Chapter 20! Thanks to all for reading, reviewing and for hanging in there with me!

A/N: I am sick right now, so I hope this chapter is coherent.


Despite their resolve, Fenris and Anders did not get a chance to talk about what happened in the Fade. Aedan took care of that for them. The Warden-Commander gave them one day to regroup before calling them into his office. They went over the painful journey in excruciating detail for Wynn and Howe.

Fenris didn't see the need of reopening the wound for others. Aedan reminded him once more that the wardens were an organization, and there was a chain of command. Reports had to be filed, bureaucracy appeased.

There was also the matter of what Fenris had done in the Fade.

"I've never heard of such a thing," Wynn said, her face full of astonishment. "You say you stepped deeper into the Fade than dreamers go? How is that possible?"

Fenris twisted his lips in a scowl. "How was it possible that Danarius did this to me?" he retorted. Lifting his arms, he turned them so the brands between his armor shone clearly in the light. "How is it possible I survived this? I do not have the answers you want. Danarius did not confide in me while he was laying lyrium into my skin."

He had always known that Danarius had larger plans for Fenris than using him as an intimidating weapon. The man did nothing small. If he went through the trouble and expense to turn Fenris into… whatever it was, then it was done for a greater purpose. Fenris had a suspicion that niggled at the back of him mind as to what it was. He balked at it, his mind shying away from something too monstrous to contemplate.

"I don't know how you survived it." Wynn glanced at Aedan. "You say Justice made it clear that he was never to enter the Fade again?"

Aedan gave her a small nod of assent. "He was very adamant about it."

"Excuse me," Howe cleared his throat, drawing their attention. "This was the work of a magister. We know of something that could tell us the mind of one."

Anders, who had remained largely silent, shot to his feet, his chair scraping back on the floor. "No." He rounded on Aedan. "I can't believe that thing is still alive. It's insane."

"That thing has helped us in the past. It could help us now." Aedan arched an eyebrow at Anders' tone. He had always allowed the men under him to have a voice in his decisions, but Anders and Fenris apparently took his leniency to the point of outright insubordination. Both of them liked to question him a little too much, and it grated on his nerves.

"At what price? Is he still taking blood as payment? No. I won't let him near Fenris." Anders' arms were flailing wildly in his agitation. "He might have been responsible for the last blight, for Maker's sake."

"That's enough!" Aedan shouted. He pointed a finger at Fenris. "And you. Do not say one word. I am commander here, as much as you two would like to forget that. Things aren't as lackadaisical as they were when you were here last, Anders. I've created order here and I mean to keep it this way. The wardens of Ferelden will not be caught off guard and used like they were in the past."

He lowered his hand and straightened his tunic, smoothing away his anger. "Now, I have a warden who was possessed and another who has powers that are dangerous and unknown. What do either of you think I should tell the First Warden about that? What do you think he will do?" Neither of them answered, and Fenris seethed at Aedan's tone. Being told what to do pricked at nerves still raw from his life as a slave.

"I'll tell you what he will do. He will send for you both, and I will lose my jurisdiction over you two. We cannot report this yet until it is resolved. Unless you want to go back to the land of your birth, Anders. Then by all means, ignore me. Nate is right-we have someone who might be able to tell us answers without alerting Weisshaupt."

Fenris did speak then. "Who?" His hands were clenched into fists on his lap. He understood that Aedan was the one in command, but it didn't mean he had to like taking orders.

"A darkspawn known as the Architect. He resides below us in the Deep Roads." Aedan pointed down at his feet.

"Right below us," Anders added. "The thing might as well just move into our basement."


Fenris picked up another bandage and rolled it into a neat, compact ball. He had been in the infirmary for two weeks now. His long, unarmored fingers made quick work of it and he pulled at another piece of linen from the pile. He could see why Marian had looked so bored when she was in the clinic in Darktown. This was beyond tedious.

Aedan had informed him that it would take some time to locate the Architect, and that Fenris would just have to be patient-in the infirmary. It was his punishment for attacking Zevran and questioning Aedan so much. Every morning he rose at dawn and grabbed a quick breakfast of bread and soft cheese. He would then head down to the practice yard and run the other wardens through a series of drills and mock fights. When the sun raised high above him at noon, he was to eat lunch and report to the infirmary to assist in whatever was needed there. Aedan had told him that if he wanted to help break his wardens, then he could damn well help fix them.

Fenris knew what it really was about. He had given the elf a menial job, one meant to test his resolve in following orders. If Fenris could roll bandages and cut elfroot for several hours a day, then he could be relied on to comply with orders in the field.

He also had been stripped of his armor and weapons when he wasn't in the practice yard. Aedan meant to disarm him literally and figuratively. He had said there was no need to go around the keep battle ready. Fenris felt naked, wearing nothing but a plain black tunic and his leggings. In Kirkwall he had always been armed, ready for the day when Danarius came for him. He hadn't even let his guard down when he had slept, his sword laying next to him like a lover in his decaying mansion. It had been macabre, but Fenris had known no other way. Aedan was going to force the elf to change whether he liked it or not.

Since the night that they came back from the Fade, Anders had taken the place of Fenris' sword in his bed. The two of them curled up next to each other, their limbs tangling. It was never discussed, but each night, Anders came to Fenris' room, Ser Pounce-a-lot in his arms. The elf would let Anders in, and the two would strip down to their smallclothes before scurrying under the covers. They never did anything more than give each other light kisses, their hands staying above their waists before falling asleep. It was as if they both were afraid to go back to that all consuming need they had experienced before. With the intensity of the Fade still on their minds, they both needed something gentle and uncomplicated.

That didn't mean that Fenris didn't wake up hard and aching, Anders' scent in his nose, the blonde's skin under his hands. Fenris awoke before Anders did, the mage preferring to sleep in as much as possible before he was forced to rouse to go to the infirmary. He would take his time before getting up from the bed, his eyes moving over Anders' sleeping face.

It wasn't lost on Fenris that Vengeance and Anders had chosen to make Anders a magister-one that would go out of his way to help. He would lay there in bed, watching the way Anders' breaths came out in soft puffs between parted lips. Anders in the Fade had wanted to spare Fenris from the pain the ritual would cause him. He had challenged Danarius, despite being in the magister's own house. That none of it was real made no difference. The Fade could not change Anders' core being. It could not change that bare fact that Anders was willing to sacrifice himself to make sure that Fenris wouldn't suffer.

He glanced at Anders in his periphery. The mage was leading a small lesson about the best way to mend broken bones on the battlefield. Three young wardens with the promise of becoming healers huddled near him, their gazes rapt as he spoke.

The soft pull of Anders' magic on his brands was a torture. Each time it slid along his skin and settled in his groin, Fenris had to will himself to calm down. The memory of the afternoon they had shared still clung to his mind, taunting him with what he could have if he just took it. The taint had settled, but he still felt anger and the need to mark Anders as his own, fucking the mage into the mattress until Anders screamed loud enough the whole keep knew whose he was.

Fenris couldn't lie to himself anymore about his feelings for Anders. It had begun so slowly, that one day he had woken up to the mage's sleeping face, and he had just known. Anders had come to mean more to him than anyone else. If actions did speak louder than words, then Anders had shown Fenris time and again that he loved him.

Hadn't Fenris shown the same thing?

His eyes narrowed and his thoughts scattered. The linen in his hands tore, the edges fraying and splintering. One of the wardens—what was his name?—had a hand on Anders'. He was slowly caressing up and down Anders' back, his face uplifted and smiling at something the mage said.

Fenris saw red. It descended on him in a haze, and he was on his feet before he knew what he was doing.


"So you want to make sure that the bone is set before you heal it," Anders said. He illustrated his point on the leg bone of a pig he had collected from the kitchens. He put the pieces together and mimicked casting a spell. "Start with the bone first. If it has broken through the skin, you might need help in pushing it back in. Make sure you pull out any pieces that have splintered off. That's very important."

He felt a touch on his back and turned a startled look on Christopher. The young warden had been relentless in his pursuit of Anders. It didn't matter that he had told him he was not interested. He would use any excuse to touch Anders, giving him looks that was meant to seduce. It reminded Anders of his seduction of Karl. The older mage had balked at first, but Anders hadn't taken no for an answer in his youthful zeal. He felt guilty now he knew how it felt. But he hadn't pushed Karl the way Christopher was pushing Anders.

The smell of leather and the oil used to polish a sword wafted behind him, giving him the only warning he had. The hand on his back disappeared and he was spun around to face Fenris. The elf was angry, and he had Christopher's wrist in a punishing grip, his lips peeled back from his teeth.

"Is it necessary to touch your teacher to learn?" he asked the younger man, his voice deathly quiet. The infirmary had gone silent, the attention of the other wardens drawn to the spectacle playing out before them.

Christopher's brown eyes widened in fear, and they darted back and forth between Fenris and Anders. "No… I—"

"Then do not touch him. If I see it again, I'll take your hand. You do it once more, and I'll take them both." Fernis leaned in close, giving Christopher no chance to look anywhere else but at the elf. "He does not want you. Do I make myself clear?"

Anders sucked in a quick breath. He froze in shock, unable to act at first. Fenris was jealous. A part of him reveled in it, but the other part, the ration part—yes he did have one—was horrified. Fenris couldn't go around and threaten everyone who he thought—rightly or wrongly—was hitting on him.

He touched the back of Fenris' neck, his fingers stroking the skin there. "Let him go, Fenris. He meant no harm." He touched Fenris gently like a wild animal as Marian had once done, his voice pitched to sooth. The elf slowly turned his head, his eyes blazing.

"You would stand up for him?" he hissed.

Anders gave him a weak smile. "No. I can't have you breaking him. I need all the healers I can get."

Fenris made a disgusted noise with his tongue and dropped Christopher's hand. The young warden cradled it to his chest and shot Anders a grateful look. Fenris saw it and opened his mouth, but Anders tightened his fingers on his neck, urging him to walk away.

"We'll continue the lesson tomorrow," Anders called to the wardens, as he pushed Fenris towards the door. Fenris didn't hesitate, allowing Anders to move him away from Christopher and out of the infirmary.

They didn't speak until they were across the keep and moving up the stairs towards the west wing, where their rooms resided. "What's the matter with you?" Anders asked. "You can't just attack someone like that. It's why you're in trouble with Aedan in the first place. Do you want to be punished?"

Fenris brushed Anders' hand off his neck. "Don't. I saw the way he was looking at you. Am I supposed to ignore it?" They reached the top of the stairs and Fenris kept moving, leaving Anders to trail along behind him.

"You're supposed to let me deal with it. Despite popular belief, I am a grown man and can make my own decisions. I don't need you to do this…" he waved his hands at Fenris' back as he sputtered. "This alpha male thing. Christopher would have given up eventually and moved on to someone else."

Fenris pushed open the door to his room when they reached it with such force, it banged against the wall. He stood in the middle of the room, his hands clenched and his head bowed. "I cannot bear the sight of another touching you. I have spent the last two weeks with his eyes on you. He's lucky I haven't plucked them from his skull."

"Don't." Anders parodied what Fenris always said to him. Closing the door, he moved to wrap his arms around the elf, his chest to Fenris' back. He could feel the tension along his spine, and he rubbed his hands up and down Fenris' arms. "No one is going to take me from you. I'm not so fickle."

"Do not lie," Fenris muttered. "I have heard the stories from your time in the circle."

"Now you are being deliberately provoking. I'm not going to give you the fight you want." He dropped his arms and sat down on the bed. "Go find Aedan if you want that." He scratched at the stubble along his jaw, considering. "In fact, now that I think on it, maybe that's why you two don't get along. You both have the temper of an enraged orc." He put a finger to his lips, a gleam in his eyes. Fenris was right when he had said that Anders used humor when he was uncertain or uncomfortable. It didn't seem he could help himself.

"I wonder if he's as built as an orc as yo—" Anders found himself pushed back on the bed, Fenris looming over him.

"Do not speculate on the Warden-Commander's genitals," Fenris demanded. "Now who's being provoking?"

The world held its breath as they stared at each other. Anders licked his lips, his eyes drooping almost shut. This was what he wanted from Fenris, not the gentle elf that clutched Anders to him at night after chaste kisses. They had been dancing around each other for weeks, and Anders was tired of it.

"Maybe I am," he admitted. "Is that such a bad thing?" He lifted his head and crushed Fenris' lips to his own. The elf immediately responded with a ferocity that bordered on overwhelming. Anders wasn't the only one sick of the dance.

Anders slid his hands up Fenris' back, his fingers bunching the material of his tunic and pulling until he could touch bare flesh. Tracing the raised skin of Fenris' brands, he moaned as the elf pushed up at his robes, his nails scratching along Anders' chest.

That slight bit of pain that Fenris gave him was heady. After the afternoon they had spent together, Anders hadn't healed any mark on his body, reveling in each sting hours later. He had never thought that Fenris would be any other way. The elf was too intense for a gentle lovemaking.

Fenris leaned back and whipped his tunic off, tossing it behind him to the floor. He moved away from Anders far enough to pull at the ties to his leggings. He hooked his thumbs into the waistband, lifting his hips and paused. "If you don't want this, leave now."

Scrambling to off the bed, Anders laughed. He removed his coat and robes, adding them to the pile on the floor. "Are you insane? I've waited too long for this." He hopped on his feet as he pulled his boots off.

Fenris gave Anders a small grin and slipped his leggings off. He knelt on the bed and pulled a naked Anders back onto the mattress. The mage crashed on top of him, and he stopped himself from crushing Fenris by slamming his palms on the bed. They both drew in sharp breaths as their cocks rubbed against each other. Anders rubbed a hand along Fenris' neck and chest.

"I love you," he whispered. Anders yelped in surprise as Fenris growled and rolled them over, taking the dominate position once again.

"You're an idiot," Fenris mumbled against Anders' skin. His tongue and teeth created a path of pleasure along Anders' collarbone.

"If it means I get more of this—ugh—then I'm the biggest idiot in Thedas."

Fenris ran his hands up Anders' thighs, spreading them and urging the mage to wrap his legs around his waist. He coaxed a gasp out of Anders when he rolled his hips, their pricks rubbing against each other in a delicious slide of hard, leaking flesh. Anders clutched at Fenris' ass, pulling him closer as he panted into the elf's mouth.

"What do you want, Anders?" Fenris asked, his voice husky with need. He moved again, and Anders could feel the rolling motion of his muscles under his fingertips. He threw back his head, his eyes squeezing shut.

"You," he groaned.

Fenris nipped at Anders' jaw. "That goes without saying. Tell me, mage." Fenris hardly ever called him that anymore, but when he did it this time, it had the sound of possessiveness to it. The elf slid down Anders' body, his mouth moving over his chest. He grasped a pink nipple between his teeth and bit down, his tongue lashing at the sensitive flesh he had trapped.

"Oh, Maker!" Anders tried to twist away. The feeling was almost too much, but Fenris clamped his hands on Anders' sides, pinning him to the bed, forcing him to take it.

"What do you want, Anders," Fenris demanded once more. He moved to the other nipple, giving it the same treatment. At the same time, he moved his taut abdomen over Anders' dick. Anders gave a hoarse shout, his cock throbbing in time with his abused nipples and leaving streaks of precum on Fenris' skin.

"I want to come," Anders babbled. "Please let me come, Fenris."

He felt Fenris' smile against his chest. "No," he rumbled.

Only Fenris had the ability to reduce Anders to a quivering ball of need so quickly and utterly. The elf was magnetic, drawing Anders out to do and say things he would have never done with another.

He felt Fenris moving and opened his eyes. He looked down his body to see the elf's head disappear between his legs. Fenris gazed at Anders as his tongue traced each vein on the mage's cock.

"What do you want, Anders." Fenris cupped his sac and rolled them gently between his fingers. His tongue darted into the leaking slit of his prick, gathering up all the slick liquid collecting there.

"Your mouth you bastard," Anders moaned, the insult lacking any heat. His body jerked as Fenris raked his teeth along his shaft.

"Not good enough." He lifted Anders' thighs, his hands gripping his ass and spreading him open. The wet path that Fenris laved between his balls and entrance had Anders gripping the sheets, twisting them in his hands. He nudged at the mage's sac with his nose, lifting them high against his dick. Anders couldn't catch a breath, his chest rising and falling while his heart hammered in his ears.

"Please, Fenris. Please," he begged. "Suck my cock. I need it. Just—" he cried out as Fenris complied. His lips formed a tight seal around his prick, the elf's cheeks hollowing out. Anders slipped his fingers through Fenris' hair, grabbing onto the silky strands He fought not to push him back where he needed him most as Fenris pulled away.

"Good boy, you beg so well." He ran his tongue over his lip and engulfed Anders once more.

If Fenris wanted to hear Anders beg, then he would beg. He would debase himself in any way that Fenris wanted, as long as he kept doing that thing—that wonderful thing with his tongue. It stroked up Anders' shaft, curling around the head of his cock.

And, Maker, his hands, those callused hands that could take life so easily, cupped his balls, playing with them in nimble fingers. Anders went incoherent, his words meaningless nothings that poured from his lips.

"Fuck, more. Do it… Maker… Uhn…Love…" Anders clenched and released the muscles in his ass rhythmically as he fought the urge to thrust.

Fenris lifted his head, a string of precum connecting his lips to his cock. He licked his lips again, gathering up the slick substance with a heated glance, as if it were the most delicious thing that the elf had ever tasted. Anders' dick jerked wetly in response. He had never seen anything so hot in his life.

The elf placed two fingers against Anders' lips and pushed them past his teeth. "Suck," he commanded. "Get them nice and wet for me. Suck them like you're going to make them come." He growled under his breath before sliding his lips back over Anders.

Anders bobbed his head, his tongue moving between the digits in his mouth and saturating them with saliva. Fenris abruptly pulled them away and Anders dropped his head back to the bed. A wet finger circled his entrance and he forced himself to relax. It pushed in as Fenris swallowed him whole, taking him down until his nose was pressed into the wiry hair at the base of his shaft.

He lifted his legs and hooked them over his forearms, opening himself for the elf. His toes curled and his thighs shook as Fenris crooked a finger, searching for that one spot in Anders that would set off sparks. It was almost too dry, the saliva not nearly enough to make the fit easy. But Anders didn't care when Fenris rubbed against that sweet place deep inside him.

When he found it Anders cried out the elf's name, uncaring of who would hear him. With the mouth on his dick and the finger in his ass, Anders was stroked inside and out. His fingernails dug into his thighs, and he began to babble again, begging Fenris with everything he had.

"Please, Fenris. I want to come, please let me—fuck—come. Please. I'll do anything. Pleasepleasepleaseplease…"

Anders' body bowed back when Fenris pushed another finger inside him to join the first. He felt wonderfully stretched and full, but he knew that Fenris was so much bigger than a mere two fingers. His balls made the climb towards orgasm, and Fenris pulled on them gently, drawing them back down again. Anders made a primal sound of need deep in his throat.

His arms and legs trembled as he became mindless, his body an instrument that only Fenris knew the tune for, playing him with his fingers like a master. He wouldn't let Anders come until the song was finished.

Fenris pulled his mouth off of Anders with a wet pop. He rose above the mage and his eyes- fierce and piercing-fixed on Anders. His pupils were dilated, almost swallowing the green of his irises. Reaching over to the bedside table, Fenris fumbled with the drawer, showing for the first time how much he was also affected. He found what he was looking for and opened a small bottle.

The smell of elfroot permeated the room. Anders laughed. "So that's where it went. Did you steal that from the infirmary?"

Fenris poured a generous amount on his palm and set the bottle down. "It's not stealing if I made it. I had to cut the damned things." He stroked his shaft and coated it liberally. He threw his head back, groaning, and Anders let out a moan of his own. Seeing Fenris touch himself did something to Anders. He loved the way the elf looked, so unrestrained in his desire.

Switching hands, Fenris reached between Anders' thighs and shoved a slick finger into him. "Hold yourself open," Fenris demanded when Anders almost let his legs go. "Show me how much you want it."

Another finger joined the first, but Anders' eyes were on the languid movement of Fenris' hand on his cock. The elf squeezed the head on each upstroke, savoring the feeling before moving back down again. He rocked his hips into his encircled fingers, gasping in pleasure.

"Tell me what you want, mage. Let me hear it." His breath rasped out between parted lips.

"I want your cock. I want it so bad. Give it to me, Fenris, please. Give it to me." Their eyes locked as Fenris added a third finger, prying the mage open.

"You want my cock in your ass?" Fenris asked. "You want my dick inside you, reaming you out?" The elf's voice wrapped around Anders' mind, saying the things he had always wanted to hear.

"Fuck, yes," he gasped. "Shove your cock in me. I want it. Please."

Fenris removed his fingers and settled himself between the mage's legs. He braced himself over Anders with one hand-the other held his prick, rubbing it along Anders' gaping entrance. "I'm going to fuck you so hard, that you'll be reminded of it for days. Every time someone else touches you, you'll remember me." He crushed their lips together, his tongue forcing its way inside Anders' mouth, mimicking the push of his cock in Anders' ass. Anders opened his mouth wide, passively giving Fenris what he wanted as the elf bottomed out inside him.

Finally.

The feeling of completeness brought tears to his eyes. He had wanted Fenris for so long, that it overwhelmed him. He blinked rapidly, fighting the sting at the backs of his eyes off. They both froze, their breath see-sawing out of parted lips. The reality of what was happening swept away the intensity. Fenris carefully dropped his weight down, bracing his forearms against the bed. He cradled Anders' face in his hands, his eyes searching.

"I love you."

Anders' sucked in a shuddering breath. Fenris started to move without giving him a chance to reply. The elf's hips pulled back and then snapped forward, driving into Anders. Losing the grip on his legs, Anders wrapped them around Fenris' hips, digging his heels into the small of the elf's back.

They fell into a rhythm, their bodies flowing against each other. The bed creaked angrily under them, and Anders had to slap his palms on the headboard above him, bracing himself as he slid back. Sweat rolled down Fenris' face, his pace picking up.

"You'll take what I give you," his voice rasped into Anders' ear, the gentleness of earlier forgotten under the ferocity of his need. "Is this what you wanted, mage?" He angled his hips and surged forward, Anders yelling in pleasure as his prick stroked over the right place inside him. "My cock making you mine? Will you take it anywhere, at anytime? Maybe I'll bend you over that table in the infirmary, make that little asshole watch while you cream yourself for me."

Anders head thrashed on the pillow and dislodged his hair from its tie. He didn't know what was better, the pictures Fenris was painting with that voice—that voice—or the relentless cock inside him, pushing him, driving him towards climax.

His own dick was trapped between their bodies. Each advance and retreat of Fenris' hips rolled along his shaft. Rutting into the elf's abdomen, he could feel his balls drawing up tightly once more.

This time Fenris wasn't there to stop it.

"I'm going to come—Maker—I'm going to—" He cried out when Fenris bit down on the juncture between his neck and shoulder, sucking on the skin.

"Come for me, Anders. I want to hear you scream." Fenris licked a line up the column of Anders' throat, his voice breathy in his ear.

That was all it took. Anders' felt the coil inside him snap and he came, screaming the elf's name. His come shot out, smearing across both their chests as his cock twitched.

Fenris gritted his teeth, a muscle in his jaw jumping. He gave a few hard, short strokes and shuddered, filling Anders with his seed. He collapsed on the mage, their lips meeting for a slow, languid kiss.

"Say it again," Anders pleaded, his voice hoarse.

"I love you," Fenris whispered into his lips.