A/N: Revisionist. Fixing things that upset me my first time through the game. Female human noble.
It's familiar, this road you find yourself on. The same as was the last time you traveled it. The same dirt under your boots, the same pebbles and rocks and paths that once held you as you fled now crunch beneath each step as you approach anew.
Truthfully, you know that it's vaguely ridiculous that you have not returned. It's been five years since the Archdemon, five years since you drove back The Blight. Five years as the head of the Grey Warden's of Ferelden and not once have you returned to her capital city? Preposterous though the idea may be, the truth of it is undeniable.
It had not started out intentional. At least, that's what you tell yourself. You weren't avoiding the city; it just didn't make sense to leave on errands when you were needed elsewhere. Your new position lent itself to having others who could act as messengers; you needed to focus on rebuilding. That excuse had held up for the better part of five years. You had to travel to Orlais and meet with the Grey Wardens there, learn of The Joining and what you needed to arrange. Then you had to return to the Circle of Magi, develop the contacts necessary to ensure you could put your new recruits through the ceremony. After that, you needed recruits, and those recruits needed to go to the Deep Roads and obtain the blood necessary... yes, you did not have the time for direct correspondence with Denerim.
With the King.
You've taken to thinking of him that way, not that refusing his name makes it any easier to bear. The King. Ruler of Ferelden. Anything other than his name and you can keep yourself in check, at least a little bit. The moment you allow yourself to consider him any other way... that is when it's too hard.
Sometimes you're not even sure what you're most upset about. How he ended things? When he ended things? Where he ended things? That he ended things at all? That there was something to end at all? In your weakest moments you know he's broken your heart and you hate him for taking the glory out of what should be your happy ending. The question remains though, did he really? You think of your parents, of Oriana and Oren, of everyone you've lost and you wonder how it is the loss of him feels more painful when he's still out there, not lost to you in the way of the others.
In your strongest moments you remind yourself that he is still alive. You both are. The Blight was stopped, the Archdemon slain, Ferelden free. Your own happiness is a valid sacrifice when leveraged against those results.
It is hardest when you camp. The moonlight, the crackle of a campfire, the smells of the woods. These are the things that bring everything back and you restlessly watch the embers fade into the night, unable to sleep peacefully and unwilling to consider the thoughts that run rampant in your mind. Camp brings back memories of easy banter, of conversations that lighten an impossibly dark situation. Of shy gifts and awkward declarations and an intimacy that happened so effortlessly you weren't even aware of your own feelings until you were telling him of them.
Having faith in him had been so simple you didn't even spare a thought at the possibility you should act any other way. You had not gone to the Landsmeet with any thought of a different course of action. Of course you would support him for king. Regardless of birthright or parentage something deep down just knew he was the right choice. The only choice.
Nothing had prepared you for the aftermath. In the midst of everything, with the uncertainty of any future, let alone your own, the thought of children or family or heirs had not entered your mind. Scarce hours after supporting him, after changing everything, and he was standing there before all of your ragtag group of friends and ending things because of a hypothetical impossibility.
At your most vindictive, you wish you could have slapped him. Anything would have been more dignified than your shock as he shattered your heart for all to see. As quickly as he had started the conversation he was gone. Off to collect his thoughts, he said. Yet you were not afforded the luxury. He may have been declared king, but you were still in charge of defeating The Blight. You had decisions to make and could not just appoint Arl Eamon to do them for you until you were ready. He left and you had to continue on, pretending you were okay enough to lead, pretending you could feel anything other than the cold sting of betrayal.
So you endured. What other option had there been? You endured, pressed on, and met his eyes with a grim determination to finish what you had set out to do. You fought by his side to the heights of Fort Drakon and together you defeated The Blight.
It's almost ironic, you suppose. Without what he had done, without it being over between you, Morrigan's offer would never have even been a possibility. Would you have even presented it to him? You don't think so. Selfishness and a need to keep him to yourself would have won over and you do not let your thoughts wander to how you might have spent that last night together.
So instead, you spent that night alone, crying your only tears over him while he took Morrigan to bed. When the morning came, you had locked everything inside and prepared to fight for your life and the lives of everyone in Ferelden.
And then you carried on. Avoiding Denerim had not been so much a plan as a happy coincidence. Five years since his coronation and you had not returned. You had not spoken with him, you had not cried over him. The thoughts were fleeting, unbidden, and did not count.
That will make this easier, you try and tell yourself. Denerim is getting closer and you can't avoid it this time. A banquet to celebrate the fifth anniversary of pushing back The Blight requires the head of the Grey Wardens, the hero of the battle who slayed the Archdemon and survived to tell the tale.
You only hope you can survive this event.