~9 years later~
Leto was fidgeting, pulling at the collar of his shirt that felt a little too much like another type of collar. He decidedly did not like wearing a suit, but he wanted to look his best today. Today was a very important day.
Andreas was finally graduating from medical school. He still had four years of residency to look forward to before he was free and clear and earned his medical license, but at least he finally earned the degree he’d been working so hard for over the past eight years.
The two of them had come a long way since they first arrived in Colorado over nine years ago, slowly adapting to this peculiar world, transforming from mercenary warrior and apostate abomination to a successful businessman and a determined student.
Today was actually to be a double celebration. After Andreas’ graduation ceremony, they had planned a party for all their closest friends to not only celebrate Andreas’ accomplishment, but also to celebrate the opening of the 100th franchise of Leto’s self-defense studio, now known nationwide as “The Fenris Institute of Self-Defense” with the motto Enter as a sheep, Exit as a wolf. The name and motto were suggested by Andreas. Leto’s first studio was so successful that he was encouraged to open a second one. Now over eight years later, the 100th studio had opened in Seattle earlier that week.
Leto’s hands kept fidgeting, one constantly checking his one pocket to make sure the small box was still there. Leto had one other special plan for the day, one that Henry helped him plan.
Henry, who had been there from the beginning and been their best friend and confidant all these years. Henry, who was now happily married with a small child and was no longer the very young, hoodie wearing computer geek they’d first met on the side of I-70 all those years ago. Leto and Andreas were even invited to stand up as groomsmen for Henry’s wedding three years ago, Andreas sheepishly trying to study for an exam at the reception after the ceremony, having hauled his book bag with him even there.
Andreas had proven to be a brilliant and driven student, earning nearly perfect grades through every phase of the pre-med and med programs he was in, but fretting and stressing over very exam, convinced he’d fail every time. Leto was there every time to lend encouragement and support and much needed stress relief whenever it was needed.
Now here they were, Andreas about to add the title of Doctor to his name, and Leto dreamt of them not only sharing a home and their hearts, but also a last name.
Andreas finally came out of the bedroom. “How do I look?!” he asked eagerly.
Leto smirked. “Ridiculous. That hat alone is the most impractical thing I’ve ever seen, and why are they making you wear mage robes?”
Andreas laughed and shrugged. “It’s tradition. It’s called a cap and gown, and it’s worn for these graduation ceremonies. When I walk on stage I’m also to be presented with something called a hood as well. Something they only do for Doctors apparently.”
Leto blushed a bit. “Yet somehow as ridiculous as it looks, somehow it suits you, Amatus. I never thought I’d see you wear something resembling mage robes again. This degree makes you about as close to a healer again as you’ll ever get so…it seems fitting.”
Andreas pulled Leto into an embrace. “I never thought of it like that. I like that idea. Thank you, Love.” Andreas bent down and kissed Leto thoroughly enough to leave them both a little breathless.
“Now, we better get going or I’ll be late to my own graduation!” Andreas chuckled.
An hour later found Leto sitting in a very large auditorium, surrounded by their friends. Naturally Henry was there with his wife Michaela, along with Miranda, Casey, David Gaider and even Madelyn. David was beaming like a proud papa.
Henry had made sure they were seated close to the front by the stage, and Leto sat by the aisle. The ceremony was about to start and the head of the Medical Department and the university president both nodded at Henry knowingly from the stage. Leto began to fidget noticeably and Henry placed a comforting hand on his shoulder.
“I think you’re even more nervous than I was,” Henry whispered in his twitching ear. “Relax, I promise everything will go according to plan.”
Leto took a deep breath to try and calm his nerves, his fingers reaching into his pocket for the thousandth time to make sure that tiny box was still there.
The ceremony got underway. Leto and Henry were well briefed as to what to expect from the proceedings, beginning with the graduation march as all the graduates filed in and took their seats in the center of the auditorium. They were lined up and seated in the way they were to be called up onto the stage. Most students were to go alphabetically, but the ones graduating magna cum laude and summa cum laude got to go first. Andreas was graduating summa cum laude today. Leto could not be prouder.
There was a keynote speech that seemed to drone on and on for hours (in truth it was only thirty minutes). Then several announcements and awards were given out before they began calling graduates up to the stage. Leto’s heart began to beat too fast in his chest as the magna cum laude graduate was called first. The summa cum laude graduate was called next, before a pause in the program was noted for a special event.
As the magna cum laude graduate beamed and received her hood and diploma, Leto nearly felt as if he were going to faint. Next the university president called for the next graduate to the stage.
“Graduating today with summa cum laude honors, Doctor Andreas Bauermann,” the man on the stage said.
Andreas made his way to the stage, blushing. He awkwardly ducked so they could place the hood over his shoulders and he gratefully accepted his diploma. Then he was about to walk off stage when he was stopped. Andreas looked confused for a moment when the university president once again took up the microphone and Leto felt his heart in his throat.
“Ladies and Gentlemen, you will note in the program that we have planned a brief pause in the ceremony. I would like to ask Mr. Leto Freeman to please join us on the stage,” the man said.
Leto felt frozen in place and it took a shove from Henry to get him to stand upon shaky legs and head up towards the stage. This was a bad idea. I hate people. I hate crowds. Why did I agree to do this here?
Leto approached a very stunned Andreas and took several more, deep breaths. He took Andreas’ hands in his shaky ones as they hurriedly clipped microphones to each of their lapels. Leto looked into Andreas’ confused honey-brown eyes and fought the impulse to just kiss him right then and there.
Leto cleared his throat as the others on the stage moved back and gave them center stage. “Andreas,” Leto began, initially startled by hearing his voice over the loudspeakers. “You came into my life over twelve years ago. Nine years ago we ended up here in Colorado and I have grown to love you more each and every day. Today you made me so proud and words cannot express how deep my love and affection are for you.”
Leto then got on one knee, as Henry said was customary. He let go of one of Andreas’ hands so he could fish something out of his pocket. “Doctor Andreas Bauermann, would you do me the greatest honor of becoming my husband? Will you marry me?” Leto opened the small box, presenting Andreas with a beautifully wrought ring, shaped like a class ring, with a large diamond at its center.
Andreas stood there in stunned silence for a moment, his eyes threatening to spill tears. He slowly lowered himself down to his knees and nodded. “Y…yes, Leto. A thousand times, yes,” Andreas practically sobbing the words. Leto placed the ring onto Andreas’ ring finger as they embraced for a kiss and the entire auditorium erupted in cheers.
The two were then quickly ushered off stage after that so the rest of the graduation could proceed. They stood to one side of the auditorium during the rest of the ceremony as Leto held Andreas tightly in his arms.
A couple of hours later their joint celebration party was in full swing. It wasn’t just a graduation and congratulations for Leto’s business success party anymore. It was now also an engagement party. Many friends were aware of the plans and brought engagement gifts for the happy couple.
Madelyn herself had an extra special surprise for them. She’d been working on enhancements, not only to her A.I. program, which was still running the version of Dragon Age 2 where Leto and Andreas, quite literally, came to life, but she had been working on a new holographic projection technology and worked with developers of BioWare to achieve her surprise in time for this party. By this time Andreas and Leto were no longer pretending to be what they weren’t and many people knew of their true origins.
She called Leto and Andreas over when the time came and flipped a switch. Instantly Leto and Andreas’ friends from Kirkwall appeared before them. There was Hawke, Merrill, Isabela, Sebastian, Varric, Aveline, Donnic, and even Bethany.
“Hawke!!” Andreas said happily. “Welcome to our party!”
The Kirkwall Crew, as they were affectionately referred to as, were stunned at first, never having seen our modern world before. They couldn’t touch, but they could see and hear everything. They quickly gathered around Andreas and Leto and were caught up on all the latest updates. Andreas and Leto tried to visit them a few times each year since the first time they’d done so nearly nine years earlier so at least they didn’t have nine years to catch up on.
In fact, life in Thedas was going well, better than in other versions of the game, thanks to the A.I. program and timely warnings from Andreas and Leto as to what to expect. Mages had more freedom without turning to blood magic or becoming magisters like in Tevinter. Slavery in Tevinter had been nearly eliminated, and Chantry reforms were on going. Corypheys and Solas were both thwarted before either of them could put their plans into motion.
A few years earlier when Danarius actually dared to show up, looking for Fenris, Hawke made quick work of the man, putting his head on a spike to show Leto on his next visit. Leto had tried spitting upon the dead magister’s head, forgetting he was only virtually in Kirkwall, unfortunately covering Andreas in his spittle.
“So, we have some news,” Leto began, blushing slightly, pulling Andreas closer to him. “Andreas and I are now engaged to be married.”
Merrill and Isabela squealed with delight and insisted on seeing the ring. “Oh, it’s beautiful!” Merrill gushed. “Such a handsome ring for such a handsome man.” Andreas blushed at the compliment.
“They allow men to marry?” Sebastian said, incredulously.
“Yes, this is a much more progressive society,” Andreas nodded. “At least most of the time.”
Madelyn then approached the happy couple. “I have one more surprise for you both, but I’d like to present it in private if you don’t mind? Please, follow me.”
Madelyn led Leto and Andreas over towards another room at the banquet hall and ushered them inside. Andreas gasped when he saw more holographic figures standing before him. There was a human couple, bent with age, and a female elf with grey streaked red hair.
“Mutti?” Andreas asked tentatively, recognizing his mother by the same honey-brown eyes he had.
“Andreas!” the elderly woman exclaimed. “Is that really you, my sweet little Andreas?”
“Oh Mutti, I wish I could hug you right now,” Andreas said, getting as close to her shimmering form as he could, tears streaking down his face. “I missed you so much.”
Leto noticed how Andreas was completely ignoring the elderly man at his mother’s side, assuming that must have been his father. Then Leto’s gaze fell upon the red-haired elf and she looked at Leto expectantly. “Hello, brother,” she said in greeting.
Leto approached her. “You…are...Varania?” Leto recalled from the playthrough of Dragon Age 2 he and Andreas did years before. “You…wanted to betray me?”
Varania’s eyes flew wide. “No, brother, no I didn’t. Madelyn explained things to me, but I never met…Magister Danarius. I never betrayed you. I swear!”
“You would have,” Leto growled.
“No, I don’t believe I would,” Varania shook her head. “The version of me you saw was just a…simulation. She was following whatever the storyline of that…game…dictated. Because of the intelligence all of us have been given, we’ve had the freedom to make our own choices. That is not…it’s not a choice I would have made, brother. Please, believe me.”
“You do know I have no memories of you outside of what I saw in the game, right?” Leto queried his sister.
Varania nodded. “Yes. I was told…what Danarius did to you…how it wiped your memory. That you don’t remember mama or me at all.”
Leto shook his head. “No, I don’t. I’m sorry.”
Varania smiled a bit as she looked over at Andreas who was still talking to his mother. “So, that’s the man you’re going to marry?”
Leto blushed. “Yes. He just completed his education today in order to become a doctor. That’s what they call healers in this world. I am…very proud of him.”
“A healer? So he’s a mage?” Varania asked.
Leto shook his head. “Not anymore. He lost his magic when we came here. I also lost all the lyrium in my markings. There is no magic in this world.”
Leto and Varania continued to get to know each other as Andreas continued his reunion with his mother, pointedly trying to ignore his father entirely. Finally, the man was through being ignored and spoke up.
“Andreas…son,” the man began taking a deep breath. “They told us what happened to you in the Circle. For what it’s worth…I am sorry.”
Andreas stiffened at those words, his mouth tightening into a thin line.
“Vati,” Andreas began, an edge to his voice. “I guess I’ve always had one question in my mind all these years. I may as well ask it. Why?”
Andreas’ father wrung his hands. “Because I was a damned fool. I was scared and I feared your magic. I also feared the Chantry and I feared what the Templars would do if they found out we were hiding an apostate. If I had known…Maker…I would never have let them take you…”
Andreas slumped to his knees, tears welling in his eyes. “Vati…” his voice cracked as he tried to speak and Leto rushed to his side, his sister momentarily forgotten. “I loved you so much. After you sent me away, I wished for years that the Maker had never given me that gift. Now…now it’s gone and I’d still do anything to have it back.”
Andreas’ father crouched down and looked his son in the eye. “I truly am sorry, my son. They told me of your accomplishments here and I wanted to tell you how proud you have made me.”
Andreas looked at him in astonishment. “Really? You’re…proud of me? Your mage apostate son?”
“You’re not exactly a mage nor an apostate any longer,” he man said. “And even so, I was told you’ve been studying for eight years to become a healer in this world. That makes me proud of you.”
“Thank you, Vati. That means more to me than you can ever realize,” Andreas said, slowly standing and pulling Leto closer to him. “Mutti, Vati, I would like to introduce to you my fiancé, Leto.”
Leto nodded his head at the elderly couple shimmering in front of him.
“Fiancé? Is that an Orlesian word?” Andreas’ father asked.
Andreas smirked. “It means we are to be married. Leto proposed today during my graduation ceremony.”
His mother looked confused for a moment. “You’re…marrying…a male elf?”
Andreas had forgotten about some of the biases in Thedas that still persisted, especially amongst the older population.
“Yes, Mutti, I’m marrying a male elf,” Andreas chuckled.
“Well,” she let her eyes graze over Leto. “he’s very handsome.” Andreas’ father just grunted, and was then jabbed in the ribs by his wife’s elbow. “Um…welcome to the family…Leto.”
“Thank you,” Leto said graciously. “Speaking of family, I suppose you should all meet my sister, Varania.”
They spent the rest of the evening talking and laughing with old friends and new. Andreas was happy to have been reunited with his parents and to be able to put that part of his past behind him. For Leto, getting to know his long forgotten sister helped ease some of the bitterness he’d developed after seeing the game version of her. It felt good hearing stories of the childhood he could no longer remember, and soon Varania had him laughing over some of the antics they had gotten up to as children.
When Leto and Andreas were finally home in bed, wrapped in each other’s arms, they were both extremely happy and content. Leto happily snuggled closer to his future husband and slowly drifted off to sleep.
~1 Year Later~
Anders had just completed his first year of residency and still had three more to go before he would be a fully licensed Doctor. The clinic at the mission was thriving despite Andreas having limited time to be there. He looked forward to the day when he could devote all his time to the clinic, perhaps even opening additional ones across the city of Denver.
Leto’s self-defense franchise continued to thrive over the past year as well, with several more franchises opening nationwide. Since Andreas was so busy with his residency and the clinic, Leto took it upon himself to plan their wedding, with Henry’s help. Naturally he’d wanted a brief, simple affair, but Andreas begged him to plan something a bit more…elaborate. Leto capitulated after Andreas practically pleaded with him with sad, puppy dog eyes. Leto certainly had not cornered the market on the puppy dog eye look.
Henry and his wife were happy to help, as they were much more familiar with wedding planning than Leto was. There were venues to scout, flowers to order, cakes and meals to taste, and a myriad of other details Leto would never have thought of on his own.
Andreas only task throughout this process was to pick out his outfit for the big day, while Henry helped Leto decide on his own suit and that of the wedding party as well. Leto chose black and silver with blue accents for their colors, both because he liked those colors, and because it included the colors of the Grey Wardens, who gave Andreas his first real taste of freedom from the Circle all those years ago.
Andreas was fidgeting in his suit, as nervous as a blushing bride. Well, in many ways he was the blushing bride today after all. He’d toyed with the idea of wearing something closer to a dress, perhaps in the cut of a mage’s robe with a corset, but he quickly tossed that idea aside. He and Fenris played around with such things some years before but somehow the appeal was lost with age. Instead Andreas opted for a suit similar to Leto’s. His was silver grey with a black waistcoat and a blue kerchief in his pocket. Leto’s was black with a silver grey waistcoat and the same blue kerchief. Leto always had looked stunning in black and silver.
Andreas’ hair had grown long and he opted to wear it in a simple braid down his back for the occasion. He opted to also be freshly shaven instead of his usual day-old scruff he usually sported.
His heart hammered in his chest. Andreas wasn’t nervous about marrying Leto. No, not at all. He loved that broody elf so much. He was nervous about forgetting his vows or stammering or any number of other things he kept thinking might go wrong in front of the crowd of people that had been invited to their wedding.
With the help of Madelyn, they would have quite a few people from Thedas attending, along with all the people from the mission, many people who Andreas knew from his years studying and from his residency, and also many of the people Leto had gotten to know through his franchise business.
Then the music began and Andreas’ heart really went into overdrive and he found he had trouble breathing. Just then his father, dressed in Thedosian finery, walked through the closed door to escort him down the aisle. He quirked a smile when he saw the slight panic in Andreas’ eyes. “Breathe son. I nearly passed out on my wedding day to your mother. Just breathe.”
Andreas did just that and was able to steady his nerves enough to exit the bridal suite and get behind the procession with his father. David Gaider joined them as both he and his father were asked to escort Andreas up the aisle. Madelyn made it possible for his father to walk him down the aisle and give him away to Fenris. The irony was not lost on Andreas, and at least this time he was being given away to someone he loved. It also meant a lot to have David there, as he had more to do with Andreas’ existence than his father did.
The music changed and the procession began. Slowly they moved down the aisle and Andreas couldn’t take his eyes off Leto, still stunning even after all these years. His hair had also grown out and he opted to wear it down today instead of in the ponytail he’d been sporting for the past few years. The pure white, wavy hair contrasted beautifully with his black suit and what of his black markings were visible. The tips of his elven ears peeked through the long locks and Andreas smirked as he noticed the tell-tale signs of a blush pinking the tips.
Andreas blushed in return, looking at his husband. From a legal standpoint they were already married, having self-officiated and signed the paperwork at the courthouse earlier that day. Colorado definitely made it very easy for two people to get married. This ceremony was a way to declare their love and devotion to each other in front of their friends and family. Also it was an excuse to have a party and to get Andreas to take part of his vacation time for their honeymoon.
Andreas reached out and took Leto’s hands in his. They’d rehearsed all this last night, without revealing their vows to each other. Leto already was clipped into a microphone so everyone could hear him and Henry quickly clipped one onto Andreas before stepping back.
Andreas’ eyes were already brimming with emotion when he began.
“Leto, my love. It’s been ten years since we first stumbled into this world. It was in many ways a rebirth for both of us,” Andreas said, squeezing Leto’s hands gently. “The world we’d left behind had taught us to hate and fear. It taught us pain and suffering. This world taught us how to love. I learned what a remarkable man you are. It made me love you even more. I love you so much and I will love you always and forever. I promise to make sure you know that, every single day, for the rest of our lives.”
Andreas’ voice began cracking at the end, tears finally spilling down his cheeks.
Leto couldn’t hold back his emotion and struggled to keep from just leaping into Andreas’ arms that very second. He cleared his throat trying to fight back his own tears. “Andreas. Mi Amatus. My beloved. My heart,” Leto began, smiling at the blush spreading across Andreas’ face at his words of endearment. “Long before we arrived in this world, you showed me how selfless and kind a man like you can be. I’d seen the worst of men, and you embodied the best of them. It had been difficult to leave my past behind, but here in this world I needed you and you were there for me every single time. You gave me the chance to start anew and you showed me so much love and so much tenderness. You gave me such a precious gift, Amatus. You gave me your heart. In exchange I have willingly given you mine. Together we are stronger. Together we are better. I promise to nurture and protect that precious gift for the rest of our lives.”
Leto then stepped forward and Andreas leaned down to wrap his arms around his husband, kissing him soundly, and everyone in attendance burst into applause. Once they broke apart, they quickly exchanged rings and Henry came forward.
“May I introduce you to Dr. Andreas and Mr. Leto Bauermann,” Henry announced, wiping a stray tear from his cheek that he seemed embarrassed he’d let fall.
All the guests were relocated into the reception area where tables had been set out. They all sat around talking as appetizers and drinks were served. Madelyn had even worked with Bioware to program waiters and food for the Thedosians in attendance that day, so they could happily celebrate with everyone else.
Andreas and Leto were outside with the photographer and videographer that Henry had hired to record this day. As soon as the happy couple entered the reception and made their way to the raised dias where their private table was, the room erupted in the clinking of silverware against glass, not unlike many bells chiming at once. Leto and Andreas had attended a couple of weddings over the past ten years and they knew what that meant, and so they pulled each other into an embrace and kissed, their guests cheering happily.
As they approached the dias and sat down, Henry stood, clinking is glass to just draw attention and everyone stilled.
“As the best man, I have been asked to say a few words about the happy couple,” Henry said grinning. “I’ll admit, when I first saw these two trudging along the side if I-70, dressed like Comic-Con cosplayers, I wasn’t sure what to make of them. Something about them made me want to stop and help and I’m very glad I did. Admittedly I first thought they were both stark raving crazy,” Henry chuckled and the room exploded in laughter, everyone here familiar with the story by now. “But when I came to know them better, I learned what wonderful people they both are, and I’m so grateful I stopped that day. I think it’s fair to say you both have made the lives of every person you’ve met better, and that’s especially true for every single one of the people in this room. Here’s to Leto and Andreas!”
Everyone toasted the happy couple before the happy clinking happened again and Leto pulled Andreas into another kiss. This continued through the main course of the meal, punctuated with many clinking requests for the happy couple to kiss.
Then came the cake, a beautiful tiered affair with a custom made pair standing atop of it, a miniature replica of the happy couple in a kissing embrace. They completed the traditional cake cutting ceremony, holding each other’s hands as they cut the first slice, and then feeding each other a bite. Andreas loved anything sweet, but Henry knew Leto loved apples, so he’d ordered the cake to be white with vanilla frosting between layers of apples and cinnamon. Leto loved it.
Finally, all the food was cleared away and a dance floor was opened up as Henry used a remote to change the lighting and bring up the music. “Will the happy couple please make their way to the dance floor for their first dance?”
Andreas led Leto reluctantly to the dance floor. They’d had a couple of arguments over this part. It was a tradition that Leto didn’t want to participate in, but Andreas insisted. After Leto finally capitulated Andreas had promised him, “I’ll find the perfect song for us.”
It took Andreas several months, listening to hundreds of love songs to finally find the one. It was an older song, but it conveyed what was in Andreas’ heart so well.
As they stopped in the middle of the dance floor and Andreas pulled Leto into his arms, the song began to play.
You know our love was
meant to be
The kind of love to last forever
And I want you here with me
From tonight until the end of time
You should know, everywhere I go
Always on my mind, in my heart, in my soul
The haunting lyrics made Leto melt into Andreas’ embrace as they began to sway to the music.
Baby, you're the
meaning in my life
You're the inspiration
You bring feeling to my life
You're the inspiration
Wanna have you near me
I wanna have you hear me saying
No one needs you more than I need you
Andreas looked into Leto’s eyes so sincerely as they continued to sway to the song, slowly mouthing the words, conveying that he meant every single word of the song.
And I know, yes, I know
that it's plain to see
We're so in love when we're together
Now I know, now I know
That I need you here with me
From tonight until the end of time
You should know
Everywhere I go
Always on my mind, in my heart, in my soul
Leto’s eyes were now streaming tears down his cheeks. He’d completely forgotten they were on the dance floor. All there was now was the song and having Andreas in his arms. Andreas leaned in closer and whispered into Leto’s ear, “I love you so much.”
They clung, swaying, to each other until the song finished, Andreas punctuating the ending with a deep, long kiss.
Then abruptly the music changed to something fast and fun and Andreas grabbed Leto’s hand and spun him around quickly before breaking into a more modern dance. Leto was still so swept away that he forgot to squawk in protest like he’d normally do. His heart felt so light and free in that moment he followed Andreas’ ridiculous moves and danced happily, as other people began to come to the dance floor and dance as well.
The reception lasted late into the night and Henry finally bundled the two of them into a limousine to take them back home. They had to get some sleep before heading to the airport the next day. They were bound for a small island resort in the Caribbean for their honeymoon.
The next day, as they were checking in for their flight, they both smiled and blushed when the attendant on duty said, “Have a good flight, Dr. and Mr. Bauermann.”