From LJ, a response to part of the prompt: "Poor Ser Pounce A Lot, he was forced to be given away to a 'friend'. I'm going to theorize this friend was 'Dog'."


"And here," Anders says, and Dog doesn't know why he smells of tears and salt and something else, something like-and-not-like Justice but Justice had gone. "There's milk out in the training hall but you'll have to make sure the maids refill it, will you?"

Dog whines, worried. The cat keeps trying to cling to Anders' arms, claws catching in the fabric and leaving tiny irreversible snags, and Anders pushes him away almost too gently to make a difference. "No. I can't…" His voice breaks, a quiet tired thing, and the cat's bell chimes gently in the night as he struggles to climb into his human's arms and Anders tries to stop him. "I can't take you."

"Mraow?"

"No," Anders says, firmer, and then reaches out to pet the top of Dog's head, a tentative gesture. "Stay with Dog."

"Mraow?"

"No."

But the cat is as good at listening as any cat and so doesn't pay a human's no any attention at all—and this is wrong, Dog thinks, this is the middle of the night and people don't leave in the middle of the night, not alone and smelling of fear and tears and vanished spirits. The cat scales Anders' body, tail lashing, to curl into the spot at the junction of his neck and shoulder, and Anders doesn't tell him no again. The orange fur sticks up in tufts between his fingers as he holds to the cat, face turned into his fur, and Dog whines lowly because this is wrong, very wrong, and there isn't anyone to stop it.

"I would if I could," Anders whispers, thick through fur and a strange wild grief. "But the new Warden-Commander—"

Dog whines, not liking this at all.

"No." And Anders bumps his mouth against the top of the cat's head, a short negligent kiss-thing of the kind Dog knows well—and then he tucks the bundle of cat against Dog's side one more time, and goes. The little bell chimes like goodbye into the dark empty night, and they never see Anders again.