Anders's stubble was salt-and-pepper and his hair was white, the same length since they had first met. It amazed Carver to this day that his mage would be so intent on changing the world around him, but could not even change his looks in all those years.
The Templar himself knew he had changed, somehow, yet he did not feel it either. He was still beardless, with barely a hint of silver in his dark hair. Perhaps it was his own way of accompanying his lover down that path, though one thing was different. This time, Carver was on top, and there was nothing Anders could do about it. The knife pointed at his chest ensured that.
“I'm not you or my brother,” he said calmly. “I wasn't born to make a difference in this world. But... Maybe I was born to make a difference for someone.
“I swore one day that no darkspawn would ever touch my family again. I also swore to protect mages with my own life.
“It seems... I will have to break one of my oaths. For you. Because of you.”
Anders had never felt until now that loyalty could be so fierce and so profound. It made Carver's eyes shine bright in the dark room. He was moved beyond words to find this very person, of all the people he had met and known and befriended and antagonized, to be here right this moment. With him. Holding that knife, but also his heart, the realization a little late maybe, but not too late.
“I love you, Carver. I did. I always had. I was just...”
“Shut up mage.”
His voice was strong, unwavering. He was Anders's pillar. His Templar had his duty to fulfill, and it gave Anders one final moment where he could enjoy such strength and conviction despite the haunting voices overpowering his mind.
There was a warm hand on his stubble, caressing it slowly, a simple gesture Carver had often done before they would part . And then he knew that before the fingers would reach his chin, the voices would finally be silenced. Everything would be over.
Only once Anders stopped breathing, only when he exhaled his last spark of life, when his eyes were finally shut and his head turned sideways, only when all of this happened and a moment after did Carver burst into tears, shattered memories and adventures and smiles and intimate moments burning his cheeks freely. Tears he had never wanted to show the world and never would.
Maybe he had been. Born for this moment alone, though finding one's purpose in life did not make it any easier to pursue it. Nor live beyond it once it had been accomplished.
Anders must have known what it had felt like. Garrett too. Carver had just been searching forever, never sure he had found it and still not sure he had.
For one brief moment, he looked at the knife, and wondered.