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Anders isn’t sure how he got here, exactly. They—he and Fenris, of all people—make camp in the mountains, a rocky outcrop and overhang providing space and shelter from the more pernicious things that may go bump in the night. They haven’t spoken since they set their course, and while the silence hasn’t been exactly comfortable, Anders is surprised by the lack of underlying hostility in the air. It used to crackle between them. Now the air is charged with something else. Has been, really, since that night—or was it very early morning?—outside the Hanged Man when they’d argued in the shadows, when Fenris had pushed and pushed and Anders had cracked and pushed back. Had grabbed Fenris by his slim shoulders and kissed him, wanting only for him to shut up and having exhausted all other resources.

Fenris had pulled back—not before Anders had felt the shifting of his lips, a hint of hot tongue—and watched him. Finally blessedly quiet. Perhaps Anders would have taken the vitriol instead of the dark look that replaced it. Fenris’ eyes had been unreadable, his lips parted and glistening, and Anders had wanted to do it again.

He was going mad. He must be. Fenris was…Fenris was a pain in his ass, honestly, and not Hawke, and if Anders was going to do this with anyone, anyone…

Fenris’ tongue slipped across his lower lip.

Anders had fled.

They’d seen each other since then, though never alone, Anders had made sure of that. He would feel Fenris’ eyes on him across the room, the street, the brawl. Would feel his character being calculated again and again and again, always found wanting.

Until Hawke had asked them a favor, set them a task. Did it really matter, request or command, when Hawke was the one who appeared on their doorsteps?

And here they are, alone on a mountain, silence reigning supreme.

“I can feel you when you do that, you know,” Anders says. He’s bent over his pack, digging for a biscuit that’s somehow gotten loose. Fenris is by the fire, occasionally stirring a pot—rabbit, he’d said, holding the animal up earlier.

“Do what?”

Anders looks over his shoulder. Sure enough, Fenris is watching him. He’s indecipherable at the best of times, but the dancing shadows from the flames, the overhang of his hair, make it full impossible to tell what he’s thinking. Probably something uncharitable.

“Watching me,” he says. He finds the biscuit, turning to join Fenris across the fire. “You’ve been doing it since. Well.” He feels himself blush, hopes that Fenris attributes it to the heat, and clears his throat. “You know.”

Fenris nods and stirs the pot. “I know.”

Anders wants to sigh or scream or knock the damned rabbit stew into the damned fire. He’s been on tenterhooks waiting for retribution, and Fenris is…he’s…Anders doesn’t know what Fenris is anymore, to be honest. He’d stopped hating him long ago, and maybe that had been for Hawke, at first, but the more he’d found out about Fenris—gleaning pieces here and there—the more he’d understood.

He couldn’t not fight back, though. Not when he’d been so specifically and viciously attacked.

Anders blows out a breath, takes a bite of his biscuit. Watches the way Fenris’ unfathomable eyes follow the movement. He wonders if he’ll die tonight, if he’ll have to fight for his life in this cave, or if maybe…

“You confound me.”

Anders snorts, almost choking. “I confound you? That’s rich.”

Fenris frowns and picks up a bowl. Filling it with stew, he passes it across the fire. His fingers when they brush Anders, are hot; Anders feels them like a brand.

“Eat,” Fenris says, and serves himself.

Anders sighs, cursing under his breath. “Fenris,” he says, “I—”

Fenris raises a hand. “Perhaps it is better if we do not speak.”

Dinner passes in awkward silence, whatever companionable balance they’d stumbled upon slipping away. Anders takes the bowls when they’re done, cleans them along with the pot in a nearby stream. Wonders how the hell they’re going to get through the rest of their journey.

He doesn’t see Fenris when he approaches the cave. He’s probably relieving himself, he thinks as he packs the bowls away. He’s laying out his bed roll when he hears Fenris behind him. The sound is deliberate, Anders knows, meant to either startle or calm him, otherwise Fenris is like a cat—ha!—light on his feet.

“I’ll take first watch if you think we—”

Fenris’ hands are firm on his hips, long fingers pressing through the layers of fabric to skin and muscle beneath. Anders stiffens, surprised and distracted and, Maker, should he be able to feel him so clearly?

“F-Fenris?” The stutter makes him blush, and he’s grateful Fenris cannot see his face.

“I said perhaps it is better if we do not speak,” Fenris says. His voice is deep and dark, rich as earth. “Anders.”

Anders shudders, his hands involuntarily going to his waist to cover the ones already there. Fenris’ gauntlets are gone, his skin bared. Beneath Anders’ palms, Fenris’ hands are hot and smooth, and he can feel the lyrium etched into him.

Fenris hisses behind him, fingers flexing. Anders doesn’t know if it’s the touch—his own blood is singing finally, finally—or if it’s the lyrium or both. He doesn’t know why Fenris is doing this. Why now, here, me? His brain races with why even as he feels Fenris’ breath stir the hair against his neck, a harbinger of the kiss that follows.

It’s gentle; Maker. is it gentle, and Anders’ knees threaten to give out. From shock, from want, from lack of oxygen—Anders isn’t sure. Anders doesn’t care; he wants only for Fenris to touch him more.

His fingers tighten over Fenris’, clutching at him as Fenris mouths at the back of his neck. His lips and tongue are hot, his teeth sharp, and Anders wants to feel them elsewhere. Needs to. He’s been thinking about it—despite working hard not to, despite where his feelings otherwise lie—since the foolish kiss outside the Hanged Man. Except perhaps it was not so foolish, if it’s leading them here. Though time will tell if this is a good decision or—

“You’re thinking too much,” Fenris says, the sound of his voice reverberating through Anders’. His hand shifts under Anders’, moving forward, mapping out new terrain until his fingers brush Anders’ cock.

Anders groans. He wants to protest, pull away and ask just what in the name of Andraste they’re doing. Surely, this isn’t what they want. Fenris is not who he wants to come home to, not the body he wants warming his bed. But he’s here and his hands are on Anders and Anders can’t deny that for all of the antagonism, he’s always found Fenris insufferably attractive. He knows he should pull away, but he doesn’t. Instead, Anders pushes back into Fenris, drawing his hand over the bulge of his cock, shaping Fenris’ fingers around it. He hopes Fenris won’t stop, that this isn’t some kind of cruel joke. He doesn’t think so; behind him, Fenris is hard as well.

Fenris told him not to speak, not to think. Anders isn’t particularly good at either of these things, but as he pushes into Fenris’ palm, he’s willing to try.

Behind him, Fenris is unyielding against him. He’s hard and hot and Anders can feel each rapid breath against his skin. He wants to sink back into that heat or pull Fenris forward and down onto his bedroll, let it envelop him, consume them both. It’s been so long since he felt this, so long since he’s had it. He wants it still with Hawke, hopes to have it and more, eventually. But Fenris had been there, in his space again, all anger and passion and his ridiculous face, and Anders couldn’t help himself.

Fenris’ fingers tighten on him, and his teeth dig into the curve of Anders’ neck.

“You’re thinking too much again.”

Anders huffs. “You haven’t given me much cause to stop.”

Fenris chuckles, and, oh, doesn’t that zing right through him, down to his toes. Fenris chuckles and moves his hands, maneuvers Anders until they’re facing, until only the barest span of air separates them from chest to chest and hips to hips. “Perhaps I’ve lost my touch,” he says, a wicked curl to his mouth.

Anders shakes his head, the smallest of movements, and doesn’t say a word. Not because talking gets them nowhere; he’s got nothing to say. Instead, he leans in, fits their mouths together.

It’s nothing like previously, none of the anger or surprise. This time, they both know it’s coming. The desperation remains, lingering under the surface, as does the spark and Anders had felt when they’d touched, the awareness that had terrified him in the past weeks. One move in the right direction, one step forward, and they’ll ignite.

Fenris kisses as he fights, not roughly—not now—but ruthlessly, smartly. He’s devastating, and Anders can only hope to keep pace, nipping at his bottom lip, soothing it with his tongue. Pushing forward and strategically retreating until he’s breathing fast and they’re clutching at one another. Fenris pushes up into him, the remaining space between them gone, and Anders groans, breaks off the kiss to breathe.

Fenris is breathing heavy as well; his eyes are dark, only a ring of pale green visible around his pupils. His lips are full and shining in the firelight, and Anders would give good coin to know what’s going on behind his unfairly attractive, inscrutable face. He has a feeling that won’t happen anytime soon, though, so he presses a—it’s not shaking, he swears—palm to Fenris’ cheek, passes a thumb over those lips, thrills when Fenris leans into the touch instead of shying away.

They kiss, bodies swaying together. Fenris tugs at him, hands on Anders’ shoulders, his chest, his cock. Anders groans, and he pulls at Fenris’ hair, sucks his bottom lip between his own. He wants badly to suck on something else, to know Fenris’ taste on his tongue. When he pulls away this time, it’s to drop to his knees. Fenris lets him go, and when Anders looks up, Fenris looks surprised. Anders can’t help the smirk that pulls at his lips, can tell the moment Fenris notices it as his brow furrows. The shut up is unspoken; Anders hears it anyway and smirks all the harder.

Amazing, really. He hadn’t realized how well they actually know each other.

Leaning in, Anders nuzzles at Fenris, presses his face against him and breathes deep. Smells leather and the open road and Fenris underneath it all, rich and thick at the back of Anders’ throat, new and strangely familiar.

Above him, Fenris draws in breath, his hands finding Anders’ head. His fingers slip down to Anders’ face, pressing against his cheek, and Anders turns into the touch to take Fenris’ thumb between his teeth. He holds it gently, closing his lips around it and sucking lightly. Fenris’ eyes flutter, the fingers of his other hand shifting against Ander’s scalp. Fenris bites his bottom lip and moans.

Letting him go, Anders smiles, presses his face against him again. He moves Fenris’ tunic out of the way to mouth at the hard ridge of his cock. Against his hair, Fenris’ fingers tighten.


The sound of his name in that tone, in Fenris’ voice—gone rough and deep, deeper than usual—goes straight to Anders’ cock. Even so, he can’t help himself.

“I thought,” he says, hands running down the length of Fenris’ thighs. “I thought you said no talking.”

Fenris’ lips twitch. “This isn’t talking.”

It’s strange how comfortable this feels, the easy back and forth usually masked by irritation and resentment. It’s strange and it’s nice and Anders almost thinks it’s a pity they didn’t try this before.

He makes short work of the fastenings on Fenris’ trousers, hot, smooth skin against the tips of his fingers. He’d like to strip him bare, lay him out in the firelight, all shadow and silver, unfathomable and lovely. Anders can admit that. But now is not the place or the time—it may never be. His own feelings are complicated, to say the least, and he knows about Fenris’ aversion to touch, Fenris’ aversion to mages, though perhaps…perhaps they’ve found common ground, here with Anders on his knees, Fenris’ fingers flexing against his hair.

Fenris’ cock is smooth as silk, hard as steel in his hand. Anders’ mouth waters at the sight of him, and he licks his lips, glancing up to see Fenris’ reaction. It’s worth it, he thinks, whatever else, whatever this is, it’s worth it to see that look on Fenris’ face. To see his cheeks flushed as though they’ve been fighting, to see his lips parted and damp, his face more open than Anders has ever seen him. Is this what Hawke sees when he looks at him, someone capable of need?

Something in Anders’ chest aches, but he smiles up at Fenris, a small gesture of understanding in this unusual peace they’ve brokered, before he leans in to brush his cheek against him, to tastes the head of his cock.

Fenris tastes as good as he smells, salty on Anders’ tongue. His fingers slide through Anders’ hair, releasing the tie there. Anders moans at the feeling, Fenris’ fingers and the sudden loosening, and wraps his lips around the head, moaning harder when he feels a hint of fingernail, hears Fenris gasp above. It’s invigorating, empowering, and as Anders sucks him down, he can’t help but wonder what other things would feel like, how they would make him feel. If Fenris feels—would feel—the same way. He knows Fenris is enjoying at least this much, can tell by the hands, the gasps of breath, the subtle, impatient movement of his hips. Anders knows he has talent in this, can read his partner’s body (a skill as useful in combat and healing as here); he knows how to make this good, when to yield and when to advance.

Drawing it out, he laves the head of Fenris’ cock with his tongue as he fists the shaft, slow strokes making Fenris whine. He can’t get over the feel of Fenris in his hand—the weight of him, the softness of his skin—or the way he responds. He wants it to last, but he also wants more, needs to know what Fenris is like when he falls apart from something other than pain.

Anders takes him into his mouth, sucking to the ring of his fingers, and then farther, lets his grip go to take hold of Fenris’ hips and swallows him down. Above, Fenris groans loud enough to be surprising, and Anders would crow if he wasn’t otherwise occupied. He revels in the sound regardless, revels in the feeling and the smell and the taste, by the Maker, the way Fenris tastes…

He’ll store it all away in his memory, keep it there for lonely nights. Remember the way Fenris’ cock twitches and his hips snap just before he comes. Throat working, Anders swallows him down, though he can’t help the errant drop that escapes when he releases. With a thumb, he captures it, laps it up with his tongue. He ignores the way Fenris is watching him, unsure if he wants to see it, to know its depth and quality, its possibility or lack thereof.

It shouldn’t matter. His feelings lie elsewhere, have for a while now, but he still can’t look up.

He swallows and shudders and Fenris’ fingers tug at his hair, pull him upward, urgent. Anders stands, and when he does he pulls away, turns to the fire and its light. His skin feels too tight, like it’s shrunk or he’s expanded, he’s not sure which. The moment is over, whatever it was, and without it, he isn’t sure how to—

Fenris reaches for him. “Anders,” he says, and it’s shattering.

“We’ve got a long day ahead of us tomorrow. I’ll take first watch.”

Ignoring the ache in his cock, the answering pain in his chest, Anders steps around Fenris to his pack and bedroll and sits, ignores, too, the loaded silence that follows him.