Brass Horns and Broken Wings
He watched her bring the mountain down, to stop Corypheus's army. He watched a Qunari sacrifice herself to save the human inhabitants of Haven. He watched as she was swept away in a roar of white. He never thought he would see the day when he would be friends with not one, but two Qunari. Not after Kirkwall. But Akhera Adaar had worked her way into his heart with her dry humour, just as surely as a little fireball of a mage had done two years before in Kirkwall. He had been with her while Akhera had done amazing things, things that rivaled even Hawke. He had to believe she was enough like Hawke, that she would come back. Somehow, someway.
Cullen saw the dark shape slowly working its way up the pass before he did. The relived cry of "its her, thank the maker", lifted the icy fingers from his heart. When they led her to a tent and warm blankets, he slapped her lightly on her arm and proudly proclaimed, "just like Hawke!"
As they climbed the mountains following Solas' direction to a place he said they would be safe, he told stories. Stories of Anjali Hawke, with her red hair, orange eyes and yellow tattoos. Who looked nothing so much as flame given form, who loved a little timid Dalish pariah. Stories that didn't make it into his Tale of the Champion, Stories that meant too much but that he trusted Akhera with.
He proudly introduced the other half of his soul to Akhera, when Anjali came in response to his letter. To his plea for help against a monster they had fought before. He hid behind the large Qunari when Cassandra later tried to clobber him. He laughed with the pair in Crestwood. "Have you ever seen a moldy dwarf? you're about to. " His heart gave a hard flutter of premonition when he saw the warden friend Hawke had talked about. It was her baby brother ,Carver. Saved in the deep roads by Anders help. His heart nearly stopped when the six of them fell through the blinding green into the Fade. Hawke's hand on his shoulder chased away the fear as Akhera led the way following something that either was the Divine or wasn't. As they rushed through the green of a rift to safety, he turned to Hawke to smile at a job well done. Except she wasn't there. Carver kneeled on the hard stone with Akhera's hand on his shoulder. Varric's voice broke as he asked, "where's Hawke?" when no one answered him, he looked at Akhera and very loudly and with a shaky, upward inflection, he said, "Where's Hawke?"
Later, when they had reached Skyhold, Akhera told him Hawke's last words. "Say good bye to Varric for me." As he stared into the fire, he remembered what Merrill would cry if Anjali was knocked down in a fight, "Hawke, if you see any paths in the Fade, don't take them. stay put. "
His own cry, of "hang on, ill get you out of there!" and how he never could now. He wept for the letters he had to write, for his almost soul mate. He wept for the twelve years that had slipped through his fingers and been left behind when he wasn't looking.