It had been a few days since Amber and Carver’s return to Kirkwall, and the eldest Hawke had immediately sent out letters to Queen Elissa and Nathaniel at Amaranthine. The only good thing was that Adia was now up and about, and that had cheered up the siblings immensely, though both Amber and Carver kept quite a bit of what they’d seen hidden from their sister, and had sworn Varric to secrecy. However, the rogue was bored, having been cooped up in the house for a few weeks, and was intent on showing her twin just how healed she was. She opened the door to her sister's room just before breakfast, catching the mage completely off guard. “Amber! I wanted to sho-” The excitement turned to confusion quickly. Amber stood there in her underclothes, robe in her hands. However, Adia noticed that she seemed... Bigger than usual. Her stomach actually stuck out a bit. The sisters looked at one another for a moment.
“Wow... Anders was right.” The rogue gave her a playful smile. “You need to lay off the sweets.” Amber immediately attempted to cover her bump, eyes wide. She blushed so fiercely that it managed to hit the tops of her shoulders too.
“You take that back!” But Adia laughed and walked over, poking her belly.
“I thought you people were supposed to be jolly! I was only kidding. I didn't mean anything by it.” The mage swatted at the offending hand, now looking guilty.
“Don't, please...” She put her robe over her head and started lacing it up. “I'm not fat... I... I meant to tell you before, but I kept forgetting. Or it never seemed to be the right time.” The redhead sat on Amber’s bed, swinging her legs like a little kid.
“Tell me? Tell me what?”
“Well... Um... I'm kinda pregnant...” Adia’s jaw hit the floor, eyes popping out, as her legs went limp. “Ah, no smart remark? You must be in shock.”
“Kinda?! HOW can you be KINDA pregnant?! Did Anders just KINDA impregnate you from across the room or something?!”
“No!” the red-eyed girl replied with a giggle. “All right, poor choice of words. I AM pregnant. Better?” Now her twin leapt off the bed and hugged her tight.
“Why didn't you tell me?! This is great!”
“Well, what with the wedding and all, and then Meredith leaving, and our friends needing help... It kept slipping my mind to say something.” The archer gave her a sideways glance.
“How can you forget you’re pregnant? How far along are you?” Amber blushed once more, again looking very guilty.
“Three months or so...”
“THREE MONTHS!? For three months you forgot to tell me!” Adia was pouting now, and her twin hugged her.
“I'm sorry, I really am! To be honest, it was a big shock to me too. Justice just sort of blurted it out that night you and Fenris came back, and I was... You know...” Adia looked angry for a moment as she remembered that day, but then shook her head.
“I refuse to acknowledge that night...it never happened...”
“Agreed. But I guess I also wasn't sure how to tell you. How would I have started that? "By the way, apparently I'm carrying Anders' children and it took our Fade Spirit third to realize it?"” Adia grinned broadly.
“See, when you say it like that you just sound like me.” Amber returned the look.
“So, you're going to be a mother... That means I get to be the amazingly awesome Aunt who spoils the kid rotten then.” But Amber was still grinning, amused her sister hadn’t picked up on her wording already.
“Kids. Plural.” The rogue’s reaction was for her eyes to get even bigger.
“KIDS!? GOOD MAKER, HOW MANY CAN YOU FIT IN THAT THING!”
“Just two! Now calm down!” However, Adia’s yelling had attracted attention from downstairs, and two sets of footsteps thundered up the steps. A minute later, Fenris and Anders skidded into the room, staring at them both.
“We heard shouting. Are you two all right?” Fenris asked, looking worried. But Adia ignored her husband to point accusingly at the healer.
“Me? What did I do now?”
“You impregnated my sister with your glowy love babies! Then you didn't even tell me!” Fenris looked shocked, as his gaze bounced between the mages. Anders was weighing whether or not Adia was actually mad at him for this, and Amber was blinking at her sister for her choice of words.
“Oh... I thought Amber had told you already…” Anders admitted. Though once he’d said it, he realized that if Adia had already known, she’d have never let Amber go off to the Vinmark Mountains, her injuries be damned.
“No, I just came in here and saw her half naked and made a joke and she finally told me!”
“I said I was sorry...”
“Well, it's not like those robes are that form-fitting,” Fenris pointed out. “But when would you have mentioned it? When they were ready to drop?” The mages both gave the Elf a strange look.
“He's right!” Adia added. “We're in the middle of a fight and then all of a sudden there's a baby dangling from your naughty bits.” That mental image was a little too much, and while the men shook their heads and grimaced, Amber faced the rogue.
“ADIA HAWKE!” However, the redhead was in rare form.
“AMBER HAWKE! See...I can raise my voice too.” Anders sighed heavily and stepped between them.
“Ladies... Could we all just act like adults, please? I'm sorry we didn't tell you sooner, Adia.”
“But now you know...” Amber wrinkled her nose, sighing as well.
“I did hear correctly, though?” Fenris wondered. “Babies? As in, more than one?”
“Twins!” the healer replied with a large grin.
“I've already laid claim that I get to be the Aunt who spoils them rotten.”
“As opposed to the Uncle who will just stare at them?” The female mage was looking at the warrior when she said this, but Adia nudged him.
“Or teach them to brood.”
“I do not brood.” Adia stood on her toes and kissed his cheek.
“Not any more.” Anders suddenly looked a little apprehensive.
“We're going to have to tell the others now, aren't we?” His wife rolled her eyes.
“Varric will have a ball with this, I just know it.”
“Oh, let the Dwarf have his fun with it. If anything he just makes the people here like us more,” Adia countered. The blonde mage leveled a mild glare at her.
“Like when you told him I couldn't lie about anything when I was hurt? Do you have any idea how much trouble I could've been in had I still been part of the Wardens? Or part of the Circle? The things he wrote down, I don't even remember him asking.”
“That's probably for the best. I was sure that Amber was going to start killing someone with all the things you were saying...” Fenris added. Adia grinned sheepishly.
“Don't forget you told Amber you loved her, and you liked me, and told Fenris he was all right.” Now the Elf smirked and crossed his arms.
“No, he said I was a brooding jerk, but because I cared about you, I wasn't all bad.” Anders had the decency to blush.
“And your favorite color is orange.” For some reason, that amused the archer.
“That's because I like orange tabby cats. That's what Ser-Pounce-a-Lot is, after all.” Amber looked up at him.
“Speaking of that... I'm naming the children.” Adia and Fenris began laughing, even as Anders pouted.
“Why? You don't want Ser-Stinky-Bottom the 3rd as a child?” Amber sighed for a moment, patted her husband’s shoulder, and then nodded.
“Hey! I'm not that bad.... Am I?”
“Don't ask a question you aren't willing to hear the answer to,” Fenris warned. The archer giggled and leaned into the warrior.
“All joking aside, I am happy for you two.”
“As am I. Having children around will be... Amusing.”
“Thank you. Both of you,” Anders said as he hugged Amber.
“I know you two will make a wonderful Aunt and Uncle for them.”
“I will spoil them,” Adia threatened. But her twin just smiled back.
“I'm counting on it.”
“Just... The next time you have kids... Tell me?” The healer laughed nervously as Adia stuck her tongue out.
“I very much doubt there will be a next time, but if there is... You'll be the…” He ticked off his fingers, “Fourth to know.”
“Fair enough. We'll leave you two parents-to-be be then.” Adia took Fenris' hand and headed out of the room. When they had shut the door, Anders sat down on the bed.
“So, now that the cat’s out of the bag, so to speak…” Amber smiled briefly at Anders’ teasing, sitting down next to him.
“Anders, I know you weren’t prepared for this. Any of this. But promise me that however much time you have left, you will be there for our family.” He turned to look at her, seemingly confused.
“However much time I have left?”
“When you were attacked by the Templars, you ended up telling us one of the big things about being a Warden. And then seeing Larius just brought all of that into focus for me.” The healer’s eyes went wide as he realized the meaning of her words.
“Sweetheart, I… I’m sorry. I didn’t think I could have children, and I wasn’t counting on falling in love. But… I should have told you.”
“You should have. But I’m telling you this now: I’m going with you when your time comes.” Fear was in his eyes, and he went to protest, but Amber put her hand firmly over his mouth. “Our children will be grown by then, and they will understand. I will not leave you and Justice to face that end alone. End of discussion.”
“Now, on to happier things: Macha and Keran.” Anders paled a bit.
“You still want me to tell them? Or at least, bring up the possibility?”
“I do. If you are their brother, they have a right to know. Besides, maybe your mother is still alive, and you can see her again.” That thought made Anders smile and tremble at the same time.
“Would be nice for the kids to meet at least one grandparent if they can, right?”
“Exactly. I’ll send out a dinner invitation tomorrow,” Amber told him.
* * *
Two days later, dinner plans were arranged and confirmed. Amber had invited the siblings under the guise that Carver missed his friends. Keran arrived sans armor, and Macha came bearing fresh-baked bread. “Thank you for inviting us over!” the young woman gushed, hugging Amber.
“It's our pleasure, Macha. Hello, Keran.”
“Even after coming to your wedding, I was afraid you harbored some... Ill-will towards me.”
“Never. You're a good man, Keran.” Adia came up, smiling playfully.
“Yes. The whole Templar thing aside.” He nodded, and they headed into the sitting room, where Anders was standing by the fireplace. He was leaning on the mantle, staring at a little pillow that was resting there. Amber went over to him as Keran took a seat, and Macha looked around at all the collectibles.
“Sweetheart?” Anders looked terrified.
“I can't do this, love...” he whispered, fists clenching. “I can't intrude on their lives after all this time.” Macha, seeing the tension, came over.
“Everything all right?” The healer met her gaze, his mind trying to see if he could remember what his little sister looked like, and if she bore any resemblance to Macha. He was silent while he did this, and so Amber just nodded at their guest.
“It will be.”
“Oh, well, I'll just leave you-” Her eyes caught sight of the little pillow, and widened a bit. “Um... Where did you get that?” Fenris walked into the room at that moment, two glasses of wine in hand. He sat next to Adia, and the rogue looked over at the slightly-mistreated object.
“...Is that the thing you were yelling at Diego for playing with a few months ago?”
“Yes,” Anders finally answered. “My mother made it for me... When the Templars came to take me, it was the only thing they let me keep.” He was looking at Macha as he spoke, but she seemed lost in her own thoughts. One hand came up to gently trace the stitching. There was a family crest, and a single name: Gunther.
“I recognize this. My mother-”
“...Greta?” She turned to the healer, eyes wide as she looked into his eyes… And saw someone she’d never expected to see again.
“You can't be…” Her voice was soft, but Keran heard and looked up.
“Can't be what?” As the other Hawkes watched, Anders began pacing.
“You told Adia and Carver that you had a brother who was taken to the Circle in Ferelden after your father turned him in. His name was Gunther, wasn't it?” Macha nodded, and now Keran stood up, unsure what was going on.
“But what-” But the healer kept going, momentum building in his voice.
“Your names used to be something else, didn't they? When you lived in the Anderfels, your names were Keifer and Marla.”
“Oh Maker...” Now there was no way Macha could deny it, and she looked at Keran with tears in her eyes. He seemed shocked, and then Anders dropped into a chair, head in his hands.
“Just tell me one thing: Is our mother still alive?” Macha nodded.
“Yes. We got a letter from her only a month ago.” Adia was enjoying the show, and took a sip of wine as she leaned into Fenris, wiggling her fingers like she was controlling puppets and making them dance, whispering to him:
“So... Are we taking bets on who is going to cry first?”
“The mage,” Fenris replied with no hesitation. Adia giggled quietly.
“I'm betting on Macha. Loser has to wear the manacles tonight.” She smirked at the warrior, who gave her a feral grin.
“How long have you suspected?” Macha wondered.
“A few weeks, after Adia told me about your past. We just had to deal with something before I… Before this little dinner was insisted on.” Keran had now realized what was going on, and looked happy and hurt.
“You never tried to contact us before...”
“When you're in the Circle, you're not allowed any contact with the outside world. They keep you a prisoner, unless you get very good at escaping.”
“Gunther- Anders... We just thought you hated us,” Macha revealed. Now it was Anders’ turn to look hurt.
“Never.” Amber put a gentle hand on his shoulder.
“Do you three want to be alone?” Keran was wiping his eyes, but shook his head.
“No.” Adia shrugged and glanced at Fenris.
“...I was partially right.” She took another drink. “Next one to shed a tear is Macha. Fenris shook his head and took a sip from his glass.
“I will still hold with Anders.” The rogue pitched her voice a bit louder.
“Anders got pretty good at escaping, apparently.” The blonde mage ducked his head and looked slightly embarrassed.
“Only to be captured and brought to Vigil's Keep. Where Elissa found me and made me a Warden.” Macha’s eyes widened with realization.
“That's why mother couldn't find you. Even after she joined the Chantry.” Now Anders looked at her, almost like he wasn’t certain he’d heard correctly.
“Mother joined the Chantry in the hope that she could find out where they had taken you,” Keran explained. “And then she wanted... To rescue you.” Understanding practically smacked the healer in the face, and he sat silent for a few moments.
“You mean, take him out of the Circle?” Amber wondered. “Make him an apostate?” The siblings nodded, and two things happened at once: Anders covered his face and sobbed, while Macha hugged Keran and started crying. However, Adia looked at Fenris, lowering her voice again.
“It was a tie. You didn't win.” He smirked at her.
“But neither did you.”
“I'll get you next time, Elf-man. Just you wait.” Amber came over to her sister, smiling fondly as the reunited siblings embraced.
“Well, it looks like our family just got even bigger.”
“As we expected,” Adia teased, smiling at her. “At the rate it keeps growing, we're going to have to add on extra rooms. I guess when Anders' mother eventually comes we can let her stay in Mother's old room. I'm sure she'd like that.”
“I think so too,” her twin agreed. "We should leave them alone to talk.” She nodded at the trio. “We'll have dinner later.” Adia also nodded, leaping to her feet and pulling Fenris up as well.
“I could go for another glass anyway. Care to join, Amber?”
“I'll join you in the kitchen, but I'm not really feeling a drink right now.”
“Anders' sobriety rubbing off on you?” She shrugged and rubbed her bump.
“Partially, but these two don’t need to start drinking early.” Adia glanced back at her husband, grinning.
“I think I blame you for my love of fermented fruits.” They headed off, leaving the other three siblings to talk for a bit. Dinner was served about an hour later, and Orana looked very proud at the assortment of food. Amber had told her to prepare for an important meal, and the young servant definitely had.
“I hope everything is to your liking,” she said, bowing.
“Orana, we always like your cooking,” Amber assured her.
“And thank you ever so much for tonight,” Macha added. “It all looks wonderful.”
“Doesn't it though?” Carver agreed. “They never fed us this well in the Order.”
“Or in the Alienage,” Merrill brought up.
“I don't think any of the nobles here in Kirkwall eat like we do,” Adia pointed out. “Orana is amazing in the kitchen.”
“That she is,” Fenris spoke up. “I am glad you gave her a place to stay and a job, Adia.” Anders raised an eyebrow at that statement.
“The girls certainly weren't going to leave her where she was.” Orana blushed at all the attention she was receiving.
“I enjoy working for the Champions of Kirkwall.”
“You've got it good, Carver,” Keran told his friend.
“Don't I know it. I'm glad my sisters let me come back.” Adia shot her brother a less-than-friendly smile.
“Oh, you have quite a few years to make up for, little brother. You might not want to thank your lucky stars just yet.” Carver ducked his head.
“Actually... Seeing you stand up to Meredith and leave the Order has made me reconsider,” Keran continued.
“Reconsider?” Fenris asked.
“Keran... Wants to leave the Order,” Macha explained. “He was going to talk to Carver about it after dinner. And then... Well, everything else happened.” Carver looked around and raised his hand.
“What did I miss?” Adia smiled knowingly.
“Well, it would seem that Keran and Macha are Anders’ long lost siblings.” Her brother looked like he’d seen a ghost, while Merrill clapped her hands together.
“Oh, that's wonderful!”
“Andraste's flaming sword...”
“Carver, what's wrong?” The younger Hawke looked up from his lap at the Templar, jerking a thumb at Anders, who seemed amused.
“He's your brother? And you're okay with... Everything I did and said about him?” Keran shrugged and grinned. Oddly enough, it was at that moment that Carver saw the family resemblance in them.
“Well, he's technically your brother now too.”
“Afraid you're stuck with me, Carver,” the healer said with a wave.
“We're all stuck with each other, for better or worse,” Adia pointed out. “So who says we put the past behind us and move on with the future?” Fenris raised his glass.
“To the future!” Everyone else raised their glasses as well.
“The future!” Adia quickly downed her drink and poured another.
“Now let’s eat!”
* * *
It was later in the evening, and Keran and Macha were spending the night. Carver was chatting with his friend in the sitting room with Merrill listening intently. Adia and Fenris were in their room with a bottle of wine, and Amber had retired to bed. Anders was in the library, when Macha came in. By the determined look on her face, she needed to talk. “You have a lot of questions, I take it?”
“Maybe? This is still hard for me to fathom.”
“I’ll answer whatever you want. I owe you that much.” Macha sat down on one of the couches, twisting her hands for a moment.
“Oh, the big question first? Do you want to speak to him, or have me talk about him?” Now her hands twisted faster, and Macha looked very unsure.
“I’ve only seen him during your wedding, and it was just brief glances. But Keran was there the day that… That Meredith crossed the line. He told me that at first, Justice seemed determined to kill them. But then he was just concerned for Amber. I don’t know what to make of him, but if he is a part of you…” A soft glow made Macha look up, and then she realized she was looking at Justice. The Spirit was sitting quietly, watching her.
“Hello, Macha. We have never been properly introduced. I am Justice. And I protect… Your brother.”
“You protect more than that, from what I’ve heard.”
“Our wife, and her family are under my protection as well. And now, you and Keran, and your mother.”
“If you truly are a part of Anders, then they are your family too, Justice.”
“Are they? I am still getting accustomed to… All of this. Trying to understand what it means to be mortal. Though I have been here for a few years now, there are still so many new things to experience.”
“Is it difficult? Is this world still so strange?”
“It becomes less so the more I do and am part of. And I can sometimes see things from Anders’ past that broaden my experiences.” Macha looked down again.
“Do you know what happened the day he was taken from us?”
“I know that your mother would not let him go. I know your father pulled Anders from her arms and pushed him at the Templars. And I… I saw you as a child crying and calling for him. You were holding Keran, who was also crying. And then Anders said-”
“Don’t forget me,” the young woman finished for him. Justice shifted, blinking a couple of times. Anders had been remembering that day, and the up-front memories had caught the Spirit off-guard.
“I will never do anything to endanger him, Macha. This I swear.”
“You’re Wardens, and he’s a mage. I think danger follows you by habit.”
“Perhaps. But we have our family to help, do we not?” He smiled, and Macha couldn’t help but smile back. Anders resumed control and walked over, sitting down next to her and placing a hand on her shoulder.
“A little less fearful now?”
“Yes, thank you. I’ll get used to Justice one day.”
“If you really want to stick around us, sure.” She gave him a quizzical look. “Amber and I… Are not going to be staying here. Even with Meredith gone, there is too much bad blood between mages and Templars here. I’m relieved that Keran wants to leave them. What prompted that?”
“Even with Knight Captain Cullen being a bit more… Moderate, there are still whispers of things being done that are just what our Mother feared might happen to you.”
“I want her to come here, and then we should talk… As a family, about our next step. I won’t lie in saying I want to get everyone I care about out of Kirkwall. The sooner the better.”
“Why the rush?” Anders dropped his hands into his lap, smiling a bit.
“Amber is expecting. Twins.” Macha’s eyes went wide as she squealed into her hands, and then hugged him. “We need to be somewhere else before they’re born.”
“Mother is in Ferelden. I’ll write to her tomorrow and tell her what’s going on. She’ll drop everything and get here.”
“I hope she won’t be disappointed at what I’ve become.” Macha stood up and kissed him on the forehead.
“She’s your mother, Gunther. Nothing you do could ever make her love you less.”