I don't know what to say,
I don't know what to say anymore,
Cause it's all been said before,
And I don't know where you are; all I know is your far,
And you're not coming back.
Without you - Pixie Lott
Anders' face reflected his struggle between shame and defiance, as he held the knife at Bethany's throat. His knuckles were white from the intensity of his grip on the knife. A small drop of blood dripped from Bethany's throat as his hold on her tightened. It wasn't too late to stop him; it couldn't be when so much was at stake. His eyes weren't glowing which meant Justice was not in the room, for him at least.
"Take me." The words burst out from my lips with no thought, yet I knew they were the right ones. Anders' eyes finally met mine but he wasn't truly looking at me when a slow grin spread across his lips.
"Oh, sweet, sweet Cameron. How noble you are." He cooed turning his head to nuzzle into Bethany's hair. A hint of a glow trailed beneath his skin from his temple towards his eyes.
Anger ripped through me at the sight of Justice. In my heart I believed he was partially the caused this, his need for justice overruled the real world and slowly turned Anders into what he had feared most. I had an overwhelming desire to pierce through Anders' heart; I became transfixed on his icy blue eyes.
"Give me back my sister." I hissed through gritted teeth.
"Give me back Alistair." The menacing voice of Justice echoed throughout the room. Only by looking at Bethany did I notice her whimper, hope was quickly draining from her. I had no intention of handing back Alistair, but at the same time I wasn't going to allow my sister to die after taking her away from the Circle.
"Please, take me." Dropping to my knees and clasping my hands together, I pleaded with my eyes. It had never occurred to me how I'd die even when death surrounded me. When father died, his face remained peaceful; even in his death, I felt the hope he had always given me. However with Bethany's life being threatened it brought back the memories of my mother's death, all hope drained in just one glance.
The glow slowly left Anders eyes but what replaced it scared me more than anything else had. The glare in his eyes was murderous as he dragged the knife deliberately and deeply across her throat. Bethany's screams abruptly stopped as the blade cut across front of her throat.
Her beautiful eyes never left mine as the life slowly drained from her. Every bone in my body wanted to help her but something held me firmly in place. I didn't know why I couldn't move, it was as if my body wasn't my own and I was watching from a distance. The sound of my heartbeat pounded in my ears and ticked away the final seconds of Bethany's life.
Her body started to sag; Anders held her around the waist to keep her up. With that movement, my feet started working again and my hand was already taking out a small blade I had in the back of my scabbard With the knife pinched between my finger and thumb I threw it. The blade spiralled soundlessly through the air, piercing the flesh of the hand Anders in which he was holding his knife. He screamed out in agony, releasing both the knife and my sister.
Bethany dropped lifelessly to the floor. Diving to catch her, I was too late and her head smacked hard on the ground. Gathering her up into my arms, the blood from her neck seeped between my fingers as was her life itself. I was filed with an overwhelming sadness; the tears that welled up in my eyes blurred my vision. The warmth of her skin felt wrong at the sight of her lifeless form. She didn't look at peace like my father did. Bowing down I fought against the sobs as I kissed her gently on the forehead whilst praying for her soul to reach our family at the side of the Maker. As young girls we had always believed the Maker would be waiting for us with our loved ones, we would pray before going to sleep and when we awoke, Bethany would sometimes pray when she thought she was alone, she wanted a happy ending for all of us. She prayed when father died and I remember that night perfectly.
"…Father is a good man." I heard her say the night he died. She had only been fifteen at the time "Maker, I pray to you to guide him safely to happiness in at your side until we join him in everlasting rest." Sobs came from the room as I listened intently from the hall. The sobs got louder and heavier so I burst through the slightly a-jar door and threw my arms around her shoulders. I could remember the smell of sweat that filled my nose; it was a good smell not the choking smells that normal spoke of a day of hard labour. A small knock on the door made Bethany jump, she wiped frantically at the loose tears falling down her face but she couldn't hide the red around her eyes.
Standing up, beside her, I took in Carver, who stood awkwardly in the doorway; tears also stained on his face. I didn't get the urge to comfort him like I did for Bethany; earlier on that day I had heard him say that father's death had been a good thing since father was ill. In my heart I knew he was right, but the resentment stayed. Beside me, Bethany looked pleased to see him in her room and I remember the confused and jealous feeling that filed a lump in my stomach. She had idolised me from infancy; the same look in her eyes had always been for me and no one else. Seeing her gaze at Carver that way brought a million questions to mind.
"Can I pray with you?" Carver asked quietly. He stood stiffly and instantly I knew that this was hard for him. I didn't answer, but in my head I was screaming no. So I was slightly irritated when Bethany said yes, and he walked in closing the door. With a quick glance towards me, Carver knelt down near the end of Bethany's bed; Bethany imitated him. Silently sighing, I joined them on the other side of Bethany. Since I was the oldest, I began.
"Blessed our father whose soul has departed into the Fade, please take him safely to your side." I said loudly. We had never stuck to the chant of the Chantry since it would be a contradiction to our way of life, so we spoke from our hearts.
"Guide his soul to happiness and never make him feel alone." Bethany whispered the sobs subsided.
"And never let him go hungry." Carver finished. More resentment filled me and my jaw slacked. Out of all things that he could have said that was what he choose to send with our father. I knew the inside joke well, for weeks on end we only had bread and water to fill our hungry bellies. During those times father would always complain he was hungry then mother would scream at him to find us all food, he'd say this even if he wasn't hungry, he just liked seeing mother lively, even if she was angry at the time.
Smoothing back delicate strands of dark hair from Bethany's face I leaned down to kiss her skin, sweet lavender filled my nostrils as I tried to take in every sense of her. A small breath of air escaped her lips as her soul floated away from her. I could hear the blood pounding in my ears; I had no idea how long I sat cradling Bethany in my arms. All I could think about was her smile, the way her lips thinned out baring her gorgeous, straight, pearly teeth. My heart melted, I'd never see her smile again. I could hear the sound of feet scraping against the floor behind me; only one word came to mind. Alistair. I had come so close to losing the man I loved, but I lost my little sister instead. Karma was a bitch.
That was when the anger came…
Tilting my head, I saw Anders rugged shoes a few feet away, my eyes trailed up to look at his face. A deep cut was under his right eye, his hair drenched in blood. The look in his eyes was heart-breaking, as grief took over him. Fenris stood behind Anders holding him in place awaiting my punishment. Gently laying Bethany on the floor, I rocked slightly as I stood up. Anders eyes followed me watching my every move trying to read my actions. Slowly, I approached him till I was just inches away. The sorrow in his eyes made me feel sick. Apparently, Justice wasn't present.
"I hate you." I whispered without encouragement.
Anders winced; tears filled his eyes. My hand clenched and I could feel them turning white under the pressure, fury raged through me. My emotions were at a fever pitch as I pulled back my arm and punched hard, hitting him square in the nose. He sagged slightly in Fenris' arms. Blood trickled from his nostrils and met with the crease in his lip. I drew my hand back to hit him again but the way Anders flinched stopped me.
I hissed, "'Forever'...Remember? That's what you said." Anders looked straight into my eyes and finally I saw the apology, the heartbreaking apology that didn't matter anymore as my sister lay dead only a few feet away. "You said you'd love me…forever."
"I do love you." He whispered.
Pure rage flowed through my veins. It controlled me.
"Go to the void."
Then I lunged for Anders throat…
X X X
Bethany was dead.
Anders was dead.
But he didn't die today; he died six years when he blew up the chantry.
Before, when I faced him at Vigil's Keep, I had believed that he could be brought back. Even when he kidnapped Alistair, I still believed that I could bring back the man I fell in love with. Which made me feel guilty. A part of me had still been insanely in love with Anders, every inch of myself was certain that he was still in there. However when I saw the murderous glint in his eyes as he brought the blade across Bethany's throat that was when I realised the man I loved would never come back.
Which finally brought me to Alistair. He leaned, casually, against the wall watching me, sadness in his eyes. An urge for his arms around me made me walk towards him. Blood covered his face, but he still looked handsome almost …dangerous? Then I saw how his arm hung awkwardly away from his body and that's when the guilt came back. I stopped in front of him, content with my decision. "You have to go back to Ferelden, Alistair." When he didn't answer immediately I added. "…without me."
Alistair sighed heavily looking me straight in the eyes. "I'm not leaving you." Clearly he wasn't going down without a fight; this was a first…
"Ferelden needs their King." I said. And it was true, we'd been away from Ferelden for nearly four months, he had to go back.
"You need me." He pushed himself from the wall, so his face was inches from mine.
"I'm meant to be alone Alistair." Now, that I was totally sure about. Slowly but surely every person I loved was ripped away from me. First father then Carver, Mother, Anders, and now Bethany. I had come so close to losing Alistair as well, that I feared for his life. Every second with me could mean the end of his life, how could I allow it?
"I'm not leaving you." He said again, this time he gripped my wrists gently.
Tears threatened to expose me, why did he have to make this hard? "You will only die if you stay with me." My hand itched to smooth his sore cheeks but I couldn't.
"I can take care of myself." A small smile played on his broken lips.
"You're better off without me…everyone is." I said; shifting my gaze to his fingers linked around my wrist. I wish he'd just get angry.I wish he'd yell at me. I wish he'd tell me everything was my fault like I knew it was.
But he didn't… "I love you." He whispered, his hands smoothed up my arms and locked on my elbows. My heart accelerated as he leaned down and brushed his lips against my forehead, minuscule tears rolled down my cheeks.
"I'm not good for you Alistair." The words came out in sobs, which only made him embrace me. It felt good being pressed against him, to let all my sadness out. Yet, over all the sadness, the guilt was still there, blinding me from the real troubles. Bethany was dead, but how could I mourn her when I felt so much guilt? It was my fault that she was here. It was my fault she died. If only I realised that she was perfectly happy back at the Circle. Then she may still be alive. I didn't deserve the comfort Alistair was giving me. I didn't deserve his love when my mistakes nearly sent him to his death. Yet, at that moment, all I wanted was his arms, his love.
X X X
We arrived back in Kirkwall only ten hours later. There was no sign of Morrigan or Letecia. They had abandoned us that was clear, but I didn't care. I finally realised Alistair wasn't going anywhere without me. We wrapped Bethany's face in a cloth that was used for bandaging wounds; we didn't have enough to cover her entire body.
The ache in my heart worsened as I thought about the memories Bethany and I shared. It hurt even more to know that those memories would always stay that way. In those memories, I couldn't help but feel regret. I had made her so many promises, ones that I never fulfilled. It was difficult not to remember the times that I had said cruel things to her. I couldn't have made her life easy when I made odd comments about her being an abomination. I had only said them when she truly angered me, but even when I said them I knew I shouldn't have. All I wanted now was to apologise, but the terror was not over. Mages still rampaged through Thedas, the war continued even without Anders to lead the rebellion.
We climbed from the ferry as it docked in the Gallows; Alistair cradled his right arm around my shoulders while Fenris walked quietly behind us carrying Bethany's body. A crowd was gathered near the entrance. They parted as we walked through. I heard Cullen's voice before I saw him; he sounded agitated. I wasn't looking forward to him seeing Bethany the way she was. Though when I saw Cullen, a wide smile spread across his handsome face, unexpectedly tears fell down my cheek. A frown furrowed his forehead as his gaze fell upon Fenris; I couldn't imagine what we must have looked like.
I knew telling him the news wouldn't be good for any of us in front a crowd, so I walked straight towards him, slid my hand through his and pulled him through the gates, I didn't stop till we approached the Gallows courtyard. I motioned for Fenris to settle Bethany down on a small bed that must have been used by people who couldn't gain entrance to the city. I remembered the first day we came to Kirkwall, mother had been distressed mainly because of Carver's death, but Bethany had tried to keep things lively.
I clutched my hands in front of me as I watched Cullen; his eyes hadn't left Bethany. "Is that…?" Cullen choked a sob. I couldn't bring myself to speak, so I nodded. Unexpectedly, a tear slid down his cheek and he shoved a clenched fist into his mouth as the tear turned into hysterical cries. I moved forward to comfort him, but he turned to glare at me. "Who did this to her?"
"Anders." Alistair interrupted me before I could speak. He rested his hand on the small of my back, which gave me courage.
"I hope you took care of him." Cullen practically hissed; he gazed at me as he spoke. I nodded, though I was perplexed. His reaction to this had astounded me; I hadn't expected such fury from him. Did this reaction have anything to do with his sudden change in heart towards me?
Suddenly Fenris was there, his head slightly turned as if he was trying to analyse Cullen from a different angle. "Isn't it forbidden for a Templar to love a mage and vice versa?"
Cullen flinched. "I have no idea what you're talking about elf." Even if he didn't flinch I could hear the tremble and lie in his words.
"You love my sister?" This, I had definitely not expected and why hadn't Bethany said anything? Didn't she know or was this really something she couldn't have trusted me with?
Cullen sighed, his shoulders tensed. "It was impossible not to fall in love with her, trust me I tried." The tears didn't stop falling down his face.
"If that's the case why did you let her come with me?" It's not that I was blaming him, I was genuinely curious about this 'secret' relationship.
Cullen glared at me furiously. "Because I thought she'd be safe with you. She was always talking about you, saying she missed you. I wanted her to be happy. I trusted she'd be safe. This is your fault!" Finally. The words stung but I knew I deserved them and they only rang with truth. I felt Alistair's hand tense on my back but he didn't say anything.
So I was surprised when Fenris pounced onto Cullen and pushed him against the wall with a threatening glare. "This isn't her fault. How dare you accuse her of that. Did you think she planned on Bethany being murdered by someone she used to be in love with? None of us knew Anders was this much of an abomination. I nearly thought it impossible that Anders would ever cause Cameron this much pain. Yes, she's in pain too, blaming herself just as much as you are." Fenris' jaw locked as he and Cullen stared down one another. Then he stepped away from Cullen and turned towards me, the anger instantly erased from his face. In one step he was directly in front of me, his hand on my cheek. A frown creased my forehead. I had never seen him act this way.
"Don't blame yourself Cameron." He leaned down and kissed my cheek. I couldn't help but be aware of Alistair; if it bothered him, he made no move to show it. Fenris leaned away and smiled, he turned to look at Alistair. "She's special, Your Majesty. Take care of her." He turned without waiting for an answer. In that moment I saw a friend rather than the first man that I ever loved and I pondered on the idea that maybe the love had been just that, friendship. Fenris had realised that right from the beginning.
My attention was brought back to Cullen who was looking over at Bethany's body; pain filled his eyes. "She'd hate me for blaming you." He hung his head then turned slightly to look at me. "I'm sorry."