Trust & Guardianship: Chapter 1 – On the Waking Sea

A Dragon Age tale of Anders and Fenris. They need each other. They just don't realize it yet, nor do they realize just how much. The first step is trust. How will two people who believe themselves to be enemies learn how similar their pasts are and how similar their goals in life are?

RATED: M (Mature) for language, violence, nudity, sex and all that fun forbidden stuff.

DISCLAIMER: NOT MINE! I take no credit for the canon characters and Dragon Age world. They belong to the Bioware developers. I just wish to play in their sandbox and use their shovels and pails. Also, there is a song in here that is from the Googoo Dolls (Iris).

~ Eight years after the Fifth Blight, Dragon Age.

The ship tilted gently as it sailed over the waves with a decent wind. The crew of elven smugglers efficiently followed their leader, Athenril, without question. There would always be profit if they did. The holds were packed full of goods for trade, both legal and illegal. The secret compartment stuffed with lyrium chunks and dust, heading to a dwarven contact in Fereldan. This was not their only cargo. On the rare, very rare occasion, they had living cargo. Never slaves. Fugitives usually, like this time.

This trip, their fugitives stayed in a very small room, no more than nine feet across and six feet deep. A well nailed down bed took up most of the space, while a trunk (also nailed down) and a hammock took up the rest with a patch of bare wall beside the door. The bed was like a large rectangular box with a thin mattress fitted into the top. Under the bed was a latched drawer for storing such long items as swords and staffs and bows. The door was on the left of the tiny room with the hammock strung in the right corner almost over the trunk.

Here the fugitives stayed, crammed in the stuffy confines, closer to one another than they ever wanted to be for any great length of time. A dark skinned, lyrium-tattooed elf stood or rather leaned his back against the only bare patch of wall between the door and hammock. Weapons and armor were stored away against his better judgement, but they were trying to pass off as training sailors. He scowled viciously first at the evil in the corner to his right. Then he scowled viciously at the evil across the room in the corner on the bed. A low growl rising up now and then.

"Fenris," the blond human intoned gently as he sat in the corner of the bed with his boots off, legs curled close and scribbling in his journal, "Neither I nor that hammock will burst into flames and turn to ash no matter how angrily to glower at us. It is not alive. It is not an abomination. It will not attack you. It did not attack you like a spelled creation, no matter what you think."

"Yes it did." The dark snap of his voice could have fired a bolt if he were the mage of the two of them. The offending hammock remained gently swinging; though a tangled mess from his attempt to settle into it as he had seen other sailors do with ease.

"Look, if you want the bed; that's fine. I can take the floor for a while."

"See! Not even you will get into it."

Anders lifted his eyes from his journal and patiently tucked his stylus between the pages. A little quirk of a grin turned the corners of his mouth as he spoke, "I like all four paws on the floor, thanks." He liked alluding to shapeshifting into a cat and really wished he had learned that magic.

Fenris tensed. He still disliked talking about magic, especially the subtle allusions. It tugged at his mistrust. The idea of a harmless animal might actually be a mage in disguise completely unsettled him.

"By the Maker, Fenris, it was a metaphor." Anders could see this spiralling into yet another fight. "Stop it, okay? Just… stop. I never look at you like you are a slave. Stop looking at me like I am an abomination." Even though Anders had been wondering for many months if maybe he actually was.

Fenris averted his eyes. He hadn't called Anders an abomination in months. Yet since the Fall of the Circle and destruction of the Chantry and Gallows back in Kirkwall, Anders seemed to assume this is how he was viewed by all. "You deny it so much that I am not certain you know yourself anymore."

Their eyes met. Fenris' eyes were calm, cautious and thoughtful, baiting Anders and wondering how the mage would react. Anders' eyes widened and he turned away to inspect the grain of the wood by his shoulder, hands clutching his journal so hard they almost shook. Fenris pushed himself off the wall and left the room. He closed the door, knowing he Should not go far, and leaned silently against it and listened.

He keen elven hearing caught Anders take in several ragged breaths and muffle a yell through clenched teeth. Then the journal made a fluttering noise followed by a thud as it impacted the wall just over the hammock. A rustling on the bed and a smothered whimper was all he then heard before he decided it was safe enough to go find some food. Anders' emotions were like the sea. You never knew how much turmoil was under the surface or when it would rise up to smash and crash against everything, consumed and controlled by the spirit that possessed him. Dealing with him was always better on a full stomach, just like killing slavers and demons. Never go into battle hungry, it was distracting. Also, the growl of your stomach could give away your hidden location.

When he returned, Anders was curled in a tight ball on the bed facing the wall. Fenris approached carefully, detecting that Anders had fallen asleep in the hour it took Fenris to procure food. His hand hovered a moment above Anders' shoulder, then drew away. He debated kicking the bed and telling him there was food. Instead, he took advantage of the oblivious mage. He very delicately touched the fine blond hair that was as soft as the feathers on the mage's robe Anders favored. Anders whimpered with distress. "Hush… I know you are not an abomination. Sometimes out of control, yes, but not an abomination," his voice low and rumbling in a whisper almost like a purr. "And if you do become one, I will be here to end you." He did not speak with malice. It was simply fact. A fact and a truth, something Anders can trust.

When Anders drifted deeper into a more calm sleep, Fenris sat, ate, and dug out one of Anders' earliest of journals. He still had difficulty reading, but these were the only books they brought with which he was willing to practice. He sure as the Deep Roads was not going to read any texts on mage craft. And, well, Anders never told him he couldn't read these journals in which he was always writing. He figured that this would be the best way to get to know Anders than trying to talk to him. Talking with him always ended in quips, jests, witty commentary, or fighting. If he was going to keep his promise to Hawke, he had to find a way to come to terms with the mage.