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Dark at the edges, echoes of metal voices on stone, and warmth seeping out between his fingers.

He should not have attempted it.

Magebane courses through his blood, cementing him to the confines of this world (how fascinatingly fragile, bleeding through torn skin onto a cold gray floor, how ordinary. How ridiculous).

She had warned him not to try.

Him on his knees with his magic muted, arms bound, watched by a hundred eyes. Her without weapon or armor or throne, at home in her power at long, long last.

“You will be safe here,” she had said in a voice that felt to him like a summer afternoon, “warm and well-fed. And Solas?” (how his blood had risen to hear his name on her lips again) “Do not attempt escape. You will fail, and you will die.”

Somewhere, somehow, she had learned to let her face in on the lie. Cold, impassive, hard, but her eyes had begged him not to do it. Begged him to trust her, to submit, to concede defeat. How many times had he wished for this, when he was tired and losing hope? Defeat in her arms could hardly be counted as loss. But now, now he had been so close to an end.

There had been no other way.

The voices quiet, small scuffling armored footsteps, uneasy, and then she is there. Hands on his chest, a choice; she balls them into fists and cries (he was always the one with the principles).

“I’m sorry,” he tries to say, but she shushes him and sits in the damp, dark cell, and she works his head into her lap and he tries not to think about how dying isn’t much like falling asleep at all.

At least he would not do it alone.

Trembling hands, her nails on his scalp, soothing, scratching lightly like she used to in the evenings (when she loved him without knowing) and she doesn’t ask why, or curse him for it, or say anything at all.

She cries on his face, but he doesn’t mind (he’s too tired to mind).

Almost asleep; her lips are so warm. For her, for her he summons what strength he has left, funnels it into this one final kiss.

Goodbye, but he does not want to go.

He does not want to go.