Part 3: What We Could Have Been

Once we had buried Anders and committed his soul to the Maker, it was too late to find somewhere to rest for the night so we stayed at his camp until morning.  Fenris was quiet, tending to the fire and our dinner while I sat by the break in the stone wall with Áedán, looking out into the night.

My mind was whirling.  I was at peace with myself dammit!  I did the right thing!  He had killed so many in his pursuit for equality for mages.  No one would fault me for killing him.

Would they?

Finally I couldn’t take the silence anymore.

“Sweet Andraste’s tits Fenris!” I exclaimed.  “Can’t you say something instead of just sitting there all quiet and understanding?”

Fenris looked up at me in surprise as I stalked over to him and stood there hands on my hips, glaring down at him.  Fenris dusted his hands off and slowly stood up to face me.

“What would you have me say?” he asked slowly.  “You just killed and buried a man who, either directly or indirectly through his actions caused the deaths of countless innocents.  A man who was once your friend, comrade in arms, and who used you to further his own agenda.  What can I say to that?” He shrugged his shoulders and opened his hands helplessly.

“If you’re looking for absolution or condemnation Tanis, you won’t find it here,” he continued.  “I think he deserved to die for what he was and what he did.  But you were the one who made the decision to take his life for your own reasons.”  He put his hands on my shoulders.

“I’ll not say you were wrong for what you did, for many including myself would think you did the right thing.  And I won’t say you were right either, because I know that an eye for an eye does not lead to peace.  Only you can say for yourself if what you did was right.  So long as you can live with what has happened here tonight, that’s all that matters.”

I let out a deep breath I hadn’t realized I’d been holding as I leaned into him.  His arms tightened briefly around me before he let me go, crouching down again to tend the fire.  I crouched next to him and watched as he prepared our meal.

“Thank you Fenris,” I said at last.  “I thought I was okay with it, but then I just started having all these doubts, I just needed to know…” I paused.

“I think I just needed to know that you don’t think any less of me.”

Fenris shook his head at me.  “You’re getting soft Tani,” he said to me with a smile.  “If seeing you dancing drunk and half naked on the bar of the Hanged Man with Isabela doesn’t change my opinion of you, I don’t think anything will.”

“I never did that!” I gasped.

“That you remember,” he said dryly.

“You’re horrible,” I chuckled as I moved over to Anders’ bags.  Anders had told me to take and use or sell what I needed of his things.  I knew I wouldn’t be able to do that for a while, but I figured I could at least sort the stuff out while Fenris cooked our meal.

The laughter died on my lips as I reached for the first bag.  Anders always was a light traveler, aside from his staff there were only two bags.  One I knew from experience would most likely be supplies, the other clothing and what few personal effects he deemed worthwhile to carry around.  I opened the bag I reached for and was confronted with a pouch designed to carry vials of potions.  I opened it and saw lyrium and health potions, along with a few others I couldn’t identify.  I set the pouch aside.  The health potions were definitely useful, but we’d need to go somewhere to figure out if the so far unidentified ones were worth keeping or selling.

I rummaged through the rest of the bag and found more supplies.  Bread, cheese, a few sausages, some dried meat, a lot of bandages, and another pouch containing various herbs.  I repacked the bag as keep because most of the stuff would be useful and set to work on the next one.

Just as I thought; clothing and personal effects.  Robes, his grimoire, his memoirs, and an old cat toy I’m assuming he kept to remind himself of the cat he had as a Grey Warden, Sir Pounce-a-lot.  He loved that cat.  I remember he spent hours telling me about his antics until I swear I was growing my own whiskers.  But there was nothing interesting until I reached the bottom of the bag.

My fingers brushed paper wrapped around something round and hard.  I drew it out and saw a note wrapped around the Tevinter Chantry amulet I had found on our travels together and given to him as s gift.  My heart stopped a moment.  I had given him the amulet before I knew how radical his ideas were.  Before I left him.

I unwrapped the note from the amulet, and with shaking hands, began to read it.

To my love, Tanis,

If you are reading this, I am dead.  And I hope I was able to see you one last time.  I am leaving you the amulet you gave me, as a remembrance of times when things between us were better, happier.  I hope I was able to tell you before I died how sorry I am for everything.  I don’t blame you for anything.  I never did.  The hurt got in the way and blinded me for a bit, but I never blamed you for leaving me.  I think a part of me knew our paths were too different; I just didn’t want to accept it.

And as much as I wish we could have found happiness together, I hope you will find yours with Fenris. 

Take care of yourself my love.

-A

Tears pricked my eyes after I had finished reading the note.  I didn’t hear Fenris come up behind me until he put his hand on my shoulder.

“Final love note from Anders?” he asked.  I nodded and sighed as I wiped the tears from my eyes.  We stayed there as we were for a long moment before he finally asked a question I am sure had been plaguing him for ages.

“Do you ever regret…us?” he said softly.

I looked at him.  “You’re asking me if I regret picking the escaped elven slave over the radical abomination mage?” I asked dryly.

Fenris flushed with anger as he stood up.  I scrambled to my feet and caught his arm as he turned from me.

“Fenris don’t do this,” I said firmly.  “You heard what I told Anders.  We never had a shot.  I would have wound up hating him in the end.”  I gently placed my hand along his cheek.

“I will never regret anything when it comes to you.”

Fenris held my hand against his cheek as he nodded.  “I had to-”

“I know,” I interrupted.  “With everything these past few months while we’ve been tracking him, I know.  And I’m sorry for making you doubt me.”

Fenris let go of my hand and I slipped my arm around his waist.

“Now!” I said briskly, steering him towards the fire.  “What’s for dinner?”

Part 5: Back To Kirkwall

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