He watched in silence as she walked away. Every instinct told him to run after her, to beg if he had to, if only she would let him go with her, or even change her mind about leaving entirely and stay. But he did not. Her parting words still rang in his mind: "I am sorry, Aedan, but I just…I cannot. I cannot do it. I cannot take it. The confusion, the pain, you say you forgive me but I cannot forgive myself. I have to leave, and you will never see our child, or me, ever again." He said nothing as the woman he loved more than life itself cut his very soul to pieces with her words. But he knew he could not change how she felt. She loved him, and that was why she had to leave.
He closed his eyes to shut in the tears as he bowed his head in, if not acceptance, at least understanding. She leaned in to kiss him on the cheek, and as she drew back, her lips parted as if she was going to say something. At the last moment, she changed her mind, because she also knew there really wasn't anything else she could say. Instead she just took in the handsome face of the man she loved, the man she was condemning to a lifetime of struggle between sleepless nights and heartbreaking dreams.
Her eyes drifted slowly from his face to his left hand, where he still wore the ring she had given him. To her knowledge, he had never taken it off since the moment she had given it to him so many months ago. But his eyes were still closed, so he didn't see it.
She considered briefly the significance of that small band of gold. She hadn't quite understood why she had given it to him in the first place. At the time, she had told herself, and him, that it was a tracking ring so that she could locate him if he were taken by the enemy. He had made then an observation that still shook her to her core, that she might be linked to him just as surely as he was linked to her. He was right, and she was startled, not that she hadn't realized so before, but that she had, and had still given it to him. He had asked her, "Could I use it to find you, as well?" She hadn't known the answer then, and she still didn't know the answer now.
The Warden finally, stoically, opened his eyes again, having finally mastered the tears that were forming. He looked back and forth into her eyes, from the left one to the right and back again, so full of pain, confusion, and love at the same time. But he still did not speak. He still didn't know what to say. She began to draw away.
Then, as if a dam had broken, he stepped forward and enveloped her fully in a hug with which he hoped he could convey everything he felt. It would have to do, because he lacked the words, and he would get no other chance. She was surprised, but after a moment she relaxed and hugged him back. It seemed she, too, wanted to show him what she could not tell him. As he held her, felt her pressing back against him, he knew it would never be enough. He made one last effort to gather the words that were eluding him. He knew he could not make her stay, but he could make sure she knew how he felt.
He whispered to her then, "This changes nothing, Morrigan. I will love you until the day I die." After finally winning his battle to find his words, he instantly lost his war with his tears. Neither of them knew how long they held each other. It could have been just for a few seconds, but to each of them their embrace felt as though it had lasted just, unfortunately, short of forever. Finally, they broke their embrace, and as she turned to go, he whispered eleven more words: "We will hold each other again, Morrigan. This isn't the end." But since she was too busy fighting back her own tears, she did not hear him.
He watched her as she walked away, until she was nearly out of view, hoping against hope that she would turn to look back. Just before she turned the corner in the path that would take her out of view, he could not bear it any longer. He turned away, and began first to sob, and then to weep openly for all to see. For all to see, that is, except for her, who was too far away to see the shaking of his great shoulders as he wept. Because she did, you see, look back. But because his back was already turned, he did not see it.