Author's Notes: All right everyone, this is it! This is the final chapter. I can't believe this story is coming to an end. It's been a fun ride, and I hope you all enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. Though this is short, it remains one of my favorite parts of the story. The friendship that grew between Thayer and Garrett really surprised me-It blossomed far more than I ever thought possible.
The final confrontation with Meredith had effectively wiped out a good portion of the Gallows in lower Kirkwall. Her lyrium blade had caused more than its fair share of damage and trouble, but the combined powers of Thayer, Alistair, Hawke and his companions, along with several other helpful sources, overthrew Meredith and her reign of terror.
In her stead, Cullen was named Knight-Commander. He had come a long way from being a single Templar posted outside the Fereldan Circle Tower, which was a feat in itself. Hard work and persistence clearly had paid off for him.
But despite all of the cheers and celebrations over the end of her tyrannical rampage, Thayer's mind remained elsewhere.
At the end of the battle, after all was said and done, they returned to the Hawke estate to celebrate. Garrett remained part of the festivities until the party began to die off, after which point he disappeared. Nobody seemed to notice aside from Thayer, who took it upon himself to locate him. It took quite some time searching to do so. Thayer located his cousin on the back veranda attached to his mother's bedroom—the one room he'd specifically stated after her death that he would not be entering for a long time.
"Clever hiding spot," he told the other dark haired man, stepping out into the warm night air.
"Well. If anyone was going to find me, I knew it would be you."
Hawke loosely linked his hands together behind his back. He stared over the sprawling city of Kirkwall beneath him. In the distance, one could see the damage done to the Gallows. Smoke still billowed from fires that had finally begun to dissipate. To the east was another dark cloud of smoke thanks to the chantry's explosion.
Neither man said anything for some time. Thayer wanted his presence to simply sink in. He would wait until Hawke was prepared to speak.
Which apparently was happening sooner rather than later.
"I can't believe what's happened."
"Me, either. We're in quite the pickle."
Garrett laughed. "Quite the pickle? Well, when you put it that way…"
He made a good point. With their chapel destroyed and Meredith taken down, Thayer knew the Chantry would view the happenings as a direct attack against them as a whole. The fight between the Templars and the mages that had been on the rise for years would finally escalate beyond proportion, perhaps even into a full out war.
Oh, yes, Thayer thought. This was quite the pickle.
"Do you regret what you've done?" Thayer asked, looking at his cousin in the dimly lit night.
"Not for a moment," Garrett replied. "Perhaps Anders was right. Perhaps it's better now that the Chantry sees we aren't willing to be oppressed anymore. Too many people died tonight."
Thayer's stomach tightened. "And what about Anders? Do you regret that?"
Hawke sighed. He remained silent for quite a while. When the silence broke, he spoke with a completive tone.
"I will never get over having to kill him, I think. I loved him, Thayer. I truly did. You know that." He turned to his cousin. To his surprise, Thayer saw raw, powerful emotion gleaming in his eyes. It did not disappear, even when Hawke glanced away. "But what he did was unforgivable. To slaughter so many innocent people just to prove a point…in the end, it was no better than Meredith. Innocents don't deserve to be harmed in the name of radical progress. It only incites more fear and loathing."
"Anders was a good man," Thayer said. "I feel as though his merging with Justice skewed that."
"I don't for one minute," Garrett said quickly. He looked down at the polished surface of the veranda's floor. "Nothing Anders did was solely due to Justice. The spirit simply amplified what was already there. He lived a troubled life, cousin. Some of the things he'd told me about his past…I'm not surprised what happened, happened. Maybe I turned a blind eye to it because of love."
Thayer couldn't help but be curious. "Would you have truly helped him?"
"I'll never know. In the heat of the moment, I could have been persuaded, I think. Hell, to save the love of my life, I very well could have persuaded. But watching all of those people just…die…" Garrett shook his head. "Aveline was right. Nothing could justify the means, not even the end of the oppressive Circle."
He shook his head, closing his eyes. "I'll miss him each and every day, but he understood what had to be done. Eventually I'll come to accept it fully, too. Maybe."
"What will you do now?"
"I don't know. I helped destroy countless pieces of property. I was an unwitting accomplice in the destruction of the longest standing building in the nation, and the consequent death of dozens of innocent people. I suppose I'm a rebel again. A criminal."
"In that case, where will you go?"
"Anywhere but here," Garrett replied. "It's only a matter of days before Cullen takes over Meredith's position completely and is pressured to take action against me for all the damages done." He looked up into the starry sky. "I have no mother any more. No father. No sister. Then there's my brother, who's gone back with his Warden companions. My only family here in Kirkwall is my Uncle Gamlen, who would rather have nothing more to do with me than I him."
"You have me, though."
Hawke smiled faintly. "I suppose that's true, isn't it? Maybe I should just abandon Kirkwall and go back to Ferelden with you. I miss it there."
"You could always help me train the next group of Magi Wardens," Thayer suggested. "We'd just have to find some place to hide you, as I imagine they'll go right for me to figure out your location."
"What a legacy, hm? I come to Kirkwall as a nobody, become the city's champion and then manage to lose it all in one fell swoop. Well, assuming that I'm right about Cullen having to indict me."
The idea hit Thayer like a ton of bricks. "What if I spoke with Carver's superiors about having him brought back to Ferelden to serve under my order?"
For the first time in ages, a true smile appeared on Hawke's face. "That'd be quite nice, I daresay. Supposing Carver isn't too big for his britches now as a Warden."
"Lots of decisions lie ahead of us," Thayer said. "But at least we're not alone, right? We're family."
"And family sticks together."
Never in a million years would Thayer have thought his path would lead him to standing where he did at that exact moment. However, what he did know was that things happened for a reason. Who knew where his path would lead him now? Who knew where Garrett's would lead him?
The uncertainty of the future ahead, though daunting, remained a challenge that Thayer knew he would happily see head on. With his family and friends by his side, he knew things would be all right.
His journey was far from over.