CHAPTER 2: NAMES AND DREAMS

Once I was inside Anders' home he didn't try to bother me anymore. The fact that I was inside must have let him breath easier, hell even I could breathe easier, but he did often search me out in the darkest corners. At first I didn't trust the food he sat out for me, thinking it might be poisoned, but eventually hunger had to win out. Besides if he were going to poison me, it would just end up poisoning him back if he... yeah not going there.

And like he said, he didn't have much, hell he didn't have anything but the clothes on his back.

People came in through the doors and he would use some weird lights on them. I wanted to get a closer look, but I didn't want the people seeing me. He might not want to eat me, but that wouldn't mean that they wouldn't like kitty on a stick. Gross. I have a whole new respect for pets, I thought it would be easy having someone take care of me all day and not have to worry about work. But here at least that wasn't the case. It was life or death out there.

So long as I have a place to hide in and food to eat I should be fine. But I can't just hide in Anders house all the time. I need to figure out just what made me like this. I do wonder who else was brought here, and if they were turned into random animals or left as they were.

All random thoughts aside I'll just watch Anders as I eat. It's kind of creepy how he'll just sit there watching me right back. Obsessed much? He looks like the kind of person that hasn't had much to smile for, so I guess I'll let it slide for now. He's a nice guy though, and his Garrett friend comes in pretty often, he argues with him a lot though. Which makes me think they're not at all on good terms.

"Blondie!" I jump and nearly knock over my bowl as I dash behind my little barricade Anders had so kindly made for me. Peaking my head out of the opening I watch this stout man walk in with much more swagger than he should. "We haven't seen you at the Hanged Man, I was getting worried." The new man pulled up a chair sitting at the table with Anders.

"I've just been busy here." Leaning forward and pointing off toward me he laughed. "Plus I have a new friend."

"Oh who might she be?" He wiggled his big eyebrows.

Anders paused for far to long. What is he thinking, what... is going through his mind now. "Lady Whiskers!" … what?...

"Come again blondie?" With a cheerful grin he repeated himself causing the other man to bust into a fit of laughter.

"Meet Varric, Lady Whiskers. Come on out don't be afraid." He leaned on his knees and snapped his fingers in my direction.

Seriously, Lady Whiskers? A freakin five year old could come up with a better name... You're on your own this time buddy.

I heard him hum as I turned my back and lay down. "She usually comes when I call her..." Varric laughed loudly.

"Maybe she doesn't like her name."

No shit, Sherlock. "No, she's just scared of strangers." I can just hear the sickening smile in his voice. "I'm sure she'll be all over you when she knows you."

"Hey I have a way with women..." He thought for a moment. "I suppose it can go across all species." Freak. The two had a good chuckle out of that, and I could only roll my eyes. What I wouldn't give to be able to speak again.

Varric stayed for hours just talking to Anders, it was a wonder that a group of patents hadn't came in to interrupt the little girly talk session. I swear I've never heard two grown men laugh over the most ridiculous things. Well the fact I don't know about what they're talking about half the time doesn't help anyway. Not that I could say that anyway.

That and I think I've heard enough on 'Mage's rights' from Anders to last me a life time. He. Does. Not. Stop. Okay we all get it, you're upset with the way things are, but it's not going to change any time soon. I realize that whats going on with the mage's isn't exactly like anything that went on back on Earth. It's similar but not really.

Nothing I can do though... what ever I guess...

"Come around more often, Blondie. Don't work yourself to hard alright?" A chair slid loudly and a pair of boots clanked across the floor followed by another set soon after.

"I will try, Varric. Thank you for visiting." Anders yawned and earned a laugh from Varric and what sounded like a slap on the back. Anders grunted from the force and gave a little cough. Varric only laughed harder.

I peeked my head around the corner watching as the dwarf left the way he had came. Anders shut the door behind him giving a loud sigh. Running his hand over his face he swayed toward his room.

"Meow?"

I followed him into the small room as he sat down on his hard lumpy cot. He only smiled sadly down at me as I blinked up at him. I did the only thing I could do and rub my head into his ankle.

"I wonder what you're afraid of, Lady?" A lot of things actually. He sighed and reached down rubbing behind my ears, that felt nice...

"Do you feel like I've locked you away?" It's better than being out there waiting to be Sauteed Valerie thank you. "I hope not."

"Meow..." My I'm such an articulate cat...

"Would you help me free the mage's from their prisons? I could train you as a vicious attack kitten like Ser-Pounce-alot." He laughed lightly. "You would have those Templar's running." Whatever you say, but I'll just humor you. So I swat at his hand feebly, I don't actually want to hurt him after all.

"Yes the most feared duo in all of Thedas! Anders' and his faithful feline companion Lady Whiskers!" He picked me up sitting me in his lap. "Freeing everyone from the Templar's oppression. If it were only possible."

He stares blankly with a sad smile on his mouth, and I instantly wish I could give the guy a hug. Maybe someday mages would be free, but for now it looks like they'll just have to hold on until then. He lay back on his cot and I crawled to lay on his chest. Staring down at him in that weird way only a cat can do when it's on your chest.

Looking right into your very soooouullll... yeah I'm getting a little to comfortable with this. Help me please... and oh god am I actually purring now.

How do I turn that off, I feel like I have a phone on vibrate in my head!

Anders just lay there comfortably still rubbing me behind the ears. And I close my eyes and drift off to sleep with him.

Where am I? It... looks like a forest, at least I think it is. But everything is so distorted and moving around weirdly.

I'm... home? But how is that … never mind not going to use that word remember, ugh.

Instinctively I bring my arms around myself surprised to find that I'm not a cat anymore! I jump up and down excitedly nearly screaming out happily, but find my voice doesn't work.

Ah, damn-it...

I knew it was to good to be true. Well I guess that theirs no use just standing around here. I may as well take a look around and see what all is here.

Then it became painfully obvious that I wasn't actually home. It may have looked like the forest behind my house, but the house was nowhere in site. Come to think of it there was a lack of civilization.

Almost soundlessly my feet shuffled to a stop in the grass. In a huff I bent down and touched the blue-green waving grass. I couldn't feel it, but the I remembered how it felt. So in a way I did feel it. It was strange needless to say.

Then I looked up to see a blue orb circle around me and I fell right on my ass.

What is that thing!

"I am no thing. I am Hope, and who are you?" Holy shit it can hear me?

The blue puff ball floated around again making me nearly get whiplash trying to keep up with it.

"Your presence feels familiar... speak mortal."

Ugh wait what?

The puff ball that calls itself Hope flares out wildly reminding me of a tiny sun. I open my mouth floundering like a fish out of water, speaking but no words come out of my mouth.

Where am I? What's going on? What are you? How do I get out of here? The generic questions that someone lost needed to ask and know.

"Calm yourself mortal, you are in the Fade. My home." It bobs up and down; my head matching it as it floats. "As to leave, that is up to you."

Up to me? Great, so I just have to want to be out of here or something?

"If that is what you desire."

I am curious about this place but I don't really want to hang around Hope, the floating lantern.

"I am a spirit, not a lantern mortal."

Oh just shut up already, leave me alone and I want out of this weird ass twisted dream.

And just like that I twitch awake as if I had just had a nightmare. But sadly I find myself back in my feline body, wanting instantly to go back to that freaky orb thing. At least there I was myself, and not stuck at ankle level with everyone else.

Anders' hand slid off of my head just moments after I woke up, and I found him asleep. I'd never seen him asleep until now, I hadn't ever gone into his room since he had rescued me from the streets.

I had heard screaming at night, but I didn't want to see what was going on. It sounded painful. Even now I can tell his face is distorting with unseen pain. Whatever he's dreaming about can't be pleasant at all, but something tells me just to sit still and hope he doesn't knock me senseless if he decides to thrash around.

My ears pin back against my head as Anders lets out a scream. Whatever he's dreaming about frightens me even though I can't see what it is. It sends a shiver all the way down my spine and my tail involuntarily twitches several times. I close my eyes hoping that it'll be over soon, and that Anders will settle down into a less stress inducing dream. One that would hopefully not get me pummeled for no reason at all.

After awhile Anders finally stopped screaming all together, and lay there quietly. He wasn't twitching and jerking about, or groaning in pain anymore. Cracking one eye open I could see perfectly well in the dark room. His hair was matted to his forehead with sweat. He looked like he had just ran several miles and passed out right here.

About the loudest sound he made now was breathless pants every few seconds.

I took this calm moment to slide off of his chest and step over his outstretched arm and curl up by his head. Maybe at least here he wouldn't throw me accidentally across the room.