duh wooden swords and props.  I needed to work on my aim, but I didn’t take the old grouch instructor seriously, he’s not handsome nor fun! Especially when he kept singling me out ‘hey you, so clumsy’ when I parried my partners. His actions and thinking were beyond archaic and tortoise- like.

Even my friends who had shown progress were still deemed unfit to use real steel yet. Rubbish! I may not be able to join Fenris’ sessions, but at least post me to Cullen! He’s cute, even if none are as hot as my dear elf. With a passionate swing, I destroyed my prop off its stand. That was the cue for the end, and we cheered rushing out the doors. Haha! I went to the showers, counting down to the time I can finally welcome my friends home. Zevran may even show up.

 

Never did I expect Fenris to be waiting for me at our usual spot, at the foot of the Keep's long stairway. Could my eyes be playing tricks on me? He had expected to come back only tonight. I didn’t dare to run down the stairs despite my excitement, many of us had had accidents like fractured arms or ankles. He was facing the people walking by, his forest-green pack on the floor and a longsword strapped to his back. His pale hair seemed a bit longer. Down to the last level, I called out, “Hey you came back earlier today! Yippee!”

Elf turned around, his astonishment melting into his shy, rare smile. “Hi Kit! Yes. Have you been a good girl?” Fenris was not wearing gloves, and I matched fingers with his longer lean fingers, feeling the calluses and marks. The stars- patterns too, zing! I said yes, and thought we would start walking right away.

“Cullen said your batch would come by here. I’m craving for the chicken soup. From the second stall in the market. Can we go there first?” He smelled really good, of the allergy-cream they prescribed for his markings and hugged me with one arm. Then we strolled there. He had changed to a casual shirt, breeches and sandals. It’s not often he goes unarmoured in public.

 

The market was so packed, and almost everyone was yelling. “Fenris, you sit. It’s a long queue let me go and order. You’re tired eh?” I said, knowing he usually insisted on being a gentleman to me. I was a little worried my friend would flinch from the closeness of these people. Looking around , he sighed and nodded. Laying his sword on the table, he then gave me his coin pouch and took my bag to reserve seats.

“Kit it’s all the same, either with chilli or no. I don’t want anything else,” he strained to speak louder than the noise.

 

“Yup ok. Want potato?” Haha he always decides faster what he wants than me! Sometimes I would get paralyzed by the longer menus until it drove him nuts.  

“No need. Go ahead, get what you like.” He sat at last, rubbing the back of his neck and on watchful alert. Nothing out of the ordinary when people stared at him- he is aesthetically pleasing. I noted that my friend was now calmer and returned their stares equally without the fear of being hunted like before. \

While we were eating, I kept up a steady chat , until Fenris became his usual sincere self. He did not realise how large and enchanting his green eyes could be....   He said, “I’m glad you visited your mother. Oh yes, this time Aveline and I bought some snacks and cupcakes for you guys.” 

“Thank you! I love you all. She’s all right?” 

The servants cooked daily, so I suggested we save tummy space for more dinner. Fenris was happy and content, I didn’t want to worry him. But he would ask me sooner or later. “Before you went off, did Zevran mention he was going somewhere? Or a mission? He’s been out very long.”

“Ah, no. He did not tell me anything either. But it is usual I suppose, missions are private. Only for those involved.” His tone was neutral. We held hands and walked the rest of the way to the mansion. Though Elf still talked about the food cravings he had especially chicken wings by Donnic haha, it was still on his mind. As we came to our street, he said, "Something more on your mind, Sabriel? ” Two people were passing by, and he could not help a slight flare of the lyrium. Being foreigners they were startled. I touched his arm, making them disappear to his normal skin tone.

I apologized for worrying him, even if he sounds and tries to be calm, emotional changes would affect the magic etched into his skin. “No. You should go to bed soon. And I’m tired too, all that running around. Ha, why they fear is weird. My friends and I would rush towards the glowy elf!”

“Well they have reason to be shocked. Not mad people like your Gen. Glowy elf, hmm that’s- not another of the cute nicks, I hope. Then I’d have to flee or I’ll be squashed! That’d be very very painful. ” He pushed his heavy pack to me as we stepped into his mansion and I felt a warm rush of affection and love. I helped to carry in our stuff. The joke hit me and I guffawed. I mimed punching people. All sent flying woohoo! "I'm thinking of shrinking you down to pixie size, can make so much money from that." 

 

“Ahh it’s one of your nutcase imaginations running wild again. You’re so bad. If I ever become pixie size, you won’t be able to catch me. ” Fenris growled, doing a facepalm. Cool, the banter worked and kept him distracted for now. 

 

“Not really, I meant we will be fighting off the overcrowders as they want to ask for autographs. Must charge entry fees. What?” He had sank down on the nearest chair and leaned back, stretching.

 

“I refuse to be an exhibit.” Then he yawned wide and said he was too weary to argue. 

The rest had made our meal ready. They told us, and I thanked them. Fenris didn’t answer as he went to dreamland quickly. He would probably wake a bit later, so I ate my share of the delicious roast chicken, but left most of the greens. While I helped the maids with the washing-up, I heard some voices from outside. Oh, we had some visitors already, not expecting that.

“Hey why didn’t you eat the veges? I’m too full to finish all of it. Come here.” Fenris was saying crossly. Aww, why didn’t he sleep longer? “Hm I remember you don’t like some bitter ones, aren’t these fine?” He walked me out, holding me by the shoulders. Some celeries and carrots were split unequally on two plates. Just now I did eat a bit of it.

“I don’t like celery, Fennie. It’s got a smell and too much onions,” I whined. It was funny when he sniffed at it and shrugged. But not a good idea to smile right now.

“Huh what smell? It’s not good for you to push the greens to us all the time.” Fenris said practically and pointed to the plate. I expected him to get all negative, typical of adults care-giving. Will this turn into a major argument? He carefully took some, mixing them and chewing.

“Eh the smell is not nice to me. So I really have to eat some more? But Cassie and some maids allowed me to eat less.” The two maids were beside us and said they had tried to get me to eat a balanced meal if I was home.

Fenris scowled. “Yes as I suspected. I wouldn’t want this wasted and I can’t finish them, so either you eat some now, or it’ll be kept for tomorrow.” The elf handed me a fork. I said I wanted to finish washing up but he told me to leave that and tapped the table. Reluctantly I made myself go through a couple of the buggers. Why is he like that? We’re so close and we just had great moments together. Doesn’t feel like love, I thought resentfully, watching him savour each bite slowly.  I thought of changing the subject, looking at his pack wondering what kind of snacks he’d bought. His foot nudged mine.

“I’m glad you’re eating some. In Seheron the ex-masters withheld meals from us,or dropped them on the floor. We competed to get them, and even if the buns were dirty they filled the stomach. And I’m concerned you need vitamins, and fibre. Of course not all veges taste nice all the time. But I’d really like us to enjoy every grain of food ok? With me.” His voice was passionate and hypnotic as well. What, really no lecture no scolding? Trying to keep my ‘invisible jaw’ from gaping open I nodded and sighed. Even if elfie recalled the sombre past again, there was no getting around it that yes, he was right. Going through so much hardship and poverty, everything now was a luxury. 'Us' don't tell me he still identified himself as a slave oh no. 

He cupped his chin and surveyed me. I picked up the last carrot slice and offered it to him. “I do not mean to remind you of that time, by my actions. You’re not angry at them, I hope?” The girls didn’t look panicked and had left us now. Fenris blinked slowly, draining a glass of water.

“No, I know you well imp. We just had a chat. I have better control and want to keep a normal BP.”

I repeated that. Not a familiar shortform? He smiled. “Blood pressure. I had some headaches, not good to stay angry. I can't bear to especially with family, Squirt. I missed you too. ”

I suddenly felt like crying, how could I resent Fenris when he meant well?  As he gave me the tissue box, I apologized, feeling his brow. “Thank you for your love, me too. I looked forward to getting your messages. I made you and Ave some welcome back presents. Why do you talk like this? Are you ill again?”

He shifted my hand to his cheek so I could feel his hair. “No, my father friends said it’s important to tell their kids no matter how grown up they are, that we care. (cleared his throat) I don’t do that enough, but now that Zev is not here, I want you to know. Here.” He touched his heart. “Don’t cry, silly. Are you ok?”

And he remarked it was strange about the other guy's disappearance too.

“Y-yes te- amo. But I still don’t much like veges, haha.” I heard him protest, back to his grumpy self. He said after he had a shower again to freshen up, I would need to listen to him about the importance of diets. He had evidently went to Zev’s room and inspected it too.

 

When we met again before bed, Fenris had lost all his weariness and his marks were shifting erratically, silver and blue light. “It appears yes, he left quickly. Normally if we have a mission, he is allowed to take from the barracks’ supplies. But his things are gone, kavesh. He shouldn’t be so irresponsible.”

“Yea. It’s really late, let’s get some rest. I made this for you.” I took out a paper mouse and cupped it for Fenris. His power diminished and he beamed.

“Wow this is so nice! Sure, I plan to sleep in. Lie down together?” He listened while I described the steps how to fold them. "I cannot wait to actually do some tomorrow. I'm better with hands-on stuff. This is a new artform?" His pitch went up a little, unless you know him well you wouldn't hear the subtle switch in tone and mood. "Oh, it has been in existence for a long time in Japan. There's a story of how a lady fell very ill. She was very depressed that she would die in a few months, and to encourage her will to live, her friends helped her to fold ninety-nine cranes. They are like birds, and they hung them or put them in glass jars. Though she still succumbed before reaching the number, they persevered in her memory." Elf snored, when I whispered if he liked the bedtime story. I tentatively used my thumb to rest on his nearest hand relaxed over me. Sometimes he would sense it and playfully respond with an 'eating action'

My dream was of millions of colourful paper cranes flying around in the universe, yeay! I seldom dreamt of my friends, unless they might be, or were in danger. Before Fenris over-exerted and collapsed a year ago, I experienced one. Suddenly I heard a familiar voice. What was her name again? Zev's passed girlfriend, she was saying something I didn't understand. Feathers of white and black began floating upwards. What did this all mean?

 

Chapter Text

 

 

“Today is marking day, I’m submitting my paper and then I’ll come back. Will you be home, Fenris?” I would rather be out helping to search for Zev, distracting him from brooding, than going to school. I wondered if there would be a search party.

While cleaning nearby, Mary added some vital information, “When did Zev run away? He did not act strangely. One day, he said his cousin needed his help, when you were both out.”

He exclaimed, with a fist to his other palm, “That could be it! Thank you! Yes yes his cousin, he promised. No, Kit, likely no search party. It’ll draw too much attention.” Understandable relief flooded into his voice. I took out some money to reward her. Mary shook her head.

“Come now, you’re all my family. It’s my job to monitor everyone here, and for you to be relaxed Messere Fenris.” They exchanged some opinions on the accounts, hiring an accountant (coz she was efficient but did not know much about that) Alistair had some good contacts and her aged mother.   

Then Elf walked me to the front door. “You’ve brought everything? Oh, let’s have lunch at home, I want to cook.” Fenris softly combed my ponytail back with his fingers. I peeked into my bag to ensure my pages were all in order and in my file. Awesome! Even if he makes very simple plain dishes, I still adore his rare cooking. He flushed at my joyful sound and smiled.

“It’s likely to be the same few I know. Maybe I’ll flip through that recipe book. If I can find it, ha.” He self-jested, motioning to the mess of stuff over the hall table. My housekeeper had wanted us to have hers, as she already knew most of them by heart. She demonstrated some simple cake recipes and how to temper chocolate the right way*. I wanted to invite her again some time!

I was not yet ready to go until I was assured my friend would not rush off when I was outside. So I turned around and looked up at the elf.  He had not changed out of his grey house-tunic yet. He met my questioning stare confidently. “Don’t worry, Zev is streetwise. Maybe he’s just out to guide her around the city. How can I help?”

Fenris smiled. “Don’t worry, I’ll be patient. Gracias, let’s believe so. Don’t be late, go now. ”

 


  

Hey Fenris, Haha I do know how to spell your name! I just think of you affectionately. I’m a bit jealous of the attention you pay to those fanmails, Wanna be in the Fanclub too, Elf.  Sabriel’s essay of your friendship tears me up.

 Don’t worry not asking for emotional confessions. The last one about the mercenary tip, was fantastic! Thanks for the backup. City dwarves aren’t as strong as those cartel thugs. (grin smiley)  Ha, why no special edition of me and Bianca? I don’t like writing about myself, it’s boring. I can only say yes she is a real person and our families don’t get along. So we always meet in stealth and shadows. I sense something up with Beth- Sunshine. She doesn’t want to sit near u, did u have a quarrel? Need help?

Kind of wounded, you don’t wanna read my newest bestseller but prefer the trashy Swords series, the comics edition? But that’s my worst pulp, and my artist quit. I didn’t plan to continue too. You’re like Cass. That rogue Zev can take care of himself, I’ve got my contacts n buds investigating leads. He’ll be ok.

Loads of love from Varric Tethras (and his stamp)

 

The elf laughed again, finding it slightly easier with this smooth lined paper to be neat….

 Hello there V-dwarfie,

What fanclub? Fanmail, what’s that? I did not ask for them. You’re odd and funny. Finally u spelled my name right! I do write a bit to u guys too. Just ask Ali.  Yes Sabriel’s essay is really good… I was just being myself and not expected such high praise. Because someone else read it aloud, I did not know it was about me, haha. Quite happy.

Is it because those women trail after me, that time? I told them I don’t have a signature but they insist so I just scribbled something. Too much flowers not good for nose. Will share the food and wines, I don’t like drinking as much now. Not at all, promise u would be bored by my whining. Wow I knew she has to be a real person! Can’t be mere crossbow. I’m good with secrets, cannot wait for Bianca Special edition.

Never mind I’m very certain u will continue the next part of the ‘trashie series’ with the pictures : ) !  Sometimes I do read the thinner novels, but feel sleepy if all just words.

Kit’s friends lent me more comics, about the Shrek, he’s cute and grumpy. Teach about not to judge by one’s looks, action n comedy. Kit refers to the dragon rescue of his wife & I changed to demons or 1 chief demon. Instead of princess, it’s a woman with a broken shoe. Guess if I slay the demons or not? Haha took my mind off being grumpy with fever.

For Bethany, I think we need time to talk. I wish to do it myself, thanks for offer.  Uare kind. Who’s Cass? I don’t know of her, u mean she likes the trashie stuff too? Pls tell what u mean exactly, dwarf ( mock angry scowl) Best decision I ever made, getting Anso to hire u, worth the coins. That box should not be empty, I hoped either for release papers or how to remove the brands? Not sure why I dreamt of this recently.

I know Zev can. Appreciate what u continue doing, the least I can repay to escort u for mercenary. Is that the right spelling? Only I have the unique charm to brood and win contests eh?

Sincerely,

Fenris  (slightly less broody now)

 

 

 

 

Chapter Text

My Character sketch of less-broody Fennie

1. He’s allergic to prawns and human medicine

2. Not Libra, I like thinking of him as Scorpio or Capri coz they’re more level headed 

3. doesn’t like sweet things - since the dentist yanked out his cavity - after which he would remind us kids (yup Fen knows my friends well ) to go but he won’t haha!

4. Related point to above: Elf is less quiet now hooray! Though shy when he tells people how naughty I used to be LOL: like he tried to swap my old chewed stuffed dog for a new one when I was a kid. But I still went to take back the old one.  Approximately I had been 6 or 7 (Fenris insists he remembered this right) 

5. Can polish down 2 big bowls of hot noodles after exertion, knows how to use chopsticks after not giving up multiple times -- we are proud of his hands-on! 

6. Likes mildly spicy food

7.Does not like dairy nor calcium tablets

8. Still stubborn, but he does thank us subtlely not always direct 

9. Remembers unexpected little things, even if he might forget namedays , helps Donnic fix up furniture though Donnic’s makeshift projects fall apart : ) practical advice: No don’t sell the table what if it topples over? 

10. Has a mischief streak, playful on purpose

11. Sees words visually : learns better breaking them into syllables like ‘ob-servant’

12. forgiving of certain shitty old people who con their way out ‘I also don’t like conmen, but there’s no grounds to arrest them. We would look like street thugs threatening them no?’

13. negotiates better prices with his charisma, seriously some merchants are unscrupulous and give low quality goods and arrogantly set high prices  when I say ‘charisma’ Fenris has come a long way from hacking and crushing hearts- some of them genuinely improve their attitudes when he does them favours. Hoorah

***********

“Boo, are you returning anything? I’m going to Dragonage Archives.” Normally I return all my fictions on time, way before the expiry dates but this time I had forgotten to. I stuffed the last elusive book into my overladen pack. Hehe.

One had been an artist-bio we had to do for homework, I spent the entire day looking high and low for it. Maybe the maids had misplaced the green covered book (quite slim) with a pile in our downstairs study. Come to think of it, I really hadn’t seen Fenris or any of our guyfriends except Varric, go near libraries or bookstores. Now Kirkwall was starting to embrace educational venues, when it used to be a cesspool of slavery, chaos and disarray.

Right now, my dear handsome friend was flipping through someone’s comic, slouched over with one slim leg crossed over the armrest. Fennie had been holed up at home, having sprained his left wrist from intensive training. He was wearing a crimson pajamas, because the dark colours weren’t dry from the wash yet. It rained so much these days.

(Broody dislikes brightly coloured hues) Ave and I were convinced he had lost weight again, especially when the bandage did not conceal his overall boniness. I’m fine, stop fussing! Look at the recorded weight, I’m the same, venhedis – he had grumbled. But when I brewed hot teas , he drank them all.

“Oh, Elf do you even borrow books at all?”  I hardly called him Elf, and this got his attention quite fast.

“Are you looking down on me? I Am reading this, look.” Fenris lifted up the bigger comic to reveal an impressively thick volume Orlesian customs.  I exclaimed WAH ‘ sorry I didn’t mean to insult your ego. How is it you can read both at the same time? ”

“Yes, I can. The Orlais one is from the library. It’s dusk, you really want to go now?” Feigning a boastful voice, Fenris plopped them carelessly onto the spare chair and stretched. I said ‘yea my books due!’  I continued keeping my jaw open, until he got mock-angry and poked me until I squealed. “Don’t fake the surprise, imp. You know, I like pictures more. Forgot the name, one of my students was happy to lend me this one, it’s a companion volume.”

“Well enough to go with me? I’ve not seen you go into any book place outside that’s all. But you have a higher wisdom,” I grinned, throwing in a super flatter for effect.

“Sure. Not finished with these yet, quite good. They always use heavy makeup, even when there is no ball, not the ball that boys kick around haha! I’ve a stack, not sure which are library or from friends. Can you assist me?” Because I had been prepared for the ‘but’ , I did not look at the lyrium warrior, mainly because his soulful puppy-eyes will be turned on. Thanks a lot, must be because his pals kept gushing about his fangirls, so he maximises the effect everytime! That was how he persuaded me to carry the fish when he hated the smell, taking his dirty laundry and sweaty bedsheets. I definitely want to avoid more of that ha!

He chuckled, saying something funny in his tongue. “Oddly you avoid eye contact, why is that hm?”

I went over to the extremely messy table, not going to respond to it. My friend was right behind me, silent as a shadow. It's a trait I envy the elven race for! 

“Ok it’s quite easy. Public books have the stamp, in front and a paper glued…. Wah I would have liked to read about these dogs too. Two are due, this one still has until next Thursday.”  I opened one of the huge volumes with a Belgian Malanoise profile.

“Really? You’ve always said you favour cats. Don't return it yet.” Now Elf rested his hands gently on my shoulders, and I felt his breath stir my hair.

“I do! Fenris, crimson matches your tone too. Don’t worry about standing out. You're cute.”

Still, he wanted to don a dark cuirass with leather gloves. The gloves were one size bigger so his bound hand could fit snugly.

 

*********

Dragonage Archives is just a ten minute walk away, a medium pink two-storey building which had previously been a Chantry property. The late hour was perfect, quiet with the few stragglers. Although his injury wasn’t completely healed, he wanted to carry my pack, while I held his two medium books about weapons. Great, no need to holler above the noise levels like in the daytime.

Fenris commented, “I’ve been here, about this timing. With my friend in the Guard, she didn't want to come in alone.” 

“A girl? How young, did she----“  I got thrilled, Elf likes both genders yay! We had just walked through the vast welcoming doors. Inside was illuminated with brighter lanterns, most of the librarians were owlish and at their desks. We joined the Returning-books queue.

“Ah ah, why does your mind wander off? Friend only. What? The fine is $30, for each lost item. May vary. So costly, I hope you don’t lose anything.” Huh since when did he check out notices on the walls? The words were too tiny for me. It never failed to astound me, though internally I thought: aw don’t be a miser. When he said that, the couple in front of us turned and smiled. He smiled back.

“I haven’t lost any public books ever. Have faith! What about you?” I retorted jokingly. He acutely pretended not to hear me and regaled the surroundings with a child-like wonder. So cute, and a contrast from just now!  “Payment in gold or silver? Dollars is vague.”

Fenris shrugged. Then it was time to deposit the stack on the table, I unzipped my pack and took all of mine out. Fun to watch them being stamped. Owl-lady said (sounding professional) that she actually lived just behind us! Because when we check in or out the books, we had to show the pass with our address. “You’re one of the heroes, Mr Fenris! Such a pleasure. Haven’t seen you for a while, are you ok?”

I watched her intensively: ha she is a seasoned woman, no blush or giggling. Yet. All of the books were neatly stacked behind her.

 He coughed. “Thanks. Yes I hurt my hand. I did come, about last week.”

“I’m Patsy. Is this your daughter? She’s adorable.” His response always varies, and now I leaned close, so happy to be complimented. Occasionally, strangers would remark that I’m some hybrid mix child. If Fenris doesn’t want to talk much, he agrees or says we’re siblings, otherwise he will come up with a jokey response.

 

“Kind of, my friend’s child. Sometimes I look after runaways.” They both laughed. Not heard that joke yet. Fenris listened to her for a bit, then excused us to find books. I asked him why he said that.

He smiled and patted my back. “I’ll stay around here, am finding an important book.” A blanket of sadness suddenly covered the elf when he focused on a top shelf. I didn’t miss how his smile disappeared. He raised one hand to run his finger along the spines. Oh, a slip of paper- Champion of Kirkwall (C.O.K for short) Hadn’t he got one already? The heroine would certainly have her own true biography amongst her belongings wasn’t it? And Varric would have requested extra copies. I intended to find some fiction books at aisle 5. “I’ll be over there, Bro. Half an hour we meet back again?”

Fenris didn’t glance at me, so I wasn’t sure if he had registered what I said. I found some cliché romance fantasies, sat down on a cushion to browse them. Why the sudden change in mood? But I still managed to be engrossed, till my friend joined me. No C.O.K book, just a cat one and a gardening one. “Hey Kit, I found this. The same series as the dog one, want it?”

What a lovely cover, various cats in playful poses!  He shifted on the cushion beside me. “Yea! I’ll be taking 3 fictions. Didn’t you find what you were looking for?” I said, seeing some cat breeds. He said some cats would rub on him outside too.  

“No. It’s fine, want to leave now?” He was alright, but I noticed some creases near the corners of his eyes, meaning his back was starting to ache. I nodded.

 

*******

On the way home, I asked if he was in pain or hungry. There was my underlying question impatient to come out, but I ought to wait. Introverts don’t react well when pushed. (I have that trait too, hence we get along very well!) Contemplative silence, before my friend said, “You mean my hand? I hope to be able to wield a short sword tomorrow.” Fenris flexed that hand.

“Oh. Yup hope you're better soon. Wanna do gardening? Not bad. Could be a new hobby!” 

“I just want to see the names of the common vegetables. Felt so overwhelmed that day... Not sure which greens or fruits to get. Sellers don't label all properly. Cookbooks don’t all have the matching pictures. Hungry now?”

I scanned the night market stalls, one was selling fruit teas. I pointed to it. Fenris agreed.

“Um you don’t like the weird mix flavours right? How about the normal bubble tea and share?” I asked, taking out my coin-purse.

“Yes. But it’s cold now. Can your stomach take it?” And our final product was green tea with less ice, no bubbles and medium sweetness. Two straws, and we took turns to sip from it. 

His mood seemed to lighten as we did people-watching and walked around for a bit. 

“Leto, did something happen? Why sad? ” I prompted, when we sat together on a bench below the main stairway going up to our area. He held the cup, pushing the straw up and down for the ice crackling effect. That’s what guys like to do, haha.

“Ah you didn’t just mean my health, Kit.” Fenris looked up at the moon.

I motioned up and down. “Inclusive of your moods as well. Sorry, if I’m nosy. Don’t have to---“

His thumb touched my lips. “Hey, I never get upset with your probing. Impossible to hide that huh? Because, I did not buy a copy from Varric. He doesn’t factor in friend’s discounts. I miss her. I don’t remember exactly, but feels like the very day we kissed. Years ago.” Fenris wiggled his gloved fingers and looked at them. He sighed.

“Umhm. Doesn’t the storage trunk have a copy? When you….” I almost said ‘Hawke’s things that were thrown out’ but that sounded painful.

“No, she had not wanted a record of her deeds in the house. She was, what would be the English word, humble. Modest. The people and Meredith called her Champion, but with us, Arielle was always her sincere self. I admired that quality of Arielle. Leandra Amell's portrait was in that box.”

His mana did not become intensified with this cloud of grief. I forgot what happened to Leandra, and who was she. Something serious had caused her death. He stood up. “Too much fluid, need to go.” 

And my friend did not continue when we came home.

  

***********

 Bedtime. When I was dozing off, I felt my friend sit near my foot, asking about my gran. She is my dad’s mother. “Have you visited her yet? I remember my promise to, let’s go soon.” Despite his hardship, Fenris still has remarkable compassion for the elderly.

Once I asked why did he want to give way and not wallop loud boorish old folk? It was just inexcusable to us! They were the sole group of people besides the poor, who instilled his pity and compassion. That made me alert again.  

“Some old suck, how can that bloody old geezer collect junk and pretend to fall down? Action should be taken against him! Ave gets mad too, it’s not fair on those who donate and buy his items. Higher prices too. Unjust! ” I ranted, folding my arms and sitting up.

Fenris was quiet. “It’s alright querida. Well, I have seen him a few times too, it did look fake. Maybe because he wants some money? None of us have bought anything, so don’t have to be angry.” He kissed my forehead and rested his warm hand on mine.

“Don’t focus on that, before we go visit your gran, what shall we buy? Can she chew?”

Quite a reversal of roles, that ex Broody was distracting me from negativity! So we talked about that and then we fell asleep.

 

Next morning, my bedside table had a note:

Hi Sabriel, will be back in awhile. Buns in oven, ive eaten. Hehe think I’m fine with old, I’m not exactly a youngster myself. I didn’t like being bullied on streets, and when the rest of us old and behaving badly in public, would u really be angry? U know I’m only angry abt unjust bloodmages. Quite bad to put old inside jails.

  Elfie

 

I smiled at the warmth and logic of his words. Except for a few cancellations it was mostly legible and I kept it carefully in my drawer. He had forgotten, when he got a fever last month and needed the one seat in the nearby clinic, an old geezer had limped along and complaint vehemently- ‘NO ONE CARES ABOUT OLD, my knees in pain young people these days…..”  that pessimistic over generalizing mantra, ugh. I had guarded my sick companion protectively. The others acted deaf, though he was drenched in cold sweat and weak , Fen gave up his seat. The ungrateful bastard just sat down and grumbled more. How I had wanted to wallop the crap out of him! Elf was glad I accompanied him and depended on my support. The nurse lent him a spare blanket, he was so cold.

When elf came back, I explained this incident. He nodded, smiling. “It’s alright, I got my turn right after. Thank you for standing by. Actually that wasn’t because I liked to give way, but if I didn’t his noise would continue.”

“Oh you amaze me, Fennie. We’ve been longtime friends but I still learn something new everytime. I read your note, is it ok that I don’t agree? I’m very certain none of you will get on nerves when reaching seniority! I mean, from the old elves I've seen they're gentlemen and women. ” He beamed and ruffled my hair.


 

Today he had one more day of medical rest, and I offered to massage his weak hand. He could remove the binding now, just not wield axes and greatswords yet. Fenris let me read a blacksmith's book of weapon blueprints. I pointed out the ones that looked cool.  "I'm fine now, Kit. You are free to move around, maybe find your friends? No need to coddle me so much." 

It was his way of saying- he wanted time alone. We had agreed this was the best way for him to let us know. I didn't really have friends to join now, so I went to the other end of our front hall and arranged things on the mantelpiece. Then I started on my second draft of a hero novel, based on our adventures. Fenris opened a mat and went into a meditative position, legs crossed. Feeling hot, he was only wearing a blue silk shirt unbuttoned.

An hour later, we were both hungry so we went into the kitchen together. The maid was whipping up some pie, and while waiting, Fenris opened the jar of cream crackers and munched on them. I ate chocolate cookies. He did not leave right away, looking at the pot,so it was likely his needing-time-alone moment was past. 

 "Fen, why do you worry about forgetting Hawke?" 

 “I can’t remember her face, in dreams she is so blurry. I just worry, but not now. Can't believe you've become a broody too.” That made me cough a bit. From laughing.

"Broody? That's a nickname not a word of a species. I'm just...."

"Checking. Don't get too worried about others. That's kind of like Aveline, being the mother hen." His smile was a tiny one, but at least he felt happier. Only some shadow under his eyes. I had noticed he couldn't sleep properly again these few nights, when I woke up to drink water, almost had a shock seeing his pale hair. 

"Observant. Thought you sleep past the ghostly sounds, haha! Let's see, I lay down and needed to look for a missing sword a friend just crafted. Then realised had loaned to someone to analyze for runecrafting. Last night, upset stomach, maybe from new medicines. Ugh, I'll stop taking the liquid ones. Just the calcium, though it's horrid too." 

He had been resistant to taking calcium, he always said ‘it’s bloody bitter’ and almost vomited at times, but finally he had started taking them this month. Elf always has backpains and cramps, all the healers recommended he has to take calcium at least once every week. Probably because some of us took turns to repeat why vitamins were important. Also on the condition, that I had to eat the ‘smelly veges’ to make me empathise. I agreed, as by doing that, ensured Fenris ate his meds. ; ) 

“Could it be the food? But I also ate what Mira bought. She can't cook. I know I took out the seafoods from yours." I tried to remember.  

He was quite concerned, brows knitted. “ Won't the germs make you feel ill? Disgusting, somewhere I read crabs eat dead things, phaug! ”  Ha Fennie’s way of making a disgusting snort is truly cute!

"But I only eat some prawns, pinked ones. I agree crabs look disgusting, too large. Remember to drink more warm water. There's a packet of pills for tummyaches." He smiled, gesturing for me to relax. 

"I'm much better now, if no one else felt like running to the bathroom, then it ought to be medicines. Hope you're not spooked seeing me walking about at night. I don't wear white gowns." I said it was not the point, and if one is not fully awake, the mind can be overtly active. Fen grinned. "Ah, that's the only way I can eventually sleep, need to tire myself out. Maybe I can touch you, so you know I am not a ghost."

I covered my face and made eeping sounds. He said he didn't want a stomach relapse from laughing.

 

>updating soon: Birthday for Sabriel (I've not had one chap like that yet) 

 

 

Chapter Text

 

A Close to perfect Birthday

 

My invitation list is roughly twenty plus friends, plus some of Uncle Donnic’s and Ali’s colleagues

  1. Anders: allergic to ham and nuts, enjoys Parmesan cheese slices, dairy (except from camels), cutlery and dishes to have kitty themes, vegetarian

Yea his cat fetish does not end with real cats, but I think he’s gotta be joking for the last remark. Not easy to find kitty themed dishes or cutlery! When I posed him the question: are you still mad at Fenris, he had looked embarrassed and coughed. ‘I do hope you can both eat together with all of us. Like Ave eventually tolerated Zev and some of my annoying friends. Surely you don’t argue about mage rights anymore.’ He didn’t give me a straight answer haha

 

Not sure if Zevran can come, no news yet but anyway,

 

  1. Zev: most meats especially veal, fruitcakes adorned with strawberries, wild berries, velvet cakes infused with wine, anything with alcohol, apple pie

 

  1. Alistair: also likes chocolate gooey cakes, pies, had tummyaches from seafood too, cookies

 

  1. Bethany: chocolate, sweet stuff , going to ask her for more details…. And so on

This intel-gathering will be very useful for future parties and I really have fun compiling it like a project! Plus, I do not want friends getting allergic from wrong food types. Across all, except for Merrill, they all like apple crumble and most pies.

This year, I just want my occasion to be shared, I don’t mind not getting presents. It is enough that my adopted guardians can spend the day with me! Even Uncle Varric had forgotten about me last year, he had been real busy. Aw. The dwarf later gave me a specially customed ‘Untold stories of Spooks in Free Marches’. Sometimes, I yearned for Fennie’s memory to be intact for special days, but that would be unrealistic considering slavers cast mind-erasing magic to render them obedient and break their will. Thankfully Elf did not remember those times, once Zev and Isabela broke him out from being re captured by Tevinter, but they had already inflicted a memory-loss spell on Fenris. Although he can detach from that unpleasant past, his mind will never be as pristine as it could have been. 

New blank notebook, with a mauve cover and some coloured markers, balanced on my knees as I lean back on the couch. Beside me, Fenris is engrossed in sorting a huge pile of mail. Every now and then, he glares at an envelope and mutters something.

 

Me: Is it ok if I invite Anders to come? I want you to be at ease.”

Fenris: What? Why’s that guy in? (he sounded more taken aback than outright pissed off)

Me: Oh dear. You still hate him? Because he was kind to take care of me one time, when I fell and nobody remembered my birthday. He brought me back to his place and cooked a meal for me.

Fenris (his face is creased) : I am sorry to have forgotten. Which day was it?

Me: No no it’s ok! Last year. Everyone had been needed to go on some important quests. Maybe I wasn’t concentrating and tripped, my ankle hurt. He knows a lot about caring for animals, when people bring their pets to see him. Even if he doesn’t like dogs, he still heals them.  Don’t be angry. I’ve not told him yet.

Fenris: It’s not hate….. vishante-- I shouldn't have forgot. Suppose Mage can be decent.  You got to remind me, as many times as it takes! I still care about how you are! (he tickles my foot and his ears tweak in different directions the tips are red.)

Me: Really, you won’t be annoyed with the repetitions? Ok, I can do that.

Fenris: Only with irrelevant logic. Namedays are quite important to some of you, tell me at least one week before. Hm, I want to give you a double present this time. Have circled it on my notebook and calendar as well. (he has circled with green and highlighted the 14 too lol) hmm, feel free to invite whoever you want.

 I grin, scooting closer to him. Fenris chuckles, saying my hair will give him allergies and massages my shoulder. I can feel each of his scarring but it is not uncomfortable.

 ‘Ah it’s a Monday not sure if we can all take that day off. Would you mind having celebration earlier, maybe Saturday?’

 Me: I don’t mind, yay you know the custom of not doing it after!

Fenris: Hey I'm smart about such things. At least twenty guests? Bethany and Sebastian, it’s nice. Are they able to come?

 

Me: Yup they won’t leave town yet. Will it be too stressful for you? Another thing is wondering where to have this, maybe Ave’s or one of Varric’s new rental houses?

Then we talk about what flavours and sizes of cakes to get. Each of them had tried in turns to bake a cake for some special occasion, disaster results. ‘Don’t worry about me. I saw a big selection at a new one near the Central, its name is so long P-something. You like chocolate am I right?’  He traces a c under the cakes blank.

Me: Yeay! I love the ones with the cream oozing. But it does not have to be chocolate. We can have fruity ones and berries too. Can I also see the shop?

Fenris (smirks): No can’t have that, won’t be a real surprise. I want to be buying the cake, the rest can cover your eyes or something haha! Wasn’t too long ago, I had to play that game. Remember?

 

Of course I did! Super fun planning the surprise party. I thought he fit Scorpio which would be too long a wait. He meant the time I hadn’t come home till evening, they blindfolded him and acted mysterious. Because Zev, me and some of my friends were pushing the late caterers to complete their cooking! The people stalling Fenris had a difficult time, because he became grumpy and refusing to cooperate.

 

Me: You were so shocked speechless! When we turned up at last. The cooks so slow. Thankfully you didn’t faint, Fennie. (I make a bunny sign)

He laughs, denying, ‘No I won’t! I knew something was fishy. So hungry and none of you acted normally, canceling Wicked grace, Aveline being more distracted than usual. ’

 

Over the next few days, I wanted to check out the patisserie, but Elf always found some way to distract me.

“Would it be ok if you became the blue mode for a bit? I would like to see you transform, doesn’t have to be sustained. I know how painful it can be... ”

He just tilted his head but did not answer.

 

 

**********

 Weekend of 12th August , one of Varric’s special occasion Halls! Very warm weather

 

Everyone turned up, but my guy elves. The girls blindfolded me, no doubt my dear friend’s master plan. Bethany kept giggling. Hmm, the patisserie had said they would not be open till late morning.Why did Fennie go out so early?

 

“Ah Bethany, Merrill did you see him?” I tried to face them but they did a good job. I was super blind haha.

 

“Who? Fenris? He-er- don’t worry dearie. Open your mouth, I made you some traditional candy. Dalish style.” I could not talk the moment the sweet candy explosion popped up over my tongue, it was stickier than honey. Gentle murmur of voices, a pat on my shoulders and happy wishes every now and then. Varric’s caterer group was punctual, it smelled heavenly and I had tried some of the scones and eclairs earlier on. Excellent!

 

It sounded like Sebastian’s voice singing and Anders and him greeted me. I smiled. They opened my hands, asking me to hold the soft object. I thought it might be a kitten. Fenris was beginning to like felines too, but his skin tends to have breakouts and becomes super itchy and he cannot resist the scratching urge. He already suffers the daily discomfort of the existing silver lines. I wish he can be cured, so we can be surrounded by cats. So I normally just fed and played with them outside, the maximum ‘border’ they could cross was until our front gate. Nope it was not moving, ought to be a stuffed toy. “Thank you! Anders you’re here yay.”

 

He chuckled. “Yes am I surprised that Fenris does not mind. I thought I heard wrongly.” I smelled Aveline’s perfume as she approached and she hugged me.

“Hello Aunt, is Fennie back yet? Forgot to remind him to eat something, what if he gets hungry?”

 

“Nope, should be soon. Don’t want to ruin the surprise, he was very fussy about it being secret. The other one isn’t here? Alistair did send him an invitation.” She got serious as she moved on to musing about our missing guest--- Haha she addressed Zev as ‘the other one’

 

“It’s ok. Zevran’s unlikely to come. Is he even in Kirkwall?” She may have replied but suddenly I smelled burning wax which meant candles were lit.

 

They all yelled happy birthday and then my blindfold was taken off. So much light, it took some getting used to. “Felix natalis tibi, birthday wishes in Tevene. Wanted to buy some snacks too on the way.” Fenris said, his tone piqued.

Oh my god omg! It was an exquisite assorted berries two layered cake, quite large and lots of coloured candles around the top like a halo! I did not look up, until there was a universal gasp of astonishment.

 

Fenris had become partly translucent, up to the tips of his hair and his eyes were sapphire. He had been wearing a black and silver striped jacket and that was also rendered invisible. It was over in a second, he opened his eyes and winked back to normal form.

 

Bethany reminded me to make a wish, and then applause. I bowed, swallowing back tears and looking round at all my friends. In fact the newer guests were my classmates—previously they had also forgotten about my special day so this was the first time I asked them to come.

“Thank you so much guys! This is so perfect.”

 

Sebastian and Donnic were talking to Fenris, while I was checking that everyone got fed and at least one slice of cake!

 

“Hello gentlemen. Have some cake. Fenris, that was awesome! Are you ok?” Elf wiped his brow with a sleeve and accepted my offering. He ate the cherry first and his mouth got the white cream.

 

“Yea. Relax. Don’t forget to eat those before the rest gobble them up.” He reminded me, gesturing to extra Potato crisps, sugar candies, lollipops, muffins on the side table. My classmates had decimated most of them haha! I agreed, yup would go and have some soon.

 

Fenris looked relaxed, not at all fazed by all the noise. 

 

Sebastian heaped some praise on Fenris: That was some magic show, Fen! And what a fine suit.

Fenris cleared his throat, flushing. “Ah thanks. You’re not too bad yourself, Seb.” I smiled, now I know Sebastian had taken a vow of religion, but before, I did think Fennie fancied him lol! 


 

 

After it all wrapped up and I had accepted hundreds of embraces, I sought out my best friend. Fen had changed to more casual tunic and shorts, and was directing a man carrying things out. Varric said he had hired these men to transport rented equipment and extras that could be re-used for other events. Before I reached out to pat his shoulder, Fenris turned around and beamed. ( yep i suck at creeping) 

“Was it good? I hope you’re not offended that I didn’t want you to see the selections first.” 

He did not look drained from the extensive socializing we were doing. In fact Elf was at ease and there was a healthy flush to his face.

“Of course not. Haha yummy. Um, Zev didn’t come?”

He smiled wistfully. “Nope. I shall look forward to walloping him when we eventually meet. Don’t be upset, it is meant to be a good day. I’m busy tomorrow but on the 14th, actual day we can spend time together. That is, if you’ve not already got a date?”

His smile was quirked.

 “I want my date to be you, Leto. Did your marks hurt? Thank you so much, gracias!” I felt my braids bounce as we held hands.

 

“Short time does not cause stinging pain, it’s like bugs skittering. Like this, hehe” He tickled my face with his fingers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter Text

Today, Fenris felt more social and said we would have a surprise guest over. I didn't find out till later haha. 

After exchanging small talk, Alistair got bored. So we started quizzing Fennie: “Did you ever fancy Aveline, before she married?”

 

“Me excusa?” Fenris exclaimed, his eyes very wide. Possibly his dialect for ‘huh what are you on about? We waited for his jaw to drop, but stoically, the elf shook his head.  “She used to lecture me what to do, what not. Gradually I got accustomed to her working style… Alistair, are you trying to drive me nuts? And Kit, stop conspiring.”

 

I was far away in my cloudy head lol! On that recent recon mission they were paired off in Orlais….. My redhaired aunt (who is still feisty not at all aged) and Fenris sharing the same inn-room (Drum roll and bells!)  I couldn’t hide my wild imagination face. He emitted a very long extended sigh, fingers pressed to his nose bridge.

Alistair had covered his face and his laughter was muffled by both hands. His shoulders shook.

“What’s so funny? I can't do that to Don! Gah!” Fenris said, his arms folded and resuming “Broodyelf status”. 

 

“Aw Leto, we have free will, can’t forbid the freedom of our creativity!” I made double rabbit signs. “Ok don’t laugh anymore. You’ll run out of breath.”

 

“His- his indignant pouty face! Priceless!” the Templar gasped.

 

“Rubbish. I am not forbidding anything. Bad kids. You sound more weary than usual, Ali, come with me. Spare room.” Fenris made an ushering motion like shooing us to a corner, but his lips and ears were twitching. His neck marks swirled, a cue that he found us adorable but refused to surrender. 

 

Roguish Ali staunchly waved off Fenris’ invitation.  “Fenris, it’s alright. What we say will not leave these walls… hmmm”  I smiled as Alistair kept his eyes closed “ I’m picturing both of you helping each other to take off armour, her back facing you of course! I got shy at the wrong times, it would have been so wonderful for someone I fancy undressing me. During those hard times, full of nightmares…..”  The man’s smile faded. “My uncle always nags me, though I've stepped down from kingship stuff.”

Elf replied softly, “I see. Sure, then imagine away.”  A pang struck me -Grey Wardens hardly reach old age. Their blood has been tainted after they partook in a ritual to prevent the disease from killing them immediately. Alistair had been king for about a year after the Archdemon got slain, until he abdicated in favour of Teagan (or some other royalty person). He preferred to be outfield, mentoring people and potential Templars.

“Hm and which uncle is that? You barely talked about your family.” Fenris scratched his head.

“Teagan.”

“Oh! I don’t know who he is, but you shouldn’t be so bad. He was right to be so worried, you missed some assassination attempts.” Fenris’ voice was kind and in good jest.  I refilled their teacups.

“I’m tough, and plucky. That was the first time we Met, Fen! So Kit, did he tell you?” Fenris chuckled, saying he was just a small fry while I did my best asking of ‘Really? A bonus secret story of handsome Elf guard tell us!’

 

“Nah I suppose not, so modest. This group of bodyguards all wore the red uniform, but our hero shows up in resplendent black leatherish armour, cuirass and shiny hammer!”

Previous guards just kept getting eliminated and cut down. What about Zevran? Ali didn’t mention him and just heaped praises on said shy elf!! 

“Ha! Shouldn’t it be past tense? Those sound awesome but, I doubt my gear was that shiny. Because once I've used the hammer it would rust, haha. Perhaps I was still a free-ranging mercenary, can’t remember.”  Fenris beamed, waving his hands in modesty. Yea, no getting around his logic. 

 “Yup though for dialogue can change tense. Nooo, wait you liked him, but get your own elf now!” I joked, gently grabbing Fenris’ sleeve.

“No one gets me, I’m a free man.” Suddenly my guardian feigned a choke-hold on me and I was leaning against his chest, his arm across my throat. Don’t worry, our hot guys won’t hurt me.

“Too bad you’re not a boy, Kit, or we can tussle in the mud! Together! Hey no hard feelings Elf! ” the ex-warden turned serious.

“Absurd. It’s not feelings, my pride. Ok- ok, enough joking. I need air.” Elf went outside for a bit, after bopping my head playfully.  

Alistair gave me a suggestive look. "Ever wondered? He's known her longer, than Zev and any of us." I felt the pendant of a fox that Fenris had recently got blessed for me. True, when people fight alongside one another, emotions run high. Maybe some sparks happened, but no one except the Maker would know.

I shrugged. "Doesn't matter, we can still picture it, up here. Do you want to stay over? Couple of spare rooms."

"Hey do you ever worry, if death comes for you?" I asked Ali.

"It's unavoidable. I knew the consequences when I went through the rites. Cool, will accept the invitation." This time Alistair didn't ask to eat more. In a while, he dozed off.

Later, Elf came back in. I asked if he had enough air and mimed a goldfish. He bopped my head and half-smiled. "Good thing I am a forgiving person. I wonder if I will know, when he's--" My throat closed up and I laid my hand on the sleeping guy's. 

Fenris gave me an apologetic look, slipping a cushion over his chest then gently putting his arm back. Haha, the man drooled. We smiled 

 

 

   

Chapter Text

 

                

Today: my very first time I received mail from Fenris in a frantic/upset mood, in months! Normally, when we were both at home, if he could focus well on words, he penned short notes about reflections. His inscriptions were smaller and more cursive, very short phrases than sentences this time.  

 

Hey Kit:   I saw Zev when opposite sides, us rescuing and defending villagers. He looked, but didn’t really see me. I know I wasn’t imagining that, confirmed with the others. Only his armour diff -- ways he moves, rolls and rogue fighting all same. When I finished, track the routes but he gone! With other elves, how can he do this?

Im not hurt, don’t worry. Now at Halfmoon Inn, younger guys want to send word back, so I add in. All people we saved, live. People happy, no need to pay for rooms. Suppose its nice. Good food, but beds noisy and itchy. Oh, maybe bugs? I’m sharing room with Cullen’s friend. He toss n turn. Unable to sleep much.  Has been no news, please check the mail for Zevran’s!

What’s his other name again? So Ave come over, hope u both fine.

Take care, Fenris

 

Yes, Aveline had moved in to take care of me, and whipped up simple bland dishes.  I hadn’t wanted to go to Mother’s house (wouldn’t be safe from nagging) so instead of cajoling me to pack up, she decided on this arrangement. Donnic would be back tonight. I didn’t want to hurt her feelings, so I still ate them, though her food lacked flavour. She does not add enough salt and sugar! Normally it is us who sleepover at others’ houses and inns. The previous Fenris wouldn’t have allowed even friends to stay in before!

I had given up being worried about the elusive rogue, because if Fenris was affected psychologically, we would hold HIM responsible! I wished I could strangle him.

 

Dear Fenris,

No sorry, no letters from him. Hm if I’m not wrong his alias was Castiel. Yea it sucks, Very rude of him. He shouldn't have ignored you at all. Let's imagine walloping him or shout his ears off haha when he comes home.

I did not quite understand, do you mean

A : You were all on the same mission defending villagers, but Z was on the other side of all that


 

B:  Or was his group fighting against you guys? Who else were there? Cullen, Alistair, Uncle V?

I’m relieved you’re unhurt. Drink more water, the weather is terribly hot. Ewww bugs? How to sleep, oh gosh!! At least the people’s gratitude are a small compensation?

Waiting for you to be home soon. Yay I got my grade, maths has moved up to 79 now, it was 68 out of 100. I did want to get at least 85. For language and history I’ve ‘ A’ s. I barely write about school stuff. I am a little sad I didn’t qualify for the new art exhibits for still life painting. Oh it means studying a real object like veges and the shadows, using watercolours to paint them. So much water that my papers tore : (  It’s not my favourite type of art, I prefer pencil sketching and oil colours.

 (After I did some washingup and another bath, I wrote more )  Alistair’s group came back, said you are delayed. Why?Took yet another bath, altogether I’ve taken 6 baths everytime I just walk down to the markets. I gave Beth my new sketch of a cat. She had assisted Anders. Oh yea she sounds keen to meet up, would you like to? Alone, hahaha!

 

                                                         Lots of  Hugs from Me!! 

 

 

I laughed at the possibility of Fenris exclaiming ‘stop imagining noooo’. But I hoped nothing serious had happened.


 

 

No response. One night I was having supper when there were some soft knocks. Mary received a package. I looked outside, but no one. My heart sank.

The package was flat, had some words in another language. The back of it felt rough. I wondered if there could be invisible ink?

I brought it up to my room and got ready for bed.

 

Heard Aveline call out ‘Fenris’ and smiled. Of course none of us can wait to greet and embrace him, but yea I remembered the need for personal space. In the wee hours, I heard a room door creak open. “Hello Fennie. That you?” I tiptoed out and squinted. He had one arm up to his hair, so he had just bathed.

“Um. Fine, sleepy…” Elf stifled a huge yawn, patted my cheek and reclined against the nearest armchair. Outside our rooms, the servants had placed some chairs along the hallway so we could just take a rest if we were in pain or ill. Like one time when I had a fever and came out of my room then had to sit on the floor. Elf didn’t want me to pass out, so he kept shaking me and talking to me, didn’t know how he kept that up. Funny what memories pop in when we’re half asleep. Aveline reminded him to lie down, she had changed his sheets. He chuckled ‘yes Mdm hen’ .

 

The next day, I thought I should ask Aveline about the package first. Wouldn’t want it to ruin Fenris’ mood if it was from Zev. She scrutinized it and shook her head. “Isn’t directly addressed to him, or us. Wait, maybe it is a report from one of the units posted along for that mission.” I was puzzled why she didn’t want to show it to him. Anyway he sorely needed to catch up on sleep.

 

I peeped in- he did not budge- to fill the water jug and add some cloth flowers to the bouquet. He had been happy when Varric gave him some, and my friends learnt to make a few more. He is allergic to real flowers. Fennie lay on his side, mouth open, his legs dangling off the bed. His hair seemed to have lengthened, covering his ears. His marked arm had some reddish bitemarks. Later we ought to find some herb creams. Then he licked his lips, and began scratching his back. So cute. I can't wait to have a proper catchup.

***********

Elf slept in till past noon. When he awoke, I was rushing off on an errand, just had time to show him my latest report card. "You need to go off now? But-" I heard the reluctance in his voice. He asked me where I would like him to sign. I promised to come right back, after all the people I had to meet weren't by choice. "If it is really important, don't worry about me. I won't be going anywhere, too allergic and tired." We embraced briefly. 

It was endearing to hear him compliment Aveline on her pink floral dress. After my unpacking of projects, and sorting of things,I was helping Uncle to apply the insect bites cream to the back of his legs and hard-to-reach places. The most intense itch were the bites closest to the scarring, he squirmed and bade me to scratch harder.  " I got your letter, Squirt. Good to be home!" He closed his eyes in ecstasy. We listened to his criticisms of the taverns, and the beds, and some local ghost stories. "They gave us the haunted room! Maybe I won't go into detail, because I was green in the face, Varric said when I overheard." Fenris shook his head, grimacing.

"Why? Please please tell!" 

"What if you barf too? Barf, haha I like this word. Funny I didn't feel any cold chills, must be too exhausted. And the other guy heavy sleeper."

"Yes, you're sensitive to the paranormal, Fenris. I'm quite excited myself, though I don't care about Fade things," Aveline remarked. She presented us with her attempt at soy-sauce pan noodles.

I whispered 'she's not a good cook' as he sampled them. Later he replied with a wink, "It's alright. We should encourage her yes?" He was extremely reluctant to discuss the haunting, just hinted at a five minute summary that the person had got mutilated in that very room, near where he lay! "But I did not harm him or her, so my conscience is clear. The priestess who gave us this mission had also cloaked us with blessing spells."

We were relieved nothing bad had happened. As we were eating, Elf unfolded my letter and chuckled. "Hey you asked if I want to see her alone? We are just friends! You can all come, to prove it. "

I feigned a 'detective face' and rubbed my chin. "But we want to encourage more bonding, even as friends haha" Fenris moaned. 

 

 

 

 

       

 

 

Chapter Text

I almost forgot about that strangely lucid Fade dream of the woman in red hair, until she came to me again. This time, I wanted to know more. Who are you really? Why are my friends with different names? How do I say this, my words were thought in common, but was entirely transformed into a lyrical tone. Looking around, I could not see anything except some faint beacons in the distance and moving shadows.

She levitated towards me, her gigantic shadow wings outlined in gold did not flap. Cloaked in shadow, the sole luminescence was her breastplate and visor and I could not see her face. She held aloft a mystical looking staff.  But I did not feel the need to create any weapon to fight her, as I had before. I had wielded a lightning spear, which transmuted into a bow and multiple arrows. She said I could think of her as Persephone.

‘Gryphon and Kunnia susi?’ She enquired and reached to touch my shoulder. Huh? I recognized Alistair as Gryphon but why did Fen’s name change again? ’That is your Elf, here his name has a thousand possibilities. He has had quite an eventful life.’ As my back itched, a yellow aura glowed and two pairs of wings unfurled. They could move independently, and one wing curved over to wave at me like a leaf frond. It felt so real!‘Does he treat you well? Are you content?’ Persephone sounded like it was out of courtesy than really being unaware. Question was, can I trust she is a good rather than bad spirit? ‘Yes yes! Fenris, he is my best friend, like a father to me. Wait, is he going to be all right?’ What if she was here to take him away? I was not going to let that happen. Persephone lifted her visor, and as the mist parted she showed a human -like face. Her eyes had no whites, were entirely blue.

Do not worry, I don’t execute living souls. I cannot cross over to your world, I exist to prevent the Fade’s lost souls from wreaking havoc.’ So she was some kind of Soldier angel here?

I was definitely hallucinating or insane…. ‘Then how can you be my sister? I’ve been an only child. And why do you come only now, not before?

 

‘Alas, I died in a past life when killing invaders. I know it is impossible to believe now. Do not rush this, Sabriel. It has been my regret I could not contact you sooner. Because you might be too fearful and confused. Let me bestow you a grace, you will receive it as well upon waking.’

Over my ankle, a small curvy band formed with a P. It was fiery but did not burn to the touch. I talked to her about my troubled family, my mother’s unrealistic expectations and she would dismiss anything spiritual too, but I also found myself smiling when Aveline, Fenris, Donnic, Ali and all the others were fine examples of good people. Unlike my human waking self, the surge of warmth blazed. This could be what deep love felt like!

 

Naturally, I had no idea of knowing if this was some demon’s guise. Usually such dreams wouldn’t last, because our souls cannot leave the mortal forms too long. She spoke of many things but bade me remember the most important: That the Maker had destined my friends and guardians to look out for me, and Fenris still had tribulations to overcome. I said I didn’t want him to suffer or undergo any more agony. She nodded.

‘Please, I know you spirits and if the Maker is present, you have seen what passes. Like Alistair, it’s not fair if he dies too young! He didn’t choose to be a Warden. And please tell me Fenris’ agony can be alleviated! ’ Since my dear friends had appeared in my visions, I found it tantamount to mention them more.  

 

She paused for a long silence. My place is not to pass judgment, the futures are all open. From what you have seen. The Maker was appalled and deeply saddened by the cruelty of Tevinter, and slaves. It is why he gifted Fenris with fortitude, courage and strength…. I think I asked about Zevran, but she shook her head and smiled.  Perhaps she meant how we were fighting in battle and our powers. When I came to, I felt the small bracelet on my ankle. Though groggy, I grabbed a pen to doodle on my paper.


 

It should have remained a secret, but for my brooding. “Kit, what’s wrong? You don’t like the chicken?” Elf asked, interrupting my dreaming. He wouldn’t take my denial as an acceptable answer, pulled a chair beside me and frowned.  As I finished the last morsel, I debated and struggled if it was all right to tell him. He repeated that he had time now and waited.

Everything I said -- in fragments, and must have sounded insane, demonic, evil mage stuff! Fenris listened intently, unblinking and breathing deeply. I could not see his chest move, it must be the meditation breathing he practised. But as I got to how the dream vision looked with the darkness, he bit his lip and his tattoos hummed and brightened him at once. I closed my eyes.

 “This happened before? Spirits are unpredictable, dangerous, you cannot trust them!” he replied vehemently, as soon as I finished.

“Yea, but not often. I know that. I’m really ok Fennie.” I tried to reassure him, as his calloused fingers danced over my face, frantically examining me for possible injuries. My Elf's pupils were dilated, though he ought to have heard my assurances the first time.

At last, his knitted brows relaxed and Fenris exhaled deeply.  

“Hm stop calling me that. Why didn’t you tell me sooner? I just noticed you were not yourself these days.” He shook his head, looking pensive and hurt for a moment.

 “Coz I know you’d get like that. Well she said we don’t have to absorb all of it right away, though I did some drawings. Will you come and see?” Now we were expecting some people to come over, it felt too exposed to talk about.  

“Yes. I have to settle something, then I’ll come. Don’t run away.” Just then, he glanced at the front doors, ears pricking. The servants told him about guests and he got up to attend to them.  

 

I left my door open and this time, I heard his footsteps as he approached. I showed him what I had drawn that night, it was not artistic but roughly how Persephone looked. “She told me this before I woke- My place is not to pass judgment, the futures are all open. From what you have seen. The Maker was appalled and deeply saddened by the cruelty of Tevinter, and slaves. It is why he gifted Fenris with fortitude, courage and strength.’ Doesn’t sound evil.”

 

Frankly, I expected the pragmatic elf to condemn me. My conscience chided me not to be stupid, to trust in our bond. Given his experiences in and out of the Fade, my friend will have ‘seen it all’. He solemnly analysed my doodle, standing.  After what seemed like an eternity of silence, Elf said without turning to look at me, “Why am I mentioned? I gave up hope of the Maker ever making miracles.”

His baritone sounded incredulous, rather than cynical and bitterly, Fen's normal attitude about doubtful supernatural crazies (According to Sebbie, his religious friend who encouraged him you gotta believe in Gods! And they will help you! ) 

“Er, because when she called you by another name, I thought she might take you away.” His smile caught me offguard, and he sat beside me on the bed. How scared I had been, then.

“Hey, how can you think so little of me? Body aches and colds are normal, not dying.” I apologized, and he became avuncular. “Anyway- Kit, are you sure you’re not having headaches, blurry vision? I can ask that mage about somniari, those specialized in that field. Heard some are now stationed here in Hightown to help the adepts.”  

As I inched closer for a hug, he combed some of my hair from my blouse. “No I don’t feel those. What’s that som thingie?”

“Somniari, it’s an elven word I remember. That Keeper of Merrill’s, came to the alienage for one of them. It means one who walks in the Fade, whole body and soul.” Never has he embodied the wisdom of his traditional ancestors more by this. Nah I didn’t want to go for extra training into the other world, one or two encounters are spooky enough. There’s also the matter of my flashbacks before he went into that coma. Then I noticed he began to massage his fingers, a reflex borne from stress.

“How about you, are you in pain now? Lemme help... ” I gently rubbed his back in circles, remembering he just had a particularly painful episode when they tapped power from him. Fen had roused more quickly, a voracious appetite but admitted his muscles ached in a relapse of old injuries.

“It’s not much.” He lied and gave me a long searching look. This was similar to when Bethany stared at me.

Chapter Text

Fenris has an innate strong sense of responsibility, I supposed internally he must be questioning angrily, ‘Why did that happen? It has to be a demon I don’t believe you!’ Naturally my guardian didn’t vocalize what was bothering him, or stressing. At first I had not noticed any anomalies, anything amiss, as we were not home at the same time. He had night duties with Donnic and Cullen. But during  Marking Days , students had a mini-holiday for 4 days and I stayed home, Fenris’ deep silence felt oppressive. Elf didn’t talk to me at all, when he woke up from naps. He did not seem sick.

I should have talked to the mages, even Anders. Yea I didn’t know Anders that well, but it’s kind of easier when friends don’t stay together in the same space. I deeply missed how Fennie wanted me to help with small favours, like read to him, or defining some new words we came across, having stories. No show of anger either, just blank.

Most of this ‘Post dream talks’ went like that:

“Hey Fenris- chan how are you?”

“Fine.” He did not look up from sharpening his blades, or fixing his armours. I sat as close to him as I dared and started asking questions about his favourite weapons. But they were monosyllabic answers, much worse than when he instructed the newbies. And I could sense an invisible shield around him. 

Fenris never blocked me out like this.

 


 

About five days like this

Gah! I can’t take this any longer, if he’s angry or upset at least I want to know now! I checked with Mary, Fennie was in the bigger study at this moment. “Did he say anything to you voluntarily these days? I’m worried.” I told her. She said yes, which sunk my moods further. Because it meant he was isolating me, he still talked to them per normal!

Calling him softly, I knocked on the doors that were ajar. Elf coughed, and said, “Yes? I’m not hungry.” At first I couldn’t see exactly where he was, so my gaze wandered around the room. The shelves used to be filled with old tomes, now all the books were haphazardly strewn either on the table, chairs or on the floor. Fenris coughed again, and stood up waving the air and covering his mouth. Billows of dust.

“Are you alright?” I stepped nearer.

His voice was husky, but right now, he was looking at me! “Not really, I’m sorting all this stuff. Need space for the new books, so much dust. You’ll be itchy. Go outside.” Not resentfully, some of his usual concern was there. Yeay hope!

“Ok. Can I get you a drink? Don’t breathe in too much.”

I went off and came back with some Dalish flower tea in his mug. Normally he can drink from any glass or mug, but Varric had bought him this aquamarine coloured mug. Fenris often used it nowadays. He spent a few more minutes brushing dust off the surfaces with the broom and then came out, closing the doors.

He wiped his hands (these were the cheaper gloves) on his trousers, and I saw his cheeks were smeared with dust. And his hair was likewise!  “Hello. Ah, I didn’t know you have new books,” I wanted to be conversational. He gestured for me to follow him, and then he rinsed his face and hands in the kitchen. As he took his mug, he had a small smile. “Thought of clearing space for your books. Those aren't mine , should have thrown them out long ago. Had no idea the dust is so much, ugh.”  He sat right beside me.

I was very touched, tears came to my eyes. He cleared his throat as he drank the tea. Time to take the plunge I said, “I want to talk, is it that you’re very angry, stressed? I just want to say I’m SO sorry, Uncle Fenris. Can you not ignore me anymore?” 

Initially he said just one word ‘No’ and using a teaspoon added sugar to his mug. Many spoonfuls! When he doesn’t usually like that much, haha. Then he dipped some crackers in it and ate.

His voice was hesitant, “I don't know. Because... I'm not sure about the visions, carissme. And can't sleep well, stomach growling all the time.”

No wonder! Then not because of me! 

I gaped. Then we both smiled. “Oh. Do you need to sleep more? ” I made a lie down gesture. The servants set out some poultry and stews they had made and Fenris dug in. I also ate the honey apple snacks.

“Feel slightly better today... Apology accepted. ” He began chewing a fruit. Friends advised he should take more sugar and eat more regularly.

More seriously, he commented, “ From my experiences all demons except the lowlife darkspawn minions and Rage monsters can and will manipulate minds. We cannot hope to resist all of them. They're formidable in that world. So, am I the last to know again? That time you didn’t trust me too, about your powers, Kit. You talked to Alistair.” 

He winced as the markings on his throat flared. His eyes showed his acute hurt. I could not endure the sheer disappointment in his tone.

“No I just didn’t want you to be down. Fenris, coz I know you've got enough problems. I didn’t want to tell anyone at all, about Persephone…. She gave me this. As a proof that she’s real.”  I held out the anklet. Fenris gasped. It was gleaming as if alive.


Don't be Alone 

 

While clearing the front table, I suddenly came across this note scribbled in Fen's big fonts To my babysister 

Dear Kit,

I’ll make an effort to be neat here. Couldn’t find the right words to say, hope you calm down when reading this. I know our backgrounds are different. You don’t have to be an orphan to be free, it distresses me to hear that.  Indeed it’s hard to deal with disappointment, anger and self-doubt. It cannot be your fault how your family behaves, carissime. That man does not deserve any respect, yes. But I will always be here to support you, all right? I want to. Wise elf, trust me ; )

Being alone without any kin won’t really feel much better. Let’s use my personal example, after V and mother left, D. lied that he was everything, the entire world to me, I naively believed him… until all those events which you have heard. It’s not my aim here to instil pity, rather that if we have choices, wouldn’t we want to have families? And when Ave spoke of her father dying, and Leandra dying, I would not envy their positions. Whether it’s a quick death or a slow coming to terms one, indeed hard.

I did not mean to force you to appreciate your kin, Sabriel. Maybe a matter of viewpoints, I feel jealous of ‘whole families’ the sense of belonging. Hey, I might be able to handle if I get nagged, because I haven't got that experience yet ha! Hmm true, don't have freewill to born as male or female. 

Yea the Maker doesn’t answer in the way we intend, that free-will thing. Still, He or She have brought us together, and that never fails to cheer me up.  I don’t agree with that Dorian’s statement, how can he say that slaves ought to be content under masters, coz they have no worries about starving outside. He does not sound caring or good.

Good looks aren’t everything, I would give anything to look simple and ordinary. Wow, I’m a bit tired from planning these words, it’s a marvel authors like to do this everytime!

I hope you feel better now.

Lots of love, Fenris  

Tears sprang to my eyes, how concerned he is for my wellbeing and the thoughtfulness. I regretted having that argument.... I was reeling from a family problem and came back to Fen's house. (I did not mean to force you to appreciate) Being so upset I misinterpreted what Fenris had been trying to communicate.  

 

 

 

Chapter Text

 

While shopping for presents outside,

Me: I’ve never been on a ship voyage before! I bet you’re an expert, a Pro at sailing. All those missions and aiding Isabel and your friends right?

Fenris: Ha! No I am not a pro. I tend to get ill, hate moving ships. Why this sudden urgency to go hmm? (while frowning he tapped his foot as if to test the solidness of the floor)

I make my best puppy x adoring gaze.

Fenris: It’s nothing. No story , no use looking at me like that. It’s horrible not to have the floor steady, mostly I puked, couldn’t lie down!

Me: Aw sorry to know that. (he pretends to punch me) Please see my No-pity face! How else you want me to react, laugh? But you sometimes take ships to another city don’t you? Like Orlais isn’t possible to ride.

Fenris (weak smile) : Well, you can pity me in this case. I just cannot help myself if I want to hit you haha. Yes I have to, but I make sure I’m compensated thrice the salary and deposit at least! No medicine can cure, my loss of appetite, smelling the fish. If I really can’t control, I have to go up the deck, vomit in the water.

Me: Perfect solution no?

Fenris: Argh! What does the wave do, whoosh it splashes back! Then I catch a cold from being soaked through. Carissime, you still haven’t answered, why the sudden urge to board a ship?

I explained because I felt super envious of some friends and acquaintances who always went with their adventurous normal fathers to exotic cities and continents, then came back boasting! “Mother did plan to bring me along once, to Orlais. But somehow she deemed it too dangerous, and won’t allow me anymore. It really sucks, Fennie. The sour feeling in my tummy.”

He nodded. “Oh. Mea culpa, I have been jealous too but of other things. Have you tried to think in another sense? Such as, their fathers aren’t as cute as me. Not many have a skilled Elven warrior following them around as escort. And the fangirls look on with their sad expressions, while I hold your hand. We danced at that Ball function. Didn’t you notice?” He smiled wisely, and my tumult of hurt and anger – why do they not have to wait before going on an adventure!  Slowly brewed over.

Me: Ahhh, I know. Good point. Thank you. But….

Fenris: Noooo, what is that phrase, I hear a but coming! (he puts both hands to his cheeks)

Me: It’s why I’m telling you, Fenris. I really hope we can go together one day! Just to a nearby island, I heard there are some small isles close to here. Please, please (I drag out this word)

Fenris: Oh. If it happens to be close by, we could ride or walk. Wouldn't need any boat. Hmm...   good you are consulting me on this. Or we can go to the docks, when my colleagues come back with their boats. If they don't need to rush, perhaps can go aboard. For awhile. 

But Fen still looked pale at the prospect.

Me( I beam yay) Yay cool! I don't mind just taking any of their small skiffs. Doesn't have to be the giant ship. Can sort of row or float to an isle, for a picnic! We haven’t had a picnic in ages! Hm how is your health now?

Fenris: Hehe, sorry about that. Yes, I've been weak lately.  A picnic sounds great. Maybe can invite Donnic and Varric too. But I don’t know how much I will be able to eat after any boating. No harm planning. 

 

I was determined to research, on my next library trip, if it was possible to cure sea-sickness. These days, Fenris' low blood pressure and strange metabolism were a big concern. Lately, Ali and Cullen accompanied him home earlier, he was too ill and needed to withdraw from usual duties. Today was approximately two weeks of rest, did he feel strong enough to go shopping with me?

“Are you still sick, Elf? I’ll try to wait. How are you doing?”

His green eyes seemed intense as he met my gaze. Fenris headed to a bench. Oh he was tired, I felt guilty for not noticing earlier. No man would admit openly they want to collapse. “Don’t worry, I’m much better, carissime. Strangely, back then I couldn't eat much, great exertions, slept badly. Didn’t fall ill, just the time I was lost, after escaping pursuers…. Now I don’t need to strain as much, yet fall sick. No getting around aging.”

“You’re not old, don’t talk like that.” I blinked back tears and hugged him. He stroked my hair and apologized. I always envisioned Elvhen as like those from Lord of the Rings. “I can’t stand it if you perish before me, Fenris.”

“Shush. Don’t cry, Squirt. Now I won't perish, though I can’t guarantee I won’t catch colds. I still have debts to repay.” I couldn’t see his expression, but his voice was more gravelly. 

It felt good to release my tears as he continued speaking assuringly in his dialect. Then he joked "Hm if you keep clinging to me, I won't be able to go to the bathroom." Fenris patted me and we separated. He sniffed and a small tear trickled from his right eye. 

We went to freshen up, then we had a companionable silence as we both sorted mails at the main hall. A funny idea came to me. "Oh yea how much debts have you incurred? I've lost count what you owe me, Fen. "

He chuckled, pretending to think over. "Gosh, don't know where to start paying people back. Anyway such a personal attack with the 'you', didn't we talk about the importance of expressing "I am" statements? Crest-falling." He touched his forehead, acting melodramatic.

I beamed. He is capable of mischief and jokes, of course I understood the debts were not the money-sort. "It should be crestfallen. Ok let me rephrase that- I am anguish ahhhhh! forgot to write down the money!" Fenris guffawed, holding his tummy. 

*********

Bedtime close to midnight 

Fenris tied off his pajamas ribbon at his waist and flopped down on his bed. As he laid back on the pillows, he felt a card underneath. Groggily, he looked at the sketch of a smiling puppy with a pixie child. He smiled. 

Hey Fennie, just joking no debts between us. Sorry for crying so much. In the pic I'm the doggie and you're the small elf pixie. Know u prefer dogs, that's the unconditional love I want to convey for our family! Too much flowery talk and u fall zzzz. get well soon Love!  Carissime 

Indeed that night he slept soundly, untroubled by ghosts, instead visions of frolicking cute pups.

  


 

 

 

Chapter Text

He was determined to overcome being motion-sick on boats. Few days before, when we were at a bookstore browsing nonfiction the assistant helpfully recommended this manual. Worth buying. “You know I found the perfect remedies for it- have a ginger in your pocket and smell it, camomile tea, looking at the far horizon.” I suggested, locating the relevant page from contents.

Fenris beamed, his finger following the words. “Thanks. Yes someone told me the last tip before, but I was too sick to find the horizon. Here it says- trick your mind into thinking land is close by. Ahh.” Turned out that elves in our household already keep a supply of camomile leaves for regular teatime, so they brewed a pot. Fenris said he had not known that was the Common name, its brand was different. When they made a pot ready and it was not too hot, Elf asked me to sample a cup.

“Aw not sweet enough.” He joked that the dentist would pluck out all my cavities and tried with fewer spoonfuls of honey. We experimented with two separate cups, until satisfied. “I don’t mind it plain, when outside, we don’t bring sugar or honey. Attracts insects. Wait, let me do it.” Fenris gracefully ladled the brew for the canteens.

“Wah so kind!”

“Ha, no problem. Of course I am! What are you implying?” He glared at me. Because men seldom volunteer to help me, in my experience. He said I was over-generalizing.

Fair point. "Sorry, it's just a joke, you know I adore you, Fen-chan!"

Elf listened in silence, then remarked, “I don’t want to puke, this had better work.” He seemed placated. 


 

The morning itself, Fenris looked sleep-deprived and woke late. I said he didn’t have to go. Elf wouldn’t hear of me going on my own, even though he trusted this long-term contact and I was meeting Donnic and Anders. “I don't want you to faint. I'll be ok," /p>

“I won’t faint in front of them, especially not Mage! I promised to come, so I am, end of story. Not weak.”  Just in case, I helped him to ensure all our belongings were packed including remedies and candy from me, plus a picnic basket.  Well, maybe on the way to the docks, he could sleep awhile.       

When the carriage stopped, my friend awoke automatically and was alert. On the way there, he said, “It’s not really safe, some don’t have honour and I don’t want you to be conned or get pickpocketed.” I knew he wouldn’t hesitate to protect me, and would be secure. The tall elf carried himself with confidence and fearlessness, deterring any criminals. (I wanna write that in my diary but forgot my pen and book ahhh it was perfect in a heroic aura moment! ) Some were friends, they exchanged greetings and were polite to us. Fenris scanned the rest of the boats, until he beamed. “Found him.”

His contact looked like an elderly gentleman, though his red beard had not gone fully grey yet and he steadily balanced as he used a long oar to stir the water. Water ripples yay!

Fenris inspected every nook and cranny of the delicate raft, as he stepped on board.

“It’s ok, why not sit down? Fresh air.”

 “Good to see you Serrah Fenris. How far do you wish to go?”

“To this isle. Thank you, Damiano.” Fenris said to him courteously, indicating on a well-folded map. He gripped the side of the skiff, as he cautiously seated himself opposite me. At first he touched his belt for a purse but Damiano said it was all right to pay him later.

“You’re not turning green or pale. Our mini adventure yeay!!.” I grinned.

“Don’t say that, please be positive!” He grumbled. "Make sure the supplies are safe."

 I patted the cloth-covered basket beside me, lovingly prepared by Donnic and Anders. Nope you are not reading this wrong, Anders has a passion for food besides cats! I smelled shepherd’s pie and baked fruits. He did not smile till he pointed out a fish doing a somersault. “Think that’s flying fish!” I chuckled.

Damiano gave a running commentary on the different wildlife and trees in this region. “Oh yea I think Anders said they won’t be using a boat. Wonder if he will teleport?” A family of otters weaved in and out of the small waves.

Fenris snorted. “Why did you ask him? Thought it’d just be us.”

“But he kindly supplied us all these yummy food. Speaking of whom, heyy! Over here!” I waved as the two men stepped out from a portal of silver light. Anders waved his staff to close it. Fenris grumbled about how risky magic and portals were. Anders bickered with him, while Donnic and I listened. "I perfected the technique, you haven't tried it, don't judge!"

"Ha, I'm certainly not keen on stepping into any spell you cast." Observing them both, it did not seem as if a real battle would break out. Anders was just being sarcastic. After they were drained from that conversation, Elf sat beside me and picked up a breadroll. I made a sad-face at the mage, who sighed. 

"Let's not get the blood pressure too high eh?" Donnic remarked. Fenris inhaled deeply and muttered something. Thankfully after that, there was no further conflict and we had fun spotting wildlife, as we finished every morsel of our picnic yay!

Men can be like children.  Ha, I wouldn't say this aloud to them of course!

Few days later,

In my journal I had sketched a chibi elf and chibi mage bickering and happily coloured it. "Oh that's cute who are they?" Fenris suddenly spoke, and I didn't have time to close my book. So I covered the page and said it was some random art. 

"Why come in without knocking? So shocked!"

"I apologize. Though, I really want to see that please." He managed to sound pleading despite his solemn deep baritone. Oh well, if I covered it up would be worse. "Hmm men can be like children not true. I know, it was about Anders and the portal, he might have screwed up, Squirt. And I hadn't even touched a hair on him," Fenris remarked in annoyance. I pointed to the picture and said I hadn't named them yet and I had coloured the chibi elf's hair blue. He smiled.

 

 

Chapter Text

The blond ex Grey warden looked up from dreaming, behind the oak table. Documents and reports were messily scattered over the surface.

 “Yes Alistair, you had something private to discuss with me?” the Elf asked steadily in his sonorous voice. He had not heard him slip into their shared bunk. Normal times, he would make a joke of it but his stomach was twisting in knots.

Fenris smiled lightly. He had opted to wear a turquoise robe, sashed with white. They had seldom seen him in this combination and it seemed to accentuate his Elvish figure. The seams below tapered off at his knees, not the type of outfit that swept the floor (as a boy Ali remembered from texts). Here, indoors he was barefoot the linings also highlighted in swirls. 

“Uh. You were worried about your friend. A contact saw him in Gwaren, close to the Brecilian forest.” Alistair blurted, keeping the roll of paper under the table.

“Which friend do you mean?” At first Fenris didn’t comprehend and his green eyes were puzzled and wide.

“Castiel, I mean Zev.” The Antivan had told him his whereabouts earlier on, but had specified not to let them know yet. Ali had squirmed with guilt- he was horrid with secrets. Since his disappearance, Fenris had shown he could handle it well and still meeting with different friends and colleagues. ‘Please my dear friend Ali, don’t tell mi amor Fenris & family right away. It was my fault for not telling them my difficulties when I took off —it’s not a Crow or politic issue but a personal debt.  Have some friends in Brecilia that had saved my life before, I can’t disclose their problem but it was huge.

 I yearn to come home, but I’m worried how he’d feel that I’ve abandoned him as well as the others’ fury. Running has always been my way, that had not changed since my assassin days. Not an honourable value. I apologize for troubling you in being a news-bearer…. I just know he worries so much and I don’t deserve such a good Elf like him. Yes I know he had seen me that day, but I had my difficulties. I couldn’t risk blowing my cover, the elves with me have some history with Tevinter. It broke my heart but I had to go. You must believe me old friend! We fought side by side no? I’m not sure if I can come back but I will endeavour to soon.    ~Z

 

A cold mask seemed to harden the elf’s face. “Why didn’t he send me word? When did you learn of this?” Some of the markings flared and though he was not wearing his usual armour, Alistair took care to move back.  

How could he answer him that Zev gave loads of excuses? Then again he had rehearsed the lie – “Just last night, the messenger sent it. Maybe he doesn’t want to be traced. Would you like to see the note?”

Fenris started to shake his head, muttering some curses, his brows knitted. But when he rose, he snapped, “Give it to me. I wanted to believe Zev had his reasons, his difficulty. That day you saw him didn’t you? ” His anger turned to eagerness to be affirmed. Fenris clasped his hand once and searched the man’s face.

Ali nodded.  Tight silence as Fenris whispered the words on the paper, letting go of him. He felt ashamed at the instinctive fear remembering how formidable his ally could be, just crushing hearts.

“Take your time. I’ve somewhere to be.”  Zev and him had been allies and friends during the war of darkspawn, and Alistair felt torn between them. Fenris treated him and trusted him like a brother too. He was by the door when Fenris stopped him. “Don’t go. I have more questions, was your contact liasing with Varric’s friends? I paid a lot for them, how do I know this is real?”

Alistair didn’t turn around. Oh Maker, I can’t let him find out that actually Z has always left word with me. What do I say now?   Though the elf had shown his classic stoicism, he had taken this death pretty hard and collapsed from the toll.  Sabriel and his friends had been frantic about it. Also because the mages had tapped the raw lyrium to attempt a rescue, which went sideways.

To take his mind off that, Fenris was doing paperwork in the Keep and everyone took turns to engage him so he wouldn’t go back to drinking heavily. Sabriel kept getting him to explain why he refused to sign the excursion consent forms and they had funny bickering over that. Maybe Fenris understood their intentions, they had coaxed some of his rare witticism forth.

“Hey are you listening to me?” Elf demanded.

“Yea sorry was lost in thought. No no they are all different contacts. Hm you can check with the other mail he wrote you.” Fenris was staring at him with that beady-eyed investigative disbelief.

“I will check. Hm, my vision’s not so good today can you read it to me?” Ali was astounded to hear, when did elf ever admit weakness? What happened? Had he wept so much that…. “I like to hear words, it’s easier to visualize. Please.” His ear twitched, and he seemed lost and weary.

“But---”  It was instinctive of him to decline, Zev’s tone was all fiery and sexy.  “Wouldn’t that be too uh- strange? Too personal?”

“Not at all, you are Inner circle.” Ali felt even worse guilt sinking his guts. (While going through some readings, Elf had a keen sense of learning that he would apply the new words right away as practice) And he was sounding really persuasive! “It won’t take long, just a page.” So the man did and when he finished, Fenris had his eyes closed his ears twitching slightly.

“Ok. What’s wrong? Are you better, after that?”

“That mission? You have all been very kind, didn’t have to coddle me that much. I’m fine, lazy to read myself.” Fenris smiled. After a pause, he seemed to have distanced from the letter and they discussed about trivia, like how he got over seasickness and Anders’ showing off making portals. Like most fans, he also enjoyed listening to him talk. “Sabriel has always been angry on my behalf, that we will definitely bash him up if he ever returns. His room at my place is just as it was.” His voice suffused with fatherly pride and affection. Then he frowned. “Oh yes did you need to rush off? Sorry.”

“Aw Fen, anytime. That was very moving, like what Duncan my old mentor said. Feel free to lie down on the bed all right? Yea I gotta go now.” Fenris tucked the letter into his robe pocket and watched until Ali left the hallway. Having been accustomed to subtle cues and body language, Fenris could detect lies well. His friend was so uncomfortable this time. After that tragedy, he didn’t have the strength to get worked up again. The mages had ordered him mandatory rest from physical exertion and he also had to take an alternate dose of mana potions. It was quite dull to do nothing, so he had jumped at the chance to read and Beth, Kit and Varric wanted his company to discuss a potential new story.

He plopped down on the man’s soft bed and then lay on his side. Why couldn’t Alistair be honest that Zev must have corresponded with him for quite some time? I meant it when I told him about how close we are. Inner Circle, that’s a nice phrase. Wow I bet that naughty dwarf is going to feature me in his next story, the character sounds so much like me, haha.  Fenris was able to let go of his failure last week, but Zev he was not so certain. He had actually wanted to lose his temper at Ali but that wouldn’t be fair.


 

 

A knock. “Fennie are you in there?” The youth called. He had dozed off, his fingers curled over that roll of paper. Elf tucked it into his shirt. “Yes, come in.” He sat up, just as she rushed in.

“Sorry didn’t know you wanted a nap. Don’t move.” Sabriel felt his brow and Fenris chuckled. “We have a new menu today, the canteen. Later want to select what you want?”

“Good. No problem you can choose for me, we like the same stuff.” He leaned back on the pillows. It was endearing to just focus on what to eat and basics. “I didn’t have a fever that time. It’s just—I was so shocked that she died. I wanted her to be alright.” He found it much easier to talk about it, and she rustled the menu paper beside them. “Sucked that I just keeled over.”

She was quiet, one of the things he admired about her, keenly listening to him. “Do you still want to go to the Bone Pit? I know it’s fenced up now,  but  I don’t agree it is educational.”

“No. I didn’t mean to make you angry, Fenris. It was compulsory before, but now it’s not. Actually, Jason and me were stunned when you voiced that to our teacher.” It was entirely serious but he found himself laughing at that. Yea he seldom made complaints, the teens did not want to be embarrassed. “I wonder what it’s like, you can sense the Fade? Do you feel creeped out?”

It was hard to discuss in Common, still he tried to explain about his power. “They should plan another better place to go to, slaves and miners all died there. I was just being honest. It's not exactly fear when I experience death around. So, will she cancel that excursion?" 

"She says it will be KIV. Keep in view."

"That does not sound right. What did Donnic say? We have an agreement to be on the same side with you." Kit was studying how their fingers were intertwined. That day, she had been mad when he adamantly refused to give his consent. Everyone I know will be going! Not to mention the alternate extra homework, if I don't go. I promise to be careful, there will be experienced guides escorting. Please! She had justified. 

"Donnic sides with you. I guess can't go then, I don't like more homework." He rubbed his thumb over her hand and she smiled.

"I am sorry I got angry. What is keep in view?"

"It means under consideration, something like 'we'll see' Some other parents were worried too, and complaints were coming in. It's alright Fen, you mean well, you're worried about our welfare. "

He accepted that. "You won't be the only one left out. Maybe parents can propose another venue for excursions. I'll talk to them" 

He fell asleep for a while, soothed by her hand on his hair. Then the clock chimed and Fenris roused. 

" After dinner, let's head back. It's quiet here but too boring." Fenris decided to talk about the matter then. She had only been to his home for bed, always came by to check on him.

At first he did agree on walloping the worrisome elf for being so irresponsible, but he was having mixed emotions about it. I'm going to compare the handwriting if it's genuine. I don't like being bluffed, but Ali was just trying to be kind....  

 

 

Chapter Text

The first thing he noticed was, his marks glowed but did not hurt, no pinpricks either. Elf took his time to assess his surroundings. A tall woman figure materialized as he tried to move faster but could not. Her face was obscured by a metallic visor, her shimmery wingspan was longer than a bird of prey.

Hello Leto  she greeted.

He reached back instinctively to draw his weapon, but found nothing. ‘who are you? Why- no how am I here? Am I dead?’ At the prospect, Fenris’ sorrow amplified, what about his loved ones? How panicked and frantic they are going to be. And I am.... not ready yet to die.

 

No. It appears you have accidentally activated your special magic and now here Leto, relax. I am not someone to be mistrusted  A lyrical flutelike music played, soothing him. His eyes almost closed but he willed himself to remain alert. Now she drifted nearer, the exact picture that Kit had drawn during that vision. Don’t fear me, you want to see someone... Zevran that is his name?

Fenris nodded. I don’t seem to have a choice, can’t control if and how to go back. Then out of curiosity, he lifted his hands they were translucent and blue, and so was his armour! Phase form! ‘Why am I like this?’ The knowledge flooded in, nothing here resembled the reality of Thedas. What one person experiences won’t be exactly the same as what I am seeing. On his previous mission to save his old friend, it had been ominous and full of rage demons. He had failed her….

Leto, I like that name,  may I address you as Kunia sussi?

He shrugged. Doesn’t matter. What is that? Attempting to walk here was an impossible feat,no solid ground. When Fenris looked up, found himself drifting lightly.

White wolf, and I say it with the utmost respect Elf!  Titania sounded like she wanted to make him comfortable.  He couldn’t tell if she was smiling.  The sky above them was violet, had clouds sweeping continuously and couple of Alienage trees in full bloom. Different coloured slim beings with wings were busy with harvesting. Some smiled as he passed, and they looked Elvish and perfect.

" Kit, she told me about her dreams before. I was so afraid,  thought she would be lost to me. But this sense... Neither witch nor demon? " Fenris exclaimed.

She had been flying in front of him, but now she stopped until he caught up. I’m Titania, protector of this Realm between Heaven and Hell. There are more than two worlds in the afterlife. Because of your unique abilities, you can afford to stay here longer than a normal mortal.

But he hated his lifelong agony, should he relate his suffering? Ah, but Beings, or goddesses would have prior knowledge. So he did not have to. ‘So why is he here?’

Don’t worry my friend. I understand you do not have a very bright outlook, and I don’t blame you. Today he happens to have come here. As you converse, take this flower. Its petals falling, shedding mark how long he has left. Then I will send him back. He almost prostrated before her magnificence, but she waved her arm to her right side. A silver liquid portal opened revealing a meadow. Go on.  (the flower was shaped like a bird with multi-colours and as big as his hand) People wandered around, lost, calling out, happy various kinds. Fenris found himself alone, Titania had not come.

Mi amor? that familiar Antivan voice and accent. I don’t know where this is, Fenris I see you! 

But he couldn’t see him, why not?  No blond hair, or anyone approaching. He answered, ‘We are not dead. This is like… an in between.’ Then anger exploded fluidly from him, all the months of pent- up emotion.  et contentiones sint bastardis! HOW could you worry me sick endlessly? Us! My roommates took care of you too, yet you didn’t even say goodbye! Now so much time has passed. Zevran, this is not fair to our status. And then how do I know, when Alistair finally told me you write but not to me. I cannot go on like this Zevran! Not since she died. I’m tired. I'm really mad at you!

To his friends, when they asked, he had felt numb or he just decided to forget. Still, the rogue remained invisible.

But I am free to express myself. None of the other phantoms bothered, they went through or around him. A few petals came off, now a bare handful was left. Fenris searched for a physical resemblance to Zev maybe he wouldn’t look like an elf. Which one is you? Tell me!

An ordinary fox with a white streaked tail nosed Fenris on his back leg. It looked up adoringly, tongue lolling. What? How can this be Arainai?

You…. understand me? He asked in a broken voice, then bent to pat it. It reared up and touched its front paws to his hands.

Yes, I can’t see myself. Oddly you are blue, I smelled you from far back. - Fox replied.

well you are a fox. Indeed nothing is as it seems. Wily, elusive, makes sense.’ He laughed, his earlier anger cast off. The fox did not move its mouth, just scratched its backside with a foot.

Not much time, amatus. But I’m so sorry for causing you grief. I’m the other half of Zev, he has plenty of concerns. He has a blood debt to return to his saviours. He is alive but cannot return yet. I'm here on his behalf. Open your heart Fenris, don’t have to wait. Fenris wept, and reached a hand to his face. Tears, it was just incredible!

Almost nothing of the flower was left, he steeled himself. I can’t leave without an answer, Fox! Come back soon! You owe me!

As Fox paced in front of him, Elf thought of the different people who said they loved him, admirers, fans, Isabela, infatuations, colleagues. With Bethany, a stir of something but unexplainable. They had kissed once.  But he did not really feel love for them.

Fox quirked its tail. Oh? You think that but there are some Lost. Her. You don’t forget her.

Fenris could not believe, he meant Arielle! With that, it was like Zevran directly stabbed his dagger into his heart. That’s uncalled for! She CAN NEVER  be replaced by anyone! She didn’t abandon me in life, but I- I failed her alright? You are wrong to compare her! I regret trying to find Zevran! Tell him that!  Fox whimpered, following him but Fenris was in too much pain to look at him as he moved away. Two last petals floating off.

No answers, not that I accept them…. And then he felt as if he would swoon. He was cushioned by a bed of softness.

Rest, don’t struggle anymore.... A female gentle voice said into his ear.

Fenris yawned. Was that really Zevran? Or am I imagining it? Then he slept until Titania’s presence was beside him. I had given up on him, and a year has passed. But when my friend gave me that letter, I got soft. It doesn’t pay to love, they hurt me.

She was somehow behind him, tenderly cradling his spirit. Limp and exhausted, Elf stopped resisting.   Blissful silence, she said she truly sympathized. Oh Leto, I feel your exhaustion. Don’t contain it by yourself,we are here. True he sounds cruel. He let you down, what about the others? Your family?  

His first image was of Aveline, surprisingly. How she cried and called his name when he awoke from the coma, then Kit beside her. They hugged him. Those are real, my new memories! Not the bad evil ones but their kind faces bringing him comfort, stability. He swallowed, his eyes closed a hand reaching out. The injustice and anger at Fox ebbed away. He smiled, a tear falling from each eye.

Aveline, Donnic, my friends. I want to see them, take me back. Will I remember?’Her touch was not tangible, but Fenris could sense her Spirit supporting him and then he was on his feet. Indeed she must be an Angel! He looked around at the bizarre world, standing before a portal.

The top of her staff was brilliantly aflame. He watched it, fascinated. Hope that you come by again, Elf. So the experience is not as hellish as you anticipated? She asked in amusement.

‘No it was more sad, but thank you. Would I be able to find Arielle or Mother next time?’ She was smiling, and he could hear no more


 

People shouting his name loudly, not too flattering, and hard shakes. Stop, he wanted to talk but couldn't.... 

“Oh god, Sensei! Don’t let him be dead! Should we hit him?” one boy was shouting. Fenris was horrified, as he came to, two boys with worried frowns were too near him and breathing loudly. He growled, and thankfully they shifted back. 

“No need to hit me. Maker,” He used his arms to give himself space, his temples pounding and the worst ever aching of the tattoos. Even his toes and feet tingled as if he had been exerting himself nonstop. His mouth had a bitterness. Despite summoning all his strength, Fenris was as drained as a starving refugee and couldn’t sit up. “Vishante. What-happened?” His voice sounded normal, but perhaps too soft. Judging from them leaning too close again.

The fatter boy (he never remembered their names haha) said, “Oh you said to wait and you would get Ken a new staff from the storage. But more than an hour, we came and you’ve er—passed out. Are you sick Mr Fenris?”

“Yes you look pale. I can call for the mage on duty,” his friend said, standing.

“Don’t, I just… need a moment.” He was grateful to have their arms support him. In a while, the vertigo subsided. “Thank you.”  

A mere hour had passed in this world? He couldn’t wait to talk about this with Kit! These poor students, he had to be calm for their benefit. “We had better stay until you’re steady. It’s alright, everyone gets weak. It’s nothing to be embarrassed about.” He still did not know who they were, that was more embarrassing.

He felt better when they escorted him to an outside chair. Donnic came running, gushing with concern and worry. “We almost sent out a search party, man! What happened?” Fenris smiled and clasped Donnic’s arm.

He assured them all he was fine. Then no one left him alone, but it would be cruel of him to complain.

********

Back home, he could not wait to talk to his best friend. She came back later, and was quite distracted. At first she did not even notice he had come home earlier and he was folding his dry laundry. He needed something mundane like chores, to be certain he wouldn't just go back to that place. Some of the markings still suffused with power and he scratched his shoulder.  

“Kit! Can we talk? Zevran was in the Fade. Somehow I was there, and I saw these strange wonders……”  Her mouth fell open as he described his strange adventure. 

 

 

                              >next, how they'd react to this?  OOOOO 

 

 

 

 

Chapter Text

 

The moment we reached home, Fenris said “He was seen around Gwaren. But he can’t come back. Or won’t.” I was like huh, who? He pulled out a roll of parchment that was yellow. The initial was Z. addressed to Alistair! “I suspect they’ve been in contact and he kept it from me. And Varric, I don’t want to be ungrateful to them.” He did not sound very heated, perhaps he had already shouted at them?

“That sucks. Are you ok? I don’t believe Uncle V would be so bad.”

Fenris let me tweak his right eartip, his large green eyes unfocused. “I’m not angry now. Ali seemed afraid of me, though. You’ve kept Zevran’s old mails? Can you verify if this is genuine?”  Indeed, I filed all the letters they both wrote to me. I said I’d get it done, he smiled.

Passing by Broody’s room, it didn’t look like he would find anything soon from his usual mess. But I'm sure Fenris will have stored all of my correspondences nicely! After some effort, I located the folder and compared the specimens.

“Hey Sabriel, hungry. Join you later! ” Fenris called from outside.

“Yea alright!” Then I’d have time to ask Ali for some answers. Finding some plain paper, I began to write :

 

Hey Alistair,

How are you? Fenris said you just gave him news. I don’t mean any disrespect, have you been in touch with Zevran earlier on? Actually I can tell he’s very hurt and worried, but he doesn’t want to make a fuss. Fenris has always made clear we can be frank and honest with him.  I hear it often, when I attempt to keep secrets. Mostly I succeed, but he will find out. I heard a bit about the mission you went together, Thank you for tending his wounds. I’m grateful, that he is not alone. He hasn’t told me much yet, but these days, he seems tired. Please give him the previous letters. Don’t worry, Fenris is more patient now he's unlikely to get too mad. I just saw a couple of lyrium potions and instructions while he was packing, that he should not be too stressed. Haven’t chatted for a long time, let's talk soon one day.

Write back soon!   Then  I hastily signed my name, hearing Fenris knock my door.  The aroma of yummy mushroom soup. I hid this mail, would pass it to a messenger tomorrow.

“Coming. Thanks, I thought we’re eating downstairs?” I opened the door and took the tray from Elf. He smiled, chewing. The other plate was piled with doughnuts.

When he swallowed, he said, “Last bowl. Have missed you.” I loved him! Maybe he was anxious to check the handwritings, but Fenris enquired how were my exams and just listened. He sat on the floor, leaning back against my bed.

*************

 

Next day, our upstairs study  

“So, how’s Cullen? My teacher said he got sick again. Why? ” I wanted to distract Fenris from brooding over the recent events. His hand was shaking badly while he held up a paper, and his skin had shifting patterns.  

His voice was distant with focus. “Saw him few days ago, he seemed fine. He didn’t look ill, but I heard he is attempting to stop taking lyrium. Templars of his batch were addicted to it, until they become resistant.” I didn’t quite understand that, but sounded grave. As he finished speaking, Elf glanced at me, quirking an ear. “Why? You’ve not asked about Cullen before.” Now his voice lilted towards concern and with that, I sensed the dissipation of his power. I smiled, keeping eye contact. His green eyes, you can be lost inside…

“Oh, I am just wondering. Coz he looks healthy and is stern a lot of the time. Are you becoming friends? How did he react when you first met?” Ok this is more of a private-boundary thing, Fenris might not want to-  He was trailing his index finger on a sentence. “You can choose not to tell me, Kiv as well.”

“K-i-v, “ he repeated. His eyes lit. “Ah, meaning come back to it. It’s fine, let’s see. If I’m not wrong, he looked very shocked, about to barf when he saw me. But he is a good man, he has not probed. I admire him. Also, Tethras might have talked to him about my experiences. Mostly we spar and talk strategy. And I enjoy hearing about what his big family is up to.”

Fenris reached out, still focused on the table, to hold my hand and urge me closer.

Sometimes he may know that I’m distracting him, showing his concern implicitly. I beamed, remarking, “Wow that’s nice! You’re making more friends Fennie.”

Scowling at that, he knocked me gently on the head. Then I tried to avoid being poked on the side. “More? Ha, maybe more in quality, not in numbers. Not sure if Cullen fears me.” True, my best friend is resigned to most people still perceiving him wrongly, in a negative way.

His nervous energy was stable now but I couldn’t do much more to help… As he gathered all the papers together in a pile to hand to me, he asked softly, “Kit, do you think it’s a good idea to go to Gwaren? To find him.”  

Usually I think before I talk, but not now. “No! I mean, it’s not like he will stay in one place for long. This letter is late, he’s likely gone by now!” My voice had got loud, not realizing I leapt from my seat. From pacing, Fenris stopped. His dark brows were raised to his fringe.  “I’m sorry, it’s not my decision here. Uncle, you’re not completely well yet. You may not say it, but I notice….”  I couldn’t bear to receive some more bad news, though the others had been reluctant to explain why Fenris got confined to paperwork nowadays, when we know he’s the outdoors-action type.

Had that been too much? Did I go too far?

When I got the courage to look up, Fenris did not face me, his tunic was figure-hugging to the extent of emphasizing his frailness and pain. His right hand was glowing as he touched the nearest wall. “I guess you’re more alert than I hoped. Yes, many have said that or that I would be mad to sail there. You’re right. No need to be sorry,” he said evenly. He phased his hand in and out of the wall a few times, before looking at me.  “I’m a lot better this time, not convinced?” He attempted to bluff, smiling faintly.

Inside me more yelling: don’t go! What if you’re in danger again? I schooled my expression and took a few deep breaths. “Not really, this elf cannot act well.”

He chuckled, an arm on his hip. His puppy-eyes still looked forlorn, and wanting to reassure him, I closed our physical distance. Fenris gasped, I leaned against his chest to hear his pulse, and his long fingers caressed my hair, resting on my back.

“I’ll have to read actors’ tips. Suppose it’s time to… talk about that earlier mission…. ” He started telling me, with halting words but the pauses got shorter. It was to rescue a woman, he forgot her name. She had once nursed him to health, perhaps from Tantervale (the country of Tevinter Imperium) or Par Vollen.

Briefly Fenris made effort to explain where was what, I appreciated that. The mages didn’t have enough power so Fenris volunteered himself as a Source.  “I really wanted to save her! She shouldn’t have been there alone.” At this he could not help choking up. Being tapped had become less agonizing this time, as he had trained his endurance more. Regrettably he couldn’t go in as well! The process was not reversible, something like her host body could not be found, so she was completely gone. When the mages emerged from the ritual, Fenris passed out. A few days passed before he awoke, and weakly he asked for news.

Upon hearing this devastating news that she was gone, he tried not to grieve, to hold it together, but during the funeral it got too much. "I felt my breaths getting short, then fell to the floor. I believe Alistair urged me to lie down. Said it's too much exertion, to withdraw from all missions until further notice."

His eyes closed tightly, tears streamed down and a fist to his mouth.

“You tried your best, Elf. I was scared, when they wouldn’t tell me why you’re ill.” I was crying too.

Hoarsely he rumbled, "Carissme…… Sed ea Defuit ego potest non solliciti estis I didn’t tell, because what we share shouldn't be... tainted by violence, Carissme. You’re innocent, should stay that way as much as possible. ” Then he drew away to wipe his face.  

I understood his kind intentions and relaxed. “Okay sure. Did you talk to someone who can help you through this? It's bad to bottle it up.”  

“I will. When ready. I want things to be normal, but Mage didn’t consent. And I'm still weak can't do outfield, faasta vas. Meanwhile, Cullen assigned me to check papers. Yuck ” Fenris sank down on a chair, leaning back.

“But, so far I’ve not discussed cases at home yes? Unless everyone’s out, and just with Aveline.” He was back to his rational self. 

“Yea. I mean I’m sorry to be selfish. Maybe, maybe Z might come back.... Can you wait?”

Elf took a tissue and passed me the box. “Umhm. It’s because you want my company.” He blew his nose.

I nodded. “Yes, and I don’t like to go home. Mother keeps changing boyfriends, ahh you know. ”  He listened without comment though this would be the upteenth time I ranted about the shit in my blood-family. 

"Hey, want to have something to eat? I can cook some noodles with the leftovers.” I changed the subject. 

His smile was endearing. “Later. Now I’m sleepy. Gracias.” I think it meant thank you.  

 

***************************

Right now 

When I got home, Fenris said he was keen to talk to me. “I don’t know how, but…. I went into the Fade. Think I saw Titania the angel…..”  At first I was dumbstruck! So I waited till he finished speaking. “The strange thing is, Donnic said no one could find me until the boys. Are you alright?”

 “Elf, no I should be the one asking you that!”  I exclaimed and leaned closer. “Does it hurt?” I gently touched one of his arms and he allowed me to.

“I'm alright now. Back there, it ached quite a lot. Mea culpa, don't be frightened for me."  I heard the smile in his voice, as I carefully observed his palms and his chest. 

Then it hit me. "Wait, Zev is not himself? Why is he a fox?" 

"I don't know. It was cryptic, it did not move its mouth but it was talking about him. The same as the mail, to Alistair. Even if, I distrust Fade creatures, I believe him.... "

Fenris shook his head and scratched where I had touched him. He chuckled as my fingers tickled some of his elbow marks. He shifted his arm. I beamed. "Cool! You are like a mage Fen! I think hmm, yea he can be a fox. Because they are always wily, cunning, not really what they seem." Then I sobered. But it didn't mean he should be let off the hook for causing worry. 

"I don't wish to be a mage. But... does this mean I may be a somniari? But that's not possible." Fenris mused, rubbing his nose bridge. I shrugged. He thanked me quietly for being here and taking my hands, gently massaged mine. 

"What will you do?" 

He said he would wait for news, and if there was some return address, hoped to write to Zev about his concerns and that friends here would render aid. 

 

  

Chapter Text

 

They were alone in the mansion, Zevran had gone through several bottles of wine and emotions were running high. He was flipping a coin as he lounged on a seat. It was at Zev’s behest to talk things out. Taller elf alternated between pacing and standing.

 

Fenris : I don’t know whether I can rely on you , Zevran. You should have informed me, but no, yet stopped the rest from doing the right thing! Keeping secrets. And the Fade showed me you have no intention of coming back.

Zev: I have no idea what happened in the Fade, that was not me!  Mi amor, I meant to come back! If apologies are not enough, then you can hit me. Wallop me if you must, but I cannot stand this coldness.

Fen:  Do not be absurd, hitting you won’t accomplish anything! You still ignored MY needs, not even ten brawls can compensate my loss of sleep! Stop this wretchedness. 

 

(He glowed, taking deep breaths…. The lyrium cried out to be unleashed, it ached to control it, but he thought- this is not worth it, reason with him!  )  The Antivan regarded him defiantly, the ambers like a lion’s. Zev muttered something in his language.

Fenris (shaking but his glare unyielding) :  Fine- you don’t remember. But this time- you’ve gone too far. We have all put in much effort to nurse you to health and everytime you got into shit, we vouched for you. (his voice broke) Shit caused by you. How could you expect me to forget Hawke?  Hawke will always be important to me, how can you be jealous? 

 Zev:  How many times must I be sorry? That is bloody unfair, querido, why aren’t you listening to me? I never expected that of you! Who told you?

 His ears pricking in opposing directions, Fenris: That's not the point---- when I needed to be alone, you spied on me.  I DON’T need your ‘sorry’s. You are so selfish. I’m sick to death of listening.  He turned his back, there was something that he needed to find. A throbbing pain started up in his stomach. ‘No no, not now. Need to find amulet…’  

As Fenris groped for the feathered charm amulet in the topmost drawer, his vision danced with black spots and he felt out of breath.

Zev did not notice and rambled on: Braska, I was concerned, I Care about you!  I’m not some callous beast. Waited to accuse me about selfish, yes? Who is not selfish huh? Would you ignore a dying friend?

Much too late, did Zev remember Varric’s and Alistair’s mail, how the warrior  had taken that very badly in the latest mission haven’t come to terms…

Fenris : Don’t change the subject- this focus is YOUR lack of responsibility and care. If you must know, yes someone died on my watch…. Venhedis.

For once in his life, the chatty rogue was speechless and tearful. It was only now that he looked at Fenris who was gasping leaning over the chest of drawers, one hand to his right side.

 

“What’s wrong? Maker, are you sick? ” Zev gasped, not seeing any open wounds. Outside it was cool, but Fenris' skin was slick with sweat.  His face was not too white but his knees were trembling and made him double over. He could not be upright.

Fenris tried to shift away, but could not exert anymore. “Don’t come closer,” He growled.

Zev (panicked) :  Is there any medicine, potion? Where can I find it? I’m so sorry! Fen, tell me where to find it!   

He fell sideways against Zev, nauseous and the agony clouded his mind. All sound faded and it was all he could do to hang on to a thread of weakening consciousness.  Zev leaned close, heard his whisper - cramp, the stomach pills were in bathroom, not other red potions. Before running off, Zev supported him to sit down. He bent down over his knees, trying not to retch from the nausea. 

Stupid weak body, venhedis! I was almost recovering too

Fenris had no intention of letting his family know, these awful phantom aches and pains were still ongoing. No blood, but over-using his magic re-ignited past wounds, the worst hit being his mid section. No armour is perfect and wielding heavy weapons left him open. 

Nope, Fenris knew he was not fine. Bethany also administered healing sessions every week- he wanted to see her more often, but not in such a feeble state!  Still, at least she had not been as longwinded as Anders, who grumbled he didn’t take all the medicines in the instructions.  He didn’t want to take that many, or he would be too drowsy to go about routine stuff. It was satisfying and right to help out in missions, and he also liked interacting with the youths of the current batch in combat training, meeting with his ward and helpers for marketing etc. Of course, he was always careful only to take medication when his friends did not notice.

Still better to move about, rather than being drugged to eyeballs.... Where were you when I  had trouble? –he wanted to summon righteous anger but it was too painful, his body protested.

Zev watched intensely until he swallowed two of the round black pills with water. Fenris was still shaking, eyes shut but at least had stopped holding his stomach.  

Zev: It says gastric cramps- why was I not told? We should not be fighting at a time like this. Is it better? 

Silence, only the sound of the Antivan crying. These pills were quite effective in the short-term, and the pain had receded to a minimal level. At least it had stopped tormenting him for now, so Fenris could slowly sit up. His vision was blurry but no more dark spots. His hand absently mopped his sodden hair and face.

Zev: I’m going to take care of you. You’ve lost weight, I'm sorry. This is terrible!

 

The warrior scowled, tuning out his words, trying to gauge if he could walk to the nearest room, on his own. As he moved , Zev placed a restraining hand on his shoulder. "That's not a request, Fenris. Stop refusing my help!" Zev had the gall to sound angry. 

The long stairways to Headquarters had been too much for him and he had passed out a couple of times. Elf was quite astonished at the kindness of strangers, thankfully the others did not ask questions when he was late for their appointments.

“Fair enough. Pretend this didn’t happen. I can’t worry them. Do not breathe a word!” Fen thought Zev only made the promise fleetingly, considering he was not at all reliable. He clasped the Antivan's hand tightly to get his point across. "Oh my that is quite a grip yes. Ok ok"

Satisfied with his test, Fenris leaned back to be more comfortable against the pillow. The other made a remark about how bad he was, but an ache throbbing sent him spiralling away....

Darkness, it was welcome. 

Not sure how long he had been out when Fenris found himself in his bed upstairs. Minus a shirt with a warm cloth on his stomach. Little inkling how he had managed to make it upstairs. He breathed delicately and tried to relax. The person had placed his own hand over the poultice, and he decided not to trigger more pain. Strangely, though Zev was not a mage, his tattoos detected his familiar presence. Ah he carried me in?

 “Leto, I’ve made you something light to eat. I remember, for stomach upsets no dairy and spice. Try to eat.” The warm voice belied that heated argument. Fen couldn’t answer, his throat too dry and he was careful not to glance directly at the pitying expression that would surely assail him.

Without being asked, Zev handed him a glass of warm water. After he drank, the spoon was moved in front of him. He was annoyed that his fingers trembled from fatigue and the ache began anew not too fiercely but he stored it aside. I must not faint now.

“I can feed myself. How long have I….” Fenris looked out the window, the sky was still dark. His skin was still sticky with sweat, and he coughed from the thirst. 

“It’s not yet dawn. Do not worry, I’m just going to feed you. Then I’ll go to bed.” Zev stifled a yawn. A few sips of the drink helped. But he did not want to thank him just yet. Lucidity would not last, Fenris knew so he tried for a flat calm tone when he instructed, “Fine. Think about what I said, and no telling anyone. Pills help. ”

Aveline and Sabriel’s sadness and frantic questioning, Fenris could not bear that. He loved them too much.  It's alright, I've been in worse agony.  Blessed silence. Exhausted, he couldn’t fight the worry that the healers said this pain would be long-term….

 

*******

                                                                            Kit

 

When Ave and I came back the following day, after our night shopping and supper, no one was awake. I had brought Fennie a gift, to cheer and distract him from his problems. It was a cute horse in a windup box. After that day, although Fenris didn’t want me to beat him up and was calm, both elves weren’t speaking much.

I got changed and pushed open Fenris’ door. “Hi I’m back. Slept ok?” 

“Hey, yes. Ah I should be wearing a shirt.” Fenris rubbed his eyes and grumbled. Nah he wouldn't be mad with me.  I smiled, turning my back as he rummaged in the drawer. Then I noticed a half-used small vial of pills on the floor and picked it up. It had his name on it. “Come sit with me. Are you sleepy?” Fenris did not look too pale and accepted my hug when I squeezed into bed with him. I showed him my gift.

He was delighted, his fingers turning the dial. I asked if he was alright. Without hesitation he said, “Yes. It is just some stomach cramps. Thanks.” He said softly, always gentle wth me. 

Fen kept the vial aside. I hadn’t slept much, so did not think to question him further. Wasn’t it a few days ago that Beth made him stay in at the clinic? His warm hand lingered on my head a little longer. “Ok. Try to eat more regularly, now you’re at home.”

The Maker and Titania should watch over my hero, he is so caring to us. "Yes. Mum." As he chuckled, a slight frown of his brow and his breath hitched. I leaned against him. 

"Hurts, Kit, lie on the bed." I felt him adjust me until I lay on the pillows. Why did his voice sound so..... odd?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter Text

Zevran, in the Brecilia forests, a small tavern

 

“A mail for you, Mister Castiel!” the only human scout amongst their mercenary company panted, holding out a cylinder. Zev’s heart tripled, letters time was always tentative for him, whoever the sender might be. Alistair had written: I’m no good at mails, Z why can’t you just write directly to him? I am not keeping secrets any longer you hear me? Fenris still cares for you, why else would he question us everytime there’s something dangerous going on at your place? One day he might just misunderstand, about us! I won’t have it, I won’t have a pissed off lyrium glowing warrior punching me.

Oh Fenris, who had given him refuge, controlling himself to protect his heart from being broken again. That sultry one -of- a- kind baritone: “I don’t remember if we met previously. But we can start over.” On his insistence, they had tried to keep their relationship platonic, while Zevran worked hard to gain his trust, acceptance. Months, Fenris responded shyly, when they were alone drinking, cooking together, or while Zev supervised and shared some culinary tips. Yes, he admitted he had been pricked with jealousy when he noticed Fenris looking at Hawke’s portrait and crying in private. 

Was this why he had not waited or left a note? Yes, he did plan for Fenris to return from a mission, before departing. But Ninette had been close to death and only he knew the antidote! Hence his decision to rush off with such haste. Then his memory wandered briefly to a Fade vision lately. He hadn’t been able to speak to mi corazon*, frustratingly. Zevran had only seen the blue form of Fenris addressing a fox, after which he broke down, shook his head, yelling. And then he vanished. The scout was staring at him. “You are dismissed. This is a private affair,” he snapped, grasping the cylinder tightly.  

A Tal vashoth ambled over and rumbled. “Hey hey Zev, be nice it’s just a kid. Waiting for his coin.” The scout shivered, wiping his sweaty brow. Zev patted his tunic’s pocket and handed his last coin pouch. Happily the boy ran off. The elf sighed, envying his simple life.

“I’m always nice, my big friend. I… miss my friends.” He surprised himself, because professionals do not talk about personal affairs of the heart, and mask their vulnerability. The prong-horn vashoth called himself Salazim, used to run with the famous Iron Bull. He had honour, a trait that Zev identified with and this honour included not spilling secrets.  Zevran had begun his personal vendetta alone, not wanting to drag others down with him. It was a personal honour of the Crows, Arainai house. But along the way, he found it more advantageous running alongside allies, especially if they had a common victim to slay.  (Varric had given him some contacts, to which he would always be grateful.)

“Is it a her, or several hers? Can’t be just friends,” Salazin asked, smiling.

He pushed his hair to conceal his heating eartips and swigged some brandy. “It’s Alistair one of my Grey Warden friends. There are a few in Kirkwall I’ve--- grown fond of.” At this moment, the other mercs joined their table. Zev normally loved to tell tales and talk, but tonight he couldn’t wait to be alone.

**********

Maker! The mails were quite a number, he was impatient but did not want to rip any pages. The messy one was by Ali of course, a polite short memo from Varric: hey when are you coming back? I’m protective of a certain Broody one blowing up at me, when it’s not my fault, but it was the last sheet which felt like new paper that drew his attention. It was evident the person seldom did long forms of writing, some alphabets seemed child-like.  Could it be---

Zevran,

Not writing dear you, too angry and moody. All this time tried to be calm and patient.  Until I noticed my friends act suspicious, don’t give me mail. I MADE Alistair show me what you have exchanged, why wasn’t I told? Do u remember the times we fought, u were the one said should be expressive? 

When Kit said u left, I wanted to believe that not intentional. I worried at first, though we adults. Some missions not good, how fragile life is. Few days ago I lost a dear friend in Fade, I failed to save her. She had been like mother to me.  Cullen insisted I should take longer time off. They don't allow me work. Now  home early- oversee the kids do tutor homework. 

When will u return? Do u even care anymore ? I don’t wanto wait endlessly. Cullen said this the newest place it should reach u. My address behind

From: Fenris

Zevran blinked back hot tears, picturing Fenris fighting demons, getting hurt, collapsing. A friend who had snuck in asked if he was okay. “Did your friend die? Sorry.”

He hurriedly brushed away his tears and answered, “No, it’s someone who still cares about me. But I have let him down so gravely.”

Chapter Text

 

The moment he stepped ashore the Kirkwall docks, the ranger went to the nearest markets to purchase some city clothes to blend in. He still had a fat purse from the last mercenary raid. Not wanting to be declared an illegal immigrant, he had already updated Varric and Cullen of his arrival in advance.

The roadsides were still refugee and beggars territory, with uniformed guards keeping watch. He decided to remove his hood so he wouldn’t look like some guilty refugee stowaway.

‘Not long now! Soon I can see Fenris again!’ But though he was joyful, a little bit of dread accompanied the butterflies in his stomach. That letter from the reticent warrior had been a tone of finality, disappointment and their relationship may not be salvageable.

He will definitely be furious, I’ll keep apologizing, I need to get dear Fenris and the others to forgive me whatever it takes …. Time had flown, Zev forgot exactly when he had run off but it was perhaps more than a year?

His familiar mansion, all the fond moments they lived as a family loomed in his mind – Fenris nursing him back to health, Aveline arguing to jail him but they stood up for him , lazing in bed together, would I be able to get those moments back?   Hm which mansion was it again?There seem to be a few more street lights constructed for every house here in the Hightown sector. Here goes .... 

Zev ascertains the windows and décor are correct before he hits the bell.

 


 

Today almost all the helpers and Fennie are home, busy with our own stuff. I’m helping to fold and sort all our blankets and bedclothes warm from being dried in the sun.

The doorbell chimes once. “Who is it? Wait a moment!” Mary answers, putting aside her laundry to walk over.

Fenris calls out if I want a sweet or salty sauce with my dish. I say ‘sweet’ , he looks adorable in civilian clothes, his face bathed in sweat and he is still holding a spatula. “All right, cool!” He ducks back inside.

Mary says sharply, “What are you doing here?” If her tone has not been so mad, I would have just assumed it’s one of our regular visitors or tax collectors.

Huh? An elf with dalish markings, very tanned, dressed in the local street guise.  His smile is looking strained. “Hello my friends. Kitty, don’t you recognize me?” That voice

ZEVRAN? Venhedis

I frown. “You irresponsible fellow! Are you toying with Fenris?”  My innate power gets triggered by anger, and my hands are aflame. Just the right moment to wallop him!

Before I can focus my power, Mary has thrown a small object at Zev, which he dodges and she scolds him furiously.

He steps back, hands raised. “Please calm down,  I am so sorry!”  I forget to be angry, and my aura recedes. The other servants find this comical, fortunately Fenris has not heard this commotion. Because when he is focused on cooking or training, the surroundings get tuned out.

We bodily drag our unwelcome guest into the spare room. He starts to whine, Common mixed with his own Antivan, but I snap, “You just up and left, then waltz back in expecting open arms of welcome? Stay here and don’t make a sound until we prepare him!”  I shut the door on his puppy-face.

 

Our kitchen is cozy and inviting, repainted a sunny golden colour. When Aveline was here the last time, she planned the new add-ons, ovens, pipes for hot water, taps and we are enjoying the benefits of them now. After all our Elf's newly cultivated leisure is culinary, particularly baking! Sometimes when my friends come over, he does not mind letting them sample the results. It's more yummy each time, how cutely he flushes at our compliments. Of course we help with the washing up right after--- I'm so proud of Fen's blossoming talents! 

“Hey Fenris. What’s cooking?” I sniff the mouth-watering aromas as he examines and covers one bubbling pot.

He chuckles. “Wait and see, haha. I love potato so that’s in, there’s soup and stew. Three main dishes, needs few more minutes.”

I tell him we have a guest who has suddenly popped in. How the blazes to describe that it’s the him! Bastard that came into our hearts and then deserted mercilessly, suddenly he shows up. I manage to sound detached, although I’m still fuming. But our elf is in a buoyant mood, though he must be quite worn-out from waking early to prepare. His ashen hair may be messy and tousled, but he seems younger and spirited than usual.

“Don’t worry there’s enough to feed ten, have extra helpings too. Who is it?” I open my mouth to answer, but Fenris is distracted by his oily hands and turns on the tap. The rest start helping to set the utensils, so I open the dishes cabinet.

While I’m bringing out plates, my friend has taken a rest on a stool. “Kit, who is the guest? Funny I didn’t hear just now.”

“It’s Zevran, he suddenly came in.”

I set down my pile, scowling.  “Are you ready- for this? Didn’t want to upset you, so just now we locked him up in there.”   

Fenris blinks in silence, running a hand through his hair, his ears pricking. Some of the marks emit a soft glow but the energy is not harsh and strong.

As we walk out together, I point to the room. Fenris has been wearing slippers (kitchen floor was oily), now he is barefoot. “Ok, Kit. Thanks, I’ll come down again.” He scratches some of his scars, the perspiration is causing an allergy . Fenris runs upstairs.

 


 

Mary, our chief housekeeper, is stationed outside Zev’s room, glowering and grumbling under her breath. This is odd:  I expected Uncle to dash in and explode in fury, how hurt and frantic he was, the first day when we found out, and when they kept the news from him. But now his reaction is much mellowed- not at all shocked?

Hmm could Fennie have known about this? And in the Fade, he had been broken up by what the fox said of Zev, to forget Hawke for good. Earlier on, Elf blamed himself for not being able to rescue his old friend and expended too much lyrium, it had taken so long for him to get over that depression. Stupid fool wasn’t here when he needed him most.

Very quickly, Fenris had gotten changed into a silver-stars shirt and loose pants, he must have taken a quick shower.

He smiles and cups my cheek. “It’s quite extreme to lock him up. He was unarmed yes?”

The other servants are tucking in and I gesture to the table. “Come and eat.”

“I will. Want to talk to him first carissime. Can’t wait for your reviews of my work haha.” Broody is calm and composed, his green eyes are placid. Fenris enters the room and they speak in hushed tones, there’s no banging or confrontational anger. I can only hear when the warrior speaks firmly, “Why did you go off without telling us? Were you even thinking at all?”

There’s some sort of muffled apology, Mary and I are near but the door is pushed closed. “Zev, please stick to my question and answer just that. Umhm…… Don’t come any closer. I did receive your update, but it will take more than apologies for us to be normal. Naturally, they will be upset. Don’t come out yet, I won't be surprised if more things get chucked at you. ” Wow I am so proud of Fenris’ logical interrogating style!

After that he comes out, perfectly composed. He takes the chair beside mine.  

“Let’s eat. I’m starving, how is it so far?” 

We give good comments, Fenris is delighted. “Nah I’m not perfect. That meat is braised pork stew with apple, yesterday my friend helped me to season it. Haha be honest if it's not up to the standard. Nice? ”

I nod eagerly. So much hard work gone into it. “Um then there’s enough time for all the flavour to fuse inside. Yum! ” Fenris agrees with all our feedback, be they good or bad. That’s a positive change that I feel that he has accomplished since he picked up this new hobby.

When we have a moment alone, I stop chewing and ask, “Fennie, aren’t you angry about that dick? Are you really alright?”

“Yes. Remember I made a vow to take care of my health and not cause my Inner Circle to worry about me? Be careful not to use that expletive outside.”

"Forgotten. Oh sorry." I'm still in disbelief at his atypical reaction.

Elf sighs. “Oh perhaps I didn’t say it aloud, anyway I'm making calmness a personal goal. Shan’t ruin our nice peaceful mood. What about you?”

“I don’t want to forgive him and let him off so lightly. I was going to wallop him, then Mary did that.” Fenris begins to laugh at my descriptions and gestures.

“I’m amazed, then you won’t be beating the crap out of him?”

Elf nods. “I may, for now I’ve asked him to keep his distance and don’t want to be touched. He looks punished enough.”

Mary asks why he is not more shocked by the impromptu arrival. Uncle quirks a brow. “Earlier on, I received advanced word from a reliable source… It took awhile for me to read through his rambling reasons.” I'm quite disappointed: aw we won’t be punishing the cocky and whiny guy, but glad that Fenris is taking it remarkably well. The brandings’ state tends to give away any heightened emotions, but his pulse is in sync with mine this time. 

Fenris sounds serene. “Relax. I'm alright.” And I tell him about my high opinions of his food, makes him laugh.

"I don't mind sharing the recipe, every person's style is different. I substitute some of the ingredients, when I cannot find them in stock. But I'm not sure about opening a cafe, it's too difficult to make so many for people. They would be more demanding." It's fun to plan about our future, should he take a break from his current occupation. 

Mary says he could be a baker. "Really? Thank you, but I still have a long way to go, haha," Fen is super modest 

   

 

 

Chapter Text

 

The next day, when I had had enough sleep, I tried to approach our dear Elf about being sick. “Is the pain acute? Mine won’t flare up unless I drink too much milk or miss mealtimes. I thought you eat quite often? ” I had chanced upon the vial of stomach meds and Fenris had been retiring earlier to bed more often. Since field missions had been reduced, he should not be this fatigued. Our staple food tends to be potatoes or rice and we noted that Fenris does not eat much of the latter.

Donnic is chief cook when he stays over, knew all of the best dishes. One day when Orana visited she brought an extra pot of herbal cake stew, normally Fenris could polish off the whole thing, but he had not much appetite. Worrying.

“Yes I eat. Not acute, it’s just sometimes.” He finished drying his hands on a towel and came to join us at the table. Our helpers were having tea and the very plump premium sausages, I knew they were Fenris’ favourite! I pushed the platter to him.

“Hotly fried, take more. ” I mumbled, chewing. He turned it down politely.

“Oh no need. I’ve to finish these. Come, share with me.”  Elf patted my head, taking out his bag that was stuffed with assorted muffins and buns. Wow chock full! The packets were colourful and looked yummy. “Clients insisted on giving me more. Said I look too thin, but which elf has been obese?”  He chuckled and shook his head.

“Remember I pasted the sketch of mouseball elf? Should be the ideal size, then fluffy to hug haha.” I touched his hand, yes he did feel bonier these days and his inner veins (not tattoos) were more protruding. 

“Ah of course, on my calendar. Please don’t put it outside alright, the guests will laugh until I hide!” He jested and started eating one muffin. I took one as well, hm weird taste. “Do not worry about me, Kit. I’m fine.” His tone was gentler and he tickled the inside of my palm.

Ah he had shown me the star shaped patterns on his palms, that I was entitled for two wishes. I said my wish softly, the elf narrowed his eyes as if from the glare of sunlight. For him, my best closest kin not to be stricken by ill health so that we can always be together!

“Oh, Kit…. Thank you. Hm but I cannot really control life's issues, when I mentioned that, thought of more practical actions I can do for you, something you want to buy?" he replied, his ears pricked. On his right arm, some of the tendril patterns shifted and winked. Fenris covered my hand with his and closed his eyes.

Was this a hint that not all was well? Zev had been acting weird, I made it very clear I hadn’t forgiven him. Now the Antivan stopped repeating his apologies, but he would stare at Fenris in prolonged concern and worry. Did he expect to have sex?

“Did anything serious happen, when we went out? Z is odd, he keeps staring at you Fennie.”

“At his behest mostly, he insisted on talking. Just pissed me off, vishante. I almost could not find my amulet, you know the one the shaman gave me.” Fenris hesitated, having direct eye contact with me.

“Got painful cramps, felt angry and wanted him to shut up. Thankfully he realised and found medicine for me. It is not serious, don’t worry. ” And he started sharing what other kinds of foods we could get soon from the new stalls. Fenris did not appear weakened nor did he have a paleness. I did want to believe his condition was not too serious, but I knew my friend’s limits. “Well, I’m more of a dreamer Fennie, so I’ve not come up with any do-able tasks for me. What about smacking ‘him’ until he bounces off our walls? Would love to see that.”

My friend guffawed, saying Zev was not a ball, could not behave like that. It was nice to see his flushed cheeks and happiness. Fenris feigned a cough and attempted to look strict. “Can’t encourage violence in my household. What if he lodges complaints? I’m quite aware of my strength when I fully unleash it.” He opened and closed a fist.

I came up with a few comical suggestions, like making a club and whacking Zev. When the said guy walked by, we were sure he had no trouble hearing we were talking about him. When Zev walked upstairs, he said, “I feel quite dishonourable to talk behind someone’s back. Even though I’m not ready to forgive yet… it can be awkward. Maybe we can occasionally talk about non personal issues? ” I said I only wanted to be on his side. He smiled. 

***********

Later, I saw a neat memo on my desk, knew it was from him. I pushed aside my anger that he had just sneaked in without me knowing

I know we are not speaking, but need to set our problem aside. Don’t we all care for Fenris? Please try to ask him go for checkup soon. He won’t be persuaded by me.     –Zev   

What? But it wasn’t like we could randomly make Fenris go anywhere or do something he disagreed with.


*querido = lover for guys in spanish

What the hell did he mean? As I went from room to room to look for the Antivan, I truly doubted his motives. Surely after all our arguments and hashing out, and Fenris is forthright! No more keeping ‘wounds under wraps’  Besides, how could I not be intuitive enough to sense if something was amiss? No, it had to be Zev attempting to cause a rift.

Some guests had come in and the adults were all very serious about official matters. At last, in our ground floor library cum guest-room, I found Zevran. Before I opened my mouth he turned around. “Hi are we speaking again?” His tone had no worries whatsoever and he had that half-smile.

“Let me make one thing clear, I still don’t consider you as a return-home friend. What are you implying by that paper?” I snapped. He sighed, gently closed the open magazine in his hands and placed it on the desk. He gestured for me to close the door.

I left it slightly ajar. Zev’s accent was thick and he looked frantic.

“I am well-aware. But no one can stop me from showing that I have honour and loyalty. That day we were alone, and querido* kept searching and searching in drawers. I felt bad, not noticing his increasing pain until Fenris was on his knees. I may be a scoundrel, and sometimes cowardly but I—I still care for him. After taking normal stomach medicines, he insist he is fine and to be secretive about it. But I disagree. Fenris does not endure pain as well as I.”

I nodded. “I’ve seen that vial, he said it’s some gastric. I know it hurts, but it should be fine.”  It’s not true, Fenris will be alright. He won’t lie to us, not after that failed mission thing. Zev is bollocks.

We were standing apart, it was like that time when he had been our house guest and always tried to make advances on me. Those times were long past now.

How could Alistair trust him then and now?

“Just talk to him, persuade him to be checked up soon. I know I have to work hard to earn back trust, yes. I shouldn’t have been irresponsible, but can that be put aside? Please.” Zev was facing the door and now he shifted his glance to it.

Damn now that made me worry more. I didn’t promise. Fenris cleared his throat. “Hey Zevran, Kit what are you doing inside? ”

I glared at Zev who beamed and replied, “Having a reading discussion. Coming out soon.” I composed a smile and turned to face Fenris, he looked genuinely puzzled.  

As I hugged him, Fenris said in a low voice, “Forgiven him already?”

“Hmm, yea. ”  Since that day, you shouldn't mask problems from us!We made a deal about it, how can this, why is this happening?  I suppressed my urge to cry and just breathed in my guardian’s scent. They spoke but I wasn’t listening. “Hm I’m still here, haha why hug me so hard?” Fenris remarked, tapping my back.

Tonight everything seemed good, Fenris did not get sleepy at 830- the early timing he would excuse himself nowadays. Zev was continuing the pretence of our reading discussion and he wanted to teach him some new words. So they were talking all normal, as if nothing drastic had happened.

“Have you taken your pills yet? Are they daily or only when needed?” Zev asked, as Broody was writing in his notebook.

“Argh don’t nag. I don’t need them now.” Besides the usual grumpiness, I saw the furtive expression on Fen’s face. Whenever there was something confidential to be discussed,  and my civi friends and I were present, Aveline and him would request for us to ‘let us have a moment’ . Same furtive expression now. 

“Can tuck me in bed? ” I held his hand.

Fenris beamed, normally that made me happy but now I was worried. “Ok. Just now I bought some new bedsheets. I know you like variety. Let’s see if you like them.” He had a curious and calm tone. Zev watched him like a hawk, as Fenris rose from his chair. 

We went up together and I noticed he walked more slowly than usual. At the top Elf was slightly out of breath. He gripped the banister, bent over.

“Fenris, what’s wrong?” I waited. Some of his marks glittered, and that happened only during exertion.

“A… moment, fine.” He was out of breath,  brows were furrowed and pain lines crinkled at his eyes.   "Been in bed too long.” Elf jested and was surprised when I placed my hand on the small of his back.

"Yea come and rest," I said, my voice quivering. It sucks when the stranger is right... 

In my room, he went to a bulky package on my table and unwrapped the white sheets. There was a rainbow coloured sheet with a pillow set and another was of cats. He had one knee on my bed.

“So I pick one?”

“No need, you can have them both. I’ve taken the darker coloured one.”

“Is it black?” I said, not turning around and feeling tears coming fast.

He laughed. “Hey I remember black will absorb heat. Don’t want to tell. Kit, why are you…” He trailed off. I sniffed and rubbed my nose.

“Thanks. Fenris, go and lie down.” I said, intending to sound calm but of course my voice betrayed me. He insisted he was not tired and moved the tissue box to me. “Is it really just cramps?”

My vision was still misty, but I could see him avert his gaze. His shoulders slumped as if literal energy was sapped, and Fen leaned back on my pillows.

“Yes, I did have gastric sometime ago. I didn’t mean to--- Kit, it will be alright. Don’t be angry.” His gravelly voice was just as fatherly as the times he would coddle me. Back then I treated him like my surrogate dad, how time has flown by.  How our fates are entwined.... 

The fragment in my heart cut deeper. How could I be angry? It's not fair- he has been through so much hardship yet why must he suffer pain again? Gently he bade me to dry my tears. "I have better care from a new group of alchemists. Meant to let you know but not in this way." Elf lay down and said he would explain. It felt like a role reversal but I couldn't protect him!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter Text

 

Lying on my bed, his ivory hair contrasting against my blue pillowcase, Fenris was still tan. He can’t be stricken by illness- stricken people look pallid and emaciated. I opened my mouth to deny this, but was sometime before coherence came. His rough fingers were entwined with mine. “When did the pain first happen? How long?” It wouldn't be easy to tell if he lost weight, as he is lanky in stature.

He said it was not too far back, just about a month or so, after finishing up a skirmish Fenris experienced some body aches. He had thought it was normal due to exertion, until he was not able to rise in the morning when the group broke camp. The adepts didn’t know what was the cause, so Fenris just downed some elfroot potions and restoration potions. Followed by sporadic pains in his side. “When we returned, I could not climb the long stairs. Donnic or someone must have carried me to one of the clinics, and I woke up seeing Bethany and Anders. Kit, I was not alone… they are aware of this and I will get well. I think it’s called the phantom pain. No blood, just pain. ”  

I dried my tears and felt his bright concerned eyes focused on me. “I’m sad that you kept a secret of this magnitude from me, Fenris. This can’t be. You’re a good elf, why’s this happening?” I wanted to pull away, but he did not let me go.

“I am sorry. I don’t want you worried… that time you got so affected. I am good? That’s nice to hear.” He pulled up his shirt, no bruises or wounds. I gently touched the lyrium tendrils on his side.  “I was in shock too. Not sure if I hit anyone. Ha, Mage deserves whacking.” Picturing him hitting Mage with a frying pan made me laugh crazily.

“Zev told me, make him go for a checkup. When is the next one? What medicines are to be taken?” I was determined to learn more, whatever way I could help. From class, we knew about alchemy and basic remedies though more focused on poultices and minor wounds. Fenris draped an arm over his forehead covering his eyes and moaned. “He’s such a woman! And I specified he shouldn’t talk. Fasta vas. Though he is right, not many can persuade me. I hate checkups.” 

He said felt too weary to move, promising to show me all the medicines later. Did I have the ability to persuade my best friend then? The fragment in my heart was still there and I looked up at the ceiling. Titania why does the Maker have to be so cruel? I won’t pray anymore if Fenris doesn’t get better! 

His breathing deepened and his free hand went limp. I got a pillow to cover his midsection. Besides our mage friends, and Donnic, then Zevran , perhaps no one else knew of this. I understood his concern—my grades often fluctuated when I faced emotional problems, and I’m not a healer.

But I had to take action, I couldn’t just be passive! Softly I padded out and closed my door, went to Fenris’ bedroom. As usual his things were a mess, clothes strewn haphazardly over his bed and chair. On his desk were a couple of vials with various names, most were consumed. I sniffed each of them, one had elfroot’s bitter scent and the rest smelled cloying. Hmm, meant to be sedative. That explained why Fenris wanted to turn in earlier. Since all were glass, I’m sure Bethany would have used something to contain them. As I lifted up his blankets, a paper fluttered out. A leather satchel with pockets was looped on a coatstand. Yup the vials fitted in nicely, they could be washed, heated and recycled. It’s been some time since I assisted Anders but glad for that. At first I was annoyed why he hadn’t hinted anything to me, when we bumped into each other feeding strays. Then I recalled physicians, healers had some code of confidentiality. On the wall hung two pictures, one was my painting of hawk in a forest and a tiny figure on the ground—‘oh this is perfect! I’ve always looked up to her and now she is free. I suppose that person is me.’ He had really liked it, not bothered by the unevenness of my amateur oil paints. Whenever I completed a painting, he would first hang it in the front hall and tell guests how talented I am.

Adjacent to that, Fenris had installed hooks and Merrill’s elaborate amulets were hanging. I fondled the sacred animal carvings.  That had been a year ago, after our dalish excursion she said these amulets could ward evil, how about health? She had been hurt that he was not comfortable having stuff hanging off his neck. So many precious memories, I don’t want them to end. Suddenly my hands started feeling heat again. I called upon the Templar training to calm down my anxiety, pain and longing.

Can’t have an explosion now. This was why Uncle had endeavoured to react calmly when that guy suddenly intruded. Visualizing Fennie in the kitchen, busy and preparing meals soothed me.


 

When I came to in Fennie's bed with his familiar odour, it was pitch dark. Murmur of voices, Zev, the servants and women. Rustle of paper. I turned on the lamp, ah it was a list of some sort. Fenris’ scrawl: 1. buy Bethany flowers – what kind?  2. Got pay return varric 360 coin (a smiley)  3. plan for date with her    other words were too small

Ah wow! I smiled, so Fenris plans to go after Beth! Indeed they seemed to get on well and now she was taking care of him. I flipped over and he had written and circled important– wanto make gift for my girls A and S.  Could that be Ave and me?

Then there was a knock. “Hey are you in there?” It was Donnic’s voice. I came out and hugged him, crying. He asked what happened.

We went over to my room, Fenris was waking up. His green eyes widened and they spoke but I was beyond hearing. I did not know why my voice became fierce, “No. Don’t comfort me, lie down!” I heard him call my name, sounded sad, but I headed downstairs in a rush.

I would lose control of my power if Fenris tried to console me. 

I went into one of the large study-rooms and closed the doors. My hand rested on the locking device, if I should lock myself in. Ha, I had done that on many occasions when we had a serious fight. There must be a collection of books on ailments, my texts from last term somewhere. Got to work.


 

Hours later...

 

Fenris said, “Kit can we eat together? I made tea with extra honey.” I said no , but he knocked and said please.

When I came out, Donnic chided me not to be rude. “It’s ok, I don’t mind. Needs time.” Elf was incredibly patient, almost got me emotional again and the Power rose in me. But its heat was doused as his lyrium glowed and our skin made contact when we reached for a scone at the same time. He smiled.

“Mages said it’s best to support him together. When you’re like that how can he rest easy?” Donnic questioned in annoyance. I felt ashamed, we remained outside as Fenris checked out the study.

“Carissime, I respect your space, but it’s cold here. Why not continue reading in the morning?” He said calmly. Then he gasped and his face etched in agony, Donnic shouted and stopped him from keeling over backward. To me, time froze, backdrop sounds faded---  as Fenris became limp as a doll,  his mouth was open and his knuckles were bone pale and shaking. 

I was running upstairs to find the meds, shouldn’t have been able to hear his soft voice. Come back! The Force inside reverberated, I could not contain it within my walls any longer. In all the training, Alistair asked me to build up a mental fortress vessel. Why isn’t it working? This can’t be happening, not now. I cannot fall apart! I was really angry with myself, or rather this wretched Gift!

Our dear brave elf was calmly telling Donnic it was alright, don’t need any healers. 

“My marks itch--- Kit, I feel it-- don’t hold back. Release,” Fenris whispered, not at all feverishly now. His green eyes were turning into that ghost state. Uncle Don looked pale at his transformation, but kept repeating his name silently. When I touched his brow it was burning hot. 

I knelt by Fenris' right side and propped his head on my lap. “But I don’t want to hurt anyone! It’s too much, don't ask this of me, Fen! ” I confessed, and just like those years ago my sight became sharpened to a hot golden light, and I wept. It must be too dangerous for a fever to reach such a peak, his markings flared and blinked erratically.   "You won't hurt me." He summoned his last vestiges of his breath, his voice exhausted and he was in Ghost form, bluish and glowing too.

Donnic and I yelled at him at the same time - No don't leave us Elf! 

Somewhere behind me, Anders gave a command for others to stay back and then he touched my shoulder. 

“Go ahead! I’ve cast a force field around you and Fenris. Listen, Sabriel your aura cancels out magic, right now he’s too sick to fight the excess lyrium on top of the pain. Don’t worry about anyone dying.” Anders sounded as if his voice was muffled by water. 

Leaning close, heartbeats.  I clasped Fenris' phased scorching hand. What if the fever can't go down? I don't know any magic or miracles, but please, please let this work.  My golden fire flowed and interwove with the elf's blue energy signature.

I bent over and kissed him.... 

White-out

 

 


 

Gracias tibi, my friend. So tired, Fenris spoke internally. His tone was fading.

Is he talking to me? He seemed to be asleep still, and I was lying beside him. It wasn’t the floor at his mansion, it was a field of exquisite blue flowers. I blinked,  huh is this a dream? Fenris are you alright? How is the pain? Do the marks hurt?

Overhead was an oddly amethyst sky. Orange clouds. Elf did not look blue, but his normal tan and his pulse was steady. He yawned. I think this is the Fade, want to stay. No more pain.  I tried to speak, my voice came out like an echo. “Don’t die, Fen! We have so many wishlists to start. Beth and Zev, they love you. And worry. I can’t manage without you.” In ordinary times, I would have been thrilled to come to the Fade. I sat up, alert for wraiths or spirits that might lure Fenris away. He sighed. I’m not dying. Same, I love you too. it’s serene here, I sleep better. We cupped each other’s faces and beamed.

 

Crap, why did my foot fall asleep? People were talking and Zev said, “she’s awake!” He beamed and came to me. “The white magic made us all blinded, but after that Fenris’ fever has dropped. He is resting. You did it!” I felt sleepy, my power was extinguished for now. Oh I was upstairs in my own room, I wanted to check on him. Anders was weaving a kind of bauble over the sleeping elf, yes he did not look agonized. A blanket kept him warmly comfortable.

Then it hit me: VENHEDIS  WE TELEPORTED INTO THE FADE?! EPIC! And I touched my lips, yes the kiss is real. I remember!  Merrill and Aveline got me back to bed. 

Chapter Text

I found a folded blue paper on my table when I awoke. Thinking it to be from Zevran again , I was in no hurry to open it, but a necklace with a prancing cat was tied over it. Wow, it was so cute! I just Have to wear it right now!

Fenris has awoken? Why didn't he call me? After our visitation to the Fade, when both of our powers merged and overloaded, Elf still needed to recuperate and until yesterday, Anders still maintained an induced slumber-spell over our friend. It had been four days. Hm, we wouldn't have time to send word, yet Anders had known to rush over. Perhaps the mage had sensed the huge surge of our combined powers?

Reason for casting this prolonged slumber-- to allow elf's immune system to cope with his strange affliction. This magic imbued in his body had long been a part of him, yet why did it make him so ill only now? 

A few adepts had dropped by, taking turns to care for him, but Beth did not come. I wanted her to come.  That first day, Fenris had still been in some agony, his brows furrowed and he jerked when touched. His markings were  totally unresponsive when the healers examined him (testimony that indeed my effect had cancelled out the excess mana)

 

Almost everyone had taken turns to talk to him awhile, holding his hand. Were he not ill, we would relish the novelty of talking to a perfectly handsome male! Elf lay on his back, arms at his sides, the best posture for him to breathe. Every now and then a physician or adept would attend to his needs, like turning him on his side. Then when it got too cold, nurses checked on him and pulled the blankets to his chin. Being unconscious, he cannot regulate his body's warmth.

Thankfully, Fen did not look as pale yesterday when I brought in a new book. Upon finishing up Book one of the quest line: “Am keeping the conclusion for when you wake up, Amadus. Or is it amicus for guy friend? Do tell me when you come to,” I whispered into his ear and I thought I felt a finger move, his sigh. Fever is not good, but perspiration meant Fenris was still going to be all right. I watched the slow movement of his chest rise and fall, that was all. 

"Hey lethalin, come and eat. Don't worry he'll be fine," Merrill had called me popping in.


 

Now I rushed outside to check if Fenris had really gotten up. Yup his room was empty, his bed had been made and stuff looked neater than usual. I saw Uncle V come up and asked him. “Don’t worry. He’s spending time with sunshine now.”

“Who’s that? Where’s he now? Is he ok?”

“Ha, that’s our nickname for Bethany. (immense relief flowed in) He’s still weak and trying to eat downstairs. Wanted to give them some lovebird time haha, so I came up. Heard you’re a heroine.” Dwarf and I embraced. “Tell me what happened.” I only left out the part where we woke in the dream fields, wanted that to be our special moment.

When Uncle V excused himself and I directed him to the upstairs bathroom, I unfolded the paper. More untidy than usual, but I managed to read it! What a marvel, given his frail condition and being asleep for a prolonged period, he managed to write. (I imagined him frowning and putting pen to paper, with shaking hands- No I don’t want to cry, and I determinedly envisioned his kind, strong voice speaking to me)

Hi carissme,

I woke, very late nite. Decide not to call any of you up. Only 1 healer, he didn let me move from bed. I ate something, then read a letter.  Sorry to be late in writing back. And very grateful you close by, pain was extra-or dinary. I Realli like mails, can we continue even if not outside? day before, fever come back (angry face) Don’t like being weak.

Did you remember asking me qns? (smile) Shan’t tell you if wear underwear, you so bad. I also like green yes.  Hope to talk more, need to lie down

 love Fenris  *thanks reading to me

I carefully put this sheet into my cherished letters file, how much effort he’d made. Yea that had been a very old letter of mine! I had sent it when he was out of town, did not recall asking that type of question haha! And indeed my voice had been heard yay!

Also, I agreed we really ought to discuss our special Fade thing, but when the rest were not around. My heart felt a connection, even stronger with Fenris. Had my sister angel watched over us? I went down to the kitchen, hearing his cute laugh and Beth’s voice. She saw me first. “Hi there. Good sleep?” His white hair bobbed as he turned.

Fenris said my name softly, and almost got up but I gently hugged him.  “I missed you! And thank you for the necklace. So skilled eh?”

When I let go, his face showed ‘huh’ and then he smiled. “Of course I didn’t make it. She likes cats, I saw this nice design in a shop. Bought it.” Bethany and I shook hands and she made a compliment about cats too.

I got a bite to eat, and settled beside Fenris. “Kit are you alright? Any side effects?” he was worrying, when I was halfway through my third hotdog.

I shook my head and chewed. After they talked awhile more, Bethany rose and stretched. “I’ve to run errands now, Fenris. Remember, stay in these days until we have you completely checked out.”

“Yes mother. Will you be… interested for dinner next week?” He hesitated, his ears reddening but their gazes were steady. He walked the mage to our front door, holding hands.

“Definitely, I want it to be a classy tavern. Plus pay me back for WG. Seriously don’t scare me like that again. ” She leaned in close, I think she gave him a kiss. So it’s official—they’re dating hoorah! He shut the door and smiled, eyes shining.  Now I noticed Fenris was wearing one of the Dalish amulets, it had multi coloured beads and contrasted nicely with his black tunic. Now him wearing a golden overshirt was a surprise, upgraded fashion taste. I reminded him to take it easy, and allow us to help. He listened without comment. At first I gestured for him to use the spare guestroom, but he didn’t like the stuffiness.

Fenris lay across the couch, how lanky his legs in spite of wearing loose khaki breeches. “Wow I cannot wait to know about part two of that story, you promised to tell me. For now there is no pain, they said I'm not fit enough for combat. Kavesh!” He pursed his lips.

“Yup, I’ll find the part two. What is WG? You owe money?”

“Oh Wicked grace. I suck at it, haha. Just tell them to keep it on my tab, having bigger debts. ” He admitted, unabashed. How coyly he grinned.

“Varric is still upstairs… have you told everyone ? Why would there be too much lyrium in your body, and get ill ?” I said, while locating the novel. Should be in the piles here somewhere. It is best to hold heavy conversations with him without facing directly. He was silent for so long I thought he had dozed off. “Yo Elf. ”

“Hm. I have no idea. No, just the healers. I hope Donnic does not fear me. He has seen my abilities, but not this close a range.” He sighed and shook his head. “It’s a big blank before I woke in the grasslands. It was so quiet and calming there… ”

Yes, that was the vision we both shared. So, I had not been hallucinating. I wanted to reiterate that he shouldn’t stay in the spiritworld, or he’d die. But if we love someone, don’t we give them freedom? No, I can’t go there,  my throat constricted.

Before I could say anything, Fenris added, “I did not mean forever, Sabriel. And you pleaded with me don’t die. To be free of suffering in a nice world like that, tempting. I’m sorry if you were terrified.” Normally he’s straight to the point, but this was poetic and melodic, in spite of his husky voice.

“It’s ok. Hm anyway, let’s not get all gloomy so early in the morning. It’s quite good to laze around, why do you want to fight assholes so badly?” I changed the topic. Still couldn’t find the book.  

“There are still many who should have justice meted out on them. Especially those power- hungry degenerates, scum, I derive pleasure in hitting them! ” He sounded serious, but holding back on laughter. I guffawed and that affected the servants nearby too. He wiped tears from his eyes. “Evil, what’s that word you are sadist. Why’s that funny? Mad.”

“No I’m not! That’s too strong a word, I’m fine. Sadist means the enjoyment of suffering. Since those are degenerate, doesn’t apply. Right? Did Varric teach you that?”

“I just listen to people talk, and apply the words. I can look imposing with a toy hammer too, and they’re just stunned rabbits lying around me.”  Elf joked, making action gestures.

Just then dwarf came to join us and asked why were there bottles of mana on his table. Fenris sat up to make room for him to sit.

“Yep, whenever we read stuff Elf is a clever student. Broody, it was awful that you went into beauty sleep for so long. Wanted to wait for some princess-kiss? We’re so cute, don’t leave us behind!” Varric was joking around as usual, but I agreed with him on the not-dying / leave us part. Fenris smiled and hugged him with one arm.

“Yes you're all too adorable to leave behind. Varric, those are lyrium potions, Anders says I have to drink one to feel better, ugh ” Maybe he wanted to add a thank you but he coughed.

Then I found the finale of the book and Fenris kept laughing at our voiceovers. Too bad, shortly after Uncle V had to rush off on some mission. Entertaining to have a debate which characters were good or not. Still, now that we had privacy, I had more questions. He touched the ribbon marking a page, closing the book and placed it between us. I looked upstairs, was Zevran around?

Elf picked up on my silent question. “Perhaps he’s out, Varric said his room was empty. I guess you want to ask... ” Fenris stifled a big yawn. I said yes I was keen to talk, but he should have a nap first. Besides what B had emphasized, other trained medical officers said it would be a long road to recovery, his inner reserves were drained.

Predictably he argued against this logic, since he felt all right. Then the guy servants escorted him to take a warm bath, I waited for Elf to be dressed and come out. A long time. Instead a young helper, Aaron told me that Fenris had fallen asleep in the tub, so they would help him to bed later. "Ok, but don't wait till the water runs cold, I'm worried he'll catch a chill...." I also gave some additional instructions, to be clearer and they did not look experienced. Hoped they could do their job. As I checked on Fenris resting in his room, Alistair let himself in. Yay he would stay here for the meantime to help take care of Fen! I thanked him, wanted to sound less emo but I felt like weeping. 

"Don't mention it. He has saved my life so many times. Any chance to have male bonding time, haha. Wish I was gay haha!" Ali jested. That, I agreed wholeheartedly. Zevran called him, I hadn't heard him come from behind me. Zev offered to show him around and make stuff to eat. 

As I was going to my room, Fenris asked-- who came? Clad in a colourful silk robe, Elf was propped against big pillows and rubbed his eyes. "Zev brought a pal? Come in. Wow, when I was staying at clinic they replaced my bed. Soft." 

"It's Alistair, he wants to help. Yup it's firm and can bounce." Elf smiled, while I made some gentle bumps. He pressed something on his other side and the pillows raised. 

**"There's also a lever, if I'm too weak, I can prop myself up. No need to struggle. Plan to pay those mages back. In fact, nothing's wrong with my original bedding. Waste to throw away."   

I said "oh man what if got bugs" 

Fenris got indignant. "Hey! What bugs? I'm angry,that's a rude comment." He prodded my butt with his foot, feigning an fierce smirk. 

"Great that you're still your old grumpy self. Please tell me when you're in pain, don't have to control it." I said while trying to block his attack. Still, Elf succeeded in making me smell his foot, I chortled and pinched my nose. He can be impish. 

On that happy note, he made both thumbs-up 'Yay I win' , grinned and flopped back on the pillows. I got a good view of the markings that swirled down to his ankles and toes. (He usually does not bare his legs unless there's allergy)

Companionable silence. Some of the patterns were symmetrical. I thought he forgot my remark and repeated it. Fenris was turning the pages of a new book. He just said "Hm. Kit, tell me how to see these pictures' order. Donnic says comics are less exhausting to read now. " 

It was a classic superhero comic, so the pictures in the boxes had no number orders.  --- we had fun reading and talking about it. Perhaps Fenris had heard me but didn't want to burden me. 

 


 

Our housekeeper Mary had been absent during this emergency, and it was only now that she came over. I was so delighted to see her and we did a lot of catching up. She understood how critical help was for our household these days, but she may not be able to come as often because she had to take care of a paralyzed relative. “When he is better, I have to inform him. I have enjoyed being here, since Master Fenris rescued me…..” The maiden’s eyes filled with tears and I offered her some tissues.

I didn’t want her to quit. She had always been here since I was a child, ensuring I got fed and clothed well. Back then, Uncle Fenris had no experience taking care of young wards. “Couldn’t your family help with the caregiving? We like having you here.” Hmm, I think it wasn’t just gratitude and duty which motivated her…. Did she carry a torch for Broody?

I asked her and she smiled. “Oh Missy, I hope so. About my love…. I can’t express it to Messere. Can’t trouble him, since that stupid Antivan walked out. Sometimes I hinted, but Fenris did not understand and then when the laws of workers were in place, he adopted an employer’s view. No business with personal sentiments.” Indeed Fenris had strong principles about freedom and servants should be treated with dignity and respect. Mary was in a special league though….

I said, “Yea, when I tell him how I wanna marry him he goes into that speech too. Humans can’t be with elves… is there any way I can help?” After reflecting she decided no, it was better this way, besides it was already going to be hard when she had to go.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter Text

Dear Fenris- amatus,

I’m amazed that we were both in the same Fade scene together! All my knot of feelings-- I just can’t talk about it yet, so am writing. Ok hope this isn’t confusing. Very shocked to wake up to that new strange world and also terrified of losing you, because you sounded about to give up. We know the markings are long-term pain, it would be a relief to rest. But I just cannot let go, I’m so sorry Fenris (sad face) That day I went into your room, every single item reminds me of our shared memories, times.

 

Besides being apologetic, thank you for your deep concern and support, like making me eat greens, all that…. And that day I was trying to read up more about painkilling herbs. I didn’t mean to be snappy. Fennie, love you!  Ha our secret nickname. Get better soon. Oh yes, Anders says if we wish, he can recommend an expert of the otherworld, to consult. I’m curious about my power merging with lyrium, but still, won't proceed unless you wish to, Fenris.

 

Yes! Definitely, I want to continue memos – can be short if we’re busy on excursions or work. Can decorate with colourful stickers and markers too, let me show you which store has loads of them cheap! Once I had a girlfriend who loved doing that, it’s too bad she moved away from Kirkwall and lost touch. ( aw shucks my cursiveness was too messy, I could just imagine Fennie struggling to read my words) How’s it going with Zev? We do talk now about casual things. Does he get jealous if people flirt with you? Oh the underclothes one, I didn’t exactly talk to Isabela coz she would rather approach older people. My guess is you have cartoon design undercloths (grin)!  

 

Ok so you don’t mind green clothing, any other objects? What about painting the bedroom walls green? Apparently nice colours speed up recovery, but black would make it worse (shock face) Need to reduce all that black armour Haha, but we know you’d flip out: another phrase for being super angry. 

Sorry, forgot which is the tevene word for male friend, can I use amadus? It’s such a sweet word! It’s a romantic term I remember. Please let me fantasize.

 

Tibi love,  huggies  The Elfpro Kit

 

I re copied a neater version of my messy draft, calligraphically drawing his name in rainbow- colours on the front of my envelope. Though I loved our small mails exchange, I didn't want him to read this one yet, because of my emotional content, so I tiptoed to Elf’s room. See if I could have a chance to sneak it under his pillow. If he was in deep slumber, I would be more successful.

Now, the lanky elf was tossing and turning muttering incoherently. One hand was in the air grasping for something. His eyelids flickered, ivory hair messy. I placed my letter on the desk. What should I do? Would he lash out if I tried to wake him?    At first I wanted to hold his hand, but may face broken bones. He has caused unintentional harm before to others, with no memory of what happened later.

In soft agitation: Leto  ne iterum me solum relinquatis   huh he was referring to himself separately!   Mamae veni igitur in domum, repetitions and he had some invisible tug-of-wars.  Then he gasped as if running a race, but without intense sweat. Turned over to face me, his eyes were half open. “Fenris, hey it’s not real. Does it hurt?” I whispered, stroking hair back from his forehead. His skin was damp and a bit warm. He didn’t respond. A bit of Tevene, elven, dialects I knew minimal of. I did know Mamae meant mother.  

The hour was quite early to be having such vivid dreams.

 I hoped my touch would calm him. So I kept up my stroking of his tousled silvery white hair. Perhaps hours passed, my legs cramped and my back ached. My friend fell silent for brief intervals, but didn’t hear me speak his name. At one point, he smiled and said ‘Arielle,  nihil est peius quam viviv potest sini a and he clenched and unclenched his fists.  When I was young, before bedtime Fenris would remind the servants not to unlock his door. He had the utmost concern for their safety and welfare. And yet if we heeded this advice, how to help him?

No blue glow this time, I hoped that it would replenish naturally as he healed through the process. The wardens had had their blood poisoned by Taint, was Fenris’ blood tainted by lyrium in this case?

I met Alistair as I gently closed his door. He asked if we were alright, and we had a catch-up. He’s not at all arrogant that he has higher status. It was past midnight when we retired for bed.

***********

We had given Fenris a bell, and he would ring it if he was in need of assistance and meals. Sometimes he wanted to walk around, but too exertive to climb down and up stairs. Besides our mage-friends, alchemists came often to brew natural medicines, herbs for his condition. (Human medicines are not compatible with the elven body. Except for the red potions)

As we were having friends and guests over, the bell sounded briefly. Donnic went up to help our elf, later he came down alone and announced, “Hi all, Fenris thanks everyone for your help. He is much better, not in pain and feels hungry. A good sign.” Someone I didn’t know by name asked if she could see him.

“Sorry, Fenris is not ready for colleagues’ visits today. Perhaps another time.” 

She nodded in understanding.

Looking round at the people, there were at least twelve strangers who wanted to give him gifts or thank him for favours. I smiled. Then only Aveline and Alistair were here, chatting softly and I was preparing some snacks before going up.

A servant cautioned ‘Messere be careful, what is it you need?’ Aveline called for him to stay and she was coming up. I popped out from the kitchen, seeing his wiry form leaning on the top banister. He was clad in a blue pajamas, didn’t button his shirt.

“Ave, Squirt please come. I want to show you something!” Fenris exclaimed, in rare enthusiasm. His hair was messy and flying wildly haha. I was balancing my tray of savoury biscuits and hot chocolate. He told Ave he felt fine when she held his arm. His chest rose and fell much too fast. I said, “Hello. Let’s eat some of these together.”

Elf agreed, taking a cookie. We accompanied him back to his room. She said, “Slow down. What is it? So happy and cute.”

Fenris leaned across his bed, on his stomach, rummaging in a clothbag. His voice was muffled. “In there, somewhere… I didn’t want to miss your special day Aveline. Still in the midst of making these gifts. Behold!”

“Hey never mind. It’s the thought that counts, Elf. Besides normally you don’t make things, why so sudden eh?” He chuckled, sliding out a rectangular package with shaking hands. There was a starry coloured wrapping paper, half-done. I replied, “Fennie, wow so nice! I made you a drink too, please taste.”

“Sure, thank you.” He dipped the cookies into the mug and ate them. “Kit, like foxes? I bought some assembly-models, fixing a few. There is a kind of example template for the model setup, but I decide to come up with something of my own. Have a preview.” I said yes. It was a box-set of different models that could be put together, something like what we did for group projects. Wow I didn’t know Elf had an interest for this. For her, he was in the midst of assembling tiny shields with different symbols. And he didn't grumble that we used the cute word to describe him yay!

“Hey I’m not that obsessed with fighting. Haha” She jested. He said something in her ear and they laughed. He set the stuff aside and listened to us updating about who was here to visit. Fen dozed off, and then belatedly, he noticed the paper I gave.

“Cool this is for me?” Fenris smiled, feeling the symbols of his name.

“Ohh actually why not read it later? I- haven’t added some stuff yet.” The first page of it was a bit gloomy. He was about to peel open the flap.

“Hm it is alright. I can read untidy writing quite well. More curious now. A small favour everyone can help me with—can I be treated like normal? Don’t need to coddle this body.” He gestured to himself, pulling a mischief face. I relaxed when it was laid down on the table again.

Then to my astonishment, he rested his head on my aunt's shoulder in a hug.

“You are not invincible, Fenris. We... got to look out for each other. Health is very important.” She carefully rubbed his back. I've never seen them hug. Then the elf waved his hand in front of my face and asked what happened. Haha, I zoned out. 

"Anyway thank you, I will read it afterwards, when no one is talking. " Fenris beamed and put my mail under his pillow. Aveline whispered something and he consented. They needed to speak about official things, in private. Fenris ruffled my hair and gave me a peck on my cheek.   

 

 

 ************  (new part 2 added !)

I brought down the empty platters.

When I got back, both were speaking on serious matters, now he was propped against two pillows, knees drawn up. “Did you hire mercenaries or professional guards for those missions? Not all mercs have honour, they demand for coin upfront. I heard some of you got wounded and casualties. If it is not too far away, I want to be in. Let me help.” He had a very determined set to his jaw.

“Hm the people were under strict instructions not to affect your rest, Fenris. Thanks, you can help us with paperwork and oversee training of the juniors. Who told you?” She was annoyed. He smiled, saying he couldn’t remember. Promised not to fret about his incomplete patrols, rosters and sleep more.

“Wouldn't be good to become invalid, I'd be grumpy. Want to take a walk soon, muscles so stiff,” he pointed out good naturedly.

Over the next few days, Broody had loads of visitors and clients. Every visitor was screened for weapons, who knew if they were crazy or wanted to cause harm? Also, I decided to give my best friend more space and time to think about my ideas. Being around so many people was bound to wear him out. We still ate together, he was fine and really had a better appetite for almost everything. Previously he could not finish the entire bowl of stew.

Then Alistair had to go off, before leaving he said Fenris was excited to talk with me about something. “Huh what? Thank you for being here. But I’m here all the time, haha.” Nevertheless, I was heartened that my friend expressed concern and enthusiasm. It was a good sign that the skilled elf was gaining reputation and respect.

 

I walked by. “Squirt, join me. Want to go for a walk in the markets,” he invited me, stepping out of his room. Indeed Fenris seldom dressed like an elf, today he chose to wear a gray human-design coat and pants. These contrasted starkly with his hair and the only visible scarring on his throat. (most strangers are not aware that his tattoos are scars ) When my friends’ mums offered ‘miracle creams’ that could touch up old scars, I would recommend him to try them. My fingers located a small pint inside my pocket. Sometimes he became irritated and snap ‘how can anything heal such deep wounds’ but mostly Fenris reasoned why it wouldn’t be possible to completely cure the scars and he showed the less defensive and patient side of himself.    

“Ok. A mother gave me another new sample. It’s a good moisturizer.” I let him see it. “Has a nice aroma too.” Fenris smiled and nodded, holding out his hand. When I applied a little, he smelled the aroma.

“It’s nice. So, planning to buy from them? Wouldn’t they be offended when you keep taking the samples?”

I said nope, they were my friends’ mums. Yea maybe I would consider buying next time. I made an appraising look of him, and Fenris narrowed his eyes feigning arrogance. We laughed at his attempt at acting. “What is it? I’m not going to change to bright colours.”

“No, it’s actually--- how much stamina is back?” He opened his coat and checked something on its inside.

“I’m fine, Sabriel. I’ve lain in bed far too long, need fresh air. As long as I don’t start heroically charging and stunts, I’ll be fine. Brought potions.” They were a blue mana one, elfroot and something else. I pouted when he added that I was getting nagging. We headed out.

It was a cloudy morning, and there was a bazaar of miscellaneous items in the central market district. This one was right outside our street, and it would be really convenient for us to buy purchases. I struggled to keep up, my friend’s walking pace was brisker than when he was suffering pain. During that time, Fen kept apologizing to us for delays, because he needed rest. As we passed by some stalls, he browsed their wares and said, “See anything you like? I can pay.”  Anders had reminded me that though Fenris was almost back to normal, best not to exert too much running up and down stairs. I nodded my thanks, waiting for more but elf went back to silence.

I had a look at trinkets, snacks, scarves. I love window shopping! As I was checking out a realistic looking fox statuette, my friend said, “Carrissime, I read your letter a few times to understand. Got a bit confused. Could we talk?”

I thought he was not happy, as there was no smile now, only that he patted my shoulder. My heart sank, I wanted to refuse. Now we were spending time together, why go into the gloomy bit? He must have read my expression. “Don’t worry, I am not angry. In fact you’re an excellent writer! Ha, to the extent I need a little guiding along. I’m hungry, let’s find a place.”

He was fine with anything, so we chose a snacks and general stall that had a table against the wall. Not many customers and the pictures looked yummy. After we settled down with hot cocoas, burgers and Uncle Fenris insisted on paying for everything, he took out my papers carefully and unfolded them. “Sorry for being untidy, it’s why I wanted to rewrite. But you told me not to, and the first page is heavy. Did you see page two?” I blurted.

One of his ears twitched and I noticed how brightly curious his olive eyes were. “Well, this is not the neatest work, but still readable. I’m just going to clarify some stuff, and then I’ll do a written reply next time. Actually ‘amatus’ is a romantic term in Tevene, it means my heart. Ha, I’m impressed you can spell it, after I’ve not mentioned that for so long.”

“Yea. Do you mind? I forgot which word means guy-friend. I do love you a lot!” I declared. His smile was endearing and were there some unshed tears in his eyes?

“That would be amicus, think I’ve a dictionary somewhere. Not at all. So this part: Very shocked to wake up to that new strange world and also terrified of losing you, because you sounded about to give up. We know the markings are long-term pain, it would be a relief to rest. ---- I was shocked as well.  Why do you need to apologize?”

I couldn’t have eye contact with him. “Ahhh, I said it’s--- very hard for me to talk about that portion, Fennie. But, yea let’s move on to the other portion first. ”

He nodded and read out: Anders says if we wish, he can recommend an expert of the otherworld, to consult.  “I have thought about it, and yes we can go together. There has been a rise of crime, my companions got hurt. I can’t trust a stranger alone with you. I understand, you don’t have to explain now.” His gravelly voice was so soft, I almost couldn’t hear clearly.

We resumed eating and then I tried to simplify what I meant. That I thought I may be selfish, for making him wake up. Of course I didn’t mention specifically that as his exlover was so close that she might entice him to stay in the Fade. “It’s normal for you to be worried. There is no need to be sorry. My mind is still quite slow, I’ve just been sleeping, waking, handling people and daily needs. So wanted to come out for a bit. ” Then he said he was really keen to decorate with stickers and such, had not done so before. Maybe elf could borrow some stickers to get a hang of it, and he wanted a bit of detail how to paste them on the borders of paper etc.

“I like green leaves, small items. I don’t like to wear red and too bright colours. Definitely don’t want to reduce my black clothes, they cost money. Especially the soft fabrics.” He smoothed some wrinkles on his coat and smiled.

 

 

Chapter Text

A week after we talked, Fenris delightedly presented me with his reply and said confidently I shouldn’t be tearing up at this. But he needed my help with chores, so I only got the chance to read this when visitors came. 

Dearest cute-girl,

Sorry I forgot to spell your name again. I’ve been decorating with stickers on the side : ) smiley, hope you like them. Indeed looks much more pretty, and fun. Thanks for giving one set to me, I shall get more from the bookshops next time. Did you wait very long for my reply?  Grateful for the check-ins, i take time to read over all mail. Sorry to be slow, dear sister.

Tevene for dear sister is "soror cara", brother is "Frater"

So, we had went to see that Fade mage, any thoughts?  Decide to keep our stories the same—the blue flowers field. Its true u also saw them? I was looking up at sky, colourful bobs, didn’t want to tell.  I suppose he’s fine for a mage, not excited to poke his nose into my odd appearance. Honestly, frankly ( both words correct?) mages still make me have chills. I find it tough to trust their advice. Not so practical for real things.

Did you understand his sayings, Kit?

Haha, I control laugh when we introduce, you are noti* to ask his age! Not good if he is old? Funny of u. Hope he honours what we signed, to keep our secrets. Like medical confeedential? Yea, I could not lie down, but the session was good. Let’s go together again next time.

Now writing getting easier: I don’t want to throw my black shirts! very new. No I wun flip out, hey. Why you assume me to be violent? ;) Just sorted some clothings, can't remember who gave which. Shall keep the special-tailor robes, the blue one for that Dance party we went. Oh they called it Ball. Cute word

Zevran, does he get jealous if people flirt with you?  Yes, which is unfair. I cannot ignore other people if they want to talk to me, and not all of them like me that much too. I don't block his friends when they hug and kiss him. How different we are. I'm no longer that angry with him now, but it is like a cooling-off period. Dun worry.

Surely you have seen mine, underwear? Vishante, definitely not cartoons! And Isa is very bad influence, don’t talk to her. Serious she bigtime cheater too, always say can’t pay the taxes. Last month I was in charge of collecting taxes of people at docks and she refused to pay, said: what kind of friend are u to get money off me? 

I said it's nothing to do with our 'friendship' and I held my ground, so she got angry. But she paid up.

I’m almost back to normal health. Can't wallop enemies awww. Picture this maths equation:  Elf – blue power = Boom.  Was thinking about being perfect, not having sins…. Doubt it’s possible Kit. Still,  Thank you for believing in me. 

Other kind people also said wasn my fault I sinned at behest of someone else. Behest means ‘under orders’ - a commonly used term in Seheron. Ok, I don’t want to depress, it is nice to spend time with the young. Wow, have more good food for me? Eh, however I don’t want to get too fat wait can’t fit clothes (shock face) Shepherd pie is nice. I loved it when fren made but the others ate up my share. 

Please don't spend too high for me. Should save up for future Arts academy, we would like to see your paintings in galleries. Aveline and I had talked to Mdm about your worries. I haven't mention, because still in progress. Hm, she did not look happy but said wun force u marry old men. Assure we can investigate them all backgrounds.

Why does Mary avoid me? Need to ask her about household stuff. I just spoke to the young helpers, they below 18 and maybe friends hired them when I needed more aid. Now I am better, can mix the bathwater myself. One boy almost got himself burnt, think they need some training for household. Proud that i am neater this time? Haha!

Can ask me if not sure (smiley)

Sincerely, Amatus Fenris ;p


 

Funny, I couldn’t stop giggling , this reply was by far the funniest! Fenris is not broody anymore. Cracked me up, his problem with Isa and the taxes!   Also, he had been quite nervous during our meeting with Jasper. I’m not surprised Fenris nicknamed him Fade-guy, he’s bad with remembering names on first meetings! Jasper was a dreamy head- in- the clouds sort, his large room was untidy and he wore very casual non-mage uniform. I had wanted to break the ice between us, and cheer Fenris up so I asked right out the guy’s age. (I was not facing Fen) so didn't see his expression, he cleared his throat and told me not to be a busybody. We took turns talking of our experiences, being comfortable on a bed J provided, and he wrote scribbles in his journal, muttering to himself. I was relaxed enough to almost be lulled to sleep, but when Leto got his turn, he didn’t take his eyes off the mage and only occupied a corner of the bed. Elf clasped and unclasped his hands as he shared his point of view. At one point, he looked across at me and I smiled ‘it’s safe, don’t worry’. He responded with a small smile back.

On the fifth page, the longest letter our elf had written to date, the content touched me deeply. He really cared. Yea, the issue about Mary... so she hadn't told him about her predicament yet. Oh dear, that the young servants were underage and inexperienced. 

 

 

 

Chapter Text

Dear Beth,

It’s me, I will be free this weekend after settle stuff. Where would u like to have dinner? My treat, as thanks for the patient healings.                                       ~sincerely Fenris

 

To make sure that his grammar was smooth and fluent, he approached Sabriel for editing his draft. Fenris was quite sure others wouldn’t mind lending a hand, but their teasing would be much more embarrassing. “Good job, just select a nice fragrant paper like the ones we bought at the store. Wow Fennie, so it’s confirmed you are- together?” She grinned, her brown eyes with a twinkle of mischief.

“Slow down Squirt. Yes, we are going out. Bethany is… still my friend at this stage. Oh sure there’s no mistake?” He chuckled, taking back the sheet.

“Yup perfect love letter, mwa” She mimicked kissing sounds, making him flush all the way up to his eartips.

“Don’t call me Fennie! You’re crazy, this is Not a love letter. Don’t want to be your friend anymore.” He mock-punched her, and she laughed.

Delighted, he ran off to copy the draft ready to send! Well, he did like Bethany it was true, but she had been away and her personality had undergone lots of changes. So have I, got to show her I’m no longer the Broody anti mage guy.  Fenris mused, dreamily picturing them having a private meal together. He had not yet checked her current address, Bethany stayed at different taverns or with each of their friends, so it was not fixed. While waiting for the dark ink to dry, Fenris looked for a waterproof cylinder and packed his light bag.

He couldn’t wait to give it to her!

**************

 

Raining heavily outside, it was about 4 pm, quite dark and sopping wet.

The healer- mages should be taking their breaks or going home now. Fenris wore a cloak with a hood to protect himself from being drenched, and barefoot. Wouldn’t want to get another fever. (he felt more confident with his feet touching the floor, oddly)  He walked to the central branch of Medicina Sana, which was only a few minutes away. It was one of the six franchises which Anders and contacts had expanded over Kirkwall.

Still some patients coughing or sitting around the waiting bay. The alert ones stared at him as he pushed open the door and pulled back his wet hood. Not many humans saw pale haired elves with such an exotic appearance.

Today he ignored the stares and alerted the nurse. “Hello is Bethany Hawke here?”

She was! The lady was just done rinsing her hands in a wash basin, her back facing him. Fenris knocked once on the side wall, and she got startled. He forgot to smile, and was almost going to apologize. Bethany smiled as their eyes met and brushed back her messy fringe.

“Hey Fenris! Are you ok? Not injured I hope….”

“I’m fine! Eh… I have a message for you.” He said calmly, peeking into his pack and located the paper package. His heart inexplicably sped up.

And then he realised he shouldn’t be so serious. “A kind of—invite from me.” He smiled shyly.

“Oh my gosh, thank you! I hardly get mail, yeay!” Now she came closer and clasped his hands. He had forgotten to wear gloves, so when she touched his hand, the mana illuminated him. The sensation was joyful, not unpleasant like insects.

Bethany did not move back. He took a breath to rein in his power. His throat was a bit dry and he coughed a bit. “Nice seeing you. Can't stay long. Hope for reply later, when you’re free.” The elf stepped back, looking down and just realised he had not changed out of his home-rumpled tunic and baggy pants. 

“You are so cute! Can I say that? Merrill influenced me.” That almost made him redden.

“No, the word should be charming,” he rumbled, his smile widening and his eyes were half -closed. Now it was her turn to become pink-- so it is true women like low baritones.

He still had to get some groceries for tonight, where’s the list?

 

*********

Night time. Zevran called out: “Mail for Monsieur Fenris”  He rushed downstairs, plucking the stack of envelopes from the antivan and back to his room. He shut his door, tossing the rest and choosing the female handwritten letter of his name.

Hey Fenris!

I’m happy that you’ve made a full recovery. I think your penmanship has progressed. Of course can we go to the Italiano? I feel like having pasta and I saw they’re having some new special desserts this weekend.

That day Donnic shared some muffins, said you baked them. Yummy, should start selling more. I'd definitely want to buy them! Can’t wait to taste your other cuisines too, Fenris.

But, would  that café be within your budget?  It’s generous of you to offer, though I am fine with paying my share too. As long as you have a good time....  And  Ave told me of your promotion, congrats. Ha, Varric keeps teasing me about us getting hitched. Why are they so enthusiastic? I do like you… but yea let’s get to know each other better. Also, what about Zev? Once he came to talk to me, hinted that he is still close to you, Fenris.

Counting down to our next meeting!

Regards,

Bethany

Fenris beamed, almost jumping for joy. Awesome! As Kit would say.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                               

 

 

 

Chapter Text

I did not want to feel the impatience and stress of waiting too long. So I had done the reservation way in advance, for this Italian café would be packed by the night. Fullhouse. Dwarf had irritatingly asked me ‘are you sure you don’t mind being crowded in?’ True, I still did not feel comfortable amongst big gatherings.

 

“I’ll be fine Varric, been with stuffy diplomats and nobles to bodyguard them. It won’t be as bad as riot- squad. All I need is a few more hours of sleep and alone- time before that.”

Hearing that, Carissme , my little sister, remarked, “Yay Uncle Fenris, you remember the tips I read from that personality book. I thought you were bored.” I smiled, denying that I had shown boredom. I just wanted to know the important points of the shy personality.

Varric laughed. “That’s just typical, because he’s a softie to you… Ow!”

I stopped him with an elbow to his short ribs and cleared my throat. “Anyway, we are not doing anything mushy, it will just be enjoying the Italian cuisines. Kit, it’s alright if you want to come.” I put my arm around her. Then I let them talk. With close friends, I feel fine, just that in new environments, I may get stressed by too many stimuli, noise, staring and all that. I made it a point to remind myself now Kirkwall is mostly free of bounty hunters, and I am now a respected Elite warrior.

“Slight problem, Elf. What if tomorrow, we wanna chat with you? Would you punch us into oblivion?” Varric asked mischeviously. My little sister looked crestfallen, though she had been generous to advise me how best to handle external stress, with my reserved demeanour. Yes, she cherished our daily ‘check-ins’.

 

I thought for a bit. “Well, right now you can talk more to me. I think about two hours of sleep before going is enough. But remember to wake me at 6. ” I did not want to be late.

“Uncle Fenris won’t lay a finger on us, we’re his besties!” Carissme declared. I scowled, though I was trying to suppress uncontrollable laughter. How to punch anyone into oblivion? Doesn't make sense ;) !

------

I had ample solo- time to stroll home after work. Not much aches and allergy. I took a fast cooling shower.
Kit had a few classmates over to do a project. Great they did not make a ruckus like some students, and polite courteous girls. I greeted them, then went to my room for a good rest.


My friends woke me with ample time to dress in my favourite black shirt and trousers. In case you wonder, I’ve washed them. These soft fabrics do not chaf my markings. I have no idea if I shopped for them myself or gifts. Maybe I would like to purchase extra sets of other dark shades. 

(Thankfully Zev was not around to show his jealous vibes) Donnic pretended to check if I had combed my hair, then they reminded me to take my calcium supplement. Yea, otherwise I got backpains if I sat for long hours. 

Hence I aimed to enter the place just before the time I had stated.

 


Yes! The moment at last! 

Bethany came on time to Superb Crystal Kangaroo , one of Varric’s fancier taverns. She was wearing a violet off-shoulder dress that contrasted nicely with her silvery black hair and a shell necklace that looked familiar. Oh that's the one I had given to her! I beamed. 

As the ushers led her to where I was, my stomach was full of butterflies but the good kind. 

“Fenris! Omigosh you look--- ravishing.” She complimented, while we clasped hands. 

"You look... nice too. Thanks." I chuckled.

I let her take the lead for placing the orders. Because I hardly come to fine restaurants like these. “I just cannot take seafood, others are okay. Go ahead to pick what you want. They told me the best dessert is the mudcake.”
As the delicious pastas arrived, I relaxed and listened to her talking. Sometimes it was heartening how she was concerned about the rest, and it was fine to invite others along.

Chapter Text

 

Because Cullen was busy with Skyhold and Alistair had been unwell, everyone voted for Fenris and Ave to resume students’ combat- training. They roped in couple of allies and friends to help, because Fenris prefers to focus on a small training group. Aveline still had to run the big official matters.  There were some freelance trainers of course, clearly they didn’t know how to impart skills—just flung us worn copies of fight-manuals. No actual physical training at all, Zev and Varric popped by, and haha those turned into storytime, brushing the surface of how rogues don’t believe in honourable “real melee fighting”!

Over the weekend, our fav elf had been under the weather, so Beth had advised against overexertion this soon. His throat inflammation had become a cough and we noticed he applied the muscle-ache creams more.

She had tried to dissuade him from conducting physical lessons, but Fenris didn’t want us to be disappointed. He had received Jason’s mails about how we all missed him a lot. “It won’t be too intensive. Probably not demonstrate my prowess this time, getting a friend’s help. Great that most of our contacts and friends are social and want to talk more. I’ll make sure to rest in between and drink water.”  

Even though I had been ok to give both of them ‘Beth-ris space two people’s world’ Haha, Fenris didn’t let go of my hand, 'beseeching' me 'we can all talk in the open'.  She gave us a complementary tutorial on brewing stronger batches of restoration tonics.

To my astonishment, this time Uncle Fennie consented for me to join this round. He often reasoned that I should train under other people, as he didn’t wish to be too lenient towards me and show biasness.

 

Now, twenty-odd of us, some friends some unfamiliar faces

The practice rack, a variety of short and long blades, with worn pommels and sheaths.Excluding bows, archery, staves—as warriors don’t specialise on those. None of the large cumbersome types favoured by my best friend.

I sense roughly who are Adepts – they hadn’t received formal Circle initiations yet. Non aggressive auras.  

Maggie and Keith: how is Fenris, why is he not in armour? 

Best to let Fenris explain that, I say. Wearing a dark loose robe, sleeves folded to his elbows, he says to wait while he fetches an assistant.

 New Voice:  Hiya guys, please pay attention to hot Fenris here!

A petite guy with a long braid, auburn hair, sharp eartips, striking blue eyes walks in with Fenris. His perfect smile can rival Zev

Fenris: Ok, this time training is going to be a bit special. In combat, you are likely to also face off with mages. Welcome, my friend Faranor. He will be helping us out today. I’m sure you will find him younger, and more handsome than me ( we all laugh and he smiles ) I’m having a cold, so I’ll not talk too loud.

Applause, and we all say they’re both cute. Fenris does not blush, but clears his throat.  

Faranor outlines the structure of this training: rehearse basic defence moves first with practice swords—single-handed swords with Fenris overseeing, and the Adepts practising their casting with Faranor. Later, each of us would duel with a magic-caster student. He and Fenris might sparr briefly.

One guys wonders: what about those of us allergic to lyrium? Other than Broody, some of my peers get side effects from being near magic too.

Faranor: Don’t worry, I’m going to erect a kind of shield. And my friend’s robe, my idea haha, is warded against magic. Sorry if it gets uncomfortable Leto, it’s a prototype. Just signal me to tone it down.

Fenris (serious): No need, this should be like a real- life situation. You need to come to terms with your own and your opponent’s fighting styles. Understand some of you don’t want to hurt each other, so it’s good to find partners you don’t feel too close. And then switch partners, go down the group.

Faranor: Yea it’s true. But I personally hope we can all be good friends, after. (his smile is like sunshine) Feel free to make mistakes, we’re here to correct and guide you along. Begin!

I’m curious about how they might have got acquainted. Fenris does not allow people to call him Leto, it confuses him. We get into the full swing of combat.

I have mostly forgotten all of my defence stances and how to parry blows. My partner has slightly more experience and does not look like her arms ache from parrying and blocking. Fenris eventually comes to us and patiently demonstrates from scratch, the right way to grip the pommel firmly, footwork, stances and so on. I watch my elf and her go through the basic swordform, slowly for my benefit.

Fenris: The key is not to overthink. Match the rhythm to the other’s. Breathe deeply, without enough air you’ll tire. Your wrist should be relaxed, don’t grip too tightly. Position yourself so your shoulders take most of the weight.

Understand? Now again, please.  (he goes round to other duellers to coach them)

After three more tries, I manage to hang on to my sword. Sweat drips into my eyes, but I am not panting too much. Draining and very raw, physical actions, these are just the blunt lighter practice blades. No wonder he said I wouldn’t be able to wield two-handed weapons!

Marisa, her name, shakes my hand and she generously shares some of her new defence stances. I’m a bit envious. And then we rotate partners, every now and then Fenris compliments people, and corrects techniques. I suddenly flash on Aveline lecturing him to use a shield. But we hardly witness him using Shield bash on people!

*************

Next: duelling the Adepts. Rules: no hurling of major icicles or fireballs, very minor and mild spells to be cast. Main aim is for us melee fighters to get into range and how well they can fend off attacks. Fenris glances worriedly at me. It’s natural paternal concern, but I should be fine.

 Faranor comes over to me and readies a minor glow spell. I don’t brace for it, but it hovers and stops in front of my chest. I use my sword like a bat. The orb vanishes. ‘Fascinating! That doesn’t look like normal adept casting. It’s like a neutralizing of my mana.’ Up close, his nose is aquiline, very striking sky blue eyes.

Me: No I’m not a caster or adept. Yes that’s how my… um Gift works. (but I have not actually summoned or called upon it this time. And--- it’s a good thing no?i should have no problem defending myself against magic attacks)

Still, when Faranor has eye contact with me, my face heats. I look up, thankfully only two other students have heard. Uncle Fenris is drinking some water, and he has a quizzical expression on his face. Would he have sensed my Gift being in action? I wish I’ve telepathy—how to explain this to him? Should I be?   Fenris places the bottle on the nearby table and comes.

Faranor: Did you see that? Other than Templars, I’ve never gotten my spell fizzle out so quickly before. Does it feel odd?

I shake my head.

Fenris (his hand on my shoulder): No, I feel its effect. Cancels out surge of mana. I’m proud of her, but let’s not make it public. Can you handle them now? Need rest.  (his usual smooth baritone scratchy)

‘Sure thing. I love them, they’re cute!’ The elven mage smiles, and ushers the nearby students away. I think he changes it to my wearing of some special kickass amulet. What a nice guy! It ought to be alright to explain to him properly, later on.

“Come with me a moment.” Fenris says, coughing into a fist. We enter a corner infirmary, he sits on the bed. I slide the door close.

It takes some time before he recovers from his coughing fit. “Oh no why did it get worse? Have you taken the potion she made?” I'm concerned for his discomfort.

He leans against the propped pillows. “Yea. I want to ask, about just now. Why didn’t you just use the sword, Kit? There are many people around today, you wanted them to see that Skill? ”

“Huh? I didn’t release mine, it just…happened. And it’s invisible to civilians. I’m sorry, did I screw it up?”

But elf is not listening, he seems to have drifted off. I feel his forehead, thankfully he’s not burning up. Mild sheen of sweat. I ask how long he has known this mage, that he can call him Leto and they banter. He smiles, gently taking my hand off his brow.

“I have been his bodyguard on a few missions. He’s a good mage. No you didn’t make a mistake, I just--- how to? Blast this flu.” My friend grimaces, opening a packet of lozenges to suck.

Yea having a lot of mucus sucks. There’s no other way but to tide it over, water, herbs and rest.

“Just don’t want you to stand out too much from the others. Kit, the point is for a level playing field. Faranor is nice, but his curiosity might lead to strange… places. ” In spite of being weakened by flu, my best friend is certainly not naïve. Sincerity rings true. He squeezes my hand, and I feel all the raised scars, mostly his enduring warmth fills my chest.

“Ok I’ll be careful, Elf. Now rest up, stop worrying. And I’ll fill up the jug. ” I notice the water jug is quite empty and I hold it up.

“Can mix in honey? Thanks. ” Finally he relaxes, and his features are softened by sleep.

Outside, the other students are taking a break while the mage is chatting with a couple of them. One student says, ‘Fenris is almost going to lose his voice. Isn’t there any healing spell you can do?’ He reasons to them the tried and tested reasons why he has offered, but gets turned down. 

"It gets quite unbearable to be touched, for him. The lyrium already in his veins will kind of oppose and resist magical spells. No matter how gentle or 'white pure' the spell I cast, his body will automatically deflect it. His own healers have also shared some spells just go right through, like water. Still, I am sure Fenris'll be extremely touched by your love! " 

Yup, touched in an internal quiet way, not in an extreme hyper manner. Somehow the fans often gift Fennie with sweets and cakes, which he doesn't want to take too much of. (He worries about tooth decay) So he will share with colleagues and friends. 

 

*********

The next time when Fen had recuperated , Faranor and him engaged in a sparring demonstration. The new guy was able to parry and wield a short sword quite adeptly, for a mage! And they both wore leather cuirasses this time, Faranor commenting he could barely breathe.

"Have to get used to it, can't have armour dropping off. Leather is not as uncomfortable as plate metal like the knights." 

They demonstrated different ripostes and grappling. Like if the opponent raises his weapon high and leaps up for a Mighty Blow , best to roll out of the way. Also, what to do when someone corners you, and the sharp end touches vulnerable part of the body. Different stances. Fen acted as the aggressor, aiming for a horizontal stab to the other elf's stomach. Throughout he was very serious, for this he smirked. 

Faranor opted to try and disarm him, and they talked us through the maneouvres, every step and reflex can be altered and customized. Their chemistry was coordinated and excellent, though like a real battle both men did not wound each other too severely. 

"Ok hope you all learnt from us." mage said smiling. He had a cut cheek and Fenris massaged his right hand, cheeks flushed sweating lightly. The elves rested, then supervised us on the care of armours, so many stuff to take note of. Fenris was amazingly patient, while we had hands-on assisting each other in wearing, strapping securely various leather armours. 

I remember his usual gear also consists of a metallic breastplate, but cannot be too cumbersome. My classmate pointed with a smile 'behind you', ahh Fenris asked if I had any questions. Nope.

He appraised how I had buckled my partner's stuff and commented with some pointers. Hahha, Faranor did have a 'fan-guy' moment, when Broody was not looking he gazed at him with adoring eyes. 

 

 

Chapter Text

On a week when Fenris was home nursing his wounded left shoulder, he wanted to know how well I was training with my dagger.  At first I wondered exactly which one.  Recently, I had seen a plain wooden box with a blue- sheathed blade on the front table, but neither Aveline nor Fenris was home. Then Zev said it was not his, and so I stored it for safekeeping in my room. Wouldn’t want to get it lost anyway.

I shrugged. “Eh, I’m still way better with my bow or a staff. Why? ”

“Have you thought of which runes you want? Dwarves are the best crafters, I know some good friends. And we all feel it’s a practical gift to protect yourself, Kit.” Fenris said eagerly. His mood was still calm, though he hissed when he lifted his left arm. He gestured for me to pass him the cooling balm.

 

“Um…. Ok, not yet.”  Not sure which dagger he’s referring to, should I check again in our weapons’ stash? Or is it that boxed one? My mind was still quite slow today.  I went to his side, giving a gentle massage. Fenris talked about how important it was for girls to have at least basic defense weapons, to carry it at all times when out. Especially at night, how to be alert for crazy mad people…..  

“Yup. Don’t worry, I’ll be careful. I go everywhere with my bow at least.” I hoped he would be satisfied with my response there. But of course not. Fenris can be dogged if he wants to, even if drowsy from potions. Sigh. 

"Make sure a gentleman accompanies you and don't use the back alleys and shortcuts." He continued firmly. I agreed.

“I nearly forgot, having this venhedis pain. Hm I estimated the weight should not be too hefty, the hilt design is it comfortable? ” He tugged me so we were facing each other, his green eyes not hazy.  I cleared my throat, debating whether to make a white lie. But he said my name sternly- so where is it?

I said, “Fennie, which one? Last week when you were all out, there was a box with a new blade inside. I haven’t tested it, looks costly. Kept it, still in its box.” Elf’s eyes widened, and he grumbled, but his tattoos didn’t glow. He shook his head.

“A knife is not just an ornament. Yes, that’s meant for you, Kit! Servants aren’t trained to fight, and Zev already has so many.  Aveline and I browsed many designs before settling on this. Specially put forward a request to the senior smith too. Kavesh, but you haven’t tested it. ” Fenris used the milder curse, holding up both hands with frustration, exasperation. I apologized and went upstairs to fetch it.    

I took it out from the box and unsheathed it. It was a pocket sized knife, fit snugly in my hand. “Does it feel heavy? Kit.” Fenris had come up too, instead of waiting. He looked concerned, brows furrowed but his voice was neutral now.

“Thank you, it’s not. Will you show me how to wield it? ” Lightly, the elf came in, resting his good hand on my shoulder.

“Sure.” I was enthralled listening to his advice and the types of runes I could choose from. And he also produced a brochure of the diagrams too. “I’ve had a few of my favourite swords enchanted, all by dwarves. They don’t use lyrium. Does not affect me, or cause pain, interesting to watch.   I—I had hoped you’d have started training with it already.” Fenris said in a calmer tone

I said I really appreciated both of their blessings for me and squeezed his good hand. “I’ll be sure to carry it along next time. Neat strap!” I took out my belt, and he helped me to adjust so the strap was just right.

He said again, “It’s alright. Your problem, cara is overthinking the small factors. For subjects you don’t like they tell me you don’t pay attention. Financially, I’m much better now, since I don’t spend as much on aggregio pavali. Also, your mother gives me a generous monthly sum for your needs.”

Aw man, the gruffness of their combined feedback! Painful criticisms. From a swell of emotions, a fierce warmth glowed from my stomach and my throat formed a lump. Most young adults and classmates just acquired only one common weapon from the market stands. But my aunt and Elf obviously went the extra mile for me! 

Logically seeing my reaction, Fenris softened. “Why are you crying?”

“I already have a shortbow set from Donnic and Zevran…. He had bought a Dalish ironbark gilded longbow from that Dalish clan. Remember the people we camped with? (he shrugs and smiles) He bartered for it. So I didn’t expect to receive this, Fennie.  And there was no card with my name, it was just on the centre table…. The servants said to keep it safe.”

He looked genuinely surprised at that, admitted oh yes, they may have forgotten to. “Ave must have forgotten and I write poorly. I’m sorry for being annoyed. And then got skewered by enemy, argh. Anyway, it’s definitely for you, carissime.”

I agreed they are really courageous and I was blessed to have them. He laughed a low rumble and flushed. But Ave surely must want to get swords and shields forged, those are always her first choice. Broody nodded, yea they had agreed those choices would be too cumbersome for me, judging from my performance.


 

But even if Broody repeated advice, I never found it too nagging. Because his wisdom is common sense and right! When Fenris took off his shirt, I noticed an old scar etched in his side, not a tattoo. “Oh no, do you keep a spare dagger like this? Like when can’t use your power?” I gestured to the scar.

Fenris agreed. “Good point. Hm that was very long ago. These days I have at least two tucked away, and the rogues gave me couple of lockpicks. Ha. For more dangerous places like Rivain, Antiva, definitely bring extra. Oww.”

He always forgot to cut his nails, so scratched up a scar. I found a clipper, took his hand, hearing his soft thanks and a rare kiss to my head. Even if he did use the clippers, he still did not file down the sharpness properly, because Fenris didn’t bother about trivia like that.

Then he needed to do some important reading, while I tuned my longbow. To my surprise, while I was nocking a blunt arrow and aiming at the wall, Fenris remarked, “I’ve not learnt much archery, Kit. The next time you go to a shooting range, can I come too?”

I smiled. “Sure! We thought you’re a Pro at all weapons, Faranor calls you weapons-expert. Before I got to know you, I thought all elves can be like Legolas: a super-archer!”

Fenris was baffled. “Really? Slow down, who is this Legolas fellow? (I told him and he chuckled) Being fictional character, he’d be perfect. No, I’m not an expert with range. May I?”  He picked up an older shortbow, because he wouldn’t want to damage mine and we did a walkthrough together. He’s truly a quick hands-on student!

“I vaguely remember accidentally using too much force, and broke quite a few bows. One merchant, he was quite angry with me. Should be Dalish, they take pride in handcrafting all their bows. ”  Fenris confessed, beaming.

 

“Ah sorry about that, but you’re happy. Don’t have to use same strength like melee.” I liked how his sonorous voice underplayed comedy.  Next time we would go together to a spare shooting range with targets, or the woods. Fenris’ vast collection of two-handed blades, axes, hammers and so on, occupied our mansion’s combat-room.  

 

I admired the sheen of the silver. When my friend fell silent I thought he was worn out and drifted off, but he was in quite the knowledge-sharing mood today! “It’s ideal, this handy thing can be kept hidden in your boot. There’s a special compartment, later let me show you. One longbow is adequate, bring enough arrows. Close-range, hard to fight with that. Blades are still important. And the other situation, when going for important big events and functions, the hosts often request for visible weapons to be surrendered at the front. But don’t ever give up this. Self preservation. Though the guards and we keep vigil, there are always indecent assholes around.

“I worry--- I can’t always be near to protect you. Lately, some colleagues’ children had been kidnapped, raped and assaulted.” Right now, the elf looked pale as if the reminder of those incidents caused instant fatigue. He rubbed his wounded shoulder.

“That’s terrible, Fenris. I promise to be careful. You need a painkiller potion?” I got up.

Elf gestured no need, flipped the dagger expertly and offered me the hilt first. “Wow! Cool I want to show off like that too. Some circus people can throw blades like this, how to?” I stared at the blade trying to visualize.

“Kavesh, lousy motivation for learning. When I was a boy aspiring to escape the four walls, I stole anything sharp, pointy to practise against invisible foes. Made many raw mistakes, these scars are testimony. Didn’t have a proper master as a slave, my abilities were inflicted, forced.” Fenris laughed bitterly.

“Miss the Fog warriors, they passed on more practical techniques. I owed them so much, but… ”    To distract him from flashing back, I attempted to toss the sheath up and catch it. Success! Fenris chuckled, his foot kicking at mine.  When he recovered fully, he was more than happy to demonstrate more techniques. Humbly he said rogues knew more on daggers, so must coerce Zev to be less out of point. So cute.

Elf’s mood became light again, as I updated him about what acts I had seen. Hahah he took a blunt butter knife “For you, too clumsy better use this. Don’t hurt yourself, please.”

Chapter Text

 

After overseeing one batch of combat training, leaving them to Dorian Pavus and his colleague, Elf could have time to himself. A new mail from Bethany! Of course there was also the fanmail overflowing from his locker. Fenris pressed the stubborn door a few times, it wouldn’t lock properly. Brilliant idea to give him a middle row locker and emblazon his name in capitals!

I can’t possibly keep or read all of those, some would have to be trashed. But not where the silly kids can see it, He grumbled internally, yet affectionately.

Elf then let himself into his room and flopped down to read. She used violet ink and her words were very easy to read

 

Hey Fenris,

It was so nice to spend that evening together, having pasta which is my favourite! Thank you for the treat, can I pay for our upcoming date? Gosh, I hadn’t been asked out by a decent person since--- can’t recall. Actually, I didn’t like Anders in “that way”.  We just work well together.

Hm, it will be alright if we get Zev and your friends to come too (smile)! Now I’m stationed in Kirkwall, I have more time. And he came by Merrill’s house where I was staying, for a delivery and I did a healing. Of course it’s your choice, Fenris!

Haha, Varric keeps saying how tricky it is to come up with a new nickname for you. These days, Broody no longer seems valid—which is wonderful. Enjoy our banter. The others said they did call you LetoFen, or some Antivan stuff. Don’t get mad ok?  And I read Sabriel’s essay of “My Best Friend”--- featuring you Fenris! Maker, I almost wept. I loved it, extremely moving. Excellent writing, did you know of it?  

[Ha, that paper yes! He was not aware of so many awesome qualities he had, and the heroism. He had just tried his best to work hard, to break free of chains. ]

         Continuing her mail:

I do enjoy our meetups and talks, it’s refreshing to understand our differing viewpoints on a deeper level.  As your adopted sister wrote, ‘Fenris has so much wisdom’ True, haha I’m jealous people haven’t written about my good qualities and read out to the public. Still, you did not answer me about Zevran, is he in love with you? He seems to flirt less, more serious and mentions you a lot.Will he mind when we meet?

Do take the calcium supplements, helps with joint and backpains. I hope the marks don’t cause problems all the time.

Kind regards,

Bethany!

The mention of last paragraph made Fennie scowl. Why must he interfere in his personal affairs? Venhedis, since he was absent when I needed support most, he’s supposed to keep his distance. Which part of starting over again, giving me space did the fool not comprehend?

Fenris was determined to clear the air, when they saw each other again. Hm should he pen her a reply? She had said if all went well, she should be able to make it for their upcoming date. Happy butterflies fluttered in his stomach.

Bethany is such a kind, compassionate friend, yes he would invite his sister and Alistair to come along. Checking the calendar, Fenris saw that Zev was expected to come home today. He started packing his stuff.

 

~~~~~~~~~~~

 

Back at home 

Fenris was upstairs in his room, finishing his noon snack of an eggroll, when Zev’s vibrant voice greeted the servants. Cling of keys, paperbags rustling, boots chuffing--- he let his elven hearing take in all these familiar sounds. Fenris watched the other man move towards the kitchen with groceries, languidly swirling a half finished bottle of red wine. Softly, Broody descended the stairs.

“We need to talk. Excuse us,” Fenris nodded to three maids assisting Zev categorizing the groceries.

“Darling, I cannot wait. Let me wash up, had to touch some muddy turnips.” The other elf beamed, gesturing to the tap. Fenris did not smile back.

“Come to the upstairs study. It’s important and I wish to settle it right away.” As Fenris spoke, his annoyance made the lyrium lines on his throat zing. Odd sensation.

To his astonishment, Zev did not interrupt or question him as Broody described his awkwardness. Well he had not planned to speak so much about ‘don’t control my life’. Habitually, Broody could not sit still for serious matters and paced.  “---- I should be free to meet and be close to whomever I want. This freedom of choice matters a lot to me. Don’t go around talking about how attached you are to me, controlling my friends. Especially Beth. I am just starting to reconcile what happened before.” He found it quite difficult to breathe slowly and evenly. Pressed the hard back of the chair for support.

“Fen- mi Corazon, calm down. I am not jealous—I just. Want to protect you.” Zev touched his chest, looking perplexed and quite bird-like.

“I don’t need protection. I am not a child. I don’t step in to announce embarrassing things in your friends’ presence, do I? ” Fenris folded his arms, his calf muscles groaning from exertion. These days, he had been on his feet for hours, busy with different missions.

 Finally he eased down on his chair. Then he asked what was that word.

“Means "my heart". Like vhenan in Dalish. Actually, I would never be embarrassed or angry, if someone shows their care. I know you are not a child, Fenris. How to explain this plainly in Common?” Zev rubbed his chin, his brown eyes turning amber deep in thought. He opened a small book, muttering to himself. “Wanna be sure this will sound precise and to the point.”

Fenris thought that might be some kind of translation dictionary. Hm weren’t all of his allies more confident and eloquent than him in Common? Then he heard his name being called, for permission to pop in. It was Alistair giving him a vial of brown fluid: ‘don’t drink it, it’s a liquor for muscle sprains’ Happy go lucky grin. Zev quirked a smile. The warden then closed the door politely again, not wanting to interrupt.

“I just do not want you to be on the losing end, Fenris. I respect your wants, and understand completely about Bethany and other friends. Hm I’ve to honestly say I’m more experienced with love and amorous expressions than most. And like that girl colleague, the new recruit, you pay for her meals, let her sleep in your tent. Raining and you’re thin as a rail, shivering…. ”

Fenris interrupted, “That’s different, she’s poor and under my tutelage. Miranda, Her tent tore, I saw that mine had enough space. How can I account to the family if I let a new person get sick? Fasta vas.” He saw how his lighted marks alarmed Zev, wrestled for self restraint and then walked out. His heart and mind were confused by the other elf's mixed signals. 

Of all the people to faint at my doorstep, why couldn't it have been someone else?  Fenris grumbled in his inner monologue.

 ***********

                                                            Fenris

 

This time was my turn to choose where we would dine at. Alistair and my girl were coming too, so it would be four of us. I had come across new words on a signpost outside a dining place and I copied it in my notebook. Wanted to confirm with friends their meaning.

Vegan moussaka-- how the words looked. Donnic explained that 'vegan' meant that it consisted of vegetables. "I see. Thank you."

"Why am I not invited? " my good friend asked, with a smile. 

"Ah sorry, I did not mean to exclude you, Donnic. Perhaps another time." I felt bad. He said nah he did not mind- certain that hundreds of fans were lining up to spend time with me. 

I laughed. "Not at all, I don't want so many. Would be overload." I was relieved that Donnic did not avoid me anymore. I had not asked, because it would be awful if my first real friend developed a phobia of my talents. I would give anything to reverse that moment of Donnic witnessing me convulsing, out of control, that lyrium overwhelming force! 


 

People recomended me the spinach and olives-stuffed loaves. Decided to select this place, but not tell Sabriel it's more veges on the menu. Haha, good vitamins! Like many youths, she avoids eating much greens.

Bethany was enthusiastically telling me about her updates, as we met in the central district just after my rounds of tax collection. "Wow Fenris, didn't know you also need to be a tax collector now. How is it?"

"Difficult. Some not cooperative, even when I intimidate them. I prefer food inspection, ha!" Today, she seemed more tired so we found a bench close by to wait for the others. 

Vishante, I told Alistair to be punctual. I had covered much distance on foot the entire day as well, feeling my back and joints ache. But the mage would get worried for me, so I controlled myself from massaging the aches. 

"Thank you for your letter, Bethany. I always feel happy with your words." 

"You're very welcome. I know it is not easy for you to do writing, Fenris. I really cherished the first mail you sent!" 

I beamed. She continued on other trivia, luckily not the awkward topic of Zevran hinting about my status.


 

In a while, my little sister came and shook our hands. "Ah, you didn't tell me it's gonna be mostly vegetarian cuisines. I think Faranor once brought us there. Where's Ali? " 

I chuckled, making space for her to sit. "Might be late. Are you all hungry?" I pointed at the picture with the moussaka word. 

"Looks yummy, with potatoes. Greens are healthier, can take more, " I added cheerfully. She made a face and her stomach growled at the same time with mine. Decided to make orders first! 

Bethany asked the waiter what were each of the ingredients when ordering. Exotic names. Kit was glad there was some form of roast lamb. Alistair came later, panting and apologizing. He  had been finding a clean shirt. Sigh. 

 

While waiting for the cooking, my mind wandered.... 

I do not know what to make of my relationships at this time, each experience does not turn out the same. It’s much much less complex being just friends. Why do the rogues always have such dirty imaginations? They did not see the dark side of my guardedness, if I did care deeply for someone.

Puzzled how could friends been attracted to the old me—foul tempered, brash, violent. Arielle had been bold, forthright, seldom demure. That was why she could rally the others to assist me in those thankless quests. Zevran still reminisced about the old days of how I joined him and Isabela’s crew (pre Kirkwall) on adventures. I just listened in suspended disbelief. At first when he came to my home, and we became familiar with one another he bade me to spend more time together, in the room.

They may want to let their imaginations go wild, but I didn’t want my tattoos to be overstimulated, stinging for me, and potentially harmful to a non mage. I was alright with sleeping together in the same bed, undressing, but keeping it light. Some days I listened to him spinning tales, getting accustomed to having another man lying beside me. Zev could not resist feeling my skin, though he always moved back when I felt tired and self conscious.

Bethany does have her honest moments, when urging her patients (myself included) how to take care of their bodies and won’t take no for an answer. Some differences in her tactful manners, she does not want us to pay on her behalf if she can afford it. About that new word I read on Aveline’s report! Meti- culous – detail oriented. I chuckled, well I certainly don’t have much of that quality! My things always misplaced, scattered. And I don’t follow instructions. Beth will scold me…. ‘nag’ is not a polite term.

 

As I reconsidered the present, my friends were looking at me expectantly. 

Oh I didn't hear them....

“Fenris, anything wrong? ” Ali asked. “I’m only late by two minutes. Don’t get mad. Sorry.” Difficult to believe he had commanded troops, he can be sentimental.  

“Do the marks hurt?” my girl and Beth wondered.

I shook my head. “No, it’s not too bad when I am calm. Brother, I wouldn’t be angry about that. Ha, I have been late all the time too.”

Alistair beamed. The waiter arrived with the first few dishes of our order. I hoped to try the desserts as well, reasonable prices. The moussaka was a lovely golden brown, melted in the mouth. Potato, lentils, yum. Several bowls of olives scented with rosemary, chunks of roast lamb and pork. Ali and Kit took more of the meat, I wanted to take less meat this round.

Kit gestured she wanted to tell me something, I leaned close. “I want to pay for my part, Fennie. Then you don’t need to worry about the increasing costs.” She takes after Ave in the worry-department.

“Sure. Gratias tibi tam* .” It was futile to protest. They were so excited by my exotic language. Haha. 

"What's that mean, eh? Sounds goodie!" Ali replied, mouth stuffed. 

"Just listen to my tone. I don't want to translate." They imitated some puppy eyes. "I guess rise of costs cannot be helped. Oh, but the dishes you chose may be expensive, Kit." 

I stopped her from taking out her pouch in front of the public.

Then I was content to eat, relax and listen to my friends chattering.  These nights, I had some dreams about Varania---- how I fervently wished I could have undone that moment when I ripped out her heart. 

I kept trying to apologize, chasing after the mists and then awoke shivering and perspiring.  I had lost my real kin, but found my place amongst these warm people. I didn't need to continue chasing after the ghosts, but somehow in slumber and the Fade, my memories were never within control, nor my grasp. 

**********

 

The group of officers, Fenris and Alistair were far from Kirkwall, so they checked into a midclass tavern for the night’s rest. As they ate, Fenris felt extremely drowsy. He told Alistair he wished to retire early. The owner assigned them to share, the others were three to a room. Fortunately Ali knew the elf needed alone-time and offered to be Fen’s room mate. “Quite pale, need me to come along?” he said kindly.

Fenris smiled, taking the key from him. “Thank you, I’ll be fine. It’s not far. Goodnight.” Even though they hadn’t fought enemies these days, not needing to heighten his abilities, his familiar aches were pulsing, especially his calves and back. He needed the regular medicine and sleep quite soon.

When he entered their room, spent a few minutes scrutinizing for traps, paranormal eeriness, Fenris undid his armours. He barely managed to swallow a pain-relief potion before collapsing into sleep.

 

 In the Fade, his sister was always changing in appearance , as her young self smiling and happy, inexperienced terrified woman shaking her head as they were pulled apart by uniformed men, magical fire emitted from her body as she cast….

And he was not Fenris of now, but a lanky boy, unkempt dark hair training with a wooden sword. And when he talked to V they were speaking their native Tevene mixed with the market dialect. The past, the futures constantly shifting like tides. This time however, the young elven boy (his child self) was holding their final, brief negotiation before she had… died.

-The traitorous act of Danarius striding down from the inn steps smirking,

-Saying he was his pet and had affection for him, and made his lyrium glow with both confrontation and fear of being caught

“You led him here! Why, how could you?” He accused her, about to raise his fist. From her lips spilled all her justification, that she had no choice.

 

In his bed, Fenris tossed and turned feverishly, his pulse racing, sweat beading over his skin. The blankets seemed to be tangling his arms and feet.

No, no I don’t want to relive this again, please! Gasping, he forced his heavy eyelids open, digging his fingernails into his palm. Why am I flashing back to this, after so many years?  The musty smell of the tavern, alcohol, people laughing drunkenly outside. His armour and sword-belt were beside him on the table. The elf intended to get up, touch them to reassure himself of right now, but overwhelmed with exhaustion. It had been a long hard day canvasing people for their investigations. Fenris rubbed his damp face, lay on his side and willed the flashbacks to leave him alone. He slipped back into the Fade….

As his spikes pierced through her chest and heart, the hot blood sprayed over the warrior. Another voice cried out-- No what have I done? Now it was his adult face, silver hair sheen with sweat and blood, grimacing with fury.  Then everything in the scene vanished except him and the black - haired youth. Leto, how could it be? He could not possibly look at this other self, it was history.

 

Tears streamed down his face, he did not mean to kill her. He was just so angry and betrayed. All his hopes for a reunion and connection dashed.

Leto stared at him calmly, his green eyes untainted by burdens. ‘I am still in you, Fenris. Your puer interiorem* I think you need to accept it was wrong, to have shed her blood. Friends tried to stop you but you were too angry to listen. And then so hurt.’

 

Denial surged through Fenris, he snapped,  ‘You must be a sleep demon! Begone! I won’t listen to your lies.’  He closed his eyes and turned away.  

 

‘I understand it is frightening. Hold out your hand, touch me and know that I am the child inside you! Not a demon. ’ The boy smiled patiently, raising his right palm. As they touched, Adult Fenris and the child felt a remarkable bond. The boy thanked him for risking the trust, still smiling, gradually faded. But he could still feel the small warm hands on his chest. 

 

Then a female voice said: Hello brother. Are you lost? It was his sister, but not covering in blood and screaming. Her long scarlet hair was loose and flowing. Pale robe.  She was---  smiling? “ Soror, Don’t you hate me?”

 

 She embraced him and he cried until his knees were tired. “I’m no longer suffering, poor or in pain. And what I did, I shouldn’t have sold you out to the magisters. Fenris, when we were all naïve and young , you were brave to take care of us, and sacrificed much. Now let me take care of you, esse liberum et algores. ” And she became pure light. It meant: be free of all agony, a kind of forgiveness….  

 

Fenris awoke, crying but his heart was slowing down to normal. Someone called his name, touching his forehead. Alistair asked, “Nightmares? You were yelling, and then kicking my bed. Seems scary, want to talk?”   He nodded and accepted the cool glass of water, speaking slowly.

 

Alistair listened seriously and said, “Wow, my sister Goldanna just kicked my butt out cursing at me! It’s good she has let go of what happened. Does this mean free of night terrors now, Fen? ”  

 

“I’m not sure. I hope so, very tired, can’t sleep deep. A very different outcome… I had always dreamt of the ritual, the abuses and the mages. Sorry for troubling you, my friend. A lot to process. ”  Elf felt his pillow and bedsheets were all sodden. So hot, he thought of sleeping on the floor. 

 

“It’s alright. Come, let’s tuck you into another bed.” Alistair helped him to stand. Fenris felt sore and gladly leant on his support to a new bed.

 

This time, he was not plagued by any more strange dreams or mares….   The next day, Fenris decided to write about it in his journal. Jasper, the Fade-mage had given him a blank book for this purpose, but he had not felt the urge to use it till now.  He drew a fairy to represent his sister and also the small boy.   

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter Text

We had more or less settled back into an easy friendship with the antivan again.  While both elves had the same restdays, Fenris chuckled and participated in Zev's jokes, banter. It was heartwarming that his chronic tattoo-pain was less acute now, thanks to a new form of treatment founded by Anders and Beth. These current herbal concoctions did not make Fenris feel nauseous though he still needed regular checkups. He would tell Aveline and me no need to trouble us to accompany him, but we did not want him to faint. To prevent the recurrence of another lyrium-fever, trusted mage-friends would dissipate the excess with a mild spell or two. Elf had to remain prone after the process or he would have a migraine and be giddy.

 


 

One day Zevran asked me what desserts and cakes were Fen's favourite?

"Um actually Fenris is not a fan of cakes, nor overtly sweet flavours. He prefers savoury food, potato, cookies, hotdogs. Right now I cannot remember the type of biscuits he enjoys, we bought it at this exclusive new stall. "

I asked why he wanted to know.

"I want to bake something for his birthday. I asked the kids, they have picked a date soon. When I baked a strawberry cream cake, he only ate a small bite.  He didn’t comment, but declined to eat more, aw. "  

"At least he ate some of it. Best to check with Fenris, then won’t waste the effort. " I felt like laughing at the naïve crestfallen expression on Zev’s face, but controlled myself. Those students would likely be part of Fen’s unofficial fanclub, they never tired of asking our handsome friend to sign autographs and checking out their multiple planned celebrations. The official month we assign is October as Elf is quite Scorpio-like ;) but we can't wait that long, often bring forward the days. This is both amusing and concerning to Fenris, he will thank the people with a refrain of: No need to be extravagant, one gift is enough.  

The one time my classmates felt bad (and they hadn't consulted me or I would have disagreed) They had hidden in a dark room and called out surprise, when he stepped in. Poor Fenris had freaked out and could not breathe, and then he fainted. Took a long time to recover, because of his difficult fugitive past, he perceived hiders as threats and ambushes. 

"Hm I still want to see his delighted reaction. Oh yea, I saw you compile a list of what foods and allergies everyone has, can I refer to it ?" 

I said sure, when I could find it. Now my things were messy. "And Zevran, don't do the dark-room trick. Fenris doesn't like it, really frightens him. We all worried he'd have a heart attack. I berated those fangirls. " I reminded.   

The Antivan grumbled they shouldn't have done so, and of course he had more logic and tact.

 

Later I found my notes and recalled Fenris ate more salted caramel cookies and apple flavoured biscuits from the Giant-cookies  stall (usually located near the Alienage). Zev beamed “That’s wonderful, thank you Kit! And I won't jump out at Fenris. I've had that kind of life too, it cannot be erased. Let's create happy present moments for us, yes ? ”

I said I would like to help bake the cookies, and find the recipes. After a few tries, we succeeded. Fresh batch of salted caramel cookies. My guardian was taking a rest in his room. I went to call him. “Fenris, come and eat. Are you sleepy?”

“Ummm, yea I smelled it. Just woke. Come in, Squirt.” I pushed open the door. He wore only pants, and the white markings were exquisite over his exposed skin. But both his upper arms had some red bites. “Can you help me with the allergy cream?”

I agreed, taking the balm container with a spoon and spread it over the bites. “What caused this?”

“Hm I am quite sure I avoided the seafood meal, could be bedbugs. Oh, you were envying me, that Elves don’t get bitten by mosquitoes. See, not entirely immune.” He said good- naturedly and hugged me briefly by the shoulders. I chuckled.

Then he donned a loose cotton tunic with the Kirkwall emblem and we headed to the kitchen together. Zev had garnished the two plates of cookies, one batch was gingerbread cookies and the salted caramel. Fennie exclaimed, “Yum all for me? I can’t finish all, thanks so much, bene magno! “ We all took a piece each to eat and he said it was perfect.

That was a new phrase. “Fenris, what’s that word mean?”

He said it was Tevene for ‘greatly appreciated’ and smiled when I grabbed a notepaper and wanted to write it. “I’m not sure how it’s spelled, I just speak it. Perhaps….” Thoughtfully Fenris wrote a few pronunciations of the phrase. Then he conversed in another dialect with one of the servants, with Zev looking on curiously. Fenris apologized that some of them did not understand Common, and it was something personal about their issues.

“Hm that reminds me, for Mary we sourced a home-nurse to assist her sick relative. Hopefully that will set her mind at ease and she doesn’t quit totally. Varric helped me to do an official document, I’ve to discuss with her about it. Let me know when she is back tomorrow, ok?” We agreed. It was quite unusual for Zev to be this quiet and listening this long. Just as I thought this, Zev spoke in dialect. His tone sounded impatient.

Fenris’ ears tweaked. “Kit is family, what we speak about she shouldn’t have to leave the room. It is safe to talk directly. ” It was quite nice of my favourite elf, to stick up for me, but anyway I had some chores to do.  Neither did I wish to witness mushy actions. Zev looked surprised and said, "It's mission-related. And she's civilian."  Fenris nodded, requested for me gather some of his sweaty clothes on the floor to be put in the laundry basket, with a gracious tone. His soft eyes conveyed a small apology.

Silently I told him it was fine. He ruffled my hair. “Delicious, I hope to eat more soon. Let’s read a story together, when we’re done. The one about the pixies.”

Yay! I loved him so much.

 

 

 

 

Chapter Text

One day Fenris brought out a worn-out thin volume of poetry to practice. Merrill and one of my friends were visiting us.

He said his favourite phrase in the poem was: “ Her lavish mission richly wrought, leaving great legacies of thought.  I cannot pronounce the writer’s name. Help, Merrill? ”

“Ah Tennyson, the title is In Memoriam. Sounds so sad, Fenris. Are you feeling alright?” she cooed.

He smiled. “I think this was Hawke’s book. One night I had a dream of her asking if I had managed to get friends to help me read it. Ha, don’t worry I’m not sad. Will you correct me as we go along?” He motioned for us to all sit beside him.

A happy lover who has come,

To look on her that loves him well

Who lights and rings the getaway bells

So find I every pleasant spot

In which we two were wont to meet,

The field, the chamber and the street

For all is dark where thou are not.

**********

Tonight the winds begin to rise

And roar from yonder dropping day:

the last red leaf is whirl'd away,

The rooks are blown about the skies;

When the world caves in,

still my hope will cling to your promise

 Where my courage ends, let my heart find strength in your presence.

 

As we applauded, Fenris said, “Thank you all for teaching me: tutoring me for grammar, being concerned when I was not myself.” My friend Alva went beetroot red as he had brief eye contact with each of us.

I chuckled. “You haven’t introduced yourself yet. He’s bad with names.”

After she did so (to his amusement), Alva stammered if Fenris had opened her gift yet.

“Sorry what is the gift? I’ve got thousands of stationeries, colourful papers, notebooks, mugs and cups.” The warrior counted out on his fingers.

She said it was a comic she had drawn of his heroism. Yeay I had seen her carefully binding the pages with ribbon. “That’s a great present. Hopefully he will find it when he goes back to the barracks.”

Fenris nodded. “Yes, I am quite keen to see that. Pictures easier to look at, than purely words. What a contrast in reaction…. When I first came to Kirkwall, people stared at me with hostility and fright. These days, people approach me in this so-called fanclub? I don’t get why…He managed to look genuinely innocently fazed.

“Yup you get both fanboys and fangirls. Simple because you’re a special Elf, we don’t see many elves taking on high dragons, wyverns, demons and so on, those are such brave achievements! Inspiring!” I elaborated. Alva grinned and hi-fived Merrill.

As usual he downplayed his accomplishments, coughing and his shy laugh.

“Oh. Well if anyone you need to protect is faced with danger, you would do the same. I felt far from brave, more like---- terrified before action. Hm, what about if I go bald? Like that Solas. Most people are drawn to my physical appearance at first. Liking my inner traits are more important.”

We agreed whole heartedly. Merrill gently patted his back. “That’s why they make tributes of your courage. I’ve a few more to add: loyalty to friends, how much you secretly care, that sexy voice. I don’t like my high pitched pixie voice. You’re Sooo lucky!”  

His eartips reddened, and he said he would share with us some fruits.

Chapter Text

Fenris was getting better with his pain management now, so we could continue our planning for another picnic. At first he had protested to my suggestion of the coast and had tried to talk me out of it. I said I had never been there, wanted to view the picturesque ships, waves and so on.  

 “We have to avoid these areas I marked with the ‘X’ s. Those are where the illegals, pirates, smugglers and contacts tend to gather and always come back.” Practical as always, he had created customized copies of the map to the Wounded Coast, coloured symbols with markers. I complimented how artistic he had coloured the plain old paper.

Fenris elbowed me. “No need for flattery. That leaves here and here, the few safe zones.” With the blue marker, he circled out three corners.

I agreed, “ Sure, let’s follow your lead. Wanna relax though, we have all worked so hard, Elfie. Who can we invite?” 

“Anyone but the abomination. You shouldn’t have invited him the last time, he annoyed me. Alistair, Ave, Merrill, Donnic the others I don’t mind. Of course, need to coordinate our schedules.”  He mused, playfully scribbling ink on my arm.

I exclaimed, trying to wipe it out with the rag. Then I asked how about Beth. He looked crestfallen, but quickly schooled his expression to calm. “She is out of town taking a course until next month. We aren’t a Beth-ris couple yet. And Zevran? ” I shook my head, he would just talk too much—my idea was to spend more time understanding Fennie, a deep bonding. “He may still invite himself along, or show up. Once we had some secret meetup with spies didn’t inform him, but he managed to track us.”

I shrugged, pouting. Guess that could not be helped, though we could pack and hide our things so won’t arouse suspicion.  Uncle Varric had written in Fen's history that Merrill and Fenris never wore footwear, wanted to feel connected to the earth. That had made me greatly concerned if he should be wearing shoes or at least, sandals. Long distances would definitely blister his bare feet! 

Though I'm assigned to be the foodie-planner, mustn't forget the checklist of which extra potions Fenris needed (besides health potions). Mary and the maids assisted him in sorting out the potions and medicines. I reminded him.

Fenris referred to the medical list his friend Faranor* had compiled. “Thank goodness I’ve finished the strong ones. Felt so giddy and weak, vishante. Can pack in the milder painkillers, I’ll let you check them again, before we set out. Thanks.” 

As men are wont to, Elf would become grumpy if lectured about weakness, so I approached this from an analytical view instead.

Finding it tough to express his emotions, Fennie had made a card for us all:

Dear inner circle pals, Im sorry to trouble u when had medical. Thanks for patience and kindness of company. 

I’d went on quite a few alchemy sessions, kept all the recipes so I had stuffed them into my pack first. Noticing that, Fenris softened his response when we asked about his health repeatedly.  Aveline had to cover for his shift, but when she was home she supervised us too haha. 

Everything was in a dandy mood until Fen growled, pointing at the slavers – word.

Despite how hard everyone had worked to destroy the nests, like parasites more kept surging back to the Free Marches for business, trading the poor and destitute like cattle. This subject is always bound to incur Fenris’ wrath.

I said, “I thought most of them have been wiped out by constant vigilance of peacekeeping forces? We studied that more countries have outlawed the illegal practice recently. Sorry if I sound ignorant.”

He was silent for sometime, sorting out the vials in the medical box. It was best to allow Broody some space when such sore subjects came up. His voice was a neutral gravelly tone when he remarked, “Sadly no, they won’t be crushed to extinction. I don’t know if I want to call Tevinter back home. The higher class peoples there still have very high demand. Sorry, don’t want to ruin a light mood.”

“Fennie are you ok? We can have a few extra guards to escort us, if it assures you.” I scooted closer to peek at him. He chuckled, green eyes soft.

“Umhm. Kind of wounded you doubt my ability to protect us. Borrowing a wagon and donkeys from Shortie. But glad my caution has rubbed off on you.”

We asked who was Shortie, he meant Varric. Fenris grinned, said not to tell dwarf that. Varric had raised a fair point donkeys are more hardy and sturdier than horses. Scanning the map, I asked were there caves. Would sure need shelter from the elements if there was heavy rain or something.

Fenris frowned, trying to remember. “Yes, I believe so. Haven’t went as far south yet, so here is uncertain.” He tapped another spot to the bottom.

“Leto don’t worry try to sleep more. Maybe if there’s a premonition, I will dream of it and tell you.”

“What? Have you got any, Kit?” Elf touched my forehead, his dark brows furrowed. Worry crinkles near his eyes. I shook my head, the memory was more than a year ago. The one time before his mission that he had collapsed after attacking pirates because he had a terrible fever virus (Chap 16-17).

He listened without comment and sighed.

Some arrangements needed to be worked out who would temporarily take over Elf’s duties. Especially the patrol rosters, training was covered by guest instructors. Recently, Fenris and Zev were quite keen to learn from the new archer trainer, alongside me and a few students. Occasionally they would tease me if I had a crush on Faranor, who is younger than them. No I didn’t! I still don’t know him as well yet.

Done with his tasks, he lay down on the floor and stretched. “Wish can sleep for a month! The journey there is going to be strenuous.”  We held hands and slowly, he relaxed into a brief nap.

*************

 

                                                Of Godly names  

“Strange, why do you like to call me Leto some days?” my best friend asked as we were falling asleep. Tonight I joined him in his room, using a spare mattress while he was on his bed.

Previously, I did show Fenris my illustrated greek tales book and we browsed the pictures as I explained. Perhaps he had been tired and forgot. Now Fenris didn’t look sleepy, sitting up to fluff up his pillows.

“Coz I love your dual identity…. “Leto” has a special meaning, from Greek myths. It’s the name of a female god, and she mothered the famous Artemis and Apollo. They are twins, Artemis becoming Goddess of the Hunt, virginity and the moon. And her brother Apollo as the opposite element, the Sun and God of archery, muses, music, healing. Oh yea, both are also ethereally beautiful and handsome. Though Artemis spurned men. Each of them drives a magical chariot…… “ I continued the whole tale.

Elf had lain down and was listening without interruption. I felt his arm move down and ruffle my hair, and when I blinked open my eyes he turned on his stomach to face me. “I didn’t like that name, it was before I…. upgraded my skills, so to speak. I could’ve had an ordinary life without tattoos, possibly dark hair, squeaky voice. “  We laughed. “Although Fenris is a bestowed name, it sounds more fearsome and masculine! Wonder why my parents would choose a female god’s name. Thank you for the story, Squirt.”

“Still, after hearing about her courage don’t you like that name a bit better now?” I smiled, taking out a pair of warmed crystal-bulbs. Each of them glowed a different shade of rainbows, they were safer than fire and multi-purpose. Donnic had bought me an entire collection and I just fitted two of them for necklaces. I cast these rainbows on the ceiling. Fen exclaimed in Tevene and then translated, “Oh gosh, so pretty! Can I try?” I handed one to him, explaining the method of rubbing to keep the crystal warm. At length, with a beam he answered my question, “If I become the angry jumpy Brood responding to Leto, maybe I should picture that alternate brave woman instead. Yea, that’s much better. But it was bad idea, my colleagues inventing the combining of my names LetoFen or worse.”  And he snorted.

I tried not to guffaw. “Surely it’s all in jest, don’t take it too hard. Who knows, deep down they’re in the Cute elf warrior fanclub, haha!”

“Kavesh, that’s horrible excuse to invent nicknames for me. I didn’t turn around, walked off faster. Not like Fenris is such a long mouthful to pronounce. At one meeting we met dwarves, and they said all the elves have difficult longish names, including clans, mentors. Think it was a friendly sparring, so they have to register our names. When Faranor and I got our turns, they stared in disbelief: can’t be so short. And gah insisted on hearing why we didn’t have clan names. I said I’m not Dalish.” He grumbled.

I was curious why Fara didn’t have the super long names behind too. “Oh where’s he from? So vague when he gave us intro.”

He chuckled. “From a small town in the Free marches, because he went to different Circles for mage training. Forgot, I must’ve drifted off when I was his bodyguard and he wanted to do the ‘sharing’. Think that whiny man also said Anders was not his birthname.” Whiny, hahah!

“Well I don’t mind getting young-mage to tell you why he doesn’t have the clan names. When he comes with us for the picnic. ” Fen made his most helpful, friendly expression. I moaned, nooo that’d be so awkward! He said I shouldn’t ruin his efforts of matchmaking. I think we’d both have stomach cramps with so much mirth.

 

“You said Leto is quite a common name outside? Like if people holler it at the markets, everyone is going to respond, turn around.” I couldn’t quite believe it.

Fenris laughed. “Yes I’ve seen many people respond in some towns. Not all of them look as decent as me. Squirt, it’s always amazing how we can find new topics to debate, even if I think I’ve finished with my points. Don’t get why you worry not having more friends.” He was curious and sincere.

“Eh the thing is, sometimes I don’t click well with people. The shitty ones tend to keep bugging, following me around. And the really interesting, cool people I want to connect deeply with, are out of reach. Gotta have some expectations of best-friend material.”

Elf chuckled, echoed ‘shitty’ “But surely some will not be so bad. Just keep a few trusted ones close. Quality is better than quantity. I see Zev, for instance flirting around with all kinds, the extrovert-thing you call it? Whilst I think you and I would rather observe and speak only to a select few.” I felt soothed by his baritone. At times though I did not require that huge a circle of friends, I just felt a yearning. Maybe I could learn from Fen’s advice.

Then he yawned wide. I said didn’t mean to wear him out. Didn’t look at the clock but the hour must be late.

“It will be fine, mi cara. G’night.” As he gently clasped my hand, I felt all his inner scars against my skin. Warm, silent, nonjudgmental. I replied the same. Elf’s hand went limp and his breathing deepened. His tattoos blinked faintly blue. This rarely happens when he is at rest, usually when his emotions run high. Fenris’ leg hung over his bed as he moved a bit, then the glow faded out.

I thanked him in my heart, drifting off myself. Not all my worries could be resolved, but the burden is lightened like a dove rising up with a kind listener.

Tomorrow I planned to make him a comic to thank him. Although Elf complained his desks (home and at barracks) are already too cluttered with gifts and cards, he has not discarded the old ones I drew. One was the mini picturebook of colourful ponies, he had woken up from his coma and was touched to tears when I gave it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter Text

Fenris realized it had been long time since he last spent time doing letters to friends. He had felt too shy to thank them in person, somehow he would feel parched and cough. Ha, I highly doubt people can read my writings if I should publish something, he mused modestly. For some pages, elf wrote with his left hand.

 

Dear Merril,

Did I spell your name right? Sorry for not dropping by your stall lately, I hope you didn’t feel hurt by absence. I’ve been ill, had went for checkups. Though u don’t have to worry, I’m not giddy and sick anymore. Ave and Sabriel taking care of me : ) very kind of them, making good foods and teas for nursing. Some days I got migraines from low blood pressure, had to stay in clinics. Didn’t wish to trouble anyone, but I suppose worried, family accompany me. I could keep food down, but barely slept. 

Very relieved to be home this week, taking normal doses of potions. And yes, that time you asked if the marks hurt everytime. Now with meditation, staying calm and treatments, it is much better. Of course that Anders insisted if I don’t control temper, agony will intensify. Forgive me for reacting angrily before, didn’t like being weak in front.

 Thank you for concern.

Hey I’d like to go to your stall sometime soon. The girls want to buy handicrafts, and I like animal designs. Though main purpose of writing is the invite, would you like to come for picnic with us? Faranor, my new Elf friend, Varric, Kit and me. They suggest the Wounded Coast to see scenery. I feel it can be danger, but they like it. Don’t want unneeded action against foes. Estimated for end of month from 20th to 25th. Enclosing a map

Merril, you can write back to my address (behind) or come visit. Take care!

                                                Sincerely, Fenris

 

Normally someone would proof his language, but this time Elf felt shy, didn’t want his ward to see his emotions in it. As he put the seal on the envelope and handed to a messenger, Kit glanced at him forlornly.

“I’ll write you one soon. Quite sure I’ve become fluent. Still, you are free to correct me for our exchange.” Fenris beamed, gently pinching her cheek. And he knelt so he could hug her as equal.

“Ok! Yea miss being penpals. It’s an honour to have a hottie write to me.” He went red.

************

Kit:   As promised, the next day I got a short mail from my handsome best friend! While he was tending to new plants at the backyard, I opened it. He had pasted some stickers on the borders as I liked it.

          

               Hello Elfpro, Forgot whose turn it is to write. Miss it, I can start again. (smile)

Last time think it was rather sad. Because I went into Fade, we worried each other. Shall try to be more positive in this one. Won’t be as long, haha I’m shy. Got new stickers.

Thank you once more, urging me to eat more and potions drinking. But hate the taste. Tell me, how are your friends and time of month? Understand the awfulness of losing blood (sympathy face), I’ve lost count times of being wounded. No problem, I can write the sick-note if u cannot attend physical trainings. Actually, I'm not that disgusted because used to attend to women mages. Previous 'job' I had to cover every duty. Anything I can help with your sweet cravings? I'm better with baking stuff now (smile) 

One time Varric asked me why I still held grudge against tevinter. I can't help the first anger, nor do I wish to be friendly to Dorian. Even if he claims not to do or agree bloodmagic. Thanks for good idea don't use the tormentors' names but to mentally make them small. I wasn aware saying that old man's name was like a 'trigger'.

Did the healers talk behind me, about the marks? I was sleepy, but alarmed by Anders and his friend carrying over different potions near bed. I should thank u all for staying overnight, was the chair hard? U can get stiff necks not lying down. I hope u ate meals, what if gastric pains? 

Zevran came, yes. He did talk but my mouth dry so I was quiet. Suddenly crave for his pastries. Sigh, some co workers curious how he swept me off my feet, or bed activities. There's none yet they don't believe me. 

Oh yes that time u asked me some Tevene words, is it cor meum? Means my heart. Hey its fine to speak Common, why give self headache? (smiley) I wun mind humans not knowing my culture 

 

Hugs, Fenris  

 


 

Day 1, Coast journey 

 

Before the young elven mage came, Uncle Varric was whispering to a grinning Fenris. Varric was in his usual leather gear, Bianca behind him. As for my idol, he wore a leather jerkin with gloves, and they were not black – as the forecast said these days were going to be extremely humid and hot. I smiled, happy that he did take our advice and wore sandals. Weapon of choice was a pair of sabres, rather than his favourite greatsword. At a distance there were a few guards following us too.

We had reached the first leg of the coast, I was not to come down from the wagon, until they had scouted for potential threats.  I heard something about me falling for specific cute youths only, Varric flourishing with a pen and a notebook. Elf laughed so much that he held his side. Huh so much for scouting.

Fenris shaded his face from the sun, tended to the donkeys. Varric came near to my side. I asked, “Hey Uncle V did I hear my name? What’s up?”

“Haha better for your bestie to explain that. He’s pretty excited being a matchmaker. Even if this is his first case.”

“Fennie?” I hopped down and cleared my throat. “What’s all this about matchmaking eh?”

He looked at me with his innocent wide leaf-eyes. “I’ve been thinking about all your criteria of potential crushes, number one being must be young, preferably Elvish. Not old fogeys, humans too boring and dull. I’ve approved of my good friend, you know the nice mage who helps me with training.”

I had been nodding in approval how accurately Fenris knew my taste, but now I gaped. “Wait a moment, I didn’t say I was having crush on him! You mean Faranor right? True, that time introduced as quite young and hot. But he seems to like everyone, they crowded around him after that session.”

Plus, in my experience the very handsome ones like Fen and Zev tend to be gay or bi. Elf had not stopped smiling. “Yes he is social. Don’t worry I’ve observed him for quite awhile, he is still bachelor. Woman-oriented. I’m quite thrilled to speed up the process.”  

I waved both hands, my face heating up. “Oh my god! I’m not ready for this kind of relationship yet, Fen! Slow down. I… know what I said, but we just had a meal together one time. He didn’t say much, let alone like me. ”

Varric named it as ‘reverse shyness’ --- because the mage liked to mix around large groups but hesitant to open up about himself. I wondered if Fenris was alright, he was not usually the type to be all romantic. His ears pricked, he looked a little disappointed. (or was he improving his acting skills?) “Aw Kit, things take time to warm up. I’m fine with him as a mage, personally though we argue, he has sincerity and honour. ”

Before I could comment, Varric said the young mage should be joining us the next day.  “C’mon let Broody have a bit of fun. And he does care. ”

“Eh…. Sure. I suppose I could get to know him as a friend. Only I’m sort of in shock, Fenris. Don’t be hurt. Why do you have this idea? New interest?”

Affectionately, he stroked hair from my forehead. And he held my hand as we walked. “Just my pride. Remember you keep calling me ‘amatus’. Which is Tevene for soulmate. Sabriel carissime, I care a lot about your happiness. More as a brother. Recently when I fell ill, realise I may not always be strong enough to take care of you. He’s a good elf.”

That part of his comment almost made me tear up. I thanked him. Instead of remaining sober, he cheered up again and said he couldn’t wait to practice his romantic lines to get us together. Indeed it was worrying that Broody got low blood pressure and fainting spells. Aveline and Donnic assured me we would all find ways to nurse him to health.

“Tonight is going to be sleeping on the ground, will you have trouble sleeping?” I wondered.

“I might. It’s not the same as being on a comfy bed. Muscles can be sore. Did you pack in bug repellant?” Yup, the biting flies would be another problem.