A/N: This is a bit of a strange split-perspective piece for me, but I tried to capture the bitterness and prejudices of both characters. I would thoroughly appreciate it if you would let me know how you think I did.
"I can't imagine what Hawke sees in you."
"It is done. Leave it be."
"Good. I always knew she had some sense."
"Do not make light of this. Leaving was the hardest thing I've ever done."
I knew he would break her, no matter how hard I tried to make her see.
Fenris was a wild dog that only knew how to cause pain; that was literally what he had been made for. It was completely unbelievable that he would walk around with Miranda Hawke, the woman that had agreed to help him with Danarius and his men, telling her how mages like her deserved to be locked away or made tranquil.
It was almost as unbelievable that she just let him do it. She never seemed to spare the time to try to correct him, just gently went on her way as if he would see reason eventually, which would have made me angry if her decisions were just as indifferent. Thankfully, Hawke wasn't like the Kirkwall nobles that had been born into their positions. She was a mage and she knew the pain and persecution that came with that. Maker, she still memorized the faces of new templar recruits like she had in Ferelden!
She had won back the Amell estate, but that didn't seem to make any difference to her. As far as she was concerned, she was still just an apostate, and as far as I was concerned, she was one of the most intense and beautiful things in the entire city. At least, that's what I thought when I allowed myself to think of her. Those were things I considered only while lying on my cot in the dead of night after the clinic had emptied and left me alone with my thoughts. Well, as alone as my thoughts ever got, anyway.
Justice found Hawke to be an unnecessary distraction, but I thought her a very necessary one. She reminded me to be human, to joke and laugh and see beyond my own point of view. She soothed the parts of me that the bond with Justice had made feral.
Unfortunately, she also hurt me deeply on occasion. It felt like swallowing broken glass when I first saw the way she looked at that little hypocrite of an elf. He hated everything she was, but still she seemed convinced he could come to care for her anyway. As if he even knew what that meant.
I tried to talk to her about it in the Hanged Man one night, but she wouldn't hear a word against him. None of us were exactly saints, but she was entirely too good for someone like him. She was too good for someone like me too, for that matter, but at least I wasn't soulless enough to condemn every mage in existence to tranquility or death while preaching about how slavery is wrong.
So I poured myself into my work and tried not to think about the lightning in her blue eyes when I had told her all I wanted was for her not to get hurt. I recommitted myself to the patients in my clinic. I reviewed and rewrote my manifesto a thousand times over. I started sneaking into the Gallows at night to better understand the cause I was fighting for, and every injustice just seemed to make me angrier.
And it was an injustice, I knew, for someone like Miranda Hawke to be dragged down by a beast as savage as Fenris. So I took it as a sign when he admitted one day that he had left her. I took it as another when she finally decided she had to talk to someone, and came to my clinic in Darktown to do it. And as her visits became more frequent and less sad, I had to start reminding myself again that I should resist her.
The problem was that I didn't want to. She was an incredible person, an incredible mage, and both my heart and my body ached for her. I didn't miss the irony that I was a healer, and this was the one thing I couldn't heal.
It took me some time to accept that I could be falling in love with her. After all, that was something I wasn't supposed to be capable of. Mages didn't love what they couldn't afford to lose.
Oddly enough, it was Hawke's stories about her own family that changed my mind. I had never met another mage that actually remembered their parents, let alone one that had magic as well. The thought that Leandra Amell had loved a mage deeply enough to leave everything she had ever known, and he in return had loved her enough to flee the Circle and disappear with her, made me begin to wonder if perhaps love could still exist even for people like me.
Our first night together was, well, magic. I could have put together every daydream from the past three years and it still wouldn't have begun to compare. And as she fell asleep in my arms, I brushed the stray curls back from her face and hoped there was enough good left in me to heal the damage he had done.
"You were an idiot to leave Hawke."
"And you were fast enough to replace me."
"I love her. You can't even imagine what that is."
"Do not bare your heart to me, mage. Unless you would see me rip it out."
I knew I would break her, no matter how hard I tried not to.
At first, I assumed because Miranda Hawke was a mage, she would fall to blood magic and I would have no choice. Though I harbored no sympathy for blood mages, I owed the woman that had helped me destroy Danarius's men and I held no illusions to the contrary. That's why I stayed and tolerated the mages… at first.
Then she impressed me, and continued to do so. Sometimes she dallied too close to forgiveness for the ones that consorted with demons, but at the end of the day, she usually seemed to make the right choice. Well, except where the whining abomination was concerned.
But even that, I regrettably understood. He had saved her brother's life by leading them to the Grey Wardens. She owed Anders the same way I owed her, and though I certainly tried, I couldn't hold that against her.
So it was with a lot of uneasiness that I slowly began to trust a mage for the first time, and it frightened me just how often I found myself forgetting what she was. Normally calm and diplomatic, Hawke seemed to have a plan for every situation—and when that failed, the temper that matched her fiery hair assured victory anyway.
Being around her was like standing in the eye of a storm as it devoured my enemies: beautiful and powerful to watch, but I had to constantly remind myself that she could at any moment turn and destroy me, as well.
Not that I feared her magic any longer, after a time. Hawke had proven herself stronger than the rest, stronger even than I had been in the Fade. I had turned my back on her for a promise from a demon, not even considering the Dalish Keeper's warning: mages that died in the Fade awoke as tranquil. I do not know what I would have done had she not defeated me. If I had come back to find myself standing with a Miranda Hawke that stared at me glassy-eyed and emotionless, that might have been the end of me anyway.
It was when I realized I trusted myself less than I trusted her that I knew I loved her. But I was unworthy; there was too much blood on my hands, and so I kept them to myself. I promised that I would never bring more pain upon her than I had already. I promised that I would not break her as I did everything else with these damned lyrium-etched hands.
But Hawke tempted me in a way I had never known, perhaps without even realizing, and I was too angry and too weak to resist. She had kept me alive in those holding caves and I repaid her by declaring all things touched by magic as spoiled. When I went to her house that night, it was to tell her that had been a lie, that she was perfection unspoiled by magic or anything else and I was the one it had twisted into something else.
Then she had appeared in little more than a dressing robe and seemed to barely even hear my apology through her concern. I tried to leave, tried to run away before I slipped and hurt her. But when she grabbed my arm, I responded as I had learned to do when touched by a mage: the lyrium in my skin glowed and I slammed her back against the wall before I saw the surprise in her eyes and it shocked me back to myself.
I would have disappeared then and there if she hadn't kissed me. It was too much to bear, having her hold me to her so close that I could feel every beat of her heart and every curve of her flesh. I knew if I kissed her in return it would be too late to turn back, but by the time my mind began to object, my body had already responded.
For one moment, one night, Miranda Hawke was mine and it was more incredible than anything I had ever dreamed. But our… activities had triggered something else, as well. The memories that had been burned away by the heat of the lyrium returned in flashes, things I couldn't understand and things I would never have wanted to remember. And so I fled like the coward I was, breaking every vow I had ever made and hating myself all the more for it.
When I regained my composure, I wanted to apologize, but it was far too late for that and I knew it. It was a while longer before she knew it too, but when I saw her smiling bashfully at the abomination, I knew she had finally understood.
Sometimes, I still feel the heat of her skin and the brush of her lips. Sometimes, I still dream that I hadn't been such a fool that night and realized earlier how hollow it is to live free without her. Sometimes, I think of disposing of the mage before he hurts her and imagine her crying into my shoulder and eventually, slowly becoming mine once more. But I could never do that to her. He is mending the parts of her that I hurt, and I could never break her again.
And he had best pray to his Maker that he doesn't either.
"You are… living with Hawke now?"
"What's it to you?"
"… Be good to her. Break her heart, and I will kill you."