Fandom: Dragon Age
Pairing: Anders/Nathaniel mentioned but not pictured
Summary: This takes place entirely in Anders's mind. Somewhere in Kirkwall during the Wintersend festival, sometime during Act 2 of DA2.
Notes: This is written for trope_bingo for the squares "Holiday" and "Soul bonding". Quite sad. :( I may turn this into something longer in the future.
Wintersend makes me miss Nathaniel. Anders sent the thought to the back of his mind as he looked wistfully at the Hightown food carts selling festival treats for the holiday -- little cakes in heart shapes and candies with tiny messages inscribed upon them. In the place where his mind now stored memories, an image appeared of Nathaniel sitting next to him, sharing one of these cakes and a mug of cider between them, sprawled out on the grass outside of Amaranthine waiting for the fireworks to begin.
Their stomach growled.
Justice’s thoughts percolated through Anders’s mindspace. You can’t. You must use this diversion while you have it. They need you, they need freedom.
Anders felt tired. I know, he sent back. But can’t you spare a kind thought? A man can miss his lover, you know.
The response came quickly, the same one that always came. A lover far away, a cause right in front of you.
Another memory surfaced and Nathaniel’s body faded away, replaced by a room of the library at Vigil’s Keep, and Justice — when he was not Anders but a corpse. You stink, Anders had told him. It’s good that this one’s nose doesn’t work, Justice had replied, and Anders had laughed and laughed.
Anders had thought back then that having a soulmate would be wonderful. He’d read about it in a book, and sure in that story it had been a romance, but Anders had liked the thought. And when he’d heard Nathaniel and Justice talking about it, he dreamed of it at night. To share a mind with someone? To have someone whose thoughts you could hear? He would never have to face the lonely silence of the night again; it would relieve many of his darkest fears.
You have nothing to be afraid of in the dark, came Justice’s thought, and by Andraste’s knitted panties I know that, but he couldn’t control the way his memories burst forth anymore. You are thinking too hard.
Privacy? Do you know of it? Anders was annoyed and he could tell that Justice was annoyed as well, but all Anders wanted was to eat one of the little heart shaped cakes and write Nate in a heart on the wall and cry.
You could take your pleasure with another if this will distract you so. Unbidden, thoughts of pleasure surfaced in their mind, pulled from the memory place; Anders regretted ever sharing with Justice one of his too-few intimate moments with Nathaniel. It was an enlightening experience.
It’s mine, not yours.
Thoughts were bouncing around, and Anders realized that he had been standing and staring. This happened sometimes, and it was a wonder he hadn’t been caught unaware before. Anders snapped his attention back to the front, settling himself in behind his own eyes, looking around to make sure there were no templars.
He turned away from the cakes, his heart aching. It isn’t your heart. It’s in the memories.
I know. Anders felt despair returning, the tell-tale sign that he was giving up. Sometimes his own emotions felt distant to him, especially when they came from space that was somewhere between him and Justice. He wondered if Justice could ever feel his heartache.
Why must mortals be so imprecise?
It isn’t imprecise. It’s a figure of speech.
Anders felt disdain seeping around the edges of his mind. You do need to go to the brothel if this is how you act when-
He was so angry he almost shouted; how Anders managed to hold back he had no idea. His thoughts careened around his head with force that gave him an echoing headache. No. It’s not the pleasure, Justice. It’s love. I miss him because I love him, not because I can’t pleasure myself with my hand or a willing woman or that elf at the Blooming Rose. I miss the way he smelled, and the feeling of his arms around me, and the sound of his voice.
Memories of these things wafted through their mind as Anders walked along the cobblestones, sitting down on a free corner of a bench and putting his head in his hands. He could almost smell Nathaniel, all leather and wood and something strong and musky that made him feel--
All of those things are pleasure.
You really will never understand.
Anders sighed and, in a moment of defiance of his own mind, went to the pastry cart and bought one of the heart-shaped cakes anyway. He had a few coppers to spare from his share of the most recent mission with Hawke, and he could spend it as he liked.
He turned on his heel and walked towards Darktown, but he could not escape the brooding heaviness of Justice in the back of his mind. He took a bite of the sweet cake, expecting it to taste of sugar and strawberries.
Instead, the sweetness turned to sand on his tongue, and he nearly spat it out. You would do this to me?
No response, just more heaviness, and the strange feeling of consciousness encroaching on his space in the front of his mind.
Fuck you. He swallowed the pastry although it nearly choked him, and took another bite.