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They spoke in woulds.

Never will, never is, always hypothetical. Wishes filled with hope but nothing to back them, dreams plagued with what’s to come. Alistair held on to them ever since he was born.

If Eamon never sent me to the Chantry, I would have a home.

If I wasn’t training to be a Templar, I would be a Grey Warden.

If it wasn’t for Duncan, I would be unhappy.

I would, I would, I would…

But then she came along and the ‘I’ became ‘we’.

“Where would we live?” He asked once, a lifetime ago after she had brought up the subject of what they would do afterwards. There was a lake – their faces shadowed as the fire burnt behind them.

“We would build a house, maybe right here on the lake. It’s quiet, serene,” she had replied. “Redcliffe’s a walk away, we would walk there for trade then come back here.”

“We would have a lot of time to ourselves,” he raised his eyebrows, a smirk on his face and she laughed, kissing him on the cheek.

We would live together.

“Would we have kids?” And there was the hope. The taint ran strongly through them, but she had smiled anyway, leaning back in her chair. The tavern buzzed around them, alcohol an excellent solution to forgetting about the Blight.

“We would. A boy who takes after his father and would try to ride the mabari,” she laughed and Alistair rolled his eyes.

“I never said I would, it was just a thought! I mean, they certainly are big enough to be ridden, right?”

“Careful, wouldn’t want your ‘thought’s’ to influence the poor boy.”

We would have kids.

“There would be a lot of free time – what would we do?” She pondered, resting her chin on her hand.

“Assuming we just got up and left the darkspawn to the assumingly new Wardens?” He said and she slapped his arm. Alistair laughed.

“I don’t know, really. Never really had that much time to myself.”

“Well, I’m sure we’d find something to do. As long as we’re together, right?”

He smiled.

We would be happy.

Alistair can’t breathe.

His coronation is just around the corner, but the funeral is closer. They mourn for her, but celebrate as well and he can’t go anywhere without hearing her name being cheered. Teagan is his new chancellor, but nothing is right – his side feels empty no matter how many guards stand beside him, nobody is guiding him and there are too many followers. She isn’t one of them.

The funeral is a somber event and Alistair’s wearing his Warden armor – he can’t be king right now, she didn’t know him like that. It wears him down every step as he walks up to address those who attended, the griffon searing into him.

They had won, the people put to rest but at the cost of her life and he looks beside him to see her again, but she’s on an altar, her eyes closed. It isn’t long before he’s pulled back into his royal duties and every night he goes back to an empty bed, stares at the side where she would sleep with her lips slightly parted.

If you hadn’t died, we would be together.