i would have given you everything
My brother. He’s a giver.
He gives everything. He gives a damn. He used to give a damn so much that when he was barely old enough to be let off the apron strings he took himself off and joined the fucking rebels. He tried to give me away because I could use magic, what a laugh. In the end, he gave away our home.
When we were taken by slavers and being shipped to Minrathous, he gave away his dagger. I don’t know where he kept it hidden after the slavers stripped us to the smallclothes. I could have used that dagger. If I had been the one to cut, I could have called demons from the deep and sunk that ship. I could have spared myself the rape, the shame waiting in Minrathous on the slavers’ block and after. But what does Leto do? He gives away the dagger. Gives it to the crone sitting next to him who can’t shut up sobbing about Minrathous and what’s waiting for her there, and she starts begging the moment she sees what Leto’s holding, and he gives it to her. She slits her own throat. He picks up the dagger and holds it like he has no idea what just happened, stupid kid. Then the human on his other side asks for the dagger, and Leto gives it to him too. Another slit throat. Then the slavers realise what’s going on, come charging down, they demand the dagger. And Leto gives it up to them, too, and when they ask whose it was, Leto points across the galley at some scarfaced human who gets given a new life with the fishes. My baby brother, the giver.
In Kirkwall, Fenris thinks I’ve betrayed him, he wants to kill me. Fine. Whatever. But Danarius is dead. Danarius was dead the day he set foot out of Minrathous. I knew that. Even Fenris knew that, the moment he decided to stop running and set his trap. I gave him Danarius on a fucking plate. And Fenris says to me like I’ve broken his fucking heart, I would have given you everything. But you know what? He said it to Hawke as well, I find out later. After Hawke helped Fenris with his first little attempt to lure and trap Danarius, Fenris offers to pay Hawke with everything he has, everything he owns.
He just gives, and gives, and gives, because nothing has any worth to him.
I knew this in Minrathous. Where my baby brother Leto gives away his body. He gives away his memories. Everything he remembers about us, our mother, our father, all our brothers. He gives us away, as if we were worthless to him. He gives up his pride, he gives up caring, he gives it up for us. And I can’t even look at him after that, can’t bear to look at him. Because as long as he hated he could remember what it meant to be free in Minrathous, and I could remember it too.
I would have given you everything.
Keep your everything, little brother. I didn’t need everything, not then and not now. All I wanted was for you to not give up.
So Fenris wants to take my life, and I can’t give a damn.
Six weeks after the mess is done with, he slinks up to me in the alienage like a beaten dog and tries to give me a stack of sovereigns. He says it’s to pay for a ship to wherever I want to go.
His clothes are tattered like he’s been living in them for six years, he needs a haircut, and he’s giving me enough gold to almost buy a bloody ship. No one is that clueless. Not even my brother.
I look him in the eye. Because that’s what they used to say about us, when we were children. The eyes were the only way a stranger could ever have known he was my baby brother. That, and the sticky hand always in my hand, the head always on my shoulder, the shadow in my footsteps. When he was my baby brother, and I read to him from that one ridiculous tatty book passed down through all of us, and one day he asked me what snow was, and I’m sitting there thinking, he’ll never know, I have to show him, so I made my baby brother a baby storm out of sparkles and snowflakes, and he danced in my magic and stomped in my snow.
I tell him he can take his sodding money and shove it. He is not giving me away. I am not giving him up. Never again.