The next morning found Leto still holding Andreas close. The night was difficult, Andreas waking often with nightmares. Each time Leto soothed and calmed him back to sleep. Now the morning sun streamed into the window of their tiny apartment, and for a change Leto was the first to get up. He let Andreas sleep a bit longer, while he went to go make them some coffee.
Andreas rolled over and blinked sleepily when the aroma of coffee hit his nose. “G’mornin’,” he drawled making to get up and wincing as soon as his bottom touched the mattress.
“Shh, Amatus. Stay in bed and rest,” Leto came over and gently tried to guide his lover back into bed.
“No, Leto, help me up, please. I gotta piss,” Andreas winced again as he tried again to get up. “Then I need you to apply that salve again.”
“Of course,” Leto nodded, helping to lift Andreas up with minimal pressure of his bottom to the mattress.
“I almost dread having to go take a shit later,” Andreas tried to joke. “No, scratch that. I am dreading it.”
Once Andreas was done peeing, Leto helped him get back into bed and he gently applied the salve where it was needed. Leto winced just seeing how damaged and raw Andreas’ puckered hole was and didn’t even want to think about the internal damage. The attacker had taken Andreas dry and rough, his victim completely unprepared for the assault.
It hurt Leto’s heart to think someone would attack Andreas in such a manner. All Andreas had done since arriving in this world was to be kind and generous to everyone they’d met. It wasn’t right that he’d have to suffer like this. It wasn’t just.
Smirking at the irony, Leto actually regretted Andreas having been separated from Justice. The spirit would have protected Andreas when Leto wasn’t there to do so. Leto sighed, realizing once again how much he had misjudged back in Kirkwall.
As Leto was handing Andreas a cup of coffee, there was a knock on the door. Leto went to answer it and outside stood Miranda, with two men in what Leto recognized as law enforcement uniforms.
“Leto, can we speak to Andreas? He needs to give the police a statement about the assault yesterday so we can press charges against his attacker,” Miranda said.
“Is that wise?” Leto asked, hesitantly.
“Don’t worry. Denver is a Sanctuary City and I have connections at the Police Department,” Miranda said reassuringly. “I promise no harm will come to either of you.”
Leto gestured for them to enter. “Andreas, these men are here to ask you some questions about the assault.”
Andreas smiled weakly at them. “Please don’t mind me not getting up.”
“Not at all Mr. Bauermann,” the first man said. “I’m Officer Hendricks, and this is my partner Officer Johnson."
Leto offered them a seat by pulling out two of the four chairs at their small table, while Leto opted to sit on the bed next to Andreas. Miranda chose to stand.
“I apologize if this is difficult, but we need to ask you to recount exactly what happened yesterday,” Officer Hendricks said, pulling out a small pad of paper and a pen.
Andreas frowned for a moment and nodded. “I was seeing people in my small clinic yesterday, and sometime just before lunch a large man came in complaining of a scraped knee, from a fall.”
“You run a medical clinic out of the mission?” Officer Hendricks asked.
“Well, it’s very basic. I bandage cuts and scrapes mostly,” Andreas explained.
The officer nodded. “Continue.”
“Well I told him to take a seat on one of the cots and to roll up his pant leg so I could take a look,” Andreas recalled. “I then went to grab some bandage rolls and a disinfectant salve I use for scrapes. It mostly contains golden seal along with some oils.”
The officer nodded, continuing to write notes.
“Anyway I came back to the cot and put down the bandages, and that’s when he grabbed me,” Andreas recounted, a shiver going through him, causing Leto to take his hand for comfort. “He…he bent me over the cot and pulled down my jeans and underwear…and then he…raped me.”
“I know this is difficult, but can you describe that in a little more detail?” Officer Hendricks asked.
“Um, Ok,” Andreas nodded, taking a quick sip of his coffee. “He grabbed my arms and twisted them behind my back as he bent me over the cot. Then he…opened his pants and took out his penis. He held me down with one hand holding my arms, and with the other hand he held onto my hip and proceeded to insert his penis into my anus. He was dry, there was no lubrication and he was very rough. It caused a lot of tearing and damage and it…it hurt…a lot.”
Andreas was now visibly shaking, recalling the details of the previous day’s assault.
“Did you at any time tell him ‘no,’?” Officer Hendricks asked.
“Yes, I begged him to stop, but then he just shoved some of the bandages into my mouth to gag me,” Andreas replied.
“Did the assailant say anything to you?” Officer Johnson asked.
“Yes, he did,” Andreas nodded. “He first said ‘You faggots think you can just come in here and steal our jobs?’ I think he was referring to Howard, who was fired after insulting Leto and I for our relationship.”
Officer Hendricks nodded, “Go on.”
“Let’s see, he also said, ‘I’m here to teach you fags a lesson.’ After that is when he began raping me. Thhe just started grunting for a while before saying ‘You like that don’t you, you fuckin’ fag. You like taking cock up your ass. I’m gonna fuck the gay right out of you…’.” Andreas said with disgust.
“That’s when I walked in,” Leto spoke up. “I heard the last part of that, just before I pulled the brute off of Andreas.”
“So you saw the assault in progress?” Officer Hendricks asked.
“Yes, I did,” Leto confirmed.
“Your name is Leto Freeman, correct?” Officer Johnson asked.
“And you are currently in a romantic relationship with the victim?” Officer Hendricks added.
Turning to Andreas. “Would you be willing to show us the damage?” Officer Johnson asked.
“Um, if you really need to see it,” Andreas asked shyly.
“We want to corroborate your story,” Officer Hendricks explained. “Then we recommend going to a hospital and documenting the extent of the damage, and getting proper treatment.”
“Alright,” Andreas nodded. He got up onto his hands and knees. “Leto, would you help show them?”
Miranda blushed and quickly turned her back…clearly not realizing how invasive the officers were going to be.
Leto nodded and pulled down Andreas’ underwear and gently spread his ass cheeks to show the torn skin around Andreas’ anus. Both officers hissed in sympathy, seeing the extent of the exterior damage.
“Man, I’m sorry, that looks painful,” Officer Johnson said sympathetically.
Andreas nodded in agreement. “It is.”
“Alright, let’s get you down to the hospital for a complete exam,” Officer Hendricks said.
“I can take them, Officer,” Miranda said, a pained look on her face.
“Alright, we’ll meet you down there, ma’am,” Officer Hendricks said, tipping his hat, leaving the apartment with his partner.
Miranda was wringing her hands in worry. “I’m so sorry Andreas, this should never have happened to you.”
“Well, I’ve suffered worse,” Andreas said. “I’ll be ok.”
“Leto told me,” Miranda said. “I don’t think you should ever have to suffer like that again.”
Leto nodded. “Agreed. Come let’s get you dressed.”
Leto led Andreas to the bathroom so they had privacy and they got dressed and ready for the hospital.
On the drive Andreas once again lay in the back seat of Miranda’s car. Soon they arrived at the local hospital and as they entered the emergency room, Andreas gaped at all the high-tech medical equipment.
“Wow, I bet I could do a lot of good with some of this equipment at the clinic!” Andreas whispered.
Miranda smiled. “I bet you could, but you’re not licensed to use what they have here, not to mention most of this equipment is expensive. I could buy you all the herbs you’d need for five years for the price of one of these machines.”
“Oh, well. Never mind then,” Andreas tried to smirk, but winced instead.
They were met in the emergency room by the two police officers and went to check into an exam room so Andreas could be examined in detail. Leto insisted on not leaving his side. After filling out reams of paperwork, much of which Miranda had to help them on, they had to wait for a ridiculous amount of time, leaving Leto anxious and frustrated. He groused about how Andreas could exhibit so much patience, but Andreas just smiled at him.
Finally the doctor arrived to examine Andreas.
“Hello Mr. Bauermann, I’m Dr. Brown. Looking over your files, you were sexually assaulted. Is that correct?” the doctor asked.
“Yes,” Andreas nodded.
“I read the full report that the officers put together, they gave me all the details,” Dr. Brown said, sympathy shining in her eyes. “Now I just need to give you an examination. Unfortunately I will have to be somewhat intrusive to check for internal tearing.”
Andreas nodded. “I understand, do what you need to.”
Miranda walked towards the door. “I’ll give you some privacy for this Andreas. I’ll be out in the hall when you’re done.”
The doctor looked pointedly at Leto. “I’m staying,” Leto said firmly. Andreas nodded his assent. Then the doctor pulled the curtain around the exam table and instructed Andreas to remove his clothing from the waist down and to lie on the table. She pulled out stirrups to place his feet in and all of a sudden he felt incredibly exposed, and he blushed furiously.
“No need to be embarrassed Mr. Bauermann, I get to see people in all stages of undress every day,” Dr. Brown said warmly.
“Since you’re seeing so much of me, please call me Andreas,” he said, trying to lighten his mood and embarrassment.
The doctor put on some gloves and rolled over a small table with numerous items on it, including a camera. “I am going to need to take photos of all external injuries. Is that alright?”
Andreas nodded. “Yes.”
She proceeded to examine Andreas’ injured rectum, noting the tearing around the outer rim. She then slowly inserted a small instrument that apparently had a small camera on its end and it displayed the interior of Andreas’ rectum onto a small television. Andreas found this fascinating and watched intently, even while occasionally hissing and wincing in pain.
“I’m sorry Andreas, this part is a bit uncomfortable, and I’m sorry it has to be so intrusive, especially after what you just went through,” she apologized.
“It’s alright. I gave you the consent for this, so this isn’t anywhere as bad as what happened, believe me,” Andreas said.
Leto stood at his side, holding Andreas’ hand. He was proud of how bravely Andreas was taking such an intrusive exam after such a brutal assault. He didn’t think he’d be nearly as calm about having something shoved up his anus in such a state.
The doctor was very thorough, documenting every injury and taking samples of tissue. She then prescribed something for the pain and recommended a liquid diet while Andreas healed, in order to prevent further damage when he had to have a bowel movement. She also prescribed something called an ‘anti-biotic,’ to help prevent infection, considering the nature and location of Andreas’ injuries. He was also instructed to return for a follow-up exam within one week.
After they were done, Andreas carefully walked back to Miranda’s car with Leto. On their way out they ran into a young woman who stepped in front of them. “Excuse me, I don’t mean to be too forward, but…are you the man who was assaulted at the mission yesterday?”
Andreas blinked. “Yes.”
“I…I’m a new reporter over at the Denver Post…and I think your story would make a great human interest piece,” she explained. “Could I…maybe interview you sometime? Please?”
The woman…practically still a girl…was very eager and seemed sweet. Andreas looked at Leto for his thoughts.
“When do you want to do this…interview?” Leto asked.
“Oh, I’d love to do it today if possible, but I can wait,” she said.
Leto looked at Miranda. “What do you advise?”
Miranda smiled. “How about meeting them later this afternoon at their apartment, once we get Andreas settled back into bed and comfortable? Here’s the address,” she said writing it down quickly and giving it to the reporter. “How about 4pm?”
“Oh! Thank you! Thank you so much!” the young woman nearly squealed. “This means a lot to me. It could be my first big story!”
As they walked out into the parking lot Leto asked Miranda. “Why did you agree to Andreas giving this interview?”
“If you get featured in a human interest article and you get some public support, it may help me legitimize your status here,” Miranda explained. “That will give you both a lot more freedom.”
Leto hummed. “Freedom? That’s something I can support wholeheartedly.” Andreas nodded as he carefully crawled into Miranda’s back seat.
On the way back to their apartment, Miranda stopped to get Andreas’ prescription filled and to pick up cans of soup and other soft foods at a grocery store. Miranda informed them that the man who assaulted Andreas had been formally arrested and charges of sexual assault were filed against him. Everything would take weeks or months, but eventually the man could go to jail for a very long time.
As Miranda got them back to their apartment, they ran into Henry outside of their building.
“Hey, guys! I have good news! Just wait until you see this,” Henry exclaimed.
“What happened?” Miranda asked.
“Let’s get upstairs and I’ll show you on my laptop,” Henry beamed.
Once they entered the apartment, Henry set up his laptop with a Wi-Fi connection through his phone and loaded a web site. Miranda made a squeak of delight but Andreas and Leto were left confused.
“What is that?” Andreas asked.
“It’s called a crowd funding website,” Henry explained. “It’s where someone with a cause or a project that they need money for, creates a campaign, and people can choose to donate. Someone at the mission created one for you because of your attack, and money is just pouring in!”
“I don’t understand your currency very well yet, but that looks like a lot,” Andreas exclaimed.
“It is. It’s over $50,000 already and climbing,” Henry said. “You guys could get out of this crappy apartment…no offense Miranda…and you could do a lot more with your clinic and self-defense classes!”
“Who would do this? Why would they do this?” Andreas asked.
“Because you help people, Andreas, and because they want to give back and help you,” Henry said.
“Well that’s all very lovely, but I think I need to lie down again,” Andreas winced. “Don’t mind me Miranda, but I’d like to take my jeans off, if you don’t mind.”
Miranda blushed and turned around, much as she had when he had to expose himself to the police officers earlier in the day. Once Andreas was settled, Leto brought him his medication and a glass of water.
“Thank you, love,” Andreas said gratefully, trying to swallow the strange remedies.
Leto tucked Andreas into the blankets and everyone else took a seat at the table. “So what now?”
“Well that reporter should be here in an hour,” Miranda said. “You should tell her about the crowd funding campaign.”
Henry looked surprised. “What reporter?”
“We ran into a reporter at the hospital from the Denver Post. She wants to interview Andreas for a human interest piece,” Miranda explained.
Henry frowned. “I don’t know if it’s such a good idea for them to get a lot of publicity.”
“Why not? This could do both of them a lot of good, to get their story public,” Miranda said.
“You don’t understand,” Henry sighed. “If anyone starts digging around in their past…well they’ll find they don’t have one.”
“What do you mean they don’t have one? I assumed they were illegal immigrants, probably from somewhere in Europe,” Miranda said astonished.
“No, it’s…more complicated than that,” Henry sighed.
“What haven’t you told me, Henry,” Miranda said sternly. “Out with it.”
“You’re not going to believe me,” Henry said.
“Alright,” Henry said, pulling out his laptop again. He busily clicked and typed and then swung the laptop around, showing what clearly looked like a picture of Andreas and Leto, wearing strange clothing. The odd thing was the image didn’t look like a photo, it looked like some sort of computer graphic.
“So…someone created computer images of these two in strange clothes?” Miranda asked, not understanding. “Why did they make Leto’s tattoos white?”
Henry shook his head.
He then turned the laptop around and clicked and typed some more, this time bringing up a video. She watched the scene unfold as Andreas chastised a woman about her choice of lover, referring to him as Fenris, when Leto appeared and confronted him.
“What…is this all about Henry?” Miranda asked, still confused.
“I don’t know how to explain this…in fact we want to go to San Diego in a few weeks to help find an explanation actually,” Henry said. “Leto and Andreas…they are characters from a video game, called Dragon Age. In the game they go by the names Fenris and Anders, although those were never their given names. In the game Andreas is a mage with magical healing powers, and Leto is a warrior elf.”
“You can’t be serious…”Miranda said.
Henry looked at Leto. “Do you still have your old clothes?”
Leto nodded and went to the small closet they kept them in and brought them out. Andreas had thought to put them on hangers. They matched the outfits they were wearing in the video perfectly.
“You are serious?!” Miranda said incredulously. “But…how?”
Leto recounted their tale, beginning with the request from Merrill to come to her hovel in the Alienage, and how they awoke in the mountains of Colorado, to how Henry found them, walking alongside the roadway they now knew was called I-70.
“I honestly thought they were cosplayers on their way to Denver Comic-Con at first,” Henry explained. “But I took pity on them and let them stay with me. The more time I spent with them, the more I was convinced they really *were* the Fenris and Anders from the video game.”
“And you really don’t understand how you came here, other than something to do with this Fade and magic?” Miranda asked, incredulously.
“That is correct,” Leto said.
From the bed, Andreas chimed in. “If I still had my magic, I could do a lot more good at the clinic, and I wouldn’t be lying here in pain either.”
“Well it’s clear we can’t tell the reporter that story, so what do we tell her?” Henry asked Miranda.
“Good question. Why don’t we say that they can’t reveal where they’re really from for fear of their lives?” Miranda suggested.
“Well that’s as good of a story as any,” Henry nodded. “What do you think Leto?”
“Yes, Andreas and I do have lots of experience of being on the run, of fearing for our lives,” Leto said. “Although I know we are safe here, I think we could both make such a tale believable.”
Andreas nodded from his position on the bed.
“Alright that’s settled then,” Miranda sighed. “I’m still not sure what to think of all this, but you’re both good people and that’s all that matters to me in the end.”
After a few moments of silence, Leto noticed that Miranda was trying not to stare at him, but couldn’t help it. Leto finally raised an eye brow in question. Miranda blushed. “So…you’re not human?”
Leto shook his head. “No, I’m an elf. I was born with my ears like this,” Leto smirked.
“And your tattoos?” Miranda asked.
Leto sighed. He knew that question would arise at some point. “They aren’t tattoos. I was a slave and my former master carved lyrium into my flesh. In Thedas they appeared white and would glow blue if I activated them. They allowed me to phase my body through solid objects and I had the ability to literally rip the heart out of a man’s chest.”
Miranda looked shocked. “Why did they turn black?” Miranda questioned.
“From what Henry tells me, Lyrium doesn’t exist in your world, so it probably disappeared into the Fade along with Andreas’ magic and the spirit of Justice that had possessed him, as we were flung into your world,” Leto said.
“Wait, besides being a…mage?...Andreas was also possessed?” Miranda asked in shock.
“Yes I was. Just your friendly neighborhood abomination, at your service!” Andreas quipped, slurring his words a little. “Maker, whatever were in those pills you gave me, I like it!”
Henry laughed. “Oh no. Andreas is high from his pain medicine isn’t he?”
Miranda wasn’t able to suppress a smirk. “I do believe so. Oh dear, this won’t bode well for the interview, will it?”
“Why don’t we make him some coffee? Maybe that will help?” Henry suggested “Extra strong.”
Leto nodded, and got up to prepare the coffee. The journalist would be there soon, and they had no time to waste.