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Blood Bound

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Tarith found himself backed into a dark alleyway. Trapped. They must have been leading him here from the beginning.

Footsteps and shadows soon blocked his only escape.

“Hello there, Lavellan,” a man’s warm voice called out. “Why do you run from me? We were having so much fun.”

“You betrayed our blood bond, Falon’din,” Tarith spat as he patted his pockets searching for a stake.

Another man chuckled near Falon’din, “I just want to play with you a little.”

Dirthamen.

He should have known when he willingly allowed Falon’din to bond with him, to drink from him, that this could have been a possibility. But, it was nearly unheard of. Nearly... Tarith thought they were just rumors. People being paranoid, but no. If a betrayal of this magnitude was happening, then the rumors about their rampant feeding on unwilling civilians must also be true.

Fuck.

The two men were close now, striking distance.

Falon’din sighed, like he was bored. “Tarith, my dear, you are so sweet. I simply wish for my brother to have but a taste.”

“That was not the arrangement,” Tarith warned, “I am not his bound. I am not willing. He will receive virtually no nourishment.”

“Sometimes we eat for our own enjoyment, Lavellan.” Dirthamen grinned, fangs reflecting moonlight from the street behind him.

Tarith’s heart fell into his stomach as he finished his search for a weapon.

He was unarmed.

He had not packed anything…hadn’t expected to meet Falon’din today…hadn’t been prepared for a fight.

“The agreement between the Lavellans and the Pantheon prohibit such behaviors,” Tarith stalled.

Falon’din examined his nails, “technicalities.”

His bond lunged forward to grab ahold of him, but Tarith dodged. He may not have a weapon, but he could do enough to defend himself without it. Tarith kicked Falon’din in the chest, sending him flying against the wall.

Dirthamen came at Tarith from the side, aiming a punch for his side. The Lavellan slammed down his forearm against the vampire’s fist, deflecting the strike.

Turning his back to Falon’din had been a mistake. The vampire recovered faster than he had expected from the kick.

Falon’din pulled Tarith’s back flush to his chest and wrapped a strong hand around his neck. “You could have made this much easier on all of us, boy.”

Tarith struggled, but Dirthamen grabbed him by the shoulders and pressed his hip against his. He was trapped between the two vampires.

As the unbonded vampire’s teeth sank into Tarith’s neck, his body was wracked with agony. It was as if all his blood had turned to glass and was shredding his insides. This was wrong. His screams filled the alley.

Once he felt himself sated, Dirthamen pulled away from Tarith and wiped at his mouth. “Not bad, but I am not sure it was as delectable as you claimed, brother.”

“Lavellan will not stand for this,” Tarith warned.

Dirthamen responded with a toothy smile, “only if they find out.”

Falon’din shrugged and looked down at Tarith, “it has been fun, but I find myself in need of a little something else from my feedings.”

The man that Tarith had trusted, whose feedings made him a fully blood bound Lavellan, snapped his neck without a second thought.

They laid him out in the alley and took his wallet.

The papers would say it was just another terrible mugging gone wrong.

But the Lavellans knew better. The clan of blood bound scattered, hiding themselves away from those vampires they had been called upon to protect.

The insanity was spreading and they would not be a part of it.

And so the events became stories, and the stories legends, and the legends myths.

Until one day, dozens of generations later….


 

Beatrice wasn’t sure she would enjoy living in the city, but it was where the best libraries were. It certainly couldn’t be worse than the middle of fucking nowhere where she had grown up.

She had been top of her class in school and after trying to be happy as the best librarian with no actual library, she gave up and found a job further from home.

The buildings were tall and everything was so much louder.

It would take some getting used to.

Bea had moved into an apartment in an alright part of town…it wasn’t great, but it wasn’t terrible. She moved in with some woman who had needed a roommate, Cassandra. Cass was…very tall. She worked in security for some high-profile person and traveled frequently. At least she would get the apartment to herself more often than not.

It was easy to fall into the hypnotic flowing of people on the sidewalks…but it was much more difficult to escape.

She planned on stopping at a coffee shop on her way to her first day of work, a reward for making it to this point.

No one would let her out of the stream of bodies.

“Excuse me, Pardon m—“ Someone knocked into her again. “Fuck this!” Bea grumbled and shoved through people in the direction of the doorway half a block ahead.

Two elbows in, her bag caught on something and she went tumbling to the ground, her legs twining with someone else’s on her way down. Luckily, she landed outside the horde.

She let out a string of curses and sat up.

Across from her was an older man. He was bald and dressed fashionably, if plainly. There was something odd about his appearance…perhaps it was his pocket watch.

Bea’s tongue was tied between apologizing for knocking into him and yelling at him for getting in her way.

The city was doing strange things to her mind.

“I’m terribly sorry, miss,” the man said quickly, saving her from having to choose a response. His voice was a smooth, agreeable, baritone.

She took a deep breath and started to get her feet back under herself, “I’m honestly surprised it hadn’t happened to me yet.”

The man stood faster than her and held out a hand to help her up, “allow me.”

Their skin met and the strangest thing happened: his eyes went from being a steely grey to entirely black. Bea blinked and it remained. He hauled her to her feet and once he dropped her hand, his eyes returned to normal.

Did she hit her head when she fell?

Her grandmother had told her the stories…the signs…but, that’s all that it was…stories. There hadn’t been any vampire sightings in hundreds of years.

“Miss? Are you well?” He asked gently.

Bae snapped back into herself, “yes, just haven’t had any coffee yet. It’s where I was headed when we…met.”

He looked at her…studied her. There was something serious in his (blue again) eyes despite that the look on his face was an unthreatening pleasantness. “I was headed that way myself. Might I join you?”

Her brow furrowed. Coincidence? Maybe he was just some random man who was going to ask her for a date later.

…but the eyes…

Her grandmother’s words rang in her mind. They hide in plain sight. It is only when they are about to feed that their true nature can be seen.

“That would be lovely,” she responded finally, with a smile. “Maybe with two of us, we can make it to our goal.”

The line was long. Every line in the city was long.

“It sounds as though you are new to the area?” the man asked.

She nodded, “I only moved recently. I’ve been bookkeeping in a rural town for some years.”

“A librarian?”

“Yes, and a researcher. I am very skilled at finding information,” Bea said distractedly while looking at the ever closer menu board. “And you?”

“An author,” he smirked, “or at least I try to be.”

“Medium latte, extra shot, yes whip. For Bea. Thank you!” Bea blurted out. She paid quickly and moved to the side.

“Just a hot chocolate please,” the man requested without any of the urgency she had had. “For Solas. Thank you very much. Please, keep the change.”

She tapped her fingers against her side. At this rate, she was going to be late for work.

Solas. That wasn’t the name of any of the fabled vampires…. She couldn’t believe that she was still considering this to be more than fairy stories.

He shifted beside her, “Bea. Short for…?”

“Beatrice,” she looked over at him, “Solas is short for…?”

“Solas.” He half laughed.

“Bae!” A barista called out. Followed quickly by, “Solas!”

Bea groaned and grabbed her drink and his as well. “I hate when they get my name wrong. Bae. Ugh.” She hated mix ups of her name with a passion. She was Bea like the things that sting and not like a babe.

He chuckled as he takes his cocoa, “you may be surprised at some of the bastardizations of my name that have been managed throughout the years.”

“I don’t doubt it,” Bea sighed. 

She looked at her watch while taking a sip of coffee. Shit.

“Well, it was nice meeting you, Solas. I have to go.” Bea gave him a little wave and pushed her way out into the street again.

She couldn’t shake the feeling that something was…different in her from when she had left the house this morning.

Bea rushed to the city library. It was a stately building in the middle of town full of archives from all over Thedas. She would be working in the historical documents section under the direction of a Dr. Merrill. When the woman greeted her, Bea was surprised at how young she seemed. Merrill must have been at least 10 years her senior, but she had a youthful energy that propelled her through reality.

“Welcome, Beatrice Lavellan!” Merrill chirped, opening the door to the main repository where their offices were.

“Thank you, Merrill. Please, I don’t go by Lavellan. Ahdahlen, please, my mother’s surname.” Bea explained quickly.

Merrill hummed, “Lavellan is a lovely name! Full of history!”

History.

Bea forced a smile, “I appreciate the compliment. But you know how people are, one out of five might recognize the name, but explaining the blood bond myth and that I am not and never have, in fact, been in league with vampires, becomes tiring.”

“Oh! I can imagine,” Merrill giggled, “Well, Beatrice Ahdahlen, welcome to the National Archives.”

Bea had the morning to settle into her office and take quick stock of what was in the repositories. She had been studying the collection lists since she was offered the job, but extra work never hurt. It helped her to not think about the odd tingling she felt in her hand when her thoughts wandered to Solas.

After a very nice lunch with the rest of the library staff, she manned the desk in the histories department.

She had expected this part of her job to be excruciatingly boring. No one would come seeking physical copies of documents. Most of it was online now for students and it wasn’t exactly light reading for the general public. She decided to start logging the newly acquired tomes to pass time.

The afternoon sun streams through her dark hair casting a mahogany halo around the side of her vision.

Sometime later, a shadow fell over her.

A patron?

“Welcome to the National Archives, I’m Bea, how can I—“ Bea stopped speaking as soon as she fully lifted her head. “Hello, Solas.” She continued, trying to keep the surprise from her voice.

He smiled softly down at her, his hands clasped behind his back. “Good afternoon, Beatrice. You are not just a librarian as you had said. You are assistant to the head of the National Archives. I see now why you moved to the city.”

Bea narrowed her eyes at him. Had he followed her? She plastered back on her customer service smile, “it was an amazingly fortuitous offer. Now, Solas, what can I do for you?”

“I was working on my most recent manuscript and find myself in need of some documents.”

“Well,” she raised her eyebrow cheekily, “then you have come to the right place. Anything in particular? Or just old paper?”

He let out a sharp breath that might have been mild laughter, “I was looking for works regarding vampires, please.”

Bea felt her blood freeze.

There it was again: vampire.

She cleared her throat, “and you came to the historical section? I am sure whatever you are looking for would be more easily found in fictions.”

He looked at her expectantly.

Bea sighed and pulled up the catalog.  Sure enough, there was a large section on vampires. Lovely. She eyed him with a suspicious amusement, “usually, children wishing to scare their friends with fairy stories are the ones who look for vampire works, Solas.”

Solas tilted his head to the side, keeping his smile, “all myths come from some sort of reality, yes?”

“Perhaps…” Bea pushed the button to request that one of the stock workers bring the tomes she selected to the front desk. “Regardless, I have selected a range of books for you. They will arrive shortly.”

Instead of sitting down at a table to await his books, the man stayed at her desk. “So, you do not believe the tales of the vampires?”

Bea let out an exasperated huff, “the blood and energy stealers from hundreds of years ago, that all seemingly disappeared? No.” 

“Have you heard of the blood bound?” He wondered, innocently curious.

She felt a serious sense of foreboding. The eyes. These inquiries. If he was a vampire, he was doing a shit job of keeping a low profile.

Bea was determined to not let on that she was having suspicions, “of course I have. I read.”

“Beatrice,” Solas said with a nearly hypnotic command to his voice, “look at me in the eyes, Beatrice.”

Bea felt something like a pull at her mind…her brain compelling her to follow his directions. She pushed it away, but chose to look up on her own. She raised an annoyed brow, “we are barely acquainted, Solas. I am not sure why you think it is acceptable to be barking orders at me.”

A small tick formed between his brows.

On accident, while studying his signs of frustration, her eyes met his.

“Beatrice, do you know any Lavellans?”

She started to speak without meaning to, “Yes, I—“ Bea shook her head and broke eye contact. “Yes,” she continued, this time deliberately choosing her words, “it is a common name in parts of rural communities. If you are inquiring as to my knowledge of the modern existence of the blood bound, then you sorely mistake the power of an exotic or mythological name to influence random people to change their own name to match.”

The furrow between his brows grew deeper, “I see.”

Bea flashed him a haughty smile and went back to looking at the new acquisition stack, “your requests will arrive at table six momentarily.”

“Beatrice….?” Solas hesitated.

“Hm?”

He pinched the bridge of his nose, “would you please—“

“Oh look! There’s your book cart. Good afternoon, Solas,” Bea said firmly, pointing to table six.

Solas’ lips parted slightly in surprise, but he recovered. “Thank you, I appreciate the timeliness of your request.”

As soon as he left, Bea pulled up some of the online repository on vampires. She felt silly. All throughout her childhood the elders had explained to her how she was a descendant of the Lavellans. That she was a blood bound. She could sense vampires and force their disguises away. She knew how to make a stake—she had not in many years, but she was sure she could still accomplish the task. Blood bound were immune to the mind tricks of the vampires. Was that what had happened?

Black, changing eyes. Strange look to him. Her speaking without meaning to, but stopping. She flexed her tingly hand. All of it matched up with the stories.

The question was why?

Vampires has essentially gone underground once the Lavellans went into hiding, and with them the most reliable and sustaining food source.

Would this man flagrantly disregard so many years of anonymity to be testing her? It wouldn’t be for a simple feeding…no. He would not have asked her of the Lavellans if it was.

The Pantheon, the most powerful and oldest vampires in Thedas, had betrayed the Lavellans. Lavellans started to disappear. Rumors of experiments…of sharing bound ones…Once a binding was in place, the vampire was unable to take another until the previous binding had been severed. This could happen peacefully….but…

It became extremely dangerous for Lavellans to reveal themselves.

What did this man….this…vampire want of her?

Lavellans were not at their full strength until they had formed a bond and provided nourishment to their bound vampire. In return for the sharing of their spirit, they were given strength and a sort of pseudo-immortality while the bond was in place and the vampire regularly fed.

She didn’t think that she would be able to defend herself unless she was fully prepared for an attack. Not now. At best, she was mildly strong.

Fuck.

It was all real?

Bea looked at Solas. She caught him watching her from the corner of his eye and did not make any move to remedy it. Yes, he could be the type that was a vampire.

She tapped her fingers on the desk impatiently.

Before she left home, her grandmother had given her a chest full of equipment ‘just in case’. Her ‘just in case’ case….Cassandra was out of town. If she did not head this off, then he could attack at any time.

No.

She would set the field.

“Solas?” Bea asked prettily, walking over to his table.

He looked up at her, expectantly.

“Would you like to come to my apartment for drinks? Who knows if I’ll be able to make my way back there through the crowds.” She batted her lashes and smiled alluringly.

His lips pressed together, thinking, “I…”

“Well, if you don’t want to then that is perfectly fine. I’ll just be on my way—“

“No.” Solas interrupted her, grabbing her elbow as she turned away. “No,” he repeated with less desperation, “you should not be out on the dark streets alone. Who knows what could await you?”

She gestured to the books, “all sorts of baddies, I imagine.”

“Yes…baddies…” he sounded troubled and dropped his hand from her arm.

“Good, after I pack up here we can go,” Bea affirmed and walked back to her desk.

She would not wait for him to make the first move.

Chapter Text

Bea finished out her last few hours of work with Solas sitting at table six; he was not quite reading.

As she was cataloging the recent acquisitions, she planned her form of attack. First, she would avoid any alleyways just to be safe. Then, once she was home she would maybe feed him a little…test to see if garlic has some effect… get some drinks. Finally, she would sneak into her bedroom, grab one of her stakes, and attack before he knew what was happening.

She would need to be positive that he was one of them.

Explaining that she had killed some random, innocent, man would be…difficult and probably result in jail time.

Bea shuddered.

Five o’clock. It was time to close up.

“Solas,” she hummed pleasantly, trying to hide the nervousness in her voice. “Are you ready to go?”

“I believe so. The texts you requested were,” he paused and looked at the books. Finally, he found a word to describe them, “informative.”

“Well, you did insist on reading the histories of vampires. I imagine they were rather dull and overstated.” She locked the door and toggled off the lights, “I did try to direct you in a more fruitful direction.”

He grinned down at her, “something does not need to be entertaining to be fruitful, Beatrice.”

She scoffed, “we have differing opinions on how free time should be spent.”

“Perhaps. As an author, all of my time is both leisure and work simultaneously,” Solas reasoned, holding the door open for her to exit the building. He made some unnatural arm movement as they stepped onto the sidewalk. As if he presented his arm to her, but instantly changed his mind….resulting in some strange chicken-esque arm flap.

Do vampires have jobs?

She had to stop herself from asking the question aloud. That would have certainly blown her plan to pieces.

“I’m not saying that the books are not worth someone’s time…but…” Bea frowned at the hordes of people. It was later in the day, so the crowd had thinned out, but it was still far too many bodies. “not worth hours of perusing. Did you learn anything useful for--” she smirked up at him “your work?”

“I believe I have,” he answered smoothly. “How was your first day of work?” Solas changed the subject.

Bea smiled, genuinely. She truly enjoyed her work and the smile slipped out, “yes. I think that I will fit in there. My boss is…very excited…about everything.”

“Yes, Merrill is quite enthusiastic,” Solas chuckled.

“You know her?” Bea hesitated. Was she a vampire too? Did vampires talk to people who were not also blood suckers?

He nodded, “I have found myself at the archives often as of late. She is a great deal of help when seeking out less requested works.”

“…I bet she is.” She murmured. Her mind was being all turned around by this silly vampire situation. Bea had never run around thinking that it was a possibility a vampire was near her. Well…maybe she did when she was very young, but not as an adult.

She had convinced herself that it was more likely than not that Solas was one; that didn’t mean that anyone else was out to get her.

They entered into a larger crowd on the main street between her apartment and the archives. It was too bustling to speak. Solas followed closely at her shoulder.

Bea just wanted to be home already and get this over with.

She made an abrupt turn into her building and buzzed them through with her keyring, “here we are. My roommate is out of town and I was not expecting company, so please forgive my mess.”

After climbing three far too long flights of stairs, they arrived.

Solas looked around, “I see no mess to forgive.”

She smirked, “precisely. Let’s try to keep it that way.”

Bea set down her bag and slipped off her shoes, “please make yourself comfortable. I’m starving. Want anything from the kitchen?”

“I am not picky, anything you choose would suffice…though, I am not very hungry. I could always wait until I got home.” Solas continued his visual cataloging of her apartment.

“Please, I insist,” she gestured to the couch and then went into the kitchen.

“Could I be of any assistance?”

“Nope!”

Bea took some bread she had and lightly toasted it, rubbing garlic over the surface before covering it in cheese and toasting it again. Yes.

Good.

Experiment 1 initiated.

She brought out the tray of hastily prepared bread with a bottle of the reddest wine she had stocked.

“Please, let me help.” Solas was standing near her bookshelf and rushed over to grab the wine glasses that had been precariously carried between two of her fingers while the other three held the wine bottle. Her other hand was occupied with the bread tray and napkins.

She set everything down on the coffee table and handed him a corkscrew to open the wine. “I could use some help.”

Experiment 2. He should be abnormally strong.

Solas eyed the bottle and the corkscrew. He opened the bottle with relative ease, but not extraordinary ease.

Experiment 2: inconclusive.

He poured the wine for them both and took a bit of cheese bread, “what is this, exactly?”

“Just a little something I cooked up,” she answered opaquely, taking a small sip of her wine.

Solas took a bite and immediately grimaced, “garlic.”

“Oh, I’m sorry, are you allergic?” Bea feigned a sort of domestic horror.

He set down the bread, “no, I just find it unpalatable.”

Experiment 1 complete. He is repelled by garlic.

“I can get you something else,” she offered, innocently licking a little line of dripped wine off her glass.

Solas swallowed, “I….um…I’ll be fine.”

Bea shrugged, suit yourself.

She figured this was as good a time as any to escape to her room and grab a weapon. He hadn’t attacked her yet which she found odd. Maybe he liked to play with his food…his very complicated food.

“Oh! Excuse me for a second. I need to make sure I didn’t leave a candle lit in my room. Make yourself at home,” Bea set her wine down on an end table and shuffled to her room.

Beneath her bed was a weathered wooden crate. She tugged it free from being wedged between her bedframe and the floor.

Bea breathed in the scent of unnaturally fresh cedar. It was oddly comforting to her. Her grandmother had insisted she take it when she moved away; it seemed ridiculous at the time...

Inside lay a few stakes—none that were flashy, but good reliable wooden stakes. She wondered if these had been in disuse since the Lavellans went into hiding or if these were grandmother’s recent whittling. Near the stakes were some holy water and a symbol of Andraste. The last two items she thought suspect.

Though….throwing holy water on him might be a safer option if he were not a vampire.

No.

He was definitely a vampire.

She had decided.

Bea grabbed a mid-size stake that she could easily hide against the inside of her forearm.  

A sneak attack would be her best bet.

She crept out of her room, careful to make as little noise as possible.

Solas was standing with his back to her, pouring over some gigantic photograph Cassandra had hung up on the wall. Apparently, it was ‘artistic’ and not ‘garish’. Bea couldn’t tell the difference.

He didn’t notice her.

Bea was not especially stealthy, but it was enough.

She tiptoed into striking distance and rose her armed hand.

His eyes grew wide in the reflection of the picture frame.

…the reflective glass of the picture frame.

Shit.

Solas spun around rapidly and held his hands to the side in peace, “Beatrice…what are you—“

Bea’s voice rang out in some strange war-cry and swung her arm down.

His hand stopped her bow just as soon as she had begun to move. “Beatrice!” Solas gasped.

Bea pulled back her arm and spun away, ready to attack again. She darted back in only to have her attack blocked again.

“Beatrice. Stop that this instant!” Solas scolded her.

“Vampire!” Bea spat, throwing a punch.

Solas shook his head, exasperated as he tossed her hand aside.

“Beatrice,” he warned, “put down your weapon. You are not strong enough to kill me.”

She scoffed and went to kick him.

Solas hit her knee, which she then managed to hook against his thigh and topple them both to the ground.

Bea was on top of him in what could have been a very compromising position if she wasn’t trying to kill the blood sucker.

Solas shoved his weight against her so that they rolled and landed with him sitting astride her hips.

The man’s body had her pinned.

She struck again with the stake, but Solas grabbed her hands with his and pinned them to the ground on either side of her head. “Enough, Beatrice!” As soon as his hands touched the skin of her wrists his eyes blackened again.

It was unnerving.

His face was close to hers, their noses nearly touching as he held her down. It might have turned her on if the whole things wasn’t just so fucking weird.

“I’m not going to let you kill me!” Bea hissed, still struggling against him.

Solas sighed, “I am not trying to kill you. Believe me, if I was, you would have been dead hours ago.”

Bea glared up at him, then noticed something. “Why aren’t your fangs out? Your eyes are.”

“Only when one is feeding or threatening do they make their ‘fangs’ protrude. I have no intent of doing either,” Solas continued in that annoyed, yet bored tone.

Bea stopped wiggling, “so you are a vampire.”

Solas’ brows raised, incredulous. “you tried that and you were unsure of my being a vampire.”

“I was at 98%.” Bea shrugged.

He shook his head and grabbed the stake out of her hand, tossing it to the edge of the room and consequently freeing her wrists. Her hips were still at the mercy of his weight.

She crossed her arms, unamused.

“Unwise, Ms. Lavellan,” Solas’ blue again eyes focused on her.

“Mind trick gave the Lavellan-ness away?” Bea frowned.

Solas’ lips formed half a smile, “among other things.”

She frowned, “what other things?”

“Your eyes,” he answered, smiling a bit more.

“Nope.” Bea said plainly, “my eyes are distinctly Ahdahlen. They are freakishly bright blue and not the weird glassy crystal-y shades that are traditionally Lavellan.”

He tilted his head to the side considering her, “I see. We do not speak of the same thing, I imagine.”

“Are you going to get off of me?” Bea grumbled.

“Are you going to attack me again?” Solas challenged.

Bea tapped her fingers on her arm, “I don’t know. If you deserve to be attacked, then I might.”

“It would end poorly for you again, Beatrice.”

“We’ll see about that.” Bea exhaled sharply.

Solas chuckled, “are you always so accommodating?”

“I’ve only known you for a few hours. You’re a mythical creature that I was warned about and thought was just my grandmother spouting nonsense. And, you just generally piss me off.” Bea rambled off her agitated list.

“…so that is a yes?” he teased.

Solas rolled off her and stood, offering her a hand.

She eyes it skeptically.

“I promise there are no fangs hidden there.”

Bea rolled her eyes and stood up on her own. It was the principle of the thing.

“Now, Beatrice, allow me to show you your eyes,” Solas held out an arm kind of like he had earlier, but without the flapping thing.

“…are you escorting me?” Bea arched her eyebrow.

Solas dropped his arm, eyes focusing on the floor, “old habits. I…Lavellans…” He centered himself and looked back up, “the blood bound should be treated with respect.”

She looked at him…confused. That was not something she would have expected a vampire to say. “Who are you, exactly? The Pantheon went crazy…they were…well, we were sure that they were the reason that Lavellans were disappearing or turning up dead.”

“They were,” Solas’ voice sounded far away. “I did not approve of their methods. Neither did Mythal.”

Bea pressed her lips together and tried to remember the defining characteristics of each of the Pantehon coven members that she had been taught at one point or another.  

He shifted uncomfortably, “Fen’harel.”

“Wait. Where is all your hair?” Bea wondered without skipping a beat.

“When one is alive for centuries, sometimes a change of appearance is a good idea.” Solas ran a hand over his bald head.

She tapped her lips with a finger, “tall: sure. Blue eyes nearly like ours, but darker. At times unassuming….at times…well…an ass. That sounds right. No on the hair. Probably not a rampant killer. Probably.”

“Thank you for your through assessment.”

“Anytime,” she patted his shoulder.

Solas shook his head, “where might we find a mirror?”

Bea lead him to the bathroom.

He stood behind her, her head came up to his shoulder. She did not like feeling short. It was something she felt far too often.

Solas flexed his hand and held it out to her, “our skin must be in contact. If you would please place your hand in mine?”

Bea did as he asked, but rolled her eyes to make sure her knew she wasn’t happy about it.

Immediately, his eyes became dark voids. “And that is how I knew you were a vampire,” she said matter of factly.

Solas’s brow furrowed, “noted.”

“What are we—“ then it was clear what they were looking for. “Oh.” The color drained from here ocean blue eyes like an hourglass’s sand. In the pigment’s wake, a silver took over that glowed slightly. “Shit.” It was as if her very spirit was making itself known through her eyes and offering itself to him.

“Well…that’s…fucked up.” Bea stammered.

Solas flashed her a reassuring smile, but she noticed his Adam’s apple bob. “It is why their eyes are usually so light. The change is less noticeable in most…but you…it… it is different.”   

Bea looked up at him, “are you okay?”

He answered with a single nod.

“Doesn’t look like it,” she pressed. Something in him was clearly straining against his cool façade.  

“In the spirit of you not attacking me again, it…” Solas closed his eyes and let out a breath, “I have not fed recently.”

Bea frowned, “how recently is recent?”

“Previously, I only maintained blood bonds. Following the Lavellans leaving, I only took willing draws. It is difficult to find. I limit my—“ he stopped speaking and dropped her hand. “It would be better to speak of this another time.”

“So, you’re hungry and I’m making you uncomfortable?” Bea wondered.

Solas closed his eyes again and a brow quirked up, “in short, yes. I am voracious and being near a Lavellan…brings back…memories.”

“Do I need to worry about you snapping and…?” Bea took a step away from him. She couldn’t quite articulate the concern that he would just give up and suck her dry.

The lines in his face deepened, but he met her eyes seriously, “No. You never need fear that from me.”

“Right…” Bea ran a hand through her hair. “So, why did you follow me anyway? Just because the eye thing?”

He pressed his lips together, “yes. Because you are Lavellan and my brothers and sisters frequent the city. It was by complete chance that I made your acquaintance. Therefore, it stands that you could meet one of them. They are not like I am.”

“You creeped to protect me.” Bea deadpanned.

“It would be wrong of me to know of your existence and leave you to the machinations of chance. I thought it best to inquire about your knowledge of the subject and address whatever areas needed bolstering,” he explained. “I make no claims to you or your bond. I do not feed off unwilling people. You are free to do as you please, but I do suggest your wearing gloves when you are out and about.”

Bea turned around to look at him without the mirror. “Pause for a second. Shouldn’t you not have a reflection?”

“You will find that your myths of our existence are likely skewed,” Solas mumbled, looking at himself in the mirror again. “Such as sneaking me garlic.”

“You’re supposed to be repelled by it,” Bea shrugged.

Solas looked down at her, half amused and half annoyed, “I simply do not like the taste. It has nothing to do with my vampiric nature and everything to do with my personal senses.”

She moved further away from him. They were still standing rather close and it was making her self-conscious. “So, back to the whole you’re not going to lay claim to me or whatever. Is that actually a thing? Should I be concerned about that? Why did you need to clarify?”  

“It may have once been a concern. Even if I did somehow claim you as mine …that you permitted our bond, I doubt that the rest of the Pantheon would respect the declaration. In fact, it might even cause them to be more likely to attack you. I…am not their favorite.” Solas placed his hands behind his back, straightening up, “I clarify to inform you of my intentions: I simply mean to keep you safe.”

Bea nodded, somewhat skeptical, “and the gloves thing?”

He raised a hand and held it open, palm out. “It is possible that another could touch you. I would avoid it.”

“I would have avoided you too, to be fair,” Bea pointed out walking out of the bathroom, “it was so much better when grandma was just a cute little crazy old person.” She stopped, thinking about her family. “Shit. Solas are all of you in this city?”

He nearly bumped into her, “Yes, they spend most of their time here and in nearby towns, why?”

“No reason,” she responded quickly.

“I am unconvinced.” Solas intoned without emotion.

Bea went straight for her previously abandoned wine, “Drat, and here I was trying to convince you of something.”

“Beatrice, the stories of their behavior are true. If you need to tell me something…If I can somehow help you…”

“Nope!” Bea pointed at him accusingly, “You have helped enough. What do you want to get out of this Solas? I can’t imagine that ‘wanting to keep me safe’ is the entire motive of a neck biter.”

His brow furrowed, “I see. I receive nothing except the knowledge that the Lavellans are safe. My bonds were willing. They lasted until the blood bound wished for them to end. I have great respect for your family. Despite your antagonistic nature, my letting you put yourself into possible danger is a slight against their memories. It is your choice whether you wish to participate in the future that you were born for or not.”

Bea downed her wine in a few long gulps, “great. At least you’re not one of the twins.”

“I often find myself thinking the same thing.”

“Do you live somewhere?” Bea wondered.

Solas looked at her like she was stupid, “yes. I have an apartment on the other side of town. I may consider moving, however.”

Her eyes widened in surprise, “Why?”

“Someone will need to keep an eye on you,” Solas took up his own wine glass.

“So you’re like my vampire guardian or something?” Bea chuckled darkly, “aren’t Lavellans supposed to be the protectors?”

Solas drank, pausing the conversation. “You are not yet a Lavellan who can protect anyone. The powers come from your binding. Until that event possibly takes place, the tables are turned, Beatrice.”

Chapter Text

Solas made a habit of randomly popping into and out of her life.

After the first few days she stopped being startled by the appearance of his voice from what seemed like nowhere.

“Good morning, Beatrice,” his warm baritone smiled in front of her desk.

“Morning, Solas,” she hummed absently as she rummaged through some paperwork. The coordinator for all the National Archives as well as the satellite archives was visiting that afternoon. Dr. Pavus had requested files on pretty much everything.

There was a light tap on the wood of the desk. Bea looked up to see a latte sitting there. She could have kissed Solas. “Thank you. It….” She flopped her head down onto the table next to the drink, her hair covering her face “I’m so tired.”

He chuckled softly, “you have been rather occupied the last few days. I thought you might appreciate a treat.”

Bea stood back up and drank deeply from the warm beverage. “How can I help you, Solas?” Her voice had started to lose the edge of annoyance that it generally had with people who pissed her off. He still did, but the thoughtfulness of the coffee made her more accommodating.

And he still hadn’t killed her.

“I’m looking for a pedigree,” He requested far too innocently for it to be an innocent inquiry.

She looked up at him blankly, “then you need to go to genealogies.”

“The Lavellan family tree, please.” Solas continued.

Bea growled, “is there any particular reason you are looking for that?”

“Research.”

“The answer remains the same. I do not have those papers here” Bea said, feigning disinterest.

Solas tapped his fingers on the desk, “alright. I will return soon. Perhaps you would help me look through them.”

Bea shook her head and took another sip of coffee as he left. As if the Lavellans were dumb enough to have a correct genealogy on file where it was available to the public. Honestly.

A tall man stepped forward, taking up the place where Solas had been standing. He was handsome with a dark, styled moustache and caramel skin. She had so rarely seen northerners and he was….remarkable.

The newcomer flashed a welcoming smile, “Odd fellow that one.” He must have been referring to Solas.

Bea laughed, “yes, an acquaintance of mine.”

“I see,” his eyes scan my nameplate and his smile grows, “Ms. Ahdahlen?”

“Yes, how can I help you….?”

The man held out a hand to her, giving her a proper shake, “Dr. Pavus. I’m very pleased to finally meet you.”

“Oh! Dr. Pavus! I wasn’t expecting you until this afternoon; I’m still ordering the files you requested. Merrill is out of the office until lunch.” Bea rambled, uncharacteristically nervous.

He laughed pleasantly, “I arrived earlier than I had expected. Please, do not let my presence cause you discomfort. Here, can I help you with those?”

Bea looked at him, unsure if he was serious.

Dr. Pavus came around the side of her desk and pointed at a stack of files, “do these still need to be organized.”

She nodded, “They just need to be alphabetized.”

“Alphabetized? I never asked for that much organization. I just wanted to be able to take copies back with me!” He teased with an amused smirk.

“I like things alphabetized,” Bea responded, “and I am in charge of getting your files together, Dr. Pavus.”

The man gave her a small salute, “Yes, Ms. Ahdahlen. From now on, please call me Dorian.”

She nodded, “Bea, Ms. Ahdahlen takes far too long to say.”

“I happen to agree, Bea.” Dorian rhymed, pleased with himself.

The two fell into a quite productivity organizing back and forth, making random chatter about the room and papers.

“Beatrice,” Solas’ slightly vexed voice made her look up from her papers. “There are no modern genealogies of the Lavellan clan.”

Bea hissed in sarcastic disappointment.

“The Lavellan family actually died out about 100 years ago,” Dorian answered for her, “quite sad, really.”

Bea snapped her gaze to Dorian, “how do you know that off the top of your head?”

Dorian frowned a little at her disbelief, “I have done a great deal of research on the history of vampires. The Lavellans were integral to the survival of vampires for a time. Therefore, I know.”

Solas remained cool, “Beatrice, might I ask for you to introduce me to your vampire researching friend?”

“Dorian Pavus, head coordinator for all National Archive repositories.” Dorian answered smoothly.

Bea hid a grimace by focusing back on her work.

“Pleased to make your acquaintance. I am Solas, an author and amateur historian who is intrigued by vampire research.” Solas nodded his head in greeting to Dorian.

The two men started chatting.

She wanted to scream.

Did she have a sign on her back that said “vampire weridos only!”  

Bea assumed that Solas and Dorian didn’t know one another, so at least that was something. Dorian probably wasn’t a fellow blood sucker.

“Bea?” Merrill’s voice broke her out of her infuriated stupor.

She had never been so happy to see a person in her life. “Merrill! You’re here! Yay! Dorian this is Merrill.” Bea looked at Solas and waved, “sorry Solas, it’s work time. Talk to you later!”

“Dorian,” Solas ignored her, “could you perhaps suggest to me your favorite work on vampire history?”

Her boss’s boss looked tickled pink, “I would be delighted! It is no often that someone appreciates my line of work.”

The two men traipsed off to the back repositories on their own.

“I see Dorian arrived,” Merrill chirped, “who would have ever thought he and Solas would be thick and thieves.” Apparently, Solas had been a regular patron of the archives before he met me. Merrill knew him relatively well, or as well as one would know their customer.

“Who indeed,” Bea glowered.

She continued to organize the last files and then sat, having an existential crisis, until Dorian came back and she was forced into meetings.

Solas left before closing time.

“It has been a delightful day, ladies. Let us go celebrate.” Dorian invited.

Merrill shook her head, “I’m sorry, but I already have plans with some friends. Bea, didn’t you say that you were free all weekend?”

Bea knew Merrill had meant that in a helpful way, but it really made her feel like she was being thrown under the party bus. And like she didn’t have plans for the weekend…. which she didn’t…but… “You are correct, Merrill.” Bea grimaced, “I would be happy to accompany you to dinner, Dorian.”

“Don’t be so excited, Bea,” Dorian laughed, “it’s not as if I’m interrupting anything. Unless…” he waggled his eyebrows, “I am interrupting something.”

“Nope.” Bea snapped, “just my sitting at home with some junk food.”

“Oh good, then you can just sit with me and better food. Perhaps some liquor too.” Dorian grinned in a way that spelled trouble.

He had only been there are few hours, but Bea decided she liked him. Mostly. Other than that vampire fascination thing. It would have mildly annoyed her before, but now that Solas was pretty much her shadow vampire it seriously annoyed her. Honestly, it worried her some too. The Pantheon was around this city somewhere and what if Dorian accidentally ran into them?

It would go poorly.

Bea and Dorian went to some restaurant that was near a club that some of his other colleagues had raved about the last time they visited the city.

“Bea, tell me, how are you liking your job? It has been…what…nearly three weeks now?” Dorian wondered.

Bea grinned, “I like it very much. I feel at home in old parchment. Maybe it’s because it reminds me of growing up surrounded by trees.”

Dorian smiled broadly, “that sounds picturesque. I came of age in the capital of Tevinter. Very few trees. Father is a prominent politician; I was always being dragged around the campaign trail. I shared his love of history, but developed a serious distaste for politics.” Dorian’s smile faded somewhat, “we have differing views, politically speaking…. universally speaking.”

“I can’t imagine being in a city like this all the time. It has been quite the adjustment,” she laughed and took a drink. “Do you have siblings?”

“No, just me.”

“Same,” Bea said.

Dorian raised his glass in a toast, “to only children.”

Bea laughed and clinked her glass against his.

“Now, Beatrice, let us see if the club’s hype is worthy.” Dorian finished his drink in a single draw.

“I’m not really a clubbing person…” she mumbled.

Dorian looked her up and down, “I wouldn’t have been able to tell.” Sarcastic.

“What’s that supposed to mean?” Bea huffed, following him out of the restaurant, “I’m dressed perfectly fashionably!” She’d hopped home to change before they went out.

She was wearing looser black tshirt with little straps that crossed over the chest of her low-cut top. Her pants were a fake leather that was tight and she had on black flats that were covered with spikes. It was good city wear!

Dorian looked down at her with a smug smile, “you just have that new to the city look to you, my dear.”

“That isn’t a real thing.” She rolled her eyes.

“I am just an expert on people,” Dorian shrugged, still smug.

To his credit, Dorian got them both into the club without paying a cover fee.

She didn’t really understand.

Did he pay them on the sly? Or was he simply just that charming?

He staked them out a nice place at the bar and ordered drinks. “Whiskey on the rocks and…”  Dorian looked at her for her order.

“make that two whiskeys.” Bea answered seamlessly.

Dorian raised his eyebrows, approvingly, “you heard the lady.”

She may have preferred something where she couldn’t have actually tasted the alcohol. The hard liquor hurt when she drank it, but it helped her to feel more hardcore. It was a feeling she liked, and if Dorian, a man of taste, was ordering it, then she would too.

Dorian dragged her out to dance mid drink.

He basically forced her to laugh and enjoy it. He was relentlessly fun, spinning her around playfully (making sure to not spill either of their drinks).

When they sat back down, two men approached them. They looked nearly like day and night. A pale one with light blue eyes and blonde hair. The other had dark hair and eyes and he had richer skin than Dorian.

“Good evening,” the blonde one smiled.

“We couldn’t help, but notice you,” the brunette greeted them.

“Hello, gentlemen,” Dorian nodded in greeting, “I can’t say we noticed you at all.”

Bea snorted into her drink.

“We only just arrived,” the brunette continued, “but the two of you drew our attention immediately.”

“Is this your usual pickup?” Bea inquired with an amused tone.

The blonde bowed his head slightly, “no, dear lady, we were especially taken with the vision of your beauty.”

Odd language.

Bea blushed slightly despite the strangeness.

The man’s smile started to show more teeth.

“What should we call you?” Dorian pressed.

“John,” the two men say at the same time. They look at one another with poorly hidden animosity.

Dorian’s face fell between amusement and complete bewilderment, “…you are both John….?”

“Yes,” the blonde John said, “it’s a funny story, that one.”

The brunette John nodded, “there was a strange mix-up at school and we’ve been best of friends ever sense.”

“…right…” Dorian said flatly.

Bea felt her pocket vibrate, “excuse me, I’m getting a call.”

“Might I have a dance when you return?” the blonde John requested smoothly.

Bea nodded and moved to the edge of the room farthest away from the music. She picked up her phone and before she could even say hello, the caller spoke.

“Get away from them, immediately!” Solas demanded.

Bea blinked a few times, “…excuse me?”

“You heard me, Beatrice.”

“Are you…here? Are you watching me right now!?” Bea gasped. “You’re fucking creeping on me on my night out?!”

Solas sounded unamused, “there is no better time to be guarding you than when you are out in the city.”

“Are you trying to cockblock me?” She accused, angrily.

He was silent for a moment, “you were considering sleeping with them?”

“I don’t know! No. But I might have if they weren’t weirdos!” Bea was having a difficult time choosing her words.

This man pissed her off so thoroughly.

“Beatrice, the two men you and Dorian were speaking to are Falon’din and Dirthamen and yes, the stories about them are accurate. You need to get away and you need to do it quickly.” Solas warned.

She could hear an edge of fear in his voice.

Bea’s eyes grew wide, “seriously ?! Why did you come over and tell me they were here in the first place, vamps?”

“Had they seen me with you they would have wanted you all the more,” the wind blew past his speaker, “get Dorian and get out. I’ll be watching. We’ll meet back at your apartment. I will only intervene if necessary. Be careful, Beatrice.”

Then, he hung up.

Ass.

“Fuck,” Bea growled and tapped her phone against her lips, thinking.

She would just have to get Dorian to go home. There were plenty of other people in the bar. Many women who were honestly much more attractive than she was. Dorian was the prettiest man, but she’d never admit that to his face.

When she got back to where they were, both Johns were out dancing with Dorian.

This made the “John” problem make so much more sense.

Bea took a deep breath and danced out to the trio. She specifically drew Dorian against her, much closer than they had been dancing. Her chest was pressing against his. “We have to go,” she whispered in his ear.

Dorian rested a platonic hand on her hip, “why? Are you unwell?”

“We just…you have to trust me. We need to get away from the two of them.” Bea kept her voice as soft as humanly possible just in case they could hear. The loud music should have been preventing them from being able to use their enhanced hearing.

“I never go home this early, my dear.” Dorian chuckled, his moustache tickling her ear.

“They aren’t John,” Bea alluded to the truth.

Dorian tilted his head back and laughed, “of course not. No one would have believed that.”

“Dorian. They’re…um…I don’t know how to tell you this,” Bea rambled, “they aren’t human…exactly.”

His eyes glittered conspiratorially, “So, I was right about them?”

“Excuse me?” Bea gulped, “you knew?”  

“I had expected. Odd mannerisms. Odd pair. I’m very well read, Bea.” Dorian listed.

Bea tried to hide the shock from her face, “Dorian we need to leave. I can’t be near them.”

He looked at her, serious. “Alright. Play along.”

Dorian proceeded to kick her in the leg. She stumbled and fell into his arms.  

Just as she was about to snap at him, Dorian spoke loudly, “this is what happens when you have too much hard liquor, my friend.”

He looked over at the Johns, “fine one moment and then poof hopelessly hammered the next.”

The men laughed as Bea lolled herself in Dorian’s arms. If he was going to kick her and make her play helpless drunk, then she was going all in. “Very pretty,” she slurred and ruffled his mustache.

Dorian glared down at her. “I’d best get her home, thank you for the dance gentlemen.”  

“Oh, but I like them!” Bea pouted, “John sandwich.”

The Johns chuckled in a grossly self-satisfied way that made her feel like she needed a shower.

“Perhaps we’ll meet again, have a lovely night, Johns.” Dorian bowed his head in goodbye. “Come on, dear.” Dorian slung Bea over his shoulder and walked out of the bar.

“You could have warned me,” she groused against his back.

Dorian hummed, “this worked out just fine.”

“Back to my apartment, please.” Bea directed him. “and put me down.”

“No, there is always a chance they could be following us. You’re staying up there.” Dorian teased.

Bea sighed and went limp so her weight hung awkwardly along his shoulder, “it’s no wonder how you and Solas got along.”

Her apartment was only a few minutes’ walk.

Dorian allowed her to stand once they reached the stairs inside the building. She figured they should discuss how he knew who vampires were…or really what was everything he knew about all of it.

Bea liked him, but could she trust him?

To be fair, she was currently trusting one vampire…what was a vampire enthusiast?

She opened the door to her apartment and ushered Dorian in as she went to close the door, someone’s hand caught it.

Bea yelped and struck out with a fist.

Solas caught her wrist, “hello to you too, Beatrice.”