A/N: This piece was a little drabble set between "Love's not the way to treat a friend" and the next part of the story. Since doesn't appear to have a way to link stories as a series I am going to put it here, and then mark this part as "complete". We aren't done yet though! I will post the next part as a separate story (tentatively titled "An Act of: Death-Defying Affection")-still working on Chapter One for that.
Will you remember that we are fragile gifts
from a star, and we break? ~Richard Brautigan
"Where's my wolf?"
Anders had been tiredly contemplating the hole in the toe of his boot as he trudged up the manor stairs, but the warning growl in his lover's voice brought his gaze up quickly.
With his arms crossed and a scowl plastered on his face, Fenris was waiting for him at the top with an expectant look on his angry face. It took a moment for the healer's brain to catch up to the question that had been asked, and even then was clueless.
"I'm sorry, your what?"
Stepping backwards into the room, the elf stabbed his finger at the bare wall over the desk and gritted out.
"My wolf. The picture that was hanging there?"
Ah. Even though he now knew what Fenris was referring to, surprise kept him quiet for a moment longer. A few weeks ago he had been looking for inspiration to work on his manifesto once again, and he ended up doodling a picture of a wolf lying in front of a fireplace with a kitten curled up on his back. It had just been some scribbles in ink but he thought the wolf's face managed to capture the look of patient forbearance that Fenris normally wore around him pretty well. Even if the wolf looked rather cat-like, since all Anders ever really drew were cats. The Tevinter had not seemed particularly impressed at the time.
"Do you mean the one I drew? Where you said…"
Here he dropped his voice into his Fenris imitation which involved, among other things, always talking with his jaw clenched,
"Ah, another product of your fanciful imaginings."
Normally he could provoke a bit of dry humor out of the elf by his 'terrible' imitations, but right now it just set a muscle jumping in his clenched jaw.
"Yes, that one. It was hanging on that nail over the desk and now it is gone."
"Well, I cleaned up the desk today and I took it down. You've never said anything about it since I hung it up there; I didn't think you'd mind."
Fenris took a step closer, one hand down by his side and clenched into a fist while the other one pointed accusingly at the healer's chest.
"Did you not say that you had made that picture for me? Was it not mine?"
It was dawning on the healer that this wasn't Fenris' average, everyday sort of grumpiness. The white-haired elf was genuinely pissed-off.
"I, yes I did say I made it for you. I just didn't think you…well, wanted to keep it."
"If it was for me, then it is mine and it's not for you to decide what happens to it."
Anders held his hands up placatingly and then he started to rummage through the stack of papers on the corner of the desk.
"All right, I didn't throw anything away yet, it's probably in…yes, here it is!"
He held up the scrap of paper triumphantly, only to have it snatched from his hands a second later. The healer called after the elf's retreating back,
"I am sorry, you know…I didn't think you liked it!"
Fenris paused in the doorway and looked down at the paper in his hands before remarking softly,
"It is a…passable rendition of Lady. And no one…I cannot remember anyone ever making me anything before."
He was gone before Anders' could think of a suitable reply.
The next day when Anders saw the overlarge frame propped on top on the mantel, with the original canvas stripped and lying on the floor and the scrap of paper bearing his drawing placed carefully inside, he just smiled to himself. Fenris was terrible with compliments, but he really did know how to appreciate a gift.