“I don’t understand,” Anyssa murmured as she looked down at the neatly folded parchment that had been placed on her desk. It had appeared sometime after she had left the office to see the Inquisitor’s party off to the Valley of Sacred Ashes and their return.
It was unsigned but she recognized the neat handwriting from the numerous notes she had passed to and from its owner. He had helped the Inquisition with many things long forgotten and had found them a permanent home in Skyhold. And now he was gone. Disappeared after the final battle against Corypheus with the broken pieces of the orb according to Evie.
“What is the matter, Nys?” Cullen asked noting the confusion in her voice. They had retreated to her study for a few moments of peace after the return of the victors. Josephine had already promised a celebration to remember a soon as they had returned through Skyhold’s gate.
Icy blue eyes looked up at him as he came to stand beside her. Her only answer was to hand the parchment to him, the candle light dancing across the paper. He looked down at the source of her confusion.
“You once questioned why you were brought here, why you were gifted a second chance. Fate and the powers that be from both our worlds conspired to bring you through the Fade to a new life. You were not meant to be an earth-shattering presence like that of the Inquisitor. No. You were meant to matter on a smaller yet just as important scale. You are to live a life most have forgotten how to live or have taken that gift of life for granted. Whatever you choose to do with this life, my friend, please make good with this chance. Cherish the time you have and those around you. Do better than those I have seen in this world and the Fade do. Use your knowledge for good. Do not squander it for selfish gain. Help those around you understand it’s true meaning. Most of all--use it to live. Be a beacon to others that living is not a selfish act. Be better than myself and those that came before. Be an example that I could not be. Perhaps one day you can tell me if you were successful. Sule tael tasalal."
Cullen was silent for a moment as Anyssa waited at his side. She watched as his eyes reread parts of the note. Finally he folded it up the way she had found it and handed it back to her. He gave her a small smile.
“He is telling you what I have known all along. You are meant to have a second chance because you genuinely want to live. You want a life that is better than what you had before. You have made great strides in rediscovering who you are, but you do not do it at the expense of others. You help those who need it along the way even if there is nothing to gain from it except the knowledge you helped.”
She knew she was frowning at him when he took a step towards her, cupping her face with both hands. “You have helped many within the Inquisition simply by being who you are. Solas may be correct that you will never have an earth-shattering title but to those around you, it does not matter. It did not matter to that little girl you saved during the avalanche. It did not matter when you supported Dorian during his trials with his father. It did not matter when you helped Bull after he was declared Tal-Vashoth. It doesn’t matter when you help me through my personal trials...only you—the real you—matter.”
“I’m nothing special…” she said weakly. “I’m just—"
“You and that’s why I love you,” he replied tenderly kissing her forehead.
“How do you always know the right thing to say?” Anyssa asked as she leaned against his chest.
“I spend hours rehearsing possible things to say to you,” Cullen replied seriously. “Just in case.”
She cocked an eyebrow. Months ago she would have asked if he were joking. Now she knew he was serious. Wrapping her arms around his waist, she asked instead, “Corypheus is defeated. Solas disappeared and left that note. And the sky is healed...And I can’t go back to Earth.”
She heard him suck in a breath quickly. They had had this conversation several times, several different ways. But Anyssa knew that Cullen always harbored a small doubt about her decision to stay in Thedas, to not look for a way back to Earth. “Do...did you want to return? Solas might know more than he led on. He always knew more—"
“Why would I want to go to Earth when I’m already home?” She asked abruptly. She clamped her mouth shut as soon as the words were out, freezing in position.
She felt him push her away just a little as he looked down at her with a hopeful expression. Quietly he asked, “Do you mean that?”
Despite having blurted the words out she meant them. “Yes. I...I don’t want to leave Thedas even if I could. I don’t want to leave you. You asked to be my home. Why would I want to leave that?”
His smile grew wider as he picked her up off her feet in a dramatic hug. “I was afraid you might not want that...That you changed your mind…I have nothing to offer you beyond myself and my love.”
“That’s all I need,” she murmured hugging him tightly.
“Then I will gladly give all that I am to you until the end,” Cullen promised as she felt her entire being swell. It was a feeling she had only recently come to know and only associated with him. Only he made her feel that way. Maybe before the end she could tell him exactly how important he was to her, maybe she could tell him how she felt. Maybe she could do anything now because he was her anchor and with that, nothing was impossible.