The worst thing about being dumped wasn't the loneliness, or the sexual frustration, or the crushing end of a cherished and secret dream-those were all things Anders was used to. The worst part was the shame he felt at being such a fool. Foolish for misjudging something…someone so badly.

Maker's balls-he had told Hawke he loved him. He had never said that to anyone but Karl, never thought he would say it to anyone again. He had fought against his feelings for Hawke, but finally…finally, when he felt like he would burst if he held it in any longer, he had nerved up and said it. And what was his precious Hawke's response?

You just weren't that good.

Weren't that good! To him, of all people! Never mind that that he had basically laid his heart at the warrior's feet, only to have it stomped flat by a steel shod foot; to get told that he was basically a lousy lay in the process? It was unacceptable!

He had bedded enough people over the years to qualify to give lessons. He got propositioned every time he went into the Blooming Rose because people recognized that he could be a professional. Isabela remembered him for his technique. He had, at one time, been a bonafide slut! Weren't that good indeed!

In a distant part of his mind he could feel the spirit's displeasure that he was so outraged over something Justice thought was irrelevant. He didn't care. Justice had disapproved of his attraction to Hawke from the beginning and he was not in the mood for any "I told you sos".

But having the spirit of Justice residing in your head made it difficult to lie to yourself, so he had to admit that even though his pride was insulted, the feeling of being a fool really was the worst thing. He had known that Hawke was could be a hard man, that he was always looking out for himself. Anders had always found excuses or a justification for his behavior in his head. Now he was forced to admit he had been fooling himself.

When the warrior had slept with Isabella, he hadn't blamed him. She had practically climbed into Hawke's lap after their first meeting, and they had seemed to have an agreement that it was nothing more than sex.

When Hawke had slept with Fenris he couldn't blame him either, although that had stung a bit more. The broody elf was gorgeous, if a complete beast, and Hawke had the sense to keep it to a one night fling.

Now that he had been reduced to a one night fling he was starting to see things in a different light. And not a flattering light either. Hawke had used him, just like he had used the others.

Since getting drunk wasn't really an option anymore, and he had been avoiding anything to do with the mage cause since the "incident" with Ella, the only thing left for him to do was throw himself into his work at the clinic. So for a few weeks he didn't even venture out of Darktown except to restock his potions and supplies.

The end of one particularly long day found him in the back of the clinic washing bloodstains and worse out of the few linens he had. He was bent over a small washtub and wishing madly that someone had created a cleaning spell when a deep voice almost made him fall forward into the wash.

"Varric was wondering if you were ever going to join us for Wicked Grace again. You're down at least two rounds of drinks."

Anders sighed to himself, unwilling to look up at the elf who was standing just a few feet away. Of all the people he didn't want to see right now, the broody Tevinter was right at the top of the list. His mood, which had been teetering back and forth between anger and hurt, now settled firmly on the anger side.

"Oh, just what I needed. Have you come here to gloat?"

The moment of silence stretched out for so long he wondered if the elf had left as quietly as he came, but when he looked up Fenris was standing a short distance away. He was shifting his weight from foot to foot and his gaze was flicking around the room, looking at anything but Anders. If he didn't know better he'd think the elf was nervous. Finally Fenris looked at him as he rumbled out his answer.


"Well, I'm glad you took the time to craft that response. Your eloquence is stunning, really."

The Tevinter flushed and looked away again. Anders expected a sharp reply, but when the elf spoke again his voice lacked its customary bite.

"I came here to tell you…even a mage does not deserve to be treated the way Hawke treated you."

The words sparked an even greater fury in him. He didn't know what this was about, but the last thing he needed was the broody elf's half-assed pity.

"Oh, even a mage, is it? We deserve whatever other torture comes our way, but this is just a step too far?"

Fenris flushed even more, shaking his head and taking a half step towards him.

"That is not…I meant that…"

Anders had risen to his feet, grateful for the inches of height he had over the elf as he moved closer to him. He snarled right into the Tevinter's face.

"You can just cram it, you mage-hating hypocrite! You're offering me pity now, when you said I deserved to be Tranquil?"

Standing just a foot away, he couldn't miss the look of shock that flashed through those green eyes.

"Venhedis mage, I never said that I wanted you to be Tranquil!"

"You bloody liar! When we were talking about Karl and I said no mage deserved that fate, you said that some mages do. And you said it in that snide voice of yours, so you obviously meant me."

He watched the familiar scowl settle onto the elf's face as the warrior flung his arms out in frustration.

"Idiot! I didn't mean you, I meant Danarius and Hadriana. You know, the two mages who made my life a misery? Am I not allowed revenge fantasies too?"

Anders wasn't in the mood to process that. In fact, he wasn't in the mood to deal with the elf at all. He turned his back and knelt down in front of the wash tub again, saying dismissively as he did,

"If you have nothing else to bother me about you should just go."

He could only handle staying quiet for a few minutes, but when he turned back to say something else the elf was already gone. The empty clinic was just as gloomy as it was before, with no sound except the dripping ceiling and the background murmur of Darktown. His anger drained out of him, leaving him feeling oddly flat and depressed as he muttered to himself,

"Well, that was...weird."