9/9: inspired by reaching the end of DA2 again, sob!! I can’t handle my life without this game
“What the fuck did you do?” Hawke shouted, shattering the stillness of the night-shrouded coast. Besides the low hush of the wind through the scrub, his voice was the only sound. He pivoted and stalked back a few paces towards Anders. They faced off for a moment before Hawke raised a hand as though to strike the other mage, forgetting for a second the scathing roil of magic beneath his surface. He wanted to feel the damage he dealt, for once—wanted to feel flesh give way.
But nothing came of it. The fury drained out of him in a sorry trickle, leaving him utterly void of—anything. Always the one to find sardonic humor in the midst of any situation, Hawke just felt vitiated. Anders had stolen the final vestige of stability he’d had, after the devastation of his entire family.
“What the fuck,” Hawke said, “Did you do.”
His fist dropped to his side but remained clenched. Anders, who’d shown no inclination to respond to the implicit threat, relaxed visibly nonetheless. His face tightened into an expression of sour indignation.
“I did what needed to be done, Hawke. You of all people should know that.”
This time when Hawke brought his fist up, it was to strike Anders across the face. A solid hit and one he stepped into. Anders stumbled backward and Hawke cried out—pain clutched his knuckles and thrummed up from his hand into his elbow.
“That hurt,” he said, looking aghast at Varric. The dwarf, ever beside him, gave him a baffled look. “You never told me punching someone hurt, Varric.”
“Well, if you’d asked, I would’ve told you,” Varric said. “As it stands, can’t say the subject ever came up.”
Anders touched a hand to his jaw and made no move to rejoin their group. He stood a few feet off, looking wild and wary as a wolf. Something about that made Hawke livid—Anders the hunted, Anders the secluded castaway who’d never needed to be. Hawke’s eyes narrowed to slits and he felt Varric’s hand on his arm. But the time for heeding reason had passed—Hawke had held everything in restraint for too long. He’d barely grieved the deaths of his family, one by one, first to keep the remaining family together and then to keep Kirkwall together.
No more. There couldn’t be more, because his reasons for stability had been steadily, almost thoughtfully, eradicated.
“I have nothing left,” he said, his voice low and rough with grief. “I have nothing left to fight for and nobody left to fight. Besides you.”
Anders said nothing but that glow, that hated glow, kindled behind his eyes. “You know not what you do,” he said, his voice an unearthly rumble.
“I know that I should’ve done it years ago,” Hawke said, his breath coming quicker as the magic in his blood boiled. “The moment you began lying to me I should’ve done it.”
The magic begged release and he let it go. It twisted out from him in a jolt of furious lightning, energy so unbound a tongue of it struck him, as well. Anders cried out and then fire roared loose from him—Hawke, consumed, didn’t even move. The fire struck him and the last of his restraints fell with the onslaught of pain.
He yelled and lightning showered down upon them. Energy crackled in the air and sparks struck fire from the brush. The night came alive in blinding white, and Hawke felt himself slipping, giving way, relenting…
Varric’s hand closed around his arm. Hawke screamed at the pain this caused him, but the dwarf held, brushing sparks off his coat with his other hand and swearing in a steady stream.
“Don’t fuck it up this badly, Hawke!” Varric shouted above the crackle of energy. “Fuck it up a little—you always do—but not like this!”
Hawke glanced down and met Varric’s eyes. Then he looked up and over at Anders, who stood braced beneath the shower of electricity. His eyes, illuminated in the flicker of magic, were the eyes of an exhausted man—they were also wild with fear and sorrow. The hail of lightning tapered off and ceased.
The two mages stood panting, squared off across a few feet of dusty path. Hawke shook his head, then turned to rejoin the group. He didn’t care whether or not Anders followed, though he knew he’d never forgive himself if he let the fugitive die like a hunted animal alone out here on the coast.
He passed Fenris and stopped, caught the elf’s green eyes and said nothing as they studied his own.
“You should have killed him,” Fenris said.
“I would have lost myself in doing so,” Hawke said. He felt—so empty.