Anders woke with a start, head spinning and eyes crusty. For a moment he felt panic rise in his chest – quiet voices below him, Templars coming, sky on fire, have to run – before he recognized the voices and remembered where he was.
Where he was, exactly, was the hayloft of an abandoned barn somewhere in Nevarra. He’d curled up on a bedroll in the corner, hoping to sneak a few minutes of rest before Hawke returned from procuring supplies in the nearest town. From the sound of it, Hawke was back.
“If he’s still sleeping, I won’t wake him,” he was whispering.
“He needs his rest, Hawke. He’s wiped out,” Varric replied, exasperated.
“We’re all wiped out.” Hawke sighed, irritation clear in his voice. “I just want to check on him.”
“I’m not wiped out!” Merrill piped up, too loud for the space.
“Shh!” Varric and Hawke said at once. Merrill huffed, and there was a muffled thump.
Anders sighed and rubbed his eyes, hoping for just a bit more sleep. He wasn’t sure how long he’d been asleep already, but Varric was right – he was wiped out. It was the first time he’d slept in a building in weeks, and while a hayloft wasn’t ideal, it was better than dozing in trees or on the cold stone floor of caves. It was almost comforting, he thought, readjusting his bedroll. The smell was straight out of his childhood.
He yawned, picked a few stray straws off his shirt, and was adjusting the pack he was using as a makeshift pillow when the ladder creaked and Hawke stuck his head over the edge of the loft. Anders smiled tiredly.
“I’m awake,” he said.
“Sorry,” Hawke said, climbing the rest of the way up and moving to sit beside him. “Did I wake you?”
Anders shook his head. “I think I was dreaming about being chased. Something, something, Chantry burning.”
Hawke frowned and tucked back one of Anders’ stray hairs. “Are you alright?”
“I’m alright. Glad you’re back safe. Were you followed? Did you have any trouble?”
It was Hawke’s turn to shake his head. “No, I wasn’t followed. And they had everything I need. Except one thing.” His lips turned up at the corners, and he had that teasing smirk that Anders loved so much.
Anders raised an eyebrow. “What didn’t they have? Was it the elfroot? We can probably find that in the woods. I don’t want you to risk going out again.”
Hawke chuckled, and in one quick motion Anders was on his back on the bedroll with Hawke looming over him. “They didn’t have you.”
Anders’ breathless laugh was stopped by Hawke’s mouth.
Merrill gave the ceiling an annoyed look as bits of dirt and hay fell onto her head.
“They’re making a mess,” she said, vainly attempting to cover a bubbling stew pot with her hands. “Straw’s getting in our dinner.”
Varric turned from his post at the window and peered up into the darkness at the top of the ladder.
“You know, Daisy… I don’t think they mind a little straw.”