A one-shot from the warden's perspective, just a tad AU. As per usual Bioware owns all, I just play in their playground. Thanks for reading and please review… can't grow as a writer without criticism!

Thanks to my Beta Browncoat for helping me fix this and my other monster up.

Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon 'em. ~William Shakespeare

I sat wearily by the campfire, trying my best to gather my thoughts into a cohesive strategy for the battle tomorrow. I furtively picked at my stew, which he had insisted on cooking, His Majesty… that was something he insisted I not call him, something he had ordered all of our tight-knit group to not call him. I chanced a glance in his direction. I was always aware of his location. The taint in our veins thrummed but I knew it was more than that. I would not and had not allowed more to develop. He had wanted more, but I was a mage, an elven mage at that, and especially after I learned who he was… well I knew that he would do his duty.

He had screamed at me about duty when I made him king, his hazel eyes burning into my soul. It had been difficult to do it to him; it felt like betrayal, not duty. It was a betrayal to us both, to words unspoken, paths untaken, futures that would never be. He had told me on many nights how he wanted nothing more than to stay a Warden, to rebuild them with me. To be with me. The agony of wanting those same things of wanting to go back to that day and do it differently was a fire that consumed my soul.

Alistair was defined by duty. As I was defined by magic. He was a kind and gentle man, a fierce warrior, but he would in the end regret that he did not do his duty and become king. That was the reasoning that I kept repeating over and over to myself.

We were almost to Denerim. We would make her gates tomorrow morning, and it would all be over. Morrigan was gone, her ritual refused. I was hurt that she would leave the first time I actually refused her a request, but not actually surprised. Some of the others were curious about her absence, but said nothing. Alistair was suspicious and when he asked I told him what she had proposed. He was actually relieved that I had not asked him to do it. He seemed to have blind faith that Riordan would actually make it to the archdemon. I, however, did not.

The archdemon was terrifying, and gigantic. It made the high dragon at Haven seem small. I had long since thrown off my helmet, and was so very thankful that I had learned the arcane warrior skill set. After I had unleashed every spell I could and called in every spare troop left in our armies, the dragon seemed to be weakening.

Out of the corner of my eye I saw Alistair's dragonbone armor and that he was taking some heavy damage. I knew it needed to end soon, that we couldn't hold on much longer. Leliana was still rapid firing arrows, but she had a crimson flow of blood running down her left leg. I saw Zevran flitting about doing quick work of any darkspawn he could get behind, but could see the fatigue wearing him down.

I quickly downed my last lyrium potion, blasted off a group heal, and charged at the dragon. Channeling all of my energy into my strength, I leapt up and landed on the dragon's head. I had seen Alistair pull this move off on the high dragon, and even on Flemeth, but this was a rush. I felt myself being propelled through the air, but just let my instincts guide my movements. My sword found its home in the dragon's skull. As the dragons head fell towards the stones of the tower I once again gave into instinct and rolled with the impact.

The archdemon was down, but not dead. I was now without a sword and I cast about for a weapon. I spotted a greatsword lodged in the corpse of a Hurlock, and just as I was about to take off Alistair lunged at me and yanked me back.

"No, please don't do this, Let me do this… you know why and they will all chalk it up to me being a good king but I don't want you to die."

His hazel eyes bored into me. I could not let him die either; I loved him too much, and even though we had never said those words, it was the truth. I raised my chin and looked into his eyes.

"Alistair, you will be a great king, and you will change things, for the elves, for the mages, and….I love you." I reached up and kissed him softly on the lips. As I broke the kiss he grabbed me and kissed me back. I then twisted out of his arms and began to turn towards the archdemon, and then whispered the words to the glyph of paralysis. I knew he would not let me do this if he was not rooted to the ground.

"Tanna! No, don't do this! I love you; please don't do this to me!"

His screams tore at my heart, but this was my duty, the duty forced upon me when Duncan conscripted me all those months ago. I hefted the greatsword out of the hurlock's body and ran the last few yards to the Archdemon. It raised its head and roared defiantly at me one last time.

I slid on my knee the greatsword slit its neck. I felt the hot blood burn my exposed skin and whirled to plunge the massive sword into the dragon's brain. As I raised the sword I saw that Alistair was free of the glyph, I hadn't put much energy into it, and he was on his knees and still screaming at me.

With a guttural roar, I plunged the sword into the beasts head, and was enveloped in a white light.

Everything was quiet except for the soft sound of his voice, and all I could feel was his lips on mine.

Ever has it been that love knows not its own depth until the hour of separation. ~ Kahlil Gibran