Notes: Thank you for all the reviews. They were really great to read! I definitely think it was ridiculous to lose Alistair; it made no sense whatsoever, for one. You get Loghain, but lose Alistair, so then you're down to the same number of archdemon bait in the first place.


I tend to live in the past because most of my life is there.

--Herb Caen


If Fate was a person, Alistair was pretty sure she was having a field day.

He had been around the world, always making sure to keep a perfectly good distance from any Grey Warden, and then, for some unknown reason—

Wynnifred never stopped talking.

She came into the room, balancing a large bucket, a couple of sponges, and something that looked suspiciously like soap. "Papa says you need a bath before mother comes home," she chirped.

Alistair eyed the water with disdain. "Your father… is Zevran, right? I wasn't hallucinating."

Wynnifred straightened herself proudly. "My father is Zevran Aranai of Antiva, personal guard of Avery Tabris."

Alistair blinked. "Tabris, the Grey Warden?" he asked.

Wynnifred nodded vigorously. "My mother."

Of course. Fate, you bitter woman. "Y-your mother," Alistair echoed. He stared at the soap, which looked guilty. "Wait, Tabris and Zevran they… consummated…"

"What's consummated?" Wynnifred asked.

There was a knock and the door, and, with the same grace Alistair remembered, Zevran entered.

"Papa, what's consummated?" Wynnifred said.

Zevran raised an eyebrow and chuckled. "I think it's your bed time, Wynn," he said, nudging the girl towards the door.

"But mother isn't home yet," Wynnifred protested.

"She'll be home soon, and… trust me, you'll hear get back."

Alistair watched with disturbed fascination. It was like…like some alternate universe where Zevran actually had the potential to be a father and not… you know, kill things.

"Forgive Wynn, she's rather like… her mother," Zevran said. He looked at the untouched water. "Go ahead, Alistair, wash yourself. I assure you it's nothing I haven't seen before."

There, right there, that same lecherous grin Alistair was familiar with.

"What—why—how—" Alistair wasn't sure how to begin. "What are you doing here?" he settled for.

Zevran chuckled. "The same could be asked of you, Alistair. We are here because Anora isn't being as…courteous as she could be to the alienage, and Shianni requested Avery's assistance," he said. "Naturally, I am along to ensure that my wife doesn't bite off more than she can chew with Ferelden's royalty, and Wynn… well, she's hard to leave with others."

"Wife?" echoed Alistair. "How old is she…Wynnifred, I mean."

"Just turned eight," Zevran said, and Alistair could see the pride in his face. "Rest assure, dear Alistair, she's not yours."

"N-no, that's not—" Alistair felt himself get flustered. "So where is Avery? Guess I should congratulate her on her family."

There was a pause in the room, and Alistair could tell that he wasn't really welcome. Zevran might be smiling and laughing, and he could fool himself into thinking it was like he never left, but Alistair knew that wasn't true.

"I hear you were raised by wolves," he offered, weakly.

Zevran grinned. "Avery does not believe that it is appropriate for Wynn to know I was raised by whores. But I tell her, 'They were Antivan whores, much better than Denerim ones.' She does not agree."

Alistair felt his stomach tighten. He had walked out on Avery, left her to deal with the Darkspawn and the archdemon, and now…now she had a family, albeit a rather strange one.

Don't forget, she chose Loghain, a voice peaked in his head.

"Perhaps I should go," Alistair said. "I've overstayed my welcome, and I have…things to attend to. Guinea pigs, yeah. Guinea pig farmer, that's me." He laughed as Zevran raised an eyebrow. "Only thing failed half-templars are good for."

"We tried to find you, Alistair," Zevran said. "Well, Avery did. After the battle, we hadn't even finished burying all the dead, and she set off on a mission to find you."

"She let Loghain back—"

"That is not my problem. You Grey Wardens, that is between you two, but she went after you. Her wounds hadn't healed, she was stubborn. I followed her half around the world before she was called back to build up the Grey Wardens," Zevran said, angrily. "I don't know…how intimate you two were back then, we do not talk about it, but you owed her more than just walking away, no?"

"She could have had more pride than allowing that traitorous bastard to join our ranks," Alistair hissed.

Zevran glared at him. "More pride? You put a young woman as a leader to defend the world, back out of your royal duties, your highness, and then when she makes the tough decision to add another one to your mystical ranks, you ran away." Zevran laughed. "You forget everything she did for you Alistair—everything she did for all of us—and you so easily betray her."

"It wasn't easy for me, either, you know," snapped Alistair. "She was the first woman I ever loved, Zevran. We were the only two left, and I didn't know if I would survive the next battle, if she would survive. And she was willing to throw it all away for Loghain. Do you know what he did?"

Zevran moved forward, slamming his fist into Alistair's nose. "Loghain risked his life so that Avery would live. He may have done many wrong things, but if Avery lived then he paid his debt to the Grey Wardens. Would you have done the same, dear Alistair?"

"What do you mean risked his life?" Alistair said. He had not heard of Loghain saving Avery, only that the Teyr had died at the end of the battle.

Zevran froze on the spot, turning slightly towards the door. Alistair could hear the main door opening.

"Andraste's mercy, that queen has only gotten worse with her age," a female voice muttered from the hallway. "I swear, Zev, it's so tempting to just leave and let everything cave in on Anora and her stuffy nobles."

Zevran turned to Alistair, and hissed, "Be polite, Alistair, or you'll regret it. I promise you, I no longer fail at murdering Grey Wardens."

But then Avery was entering the room, looking slightly confused. Her eyes met Alistair's and widened, and she leapt into his arms, muttering something about years and intuition and cheese.

Then she smacked him.