Title: The Spirit of Meow (1/4)
Fandom: Dragon Age
Characters: Fenris ♂, M!Hawke ♂, Anders ♂
Rating: T (L2 N0 S0 V0 D1)
Warnings: Grown-ass men talking to a cat, expletives
Notes: After Hawke and Anders have been missing for a week, Hawke shows up at Fenris’s door with a scrawny, orange cat, begging him to look after the thing, while Anders is away. Fenris reluctantly agrees, and then discovers the cat houses a Fade spirit. Of course, being a cat, it can’t speak to him, but they find a way to communicate, sort of, and Fenris finds some comfort in a creature that can’t sass him. Then Fenris discovers where Anders went, and the shit hits the fan.
Fenris wondered what sort of trouble the apostates had been getting each other into, lately, since he hadn’t seen either one in a week. No trips down to the coast, no clearing out bandits in the docks, at night. Just… nothing. Neither of them had shown up to Wicked Grace night, either. He assumed if they were dead, Varric would have told him. Still, after a week of haunting the docks for slave ships, by himself, he was starting to wonder. Maybe he should ask Donnic and Aveline to come out with him, one night. They were always up for a righteous fight, in the name of the continued safety of Kirkwall.
And then came the knock. Hawke’s knock, from the sound of it. Oh, lovely, at least one of them was intact. He opened the door and squinted irritatedly at the mage standing in the fog, carrying something wrapped in a towel. Yes, that was a grin. Yes, that was the grin that said Hawke had done something stupid.
"What?" It was barely a question.
"Anders and I need your help…" Hawke looked at anything that wasn’t Fenris.
"Tell me something I don’t know." Impatience radiated from the elf.
"There’s this cat, and it’s a very important cat, and I just need you to look after it for a little while. Shouldn’t be more than a few days." Hawke held up his hand. "I know, why am I not letting Anders take care of the cat, but he’s already involved in the situation, taking care of another part of things."
"A cat." Fenris just stared. "You want me to look after a cat."
"I’d do it, but I’ve got Martigan. You know mabari are smart enough to do things I thought you’d need thumbs for, but they’re not smart enough to avoid chasing cats, apparently." Hawke looked damp and desperate. "Please. It’s just a few days. Just until Anders gets back."
"I’m going to regret this." Fenris sighed and held out his hands. "What does it eat? Where does it expect to shit?"
"Eats meat and shits in a box," Hawke said, with a nod, putting the towel-wrapped cat in Fenris’s hands. "I think he would prefer the box to be out of sight, and so will you. And he likes nug ham. I’ll bring enough for both of you, in the morning."
The cat was lighter than he expected, a raggedy-looking, spindly orange thing, with one yellow eye and one blue. Holding it was like taking a piece of the Fade in his hands, which was extremely unusual. But, Hawke had said it was important, and that was probably the reason why. "How long am I stuck with this Fade-touched beast?"
"It should only be a few days. Not long." Hawke leaned down and nuzzled the cat, which began to purr. "I’ll be back in the morning with food for you both. Be nice to the handsome elf, Cinnamon Bun."
The cat — Cinnamon Bun, it seemed — sneezed on Hawke’s cheek and then busied itself washing a paw.
"Flattery is cheap, Hawke, but nug ham may win you redemption for this inconvenience."
Hawke looked like he might throw up, and Fenris assumed he was worried for the abomination. They were so in love, Fenris couldn’t stand to look at them, some days. That they were mages didn’t make it much easier, most other days.
With a flick of his fingers, Hawke vanished back into the fog, and Fenris was left alone with the cat, which studied him intently.
"I can tell you’re the abomination’s cat. Ser Pounce-a-lot, Cinnamon Bun, what’s next?"
The cat squinted at him and chuffed, stretching one paw up to knead the elf’s chin.
"Yes, you’re very sharp," Fenris conceded. "I can’t keep calling you Cinnamon Bun, you know, cat. It’s too long. What if I just call you Bun?"
"Murr," the cat replied, taking back its paw.
"Is that approval? I’m afraid I don’t speak cat. Of course, I don’t suppose you speak Tevene or Fereldan." Fenris huffed and glanced around the hall. "Do you even understand what I’m saying to you?"
The cat gave him an unsettlingly wry look.
"Wonderful. I have a cat that may or may not be possessed by a fade spirit and potentially has the wits of a mabari. Potentially." He glowered at the cat. "You shit on my floor and I’m taking that back."
The cat squinted and chuffed, again.
"Yes, yes. Let’s get you a box and a bowl of… something. Meat, he says. Do I buy meat? No. Why would I buy meat, when as soon as I bring it home, he’s going to show up at my door and have me up Sundermount for a weekend?"
Fenris continued to mutter under his breath all the way to the kitchen, where he managed to scrounge a few scraps of jerky and a pair of bowls. With those in one hand and the cat curled up in the crook of the other arm, he made his way upstairs. Dumping the cat on the bed, he set about making space for the cat, by the side of the fire.
"I don’t have guests who stay the night," he told the cat, "so I just keep the chamber pot under the bed. No point stumbling through the house half-awake, if I don’t have to. What if I put your box next to that?"
Talking to the cat, he scoffed in his own general direction. You’ll end up like that cat-crazed abomination.
But, the cat leapt off the bed and swaggered under it, returning after a moment, with no less arrogance than it had left. It licked its paw and watched him. "Yow."
"I’ll take that as a yes." Fenris paused. "I can tell you’re not just a cat. Cats do not carry on conversations. You make the lyrium sing under my skin. Did the abomination finally pass off his possession on something else? Is that why he’s not taking care of you?"
The cat stopped licking and just blinked at him, paw in the same position.
He took that as a ‘no’. "Stay put. I’ll get you a box. This house is not safe for cats."
The house wasn’t safe for most things, as Hawke kept pointing out, but that was a side effect of it needing to seem abandoned if anyone checked. Which, after this many years, may have been abjectly foolish, but it was a habit. If nothing else, the locals thought the place was haunted. Which it was. By him.
Fenris brought back a box of fireplace ashes, from another room, and kicked it under the bed. "I have never had a cat. Nor have I had a Fade spirit. You will have to tell me if I do something wrong."
The cat leapt up onto the bed and yawned so wide Fenris thought the spirit might let itself out. "Mrrf," it declared, curling up and stretching out a paw to knead at the blanket.
Taking the suggestion, Fenris sat on the edge of the bed. Accepting the invitations of demon cats, are you? he chided himself, swinging his legs up so he could sprawl. The cat pressed its head against his hand until he wound up petting it, just to make it stop pestering him. After a while, it began to make a strange growling-rumbling noise, but seemed uninterested in stopping him from petting it. He assumed it was a sound of contentment. He made a fairly similar sound, himself, with the right provocation, but he would not be discussing that with the cat.
"What do you do, Bun? I trust you can entertain yourself without burning my heap of corpses and trash to the ground?"
The cat simply purred and wrapped itself around his forearm. Fenris could feel the lyrium in his arm start to warm, but not painfully; it was just… warm. As the sensation wound its way up his arm and across his chest, he started to relax in ways and places he had no memory of ever having relaxed — ever having even known were tense. He thought he might have intended to do something else, that night, but even that slipped away as he drifted off, the cat still purring against his arm. Sloth demon, was his last thought, until morning.