A/N - Holy cow...I'm still working on this one (along with the others not marked as complete...), it is just a bit of a fight. I'm still blaming writer's block (read "I'm lazy").

He dreams of running.

Sometimes he chases, fighting lead legs every step of the way, catching only distant glimpses of his quarry. A quarry that changes.

Flickers of silver armor polished to a shine, malevolent black eyes, and a trail of tainted Warden blood in its wake.

Dragon's scale, with wide spread wings and corrupted eyes, it either ignores him completely, beneath its notice, or sings back to him, begging him to catch it, free it.

Frightened golden eyes, a fleeing woman's form, she beckons him close, vanishing before he can touch her.

Sometimes he flees, the Fade thick around him, heart stuttering with fear.

Loghain's stalking blade, glistening wet and red, trying to finish a task begun in Ostagar, kept from completion by only he (when he wakes, he knows he is not alone, not the only Warden, but waking and sleeping are different worlds).

The Archdemon's roar, chasing him through the twists and turns of the Deep Roads, through the shadowed forests, through the back alleys of Denerim.

Arl Eamon's chiding voice, heavy with disappointment, ever reminding him of duty, and blood lines, and the worth of the Theirin name. He is almost able to stand firm in Eamon's expectations, ignoring the scraping drag inside his head that King and Love don't walk hand in hand. Almost.

Until Eamon's face melts into the soft and lovely lines of Elissa's, his rough voice becomes her gentle dulcet tones, and he wakes shuddering, well enough aware of politics to know he wants no part of that.

'Love me,' she whispers, pulling and tugging at him, trying to trap him in tendrils of her hair, shimmering in uncertain light.

He flees, into the black-feather shade, ducking into the shadows that watch him with scornful golden eyes, that soften only for him.

Even in his dreams, his Witch protects him, a shivering wall of magic and repulsion that keeps at bay the shifty, shifting faces of his fears, as she shelters him in darkness.


He struggles to rise from sleep, head packed full of wool. In the sparse warmth of his bedroll, he feels something missing, until he remembers Morrigan slipping from his tent just as he tumbled into slumber.

He can't control his scowl, even if she is right, it is better that no one know. He wants to shout out his feelings, and sometimes finds himself humming under his breath on the long walks, captivated by the sway of her leather clad hips as she paces Elissa. But she is right. Their companions may be accepting, even gleeful, but Elissa would not be.

The nobles will gather soon, to determine the fate of the throne, to choose between a bastard and a hero. He has little hope of reprieve, with both the Eamon and Elissa determined he will rule.

The road is hard, even with the luxuries of travelling with the Arl of Redcliffe. Harder because it is more difficult to hide slipping away from the group to find his prickly Witch, and she is not always keen to ply her shapeshifting skills to sneak into his.

Groggy, discontent and dreading the days to come, he buckles on his armor. Denerim is less than two days away.