My favourite mage, breaking my lady Hawke's heart over and over again, because that is what he does best.
'I told you to leave,' Hawke said as he slowly walked down the stairs. She was tired, and the strength she had left in her voice surprised her.
Somewhere in her heart she had hoped he would have left Kirkwall by now. Her head had always known better.
'I cannot let you do this,' Anders replied, voice slightly cracking as he looked at her with a sense of desperation in his eyes.
'You gave me no choice.'
The city was burning, the stench of dead was all around and they had a knight-commander to meet. Hawke's companions were getting restless. She could feel their eyes stinging in her back, Fenris's green ones in particular.
Please do not force me to do this, she thought while searching for something familiar in Anders' face, something to cling on to, a way to reach him like she had so many times before. It was no longer there. The struggle was over, Justice had erased every trace of the man she had loved and replaced him with vengeance.
'I won't fight you,' she said, lowering her blades. 'I will notfight you.' He had torn her heart out earlier that day, torn it out and stepped on the pieces. She had risked open war with Starkhaven over him but Maker, she did not have the strength to kill him. She could not end his life then and she sure as hell couldn't do it now.
'I would drown us in blood to keep you safe' had turned into 'there is no one in Kirkwall I wouldn't kill to see mages free' when she had been busy fixing other people's problems. He had slipped through her fingers like sand through an hour glass.
'We have to move,' Fenris urged, pulling his blade.
He looked eager, the lyrium in his skin lighting up like the sun.
'Lower your weapon Fenris,' Hawke commanded.
'Look at him Hawke,' the elf agitatedly replied, 'he will not hesitate to kill us all. I am telling you I won't let it come to that.'
How much as she hated it, Fenris was right. Vengeance was pouring through every crack of Anders' skin as he tightened the grip around his weapon. There was no doubt in her mind that he would kill them without so much as batting an eyelid.
She prayed to the Maker that he would actually go ahead and do it, it was better to be dead then to live with the knowledge he never loved her at all, the fact that he manipulated her into getting what he wanted, that everything he had said to her over the last ten years had been a big fat lie. It would be better to crumble to the earth in her own blood, right here in front of the gallows, then to admit that in spite of it all, she still loved him.
But dying had never been one of her strong suits.
Hawke's heart was racing and her palms were sweaty around the hilt of her blade. She looked at Varric, who was standing next to her. His face held the same amount of desperation as hers did. This was as much his best friend threatening to kill them all, as it was her former lover.
She should not have looked back in Anders' direction.
Her heart plummeted when she noticed he was still wearing the Tevinter Chantry amulet she had given him. He was no longer hiding it either. It was right there on top of his robes.
The sight of the amulet caught her off guard, long enough for Fenris to step forward.
'Don't you understand that you made her side with the Templars you selfish fool?' His voice was low and husky.
'If you hadn't blown up the chantry she would have followed you on your idiotic quest to liberate the mages until the day she died.' Fenris did not stand down, he was taunting the mage, trying to lure him out into attacking their little merry band.
'What Fenris is trying to say in his usual charming way...' Varric intervened.
Hawke didn't hear the rest of her companion's attempt to hush things between the elf and the mage. She was too focused on the face of the man she had woken up to every morning over the last four years.
And that man was still wearing her amulet.
Varric's voice faded, as did the cinching heat of the fires and the ill stench of death. Anders looked confused for a minute, thrown off balance when he noticed the way she was staring at him, her eyes seeing straight through him.
There was even a hint of doubt on his face as Varric continued to talk him down.
For a second there she could see it lingering on his face, the remnants of the love they had shared, the years he had whispered sweet nothings in her hair in the glow of a late night fire. What she wouldn't give to have him do that once more, what she wouldn't give to fall asleep in his arms once more, to make love to him between the cool sheets of their bed, to see him happy, if only for a little while.
The world around them crumbled and disappeared, the two of them keeping each other hostage with their eyes. For a moment there were no mages, no templars.
His hand seemed to put less pressure on the staff or perhaps she was just imagining it. Like she was imagining her fingers in his, tangled in a knot on her stomach before falling asleep with her back against the warmth of his body. He seemed to be doing the same, measuring every inch of her, burning her image into his mind before he lost it again.
She could feel him slip away before he opened his mouth.
'I loved you once,' he said, his voice unsteady for a second, 'but I can not stand by and let you do this.'
A heavy lump settled down her throat as she tried to speak.
This was when the lightning hit.
Hawke gasped for air as the bolt from his staff knocked her back a couple of yards. The last thing she saw before hitting the ground was the bright blue of the sky above them, it was as blue as his eyes when he had cast the spell, vengeance pouring through every crack of his skin.