I know, it's a big surprise that I'd write something for the new Bioware game. :) This is the first of what will probably be several DA2 drabbles - I have too many ideas and not enough time! My Hawke is a warrior who sided with the mages and romanced Anders, and it takes place in the Thedas with the Warden I've written about before (Cousland, married to Alistair). Unbeta'd and written in two days, but it'll do to get me back in the fanfiction mindset. :) Hope you enjoy.
Alistair usually loved traveling.
But that was because his wife was usually at his side, and no matter how glum he got sometimes, she could always cheer him up. Of course, being away from Denerim didn't hurt his mood, either, especially what with all the problems in Ferelden lately. Even now, six years after his coronation, he still felt a little trapped in his role as king sometimes, as did Irien, and there was a time when they took every opportunity to get away for a few days.
When he was traveling with her, when he managed to push his kingship out of his mind, he felt like they were battling the Blight again. He hadn't seen their companions from that time in ages, and he missed them – except Morrigan, of course. He kind of liked being an underdog, a team who didn't always get along but always got things done, a few people against impossible odds. That time was long past, but even now, the two of them would look at each other sometimes and remember falling in love between all the blood and darkspawn and the desperate hope of success. They'd smile, and he'd reach over to squeeze her hand. Everything that had happened then and since was worth it because they were together.
The coronation had changed things, so now when they traveled, they had escorts and wagons and guards and a few noble hangers-on who somehow managed to get themselves into the royal traveling party. Not quite the same as their little band, and despite how horrible parts of it had been, he did miss the freedom sometimes. But Dog was still with them on their travels, and Wynne came along once or twice, and sometimes Alistair and Irien would sneak away from their guards for a few moments of freedom and giggle quietly like they were children skipping their lessons.
But as the years had gone by and they'd settled into their new roles and new lives, they couldn't find the time for these little getaways. They both missed traveling, but their responsibilities were more important, and as tensions rose in Ferelden, they had a lot to deal with.
So when he'd made a trip to Kirkwall to see what he could do about the mage problems up there, she'd stayed behind, smiling and promising not to let the kingdom fall apart while he was gone. As an ex-Templar– well, kind of – they both hoped he'd be able to reason with Knight-Commander Meredith about her treatment of Kirkwall's mages. He knew she could handle everything at home, but still hated to go without her.
He couldn't wait to get home and see her again.
Varric always loved traveling.
He wasn't the type to settle down. Despite all his years in Kirkwall, he'd never really felt like it was his home, never mind what Aveline had said about how he never left Hawke's side. But since they'd all had to flee, even in the midst of all this chaos, somehow he was more consistently cheerful than he had been in a few years.
Not that he was happy about what had happened to Kirkwall, of course. He just couldn't help feeling exhilarated as he hopped from city to town to village, spreading stories and rumors and outright lies about everything that he'd seen. The legend of Hawke grew faster than he could tell it, and he loved when he told a tale of her exploits only to be "corrected" by someone who'd heard something else.
Most of the stories weren't factual, of course. He always tried to work some element of truth into his, but the ones he heard back were all over the place, and the insanity of some of the stories made him smile. He wasn't sure who started the rumor that Hawke was secretly a mage, though the story where she killed Meredith and used blood magic to blow up the Chantry was one of his favorites. He looked forward to hearing her laugh when he finally got to tell her that one.
But as much fun as he was having, enjoying his freedom, he still wished that the group could have stayed together. He had Bianca, of course, but he missed Isabela's innuendos, Fenris's brooding, Merrill's sweetness, Anders' jokes, even Aveline's stubborn devotion to the law.
He hadn't expected to become friends with all of them, but the years had worked their magic, and before he knew it he was stopping by their houses just to chat, helping them without expecting payment, even worrying when he could tell something was wrong with them. Being on his own after so long with the same people was strange, and he still wasn't used to it. They had made him crazy sometimes, but he still missed seeing them every day.
Most of all, he missed having Hawke around. He'd never admit it to her, of course – she'd get even more cocky than she already was. But he hadn't quite realized how nice it was knowing she always had his back with a joke, a roll of her eyes, and a sword ready to take care of anyone who tried to cause trouble. He especially missed drinking with her at the Hanged Man, sitting around and talking about everything except the dire situations that they and the city were in.
As he set off on the road, not knowing where he was headed, he couldn't help but wonder how the rest of them were doing, or if they were even alive.
He couldn't wait until he got to hear the stories of what they'd done after leaving Kirkwall.
Anders had always hated traveling.
He always felt so powerless out on the road. As a mage who stubbornly refused to be locked up without a fight, he felt he had no choice but to run. All he'd ever wanted was the freedom to have the life he wanted, but fate, the Maker, or his own poor luck had always prevented that.
The only traveling he did for years was when he tried to escape the Tower, and swimming across lakes, sleeping in trees, stealing food, and the Templars on his tail didn't exactly make for a pleasant experience. Even as he ran, hoping desperately that he'd manage to escape for good this time, he always knew that they'd find him, and when they did, he had beatings, threats, and solitary confinement waiting for him at the Tower.
He'd had a bit better time on the road with the Warden-Commander. Despite being almost forced into becoming a Warden, plus the presence of darkspawn and constant fear of death, he'd made a few friends on his journey. If he hadn't accepted Irien's offer to make him a Warden, he'd be back in the Circle, Tranquil, or dead.
More importantly, he wouldn't have gotten to know Justice, he wouldn't have gone to Kirkwall, and he wouldn't have met Hawke.
He looked at her, curled up on a pile of straw in the attic of a barn they'd snuck into. She was sleeping fitfully, twitching a bit and her eyes moving around behind her eyelids. He wondered what kind of nightmare she was having this time, and if he should wake her, though he didn't think whatever she dreamt of could be worse than reality.
They'd been on the run for a few months now, and compared to the last time he'd gone adventuring, some six years ago, things had been better in some ways and worse in others. Back then, he was always surprised that so few people recognized the woman who was actually their queen, but Irien always seemed to prefer it that way.
This time, it seemed that everyone was looking for them, and they had to avoid everything but the smallest villages or run the risk of meeting Templars, since apparently Anders and Hawke were so well-known now that they could be identified at a glance. They'd been forced to take shelter anywhere they could find and travel mainly at night, heading west toward Nevarra and hopefully out of the Templars' range.
But at least they had each other. While he wasn't always the Maker's biggest fan after what He did to the mages, he couldn't help but send up a brief prayer of gratitude for blessing him with Hawke. Without her love and trust, he knew he would be dead – or worse, Tranquil – but he couldn't help feeling guilty about everything she'd given up to stay with him. He wondered how much easier her life could have been. Perhaps she'd be married to someone normal. She might even be the viscount by now, if not for him and Justice.
When traveling, Anders knew that nothing was easy, and felt like everything that could go wrong, would. Sometimes, things were so hard that he wished the network of mages he'd worked with in Kirkwall could help them escape, that they could trust someone, anyone else, but the risks and consequences of betrayal were too great. They had to continue on and support each other as best they could.
He blamed himself for most of it. Anders had known Meredith was crazy, that she had to be removed from power, and that someone had to be the catalyst and start the mages on their path toward freedom. But he hated that it had to be him, that he'd let Hawke get so tangled up and involved with him, that they were both wanted criminals when she'd done nothing but support and defend him.
But the past was past, he told himself yet again, and he reached down to gently stroke his love's hair, hoping to calm her dreams somewhat. It wasn't much, and he wished desperately that they could stop running, but it was far too late for that. For now, comfort was the most he could give her.
He couldn't wait for the day when they could both finally be free.
Hawke used to enjoy traveling.
When she was growing up, the family had so rarely left Lothering that she treasured any time they got to spend anywhere else. Even going to visit the farms outside of town was a pleasant trip, and she had fond memories of running to visit friends with Carver and Bethany when they were younger.
But those times couldn't last forever, and as Bethany's mage powers grew, she felt bad for her sister, whose life was full of restrictions due to the constant threat of Templars discovering her abilities. She could never see the world or go anywhere without extensive preparation and research and contingency plans, while Hawke could run off wherever she liked without fear of capture.
When she and Carver had left to join the king's army at Ostagar, she had felt guilty leaving Bethany behind, stuck at home as she always was, though she knew even that was better than being stuck in a tower. The two of them would protect the country and eventually return home as heroes, and then maybe Bethany could breathe a little easier.
The trip to join up with the army had been exciting, and the siblings had bragged to each other about how many darkspawn they'd kill, how they'd impress all their commanders, how quickly they'd move up through the ranks, how they'd be the right hand of King Cailan before they knew it. Hawke was eager to get there, and she couldn't help but be excited for the upcoming battle and how much she knew it would change her life.
It just didn't change her life in the way she'd hoped it would.
When Teryn Loghain had failed to help the rest of the army, she and Carver had miraculously managed to fight their way out of the battle and immediately fled for home, fighting groups of darkspawn all the way, unable to sleep or even rest before doggedly continuing on. She was utterly exhausted by the time they made it back, but they were alive, and she was grateful they had a short while to rest before they had to run again.
Then Carver had died, they met the Witch of the Wilds, and the family had relocated to Kirkwall. After the horrors of their journey back to Lothering and the miserable time on the ship sailing to this new home, she was ready to settle down without the threat of the darkspawn or civil war plaguing her thoughts. She left the Deep Roads with enough treasure to provide for her family no matter what, and they all moved in to their family estate in Hightown.
She never wanted to leave. Her mother had her childhood home back, Anders started living with her, her uncle met a daughter he didn't know he had. Bethany may have been stuck in the Gallows, and Hawke felt horrible that she'd left her behind and contributed unwittingly to getting her sister locked away, but at least she seemed to be doing as well as could be expected, based on her letters. Everyone she knew was safe, and she looked forward to living the rest of her days as the Champion of Kirkwall.
But things never turned out as she hoped, and despite all her wishes for a peaceful life with her family, the situation in Kirkwall continued deteriorating to a point where she had no choice but to take a stand. The happiness she'd experienced for a short time had been crushed, and after Anders destroyed the Chantry and they'd all defeated Meredith, she was forced into running again.
They wanted to stay together, defending each other as they had for years, but there were too many of them, far too many to stay together for long. They were a rather conspicuous company and raised eyebrows wherever they went, despite their attempts to keep a low profile. Even Varric was surprised at how quickly the story of Meredith's defeat had spread, and one by one, they were all separated, none wanting to go but all realizing they must to survive.
Now, only she and Anders remained together. Sometimes, when their pursuers neared and she wondered if this would be the time they'd get caught, they'd meet each other's eyes. They didn't need to speak to know that they were making a promise to each other – that they would make it out of this or die together, but they wouldn't let anyone tear them apart.
They'd been lucky so far, but she knew it couldn't last. She missed the days of relative peace in Hightown, having dinner with her family and Anders, drinking with Varric, teasing Aveline. She missed all of them. She couldn't believe they were all gone, and wondered if they were even still alive.
She looked over at Anders walking next to her, and though it was dark, she could still see him smile, and he leaned over to kiss her cheek gently. She wanted her old life back, her life of relative peace and safety, of friends and family living happily together of the freedom to go wherever she pleased. She missed sleeping without having nightmares, being recognized without being attacked, looking at Anders without worrying for his health and his sanity, waking up without her heart pounding in fear.
She couldn't wait for the day when they could finally stop running.