Leigh Hawke and her companions were leaving the Hanged Man after returning from the Wounded Coast. After a few rounds of drinks the group called it a night. Leigh and her sister Bethany only had a little ways to go to get home. Varric and Isabela both had rooms at the Hanged Man. Aveline and Fenris left together heading for Hightown. Merill had left hours earlier. Anders would make the lonely walk to Darktown.
"If you wait for a few minutes for me to get Bethany back to my uncle's I can walk you home Anders." Leigh did not like the idea of any of her friends being alone especially with all the slavers, carta, and thugs running the streets at night.
"I can take care of myself Hawke. I am a big boy. Thank you though." He bowed to her and went to leave. Leigh sighed then wrapped her arm around her sister's shoulder leading her home.
"You seem worried sister. Anders has survived this long alone I am sure he will be fine."
"I know Beth, I know. You know me I am forever the older sister. I don't like to see any of my family alone."
"Well you could always follow him to make sure he gets home safe." Leigh smiled at her baby sister. Once Leigh made sure her Bethany was safe at home she ran after Anders. The shadows were much deeper on this moonless night so ever the rogue she blended into to them. It did not take her to find the mage. As she feared he had gotten himself into trouble.
"We know your a mage. Now you are going to pay us protection or we will turn you into the Templars." The Coterie was well known for extorting money from anyone they could. Leigh fumed. They had gone to far this time attacking a man who did nothing but help people. Also the fact she counted him as a friend meant they were messing with her too.
"If you value your lives you will walk away now." From where Leigh was standing she could start see the faint blue glow erupt on Anders' skin telling her Justice was trying to break through. Anders leveled his staff at the thugs readying a spell. He did not realize one of their archers had him marked until the arrow went into his shoulder. That was all it took for Leigh to make her move. She flicked a miasma grenade in the middle of the crowd and ran for her friend.
Anders fell to his knees, his staff arm completely useless. Tears welled up in his eyes from the miasma and his lungs began to constrict. A firm arm wrapped around his waist and started lifting him up. He tried to pull away, but had no energy to fight.
"Run!" It was all the shadow said and he obeyed. He could hear the Coterie thugs yelling, but none seemed to follow. The shadow weaved him through the cramped throughways of Darktown til it found a hiding spot near his clinic. Once the coast was clear she went to assess his wound. "I'm a big boy he said, can take care of himself he said. Maker, Anders you almost got yourself killed." The flippant bell like voice of Leigh greeted his ears.
"The one and only."
"You followed me?" His voice sounded more surprised than angry. His shoulder throbbed and he let out a hiss when he tried to move. Leigh's firm hands pushed him back to sit down on some crates.
"Yes, and before you start yelling at me let me at least get that arrow out of your arm and bandage it." She routed through her pockets and found a leather tie wrapped around a piece of wood. "Here bit down on this while I pull the thing out." Doing as he was told Anders watched her eyes as she went to work breaking the shaft of the arrow before pulling it out. Her left hand sought out one of his as her right gripped the arrow. With one quick pull she had the arrow out, but not before he crushed her fingers in spasm. "Quite a grip you have for a mage."
"I didn't hurt you did I?"
"No, believe me my brother use to do far worse." A sad smile played on her lips then disappeared as quickly as it came. Taking pieces of her cloak she began to bandage his shoulder til she could get him back to his clinic. "Carver use to come home all the time with cuts and broken bones. My mother was not keen on the sight of blood so it was up to me and my father to fix him up. At first I was just the distraction, then after my father passed I became the healer. You learn a lot when your family has to stay isolated from everyone for fear they would call the Templars to take your sister away."
"I know, believe me I know. Is your brother here in Kirkwall too or did he stay in Fereldan?"
"He...he died when the darkspawn overtook Lothering."
"Hawke, I am so sorry. I didn't know."
"It's okay. I try not to talk about him much for Bethany and my mother's sakes. He was Bethany's twin and my parents only son." Anders left hand moved up and touched her cheek. He could feel her tears. For as strong as she acts he knew there was a human under that sarcastic rogue exterior. "Carver and I always butted heads. He hated the fact that when my father died I took on the roll of keeping all of us safe. He thought he should have been the man of the house, but he was only fifteen. He was lucky if he knew his arse from his elbow."
"You miss him don't you?" All Leigh could do was nod. A strangled sod broke from her lips as she fought to contain her tears. "Leigh, I..."
"Please, don't. I...I can't cry in front of you."
"Why? Your human Leigh you can cry."
"I don't want to cry. I hate crying. The last time I cried was when...was when my father died. I have to be strong for my family, for my friends. Crying solves nothing."
"And who gave you that fool notion? We are all adults Leigh we can help you by sharing the load. You don't have to do this alone."
"I can't fail again. If anything happens to any of you it will..." The last of her resolve faltered and she let her grief take hold. All Anders could do was pull her to him with his good arm and let her cry on his shoulder. Her body shook as she cried. Years of pent up grief and fear reared their ugly head.
"Shhh, I'm here." It sounded silly to say it, but deep down he meant it. Her arms wrapped around his waist like he was her anchor in this sea of grief. After what seemed like hours her sobs quieted and her breathing leveled. She looked up at him then turned away quickly. Wiping her face with what was left of her cloak.
"Anders, I am so sorry. You shouldn't have to deal with this."
"Leigh I told you about Justice and you barely batted a eyelash. It is only fair that I be here for you. You have saved my life from those thugs in the streets. If anything I owe you much more than lending you my shoulder to cry on."
"You owe me nothing. All the stupid trouble I get you all into I surprised you don't all tell me to go to hell."
"What is life without a bit of trouble? It makes things less boring. I don't regret anything I have done in the time I have spent with you. I don't think the others do either. Well maybe Fenris, but, no I will behave myself." A smirk twisted on her lips. "See there is the smile I was hoping to see."
"I swear the two of you remind me of Bethany and Carver. Always at each other' s throats, but when push comes to shove you will have the others back." She shook her head and laughed. "We better get you back to your clinic and really get that wound cleaned up and re-bandaged."
"Do you think the coast is clear?"
"Yes I do. The Coterie is mostly lazy, they are most likely gone by now. Wait here I will go check to see if the way is clear." Even without her dark cloak she blended into the shadows very well. He lost sight of her within seconds. After a few agonizing minutes of waiting she returned and led him home. "Alright take your shirt off."
"I have to check your shoulder and I can't do that with you heavy robes on so off with your shirt." Leigh stood in front of him with her hand on her hip giving him the "you better do what I say" look. "Now where do you keep your bandages?"
"They are in the back room. Cabinet on the left." She walked away and he began to take off his top. With a swift motion he sent a healing wave through his arm. "I guess she forgot I can heal myself. I can have some fun with this." Justice growled in the back of his head, but he didn't care. Most people he knew would not have come after him to make sure he made it home alright. The last time he had that was when he was with the Wardens. He missed the Commander the most. Ashlyn Therin had been a true friend. She even covered his escape when he left to come here. Leigh was an amazing woman. He tried not to be attracted to her, but he knew it was impossible not to like her.
"Alright let's take a look." Leigh with bandages in hand had returned. Anders had shrugged the robe off of his good arm, but it was still on his right shoulder. "Here let me help you get that off." Ever so slowly she eased the shirt off his shoulder. It took all his self control not to laugh his head off when she finally noticed he was healed. "Maker, how stupid can I be? I forgot you can heal yourself. You could have said something."
"And miss the look on your face?" Anders began to laugh til he couldn't breath or see from the tears his laughter had brought. Leigh gently smacked him in the back of the head and glared at him. "Oh don't be mad I was just having a little fun. Maker, I haven't laughed like that in a while."
"Evil little apostate."
"Hey now, no need for name calling. It was just a joke Hawke." She walked away from him for a moment then turned around. She had a mischievous look in her eyes. Anders gave a audible gulp knowing full well she would get him back for this.
"Your gonna pay for this you know that right?"
"Yes, but it was worth it." She smiled at him and shook her head. "Do your worst, my lady." Without warning she closed the distance between them crushing her lips to his. Anders froze, then relented reaching up to pull her closer. The feel of her fingers tracing circles on his chest drove him mad. With a growl he pulled her into his lap, releasing her mouth so he could plant kisses down her neck. Leigh moaned softly as she tangled her fingers in his hair.
"Maker, he can kiss. There is much more than meets the eye with this man." Anders claimed her mouth again and put much more passion behind this kiss. She felt his hands begin to roam her body finding the ties that held her in her leather armor. His fingers worked diligently to dislodge her. A sharp knocking at his clinic door broke the two apart. Leigh looked like a child being caught sneaking a cookie when she was told not to. She untangled herself from the mage and straightened her armor.
"Healer? Healer, please I need your help." The sound of a woman's voice came from the other side of the door. Anders quickly dressed and went for the door. Leigh grabbed his hand before he could open it.
"What if it is the Coterie? Let me open the door." She unsheathed her dagger and prepared herself. Slowly she opened the door to find a woman not much older than her holding a child.
"Please is the healer in. My son, he is with fever." Leigh stepped aside and let the woman in. Anders took the boy from her arms and began healing him. All the rogue could do was watch. This was something she use to watch her father do. There were times she would have given anything to have her father's gifts. To her there was no finer gift than that of a healer.
A few hours later when the boy out of danger from his fever Anders noticed Leigh was gone. He had been so busy healing the boy that he did not notice her leave. "Well that is a little rude she didn't even say goodbye." "She is still near by. There is something off about her. Almost like a echo." "What do you mean echo?" "I can feel a touch of magic in her, but it is bound, hidden. She is trouble my friend." "Are you sure?" "Yes." Anders touched his lips, he could still taste her. Deep down he wanted more, but he would not drag her down with him. He went to his cot and tried to rest a little. His dreams were haunted by her, but for the first time in a long time he did not want to wake up.