Title: A Rogue's Heart – Part 1, Prologue

Author: Wicked Raygun

Email: wicked_

Summary: For Xander Harris, the Hero of Ferelden, sacrifice is only the beginning. He ends the Blight, only to return to the home he no longer has a place in. Xander/Leliana.

Disclaimer: Based on characters created by Joss Whedon, and Bioware. I am merely borrowing them to put on a puppet show. Watch them dance.

Notes: This story is mostly a series of character pieces with sporadic action thrown in for variety. There's no real plan for this. I'll post chapters as they come to me. I'll be referring to events in the Dragon Age: Origins video game using Interludes. Chapters will actually continue the story forward.

Spoilers: And how! Events take place in the summer after season 3 of BTVS, moving into season 4. And all the events of Dragon Age: Origins, possibly including the various DLC are up for grabs. If you aren't familiar with Dragon Age, then lower your head in shame. Go on. Lower it.

Distribution: Ask and you shall receive. Just email me and I'll get back to you quickly using new-fangled technology. See, I get email on my phone now. Surely jet packs and flying cars are just around the corner.

A Rogue's Heart

Part 1, Prologue

It was almost anticlimactic, once everything was said and done. The combined might of an army comprised of humans, elves, and dwarves, of men and women, of soldiers and volunteers, from the very old to the far too young, had driven this beast back to this place, at this time. It had been worn down by ballista and arrows, by swords and spears, by brute force and ancient magic.

And now, so close to the end, it looked pathetic.

This dragon, this so-called Archdemon, this Bringer of the Blight, this Old God, this wretched remnant of man's hubris, was dying gracelessly. It flapped around clumsily like a fish out of water. Its death throes were anything but fearsome. It was almost sad that it would end like this. So many deaths to avenge, and there was no satisfaction to be had, just a grim need to end it for good.

But for that, a Warden was needed.

Alistair and Xander, the last two Grey Wardens in all of Ferelden, stood side-by-side, tired and bleeding, their faces grim.

"So what do you think? Should we draw straws?" Alistair said sadly.

Xander smiled. "I was thinking more along the lines of flipping a coin."

"One flip? Or best two out of three?"

"Oh, just the one. I'm not sure I could stand the suspense."

"Excellent. Only one small problem: does the winner get to live or die?"

They both laughed hollowly.

"I'm a king now, you know. I could just order you to let me do it."

"Yeah, well, I was never one to recognize the legitimacy of a chauvinistic monarchy anyway."

"Oh, yes, because this democracy thing you rave about has worked just smashingly for the dwarves."

Another hollow laugh shared between friends. It would be the last.

Xander looked out into the battlefield where Leliana was unconscious and being treated by Wynne, who had the most intense look on her face that he could ever remember seeing. Vaguely, he wondered if Wynne had tapped into the power of the spirit keeping her alive, and if her moments too were numbered.

Nearly every instinct in his being demanded that he go to Leliana now, save for one, the instinct of the Grey Warden. He could feel his tainted blood calling out to him to finish it, to destroy the Archdemon.

Alistair must have felt it too, because he tried again to convince Xander to let him go. He spoke about how he'd be a lousy king, and it would be better if he just ended it now, and spared Ferelden his clumsy rule.

"I think you'll do okay."

Alistair gave him a hard disbelieving look.

"You care about people, Alistair. I don't know if that's enough. But it certainly seems like a good place to start." Xander took a deep breath. "So do me a favor and stop trying to be a martyr. That's my job."

He gave his friend one last sad smile.

"Do you want me to tell her anything?"

Xander shook his head. "We talked last night. She knew this was coming. And she knows how I feel. There comes a point where there's nothing left to say, except 'goodbye'."

"Goodbye, Xander."


And that was that.

Xander walked forward, toward the still dying archdemon. It was time to end it.

He lifted the bow he carried to his eyes, admiring the craftsmanship one last time, and then dropped it to the ground without a further thought. He shucked off the empty quiver with a blasé shrug and vaguely heard it hit the ground behind him.

Next he pulled out his daggers, and spun them in his hands playfully, savoring their balance and feel. They had served him well, but they wouldn't be enough to stop an Archdemon, so they were dropped to the ground as well.

He knelt by the body of a dying Hurlock, and took his large sword. The rasping creature vainly reached for the blade, but Xander walked right past him, heedless. He looked at the sword, and it seemed large enough, so he nodded.

This would be the weapon that ended the Blight.

The Archdemon was very still now, save for its ragged, shallow breathing. It was exhausted and pitiful. Killing it would be almost a mercy at this point.

Xander took a moment to find a weak spot, some vulnerability, and when he found it, he lifted the sword high into the air. He said nothing, but one last thought came to him.

Buffy would have kicked your ass.

And then the blade came down.

At first nothing happened. But then Xander was aware of light. After that came intense pain.

The Blight was over and Ferelden had lost a hero.

End Prologue