This is the story of what comes after. It's sort of a companion piece to Apostate, and shares a lot of the same themes. Anders and Hawke, and perhaps a few others will make an appearance.
Hawke was laughing, with all of our friends. All of his friends. I doubt they're mine any longer. In all of that devastation, the ruin and bloodshed I'd created, it still felt good to see him laugh. To see that he still could.
Merrill threw her arms around him, grinning. He gave Fenris a little bow, and Fenris returned the gesture, smiling. Bethany was laughing and crying both, and Aveline had an arm around her.
The Knight-Commander was dead, Orsino was dead, and somehow, somehow, we had seen it through. We had saved the day. Hawke always does.
But he can't save me.
I still remember the anguish in his voice, the sadness, the rage-all of it was on me. I'd made him suffer this way.
When he said, "Just go, Anders. Get out of my city," I wished for a moment that he had killed me.
That wish comes and goes. Has for some time. But at that moment it was at its strongest, and I thought perhaps once this was all over, I'd bring the justice he was unable to.
I didn't go far. Just out of sight. And when he said he'd defend the mages, a part of me lit up. He and I never agreed on anything to do with mages. And I'd feared for a moment he'd join the Templars in their slaughter. I should have known he'd be able to see that the mages were innocent. It was my crime, not theirs. If anyone should die for it, it's me.
He had all of his friends with him, and I don't doubt their might. But he had no healer. I was the only one.
If something were to happen to Hawke...because of me, well, that would definitively answer the question. I would not be able, not be willing, to live after that. If anyone in Thedas deserved justice, it was Hawke.
I could not let him do this alone. He let me join the battle, and I fought like I never have before. Every one of us gave it our all. And somehow, we were victorious.
I should have been glad. I was glad, in a distant place, but more pressing was the relief I felt, flooding me, that Hawke had lived. That our friends had lived. And the despair. The guilt, the regret. And the tiny sliver of hope I could not entirely kill.
He turned from the celebration to look at me. Sometimes I can read his face, more often I can't. This was one of the times he was a mystery to me.
I dropped my eyes to the ground. I could not, could not meet his gaze.
He walked over to me and some desperate, yearning part of me let foolish words flow forth.
"After this, I will be hunted. There's no one in Thedas who will offer me shelter. But...if you would join me, I'd rather be on the run with you than safe anywhere else."
He looked at me for a long time, and it seemed like he was suddenly exhausted, shoulders slumped, face hopeless.
"You'd ask that?" he said, and there was an undercurrent of deep anger, flowing like lava beneath an ashen landscape. "I...I loved you."
A little part of me died to hear him use the past tense.
"I've protected you for six years," he said. "And you do...this." He waved his hand to indicate everything I'd destroyed, the not yet cold corpses of the people I had killed.
"It's not enough that you're a murderer!" he said, voice rising. "It's not enough that you manipulated me into helping you do this! But you took the person I loved most, and threw his life away! You asked me to kill you, Anders!"
He takes a deep breath, glares at me. I've never seen him furious like this before.
"And now you're asking me if I'd stay with you?"
He laughs, and there is no mirth in it, just bitterness.
"I'll get you out of the city. That's it. You're on your own, after that."
Aveline steps forward.
"He has to turn himself in, Hawke. There are proper ways to do this. There needs to be a trial, and justice."
"If I hear the word 'justice' one more time, I'm going to kill someone," said Hawke, and I didn't doubt him for a second.
"I mean it. He is a dangerous criminal. Lover or not, you can't help him escape."
Hawke just turned and looked at her. They locked eyes for a long time, and I wondered what could possibly be there, written on that face I knew so well.
Aveline is not the type to back down. But she did.
Hawke turned back to me. "Let's go," he said. "The chaos will cover your escape. And the sooner you're gone from Kirkwall, the better."
Maker, I wanted to plead with him, to beg him to love me or to kill me, I'm not sure which.
But some tenacious part of me, the part that escaped from the Circle of Magi twelve times, willed me to survive. So I kept my head down and followed him through the maze of streets. He took me to Darktown without asking, and I packed a few things, quickly. Things I had moved into the estate in Hightown, and then back to the clinic again. And now, one last time, on a journey with no destination beyond "away."
I have been on the run so many times before, but I have never left anything I cared so much about behind. Never had anything to care about.
He guided me to the Wounded Coast. He was right about the chaos, no one looked twice at us, they were looking at the eerie red sky.
Justice was quiet, for once. I thought he'd be elated, exultant, to see our plan blossom into these vivid and terrible colors. Instead, it was just me. And my despair.
Hawke and I stood on the coast. It was hard to met his eyes, they were cold, harsh, as though he'd built a glass wall between us.
I wanted to touch him, say something, somehow bridge the chasm between us. But what could I say? I had said it all, and more, when the Chantry filled with red light and shattered.
I reached a hand towards him and he caught it, easily, with the lightning reflexes of a trained warrior.
"Don't get yourself killed," he said. He turned abruptly and left. I watched him go until I couldn't see him any longer. Desolation rolled over me in waves, thick and relentless. Like blood.
I drowned us both in blood. In the end, it was for Justice. Not for Hawke.
I set off across the coast, as quickly as I could manage. It wouldn't be long before they hunted me in earnest.