“What?” she said. “Cullen wouldn’t dare…”
“I don’t know who ordered them, but I know they’re on their way now,” Varric said. “I’ll get to Daisy, if you run…”
“Maker curse it,” she swore, getting to her feet. Fenris caught her arm, however.
“You’d do better not to go, Hawke. We don’t know how many there’ll be, on your own you…”
“Come with me then,” she snarled, then turned.
She was already running, not checking to see if he was following. Anders was supposed to be under her protection. Meredith wouldn’t dare hurt him.
Unless this was some sort of… show of power. The bitch couldn’t touch Hawke, not with the support of the nobles behind her, not when she was The Champion Of Kirkwall, but Anders… he was a thorn in the templars’ side, a figurehead for the mage resistance, getting rid of him would hurt the cause almost as much as killing her would.
Holy maker let me get there in time.
She wasn’t in time. They were templars, she could tell, despite their rough clothing, despicable, to have disguised themselves as the sick, he would never have suspected… but they died silently, quickly and messily, one to ice and fire, and one to Fenris’ sword, not expecting an attack from someone other than the apostate they’d been sent to kill. And they had been sent to kill him. The limp form curled in a ball in the middle of the clinic was still Anders, no brand graced his forehead.
Her magic flared, but her shoulders slumped as she saw the two gaping wounds in his front. Magebane, and a lot of it. His breath was shallow and bubbling ominously.
“No. No no, Anders… no…” she slid to her knees beside him, desperately calling forth magic. But the magebane sapped at her reserves. Healing spells had to be that much more powerful, needed that much more mana behind them to make headway against the poison. And she hadn’t brought any potions with her.
“He is an abomination Hawke. He would only turn on you.” Andraste fuck the elf for being just as fast as she was.
“Hawke, he is beyond help. You exhaust yourself for nothing.”
“Fenris, you’re not the healer here, and so help me if you don’t shut up I’ll kill you with my bare hands.” Her magic spluttered and died. It wasn’t enough. “No! Oh no, please…”
“Hawke…” Fenris’ hand touched her shoulder.
She rounded on him, tears scattering, one hand still buried in the feathers at Anders’ shoulder, trying, all the time trying to find reserves of magic that simply weren’t there…
“I’m so sick of your shit, Fenris. For six years it’s been nothing but mages are dangerous, what does magic touch that it doesn’t spoil, mages will turn to blood magic if they get their hair pulled, and what have you been doing all this time? Sitting in your mansion? Reading? You were willing enough to fuck me and run out on me, but now, because I’ve chosen someone who doesn’t think I’m worthless, who thinks my talents are something to be proud of, you want me to let him die? For six years he’s done nothing but help people, heal the sick, never asking for payment, while you’ve been festering in your mansion with your wine and your hatred and you have the gall to tell me he’s dangerous when he’s done nothing to harm you or anyone else…”
“He almost killed…”
“Almost. I stopped him, in case you’ve forgotten. The one time I tried to stop you from killing someone out of hand you completely ignored me and ripped her heart out of her chest. Anders controlled himself. You never have.”
“Fuck off, Fenris. Let me heal the man I love, and who loves me back, and doesn’t want me to be something other than what I am. A mage. Free. You think you’ve escaped Danarius? I say his shackles are still firmly in place. And they suit you.”
“Get out.” She pulled Anders’ limp form into her arms, smoothing his hair back from his face, watching the rise and fall of his chest as though it were the only thing keeping her alive. I’m not good enough. Maker, help me I’m not good enough to save him. If only Merrill were here… if I knew what Alim had known, in the deep roads, I could do this. And I would. Oh, Anders, my love, I would, even though you would hate me forever for doing it, because I couldn’t stand to be in this world without you in it, not any more.
…Justice, why aren’t you keeping him alive? What use is a dead mage to your cause?
There was a flare of blue. “I can help,” Fenris’ voice was hesitant as he held out his hand to her. “Danarius had me do this… sometimes. It hurts me. But if it will help you heal him…”
She looked at him, glowing blue in the dimness, and realised what he meant. Without hesitation she grasped his hand, sucking power from the lyrium in his skin and using it to replenish her mana, ignoring the gasp of pain that was forced from between the elf’s lips as he sank to his knees. The healing magic that poured from her into Anders body purged the poison, forced the wounds in his chest closed and she knew they would scar, but she didn’t care, he was becoming whole before her eyes and it wasn’t too late and she hadn’t had to cut herself and sweet Andraste just let him live, please I don’t want to lose anyone else…
She continued to pump magic into Anders for a good while after she was certain the wounds were closed, even though Fenris was gasping and sweating with the pain she was causing him. When finally she released the elf he collapsed on the floor, still. She wondered, distantly, if she’d killed him. She almost hoped she had.
Anders’ eyes fluttered open and she let out a breathy laugh of relief.
“Saoirse?” he said, then coughed a great gout of red over her robes. One of the knives had pierced a lung. If she’d been seconds later he would have drowned in his own blood.
“Anders. Maker’s cock Anders I almost lost you.” Hysterical laughter bubbled from her lips and she crushed his head into her chest, rocking back and forth. His arms came up around her weakly and she felt him chuckle.
“You’re picking up gutter speak,” he rasped.
“Picking it up? I invented it,” she laughed, burying her head in his neck, breathing in his scent.
“Andraste, Saoirse, I’ve got blood all over you…”
“Fuck it. I don’t care. Kiss me right now.”
“I would, but you’re holding me too tightly,” Anders struggled a little against her until he was sitting up on his own. His skin was still pale and flecked with blood, but she’d never seen anything as beautiful. He cradled her face in his hands and brushed tears away with his thumb. “You’re shaking,” he said, a note of wonder in his voice.
“Oh Maker, Anders. Don’t leave me. Please.”
He blinked and griped her tighter. “Saoirse, I’m not going anywhere,” he said softly.
He leant his forehead on hers. “I promise.” They kissed, his mouth soft and hesitant at first, but she forced him passionate, until they were both gasping and clawing at each other. It took them a while to realise they were still on the dirt floor of the clinic. Anders pulled back, most of his colour restored now, grinning at her.
They were alone. Fenris must have left at some stage. She found she didn’t care.
“Let’s go home,” she said, helping him to his feet.
“I won’t argue,” he replied.