A/N: Crisium wrote this incredible story, "What We Become" and I was inspired to write this. A sort-of prequel to "What We Become" from Dog's POV.
Summary: Five times when he is a good dog, and once when he isn't--because your dog loves you, no matter what.
His human smells like rain and ashes and starlight, like the smoky campfires she prods at, like the damp leaves tangled in her hair in the aftermath of a storm. "Good boy," she says, smiling as she bends down to ruffle his ears. "You heard all that, didn't you? You were very quiet."
He sniffs at the rose in her hand. She is cradling it, carefully, as though it were a new-born pup. It makes her happy; Dog wags his stump of a tail and licks at her fingers, and she laughs. "Good dog," she says. "Don't tease Alistair about it, will you? He'll start blushing, and likely never do something so foolishly sentimental ever again, and then where will I get my flowers from?"
Alistair is her knight, and Dog is of the opinion that knights should not frighten half so easily. He sniffs to express his disapproval. His human is unswayed. "Please?" she says. "I'll get you a biscuit at the next town if you promise to behave yourself—a nice crunchy one, all right?"
But Alistair is fun to tease.
"Two biscuits, how about that?"
Well. All right. But Alistair had better keep giving her flowers, Dog warns.
"I'll let him know," his human says, and her eyes are all aglow when she looks down at the flower.
Everyone smells like darkspawn after a battle except for Dog's human. The knight smells like darkspawn blood and oiled steel; the golden-eyed witch smells like darkspawn blood and giant spider; the golem smells like darkspawn blood and crushed stone.
But his human smells like ice and lightning and fire, and it always takes a long, long time for the scent of magic to fade away from her even after the haze of spells have disappeared from the battlefield. "Ah, that hurlock swiped you, did it?" she says, peering down at his wound with a worried frown. "We should get Wynne to look at that. Stay still a moment, while I apply a poultice."
Dog licks her hand when she is done. She tastes a little like elfroot and cinders.
"Good dog," his human says softly, stroking his nose. "You were very brave. There'll be a treat waiting for you back at camp, I promise."
"I was brave too," Alistair says afterwards, teasing, and from across the campfire Dog perks up his ears and listens. "Do I get a treat?"
"What would you like?" his human asks, teasing back. She is smiling at the knight, gleaming and mischievous. "How about a kiss? For being such a valiant prince, and saving the world—"
"Well, I haven't been killing any dragons lately, but—"
—and then Dog has to close his eyes, because his human has leaned forward towards the knight and the two are pressing their lips together, and Dog knows without being told that his human is not the sort who would appreciate an audience when she's trying to court her mate.
And Dog knows that she really wouldn't appreciate a human audience. So when he hears the golden-eyed witch heading toward their secluded part of the camp—muttering something about moldy bread—Dog scrambles to his feet and (filing this under defend master) goes off to trip Morrigan before she gets too close.
"You pest," Morrigan says, glaring at him as she lies sprawled on her backside in the mud. "See if I don't eat you, the next time I'm a bear."
Dog bounds out of her reach, barking.
"Don't go there? Why on earth shouldn't I go there?" And: "Oh," in dawning realization, and then faint disgust. "Therrin and that—ugh. They're actually—?"
Dog wags his tail. Morrigan curls her lip and picks herself up again. "I suppose I should thank you," she says, shuddering. "I'm glad I didn't walk in on that."
Thankful enough to feed him now that his human was otherwise occupied? Dog presses close, hopeful. "Oh, very well," Morrigan sighs. "Come on, you can have my dinner—I think I've lost my appetite, anyway." She shudders again. "Ugh. I can't believe—"
"You're still a pest," she adds, her golden eyes narrowed in irritation. "And don't even think about asking me to play fetch."
His human is unusually delighted in the morning. Dog gets a hug, a long scratch behind the ears to make up for her neglect the night before, far more information on human courtship than he ever cared to know. "I'm in love," she tells him, grinning. And: "Oh, don't look at me like that, I'm haven't gone mad with the darkspawn taint yet—"
Dog is not quite sure if he agrees with this. His human is laughing. "You stopped Morrigan from barging in on us, didn't you?" she asks, patting his head. "Good dog. Thank you."
He barks at her, happy that she is happy. Even if she does seem a little mad.
His human and her knight hold hands when they think the others aren't looking, and they kiss in secluded alcoves in between darkspawn attacks, and in the evenings Dog wanders off to badger Morrigan or beg scraps off of Oghren because now his human has quite a lot less time to play fetch with him.
But she is happy. And Dog goes to sleep amidst campfire smoke and the scent of magic, content because his human is content, and everything is all right with the world.
Until, suddenly, it isn't.
They are in a large house in a city, safe from Darkspawn. Dog spends his time dozing in the sunlit garden or waiting at the door for his human to come home, and one evening she comes back alone—without her knight, without anyone—and she smells like silk and perfume and tears. "Dog," she says, when he comes bounding up to greet her. She goes to her knees on the floor and throws her arms around him and buries her face against his fur, and she will not speak to him.
He whines at her and licks her face and even resorts to sticking his nose in her ear, but his human is somewhere far, far away. Finally he bites her, sharp, and she rises shakily to her feet and goes upstairs and shuts him out of her room.
It takes Dog the better part of an hour to wriggle in through her window. She doesn't notice that he leaves muddy tracks all over the sheets when he jumps onto the bed and paws at her shoulder; she doesn't notice that he wants her to tell him what's wrong so that he can hunt it down and drag it back to her. "Good dog," she says only; absently and very distant.
Dog curls up against her with a worried whine and wonders who has broken his human.
It's the knight.
"Oh, no, not you too," Alistair says, stopping in his tracks when he sees Dog waiting for him in the book room. "Don't look at me like that, you know I had to—"
"All right, maybe you didn't know that I had to." The knight tosses a stack of papers onto the desk and slumps down into a nearby chair. "But I did, all right? I can't—I can't change all of Fereldon, even if I wanted to—which I assure you, I do—"
The knight smells like dust and ink and other women. You broke my human, Dog says in another growl, and Alistair groans and presses his hands to his face and says: "Why am I telling you all this, anyway? It's not like you'll ever get picked to be king and then have to tell the woman you love that you can't be with her anymore and then go off and be king like nothing's wrong—"
Dog bites him.
The knight jerks up, clutching his bleeding leg, and glares. "Ouch," he says. "What was that for?"
As though he doesn't know; Dog does not dignify the question with a response. Alistair groans again and slumps back down. "I can't do anything right, can I?" he asks the air. "I hate my life."
Dog considers biting his other leg. Alistair picks up the nearest object—a scroll of paper—and throws it at him; he ducks easily out of the way.
"Bad dog," the knight says, sounding very weary. "Go away. I've got forms to sign."
Much, much later, there is a lake. His human stares into the water as the man rows them across, and Dog sits in the back and sticks his head over the side of the boat, and the wind that comes rushing up to ruffle his fur smells a little like magic.
Then there is a tall, tall building with very large doors; hallways messy with fallen stone and smears of old blood; rooms and rooms of books. His human walks past it all, unseeing. Dog leans against her and whines until he gets her attention.
"The Circle Tower," she tells him. "I used to live here."
But it's empty.
She doesn't seem to notice. There is a pile of rubble in the corridor; she trips over it as she walks, and catches herself against him when he presses in close.
"Good dog," she murmurs. Her hand is on his head. He licks it, mournful. She is not here; she is somewhere far away with a knight who brings her flowers, and Dog misses her—more than he can say in a bark or a whine, and it is such a long, lonely wait for his human to come back from wherever she has gone.