Disclaimer: Dragon Age Origins/Awakening belongs to Bioware and EA Games

Author's Note: This is a Christmas gift fic for Suilven…I hope she likes this…^_^

Heartfelt Gift

Rebecca Cousland, Bec to her friends, had decided that today was going to be a rest day. Maybe tomorrow as well if the weather keeps up the way it has been. She has always hated the rains that preceded the winter snows. It had always cut down on her training and she would rather train outside. The large rooms that were set up with weapons and straw dummies just weren't enough, in her opinion. The castle back in Highever had excellent places to practice indoor archery and swordplay, but they were still too enclosed for the former teyrn's daughter.

Vigil's Keep was no different.

Bec decided that going outside in her oilcloth cloak was better than staying inside and enduring one of Oghren's pant-less, drunken madness. She just wore a pair of simple leather breeches, a long sleeved linen tunic and a leather vest for her general attire and put on a pair of sheepskin boots that were treated to be water-resistant. She walked into the throne room and nodded at the Seneschal and Captain Garavel as she passed them on her way to the doors that led to the courtyard. She spied Sigrun trying to have a conversation with the prickly Dalish First.

She chuckled for a moment as she saw Velanna pinch the bridge of her nose and appeared to agree to something that the perky dwarf had suggested. The Warden-Commander gave them a nod as the two Wardens said a greeting.

"Commander, what are you doing today?" the dwarf woman asked, her eyes smiling.

Bec smiled slightly and shrugged. "I'm just going outside for a bit. The rains are driving me insane. I can't train the way I want to indoors."

Sigrun smiled brightly. "Well, I just found out that it's Anders' birthday and I convinced Velanna to do something for him."

"I don't know why we're doing anything for that shem," the elf answered grumpily, crossing her arms.

Bec raised an eyebrow at the woman. "Keep that attitude up, Velanna, and I'll show you the abilities King Alistair showed me. He may be a human, but Anders is a talented mage and healer. Even you had admitted that he's better than you when it comes to healing."

"I still can't believe that any human can be better than me," the Dalish woman remarked in a snarky tone. When she saw the Commander's green eyes begin to darken, she took a step back. The Warden-Commander was not a woman to be trifled with and she knew she crossed a line with her comment.

"I'll let that pass, Velanna, for now," Bec replied, her green gaze boring into the elf. "Just remember that you are now a Warden and we look out for each other. Once you realize that, there will be nothing that we wouldn't do for you and vice-versa." She then glanced at the dwarf. "What are you planning, Sigrun? It's not easy to surprise Anders."

Sigrun grinned and giggled a bit. "Oghren is getting his special brew together while Nathaniel has the cooks make this special Orlesian cake that's Anders' favorite. I got him a nice pair of enchanted boots from Master Wade."

Bec smiled at her and shook her head for a bit. "Then by all means, carry on. It would be nice to have a celebration of sorts." She chuckled a bit more when she saw Sigrun yanking on Velanna's arm.

She sighed a bit as she ran a hand through her shoulder length mahogany colored hair. Bec knew she should do something with it since she let it grow since the Blight. She used to have it in three small pigtails but thought that the style did not reflect on her new maturity and position. Just as she opened the door to leave, she saw the mage enter the throne room. Her breathing hitched a bit as she spied the handsome man walk over to Varel and start talking. He was wearing those golden Tevinter-style robes with the black feathered pauldrons that showed off his nicely toned arms.

There were many parts of a man's body that a woman could be attracted to. For Bec Cousland, it was the sight of well-toned arms. She thought that they were better defined than Nathaniel Howe's, and Nate was one of the best archers she had ever known. She didn't know how long she stood in the doorway, ready to leave, when she noticed that Anders was grinning at her. He gave her a saucy wink and the Commander felt her face heat up. She hurried through the doorway in order to stave off further embarrassment.

When Bec finally hurried through the portcullis, she wrapped her oilcloth cloak tighter around her. It was colder than she expected despite the rain falling heavily. She stopped and talked with the Sergeant for a moment and then made her way over to Herren and Master Wade. She giggled a little as she watched the two grown men bicker and argue like an old married couple. She waved at them as she perused their wares and the items that the Tal-Vashoth trader, Armass, had on supply.

The Commander sighed deeply as she walked over to the end of the covered market area. There wasn't anything there that she would get as a present for Anders. She already gave the man a golden scarf she swiped from the Chantry in Amaranthine. She really did not know what the man would like; their conversations usually didn't end with 'what's your favorite thing in the world' type of question.

She did remember one conversation with the blonde mage about a cat he had back in the Circle. Bec remembered how proud of Mr. Wiggums he was when he told her the story of the cat being possessed by a rage demon and taking down a few Templars. Too bad there wasn't a cat around…

Bec's head shot up when she heard a strange sound coming from beyond the dry shelter of the market. Looking around, she didn't see anything of importance. She heard the sound again. It was a soft, plaintive wailing that sounded suspiciously like a cat. She pulled the hood of her cloak over her head and went in the direction of the sound. She only walked a few feet when she saw something orange trying to hide inside a broken crate.

The Commander knelt down on her feet and peered at the orange blob. Gently, she lifted the crate and took in a deep breath. It was a small orange tabby kitten. It was apparent that the feline was drenched and obviously frightened. Carefully, the woman held out her fingers so the kitten could sniff her and hopefully know that she wouldn't harm it. It backed up for a moment, but curiosity got the better of it and sniffed the offered fingers. Deciding that the human was safe, it rubbed its head on the fingers.

'Such a sweet little thing,' Bec thought to herself and then smiled. What better gift for her favorite mage than this kitten? With that in mind, she carefully picked the kitten up and tucked the wet thing under cloak. She was going to take it back to her rooms and get it cleaned up…

Later that evening, Bec laughed at some joke that Oghren made about mages and Anders retaliated. The blonde mage made a comment about how easy it was to have some fun with others while wearing robes. The man was an incorrigible tease and flirted with almost everyone at the dinner table. However, the Commander realized that Anders never really flirted with her. He'd make a few comments here and there, but nothing outrageous towards her. Sometimes, she wondered if he even thought that she was attractive enough for him…

"Commander, it's time to give the gifts," Sigrun voiced out, waving her hand in front of Bec. The human woman blinked for a moment and blushed a bit as she nervously ran her hand through her hair. She turned her green eyes to look at Sigrun and missed an appreciative gaze that Anders gave her.

Soon, the festivities were over and everyone started to go to their rooms within the Keep. Bec was going to help clear the table but the servants pretty much pushed the woman out of the dining hall. She scowled for a moment and then chuckled. She supposed it was because she was usually more in the way than helping when it came to things like cleaning.


Bec jumped for a moment, her heart beating wildly. She didn't know that there was someone else still in the hallway. She turned around and stopped. Anders was there, leaning against the wall with one shoulder and arms crossed in front of his chest. Was he waiting for her?

Anders chuckled and smirked at the woman. "Wow, I never thought that I could startle you, Commander. You're usually more observant."

Bec glared at him weakly and then pinched the bridge of her nose. "What do you want, Anders?"

The blonde pushed himself away from the wall and sauntered over to her. The look in his eyes was almost predatory, but Bec thought she was imagining that. He was tall, for a mage, and it seemed like he loomed over her. She swallowed, her throat felt dry. She could face darkspawn, an Archdemon, Flemeth as a dragon, dealing with bratty nobles…but she never really had a way to deal with a man. Especially one who seemed to have taken an interest in her. During the Blight, she had punched Zevran in the face when he tried to kiss her and broke his jaw. She was interested in Alistair for a bit but then when they kissed, it felt like she was kissing her brother. Luckily, the king-to-be felt the same and they never did that again. They did, however, become the best of friends.

The first time she met the mage was during the darkspawn attack on Vigil's keep upon her arrival. There was just something about him that drew her attention. No other man she had met had gotten to her like that before.

"Oh, I heard from a little birdie that you had a present for me," Anders replied smoothly, casually inspecting the nails in his left hand. "You said that you had one for me but couldn't bring it down."

Bec felt her face heat up and she wanted to do nothing more than hide. She had forgotten about that. She left the kitten back in her chambers…Oh dear Maker! She just realized how Anders might take the situation. Does she tell him to follow her to her rooms for his present, or tell him that she would be right back with his present…Gentle laughter reached her ears and she dared to look at the mage.

His warm amber eyes were twinkling with amusement and he was gazing at his Commander with fondness. Bec had the urge to either run in the other direction, kick him in the shins, or just outright kiss him. Instead, she decided to do something else.


"My, you're usually more witty than this, Commander. Cat got your tongue?"

Bec made a strangling sound and mock glared at Anders. "Oh just follow me, you egotistical, nug-humping piece of sh-!" Her green eyes went wide. Anders. Was. Kissing. Her. Not counting the kiss she got from Alistair, this was her first real kiss. She didn't know what to do and then she felt those nice, strong, toned arms of his go around her waist and pull her in closer. Instinctively, her arms went around his neck and closed her eyes, letting the feel of the man enter her personal space. This was a real kiss, one that made her knees turn to jelly. After kissing for a few minutes, Bec had to break away. Panting softly, she locked her green gaze into amber orbs.

"No, a cat didn't get your tongue," he remarked, his eyes taking on a certain gleam. Anders leaned over to whisper in her ear. "I did."

The Commander felt her face get even warmer but didn't have a comeback. She looked away and felt the mage's strong fingers caress her jaw tenderly. "That wasn't your present."

Anders laughed and held the woman close. "Well, you were just too adorable and I had to do something before you spewed something from that foul mouth of yours."

Bec pushed him away and punched him in the arm. "Do you want that sodding present or not?"

The mage feigned injury to his arm and snickered. "Of course, I do." His laughter followed the Warden-Commander as he proceeded to go in her wake.

A few minutes later found the two in Bec's rooms. Anders glanced around the luxurious setting. There were several fur rugs on the stone floor and a roaring fire in the fireplace keeping the sitting room warm. He saw that Bec had gone into her bedchamber and he hoped that maybe she would be dressed in a sheer linen gown…and then his fantasy came to a halt as the woman re-entered the room. She was still dressed in her leathers and linen tunic but was holding something close to her chest. There was some movement and that had piqued his interest.

"I found him while I was outside earlier," Bec said quietly as she slowly approached the mage. "I thought that you might like him."

Anders eyes went wide as she handed him a sleepy orange kitten. He held the tiny thing in his arms and a small smile graced his handsome features. Out of all the presents he got tonight, this one was the most special, the most heartfelt. He gently scratched the tabby behind its ears and was rewarded with a gentle purr.

"I remembered you telling me about the cat you had back at the Circle," Bec started awkwardly, her feet fidgeting a bit. "I may like dogs more, but I don't hate cats. In fact, I had a black one named Nightmare back in Highever as a child. He and my mabari, Calamity, were quite the pair."

Anders looked at the Warden-Commander curiously. "You had a cat…named Nightmare? And that mabari of yours is named Calamity?" He chuckled for a moment and then gave her an affectionate smile. "Thank you, Bec. This is the most heartfelt gift I had ever gotten."

Bec went over to the mage placed a hand gently on his arm, leaning up to kiss him on the cheek. She then smiled up at him. "You're most welcome, Anders. I lo…I'm glad you like him. What's his name going to be?"

"Ser Pounce-a-Lot."

AN: A little info on Bec...she never had any relationtions with anyone and would hit people who have tried...lol