Scratching his hip, Fenris pads into his kitchen, over to the stove. The read out above the burners glows 3:59 as he grabs the kettle. He’s been unable to sleep and had decided to exploit his insomnia by working on his book.
But first, tea.
He carries the kettle over to the sink and is beginning to fill it when he hears a noise outside.
Lifting up on his toes, Fenris scowls and peers out the window above the sink. Scowls harder when he sees a bundled figure in his front yard shoveling snow from his walkway. The sidewalk beyond him is cleared, as is the walkway to the neighboring house on the left. Having only moved in within the last month, Fenris still hasn’t met that neighbor. Hawke calls Fenris a hermit. Fenris argues he just doesn’t like people.
Aveline calls them both idiots.
Fenris sighs and puts the now full kettle on the stove, starts it boiling. Wraps his robe tighter around him. There’s no time like early morning to introduce himself, right?
The air bites at his bare ankles when he steps onto the porch and he shivers, crosses his arms. “Excuse me,” he calls to the figure in his yard. “Excuse me, hi. Wouldn’t it be better to wait until it stops snowing?”
The figure continues shoveling and then looks up, the streetlights—and the light on Fenris’ porch—revealing a man’s face. He’s attractive, jaw stubbled and strong, eyes friendly.
"Maybe," he says. "But then it would be that much harder."
Fenris tilts his head. “Do you often shovel stranger’s yards in the middle of the night?”
"You’re not a stranger," the man answers. He sounds a little breathless, breath a white cloud in the air. "You’re my neighbor. And it’s not the middle of the night, it’s early morning."
Fenris rolls his eyes, can’t help it. “As much as I appreciate it, you really don’t have to…?”
"Anders. And I know. I don’t mind. I used to do it for the couple who lived here. Habit and all that." He stops, close to Fenris on the front steps. There’s snow caught in the copper gold hair that peeks out from under his knit hat. His cheeks are flushed and his eyes are dark and Fenris feels something stir within him.
"I mean," Anders continues. "Unless you mind? I can stop. I mean, after tonight. I won’t leave it half done."
Fenris shakes his head. “I don’t mind,” he says. “But let me…I don’t know. I was just making a pot of tea? If you wanted to come in and, uh, warm up.”
Anders smiles, wide and bright. “Do you often invite strangers in for tea in the middle of the night?”
"You’re not a stranger," Fenris says, smirking. "You’re Anders. And I’m Fenris. And when you’re done with that, I’ll make sure you’re warmed up—I mean. Tea. I’ll make sure you have tea."
Anders smirks back at him, and Fenris rolls his eyes. Goes back inside. Figures writing can wait until later.