For a moment Treva Hawke couldn’t breathe, couldn’t do anything to tear her eyes away from the empty place where the Chantry had stood only moments before. She then closed her eyes at Sebastian’s mournful cry, his emotions tearing at her own, before the anger welled up sharp and bright.
Yet she held it in as she settled the current conflict around her, not making enough of a promise to either Meredith or Orsino to say who’s side she would fall on but enough to make them both leave. There was other business to be attended to before she made that choice.
In a fury she whirled on the man sitting on a nearby crate and slapped him hard enough to draw blood at the edge of his lip.
“You bastard,” she snarled, shoulders shaking, magic welling up inside her chest and screaming for release. “Do you know what you’ve done?”
“Taken away the choice of compromise,” came the weary reply and Treva wanted to kill him, any remaining shreds of love for him washing away in the wake of her rage. It was so hard not to just choke him as she reached out to grab the front of the damnable black coat - why hadn't she suspected when he started wearing it - and jerked him to his feet.
“No!” she howled in his face. “You’ve done nothing but take away the choice from every mage! Meredith is right; this is going to demand retribution and all of us are going to pay for it!”
Anders’ face rippled suddenly with anger and he shoved her away, snarling with veins of blue light momentarily crackling across his cheeks. She stumbled and heard the others behind her: the sharp click of Bianca as Varric readied her to fire, the creak of Sebastian’s bowstring, Aveline’s armored feet scraping against the cobblestones, Isabela’s daggers rasping from their sheaths, the sizzling crackle of Merrill’s magic, and the low thrum of Fenris’ lyrium-born power that she felt all the way to her bones. Treva held up a warding hand as she regained her balance and watched as her fellow mage’s eyes widened with the realization that her hand was all that was holding them back.
Then his gaze hardened again and Anders growled, “Don’t you want mages to grow up with the freedom you had?”
“Freedom?” she repeated, laughing harshly. “What freedom, Anders? I spent my whole life running! Maybe it wasn’t the Circle but it was still a prison.”
“You had your family.”
She screamed the words and they carried her pain into the air, causing him to lean backwards as his eyes widened. Drawing in a deep breath, Treva clenched her hands into fists to still the sudden lightning crackling between her fingers. “My father, mother, and sister are dead. Maker only knows what’s happened to my uncle and cousin in this mess and Carver…” For a moment her throat closed up, then she continued, “Carver’s a templar. And you…you want me to fight him.”
Something in Anders’ face softened at that and for a moment she saw the man she’d fall in love with during those first years in Kirkwall instead of the Justice-consumed would-be martyr he’d become. “Treva, I…”
“Don’t,” she snarled and it took everything in that moment to not just break then and there. Her entire body shook and Treva closed her eyes for a moment, wanting to scream, to cry, to just run. Somehow she managed to breath, “I loved you, Anders.”
He swallowed hard, brown eyes filling with the knowledge of what they had both known was inevitable from the moment the Chantry had exploded in red light, and said quietly back, “And I you, Treva.” Anders suddenly seemed to collapse in on himself then, all self-righteousness drained out of him. “You deserved better than this.”
Anders nodded then hissed, turning his head away as the all too familiar veins of light flared along his skin. His eyes glowed and Treva could taste the Fade on the back of her tongue even as she heard Varric curse before Anders screamed, “NO!” And then the glow was gone, leaving her blinking down at him where he’d collapsed, fingers clutching at the cobblestones like he was about to fly off and never come back down.
Ignoring Varric’s growled Hawke that mixed with Aveline’s steady Be careful and Sebastian’s whispered prayer, Treva moved towards him. She slowly sank to her knees in front of Anders, sighing before she reached out to tug the tie from his hair and run her fingers through the dark blond locks. A low whine came from the man and then his arms were around her, his face pressed into the fur around her shoulders.
“I never wanted this,” he murmured feverishly. “Freedom for us to just be what we wanted and not be caged like animals but…notthis. I didn’t mean to kill us all.”
“I know,” she breathed, fingers still tracing through his hair even as she wondered where all her anger had suddenly gone.
“Make it quick.”
Her heart seized in her chest at his words and it took everything in her to not start crying. Part of her still loved him despite everything, despite the Chantry, despite trying to force her to choose.
“If I kill you,” she found herself saying and quietly loathing every word, “they’ll only make you a martyr for your cause.”
Anders shrugged, the movement shaking her slightly. “Don’t I deserve to die for starting a war?” he asked in a hopeless tone.
Part of her wanted to tell him no, wanted to say that he could make up for what he’d done but the words choked in her throat. Knowing him, knowing Justice, she knew he would never disappear quietly. He would always, always, end up here again. And as much as she’d feared the templars all of her life, they had a purpose. The Circles had a purpose.
Without their father, she and Bethany would have likely become just like the mages they’d fought over the years. Who would be there to teach young mages now if others saw what happened in Kirkwall and revolted? Would there be kind apostate fathers and loving mothers for all of them?
No. There weren’t nearly enough of those to go around.
Her knife was in her hand almost before she was aware of drawing it, awkwardly grasping it in her left hand as her right continued to run through Anders’ hair. Moving blindly, she tried to move it between them and press the point against his chest and gasped when his larger hand clasped over the hers, shifting the blade just slightly to the side so it rested above his heart. His skin was warm against hers, almost feverish, and it brought back memories of their nights together before he had started pulling away.
“It isn’t fair,” she breathed. “You’ve been gone for three years and now you’re back. And I have to kill you.”
Somehow Anders managed a chuckle, lifting his head from her shoulder to meet her eyes with a sad gaze. It was startling to see Justice - no, Vengeance - staring back at her out of the brown eyes she knew so well, now marred with a blue glow around the edge of the irises. She could almost feel the barely contained anger from the spirit and then Anders said, “Life isn’t fair.”
Treva started to open her mouth to respond only to have his consume it. She heard a startled cry from Sebastian and a snarl from Fenris and wanted to tell them that she isn’t letting him go. This is…
This is their goodbye.
He felt like her Anders again and she wanted to drown in him, in the scent of herbs and lyrium and Fade and never come back up for air. Yet all too soon the kiss was over, her lips tingling in the aftermath, and he was leaning his forehead against hers with his eyes closed. Treva could hear his breath coming in harsh gasps now and closed her eyes, knowing the end was coming.
“I can’t hold him much longer,” he breathed. “We’re not done yet, according to him. But I’m done, Treva. I’ve had enough. I’m tired of hurting you and everyone I care about.”
“I know,” she said quietly in return and his hand tightened over hers, both of them pressing the dagger close to his chest so the point dimpled his coat and the skin underneath. “Anders…”
He interrupted her with a teary sounding, “Try…try and forget the past three years. I…Treva…I’m sorry.”
“Already forgotten,” insisted Treva even thought she hadn’t and likely wouldn’t for many years to come. Moving her head, she kissed him again ever so lightly and felt his lips move in return. “I do love you,” she breathed, hearing the tears she’d been trying not to shed in her voice now.
Anders smiled, eyes opening to meet hers and she could see the blue glow growing, cracks like those that showed across his skin burning through the brown. He then leaned in, capturing her lips one last time as they moved together in one harsh gesture to thrust her blade into his heart. Treva caught him as he let out a pained gasp into her mouth and lowered him to the ground, fingers tangling in his hair as the tears finally won their fight to reach her eyes.
His brown eyes, suddenly clearer than she has ever known them to be, focused on her face for a moment then he was gone.
She could feel the sorrowful keen building in her chest almost instantly and let it loose with a fury, sounding out all of her anger and sadness in one cry. In the blur of thoughts in her mind, she damned them all: mages, templars, apostates, Justice, and even her father. Then, when the last notes of her scream was still ringing in the air, she lunged at Anders’ body and violently pulled her knife from his chest.
As it clattered to the cobblestones she heard Varric ask Hawke, what are you doing as she started to fumble at the clasps and buckles of her dead lover’s coat. Treva just kept moving, unable to answer through the choking feeling in her throat, until she tugged the coat free and buried her face in the black feathers lining the shoulders.
“I’m sorry I couldn’t save you,” she breathed, closing her eyes tight. “I will make sure that mages survive this war. That’s the only promise I can make, Anders.”
Hands shaking, Treva started tugging off her armor, ignoring the murmurs of surprise from behind her. Anders’ coat hung like a blanket on her but she didn’t care as she pulled the buckles as tight as she could. Then the armor went back on, the fur around her neck mixing with the feathers now decorating her shoulders, and she rose to her feet.
They were all staring at her like she was some mysterious thing when she turned to face them and it took a moment for Treva to realize that she was exactly that. Standing in front of them wearing Anders’ coat with his blood still wet on its breast, she probably looked absolutely insane.
“Hawke?” breathed Varric, the first to speak just as he was her first real friend in Kirkwall, and Treva smiled.
“I’m not taking up his cause, Varric.” At the dwarf’s sigh of relief, she added, “But I’m not entirely casting it aside either. He was right that mages have been treated wrong…Anders just went about it the wrong way.”
They each frown in turn - except for Merrill, who looks both happy and sad all at once - and she continued, “I don’t want to do this for either side, mages or templars, because they’re both wrong. Meredith needs to be stopped. And I can’t fight against my little brother.”
“We fight on the side of the templars then,” concluded Fenris, his stiff stance relaxing somewhat.
Shaking her head, Treva replied, “No, we’re on our side, same as we’ve always been. If a mage isn’t attacking except to defend themselves or casting blood magic, I want you to defend them. If a templar needs help, I want you to aid them. I will not let Kirkwall destroy itself because of this after all it’s survived.”
“So,” said Varric, his smirk suddenly returning. “We rescue Junior, take down the crazy Knight-Commander, and somehow manage to not die while both sides inevitably try to kill us because we aren’t on theirs.” He shook his head and Treva couldn’t help but return the grin he flashed her a moment later. “You take me to the strangest places, Hawke.”
“You know you love it.”
“Only because it’s you, Hawke. Only because it’s you.”
Treva smiled then sobered as she said, “Fenris, Sebastian…help me with the body.” Both elf and prince looked like they were about to protest violently but she pinned each of them with a fierce look, not accepting anything but their acquiescence. “He saved both of your lives time and time again without asking for anything in return, same as he did for everyone in Darktown. You owe him this little bit of respect no matter his crimes.”
Sebastian’s eyes widened then he nodded, bowing his head. For a moment she thought Fenris was going to just leave then he inclined his head in agreement. Together the three of them lifted Anders’ body and carried him with them until they reached the docks.
As Treva finished arranging the body in the little rowboat Merrill had found, she brushed Anders’ hair back neatly before folding his arms across his chest. Then she leaned forward to kiss his forehead before shoving the boat away from where she knelt on the dock. The current caught it after a terrifying moment when it seemed it would stall and carried it slowly away from them.
“Goodbye,” she whispered then reached for her magic, calling a ball of fire to her hand. For a moment she clung to the warmth before she tossed it towards the boat in a throw that would have been nigh impossible without magic. As the flames caught and began to consume the little vessel and its contents, she turned to step onto the ship Isabela had declared Good enough.
Eyes bright with grief and fury, Treva lifted herself into the ship’s bow and focused on the smoke rising from the Gallows ahead.
It was time to end the war in Kirkwall.
After that…well, she had a promise to keep now, didn’t she?