Anders was dozing off when the smell reached his nostrils. Strong. Heady. Unmistakable.
Slowly blinking his eyes open, he took in his surrounding slowly, not properly alert yet. He was quite reactive most of the time but this week had been exhausting between his work at the clinic and his association's reunions. His day had ended with an unnerving talk about the restricted dresscode omegas had to conform themselves to at school to 'not distract the alphas'. So when he smelt this scent, the scent of an alpha in rut and barely trying to hide it, he started to growl, pissed off. When it was omegas they had to restrain any smell they could emit otherwise they would be 'responsible' if something happened to them, like if alphas were dogs in heat unable to restrain themselves so excused if they harassed someone. But when it came to alphas, no sir, these one had perfectly the right to suffocate people around them with their pherormones. Anders had nothing against scents in general, as long as they weren't overwhelming he thought there was no reason to hide them and everyone should learn to live with without using them as excuse for their behavior, but he was annoyed by the double standard of their reality.
His eyes scanned the subway he was travelling in. Only ten people, not a suprise given the hour. The stinking alpha wasn't hard to spot. It was an elf, dark skinned with a light tuff of hair and what looked like tatoos running along his arms. Yet he didn't look confident and conquering like Anders would have expected from an alpha in rut, at least it was generally how they liked to act. Even if Anders didn't like stereotypes and could admit that all alphas weren't jerks (take as an example his friend Hawke, usually so bold, who looked so sheepish when he let his scent go wild) a lot showed off during rut. It was less of an instinct than a societal construction encouraged by the cis hetero alphas in power nowadays, in their modern world. But this alpha didn't look proud at all, on the contrary he was firmly staring at the floor, arms tightly wound around his waist while he made himself as little and discreet as possible. Unwanted or unexpected rut ? Anders wondered what could be the cause of the pained frown that painted his features.
Suddenly much more empathetic to the alpha, who looked like he wanted to be locked at home right now, Anders felt himself smile sympathetically. The alpha caught his look. And sneered...haughtily. Like if he despised Anders without even knowing him. Anders saw red. Was it because he was an omega ? Even when they weren't in heat you could pick up their scent, especially if you were an alpha, which made it easy to point them in the street and differenciate them from the rest of the population. It was a totally plausible explanation and Anders, who had been ready to search some soothing pills in his bag to calm down his rut, promptly closed it and crossed his arms. No he wasn't overreacting, he was just tired of condescending alphas who despised them because they were 'weak stupid submissive little omegas' or whatever.
Determined to ignore the rude alpha and his little healer voice in his head who told him it was wrong not helping those in pain (a voice that terribly sounded like his colleague Justice), he looked away. Until he smelt another scent. The scent of an omega responding to an alpha in rut. Despite himself he glanced at the alpha.
An omega was leaning against his seat, a seductive smile on their lips. And a predatory glint in their eyes. The alpha was trying to ignore them as they talked to him, pressing dangerously against him, invading his intimate space despise the obvious discomfort it provoked on the elf. Then they slipped a hand on his thigh and the alpha froze, arousal and horror fighting in his eyes. The strong scent released by the omega was ordering him to yield to these unwanted advances in order to appease his rut while himself, his conscious, tried to fight it off, not consenting to be touched this way. He was in a state of shock and suffering so great that he didn't seem able to react. A disgusted rictus painted Anders's features as he recognized every sign of a sexual harassment. And even if the elf previously sneered at him for whatever reason, he stood up and stomped toward the omega.
Most victims of sexual agressions were omegas because society made it so it was easier this way. Yet Anders was conscious that being an omega didn't make you harmless and being an alpha didn't make you immune to abuse. And he knew that omegas could use scent, biology and psychology to rape an alpha. Even one that wasn't as weakened and open to scent suggestion as this elf. It was less frequent yet it happened and he didn't like when the act was minimized or ignored. So even if he maintained that omegas had it worse than alpha most of the time, he wasn't about to ignore a scene of abuse was it perpetrated by one of his own or not. Being egalitarian didn't mean being blind to the crimes committed by one of your community, Anders wasn't going to be this kind of jerk.
“Come on don't you want to come with me ? I'll make you feel better, I'll relieve you...”
Was what he heard as he approached. The elf grunted something that sounded like anything but an agreement. Anders clenched his teeth.
“Here, let me help you...”
The omega grabbed his arms and tried to drag him up on his feet. The alpha weakly struggled to break free. Anders separated the two of them, firmly, before putting himself between the two. Creating a protective barrier before the alpha.
“What do you think you're doing ?” He quirked an eyebrow at the omega, expecting a really good excuse for this unnaceptable behavior. Pfff who was he kidding, like if there was any good excuse for sexually harassing someone.
The omega looked surprised and a bit guilty even if they tried to hide it under a confident smirk. It didn't impress Anders one bit.
“Just helping my friend get up.”
Anders scoffed. This person had some guts lying to his face like this when he witnessed all the scene.
“Well your 'friend' doesn't seem to want your help. So maybe you should leave him alone.”
Then he briefly turned toward the alpha. This one was looking at him, still, suspicion clear on his face. As gently as possible he came closer. Maybe the elf sneered at him but he couldn't possibly hold it against him right now, not when he looked like a deer caught in headlights. As he got closer Anders could smell the bitter scent of fear and panic mixing with the aroma of the rut. His annoyment toward the omega doubled over, it was pretty obvious this alpha wasn't seeking for any action or contact right now. Even if he had not been a doctor, Anders could have told he was only wishing for a safe place away from anyone who could smell his rut.
“Do you know this person ?”
After some seconds of intense staring, he slowly shook his head, lips pressed into a thin line.
“Do you want to go with them ?”
Again he mutely answered by the negative.
“That's what I thought.” Anders grimly said before turning back toward the omega, looking way less confident all of sudden. “I think you should leave.”
The omega looked hesitant for a second but eventually sent him an affronted glare.
“You are the one who should leave, all of this is none of your business.” They bited back, defensive after being exposed like this.
“It became my business the moment you started to sexually harass him.”
To Anders's surprise the omega litterally snorted, disdain replacing uneasiness on their features.
“Sexual harassment ?! Oh please ! He's asking for it, why would an alpha go out like this if he didn't want to fuck anything passing by ?! Everyone's now it's everything they can think about.”
The omega tried to push him away. The elf growled behind him. Anders echoed. And, even though he wasn't violent by nature, he pushed the omega, brutally enough for them to stumble back and hit the wall. He heard a few gasp around them but he didn't care about people's outrage. He didn't care about their opinions if they were the kind to get shocked by a fight but not by a scene of sexual abuse.
“There are ton of reasons why an alpha would be outside while in rut and none of them is an excuse to jump on them without their consent. You're taking advantage of him when he can't properly fight back and it's disgusting. Would you consider yourself able to give consent during your heat ? No ? I know that I wouldn't ! Well guess what ? It's the same with an alpha in rut ! Stop trying to find yourself excuses and minimizing what you're doing ! Because this is sexual harassment even if he's an alpha and you're an omega ! You should be ashamed of yourself, it's because of people like you that omegas gain bad reputation and are considered as slutty temptresses ! And its because of people like you that abuse toward alphas is still neglected and mocked ! You should crawl back in your nasty rapist nest and never come out until you learnt how to be a decent person ! So now back off or I'll throw you out of this wagon myself !”
A long silence followed his harsh menace. He must have looked really furious. Murderous even. Because slowly, reluctantly, the other omega took a step back, practically cowering. Then finally turned heels and fled at the end of the wagon, tail between thighs. Anders felt a raw feeling of pride course through him at the sight of the surrending. Quickly, he gave the other passengers a glare, silently accusing them for their lack of reaction. They all looked away, different degrees of shame or discomfort painting their features. He snorted disdainfully. He hoped they felt ashamed, yes, they could be. It's not because they weren't the one assaulting the alpha that they were less guilty. Being passive made you as condemnable as the criminal in this situation. Shaking off his anger, he tried to calm down before turning back to the alpha. No need to distress him any more.
“You okay ?” His voice was still rough but he managed to make his tone as gentle and reassuring as possible.
The elf eyed him with distrust still. He nodded nonetheless. Anders sighed, wondering if he was so hostile due to his state or something else. As he approached the alpha tensed. Great, he guessed that was all he would get from him. Not even a little thank you. Well not that you had to be thanked to act like a decent human being but still a little smile or word would have been good. Especially since the elf litterally sneered at him in the first place. His reaction could have made him nicer toward Anders but no mister alpha was still looking at him like he was a nasty tick ready to latch at him, suck on his blood and infect him with a disease. His passionate defense should have made him look better than a damn parasite right ?
A pained grunt escaped the elf's lips and Anders suddenly felt guilty for focusing so much on understandingly not being liked by a total stranger rather than helping this stranger. After all he had every right to not smile and being nice in this situation, he was in pain and certainly feeling vulnerable in the first place (which would make anyone act hostile) and now he just got assaulted. Yeah Anders should stop nursing his stupid wounded ego and start adressing the real problem there. Someone was in pain and in his quality of doctor he was the one who should take charge of it. So he swallowed back his previous outrage and kneeled beside the alpha.
“Hey...Hum you don't look like you're in the mood for an interrogatory right now but...I'm a doctor and I would like to check on you.”
The elf stayed safely in his corner, dark eyes scanning Anders. This one rolled his eyes. He wanted to help, he had patience. But he also had a long day and a tiring fight and just wanted this to get over with.
“Look I get that you're not in a pleasant state and you certainly feel threatened by most people right now. But I just took your defense against your aggressor and made them go away. So I think you can trust me a little at least ?”
The alpha seemed to think about it. Then relaxed a little, not trying to get away when Anders came a little closer. He still seemed ready to snarl at Anders should he make any wrong step though.
“Good. Tell me, did your rut just started ?”
“I guess it was unexpected or unwanted ?”
A scoff and a nod. His eyes seemed to yell 'no shit sherlock'.
“..Okay. Is it just fighting off the rut that puts you in distress ? No ? What are you experiencing in addition ?”
Having a stubbornly mute patient made it all the more unnerving yet he stayed calm. He was used to it, he had to stay professional and understanding, after all he was in pain.
“Dizziness ? Yes ? Nauseas ? Yes ? No ? No. Abdominal pains ?...Yes ? Hey wait where...”
The elf was suddenly on his feet, trying to balance himself has he took an hesitant step forward.
“...m...'top...” He grunted through clenched teeth, looking a bit confused, the gesture taking more efforts than expected surely.
“What ?” Anders took a careful step back, not going too far though, he wanted to be able to catch the alpha just in case he tripped on his feet.
Oh. Anders looked up to the little digital letters rolling on a screen. Hightown. Fancy area. He turned back toward the elf, eyes widening when he saw he got away and walked all the way to the wagon's doors. He seemed a bit better, not as wavering as earlier. Anders bited his lips. Maybe he would be okay ? Maybe he could let him go without checking on him any further ? Maybe he didn't have to play the hero any longer tonight and he could allow himself to just go home and have a good night sleep ? Would it be selfish or irresponsible to just..
“Hey wait are you sure you can walk like this ?”
The elf jumped a little, looking a bit surprised by this question. Eventually he nodded. Anders felt a bit better but still doubtful. Could he trust the judgment of someone who was curling in pain one minute ago ? His reason told him no but he was really tired and he only wished to be in bed right now so maybe just for once he could be a bit selfish ? No ?
It took him by surprise, that the elf granted him a word of gratefulness, as reluctant as it sounded. So he just gaped dumbly as the doors opened and the alpha stepped out. Only to trip and catching himself on a bench in extremis. Anders gasped. He thought about his bed, such an inviting bed right now. Then took a look at how the elf was heaving. Oh Maker's pierced cock...
In a flash he was outside. He heard the door close behind him and heard the subway leaving. Briefly he thought that he would have to wait a moment before catching another. It was late and Kirkwall wasn't known for its effective means of transport. But he chased these thoughts of his head the second he saw the elf taking a courageous step ahead despise his heavy breathing and trembling body.
“Careful there ! Don't want to end up falling on the rails right ?”
Again, the elf seemed shocked, apparently not expecting Anders to follow him outside. He seemed to gather himself, standing upright as in to make himself look less vulnerable. Anders could understand the need to put on a solid front before a stranger in this situation so he didn't take offense.
“...why do you...help ?” He managed to grunt, blinking widly as he seemed to fight off dizziness.
“Well I'm not the kind who let someone alone in this state. Sue me for being a considerate person. Maker, can you even stand ?!” Anders worried, approaching cautiously, sighing in relief when the elf let him.
He tensed as Anders made a gesture to grab his arm though. So he backed off a little, not wanting to pressure him with unwanted contact when his body surely overreacted to any stimulation right now.
He straightened and calmed himself down, suddenly looking more put together, almost like he wasn't suffering from an intense unwanted rut. Anders was impressed, really. Yet he didn't trust him to keep this up until he got home, he wasn't naïve.
“Yeaaaaah riiiight...You know what maybe you should call a friend to get you home ?”
“...Can't.” The elf shrugged.
“Why not ?”
“Don't have any...”
“Oh well you can use mine.” Anders immediately reached for his phone.
Anders looked up, a bit taken aback. The alpha looked defiant, it seemed he dared him to consider him vulnerable for his lack of support. Anders didn't think one instant it made him weaker. More lonely and self reliant certainly. But even in this state he could see he wouldn't have the upper hand in a fight. The way he was keeping on a brave front despise the pain he must be on attested of a greatest physical strenght than Anders's.
“Okay so in this case do you mind if I walk you home ? I know we don't know each other but I still took your defense earlier so I guess it give me some points on the ladder of trust right ?”
Shifting on his feet, the elf didn't look really convinced. Anders tried not to get frustrated, telling himself it was pretty normal to be suspicious of anyone in this state, himself couldn't swear he would completely trust someone had he been in this situation.
“Okay here's a list : I defended you, I didn't touch you, I checked on you like a professional doctor, I even made my scent as faint as possible so it wouldn't bother or influence you did you notice ?”
Taking each point of the list in account, the elf finally nodded slowly, silently admitting that these were valid points.
“See ? I'm on your side, totally harmless, just want to help.”
Still he looked hesitant. In his eyes Anders could see him debating which option was the less dangerous. Going alone in the streets in this state or letting a stranger help him even if he apparently couldn't trust him.
“Sorry but I can't leave you alone like this, really.” Anders sighed, crossing his arms. “With your symptoms you could pass out anywhere. So please can you lead the way and let me make sure you went back home safely ? Please ? I didn't save you from this jerk only to see you in the newspapers tomorrow under the rubric 'alpha in rut was so in rut that he spread himself on the rails to offer himself to the subway'.”
He almost laughed at his little joke until he saw the frown on the alpha's face. Disgusted, offended, not trusting. Shit.
“Riiiiight okay maybe I went a little too far there. Look I have medicine in my bag for this kind of situation maybe you could take some ?” He blabbered, panicking a little as he felt what little trust the alpha had granted him vanishing. His frown deepened as Anders presented him the pills. He quirked an eyebrow.
Then realized how this could be interpreted. How he could have interpreted this had he been in his place.
“Oh...Oh yeah how stupid I am, one second I tell you to trust me the minute after I offer you medicine like some dubious man giving candies to children. Sorry I...Sorry. Instead let's...yeah...see this ? Pepper spray. I walk you home, I do anything threatening you only have to press your finger down for me to cry on the floor. Sounds good to you ?” He attempted to convince him.
He didn't like to be considered as a potential sexual offender but he could only put himself in this alpha shoes and admit that the situation was far from reassuring. So even if it cost him to see his favorite weapon used against him he offered it to the elf, knowing it might be his last chance to convince him of his good will. If it didn't work then...well guess he'll just have to give up and sit on a bench til the next ride arrived. And let the alpha leave alone, as terrible as it sounded. He was certain he would be restless not knowing his fate.
“Please can you...I know this must be a difficult situation for you, I went through this myself a couple of time and I know it sucks...But I'm really tired and I have to find a way to go home myself after this and please could you accept because I won't be at peace if I don't know if you made it back home. So please ? Pleeease ?”
Hesitation. A flicker of hope. Anders put on his best Puss In Boots eyes. Hell he didn't even know why he was begging him like this. Fatigue or his intense need to always meddle with peoples business to help them ? No idea. But it seemed to work. With a reluctant grunt the elf closed his eyes resignedly.
“Thanks Maker !”
He finally saw the light.
“But...not too close..” He tended a hand before him, like to keep a safe distance between them, to dissuade Anders to approach too much.
“Don't walk too close. It...makes me uneasy.”
Oh. Seemed fair. He guessed he could find a reasonnable distance so he wouldn't distress him nor being too late to catch him should he faint.
“Right. Got it. Understandable.” He gave him two thumbs up with a reassuring grin. He was sure the corner of the elf's mouth twisted a little.
Without another words the elf turned heels and Anders promptly followed him.
Once they were in the streets the fresh air brushed their skin. With some relief, he thought it might soothe the heat surely crawling inside the alpha's body. His doctor's mode went on and his eyes started to professionally scan the person walking beside him. Not too obviously, he didn't want to make him feel uneasy, yet enough to notice the strain in his moves despise the determination you could read on his face. He saw the shivers travelling down his spine too. As well as the way his chest heaved with irregular breathing. And his fingers were compulsively scratching along the lines of his tatoos, almost inconsciously. It made him frown. He had seen bad cases of rut or heat where people were overwhelmed by their hormones. But this problem seemed to have deeper roots. The resigned pain he could read in his eyes made him think it was all too usual for the alpha. And as he observed him he could see more and more tiny signs of ocd's. Maybe this physical pain was linked to some psychological issues. Remembering the way he froze as the omega had invaded his intimate space, he gulped. It was uncomfortable to watch this, now that he wondered if some bad experiences might have twisted the way his rut affected him, the way he perceived and endured contact with others. Touches were a delicate subject during rut and heat but rarely did it petrify someone this strongly. Yes, Anders was sure there was more to do than a simple medical treatment there.
The elf brutally stopped and Anders had to throw himself backward to avoid smashing against the alpha. Thankfully he avoided any contact and safely stayed away from the sensitive alpha. This one gave him an indecipherable look.
“It's here...” He finally grunted, pointing to a huge building built in a old yet elegant style. It looked more like an hotel than an appartment complex, really. Anders whistled.
“Nice building, more fancy than I expected.”
The elf quirked an eyebrow at him and he felt the urgent need to justify his apriori.
“You...You just seem a bit edgy with all the leather and..yeah shouldn't have presumed.”
Now that he thought about it, it was prejudiced, he should know better. Justice who always dressed nicely owned in a tiny studio while his friend Hawke who often dressed like a mix of a hobo and a redneck(a hot hobo-redneck but a hobo-redneck nonetheless) lived in a big mansion. The cover was rarely a good clue to learn about the content of a book. Anders should know it by then.
“It's fine...” The alpha shook his head, looking too exhausted to take offense.
“Good.” He sighed in relief, a smile coming back on his face as he waited expectantly for the elf to go inside where he'll definitely be safer and wouldn't need his monitoring anymore.
So he waited. And waited. And the alpha didn't move. Instead he stared at him. And seemed to grow more and more perplex by the minute. Even anxious if the way he fidgeted and scratched his tatoos again was anything to go by. Anders gave a hint of moving forward, instinctively wanting to get closer to take a look at the elf, making sure he was okay. A dark shadow crossed his face and his frown took an angry tone.
“...What do you want ?”
“Pardon me ?”
“You're...waiting here. Like you're expecting something.”
Anders's puzzled look intensified as the elf sneered, looking more and more nervous, what seemed like disgust glinting in his eyes. He was staring at him like he was som crawling predator who suddenly came out of the night itself.
“Is that a reward you want ? For being nice ? That's what it was about ? You want me to invite to come in so I can express my gratefulness by letting you fuck me ?” He sneered, a bitter smirk painting his lips.
He was still clenching his middle, still in pain. Yet his hand firmly grabbed the spray, ready to press. Too shocked, Anders didn't manage to defend himself. The alpha seemed to take his silence as a proof of his guiltiness. His pupils were dilating as the pain seemed to become too great to be ignored. It only fueled his anger and panick, making him go from relatively tolerant of Anders to obviously disgusted by his mere sight.
“Tsss..omegas all the same...don't know what I should have expected.” He grunted, rage growing with each second Anders spent mutely staring at him.
When he eventually reacted, the elf was practically bristling, looking ready to tear off his throat if he did as much as taking a step ahead.
“Woooooaaaaaaw !!! Calm down okay !” He snapped, still taken aback by this sudden outburst and by the implications of his words. “What made you think I would...Why would you...I would never expect any reward for acting like a decent person what the hell ! The only thing I was waiting for was for you to enter the house !”
An unconvinced look answered to his outraged retort. The comment about omegas came back in his mind and, suddenly, it was his turn to feel revolted and point an accusing finger. Maker he had thought the previous sneer in the subway had just been because of his state, that he was wary of anyone taking an interest to him. And no clue in his behavior or the way he looked at him could have let Anders think otherwise when he walked him back home. But no apparently the core of the problem seemed to be omegas !
“I'm serious ! And what is this about omegas ? You got saved by an omega who did nothing but help you until now right ?”
“I also got attacked by an omega.” He pointed darkly, shivering in revulsion as the memory passed through his brain.
“Oh thanks for using one jerk on a hundred against us ! There are assholes everywhere and they weren't like this because they were an omega !”
“Right...Like omegas don't feel entitled cause of their status and use it to force people to have sex with them...alphas especially since you know we're asking for it, cause it's all we can think about and you makes us a favor by fucking us right ?”
Seriously ?!! And he was the one thinking earlier it was bad to make presumptions or to put every alphas in the same dirty basket...Well if he had known that mister alphas thought so lowly of them he would kept his prejudices close too...And what was this about omegas using their status to take advantage of people ?! In which world was this guy living ? Was he another poor alpha afraid his masculinity was threatened by the omega movement ? Was he terrified that treating omegas like equals was the beginning of the apocalypse or some shit ? If he was, he regretted ever quitting the subway for this...this...ignorant !
“W..What ?! That's...Maker these were stupid words uttered by a fucking jerk you can't decently say that they represent every omegas ever and their views on alpha ?! Oh and if I may add, what you described is much more of an alpha's behavior than anything else ! I don't know on which planet you live but in general it's you who use your status and your position of authority to force us ! You are the one society favors and let get away with everything when it comes to omegas ! Honnestly the only time I heard someone saying 'they were asking for it' they were talking about an omega !” He litterally yelled, too caught in his ire to mind the neighborhood.
If everyone in his area could learn he was an ignorant omega hater then good ! It would make him feel better for ever wasting his time and gentleness with this jerk !
“Right...And then this omega said it about me.” He retorted, eyes narrowing dangerously as Anders took a step forward, a furious finger pointed toward his face.
“Oh for fuck's sake...I'm not denying you got assaulted and that alphas too can be abused but stop making it like every omegas are evil because until now society proved me that we were more often the victims than you !”
“Society favors you because you're the divine being who can sire and bear at the same time and so you're allowed to do anything you want.”
What the hell ? He hated repeating himself but in which kind of delusion did this guy grew up ? The only things he ever heard about his parts and his secondary sexual gender had nothing to do with 'divine' or 'sacred'. It rhymed more with 'shameful' and 'meek'.
“Society despise us because apparently having a womb makes you weak and even disgusting when you're a guy ! And so it makes it acceptable for alphas to treat us like shit and force themselves on us and seriously if one of us should be worried of being assaulted right now, rationally speaking, it would be me ! Because I'm an omega and you're an alpha in rut who looks way more stronger than I and to which I even handed my fucking pepper spray so you could feel safe while I'm walking you home, what a joke !”
Maker he should...He should juste get away before this got out of hand and he tried to punch the guy and end up with a broken hand and this ass filed a report so the cops could catch the nasty little omega who dared 'taking advantage' of him.
“If I assaulted you right now it wouldn't be consensual because I'm not able to think clearly and you know it...”
“Of course I know it and it wouldn't be consensual on my part either because I absolutely don't want to have sex with you especially not in this state ! Rape is not my kind of first date I can assure you ! Come on I'm not touching you, I'm not coercing you, I'm not emitting any scent ! You remember what this jerk did to you right ? Am I doing anything similar right now ?”
...Surprisingly, the elf brutally turned silent. And seemed to really think about it as his breathing progressively slowed down. A silent grunt passed his lips as he massaged his middle and had to lean against the wall. Anders almost felt some pity for him. ALMOST.
“....No but...” He huffed through gritted teeth.
“No. Exactly. Thank you. So now maybe you can stop growling at me like I'm gonna jump you the minute you turn your back to me ? Maybe you could act like a reasonnable person and accept that I just wanted to help and expect nothing in return ? Ah and maybe you can admit that not all omegas are twisted rapist who want to trick you into having sex without consent or any horror you might think about us ? Because, surprise, your ass got saved by an omega and I did nothing to let you think I was expecting a reward did I ?!”
Money for you thought bastard ! He had to restrain a smug smile, a bit proud that he managed to argue like with the low level of energy he had left. His voice didn't even waver, something that sometimes happened when he was in the heat of the fight, too passionnate to catch his breath and take time to think. He was satisfied by the way he verbally tackled this asshole, neatly, without a tremor, brutally. And, cherry on the cake, the alpha actually looked like he was considering his arguments seriously and reflecting on them.
They stayed like this for a moment, both taking deep gulp of fresh air. The elf cringed every two seconds. Maker...He was actually going to make Anders feel a tiny bit, but JUST only a tiny bit he deserved no more, bad for him...A wave of fatigue suddenly crashed on him, making his limbs feel so heavy and his brain so hazy that it took him aback. He had to close his eyes for a second in order to gather himself. When he opened them anew he wasn't feeling as revolted as earlier just...just fucking tired of all of this, of another disappointment and of all this time lost helping someone who uttered ignorant bunches of stupidities...What a shitty day...
“Okay now that this point is clear...Just...fuck I'm tired I swear I don't know why I'm still here when you accused me of...Anyway just get home already so I can go back to my slutty omega shack cause you know normally I would be sleeping right now and not trying to convince a stubborn alpha that he's not the endangered minority in this country or in this situation...”
He sighed...Oh if only he could take a day off tomorrow, he was in cruel need of a day at home, doing nothing but sleeping, petting Pounce and watching Steven Universe.
The elf was eyeing him waringly, looking somehow puzzled by Anders. Oh maybe an once of realization hit that stubborn brain or something akin ?
“Why what ?”
“Why do you still want to make sure I'm home and safe after this ?”
Uh...no such luck.
“To spot which appartement you live in so I can stalk you and get in to trap you.” He deadpanned.
Of course the guy seemed to take the threath seriously and his expression distorted into something nasty. Anders choose to cut him before they started to yowl like furious cats once again.
“Because I'm a decent person even if you're an ass ! Because I'm worried you wasted what little energy you had left to spit at me and and that you'll fall in the stairs or something ! Because yeah even if you're a stupid jerk who seem to know nothing about the reality of our beautiful society's dynamics I want to make sure you didn't die dumbly. Don't tell me I'm stupid, I know I am, I know it all too well ! And dont take me wrong I do hope you'll fall once or two in the stairs, not enough to break your neck but just enough so your legs will be covered by bruises tomorrow morning. Because yeah sorry for being a meaaaan omega but you kind of deserve it after this nonsense you growled at me ! Ugh...How could you...No don't let's just...agree to not talk about it again and not see each other ever again preferably...”
“...We have an elevator.”
His voice was so sheepish and dim Anders took some seconds to realize it cam from his mouth. When he did, and when what he revealed hit his fried brain, a nervous giggle escaped him. Great, oh the irony he thought bitterly. Weirdly it took the rest of his anger again and he almost felt like smiling at the alpha. This one wasn't glaring at him anymore, he even looked a bit...guilty ? Oh good, that was good...
“Good. Well get inside and go sleep you look ready to fall over.”
And so was he, Maker only him could get himself in this kind of situation. Hawke will never shut up about it when he'll inevitably tell him what happened tonight.
The alpha faintly nodded, turned heels and slowly, painfully, searched for his keys. Still holding the pepper spray and looking briefly over his shoulder sometimes. But Anders couldn't find the energy to care he just wanted his fucking bed. Suddenly a low groan passed the elf's lips and Anders saw a virulent spasm course through his limbs. He couldn't help but wince in sympathy as the alpha coughed, his arms tightening around him. He gave a look above his shoulder and the omega could see the shame to be seen so vulnerable, the fear of this pain not getting away and keeping him of even opening his hall's door...
“Oh and fuck this...”
He knew, he knew this guy didn't deserve his kindness, that he should have apologized properly before Anders granted him any pity...But he couldn't. He was a doctor, a healer before everything else. And now that the rage had vanished, now that only the exhaustion and tiredness lingered, he didn't have the strenght to resist his first instinct. And so he reached in his bag for his box of medicine. Ok the guy was a jerk and he kind of wished pain upon him one moment ago but he couldn't not sympathise with someone going through such a violent rut. It wasn't totally like a heat but similar enough for him to imagine the pain. It was only medicine, he just would hand it to him, it didn't engage him to anything and he would feel better about himself, knowing that he was so kind even to someone who practically spit on his kind. He was the winner in this, this alpha would drown in shame and bitterness while he would feel great for being above him, for proving him wrong and acting justly.
“Wait...I don't know why I'm doing this after all the shit you accused me of and all the stupidities you said about omegas I swear...Anyway call it a professionnal deformation but I noted your rut is weird, it has abnormal symptoms maybe not due to the rut itself and...yeah no not going to bother you with explanations, I don't want to endure your pleasant company any longer either...so take this medicine, it acts like a sedative and will soothe the pain and the need you might experiment. I assure you it's safe but I guess you won't believe me and will go check on internet the minute you're home to make sure I'm not trying to drug you. But take it anyway, you'll be locked at home and safe once you take it so there's no risk its a way for me to take advantage of you right ?” He smirked mockingly.
“..I can't take it it's...”
“Oh please I swear I'm not trying to...”
“I can't pay you for this.”
Oh. He had principles now ?
“Well good thing that our clinic give these for free. Part of our job to ensure omegas and alphas's safety and well being. Even when they're assholes. So don't worry about being in debt to a tricking dirty omega.”
And then, because he was too fucking kind for his own good and because the doctor side took over him, taking advantage of his fatigue, he gave him something else.
“Take this too.”
“A card ?”
Yes, He couldn't believe himself either. He told himself he wouldn't have to see him ever again som minutes ago and then he gave him a pass to his clinic. He didn't know if he was tired, stupid or just masochistic. Maybe a mix of al of this. Anyway what was done was done and if he did as much as frown at an omega in his clinic...Well, Justice would offer him a taste of hi own special secret medicine. Nobody wished to see Justice angry. Nobody. Trust him....Now he kind of hoped this jerk would come by and insult someone in fact, it would be a grand show for his delighted eyes.
“Yeah the clinic's card. Like I said you have some worrying symptoms. Are all of your ruts like this or..”
“Most of them.”
“Yeah that's what I thought. You should come by once this one is over, we'll find a way to help you with this. Don't worry you won't have to see me there are other doctors who'll be happy to take care of your prickly ass, I don't wish to see you again either. Yeah don't look at me like this, I'm as surprised as you and I bet I'm going to regret this but whatever...I don't want to have to save your ass again each time I meet you in the subway. Because yeah I would do it again, cause even if you're an horrible ignorant asshole and you insulted me I'm not as low and cruel as to let someone rape you. You'll go home alone though, don't want any more walk under the moonlight with you, jerk.”
The elf looked hesitant, shifting the card between his fingers. Anders sighed for what seemed to be the hundred time tonight.
“It's not an obligation but it would be wise to get a check up. You shouldn't go through this every time you're on your rut, it's not healthy.”
After a good moment of intense thinking (must be hard for an ignorant jerk's brain..) the alpha nodded again and, oh surprise, what almost looked like a hint of a smile appeared on his face. And Anders, fool that he was, almost answered in kind, too overwhelmed by the tiredness to think. He caught himself just in time.
“Oh well look at me going soft on you and almost forgetting you're an ignorant asshole ! You're lucky that I like healing people more than treating them like they deserve. Great. On this delightful note I'll ask you to go home and make me a sign, anything to know you're in or...yeah just go okay ? I want this to be over as much as you.”
Taking a long inspiration, the elf gathered his forces and managed to open the door. Swallowing another spasm, he exhaled slowly, controlling his breathing. Anders almost made a show of checking on his watch but took pity at the last minute, when the alpha tripped on the step. He was truly miserable.
“...Thanks. I guess.”
He didn't register the words before the elf had passed the door and closed it after himself. And they reached his brain he could only grunt. Of course the asshole choose the last minute to show a hint of respect.
“Don't choke on politeness for me.” He laughed humorlessly.
It seemed like hours before he saw light illuminate a window on the second level. He was close to falling asleep on his feet when a head passed by the opening and a hand gave him an unconvinced thumbs up. He huffed, relieved that he accomplished his duty and that he could finally go home.
“Good. Hope you have an awful night asshole. Since you litterally ruined mine.”
He must have heard him cause the thumb was replaced by a middle finger. He rolled his eyes before turning back and walking to the subway.
“Maker I'm too fucking nice. And I'm talking alone way too often too....I'm fucking tired...”
He swore it was the last time he got caught in this kind of shitty situation. It was the last time he helped someone home before asking about their political views and their opinion about gender equality, he swore to the Maker ! And if he saw the elf at the clinic then he would happily find an excuse to...to...
His hands clenched around his bag, unable to find the contours of his favorite toy.
“Oh and this idiot kept my pepper spray of course !”
Another long chapter. Its mainly to make a transition to more interesting stories. Even if I want to continue fighting against the clichés I want to write lighter things in the future. These future stories will maybe be posted in chronological disorder depending of my inspirations. I hope you'll enjoy this chapter.
Also my Justice looks like Idris Elba. I was inspired by Knickerweasels and their Justice from "Hard Up In Hightown"
In his sweaty palm, the crushed piece of paper began to feel disgusting. Fenris had been standing there for ten good minutes, hesitating between passing the door or going back home. He was hesitant to confront the person inside the building and already picturing the embarassment of being examinated under every angle like some livestock. But on the other hand his last rut had been so bad, dangerous even. As hard as it was to admit, if this person had not been there he wasn't sure he would have been able to reject his assaulter. He had to do something about this, it wasn't possible to continue like this, it wouldn't be possible to keep his job if he was absent every three week.
With a resigned sigh he entered the building. It was old and a bit damaged yet not unsalubrious. He could see that, despise a precarious state, the owner was taking care of it. There was no nameplate, no shiny metal adorned with the names of those working inside. But a wooden board had been nailed to the door, the words “Free Clinic : specialized in genital health issues, secondary sexual characteristics health issues, prevention/orientation advices.” carved in it. After a long moment taken to carefully decipher the writing, Fenris quirked a skeptical eyebrow but still gathered the courage to knock. No answer. Another wave of anxiosity overwhelmed him. No sign of it appeared on his face, he was used to conceal his emotions in order to protect himself. Didn't mean that, despise his determined frown, he wasn't close to run away from this place that screamed danger to him. He had never been a fan of doctors or anyone whose job was to study and touch bodies. Never had really good experiences with those. But again it was Danarius who choose them and Danarius never choose anything randomly, it was always carefully planned to hurt him.
Trying to calm himself with rational thoughts, such as the rather neutral memory he had of this healer on Seheron who treated his wounds, he eventually managed to push the door and take a careful step inside. Chairs were placed on one side of the room, around a small table covered by magazines and piles of booklets. Across the room was a large desk, crumbling under the weight of tons of folders and a hyperventilating laptop. A corridor on his right must be giving access to the examination rooms. The whole picture wasn't as neat as an usual doctor's office. The furnitures were sparses, rustic and a bit damaged. But some touch of colors had been put here and there. A red carpet with funny, abstract patterns. Some plants. And an impressive collection of cat pictures glued on a wall. Kittens in tea cups, cats in impossible sleeping positions, illustrated cat puns...Weirdly, it made him relax a little. An amused smile almost made his lips twitch. A little more at ease, he silently sat on a chair and waited. Patiently. His fingers tightening around the piece of paper.
After some minutes, voices came from the corridor. One deep and strong, heavy with guilt too. The other annoyingly familiar.
“I wasn't aware, I swear. I...He said it was okay, it was normal and since I never did anything with a human I assumed it was somehow different, that our biology were...”
“Yeah, yeah I know, you told me several times...I can't really blame you, even among our people there's an incredible lack of informations. I know this is some bullshit but what can I say, decades and decades of intolerance and taboo lead to this. But you know it's not because your partner says they're okay that you have to believe them. You have to pay attention to body language and if you have a doubt about something, better to check before doing anything.”
“I know I should have stopped but he seemed so confident that...”
“I know, I know, society filled our head with the belief that it had to be painful so we gladly endure it like if it was normal. Just...go sit there and wait while Doctor Justice takes care of him. I'll go fetch some booklets about safe sex and interspecies sex for you.”
The omega finished his phrase the moment he came into Fenris's sight. The instant their eyes met, he let out a shocked gasp. Followed by the most dramatical pained expression Fenris had ever seen.
“Oh and I thought this day couldn't get worse.” The man groaned before making his way to his desk to type something on the laptop.
“I thought you said I was welcome here.” Fenris snapped, on the defensive.
Fenris noted he was wearing green scrubs. A ginger kitten was drawn on it, above the chest pocket, giving the illusion that it was peeking out of it. The other person came out of the corridor and Fenris was surprised to see it was a rather large qunari, horns curved above his long white hair. Traditional red paint smeared on his face. It was...unusual to see a qunari seek help outside of the Qun. Maybe a future Tal-Vashoth ? Very quietly for someone his size, he sat on a nearby chair. Then proceeded to look at his feet, nervously twisting his fingers. Fenris returned his attention on the omega.
“You came here to return my pepper spray ?” This one asked, arms crossed.
For a moment, he was speechless. He...had actually forgotten about this. Actually...he had adopted the little bottle and kept it in pocket when going out late at night. Without ever thinking that he had to return it. He thought it was a...gift of sort. Like the medicine. The very helpful medicine that was partly responsible for his decision to come here. If he couldn't find a more effective solution for his ruts, at least he could ask more of these. It didn't make his rut cease but it had made it significantly less exhausting than usual.
“Then no.” The omega glared at him.
Fenris gulped painfully, swallowing the information. A minute after the omega was laughing at him and he felt anger boil in his stomach. He was ready to jump on his feet and leave, disgusted to have been made fun of. But at the last minute the omega rolled his eyes.
“Ooooh just kidding. I just didn't think you'd actually do it, seeing how charming our last encounter was.”
A bit taken aback by this streak of...humour, Fenris frowned, fidgeting on his seat, unsure about what to do now. He really didn't like when people toyed with him but...yes he really needed to solve this problem. And if he only had to stand this weird omega for an hour in order to fix his rut he would do it.
“I didn't know where else to go for...this.” He admitted.
“Right. Well you'll have to wait for a bit, I have some files to fill in. It's not urgent ?” A hint of worry crossed his face and Fenris wondered how someone could be so hostile to another yet so ready to help them.
“No. I can wait.” He assured.
“Good. If you get bored you have some books there. Splendid books. All about how terribly mistreated poor alphas are in our society, what with the few privileges and social positions they hold.”
A mocking grin was thrown his way, the omega's sarcastic attitude coming back full force. Fenris merely rolled his eyes, not taking the bait. He wasn't here to debate about these issues today. After some minute of the omega fishing out papers and typing on his laptop, new voices filled the room.
“Thank you doctor, really.”
“Don't, I only did what was just. But next time don't forget to listen to your body and not to the lies a homophobic and puritan society teach you. And remember, sex is like offering a cup of tea, if you don't want it nobody can force you to drink it.”
A tall man appeared, his dark skin only accentuated by the whiteness of his shirt and a serious frown on his face. He seemed responsible and eager to do things right and well. Yet also a bit too righteous in the way he carried himself around and talked to the young man by his side. This one had a pale skin, dark hair styled back and big blue eyes, filled with life and impatience. The picture of brash youth. The qunari was instantly on his feet, a supporting hand sliding against the boy's back. This one smiled brightly at him. In their mixed scents Fenris could perceive an almost bonded couple. Both betas. It surprised him. A qunari being so close to another in a non-platonic way ? To a human nonetheless ?
“Oh maker I'm not sure I should have showed you this video.” The omega at the counter sighed, casting a tired look at his colleague.
“It was a very interesting one. It resume sexual consent very well for simple minds. I shall set up a tv in the waiting room so all our patients can see it.” The other nodded wisely.
“Oh in this case I have some other videos that could help people...” A sly grin spreaded on the omega's face and Fenris was shocked to find it a bit charming. He rejected the thought. Even if he could appreciate physical appeal, he was an omega and a very unnerving one at that.
“Pornography isn't a model Anders.” The colleague frowned severely.
So he had a name to put on this annoying face. Good. He guessed.
“Aw come on you know I would never do that !” Anders protested, looking truly offended for a moment before his cheeky smile came back. “But I have some friends who wouldn't mind doing some 'educational' sex tapes...”
“I have no wish to see what Hawke, Isabela or Zevran do in their most private moments.” The other replied evenly and Fenris admired him a little for staying so collected. He must be used to it, enduring this every day, learning to ignore it.
“You're no fun.” Then he turned toward the...couple ? And gave them a little pile of papers and boxes. “Anyway young men, here are the booklets I promised as well as some medicine you'll have to take to cicatrize faster and prevent infections. And you'll have to come back in a week for a check up. Or before if you think there's something wrong, don't hesitate there is always someone at the clinic in case of emergencies.”
“Thank you so much.” The human boy replied, his voice dripping with gratitude and relief. “I don't know what I would have done if I had to go to the Chantry Hospital, I would have had to ask my dad for money and he would have found out about Ashaad and with the actual problems the city is going through...”
“Yes we are well aware about all of that. Don't worry, there's nothing to pay and we'll keep this thing as secret as possible.” Anders assured with a kind smile.
The boy gave Fenris a suspicious glance and the qunari followed his eyes before frowning at the elf too.
“Don't mind him, I don't think he knows nor he cares about who your father is or what is going around in town.” The omega interfered, giving Fenris a glare that clearly said that if he opened his mouth about this Anders knew where he lived and would share the info with the qunari.
“He's also very present and can speak for himself.” He snapped back.
But then, because he wasn't a jerk and didn't want to start a fight of any sort, he turned toward the couple.
“Don't worry. I have no idea who you are and even if I did I have other things to do than gossip and spread rumours. I arrived here recently and the last thing I want is to meddle with others's businesses.”
After some minutes of apparently intense thinking, they both nodded, the boy even smiling at him. They proceeded to express their gratitude to both doctors once again and finally left the clinic, clinging to each other, the boy whispering comforting little things to the qunari who still seemed extremely worried about his state.
Once they passed the door, Anders turned his attention back to Fenris and stared at him expectingly. His colleague did as well, piercing eyes scanning him, making him extremely uncomfortable all of sudden. Finally Anders broke the heavy silence.
“So, even if I already know your answer, I'll ask you if you prefer to go with me or Justice there. He is a really professional, translate boring, doctor and he is an alpha.”
Had he been in front of two perfect strangers, this point would have weighted a lot in his choice. Coming from Tevinter where the dominant caste consisted of omegas and where these one abused of their authority with alphas, he naturally trusted fellow alphas more. True he had noticed that this country had different social dynamics and...omegas didn't seem as privileged and disdainful toward alphas. While in Seheron he had learned that Tevinter was the exception to the rule and most of Thedas was less kind toward omegas. But he wasn't used to it yet and his instincts usually ordered him to be wary of them. Also Justice's stare continued to pressure him. And, as he said earlier, Anders was annoying but he had already proven to be honnest and...trustworthy...in some extense. So when he gave his answer, Anders's eyes went impossibly wide.
“I prefer to go with you.”
“...Okay now I'm worrying. You lied to me when you said it wasn't urgent didn't you ? What ? Your rut started again and you're delirious ? Do you have a fever maybe ? No because...” The omega began to ramble, his hand ready to pat his forehead. Fenris pushed it away with a groan.
“Are you going to utter nonsense any longer or do you plan on acting professional and lead me to your office ?”
Justice ceased to glare at him for a minute in order to nod approvingly.
“See Anders, I always tell you that I am far from boring, it is just you who act too familiarly and..”
“Don't you have some tea videos to go look at ?”
Fenris had no idea what was this tea video thing about but he was kind of intrigued now. He decided to look at it later. It seemed to annoy Anders a bit, must be a good thing.
“Fine come with me.” He told Fenris before walking toward the corridor. This one followed the lead before his wrist got caught in Justice's iron grip. He had to fight back the urge to kick him somewhere sensitive, somewhere that would leave him unable to touch Fenris without permission for a long time.
His eyes were dead serious when he forced Fenris to face him. He waited for Anders to enter his office before speaking in a low, severe tone.
“Even if Anders didn't present us I heard enough about you to recognize you. I want you to know that even though I know Anders can be overwhelming at times, your attitude toward him was most unjust and your opinions quite ignorant. This clinic is free and open to all but know that if you say something offensive to Anders and he ask you to leave I won't blame him.”
“Oh so the moment I'll say omega or alpha I'll be kicked out ?” Fenris couldn't help but snarl, revolted by the unwanted touch and the way Justice chastised him like a difficult teenager.
“Anders can overreact sometimes I'll admit it but I trust him to be as patient and professional as possible. He might not have given you this impression last time, seeing in what kind of state you were in, but his principles as a doctor pass before his personal feelings.”
At least he didn't touch people without their accord, Fenris thought, not regretting one bit to have chosen Anders over Justice now.
“Right. Now if you could let me follow him so I can be done with this and out of your hair as quick as possible ? I wouldn't like to impose my apparently distateful presence for too long.”
“Don't make me say what I didn't...”
Anders appeared in the doorframe, frowning disapprovingly at the hand circling Fenris's wrist. He clicked his tongue and made an impatient gesture toward Justice, one that ordered him to leave the elf alone and go back to his own business.
“Justice, it's okay. I'm a big boy I'll handle this. He'll have his fair share of lecturing with me no need to add any more. And stop touching him, how can you not see how uncomfortable it makes him ?!”
Justice seemed to finally consider how tense Fenris was and released him, not without a last meaningful stare though. The elf huffed and entered Anders's office, ignoring the way his skin itched a little bit, trying to collect himself. Fortunately this clinic was free, because if he had to pay for the client's service and reception...
Once inside the office, Anders took place behind his desk and invited Fenris to take a seat. The furnitures, once again, looked old and rustic, except for the medical material. They must have spent all their budget on it. With a tight smile, Anders stared at Fenris with some perplexity.
“So...You choose a nasty, sly omega to check on you. I'll admit I didn't see this twist coming. Not worried I'll take advantage of you ? When I'm gonna ask you to take off your shirt you won't scream about how devious I am ?”
As infuriating as Anders's smirk and voice were, Fenris wasn't going to snap at him and rise to the bait. Sure he had overreacted last time but the circumstances had been peculiar and far from favorable. In his normal, sober state he was much more in control, able to act intelligently in most situations and even before the most offending jerk. He had been used to it after all. And even if he didn't look like it, Fenris was mature enough to recognize when he acted wrong. He was proud but not arrogant. So, decided to shut Anders's trap he surprised him once again with his answer.
“I was wrong when I showed you distrust last time. You did nothing to deserve these accusations.”
It had the expected effect. Anders looked gobsmacked for a second and Fenris felt extremely satisfied, even if he didn't show it one bit.
“Wow...Is that a love confession ?” Anders laughed nervously, trying to hide his surprise with poor humour. “Coming from you it feels like one ! You know I'm flattered but this is way too soon, we still have so much to discover and hate about each other and...”
“I didn't say I appreciated you.” Fenris cut him, wanting to make his feelings clear. “Nor do I completely trust you. But you helped me in a moment of weakness without taking advantage or asking anything in exchange. You even gave me medicine freely. It seems only fair to admit I misjudged you this night.”
He relished in the omega's confusion. He maybe had thought he was nothing but a dumb alpha unable to think or reflect on his acts. Not even capable to talk in a calm and thoughtful way. It was really good to defy the poor expectations that had always been placed on him due to his status as an alpha and an elf on top of that.
“Well..Still would have thought you'd prefer to be in the care of an alpha. Maybe the rut made you overreact but it didn't create these prejudices you seem to hold toward us, omegas.” Anders pointed and to be fair he was right.
Fenris wasn't going to deny it. He may be able to contain himself better but he still thought most of the things he had said last time. These facts were anchored deep down in his mind and behavior, it was the only truth he had ever known while growing up. Yet he wasn't ashamed of it, didn't know why he would be. His opinion was entirely valid and he had a lifetime to prove it. But it was no time for that. Ordering his drifting thoughts, he focused back on the real motive of this meeting.
“I...am not comfortable being touched. I figured that if I should trust someone with my body, better be someone who already proved they wouldn't abuse of this trust.” He admitted.
“...Wow. I actually don't know what to answer. I didn't expect you to act so rational and collected. After the show you gave me last t..”
“An understandable 'show' in the state I was in. Had you been in my place maybe you would have been as charming.” Fenris snapped back, not having the patience to go back on this not so glorious moment.
Anders raised his hands defensively.
“Fair point. Well I would have been dashing physically speaking of course. In terms of personnality ? Okay I'll admit I might have pepper sprayed the one walking me home before opening my door. Just in case.”
This actually made Fenris snort. Internally. It wouldn't do to let Anders think he could be amusing, he didn't need encouragment.
“A good survival tactic.” He merely supplied.
“Yay I have tons of those. But again had our roles been reversed I would have been less likely to push you off than you with me..” Anders added casually, like he wasn't trying to provoke him.
“I...” He frowned, really tired of where this topic was drifitng to.
Anders cut him before he could make a smart retort.
“But let's go back on our topic and the reason of your presence there before we begin another sterile debate shall we ?”
He was the one initiating them when Fenris was trying to go straight to the goal and avoid wasting time in useless palaver. But he kept his mouth shut, refusing to fuel Anders's rant.
“First of all, I don't even think you told me your name. Our patients are not obliged to give us a full profile but a name would be good.”
“Fenris.” He reluctantly said.
“As charming as its owner.”
So easy. He restrained himself from rolling his eyes. Must the omega comment absolutely everything he said ?
“And you are Anders from what I understood.”
“Oh didn't think you would remember it seeing how much consideration you give to omegas in general.”
He wasn't going to grab the bait. It wasn't worth it. It was getting old.
“Please could you stop, I'm here to see a doctor, not to start a fight. I didn't say anything about omegas yet so stop trying to provoke me and let's stay cordial for now.”
His tone had been as polite as possible yet dry enough to indicate how serious and tired he was of this little game. He had enough, if Anders continued instead of doing his job he might leave. Or go see Justice who looked more serious even if he made him more uneasy with his piercing eyes and judging tone.
“Great, you're the one giving me tact lessons now.” Anders groaned, gathering some papers as well as a blank page surely destined to be darkened with notes.
“I just want to get this over with and find a solution to my ruts. I don't have time to start an argument about omegas and alphas with you, as productive as it could be.”
“I wasn't the one to start it last time.”
Oh kaffas, how childish could this conversation be ?
“And you weren't the one in rut and in pain last time. So yes my opinion about the subject differ from yours but now that my mind is clear I have no wish to talk about it. I'm clever enough to know it would lead nowhere.” It was truly a challenge to maintain a calm demeanor despise the annoyance slowly rising inside, boiling in his stomach and his head.
Fortunately, Anders let out a defeated sigh and focused on his papers. Some minutes of silence, no comeback, no retort, not even a glare. Great. Apparently he had given up on testing Fenris. Thanks Maker. Maybe he could do his job now, instead of wasting both of their time while other patients were maybe waiting outside.
“So apparently your rut is especially painful.”
And he needed to be a doctor to make this brilliant observation ? Fenris swallowed back these words. They were finally focusing on the serious business and he would not be the one to incite another fight.
“Yes but I thought it was supposed to be like this until you told me to come here.”
He never had the chance to befriend other alphas and compare their ruts, isolated as he was, yet he had assumed it must have been like this for most members of his kind. While in Tevinter at least. This country seemed different and so maybe was their alphas.
“Truly ? Well ruts and heats aren't always a pleasure cruise but it's not supposed to go like this either. It happens of course but there are ways to lower the effects and make it more comfortable. Did the medicine I gave you work ?”
“Yes...It calmed me a lot and made me less feverish.”
He had been quite thankful for this. As Anders had predicted he had first checked on his laptop for the product's safety. But once his doubts passed and the pills swallowed, he had almost regretted not being able to thank Anders one more time. It had not suppressed the rut but improved it greatly. For once Fenris had not been wreck, had even been able to walk around his appartment and do his usual activities without too much pain.
“Good. How long are your ruts usually ?”
“One week, more or less..”
“Does the symptoms usually lessen progressively ?”
“Not really. It usually disappear brutally. I go to sleep in this state and the morning after it is gone.”
“Residual pains ? In muscles ? In your genitals ? Don't stare at me like this I'm asking in a totally professional way.”
Talking about private parts and intimate matters was difficult for him yet he was conscious it was for his own good here. The brief unease had to be endured in order to find out what could make this monthly nightmare stop. And so he pushed back his embarassment and nodded.
“Yes. To both.”
“And during the rut, do you experience particular pains if you don't relieve yourself ? Or even if you do ?”
Again he felt a wave of shame overwhelm him, heating his flesh and making him flee Anders's stare. He managed to answer nonetheless.
“I...I don't really find any pleasure in these moments. Even if it physically relieve me...It doesn't feel good. I prefer to take cold showers or sleep it off.”
Anders nodded, not insisting. Fenris didn't know if it was because he didn' need more details or took pity on him. He wouldn't like the later.
“How often do you go into rut ?”
“...Every month. Sometimes its less intense or at least I have more energy to endure it.”
He felt like he had said some kind of enormous mistake because Anders almost dropped his pen and looked at him like he just admitted eating kitten at breakfast. One second later he was shaking his head, trying to regain a more neutral composure.
“This...is not normal. Except if the rut is heavily induced by an external source it shouldn't happen more than once every season. Maybe you have hormonal or sensory hypersensibility...Repeat the symptoms you experiment again ?”
“..I feel feverish and tired, it...makes me...”
He hesitated. He really didn't like to expose his life, his weaknesses to others eyes. He had been used of people using those to hurt him, submit him, not to help him. He tried to reason himself, tell himself that Anders was a doctor and if he had wanted to use his weakness he would have done so last time, when Fenris could have been at his mercy. He was maybe an annoying person but he wasn't that low nor cruel.
“Tell me. I'm not here to judge. No need to hide anything in order to appear strong.”
Surprinsingly, he found himself nearly reassured by Anders's voice. It was calm, patient, gentle. It reminded him of when he had helped him in the subway, of when he had proposed to walk him home to make sure he would be safe. He found himself soothed by this tone.
“I promise I won't make any comment on this. Come on I can't help you if you don't give me as much informations as possible.”
The pure desire to help was filling his eyes, any trace of hostility gone far away. Now Fenris could see how he could be a good doctor, one who would open a free clinic and walk people home at night. He may be at odd with him on some subjects yet wouldn't use this as an excuse to neglect his duty. Like Justice said, his genuine desire to help was stronger than his personnal feelings. Fenris...could respect this. And so he opened up.
“...I'm almost constantly shaking during these times. Sometimes I can barely stand. I feel nauseous. People touching me is even more unbearable. It arouses me yet it also makes me sick somehow, I...don't like the loss of control it makes me uneasy...I have nightmares.”
“Do you have anxiety crisis ?”
“...I do.” He admitted though it cost him a little, he hated to admit his vulnerability, too used to hide it in order to preserve himself.
“I am going to ask you a delicate question but did you experiment something bad during your previous ruts or...sexual relations.”
This he could not answer to. It wasn't just a question of will. But the words were stuck in his throath, heavy and bitter. Choking him a little. Anders was perceptive, before Fenris could panick, he wrote something down and closed the subject.
“Okay I won't insist, don't worry, you are under no obligation to tell me anything.”
“Good.” He croaked.
A moment of silence. Anders wrote three more lines. Then he carefully considered Fenris, apparently thinking about the best way to breach a subject. Eventually he let out a sigh, an apprehensive frown on his face.
“Can I ask you to take off your shirt and let me examinate you ? Just the chest, nothing else. I can call Justice if you prefer but I need to check on your tension and breathing.”
He had to take a deep breath in order to temper his rising anxiety. Answering to questions was one thing, allowing someone to touch him was...another. But he understood the purpose and he knew he must do it. It was for his health on the long term, it was for his good. And if it became too much...Well like Anders said he'll have the strenght to push him back. He knew he was strong even more so when he wasn't in rut.
“No it's...not okay I guess but I'll bear with it.” He agreed, hoping he wouldn't regret this.
They stood up at the same time. Anders led him to the examination table and Fenris knew what he had to do. Reluctantly, he took off his long-sleeved shirt. Glancing at Anders, making sure his eyes weren't roaming his body in a lustful inappropriate way. Thankfully his stare remained medically cold. No sign that he could be interested in this way. Fenris felt himself relax a little.
“If you really can't bear it tell me and I'll stop.”
The look of sincere worry sent his way achieved to reassure him. With a nod he sat on the table.
“You are terribly thoughtful to someone you can't stand.” He couldn't help but point.
Maybe he was expecting Anders to react badly, to give him a reason to put his clothes back on and not expose himself like this. He didn't know. He wanted to get better but his situation was highly uncomfortable in spite of Anders's thoughtfulness. The later let a heavy sigh pass his lips, obviously tired of the endless suspicion. Yet, when he spoke, his voice was as soft, as calming.
“It's not because I don't like you that it gives me the right to physically mistreat you. I am a doctor Fenris, I would never hurt a patient not even one as annoying as you. Though I won't force myself to be overly sweet and agreeable either.”
Fenris hummed approvingly.
“I think it would makes me even more uncomfortable in fact. I might not like you but I appreciate the fact that you're honnest in your dislike. It's more reassuring than someone forcing themselves even though you can sense their hate.”
He hoped he was making sense. He didn't feel really well at the moment and it was hard to focus more on his words than on his vulnerable state. Anders gave him an undecipherable look before fetching a stethoscope. He showed it to Fenris before carefully applying the cold object to his chest. It was far from pleasant but he managed not to push it away.
“Riiiiight. Okay now please breath deep and slow.”
He obeyed. Anders repeated the task with his back. The silence was only disturbed by the alpha's deep and steady breathing. The omega avoided to make skin contact as much as possible and once again Fenris felt thankful. How could a man act so hostile yet touch him with so much care at the same time ? He still wondered.
“Can I touch your shoulders ?”
His voice was soft, cautious.
He tensed but let him. After all he had earned his trust, for now. The instant these fingers pressed against his flesh, he felt a pang of anxiety seize his guts. Yet, he stayed silent, strong. By habit he refused to give away sign of weakness.
Anders massaged tentatively, ckecking the state of various zones. Strangely...his deft fingers almost felt soothing. He knew which points to press. Had Fenris not been so opposed to physical contact he might have enjoyed this. His body seemed to appreciate the relief if his sagging shoulders were anything to go by, yet his mind didn't share the feeling. Still alert, still uneasy, still considering the risk of letting someone touch him.
“Maker you're stiff...Doesn't it hurt ?”
A shaky breath passed his lips. His voice was as strained as his muscles.
“My muscles feel tense most of the time but I got used to it.”
“Well you shouldn't. It's either a product of your painful ruts or one of the reason they are so bad. No in fact it must be a vicious circle. You'll need to see a physiotherapist I think. I know you don't like to be touched and I won't force you to but it would do you good.”
“I'll...think about it.”
“Also...Your tatoos, who are particularly impressive by the way, seems a bit weird at the rim. Can I ask you how...”
Immediatly, his whole body tensed anew. Of course Anders had noticed the blasted tatoos.
Fenris had come here for his rut, not his tatoos. These, like his past sexual experiences, were a very private matter, not one he wanted to share with anyone. Behind him, he heard Anders huff, taken aback by his harsh tone.
“...Fine.” He finally accepted.
Good. Fenris closed his eyes for a moment, trying to keep his calm. The longer the examination went on, the more agitated he grew. He let Anders take his tension but hoped it was the last test on the list.
“Yes as I thought it's pretty low. You are in an alarming state of fatigue, physically and mentally too I'll bet.”
A deep frown darkened the omega's features.
“I have to take a blood sample too. Give me your arm please.”
Great. If there was anything Fenris hated more than being touched it was blood. The sight of it he could stand even if it made him slightly uneasy. But his own ? He would prefer to keep it in his vein thank you very much. It had already been spilled too often for his liking. If only Anders knew why his tatoos looked like this.
“Is that necessary ?”
“Yes we need to run test to see how best we can cure this problem. Please, I promise it will go quickly.”
He didn't like it but...he knew Anders was right. He wasn't a doctor himself but he knew lots of problems could be detected through blood. If it could help him discover the source of his suffering..Kaffas, he had no choice didn't he ?
He forced himself to present his arm. Anders applied the tourniquet and searched the vein. Once found and some product smeared around the area, he sampled the blood. Fenris found that the easiest way to distract himself from the awful feeling was to talk.
“I wondered, about the qunari...” He started, desperately searching something interesting to focus his mind on.
“My conversations with my other patients are private.” Anders cut him, voice slow, concentrated on his current task.
“Not so much when you're outside your office and your voice is so loud.” Fenris snapped back, the sensation of his blood being drained stressing him. “...Are they a couple ?”
“I don't know much about their relationship.” Anders confessed. “It's rare for a qunari to be in a romantic relationship though. At least for those who still follow the Qun.”
The alpha found himself unable to keep his mouth shut. Kaffas, was the omega's condition contagious ?
“Some decades ago it would have been completely forbidden but they finally decided that as long as it didn't interfere with the good of society they could allow more intimate bonds to form. Under stricts rules though. And family, blood family, is still a concept they don't adhere to.”
He was going to add that omegas still weren't allowed to bond or mate though but sensed I would only encourage Anders to start another one of his rants.
“You seem well informed.”
He sounded impressed. It annoyed him slightly. What, didn't think alphas could have a little bit of culture ?
“I had the opportunity to talk with people who grew up under the Qun.”
In Seheron he had the opportunity to discover other mindsets and lifestyles. He was now pretty passionate about learning more on different cultures. Now that he was free to do what he wanted, he found himself wishing to study different civilizations, different languages, different people. Not that he would explain all of this to Anders, he wasn't here to share his passions and future dreams. He doubted this one would be interested anyway.
“Oh. Can't say I had this chance. The qunari settled down around here but they're still very wary of...how do they say ? Ba...Ba something.”
The needle pulled out from his arm and he sagged in relief. Gently, Anders pressed some gaze onto the tiny wound.
“Here you go, see already over, time pass so quickly when we talk without spitting at each other. Do you want a magic kiss to make it better ?” He winked at him, his usual cheekiness glinting in his eyes.
Fenris merely stared at him with all the judgment and tiredness he could gather.
“Oooh I'm just kidding, stop looking like you want to strangle me with my stethoscope. You can put your shirt back on.”
He immediately reached for it and swiftly covered his skin. It felt extremely good. Anders asked him to come back to the desk where he was already scribbling down his observations. Without looking up, he started to asses the situation.
“Ok so you are in a state of exhaustion partly caused by these ruts. Since they are so close, your body doesn't have time to recover and it tires you more and more each time. No wonder your body is as tense as a string. I forgot to ask you : have your ruts always been like this ?”
“...As far as I can remember it was never pleasant. I think it happened less often during the first years.”
Munching on his pen, Anders seemed to consider carefully this last bit of information.
“Fine. We'll make the test first and then we'll decide on a particular treatment, adapted to your problem. Meanwhile I am going to prescribe you the same medicine I gave you last time, just in case, from what I gathered you shouldn't have another rut before two weeks but you never know. It's a basic pain killer and tranquillizer. Not strong enough to shoot you up but it will make it less intense and hopefully shorter too. I'll give you some scents suppressants too just in case, it will both hide yours and make you less sensitive to others.”
Fenris repeated all these informations in his head before nodding.
“You'll have to come back next week, we will have your results by then. And Fenris ?”
He quirked an eyebrow. Anders was still looking at him with eyes full of concern. Not pity, which Fenris appreciated, but a deep concern, which was unusual and made him feel a bit nervous. The only people who had showed him concern until now were in Seheron and...he still wasn't really used to this feeling. It was strange yet comforting at the same time. Even when coming from an omega who liked to provoke him.
“It's about your previous relations during ruts. I know you don't want to talk about it but from what I understand they weren't pleasant. Maybe...Maybe it could also be one factor of your pain. The things you experiment during a particular state can affect you and resurface when you find yourself in a similar situation. If the medicine or the medical solution we find isn't enough it would be wise to consult a psychologist.”
“I'm not crazy.” He frowned.
He was strong. He had endured everything all these years and stayed sane despise of it all. If Anders implied he was weak he..
“Never said you were. Psychologist doesn't only help people with severe cases of mental illnesses. Lambda people with minor problem can consult in order to talk about these and fix their anxiety. Maybe your pain is linked to a traumatic memory and a psychologist could help you getting over it.” He suggested, voice calm, a bit blasé, like if he was used to people reacting like this.
Fenris could understand them. Psychologist had often been associated with craziness in his mind and to suggest he might need one was somehow offensive. He was perfectly able to deal with this kind of problems alone. It wasn't something someone else could heal with some talking and advices. It had already been hard to expose himself physically, it was out of question to open his mind as well.
“I highly doubt that. I have no need to talk about my private life and I will appreciate if you contented yourself with prescribing me medicine.”
“It was only a suggestion.”
“It will only stay a suggestion.” He retorted immediately, refusing to let Anders go on with this stupid idea.
“Fine. I got it. I'll give you your medicine and let you take leave from my irritating wisdom.”
Before he could answer, the omega was on his feet and opening the door. Fenris followed promptly, eager to leave and go home to rest a little. He would not show it before he had locked his door but this appointment had taken its toll on him. He needed something to eat, a quick nap and maybe a glass of wine. He deserved it after all.
Once in the waiting room, Anders unlocked a large cupboard set behind the desk. Inside were tons of boxes of various shapes, sizes and colors. Without an ounce of hesitation, the omega grabbed three of those. Then pushed them toward Fenris.
“Here. There is the painkiller, no more than four by days, try to wait five hours before taking the next one. And here are the scent suppressants. One dose on the morning, at noon and before bed during your rut.” He wrote down the instructions on the boxes as well.
“How much...” He asked reflexively.
“I already said it was free. We don't like to make people pay for being in pain. Though if you want to give a donation you're welcome.”
With his finger he showed a large box nailed against the wall. It was locked with a little slit on top of it. Fenris considered it skeptically.
“Don't be so eager, no really, you're too good to be true !”
The tone was mocking but not truly bitter. As much as this clinic might need help, Anders wasn't pressuring him to participate.
“Also..the little extra box here is for your tatoos. I won't ask questions but it would be better if you applied this cream onto it. It will appease any itching.”
Surprised by this thoughtful gesture, Fenris was speechless for a minute.
It truly cost him to admit it, but this omega he had thought brash and ignorant at first...Was maybe one of the kindest person he had met. Giving without asking, helping without forcing and this despise the hostility between them. He knew he was repeating himself but it would not cease to amaze him. Maybe...Maybe next time he would put something in the donation box. He might not be on really good terms with Anders but what he was doing here, for free, for anyone in need, was something to be respected and encouraged.
A rare smile was granted to him. Anders replaced one strand of hair behind his ear. Fenris noticed a golden reflect, like a flame. He felt weird. Had to cough to make the sensation pass.
“Don't feel like it.”
Anders rolled his eyes, his soft smile vanishing as well as the strange feeling in Fenris's guts. Good.
“How observant...” The omega bite back without much heat though. “So next week, same hour if you're free ?”
“I should be.”
Fenris left, relief washing over him now that this stressful event was over. And now that there was hope to fix his condition. He held the medicine Anders gave him tighter.
I'm really trying to find inspiration these last times and I hope it is working.
Also from now on I'll put the number of months it has been since Fenris and Anders first met at the beginning of each chapter.
This was a way too small world. Only one week after his second appointment at Anders's clinic, while he was walking around the university campus, he had been run into by a bear of a man. A man who had pointed at him and his tattoos, asking him if he was the 'handsome rude alpha from the subway'. Fenris had to take a minute or two to process. Then cringed because this man obviously knew Anders. Also because he had knocked his coffee out of his hand and now it was spreading all over the paved road. He had barely noticed until a young woman, sharing a strong ressemblance, poked him in the ribs and ordered him to apologize for being such a rude person. The guy did so, with a shit-eating grin though, before proposing to buy him another drink. Fenris had obviously been suspicious, after all he must have been one of Anders's friend to hear about this story and why would one of his friend be nice to him ? He doubted Anders depicted him in a positive way. The man, Garrett Hawke, had sensed his suspicion and tried to pat his shoulder in a friendly way, only making Fenris take one step back and frown more. The girl, Bethany had just shook her head and lamented her brother's lack of politeness. Then she had taken charge and brought them into a nearby coffee, the one Fenris had left minutes ago in fact. While she was ordering the drink, Fenris had sat with Garrett, unsure of what to think about all of this. Why a friend of Anders would talk to him if he heard about their disastrous first encounter ? Why did he goofily smile at him like an overeager puppy ? Eventually Garrett had explained that Anders had ranted about him for about one week, that he had spent hours grumbling about how someone could be so rude and blind and that it was a waste that he was so handsome too. The last part had made Fenris blush and Garrett had laughed, saying he didn't look as ferocious as Anders described. When Fenris had asked him why he would talk to someone he heard such bad things about, Garrett had awkwardly scratched his nape before admitting Anders could get a bit radical and he generally prefered to make his own opinion about someone. Also his 'exotism', Fenris had cringed at the word, was hard to miss and quite intriguing, as was his tevene origin. Their conversation had stayed quite tense, even more so when Bethany had joined them. Her omega scent had made Fenris wary yet he soon had discovered she was a patient and intelligent young woman, not quite as loud and rough as her brother but just as determined however. This one had glanced at him warningly once or twice, maybe waiting the moment where he would slip and say something hurtful about her omega nature. He would not. Bethany was way less unnerving than Anders and never breached this particular subject, he had no reason to get into an argument with her.
This had been...awkward yet somehow interesting. Less terrible than he would have expected yet it was still a surprise when Garrett gave him his number and told him they should meet again. Fenris had hesistantly agreed, sharing his number as well, not truly convinced that Hawke would really call. Except that the day after he had been overwhelmed by messages asking him if he was interested in a card night at a local bar. He had hesitated, not sure he could trust Garrett yet. But then he had nothing else to do that night. So he reluctantly joined Hawke and his merry crew. Almost forgetting Anders was probably a part of it until he was face to face with the man. Gawking, the omega had stared at him for five good minutes before snapping at Garrett, asking if he was the one responsible for this. The man had only offered a broad, mocking smile, a glint of mischief in his eyes. Anders had groaned loudly but said nothing else. The rest of the crew though, had been most welcoming, teasing him a bit about his little story with Anders though. Yet Fenris noted that he had not revealed anything major about his rut problem, or at least the crew wasn't using it against him, and he felt thankful for this. The night had been...surprisingly nice. He had enjoyed playing cards and watching Anders lose even more. He had repeated the experience one more time, then one more and one more until it had become a weekly event and he had gained his place in the gang, to Anders's sorrow. And now he was even invited to parties. Not that he was a fan of huge crowds and loud noises but...He couldn't say no to Hawke when this one had included him so easily in his friends, despise what he could have heard about him. So he tried it one time, just to see how it went.
He regretted it. First of all Anders had opened the door then leaned against the frame, asking him for the password, a mocking smirk on his lips. His relationship with Anders had become more...cordial. When they kept the sensitive subjects out of the conversation they could tolerate each other. Yet these unfamous subjects were hard to eternally avoid. Inevitably some arguments happened. Fenris still went to the clinic and Anders had prescribed him a pill to regulate his cycle, which was working quite well, no rut had happened this last month, only a light fever quickly gone. For that he was thankful and ready to keep his opinion about omegas for himself. But often it was Anders who started to rant and provoked him. The man couldn't help but complain all the time about an injustice, an inequality, an accident that happened to an omega. It got on Fenris nerves and sometimes he had to ask him to shut up. He had...noticed that indeed the dynamics were different here, every day he could realize that no omega was looking down at him and sometimes he heard some disturbing things coming from alphas mouth. Yet he didn't understand the need to rant about it constantly, it wasn't going to change anything, it was just unnerving everyone during their gathering. Even if the others might agree with Anders, Fenris could see how terribly tired they were to hear the same thing every week and the alpha wondered if someday someone would snap and ask the omega to shut up for once and for good.
After some intense staring Anders had fortunately given up on this little game and let him pass the door. Mumbling something under his breath. Fenris choose to ignore him and join the party. He immediately regretted it. It was loud, there was too much people invading his personal space, the only thing that could potentially save him was the alcohol Hawke had bought in abundance. So it was a matter of minutes before he found a quiet corner on the stairs and sat there, nursing a glass of sangria. A shadow appeared on his right and he tensed for an instant before realizing it was only Carver. Bethany's twin in all but personnality. While Bethany was calm and agreeable, Carver was as sour as a lemon. He was also an alpha. And sported a weird fascination, admiration almost, for Fenris. He was still acting like a little shit though.
“Did you come to our party only to brood all night in the corner ?” He asked, arms crossed.
“You're one to talk.”
Carver wasn't as sociable as his siblings, harder to get along with, even teased about it by his family. He came to cards nights sometimes and managed to be even more insufferable than Anders. At least Anders had some sense of humour and wasn't too much of a sore loser.
“I'm not brooding. I'm watching over Bethany.” He snapped back.
“Why ? Afraid she's spending a better time than you ?”
Bethany was in the crowd with Anders, Merrill and Isabela, the later teaching them some interesting moves. They were all laughing and seemed to have a very good time.
“No just wary of two dickheads who invited themselves to the party. Our dear older brother naturally let them in. The more the merrier he said, already half drunk. But they spent the night looking at Bethany. Merrill too. And...”
“Fascinating Carver. Do talk to me more. I was absolutely not in this corner in order to avoid company.” Fenris just wished to be left alone and Carver's voice was extremely irritating right now.
“Shut up ! You're the one who asked, I thought you liked Bethany..”
“She's nice yeah. And she knows when someone want to be left alone at the least.”
He knew he was a bit harsh but he knew no one in the Hawke household would hold it against him, they were the first to mess around with Carver.
A moment of silence. He thought himself saved. Then Carver opened his mouth again. He wondered if he could drown himself in his sangria.
“They're the type of alpha jerks who act like they own the world. And they look at Beth in a funny way.”
Carver pointed two men leaning against the wall. They were scanning the room, predatory smile on their lips. Fenris instantly tensed, he knew these kind of looks, he saw them on other people, during other kind of parties. Suddenly he felt a bit more concerned, not as worried as Carver looked but still. These looks weren't exactly friendly.
“She's an omega they wouldn't..” He started instinctively.
“I hate to break it to you and I won't rant about it like Anders but they totally would, especially since she's an omega. And speaking about Anders, you should keep an eye on him too.”
This made him frown even more. He spotted Anders in the crowd, this one was dancing energetically. Badly yes but he had the merit to enjoy himself at least. For an instant Fenris zoned out, thinking he never saw him so carefree.
“Why would I ?” He asked, focusing back on Carver.
“'Cause these jerks are eyeing every omegas like if they were pieces of meat. And because I thought you were...like...not together but...you had a thing going on ?”
“Pardon me ?” He choked on his sangria.
“I just heard Isabela speak about the...hem...sexual tension between you two. And something about examination tables. So I assumed...”
...He was going to kill this woman. He knew it was a matter of time before she reported her dirty fantasies on him. The instant they met she had made comments about his muscles and voice. The instant he had argued with Anders she had stared at them with an evil grin plastered on her red lips.
“Don't. Venhedis if I find this gossiping nymphomaniac...”
It was disgusting to think of them this way. How could she imagine him and Anders sharing something like this ? It was...They were at odds half of the time it would be everything but healthy. He got his fair share of unhealthy relationship and he knew that rough hate sex held no appeal to him. The fact that he was an omega made him as uneasy. Anders and the omegas here may differ from the ones in Tevinter yet they still held some power over a part of Fenris, unable to shake off years of conditionment. He was afraid...afraid he would fall back into hold, obedient habits if one day he unfortunately tried to be with an omega. It was...gross, scary, horrifying. He would never let someone he didn't trust and appreciate approach him like this. Nor would he desire someone who obivously disliked him. Neither him or Anders were this kind of twisted person, he knew it and that Isabela could imagine them like this was...insulting. It made him kind of sick, suddenly the sangria in his hand made him a bit nauseous.
“Hey it's okay there are worse rumours..I mean Anders is...not bad looking. If he shut his mouth more often I could even...What ?!”
Fenris was conscious he must look murderous right now but he didn't care. He didn't want to hear Carver finish this phrase.
“I need another drink. Not you though.”
Carver looked ready to protest but Fenris was already on his feet, searching somewhere with less people, more air to breathe. He eventually found out that the kitchen was completely empty, a wonder when the room was this big and the alcohol stocked there. The size of the Hawke's estate would never ceaze to amaze him. Opening one window, relief washed over him as the breeze caressed his skin, fresh air filling his lungs, making him feel less ill. Cautiously, he climbed on the counter and sat on the window's edge. He reached in his pocket, searching for his pack of cigarettes. A habit he had taken in Seheron, he rarely smoke but it always helped to ease his occasional stress. He was only starting to relax when someone walked in. Fenris had to repress a groan when he realized it was Anders, serving himself what seemed to be a large glass of tangerine juice. Without any alcohol of course. The man seemed extra careful about this, Fenris only saw him taking sips from other's glasses.
“Oh fuck you scared me !” Anders's hand flied toward his heart as he noticed Fenris.
This one quirked an eyebrow. He wasn't sure he was in the mood to talk to Anders after what Carver told him. It...made him slightly uneasy.
“So is that your party aesthetic ? Posing in a corner with a cigarette and a beer, all secluded and mysterious ?”
For once his tone was more playful than mocking. He must truly be in a great mood tonight.
“I needed to be alone for a moment. Away from people.” He insisted, hoping he would understand the message.
He didn't want to be harsh since Anders was relatively nice right now but he truly felt the need to take some time to breathe and think.
“You feel okay ?”
A worried frown appeared on the omega's feature. Fenris recognized his doctor's face and it felt oddly touching to see him truly concerned about his state. Especially outside of the clinic, during a party, where he surely had better to do than check on people. Despise himself he found himself answering. Somehow he wanted to see how would Anders react to the words that disturbed him so much. He wanted to be sure he shared his horror, that it didn't make him laugh or please him to hear about such nasty fantasies. He needed to make sure that Anders was the good man he pretended to be.
“As okay as someone who heard Carver telling how Isabela is spreading rumours about us having an affair.” He tried to sound nonchalant but knew it would not fool Anders. This man was too damn good at picking on others problems.
“What ?! She ! This ! Oh god I'm going to choke her with her own tits !”
The expression took Fenris by surprise, made him snort even. The outrage on Anders's face immediately reassured him. Yet another disturbing question was filling his mind.
“...She talked about examination tables. Did you tell them anything about my...visits at the clinic and their reasons ?”
Anders's outrage was suddenly directed at Fenris. He looked as offended as the night he accused him of trying to take advantage of his uncontrollable rut. It achieved to soothe his doubts.
“What ? No ! Of course not ! Fenris I would never, I'm a doctor, I keep my patient's problems secret. Isabela just has lots of kinks and one of them is about me being a doctor and doing naughty check ups to my 'patients'.”
His grimace mirrored the one on the omega's face. Ugh, the only notion of such power play was...
“Yeah I know. Same.” Anders approved from the fridge against which he was leaning. “I mean everyone has the right to have their own fantasies but to apply it to my patients...Bela can go too far sometimes.”
He sighed, looking suddenly very preoccupied and Fenris regretted the carefree look that had lightened his face moments ago. The omega offered him a sorry smile before turning heels, ready to go back to the party. A flash of Anders dancing and hungry eyes leering at him crossed Fenris's mind. Before he could think he was calling after him, before it was too late and he lost himself in the crowd again.
“Anders. Carver also told me there were two men...eyeing omegas. He was keeping an eye on Bethany and Merrill but he..worried about you too.”
It only felt right to warn him. True they often found ways to annoy the other but he didn't wish for anything truly bad to happen to Anders. After all the things he did to help Fenris with his rut, after the way he defended him against the omega this first night...He couldn't possibly let something akin happen to him.
“Awww baby Carver worrying for me ? I'm not going to let him live that down ! This bundle of grumpiness loves to pretend he dislike me but I knew there was a tender little heart somewhere under these layer of douchiness !” Anders cooed.
His glee took Fenris aback. Coming from the person always explaining how hard omega had it, how things needed to change, how pissed he was about this kind of behavior...it sounded strange. He would have expected Anders to get angry, rise hell to find the two men and find a way to humiliate them in public. Something spectacularly righteous. But the omega was only snickering about how embarassed Carver will be when he'll brought this up.
“You don't seem so worried about what I told you.”
The glee transformed into tiredness. A small resigned smile playing on his lips, Anders shook his head at him, like if he was some kind of naïve child asking something to which the answer was pretty obvious. It irritated him a little and he took a puff of cigarette
“Fenris I already spotted these guys. I'm an omega, my first instinct at a party is to constantly check if someone is staring at me for too long or in a creepy way. And then I proceed to avoid them all night while still trying to have a good time. Without drinking too much of course otherwise I won't be alert enough if they attempt anything.”
“Aren't you being a bit paranoid ?”
He could empathize with the carefulness and the suspicion at an extent. But to say it was some kind of ritual he constantly needed to do even in a friend's house...It seemed exagerated.
“I have tons of example to prove I'm only being pragmatic. Bethany too.”
“Why are you bringing Bethany into this ?”
“Because, despise the fact that she's an omega, you seem to actually like her and consider her words.”
He couldn't deny it.
“She's less prompt to yell than a certain someone.”
Anders frowned. Great, they finally were slowly drifint back to good old bickering. He was almost starting to miss the familiarity of it. It was a conquered territory, much more easy to handle than the awkward worry he showed Anders minutes ago.
They both turned toward the new voice filling the room. One of the leering men was at the door. Staring at Anders with a confident smirk. The later crossed his arms in a defensive position. His eyes gauged the man with cold anticipation. He was a bit taller, his hair styled with way too much hair spray and he stank of cheap cologne. His face could have almost looked friendly and sympathic if only there wasn't this look in his eyes.
“Hey just wanted to tell you I looked at you all night and, well, you're pretty hot...”
Fenris brought his cigarette to his lips and looked outside. He didn't want to see this miserable spectacle and Anders surely didn't need him, he was sober, he could handle some drunk idiot.
“Oh really ?”
“No really, you're fucking hot, I mean, I would totally bang you.”
Anyone would have scoffed at this kind of 'compliment', even Isabela. She liked flirting yet this crass tone and douchy confidence would have made even her quirk an eyebrow. Fenris almost scoffed when Anders retorted with a fawning voice.
“Oh I feel soooo flattered right now, thank you really.”
He didn't blame him for the disdain he showed the man. He would have done the same.
“No really I would, like right now, I mean you have a nice piece of ass. Could put it to good use you know ?”
This made the alpha look above his shoulder. This conversation was becoming disturbing. The man had approached Anders. This one was trying to stay stoick and calm yet Fenris could see how tense his whole body was, ready to spring. He decided to keep an eye on them.
“I'm afraid I'll have to refuse this delightful invitation. Now if you'll excuse me.”
The omega tried to make his way outside the kitchen but the man took a step aside. And released a strong wave of pherormones. Heavy, suffocating, alpha pherormones. Anders flinched a little to Fenris's surprise. He never saw an omega get this affected by an alpha scent, it was the other way around usually.
“Hey, hey, wait a second babe !”
“Don't 'babe' me !”
Anders slapped his hand away. It only made the alpha snicker.
“Come on I just want to have a good time. Come with me, we'll find a nice little bedroom up there and I swear you won't regret it, I'll fuck you real good, like a true porn star.”
“No. I'm not in the mood to get raped.”
The alpha's face darkened instantly. Before Fenris could entirely process it, his mind slightly clouded by alcohol he admitted, he was walking menacingly toward Anders, trying to corner him agains the fridge.
“Wow what's with the big words honey ! I was just being nice, thought you'd like to be fucked real good. I mean when someone dance like that they're practically asking for it.”
Anders's back hit the fridge yet his face remained defiant.
“And you are asking to get punched. So shut up before I do it.”
He was handling the situation, Fenris told himself. He didn't have to interfere, he wouldn't have to, Anders was an omega he could...And suddenly he saw it. The way this alpha leaned above Anders, pressuring him, trying to rub his scent against him. Just like he had seen omegas do in Tevinter. The sensation of sickness submerged him anew.
“Well aren't you a feisty one..”
“Let me go you asshole !”
“Hey come on I was complimenting you, you should be nice to me, not insult me !”
The alpha grabbed Anders at the hip. Fenris jumped from the counter. And one second after the man was on the floor, howling in pain. One kick to the throath, another to the stomach and a last one to the crotch. Fenris's eyes widened a little, he hadn't expected Anders to be...so quick to react. The gesture had seemed instinctive, practiced. Anders took some steps back until he was beside Fenris. Glancing at him, he seemed to silently seek support, reassurance that the elf was on his side. He looked incredibly anxious for a man who just slayed someone with such vicious velocity. The alpha painfully stood up and, without a word, Fenris placed himself between the two. It wouldn't be hard to achieve him at this point, should he try anything else.
“You ungrateful slut ! You think you're too good for me ? You flaunt yourself like this and then you think there's no consequences ? You should feel honored that I want to pity fuck a male omega like you !”
The words weren't directed at him yet they hit hard for they were all too familiar. He could barely believe it, he had to remind himself that no they weren't in Tevinter, that here apparently an alpha could say this to an omega without an ounce of hesitation. The role reversal destabilized him for a minute.
Bethany appeared at the door, a panicked look on her face, Carver hot on her heels. The alpha didn't spare them a glance, instead he took one step toward Anders, his eyes screaming for revenge.
“You fucking little...”
Fenris put a placating hand on his chest, his glare clearly menacing. He could take on the guy. He had confronted stronger opponents. Weakened by Anders's clever kicks, this miserable excuse of a man was nothing he could fear.
“Stay out of this rabbit !”
The insult made his blood boil.
“Don't call him that you fucking rapist !”
Anders was beside him, sounding as furious as Fenris felt, ready to confront the alpha anew despise the obvious fear leaking from his scent. Bethany and Carver positionned themselves behind the alpha, trapping him. The young Hawke looked ready to paint the wall red. Even Carver's frown paled in comparison.
“I think you should get out before I let him castrate you. Don't think I won't be happy to watch this.” Her tone was low, a growl practically.
The alpha looked around him, suddenly seeming way less confidence, anxiety replacing his anger.
“Get the fuck out of my house !” The order was imperious and Fenris didn't think anyone could have been stupid enough to disobey it.
He was wrong. The alpha made one last idiotic attempt at regaining his authority.
“What ? You think you can order me around you omega ?”
His attempt at sounding menacing fell flat. It only managed to make Bethany's face go from 'extremely frightening' to 'the last thing you might see before your death'.
“I think that if you don't obey me and leave the house this fucking instant I will call my friend Aveline who is a police officer and in the next room. Or unleash my giant mabari on you and order him to bite off your genitals. Since it seems its the only thing you care about.”
The alpha looked appalled but stayed still for an instant. Like if he was testing her resolve, waiting to see a sign of weakness to use it. Bethany was a rock of resolve. The alpha finally groaned, glaring at everyone despise the scared way his shoulders hunched. Then he pushed past Carver, swearing under his breath.
“Fuck you all...”
Once he was out of the room, Bethany's ire crumbled down instantly. In three quick steps she was craddling Anders's face in her hands, checking for any injury, a distressed frown on her round face.
“You okay ?”
Anders attempted to smile. Obviously exhausted by all of this yet not willing to let anyone stress over him. He caught Bethany's hands and brought them to his mouth, kissing them in a friendly, almost brotherly, way, infinitely grateful for the help. It was only then that Fenris caught a glimpse of how immensely terrified both omegas had been.
“Yes. Didn't think he would actually go this far with another person in the room. Must have been quite drunk or quite stupid. How did you know I was in trouble ?”
“Carver came to ask me if I knew where you were. He was all worried and told me that one of the creepy alphas was missing too. So we searched you through the house.”
“Awwww you do care Carver !” Anders cooed, reaching for Carver's head and playfully messing with his hair.
Surprinsingly this one groaned but didn't push the hand away. He even offered him a small relieved smile.
“Shut up...I'll go kick the other alpha out if he's not already gone. Also give their signalement to Aveline. Can't let him get away like that.”
Bethany dragged him down to plant a kiss on his cheek. Taking advantage of his position, Anders took care of the other cheek. Carver took a nice crimson shade.
“Yes thanks Carver.” Anders smiled.
Carver mumbled something before quitting the room, searching for Aveline. Knowing the woman she must be sober enough to take care of the problem. Fenris felt incredibly more safe knowing there was a cop in their group, one he got along with pretty well too and an alpha at that.
“Are you sure you're okay ?”
Bethany was again stressing over Anders despise this one protests.
“Yeah just a bit stressed out still...I...I think I'm going to get back home.” He passed a hand on his face.
“You sure ? I mean, I don't want to worry you but this guy is maybe waiting outside or something like this.”
A thoughtful frown on his features, Anders nodded.
“I'll call Justice to pick me up. He should be awake.”
“Okay but if he doesn't answer you can sleep here you know ? Nobody will mind.”
“You're an angel Beth, thank you.”
“It's normal. I'll go make sure these jerks left, you'll be okay ?”
“Yeah don't worry, I have a strong and intimidating alpha with me just in case.”
Fenris hadn't even realized Anders was talking about him until he gave him a grateful look. Shyly, he answered with a similar smile. What happened was...a lot to take in. But he wanted to be reassuring to Anders, as supportive as he had been this night in the subway. After all this was what a decent person did, no matter how they felt toward someone. Bethany gave Fenris a meaningful look. One that ordered him not to let Anders down. Then she left too. It was suddenly only Fenris and Anders. The later took a seat and put his head on the kitchen's island, sighing tiredly, the effects of the confrontation finally affecting him fully. Fenris hesitantly approached. Not sure if Anders wanted to have some space or prefered to sense a familiar presence nearby.
“Thank you for earlier.” The omega mumbled.
“You would have done the same...In fact you did the same in the subway that day... I apologize I didn't react earlier though. I was...taken aback.”
He should have reacted the instant Anders had said 'no' and the alpha insisted in fact. He saw this situation enough times to recognise it, venhedis, he should have known better. But again his first instinct, to think omegas unnattainable, had made him hesitate. What happened tonight once again proved him how different this place was. How his codes, his rules, couldn't be used here. He had much to relearn.
“You don't seem as shocked as someone should be in this situation.” He told Anders.
Tired and anxious yes. But he didn't look like he couldn't believe what happened to him. He looked...blasé, resigned almost, like if it was a daily occurrence he was used to by now.
“You get used to it. The names and the 'compliments'...too often it becomes part of an omega's routine. And even if it still affect you, you learn to expect it, to endure it...”
“There's jerks everywhere but to say that you get harassed like this every day is..” Fenris couldn't help but retort, because it was too easy to make generalities. He admit what happened tonight gave him a new perspective. The way this alpha called Anders, how he cornered him, how he used trivial things to excuse his behavior...But it couldn't possibly happen this often, it couldn't be the norm, right ?
Anders straightened up, the tiredness mixing with annoyance in his golden eyes.
“If you don't believe me even after what you heard, ask Bethany the number of times she got called a slut for wearing a skirt. Ask Merrill how many times alphas tried to take advantage of her innocence to drag her into this kind of thing. And if its hearing it from omegas that makes you cringe then ask Garrett and Carver how many times they had to go to a party with Beth because she was terrified after this time someone slipped something into one of her friend's drink. Ask them how horrified she was to go out after she found this friend in a bedroom, half naked and unresponsive with an alpha on top of her. Ask them how hard it was to convince people that it was a sexual assault. All of that because this friend was a little drunk and flirty at this party.”
His tone had become aggressive, sour. Fenris could see he didn't have the energy to get truly angry and that he regretted it, a lot.
“And before you tell me that maybe she should have been more careful, thank you but we know our lessons. Omegas shouldn't drink. Omegas shouldn't dance provocatively. Omegas shouldn't wear sexy clothes. Omegas shouldn't party too late. Omegas shouldn't stay all alone with an alpha. Omegas shouldn't smile too much and lead people on. Omegas shouldn't go back home alone. Because if omegas do any of these things they're asking for it right ? They could have prevented it if only they were more careful right ? See if I didn't dance tonight and didn't put on these tight jeans, if only I had put on a jogging and stayed on the couch, then I would not have been harassed.”
He recited the rules like someone who had painfully learnt their lesson, like it had been nailed into him as viciously as possible. Obviously, Fenris could see his point and could see all the parrallels possible...He started to look away, uneasy.
“It's as stupid as telling you that you shouldn't have gone into rut outside of your home if you didn't want people to assault you.”
“I wasn't going to say any of these things you know.”
And he wouldn't have, truly. Who did Anders think he was exactly ? He may not have been raised in the same culture but he would never had blamed a victim for being one. Would have never said Bethany should wear longer skirts, that Anders shouldn't have danced like he did. How could he when people had so often told him he had it coming only for looking like he did ?
Lost in thoughts, he didn't see Anders standing up and walking to the pantry.
“Good. I...need to call Justice.” He closed the door after himself.
Fenris let out a heavy sigh. This party had been even worse than what he expected. And thoughts were swarming in his mind, giving him a headache. He might just go home too.
“Where's Anders ?”
Bethany had came back and looked around worriedly, giving Fenris an accusing look.
“Calling Justice.” He pointed the pantry door.
“Oh, good.” She sighed.
Then took a seat as well, not nearly as exhausted as Anders had seemed but surely as stressed out as Fenris felt. It made him think again about the omega's words. About what he revealed about Bethany, about her friend...About what he claimed to be only routine for an omega here...He couldn't help but ask. Anders was right, he needed other people to confirm it. He was ready to consider the fact that maybe omegas were treated as badly as he claimed yet needed more proofs. Needed more people to confirm it. And not only omegas. He considered asking Aveline and Garrett too. But he might as well start with Bethany.
“Say...Anders told me that this kind of thing was...not unusual.”
She looked up at him, her expression too weary for such a young person. Her usual joviality vanished.
“For omegas you mean ?”
“Is it for you ?”
“For me. For my omega friends. For my father too. Yes he was an omega too.”
Fenris had tried to hide his slight surprise but Bethany was a perceptive person.
“Is it as bad as Anders describe it or does he..”
Bethany immediately cut him, apparently knowing where exactly he was going with this sentence.
“Listen, Anders can seem too passionate about things sometimes. But I swear that everything he probably said about being an omega here is true. I had the chance to have parents who teached me to defend myself and never let anyone convince me that I deserved this. And I have the chance to have two siblings always here to back me up. But even with that I get a comment about my legs or my chest almost every time I go out. Once I got followed by two guys in a car for ten minutes. And for the record, I was wearing a long thick coat, boots and large jeans. They couldn't use the clothes excuse. They still catcalled me the whole time.”
It was extremely disturbing to imagine Bethany, sweet, smiling Bethany being harassed and gauged like some slave on a market.
“This sounds like what an alpha could go through in Tevinter.” He pointed.
She opened her arms like if she was presenting something grandiose.
“Welcome into the rest of the world. And I had it nice compared to a lot of people.”
Playing with a strand of dark hair, a pained gleam passed through her eyes.
“Anders probably went through much more shit. He didn't even have a family to protect him. He was placed in the Chantry's omegas programm and this is truly an horrible place. My father went here and even if he rarely talked about it in great lenghts...You could feel how traumatic it had been for him.”
“I had no idea.” Fenris admitted.
He had no idea what was this Chantry's omegas programm but he wasn't sure he wanted to know given Bethany's face. All of this...was already much to swallow.
“Well I doubt Anders saw the use to talk about this with you, seeing how tense your relationship is...Please don't bring this up to hurt him.”
Her tone was pleading yet her eyes warned him, if he did this he doubted she would forgive him. He liked Bethany, he didn't want to anger her and lose her kindness.
“You think I'm this low ?”
“I think Anders have a great potential to unnerve you and make you react without thinking.”
Fair point. He knew how true it was. Though he had to say Anders wasn't tender either sometimes. Yet he remained silent, he would comply tonight, he didn't want to upset Bethany any more. The pantry's door opened and Anders walked in.
“Justice will be here in ten minutes.”
Both nodded at Anders. This one left a kiss on the top of Bethany's head. Once again tender and protective, like he conveyed how sorry he was for putting her through this.
“Thanks again Beth...You too Fenris.”
Fenris was surprised to be thanked again after this little rant he had the pleasure to hear earlier. But Anders looked truly exhausted so he took pity on him and shut his mouth. He thought about the way Anders had helped him to walk home, about how he had made sure he felt safe, about how concerned he had been, even when their experiences had clashed and made them fight. He thought that he could return the kindness and be as patient as possible tonight. He could put aside the questions and the debates to a day where Anders would be able to snap back. So, as Anders took some heavy steps toward the door, making his way to the entry, he caught up with him and grabbed his own coat.
“...Want me to wait with you ? I think I'm going to leave too.” He casually said, not wanting to look like he was offering pity. He wasn't, he was just making sure to protect Anders like he had protected him before. Because no rivalry could excuse him if something happened to the omega while waiting outside for Justice.
Anders looked surprised, needed some seconds to understand the offer. Eventually he gave him an unsure smile and opened the door. And, because they both knew it would be too awkward to wait in companionable silence, Anders found a way to initiate some familiar yet harmless bickering.
“As long as you don't smoke under my nose. This thing is nasty you know, you should stop before you get addicted to it. Do you know how many people die of lungs cancer ?”
Fenris made a grand show of lighting up his second cigarette under the omega's protests.
Hello dears ! Hope you'll enjoy this new chapter, I hope I didn't make it too easy nor overly dramatic between those two
Furiously munching on his horribly delicious tiramisu, Anders was sulking. Fenris had brought the dessert to their little diner between friends at Hawke's house. And it was fucking great.
Why was it a bad thing ? Because the elf was now surrounded by everyone and being praised endlessly, telling him how talented he was and how much of a great chef he could make. Anders didn't like to think of himself as a jealous person. But he had to admit that his insecurities made him a bit resentful, sometimes. Like tonight. It wasn't just because of the tiramisu though. Fenris had found a way to infiltrate his personal life as well as his professional one by making friends with Hawke, Maker knew how. Well, Hawke loved to collect misfits and make friends with anyone he crossed path with so it was no wonder that he took a liking to Fenris in spite of what Anders said about the alpha. But what where the chances they ever met ? That he got invited to one of their cards night ? And that Fenris got along so well with most of his friends ? Somehow his sarcastic and grumpy self seemed to have charmed them...Well, Anders could admit that Fenris could be 'fun' (translate : could make some witty comments that made Anders snort despise himself) from time to time, when he wasn't staring at him or snapping back when Anders talked about omega rights and such. But was he so great that it only took him one month to be accepted in their inner circle ? If Hawke's loud laughter, Isabela's winks and even Aveline's smile were anything to go by then yes, apparently...Even if he knew they were his friends and got his back too, it made Anders nervous and anxious. Sometimes a little voice in the back of his head even whispered that he could be replaced, that his friends would feel better without his incessant rants about his clinic and omegas and Justice and cats...That they would prefer a witty, strong, talented alpha to sit with them than a whiny omega. He knew it was mostly his fucking anxiety talking, he knew Hawke truly liked him and so did Isabela and Varric and Merrill and even Aveline, yet he couldn't help it.
So, when he was around Fenris and his friends at the same time, when the alpha was being praised like this, when he was this friendly with others yet still so wary of Anders, when Anders was in this kind of dark mood after a long day...well Anders couldn't help but be ready to snap at Fenris if given the slightest opportunity. And this opportunity came.
“I don't know, I don't think anyone would hire me. I don't even have a diploma and I'm an alpha too..”
“Ah ! Since when being an alpha is a problem, even without a diploma?”
Isabela's glass of wine was close and for an instant he felt the strong need to steal it. He felt like some alcohol would be welcome to calm his nerves. The conversation promised to be choppy. He resisted, he had work tomorrow. Six sets of eyes turned on him. Every one in various state of interest or resignation. Aveline looked so done already. Fenris quirked an eyebrow, his trademark expression to share his growing irritation. Anders would had found it almost hot, the way these eyes narrowed and these full lips twisted, if he hadn't been so annoyed himself. And pragmatic about his chance to ever get along with Fenris enough for 'this'.
“What's your problem this time ?”
The omega crossed his arms, determined to give him a little lesson about privileges and jobs. Because what Fenris said was utter bullshit.
“I'm tired of listening to you playing modest and wondering if you have a chance to get hired ! Of course you'll get hired ! There's ton of restaurants hiring without any diploma and..”
“And since when me being an alpha makes it easier to get a job ?”
The sarcastic tone only served to fuel his annoyance. Let it be know that Fenris brought this on himself. It wasn't Anders overreacting, not at all.
“Oh for fuck's sakes Fenris open your eyes ! If an alpha and an omega ask for the same job guess who'll get hired no matter if the omega's more talented or has a better resume ?”
“You don't know that. You have no idea how hard it was for me to get a job as a bouncer.” The elf immediately snapped back, crossing his arms as well.
If this was a rant about races and castes Fenris wanted he was about to get served.
“That's because you're an elf, not an alpha ! I'll admit elves face more difficulties than humans or dwarves but an alpha elf will still have it easier than any omega ! Bouncer is seen as an 'alpha job' and its rare when an omega apply so they just use races to discriminate ! Cook on the other hand is supposed to be for everybody yet we all know that's a sweet lie and in most cases alphas will be privileged ! No matter their race I assure you ! So don't worry your pretty head about it, you'll have no problem getting a job !”
He was right, he knew he was right and he knew everyone here was conscious he was right. So why was Aveline facepalming and Varric shaking his head as Fenris growled ? This lack of support was totally unnerving and Anders was starting to feel the bundle of anxiety grows in his stomach. He hadn't wanted to ruin the night but Fenris was infuriating sometimes and he wouldn't listen and he always complained about irrelevant things when..when..
“Why does it makes you so angry ?! And stop playing the omega victim card, it can't be so bad, you have a job and you're a doctor aren't you ?!”
This made him freeze. Silence fell over the table. Voice stuck in his throath for a minute, he considered Fenris with wide eyes. How...How could this fucking asshole be so blind ? When he just arrived from Tevinter he could have understood but after three months among them, after what he saw at the party some weeks ago, after all the other examples of how omegas had all the right to call themselves victims he must have seen it with his own set of stubborn eyes...And to attack Anders on his own job was a low blow. He...He certainly didn't know but it was a sensitive subject for the omega and...And it was too much right know, in his actual state of mental distress.
He should have kept his mouth shut despise all the reasons he had to talk. He should keep his mouth shut right now. Before he said something low as well or before he cracked. He should just...take some time alone to breathe and push back his fucking anxiety in the back of his mind. He shouldn't have said anything, he was going to ruin the night and everyone would blame him for it even if Fenris was at fault too. Negative thoughts were swarming inside, too many of them to think clearly. He had to get out. But he had to say something before. Calmly, so people would think he was in control and wouldn't call after him out of pity. And so Fenris couldn't feel like he had won.
“Right. I have a fucking great job. That I got pretty easily. And I'm getting so well paid for it. All because I'm an omega. Of course.”
“What ? What did I say this time ?” Rolling his eyes, the elf gave others wondering glances.
“You know Fenris, maybe instead of assuming things are just like in Tevinter you should inform yourself first.”
“I'm going to get some air otherwise I'll become really nasty and I know you are all fucking tired of our arguments...Sorry for that.”
Actually a bit proud of how cold and collected he managed to sound, Anders stood up and left the dining room, making his way to the living room and its nice little porch. Once there, he leaned against the railing. Taking a deep breath, he mentally repeated some mantras. One he learned from his mom, one he learned from Karl, one he learned from Justice. And then one from Steven Universe because why not, Garnet was an amazing mentor and Here Comes A Thought a great song. It made him laugh shakily when he remembered the time Hawke had attempted to cosplay as her, the result had been atrocious. Great, just what he needed to chase his anger and pain, to replace it with light, positive feelings. Deep breathes. Peaceful thoughts. Rational thinking.
Fenris didn't know. Fenris was new here. Fenris had surely been through hard times from what he understood. He was a jerk but not totally on purpose. Probably. He had to be more patient, not take everything personally, take a step back, be mature and stronger than this, than him. And trust his friends more, not let his anxiety play with his mind and put his relationships at risk like that. He knew it, he knew it perfectly, he just needed to apply it and remain calm.
Something brushed his shoulder. He jumped and his arm hit something. A loud groan followed. As he made a prompt about-turn, he realized Fenris was massaging his chest, hunched on himself, his features twisted in pain.
Doctor's habits allowed him to scan the situation pretty quickly. He blanched when he realized he had landed a hit right into the solar plexus. And by the look of it, a pretty hard hit. No matter that they were fighting only a few minutes ago, Anders was a doctor at first, he immediately bended down to take a closer look. Wincing, he hesitated to touch the elf, knowing this one reluctance for physical contacts, worried he might get punched back.
“Oh shit ! Fuck ! You okay ?! Can you breathe ?”
This was such a sensible part of the anatomy, by hitting there you could damage so many organs...Anders wasn't extremely strong but he saw enough case of well placed kicks ending with dramatical consequences. Maker's pierced cock you could even kill someone this way.
“...I think so...”
Fenris sounded okay. Almost. Ok, good, no panicking, it hadn't been that hard, it just took the both of them by surprise, probably cut the alpha's breath for a second but nothing serious. He sighed in relief. And then whined the second after.
“Shit ! Now you're going to think I did this on purpose to make you pay for earlier !”
Fenris was certainly paranoid enough for this. Great. Now he'll have to see the elf accuse him of murder attempt before everyone and defend his case.
“You didn't ?” Fenris gave him a dubious look. He knew it.
“No you ass ! It was a reflex ! You surprised me ! I would never...I'm a doctor, I don't hurt people on purpose !”
Well not physically and not without a good reason at least. The mere thought outraged him.
“Physically you mean...verbally though...”
Was this fucking alpha a mind-reader now ? He groaned. Now that the panick had passed, annoyance was boiling again inside of him.
“Oh shut it you're as bad as me !”
Surprinsingly, Fenris didn't protest. Instead he heaved a sigh and leaned against the wall. Still massaging his chest, looking away, something akin to sheepishness painted on his face. It made Anders confused. He would have expected a snarky come back, not this...awkward silence. Eventually the elf looked at him, biting his lips, seeming troubled.
“I'll admit that tonight wasn't my most glorious moment..I...You were right earlier when you said I should inform myself before assuming things.”
...Well if one day someone had told him Fenris would recognize he was right about something, even something as trivial as which ice flavor was the best, he would have checked their temperature. Maybe he should check Fenris's.
“..Did I truly hurt you that bad ? Are you scared of me ? That's why you're being this nice ?”
Rolling his eyes, Fenris made him understand how utterly annoyed he was with his sarcasm. But answered anyway. This strange hint of sheepishness crawling back on his face. This, was extremely unusual. If he was to be fair Fenris had already admitted being wrong before but he had never looked...ashamed of it. He stated the truth, explained why he had acted as he did and then closed the subject. He was never this nervous or cautious about it.
“No, it's because they told me about...Your last job.”
Oh. So was he being pitied or something right now ?
“Oh...So you do listen to people except for me ? What ? Can't hear the truth from anyone but alphas and betas to accept it ?”
It wasn't truly a question, he knew Fenris did. He knew that even after seeing this alpha assaulting him at the party, he had needed to talk about it with Hawke and Aveline before being entirely convinced that, yes, this kind of agression often happened to omegas. And that alphas or male betas were the usual perpetrators. The pill must have been sour to swallow. Even though Anders knew there was something more than basic, blind hate there, it unnerved him greatly.
“I prefer to hear opinions from objective persons, not directly involved in the drama yes. And you didn't really talk. You just ranted as usual and stormed of without explaining yourself.”
As much as he hated to admit it, Fenris was partly right. He didn't give a clear explanation, he hadn't defended his case to the end. But he knew it wouldn't have sufficed to convince Fenris, far from it. And he was afraid that using his own experience as an example would make him look even more the traumatized victim, entirely focused on his own story and unable to be rational about things. It would have been wasted time.
“Tsss like you would have believed me anyway...”
He turned back toward the garden. Sitting down, he passed his legs through the railing's bars. His head resting against the cool metal as he leaned forward. Behind him he heard an irritated grunt. He could see Fenris's shadow, projected by the living room's lights, right beside him, on his right.
“You're impossible. Also how do you want me to take you seriously when you prefer to provoke me and yell at me instead of calmly explaining yourself ? Would you listen to me over our friends if I acted this way ?”
“So what ? You suddenly had a revelation and realized how stupid it is for you to worry about getting a job now ?” Anders scoffed.
Before such bad grace, Anders thought that Fenris would have just given up and left. After all he made his 'mea culpa'. He could go tell the others he 'nicely' admitted his wrongs but the 'insolent' omega had refused to be reasonnable and do the same. Needless to say he was shocked when Fenris sat down beside him. Not too close but still at arms reach. And he seemed calm, not as pissed off as Anders expected from him. Something bothered him, his frown made it clear, but it wasn't the omega for once.
“I would not go that far. May I remind you that I'm still an elf. And even if we seem to have more rights out of Tevinter...Well I still hear many people calling us 'rabbits'.”
Ah. This he couldn't deny. Even to annoy Fenris. He couldn't be that much of an asshole.
“...Yeah, you have a point.” He grudgingly said.
Fenris shifted a little, seeking a more comfortable position or unable to contain his nervousness, Anders didn't know.
“I apologize for being condescending earlier.”
Anders couldn't help but give him a puzzled look. Fenris apologized not one but two time and in less than five minutes. Should he alert the chantry ?
“...What did they tell you about me exactly ? You're really being awfully nice.”
A brief glance, hesitant and troubled, was sent his way. Anders waited expectantly.
“They told me that you went through difficult studies to get your doctor licence. That you spent a lot of money and efforts in order to be able to do your dream job. You even had a surgeon formation. And when you were finally hired in the Chantry's hospital, they made you a nurse. Because..”
The memories made anger boil in the omega's stomach, as always. No matter how long it had been and how many time he talked about it, the bitterness remained painfully present and prompt to arouse. So he couldn't help himself but cut Fenris, adopting a sickeningly sugary tone to mimick the numerous Chantry members who had tried to nail these prejudices into his head.
“Because you understand omegas are too emotional, it would be dangerous for them to operate when they are so sensitive. So much responsabilities would be hard to handle for someone like you...Nurse would fit you so much better, as an omega you have a motherly instinct perfectly fitted for the job.” He huffed angrily. “Don't get me wrong there's nothing wrong about being a nurse or being caring. But being given this job because of stupid stereotypes when you have the skills to do more...”
“...You were in the top ten of your promotion too from what I heard.” Fenris added, less annoyed than Anders would have expected after this short outburst.
“I was the third. But there was only six vacant jobs. As well as one omega for five alphas and four betas. One of those who took my place was mainly here due to relations and daddy's money. He was a jerk, liked to party and drank no matter if he had work the morning after. He was also a surgeon and he lost his four first patients on the operation table. And it wasn't due to bad luck or because the success's rate was low from what the assistants told me.”
To his relief, Fenris kept himself from questioning his objectivity. Instead he merely shook his head and glared in the void.
Anders wasn't fluent in tevene but knew this was the word Fenris used to curse. It reassured him, to know he was at least a bit indignant about this. His anger toward the elf had slowly calmed down, directed instead at the Chantry. He almost started to regret losing it earlier and screaming at the alpha when he saw how he patiently listened now. True it was mainly because the others told him his reasons and must have assured him they were valid, but even then...He couldn't truly hold a grudge against Fenris when he was trying to understand..
“Yep...Maker if it had been me...Do you realize that the Chantry prefer to comfort itself in its dear omegaphobic beliefs than hiring someone truly responsible to do a job where someone's life is at stake ?”
Fenris didn't answer, only glared harder, his hand curling into a fist.
“I didn't choose to work in a Free Clinic. Even if I like it now, I did it at first because I couldn't stand being limited as a nurse when I could do so much more to help. I prefer to be paid a misery but being able to fully use my skills to help...That's why I got angry at you, because I'm tired of alphas not realizing their privileges. And their privilege cost me my job. And four lives too.”
He knew it was risky to bring back this particular matter, to point again how Fenris didn't realize his chance, yet he was unable to swallow back these words. He hoped it wouldn't break the fragile truce they had now. To his relief Fenris heaved a sigh but didn't snap back. Closing his eyes, he pressed his forehead against the railing. He seemed to think hard about what to say next. Anders gave him the time, he didn't want to push his luck.
“..In Tevinter if you are an elf and an alpha you really can't hope to choose your job. Most of us are hired to do physical labor or being well trained guard dogs. And if you're an elf on top of that you barely get any consideration. In fact if you're an elf you're treated like dirt no matter your caste. They like to argue that slavery is over yet we remain slaves in all but in name. It is...still hard to realize I can hope for more here. Sometimes I can barely believe I get to study.”
“It can't be this bad..”
“Don't assume without informing yourself first. That's what you told me ?”
Moss green eyes opened and sent him a glare. Fenris's tone remained collected but the warning was clear. Anders forced himself to keep his mouth shut. The elf had patiently let him explain his point of view and accepted it. He should do as well. He had always imagined Tevinter to be a better place than what the Chantry told them, because when had the Chantry being sincere and didn't use its authority to manipulate peoples ? But Fenris was from here and he had apparently suffered here due to his alpha status. Just like he had suffered in Ferelden and the Free marches due to his omega status. He should listen to him.
Fenris nodded. Twisting his fingers, glancing away to avoid his eyes, he continued.
“I only really learned to read on Seheron you know ?”
“But that would be...”
“Two years ago only yes. I still struggle sometimes.”
Admitting this seemed to cost him a lot. Anders could imagine why. It was such a social stigma, such a great handicap. It must have been extremely difficult for Fenris to learn this late.
“But..But this is ridiculous, I mean, basic education is given to everyone here...” Anders stuttered.
“In Tevinter they find it useless to teach anything to stupid alphas. Not like we would know what to do with so much culture. It's also a way for some to keep control over us. I bet its hard to accept given your experience here but omegas are the privileged one there. They are to me what alphas are to you here. And if you need someone objective to confirm my words as well ask Varric, he spent some time there. He knows how it works.”
“This is truly fucked up. Fuck, no wonder you doubt your abilities to get hired...” Incredulous at this obvious lack of care for equality, Anders passed a tired hand through his hair.
Even in the rest of Thedas where omegas were mostly discriminated they still had access to basic education. Obviously they got less career opportunities but they could at least learn to read and count...What anyone needed to manage alone, to be a little autonomous. How could Tevinter leave such a large part of its population, alphas and elves, so ignorant in order to govern them more easily ? This wasn't against individual rights. This was truly fucked up.
“I'm sorry. For being so harsh. But the truth here is that most alphas are privileged and I'm sure you'll get hired without problems and...That's why I got angry at you, because I'm tired of alphas not realizing their privilege.” He was conscious he was repeating himself but he felt a bit lost.
“I didn't know I had those privileges. And I'll doubt them until I get hired easily, like you said I would. Given my past you can understand why.”
Yeah. Now Anders could see why Fenris had asserted he had no chance to get hired. He had every rights to believe it given where he came from. Anders felt guilty for denying his experience and yelling at him now. He still knew he was right in the current context, Fenris had all his chances here as an alpha, but he should have taken in account what people had nailed into his head while growing up. Exactly like the Chantry did with him.
“..Yeah, I guess I can.”
Fenris gave him a nod, looking almost grateful for finally understanding him. Anders gave a tentative smile. Maker. How could they fight so much on these matters when they could understand each other so well too ? It was truly maddening.
Fenris looked lost in thought and Anders hesitated to gently nudge him. He decided not to. They shared a moment, kind of, but nothing told him the alpha was ready to handle physical contacts. So instead he tried to reassure him the best he could, even if he sounded a bit awkward while doing so.
“Really don't worry about getting a job. You bring them this tiramisu and the only problem you'll have is choosing between the dozens of people begging to hire you.”
Anders smiled. The atmosphere had became almost companionable. It was...nice. He wished they could be like this more often instead of arguing. The omegas plight wasn't something he would stop fighting for but he wished they could both be less harsh when discussing it. He wished he could be more patient and understanding of Fenris's experience instead of reacting on impulses. And he wished Fenris could go past these experiences to objectively aprehend what was going on here and then understand Anders's ire better. If only people were this simple and rational.
“I mean it. Hawke better have left me some...” He added even if he trusted this big oaf to swallow the dish whole with the plate.
“Better to go back inside now then, while there's still hope...” Fenris answered, standing up.
He rubbed down his arms, a shiver coursing down his back. He must not be used to the weather, Anders thought. He heard Tevinter was a furnace even in winter. While the winds of Kirkwall could chill you to the bone at fall. They went back inside and Fenris let out an audible sigh. As they made their way back to the dining room, everyone turned toward them. They froze. Anders wondered if they should apologize for the drama or tell them they made a truce or anything to reassure them they weren't going to throw plates and forks at each other tonight.
Hawke was the first to shout, food falling from his mouth, ornating his beard. Anders cringed and he saw Fenris do as well. At least they agreed on something else, Hawke was alike his dear mabari when he ate.
“Oh thanks Maker you're both alive ! We were worried one of you pushed the other off of the balcony !”
The omega rolled his eyes.
“It's a porch Hawke, the worst that could happen if we fell from here would be spraining an ankle.”
“And if you were this worried why didn't you ckeck on us ?” Fenris asked while sitting down near Aveline. This one leaned toward him, whispering something and he shook his head.
Hawke looked suddenly extremely sheepish. And Anders suddenly realized there was no tiramisu left in the plate. Only a gigantic part before Hawke.
“...Well I couldn't leave this poor tiramisu alone could I ?” He whined, hesitantly bringing his spoon to his mouth.
“Hawke !!! No !! Give me this spoon !”
In a flash he was at his friend's side, grabbing Isabela's own spoon to steal as much dessert as possible. Hawke cried in outrage but Anders fought valiantly for each mouthful. He deserved it. He just had a talk with Fenris. It had been extremely exhausting for his poor heart. He needed some comfort food. He caught Fenris smiling at the scene. It made something twist in his guts for some reason. He choose to ignore it and elbow Hawke in the neck. This one lost balance and slided from his chair. The omega victoriously claimed it and achieved to devor the dessert.
“So if you weren't strangling each other what took you so long ?” Varric pointed from where he was amusedly observing the situation.
“We had a talk that's all.” Fenris supplied, managing to appear nonchalant despise the small twitch of his lips now and then.
Isabela leaned forward, resting her breast on the table, her cleveage more magnificent than ever. Her eyes gleaming with excitement.
“Hmmmm what kind of talk I wonder ? Oh I see, you did wrestle but not to death am I right ?”
Fenris's ears flushed and he looked suddenly really uncomfortable. Aveline immediately came to his rescue.
“Shut it whore. Or I'll wrestle your ass out of the room for real.”
“You sure you're not an omega rivaini ? 'cause you look constantly in heat.” Varric joked, making Isabela giggle.
Anders faked an outraged gasp.
“That was very reductive Varric, I am terribly disappointed in you !” He cried out even though he knew his friend wasn't truly prejudiced, not really.
It was just good to see Varric feign shame and send him a dashing smile as an apologize.
“Awww my apologies Blondie, I meant no offense ! I hope my monthly donations to the clinic will absolve me.”
“Add the money you shamelessly stole from me tonight with your dirty tricks and we'll be even !” Anders retorted, reminding everyone the messy card game they had before diner.
Merrill decided this was the moment to interfere, after silently observing the scene for some minutes. And, oh maker, was her intervention sweet.
“What dirty tricks is he talking about ? Oh was the sleeve thing one ? I saw you do it but I didn't realize it wasn't allowed so i'm afraid I did the same, I am terribly sorry !”
Everyone turned toward Varric. And no matter how dashing his smile was, he would have a hard time getting out of this one. Anders let out a loud laugh, patting Merril on the back as she worriedly asked if she said something bad. He merely thanked her for bringing everyone's attention on something else than his and Fenris's drama. The night was looking promising despise a choppy start.
Slowly getting there, Fenris is possibly showing the signs of another kind of sickness if you know what I mean
“Aw shit !”
Hawke contemplated his soiled pants with a pout. But no one else was as upset or surprised. Given the refinement with which he drank and ate, Hawke always ended up with a whole set of various stains on his clothes or skin. This time he had choked on his beer, spreading the content of his mouth and the bottle on himself.
They were all gathered in Anders's garden. Well, in the clinic's garden more like it. Nestled behind the clinic, it was a nice little patch of grass where one tree had grown. At the back of this garden was a small outbuilding where Anders lived. Justice owned the first floor of the clinic and allowed Anders to stay here as long as he worked there. Fenris had never came here before, it was rare for Anders to invite them over, but apparently they were celebrating something. Maybe a big donation for the clinic or something alike, Fenris couldn't remember after his fourth glass of wine. It was a surprisingly cool night for the season, the winter night was usually dreadful in Kirkwall but they had only needed a bit of alcohol and a nice fire to get comfy. Some were even only wearing shirts. Anders had chastised them, warning that he wouldn't heal them if they caught a cold. Nobody believed him of course.
“Really Hawke, do we need to give you a bib at your age ?” Anders smirked, handing him a napkin.
Hawke tried his best to sponge it but it was a lost battle. An enormous wet stain had spread on his pants. He whined pitifully.
“That's Bela's fault for making me laugh, she was telling me about this bet she had going on aboof ! Bela ! That hurts !”
The woman whistled innocently while Garrett massaged his ribs. Fenris shook his head at the scene.
“About what ?” Anders asked, a suspicious glint in his eyes.
Fenris caught the brief threatening glare Isabela sent Hawke's way. His own eyes narrowed with mistrust.
“Nothing ! Can't remember ! Haha !” Hawke's laugh was too loud and forced yet no one pointed it. They just gave him blasé looks, all too used to Hawke's unability to lie.
“Good, nobody wants to know what the whore bet on.” Aveline interfered from her sit by the fire.
Donnic, her fiancé, was here as well. He had managed to take the day off, which was a rare occurrence. They both worked as police officers, Aveline being in charge of their unit and Donnic her second in command, and were always very busy. Aveline liked to have one of them being around to keep an eye on their coworkers, just in case. But from time to time they allowed themselves a free day to spend together. Fenris had gotten along extremely easily with Donnic, the man was quiet most of the time, prefering to observe than participate, yet he also owned a nice sens of humour and a kind mind.
“Aww manhands you're just pouting 'cause I don't include you in my secrets ?” Isabela threw herself on Aveline's lap, pinching her cheeks playfully.
She was immediately sent to the floor with a yelp. Too drunk to dodge the attack with her usual agility.
“I'm quite glad you don't include me in anything related to your deviant mind.” Aveline brushed her lap with a haugthy smirk. Isabela poked her tongue's out.
If you didn't know these women you could think they truly despised each other and mocked the other mercilessly. But a more observant person would see the small signs of fondness and that they both enjoyed this game as long as it stayed one. But of course they would never admit it and nobody dared to point it either.
“Peace, peace, we already have Broody and Blondie to whisper sweet words at each other.” Varric laughed from behind his glass.
“You're being unfair Varric it's been one week since our last argument.” Anders pouted, seeking Fenris's eyes for support.
“That's because it's been one week since you last saw each other. We can't have you in the same room for too long, I bet you could even argue about which ice cream flavor is the best.”
Fenris couldn't argue with that. But, alike Isabela and Aveline, he felt like it became more of a game or a habit than a true enmity. Some subjects still irked him, disturbed him enough to seriously snap at Anders. But most of the time it was a play of cat and mouse, one teased, the other retorted something witty, they drove the others a bit mad. Like Isabela and Aveline there were underlying sign of...appreciation, but they would certainly not admit it. Fenris found that he quite liked this routine, it kept his tongue sharp and distracted him. Also Anders had a nice smirk. And inventive curses. And pretty eyes that gleamed like fire whenever they started to argue. He frowned. He chased the thought with one more gulp of wine.
And answered to Varric's provocation of course. They couldn't deprive their audience of their usual banters.
“Amaretto cherry.” Anders immediately tackled back, as expected.
Fenris quirked an eyebrow.
The omega pointed an accusing finger at him, defying him to say one more word.
“I bet you never tasted it so no judging ! Also it's one of the rare alcoholic thing I can get without having Justice on my case for one year.”
A snort escaped him.
“Sometimes I wonder if he's your colleague or your daddy.”
He knew he didn't choose his words wisely when a depraved moan passed through Isabela's lips. This one was lying on the floor, head on Merrill's lap as this one gently scratched her scalp. The little elf looked drowsy with all the alcohol she chugged down.
“Hmmmm I would love to have Justice as a daddy...”
Merrill giggled and that was a sign she was truly drunk if she started to pick on dirty things. Everyone else made various noises of disgust or surprise. Isabela smiled up at the elf, thanking her for the support.
“And I bet I would love to see you being spanked in a very parental and non sexual way. Would serve you good.” Aveline retorted, a blush crawling on her cheeks as she mentionned the spanking. Donnic hid a chuckle.
It was a matter of second before Isabela sat up with a devious smile on her lips.
“Am I perceiving some voyeuristic kink here ?”
Hawke, who started to choke anew on his drink, coughed louder than ever. Isabela rolled her eyes at him.
“Oh Hawke come on handsome, dare to say you never had fantaisies about this dark perfect skin, this severe scowl looking down at you, these rough hands pushing you to the examination table and...”
Anders threw his hands before him, like a defensive wall. His face twisted in horror, he violently shook his head.
“Stooooop ! I am working with this man and I really don't need to imagine him like this ! Nope ! Nope, nope, nope !” He chanted, pitch getting higher as he repeated the word a dozen of times.
Fenris found the whole reaction a bit exagerated but somehow amusing. He continued to nurse his glass, waiting for Isabela's inevitable teasing.
“Really Anders ? You never practised your...prostate check on each other ?”
Anders positively shrieked. Fenris snorted in his glass. This man was ridiculous. Endearingly ridiculous. He frowned again. Took one more gulp.
“Bela I love you but I swear I'll unleash Pounce on you if you don't stop soon.” Anders whined in his sleeves, hiding his face behind these.
Aveline patted his forearm comfortingly.
“I will back up the cat.”
A grateful smile was thrown her way. As if the act had been repeated, Pounce made his entrance, climbing up the garden's wall and mewling at them. It prompted a general hilarity and Isabela faked terror as she crawled behind Merrill to take refuge. The cat didn't bother with their antics and instead made his lazy way to Merrill's lap. This one immediately cooed at him while Isabela continued to act like a frightened damsel in distress, begging Merrill, her chivalrous knight, to fend off the beast. Pounce rolled on his back and presented his belly.
“Not to sound whiny but wet jeans feels kind of gross. Can I borrow you something Anders ?”
They had almost forgotten Hawke's problem with the whole drama about Isabela's daddy kinks. The poor man must feel gross and cold by now. Anders kindly smiled at him.
With a huge grin Hawke skipped to Anders's small house. Fenris wondered what kind of pants could fit this oversized mabari pup in Anders's wardrobe. The omega was long and lean where Hawke was almost buffier than a qunari, legs included. So when he returned with a long, red and white, floral skirt, Fenris couldn't help but pause, taken aback. It...somehow fitted the beta but it still was an unusual sight. Varric chukled lightly, Aveline didn't appear fazed, Merrill clapped her hands approvingly, Anders had a content smile on his lips. And Isabela...
“Ooooooooh I hope you had to take off you wet panties too handsome cause I love to imagine you naked under this !” She practically drooled on Hawke, wiggling her eyebrows at the man who took a pose, bathing in the attention.
“I'll show you later if you're nice.” He sent a kiss her way, she caught it and slided it inbetween her breasts with a sultry wink.
Fenris, as for him, was still nonplussed by this outfit.
“Is that a skirt ?” The words escaped his mouth.
Hawke twirled on himself with a goofy smile, apparently quite proud of his appearance.
“Yes ! Beautiful isn't it ?! Anders totally converted me ! Though I wear mines at home and at the beach mostly.”
“Are you shocked Fenris ?”
His confusion must not have been as conceited as he had thought for Anders was staring at him. Waiting for his answer. Oh did Fenris knew his look. It wasn't one he got before a playful banter, a nice game of teasing. It was one Anders adopted when the issue was important to him. He knew that one wrong word could earn him a real lecture right now and, kaffas, he wasn't in a mood for a serious argument. So, despise the fact that his mind wasn't as clear as usual thanks to the wine, he forced himself to choose his answer carefully and weight his words. The atmosphere had been nice until then, no need to bring drama to the party.
“No. Just surprised. This is unusual to see betas or alphas in this kind of outfit in Tevinter.”
“Well here too. Does it bother you ?” Anders's eyes narrowed a little, anticipating the answer.
Fenris sighed internally, he wouldn't give him the pleasure to rant tonight.
“I don't really care. Not my business what Hawke wants to wear.”
It seemed to satisfy the omega well enough. Humming thoughtfully, he reported his attention on Hawke. One month ago he may have insisted until Fenris snapped but they both learnt to..temper their frequent need to confront each other. They tried to be more reasonable, patient, collected. Wasn't always easy but at least they made efforts.
He took another gulp. Shifted on his seat. Kaffas he needed to pee. Or maybe was he seeking an excuse to have some time alone. They were a little group but long and loud social interactions, as well as Anders's scrutinity, still tired him out quickly. Solitude and calm were a regular need for him, one he couldn't deny himself too often. Especially now that he was free to choose what to do of his time.
“Where's the bathroom ?”
Anders instantly pointed his house and made a few gestures to illustrate his words. Fenris found it amusing how the omega often talked as much with his body than with his mouth.
“On your right there will be a corridor. At the end of the corridor, the door right in front of you.”
Fenris nodded and followed the instructions. As he passed the door, he observed the surrounding. He never saw where Anders lived and he had to admit it wasn't what he imagined. In Tevinter most omegas owned comfortable houses and expensive furnitures. Of course as someone working in a free clinic and living in a country where omegas were less...privileged, he didn't expect Anders to revel in the same luxury. But he had not expected the furnitures to be so rustic and sparse. Like the clinic in fact. On the right, beside the corridor, there was a small kitchen. A counter separated it from what was surely the living room. Which consisted of a worn out couch pushed against the counter, a damaged coffee table, a shelf and an old tv. On the right again, near the door, was a huge cat tree and several cushions. The sole comfortable thing in the room. He sighed. How unsurprising of Anders. He had tried to make the whole thing more lively with colored stuff : photos, figurines, cat related decoration...But it couldn't hide the cracks on the tiled floor nor the damaged wallpaper. And it was so cold too...
He continued his exploration in the bathroom. Toilets, a shower with a flimsy looking door, a small sink with a mirror. As sparse. As disconcerting. Like he previously said he hadn't expected extreme wealth but...he hadn't expected such a humble home either. He somehow imagined his house to be as...flashy as its owner. Whatever, he wasn't here to judge. He relieved himself and decided to go back to the party. Somehow he needed solitude less than leaving the house, it made him feel a bit uneasy. And it was really cold, didn't Anders turn on the heating system ? He scoffed to himself. Maybe he didn't even had one. The fool.
As he passed the door giving access to the bedroom, he noticed the light. Apparently Hawke hadn't bothered to turn it off after picking and putting on his skirt. Fenris tsked, who was going to pay the electricity bill ? Sometimes his friend's carelessness was quite annoying. As he searched for the light switch, his eyes were drawn to something. Various skirts thrown around the bed. He frowned. The rest of Anders's clothes were neatly put away on a shelf. Hawke must have tried on a few skirts and left them here. It made Fenris frown before this obvious lack of consideration. As he inconsciously inspected the skirt, his eyes stopped on one. Plain, black, it looked soft and light yet the fabric wasn't transparent. Simple and elegant. Fenris found himself inexplicably fascinated even if he would later blame it on the alcohol. Without thinking, he approached it. Almost revently picked up the cloth. From the corner of his eyes he saw something, a mirror, high enough to reflect his whole body, from feet to head. And, for no other reason than a sudden and strange urge, he brought the skirt before him. He didn't dare to put it on but he couldn't resist taking a peek at...how he would look in this kind of outfit. He found himself appreciating the view more than what he would have expected. It was such a weird thing, imagining himself wearing something so unfit of an alpha, yet it felt...empowering. It gave him a pleasant thrill down his spine.
“Black fits you well but I think some green would bring out your eyes.”
He almost dropped the cloth. Anders was leaning against the doorframe, smiling lazily at him. The alpha was confused, he didn't hear him approach, for him who was always so alert it was a shock. Maybe he really had too much alcohol. The fact that he allowed himself to enter Anders's bedroom, touched his things and went as far as imagining himself in one of his skirt proved he had one too many drink too. He shouldn't have, it was a private place and it was another person's things, Fenris would have been irritated if someone went through his stuff without permission. Plus the fact that it was an omega catching him red handed while he considered the possibility to wear a skirt made some memories surface. Of course he wouldn't get punished for this here, Anders had no right and he wasn't like that, wasn't a tevene omega. Yet an uncontrolable sense of apprehension twisted his guts for a moment.
“I'm sorry...I...I shouldn't have gone through your things..” He stuttered, failing to regain his composure, still taken aback by the omega's sudden appearance.
Anders didn't seem this concerned about his presence in the room. Nor by the skirt in his hands.
“Don't sweat it, I'm used to it with Hawke and Bela, I learnt to hide the important stuff a long time ago.”
“I can imagine...”
Seeing how easily and carelessly Hawke intruded in the room and made a mess, it must happen a lot.
Anders remained calm, scrutinizing him with an undecipherable gaze. Fenris shifted on his feets, unsure of what to do with the cloth and himself. Eventually he put it back on the bed, folding it carefully though.
“I meant it by the way. It fits you.” Anders insisted.
A strange rush of heat coursed through his chest and heated his ears. Embarassment surely.
“...Thanks...” He quietly replied.
“I'm surprised though, after what you said about alphas not wearing this kind of outfit in Tevinter.”
Turning toward Anders, he noticed the slight frown painting his face, betraying his confusion.
“More like we're not allowed to.” He supplied, shrugging.
It was more a question than a mere sound of surprise, an invitation to continue his explanation. Fenris found himself unable not to take the opportunity. The wine made him talkative.
“It's an omega outfit, it's a sign of wealth and nobility. Too regal for a lowly alpha. And totally forbidden for an elf.”
Anders's confusion turned into disappointment. Not directed at Fenris though, that much the elf could tell and it relieved him. Like he said earlier, he wasn't seeking to fight, not tonight.
“Oh. Here skirts and dresses are considered to be women or omega's outfit too. But instead it's associated to weakness, femininity, fragility...Not really valorized characteristics in our society. If a male beta or alpha wore one most people would find it ridiculous, humiliating even.”
This wasn't what he expected. He had noticed a difference of outfits similar to Tevinter, female betas and omegas being the only one to sport dresses and skirts, but he had never realized that it wasn't to emphasize a greater status. It did accentuate to which caste belonged a person but omegas didn't preen in their robes like tevene alti did. They didn't look down at alphas and betas while walking in their finest garments. This realization was quite disconcerting. He looked down at the skirt, frowning.
“I find it almost fascinating, how the norms here are the perfect opposites of Tevinter ones. It's like living in a deformed mirror. You find the same elements, the same castes of people and yet every code is bended, every rule is the contrary of what I grew up with.” He mumbled, more to himself than to Anders even though the omega heard every word.
After a moment of silence, the later sighed and took one careful step toward Fenris.
“...Do you want to keep the skirt ? I don't wear this one much, I prefer colors and its a bit too short.”
“...I don't know...I'm not sure...”
Could he ? He was fascinated by the cloth and wary at the same time. Old rules burnt deep onto his mind and behavior told him he had no right. At this thought the urge to take it only grew stronger. Something in him told him to spit on what was teached to him and do as he liked. He was free after all. But on the other side it felt strange, to dress as the ones who made his life hell. He didn't want the provocation to be confused with a twisted admiration or something. Maybe was he thinking too much, maybe was he complicating things uselessly...Still he felt unsure.
“You're not sure because of what I told you ?” Anders sounded bothered, even a little guilty maybe.
Fenris shook his head tiredly. A growing headache was making his mind spin a bit.
“No it's just...Here I can do so many things that were forbidden for someone like me in Tevinter. And I generally enjoy it. Wearing a skirt would be one more thing to add to the list. Even if it's also badly seen there for different reasons, I don't think it would stop me. I don't know. I like the provocation but I'm hesitant about adopting the codes of those who oppressed me.”
He hoped he managed to convey his feelings clearly, he didn't feel like repeating himself. He massaged his temples.
“I understand I think.”
Finally, Fenris gathered the will to look up and meet Anders's eyes. This one seemed thoughtful yet smiled kindly at him.
“No ranting about omegas not being oppressors here ?”
It made the man roll his eyes. But instead of the snarky comeback Fenris expected, he heaved a sigh and sat on the bed. Staring at him with exhaustion.
“Nah...I'm a bit tired of ranting about this when we know we both have our reasons to think the way we do. I see where you come from and why you're wary of omegas. And I do hope you see why I'm wary of alphas. This is a question of context and experiences and...It's pretty pointless to compare two things that can't really be compared right ?”
He hopefully stared at him, a silent plead for truce and understanding. And approval above all things. Fenris noticed the dark shadows and the way his jaw tensed, fighting back a yawn. Anders looked really tired right now and maybe just not because of his demanding work. Fenris couldn't find it in him to disagree. Normally he would maybe have pointed a flaw in this logic but...no Anders was right they should call it a truce, it was better for both of them, they couldn't keep playing with the other's wounds like this, not when they personally knew how painful it could be. They should be able to understand.
“I do understand your point of view. Or I try at least. It's not easy getting rid of everything I grew up with and accept another reality. It's still hard for me sometimes to hear you complain about how omegas are treated when I see how they ruled in Tevinter.”
Anders had a sad smile.
“You know I don't want a second Tevinter I just want a society where omegas are treated equally. Where you're not judged based on what you have between your legs and what kind of pherormones you can emit. Or because of your race. And where alphas can wear skirts without being mocked too.”
It sounded...fair, reasonable, good. Something he could agree with despise his experiences. Something he could support if it didn't mean sacrifing others rights to gain some. He..he trusted Anders not to. For now at least.
Anders nodded, his smile losing its sorrow, eyes brightening a bit.
“..So do you want to keep the skirt ?” He shyly asked anew, picking the cloth and presenting it to him.
It was tempting but...he prefered to make a decision once his mind clear. Not pressured, not stressed. Also he didn't want to take something from Anders when the man already seemed to have so little for himself. Maybe he would take a look at the showcases while walking downtown next time, while going back from work.
Work. It made him think about this neat little rivain place he got a job interview at. It felt somehow familiar, rivaini sharing the love of good spices and strong encents with tevenes but the ressemblance stopped at that fortunately. The decoration was warm, the owner cheerful but not overwhelming, the pay promised to be good. They didn't even ask for his past experiences, only tasted the curry he had quickly cooked and grinned. It had been that easy. If he got hired Anders would wear a smug smile for weeks. 'Told you so' he would chant, not resentful hopefully but still a bit mocking. It made him smile somehow.
“I'll think about it.” He told Anders.
This one nodded before jumping on his feet and heading toward the door.
“Good. Now let's go back before Isabela imagine us doing saucy things again. Maker if she knew there was skirts involved she would squeal and roll on the floor.”
Fenris snorted. And had to catch himself against the wall when he tripped on his own feet. Anders snickered and told him with his best doctor voice that the party was over for him.
It feels a bit messy and rushed just like the best chapter but I can't find a way to make it more satisfying so I'll post it anyway. I want to write nicer chapter and topics now
“Where is he ?”
Panting a little, he frowned at Hawke, pressing this one to give an answer. The large man was biting on his lower lip, looking distressed and lost.
Anders had received his alarmed call some minutes after getting out of bed. He had never been a grouchy person in the morning but had been reluctant to answer the call nonetheless, expecting to hear an urgent demand that couldn't wait for him to finish his breakfast in peace. He hadn't been disappointed. Yet he couldn't hold it against Hawke, his panicked tone when he told him that there was something wrong with Fenris made the tiredness become worry. He quickly explained that, since Fenris told him he couldn't come to card night because his rut started, he had wanted to come over to check on him and propose to make some grocery shopping so he wouldn't have to go out. He found him in a pitiful state, so pitiful that Hawke had panicked, calling his favorite doctor to check if it was normal. Because for all the times he had seen Carver going into rut, he had never seemed this pained and stressed.
In a normal case Anders would have told him that every alpha had their way to react to ruts and some soothing pills would surely calm him down. But it was Fenris they talked about. Fenris who had suppressed his last ruts in order to fix his cycle until the ruts naturally happened only four times a year. Fenris who was experiencing his first rut in four months. Fenris who maybe had some trauma linked to his ruts, who got abnormally weak during this time and who was surely in a terrible emotional and physical state right now. Fenris who was his patient and...a friend. He thought. Anyway. He had to get there and make sure he was fine and Hawke was just overreacting. Justice had clicked his tongue, telling him they had other patients with maybe more urgent problems, but had let him borrow the car. It was a matter of minutes before Anders pulled in front of Fenris's building and jumped out of the vehicle.
“In his bedroom, sorry I know you were probably working or just waking up but he panicked so I panicked and didn't know what to do and...”
Putting a firm hand on his shoulder sufficed to make the man shut up, even though Anders could see he was fighting to keep the words behind his teeth, his face twisting with anxiety.
“Calm down Hawke, it's okay.”
The man nodded and led him inside, pointing the door apparently opening on Fenris's bedroom. The appartment was very nice if maybe a bit messy. It was large, big windows letting the light flood the room and the furnitures looked modern and comfy. A really nice appartment, nicer than what someone could afford while working in a restaurant and paying for college classes maybe. But Anders chased the thought, he wasn't here to admire the gigantic selectional sofa (it looked so thick and comfy though, it probably was nicer to sleep on this than in his own bed). Walking to the bedroom's door, a whining Hawke on his heels, he took a deep breath. Given the circumstances he didn't expect this to go smoothly, it wouldn't be a surprise if Fenris was in a rotten mood. Gently he knocked on the wooden door. Three times. With large pauses in between so it wouldn't sound too agressive. He didn't want to stress the alpha even more than he might be.
The answer was immediate, accompanied by a growl.
“I told you not to call him !”
Hawke huffed, looking a bit guilty but determined to stand his ground nonetheless.
“Well sorry but even though I would wear the uniform nicely I am not a nurse ! I don't know a thing about ruts and how to handle them !”
Giving him a sign to lower his voice, Anders put his hand on the knob yet didn't open.
“Fenris can I come in ?” He prefered to ask for permission, as he didn't want for Fenris to feel cornered, but he feared the answer.
As he expected. A pained groan reached his ears and he winced slightly, apparently this rut wasn't going well. Though Fenris should be stronger after his four months rest, his body probably stocked enough energy to endure this rut better than the previous ones.
“Okay. Why not ?” He kept an even, soothing tone, trying to use diplomacy. He wouldn't go in against Fenris will unless he had no other choice. The alpha had placed his trust in him when it came to these situation, he couldn't betray it.
“Because you're an omega !”
Right. Of course. He wasn't even bitter about it right now, just blasé.
“Well observed ! But I took scents suppressants and Garrett is here.”
He also took some pills to prevent his body to respond to the rut, just in case. He was usually great at handling this, always in control of his physical reactions, able to act professionnally no matter what. But you never knew, he would not take the risk and end up scaring Fenris with a growing erection. Even if it absolutely didn't mean he would jump on the alpha, he was rational and respectful enough to not use a biological reaction as an excuse, Fenris would surely feel pressured by this. And it was perfectly understandable when you were vulnerable like this.
“You trust Garret right ?” He insisted, continuing to use a patient voice.
“Not since he brought you here !” Fenris spat, obviously angry.
“I'm sorry but I was really worried and..” Hawke cried out, distressed and regretting 'betraying' his friend like this.
Anders heard some coughing and shushed Hawke with an imperious finger. From the other side of the door, he could hear Fenris breathing laboriously. Shit. He needed to get in this room. He hesitated...and decided to try reasoning with Fenris one last time.
“Fenris what's wrong ? Please. Let me come in. You remember your last rut ? And your visits at the clinic ? I helped you. I didn't touch you without permission. I respected your boundaries. I won't do anything you don't want me to do.”
His voice was soft but he tried not to sound like he was lecturing Fenris. He didn't want to make him feel like a petulant child, being condescending would just be stupid and cruel given his state. And counter productive. First Fenris hated being taken for an idiot. Second he wouldn't appreciate if Anders sounded like he was denying his fear, like if there was no reason for it to exist, because apparently past experiences proved him this fear was valid. Past experiences may have instilled this fear.
“My ruts force me to do things I don't desire sometimes..”
Fenris sounded hesitant, like if the words reached him, awaking his rationnality. Yet he was testing Anders, not ready to let him in this easily, not unless he gave a satisfying answer, a reassuring one. Anders choose his next words cautiously.
“I know Fenris. I'm a doctor, I know how this works. I dealt with alphas and ruts many times and I always stayed professional and respectful. I know how a rut can push an alpha to make advance he wouldn't have made while sober, I know these advances have to be refused because it would be taking advantage of your state. Please Fenris. You know you can trust me. You trusted me before and nothing happened, I helped you didn't I ?”
Silence. He prayed to Andraste, mentally swearing not to use the 'Maker's glory', this new dildo he just bought, for a month if this worked.
Fuck. As glad as he was that Fenris saw reason, he really liked this dildo. With a shake of his head he chased these lusty thoughts, they had no place in this situation.
Preparing himself to face a wary and anxious elf, he took a deep breath and opened the door. And was immediately smothered by the heat and the scents in which the room bathed. Andraste's nipple rings but it was impossible to breathe and cool down here, no wonder Fenris panted like a water deprived dog. Talking about Fenris, this one was in his bed, gathering the covers around him as if they were a defensive walls. He was pale, sweaty and his eyes were hazy. He looked like a mess.
“What do you want ?” He groaned, uselessly trying to contain a shudder when Anders took a step forward.
Anders raised his hands in a peaceful gesture.
“Only to help. Maker you can't breathe in here. I'm going to open the windows okay ?”
Some seconds of thinking were needed before Fenris slowly nodded. The omega felt his watchful stare on his back as he walked to the windows. They were incredibly large, in fact one wall was essentially made of glass with a balcony on top of that. Fortunately there seemed to be an open outlook, the opposite building not high enough to reach this level. Anders could enjoy the luminosity this provided but being careful about your every move while in your own bedroom because neighbors could see you would be quite annoying. He turned on his heels and looked around. This room was spacious too. The bed in which Fenris rested seemed pleasant, with red covers and thick pillows. The furnitures were few but lustrous, made of dark wood. No decorations on the walls though, only some books piled by the nighstand.
He focused back on Fenris. The elf was still having trouble calming down and he blinked a lot, as if he had trouble staying conscious or in control. Anders remained by the windows. For now. Once the alpha would be more relaxed he would progressively approach so he could take a closer look. The fresh winter air filled the room, caressing their skins and chasing the overwhelming scents away. Progressively, Fenris seemed to cool down until his breathing sounded more even and he ceased to sweat bullets.
“Okay now tell me what's wrong please.” He asked, still using his patient, soothing voice.
Fenris frowned at him.
“You're too gentle, I don't like it.”
“Fine you stink like a skunk and you look like total shit. Why that ?” Anders adopted his best deadpan look. There was no heat in his voice though, he just indulged Fenris. If acting like an ass reassured him who was he to refuse ?
To his surprise Fenris actually smirked. Before his mouth twisted again in a pained scowl. He would have thought it would have angered the alpha, his brain had lectured his mouth the minute the words came out as it was counter productive and non professional. But apparently it really did reassure the elf. What a weirdo. Anders almost let a fond smile spread on his lips. Fenris closed his eyes a minute, pressing his back against the high headboard. He looked extremely distressed, exhausted.
“Don't know...I just...It's weird to experience this again after so long and...it makes things come up in my mind...I don't feel well.”
“Physically or mentally ?” Anders investigated.
One careful step toward the bed. Fenris didn't seem fazed. With relief, he took another one. The elf passed a heavy hand on his face, his fingers pressed his eyes for a moment.
“Both...Both, venhedis, I feel too hot, everything is too much to handle and I fucking hate that I can't keep control over my fucking body.”
Lip caught between his teeth, Anders felt a surge of empathy toward the alpha. He knew how terrible it could be, not having control over yourself or the situation. He understood his distress on a personal level.
“I know it's not easy...”
“How the fuck can you know ?!”
The outburst took him by surprise. Fenris was still hiding behind his hand, fingers massaging the crease between his eyebrows. He had spitted the words so harshly that Anders stood speechless for a minute and considered taking a step back. But in the end he took a determined stance and kept going on.
“My heats aren't nice either.”
“As bad as this ?”
A weak laugh, incredulous, escaped his lips. Fenris finally looked at him, his eyes two hard green orbs. He was waiting for an answer but everything told Anders that it was in his best interest not to spend too much time explaining how his heat usually went. The elf had no patience to compare their experiences today. Understandable. You can always tell someone there's worst situation than their elsewhere but it wouldn't fix their problem, just minimize it and manage to annoy them by doing so.
“No. But they can be a bitch to handle sometimes. And I experience the same effects even if I admit they don't affect me as badly. But we're not here to talk about me. I asked how you felt mentally speaking. It's important for me to know, you seem really anxious, it might aggravate your symptoms. So ?”
The anger welling up in Fenris's eyes seemed to dry up a little. But he was still extremely tense and on his guards. He coughed anew, his chest rising faster.
“I...I don't know I'm confused and I can't help but think about my previous ruts and with so much persons in the house with me it stress me out and I keep remembering..Kaffas...”
He bent forward as he coughed his lungs out. Breathing becoming erratic, body shaken with spasms, Fenris was unable to continue his explanations. As the coughing didn't lessen, Anders grew worried and approached. Fenris was taking deep breath but his growing anxiety was palpable.
“Fenris ? Fenris ? Hey..Fenris calm down.”
Wincing, he tried to touch the elf's leg. To ground him, make him react, provide him some support. Through the thick cover though, so it would be less aggressive. He was afraid a direct physical contact would ruin the fragile trust they had taken time to build. The reaction was immediate, as soon as Anders's hand pressed the sheets Fenris startled, drawing back his legs toward his chest.
“Don't touch me !” He cried out, equally furious and terrified.
Hawke, who had stayed near the door, jumped too. His scent betrayed his horror at seeing his friend like this and at being unable to help. Fenris looked up from behind his knees. His breaths still uneven but strangely calming down after the scream. His eyes met Anders's. Despite how hard the elf tried to hold them back, he could see the tears filling them.
“Don't touch me ! Please...don't...”
More than the anger, it was the raw fear present in his voice and eyes that made Anders freeze. It was like the cry of a wounded animal. No worst. It sounded exactly like a victim knowing their fate, anticipating something they were used to and imploring their torturer to take pity on them. Anders knew the tone. Heard it enough times. And so he crawled back at the end of the bed, far from the alpha, giving him space and air.
“Okay. I won't touch you, I promise. Look, hands here. But you need to calm down. Here.”
Slowly, so Fenris could anticipate his moves and clearly see what he was doing, he reached for his bag. Inside, his hand found the round, cold contour of a small stick filled with liquid. He showed it to Fenris and the elf gave him a dubious look.
“It's essential oils. Lavender mainly. Just apply some on your temples and your neck, it should appease you. Look, not dangerous, I swear.”
To prove himself, he smeared the thing onto his own face. He inhaled the scent. Well, he kind of needed some too, couldn't be bad to apply some stress reliever in this delicate situation. He put the stick on the cover, just between them. Fenris eyed the thing like it was maybe some explosive device ready to burst at his contact. He took a look at Anders, observing him a moment, probably watching for any after effects proving that the stick was indeed dangerous. Eventually, he looked reassured and reached for it. He applied only a little on both his temples and waited. After five endless minutes his frown lessened and an audible sigh passed his lips. He applied a bit more. Then hesitantly gave Anders a thankful glance.
“...Thanks.” His appeasment passed through his voice, this one less strained, less breathy.
The omega send him a peaceful smile, still wary but relieved to see Fenris calming down, able to think rationnally and not let the anxiety take over him.
A timid smile appeared on the alpha's face.
“...Thanks for taking scents suppressants too...Hawke may be a beta but he reeks, it's overwhelming.” He added, almost shy in his verbal jab, as if he wanted to go back to his usual self but was unsure about how to do it.
“Hey ! I'm right here !” Their friend cried out in outrage, even if Anders could hear his relief at seeing Fenris acting more like himself.
The omega shook his head with an amused smile. He remained at the end of the bed, unsure if Fenris was good enough to handle more proximity. He seemed better but..he should stay careful, they didn't want any more panic crisis did they ?
“Do you want something else ? Anything that would make you feel better ?” He asked, ignoring Hawke's indignant cries to focus on the elf.
This one shrugged. His wince showed how much this small move cost him, his rut and the anxiety had probably drained most of his energy.
“No idea..” He sighed, utterly exhausted.
“I can make you some tea ?” The omega suggested. A warm soothing drink would do good to his body and mind both. Plus there was tons of tea able to fix various problems and states.
“I only have coffee...”
Yep, no good. Exactly what he should not drink right now. Anders digged in his bag once again, huffing as he searched for two specific boxes. Once found, he put them on the bed, exposing them to Fenris's sight. This one's eyes widened a little and it was obvious he wasn't expecting that.
“Chamomile or verbena ?”
Fenris seemed unsure, maybe he didn't know what they tasted like of what their effects were.
“They're both stress reliever though Chamomile is more effective.”
“Chamomile ?” The alpha choose without great conviction.
Behind him, Hawke whistled.
“You came completely prepared.” He appraised, carefully stepping closer and taking a look at the two boxes.
“I'm a doctor, it's my job.” He said casually even though he was internally reveling in the compliment.
Hawke volunteered to make the tea and Anders thanked him before turning back toward the alpha. This one seemed sleepy but blinked every once and then to keep himself awake. Refusing to let himself become even more vulnerable than he already was. But the almost peaceful silence was cut soon. Another fit of hard coughing shook Fenris, painting his face red and wetting his eyes. It only grew harsher and left him panting, desesperatly seeking for air.
“Okay Fenris can you let me check you up ? I'll wait for Hawke if it can make you more comfortable but I have to do it.” Anders asked, he knew Fenris wouldn't be comfortable with the idea but he had no choice, it was his duty as a doctor.
Surprisingly, Fenris merely groaned before yielding.
“...Fine just...what do you need to do exactly ?”
“Check your breathing, your tension, your temperature...”
Anders enumerated, slowly, calmly, like if it was no big deal. And it was no big deal except when you were an alpha in rut easily overwhelmed by attention and stimuli. Fenris eventually agreed, his features still twisted in a frown however.
“Okay. Wait for Hawke please.”
“Of course.” He gave the elf a kind smile which was more or less returned if the slight twitch on Fenris's lips could count as one.
Soon Hawke was back with a fuming cup of herbal tea. Handing it to Fenris he took the opportunity to offer his apologies for involving Anders once again. The elf heaved a sigh but made him understand he was forgiven. The three of them stood in a tense silence as Fenris carefully sipped his hot tea. Once the cup half emptied, he gave Anders permission to proceed. The doctor was extra careful, making as little skin contacts as possible, talking to Fenris in a soothing manner as he gave him the results of his check up. It was a trial for the elf. Anders admired how well he controlled himself despise his blatant anxiety. Once or twice he seemed close to push the doctor away but he always managed to fight back the urge in the end. Anders tried to be efficiently quick but gentle nonetheless, which wasn't exactly easy with a patient growing more nervous by the minute. Fenris was feverish, his tension low. As he applied the cold stethoscope on his torso, he heard a painful hiss and bite his lip. His heart was beating fast. Faster and faster each time Anders applied his tool on another part of the alpha's chest actually. He decided to stop the check up here but Fenris was already panicking. Hyperventilating even, eyes closed, body trembling, a low whine coming from his throath. Anders backed off immediately.
“Okay, okay, it's over. Fenris ? Fenris it's over calm down. Breathe. Deeply. Slowly. Put a hand on your belly, feel it move with each breath. Good, you're doing good Fenris.” He instructed, voice soft, coating Fenris in a reassuring sensation hopefully.
Fortunately the alpha accepted his advice and obeyed, taking deep, breathy inspirations, his hand pressing against his stomach. He grabbed the cup of chamomile and drank one long gulp, his body sagging against the pillows. He exhaled shakily. Hawke had went back to eating his nails.
“I thought you were supposed to be extremely aroused during rut, not extremely in pain..” He pointed, his voice a bit higher than usual.
“It depends for every one. And you can be aroused and in pain at the same time Garrett. Unfortunately one doesn't exclude the other and it can be quite excruciating.” Anders supplied, eyes remaining on Fenris as this one laboriously put the mug back on the nightstand.
“I didn't know...Fuck this stress me so much.”
The omega rolled his eyes. Typical Hawke, complaining and making a show even when he wasn't the one in pain.
“I'm sorry.” Fenris huffed, shifting to find a more comfortable position.
Even if he noticed how casually he tried to gather the covers above his groin, Anders acted like if he saw nothing, leaving Fenris what little dignity he had left. He looked away giving the elf a moment to regain his composure and hide himself. Instead he glared at Hawke, silently making him understand that he shouldn't make Fenris feel bad for getting help. The big oaf mouthed a 'sorry'. Anders rolled his eyes and turned back toward his patient.
“You have nothing to apologize for Fenris, it's not your fault, we're here for you okay ? Here. Take this, its going to numb the pain and relax your body a little.”
Fenris smiled slightly as he pulled another box from his bag. Yes, he'll admit, he kind of brought twenty of those, just in case, after all Hawke had not been clear about the symptoms over the phone. This time the alpha made no fuss and swallowed the pill immediately. Maybe the patience and respect Anders had showed when he broke down earlier achieved to convince him of his good intentions.
“But why does it makes you feel like this though ? I mean is it just some biological disorder or I don't know, a trauma ? What ? Since things are so shitty for alphas in Tevinter maybe ruts are too !” Hawke shrugged defensively as Anders went back to staring at him.
“Hawke stop talking you're being overwhelming.”
“No I...You deserve to know after all you did for me..”
Anders frowned as Fenris finished his chamomile and put the mug away with a weary sigh. He looked at anything but them, his fingers grasping the sheets. No, no, no, no...He came prepared to take care of a patient not to...he wasn't sure he was ready for this. And with Hawke in the corner being an unbearable child, was it really the moment to move to the serious conversation ? Plus he didn't want Fenris to force himself just because they were acting like decent human being.
“You don't have to Fenris, you don't owe us anything.”
“But you asked earlier...” Fenris said, frowning in confusion.
Anders cut him as gently as possible.
“As a doctor I have to. But you are under no obligation to answer and especially not when you feel this vulnerable. Right Garrett ?”
“I was just saying...”
If looks could kill, Hawke would have already been buried in the Bone Pit. The big oaf gulped audibly and offered a wavering smile.
They stared at each other for a moment, Anders asserting his threath, Hawke cowering against the door. A deep, exhausted voice interrupted their mute exchange.
“...When I was in Tevinter I had a...tutor kind of. Officially.”
“Fenris you don't have to.”
This time it was the alpha's turn to rise his hand to intimate silence.
“Hush. I...want to. I need to speak about it. I think. I need to get it out now while...while I'm not strong enough to be too proud to talk. ”
Anders didn't like that. He was afraid that once stronger Fenris would regret telling them to the point of avoiding them. Afraid he would get angry and accuse them of taking advantage of his weakness to extort private stories from him. Maybe they should refuse and leave, tell Fenris to go to sleep and rest before deciding anything. But, in spite of his fatigue, his eyes weren't hazy anymore, on the contrary they looked hard and decided...
“Okay. Stop whenever you want to.” He told the elf, tensing in apprehension of what was about to come.
He only heard about how alphas were generally treated in Tevinter. He never heard about Fenris's own experience. He could feel it wasn't a pleasant one, that there was a reason the alpha didn't use it as an example when talking about his native land and its customs. To be honnest he wanted to know, he wanted to discover the extent of Fenris's scars...But he was conscious it would certainly be a painful thing to hear. Fenris nodded and took a heavy breath, shifting nervously. He looked down at his lap. Maybe was he afraid to meet their eyes and see pity or horror in them as he told his story. Maybe was he afraid it would keep him from telling it.
“...I had a tutor but the more appropriated title would be master. That's...how he liked us to call him, us the servants and other employees. I had been taken to be trained as his new bodyguard. He wanted me specifically, told me I was pretty, he liked pretty things, liked to own them, it made him look good by extension. So he basically bought me and to perfect my 'pretty looks' he put these tattoos on me. It was also to make me look more impressive and to parody Dalish tattoos I think. To make me look more dangerous, a feral alpha. This was the most painful ink available he told me. Bright white and extremely resistant. They had to tie me to the table. And he was just there...smiling while I screamed. I...I lost consciousness several times and my hair turned white somehow.”
A pause. Fenris twisted a strand of pale hair between fidgety fingers.
“It's normal, it can happen if you experience a big shock or a lot of pain.”
Anders tried to keep his voice steady and think like a doctor, thinking rational and professional helped him to keep his calm. He...had not expected that. But it was just as terrible as the other things he had imagined. When he saw the extense of Fenris's tattoos...what kind of sick psycho would do this ? And what kind of person would assist them ? He felt ill.
“And after this ?” Hawke said, his voice weak. Anders didn't need to look at him to know he was as stupefied.
“I...became a pet to him. You remember when I told you alphas are used by omegas in Tevinter, that they are the lesser castes with basically no rights ?”
He nodded, words stuck in his throath. Deep inside he knew where this was going. It didn't make it any easier to hear it. This...This was what he had expected to hear at first and Fenris was about to confirm his worse doubts.
“Well the uses include...sexual obligations.”
That's it. It was out, in the open. Said. Anders closed his eyes. Fuck. He didn't want to see Fenris. His strained voice was enough to upset him.
“What the fuck...Don't tell me this fucking monster...”
“Hawke. Let him finish.” He ordered, cold and calm on the surface.
He heard Fenris exhaling shakily. Parts of his mind fought, some eager to know the whole story, others refusing to hear one more word. But he had to. Not that his ears could block themselves anyway. And he didn't think he would be able to leave the room now.
“..After the operation I also lost most memories of my past and I was extremely...gullible. I only had Danarius to relate to and he used this a lot. He liked to use me during his heats, it somehow induced my ruts and...he told me it was a proof that I wanted it. And since I wanted it there was nothing wrong with using me. The first times I tried to refuse but I got punished for it. After some time I resigned myself and it became a routine for him. Even when he wasn't in heat he used me and somehow managed to provoke my ruts too.”
The need to surge forward and take Fenris's hand to show his support was strong. But he couldn't...He could only listen and bite his tongue furiously and invent diverse ways to make this fucking abuser pay. It relieved him greatly. He heard this kind of stories too often and knew this kind of monster all too well, his guts twisted with disgust and rage.
“That's why I'm...so upset during ruts because I am...aroused but I don't want to. It remind me of him, it makes me fear that someone will use it to abuse me...Like the omega in the subway tried to. I just...I hate not being in control of my body, I hate that this one ask for sex when my mind refuse to let anyone touch me. It's so confusing and fucking terrifying. I hate how Danarius made a fucking mess out of me...I'm afraid he will find me again one day. You know I didn't escape on purpose I just...we got separated on Seheron. He had affairs here and there was an attack and he left me behind to save his ass. And then I met people and I learned to live without him. And when he came back I fled, willingly this time, and ended up here. But I know he's still somewhere and I fear he's hunting me. At least I am in a country where I have rights now, it will be harder for him to force me back to Tevinter but...it still scares me...”
Anders understood, he understood perfectly. When he looked at Fenris this one was hiding his face behind his hand. Maker...How he wished Danarius was in the room right now. Their floor was high enough for him to end up as a puddle of flesh and blood if he was 'accidentally' being thrown through the window. But his ire wouldn't help Fenris right now, it would only cause distress. Maybe ranting would even make him feel guilty about sharing this, maybe he would think he shouldn't have burdened them with it. He had to stay calm. Danarius wasn't here, he could save his anger for later. The one facing him right now was Fenris and he needed gentleness and patience, he needed to feel understood and respected. It wasn't something easy to admit or to talk about, the fact that you've been abused, it must have left the alpha in a difficult emotional state. And he must be worried about how they viewed him right now. He needed reassurance. Or maybe a moment alone, to gather himself.
“Thank you for telling us this Fenris. I appreciate your trust. I admire the courage it must have taken you to talk about this. Do you need a moment alone to calm down a little ? I'm going to fetch you some ice, you seem feverish.”
“..Yes, thank you.”
Fenris kept his face hidden from their sight. Anders wondered if he was crying. Maker how he wished he could reach for him...He was a physical kind of person, for him cuddles were the best kind of comfort. He understood Fenris didn't feel the same but it was hard to restrain his first instinct. It was difficult for him to drag Hawke out of the room and leave Fenris alone. He would have hated being alone after this. But Fenris wasn't him, he knew it, as a doctor he knew everyone dealt with pain and emotions differently and he had to respect it. He busied himself by preparing another mug of tea and fetching some ice cubes in the freezer, wrapping them in a dish towel. He felt restless, thoughts swarming in his mind. Making something susceptible to comfort Fenris helped.
Hawke wasn't as good to control himself. He was walking across the room, stressed and horrified by what he just heard. Eventually he cracked and the questions filling his brain flowed free.
“But...How can someone do this without being arrested ? Is Tevinter that fucked up that they allow torture on someone just because they're of a lower caste ? And Fenris why...Why did he stay with him ?! He could have left the first time he tried something, if it was me I wouldn't have let this bastard have his way a second...”
Anders was in front of him in a flash, eyes dangerously narrowed, his face hard. He just had found a way to release some of his anger. He knew Hawke didn't meant to be an asshole but he couldn't help the harsh tone he used to adress him. He just needed to get angry at someone and he knew his friend was able to handle it, to understand it. He would apologize later, if he went too far.
“Hawke ! Shut it. Would you tell me this if I was with an abusive partner ?”
“No but...” Hawke frowned, taking a step back as Anders's glare intensified.
“And why that ? Because I'm an omega and him an alpha ? Because alphas can't get physically dominated and especially not by an omega ? You do know that, even if Fenris had the strenght to fight back, psychological abuse exist too and can be extremely powerful right ?”
“There is no 'but' Garrett Hawke. You don't know how you would react in this situation. You won't know until it happens to you. You may think yourself above this but I swear you're not. So this is not the time to question Fenris's acts, this is the time to support him as friends. Got it ?”
“I...yes you're right, sorry I didn't think I just...”
“I know you didn't mean harm Hawke. But remember that no matter the gender of the victim and their agressor, you can't blame them or give them lessons. And this..this is blaming. It's like you told me I should have covered myself a bit more in order to not be assaulted.”
Hawke winced, realizing what his words implied, how Fenris would have felt if he had said this in front of him. It reassured Anders that he was able to see his fault. Like he said Hawke wasn't a bad person, on the contrary but he still could be reckless in his acts or appear insensitive in his words. He didn't mean to but often the damages were done before he could realize.
“Yes, I know, I know..Sorry I'll try not to do it again.”
“Good. Okay. I'll bring this to Fenris. You take a moment to breathe, you look really stressed right now and he doesn't need that.”
He took the mug and the ice as well as a deep breath. He needed to be calm. He was a doctor. He couldn't let his stress overwhelm him in front of a patient. He was supposed to be a soothing presence, not a source of distress.
“What about you ? You okay ?” Hawke frowned.
Anders gave him a tight smile.
“I'm a doctor Hawke. And I handle this sort of shit regularly. Not to say I'm blasé because, Maker, this is truly fucked up..But I'm able to handle it. I just..well Fenris's hostility makes even more sense now.”
“Yes...Fuck I wish I could find this bastard and...”
He didn't find the words. Anders could think of a few.
“Yeah me too...Maybe, if Fenris agree to this, we can ask Varric to cover his tracks and localize this Danarius. This dwarf works miracles when it involve snooping around people's lives.” He snorted, remembering all the times their friend had gotten involved in their personal problems and fixed them.
“I second that.”
Good. They exchanged a few words, Anders doing his best to appease Hawke and convince him to take some chamomile too. When he came back in the bedroom, Fenris was sitting up. He skin was still very pale, contrasting impressively with the dark circles under his eyes. But he looked more collected, he had ceased to use his hand as a protective wall and was facing him with determination. His stare seemed to defy Anders somehow.
“You feel better ?” He asked, walking to the bed.
“Do you pity me now ?” Fenris groaned, voice hoarse, expression guarded.
Anders sighed. Just what he expected. With a frown he sat on the bed, closer than the last time yet still far from the alpha's intimate space. He put the mug on the nighstand and the ice on the covers. Fenris hesitantly grabbed it and applied it on his forehead. He sighed in delight.
“No Fenris. On the contrary I admire you, it must have been extremely hard to go through this and to get away from this monster. And despise all of that you manage to make a life for yourself here. Of course I feel sorry for you but I don't consider you weak for all that.”
Fenris quirked a dubious eyebrow.
“No talk about 'not all omegas are like this you can't base your opinion on one bad experience' ?”
This time Anders couldn't entirely contain his frustration. It irritated him that Fenris could think him able to rant about this in this situation and he made it known clearly.
“I would never Fenris. It's not prejudices we're talking about here, it is abuse. Years and years of abuse, accepted by Tevinter I suppose. You didn't say anything about all omegas being rapist, you said that you were wary of us because this Danarius was an omega and used his heat to abuse you. And because it was apparently accepted in a society ruled by omegas. It makes sense, I can't...I can't blame you about this, given your experience, where you come from..you have every reason to be wary. Well...objectively speaking of course not every omega is like Danarius but its normal that you instinctively cannot trust us. I know that a rational lecture can't fix a trauma, nor can it erase a life of conditioning...For example...Even if I know that perfectly respectful and great alphas exist I can't help but be on my guard when I meet one. Because you never know. Prevention is better than a cure, right ?”
He wasn't sure his speech had been as clear and clever as he wanted it to be. Nor if the comparison would be well received but...oh well what was said was said. Fenris contemplated him for a minute, silent and thoughtful. Eventually a look of faint wonder appeared on his face.
“I expected you to be more...less...I don't know what I expected in truth...” He groaned tiredly, unable to form his sentence.
“I know we haven't always been in good terms but I understand better where your fear takes roots from now. And your reasons are entirely valid Fenris.” Anders assured once more. “ I can't blame you for being like this. The only one to blame is this fucking monster. I swear that if I find him I will fucking feed him his own cock and cunt...” He couldn't help but swore, fist clenching.
An exhausted smile spreaded on Fenris's face. Good. Anything to make him feel better. If hearing Anders explaining point by point how he would eviscerate this motherfucker and stuff his guts down his throath till he suffocated made Fenris feel better he would do it happily.
“I don't doubt it. Thanks.”
He closed his eyes anew. Anders thought that he should really sleep now that his body had cooled down and allowed him a respite. But suddenly something crossed his mind, an old idea of his that he couldn't help but suggest again.
“You know...I'm sorry to bring this back when you're in this state but...you still don't want to see a psychologist ?”
“I'm not sure...” Fenris drowsily looked at him. With his air mussed he looked almost endearing. Well if you forgot the sickly pale skin and the dark circles, reminder of the pain the alpha was in.
“I know a really good one. You can see them at least once and if you don't feel comfortable you can stop. I think it would be good to talk about everything you told us with a specialist. I'm even more convinced that the pain you feel during your ruts is heavily linked to your abuse. And the fact that they happened so often...Danarius must have given you something to induce them. He must have conditionned your body until it happened every months.”
“Maybe. I can't remember. I don't want to remember right now.” He sounded so tired and upset that Anders was immediately overwhelmed with guilt.
“I know, I'm sorry. We'll talk about it later, when your mind is clear. You should rest now. “
He really should, he was barely able to stay focused, the anxiety crisis had taken its toll on his body and mind. Anders decided it would be wise to leave him. He was certain he had everything to handle the pain now, he could be left alone. He would send a message here and then to make sure everything was fine, to know if he had to come back for another check-up or to take care of a new symptom. But Fenris needed the calm, the solitude, his senses and emotions had been too solicited in such a short time.
“I can't let you take suppressants this time, it would not be good to always repress your ruts, your body needs to exteriorize it and to fix its cycle until it naturally happens only four times a year. But use the lavender oil, drink chamomile tea and..ah...there, this will calm down your arousal. One dose, mix it with your tea to cover the taste.”
He put an umpteenth box on the nightstand under Fenris's amused gaze. He rolled his eyes at him, yes maybe stealing half of the pharmacy had made his bag a bit messy and heavy but whatever. He was a good doctor, he had to be prepared to all eventuality.
“It's okay. Do you want Hawke and I to stay ?” He asked.
Fenris needed the rest but maybe being alone would be stressful for him, maybe he needed a friend to watch over him and make sure he was safe. Anders guessed he could stay in the living room in case of emergencies...Objectively he knew there was nothing to fear except maybe a panick attack but...it was hard to see Fenris so vulnerable and not to stay by his side.
“No, you can go, I think I'll be fine now. I don't want to waste your time.” The alpha assured, putting on a brave front, trying to sound confident.
It only made Anders want to stay a bit more. But he reasonned himself.
“Don't worry about that. If you don't feel good again you can call the clinic okay ?” He gently said.
“'Kay...” Fenris yawned.
“Good. Now rest, take a nap and then a cool shower. And don't forget to eat too.”
He restrained himself from playfully slapping the alpha's leg.
“You're lucky you're sick.”
“Or ?” Fenris didn't look impressed.
“I would have tickled you to death.” Anders whispered, narrowing his eyes in his best menacing face.
“I'm terrified. I can't sleep now, I'll have nightmares.” The elf retorted in a deadpan tone.
“Haha. Go to sleep, idiot.”
It was good to see Fenris able to go back to easy banter. It was the sign that he felt better wasn't it ? As he tried to stand up, something gripped his hand. He froze as he realized that this was Fenris. The alpha was staring at him, the conflict between his emotions clear on his face. He had willingly reached for Anders and made contact. It hadn't been motivated by the rut, his pupils were normal and his scent had not flared with arousal. But the sensation obviously made him uneasy. Anders stayed petrified, too scared to move and startle Fenris. Eventually this one managed to find his words and tightened his grip a little. His hand was incredibly warm and soft too despite some calluses.
“Anders ?” His tone was extremely serious, apprehensive even. “Promise me this won't change things. Promise me you won't hold back when you want to rant about omegas rights. That you won't stop bickering with me because you consider me too fragile all of sudden. And that you won't use this to treat me like some traumatized weak thing.”
Oh. Well looked like he wasn't the only one afraid that these revelations could damage their dynamic. He was relieved. Cautiously, he pressed Fenris's hand back. This one didn't flee the touch even if he tensed slightly.
“I promise. I'll continue to piss you off as often as possible. I know you're not weak, I know you can handle some arguing.”
Fenris nodded, a gratefulness shining in his eyes.
“As long as it doesn't include low blows.” He added.
“Of course, I'm annoying not cruel.” Anders smirked.
“You said it.”
The omega rolled his eyes but smile good naturedly. Then he passed a gentle thumb across Fenris's skin before freeing himself from his grasp. The elf shivered but he couldn't tell if it was from disgust or not..
“Now shut up and go to sleep or I'll give you a lecture about omegas history until you yell at me and pass out from exhaustion.”
A small chuckle passed the alpha's lips, dying quickly with another yawn. Anders smiled down at Fenris. Hawke, who had stood against the doorframe for Maker knew how long, said goobye and sent a kiss to his friend. Fenris faked disgust, making Garrett cry in despair. Anders rolled his eyes and pushed the big oaf out of the room. At least it seemed he didn't treat Fenris like a porcelain doll either. Good. The last thing Fenris needed was regretting confiding in them. Maker. This morning had been rich in emotions, anger and horror mostly, but he was glad to finally know what hid behind Fenris's constant fear of omegas and contact. It gave him tools to understand him, to help him. To avoid saying stupid things that could truly hurt him. As he promised, they would continue arguing and having different opinions on a tons of things. But he knew where to stop and which subjects to leave alone now. All of this, now that it was said, real, gave him a new perspective of the situation...He would suggest talking to Varric the minute Fenris's rut was over. They couldn't stay there, arms crossed while some psycho was maybe after the elf. He..They had to take care of the matter and protect Fenris, even if it included beating someone to a pulp. Especially if it included beating Danarius to a pulp.
Lost in thoughts, he didn't notice the mischevious way Hawke stared at him as they got out of the building and walked down the street. Until this one poked him in the ribs.
“You know I saw the two of you talking quietly and being all nice to each other and for a moment I thought you'd be such a cute couple.”
“Hawke.” Anders sighed.
He knew it was his way to deal with heavy situations, to joke and lighten up the mood, it was an understanble way to cope. And he knew it didn't mean he minimized the problem, he just tried to cheer people up his way. But to imply that him and Fenris could be...Well Fenris was handsome and could be quite funny but...It was ridiculous. Like if Fenris would date an omega, with a past like his not a chance. Well he trusted Anders to an extense and he even touched him minutes ago but..The thought bothered him a moment before he chased it off. Nope. It was stupid. But Hawke went on with his idiotic idea, acting like a starry-eyed girl talking about her favorite celebrity couple.
“No really you looked magnificent, the dutiful wife tending to their sick husband..”
“Did you just call me a 'wife' ?”
Anders quirked an eyebrow, in a very Fenris fashion. He found out that this look was extremely effective when it came to menace someone. Apparently Garrett had quickly learnt that it meant serious troubles because he sheepishly smiled at Anders, cowering.
Anders smirked when the perfect threath came to his mind.
“Hawke do you want me to give you this dragon shaped dildo for your birthday or not ?”
He smugly continued to walk, ignoring Hawke's ridiculous sobs and screams.
Where Anders is a bit of a Laci Green
One of Fenris's biggest discoveries when he quitted Tevinter was internet. All autonomous access to medias, informations or entertainement had been strictly forbidden when he was under Danarius's authority. Maybe he didn't want Fenris to discover a whole new world of possibilities. Maybe he didn't want him to find any form of pleasures. Maybe he was afraid he would reach out to someone and call for help. But the alpha never had access to internet, not even to a phone unless Danarius allowed it and only for very specific purposes. So when he discovered internet, social networks, youtube, forums, skype...It had been an incredible experience for him. It had started on Seheron where he had learnt how to handle electronical devices. And, once arrived in Kirkwall, he had quickly bought his own laptop. It had become an essential source of help for his daily life or his studies as well as his best company during lonely nights. So it was no wonder that he was actually sprawled on his bed, digesting the delicious leftovers his boss allowed him to take back, scrolling down his facebook feed.
It had been his first day of work after the rut and he felt exhausted. His boss had been incredibly lax about his absence, only lowering his pay a little but not as much as they should have. They had welcomed him back with open arms, merely telling him to warn them before their next rut so they could organize themselves and find someone to replace him in case. Confused with so much understanding and kindness, Fenris had only been able to nod and promise. Had he been in Tevinter he would have been kicked out immediately. Well he wouldn't have gotten this kind of job in the first place. He had briefly wondered if his boss was particulary lenient or if it was maybe just because he was an alpha. Yes he realized annoyingly that Anders had begun to rub on him...He had not asked but given his best during his service to make it up for his absence. And when he came back from work he was exhausted. He had barely taken the time to rest after his rut ended, just one good night of sleep and he estimated he was good enough to go. He was still mentally fatigued yet his body seemed able to handle the effort. And after one week lying in bed he couldn't stand to stay at home anymore. Anders would surely have lectured him for neglecting his health like this...The thought of these eyes trying to glare at him yet unable to hide their worry made him smile faintly. Hem...
To get back on the subject, he was actually scrolling down his facebook feed, lying on the bed with his laptop beside him, when his eyes caught something. Isabela had posted a video. A video where Anders appeared on the thumbnail. He squinted his eyes. It was a repost to which Isabela added some excited comment. Before he could think about it, he clicked on the link. The video popped in another tab and started. A cheery jingle began to play and suddenly Anders's face appeared on the screen. As well as Isabela and a blond tanned elf he couldn't recognize. Stunned, he leaned forward.
“Hello kittens ! So today we have two special guest to talk about a specific subject : bdsm. Bondage sado-masochism. Welcome Isabela and Zevran, both experts in this kind of kink. I myself did a little bondage and roleplay but I'm nowhere as experienced as them.”
Anders was smiling brightly, squished between the rivaini and the elf. They were all sitting on what looked like Anders's bed only with more cushions and blankets. The omega looked determinedly at the lens, his voice assured and upbeat. It took Fenris a moment to stop focusing on how lively and radiant he looked and eventually realize what they were talking about. When he did, he couldn't help but blush. He was in no way a 'prude' or naïve, he had some knowledge about sex, he heard Isabela gloat about her relations often enough to know about the most kinky stuff too. But sometimes it still surprised him how freely people talked about it, at least in their inner circle. Well he should have expected it from Anders, he was a doctor and specialized in these kind of matters after all. But still, hearing him say he had done some bondage...made Fenris shift nervously.
“We can fix that cariño...” The elf, Zevran, leaned toward Anders, his hand dancing on the omega's thigh.
“Zev this is a youtube video, not a sex tape.”
Anders huffed and playfully slapped the wandering fingers. The elf pouted, making the two other laugh. Fenris didn't join in. Instead he stared intensely, still unable to process the fact that Anders posted videos on youtube. Videos treating about sex apparently.
“And that's why youporn was created.” Isabela sighed dreamily. Anders shook his head in exasperation before clapping his hands.
“Anyway ! We're going to explain how to do bdsm safely and respectfully, not like in Fifty shades of bullshit...”
“We respect your tastes in reading people, but really, this isn't a good representation of bdsm and sexual relations.”
Zevran gave the camera an apologetic smile as well as a wink. Fenris didn't feel impressed. The man was objectively charming but he didn't like how tactile he seemed to be. His hand was resting on Anders's knee now.
“Yeah use it to fuel your own fantasies maybe but not as a model. You don't want to treat your partner like this asshole do.” Isabela added.
“Absolutely not. Well except if you're roleplaying and agreed on it before. So here's a list of things to do or not if you decide to try your hand at bdsm. Ah and let's not forget our precious assistant...”
“Doctor Pussy !” The three screamed in unison.
And then poor Ser Pounce-A-Lot was brandished, wearing a ridiculous little blouse and glasses. Fenris couldn't help it, he snorted. The cat didn't look happy with his fate yet resigned, like it already happened tons of times and he knew there was no escape from this. Or maybe Anders fed him his favorite snack in order to gain his cooperation. After some seconds Fenris paused the video. He wasn't really interested in this kind of subject and he found himself growing more and more irritated with the blond elf. Which was strange, he acted just like Isabela, touching people and flirting outrageously, and she didn't bother him as much. Maybe he was just used to Isabela and knew she would never force herself on someone. While he knew nothing about this person and had no idea if he would show the same kind of respect which made him uneasy. Yeah, that must be it.
Curious, he clicked on the channel title to access to other videos. He found tons of them. With widening eyes he browsed his screen. Videos about sexual orientations, about gender, about sexual relations, about toys, about relationships...The main theme of the channel was pretty clear. It was stronger than himself, he opened several links with intriguing titles and began to watch.
“Hey there kittens ! So today I had a parent asking me if I could resew their kid's hymen before their marriage so they would pass for a virgin...So I think it's time I breach the subject : the hymen isn't closed and bleeding during penetration isn't a proof of your virginity ! It's only a proof that you were too tense or that you and your partner didn't prepare well enough ! Yeah big news : bleeding and getting hurt during your first time isn't a fatality ! It happens but you can avoid it ! Maker are we still in the Dragon Age ?! I know that a lot of people are still pretty ignorant about what the hymen is and how it works so today I'm going to give you some explanations and advices. And to assist me I will of course ask the help of our dear Doctor Pussy ! Let's go !”
Another video followed, this time about consent. It included a little sequence about tea cups and Fenris finally got the reference. He found the little video extremely simple yet effective. It...amazed him, the work Anders put into these, the way he smiled up at the camera with obstinated cheer, how he explained clearly yet passionately, how right most of his words sounded to Fenris's ears. He had to admit he rolled his eyes a few times when the omega lost himself in rants about equality and deviated from the main subject. But overall the whole thing was well organized and informative. And funny too, he found himself smiling more than once at a joke, a sarcastic comment or an imitation, Anders's sharp tongue could be quite amusing when not directed at him...Well even when it was, he couldn't deny it, he regularly had to repress his snorts when bickering with the man. And of course Pounce was a recurrent gag, always welcome to give some advices or opinion about the subject Anders breached that day.
Fenris watched another video about transitionning this time. Something taboo and disgusting in Tevinter. But the transgender woman by his side, Serendipity, smiled calmly, explaining her journey and stating that she was proud of who she was. It was...admirable. Fenris was truly astonished as he watched another video about different sexual orientations, about intersex people, about agender people...Fenris realized he had only touched the surface of the lgbtq world and found himself quite fascinated by all of it. Not to say he was ready to start a speech as passionate as Anders's about it but...yes it stimulated his curiosity and interest. At one point he even gathered the courage to watch a video about sex toys where Anders gave advices and opinions about different dildos. Two minutes in the video and he was flushing bright red as Anders proudly showed a cat tail plug. He decided it was safer to close the tab, embarassment making him fidgety. Like he said before he was far from being a virgin but for some reason it was hard to see Anders holding a toy and explaining how to use it without blushing. He wandered from link to link..until he found something a little more different.
“Hello kittens. This video is a special one as I won't talk about sex or sexuality but about social dynamics and different experiences. I...kind of have a mea culpa of sort to do. So you see some times ago I met someone coming from Tevinter...”
His whole body tensed all of sudden, Fenris sat up in his bed. He knew who Anders was talking about, there was no way it could be anyone but him. The thought of his private life being exposed online made him feel sick. Anders couldn't...Anders wouldn't...The next sentence made him relax slightly.
“I won't mention their name or anything personal about them. Just that when they told me they were wary of omegas because of their experience in their native land, I had an hard time accepting it. Because here we fight so hard to obtain equality, because here we are the oppressed community, I couldn't imagine the roles reversed. And I thought that if I admitted that the way omegas ruled in Tevinter was shitty I would be like..betraying my cause. I was worried it could be used as another argument to excuse our mistreatment. I was afraid that their experience would negate mine.”
Anders was shifting on the bed, petting Pounce who was sleeping on his lap. Every little moves, from the way he twisted his fingers to the way he scratched his cat, betrayed his nervosity, his anxiety even. It was a serious subject, it was hard for him to talk about it and it was pretty obvious. Fenris got intrigued, waiting for his next words with anticipation and...eagerness even. Afraid of what the omega could say but at the same time...trusting him to be fair. More fair than he had been in the past. After all...after what happened last time he had thought Anders understood him well enough, shared his opinion to some extense even. He hoped it hadn't been a trick of his mind born from his need for Anders to understand. The parrallels between their experiences had made him...hopeful that they could lean on each other sometimes, between two arguments. That despise some differences, deep down they supported the other, were ready to defend them...
“And it was a mistake. So in this video I am going to talk about how Tevinter works and how omegas too can be abusers. About how any people in power can become an abuser actually. And in order to not say anything stupid since I'm not a native, I found several tevene persons willing to give me their insight on the situation. I don't want you to interpret this as a betrayal or a change of mind. I'm still convinced omegas are discriminated and that we have to fight for more rights. But I want to show you Tevinter's social dynamics so you don't act as insensitive as I did with people who experienced abuse, only not from the same people as us. I want you to understand that some persons don't hate us because of the prejudices the Chantry feed them, but because omegas are for them what alphas are for us here. A dominant community limiting their rights and abusing them freely, because its socially accepted. Please be open, patient and stay polite in the comments.”
The rest of the video was...not perfect but well thought and objective. Various tevene people appeared on screen. From a refugee female alpha to an expat elven omega. Omegas explaining how they noticed the way they ruled was unfair and how things needed to change, how omegas in power should also challenge their society because with their help things had a chance to change more quickly, more easily. Alphas explaining they needed support from omegas but that these one had to let them speak, that they needed to be here without acting like leader once again. Alphas talking about abuses, omegas talking about witnessing abuses. Both explaining how it made them leave Tevinter or how it motivated them to change things. Betas joining in to share their experience in between. People of all kind talking about different matters like race and sexuality. Explaining how, on top of being alphaphobic, tevene society still treated elves like slaves. Explaining how conversion therapy and other violences were allowed, even approved, against lgbtq people.
Fenris was impressed. To see the obvious efforts and passion Anders had put into this, how he had tried to show as many opinions as possible, without minimizing the plight of alphas, without excusing omegas even though they recognized their wrongs. It was a really honnest depiction of tevene society, crudely denounced but not exagerated. Fenris...could only feel a deep respect for Anders and his work. It would have been easier for him to ignore all of this, to continue to focus on omegas oppression only instead of extending his battle for equal rights to a country he didn't even lived in. But he did it anyway, thanked his guest and concluded by a little speech explaining that he didn't want another Tevinter, that there was a way to reach an acceptable level of equality without depriving anyone from their freedom. That omegas's freedom shouldn't come at the price of another community's. Then the video was over and Fenris was staring at the screen, lost in thoughts. He went to sleep his head swarming with them.
When he woke up the next day and went to the clinic for a post-rut check-up Anders had required, he felt restless. He had thought about it a long time last night and he decided he was satisfied with the content of the video...but the terrible feeling that Anders would change his attitude toward him despise his promise unnerved him. All this understanding, this support...he liked it but he hoped it didn't mean their bickering was over. That Anders would look at him with pity instead of defiance when he snapped at him about omegas and alphas dynamics. He tried to conceal his anxiety, to be his usual self with the omega, collected and mocking. Anders was at the front desk when he entered and he felt a strange feeling twist his gust when he approached. He blamed it on the apprehension of being treated like a fragile doll, not on the radiant smile Anders sent his way.
“I had an appointment..” He started.
“I didn't forget Fenris, I was the one pestering you to do it...” Anders cut him, rolling his eyes.
The small gesture somehow made the elf regain confidence. The exasperation in the omega's tone was familiar, reassuring. And so Fenris found something to tease Anders with, as usual, as he would have done before the whole rut fiasco.
“...with Doctor Pussy.”
Anders froze. Looked up. And gaped at him.
“...You saw my youtube videos ?” He eventually managed to utter, his face so priceless that a small smirk appeared on Fenris's lips.
The omega's expression morphed from pure shock to excited wonder. And soon a bouncing doctor was leaning forward with a smug smile, invading Fenris's space. Not that he minded all that much he noticed with perplexity. Well, after all, he held the omega's hand last time...what was a little proximity ?
“You saw my youtube videos ! And you liked them ? Yes ? No ? What did you think of the last one ?”
“Despise a serious lack of Doctor Pussy...it was fine.” He tried to sound nonchalant but his poorly concealed smile betrayed him. Not his fault if Anders's ridiculous excitement and squeals of joy amused him.
“You loved them !” The omega accused, eyes full of pride and mischief. The need to tease him and make him lose his smug attitude overwhelmed Fenris. So he got a little bold...
“Not quite but it wasn't bad. However I prefered the one where you talk about the time the geisha balls got stuck...”
Horror painted itself on the man's face and suddenly Fenris was dragged in Anders's office, the door quickly shut behind them. He faced the omega, this one staring at him with wide eyes. His skin growing red, cheeks and neck turning crimson. For a moment Fenris was afraid he went too far. But at the same time he found himself wishing Anders would get angry, it would make him feel good in a way if he proved he didn't hesitate to scold him even after what happened. And then suddenly nervous giggles escaped the omega's mouth.
“Maker Fenris ! It's my workplace what if a patient hears you ?! Worse ! What if Justice hears you while there's a patient around ?! I can bide my wifi connexion goodbye !”
He tried to scold him, the effect ruined by his uncontrollable smile. He seemed stupefied that Fenris had been able to say this, had dared to say this. Stupefied but not angry though, Fenris noted. Which meant some more teasing could be allowed...He quite enjoyed this new kind of banter, making Anders flush and laugh like this was a welcome novelty he discovered...
“You're the one posting your stories online.” He pointed.
“To teach people to...”
“Not play with the wrong kind of balls ?” Okay maybe this was a bit easy, crude even.
But Anders exploded with laughter.
“Maker how can you say this with a straight face ?” He tried to frown at him but Fenris couldn't take him seriously when he had to wipe some tears from the corner of his eyes. “Okay I had enough of your insolence, now hush and let me do my job.”
Fenris complied. He was surprised by Anders's reaction to this kind of jokes, surprised to see him less snarky and on edge than before with him too but...He couldn't bring himself to hate this change. The omega didn't treat him like a fragile, weak person, he wasn't being more kind on purpose or forcing himself to laugh. He just seemed more relaxed, more playful than usual, not taking umbrage of Fenris's words. But maybe Fenris's words were more relaxed and playful than before too. Maybe what happened really changed the essence of their dynamics, the way they apprehended the other, the way they interpreted each other's words...But it wasn't as bad as what Fenris had expected. In fact...it wasn't bad at all. Anders was still nagging and lecturing him when he made his check-up, chastising him for going back to work so soon but not insisting, knowing he couldn't force the elf to stay in bed any longer. He still rolled his eyes at Fenris, still used his exasperated tone when this one was difficult, still teased him. But it didn't make Fenris tense as usual. And when he snapped back at Anders, all bark but no bite, the omega groaned and frowned but didn't seem to take it personnally. It was a whole new dynamic, old and new at the same time, more balanced maybe but...not bad.
As they finished the examination and Fenris walked to the door, he turned around suddenly. Anders quirked an eyebrow at him, expectingly.
“Thank you. For what you said in your last video.” Fenris managed to say.
He felt the need to say it. Not with blind admiration or devoted gratefulness, he didn't want to look like he would bless every word coming from Anders's mouth from now on just because of this. But he needed to state that he appreciated the gesture. That him, the one who apparently motivated Anders to make this video, approved. He wanted to recognize the effort. Before him, the doctor gave a sheepish smile, all of sudden less confident and loud.
“...I was afraid you'll be mad, that you'll regret telling me...But it felt like the right thing to do and I tried to not give any clue about who you were and..”
Fenris felt the nervous babbling incoming and so rised a hand to cut Anders.
“I know. I'm not mad. I'm relieved in fact. You don't treat me differently...Or well you don't treat me with pity, you didn't change your attitude to spare me even if you recognized my experience.” He hoped he was clear enough. The look Anders sent him made him feel understood.
“I would never. So we're okay ?”
Anders hesitantly presented his hand. Fenris stared for a moment. Then, carefully, he took it. It wasn't disgusting, it didn't feel wrong...The soft feeling hadn't been a trick of his rut apparently. They shook hands gently, almost timidly. Fenris felt like it perfectly conveyed their renewed respect for each other. It felt meaningful, essential for them to go on after the difficult situation they went through some days ago. They shook hands like two equals, Anders not looking down at him despise of what he confessed, Fenris not wary of how the omega could use these informations now that he had seen him recognizing his fault, making up for it.
“We're okay.” He nodded.
Anders's smile was bright and warm. As was Fenris's belly suddenly. A strange tingling coursed through his hand and he broked contact, puzzled.
“Great now get out of my clinic, I have other things to do than fix your grumpy ass.”
Anders smirked, adopting a more firm tone. No heat, just teasing though. The weird feeling vanished as Fenris though of a way to tease back. An idea popped easily in his head and a sly smirk danced on his lips, making Anders frown. He opened the door casually, taking a step out. Then, as calmly, he retorted.
“Careful or Justice and your patients will know everything about a certain type of cat tail that...”
A pen was thrown his way, avoided easily thanks to his reflex or to Anders's terrible aim. In truth Fenris felt extremely embarassed for bringing this up. But he hid it way better than Anders at least.
“Fuck you Fenris ! Maker what the fuck happened to y...” The omega was flushing from neck to ears.
“Anders ! No screaming and swearing in the clinic !” Justice opened his door and grounded, not quite applying his own rules to himself.
Anders immediately shut his mouth and, with one last glare, Justice retreated in his office. Slowly, the omega turned back toward Fenris, narrowed eyes filled with murderous intentions.
“Listen to your daddy Anders.” Fenris had an hard time swallowing back his laughter at the doctor's cringe of disgust.
“You're so not getting an invitation to my youtube show, like ever..” Anders growled.
“No problem I have no balls to talk about...No...wait I meant...” Fenris realized that between the teasing, Anders's face, the pen attack, Justice's yelling and his hilarity he had gotten a bit confused and didn't think twice about his words. How he regretted now, when it was Anders's turn to adopt a mocking rictus.
“Too late, you said it, not me !” The omega snickered.
“Fu..” But before he could finish his very inventive insult the doctor waved his hand and closed the door.
“Good day Fenris ! And as always remember 'scent is not consent' and don't forget to suscribe..” He grinned like a fool, tackling him with his youtuber tagline before disappearing in his office.
Fenris stood there for a minute. And finally let out the bark of laughter he had tried to repress. Muffling it behind his sleeve though, he didn't want Anders to think he was this hilarious.
Yeah things had changed a bit...but it didn't seem all that bad.
Gaining back Hawke's respect after what he had witnessed had been easier than what he expected. In fact he never lost it. The man had been sheepish and wary at first but he quickly admitted it was because he was afraid Fenris was still angry at him for bringing Anders to his appartment, not because he felt uneasy around the elf. He had assured him they were still bros and the only thing that changed was the addition of a new name on his black list. But aside from his hate for Danarius he had not ceased to consider Fenris as his equal and as a strong person. And to prove it, he had invited him to join him in a street basketball tournament, a very manly activity he claimed. Aveline had smacked him across the head for this.
And so here he was in a park under the pale early spring's sun, with Hawke, Aveline, Merrill and Anders. Isabela and Varric had tagged along but prefered to admire the view, translate ogling at the athlete, from their spot on a nearby bench. From time to time they whispered things at the other, smirking and glancing at them while doing so. It made Fenris frown. But eventually he decided to ignore them, nothing could stop these two from gossiping and plotting. It was still cold, especially for him, and so he was wearing several layers of clothing. But all the other participants were wearing shorts and t-shirts, sometimes a jacket, which made Fenris shiver indignantly. Anders was wearing yoga pants and a tank top and Fenris's couldn't help but notice how tightly it fitted him. He looked away quickly.
“Hello we want to participate to the tournament !”
Hawke practically roared when they presented themselves at the registration desk. Once again Aveline had to discipline him and gave the organizator an apologetic look. This one smiled tiredly, given his face he had seen worse.
“Right. Well you need a team of five players.”
Hawke stepped aside and flung his arms their way in a dramatic gesture, proudly presenting his team.
Again the man at the desk gave them a patient yet exhausted smile. Fenris started to feel for him.
“Good. Put your team's name here and sign, all of you. My colleague will give you your jerseys.”
They obliged and, once their name written on the paper, put on their red jerseys. They had the rancid smell of worn and barely washed sport clothes. Fenris exchanged a grimace with Aveline. Then this one bend over the desk to take one last look at their signatures, making sure everything was in order. And frowned.
“The Dragons, really Hawke ?”
Garrett didn't notice, or splendidly ignored, the judgment in her voice. Instead he puffed out his chest with a goofy grin.
“Cool isn't it ?!! We should have a battle cry like 'We are fire, we are death' or something !”
He squealed excitedly and, not for the first time, Fenris wondered if the man was really older than twenty-five. An amused smirk appeared on his lips nonetheless, Hawke's antics might be ridiculous but they were the good kind of silly, the one who put you in a good mood and united everyone...well against him mostly.
“You know Smaug wasn't the hero of this movie right ?” Merrill frowned, seriously concerned by the issue.
“But he was so coooool ! And his voice so sexy !”
Merrill agreed on this and it only served to fuel Hawke's obsessive passion about dragons.
“My codename will be Smaug !” He stated proudly as they waited for their team to be called on the field. “Fenris your codename will be Toothless, 'cause you're so cute but also so badass ! Merrill you'll be Spyro ! Anders you'll be Falkor ! And Aveline you'll be Paarthurnax because you're strong and...What ?! Why do I see so much judgment in your eyes ?”
They all gave him blasé looks, except for Merrill who smiled fondly.
“You know usually I respect everyone's sexuality but your dragon obsession is really getting out of hand..” Anders pointed, an amused gleam dancing in his eyes despise his pitying tone.
“I'm not obsessed I just recognize them as the magnificent beasts they are and..”
They all decided to ignore him as he got into a flamboyant rant about how great dragons were. Well all except Merrill who had the patience to listen to his babbling until he realized nobody was truly taking him seriously and took refuge into her arms to cry about how mean they were. Typical drama queen Hawke.
Aveline kept on ignoring the overgrown child and adressed Fenris a concerned look.
“You feel ready Fenris ? You remember everything ? No questions before we start ?”
When he arrived here he only knew the basic about basketball, he had only learned the details recently, during the few friendly game Hawke and Aveline invited him to. But he had confidence in his skills, he would not be a burden for the team nor would he make a fool of himself by not respecting the rules.
“I'll be fine Aveline, I learn fast and I adapt well.”
She nodded and then stared at Anders. This one, who had silently observed the exchange, quirked an eyebrow.
“No fight during the game boys. Understood ?”
“Ma'am, yes ma'am !” Anders made a mock salute which earned him a jab in the ribs. He whined and glared at Fenris when this one let escape a snort.
“You're sure you're able to stand a whole afternoon without ranting about something ?” He asked, in the mood for some teasing.
It was a nice afternoon, everyone was in high spirits, excited about the game, and Anders didn't look too tired to exchange a few pleasantries without getting pissed off.
“As long as you keep your mouth shut there should be no problem.” He snapped back with an acidic smile.
“I deserved this one didn't I ?” He chuckled lowly.
Anders rolled his eyes at him though his amused smile ruined the effect.
“Team...uh...Team Dragons, it's your turn.”
They both turned toward the court. Hawke was already skipping toward it, roaring in a poor imitation of his favored winged lezards. Exchanging an exasperated yet fond look for their impossible friend, they followed him.
The first games went easily. Aveline was an excellent center, Hawke an energetic power forward and Fenris a pretty decent small forward. The other teams weren't bad but they didn't possess this surprising cohesion and harmony they felt in their own group. Fenris hadn't played much with Anders and Merrill but they were both pretty good. Merrill, even though she lacked the leading skill and let Aveline choose the strategy, made a good point guard, fast and agile. As for Anders...well he would never had guessed him able to jump this high and shoot with so much precision. Well he should have expected it with his long legs and lean muscles revealed by the tight yoga pants. As a shooting guard he was formidable. Soon a good alchemy was reigning in their team, they passed to each other without hesitation and knew how to place themselves on the court. They won three games in a row. Fenris discovered he was particularly efficient with Anders, this one always backing him up, ready to receive his passes. Everything was going fine for a while, Fenris felt good, the competition and exercice fueling him with the good kind of adrenaline.
And then after a thirty minutes pause, they entered the court again and found themselves facing a very arrogant looking team. All beta and alpha males looking down at them, sneering as they stared at Anders and Merrill.
“Two omegas..it'll be a piece of cake...” One smirked condescendingly.
Of course, Anders immediately swallowed the bait. Not that Fenris could blame him. They had proved they were good players, everyone had seen it. That some jerks could doubt it when they were confidently approaching the demi finals was quite irritating.
“Excuse me ?” The omega said, his best fake smile on his face, the one he used to politely convey his fury. Fenris had seen it enough times.
“Must be on his period...” Another man snickered not so discreetly.
Everyone had tensed and was glaring at the other team with varying degrees of hostility. Well except Merrill who was busy fixing something on her shirt, a blood stain or something. Hawke looked ready to say something but Aveline put a firm hand on his shoulder, silently instructing him to keep his cool, for now. Anders was also about to snap at them but the referee whistled to gather their attention. The omega sent the jerks one last nasty look but kept his mouth shut. All this time Fenris had said nothing but mentally calculated the best way to make this asshole trip on the ball without getting called out for foul play.
“Take place !” The referee instructed.
“Don't worry we'll go easy on you honey.” A guy winked at Merrill.
Fenris heard Anders and Hawke growl behind him. He found himself close to doing it too. The way this man leered at Merrill and Anders, how disdainfully he considered them...He looked like lot of cocky teven omegas Fenris had crossed path with.
“Oh thank you so much ! I have to admit I'm a bit nervous and...” Merrill started to chirp, not realising what this guy implied exactly.
“Merrill they're not being nice, they're being condescending.” Anders supplied, his voice cold as ice, his eyes hard as steel.
Merrill frowned a moment, rethinking about what the man said and reconsidering the way he stared at her...And then a frown appeared on her face as well.
“Oh ? Oh well this isn't very nice.” Her voice had taken a dark turn, surprising Fenris. But after all he had never seen someone truly attack Merrill, not in their inner circle at least, even if they got a bit exhausted of her naïve side at times.
“Just stating the truth babe. Omegas are always picked last in sports classes for a reason.” The idiot shrugged, his friends approving with little smirks.
“Aveline you allow me to rant a little ? I swear it's not against Fenris this time.” Anders asked, the need to make these assholes taste their own quite evident in his voice.
“Keep this energy for the game.” Aveline retorted, severe, her concealed anger obviously not directed at the omega however.
“Don't pout honey, I'll comfort you when you'll lose if you want.” A guy blew Anders a kiss and made an obscene gesture while the referee looked away. Fenris found he didn't mind being expulsed for foul play this much all of sudden...
“Thanks no thanks.”
They snickered like a group of hyenas and exchanged words between themselves, obviously talking about the omegas if the way they ogled at them was anything to go by. They obviously tried to make them mad.
“Well such charming competitors we have here.” Fenris scowled, getting closer to Anders in case this one decided to punch one of these jerks. Not that he could swear he would prevent him from doing so...
“I'm going to destroy them.” Anders growled behing his teeth. “See these legs ?”
Oh yes Fenris could see, had seen them well during the game but tried not to look at them right now, weirdly it made him feel blush. He fought back the stupid physical reaction, focusing back on the jerks.
“Carried me from Ferelden to the Free Marches. I'm not their stereotypical puny omega. Nor is Merrill. We're gonna show them.”
He nodded approvingly.
“I have no doubt about that.”
And he didn't. He had seen Anders play, he had seen how well their team worked. He had no doubt that they were able to teach these jerks a good lesson about prejudices and appearances. And they did. After fifty minutes of enraged game they won. Fifty – five. A crushing victory. But, as the fair players they were, they tried not to look too smug. Isabela and Varric were whooping widly from their spot. In fact a lot of people who had witnessed the previous exchange were clapping and cheering them on.
“Don't pout honey ! I know it must feel terrible being crushed by an omega but don't be a sore loser.” Anders gave them his sweetest smile, white teeth bared in a feral display.
Fenris felt a wave of pride overwhelm him as he took in the sight. Anders was sweaty and panting yet bathed in a halo of victory. He looked radiant and powerful, ready to conquer the world. And while it would have usually made Fenris wary, especially coming from an omega, he couldn't help but smile, happy to see him take his revenge and revel into it.
“The alphas did all the work.” One jerk spat, humiliated.
“I don't think I was the one scoring the six three pointers. Was it you Aveline ?” The elf immediately snapped, disdain dripping of his voice.
“Absolutely not. Neither did I score thirty points out of fifty. See Merrill, I told you you would do well.” Aveline patted the omega on the back while this one blushed with pleasure.
“Oh I just wasn't sure because I let the ball slip out of my hands so often usually but they weren't really hard to beat, were they ?” She feigned innocence but the glint in her eyes was everything but kind.
Anders laughed openly at her hidden jibe, looking down from all his glorious height at the other team. Once again the sight made Fenris smile helplessly. After some grunting the other team eventually quitted the court, sheepish and furious, while they all proudly stood under the cheering due to their spectacular performance. As Fenris went to fetch his water bottle, Anders skipped to him, a bright smile on his face.
“Don't think I didn't notice how you always passed me the ball. Thanks for giving me more opportunities to teach these jerks a lesson.” He said, lovely dimples appearing on his cheeks as his grin widened even more.
“Don't know what you're talking about. I was targetting your head but you always caught the ball, unfortunately.” Fenris joked, touched that Anders noticed it however, feeling his ears heating a little even.
He...he had thought he had been less obvious or maybe it was just Anders who was awfully perceptive. At first he hadn't even realized he was doing it, that he passed more and more often to Anders as this one scored and scored and scored again, more confident and belligerent each time. Unleashed, golden hair flying around, long legs propulsing him high in the sky, Anders had looked...hem. Anyway. At some point he had became aware of whom he prefered to pass to and discovered he didn't mind since Anders proved to be worthy of his trust. He didn't mind since it seemed to please him so much, seeing these jerks's faces decomposing each time they were bested by a weak and lowly omega. Since it earned him this warm and grateful smile...
Anders gave him a wink before running back to the center of the court where Hawke was roaring. Fenris watched him go with a thoughtful look as a weird sensation tickled his insides. Hawke was now using his jersey as a cap while he ran around the court.
“Rawwwwwr ! We are fire ! We are death !”
Had enough with immigrants, omegas activists and qunari ? Only one solution : Meredith Stannard. Because the salute of our valors and nation is an urging matter.
Anders stared thoughtfully at the terrible poster. As they made their way to The Hanged Man his eyes had caught this splendid piece of art and he had no choice but to freeze. Meredith Fucking Stannard was posing, arms crossed, gaze lost in the horizon. In front of her, smaller, some alphas enforcers were aligned, saluting. The Chantry emblem was imprited on a flag. It looked like a dictatorship propaganda. Well no surprise when she was in fact a dictator and used propaganda. In spite of the anger boiling inside of him, he smiled. Slyly. He reached in his bag for the sharpie he always left there, for opportunities just like this one.
“Not her best. And easy to deform at that. Here, a nice P to go with it.”
Because the salute of our valors and nation is a
n Purging matter.
Much better. Much more honnest. Much more impact. He bet she would thank him for this.
“What did this woman do to you now ?”
Not bothering to look above his shoulder, knowing exactly who owned this gravelly voice, he continued to contemplate his masterpiece. Eventually he felt satisfied enough and proudly turned away to face a perplex Fenris. Everyone else had stopped as well and were eyeing his correction with approval.
“Isn't it clear enough ? No immigrants. Goodbye Hawkes and Aveline. Omegas are a menace. Shut up me. And she thinks the same about elves believe me.”
Fenris quirked an eyebrow and was about to say something but Merrill chirped in, face contorted in worry and disgust.
“It's true, she made this terrible campaign against us. Told people that we shouldn't meddle with humans, that interracial relationships stained their blood. That we tried to steal jobs from humans and were responsible for the high rates of criminality too. She said we should be parked and watched. Some even affirm she once said that the only thing Tevinter got right was their treatment towards elves. But that's just rumours...” She didn't looked convinced even as she tried to be fair. “She's more violent toward qunari though but still, it wasn't really nice of her.”
With each word, Fenris frowned a little more until he looked at the poster with as much hostility as the rest of the group.
“She's also in charge of the omega program. What a bitch.” Anders added, eyes narrowing in a burning glare.
“Hey, hey, no slut shaming, Anders dear.” Isabela waved a finger at him, a smirk on her face.
He rised his hands in surrender, adopting a repentant look.
“You right. Even the workers of the Rose spreads less diseases than this woman.” Most laughed at this, Isabela louder than the other.
“Thanks to you and Justice. By the way Jethan said to say hi and thank you again for the balm.” She winked and Anders nodded.
He teased and made easy jokes but knew that the workers of the Rose took their health very seriously. Ever since Anders and Justice had decided to offer their services few were the infections. They both knew that they couldn't stop prostitution, that prostitution wasn't even the problem in itself. Several people worked here willingly and even enjoyed their job. No the problems were the abusive clients and bosses, the lack of security and health cares. Anders and Justice could at least solve one of these things and they decided to do so, in order to improve these people life, at least a little. It was the just thing to do. It was better than condemning prostitutes and shaming them like the Chantry did. He heard the workers tell him they had refused to let them abort in order to “teach them a lesson about the consequences of their deprived lifestyle”. Anders enraged, he knew every one of the workers were extra careful about this, it wasn't their fault when accidents happened or a client forced them without a condom. Even that the Chantry thought they earned it, after all when you sold your body you weren't worth of respect, you shouldn't complain about being abused.
He tried to chase the bitter thoughts from his mind. The sight of Meredith had once again fueled his anger toward the Chantry, reminding him of all the things they did to people they didn't consider worthy of their charity. He shouldn't plague his brain with this tonight. He was out with friends and should enjoy himself, not spoil the good mood. They started walking again. But Fenris of course couldn't leave it at that, curiously, he kept on inquiring about Meredith.
“She's this terrible uh ?”
“She's trying to gain more power. She's always throning at the city's council, hounding mayor Dumar. I think she wants his place, she finds him too lax.” Varric explained, ever the all knowing one when it came to political matters.
“Which says a lot when you know his politic about qunari and immigrants.” Hawke snorted.
“I'm not complaining, I never got along too well with qunari. Which is a waste of potential if their cock is proportional to their feets.”
They all let out various screams, ranging from agreement to amusment to embarassment, and the damn woman cackled at them, tongue teasing her lips in a wolfish way. The modd lightened up thanks to Isabela, they all started to walk again, forgetting about the awful poster. All except Anders who took one last look at it, fist clenched. When he teared his eyes off the offensive paper, he noticed that his friends were already a good few meters ahead. He also noticed that one person had waited for him. Fenris. This one shifted on his feet, still frowning, hesitation clear in his eyes.
“Anders. What is the omega program about ?”
Ah. Well, he wasn't sure Fenris would ask him this question, after all they still avoided touchy subjects as often as possible. Even if they weren't at each other's throath anymore, it was still delicate to talk about this. But he had kind of hoped he would, even if it wasn't exactly easy he wanted to share his experience as Fenris's shared his.
“You really want me to start on this ? Because I warn you, there's high chances I might rant.” He warned, a smile on his lips to show him he welcomed the question.
Fenris nodded. Anders began to walk, not wanting to trail too far behind their group. Yet he adopted a slow pace so they could speak out of ears reach. Fenris followed him. Well now...Where to start ?
“You never wondered why I don't have a last name or why my first name is so strange ?”
On general he prefered not to talk about himself, when he used his own experience to defend his point of view people tended to say he was biased or to think he was a whiny omega overreacting and exagerating. But it was Fenris they talked about and they got over this phase long ago, they no longer minimized each other's problems. And since the alpha talked about himself, about a very private part of his past, well it was only fair that he did the same.
“Not really, several people in our group only goes by one name. What does it have to do with this though ?” Fenris inquired, quirking an eyebrow in his unfamous dubious manner.
“Patience, patience, I'm setting the context. So, when I was young, around thirteen, me and my parents were travelling through Ferelden, we were on a vacation as the lovely family we were. Until I got my first heat and my genitals started to change. My mom was the first one to learn about it and she tried to hide it but...Well my father caught my scent. I never saw him this furious.”
He paused. While he was able to talk about it with an assured voice, the memories always woke a flurry of complex, mostly negative, feelings in his mind and heart. He would always remember the way his father stared at him, like if he was the biggest disappointment of his life, a mistake, a waste of time, a shame to the family's name, something he had to get ride of as quick as possible.
“And my dad basically abandonned me right there and then. Locked my mom into our hotel room, pushed me into a taxi and threw me in front of the local Chantry. Just climbed out of the car the time to inform them of the situation and to sign a few papers. Yeah I know, a charming man my father.”
He could still remember the way his mom had tried to hide him, had shielded him with her body as he held his favorite pillow with teary eyes, the way she told his father that she would leave with Anders and that he would never have to see them again but please, please don't take my child from me...And he would always remember how his father litterally threw him in front of the Chantry, leaving his knees and palms bruised for a week. And how he had stayed there, petrified, unable to react, to flee, to climb back in the taxi, to ask for help...how he had stayed on the floor until a Chantry enforcer had come to pick him up and push him in a white room where he had been inspected. He would always remember the last look his father gave him as he asked for mercy between two sobs. He felt his jaw tense and his fists clench inside his pockets.
“And that's how you arrived in the program. What about your name though ?” Fenris's voice cut through his painful train of thoughts. He hoped he concealed his distress well enough.
“I hardly spoke one word of Common Speech at the time. And my father wrote down my name in our own language. We don't use the same letters. So the people who took me in decided to just call me Anders.” He shrugged.
At first it had been quite irritating, not only that but the general problem of communication he encountered. But he was a quick learner and a clever boy, soon he had been able to speak Common. But he had never managed to make anyone pronounce his birth name correctly. And they didn't care all that much to be honnest, especially not the Chantry members. So he had given up.
“They never asked you your real name once you learnt Common Speech ?” Fenris frowned with disbelief.
“They didn't care...And I got used to Anders. Also I wasn't really eager to go by the name that had been given to me by someone who abandoned me like this.” He explained, observing how Fenris grew more and more disgruntled. Good sign he guessed ? Meant that he took this seriously and didn't consider this as a petty problem, probably.
“...And where did you end up then ?”
“The Chantry has an orphanage for regular children. But for omegas there's a whole other program. And parents don't even need to be gone in order to place them here.”
“What happens in this program ?”
The alpha's expression grew apprehensive. But curiosity was also clear in his eyes, Anders didn't blame him, he knew it wasn't a cruel one. And he gave him the pleasure to recite the long list of delight the Chantry had forced on them. He had mentionned these horrors so many times, had used them as argument so often, he knew them by heart as well their order.
“Oh you know. You learn how weak you are, how you represent a danger for others and yourself if you can't control your scent of watch your behavior. How to respect alphas and know your place in society. That you should stay a virgin till wedding because nobody want an used omega. That you were only made to bear children, that you are to be a good alpha spouse, nicely waiting home for them, and if you don't then it's an insult to the Maker. All the good stuff. Well, I have to admit that we at least have access to basic education. Even though our studies and career promises are lies. I was promised a doctor job and eventually got hired as a nurse in order to keep me low in the hierarchy. It gives them very efficient workers at low prices this way.”
“It seems extreme. Nobody protests against this ?” Fenris retorted.
Anders could understand the incredulity, he had felt the same when Fenris told him about Tevinter, when all the tevene people he had interviewed had shared their experiences and told him how socially accepted abuses toward alphas and elves were. To be fair they admitted they had tried to protest a few times but the police interventions were often exaggeratedly brutal, deadly even.
“The beta and alpha population mostly doesn't feel concerned by this or were fed the same prejudices. Often they don't even realize what's happening. As for the part supporting us, it isn't big enough to make a radical change. And omegas, well their voice is muffled by the Chantry or some medias who likes to make us looks like hysterical extremists. Just because we ask for respect and equality.”
Fenris looked thoughtful, silence fell over them for a few seconds before the next question came.
“Does a lot of omegas end up there ?”
“Not as many as the last decade. Then it was rare to see an omega out of the Chantry walls. Some things changed a lot like fifty years ago. We gained some rights, the one to not be confined to the Chantry unless we married an alpha for example. To have our own house and savings. To be autonomous. Now more omegas are raised by their family and free to go to normal school without being constantly watched. But way too many are still sent to this program. Because parents are not well enough informed, because they fear they won't be able to deal with it, because they believe the Chantry's prejudices and that its best to let them take care of this. A lot don't know what is truly going on inside, they don't even know they will barely get to see their child before they reach their majority. The Chantry plays with fears and misinformations.”
He took a breath. Good he had recited his little speech really well. Almost enough to convince Fenris he would say. But this one was still frowning, this time for another reason.
“...In spite of the obvious conditionning and demeaning education the Chantry inflicted upon you, you don't seem too affected.” He pointed.
...He should have seen this coming. People always assumed that he musn't have been so traumatized if he still had the courage to talk about it this openly, to defend his cause and denounce the Chantry so fiercely.
“I've always been a stubborn person...” He forced a smirk on his lips.
“Wouldn't have guessed...” Fenris snorted.
Anders tried to elbow him but the alpha dodged easily. With a sigh the omega began to answer.
“I managed to keep on fighting unlike many other omegas, I tried to never give up, hoping that someday I'll get out of the system. I ran away seven times. And got caught six times. The last one I reached majority before they could bring me back.”
“You're lucky you weren't an alpha in tevinter, people wouldn't have been this lenient with this kind of disobedience there.” Fenris groaned.
Anders rolled his eyes at the comparison, it wasn't a competition and Fenris didn't even let him finish. He tried not to sound too irritated but knew that he failed splendidly.
“Because you think they didn't make me pay for it ? What, you think they just caught me, scolded me a little and forbade me to watch tv for a week ? I didn't found the courage to flee so many times because I wasn't afraid of the consequences. I did it because each time they brought me back in they became more vicious and brutal with me. They...My sixth escape cost me solitary.”
His snapping made Fenris dig in his heels. They came to a halt.
“This doesn't seem alluring but...”
Anders frowned, if Fenris's needed more solid arguments he had these.
“One year of solitary.” His voice was hard, hammering this last sentence in Fenris's brain. And then he thought it wise to develop, since Fenris gaped at him with incredulous eyes. “Well solitary may not be the right word. After all one or two chantry alpha enforcers visited me from time to time. You know to make sure my wounds wouldn't heal too well, that I'll keep some scars as a fond memory of this time. I was a fucking mess when I got out Fenris. And the worst is that when you're alone for so long, you almost crave their presence, as cruel as it can be. It took one more year for me to regain my forces and my confidence and attempt one last escape. And this time, if they had caught me before I reached majority and was out of their legislation, I wouldn't have let bring me back alive. So yeah maybe I don't seem this affected because I don't cry in a corner every time we mention the Chantry but I can tell you that their program gave me many scars and a shit tons of anxiety issues.”
He hoped his hushed barks full of bite wouldn't catch their friend's attention. He prefered not to make a scene by dragging them in a potential feud that should stay between him and Fenris. He hoped Fenris wouldn't make a feud out of this by refusing to believe him...
“..I can't believe the Chantry would let this happen. You...It must have been a particularly bad program...”
Oh for the love of Andraste did he need to take off his shirt and...no. He wouldn't. He needed to control his anger, the question was...understandable. He could have asked the same about tevene omegas, after all Fenris former tutor was surely not the norm in Tevinter, as terrible their politics could be. But even if all omega didn't use it badly it didn't mean that the power they held over alphas and elves was fair and acceptable. He tried, he tried really hard to find the words to make Fenris understand and to avoid a fight.
“The Chantry doesn't fucking care in general. They choose the alphas enforcers who are charged to watch over us even though they have a police record. When we arrive in this program we are barely more than kids and we spend our teenage years under the watch of people who can do whatever they please with us. If we complain we are dismissed like if we were just hysterical and unrationnal children. Of course some program are better, some enforcers aren't all that bad. But because they are kind enough not to beat or rape us it would make it ok that they hold so much power over us ? Maybe they don't act on it but they also turn a blind eye on their colleague's behavior. And the Chantry don't give a fuck. Believe me I tried to talk to many different persons and they either scoffed at me or ignored me with uneasy looks. One or two may have gasped and said they would report it and fix the situation but I never noticed these promised changes...They don't want to see it, don't want to hear it, don't want to talk about it. They prefer to let us being treated like scum than admit what happens in the program and take the risk to get caught in the middle of a scandal. They don't want their authority threatened remember ? So if they have to silence a community to do so they'll do it, even if it's unjust and criminal.”
Out of breath, his anger cooling down, replaced with fatigue, he threw his last argument at Fenris. This one he knew that if Fenris didn't accept it then there was almost no hope to convince him fully...He hoped it did, he didn't want to fight tonight, he didn't want to fight with Fenris anymore. He thought back on their handshake, the one that had seemed to convey understanding and support, he hoped he hadn't read too much into it.
“...If you don't believe me...Well ask the Hawkes. Garrett's father was in Kirkwall's program. He talked about it to his children, so they wouldn't be ignorant about it. Or in case they turned out to be an omega. Bethany told me he didn't want her to get lured by the Chantry's lies of security and support if one day she happened to be alone and in need of help. Leandra told me that when she met Malcolm at the time, he was in a poor mental and physical state even though he hid it well, she can tell you all about the impact of the program on her husband. Well if she accept to, it's still hard for her to talk about her late husband, even more about the most painful parts of his life. She told me because I collect testimonies from omegas who spent time in the program in order to denounce it. You can try but maybe she'll be more reluctant..”
Fenris stared at him, expression hard but undecipherable at the same time. Anders looked down instinctively, waiting anxiously for the verdict. Had he reached the audience's expectations ? He smirked bitterly. Please let Fenris not be an ass about this...He didn't think he would have the force to confront him tonight, to handle his denial about his past abuses.
“...I believe you. This is so messed up, it's hard to believe that something like this is allowed by the Chantry but...I don't see why you would lie and I won't deny your story. You didn't deny mine after all. It's just...It's just strange to hear something so akin to teven alpha's experience coming from an omega...”
He almost sighed in relief before timidly looking up. He met Fenris eyes, full of concern and perplexity and rage even. Anders gave him a poor excuse of a smile.
“We do have our own brand of slavery too...Though I'll admit that if everyone knew the extense of the abuse in the program it would maybe be less socially accepted than the treatment of alpha and elves is in Tevinter...but I wouldn't bet too much on it though, people can be selfish scum. Especially those in power.”
“Truer words...” Fenris nodded.
Silence fell on them, heavy and pensive. They started to walk again, slowly, cautiously. Their friends were far ahead and hadn't seem to notice their heated exchange. Good, there was no need to bring everyone in choppy discussions and tragic debates.
“So..Sorry for spoiling the mood.” Anders felt obliged to say, not handling the lack of conversation very well after such an intense speech.
“I was the one who asked...I apologize if it made you uncomfortable...Or if it hurt you...”
He shook his head but deep inside it felt good to hear Fenris say this, to hear him care about the way his words could affect Anders. He tried to lighten up the mood, he didn't like the angsty feeling that had started to seize him at one point, when he had started to get pissed off and worried that Fenris wouldn't understand, wouldn't listen, wouldn't trust his words. He wanted to go back at the beginning of the night, when they were all laughing and Fenris was teasing him playfully while he answered in kind.
“It's okay you know I love to talk about myself and the omega plight. Also I spared you some more unsavory details. I don't think this is the time or place to talk about these.” He couldn't help but add, still afraid that this wasn't enough to convince Fenris that he too was an abuse survivor, that he could understand Fenris on a personal level.
“...I hope this doesn't sound like morbid curiosity but I think I want to know more..Will you tell me more one day ?”
This time a real smile appeared on Anders's lips. A frail one but a real one nonetheless. He saw this as a sign that Fenris took him seriously, that he was interested in hearing more despise the harsh way Anders might have answered to his previous questions. Not that he truly regretted his tone but he had been worried that it would repel Fenris, keep him from asking more and getting truly interested in these matters. And so it relieved him, made him happy even, to hear him ask this. Fenris tentatively returned his smile. They gazed at each other for a moment. Anders trying to show him he wasn't holding a grudge, that he had accepted his apologies of sort.
“Maybe...” Anders said.
Fenris nodded, not pushing the issue, respectfully staying silent. And then from the corner of his eyes Anders saw a massive form approach. He adopted a more relaxed expression, smile widening as to not alarm the people who had not been included in their conversation. They didn't need to know what just happened, it was between him and Fenris, an exchange well kept, private, fragile. And so he prefered to act like nothing happened and joke in order to lighten up the mood, to tear them off their angsty state.
“When Garret Fucking Hawke isn't trying to listen to our conversation by not so casually slowing down. You know that whistling don't make you any less suspicious right ? Maker why do this man constantly act like he is in a cartoon...”
Throwing Fenris a tired look, he noticed that this one too was smiling lazily, like if Anders hadn't just shared his past with him in hushed, angry whispers. Soon their smiles grew less tense, more honnest, Garrett Hawke proved to be a good distraction. His face was at least. The rest of the group started to slow down, waiting for them.
“Sooooorryyyyy but I was curious as to why you two were far behind us, talking quietly in your own little bubble...Hmmm ? Why that ? What were you talking about ?”
“We were talking about the fact that cats are so much better than stupid dirty mabaris.” Anders immediately retorted, making Fenris snort as he knew what reaction it would provoke.
“How dare you ?!!” Their friend howled, eyes wide, before losing himself in a passionate rant about how Dog was the best and Pounce was definitely less adorable than him.
They both chuckled and shared a glance. Fenris nodded and for some mysterious reason it made every worries desert from Anders's mind. Well, until Varric interfered with an all knowing smirk.
“Smart move Blondie but we're not as easily distracted as Hawke. So ? You were having a nice little chat back there ? Is the blush on your cheeks a result of intense flirting ?”
The blush was indeed the result of something intense but more akin to ranting than flirting. Yet he felt his cheeks heat again before the insinuation. And it didn't calm down when Isabela joined the teasing.
“Did Fenris asked to hear your plight in that sinful voice of his ? Did he ask you to convince him ? Did he propose to join efforts for the cause ? Or did he just ask if he could pet your pussy ?”
“Isabela !” Aveline growled.
“Your Doctor Pussy ! I was talking about Pounce of course, what else ?” The woman smiled sweetly at her friend, the picture of innocence.
“Yes, what else could she have been talking about Anders ? Oh ? Did I miss something nasty ?” Merrill piped in, betraying her own, very real innocence.
“Not more than usual Daisy.”
“You are all impossible and I wonder every day why I hang out with you.” Anders cut them all, crossing his arms, fighting back the little smile that threatened to bend his lips.
It was good, that's what he needed, some silly banter to lift up his spirits and chase any distressing thoughts. And even if their friends teased them mercilessly about the possibility of an attraction between them, it was still better than thinking about the program and Fenris disbelief and the anger that had welled up in his belly. Speaking about Fenris, this one finally opened his mouth and Anders smiled, convinced that he would scold them as well.
“Because they're the only one who want to.”
He gave the elf a betrayed look. This...This was low ! And easy ! And made with a hesitant smile, like if Fenris wasn't sure if his outrage was real or played, if he had the right to tease him after what they just shared. Well of course he had the right, he should even, as long as it wasn't cruel. He prefered being teased by Fenris than being questionned or ignored awkwardly or pitied. But that he kept to himself and merely gasped, indignant, playing along.
“I thought you were on my side in this ?!”
The way he exaggerated the pain and fury was a clue, clear enough to mutely tell Fenris it was okay, they could go back to what they were, that he held no anger. Just how they did after Fenris had shared his own experience. And so this one smirked slyly, eyes glinting with mischief, any hesitation dissolving.
“Me ? On your side ?...Cute.”
Anders narrowed his eyes.
“I'm going to destroy you tonight.”
Fenris chuckled lowly. Anders shivered against his will. Not his fault if the sound was..well...any person would have reacted this way, it meant nothing !
“At cards ?...Cute.”
And if on their way to the bar Anders lightly pressed Fenris's hand, to assure him that all was well and forgiven, nobody noticed. And Fenris didn't protest. He pressed back.
“I think this one would fit me perfectly ! What do you think ?” Hawke practically drooled in front of the showcase.
“Oh you're right, I love it ! Do you think they have it in green maybe ?”
Before they could say anything him and Merrill were running inside the shop, excitedly searching for the maxi skirt that caught their eyes. Anders sighed, feeling like a parent watching over their careless children. Beside him a muffled snort told him that the situation, or the face he made at the scene, greatly amused Fenris.
Summer was close, spring had gotten warmer and it was the time to buy some new lighter clothes. Plus Hawke had suggested taking vacations all together at his family's second house. This one was situated near the antivan border, close to the sea and the pleasant heat of the north. Anders had decided it was a good opportunity to find a skirt for Fenris, at the suggestion this one had hesitated a little but eventuallly agreed to give it a chance. To make it a little less awkward, buying clothes together ridiculously sounded like some kind of date to Anders, he had invited Hawke and Merrill. Fenris hadn't objected. And now they were at the local mall, wandering everywhere and anywhere, eyeing the showcases to find a style that would please Fenris. And Hawke and Merrill were actually making a mess out of the shelves...
“You want to go there ?” He turned toward Fenris, an encouraging smile on his lips.
For now the elf had been reluctant to step into any shops. Anders had caught his interested glances a few times but he had looked so hesitant that he hadn't dared pointing it. But now that their friends went there he had an excuse to follow.
“Why not. Must start somewhere anyway.” Fenris answered, keeping a collected front.
Yet he waited for Anders to lead the way. This one did with some teasing though.
“Such enthusiasm ! Hide your joy it's contagious !”
The elf frowned and stopped for a moment. Then he looked around, seeming a bit lost, his gaze falling upon various articles of clothing. His frown deepened a little, like if he didn't know what to begin with or like if he was having second thoughts about this idea all of sudden. Anders bite his lips, suddenly feeling a bit guilty, maybe he had been a bit too insistant, maybe he should have let Fenris come to him when he felt ready for this ? Maybe he would have prefered to go alone ?
“Are you okay ? If you changed your mind we can go you know ? I'll understand.”
The alpha shook his head as his expression slowly took a more determined look.
“No...I wanna try. At least buy one to begin with.” He slowly started to walk along the shelves and garnment hangers.
Anders skipped behind him, still nervous.
“You know my offer still stand, you can take mine.” He suggested, giving alternatives to Fenris if the situation really made him too uneasy, after all it was maybe shopping in public that made him reluctant, maybe they should have done online shopping ?
“Anders you already have holes in half your clothes, I'm not going to take the rare nice stuff you own.” The elf paused and turned around to give him a serious look. “Stop fussing and worrying, I'm fine. It just feels strange is all but..I'm glad you're here.”
At this confession Anders felt a warm feeling course through his body all the way to his ears. He could practically feel these one reddening. Oh well...He had always been extremely sensible to genuine words of affection and coming from Fenris well, it was... A little smile spreaded on his lips as he felt his mood improving, guilt and fear vanishing.
“So, what color, what shape ? Patterns ? Buckles ? Ornaments ?”
His flow was quick and unstoppable, soon Fenris was rolling his eyes but a similar smirk blossomed on his face. Anders beamed.
“Slow down, you enjoy this a lot more than me.”
“Can't help it, my activist soul want to see every alpha wearing skirts without shame.” He proudly claimed, skipping along as Fenris approached another garnement hanger.
On this one was a nice set of various skirts and dresses. The elf grabbed one, a black long one with a thicker material than what Anders would have picked for a summer skirt. But then he remembered how Fenris still wore sweater when all of them sported t-shirts. Of course the weather would still be cold for someone coming from Tevinter.
“This one...looks nice.”
His eyes gleamed with something. Awe. Temptation. Desire. Anders grinned victoriously.
“It does.” He agreed, even though he couldn't fully see the skirt. Yet he would say anything to encourage Fenris to at least try one. Well he wouldn't force him but if what he needed was just some cheering then he will happily to provide it. And then he noticed that Fenris wasn't able to reach the hanger, barely touching it as he tip-toed, an offended scold on his face. The omega chuckled.
“Need any help maybe ? Do you want me to go fetch a box ?”
“Shut up you girafe.” Fenris snapped back, not even looking at him, concentrated on his perilous task.
Taking pity on him Anders grabbed it for him. Which earned him a dark glare and a reluctant thanks. He snickered anew. Fenris was so cute...well, hem, cute like Ser Pounce-A-Lot when this one jumped in an empty box that is, this kind of cute, hem.. Fenris inspected the skirt, a look of wonder replacing his scowl. It was a wrap around skirt that should cover the legs entirely and slightly take in at the waist, it was nicely pleated at the top and the fabric was soft. Anders was about to say something when a sales assistant hopped in, wide smile plastered on her pretty face.
“Hello ! Do you need help ? Oh I see something already caught your eyes ! Well, I would recommand you to take another size, this one might be a little short for you..” Her eagerness could compete with Anders's but this one knew it was hardly sincere, just required by her job. As he realized she was talking to him specifically, his eyebrows rised.
“Oh it's not for me !” He cut her. Then pointed toward Fenris with a little smile.
Her own disappeared as she took a look at the elf, surprised, taken aback.
“Oh. Oh I...my apologies I thought you were an alpha and...” She stuttered, trying to discreetly check his scent and frowning when she realized she wasn't mistaken.
“But he is an alpha.”
Anders crossed his arms defiantly as the sales assistant looked more and more uneasy. If she had something to say about it he was ready to bite back. No way that someone's limited mind was going to ruin Fenris's first skirt shopping experience. Well to be fair he should have expected it but he had hoped the shop assistants would be less open about their shock, that they would keep their professional fake smile on despise their personal beliefs.
“I...okay, well, if you need me don't hesitate !” She tried to adopt a friendly tone but only managed to sound squeaky.
Anders tssked as she quickly walked away, tense and eager to go help another lady that seemed totally 'normal'.
“This face she made...Like if it was this shocking...”
When he focused back on Fenris this one was staring at his skirt, pensive. Anders frowned.
“You okay ? It didn't make you change your mind did it ?”
He hoped not, he really, really wanted Fenris to try on a skirt. He had seen the desire burning in his eyes when he had picked this one and he would be furious if one stupid shop assistant had made Fenris uneasy enough to...
“No, no I'm just...She looked more confused and embarassed for me than affronted that I'd dare putting on something meant for an omega.” He explained and then Anders understood.
With a little 'oh' he nodded. Fenris smiled lightly, he didn't look upset or ready to flee. Good.
“Welcome in the south.” He used his best accent, the one that made Hawke howl in laughter and Aveline cringe. Fenris was in the middle of these two reactions, grimacing a little but unable to entirely hide his amusment.
Anders wanted to retort 'But you love me' but the words never came out. A strange feeling seized his insides and he only stared at Fenris for a moment, contemplating how this one was caressing the skirt's fabric with delicate fingers, almost religiously. His skin crinkling around the eyes as a full smile blossomed on his lips. He looked so...
“Anders ! Anders ! See what we got you ?”
Hawke spun him around with the gentleness of a bear and Merrill practically placated something onto his face. He fought a minute to get ride of the man's grip and push the elf away. Then he was able to take a better look. And positively squealed. Anders had a lot of cat shirts. He had a “Purr-maid” one. He had a “Hairy Pawter” one. He had a “You've cat to be kitten me right meow” one. He even had one with the grumpy cat for mondays. He had bought it partly because its scowl reminded him of someone...But never had he seen something this magnificent. A kitty on its hind legs, mouth open in a hiss, front paws raised to throw spectacular lightnings around. It. Was. Glorious.
“Oh Maker this is just precious ! I have to try it on !” He bounced up and down, making grabby hands at it.
Merrill handed it with an endeared giggle and he raced for the changing rooms, Fenris and his skirts entirely forgotten. When he finally got to admire himself in this masterpiece, he squealed anew. It was so cute. He was so cute. This was perfect. Justice was going to stare at it for a long time when he'll show him. Then he would tell him not to wear it at work and Anders would disobbey and it would be extremely funny to see Justice trying not to scold him like a child in front of the patient. When he came out to show off his new treasure to everyone, Fenris was opening the curtains of another booth. Holding the black skirt and another one, red this time. He took in the sight and smirked.
“So what do you think ?” Anders twirled around before striking a pose. This got a small laugh out of Fenris.
“How can your patients take you seriously I wonder.”
“Hey ! It makes kids smile !”
The alpha shook his head and disappeared behind the curtains. Anders decided to admire himself a bit longer while waiting for him to come out. At one point Merrill and Garrett joined him and both clapped approvingly. They chatted a bit, talking about the skirt Hawke had chosen and the lovely summer hat Merril fell in love with. And then Fenris got out.
He was sporting a pleated red skirt and...It was just not cutting it. But he didn't know how to say it without destroying Fenris's confidence or taking the risk to see him refuse to try another skirt.
“You look nice.” Garrett said with a wide smile.
“Yes the Chantry sister look is good on you.” The smile turned into a smirk and Anders elbowed him as he snickered at Fenris's disappointed pout.
But he had to be honnest too, he didn't want Fenris to buy any skirt, he wanted him to buy one that made him confident by how well it fitted him, he wanted him to look in the mirror and be as happy as Anders felt about his cat shirt.
“I'm sorry Fenris but Hawke is right, this doesn't fit you somehow. Try another, I'm sure the black one will look nicer on you.” He gave an encouraging smile and sighed in relief when Fenris nodded, not taking offense at Hawke's teasing.
And well...Maker...The black one did look good on him. Really good in fact. It gave his hips a slight curve, not as noticeable than a omega's one but still present. It reached his ankles in an elegant fall. Simple and classy, it was perfect for Fenris. And with his white shirt and black boots he almost looked ready to pose in a magazine...No he wasn't exagerating, he had always found Fenris really handsome but in this outfit he was downright gorg..HEM. Well. He looked great. He should buy this one definitely. Definitely..
“Oh this one looks much better ! Doesn't it !” Merrill clapped with excitement, smiling brightly at a not so convinced Fenris.
“Not as good as mine but yes, it's better !” Hawke claimed.
He had managed to put on his own skirt without anyone noticing and was leaning against the wall in a flirty pose...What an attention whore...Anders smiled at his friend's antics but focused back on Fenris. Hawke was confident enough, the one who needed compliments here was the elf.
“Yeah you look great ! I approve. Ten out of ten. Must buy immediately.” He attempted a wink and was surprised to see Fenris smile back, shyly at first then more assuredly.
“I agree ! You're usually hot but now you're definitely a supernova !” Hawke winked at Fenris too. Anders felt a weird twist in his guts and couldn't help but pinch Garrett's side. His cry of pain was music to his ears. He told himself it was still for the Chantry sister comment, nobody deserved to be compared to a chantry sister, especially not Fenris..
“But why not something green next time ? What do you say ? Black is really classy and goes with everything but a slight touch of color for the summer would be..” Anders started to point out carefully, not wanting to sound too bossy and annoy the elf.
Merrill let out a loud gasp, making them all jump in surprise. Eyes suddenly shining with passion, her voice wishful, she started to blabber.
“Oh yes green ! Green would look perfect on you Fenris ! Something like moss green or pine green or maybe a fern green !” She continued to search her brain for all the nuance of green she must own in her wardrobe and all the shade of green she might have used for her painting. It was a looooong list.
“Thanks Anders for awaking the colors maniac.” Hawke whined, going back in the booth to take off his skirt while Merrill was ecstatically talking about all the possibilities green had to offer.
“...I'm going to change.” Fenris told them, trying to cover the sound of Merrill squeals.
Some minutes after he was out. Anders had nodded along whatever Merrill was saying with a fond but tired smile, his mind focused on something else. Luckily Garrett had came out as well and was now dragging the elf away to find other garnments. So it was only him and Fenris in the room in the end. The alpha was back into his jeans and Anders pouted.
“Nothing else ?” Anders inquired, hopeful.
“No I think I'm going to take the black one. It'll be enough for now, its basic and discreet enough.”
He didn't insist. It was already a small victory, for Fenris and for him. He wouldn't push his luck. And who knew, if they all went on vacation at the Hawke's second estate, he would have the time to drag him in other shops where they would find more colorful and diverse skirts. Antiva's style was a bit more to his tastes, daring and extravagant. Maybe he could convince Fenris to adopt it too.
“Yes and the shape fits you this time. You know you almost looked like a model with your black boots and your shirt...A very grumpy model though.” He admitted as they walked to the cashier, Fenris with his skirt, Anders with his shirt.
The alpha seemed to flush a little but gave him a groan as well, only proving Anders right.
“And you're going to take this abomination ?” He snorted at the t-shirt, eyes full of disbelief.
“The cats epicness needs to be spreaded !” Anders held it close to his heart, amorously rubbing his cheek on the soft fabric.
“You're ridiculous...” But the elf smiled despise his exasperated sigh, fondly almost.
“And you're repeating yourself.”
“Because the first time wasn't enough to reach your thick skull.”
Anders stared at the kitten with a wounded pout.
“Don't listen to him, he's just jealous he doesn't have a lovely cat shirt too.” He cooed, royally ignoring the way Fenris stared at him, judgmental and blasé.
“And now he's talking to clothes...”
He poked his tongue at him in a very mature fashion but Fenris snorted and left it at that. They quickly paid for the clothes, acting like if they didn't see the strange look the cashier gave Fenris, not knowing how to interpret it. But when she gave them a quick thumps up, timid smile on her lips, they answered in kind, appreciating the discreet support. Fenris seemed even more happy of his choice as they stepped out, sitting on a nearby bench in order to wait for Merrill and Hawke.
“Thank you for coming with me.” The alpha softly told him, looking straight before him as his ears took a lovely darker shade.
Anders suddenly noticed the emotion in his voice and the way his eyes were filled with awe and pride. And realized that it was no small victory for Fenris. It was a great achievement, a statement. That he was no longer in an abusive place where things were chosen or forbidden for him. That despise the weird looks one sales assistant gave him, nobody had kept him from buying this skirt, another one had even approved. That he was no longer obliged to bend under the rules of one elite. Anders felt a wave of emotions, a mix of sorrow, pride and protectiveness take over him. He knew himself, he was emotional and didn't posses as much self control as Fenris did. He didn't want to make a scene by tearing up or anything so he did what he knew best. He teased Fenris.
“Anytime. Maybe next time we'll manage to make you wear some moss green. Or was it pine green ? Or maybe mold green ? Pond green ? Frog green ? Green green ?”
Under the joking tone were hidden, not so subtle, some hints. That he was happy for Fenris. That he was grateful for being a part of something so important. That he would do it again if needed. He hoped Fenris understood, he had always proved to be awfully perceptive. Given the way he smiled warmly even as he gave him a light push, he did.
If someone want to see what I had in mind for their clothes :
-Fenris beautiful skirt http://www.leptitamiral.fr/image/cache/data/category_70/alexander-mcqueen-jupe-longue-effet-portefeuille-en-crepe-de-chine-drape-725749-3559-625x638_0.jpg
-Anders glorious t-shirt -> http://g04.a.alicdn.com/kf/HTB1QlFWMXXXXXXWXXXXq6xXFXXXE/Men-s-T-Shirts-Galaxy-Cat-Casual-Short-Sleeve-ManT-shirts-O-Neck-Newest-Camisetas-S.jpg_640x640.jpg
Only dialogues. No I'm not doing this out of laziness (NOT AT ALL) but in truth for some reason I wanted to just have verbal interactions between Fenris and the psychologist. Like if it was recorded somehow. It felt more dynamic, more pure in a way. I hope you enjoy these conversations.
“So what did you come here for Fenris ?”
“...Someone asked me to.”
“I doubt you went here just for someone else. Especially since it seems to cost you so much. So explain to me what is the problem ?”
“Anders didn't tell you ?”
“Anders merely asked me to help a friend of his with some issues. He didn't reveal anything that you might have wanted to keep private.”
“Hard to believe when you know how much of a chatterbox he is.”
“Yes he can babbler a lot but when it comes to private matters he is extremely careful.”
“...I know. I...I came here because I experience some pains during my ruts. And Anders think they might partly come from previous...traumas.”
“Would you please explain the traumas you're thinking of ? And their possible link to your pains ?”
“I...don't know. I mean I know I have to but it's no easy task.”
“I understand. It can wait until you feel more at ease. You could talk to me about yourself in the meanwhile ?”
“About myself ?”
“Yes, your story, aside from the traumatic parts if you do no want to share them yet. What you like, what you dislike, where you come from, how is your life right now ?”
“I can try.”
“Good then, please do and do not worry. Remember that I am here to listen, understand and advice, not judge. You are free to speak your mind without fear.”
“You are not what I expected at all.”
“Oh and how did you expect me ? As some old bearded man grumbling about how sex and mothers are the cause of every problem ?”
“Excuse me ?”
“Nothing, it's just a reference to someone we quite despised but still had to study in Orlais's university.”
“Sounds like an awful example...”
“You have no idea. But more seriously, how did you imagine me ?”
“I don't know, where I come from most doctors are omegas and they don't exactly empathize with alphas most of the time.”
“Well in fact Tevinter have only a few psychologist because most mental issues like depression are not recognized. They're viewed as a weakness and so not considered as real problems whichever caste you're from. I heard tevene are all terribly scared by any sign of 'weakness'.”
“Yes they are. You are well informed about my native country.”
“I studied the way psychology is used in various countries, each have different methods and it's good to learn a bit about all of them.”
“Hmm..Like I said you're not like I imagined you are more...Open-minded and comprehensive than I expected. Less pressuring too.”
“My job is to help you to get better, to give you the keys so you can take care of yourself and solve your issues. You are a clever person Fenris and I am convinced that you can find a solution all by yourself. I'm just here to orientate you in your research and give you some hints here and there. We sometimes casually mention important things without noticing how much they mean, I'm here to point these things out so you can take them, understand them and use them in order to understand the root of the problem and how to uproot it.”
“In other words you are not here to do all the job in my place but to support and guide me until I am able to take care of these problems by myself ?”
“Exactly. Until you have enough knowledge and ressources to face it by yourself and handle potential future issues.”
“You arm me for my battles but let me fight them. I like it. It makes me...less dependant of you than I would have expected.”
“I am glad it suit you. Now I am sorry but we have to end this session. I have other people to see. But we can see each other in two weeks if you want to ?”
“...Okay. Next time I'll try to talk a little more about the source of my traumas.”
“Only if you feel like it. No pressure Fenris.”
“Well the price of an appointment kind of pressure me.”
“...Anders didn't lie about your humour, I see why he likes it. See you soon Fenris and have a good day.”
“You too. And thank you.”
“You seem down today Fenris.”
“I just...did a lot of thinking and I wonder what is the use of all of this.”
“What do you mean ?”
“I feel like I don't progress.”
“Well let's recap what we have done since you first came here. First we established that due to your past abuses, your body instinctively emit a strong negative reaction to your rut. Since your brain associated the feeling of arousal to bad experiences it naturally created an alert signal for when it spot the symptoms usually linked to it. Instead of normal sensory receptors it is probably the nociceptors that activate and then they create or amplify the pain in order to warn you, to make you stop what you are doing or flee the stimuli that is associated to danger.”
“Yes, yes, we went through this and I understood it all. Not only does it create my physical distress but it wake up my anxiety too. Since my brain associate it to abuse it can't help but bring back memories.”
“Yes so you can remember why you have to fear the situation, why it associated the arousal with the distress. Your brain is on edge, watching for any sign of real threath and so it increase your anxiety.”
“Yes but...I understand how it works but I'm not sure how to solve it. Calming down, thinking rationally and feeling secure help to lessen the pains but...What if it never go away or what if...what if it keeps me from having any other relation ?”
“You told me you never tried having one after him right ?”
“Yes I...Had other things to think about. And I was scared. Scared that I'll panick and do something reckless. That I might be taken advantage of or even hurt my partner. I was scared to witness how much he damaged me.”
“I understand. Since you can't remember having any sexual experience before him, it doesn't make it easier. He is the only point of comparison you got, the only reference about sexual relations you have on a personal level.”
“Yes. Of course I know that normal, healthy couple don't work like that. I know a couple and I am certain that this is pleasant for them and they treat each other well. But even if I know that sex can feel good I have no personal experiences to reassure me, to let me think that I'm able to have sex without pain or anxiety. What if I can't ?”
“The question is : do you want to have other relations ?”
“Isn't it the purpose of all of this ? To make me able to live as a functionnal person who can have relationships ?”
“The purpose is to help you get rid of this pain and anxiety first, or at least to help you learn how to handle it. Being a functionnal person doesn't automatically include having relations Fenris. Some persons don't need or want sex at all and that is perfectly fine. They can even have relationships without sex if what you're worried about is not being able to date someone without being obliged to have sex with them. So what we have to also find out is not how to make you able to have sex. But if you fear it essentially because of your abuse or because you're naturally not attracted to this kind of interactions. If this is something you truly wish to experience but the abuse make it harder or if you simply do not feel at ease in these situations but you're still pressured to do it because this is what functional persons do.”
“But without memories from before this time, I can't tell if I was able to enjoy sex once of if I always held a distaste for it. I..I think I want to try it. I know I'm sometimes attracted to people on more than an intellectual level. I don't want to have sex with them just like that but after getting to know them, to trust them I think...I could try.”
“So you want to try but with someone you know and you trust enough to expose yourself in such a vulnerable state. You think that if you know and trust them your brain and body won't react so strongly to their touch ?”
“I'm able to handle physical contacts more easily with my friends. The more I spend time with them and get to trust them the less I'm uneasy when they touch me. So maybe it will work as well during sex...I want to try. I really do want to find out if I can have this kind of relationship with someone. But I just have to find the right person to do it with. Someone who knows my issues, someone I trust to stop whenever I ask them to.”
“Do as you want Fenris. If this is important for you then try. Do it with someone that makes you feel safe. Take your time to do it too, don't rush, it's not like a band aid, the pain won't be more bearable because you go fast.”
“I don't think I'll try to go all the way the first time. More like...I'll try simple things, preliminaries. I'll see how I can handle it and if I'm not in pain, if it feels good I'll gradually go to the next level.”
“Good. This is important Fenris, that you go at your own pace so your mind and body relearn how to react in these situations, little by little.”
“Okay. I'll keep it in mind when my anxiety start to make me hiss at my partner.”
“And here I was worried you felt down today Fenris.”
“I think I like an omega.”
“Oh ? And how do you feel about it ?”
“I don't know...I want to say bad but the truth is...I think he's the person I trust the more. I can't find one single rational reason why it would be a bad thing. But I just...”
“Danarius was an omega too and since your sexual relations were abusive you instinctively associate omegas with danger ?”
“Exactly ! Even here, where I know omegas aren't in power nor a menace, even here I'm wary of them. I tense when I smell a foreign one and my instincts tell me to fear them. I progressed a lot since I came here but...my first reaction when I see or meet an omega is to get suspicious and watch for any sign of threath.”
“Which is normal given where you grew up.”
“Yes I guess it is just like here when women or omegas tense when an unfamiliar man or alpha approach them. The first instinct is to be wary because even if they know all of them aren't bad they can't know which one will be respectful and which one will be a threath. So they're alert, ready to react just in case. For me it is the same with omegas.”
“But then you told me the omega you might like is trustworthy right ?”
“Yes he is. He's trustworthy but also gentle, respectful, patient, tolerant. He knows about my past and take it in account, he is careful around me without overdoing it, he empathize without pitying me. And his touch even feels...nice.”
“And you think you like him in more than a platonic way ?”
“I'm pretty sure of it. I don't know if I want to have sex with him but. I'm physically attracted to some extense and I'm just...drawn to him in general. To his personnality and wits, to his smile and kindness, to his teasing even...”
“So where lies the problem then ?”
“I am worried that in spite of all these rationnal facts...well my brain and body will only take the smell and the pherormones in account if we try something. That I'll panick because of this. And also...I'm worried to fall back into bad habits with him. I fear that being in a relation with an omega will bring me back to my relation with Danarius, that I will act with them like I acted with him, against my will. That my first instinct when they'll get annoyed will be to cower. That I won't be able to say no in fear of being punished. I fear that somehow the pure fact that the person is an omega will influence me, that it will subdue me.”
“Hmmm but then again you told me this person was nothing like Danarius. And that he is careful around you since he knows of your past. Do you believe he would take advantage of this ? Despise the truth you placed in him, do you think him able to abuse you ?”
“No ! No, no...He would never. Not willingly at least. He's the first one to denounce abuse and he is extremely well informed about consent and...It's not really him that I don't trust on this. It is myself. I'm not sure to be able to say stop when it'll get too much. I fear that being with an omega will only remind me of my previous abuse and ruin everything before it even started. Being friends isn't exactly the same than dating and I fear the dynamics will change and become unhealthy...”
“I understand Fenris. Maybe you should find someone else if you think this will be too hard to handle ? Or do you like him too much to renounce without trying ? Does that worry you ? That you want to try something but aren't sure if it'll be worth it in the end ? That it is a lost battle ?”
“Yes...I know that it rationally makes no sense. He is the best kind of person I could wish for to understand my situation and take things slowly and yet...But well I don't know why I'm getting so stressed about it, I don't even think he likes me back.”
“Are you sure of that ? Or is it an excuse to flee the situation ?”
“...Sometimes his behavior could be interpreted as flirty but then he acts like this with a lot of people. Sometimes I think I make him blush but I can't say if it really means anything. I don't know..I'm usually really perceptive about people but I never learnt to spot and interpret romantic signs.”
“And you really don't want to talk with him to find out ? Are you scared that he won't be patient and understanding even if he doesn't return your feelings ?”
“I'm scared to ruin a friendship we took time to build because of an unrequited crush or because of my issues.”
“He seems to handle your issues well from what you told me. As for the unrequited crush you can't say that yet. It is up to you Fenris but maybe you should try to find out if you have a chance before giving up. If you want to of course. After all he's still an omega and if you think this is truly going to be a problem..”
“I want to try. I can't see myself trying to have a relation with anyone but him for now and...well in spite of what I said I think he'll see if I start to act differently. I doubt he will do anything if he suspect me of fearing him or accepting everything out of habit.”
“Hmm hmm, being an omega seem to be the only thing he have in common with Danarius.”
“Yes and that's why I trust him.”
“Good. Then maybe take some weeks to observe him, talk with him and decide if you want to try something ? Do you see him often ?”
“I'm going to spend one week with him soon. We and our friends are taking vacation together, we're going to spend it in a house up north, near the coast.”
“Well it sure will be an interesting experience. Maybe spending so much time together and sharing space will make it easier for you to spot any signs. And maybe you'll be able to see if his presence or proximity stress you out on the long term.”
“I guess. We went a long way from where we began and I dare to hope everything will be fine. But you never know, I have no idea if there's something between us. Nor do I know how I will react if he touch me in a more intimate way. But I want to try and find out if I'm able to have a relation, I just...I'm tired of being in fear of something I don't even know.”
I love to bring assholes in this story, I love to make Anders and Fenris make them eat back their words.
The moment they had parked in front of the house, all had jumped out of the car, swimsuit already on and towels in hand. Long hours of driving and the growing heat had made everyone restless and impatient to run to the beach. The Hawkes mansion was almost situated in front of it, hidden behind a wall and a few trees, ideal. And so, the second they had stopped, Fenris had watched his friends leave him behind in order to run toward the sea like madmen. Even Aveline and Varric had jogged toward the water. And Hawke had also forgotten to take his keys of the contact. With a sigh Fenris had taken them, closed all doors and locked the vehicle. It was a very large one Hawke had rented to fit all seven of them and their lugages, it was also bright red to no one surprise. His towel on his shoulder, he had casually followed his friends, not as eager as them since he wasn't sweating bullets. The weather was nice but not as stiffling as a tevene summer.
And now he was lying on his towel, watching everyone fool around in the water. He had dipped a toe in it but refused to join them, finding the water a tad too cold. He prefered to bask in the sun and read a little, shirt still on. He was still a bit uncomfortable with exposing himself to everyone's eyes, all too conscious of the stares his tattoos provoked. There wasn't as much people as he had expected on the beach but still, he needed some time to get used to it. Beside him Varric was lounging on a long chair (Maker knew where he had gotten it) writing in a notebook, his glorious hairy chest proudly exposed. Fenris could see some women drool and it made him smirk, poor girls had no chance. Hawke, Isabela and Anders were wrestling in the water while Merrill and Aveline were swimming to the buoy. Hawke was wearing the tightest swimsuit he had ever seen.The rivaini was topless but so were a lot of women around there and nobody looked at her disapprovingly. Merrill and Aveline sported more classic outfit.
And Anders...Well Anders only wore swimming shorties. Very colorful. Pretty tight fitting. Which revealed that despise an overall skinny body he had a rather round...Hem.
Suddenly he felt thirsty and got up.
“I'm going to buy drinks. Want anything ?” He asked Varric, shaking his head to chase the image of Anders's shorties from it.
“Yes please could you buy a soda for each of us ? Here take this money.” The dwarf handed him a few coins, making Fenris frown.
“I can p...”
“It's from the common purse. Each time we go on vacation all together we all put money in it and then when we purchase something for the whole group we can take some.” Varric explained.
Fenris nodded. Of course, it was a good system.
“Oh okay then. Coke is alright ?”
The dwarf gave him a thumbs up and Fenris made his way to a nearby bar located on the beach. He commanded seven cokes and the smiling waitress went to fetch them in the freezer. While he waited, a loud conversation caught his attention. Two guys were drinking some energy drinks while casually contemplating the beach. More specifically the people on the beach. They had tanned skin, long hair, shit eating grin and they stinked of alpha scent. They were also puffing out their chest like some ridiculous roosters. He knew it wasn't fair to judge on sight but they looked like the kind of jerk it was best to avoid. Fenris tried to ignore them but his keen hearing and low tolerance to bullshit wouldn't let him.
“They're not great this year.”
“Yeah see this chick there ? The dark-skinned one with this big ass ? Well if she had less cellulite and rolls she would be really nice.”
“Yeah but I would still bang her. Look at these tits, I would love to fuck them. The skinny one though...”
Fenris grimaced at their tone, they sounded like they were evaluating a piece of meat when they were obviously talking about a person, it immediately made him furious. But when he followed their eyes and discovered they were talking about Isabela, he felt positively murderous. Isabela had curves and not only the idealized ones they showed in magazines, but she was probably one of the most beautiful woman he had ever met. And even if she hadn't been what gave them the right to judge and talk about her like this ? It reminded him of the way omegas gauged alphas in Tevinter, it made him sick. And he didn't feel any better when he realized they were ogling Merrill now. Sweet, naïve Merrill who was skipping out of the water with a bright smile.
“No curves, no ass, no tits...At least she looks easy to bed, watch how stupid she looks. Bet you could tell her your dick taste like lollipop and she'll start to lick it to check. And she's an elf, I love elves, I love to bite their ears, it makes them cry out so hard..”
The waitress put the cokes in a bag and on the counter as Fenris gave the money. She sent him a worried look, surely surprised by the way his expression had suddenly turned sour. He forced a smile on his lips and she hesitantly returned it. He tried, he really tried to walk away and ignore these two assholes. But they continued to laugh and make comments and he froze. The comment about ears had given him shivers. He remembered how Danarius loved to pinch and twitch his ears. His fist clenched around the can.
“The only other chick is so beefy she looks like a dude man !”
“Well she looks like an alpha, I ain't banging that, they are too bossy. I prefer them nice and quiet.”
He tensed. Kaffas he wasn't going to tolerate this much longer.
“Isn't this guy an omega too ?”
“What, dude, you think about banging him ?”
His head snapped back toward the alphas.
“Well he's maybe a guy but he still have a pussy, take him from behind so you don't see his dick and it'll be perfect.”
His insides twisting and his blood boiling he glared at them. From the corner of his eyes he saw that the waitress observed the scene, eyes wide. She looked at the two alpha male with disgust and disapproval so she must have heard them. He focused back on the two guys, these one blissfully unaware that people could hear them. Or maybe they didn't care at all, comfortable in their roles of direspectful jerks. Maybe they thought that because they were alphas they had every right to act like this and nobody would dare to say a thing.
“Duuuude no ! Plus look at how weird he is ! Skinny as fuck, you can almost see the ribs and still he got a fat ass with marks on it ! And those scars too...Urk, it's disgusting, he looks like some add for anorexia and self-mutilation.”
He was about to kill these guys. Anders wasn't a model that could fit ridiculous beauty standards but he was just as handsome. Fenris had seen the marks and the scars even if he had not been rude enough to stare and he didn't think it was ugly nor disgusting. Who were these men to dare talk like this about people they knew nothing about ?
“Now that you say it...Oh well, won't change how good it would feel for me to pound in his pussy. Look at him he surely didn't have much opportunity to fuck, must be desperate and he must be tight too.”
He was boiling, seeing red, about to burst...How could they talk like this...how could they consider Anders like this...They sounded just like...Damnit. A flash crossed his brain. A memory of this party where a guy had cornered Anders against the fridge and had tried to force himself on him. Back then Fenris had been too surprised to react, he had not even taken the threath seriously at first, when Carver had warned him of the alphas with wandering eyes who preyed on omegas. This time he wouldn't wait for Anders to be pinned against a wall to react. This time he wouldn't let anyone touch him this way.
“I bet you I can go sweet talk him and tonight he will be dancing on my...”
A piercing scream passed his lips before he could finish his sentence. As he stumbled away, soda dripping from his hair all the way down his chest, eyes wide open with shock, Fenris felt the slightest hint of satisfaction. It wasn't enough to sate his anger, far from it. But the things Fenris wanted to do in order to make him pay for his words would certainly earn him a visit to the cops. So he kept control over his murderous impulses and merely glared at the other alpha, teeth barred.
“Oops. Sorry.” He dryly said, not an ounce of remorse in his voice.
“What the fuck is wrong with you ?!!”
The guy stomped toward him, the sand making him lose his balance, ruining his attempt at intimidating Fenris. This one held his ground. He wasn't afraid, he was able to make this asshole eat the sand in one second. One more second and his friend would join him on the ground.
“I thought it would be wise to refresh you before the heat make you spit any more stupidities. I don't appreciate to hear people being so disrespectful, especially toward my friends.”
The man seemed perplexed for a second. And then realization hit him. But instead of having the decency to look guilty, he started to groan in annoyance. Beside him his friend started to snicker.
“Oh fuck he's gonna tell them everything. Look like you won't be banging any of them tonight man.”
And he patted his shoulder in sympathy. Like if they were just talking about something trivial, like a prize he didn't get at the fair. Fenris narrowed his eyes, his expression made of pure hate and disdain.
“If it was up to me I would make sure you wouldn't be able to bang anyone until the end of your life. But castration is still illegal here alas.” His voice was harsh, he didn't yell but it still conveyed the seriousness of this menace.
The guy scoffed, cocky and unbearable.
“You're menacing me ? You think I'm scared by some weak elf alpha that...”
Using his scent to menace someone was something he rarely did. It was a low blow and it also reminded him of his time as a bodyguard when he had been trained to terrorize people with it. But right now it was instinctive and uncontrollable. And it worked.
“You should be scared, if you possess an ounce of good sense.”
His voice was a growl and his eyes were cold fire burning a hole into the man. Like if he had been hit by an invisible impact, this one stumbled backward and fell in the sand. Eyes wide, shaking with fear, face paling, he started to crawl away. The other man too looked nauseous and terrified. Fenris felt a smug little smile appear on his lips. He didn't like to use this trick but at the same time it was gratifying to make these guys piss themselves. And to look down at them just how they looked down at him one second before. He knew they took him seriously now and he knew they wouldn't dare to try anything with his friends, with Anders...Which was the main source of his satisfaction.
Vainly, they tried to regain composure and glared at him.
“Tsk ! You won't always be here to protect your girlfriends, think about that.”
More calm now that he let out his fury through his scent and scared off these jerks, he crossed his arms and quirked an eyebrow. Still angry but not boiling anymore.
“Oh but I don't doubt they can defend themselves.” And he didn't. Aveline led a police unit, Isabela was one hell of a wrestler and could use any sharp object as a weapon, even Merrill hide something dark under her sweet smiles. “The alpha woman you insulted is a cop. Not only is she able to beat you to a pulp but she would do it gladly believe me. Also the man you so rudely described is a doctor and let me tell you he knows exactly where to hit to damage your vital organs permanently.”
The man shuddered and then looked furious for letting his fear show. But he didn't dare to talk back, still crushed by the invisible weight of Fenris's scent. His friend helped him on his feet.
“Come on man, it's not worth it. We'll go elsewhere, there's tons of pussy around here.”
Growling, Fenris grabbed the man's arm and, as much as he hated the contact, he was delighted by the way it made him flinch.
“If I see you again I'll make sure to give you one since you seem to love them so much.” He menaced through gritted teeth, a feral smile on his lips.
When he let go the guy tripped on his own feet before running away, his friend hot on his heels. Fenris watched me go with a disdainful expression. Then he let out a long, suffering sigh, trying to exhale all the remaining anger out of his body. Closing his eyes, he regained control over his emotions by mentally reciting a mantra he had learnt on Seheron. Slowly he felt his his body relax and his heartbeat slow down. After one more deep breath, he achieved to calm himself down and turned around. And met the waitress's eyes. They stared at each other in unsure silence for an instant. And then she grabbed a new coke and gave it to him, to replace the one he had poured on the alpha. Surprised, he gave her a timid smile and a quiet thanks, suddenly conscious of the scene they must have made in front of her shop. She waved her hand at him like it was nothing and bide him goodbye as he walked back to his towel.
When he came back Varric was staring with a worried frown. He must have sawn the scene from afar and given how tense he looked he had been ready to jump on his feet and run to his rescue.
“Was something wrong ?” He inquired with the face he made when he was about to call someone able to fix the problem.
“Just assholes talking about our friends. And how they'd like to use them.”
Varric's stare turned into a glare. His fingers twitched ready to grab his phone.
“Should we do something about them ?”
“No need to get in trouble. They're just dog in heat who bark more than they bite. I hope.”
They better be otherwise Fenris would have to do more than scare them off...Nodding slowly, the dwarf still seemed tense and eager to use his contacts.
“Well we'll keep an eye on them. I know some people here and..”
“You know people everywhere it seems.” Fenris rolled his eyes.
“Of course. And like I was about to say they'll make sure that these two will be watched closely and will get what they deserve if they try something.”
“It's always an endless source of happiness and reassurance to be your friend Varric.” Fenris gave him a smile and it was almost free from any bitterness.
“Awww you sure know how to sweet talk me Broody.” The dwarf returned to a playful tone but a dangerous glint was still present in his eyes.
“Did you get sodas ?! Can I have one ?”
Hawke nearly knocked him over, trying to grab the bag full of cans. The rest of the group started to join them, all happy and careless. Varric probably had been the only one to witness the scene. Fenris decided it was wise to keep it between them and not worry their friends. The alphas had been effectively scared and Varric would make sure they wouldn't hurt anyone. No need to stress everyone with this. So he forced himself to smile playfully and act like if nothing happened. He noticed the bucket the man was trying to hide behind his back and this genuinely made him snort, chasing away the last remain of his bad mood.
“Depends..If you don't empty the content of this bucket on me like you planned to. Yes Hawke you're everything but subtle.”
“I was trying to sabotage his evil plan ! Do I get a soda for that ?”
Anders pushed the big oaf away before he could protest and batted his eyelashes at Fenris. This one felt himself flush a little. So much skin offered to his eyes made him nervous as did the sensual way the water dripped down Anders's chest. As did the charming grin thrown his way. Taken aback, he tried to analize the upsetting feelings coursing through his body. It was all so strange, this warm feeling swarming in his belly, the way his breath hitched a little and his brain got stuck on this image. Until then he had found Anders attractive in several way but never had it made him react like this.
“I guess you should be rewarded for your generosity.” He looked away and let Anders go through the bag, fighting back a blush.
It was truly strange..Until then he had found Anders attractive in several ways but never had it made him react like this. His...appeal toward him had mostly been chaste until now. He was endeared by his kindness, amused by his sarcasm, charmed by his smiles..But he had not truly thought about the...carnal side of a possible relationship with Anders. He didn't even now if he would be able to desire him this way and now that he faced the truth it was...disconcerting.
“Thanks ! It's fucking hot here !”
You're fucking hot...His terrible mind supplied and no, no, no, he wasn't going to think about Anders like that, he wasn't going to consider Anders like..like..like these alphas did...Ugh...He was confused and bothered and he needed to think about it. But first he needed to distract himself from these unexpected thoughts and focus on something not attractive at all. Like Hawke for example. Yes, perfect, just looking at this ridiculous pout made any desire vanish.
“Oh here take it !” He threw a can at him. It hit him square in the face.
“Ouch ! My nose ! My beautiful noooooose !!!”
He heard Anders snort at the dramatic howls.
“Can't be worse than it already was.”
He agreed but was careful not to look at him. Not until he found a way to temper the terryfying things the vision of Anders in tight shorties did to his mind.
Fenris had established that while his sudden physical attraction to Anders was a little bit upsetting, he shouldn't compare himself to the alphas he had met on the beach. Because he had, at first, mentally whipping himself for considering Anders in a more...sexual way. He had wondered if it proved he was no better than the alphas his friend feared, if his interest made him a superficial elf, if the fact that he desired him like this meant he held no respect for him. But then he had calmed down and rationally reflected on his thoughts and attraction. Yes his eyes were drawn to Anders..assets. And yes it made something blossom in his stomach, a warm sensation. He didn't dare to call it arousal yet, the word seemed strong, frightening even, for the unfamiliar form of awaking desire he felt. But yes he was beginning to feel for Anders something else than intellectual interest, he had always found him handsome but not in this way, not in the way that made him want to go further than mere tender touches. He was beginning to wonder how it would feel to exchange more physical interactions, a less chaste kind of interactions and had discovered he wasn't opposed to the idea at all...And despise this desire he was nothing like the alphas he despised so much, he had realized. What made him different from the two alphas was that he didn't leer at Anders like a beast on the hunt, he appreciated the sight but was respectful enough not to make a show of it, not to make Anders uncomfortable by ogling at him like a mere piece of meat. He didn't comment his 'flaws' like if he was a farm beast at an auction, he didn't think of him just as a body to use, he had imagined none of the scenarios the two alphas had loudly talked about. He desired to touch Anders but only in the most respectful and careful way. Partly because he wasn't ready to rush things and was himself really wary of intimacy, this kind especially. But also because he would never treat a partner in any way he would hate to be treated himself. That partner being Anders, that he already considered with respect and affection, or any other person, to be clear. He was different from them because he didn't use his desire to justify offensive acts, his attraction wasn't disgusting because it didn't make him consider Anders like a hole made to fullfill his pleasure...unlike some he was able to desire and respect at the same time.
And so today he felt less guilty when he noticed how firm Anders's legs seemed as he walked toward him. It still disconcerted him a little, this unexpected attention he held for Anders's body all of sudden, and he took care of not showing it, not only to save face but also not to disturb the omega. He would hate for him to be reminded of some alphas in the way Fenris's eyes not so indifferently glanced at his body. So when he felt himself staring a little too long at the way droplets of water ran down his chest, over perking nipples and thin golden hair, he mentally kicked himself and forced his eyes to focus on Anders's face instead. Well...to be fair his face was as enticing as the rest of his body when he smiled like this and his eyes gleamed in this mischevious way.
“Already back ?” He managed to ask, regaining his composure and acting as if he absolutely didn't want to slide this strand of wet hair back behind his ear.
The omega sighed contentedly, exhausted in the best way after swimming for this long. He grabbed his towel to wipe himself. Fenris noticed his hair curled slightly as they dried.
“Yes I got a bit tired, being thrown around by Hawke. And a little nap in the sun does sound good.”
Throwing his towel on the sand, he flopped down on it with a happy laugh. He looked radiant since they arrived here, savoring these vacations with extreme gusto. Fenris liked to see him so free of worries, his energy not induced by stress but sheer happiness. If it made him this ecstatic, he wished they could stay a few more weeks until Anders was fully rested and sated...Unfortunately Justice counted on his prompt return and the elf found himself frowning, internally cursing the man for asking so much from Anders and neglecting his health, as if his was less important than their patients's.
“Hmm..” He merely answered.
“Still don't want to go for a swim ?” Anders rolled on his belly and rested his head on his hand, looking up at him expectantly. His wet shorties clinged to his butt, defining how round and firm it actually was. Not as plump as Isabela's but definitely more muscled than what he expected given his thin body. Fenris blinked a few times and tried to fight the blush creeping on his cheeks, mentally lecturing himself for focusing on such details.
Instead he concentrated on Anders's question : if he wanted to go for a swim. Ah...He had almost forgotten about this issue. He didn't join the others in the water yesterday nor this morning. And even if they respectfully didn't push the subject, he could see their concern. Well Anders had the merit to attack the problem frontally and as a doctor and friend he knew a lot about his problems...He guessed he could give him a honnest answer.
“I'm still a bit uneasy about exposing myself in public. I don't like the attention my body gets.” He admitted, unconsciously fidgeting with the hem of the shirt he still wore.
Frowning, the omega started to worry his lips in his typical concerned expression. The one he made everytime he tried to solve something delicate. After a few seconds, he carefully answered.
“...Well I know it's not as simple as that but you should not be ashamed of your body you know ? I mean I get it I do have marks too and at one point it was a bit delicate to expose them but I learnt to embrace it. And when you finally expose them, you realize that it was mostly you being self-conscious and that most people don't really care.”
Fenris didn't know where he had gotten his scars but he could understand why he had been hesitant to show them. They weren't extremely ugly, he had seen far worse. But he understood they must affect your confidence in yourself as they didn't really fit beauty standards. That and they must be linked to even deeper wounds, one you would be afraid people could guess if they took a glimpse of your body, if Anders's scars were anything like his own... He admired him for proudly, carelessly even, assuming them. But still it didn't mean that people stared any less, judged any less. He wasn't sure how much the self-consciousness part was true when he noticed all the glances people threw his way....
“Then why are people staring so much at me if its not out of...disgust or weird curiosity for my tattoos and such ?”
“Because you're handsome !”
“What ?” Fenris's eyes widened at the claim.
Anders reacted the same way as he surely realized what he said. Yet he didn't try to make up excuses for his outburst, instead he started to bite his lips again, a shy smile playing on them.
“What ? Oh, hem, I mean let's be real Fenris you are like super handsome, you're tanned, you're muscular, you're..hem...I'm sure a lot of people are...appreciating the sight let's say.” He laughed nervously, still smiling but looking away as Fenris stared at him intensely, still taken aback.
“You think so ?” He inquired, dubious.
He knew Danarius liked to claim he was beautiful, perfect, a treasure to behold but...He wouldn't trust the man on anything and certainly not on his tastes as these one included terrible things. Plus he was his 'creation', of course he wasn't going to present him as any less than perfect. And even if Isabela and Hawke had often made comments about how nice looking he was, it mostly sounded teasing or exagerated. Of course he knew he had some physical assets but nothing that could qualify him as handsome. To hear Anders say it was...surprisingly thrilling. So he saw him in an attractive light ? He had looked at him this way, maybe in the same way Fenris now looked at the omega ? It made him feel better about his own attraction and even...hopeful. He tried to hide the excitement.
“Of course, well sure you have unusual looks but I think it intrigues and charms people more than it disgust them. Especially here, you know people are pretty open-minded around there, it's not on every beach that elves with dalish tattoos and topless women are accepted.”
The omega glanced toward a couple of elves proudly showing their traditional vallaslin and women basking in the sun with their breast free. Yes, Fenris could see what he meant, except for the two alphas from yesterday nobody had seemed very hostile despise the wide variety of cultures present on the beach. He could see now that even if his tattoos caught people's attention he was surely not the only one to distinguish himself here. It made him frown nonetheless, but for a whole other reason now.
“..If you say so..But even if it's better than disgust I'm not sure I'm more comfortable with people staring because they are...attracted to me. I don't think I enjoy being considered in...this way..not by total strangers I know nothing about at least.”
Handling Anders's potential interest was one thing as he returned it and knew the man to be respectful, patient, kind...But to imagine stranger eyes considering him like this made him uneasy. As he said it was a little better than disgust but not by much in his books. Even if they held no ill intentions he didn't like that they might think of him in..this way. He didn't want his body to fuel anybody's libido, to imagine that someone could use his image to sate their desires was...even if they meant no harm it disturbed him. Too often his body had been subject to lustful, unwanted stares. And even if the stares he received at this instant were different it still disturbed him. Also, despise Anders many arguments he failed to see how someone as scarred as himself could appeal to anyone. They may not know of his tattoos's origins but still...he didn't like the thought that someone could appreciate the cursed lines Danarius left on his skin as a reminder of the power he once held over him. It symbolized his abuse and, even if people were unaware of it, he didn't appreciate the thought that they could glorify it as a thing of beauty.
Anders poked his hand, startling him. He must have lost himself in thoughts. And his frown on his face as he remembered some distateful memories must have worried Anders. He attempted to reassure him with a tight smile.
“I understand.” The omega assured him. “You know you can go swim with your shirt on though ? We can even buy you special swimming suits that cover your chest ?”
He...had not considered this option but it sounded clever. The shirt he wore right now covered everything but his arms which he was comfortable enough to expose by now. To go into the water without having to show more, able to keep this slight protection against people's eyes, sounded appealling. The idea distracted him from past memories and soon he was able to let them go and focus back on the present.
“That could be a good idea.” He nodded, smile growing more sincere and relaxed.
“Good. Well for now you can use this shirt, don't worry we'll just have to wash it when we go back home so it doesn't get damaged by the saltwater. So what do you say ? Want to give it a try ?” Anders jumped on his feet like if he was ready to escort him to the water.
A sensation of fondness submerged Fenris as he took in the sight. Yet he shook his head. He wanted to take his time to think it through. And as much as finding a solution to go swim with the others pleased him, it didn't mean he wanted to join them right away. After all it was still morning, the water was fresh.
“Maybe later. I'm waiting for the weather to get a bit warmer.”
Anders pouted with disappointment and sat back down. Fenris almost felt sorry for ruining his plans, apparently making him swim was an achievement he was proud and eager to accomplish.
“Pffff you're such a hothouse orchid.” He whined, more teasing than annoyed.
Fenris rolled his eyes. But as always, hearing Anders going back to a playful tone so easily filled him with relief and satisfaction. No matter how serious or delicate the conversation had been, they were always able to bicker just after and it was the sign that all was well, that their relationship remained unchanged in spite of the heaviness of some exchanges. It almost made him feel like if the exchange hadn't happened or hadn't been about such an important or difficult problem. It felt good, comforting. It allowed him to go back to his reading with a more serene smile. A few minutes passed in companionable silence until Anders adressed him anew.
“Fenris ? Can I ask for your help ?” Anders's voice was like one of a child trying to sound sweet because they knew their demand would meet reluctance.
Eyes still focused on his book, he quirked an eyebrow.
“Dunno, my delicate hothouse orchid disposition might not be able to handle your demand.”
“Awww did I hurt your feelings ? Do you want a kiss on your booboo to make it better ?”
He fighted back a blush at the idea. And had to fight another when Anders crawled toward him on his four, putting on his most charming smile, finally getting his full attention.
“What do you want ?” He sighed, unable to ignore this face.
Presenting him a white tube, the omega's smile turned a little more sheepish.
“Can you apply sunscreen on my back please ? I can't reach it. Well, if the skin contact don't bother you too much that is.”
He had to admit it took him a moment to make up his mind. Not that he didn't want to help Anders. He would do it without thinking if he wasn't so wary of skin contact. It had been surprisingly easy and comfortable to touch Anders until now but it had only been his hands. Hands were a safe zone, they were used to handshake, exchange friendly touches without any sexual intentions in general. Hands were something he was comfortable with as long as they only came in contact with his own. But to run them on someone's back, such a large expanse of skin...It would be a delicate task for him, intimate even. The fact that he would be the one initiating it and Anders the one getting touched made it a bit better. Had it been Anders suggesting to rubb sunscreen on Fenris's back he would have refused outright. But being the one in control was reassuring. And...It would allow Fenris to see if he was able to handle more, if touching something else than Anders's hands was a possibility, something he could enjoy. It would allow him to see if more physical interactions could be a problem if they ever...if he asked Anders out and this one accepted...and they wanted to do more..maybe. He had no doubt that Anders would never force him to do something he was uncomfortable with but he actually wanted to try and the thought that skin contact could be an issue was...frustrating and upsetting...So he decided he needed to know now, he wanted to test his limits and face them.
“It's okay I can do it.”
Anders sighed in relief, giving him a grateful grin. Then he turned around and sat down, offering him his back. It was pale with a constellation of freckles ornating it. And it looked so soft...Fenris swallowed.
“Oh thanks ! I didn't want to pressure you but I tend to get sunburnt pretty easily. Once I forgot to use sunscreen and I was red as a rosbeef for a week and I could barely put clothes on and Justice lectured me for hours it was so..”
“You don't need to justify yourself.”
Pouring sunscreen on his skin, not touching yet, he noticed that indeed the pale skin was reddening under the ardent sun. And they hadn't been on the beach for that long. Anders wasn't burnt yet but Fenris could understand his worry if his skin was this sensitive.
The cream was poured and Anders's back ready to be smeared with it. And suddenly Fenris realized that he was going to touch it, to feel the supple, warm, soft looking skin under his fingertips. It nearly became too much and he had to take a deep inspiration. Anticipation made his heart beat faster and his hands grow clammy. Slowly, his hands reached for the cream-covered skin...And he touched it. And sighed as he felt nothing but the skin's warmth and the sunscreen's stickiness. It was okay. He could do it, easily even. Carefully he started to smear the cream on the shoulders then toward the nape.
“Lift you hair.” He instructed, surprised by how even his voice managed to stay.
He wasn't distressed by the contact yet he felt a strange tingling sensation coursing through his hands as they ran across his back. The relief, the happiness even, at being able to touch him overwhelmed him a little even if he refused to show it. As the cream was absorbed and thinned out, the contact became more pure, less sticky, and he realized that he enjoyed the sensation more and more. He liked to feel the firm flesh, to press the knots, to feel the muscles shift under his palms as Anders fidgeted a little. Even the little scars weren't bad to touch, some forming a map in relief. Anders tensed a little as he touched them but Fenris said nothing and continued to rubb until the omega relaxed again. He surely didn't get these scars during happy events and Fenris realized that he might not be the only one wary of physical contacts. Even if the omega wasn't as touchy on the subject maybe it had been hard for him at a time and maybe he was still worried of people's reaction to his marks. He felt like if Anders trusted him with something delicate and it made him feel proud somehow. He grew more confident as he spreaded the last remains of sunscreen, his movements and touches almost becoming a massage. He had some skills in this art as Danarius often demanded this kind of treatment from him. He tried not to think too much about this. Massaging and touching Anders was nothing like that, he wasn't forced to do it, he enjoyed it, it was a brand new experience far from the past tasks he had been obliged to perform. He wanted to do it.
As he got lost in thoughts, his touch grew a little more firm and he pressed Anders's back with more force than usual, just above the hips. Something between a gasp and a moan escaped the omega's lips. Fenris froze at the sound, any thought vanishing from his mind. Instead this one was essentially filled with a mix of astonishment and...heat. The sudden urge to press some more, to bring Anders closer grasped him inexplicably. For some reason he now wanted to seek more warmth, more contact, more stimulation...Anders's scent had flared and reached his nostrils and he felt a strange need to nose at his nape. Realization hit him and he instantly backed off, taken aback by this sudden desire. His insides might be boiling, his mind was still clear and telling him it was not appropriate and too much, too fast..He felt a bit ashamed, he should have had better control than that, a mere moan shouldn't have been able to make him feel this way. And he should have been more careful with his hands...It was...He got too careless and now he was confronted to something he wasn't ready for, a situation he had wanted to take his time to reach. He put some distance between himself and Anders, needing the space to calm down and think.
“Oh fuck sorry it's just that you pressed a sensitive point and your hands feels so good and..no I didn't want to say it like that I just..Maker...” Anders sounded flustered, nervous.
Fenris regretted his action more and more, he hadn't meant to put Anders in such a delicate position, he hadn't wanted to provoke any awkward situation. And yet Anders was stuttering excuses now, still exposing his back to Fenris as this one blushed furiously.
“Shut up, don't embarrass yourself further more. It's over anyway.” He grumbled, hoping his flush could pass for an effect of the sun. And that it wouldn't betray the other kind of heat seizing him right now. And yes maybe his tone was a little harsh but he didn't have the time to feel guilty right now, he just wanted to forget this and get away.
“Thanks again !” Anders squeaked, his nape taking an interesting shade of red, not due to the sun either.
Fenris looked away and swallowed, going back to his book and hoping it would efficiently take his mind off of what just happened. Yet the sensation of the skin under his palm, of the shape of his waist, of the sound that passed his lips haunted him. It had felt so good at first and not even a...carnal kind of good. It had just felt comfortable, tender even. He had appreciated the easiness with which he had been able to touch Anders, it had felt intimate in a chaste way and it had been perfect. He had been ready to leave it at that, reassured that he was at least able to touch more than the omega's hands but this one had to moan and transform the nice situation into something...more ambiguous. Of course it wasn't his fault but if he hadn't gasped like this Fenris would not have felt heat pooling in his belly and embarassing thoughts wouldn't have crossed his mind. Suddenly he had been confronted to something extremely close to arousal and he had not been ready for it. As he said before he wanted to try touching Anders, if he would allow it of course, in a more intimate way but he had envisionned it as something he would do behind closed doors, in slow, controlled gestures. He wanted to gradually and carefully reach this level of desire. He had not planned to suddenly being overwhelmed by it in the middle of a beach. It was unnerving, not to control his emotions, feeling everythig going into a much faster pace than what he expected. He needed to calm down and go back to the friendly, not ambiguous mood they were in some minutes ago. He would think about his reaction later, he would take the time to plan how he was going to handle this and how to make sure it wouldn't happen again. He didn't want to go too fast, he needed the time, he needed to be in control. And he also needed to know if Anders might return his interest, if he wasn't hoping and stressing for nothing.
He focused intensely on his book, so intensely that he felt his eyes moistening. He read four time the same paragraph before finally being able to chase away the thoughts messing with his mind. Good. Nothing was more effective to take your mind away from your maddening attraction than reading all about Ferelden's muddy landscapes and dirty mabaris. Picturing it in his head achieved to cool down the heat coursing through his body, the one that made his stomach jump and his cheeks flush. Anders remained silent, something he was grateful for, he must have thought he had triggered Fenris somehow and gave him the time and space to regain his calm. He just hoped he didn't notice what he exactly triggered...The silence that had previously been comfortable grew tense but it allowed Fenris to collect himself.
“Hem...are you okay ?”
Fenris groaned a vague answer, still looking at his book, afraid that his treacherous body would once again react in an embarassing way if he took a look at Anders.
“You sure ? I'm sorry if I...disturbed you.”
His voice sounded so guilty, so miserable, that he felt obliged to give a proper answer.
“...It's okay..you just took me by surprise.” He attempted to reassure him.
He didn't want the omega to think he had badly hurt him and fret over it, drowning in remorse and anxiety. He knew how much of a worrywart he could be. It was his problem, not his, and he had to deal with it without being an ass to Anders. It was maybe his fault, in a way, if his mind and body were a mess a few minutes ago but he didn't know that and he couldn't blame him for it, he shouldn't feel bad for it. But of course Anders couldn't help but start to babble worriedly. Fenris sighed but still couldn't resolve himself to turn around.
“Maker I knew this was a bad idea, I shouldn't have asked you when I knew how sensitive you are to physical interactions and I should have kept my stupid loud mouth shut and now you're uneasy and I feel stupid and the atmosphere is so tense, I bet it need a backrub too ! Ugh !”
He couldn't help it, a small snort escaped him. At the sound, Anders ceased his whining for a minute.
“Did you snort at my dramatic rant ?” His voice was higher than usual due to his nervous state. Fenris could hear the hope too, apparently the possibility that his drama had amused the alpha reassured him. He probably thought that it was a sign that Fenris wasn't this upset about the events..and it actually was. Sighing, the elf eventually turned around to face him. Anders was kneeling, bottom resting on his feet, leaning toward him yet keeping a respectable distance. Worrying his lips and twisting his fingers, he was the picture of stress. Fortunately the sight filled him with something more akin to remorse than heat..He restrained a sigh of relief. Good, he could look at him without bursting with stupid thoughts and impulses.
“Don't worry so much about it.” He repeated, wishing that Anders would truly stop to worry this time and believe him when he said he was fine. “I was just surprised. Touching you wasn't a problem, in fact it was easier than what I expected. You just...startled me that's it. But I'm okay.”
Relaxing a little, the omega still looked utterly guilty and adressed him a wavering smile.
“I'm sorry, so sorry for moaning like a fucking pornstar just because you pressed a sensitive point...ugh...where has my self-control and dignity gone...” He groaned, nervously playing with a strand of hair and looking down.
The nature of the comparison he just made suddenly hit Fenris. And against his will he felt a rush of blood reach his cheeks and ears. It didn't go unnoticed.
“...Is it the term 'pornstar' that makes you blush so much ?” Anders's eyes widened at the realization and Fenris felt the need to press his face against his book until it got stuck to his face and never let anyone see his mortified face again.
Anders's voice was incredulous as he continued.
“Is it ?...I mean, that's cute, kind of, I'm not judging or anything, and...Did I really sound like one by the w...”
He let out a loud groan, muffled by the pages he was pressing to his face. Fasta vass could the omega just let this go ?! He had finally managed to chase away the heat that had filled his insides some minutes ago, he had finally managed to face Anders without thinking too much about the moan he had made as he had pressed his warm skin, he had finally managed not to betray his obviously growing attraction to the man and this one was doing everything to ruin all this ! Between gritted teeth, he managed to cut Anders's anxious flow of stupidities.
“Anders I forgave you for your accidental...moan. But if you keep on bringing this up I'm really going to be cross with you.”
The babbling instantly stopped...only to come back full force one second after.
“Okay, okay ! I shut up ! Sorry ! It's just that this made me nervous and you know when i'm nervous I keep on running my mouth and..”
One minute passed in silence his face still hidden in his book. Two minutes. He carefully put it away. Three minutes. He took a look at Anders who looked away with a bashful blush. Four minutes. He went back to his book and managed to calm down while reading about the boring flora inhabiting Ferelden. Five minutes. Still nothing. He had managed to distract his mind and not think about this extremely embarassing moment. He heard Anders take a breath, the kind of breath he took just before going back to his verbal diarreah. He closed his eyes with a painful expression.
“So it's absolutely not to change the subject and try to act like nothing ever happened and we are not currently really awkwardly sitting in silence and embarassment..”
He tensed, ready to endure any terrible attempt of a conversation Anders was preparing right now.
“..But what are you reading ?”
...It was not as terrible as he expected coming from a jumpy Anders.
“That's the best you could come up with ?” He couldn't help but snort mockingly. Not his fault, mockery was his natural way to respond when he was stressed or suspicious.
He briefly glanced at Anders, this one was pouting at him, arms crossed. Then he started to frown and looked pensive. Oh no..he knew this look...he should have kept his snarky tongue behind his teeth and just answered the damn question.
“That was that or talking about how Hawke and Isabela casually walk naked around the house and how this is becoming extremely delicate to seat on the couch when you know who was on it just before...I mean I have no problem with nudity but Hawke is not an example of hygiene and Isabela frequently ask me to give her some lotions for her intimate parts and I don't know if I'm being paranoid but I noticed some stains that weren't there when we arrived and..”
It might have been the most frustrated and feral groan he had ever made. Glaring at Anders, he silently defied him to say any other word. And eventually sighed, still scolding.
“First I hate you. Second it's a book for my fereldan classes and it's about...”
I'm sorry for not updating sooner, I'm busy these last days and I worked on other things. Also I have to warn potential Fifty shades of grey's fans that Anders and Fenris are going to do a neat bashing of this movie during the chapter, you can skip it if you don't want read that, not any major turn of relationship appear in this chapter.
“No. No, no, no, no, no, no...”
Anders crossed his arms, glaring at Hawke with a stubborn frown. Fenris couldn't help but smirk, knowing what kind of lecture awaited Garrett if he insisted. This one was whining, kneeling before the tv, ready to insert a dvd.
“Come ooooon I never saw it and Isabela told me it's hilarious !”
Anders didn't seem to share the amusment, his frown darkened even more as his glare turned toward Isabela. This one smiled sheepishly, spreaded on one of the large couch, head on Merrill's lap as usual. A thought quickly passed through Fenris's brain : how would he feel if Anders did this with him, silky looking hair brushing his thighs and at hand's reach ? He shook his head and chased off his blush with a long gulp of his beer.
He had made up his mind : he wanted to ask Anders out, if he found any sign that the omega was interested. But it wasn't the right time nor did he have enough proof of the man's potential attraction. So despise his urgent needs to take Anders's hand, to press against him, he refrained. He needed to do this when the others would not be here, when they would be all alone in a quiet place. If his interest wasn't reciprocated he wasn't sure how well he would take it. Of course he wouldn't take any form of revenge or make the omega “pay” for rejecting him, of course not ! But if he had to be rejected he prefered to be alone to mourn his one sided crush and dress his wounds. He rarely opened up to people, even less to confess his feelings, he knew that it would be a new experience that would leave him vulnerable and raw. It would take a lot of efforts from him, if the answer was 'no' he would need time to deal with it and gain back his confidence. So he needed to go slowly, find the best moment to make an attempt, be a little more confident that he had his chances with Anders. Yet it was hard when he wanted to lean against him every night when they watched movies on the couch.
He focused back on his friends, trying to distract himself of the vision of Anders and him curled up under a blanket.
“You have to admit sweetie that we laughed a lot while watching this.” Isabela was grinning, using her charms to soften Anders's annoyance.
“Because it was ridiculous yes but also very painful to watch !” This one retorted.
“Come on we need to show Hawke what a narcissistic abuser looks like ! Admit it you're dying to rant about this movie and educate everyone in the room about healthy relationships.”
That was it, the perfect argument to make Anders yield : the possibility to rant about something in order to teach people some lessons. Fenris could only imagine how hard it was for him to resist to the idea of showing everyone how right he was about some issue.
He grumbled, looking down, seeming a bit ashamed of himself as he took this argument in consideration. You could practically see Hawke waggling his invisible tail as he realized Anders could be corrupted. Varric took place on Fenris's left, handing him another bottle. The elf accepted it gladly, the night promised to be animated with Hawke so excited and Anders so revolted.
“What's so bad about this movie ?” Aveline asked and Fenris winced. For once he wasn't the one who would be scolded for fueling Anders's indignation and increasing his anger.
“What's so bad ?! What's so baaaad ?!”
The omega was practically screeching. But Fenris had to admit there was something funny in the way he grimaced and flailed around. Aveline didn't look impressed and instead picked up the dvd's box to inspect it with a dubious frown.
“Fifty Shades Of Grey ? I never saw it. Looks like any cheesy romantic comedy...”
Fenris, who didn't even bother to check the name of the movie that angered the omega so much, quirked an eyebrow. Before he could stop himself, he was opening his mouth.
“Isn't it the movie you critiscized on your youtube channel ? In the video about..what is it again ? Bdsm ?”
Everyone turned toward him and he suddenly regretted interfering. While most looked merely surprised by his sudden input, Isabela was smirking like the cat who got the canary with the cream on top.
“Ooooooh Fenris was interested in learning more about some kind of games ?” She sat up brutally, leaning toward him, her free breasts bouncing slightly. Aveline had given up convincing her to wear anything more than panties and noboby beside her minded Isabela's outfit all that much.
The question made Fenris flush and he scolded indignantly.
“Not really, I just randomly watched video, I didn't even know what this term meant before.”
“But you watch Anders's videos ? That's surprising I thought you didn't like to hear him ranting !” Merrill pointed.
“Hey I don't...”
“You do.” Fenris smirked as Anders glared at him. “But with videos I can mute you any time I want at least.”
Varric barked out a laugh and even Merrill giggled helplessly. Anders puffed out his cheeks, preparing a snarky comeback without a doubt. But eventually his ire turned on someone else.
Everyone focused back on the big oaf. In the midst of their banter he had taken the opportunity to start the movie.
“Pleaaaase ! Plus Fenris didn't see it either !” He gave them a sheepish grin.
“I'm not complaining.” Fenris retorted, making his friend whine in defeat.
He then kneeled before Anders, lips twisted in a pitiful pout, big eyes filling with fake tears, making puppy-like little begging noises. Anders frowned, groaned, fidgeted...and yielded of course. This man was unable to say no before puppy eyes. Fenris knew, he had used the trick on him numerous times, every time Anders tried to keep the chocolate snacks away from him “for his health” actually. It was extremely effective.
“Fiiiiiine but we pick the next movies then and you won't complain about our own choices.”
Hawke whooped and pressed the play button. Everyone settled down on the couches, the pillows or the carpet. Anders sat on his right with a thunderous look. It made Fenris smile fondly, he was always so overdramatic his omega...Hum...His friend he meant.
“This is gonna be painful...” He heard Anders sigh and felt a pang of sympathy.
Fenris elbowed him gently, dragging his attention and handing him the bowl of popcorn he had been hogging.
“If it can help I think Hawke is at shooting range.” He suggested in a whisper.
Anders looked at the bowl for a few seconds. And then gave him a deliciously devilish grin. With his messy hair and low-hanging shirt he looked... Fenris felt his cheeks darkening with blood and looked away...There was no mistake, he couldn't deny what he wished to do with Anders when he looked like this, when he looked his way like this...
Hawke's yelp chased his thoughts away and he forced himself to smirk when Anders sent him a proud smile.
“Two point for the head, three for the neck and four if it slip in his shirt.” He encouraged him, relishing in the omega's muffled giggle. He was so...
“You're evil...I like it.”
I like you...
No...Shut up, not now, not tonight, he scolded himself internally and tried to focus on the movie instead while Anders kept on throwing food at Hawke now and then. But when the male lead appeared on screen he ceased his little game and his grimace came back full force.
“Ugh look at me I'm Christian Grey, I'm an ass and if I worked in a supermarket instead of a huge luxurious building I wouldn't be as popular...” He muttered.
Fenris quirked an eyebrow at the bitter tone but didn't comment. Anders on the other hand had a lot of those to make. But for once Fenris found that he didn't mind. The movie quickly bored him, annoyed him even, and Anders's sarcasm was rather welcome in fact.
“What the fuck this is the most awkwardly creepy flirting I have ever seen...”
He could only agree. Christian looked like he was preying on Ana and it was...disturbingly familiar...
“Yeah Christian please go ahead, punch the guy who wanted to force himself on your crush so you can force yourself on her just after. Oh yeah right this guy was a beta while you're an alpha, you're in your right ! That's it show him who's the boss here !”
Hawke shushed him but it didn't make Anders stop far from it. Especially since everyone was smiling at his inputs, even Aveline despise her attempt to hide it behind a pillow. As Christian tried to make Ana sign a contract, his tone became more serious.
“You know a bdsm contract can include things like spanking or bondage or roleplay, but making rules for your daily life and choosing what your partner eat, drink, when she goes out, where she goes, how she dress herself without compromises sounds more like a..”
“Slave ownership contract.” Fenris concluded in a whisper. Yes, that was exactly how he felt about the whole business. And it made him feel slightly sick. Something briefly grabbed his hand and vanished and he realized it was only Anders giving him a quick squeeze to manifest his support. The nauseous feeling disappeared and he suddenly wished Anders could hold his hand till the end of the movie...
Varric, who heard the exchange, gave him another beer, without a word or an ounce of pity in his eyes, just a sincere empathy. He accepted with a small, grateful smile.
“Yeaaaaaah using you scent to arouse her and convince her to have sex is totally fine...as is telling her that her own scent betray her arousal and so it obviously mean she want to be fucked right ?” This time Fenris nearly growled with Anders. Ugh, this movie was terrible and while some scenes were ridiculous enough to be amusing some were... positively disturbing.
“Okay yeah, hey there Christian, not creepy at all to find you in my supposedly locked new appartment when I told you a few scenes before to keep your distance and I never informed you about where I moved to ! Oh of course it excites me so much, it doesn't make me want to call the police at all !”
Fenris snorted but it was half bitter.
“What the fuck he actually marked her without consent just to prove to everyone she was his property ?”
The alpha gulped down his beer, wishing this movie would end soon. He wasn't panicking or anything as drastic as that but it annoyed him to no end to look at this obviously abusive display and think that most people thought it was romantic..acceptable...ugh...
“Boohoo listen to my tragic backstory that totally justify the way I treat you like an object and oblige you to get into sexual games you don't appreciate. No I'm not emotionally manipulating you, I'm just a poor tortured man who needs understanding about his abusive tendencies..”
Anders was restless now, groaning everytime Christian called Ana “baby”, his comments becoming more and more acidic, fidgeting on the couch.
“Thanks for making all the bdsm community looks like abusive assholes, jerk.”
“Maker Anders can't you stop for a second ?!!” Hawke had finally reached his limit and, as much as Fenris had enjoyed Anders's comments, he could understand the frustration. A little.
Anders frowned, crossed his arms and stayed silent...for approximatively five minutes.
“...Is Anastasia going to come in her panties everytime Christian does as much as brush her hair ? Is he using his scent to do this because in this case it's totally disgus..”
“Aaaaaaargh get out !”
Rolling his eyes, Anders stood up and did as he was asked. Honnestly Fenris thought he must be relieved to quit, he wondered why he didn't do it sooner instead of enduring the movie...He wondered why himself didn't quit sooner instead of enduring this actually. He should have left the moment he started to cringe before the movie yet he hadn't even thought about it. Maybe it was because Anders was here and making snarky comments that made the experience more bearable. But now that the omega was leaving, he really had no reason at all to stay and watch. Really none at all.
“Scent is not consent, scent is not consent, scent is not consent...” Anders chanted as he left the living room.
It made Fenris smirk. He tried to stay with the rest of their friends for some more minutes...And finally slipped away under Varric's curious stare.
Anders poured hot water into his cup and waited for the tea to infuse. Passing a tired hand into his hair, he didn't hear the door opening. Only when he turned around did he realize Fenris was sitting at the kitchen's island. He nearly jumped in surprise but caught himself in time. Fortunately, he had a boiling mug of tea in his hand and wasn't sure he was in the mood to deal with a burn. The elf smirked like he knew how he caught him off guard. This asshole...Him and his stupid sexy smirk could go to the void. Yet he smiled back and sat across from him.
“Oh you didn't stay for the grand final ? Why this movie was so interesting and lovely !” He faked an enthusiastic tone, batting his eyelashes stupidly.
“It wasn't really interesting without your comments.” The elf pointed and Anders felt a bit too proud.
“What ? Not interesting ? Such a beautiful story about an alpha jerk and a poor naïve omega ? Fenris I believe you have no tastes !” He gasped.
He reached for the sugar bowl on the table but it was too far. Fenris immediately pushed it toward him, their fingers brushing as Anders took it. A pleasant feeling coursed through his limb and it reminded him of how good it had felt earlier when he had squeezed the alpha's hand. How good it had felt some days ago when Fenris had applied sunscreen on his back. The thought made him blush and he had to fight back the heat spreading in his chest. No, no, no, no, no...Fenris was a friend and as handsome and charming as he was he shouldn't let his stupid little crush get out of hand. Sure it had been nice, it had been long since he last had been touched like that, with firm yet careful hands finding all the good spots...But he would only make Fenris uneasy if he tried something. After what happened to him he didn't want to do anything that could trigger him, plus he didn't even know if he wanted a relation, even less a sexual relation. Even if during the last month he had realized they got along well enough to maybe try something else than friendship... It was too high of a risk to attempt anything. He wouldn't be the one to ruin a good thing that took them time to build just for a little attraction.
“Yes, indeed, not liking a story that makes a romance out of an abusive relationship prove that I have no tastes...Did this movie had success ?” Fenris asked, rubbing his hand where Anders had touched him. This one wondered if it was because it had left an unpleasant sensation.
“Way too much. It got out on a Valentine's day in order to target couples.” He explained.
“Valentine's what ?”
“It's a day where love is celebrated and couples generally go on romantic dates to prove their partner they cherish them.” He quickly explained.
Fenris frowned and wasn't it the most endearing thing when his nose scrunched like this and oh shut up brain ! It's not the moment to indulge and let your loneliness speak !
“Why would you need a specific day for this ? Why can't you cherish your partner everyday ? If you need a memo in your calendar to take care of them then you're not a really good lover...”
Fortunately his eternal need to rant about something took his mind off of his current matter. Instead he had another one to take care of and this one was named Christian Fucking Grey. And it deserved a good bashing.
“My thoughts exactly ! Plus it's always wrapped up in a ton of sexist merchandising that once again set stupid standards for omegas, alphas, men, women...Anyway as I said it came out for Valentine's day and a lot of omegas or women targetted by the movie were crazy about it for some reason. They found Christian perfect in his manipulative way to show his love to Ana. And they found the controlling way he dragged her into bdsm, sexy...Yeah don't give me that look I don't get it either. Or well, yes, I get it but I'm not going to lost myself in psychological an sociological explanations because I don't want to bore you to death but..” He tried to stop the intense flow coming out of his mouth, realizing that Fenris was maybe not in the mood for one of his explanations about social construction. But surprisingly the elf smiled at him and shook his head.
“No please do. I actually want to know why people think this is a good example of a relationship.”
“You sure ? You won't be able to stop me once I start talking.” He warned.
“Still better than watching the end of the movie.”
This he could agree with. And since Fenris smiled in this unusually gentle and patient way, he gathered the courage to elaborate his thoughts. As he talked, Fenris poured himself a cup of tea as well. Anders frowned as he put four sugar in it but this one gave him those infuriating puppy eyes who...ugh...he continued his lecture about how much of a shitty example this movie was, knowing he couldn't resist Fenris when he used this trick. The elf listened quietly, clearly interested and not interrupting him even once, which was shocking knowing how much he liked to tease him or challenge his opinions.
“And that's how society and mainstream medias want to make us think this is a good example and that alphas should act like this, omegas like that, that bdsm is like this and that consent isn't that important as long as you love the person it justify everything you do. Also to be fair there are people who enjoy the 'abusive' side of the relationship but are totally aware it's unhealthy and know that it should just be a fantasy for some roleplay and not how your whole relationship should work. And I totally respect this kink as long as people differenciate fantasy and reality and don't force their partner in anything they don't like. But the problem is that a lot of people don't see it like that and genuinely enjoy the relationship while thinking it's totally healthy to act like this. So yeah, in short, this is fucked up and society continue to feed us with terrible relationship standards.”
The room was incredibly silent once he shut his mouth and Fenris very still. He suddenly felt really self conscious, wondering if Fenris had truly been interested or if he migh have tired him so much that he had just disconnected his brain and automatically nodded at everything Anders said. He wouldn't blame him though, he had talked for what, fifteen minutes maybe ? Ugh, he was becoming worst than Justice.
“...You okay ? You didn't fall asleep while I was ranting ? I didn't bore you to the point that you want to stuff your mug in my mouth and make me shut up forever ?”
A small smile spreaded on Fenris's lips and he sipped what remained of his tea. Anders winced, it must be cold by now.
“No, I was just..processing everything. It was interesting. But there's one thing that bothered me and you didn't mention. Wasn't the relationship Christian had with the woman who initiated him to bdsm kind of abusive..?”
This made his anger rise again and in less than a second he was ranting anew.
“Oh yeah totally abusive even ! I mean it's not explained at great length but he was a minor, she was his mother's friend and could easily have autority over him, it's highly probable that it was non consensual or that she manipulated him to make him think it was. It's highly probable that it was rape to be blunt. But the movie don't use this word because well he is an alpha and alphas don't get raped, male alphas especially don't get raped by women. You know at fifteen all they want is to fuck...”
His voice softened as Fenris became more pensive, his features contorting in a perplexed expression, a bit upset even.
“Yes and it just sound like its a way to justify why Christian is into bdsm...As..As an abuse survivor I can say that my past experiences did influence how I envision sex now, it affected my sexuality and my relationships with other. But I didn't become abusive too, I don't use this as an excuse to abuse people, I would never reproduce what was done to me on someone else just to...feel in control again or something equally stupid.”
Oh. Oh of course not he wouldn't. Mentally he cursed the bastard who had touched Fenris this way and he cursed the author of this shitty movie who made it look like this kind of relation was acceptable or at least not as bad as they actually were. Anders bit his lips anxiously as Fenris's frown darkened. Against his better judgment, he reached for his hand, wishing to drag him out of any painful memories. Luckily, it didn't trigger Fenris, on the contrary, he pressed back and seemed to relax a little.
“I know. Being an abuse survivor can explain your behavior or you opinion on different matters. For example I totally understand your wariness toward omegas. But it wouldn't excuse you if one day you abused an omega. Something you'll never do of course, it was just an example.” He softly reassured him.
“Yes. But this is disturbing how the movie use that and past in general as a way to excuse abusers. I mean even if Danarius had been abused before it wouldn't make the way he treated me any less cruel and disgusting. I wouldn't pity and understand him. This is really messed up.”
He sighed and Anders felt the terrible need to gather him in his arms. But it was certainly a bit too presumptuous, he should stick with holding his hand and brushing his thumb on his skin. It seemed to keep him grounded for now.
“I don't like the fact that his behavior is excused by him being an alpha either. Or the standards it place upon us, me. Like, do I have to stalk an omega, physically force them into giving me what I desire and control their life in order to be a good alpha male ?” He growled, massaging his temple with his free hand.
“Just try and I'll kick your ass.” Anders tried to joke, hoping the alpha wouldn't take offense.
The small snort escaping the alpha's lips made him relax a little. Fenris, who had been looking down at the table for a moment, looked up at him and gave him a thin smile.
“You know I would never. But it sickens me to think that people expect this from me, that they think it would be okay.”
Anders nodded, perfectly understanding how he might feel.
“Yep as it sickens me to think that people expect me to be like Anastasia. To accept everything to earn an alpha's attention and love, to be obedient and a fragile thing to protect because I don't know what's best for me. To be a naïve virgin until I find the good one. Because yes, in the end, it seems to please Christian a great deal to know she's 'pure', to know he can 'bend her' the way he likes..ugh..”
Silence fell over them for some seconds as they merely smiled at the other. Slowly, carefully, their fingers untied and they let go of each other. Anders regretted the loss but he wasn't going to force Fenris into an unwanted contact. And grabbing his hand any longer might have become..awkward as it made Anders all the more conscious of how good it felt to touch Fenris, to talk with Fenris, to be with Fenris simply...
“If Hawke say one good thing about this movie I will help you to drag him to the sea and drown him in.” Fenris eventually broke the silence.
“Awwww you say the sweetest things !” He giggled, earning himself a more relaxed smile from the alpha. “..We went a long way from bickering about alphas and omegas to rant together about a shitty movie...It's funny how we actually agree on so much things but were too blinded by our own experiences to see it before..” He added in an unexpected impulse of confidence.
He was so glad they were able to get over their first impressions and overcome their prejudices. Otherwise he would never have been sitting in a kitchen with Fenris, holding his hand as they talked about how painfully terrible this movie was. He was suddenly almost thankful to this omega who harassed Fenris on the subway and forced Anders to interfere. Almost ! If he saw them again there was more chance that he would spit on them than shake their hand, of course !
“Yes. I'm glad we worked this out.” The alpha smiled, playing with his spoon.
“Yeah ?” He pushed the issue only a little more.
“Yes. I like talking with you about this..about anything in fact..” He glanced away, suddenly looking a bit flustered, his ears actually reddening as he stubbornly avoided Anders's eyes.
Oh...this was absolutely too endearing and Anders should look away as well before his crush got any worse. It was stupid, he should absolutely stop thinking about Fenris this way but everytime he thought he was finally able to ignore his little attraction, Fenris did something endearing or awesome that made him swoon a little...
“Oh, well, I do too, you're pretty funny when you're not scowling at everything.” He teased in order to distract himself of how cute Fenris looked.
“And you're pretty bearable when you don't complain about everything.”
Any fondness disappeared as he gasped in shock, adopting a wounded expression.
“I thought you enjoyed it when we complained together about this movie ?”
“We were critiscising this movie like mature adults, not whining like toddlers.” Fenris smirked, his tone growing more assured as he teased him mercilessly. Must be his way to fight away his fluster and regain his composure, this ass.
“Hey ! I don't whine ! Not out of the bedroom at least...” Anders fighted back with the more effective weapon he knew : innuendos and flirting.
And Fenris flared anew. The omega actually felt a bit bad as the elf coughed in embarassment.
“Sorry too bold ?”
“No, hem..I...” Searching his word, the elf grew even more crimson. “Actually I... hem... Anders I have something I...I mean...”
Frowning, the omega leaned forward. Fenris was trying to tell him something with obvious difficulties and he was becoming intrigued. He looked more serious but at the same time extremely nervous. What could destabilize him so much ? He was sensitive to this kind of teasing but never did he react so strongly, never did it make him lose his control like this. He was usually able to collect himself pretty quickly and retort in less than a second so why was he...
“Well look at you two playing all alone in your corner and drinking tea together ! Aren't you cute !”
Fenris jumped and instantly hid his face in his hand, ears still an interesting shade of beet. Anders took pity and distracted Hawke from him. As he turned toward his friend, standing at the door, he put on his best glare.
“Is this monstruosity of a movie finally over ?” He snapped.
“Yes and IIIIII...”
He tensed, awaiting the answer with fear. Hawke was not known for his excellent tastes. But he hoped he had educated him well enough to realize the flaws of this movie.
“...actually only liked the music. That's it.”
He sighed in relief, there was hope !
“The Maker does exist, despise his shitty tastes Hawke had the good sense not to enjoy this !” He joined his hands in praying and expressed his hapinness with exagerated sobs.
“Hey my tastes are perfectly fine !”
“I went through his underwears collection and let me tell you he have very fine tastes ! Yet not as fine as yours Anders, I have to admit it...” Isabela poked her head inside the kitchen with a predatory smile.
“Oh yes Anders's cats underwears are extremely cute aren't they ?!” Merrill joined her, her eyes hazy, apparently she had fallen asleep during the movie, as she always did.
“Yes they are but I wasn't thinking about these one, I was thinking about something less cute and more...sultry...”
This time it was Anders's turn to blush furiously, he was far from being a prude but still he didn't need to hear everyone's opinions about his underwears. Nor did he need anyone to describe them in front of Fenris...
“Okay can we stop talking about my panties please ?!” He groaned, crossing his arms defensively.
“Oooooh so you wear panties ? Lacy one ? Frilly one ?” Hawke gushed mockingly as he pointed his slip of tongue.
“I'm not going to answer that.” He cursed himself for not being more careful with his choice of words. Well, at least Fenris had an excuse to explain his blush in front of their friends now. He briefly glanced his way and noticed how Fenris was staring at him, slightly flushed but the look in his eyes less easy to read, intriguing.
“Okay I'll just have to take a look in your suitcase then.” Hawke sing-songed.
Anders was immediately on his feet, entirely forgetting about Fenris's odd looks.
“Hawke don't ! Stop !”
The bif oaf giggled like an idiot and disappeared in the corridor.
“Make meeeee !”
He ran after him, leaving Fenris, his undecipherable stare and unachieved confession behind. He had a dignity to protect.