Alistair. My sweet Alistair.

Know this: I want you to live. That is all I want in the world right now – for you to live. With that in mind, can you see why I ran?

We both knew that this would happen. No doubt Morrigan has told you by now of the deal she tried to strike with me on the eve of battle. Probably to try and rub salt in your wounds, knowing her. But I could not even begin to entertain the idea of asking you for something so selfish. I respect you far too much to drag you into a mess like that, love.

When I first met you, I was so nervous about being a Grey Warden, but you put me at ease with your jokes and your banter – I never did get to see you dance the Remigold! - and then, when things went wrong at Ostagar, I was secretly glad that I had you with me rather than Jory or Daveth. So thank you, truly, for everything. You have saved me in so many ways, and now it is time I saved you.

I love you. Never forget that. And please, love, don't linger on me for too long – you are far too precious to keep to yourself.

All my love, forever and always.

He lets the vellum drop from his hand. He hadn't even read it before charging up the steps of the Fort to the roof, just in time to watch her deliver the final blow to the crown of the archdemon. There had been a brief moment, stretched out by some distortion of time to last an eternity, where she had looked up, right into his eyes, and – and smiled. A sad, small smile, but still, it was as if she was trying to beam a message to him, to let him know that yes, this was okay.

And then, of course, all hell broke loose, and by the time the dust had settled and he had helped Wynne to her feet, Morrigan was gone.

And now there was this.

He sits outside the room where she lies, one hand gently massaging the back of his neck. He has no idea how he going to explain himself to her when she wakes. He has betrayed her trust, her respect for him, to keep her alive, and whilst he might think that it is a fair trade, there is no knowing that the headstrong woman recovering from a talon slash to the abdomen might think.

Closing his eyes, he drifts back to the previous night, and Morrigan. He had almost lashed out at her when she had suggested the idea. The notion! The power she might gain! But when Morrigan had grabbed his arm and shouted, cursing both Wardens for being ridiculous, he stopped to listen. The realisation that his fellow Warden would have every intention of keeping him out of the fight and, thus, alive after the final battle was ridiculously noble, but unbearable. And so like her, he sighs. She had come into his room, fraught with some worry, but she had dismissed it as nerves and kissed him. Curse that woman's soft lips, he rues.

His thoughts are broken by Wynne softly touching his shoulder. Her warm smile is support to his heart, and he clambers to his feet.

Dawn has just broken, and the watery sun streams through the window to rest on her pale form as he enters the room, a soft smile playing on his face. Her eyes are red from crying, but the look of shock on her face is enough to confirm why those tears have been shed. He crosses the room in three strides, sitting on the edge of her bed and pulling her forward into a tight embrace as she cries into his shoulder. The tears are relentless and bitter, her sobs loud and aching, and he whispers to her – it's okay, I'm here, I'm so sorry, I just wanted you safe, I love you, it's okay – over and over until she falls limp in his arms from exhaustion. He kisses her head, cradling her as she breathes deeply.

"I'm sorry I betrayed you, but I'm not sorry that you're alive," he starts, that smile still plastered on his face. "You tried to protect me, but a life without you is not a life I would choose to stay in for long." She pulls back, all puffy-eyed and red, pouting.

"You're a fool," she grouses, but cannot help but sigh as he strokes her cheek with his fingertips. "But I love you, idiot."

"And I love you, you stubborn, noble woman." He grins, cherishing this moment – they are alive, and together, and the Blight is over. Nothing could possibly kill the pure unadulterated happiness that swelled in his heart in this second – nothing at all.