Prompt: First…

Disclaimer: I do not own Dragon Age.

Anders didn't bother to open his eyes or sit up when he woke up. He was pretty sure (but not completely positive as he couldn't see the sun and so was attempting to keep track based on his meals) that he had been in solitary confinement for 87 days. That still left 278 days that he was going to be trapped in this maddeningly empty room with nothing to do and no human contact. He wondered how in the world he was going to keep his sanity.

"Or have I already lost it?" he murmured. Normally, one would think that talking to themselves was a sign of insanity but he didn't think he could go an entire year without speaking and it wasn't like anyone else was willing or able to speak to him. The Templars shoved food and water into his room twice a day and emptied the waste only once and they always made sure to be completely silent and stoic. Honestly, it was really starting to make him long for the days when they had been comparably garrulous and light-hearted.

"Maybe I shouldn't have escaped." The words escaped before Anders had time to process them and they shook him. He had always believed that escape was the only option when it came to the Circle, even before he had been captured for the first time and brought there. That belief hadn't wavered through the years of imprisonment in the Tower and the four escapes before this one. But now they locked him in a room for 87 days and the knowledge that he had been in there for less than a fourth of the time that he would and suddenly he was questioning one of his oldest and most deeply-held beliefs.

There was a scratching sound suddenly and Anders' head shot towards the noise. There was a kitten scratching at the door. It was little, fluffy, and ginger.

"How did you get in here?" Anders wondered aloud. He frowned as a disconcerting thought occurred to him. "Are you even in here or have I started hallucinating? I suppose that will make the time go quicker although it may cause problems once my sentence is up. And you'd think I could come up with some more interesting hallucinations. And preferably some female ones."

The kitten turned at the sound of his voice and revealed deep blue eyes that looked to be too big for its face. It wobbled over to him.

Anders hesitantly reached out and placed a hand on the kittens head. It was as soft as it looked. On the one hand, the fact that he could touch it meant that it was likely not a hallucination. On the other, it could just mean that he was even crazier than he thought he was. "How did you even get in here?" he murmured, beginning to stroke the kitten's fur. "I hope you're not trapped like me. They never seem to give me any cat food so you wouldn't be able to eat very well."

The kitten simply purred up at him. Anders couldn't help but smile. Ferelden might have been a land obsessed with dogs but mages barely counted as part of Ferelden anyway and he had always been more fascinated by cats. They were so much more dignified than dogs and so much more sensible. If they were in a bad situation – say, stuck inside the Circle Tower – then they weren't going to be happy about it and would make sure to let everyone around them know about it.

"Fine, don't answer me," Anders said in faux-indignation. Even if he knew that the kitten – probably – wouldn't answer back, it was such a relief to finally be speaking to something else after so long. He could try talking to the Templars, of course, but he didn't want to come off as desperate. "But if you're going to be here and you won't tell me your name then I'm going to have to call you something."

Anders had never had a pet before. Mages weren't allowed to keep them at the Tower (for no reason that Anders could see except that the Templars were trying to suck every last ounce of joy out of the world) and before that his mother hadn't thought that he was old enough to have one before he had first done magic in front of her and she became convinced that a pet was too much responsibility to pile on top of the tremendous pressure to keep his gifts hidden. As Anders was so inexperienced with pets, he really had no idea what to call the thing.

A quick glance showed Anders that this kitten was a boy. "Mr.…" Was Mr. a silly way of starting off a pet's name? It only seemed polite to make it clear that this small thing was a boy so it didn't have all manner of curious mages and Templars staring at its genitalia all the time. "Mr. …" Great, now he couldn't think of anything. The kitten didn't have to have the most profound name in the world, he just had to be called something. Mr. Kitten? No, that was almost embarrassing. What to call him, what to call him.

"Mr. Wiggums," Anders said suddenly. It was literally the first thing that had popped into his head. He thought that he had known a Wiggums once, long ago, who had been kind to him and had owned a cat. It was as good a name as any, he supposed.

Mr. Wiggums responded to this by purring again.

Anders grinned. "I take it you like that name, huh? Good because if I had told you my second choice then you'd probably be ashamed to be seen with me. Not that anyone besides those bucket-heads are going to be seeing me anytime soon."

The door slammed open then and Anders automatically glanced up to see two Templars entering his room. They didn't so much look at him as one replaced his waste bucket with a fresh one and the other took his empty food tray and left a full one in its place. They said nothing and they were in the room for perhaps two minutes. It was the only human contact he would be getting for hours. Anders closed his eyes and tried to tell himself that he wouldn't have wanted to talk to one of them anyway. He had much better company anyway.

Anders glanced down at Mr. Wiggums only to discover that the kitten was no longer there. His eyes darted around the room, trying desperately to find his newfound feline companion. It was no use, however. Mr. Wiggums simply wasn't there.

Anders sighed. Well that was fun while it lasted. Still, he had to believe that Mr. Wiggums would come back. As sad as it was to admit it, his very sanity could very well be depending on it.

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