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Divine Bad-Luck

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Carver Hawke was in the wrong place and the wrong time. Yet, again. He can't quite recall the events at the conclave; it was all a hazy blur. And now folks were bowing and praising his sodding name—just what he needs!

Somehow, this must be Garrett's fault.

More importantly: the ground was bloody cold and Cullen was avoiding him.

Carver cursed bitterly as his cold-slowed hands thawed by the fire. Why set up shop in a frozen wasteland when there was a perfectly warm and comfortable town in the Hinterlands? The refugees at the Crossroads could certainly use the protection and The Inquisition's resources. He still remembered what it was like to be cold with no home. The uncertainty of when the next meal would come.

Despite his protests— he was a Templar after all not some bleeding Chantry Brother—the seeker and the spymaster took it upon themselves to place him on a very tall pedestal. This was Garrett's job, not his. It'd taken years to get out from under his big brother's shadow and find a space for himself. Carver was no hero, and he had found some measure of peace with that.

But that peace seemed to be at an end. After his botched, near-death attempt at closing the blighted hole in the sky, he'd settled into his role as “Herald” with relative ease. So long as he didn't look at the lashing, angry, mildly uncomfortable mark on his hand, he could almost convince himself that he was just doing a Templar’s duty— protecting Thedas for the dangers of magic.

The magic just happened to also be part of his bleeding palm.

Except it wasn't that simple, not by a long shot. It wasn't just a mages fire he found himself countering, it was Templar’s blades. Blades which should have been friendly. That was what cut the deepest. Carver agonized over who those zealous, corrupt Templars were. Had they been at Kirkwall? Did he serve with them?He had known it was bad out there—he was afterall at Kirkwall when Knight Commander Meredith turned into a cursed statue after trying to kill them all. Yet it wasn’t until he was in the thick of the chaotic fighting that he truly understood: They would not stop until the whole world burned.

He flexed his marked hand, staring down at the unnatural green. It was a strange, tugging, hollow feeling. The mark gave him tunnel-vision and stung his eyes.

Was doing this like staring at the sun? Maybe he should stop. He let out a strained laugh at the idea of going blind from staring at his own cursed hand. Maker.

Cullen always appreciated his morbid humour. Gallows humour. Carver dragged his gaze away from his hand and poked at the logs in the fire.

Cullen.

Once his superior, then his lover, then his ex-lover, and now? Carver had let himself forget Cullen over the past year and had thought he'd been doing well, focusing on duty and survival after that. He had no idea where he stood with Cullen, and that made him frustrated and want to hit something. Too bad the training dummies were next to the object of his frustration.

Carver flopped back on his bed with a heavy sigh. He stared up at the stained wooden ceiling, at the water stains and cobwebs. He missed his friends in Kirkwall, such as they were. He even thought fondly of his brother, though it was hard to admit it in the light of day.

And then there was Cullen... him being so close, after so long apart it felt almost surreal. Not to mention, Cullen had barely acknowledged Carver's existence at all which just added weight to Carver’s ‘this was all just a really bad dream’ theory. From the moment he woke up in Haven, Cullen treated him like any other visitor, all abrupt, curt nods and acknowledgements. No hint of familiarity of their time in Kirkwall, none of Cullen's warm smiles or sparkling eyes.

Cullen's sparkling eyes. Maker, he was hopeless if that's what he's thinking about at a time when the sky is all but torn open and bleeding demons. He could see Garrett's smirking, smug face now. Ugh.

Carver rubbed his face with his hands in frustration at the painful, wonderful memories. His life in the templars had felt solid and real, more so than Haven at any rate. Cullen would always be his commander, whether they were part of the Order or no. Loyalty was not that easily broken, at least for him.

It was this thinking that had lead Carver to straighten up in agreement to all of Cullen’s proposals as if they were Commander and Lieutenant; a comforting familiarity. The curt Sers slipped from his mouth easily as he agreed to all manner of requests without a second thought. Find a Chantry Mother—check, help the refugees and spread word of the Inquisition— check, enter a viper’s nest of Chantry busy-bodies— check, find out where the Templars have holed up— check... 

If Cassandra and Leliana had any qualms about his unwavering agreement to Cullen’s requests, or his deference, they held their tongue. He was glad, he wasn't sure he could bear looking too closely into the still raw wound of rejection. It was so much easier to pretend that everything was fine. Garrett always did say he was a born follower. Carver was almost fine with that.

It was easy to pretend, but reality came slamming into focus every time he watched Cullen with his recruits. It was a harsh reminder that he was no longer part of his command. No longer a Templar. No longer anything to Cullen. He wished he had Garrett's charm, he'd just saunter up to even the chilliest person and make them love him within five minutes.

For Carver, love had been a slow, hazy dream. Garrett always teased him about his failed encounters, his awkward, stilted jokes. He had none of the grace that Garrett and his Farther had in spades. Still, he'd had one moment that had been just his and Cullen's and it hadn't need any of Garrett's charm or wit and flash of magic. Cullen had needed him, Mabari tattoo, scars, and all. It had been a moment that felt weighted and important, like the start of something rather than the end. Their ranks and confining armour had been left outside the door. It was just Cullen’s lips and body melting into his.

But then Cullen had left the Templars. He'd refused to let Carver join him. “The Order needs you", he had said. His determination masking pain that Carver found difficult to ignore.

"They need someone who will care for them, it cannot be I." His voice had been gentle, not quite a request. But it was Cullen asking, so while Carver felt angry and hurt, he agreed without questioning or fighting it. At the time it seemed logical, his commander asked, so he obeyed, how could he not?

Sodding duty. Carver should have gone after him. Perhaps finally have rejected an order and done something he knew in his heart was right. Maybe then he’d be happy in the Free Marches with his Commander at his side rather than closing sky holes and fighting demons.

It didn't matter now he supposed, time was irrevocable. His hand glowed green now, and with it he had importance and a heroic duty that he always thought he wanted but which instead just left a bitter taste in his mouth. He wished this could somehow be Garrett’s fault and Garrett's mess to fix. It would be just like him to swoop in and save the day. And then Carver could sneer and scoff and leave the hard decisions to him... but no.

 *  

When Cullen finally looked at him, really looked at him, it was when the world was ending‑ because, of course it was.

Cullen paced, debating the best way to die rather than be consumed by the flames of some ancient darkspawn dragon. And Cullen wanted to end it in some spiteful last stand? Carver felt like kissing him or yelling at him, or BOTH. He was on edge, skin buzzing and adrenaline pumping.

He may have had nothing left to lose so Carver respectfully disagrees with this particular order. For once.

“I will not abandon you and I will not die here.” He said, voice snapping back at Cullen. His emotions were ragged on his tongue. The bite of his words forced Cullen to finally give Carver his full attention, his eyes going wide with stunned shock.

Carver wanted to shake him. Or kiss him. Always with the kissing. No amount of near-death or certain-death would apparently remove the feeling of Cullen against him nor that insufferable ache and longing. 

If they were to die here, he wished he could, just once more...

The Tevinter Mage newcomer, Dorian admirably tried to placate them both. Carver's mouth was a hard line, no way could this mage hope to diffuse the rolling, coiling anger from a year of pent up frustration. Still, Carver welcomed the assistance when the Dorian vocalized a plan that didn't involve certain death. Even probable death was an improvement. 

So, with the promise of maybe living, he found himself back out into the cold outdoors taking on hordes of Tevinter Mages and a darkspawn magister and a giant fire breathing dragon. All in the name of duty and to give the others time to escape. He’s fairly certain he wasn't coming back from this—oh well, no more worrying about Cullen at least. Carver vows to do all he can to give the others time. That’s really all he can do.

If Garrett was here, what would he do?

Probably save them all without a scratch, tossing puns and horrible magic with a cocky flick of his wrist. Carver recognized that age-old bitterness and smiles almost fondly. Varric's familiar twanging crossbow behind him has him lost in the past, a time when Varric hurled gleeful banter across the battlefield as easy as his bolts. He could almost see the others: Fenris would be bleeding lyrium and rage, delighting in each crunch of his blade against the waves and waves of Tevinter mages. Isabella, kicking a flask of something terrible into the crowd, then hurling herself in after it, laughter and daggers in equal measure. It had been a time when things were simpler perhaps but no less falling apart.

Could he not go one sodding year without the world collapsing? He took a deep breath to regain some stamina, letting the memories fade. He readjusted the grip on his sword and jumped into the fray.

Chapter Text

After the initial panic and shuffle to get everyone out safely, once they were far enough from Haven to let off a signal flare, there was time enough to breathe and consider what had transpired.

Inquisition soldiers and workers set up temporary camps ahead of the main group, readying tents and fire and food. They were confident in their safety within the jagged mountains and Cullen set his soldiers to assist the followers as they trickled in. He sat by the fire a bowl of broth in his hands with a clear view of the mountain pass.

He squeezed his eyes shut momentarily in a bid to ground himself. They were alive, barely. Somehow Carver had given them the chance to live another day. Though whether Carver himself would make it out was another matter, one Cullen tried not to linger on lest he fall into hopeless despair.

Was that the last time he would see Carver?

They had shared heated and angry glares in the Chantry, then he had watched Carver turn from him to stare down a power-mad Tevinter magister.

Maker's breath.

Cullen leaned over and put his head in his hands, praying that they would see it through this nightmare. 

For it truly was a nightmare. He'd abandoned Carver, His Carver. Though he scarcely had any right to belonging. Carver had disappeared into the dark night because Cullen had willed it. The events were a harsh reminder of his regrettable actions back in Kirkwall. To see Carver's back rigid in the all too familiar position of selfless, perhaps misplaced, duty to Cullen. 

To once again watch as the man he loves walks away while he did nothing to stop it.  Maker curse him, he should have gone with Carver, his place was at his side! But no.. that wasn't right either.

The Inquisition was bigger than either of them. The people needed him. Trusted him. Yet in that brief moment, he wanted nothing more than to erase the pain wrecking Carver’s face. It was not his intent, Maker, it was not his intent.

He held back from his initial desire to comfort. He feared his hands would tremble, that one touch to Carver's skin and his will and resolve would shatter. He was a Commander before all else. So he clamped down on his desires. He needed to hold on to both steadiness and resolve to ensure he could lead them all through this night.

Sitting by the fire, reflecting on the evening, Cullen thoroughly regretted keeping his distance from Carver. His out sense of duty and starting over assuring him this was the right course, ignoring the obvious pain he was causing. He could blame it on the withdrawal and haze he perpetually experienced but that wasn't the half of it. To see Carver again was a shock and he didn't know what to do with it. He hadn’t even in his wildest visions of the fade, imagined he’d see Carver again. He kept the kiss they shared locked deep in his memory, one happy, bright thing in amongst the trauma and pain, so idealized it had become almost a dream.

Then, to see him in this place, where reality was a bit sharper and harsher without the sparkle of lyrium, was... well... He admitted he acted poorly, did he not?

And then there was the mark, Carver had always been special but not the centre of the maelstrom, that was all his brother, and he'd loved him all the more for it. His commonness. What place would Cullen have within that world? He could be a leader, a commander, perhaps that was enough...

Still.. if he were entirely honest with himself, his distance stemmed from being more than a little fearful of the mark and what it represented. It was clearly the result of something terrible, this magister perhaps? A Tevinter plot which just reeked of the work of blood magic. The entire idea of Carver being caught in the claws of a blood mage or demons made his skin crawl. As if one look from him could place him in his thrall. As if he had not already done so, without the aid of a demon.

What if it were just a demon wearing his face? Would he ever recognize possession anymore? Surely Cassandra would have known.

He mentally chastised himself at the circles him mind liked to run, it resulted in nothing good, though he couldn’t shake the lingering nerves and fear of that unknown.

A demon had almost stolen his face in Therinfall and that wouldn’t happen if he were already a demon.. would it?

He was fairly sure that demon possession was a one at a time thing, but Thedas continued to surprise him. On top of the fear, pressing guilt from all but ordering Carver to seek out the Templars after what almost transpired overwhelmed him. He was unable to find the words necessary to tell Carver to find his own way, but perhaps it was necessary, even fearing the hurt he knows he will undoubtably cause.

He felt uneasy about the power he somehow continued to hold over Carver. He wasn’t blind to the deference Carver displayed, from the clipped “Sers” and quick agreement to what should have been suggestions not orders. And yet... and yet Cullen found this arrangement reminding him of how things used to be back in Kirkwall. The reminder was somewhat unnerving, he had enough distance and perspective now and a chance to do some real good, outside of the Chantry’s leash. Would he ever get that with reminders of the past? Or perhaps this was the Maker’s way of testing his faith in himself. The final temptation of a life he’d left behind...  

*

The tree line was calm when he looks up from the fire, no sign of Ventori or dragons, nor Carver. Varric and the others had returned without him hours ago, at first he had been angry that they had abandoned him, as he did, but Cullen foudn he could not fault them for obeying Carver's orders to retreat. 

Cullen knew he should resign himself to the fact that Carver would likely not survive, yet he found he could not abandon hope. He could almost see it now: the broad shoulders of Carver Hawke appearing over the ridge, his armour shining like a beacon. If the Maker willed it, he resolved he will not squander his chance to be near Carver again and to share his life, whatever that meant. As a friend, a lover or a Commander, he must try. He'd been an utter fool to deny himself that.

 

Chapter Text

Cole observed the camp, crouched up upon a hill overlooking the tents of the Inquisition.

His boots were damp from snow and sweat but the chill was but a distant thought. Cold and numbness were insignificant when all around him the air hummed with anxious fear and pain. How long would this frozen valley carry the screams of the fallen, how long would they last here before Cole was the only one left.

He’d drift away then. Silent as a fade spirit, his body melting into the rocks and ice of this place until no one could recall the boy who was neither human nor spirit. A faded memory until nothing remained.

Cole stared at the stars above and wondered what dying would feel like. The others are afraid of dying, or afraid The Herald has died. They whisper words, wanting; trying to reach something greater, something beyond them. But there was just silence.

He’d tried to find the Herald, but the swirling snow and wind confused him. It called and screamed and he’d turned back to help those in camp. He could help others with broth, blankets or words soon forgotten.

He’d tried to help Solas, his sorrow and anger spilling over in waves. The nervous energy and emotion as uncertain as a hungry hound testing the limits of its chains. He’d stayed away.

Cullen was loudest of all. His thought bleeding pain and torment. He knelt by the fire, eyes shut tight. The demons were loud; they taunted him as if he were still caged in that broken tower. They taunted him with a broken heart.

When Cole felt the mark, brilliant and blinding up on the hill he danced in the shadows, drifting in an out of form to find him. He brought blankets to wrap him up, to keep him warm and safe. Cole may not feel the cold but he knew what others needed. He could heal the hurt.. he hoped.

 


 

The Herald’s return brought a blanket of silence over the camp. Cole felt the suffocating weight of pain lift and so, remained by The Herald’s side. He sat still, invisible as a ghost, watching. He didn’t understand how The Herald had survived or how to help. Pain and need flashed and spiked as he shifted in his sleep.

Cullen couldn’t see Cole, shouldn’t even recall he existed, but Cullen spoke anyway, praying for The Herald’s safe return. “Will he survive this? Please...” Cullen said, calling deep to where Templars connect to that other place larger than themselves.

Cole wanted to help, but he knew Cullen would prefer Cole do it as a human would. He shimmered and became solid, the hard, cold ground a whisper in the background which he soon forgot. “He is... strong.” Cole said, trying to find words that would fix the hurt.

Cullen stumbled back at the suddenness of his presence. Cole twitched. He considered making Cullen forget and then trying to again but though better of it. He shook his head, the wide brim of his hat lazily following. “I-I don’t know how to help...” Cole stammered, the mark was an open wound bleeding into this world but with no way to stitch it up.

Cullen rounded on him, his body rigid, mouth in a hard line. “You will.” Cullen said, voice firm to mask the pain.

“The ghost, the stranger. Someone to blame, yes. Hard words are a kind of armour to hide the hurt.” Cole said, watching the Herald’s even breathing.

Cullen stared. “Forgive me.” He said, his voice cracked and devastated. His body lost its tension and he crumpled in on himself. Cole felt the sudden burst of hopelessness and anguish wash over him again. He needed to help but felt lost. He wrung his hands and scratched his ear in frustration.

Cullen’s memories bubbled to the surface and Cole let them spill out to ease the tension: “His face is open and watching with an unwavering loyalty I do not deserve. He smiles, a smile just for me, just for us. ‘I’m yours, Ser. Whatever you need of me, I swear it.’ He says. His touch is more potent than lyrium’s kiss and I feel lost in loving. But he deserves more than a broken husk of a man; it would be easier for him to forget...”

Cullen was silent. He shifted and the snow and gravel crunched loudly under his boots. “I.. Maker, I sent him away after that. I felt it was the best at the time. I was trying to be honourable and think of duty. But now that he’s here, I wonder how things might have been if I’d been less of a coward.” Cullen said, letting out a laugh that fell flat. He took Carver’s hand in his, trying to feel some connection to the present.


“He would have stayed with you if you’d asked.” Cole said, feeling Carver’s memories and pain.

“I know.” Cullen said, face intent on Carver’s sleeping form.

“Is it... still him?” Cullen said after a time, the question gaining form in his mind. He remembered a young Templar recruit, eager and loyal. Cole felt the fear behind Cullen’s words. The demon’s talons left deep scars.

Cole dragged his gaze from Carver to Cullen and cocked his head. “How could he be anything but himself?”

Words felt inadequate. He wondered if he caused more hurt than help. He left Cullen to his private pain and drifted off into the hills, silent as a shadow.

Chapter Text

Of course Garrett-bloody-Hawke was here.

Carver stalked along the Skyhold ramparts, hands clenching against his sides in silent rage. He should have known Varric was bringing his brother to visit when the dwarf had been unusually evasive when asked who Carver was to be meeting clandestinely.

It took all of five minutes before Garrett had found the rawest wound in Carver’s soul and poked and prodded until they were both snapping at each other.

It was hard not to bristle at the hero-worshipping glee in Varric and Cassandra’s eyes at the sight of Hawke. He always inspired such reactions back in Kirkwall, but The Inquisition, this was Carver’s place, not Garrett’s. And here he was, stealing the spotlight again.

Carver kicked the stone wall, harder than he should have. He cursed under this breath at the sting in this toe.

When he reached Cullen’s office, he was slightly calmer, though still feeling a bit like a pent up Mabari. He needed to... hit something.

He knocked once then entered without waiting for a reply, a bad habit from years of communal living. Cullen looked up with alarm as the door thudded open with more force than Carver had intended.

Carver idly ran his hands through his hair, another anxious habit. “Sorry.” He murmured, scowling. He paced around Cullen’s office, silent. Cullen merely watched his movement back and forth with a raised eyebrow.

“Inquisitor, may I assist you with anything?” Cullen asked, his lips twitching into something suspiciously like a smile.

Carver narrowed his eyes then huffed out a laugh. “Not unless you can find an official reason to kick my brother out of Skyhold...” Carver said only partially in jest.

Cullen’s smiled as understanding dawned. “I know what it’s like to be jealous of siblings. My sister got all the attention, it’s why I ran to join the Templars. I thought, somehow that it would give me purpose. That I would matter.” Cullen said, voice gentle.

Carver visibly relaxed and smiled back, trying for levity. “And here I thought you joined due to your undying love for Andraste.”

Cullen snorted at that.

Their relationship had grown friendly since relocating to Skyhold and surviving Haven. Carver toyed with that idea in his head: They were friends now. It was not what they had back in Kirkwall, yet it was a far cry from the cold distance back in Haven. Thank the Maker for small miracles.

Carver paused at the doorway, about to take his leave. He felt calmer, mostly. Though he still really, really wanted to hit something. Only sure way to clear out the pain and rage of the past. He tapped his fingers idly on the doorframe and cast Cullen a pointed look.

“Spar with me, Commander?”

Chapter Text

Fenris cared little for Skyhold. It was chilly and mountainous, and a far cry from the damp heat of Seheron and its open oceans. Still, he and Hawke had been on the road for months and at each other’s throats for longer still. A warm bed, hot food and a bottle of wine were welcome.

Fenris left Hawke shortly after Carver had arrived. He knew better than to stick around for the inevitable needling and flared tempers. He didn’t understand Hawke’s fervent drive to hurt his brother, he seemed to take out every irritation on him until he snapped and stormed off in a huff. Still, it was Hawke that taught him the importance of family, as contradictory as that appeared.

Fenris settled himself at the back of the tavern, just out of sight from passers-by as he did not desire to be gawked at. In his private corner, he slowly nursed a bottle of rich Tevinter wine, not quite Aggregio Pavali, but it was full-bodied and danced on his tongue in the most satisfying way. It was good to take pleasure in such simple things.

The nearby sparring ring stirred with commotion and Fenris cast his gaze in that direction. He enjoyed watching soldiers spar, a lingering pleasure from the Imperium, one of the few he had. Watching muscled fighters struggle and strain against each other awoke something primal in him and he so rarely had the opportunity to observe it in this way as he was often the one fighting.

Fenris shook his head, his lips curled into something resembling a smile around the mouth of the wine bottle. He recognized the two men entering the ring: Hawke’s brother and Knight-Commander Cullen.

Hawke had tried to convince Fenris years ago that they were romantically involved, yet he saw no reason for them to hide their affections had it been true, so he dismissed it out of hand. If you desire something make it be known. Tell the world that you claim it, or it will be taken from you.

Carver stalked around in a simple tunic, a wooden two-handed practice sword dragging along the ground. He radiated that particular brand of Hawke fury that Fenris had come intimately familiar with. Judging from the brief needling he had overheard, he wasn’t in the least surprised Carver felt murderous enough to need to work it out in the ring.

Hawke had ridiculed Carver for his failed relationship with Cullen and now Carver had directed his fury toward Cullen, so perhaps there was something to it after all. He’d always liked the Little Hawke, loyal, with a healthy fear of mages, and now he was family. So he disapproved of Hawke’s offhand insults. Just one more thing that had driven a wedge between him and Hawke these last few months.

“Why did you leave me?” Carver’s said, his voice high and clear. It pierced the din of the market and construction below and several servants stopped to watch. Fenris eyed the ring carefully, clearly Cullen had slighted Carver, it just remained to be seen whether Fenris needed to intervene.

Their wooden swords clashed with a dull scraping sound. Their breathing was heavy and their feet shuffled in dry dirt. Cullen deftly side-stepped and countered a wide, obvious swipe of Carver’s sword. Carver was usually much better at this.

“I’m so sick of you ignoring me.” Carver said, much too loudly, his breathing laboured.

Cullen looked at him oddly, his sword arm relaxing. “I thought this was about your brother?”

“It is... but it’s not. He’s always infuriating. This is about how you’ve pretended I don’t exist from the moment I woke up in Haven.” Carver lunged at Cullen, sword skipping over Cullen’s wooden shield.

“Half the inquisition thinks I just met you! As if I wasn’t your lieutenant for years. As if—” Carver said, his confession cut short to block an incoming blow.

Cullen’s eyes darted around at the curious on-lookers and tried to keep his voice down. “Carver, this isn’t the— Maker’s breath— this isn’t the time, or place for this discussion.”

“And when exactly will that be?” Carver said, his anger rolling off him in waves.

Anger made Carver distracted and he was fighting sloppy. Cullen easily countered and avoided every attack which only seemed to incense Carver further.

Cullen stepped back, clearly trying to stop fighting but Carver refused back down. Cullen kicked the back of his leg, a dirty move but a necessary one. Carver toppled to his knees.

Kicking Carver’s blade away, Cullen pointed his practice sword towards Carver’s chest. “Yield.” Cullen said, expecting submission.

It should have been the end of it but Carver frowned even more deeply and pushed the wooden blade away, attempting to stand. “No.”

Cullen growled and pushed him over with the benefit of gravity. He straddled Carver’s waist and pinned him kneeling on his arms. “Yield” Cullen repeated, his voice was hard and firm.

Fenris’ lips quirked into a smile as he pulled from the bottle again, it was the same wilfulness that he had loved in Hawke. Both brothers refused to back down, even when it defied all rational sense.

Fenris felt wistful then and glanced up to where Hawke was visibly staggering around the ramparts with a bottle of ale. He was clapping his hand on Varric’s back, hunched over in apparent laughter, likely from another one of the dwarf’s ridicules tales.

Carver struggled a bit more before finally, his energy sapped, he acknowledged his defeat, and relaxed. Carver’s bubbling rage dissipated and morphed instead into a raw vulnerability. It was heart wrenching to witness for all its familiarity to Fenris’ own struggles abandoning Hawke.

Fenris looked away, not desiring to impede further into their private moment, yet unwilling to relocate lest he disturb them.

“Cullen. I loved you. And you told me to...” Carver began, his voice cracking. “Y-you ordered me to stay while you left. I would have followed you anywhere. Anywhere. For someone like me that’s quite the achievement. And you cast that aside, like it was nothing. And then the same happened here!” Some of the heat returned to Carver’s voice and Fenris coloured. He really shouldn’t be here for this. Several others who stopped to look had looked around embarrassed at the sudden intimate tone the fight had turned.

Cullen sat back, leaning against the posts of the sparring ring. He ran his hand through his mussed, curly hair. “That’s what this is about? All because... what I did, or didn’t do? Maker, Carver... if I could take it back I would. I swear it. Not a day goes by that I don’t regret what I lost.”

Fenris watched as the two ex-Templars embraced with an intimacy reserved for the battlefield or the bedroom. With whispered words too soft to make out.

It was too raw and not for him to witness. Fenris felt like he needed to leave. This was their moment after all, a stupidly public moment to be sure, but he could grant privacy at least. It reminded him too much of him and Hawke and their ridiculous public displays of affection. It reminded him of the love they’d had, and what they’d almost forgotten.

Fenris ran up the stairs two at a time, he had his own love to rekindle.