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Fic: Constancy, Anders/Amell

Title: Constancy
Rating: PG for implied sex
Characters: Theodora Amell/Anders with a vague Nathaniel->Theodora and Bethany->Nathaniel added in.
Spoilers: DA2 endgame spoilers
Summary: He never thought that he’d see Amaranthine again, but there he was at the back door, waiting to be let in like some stray cat coming back from some adventure.
Note: Still trying to grind through a bout of writer's block. *shakes rust off keyboards*


He doesn’t know why he’s there, after all these years. After what happened in Kirkwall, he followed Hawke’s advice and ran as fast and as far as he could from the destruction that he had caused. He didn’t have a destination in mind, but it still surprised him when he found himself standing at the back kitchen door of Vigil’s Keep. She probably knows everything that happened by now, he thought miserably, his knuckles raised and hesitating inches from the wood. She probably has orders to kill you on sight; she probably will kill you on sight regardless, after the way that you left…

Anders hung his head and withdrew his hand. “This was a stupid idea,” he muttered to himself. Bending to pick up the pack at his feet, he thought of the places that he could go. Ships were still in Amaranthine’s harbor; he could find one that was headed towards Antiva or Rivain. Isabela once said that Rivain was nice this time of year, maybe he could…

“Are you going to stand there like that all evening or are you going to see if they’ll let you in?” His breath caught in his throat at the sound of the voice behind him. Turning slowly, he was nearly brought to his knees at the familiar figure. Her hair was still as bright as ever, but instead of being fashioned into severe braided rolls at the base of her neck – and how he had loved to tangle his fingers in them, to muss the rigid style into something more relaxed – she wore her hair down in soft waves that trailed over her shoulders and down her back. She had a large basket of cut herbs in one arm and a bundle of flowers in her other hand.

He swallowed, his mind frantically trying to think of something to say. “I don’t know if they’d want me here,” he started. He was going to add something witty, but she never gave him a chance. Her cuttings fell to the ground and her arms were wrapped around his neck faster than he could blink, her mouth covering his in a kiss that was desperate and messy and oh so familiar.

“As I said before, there will always be a space for you here,” she whispered, lacing her fingers with his. She opened the door and tugged on his hand, leading him inside the kitchens.

The warm smell of fresh baked bread greeted them and Anders felt his stomach twist on itself in hunger. He couldn’t remember the last time that he had eaten. “I’ve missed you, Thea.”

Theodora sniffed and her hold on his hand tightened. “I’ve missed you too,” she said. “Come on, let’s set you to rights.”

***

It had been weeks since he had a hot bath and years since he had felt safe enough to actually enjoy a long soak. He did so now, slinking down as far as he could in Theodora’s tub until his knees broke the surface of the water and his ears were submerged. He stared at the ceiling, wondering just what he would say when Theodora eventually returned to her chambers. She’d stayed with him in the kitchens as he had hungrily devoured three plates’ worth of food, saying nothing at the way that he had shoveled hot roasted potatoes into his mouth and gulped down goblets of chilled water. He had noticed the way that she had stared at him as he had eaten, moving only to refill his glass when it grew empty or to place more food on his plate. He had a brief thought that she was watching him as intently as she was because she had poisoned his meal, but then dismissed the notion just as quickly. The Theodora that he knew had no use for subterfuge. Had she wanted him dead, she would have struck him with lightning the moment that she had seen him.

She’d left him at her bedroom, stopping long enough to mention that a bath had been drawn for him. The water smelled like her; the sharp scent of fresh herbs soothing the long-held knots in his neck and shoulders. I don’t have any right to be here, he thought, thinking back to the reunion he had with Nathaniel back in the Deep Roads. He absently rubbed his jaw, stubble catching on his fingers as he remembered the way Howe’s fist had connected with his face.

So you’re alive after all, he had snarled, glowering at Anders. For years I had hoped that you were dead, if only for her sake.

They hadn’t said much to the other after that, but what Nathaniel said before leaving with Bethany had haunted him ever since.

You can’t imagine how hard it is to see Theodora stare off into the distance, knowing that she’s hoping to see you walk back to her. You don’t know how painful it is to see her put on a brave face while watching her die just a little bit every day. Six years, Anders. She’s mourned you, and here you are, skulking around not even a stone’s throw away.

Anders sat up in the tub, water sluicing down his shoulders. Pushing his hair out of his eyes, he stared at the nearby vanity, at all the little odds and ends that could be tied to Theodora. Leaving again is going to be the hardest thing I’ve ever done.

His eyes snapped towards the door when it softly opened. Theodora briefly turned to lock the door, her arms full with clean linens. “I would have sent for your clothes, but I figured that you wouldn’t want them laundered,” she said, draping a towel over the rim of the tub. “The robes hanging out in the laundry would have alerted Templars.”

He smirked. “Well, they do sort of scream out I’m a mage, don’t they?”

She let out a short snort of laughter before sobering. “People from Starkhaven have already come looking for you, you know,” she told him, reaching out and grabbing hold of the bar of soap. She knelt at his side and gently began soaping his back, her fingers rubbing his skin. “They searched the Vigil, thinking that I would have been hiding you. Things got…” she searched for a word, “tense before they were satisfied enough to leave.”

He turned and cupped her cheek with his hand. “I’m so sorry, Thea. I never meant for you to…”

“Become involved? Anders, no matter what you say, you’re still a Warden and I am still the Commander of the Grey. It was only logical that they search here.” She leaned against his hand and closed her eyes. “How long are you planning on staying before you leave for good?”

“I should have never stopped. I’ve put you in danger.”

Theodora opened her eyes and Anders was almost shocked at the anger that shone in her normally peaceful face. “The Towers are falling all over Thedas. Templars are striking mages down left and right for fear of maleficars and abominations running rampant. The Order provides a flimsy shield for me to stand behind, but it’s only a matter of time before even that crumbles. Alistair is doing all he can to protect Ferelden’s mages, yet there’s only so much he can do. Things are bound to get much worse before they can even begin to look better; your appearance on my doorstep isn’t going to tilt things in one direction or the other.”

He opened his mouth to say something – what, he had no clue – when she pressed her index finger to his lips. “If you apologize one more time, I’m going to set your hair on fire. What else did you expect to happen when one blows up the Chantry with the Grand Cleric inside?”

His shoulders slumped. “I don’t know.” He flinched when the sides of her fists hit his chest.

“That’s because you never think, Anders. You’re great at setting events into motion, but you never put any thought into long term plans. That’s why you were always captured whenever you escaped the Tower, except now instead of Templars dragging you back to be scolded by Irving and Gregoir, there are orders to kill you on sight.” She buried her face against his neck, her hand weakly beating at his back. “I can’t lose you like that. I can’t, I…”

Anders pressed a kiss to the crown of her hair. “I wish I knew what to say,” he murmured. “I want to tell you that things will be all right, that I’ll just keep on running, but…”

“But you can’t, can you?” She broke away from his embrace and stood up. Going over to the fireplace, she hugged her arms and stared into the flames. “Tell me one thing; was that entirely your idea or did Justice have any say in it?”

He froze momentarily before rising from the tub and wrapping a towel around his hips. “How did you know?”

She turned towards him. “Do you remember that last night we had together?”

He nodded. How could he forget? Memories of her body under his hands, her soft sighs and breathy moans had kept him company on long nights for years now. He and Justice had been merged for about a week when he had his first blackout. After waking up amidst several dead Templars, he decided that it would be safer for everyone, especially Theodora, if he wasn’t at the Vigil. “What gave it away?”

“You called me Aura when we made love. You also asked her to look after Pounce instead of leaving him with me.” She looked at him. “Is he…still in there?”

“Justice and I are one now,” he explained. “There are times that he completely takes over, but for the most part, my actions are my own.”

She swallowed. “Have you used blood magic?”

“No. I figured becoming an abomination was bad enough. Why add fuel to the fire?” He reached out and twisted a lock of her hair around his finger. “I left because I didn’t trust myself not to hurt you. I wouldn’t have been able to live with myself if I had caused you pain.”

Theodora stepped closer to him, her palms warm on his chest. “When Bethany came to us and explained that she had been travelling with you, I knew that you weren’t coming back. Knowing that I’d never see you again was one of the most painful things I’ve ever gone through.”

His face crumpled and he gathered her in his arms. “I’m sorry. I’m so, so sorry.” He whispered apologies against her temple, her cheek, her lips, every inch of skin her robes revealed.

She walked backwards towards her bed. “The Vigil is safe for now,” she told him, holding onto his hand with her left, her right unfastening clasps on her clothing. “Stay, at least until morning.” She reached out for him and he was helpless to do anything but follow her lead, lost to the softness of her skin, the sweet arch of her back, the ensnaring tangle of red, red hair that seemed to wrap itself around his wrists as he framed her face with his hands and swallowed her cries with his mouth.

After, he lay there with Theodora in the circle of his arms, his fingers tracing idle patterns on her arm. The temptation to have at least one last good night’s sleep was stronger than the urge to run, and he could feel his eyelids drooping.

She stirred in his arms and kissed his shoulder. “I love you,” she breathed. His fingers stilled. They’d known each other since he had been brought into the Tower as a teenager and had seemed to instantly gravitate towards the other. They’d spent their days together and snuck around for nighttime trysts over the years. She’d been there for his numerous escapes from the Tower and she’d been there when he had been caught and brought back. She’d laughed with him, cried with him, and they’d bled side by side as they fought together against the Architect and the Mother. Yet through all of that, they’d never once said how they felt. It was always there, something that neither of them had ever felt needed to be said. And yet…

He kissed her forehead. “I love you too.” Funny, how certain words held so much power. It didn’t matter that his actions had set events into motion that would be bigger than one rogue mage. It didn’t matter that he had an exiled prince out for his head or that he shared a body with a sometimes vengeful spirit of justice. Right then, his world seemed right and he tightened his arms around Theodora, searing the moment into his memory to keep him warm on the lonely nights that were soon to follow. At peace for the first time in years, he drifted off to sleep.

Anders woke to find himself alone and the sheets beside him cold. He sat up, casting his eyes around the darkened bedroom. The view outside the window told him that it was close to dawn, meaning that he had slept longer than he had anticipated.

Clever woman, he thought, slipping out of bed. She hid my clothes. Can’t go making a run for it pantsless, now can I? He wrapped a blanket around his waist and stirred up the dying embers at the fireplace. She did leave a tray of cheese and fruit, which he nibbled on while he waited restlessly for her.

He didn’t have to wait long. She slipped into the room in a whirlwind of motion. “Here, put these on,” she said, throwing a pair of pants and a tunic at him. “I’ve already refilled your pack with supplies; food and herbs and such, and I’ve put in enough money from my own coffers to last us for a while if we’re careful.”

“Thank you,” he said, pausing when her words sank in. “Wait, if we’re careful?”

She put her hand on her hip. Now that she was standing still, he could see that she was dressed for travel as well. “You honestly didn’t think that I’d let you run away without following, did you?”

He grabbed her shoulders. “Thea, this is serious. I’m talking about changing the way that Thedas treats mages; it isn’t going to be a walk in the park.”

She arched her eyebrow. “You forget who you’re talking to. Killing an archdemon and battling darkspawn aren’t exactly delicate side hobbies for fragile ladies, you know.” She broke out of his grip and went to an armoire, dragging out a staff. To the untrained eye, the weapon could be easily viewed as a tall walking stick. “I might not have done something as dramatic as you did to set things into motion, but I agree that something needed to be changed. With the Towers falling, there’s going to be a need for someone to stand up and create something new, something that will give enough structure to train mages while letting us retain our freedom.”

“And you think that we can do that?”

“Not alone. Tell me, what was your plan after this?”

“I…” He sighed. “You’re right; I don’t have a plan.”

She smiled. “And that is why you need me around.”

He sat on the bed and pulled on the pants she had given him. “And what is this plan, o Commander?”

“We need to find my cousin. She was there with you in Kirkwall; she can give us the clout that we need. Having the Champion of Kirkwall and the Hero of Ferelden on your side can’t hurt matters any, can they?”

“Hawke left Kirkwall in the opposite direction that I was running. She’s going to be hard to find.”

“Which is why we need to start looking.”

“Speaking of looking, what about us? Templars have a distinct knack for finding me when I least expect them.”

She grinned. Digging in her pack, she pulled out two glass vials. “I’ve had these in my possession for years. Having the king as your best friend has its perks,” she explained, the phylacteries glinting in the weak firelight. “We shouldn’t destroy them here, but if we have them, then it gives us a head start, no?”

“And what of Amaranthine and the Wardens?”

She looked around the room, her expression faltering. “I’ll miss Amaranthine, but while you were sleeping, I left several letters with Varel. One is to Alistair, explaining exactly why I’ve decided to run off. If he’s in on our plans then he’ll be able to stall anyone on our trail and give us more time. The second letter is for Nathaniel; I’m leaving Vigil’s Keep and the title of Commander to him. He’s been my Second for so long that this shouldn’t come as a surprise to him. He loves Amaranthine even more than I do; he’ll make a fine leader.”

He arched his eyebrow. The way that Nathaniel had spoken to him in the Deep Roads made him think that the archer had more than simple loyalty and friendship in mind when it came to Theodora. “What makes you think that he won’t follow us?”

She shrugged. “I don’t know. If he does, Amaranthine will still be in good hands. I left a note in his letter saying that if he should choose to join us, then Varel is to take over. And if Nathaniel does come along, then we’ll be adding a competent archer and another mage to our slowly growing group.” She shouldered a second pack. “Bethany would kill him if he left her behind.”

Anders pulled the tunic over his head. “Then it seems as if you thought of everything.”

She stood on her tiptoes and gave him a quick peck on the lips. “Which is exactly why you should bring me along. I fill in the details.” She grew serious for a moment. “You asked me once to come with you on one of your escapes. I was too afraid to do it then, even though I wanted to. I’m asking you now,” she held out her hand. “Come with me.”

He stared at her hand for a brief moment before reaching out, his fingers circling her wrist. “Okay,” he said hoarsely, feeling his heart swell at the thought of this woman leaving everything that she had gained behind in order to be with him. “But one last question Thea; how are we going to leave the Vigil unnoticed?”

She shook her head. “I haven’t hung around a Keep full of rogues for years without picking up a trick or two.” She squeezed his hand and picked up her staff. “Come on; let’s go be apostates together.”

Comments

( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
almightychrissy
Apr. 26th, 2011 10:12 am (UTC)
Ohhhhh, this is lovely. I love what Warden Amell brings to this, that extra sense of knowing Anders and of the consequence of his actions. Wonderful!
iceprincessd
Apr. 26th, 2011 11:11 pm (UTC)
Thank you! Thea is my second favorite Warden and the only one that really got 100% friendship with Anders in Awakening. After that, their backstory kinda took on a life of its own.

(love your Nate icon, BTW!)
autographedcat
Apr. 26th, 2011 11:53 am (UTC)
Oh, nicely done. :)
iceprincessd
Apr. 26th, 2011 11:12 pm (UTC)
Thank you!
liltxangel83
Apr. 26th, 2011 06:31 pm (UTC)
*squee!!* I was wondering if you had played DA 2. I've been playing it since the day it came out lol
I've missed your stories. And thanks for this timing. I've been trying to figure out how to get out of playing DA 2 over and over again. Now I have reason and want to go back to play Origins and Awakenings again ^_^

And going back I realize you did actually write another Anders/Thea pairing in Jan (which I will now go read lol)
iceprincessd
Apr. 26th, 2011 11:16 pm (UTC)
I've been playing since I got my copy too! There's just so much to see and do that you miss it all in a single playing. I restarted my Amell Origins so that I can have another import beside my Cousland, so Anders/Thea have been on the front burners in my head.

Thanks for reading!
reconnoiterer
Apr. 27th, 2011 02:19 am (UTC)
Oddly enough a very similar plot bunny went chasing through my mind just the other day (though yours is a lot warmer and fuzzier ;) Great minds, great minds!

D'awwwwing forever at the mental picture of Anders up to his ears in the bath with his knees sticking out.
iceprincessd
Apr. 27th, 2011 03:08 am (UTC)
Great minds do think alike! ;)

Someone needs to draw bathtime!Anders. With a rubber duckie, just because.
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )

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