The paper in his hands crumples easily, so terribly easily, and when he throws it into the fireplace, the flames lick viciously at it, attacking it with as much fervor as the Darkspawn had to Ferelden, swallowing the paper whole. For a second, Anders freezes, and his eyes peer into the fireplace carefully. Dog whines, looking at Anders with that pathetically cute expression on his face, his tail thumping against the ground.

Hawke watches all of this from the balcony, and a grimace tugs at her lips. She hates it when he gets like this, when his frustration, his rage, his sense of injustice becomes so pent up that he can do nothing except let it all out. The flames in the fireplace reflect in his brown eyes, and when Dog nudges him with his nose, Anders seems to flinch just the tiniest bit before reluctantly scratching at his ears.

The Champion of Kirkwall expels a held breath, and her eyes glitter in the dim light of the Estate.

"Was that your manifesto?" She asks, and his head jerks upward, looking at her. For a second, she swears there's a glitter of paranoia in his eyes. Paranoia colored blue, glowing, deep and sea-like. "I've been finding them everywhere, lately."

"No." He says, and he looks away from her, like he's ashamed of something. He can never tell her what's on his mind anymore. "I… wrote a letter."

Her palms are cool against the railing of the balcony, when she leans against it. The fact that he can never seem to be able to quite meet her eyes these days is something that nags her constantly, like the fact that his dirty socks are still on bedroom floor even though she told him to throw them in the hamper weeks ago.

"Anders…" She starts, but then she stops. She knows nothing she says will make a difference. He's a hot-head. He's stubborn. He's zealous in his beliefs. "You can't—"

Sometimes she wonders how much of it is Justice and how much of it is actually him.

"The Grand Cleric needs to pick a side." He balls his hands into fists, and for a second, a blue glow pulses over his skin. It's beautiful. It's dangerous.

It's not him.

"She just sits there in the Chantry and waits," Those brown eyes of his glimmer with something not human, not him, and he's talking with his hands. The way one does when they need to get a point across. When there's nothing they'd rather do more than get their point across. "Someone needs to take action. The mages in the Gallows aren't going to fight for themselves, if no one does something now, will anyone in the near future?"

She's losing him. Slowly, and she knows it.

He knows it.

"So you threw this… catalyst in the fireplace?" Hawke asks, she goes down the stairs. A chill travels down her spine, goosebumps envelop her exposed skin. Anders watches every movement she makes, the flames still reflecting off those mirror-like eyes of his. Dog whimpers, annoyed at not being shown the attention he deserves.

"A strongly worded letter won't do a thing," He tells her. Again, he avoids meeting her gaze directly, and for some reason, this stings more than anything he's ever said. "To help the mages. The Grand Cleric would just throw it away or show it to the Templars and…"

"Your soul is troubled, young man. I hope you find a balm for it."

She reaches out, fingertips tracing the contours of his cheeks. He looks more tired, more exhausted, as if he's spent the last few weeks staying up at night. The circles under his eyes look heavy and dark, and his hands twitch, for a second, as though he's going to slap away her hand.

"I think you should go to sleep." She tells him. For a second, she feels as though she's gotten through to something, past the cold front he's put up for the past few weeks. His gaze travels to the writing desks, to the spread out letters from Meredith and Orsino. "You're exhausted."

"Andraste didn't write a strongly worded letter to the Imperium," He says, and the words seemed wrenched out of him. "She forced a change. She started a war, one that sparked a revolution… I… if many people died, to prevent thousands from oppression, do you think it would be a good change?"

"There is justice in the world."

"Is there? You want to free the mages. Let's say you do, but to get there, you kill a bunch of innocent people. What about them? Don't they then deserve justice?"


She doesn't know why he's telling her these things. The past months have been cold ones, with apologies and questions and answers that aren't really answers. Her hands slips from his cheek. These are the eyes of a liar. The mouth of a liar. The face of a liar.

But it isn't really him. There is still Anders in there, somewhere. You can do this. You can get through this together.

"I… yes. From a pragmatic viewpoint." Her faith is lacking in the Maker. Aveline had put it best; why believe in a god who does nothing at all. He has left them. Andraste has left them. "It would be better to save thousands at the cost a few hundred lives."

A smile, but it's not really a smile, not truly, tugs at the corners of his lips. She hasn't seen him smile in ages, it seems, and when he does, it seems like there's nothing in the world except them. It's just them.

And Justice, too.

The italics that are in quotes is actual dialogue from Dragon Age 2. The balm quote was from Grand Cleric Elthina, and the quote about justice and murder is party banter between Isabela and Anders. (FORESHADOWING. BIG BLINKING WORDS.) Based on Act 3 Anders. Still trying to get a grip on him.

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