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Dawnstar was never meant to be a hospitable place.

Let alone a place to be so damn crowded with Stormcloak guards.

He only prayed that they would have survived.

Nothing mattered to him anymore. The Falkreath sanctuary was meant to collapse from the beginning with that nonbeliever leading them. Defiling their minds with defiance towards their Matron. Their harassment was enough to nearly drive him further into the wrath of Sithis. He would have slaughtered them in the name of the Night Mother if it wouldn’t have been for them.
They’ve been tied with him.
Attached at the hip by the order of their Matron.
He knew they weren’t like the rest of them. He first met them at the Loreius farm. Stranded out in the hot sun. His anger boiling as he sat hopelessly worrying over the condition of his poor Mother’s body. How he could easily just threaten to kill the idiot farmer’s wife if it weren’t for that nosy guard. He almost snarled when he felt their touch. Their tall, muscular form towering over him. Their soft, kind voice offering to help him. He never expected much from them. He was floored when they actually got Loreius to fix the broken wheel.
Gold was never enough to provide an actual thank you for the service that the stranger had provided. He never thought of it then, but he hoped that your path and his own would have the luck of crossing again.
The second time he met them, he was in the Falkreath Sanctuary. The last, and final chapter of the Dark Brotherhood in all of Skyrim. The stranger appeared bloody and even bruised from their last kill. He couldn’t place it immediately, but when he remembered, the dread that had clouded his chest lightened ever so slightly. They smiled for him. That changed in an instant when he found them huddled against the Night Mother’s corpse. The mere thought of them contaminating any part of her made him repulsed. He had pinned them against the wall, his knife prodding into their abdomen. Unbottled rage threatening to spill over until he heard the sacred words escape from their lips.
“Darkness rises when silence dies.”
They were the Listener.
They were his Listener.
The Night Mother had chosen them. He couldn’t have been more happy. Those years of solitude spent in depression and self loathing were about to turn around.
The third time he met them, he was bleeding out. That stupid mutt was sent after him. All because that Argonian got in the way of eliminating that bitch. He knew whoever Astrid would send his way, he wouldn’t hesitate to slaughter them. The un-child, the old man, the Dunmer, or even the Redguard. He’d cleverly placed enough traps to kill them before they even reached him.
Nothing has ever filled him with a sense of uneasiness than when he heard the voice of the Listener. The appointed one. The one person he was supposed to protect. That Astrid was a cruel wretch for sending them. She knew he would hesitate. He regretted setting those traps. In Sithis’ name he cringed each time he heard their cries of pain. He could feel himself hoping that with each step, they’d reconsider. That somehow, they would just give up and that things could go back to how they used to be.
His heart dropped when he heard the door unlock. Their form nearly illuminated under the soft light of the fire behind him. He chuckled nervously as he watched you approach him. He shut his eyes awaiting his fate, only to flinch as he felt your soft touch on his skin. His chapped lips felt the cold glass encasing of a healing elixir, as he eagerly drank it down, he felt himself gazing into his Listener’s face. Their soft eyes focusing on him. Of all the things they could have done to him, they chose mercy. They disobeyed Astrid for him. They spared his life.
This moment of kindness was short lived.
They left as soon as he finished the elixir.
Softly laying his head back down on the floor as they left their shrouded cowl behind as a makeshift bandage to stop the residual bleeding.
He couldn’t even respond as he felt himself falling out of consciousness again.
When he returned to health, he bolted for the door.
He thought of anything he could to get back in. To form some apology. To grovel at that wretched woman’s feet just to join his Listener again.
The carnage that lay deep within the sanctuary took him by surprise.
He searched for them, leaving no stone unturned.
Wherever they went, he would find them.

So here he is now.

Sneaking into the remains of the Dawnstar Sanctuary. It’s the last place he’d think to search. But he wouldn’t rest until he knew that he wouldn’t have to face solitude again for the rest of his miserable life.
He found them bandaged in one of the shoddy rooms. Their breathing ragged from the smoke inhalation. He brushed his hand across their scars. Shushing them softly at any sound they made. He did whatever he could. Fluffed their pillows. Covered them in the leftover fur pelts in the room to keep the Listener warm.
Anything.
He knew that they wouldn’t remember it.

But that didn’t stop him from hoping.

He’d wait for them to awaken.

His Listener went through the trouble of sparing his life. Why shouldn’t he be there for them?.

So that became his routine. Sneaking to check on them, then scurrying off into the night like a skeever.

Until he saw their battered form leave the sanctuary.

He approached suddenly, overwhelmed with emotion to the point of exasperation.

With his breath hitching and his grin widening, he addressed them.

“Listener!”