“Hawke, what is that?” Fenris asked, dropping his bag in the middle of the floor. Hawke’s mansion was cold, the tiles on the floor freezing to his bare feet. He walked to the center of the main room, where the man had used an ice spell to place large chunks of ice in a circle. Frost from the magic ice clung and spread on the floor, explaining the temperature drop. Though, Fenris was more concerned about what was in the center of that circle. Fenris cut straight through the pleasantries Hawke attempted to throw at him with an immediate, “Explain.”
“So, there was a merchant in town,” Hawke started, shifting an ice block to box in the pen around the thing in the middle. There was a mound of snow it was sitting in, snuggled in deep like a bird in a nest, and the thing rolled about on it’s back. It smelled like fish. Hawke didn’t notice, apparently as he kept going like always, as if there wasn’t a distinct aroma invading his house. “And they had some exotic animals, and you should have seen how bad the conditions were!”
Fenris knew where this was going.
“You just couldn’t leave it there,” Fenris said at the same moment Hawke said “I just couldn’t leave it there.”
Hawke laughed at their joined words, and ruffled the back of his hair. He smiled half-way, almost self deprecatingly even while it was proud. “Am I that predictable?”
“Always,” Fenris said, hiding his smile.
Hawke was still in trouble.
Fenris walked to the edge of the ice cage and stared at the thing inside. He tapped the ice with a finger tip, inwardly sighing at the obvious show of magic. Distasteful, even though it must have been necessary for some reason. Hawke’s mutt placed his paws on the edge of one of the ice blocks to Fenris’ left, jumping down immediately afterwards, whining from the cold. Fenris wriggled his toes on the floor, and took a few steps over to a carpeted area. He could relate.
“You do have a habit of taking in,” Fenris paused, “strays.”
“If you were thinking about yourself,” Hawke added, “you don’t count.”
He had most definitely not been thinking about himself.
So Fenris turned his attention back to Hawke’s exotic new animal. The plump thing in the center of Hawke’s miniature ice fortress was unlike anything he’d seen before. It was like a little lump of smooth skin and fat, with a dog nose and flippers for legs. It wobbled around in the snow, whining loudly with odd barks.
He supposed it was sort of cute, though it looked more like something Merril would have dragged home than Hawke. Fenris glanced a the dog. But then again. Hawke continued to look sheepish, and Fenris rubbed between his eyes.
“What is it?” Fenris asked again. “You didn’t answer the first time.”
Hawke tugged over a bucket of fish and pulled one out. He threw it in the center of the pit and the fat animal caught it with it’s mouth, rolling up in a smooth motion and plopping back down as it swallowed the fish. He threw another, “No idea.”
“You don’t know?” Fenris asked, turning his head.
Hawke threw the animal another fish. “I know that it requires to be kept in cold temperature and eats fish. What’s a species name, matter?”
Fenris stared hard at Hawke, watching the wriggle of his nose as he attempted to look casual. “Why didn’t you ask what it was called when you bought it?”
“I didn’t exactly buy it,” Hawke said, licking the side of his lip.
Fenris scowled. “What did you do?”
“Nothing!” Hawke said, throwing his arms up and attempting to look innocent. “Nothing. Absolutely nothing. An event happened to go down in the general area of the market, the entire shop stall may have gotten destroyed, and this little guy might have wandered far enough away that the owner will never know he was taken away while he’s looking for the rest of his runaway animals.”
Fenris narrowed his eyes, focusing his gaze hard on Hawke’s eyes. He didn’t even sneak a peak at the streak of red across his nose. Hawke held his ground until Fenris raised an eyebrow. He caved like a child.
“I may or may not have told Anders that there was animal abuse about in the market,” Hawke said, “and he may or may not have caused a lightning storm on the stall that hit everything but the animals.”
Fenris kept his insults about magic to himself for the moment, more focused on the fact that in the two hours he’d got into the woods to gather rare supplies and take some time for himself that Hawke had joined up with a mage to liberate exotic animals from a stall, and in the process turned their living room into an ice box.
He really, really could not leave that man alone for any second of the day.
“Anders has a new cat, by the way,” Hawke said. He held his hands out and grinned wide. “He’s like three times the size of my dog, and has a huge fluffy mane. Looks like a king.”
Fenris grabbed Hawke by the ear and dragged him upstairs. “We’re going to bed, and you are completely responsible for feeding your new pet and finding someplace else to put it because it is not staying in the living room with all that ice.”
“Aw, Fenris. Are your feet cold?”
“Yes,” Fenris said over his shoulder. “So you better have plans to warm them up.”
“I think I can handle that,” Hawke said, grinning cheekily. He wriggled his fingers and winked. “After all, my little wolf can’t be ignored now that I’ve got a water pup, now can he?”
Fenris kicked Hawke into the bed room, slamming the door shut with his heel.