Title: Soulmates
Author: karebear
Rating: T
Characters: Anders, (female mage) Hawke
Standard Disclaimer (Dragon Age): I don't own these characters or the world they inhabit. Bioware built the sandbox. I just play in it.
Summary: Connected oneshots. A deeper exploration of Anders and Hawke.

Notes: So I'll be honest here... when I write Anders, I completely ignore Justice - he just doesn't exist in my world because my headcanon Anders is quite fucked up enough psychologically without being possessed. If you want Justice to be a part of this story, I shouldn't ever directly contradict the canon, but I'll never mention possession either. On purpose. Anders' many issues will manifest in other ways (And Hawke's got drama of her own).

She teases.

He laughs nervously, tells her not to get involved with him, because it will not end well, and she sees the flash of genuine fear in his eyes, and she feels the familiar uncertainty kick back in, threading through her heartbeat.

She looks away, kicks at the ground. She wants to tell him that she didn't mean it, but that's not true, she did, she wants him, she wants... something. Connection.

She never thought she'd ever meet someone who understands what her life is. Apostate.

They live a life alone, layers of secrets and shields and fear, never ever trusting, always ready to run.

She has a family, but even there, even with them, she is alone.

Bethany... Bethany was her baby sister, she couldn't talk to her honestly about any of her real fears. She knows her father had told her things that Bethany never knew, trusting her to be strong enough to take care of the littler ones in case anything ever happened. He wanted her to understand why she needed to run, why he ran, why her life is the way it is.

Her father is dead now, and so is Bethany.

She has a brother, and a mother, but they can't know the things she needs the way Daddy did. It's not their fault - they can't help not being mages any more than she can help being one. In their own ways, they protect her. She knows she's lucky, that most families would have abandoned her to the Circle when she was seven or eight years old and been happy to do it.

The idea of the Circle haunts her nightmares, she knows she'd rather die than go there.

Except there's still the part of her that isn't sure, the whispering conversations with Bethany in the night: maybe it's not really that bad, surely it can't be worse than never knowing, every night as you try to fall asleep, if tomorrow is the day they come for you.

She'd almost wanted to believe it, until the templars killed her father.

Cold, merciless, slicing him down while she watched, hidden, frozen with fear (just like he taught her - hide, don't fight, no matter what.)

If they had seen her, she would have died with him in that field.

He never did anything wrong, except be born a mage.

She's guilty of the same crime.

And so is the man in front of her now, with the smile that masks his real feelings and she gets that. His eyes flicker dark with rage against a world that condemns them both.

He'd lost a good friend to the templars' righteous need for control, just like she'd lost her father.

But he heals people, doesn't he?

Somehow still, he trusts the world enough to help the people nobody else cares about.

And they fought the templars and they're still here, still alive, still breathing, and her heart is racing and she feels like she's one step away from crying because this shouldn't be possible.

She is pulsing with restless energy, and anger still crashing in waves from the fight, and survival instinct still screaming at her to run, and how is it that he seems so calm?

"Don't get involved."

But she's already involved, damn it.