Phantasmagoria

There she was.

"Hello," Her neck craned to look at him. The bottle fell from his fingers. The whiskey-red splayed across his pale cheeks seemed to grow even darker in the wrap of night. "Alistair."

Kallian Tabris watched him, face turned so that her profile was outlined by the lowering sun, standing radiant (Transparent, as well, but the fact is lost to Alistair in his drunken stumble.) and strong against the beautifully pink and red sky. She looked just as she did before running off to kill the Archdemon. (And abandoning all of Ferelden, plucking away the prospect of having a heroine who could guard them from the coming dangers, who could guard him from himself.)

And she was a ghost. A phantasmagoria of things he had wanted to see. She was not real, (No, she must be real because he is the King of Ferelden, and what the King wants, he will have. And he wants Kallian Tabris alive and well, and the chance to slay the Archdemon himself.) but looked so much live the actual Tabris, alive and strong and so beautiful.

"Alistair." When had she gotten so close? Her fingers brushed his cheeks, stained scarlet with the aftereffects of intoxication, trailing a path beneath his eyes, over bags that had been cause from sleepless nights. His face remained a mask, expressionless and empty. (Because, oh Maker, why is He doing this to him? Hadn't he gone through enough already?)

"My…" His mouth moves with the grace of a three-legged cat. The words spilling out in a tumble as her hands go to his throat, tracing cool, icy lines across his skin, kneading constellations in their wake. "You're…"

"Dead?" She whispers, and his hands reach out to touch her cheek. He cannot touch her, she is untouchable, because his fingers go right through her skin into her throat and he chokes out a pathetic sound. (This is torture, he thinks.)

"Yes, I suppose I am." She laughs, a sad, strangled sort of sound that sounds like bitter resent and darker anger, bottled up in a woman who's compassion outweighed that of Andraste Herself. She buries her head in the crook of his neck, and his arms fall to their sides. He wants to touch her, to kiss her, but he cannot. She sobs, and Alistair feels not a single drop of wetness touch his noble clothes. (This is so unnatural, why can't she be alive, why can't I be dead?)

He failed them. Duncan, the Grey Wardens, Cailan, and now Kallian. He should've died at Ostagar. Duncan should have lived. Duncan would have never allowed Kallian to sacrifice herself. Duncan… (Duncan…)

"Don't think that." Kallian's whisper is a chilly breeze against his collarbone. "Ferelden needs a King. You are their King, Alistair. You can't think like that."

The phantasmagoria vanishes, a flicker, Kallian presses a smile against the shell of his ear, and she is gone.

And Alistair just stands there, looking out at the red and pink sunset and letting his tears fall. Quavering raindrops against his skin.


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