Title: The Way We Were

Rating: T

Summary: Hawke writes a few letters to Carver after he becomes a Templar. FemHawke/Anders

A/N: Thanks for reading. Review please.

First Letter: Reflection

Brother, I'm not sure why I'm writing this. It seems like such a silly thing to waste my time doing. When did you ever listen to me? When did you ever care about what I had to say? But here it goes anyway. You've probably already set this down, but I find myself uncaring. For the first time, I'm speaking to you to comfort myself. I'm done being bigger sister always watching out for tiny, stumbling Carver. You're a man now, as you've so often told me, and you deserve to be treated like one. So, prepare to be burdened like one.

I hope you know that for days after you left us to 'make your own way' that Mother was crying in her room for days. Such awful, heartbroken sobbing. I had to crush my head with a pillow to stop the sound from getting to me. Ha, I thought that she was broken when Bethany died, but you proved that there was still plenty to destroy when you left. After three days, I finally coaxed her to comb her hair and take a bath. I felt like the mother leading the child, calming her, stroking her hair. What you did was awful, Carver. She lost another one of her babies. If I had known that you would hurt her so severely, I would have taken you into the blighted Deep Roads. We could have used your blade anyway.

I'm sure you've heard from her by now that we've purchased the Amell estate. With all the money the expedition brought in, we could probably have two or three mansions in Hightown. It's such a strange feeling, ducking my head and walking proper instead of stepping over drunks and getting jumped on my way home. The house is beautiful, but we haven't quite moved in yet. The slavers did more damage than we saw, Brother. I have a few cleaners in there today carting out tattered furniture. Mother is in a near catatonic state, but she assures me she's happy. She worries so for you.

I worry, as well. Ah, look at me. I started out so angry, but not even halfway through this piece of parchment, I'm turning into the concerned sister again. You make me so bitter, so annoyed sometimes. Yet I cannot help be concerned for your safety. I've fought a few Templars myself, Brother. You have, too. You've seen what I've done to them and the things they've done to me simply for being a mage. I hope that you will be a different breed, and that if you are, it will not burden you further. Despite how much it makes me angry that you've joined my enemy, I wish for your success.

You should see how green Gamlen is with envy. You can tell that he wants to move in with us, but Mother wouldn't allow it. I can't afford to feed him, as well, and he'd no doubt go around stealing from me at every turn. We've been buying so much furniture and carpets and silk dresses and bed covers that I'm dizzy looking at it all. To stop and think these things are mine is silly and foreign yet true.

I wonder if you remember that night before the Deep Roads like I do. Do you regret it? You were so frustrated, like you always are. Perhaps I was being stupid, trying to protect you. I shouldn't have barred you from going on the expedition. That wasn't my place. You're strong, if a little hot-headed. You proved that when you slammed me up against the bookcase, toppling all those volumes to the ratty floor of Gamlen's little shack. He lectured me after you stormed off. I didn't heal the bruises from your fingers, you know. They're gone now, but I kept them like a souvenir. I suppose I felt I had earned them.

With all this time to think about you, about our relationship, I think I've learned some things. You were right, actually. I do treat you like a child. I underestimate you constantly, and I wish that I hadn't. More than anything most nights, I wish you were here so I could argue with you. I never got to say goodbye to Bethany, and I don't want to lose you, Brother. I do love you, even if you don't care a fig for me. I love you, and I always will.

And now I'm positive you're rolling your eyes or even crumbling this paper up. I won't blame you. Mother's been visiting you constantly, and I wish I could go with her. That place—imagine—scares me, though. It looms ominously, with all those tranquil wandering about. They almost symbolize in my mind heads stuffed on pikes to warn mages away. No doubt my magic would make me a beacon. I'd be locked up in a second, so I stay at home. It's not like you want to see me anyway. It was just a thought.

Do you have enough power now, I wonder? Whether or not you realize it, you can ruin my life in an instant. Just one word from you could land me in the Gallows, locked away from the rest of the world. You said you wouldn't, but what's that worth if you're drunk one night or particularly angry with me? Of course, I'd never make it to the Gallows. You know me. I'd fight tooth and nail before they could lock me up. Death first, Brother. I'd rather be dead and free than alive and caged.

Maker, I'm starting to sound like Anders. You wouldn't believe the speech he gave me the other day. I must have said something flirtatious, and he went off on this huge rant about how my loving him would only end in disaster. I couldn't even remember what I said. I was so bored out of my bloody mind that I would have kissed an abomination to end it. Well, I suppose I could have just kissed Anders , and that would have ended it. Enjoy that image. Consider it punishment for slobbering all over Peaches in Lothering.

It must be this bottle of wine that's making me so sentimental. Fenris gave it to me for Mother, but it's halfway gone now. The candles are scarcely burning now, hot wax dripping all over the place. Everyone's asleep. Gamlen's snoring is rocking the house, and Spyder is snuffling on the floor. He misses you, too, you know.

Well, I'll stop prattling now because it's late. I've said too much already, Brother. Maker, it really must be the wine. I tell you. I suddenly remembered thunderstorms. Do you remember when you would crawl into bed with me because you were frightened of the thunder? Something that couldn't even hurt you! You were such a scrawny thing, always getting into trouble. I must have led you about by the hand until you were twelve. Then you didn't want to hold my hand anymore. You wouldn't sleep in my bed or share your breakfast with me. No, all I got were glares. Harsh words. Fights.

I've blackened your eyes too many times, Carver. This should, one day, end. Don't you think?

Somewhere deep inside you there must be some affection for me. Damn it, Carver! I've tried so bloody hard, don't you see that? Through all of the fights, all the times I've stood up for you, taken beatings in your name, hid you from aggressors, given you things that I had earned because you wanted them: shouldn't I get something in return? One kind word? Do you regret leaving me at all?

I don't think you understand. I'm alone now. I have to take care of Mother and Spyder and myself. Who's going to take care of me? Who's going to watch my back? Who can I trust, Brother? Anders? He's an abomination, a twisted creature of the Fade. Fenris? He despises mages. Isabela? A pirate thief. Aveline? Too busy. Varric? A silver-tongued liar. Merrill? A blood mage. You've left me here. You left me.

I'm so angry that you left. How am I supposed to make Mother happy? She always loved you two more. Not me. I'm the first born, not her baby. Now Bethany's gone. You're all she had left. Carver, she didn't even hug me goodbye when I went on the expedition even though my death was almost a guarantee. She let me go, but she clung to you like you were her child and I was just some rogue mage trying to lead you into temptation.

And that vulture, Meredith. She's already got wind of my magic, I'm sure. That woman can smell it a mile away. It won't be long before I have Templars pounding on my door. Do you think Mother can protect me? What can she do besides cry? I wonder if she would even bother to shed tears for me. Would she hug me goodbye then?

Isabela is suddenly tapping on my window. Forgive me, Brother. I went too far. If I had enough ink, I'd scribble out what I've written above. Then again, I'm not sure I'll even send this. You would be better off living in ignorance. It's lovely. Truly. Ha, there I am protecting you again. It's instinct by this point. I apologize.

Your bruised and not nearly drunk enough sister,

Marian Hawke

I just did this to help with my writer's block for Paradise for Lesser Men. It will be over quickly. Thanks for reading. Review please.