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Carry On

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Dorian, carry on.

Words. Only words. But, oh, Maker, they burn. His chest aches, compressing in and in on itself until the hurt is everything he is.

Dorian, carry on.

Footfall after heavy footfall as he walks on, alone, towards what should be home. It’s not. There is no home any more.

Not since those words.

Dorian, carry on.

His hands, cracked and bleeding from the hateful cold, barely catch him as he falls to his knees in the snow. His lungs scream for air, but it’s thin up here on this bitter mountain. He finds he doesn’t mind if the darkness takes him now. Where is he going? What is there for him since…

Dorian, carry on.

His home is not in front of him. His home is behind him, slowly turning to ice in the snow where he fell, red upon red and too much space and not enough time. His last smile - the scarred, shy, and shining smile that was always, always for Dorian and Dorian alone - played at his lips when he whispered those words. Almost drowned out by the howling wind, but unmistakably him and unmistakably his.

Dorian, carry on.

What little strength he had left after he… after those words… is leaving him now, leaking from his eyes and dying, icy and hollow in his veins.

He hears his breath coming in reedy whistles and whines. He settles, transfixed by the little wisps of steam his shallow breaths create. For a moment, all is stillness as his life is reduced to that steady stream of fragile clouds, floating out away from him into to the stark white sky.

And if they should stop? Would that end this pain? Would that take him home?

Dorian, carry on.

His last wish. His will.

Slowly, so slowly, Dorian rises again and drags his weary bones through the snow and ice and rocks and heartache. Back to Skyhold.

But not back home. Never again back home.

Home had left him behind.