A/N: So I'm sorry this took so long. It's been over two years and I couldn't let go. Lol But this is the end and it's the original ending that I intended before Dragon Age 2 came out. THOUGH I tweaked the end. Thank you to Saga for betaing. I love you. This story is for you because without you in my life, this would have never become what it has been.
When Two Are One
"If things were perfect, we wouldn't have met."
The ground shook underneath her feet. Raina's arms went out in hopes of balancing herself to keep from falling. Her head snapped up and even though she could only see the roof, the roar was unmistakable. She whipped around and watched as a group of darkspawn ran towards her. She readied for a fight but they just went by as if they didn't notice her. She felt her heart rise in her throat. The darkspawn were retreating and that could only mean one thing. The Archdemon was dead. It was the end and it was time for them to go back into the darkness where they belonged.
She was moving before she realized it. Raina knew that she had to reach the top. Even though she was unaware of what might be waiting for her, speed was on her side. Maker help her, she was convinced if Alistair was dead she would have known. He wasn't. He couldn't be. She didn't stop until she reached the top. Raina burst onto the roof top only to be met by a vision of slaughter.
The scent of death corrupted the air. She almost doubled over to hurl but she kept it in. Her nose scrunched and she pushed herself past the smell. Flames danced around the edges of the rooftop and the dead body of the Archdemon could not be ignored. Her hand clasped over her mouth and her eyes wandered for familiar figures. That was when she found Theron. Raina was aware that wherever the Dalish elf was, Alistair was never far. Her eyes followed where he was looking and she saw Loghain lying on the ground, unmoving. From the look on the elf's face when he turned to her, she could gather that the Hero of Riverdane was dead. There was an odd twinge at her heart. She hadn't expected to mourn such a loss but she did. She thought of Anora, knowing how it felt to lose a parent. He would receive an honorable funeral.
She opened her mouth to begin to ask where Alistair was but the dark haired man just pointed… and she followed the direction. Soon she found Neria helping Zevran to his feet. The blond elf winked at her, even though it was forced. Her mouth opened to ask if he was okay but she could already feel magic crackle through the air as the mage's healing skills went to work. "Go!" Neria called at her. "Zev is not the one who needs you."
That was when she found him.
A small gasp left her and she rushed to Alistair's side. Raina dropped to her knees, afraid to touch him for a moment, but she laid a gentle hand on his chest and waited to feel his heart beat. His hand went to hers and he jolted up quickly. A long groan escaped him and she caught him before he fell back.
"Am I dead?" His voice was barely above a whisper and she couldn't help but laugh as she drew him into her arms. It was good to hold him. It made the fact that they were together, both alive… a reality that she never wanted to leave. Their long journey on separate paths had finally converged and the path ahead would never deviate.
"No, my love," she whispered. "Not today." The words she shared with her brother earlier meant a lot more to her now.
"Oh, good," she heard Alistair say. "Don't squeeze too hard." She loosened her grip on him and pulled back. She would have apologized if the pressing matter of injuries weren't on her mind. "How do I look?"
"Are you injured? I can get Wynne or Neria…" He pressed a gauntleted finger against her lips and she hushed quickly. If he wanted to silence her, the look that came on his face next was all he needed.
"I thought you said you'd wait for me." The smile on his face was forced but she knew it was due to pain more than anything.
Her eyebrows furrowed together as she touched the side of his face. Did he really think she could? "I got impatient."
He laughed and his body seemed to relax. She panicked when he closed his eyes and she screamed for one of the mages. Wynne knelt down on the other side of Alistair. She gave Raina a gentle smile before she pressed her hand against Alistair's chest. "Help me pull the breast plate off, Your Highness," she said. Raina quickly obliged. Her fingers clumsily unfastened the holds. She knew Wynne was giving her an exasperated look but even she had her nerves get the best of her at times. She sucked in a sharp breath when she noted that his chest wasn't moving. No, Maker, no…
A warm pulse crackled through the air. She didn't recognize the feeling but noted it to be magic. A light blue radiated from Wynne's hands and Alistair coughed. "He'll live," the mage said with a small smile and then hit Alistair. "Don't scare me like that again!"
The future King of Ferelden groaned and rolled to his side. Raina helped him to his feet and the survivors of the battle against the Archdemon made their way to the base of the tower where various members of the armies that the Wardens had gathered were waiting. A chorus of victorious cheers echoed around them. Theron gave them a grim smile. They still needed to collect the dead.
Those who littered the streets after the explosion from the top of Fort Drakon called the Dalish a hero.
"No," he replied quietly with a bowed head. "Loghain was."
A guilty look flashed over Neria's face but no one else seemed to notice so Raina brushed it off as simple grief over a comrade.
The wounded were tended to. The dead were found and given proper burials in the days that followed. It took weeks for Denerim to stop burning. It took even longer for their lands to grow back to what they once were after the hoard had made their way through. Though not wanting any more attention that day, Raina had Alistair taken to the royal chambers to be looked after. She never left his side (how could she?) and when she was reassured for the hundredth time that he would be okay, she dismissed everyone to let him rest.
She leaned against the window frame of the room that overlooked parts of the city. Dark clouds rolled in and thunder clapped before rain broke free to extinguish the flames. It was as if the Maker had granted them a moment's peace as a reward. A small smile spread across her face as she watched people in the streets stop and look to the sky. Was it the beginning of a new era for Ferelden? It'd be a long road to recovery through the destruction the Blight brought, but the people…her people…were strong. She didn't doubt their ability to rebuild and live.
"Aren't you going to sit with me?" A quiet voice asked.
Raina turned from the window and went to the bed. Of course she was. She sat at Alistair's side and leaned in to kiss his cheek. "How are you feeling?" Her voice didn't hold the worry that it had before.
"Like I've had too many nights drinking with Oghren," he said. She gave him an amused look. She had met the dwarf, and didn't think that he could last more than a day. "It's over, isn't it? The Archdemon is really gone?"
"He's really gone," she told him.
"Theron and Neria?"
"And I'm going to be king." She felt a moment of panic. Did he not want to be king anymore? What did that mean for them? She was still- "You can stop whatever you're thinking." Raina paused as she made a face at him. At least that had earned her a laugh. "Don't make me laugh. It hurts." Alistair rolled his head to the side and their eyes met. Sincerity was there. She could see it as plain as day. It was then when she noticed that he seemed aged. He was war worn and the youthful boy she knew was gone. "I haven't changed my mind." She almost asked him if he was sure before he pulled her into a kiss.
His lips lightly pressed against hers before it grew into more to let them both know that the past was in the past. It was time to look forward.
Fergus brushed his callous fingers against Raina's temple and tucked a strand of hair behind her ear. He smiled down at his little sister and resisted the temptation to make a mess of her curls. "Father and mother would've loved to be here," he said quietly.
"They are," she said back in the same tone. She could almost see them every time she looked into a mirror.
"You look beautiful." Raina couldn't remember if her brother had ever told her that. Tears formed in her eyes, brimming against the lids. "Leli will kill me if you ruin your makeup." She couldn't help but laugh at that, agreeing. She hugged him just before they linked arms.
Her dress flowed like a waterfall around her body. Every step created a wave of moment and yet it fit in all the right places, adhering to her curves and accenting them. It was the color of the purest whites she had ever seen with hints of Highever green weaved through the fabric. Her curls were pinned in a fashion that framed her face. Leliana had delicately added makeup that was barely noticeable. It was the most feminine that she had ever felt. It was also the most beautiful she had ever felt before.
The pendant around her neck had belonged to Eleanor. It was one of the few things that had been salvaged from the castle's ransacking by Howe's men. Somehow she knew her parents were watching from the Maker's side. Eleanor would have a death grip onto Bryce's arm; crying as she did so, and her father would be proud. She was sure of it. She looked down and clutched tighter onto the bouquet of roses in her hands.
"Don't you want to see the expressions on everyone's faces when they get a good look at you?" Fergus teased.
"Before or after I trip?" She asked.
Fergus laughed a little before he led her to the large wooden doors that would signal the start of the ceremony. "Ready?" Raina looked up and straightened herself as the doors opened. Her eyes squinted to adjust to the lighting. Everything was done in white and red with hints of gold. Her brother had to nudge her to remind her to breathe.
"More than anything," she replied and took the first step into the hall.
Those on the second floor hung over the railing, tossing flower petals and watching them float to the ground with the grace of the Maker. She felt like she didn't deserve their smiling faces. She supposed that the wedding gave them hope for a brighter future, that things could be better and that they would be better. Raina glanced down before she felt Fergus grip onto her arm. Her chest swelled as her heart pounded against it.
She looked up to see Zev, Neria, Theron and the rest of Alistair's companions lining the bottom of the stairs as her love finally set eyes on her. A ridiculous grin spread across his features. She watched as he shifted from one foot to the other, awkward and uncomfortable in his kingly armor but completely… him. The Revered Mother nudged him slightly and he extended his arm out to Raina.
Fergus kissed her cheek and she hugged him tightly before she turned to take Alistair's hand. Their fingers tangled together in a promise to never let go.
Vows were exchanged and the words meant more to her than anything. Alistair held her close as the Revered Mother named them husband and wife, King and Queen. His hand fell to the small of her back and he kissed her like he had never kissed her before. Raina felt her toes curl as she squeezed her eyes tightly. She felt like she could fly and only his lips could keep her grounded.
The hall behind them erupted into cheers, celebrating a new era.
"Did that all really happen?"
Innocence radiated from the soft voice. The small girl in her lap looked up with wide blue eyes. Her long strawberry blond hair blew in the small breeze as her stubby legs kicked out in front of her. Her brother, dark haired and golden eyed, ran around the two of them in circles and laughed as he did so before he made one final twirl. He fell onto the ground back first. The grass sprung around him and he gave in to a giggle fit.
"Father says it did during the Blight," the little boy said as he moved onto his side, "though he says mother leaves out the best parts." She rolled her eyes. Of course he would say that. She could imagine the smirk on his face as he did so. It wasn't her fault that she wasn't with him during his travels.
"Then your father should learn how to tell a story properly," she replied and the two kids laughed. Her heart ached at the thought that they would never get to meet their heroic grandparents. The corners of her mouth twitched into a sad smile. Her fingers combed through her youngest's hair as her son made a face at her, causing the little one to squeal in delight.
"I think you're the best storyteller, mommy," the little girl said.
"Thank you, my love."
She kissed the top of her head and closed her eyes. Thank the Maker for them. She remembered the first time she had discovered she was pregnant. Wynne had touched her stomach gently and her face lit up with happiness. Her mouth hung open as the news was given. Alistair had fainted. Raina still laughed a little when she thought about it. The older woman had rushed to his side as various friends among them tried to revive him while tossing narrowed glances at her for teasing him.
The mage had even been there when her son, Teagan, was born and for her daughter, Elyce. That was the last time that they had seen her before she left for Orlais.
"Is Theron the man who came to say goodbye to father months back?" Teagan asked as he took a seat in front of her. He picked at the grass as she nodded her head.
Theron had answered his Calling. Alistair was still mourning over his friend. Neria and Zevran, along with their child, Cerian, lived in Amaranthine as the first elven Arlessa and Arl. It was an uneasy task for the both of them. Zevran had to tap into his assassin skills when a plot to bring down Theron and Neria had risen. Though he put up his daggers and unstrung his bow when his son was born.
"Alright kids," a new voice had joined them, "Uncle Fergus and Aunt Leliana have arrived with Aidan, go on. Go see them." Elyce leapt from Raina's lap and took off in a race with her older brother, who of course in the end would let her win. She watched her children until they disappeared from her sight.
Raina looked up at Alistair as he took a seat next to her. The corners of his temples held shocks of gray in his light hair. She raised her hand and let her fingers curl through the lifted bangs in the front before she traced a finger along the scar over his eyebrow that he had gotten from his trip accompanying Theron into the Deep Roads. It was a trip that Alistair said, after their goodbyes, that he would never do again. They both knew that he was a liar. He wouldn't be able to stand sitting in the castle as the last of his Warden friends would answer her calling. He'd be there for Neria as he had been for Theron.
"What's wrong?" She asked and he handed her the piece of parchment that he had in his hands. Raina unfolded the paper and read the contents. A small gasp escaped her and the paper flew from her hands. Luckily, Alistair was there to catch it. "And what of our Circle?" If it had been lost as well… but that was absurd. Their mages were free and it worked; no one expected it to but it had.
With his free hand, the king gently grasped her own. His fingers laced with hers and his thumb gently rubbed against her skin. "It still holds," he reassured her. "Do you think I should offer our hand to the Viscountess?" She had met the Champion of Kirkwall once before in Orlais at a party held in the woman's honor by a bloke that met his well-deserved downfall in the end. The Queen of Ferelden had been accused of helping the Champion, but she had merely given her a greeting. Raina thought it was just Orlais trying to start another war between the two countries. It almost worked.
But Viscountess Lyanna Hawke was also the Princess of Starkhaven. It was an alliance that needed to be held as the world around them started to shatter. Her sister was a mage and rumored to be the new First Enchanter of the restored Kirkwall Circle. All hope was not lost, even if the mages who burned down their Circle Towers used Lyanna's name as a champion's call and used the martyr Anders's name in their prayers.
"I do," she replied. "And we'll show them that peace can be had."