A/N: Okay well this is my first fanfic and I really hope you all like it. Uhm... well, I don't really know what all to say here, other than that I don't own Dragon Age or any of the characters therein. Anyway please R/R!

Noel Hawke was angry.

Actually, that was a bit of an understatement. She'd been angry when she'd had to walk back to Gamlen's hovel all the way from Sundermount in the rain. Her emotional status had been elevated to 'pissed' when she opened the door just in time to hear her mother and uncle squabbling again. And 'pissed' had turned to something between 'furious' and 'ravening' when Carver decided that right then was an excellent time to remind her of all her shortcomings and how much her presence inconvenienced the family and, by proxy, him.

And so, after attempting to endure the situation for all of a minute and a half, the diminutive mage stomped back out into the rain and swore up and down that she'd much rather sleep in a gutter than spend one more night in the creaky, itchy bunk bed crammed into a corner of her dear uncle's abode.

She glared around Lowtown with all the ferocity she could muster—which was a fair amount, all things considered—as she pushed her sodden bangs away from her eyes. One pale hand came to rest on her forehead for a long moment as she attempted to gather her thoughts. Surely there had to be someone who would let her spend the night at their place.

Her first thought was Aveline, and that thought was pushed out of her mind almost immediately. She couldn't just waltz up to the Viscount's keep at this time of night and expect Aveline to let her borrow a bed in the barracks. Well, actually she could do exactly that… but not without her friend giving her a very stern lecture about the importance of family and learning to accept the flaws of those she loved, and frankly Hawke just wasn't in the mood for that. The guard captain was easily her closest female friend, but damn.

This train of thought led her to her other close friend, Varric. Surely he would let her borrow a corner of his room in the Hanged Man for the night! Of course, no sooner had this thought popped into her head than the door behind her opened.

"Good, you're still out here. Take that mangy dog with you!" Gamlen hollered, shunting a dejected-looking mabari out into the rain beside the mage. The door banged shut once more, and Hawke peered down at her faithful hound. He looked up at her and whined pathetically.

"What'd you do this time, Winston? Breathe too loudly again?" she sighed, scratching the large dog behind the ears. He let out a little huff.

So much for her plan of going to the Hanged Man. They'd never allow a wet dog in. And she wasn't about to leave him out in the rain while she slept with a roof over her head. Hawke finally regained enough of her composure to think more clearly, and she decided that she could at least scoot her way under an awning while she thought her next move over. Guiding Winston under a small overhanging portion of roof, she huddled under it near the dog.

Since sleeping in Varric's room was out of the question, so was the idea of asking Isabela for help. She was rooming in the Hanged Man too, after all. And besides, Hawke wouldn't have been comfortable with that idea anyway. Isabela probably would have assumed Hawke was trying to come onto her.

As she mulled over her rapidly-shrinking list of people who could help her, she attempted to wring a bit of the excess water from her dark hair. Naturally a rich auburn shade, it now looked more brown than anything else. Brown like good old Fereldan mud. Hawke peered upward at the ominous black clouds boiling across the sky and suddenly felt very insignificant. All the wind had gone out of her proverbial sails in terms of being angry. Now she was just feeling that awful sensation of 'I'm tired and my day has been horrible and I want to cry.' Still, she reined in that thought and mastered it, refusing to give into the childish urge.

She needed to focus. Who could she spend the night with? Merrill? No, she couldn't ask the sweet, tiny elf for help. She'd only just moved into her house in the Alienage and there was no way she'd be settled in already.

The idea of asking Anders for help came and went in the same breath. There was no way. It wasn't that she disliked the former Grey Warden. She just… didn't really like him. It wasn't even something she could put her finger on. Something in his eyes, maybe—and nothing that even had to do with Justice. His stare just made her uncomfortable. But that only left one option.

Winston peered up at her and whined pathetically.

"I know," she grumbled, "but I don't think he'll help. He hates me anyway."

Still, she wouldn't know until she tried. She'd tap on his door, ask to spend the night in a corner somewhere out of the way, and when he refused her on account of her being a mage, well… she'd probably slink off to Darktown to ask Anders as a final resort.

The walk to Hightown was an excruciating one. The distance between her uncle's house and the mansion seemed to have tripled. She was utterly exhausted from a full day of travel, her hair and robe were completely soaked, and even her shoes had become so wet that every step she took squished unpleasantly as she walked. Only the steady warmth of the mabari at her side kept her chugging long enough to make it past the Chantry and to the door of the old mansion.

Hawke lifted a hand, hesitated, and then knocked lightly. She waited all of five seconds, then gave another little tap at the wood. Looking down at Winston, she shrugged. "Oh well, he must be asleep already. Come on, we can go camp out near the Cha-"

The door swung open, silencing the little mage in an instant. Fenris, lean and lanky, stared out at her. "Hawke?" he asked, arching a dark brow.