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Determination to Misery

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Young Adila Rutherford was greeted with an armful of sobbing elf, as she opened the door today. Her inner alarm bells were ringing the moment that had happened, fearing the worst. Jalen had always been quite the sensitive one. Had something happened to their parents? Someone else in their family? Or, blessed Mythal, her dear friend and Jalens lover Dorian? The worst of nightmares ran through her brain:

 

Car Crash

Rape

The BLIGHT

 

"Hush brother. Hush...take a deep breath and then start...", Adila tried to calm down her brother.

"My boyfriend is a Dathrasi!", Jalen roared, certainly not seeking to be comforted. 

As his older sister Adila did know these moods of her brother, thus making her capable of staying calm through this.

"Well...I know that he did not cheat on you, so what happened?", she asked.

While Adila had been able to land quite a few hits in writing both books and theatre scripts, keeping a playful rivalry with her friend Varric Tethras going over this, Jalen was still in Universtiy for his language and history degree. It had also been Adilas doing that they even got on their first date, but it was obvious in the end that Jalen was smitten and also capable of earning the trust of the older Tevinter mage. 

"He...told me that he is going back to Tevinter! He just sprung it on me, no warning or anything.", Jalen awnsered, punching the pillows of the couch in the process.

Adila knew that this was not true though, since going back to Tevinter and change his homecountry, had been Dorians dream ever since she had met him, but she decided against telling Jalen this. She knew that it would not help matters or solve any problem. It had been months since Dorians father Halward had died. Dorian himself had not really grieved and Adila did not blame him...who would grieve a father who tried to do a blood ritual on you? 

"Cool down Jay...I feared the worst already...", the older elvhen woman grumbled.

"It IS the worst sis...why would he do this?", the younger elf moaned. 

"Has it not been his dream ever since we both knew him? Change Tevinter for the better, so that the stuff that happened to him does not happen to anyone else? So that it's seen for its beauty and not for slave-trade?", Adila tried to contact the rational mind, she knew her brother had.

"The Imperium doesn't deserve him! That place isn't savable!", Jalen returned her comment, thus eliminating the hope to reach it.

"And you are the one to make that call?", Adila asked. 

"Those traditions were held up for what...? 9000 years?", her brother fired back.

"Fair point, but still...you are just saying that because you do not want him to go back there. Think little brother: Aren't relationships supposed to be a partnership? Aren't we supposed to be supportive of the things that the one we love seeks to achieve? Would Cullen have ever proposed to me, if I had not considered supporting him in his bid to aid ex-templars with quitting lyrium?", Adila tried being reasonable again.

As a mage herself Adila had had no reason to extend her hand to any bearer of the sunshield, because her kind had suffered from the brazen powerplays of the order. But she had done it, simply for Cullen, because the order had somehow meant something to him, because she loved him and the aid she had offered to all of those templars had earned her their gratefulness, which had let a warmth coil inside of her. It hadn't been so bad in the end. Surely Jalen would realize this...the sweet rewards for going against what you want for the man you loved...still...those sad eyes had been Adilas undoing ever since their childhood.

"Come on...", she whispered.

What followed was a tough internet session on tips about Long-Distance Relationships...something Jalen would say he could've done without later on.

 

This probably had to be the five hundredth kiss that Jalen had planted on Dorians face. Dorian had already groused about his lover ruining his hair, but Jalen knew the mage long enough to not take that seriously. Since his entire fury about the matter had exploded in front of his sister, no fury had been left when he had returned to their shared flat the day Dorian had broken the news not the elf. Even though he would've deserved it, his collaborators on the quest to change Tevinter would've deserved it, even though Maevaris Tilani had been nothing but good to him, the entire fucking country would've deserved it. He had prayed to Mythal for a bomb to fall on Tevinter or for an attack on a place of worship to send the place spiraling into chaos and maybe even closing down their borders and even denying Magisters acess. The same thing had happened with the Kirkwall Chantry a few years prior, except for the closing of the borders, but they had come pretty darn close to it!

"Now stop pouting Amatus...", Dorian said lovingly, but firmly. "They'll put that expression on the poster of your debut with your sisters shows and then you'll be sorry."

Jalen only huffed in response. Dorian did not deserve to be seen off with a smile for this choice. Had he chosen differently, they would not even be in this position! His so-called pout was to follow Dorian all the way back to the fucking Magisterium, to which he wanted to suck up to.

"I promise, it's not gonna be forever.", the Tevinter tried to be more serious and gloriously failed to do so, as Jalen refused to give him the tiniest sign that he supported him.

"There you go again, breaking my heart. You are still angry, I guess...", Dorian sighed sadly.

"Can't help it...", was all the awnser he got from Jalen.

"I don't know what you want me to say...", Dorian sighed.

"Don't say anything then...I just would...ugh...", Jalen whispered, feeling ashamed of his anger, but not wanting to let go off it either.

Dorian simply pulled him into his arms and held onto him. Blessed Creators he was too good for him...other men would've forsaken him for this kind of behavior. Dorian always said that he wasn't a nice man, but this was untrue...the Tevinter was too kind for his own good. Maybe he would even hold onto him enough that he would miss his flight back...

"Wherever you go, my happiness goes, vhenan...", Jalen whispered, as the last call came.

"Do not say this amatus.",  Dorian almost sobbed.

"Call me when you are there.", the elf could only sigh.

"I promise.", Dorian whispered.

Still...as soon as his Tevinter mage had vanished behind the gate, Jalen was on his knees and cried. He was probably loud enough for the entire airport to hear him, but he did not care a fig for this. Three men, who had obviously witnessed their goodbye, were already whispering.

"Andraste's flaming knickers, what has this man done to him? Poor boy...", one of them mumbled a bit too loudly.

This was what made Jalen jump to his feet and run. How dare he? Dorian had probably not even been aware that he had hurt him with his decision. He dashed through the airport without even a clear goal in mind and not being mindful of anyone.

 

The world had been stripped of all its colour. The days simply dragged on like a stale piece of bubblegum. The way to university, the talks with classmates and then the way back to a home, Jalen certainly did not want to return to. Luckily there was this Qunlat class ahead, before he would even have to entertain the though of going home.

"Jalen...", a voice could be heared from next to him.

Delrin Barris. A good friend of his, who tackled his language class, while in Templar service. A compassionate look was to be found in his eyes.

"I understand that Dorian left for Tevinter a few days ago...try to have faith...and...if there is anything Soris and I can do...", the Templar offered.

Soris and Delrin were roommates and more. Those two were like an old married couple, even if Delrin had not even considered to put a ring on it. They were sweet together though. Delrin was like the fierce knight, protecting the fragile looking nobleman, since Soris was not much of a fighting type of man.

"Thank you...but you can't.", Jalen turned his offer away.

The thought of the Templar and his elf all in domestic bliss sickened him. It would just remind him of what Tevinter had taken away from him. What the Creators, the Maker, the Prophet Koslun or the spirits of the Fade had deemed good to take. Rage bubbled up inside of him again...rage that neither Barris nor his sweet little elvhen lover did deserve...

"You know where to find us.", Barris ended it all shrugging.

 

As Adila mounted the stairs to the once shared luxerious flat of her brother and best friend, she had to admit that even the front door looked different, without Dorians shoes in front of it. It would take some getting used to, to ring the doorbell and not see Dorian awnser the door anymore. Still...that wasn't what she came here for. She blew up the doorbell as soon as she arrived, hoping to overpower the loud music that her brother had turned on. Better she ended that than some complaining neighbor or Mythal forbid the police! After what felt like an hour, the music finally ceased and the door opened. Jalen had even put the song on repeat.

"Roughly translated the first lines mean "If I were allowed to make a wish, it would be to sleep at your side.", but as you can see I'm not. What do you want Adila?", he growled.

He was wearing little more than his smallclothes, his hair was unkempt and he had cup noodles hanging from the corners of his mouth. Her first instinct was a chuckled "Still angry?", but that would doom her plan to fail, so she swallowed it.

"Maybe you wanna clean out those cup noodles...then we can talk...", Adila offered lamely.

He nibbled away on the last bits, before motioning for his sister to come in. The flat was in a lousy condition, one that certainly would've given Dorian a heart-attack. There was dirty laundry lying around on the floor, books strewn around and the remnants of takeout food and cup noodles in the kitchen seemed to be growing by the day. 

"Do you live on those brother?", Adila asked, holding up there empty cups which once contained readymade noodle dishes.

"You know that I can not cook. That was always Dorian.", the male elf growled.

"Point taken.", Adila relented, making a mental note to start cooking her brother some proper food.

Otherwise he would live of off takout and cup noodles, until Dorian returned, since he would just set off the firealarm of the building otherwise. He was really a hopeless cause when it came to cooking.

"Still doesn't explain what you want from me...", Jalen growled at his big sister.

"Well...we got the big gig. You know...this damn big place, where we can put on these old plays every summer.", Adila mumbled.

"Oh...good on you sis.", Jalen dismissed the news.

"No wait...the first tryouts are tomorrow. I thought you wanted come...try out for a roll and all. Come on, it's "The Hero of Ferelden", with pyrotech and stunts and stagefighting...you always dreamed of being a part in those kind of plays.", Adila went on.

"Sister, even if the Creators cooked up some weird miracle and made ME the Warden in your show, I would not want to play the roll! Not at all!", Jalen spat and was only a few paces away from yelling at Adila.

"Why? I could surely pull some strings, if you are somewhat good and finals would be over, before the performances. It...would be a whole new adventure.", Adila returned his comment carefully.

"What good is that, if I don't want it? There won't be any point to performing to a sold-out audience, if Dorian is not here to cheer for me.", Jalen sighed.

"I don't want any new adventures, without him!", he croaked out afterwards.

"So you'd rather sit in here and suffocate in your own garbage?", Adila yelled, starting to lose her patience. 

"Men tend to do that.", her brother snarked back.

"Dorian would ask you the same thing brother.", Adila sighed.

"Well, Dorian is GONE! He's gone and he won't come back!!", Jalen started yelling too.

"I wish, I had just broken up with him, the minute I learned of his plans to be a magister.", he growled after catching some air.

"You don't mean that.", Adila insisted.

"Don't I?", Jalen tested her.

"You wouldn't even say this stuff, if you meant it. You would've just ended things, without warning.", the woman clarified, before she turned on her heel and made her way to the door.

"I'll keep the opportunity open for you. We'll not choose until the last tryouts are over and they won't be for some time. And call me, when you are in a better mood again.", Adila gave her numb last words.

 

 

When Adila arrived at the Hanged Man alone this evening, it was clear that her attempt to lure her brother outta the house with taking part in her play, had not worked. Still...her group of friends had insisted on celebrating her sucess with drinks and a game of Wicked Grace. Her husband had been uneasy about it, since he had lost his clothes the last time they had played the game and the husband of her dear friend Josephine had not been feeling much better about the idea, after having lost his clothes in a Diamondback game against Adilas old friend Solas...the funniest part about that had been the fact that Blackwall had just been teaching Solas the game there.

"The things I do for my lovely wife...", Cullen growled, as Josephine, who had somehow insisted on dealing, began the game.

"I know what you do...is letting her bend your metal at night...", Sera, a friend of Blackwall, laughed drunkenly.

Someone had just brought her to Wicked Grace night once and since then she had always been there. The same went for her girlfriend Dagna.

"Andraste's grace could we focus on the game?", Cullen growled.

They had been together for nearly 4 years and married almost 1 year, but Cullen still flustered so easily. Adila giggled about it, while Cullen loathed the fact that their appartments walls were so thin and that Sera lived in the flat underneath theirs.

"Not much else to focus on, unless we're your brother...ruins it all for you. Arseface.", Sera growled, her mood having plummeted all of a sudden.

"Is his being upset really so hard to grasp? Have you never lost someone important to you? Just what would you do, if Dagna took up a position back at Orzammar?", one of the only other Tevinters of their group came to Jalens defense.

Cremisius Aclassi. Krem to everyone around him, lover to Iron Bull. This was what the large Qunari in their midst preferred to be called, rather than his real name.

"Whatz it matter? Widdle hasn't gone there, so why think of it?", Sera fired back.

"I know you! You would be just as pissed. In fact you 'd be worse.", Krem growled.

"Enough. We're here to celebrate Inklings sucess and not duke it out. Tiny, Sparkhands, if you would?", Varric ended their row.

The dwarven girl and the Qunari complied and pulled their repective lovers back to their chairs, Bull having it ridiculously easy. Everyone had put some money on the table, so now the game could start. Still...Jalen and Dorian were subject number one. 

"Somebody has to do something. Just drag him out in the open. Bash the door down and toss him outta there.", Bull suggested.

"Amatus, could you please narrow yourself down to ideas that won't result in property damage?", Krem tried to plead.

"Maybe Carver should go.", Varrics old friend Marian Hawke suggested. "He'd brood so much that Jalen would at least make an effort to get him out of the house."

"I heared that sister!", Carver growled and downed the first half of his pint in one go.

"You were meant to, you ass!", Marian griped back.

"Cuz I sure did try, but...piss.", Sera growled.

"He won't even awnser the door, when I show up. I don't think he likes me very much anymore.", the third Tevinter murmured.

His name was Felix Alexius, he was an old friend of Dorians and he had brought him to the Hanged Man one day...and he had just never left.

"Sweetling, the reason for that might be, because you yelled at him the last time, about his selfishness and lack of support for Sparkles.", Varric offered, knowing that the idea probably would not stick.

"I wasn't yelling at him, it's just...", Felix started.

"Not everyone can be like you Altus. Putting the good of others in front of yourself.", Krem dismissed Felix.

With the two of them being from different social classes, it was clear that Krem did not care much for Felix, as nice as he was. He had simply tolerated the former Altus for Dorians sake and later on for the sake of everyone who had made friends with Felix along the way. 

"Enough, enough. We should not let our celebration be ruined by this unfortunate turn of events.", Josephine tried to prevent a fight between the Altus and the Soporati.

"Thank you Josephine...please you two. Just stop it. I'll have enough to do with the tryouts, I just want to relax tonight.", Adila began to plead.

 

Jalen shivered after slamming the door shut behind him. He had been skyping with his vhenan on the balcony until just a few seconds ago. The flat was a mess and he did not want Dorian to see this. A fight with him was the last thing he needed, even if he was already pissed enough at Dorian for choosing Tevinter over a future with him. He still did not want to loose Dorian more than he already had though. He had still gotten the idea to bombard him with negative songs about Long Distance relationships, only to realize that there were not even enough of them to make a proper playlist! It was all "Distance does not matter, when it's true love." and "Powering through it, for him!". Same with the stupid quotes and poems. What about just wanting them there to hug you? What about comforting you when you're sad? What about him? Sending those stupid things would imply that he was okay with it! He really was NOT! He sent the obligatory "Good morning.", "Good night" and "Thinking of you." stuff, it gave Dorian a facade of cooled anger and that he was okay here, but not that he was okay with the distance.

"Mythal...please let some zealot just drop a fucking bomb on Tevinter, while Dorian is away to do work! Let me get my hands dirty about it...no one would ever figure it out. Or better, bring back the Exalted Marches from back then and march against the Tevinter Chantry. They'd evacuate the Magisters and Dorian could come back, since there would not be anything left to safe!", Jalen began to pray sloppily.

The godess of justice was the go-to godess of the elves for matters like that. But he had asked Mythal for this so often that he was sure that she was annoyed by now. His prayers had been denied over and over again, even though the whole fucking country had wronged him. Maybe Mythal had different ideas of being wronged than he had, but wasn't she supposed to somewhat create justice? Jalen had no idea. At least his performance in university was not slipping too badly or Adila would be on his case big time.

Apperantly this weird blond neighborhood kid had even deemed him a charity case, since he had started lounging around the house, in the most dangerous places sometimes, to offer him small gestures of comfort, like a candy bar or tea. He had no idea how this weird kid knew what his tastes were, but he was grateful. This kid was totally weird, but at least he did not have to explain anything to him or Creators forbid justify himself. Too bad that he alway spoke in such a cyptic way, or he would've pried something out of him that he could make use of for giving him something in return...

He wished he knew this boy's name. At least a tiny thank you was in order, even if the boy probably did not want him to worry about it. He had always rambled on about healing the hurt, without expecting anything for his troubles. It was a hurt that could not be mended at all, unless he could bring Dorian back from Tevinter, but he had to show appreciation for trying.

 

"Thank you.", Adila said to the applicant who had just finished trying out for the part of Alistair, before turning to her friend and colleague Leliana.

"Any good applicants for the Warden?", she asked.

"About as many as for Bann Teagan: Zero.", the redhead awnsered, but she knew that something else took up her friends focus.

"Jalen has still not improved huh?", Leliana asked.

"Not one bit...say Leliana...do you not still have some way to contact your old friends from Ferelden?", Adila asked.

"Wait...you want to involve Roland and Jaden into this?", the redheaded human stuttered.

"As far as you told me, he wasn't any better off, after Jaden went away to Orlais for this psych-aid program for former bards...", Adila inquired.

"Point taken...", Leliana relented.

 

Jalen sighed into his hot coffee. His sister really was stubborn, sending him to this meeting, with this old schoolfriend of Leliana's. Would he just not tell her the same thing? That he was not being supportive, a whiny brat with a chip on his shoulder and all in all the villan? He really did not need to hear that...again! Really, if he heared that again, he would pray for that bomb to land not on Tevinter, but his own blighted head!

"Are you Jalen Lavellan?", a redhead who was standing at his table suddenly asked.

"I am...", the elf mumbled.

"Oh good...you are the one I was told about by Leliana. My name is Roland Gilmore.", the redhead introduced himself, while holding his hand out for Jalen to shake.

While shaking it, Jalen noticed the wedding ring. Apparently he was married. Jealousy rose up from the deepest pit of his stomach again, since he would not be able to have this either.

"I see you noticed my wedding ring. Yes I am wedded to the most amazing man in all of Ferelden, but there is more to it. Long before my love presented me with this ring, we were in the same position as you were...or should I say I was?", Roland began to talk to him.

"My husband went to Orlais for a while to help with a psyche-programm for former Bards. At this time our relationship was at its peak, as preserved by me, and looking to go to Orlais felt like him betraying our love. I did not care one bid for the bards he could help with his studies, for the therapist he could turn out to be. They could drown in their nightmares and commit suicide  for all I cared, if it just brought Jaden back to Ferelden.", the redhead began to explain then.

It was strange to hear that someone else had felt the same way. A certain someone else who carried himself with such grace, seemed like such a gentleman and was above all else married to the man he had cursed for leaving.

"Still...it worked out for us...mainly because I told him that I felt the way that I did. He knew that I did not mean that those bards should drown in their nightmares, but why did it have to be him? Why not some other psychology graduate who wanted to prover their worth? He listened to my woes and worries and knew that I did not wish any pain on his charges, that my words had sprung from a grief-induced rage...", Gilmore sighed.

"I know how loneliness feels. I felt this way more than just one, but Jaden did his best to quench my grief-raging...he sent me half of the "Thank you"-gifts his charges had made for him, since they had wanted him to enjoy it with someone special, he'd sing me lullabies on the phone every single night, no matter how tired he was, he turned down appointments just to spare my feelings, because he did not want me to face that he spends more of his life apart from me than with me, because he did not want me to feel the slightest bit forsaken and so many other things...", the redhead went on.

"The best part came a year later though...he had finally returned from Orlais, took me to the most expensive place he could dig up and surprised me...with this.", Roland finally ended his tale with a happy smile.

The look of the elf that had softened a bit during his tale, fell abruptly again at the sight of it.

"Aiding bards with psych problems and reforming an entire fucking country is a difference though! This will not just take one year, this will take 3,5,20 years...? I might have just lost him forever!", Jalen wept in anger.

Roland just let out a sigh and motioned for him to come with him.

 

"You do not need to be careful about anyone or anything around here...", Roland whispered.

A junkyard. Roland had taken Jalen to a junkyard. He had given him an old wooden bat and with that he probably should leave behind a trail of destruction. The rage about the fact that Dorian might be lost to him for eons, just fanned the flame.

"Fuck you Tevinter! With your fucking magisters...", he yelled and smashed a bunch of empty bottles. "...and your fucking non-existant LGBT-rights...", an old TV joined Jalens vengeful scrappile. "...and your fucking bloodmagic...", an old tire landed in the window of a broken car.

"...and your fucking faults that made Dorian feel he had to come back!!!", Jalen yelled, while releasing more cars of the glass in their windows.

"FUCK YOU FELIX ALEXIUS! FUCK YOU SISTER! FUCK YOU ALL!", he then cursed out his sister and friends for judging him about his feelings.

"Fuck you Dorian Pavus! Fuck your charm, your eyes, your smile and viles that made me fall in love with you! Fuck you! We never should've met, if you could never make me first priority!!! FUCK YOU YOU ASS! I HATE YOU!", Jalen yelled to the heaven and kinda hoped Dorian had heared him in Tevinter.

But underneath mindless destruction of already useless junk...most of his rage had evaporated. Roland Gilmore apperantly looked very pleased with himself, but that look soon changed to one of concern, after Jalen had started crying.

"Fuck you. Why won't you let me hate you?", he sobbed into the redhead's lap and it felt so damn good to just weep without any judgement.

 

"Oh my Amatus...", Dorian whispered, after Jalen had finished telling him how miserable he had been all this time.

"I can back out on the next upcoming meetings and have Mae stand in for me...if that is what you want...", the mage kept mumbling then.

"No...why that? I miss you, but you would not even focus on spending time together, if it meant fullfilling your dream.", Jalen resigned.

He felt better now and capable of talking things through rationally.

"Amatus...one reason I want to change this country is...I wanted to take you there. I wanted to show you Minrathous, hold your hand in public without having rocks tossed at us...I want to show you this beautiful place, but they would only take you away from me the way things are now...an elf...not even a mage...what do you think could happen?", Dorian asked quietly.

"You said you wanted to...I can respect it if you chose to end this...I would not...", Jalen stuttered, suddenly filled with shame about his actions and wishes.

"No!", Dorian cut him off too quickly.

"I don't wanna lose you, but...oh Creators, what have I done?", Jalen croaked.

"You Amatus, have done nothing wrong. Missing me so much that it turned into anger and grief? I don't know if I should feel flattered or simply worry about you...", Dorian comforted.

"You have not done anything wrong either! Following your dream of saving your home...and I did not even support you one bit...", Jalen returned his comment, not wanting to be soothed for this.

"Let us agree to disagree then.", Dorian ended it, lovingly but firmly, similairly how he had told Jalen to stop pouting.

"Vhenan?", Jalen asked, after a few moments of silence.

"Yes?", Dorian whispered back.

"Could you sing for me?", Jalen shyly asked.

"I can and I will Amatus.", Dorian awnsered, before starting to sing an elvhen love song, Jalen knew he had NOT taught him

The elf felt so warm and safe in his bed right now...his last thoughts before sleeping were this and how he would go take Adilas advice and try out for the roll of the Warden tomorrow.