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The Mark of Fen'Harel

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Chapter 1

 

Since beginning to work with the Inquisition, Solas had been in an assortment of odd locations, but he does not know where he is now. A jail cell is his best guess, sure, but that begs the question of how he got here. Seeker Pentagast is not so unreasonable as to toss him into a cell in his sleep…at least not yet. A shuffling sound behind him alerted Solas to another presence in the cell with him, and he turned to see who it was. There, in the back corner of the cell, was a woman.

She had her arms around herself, her legs folded in on the floor, and a hand on one of her ankles, without any form of clothing. She had her face turned away from him, hidden by beautiful ink black hair, but from the way she cringed, she knew he was there. Solas tried to take a step towards her, but she shrank even further into the corner, if such an achievement were possible. Strange vallas'lin covered her entire body, but they did not belong to any of those he was familiar with. He crouched down to her level, and tried again.

Dirtha ma, girem'lan, sai esahn te na shaelyl?” Solas asked, gently. Tell me, slave, to whom do you belong?

Lahna em ei girem'lan sal melana, eil itha ahn sua sai na.” The words were soft, spoken with a voice that had not seen use in some time, but the force of her voice showed through.

Call me a slave one more time, and see what happens to you.

Teleolasan. Ane syri vianvallasa tel Vallas'lin?” He asked, not wanting to anger her. I don't understand. Are those markings not Vallas'lin?

He would get no answers that way. The Dalish had refused to hear him when he tried to explain what the vallas'lin were. Granted, he hadn't expressed truthfully how he knew that, passing it off as knowledge he learned while walking the Fade. The Elders had known enough to listen to his stories of ancient times, but the second he brought up the vallas'lin, that stopped. So he was surprised with the fire of this woman.

Din.” She growled, her voice a bit stronger now. “Es'an ane tel. Es'an ane lyrium.” No. They are not . They are lyrium.

Then she said something that surprised him.

Na ane tel'vaer. Dara var, eil vara em sasha.” She demanded, her voice still raspy, but strong. You are not real. Go away, and leave me alone.

Itha eir em. Lasa em sai itha nar inan.” Solas said, coaxingly. Look at me. Allow me to see your eyes.

She turned her head to face him slightly, as if she wasn't sure why she should be listening to what she thought of as a hallucination. Yet when she was able to see him, her eyes widened, and Solas was struck by the most brilliant bright deep blue he had ever seen, like lyrium. She searched his eyes, for what he wasn't sure. Then, tentatively, she reached out with one hand to touch his face.

Na'ne vaer?” She asked, and he heard the first stirrings of hope. You're real?

The moment her hand touched his face, he was lost. Despite being here for an undetermined amount of time, she felt warm to him. Almost consciously, he leaned into her hand. There was something he wasn't seeing, something important. At the moment, he couldn't think of what it was, but it called to him.

Ane na ahnsul ara shos'lavin nuisa?” She asked, hesitantly. Are you why my ankle hurts?

Ahn?” He asked, not understanding. What?

She slowly removed her hand from her ankle, and his eyes became impossibly wide. What he saw shook him. She should not have that mark, but there it was. On her ankle, was the outline of a howling wolf, his mark for a spell he'd only cast once. He reached out slowly, looking to her for permission, to touch the mark.

Thu ter na gara min?” Solas asked, not knowing what else to say. How did you get this?

Shenathe vianvallas. Ra ema tel nuem i've. Teleolasan. Ahnsul air min arulin?” She replied. Birth mark. It has not hurt before. I don't understand. Why is this important?

Ar'an ema sai gara na tor or amahn. Mala. Ver min. Gara julathen. Te na tara? Vira?” He said, suddenly filled with a sense of urgency, taking off his top belt and shirt to give to her.

We have to get you out of here. Now. Take this. Get dressed. Can you stand? Walk?

He has no idea why the sudden sense of urgency has hit him, but he hands her the items and turns to give her some semblance of modesty. She doesn't hesitate to put on the shirt, though it looks like more of a short dress on her as it reaches her knees when he helps her stand, and the belt, which she ties around her waistline to keep the shirt down. A sound down the hallway alerts them both. Some one is coming their way, and quickly. There isn't much time to hatch an escape plan.

“Come on. Come on.” She mutters, as she snaps her fingers. Suddenly a small spark ignites. “Yes!

“You speak trade?” He asks, surprised.

“If I said no now, would you believe me?” She asked, playfully, her eyes alight with mischief. “You spoke to me in elvhen first. So, that's what I answered you in. I really think we have bigger things to worry about than my proficiency in languages.”

She makes her way to the door, and starts maneuvering her fingers as if she has lock picks. He isn't sure what she means to do, but a moment later, the door opens. She lets out a noise of triumph, and starts quickly walking down the hall. He has no choice but to follow her, and does so, wondering what her next move is. Somehow, he gets the feeling that he needs to follow her.

“You! Stop!” A guard shouted, upon seeing them.

“Well, shit.” She grumbled. “Alright. Let's see if my magic has had time to recover to do this.”

Raising her arms, to either side of her, only the forearms going towards the guard, she moves them as if a ballista had just been fired…All around them, other cells opened, and prisoners rushed out. The guard suddenly had other problems, and she continued to walk down the hall. From the looks of things, she seems to be searching for something. He watches as she walks through the fighting in an unhurried pace, as if she has all the time in the world…or she has overdone it.

“BarkSpawn! Where are you?” She shouted, straining to listen for something.

“BarkSpawn?” Solas asked, confused.

“My Mabari. These bastards took him from me, and if they've killed him, I'm burning this motherfucking building to the ground…just as soon as my magic recovers…and I can find me something to eat.” She answers, as she continues to quickly walk down the halls. “I don't know how long I've been here, but it's been long enough that if I use any more magic like that, I'll pass out.”

“I don't have anything on me, Ir abelas.” Solas replies, still thinking about the Mabari. I'm sorry

“You literally just gave me the shirt off your back, so that I don't have to wander around this shit hole buck ass naked, no puns intended, and you're sorry you have no food for me.” She comments, like she can't quite believe it. “You are an odd duck, you know that?”

“Why haven't you tried to escape before now?” Solas asked, curious.

“Considering I had enough Magebane in my system to knock out the First Enchanter? I'm surprised my magic's recovered at all.” She replied, still looking around. “I don't know how they knew. It's not in any of the stories. Varric left that part out, I'm sure of it. I actually thought they would have made me tranquil, but it's like they forgot about me. They just threw me in here…after taking my Mabari, and my clothes.

“Why do you even have a Mabari at all?” He asked, unable to hide his distaste for the creatures.

“You're not from Fereldan, are you?” She replies, with a smile, though it's a statement more so than a question. Then she sees something that makes her happy, and runs towards it. “BarkSpawn! Oh, what did they do to you, boy?”

“Here. Let me. You said no more magic for you right now anyway.” Solas volunteered, unsure of what made him want to do this for her, and uses the motions she did earlier to break the Mabari out of the cage he was in. When BarkSpawn jumps out of the cage, Solas visibly flinches, and when the woman looks at him questioningly, he admits. “I don't have…the best history…with hounds.”

“I understand. He says you're alright, though, if that helps.” She offers, then looks to the Mabari. “Did you see where they took my stuff?”

The Mabari barks, and trots off in a different direction. She wastes no time, and follows the Mabari as quickly as she can, dodging fighting prisoners and guards along the way. Solas doesn't understand why she's listening to a Mabari, or how she can even understand the creature in the first place. She has given him many things to think about, whether she knows it or not. The mark makes him question everything.

“My clothes are gone, but at least they didn't burn the shoes.” She mumbles, as she's putting them on. They are woven boots, much like his own. Then she begins looking through everything else, picking up items as she goes. “Weapons, journals, potions. Where is it? Where is it? Ha! There you are! I've missed you, old friend.”

The Mask of Fen'harel, she's talking to the Mask of Fen'harel. He'd recognize that mask anywhere, considering he'd made it. A wolf skull with black fur attached, the mask was intelligent, and helped with maneuverability in battle. She puts it on her head without a second thought, and it disappeared. That she would even wear it surprised him, knowing that his legacy had been twisted over the years.

Ar eolasa, Ar eolasa. Ir abelas. Ar tel eolasa thu as'an talandraer sai vor na o em.” She said, so quickly that he almost didn't catch it.

I know, I know. I'm sorry. I don't know how they managed to rip you from me.

“Where did you get that mask?” He asked, angrily.

“Full of questions, aren't you?” She teased, tucking her hair behind her ear.

“Your ear…” He said, his voice trailing off. Her ear was almost as long and tapered as his, but it was closer to her head, and mutilated.

“I really must be going. No time for long stories.” She replied, before heading out into the craziness that was a prison riot.

-

Moments before…

 

Since having to run from the hiding spot, things had taken a turn for the worse. She wasn't even sure how they'd gotten the drop on her, but they had. They'd wasted no time in giving her more magebane than she'd ever been dosed with in her whole life, and left her there in her birthday suit. She'd been half out of her mind for most of the time, huddling in the corner was the only warmth the room provided, but when someone randomly popped into the room she was glad for whatever way to hide her body from them. She wasn't even sure she could fight them off, as those people had left her there and had not come back.

Her ankle flared up in pain, something that had never happened before, and she tried to recall half forgotten stories her father had said to her. She remembered that it was important. There was a more immediate threat to assess at the moment anyway. She didn't sense danger from him, but she didn't know if she could trust that. There were plenty of people who didn't look dangerous that were.

Dirtha ma, girem'lan, sai esahn te na shaelyl?” The man asked, gently. Tell me, slave, to whom do you belong?

Lahna em ei girem'lan sal melana, eil itha ahn sua sai na.” She'd responded without even thinking about it, or her precarious position. Call me a slave one more time, and see what happens to you.

Teleolasan. Ane syri vianvallasa tel Vallas'lin?” He asked, sounding confused. I don't understand. Are those markings not Vallas'lin?

So the vallas'lin were the markings of a slave? Well, there was her new learned thing for the day. Hawke had always assumed they were showing what elven 'god' they wanted to be aligned with. Hawke realized though, that being aligned with could loosely be construed as slavery, but only because those being no longer walked among the living. Were they there now, it would be a different story.

Din.” She growled, her voice a bit stronger now. “Es'an ane tel. Es'an ane lyrium.” No. They are not . They are lyrium.

Na ane tel vaer. Dara var, eil vara em sasha.” She demanded, her voice still raspy, but strong. You are not real. Go away, and leave me alone.

Itha eir em. Lasa em sai itha nar inan.” The man said, coaxingly. Look at me. Allow me to see your eyes.

Wait a minute…this was a hallucination…right? She turned her head to face him slowly, unsure why she was even doing this. When she saw him though, she knew that this could be no hallucination. Power came from him, though it felt subdued somehow, as if it were asleep. Even so, she felt the need to reach out to him, to touch his face, if only to reaffirm that he was indeed real.

Na'ne vaer?” She asked, hopeful now. You're real?

The moment her hand touched his face, she knew. Images flooded her mind, and her ankle still in pain, and she knew. He subtly leaned into her touch with his eyes half closed, almost as if he wasn't aware that he was doing so, while she inwardly reeled at the images that ran through her mind. Did he know that she knew who he was? Had he meant for her to know?

Ane na ahnsul ma shos'lavin nuisa?” She asked, hesitantly. Are you why my ankle hurts?

Ahn?” He asked, not understanding. What?

She slowly removed her hand from her ankle, and his eyes became impossibly wide. He didn't seem to know what to do at first, and just stared at it. She had no way to know what he was thinking, but it was clear that he had not expected to see that mark. Even stranger to her, she knew that he had recognized it, knew it for what it was, even if she couldn't remember at the moment. He reached out slowly, looking to her for permission, to touch the mark.

Thu ter na gara min?” He asked, still at a loss. How did you get this?

Shenathe vianvallas. Ra ema tel nuem i've. Teleolasan. Ahnsul air min arulin?” She replied. Birth mark. It has not hurt before. I don't understand. Why is this important?

Ar'an ema sai gara na tor or amahn. Mala. Ver min. Gara julathen. Te na tara? Vira?” He said, suddenly filled with a sense of urgency, taking off his top belt and shirt to give to her.

We have to get you out of here. Now. Take this. Get dressed. Can you stand? Walk?

It had surprised her when he started taking off his shirt, but then he'd handed it to her, along with the belt that had been over it. She is glad when he turns slightly to give her some small amount of privacy, considering how much of her nakedness he'd already seen. She doesn't hesitate to put on the shirt, though it looks like more of a short dress on her as it reaches her knees when he helps her stand, and the belt, which she ties around her waistline to keep the shirt down. A sound down the hallway alerts them both. Some one is coming their way, and quickly. There isn't much time to hatch an escape plan.

“Come on. Come on.” She mutters, as she snaps her fingers. Suddenly a small spark ignites. Yes!

“You speak trade?” He asks, surprised.

“If I said no now, would you believe me?” She asked, mischievously. “You spoke to me in elvhen first. So, that's what I answered you in. I really think we have bigger things to worry about than my proficiency in languages.”

She wasn't going to be able to do a lot, but she was glad she had been able to get her magic working again at all. There had been a sense of urgency that may have forced her magic to react sooner. She makes her way to the door, and starts maneuvering her fingers as if she has lock picks. A moment later, the door opens, and she lets out a noise of triumph. Alright, now to get out of there, find her Mabari, and maybe her clothes.

“You! Stop!” A guard shouted, upon seeing them.

“Well, shit.” She grumbled. “Alright. Let's see if my magic has had time to recover to do this.”

Raising her arms, to either side of her, only the forearms going towards the guard, she moves them as if a canon had just been fired…All around them, other cells opened, and prisoners rushed out. The guard suddenly had other problems, and she continued to walk down the hall. That had taken a lot to do that, but she doesn't let it show. There are more important matters now.

“BarkSpawn! Where are you?” She shouted, straining to listen for something.

“BarkSpawn?” He asked, confused.

“My Mabari. These bastards took him from me, and if they've killed him, I'm burning this motherfucking building to the ground…just as soon as my magic recovers…and I can find me something to eat.” She answers, rambling, as she continues to quickly walk down the halls. “I don't know how long I've been here, but it's been long enough that if I use any more magic like that, I'll pass out.”

“I don't have anything on me, Ir Abelas.” He replies, sounding genuine. I'm sorry

“You literally just gave me the shirt off your back, so that I don't have to wander around this shit hole buck ass naked, and you're sorry you have no food for me?” She comments, like she can't quite believe it. “You are an odd duck, you know that?”

“Why haven't you tried to escape before now?” He asked, curious.

“Considering I had enough Magebane in my system to knock out the First Enchanter? I'm surprised it's recovered at all.” She replied, still looking around. “I don't know how they knew. It's not in any of the stories. Varric left that part out, I'm sure of it. I actually thought they would have made me tranquil, but it's like they forgot about me. They just threw me in here…after taking my Mabari, and my clothes.”

“Why do you even have a Mabari at all?” He asked, unable to hide his distaste for the creatures.

“You're not from Fereldan, are you?” She replies, with a smile, though it's a statement more so than a question.

Considering everything she saw when she touched his face, she isn't sure she should reveal what she knows just yet. She is also not ready to think about how good he looks without a shirt on, like someone had sculpted his muscles out of marble. That thought will be kept to herself until she can deal with getting out of this hellhole, and then maybe she'd think about it. She wonders, vaguely, what he will think when he realizes what she has of his. Then she sees something that makes her happy, and runs towards it.

“BarkSpawn! Oh, what did they do to you, boy?” She exclaimed.

“Here. Let me. You said no more magic for you right now anyway.” He volunteered, surprising her. When BarkSpawn jumps out of the cage, Hawke does not miss the way he visibly flinches, and looks to him in concern. After a moment, he admits. “I don't have…the best history…with hounds.”

“I understand. He says you're alright, though, if that helps.” She offers, then looks BarkSpawn. “Did you see where they took my stuff?”

BarkSpawn barks once, and trots off, leading her. She wastes no time, and follows as quickly as she can, dodging fighting prisoners and guards along the way. She is surprised that the man follows her still, figuring that he would have vanished when she'd gotten out, instead of following her into the inventory room, curious as to what she's looking for. He remains silent, as if he isn't sure of what to say.

“My clothes are gone, but at least they didn't burn the shoes.” She mumbles, as she's putting them on. They are woven boots, much like his. Then she begins looking through everything else, picking up items as she goes. “Weapons, journals, potions. Where is it? Where is it? Ha! There you are! I've missed you, old friend.”

She knew he'd be curious about why she had his mask. There would be confusion, anger, and more. Of course he would recognize the mask, considering that he'd made it. She puts it on her head without a second thought, having trusted it with her life more times than she can count, and it disappeared. She can see the surprise in his posture, that he didn't think anyone would willingly do what she had just done.

Ar eolasa, Ar eolasa. Ir abelas. Ar'tel'eolasa thu as'an talandraer sai vor na o em. She said, so quickly that he almost didn't catch it.

I know, I know. I'm sorry. I don't know how they managed to rip you from me.

“Where did you get that mask?” He asked, angrily.

“Full of questions, aren't you?” She teased, tucking her hair behind her ear. So he had decided to go with anger first then.

“Your ear…” He said, his voice trailing off. Shit. She had forgotten about that.

“I really must be going. No time for long stories.” She replied, avoiding his statement, before heading out into the craziness that was a prison riot.

-

Etunash!” He cursed, sitting straight up in the bed. Shit!

“Solas? Solas, are you awake? Your expertise is required.” Cassandra said, curtly, after knocking on the door.

“Give me a moment to freshen up, and I will be right there, Seeker.” He called out, shaking the dream from his mind.

There would be much to do before he had the spare time to explore the meaning of them. That was odd, his shirt was gone. Did he take it off before heading to bed? Doubtful in this cold climate. He shrugged, and simply put on another shirt.

Stepping out into the cool air, he looks to the Seeker, and asks. “How is she?”

“Ran into problems with a small rift on our way back.” Cassandra explained, very business like, as they walked. “She sealed it, but the after effects are what concern me. She is dreaming things, a woman in trouble…and a mabari hound, of all things.”

“I will see what I can do.” He said, keeping his voice level.

He needed to talk with Lavellan. If she was having the same dreams he was, it wasn't to do with the rifts. It had to be something else, like maybe the woman was calling across the Fade for help without knowing what she was doing. It had been a form of communication across vast distances before, but now it seemed no one knew how to do it. So when someone did, it was an accident or a desperate push on their magic to call for help.

“I was told you were having mysterious dreams.” Solas stated, the second he walked into the healer's rooms.

“If I had any drawing ability, they might not think I'm crazy, but…well…I'm terrible at it.” Lavellan admitted, with a somewhat sheepish grin. He would never admit it to anyone, but he thought it was adorable how she blushed when admitting such things.

“I don't believe these dreams of yours are connected to a fade rift.” Solas stated, comforting her. Lavellan looked both relieved and disappointed at the same time. “However, I do think it may be a powerful mage asking for help. She may not even be aware that she's doing it.”

“My dreams don't show her using any magic, though. She doesn't even carry a staff.” The young woman said, as if in deep thought.

“I believe we may be sharing dreams, lethal'lan. If we are, it is possible that she is putting everything into calling for help.” Solas replied, surprising the Herald. “She is…quite loud in her pleas.”

“How long for you?” She asked, her emerald green eyes widening even as her voice lowered, leaning in like they were talking about a conspiracy.

“Last night it felt like I was truly there, lethal'lan.” Solas admitted, with a sigh. “She is in grave danger, where ever she is.”

“Describe her to me…” Varric said, pinching the bridge of his nose. Solas had dismissed him before, sitting on the side as he was, assuming he had come to check on Lavellan. “I hope I'm wrong…Please, let me be wrong.”

“Shoulder length black hair, blue eyes, long legs. She has some kind of tattoos. I thought they were Vallas'lin, but they don't belong to any of the elven gods I know of.” Lavellan replied, looking to him now.

“Where is she? Did you recognize any landmarks?” Varric asked, suddenly determined. Solas did not expect to see such a drastic change in the normally jovial dwarf.

“As of last night, she was escaping from a holding cell of some kind. I found her there. Those are not vallas'lin. She said they are lyrium, and they are all over her body.” Solas replied, in his usual scholarly manner.

“How do you know that?” Varric asked, looking at him with suspicion.

“When I found her, she was in the corner of the cell…naked. Whoever captured her took all of her clothes, drugged her with enough magebane to knock out the First Enchanter; her words by the way, and left her to rot. She also said something about you not writing about that in your stories, though I don't know what that means, I'm sure you do, master Tethras.” Solas stated. “She had a birthmark, the outline of a howling wolf on her ankle. I gave her my shirt so she wouldn't be unclothed, which might explain why I woke up without one this morning, but not how. Her Mabari is called BarkSpawn, I believe.”

“What happened?” Varric asked, looking more worried than he's ever seen.

“I don't know. I woke up here right after she found her things.” Solas replied. “She was on her way out.”

“I told her to stay put, that it would be safe where she was. I don't understand how she got captured.” Varric mumbled, looking more troubled by the minute, then announced. “I'm leaving.”

“Dwarf.” Cassandra warned, practically growling at him. “You don't even know where she is.”

“Don't you 'Dwarf' me, Seeker! It's your fault she's in this mess, and if anything happens to her, by the time I'm through with you the Maker won't even be able to find what's left!” Varric snapped angrily, turning to the woman quickly. “I'm going after her! She would do no less for me.”

“Who is she, Varric?” Lavellan asked, instantly concerned. “I'll gladly help you find your friend.”

“She's technically the reasoned I was drafted into the Inquisition, the reason why the Seeker here felt it necessary to torture me for three days before deciding to graciously let me go.” Varric replied, more calmly to Lavellan, though it was clear he held a deep seated anger towards Cassandra.

“After you lied to me about not knowing her location, and then spun some ridiculous story about her escapades.” Cassandra countered, with a snort.

“I was not going to subject her to you! Varric growled, now shouting. “After everything that's happened to her, I was not going to add you to the mix. Your people have done enough to her.”

“The Champion of Kirkwall would have been a voice of reason among the mages. They respect her! She could have helped us at the Conclave!” Cassandra shouted back, facing the dwarf.

“Or she could have been blown up with it.” Varric countered, stopping Cassandra cold. “I, for one, am glad I didn't take that chance.”

“The Champion of Kirkwall? You mean it's Hawke?” Lavellan asked, making a connection Solas did not understand. “I remember seeing parts of the Exalted Plains, if that helps, though I didn't see the holding cell Solas did. How soon can we make it there, Solas?”

“She may not have that kind of time.” Solas explained, after a moment. “It will take us days, weeks even, to reach her.”

“Then we'd better get started. I told Flint once that I'd always bet on her making it through anything.” Varric said, as he made his way to the door. “I never said anything about her having to go through it alone.”

“Flint?” Solas asked, turning to Lavellan.

“It's his nickname for Hawke.” Cassandra said, resignedly, before she too walked out of the room.

“Well, we'd better get started. You coming with us, Solas?” Lavellan asked.

“I believe I shall accompany you this time, lethal'lan.” Solas replied, and they walked to join the others. “It is intriguing that her magic could call to us both from across the Fade, even more strange to pull someone through it to where they are.”

“That isn't the first time she's done something like that without knowing it.” Varric stated, hearing them as they walked up to the stables. “Though, the pulling someone to her thing is new.”

“She's…done this before? This…Flint of yours?” Solas asked, more intrigued. “Not many alive can claim such ability, Master Tethras.”

“Called to a hedge mage from across the fade? Yeah.” Varric replied, with a chuckle. “She said last time it happened, a Witch of the Wild answered. The woman turned out to be the daughter of Flemeth, who Flint says houses the soul of an old god…Mythal, if I'm not mistaken. I forget that you refuse to read my works. I wouldn't have to explain so much if you would just read it.”

“After reading Swords and Shields, you can not think to blame me, Master Tethras.” Solas said, noting that Cassandra of all people blushed at that.

“I thought elves were suppose to be pretty open in their sexual practices, Chuckles. I had no idea you were such a prude.” Varric replied, with a knowing smirk. “Besides, The Tales of the Champion doesn't have a single smutty page about her.”

Chapter Text

Chapter 2

That night at the campfire, Varric sat up waiting. He'd not been able to sleep, his thoughts busy with his friend. Everything should have been fine, unless something had happened to push her out. It shouldn't have. The hiding spot was perfect, or it should have been .

"Master Tethras, you will do your friend no good by staying up all night." Solas said, looking up from his sketch. "Perhaps it would help to talk about your friend."

"You're asking a story teller to talk, Chuckles. Are you aware of how dangerous that is?" Varric asked, slightly amused. "What are you working on over there anyway?"

"The Herald may not have any artistic ability, but I do. I've been working on recreating some of the things I saw of her. She is...fascinating, this Flint of yours." Solas admitted.

"Mind if I take a look at them?" Varric asked, curiously. 

Solas handed over a latched folder, and went back to work on the drawing he had. Varric couldn't help but wonder if Solas and the Herald had witnessed things that had really happened to her after he'd left. In Solas's drawings, he saw the place she'd hidden in, and the reason why she'd had to run. Tevinter mages? She'd already had to run from Seekers, Templars, bandits, and rogue mages.

"If she is a mage...why does she fight like this?" Solas asked, though it was more like he was talking to himself than to Varric.

"If she's pushing all of her magic into asking for help, she may not have access to it. Though, being drugged with that much Magebane would do the trick too." Varric replied, catching Solas by surprise. "She's had to hide from Templars in the City of Chains, Chuckles. You get use to other weapons. That woman is anything, but defenseless."

"Why does she travel with the Mabari?" Solas asked, not hiding his distaste, earning a chuckle from Varric. 

"You're not from Fereldan, are you?" Varric asked, though it was more a statement than a question. 

"She said the same thing." Solas admitted, much to Varric's amusement. 

"That Mabari has been by her side through everything. Her run from the darkspawn, the return of her family home, becoming Champion...even the deaths of her father, sister, brother, and her mother. That last one...Fuck. That last one was one hell of a mess." The dwarf said, thinking back on it all.

"What happened?" Solas asked, looking up from his drawing. 

"Crazy blood mage killed a bunch of women for their body parts, trying to recreate his dead wife. Her mother happened to have a face damn similar to the woman, and we didn't make it in time to save her. That woman was practically the group's mother, looking out for all of us. Flint was never quite the same after that." Varric said, with a sigh. "After that, there was only one mage Flint trusted not to go crazy when using blood magic, a dalish elf that got kicked out of her clan for practicing it. Of course, it helped that the girl used it to save lives rather than butcher innocents."

"Such trust was undoubtedly not won easily after such an atrocity." Solas commented, looking deep in thought. "She told me that the Mabari says I'm alright, though I can not fathom how she understands the creature. Does the Mabari trust the dalish elf?"

"Of course. Daisy spoiled that thing rotten with doggy treats and belly rubs." Varric said, with a bit of a laugh. "Turns out he's one hell of a Diamondback player too, though he plays a mean Wicked Grace on occasion."

"The Mabari...plays cards?" Solas asked. This is the first time Varric has ever seen Solas confused, and he's trying to commit the image to memory.

"He cheats better than I do some days, though he has a bit of an obvious tell, if you know what I mean." Varric replied, grinning as he remembered .

"Why do you call her Flint?" Solas asked. The drawing is completely forgotten now.

"It fits her. The way she can manipulate flames, like it's a living thing. She's like that with all magic, but fire is her specialty. Plus, there's this grin she has right when she's about to kill an enemy, like she knows they're dead before they do." Varric said, thinking of how to describe it. "It's mischievous, wolfish, and fiery all at the same time."

"This one?" Solas asked, finding a particular sketch in the folder he'd given to Varric. 

"Exactly!" Varric exclaimed, then looked at the picture more closely. "It almost looks like she has..."

"Fangs." Solas continued. "Just how well do you know this friend of yours, Master Tethras?"

"We've all got secrets, Chuckles, Flint is no different. We've been through too much for me not to trust her to have my back. It's no surprise to me that we still have secrets from each other." Varric replied. "Thanks for listening to me. I think I'll be able to sleep now. You good to take over for watch, Chuckles?"

"Of course, master Tethras." Solas said, with a slight nod.

-----------

"Tell me what this is." Solas insisted, handing Varric a piece of paper the next morning.

"Good morning to you too, Chuckles." Varric said, with a smirk. "Sleep well?"

"Damn it, Child of the Stone, if you would please, just..." Solas said, aggravation leaking through his voice. "It's important."

"It's her birthmark. We talked about this before." Varric replied, confused. "Why?"

"This can not be a birthmark. It simply is not possible." Solas began. "It is the mark of a spell, a powerful location spell...You're saying she was born with this?"

"That's what I said, Chuckles." Varric replied, getting a little annoyed now.

"My apologies, master Tethras." Solas stated. "When she explained this to me, I thought she was in shock, or that she just didn't want to talk about it."

"Mamae always said this was the mark of Fen'Harel, that any who had it were cursed." Lavellan said, looking at the piece of paper now. "It's said that through the mark, he can find them anywhere."

"You've got that half right, though I suppose if you don't want to be found, it would make it a curse. That mark is so that Fen'Harel can find you if you need him, or if he needs you." Solas stated, in his usual studious manner. He was leaving out a crucial piece of information, but he wasn't lying. "I am surprised it is even known to us at all, Lethal'lan."

"I doubt Flint would think it much of a curse anyway." Varric declared, with a bit of a snort.

"Why?" Solas asked, intrigued and more than a bit confused.

There was someone who knew of him, and did not believe Fen'Harel was a curse? Unless it was one of his network, such a person did not likely exist in these times, and yet she had put on the mask of Fen'Harel without hesitation. She was born with the mark of Fen'Harel, not knowing that it had sealed her fate. He was surprised that there was anyone who knew what it was, no matter that they had gotten the meaning of the mark wrong. He needed to know more about her, and resolved to ask the dwarf as many questions about her as he could.

"I don't know elven lore well, but from what Flint told me, he'd be the one I'd want in my corner." Varric said, as he began packing his things. He was looking down, so he missed the shocked look Solas had on his face. "The Dalish have a lot of bad things to say about him. No offense, Lightning. Yet he's the one they run to when the chips are down, and they need to pull some crazy miracle out of their ass. She said no one would be as devious as he is, or as merciless, and that's why elves invoke him for help as a last resort. The downside to that, she said, is that if you weren't grateful or expected him to do everything, he'd turn on you too."

"She believes in the elven gods?" Lavellan asked.

"Sort of? She doesn't think of them as gods, more like powerful mages that didn't know when to stop." Varric chuckled. "Sort of how people really believe you're the Herald of Andraste."

"Any other surprises, Dwarf?" Cassandra asked, sternly.

"With Flint? Always, Seeker." Varric replied, unfazed. "I'm sure you'll discover one or two."

---------------

She'd been running again, he could see, but this time she was wounded. There was an arrow sticking out of her left shoulder. The Mabari picked up a stick, and sauntered over to her with it. He thought that the Mabari wanted to play fetch or something, but he was surprised when she took the stick from the dog and bit down on a part it had not been holding. Solas caught on to what she was going to do a second before she did it, but the muffled scream still surprised him when she pulled the arrow out.

She spit out the stck, and sniffed at the arrow. "Doesn't smell like poison, at least. That's got to be a good thing, right? Thanks for the stick, boy. I wouldn't have thought of that." 

The Mabari barked once appreciatively.

"Think you can help with the bandages too?" She asked, a soft smile on her lips. To Solas's surprise, the Mabari went over to her bag, and brought out a smaller bag to her. "What would I do without you, boy?"

Solas had no doubt the Mabari was preening at the praise, if that puffed out chest of his was anything to go by. She cleaned out the wound as best as she could, and then slowly began to wrap it. The Mabari would nudge the material till it was within her grabbing range, and the two repeated the process till she was satisfied with the job. When it was done, she gingerly sat back against the wall, while she chewed on some elfroot. Opening a flask with one hand, she cocked another grin at her Mabari. 

"Don't suppose you'd mind if I don't share this time, do you?" She asked, her voice pained. The Mabari simply tilted his head, and looked at her. "I know, I know. You don't approve. Tell you what. I'll only take a few sips, and put the rest back. Better?"

The Mabari instantly broke out into a grin.

A snapping of a twig caught her attention. Solas isn't sure how she heard it. She wasn't taking any chances, and instantly closed the flask as she moved back to grab the bigger bag, but before she could get to it, a lone templar appeared at the entrance to the cave she'd been hiding in. Red lyrium slightly protruded from the armour.

"Damn." She grumbled, before trying to talk to the templar. "Come on. If you leave, we can both pretend we didn't see each other. I don't want to have to do this."

The templar moved to charge her, but before it could, it became stone. Solas didn't think his eyes could get any bigger. It wasn't possible, but when she reached out with her hand, a light flashed in her eyes, and the templar became stone. It didn't seem like she was accustomed to using such an ability, and she sank back down against the cave wall. Her breathing became heavy again, and he realized she'd passed out.

 He was filled with a sudden dread when he saw that there were more templars coming. The Mabari noticed too, and tried to nudge her awake. That didn't work. The enemy would be upon her soon, and in her weakened state she wouldn't be able to fight them off. Solas realized that he was going to have to do something,  but wasn't sure his magic had recovered enough to fight as he was here.

"Get up! You have to get up now! You have to go!" Solas shouted, moving to shake her. She jerked awake, and stared at him as if she wasn't sure he was really there. "You have to leave! Now!"

------------

 "Fenedhis!" Solas cursed, angrily,  when he woke up.

"What's wrong?" Lavellan asked, rushing to him.

"She's wounded. Arrow to the shoulder. Red lyrium templars are converging on her location." Solas said, in a rush. "She'd passed out after dealing with one of them. I tried to wake her."

"Tell me she's alive, Chuckles." Varric said, somewhere between an order and a plea.

"She was able to wake. It is possible." Solas stated, pinching the bridge of his nose, trying to think.

"Cassandra." Lavellan called out.

"On it." Cassandra replied, already on her way to get the horses ready.

--------------

Though they knew they couldn't reach her that day, they all rode much faster than they would have. It was some time before Solas looked to be more like the aloof elf she had begun to call friend. These dreams unsettled him, though there was something to that she didn't understand. So, while Cassandra and Varric rode ahead, she stayed by Solas. There wouldn't be another time to talk about this privately. 

"I stopped having those dreams the day we left to find her." Lavellan said, when he seemed a bit more settled. "You're still having them. Why is that?"

"I have my suspicions, but I do not know for certain, Lethal'lan." Solas replied, looking ahead. "She shouldn't have been able to see me. I shouldn't have been able to give her my shirt before, or shake her awake. If that had not worked...I cannot say what would have happened to Varric's friend." 

---------------

"It could be romantic if you spin it right." Lavellan remarked, after a moment, earning her a side glare which she giggles at. He has no time to be thinking such things. "Varric, what do you think? Giving her clothes to protect her modesty, a prison break, midnight rendezvous, a couple of apostates gazing at each other under the stars, a desperate search to find one another? If that's not worthy of one of your friend fictions, I don't know what is."

"What are you talking about, Lightning? I've already got the story written in my head. I'm just waiting on Chuckles here to fill in the blanks." Varric said, casually.

 Is he serious? Where did this foolish notion even come from?

"This is...you can't be serious. She's your friend, and she's in danger." Solas said, scolding him. "Weren't you the one insisting we save her now?"

"I've got 5 silver on a Fade kiss!" Lavellan called out, happily, tossing the coin to Varric. 

What...the...actual...fuck?

"I'll take you up on that bet. I'm actually surprised it didn't happen already." Varric said, jotting things down in his betting book. "I'll raise you 3 more that it will be their first kiss."

 "You two are being infantile." Cassandra objected, sternly.

 Finally, a voice of reason.

"Thank you, Seeker." Solas said, grateful to her.

"The first kiss will not be in the Fade. It will be in some romantic setting, or right after a battle, but it will be in the physical world." Cassandra continued, completely dashing his hopes that she was a voice of reason.

Damn it.

"Care to put your money where your mouth it, Seeker?" Varric asked, eyeing her suspiciously. "Romantic setting or after a battle?"

"After a battle could technically be a romantic setting." Lavellan offered up, trying to help Cassandra, giggling when Solas glared at her again.

"8 Silver says it will be a romantic setting outside the Fade, Dwarf." Cassandra huffed, even as her face turns a little pink.

"Nice doing business with you, Seeker." Varric smirked, writing more in his betting book. "You want to bet, Chuckles?"

"Does she bet with you like this?" Solas asked, defensively.

"Yes. Flint and I have bet on everything from life and death, to the colour of one's smalls." Varric answered. Oh, for the love of- "Nothing is out of bounds when it comes to betting."

"Fine then. 6 silver says none of your bets win, and we will both be completely uninterested." Solas replied, hoping to end the betting.

"Can he do that?" Lavellan asked, curiously.

"There's grounds for it." Varric replied. "For as long as I've known her, Flint hasn't been interested in anyone, not that there weren't people willing. It's not an interesting bet, but it is a safe one. Way to ruin the betting mood there, Chuckles, and here I had such high hopes for you too."

---------

 He should not be here, not like this, not when she's in a hot spring. There's steam everywhere, so it's not like he can see anything, but even so he turns around so he won't be staring. It's rude to spy on someone like this, in such a vulnerable state of being. His only solace is that he hopes that she can not see him, or that he can disappear before she does. However, he begins to hear her laughter, and when he turns around to face her, he realizes that he is wrong in his assumptions. 

"Can't say I ever thought you would try this." She said, smirking ar him. Wait, was she...was she teasing him?

"This was not my intention." Solas said, not knowing what else to say. "I will just be going."

 "Alright, but you'll be wasting a good time to talk. It's not like I'm going anywhere, and I have tons of things I want to ask. Don't you?" She replied, floating the offer out there.

"Shouldn't you be here alone?" Solas asked, incredulously. "Aren't you in danger?"

"Always. I am a wandering apostate, after all. Surely you know what that's like." She laughed, and then continued more calmly. "If you mean those red lyrium templars from before, then no. They've backed off for the moment. I imagine their trap isn't set yet. I wonder if I should feel honoured that they're trying so hard."

"It is still not safe to be so....unclothed while running from danger." Solas chided.

"Fighting for one's own freedom while running around completely naked....That does sound like something Varric would write about in one of his smutty books." She mused, then laughed at the look on his face. "You know Varric? Tell me, does he know you've been visiting me at night like this? Has he started a betting ring yet?"

The look on his face must have revealed more than he meant to, because she's laughing again. The things she says though, catch his attention. It's almost as if she knows more than she should, as one that has been running alone. Where would she have picked up this information? How much does she know about him? 

 "I do know master Tethras, but he's not the one that started the betting ring, that would be the Herald Lavellan." Solas admitted, though he wasn't sure why. "Are you safe for now?"

"As much as I can be." She replied, sinking into the waters a little more with a happy sigh. 

"Your ankle..." Solas said, trying to think of a way to bring this up.

"Why do you keep asking about my ankle? You saw me completely naked, you know. I mean, there was only so much of me I could hide, but still. Is that what does it for you? Ankles?" She asked, with an arched eyebrow and a grin. Fenedhis lasa! She was teasing him! "I suppose I have nice ankles. I've never really had anyone comment on them before. The rest of Thedas seems to have a thing for my legs."

"The mark on your ankle. What is it?" He asked, ignoring her teasing. He needed to know for certain. "I know you said it was a birthmark, but that isn't possible."

He is not some adolescent, and her teasing will not affect him. Any remark in that regard would just add fuel to the fire. His goals had not changed. However, there was a small part of him that had to admit that when he'd had the chance to really look at her, it had been her legs he'd lingered on. He mentally shook himself, trying to remain focused long enough to get his answers.

"That's what I assumed it was, though Father did warn me I'd have to watch out. It wouldn't do to catch Fen'Harel's attentions for something trivial." She answered, shocking him again, her eyes closed as she enjoyed the warmth of the hot spring. 

Just how many times was she going to shock him like that? 

She opened one eye, and asked. "Why? Is that why you showed up in my cell? Is that why you're here now?"

"You know.....who I am?" His eyes widened, and the words were out of his mouth before he could think to stop them. "How?"

"Now, if I go giving away all my secrets, what fun would that be?" The woman asked, with a grin, both eyes open now.

She's grinning at him with that damned wolfish grin of hers, the one Varric said was reserved for when she knew something was dead before it did. Did that mean that she was hunting him? The thought was one that he hadn't considered, and he could not help the rush of indignant pride that swelled up within him. Did this foolish young thing really think she could hunt him like he was some common prey? With that thought in mind, he jumped into the hot spring.

When he came up for air, she didn't even look surprised that he'd jumped in at all. She'd baited him, knowing that his arrogance and perceived superiority would win out. She didn't move when he moved closer to her, or when he placed his left forearm next to her head against the boulder. If he moved any further forward, they would be touching, and yet she did not flinch. Her eyes didn't even hint at uncertainty as she arched an eyebrow as if to bait him again.

Fine, if she wanted to play that way, he was game. He pressed her against the rock, and began nipping along her left collarbone and up the side of her neck. She just clung to him with her right arm, the one not in the makeshift sling. Damn it, he didn't think this through. Maybe she really was hunting him.

"How did you know, ara'aenor?" He asked, failing to keep the huskiness out of his voice. my prey.

"mmm.....Ar ema sai dirtha min air tath on'ala vir Ar'ema shael av'ahnan tath." She moaned ever so slightly when he nipped just below her ear lobe, and he smiled against her skin. Fuck! That sound was sweeter than any drink he'd ever tasted. "Sathan, tel'sildeara la na nuven sai dian sul ara'eth."

I have to say this is by far the best way I've been interrogated thus far. - Please, don't feel like you need to stop on my account.

"How do you know, ara'aenor?" He asked, again.

Yep, she was definitely hunting him.

"If I tell you, you'll leave. If I don't tell you, you'll leave." She teased, evading him again. "Exactly what is my incentive to tell you anything?"

She had a point, he realized, as he looked into her eyes again. This was a really bad idea. The mark had done its job, revealing her to him, but he didn't know if she knew that or not. He couldn't risk her telling the others who he was, not when he still had so much work to do. His focus suddenly shifted to her lips, only just now noticing the deep warm dark red that they were, almost like blood.

Without answering her, he leaned in until he was a hair's breath away from those lips. This was a terrible idea, he kept telling himself, even as they both stood there refusing to move. Suddenly,  the choice wasn't his to make anymore. She had moved just enough to where their lips touched, and he lost himself to the kiss, pressing them just a touch more into the rock behind her. Her right hand was still clinging to the back of his neck.

When she nipped at his lower lip, he couldn't help but deepen the kiss, unsuccessfully trying to hold back a moan as she opened herself up to it. Fuck, if this wasn't the best bad idea ever. This has to stop, he kept telling himself, even as he enjoyed the shiver that went through her when he ran his fingers along her hip under the water. He backed away a little when the lyrium lines reacted to him. They now glowed a soft blue, calling him, pulling him to her.

"Ina'lan'ehn." He whispers, as he caressed her jawline. Beautiful. 

She looked surprised to hear the word. Had no one described her as such, or was it something else? The lyrium lines themselves gave off a soft glow, illuminating the hot spring around them. They highlighted her eyes, making them seem as if they were made of lyrium as well. Her ink black hair framed her face, and he very much wanted to run his fingers through it.

"A name. I need a name." He said, not knowing how much longer he had, after he had gone back to kissing along her neck. "Something to call you other than Hawke or Flint."

"Alhasha" She whispers, right before she playfully nips at his ear.

---------

 Moments before....

She feels him again, before she sees him, and isn't really sure what to do about it. She's alone in a hot spring, naked. Sure, there was steam everywhere, and he'd already seen her naked once already, but even so. It was rude to spy on someone like this. However, when she opened her eyes, she sees that he has his back turned, and she can't help but start laughing. 

Of course she's going to tease him. He looks so uncomfortable as he's trying not to look below the water. The look on his face is priceless when she starts teasing him about Varric, smutty books, and fighting for one's freedom while naked. Besides, when is she ever going to get this chance again? He wants to know what she knows, and wants to know what she would do with such knowledge. That much is easy to see in his gaze.

Why does he keep asking about her ankles? Oh yeah, right, the mark thingy. There was something special about that, her father had said. But in her efforts to tease Fen'Harel, she let it slip that she knew who he was. Shit, she was going to have to play it like she meant to do that 

The shocked face of Fen'Harel is too good to pass up. It's not often one can surprise a trickster like this one, and she revels in it while she can. She can't help but grin at him with that wolfish grin of hers. Varric had often described it as predatory, and she supposed it was. What would Fen'Harel do if he thought she was hunting him instead?

He jumped in the hot spring, he really jumped in the hot spring. The action wasn't as surprising as it was amusing. She'd baited him, and it had worked. She didn't move when he moved closer to her, or when he placed his forearm next to her head. If he moved any further forward, they would be touching, and yet she did not flinch.

She hopes her eyes don't show her uncertainty, even though she grew more nervous the closer he got, and she arched an eyebrow as if to bait him again. It did surprise her when he pressed her against the rock. It surprised her more when he began nipping along her collarbone. For a moment, she was too caught up in the sensations to move, but then trailed her right hand up his torso, and clung to the back of his neck. Damn it, she didn't think this through, maybe he really was hunting her.

He certainly acted like it. My prey indeed. If interrogations were all done by him, she'd be okay with getting caught more. He certainly knew what he was doing, smiling against her skin like that. Yep, he was definitely hunting her instead.

When she evaded his question again, he looked into her eyes almost like he was searching for something. This was a bad idea. His focus suddenly shifts to her lips, and suddenly she can't breathe. He can't meant to....When he's a hair's breath away, she decides that that if she's going to die, she might as well steal the kiss while she's at it.

The second her lips touch his, he responds to the kiss, deepening it when she lets him. Both moan into it, and she can't help it when the lyrium reacts to him, like it was calling out for him alone. It wasn't that he called her beautiful that surprised her, it was how he said it, like he was describing a lost treasure. The lyrium made him look ethereal, as he looked into her eyes. Then his eyes shifted, as if he'd made a decision, and then he was back to kissing along her neck, want in his voice as he demanded her name.

Then, just as she told him, he was gone. Damn, that had been....Varric wouldn't believe this, even if she felt she could tell him who this was. She couldn't help but laugh into the night, as she thought about what had just happened. She had dared to steal a kiss from Fen'Harel.....and she wasn't dead yet. This could get interesting, or dangerous....probably both.

-----------

 He shot up suddenly, breathing heavily and shaking, and covered the lower part of his face in shock. Everyone is staring at him, and then he realizes why. He's soaking wet, still in his bedroll, steam billowing off of him in waves. This most definitely could not have been the Fade, he knows that now, as if he really needed more proof. He is somehow moving to where she is.

 "So...what happened this time?" Cassandra asked, her lips twitching with the effort not to laugh at him.

"She is...calling across Thedas, not the Fade." He replied, looking away.

"And the reason you're all wet and steamy?" Lavellan asked, shaking with internal laughter.

"She was....being difficult....in the hot spring....refused to answer my questions." Solas answered, reluctantly. They were already having fun at his expense. "I tried....interrogating....jumped in...."

"Interrogating? Is that what we're calling it now?" Varric asked, laughing outright. "In Kirkwall we called it sweeping. Anything else happen, Chuckles?"

Solas was loathed to reveal that, and kept his silence. They would be leaving soon anyway. He would make sure not to speak of the dreams again. They were not dreams, and yet he was always well rested whenever he returned to himself. Solas cursed himself in this moment, for ever having created the spell to find her, to have it bring him to her when he had so much to do.

He could still taste her on his lips, feel the warmth of her skin on his own. She was intoxicating, a mystery to him, and he had so very many questions. She knew who he was, and had kissed him anyway, had actually stolen the kiss from him. Even now, he wanted to run his hands through her hair, like ink running through his fingers. He had questions about the lyrium lines all over her body too, but he already knew that kissing them tastes better than anything he knew, like fire in his blood.

Chapter Text

Chapter 3

 

Lavellan didn't she believed it, considering that she had never seen Solas act so distracted before, but it made her smile nonetheless. She'd noticed that he was more than simply unsettled by his dreams, and had taken to riding in the back of the group. Solas had refused to speak of what had happened during his 'not dream', but she could see the evidence of it now. He'd turned his head slightly, as he was still trying to avoid conversation, and it had jumped out at her. On the back of his neck, there were five small crescent moon like marks…Hawke's fingernail marks in his skin.

Considering how secretive he'd been about all of this, Lavellan doubted that he even knew they were there. Before he'd woken up, he'd appeared perfectly normal, though she was going to have to tell him about those moans of his later. He'd jolted awake, sitting upright in his bed roll, looking absolutely flushed, and all of a sudden soaked to the bone. He'd put a hand to his face in shock, his eyes wide, as if to hold onto a kiss. You don't look like that without something having happened.

So, she rode next to him silently for a good portion of the day after that. They shared small talk for a good bit of the time. After a while, Varric moved away from his position that allowed him the best eavesdropping ability, and Cassandra appeared uninterested as usual. Creators, but those two were not subtle. Now was her chance.

“How was it?” She asked, quietly, not looking at him. When he didn't answer, she added. “You should know that your lips were bruised when you woke up this morning, and you have five fingernail marks on the back of your neck. So don't act like it didn't happen.”

“It should not have happened at all.” Solas replied, firmly, his face turning slightly pink. “It was a mistake.”

“It was that good then?” She giggled, lightly. Solas just sighed in frustration, and tried to look away.

“I will only hurt her, lethal'lan.” Solas said, after a while.

“Or she could be exactly what you need. Why is it that men always have to be so melodramatic about these things, practically throwing themselves on their own swords to protect the girl, when it's more of a partnership.” Lavellan went on, smiling.

“It was just a kiss.” Solas denied, still reserved. “It meant nothing, and it will not happen again.”

“From what Varric tells me, nothing with Hawke is ever 'just' anything.” Lavellan said, causing him to look over to her in curiosity and confusion. “She's practically her own force of nature, that woman, so there is a very real chance that it most definitely will…happen…again.”

Solas sighed, almost in a resigned and yet refined sort of way, and said. “If it will help settle the bet, fine. Cassandra wins. I assume being caught by a stolen kiss in a hot spring qualifies as her romantic setting.”

“That depends on how Flint spins it when we find her.” Varric said, with a smirk, but handed Cassandra the coin anyway.

“It will not happen again.” Solas stated, in his usual scholarly manner. “It meant nothing.”

“Keep telling yourself that, Chuckles. We all heard those moans you made last night.” Varric laughed, earning him a glare from the stoic like elf, which didn't faze him in the slightest.

Later on, Lavellan did not miss the way Solas turned his head slightly as he reached up to feel the marks he now knew Hawke had left behind, or the small upward tug his lips made as he thought of why they were there. He was intrigued by the woman they looked for, at the very least, though it was clear to her that he would fight it if pressed. Though his hand did not linger on the marks for long, the faint smile reappeared often throughout the rest of the day. She did not understand his reluctance to admit to what was happening, if only to himself. She was convinced it would most definitely happen again.

-

“Why do you keep showing up like this?” He heard, and spun around to face her. “Keep this up, and I might start thinking you can't resist me.”

She looked like she hadn't slept since the night before. The landscape around them was practically buzzing with magic, but she had no staff, and the lyrium in her skin wasn't active. He looked around the landscape, but could not see what she had done to it. The Mabari stood by her side, and though Solas was apprehensive, the dog only regarded him with mild curiosity. Alhasha didn't wait for him to answer, and looked beyond the ridge, where he assumed the templars would be coming from.

Solas thought for a moment, and then replied. “My apologies. I had not thought to return.”

“Well, at least you're honest about it.” She chuckled, slightly wincing from the wound on her shoulder.

“I mean no disrespect. I just…” Solas stated, trailing off.

“Would it make you feel better if I told you that you know something about me no one else does?” She asked, with a grin as she looked back to him. He was intrigued. “There isn't a single person alive now, other than you, who knows what my name is; not even Varric, and he's my best and most awesome friend ever.”

“I find it hard to believe that I am the only one to know your given name.” Solas said, shaking his head lightly.

“You can always ask him, if you like.” She replied. “My family is dead, except for an uncle and one cousin that I know of, and everyone else just calls me Hawke.”

“A name for a name then.” Solas replied, with a respectful nod. “I am curious as to how you even discovered my true name, considering we have never met before this.”

An arrow shot into the area.

“I'd really like to talk more, but you're going to have to leave.” Alhasha insisted, her eyes suddenly alight as she began grinning like she had yesterday. “I have guests to greet, and I do so hate to keep them waiting. It's rude, you know. Mother did teach me to be respectful, after all.”

-

When Solas woke up, he made a mad dash for his shoes. The others caught onto his hurried frenzy, and began to pack. What they did not expect was for him to get on his horse, and ride off without them. There was a certain urgency that fueled his actions when he realized that that crazy woman didn't have the time for them to slowly gather their things. He didn't exactly know what he was going to do, but he had to get there, he had to do something.

She was planning on going to head off a battalion of templars, with a busted up arm, and a Mabari, alone. He could already hear explosions rocking the place, and the distinct smell of powerful magic clung to the air like a blanket. At least Lavellan and the others were not far behind him. He did not have the time to lead them, and pushed the horse for all it was worth to get to the hill he had viewed before.

“Dammit, Chuckles, slow down!” Varric shouted, as he caught up to him.

“It's happening now!” Solas shouted, angrily, not bothering to stop or slow down. “She's going to be fighting a legion of red fucking templars alone, with a busted up arm, and a Mabari!

“Shit!” Varric cursed, suddenly turning just enough to shout at the others. “Pick up the pace! Flint's in trouble!”

Soon after, a backlash of magic was felt by the entire party. Solas and Lavellan nearly fell off their horses with dizziness, but managed to stay upright. Cassandra leaped off of her horse when she got there, and ran towards where they felt the surge in magic. Everyone followed after, and soon were surrounded and being attacked by templars, though they seemed more mindless than usual. When a whistle sounded somewhere above them, it surprised the templars into looking to the sound; and as Solas looked to it as well, he stopped moving entirely, trapped by the vision he saw, his jaw hanging open.

She stood there, openly wearing the mask of Fen'harel…and his shirt. When she leaped into the fray with them, no one had to ask who's Mabari that was that followed soon after. There would be no way Fen'Harel would ever charge into battle with a Mabari. He was inwardly relieved that they had found her at all. 

She did not talk to the party, but continued to slice and dice through the templars as they fought. The Mabari made up for the lack of an arm, but even so when the blade breaks off in a templar gut, Solas moved to put his staff in between her and the next templar…Or he would have, if that exact templar hadn't been blown to bits…Without a staff, without an incantation, the woman had simply wiggled her fingers and destroyed a templar. Throughout the fight, he could not help but catch glimpses of her magic.

She fought with it like it were a physical thing, a weapon, moving it about the battlefield and channeling it how she wanted. Magic lashed out on all sides to strike like a whip, and rune circles could be seen all over the place. Half the time, he found himself chasing after her, making sure that the enemies she left behind didn't surround her again. What manner of mage fought like this, charging at their enemy head–on like the vanguard? There was something else too…she was…she was…was she laughing?

It wasn't a crazed laugh. She was laughing with merriment, enjoying the thrill of the fight. Magic crackled in the air all around them, and he swore to himself at one point he saw her glow with an ethereal blue light, even brighter than before, as if she were lyrium itself…as if she were magic itself. When he saw her glow like that, he was instantly surprised to see her reach into the armour of a templar, and pull out his heart. She was darting across the battlefield before he could catch up to her.

“She sure is something, isn't she!” Varric called out, with a smile, firing another bolt from 'Bianca'.

“She's foolish, is what she is.” Solas grounded out, sending a bolt of lightning through a templar that was a little too close to Lavellan. “Wait…Why isn't she moving anymore?! Alhasha? Alhasha!

She didn't respond, but the magic around her did. It wanted them to be safe from it, he was somehow sure of that. Solas and Lavellan had just enough time to put a barrier up before Alhasha blast out a wave of destructive magic. It destroyed the last of the templars, and with that she lifted the wolf's skull up to reveal her smiling face. As tired as she looked, she still managed to pull Varric in for a one armed hug.

“So, did you miss me, Bianca?” She asked, grinning like a fool, looking to the crossbow.

“Don't get too sentimental, Flint. You know how she blushes.” Varric replied, returning the smile. “Come, meet your rescue team. This is Lavellan. She's great for source material, just like you. They're calling her the Herald of Andraste.”

“I've heard the stories. How come she doesn't get griffons?” Alhasha asked, teasingly. “The Herald of Andraste should definitely have a griffon.”

“Somehow, I make due with small giants and high dragons.” Lavellan said, with a snort and a grin. “If we team up, maybe I can get a griffon too.”

“Only if I can get a dragon.” Alhasha mused, making Lavellan laugh.

“Deal.” Lavellan agrees, jovially.

“This is Seeker Cassandra Pentagast.” Varric said, moving on with the introductions. He barely got through saying the last name before Cassandra was punched square in the face.

“What in the void was that for?” Cassandra growled, holding her nose.

“That was for stealing my best friend, and then torturing him for days on end. Yeah, I heard about that too.” Alhasha snapped, then held her hand out to help Cassandra up. “Thanks for being here, and helping him save my crazy ass, anyway.”

She sees him then, snapping her fingers to get the mask to disappear, and quickly hugs him the best she can. It is one he returns, though he can hear Varric snickering in the background. She does not seem to mind, and so Solas ignores the dwarf. It is comforting to stand here in this way. When she finally does back away, she is smiling at him.

Na ane vaer.” She whispers to him. You are real.

Ar dirthem na.” He replies, into her hair. I told you.

“What was that about the kiss meaning nothing, and this never happening again?” Varric asked. Alhasha looks at him with hurt in her eyes, though it only lasts for a moment, and she gently backs away from him completely.

“We should get out of here before anything else shows up.” Solas suggested, now cross with the dwarf. “The Veil is thin here.”

“Really? I thought it was a bit wobbly myself.” Lavellan said, with a straight face.

“No, no. It's much too wiggly for that.” Cassandra said, sternly, continuing.

“And here I thought it was just fat.” Alhasha said, sparing no amount of sarcasm, before the three women busted out into laughter.

Solas looks between the three of them, practically fuming as he's trying not to react, but even that makes them laugh harder as they make their way. It seems that now that the three of them will become fast friends. They make their way back to camp, but by then Alhasha has grown quiet. She's not joking with them anymore, and sits with her back resting against a tree. The Mabari comes and sits next to her, putting his head in her lap.

“Why haven't you healed this yet?” Solas asks, his voice low as he crouches to look at the wound, trying in vain to ignore the Mabari.

She replied, breathing a bit heavy. “I guess in all the excitement…I forgot about it.”

“Where did you get that mask? It doesn't belong to you.” Solas asked, as he worked on undoing the bandages.

“Actually, it does, considering it bonded to me.” She replied, her eyes closed as she rested her head against the tree too. “It was sent it to me for my birthday one year…Scared the Void out of my friends…confessed to wanting to keep me safe…that it loved me…and then bonded with me.”

That made him pause for a moment, before returning to the bandages. The mask had bonded to her, loved her even? Well that certainly complicated things, as he knew it would most likely never want to be parted from her now. He had unfortunately had to sever the bond he'd forged with it, in order to keep it away from his enemies when he'd gone into his weakened state. His people were suppose to keep it safe.

“This wound looks bad, Alhasha.” Solas stated, quietly, trying not to let her know how worried he was. Something was wrong, the wound was refusing to be healed, his magic doing nothing. “I don't understand…My magic is being rejected. I can't heal this as I am now…(He took a quick sniff of the bandages she'd been wearing, and shot her an alarmed look. How could he have missed it?!)…I thought you said there was no poison. You've been hit with Magebane! Again?! How could you fight with your magic, if you'd been hit with that again?”

“…I said I didn't think I could smell any poison. That shit messes with a person, you know. As for what I did today, if I can think it, I can do it…within reason or consequence.” She revealed, though the pain made her a bit snippy.

“You can fight through magebane?" Solas wondered.

“Not always, and when I do I have to push back hard, like I'm walking up rapids.” She admitted. “It isn't easy, but to see the look on a self righteous templar when they see their tricks don't work, is worth it. I think…it may have cost…a bit too much this time. They used almost as much as they did before…I wasn't really able to before, till most of it burnt out. The only reason I was able to…this time, I think, is that…I was really really angry…and in a hurry…I wanted to find you…I shouldn't have pushed so hard, I know…”

“We can at least redress the wound, till it burns out.” Solas replied, and went to leave to get the supplies, but she grabbed his upper arm, and he stopped in surprise.

“A name…I need a name.” She said, with a soft smile, though her eyes didn't quite meet his…and…Was she blushing? “Something to call you…other than a name…I should not know…that you may not even…want me to say.”

“Solas.” He replied, once again caught as her soft laughter reached him.

“Solas…It suits you.” She stated, with a kind smile.

“I will return in a moment.” Solas said, reassuringly, and she nodded before letting him go.

-

He'd never seen Flint look that pale before, and she'd been pale enough already. She had been talking with Solas, but it looked like she was barely even aware of him, till the quiet elf tried to leave. Out of respect, and a bet, (Mainly the bet) he did not listen in on their conversation. Lavellan was sneakier than he would have given her credit for, making that bet, ensuring that the two would have a private moment. Solas walking over to them gave him the opportunity to check on their progress.

“How is she?” Varric asked, truly concerned for his friend.

“They hit her with Magebane. Again. That was what was on the arrow from before. She had said she didn't think it was poisoned, but I should have known. Magebane isn't technically labeled as a poison, but it hurts a mage all the same.” Solas said, angry at himself, getting his supplies. “I've never seen such a high level of concentration of it like this till her.”

“I'll help. That woman has pulled my ass out of the fire more times than I can count.” Varric replied. “If there's anything I can do, let me know.”

“You can tell me about her magic.” Solas asked, as the two walked over to Flint. “It will keep you from worrying too much.”

“Her magic? What do you want to know?” Varric asked, not sure what he could tell him.

“I saw something, and I do not know what to make of it.” Solas admitted, setting his things down, and getting to work on the wound. “She did a particular bit of magic, and when she did, her eyes flashed a brilliant light just for a moment. Have you seen this before?”

“Not often, and at first, I thought it was a trick of the light.” Varric answered, not sure if this was helping to distract himself or Solas.

“It is old magic, one I thought lost to this world long ago. I have only seen memories of it in the Fade.” Solas said, getting into his explanations and his work. “Tell me, do you know her age?”

“No, not really. Does this have something to do with the magic you asked about?” Varric asked, curious.

“Maybe. There are very few who would have been able to teach her such magic, and depending on how old she is, and how much power she holds, she may be the only one left.” Solas explained.

“All I know is that she's technically a hedge mage, taught by other hedge mages. Her father escaped the Circle before she was born, and she picked up what knowledge she could from other mages as they traveled.” Varric stated, as if this explained everything. “Her family traveled a lot. The whole Chantry capturing apostates thing, putting them in Circles and such, you can imagine.”

“She looks like she's passed out again. No, No, No!…something's not right…” Solas said, as he worked to clean and change the bandages. “…Hawke…Dammit, Hawke, wake up…Alhasha!

-

“We have to get her back to Haven…Now.” Solas insisted, and made to get his horse again. “She's fading too quickly, and I don't have the supplies here to deal with that.”

Cassandra was of the same mind set, but it seemed that whatever was happening to the Champion was affecting Solas more than she'd realized. It had been a bit of harmless fun, betting like she had, but this was serious. He'd never even met this girl, other than the meetings in his dreams, and yet he was already acting the way a lover would. For something that he'd insisted had meant nothing, that kiss was starting to look like a lot more than he'd ever admit. Camp was packed up, thanks to the hurried frenzy of earlier, so they would not need to stay any longer.

“Cassandra, if you please.” Solas said, imploring her, sitting on the horse.

Without a word, Cassandra turned and gathered up Hawke in her arms. The woman was surprisingly light, and she had no trouble lifting her up to give to Solas. Once the woman was situated in the saddle, with one of his arms around her, Solas began to travel without them. Cassandra took the time to send a messenger crow to Liliana, informing her that they had found Hawke and that the woman was injured. They left shortly after that, not surprised that the Mabari had followed after Solas.

“So…are we going to place bets on how long it takes him to figure this out?” Varric asked, breaking the silence. “If this isn't one of those drawn to a kindred soul deals, I'll eat my tunic.”

“I'll go 3 silver that says he'll figure it out before she does. He may know already.” Lavellan said, with a giggle. “Knowing him, he'll deny it, and push her away too.”

“What's with the small numbers there, Lightning?” Varric asked, looking over to her as they traveled.

“I'm not use to betting with money.” Lavellan admitted. “Let me ease into it.”

“I'll go 5 that says she'll figure it out before he does.” Cassandra interjected. “That seems more in line with her personality.”

“So what's the bet, Dwarf?” Lavellan teased.

“I'll go 8 silver that says they'll bottle themselves up before admitting their feelings when they realize what whatever this is is turning into.” Varric replied.

-

There was no stopping for the night this time, but he made sure to give the horse small breaks so as not to over tax it. The Mabari followed close behind, and though it annoyed him, it also was endearing to know that she could command such loyalty. She did not wake, and it was all he could do to get her to drink a bit of water every so often. The healing magic he poured into her did almost nothing. It was going to take a lot more to burn out that amount of Magebane, and he still wasn't sure how it was possible for her to have fought through it in the first place, let alone how she could handle having two high doses of it in her system so close together without dying.

-

Cullen could hardly believe it, as he saw Solas riding on a horse as he held Hawke. The normally reserved elf looked as if he hadn't eaten or slept in days. Cassandra had sent in a report that they had rescued Hawke, and that Solas would be riding in with her alone, but she didn't say anything about this. Then again, Cassandra was all about the bare bones of the matter. She was professional that way.

Solas looked like a man possessed, wild eyed and frantic. He should have known even Solas would be affected by Hawke in one form or another. The elf did seem frustratingly untouchable, focused only on the Fade and the state of the Veil, so it was strange to see him affected by a woman he couldn't have known for more than a day or so. Cassandra had mentioned something about a connection through dreams, but that was to be thought of at another time. Cullen moved towards Solas, just as Solas spotted him, intent on seeking help for the injured woman.

“Commander, take her straight to the healers. She's been given a large dose of magebane through the wound on her shoulder, and another large dose sometime before that…I'm not sure when. Templars…red lyrium.” Solas stated, urgently, as he stopped the horse. Not waiting for Cullen to answer, he quickly hands her over to him.

“You should follow me. You look like you could use a healer too.” Cullen replied, as Solas did this.

“I will be fine, Commander, though your concern is appreciated. Some rest and food, and I'll be as good as new.” Solas insisted.

The Commander did not miss the way Solas swayed slightly when he said that, but decided not to mention it. If he was right, he would be in no condition to object to the healers anyway. So he turned to make his way to the healers. Solas chose that moment to try and get off of the horse…and proceeded to fall to the ground. From there, Cullen shouted for someone to get Solas and take him to the healers.

-

He sat up slowly, holding his head as he groaned. The last thing he remembered was handing Alhasha over to the Commander before the ground came up to meet his face. At least, that's what it had felt like. When he looked around the modest building, his eyes landed on Alhasha, and he released a breath he hadn't realized he'd been holding. They'd really made it then.

This madness had to stop. Just because she bore the mark didn't mean he had no choice. He'd cast that spell years ago, in the hopes that it would shut up the others or lead him to the one meant for him, but that was not going to happen now. There was too much at stake now, a mistake to fix, and a world to correct. She did not fit into those plans. But even as he thought these things, he realized that he could not leave her alone either.

Something else wasn't right…the more his mood soured, the more distressed she looked. She was already that connected to him? Checking her forehead confirmed that she was running a fever, so he found some wash clothes and put a simple cooling spell on them before placing them on her forehead. Even when unconscious, she leaned into his touch. He tried not to think about what that meant.

The wound on her shoulder seemed to be healing well already. The magebane was working itself out of her system, but with such a high dose, he had no idea what it would do to her. Noticing her bangs were slightly in her eyes, he brushed them away tenderly, surprising himself with the action. He would have to stay away from her, he knew. With her here now though, he had no idea how that was going to happen.

Thinking back, he tried to remember why he'd ever cast that spell. He'd been so foolish, creating a spell to find someone that could not possibly exist, just to shut the others up. He'd created a list of impossible traits and abilities, convinced that no one person could ever possess them, and cast the spell. For the immediate purposes, it had done what it was suppose to do, which was fool the others into thinking he was actually looking for someone. Now he sat here, many years later, staring at the spell coming into fruition.

She was already proving to hold many of the qualities that he had put to the spell. More than once, she had already surprised him. She had the ability to keep him on his toes with her wit and charm, though he was loathed to admit it to himself. There was a fierce determination he could see in her eyes, though he imagined he hadn't seen anything yet in that regard. He wondered how many other qualities this woman possessed of the spell he'd cast, and wondered also if he was willing to risk his own goals to find out.

-

“The way I see it, Chuckles, you have two choices.” Varric said, as he entered the room, not missing the way Solas's hand jerked away from his friend's face as he looked away from the girl. “Either you read the book; and trust that I didn't embellish the shit out of it, which I did. Or you could just ask her yourself, and get to know the woman.”

“What makes you think there isn't a third option?” Solas asked, not yet looking over to him.

“Well, I suppose you could just ignore her, and be a total ass about it.” Varric replied, sarcastically. “She'll see right through your shit, though, but what do I know? I'm only her best and most awesome friend ever. Everyone saw how hurt she was when I revealed what you'd said. I had meant it as a joke, but how she took it is very telling. The sooner you realize what's happening, the easier this will be.”

“Child of the Stone, you have no idea what is happening. I can not, will not, get involved with this girl.” Solas stated, and got up to walk away.

“Come on, Chuckles, I bet my tunic on this. My tunic, Chuckles. Don't make me eat my tunic. I don't want indigestion.” Varric whined, halfheartedly.

“I suggest you get started then, Child of the Stone.” Solas said, pointedly, as he walked out. “Maybe a bit of Ale will help it go down more smoothly.”

Varric looked up to the ceiling, and sighed. He had no idea why his best friend had reached out to the most frustratingly aloof elf he'd ever met, but she was in for one hell of a fight. If everything panned out the way he'd bet it would, he'd have another epic saga for his friend fictions. In the meantime, he was going to have to convince two suddenly very bet happy friends that he would not have to eat his tunic. Giving it up as a lost cause for the time being, he left as well.

“There's no way I'm eating my tunic.” He grumbled to himself.

-

She didn't see him when she woke back up, though she wasn't sure why she expected to. What Varric said had hurt, and worse, Solas hadn't denied it. Then again, why would he? They didn't know each other at all, and she'd been responsible for stealing the kiss in the first place. She was just glad that she was feeling a bit better, and that she could get going soon.

“Don't even think about it, Flint.” Varric's voice stopped her cold. She had been about to look for her things again, and make her way to somewhere else. “Do you have any idea how worried I was? Chuckles rode for three days straight with no sleep to get you here in time. He said he'd never seen that much concentrated Magebane before, and we weren't even sure you'd survive.”

“Running's a bit of a habit now, I suppose.” Hawke replied, in apology. “I've been at it since the hiding spot got blown. I'm sorry, Varric.”

“I'm just glad you're alright, Flint.” Varric admitted. “Promise me no more stupid decisions.”

“Yeah…about that…” Hawke replied, scratching the back of her neck.

“If this is about the hot spring incident, I know.” Varric said, interrupting her. “Not only do I know, I've placed bets.”

“I doubt you know what I know.” She teased.

“Why do I feel like this is a conversation best had by someone who is not me?” Varric asked, with a light chuckle.

“Because it is.” She said, with a bit of a grin, before looking thoughtful. “Varric, what do you do when you discover someone's secrets without intending to do so? And it's a big secret, like a really big secret. What do you do?”

“A secret that big could destroy you if you don't have someone to talk to about it, the one who's secret it is would be best. Barring that, keep it. The person will be suspicious, and watch your ever move at first, but eventually they'll trust you enough to talk about it with you.” Varric replied, after a moment. “I should have figured Chuckles would have secrets that big.”

“I never said it was him.” Hawke objected.

“Didn't have to.” Varric teased, wearing the biggest grin ever.

 

Chapter Text

Chapter 4

 

The place that they gave her was near the apothecary, which was good, because she wasted no time in trying to work with him. The guy didn't really want to give up a corner space to her, but eventually gave in. The two often talked about various recipes for different potions, and more than once the apothecary was surprised by what she put in them. She started gathering things for him right away, and brought in extra herbs so she wouldn't be using up all the stock. She was glad to be in a stable place again, and didn't want to feel like a freeloader.

She'd started helping the healers too. She'd take extra herbs over to them, any potions she thought they could use. Working in Anders' clinic for as long as she did, helped give her the experience to help here. Hawke needed to keep herself busy, so she wouldn't feel suffocated by Solas. The man was always watching her, just out of eyesight she knew, as if waiting for her to reveal who he really was.


 

He had been steadfastly ignoring her, while also watching her. She had stopped by with cookies earlier, but he had turned her away. It would be better for her to hate him. It would make things easier, and he would be able to ignore her, focus on his goals. The hurt flashed through her eyes almost too quickly for him to catch, but then she smiled and walked away. 

"Hey, did you get those cookies Flint made, Lightning?" Varric asked, jovially. "Best cookies ever."

"That's actually why I'm out here." Lavellan said. They must be heading to see Alhasha, he thought to himself. 

"Did you notice that there were some of them that were a little better than the others?" Varric asked, confused.

 "Yeah. She talked to me, asking for advice." She replied. Suddenly, there was a knock to his door.

He started for a second. They were there to talk to him? Had that woman said something to the Herald? Wait, why did he care? Calming himself, Solas opened the door to greet them.

"You ass." That was actually the first time Lavellan had ever offered to insult him, and he just stood there with his mouth agape. 

"I'm sorry?" He replied, more than a little confused.

"You should be. Hawke asked for advice on how to talk to you, told me she had a question to ask, and she wasn't sure how to go about it." Lavellan replied, crossing her arms in front of her. "She needed an elvish word translated, only I couldn't translate it when she asked me."

"And the cookies?" Solas asked, warily.

"Bribery, of course." Lavellan admitted, with a laugh. "She said you're intimidating, and considering she can face down most anything without blinking, that's saying something."

"I might not have been of the best frame of mind when she stopped by." Solas replied, before turning to close the door behind him on his way out. "If I may ask, what was the word she needed translated?"

"Evanuris." Lavellan said, not noticing when Solas held his breath to keep from reacting.

"That is-" He began.

"Nope. Don't tell me. Tell her." Lavellan insisted, and then turn around and left.

"Flint is at the healers tents, if you really want to know, Chuckles." Varric added, before he too left.

Indeed, she was at the healers tents. Why she was arguing with Chancellor Roderick, he did not know. Upon his arrival, the man in question pointed at him and demanded his arrest too. Then again, Roderick said that about the whole of the Inqusition. This was nothing new.

"So help me, you angry old geezer. If you don't hold still, I will make you!" Alhasha growled, poking Roderick in the chest as she said it.

"You will keep you magic to yourself!" He shouted back.

"Fine!" She shouted back. "Have a cookie!"

Before anyone could say a word, Alhasha had shoved a cookie into the man's mouth. It only took a moment before the man passed out. The Commander had to catch him. Once he placed the chancellor onto one of the cots, Alhasha got to work. She listened to the man's heart for a moment, then moved away and began working on putting together a tea for him.

"You were right about his heart, Cullen." Alhasha stated, sounding tired. "The man won't slow down for anything."

"I could say the same about you, Hawke." The Commander teased. "When was the last time you got any sleep?"

"Oh, you know me. I'll sleep when I'm dead." She replied, offhandedly. 

"You!.....You drugged me!" Roderick shouted, angrily.

"And I did it all without any magic at all." Alhasha cooed at him, then her eyes turned hard. "Now, you're going to drink this tea every day, or so help me I will shove it down your throat myself. You pass out like that again, and that won't be just a threat."

"Don't even think this will win me over." Roderick accused.

"Oh no. See, I want you to live. That way, when we prove you wrong, I can rub your face in it." She sassed right back. "You need to be living when that happens, otherwise proving you wrong won't be any fun."

Roderick took the box, and stalked out of the tent. Solas barely caught the small smile as Roderick passed him.

"Thank you for taking a look at him, Hawke." Cullen said, before leaving as well.

"My cookies weren't drugged, were they?" Solas asked, a bit amused.

"No. And they're gone." She said, curtly. 

"You asked Lavellan what Evanuris meant, but how did you come by that word?" Solas asked, his voice turning accusatory. 

"It came as part of a riddle, along with the mask." Alhasha answered.

"It was not meant for you." Solas said, now angry. 

"You're just angry it wants me and not you!" She spat, her eyes alight with anger.

"You have no idea what you're playing with!" He shouted.

"Ha! Like you're something special!" She scoffed. "You're just a spoiled child who wants a toy you've thrown away now that you see someone else playing with it."

He hadn't been paying attention, but with every shout or insult, they had stepped closed to each other until they were practically inches apart. 

"Oh!...um....Hawke, I.....perhaps I'll.....just ask later.....right.....later." The Commander stumbled over the words, having seen them as they are now.

Solas realized that they had both been glaring at the man, but when Cullen left, he turned to talk to Alhasha, only to find her gone. 


 

"Varric, I need to place a bet." Cullen announced, when he found the dwarf. "First off, what are the bets concerning Solas and Hawke?"

"Well, it's like this, Curly." Varric replied, smirking as he opened his betting book.


 

“Hey, Flint, got something for ya.” Varric said, as he walked up to her. She'd just walked out of the Apothecary's shop.

“What, another betting ring?” Hawke asked, with mock intrigue. “What are we betting on this time? How long it takes Roderick to explode? I can help with that. Maker knows that man needs a hot poker shoved up his backside.”

“Nothing like that…at least, not yet. Look.” Varric said, motioning someone over.

Her jaw actually fell open, a rare occasion in her life. Varric had found her things from Lothering that she'd had to stash away. She'd had to leave the box behind when she'd ran from the Tevinter mages. There was a part of her that had made peace with the fact that she would never see her family's things again. Varric just smirked, and directed the guy carrying her chest to where he needed to go.

“Varric, I…” Hawke tried to say, but words fell short.

“Don't worry, that face was worth it. I can use it for my next book.” Varric replied, with a bit of a chuckle. “And the champion's jaw fell to the floor in unspoken gratitude. She graciously offered to pay his tab at the Singing Maiden, for which the humble and yet devastatingly handsome dwarf with the amazing chest hair could not refuse.”

“Oh, but of course.” Hawke said, with a bit of a laugh herself. “Thank you, Varric.”

“Any time, Flint.” Varric replied, before leaving her to look over her things.”


 

“Would you mind if we spoke in private, Lady Hawke?” Solas asked, walking up to her after Varric had left.

“Of course. Would you mind coming inside then?” She asked, looking a bit absentminded. “It's just, Varric…What he did…I'll never know how he did it, but he found my family's things. I'd had to leave them behind…I'll never be able to repay him.”

“Of course.” Solas said, with a nod.

He'd seen her face when the dwarf motioned the guy forward with the case. She'd never thought she'd see it again, and whatever it held had a great emotional value to her. Of course the dwarf would have to play it up. It was what he did, and it always seemed to help misdirect people so they wouldn't see how much he'd really done. The two went inside her building, and she closed the door behind them.

“I wish to understand something.” He said, as he watched her as she worked to open the chest. “I have had time to think over what happened, and I have many questions.”

“Understandable. I have questions too.” She replied, with a soft smile. Her eyes were on the chest she'd finally managed to open, but he couldn't see what was inside.

"First, I wish to apologize." Solas began. "I had intended to speak with you about the word you were looking into, and I let things get out of hand."

"I'm not innocent in that either." She replied. "So, I apologize as well."

“You know who I was, who I am, and yet you haven't said anything to anyone…Why?” Solas asked, keeping his voice void of his curiosity.

“Should I have? It's not my secret to tell, and I understand not wanting to say anything for a while. People were very angry with me when it happened to me too. People are still angry with me.” She said, still not looking at him. She had begun to lovingly take things out of the chest, and place them around the room.

“…Happened to you too?” Solas asked, confused now.

“Varric told me you didn't read that book. Oh, I can only imagine he'd scarred you with Hard in High Town or something.” Alhasha said, with a bit of a laugh.

“Swords and Shields.” Solas admitted.

“My apologies.” She said, unable to hold in her laughter.

“My understanding of humans now was…minimal. He offered that book to help me see what humans were really like.” Solas stated, with a bit of a grimace. “Perhaps The Tales of the Champion might have been a better choice.”

“Well, in any case, I'm glad there is at least one person who has not read that book that I can talk to.” She admitted, surprising him. “Your opinions won't be coloured by anything you may have already read.”

“That is understandable.” Solas replied, looking thoughtful. “Now, about my question?”

“Oh, yes. I was technically the reason why the chantry building in Kirkwall blew up, killing several hundred people, and inadvertently causing the mage rebellion. People were very angry. Even though I didn't create the bomb, or place it, it was still my fault all those people died.” Alhasha explained.

He hadn't expected that.

“What…happened?” He asked, intrigued.

“Anders was already unstable.” She said, sounding tired as she sat down by the table. He followed suit. “Before I met him, he had already offered himself as a willing host to a spirit of Justice that had gotten stuck on this side of the Veil. It's not the first instance I've heard of that happening, and it should have been fine, but…The anger that Anders already had changed them both, and Justice slowly became Vengeance. I was too preoccupied with my own troubles to realize my friend needed help, and by the time I realized it, he was already delusional.”

“You are correct that if his anger had not been an issue, the merge would have been a beneficial one to them both.” Solas said, wanting the story to continue.

“He was running himself into the dust, helping with the mage underground, and running the clinic to help the refugees that had fled Fereldan during the Blight.” Alhasha explained, with a sigh. “I thought I had him convinced to take a rest, to not work so hard. After all, you can't help someone if you're dead. He came to me one day, said he found a way to separate himself from Justice, that it was an old Tevinter potion. It felt off, but he's my friend…I trusted him.”

“There may be a way to separate him from the spirit, but there is no Tevinter potion I know that does this.” Solas said, his eyebrows furrowed.

“Fenris was suspicious of him too, but I didn't listen. I helped him gather the ingredients anyway. Later on, he'd asked me to distract the Grand Cleric for him. He didn't say what it was for, just that it would help the mage underground, and I wanted to help. So I did.” Alhasha admitted, shaking her head. “The building blows up while I'm trying to stop the Knight Captain and the First Enchanter from killing each other. The Knight Captain forced my hand. She was going to kill the entire Kirkwall Circle for something a single apostate did. She's a separate and yet closely tied mistake, but I'll get to that if you want to hear it.”

“Maybe some other time.” Solas allowed, kindly.

“The thing is, if Anders had been honest with me from the start, I would have helped him anyway.” Alhasha admitted, surprising him again. “I would have tried to get out the Grand Cleric and the others quietly before they could be killed, but I would still have blown up that building.”

“Perhaps that is why he lied. You say this mage is your friend. He would know that you would do that.” Solas said, after a moment. “It surprises me that we share that kind of a mistake, though in this instance, mine comes without the lying friend. It still comes with the blown up building, the death toll, and my magic being the cause. Mine was more about miscalculation.”

“I imagine that is not the only mistake we share, in any case.” She said, going back to the chest for a moment. “Come here. I want to show you something I think you will appreciate.”

Solas did as she wished, and walked over to the chest with her. He stood a respectful distance away, so that he would not see inside the chest. It kept anything else she had in there from his eyes, but it meant she would have to take out what she wanted him to see. She pulled out a mage staff of intricate make, elvhen crafted, a good sized ruby at it's top…from the time of Arlathan. Yet another surprise from her.

“This belonged to my father. He said that it has been passed down the line since ancient times. I never knew whether to believe him, or if he was just telling stories because he knew I loved to hear them. He'd had to part with it before I was born, and stories were all he had to share of it…a mistake of his own that became one of mine.” She said, running her fingers over the elvhen designs. “I don't need a staff for my magic, not really, but I can't seem to part with it.”

“That is understandable. It belonged to someone important to you.” Solas replied, and held out his hand to take the staff. “May I?”

She let him, just like that. Did she really trust him this much? Knowing who he was, she knew he had betrayed before. The staff reacted to him, recognizing that he was of worth. He handed it back to her after a moment.

“It has been well cared for. Do you know who that staff belonged to originally?” Solas asked, and when she shook her head no, he continued. “I do not know if you are a descendant of hers or not, but that is the staff of Andruil. It is intriguing that you should possess it, that it recognizes you as one of worth.”

“Why is that?” She asked, looking confused.

“Because the Hawk was beloved to her.” Solas replied, in his scholarly manner. “Which makes me wonder, just how old are you, Lady Hawke?”

“I thought it was against the rules to ask that of a lady. Besides, I'm nowhere near ready to reveal that kind of secret, Solas.” She said, blushing. “Maybe next time.”

“Indeed.” Solas said, with a slight bow, before exiting her building.


 

Varric had recommended that she talk with Liliana, Cassandra and Lavellan, and so that was the reason she found herself in a little corner of the Singing Maiden some time later. The four of them got along great, and it almost reminded her of hanging out with Isabella, Merrill, and Aveline at the Hanged Man. They pumped her for every detail of what happened at the hot springs. Cassandra thought it was wonderfully romantic, and Lavellan couldn't be happier for her new friend, but there was something that they just didn't understand. She'd have to tell them in order to get their advice.

“Alright, you three, I'm about to hit you with a secret I haven't even told Varric.” She said, her voice low, causing them to lean in closer. “I didn't just steal the kiss at the hot spring. I stole my first kiss at that hot spring.”

“WHAT?! But that's not possible!” Shouted Cassandra, causing several people to look over at them, including Solas. She waited till everyone went back to what ever they had been doing before she continued. “Hawke, I don't understand. That doesn't make any sense.”

“I wasn't the oldest of three siblings, like the book says. I was the youngest.” Hawke admitted, her voice low. She noticed Solas eyeing them with suspicion from time to time, but he was too far away to hear her over the crowd. “Bethany never had the mindset for leadership, and Carver was a tit. Father knew that I would have to lead them eventually. Even Mother knew that, before she died. Do you know how old I was when we got to Kirkwall? I was twelve.

“So how did you make yourself look older?” Lavellan asked, curious.

“Father gave me a thin chain bracelet that would make me look older, so that people would respect me. No one respects a kid telling them what to do, especially when the kid is right.” Hawke replied, holding up her right hand. The chain was barely visible, and even then they had to squint to see it. “I just ended up wearing the thing for years, even after everything happened.”

“So how old are you really?” Liliana asked, her voice low too.

“Ummm…I was twelve when we got to Kirkwall, thirteen after the year of working with the Red Iron, sixteen when I dueled the Arishok, and nineteen when Anders blew up Kirkwall's Chantry. So, I'd say I'm either twenty or twenty one, maybe older, I'm not sure. The months sort of ran together on the run, you know.” Hawke said, thinking through it all.

“You mean to tell me you're twenty one, and you stole your first kiss from Solas? Cassandra asked, leaning in so she could be heard better.

“Hey! You try leading a bunch of crazy people into a functional team, defending a city, and constantly having to do someone's bidding, and see if you have time for a social life in all that.” Hawke huffed, though there was no anger in it. “Mother was set to try and marry me off to one of those dandies of Kirkwall's noble class, and I was not having that. I'd have rather died first. Most of them didn't even know which end of a sword was the pointy end.”

“I understand.” Cassandra said, begrudgingly, looking pensive. “Why do you still look older than twenty one?”

“The bracelet is still working, Cassandra.” Hawke reminded them, pointing to the bracelet. “Like I said, it's been a long time since I took this thing off.”

“So why did you kiss him anyway?” Liliana asked, wide eyed and intrigued. “Inquiring minds want to know.”

“This is so embarassing…I thought he was there to kill me.” She admitted, That was not the answer they expected, and it sent them laughing. Hawke's face grew red in embarrassment, and she began rambling. “He just kept…showing up, and that only usually happens when someone wants to kill me, so…I figured I'd steal a kiss from the mysterious handsome guy before he killed me, kind of a last request. I feel like an idiot, please just ignore me for the rest of forever.”

She face planted on the table and stayed that way.

“Hawke, this isn't a bad thing, it's just unusual.” Cassandra said, gently. “Believe me, I know what it's like to let duty get in the way of living your life.”

“It's just that…I'm good at helping others find and keep their relationships. I've never had one of my own, not like that. There was my family to watch over, mother to take care of, and the Viscount kept asking me to field contact with the Arishok.” Hawke mumbled, her face still on the table. “He's dead set on ignoring me now, I just know it, except when he wants to randomly ask questions about me before getting back to ignoring me, and I don't know what to do. I've never been in this situation before. I've never wanted anyone before. Anyone that ever went after me has either been a dandy or crazy as all fuck. I don't know what to do with a good looking possibly rational not crazy man who seems interested but ignores me.”

“Well, he keeps looking over here at you.” Lavellan whispered, like he could hear them. “And you said so yourself, he seems interested.”

“Oh, that? He's not staring because of that. I knew his name before he told me what it was, and he's trying to figure out how I did it.” Hawke mumbled.


 

He'd been watching them for the last few minutes. Ever so often he would hear his name mentioned over the noise of the crowd. While laughing was not the reaction he had expected, neither was her faceplanting onto the table. Some time later, the others left, and he had his chance. In the blink of an eye he moved over to her, grabbed her hand, and pulled her along to a more secluded space outside of the tavern.

“What the-” She nearly shouted, when he slammed her into the wall, before his hand was on her mouth.

“You lied. He hissed, his body pressing into her own. “Give me one good reason why I shouldn't kill you.” Slowly, he moved his hand away from her face.

“Because I didn't lie, na'masa. (you ass)” She said, indignant, her voice pained. “They wanted to know what happened at the hot spring, so I told them.”

“Explain.” He demanded, not convinced.

“They're girls, Solas, romance loving girls. What do you think I told them?” Alhasha growled. “I told them that a mysterious handsome guy kept showing up, and I thought he was going to kill me, so I stole a kiss as a last request. I told them that you were staring at me in the tavern because I knew your name before you told me what it was, and you were trying to figure out how I did it.”

That caught him off guard, just long enough for her to turn the tables around and pin him to the wall instead.

“So the next time you wanna pin me up against a wall, you better kiss me or kill me, because if you pull this stunt again, I'll remove what makes you a male. Got it?” She growled, angrily.

She didn't give him time to say anything, shoved herself away from him, and began stumbling back to her building. He just stood there for a moment. She hadn't revealed who he was, just gossiped with girls about a stolen kiss in a hot spring. A sudden cough caught his attention, and he turned his head to see Sister Nightingale with a smirk on her face. He would have moved away, but it was like her eyes held him where he was.

“So that's what you're into.” She said, her voice held a bit of a sly tone to it. “My bet is looking better all the time, Solas. I knew you were one of those.

“One of…those?” Solas asked, at a loss for anything else to say.

“You're into the rough stuff.” She teased, but then her voice began to hold an edge to it. “But you should know something, Solas. You drove her into a nail someone was stupid enough to leave sticking out of that wall. There's blood.”

Solas looked to the space where she had been, and discovered that she had been right. There was a nail there, long enough that it could have pierced her lung, and there was blood on the ground. Without a word to Sister Nightengale, Solas cursed and headed off to find Alhasha. If he could get to her in time, he could heal her. Her death would not be another of his mistakes.

He found her just inside her building, door open, sprawled out onto the floor as she struggled to breathe. Cursing to himself, he picked her up, and closed the door. Working quickly, he placed her on the bed, and ripped the back of her shirt. He'd gotten there in time to heal the worst of it, and now there was only a mildly angry dot that would turn into a scar later. When he was done, he made up a quick poltice to put on her back.

As he began to dab the concoction onto her, he took notice of her back. He'd ripped the shirt to better see the wound, but now he saw more than that. He saw the lyrium markings there, the whipping marks they surrounded like a beautiful cage, and a rather large scar that went almost to her spine. Shit, wasn't he suppose to be ignoring her? This was not going at all like he thought it would.


 

“Don't move just yet.” She heard a voice say. “I still have to remove the poltice and see if the wound needs to heal any more. Ir abelas. (I'm sorry)”

“Solas.” She mumbled, recognizing who was talking to her.

“Yes. Ir abelas, Alhasha.” He said, speaking softly as he worked. “I should not have reacted so harshly to you. It is my own fault for trying to listen in on a conversation I was not invited into, and jumping to the wrong conclusion.”

“Another mistake we share.” She replied, softly. “What happened?”

“I shoved you into a nail when I shoved you against that wall. It pierced your lung. If I had found you any later, you would be dead now.” Solas admitted, trying to keep his mind on the work. “The lung is a delicate organ. I'm sorry this is taking so long.”

“That's fine. This isn't the first time a friend has injured me on accident.” She said, her voice trailing in and out. “I feel woozy.”

Tel'telsila.(Don't worry)” He said, softly. “You'll be fine.”

“It would be ironic…for a nail to do…what an Airshok's blade could not.” She said, before blacking out again.


 

“Solas, what's got you in such a bunch?” Varric asked, a bit cross.

He'd heard what had happened to Flint, and he wasn't happy about it, but he couldn't really say much. Solas had realized what had happened, and had gone to her aid. So, he was trying to give the elf a break. This didn't mean he couldn't rib the guy a little first. It was just, the way Solas looked, it was like he was already angry about something.

“An Arishok's blade.” Solas said, half demanding. “What did she mean by that?”

“Why don't you just read the book?” Varric asked, wondering himself.

“And have you miss out on a chance for story telling, Master Tethras?” Solas said, with a slight smirk. “Surely not.”

“What do you think, BarkSpawn? Should I give him another shot?” Varric asked, looking around Solas, who was surprised that the Mabari had followed him. The hound simply nodded, and then shambled away. “He really must think you're alright. Sit down. This is going to take some back story explaining.”

The problem with Solas was that he didn't want the whole story, just the explanation of the Arishok's blade, but a little back story was needed. So Varric talked about the qunari landing in Kirkwall, the deal with the gaatlok and Javaris, Fenris smoothing things over in the first meeting by speaking the qun to the Arishok and offering to kill the dwarf that lead them all on this wild goose chase, the constant visits, and so on. He talked about the buildup of tension between the Kirkwallers and the qunari there, the attempts to uproot them by fanatic elves, and finally the descent into madness by the Arishok. He spoke in detail about their fight through the city, dealing with First Enchanter Orsino and Knight Captain Meredith, and the entrance she made into the room of people about to die. By that point, Solas looked hooked.

Varric went over the conversation her and the Arishok had shared, how Isabela came barging in with the stolen relic, and the instant decision to dual over her life and the lives of those living in Kirkwall. He gave a beautiful, not that he was tooting his own horn or anything, description of the fight with the Arishok. When he finally got to the part where the Arishok managed to impale her on the great sword, Solas's jaw actually dropped. It was the most reaction Varric thinks he's ever seen from the elf outside of when Flint had all that magebane in her system, and he wished he had someway to capture the moment.

“Varric, you aren't telling that story again, are you?” Flint asked, with a half groan.

“Ask me no questions, and I'll tell you no lies, Flint.” Varric replied, with a grin. “Chuckles here asked about the Arishok's blade.”

“I thought I was out of it, or I would have never mentioned it.” Flint teased, as she sat down. “At least tell me you didn't resurrect a griffon for me.”

“We haven't gotten to that part yet.” Solas threw in, with his usual scholarly tone. "I am sure he will mention it soon."

“This is an historic moment. Alert the Chantry! Chuckles told his first joke. I'm so proud.” Varric chuckled, as he pretended to wipe a tear from his eye.

“It has been known to happen, Master Tethras.” Solas replied, then turned to Flint. “You weren't suppose to get out of bed yet. Healer's orders.”

“Yes, well, healer's orders are only so good as long as they can be there to inforce them.” Flint said, arching an eyebrow as if daring Solas to say something about it. This is not the first time he has watched Flint give Solas a look like this, nor is it the first time he's watched Solas react like his mind was sent somewhere else because of it.

“If you two don't stop staring at each other like that in front of me, I'm going to start describing it in friend fiction format.” Varric warned, bringing them both out of it.

“I really should go lie down, I suppose.” Flint said, a bit of pink tinging her cheeks. “Varric, try not to bring too many griffons back for me. It will only make it less believable when you have to kill them all off again at the end.”

She left, BarkSpawn following after her. Both Solas and Varric watch after her as she goes, but Varric notes that it is Solas she looks back to after a moment. She blushes when she realizes she's been caught, and quickly walks on. Varric can't help but chuckle at this, as Solas has a slight blush to match her own. Those two were hopeless.

“Even after you nearly kill her, she's still drawn to you.” Varric stated, seriously. “Are you so dead set on ignoring her that you can't see that?”

“Master Tethras, I can't get her involved. I can't-” Solas began, but Varric cut him off.

“If this is about your secret, can it.” Varric said, earning him a surprised and angry glare from the elf. “I don't know what it is, Solas, and quite frankly I don't give a damn. When Flint woke up, she asked me what do you do when you discover someone's secrets without meaning to, a big secret. I can only assume she meant you. Whatever it is, Solas, she's kept it. She wouldn't reveal it even if threatened with being made tranquil. I know this, because she's almost had to go that far to protect the secrets of her friends…like where Anders is. She was almost made tranquil, and still wouldn't reveal where he is. They let her go, thinking she really didn't know, because no one goes that far to protect a secret. No one but her. I'd bet everything I own that she does know where he is, or knows how to find out, and still she didn't say anything. She probably wouldn't even tell me, and I don't want her to. Trust her, damn it, before you end up killing her with your paranoia.”

“You're not curious about what it is?” Solas asked, dubious. “You wouldn't try to squeeze information out of her using your friendship as guilt?”

“Of course I'm curious about it, especially after you say something like that to me. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't, but that's not how our friendship works.” Varric insisted. “I'd be lying if I said I don't want to know, but she won't tell me till you tell her she can.”

“And if I never say she can?” Solas asked, looking doubtful and curious all at once.

“Then she never says a word about it to me.” Varric replied, pointedly.

“You have given me a lot to think about, Master Tethras. I will consider your words carefully.” Solas said, with a nod, and left.

“That elf is going to be the death of me and my tunic.” Varric grumbled, to himself.


 

After a rather exhausting mission with the Herald, Solas was on his way back to his hut when he saw her. Alhasha was hunched over, hiding behind a bush as she watched the Herald and the Commander talking…as she made snowballs. He could see small flashes of fire and ice magic in her hands, hardening and compacting the snowballs until they were just right. His curious nature refused to let this go, and he walked over to her. He didn't even bother trying to hide, and she didn't bother looking up at him.

“What are you doing, Lady Hawke?” He asked, bemused.

“Being a wingman.” She said, as if that explained everything. He sighed. That explained nothing.

“How does making snowballs aid you in this?” He asked, patiently.

“Right now, Lavellan is awkwardly flirting with the Commander. He has no idea, because he's awkward too, but these moments are important, and they can be awkward together.” She said, watching the couple, still making snowballs. “It is adorable.”

“And the snowballs?” He asked, inwardly sighing. When she was focused on something, it was hard to get her to explain it.

“This.” She said, before reeling back and hurling a snowball. It hit Jim square in the back of the head, and he fell face first into the snow, his report flying off in all directions. “That sneaky little bastard keeps showing up every time Lavellan and Cullen start talking. I swear I think he waits for it, either that or Liliana knows and sends him with reports at too convenient of a time in order to win some bet with Varric.”

“So you…pelt him with snowballs…to buy them time…so that they can awkwardly flirt with each other?” He asked, making sure he had it right.

“Yes.” She said, with all the seriousness of the world, right before she chucked another snowball. Jim had been trying to get up, he hit the show again.

Solas didn't know what made it start. Perhaps it was the seriousness of her face as she explained it, or the fact that she was honestly hitting a messenger with snowballs to give a couple some time to figure each other out, but something in him lost it. He fell to his knees next to her, and started shaking. He tried to hold it in, even going so far as to wrap his arms around himself, but the laughter was out before he could get around it. Alhasha actually took her eyes off of watching Jim for a moment, and stared at him as if she'd never seen him before.

“You wanna get him?” She asked, holding a snowball out to him.

She held it out to him like a peace offering or something, and his laughter subsided a moment in response to this. This woman was something else, that was for sure. He wasn't going to take it, but Jim looked to be on the move again, too close to the Commander to stop, but Solas quickly took the snowball and chucked it anyway…hitting the Commander in the side of the face instead. Cullen is shocked, angered, and Solas feels a little like a fish as his mouth opens and closes trying to form words. Lavellan looks like she's trying to hold in her laughter, when all of a sudden, Alhasha stands up from behind the bush where they had been.

SNOWBALL FIGHT!!!” She shouts, and chucks another one at the Commander.

This makes Lavellan lose it, and she starts laughing. The Commander wastes no time, and chucks a snowball at her. Pretty soon, it's an all out war. People, who weren't even there, just showed up and started hurling snowballs at one another. Someone has compacted snow around Varric so well that he looks like his own snowman. For once, Solas feels bad for Roderick, seeing as how the man can't seem to stand upright without being pelted with snowballs from every location.

Somehow, Madam de Fer doesn't get a single snowball chucked at her, or they melt before they can. Liliana and Josephine had taken to teaming up against some of the more adventurous recruits. Sera and Blackwall had also teamed up, sending a flurry of snowballs towards anything that moved. A rather large snowball whizzed by him, almost hitting him in the face, and he looks over only to see Iron Bull already moving on to another target. A snowball hits Solas in the side of the head, and he reacts without thinking, sending one right back.

Alhasha can't stop laughing, and neither can he. Both of them take to running through the war zone, throwing snowballs as they can at anyone within range. They pass BarkSpawn on their way, looks like he's having the time of his life burying Jim in snow. They finally make it to a quiet and safe location, behind the Apothecary's shop, when Solas gets an idea.

He grabs her hand again, and puts her to the wall like last time. Only this time is different, softer somehow, especially considering that he has his hand back there in case of another nail. She's still smiling up at him, and he remembers what she said about being slammed into a wall like that. It's why he's done it, why he's nearing her too close again even though he knows he shouldn't. This time, the kiss is soft, slow, and still over too quickly.

“That was a bad idea.” He says, as if he's trying to convince himself.

“Probably.” She admits, and he smiles.

“Thank you…I haven't laughed like that…in a very long time.” Solas said, still happy from the snowball fight and the kiss.

“It doesn't take much, to remember that you can.” Alhasha said, then grinned. “Varric will want to mark this day on the calendar though. He'll call it 'Chuckles Chuckled Day', or something ridiculous like that.”

 

Chapter Text

Chapter 5

 

After that day, he had reverted to trying to avoid her, and the feelings that were much too close to the surface again. The strange thing was that she hadn't sought him out about it either. She had fully immersed herself in life around Haven, and the people there seemed to love her. However unaffected she seemed to be by his absence, it did not prove the same for him. She had taken to singing in the evenings when she's working on her potions and things, when she thinks the noise of the tavern nearby will drown out her voice.

Whether she knows it or not, he can hear her. Some days, he finds himself standing out side of his building by the Apothecary's shop to listen to it. He wasn't sure when he had started actively doing that, instead of spending his free time traversing the Fade as he normally would. Sometimes she sings in Trade, other times in Elvhen, always songs he is unfamiliar with. That's where he is, strumming a simple tune on a shamisen, when she finally begins to sing a song he recognizes.

Tamahn ane rahna…Ar ema tol…Tamahn'r ei an…Ar ema varem…Tamahn'r ei ghest…eil Ar elasa ra josa…Mala ra'n josal araaaa vir.

There are things…I have done…There's a place…I have gone…There's a beast…And I let it run…Now it's running myyyy way.

Tamahn ane rahna…Ar nulam…Sai tel'lanasta…Na tel'silaima…Tamahn'r ei lanun…Ra na sul'amem…Na sul'amem ra araaa vir.

There are things…I regret…To can't forgive…You can't forget…There's a gift…That you sent…You sent it myyyy way.

-

Iron Bull stepped out of the Tavern, and into something he wasn't sure he was actually seeing. Solas was playing a simple tune on a shamisen, and Hawke seemed to be singing along to it. It didn't look like Hawke was really aware of it either, considering she sang quietly, and yet her voice rang out just enough to be heard above the music Solas played. Bull figured that if he said anything, they would stop whatever this was. Maybe he should get in on this betting ring Varric was starting up.

Mai ama min era'vun…vila ra ematha em la ei dialathe…Ar eolasa ir'tel lanastan, y Ar nuven ei an era. Mai ama min era'vun…eil hama em dur sul vir… Ar eolasa ir'tel'lanastan, y Ar las ra Ar'shor ea lasem sulooo atisha.

So take this night…wrap it around me like a sheet…I know I'm not forgiven, but I need a place to sleep. So take this night…and lay me down on the street…I know I'm not forgiven, but I hope that I'll be given sommme peace.

Wait, was Solas singing too? Bull honestly hadn't expected that, and just stood there. The two sang well together. It appeared that at least Solas was aware of what was going on, even if Hawke did not. Then again, Bull was sure he had seen Solas hanging around the apothecary's shop a lot more here recently, and wondered how often she sang while she worked.

Tamahn ei kasti…ra Ar vae…Tamahn ane velaer…Ar ema dana…Tamahn'r torajaer…ra Ar tuem…y'Ar tuem ish'ala araaa vir.

There's a game…that I play…There are rules…I had to break…There's mistakes…that I made…but I made them myyyy way.

Mai ama min era'vun…vila ra ematha em la ei dialathe…Ar eolasa ir'tel lanastan, y Ar nuven ei an era. Mai ama min era'vun…eil hama em dur sul vir… Ar eolasa ir'tel'lanastan, y Ar las ra Ar'shor ea lasem sulooo atisha…sulooo atisha…sulooo atisha…

So take this night…wrap it around me like a sheet…I know I'm not forgiven, but I need a place to sleep. So take this night…and lay me down on the street…I know I'm not forgiven, but I hope that I'll be given sommme peace…sommme peace…sommme peace.

“Hawke?” Iron Bull called out. “Hawke, is that you?”

She whirled around faster than he thought possible, and in the process flung several glass vials everywhere.

Etunash!” Hawke shouted, in surprise. Shit! “Bull, how long have you been standing there like that?”

“Long enough to know you and Solas sing well together.” Iron Bull remarked, with a smirk. Her face turned an even darker beet red. “Speaking of you and Solas, Boss wants you both for a mission.”

“Of course, Iron Bull. I shall be ready in a moment.” Solas stated, and went to put the instrument away. Iron Bull was going to ask how she hadn't noticed Solas there, but she just shook her head, and headed back to her room to get her things to travel.

“I thought I was imagining the music.” She mumbled, as she left.

-

Maybe having this particular group of people together was a bad idea. Lavellan had been thinking that maybe she could help Hawke with Solas, but the two seemed content to avoid each other, only speaking to each other when needed. Blackwall had been a good choice, but he and Sera grated on Solas's nerves. Needless to say, the group didn't seem to talk much after an argument broke out. Lavellan spent her time in deep thought after that.

Her mind kept coming back to Hawke. The woman did not act like any mage she knew, Circle or otherwise. She didn't carry a staff, had no need of one, and carried more weapons on her person than a rogue. She also acted more like Sera than she did someone that had saved a city state, and was just as stubborn as Solas. Lavellan shook her head, still unsure of how to help those two.

“Lavellan, we need to stop.” Hawke said, out of the blue, suddenly very tense. She shook her head from side to side slowly, as if listening to things they couldn't hear.

“The Veil is in a state of unrest here.” Solas remarked, argumentatively. “We should not linger.”

“It's not the Veil.” Hawke insisted. “Herald, we need to get out of here, now, or we're going to be overrun.”

“It's already too late for that.” Lavellan remarked. “Look.”

What they saw puzzled them. Mages and Templars fighting themselves and each other, bandits and the like fighting them. It was a free for all, and it was headed straight for them. There was no way around it. They would have to plow through, but it would be at a high price.

“Shit…Alright, Lavellan, I think I can get us through this mess…Sera, Blackwall, do you trust me?” Hawke asked, gravely, still looking at the chaos that was about to hit them.

“Of course, Hawke.” Blackwall insisted.

“Let's do somethin crazy, yeah?” Sera replied, with a wicked grin.

Before Lavellan could ask why Hawke would think to ask such a thing, that mask appeared over Hawke's face again. Sera cursed under her breath, and Solas looked angrily at it. Blackwall didn't seem phased in the slightest. Without waiting for anyone, Hawke rushed into the fray, followed closely by BarkSpawn. With both her arms free, and no magebane clouding her system, Hawke moved like a rogue gone mad, carving a path through the chaos.

It was seamless, and soon Blackwall was joining in the fray. Those two moved with each other like they had been fighting side by side for years. After the shock wore off, Lavellan and Solas began casting magic to help keep things moving, and Sera began shooting her arrows into the thick of it. It wasn't long till they knew they really would make it out of there, but Lavellan was right in thinking that it had cost them. Solas was knocked unconscious by one of the blasts a mage had sent at them, and suddenly everything stopped.

Hawke was suddenly there, catching him before he fell. “Blackwall!” She shouted, and then he was by her side too. “I can't carry him.”

“You'll cover me?” Blackwall asked, already shifting to carry the mage.

“Like you have to ask.” She said, with a playful smirk, as she took up carrying Solas's staff.

Now, without a sword, they had to run. Hawke seemed to be everywhere with that staff. Lavellan realized, as the two sent more enemies to their deaths, that just because Hawke did not use a staff did not mean she didn't know how. Together, they carved their way through the rest of the horde. It wasn't long after that that they found a quiet place to set up camp.

Lavellan took care of Solas, while Blackwall went hunting for dinner. Sera took the time to look over her bow, and Hawke just looked like she was ready to pass out. She had placed Solas's staff next to him, so he wouldn't freak out when he woke up. It wasn't until dinner was near done that Solas woke up, and by that point Hawke was asleep using the mask as shade cover. Seeing his look of confusion, Lavellan couldn't decide if she should leave him like that or not.

-

“She saved your ass, you know.” Blackwall said, handing him a bowl of fennec stew.

“Also, she played with your stick.” Sera said, with a chuckle.

“What happened?” He asked, with a groan, as he accepted the stew.

“Hawke lost her mind when you went down, that's what happened.” Lavellan said, pointing to the now sleeping woman.

Solas shook his head in confusion, and stared at the woman in question. She was sleeping, using the mask of Fen'Harel as a shade cover, with her mouth hanging open. He chuckled a little at seeing that. She was something, that was certain. He shook his head again, seeing where his mind had been about to go.

“What do you mean?” Solas asked, with a wince. His head still bothered him.

“I mean, as soon as you went down, she went ballistic.” Lavellan said, not really clarifying anything.

“She took your staff, and blew them up with it. Fire rained down from everywhere.” Blackwall added, as he got another bowl of soup. “I had to carry you out. She's a force of nature, that woman.”

He hadn't noticed when Alhasha had woken up, too busy grumbling about that blasted woman touching his things. She had even finished her stew before he'd even noticed, and by then it was too late. When he looked over at her, he knew she'd heard every word, despite the fact that no one else had heard him. However, instead of feeling guilty about that, he was caught by how reflective her eyes were in the fire light. With the wolf's fur hanging about her, it only added to the wild beauty that she had.

“I think I'll take first watch, Blackwall.” Alhasha noted, before getting up, a frown on her face.

“Of course, Hawke.” Blackwall replied. “I'll take second watch then.”

A little while after Alhasha left, Blackwall turned to him and asked. “Well, are you going to go after her or not?”

“Why would I do that, Blackwall?” Solas asked, slightly annoyed, as he was already trying to figure out what to do about her.

“I don't know, maybe because instead of being grateful that she saved your hide, you grumbled about how she touched your stuff. You weren't exactly quiet about it.” Blackwall replied, and Solas realized he hadn't been as quiet about it as he thought he'd been. “I know you travel alone most of the time, but even you should know how to treat a lady.”

He left, feeling properly chastised, to find Alhasha. The strange thing was, he did not find her in the perimeter that would have been good for setting up watch. He found her above it, sitting on a small cliff face that overlooked camp. She hadn't noticed him yet, or so he thought, but at that moment he stepped on a rune of freezing. He stilled instantly, and by the time he unfroze, he realized she was standing in front of him.

“What do you want?” She asked, her arms crossed in front of her, as if she didn't trust him anymore.

“I came to apologize.” He replied. She just scoffed, as if she did not believe him. “It was rude of me to act that way towards you.”

“Hasn't really stopped you before though, has it? This wasn't exactly the first time you've been an ass to me, you know. Arlathan must have seriously lacked for manners.” She said, scolding him. “You can go back and tell Blackwall or Lavellan that I forgive you, if it gets them off your back about it. I want no forced apologies from you.”

“How do you know it wasn't Sera?” He asked, with a small smile. So she was angry at him for more than just today, probably because he had went back to ignoring her, and she would not forgive him so easily as this.

“Sera likes to watch you squirm.” Alhasha replied. “Quite frankly, I'm finding that I agree with her.”

-

Blackwall and the others were laughing when he got back to them. Of course, seeing him, they started laughing harder than they were before. He's not sure that he wants to know what the joke is, and sits back where he had been, trying to figure out what to do about that insufferable woman. BarkSpawn scoots over a book to him, but before he can pick it up, Blackwall scoops it up. Confused, Solas was about to ask Blackwall what the deal was, when the man started chastising the Mabari.

“I know you're trying to help him, but are you trying to get him killed first?” Blackwall asked, lightly smacking the dog on the nose with the book. “These are her private thoughts. She'd skin you alive once she figured out what you did, and that's after she kills him.”

The Mabari just huffed at him, and went to sit next to Solas.

“So, how'd it go?” Blackwall asked, after putting the book back in her bag.

“She said to tell you that she forgave me if it meant getting you off my back about it.” Solas replied, with a tired sigh. “No forced apologies.”

“So she's still angry at you then?” Blackwall asked, a lot happier about this than Solas thought one should be.

“Looks that way, Blackwall.” Solas replied, with a sigh, but was quietened when he saw money being passed to Sera. “How did you know she wouldn't forgive me?”

“Because you went up there thinking you only needed to apologize for one thing, when you have a mountain of things.” Sera answered, with a grin. “Good luck getting yourself out of that mess, Shiny.”

This mission could not be over soon enough.

-

It started so subtly that he didn't even notice when it had begun. If he had to pinpoint a time, he'd go with that disastrous mission. The Mabari had apparently taken a liking to him, and the irony was not lost on him about that. He hadn't thought anything of it at first, as he had spent much of his time near the apothecary's building, and considering that is where Alhasha worked; of course the Mabari would be there. It wasn't until BarkSpawn tried to get onto the roof he was sunning on, that Solas began to wonder.

No one could look at him with a straight face for a while after that. It hadn't helped that when BarkSpawn fell through the roof, he brought Solas along with him. Even Alhasha hadn't been able to keep a straight face. Unable to hide it any longer, she laughed out loud the second she saw him, no longer mad at him. The Mabari just looked at him with a shit eating grin as if to say 'see? I told you it'd work'.

So, here he was, reduced to hiding in an alcove in the Singing Maiden. He had stopped hiding out on rooftops, because he didn't want a repeat performance of that happening again. So far, the Mabari hadn't found his latest hiding place. Varric and Dorian found his trial by Mabari very entertaining. It was here, that he heard the voice that had been haunting him everywhere.

Cullen, this shouldn't be that complicated.”

It was the voice that stopped him cold, like she had practically purred the words in his ear. Several things ran through his mind at once. She had respected his wish for instant space, not understanding the immediate bond between the two of them. Had she given up on hunting him? Was she now interested in that damned shemlen?

“Hawke, I appreciate your help, but this is war. I can't just go confessing my feelings.”

Why not? Now seems like as good a time as any.”

“This is neither the time or the place. Maybe after this is all over…”

You might not have the chance later! Are you seriously telling me you care what people will think?”

“Maker's breath, Hawke. It's not that simple!”

Yes it is, you're just making it complicated.”

“A brilliant, beautiful mage, and a hollowed out husk of an ex templar? It would never work.”

Come on! That's exactly the sort of thing Varric would write about. It'd be epic, and you know it. You're just scared. Maybe I should tell…”

“You wouldn't dare…Hawke, don't.”

Oh, it's not that bad. So your hair is a little…”

“Damn it, Hawke. That's enough.”

So, you're not thinking of her running her fingers through it right now?”

Five seconds later he saw Cullen stomp through the Tavern with murderous intent. He wisely decided not to ask him what the two had actually been discussing, as it was only at the last moment that he realized that she was not after the shemlen, the snowball fight entering his mind. Solas wasn't sure why he was relieved to know that, as he had made it his personal mission to avoid that woman whenever possible. Of course that didn't stop his blood from boiling every time he saw her flirting with someone, which was quite a lot considering her playfully sarcastic nature. It seemed that Varric was right, avoiding her wasn't going to work forever. She truly was her own force of nature, he noted, and he was finding it more difficult to ignore her with every day that passed.

“Maybe it is not wise to tease the Commander, Alhasha.” Solas said, slightly amused, trying to catch her eye for once.

She walked by him as if he hadn't spoken to her at all. She hadn't looked his way, or acknowledged if she had even heard him. He was surprised by how much that bothered him. She smiled and laughed with old friends, drank and told stories with the Chargers, but no glances were spared for him. Why did that bother him so much?

“Alright, that's it! War Room Meeting, right now! Women only!” Alhasha announced, surprising him out of his thoughts. “On second thought, Dorian, you're invited too. I need someone in my corner to help me reason with them.”

“Why are you calling a war room meeting, and why does Dorian get to go?” Cullen asked, still frustrated. “You're not even an adviser, Hawke.”

“One, because there is an important topic that needs to be addressed, and two; because Dorian is deliciously unattainable eye candy, and therefore prettier than you.” She replied, with a sly smile.

“Such flattery from a beautiful woman like yourself, Hawke, you'll make me blush at this rate.” Dorian replied, with some amusement. “Do continue.”

Fenedhis! Didn't he just get through mistaking her interest in the Commander? Now he had to deal with that showy Tevinter? Sometimes he cursed her playful nature, as it seemed that she was the only one that he'd come across that could destroy the control he had. Even now his hands clinched into fists as he shook. He was so distracted by his own thoughts that it wasn't until Varric's chuckling broke through that he looked up.

What he saw almost had him cursing out loud. Not only had Varric caught him in his musings, so had just about everyone else. Varric, Blackwall, Cullen, and Iron Bull stood there as if they were waiting for him. What did they think they were there to do? Was this some kind of intervention on their part?

“Well, you coming or not, Chuckles?” Varric asked, expectedly. “We have bets to settle, an all women's war room meeting to spy on, and we need your help; seeing as how you're our resident elf man.”

“I can't believe you talked me into agreeing to this.” Cullen grumbled. “There are reports to do, and recruits to train.”

“All that shit will be there tomorrow, Cullen.” Blackwall said, with a lazy grin. “Besides, this is fun, good for morale.”

“I will not help you spy on a lady's private conversations.” Solas stated, moving to leave.

“Come on. You know you want to know.” Varric replied, as if to entice him.

“It's not like you weren't listening in on her private conversations earlier.” Iron Bull noted.

“That was different, and foolish.” Solas argued.

“You did what?” Cullen asked, narrowing his eyes at him.

“You know they're going to talk about all of us.” Blackwall revealed, with a smug grin. “Don't you want to know what they're going to say?”

“Fuck it. Tiny, grab him. We have to leave now, or all the good source material is going to be wasted.” Varric stated, determined, as he moved to leave.

“I will walk under my own power, thank you, Child of the Stone.” Solas said, walking around Iron Bull; who looked like he really was about to grab him.

-

“Alright, now why are we here?” Cassandra asked, cross. “And why didn't you just tell us before?”

“You wouldn't have come if I'd told you before.” Hawke teased.

“Well, we're here now.” Lady Montilyet with a grin. “Let's get down to business, shall we?”

“Alright. The reason why I have called you all here today is this. There is a major problem going on, and it needs to be addressed.” Hawke revealed.

-

“What are they saying?” Varric asked, grinning.

“I'd tell you, if I could hear them over you, Child of the Stone. I still don't know how you talked me into this” Solas replied, crossly, and went back to trying to listen in.

“Blackmail, and threats of embarrassment?” Varric offered, innocently, before Solas glared at him.

- The reason why I have called you all here today is this. There is a major problem going on, and it needs to be addressed.”

“There's a problem in the Inquisition.” Solas relayed, causing Cullen to stand up.

There is a buffet of gorgeous men out there, and you lot aren't dining on a single one of them! What are you? Chantry Mothers?

His eyes went impossibly wide, making the others chuckle silently.

“She's fussing at them for their celibacy, and the buffet of gorgeous men they aren't dining on.” Solas relayed, with amusement, when Varric gave him a pointed look.

“Maker's breath. That's not a problem with the Inquisition. That's just called being professional.” Cullen muttered, turning red. Varric looks like he's about to die from holding his breath so no one hears him laughing.

Is there any way we can display the candidates for them, my dear–D

“She is not his, damn it! Why does that foul Tevinter keep calling her that?” Solas hissed, asking no one in particular, but Iron Bull starts shaking from quiet laughter.

Oh, I think I can come up with something for all of our viewing pleasure, Messere…For our first contestant for the ladies of the Inquisition. We have…(There was the feeling of conjuration magic)…He's tall, broad shoulders, well defined jawline, gorgeous locks of golden blonde hair you want to run your fingers through and pull on, and honey eyes that can stare into your very soul. Comes complete with a troubled past, and an adorably awkward shy guy complex, not to mention that sexy lip scar of his you all know you want to nibble on. It's a good thing he didn't have that in Kirkwall, or we wouldn't be having this conversation. There will be no one more devoted to you, and if you can break through all the walls he's placed around himself, no one will fight for you like the Lion of Honnleath.

“I'm learning way too much about you, Commander.” Solas bit out. In a more even tone, he continued. “She is apparently putting you all on display for the ladies of the Inquisition. I've just been given a very descriptive summary of all the Commander's…assets, and what Lady Hawke thinks of them.”

The dwarf wastes no time handing him pencil and paper to write everything down.

“Any one want to place bets on who she tries to pair us with?” Varric asks. The others quickly, but quietly, place their bets.

But he won't let me in – L – He's just so awkwardly adorable that I can't help it.

I know what you mean, but with your grace and charm, my dear, there's no way he can resist you – D

You're right about that lip scar of his too. I have to remind myself to pay attention to what he's saying so I'm not caught staring, or thinking about nibbling on it. I don't know how he hasn't caught me already! – L (There's giggling from multiple sources)

“Lavellan thinks the Commander is awkwardly adorable.” Solas relayed, when they looked like they were bored. “And she wants to…nibble on the lip scar.”

“Ha! Pay up, Blackwall.” Varric said, with a grin.

“Maker's breath.” Cullen says, under his breath, tinging pink again.

Next up…He's broad shouldered, well built, midnight black hair, and eyes that just seem to pull you to him. He's got his secrets, done terrible things maybe, but who better to patch him back up than you? He's a little older, refined, gentlemanly, but that just means that those experienced hands could take you places you've never been if you let them. Lady Montilyet, is that blushing I see?

Absolutely not…I just…he just…I'm just going to keep quiet now.– LM

“Montilyet is flustered by Blackwall.” Solas relays.

“That's 7 you owe me, Dwarf.” Iron Bull smirked.

For our next contestant. He's tall, rugged, muscular. He may be missing an eye, but that man misses nothing. I'd be willing to bet he knows how to treat a body right, and watching him walk around shirtless all day has the added benefit of constant access to eye candy. I for one, am not complaining, and I don't think anyone else is either. It's nice to finally have some Qunari eye candy that isn't trying to kill me. You lot should have seen the Arishok. If only he hadn't been trying to kill me, yeah?

He certainly is a fine specimen of what the Qun has to offer. You should see what the rest of him looks like. – D

Indeed. Do tell, Dorian, what does the rest of him look like? Is he as well…equipped as they say? I'm told he has a thing for red heads – Lil (He hears multiple women chuckling)

“Iron Bull, please tell me you haven't had sex with nearly every man and woman in Haven.” Solas asked, causing Iron Bull to raise an eye brow, and everyone else to chuckle lightly.

Why is that foul dwarf on display? - C

Because you tortured him for three days, and not once did you take advantage to touch the chest hair. That's practically a crime. I've been trying to touch that chest hair for years, and here you go wasting a perfect opportunity like that. You had him tied up and everything. Tsk. Tsk. Seeker. Did you at least get him to call you Master or something? Or is Seeker his sex name for you? Something he can safely say in public to send shivers down your spine? Oh, I'd bet it is. I never figured Varric for the type to like Punishment.

This is ridiculous – C (Solas didn't realize it was possible to hear blushing before)

If you two could stop being angry at each other, you'd probably go at it like nugs, and then we'd never get you out of your rooms. Though I suppose that Rylen character is pliable. Do you want to see if he's as flexible as he looks? I'm told Dwarves are suppose to have magic fingers though. Rylen might not have magic fingers.

That dwarf is infuriating – C

Me thinks thou doth protest too much, Cassandra

“The Seeker is embarrassed by her attraction to the dwarf, and Lady Hawke thinks he likes punishment and for some odd reason there's an obsession with the chest hair.” Solas relayed. Varric's mouth hung open instantly, so Solas could only presume he had not thought of the possibility of the Seeker, while the others snickered at the mention of 'punishment', and 'chest hair'.

“Did we even have a bet on that?” Cullen asked, hesitantly.

“I don't think we did.” Iron Bull replied, after a moment. “How did we not have a bet on that?”

“I don't know, but we should have.” Blackwall chuckles.

What about this one? - D (There was another flash of conjuration magic, though it felt different than before. Solas assumed Dorian cast this one)

Dorian, can you please explain to me why, in Andraste's name, is Solas on display now? I was told the kiss meant nothing, and he keeps ignoring me, and then not ignoring me, and then kissing me, and then going back to ignoring me again. I'm very confused by all of it.

Come now, we agreed all of them should be on display. I can go next if you like.– D

Solas stood straight, his eyes widening slightly, turning his head as if to hear them better. They were talking about him! As much as he'd tried to avoid her here lately, he did want to know what she thought of him. It couldn't be good, considering that avoidance. He was going to have to choose, he knew, knowing that this indecision was causing more damage than anything else. The others saw his change in body posture, and did not have to ask why.

You just want a chance to talk about how good you look, you great big flirt.

While that is true, it is a shame that I can't hog the limelight forever, Dear – D

Oh alright… ( si gh) …He is quiet, unassuming,...and dangerous. He carries himself with a regal grace. Once he has chosen a path, it takes an impossible force of nature to change his mind. If he is yours, he is devoted to you. He would ruin you for all other men. Not to mention he doesn't look bad shirtless, and I can attest to that personally. I've never seen a muscular mage before, like someone chiseled that man out of marble. There is something to the look in his eyes too, like he is both predator and prey. And that laugh of his is like music. No one will love you more, and he will treat you like a treasure, for the time that he is yours…for it would be limited. While you would be important to him, his cause is more so, and he would eventually leave you for it.

Unless you can stick to it to the end, and have him take you with him, or make it so that he'll be lost without you. – D

You're such a tease, Dorian. Didn't anyone ever tell you not to get a girl's hopes up like that? And here I thought you and I would run away together.

Now who's the tease? – D

“Run.” Solas said, suddenly, looking to the others.

They scrambled to get out of there as quickly and quietly as possible, Varric taking the time to snatch Solas's notes, but Solas paused. While what she said had hurt, she wasn't wrong either. His cause was the most important thing to him. He had to fix his mistakes, and this was the way to do that. However, he could not figure out how she knew these things about him when they had not spoken often.

“Come on, Dear. There's no need to be so down. You've helped several people realize their feelings. Though when I say help, I mean you hit them over the head with it in an amusing fashion. I rather enjoyed that. We should do it again sometime.” Dorian said, as they walked out of the room. The others had left before them. As he had made himself invisible, no one saw Solas. “If you're of a mind, you can join me for a drink, and talk about it.”

“Actually, I think I'll have to pass this time.” Alhasha replied. “Rain check?”

“For you? Always.” Dorian said, with a mischievous grin, before leaving the chantry, wiggling his eyebrows suggestively at Mother Gisele as he went.

When Dorian was completely gone, Alhasha leaned her head back and sighed. She sounded so tired, and it didn't look like she had been sleeping much. Come to think of it, he has noticed she is awake more often than not, working in the apothecary's shop late into the night. Suddenly her head shoots back upright, and she whirls around. For a moment, he thinks he's been caught.

“BarkSpawn, you get out from behind the statue of Andraste right now.” She orders, and sure enough, BarkSpawn saunters out from behind the stature he'd been standing near. “You smell like you've been rolling around in ham. You've been in the kitchens again, haven't you?”

Cue whining from the Mabari.

“Don't you give me that. You're going to apologize to those poor souls right now for your gluttony.” She fussed. “Now, march it, Mister.”

The Mabari looks back to Solas with a look that clearly says 'You owe me', and makes his way out. Alhasha is fussing at the creature the entire way. Solas can't help but think that he truly does owe the Mabari, and marvels at the irony of it. He's got to think of something to do about Alhasha, he knows. In his effort to remain detached and yet learn of her, ignoring her but remaining close as he's been, he has hurt her.

 

Chapter Text

Chapter 6

 

“Where is she?!” Could be heard throughout all of Haven.

Solas sighed in slight annoyance, having had a bad feeling about this. He had noticed that with Alhasha near him, he did not have the transferring dreams, as he had taken to calling them. He could simply walk the fade as he did before if he so wished, though her voice called him to stay in this world more often than not. So, it was possible to ignore the woman, but only if he kept her near him, which made ignoring her impossible. He saw her sometimes in the Fade, but refused to talk to her there, not knowing if he had that kind of permission from her.

This was getting out of hand. He had begun to care, and he could not allow himself such luxuries. There was still so much to do, and yet…When she did something dangerous, pushing herself to her limits, he could not deny that his heart would stick in his throat till he knew she was safe again. Suddenly, the door to his small hut burst in, and a very angry beardless dwarf stepped through.

“Where is she, Solas?!” Varric growled, surprising him further. It was rare for the dwarf to not use the nickname he'd given him.

“What are you talking about, master Tethras?” Solas asked, with minor annoyance. “Did you really have to knock down the door?”

“Yes, damn it!” Varric shouted, angrily. “Flint is gone! Where. Is. She?”

“How is that any of my business what you friend does with her spare time?” Solas asked, looking confused, now secretly worried. “She is her own person, is she not?”

“She went with Harding's scout group last week, to see why the mages haven't made it to Haven yet. The mages should have been here long ago.” Varric replied, his voice losing some of the anger it had, only to replace it with worry. “No one's heard from them, and now, no one's heard from Harding's scouts either. Something is wrong, I just know it. Flint never waits so long to send a reply back. You can do that out of body thing, and find them, right?”

“Not all of the time, master Tethras.” Solas replied, calmly, though now very very worried. “This is perhaps good news for you, and maybe she is simply delayed somewhere. That 'out of body thing' as you call it, has not happened yet.”

-

“Is that Antivan leather I smell?” Hawke mumbled, slowly waking up.

“It is good to see your beautiful eyes once more, Champion.” Zevran replied, charmingly. “You were asleep for quite some time.”

“Zevran?” She gasped, before cringing and rubbing her forehead. “So, how did they get you?

“Oh, you know, the usual ways. Rumors of a lively dance, your deliciously long elegant legs, and an orgy, but alas, here I am.” Zevran noted, looking around. “Come to think of it, this is actually one of the nicer cages I've had the unfortunate pleasure of being in. They really let you stretch your legs in here, and what fantastic legs they are' my dear. Sadly, this cage is not really tall enough for role play though. Have you met our friend here? Charmer, this one. He just popped in here, without any effort at all. Strong silent type, glares whenever I get close to you. I like him.”

“He's not bald, is he?” Hawke asked, still trying to rub away her headache.

“As a matter of fact, he does seem to have a remarkable lack of hair.” Zevran replied, jovially. “Wherever did you find him?”

“Oh, you know, the usual ways. He showed up in my jail cell while I'm completely naked, and asks who my owner is.” Hawke replied, with a snort.

“Ah, all the best stories should start out this way, my dear champion. I was wondering if that curious line work of yours went all over your body, like your dark elven tevinter friend back in Kirkwall.” Zevran said. She could practically hear him smiling. “You are quiet lucky, my friend, to have seen such a beauty as her unhindered by clothing. If only we could all be so lucky.”

“He doesn't seem to think so. The man's been ignoring me for some time now.” Hawke grumbled, not realizing both men could hear her.

“That is truly a shame then. Perhaps he is simply not interested. I can always be a shoulder to cry on, a comforting embrace…without clothing, for maximum comfort of course, should you ever need it.” Zevran said, with a cheeky grin.

“Zevran, you great big antagonistic flirt. How does the Hero of Fereldan put up with you?” Hawke groaned, swatting at him, playfully.

“As you know, mages can do fantastic things with magic, my darling.” Zevran replied, wiggling his eyebrows suggestively, making her giggle. “She can restrain me any time she likes. You could too, if you wanted.”

“Why are you here, Solas?” Hawke asked, finally looking over to him. He looked positively feral, ready to kill Zevran at a moments notice, and it took a moment for her to realize that he was jealous of the elf sitting next to her…so much so that he could not even hide it now. “I didn't call to you this time.”

Na tel lahna sai em i've tas.” He said, quietly. You did not call to me before also.

Melahn'an vara, mai na te gara veth nar das. Ar tel'nuvenin na amahn.” She replied, calmly. Then leave, so you can get back to your avoidance. I don't need you here.

Tholi.” He all but growled back, and instantly disappeared. Fine.

“Ah, I see now. He likes you, but is angry and confused, and has decided to avoid you. While you understand that you like him, you are angry that he has ignored you, and seek to make him beg for forgiveness. Yes?” Zevran asked, in his usual jovial manner.

“I thought you didn't understand elvhen.” She teased.

“I still don't, but I can read people just fine.” He replied, taking on a more serious tone. “Want to tell me about it? It's not like we're going anywhere.”

So, she told him everything, well, almost everything. Zevran listened through it all, only interrupting to ask a question or two, in order to clarify things for him. She didn't understand why Solas showed such an interest in her, only to turn around and ignore her. Zevran was very interested in the hot spring part, in particular. However, he was surprised to learn what he did.

“Really, my dear champion. Only you would dare steal a first kiss, your own at that, from a man you thought was going to kill you.” Zevran chuckled, leaning back against the bars of the cage.

“You keep that under your hat, Zev. I shouldn't have said anything at all.” Hawke warned, as she followed suit.

“How fortunate then, that I have no hat.” He teased. “Though I would tip it off to you, if I had one.”

-

Lanalin-thelol ishalen or ei dyrlan!” Solas shouted, angrily upon waking up.

Varric couldn't get a word in before Solas started shouting some more, so he just started writing everything down.

Ehn te as sila as air? Sai poror em mai elvyr'ela sul ra shyl shysi'len i'saryr! Brithan eir em vylal, dhamal ail ei aria, eil dirthan em as tel nuvenin em! Eil mahn ail si anbanal air asa Mabari?! As ema din rahn mahn as air, Ahn as'air tena, y'thu as'air varal sai gara tor or ra thelol taer, y as tel nuvenin em! Vara veth sai ma das! Ra'air ahn as dirthem sai em! Ahn y' shar Ar medyri sai te? As ema din rahn ahnsul ar ema sai das asa! As ema din rahn ahnsul tel'ela'ar…tel'ela'ar…” Solas ranted, angrily, pacing back and forth in his room.

“Herald!…Lavellan!…Lightning!” Varric shouted, seeing as how Solas didn't look like he was going to be slowing down any time soon. “A little help in here!”

“What in the void is going on Varric? I can hear him from the Chantry!” Lavellan said, rushing in a little while later, breathless.

“ Hang on. He's talking so fast, I'm not sure I can translate.” Lavellan whispered, looking at Solas as he's pacing the room

As suran la Ar nera aindrysol asa! Ar ema din rahn ahn Ar shar tena melahn Ar tar ra maer, ra air shyr eilelia vena asa. As tel savis tu tath. Thes'garahnen! Shyr as savis tath nuven em vis as eolasem ahn Ar'ema tol…” Solas growled, still ranting as he paced in the room.

“She acts like I enjoy ignoring her…I had no idea what I was doing when I cast that spell…that it would actually find her…She didn't even exist yet…Fuck it all…Would she even still want me if she understood what I've done…” Lavellan said, trying to translate quickly.

“Didn't even exist yet? Just how old is he?” Varric mumbled.

“What happened?” Lavellan asked, worriedly.

“I asked him to find her. He's the only one I know that can do that out of body thing, and he's connected to her somehow; I know it!” Varric insisted. “He went to sleep, woke back up, and started cussing up a blue streak. I haven't got a word out of him yet that I can understand. I wrote a bunch of it down, but I can't spell elvhen for shit, so you might not be able to translate it.”

“Let me try and calm him down. Whatever it was he saw must have bothered him badly.” Lavellan offered, before turning to Solas; who was still raging. “Solas…Solas! Felas dur. Nar dirthal tas shem. Ar'an teleolasan na. Ahn garem? Mahn'air Aenorean?

Solas looked up, like he didn't even realize she'd been there, but it was like the words got stuck in his throat. They watched as he took a piece of paper, and began sketching. It took some time, but when Varric realized he was sketching where she was, he watched more intently. It was then that he realized who the other person in the sketch was. No wonder Solas was pissed.

“Solas, if that's who I think it is, you're fucked, and I'm not talking the fun kind.” Varric remarked, earning him a glare from the reserved elf. “This elf is a former crow, a group of Assassins based out of Antiva. If he had wanted you dead, you'd be dead. On top of that, Zevran is practically walking sex on a stick, and he knows it. There's also the fact that he was very interested in Flint when he had to swing by Kirkwall. If she's even the slightest bit interested in him, you stand no chance, I will have to eat my tunic, and it will all have been your fault.” 

Ra shyl shysi'len I saryr? Ahn tyr as vyrordia itha inor ish?” Solas grumbled.

“I think the walking sex on a stick comment covers that. I can definitely see the appeal. He's quite exotic looking.” Lavellan muttered, earning her a glare from him too. “What do you want me to say? You can't ignore her, and then keep her within arms reach. That's not how this works, Solas. No self respecting woman will put up with that shit for long.”

“Ignoring her…was never…an option…was it?” Solas asked, calming down.

“Not even for a minute.” Varric replied, knowingly.

“She found the mages, and other prisoners. The scouts have been taken too. I couldn't see where they were going.” Solas sighed. “I'll need some more of the sleeping tea if I am to go back quickly. She isn't going to like this.”

“No. Most likely not.” Varric agreed.

-

Lanalin-thelol ishalen or ei dyrlan!

Mother fucking son of a bitch!

Ehn te as sila as air? Sai poror em mai elvyr'ela sul ra shyl shysi'len i'saryr! Brithan eir em vylal, dhamal inor ei aria, eil dirthan em as tel nuvenin em! Eil mahn inor si Anbanal air asa Mabari?! As ema din rahn mahn as air, Ahn as'air tena, y'thu as'air varal sai gara tor or ra thelol taer, y as tel nuvenin em! Vara veth sai ma das! Ra'air ahn as dirthem sai em! Ahn y' shar Ar medyri sai te? As ema din rahn ahnsul ar ema sai das asa! As ema din rahn ahnsul ar'tel'ela…ar'tel'ela…

Who does she think she is? To dismiss me so easily for that blond male-whore with tattoos! Looks at me pointblank, sitting in a cage, and tells me she doesn't need me! And where in the Void is her Mabari? She has no idea where she is, what she's doing, or how she's going to get out of that fucking mess, but she doesn't need me! Go back to my avoidance! That's what she said to me! What else was I suppose to do? She has no idea why I have to avoid her! She has no idea why I can't…I can't…

Solas…Solas! Felas dur. Nar dirthal tas shem. Ar'an teleolasan na. Ahn garem? Mahn'air Aenorean?

Solas…Solas! Calm down. You're talking too fast. We can't understand you. What happened? Where's Hawke?

Ra shyl shysi'len i'saryr? Ahn tyr as vyrordia itha inor ish?

That blond male-whore with tattoos? What could she possibly see in him?

-

The scene that greeted him upon his return was not what he expected. Alhasha cringed in pain in a corner of the cage they were all in. That Zevran character looked more than a little worried, as he tried to see what was wrong, but she refused to let him near her. No amount of pleading would assuage her. Zevran turned to him quickly, and pleaded with the new arrival.

“Maybe you can talk some sense into her.” Zevran suggested, more than a little frustrated. “She won't let me near her to see what's wrong, and she is in increasing amounts of pain the further we go.”

Alhasha, what's wrong? What happened?” Solas asked, alarmed, moving closer to her.

“Don't come any closer, was not a suggestion…to either of you. Damn it!” Alhasha growled, sounding a lot more animalistic than she did before.

“That's new.” Zevran noted, trying not to sound worried.

Alhasha, please. I can't help if I don't know what's going on. Another dose of Magebane, no matter how large, wouldn't do this.” Solas insisted, calmly. He could feel a shift in her entire being.

“If it were just that simple.” She chuckled, darkly, her voice pained. “There's a mage…somewhere…(Pained cry) They know I'm here…they know what I am…and they're trying to force the shift…and it hurts…Everything hurts…(Pained cry)”

Her lyrium lines lit up, but it was erratic, like a flickering flame.

“Maybe this will help.” Solas said, and without warning, grabbed onto her forearms. Before she can object, he adds “Those lyrium lines…Normally a mage would take from them. It's what they're for, I believe, but the reverse is true too. Magic can be put into them, instead of taken out. It could help you resist the other mage, help pause the shift.”

What he didn't expect was for her to also grab onto his forearms as well, and that a sharp pain would accompany that. When he looked down, blood was coming from where her fingertips touched his skin. Her fingernails had become slightly elongated and pointed. Her eyes were closed, and she kept shaking her head back and forth. She had been trembling, when all of a sudden, she stopped.

Alhasha, Itha eir em. Lasa em sai itha nar inan.” Solas asked, coaxing. Look at me. Allow me to see your eyes.

Ea son ahn na nuvenin sul.” She said, before opening them. Be careful what you wish for.

-

“Maybe sending him like that was a bad idea.” Lavellan said, nudging Varric. “Look.”

On both of Solas's arms, they could see small pinpricks forming. Blood poured from the wounds easily, and Lavellan quickly went to work healing them. She couldn't help but wonder if maybe they shouldn't have asked this of him. He seemed to have had a breakdown of some kind, or an epiphany, she wasn't sure. Some of the things he'd said hadn't made any sense.

-

Ea son ahn na nuvenin sul.” She said, before opening them. Be careful what you wish for.

Just how many times was she going to surprise him like this? He stared into the eyes of a creature he had thought no longer existed in this world of ignorance and death. When he smiled, her look changed into one of confusion. He guessed that maybe it was his turn to surprise her. It was bound to happen sooner or later.

Her shift was paused, it seemed, and now she carried even more wolfish traits than she did before. Her eyes were pure black though, barely containing any traces of the blue that had been there. Her hair was still that ink black colour, but it looked more full-bodied now. He could see her teeth had changed too, even more fang like than the drawing he had showed Varric.

Ina'lan'ehn.” He whispered. Beautiful.

“So I can shape shift into a wolf, big hairy deal.” She growled, as she let go of him and began looking around.

“If I am correct, a wolf is the only form you can take.” It was a statement, but the way he said it left if open as a question.

“Yeah…Your point?” She asked, not looking at him, her nose twitching ever so often as she looked around quickly.

“You are a Fenina, not a shapeshifter, or a werewolf. The Wolf is simply within you always.” Solas replied. “Why are you looking around like that?”

“Because we're slowing down.” She stated, as if it were obvious.

-

Aileraesardi asha!” Solas growled, as he shot up. Insufferable woman!

“Now that's not very nice.” Lavellan teased.

“I think I can get us to where they are, but I don't know why they've been taken.” Solas said, after shaking his head. “It's not just mages…I don't understand why they would need so many…and she was looking around a lot when they began slowing down…”

“If it's the Venatori, I can take a guess as to why they would need so many.” Dorian stated, alerting Solas to his presence. “Classic Tevinter blood mage parties are all the rage now, I hear.”

“She wouldn't.” Lavellan said, understanding something he did not yet.

“She would. Maker's Balls, she's got a history of that spanning back before even her time in Kirkwall. She'll do something that stupid, and if we're lucky, we'll catch the end of it.” Varric fussed, grumbling the whole time. “That is, if she's alive when we get there.”

-

The guards had been easily taken care of, once she was free of the cage. This had caused all the others to stop, allowing her to strike quickly. Zevran worked to free the prisoners, while she 'questioned' the rest of the bandits. She was so angry, she couldn't think straight. She was barely aware of Solas walking up to her, barely able to wonder how he had found her so quickly.

Alhasha…” He tried, his voice barely above a whisper, as if he could sense that something worse was wrong.

“Have the others escort the mages to Haven.” She said, her voice sounding void, even to herself. “I have to go.”

She gave him no more information, no more thought to his being than that. In her present state of mind, there was only finding her friend. They had, before she'd killed most of them, admitted to selling him to a slaughterhouse. Those people had better pray to whatever god they believed in that he was still alive, because if he wasn't, they would all die.

-

Varric watched her stalk off, not realizing yet why she'd left. The area around them looked like she was pissed, blood everywhere, chunks of earth missing or charred. Groaning alerted him to one of the bandits still being alive, and he made for him, though he noted that he wasn't the only one. Solas followed after him, though he'd looked after Flint for a bit first. The bandit was in bad shape, but he would be fine enough for a conversation.

“What did she ask you?” Varric asked, his voice steeled.

“Answer us, and we can make your death quick.” Solas offered, kneeling down to him. “There is no need for you to continue suffering.”

“Her Mabari…we sold it…needed the money…We have families…” The man said, hoarsely.

“That Mabari is her family. You will get no sympathy from me in that regard.” Varric replied, keeping his voice businesslike. “Did you tell her where you sold him?” The man nodded.

“We'll need to know where too.” Solas informed him.

“There's an old mining facility not far from here.” The man said, pointing off somewhere. “You should make it there by day break.”

“As promised.” Solas said, moving his hand roughly as if he were twisting the air. It was a magic that snapped the man's neck, killing him instantly. To Varric, he said. “We need to leave now.”

“You don't have to tell me twice.” Varric said, with a nod. “Seeker! We're going to need a sword!”

“I'm coming with you!” Lavellan shouted.

-

It had all happened so fast. She hadn't even seen the blow that would have killed her, but BarkSpawn had. He did what she would have done in his place, and took the blow when he knocked her out of the way. This ear splitting scream rang throughout the entire complex, stilling everything. It didn't dawn on her till later that it was her that was screaming.

She wasn't entirely sure how she did it, magic, blade, fade spirit, but the rest of the men died within moments. She spared them no more thought, going back to the Mabari that was so loyal to her. He still lived, but she wasn't sure how long he would hold out. He just looked up at her, and she knew that he knew, and gave a sort of huff as if to say he'd do it again. With tears in her eyes, she cracked a sad smile just for him.

“Guess you get all the alcohol this time.” She said, placing in front of him a small tin she'd found, and poured the liquid into it. For all the world, she'd swear the Mabari smirked at her before going to town on the bowl. She made to start healing him. “Now don't think…I'm going to…to let you sleep in tomorrow…You can expect the full…the full hangover experience…including…including bright lights, and…and loud noises…the works…I may even hire a marching band…Haven could throw a party or something.”

She knew, the second that she started trying to heal him, that it wouldn't work. She kept at it anyway, if only to ease his discomfort as he passed. Tears streamed down her face as she cussed at herself in her mind. If only she were a better healer, he would live…a lie, she knew. Still, she kept trying, kept talking to him.

“Oh hush now, there's no…no need to worry…about me like that, I'll…I'll cheat…I'll cheat Varric in DiamondBack for you…I'm sure the Fade…must be quite the…quite the party by now…You know how Bethany loves to…to make people smile…Mother is sure to have all your favorite treats too…She never could…She never could stop spoiling you…” She said, through her tears. “Father will be glad to see you, and…and you'll have loads to tell him. Just…Just don't tell him about the time…you got stuck in a nug trap…You'd never hear the end of the laughter, and…Don't tell Carver this, but you're my favorite…It might hurt his feelings…He's convinced it's him…I'll miss you, old friend…BarkSpawn?…BarkSpawn?…Barkspawn!!

-

It hit him square in the chest, knocking the breath right out of him, and he fell off the horse with an odd umph sound. He heard the others call out to him in alarm, but he couldn't say anything. He'd been seized by despair, and could not speak to tell them, could barely breathe. He had no way of knowing how long he was like that, or if any of them had tried to reach him, but by the time he became aware again they had set up a small camp. When he began looking around, it alerted the others.

“Andraste's great flaming ass, Chuckles, what in the Void happened?” Varric asked, almost like he was afraid of the answer.

He suddenly became aware that tears had been streaming down his face, probably had been for some time, and he put his hand to his face in surprise as he tried to say. “…Her pain…I…”

Shit! Varric cursed, angrily, throwing down a glass bottle so hard it shattered. “Tell me he isn't dead, Solas.”

“I can't…do that.” Solas replied. A realization hit him. “Tell me…she wouldn't…”

“With grief powerful enough to knock a mage on his ass?” Varric said, not looking at anything in particular as he thought about his friend. “I don't know that I can say that, Solas…She might…”

“…Because she lost…the Mabari?” Solas asked, not out of disrespect but of trying to understand.

“Not just a Mabari, the last of her original family.” Varric corrected, knowingly.

“I have to…We have to go…We have to…We have to get to her.” Solas said, standing on shaky legs.

“You're right. Someone has to get to her, but you'll make better time on your own, Chuckles. You can get your horse to go faster than the rest of us can. We'll follow as we can.” Varric replied. “Get going, and save my friend from herself, would ya? We're not that far now.”

-

Looking at her now, he almost wishes he had waited with the others. She doesn't even see him there, lost in her grief as she is. Alhasha rests beside her Mabari friend, as if they were simply sleeping next to each other for warmth. There's no life in her eyes when he looks into them, and it worries him. So he begins looking over her for wounds of any nature, hoping he doesn't find any, more worried when he doesn't find any.

Alhasha, you must listen to me…” Solas said, unsure of what would reach her.

Dara var, eil vara em sai dina.” She said, though it was so low he almost didn't hear it. Go away, and leave me to die.

“You would let his sacrifice be for nothing?” He asked, earning him an angry glare, but right now he'd take it. This was better than lifelessness. That lifelessness from her scared him. “It is clear the Mabari was very loyal to you. Nothing short of death would keep him from your side. Do not reward that loyalty with your own death. It will be an insult to his sacrifice. Alhasha, you've got to snap out of this. I don't know how to help you.”

“I told you to leave me be!” She growled, lashing out at him.

Suddenly, he was on the defensive, having to block the blows that came from her. Her anger fueled her movements, giving her speed that she may not have otherwise possessed. Try as he might he couldn't reach her. His pleas fell on deaf ears. All he could do now was block , deflect, and dodge until she wore herself out, which was surprisingly more difficult than he thought it'd be.

“This blinding rage will not help you!” He shouted…right before being knocked through a wall, and falling flat on his back next to Varric.

“I take it things aren't going well?” Varric asked, hesitantly.

“You could say that, master Tethras.” Solas replied, his voice pained from lack of breath, as he got up from the ground.

In no time at all, she was in front of him, trying to hit him. Any other time, he would be impressed with her excellent fighting skills. Right now, he was more worried about how to get her back to herself. The others looked shocked at such a development, all but Varric anyway. Solas realized that if Varric wasn't surprised, it meant he had seen this before, and if that were true than his plan to get her to tire herself out wouldn't be going as easily as planned.

-

“We do not have time for this!” Cassandra shouted, and began to move towards them…or she would have, if Solas hadn't sent out a pulse of force magic to knock her on her ass.

“You will not interfere, Seeker.” Solas practically growled, almost getting knocked out by Flint.

“He's right, Cassandra, you need to back off for now.” Lavellan agreed. “He needs to do this on his own.”

“She's trying to kill him. We can not sit by, and do nothing.” Cassandra insisted, once she got up again.

“That's exactly what you're going to do.” Varric replied, no-nonsense. “Look at her, Seeker. Right now, she's not in her right mind. She's grieving, filled with rage, and it needs to be directed somewhere. She's not trying to kill him, she's trying to force his hand.”

“Why?” Cassandra asked, confused, and then it dawned on her. “She's trying to get him to kill her?”

What?! Solas growled, angrily. Apparently, being in a fight did not hinder his sharp hearing. “You can't possibly expect me to do that!”

-

“Damn it, Alhasha, stop!” Solas hissed at the woman, as he deflected another punch. “Come back to yourself!”

It couldn't last forever, this dodge and deflect, and he knew that. She wasn't coming back down from her rage, having lost the last piece to a puzzle he didn't fully understand. All of a sudden, pain exploded across his face as her fist made contact with his nose. The force of it made him take a couple of steps back to avoid falling. He didn't have to touch it to know that his nose was bleeding.

“That's it.” He declared, angrily, having lost his patience.

He hadn't struck out during this entire thing, but he did now. Grabbing her wrist, he pulled her towards himself, and spun her around so that he could pin her arms as he held her to him. Alhasha fought like mad, trying to step on him, headbutt him, anything to get the fight to continue. All it did was end up unbalancing the two of them, and they fell to the ground. She shrieked in anger, a burst of fire magic blasting him, but he did not let go; He just hung on all the tighter for it, ignoring the pain that shot through him.

Solas wasted no time in entangling his legs with her own, insuring that she could not kick him. She continued to try and escape his hold, but with her movements restricted, all it did was make things very distracting for Solas. Fuck, that was not what he needed to think about right now. He whispered apologies, comfort, anything he thought would help calm her down. In the end, she just continued to cry, saying things that were nigh unintelligible to him.

“There's no one…who remembers…I'm the last…” She cried, those being the only words he could understand from her.

“I am truly sorry for your loss, Alhasha.” Solas said, softly. “Grieve, remember, but do not let this destroy you. Come back to yourself.”

Dala em, sathan.” She pleaded, desperate now. Kill me, please

“You can not ask that of me, Alhasha. I can not do that, nor would I if I could.” Solas replied, planting a kiss on the top of her head.

“It hurts…” She tried to say.

“I know.” He replied.

Her breath slowed down a little while later, and he realized she had passed out. Once he untangled himself from her, he carried her over to the others. A part of him wondered if the dwarf had initiated another betting ring while they had been fighting. From the looks of things, they had camp set up already, which was good.

“She finally wore herself out.” Solas said, in reply to the inquiring stares he was getting. “We should bury the Mabari while she sleeps.”

“We need to take care of your wounds first.” Lavellan insisted, as she watched him place the girl in his bed roll. “You look like shit.”

“I have felt better, lethal'lan.” Solas admitted. “Where is master Tethras?”

“Burying BarkSpawn.” She replied, looking over his face as she cleaned away the blood. “He insisted, and I didn't have the heart to tell him to wait.”

“The way she looked when I found her, lethal'lan…like she'd lost everything, and then to attack me to get me to…” Solas said, mentally shaking his head.

“You did better than Broody did when her mother died.” Varric said, walking up to them. “How's his nose?”

“She broke it, but I can heal that.” Lavellan replied, as she concentrated on healing the injury. “I was actually disappointed those two didn't get together in your stories, ma falon, especially after that incident with the Tevinter blood mages and the lyrium ritual!”

“I lost a lot of good coin betting on them too.” Varric admitted, with a small chuckle. “Their chemistry would have made for one hell of a story.”

“And you wonder why I only bet small numbers of coin.” Lavellan teased.

“Who is this Broody, and how did he deal with this?” Solas asked, both curious and jealous at the same time. A part of him realized he didn't have that right yet, but the feeling came anyway.

“I keep forgetting you refuse to read any more of my books.” Varric sighed. “His name is Fenris, an ex-slave, escaped from Tevinter. Flint helped him kill his former master, and the apprentice…and just about everyone else who tried to find him.”

“Now, Varric, you're suppose to play up the physical attributes, so he gets all jealous.” Lavellan teased. “Dark skin, deep emerald green eyes, a full head of shock white hair, one of those deep timbre chocolate on gravel voices that make you want to do terrible and naughty things in as many ways as possible, and lyrium lines everywhere…and I do mean everywhere. According to Varric, all he ever does is Brood, and wield that giant Blade of Mercy of his. Women swoon as he walks past, and they'd all have broody little babies in his honour if he'd let them close enough. The two made a great fighting duo.”

“After her brother died, he was the only one that could keep up with her fighting like she does. In turn, she is the only one who can use magic on him without it causing him pain, the only mage he really trusted for a while.” Varric explained, trying not to chuckle at Lavellan's prodding. “He became like another brother to her, and lost me a good bit of coin in the process.”

“And the fight after her mother died?” Solas asked, still not understanding.

“Her brother taught her to move like a rogue, because they sparred together, so training with Broody was almost seamless.” Varric replied. “When her mother died, Broody offered to spar with her to work out the rage…He wasn't counting on just how much rage she actually had. They both ended up with a few broken bones, and an untold amount of sprains, fractures, and bruises. I'd never seen Blondie so mad as when he thought that Broody had attacked her.”

“Who is 'Blondie'?” Solas asked, incredulously.

“Why, Chuckles? Worried?” Varric asked, grinning just a little.

 

 

Chapter Text

Chapter 7

 

In the morning, she looked lifeless. She barely spoke, or ate, and didn't move much. Varric seemed to take it in stride, and he seemed to be getting the most reaction from her. Lavellan planted a seed of a tree over where Varric had buried BarkSpawn, and between her and Solas, the tree grew to be as tall as those in the Dales. Alhasha sat by it for most of the day.

That night around the campfire, Varric began telling stories to the group, funny things BarkSpawn had done on their adventures. She seemed to come to herself slowly after that, though it was a gradual process. The more he heard, the more Solas began to understand just why they had such a love for the creature. By the time that Varric got into full swing with it, Alhasha was looking much better. Her eyes still held the sadness in them, but it was good to see that she wasn't disappearing at the moment.

“Did you truly understand him, or did you make it up as you go along?” Solas asked, curious, as he sat next to her.

“A bit of both, I suppose.” She admitted, a bit subdued. “It wasn't always like that, and there was one time where he even tried to fight me.”

“I have to admit, it was strange to see a Mabari and a wolf as comrades.” Solas replied. “It is clear that he was loved by many.”

“Father gave him to me for my birthday.” She supplied.

“You said he tried to fight you. What happened?” Solas asked. Now was as good a time as any to start learning more of her.

“I don't think you've told me this one, Flint.” Varric said, encouraging her to continue, with a subtle nod of approval to Solas.

“I was so little when it happened. I refused to give him a raw steak from the stores, and he tried to assert dominance.” She said, as she absentmindedly touched at her ear. “Father always did say I was too rash…too stubborn for my own good…He was about to stop BarkSpawn when I…” She started blushing again.

“Hawke…what…what did you do?” Cassandra asked, not understanding why she was so embarrassed.

“I…Well, he…He had a hold of my ear with his teeth, you see, when I…I jerked out of his hold, ripping my ear clean open in the process, leaped onto his back, and bit his ear too.” She admitted, sheepishly. “He shot off like the wind, running, howling, trying to throw me off. We made quite the sight, or so I was told. After a while, he just stopped. We were friends from then on. Father later told me he hadn't laughed that hard in ages. Mother was beside herself somewhere between alarm and amusement, and I learned to hide my ear because it was unsightly for a lady to be so 'mangled' as mother put it.”

After a while, and a few more stories, the others went to sleep. Solas and Alhasha stayed up, talking some more. She had so many stories to tell regarding that Mabari. Something she had said before, about being the last to remember, he understood that at least. To have a being as loyal as this Mabari had been to her, was truly a gift to cherish.

“Is that why you hide your ear from me, because of how I reacted before?” Solas asked, quietly, after some time of them sitting in companionable silence. He moved to brush her hair behind her ear for him to see, when she grabbed his wrist to stop him, her eyes panicked. “Tel ea gela or em.” Do not be afraid of me.

Ra'n tel ra.” She hesitantly let go of his wrist, and he moved her hair away. It's not that.

It didn't look that bad now, but he imagined in her early years it would have looked much worse. A good piece of cartilage was gone. He could not help but run his fingers across the area along her ear. Her shuddering brought him out of his thoughts, reminding him just how sensitive elvhen ears could be. This gave him a wicked idea.

Na myr ea, Ara'aenor.” He replied, playfully nipping at the shell of her ear. You should be, My prey.

Na sila na ane si ghi’myelan, melahn na ane si manean ailaer.” She teased, brushing her cheek against his own. You think you are the hunter, when you are the fish instead.

Ei manean?” He asked, his eyes alight with laughter, as he backed away slightly. A fish? “How am I a fish?”

Thu ema Ir shael garal na sai vaes sai em? Sharol eil melenal. Eil ahn ten maneanisal aelar?” She replied, a little too innocently.

How have I been getting you to react to me? Baiting and waiting. And what does fishing entail?

Ir tel dhrua ra. Ar ema shael vaedelaer sai ei manean.” He said, a small smile gracing his face. I don't believe it. I have been reduced to a fish.Alhasha, we should not do this…I have to fix my mistake. You wouldn't like the things I'll have to do.”

“Those sound like the arguments of a man trying to convince himself, you know.” She said, looking to him now.

“True, but they are valid reasons all the same.” He countered.

“Then why is it you look worried?” She asked, and then something dawned on her. “You did something you think I'll hate you for…or several somethings, depending on how I look at it. They must really be bad for you to be so worried. It might explain why you let me only so close, and ignore me at the same time.”

“How do you keep doing that?” Solas asked, frustrated.

“It's a bit hard to explain. It's almost like bubble thought epiphanies. It's just something I do. A good bit of my magic is kind of like that.” She admitted, leaning into him. “So…what did you do?”

“Why do you think I-” She stopped him with a look, and he sighed in defeat. Quietly, he said. “The birthmark on your ankle isn't a birthmark, Alhasha. It's a spell of identification, one specifically designed by myself…for the purpose of finding my…my mate in life. I listed qualities no one woman could possibly have, even though they were things that mattered to me, because I did not want to find anyone. I just wanted to shut them up. I had not planned for it to find you, and now that it has, I don't know what to do.”

“You know, most men would buy a girl dinner.” She teased, a little more life coming into her voice then. “Cheesy pick up lines, things from bad romance novels and the like. I hear Varric has a collection of them if you're looking for lines not to use.”

“You are not…mad?” He asked, softly, not understanding. Many would feel manipulated, or wronged in some way.

“That you cast a spell to find me?” She asked, softly, looking over to him. “It's not like the spell gave me the personality I have, Solas, that's not how those things work. I'm that crazy on my own, thank you very much.”

“What happened today, Alhasha?” Solas asked, concerned. “I wasn't expecting you to go into a rage like that. Lavellan said you broke my nose, and Varric said that wasn't the first time you'd done something like that.”

“I could always do it again.” She teased, and pretended to move to hit him.

“No!” He nearly shouted, eyes wide as he wrapped his arms around her to stop her, only to be shocked by another giggle.

“Baited again, Ara'manean.” She whispered, snickering at his reaction, as she began kissing along his neck now. My fish.

Alhasha…Na'tel'eolasa…ahn na te sai em…Na myr'tel nuven…ahn ra suleva…” He groaned, unsuccessfully trying to stop himself from shivering at her touch, as she did to him what he had done to her, and then she tentatively licked the shell of his ear. “…Fenedhis!” You don't know…what you do to me…You should not want…what that means……!!!

Suddenly, he pulled her onto his lap, their bodies pressed as close as they can get to each other. She is his undoing, he knows, and for the moment he relishes in the feeling of it. Neither of them can seem to get enough. Her kiss tastes sweet like honey, and her caresses alone send shivers through him. He caresses her neck, tracing her jawline with his thumb.

Ar tel dirtha'vhen'an…tel sai nuem na…Ar shor vara…Ar shor josa…” He says, between kisses. I can not promise…not to hurt you…I will leave…I will run…

Vana manean…Dirtha'vhen'ana la ra…myr tel…ea tuem sastvir…Es'an ane eilar danem.” She replied, in the same manner. However, at the last moment, she pulls away, and whispers in his ear. “Tua din toraji, Fen'Harel…si sahl na ithem em…Ra shar eilaedia tas fel sul na sai vara…Ar shor eilar vena na.

Silly fish…Promises like that…should not…be made anyway…They are always broken…

Make no mistake, Fen'Harel…the moment you saw me…It was already too late for you to run…I will always find you.

He could not help the small smile that tugged at his lips then, as he leaned back to look into her eyes again. She meant every word she'd said to him. It was too late for him to run…from her at least. Judging from the wolfish grin she was giving him, she knew he'd reached that conclusion too. He would have to decide soon, but for the moment all he wanted was another kiss.

-

Meanwhile, what they did not know was that they weren't the only ones awake. Cassandra, though she was in her bedroll in the tent, could see them clearly. She couldn't hear what they were saying, but she did witness their kisses. She smiled to herself, and turned over to snuggle deeper into her bedroll. It was good to know that they were no longer denying their feelings. It was a start, at the very least.

-

This time, when everyone got back to Haven, he did not ignore her. They spoke often, but he was still hesitant in his actions in regards to her, and he knew that she saw that. He wasn't even sure this was a good idea. Would she still want to be with him when all of this was over, when she realized that this was all his fault? He had told her of the conclave, sure, but did she truly understand?  Would she want to help him, or stop him? Knowing her, he knew, it might be a bit of both. Maybe Tethras would want to bet on that too.

She rarely sings anymore though, and when she does, the melody always sounds sad. He doesn't know what to do to help her, and a part of him really wished he didn't care so much. The woman has practically buried herself in her work, so much so that he can't remember the last time he saw her in the Fade. He fights a war within himself, one that should not have come to this. Help her, or watch her drown.

-

Varric couldn't believe his eyes when he finally took a look at all the things that Solas had written down from the Women's Meeting, though that had been some time ago. It included Flint's evaluation of Solas as well. No wonder she had been avoiding the elf! Her ability to read a person rivaled his own, and she knew the type of man Solas was. Damn it, he didn't want to eat his tunic!

There was nothing else for it, he was going to have to take matters into his own hands. He'd seen how Flint had buried herself in her work, and how tortured Solas looked when he thought no one was looking. So, when the rare opportunity presented itself, and they all gathered together in fellowship, Varric slowly set his plan into motion. Lavellan was laughing along with Flint. Cassandra kept glancing over at him every so often, but when he looked over at her, she'd scowl and look away. Iron Bull, Blackwall, and Cullen were in a debate about sword tactics. In all fairness though, he should not have underestimated his friend.

Lavellan, I have a dalish question.” Flint said, while the cards were being dealt again. This caught Varric's attention.

“This ought to be good.” Sera said, with a snort and a laugh.

“The stories Father told were much different than the stories I heard from other dalish. So I have questions.” Flint admitted, but there was a mischievous look in her eyes that Varric noticed. This was going to be good.

“Alright, I will try to help as I can. We've lost a lot, so I may not be able to help you.” Lavellan warned, kindly.

“There's a phrase I keep running into whenever a dalish elf is seriously pissed off at me. Nuva si Fen'Harel ver'na.” Flint explained, with an impish grin. Though Varric couldn't understand why she was so amused, he did notice how Solas had stopped moving. “Explain that phrase to me, if you would.”

“May the Dread Wolf take you?” Lavellan answered, confused. “Why would you want to know about that phrase? Does this have something to do with that mark on your ankle?”

“Well, at least Solas isn't the only one asking about my ankles now. At this rate, they'll be just as talked about as my legs. Maybe I should start showing them off more.” Flint teased. When the chuckles died she started again, sounding a little too innocent, with a barrage of questions that would have made Daisy proud. “My question is this. Why do they say that? Is it something dirty? How and where is he taking you, and do you get to pick what position you're in before you 'get there'? Why would you shout that out in public, to someone you don't even like? Shouldn't that be some kind of kinky sex talk or something? If it is, does that mean they are exhibitionists? Are they trying to tell me that they like me while trying to kill me? Should I tell them that I'm not interested in being killed in action while trying to get action?”

Lavellan can't breath, she's laughing so hard, same thing with Sera. Cullen sports deep blushes now, though Varric isn't sure if it is embarrassment, discomfort, or both. Solas is coughing, sporting a blush to rival the Commander's. Iron Bull is crying, he's actually laughing so hard, and BlackWall looks like his eyes are going to pop out every time he tries to take a breath through the laughter. Only Vivienne seems unaffected by the jokes, till Varric realizes he can see warmth in her eyes too.

“Solas, I have to ask. Sera and I were just talking about you. We need you to settle a question for us.” Blackwall speaks up, keeping the laughter going.

Solas sighs. “Sera's involved? So this question will be offensive.”

“Yes…Probably…Sorry.” Blackwall replies, making Flint snicker. He sounds in no way apologetic. “You make friends with spirits in the Fade. So…um, are there any that are more than just friends?…If you know what I mean.”

Sera, Lavellan, and Flint practically die laughing.

“Oh, for…really?!” Solas asked, clearly offended. “Of all the things to ask about spirits and the Fade, and that's your question?”

“I'm actually kind of curious about this now. I didn't even know that could be a thing.” Flint admits, much to Blackwall's amusement, as she whispers conspiratorially to Lavellan. “That's a thing?”

“Look, it's a natural thing to be curious about.” Blackwall said, defending his question.

“For a twelve year old!” Solas shot back.

“It's a simple yes or no question!” Blackwall insisted.

“Nothing about the Fade or spirits is simple, especially not that.” Solas argued.

“Aha! So you do have experience in these matters!” Blackwall chuckled.

“I did not say that.” Solas replied, coolly.

“It certainly sounds as if you have experience in these matters. You didn't say no, after all.” Flint teased, giggling.

Blackwall is rolling with laughter now. “Don't panic. It'll be our little secret.Well. You, me, and the rest of the Inquisition.”

“Ass.” Solas grumbled.

“Now who's twelve.” Flint giggled.

“Solas, you're my last hope.” Varric said, dramatically. Flint snickered and rolled her eyes at him.

“This ought to be good.” She said, with a smirk.

“Lavellan won't help me, I've already asked, and I'm too far from my spy ring of elven urchins back in Kirkwall. Flint might help, but I'd feel weird asking her help for this.” Varric goes on to explain.

“What can you possibly need my help with this time, master Tethras?” Solas asked, warily. He looked to be at the end of his rope now.

Varric pulls out a pencil and his book, and replies. “I just need a small sample of some sweet elven pillow talk for my next book.” Half the table erupts in laughter. Flint is caught between laughing, and choking on her mead.

“Absolutely not.” Solas replied, not even thinking about it.

“Awe, come on, Chuckles. It won't hurt you.” Varric pleaded. “It's not like I'll know what you're saying. You could be talking about doing the wash, and I'd never know.”

“What part of no do you not understand, Child of the Stone?” Solas asked, clearly frustrated with the dwarf.

“I promise not to mention your name or anything.” Varric added, like it was incentive.

“Oh, for the love of the Maker! If it will get you to shut up, Dwarf. Shut up and pay attention, because I'm only going to say this stuff once.” Flint huffed, in annoyance. Then, in a sultry voice that Varric didn't know that his friend could even possess, she continued. “Isalan ma gara suin em. Din nuvenin melena bell'ana. Vianas mar'vhenan sul'em. Na eolasa ara isalathen. Ir suledin var mah halam, vhenan. Ar dirtha vir’sulenehn. Ar isalan rosas'da'din sul'em.

-

Isalan ma gara suin em – Make love to me.

Din nuvenin melena bell'ana – I can't wait anymore

Vianas mar'vhenan sul'em – Open your heart to me

Na eolasa ara isalathen – You know my desires

Ir suledin var mah halam, vhenan. Ar dirtha vir’sulenehn. – Endure it a little more, the end is still long ahead, my heart. I will speak the way of joyful song.

Ar isalan rosas'da'din sul'em. – I want you to come for me.

-

Solas stills instantly, his eyes wide, before coughing as he's blushing. Everyone else is rolling with laughter again. All things considered, it should not be so easy for her to shock, embarrass, or surprise him at every turn. It had been bad enough when she'd asked all those questions in front of him, knowing he couldn't react to a single one of them. He doubted he would ever think of that phrase in the same way ever again. Now she was openly saying things he'd only dreamed of whispering into her ear as he did things with her in his dreams he did not dare attempt in the waking world, and he could not keep his shock hidden.

“Did you get all that? Do you need me to say it again?” Alhasha asked, though if it is teasing Varric or making suggestions to Solas, he knows not.

“You plan on telling me what any of that means, Flint?” Varric asked, playfully.

“You never asked for translations, and I'm not feeling that generous, Dwarf. For all you know, I could be talking about the wash, like you said.” Alhasha teased. “Shaerodaer, saerol na air el samahla sul em.” Besides, teasing you is more fun for me.

At that moment, Solas realized that maybe ignoring her at all had truly been a mistake, that maybe he should be more sure of her. As it turns out, Alhasha had a stubborn streak that was only rivaled by her playful nature, and she was putting both to work tonight. Someone had suggested a game of DiamondBack earlier, and while he was new to the game, he was skilled. Mentioning that had been a mistake too, but Blackwall told the story with laughter. Come to think of it, that's when Alhasha got a mischievous glint in her eyes.

He was sure of it now. She had to have Lavellan and Lady Montilyet helping her whittle away at his winnings. To be fair, he was still rather distracted with the things she had said…and the ideas that had put in his mind. Maybe this was payback for not paying attention to her before, or what Varric had said when they all found her, he didn't know. What he did know was that her 'tells' were very distracting, and now he wasn't even sure they were real tells.

She had a variety of them, and at first they had worked to his advantage, winning him several hands. She chewed on her bottom lip when she thought she had a bad hand, playing with her hair when she wasn't sure about her cards, and subtly pushing her breasts up as she leaned in when she thought she had a good hand. Now he realized that she had just been luring him into a false sense of security. With every round though, he thought he noticed a pattern, a tell within the tells, and he planned on using it. Occasionally he would get a look from the dwarf too, like he was trying to tell him which tells were actually tells and which ones weren't.

“Solas, I'm afraid that unless you plan on betting with your clothes, you have to step out of the game.” Alhasha said, grinning widely. “I'd be willing to take you up on it, if you're interested. It would give you a chance to earn back some of your coin, at the very least, maybe even your other shirt.”

Without even thinking about it, he jumped at the chance. “Be careful, Lady Hawke. I do believe I've discovered your tells.”

“My dear elf, you should know that a lady has no tells.” She teased. Montilyet can't seem to help herself, she's snickering so hard.

Several rounds later finds him a very sour elf. He'd realized all too late that he was not the hunter in this. He was the prey again…or rather the fish, as Alhasha had put it. While he was secretly thrilled with this, the reason why he was sour about it was because he was in front of several of the members of the inquisition, and he'd just had a thorough 'depantsing'. He's only got one article of clothing left, and he wasn't about to part with that. Varric is shaking with silent laughter, which is the last straw for Solas.

“Not a word, Durgen'len.” Solas stated, an edge to his voice.

“Well, I think I'm going to call it a night. Thanks for the game, Solas.” Alhasha announced, with a wink and a cheeky grin, and left with her winnings…and his clothes.

When she was gone, Varric stopped trying to contain himself, and burst out laughing. “I tried to warn you, Chuckles. Flint is a cutthroat DiamondBack player when she feels she's been crossed.”

“When she's been crossed? I haven't–” Solas objected.

“You showed interest, and then took it away with no explanation.” Lavellan replied, bringing Solas up short. He had done that…several many times now technically. “She told me all about that kiss at the hot springs, you know.”

“And here I thought Solas would remain a solitary monk forever.” Blackwall said, with a laugh. “Do tell.”

“Oh, it was wonderfully romantic. He found her in his dreams, after she'd called for help through them. He'd helped her escape that strange prison. They shared a kiss in a hot spring, and then he raced to rescue her from templars gone mad with red lyrium, only to ignore her completely once she was safe.” Lavellan said, smiling dreamily, though her tone had turned accusatory there at the end.

“She may be getting him back for something else. I saw them kissing when everyone had gone to bed, before we got back to Haven this last time.” Cassandra noted, casually. “Maybe he's ignored her or something since then.”

Varric turned to her, and asked. “You mean to tell me that you missed a perfectly good opportunity to tell me I wasn't going to have to eat my tunic?”

“You could do with being humbled, Dwarf.” Cassandra replied, sternly, though there was merriment in her eyes.

“That bet is probably still in the air anyway.” Lavellan replied, with a grin. “One or both of them could mess this up, and then you'd still have to eat your tunic.”

“Well, I'm going to go so that I don't have to see Solas's run of shame.” Varric grumbled, no doubt silently thankful that his tunic had been momentarily spared.

Everyone kind of cleared out after that, and left Solas with some semblance of modesty. There was going to be some kind of payback in store for this, he decided, because it had been a long time since he'd had a run of shame like the one he was in now. When he made it back to the building he'd taken for his own, he allowed himself to think on what Lavellan had said to him. Alhasha had confided in them, and they were very protective of her. He resolved that he was going to have to start paying better attention to this girl, if only to figure her out…and maybe get retribution for being depantsed.

-

Of course, Hawke couldn't resist trying on the clothes herself. What was the point of taking home the spoils if you couldn't enjoy them? Plus, she had a different bet to win. They were even more comfortable than she'd thought they would be. She fell asleep in them, enjoying the smell of him that clung to them.

The next day, she went looking for Iron Bull. Varric knew about the bet of course, so when he saw her traipsing about in Solas's clothes, he burst out laughing. She just winked at him, and grinned, on her way to the training grounds. She would return the clothes after this, she promised herself, even though she didn't want to do that. They were his clothes, and she had taken advantage of his pride to win them from him.

“Pay up, Bull.” Hawke declared, as she walked onto the training grounds.

“So you slept with him then? I'm surprised at you, jumping to sex so quickly.” Iron Boll teased, stopping his attack on the dummies.

“No. You bet that I couldn't get in his pants.” Hawke said, as she folded her arms in front of her, grinning that wolfish grin of hers. “As you can see. I am currently 'in his pants' as it were. Exact wording matters in a bet, Bull. Didn't Varric warn you?”

Instead of getting angry about it, Bull just laughs outright, and tosses the pouch to her. “So noted, Hawke.”

-

He'd been trying to find her all morning. For one, he needed to get those clothes back. For two, he'd decided to try and learn more of her. How did she know the things she did? Was her ability to hunt him a part of the spell he had cast all those years ago? She claimed to be a bad hunter, but she was doing a far better job than she gave herself credit for.

Solas did not expect to see her like that, wearing his clothes, walking around as if she did not care who saw her in them. She looked…delectable in them, even more so than she had in just his shirt before. Maybe…maybe he wouldn't need those clothes back, not if he got to see her walking around in them like that. She had that wolfish grin again, and his eyes narrowed in amusement, almost feeling sorry for the poor malefactors. Just what was she hunting now?

“Pay up, Bull.” Alhasha declared, as she walked into the training grounds.

“So you slept with him then? I'm surprised at you, jumping to sex so quickly.” Iron Boll teased, stopping his attack on the dummies.

“No. You bet that I couldn't get in his pants.” Alhasha said, as she folded her arms in front of her, still grinning. “As you can see. I am currently 'in his pants' as it were. Exact wording matters in a bet, Bull. Didn't Varric warn you?”

Bull just laughs outright, and tosses the pouch to her. “So noted, Hawke.”

He followed her when she left, wondering if she would change clothes now that she seemingly had no use for them. She never did. Instead, she seemed to dart all over Haven, doing all manner of things, before finally settling on the outskirts. She looked lost in thought again, something that seemed to happen more often than not now that the Mabari was gone. There was only one thing for it, and he hoped he could find it in time.

-

“When is her birthday?” Solas asked, coming from nowhere, nearly scaring Varric shitless.

“Look at you, all serious.” Sera noted, with a smirk. “You gonna squeeze up to her or not?”

“I think that might be what the birthday question is for.” Varric said to her, (to which Sera laughs) then turned to Solas. “Look, Chuckles, her name day was about 4 months ago. You're out of luck there.”

“Is there some foolish human holiday, or gift giving occasion coming up? Something that makes this convenient?” Solas asked, frustrated, and ignoring Sera's comment.

“Satinalia is coming up soon.” Varric supplied. Solas looked at him as if he were waiting on something, more information, maybe. “Basically, it's masks, food, and parties. It's customary to give a gift. Lady Montilyet should be throwing something together for it. She's brilliant at that. Why? What do you have in mind?”

“Thank you, master Tethras.” Solas replied, clearly wanting to keep this to himself.

“So, you and the 'Champion of Kirkwall'. Interesting.” Sera noted, looking over to him.

“Your interest is not my concern.” Solas stated, in his usual aloof manner.

“Hey, Shiny, she's good. She really is. Helps the Red Jenny's when we need it, even if she's out there with all that magic bit, yeah?” Sera retorted, defensively. “She'd shiv a baddie as fast as she would set em on fire. I like that. I am a bit surprised at you though. I thought you'd go for an elfy elf.”

“That she is not surprises you?” Solas asked, confused.

“No. What surprises me is that you're with a sometimes elfy elf. When I asked her if she was an elfy elf, she said 'Depends on the day'. I like that too. I wonder if it has anything to do with her only being half an elf.” Sera replied, with a snort.

“If you two will excuse me, I have Lady Montilyet and the Commander to speak with.” Solas said, in parting.

“You think he didn't know about that, Buttercup?” Varric asked, quizzically.

“Why? Wanna bet on it, Inky?” Sera asked, with a smirk.

 

Chapter Text

Chapter 8

 

He could always tell when something or someone else had created the world around him in the Fade. Currently, he was walking up to a small farmhouse. A human woman called out to someone he couldn't see, and then he realized that a small human, no, an elven man was walking beside him. The man was a mage, but used the staff like a walking stick. What surprises him most is the young girl that is running towards them.

“Father, you're home!” She squealed, and leaped for the man at his left. The man spins her around a few times, and sets her down. “Come on, Father! Mom made those cakes again, and she won't let me have one till you get in the house. So, come on!

“Ah, I see how it is now. I'm being used for sweets.” The man remarked, pretending to be put out. He burst out laughing when the little girl nodded enthusiastically. “I'll be in in a moment. I need to talk to someone first.”

“Okay. I'll go torture Carver! He's been an ab-sol-lute tit since you've been gone.” The girl said, smiling wickedly before she ran off.

“Be nice to your brother!” The man called after her, and then sighed. “I swear that girl is more than a handful sometimes…You can talk to me, you know. I did call you here, after all.”

“You are Alhasha's father then.” Solas replied, in realization.

“Yes.” The man stated. “Though you are the first one to call her Alhasha to me. That is good. It means she trusts you enough with her name. Mind me asking how you managed that? I always introduced myself as Hawke, so that is what she did. You can call me Malcolm, by the way, so things don't get confusing.”

“I…she…She tricked me.” Solas admitted. “The mark on her ankle gave her the knowledge of how I am. It's the only explanation I have.”

“You mean arrogant and prideful?” Malcolm said, interrupting him.

“Do you want to hear how she tricked me or not?” Solas asked, causing her father to grin sheepishly. “She knew who I was, but wouldn't tell me how she knew that, and I didn't think about the mark…too arrogant and prideful to even consider it, I suppose…There's this grin she has…It was like she was hunting me instead, and I…I'm sorry, I don't feel comfortable talking about this with you. You're her father.”

“It's a bit late to be bashful, don't you think?” Malcolm asked, chuckling.

“She…stole a kiss…after tricking me into jumping into the hot springs.” Solas admitted, looking anywhere else. “She told me her name when I demanded it. I later found out that she stole the kiss as a last request, because she thought I was there to kill her.” Malcolm burst out laughing.

“That's just too funny,” Malcolm remarked, coming down from his laughter finally.

“Why did you call me here?” Solas asked, looking to the man.

“You're ignoring her, and I want to know why.” Malcolm asked, frankly.

“I'm not…at least not anymore…sort of…Alright, I kind of still am, but…I'm thinking things through…There is a lot to consider, and deciding this is not easy.” Solas stated, looking at the area around them. “I always thought that I would have to set aside any personal wants until after my mistakes were corrected. She makes me question everything, and she doesn't hate me. After everything I've done, how could she not hate me? She looks at me like she understands, like she would have done the same.”

“You really have been thinking about this, haven't you?” Malcolm asked, in realization.

“Of course, I've been thinking about it. Even when I ignore her, I can't really succeed at it for long.” Solas said, frustrated and annoyed. “She should try to be with someone else. I can not give her that little cottage on the hillside.”

“You're assuming that's what she wants.” Malcolm stated, making Solas look over at him in confusion. “If she had wanted that kind of life, she could have easily married one of those frivolous dandies my wife tried to set her up with when they got to Kirkwall. She chose to fight, to free a city, to save her friends and family when she could. She would choose you, if you let her.”

“If she's with me, she would be hunted and hated. The world would think her a betrayer.” Solas said, shaking her head. “You can not possibly want that for her.”

“How easily you forget. She is already hunted and hated. The world already thinks her a betrayer.” Malcolm reasoned.

“It would be worse.” Solas argued.

“You sound like a man trying to make excuses.” Malcolm noted, bringing Solas up short. “What's the real reason you're so hesitant about her?”

“She should not want to be with me. She should not want what that means.” Solas said, trying to block out everything. “I do not deserve her.”

“Don't you think that's her choice then?” Malcolm asked, surprising him. “You're not the one that gets to decide if you deserve her, she is; and if she's willing to go through all of that for your stubborn ass, you should be willing to go through all of that for her, instead of ignoring her as you have been to try and make her hate you. Yeah, I know about that too.”

-

“ Come on, you. I need you for prank business.” Sera declared, looping her arm into Hawke's as if to steal her away.

“Oh? Who is it this time?” Hawke asked, glad for the distraction.

“Everyone.” Sera replied, conspiratorially.

The two had a blast setting up pranks all over the place. For Cullen, Sera suggested something brilliant. He was such a man of order, that simply unbalancing the chair just a touch would annoy him to no end. The best part is he wouldn't be able to tell for weeks, if at all. For good measure, Hawke rearranged the books in his shelves in a slightly different order every few books or so.

For Montilyet, Hawke actually suggested something magic based, which Sera wasn't interested in till Hawke explained. Montilyet was always about those reports, letters, and everything in between. So, Hawke suggested putting a spell on a stack of paper that would make anything written on it disappear after a few minutes, and reappear hours later. Sera begrudgingly admitted to liking it, but suggested they up the ante for Solas, something magic based so he'd notice but not be able to do anything about. Hawke's answering grin was absolutely feral.

For Solas, she suggested a bucket with water placed over the opening door to his building. It didn't seem like much, but Hawke explained that the bucket would always be supplied with water every time it was tipped, and that it would disappear once tipped and reappear at random times and locations throughout his small building. Sera was a little surprised, but laughed outright about the whole thing. As much as she feared magic, Hawke made it fun for her. The way she figured it, Hawke could always just kiss him till he forgave her and eventually dispel the bucket. There was also the added chance now that she could get hit by the spell too.

For Dorian, the two women set up drawers that would shoot out tons of glitter. These were conveniently the drawers he kept his wine stashes in. The play on words between that and Varric's nickname for the Tevinter mage just made things hilarious for them. For Varric, Hawke just put a spell on his quill, ink, and paper in order that no ink would stick to the pages. She included his backup quills in this, in case he switched anything out.

Sera really really wanted to shave Blackwall's beard in his sleep, but even Hawke didn't think they could pull that one off. So they opted to add a kind of hair removal solution to his shampoo. The Iron Bull was a tough one to figure out, but they finally worked out a prank that would suit him. Sera opted to putting beehives into the training dummies. Bull was always over there anyway, and it was widespread enough that a few others could fall into it too.

For Vivienne, Sera went and found some more of those poisonous lizards. It is what Vivienne would expect of her. Meanwhile, Hawke decided to put some kind of scentless adhesive inside that horned hat she wore sometimes, and sprayed a bit of it onto her pillow too. They each set off a bunch of lemon cleaning bombs in the room, just in case the adhesive wasn't completely scentless. They also made no effort to hide their laughter from her as they ran around the chantry, considering that she would know it was them anyway.

“Thanks, Sera. I needed this.” Hawke admitted, once they'd finally gotten everything completed.

“You've lost someone important, and getting angry this time won't help, but a laugh always does.” Sera replied. “So, you and Solas?”

“It's too new, Sera. I'm not even sure if we're a thing or not.” Hawke tried to explain, not quite knowing how to put it into words. “Half the time he still ignores me, or doesn't know what to say.”

“I've seen how he looks at you. You're in it, yeah?” Sera said, and then snickers. “Probably shouts elven glory when he does it. Drop 'em and rebuild the empire. Phwaor!

“Sera!” Hawke exclaims, laughing so hard she can't seem to breathe. “We've not…I haven't…Sera!”

“You being both kinds, though. You think he'll have a problem?” Sera asked, as they made their way back to the Chantry.

“I don't know. I hadn't thought about it.” Hawke admitted. “Maybe? I don't know. I don't know why he should.”

“You tell 'em!” Sera exclaimed, happily. “You're a good one, Birdy.”

-

From that moment on, Hawke had known that the conversation was coming. He had distanced himself again, for what reason she did not know, but inquisition business meant that happened from time to time anyway. His prank had been a bit anticlimactic, dispelling it himself the second it triggered the first time, not even giving it a chance to disappear. That made her think of the other pranks, and how Sera had helped her get out of her sadness for a bit. The girl was an odd duck, but that was what made Sera…Sera.

Varric was still trying to figure out what had happened to his things, having ordered new stationary and everything to get rid of the problem. It has been weeks, and Cullen still couldn't figure out why something felt off, complaining about it as he mumbled to himself. Montilyet hadn't quite figured out the mess with her papers. Neither of the women had wanted to test Liliana, so nothing had happened to her. Both the Iron Bull, and Cullen found the bees…and while the Iron Bull laughed and went on, Cullen was not happy.

The look on his face though, was priceless, and his men learned never to laugh at him again. Dorian had refused pointblank to laugh at his, though he did shake as he chuckled silently when he thought they weren't looking. Blackwall…was…pissed. He had discovered his hair coming out in chunks, only to learn his shampoo had been sabotaged. The beard remained unaffected, much to Sera and Hawke's dismay.

Vivienne couldn't even be mad at hers. The decoy of the poisonous lizards had worked, after all, and she hadn't questioned why the room smelled of lemons, assuming they'd pulled some odd kind of cleaning prank. Sera and Hawke laughed every time they saw her, when she discovered that she could not take off her hat. She'd gone to bed that night, thinking of ways to remove it, not wondering if anything else had been tampered with. Finding that her pillow was now stuck to her hat?…Priceless.

Here lately though, things seemed to be drawing to a close. Hawke wondered what would happen after that, and found herself standing before the Breach in silent study. There was something so strange about it, as if it called to her. It didn't, but there were whispers there all the same. She could almost touch it, the magic reaching out to react to her lyrium or her own magic, she did not know.

-

In the fade again…

 

“How did you know?” Solas asked, not even waiting, when he realized who had called him to this part of the Fade. “How did you know that everything would work out?”

“I didn't, but the risk was there to take, so I took it.” Malcolm replied. “You're an immortal being, and this is what worries you?”

“Are you making fun of me?” Solas asked, in disbelief. These Hawke's were something else.

“I'm dead, and the father to the woman you're interested in. What are you going to do?” Malcolm asked, arching an eyebrow at him. He had a point.

“What do you suggest I do then?” Solas asked, giving up trying to be angry at this. “She's just as stubborn as me.”

“Then you should know exactly how to go about winning her over.” Malcolm replied, with a grin that reminded Solas of Alhasha. “Surely you know how to get around your own defenses, or do you just ignore the flaws in them and hope that they will go away?”

“Have you given a thought to that? To what I am? You said so yourself. I'm an immortal being. How exactly is a relationship between her and I suppose to work?” Solas asked, grasping at straws now.

“Surely you've lived long enough to realize that love finds a way around such boundaries.” Malcolm replied, like it was easy. “Besides, you weren't born immortal were you? It was realized within your original lifetime. Wasn't it?”

That was something that they had forgotten, or chosen to ignore, long ago. They were not invincible, but they were immortal, meaning they could be killed but could not die of natural means. Had he just said love? In all the time that Solas had been ignoring her, and then…not ignoring her, he had not considered that she had already wormed her way into his very being. Then again, why else would he be looking for a mabari pup for her?

“Love…” Solas said, his voice trailing off, and sat down. He had not considered this.

“Well what else did you think was happening to you?” Malcolm asked, chuckling. “Now, get going, and quit making excuses.”

-

Solas woke with a start, and looked around…Had her father actually kicked him out of the Fade to get him to talk to her? Shit, these Hawke's really were something else, the gall of them. That man had talked about love as if it should have been the most obvious thing in the world to him. So Solas decided to walk to the Breach, passing several outposts on the way, in an effort to clear his mind.

That is how he found her, the object of his thoughts, cautiously testing the Breach, reaching out to it to feel the magic on her skin, and he knew instantly that clearing his mind was out of the question now. She looked absolutely ethereal as wispy green tendrils caressed her skin, igniting the lyrium in a soft blue glow. He has had the time, during one of the Herald's missions to the one of the farthest rifts, to think on what was revealed to him; not to mention those random Fade visits from her father. She is half one thing, half the other, and he can not understand how they can coexist in one being; yet there she stands, cautious and humble, tall and proud, existing peacefully as she is. He realizes her father is right, and can almost hear the man laughing at him in his mind.

Ina'lan'ehn.” Solas says, softly. Beautiful. She slowly turns to face him with a smile, her hand no longer reaching towards the breach, and her glow slowly dimming until it is gone. “Why do you reach for things that others choose to run from?”

“Flemeth gave me a good bit of advice once.” Alhasha replied, slowly making her way to him as he was to her. “'The world fears the inevitable plummet into the abyss. Watch for that moment, and when it comes, do not hesitate to leap. It is only when you fall that you learn whether you can fly.' Of course, she could shift into the form of a dragon, so…I'm not sure I should take her advice when it comes to leaping into things, or flying…”

“That must explain why you constantly run at something like you're part of the vanguard.” Solas teased, with a pleasant smile. “I have met no other mage that does this.”

“I was doing that before. Strange things constantly happen in my life. I had to adapt or die.” She said, putting it simply. “That just led to even crazier things. Suddenly I'm the Champion of Kirkwall, unwilling spark that ignited the Mage rebellion, and Fen'Harel still isn't sure he wants to flirt with me or not.”

“I would like to know more about these strange things that happen to you.” Solas replied, half asking, as the two sat on a bit of rock nearby. Her last comment was teasing, but it had a tinge of truth to it that he knew hurt her. “Tell me about your parents. How did they meet?”

“The way Father told it, it was love at first sight.” She explained. “The Circle he was a part of at the time was visiting Kirkwall, performing for some of the dignitaries, when he saw her. He told me it was like the crowd parted just for them. He found that this beautiful human woman called to his soul. To him, she was exotic. They ran away together…Listen, about the prank…”

“Sera's way of trying to cheer you up, no doubt.” Solas stated, putting her at ease. “It is strange to know that she is the farthest from what she should be, and yet her heart is the closest it could ever hope to be.”

“Don't tell her that. She might implode.” Alhasha said, with a snort. Her expression saddened, as if she'd thought of something unpleasant. “Solas…”

“I occasionally go on 'walkabouts' when I find that my travels keep me in large groups of people like this.” Solas explained, hoping the lie would hide what he was really doing. He did not need her discovering his plan just yet. “It has been some time since I have had someone to worry about me or miss me when I'm gone. My apologies, Alhasha.”

“It's not that…It's just that I…Well, I…I feel like such a liar…I really should have told you this before…” She admitted. She held up her right wrist, holding out an incredibly tiny chain out for him to see. “Do you know what this is?”

“This isAlhashathis is age progression illusionary magic…highly advanced. Wonderful work.” Solas said, admiring the piece. “Why are you wearing this?”

“Father gave it to me before he died, said that I would need to lead the family. Since I was the youngest, he made me this. Bethany was too passive to lead, Carver had too big of a block on his shoulders, and Mother would be too deep in her grief.” She explained, fiddling with the bracelet, not meeting his eyes anymore. “I was twelve when we made it into Kirkwall, thirteen when Varric met me…he doesn't know that. I need to tell him…sixteen when I had to face down the Arishok, nineteen when Anders destroyed the Chantry…I'm not really sure how old I am now, on the run for so long, I kind of lost track…my best guess is twenty one, maybe older. I just…Everyone needed me to be something for them, and after a while…I've worn it for years…Fenris was the only one who knew.”

“Was he aware of it when you first met him?” Solas asked, curious.

“Not at first, and when I told him, he was beyond angry. Considering his previous history with mages, it wasn't a surprise to me that he'd get mad, and he was really mad.” Alhasha replied. “After he calmed down, though, he made me a deal. Teach him things free men were suppose to know, and I could hang out at his place and just be me without the bracelet. We looked out for each other after that. He became my brother.”

“Will you show me what you look like without it?” Solas found himself asking.

“You aren't mad?” She asked, confused, finally looking back up at him. “I've been hiding things from you while insisting that you not hide things from others!”

Alhasha, you have always been worthy to know my secrets. That is, I believe, why you know them already. The spell that lead me to you would have given you access to them somehow, in an effort to combat my stubborn nature, no doubt. That part of myself has not changed much.” Solas replied, moving a bit of her hair out of her face. “I have not yet proven myself worthy to know yours. The spell would not have given me access to them.”

“When you entered the cell, the mark burned. I was a little too preoccupied to remember half forgotten stories my father told me.” Alhasha admitted. “When I touched your face, I saw…images, so many that I couldn't make sense of them all, at the time.”

“I had wondered if that was the case.” Solas said, thoughtful. “Alhasha, about the bracelet…do you still think you need to wear it?”

“No. It's mostly out of habit now.” She replied, playing with the bracelet a little.

He understood now. “This is what you meant by BarkSpawn being the last to remember. He was the last to see the little girl that was given this bracelet. Fenris only saw you once you'd made it to Kirkwall. Things had already begun to happen by then.”

She nodded, her eyes wide, before looking down at the bracelet again. He could tell this meant a lot to her, a gift from her father. She clinched her eyes closed, and took it off within the same breath. Solas's jaw hit the floor as he watched her hair spill out around her. The charm had hidden more than her age, it had hidden a lot of the wildness that she was.

Not much else had really changed. Life on the run had toned her too well for that. He couldn't stop running his fingers through her hair, like ink running through his fingers. Why the charm had hidden that, he did not know, but all thought fled his mind when she looked back up at him. Her eyes, as bright and deep as lyrium, were even more so now.

Alhasha…” He said, softly, as he was drawn into them. “I have so…(kiss)…many…(kiss)…more questions…(kiss)…I want to know everything…”

-

Varric had been hunting for her all day, but it seemed that she had simply vanished. Flint had been hanging around Sera more lately, but not today. She had talked about going up to check out the Breach up close, but she wouldn't…Oh who was he kidding, of course she would. He still had to find Solas for Cullen too.

Thing was, he couldn't find Solas either. Would the fade obsessed elf realize that Flint would be so reckless as to go off on her own like that? He hoped so, otherwise the closed off elf would get a boot up his backside. Maybe he had already gone to the Breach to find her. That seemed likely, and he began to make to trek to the Breach.

Along the way, there were small outposts set up. Each one confirmed that both Flint and then Solas had made their way past them separately. He took comfort in knowing she was safe. He was getting too old for all this running around, or at least he felt like it. He had to stop and take a breath, though almost there, when he heard it.

“What makes you different, I wonder?” That was Solas! “The Herald can pull at the Fade to close the rifts, but what I saw you do…The Fade reached out to you as if you were an old friend.”

“Maybe if I had formal Circle training, I could tell you.” Good. Flint was okay. “As it is, I run on instinct and sarcasm, if you remember.”

“If you were Circle trained, you would not be here as you are to even make a guess.” Solas stated. Varric couldn't see them yet, but he could hear the worry and concern for such a fate. “A being such as you would have been made tranquil the moment they realized what you were, what you could do.”

“I know…” Flint seemed thoughtful, which was usually dangerous. “Oh, hey, listen. I want to give you something. Satinalia is coming up soon, and I don't even know if it's something you'd care to celebrate, but I have something for you anyway, and I'm impatient when it comes to gift giving. It's silly, I know, and you don't have to accept it, but I hope you do, and-”

Na'ne eidysardi melahn na vasti.” Solas said, with a chuckle.

“I am not adorable, and I do not ramble.” Flint denied. “You take that back, right now. I am a fierce and dangerous mage, nothing adorable about that.” Varric nearly snorted, practically able to hear her pouting.

“I am sorry, Lath'in. I take it back. You are most certainly not adorable.” Solas openly teased. (Wait. He can do that?) “You are…palasha…ir'ina'lan'ehn…ei venuralas'lan…And you do not ramble. You…No, no, I can't take that one back. You really do ramble, Lath'in.”

“And here I was thinking about forgiving you too.” Flint replied, pretending hurt as she pouts, but that didn't last. “Why call me Lath'in?”

“Because, Alhasha, I have decided. It is what you are to me. You are my Lath'in.” Solas answered without hesitation. “Your father has actually been accosting…I mean, talking to me in the Fade, trying to convince me of my folly. He is right. I should not have tried to push you away as I have. It was not for you, to give you a choice to leave, as I tried to tell myself that it was. It was for my own selfishness, my goals, my secrets. I watched and ignored as it hurt you, to keep you just close enough to try and learn of you without getting involved, all while hoping that you would learn to hate me, but I can no longer stand by and do so. I was…I have been an ass. I am sorry I have been so distant since what happened that night. I have had much to think through.” (Perhaps his tunic was safer than he thought.)

“Would you still like your gift? It's not time for Satinalia yet, but I thought maybe-” She was already rambling again.

“It is not necessary.” Solas replied, though his voice was more of acceptance.

“I think that's why they call them gifts.” Flint teased.

-

Palasha – attractive

ir'ina'lan'ehn – gorgeous

ei venuralas'lan – a goddess

-

“Point taken, Lath'in.” Solas replied, with a grin. Love

He did not know what this would mean for his goals, being with her like this. Some of them had to be completed no matter what, but others…Could he maybe alter them somehow? If what he had to do caused her death, could he live in a world without her in it? He didn't want to test that out in order to know that now.

“It may not hold the weight of the Amell name anymore.” Alhasha said, placing something small in his hand. “But anyone who knows the name Hawke will know what that symbol is, and will know what it means for you to have it. If you're ever stranded somewhere without me, and need help, you show them this. If they would help me, they'll help you, if they can.”

When she removed her hand from his, he saw what she had given him. In his hand was a small ring, the kind used for stamping letters and such things, with a family crest on it that looked like the lines of two hawks flying. Instantly, he felt guilty. She was willing to help him, even when she didn't know the consequences of her choice. If the process had worked at the conclave, he would never have met her.

Na shyr te min, sul'ema em min, eolasal ahn Ar ter, ahn Ar nuva tath nuvenin sai te?” He asked, shocked.

You would do this, give me this, knowing what I did, what I may still need to do?

Vis na'shyr lasa em.” She said, softly. If you'd let me

Ema ra virajun, Alhasha, Ar shyr tel'uth ema vhellem na. Na tyr vyrordia ema dinem, eil Ar shyr'ne sildearem banal. Na shyr halani em, eolasal ra?” He asked, not understanding. What kind of woman was this?

Had it worked, Alhasha, I would never have met you. You could possibly have died, and I would've felt nothing. You would help me, knowing that?

Ar sila…Vis Ar halani…nere Ar te'vina mylerol na shyr'tel sila or y…” She replied, a bit nervous.

I think…if I help…maybe I can find solutions you wouldn't think of otherwise…

Na shyr vor nar melin? Nar vaederarol? Garahnen?” He asked, in disbelief. You would risk your name? Your reputation? Everything?

Tamahn ane rahna eirdyr min tiralas ra ane geron si vor…” She said, smiling softly. There are things about this world that are worth the risk…

Alhasha…Ar'tel av'ahn saeri rahna or na.” He said, shaking his head. She can't really be offering this. Alhasha…I cannot ask these things of you

Ra'air ahnsul ra'n lahnem ei en'an'sa.” She said, again, as she caressed his jawline. That's why it's called a gift.

-

Lath'in…Ar tel'paeraesi'na…” He hears Solas, as if it is a vow, as if it meant his life.

He hears her whisper something, but can't make out what it is. As it is, he hasn't understood half the conversation anyway. Elvhen was not a language he'd picked up, though Daisy and Flint had tried to teach it to him several many times. He'd only wanted to check to make sure that Flint was safe, and now that he knows she is, he can leave. The only problem is, now he's too close, and they'll hear him leave.

The sounds he can hear her making are a new torture for him. Varric has always viewed his friend as an innocent, and anything shattering that image is bad, even if it wins him a bet. Should he stop them? Should he sit there quietly, and hope that nothing happens? Maybe the Maker will take pity on him, and smite him where he sits.

On'ala av'ahnan taht.” Flint moans. Solas chuckles, but it's muffled somehow, as if his lips are against her skin.

Lath'in, Na myr'tel nu em mai.” Solas says, sounding a lot more predator like than Varric thought he could.

Just what in the Void were they doing? Varric can't stand it anymore, and practically leaps up, either to run away or stop them, but the sight before him makes him freezes him cold. Flint is straddling Solas's lap, with one of his hands up the back of her tunic. The other is securing her head, the elf's fingers entrenched firmly within her hair, while Solas is groaning and nibbling on her neck with great enthusiasm. Flint is clinging to Solas's neck with one hand, tentatively caressing the shell of his ear with the other, gasping under his attentions.

Solas leans back, looking into Flint's eyes with an intensity that Varric never thought he had. It dawns on Varric, just what kind of moment he's interrupting. The standoffish elf must have finally caved. This moment is a confession, an acceptance, and a plea all in one. However, when Flint smiles and begins kissing Solas as if she has taken charge of the situation, Varric decides that this is the limit of his ability to handle any more surprises of this nature.

“What in the Void do you two think you're doing up here?!” Varric can't help the words coming out of his mouth.

Durgen'len, Na'Masa!” Flint growled, angry and embarrassed, as she quickly stepped away from Solas.

Varric had no idea what that meant, but he was fairly certain that he'd just been insulted. All things considering, it was probably something about him being an ass, he knew he felt like an ass. He had a good idea he knew exactly what they would have been doing in about five minutes too, but now that he'd outed himself, the protective fatherly big brother instincts had been activated. However, he was not counting on Solas to look quite so threateningly angry. Flint sees this, and sighs, before turning back to Varric.

“Just how long were you over there listening in, Dwarf?” Flint asked, still just as angry, tears threatening to spill.

“I just…I didn't mean…No one could find you…I was worried…” Varric tried to say. “Need to talk to Solas.”

“Great. You two compare which is bigger, or the if you hurt her speech, and be done with it.” Flint growled, making her way past him. “Meanwhile, I'm going to go find a cliff to jump off of. Never been more humiliated in my life. Your name is forever Masa, Dwarf.”

-

Lath'in…Ar tel'paeraesi'na… - Love…I do not deserve you…

On'ala av'ahnan tahtBest interrogating thus far

Lath'in, Na myr'tel nu em maiLove, you shouldn't tease/hurt me so

Na'Masa – You ass

Masa - Ass

-

“Are you intentionally being dense, Child of the Stone?” Solas asked, heatedly, very much liking Alhasha's new name for the dwarf. “Did you not check with each outpost to see if we were up here…alone? Were they perhaps smirking, or snickering as you passed?”

“Yeah… Shit.” Varric cursed, as he realized he'd completely overlooked something that important. “Well, it's not like I can take it back now. So, since I'm here, I'm going to ask. What are your intentions with my friend, and what does Lath'in mean?”

“That is not a conversation I am willing to have with you right now, Child of the Stone.” Solas growled. “As it is, I am inclined to agree with her. You are an ass.

“That answers what na'masa means at least.” Varric replied, not looking phased by his anger. “I didn't understand any of the elvhen you two were spouting to each other, but there are words I would like translated. She's my friend, Solas. Just because I've bet on the two of you doesn't mean I'm not going to grill you.”

“You have three questions, Child of the Stone.” Solas spat.

“What does ei venura las lan mean?” Varric asked, struggling with the word.

“Ah, so that's how far back you were listening in.” Solas replied, with a smirk. “Ei venuralas'lan. It means – a goddess.”

“What does Ar tel pae ra esi na mean?” Varric asked, surprising Solas.

“You surprise me, master Tethras. Why do you ask about that one?” Solas asked, as they slowly made their way down.

“It sounded important, like a vow, or a promise.” Varric admitted.

“It was. Ar tel'paeraesi'na. It means, I do not deserve you.” Solas replied, impressed with how the dwarf did not seem to be wasting his questions. “I had thought you would ask about the Satinalia gift.”

“I know all I need to about that. It's the Amell crest, in some form or fashion. She doesn't give those out lightly either, and there's only one other person I can think of who even has one.” Varric replied, with a smirk.

“Fenris.” Solas answered, surprising the dwarf. “She explained more of their bond to me, that he is truly a brother to her. It would only make sense that she wish for him to feel like part of a family, by adopting him into her own in a way.”

“One last question, and then we find Flint.” Varric said, much to Solas's amusement. “Did she look younger to you, or was my eyes playing tricks on me? Her hair was never so long before.”

“That is something she wishes to tell you of herself.” Solas stated, brushing off the question. “I would suggest asking her when she is…not quite so…volatile, unless you wish to risk singeing your chest hair.”

-

“Hey, Dorian? You think I can cash in that drink now?” Hawke asked, as she made her way towards him.

“Sure thing, my dear, pull up a seat.” Dorian said, knowingly.

“So which one are we mad at?” Bull asked, sitting next to her.

Delavir durgen'len.” Hawke grumbled, clutching the tankard that was handed to her before taking a large drink from it.”Varric…I can't believe he'd do that to me…”

“Pay up, Kadan. I told you it wouldn't be Solas.” Bull said, with a smirk, before Dorian grudgingly handed over the coin. “So, what did Varric do?”

“He…he…” She couldn't bring herself to say it, and blushed furiously.

“Confessed his love to you? No, no, nothing that sordid. He loves Bianca too much anyway. Hmm, let's see now. Did he steal your small clothes for Sera? Ink in your tea? Interrupt a private moment?” Dorian mused, rattling off several guesses, until that last one made Hawke blush even more than she was already.

“Looks like that one's a winner.” Bull noted. “Question is what kind of private moment?”

At this, Hawke decides to disappear into the tankard.

“Oh dear. We're gonna need another drink.” Dorian says, realizing by now just what kind of private moment got interrupted. “Well, I suppose there's nothing for it. We have to kill the dwarf.”

“What?” Hawke asked, looking over to him, confused.

“If he saw you and Solas naked, dear, either Solas kills him or we do.” Dorian replied. “Those are the rules. Shame really, I rather liked that dwarf too.”

“It wasn't that. It could have been, but…Well, we'll never know now, now will we…” Hawke said, depressed, looking into the tankard. “We were up at the Breach. I'd went alone to inspect it again, when he found me…There was romantic confessions, kisses, and the way he held me…rough hands, soft touch, possessive and gentle all at the same time…it was nice. Got interrupted by that fucking cock blocking masa of a dwarf, and I bolted. Solas probably hates me now, because Varric is an idiot, and I'm an inexperienced bartuasha'te'lanem.”

“Alright, well I'm going to pretend to understand what that big long elvish word means later. Solas doesn't hate you, not if your neck is any indication. Those are some prominent love bites, my dear, if I do say so myself. I never knew he had it in him. He must be one of those quiet but passionate types, all buttoned up till you get him alone.” Dorian teased, slightly. “Everyone has at least one stupid friend, or one awesome friend who does something monumentally stupid. So, you're in the clear there too.”

“Then where is he? Why didn't he chase after me when I ran off?” Hawke asked, dropping her head to the table.

“My guess? Telling Varric he's an idiot, or checking on the status of your Satinalia gift. He's been trying to keep that secret, even from me.” Bull concluded, after a moment. “If you want, I can go hunt him down for you.”

“Don't kill him, kay?” Hawke asked, with a halfhearted smile. “I like this one.”

“Of course, Hawke, then you can tell us about all the long hair.” Bull teased, before he left.

-

Delavir durgen'len Stupid dwarf 

bartuasha'te'lanemFemale virgin

-

“Commander, I'm glad I caught you.” Solas called out, as he moved at a brisk pace to get to him.

“I was actually about to send for you, Solas, but Varric said he'd find you for me.” Cullen replied, seeing how hurried Solas was.

“So it's here then?” Solas asked, serious now. “I suppose that interrupting dwarf did me a favor. Not that I'll be telling him that.”

“Yes, stored away for the moment. I must say, I'm surprised you wanted one.” Cullen admitted, as they made their way.

“It is not for me.” Solas stated, his voice grave now. “Hawke is…”

“I understand.” Cullen said, before Solas could say anything else.

“Oi, Solas!” Iron Bull called out, as he made his way towards them. “What in the name of the Void do you think you're doing?”

“Getting a Satinalia gift for Lady Hawke, if you really must know, Iron Bull.” Solas sighed, in frustration, as they continued on their way.

“You're giving her the Commander for Satinalia?” Iron Bull asked, acting clueless, giving Cullen a once over with his good eye. Solas shook his head and sighed again, while Cullen just blushed uncontrollably. “Not a bad idea, I suppose. He'd clean up nice too, but I don't think Hawke will go for that, especially not after the way I just heard her describe you.”

“Not that I have to explain any of this, but I had to go through the Commander to get the gift that I will give Hawke. Apparently it's very…Fereldan.” Solas replied, frustrated and annoyed. “Now, what do you want, Iron Bull? I assume you did not come here simply to accost us, and embarrass the Commander.”

“Yeah, Hawke is at the Singing Maiden. I don't think I should have to tell you that an upset Hawke at a Tavern is a very bad thing.” Iron Bull stated. “She told me enough that I don't have to guess why she's upset. She thinks you hate her, because you didn't chase after her after she left because she was embarrassed, and Varric is an interrupting idiot. So, I'll see you back at the Tavern then.”

When Iron Bull was away, Solas returned his thoughts to his current task. “I'm afraid that I'll have to be quick about this, Commander. Something tells me I'm going to have a lot of trouble here in the near future.”

“Here you go. It's still under the age of Imprinting, but I wouldn't wait too long.” Cullen said, handing him several bags. “There's some beef jerky, and a few other odds and ends to make things easier. Trust me, you'll thank me later. Now go, before Bull gets her to try that horrid Qunari brew.”

-

“You're going to have to try harder than that, Dorian.” Hawke giggled, slamming down a glass. “This weak stuff isn't going to do anything to me.”

“I think I can fix that.” Iron Bull said, setting down a glass of something dark. “Just a small glass for you though.”

“What? Don't think I can handle a tankard, Bull?” She challenged, grinning at him.

“Tell you what, Hawke, if you can drink this, I'll give you a tankard of it.” Iron Bull amended, smirking as Dorian rolled his eyes.

“Deal!” She declared, and downed the glass. “Bull! That taste like ass!…Oh my…I can't…I can't feel my tongue! What is in this? I want another one!”

“It's still going to taste like ass, darling.” Dorian advised.

“I know, but I can't feel my tongue, and it's fascinating.” Hawke admitted, bursting with laughter, before downing the tankard. “Bull, you still haven't told me what this horrid stuff is. Don't think I haven't noticed, ma falon.”

“I believe we have finally found someone that can stand up to you, Amatus.” Dorian said, watching her with amusement. “She just spoke full sentences and everything, after drinking that swill. I can't decide if this is a good thing or not.”

“Only one way to find out.” Iron Bull replied, setting down several more tankards. Hawke just grinned that wolfish grin of hers, and the contest began.

-

ma falon – my friend

 

Chapter Text

Chapter 9

 

By the time that Solas was actually able to make it back to the Tavern, a party was in full swing. Singing and dancing were in full swing, and somewhere in this mess, he could hear Alhasha. She was laughing, but he'd never heard her laugh like this, giggling even. He quietly moved through the throng of people as he searched for her, and when he found her, he wasn't sure what to think. She was sitting on the Iron Bull's shoulder, holding onto one of his horns, as she was singing along with the Chargers.

No one can beat the Chargers 'cause we'll hit you where it hurts.

Unless you know a tavern with loose cards and looser skirts!

For every bloody battlefield, we'll gladly raise a cup.

No matter what tomorrow holds, our horns be pointing up!”

“Hawke, I have to ask, what kind of horn is that that you have?” Iron Bull asked, eyeing her drinking horn.

“The Arishok's…Well, one of them anyway.” She giggled. “After having his greatsword in my stomach, I figured it couldn't hurt to drink from the skull of my enemy, after having it properly treated, of course. Want one? I have another.”

“Would you really?” Iron Bull asked, his mouth hanging open in rare shock.

“Happy Satinalia!” She shouted, happily, shoving the horn towards him. “Solas! Solas, you need to try this drink! It's awful!

“I think I shall pass this time, Lath'in.” Solas replied, with a slight grimace. It appeared that The Iron Bull had already given her that Maraas-Lok.

“Let me set you down.” Iron Bull stated, setting Alhasha down on a bench.

“Now, Bull, I thought we established that my legs don't work anymore.” Alhasha said, seriously, before laughing outright. “If they don't start working again soon, we'll never be able to try that idea of yours.”

Solas arched an eyebrow, and waited.

“Ah, Mayhem.” Iron Bull chuckled, like he was thinking on a fond memory.

“I wouldn't worry too much, Solas. It seems Bull has roped Hawke into an idea of his.” Dorian said, when he saw his confusion. “Apparently, they want to throw her over enemy lines, so she can 'set their collective asses on fire', if my understanding is correct.”

“You're suppose to say it like it's fun!” Alhasha scolded, before breaking out into a grin. “Ah, Mayhem.”

“As much fun as that sounds, it's late, and we need to get you home.” Solas said, gently.

“Well then, We've got a long trek back to Kirkwall, or an even longer one back to Fereldan, or is the other way around? My geography is terrible.” She rambled.

Aelael min, Lath'in, na'vasti.” Solas said, with a chuckle. “Let's get you to your room, Lath'in, you need sleep.” Even now, love, you ramble.

“I do not ramble. I just talk…enthusiastically…a lot.” Alhasha denied, pouting.

Ra'n tel thu Ar itha ra.” Solas teases, not missing the way both Dorian and Iron Bull have gone slack jawed at that. That's not how I see it.

“Hoc possum adepto ut biberent.” She said, looking to Dorian.

“I'll take that bet.” Dorian stated, with a wicked grin, in reply.

“What did you just say, and since when can you speak Tevene?” Solas asked, feeling as if the situation were about to get out of his hands soon.

Ei dosan annara.” She replied, before taking another drink. A few years.

Lath'in…”

He was about to ask her what she thought she was doing, but before he could, she had leaped up out of her seat and began to kiss him. Surprised though he was about her public display, he did not have it in him to deny her, and wrapped his arms around her to bring her closer to him in response. He had thought her to be more private in her affections, but he realized he had many things to learn when it came to her…That's when it hit him, the rush of liquid, her massaging his throat, and the involuntary swallow. She'd…she'd tricked him into drinking that horrid Maraas-Lok!

“Ahck! That was…” He snapped, and then the confusion hit him. “…I can't feel my tongue.”

Iron Bull bursts out laughing. “That's one way to get him to try it.”

Fenedhis Lasa!…That was…of all the…Thes'ra” Solas growled, giving up trying to speak at the moment.

Instead, he picked her up and tossed her over his shoulder like a rather enticingly shaped bag of potatoes. This, of course, sent Bull and Dorian into more fits of laughter. He ignored them, and made his way out of the tavern. Sera opened the door for him, but not before snickering to herself at the sight they made. Alhasha just waved at everyone, and tried to get someone to rescue her.

“Too late to stop the Maraas-Lok, I take it.” Cullen sighed, seeing them.

“She…tricked me…I can't feel my tongue.” Solas admitted, glad that he was at least able to speak again.

“Does she have her key?” Cullen asked. “I can open the door for you if she does.”

“That would be…much appreciated.” Solas replied, a bit frustrated at how much effort it took to say that.

Thanks to the Commander, Solas was able to get into her room. Strange, though, how the man quickly vacated the area after that. He had been wondering why Alhasha hadn't been objecting more, and when he slung her onto the bed, he got his answer. She was asleep, having passed out on the way to her room. He would never admit it to her, but that had been an amusing trick, getting him to drink the Maraas-Lok with a kiss.

Suddenly, he realized that he was very tired himself. Alhasha looked peaceful sleeping as she was, and he found that he could not resist joining her. He got into bed, pulling the covers over them both, before wrapping one of his arms around her. She rolled over to face him, snuggling into him instinctively. He fell asleep within moments, feeling more at peace than he had in a long time.

-

Google translate latin for tavene

Hoc possum adepto ut biberent – Bet I can get him to drink this.

-

Thes'ra – Fuck it

-

She woke up the next morning feeling oddly fine for someone who'd had a drinking contest with an alcohol tolerant qunari. She made a mental note that parties like those should be a rare occurrence…just to be on the safe side. Groaning, she opened one eye slightly to gauge where she was at. She was surprised to find herself in her own room, figuring that she would have been under one of the tables in the tavern or something with crude drawings of body parts everywhere. When she rolled over, she was surprised to see Solas looking rather amused at her, and eyed him suspiciously for a moment.

“It's not fair.” She said, after a while, her eyes still narrowed as she looked at him.

“What is not fair, Lath'in?” Solas asked, softly.

“You have absolutely no bed head.” Hawke said, in an accusatory manner, as she grinned.

“Do not worry. You appear to have enough bed head for the both of us.” He murmured, kissing the top of her head. “Alhasha, why did you run away yesterday? What happened?”

-

Whatever the answer, whatever the reaction he had expected, it wasn't this one. All of a sudden, Alhasha simply went beet red from embarrassment. She shook her head, and buried her face in his shirt. This was not the confident woman he had grown accustomed to, though she still perplexed him. For the life of him, he couldn't understand why she was embarrassed now.

“It can't be that bad.” He insisted, kindly.

“I beg to differ.” She muttered, not looking up at him. “It's worse.”

Lath'in…Surely this can't have been the first time you'd gotten caught in such a compromising position.” He said, trying to sooth her. He could practically feel the heat radiating from her face now. Fenedhis! “It is?”

“Oh, it gets better than that.” She mumbled.

“What do you mean 'it gets better than that'?” Solas asked, now intrigued. She mumbled something even he couldn't understand, and he had to ask her to repeat it.

“I said, I didn't just steal the kiss from you at the hot springs, I stole my first kiss.” Alhasha mumbled, just barely loud enough for him to be able to hear.

Her first kiss? It made no sense, not with the way she looked, or how playful she was, certainly not with the kisses he remembers receiving from her. What kind of woman goes through life never knowing what a kiss feels like, only to turn around and dare to steal one from Fen'Harel? Because that's exactly what she'd done. She'd known who he was, what he had done, and had brazenly stolen a kiss from him anyway.

Lath'in…if things had continued further that night…I could have hurt you.” Solas said, realizing the state of mind he'd been in that night...or yesterday for that matter.

“The kiss was foolish…impulsive…reckless…” Alhasha began.

“Exactly what I was going to do, had you not stolen it first.” Solas admitted, moving just so that his upper body is slightly above her own. “Ill considered though it may have been.”

“I'm glad I stole it.” She teased, grinning up at him.

There is no response he can think of that covers this, and so he doesn't give one. Instead, he finds himself lost in her eyes again. They will always remind him of how lyrium shines, especially after that night in the hot springs. He says nothing as he gives her a gentle kiss, slowly leading her into a deeper more passionate one. The buttons of her shirt are almost undone by the time he's thought to undo them.

She gets rid of the garment herself when she notices. By then he is looking at the scar running along the length of most of her stomach, the one he had noticed on her back before, and he can tell she's only just now thought about what his reaction would be to it. This is not the type of scar a mage would normally have, but then Alhasha is not as other mages are, and he is no longer surprised that she would choose to stand alone against an Arishok. He can not help but run his fingers over the scar, planting little kisses along as he goes. It is how he discovers something he had not thought to ask her the night before, Alhasha Hawke is ticklish, and her laughter is soft and light in this moment as if she is trying to stop it from escaping.

“So…'The Champion of Kirkwall' is ticklish.” He says, thoughtfully, with his own wolfish grin. “I wonder who would pay to know such information.”

“You wouldn't!” She squealed, laughing as he ran his fingers over another spot.

“I might.” Solas says, his hand traces a pattern up her back as he kisses her again.

Before he can get to the breast band she wears, he hears a click…one he has long ago associated with explosions. He springs into action, instinctively covering her body with his own. She has heard the click too, and throws up a barrier a split second before there is a resounding boom throughout the space. They can both hear the debris falling around them. They stare at each other, wide eyed, as they realize they have both instinctively tried to protect each other without hesitation.

“Are you alright, Lath'in?” He asked, when the ringing dies down in his ears, unable to stop himself from touching her face as if to check to see if she really is alright.

“I think so. You?” She asked, as her hands caressed his face as if to check that he was real again.

He nodded, but did not answer her otherwise, and rests his forehead against her own. His thoughts are running so fast he can't catch them all. Was Haven under attack? If they were, why hadn't they heard anything before now? Was someone after him, or worse, her?

-

“At least now I know why you wanted in here so badly, Dwarf.” Dorian chided, as Varric now looks like he'd eaten several lemons.

Solas and Hawke are in bed together, his body covering her own protectively, their foreheads touching, each touching the others face as if to see if they were alright. Solas had been shaking until he heard Dorian speak, but stilled and looked over to them, looking absolutely feral in his anger. Dorian no longer has to wonder what an angry Solas might look like, but instead of lashing out at them, Solas turns back to Hawke and whispered something to her. Dorian took this time to look over to Varric. He almost felt sorry for him.

“I would tell you to run, you know, but your legs are so short that I don't know if it would matter in the slightest.” Dorian chided, teasingly.

“Hawke would kill him regardless.” A new arrival noted. “I'm assuming it's Hawke, unless there's someone else in there who can make him look that green.”

Hawke must have recognized the voice, because she shot out of bed faster than lightning, and tried to find her shirt. Dorian couldn't help but notice that both Hawke and this dark skinned elf had the same kind of lyrium tattoos. If this is who he thought it was, things were about to get a lot more interesting around here, and they already had a hole in the sky to contend with. He wondered how Solas would handle this new arrival. He wouldn't have to wonder that for long.

-

“Is there any particular reason the two of you could possibly give for deciding to destroy her room?! Solas asked, his voice clearly portraying his foul mood, as he looked at the pair of them.

“It wasn't suppose to do that.” Dorian insisted. “Hawke, Solas, I'm sorry. I should have realized.”

“Yes, you should have, especially after that stunt you and Iron Bull pulled yesterday.” Solas snapped, angrily. “What were you thinking, Dorian? You, at least, should know better than to break into a mage's room with a spell! That blast could have killed us, and you, had she not thrown up a barrier at the last second.”

“Who are you? Called out a gravelly timbre like voice of the new arrival.

Solas turned to face him, fully intent on blaming him for this too, when he saw who it was and his anger froze where it was. Emerald green eyes, shock white hair, dark skin, and lyrium tattoos like his Lath'in. This was the one she considered her brother, and this was how he was to meet him. Solas shook his head in both indignation and annoyance. This is not how he wanted this meeting to start.

“You're Fenris?” Solas asked, surprising the elven male though not for long, and gave a tired sigh. “I would have prefered us to have met under better circumstances. Hawke speaks quite highly of you as her brother.”

“That does not tell me who you are.” Fenris said, warningly.

“You may call me Solas, if there are to be any introductions.” He replied, trying not to get annoyed at him. Alhasha would not appreciate a fight between the two so early.

“This is Hawke's room then?…” Fenris asked, looking to the destroyed wall, Solas nodded. “Dwarf, you will explain your actions, now. Why did you conspire with the son of a Magister to destroy her room?”

“Fuck, it's like having two of Broody in the same place.” Varric grumbled, more to himself than anyone else. “I really should have reconsidered writing to you.”

“In my defense, the spell was only suppose to unlock the door.” Dorian supplied.

“Then you are unaware of Hawke's various security measures, Tevinter.” Fenris practically sneered. “As this man has stated, you are both lucky that you are not dead. After dealing with a naive blood mage, a whorish pirate, a rogue story teller, and a possessed grey warden, did you really think she'd not have defenses in place?”

“I get it, I get it, I'm in trouble.” Varric grumbled. “It wouldn't be the first time, and you've got some explaining of your own to do, elf.”

“Don't pin this on me, Dwarf, I'm not the one who was foolish enough to try and break into Hawke's room.” Fenris scoffed. “Besides, what in Andraste's name could I possibly have to explain to you…oh…Hawke?…Hawke!”

It was his last reaction that caused Solas to turn around towards the gaping hole in her room. Alhasha was standing there, after having found her shirt, the effects of the bracelet gone since yesterday. The second she saw Fenris, she squealed with happiness, running past Solas to hug him. Fenris had not been prepared to see her like that, without the bracelet to make her appear older, but hugged her back. It was clear to Solas that she had been afraid she would never see her 'brother' again.

“I doubled back once I lost the blood mages, but when I got back, you were gone.” Fenris said, into her hair. “What happened, Hawke?”

“There were more. I had to run.” Alhasha replied, still hugging him. “I tried to find you after, but…I got caught. I'm sorry.”

“I hate to spoil the moment, Lath'in, but we are beginning to draw in a crowd.” Solas supplied, gently, seeing the people beginning to gather. “Perhaps we can take this meeting to The Singing Maiden while Dorian and master Tethras clean up their mess.”

“Wait, why do we get stuck missing out on the meeting?” Varric huffed.

“Consider it suitable punishment for the destruction of her room, and what you did yesterday, Child of the Stone. Do not think I have forgotten about that, or that I would let such an offense go unpunished.” Solas said, thin lipped. “It would serve you well to miss out on something you deem worthy for the character development of your friend fictions.”

“He's still doing that?” Fenris asked Alhasha, who only nodded in response. “What did the dwarf do yesterday?”

“That is part of a conversation best had somewhere else, Fenris.” Solas insisted, with a sigh. This was already not going well.

-

The room at the Singing Maiden was much like Varric's Polatial Suite. Once inside, Hawke began maneavuering her hands in familiar motions to cancel out outside noise and keep them from being heard. What he was not expecting, what he should have expected, was for the other one to start casting magic to seal the windows too. He should have expected this, having seen that the place was crawling with mages. It made the lyrium in his skin itch.

“What is the meaning of this, Hawke?” Fenris asked, pointing to Solas. “I thought after the last one, you had sworn off other mages attempts for you.”

“This one doesn't come with feathers.” Came her signature snarkiness. “Or mage manifesto's in every third page of whatever book I happen to have, and he has yet to promise to drown a city in their blood to keep me safe.”

“I will assume this is about Anders then.” Solas stated, sitting down. “Lath'in, perhaps you should not goad him so this time. He does not appear to have much patience left, and he has had a difficult journey no doubt.”

“What happened yesterday that Varric would be in trouble with the both of you?” Fenris asked, wasting no time.

“He interrupted what should have stayed a private moment.” Solas said, his mood darkening. “There is not a lot of privacy to be had around Haven, so when you find a moment of it, you cherish it. We were sharing secrets not meant for his ears.”

“Are you responsible for her no longer wearing the bracelet?” Fenris asked, glaring at the mage sitting across from him.

“That happened yesterday, yes.” Solas answered. “She plans to tell master Tethras soon, though he should have gathered quite a bit of it on his own by now.”

“Why do you call him Master?” Fenris asked, furrowing his eyebrows.

“I am…old fashioned in many respects. It is simply an acknowledgment that he is the head of the Tethras family, not anything subserviant.” Solas replied.

“Are you after her for the lyrium in her skin?” Fenris asked, ignoring Hawke's glare now. “It would not be the first time a mage has tried.”

“No, though I doubt my saying so will sway you, and any declarations I make at this point would only seem empty and meaningless.” Solas replied. He was right, Fenris was not swayed.

“I've told him about Anders, Fenris. He understands.” Hawke said, in a pleading tone. “Please, I want you two to try to get along.”

“No one is dead yet. That is a start.” Fenris answered, gruffly.

“True.” She admitted.

“How did you meet each other?” He asked, looking to each of them.

Hawke bristled at this line of questioning, which meant this was bad. Just who was this mage? There was a secret that those two shared that she could not tell him. He knew the lengths she would go to protect a secret. He noticed that the other mage looked to her in concern, and could also see where her mind had gone.

“I don't know if I can tell you that.” She admitted.

“You don't know if you can tell me that?” Fenris asked, confused and angry. “Why wouldn't you be able to tell me that? It should be simple.”

“Secrets are never simple, Fenris, especially when they aren't mine.” She tried to explain. “You know this.”

“You expect me to be okay with this, with the two of you being together, when you can't even tell me how you met him?” Fenris asked, incredulously.

Solas sighed, and gently turned her face to him. “Na dhrua ail ish ra'el?

Is'n ara isa'ma'lin.” Hawke replied, softly. “You don't have to, Solas, not for me…” 

Vis tel'sul'na, melahn'an ehn sul, Lath'in?” Solas asked, and something seemed to pass between the two. Before he could ask what was being said, Solas turned back to him. “What is said in this room does not leave it. No matter what is said, whether you believe it or not, no matter what the dwarf or anyone else may offer or threaten you with. Do I have your word, Fenris?”

“Seeing as how I will not get the story without it, I see no other way to proceed than to give my word.” Fenris acknowledged. “But know this, Mage. Should I deem you a threat to her, I will kill you where you sit, without a second thought. Is that understood?”

“I would expect nothing less than that from the one she deems as her brother.” Solas replied, respectfully. It was odd to be so regarded by a mage, even after all this time.

“Then let's get started.” Fenris replied. “How did you two meet each other?”

“Essentially, a spell, one I had cast many centuries ago.” Solas explained. Centuries? “It was foolish to create such an important spell for the reasons of getting the others to leave me alone, but it worked, both then and now. I just did not realize it would take so long to find her.”

“I…don't understand.” Fenris stated, not liking this already. Did he just say centuries?

“The mark on her ankle.” Solas said, eyeing him. “It is not a birth mark. It is a locator spell, designed to find qualities no one woman should possess, to find the one that could be my mate.”

“The birth mark…that thing on your ankle that Merrill insisted meant that you were cursed?!” Fenris asked, looking to Hawke. She nodded, as she bit her lip.

“I am surprised any one knows of it.” Solas said, sounding tired. “It was a spell I used one time, many years ago, and never thought of again…not till I saw her sitting in that cell.”

That caught his attention too. “That Cell?”

“When I had to run, I ended up being caught by red lyrium templars.” Hawke admitted. “I don't know how long I'd been there, but eventually he just showed up in the cell with me from out of nowhere. The mark on my ankle burned, but I was a bit too focused on trying not to die, to remember what my father told me about it. Solas helped me escape.”

“Hardly, you did most of the work, Lath'in. You are the one who broke out of the cell, and freed the others when the guard showed up. All I did was free a Mabari, and give you my shirt.” Solas objected, passively. “I am still uncertain as to how my mask also got to you. It shocked and angered me at first, seeing you with it, Lath'in, but it suits you. You wear it well.”

“Your mask…” Fenris stated, as he instantly paled. So, he'd meant it when he said many centuries. “That mess was your fault?!”

He made to charge Solas, but was held back. Hawke looked at him pleadingly. Every instinct in him was screaming to kill this man, but Hawke pleaded with him to listen. He looked to the unassuming mage that had claimed the mask Hawke wore, the mark on her ankle. Fenris sat down, but he had one question before anything was to continue.

“Does the spell make her care for you too, Mage?” Fenris growled, angrily. “Do you have her under a spell for that as well?”

Fenris!” Hawke gasped.

Lath'in, it is a fair question for him to ask, do not be angry at him for that. There are spells that can mimic such things for a time, and it is what I feared you would think of me.” Solas said, trying to calm her down, before turning to Fenris. “To answer your question, Fenris, no. The only thing the spell was designed to do was find her. When it did, when it revealed her to me, I panicked. I pushed her away, ignored her entirely at times. It was selfish of me, to impose that choice on her without explaining what had happened, but I felt it best at the time. I have made many mistakes in my life, some of which I am still trying to correct, ignoring her will no longer be one of them.”

“Why?” Fenris asked, barely keeping his anger at bay.

“BarkSpawn.” Solas admitted, leaning back with a defeated sigh. “That damned Mabari knew me the moment he saw me, I'd wager. When I tried to ignore her, he started hanging around me, forcing her to find me to find him. It was as if he saw the connection between our souls, and would not let me ignore it. I owe him a debt I may never be able to fully repay.”

“Varric told me what happened, Hawke. I'm sorry.” Fenris said, remembering the contents of the letter now. “Wait…After Leandra died, we sparred to vent the rage. Who?…(he looked to Solas, who had started rubbing the bridge of his nose)You?”

“She broke my nose, pushed me through a wall, and I think at one point she may have set me on fire.” Solas replied, thinking back on it. “She attacked me because I wouldn't leave her alone to die, and then tried to get me to…”

“Why were you in her room?” Fenris asked, deciding to digest the rest of that later. He knew what Solas had been about to say.

“Varric interrupted a private moment yesterday, as I have already mentioned, and while I was dealing with him, she left. I found her later, on top of one of Iron Bull's shoulders, hanging on to one of his horns and singing drinking songs.” Solas replied, ruefully.

“It wasn't that bad.” Hawke objected, lightly.

“You gave him one of the Arishok's horns.” Solas stated, making her bite her lip. “And you had apparently drank so much of that maraas-lok, that you couldn't feel your legs anymore.”

“I wasn't drunk though, and I was issued a drinking challenge.” Hawke muttered, in her defense.

“By an alcohol tolerant qunari that knew you were upset.” Solas countered.

“I'm pretty alcohol tolerant too, you know. You're just sore because I tricked you into drinking it too.” She teased, a last defense then. It worked, because Solas was the one blushing now.

“That was a low blow, and you know it, Lath'in.” Solas said, dejected.

“How did she-?” Fenris asked, not understanding.

“A kiss.” Hawke replied, impishly.

“Let me get this straight. You tricked the equivalent of a would-be elven god into drinking Maraas-lok with a kiss?” Fenris asked, trying to wrap his mind around that.

“That wasn't the first time she'd caught me with a kiss like that.” Solas admitted, begrudgingly, the blush on his face slowly darkening. “Lavellan started a betting ring before that incident in the hot springs.”

“You can't blame me for that. You told me this morning you were going to steal one before I did.” Hawke teased. This was going to take some getting use to. His head hurt already.

“Hawke…” Fenris trailed off, not knowing what to say now.

“What? He just…kept…showing up. I thought he was hunting me, or that he was there to kill me.” She admitted, and Solas hid his face in one of his hands. “What else was I suppose to do?”

“Most people would have answered me, told me whatever I wanted to know, and then begged me not to kill them.” Solas grumbled, the blushing still obvious…and getting darker all the time, his forehead still resting in his hand. Just what did she do to him? “They would not have played upon my arrogance, and tricked me into diving into the hot spring. They would not have called my bluff, or tempted me with a kiss. You are clearly better at hunting than you give yourself credit for, Lath'in, as I thought it was you that was daring to hunt me.”

“Wait. The dwarf wrote about this too. You mean to tell me that…you're Chuckles?” Fenris asked, incredulously, unable to stop his own laughter at the situation.

He had watched the two of them banter back and forth now, when he saw it. Solas, this Fen'Harel, was bantering with Hawke as if they were kindred souls. The mage would tease her, clearly more experienced than she was at it, and yet she turned whatever he said on its ear, and then Solas was the one blushing. Neither one seemed to have the upperhand for long. Both were shocked out of their bantering when Fenris stood up suddenly, walked over to Solas, staring at him with suspicion.

“Why do you smell like beef jerky?” Fenris asked, more than a little puzzled. “Like you bathe in it. That is a lot of beef jerky.”

“I wasn't going to say anything, but he's right.” Hawke stated, looking over to Solas for an answer.

“I can't talk about that.” Solas said, instantly.

“You can tell me that you're Fen'Harel, which I'm still trying to wrap my mind around, that you made out with the woman I consider my sister, and that the two of you are somehow bonded, but you can't tell me why you smell like you've rolled around in a pond of beef jerky?” Fenris asked, in disbelief.

“Some things must remain a mystery.” Solas replied, and then with a smirk, he added. “At least, while my lath'in is in the room.”

“You keep calling her that. What does it mean? Did you just make something up because she won't tell you what her given name is?” Fenris asked, sitting back down. “She just tells me to call her little sister, or Hawke.”

“He knows what my name is, Fenris. I think he just refuses to use it in public so no one else will know it.” Hawke stated, with a soft smile. “He slips up from time to time, usually when he is concerned or worried.”

“You do not speak elvhen?” Solas asked, confused. “I thought…”

“I understand a little, enough to know that you asked if she had such faith in me, that she called me her brother, and something about this being for her. I'm not entirely sure. I was…Tevinter is not kind to elves.” Fenris supplied. “Hawke taught me most of what I know. You are trying to get out of answering questions. Don't think I haven't noticed. Now, what does Lath'in mean, and why were you in her room? You have never fully answered that one either.”

“I brought her home last night after the maraas-lok incident.” Solas answered.

-

“Give me the binoculars.” Lavellan insisted. “You two are suppose to be cleaning this up anyway.”

“You should not be feeding into their infantile behaviour, Herald.” Cassandra huffed.

“Oh, hush, you're as curious as me, and you know it.” Lavellan replied, already looking up to where the meeting was. Cassandra blushed, but said nothing. “The meeting seems to be going well…Nope, spoke too soon, Fenris just charged at Solas.”

“Anyone want to bet that he gets his heart ripped out?” Varric asked, grumbling as he cleaned.

“You're just angry because you had to stay behind.” Dorian teased, throwing another pile of debris away.

“Everything's calmed down…Solas is…I don't believe it. Solas is blushing! Lavellan exclaimed. “Like, a lot! That is some hard core blushing going on. I didn't know he could change colours like that. You should see this, Varric, he's almost purple. Too bad you can't, though. So sad.”

“Just how good are those binoculars?” Cassandra asked, and before she knew it, Lavellan handed them to her. “Wow! He is blushing!…Fenris is laughing. Things must be going well in there. I'm happy for them.”

“Wait, Fenris is laughing? I don't believe you.” Varric said, trying to grab at the binoculars. Cassandra just shoves him away.

“You're just trying to get out of cleaning your mess, Dwarf.” Cassandra accused, not taking her eyes away from the meeting.

“You don't understand. Fenris broods. He gets angry, he rips hearts out of chests, he lights up, but he does not laugh.” Varric declared, indignant.

“It seems that he has learned how.” Cassandra retorted, handing the binoculars to him.

“Andraste's dimpled butt cheeks, he is laughing.” Varric muttered, handing the binoculars back to Lavellan.

-

Lath'in, I know you wish to spend more time with him, but would you let Fenris and I speak alone for a moment?” Solas asked, looking to her. “We have…certain things to discuss.”

“Promise not to kill each other?” She asked, tentatively hopeful, before biting her lower lip.

“It will never come to that.” Solas promised.

“Alright.” She replied, and kissed his forehead before leaving quickly.

“That includes listening in at the door, Lath'in.” He called out, and a muttered 'damn it' could be heard by the men before she left. Solas couldn't help but smile. “That woman is…something else, to be sure.”

“You asked her to leave. Why?” Fenris asked, defensive.

“To tell you why I smell of beef jerky.” Solas stated, though it was clear that Fenris did not believe him. “There is a Mabari pup hidden in my room right now.”

You're hiding a Mabari pup?” Fenris asked, confused.

“It's for Lady Hawke. I'm told it is very…Fereldan.” Solas replied, thoughtful. “At first, I did not understand her love for BarkSpawn, but he proved to be loyal beyond a fault. I owe him, and I do not know how else to repay the debt.”

“That, at least, explains why you smell like you swam in a lake of beef jerky.” Fenris remarked, dryly. “Why have you not told everyone else who you are?”

“Do you really think such a thing is a good idea?” Solas asked, chuckling darkly. “She believes that I should, I know, at least slowly begin to tell people. We share many mistakes, many experiences, she and I. However, to reveal such a thing to everyone all at once…Such a thing would be a mistake, and you know it. One person is smart. Groups of people have not proven themselves to be.”

“Do I have to worry about her safety because of who you are?” Fenris asked, getting to the point.

“I can not say that I do not worry what could happen to her should others try to get to her, because of who I am, when they inevitably find out, because of who that makes her.” Solas admitted, speaking truthfully. “There are many things left to do, and some I must find ways around because of her, but the danger these things present to her is very real.”

“She knows this?” Fenris asked, fidgeting nervously.

“Yes.” Solas replied. “She does.”

“Send her away.” Fenris demanded, outright. “Threaten her life if you have to, damn it. She has no sense of self preservation. You should know this!”

“I don't think you understand, Fenris, but I have already tried that. When I brought her back here, I was set on ignoring her. I told myself it was because she would be in the way of everything that I will have to do, that she would never forgive me for the things that I've already done.” Solas admitted, leaning forward till his elbows were on the table and his head in his hands. “At one point, I physically pushed her into a wall, and threatened her life…I didn't know…I'd pushed her into a nail…pierced her lung…If Sister Nightingale hadn't alerted me to what I'd done…If I hadn't found her in time…she would have died. I don't think I have it in me to push her away again. Do not ask it of me.”

“She means that much to you?” Fenris asked, crossing his arms and waited. “Or are you just that selfish?”

“Yes, to both things. Yes.” Solas stated, and looked to him. "She does mean that much to me, and I am that selfish."

“You want something from me.” Fenris stated. “What is it?”

“Your blessing.” Solas admitted, pointblank. “You mean a great deal to her, and it may be selfish of me, but I want her to be happy, and she wants us to get along. She is my lath'in, my 'place where love lives'.”

-

“I don't know if that's something I can give yet.” Fenris stated, after a moment. “I have to talk with her about this first.”

“That is understandable.” Solas replied, though it was clear he was disappointed. “We should get going. They want to make an attempt to close the Breach today, and Lavellan will need all the assistance she can get.”

Both men stood up, and began to make their way to the door, but before Fenris could get to it, Solas turned back to face him.

“Hawke trusts you, Fenris.” Solas stated. “It is my hope that I can as well. I am…not used to sharing things after so long keeping secrets.”

 

Chapter Text

Chapter 10

 

“Hawke, are you out of your mind?” Fenris hissed, later, when he found her as they walked up the mountain. “That man is…that man is…Are you out of your Maker Forsaken mind?

“It went that badly?” Hawke asked, looking over to him. They were walking towards the Breach, several groups all at once, but he knew no one was listening in.

“That man is dangerous, more so to you than anyone else.” Fenris insisted.

“Of course he's dangerous, but he protected me.” Hawke replied. “When my room exploded, he threw himself above me without a single thought to his own safety.”

“That is one instance.” Fenris rebuked.

“It isn't the only one.” Hawke replied, bringing Fenris up short. “The mark brings him to me when I'm in danger of some kind, though he can use it to find me whenever he wants. He helped me escape that cell, woke me up when I was about to be surrounded by red lyrium templars, came to help me when the same templars made to attack me in force, and raced for three days straight to get me to Haven when I'd been dosed with another large dose of magebane. He's the type to think things through for a very long time before deciding on them, and he hasn't said it, considering how new we are, but I think…I think he might love me…Why else would he call me his Lath'in?”

“Have you given a thought to his age? Especially in regards to your own?” Fenris countered. “Hawke…The man is ancient. Have you considered that at all?”

“You know, I've thought about that, and I can't seem to make my brain worry about it.” Hawke replied, keeping her voice low. “It should scare the fuck out of me, Fenris, but it doesn't. I can't explain it. My instincts tell me it will all work out.”

“I'm not going to be able to talk you out of this am I?” Fenris huffed, in annoyance.

He might as well have been talking to the moon in that moment. Hawke had taken to staring off at what he had assumed was nothing, till he looked over in that direction. Across the way, Solas looked up as if he'd sensed something, and turned to face her with a soft smile. She blushed, and went back to looking ahead while Solas went back to speaking with the Herald. Were they really so attuned to each other that they knew the moment the other was searching for them?

-

“Fenris, I thought you'd still be over there trying to talk our dear Hawke away from Solas.” Dorian greeted, playfully.

“I'm sorry, what was that, Tevinter? I'm afraid I couldn't hear you over your outfit.” Fenris scoffed, causing a myriad of laughter from some of the surrounding people.

“What are you doing over here, really?” Lavellan asked, curious.

“I'm testing something.” Fenris replied, softly. “Maybe last time was a fluke. I want to see if I can see it from here too.”

Sure enough, the moment came a few minutes later. During a break in conversation, Solas looked over to Hawke, and he could have been a thousand miles away or one, a soft smile on his face. Hawke looked over to Solas almost automatically, and the two instantly smiled before looking back to what ever it was they had been doing. Fenris couldn't believe it, and looked to the others for confirmation. Dorian was chuckling, Lavellan just smiled, and Varric shook his head with a smile.

“Do they know they're doing that?” Fenris asked, quietly.

“I have no idea, but it's adorable.” Lavellan cooed.

“Is no one worried about this?” Fenris asked, gesturing towards the two in question. “She's much younger than him, if you haven't noticed. If Anders was too old, I know Solas has to be.”

“What I've noticed, is that while you've been talking to us about them, Chuckles has escaped us and is now over there with Flint.” Varric replied, with a smirk.

-

“He doesn't like me.” Solas commented, surprising Alhasha out of her thoughts.

“He…takes time warming up to people. He hated me when he first met me, tried to kill me when he realized what I was, now we're family.” Alhasha replied, unaffected. “We did give him a lot to think about, you know. Give him time to work through things in his mind. Despite his objections to the term, he does…brood.”

“I do not brood.” Fenris remarked, falling into step beside her.

“I'm sorry. You just think really really hard, and make smoldering angry faces while you're going about it.” Alhasha offered. “You forget. I have seen the women swoon as you walk past. I can almost guarantee they would have had broody little babies in your honour too.”

“Solas, why does it look like you've been gnawing on her neck?” Fenris asked, outright, looking unsure of how to proceed in fulfilling his suto brotherly duty. Apparently, Solas noted, it was possible to see blush through such dark skin.

“Probably because I have been.” Solas replied, nonchalantly without missing a beat. Alhasha coughs in an effort not to laugh. “She is…delicious.”

“I regret asking this already…It's just…Is it a lyrium thing, or is it her? Is this some oddly exclusive Mage fetish or something?” Fenris asked, now looking thoroughly embarrassed, trying to look anywhere else really.

“Who is it?” Alhasha asked, with a big grin, realizing Solas's game.

“I'm sorry?” Fenris asked, puzzled.

“Oh, don't you give me that. You're asking very pointed questions, you know.” Alhasha asked, in a teasing tone. “So, who is it? What mage is after your neck to nibble on? Am I going to have to pull the protective little sister routine?”

“There is…I do not…This is not about me, it's about you, and things I'm not sure are appropriate.” Fenris scoffed.

“If it helps, tell whoever it is that you know for a fact that they taste like fire in their blood, or you could just let them try it for themselves. I highly recommend that option. She seems to enjoy it enough.” Solas offered, grinning slightly. Fenris scoffed, highly embarrassed, and left them.

“You did that on purpose.” Alhasha accused, though there was no anger in her voice.

“So did you.” He teased.

“So is that really why you like to nibble on my neck so much?” She asked, looking up at him.

“Partially.” Solas replied, leaning in close to make sure these words would reach her ears only. “There are also these little sounds you make that I enjoy hearing, Lath'in.”

“Tease.” She grumbled, when he moved away. He chuckled under his breath as he moved to begin setting up preparations for the attempt to close the Breach.

-

“Focus on the Herald!” She heard Solas shout.

It would work this time, she could feel it. With the mages pouring their magic into her, she could actually feel the rift closing slowly. Lavellan jolted when she felt a hand touch her shoulder, and when she looked, she saw Hawke standing there with her. It took her a moment to realize that she was giving her access to her lyrium lines. A hand on the other side of her alerted her to Fenris doing the same.

-

A resounding boom rocked the ruins, and sent everyone sprawling out. By the time that he was able to sit up, many were already celebrating. The Herald had done it, with the help of those around her, she'd closed the Breach. A part of his mistake had been corrected, and yet something was missing. Alhasha, Alhasha was missing!

“Lady Hawke?…Alhasha?Lath'in?” Solas shouted, looking through the ruins. “Alhasha!

“She's over here!” Sera shouted, waving her arms. “Looks like she hit her head when the Breach thingy pushed back.”

Alhasha!…” Solas was by her side before Sera had finished talking, using his magic to feel for any injuries. “Everything is fine.Why isn't she waking up?”

“Ughng…” Alhasha groaned suddenly, moving her hands to hold her head. “The Fade tastes like ass.”

“Well, why did you lick it?” Sera asked, incredulously, and the two descend into giggles.

Alhasha…” Solas said, coming down from his worry, as he helped her sit up. “What happened?”

She groaned, leaning into him. “Did it work? Is Lavellan alright?”

“Yes. We're going back down to Haven now.” Solas replied, glad she was alright. “Are you okay to stand?”

“I think so.” She said, as he helped her up. She took one step forward, and collapsed before Solas could grab her. “I believe that's a no on the walking, then. Maybe I can just sit here for the next few months, and just admire the snow…It's quite nice…I'm thinking about melting it.”

Alhasha, if you do that, how will I be able to give you your Satinalia gift?” Solas asked, with a slight smile. It did little to hide how worried he was still.

“Ugh, I think I'm going to be sick.” She said, suddenly alarmed, and scrambled over to the edge of the hill. No one likes being watched while they throw up, and so he looked away in an effort to give her the needed space while still remaining close enough should she need something.

Solas!” Never before had he heard Sera call for him with such a serious tone.

“What's wr-”

He was going to ask what was wrong, but he needn't have asked. He saw it the moment he looked over her form. Sera wouldn't have shouted at him to get him to look at normal throw up…Well, maybe she would…but not today. Alhasha was throwing up blood, and shivering badly. Sera looked up at him helplessly, absentmindedly rubbing Alhasha's back in comfort.

“We need a healer over here now!” Solas shouted, urgently, before moving closer to Alhasha. “I could not sense what is wrong, Alhasha. Either I do not have the power to heal it, or it was blocked from my senses.”

“It's alright…I just hate being sick…I'll be fine…” She said, weakly. A healer was there soon, and began looking over her.

“I don't understand it. I can't sense anything with my magic, and yet we know something is wrong.” The healer admitted, scratching his head.

“Then it is something that is being blocked from our senses.” Solas declared.

“A disguised poison of some kind, maybe.” The healer suggested. “Tell me, Messere Hawke, what did you eat today?”

“Not much…a messenger was headed towards…my room…a box of sweet buns…I'd skipped breakfast, so I ate a few…The box should still be there.” Alhasha said, shivering.

“Sera.” Solas said, about to ask her to find the box.

“I'm on it.” Sera shouted out back, already running.

“We'll head down as soon as we can get her stable.” Solas said, looking to the healer. When he was gone, he looked to Alhasha. “The truth this time, Lath'in, all of it.”

“The messenger was headed towards my room, but it wasn't my room he was looking for, it was yours…I think. It could have been mine, the messenger never said exactly. He said it was for the one living next to the Apothecary's shop. That could be either of us. A gift from a secret admirer, the messenger said.” Alhasha admitted. “I was going to throw them away, but they were my favorite, and I was hungry, and there was no time to get anything else. I didn't say that to the healer just in case…”

“In case he is who poisoned them, In which case, he wouldn't think we suspect him or anyone else for that matter.” Solas said, with a nod, fear had gripped him hard. “Fenris was right. You are in danger because of me. We can not do this, Alhasha.”

“Oh no you dont.” Alhasha growled, sitting back up, shocking him. She took a bit of snow, swished it around a bit, and spat it back out over the hill. “You don't get to push me away when things get a little dangerous, Solas. This doesn't even rate a one on the bad shit that's happened in my life.”

Alhasha, being around me is dangerous.” Solas argued. “You have to see that!”

“Oh, so it's Alasvunin then?” She scoffed. Solas turned his head away from her. “You don't get to decide when I'm in danger. You met me in a fucking jail cell, remember?”

“Alhash-” Solas interjected, or tried to, but she cut him off.

No. Before you showed up, I already had four nations angry at me, and that's not old hatred. That's brand new blinding white hot hatred. I have never been safe, always hiding, running, or being threatened and blackmailed. I couldn't even tell you what safe feels like, you arrogant, egotistical, overblown jackass!” Alhasha growled, before trying to hold back a cough again. “One of my best friends wants to invade the city I had claimed as my home, and has sent out assassins against me on more than one occasion. I will be in danger with or without you. Now decide where you want to be, but do not for a moment fool yourself into thinking that you're keeping me safe by walking away.”

Solas scooped her up without a word, and headed down the hill. If she was feeling well enough to argue with him, she was feeling well enough to make the trip down. She was still fussing at him too, it was just too low to really hear, and she seemed to be babbling incoherently. A kiss to her forehead confirmed his suspicions that she had a fever, but she hadn't had one when she'd first started fussing at him, and that worried him. At least she wasn't expelling blood anymore.

In all his years he'd never been in this situation. Alhasha challenged everything he knew about himself, teased him, fought with him, and confused the fire out of him. He was use to being in control, with her he never seemed to be, and that made him nervous. The food had been meant for him, he was sure of it, and yet she had paid the price. He couldn't risk her getting hurt, but what she said before…even without him, she was in danger.

What if something happened to her and he wasn't there, on the off chance that she couldn't stop it? He had, as she'd so eloquently put it, met her in a fucking jail cell. She'd already managed to survive through so much, but a big part of that was because she had a group of people around her who cared about her. Could he really risk not being there? He sighed, as he finally managed to make it into the healers building.

Many of the Inquisition leaders and advisers were already there. Solas placed her gently onto one of the beds, and motioned for the healer. Fenris and Sera were looking over a white box, while Lavellan, Cassandra, Montilyet, and Cullen were discussing things across the room. Lavellan motioned to him the second his arms were free. From their faces, he gathered that things were worse than he thought.

“Take a look at this, Solas.” Lavellan said, softly, handing him a piece of paper.

“It was left inside the box. Do you have any idea what it means?” Cassandra asked, her tone serious and tired.

Ar shor eilar vena na.” Solas read, and then he went rigid and straight as he realized the significance of those words. Fenedhis! This is a message. Whoever sent this…Who ever this is doesn't just want us dead, they want us to live in fear first, to know that we are powerless to stop them, to know that they can get to us from anywhere.”

“You got all that from five words?” Commander Cullen asked, looking doubtful.

“You don't understand, Commander. Whoever sent this was there that night, close enough to us that we should have heard them.” Solas explained, shaking slightly. “They could have…They could have…”

“Wait, Solas, what do you mean?” Lavellan asked, concerned.

“You remember the night Master Tethras and Alhasha told stories of BarkSpawn?” Solas asked, not noticing the slip up. Lavellan and Cassandra nodded. “That night, she and I stayed up late talking. We were able to work through some things.”

“Just how close would they have to have been, Solas?” Sister Nightingale asked. She had a tendency for appearing out of nowhere, or seeming to, at any rate.

“She whispered these exact words in my ear…too soft for anyone in the tents close to us to be able to hear them.” Solas replied, referring to the note, looking more than a little worried. “This phrase…They had to be close enough to touch us to be able to hear this, and yet we didn't hear them.”

“It is strange.” She noted. “It is as if they waited for a moment when the two of you would be apart. You may be right that they are after the both of you. Out of all the things to use, they chose that phrase. It is important to you both, something the other would recognize and not question. Whoever got it would think it was from the other. She is the Champion of Kirkwall, the flame that ignited the Mage rebellion. You are a mysterious apostate who is very close to the Herald, and your specialty in Fade Magic makes you all the more dangerous. Something drove you apart this morning. What was it that separated you?”

“Me.” Fenris answered, walking towards them. “If he is to be involved with the woman I consider my sister, I needed to evaluate him. Speaking of which, Solas, we need to talk. Now.”

“Wait! Sol-arse needs to be here when she wakes up!” Sera quipped. “She will want to see him!”

“If she wakes up, tell her we have stepped out for some air. She will understand.” Fenris replied to her, then looked back to Solas. “A word, if you please.”

-

Alusvunin – (it's like our tuesday)

-

“I know what you're going to say, Fenris, and she may be mad at me now, but it is for the best.” Solas said, when they got outside. “I should not have pursued this. You were right. It is too dangerous for her to be with me.”

“You're an idiot.” Fenris scoffed, keeping his voice low as they walked along, shocking Solas into silence. “Leave her at the first sign of trouble, do you? Some dread wolf you turned out to be.”

“Yeah, she pretty much chewed me out too. That doesn't change the fact that you were right.” Solas admitted, then looked around. “Where are we going?”

“As Hawke is out of commission at the moment, we will have to do this without her.” Fenris sighed, and they continued on. His voice took on a casual story telling tone, as if sharing pleasant times. “When I was first getting to know Hawke, she was amused with my sense of smell, and she would ask me to describe things to her often. 'Sour ale, vomit, and the smell of desperation' that was the Hanged Man, 'There is a foul wind coming from that cavern. I smell death.' that was the Bone Pit. I can't even begin to describe to you abhorrent smell of the docks. 'Fish, fish, and more fish, blugh'.”

“Is there a point to this?” Solas asked, slightly annoyed.

“Those sweet bun things. I know them.” Fenris stated, and only now does Solas realize that Fenris has been twitching his nose from time to time. “Honey, cinnamon, and brown sugar. The cake itself soaks in lemon juice and rum for so long that the smell lingers for days.”

“How do you know of them?” Solas asked. He was describing this treat with remarkable detail through smell alone.

“It is one of Hawke's personal favorite's. It reminds her of when her father would come home, and her mother baked them. They may not have been safe, but they were happy…sometime before the blight, she told me. In Kirkwall, she would indulge in them at least once a week, just so she could always smell like that. If she could have bottled that smell, I think she would have done so.” Fenris replied, his eyes focused elsewhere. “Hawke probably didn't even think about it when she ate them, being in a hurry as everyone was this morning, but those sweets aren't made in this area. It is much more of a Fereldan style food, and I was surprised she had even found them in Kirkwall. Tell me something, Solas. What are the odds that she would run into a messenger with these exact treats, in an area where they are not made, if they were really meant for you?”

Solas couldn't even think of an answer for him. There wasn't one. Someone was after her, and they were clever enough to make Solas think they were after him instead. He froze as he realized that he had left her in there, and there was no way to alert the others to the danger. He was jarred out of his thoughts by Fenris, who had plucked a hidden figure out of an alcove and slammed the figure into the opposite wall.

“Who do you work for?!” Fenris shouted, angrily, his lyrium lines blazing to life as one of his fists twitches with a promised threat the man seems to understand. “I will not ask again.”

“I was only sent to watch her at first, I swear! It was just…to discover the location of Anders, but…discovering that she is the chosen of Fen'Harel…” The man trailed off, and then glared at Solas. “Your very existence is an affront to the Maker, and his beloved bride Andraste. Such an atrocity to the Maker can not stand. Any child born of this union would be an abomination.”

“You seem to know a lot about the will of your Maker.” Solas sneered. “Tell me, do you speak with him often?”

“You are not worthy to even speak his name.” The man struggled, being slammed back into the wall and held there by Fenris.

“Were you ordered to kill her?” Solas asked, his anger barely in check as it is.

“I was not.” The man insisted.

“Does your employer even know of you supposed discovery?” Fenris sneered, allowing the light of the lyrium to flicker out.

“No, he doesn-ngh!” The man never got to finish his sentence, as Fenris's markings sparked back to life in an instant, and pulled out his heart.

“If we're lucky, he'll still have the poison on him.” Solas suggested, and the two began checking pockets. “Why did you ask that last question? Does it even matter? How would you even know if he was speaking the truth?”

“I wouldn't, and it doesn't, but it does.” Fenris stated. “If his employer is who I think it is, she will be in more danger if you leave her alone, Solas. Do not think you can keep her safe by abandoning her now. The way she is, it will only propel her into the very danger you want her to avoid.”

-

“Contact the prince of Starkhaven, and tell him that if I ever see one of his spies around Hawke again, I'll do this to them.” Fenris demanded, before shoving a dead body into the room. It was clear to all that the man's heart had been removed.

“Did you happen to find an antidote on him?” The healer asked, unfazed, as he ran up to them. Solas produced a vial for him.

“This was all we found.” Solas stated, as he handed the vial over.

“It's enough. If it's the poison, I can work out the antidote from it.” The healer replied, and left.

“The rest of you should get back to things. The celebration will be getting underway soon. Josephine, you've done a wonderful job putting things together. Go enjoy it.” Lavellan insisted. “There is nothing more you can do here.”

“Let us know if anything changes.” Cassandra insisted, looking to the three of them, before leaving.

“ Glad the baddie's dead.” Sera grumbled, on her way towards the door. She took hold of Solas's shirt, and pulled him down to her height. “I told you, when she woke up, to be here. She was asking for you, Shiny. Don't leave her again.”

“You know, she's scary, that one.” Fenris acknowledged, after Sera had gone. Solas nodded.

“Hawke's her Friends of Red Jenny prank buddy.” Lavellan answered, with a slight smile. “I'm surprised she didn't grill Solas to death when she first found out about them.”

“She did.” Solas admitted, his voice soft, as he moved the hair out of Alhasha's face. “Tell me about this Prince from Starkhaven.”

“Sebastian is a religious man, which would be fine on its own, but he is also impulsive, rash, and quick to anger. He retook Starkhaven just so that he could plan on taking Kirkwall later, because Hawke refused to kill Anders. He is angry, because of the death of Grand Cleric Elthina. She was like a mother to him, and Hawke's refusal to kill Anders was seen as an insult to her memory. Hawke simply thought martyrdom was too easy, too good for Anders, and demanded that he fight for the people he had condemned.” Fenris explained. “Before all of that, Sebastian had always held a quiet affection for Hawke, but never acted on it. A few odd comments here and there, but nothing alarming. He was never disrespectful, but thinking back on it now…he did watch her a little more often than was appropriate. I should have paid more attention to that.”

“With everything that was going on at the time, and Anders drowning in his own madness, it is a wonder that anyone noticed Sebastian quietly watching Flint.” Varric realized. “Don't beat yourself up over this, Broody. I should have seen it too.”

“Would the prince of Starkhaven really try to kill her?” Lavellan asked, worriedly.

“According to Alhasha, he has already made several attempts at it.” Solas replied, surprising Varric. “He may now have another motivation for wanting to kill her. I had not thought that entering into a relationship with her would put her in danger…not like this.”

“I can see that. It's the 'If I can't have her, no one can' mentality.” Varric said, scratching his chin.

“This is all speculation right now.” Fenris stated, surprising everyone into looking at him. “We have all the proof we need, but not the proof others will need. There is nothing we can do about him till we get that.”

“I hate to say it, but he's right.” Cullen said, pragmatically. “It would be unwise to attack him now. The repercussions would be severe, and damaging to the Inquisition. Hawke would not want that for us, not when she's put so much effort into helping us.”

“I will have my contacts dig for information, and see what I can find.” Sister Nightingale stated, before making her way out of the room.

“Is there anything you need, Solas?” Lavellan asked, concerned.

“I will need someone to check on the gift for Alhasha in my hut. It has been alone for some time today.” Solas replied, after a moment. “It is very…Fereldan.”

“Come on. I'll explain on the way.” Cullen said, seeing Lavellan's confusion.

-

Solas's focus was more on Hawke now than what the others talked about or did now. They flitted in and out of the room without his notice, including the healer, or Fenris when he came to remove the body. Occasionally Hawke would wake up and start coughing again. Solas would rub her back as Sera had done, and she would quieten down again. When she began to shiver nonstop, Solas reacted instantly, getting into bed with her and holding her close to him, back to chest, using the blankets around them to hold in a warming spell.

Only The Iron Bull remained in the shadows. It was amazing, he thought at times, that anyone could overlook him. Think about it, big tall grey man with insane muscles, horns, and an eye patch. These things tend to stick out, and yet he sat in this room unnoticed by everyone that walked in. He was waiting for what he knew would happen.

Solas had said 'us', when shown that note, which meant that he had a reason why people would be after him. Not that big a deal, but it meant more complications. Hawke came with several nations that wanted her dead, so another layer of complications wasn't really a surprise. Varric would occasionally grumble about 'Flint' not sharing secrets anymore, so it was a guarantee that she knew what Solas was talking about. Solas may look quiet and unassuming, but the elf was a well-house of power and information.

The only things going on at the moment, were Hawke coughing every so often, and Solas trying to comfort her. He could hear the sounds of celebrating going on outside as well, but paid it no mind. There would be time to celebrate later. Occasionally, he could hear Solas murmuring things to Hawke, and he understood enough elvhen that he could easily translate what the elven man said. He hadn't been paying attention to it till now, but till the assassin showed up, it couldn't hurt for easy amusement.

Tel'dina, Lath'in.” Solas said, softly, barely above a whisper. “Ir abelas. Ar myr'tel ema dirthem ahn Ar dirthem. Sathan. Sathan, tel'dina, Lath'in.

Don't die, love. - I'm sorry. I shouldn't have said what I said. Please. Please, don't die, love.

(Bull was actually surprised to hear such emotion from Solas, as the elf was normally quite reserved, but watching the one you care for almost die does things to a person.)

“…Mai da'dhru, Ara'manean.” Hawke chuckled, coughing a little, her voice as low as his.

So little faith, My fish (Odd nickname for a loved one, but this was Hawke, so…Hawke, fish, hehe)

San, vis ar'an vevar saron, Ar nuven ei tuasha bosmelin.” Solas chuckled, softly.

Alright, if we stay together, I need a new nickname.

Shasalol mala, eisi ar'an? Ar rya britha la etunash sul na sai ea shasalol.” Hawke teased, snuggling back into him. “Ahn'o Shan'ishan? Fenris dirthem na eisi imori.

Bargaining now, are we? I must look like shit for you to be bargaining - What about old man? Fenris said you are ancient.

Lath'in…” Solas pleaded, playfully.

Mmm…Uva'bar?” She asked, giggling. Solas just halfheartedly nudged her. “Ara'nas…(coughing)…nas'falon.

Egghead? – My soul…soul mate

“Do you mean that?” Solas asked, softly, sounding unsure. “Even after what I said today, Lath'in?”

“It's exactly what I would have done, (Coughing) had the roles been reversed.” She admitted, with a whisper. “It's also how I know it wouldn't have worked. (Coughing) Leaving someone to protect them, in some misguided idea of self sacrifice. (Coughing) It's selfish, foolish, and it never worked when I did it, so why would it work for you? I got fussed at for it then, so you're getting fussed at for it now.”

Ar silaima samelava, thu aron ar'an eisi, Lath'in.” Solas said, softly, with a sigh. “Na ir'vera ara'son. Ra tuan em har'diane, eil Ar av'ahn garahnen.

I forget sometimes, how alike we are, love. - You take away my control. It makes me fearful, and I question everything.

Awe…Brithan la ara mor'telam'fen air gela or ei da'ean.” Hawke teased, before coughing some more, her voice sounding so small now.

Looks like my big bad wolf is afraid of a little bird.

Erathe, Lath'in.” Solas insisted, his face practically buried in her hair. “Ar shor ea amahn melahn na'thena. Nu em melahn'an.

Sleep, love. - I will be here when you wake. Tease me then.

San, Shan'ishan.” Hawke replied, sleepily, with a yawn.

Alright, old man

The Iron Bull would have chuckled at their conversation, if he thought it wouldn't have given him away. Hawke certain would give Solas a run for his money, as if he thought he could really let her go to protect her. After a while, she was asleep again, and it wasn't long before another healer walked into the room and looked around. With everyone asleep, this would be the perfect time. Bull let him get to Hawke's side of the cot before he had the 'healer' pinned against the wall.

The man cursed out loud, having somehow missed the very large qunari man, but could not escape his grasp. When Bull chanced a look over his shoulder, he was not surprised to see Solas awake. He had an arm wrapped around Hawke, drawing her to him protectively, looking absolutely feral. Even Hawke was awake now, though the barrier she had up flickered in and out. Bull took the vial from the 'healer', and slammed him into the wall again.

“I'm going to assume this isn't the antidote for now.” Bull mused, setting the vial down. “What happened to the real healer?”

“Dead.” Fake healer choked out. Hawke could be heard coughing again in the background.

“How many of you are here now?” Bull asked, squeezing the man's neck to emphasize the need for a speedy reply.

“Enough.” Fake healer replied, bravely.

“I admire your bravado, really, but you just look like an idiot.” Bull said, looking rather bored. “Who sent you? What do they want?”

“He knows about Fen'Harel, and his chosen. He will kill him, and steal Hawke for himself.” Fake healer replied. “The poison was not suppose to react so strongly to her.”

At that, Bull snapped the man's neck, and went back to the vial.

“If what he said was true, this may just be the antidote the real healer was trying to make.” Bull said, sitting by Hawke's side of the cot. “What do you say, Hawke? Want to try it?”

“Down the hatch, then?” Hawke asked, shakily, with a wry smile as Solas helped her sit up.

“That's usually the way of it.” Bull replied, handing her the uncorked vial.

“Are you sure that's wise, Lath'in?” Solas asked, worriedly.

“It's either this, or continue to puke up my insides.” Hawke replied, and downed the vial in one gulp. There was a moment where everyone seemed to hold there breath, but nothing happened, not even Hawke coughing.

“You aren't the least bit curious about what he was talking about?” Solas asked Bull, warily, after the moment passed.

“I know enough, and can guess the rest, but it's best that I don't know anything more for now. Ben-Hassrath, remember?” Bull stated. “Right now, whatever it is, it's better that I don't know. Half of them already think I've defected. They find out I know something like that, and didn't say anything?…It's better that I don't know.”

“You're a good man, Iron Bull.” Solas said, with a nod.

-

Lavellan walked in just as Iron Bull was walking out, carrying a body, and she nodded to him in greeting. She'd ask Bull about the body later, but for now she wanted to check on her friends. Everyone else had been celebrating, it seemed, except for her and the Commander…and these two. Hawke was sitting up, shaky and weak, but looking better than she had since that morning. She was watching Solas intently, as the man worked with a makeshift stove, with a small smile on her face.

“Hawke, it's good to see you up.” Lavellan admitted, seeing her smile. “It's quite the party you're missing out there.”

“I think I've had enough excitement for one day.” Hawke replied, acting blasé, before she broke out into a grin. “Besides, I have my very own personal chef right now.”

“I wonder if I could get the Commander to do that…” Lavellan mumbled, not realizing that she had said that out loud.

“If you do, you have to tell me all about it.” Hawke laughed. “I'm sure Varric will throw in some friend fiction in there for you too.”

“Creators, I said that out loud…” Lavellan realized, blushing.

“If you would like, Lethal'lan, I could talk to the Commander for you.” Solas supplied, as he continued to work on the food, with a slight grin. “I do owe him a favor, after all.”

“About that…Your room is a wreck.” Lavellan said, with a bit of a giggle.

“I suspected as much.” Solas admitted, with a resigned sort of sigh. Hawke just burst out laughing, and Solas reacted to it instantly, a slow smile creeping across his face. “We do seem to make quite the pair. Her room gets blown up, and mine gets wrecked, all in the same day.”

“Anyway, I just wanted to check and see how you were doing, Hawke.” Lavellan stated. “I should get back. Cassandra wanted to talk rebuilding plans for the work we still have left.”

-

“Of course.” Hawke replied, and Lavellan made her way out. She turned to look at Solas, and asked. “So, why do you owe the Commander?”

“You will know soon enough, Lath'in.” Solas replied, with one of those secret smirks of his, as he finished spooning her food into a bowl. When he began to frown, she decided it was time to interrupt his thoughts.

“If you tell me what you're thinking, maybe I can help.” She said, as he handed her the bowl. “The soup smells lovely, by the way.”

“My mother's recipe.” He said, surprising her, before getting to what was bothering him. “He knows, Lath'in, this prince from Starkhaven. He knows that you are the chosen of Fen'Harel. His informants were close enough to hear you whisper Ar shor eilar vena na in my ear. Fenris tracked down the one that poisoned the sweet buns you ate, and ripped his heart out. Everything in me tells me to leave you to keep you safe, but you will still be in danger even then. The man I was before…would not take this well. I would have slaughtered everyone in the castle as an example on my way to kill him…Tell me what to do, Lath'in. Tell me you have a better plan than blind rage, because that is all I have. An attempt on your life is not something I can forgive.”

“You might not like my plan.” She warned, and watched as he seemed to brace himself for it. “It involves walking right up to him in his castle in Starkhaven, and maybe a trip to Ravain.”

“You're right. I don't like it.” Solas replied, as she slowly ate the soup. “Tell me there's more details to this plan, like a fight to the death or something.”

“Even better.” She stated, with a small grin. “To the pain. (At this, Solas looked confused.) Trust me, leaving him alive and suffering will be far more damaging than just killing him. Despite all his vows to the Maker, Sebastian is a vain sort of man. His pride is in his appearance, in the way others view him. I destroy that, and I destroy him.”

“And the trip to Ravain?” Solas asked, looking doubtful.

“A girl has to look her best, doesn't she?” Hawke asked, with a playful smile.

 

Chapter Text

Chapter 11

 

He was going to say something to that, or he was trying to think of something, when she doubled over in pain again. Her lyrium lines flickered in and out of life. He couldn't find the cause, and she wasn't talking yet, and he wondered if it had anything to do with what was going on outside. A horn had been blown, signalling trouble for Haven. She shot up again, downed the rest of the soup, and bolted out the door.

Solas ran after her, following her into the Apothecary's shop. She was downing stamina potions like they were rum shots. With the way her stomach had been treated today, he didn't know if that was a good idea, but she wouldn't listen to his objections, not that he'd really had the time to make them. By the time that she was through, she'd downed about ten or so of the things, and looked like she could jump to the moon with the amount of energy she had in her system. He lost her for a second, as she darted out of the building, only to see her coming out of what had been her room with the staff of Andruil.

“Haven wasn't built to be a fortress, but if we can load the trebuchets…bring the mountain down on them, we might stand a chance.” The Commander said to Lavellan as they ran up the them. “Hawke, what are you doing up? You should still be in the infirmary.”

“There isn't going to be an infirmary if we don't deal with that. Alhasha growled, as she pointed out to the army that was approaching. “Do you realize how many red templars are out there, because the pain in my lyrium lines says I do, and…Is that…Maker's bleeding asshole! Is that Samson?!”
“Yes, it is.” Commander Cullen growled back, darkly, though he wasn't looking at her. He was looking at the man Alhasha had pointed out.

“I should have killed him back in Kirkwall.” She replied, shaking in anger.

“You won't hear any objections from me.” Commander Cullen responded. Solas was surprised that the Commander even had a dark side. “Mages! You have sanction to engage the enemy! That is Samson! He will not make it easy. For the Herald! For your Lives! For all of us!”

“You won't be able to get to Samson, little bird, but you can protect the Herald.” He heard a boy in a large purple hat say to Alhasha. “My name is Cole. Chew on this, it will help. I like to help.”

“That's great, Cole. I do too.” Alhasha said, taking whatever it was the boy gave her. “Come on, let's go do something epic and possibly stupid.”

“Why would we do it if it's stupid?” The boy asked, following her.

“Because if it works, it's epic. If it doesn't, it's stupid.” She replied, without missing a beat.

“Will it help?” The boy asked, earnestly. Solas never thought he could hear a smile till that moment.

-

They were losing ground, and quickly. The trebuchets would never be loaded in time. Buildings were on fire, people were screaming, it was too much. It didn't matter how hard they fought, the enemy was winning. Many of the templars that had joined the inquisition were disheartened to see their brothers set against them this way, and Cullen knew that if he couldn't raise their spirits soon, they wouldn't be able to help the Herald at all. It was Solas who noticed the sound first, cutting through the fighting, and it wasn't until the third verse that Cullen understood it for what it was.

Ar ema harthal si lah, Ei sulahn in si molaer, Si aelai or Na lah, Lahnal tuathe thena o' ral eral.

“I have heard the sound, A song in the stillness, The echo of Your voice, Calling creation to wake from its slumber.” Cullen said, with a smile, as he realized what it was the words meant. The look on Solas's face was worth all the coin he had, as Cullen had never seen the aloof elf look so shocked before.

Thu ela shi cyrn na? In si sesol or si maeryl, in vun eil din, in si viane alasis mahn var vhenan, Isa sul ei silaimael sal'in?” The voice was getting closer.

“How can we know You? In the turning of the seasons, in life and death, In the empty space where our hearts, Hunger for a forgotten face?” Cullen translated, before decapitating the enemy in front of him. Solas sent lightning ahead of him to get the few that were ready to charge him.

“You never told me you knew elvhen, Commander.” Solas bantered, with a wry smile.

“I don't, but I would know those words anywhere.” Cullen admitted, moving on to the next enemy. Was he imagining it?

Ne ema virem shaerodi em, Dur si var mahn alan'en assan esayem ma dil. Ne ema rosem i'ma melahn ga em alin Ema thysajael em.

“You have walked beside me, Down the paths where a thousand arrows sought my flesh. You have stood with me when all others Have forsaken me.” Cullen translated. Nope, he wasn't imagining it. Between him and that voice, the troops were being bolstered. “That's the Chant of Light.”

Ar ema rosem eisor i'Ne la ma shalasha, Eil savis ar ema mas i've'an tylol, banal Ela dana em aezaer Mar eirdaeli.” He knew it was a woman, but he couldn't place her voice.

“I have faced armies With You as my shield, And though I bear scars beyond counting, nothing Can break me except Your absence.” Cullen translated, as he fought. “Who is that?”

“Commander, I'm surprised at you.” Hawke teased, as she sent flames after a particularly large red lyrium templar. “This is not the first time you and I have recited the Chant of Light in battle.”

“Forgive me, Hawke. I couldn't hear any of your usual sarcasm.” Cullen replied, with a bit of a chuckle. She was at his back now. “Shall we then?”

-

Melahn Ar ema laim garahnen, Melahn ma inan thar em, Eil si rodhe or lan diana ma av'in, melahn'an, In si direl or ma vhenan, Ar ema si leanathe or tuathe.

“When I have lost all else, when my eyes fail me, And the taste of blood fills my mouth, then, In the pounding of my heart, I hear the glory of creation.”

Solas couldn't believe it, even as he helped in the fighting. As Alhasha and the Commander recited the Chant of Light, the surrounding troops were bolstered. They fought harder, gave more, gained more ground. Back to back, Alhasha and the Commander fought as a unit. He had never seen a mage and sword fight so well hand in hand like that. It must be what she looked like when she fought alongside Fenris too, he realized.

Tajaes, savis si bane ena tarsul em, Ar dya ematha si lean. Ar dya tarasyldear si tarasyl'nin. Ar dya rosa. Ahn Ne ema ajuem, telin ela dana sasha.

“Maker, though the darkness comes upon me, I shall embrace the Light. I shall weather the storm.
I shall endure. What you have created, no one can tear asunder.”

It was like a signal. As soon as the last words were spoken, the trebuchets were fired. Snow from the mountain and onto the red lyrium templars that hadn't made it into Haven yet. The fighting wasn't over, but they had bought time for a retreat maybe. It was like a breath of fresh air had been shot straight into their lungs, until everything deflated around them.

A ghastly beast, some kind of dragon, came barrelling through. It destroyed most of the trebuchets, and melted the path that had been blocked. Cullen and Lavellan were talking, trying to come up with anything, but all Solas seemed to zero in on was Alhasha. The look on her face was like someone had walked over her grave. He looked to where she was looking to, and saw the face of his latest mistake.

“Corypheus…” She whispers, so low he almost can't hear it. “Solas, out of all the mistakes we could possibly share…I did not expect him to be one of them…How is he alive?…I killed him myself…I don't understand…”

-

“Fenris!” She called out, looking around for him,

“Hawke?” Fenris called back, seeing what she had seen. “Is that…?”

“It is. It shouldn't be, but it is. Get everyone you can inside the Chantry. Cullen said that was the only building strong enough to withstand that thing. I'm sure they're working on an exit strategy, or something.” Hawke stated, clinching her eyes closed as she pinched the bridge of her nose the way she often did while trying to plan something. “I'm going to try to buy them time.”

“Hawke, I know that look.” Fenris growled, grabbing her arm. “What are you planning?”

“Something either really epic or extremely stupid.” Hawke replied, before shoving him on. “There isn't much time. Now go!”

He did as she asked, gathered everyone he could find. He wasn't the only one doing that, it seemed, and they were able to bring more people into the Chantry. People were carrying items. Even Solas had two bags across his head and shoulder, and a chest that looked like it belonged to Hawke. He looked up when Fenris walked in with a group of people, but upon not seeing Hawke, Solas began looking around the room again.

“You two had better be planning something good. Hawke is 'buying you time', though I don't know how she plans on doing that.” Fenris declared, as he strolled up to the pair of them. “She said it was either going to be really epic or extremely stupid, whatever that means.”

“She's going to activate the diamonds.” The boy with the large purple hat stated. “I saw a high dragon in the Fade. It looked like that.”

“I don't care what it looked like.” Cullen said, exasperated. Then he paused. “What do you mean, about activating the diamonds?”

“The Iron Lady will be very angry her loves diamonds are gone, but the little bird needed them. They will help. I like her. She likes to help.” The boy replied, as if this made sense.

“Cole, what does the little bird plan on doing with the diamonds.” Solas asked, patient but wary. Fenris tried not to stare when one of the bags Solas carried wiggled.

“She's trying to create a barrier to stop the Elder One. It won't work forever, just long enough to make him remember she was one who killed him once, focus the attention on her long enough for her Pack Mates to escape. She views you as her pack, strange that she is wolf and hawk.” The boy said. “It won't work, but she is still going to try. The Elder One is only after the Herald. He doesn't care about the village, or the little bird, but he will kill them anyway, kill her anyway. The little bird will need help. She can not do this on her own, but she told me not to say anything about that. She said it wouldn't help, but I think she may have been fibbing. She will risk everything to protect the wolves she loves most.”

“The only thing I can think of…We can load the last Trebuchet, aim it at the mountain behind Haven. It will bury us, but it will take that thing with us.” Cullen said, thinking. “Not many get to decide how they die. We do.”

“Yes. That will work. He wants to help, save us before he dies.” The boy said, gesturing to one of the Chantry brothers Fenris recognized as Roderick.

“There's a path, but not many know it. They wouldn't know it, unless they had taken the summer pilgrimage as I have. It can lead you out.” The man wheezed, looking to Lavellan. “I wonder if she showed me this, to tell you. If that is true…then this Inquisition could be moreYou could be more.”

“Cullen, can you get the people out?” Lavellan asked, with a spark of hope.

“If he's right about the path, then yes, but what about you?” Cullen asked, his eyes pleading and hopeful.

Fenris looked away. The moment felt too private, even if it was in the middle of them all. He knew, just as Lavellan did, that she was going to have to stay behind. She couldn't answer the man, and began to walk away, but Cullen grabbed her hand at the last moment. Even then, Lavellan could not look back.

Fenris knew that look. Hawke had had it many times when she thought to sacrifice herself for the good of others. He never thought he'd see it on someone else, or see Cullen look so devastated. There was no hope to cling to now, but they all tried. He almost didn't hear Cullen as the two spoke.

“Maybe you'll surprise us…find a way…” Cullen said, hopeful, his voice trailing off. Lavellan nodded, looking like she could not trust herself to speak, and began walking towards the door. Cullen sent soldiers out with her to load the last Trebuchet, and called out to her. “Herald, if we are to have a chance…If we are to have any chance…Make that thing hear you.”

“Cullen, I will stay with her as long as I can.” Fenris promised, and was about to head after her when Solas stopped him.

“Fenris, wait. Find Alhasha, if you can, bring her back.” Solas said, somewhere between a request and a plea. “She hasn't fully recovered. I don't know what her plan will do to her. She shouldn't be out there at all.”

“I will do what I can, Solas, but it might not be enough.” Fenris said, and then he was gone.

-

Cullen and Solas stood there for a moment after Fenris had followed Lavellan out with the other soldiers. This shit was bad, none of them had thought it would come to this, but they had to act now. Only no one seemed to want to move. One of the bags that Solas carried wiggled again, and that seemed to break the spell over everyone. Varric saw him place his arm over the bag, trying to still it before anyone noticed, but he caught Varric looking at the bag anyway.

“Not a word, Dwarf.” Solas stated, though there was a worried edge to his voice instead of the angered one he had tried to project.

Everyone began moving then, as Cullen directed them where to go, when the soldiers he'd sent returned. They followed Roderick's instructions, though it was like they moved in a daze. Cullen threw everything into his work, and the others followed his lead. Solas lagged behind with the last of those to leave. If Varric hadn't been watching him, he would have missed the slight movement to look over his shoulder at the Chantry when he thought no one was looking.

“She'll make it out, Chuckles.” Varric said, too low for the others to hear, as they made their way.

“Does Alhasha do this often?” Solas asked him, quietly, not looking at him.

“Make others worry a lot?” Varric asked, assuming he was talking about Hawke, to clarify. Solas nodded. “Yeah. Flint's always kind of been like that, though it got worse after her mother died. She believes she failed them, her family I mean, and she refuses to fail anyone else like that ever again. She would give her life, if it meant protecting the people she cares for. Fenris will get her out of there, save her from herself. This isn't the first time he's had to pull her ass out of the fire like this.”

“And Lavellan?” Cullen asked, actually surprising Varric. The dwarf hadn't heard him come up to him at all.

“Flint will give her every advantage she can.” Varric replied, deciding not to tease the Commander for once. It wasn't often that the Commander refered to her as Lavellan anyway. “Lightning is just as stubborn as she is anyway. She'll make it. They'll both make it. (He grinned, as an idea came to him.) If you like, I'll even bet my chest hair on it.”

Despite the obvious worry the Commander had, that actually made him chuckle a bit. “No. No need. You've already bet your tunic on Hawke and Solas. If you lose that, you'll only have your chest hair to keep you warm, Dwarf.”

-

They'd been hearing a wolf follow after them for some time now, but Solas didn't know what to make of it. Everyone assumed it was a pack, because wolves didn't normally travel alone, but Solas was sure it was only one. Each time he heard it, he looked back, though he wasn't sure what he was expecting to see. They'd had to stop a few times now, and each time they did, people offered up belongings they felt they could part with to keep the fire going. Solas couldn't do that, as the things he carried were not his own, and he didn't know what she would be willing to part with…what memories he would be burning away.

A wolf's howl, this time so close it sent shivers down his spine, and he whirled around to face it. There, almost too obscured to see, was the faint glow of lyrium. Those two things together could only mean Alhasha, but he couldn't force the group to stop for him alone. They still had to get above the treeline. They were almost there now, and then the Commander could call for the signal to be sent to Lavellan.

When they finally did stop, and the signal flare was shot, everyone watched as the mountain of snow fell on Haven. It silenced everything, and Solas could only watch as the Commander seemed to slump under the weight of it. They set up camp where they were, and hoped the fire would light her way. Solas kept his eyes peeled in the direction of where he had last seen the flicker of blue light, and didn't talk to anyone. Everyone was too lost in what happened to talk anyway.

He almost didn't trust his eyes at first, when he spotted the light again. When it did happen again, it was closer, and Solas stood up slowly. When it happened after that, he took a step, and then another, and soon he was sure of what he saw. Turning only slightly, he called out for someone to help him, and turned back. Fenris was walking towards him, wrapped up in a curtain that had hung in the Chantry, standing next to a wolf that was more than half as tall as he was…much larger than any full grown Mabari hound.

Blackwall was there within moments, helping Fenris the rest of the way to the group. No one knew what to make of the ridiculously large wolf, and many went slack-jawed when it nuzzled Solas's hand. He knew her instantly, would recognize those eyes anywhere, and lead her to the fire to get warm. Cullen was busy talking with Fenris about what happened, but there would be no way to know if their plan had worked, and every once in a while he would look over to the wolf that had walked in with Fenris. Solas was busy rubbing along her joints, trying to get her warm enough to change back.

When she did, Mother Gisele gasped in fright. Solas couldn't help but shake his head at that. He knew what the Chantry said about such beings as Alhasha, knew that she would be wary of her now. How quickly they forget that only moments ago, she and the Commander had bolstered the troops with their Chant of Light. She surprised him by walking towards them a moment later with a blanket for Alhasha.

“For Hawke.” She said, holding out the blanket to him. He accepted it, and wrapped Alhasha up as best as he could. “I apologize for my earlier reaction. She has done nothing to warrant fear from me. It's just…to see the change take place like that…I had never thought I'd live to see such a thing before my very eyes. It was, for lack of a better word, breathtaking.”

“I am sure she would have a playfully sarcastic response at the ready for you, Mother Gisele, were she more alert to give it.” Solas replied, with a nod. “I do not know how much truth there is to this Maker and his bride Andraste, but to hear the Chant of Light from her and the Commander…to see how it moved those around them…There aren't words to describe it.”

“Sometimes, that is truth enough.” Mother Gisele said, with a kind smile. “A kind word, a good deed, for those with power to help those without, these are simple things. Everything, truth or myth, starts from these.”

“Do you believe your Maker has abandoned the world then, like the stories suggest?” Solas asked, curious. He had not spoken to the woman often, but she was surprisingly more intelligent than he had given her credit for.

“I do not. If he had, why then would we say 'the Maker smiles upon you'?” She asked, with a soft smile. “Many in the Chantry do not share my thoughts, mind you. I would like to believe he watches over us, guides us as he can without interferring. After all, the choices are still ours to make, and help us to shape the world around us…Um…Pardon me for changing the subject, but I believe your bag is…um…shall we say…on the move.”

Solas whipped around in time to see the bag he'd sat down was indeed moving around. He quickly placed Alhasha in a cot, and gathered up the bag. He did not miss the little bit of laughter Mother Gisele had, or the dwarf tossing The Iron Bull a few coins. Instead of reacting to that, he got into the cot as well, and dumped the bag in between them, before covering them both with the blanket. He had missed her, had been worried out of his mind, and did not plan on letting her go any time soon.

-

Cullen's P.O.V.

 

Solas had been looking behind him for some time now, but Cullen hadn't allowed himself to think about it. He'd start hoping it was Lavellan, and he couldn't afford to think like that right now. There was so much to get done, all of these people to look out for, and if he thought about her for too long he would be lost. He was talking with Cassandra when he saw Solas go completely stalk still, looking out into the wilderness as if he were waiting for a sign. Whatever it was, Solas must have seen it, because the bags were placed on the ground next to the chest.

Cassandra had stopped trying to talk to him at this point, seeing what he had. Solas took an unsure step, and then another, and then he was moving as if he couldn't get to what he was seeing fast enough. That's when Cullen noticed it, the light that was not green but blue from lyrium that did not quite call to him the same way the kind in the bottle did. He saw Solas call for someone, watched as Blackwall came back with Fenris, stared as Solas walked back with a very large wolf in tow that nuzzled his hand. He made his way to Fenris, hoping for answers.

“Fenris.” Cullen called to him. “What can you tell us?”

“Corypheus…That's who the Elder One is. Somehow, an ancient Tevinter Magister has managed to find a way back from death.” Fenris growled, all at once angry. “I know this, because Hawke, Varric, and I killed that bastard once already. Trying to collapse the Mountain of snow on him just bought us time.”

“And the Herald?” Cullen asked, trying to keep the hope out of his voice.

“Hawke was able to secure an escape route near the Trebuchet for her. Those diamonds…somehow she used them to create a barrier to keep out that thing.” Fenris replied. “If Lavellan could get to it, she's alive. She may be able to follow our tracks, and your old fire sites. The howling may also have helped. Hawke said she would try to lead her home if she could.”

“You mean that that's…” Just then he saw the wolf phase, and Hawke appeared in it's place. Solas didn't seem surprised in the slightest. Cullen found an angry Fenris in front of him again within seconds, because he'd almost walked towards her.

“I know. I know everything you're about to think, everything you're about to say, everything the Order has told you, Cullen, but think for a moment. It's Hawke.” Fenris insisted, stubbornly. “It's Hawke, not a demon, or an abomination, or something to destroy. It's Hawke, the woman who saved Kirkwall more than once, that aided you when Meredith went crazy, that helped bolster the troops with you barely half a day ago. My loyalty stands with you, but only for as long as you do not go against her. The second you do so, I will be against you, because she is family.”

Suddenly, Cullen's mouth fell open as he watched a bag Solas had set down begin to move. He knew instantly what it was, but even so, the sight disarmed him. His struggle not to laugh caused Fenris to look over too, and they both began to struggle with not laughing. Solas whipped around to see the bag move, bolted to put Hawke in a cot, and ran after the bag. The sight of Varric tossing The Iron Bull coin over it made Cullen lose the struggle, and he started chuckling in spite of himself.

“I told him a Mabari pup was a handfull.” Cullen said, through his laughter. “I don't think he believed me.”

“It's better that it's a Mabari pup, I suppose.” Fenris replied, the corner of his mouth turned up in a smirk. “Bull was insistant that Solas was getting her a night with you for Satinalia.”

-

She could not be seeing this, but there it was…A mabari pup was sitting on her stomach, nuzzling her hand…while Solas held her in his arms. Something was not right about this. Solas wouldn't tolerate a new mabari, so this had to be some trick of a demon or a fade spirit. He'd barely tolerated BarkSpawn, and that was only because the Mabari was an unstoppable force of his own, but a new Mabari pup seemed too outlandish a thing to happen.

Hawke rolled over slightly, giggling when the pup fell in between them. This caused the arm around her to tighten, alerting her that Solas was awake. She was almost afraid to look up, knowing that he would be mad at her. The pup looked between the two of them, and waited. She'd never seen a pup so patient as this.

Tel'uth'sal, Alhasha.” Solas said, softly. “ Ar shor'tel vara'na la'ra aelaes sal. Na shor'tel av'a ra or'em. Ema na aelaes sildearem la mar'lan'lath ema dinem? Ahnsul ra'air ahn min sildearem'la, eil tamelana in inor sa'vunin…Tel'iselena em sai vara o'na melahn na nuven sai te sulrahn…ir'on'ala y'aezaestaelia delavir.

Never again, Alhasha – I will not leave you like that ever again. You will not ask that of me. Have you ever felt like half of yourself has died? Because that's what this felt like, and twice in one day…Do not expect me to part from you when you want to do something…really epic or extremely stupid

“So, just to clarify, you're not breaking up with me then?” She asked, arching an eyebrow, in her playfully teasing manner.

Tael melana Ar esay, na te eilar telir vaestol em ra Ar'eis eil eisydral, solasrolar, olaesyrn, bala'masa.” He replied, with a slight smile, before securing his hand at the back of her neck and pulling her toward him just a little for a passionate kiss.

Next time I try, you can always just remind me that I'm an arrogant, egotistical, overblown jackass.

 

-Ugh, gross! Kissy! Kissy!-

Suddenly, he pulls back from her in shock.

“Did you just say that?” He asked, confused.

“No, my mouth was otherwise occupied just now, if you remember. I believe that was the Mabari.” Hawke said, with a bit of a giggle. “Oh, the irony…”

-Treats?-

“No, no treats for you.” She said, looking to the Mabari. “How can we both understand you?”

-Same soul. Like you both. He gives me treats. You same. You give me treats?-

“Not yet. I think he has all the treats anyway.” Hawke said, as she pet the pup.

-I ate them. All of them. You give rubs. I like rubs.-

“How is it that I understood everything it just said.” Solas asked, looking to her in confusion. “The pup is for you, Lath'in, the Satinalia gift I've been hiding…”

“I've never heard of something like this happening. You'll have to ask the Commander.” Hawke replied. “I'll assume he's your Fereldan contact.”

-

“Commander, if you can spare a moment, I have a mabari question.” Solas stated, with trepidation.

He was going to tell the elf he had no time for it, but just the way he looked made him stop.

“What is it, Solas?” Cullen asked, concerned.

“We both can hear it.” Solas said, looking confused. “It was too young to imprint till yesterday, and I kept it out of my sight then, planning to give it to her when we got back…but everything happened, and we can both hear it.”

“Both of you?” Cullen asked, furrowing his eyebrows. “That's unheard of…unless…unless…(He whirls around to Varric)…Varric, you lucky son of a bitch, how in the bloody Void did you know that?”

“What are you talking about now, Curly?” Varric asked, walking up to them.

“Your tunic is safe.” Cullen declared. “In fact, your tunic is so safe, a mabari pup has guaranteed it twice over.”

“You don't mean…” Varric trailed off. “Both of them?”

“Both of them.” Cullen confirmed, then looked back to Solas. “The Mabari has imprinted onto the both of you. That only happens with kindred souls, or…what is that word…nas…something.”

Nas'falon?” Solas asked, looking like he'd turned a little green.

“Just because you probably cheated, and cast a spell to find yours doesn't make it any less true, Chuckles.” Varric chided, teasingly.

“It's just…I don't have a good history with hounds…BarkSpawn was an exception, and now you're telling me that because Alhasha is my nas'falon, that that mabari pup has bonded to the both of us? That this has the potential to keep happening?” Solas asked, now looking even more green. “I need to sit down.”

“Who's going to tell Flint?” Varric asked, trying not to laugh.

“Leave that to me.” Fenris replied, with a pleased smirk, and headed her way with a few biscuits in his hands.

-

“You're not going to believe this.” Fenris said, as he handed her the biscuits when she sat up.

“It's bonded to us both, I know.” Hawke replied, her eyes alight with mirth. She looked at the pup, and handed it one of the biscuits. “Biscuit?”

Suddenly her eyes went huge, and she burst out laughing. “No, I'm asking you if you want to eat a biscuit, not if…Alright, if that's what you want. Your name can be Biscuit.”

-

Solas knew what the man wanted the moment the Commander sat down next to him, but he wouldn't address it first. His eyes were on the woman in the cot, and the mabari pup that had decided to name itself Biscuit. She had no idea how lucky she was, or if she did, she deflected it so as not to worry herself about how close she had come to death. She ran for danger when others ran away, because others ran away, and now it was normal for her. Maybe that was a part of what she meant when she said she was always in danger.

If someone wasn't after her, she was after someone. She protected, defended, but did she ever think about her own life? If she kept doing things like that, she might not live long enough for him to fix his mistake, and he was not about to live the rest of his immortal life alone, not now that he had finally accepted what she meant to him; what she could come to mean to him. Maybe it was selfish of him, but he could say the same thing of her. They really were too much alike.

“Solas, I have to ask…” The Commander began.

“You want to know if she can find the Herald…sniff her out, for lack of a better turn of phrase.” Solas stated, looking to him now. “It is possible, but I don't know if it is advisable. Considering the attempt on her life, the many stamina droughts she drank on a near empty stomach, and magically draining herself in the fight for Haven, and whatever she did with the diamonds, I do not know how long she should rest for to replenish her strength. As it is, I am surprised she is even awake right now. Her magical reserves are so far depleted, I don't think there's ever been a reported case like this.”

“Normally, Solas, I wouldn't ask, but if the Herald gets lost out there she'll freeze to death.” The Commander replied.

Solas couldn't help but softly chuckle. He couldn't be mad at him for that. “After what I witnessed in the Chantry, Commander, I think you can probably get away with calling her Lavellan, maybe even her given name in private if you asked.”

“Teasing the Commander now, Solas?” Alhasha asked, sounding tired, walking over to them.

“Just a little, Lath'in.” Solas replied, his voice softening, as she sat down next to him. “Are you well enough to try and find the Herald?”

“Not like that.” She replied, somehow knowing what he meant. “But I can help you look.”

-

She takes her father's staff, because her own magic is too tired to react without help. She knows that Solas is worried when he sees it, knowing why she has it, but he won't ask her not to do it. They need the Herald too much, they all do. So she takes the staff, and holds it out in front of her, before throwing what looks to be a small round mirror onto the ground. Vivienne knows what it is, of course, because it's hers.

“At least we know what happened to my diamonds.” She said, in an amused tone, though Hawke is unsure how she means it.

“Yeah, now you'll see what I did with them.” Hawke replied, in the same tone, and taps the staff onto the mirror twice. It lights up, and as a result, all of the diamond mirrors she'd placed down begin to light up.

“Bread crumbs?” Vivienne asked, incredulously. “You turned priceless diamonds into breadcrumbs, dear?”

“Yes, though very expensive and shiny, breadcrumbs.” Hawke replied, with a wry sort of breathless smile. “These will either lead her to us, or us to her. Cullen, but you'd better hurry. They'll dim soon, and I can keep reactivating them, but with how long she's been out there…the sooner the better, you understand.”

-

“I get that she took something emotionally precious to you, because no one reacts that way about just diamonds, but that doesn't mean you have to act like a frigid bitch about it.” Varric fussed, surprising her. He had never spoken that way to her before, even as uncooth as he was.

“She took something she should not have, something that can not be replaced.” Vivienne countered, watching the girl now.

“She didn't, I did.” The boy, a spirit, she realized, said. “She needed diamonds, and you had them. They will help protect the Herald. She couldn't do it on her own, not with what happened before. Sweets and poison, trick or treat, so much needed and nothing left.”

“What is he talking about?” Vivienne asked Varric.

“You don't know, do you?” Varric asked, with a huff. “Someone tried to poison Flint today…well, yesterday, technically. She spent half the day puking up blood. She was barely on the mend when the horn sounded for the attack. I'm assuming she raided the apothecary's shop for all the stamina draughts he had, and raced out to help fight. That woman has never needed to use a staff for her magic, and now look at her. Barely able to stand, on her last leg, with no magic reserves left, still trying to help.”

“She respects you. Free, but a part of something. Accountable without henderance. Powerful without fear of knowledge.” The spirit said, surprising her further. “The rebellion wasn't meant to happen. Her friend was sick. He lied, and she's left to pick up the pieces of the mess he left behind. The little bird must take up the mantle of Justice to save him from Vengeance.”

“She's not going to be able to do anything if she keeps this up.” Vivienne snapped, seeing that Hawke was at the last of her magic, even with the staff she held.

Vivienne walked over to the girl, and really looked at her. She'd heard about the illusionary age progression bracelet, but hadn't gotten a chance to really talk to her about it. That she had gone so many years without notice was fascinating, and it spoke to her strengths, but that was not what was important now. What was important was that Hawke was using the last of her strength when she didn't have to, because someone like her was expected to be more than she was. What was important was that Solas stood somewhere fidgiting in the background, worried about her, but unable to do anything because Hawke refused to admit she needed help.

The woman sighed, and shook her head. Hawke really did remind her of herself in a lot of ways. They did what they could with what they had, and managed to gain positions of power even though a mage was not suppose to have such. Maker knows they had different ideas on how things should be done, and they may never agree fully on anything. Vivienne believed that magic needed an institution to guide it, but Hawke believed that the only thing wrong with institutions was that people corrupted them.

“I could breathe on you right now, and you'd fall over, Hawke.” Vivienne said, quietly. “Go. Let your love look after you. He's tying himself in knots over there just watching you. I can take over from here, and another mage after that. You've earned a rest.”

“High praise from you, Vivienne.” Hawke replied, with a wry smile. “Thank you.”

“Don't make me look kind now. It will ruin the frigid bitch image Varric has painted of me.” Vivienne replied, with a subtle wink. “I've worked hard on that.”

“I am sorry…about the diamonds.” Hawke said, before Solas guided her away. “The boy said they were important to you. I just didn't stop to think about what kind of important they were to you.”

-

They found the Herald not long after that, a few broken bones and chilled to the bone, but she was safe. The healers had tended to her, and she was recovering nicely. They were even cot buddies for a while, before Lavellan walked out to try and calm her advisers. Cullen and the others had been pointlessly arguing for hours now. Hawke rubbed her forehead, mentally telling herself she didn't have the strength to set them all on fire right now, when they began to sing.

“What did you mean before, about Corypheus?” Solas asked, keeping his voice low.

“I'm the reason he's out of his cage, I suppose you could say. It was my blood that opened the door.” Hawke replied, shaking her head in shame. “The grey wardens threatened my father with something worse than death, the death of his family, if he didn't help them renew the locks. He'd had to use blood magic to do it. Years later, crazed dwarves attacked my home in Kirkwall trying to get my blood. Me, Varric, Fenris, and Anders went to the location…somewhere on the map…According to the Carta, it wasn't suppose to exist…I'm not even sure I could get back there. That's where I found my father's staff, the staff of Andruil, where I found Corypheus. The things he said, Solas. He talked like he had been one of the Magisters that tried get into the Golden City. He described it turning black before his eyes. He was dead, Solas. We checked! It never occurred to me to lock the door behind us as we left.”

“So that's what you meant by him being a mistake we share.” Solas said, in realization. “My people lead the venatori indirectly to the foci that holds most of my magic. They gave it to Corypheus, as I knew they would. He was suppose to die in the explosion. I knew it would happen, expected it. At the time, I viewed it as an acceptable loss of life, to rebuild the world as it was. I did not expect this, to care, to regret…I did not expect you.”

“You never would have been able to try your plan, had I not unleashed him onto the world.” Hawke said, placing her hand on his.

“And I may never have met you, had the plan succeeded.” Solas replied, entwining his fingers with hers. “It was a terrible plan. I never should have attempted it.”

“You should tell her.” Hawke stated, pointing towards Lavellan, who was now reeling from what had just happened with the singing. Solas looked dubious. “She'll be angry at first, maybe, but it's better that it come from you than her finding out on her own through other means…like the prince of Starkhaven. Vael will make another move eventually. We can't pretend to expect him to only target us.”

Lath'in…I…” Solas began.

“Maybe start small. Share what you feel comfortable with, what you're willing to risk her knowing.” Hawke suggested. He seemed to take to that better, kissed her knuckles, and left.

“Hawke?” Cullen called, not a moment later. “Solas said you were up. Mind if I ask you something?”

“Whatever it is, I assume I'm partially guilty, but without evidence it's too soon to be sure.” She declared, making him chuckle a bit.

“No, I…The Apothecary told me how good you are with potions and things, and I…I was hoping…” Cullen began.

“You could come in here and tell me, if you like.” Hawke stated, arching an eyebrow at him.

“Right.” Cullen said, and sat down in the chair next to her cot. “I've…stopped taking lyrium…With what happened to Samson before this…what happened to Meredith…”

“I saw what Samson was like before. Does that happen to all templars?” Hawke asked, concerned.

“They don't tell you that when you join up. Not exactly something that you put into the recruiting pamphlets.” Cullen replied. “I don't want that to happen to me. I haven't taken it since I joined the inquisition.”

“You're looking for a way to deal with the DT's then.” She stated, then looked horrified. “Is my being here hurting you?”

“No. The song doesn't sound the same. It's…less.” Cullen replied, though he looked uncomfortable.

“I'll try to help, but I can't promise fast results. You're the first templar I've ever heard of trying to get off of lyrium.” Hawke stated. “Listen…I wanted to thank you. Solas told me what you did, helping him to find Biscuit for me…The Mabari pup.”

“I was happy to…” Cullen fumbled. “What do you suppose they're talking about?”

“A few things come to mind as possibilites. Where Corypheus's power comes from, why Sebastian is after us both, and maybe him possibly talking you into cooking for her privately. She seemed very interested in that when she saw Solas cooking for me before all this happened.” She replied, that last one making him cough as he tried to hide his blush.

“Maker's breath, Hawke. She's the Herald.” Cullen chided.

“No. She's Lavellan.” Hawke replied, bringing him up short. She saw Solas walking back towards them. “Give what I said some thought. She's worth the risk.”

-

“Still giving love advice to the Commander?” Solas asked, as he sat down in his old seat.

“Those two would be so good together, I just know it.” Alasha admitted, with a sheepish grin. “You should have seen the blush he had going when I told him he should cook for Lavellan.”

“Speaking of Lavellan…She knows the power Corypheus has is an ancient elvhen Foci, that in a way he was lead to it, and that I have secrets that tie me to why the prince of Starkhaven wants me dead and you for himself.” Solas said, with a tired sigh. Admitting that had taken a lot more than he thought it would.

“It might help if you admit the old stuff first.” She suggested, softly. “What did she say?”

“She wants to help if she can.” Solas replied. “She's a good leader. What did the Commander want?”

“I don't know if he'd be comfortable with me telling you. I'd have to ask him first.” Alhasha admitted. “I'm surprised he'd even ask for my help like that.”

“He trusts you, Lath'in, even with everything his Order has told him.” Solas replied, not surprised in the slightest.

“He'd better, as manny times as I've saved his ass…Solas, I'm sorry. I don't mean to force you…” She trailed off.

“You're not, Lath'in. I'm just…hesitant and stubborn, like always.” Solas assured her. “It is difficult to trust when I have been the betrayer. They trusted me, all of them, and all of them were betrayed.”

“It's easier, when you don't have to face things alone.” She said, with a soft smile.

“It's even more so to forget you have people you can face things with.” He added, and climbed into the cot with her. “We are both known for this, I think.”

 

Chapter Text

Chapter 12

 

“So, how long till the first fight?” Varric asked, looking over his cards. “And we're talking relationship argument, not knock-down drag out. They've already had one of those.”

“That was pre relationship, though.” Iron Bull replied, not even bothering to look up from his cards. “Wasn't it?”

“Depends on who you ask.” Blackwall chuckled. “I don't think it will take too long though.”

“Are you willing to bet your beard on it, Hero?” Varric asked, looking over at him.

“Not on your life, Dwarf!” Blackwall laughed outright.

“I bet it will happen before the day's out.” Dorian said, putting two cards back. “Tensions have been running high since we found this place.”

It had been a few weeks since they'd gotten to Skyhold. Of course, Flint had taken to finding a room no one else could find. Assassins could still be a problem. Since then, though, she had also been seen with the Commander at least once a day, usually after lunch. Solas had tried not to pry, but a guy could only see this for so long and not get jealous about it, and with Flint not explaining it at all, Solas was left to his own thoughts.

“Put your money where your moustache is, Tevinter, or shut it.” Fenris huffed, exchanging a card.

“10 sovereigns says it happens right after lunch.” Dorian replied, with a smirk.

Sure enough, Flint left the Commander's office right after lunch, picnic basket in hand. Solas showed up not five minutes later. At first, the two talked in low whispers, but that didn't last long. Flint's eyes promised war, but Solas was either too blind or too angry to care, because it soon became yelling in elvhen. Only Bull seemed to have a smile as he watched the fight.

“Either tell us what's going on, or get back to the game, Bull.” Fenris insisted, surprising those around him.

“First it was why she keeps having lunch with the Commander, then it was why it is important that she can't go off by herself anymore, and now it's something about what he saw in the Fade.” Iron Bull replied, with a smirk. “Seems he saw something he shouldn't have when he found her in the Fade against her wishes, and now she won't tell him what it is.”

“Vasta vas.” Fenris cursed.

“Why doesn't she just tell him off in a language we can all understand?” Sera huffed. “She's being an elfy elf today.”

“I think it's more that she wants to emotionally strip him naked in a language he knows best.” Dorian explained, making Sera snicker at the word strip and naked.

“One of you will have to go after Hawke soon.” Bull said, suddenly. “She's about to run.”

“How do you-?” Blackwall asked, or would have.

A resounding slap rang through the area, and it takes everyone a moment to realize what has happened. Flint has slapped Solas. The look on her face is one of shock and shame. She shakes her head slowly, as if to clear it, before she bolts. Solas looks torn in between wanting to chase after her and really wanting to hit something, before stalking towards the training yard.

-

“Solas, wait!” Fenris called out to him, not knowing what kind of mood the mage was really going to be in.

“Fenris, unless you can give me a clue as to how in the Void I'm suppose to deal with that stubborn woman, I don't want to hear it!” Solas shouted, angrily, before slamming a fist full of fire into a training dummy…disintegrating it.

“Damn, Chuckles, I thought only Flint got that mad at a training dummy.” Varric exclaimed.

“At least the bees aren't still in them.” Iron Bull noted. Varric nodded at that, while Sera just looked disappointed.

“What happened?” Fenris asked, biting back a sigh when Solas glared at him. It was like dealing with two Hawke's. “It will help me tell you what's wrong.”

“So she can't tell me what she's helping the Commander with. Fine.” Solas growled, throwing another fire wrapped fist at another training dummy. It meets the same fate as the first. “But she doesn't have to listen to the people whispering around me that think I can't hear them, (Punches another dummy to dust) wondering why she visits him every day at lunch, (Punches another dummy to dust) about the sounds they think they hear as they speculate that she's with him. (Punches another dummy to dust) She won't talk to me about it, and thinks I have an abundance of patience to deal with something I've never experienced before. But if that were all this was, this would be easy.”

He seems to realize what he's said, and who he's said it around. Before they can say anything, he whirls around and punches another training dummy. It crumbles to dust as the fire consumes it. This can't be just about jealousy, Fenris knows, the anger Solas has feels like it goes beyond that somehow. The man is shaking where he stands, doesn't seem to realize that his hands are blistering because the flames from the dummies have reached him.

“Solas! Solas, snap out of it.” Bull said, moving the man over to them as if he were a simple child.

Solas does not react to Bull, but sits where he moves him. He's still shaking, and doesn't seem to notice as Dorian trys to heal his hands. He doesn't seem to see anything for a while. Fenris has no idea what to do about this, but he's reminded of when Hawke's mother died. The look Solas has, almost looks like the haze she was in for a while.

“Solas. You have to tell us what's wrong.” Fenris tried again. “I can't help if I don't know what's wrong.”

Solas always had his drawing instruments with him, so Fenris was not surprised when he nodded over to the pouch that he kept them in, but goes to look through them. What Fenris finds is not what he'd expected, though he wasn't sure what he had expected. He's shaking in anger now too, shaking his head at what he's seeing. No wonder Solas was so angry. Varric takes them from him before he can rip them, and looks through them too.

“You didn't know…” Solas said, his voice sounding detached.

“Not this…She just said he was drunk…that he wasn't acting like himself…She never said he…” Fenris tried to say. “She never said that he tried to…do this.”

“…This man in the white armour…” Solas said, coming to himself a bit more. “…This is…”

“Sebastian Vael, the prince of Starkhaven. Yes.” Fenris answered. “Solas, what happened earlier?”

“I showed her the sketches, admitted that I'd found her in the Fade and hadn't alerted her. I usually walk away and leave her alone when I am able to find her in the Fade, but…this time…I couldn't. I was trapped by what I saw.” Solas replied, breathing deeply, still upset. “She won't talk about it, not to me, not to anyone…This is the man that's after her now…that wants me dead, and her…I can't even think it without wanting to destroy something…I wasn't suppose to see it, so now that I have…I'm not suppose to get angry about it?!…Does that make sense to you? How am I suppose to not want to kill the man who tried to hurt her, that is still trying to hurt her? How am I suppose to not get angry that he wants to take away the one that is mine?!

-

At that moment, everyone within hearing distance froze. Solas tensed, realizing how far he'd let his anger go, and shook his head. No wonder she hadn't wanted to tell him. He had not handled it well, yelling over what he had witnessed in the Fade, over anything that would keep the argument going. He had backed her into a corner of sorts, and she lashed out as any wounded wolf would.

Blinking a few times, he realized Dorian was still trying to heal his hands. Just how badly had he damaged them? Etunash! They were blistered pretty badly. He looked to the training dummies, only to see their charred dust like remains scattered all over the grounds. The rest of the world seemed to come back to him in that moment.

“Creators, Solas, what happened to your hands?!” Lavellan exclaimed, as she ran up to them all.

“It is nothing, Inquisitor.” Solas said, trying to wave off her worry.

“…And the training dummies…” She said, as she paused to survey the damage. “Is that also nothing, or did they just…decide to randomly…explode?”

“I may have…helped.” Solas offered, with a crooked smile, not failing to notice the group's failed attempts to hide their amusement.

“I can see that.” She said, with a barely contained smile. “You and I are going to have a talk, and after that, I think you may want to go find Hawke. Yes?”

He could still hear the others chuckling as they walked away.

-

He owed the Commander an apology, that much was certain. The Inquisitor had walked with him and explained what Alhasha had been trying to do. It was news that she was only recently made aware of. It would be like the Commander not to want to bring attention to himself like this. What was it about Fereldans that made them think they had to do everything on their own?

“Commander?” Solas called out, after having knocked on the door.

“Yes, what is it?” Cullen said, not looking up from his paperwork.

“I believe I owe you an apology, Commander.” Solas stated. “The training dummies…”

“Training dummies?” Cullen asked, confused, as he looked up. “Oh! Solas! My apologies, I thought you were a messenger.”

“Too tall to be Jim.” Solas said, with a light smile, making Cullen chuckle a little at that.

“I should have said something to you before about asking her for help, but I…” Cullen said, a bit uncomfortable.

“That wasn't why I destroyed the training dummies.” Solas replied.

“Destroyed the training dummies? I'm sorry, Solas, but I'm afraid you have me at a loss.” Cullen said, now more confused than ever.

“Perhaps you should take a look outside. I…Well, I…” Solas said, motioning him to the door. When Cullen could see the damage, his jaw actually fell open. “I…may have…decimated the training dummies.”

“Solas…what did you do?” Cullen asked, shocked, looking at them.

Solas took a deep breath, and replied. “I punched them.”

“You punched them?” Cullen asked, doubtful.

“And they blew up.” Solas continued.

“They…blew up?” Cullen asked, trying to picture it.

“With magic fire wrapped around my hands.” Solas concluded, and waited.

“So, you took a fire spell, wrapped it around your hands, and punched the training dummies so hard they blew up?” Cullen asked, like he was trying not to smile. “Maker's breath, Solas, what did my training dummies do to you?”

-

She had no idea how it happened, but she wound up in the rotunda, sitting on the top bunk of what she assumed was a bed. It felt nice here, the smell of paint bringing about its own comfort. She would often come in here to get away from things. No one was ever here when she was, and there was always a new painting. She imagined that it must be where Solas spent a good deal of his time, because sometimes he would smell like this.

She'd overreacted, and she knew it. She'd told him she was having nightmares. What did she expect him to do, but check on her in the Fade? The look on his face when he'd found her there was unreadable, but she felt shame and anger well up within her, and she'd started yelling at him when he found her again in the waking world. She didn't want his pity, and that's what she was afraid she'd seen in his eyes.

“Voice ringing with fullness from both worlds, guiding me to the shining places. He calls himself pride.” Cole said, showing up beside her. It didn't bother her like she thought it would when he started doing that.

“Solas?” Hawke asked, looking to the spirit boy.

“He looks for you, hurts for you. Wood and straw are poor substitutes for a Vael, but they will do for now.” Cole replied. “He's said more than he meant to, the others smile and know. He meant to tell you first. You are where his love lives.”

“I messed up, didn't I?” She asked, with a sigh.

“You didn't want him to see beyond the door, didn't want him to know. Some doors should stay shut.” Cole said, not really an answer she understood. “This doesn't have to be one of them. You worry he pities you. He doesn't.”

“Cole.” Solas said, greeting the boy. “Would you watch after Biscuit for us?”

“He likes you both. Same soul, he says, treats and rubs.” Cole said, smiling as he hopped down from the bed. “But boy with the big hat finds him steaks.”

“Thank you, Cole.” She replies, as he and the pup leave. She hopped down too, and was going to apologize first, but she saw the state his hands were in. “Solas, your hands!”

They are wrapped, and bandaged, but it looks awful still. She doesn't even think about it, gently grabbing his wrists, and bringing him to the table. After everything that's happened to her, she'd taken to keeping a messenger bag filled with medical supplies, poultices and salves, around her at all times. He sits, and doesn't say a word as she looks over the blisters on his hands. She doesn't know how to say what's in her head, and so she reapplies salves and rewraps his hands.

“Dorian's work, I take it?” She asks, keeping her voice light. “The bandages, I mean.”

“He's a terrible healer, not a flashy enough area of magic, he says.” Solas replied. “The Inquisitor thought it best if magic was left out of this one. Blisters tend not to respond to magic healing well, and she may have felt I needed a reminder not to attack the training dummies so harshly.”

“In his way, I think Cole told me you attacked the training dummies.” Hawke said, as she tried to send cooling magic through the bandages. Sometimes that helped.

“Why didn't you tell me, Lath'in?” Solas asked, looking up at her from where he sat. “What he did…what he tried to do…”

“It was a long time ago, and I just wanted it to go away.” She replied, looking away. “We convinced him to get drunk with us…Isabela didn't know…We both thought he would want to go for her…She's kind of magnetic, you know?…She's got the whole 'I'm a free pirate' aura thing going for her…I offered to walk him back to the Chantry at the end of the night…He had refused her…He…He almost…He was drunk…He couldn't have known…”

Alhasha, dian.” Solas cut her off, firmly, and stood up. Alhasha, stop. He slowly walked forward, and with every step he took, she took one back, until she had backed into the wall without realizing it. He placed his forearms on either side of her head, and rested his forehead against her own. “Do not lie for him.”

“I'm not!” She insisted, stubbornly clinging to it.

This is why you didn't want me to find you in the Fade, isn't it? So I wouldn't see, because then you coudn't lie to yourself anymore. You'd have to face it then.” Solas stated, keeping his voice even. “Alhasha, your fear was so palpable that it as good as physically held me there, and I could not move. There has never been a magic powerful enough to render me incapable of movement in the Fade before. I felt your fear, your disbelief, the moment you realized what he wanted, what he was willing to do to get it. You can not tell me he didn't know, Alhasha.”

“…He was my friend…” She said, barely above a whisper.

“I know.” Solas replied, softly.

“I had the bracelet…” She said, a last defense for Vael's ignorance.

Alhasha, your age, or his lack of knowledge of it, does not matter. He was willing to go against what you wanted, for what he wanted.” Solas persisted. “He tried to take from you that which only you can give, whether it is the first time or any time after that. It is your body, Alhasha, no one has a right to it but you. No one has the right to force themselves on you, ever.”

“But why did my body react like that?…He didn't get that far, but what he did do…Why?” She asked, her voice so low that he almost didn't hear it, looking at the floor now. “I don't understand.”

“Because your body and your mind are seperate, Lath'in. Your mind can not always control you body, and your body will simply react to the stimuli given to it.” Solas replied, trying to sound comforting. “It is not something talked about even today. It is ignored, simply because the thought of being out of control of one's own body is too horrible a thought to consider, because then people would have to admit that it happens, and that it could happen to them.”

“Hey, Chuckles, you got a minute?” Varric asked, looking over his notes. He hadn't looked up to see them yet. “There's a couple-”

Not now, Dwarf.” Solas growled, turning his head slightly towards him. Varric looked up, eyed them both, spun on his heels, and wordlessly walked out of the room. “Sometimes I hate that dwarf.”

“No you don't.” Hawke replied, doing her best to give him a smile through her tears.

“No….I don't” He sighed, looking back to her. “…Alhasha, I don't understand. Why is it that you defend him so? Did you think no one would believe you?”

“It's not that…” Hawke replied, looking down to the floor, wishing she could be anywhere else right now.

“Then what is it?” Solas asked, confused, and then in realization, he said. “You said once, that everyone needed you to be something for them. Is that what this is?”

“If I could barely protect myself…how could I expect the city to have any faith that I could protect them?” She asked, still looking down to the floor, clinching her fists. “I'm the Champion of Kirkwall. I should be able to protect myself…I'm suppose to be untouchable. No one should be able to hurt me, especially not like that…”

Alhasha, it is no small thing to say that he didn't get close enough to go through with it. You fought him, and even when you fight, you can still lose.” Solas insisted. “It can happen from the most powerful, to the least. Women, children, men, none are exempt in this. It would not make you any less strong to have gone through a forceful attempt on your body, successful or no. I doubt the city ever lost faith in you when they saw you had an injury. They saw that you survived a fight, that you lived to fight another day.”

“I shouldn't have let him get that close…” Hawke said, shaking her head.

Lath'in, you didn't let him do anything. He tried to force himself on you.” Solas said. It sounded like he was at his wits end. “If he was ever your friend before, that is when it stopped. Even before Kirkwall's Chantry exploding, or anything else. That moment, when he tried to take what you did not give him permission to have, was when he stopped being your friend.”

-

He had not expected her to suddenly hug him. She cried, finally letting go of a weight that she had carried for years. Neither of them talked for a while, simply standing there in each other's arms as she cried. When her breathing had calmed some, she tried to step away, but he wasn't quite ready to let go just yet. Instead, he buried his nose in her hair.

“I'm sorry I hit you.” She said, guiltily.

“I did shout at you first, Lath'in.” Solas replied. “I did not handle things well, and I had backed you into a corner. After you left, I wrapped my hands in fire and disintegrated all the training dummies.”

“That explains some of what Cole said, but there was something else…” Alhasha said, lost in thought. “He said that you said more than you meant to, the others smile and know, that you meant to tell me first.”

“Now might not be the best time for me to tell you.” Solas replied. When she looked a little dissappointed, he added with a wolfish smile. “With Varric by the door, there's no telling what else he might hear.”

“Sometimes I hate you, Elf.” Varric grumbled, revealing that he had been in fact standing by the door.

“No, you don't.” Solas stated, making Alhasha laugh.

“No, I don't.” Varric admitted, begrudgingly.

-

End of trigger warning

-

A few days later…

 

Solas finds her sitting outside in the courtyard, starring up at the battlements. From what he could tell, Cullen and Lavellan were having a private conversation. He wasn't sure what Alhasha was doing though, staring up at them…Till he realized she wasn't staring at them, but at the door that lead to the tower before them. Alhasha was playing wingman again.

“At it again, are we?” He asked, teasing.

“You laugh now, but you've just implicated yourself in my evil plot to take over the world.” She replied, watching the door. She straightened up, and muttered under her breath. “Damn it, Jim!”

She placed her hand to her throat, and spoke again, this time with a regal authority he did not know she could possess.

“Jim, do not to take another step.” She ordered.

~Andraste?~

Solas face palmed, for lack of a better term, and Alhasha took a minute to compose herself before responding.

“Yes, Jim. It is I, your beloved Andraste, bride to the Maker.” Alhasha replies, and then cringes as she squints. Hoping not to be struck by lightning, Solas presumes, as he sneaks a peak at her through his hand.

~Andraste knows my name. I am unworthy~

“Andraste knows the name of all of her children, Jim.” Alhasha responds, trying not to shake with silent laughter. “Now, there is something I must ask of you, dear child. Where do you think you were going just now, before hearing my call?”

~I need to get this message to Commander Cullen! He said immediately!~

“I'm sure he did, but right now I need you to stop, if but for only a moment, dear child. If you walk through that door, you will be interfering with the will of the Maker, and I might have to smite you.” By this point, Varric and Iron Bull have walked in on the conversation, and froze at 'smite you'. Solas is now staring at her with his mouth slightly open in something in between shock and disbelief, his hand having left his face now.

“5 Sovereigns says he does it anyway.” Iron Bull whispers.

“You're on.” Varric whispers back.

~But he said right away!~

“You truly are devoted to your Commander, and the cause of the Inquisition, my dear child, and thus to my Herald. It pleases me that you look after them so.” Alhasha replies, trying to keep a straight face. Varric has to sit down, or risk falling down.

~Thank you, Andraste!~

“But I'm going to tell you something right now, Jim. If you walk through that door, Commander Cullen is going to stick his boot so far up the crack of your ass that you'll be able to taste leather.” Solas is staring at her with tears in his eyes from silently laughing, watching as she's saying this with a snarky but straight face. The Iron Bull just arches an eyebrow. Varric slumps over so far he actually does fall down.

~Wha-? Andraste?~

“I'm going to level with you here, Jim. Sometimes, to help the fate of the world, I play matchmaker every few decades or so. I have been trying to get Commander Cullen, and my Herald together for quite some time now, as I believe that them being together will help mankind find its true path to salvation. Plus, just imagine the adorable little babies they'll make.” Alhasha replied, happily. Cassandra had joined them some time ago, and looks like she's warring with herself about how amusing and yet blasphemous this was. “But every time I do, you show up, and interfere with my divine will. (Cassandra is now trying hard not to laugh) You know what? Walk through the door. Do it, and pray to the Maker that Commander Cullen doesn't stick his boot up the crack of your ass.”

“6 Soverigns says they kiss before he gets there.” Lady Montilyet says, out of nowhere.

Poor Jim is now racked with indecision as to what to do, obey Commander Cullen or listen to the Voice of 'Andraste', but it seems even then that the Commander is too slow. Just as he's about to kiss Lavellan, Jim walks through the door, bravely walking up to them, his face almost buried in his reports. Solas chuckles as Cullen whirls around and stomps towards the man, and everyone can see murder in Cullen's eyes from where they are. What they do not expect is for Cullen to whirl back around, once Jim is gone, and passionately kiss Lavellan till they both needed air.

No one had placed a bet on that.


 

Moments later…

 

“Jim told me something rather interesting earlier.” Lavellan said, walking towards the two of them. The others had scattered, being smart. Solas had stayed, wrapping his arms around her. “Something about how Andraste threatened him with Commander Cullen sticking his boot up the crack of his ass.”

“Creative liberties.” Alhasha replied, with an impish grin. “I'm sure Andraste would understand. She is a woman, after all. The fate of mankind was at stake. Adorable babies.”

“You take this wing man thing seriously, don't you?” Lavellan asked, her smile growing by the second.

“I have to. I'm a Hawke.” Alhasha replied, without missing a beat. “Varric will hound you for details later. Friend fiction reasons, of course.”

“Thank you, Hawke.” Lavellan said, still smiling, before she left.


 

“She loves you, you know.” A woman said to him.

Solas sighed in a tired defeated sort of way. So he was in a deceased soul's controlled Fade world. He had gotten use to talking to Malcolm Hawke, in a manner of speaking. The man was too much his daughter's father for it to always go smoothly. Now, here was someone else wanting to talk to him, and he wondered how many others would attempt this.

He looked to her for a moment, and realized who this must be. She smiled warmly at him, and something of her reminded him of Alhasha. This must be her mother. Upon realizing that, a look of comprehension swept across his features. It must have been visible to her, what he was thinking, because she frowned slightly at him.

“I see she's told you what happened.” Her mother remarked.

“No, Mrs. Hawke. Someone else told me.” Solas admitted. “I hadn't truly met her at that time…sort of.”

“I see…You've been talking with my husband a lot lately.” Her mother stated, simply.

“A lot has happened lately.” Solas replied, in kind.

“True. My husband tells me of his talks with you. I felt it time to see you for myself.” Her mother admitted. “You can call me Leandra.”

“It is a pleasure to meet you, Leandra, though I wish it had been under better circumstances.” Solas greeted.

“That's quite alright, young man.” Leandra replied. Solas couldn't help but arch an eyebrow at that comment. “I can already tell that my daughter loves you. What I want to know, is if you love her in return.”

“That is not a question easily answered.” He replied, and she frowned so he continued. “I am still coming to terms with what I feel for her.”

“Then what is it that you feel for her?” Leandra asked, and waited.

Alhasha can never seem to stay out of harms way for long, especially if there is someone she feels she needs to protect. I almost lost her twice in one day, when we'd only just cemented the start of our relationship. Now, I have to worry Vael will kill her, or worse.” Solas said, not entirely sure how to answer the question. “I have never felt love. In my time, I have taken, destroyed, been offered to use another for physical pleasures, but love is new. I know that she makes me question everything, that I worry for her safety when she is not with me, and worry about what people will think of her when she is. I want her to be happy, even if it isn't with me, but I'm selfish enough to want it to be me that makes her happy. She knows my greatest mistakes, and still wants to be with me, even though I've been a stubborn jackass at times. I know that I like to run my fingers through her hair, like it's ink running through my fingers. She will always find a way to get into trouble, Leandra, but I will always try to help her out of it…or be in the middle of it with her already.”

Leandra smiled brightly at him, and replied. “It does sound as if you still have a lot to work through, but I can rest easy knowing that you care for her so deeply.”

 


 

Weeks later…

 

Lavellan raced back to Skyhold, though she'd already sent a missive with one of Leliana's messenger ravens. This should not have happened! She figured a girls day out, Hawke and the others would love it, but there'd been a rift. They were in Redcliffe again, so this one had all kinds of time weirdness attached to it. Hawke had just been standing there, and then the rift enveloped her, and took off!

SOLAS!!!” She shouted, panicked, as soon as she made it through the gates.

“Sister Nightingale alerted me, Inquisitor.” Solas said, worry in his voice, running up to her. “I have tried to reach her. I've drank that tea, walked the Fade, nothing. She's not…She's just not there.”

“Don't tell me she's dead, Chuckles.” Varric stated, somewhere between a plea and an order.

“She's not dead. If she were, I would have at least seen her soul in the Fade, but there's absolutely no sign of her. Something like that just isn't possible. I can still feel her in my mind somehow, but it's like she's…subdued…a dreamless sleep of some kind maybe…” Solas said, shaking his head. “I don't know how else to describe it, and I don't know how else to find her. She could be anywhere. I would say that she could be cut off from the Fade, but I still feel her in my mind.”

“We'll find her.” Lavellan said, trying to reassure him.


 

“The little bird is with you, but not with you now, with you then. You know, but don't remember.” Cole said, looking to him. “She needs you to remember now. The wolf howling at her feet is her way back.”

“I've tried that, it didn't work.” Solas said, pacing, not understanding what the spirit was trying to say. Biscuit was happy to follow as he went.

“Hawke. Wolf. Evanuris. Words written on paper in neat hand. She knows now it is her nas'falon who wrote them, but does not understand what they mean. She sleeps forever, but waits for you.” Cole said, watching him pace.

“She…wait…I sent the mask to her?” Solas asked, stopping. “Why would I do that? Why would I make myself forget that?”

“You forgot so that you could know.” Cole said. “Skin so soft, her lyrium like fire in your blood, kisses so sweet, you need, you needher eyes so bright, like they see right through you. It scared you how much you wanted it. It still does. Had you remembered her words then, you would not have reacted the same, You would not love her the same, but you knew you would, knew you wanted to, so you took her words, and forgot them. You know how to remember now.”

“So the reason I can feel her in the back of my mind, but can't find her in the Fade is…She's in Uth'then'era? But…how?” Solas asked, more talking to himself than to Cole. “…Hawke. Wolf. Evanuris! She's an Evanuris?! She's with me! But then…how?…”

-

Solas burst into the war room during the middle of a meeting the Inquisitor had called in an effort to find Hawke. He ignored the exclamations of alarm and dismay, and began looking over the map on the war table. The Commander was about to say something when the Inquisitor held her hand up, and he realized that Solas must have found something. The Inquisitor had that look in her eyes, of hope and anticipation, and it was contagious. They watched silently, as Solas looked over the maps.

“No, I was never there…the veil is too heavy…” Solas mumbled, pointing to a heavily wooded area on the map, then another. “After Mythal…before the Veil…but how…She was in Redcliff…Where was I when…(Points to another wooded area)…”

He turned his head to the Inquisitor, and spoke more clearly. “You said it was a rift. Are you certain, Inquisitor?”

“It was the same colour, but this moved. Rifts don't move, not like that, but I don't know what else to call it.” Lavellan replied.

“Has she ever been affected by the soul of a would be god? Perhaps one of the elven pantheon?” Solas asked, curiously. “There are few things that can move through the Fade and the Mortal world like that.”

“Flemeth.” Fenris growled, in annoyance, walking into the room. “Asha'bellanar. Mythal. Whatever you want to call her. She seems to have many names.”

“What happened?” Solas asked, now concerned. “Mythal was not known in her time for protecting without a cost.”

“She is our all-mother!” Lavellan exclaimed in confusion.

“Yet the stories say never to ignore or slight her in any way, least she turn her vengeance upon you.” Solas countered, not unkindly. “Lethal'lan, think, what would your mother do if you purposefully ignored her?”

“I don't care what she is.” Fenris snapped. “Flemeth asked Hawke to carry an amulet up to Sundermount. As it turns out, it held a piece of her soul, something she used to protect herself from a daughter of hers.”

“Would that be enough?” Sister Nightingale asked.

“No. I doubt it was Mythal that moved her.” Solas realized, with a groan. “Something Cole said makes sense now…She is with Fen'Harel, but not him now, him then. She is in the time before Arlathan fell, before the Veil was errected.”

“How is that even possible?” Lavellan asked, alarmed. “Does this mean that her birthmark is a curse then?”

“No, it just means that it is going to be very…complicated…to get her back. Her birthmark would be enough for him to find her, but not enough to move her. There is also the mask of Fen'Harel that she wears, though it does not have a piece of his soul. It was made as a companion, a spirit that wished to aid him.” Solas mused, catching the Commanders's and everyone else's attention. “She would had to have had something else…something tangible…something of blood…”

“You idiot.” Fenris growled at him, and waited.

Solas looked up at him, as if he realized something, then turned to Cullen. “Cole!”

The boy showed up next to Cullen, with Biscuit chewing on a steak.

“Commander, can you watch Biscuit for a while? I have to leave, and I don't know how long this will take.” Solas asked, a thousand things running through his mind. “This will not be a trip for a tiny Mabari pup.”

“Of course, Solas.” Cullen replied, taking the mabari pup from Cole.

“The lion gives him beef jerky, and lets him chase the recruits.” Said Cole. “He likes him.”

The Commander just chuckles a little, as he walks out with the Mabari. “What do you say to chasing Jim today?”

“He likes that.” Cole replied, and Cullen can't help but laugh as he's walking out of the War Room.


 

“Thank you for not asking a lot about this right now, Inquisitor. I'm not sure I would know how to explain it all.” Solas said, honestly. “I will need Fenris, Dorian, and Varric to come with me. I do not know how long this will take, Inquisitor, I don't even know if I can-.”

“It's alright, Solas. Take who you need. Get her back.” Lavellan insisted. Solas didn't hesitate, and Fenris followed him soon after.

“What happened?” Fenris demanded, as they went.

“Old magic. My magic.” Solas said, as they walked on, ignoring the curious stares of the nobles that tended to frequent the place. “Cole tried to tell me, but I don't understand it all yet. It needed to happen, so everything else could happen, or something like that. She is alive, Fenris, right now that's all I can focus on.”

“So where do we need to go?” Fenris asked, with a huff.

Arlathan.” Solas replied, without missing a beat.

“Arlathan is in Tevinter territory, Solas.” Fenris hissed. “We can't just go there.”

“Which is why we will need Dorian.” Solas replied, and the two moved to find the others.


 

“I'm sorry, you need me to do what now?” Dorian asked, his mouth hanging open in disbelief.

Fenris sighed, with his face to the sky, and tried again. “We need you to wave around your pretentious flashy Tevinter ego like a Magister, in case we have any problems trying to get to Arlathan.”

“Why are we going to Arlathan?” He asked, now morbidly curious.

“Hawke.” Fenris grounded out, clearly losing his patience. “Is in Arlathan.”

“How did Flint get to Arlathan?” Varric asked, intrigued. "I thought she disappeared in Redcliff."

“Solas will explain that once we're out.” Fenris replied, reaching the end of his patience. “We do not have time for this.”

“Actually, that may be the one thing we have a lot of.” Solas replied, as he passed them. “About 8,000 years worth of it, if my calculations are correct.”

 

Chapter Text

Solas didn't say a word after that, so of course the other two had to follow. Dorian was intrigued with anything ancient, and Varric heard a story. At least the sun would make for good traveling weather. So they packed their things, and began making their way. Solas kept quiet throughout the entire day.

There was a part of him that was wondering why in all of Thedas he had thought this was a good idea. He had been avoiding this very thing for ages, and now there was no getting around it. He would have to reveal who he was. It was the only way to explain why Alhasha was in ancient Arlathan. He still had no idea where Fenris even stood on that, but he would need his support now.

That Alhasha had been sent to ancient Arlathan had not even phased Fenris, which gave credence to her claims of strange things happening in her life. Solas recognized this as being one of the crazy traits he'd listed when casting the spell, not that they happened, but how she handled them. He would feel a lot better, he hoped, when he began remembering her time in ancient Arlathan. Until then, Solas knew that he would be in a near constant state of anxiety and worry. By the time night fell, and camp had been set up, Solas had worked himself into a state of fidgeting and nervousness.

The others waited to hear what he had to say, but he wasn't sure he could say it, not without Alhasha there. She had expressed a wish to help him with his goals, and in revealing who he was to certain people when the time came for it, but neither of them had expected something like this to happen to her. Instead, he watched the fire burn, sending tiny embers into the air, crackling when it got ahold of a particularly stubborn branch or something. Night had enclosed upon them all, dampening any sound that may have tried to breach it. Only the fire seemed to be allowed to break the silence. It wouldn't be long now before the others started asking questions he wished he didn't have to answer.

"Alright, spill it." Varric huffed, finally having had enough. "Damn it, Chuckles, just what in the Void is going on? How is Flint in Arlathan? How do we have 8,000 years worth of time?"

"From the beginning then?" Solas asked lightly, before taking a calming breath. For a split second, he looked to Fenris, who gave a subtle nod that this was the right path. "Let me start by saying that Alhasha has always known, even before the kiss at the hot springs. From the moment she saw me, touched my face when I found her in that cell, she knew everything; who I am, what I was, who I had been, what I have done. The mark told her everything she needed to know in order to combat my stubborn nature. You were right from the very beginning, master Tethras, she and I are kindred souls. I knew it the moment I saw the mark on her ankle. I created that spell many centuries ago to find the one meant for me, and to shut the others up. It surprised me that someone had been born with it, that there were people who knew of it, if not its true purpose."

"So you weren't spouting nonsense back in Haven." Varric exclaimed in realization. "You and Lightning said that it was the mark of Fen'Harel, but you're the one who created the spell, and she was born with the mark...Wait a minute, did you just say centuries? Just how old are you, Chuckles?"

Solas took a deep breath before looking him in the eye, and replied. "I am Fen'Harel. That alone should tell you how old I am, master Tethras."


Varric's jaw drops. At first he thinks it's a joke, but the moment he looks in Solas's eyes and sees the flash of light like Flint's can do, he realizes the elf is not joking. These are perhaps the truest words Solas has ever spoken to him. He understands that Flint has always known this, knew it when she stole the kiss, when she'd asked him what to do about secrets she hadn't meant to find. Without warning, Varric starts laughing so hard he can't breathe, and it takes a minute before he can speak again.

"I don't know which is funnier, that Fen'Harel was tricked into drinking maraas-lok with a kiss, or that he...is co-bonded...with a Mabari!"

"Varric, that is enough." Fenris growled. "Now is not the time."

"Why am I not surprised that you would know?Varric asked, indignantly.

"Adopted brother trumps best and most awesome friend ever?" Dorian offered, with a sly grin.

"Alhasha and I share many mistakes." Solas said, nervously, rambling slightly. "...That she could have died, and I would never have known her...how foolish could I have been?...whether she had been at the conclave or not...In order to fix one mistake, I created many more. I almost lost her before I even knew she existed."

"You ...you're the reason the conclave exploded?!" Varric asked, angrily.

"Yes. My people indirectly lead the Venatori to the Foci that holds most of my magic. They, in turn, gave it to Corypheus, as I knew they would. He was supposed to die in the explosion along with everyone else. At the time, I viewed the loss of so much life as unfortunate but acceptable, to rebuild the world I had destroyed. I did not expect this...I did not expect her...to be here...to open my eyes as she has. I can not imagine doing such a thing now, not when I know I could lose her to it." Solas admitted, shaking his head. "When I told her, she just smiled and told me she shared my mistake. Someone had used her magic to do the same, and though the circumstances were different, the results were the same. I do not deserve such forgiveness, and yet she didn't think twice about giving it. Master Tethras, when she forgave me that, I felt the world change. That she knew every mistake I have ever made, every horrible thing I have ever done, and still wished to be with me, still willing to help me fix my mistakes... That changed everything, and it still took meddling from the lot of you for me to even accept it."

"What aren't you telling us?" Varric asked, trying not to let his anger blind him.

If he wasn't so worried about Flint, he would have let his anger take over. Though looking at Solas now, he couldn't see this great bogeyman the elves spoke of. He was just a stressed out worried soul, attempting to make up for past mistakes, blundering through like the rest of them. His mistakes came with a death toll, but then again, Varric knew that Flint's did as well. But which did Solas regret, the mistake, almost losing Flint, both?

Solas's facial expression changed from nervousness to open worry. Varric knew that he had never really understood much about Solas, even with his ability to read people well, but to see the normally reserved elf openly worry was disconcerting. Not thinking about the secret of who Solas really was, Varric could not remember a time when he had seen Solas like this. What Varric did know, as well as anyone else, was that this was about Flint. The only times he had ever witnessed Solas display such open emotions, it had always involved Flint.

"Things that Cole said before are finally making sense. If I understood him correctly, my past self caused her to be transported back to the time before the Veil was erected. (Varric and Dorian straightened up at this.) She wears the mask I created long before I thought of creating the Veil, and my past self seems to have made sure that it was sent to her somehow. With that, the mark on her ankle, and...the bite marks on her neck, it would be enough for the spell to transport her. The only problem is that I don't remember her in ancient Arlathan, or making sure the mask gets to her. From what Cole said, I made myself forget everything. There is a good chance, that if she is like me, then she can rest in Uth'then'era. If that is the case, we could still find her in this time, after having slept for the last 8,000 years."

"That explains a lot, but damn, Chuckles, this is a lot to take in." Varric said, or tried to say, when Solas interrupted him.

"There is more." Solas said, and leaned forward, resting his forearms on his knees. "Vael...The prince of Starkhaven, knows. He knows who I am, and what Alhasha is to me. She is my nas'falon, my chosen, and he knows. What worries me, master Tethras, is that because of my involvement with Alhasha, he has grown even more obsessed with her. It is likely that he already knows she is missing. It is only a matter of time before he discovers where she is, especially if he has spies that even I can not hear. If he reaches her before we do...What he wants from her...I can't...we can't risk him trying that again."

"I'll start asking around, see if there's anything we can do when we get back too. This isn't going to go away once we get back to Skyhold. I still...that she knew this whole time..." Varric said, shaking his head. "When she said a big secret, she really meant it."


Ancient Arlathan...

He couldn't believe they were actually compelling him to do this. Just because most of the others were paired up, did not mean he had to be. He quite enjoyed the single life, or at least that's what he told himself. There were things he wanted, but how could he describe them to people who seemed lost to those virtues now? So, he reluctantly went along with it, and drew out a mark to identify his nas'falon to him.

"Ra'n tol." Fen'Harel snapped, annoyed. "Mala vara'em ea."

It's done - Now leave me be.

He didn't even have to look up to know that Andruil was waiting for him to complete the spell. They all knew that he had been trying to get out of this for weeks. It was only by watching him in his study, books of magic on every shelf, art supplies everywhere, that they could make sure he did what they wanted. Maybe, he realized, Andruil thought she would be the one the spell chose. If he had his way, this world had yet to know his nas'falon, thus ensuring that he could live alone.

As soon as he was done drawing the symbol, it lit up in the light green colour that his magic had taken to favoring, before turning a brilliant blue. The symbol rose from the paper he had drawn it on, and hovered in the air for a moment as if it were a bit of smoke. Neither of them spoke, and then the symbol faded into nothing. Fen'Harel knew what this meant, and tried not to let a smile show. There was no one meant for him in this world as it was, and the others would now leave him alone, knowing that he had completed their requirement.

"Na tyr ea tundra o'ra, na'eolasa." Andruil teased, though she looked slightly disappointed. "Ar'an ane sasha esayal sai halani na."

You could be nice about it, you know - We are only trying to help you.

"Na nuven samahl, ra air ga." Fen'Harel said, shaking his head as he left.

You crave amusement, that is all.


She was being carried in some kind of stretcher, she could tell that with her eyes closed at least. Blankets...no, furs, covered her body...and she was naked. Just where was she, and why was it that every time she ended up in a situation like this, her clothes were gone? Maybe there was something to all the best stories starting out this way. She opened her eyes, only to see that the people carrying her were elves. Every so often, one of them would look down at her with curiosity and concern in their eyes.


"Threna, threna. Es'an'ane garal. Es'an nuven sai dirtha i'na. Threna, threna." Someone whispered to her gently.

Wake up, wake up. They're coming. They want to talk with you. Wake up, wake up.

"Ugh, ahnsul eis Ai bajaer?" Hawke asked, with a groan. She sat up, holding the covers to her.

Why am I naked?

"Na shaesi vianem." The young man said, blushing.

You were wounded.

"Na telir nuvenem itha vis si jheisos jholaer darem ga'mahn." Hawke teased, causing the young man to blush with wide eyes.

You just wanted to see if the lyrium went everywhere

"Na'ane then, on." A tall slender elven woman said, as she walked into the room. Hawke got the sense that she was a middleman of sorts. "Nere na te dirtha iar ahn garem."

You're awake, good - Maybe you can tell us what happened.

"Your guess is as good as mine." Hawke replied, rubbing her forehead, but when she looked up, the woman clearly looked as if she had not understood her. Just where was she? "Nar ker air eis on eis emma."

The woman looked at her funny, and then rattled of a series of questions. "Ahn air nar melin? Mahn ane na'o? Ahn Eindri air ra?"

What is your name? Where are you from? What Age is it?

"Ara'melin air Aenorean. Ir'o Fereldan. Ra air Isenatha Eindri. Mahn ein Ar?" Hawke answered, feeling very disconcerted.

"Na ane in si lath or ELvhenan, si mor'vharla or Arlathan." The woman replied, confused as to why she would ask such on obvious question. She didn't get to ask about that, because Hawke passed out after she answered.

You are in the heart of ELvhenan, the city of Arlathan.


Hawke couldn't say how long she had been there, as the days had started running together, but she didn't know if she was ever going to get home. Since no one knew what to do with her, she wound up in the servants quarters. At least, that's what she called them. This place was more like a coliseum. She would see the fighters come back with wounds the should not survive, and yet they lived.

At first, she started helping out with poultices and potions, unwilling to sit by and do nothing. They started calling her Sulahn'ean, Songbird, because she would sing little things while she worked on them. No one asked about the mark on her ankle, so she just assumed that maybe Fen'Harel hadn't cast the spell yet, but she walked around barefoot just in case. She was still trying to wrap her mind around being where and when she was. She wasn't even sure yet how she got there, but if there was anyone that could send her back, it was him.

The first time she saw him, she had been out in the training yard. With noises, weapons and things clashing, she should not have been able to hear him. She'd been talking with one of the fighters about muscle health, when her breath caught. She would know that scent anywhere, comforting, wild, unique to him. It was followed by the sound of talking, and then she saw him.

If he saw her, he did not recognize her. She wasn't sure why she thought he would, but the mark had begun to burn slightly. If that wasn't bad enough, her lyrium lines flashed for just a second, but it was enough to get him to look over the training yard where she was. He'd frowned then, unsure what was calling him to the area, and he'd left soon after. She'd let go of a breath she hadn't realized she'd been been holding, and now she had to explain to a bunch of fighters why she'd spaced out like that...great.


"Ahnsul te es'an panathe?" Hawke asked, looking to the head healer, a middle aged looking gentleman. Then again, she had no way to guess his true age, and she was not about to ask.

Why do they fight?

"Myatha si venuralasin, Sulahn'ean. Min air tel mai in nar melava?" He replied.

To honour the gods, Songbird. This is not so in your time?

"Din la min." Hawke said, shaking her head. "Ehn pana sul si vianem?"

Not like this - Who fights for the wounded?

"Telin." The head healer replied, as if this were commonplace. Perhaps it was.

No one


The next day, the head-healer was trying to talk Sulahn'ean out of fighting. These men trained for a very long time to fight, and the only thing he knew about her was that she was good with potions. He hadn't paid attention to the stories she told. He was currently trying to talk to the man in charge of scheduling the fights. Maybe if he voiced his concerns, they wouldn't let her fight.

Surely one inexperienced person could not take on fifteen seasoned fighters! The man refused to listen to him though, saying that she was more than qualified to do this. Maybe she was, the head-healer realized, and resolved to watch .it was his way of soothing his nerves, he knew, but it was the only course of action left to him.

So he was more than shocked when Sulahn'ean walked up to them with a cocky grin, and he could have sworn he saw a fang. She was in the clothes they found her in, loose but form fitting, and the ease of movement would help her, along with the knee high woven shoes. He couldn't understand why she was smiling, chatting in her native tongue with the weapons keeper as if they were old friends. Did she think this was a game? People died doing this!

"Na nuva ei sal'in'dial, ahnsul na ema din vallas'lin." The head-healer stated, seeing as how he couldn't talk her out of this.

You need a mask, because you have no blood writing

"Tel'telsila." She said, with a big grin, as she snapped her fingers. The Mask of Fen'Harel appeared over her face. "Ar ema sa."

Don't worry - I have one

And with that, she walked out into the arena, and left them there with their mouths hanging open.


"On pan min'vir, Fen'Harel!" Elgar'nan said, snidely, as he strolled into the dining hall.

Good game today, Fen'Harel!

Fen'Harel sighed inwardly, before continuing to sip on his red wine in his annoyance. The dining hall was usually filled with chatter, but this was one of the few times it was empty, and he'd been hoping to enjoy the silence. He should have picked somewhere other than the large open floored dining hall, but everyone already knew to find him in his study. He'd been feeling odd for weeks now, a pull towards the arenas, and he was hoping the quiet would distract him.

"Sul ahn?" Fen'Harel asked, looking over at him.

For what?

"Vin. Nar panelan air ceri eolan, shaer thorael or ara on'ala panelana sasha." Elgar'nan replied, as if he were relaying the most interesting news. "Es'an shysi nar sal'in'dial."

Yes. Your fighter is quite skilled, beat fifteen of my best fighters alone - They wore your mask

"Tel'vyrordi." Fen'Harel insisted, snapping his fingers to reveal the mask still in place.

Not possible

"Melahn'an na myr dirtha ra sai si asha shaeosol ra." Elgar'nan sneered, as he walked past.

Then you should tell that to the woman wearing it.


He kept hearing reports that a woman wearing his mask was seen fighting in the arena, often times after a group of Mythal's fighters were gravely wounded, and he wondered if maybe she was why he had begun to feel a pull to an area he'd always hated. The more she fought, the more attention she gained. He wasn't going to see her, thinking that maybe it was his attention she was trying to gain, resolving instead to send an agent to kill her and be done with it. With everything that was going on, he did not need another problem, and this mysterious woman sounded like one. This would have to be dealt with.

There were few pleasures that Fen'Harel indulged in anymore, but painting would forever remain one of his passions. It was here, surrounded by his paints and a tempting freshly stretched canvas, that he waited. He hoped the smells of his paints, and the pleasant breeze from the window he stood in front of, would calm him. Something about this entire situation felt like the edge of an abyss, reminding him too much of Mythal, and he needed what little comfort he could find. His thoughts were brought back to attention by the assassin he'd sent.

"Nar vaedys." Fen'Harel ordered, wanting to be sure that it had been done.

Your report

"Lanasta'em. As...Ar tel'dala ash, ara'tarlen." The agent replied, hesitantly. Fen'Harel would have killed him, but as he whirled around to face him in anger over the failure, the agent continued. "Tamahn shar sulrahn or na o'ash."

Forgive me. She...I couldn't kill her, m'lord - There was something of you about her.

"Aezal." Fen'Harel demanded, angrily.

Explain

This could not be happening. It was worse than he'd thought. This woman was walking around wearing a mask she should have no access to, and had bested one of his own agents, not to say anything about those she had already bested in the arena. She was formidable, dangerous, and she had to go. He did not need unknown factors in his plans now.

"Ar'tel." The agent explained, fumbling for the right words, and then grinned. "Tas, as arevlas ein era'vun...sasha. As dirth vhella ash tamahn vis na nuva esaya nar da'lav ein dalal ash nar'len. Na'masa. Ash av'a."

I cannot - Also, she trains at night...alone. She said to meet her there if you wish to try your hand at killing her yourself. You ass. Her words.


It took him no time at all to find out exactly where she trained, almost as if he was being drawn there, but he did not approach her. She had challenged him, knew that she was prey, and so he would watch. He did this sporadically for weeks. There were times that he could almost swear she saw him, at distances no normal eyes should have, and would smile just a touch before looking away again. What he could not comprehend was his instinctive reflex to smile back, like he wanted her to know it was him hunting her.

She was graceful, he noted, when he would watch her train. Now though, she sat on a stone bench, resting her back against the stone wall behind her. What he had mistaken for vallas'lin was actually lyrium! He knew the practice was done in Tevinter, a land he did not care to see, but how was she here? Had she escaped them then?

"Ahn ane na tena?" one of the other fighters, a follower of Mythal's, asked, bringing Fen'Harel out of his thoughts.

What are you doing?

"Maneanisal." the woman replied, with a laugh.

Fishing

"Maneanisal? Na ema si inan or Fen'Harel, eil na'ane maneanisal?" The guy asked, incredulously, his voice a harsh whisper.

Fishing? You hold the gaze of Fen'Harel, and you're fishing?

"Ar'tel aezalia ghi'mya ish, mala te Ar?" The woman asked, as if that made perfect sense, with an almost wolfish grin.

I can't exactly hunt him, now can I?

Was that a fang? Was she a wolf in more than just name then? It took him a moment to realize that she was looking right at him when she said that, and when she saw that he finally realized it, she smiled even wider. He instantly smiled at her, but nodded to her to hide it. She did not need to know that her hunting skills were better than he had given her credit for.

He was almost gone before she started laughing. The fighter of Mythal was scolding her for something, but she didn't seem to mind. Now, at least that he was out of view, he could listen in on the conversation better. Something about her question stopped him for a moment. Had she been asking him?

"Thu te'na ema din geal or ish?" He heard the man ask, concerned.

How can you have no fear of him?

"Vis Ir viral sai'dina, tol tas tua ra neralan." She replied, and he just knew she was smiling when she said it.

If I'm going to die, might as well make it pleasurable

"Pyrder, Falon'Din air in rajelan or si panal tael'vir. Ra shor ea ei'len'myl." Mythal's fighter said, resigned.

Doubtful, Falon'Din is in charge of the games soon. It will be a bloodbath.

In that moment, Fen'Harel damned him. Falon'Din was Elgar'nan and Mythal's son, but the boy lacked his mother's balance. He enjoyed these games to the point of madness. She would be dead, and he would never know why he found her so interesting. Elgar'nan probably gave the boy the idea for amusement, not that the foul cretin would have needed a lot of pushing.

"Tel vis na vevar mith'sai'em." She insisted.

Not if you stay close to me

It was her tone that caught his attention this time. She did not speak with the playful bravado from before. No, this was something else. Experience, knowledge, comfort, a calm before the storm. It sounded as if she knew without a doubt that she would win, that she would protect them. He had to know, there was no time to waste.


"Na. Si asha ra shaes ara sal'in'dial, ehn air as?" Fen'Harel asked, in a demanding tone, when she left. "Na shir dirtha'em ahn na'eolasa."

You. The woman that wears my mask, who is she? - You will tell me what you know.

"Ar telir eolasa ash la Sulahn'ean." Abelas explained, knealing before him swiftly. "As virajun i'si ladarelani, eil pana melahn tamahn ane tas'aan nuem in ei saes."

I only know her as Songbird - She works with the healers, and fights when there are too many injured in a team

"Na shor telahna or min." Fen'Harel ordered, and left without another word.

You will not speak of this

Abelas stayed in place for a moment before standing there in shock...Fishing indeed, he mused.


"Na rosa Falon'Din's ishana myl te'na'tel?" He asked, suddenly sitting beside her out in the training yard late one night.

You face Falon'Din's men soon, do you not?

She smiled instantly, having missed the sound of his voice. So he had finally gotten curious enough to talk to her. It wasn't him, not yet, but it would be. Hawke was rather curious about who he had been before. It was a part of himself she knew he didn't like remembering, looking like he was in pain whenever he spoke of it. Whatever reaction he had been looking for, her smile hadn't been one of them.

"Vin. Vis es'an ane la Elgar'nan's ishana, Ar shor ea san." She replied, calmly, before looking over to him.

Yes. If they are like Elgar'nan's men, I will be fine.

"Es'an shor tel ea la Elgar'nan's ishana." Fen'Harel said, rather forcefully. "Es'an shor ea telam'el."

They will not be like Elgar'nan's men – They will be worse.

"Ei len'myl ra air melahn'an. Ar ema nuvenem sai das ra." She said, with a heavy sigh.

A blood bath it is then. I had hoped to avoid that

"Na tel tirdana sai em. Ahnsul? Galin'y te." He asked, intrigued, staring at her inquisitively.

You do not kneal to me. Why? Everyone else does.

"Nere ra'air ath'o nar telsila." She suggested, with a wry grin. "Ahnsul te na sildeara ra na nuva sai ea myathem eis ei venuralas? Na eolasa thu soun na ane. Na tel nuven sa'lin'y sai dirtha'na ra."

Maybe that's part of your problem/trouble – Why do you feel that you need to be honoured as a god? You know how powerful you are. You do not need someone else to tell you that.

He chuckled, but it was not the laugh she remembered, and that made her sad. It was something that makes him pause when he sees it, though he seems confused as to why he stopped at all. "Ema na aelaes shael myathem?"

Have you ever been honoured?

"Vin. Ar venem ra…telsilal." She replied, apparently surprising him. "Ga'lin shem'ala nuvenem em sai ea garaghnen sul ish'ala, eil Ir telir em."

Yes. I found it…bothersome – Everyone suddenly needed me to be everything for them, and I am only me.

"Ra ema aelaes min vir sul annar'is. Syri i'tel sou sul'ana syri ra ema ra." Fen'Harel stated, as if it were something that should be obvious.

It has been this way for many years. Those without power serve those that have it.

"Ra air tel ahn sou air sul. Tel onhar Arlathan laian." She scoffed, as she shook her head, knowing this would anger him. "Syri i'sou ane sulevem sul'ana syri i'tel, shala eil inana tarsul ish'ala, eil tath na laima ra sul banalfelas."

That is  not  what power is for. No wonder Arlathan falls – Those with power are meant to serve those without, to protect and watch over them, and yet you waste it on decadence.

Fen'Harel stands suddenly at that, pacing back and forth as if he can not decide which action to take, and then he looks at her. He really looks at her, and for a moment she can see her Solas. Then he's back to pacing again, and she isn't sure what to think. Surely he's had these thoughts already, if Mythal is gone. Then again, she can't imagine what he's thinking.

"Na dirth sai em la vis na eolasa em, la vis na ane tel'gela or ahn Ar ein. Telin'y ema aelaes dirthem sai em I mes poraendras, tel moli i've si elvar'linast'virai." Fen'Harel said, stopping his pacing. "Shyr na…Shyr na sil ra vis Ar bororaer sal, eil dirtha i'na?"

You talk to me as if you know me, as if you are not afraid of what I am. No one else has ever talked to me with such disregard, not since before the wars – Would you…would you mind it if I visited again, and speak with you?

"Mesi." Hawke replied, and then smirked. "Na tyr te I ei da'athimathe, na eolasa."

Sure – You could do with a little humility, you know.

"Tyr Ar mala?" He asked, and if she didn't know any better she could swear he was fighting a smile.

Could I now?

"Ailaer." Hawke replied, with a wolfish grin, and now she was sure of it. He was fighting a smile.

Indeed


How had he gotten here? Where was here? There was noise all around him, and he couldn't distinguish any of them, disoriented as he was. This was not the Fade, this was the servants quarters, and they were fighting, but why? What had happened?

She shouted something at him, the look of concern clear on her face. He was shocked when she reached out and grabbed him, dragging him behind her. There was a ringing in his ears that he couldn't shake. Had something got blown up? She placed a barrier on the door, and turned to face him and the others.

"Ahn air ra?! Air Arlathan shael direm? Ahn?" She exclaimed, worriedly.

What is that?! Is Arlathan being attacked? What?

"Din, Sulahn'ean, sila ahn Ar dirthem eirdyr Falon'din lathal ea ei'len'myl." The fighter he spoke to before, reminded her. "Min air ra."

No, Songbird, remember what I said about Falon'din loving a blood bath? – This is it.

"Ra da'etunash!" She growled, as she paced. "Ahn ter na te i've?"

That little shit! - What did you do before?

"Ar'an dialem." He answered.

We hid

"Ahnsul?" She asked, just as a blast tried to break through her barrier.

Why?

"Telin enasa eindral din." Fen'Harel replied, with a sense of inevitability.

No one wins against death

"Inana'em." She growled, just as they finally managed to break the barrier.

Watch me.

She whirled around so fast, he almost didn't see the shine in her eyes as she shot out her hand…instantly turning those that had just run into the room into stone. Apparently this surprised everyone else as well. She replaced the barrier with a flick of her wrist, and turned back to them. He had cloth to her face before anyone could say a word. His eyebrows furrowed as he tried to figure out why he just did that.

Mythal's fighter said something to her that he didn't understand, and he looked to the man in confusion.

"Relinal. Bleeding." The fighter explained, pointing to her nose.

"Ar'eolasa." Fen'Harel said, in thanks, then turned to her again. "Nar inan…thu?"

I understand – Your eyes…how?

"Pan mala, dirtha jharaes, vin?" She said, simply, ignoring his question.

Fight now, talk later, yes?

He watched her, walking with them, as she guided them through to the weapons room, barking out orders as if she were a General…as if she had done this before. She actually ignored him. No one had ever done that, and he didn't like the feeling of it. However, to watch her motivate those around her was fascinating. The way she used magic, like it was a living weapon, soon took over his annoyance at being ignored.

"Ina'lan'ehn." He says to himself, before he can think better of it.

Beautiful.

She heard him, though he doesn't know how, with everything going on around them, her smirk is proof enough of that. Then again, he knows that she is something more. The sound of fire and steel cover everything else. Her orders begin to ring out over everything, but the push back on her magic causes her to fall backwards. His hands steady her shoulders without a thought.

She nods her thanks, and gets back to work. He can tell from how she moves that she is using more magic than she's used to doing, most of it to protect the others as they fight, but she doesn't slow down. He can see Falon'Din in the seats reserved for the Evanuris, knows that the boy is surprised that there is a mage in the ranks of Mythal's fighters. She has hidden that fact till now. Falon'Din is even more surprised to see him there, but knows that he can not interfere in the games and so the boy smirks anyway.

That all stops when she turns her attentions on Falon'din himself. The boy stands up from his seat as if to get a better view of the arena. She moves out of the formation she'd created of the fighters of Mythal, and waves. All his fighters have turned to stone around them, and the entire stadium goes silent. She shouldn't have done that, not if she wanted to stay hidden, but there was no undoing it now.

"Eil Evanuris? Na?" Falon'Din growled, when he gets to her, reaching forward and grabbing her throat. "Melahn ar'an sul'emem na inor, na telir ema ei vhen'an'shaer, eil thu na ema si baesi dala ma ishana!"

An Evanuris? You? - When we brought you in, you barely had a heartbeat, and how you have the nerve to kill my men!

"Vis na tel'laia or em." She hissed through his hold, one hand holding onto his wrist. "Na telem tua sast'el ishana. Eolasa?"

If you don't let go of me – you won't be able to create anymore men. Understand?

Suddenly, Falon'din was caught in between rage and fear. Fen'Harel wasn't sure he'd ever seen the look on the young man, and as he looked at him, he couldn't see why…until he saw where her other hand was. She had taken a small dagger, and was pushing into uncomfortable territory for a male. Now he understood the wording, at least. He wouldn't be able to create any more anything with no…equipment.

The boy let go of her throat, and she backed away just a little. The blue eyed elf just stared at her in anger, hands twitching every so often. She turned to leave, but Fen'Harel stops her. In the night, her eyes reflected the light of the moon, glowing a brilliant blue. It does not occur to him why he's getting lost in them, he just knows he is. A quick movement behind her pulled him from his thoughts though, and without thinking about it, he moved her out of the way…only to get punched in the face himself…

"Na ailaesaesaer i'ma panal!" Falon'Din yelled, going in for another punch, not caring that it was Fen'Harel he'd hit instead.

You interfered with my games!

"Min shar'tel ei pana, ra shar ei elvar'linast'vir!" Sulahn'ean shouted back, not backing down.

This wasn't a game, it was a raid!

Elgar'nan was beside his son in a matter of seconds. It was clear that he had witnessed the woman's magic. He knew she was an Evanuris, knew what that meant, and held his son back from doing anything else. Wars have started for less, they know. They've lived through two of them. He looks from his son, to Sulahn'ean.

"Tasi sai nar vianem, asha." Elgar'nan said to her, then looked to him. "Ar'an shar dirtha myl, Fen'Harel."

Tend to your wounded, woman – we will talk soon, Fen'Harel

Chapter Text

Chapter 14

 

“Do you have any idea what you've just done?!” Abelas asked, his voice low, nervous now. “You've…”

“I've just cheated death, that's what I did. I may also need to check my brown pants.” Sulahn'ean replied, feeling the rush. “I was bluffing so hard I couldn't even see straight. I can't believe that worked. The legends do not talk about Falon'din being such a tit. Was that Elgar'nan? I thought he'd be taller. Where is Mythal? Surely she wouldn't raise her son to be such an ass-hat.”

As'tel'olasa.” Abelas said, looking to a now saddened Fen'Harel.

She doesn't know

“Oh! Nar sal'in!” She exclaimed, looking at how blood seemed to be pouring from his nose. “Ir abelas, lasa em halani.

Your face! – I'm sorry, let me help.

The rest of them would look at her like she's crazy, but they've gotten used to her by now. So they walked back to their rooms. Anyone who was injured went to the healers rooms, where she was headed, dragging a half responsive Fen'Harel behind her. When she sat him down and began to work on poltices and bandages for the others, she might not have noticed Fen'Harel staring at her as she sang, but Abelas did. It seemed that not even Fen'Harel was immune to her songs.

He also noticed a sudden shift when Fen'Harel noticed her ankle. She had taken her shoes off for comfort, and cleaned up before getting to work on everyone. The mark there resembled a howling wolf, but she hadn't said it was anything important, so Abelas hadn't thought a thing about it. What if the mark was more than it appeared to be? He saw Fen'Harel pay more attention to her now. Could he really leave these two alone and know that she would be safe?

“Abelas, I'll be fine.” Sulahn'ean assured him, when she caught him staring. “Go. Get some sleep.”

-

Just a moment earlier…

 

At least now he understands why they call her Songbird. Her voice is soothing, as he watches her work on the others, he can not help but get caught up in her voice, and that's when he notices a mark on her ankle. He isn't sure what it is at first, where she moves about as she works, but when he finally gets a good look at it, he understands. She is why he has been drawn to the arena, why he felt a new power here, and he is uncertain of what to do about it.

That mark was to reveal to him his nas'falon in another time! The spell had shown that she was not alive yet, so how was she here now? Is this why she spoke to him as if she already knew him? He looked over to the fighter of Mythal he had spoken with, only to realize that the man had caught him staring at Sulahn'ean. Fen'Harel wonders just how much the fighter knows about her really now.

Abelas,…” Whatever else she says is lost on him, but the fighter Abelas seems to understand.

On'nydha, Sulahn'ean.” Abelas, replied with a slight bow before leaving.

Goodnight, Songbird

Is telsian sul na.” Fen'Harel stated, once he was gone.

He worries for you

Vin.” She replied, and went about working on cleaning him up.

Yes

Si vianvallas sul na shos'lavin…te'na'eolasa ahn ra suleva?” He asked, now that he had her full attention.

The mark on your ankle…do you know what it means?

Ar'te.” She said, surprising him, but what she said next surprised him more. “Na dirthem'em la ar'an dhamem i'ei'ise…y'varaes, na shar dirtha'em.

I do – You told me as we sat by a fire…or rather, you will tell me.

Ahn te'ra suleva?” He asked, practically demanding it of her. One of the pieces he'd put to the spell was for her to be from some when else, after all.

What does that mean?

Vis ra'n nar'mah, ane na mesi na'nuva sai eolasa?” She asked, her eyes catching his with their uncertainty. It is clear to him now that she has been wrestling with this for a while. She has been done with cleaning him up, but her hands still linger on his face. “Nar'inan…es'an britha vian'el mala…

If it's your future, are you sure you want to know? - Your eyes…they seem more open now…

Something in the way she says that catches him, and he knows. She is his future, he knows this like he knows nothing else, knows that his future self has accepted her. Her being here is proof enough. She knows who he is, and is not afraid of him. He is fairly certain she has been hunting him instead, when he was always supposed to be hunting her, and the idea of it infuriates him.

Well that wasn't going to stand unchallenged, and with that thought in mind, he pinned her against the wall. One of his hands held her wrists above her head, the other one wrapped around her throat. She was surprised, but not fearful like he expected, her eyes widening a touch. Instead of fearing him, she relaxed into his touch as if she trusted him fully, as if she knew he would do this. He tested this theory, tightening his grip on her throat, and still there was no fear of him.

Ar tyr dala'na.” He says, domineering, possessive. It is the only way he will know.

I could kill you.

Na'tyr. Na'telem.” She replies, softly, without fear. The trust and faith in her voice is enough to unmake him.

You could. You won't.

Banalasa'em vis na'nuvenin.” He stated, relaxing the grip on her throat, and kissed her before she could say anything.

Refuse me if you wish

When they stop because they can't breathe, she grins as if she has him right where she wants him, as if she's lured him there. Perhaps she has, he thinks to himself. It makes his mind dizzy to think that there may be someone that could challenge him. That is not something he's known, someone that would try to take the control away. Everyone else just gave him what he wanted, and now he was morbidly curious to know if she would be different.

Na tath sila na ane si ghi’myelan, melahn na ane si manean ailaer.” She teased, her eyes alight with mischief.

You still think you are the hunter, when you are the fish instead.

-

Present day…

 

Solas bolts up from a sound sleep, to find that the rest of the traveling party are all staring at him like he's grown an extra head. This is worse than the last time, because now he is without even the Seeker's skewed voice of reason. Varric looks like he's struck more story gold. Dorian is one syllable away from bursting into laughter. Fenris looks like he can't decide if he's amused or if he wants to kill him.

It is morning now, but barely, and even the sun seems reluctant to wake. Only birds can be heard flitting about, calling to each other and hunting for food. So why is it, that he can hear breathing outside of camp? Looking around to the others, he can tell they have not yet noticed, each too amused in his embarrassment. If he's right, one swift knife should do it.

Without a word to anybody, he quickly picks up the dagger he keeps by his pillow, and throws it into the underbrush. A surprised grunt quickly stops everyone from asking why he'd done that, and Fenris follows the sound to the source. A moment later, he tosses a familiar elf into the middle of camp. He can't believe it, it's that fucking male-whore with the tattoos! Solas is halfway across the way before Fenris stops him.

“Give me one good reason why I shouldn't kill him.” Solas demanded, angrily.

“As annoying as he is, he's her friend.” Fenris replied, with a huff. Somewhere in that, Solas gets the sense that Fenris has wanted to kill him at one point or another as well, and he relaxes inwardly.

“Why are you here?” Solas asked, looking to the blonde elf.

“To help Hawke. Sera sent me. Scary when she gets angry, that girl.” Zevran replied, still as easy going as he had been in the cage. The dagger had only gone though his shirt,just at his shoulder…No injury, but not a mistake either, and from the look the assassin was giving him, he knew it too.

“I'm not even going to ask about that one, Zev.” Varric said, shaking his head. Instead, he looked to Solas. “So what happened before you woke up, and don't say nothing. I will do imitations if I have to, Chuckles, so help me. You sounded…very…smoldering…there at the end.”

“I think…I've remembered something.” Solas replied, sitting back down in his bedroll. “They called her Sulahn'ean…Songbird. I don't know what in the Void she was thinking, challenging Falon'Din as she did, but she was…there aren't words, Master Tethras. She fought his men, threatened his life and his bits, and turned around and treated the wounded as she could. Mythal's fighters owe her their lives.”

“What does Ba nal lasa em vis na nuv en in mean?” Varric asked, with a mischievous grin, and Solas froze.

“I spoke in my sleep.” Solas said, suddenly filled with dread. Etunash! He had thought the dwarf meant moans like before, not talking!

“Yep, you said a lot, but that's the only phrase I want translated.” Varric smirked. “The way you said it was very telling.”

“Then I assume you can come up with your own translation, Child of the Stone.” Solas retorted, turning his head.

“It will be worse for you if I do.” Varric replied, his grin getting bigger.

“He's right. You don't want to know some of the things he's come up with when left to his own devices.” Fenris said, in rueful agreement. “How do you think 'Swords and Shields' happened?” Solas cringed at that.

“Fine. Banalasa'em vis na'nuvenin. It means…'Refuse me if you wish'.” Solas replied, grudgingly. “You are a foul dwarf, and I hate you.”

“No you don't.” Varric smirked. “Great stuff for my friend fictions, by the way.”

“He is still doing that?” Zevran asked, looking to Fenris.

“With no plans to stop, it seems.” Fenris replied, with a frustrated sigh.

“Do you remember anything else, Solas?” Dorian asked.

“As of that memory, she was still in Arlathan.” Solas replied, then smiled. “She insists that she is a terrible hunter, preferring to think of how she deals with my stubbornness as fishing.”

Everyone, even Zevran, laughed at that.

-

Back in ancient Arlathan…

 

This was just too good, too entertaining, and Elgar'nan could barely believe what he was seeing. Fen'Harel was so focused on something, that he did not even notice Elgar'nan watching him. The man's habits had changed over the last few weeks, and now someone who took no interest in the games was now hanging around the arena. More importantly, he was hanging around the healers quarters where it was rumoured that the young woman wearing his mask was staying. When Elgar'nan got closer, he realized in part why Fen'Harel hung around that spot so much.

One of his servants had told him that those with Mythal's vallas'lin referred to her as Sulahn'ean. He could hear her voice, and see the affect it had on Fen'Harel. He had never seen the man look so at peace. Fen'Harel was leaning against a wall, his head resting against it with his eyes closed as he listened to her singing as if her voice melted the years away. Elgar'nan smirked, apparently wolves could be tamed.

Ar eolasa na'ane tor tamahn, na'eolasa.” She called out, and Elgar'nan watched as a slow smile spread across Fen'Harel's face. “Na tyr garas in eil dirth sai em.”

I know you're out there, you know – You could come in and talk to me

Vis Ar te ra, na telem sulena sast'el. Melahn'an ahn shor Ar te?” Fen'Harel asked, teasingly.

If I do that, you won't sing anymore. Then what will I do?

Ir mesi na'shor sila or sulrahn.” She teased back, as she walked out to meet him.

I'm sure you'll think of something

Elgar'nan was beside himself. Fen'Harel is teasing a woman, and honestly, he didn't think that was possible. It wasn't as if the man was above putting on the charm for a dalliance, but Fen'Harel never really showed more than a passing interest in them, and yet he was teasing this woman! Who was she, and why was she talking to him as if he were not a god? Whoever she was, Elgar'nan was sure she would only lead to trouble.

One of the other healers, Elgar'nan guessed the head healer, came out to talk to them. Strange that he couldn't understand the language. Even more strange was that the woman responded to him in kind, though he could tell she spoke whatever it was much more fluently than the healer. Even Fen'Harel was picking it up! Just what was going on here?

Ar shor ea vaelolol na or Sulahn'ean sul si dhea'lam.” Fen'Harel stated, and Elgar'nan breathed a sigh of relief. There was the usual arrogance that had been missing.

I will be relieving you of Sulahn'ean for the evening.

She lightly punched Fen'Harel in the chest, and Fen'Harel only looked at her with amusement! There wasn't anyone alive that had lived through doing such a thing unpunished. It seemed that Fen'Harel was fascinated with this woman then. Could there be something more to her? What wasn't he seeing?

Na sil enal'sal ra? Nere i'sulo talaes min melana?” The woman asked, arching an eyebrow as she looked up at Fen'Harel, who looked at her with surprised amusement in turn.

You mind repeating that? Maybe with some manners this time?

Ahnsul? Is shor tel banalasa em.” Fen'Harel replied, looking a bit surprised and confused.

Why? He will not refuse me.

Is nere tel, y Ar shor.” She replied, her voice sounding as if in warning, crossing her arms in front of her.

He might not, but I will

Na shyr banalasa em?” Fen'Harel asked, looking over to her, the healer now forgotten, as he grinned. There was nothing he loved more than a good chase, even Elgar'nan knew that.

You would deny me?

Ar shyr banalasa na garahnen.” She replied, grinning back at him in the same manner.

I would deny you everything.

Before Elgnar'nan knew what was going on, she'd frozen Fen'Harel and made a run for it, laughing in delight as she ran. The spell only lasted for a moment, before Fen'Harel was free again, and he ran after her with a wolfish grin on his face. Elgar'nan just stared after them as if he'd never seen anything like it. The head healer just shook his head, as if this were common place and yet still amusing. Sounds of her shrieks of laughter could be heard even as he approached the healer in question. He had only one question for the man.

Ane Es'an la'ra ga'si'melava?” Elgar'nan asked, looking from the healer to the direction he'd seen Fen'Harel chase the woman.

Are they like that all the time?

The man's answering smile, and slight nod, were all that Elgar'nan needed. He swiftly turned around, and walked back to the palace. While he respected Fen'Harel, and understood that there was something going on between him and that newly found Evanuris, Elgar'nan was not above helping his son get a bit of revenge. A part of him wanted to follow them, and see for himself what they were like. The other part of him smiled at the thought of helping his son best Fen'Harel by getting revenge on the woman that bested him.

-

It was easy to track her through the trees, her shrieks of laughter giving her away. There are already those that whisper 'May the Dread Wolf never find you', so he marveled at how she seemed to delight in the fact that he was chasing her. He could not remember a time like this, chasing after someone he wanted simply because they wished it. The thick growth of the forest allowed for running through without scraps, but there were very few clearings he could pin her down in. He did not have to wait long before she ran straight for one.

“Did you think to outrun me?” Fen'Harel asked, right before catching her, causing them both to tumble down onto the ground.

“Did you really think I was trying to?” She replied, grinning up at him. His only response was to return her grin with one of his own. “Vana manean.

Silly fish.

Sulahn'ean.” He growled, playfully, before descending for a kiss.

-

Several days later...

 

He stood in between two parties, Sulahn'ean and the men who wanted to escort her to the palace. She had refused to leave the comfort of the healers work space when she realized who they were looking for, forcing Abelas to talk with them first. That had lead to this intense situation, in which he was trying to negotiate peace in a narrow hall way. The only thing that had stopped them from grabbing her without a word, was the fact that Abelas had called her 'Esem or Fen'Harel', Chosen of Fen'Harel.

That had been an interesting conversation to have. He'd gone back to the Healer's rooms, only to find Sulahn'ean pinned up against the wall, her arms above her head as Fen'Harel kissed her. He should have stopped when he'd heard the words 'Banalasa'em vis na'nuvenin', but instead had been unable to move as he thought over the implications of what that phrase meant. Fen'Harel had never, in all of his memory, given someone the choice to refuse him anything. As a god, he could have anything he desired, and yet he had given Sulahn'ean the option to refuse him.

Nar falon telsilen sul na, Sulahn'ean.” He had heard Fen'Harel say. “Ar shor vegara myl, vis ra air nar nuven'in.”

Your friend worries for you, Songbird – I will return soon, if that is your wish

Ra air.” He'd heard her say, and then Fen'Harel was gone.

It is.

Sulahn'ean had then called to Abelas. She explained the mark to him, where she was from, when she was from. He had thought them just stories before, but as she explained these things, he realized the truth of her words. He tried to wrap his mind around it all. That mark made her Esem or Fen'Harel, both protecting her and placing her in dangers greater than she could ever know.

 

“You want me to do what now?” She asked, looking to Abelas, pulling him from his thoughts. She was angry, and in her anger, she had reverted to speaking in Trade again. He was the only one well versed in it enough to translate her rage.

“They want you to move into the palace, Sulahn'ean. The request was made by Elgar'nan.” Abelas replied, gently. “Honestly, I don't think he wants to apologize. It's more likely that he's giving his son a chance to overcome his humiliation.”

“So…if I go…I get to humiliate him again?” Sulahn'ean asked, looking strangely hopeful. Abelas sighed inwardly at this. The strange habits this woman had, it is no wonder she caught the eye of Fen'Harel. “Alright. I can get behind that. (Abelas sighs in relief) But I need my things, and I do mean all of them…(Abelas looks at her like she's crazy) What? You expect me to go in there without any weapons? Fuck that.”

She crossed her arms in defiance, and Abelas turned to explain her conditions to the men who were there to get her. He did not say the word weapons, not at all. He said, personal items of deep importance to her family. He may have also thrown in how anything that made her happy would make Fen'Harel happy. Sulahn'ean just arched an eyebrow at him, and the men looked extremely uncomfortable, but in the end they relented.

“I doubt that I will ever see you again, Sulahn'ean.” Abelas said, in parting, giving her a quick hug. “Good luck with your fishing…and the humiliation of the spoiled child.”

“You're only so open because they can't understand you, but thank you.” Sulahn'ean replied, with a smirk. “I'm going to need all the luck I can get.”

-

Na ter AHN?! Fen'Harel shouted, livid, after Elgar'nan revealed the news to him.

You did WHAT?!

Books rattled on the shelves, shaking with the weight of his magic in the room. From the look on Elgar'nan's face, this is exactly the reaction he'd been looking for. There was no being subtle about this. He had warned the others away from Sulahn'ean, but there was nothing he knew of that would persuade Elgar'nan to do the same, not when there was revenge to be had for his son. Fen'Harel fought down his anger, damning himself for thinking he'd had more time.

He knew damned good and well that Elgar'nan was not doing this to teach his son a lesson. He was doing this to give the foul little cretin a chance at his own revenge. At the fighters arena she had some semblance of protection. Here, there would be none. She could defend herself well, he knew, but it didn't seem like she understood the level of danger she was in.

That she was a new Evanuris might save her from the others for a time. It would make her a curiosity at the least, a play thing at the worst. It would not save her from Falon'Din or Elgar'nan. Mythal had not been safe from any of them, even as powerful as she had been, not even from her own husband. Elgar'nan just smiled politely at him as if this were the most natural course to take.

Ir tena na ei enaste, ma falon. Min vir, na telem ema vira dur sai si eisaelae hartha ash sulena.” Elgar'nan said, still smiling.

I'm doing you a favour, my friend. This way, you won't have to go down to the arena to hear her sing.

Fen'Harel didn't believe it for a second, but he couldn't say anything about it. So much of his plan revolved around remaining friendly with them all. This woman, this Sulahn'ean, had come at a most inopportune moment. So he smiled, hating himself even as he did that much, and nodded to the man. An idea came to him though, the only protection he felt he could give her.

Ar'te'las ra telin eman ei kedi mir ash.” Fen'Harel replied, pleasantly smilng, as he left. “As shaes ara'vianvallas tas.”

I do hope that no one holds a grudge towards her – She wears my mark as well.

-

When Elgar'nan's men began to take her to the palace, they did not speak to her. They were heading to a part of the arena she had never been to before. She didn't see a palace anywhere near them. How were they even suppose to get there from here? When they rounded a corner, she saw the el'u'vi'an and understood, but could not make her feet follow.

Min air thu ar'an shira.” One of them explained, when they saw her trepidation. “Si Valali air ove amahn.

This is how we travel – The palace is through here.

Air min si sasha vir?” She asked, nervously. “Ar ema'tel ema on aezaesolaer i'esh'ala.

Is this the only way – I haven't had good experiences with them.

Vin.” The man stated, and motioned her forward.

Yes

She doesn't want to go through, but she does, and when she does…She's never seen anything like it. There is a long stone bridge that looks like it goes on for miles, but just beyond that is the palace. Archways upon archways, all trying to reach the sky. Mosaics on ever bit of stone, telling stories she doesn't know. When the sun hits them just right, they glow, and it's the most beautiful thing she's ever seen.

-

Her mother would be laughing if only she knew what they had her doing here. They had set her up in the kitchens, cooking and washing dishes, two things she hated doing above all else. It was easier to treat it like a mission, and soon many of the servants there could understand a little Trade as well. They seemed less enthused by her antics, but amused nonetheless. She kept the name of Sulahn'ean, singing Fereldan songs in Trade and Elven on occasion.

When they found out she could make something for the dry hands they always got from washing dishes, their approval of her went up. There was no one there yet like Abelas that she could really talk to, not yet. Falon'Din had made several appearances, but he could never seem to pin her down to a single location. Those markings she wore were good for helping her slip through walls, and for once in her life she is thankful that there was Tevinter blood magic. The first time the servants saw her do that, their eyes almost jumped out of their skulls.

The one thing she could make well were cookies with vanilla bean and rose petals, something her and her mother bonded over. Sylaise had requested something sweet, and put the challenge to her for something she had never had before. After asking around, she discovered that the woman had not had that particular sweet, and got to work. The ovens were a bit more intricate than what she was use to dealing with, but after being there for that long, she had a better handle on it. As she went to change into her serving outfit, she thought about the first time she'd seen the thing.

No one else had an outfit that skimpy, like they were trying to single her out specifically. When she noticed that, she took things into her own hands. Maker bless Isabella for teaching her out to make a corset. If they wanted her to be skimpy, then by the Maker she'd take to it with a vengeance. She had a few of the outfits, so they'd not seen the alterations she'd made to one of them.

She couldn't help but laugh when she saw the servants reaction to her outfit. They had wondered about why hers had been so skimpy in the first place, but upon hearing that it had been requested by one of the 'gods' they no longer questioned it. So when she walked into the kitchens wearing the new and reduced version, mouths fell open in shock. A few of the older ones shook their heads, knowing that she had a mean streak in her a mile wide. This would be interesting, to say the least.

-

His plan to avoid her works better than he expects, and when he finds out why he's furious. They do not plan to recognize her as an Evanuris, despite knowing that that's exactly what she is. They give her a room in the palace, which he pretends not to know the way to, but make her a servant in the kitchens. He spends more time near there than he should, but makes sure that she can't see him. He can't protect her if she sees him.

He has caught Falon'Din stalking her on more than one occasion, and sends the boy on his way. He has also watched as Sulahn'ean slips through the walls as if they weren't even there. She is ethereal, glowing with lyrium. He slips away before she can notice he's there, but the longer he is away, the more he wishes he wasn't. Though he knows she is powerful, a part of him does not want to know if she can take on the others, not after what happened to Mythal.

When she walked into the dining hall, his breath catches in his throat. He had seen the outfit Elgar'nan had wanted her to wear, how much more it showed than what the other servants wore. It gauled him that they still refused to see her as Evanuris, but he couldn't react that way, even though he did advocate for her to be recognized as an equal to them. She didn't seem to mind, taking things with a patience that he was surprised she possessed. However, when something got under her skin, it seemed that even Elgar'nan could not predict the results of her vengeance.

The outfit she wore now brings to focus every curve she possessed. What was that thing she wore around her waist? Whatever it was pushed up her breasts nicely, which he was trying very hard not to stare at, and accentuated her hips…which he was also trying very hard not to stare at. The design on it seemed to mimic the lines on her body, giving him the illusion that she wasn't wearing anything at all really. He swallowed a groan when he noticed the sides of her breasts just barely visible as she moved.

She never wore shoes, none of the servants did, but none of them had her legs either. She had split the sides of the bottom of the already short garment, and now only a crisscrossing ribbon on either side kept it in place. He frowned as he realized just how high those slits went…Did that mean…that she…Was she not…was she not wearing undergarments?! From the secretive smirk she wore, he knew that she knew where his mind had gone, but that did nothing to answer his silent question.

He barely tasted the cookies she and several of the other servants had brought out. His mind completely absorbed by how little she was wearing. The others noticed, but she paid them no mind. He frowned more, wondering why she wasn't bothered by them, but he came to the realization it was because they didn't really see her. They didn't see the playful glint in her eyes, the secretive smirk on her lips, how her hair seemed to be as lusciously wild as she was.

He could swear she was hunting him now, in clear view of everyone around them, and they saw nothing. She talked to everyone, touched everyone as if to reassure them, but only the touches on him seemed to linger. He was convinced now that she would be the death of him. His mind had been so lost in thought, that he did not notice how Falon'Din was acting. The boy had made some rude comment about her fighting skills or something, and he only caught her response.

Na ane e'aistedael da'len, eil vis na'tel'enathe siljosal, ar'shor ema sai tirdana'na sum ara'gluin, Ishalen.” She said, piercing the young man with her gaze, threatening and suggestive all at once.

You are an impudent child, and if you don't start behaving, I'll have to bend you over my knee, Boy.

Fen'Harel begins to wonder just how long it has been since that boy has had a spanking in any sense of the word, and can't help coughing when he's realized where his thoughts have gone. The others have stopped eating to watch this play out. This is why they wanted her here, Fen'Harel knew, not to recognize her power as an evanuris, but to see what would happen when Falon'Din couldn't take it any more. This is what he was afraid of, the thing he could not protect her from. He knew the moment he saw her that she would not back down…even when she should.

-

Present day…

 

Solas had taken last watch, so no one was surprised to see him sketching away when they began waking up the next morning. He spoke with them, but his sketches always preoccupied him when he was determined about them. Fenris was the first one to really get a look at it, and he nearly died choking on his coffee. Hawke was wearing almost less than Isabella, looking like she was prowling. Is this what Fen'Harel had her wearing?

“You will explain that outfit, right now.” Fenris demanded. “She looks like she's one thread away from wearing nothing.

“Rivaini would be impressed.” Varric said, with a smirk, looking at the sketch too.

“That is quite the outfit. Maybe when we get her back, I can talk to her about updating my wardrobe.” Dorian remarked, looking at the sketch now.

“Indeed, that corset does amazing things for her already wonderful figure.” Zevran commented. “You look like you're in great pain in this picture, my friend. Why did you try to deny yourself such a beautiful woman?”

“I refuse to answer you, Felasil.” Solas retorted, returning to his sketch.

“Not answering me is still an answer, my fine elven friend. No need to be so insulting.” Zevran replied, with his usual smile. “What did you call me just now anyway?”

“I called you an idiot.” Solas replied, without looking up at him. “It is better than what I called you before.”

“I imagine.” Zevran replied, grinning even wider now. “You looked like you would have killed me if given the chance.”

“The thought had crossed my mind, Assassin.” Solas stated, not even looking up from his sketch.

“You still have not explained the outfit.” Fenris stated, bringing them back to the matter at hand.

“It seems that Elgar'nan had found out that I was visiting the fighting arena where she was so that I could hear her sing, and had her brought into the palace. His son is the one she humiliated, so I imagine this had to be a way to give Falon'Din his chance at revenge.” Solas explained, still sketching. “She worked in the kitchens at the time, and they gave her the skimpiest thing they had for a serving girl to wear…This is her revenge, I think. She took one of the outfits, and made it into…well…into…this.”

“Remember when she depantsed you in DiamondBack?” Varric asked, still sipping on his coffee.

“I'm still trying to forget that, Master Tethras.” Solas admitted.

“Well, this is like that.” Varric replied. “As the saying goes, she's got a bee in her bonnet. With Flint, revenge is…”

“An art form.” Zevran replied.

“The things she did to Danarius before we killed him…The humiliation alone should have killed the man.” Fenris said, thinking back on it. “Hawke is not one I want angry at me, ever.”

“Is she…is she not wearing any smalls?” Dorian asked, surprising everyone. Then he started laughing. “Solas, I believe this is more than revenge. She is hunting you, in clear view of everyone, and from the looks of it, no one seems to realize what she's doing…except maybe you. No wonder you look like you're in pain.”

 

Chapter Text

There's a kind of lemon in this chapter, sort of. So heads up.


Chapter 15

Back in ancient arlathan…

There were days when she would wander the palace alone. Days like that were ones she lived for. Even inside there were beautiful mosaics all over the place. Floating fire in small clear orbs hung about the rooms, lighting everything. She had been following a particular scent for the last few minutes, not noticing that she didn't see any servants in this wing.

She found what she was looking for, and smiled the moment she saw it. This was his study, his art studio. This is where he would hide from everyone else, and work on his art to his hearts' content. The smell of it reminded her of the rotunda. So it was here that she began to spend her free time, when she had it that is.


It started out innocent enough. He had started a painting, and because he seemed to like punishing himself, he had made her the subject matter. He had known the moment she'd entered his study, and it was comforting to see how the room changed every time she was there. A book would be on the desk, a blanket would be rumpled in the reading nook, each a small touch of her. One day though, things were much different.

She had taken interest in his painting, added to it while he was gone. It had the beginnings of his own face as well. He started working on it only on the days after she had. It became their conversation, since he was avoiding her, and she was not pushing him. Now, he stared at the painting they had created, unsure of what to make of it.

Instead of it being a portrait, as he had intended, it showed the two of them dancing in a ballroom. They had eyes for no one else, though there were hints of others dancing in the background. Everything had a slightly greenish or golden hue. It was beautiful, everything he wanted and nothing he could allow himself to have. What had he gotten himself into with this girl?


She had come by that afternoon to see if he had done anything to the painting, only to find it gone. The paints had been put away, and everything had been cleaned. She wasn't able to get into the desk drawers. If this wasn't a sign, she didn't know what was. He'd complete shut her out again, and not even the books could comfort her.

That was how she found herself out in the court yard. The area was already being overtaken by the nature around them, but even so the stone floor was still visible. Something had to give, and she was tired of always being the one doing the giving. He just looked so sad, and walled off, that she wanted to help him. She thought they had been getting closer, but she had to remind herself that she couldn't help someone who didn't want to be helped, and this was not yet her Solas.

"Ar'tel'tasi ra Fen'Harel ema isa inan sul'na." She heard, and recognized the voice as Falon'Din, her stomach dropping uncomfortably at the sound of it. "Na cestoloraer em, laisma."

I do not care that Fen'Harel has his eyes on you – You humiliated me, slave/lost one

She turned around to face him, that signature cocky grin of hers in place, and decided to keep her bluff going. "Ar tyr eilar te'ra sal vis na nuva."

I could always do it again if you like

"Is air tel amahn ra halani na min." Falon'Din retorted, throwing a simple staff to her.

He is not here to help you now

"Ishalen, Ar te dirasha'nar'masa, I'sa'da'lav ve ara'veth, shorol dixie." She said, when she caught the staff. "Te'na vaelia sila ar nuva ish min sul'ra?"

Boy, I can kick your ass, with one hand behind my back, whistling dixie – Do you really think I need him here for that?

"Ahn?" He looked confused, and it was only then that she realized he wouldn't know what that song was anyway.

What?

She just couldn't seem to help herself. Annoying the shit out of this twirp was just too much fun, and right now she needed the distraction to work of some of this anger. So she puts one hand behind her back, and begins to whistle the tune,twirling the staff as she does so. This has the desired results, and he charges at her in anger. Though she does hit him with the staff, she makes it a point to 'kick his ass' literally. This infuriated him, and he would try to hit her again. She knew damn well that he was using magic to move around that fast, but she was determined to kick his ass the 'old fashioned' way, as it were.


He'd spelled the painting away, to a time when what he saw could be true, convinced it was something he could not have. After that, he'd walked around the grounds, feeling restless. He recognized her feelings of disappointment, and marveled at how she could shift from disappointment to frustration to anger so quickly. The last one bothered him, resolve, but what had she resolved to do? The walk along the worn dirt path near his study did not provide him the comfort it usually did, not this time.

"Te na'eolasa mahn nar Sulahn'ean air?" Andruil asked, sounding strangely concerned, when he got back to the shimmering dining hall.

Do you know where your Songbird is?

"Din. Ahnsul?" Fen'Harel replied, not liking how this sat with him. Andruil was rarely worried, and never about things that involved him.

No. Why?

"Na myr dirthala." She warned, before walking on quickly…like she was headed somewhere specific.

You should find out/learn


That is how he found Sulahn'ean, twirling about quickly with her hand behind her back…whistling a tune as she fought with Falon'Din. Just what had the fool said now? A few of the others were there, lazily watching the fight, so he doubted that his Sulahn'ean was in any real danger, but Falon'Din was a sore loser if there ever was one. This would not be forgotten, and yet he could not find it in himself to be worried about it. He too was content to watch the fight.

There was something about the way she moved. She was graceful, wasted no energy on flashy moves…save the whistling and her hand behind her back. He had underestimated her before, that much was clear. However, he noticed a reoccuring theme within this fight. Every chance she got, she quite literally 'kicked' Falon'Din's ass.

"Ar ema sai av'ahn…" Fen'Harel said, intrigued, his voice trailing off as he rested against the wall.

I have to ask…

"Ahn as'air dirashal ish in si masa la ra?" Sylaise asked, with faint amusement. Fen'Harel nodded. "Ar ema din rahn, y'ra'n samahlas."

Why she's kicking him in the ass like that? - I have no idea, but it's funny.

"Ra'air aelyl." Elgar'nan said, stopping everything as his voice rang out over the area. "Dian min falasilor mala."

That's enough – Stop this nonsense now.

"Ahnsul? Mai nar ishalen te shala sal'in?" She growled angrily, as she turned to the man, her hair alive and wild with the magic she held.

Why? So your son can save face?

"Tamahn sai din thanun ra cestolora ish var'el, Sulahn'ean." Fen'Harel said, gently, sure that he could calm her down.

There is no reason to humiliate him further, Songbird.

"Telin av'ahnen na!" She shouted, angrily, whirling around to face him. "Na ema'tel dirthem ra em samelana moli Ar garem amahn, eil…" He was shocked when she started berating him in front of the others, but he was more surprised that she stalked towards him, whispering a part for his ears alone. "Na tu telem eidor sai nar'lin ra na'lath'em."

No one asked you! - You haven't talked to me once since I got here, and…– you still won't admit to yourself that you love me.

Fen'Harel stood there speechless, eyes wide, as she turned around and walked away from him and further into the courtyard, tossing the staff aside in anger as she did so. Seeing as the entertainment was gone, the others soon took their leave as well. Only Fen'Harel and June remained. Despite everything, June was one of the ones he had liked before the mess with Mythal. So it surprised him when June walked up to him, and smacked him up the back of his head.

"Ar eolasa ra Elgar'nan valaer ash amahn nua na, y'ra air din thanun ra aindrysi si asha." The normally jovial man snapped.

I understand that Elgar'nan put her here to taunt you, but that is no reason to ignore the woman.

"Ra air si sasha vir ama ash." Fen'Harel argued, stubbornly.

It is the only way to protect her

"Melahn ema aindrysol sa'lin na latha'sul aelaes amem ash'ala?" June sneered, knowing he'd hit a nerve, before he walked away.

When has ignoring someone you cared about ever protected them?


"Sulahn'ean, wait!" He called after her.

Man alive, but that woman could run! She was beyond the outer edges of the courtyard before he caught up with her again. This was the area that was more nature, less stone, as the plants around them slowly took back the land. This area was not as cared for as it was not close to the palace. He reached out and was able to grasp her fingers, before she whirled around to face him, jerking her hand out of his grasp.

"Ahn? Mala na'nuva sai'dirtha sai'em?" She growled, angrily. "Na'ane sav'el elvar eil sal'in'soun mala o'na aelaes shaesi!"

What? Now you want to talk to me? – You're even more difficult and stubborn now than you ever were!

"Mai tamahn'air'las sul'em melahn'an?" He teased, unable to stop himself. There was something captivating about how angry she was, but he realized just as quickly that it was a mistake to tease her when she was this angry.

So there is hope for me then?

"Tel'garahnen arian eisyl na, na'eolasa. Na tel telir vera'ahn'na'nuva, eil iselena sul'em sai bell'ana ea min." She snarled at him, and he froze in both wonder and shock. "Ir tel nar vani'fan, eil na ane tel ei venuralas."

Not everything revolves around you, you know. You can not simply take what you want, and expect for me to always be here – I am not your plaything, and you are not a god.

"Sulahn'ean, melana! Sathan!" He said, trying to calm her down, now beginning to understand just how badly he'd let things get, gently grasping her fingers as she turned to head back towards the palace.

Songbird, wait! Please!

She just leveled a glare at him, and left him with words he knew would haunt him forever.


"Ir tel nar Sulahn'ean, eil tamahn air din'el thanun sai sulena."

I am not your Songbird, and there is no more reason to sing.

Those words haunted him wherever he went now, the last words she'd spoken to him…yelled at him, when he went to find her after the fight with Falon'Din. It wasn't her voice that haunted him now. It was the sheer lack of it. She no longer sang, no longer spoke to anyone, and went about her daily routine with no life; She didn't even go to his study anymore. He had used her in a way, to heal the parts of himself he had not realized were broken, but he had not given anything back in return. No wonder she was angry at him.

She went about her day silently, not bothering to even glance at him as she went. That was another thing he had noticed. He was beginning to see her less and less, as if she were working in another area, and he knew it would serve him right if she never spoke to him again. Restlessness took hold of him one night, weeks after she had refused to talk to him, or see him when he went in search of her, and he began to wander in search of something he couldn't name. It went on like this for days.

The people he passed offered a kind smile, as if they knew of his troubles, but they would not speak to him in any other tone but that of demurring. Even those he helped to get away before, did not treat him the way she had, and so he continued to wander the streets in the evenings. The streets were truly beautiful, pristine, a true testament to the craftsmanship of the elvhen, and yet he saw only emptiness wherever he looked. Words that she had said before, came back to haunt him now. Arlathan would fall, because all his brethren cared about was decadence and power; Their people meant little to them, and yet the Evanuris demanded to be worshiped.

A sound caught his attention, one he had not heard in what felt like ages, and he followed it to its source. He lost it a few times, the sound echoing against a building, making him lose his way. The next day he returned to the same spot, and the next, and the next, hoping to hear the sound again, wondering why it held such fascination for him. It made his heart beat faster to hear it again, and it didn't dawn on him until he was nearly upon it why he was searching for it so fervently. It was the one sound he had missed above all others.

Her voice, at last, he'd heard her voice. In a wooden tavern, not far from the palace, he found her. This was not the type of place he had expected to find her in. She deserved to be praised, treated like a goddess, and yet he could see how at home she was among the people. In this dark hole in the wall of a tavern, she had probably learned more about the people here than he ever had in the walls of the palace.

She was sitting at a long table playing cards, looking for all the world as if she were comfortable there, joking and telling stories. Here, her tattoos looked like a rogue's decoration as opposed to the lyrium he knew them to be. He looked down at his own clothing, regal as they were, tailored and well made, and knew he would stand out like a sore thumb in such an establishment. Yet she could look as if she belonged no matter where she was, regal in one moment, simplistic the next. He was brought out of his musings by the woman who was the subject of them.

"Na'vhen telir nuven em sai'sulena mai Ar telem ema ei dys sai'enas ara tyli veth!" She scoffs, playfully.

You lot only want me to sing so I won't have a chance to win my money back!

A familiar tune began to play (Pirates of the Baltic-celestial aeon), and she laughed. "Ar'tel'nuva sulena. Ar nuva alas'nira!"

I don't want to sing. I want to dance!

Well, he was not going to be one to waste the opportunity, walked in, took her hand, and made his way to an open floor space. Many of the patrons were surprised to see him, shocked out of their conversations to stare at him, but it wasn't their attention he wanted. Now, his main focus was her. She was too surprised now to stop him, and he used that to his advantage. They were out in what he assumed was the dance floor, before she even tried to say anything.

"Wha-" She tried to say, surprised.

"Na dirthem na nuvenem sai alas'nira, Ara'Sulahn'ean." He stated, with a grin, and set up the dance. "Ehn eis Ar sai banalasa mes ei nuven'in?"

You said you wanted to dance, my Songbird – Who am I to deny such a request?

She laughed and grinned at him, and just like that they were hunting each other again. He hadn't danced like this since before the first war, and it felt wonderful to do so again. She was graceful, and even if she didn't know the steps, she didn't let it slow her down. She invented new steps, and he moved to them as if they had always been a part of the dance. When the song was over, he pulled her in for a kiss, wrapping one of his arms around her, putting everything he didn't know how to say into it, while ignoring the calls and whistles from those she had been playing cards with.

"Son melahn'an." She said, a bit breathless, when he pulled away. "Tel'telam la'var'la eidylyndror vira."

Well then – Not bad as far as apologies go.

"Shyr na la em sai tua ei tael esay eis ra?" He teased, without missing a beat. He had missed her.

Would you like me to make a second attempt at it?

"Ar shyr'tel ea harillen sai si'rahn." She replied, giving him that fanged grin that made him feel like he was the one being hunted.

I woundn't be opposed to the idea

"Son melahn'an." He replied, using her words, before leaning in for a much longer kiss. "Ar eolasa eilyr banal eirdyr na, Sulahn'ean, eil taht Ar ema mi'nas'sal'in ra moli. Ar ema mi'nas'sal'in na."

Well then – I know almost nothing about you, Songbird, and yet I have missed that smile. I have missed you.


Present day…

It was the eighth day for him dealing with the memories coming back when things took a turn for the worst. He had begun to remember the time when she had stopped singing, when she had all but disappeared from his life, and it physically hurt him. He had been absolutely miserable, and had not been much in the way of conversation. The last day or so, Varric would look to him in silent question if anything had changed. Solas would shake his head no, and they would continue on.

This particular morning when Varric looked at him, the dwarf just started laughing. Apparently it showed in his demeanor that things were better now. In all truth, he felt better now too. Those memories had been awful to relive again, acting like a vise grip on his lungs, making it hard for him to breathe. It appeared, he thought wryly, that he was just as foolish now about how to protect the people he cared for as he had been then.

He wondered just how many memories there were that he had made himself forget. Their travels had taken them the long way around, through the no man's land between territories, hoping to avoid slavers, magisters, and Vael's men alike, slow going through thick forests. Fenris seemed ready to attack with a vengeance, and that was not what they needed at the moment. They certainly were not a normal traveling party. One pretentious tevinter, three elves; two of which did not carry themselves the way a slave would, and one that would kill them before they had a chance to look at him; and a dwarf that was constantly writing things and looked like he gave zero fucks about a tevinter's supposed superiority.

"Finally made up with her, I see." Zevran said, with a wink, as he sat down on one of the logs that they had positioned around the fire. "It is about time. I thought you would mope for years with that face."

"You do realize you're trying to give me advice on something that has already happened?" Solas asked, more than a little annoyed by Zevran. He was trying really hard not to think of various ways to kill him, seeing as how he was Alhasha's friend…he'd already failed 42 times since waking up that morning.

"I really will have to congratulate her when we find her again." Zevran said, not fazed in the slightest. "She told me about the hot springs, but failed to mention just exactly who you were. It would be like our dear Champion to steal her first ever kiss from Fen'Harel."

At this, Fenris, Dorian, and Varric still instantly. Solas realizes in this moment, that this was something she had never told them, that she had only spoken to the girls (and Zevran for some odd reason) about it. The mention and realization of this makes him blush, though for the life of him, he can't figure out why. Dorian just chuckles a little and continues drinking his coffee, and after a moment Fenris just shakes his head and follows suit. It's Varric that is eyeing him with something that he would consider close to murder, if he didn't know the dwarf better.

"I'm going to have to rewrite everything." Varric grounded out. "Everything!"

"That is what you get for having the story written in your head already, and waiting for me to 'fill in the blanks', master Tethras." Solas replied, much to the amusement of everyone else.


Back in ancient Arlathan…

After that moment in the tavern, he wasted no time in asking her every single question he could think of to get to know her. She was his Nas'Falon, he knew, and he was tired of wasting time. She already knew a lot about him, he made the spell that way on purpose, and so he told her little things anyway. He'd already proven how stubborn he could be, and she'd needed the knowledge to know how to handle him or else he could have manipulated the situation without her knowledge. She had answered every question she felt she could, but there was a lot she wasn't telling him. There was a lot she wasn't sure she could tell him.

He knew that she had met him in this future she spoke of, but that he seemed to have no memory of her. Though he had not asked, he knew this meant he'd placed a memory spell on himself at some point. From her stories, he knew that his plan would succeed but with a high cost…His people would have much taken from them, and that his first plans to fix that mistake would end in failure, but it would lead to his finding of her. He knew that he would need to forget a lot of what she told him, and hope that his memories could be restored.

They sat together in that place, talking and laughing with those she had played cards with. There was a certain kind of comfort, he realized, to the feel of wood grain under his fingertips. They had gotten into a conversation about strength versus magic, which lead to outer versus inner strength, which somehow lead to an arm wrestling contest. That was another thing he couldn't remember doing after the wars, and the two garnered quite a bit of attention with that, bets were being flung about wildly. He won, but it was a close thing, and he was left marveling at her strength even so.

Loser buys dinner of course, her rules, she'd said. So when she comes back with an assortment of meats and cheeses, he does not question it. As they eat, they get into another debate, this time about how best to wield magic. Though he does not need a staff to wield his magic, he finds it a kind of comfort, while she insists hand gestures and rune circles are what work best for her. He finds that he enjoys watching her wield magic, like a dance, she puts her whole body into it.

When the Tavern had closed for the night, the two walked back to the palace. Lost in each other, and the small kisses that they shared, they could have been seen by the entire pantheon and they would not have noticed. He was thankful when they finally made it to his room, and promptly pushed her up against the door once he'd closed it. She made a sound somewhere in between a surprised yelp and a pleasured moan, as he began trying to divest them of their clothes, while trying to kiss along her neck. He could get lost in the sounds she made, he realized, which is probably why he didn't notice something was wrong until she burst into tears before his eyes.

"Sulahn'ean, ahn'air del?" He asked, alarmed now, stopping everything he was doing. "Ahn garem?"

Songbird, what's wrong? - What happened?

"Y-you wouldn't s-stop." She said, trying to calm her breathing. "I p-panicked."

"I'm sorry, Ar shor'tel emma gerem emem var…" He said, backing away just a little, surprising her. Etunash! Was his reputation really that bad in the future, or had she just not expected him to apologize and back off? He took a chance, and gently caressed her jawline, holding her head in his hands. "Ar shar tas diana'i'isal. Na ane tuasha. Min air tuasha. Ahn shyr na emma iar te? Garahnen air eis nar vali."

I shouldn't have gotten carried away…–I was too eager. You are new. This is new. What would you have us do? Everything is at your pace.

"Ar shyr'tel sil shael emem sul ei la'var, vis na tel'sil." She replied, trying to sound sarcastic, but it only succeeded in pulling him to her pleading eyes more.

I wouldn't mind being held for a while, if you don't mind.

Without another word, he picked her up bridal style, and carried her to the bed. When he got them under the covers, he did just as she asked, and held her there. This was how he came to hear about Vael. She'd begun by telling him what had happened, and his future self's reaction to seeing her dream of it in the Fade. If he hadn't already felt like an ass before, he most certainly did now.

He'd not wanted to force her, thinking that she had been ready, and he was reminded even in this that he was more like the others than he had wanted to admit. They thought themselves gods, used to taking whatever they wanted, or having it offered to them without hesitation. He had thought himself above such things, and yet he had almost let that exact thinking ruin what he was trying to build with this woman. After that, he slowly drew her to him. Everything went at her pace, and he found that he enjoyed this slow exploration of her much more than the quick fix he usually looked for.


Lemon Warning...sort of

Time held no meaning, whole days could have ran together for all they knew, and the only thing they left the bed for was the necessary and food. They talked about everything, anything, and sometimes nothing at all. Eventually, they did end up shedding their clothing, but even then he did not try for more than that. Instead, a touch was a word, a caress a conversation. Her magic clung to him like he belonged to it, and he realized that this was the most relaxed he'd ever been. He learned that though she could call on the lyrium lines if she ever needed to, he was the only one they reacted to, lighting up when he would caress her skin.

"Is it…odd…to be jealous of one's self?" He asked, breaking the contented silence they'd been in. They'd been practicing his Trade more too.

"Why?" She asked, snuggling into him. "He was you once, and you will be him eventually."

"Yes, but…he has many firsts I do not with you. After all, in your eyes, it is he you met first." Fen'Harel replied, as he ran his fingers through her hair. He felt that was something else he was going to be rather addicted to, running his fingers through her hair, like ink flowing through his fingers. "He has the first kiss, the first to nibble along your neck…to hear those little sounds you make, even the first fight. I am…envious? Yes. Envious of him, this man I will eventually come to be."

"I don't know if you want to be envious of the first fight." She teased. "I break your nose."

"Do you really?" Fen'Harel asked, in wonderment, and a slow smile spread across his face when she nodded. "Why?"

That one question lead to many more, as she told the story of her Mabari hound. Fen'Harel did not care for hounds, but the story she told was fascinating, and it explained a few things. She told the story from the day her father gave her the hound, through the incident that lead to her mutilated ear, and he listened. She told him about their various adventures together, the trek to someplace called 'Kirkwall', and how the hound had been one of the most loyal companions she'd ever known. It was his own interactions with the hound that surprised him.

Could there really be a hound that approved of him? As a general rule, they tended to dislike him. Yet this one, the one that was loyal to his nas'falon judged him with favour. He loved how she was amused by their antics, how his future self had hidden from the creature to find peace, and how this 'BarkSpawn' had made sure that his future self could not ignore her. When she explained how the creature's death had forced him to face his feelings for her, he knew that he would owe this being a debt, one that apparently had been paid in that future of theirs by way of a small mabari pup that had bonded to them both. That in itself was a wonder to him, that he would be bonded with a Mabari.

After that, it was more exploration; more kisses, soft touches, gentle but firm caresses. He hated that she had been tortured with the lyrium lines, but loved that she clung to him more whenever he would run his tongue across one. Her hands ghosting over him as she got more comfortable with him, as if she were trying to learn every muscle, as if she wanted to sculpt him, was an amazing feeling. She was inexperienced, he knew, there was no way one could hide as she had for so long without such a cost. It showed in her hesitant touches, and yet they felt better than any other he had known.

He couldn't remember the last time anyone had done this, and it set his nerves on fire. Then again, she was a mage, and her impish grin was all he needed to confirm that she was intending to do this to him. He hadn't thought she would try such a thing yet, and hoped that it was a sign she was becoming more comfortable with him. Fen'Harel melted into her touch, and the pleasant warmth she was giving him with her magic. However, when she tentatively ran her fingers along the length of his shaft, his mind stopped working altogether.

His sharp intake of breath stopped her movements, and she jerked her hand away. "Ir abelas, Ir abelasAr myr'tel ema…"

I'm sorry, I'm sorry. I shouldn't have…

"Ar shar onhara, Sulahn'ean, tel tel'nuvenem." He explained, holding her hands in his own, desperately wishing she would continue. "Sathan…Esaya'em na nuvenin…Ra sildearem on, Lath'in."

I was surprised, Sulahn'ean, not unwanting – Please…Explore me as you wish…It felt good, love.

It's when he calls her lath'in that she relaxes enough to want to continue. It must be what he calls her later, but that's something she won't tell him. Her movements are hesitant at first, but with every reaction he gives, she becomes more sure. He hears moans and soft whispers begging 'More, love, please. Just like that. Please, don't stop. I need you.'. The voice is his own, and yet he can not recognize it, has never heard it like this before.

This is usually the sound he hears from others, begging, wanton. If he knew for certain that a higher power than them existed, he'd pray to them now, thank them for allowing the spell to work to bring her here. As it is, all his mind can think is 'my love'. His breath comes in deep gasps, his hips move of their own volition, and then suddenly the feeling is gone. He opens his eyes in confusion, only just now realizing he'd closed them.

"Ahn-?…" He was going to ask what was wrong, if she needed to stop. It wasn't like he was a stranger to himself, as he was certain she would not appreciate him going to another. But the second she began tentatively kissing along his length, the words stuck in his throat, only to be replaced with new ones. "Thes!"

What? - Fuck!

He had not expected her to want to do this yet, but he wasn't about to stop her either. The things she did with her tongue, licking him around his head before taking him in, there was no way he was going to last long if she kept doing those things. It wasn't long before she had him back to begging. He knew it was about to happen, tried to stop her, to warn her away in case she didn't want to finish him off this way. She just pushed his hand away, and continued to suck and lick at him until he couldn't hold back anymore, and he came in her mouth.

She didn't seem to know what to do, and spit his semen into a nearby cup, coughing at the strange sensation that was now in her throat. Now she was embarrassed, and he isn't sure why. Had she not wanted to do that? Without a second thought, he sat up, and pulled her to into a kiss. She'd tried to back away, but he held her to him and deepened the kiss. He would not have her feel embarrassed about anything regarding the two of them ever if he could help it.

"That was…Lath'in, ra shar…Na ane on'ala, Lath'in." Fen'Harel stated, giving her small kisses in between words. "Ar isalan…Ar isalan serannasa na…ahn na tuem em sildeara…Ela'Ar?"

Love, that was…You are amazing, Love. - I want…I want to show you…what you made me feel…May I?

She seemed hesitant again, and he was about to tell her it was fine, when she nodded. He gently pushed her back to lying down on the bed, and began kissing down her body. Fuck, she was beautiful, he thought to himself. Every scar he came across had a story that was just as outlandish as she was, and the more pleasure he made her feel, the more the lyrium lines glowed. Every sound she made was like music to his ears.

"Na ane…ina'lan'ehn…Lath'in." He said, as he kissed his way down her body. "Mai…ir'ina'lan'ehn."

You are…beautiful…Love – So…very beautiful

The first time he ran his tongue over her clit, she gasped. She was so very responsive. He had long ago stopped being able to understand her. He understood her language now, was able to speak it well enough, but when she spoke it so brokenly like this it was difficult to translate. Whatever she said, it sounded like begging for more, and that he understood.

As he worked her clit over with his tongue, sucking on it every so often, he began moving one of his fingers in and out of her. She was already wet for him, being turned on by her earlier actions, that she didn't take long to build up, and he slips in a second finger to go with the first. She's close, breathing heavily, gasping, begging for release, her hips moving a little in time with his fingers. He can feel her begin to tighten around his fingers, and reaches up with his other hand to lightly caress the shell of her ear. It is the last straw, overloading her senses, and sending her plummeting over the abyss with a silent scream, something he kept up until she relaxed from it. She looked down at him, caught by the sight of him sucking on his fingers, blushing like mad as she can't stop staring.

"Na davathe on'ala, Lath'in." He says, grinning wolfishly when he sees this, crawling back up to plunder another kiss.

You taste wonderful, love

How long they remained that way, he didn't know, but they did spend a fair amount of time cuddling in bed without a stitch of clothing between them, exploring everything with touch. He loved the feel of her fingers on his skin, loved how responsive she was, how the lyrium lines lit up for him. How was he suppose to forget her, forget this? He would have to, he knew, but that didn't make it any better. He only hoped there was a way to regain his memories once he found her again, because he most certainly did not want to forget her.

Lemon Warning End


"If you could…get rid of these markings…would you?" Fen'Harel asked, running a hand over her hip.

"No. I know the magic they come from is vile, but they're a part of me now. They've helped shape who I am. They've saved my life a few times over too." She replied, after a long moment. "Maybe if it had been offered when it first happened, when I wasn't thinking, but not now. Besides…(It was at this point that he nibbled on the shell of her ear, and the lyrium lines reacted to him again)…you tell me they taste delicious."

It was at this moment that an interruption, one of many that were usually planned by the others, presented itself, as a knock on the door. It was usually in the form of a serving girl, bringing drinks and snacks, and offering to take care of any 'needs' he may have. The first time this had happened had made her…his Sulahn'ean, a tearful mess, and Fen'Harel had kindly turned the serving girl away before storming into the dining hall to tell the others that he did not want any other gifts they may think to send him, as he was planning to spend an uncertain amount of time away getting to know his nas'falon better. What made him feel worse about it was that she had expected things to be more casual when it came to physical pleasures, had actually tried to tell him it was okay for him to take the gift offered to him even as she warred with herself. The look on her face, as it tore at her that he might give in because she wouldn't yet, did something to him.

"Ar ema si paer'jul, Sulahn'ean, sul si alas'niral min'nydha." The girl said, through the door.

I have the dress, Songbird, for the dancing tonight.

Sulahn'ean suddenly shot out of bed at that, running around trying to throw on her clothes. He just chuckled to himself at that, as he casually put on his. With how wrapped up they had been in each other these last few days, it had been easy to lose track of time. The others had wanted to throw a party, something overly decadent, he was sure. On one hand, he cringed at how wasteful it all was, but on the other he looked forward to being able to dance with her in a ballroom setting.

Chapter Text

Chapter 16

Present day…

He had never bothered to thank the Maker before, and he may never actually consider the possibility of him as a higher power, but he was seriously thinking about it now. The night before, he had wisely decided to set up his small tent. It had looked like rain, he told the others. So while he was inside the tent, he placed the noise cancellation spells just in case. He did not want to hear Varric ask him any more questions regarding what he said or sounded like in his sleep.

There was something to that kiss in the tavern, like it spoke of more. Sure enough, that night he dreamed of what happened after the kiss…all three wonderful days of it. Fuck, she was amazing, and she had made him reevaluate himself when he had tried to rush her. The things they had done after that, the way her hands ghosted over his skin, the way her magic clung to him like he belonged to it…She was glorious. How had he ever made himself forget her?

The next morning, no one asked why he shook as he held the coffee he'd taken to drinking on this trip. He was still trying to shake the memories of those three days out of his mind for the day, but it was easier thought than done. They were good together, and it made him smile a bit when he remembered that even then he had called her his Lath'in. Just as he thought he was in the clear for the morning, he picked up on Varric telling stories of Kirkwall to Dorian. He'd said something about sweeping, which made him frown, though he couldn't place why yet.


"Ah, that's right. According to Chuckles, we don't call it sweeping anymore. We call it interrogating." Varric announced.

"Telsilal masa durgen'len." Solas muttered, still sipping on his coffee.

"Ah, come on now, Chuckles. Don't be like that." Varric playfully whined.

"Interrogating? Does it involve hand cuffs then?" Zevran asked, grinning as he usually did, looking over to Solas. "I did not realize you had it in you, my fine elven friend. You must be one of those."

"One…of…those." Solas repeated, with a tired sigh.

"Yes, yes. One of those pent up quiet types, buttoned up till you get them alone, then they're all rough hands and bite marks." Zevran replied, as if this were commonplace.

"That's what I said too." Dorian added, with a smirk.

"Can we please not talk about Hawke like this?" Fenris asked, as close to whining as he dared to get.

"We weren't." Zevran replied, a little too innocently.

"You were about to." Solas remarked, with annoyance.

"You can hardly blame us. She is a fascinating creature." Dorian commented.

"So, what kind of 'interrogating' did you two do together last night?" Varric asked, looking to Solas.

"Any answer I give you will be twisted into something for your novels, Child of the Stone." Solas replied, keeping his cold demeanor. "She is more than that, and you should respect her as such."

"Ah. So that will be the 'lying naked and sharing secrets as they explore each other's bodies' category then." Varric replied, without missing a beat, not even looking up at him as he began writing notes in his book. "Don't worry about the details, Chuckles, I can fudge those."

He was not prepared for the cup of coffee that got hurled in his direction, as Solas stormed off. Of all the things for the reclusive elf to have a short fuse on, teasing had never really been on the list before Flint got there. Varric would know, considering he'd grilled that elf on everything he could think of just to see what made him tick. It seemed that now that his secrets were starting to come out, Solas had a much shorter fuse, and any teasing regarding Flint was seen as off limits to the normally reserved elf. In his way, Solas was protecting what he viewed as his, and Flint was just as much his as he was hers, even if he hadn't managed to actually say the words 'I love you' yet.

Varric assumed lath'in meant something along those lines, but he also knew that it was important to a person who valued commitment the way Flint did to hear those three words no matter what language they were in. In a way, Solas's reactions reminded him of when Broody first started laying claim to things in an effort to take his freedom. It was when their emotions came into play that they were different. Fenris tended to be generally cranky about everything, while Solas was cool and reserved…unless he was with Flint. The rest of the group just glared at Varric, which he found disconcerting, and he looked at them cluelessly.

"What'd I say?" The dwarf asked, feigning confusion.


Telsilal masa durgen'len  –  Annoying ass dwarf.


Back in ancient Arlathan…

She was at that moment, where she felt like everything was drawing to a close again, at another abyss. Somehow, she would be able to return to her time soon, she could feel it. There were a lot of things about this time, this place, that she was going to miss. The indoor plumbing that she grew up with didn't even touch the wonderfulness that this was. Baths would never be the same again, not after this.

These people were crazy, but they knew luxury. For someone who had never really had it before, this was heaven. She had been working on a dress design with some of the seamstresses she'd gotten to know. They had helped her with her last project, and had loved the idea of a fairy tale gown for the dance. What they had come up with was amazing.

They would do this for her because she asked, and because they loved her. The dress they had designed was a deep warm red, but had other colours ranging from one end of a flame to another, whether it was in the line-work, or the crystal beading. They knew her name was Hawke, but they would make sure that she was a phoenix for the night. They had adopted this corset thing of hers into the design, especially after hearing Fen'Harel's reaction to it, and something called a sweat-heart neckline. What surprised them was when she asked for sleeves instead of the cape that was traditional for one of her unofficial standing.

Once she explained the elegance of the sleeves design, they were on board, and it freed up a lot of fabric to focus on the bottom of her dress. Beautiful intricate lines wove themselves in and out of view throughout the dress. It did not have a train flowing behind it, Hawke had seen no need for such a thing. They made it so that it covered everything, but that when she would walk, you would see a bit of her leg peeking through the long slits of fabric. When she saw it, she loved it, and hugged the seamstresses once each.

She went to put on the dress, and couldn't believe her eyes. Already she looked like a different person. She'd need someone to fix her hair though. Now that the bracelet was gone, her wild hair had taken on a mind of its own, thick and full bodied even though it was down to her waistline now. She imagined this was some form of petty revenge for all those years she'd suppressed its growth.

The ladies insisted on doing a bit of makeup for her, though Hawke felt that this was a bit much after the dress and hair. The way these women worked, she didn't have time to tell them no. Same thing went for jewelry too, though thankfully they did go light on that and the makeup. She wanted this night to be special. It felt as if it here the last one she would have here.


The others had been unusually keyed up, but Fen'Harel played it off as party planning 'jitters' they liked to think they had. Something still felt wrong though. It was in the wind, it almost felt like it was tangible. Sulahn'ean had been gone after the servant girl told her about the dress, another one of her 'creations' he imagined. That last one had been a sweet torment.

He wondered what this one would look like. The others were no stranger to an abundance of nudity, but he realized that he didn't want to share her with anyone else. He felt strangely possessive of her. He couldn't attribute it to the mark. It did what it was suppose to do, it brought her to him, showing him that she had all the crazy qualities he'd listed and the true ones he'd secretly wished for. It did not create feelings.

Many of the 'noblemen' had arrived already, and Fen'Harel was already in the process of mingling to get it over with. A remark made by one of them had him turning around to see what they spoke of, only for him to come face to face with the most beautiful sight he'd ever witnessed. Sulahn'ean slowly glided down the stairs in a style of dress that none had really seen before. She looked for all the world like a phoenix, like living flame, catching the light in the jewels on her gown and her hair as she walked. He forgot about the nobleman he'd been talking to, in favor of walking towards the woman that had captured his attention.

"Na ane ina'lan'ehn, Lath'in." He said, as he got to her.

You are beautiful, love.

"Enaste." She replied back, a bit out of sorts. "Saeri alas'niran…Ar'tel…Ir'tel…Ar'tel'shaelyl."

Thank you – These dances…I don't…I'm not…I do not belong

"Vis si alina Evanuris brithem sai na, Sulahn'ean, es'an nere eolasa ahn ra sulevan sai ea bel'raj." Fen'Harel insisted, guiding her out onto the floor.

If the other Evanuris looked to you, Sulahn'ean, they might understand what it means to be royal/leader of many

"Flirt." She mumbled, as he chuckled at that and lead her out onto the dance floor.

This is where he wanted to be, here with her just like this, dancing with her in his arms. Others had noticed her arrival, how quickly his attention fled from them to her, and many stopped to watch them dance. She claimed to not belong to such a crowd, and yet she could charm them. One does not need to belong to the crowd to do that, he knew. Sometimes, it was better that you didn't belong.

He knew what he wanted to tell her, but he would have to forget her after. It seemed almost cruel to tell her at all, but what if there was a chance for him to remember? She told him they were together in his future. If he found her and remembered this, it wouldn't be cruel to tell her now. From everything she told him, he gathered that even when he didn't remember this, his future self loves her too.

They stayed like that for what seemed like mere moments, yet it had to have been hours, dancing in each others arms. She was his songbird, his wild hawk, his secret wolf, and he did not want to give her up now. She did not seem all that eager to leave, which made him smile. He could only hope she felt the way he did, knew she would about his future self. That was it, he decided, he had to tell her now.

"Sulahn'ean, Ar-" Fen'Harel went to say, but there was a clicking sound behind her.

Without thinking about it, he twirled her around so that he would be in the way instead. He had not expected her to also hear the sound, though he should have. Her arms instantly raised up behind him, and he felt the familiar tingling of her magic. She had created a barrier behind him to block the blast. When he looked into her eyes, he knew.

"Ar'an ema tol min i've?" He asked, trying to keep his voice light.

We have done this before?

"In a way." She replied, having returned to her language in her nervousness.

"You will have to tell me about it sometime." Fen'Harel insisted, knowing that using her language would make her calmer. Instead, she was looking at the people that were coming into the building through the rather large hole that had been created.

"Tavinte? Amahn? Mala?" She asked, in shock and anger. "No! I will not let them have this…I won't! Derelinquamus!"

Tevinter? Here? Now? - (Tevine – Leave now!)

"Sulahn'ean! Ar'an ema vara!" Fen'Harel growled, in despiration, grabbing at her wrist. She was already moving to strike at them.

Songbird! We have to go!

This was not a time to be antagonizing an enemy they hadn't even heard the warning alarms for. Had the others planned this? There had been talk of trading, but this was something else entirely. He didn't have time to tell her now, and her resistance to being dragged away from the fight was slowing them down. If he understood anything about what she had told him, it was that what was happening now, as much as he hated it for his people, had to happen. She could not intervene, as it might change the tide of events.

"Pack." He growled angrily, hoping to wake her up to what was happening, once they got to her room. His anger just made her cry, and he realized this was something else she'd always known, if not the specifics. She had realized what this was, knew she couldn't help, and knew what he was trying to do. A moment of kindness then, a sense of urgency. "Sulahn'ean, you must pack. We have to get you into Uth'then'era. Do you understand? You can not stay here."

There wasn't much that she had with her. As she changed back into her old clothes, he took his staff and stood by the door to make sure no one got in. He could hear the sounds of fighting, of screaming, around them. A moment later, she stepped out with two over the shoulder messenger style bags, and they were off. There was fighting everywhere now, and many times they had had to join in just to get through a passage.

"I need to get to your study." She said, suddenly moving towards it.

"There isn't time!" He insisted, but she shook her head.

"Trust me!" She replied, already running in. "Guard the entrance! Give me as much time as you can. Damn it, Fen'Harel, I wouldn't ask if it wasn't important."

He had no idea what she had left in there that was so important that she had to risk everything to get it. She couldn't alter what had already happened. He couldn't risk things turning out worse than they already would. He would find a way to free his people in the future, but if he altered time now, he could risk her not even being born. As he stood beyond his studio, he thought of the painting they'd worked on together, wondering if such a future was even possible for them now, but she came along just in time to interrupt his thoughts, and they were moving again.

The further down they went, the fainter the screams became. Luckily, there were some of the sleeping cells open. He threw her things in without care, and turned to her. A last kiss then, because he didn't know if he'd ever get another one even if it had been promised in a way, as he held her head in his hands. She was crying, but returned the kiss as she could.

"Sulahn'ean, Ar ema sulrahn sai dirtha na." Fen'Harel said, barely above a whisper. "Ar ela tel'uth gara ei tael dys."

Songbird, I have something to tell you – I may never get a second chance

"Na shor. Ar shor itha na sal, eil na shor sila, eil melahn'an na te dirtha em." She replied, hurriedly. She cupped his face in her hands, as he had hers, and that's when he realized she knew that he would have to forget her. Of course she knew this too. She'd already met his future self with no memory of her. "Melahn na sila min, eolasa ra Ar lath na ga'ta; ehn na ane mala, eil ehn na shor ea my. Te'na'eolasa?"

You will. I will see you again, and you will remember, and then you can tell me. - When you remember this, know that I love you both; who you are now, and who you will be after. Do you understand?

"Ar shor." He replied, softly, his voice breaking.

I will


Present day…

He remembered everything now, including the awful moment he'd made himself forget her. After she had slipped into Uth'then'era, he had not looked back. He became the Dread Wolf truly then, in every sense of the words, and slaughtered everything in his path to get to his goal. He'd already set up everything he'd needed to activate the Veil, just waiting on the moment they would fuck up badly enough for him to have to use it. He figured betraying a people, and forcing him to abandon his nas'falon, qualified as badly enough.

Why? Why had they gone through all that trouble? To force him to find his nas'falon, only to bring the Tevinter Imperium down upon them all? Had they wanted her captured by them? Had they planned for him to abandon her to it?

At the moment, he was having trouble breathing. He was on his knees, arms around himself as he was gasping for air, and he couldn't pay attention to what was going on around him as the memories hit him. They had been stopped by a Tevinter patrol near the ruins of Arlathan. Dorian was speaking to them, he knew, but he could not focus to comprehend much else. He looked around to see that Varric and Zevran stood on either side of him as he struggled to breathe, like they were guarding him. Fenris stood behind Dorian, but in front of him, postured like a slave and bodyguard, shaking with his head down.

Somehow, Dorian made the men leave. The others decided that it was best to keep traveling, and even though he was able to follow them, they knew that he was in no shape to talk. With the ruins in sight, it was hard to stop. They were so close, but night would fall soon, and so they began to set up camp. Solas didn't talk at all, at least not until they were in the ruins setting up camp the next day, having been still half out of it as he dealt with the memories that hit him.

"Andraste's bouncing sugar tits, Chuckles, what the fuck happened?" Varric asked, concerned, seeing that he was more aware now.

"That was…the last of…the forgotten memories…the true reason the Dread Wolf exists." Solas replied, still shaking from the severity of what had happened to him. "I made myself…forget her…I had to…to make sure everything went…as she told me it already had…or risk a fate…worse than the one…we are already in."

"What do you mean, Solas?" Dorian asked, cautious.

"I knew something was wrong when the others wanted to hold a dance in her honour…but I wanted to believe it was because they had finally recognized her as Evanuris." Solas explained, slowly finding it easier to breathe. "She had managed to charm everyone in the arena, the servants of the palace, and many of the people outside the palace, but not the rest of the Evanuris. It was foolish of me to believe they would ever have accepted her."

"I don't know, this is Hawke we are talking about." Zevran stated. "Given enough time, that woman can charm anyone. I have watched it happen."

"The Ball was in full swing when the Imperium attacked us. No alarms were sounded, no warnings given. Arlathan was overtaken before I could blink. The others had to have set it up just so, and knew the Imperium was coming. They were gone before I had even realized, having used my desire to spend time with Alhasha to their advantage. I should have realized they were gone before then, but all I wanted was to dance with her." Solas continued, wishing that Alhasha had been able to do as they all had faith she could. "When we realized it was the Imperium attacking us, Alhasha wanted to fight back, and I had to drag her away. I do not know if it would have made things better, but I couldn't risk it being worse than what she had already warned me of. She was…quite stubborn."

"That's putting it lightly." Varric replied, with a snort.

"When she'd gone into Uth'then'era, I took up the mantle of my name, and carved a path of death and destruction to keep them focused on me so that they would not even have the time to think to look for her before I activated the Veil." Solas stated.

"So we've gone from a mage who merely threatened to drown a city in its blood to keep her safe, to a mage who literally destroyed an entire civilization to achieve the same." Fenris scoffed, angrily, as he began pacing.

"Dammit, Fenris, the city was already drowning in its own blood! It didn't need my help for that. The rest of the Evanuris had invited the Tevinter Imperium in to take what they wished, convinced that they themselves couldn't be touched, that it would teach the slaves their place! They hid, while the Imperium attacked our people, and I had to lock them away, or else they would have never stopped." Solas growled back, angrily, stopping Fenris short. "What would you have had me do? I risked everything to free my people from themselves, and when I woke up, there was nothing left of them. They have fallen into mortality, forgotten nearly everything about themselves, twisted what was left, and denied the truths shown to them. Best of all, I get to be known as the great betrayer, the trickster that locked away their gods, which is technically true. Yet they fail to remember that it was their 'gods' that had imprisoned them, that had betrayed them to the Imperium, in the first place. She told me that it would happen that way, the outcome of my actions, so that I would understand what it was I was really doing when the time came for it, when I would have to make myself forget. I had to lock away the best of myself to save her, and I didn't even remember her when she looked at me in that damned cell!"

"Way to go, Broody." He heard Varric chide Fenris, as he left to walk the ruins.


"Chuckles, come on. You're starting to worry me." Varric said, trying to coax the stubborn elf to sleep. He'd been searching the ruins since walking off earlier that day. "You need sleep, and I need to stop babysitting my people."

"No. She's here somewhere." Solas insisted, stubbornly, shaking his head. "I have to find her, master Tethras."

"Then you can search the ruins in the Fade." Varric insisted, making the elf freeze stone still. "Flint told me you did that sometimes for fun, sleeping in battlefields and old ruins to explore the Fade. Was that something she wasn't suppose to tell me before?"

"No, it is fine, I just had not thought of that. Perhaps you are right, Master Tethras." Solas said, sounding as tired as he looked. "I can search the Fade."

"Just get some sleep. She'll kill me if she sees I've let you run yourself into the ground like this." Varric said, gently, like he was guiding a child back to their bed.

Solas chuckled, tiredly, as the two made their way. "I've destroyed an entire civilization, technically an entire world, master Tethras, and you're more afraid of what she'll do to you."

"You're forgetting, Chuckles, I was the one who created her stories, which means I know what really happened to the people who pissed her off." Varric reminded him, making the elf lightly chuckle again. "You can tell me all the details you want about how you carved a path of blood and death through Arlathan, but I have watched as Flint tie a man's hands behind his back, only to dunk him in tar and feathers and make him run around the city like a chicken. I don't want that happening to me."

"That is true, Master Tethras. Who would recognize you without your chest hair?" Solas replied, with a yawn, before disappearing into the tent, only to be stopped by Fenris as he tried to leave out the other side of it few moments later.

"Did you really think that would work?" Fenris asked, arching an eyebrow at the elf.

"It was worth the attempt." Solas replied, with a sigh, and headed back into the tent.

"Maker's Balls, we're going to have to watch him." Varric said, as he sat down in front of the tent.

"Oh yes, because watching a caged wolf sounds like a wonderful idea." Zevran cracked, as he looked beyond the camp. "I can't wait for when that blows up at us."


True to their word, the four of them sat around the tent, and made sure he didn't crawl out of it. This meant, that while he was forced to sleep, they got no sleep. In the morning, when he crawled out of the tent, they took that as a sign that they could pass out. Today was better, he recognized the layout of the palace a bit better now, and maneuvered through the rubble. It was still hard to find where he was looking for, and he continued his search long into the night, using veil fire to light his way.


They found him the next day, sleeping with a barrier surrounding him. He was resting against a wall, clutching at a necklace like it was a lifeline. It didn't look like he'd gotten any restful sleep, or food since they had arrived in the ruins of Arlathan. He started awake a little after they got there, and gave them a small smile in appreciation. Varric just tossed the man a thing of rations when the barrier fell, and sat down next to him.

"Eat that. Right now." Varric ordered. "I swear, you and Flint are too much alike."

"At least you'll never have to worry about your tunic, master Tethras." Solas supplied, as he tried to open the package.

"When was the last time you ate, anyway?" Varric asked, just above a whisper.

"The past three days have been a steady supply of coffee and tea. With the last of the memories…I had no desire to eat." Solas replied, giving up on opening the package.

"Eat it, or I make you." Varric hissed, so the others couldn't hear. "…Stubborn ass elf."

"I would, if my hands were cooperating. As it is, I can't even get the damned thing open." Solas muttered, in annoyance. "…Annoying ass dwarf."

The two looked at each other, and descended into laughter.

"What is that anyway?" Varric said, when they calmed down. He opened the package and handed it back. "You've been clutching it like it was a holy relic or something."

"Indeed. It is something far more precious, master Tethras." Solas replied, gingerly handing the necklace to him. "I had that made just before Arlathan fell, a gift for herduring the time she wasn't speaking to me. She had…accused me of not admitting something to myself, that I had mistreated her in my efforts to ignore her, and she was right. I didn't want to admit those things to myself, convinced that it was the only way to protect her. I had hoped to surprise her with this at some point after the Ball, but…then everything happened…I didn't get the chance to see the finished piece, but I know that this is it. It matches the designs I gave. There's a gift inside the necklace, should I ever prove worthy of it."

"Wow. You guys never do anything half assed, I see." Varric commented looking over the piece of jewelry.

"It does not do to 'half-ass' anything, master Tethras. What ever you do in this life, remember…always use your whole ass." Solas replied in his scholarly manner, as he munched on the rations Varric gave him.

Varric couldn't believe it, and just sat there staring at him. Solas had just told a joke, on purpose, and he didn't know what to do about it. To top it off, when Solas glanced over at him, the damned elf and one of those secretive smug grins. This was Flint's influence, he just knew it! The Solas he knew barely knew how to smile unless it was about the Fade or the state of the Veil.

Then again the Solas he knew had been hiding the fact that he was Fen'Harel, and the fact that his magic was responsible for blowing up the conclave at the Temple of Sacred Ashes, so there's that. Ugh, he still hadn't processed that yet. He'd had those two pegged the moment he knew Solas was going to her in his dreams, but it still boggled his mind that out of all the men in the world, Flint would have to be matched up with someone who's legend was even more convoluted than her own. He should have bet more than his tunic. He should have bet Orzammar.


"Do any of you hear that?" Fenris asked, the next morning, moving his head side to side as if trying to clear his mind.

Everyone strained to hear what he was hearing, and suddenly Solas wasn't moving at all…looking like he thought he'd never hear that sound again. Then he was running through the rubble, trying to get to the source of the noise. Everyone but Varric began to pack up quickly, hoping to follow after him as they could. Little by little, a realization seemed to dawn on Zevran and then Dorian. Till only Fenris had not sat down again.

"Is there something I'm missing?" Fenris asked, impatiently. "Hawke is out there, and-"

"And if that's her, I really don't think we should be interrupting a reunion that's been 8,000 years in the making." Varric replied, leisurely sipping on his coffee.

"Why not? You do it all the time, Dwarf." Fenris huffed, in annoyance, right before everyone started laughing.


"Alhasha?!…Lath'in!" Solas shouted, trying to find her.

He thought he heard her call out once before, but now he can't hear her anymore. Suddenly there's a scream from somewhere above in the upper levels, and then she's crashing into him from above. The two fall onto the ground, limbs entangled as they go, onto the hard stone floor. She looks even more beautiful now, he thinks, as she lifts herself up to look at him. All the words he'd wanted to say to her then get stuck in his throat, and finally he gives up, pulling her back down to him for a kiss.

"Tamahn'air mai'el…Ar ema sai dirtha na." She said, when she pulls away.

There's so much…I have to tell you

"I…I understand…Lath'inAr sila mala." Solas replied, unwilling to stop himself from stealing kisses. "I…I have missed you."

I remember now.

He draws her to him again, and this time she does not pull away. They can't stop kissing each other, clinging to one another, as if they're trying to make each other real again. One of his hands makes it into her hair, while the other finds its way under her shirt. She caresses the shell of his ear as she kisses her way down his neck. He gasps at the feeling of it, and if there's a heaven he's in it. They are so lost in each other, that they do not hear the party getting close to them until it is too late.

"Damn it, I figured it would be Solas on top." Dorian remarks, coyly, and the lovers quickly pull apart. "Dwarf, I owe you 6 sovereigns."

"Thu'el te na la nar'falon'en?" Solas asked, ruefully, looking over to her.

How much do you like your friends?

"Sahl'in, ra'air paerdarardi." She muttered, darkly.

Right now, that's debatable.

"What reason could the four of you possibly have for interrupting now?" Solas asks. It is clear in his voice what he had in mind had they not showed up, and that he was very pissed that they'd shown up.

"Rivaini got back to me. She'll be there to pick us up, but we have to leave now if we want to get there on time." Varric replied. "She said there's been problems around Starkhaven, but nothing she can't handle. It's good to have you back, Flint."

"I missed you too, Dwarf, so know that when I say this, it's with all the love in the world." Alhasha replied, as the two stood up. "While you are my best and most awesome friend ever, you are also the biggest fucking cockblock in all of Thedas."


"Why do you assume this is my fault?" Varric asked, in mock offense.

"Fenris knows better, Dorian looks way too amused for this to have been his idea, and Zev wouldn't have stopped us otherwise. Most likely, he would have just tried to join in." Hawke remarked, earning her a surprised look from Solas and laughter from Zev.

"She's got you there, Varric." Zevran said, jovially. "She knows me. Unfortunately, it's not as well as I would like. She has never wanted a dalliance with me, and I have never seen her glorious body unhindered by clothing."

"Incurable flirt." Hawke muttered.

"So, who won the other bet?" Solas inquired, looking at them with suspicion.

"You suspect another bet?" Hawke asked, grinning at the conspiracy of it.

"With this lot there's always another bet." Solas replied, his face sour, but his voice held no real malice in it.

"Everyone now owes me 10 sovereigns each." Fenris replied, grinning sheepishly. "I bet that no one would believe the idea had been mine."

Hawke just looked at him like she'd never seen him in this light before, and muttered. "Well, I'll be damned."

"You may indeed, if you get lucky." Solas whispers into her ear.

"I don't know. It hasn't happened yet." She replied, with a playful smirk of her own.

"I would like to point out that ancient Arlathan was completely Varric free." Solas teased, as they began to make their way back to camp. "You are forgetting about the three days we stayed locked away in my room."

"Only three days? Your mind must be playing tricks on you in your old age, Ara'nas." Hawke teased back. "It was a solid week."

"There is no way you escaped my room after a week and still maintained your virginity." Solas said, playing along with her rather jovial mood. "It was a miracle we made it three days, Lath'in."

"So sure of yourself, are you, Fen'Harel?" She chuckled, whispering into his ear before continuing on ahead with him following her soon after.

Chapter Text

Chapter 17

They had all hoped for a day of rest when they found Flint, but with Rivaini's note came the need to travel that day. Varric hadn't been lying about that, but that wasn't the source of his latest mystery now. Flint and Chuckles hadn't spoken hardly at all to each other since the day's traveling had begun, but they didn't look like they were ignoring each other either. A touch was a word, a look was a conversation, and a gesture spoke volumes, but how had they gotten like that? Hopefully, that was something he would get answers to soon.

"Alright, you two. We need you to have to have an actual conversation, with words and everything, for the rest of us. You understand." Varric declared suddenly, when they'd gotten settled that night by the camp fire.

"Just because you can not hear the words, master Tethras, does not mean there is not a conversation." Solas stated, with a smug grin, his right arm wrapped around Flint.

"I think what he means, Solas, is that we want to talk with Hawke too." Dorian replied, with a wry grin of his own. "I don't think you want us talking with her the same way you do."

"Yes. That. We want to know everything." Varric said, expectedly. "We've already heard quite a bit from Chuckles over here. What's your part, Flint?"


Alhasha looked caught up in thought, when Solas decided to explain.

"They know." He said, nodding towards the others. "At least this lot does; Why the conclave was destroyed, how my foci got there, who I was, everything."

"Everything?" She asked, so low he was surprised he could hear her at all, her eyes wide with surprise.

"Yes, Lath'in." Solas replied, with a slight smile and a nod. "I needed them to trust me, to help me find you, and I knew of nothing else that would convince them."

"Nothing much, just overthrowing everything we thought we knew about life. You probably could have lied to us, and say you saw it in the Fade. It is your go to reason for everything else. I'm sure we would have bought it." Dorian remarked, with enthusiastic sarcasm. "So, back to the topic at hand. What was it like in Arlathan? I want to know everything. What will you miss the most?"

"The plumbing." Alhasha said, automatically, causing several of them to laugh. "You guys don't understand. They had piping that ran clean water straight to you. You could turn a nob, and have the water be exactly as hot or as cold as you like it. You didn't need dwarven rune stones or magic for it either. You could even push a lever, and water would rush into the necessary from inside it, and send it through a pipe at the bottom to somewhere else!"

"Of all the things to miss, Lath'in." Solas chuckled.

"There are a few of the people I will miss, friends that I'd made while I was there." Alhasha admitted, smiling in fondness. "It was so beautiful. Some places had crystal spires in the trees, others had beautiful mosaics in stone castles that seemed to reach the clouds. I studied as much magic as I could, trained in fighting to be better. There are healing potions that can do so much more than what we use now, poultices that heal within hours instead of days. Spirits were everywhere! I had an in depth conversation about artistic processes with a spirit of Inspiration. Love and Desire each tried to convince me that they were the most important aspect of a relationship, and Faith and Fear wondered how I could feel both things at once and not explode."

"Spirits and Demons, Hawke?" Fenris asked, warily.

"That's the thing. They weren't demons. We make them that, because that's what we're told they are, and the spirit feeds off of our imagination, and becomes what we say it is." Alhasha tried to explain. "There were a few I had to avoid. Love can just as easily turn into Obsession if it isn't careful, and just because they aren't demons in the way we know them, doesn't make them any less dangerous when they focus on you."

"It's just…I can't imagine it, being friends with spirits. It's…beyond what I know." Fenris said, shaking his head, sounding a bit disappointed. "With a past like mine, it is amazing I can talk to Dorian without wanting to kill him. I still haven't wrapped my mind around Cole."

"I could probably spar with you with a broad sword of my own sometime." She suggested, changing the subject.

"Could you really?" He asked, surprised. "Just how bored were you, Hawke? I tried to get you to pick up a sword ages ago."

"Like she needs to be dangerous with another weapon." Varric retorted, chuckling.

"Where is Zevran, anyway?" Alhasha asked, suddenly, as she looked around. "I thought he would stick around to hear about this."

"He left during one of your 'conversations', said he had to get back, that he was glad you were in good hands." Dorian replied, grinning. "I'm sure he meant all kinds of things when he said it too."

"He usually does." Alhasha said, with a cheeky grin.

"I do not like him, Lath'in." Solas admitted, thinking back to the way that Zevran acted around her. "He desires you."

"Zevran desires everyone. He and the Hero of Fereldan have a very…interesting…relationship." Alhasha replied, unsurprised.

"So, Chuckles, about that kiss with Lightning." Varric asked, acting business like, as he got out his note book.

"Wait, when was this, and why are you not dead?" Dorian asked, chucking at the way Solas now glared at the dwarf.

"Oh, that's nothing." Alhasha countered, her voice laced with acidic sarcasm. "You should have been in ancient Arlathan. I got to watch as servants offered themselves to him to use as he saw fit, because their 'gods' gave them to him as gifts."

"I did not want anyone else when I knew of you, Lath'in." Solas objected, softly, surprised at how angry she was about that…though maybe it was about Lavellan. "It was not-"

"You know, I think I'm going to go for a walk before it gets too dark." Alhasha said, interrupting him. She was gone before he could object.

"Why, in all of Thedas, did you feel the need to bring that up now?" Solas growled, angrily, glaring at the dwarf. Alhasha's emotions were already running through him; anger, sadness, confusion, and he wasn't sure how much of that was bleeding into his own anger.

"You were so busy being bothered by how Zevran was acting towards her, that you didn't pay attention to her reaction to it." Varric pointed out. "She has never shown an interest in him, but you had shown an interest in Lightning at one point. You needed to see what her reaction would be to that."

"That would be fine, if that's all she thought that was." Solas shot back. "Thanks to you, and the damned tevinter, she now thinks this was during the time she was missing!Her heart…How could you two be so careless?!"


"Alhasha!" Solas called out, walking around near where she was. She hadn't responded to him, but just then he found her anyway. She was sitting on a fallen tree, looking at the ground. "Lath'in! I'm glad I found you…Lath'in?…"

"Why…She was our friend, and you-" She was stopped when he put his index finger on her lips, as he sat down beside her.

"I am going to kill that dwarf." He muttered, ruefully, before replying with a sigh. "Yes, Alhasha, Lavellan and I shared a kiss. It was long before I found you in that cell. We decided that it was better that we stayed friends. She is a remarkable woman, truly, but she is not where my love lives. She is not you, Alhasha."

"Why am I so angry? Is this normal? Is it messed up that I have to ask if this is normal?" Hawke asked, filled with anger that she knew was not entirely her own. At least it was waning.

"It might be part of the spell. I felt your despair at losing BarkSpawn, and just now there was…anger, sadness, confusion. You feel so many things at once." Solas replied, looking deep in thought. "It does not happen often for me, but when you feel something so intensely, it bleeds over. I should have thought to say something before now…As for your anger…I am really angry at that dwarf. He felt it necessary that I see your reaction to hearing of the kiss with Lavellan, considering how I reacted to Zevran being…Zevran."

"That I reacted so quickly…You do that too?" Hawke asked, tentatively.

"Yes. With your nature being as playful as it is, I have had to deal with quick bursts of jealousy and anger, because I failed to realize what was important." Solas admitted. "You are you, and it was foolish of me not to realize that your reaction was the only one I should have cared for."

"Do you think we should stay out here longer? Make him sweat a little?" Hawke asked, arching an eyebrow. "It would do for that dwarf to realize who he's dealing with."

"I almost feel sorry for him…" Solas replied, running his fingers through her hair. "…Almost."

They did end up going back to camp, after toying with the idea of staying away. It was dark by the time they got back anyway, and Varric seemed to breathe with relief now that they were back. Solas offered to take watch, but the others were not fooled. He wanted privacy with Hawke, and this was the only way he was going to get it at the moment. They played along though, much to his relief, and no one was surprised with Hawke offered to stay up with him.


They sat by the fire for a long time in silence, but in the comfort of each other. How many mistakes was he going to make before he got this right? She did not seem to mind the silence, simply enjoying being there as he was. He wondered if maybe now was a good time to tell her, to give her the necklace. She seemed to sense the shift in him, and sat up from leaning on him.

"AlhashaIr abelas, Lath'in…When I first met you in that cell, I knew what you could come to mean to me, but I ignored it and you for as long as I could. It was something I knew about myself when I created the spell, and so I gave you every piece of knowledge I could, hoping it would be enough for my nas'falon to get through to me. I gave you every big piece of information I could…except for what I feared most." Solas said, staring at their hands. She'd entwined her fingers with his own. "I feared losing what I loved most, because I already had, because I had ignored her…the only family I had left…it was the one thing I couldn't bring myself to share."

"Mythal?…she was…" Alhasha wondered.

"Like Fenris is to you. The woman you know her to be is not the woman she was. Her entire being has shifted because of what the others did, and it is my fault that she can not exact her revenge now. When I cast the spell to find you, the pain was new, blinding, and I did what I always do when something becomes too much. I ignored it." Solas admitted, sorrowful. "I ignored her, thinking it would keep her safe, and it got her killed instead. The same thing very nearly happened to you."

"You're not about to ask me to stop, are you?" She asked, half warning and playful.

"No, I could no more ask you to deny your nature than you could ask me to deny mine." He replied, with a slight grin. "When I met you in Arlathan, you shocked me. You threw my mistreatment of you back in my face, and brought low a man who thought himself a god. My soul had called for someone who's will could rival my own, and when you yelled at me that day in the courtyard, I knew I had made a terrible mistake in ignoring you. To no longer hear your voice again…there could be no greater torment than that."

"Solas, I didn't want to hurt you…I was just…tired of being the one doing all the giving. You looked so sad, and I'd wanted to make you happy again, but you were always taking without giving anything in return." Alhasha said, her voice soft. "I just wanted to wake you up."

"You did that, and more, Lath'in. I realized what I had done, the time I had wasted. I wanted something to show you I had been listening, and I commissioned the palace jewelers to make this." Solas stated, as he brought out the necklace. "I couldn't believe I'd found it in the ruins, when I was searching for you. It has written on it, the only promise I can not break, if you will accept it."

The chain was intricate, elvhen knot work that cradled a deep rich red jewel. He'd meant what he'd said to Varric that there was a second gift inside the necklace. It was a beautiful piece, intricate, but what mattered was the enchantments placed on it. Hidden within the jewel, though she did not know this yet, was the ring he would ask for her hand with should he ever prove worthy of it. He'd learned a lot about the future she spoke of, and rather liked that particular custom.

"Solas…it's beautiful." Alhasha whispered, her finger running over the jewel. "Red's my favorite colour."

"I may have noticed." He replied, with a grin. "There's an inscription on the back I think you'll like."

She turned over the piece to read the inscription, and saw the words. Ar shor eilar vena na.

"You told me then that this phrase was important to us, for both good and bad reasons, which seemed appropriate at the time; even more so now. It is the only promise I could ever make to you that I can not break.I will always find you, and if I should ever run, I know that you will always find me." Solas admitted, then held it up to her neck to clasp it. "May I?"

She nodded, and he moved to clasp the necklace at the back of her neck. As he clasped the necklace, he rested his head against her own, loving the feel of her hair around him again. When he moved away, he kissed the shell of her ear. The necklace looked good on her, the jewel resting in the dip of her throat.

"Ar shor eilar vena na, Alhasha." Solas said, softly, as he rested his forehead against her own.

"Ar shor eilar vena na, Solas." Alhasha replied, just as softly as he had.


The trip to Rivain was almost uneventful. The teasing by the group had continued, and it didn't help that the others kept interrupting moments that the couple would steal away for alone time. Solas took everything in stride, feeling like he could finally breathe now that Alhasha was back. Alhasha, however, grew more agitated with each interruption. Unfortunately, now he had all the time in the world to worry about the future too, which dawned on him a few days later.

"You're worrying again, Ara'nas." She said, playfully, pulling him out of his thoughts. "You get this crinkle in between your eyebrows when you worry."

"I am wondering what to do about those that know, and those that do not." He said, by way of explanation.

"What you should be worried about is Rivaini." Varric snickered.

"Maybe that's why Zev left. You know she goes straight for him, not that he ever complains…Something about Antivan leather, she said." Alhasha giggled, mischievously. Then it looked like a sad thought occurred to her. "You don't think she'd…"

"Flint, she still tries to guess the colour of Broody's small clothes." Varric replied, effectively answering her question. Whatever it was, she would try it.

"Don't remind me." Fenris groans, as they continue to make their way towards the ships.

"Isabela!" Alhasha suddenly shouts, happily, and races ahead of them. "Isabela!"

"Hawke! It's good to see you sweet thing, and look. You've even brought Fenris and Varric along too." The woman cooed, as she gave Alhasha a hug. Her hand was almost to Alhasha's ass when Solas grabbed the woman's wrist. "What tha-? Oh! Well, you're certainly a tall one, aren't you."

"I would suggest you keep your hands to yourself where Alhasha is concerned, Woman." Solas suggested, forcefully, squeezing her wrist tightly once before letting it go.

"Isabela, this is Solas. Solas, this is Isabela." Alhasha said, as a way of introductions.

"Wait, Hawke, what did he call you?" Isabela asked, amused. "Is that really your name?"

"Hawke is technically my family name. Alhasha is my given name. I just…don't…give it." Alhasha said, getting a bit flustered.

"It was a name given to me to use alone, Woman." Solas stated, keeping his voice civil. "Respect that, and leave her be."

"Oh, you're no fun." Isabela teased, then looked back over to Alhasha. "Come on. My ship is just over here. We can get some drinks, some food, and you can tell me all about why Choir boy keeps eyeing my ship."

"Choir boy?" He asked, looking to Varric as they all made their way to the ship.

"Vael." Varric answered, knowingly.


"Okay, so. Drinks, food, all that's left is a story, Sweet thing." Isabela said, suggestively, but she knew that Hawke could always tell when she was being serious.

What she did not expect was for Hawke to look to the serious looking elf as if asking for his permission for something. Isabella sighed, and shook her head. So this was about secrets then, and not just her own or Hawke would have spilled the beans easily. Whatever it was, it was serious, which she already knew that. So she sat back, with an easygoing smile, and tried a different approach.

"Alright, Sweet thing. Let me tell you what I know so far, and then you decide how much more you should tell me." Isabela said, earning her a grateful smile from Hawke and an inquisitive but surprised look from the serious elf. "Sebastian has lost his mind, chasing up and down the coast, looking for you these last few months. He's spouting all kinds of things about you being Fen'harel's chosen (at this, Solas looks at her with narrowed eyes, and his arm tightens around Hawke all the more protectively for it. Interesting.) to anyone and everyone who will listen, and that he must save you from yourself. I'd be willing to bet he also wants you as some kind of trophy queen for Starkhaven. I've heard rumors you narrowly escaped his men via some kind of rift magic in Redcliff."

"He was after her in Redcliff? How did the Inquisitors' people not notice?" The serious elf, Solas she reminded herself, asked. He looked truly worried for Hawke, and angry…very very angry.

"The same way you don't notice everyone in a crowded street, I suspect." Isabela replied, evaluating his reactions. "So, what is it that you two can tell me that explains all this?"

"What do you mean?" Hawke asked, carefully.

"Oh, Hawke. You two are trying to protect each other in front of my very eyes, and you think you can pull the wool over them so I won't see it. It's almost adorable." Isabela stated, getting down to business. "You looked to him, which means this secret is his too in some way or other. He tightened his arms around you not only when I said Sebastian was looking for you, but more so when I said you were Fen'Harel's chosen. So either he isn't Fen'Harel and he's got one hell of a fight on his hands, or he is, and (Both of them tense up then, and her eyes widened at that)…Oh. Well then. We're going to need the good stuff."

She made her way over to a cabinet where she kept a stash for special occasions, and grabbed a bit of everything. When she walked back with the tray and a few glasses, she noticed that Hawke's hand had moved to cover his, and that her fingers were intertwined. Isabela didn't know if this was to reassure him or to save her. They did look like they were trying to draw comfort from each other. Which ever it was, Isabela made her way back over to them, and sat back down.

"Now, before we start celebrating, or whatever this is, I know about the age progression illusionary bracelet you wore. So are you sure you can drink this, Hawke?" Isabela smirked, playfully. "Might have to leave you at the kiddie table."

"I could drink you under that kiddie table." Hawke shot back, with a grin.

"What's your poison, Solas?" Isabela asked, setting out the glasses.

"Bourbon if you have it, whiskey if you don't." Solas replied, politely. When everyone had their drinks, Hawke began to look around nervously.

"Lath'in, if it helps, I have my sketchbooks with me." Solas said, gently, as he looked to Hawke. She nodded, looking somewhere between frightened and nervous, and Solas began looking through the messenger bag he had on him. "The magic that I specialize in is Fade related. It is easy for a mage to share dreams with another, or to stumble upon them, as the case may be. (He brought out a particular book then, and set it down. Before Isabela could reach for it, he pulled it back) When I saw this in the Fade, I did not react well. I yelled at her for not telling me, angry that she didn't want to talk about it with anyone. (Isabela sees the scars on his hands then) What he did, what he wants from her…I can't think about it without wanting to punch something or set it on fire."

"Hawke, how bad is this?" Isabela asked, cautiously.

"Not as bad as it could have been." Hawke replied, before biting her lip. So Isabela took the sketchbook. "You remember when we convinced Vael to get drunk? (She had never called him Vael before. This must be bad.) I didn't really tell you the truth about what happened when I walked him back to the Chantry."

"I know, Sweet thing." Isabela replied, softly, surprising both Hawke and Solas. "You didn't want to talk about it, and Solas here looks like he has the scars of the consequences of trying to force you to talk about things when you don't want to talk about it."

"She didn't do this. I did." He responded, surprising Isabela. A bit sheepishly, he added. "I may have wrapped a fire spell around my hands and punched out the training dummies till they disintegrated."

Her attention was once again pulled to the sketches. "…Hawke…He didn't…Tell me he didn't get that far…"

"He didn't…The next day I just acted like nothing happened, and everything seemed fine. Nothing like that ever happened again, and I just let myself believe he didn't know." Hawke admitted, with an apologetic face. "After the thing with the Chantry, he started sending assassins after me. Come to think of it…I'm an idiot."

"Lath'in, you-" Solas was cut off.

"No. Think about it. All this time we never figured out why I was just left in that cell naked. What if you showed up right before he would have, like the rift magic at Redcliff?" She insisted, her mind chasing a string of events Isabela wasn't fully aware of yet. "It explains the magebane, and everything."

"Hawke." Isabela interjected, getting her attention. "You're losing me here."

"Sorry, Bela." Hawke chuckled. "I suppose if we're both revealing secrets…(she looked to Solas again, who nodded)…I'll try to start at the beginning, but it's hard to know where that is."

"Let's start with you in the cell naked." Isabela suggested, coyly. "That sounds like the best beginning to any story."

So, Hawke told how she'd gotten caught and thrown into the cell, how Solas had popped in out of nowhere, and the two escaped out of there. She described having been dosed with Magebane before, and again with an arrow just before meeting up with the rescue team. There was day to day stuff, times when he'd ignored her and the Mabari decided to intervene, things like that. Isabela laughed when Solas described how Hawke's father had been accosting him in the Fade about ignoring his baby girl, and the jealousy at being pushed away when she was alone with Zevran. The death of BarkSpawn was hard to hear, and neither lingered on it for long, instead chosing to talk about the assassination attempts Vael had sent against her.

"The magic that took her away in Redcliff was mine." Solas stated. "The mark on her ankle, the howling wolf, is the mark of a spell I cast in ancient Arlathan. It was meant to find the one for me, my nas'falon, while also getting the others of the so called pantheon to leave me alone. Because of certain circumstances, I did not remember it working immediately. Time magic is…tricky that way."

"What do you mean?" Isabela asked, cautiously.

"Until recently, I believed my first meeting with her was somehow showing up in a jail cell one night to find her naked." Solas answered, one of his arms still around a blushing Hawke. "The dwarf went ballistic when he realized who I had found, and declared he was leaving to find her. I felt…intrigued by this Flint of his, that she had the ability to call across the Fade like that. At least, that's what I told myself she was doing. I had not read 'The Tales of the Champion', so I didn't know who Hawke, or Flint, was."

"Hard in Hightown?" Isabela asked, mischief in her eyes.

"Swords and Shields." Solas admitted, with a grimace.

"I like that one." Isabela chuckled. "I helped with the pictures."

"At least now I know who to blame for scarring my mind forever." Solas replied, with only a hint of a smile. "Later on, master Tethras told me stories of her. He explained the reason why she loved Barkspawn so much, that she did not view Fen'Harel as a curse the way so many did, that she always had a surprise or two handy. However, we have realized since then that my first time meeting her was her second time meeting me, and vice versa. The rift magic that took her away in Redcliff sent her to ancient Arlathan, to just after I cast the spell."

"Was it as sordid as they say?" Isabela asked, in a sultry tone. She noticed Hawke frown at this, another telling sign.

"There was more decadence and carnal pleasures than you could ever possibly imagine." Solas replied, though his tone suggested regret. "However, I'm sure that what you would imagine is based in a mutual decision between all parties involved. That was not the case. Many had no choice. Slaves were offered to us as gifts to do with as we pleased, who gave of themselves because they thought they had to honour us, and we thought we had to be honoured. If all you want out of sex is the physical pleasure of it, it is still best to be consenting on equal footing. When you believe yourself a god, to take is gratifying. When you are a slave with no choice…there is much I regret about ancient Arlathan. It is why I created the Veil, why I trapped the others."

"So what did you do while you were in ancient Arlathan, Hawke?" Isabela asked, seeing that her friend was now trying not to shake.

"Oh, you know me. I kicked ass in one of the arena's for a while, till Falon'Din go his small clothes in a twist, and Elgar'nan decided to move me into the palace to give his son a better shot at revenge. Which, he tried, but I literally 'kicked his ass' for being such a tit, and yelled at Fen'Harel for ignoring me and being an ass about it." Hawke remarked, offhandedly.

"That reminds me, Lath'in. I take it that Isabella here is the inspiration for your 'serving girl' outfit?" Solas asked, teasing her. Hawke was blushing furiously, and now Isabela was curious. Before she could even ask, Solas produced another sketch.

"Hawke…this is…I knew teaching you how to make a corset was a good idea. You look ravishing." Isabela stared at it for a second. "Hawke, are you not wearing any small clothes?"

"I was feeling a bit vengeful that day." Hawke admitted, a bit sheepishly, but not really answering the question. "Anyway, after a while, I found a place like the Hanged Man, and spent my nights gambling till he stopped ignoring me."

"I did apologize for that, Lath'in. Keeping you at bay to protect you is apparently a bad habit that has stayed with me even through forced memory loss." Solas said, looking repentant. "I believe the three days after that was ample enough apology."

"I told you, it was a week." Hawke chided, playfully swatting at him.

"Alhasha, there is no way I could have resisted being in the same room alone with you naked for an entire week without seducing you out of your virginity. I am surprised we were able to resist it for three days, let alone an entire week." Solas insisted, a bit perplexed. Hawke grinned mischievously, and whispered something in his ear. Whatever she said had him straighten up in his seat, his eyes wide as a slow grin spread across his face. "I stand corrected. It was a week."

"You mean to tell me that you two have never…? Seriously?" Isabela asked, in disbelief.

"I may have been overzealous with my desire for her, which lead to tears, which lead to her explaining to my past self everything about Vael, which lead to the absolute refusal to go at anything but her pace." Solas explained. "Anything before Redcliff happened was interrupted by the Dwarf, something he seems to be making a habit of now that Alhasha is back."

"Wait, so how did you get back? Another rift thing?" Isabela asked, looking to Hawke.

"Apparently I slept for 8,000 years." Hawke replied, with a straight face, before descending into giggles. "I may never need beauty sleep again."

"I don't understand." Isabela said, seeming confused.

"The last moments of Arlathan were hectic. The others called a party to distract everyone while the Tevinter Imperium quietly invaded. By the time they attacked the palace, it was too late." Solas explained, thinking back on the memory of it. "I was able to get her into Uth'then'era, before I locked away my memories of her and activated the Veil."

"So if you did all that to protect our friend, why do you look so dodgy?" Isabela asked, surprising him.

"While I still had no memory of her, I tried to correct my mistake, to undo the Veil." He explained, and she had a sinking feeling she wasn't going to like where this was going. "My people indirectly lead the Venatori to the foci that holds most of my magic. Corypheus used it to try and enter the Fade physically, and caused the explosion at the conclave."

"Hawke, how long have you known about this?" Isabela asked, her mind reeling from this worse than any alcohol she'd ever had.

"Since before Haven fell." Hawke stated, causing Isabela to swear under her breath. "I knew who he was almost the moment I saw him in that cell. I touched his face and saw that his mistakes were like mine. When I got sent back, I told him what had happened, and he locked away those memories so that things would progress as I had explained them. I'm at just as much fault as he is for it. It could be so much worse than this, Isabela."

"Shit, Hawke. How much worse than this could it be?" Isabela asked, angrily. "Have you looked outside lately?"

"If I had kept my memories, and tried to change things, it could have destroyed everything. Alhasha may never have even been born." Solas replied, calmly. "I was always going to create the Veil, I had just hoped never to activate it. Corypheus would still have happened, and it would have been worse. He would have found the foci with or without my people's help, and then we would have no chance. With no one to oppose him, he would have taken over everything within a year."

"Does Sebastian know about all this?" Isabela asked, more than a little freaked out right now.

"He knows a great deal. He knows who I am, who Alhasha is by being with me, and it is possible he knows about the conclave. We did speak of it before the assassins tried to kill her." Solas said, patiently. "I am uncertain if he knows everything else. We did not even know there had been someone after her in Redcliff till you told us."

"I'm sure you mean well, Solas, but I'm going to need you to step outside while I talk with Hawke for a minute." Isabela said, very carefully.

"Of course." He said, with a nod to her, before looking to Hawke. "Lath'in, ra shor ea san."


Lath'in, ra shor ea san –  Love, it will be alright

Chapter Text

Chapter 18

 

"So, what do you think they're talking about in there?" Varric asked, as they waited for the meeting to end.

"Probably how crazy this all is, what is she thinking by being with me, didn't she learn anything watching Anders descend into madness. Little things like that." Solas remarked, as he walked towards them.

"You can still hear them?" Varric asked, surprised.

"Yes, though to be fair, they are speaking rather loudly." Solas replied, starting to look a bit green. "I think screaming would be the proper term."

"Solas, are you alright?" Dorian asked, seeing this.

"I don't…I don't think I am…no, I'm not feeling well, Dorian." The usually reserved elf admitted, looking sicker by the minute. "We did not travel…on the ocean…This is…the first ship…I've ever been on."

"THAT'S IT!" Shouted Flint, bursting through the doors, and onto the main deck.

"Hawke, listen to me!" Isabela shouted, trying to reach her.

"No! You don't get to fuck every man and woman in Thedas, and then tell me I can't have a relationship with someone because you don't like him." Flint growled, having whirled around to face Isabela, who had chased after her. "The only reason why you even think you can act like this towards me now is because you now know I lied about my age. You can't mother me, and I'm not Merrill."

"He's dangerous, Hawke!" Isabela shouted, sticking to her argument.

"Do not expect me to believe it's because he's dangerous. I'm dangerous, and you had no problems wanting to try to fuck me. Or is that the problem? That I'm out of reach, or that he is?" Flint shot back.

That brought Isabela up short. "Is that really what you think?"

"Anyone that has ever shown an interest in me becomes some kind of forbidden honey to you, and then suddenly you have them in your bed." Flint chuckled, darkly, though there was no humour in it. "What else would I think? Tell me, Isabela, how long will it be before you try to get him into your bed, after telling me he's dangerous?"

Flint stormed off without another word, and Isabela was left just standing there. Varric turned his attention back to Solas, who was now very very green, and had sat down with his back resting against a wall. He didn't actually think an elf could get that green. Isabela walked over to them a little while later, looking more than a little confused. She'd clearly never had this serious of a fight with her friend before, and that was including the fight about the relic.

"You all know who he is?" She asked, more to confirm than to inform.

"Yes, dear. We've been dealing with an ancient tevinter magister that wants to be a god." Dorian replied, coyly. "An ancient elf that has already played at being a god isn't so strange after something like that."

"You're aware he's responsible for all this twice over?" Isabela asked, continuing the line of questioning.

"Yes, woman, they know! Now what is it that you really came over here for?" Solas growled, before groaning.

"You trust him?" She asked, looking to them. For a moment there was nothing.


 

"I trust Hawke, and she trusts him." Fenris said, as if he'd been carefully weighing this for a while now. "That's good enough for me."

"I did not expect your blessing…so soon, Fenris…or at all, really." Solas admitted, taking deep breaths to try and calm the nausea he felt. It seemed to be helping a little. "Thank you."

"Sea sickness doesn't present this fast." Varric noted, looking over at Isabela. "…Rivaini, what did you do?"

"She believed Vael first, and poisoned Solas." Alhasha said, as she walked up to them.

"Hawke, I-" Isabela tried to say, looking apologetic.

"Don't, Bela. There's no time for it." Alhasha said, cutting her off. "Just help him."

"We'll need to get him into one of the rooms below." Isabela said, as Fenris and Dorian began to help him up. "Think you can handle things while I'm gone?"

"Commanding a pirate ship? And here I didn't get you anything." Alhasha grinned, a glint of mischief in her eyes. Without another word to them, she whirled around and began barking orders at the men. "Raise anchor. We need to get this ship moving. (No one really moved, and instead, paused to look at her. This caused her to get angry, and growl out.NOW!"


"Shit, Rivaini. What did you give him?" Varric asked, as he watched Fenris and Dorian practically carry Solas into the room.

"I can fix this." She insisted, and started buzzing about the room.

They put Solas on the bed, but things were already not looking good. He was deteriorating quickly, already shivering as if he were freezing to death. His eyes were closed, and his breathing became shallow, like breathing was the only thing he could focus on. If Varric didn't know any better, he'd say Solas was dying. Then again, he never said that the 'gods' couldn't be killed.

"Why is it…so cold?" Solas asked, shaking still. "What…did that woman...do to me?"

"He's burning up, Varric." Dorian remarked, concerned. "I've never seen a poison work like this, and I'm from Minrathous. It's our national pastime."

"Must be his body's way of trying to fight it off." Varric mused.

"I can fix this. I can." Isabela insisted, working over a morter and pestel now. "I didn't realize…Sebastian is suppose to be one of the good guys…I didn't expect him to lie to me."

"She knows, Bela, otherwise she wouldn't have forgiven you so quickly." Fenris said, quietly. "I'm guessing you haven't gotten any news from Varric in some time."

"Not since the news about the age progression bracelet." She replied, throwing in a few more ingredients into the mix.

"That's been months ago." Varric said, looking up. "I've sent you tons of things since then. Nothing sensitive, just stuff on how things are going with the inquisition day to days, juicy details about Flint's love life, stuff like that."

"Solas? Solas, we need you to stay awake." Dorian said, jarring Solas awake.

Solas looked at him as if he were barely awake, but still managed to scowl up at him. "Ard masa Tavhen."

"I think he just called you a loud ass Tevene." Fenris said, with a bit of amusement. "Vasta vas. He's asleep again. Bela, how soon can you get that ready?"

"Few more minutes." She said, working quickly. There was shouting outside, sounds of alarm.

"Broody, Sparkler, go help Flint. I'll stay here and keep Solas awake." Varric said, and moved to sit by the elf when they left. "Rivaini, how long till things go bad?"

"The fact that he's even still alive speaks volumes." Isabela said, as she worked. "I'm a poison master, Varric. He should already be dead right now, I'm glad he isn't, but still. Keep him awake, it's his best shot till I finish making this."

"Chuckles, wake up. Don't make me give Flint another 'I'm sorry, but your loved one is dead' speech again." Varric said, shaking the elf awake again. "I've had too much practice at that as it is. I may have to write a 'how to' guide. Don't make me have to write a 'how to' guide, Chuckles."

"Still worried…about…what…she'll do to you." Solas remarked, with a smirk, before nodding off again.

"Solas, damn it, I'm serious!" Varric snapped, jerking Solas awake.

"I just need to sleep, Dwarf…I'll…I'll be fine." Solas insisted, not even bothering to open his eyes anymore. "Who knew you…worried so much?"

"Solas, don't you get it? If you sleep, you're dead!" Varric declared, urgently, hoping this would get through to him. "Alhasha will get taken by Vael. Is that what you want?"

"Alhasha?…mahn air as?" Solas asked, starting awake, but Varric didn't understand what he was saying. "Mahn air Alhasha?"

"Here, drink this." Isabela said, not giving Solas time to object to her, and forced the drink down his throat. "There. He should be alright soon enough. I'll send Hawke in here."

Solas had taken to rambling, so Varric just nodded and wrote down everything as the man went on.

"Na myr'ema ithem ash, Varric…es'an tel'eolasa…ahn sai te i'ash…Ar'tel'eolasa…Ash inan…ithem…rajane ove'em…tuem em av'ahn garahnen Ar'eolasem…eil thu as brithem…inor ra gra'paer'jul…la ise…Ar tel'paeraesi'ash…As air garahnen…Ar'lath'ash, eil Ar'tel'eolasa…vis Ar shor aelaes ea gonathe or'ash…"

"How is he?" Flint asked, worriedly, rushing into the room.

"She gave him the antidote, so he should be fine soon. He's still delirious though. Said a bunch of stuff I need to get translated." Varric said, then pointedly looked at her. "Oh look, a translator. My hero."

"You'll always be an obnoxious dwarf, you know that?" Flint asked, relief in her voice, but she took the paper anyway. "Your spelling is atrocious, but if I'm reading this right, it says 'You should have seen her, Varric…They didn't know…what to do with her…I didn't know…Her eyes…saw right through me…made me question everything I knew…and how she looked…in that red dress…like fire…I do not deserve her…She is everything…I love her, and I do not know…if I will ever be worthy of her…' Varric…this is…you evil little dwarf. Go, before he realizes what you just did."

He just grinned as she handed him the paper and shewed him away. She didn't even look at him as she sat down where he had been by the bed, her eyes focused on Solas now. Solas was still babbling, but it was incoherent mumbling now. The way he saw her looking at Solas, Varric wasn't sure he had words enough to describe it. He stayed for a moment longer, observing the two of them, before heading out onto the deck.


Alhasha?…mahn air as? -  Alhasha?…where is she?

Mahn air Alhasha? -  Where is Alhasha?


He woke up with a mass of black hair by his face. Looking around, he realized he was in a bed, and Alhasha was with him. Not remembering going to bed last night, Solas struggled to remember what had happened. That foul woman had poisoned him, and that was someone Alhasha considered a friend?! He was trying to get out of bed, when Alhasha snuggled into him some more, and he caved.

"Don't even think about it, Ara'nas." Alhasha said, sleep still clinging to her voice. "I'm too comfortable for you to go and kill my friend."

"Alhasha, she-" Solas tried to argue.

"Poisoned you. I know. She's been mislead by Vael. She didn't know. She does now. Congratulations, you've officially been adopted into the group. One of us has tried to kill you, now you're in." Alhasha countered, playfully, cutting him off. Solas just stared at her incredulously, wondering at the logic of that. Then, with a wicked grin, she added. "Besides, there were things you confessed to Varric in your delirium. I'm sure you'd much rather want to know what you said to him, that is…if I decide to tell you."

"I'm sure I can think of at least one interrogation technique that will get the information I desire, Lath'in." Solas replied, going along with her game, and lightly ran the tip of his tongue along the shell of her ear.

"Mmm…There m-may have been something about a red dress." She offered up. He smirked as he moved to kissing along her neck. "M-Maybe s-something about not deserving me."

"Is that everything, Lath'in?" Solas asked, smirking as he nibbled at her neck, enjoying how she shivered at it. Before he could blink, she had moved them to where she was above him now, her hair cascading around him.

"You told him that you love me." She answered, grinning wolfishly.

"Ar'sila mala ahn na dirthem…ra na'lath'em eis Fen'Harel, eil eis Solas." Solas replied, before pulling her down till she was flush against him and he could kiss her to his heart's content. "Ar'lath'na eis Sulahn'ean, eil eis Alhasha."

I remember now what you said…that you love me as Fen'Harel, and as Solas. – I love you as Songbird, and as Alhasha.


A few moments later, there was a knock at the door that stopped them from doing anything more, and the two groaned in disappointment.

"Maybe…Maybe they'll go away." Hawke offered, giving him small kisses along his jawline.

She loved how he made little pleasurable groaning sounds at them. So, she moved down a little, kissing along is neck. Instantly, he moved his head to the side, exposing his neck to her even more for better access. There was something about it that called to her nature, and she very much liked that. The offending knock happened again.

"No such luck, it seems, Lath'in." Solas replied, but grinned when she did. She sat up, moved her hands about a little, and soon there were no sounds save for their breathing.

"You were saying?" She asked, with a cheeky grin. He flipped them to where he was on top, and began kissing down her neck, working on the little buttons on her shirt.

"How do you know they won't blow up the door?" He asked, to which she laughed.

"And risk Isabela's wrath for damaging her ship?" Hawke asked, still laughing. "Not a chance!"

The door didn't get blown up, but suddenly it just…fell to the floor.

"Come on, Hawke, there's a DiamondBack game getting ready to start, and Varric insisted you…" Dorian said, and paused mid-step as he saw how they were. "…I'm going to kill that dwarf."

"You'll have to get in line." Hawke growled, sitting up, working on the buttons of her shirt.


Dorian had been interested to see what she meant. Her eyes had promised revenge of the most embarrassing nature, and he was not disappointed. Before anyone could say a word, Hawke flicked her wrist when they entered the room, and had Varric hogtied and hanging like a piñata within seconds. The others took turns describing his predicament in his friend fiction format, after a good laugh, of course. Solas, who was still recovering from Isabela's poison, was near death with laughter before she finally let the dwarf down from his punishment.

"Now you see why I'm more afraid of what she'd do than what you'd do?" Varric asked, trying to maintain some semblance of dignity. "You'd kill me. She'd embarrass me to death."

"So noted, master Tethras." Solas replied, trying to get back to his usually aloof manner, with a slight chuckle.

"I was going to give everyone sticks to hit him with, but I was afraid he'd enjoy that a bit too much." Hawke said, offhandedly, and suddenly the room erupted in laughter.

It seemed that her and Isabela had made up in no time at all, sharing jokes over the course of the game. She even got the pirate to apologize to Solas, who cautiously accepted. Odd though, how little Hawke brought to the betting table. Stranger still that she was losing at an alarming rate. She certainly wasn't acting like she was losing.

"Hawke, it seems you're all out of coin." Isabela snickered, and leaned in suggestively. "I don't think I've ever seen you in this position before. What could you possibly offer as payment should you lose this time?"

"How about the ultimate secret then?" She suggested, with a bit of a grin.

"You don't mean…" Isabela's voice trailed off.

"Oh I do. Win this hand, and I'll tell you the ultimate secret…The colour of Fenris's small clothes." Hawke said, leaning in like she was offering the answers to a conspiracy.

"Hawke…" Fenris said, a warning.

"How exactly is it that you know this information?" Solas asked, jealousy clearly heard in his voice.

"Stayed at his place when I had a big fight with Carver." Hawke replied, not worried at all. "I offered to do the laundry and things as payment for the kindness. You can find out a lot about a person by doing their laundry, and in this case, the colour of his small clothes."

"Hawke, you promised." Fenris charged.

"Did you really think you could pull something like what you did at the ruins of Arlathan, and there not be a price?" Hawke asked, and it was Fenris who paled. "Win the hand and the secret stays, lose the hand and she knows."

"You are a cruel woman, Hawke." Dorian noted, with some amusement. "Remind me not to piss you off."

Fenris won the hand, but it was a close thing. Hawke made sure he regretted ever thinking about interrupting her again. Even Dorian was contemplating never assisting Varric in anything, just in case it accidentally lead to blowing up Hawke's room again. He frowned when he realized that there was something to that accusation Hawke made against Isabela earlier, as he watched Isabela's focus shift to Solas. Dorian could only hope they got back to the Inquisition before someone died.


Isabela found herself with a new project. She just couldn't seem to keep her mind off of the sophisticated standoffish elf that always hung around Hawke. Unfortunately, Hawke had been right when it came to the men interested in her. If they found Hawke interesting, they suddenly became a delectably forbidden honey to Isabela. Solas interested Isabela now, more so because he refused to even give her the time of day.

There was something to this Solas, she realized, as she watched him. The fact that he was as dangerous as she said he was, made him all the more alluring to her. She used every line she knew, every subtle and not so subtle suggestion, to get him to turn his head. Not only was he not tempted by her, he looked disgusted by the things she did or the things she said to him to try and get him to turn his head. She had thought it was because she had tried to tempt him while he was near Hawke, but she got the same results when she found him alone. The elven man simply was not interested in her, and that intrigued her more.

Now, however, he had been walking alone for some time. She saw this as her chance, and went after him. Every once in a while, he would look over his shoulder, as if he suspected he was being followed, but went back to walking again moments later in his unhurried pace. When he was out of sight, she thought nothing of it, closing in on her prey. However, when she was about to round the corner, he already seemed to be at the end of the next bend.


"So, where is she?" Fenris asked, with a smirk, when Solas got to him.

"Following an illusion of me around the ship." Solas replied, with a smirk of his own. "Where is she?"

"Up in the crows nest, waiting for you." Fenris answered, pointing up to it.

"These bracers have been charmed to keep the illusion going, but they need body heat to activate them. If you could get someone to wear them, I would appreciate it." Solas said, as he took off two leather bracers, and set them down on the crate.

"Just get going before Isabela rounds that corner." Fenris advised, looking down at the bracers. When he looked back up, Solas was already gone, and Fenris snickered to himself as he took the bracers and strolled around looking for someone. "Hey, Varric, fancy a game of Wicked Grace?"

"As long as it comes with the story of why Chuckles is scaling the ropes to the crows nest, and Rivaini is running around the ship for apparently no reason." Varric replied. Fenris just responded with a grin, and the two went to gather more players.


"You look like the cat that ate the canary." Hawke remarked, when she saw him.

"I was thinking the wolf that ate the fennec, but that works just as well, Lath'in." Solas replied, with a grin.

"That poor defenseless fennec." Hawke giggled, as she sat down. "Come on. I have everything set up for a picnic." When they had settled down to eat, she looked over at him. "So, what did you do?"

"Your pirate friend is currently chasing an illusion of me around the ship. It was the only way I could think of to get her to leave me alone." Solas replied, as he looked at the different dishes. "…without actively trying to kill her of course."

"That won't work forever, you know." Hawke teased, but frowned after. "I'm sorry. She means well…I think…You still can't kill her."

"Do not worry, Lath'in." Solas insisted, gently pulling her closer to him. "I would much rather have to deal with an obsessed pirate than another poisoned sweet bun."


some time later…

"So what do you think they're doing up there?" Varric asked, after unsuccessfully trying not to think about it.

"Whatever it is, I'm not going up there to find out, Dwarf." Fenris said, cutting off his attempt early. "I would like to keep the secret of my small clothes, thank you."

"You're no fun, Broody." Varric grumbled, but there was no bite to it.

"I hate to say this, but maybe the dwarf is right." Dorian said, after a moment. "All Hawke wanted was for the two of them to have some alone time. They haven't had much of that since we found her again, and dealing with a now 'Solas crazed' Isabela on the ship. Why does she do that, anyway?"

"I can't tell if its because she's jealous of her, or trying to protect her." Varric admitted. "It might be a bit of both, or some form of the 'want what you can't have'."

"It is insane how fast that elf can move, hasn't stopped once." Isabela said, as she walked into the room. "So, what are we talking about?"

"How you go after the men in Hawke's life." Fenris replied, without missing a beat, as he traded in a card. "As I recall, you were rather 'interested' in me, till you realized I didn't see Hawke in the way you thought I did."

"Is there a list? Oh, I feel a list coming on." Dorian commented, as Isabela sat down with a pint. "I do so love those."

"Guardsman Maecon had a thing for her for a while. Poor boy couldn't understand why Flint suddenly stopped flirting with him." Varric started them off, deciding to carry on with what they were doing.

"Then there was Tomwise. You remember him, right, Varric?" Fenris continued. "She knew him before she'd met any of us, besides Aveline, but he had one night with Isabela and the only thing Hawke went to him for was ingredients after that."

"The Commander was even interested at one point." Varric snickered, like it was some great secret. "Isabela started chasing him. He ran away, and hid in the Gallows. After that, I swear we didn't see him till the Chantry blew up."

"Was there ever anything to that rumour about King Alistair?" Fenris asked, feigning curiosity. Isabela was now fuming. "I heard he couldn't take his eyes off of her as soon as she walked into the room."

"You should have been there, Broody. She walked into the room, and suddenly no one else existed in his eyes but Flint. Crowds parted for them, choirs sang, I think there were doves flying around, but Isabela mentioned something about 'royal honey', and Flint shut down hard." Varric replied, in full story mode. "Poor bastard never had a chance. I had to explain it to him after she left too. I never thought I'd see a King look so crestfallen."

"I'm not that bad, am I?" Isabela asked, looking to Fenris and Varric.

"Maybe not to every man she's ever been interested in, but certainly to every man who's ever been interested in her." Varric replied, not unkindly. "So…um…yes."

"I don-" Isabela was going to object, but Fenris cut her off.

"They show interest in her, you sleep with them, she doesn't look at them again. It's a pattern." Fenris stated. "He's never going to be interested in you, Isabela, accept it."

"Spoilsport, what makes you so sure?" Isabela asked, with all the assured cockiness she had developed over the years.

"Because he calls her his Lath'in." Varric explained. The game had been all but forgotten at this point. "He's called her that since before Haven fell."

"What does that mean anyway?" Dorian asked, intrigued.

"It means 'The place where love lives'." Fenris answered. "He told me that the day I got to Haven, when he asked for my blessing."


She found him eventually, up in the crows nest. The two were sleeping, resting against the edge. Isabela chuckled a little when she saw them like that. His face was practically buried in Hawke's hair, his arms wrapped around her waist. She just shook her head, and went back to the game.

"You're not going to believe this. They're asleep, with their clothes still on and everything." Isabela said, shaking her head. "The one time no one disturbs them for hours on end, and they don't even take off their clothes."

Everyone starts handing Dorian coin.

"Who wants to bet he'll propose before we beat Corypheus?" He asked, counting the coin.

"That's probably the second gift that's in the necklace, come to think of it." Varric said. "It might be after though, like during the celebration you know we're bound to have."

"Who says they'll even make it off the boat without him proposing?" Isabela asked, with a grin. "With what I saw up there, I'd say he's thinking about it."

"So that means you're going to stop trying to sleep with him then?" Fenris asked, teasingly.

"Oh, shut it, and place your bets." Isabela scoffed, though the smile never left her face.


Needless to say, those two spent a lot of alone time together on that ship. But the closer they got to Starkhaven, the more the others noticed a change in their friend. Hawke was never this quiet, even when she was planning something. They tried to get her to talk about it, but she just shook her head, and said she'd breathe easier once they got to Skyhold. If they could just get past Starkhaven without being noticed…but no such luck.

"Fuck, Hawke, we're in trouble." Isabela announced. "They've set up a blockade."

"Hawke, I know what you're thinking, but we can't fight this time." Fenris said, grabbing a hold of her arm. "We're flying the flag of the Inquisition."

"Then what do we do, because we can't just sit here and let them see us." Hawke growled, and he knew she wanted nothing more than to fight them then.

"Hide." Isabela stated. "Come on. I have plenty of hiding places on this ship. I am a pirate, you know."

"Hiding? That's the best idea we have?" Hawke asked, looking like a trapped animal. "Why can't we just conjure up a storm and blast through the blockade? I rather like that idea. I'm fairly certain I could do it."

"That will still be seen as fighting, Flint, and you know it." Varric countered. "We can't risk it."


"Alright, Isabela, hide us." Solas stated, determined.

"What?!" Alhasha shrieked, whirling around to face him.

Alhasha, any other time, I would agree with you. However, this time…we're flying the flag of the Inquisition. We attack them without provocation, we will be declaring war on Starkhaven on behalf of the Inquisition, and that's not a fight we can win today." Solas reasoned. She shook her head, pacing back and forth, not wanting to hear it.

"Without provocation?!" Alhasha shrieked. She was angry, royally so. "Are you fucking kidding me right now, Solas?"

"It is how they will see it, how others who investigate it will see it. The Inquisition has no reason to attack them. I am sorry, Lath'in." Solas insisted.

"Then we let them see me. That's provocation enough, I assume, and then we blast our way through." Alhasha reasoned, determined. She was not going to make this easy.

"Absolutely not!" He growled, shocking her into silence. "I am not going to stand by while you put yourself in danger just so you can pick a fight. There are better ways to deal with him, and we will figure out what they are later. For now, we hide."

Those were words he never thought he'd say, but these were extenuating circumstances. Alhasha did not look like she would do well if she hid alone, not when everything in her told her to fight, everything in her practically screamed rebellion. The wolf was within her always, and feeling caged as she was would not help her now. So Isabela lead them to the Captain's quarters, and once inside she pointed to under the bed. At this point, even Solas was looking dubiously at this.

"You can not be serious." Solas remarked, with disbelief. "Under the bed is the first place anyone looks."

"Not like this." Isabela said, with a smirk. To prove her point, she lifted up a small section of board, and revealed a hidden hiding spot. "It's literally under the bed. No one thinks to look under the floor under the bed. Trust me."

Solas decided not to mention the fact that the last time he trusted her, he ended up with poison in his drink. Then again, she had asked him what his 'poison' was, he just hadn't thought that she meant it literally. There was enough space in there for him and Alhasha to lie down together. It was deep enough that, when Isabela closed the board, they could even sit up a little. However, now he had to worry about how to handle a cornered wolf in a small space.

"Lath'in, te na dhrua em?" Solas asked, seeing how tense she was getting. This wasn't going to work if he couldn't get her to calm down. She seemed surprised by the question, but nodded. "Ar isalan na dhrua em min."

Love, do you trust me? - I need you to trust me now

Before she could ask why, they heard the sound of the door opening again. Solas wasted no time then. He took her hand and put it to his heart, while he did the same to hers, and they knew no more of the waking world. When he looked around, he saw that she had already shaped the world around them, whether she knew it or not. She trusted him with this.

"Where are we?" She asked, looking around.

"This is your world, Lath'in, you tell me." He replied, bemused.


"Fenris, get in here." Isabela hissed, and closed the door again. When he came into the room, she continued with. "Get naked."

"Really, Isabela, are you really that desperate to know what colour my small clothes are?" Fenris scoffed, as he walked in.

"I was going to make this fun, but since you're being a fuddy duddy, you only really need to get mostly naked. Throw your armour around the room like we've taken things off without caring where they land. Understand?" Isabala relented, pretending to be put out.

"And where in the Void have you hidden them?" Fenris asked, understanding her plan, as he began doing exactly as she'd asked.

"It's better you don't know." Isabella replied. "But I doubt they can hear us. He's probably pulled her into the Fade or something like that."

"Well then, if we're going to make this convincing." He replied, with a smirk.


The Fade…

"This is…this is Lothering!" Alhasha exclaimed, excitedly. "You mean to tell me I recreated Lothering? That's incredible! How did we get here so fast?"

"Lath'in, no. We…" Solas almost didn't want to tell her the truth, but when he sighed as he said that, she faltered. "We are still on Isabela's ship. This is the Fade, Lath'in. This, where we are now, is your creation."

"Why here?" She asked, coming down from her happiness.

"This place holds meaning to you. It will always be important to you, Lath'in. That has not changed." Solas said, wanting to lift her spirits up. "Come, show me this Lothering of yours."

"But if it isn't real…" She said, her voice trailing off.

"It is real here, Alhasha." Solas insisted. "It may not live, but it is as real as anything can be."

"You really wish to see a smelly old backwater town like Lothering?" She asked, tentatively hopeful.

"Tell you what. You show me Lothering, and maybe someday I'll show you the smelly old backwater town I grew up in." He suggested, earning him a slow spreading smile from her.

"You sure you lot didn't just spring up out of the ground like that?" Alhasha teased, waving her hand towards him. "I had Falon'Din half convinced a crow laid an egg and the sun hatched him."

"Lath'in." Solas scolded, though it held no bite to it, and she grinned all the more for it.


Things were tense when not only the blockade inspectors walked on deck, but Sebastian as well. The King of Starkhaven, like they didn't already have enough problems, now they were going to have to deal with his ass too. Varric watched as he spoke to each of the crew, only asking a few questions each before moving onto the next. The inspection crews reeked havoc all over the ship, turning everything over, finding many of Isabela's a little too easy to find secret hiding spots. Which begged the question, where was Isabela?

"It's been a long time, Varric." Sebastian stated, his tone sounding almost as if he'd never changed.

"Not long enough, Vael." Varric replied, curtly.

"You've been ignoring my letters." Sebastian stated, sounding slightly offended.

"You threaten my friend's life, and my home, and wonder why I don't write?" Varric asked, in disbelief.

"Speaking of Hawke, where is she? You know I'm looking for her." Sebastian noted, sounding almost bored now.

"She disappeared in Redcliff, some sort of rift thing, but you know that already." Varric growled, losing his patience.

"I do. I also know that a small scouting party was sent out to find her, but not to Redcliff." Sebastian stated, as they walked.

"Intercepting another's post, Vael?" Varric asked, civilly.

"A gentleman never reads another's mail." Sebastian responded, not really an answer though.

"A gentleman wouldn't." Varric added. "You, on the other hand, are another matter."

"She is wanted for high treason!" Sebastian shouted, angrily, throwing away pretense.

"Against who, Vael? She isn't a citizen of Starkhaven, and Kirkwall loves her. She defended their city, protected their people, and gave the criminal responsible the worst punishment imaginable. Living with it." Varric countered.

"When I take Kirkwall, I will charge her with high treason." Sebastian declared.

"No you won't, you want her too badly." Varric said, his voice low. "You've wanted her since before Kirkwall's Chantry fell, and you think this is your way to get her."

"You will not speak so familiarly with me." Sebastian ordered, before stepping back.

"I'll speak to you any damned way I want, Choir boy." Varric shot back.

Chapter Text

Chapter 19

The Fade…

To learn these little things of her, things he was sure had not made it into Varric's stories, felt like a kind of treasure in their own way. It felt like her name, others may know it now, but it was only his to say. At the moment, they were walking up a familiar path, when she paused and turned to stare at him. It was as if she had realized something important, and she didn't know whether to be angry or embarrassed. Secretly, he was hoping for embarrassed.

"You've been here before." She said, very carefully.

"To the house we're going to? Yes. To Lothering? No." Solas replied, truthfully. "I did tell you that I have been accosted by your father in the Fade on multiple occasions."

"So you did, but…I hadn't realized…" She mumbled, her face picking up a curious shade of pink.

"I've met your mother once too, though she insists I call her Leandra, and calls me 'young man'." Solas added. The pinkness of her cheeks became darker.

"She didn't give you 'The Talk' did she?" Alhasha asked, scrunching her eyes shut, almost as if she were afraid of the answer.

"The…talk?" Solas asked, now slightly confused. "I do not understand."

"When she spoke to you, did you feel like ripping out your ear drums so that you wouldn't have to listen to it anymore?" She asked, opening her eyes again. Solas shook his head no, though he was amused. "Then she hasn't had 'The Talk' with you. Pray she never does."

As they continue walking, he hears her mutter. "Even in death, my mother finds ways to embarrass me…Somehow, that sounds normal."


 

The 'Captain' had been missing thus far in the 'inspection, so he could only assume it was to hide Hawke. He'd spent too much time arguing with Varric. The teams had come up with plenty of reasons to detain the pirate, but not what he wanted. She was here, he could feel it, and he would tear this ship apart to find her.

One of the teams came back to tell him there were suspicious sounds coming from the Captain quarters. Varric and someone he called 'Sparkler' snickered in the background. He could only imagine that they were placing bets on what he would find. Sebastian groaned inwardly as he walked up to the door. Surely she could not be this crass?, he thought, as he knocked on the door.

"What. Do. You. Want?" Fenris growled, breathing heavily, when he opened the door.

The tall darker skinned elf stood there with the door open, shirtless, breathing heavily. Sebastian could see Isabela gazing at him from behind him, wearing even less than she normally did, and he couldn't help but notice how Fenris's armour was spread across the room, as if they had been…as if they had been…otherwise occupied. Makers breath, could the woman not have waited till the inspection was done. Then again, Isabela was known for being something of an exhibitionist. Fenris, on the other hand, looked beyond pissed at being interrupted.

"Fenris?" Sebastian realized. "What are you doing here?"

"What it looks like. Now get in, or get out." Fenris growled, and paused for a moment, before slamming the door in his face.

Sebastian turned and strolled quickly away from the door in question. He did not want to be anywhere near that room, but what if that was the point? Varric was snickering at him, so that must have been the point, and he could only imagine the blush he was reflexively sporting right now. They must think him a fool for falling for that. He turned back around and knocked on the door, only to wish he hadn't.

Fenris opened the door again, only this time he was pinned up against the wall by Isabela, who seemed more than intent to focus on her current activities. At the present moment, she was kissing her way down the elf's torso. Sebastian had never blushed harder in his life. This was completely uncalled for, and his men were standing right behind him seeing this as well. He was pinned to his spot until Fenris just looked at him with amusement.

"So you're joining us then?" He asked, his voice obviously affected by what Isabela was doing. Needless to say he closed the door, spun on his heels, and proceeded to leave the ship amid a flurry of snickers.


 

"We should wake them up now." Fenris stated, once Sebastian had gone.

"And miss this?" Isabela asked, slyly, now trying to work at his trousers.

"We are not doing this, and if we ever do this it will certainly not be here." Fenris growled, pulling her up. "You have Hawke and Solas in here somewhere, and I will not have them waking up to that!"

"Spoilsport." She teased, before helping him to find the clothes he had managed to throw all over the place.


 

"Do not ask." Fenris says, before putting on a shirt, as soon as Solas gets out of the hiding spot. "The important thing is that we are now through the blockade, and Sebastian may never bother Isabela's ship ever again. As it is, I'm sure the Dwarf has at least six bets on what went on in here, and I'm too disturbed to even think about what they may be."

"As tame as that would have been considered in Arlathan, I doubt Alhasha is ready for anyone to suggest that kind of a tumble, Fenris." Solas replied, sending Isabela into a fit of giggles. "She's a bit too territorial to consider playing with others, and I rather like the idea of having her all to myself."

"Vasta vass." Fenris grumbles, his ears looking particularly more reddish than they had before. He might have been saved from further embarrassment if Alhasha hadn't woken up at that moment.

"Oh, please tell me Varric already has a beautifully written friend fiction of whatever he thinks happened in here." Alhasha stated, huskily, sleep still clinging to her voice.

"I'm sure it's being written as we speak, Lath'in." Solas replied, without missing a beat.


Later that night…

"They're going to ask what happened when we get back." Hawke said, out of the blue. They had been looking out at the sunset for the last little while. "You prepared for that? Fuck, I'm not even sure what to tell them."

"Lath'in, I think you're starting to catch my proclivity for worrying too much." Solas teased. "When you disappeared, I told the Inquisitor I couldn't explain yet. She didn't even question me, just said 'Take who you need. Get her back.' She knows I will tell her in time."

"I'm serious, Solas. Lavellan will want to know. Cullen will want to know, not to mention Leliana and Cassandra." Hawke insisted, with a huff. "I'd bet anything Leliana has an idea already. The woman is a brilliant spymaster. Being made the Left Hand to the Divine, is nothing to sneeze at."

"If she knows, and hasn't said anything, she is an ally we will need later." Solas replied, and Hawke smiled because he finally said 'we' when talking of that. "As it is, the lot of them may have some ideas of their own. I was rather…well…out of it…when you disappeared."

"Out of it is not quite how I would have put it, but it will suffice." Fenris remarked, walking up to them. "The man was rambling in half sentences, pointing at different locations on the map, all of which are the site of ancient elvhen ruins, asking if you'd had any former connection to the elven gods. 'Out of it' does not cover that. My money is on Lavellan."

"We're placing bets on this?" Hawke asked, turning to him.

"Why not? We place bets on everything else." Fenris replied, frankly.

"Good point. I suppose my money is on Leliana then. 5 sovereigns." Hawke said, after a thought.

"I can't believe I'm doing this." Solas muttered, before looking up, and replying. "8 sovereigns on the Commander, if only because Cole is hanging around him more now. The two are looking out for Biscuit, and I have not closed off the boy's mind to me."

"My money is on Buttercup." Varric stated, as he wrote everything down. "What about you, Sparkler?"

"You can't guess Iron Bull, because while we have not told him, he knows enough to have already worked it out for himself." Hawke said, before he could say anything. "He's using plausible deniability as his reason not to tell the Qun."

"He's a good man, Iron Bull." Fenris commented.

"Then I'll throw in with Hawke." Dorian supplied. "That Sister Nightingale is one scary woman."

"I'd say Sera is worse." Varric muttered, and everyone laughed at that.

"So what, though, we just wait for them to come to us?" Hawke asked, getting back to the original topic.

"That seems best." Solas said, after a thought. "As it is, I think Sera knows more than she'll say. She did send Zevran."


Lavellan's P.O.V

The moment she saw them, she knew something was different about them now. It looked like Solas and Hawke were closer now, which was good, but it was the others that made her wonder. They all acted like they knew a secret now. They stood around the two as if waiting for something to go after the couple. Though, to be fair, that had been happening already.

"It's good to have you back." Lavellan said, as she hugged Hawke.

"It's good to be back." Hawke admitted, returning the hug.

"The way Solas was when he left, I'm not sure if there should be a report on this or not." Lavellan stated, much to Leliana, Cullen, and Josephine's annoyance. "But, you could tell us…right?"

"I'm not sure. It's all pretty confusing. I wouldn't even know where to start right now." Hawke admitted, guiltily.

"Well, according to Cole, Biscuit has missed you." Cullen said, handing off the Mabari pup to her. "The recruits, and Jim, will thank you for distracting him for a while, I'd say."

"Thank you, Commander." Solas said, nodding to him. Hawke was already walking away, happily cooing to the little pup. Solas turned back to face Cullen and the others. "I am sorry that we are not able to tell you everything right away. I knew it would involve my secrets when I left, but I did not understand the extent of which they would be involved. It will take us some time before we are able to sort through it all. These secrets are no longer just my own."


Never before had he run into this problem. Sleep had always come easily to him before. Now he needed that tea more often than not, and he detested tea. Alhasha had taken to sleeping back in her own room, now that they were back in Skyhold. He wondered if she had this problem now too, as he had not thought to ask her about it in the days that they had been back.

~Treats?~

"What is it?" Solas asked, rubbing the sleepy bugs from his eyes, not like he was really sleeping.

~Rubs can't sleep. No Treats~

"She can't sleep either?" Solas asked, getting down from his bed. "Why didn't she say anything?"

~Treats didn't say, Rubs didn't say~

"It's easier for her to find my room. I have no idea where hers even is." Solas insisted, long over the shock of talking to the Mabari pup.

~You don't like chase? Rubs thinks Treats likes chase. Treats likes chase? Biscuit like chase. Chase! Chase! Chase!~

"Then help me find her room." Solas requested, unable to keep from chuckling.

He had forgotten that Alhasha knew his nature best, and would play into it. However, he had been circling his own nature, because he thought she wouldn't want it that way now. They knew how the other felt now, so there shouldn't be the need for the chase, and yet…With a chase, things would never be boring.

As he followed the small Mabari pup, he noted the nobles that seemed to loiter in the great hall. They paid him no mind as he made his way. Only the servant girl that helped Lavellan really saw him, and she blushed and looked away as she realized what he was doing. He just smiled at her and continued on his way. He and the pup continue on, disappearing and reappearing all over the place.

At one point, Solas begins to wonder if the pup even knows where it was going. Maybe it was leading him on a wild goose chase. He yawns, and shakes his head. He is sleepy, but restless, and can not sleep now. They come up from somewhere, and suddenly he realizes exactly where they are.

This place was hidden, existing in the same space as the rotunda, but not. He had made this place before, as a hideaway of sorts. How had she found this place? Fuck, he'd been stumbling ass drunk when he'd made it. Now, their Mabari pup knew how to get there without trouble, and proceeded to scratch at the door.

"Biscuit, what is it now?" Alhasha called out, as she fumbled with the locks on the door. "You wanted out, so I let you -" She opened the door to let Biscuit in, only to look up and see him standing there. "-out."

~Biscuit found Treats!~

"So this is where you went off to, sneaky little shit." She grumbled at the pup, but there was no anger in it.

"You can't sleep." Solas stated, not asked, and she eyed the pup.

"You told on me too?" She whined, sending the pup scrambling behind him.

~Treats not sleeping. Treats misses Rubs. Rubs not sleeping. Rubs misses Treats. No need. Biscuit bring Treats!~

"You think you're so clever, don't you?" She cooed, picking up the pup. "But you've forgotten one thing. When we're together, the gross kissy kissy happens."

~Ugh! Gross, kissy, kissy!~

That was all the encouragement he needed, closing the door behind him before wrapping his arms around her, pulling her in for a kiss. He could swear the Mabari was laughing in his head, as the pup scrambled out of her hold and onto the floor. It bounded off for another part of the room. When they finally broke the kiss, both of them yawned. Alhasha started giggling, lack of sleep, and easily amused.

"Why can't we sleep without the other now?" She asked, before yawning again.

"My guess? We've spent weeks sleeping by each other." Solas said, trying but failing to hold back a yawn, as he pulled her slowly to the bed. "It would not be easy to return to sleeping by ourselves. It is possible, if that is your wish, but I suggest that we figure that out tomorrow. Maybe then, you can tell me how you found this place."

"M'kay." She said sleepily, before sleep claimed them both.


Hawke sat on one of the benches near the training grounds, making an effort to read the reports of what had been happening while she was gone. She would have preferred Varric's way of it, but as he had also been gone, she was left with Cullen's very dry note taking. She'd nearly fell asleep twice while trying to read them. At least it was sunny out, and it was comforting to hear the sounds of clanging metal. She shot up as she realized what it was that was bothering her.

She had been watching them since she and the others returned, and something wasn't right. It had been a long time since the kiss on the battlements. Surely there should be some sort of public display, a slight peck on the cheek, something! The man acted as if things had never changed, and from the looks of it, he had no idea how much this was hurting Lavellan.

"Bee in your bonnet, Flint?" Varric asked, walking up to her with a grin, knowing she'd seen something she didn't like.

"Place your bets, boys." She replied, mischievously, as she got up to set things in motion.


"Commander, a word!" Hawke called out, while he was making the recruits run drills.

"Take a break." Cullen shouted. Hawke didn't miss the grateful looks the recruits sent her. "What is it, Hawke? I'm busy."

"I was wondering if we could spar, give these guys something to brag about, you know?" Hawke asked. With Cullen's back turned to his men, Varric made quick work of getting everyone's bets placed. "Show them why you drill them so much."

"Hawke, there isn't time for that." Cullen scolded.

"Sure there is! Boost the morale of your men…Then again, if you think you'll lose…best to give up now. I mean, I am the Champion of Kirkwall, after all." She added. Now there were recruits trying to build him up, shouting for a showdown. "Tell you what. We can make it interesting. I'll even give you something to fight for."

"Hawke, what are you on about now?" Varric asked, giving himself away, and Cullen whirled around and glared at him. Some of the recruits snickered at this.

"Inquisitor, A word!" Hawke called out, seeing her target. When Lavellan was close enough, she whispered. "How much do you trust me?"

"Is this a life and death thing, or a Wing man thing?" Lavellan whispered back.

"Both." Hawke noted, after a few seconds.

"Go for it." Lavellan agreed, with a nod.


"You should be wary about agreeing to things without knowing the conditions placed on them, Inquisitor." Hawke whispered into her ear, trying to sound very sultry.

"Um…Hawke?" Lavellan asked, confused.

Hawke did not respond, instead, snapping her fingers. Ropes wrapped around Lavellan quickly, and she was tied to a pole. Without knowing what Hawke had planned, it was easy to get herself into a panic, thinking that she had to get herself out. Hawke had taken care of that, it seems, as the rope had been laced with a calming agent. Cullen's eyes went wide, as did everyone's when they realized the implications of what Hawke was doing.

As it stood, she had just taken the Inquisitor hostage, and no one dared to move. Then she remembered what Hawke had said. This was both life and death, and wing man attempts. Crazy though they were, Hawke's wing man attempts got results. Lavellan relaxed further, as understanding dawned on her.

"Oh, relax, Cullen. She's motivation. Something to fight for…or don't you think the Inquisitor is worth fighting for?" Hawke asked, setting him up, grinning wolfishly.


"Shit! She's out of her mind, yeah?" Sera hissed.

"There is a good chance of that." Solas replied, calmly. "I wonder if this is going to be better or worse than her pretending to be Andraste."

"Well, you lot are the only ones who haven't placed a bet yet." Varric said, sitting with them. "Care to place your bets?"

"They've started fighting already!" Sera exclaimed. "Go get em, Birdy!"

"Come now, Commander, I know you can hit better than that." Hawke teased, as she dodged the man. "Are you worried of what the men will think if you fight too hard for her? Then again, what will they think if you don't fight hard enough?"

"Is Hawke 'helping' again?" Dorian asked, sitting next to them. "Good times."

"I got 8 sov's says she kicks his ass." Blackwall stated. "She seems to be in a right state, that one."

"I'd say she's got it." Sera agreed.

"I don't know. I think the Commander has a shot." Bull said, looking on. "5 sovereigns on him to win."

"Hawke is no warrior." Cassandra chided. "What is she doing, taking on the Commander this way? 8 Sovereigns says he wins the fight."

"I think it's terribly romantic. Don't you?" Leliana said, looking out at the fight. "Look at how she has the Inquisitor. Whether she wins or not, she has a goal in mind." Cassandra looks like she regrets her bet already.

"Too late to change your bet now, Seeker." Varric teased.

"I'm with Sister Nightingale. I believe Alhasha has a goal in mind." Solas stated, watching the fight. "She may not be a warrior, Seeker, but the way she moves in a fight…is exquisite, which is something I can appreciate now that it is not being directed at me."

That got snickers from the entire group.

"If you are not fighting for the one you love, Commander, what are you fighting for?" Hawke growled, as she fought. "You might as well concede the fight now!"

"She's bitten off more than she can chew this time." Vivienne said, shaking her head, with a small smile. "She will not win this. 6 sovereigns on the Commander to win."

"Nightingale, you betting?" Varric asked, and the red head shook her head no. "What about you, Chuckles?"

"Alhasha will throw the fight once she hears what she needs to from the Commander." Solas said, shocking the others. "20 sovereigns."

"You think she'll lose? You're betting that much against your own woman?" Blackwall asked.

"I never said she'd lose." Solas replied with a grin. "I said she'd throw the fight. That implies complete control of the outcome, a manipulation, if you will, Blackwall. She wants to hear the Commander say something, and if he does, she'll throw the fight on purpose so that he can go 'rescue' his woman."

"Well I'll be damned." Blackwall muttered.

"No changing your bet now, Hero." Varric snickered.


"Well, Commander? Are you not motivated enough?" Hawke teased, and he charged her again. She barely dodged that one. "Oh come on now. Surely you have something else other than those tried and tired old Templar attacks."

"Damn it, Hawke, quit playing." Cullen growled.

"Why? If the Inquisitor were my woman, I don't think I'd hide her away." Hawke accused, dodging him again, only to hit him with two gut shots and dodge again. "I'd show her off, let the men in the barracks make up all the rumours they want about her, because that's all they'd have, while it wouldn't be any of their beds she warmed. Meanwhile, you hide her like she's some dirty little secret, like you're ashamed of her."

"This is not that simple!" He shot back, landing a few hits of his own.

"It is that simple. It's always been that simple." Hawke goaded, then stood straight up. "Why are you even fighting for her?"

"Because I love her!" Cullen growled, right before he makes his move.

Maybe she should have stopped before she said that, because the next thing she sees is the Commander's fist in her face. The force alone sends her stumbling back a few steps, and she allows herself to fall to the ground on her knees. Cullen is by her side in an instant, but she'll have none of that, and points him to Lavellan. Her nose is bleeding, and she can hear Solas chiding her for her crazy wingman ideas, but that doesn't matter. Right then, all that mattered was that she had done her job, that she could hear Cullen confessing everything to Lavellan.

"Hawke, you're bleeding!" Lavellan exclaimed in alarm, when she gets to her.

"I'm fine. You two go. Planned date. Dorian will explain." Hawke said, with a pained voice, her hand covering her face. "Go. Have a good time. Become a friend fiction or something."

She waited until they were out of earshot to give in to the pain.

"Holy fucking Maker's bleeding nut-sack, that hurt!" Hawke said, tears welling up in her eyes.

"Did you have to rile him up like that?" Solas asked, gently, as he sat in front of her.

"How else was I going to get him to confess? That man is as stubborn as a pig headed mule, as if what the guys in the barracks say matters, as if after this war was something that was guaranteed to us all." Hawke stated, as if it were obvious. "His fist has to be made of stone though, damn."

"Here, let me see how bad it is." Solas said, gingerly moving her hand away.

"I can tell by your face that it's bad, if that grimace of yours is anything to go by." Hawke stated, and would have snorted at how he tried to cover it up, except that would have hurt more.

"It really doesn't look that bad." Solas said lightly, looking over it, nodding to Cole as the boy brought over a bucket of water and a rag.

"Blood running down her face, but she smiles." Cole said, quietly. "You're hurting, but it helped. He doesn't want to say it, but it does look that bad."

"Thanks, Cole." Hawke said, smiling even though it hurt.

"Tell me something, Lath'in." Solas said, with a small smirk as he healed and cleaned her up. "You threw that fight, didn't you."

"If you tell that to the Commander, I'll deny it with my dying breath, Solas, so help me." Hawke warned, with a playful glare.

"Damn it, Chuckles, do you know how much you just…you just…Damn it!" Varric shouted, exasperatedly, throwing his hands up as he walked away.

"What is he so bent up about?" Hawke asked, narrowing her eyes at him in mock suspicion.

"Oh, nothing." He said, with a soft smile, and leaned in and kissed the side of her face. "You just made me a rich elf. I suggest a week or two away from here, perhaps Val Royeaux. We could go and never try the same thing twice."

"I like the sound of that, but do you really think we could get away with it?" She asked, returning the gesture.

"Probably not, but they would be too traumatized to interrupt us ever again." He replied, with a grin. Hawke grinned in return. She definitely liked the sound of that.


"Do you think she's alright?" Cullen asked, worriedly. "I can't believe I hit her that hard. We were only suppose to be sparring."

"Solas is taking care of her, I'm sure." Lavellan said, laughing when Cullen coughed on his drink.

"Maker's breath, Dhaevira." Cullen said, still coughing.

Their 'planned date' turned out to be Dorian escorting them to a cabin somewhere a few days away, and then leaving with their horses. For all intents and purposes, they were stuck there. Cullen looked mortified when he realized what was going on, but Lavellan just laughed, and he seemed to relax somewhat. She always seemed to be doing that, making him relax when he felt overly worried about something. Sometimes she embarrassed him too, took him out of his comfort zone, but she was always there for him when he needed her. He was having a hard time admitting that it was alright to need someone.

"There's something I should tell you, and I think it will help you not worry so much about Hawke." Lavellan stated, looking a bit sheepish. "Hawke is my wingman."

"Hawke is…your wingman." Cullen said, trying to wrap his mind around that.

"Look. I can own a room of strangers, I can fake being alright to my friends, but for the life of me I couldn't seem to talk to you without sticking my foot in my mouth." Lavellan admitted, blushing. "Hawke saw me one day, and offered to help, said she was good at helping others see what they mean to each other. Her methods are…chaotic, like the fight today."

"The fight today was a wingman thing?" Cullen asked, warily.

"Think about it. She somehow got you to proclaim your feelings for me, in public, and dropped us off in the middle of nowhere long enough for rumours to spread through the barracks. We won't be able to keep this secret any longer if we tried." Lavellan replied, and bit her lip. "I know you value your privacy, but…"

"But me not acknowledging you in public as anything other than the Inquisitor, hurt you, and Hawke saw that when she got back." Cullen realized. "The snowball fight?"

"Pure accident. She'd been pelting Jim with them so we could have time to talk, and 'be awkwardly adorable' as she called it. She gave one of the snowballs to Solas, who threw it and inadvertently hit you." Lavellan chuckled. "She ran with it, and started the snowball fight."

"This wouldn't have anything to do with the rather odd report Jim gave about 'The Voice of Andraste', would it?" Cullen asked, biting the inside of his jaw to keep from laughing.

Lavellan burst out laughing. "Oh, thank the Creators! I can finally tell you about this one. She used a voice projection spell, and tried to stall Jim while we were on the Battlements. She had that boy eating out of the palm of her hand, but you must scare him more than Andraste does, because he risked 'and I quote' 'Pray to the Maker that Commander Cullen doesn't stick his boot up the crack of your ass'."

Suddenly, Cullen couldn't hold it in any longer, and he was laughing just as hard as she was. He had to give Hawke credit. If all of this was to get him to see that him and Lavellan would be good together, he owed her. Maker only knew how many betting rings he had inadvertently been the subject of because of all of this. She really was her own force of nature, that crazy woman.

"I am sorry for hurting you, Dhaevira. I thought you wouldn't want anyone talking about you like that, and I can't even imagine what your clan will think when they hear of this." Cullen said, shaking his head, after they had come down from their laughter. "If they exile you…"

"You worry too much, Cullen." She said, after silencing him with a kiss.

"So I've been told." Cullen chuckles, and the two relax into their 'date' of sorts.


"Hawke, what are you doing?" Lavellan asked, coming upon Hawke sketching in what looked like one of Solas's sketch books.

"This isn't what it looks like!" Hawke shrieked, scrambling to hide the sketch book before it was seen, only to realize that it was much too late for that. "Oh, alright, it's exactly what it looks like. Just don't tell him, okay? I stole one of his empty sketch books."

"Why?" Lavellan asked, sitting with her now.

"Well…have you seen what Josephine wants us to wear to the Winter Palace?" Hawke asked. Lavellan's cringe was all she needed for an answer. "I'm taking these to her later today. What do you think?"

"Hawke, they're stunning! We're definitely wearing these." Lavellan squealed, as she leafed through the sketches. "Does Solas know that you can draw like this?"

"…Um…Well…you see…I…um…Oh, look at the time. Josephine is expecting me! Got to run, sorry!" Hawke scrambled, leaving rather quickly.

"Hawke, aren't you forgetting something?" Lavellan asked, when Hawke had almost gotten to the door, holding up the sketch book.

"Etunash!" Hawke cursed, scrambling back for the sketch book, and then bolted for the door.

Lavellan just chuckled to herself, and said. "I wonder if she had any idea you were standing there. Why would she not want to share those with you?"

"It is unlikely that she knew I was here, as I was here before her." Solas said, stepping out of the little reading nook he'd created. "As far as the sketches go, I can only guess."

"There was something odd, though, now that I think about it." She said, causing Solas to pause. "There were dresses for everyone of us but her. Does she not think she's going?"

"I think she wants the design to be a surprise." Solas replied, with a secretive grin. "This would not be the first outfit she's created as such."

"What do you mean?" Lavellan asked, not remembering any such outfits.

"My apologies, Inquisitor, I believe I may have spoken out of turn." Solas said, before leaving presumable to find Hawke.

"You should know, but it is hard to say. The big wolf and little bird are wary." Cole said, suddenly appearing out of nowhere. "They want to tell you, but you have to ask. The right question gets the right answer. A mission, a past shared, so many secrets."

"It's a secret? So it has to deal with them both? Is this about the mission to get her back? What do the sketches have to do with that?" Lavellan wondered allowed.

"Her first meeting is his second, but memories were taken so neither knew. They are whole now. The pieces fit more closely." Cole said, looking far off. "The howling wolf will always call him home, a song only he can hear."

"Kid, that's cheating." Varric said, getting the boy to walk away with him.

"It's not cheating if I say the same thing to everyone." Cole replied, with a sheepish grin.

"Good point." Varric replied.

Chapter Text

Chapter 20

Lavellan can not help how her focus is drawn to Solas and Hawke, even as everyone prepares for the Ball at the Winter Palace. They circle each other like wolves, teasing, prowling as they do. The Solas that she knew is a lot different than the one she sees before her now. Solas before was reserved, cautious, and did not speak much unless it was on the state of the Veil. He has changed, opened up more now, openly teasing the woman known as Hawke.

There is a predatory glint in his eyes, but only when he is teasing Hawke. The woman treats him the same way, baiting him, teasing. Her eyes promise mischief, but they always have. At the same time, when they are more alone, there is an unguarded innocence in her eyes, and Solas's demeanor changes. He becomes nurturing, passionate, a fierce protector.

Lavellan overhears him call Hawke  Sulahn'ean, and now she has more questions. That name…something about that name is familiar to her. It could be because Hawke sings while she works on her potions and things for the apothecary, but something Cole said makes her wonder. Hawke would be the little bird, Cole has referred to her as such on more than one occasion, and she does have that howling wolf on her ankle. Solas had been able to go to Hawke, almost as if he had been called, but no one had bothered to think it was because of the mark.

That's right, she had forgotten about that! Solas had made a big deal about that birthmark, had corrected her when she described the Mark of Fen'Harel. Things he said before came back to her now. 'I had no idea what I was doing when I cast that spell, that it would actually find her. She didn't even exist yet.' If Solas could find Hawke through the mark…

The howling wolf will always call him home, a song only he can hear, that's what Cole had said. Only the creator of the spell would be able to track Hawke with it, and it was known as the mark of Fen'Harel. If Solas created that spell…'Her first meeting is his second', did that mean that he had met Hawke before? 'but memories were taken so neither knew', that must mean that he had made himself forget her, but why? What could possibly be so important that someone would willingly forget another?

'A mission, a past shared, so many secrets.', 'They are whole now. The pieces fit more closely.' She figured it had to do with the mission. There were things Solas said during that War Room meeting that made a bit more sense if she was correct. He had burst into the room, rambled as he looked over the maps. 'After Mythal, before the Veil, where was I when…?' None of his ramblings had made any sense at the time, but now?

Now they were pieces of a puzzle. If Solas was…If he was…If she was right, then it would explain why he had asked the questions he had in the War Room that day. If Hawke had stumbled into ancient Arlathan, is that where she could have met him? Is that why he made himself forget? He would have had to, she realized, for everything to play out as it had.

Which means he would have been the one responsible for her trip back, and for getting the mask of Fen'Harel to her, all without memory of having done so. Something of blood, he'd said. There was nothing she could think of that would qualify, unless…Solas did have an intense fascination with nibbling on that woman's neck. They want to tell you, but you have to ask. The right question gets the right answer.', but what was the right question?

'Would she even still want me if she understood what I've done?…' Suddenly, Lavellan was scrambling out the door. Josephine hadn't been able to break through her epiphany, but the dress fitting was mostly completed anyway. She hurriedly got dressed, and ran to find Hawke. If she was right, she would find her answers there. If she was right, she would know what questions to ask.


 "Hawke!" Lavellan called out, surprising both her and Solas out of playing with the Mabari. That was a thought for another time, she mused.

"Are you alright, Lethal'lan?" Solas asked, looking concerned.

"Yes, Solas, I…Really, I'm alright." Lavellan said, excitedly. "Hawke! You said your father told stories that were much different than the stories the Dalish tell. Do you have them written down? Were you able to save any of them?"


 

Hawke smiled widely, like it was the most brilliant thing she had ever heard. She hadn't considered that something she had said out of turn, before any of this had really been understood by her, to play a part in this. She nodded, and reached into her medicine bag. It was one of the few things she kept with her at all times, the stories her father told her. When she handed the book to Lavellan, she didn't let go of it right away.

"Please, take good care of this. Father wrote these down for me, because he knew how much I loved them." Hawke explained, letting her grip loosen on the book.

"I will, Hawke. It's just…I remember a story from when I was little, and I wondered…"Lavellan said, trailing off, slightly blushing. "It wasn't very popular, and Keeper Deshanna tried to dissuade my sense of fancy, but it stayed with me anyway, and it was such a romantic story. I wonder if it's in here too."

"Then who told the story?" Solas asked, confused.

"I'm not certain. He was tall, broad shouldered, no vallas'lin, black hair, blue eyes…" Lavellan said, her voice trailing off as she thought about it. "Actually, Hawke, he kind of reminds me a little of you."


 "Then I'm certain that your story is in here." Hawke said, with a grin.

"Lath'in?" Solas asked, when Lavellan had left. "She couldn't possibly have meant…"

"She was talking about Father." Hawke said, with a laugh. "I think I know which one she's looking for too. I can't believe I didn't realize it was even in there till now."

Solas just looked at her with confusion, and waited.

She simply smiled, and said. "Ours."

It surprised her when Solas suddenly stood up, and began shouting.

"He knew! He knew, and he manipulated me, us, into this. What were we thinking?" He seemed to come into himself then, calming down just enough to realize what he's just said. "Alhasha, I-"

"Don't." Hawke said, darkly, before stalking off on her own.


 The Fade…

"Did you know?" Solas asked, looking her father in the eye now. The world around them looked like that little cabin on the hillside in Lothering.

"Of course, I knew. Every Aenorean knew." Malcolm said, calmly, watching Solas pace. "Every Aenorean, every one but Alhasha."

"You manipulated your own daughter?!" Solas asked, incredulous.

"Every parent does to a degree, but I did not manipulate her the way you think." Malcolm shot back, surprising him. "I gave her the information, and left the choices up to her. I told her stories of you and the others, stories that my family has kept for generations. Esem or Fen'Harel was never one of the stories I told her, but it was in the book, not that she would have known it for what it was at the time. I never got around to telling her what in all the mark meant, just that if she was desperate for help, she could call on you. You try explaining to an 8 year old what a soul mate mark is, and just what that could possibly mean for her future."

"Why didn't-" Solas was going to ask why the man hadn't explained everything to her later, when the landscape shifted into something blight ridden.

"This is why. The blight destroyed everything, and all of our attentions were diverted to surviving it. I barely kept Carver from running off to join the fighting in Ostagar when that happened, and that was because I watched over him all the time." Malcolm explained, frustrated, as Solas looked over the land. "I barely had time to make that bracelet for Alhasha, before he ran off again and did just what I told him not to do. By the time I got back with him, Templars had found my family, and we discovered Alhasha was resistant to magebane…and to some extent, to the Templars powers as well."

Before Solas could even ask about it, the scene was playing out before him. He watched as teenage girl slowly backed away from Templars, staff raised as her mother pleading with the Templars to let them go. This had to be the sister Bethany, he realized. That is when he noticed the very angry looking 10 year old standing by her mother's side glaring at the Templars. When they struck out with their Holy Smites, Bethany went down, but little Alhasha leaped over her and blew half of them up before they realized they were having their asses handed to them by a prepubescent child.

It was only a matter of time before they realized the magebane did almost nothing to her, and the Holy Smites only gave her a nosebleed. She grinned, her head down as her eye pierced them, looking beyond feral as blood trickled down her face, and they looked upon her with fear. Those that weren't dead, scrambled away from a tiny mage and her mabari. Had they stayed longer, they would have watched Alhasha pass out after a moment. Her father ran to her and her sister, as her brother stood there in guilt, shame, and stubbornness.

When she woke up, she cried. It had been the first time she'd actually seen death, and the first time she'd ever been the cause of it. Her father and mother held her as she cried, and her sister sat with her at night to keep away bad dreams, always telling how much she appreciated that she saved her. Her brother was lost in his guilt, unsure of how to help her, resentful that she had saved the family when it should have been him. There was another Templar attack not long after that, and where little Alhasha had been able to save them before, this time she could not.

The fight before had taken too much out of her. And while a scared teenage boy yelled at his little sister that she should have done more to help, a dying father tried to sooth them both, knowing that she could not. The scene shifted again, and the two siblings glared at one another, as Bethany tried to calm them. All of them watched as the 10 year old girl became the woman that would lead them, as she put on the bracelet her father had hoped she wouldn't have to use. She blamed Carver for their father's death, knowing that if he hadn't run away, they'd both have been there to protect them; He blamed her for their father's death, resenting that she had been able to save them before, but not that time.

"That is why she never knew more about the mark, other than that it could allow Fen'Harel to find her if she needed him. I had not gone to speak with her about it here, because she needed time to grieve." Malcolm said, interrupting Solas's thoughts. "This changes nothing. The events played out as they did. She's realized that she's been in a story of a book she's held all her life, and what did you do? If I had money, I'd bet that you shut her out again. Didn't you?"

Solas didn't answer him. He didn't think he could. Alhasha had been so happy when she realized what had happened, that she was one of those stories from her father's book that she loved so much. Instead of sharing in her joy, he bolted, throwing accusations of manipulation angrily. When he came to himself again, realizing how it had sounded, she was angry.

Her father shook his head, seeing that he was right. "Please tell me you have never been so foolish as to promise not to hurt her. You're doing a poor job of keeping it, if you did."

"That is not the one I made." Solas replied, with a sigh. "I can't believe I'm about to do this. How does one apologize to their nas'falon for overreacting?"

"I don't know about the nas'falon bit, but you could just say 'I'm sorry for being an overreacting idiot'. It probably isn't how you would normally say something, so she's bound to know you mean it, or got advice." An older version of the teenage boy, Carver, said as he was walking up to them. "You've never really been in a relationship before, not one with any real substance anyway, have you?"

"This is not a conversation I am going to have with the family of my nas'falon." Solas grumbled, turning his head to the side.

"Yeah? Well if you don't come up with something good, she might deny you." Carver replied, with a smirk. "Just because she's your mate or whatever, doesn't mean she has to accept you. If you can't learn to control your temper, she just might deny you, and I know my sister. She'd do it. If there's anyone as stubborn as you, it's her."

"Are all of you like this?" Solas asked, incredulously.


 It was in there, the story she had remembered hearing as a child, the story of Fen'Harel and Sulahn'ean. The story began with Fen'Harel creating the mark to find his Nas'Falon, with the others of the pantheon pressuring him into searching for her. Clever one that he thought he was, he created a spell that should not have been able to find someone, because no one person possessed the traits he listed, and he did not wish to be forced into finding someone. Yet not only did she fall out of the sky, she bested his plans to kill her, and turned his world on its ear. Suddenly he was the one being hunted, instead of the one doing the hunting.

She fought with Falon'Din, challenged Elgar'nan, and teased Fen'Harel. The people loved her, and the gods didn't know what to do with her. Fen'Harel found himself drawn in, until finally his stubborn and prideful nature gave way, and the two disappeared for a time. After that, if they were seen anywhere, it was always together. Despite his attempts to keep her at bay, Fen'Harel fell in love with Sulahn'ean.

She was a force of nature in her own right, and did not bow to the whim of the gods. Fen'Harel danced in the flames Sulahn'ean created, the two dancing the night away…But the happiness he'd found was not to last, and the Tevinter Imperium flooded the celebration without warning. Sulahn'ean disappeared, lost to him in an instant. Fen'Harel became a monster, and in his rage he carved a path of death and destruction upon anyone that got in his way.

In all that time, he had been playing nice between the elvhen gods and the forgotten ones. In all of the destruction and chaos, he did not even wait to see if they had made it to their realms. They fled to escape the Imperium they had let in, and Fen'Harel sealed them away for their folly. To ask him to call for his love, and then force him to lose her in order to save what was left of their people, was a price too high for his soul to bear. So, Fen'Harel cast a spell to forget her, and wandered the Fade in Uth'then'era in his rage.

Lavellan read this, and wondered. What was the right question? There were thousands of questions running in her mind now. That couldn't possibly be Solas! But then something else he said flashed in her mind, Would she even still want me if she understood what I've done…, and suddenly she didn't know what to think.


 Well, fuck. While he had been in the Fade trying to sort all this out, Alhasha had built a fortress of sorts. She'd had her things moved out of the room she'd been staying in, which worried him, because now she was risking assassins again. He had a plan to apologize, but every time he made to find her, someone always needed him for something. The Commander asked for his help training the soldiers on how to fight rogue mages and such, something Alhasha usually helped him with. Dorian asked him to play chess with him, something else Alhasha liked to do.

It didn't stop with them. Once he was free from one, another would make a bid for his time. Madame De Fer seemed to pick that moment to want to get in a debate with him about the Circle. Seeker Pentagast asked for a review of all of the information he had gathered about the Breach. Varric actually asked him for the information the dalish had denied, citing who better to get that sort of information out there than a writer, even if the world believed it fiction.

Montilyet was constantly coming around asking him questions about his past, anything that could help the Inquisition's image. Sister Nightingale brazenly asked him about the rumours regarding Vael and his rantings about Hawke being Fen'Harel's chosen, stating that she had been informed about what happened at the blockade. The Iron Bull had somehow sidetracked him into a debate about the Qun, and Sera seemed to have found every lizard in all of Thedas just for him. By the time that Lavellan came to see him, he was at his wits end. He was sitting in the rotunda, sipping on the tea he drank to clear his mind, when he heard her come in.

"Something wrong with your tea?" She asked, amused at the face she saw him making when she walked around to face him.

"It is tea. I detest the stuff, but I need to clear my mind. This helps…until it doesn't. Lethal'lan, I am afraid I would not make for good company right now." Solas said, making a sour face at the tea cup. "If this is Lady Hawke's way of keeping me from her, she no longer has to worry. I will no longer seek her company if she does not wish it."

"What makes you think she doesn't want to see you?" Lavellan asked, sitting across from him at the table.

"These past few days have been ample enough evidence, Lethal'lan. I haven't been able to get near her since this started. She won't talk to me, and doesn't want me to talk to her." Solas stated. "She practically has the entire Inquisition ready to sideline me."

"You two really are alike. It's almost scary." Lavellan commented. "Look, I don't know what happened, but I know she's pretty hurt about it."

"So much so, that she is doing everything to keep me from her." Solas replied, stubbornly.

"Wouldn't you?" Lavellan asked, arching an eyebrow at him. "You didn't think this relationship would be easy, did you? That's kind of part of being with someone who's their own force of nature."

"I wasn't sure what this relationship would be. It covers a wide variety of firsts I had not anticipated." Solas admitted. "I do not know how to apologize if I can not reach her."

"Seriously, Solas? She's making this difficult for you, not impossible." Lavellan said, with a sigh. "Think about it. What's the one place you know she can't block you out?"

When Lavellan left, Cole appeared beside him. Unlike the others, he felt calm around Cole. No matter what went on around him, Cole was always trying to help. It was in his nature, and it was something Solas was in sore need of right now. He was thinking over the advice Lavellan gave him before she left, when Cole finally spoke.

"She feels he wants to make things difficult, so she took it from him, made it difficult instead. He claims he will always find her. Let him." Cole said, and suddenly it clicked what Lavellan was trying to tell him.

So he searched the Fade at night. He alternated between trying to keep his mind occupied, and searching for her, during the day. Even in ancient Arlathan, when he had been a particular ass, she had not been this angry at him. That one sentence had thrown everything into doubt, and now she was making him pay for it. They really were too much alike sometimes.

That made him think. The places he had searched had turned up with nothing, but that was because he was searching everywhere without reason. Where would she feel was the most defendable? She would not go for safe, as safe came with its own brand of trappings. It would be someplace she could defend.

Suddenly, a memory came to mind. 'Tell me of the Arishok's Blade', he'd said. Her body would not have to be in Kirkwall for her mind to create it, and so he searched for Kirkwall in a place it should not be. It sounded simple in his mind, but he didn't know what Kirkwall looked like, had not bothered to go look. At least the dwarf would be happy he was finally going to have to read that book.

So, he read the book. He would never admit this to the dwarf, but it was good, and he learned even more of Alhasha. However, when he searched the Fade again, it had not helped him. He was out of ideas, and all because of four words. What were we thinking?

Just as soon as he thought them, he was standing in front of the Breach. More importantly, she was standing in front of the Breach. However, this time, when she faced him, it was not with a smile. She looked like she had been expecting him, but her eyes were sad, like she expected this to end. When he'd asked that question, he hadn't been thinking, and it was too late to take it back.


 "It took you long enough." She said, as she made her way to him.

"I got sidetracked by The Tales of the Champion. I thought maybe you would go somewhere defendable, somewhere you had already defended, but I had no idea what Kirkwall looks like." Solas admitted, as he made his way to her. "I asked myself, finally, what were we thinking, and found myself here. You hid within a question, something I have never seen done before."

"You read Tales of the Champion to try to find me? Does Varric know?" She asked, almost lightheartedly.

"It was not the first thing I tried, and no. He does not know I've read it." Solas replied. "I did learn a few things I probably should have known already, but that is neither here nor there."

Hawke sat down on something that looked like it had been a stone wall at one point. Whatever he was about to say had better be good, and from the looks of things, he knew it. However, from the looks of things, words were failing him. It wasn't something she saw often. He sat by her side, the two were silent for a time.

"I sought council with your father, after I reacted to the book." Solas said, not looking at her yet. "He showed me why he could not have manipulated you, like I thought he had. I had accused him of it. What he showed me shamed me, Lath'in, and I sought to apologize to you. You reacted with instant happiness at our story being remembered well enough to be written down. I should have shared in that, instead I…" He sighed. "I do not know where you are in the waking world, but please come back. We do not have to stay together, if you do not wish it, but I need to know you are alright."

"Answer the question. What were you thinking? I know what I was thinking. I thought I knew what you were thinking, but…" Hawke replied, not wanting to forgive him so easily. He had to learn his words could hurt, damn it!

"Clearing my mind is never going to be a possibility around you. That horrid tea doesn't work anymore regardless." Solas replied, immediately, turning slightly to face her. She doesn't know whether to be amused or insulted, not yet. "You were ethereal, and I could not understand how you could be two kinds and exist as you are. Cautious and humble, tall and proud. I knew your father was right, the moment I saw you there. I loved you already."

"Why didn't you just say that?" Hawke exclaimed, a little frustrated. Damn it, now she really wanted to forgive him. He mumbled something, and it surprised her both that she couldn't pick up on it, and that he actually mumbled. "I'm sorry, what was that?"


 "This is the first serious relationship I have ever been in. Anything before you has been meaningless." Solas blurted out, more than a little frustrated. He had kind of hoped to be forgiven by now, but now the confessions wouldn't stop, and they came out like word vomit. "Becoming an Evanuris for me was time consuming, and I was rather singularly focused till I achieved it. Elgar'nan suggested a party to celebrate, and it was all meaningless sex and a lot of alcohol. I'm actually amazed we didn't die of alcohol poisoning, even with the newly acquired immortality we had achieved for our people."

"So, you're telling me that you're a horndog that's never had a serious relationship before, and you get saddled with the clueless virgin who has also never had a serious relationship before." Alhasha groaned, embarrassment radiating from her. "No wonder you run."

"As a wolf, I resent being called a dog of any kind." Solas teased, trying to get her out of her embarrassment.

"If the shoe fits." She replied, without missing a beat.

"I run, because what you represent scares me, Lath'in." Solas admitted, past caring that he hadn't meant to say any of these things, and stole a quick kiss. "You are more than everything I have ever wanted, so much more than the things listed in the spell to find you, and I felt that I could not allow myself that happiness, not when I have been the cause of so much pain and death. You refuse to allow me to delude myself into the singular focus it would take to rip apart the Veil, because you want…(steals another kiss) You want me to be happy, and I fight you on that, because I don't deserve to be happy. You deserve someone who can give you everything, someone who can give you a peaceful life."

He seemed very addicted to stealing kisses from her now.

"Lath'in, I watched as that little girl you use to be fought eight templars on her own, not because she thought she could, but because it was either that or die there. That wild little thing killed five of them before the others got wise and left, and I am certain even they still tell stories of you. That is what your father showed me, the true reason you fight like the vanguard, the reason he wasn't able to tell you everything the mark meant." Solas said, before she could protest, and stole another kiss. "I can not give you the little cabin on the hillside. I can not give you that peaceful life. But I am selfish enough to want to take the happiness that you offer me, to want to be the one that makes you happy in return. I am tired of fighting you, Lath'in, tired of fighting against my own happiness. If it is within my power, I would give you anything."

"You really go all out on the apologies, don't you." She wondered, with a slight smile, right before he stole another kiss.

"You seem to go 'all out' as you say, to make sure that I earn that forgiveness." He replied, grinning just a touch now. "Sathan, vegara, Alhasha."

Please, come back, Alhasha

She grinned at him. That wolfish grin that use to infuriate him, had become one that he looked forward to seeing. As long as she looked at him like this, there was hope for him, no matter how many times he stumbled through. She was kissing him before he had even registered that she'd moved, and he could not help but smile into it. He did not deserve the forgiveness that she gave, but he'd be foolish to refuse it now.

"Vana manean." Alhasha replied, with a grin, when she pulled away from the kiss. "I never left."

Silly fish


A few days later…

She'd heard the fighting before she saw them, though this was nothing like the first one. This time, it was Hawke that raged. Solas, on the otherhand, stood there as if he had all the patience in the world. That was the thing, when Solas thought he was right, no amount of passionate argument could sway him. Even a force of nature such as Hawke could not shake him at times.

When Hawke threw her hands up and left, Lavellan walked up, and asked. "Trouble in paradise?"

"What is it about Fereldan's that make them think they can do everything on their own?" Solas asked, sounding much angrier than he appeared.

"I'm not entirely certain." Lavellan sighed, in shared frustration. "It took the fall of Haven before Cullen would ask for help, and he went to Hawke instead of me. It took everything I had not to confront him about it when I found out. I know he views asking for help as some kind of weakness, that I might see him as less than he is for needing it, and he and Hawke have a history we will never share in, but I still wish he would trust me to see that he was strong enough to ask for help."

"So…let me see if I understand this correctly…because I want to make sure she is protected…I have insulted her?" Solas asked, with a sigh, trying to piece it together. "Again?"

"Most likely she thinks that because you want her protected, you think she can not protect herself." Lavellan replied, shaking her head. "That isn't the case at all, I know, but Hawke was taught to be self reliant at a very young age. She had to be, from what Varric tells me. You may have to word it differently, before she'll realize what you actually meant. I would suggest waiting till she calms down before you try that though."

"Maybe we should start a support group." Solas suggested, off handedly, a small smirk on his face.

"Excellent idea." Lavellan giggled. "We can call it, 'For Those Who Love Fereldans'."

"Someone mind telling me why Flint is in The Herald's Rest muttering about 'That damned overprotective 'Uva bar'? What does that even mean anyway?" Varric asked, walking up to them. Solas sighs, and Lavellan giggles.

"Uva'bar translates to 'egg head'." Lavellan supplied, unable to hold in her giggles, as she points to Solas. Varric descends into laughter as well.

"She refuses any means of protection, or the various safeguards I have suggested. She won't even accept Fenris as being her personal bodyguard, and I asked him to suggest that one instead so she wouldn't think it was my idea. I assumed she would object to anything I suggested, and hoped a suggestion from another source would be welcome." Solas stated, frustrated. "Instead, she shut out all suggestions, saying she didn't need protecting. I am out of ideas. What would you suggest?"

"Oh, I don't know, maybe go as her escort? You know, like a date?" Varric suggested, sarcastically. "I know for a fact you didn't plan on going to this, and now that you know she is, you're flipping out trying to figure out how to protect her without going."

"Ohhhh, that's what she was on about this morning!" Lavellan realized, and smacks Solas up the back of the head. "She has a dress she's created for herself, and she wanted you to see it when we go to Ha'lam'shiral. When she found out you weren't going, she shut down and walked out."

"Thank you, Lightning, I'm not tall enough to smack him like that." Varric huffed. "I'm assuming that's about the time you found her, and started suggesting security measures."

"You know…you could always surprise her." Lavellan suggested. "We can still get you fitted for one of the outfits like the other men will be wearing. It's not too late."

"Alright, but I can not walk in wearing it. I would actually suggest that I go as a serving man. It will allow me access to places no one else can get to, information, things of that nature." Solas suggested. "Later, I can change into this other ensamble."

"No dice. You go in the fancy outfit. You could still slip into the servants places without notice if you wanted. I've seen your presence switch from unassuming, to commanding, and back again in no time flat." Lavellan said, crossing her arms in front of her.

"Very well, Lethal'lan." Solas replied, with a ghost of a smile on his face. "Now that I have been properly chastized, I shall go apologize to Alhasha…again…That seems to be a habit of mine as of late."

"How long have you known?" Lavellan asked, when she was sure Solas was gone.

"Long enough to know you're fishing for confirmation on your own theory." Varric replied, without missing a beat. "Lightning, whatever you think it is, just ask them. There's parts of it I'm still trying to process, and I've known for months now."


 Solas had left without warning, but he had Lavellan with him, so she tried not to worry. Hawke decided though that if he could go off on his own, without a word, then so could she. So, she packed some provisions, made sure of the time frame for the ball at the winter palace was still a long way off, and left. No one thought to stop her, considering it looked like she was just taking a leisurely stroll. She even took Biscuit with her this time.

The young mabari pup was getting bigger now, and they had been working on training him early. Biscuit loved her wolf form too, snuggling into her at night. They would be in their destination before Solas got back from his trip, of that she had no doubt. Her only concern was seeing how much distance she could get before he figured out what she was doing. Because if he knew what she was doing, he would be angry at her.

Lothering looked just as desolate as she had expected, but even so, she had hoped that it would have healed even a little during all the time she was gone. She came upon what was left of her old house. From the outside, she could already see that it was being worked on. It didn't look anything like it had, but it was livable. For a moment, Hawke hesitated, but then shook her head and knocked on the door.

"Who's there?" The man called out, before even opening the door. When he saw her standing there, he just gawked at her. "Hawke!"

"Hello, Anders." She replied, with a smirk.

Chapter Text

Tiny little lime warning, only because if i don't say anything, I'm sure it will come back to bite me lol

Chapter 21

"Thank you for coming with me, Lethal'lan." Solas said, breaking the comfortable silence that they had existed in.

"You're my friend, Solas." Lavellan stated, comforting. "Of course, I'd try to help you if I could."

"Then why are you nervous around me now? What has changed?" He asked, seeing no reason to beat around the bush about it.

"I'm trying to figure out what the right question is." She admitted, surprising him.

"That would explain why you have been quiet on this trip, I suppose, but not why you are hesitant around me, nor would it explain why you keep an equal distance around me now." Solas pointed out, with a slight frown. "Whenever I move, you move the exact opposite, as if you are afraid I will touch you. Tell me, Lethal'lan, have I done something to make you fear me?"

"No?…Yes?…Maybe?…I don't know. It's all so confusing in my head." She said, rambling in her nervousness. "I've kind of had the wind knocked out of me, and I'm trying to find my feet again. Does that make any sense?"

"I suppose." Solas said, with a slight frown, pondering something for a moment. "This wouldn't happen to have anything to do with Cole's hint, would it?"

"A bit." Lavellan admitted, nervously. "I just need time to figure out what it is I want to ask. I get why Cole calls Hawke little bird, but why does he call you big wolf?"

Solas couldn't help but smile at that, as he replied. "Is that your question, Lethal'lan?"


"Hawke, what are you even doing here? Not that I'm not glad to see you, but after everything that happened in Kirkwall, I didn't think you'd ever want to talk to me again." Anders stated, before realizing that he was rambling. "Do you want to come in?"

"Actually, Anders, you need to pack. Like, right now." Hawke said, very business like. "We've got a lot of ground to cover before nightfall. So, haul ass."

"What do you mean?" Anders asked, already heading inside to do just as she'd stated.

"I mean I've found a way to really separate you and Justice." She replied. "What do you know of the Avvar?"

"Not much, they keep to themselves mostly." Anders replied, as he packed. "What's with the mini mabari?"

"Oh. Biscuit, meet Anders. Anders, meet Biscuit." Hawke introduced them.

"Sorry I don't have anything prepared, or I'd give you something." He said to the Mabari. "Friends anyway?" He laughed when the pup barked once in affirmation, and looked to Hawke. "I take it BarkSpawn…"

"Saved my life while I was trying to save his." She finished, looking pained.

"Hawke, I'm sorry." Anders said, not knowing what to say now. "Well, I'm ready whenever you are."

"Good, because we need to cover a lot of ground before he figures out I've fled the coup as it were." Hawke said, quickly, and turned around to leave.

"I'm sorry? Who's he exactly?" Anders asked, quickly walking to catch up to her.

"Oh, I have so much to tell you, Anders." Hawke said, laughing as they went.

"This is going to be good, isn't it?" Anders remarked, with a slight smile. "I really have missed you…Hey…Have you done something to your hair?"


She just started laughing, which must have thrown him off. Oh, there was so much to explain to him. So, she started off with an apology, and explained about the bracelet that she'd worn to make herself look older. The look on his face as he realized he'd tried to make out with an underage girl was near comical, but she didn't laugh. She talked about meeting Solas, and the events that unfolded after that.

Hawke was very careful not to reveal who he was, but she had a feeling Anders knew that she was holding a secret again. He had always been able to tell that, more so when it was one she really wanted to tell. Anders actually laughed when Hawke told him all of the shenanigans BarkSpawn pulled to get the stubborn elf to not ignore her. By the time that she was finished with her stories, even though she'd had to leave a lot of it out, they had begun to make their way to the foot of the Frostback Mountains. From there, they would journey to the Avvar. Maybe it showed in how quickly she was trying to get them to move, or how she kept looking over her shoulder from time to time, but Anders watched her more intently as the evening wore on. Finally, he had them stop, even though Hawke wanted to continue traveling in the darkness.

"Hawke, we can't do this. I can't see in the dark as well as you can." Anders huffed, stopping at the entrance to a cave he'd found. "What is it that has you so rattled? Is it that guy your seeing now? Solas?"

"Yes, and no." Hawke admitted, before going to light a fire. "Solas is going to be angry when he discovers that I'm gone, but only because he wants to keep me safe. Vael hasn't exactly stopped his assassination attempts, but it's more than that now, and I can't tell you all of it. It's not just my secret."

"It's his too, this Solas of yours." Anders reasoned out, and she nodded. "We both know how you are about secrets."

"Thanks for understanding, Anders." She said, gratefully.


Solas had been gone for much longer than he had originally planned, by more than a few weeks at least, and he was hurriedly making his way back. After killing the weak mages that had trapped his friend Wisdom, he had wandered off alone, telling Lavellan to return without him. As emotionally tumultuous as Solas had been at the time, he knew that he should not be around others, especially Alhasha. He had tried finding her in the Fade to let her know, but she hadn't been sleeping much lately, no doubt angry at him for not telling her he was leaving in the first place. He knows he should have told her before he left, that she would understand the need to help a friend, but the time for that had passed.

When he got back to Skyhold, Solas felt a sense of calm wash over him. It felt good to be back. He had missed this place, and had missed Alhasha. It was strange that he could not find her now, and the sense of calm became one of wariness. He'd expected her to march up to him as soon as he got there, and yell at him for his leaving. Something was off, but he reasoned that it was just that Alhasha had hidden herself away, making herself harder to find, because she was that mad at him. It wasn't like this would be the first time she'd done so.

But after searching everywhere he could think of to hide, he had come up with nothing. Either Alhasha was gone, or she did not want to be found. The more time that went by, the more he began to wonder. Had Vael found a way to take her while he had been gone? Just then, he happened upon a conversation, and hid himself away before they could see him.

"You mean no one has seen Hawke, at all? How is that even possible?" Fenris asked, sounding worried. "She's hasn't gone to any of the outposts?"

"No, I've checked. All the ravens came back with the same reply." Sister Nightingale replied calmly. "She's just gone."

"Guys, someone said Solas arrived a little while ago. He's already started searching for Flint." Varric stated, casually walking up to them. "How long do you think we have before he realizes she's not here?"


"I'd say not long at all, master Tethras." Solas replied, coolly.

"He's standing right behind me, isn't he?" Varric asked, with a sigh. Fenris and Leliana both nodded. Resigning himself to his fate, he turned to face Solas, but instead of the angry god like wrath he was expecting to face, he saw a man worried and beside himself. "Chuckles…"

"What. Happened?" Solas demanded.

"She just left, Chuckles. It looked like she was going on a walk with Biscuit, and no one thought to check." Varric stated, resigned.

"When?" Solas asked. Varric was surprised the elf wasn't trying to kill him yet.

"A day or so after you left." Varric revealed. That sent Solas to pacing back and forth.

"Where would she have gone? Was she threatened to leave discretely? Would anyone have even noticed that?" Solas asked, thinking over things. "Where was the last place she was seen?"

"The Inquisitor was the last to speak with her that we have been able to verify, and she informed me that Hawke had come to her and asked about the Avvar." Leliana stated. "Something specific about them…She asked about the Augur, their mages, and how they release spirits that are unwilling to leave the host body."

"Anders." Fenris realized. "She's gone to Anders, now that she knows she can help him."

"She would risk that? Now?" Solas asked, looking to Fenris.

"Like you have to ask." Fenris scoffed. "Of course she would risk that now."


He didn't think Hawke had noticed yet, but Anders was sure someone was following them. They only showed up at night though. He only ever caught glimpses of them before they were gone. He hadn't told her either, because it already looked like she was under enough strain. She didn't need to have another worry to add to it all.

Each day, the man seemed closer and closer to camp. Anders started faking sleep, in an effort to catch this man that was following them. After a week, his efforts finally paid off, or so he thought. When he noticed the man, he was already in camp! It was no wonder he couldn't track him, what with being able to move that fast.

The elven man was putting a blanket over Hawke and the Mabari pup. All at once, Anders felt like he was intruding on a very private moment. That thought was only affirmed when the man kissed Hawke's forehead, and brushed the hair out of her face. This must be the man she was with now, the one she was hoping wouldn't discover she was gone till she was on her way back. The moment Anders realized this, the man turned to face him, unsurprised to see him awake.

"Are you even aware of the danger she has placed herself in just to help you?" The elven male asked, quietly, an edge to his voice that was low and commanding. Andraste's blessed nipple ring, but this guy was scary as fuck. "Of course, Alhasha would choose not to mention that. She is in danger no matter where she is, or what she's doing, but she is in the most danger she has ever been in, and you are completely unaware of it."


Anders tried to keep calm, but he could feel Justice demanding to be let out, to fight the threat presented to him. Yet, despite how angry this man looked, Anders had the distinct impression that this elven man was not angry at him. He had the look of a man in extreme desperate worry. The way he looked back to Hawke was very telling. He was worried for her.

"Just how much danger is she in?" Anders found himself asking.

"Besides the blinding white hot hatred of several countries thanks to you?" Solas asked, arching an eyebrow at him. Anders nodded, again feeling the guilt of having thrown her into that position in the first place. "What do you know of Sebastian Vael?"

"Sebastian? He'd been a friend for years, till I blew up the Chantry, that is. He threatened to invade Kirkwall, and then Hawke punched him square in the face, and stalked off to defend the mages that were in danger due to me." Anders replied, looking confused.


Jagged blue lines flickered all over him, but there was no lyrium in his skin like Alhasha had. The spirit was close to the surface then, Solas reasoned. It didn't seem to be something the mage could control anymore, though he was trying. This was the friend Alhasha was trying to help, but Solas was uncertain he could be helped now. He wondered if the spirit sensed how dangerous he was, and was trying to protect its host.

"Listen to me very carefully, Anders. Vael's men are trying to reach her as we speak." Solas stated, intent on him knowing just how serious this was. "They know that she is traveling through these mountains, and they know that she is with you. If they can, they will kill you, and take her to Starkhaven to be Vael's trophy queen. You can not let this happen. If it means your life, you must defend her with everything that you are. If you fail in this, there will be no place you can go that I can not track you. Not even death will save you from me. Is that understood?"

"What aren't you telling me?" Anders asked, suspicious of him. Good. He would need that.

"A great many things." Solas admitted, looking back to Alhasha. "Would your knowledge of these things help you defend to her any better? Would your fear of what I am help you to keep her alive?"

"That is not why I asked." Anders replied. "I need to know that you won't hurt her. She has been put through enough, especially by those she calls her friends, including me."

"I will tell you this then, foolish shem'len. Who I am is not as important as what I will do to you should she die. What I am is not as important as what she means to me. She is my Lath'in, my Nas'falon, and though she is in danger simply by being with me, I will do everything I can for her." Solas stated, walking towards Anders, inwardly enjoying how the man's eyes got bigger with each step he took. "Know that your betrayal is nothing compared to my own, and that while you may have destroyed a city in an effort to free the mages, I destroyed a civilization to free a people, to save my Lath'in, and they rightly call me the great betrayer for it. I am Fen'Harel, and you protect my chosen. Be at peace, Anders, for if she can forgive me my trespasses, surely she has already forgiven you yours."


Morning…

"Hawke, we need to talk." Anders said, in seriousness, when he noticed that she was awake. Well, fuck, she thought, this can't be good. "When you told me this Solas of yours would be angry that you had risked your life again, you may have failed to mention just how angry he would be."

"Fuuuck. What did he tell you?" Hawke asked, hesitantly, her mind buzzing with thousands of possibilities. "Scratch that. What did he do to you?"

"Fen'Harel…" Oh shit, this was going to be bad, she thought as he took a breath to continue. "Of all the things I ever imagined happening in my life, being threatened to protect you with my life by an ancient elven god was not on the list."

"He told you about that?" Hawke asked, surprised.

"That wasn't the first thing he told me, but holy fucking shit, Hawke. How in Andraste's bleeding nethers did that happen?" Anders replied, still reeling from the shock he'd received. "According to him, Sebastian's men are out to kill me, no surprise there, and make you his trophy queen, though he didn't say anything in detail about that. Then he threatened me within an inch of my life, and that you are his lath'in…his nas'falon, and that I had better protect you or there's nowhere I can run to that will keep me safe. Now, I know I don't know a lot of elvish, but I know what nas'falon means. Tell me I dreamed all that. How, in all of Thedas, did you catch the eye of an elvhen god?"

"I'm guessing he didn't explain anything after that." Hawke replied, wishing for once that Solas had tempered his flare for the dramatic.

"No, he just said all that, and vanished as if he'd never been here at all." Anders said, still not over the shock of it all.

"Alright, I suppose I should start from the beginning." She replied, and so she did.


As they moved further up the mountain, Anders began having more and more trouble keeping Justice at bay. Blue veins sparked up on his skin from time to time, much the same way Hawke's lyrium lines did. It was easier to bear when he focused on her. Makers breath, she was beautiful…and apparently now over 8,000 years old…technically…sort of. He wasn't sure how that worked exactly, not that that hadn't been an interesting conversation to have, and he thought about that as they continued to make their way.

Fen'Harel, who he was to call Solas in front of everyone else, had called her Alhasha. Hawke had had to explain what that meant, and that it was her given name, one that only Fen'Harel was able to use. She certainly seemed to embody the word, wild, from her eyes, to her hair, to the way she stood. She'd explained about the mark on her ankle being the way Fen'Harel could find her. Since Fen'Harel had so blantantly told him who he was, Hawke was able to tell him everything.

It explained that mask of hers at any rate. The thing made her look all the more wild for it, the black fur mingling with her ink black hair, her blue eyes all the more vibrant because of it. She'd gone over events that he hadn't even realized had happened, though he was aware of the Breach. It could be seen from all over Thedas. He wanted to scream in outrage over that, but he also knew that was mainly Justice screaming to be let to the surface again.

He also felt shamed, because Hawke was still trying to clean up the mess that he had created for mages. Learning the real reason why Sebastian was after her had not helped him keep his equilibrium. That someone would try and…he couldn't think about it without giving Justice more ground to break through, and Justice didn't recognize friend from foe anymore. It helped that Hawke talked about the day to day things, and Anders was certain that Varric had at least a dozen bets going about her and Solas. Commander Cullen being a part of the Inquisition surprised him though, as Anders had thought he would have stayed in Kirkwall to help rebuild the city.

The Avvar were a fascinating people, he could see that much. Hawke walked around as if she belonged there. Here she let the wolf skull mask be visible all the time, and she spoke in the same manner they did. First, they had to speak to some woman called a Thane, leader of this particular Avvar tribe. Here, they called her 'Daughter of the Sky'. That seemed fitting, what with her being a Hawke and all.


This time, when he showed up in camp, things were different. They had made it to the Avvar, something he was very thankful for. While Solas was not sure the Avvar could withstand the full might of Vael's men, he would not discount them either, considering that they had given the Inquisitions men a run for their money. Something troubled him though, Alhasha was alone. She sat by a small fire, as if waiting for him.

"Where is he?" Solas asked, walking up to her, keeping his voice calm.

He was angry, worried, and more scared than he had been since the events of Haven. Why couldn't she have just listened to him for once, and stayed where she was? Did she even realize how much danger she had put herself in, how much she worried him now? Did she not understand how important she was to him, how much he actually needed her? Had he not expressed that enough?

"With the Augur. I am not permitted to be there during." She replied, though her voice held an edge to it. She was angry at him too then. "You threatened my friend."

"Alhasha, I found you asleep, with only him and Biscuit for company, unknowingly surrounded by Vael's men. So, yes, I threatened your friend." Solas ground out. This caught her attention at least, and she looked up at him. "You should be thankful that I chose to trust him at all, Alhasha, because the only other option was death. Had I any suspicion that he was a danger to you, I would have killed him."

"That does not mean I am not angry about it." She said, as she walked up to him. "And it is you who should be thankful that you chose to trust him. Had you killed him, we would not be speaking at all."

With that, she walked past him. Rather, she attempted to walk past him. At the last moment, he reached out and grabbed her wrist, turning her to face him. Whatever it was she was going to say was swallowed up by the searing kiss Solas pressed her with. In it, he poured every emotion he'd been feeling since he realized she'd left Skyhold nearly alone.

"I am sorry that I left without telling you." He said, resting his forehead against her own. She had vanished the mask when he'd grabbed her wrist. "I thought I had to hurry away, that if I got there quickly enough, I would be able to save my friend."

"I understand." She said, quietly. "You should have too." He backed his head away just enough to look into her eyes.

"You have no idea how close you came to being captured, Alhasha." Solas replied, closing his eyes as he shook his head. "I had to act quickly. They had loosely surrounded your camp, and were closing in when I found you. I did not mean to threaten your friend, but discovering that even he did not realize the danger you were in was too much. It does not always need to be you that walks into danger, Lath'in."

She took his hand then, and brought him to sit by the fire. She might still be angry at him, he knew, but at least she understood why he had reacted that way now. They did not talk for some time, content to hold and be held. He found himself running his fingers through her hair with one hand, running his fingers over her knuckles as he held her hand with the other. Alhasha simply rested her head on his shoulder, sometimes kissing along his neck and jawline.

"Were you able to save your friend?" She asked, cutting through the silence that had surrounded them.

"No. By the time I got there, it was already too late, though I did not realize it at the time." He replied, gravely. "Mages, either too weak or too ignorant to defend themselves, tried to summon a spirit through the Veil and into a dead host body. They wanted something that could protect them. They caught my friend Wisdom instead. They bound it, and ordered it to kill, twisting its purpose. I had hoped that getting rid of the binding would return it to itself, but I had to…In the end, Wisdom asked to be set free."

"I'm sorry." Alhasha said, and he knew she meant it.

"One of them actually claimed to be the foremost expert on spirits from the Circle in Kirkwall, and the fool had the gall to lie about what he had done. There were so many other things they could have done to defend themselves, but they chose weakness, and now they are dead." Solas stated, only a hint of the anger he had felt that day leaked through. "I was angry, and I would have lashed out. I did not want to risk lashing out at you, not again…(with a small smile, he adds)…Besides, your father would have never let me hear the end of it. As it is, Carver has even taken to making sure I treat you well."

"Damn straight." Alhasha replied, with a smirk, but then it faltered. "If I could have stopped the chantry exploding in Kirkwall, they wouldn't have been out on the roads. They wouldn't have-" He stopped her with a kiss.

"Lath'inno." He said, once he'd stopped the kiss. "What matters is that they are beholden unto no one but themselves now, Alhasha, and must come to terms with what that means. They are responsible for their choices, and they chose poorly. You can not hold yourself responsible for them all. Besides, even though my friend is gone, the spirit will return in some form or other in time. Most likely, it will not remember me, but it is comforting to know that I may yet see them again. It will be a new friend to know."


He couldn't believe it. He had spent so long bonded to Justice, that now it felt like his mind was empty, but they were free. They were truly free. It felt kind of lonely, now that he was without Justice, but he felt more at peace now than he had in a long time. After thanking the Augur, Anders made his way back to Hawke.

Suggestive lime? Warning thingy

Morning was slowly creeping across the mountain, which was the only reason Anders was able to see at all. So when he almost reaches camp, he still isn't sure he's really seeing what he's seeing. He has seen Hawke be flirty and playful, but he has never seen her like this. She has Solas pinned against a tree with what he assumes is some kind of force spell while she nibbles at the elven man's neck. Solas jerks when she begins to caress the shell of his ear, and only then does Anders remember that their ears are supposedly really sensitive to touch.

The pleasure filled groan is all Anders needs to confirm that particular theory. Not that he's any stranger to foreplay or sex, but this is Hawke doing these things to someone, not some junior enchanter with her robes up to her hips. She's Hawke, probably the best friend he's ever had, and he should not be here seeing them like this. Solas gasps, and though Anders can't see what her other hand is doing, he isn't sure he wants to know. As it is, he should probably find some way to announce himself so that they have time to stop and pretend like they aren't doing…what they're doing.

"Sa-Sathan…Sathan, Alhasha…lasa'em dera'na." Solas pleads through the gasps, his hands twitching at his sides. Anders knows a little elvhen, only because Hawke and Merrill were relentless in trying to teach it to him. It takes him a little while to work through old memories to translate that.

Please…Please, Alhasha, let me touch you.

"Tel sule Ar dirtha." Hawke replied, with a tone that he has never heard her use before. He knows, without really knowing, what she's said. Her tone of voice said everything translations couldn't.

Not till I say.

"Sa-Sathan, Alhasha!…Ar…Ar shor'tel ro-rosa la'min…lasa'em dera'na…Sa-Sathan." Solas pleads again, gasping as he looked up at the sky. "Sa-Sastrahnen…Ar shor'te…sastrahnen…"

Anders thanked his lucky stars that he couldn't translate all of that. He wasn't sure he wanted to think about Hawke doing things like this with someone ever again. After that, Solas was reduced to gasps and moans, completely lost in whatever pleasure he was experiencing. Anders is still trying to wrap his mind around the fact that Fen'harel, and thus the rest of the supposed elven patheon, is real. He can't seem to make his mind wrap around the fact that his friend can make the ancient elvhen god beg.

End of suggestive lime thingy

Unable to take it anymore, Anders began making obviously heavy footstep noises. He just walked along hoping that, by the time he actually made it to them, he would look as if he hadn't seen them. However, when he actually did make it to camp, Solas was gone. Anders couldn't stop himself from looking around for the elven man. Hawke saw what he was doing, and grinned.

"He woke up." Hawke said, mischievously.

"He…woke up?" Anders asked, not following.

"You were wondering where he went." She replied, knowingly. "He woke up."

"You mean, that's how he finds you?" Anders asked, unable to help himself, and then bursts out laughing. "I can imagine the teasing he's going to get for this."

"Why, Anders, I'm surprised at you." Hawke said, feigning shock. "I never pegged you as one that liked to watch."

He's never blushed harder in his life than he does at this moment.


Sathan, Alhasha…Ar shor'tel rosa la'min…lasa'em dera'na…Sathan –  Please, Alhasha…I will not last like this…let me touch you…please

Sastrahnen…Ar shor'te…sastrahnen… -  Anything…I will do…anything…


Meanwhile, Solas is dealing with a similar issue. That night was not suppose to turn into what it did, and he had not thought to cast the silencing spells around his tent. The minute he'd stepped out, they'd all started laughing. Iron Bull, Varric, and Sera couldn't seem to help themselves. While Sera could not translate what he'd said in his sleep, if he had said anything, Iron Bull certainly could.

"You have got to tell us what she did, Shiny." Sera said, through her snickering. "We've got bets."

"On this too?" Solas asked, with a tired sigh.

"I told you, nothing is sacred when it comes to betting, Chuckles." Varric replied with a grin. "Don't worry, I don't need you to translate this time."

"I spoke in my sleep...again." Solas said, with a groan.

"It's not that bad, Solas, begging is part of the fun." Iron Bull said, nonchalantly. The group decended into laughter again.

"You're just mad that she isn't a red head, or else you'd be after her too." Solas retorted, and the group laughed at that. "I hate all of you for this…She…Fenedhis!…She had me pinned up against a tree with a force spell. I refuse to tell you what she did after that."

"Wait. She used her magic bit to tie you up then?" Sera scoffed.

"It works as well as any pair of handcuffs or bit of rope, Sera, better even." Solas couldn't help but smirk at the way she blushed at that. Everyone started handing Iron Bull coin.


They had started packing up camp that morning when it happened. Solas simply froze, his vision blurred. He felt out of his body but in it, and could not alert the others. Something had taken over his sight, and now he was looking at a battle. A swirling pool of blood magic surrounded him, though he saw it more than felt it, and he understood what was happening.

He was seeing what was happening to Alhasha, and he was angry. He'd threatened that mage to protect her! Strange, now that he noticed, he could hear the mage in question shouting at her to fight back. From the sounds of things, Anders was in a fight to get to her. The vision faded, and suddenly his sight was filled with the faces of those from camp staring at him.

"Alhasha is in danger, red lyrium mage, templars…The mage is not enough to protect her." Solas said, answering everyone's unasked question. "If she dies, so does he."


Not long after that, Anders was running for his life, but not from Fen'Harel. That particular fear hadn't had time to enter into his mind yet. No. Vael's men, or the red lyrium mages, he didn't know, but he was running to escape them. He'd thrown Hawke over one of his shoulders, and started running the second he dispatched the one attacking her, Biscuit trailing behind them. Anders knew his magic was depleted, and running was the only way out now.

Their only hope now was getting to the camp. Surely they had to be close by? A man that is willing to threaten someone within an inch of their life would not simply trust him to be able to do as demanded. Of course the man would have to come himself. It was that, that Anders was counting on, as he ran down the mountain.

He was in luck! Anders had never been more relieved to see his possible destruction, as he literally ran into camp. They hadn't even looked surprised to see him, already prepared to deal with whatever it was that was chasing him. He paid the fight no mind, instantly setting her down and going through her medical bag looking for healing potions, anything that would help slow down what he knew was happening to her. She seemed to be trying to fight it on her own, but Anders could already see flakes of red lyrium along the lines of lyrium she already possessed, and he knew that his magic would not be enough for this.

"Alhasha!" Solas called out, and suddenly he was in his view, trying to heal Hawke as he was. "What's wrong with her? What happened?"

"We were overrun." Anders answered. "Surrounded. She'd told me about red lyrium templars, but for a mage to take it? That was new. One of them infected Hawke before I could get to her."

"We need to slow down her heart. It will buy us some time, at least." Solas said, and the two began working on cooling magic. She looked barely conscious now, her eyes pleading with him, almost like she was trying to apologize for worrying him again. "Come on, Lath'in, don't do this now, stay with me…Vevar'i'em. Sal vun'in. Sal era'vun. Tel'vara em, sathan, Alhasha."

"What about Dagna?" A pug nosed short elf asked, uncomfortably, obviously hating to see Hawke like this. "She's been working on this, yeah?"

"It's the only chance she has, yes, but we're so far away." Solas replied, without looking up at her, still trying to do something about the spread of the poison. "We might not make it in time."

"It's better than no chance at all!" She huffed, angrily. "Now take her, and get goin'!"

"She's right, Chuckles. Take care of her. We'll deal with Blondie." Varric insisted.

"No. I'll need him with me." Solas insisted. "He can help me slow down the poison, buy her time, give her a better shot at making it to Skyhold."


Vevar'i'em. Sal vun'in. Sal era'vun. Tel'vara em, sathan, Alhasha –  Stay with me. Another day. Another night. Don't leave me, please, Alhasha


"He's right. It's better if I go with him." Anders stated, silencing the dwarf, surprising Solas. "There is no time to debate this."

"Ma serannas, Anders." Solas said, looking to him, before turning to Iron Bull. "Can you get the horses ready, Iron Bull? We'll be taking an extra one, so I'm sorry for whoever this inconveniences."

Thank you

"Just get her to Dagna, and we'll call it even, Shiny." Sera huffed, not looking at him.

"Of course, Sera." Solas replied, with a slight nod, and a small smile. He turned back to Anders. "You will need to keep up. We will not be stopping for very long. Just enough time to check on her progress, and keep her stable before heading out again."

~Biscuit follow you~

"You are too young yet to be keeping the pace we'll need to set." Solas said, looking to the Mabari pup. "Follow the others for now. You'll see us again soon."

~Rubs ok?~

"She'll be fine. Don't worry." Solas replied, not missing the way Anders now stared at him.

They set off soon after that. Solas is reminded too well of the first time he had to do this, and how much things have changed since then. Where as before he had refused to think of a life with her, now he could not think of a life without her, and he knew he was facing that possibility now. He does not kill Anders, though he is angry at him for not being able to protect her. Alhasha has always had a reckless nature, wild as she is, and it is something he both loves and hates about her.


They do not talk much, if at all, on their way to Skyhold. Anders is shocked by the changes in the landscape as they travel. His choices have had far more consequences than he'd ever intended, but that is the way of things. He comes to the conclusion that Fen'Harel, Solas, does indeed love his friend Hawke. It wasn't something he'd been able to believe before, simply with Hawke's stories.

Seeing how he cared for her when they had to stop, was what convinced him. The way Solas carried her, the way he looked at her when he thought that Anders wasn't paying attention, these were the things that convinced him. There was a phrase the man kept repeating whenever they stopped to check on her progress. Vevar'i'em. Sal vun'in. Sal era'vun. Tel'vara em. Anders hadn't ask what it meant, and Solas never offered it, but Anders got the sense that it was somehow intimately important.

"Vevar'i'em. Sal vun'in. Sal era'vun. Tel'vara em, sathan." There it was again, that phrase, and he had to know.

"What does that mean?" Anders asked, as they continued to make sure the poison was slowed. "I know sathan is please, so is it a type of prayer or something?"

"Something like that." Solas replied, not taking his eyes off of Hawke. "I am asking for something impossible, so it never hurts to be polite. At this point, it does not matter who is listening, only that someone does."

"So, what are you asking for?" Anders asked, curiously.

Solas just looked at him, and for a moment Anders could see the anguish he'd been hiding, as he replied. "Time."

Chapter Text

Chapter 22

Hawke's screams could be heard throughout most of Skyhold, and not many stayed in the main hall to wait. Those that did stay, watched Solas as he paced near the door to the Undercroft. He had been pushed out after having nearly attacked Dagna when Hawke began screaming. Every time she screamed, he'd cringe as if he'd been the one physically hurt. When the others got there, Dagna still had not come out of the Undercroft, and Solas looked to be on the verge of breaking.

Cullen watches as all of this unfolds. He is not happy about Anders, but knows that Hawke was right. In the end, Anders had not been in his right mind, and he had only made a tense situation worse. Meredith's downfall would have happened with or without Anders, and if the Inquisitor wished to judge him, it would be later. It's Solas that worries him now. The elven man has not left the main hall since he was pushed out of the Undercroft, at least not for long.

Red lyrium poisoning...no wonder Solas was so worried. Dhaevira had once explained to him that future she walked in, how eat up with the stuff Grand Enchanter Fiona had been. Once you were infected with it, it spread until all you were was red lyrium. Former Knight Captain Meredith was proof of that. That was the reality Solas was faced with now, what Dagna was trying to save Hawke from. He did not envy Solas that, often worrying for Dhaevira whenever she had to leave Skyhold.


Solas had had it out there, feeling helpless as she screamed in agony, he couldn't take it any more. Each scream tore at him in ways previously unknown to him. There were moments when he could see things through her eyes, flashes of Fenris and Blackwall holding her down while Dagna tried another treatment. In those moments, he could feel her pain, and at the last second he made the decision to barge into the Undercroft...only to be stopped by the Commander.

"Oh, no you don't." Cullen stated, his hand firmly gripping Solas's shoulder. "You'll do her no good as you are now."

"What would you know about it, Commander?" Solas growled, angrily.

"I know that right now you aren't thinking straight, that the only thought in your mind is to get to her, to stop whatever it is that's hurting her. I know that you have a very tenuous control over your magic right now, and that it's so oppressive that if you were to walk in there as you are, you'd destroy the Undercroft and everyone in it, including her. You need to calm down, Solas." Cullen said, surprising Solas by maneuvering him out of the main hall. "Come on. We'll go to The Heralds Rest, and you can yell or scream at me all you want. They'll send for us if anything changes."

That was how he found himself sitting in one of the private dining rooms in The Heralds Rest. Somehow, Dorian had invited himself, not that that was much of a surprise. That loud Tevene was always inviting himself. Maybe he thought the Commander knew. Cullen may be an uncomplicated sort of man, but he was by no means stupid.

"Why are you still grimacing, Solas?" Cullen asked. "Surely your hearing isn't that good."

"My hearing isn't quite that good, Commander, no." Solas replied, wryly, wincing every so often. "It is only...in moments like these...I can...sometimes...see what she sees...feel her pain...It is likely...one of the unplanned results...of the spell I cast to find my nas'falon...coupled with her own magic."

"No wonder you looked like you were about to lose your mind in there." Cullen noted. "She'll pull through, Solas. Of that, I have no doubt."

"How can you be sure of that?" Solas snapped. "This is red lyrium. It isn't a high dragon, or an Arishok. This is worse! Fenedhis lasa! This is so much worse than any of those things. You can not possibly be certain she will make it through this."

"I've seen her pull through things no one should have, Solas. It's not that far of a leap to think that she'll pull through this too." Cullen stated.

"This isn't like anything she's had to face before. This corruption attacks from within, almost like the Blight. This isn't something she can stab, or set on fire with her magic, Commander, and if something doesn't...if something doesn't happen soon...I will lose her to this." Solas said, his eyes closed, his voice barely above a whisper at the end.

"When you said you feel her pain...Did you mean that figuratively, or are there physical manifestations?" Cullen asked, suddenly horrified. "Do you get bruises on places she's been hit? Anything like that?"

"I had not truly noticed before, but perhaps it is so...I am...uncertain...In the beginning...when i was trying to heal the Magebane wound...My magic barely reacted...At the time, I had thought it was only the amount...There was so much of it, Commander." Solas said, thinking back on it now. "When BarkSpawn died, I felt...her grief...cried tears I knew weren't mine...When you sparred with Alhasha...it did hurt...Why?"

"Dorian, we need to get him back to the Undercroft, now." Cullen insisted, urgently, not answering Solas. "Dagna will just have to figure out how to deal with the extra power. For Maker's sake, look at him."

Solas was suddenly confused, and feeling very disorientated. Etunash! Just what was Dagna doing to her now? But this wasn't Alhasha that was feeling this way, it was him. It was a trick of the light, he thought as he noticed the small red flakes on his arm...but then how well could a trick of the light mimic her lyrium lines? He stood to leave with them to the Undercroft before darkness claimed his world, and he was certain that the floor was going to try to assassinate his face...again.


"DAGNA! We've got a problem!" Cullen said, as he made his way into the Undercroft.

"What happened, Commander? I'm a little busy at the moment trying out a new theory on Hawke. You know, she's been awfully cooperative considering the amount of pain she's been in. There's this red lyrium rune thing I've been working on that might just break Samson's armour, and I'm trying to mix that with…Ohhhh, cheese and crackers." She said, that last bit came as she saw what the problem was.

Dorian and Cullen are carrying in Solas on a stretcher. He's passed out, from the looks of it. She can already see flakes of red lyrium on his skin, strange that they mimic Hawke's lyrium lines. He's having trouble breathing, sweating profusely, showing signs of distress…just like Hawke. If Dagna didn't know any better, she'd say she'd been working on him too.

"Put him on the table next to her. There's no risk for contamination, not where he's already been infected. How is that even possible? They were careful when bringing her back." Dagna asked, already beginning to look over him.

"They are true Kindred souls." Dorian supplied, gravely. "They feel each others pain. This is an extreme case of it, but not out of the realm of possibilities. I should have suspected it sooner. I'm actually surprised the Commander caught it before I did."

"Any progress with Hawke?" Cullen asked, hopeful.

"Right now, her lyrium lines are the only thing containing it. That's one of the reasons why the former templars fell to it so quickly, Commander. Their bodies were saturated with the normal blue lyrium. Hawke's case is unique in that she has no need for Lyrium. Like Fenris though, she has lyrium lines embedded her skin. It's drawing the red lyrium to it…for now." Dagna said, getting another set of gloves. "If you're staying, you two will need to put on these protective gloves. They're the only things I've been able to work out so far in regards to keeping one from getting poisoned."

"Why can't these be applied to Hawke and Solas?" Cullen asked, making Dagna stop short as she considered the idea.

"I…hadn't really thought about it, but in theory…it could work. It took a lot of electricity and runic work to get these to function correctly. Unfortunately, the downside is that their hearts could explode." She concluded. "I don't mean that figuratively. I mean it literally. Their hearts could explode if this doesn't work. Would they be willing to let me try that, knowing the risks?Hawke's been pretty open to some crazy ideas, but she's not exactly awake right now for me to ask, and this is pretty dangerous even for me."

"I don't think they have many other options left, Dagna." Blackwall stated, shaking his head.

"Fenris, do I have your okay on this? You have to act as proxy where you're the only family she technically has." Dagna asked, more serious sounding than she normally is. "As far as I know, Solas has no family."

"Blackwall is right. If we don't do this, she dies. If we do this, there's just the possibility that she'll die." Fenris replied, determined. "Solas too. His soul is tied to hers, so whatever is done to her should transfer to him."

"Alright then. Commander, Dorian, I need you two out." Dagna said, making her way to the runes she kept. "Blackwall and Fenris are already as protected as best as they can be, but I can't promise the same for you."


"I'd heard of Kindred souls, but you seemed more knowledgeable of them, Dorian." Cullen stated, as they made their way out of the main hall. "Why is that?"

"It's actually quite well documented in Minrathous. As taboo as it is, if your kindred soul just so happens to be the arrangement that was made, all the better, because you can share in their strengths. It's been all but outlawed to try and find them though, because if it isn't with the arrangement that was made, your enemies can get to you through your kindred soul." Dorian replied. "Here it just feels rare, because of the current climate between mages and templars, and well… everything. There aren't too many mages willing to get caught here, by searching for their kindred soul."

"What about the transference?" Cullen asked.

"To some extent, it is normal between kindred souls, but to the extent that Solas and Hawke have is… That is rare." Dorian replied, with a bit of a sigh. "There are a few cases that have been documented. I'll see if I can find the research, so that we know more of what to expect. Cases like these are the main reason kindred souls are taboo in Tevinter. If it just so happens to be an extreme case like this one, many see it as a weakness instead of a strength. In reality, this is one of the ways they protect each other. The pain that Hawke is enduring right now would be even more so if Solas were not taking a part of it into himself, and Tevinter is nothing if not all about Self preservation. Most of them wouldn't know how to protect another person if they tried. Solas doesn't even seem to be aware he's doing it until it is already happening, as if he protects her subconsciously, on instinct. For something like that…there would have to be no other bond that would work for them, no other romantic relationship that would ever be enough, like two pieces of a puzzle."

"The howling wolf will always call him home, a song only he can hear." Cullen mumbled to himself.

"What was that?" Dorian asked, though he thought he knew.

"What? Oh…something Cole said a while back. For some odd reason, this whole situation made me think of it." Cullen admitted. "Lavellan called that mark on Hawke's ankle the mark of Fen'Harel, but that's not the first time I've heard that about it. A dalish elf back in Kirkwall spoke of it, said it was a curse. Hawke was always very insistent that it was a birthmark, but what if…What if that mark is the physical manifestation of the spell Solas cast to find his kindred soul? If it is, why would it take the shape of something thought to be a curse? And what if the answer to that is something I don't want to know?"

"That is something you would have to ask them when they wake up again, I think, if you want." Dorian stated, with a sigh. "This is getting a bit too serious for my tastes. What say we take Biscuit, and torture the recruits?"

"I'm sure he'll enjoy it." Cullen replied, with a chuckle, and the two made their way towards the barracks.


When Solas woke up, he was still a bit disoriented. He does not try to get up again, after a wave of dizziness hits him during his first attempt. It does, however, alert Dagna. She doesn't say anything at first, as she begins looking over him first and then Alhasha. Solas waited, unwilling to break the silence, least the answer not be what he hopes.

"You two sure are something." She said, finally.

"Alhasha…is…is she…" Solas begins, but can't make himself finish the question.

"She's fine." Dagna replied, allowing him to relax. "Because the two of you are connected so deeply, you fell to her poisoning. It slowed the red lyrium down even further in you both, and because of that, I was able to find a way to save the two of you. Because of the measures I had to go to to save you both, I think I may even have secured a way to break through Samson's red lyrium armour based on a previous attempt with a red lyrium rune, but I still have a lot of testing to do before I can say that with any certainty, and I highly recommend that you two not engage in any…um…activities?…until your hearts have had time to heal."

"What did you have to do?" He asked, noticing for the first time that his throat was severely dry. He made another attempt, and sat up when Dagna brought him some water.

"When Hawke was in here by herself, I developed gloves that would ward off the corruption. Basically, I had to take that, and a couple of heavy electric runes, and the red lyrium rune I spoke of, and shock the shit out of both your hearts." Dagna replied. "I figured that it was better that you could have died, as opposed to you would have died, if you know what I mean. Your hearts could have exploded from the stress of the cure, but if I had left you alone, you would have both died eventually."

"I understand. Thank you, Dagna, for doing what you could for us." Solas stated, with a nod. "When can we leave the Undercroft?"

"I've already called for some people to come and get you two, and take you to her weirdly hard to find room. You should have some food there by then. It's important you get your strength back. You two have been in a kind of stasis for a few days now."


When Hawke woke up, it took her a few minutes to realize where she was. She was back in what she secretly called 'their' room. Solas's arm was around her, holding her protectively against him. She knew that he was awake too, because his fingers made small patterns against her stomach. Hawke took a deep breath, knowing this was not going to go over well.

"Solas, I-" She began, but Solas interrupted her.

"Don't." Solas stated, his voice cold and even, which saddened her. "I have never felt so helpless, to hear your screams and know that all my powers amounted to nothing if they could not help you. Red lyrium poisoning, Alhasha. I almost lost you to red lyrium poisoning! What were you thinking?!"

"It wasn't like I went out looking for them, you know!" She snapped. "I didn't sense them this time. There wasn't any pain. We were overrun before I even knew they were there. As good as my hearing is, I should have heard something. I should have felt them!"

"I…I will admit that I did not ask Anders what happened. There was only get you to Skyhold, hope Dagna could save you, pray I wasn't too late. I have never really been a religious sort of man, Alhasha, but I…" Solas admitted, holding her just a bit tighter. "All I could think was 'Vevar'i'em. Sal vun'in. Sal era'vun. Tel'vara em, sathan, Alhasha'. I know you can not promise me this, and it is unreasonable to demand it, but…Do not ever make me worry like that again, Alhasha."

"You know I can't promise that." She huffed, wriggling around until she was facing him.

"Let me be unreasonable for just a little while, Lath'in." Solas replied, with a slight smile. "I…I can not…Ar tel'rosa sai atha o'na. Sathan, lasa'em ema na la'min sule ara'geal varan em. Ar tel'nuva sai laima na."

I can not bear to part from you. Please, let me hold you like this till my fear leaves me. I do not wish to lose you.

"Are you going to be like this after every time I get injured?" Hawke asked, trying to sound playful, hoping that he knew she actually liked being held like this.

"Most likely." He replied, without missing a beat, as he practically buried his nose in her hair.

"As long as you hold me just like this, I think I'll be alright." Hawke said, with a hum, surprising the both of them. "I didn't mean to say that out loud. I was going to make a spectacularly sarcastic comment, and hope that you didn't yell at me for being reckless and not paying attention to my surroundings."

"I actually expected a fight because of how this makes me sound." Solas admitted, albeit a bit sheepishly. "I feel…intensely possessive of you, Lath'in. It is another feeling I am not use to dealing with on such a regular basis as this."

"Just wait till you're the one injured. You won't know what to do with me." Hawke replied, and he actually chuckled at that.


"Lath'in…" Solas groaned, pleasantly. She was tracing patterns over his heart again, something he loved that she did. It felt like she was trying to write herself into it. "We are to take it easy over the next couple of days. With what Dagna had to do, our hearts need the time to heal. She made it a point to say no…um…activities…"

"Our?…I thought it was just me…I thought that that's why you were mad at me…What…what did Dagna have to do?" Alhasha asked, hesitantly.

"Lath'in…" Solas tried to calm her, but she was already working herself towards a panic.

She'd sat up, and scooted away from him just a little. Still, the distance was enough that it felt like she was drifting away from him, and that was something else he had little experience in. He sighed, and sat up too. This was the part he had been hoping to avoid, so of course Alhasha would zoom in on it. So he rolled up one of his sleeves to his elbow, and revealed the pattern they'd been hiding.

It was faint, but it was clearly the pattern of her lyrium lines. He caught himself holding his breath as she traced them gently with her fingers. He was not prepared for the sensations that caused in him, and he rested his head on her shoulder, damn near tempted to risk their hearts anyway. This was an amazingly wicked torment, and she had only touched his arm! If this is what she felt when he touched her lyrium lines, he'd be doing this a lot more often.

"mmm…Fenedhis lasa, Lath'in…Is this…You feel this way when I do that?" Solas asked, unsuccessfully trying not to moan as he spoke.

"It doesn't hurt, does it?" She asked, suddenly alarmed, but when she tried to scoot away from him, he held her to him.

"Quite the opposite, Lath'in." He replied, with a cheeky grin. "No wonder you make those little sounds I adore so much."

"How did this happen?" She asked, no longer touching the faint lines on his arm.

"I suspect it is because we are kindred souls. We can feel each others pain. In a way, it is how we protect each other." Solas stated, backing away to look at her. She didn't look like she believed him.

"I've hurt you." She mumbled, not looking at him.

"Alhasha, listen to me. You have not hurt me, I have simply shared your pain. You would do the same for me, you've claimed as much already." Solas insisted. She looked at him curiously now. "Because of that, we were able to help Dagna create a cure for red lyrium poisoning, and possibly a way to break through Samson's red lyrium armour. Now, no more thinking like that. You need to eat, and Lavellan has made sure we have plenty here."


Two days later, they were both given a clean bill of health. Which was a good thing, now that he thought about it. They would need to pack and leave for Ha'lam'shiral soon, and Hawke still had no idea he was going. Solas had refused to speak of it, and he watched her tried to hide how disappointed she was about him not going. She didn't have time to really talk to him about it, for which he was grateful.


 

Fenris was very surprised to learn about the scarring Solas had been left with. That he had taken on her pain, and in a sense her symptoms, shocked Fenris. Varric had told him about it, but he hadn't believed it until Cullen confirmed it for him. It wasn't something that Solas talked about though, which also surprised him. Maybe the two had agreed to just not say anything, Fenris realized.

Solas had asked him a little while ago to meet him at the Herald's Rest. Hawke would be busy packing, and so wouldn't notice him gone, or so was his hope. The woman was notorius for procrastinating. So, when he got there, he was not surprised to find Solas at a table off to the side. What he did not expect, was to find Iron Bull, Dorian, Blackwall, and Varric with him.

"So what is all this then?" Fenris asked, as he got in.

"Sit down, will ya, Broody?" Varric asked, with a huff. "He won't tell us anything otherwise. I know. I've tried."

"Fine." Fenris said, sitting down at the table. "Now, what is this?"

"Sister Nightingale let me know of this, and so I have asked all of you here. Vael will be in attendance at the Winter Palace. Alhasha does not know, and I have asked her not to speak of it to her." Solas stated. "You know how difficult Alhasha is. She will not accept help in this regard if she knows that it is being offered."

"So what do you expect to do about it?" Dorian asked, with a grin.

"Don't let her know it's being offered, of course." Solas replied, as if it were the most obvious thing in the world.

"You mean help her behind her back?" Iron Bull asked, with a slight grin. "You don't think she'll see that coming?"

"Oh, she'll definitely see that coming." Blackwall said, snickering.

"Look. I'm going to be there. She just doesn't know that yet. With Vael set to be in attendance, I don't want to take chances." Solas stated, looking troubled. "Is it too much to ask that you simply keep an eye on her when she's not with me? I have an obligation to help the Inquisitor, so I can not be there all the time, but I have to know someone will be there for her if need be."

"Relax, Chuckles, we understand." Varric stated, pragmatically. "I'll talk to Buttercup and the others at some point too. You know they'll want in on this. They'll be with her during times we can't be anyway."


Meanwhile, in the room Sera keeps at the Herald's Rest, the girls were having their own meeting, and Hawke was most definitely not packing. Vivianne and Sera were even getting along, well at least as much as they could be. Cassandra tried to act indifferent, but she could not deny her curiosity about the dresses, and Leliana was dying to see the shoes. They had just gotten through looking at the finished product that was Lavellan's dress. Hawke almost didn't want to reveal her dress just yet, but Lavellan insisted, and so she brought out the dress.


Down below, where the men had gathered, intense multiple squeals could be heard. Solas instantly tensed up, waiting.

Iron Bull simply shook his head, and said. "Girls and dresses."

"Don't forget the shoes, Tiny." Varric replied, sagely.

"Now that would be a crime." Dorian chuckled.


"Hawke…it's gorgeous!" Lavellan said, holding it to herself. "I'm almost half tempted to steal it for myself."

"These shoes." Leliana said, looking over them. "They are exquisite Hawke. Lady Amell would have been impressed."

"Thank you." Hawke said, a bit surprised at Leliana. She'd had no idea the two women might have known each other, but thinking back on her time in Lothering, she should not have been surprised. "I just…The whole point of me keeping it a secret is so that he'd be surprised when he saw it, but he's not even going to be there."

"Don't worry, Hawke. I doubt he will really miss this." Lavellan said, giving her the dress back. "He may surprise you yet."


The trip over took longer than she thought it would, but maybe that was just because she was lost in thought. Biscuit happily followed along, but she had no idea where he disappeared to sometimes. He had taken to Cole and Cullen better than he had to some of the others, though it looked like he loved them too. She wasn't worried about where he would go, because everyone watched out for him. Iron Bull even helped him 'train' with the Chargers when they would stop to rest.

Solas had insisted that he wasn't going, and while she wished she could, she couldn't make him. She resolved instead to help Lavellan as much as she could for what lay ahead. Hawke may have been a Fereldan country bumpkin, but her mother had been of noble birth. There was no way that Hawke could have gotten out of dance lessons, etiquette lessons, and how to act at parties. Between her, Josephine, Vivienne, and Leliana, she felt that Lavellan had a good understanding of The Game.


 

Somehow, Solas had managed to avoid running into Hawke throughout their entire trip to the Inn the Inquisition would be staying in during the Ball. Lavellan had tried to arrange them to run into each other several times, but nothing seemed to work. Hawke was always running around helping Josephine get the girls ready, and Solas was always helping the men get their things ready. Hawke was absolutely bummed out that Solas wouldn't attend the event with her, so she had thrown herself into her work, and that left very little time for herself. Lavellan was worried that Hawke would run herself into the ground, but she needn't have worried.


At that moment, Hawke saw something she thought the couldn't possibly be seeing. Was that…that wasn't Solas…was it? Of course it was! She'd recognize that bald head of his anywhere. Solas was on the outskirts, helping to organize some of the things they had brought for the Ball, and he'd said he wasn't going to be there!

"That elf is in so much trouble." She muttered to herself.

"I told him to wear a hood or something so he wouldn't get caught." Lavellan said, with a smug grin. Hawke playfully swatted at her.

"You knew?!" Hawke asked, keeping her voice low, as she once again smacked at Lavellan.

"There isn't a single person here who didn't know…except for you." Cassandra added, with a reserved but decidedly sheepish grin.

"She has you there, Hawke." Leliana agreed.

"I can't beleve you lot." Hawke grumbled, but there was no real anger in her voice.

"Well, come on ladies. We'll get a good nights rest, and tomorrow, get ready." Josephine stated, nudging everyone to bed.


He had gotten there much earlier than the others. It was needed to acquaint himself with the serving staff, and check on the palace's defenses. There were already many problems he could see with the security of the place, but nothing that was bad enough to exploit well. The elves seemed uneasy, but the only thing they would tell him was not to go up to the servants quarters if he valued his life. They were afraid, he realized, and made a mental note to tell Lavellan when she got there.

It would be foolish of anyone to head up there on their own. He was a strategist, if nothing else. As some of the guests started arriving, he went and quickly changed into the outfit Lavellan had commissioned for him. He couldn't help but smirk at the Commander's predicament, now that he was here. Cullen was a unique curiosity among the people of Orlais, and so of course they would flock to him, but the man was distinctly uncomfortable with all of the attention.

Sister Nightingale and Lady Montilyet were already working the room, talking and laughing with the guests. Cassandra looks slightly uncomfortable, but seemed to be having the same problems as the Commander. Varric already had a corner to himself, regaling his new audience with Tales of the Champion, and the latest adventures of the Herald of Andraste, as if he comfortably owned the place. Lady Vivienne could be seen working the room as well, with an ease that few possessed.

Dorian was off sulking, because he most definitely did not want to come to this, but the man could not bring himself to turn down Solas's request for help when it came to Alhasha. These events reminded him too much like home, he'd said. However, Solas did note that he was within eye shot of Iron Bull, through a window Bull stood by. The two would give each other reassuring gazes when the other looked overwhelmed by the crowds of people. Both of them were there for Alhasha as much as they were there for Lavellan, and he was particularly grateful to them for that. Sera was…he almost didn't want to know where Sera was at the moment, because wherever she was, she was almost certainly causing some kind of trouble…probably with Alhasha.

On second thought, maybe he needed to see what Sera was doing. He hasn't seen Alhasha yet, and he was starting to get worried by that. The woman would try and do the impossible if she thought she could get away with it, having already done so on more than one occasion. She would always be half one thing, half another, belonging to this world and that one. If there was anyone who could see the path for both worlds, he knew, it would be her.

Sera, it seemed, was not causing mischief…at least not yet; a rare occurrence for her. She had taken with the elven servants, and her Friends of Red Jenny contacts. Solas didn't know if that was a relief or a worry. Blackwall had seemed quite dodgy since they got there, hiding from his own demons, no doubt. He could only hope that the man would not be blinded by them tonight.

However, none of that seemed to matter the moment he walked back into the ballroom. The Commander had been trying to talk to him, as he was aware that Solas had managed to charm the guests, and was hoping for an escape. He would have helped him too, but the moment those doors opened, Solas's jaw dropped, and all hope of escape was lost to the poor Commander. It was as if Solas had found himself back in Arlathan, and she was walking down the staircase to meet him just as she had then. She was wearing that dress, the one she'd been wearing the night he'd had to forget her, and it was like the past had come to meet him as they announced her in.

*Presenting…The Lady Hawke…Free mage of Fereldan…Champion of Kirkwall…defender of the people…spark that ignited the mage rebellion…Rumoured Chosen of Fen'Harel…*

"Sulahn'ean." Solas couldn't help but whisper, barely aware that he had confused the Commander.

She was a vision, walking down the stairs to him, and he was in awe of her. He left the Commander to fend for himself, and made his way towards her. The way she looked at him, when her gaze caught his own, sent a thrill through him. The way she smiled, as if she were hunting him, never ceased to pull him in. Then he realized she'd known, and the realization must have shown on his face, because she smiled wider.

"That dress…Na'amem'raAlhasha…You look…" Solas tried to say, but was quickly silenced when she kissed him, causing several nearby guests to gasp at the scandal of it all, not that either of them paid attention to them. "Na'ane syl'veral, Lath'in."

You kept it – You're breath taking, love

*Presenting…The Inquisitor…Lady Lavellan…First of the Clan Lavellan…Ally to the Mages…Sealer of The Breach…defender of the people…Herald of Andraste…*

"I tried to get them to take that last part out." Alhasha grumbled, and he knew to what she was referring. "I didn't think you'd appreciate it very much."

"I'm sure it will give the people of Orlais something to talk about." Solas stated, slightly amused. "Who told you I would be here? I imagine there is a bet on that, if I ask master Tethras."

"No one. You gave yourself away. I would recognize that bald head of yours anywhere, Ara'nas." She replied, sliding her hand up the back of his neck, giving him small kisses even as she grins at him.

"I would have tried a hat if I thought Cole would have let me borrow his." Solas teased, about to kiss her again, but there was a tap on his shoulder.

"Excuse me, I hate to interrupt, but I kind of need to steal your girlfriend." Lavellan said, with a chuckle. "You two can scandalize the Orleisians later."

"But of course, Lethal'lan." Solas replied, nodding to her, before looking back to Alhasha. "Save me a dance?"

"But of course." She answered, biting her lip slightly, before turning to leave with Lavellan.

Solas turned to make his way over to the Commander to temporarily rescue him, when he found that somehow the tables had been turned. After seeing such an unafraid and open display of affection from someone who was very obviously an elf, many of those that had been surrounding the Commander, were now surrounding him. Thanks to the close magical field around himself, he did not have quite the same problem the Commander had about being pinched on his…well, anything, really. Instead of being deterred by this, they found it delightfully entertaining, and began to ask him all kinds of questions about his relationship with 'The Lady Hawke', and if he was worried about there being anything to that whole rumoured 'Chosen of Fen'Harel' business. He supposed that the intrigue of it was what drew them in, and he inwardly sighed as he shared a knowing look with the Commander, who was now surrounded by an entirely new group of Orlesian nobles.


She had spent most of the night talking with people in stupid masks that hid nothing and yet everything. Hawke made sure to be the center of attention when she knew that Lavellan was not in the room, trying to distract the Orlesians from realizing Lavellan was gone. The women were pleasant, but backhandedly insulting. The men were repulsive, handsy, and a few of them had ended up with broken wrists because of it. (Iron Bull was especially amused with that.) This was much different than the last Ball she had gone to, but on the bright side, nothing had been blown up…yet.

Someone from the Inquisition was always within eyesight, she noticed. There was more than once where she thought she caught Sebastian's figure roaming the crowds, always out of the corner of her eye, and she became suddenly grateful there was always someone close by. It had sent her into a near panic the first time, and Varric had suddenly shown up out of nowhere to calm her down. How in the bloody void had that happened? It wasn't that Vael was there that shocked her, but that she could go from the strong woman she was to a puddle of hysterics in no time at all, and something like that was not suppose to happen to The Champion of Kirkwall ever.

This explained why there was always someone within eyesight of her though. They had known he would be there, but instead of alerting her so that she could be prepared, they had tried to protect her on their own. While she wanted to be angry at what she assumed was Solas's plan, she would have done the same thing. Hawke tried to remind herself of this, and focused on the task at hand. Her discomfort was nothing, if they could prevent the assassination of Empress Celene.

In all honesty, she was surprised that they hadn't thought to hire Zevran for this. If you wanted someone dead, Zevran was the one you asked, but since she didn't see him around, he must have turned down the offer if asked. Then again, with as arrogant as these people seemed to be, they'd want this all in house. That Gaspard was a real piece of work too, and it had taken everything she had not to break his arm when he danced with her. This must be why the Orlesian's swarmed Cullen, because he wanted none of them to touch him!

The reveal was nothing short of amazing, showing Florianne to be the guilty…guiltiest?…party. Lavellan really did have a knack for this. Finding out Gaspard's attempts, his being framed, and Florianne's plans with Coryphius was damned impressive, and reuniting that Briala woman with Empress Celene was absolutely romantic. Varric owed her so much coin, and she planned to gloat about it at the next available moment. Though when Solas finally back from helping Lavellan, suddenly thoughts of gloating could wait.

"While I do love a good political intrigue, I am glad that it is done with." Solas said, with a tired sigh. Then he smiled slightly, and held out a hand to her. "I would much rather enjoy a dance, if you would be so kind."

"I did promise one, after all." She teased. "After that, it's open for negotiation."

Chapter Text

Chapter 23

Without hesitation, he lead her out onto the dance floor, nodding to the musicians as he went. Those that had talked with him before, knew he was with the Inquisition, and therefore would not dismiss him even when the nobles did not know what to make of him as the two made their way to the dance floor. There was at least one musician there that knew who he really was, he noticed, and nodded back to him when Solas nodded. That particular musician turned to the others, and started talking quietly. Before long, a beautiful slow melody filled the air, allowing the two to dance as they wanted.

After the evening that had just transpired, this was the only thing he wanted, to hold her close. Dancing allowed for that, and he held her close as they danced, resting the side of his head against her own. She did not object, instead returning his gesture, and he could only imagine the night she had had with dealing with the nobles more than he had had to do. Already, talk surrounded them, some of the Orlesian nobles were unable to keep their thoughts to themselves. Truly, these people needed to get out more, if this was all it took to scandalize them.

"I had not realized…that this is why you wanted me to be here, Lath'in." Solas said, softly. "That you kept it…Why?"

She backed away slightly, just enough to look into his eyes, and replied. "Sul'na."

For you

 


 

Lavellan truly saw it then, as Hawke danced with Solas. A line from the story came back to her. Fen'Harel danced in the flames Sulahn'ean created. That dress made Hawke look like she was fire, like she was a phoenix, and the way Solas danced with her…the way he moved, dancing in the flames she created. He did not have the typical slight slouch that many elves seemed to possess, instead carrying himself as if he were of nobility. The two danced together as if they were lost in their own world, smiles of true delight on their faces, entire conversations held with the way they looked at each other, with eyes for no one else.

It was good to see them so openly happy. It seemed that the Orlesian nobility didn't know what to make of it, enthralled with 'such an open and daring display' as she had heard from one Orlesian lady. Dancing and kissing at the same time? They really were trying to scandalize the Orlesians, she chuckled. It would certainly give them something to talk about, at any rate.

She couldn't fault the couple for their happiness though. She wished, just for a moment, that she could have something like that tonight. It would be nice if Cullen had not automatically told her no when she'd asked to dance. He wasn't comfortable in crowds like this one, and she had understood, but…at the same time…This whole evening had been filled with firsts for her, and damn it if she didn't want one of those magical fairy tale happy endings to go along with it.

"Would you care to dance with me?" Cullen asked, from behind her, surprising her a bit. She hadn't expected him, lost in her thoughts, and so she had not heard him.

"I thought you said you didn't dance." She replied, teasingly, as a slow smile crossed her face.

"I don't, but for you, I can try." Cullen stated, with a small shy and disarmingly wonderful smile.

Lavellan couldn't stop the way her heart jumped at that. This was what she'd wanted, after all. Now that all of the intrigue was over, there was time for such things as this; a dance, a smile, a kiss. The two moved to a slow waltz, thankful they could have this private moment away from prying eyes. Neither wanted such a moment to end.


 

"They look happy, don't they?" Hawke asked, when she saw Cullen and Lavellan still dancing out on the balcony.

"They do, indeed, Lath'in." Solas noted, turning her gently to face him. "There are some last minute things to check over with Sister Nightingale and Lady Montilyet, but after that, I was thinking we could leave…that is…if you like."

"Danced out already?" She teased. "I haven't even stepped on your toes yet."

"I'll be back momentarily, Lath'in." Solas replied, with a quick kiss, unable to stop the smile that spread across his face as he left.

Only a few moments later, she heard. "Oh, good. I thought he'd never leave." And then suddenly she was caught by a funny smelling white cloth, and darkness fell.


 

"Something is wrong with Little Bird. Her mind has gone quiet." Cole said, appearing near Varric.

"Tell me she isn't in trouble, Kid." Varric requested, knowing what the boy was about to say.

"I could say that, but it wouldn't be true. Big wolf is going to be angry. I think the prince took her away." Cole replied.

"We'd better hope she's just tucked in a side room somewhere, sleeping off a bad drink, Kid, or else Chuckles is going to be very angry." Varric agreed, and went off in search of anyone who'd seen Flint.

"Don't worry, I'll help." Cole said, and disappeared as quickly as he'd appeared.


 

"Hey, Tiny, have you seen Flint around?" Varric asked, walking up to him.

"Not in the last little bit, someone said she fainted and had to be carried to one of the side rooms somewhere." Iron Bull replied, with a frown. "I didn't have time to question them, before they were gone."

"Flint? Faint? Have you met her?" Varric scoffed, rolling his eyes. "What did this guy look like anyway?"

"Not very tall, brown hair, thick accent, very polite. Why?" Iron Bull asked, seeing the colour drain from Varric's face, and then realized what he had done. "Shit. I'll start asking everyone if they've seen her. It's not been that long. He can't have gotten far."

"We'd better hope not." Varric replied, before leaving him to his search.


 

"Buttercup! Tell me you've seen Flint." Varric demanded, as he marched up to her.

"Not since her and Sol-arse took off dancing. Why?" She asked, snickering. "Think they're finally doin' it?"

"Damn it, Sera, this is serious. I think Vael has her." Varric insisted, pacing back and forth now. "I took my eyes off of her for one minute. I figured she'd be fine with Solas, but he must have had to do something, and now she's gone. Tiny said some guy took her to one of the side rooms because she fainted. Flint doesn't faint! Ever! Panic, maybe, but faint?"

"Shit! I'll check with the red jenny's here. You keep checkin', yeah?" Sera said, before running off.


 

"Alright, Lath'in, I-" Solas said, walking up to where he'd last left her in the ballroom, but stopped when he realized she was gone. "Lath'in?…Alhasha?…Sulahn'ean?…Where did she go?"

He began looking in the surrounding areas for her. No one had seen her recently, not that anyone of these Orlesian fools had been paying attention. Someone mentioned her having to retreat to one of the side rooms because she wasn't feeling well, so he started checking them. There was an ever rising fear that he didn't want to acknowledge, that Vael had found a way to her at last, and he had noticed that he was feeling slightly off, but he had pushed it aside thinking it was just exhaustion. He was angry at himself for being away from her side, for not being there for her when she needed him, for not realizing when something was wrong sooner.

None of the side rooms contained her or Vael. Solas wasn't sure whether to be relieved or worried about that. Now she could be anywhere, they could be anywhere, and Vael could be…could be…No. No. No! That was not a thought he was going to allow himself to finish. There had to be someone that had seen them leaving.

"Solas!" Sera called out, running up to him. She only ever called him Solas when something was wrong, damn it! "Birdy's-"

"Alhasha is missing! I know. I've searched all of the side rooms. She isn't in any of those." Solas said, and began walking to check somewhere else.

"Well, then I suggest you get out to the carriages. One of the red jenny's said Prince Stuck up has a carriage in wait for a swift exit!" Sera retorted.

"Etunash! I'll never get there in time like this, and I may need help." Solas grumbled, and whirled around back to face her. "Sera, how badly does magic really weird you out? Truthfully. It's important."

"Well that's the question of the day itd'nit?" Sera retorted. "It weirds me out, being all magicy, but if it helps Birdy, then do what ever it is, and get it over with."

"So you'll come with me then?" He asked, holding his hand out to her. "This is going to be rather abrupt for you."

"I get it, now let's go!" Sera said, and grabbed his hand.

Without a second thought, Solas vanished them in a trail of black smoke that seemed to find its way to the stables a lot faster than smoke should ever be able to travel, no doubt shocking more Orlesian nobles. When he re-materialized them, they were by the stables. He didn't wait for Sera, and she didn't fuss at him for it, knowing that time was precious. A commotion alerted him to where to better start his search, and he found the man he had witnessed in the Fade. Vael was arguing with one of the carriage drivers, but Alhasha was nowhere in sight, so he assumed her to be inside.

 


 

Sera didn't think she'd ever seen Solas so angry. Taking deep breaths to keep her from throwing up, she could only watch as Solas stalked over to where Vael was. What was the bloody git doing, tapping the guy on the shoulder like that? The look of surprise on the baddie's face before Solas punched him was priceless though, and what a punch it was too! It looked like Solas had really thrown his whole body into it!

At that, the driver looked over to Sera and gave a nod, before hastily making his retreat. He did not want to be in the way of this. As it was, it didn't look like Vael was ready enough yet to put up much of a fight, and Solas didn't give him time enough to make it sporting. Solas heaved Vael up, before punching him again, and throwing him down on the ground. The man looked far beyond angry.

"WHERE IS SHE?!" Solas shouted, angrily.

"Away from you." Vael spat, breathing heavily as he made to stand up, before Solas punched him again. "I will not leave her to the likes of you. You, Fen'Harel, are an abomination in the eyes of the Maker! I will free her from the curse that you have placed on her, and she will thank me for it. She will be my Queen."

He barely got the word Queen out, before Solas was punching him again and again. Baddie really shouldn't have tried to goad Sol-arse like that. The elfy elf wasn't even using magic, just going after Baddie like he was fighting in a street brawl, skillfully dodging when Baddie tried to strike back, putting everything into each punch he inflicted. She was definitely telling Inky about this later. This was way better than watching him decimate the training dummies back at Skyhold.

"Fairly certain I've seen an abomination. Horrible blobby lookin' things." Sera scoffed. "They don't look a thing like Sol-arse over there."

"So I was right that they don't know what you are?" Vael asked, right before Solas went back to punching him again.

"What they do or do not know is none of your concern!" Solas scoffed, punching him again. "Now, you will tell me. WHERE. IS. SHE?!"

"She wouldn't want you to kill me." Vael stated, smugly, spitting out a bit of blood, managing to back away.

"You're right. She wouldn't want me to kill you, and though you do not deserve her mercy, you will have it." Solas stated, looking disgusted with Vael, standing straight. "Begone, and pray to your Maker that I never find you."

"I will come back for her." Vael said, his threat empty sounding, before making his speedy exit.

"Then on that day, you will die." Solas replied, softly, and Sera somehow knew that the wind would carry the message to Vael.


 

"Sera." He said, warily, fists shaking as he turned to her. "Tell me. Do you have any Friends of Red Jenny in Starkhaven? I am in need of information. This has gone on long enough, and I will not underestimate him again."

"Way ahead of you there, Shiny." Sera replied, with a nod. "They've been making his life miserable as discreetly as possible. Information will be easy."

"Thank you, Sera. You are not…concerned…about what he said?" Solas asked, coming down slowly from his anger. Punching Vael had felt good, letting him go had not. "That I…that I'm…"

"The elfiest elf ever?" Sera asked, arching an eyebrow at him. He nodded, supposing that was as close as he was going to get. She just scoffed, and rolled her eyes at him. "Not really. Makes sense, yeah? Explains why you're such an elfy elf with your head crammed up a thousand years ago. There's no way 'I saw it in the Fade' explains everythin' you know, now does it?"

"Oh, and Sera?" Solas said, as Sera moved towards the stables.

"Oh don't worry, I ain't say'n shit about this part, Shiny." Sera snickered. "I'd sound like an elfy elf then."

"Can't have that, I suppose." Solas said, kindly, with a nod to her. Sera was really full of surprises, he mused as she left. When he opened the door to the carriage that Vael had been closest too, pain hit him hard as Alhasha kicked him in the face, knocking him onto the ground. "Umph!"

"Oh! Solas!" She cried out, in surprise, seeing that it was him she'd hit. She quickly made her way to where he'd fallen. "I'm sorry! I thought…Shit. Are you alright?"

"I'm fine." He said, shaking his head. Suddenly, he starts laughing. "Only you, Alhasha, would get captured, attack the attempted rescuer, and then ask them if they are alright."

"I did just kick you in the face." She pointed out, trying to smile even though her tears were threatening to fall. "I thought Vael was…that he…"

"What happened, Lath'in?" Solas asked, helping them both to stand. "No one could tell me where to even begin looking for you. Their best guess were those side rooms, and there were so many to check."

"He waited for you to leave." She replied. Tears streamed down her face now, but she talked as if she were only shaken up, as if she hadn't realized she was crying yet. "Then he came up from behind me with this funny smelling cloth. I didn't even have time to react, before I passed out. I woke up in the carriage just now."

"When I got here, Alhasha, he was arguing with the carriage driver." Solas said, kissing at each tear that fell. "I let him leave…I thought…it would be something you wanted, for me to show him mercy…It is not something I am willing to grant him again…Ar shar gela…ra Ar shyr ea tas fel…ra is ema nuem na…ra Ar ema thalaer na…"

I was afraid… that I would be too late…that he had hurt you…that I had failed you…

"Ar tel'rosa ra vis nar elgar dinan, Lath'in. Tamahn air ei ise'in'na ra Ar tel'nuva sai itha dalem." He whispered, resting his forehead against her own.

I could not bear it if your spirit dies, Love. There is a fire in you that I do not wish to see destroyed.

"Even if it makes you worry a lot?" She asked, half teasing half curious.

"Especially then." He replied, stealing the next kiss. Each pause is a kiss he steals from her, or her from him. "Na ane ise, Lath'in…Alhasha eil mirwen'diane…banaili eil veredais…isethe eil en'an'sal'in'sol…las'diane eil ailosol…Sai laima ra ise shyr ea sai laima ga'syri'rahna…rahna Ar lath o'na…Ar tel'uth nuven'in sai itha ra u'lea vara'na."

You are fire, love…Wild and willful…destructive and chaotic…warm and comforting…hopeful and inspiring…To lose that fire would be to lose all those things…things I love about you…I never wish to see that light leave you.

"Pffft! Can't even try an' get her naked without bein' an elfy elf." Sera snorts, suddenly back. Alhasha laughs even as tears escape her. "You gonna take the carriage, and get out of here, or what?"

"Not that one, I can't." Alhasha said, looking to him, her eyes wide. "I want to get out of here, but I can't get back in that carriage."

"What about that one?" Cole asked, pointing to a very luxurious looking carriage, suddenly standing next to the couple.

"Sera, would the 'friends' mind?" Alhasha asked, uncertain.

"Pull'n one over on miss big wig? I doubt it." Sera chuckled, and went the get the others."By the time we're done, she will have thought it was her idea."


 

It didn't take long for Sera to organize the others in the stables to come out and hitch up the horses to the fancier looking carriage. She didn't care much for elfy elf things, but she had to admit that Hawke looked happy with Solas. There was no way that she was going to admit to thinking those two looked good together though, at least not to them. She thought for sure this would make Hawke more of an elfy elf, but it seemed to bring Solas a bit closer to people people instead. Finally, when everything was good to go, she signaled to them to come over.

"Alright, it's good to go. You two get out of here, before the others come and muck it up, yeah?" Sera said, shewing them towards the carriage.

"Thank you, all of you." Hawke said, looking to everyone.

"Shall we?" Solas asked, looking to Hawke, as he opened up the carriage door for her. She got in, and he was about to head in after her, when Sera stopped him.

"She means a lot to you then, Shiny?" Sera asked, narrowing her eyes at him.

"She means everything, Sera." Solas replied, with a slight smile.

"Good. Don't mess it up. I'd hate to have to kick your arse." Sera said, and let him go.


 

A few moments before…

A young servant girl had stolen a quiet moment away from the party. It had not been uneventful, as most of these things usually were, but it had come with its own perils. She had narrowly escaped death herself, only just barely being saved by the Inquisitor. When she had asked the Maker for more excitement in her life, this is not what she had had in mind.

Just then, she saw a noble carrying a familiar looking woman to one of the carriages. That dress…that was the Champion of Kirkwall, that was. Had something happened to her? She couldn't make out what was being said to the carriage driver, but whatever it was, the man didn't like it and started arguing with the noble. Should she go get help? Should she stay just in case they ran off?

If she left to go get help, maybe they got here in time, or maybe they wouldn't and she wouldn't be able to tell them which way they'd gone. So she stayed, and hoped that she made the right decision. Maybe it was a good thing she did stay, or she would have never seen the two elves appear out of thin air the way they did. She recognized one of them as the mysterious mage that she'd watched dance with the Lady Hawke. What she was not expecting, was for that mage to walk up to the noble and punch the ever loving mortal fuck out of him!

It didn't stop there either! The two immediately got into a fist fight, and not once did the mage use magic on the noble, instead moving about as if he had been born street fighting. For a mage to get into a physical altercation like this was unheard of, and if she wasn't watching it, she wouldn't have believed it possible. The noble was sent packing moments later, and she hid herself so that she would not be seen as he ran past. By the time that she got to look again, the mysterious mage and the Lady Hawke were sharing a loving embrace.

From the looks of things, they were about to take off in the Empress's private carriage too! The other elf that had appeared with him looked to have rallied the others stable workers together, and they sent the two love birds off in style. She waited just long enough to see them kissing through the back window, before bolting inside again. The servant girl couldn't wait to get back to work for once. The others were never going to believe this!

 


 

Sera snickered to herself. She had been right that the others were about to come out, and end up mucking it up. If those two had stayed there a second later, they would have been stopped by the ones running out there. Lavellan, Cullen, Josephine, and Varric were running out towards the stables. Upon seeing Sera, they slowed down, and looked to where she had been staring off.

"Is thatHawke and Solas?…Oh!…They're…Are they making off with Empress Celene's private carriage?" Josephine asked, no doubt already dreading the shit storm she thought she'd have to fix.

From where they were, they could easily see Solas and Hawke through the back window. The two were kissing each other hungrily, like they needed the other for air. Even so, Solas seemed to be absentmindedly fumbling with the curtains in the back window, as if trying to find the mechanism to close them. The last thing they saw, before Solas actually managed to close the curtains, was the look the two shared before going back to kissing again. With the curtain closed, and the carriage making its way out of sight, it seemed to bring the others back to reality.

"More like they're gett'n off in Miss Big Wig's private carriage." Sera replied, with a snicker, something that had Varric chuckling too.

"Damn it, that was my plan." Cullen mumbled. This sent both Sera and Varric into laughing fits, Lavellan blushed, and Josephine sighed with dread.

"You lot missed the big fight." Sera exclaimed. "Shiny punched Prince Baddie like he was putt'n his whole body into it! Baddie didn't stand a chance, not with Shiny being as angry as he was. Didn't use magic once! Just fought him like he was people people. Baddie's face has to look like mince meat right now."

"Now that's something I would have paid big money to see, Buttercup." Varric mused, story ideas already buzzing about in that brain of his.

"Some of the stable workers saw it too. You can ask them all about it." Sera replied, knowing what he meant. By the time she got through saying that, Varric was already on his way to find them.


 

"Well, there's nothing we can do about it now, I suppose." Lavellan stated, merriment in her eyes. "So. Who wants to tell the Empress?"

When they got back inside, Lavellan noticed that there was a lot more chatter going on than there was when she left. Leliana and Cassandra were already on their way to greet them. Both looked like they had stars in their eyes. Big softies, the both of them, not that Lavellan would say that. It wouldn't do to be killed by one's own adviser and spy master.

"It would seem that word of Vael's attempted abduction has already circled through the Winter Palace. One of the servants saw everything." Leliana stated, as soon as they made it to them. "Though the rumours do not name who it was that tried to abduct the Lady Hawke, it does mention her by name, and the mysterious mage Solas that came to her rescue…and just how he came to her rescue. A mage that is willing to get into a physical altercation, a literal street brawl, to rescue lady love? We could use this."

"It's absolutely romantic!" Cassandra said, trying to maintain a stern face, though merriment was in her eyes and smile. "Do not tell them that I said so."

"Wait. Use this? Leliana, how could you use this?" Lavellan asked, confused.

"There are rumours circulating around Solas's involvement with the Inquisition. He is an unknown apostate that is very close to you, Inquisitor, who specializes in a field of magic not well documented outside of Tevinter. His motives, his past, along with many things about him are unknown even to us." Leliana explained. "We can use this to show that no matter what his mysterious past may involve, his dedication is to the Lady Hawke, and therefore to the Inquisition. Plus, who doesn't love a good romance?"

"Be that as it may, we now have to deal with the political ramifications of those two making off with the Empress's private carriage." Josephine said, with a sigh, clearly stressing out.

"That's not the way I heard it." Leliana said, with a secretive smile. "It is said that after being told of such a display, and of course given the Inquisitions own efforts to save her life and love, the Empress graciously gave them leave to take off with her private carriage before they could be swarmed by the guests for information. Even if that were true, there is no way Empress Celene will object, not with the good light this paints her in. She will, of course, want an audience with them for this. I am sure than many others will as well. I am certain that Josephine will be able to arrange everything."

"The only question now, is how are we going to get out of here without being mauled by the Orlesian nobility ourselves?" Cullen asked, aware that many were now seeking to gain the attentions of those with the Inquisition.

"I'm sure we'll think of something." Lavellan replied, leaning in to whisper. "Perhaps the Empress has another private carriage we could 'borrow'."

 


 

Meanwhile, Solas's only concern at the moment was hearing as many of those little sounds from Alhasha as he could get her to make. The two of them seemed to be filled with an insatiable need to be as close to each other as possible. Each touch, every caress, and passion filled kiss brought them closer, made him crave more from her. She traced the scars running along his arm, the ones that mimicked her lyrium lines, and it was all he could do to hold on to her as he groaned pleasurably against her neck. It was then he realized that she had somehow managed to get him out of his outer jacket without his noticing.

"I don't remember taking that jacket off, you know." Solas said, grinning against her neck.

"That's because you didn't." Alhasha replied, shivering slightly at the sensations on her neck. He leaned back a little on a hunch, and chuckled inwardly at her blushing. "I may have destroyed it."

"Destroyed it?" He asked, curiously. She pointed down to the seat, blushing even more than before, if such a thing were possible. He looked, surprised to find the fabric torn at the seams, scattered all over the place. "I see. It is a pity I can not do the same to you. (She grinned triumphantly, but he had a surprise too) I have the capability, Lath'in, but I simply can not bring myself to destroy this dress. (He began slowly sliding his hand under the dress and up one of her legs to grip her thigh) I have too many fantasies of slowly plying you out of it."

She just smirks, leaning into him again, their lips almost touching, and replies. "I suppose I could be talked into sparing the rest of your clothes."

"How very generous of you." Solas responded, too into the moment to stop the husky sound in his voice, before quickly pulling her onto his lap.

Chapter Text

Chapter 24

 

His eyes, she loved how they always have the look of both predator and prey to them. Sometimes she could swear they were molten silver, bright and shining like glass. Before, she had always assumed it was a trick of the light, but now…Now, as she stared into them, she wondered if he even realized he's let this much of what he was show through, the way she did sometimes. She was not willing to resist the kiss he pulled her into, and he could not resist burying his hands in her hair when he did. A knock on the door, however, prevented them from doing anything further.

“They can't come out unless you open!” Came Cole's voice.

“I hadn't even noticed the carriage had stopped.” Hawke admitted, sheepishly, when they pulled apart.

“Neither had I.” Solas replied, before stealing another kiss, and then grinned at her. “Come, I have a surprise for you, Lath'in.

She could hear the people talking as soon as the two exited the carriage. Whispers of the Ball's events reached her ears, and she vaguely wondered how they had heard of the evening's events so quickly. The people were shocked to see the Empress's private carriage, but more so to see the two that exited it. She was pleasantly surprised that the two already had their own narrative by the time they'd entered the Inn. She heard mentions of The Lady Hawke and the mysterious mage Solas, and wondered just how much they were spoken of outside of the Inquisition.

Solas, on the other hand, continued on with a slight smile. He talked with a worker or two of the Inn before moving on, his arm always around her waist. He seemed un-bothered by the whispers, but then again they'd been dealing with such things all evening. Solas had seemed to enjoy the events of the day, even before the dance, and it reminded her a bit of ancient Arlathan, of how he had been as Fen'Harel. Now though, he enjoyed that the nobility did not know what to think of him.

When they entered a room at the far end of the hallway, Hawke almost stopped instantly, but Solas must have prepared for that, because he slowly pulled her further into the room. This room, the way he had set it up, had become a private indoor hot spring. She wondered if he made it the same way he had the room that occupied the same space as the rotunda. There were large flat rocks, much like a true hot spring, and there was a small side station that held various soaps and shampoos. It all looked so inviting, how could she not love it?

“You did this?” Hawke asked, looking at it all in wonder.

“In a manner of speaking. I pulled it from a memory.” Solas replied, as he slowly lead her further into the room. “It exists in the same space as my room, like the rotunda back at Skyhold. I could not use your room, as it was where you and the other ladies of the Inquisition had chosen to set up.”

“It's beautiful, Solas.” She said, with a soft smile.

Lemony ness warning thingy

Before she can say anything else, he pulls her to him, a soft kiss on her lips. Gentle, thoughtful, hesitant, much different than the passion fueled kisses in the carriage. Those had been frantic, a need to make sure the other was real again. These too made her feel cherished, wanted, needed. Each fumbled over the ties and buttons that held them from each other in an unhurried but shaky pace.

He must have meant what he said too, because slowly ply her out of her dress is exactly what he did. When all of the clothes fell to the floor, Solas gently guided her into the hot spring. Being in a hot spring had to be the most relaxed feeling in the world, she decided. All her worries simply faded away, and the two simply sat there for a time, soft caresses and gentle touches.


 

“There's something I've been wanting to do ever since that first day you showed me everything the bracelet kept hidden.” Solas said, running his fingers through her hair, breaking the silence. “May I?”

“What?” She asked, with a pleasant sigh. Turning slightly, she saw that his other hand had a bottle of shampoo at the ready, and arched an eyebrow at him. “You want to…wash my hair? That's a fantasy for you?”

“Yes. It is…ei el'u'nuva…lath'sal'ina.” Solas admitted, as she turned her back to him, giving him permission to wash her hair. As he lathered her hair, massaging the shampoo into it, he found himself voicing his thoughts again. “Vallasleala josal ove ara mira, alhasha telir la'na.…Thu tyr Ar tel lath min?

A secret wish…to fondle the hair of one I love. - Ink running through my fingers, wild just like you…How could I not love this?

After rinsing her hair, she turns around now to face him. He is surprised by the kiss, how gentle and soft it is, more so that she moves to sit behind him now. He has no hair she can wash, but doesn't voice his objection, and is soon glad he didn't. Alhasha had taken some of the shampoo or body wash, and began massaging his scalp with it. Her fingers felt amazing, and he was pleasantly surprised when she continued on to his neck and shoulders, working along the knots she found as she went.

Nar da'lavun ane tandros, Lath'in.” Solas groaned, pleasantly, as she worked the knots out of his upper back.

Your hands are magic, Love.

Her hands traced the scars, the red lyrium had left on his back outlining her own lyrium lines, as she worked the knots out of his back. Fenedhis lasa! The things that did to him, pulling sounds from him that he was used to hearing from her, the water on his bare skin adding to the sensations he was given. He was pulled out of his thoughts when she began trailing kissing along his shoulder and neck, sending shivers through him. After a moment, he held her hands in his own, resting his head against the crook of her neck as he leaned back against her. He couldn't help but grin against her skin when she shivered as he began kissing along her jawline, knowing that she was just as affected by him as he was by her.

Ir gela ra na'ane sadaer i'em, Ara'aenor.” Solas said, before turning to face her completely. “Ir el'tas mael'len sai lasa'na'vara mala ra na ane emma.”

I'm afraid that you're trapped/stuck with me, my prey. - I am much too selfish to let you go now that you are mine.

Her eyes light up, a mischievous glint to them, as she grins at him with that openly wolfish grin of hers. It is one he shares, before pulling her into a kiss. It is unhurried, un-rushed. In this he puts how much has changed since meeting her, how he can not part from her now, what he hopes their future will be. She leans back slightly, breaking the kiss, and fixes him with a smirk.

Eis vis na tyr tor'josa em.” She replies, playfully, before biting on her lower lip.

As if you could outrun me

That was it, all he needed to hear, before he was on her. She gasped, not expecting it, before he stole it in a passion fueled kiss. Her shock did not last long, before she began to return the kiss with equal fervor. He knew her mind had always been prepared for him to run; he had told her he would. It seemed she didn't know quite what to do now that he's decided to stop running. When she breaks the kiss, the two are near breathless, and still he steals a small kiss every so often.

He doesn't know if she's ready, doesn't know if she wants this, and he is not about to push her again. She seems hesitant now, as she returns each kiss they share. Alhasha Hawke has never been one to back away from anything, something he knows all too well now, and yet…Now that her prey no longer runs from her, she doesn't seem to know what to do. He does not miss the blush that tints her cheeks, or the way her eyes dart away from his, almost as if she's embarrassed by what she's thinking.

Alhasha, listen to me. I will not…Ar shor tel vera o'na ahn na ane tel nuven'in sai lasa…Thuast ar'an te min'nydha, ar'an te eis nar'vali.” Solas said, softly. “Dirtha'em…ahn shyr na ema o'em?…

I will not take from you what you are not willing to give…Whatever we do this night, we do at your pace – Tell me…what would you have of me?…


 

“I don't know what's wrong with me.” Hawke mumbled, not looking at him, thoroughly embarrassed.

“There is nothing wrong with you, Alhasha. You are nervous. Though we have done much, sex is…a barrier, in its own way, one you have not crossed, and one you are hesitant to cross because of Vael.” Solas supplied, thoughtfully, as he moved to sit close to her. “I have a theory, Lath'in. Until now, with what happened before, you have wanted to be ready without truly being so, and so your magic rose up to protect you in its way, compelling others to be drawn to you in order to prevent you from doing something you weren't ready for, perhaps in an effort to make sure that you never experience that fear again.”

“You speak of my magic as if it is alive.” Hawke chided, playfully, though she did think on his words.

“But it is, Lath'in.” He said, with a slight and thoughtful grin. “Magic lives. It breathes, feels, feeds, makes mistakes, learns, just as we do, because we do.”

He shifts slightly, one arm across her for balance, as he kisses along her shoulder.

“Your magic reacts to me…pulls me to you…demands that I realize what you mean to me…ra na ane el'o lath'in…ra na ane ara vhen'an bre nuven'in…” His voice sending shivers through her as he began kissing along her neck. “It is as much a part of you…as your hair…or your eyes…or your laugh…and so I love it…as I love you. Mai eolasa min, Lath'in, eis'el'eis Ar ath'or'na, mai tas te na ath'or'em…” He moved to where he could put his weight onto his left arm, and caress her face with his right. “Vis ar'an ane aelaes sasha, eolasa ra Ar shor tel vara na. Ar shor tel josa…tel o'na…o'min…o ahn ar'an ane sahl'in…Ar sildeara na in ara lath'in bell'ana, Lath'in…Thuast na shor ema or'em air nar sai ama, Ar lasa or ara'len sai na revas.”

that you are more than where my love lives…that you are my hearts deepest wish… - So know this, Love, as much as I belong to you, so too do you belong to me… - If we are ever apart, know that I will not leave you, I will not run…not from you… from this…from what we are now…I feel you in my heart always, Love…Whatever you will have of me is yours to take, I give of myself to you freely.

“You really mean that, don't you.” Hawke said, in wonderment, studying his expression. She had never seen him look so intense before, not even when she'd been in Arlathan.

“It is as you said to me that night by the fire. The moment I saw you, it was already too late for me to run.” Solas replied, stealing another kiss. “I was caught before I knew.”

“And what if I told you I wanted everything?” She asked, huskily.


 

“Then you would have it.” Solas replied, instantly.

The words are out of his mouth before he realizes what he's said, though he doesn't regret them after, knowing that he means them. He knows she is his future; more importantly, he wants to be her future. There is a spark of magic somewhere in the room, but he does not pay it any mind at the moment. His focus was a bit preoccupied with the beautiful woman zeroing in on him as if he were prey again.

It is strange to him, and yet fascinating, that he would enjoy being hunted. With others he had always been in control, but with her he never seemed to be for long. This was something he somehow knew she needed this time, to control how the night would go, and so he gave up what control he could. Her kisses taste like the apple spiced wine they'd served at the Ball, and he revels in the sounds she makes when he moves to nibble along her neck. She'd moved to straddle him during all of this, and though he isn't sure if that was a good plan or not, he tried to ease things with caresses and kisses to everywhere within reach that would give her pleasure.


 

It wasn't like she didn't know what to expect, but there isn't as much pain as she'd been warned there would be. Many embarrassing conversations with her mother and Isabela had been had on this subject, but no amount of conversation could have prepared her for how hungry his eyes looked as she took him in, or the many sensations she felt as she did so. She'd expected him to take control, to show her what to do, but he never did. Then again, she thought as she began to move with him, the way he reacted to her touch made her think he preferred to lose the control he always seemed to have, and he had to know how important it was that she have control this time. The way he gripped her hips, she was sure she was going to have permanent crescent moon scars forever, and she loved it.

The sounds he made sent thrills through her, and he would tighten and loosen his grip on her hips as they found a steady rhythm. The way he gasped under her attentions told her he was already close to losing the control he had, and she wondered just how much she would need to push him to get him to let go of the rest of it, his loving words becoming broken as his breath hitched sporadically. So she set about trying to get him to do just that. He made slight sounds of protest when she leaned back away from his hold, looked absolutely distressed when she denied him as he made to kiss along her breasts. She allowed her head to fall back as her eyes closed, and she began to caress her stomach and breasts, never once stopping her rhythm as she rode him.

Sathan…Sulahn'ean…lasa'em dera'na.” He said, somewhere between asking and trying not to beg, as he watched her touch herself. Unable to hold himself still, he moved with her, lightly thrusting as she moved her hips against his own.

Please…Songbird…let me touch you

Te na sila Ar shyr'tel ithal?” She asked, using every bit of will she had to keep the wavering from her voice as she tried to sound authoritative. He looked uncertain, caught between pleasure and confusion.

Did you think I wouldn't notice?

Lath'in, I…Sathan…sathan…” He pleaded, trying once again to touch her, sliding one of his hands up her waist and brushing his thumb along the underside of her breast.

Love,…Please…please…

She took the hand in question into one of her own, and lightly sucked on the tip of his thumb before looking back at him. Just a little bit more of his control was gone. She could practically see him shaking as she continued her ministrations. The colouring in his eyes was practically gone, the way he stared at her hungrily. Each breath he took seemed more like a gasp, a bid to keep what control he had left.

“This is our hot spring…the one you caught me in.” She stated, biting her lip to keep from moaning.

“It is.” Solas admitted, with a bit of a breathy moan, his head tilted back slightly. “Lath'in, please…I want…I want…”

Lasa'em itha.” She insisted, slowing her movements, causing him to groan and his hips to jerk at the missed movement.

Let me see/Show me

“I should not…I could…I could hurt you, Lath'in…I don't want to…hurt you…Lath'in please…” He pleaded, trying to pull her back to him. She let him, but only so that she could nip at his ear, eliciting a small moan from him.

“I was told I could have everything, and I have decided I want that last…little…bit…of control you haven't given up yet, Fen'Harel.” She said, softly, her lips still close to his ear while one of her hands traces up his chest. “Laima, eil lasa'em itha ahn na isala.”

Let go, and show me what you want

Dir'vhen'an em…dir'vhen'an me ra na shor dirtha'em…vis Ar nuem na…eil Ar shor dian.” He half demanded/pleaded, eyes searching hers when she pulls back to look at him, and she knew this was his last attempt to get her to back away from what she was asking. “Dir'vhen'an em.

Promise me…promise me that you will tell me…if I hurt you…and I will stop – Promise me

Ar dir'vhen'an, Ara'nas.” She promised, barely getting the words out before she found herself pressed in between him and one of the larger rocks along the edge of the hot spring, and she immediately wrapped her legs around his waist.

I promise, My soul

He didn't waste time with words, stealing away any breath she had with a kiss, and he let go of the last bit of control he had as he fucked her up against the boulder. She clung to him, pleading, gasping, begging for more, and he gave. Oh, he gave, that first orgasm rocking through her almost without warning, and still he gave, even as she lost herself in the feeling of it. She moved against him, giving as good as she got, loving the way he held onto her as he lost himself in what he wanted. He'd been right though; Had he tried this that night at the hot spring, he would have hurt her.

Lath'in…you feel…Na sildeara la vhen'an…” She heard him murmer against her skin as he nibbles along her neck. “Mine…ara vhen'an…isalan'na…eilar…nuven'na'el…

You feel like home – My home…want you…always…need you more…

Vhen'an…ara vhen'an…” She agrees, her voice hitching as she clings to him. She's so close she can feel it, as his thumb makes slow circles around her clit, and she digs her fingernails into him as she clings.

Home…my home…

Sa'el, Lath'in…sa'el…rosa'da'din sul'em…sa'el…Ir vyr…rosemah'da'din…mai vyr…mai vyr…” Solas pleaded, close to her ear. The feeling of it sends her over the edge she's been clinging to, and he continues thrusting, carrying her through.

One more, Love…one more…come for me…one more…I'm close…about to come…so close…so close…

She's barely come down from the high, when he pulls out of her, coming in the hot spring as he bites into just above her collarbone.

Lath'in, I…” He kisses her before he can say anything else. “Did I hurt you?…I know you wanted, but I…I shouldn't have lost control, and I…I'm…”

“Solas, if you apologize for one of the best moments of my life, I'm going to seriously hurt you.” She pretends to scold him, before playfully nipping at his bottom lip, and trying to use what she hopes sounds like a sultry voice as she adds. “Now, what do you say about taking this to a bed? I promise, I'll let you be as gentle as you want.”

“As you wish, Lath'in.” He replied, with a predatory grin, before picking her up bridal style to do exactly as she wanted.


 

He woke up first, feeling pleasantly achy, and stretched out in the bed. He'd known that he hadn't hurt her the night before, but he'd been so caught up in the moment that he hadn't thought about the connection to check. So he'd taken her at her word, and gently worshiped her body for as long as she let him. No matter what she said, Solas understood that she'd be in some discomfort this morning. So he drew up a hot bath for her, but before he could wake her up, there was a knock at the door.

End of Lemon for now

He quickly threw on a robe, before answering the door, only to be surprised by an Inn worker.

“I was told to bring this to your room around breakfast time.” The young man said, gesturing to the food cart at his side. “I hope that's alright.”

“Of course.” Solas replied, after quickly looking over his shoulder to make sure Alhasha was still under the covers. “Come in, but please be quiet.”

“Of course.” The young man said, and proceeded to push the cart inside. “We hope you enjoy everything. It was a lot of fun creating something for the two of you, Messere Solas.”

“I don't understand.” He admitted, surprised. “I had ordered breakfast for the room, but…”

“Word was sent from The Winter Palace about what happened.” The young man replied, as he made his way to the door.

“The assassination attempt on the Empress?” Solas asked, in confusion.

“The rescue of Lady Hawke. It has been all the others have wanted to talk about, that a mage would get into a physical fight for lady love.” The young man answered with a grin. “There isn't a single person here who doesn't love a good romance, and so the other workers and myself pulled together to make something extra for the two of you.”

“I…ma serannas.” Solas said, surprised at such a gesture.

Thank you

Na ane vhalla.” The young man replied, before giving a slight bow and exiting the room, once again surprising Solas.

You are welcome

A slight grumpy grumbling sound alerted him to her attempts at waking up, and he smiled. He had not felt this care free in a very long time, and as he made his way back into the bed, he wondered if they could disappear for a week here and get away with it. Last night had been…more than he'd ever expected. That she had allowed him control by telling him to lose it, had been both freeing and humbling, that she would want him to lose that control had surprised him more than anything ever had…After that may be permanently seared into his mind, the sounds she made when they'd finally made it to the bed…

He'd been gentle that time, kissing along her lyrium lines, drawing her out of herself. She was so very responsive, and he loved that he could get her to make those little sounds he adored so much. Not that she hadn't returned the favor, sneaky little minx that she was. The scars he had that mimicked her lines were just as sensitive as hers, and she used that to her advantage. Though he had not said as much, he had a feeling that she knew that he thoroughly enjoyed that she could make him beg.

Her back was to him when he slid under the covers once more, and he could not help but run his fingers over the whip marks he saw there. That was something they had not talked about, how she had come by those. She grumbled again, not quite awake, and he took his time running his fingers over her. He could see where his fingernails had pierced her hips, where he had bit along her shoulder. Just thinking about it made him want to wake her up to continue those activities.

“mmm…Good morning…” She mumbled, her voice husky from sleep.

“It is indeed a good morning, Lath'in.” Solas replied, continuing to run hins fingers along her hip and back. “I am almost afraid to ask this, in fear that I will ruin it, but I find myself curious. We have never spoken of how these happened. (He runs his fingers along the whip marks now) Is that something you would be willing to tell me now, or would it ruin this good morning?”

“It would.” She said, her voice sounding like she was retreating into herself again. His fears were assuaged though, when she rolled over and snuggled into him, though she still looks saddened. He decides to take matters into his own hands.

Lemon Warning thingy

“It may be wrong of me, Lath'in, but I like to imagine that I caused them.” Solas said, softly, causing her to look up at him in alarm and confusion, though that quickly fades as he caresses the scars themselves “…that they are not whip marks, but scars where fingernails have dug in…”

She looks like she wants to kiss him, and he brings his face in just close enough to where she can almost feel him. He continues caressing her back, occasionally digging into it slightly with his fingernails. The look on her face is exquisite, and the slight whimpering sound she makes only adds to it. He may get a thrill from the fact that she can make him beg, but he also loves the near innocent pleading he can see in her eyes now. It feeds into his wolfish nature, and he can not help but tease her with it now.

Ar nuvi'sulen na tarsul em la'min…” He says, swiftly maneuvering her to be above him, and her hair cascades down around them. Her eyes are wide now, and he is suddenly alarmed that maybe he has overstepped somehow. “Alhasha?…Is this…Should I not have?…”

I imagine you above me like this…

“Tell me more about this fantasy of yours.” She says, breathlessly, not answering him, but he shakes his head.

“I need to know…You set the pace, Lath'in.” Solas stated, running one of his hands through her hair. “We can stop. We don't have to continue. I will not force you, ever, Alhasha.

“Please, Solas. I did ask.” Alhasha before taking to nibbling along his neck and collarbone. “Tell me, Fen'Harel…this fantasy of yours…”

Ar nuvi'sulen na tarsul em la'min…nual em eis telir na te…” Solas continues, understanding that she's given her consent, as he gently pulls her down till they are joined. She wastes no time, finding a rhythm that makes them both feel good. “Ar nuvi'sulen na la…nar dhula da'lav'dian telir ei da…(He begins doing these things after he's said them) ra na nera melahn Ar dhava nar duine mai…ra na josi nar miringal dur ara duin si vir Ar nua na…”

I imagine you above me like this…teasing me as only you can… - I imagine you like…your hair pulled just a little…that you enjoy when I kiss your breasts so…that you run your fingernails down my chest the way I tease you…

She reacted to his fingernails scrapping her back in much the same fashion that he had the night before. He combined that with the gentle but firm caresses he knew she liked best, and it played well into their morning love making. Still though, if she couldn't keep her hands off of tracing the red lyrium scars to get him to lose control again, he'd have to tie them up or something…Maybe he could save that for later. For now, he simply moved them to where he was on top this time, and pinned her wrists above her head with his fingers. It would not do for him to come undone before her.

Her cheeky and completely unapologetic grin told him she knew exactly what he had been thinking, but it was soon lost in the sounds she made, and soon the two were becoming undone by each other. When the two had recovered enough to move again, he brought her to the hot bath he'd made, thankfully still comfortably hot due to the dwarven runes along the side of the tub, where he'd indulged in his fantasy of washing her hair again. She joked that it was because he had no hair of his own, but didn't stop him either. She also surprised him with sex in the bathtub, something he barely made it through without coming inside of her. The way she rolled her hips just so was enough to almost undo him, but he didn't think she'd want the possibility of children just yet, and so he resisted…barely…until they could have that conversation.

Lemon end


 

Drying herself off after getting out of the bathtub, she paused after wrapping the towel around herself. She wasn't seeing this, she wasn't seeing this, but she was. There, on her left hand, on her ring finger, was the most beautiful ring she'd ever seen in her life. The band itself was an intricate knotwork of leaves and vines in some kind of slightly green metal that delicately cradled three deep rich warm red garnets that reminded her of drops of blood. Red truly was her favorite colour, but she couldn't think of a single jeweler skilled enough to create this ring, which meant that he'd had to commission this.

“Solas, did you forget to ask me something when we woke up this morning?” She asked, playfully, to which he looked genuinely confused. She held up her hand in response to his confused look.

The look on his face was priceless, changing from confusion to shock to pure joy, and then she wasn't alone. He was suddenly in front of her wrapping his arms around her, pulling her in, kissing her passionately as they stood there. His hands caressed her skin, running his fingers along her lyrium lines. It was only the overwhelmingly loud growling sound that came from her stomach that stopped either of them. The unexpected sound immediately made the two of them laugh, and he gestured for her to get back in bed.

“It seems we are being treated to breakfast in bed, Lath'in. The workers somehow have heard of what happened in the Winter Palace, and wanted to wish us well.” Solas said, jovial, bringing the cart closer to them, and began setting out things for the two of them to eat.

“The assassination attempt on the Empress?” She asked, momentarily distracted and slightly confused.

“The attempted abduction of you.” Solas corrected, and then added with a slight grin. “Apparently it is not often that the Lady Hawke needs rescuing, and they seem to be fascinated that a mage would get into a physical fight for lady love. According to the inn worker I spoke with, we are the talk of the evening, after Lavellan's rescue of the Empress, of course. I can only imagine how exaggerated the story is going to be. Master Tethras will surely be in his element with this.”

Solas.” Hawke said, hoping the warning in her voice would be enough to bring him back to the matter at 'hand'. He sighed, and gestured for her hand, taking it into his own when she offered it.

“In my defense, the magic was suppose to put the ring into my hand first.” Solas stated, a bit sheepishly. She arched an eyebrow at him. “Alhasha, I…(sigh)…Fenedhis lasa, woman, you don't ever make things easy, do you? I…Ir nar, vis na shor ema em.”

I am yours, if you will have me

The biggest most mischievous wolfish grin spreads across Hawke's face, and she just couldn't help herself as she replied. “Vana manean, Na'ema eilar shael emma.

Silly fish, You've always been mine

He had begun stealing kisses before she could answer seriously. “Lath'in…Ar lath naara vhen'an bre nuven'in…sathan…

Love…I love you…My heart's deepest wish…please…

“You really want to marry me?” She asked, even more nervous than she had been last night. “I mean, this isn't some rescue the damsel in distress thing, is it? Or some kind of lust filled decision? Solas, I'm crazy, and I worry you all the time. What if you find out something you hate about me, or-”

Alhasha, that ring has been waiting for you since you withheld your voice from me in Arlathan. It has been waiting for me to stop running, and I am.” Solas stated, surprising her into silence. “You do not have to answer now. I will have to leave this place eventually, my own goals will require it, but I meant every word I said to you last night. When I leave, I want you to come with me.”

“You do? Really?” She asked, not knowing why she was so surprised by this.

Alhasha, while I do not believe both worlds can be saved, I would treasure the chance to be wrong. If there is anyone who could help me find a way to save them both, it would be you.” Solas insisted. “What I am sure of, Lath'in, is that I want to spend every morning I can being trapped by that crazy amount of bed head of yours. I want to walk the Fade with you, travel this world with you, and when it is time to take a rest from it all, I want to walk in Uth'then'era with you, and repeat the process over and over again, until either this world ends or we walk new worlds, and after-umph!”

She'd practically glomped him after that, throwing her arms around him, losing her towel in the process. “If you can put up with my craziness, I think I can handle yours.” She stated, before kissing him.

“Is that a yes then?” He asked, a bit out of breath, teasingly.

“Of course, it's a yes!” She insisted, before she began kissing him again. “You crazy…arrogant…insufferable…stubborn ass elf!”

The ring glowed brightly for a moment, and both of them had backed away from each other to see what would happen. When the piece of jewelry stopped glowing, Hawke turned her hand this way and that, looking for a difference. They found it quickly. Inscribed along the band, the promise neither could break. Ar shor eilar vena na.


 

Varric and the others had fared quite well at the end of the Ball at the Winter Palace. He was already circulating the story of how Solas had rescued Hawke, adding his own embellishments, of course. Upon getting back to the Inn, no one could find them. More accurately, no one would tell him what room they were staying in, and not one of his friends was willing to help him knock on doors to find them.

So the next morning he waited, and watched, and chatted up a few of the inn workers about the happenings of the Winter Palace. It didn't take him long to spot a room service delivery that looked a little bit more extravagant than the usual bit that had been going through that morning. He made quick work talking with that person, chatting him up about everything he could, and soon they were sharing stories of what had happened last night at the Winter Palace. After confirming that that was indeed Messere Solas's room, and that the two were staying in there instead of Hawke's room, Varric thought he'd give them a bit more alone time. He wasn't completely insensitive, after all.

He apparently hadn't given them enough time, or hadn't thought that the two were taking full advantage of every bit of alone time they could get. For whatever crazy reason, he could not stop himself from opening the door, and immediately wished he hadn't. Flint and Solas were sitting up in bed, completely wrapped up in each other, and hadn't even noticed his ill timed interruption. A towel hung about her, hiding just enough of her that he wasn't getting a complete eyeful, as she worked to undo the buttons on Solas's shirt.

Solas was moving his hands all over Flint, firm but gentle caresses that were sparking a reaction from her lyrium lines. This was lesson enough, Varric decided as he unable to move from the spot, no more adventuring for the dwarf; It was just too risky. Before he knew it was happening, Solas had reached for a tray on the food cart and flung it at him, hitting the dwarf square in between the eyes, all without having looked at him. When Varric fell backwards out of the room, he could have sworn he saw Flint wave her left hand, using a force spell to close the door, still busying herself in a kiss.


 

“Tiny, you got any of that maraas-lok?” Varric asked, some time later, finding some of them in the inn's dining area.

“Yea. Why?” Iron Bull asked, before eyeing him for a moment. “Why do you need it?”

“No reason, I just need to pour it directly onto my eyeballs. I'm hoping it will make me go blind. Maybe I can use it to scrub my brain.” Varric admitted, as he sat down. The entire table laughed at him. “Laugh all you want, but what I saw will settle bets if you have them. That's the only consolation price I'll get for my sudden case of blindness.”

“Messere Tethras?” One of the Inn workers called out after a while, and upon seeing him react, made their way to him. “I was instructed to give you this message. (Pulls out piece of paper, and begins to read) 'Pull that stunt again, you hairy little gnome, and I'll make sure your hairy little gnome never sees use again'. (That sends everyone into laughing fits all over again) Also, there's a bit of elvish here, but I can't translate it. Sorry.”

“Here, I can get that.” Iron Bull said, with a bit of a chuckle. Lavellan had yet to enter the dining area, probably for the same reasons as Flint and Solas. “Oh, well this is…Well, it's been nice knowing you, Varric.”

“Cut it out, Tiny. What does it say?” Varric asked, dreading it already.

“Nothing much. It's just a note to me and Dorian from Solas saying that you've seen Hawke naked, and we now have all rights to kill you.” Iron Bull noted, before looking over at him. “I suggest you run.”

Varric didn't waist another moment before he was out that door.

“Is that really what it said?” Dorian asked, eyeing the paper with suspicion.

“No, but I'm willing to bet he'll run half way to Skyhold before he figures that out.” Iron Bull replied, with a grin.

“On those short stubby legs?” Dorian scoffed, though he couldn't help but laugh. “Doubtful.”

“Care to bet on it?” Iron Bull asked, with a grin, and suddenly the entire table was throwing bets around.

 

Chapter Text

Chapter 25

 

The trip back was nearly uneventful…nearly. Solas and Hawke were teased relentlessly for their stealing of the empress's carriage, mainly all of the events they would have to go through because of it. Josephine had made sure that she accepted as many invitations for them as she could, before Lavellan had to stop her, in order to make sure that this type of frivolity did not happen again. Neither of them looked the least bit apologetic. In fact, Hawke smirked at each name Josephine mentioned, and eventually the woman gave up trying to make them feel guilty.

Most everyone traveled along in pairs, riding on horses or in carriages that held their things. Many noted how Hawke and Solas seemed around each other now, the language of their unspoken conversations were different. A caress was so much more now, spoke louder than before. The two were practically in their own world. Every once in a while, one of the others would chuckle, and at least once, Cullen could be heard muttering 'damned elf is making the rest of us look bad'.

It did not go unnoticed that Varric was a nervous wreck. The lengths Hawke was willing to go to in order to embarrass someone for revenge was well known by many, especially by him. He had written all of her stories, after all. Some things had not needed embellishing, while others had had to be dialed back a bit. He now had the added worry of Solas, who seemed more than happy to watch the dwarf squirm.

Eventually though, the curiosity just got to be too much. So when camp had been set up, and guard posts had been established, the party made their move. While few of the women went with Hawke to a hot spring she'd found, Solas had stayed behind to gather his things for a bath. Neither were under the delusion that it was anything other than the groups attempts to gather information, but while Solas scowled at the idea that they would be so nosy, Hawke just gave him a conspiratorial wink as she left.


 

“Alright, out with it.” Surprisingly, it was not Varric that said this, but Blackwall. “What are your intentions with Hawke?”

“How is it that you think you lot are fit to judge my intentions?” Solas asked, looking over at them in annoyance. Blackwall was about to object, when Solas elaborated. “The Snoop (points to Varric), the Spy (points to Iron Bull), the Show off (points to Dorian, who just grins with amusement), and the Haunted (points to Blackwall), and you lot think you are fit to judge my intentions?”

“Doesn't answer the question.” Blackwall stated, undeterred. Solas actually stared at him for a moment, surprised with how determined Blackwall seems to be about this.

“If this is about a bet, so help me…” Solas warned, threateningly.

“His question actually is concern.” Iron Bull stated, before cracking a grin. “The rest of us are just innocent bystanders with a mixture of concern and bets.”

“I suppose there is something to be said for your honesty, Iron Bull, though I question whether or not this group would know the meaning of the words innocent bystanders.” Solas conceded, with a sigh. “I have asked Alhasha to marry me. Is that clear enough to everyone of my intentions? (Everyone starts tossing Dorian coin) Ma ghilana mir din'an! Do you all have bets placed on what she plans to do to master Tethras for the stunt he pulled this morning?”

Guide my soul towards death / Kill me now

“Like you have to ask.” Dorian said, a bit smuggly. “Of course, there's bets on that. What were you thinking anyway, Varric?”

“Honestly? I thought they'd have been done by then.” Varric admitted, sporting a rare blush. This sends the others, except for Solas (and even he is shaking his head trying to hide a grin), into laughter. “That was more of Flint than I ever wanted to see.”

“That reminds me. You've broken the rules, Varric, and saw Hawke naked. The consequences of which would be if Solas doesn't kill you, we do.” Dorian stated, no longer grinning. “That is a marvelously beautiful and fascinating woman, and you could have interrupted more than a simple interlude with that stunt. She'll more than likely have your bits on a fire for that, so I think Bull and I don't need to kill you ourselves. More than likely, Solas or Hawke will kill you themselves.”

“Why is it that you two have this…rule, or whatever it is…for Varric?” Solas asked, a bit confused.

“Nosy friend, plus budding romance, and you have to ask why we tried to keep Varric from being his usual nosy self?” Dorian asked, with a chuckle.

“Point taken.” Solas conceded.


 

“So, are you going to tell us?” Leliana asked, after sinking into the hot spring. “What was he like?”

“Absolutely not! That's private.” Hawke said, turning several shades of red.

“Awe, she's blushing. It's adorable.” Lavellan cooed. Hawke sank lower into the water.

“Was it romantic? Was he gentle with you?” Cassandra asked, curiously, blushing almost as hard as Hawke. “He definitely seems the type to care about your needs before his own.”

“I still can't believe you stole Empress Celene's private carriage.” Josephine scolded, though it lost its bite considering she was groaning happily in a hot spring with a smile on her face. “The image you two made, kissing while stealing away in it, was positively romantic.”

“Did he tell you to drop em and rebuild the empire?” Sera asked, snorting with laughter. Everyone laughed at that.

“Maker's Balls, Sera!” Hawke snickered, and then calmed down, hesitantly adding. “He…Well, you know what you said about Cullen?”

“Lots of men under him, needs a woman over him, because…positions?” Sera asked, after a moment.

“Solas is like that too…at least sometimes.” Hawke said, and then sank back into the Hot Spring try and hide her blush. More chuckling from the other women.

“Do we get to see the ring?” Sera asked, curiously. Everyone looked at her in surprise. “What? He's an elfy elf. They only do things like this when they want it to mean something, and Shiny definitely wants it to mean something, so ring. Not that difficult, yeah?”

Hawke raised her hand out of the water to reveal the ring. It was definitely not the normal ring that one would think to give. She hadn't really explained that part to him back in Arlathan, viewing that a person's natural taste in jewelry was more important than some silly standard. He could have given her a wooden ring, and she would have loved it. Vivienne definitely seemed to approve, but looked saddened, and Hawke decided not to press it.

“I'm glad that you are happy, My dear.” Vivienne said, kindly. “Your love doesn't know how lucky he is.”

“Thanks, guys. I don't really get to do the whole girl thing very much. It's nice to have this.” Hawke admitted. Then, out of curiosity. “So…What kind of things am I suppose to be telling you right now?”

“Only the most sordid and scandalous of details, of course.” Leliana replied, with a sly grin. “Did you not gossip with your friends in Kirkwall like this?”

“Sort of? Isabela scarred my brain with the most perverse stories. I'm going to have to thank her for that later. Being on top really is the best.” Hawke said, absentmindedly, sending the others laughing. “Merrill thought talking dirty meant literally talking about dirt; and Aveline tried to court a guardsman with metal marigolds, 3 sheaves of wheat, and a goat.


 

Even as close as they were to them, the men should not have heard them. Yet, out of nowhere, they heard riotous laughter. Unable to keep it to himself, Blackwall burst into laughter too, and then suddenly they all were. Solas left not long after that, after things calmed down between them all. He did not see the look that crossed between the rest of them as he left.

It was relaxing, to be in the hot springs, and it helped him collect his thoughts. Asking her to marry him hadn't factored into his plans, then again, when he'd made those plans it had been without the memory of her. It hit him then, the life he was condemning her to, and he couldn't breathe. She knew every dark secret he possessed, and still she stayed, even when he knew it would cause her pain. It took a lot longer than he'd likely ever admit to anyone for him to calm down, and by that point Dorian was relaxing in the hot spring as well and seemingly waiting for him to come back to himself.

“Finally back, are we?” Dorian asked, seeing Solas breathing easier. Solas, in surprise, turns to see him there. “Good. I was beginning to think you'd never get out of your own head. We have things to discuss, and a self induced panic simply won't do, you understand.”

“Self induced panic?” Solas asked, incredulously.

“So you weren't thinking about how her life is going to be completely different after this? How condemned you think she'll be because of who you are?” Dorian asked, arched eyebrow at the ready, and waited. Solas's mouth actually fell open in rare shock. “Oh, don't be surprised. You were muttering about it just now.”

“Things to discuss?” Solas asked, not liking the sound of that.

“Yes, several things actually. I did a bit of research, you know, after you ended up taking some of the red lyrium poisoning.” Dorian said, amusement clear in his voice. “The Commander had actually asked about Kindred Souls, and considering what he knew was the stuff out of story books, I offered to find it for him. I think he's trying to work out if our dear Inquisitor is his True Kindred Soul, like Hawke is for you. The thing is, when I went asking after the research, I found some rather interesting details I had forgotten. Not to mention, my father is now ecstatic. He mistakenly thinks I'm trying to find mine.”

Solas sighed inwardly, Dorian did like to rattle on a bit, before repeating. “Dorian. Things to discuss?”

“Oh, right. That. You deflected that question back there, when Blackwall asked after your intentions for Hawke.” Dorian noted, and Solas immediately tensed. “I don't know if you've noticed, but we've all become rather protective of her. Simply asking her to marry you does not tell us how you will treat her. You have been alone for a very long time. Solas. It can not be easy to adjust, but when something happens, is your first thought of her or yourself?”

“That is something that has not been easy for me to correct, Dorian. It is…easy…to forget that she is not only willing to help me, but also capable of helping me.” Solas admitted. “I am use to being alone. I tend to think that way, and if I firmly believe I am right, I tend to carry out that decision without considering how it will affect others. I am aware that is what has lead to several incidents, and that I have hurt Alhasha because of them.”

“That's what I was afraid of.” Dorian remarked, with a sigh. “You have a very strong willed woman on your hands, you know. Your attempts to hide, run, or push her away to protect her have got to stop. You have to know that not only will she fight through all that, but she'll fight you too in order to get you to see the mistake you've made. If you want to spare her, it's best just not to fight her on it.”

“You think I would leave her behind?” Solas blanched, but then realized that that had been a very real possibility until just recently.

“It is her greatest fear.” Dorian revealed. “Whatever promises you've made, I can guarantee you that she still fears that you will leave her behind, even if she doesn't realize it. You have a pattern, Solas. Get close, learn what you can, something bad happens, you strengthen your resolve and push her away. It hurts her worse every single time it happens, and no, leaving her permanently won't fix it. It will just hurt her more than anything else ever could.”

Solas would have been furious with Dorian's words, but the truth of it was the man was right. He had a pattern, and he knew it. Why wouldn't Alhasha have told him she feared this? Of course, she wouldn't have said anything about it. She'd always been one to keep her fears to herself, and he knew that well enough.

“It crosses my mind, even now, how much better off she would be if she found someone else. She deserves a peaceful life, and she isn't likely to have that with me.” Solas admitted, gazing in the direction he knew the woman to be as if he could actually see her. “To never hurt her is not a promise I can make.”

“That's just it though, Solas. There won't be anyone else, not for you or her. The way of True Kindred Souls is just that. There are no half measures.” Dorian stated. “You really went all out with that spell, it seems, to find the one woman who'd be able to put up with you. The first use of such a specific spell dates back even further than I could trace, and Tevinter likes to take the credit for its creation, though I suspect it was you. It practically set the standard for all other True Kindred Soul spells, as opposed to the standard Kindred Souls.”

“She is…extraordinary, pushing me to be more than I am, better than I was. I know I will hurt her, before all of this is over, and perhaps even after, but to leave her…to never come back for her somehow…I don't think I have it in me anymore, Dorian.” Solas said, turning his attention back to the man.

“She is a remarkable woman, to be sure.” Dorian agreed. “In another life, I would have given you a run for your money, you know. As it is now, it is highly amusing to flirt with her while you pretend not to be listening in the next alcove. Being in love looks good on you though, the both of you. I'm happy for you both. It gives hope to the rest of us.”

Unable to help himself, Solas laughed a little, and then in a more relaxed nature, replied. “I saw how you and Iron Bull comforted each other during the Ball. The two of you are very fortunate indeed to have found each other in the midst of all this.”

“No need to get all sentimental on me now, Solas.”Dorian said, waving his hand as if to clear the air. “At any rate, the goal of the conversation was to make sure that you treat our dear Hawke well.”

“I appreciate the sentiment, Dorian.” Solas replied, with a sigh as he shook his head. “Though it is not needed. She is more than capable of making me see reason. It is good, to know that she has made such friends as the two of you.”

“Good. Glad that's settled then.” Dorian stated, with a smug grin. “I'd hate to have to figure out just what in the Void I'm suppose to try and threaten you with. Seems like whatever scratched up your back could do far worse than anything I could come up with.”

Solas didn't think he'd ever laughed so hard before.


 

Returning to Skyhold felt like coming home, Hawke decided. The family was definitely bigger, but whenever she returned to this place, the feeling of home would wash over her. She noticed that Solas would relax more when he was here. There was always something happening, some reason to be running about, someone who needed help, someone who was willing to help. This time was no different.

Her and Solas had opted to take their time returning to Skyhold, and so the others had gone ahead of them. It had been nice to have that time alone, and it was at least one guaranteed time the dwarf could not interrupt. The scene they came upon, once they finally arrived, was nothing like what they had expected. A Chantry mother stood in front of Josephine and Lavellan, looking like she was trying very hard to impress upon them something she felt was very important. Hawke and Solas looked to each other, and back to the scene in confusion, right before Hawke grinned and went in for the kill 'so to speak'.

“Please, Inquisitor, you must see how important this is.” The Mother implored. “Now that Orlais is no longer at conflict, and the Breach is closed, it is more important than ever that we elect a new Divine. Sister Nightingale and Seeker Pentagast must be made ready to be presented to the council at once.”

“You do realize you're trying to bully the Herald of Andraste into giving you what you want, because you want it?” Hawke asked, casually, as she strolled up to them. “Considering that the Chantry all but vilified the Inquisition at its founding, I am surprised you can walk in here without being singed on your own holiness. As it is, I'm afraid that Seeker Pentagast will be unavailable to you. She has a prior engagement she doesn't know about yet, and a dwarf with an insane amount of unattainabley touchable chest hair.

“And Sister Nightingale?” Lavellan asked, her lips twitching in an effort not to laugh.

“Oh, I'm sure between the lot of us, we can come up with some excuse to give that will fend off the vultures.” Hawke supplied, with an innocent smile. “If we're not careful, The Hero of Fereldan may just come in and whisk her away. I hear the two of them were very close during the last Blight. I doubt Zev would mind too much, especially if he gets to watch, or join in the fun.”

“I have been trying to get in touch with her.” Lavellan admitted, sheepishly.

“Don't let Cullen hear you say that.” Hawke replied, now grinning like the cat that found the cream. “He might just get a complex. He use to have a huge crush on her, and if he hears that you two are in touch with each other, he may not be able to help himself.”

“Really, Hawke.” Josephine lightly scolded, though it looked like she welcomed the diversion.

“Alright, I'll behave.” Hawke said, pretending to pout, then looked like she had an idea. “Oh, lady Mother, before you go, a friend of mine had a question they put to me. Unfortunately, I am not privy to the inner workings of the Chantry, so I told him I would find out. Would you mind answering a question for me?”

“I suppose it could not hurt.” The Mother replied, a bit reluctant, seeing that she was not about to get what she wanted today. “The Chantry is always looking to guide new flock.”

“Is it true that on the full moon, you all get naked together, and use the holy oils to lather each others-” Hawke was unable to complete the sentence due to several things happening at once.

The Mother in question balked, and spun about to leave. Josephine looked like she'd swallowed a lemon. Lavellan was shaking with silent laughter she was trying very hard not to let out. Solas, however, didn't even bother. He laughed outright, sending the Mother even faster on her way.

“Wait, where is she going?” Hawke asked, before calling out to the Mother. “I JUST WANT TO KNOW IF THE CHANTRY HAS ORGIES?!”

Everyone within hearing distance stopped at that, and then dropped everything they were doing to laugh, causing the Chantry Mother to move faster to get out of the Keep. Lavellan lost it, holding onto her knees, her shoulders shaking as she laughed outright. Josephine tried to look composed, but even she was having troubles. When the Mother was out of sight, Hawke turned back around to them, grinning sheepishly. She had the good grace to look slightly guilty about it.

“Let me guess. Zevran?” Solas asked, still chuckling slightly.

“No one, actually, though Zevran will laugh about this when I write to him about it later.” Hawke replied, grinning all the more for it. “It got rid of her, didn't it?”

“How can you…I just…How have you not caused an international incident by now, Hawke?” Josephine asked, frustrated. All the colour washed out of Hawke's face in an instant.

“You're forgetting, Lady Montilyet, I have.” She said, her voice despondent, and she walked away. “Now, if you'll excuse me, I…need to go talk to Anders about the Healers Clinic he wanted to help extend here.”


 

“I didn't…She just…ugh…I really stepped in it this time.” Josephine groaned, realizing what she's said. “I did not mean to imply that. Hawke is one of the most dedicated people the Inquisition has. It's just…she…”

“Does not always bother with social niceties?” Lavellan supplied.

“That is one way of putting it, yes.” Josephine said, with a bit of a sigh. “How am I supposed to fix this?”

“While unorthodox, Alhasha's methods usually get the results needed.” Solas said, as if in thought. “Maybe an acknowledgement of that might help, or a fruit basket. Dorian says everyone loves those.”


 

Varric, Anders, Iron Bull, Scout Harding, Cullen and Leliana sat around a table playing Wicked Grace. Biscuit had become their unofficial official mascot for the game, and Sera had taken to tossing treats to see how far the pup could jump to catch them. The whole thing was rather amusing. So when Hawke walked past them looking like a wet blanket, Iron Bull called out to her to come over. She seemed surprised to see them, but happy to join the game.

“So, trouble in paradise already?” Iron Bull asked, after a round. “I had you two pegged at post question bliss for another two weeks.”

“It's not that.” Hawke admitted. “I just…I may have caused an international incident…again.”

“Don't look at me. My newly un-possessed ass is innocent.” Anders declared, raising his hands in surrender.

“This time.” Cullen remarked, eyeing the man.

“No building is blown up, so what's the deal, Hawke?” Iron Bull asked, wondering, though he thought he might have an idea.

“I asked the visiting Lady Mother if the Chantry clergy got together under the full moon, stripped naked, and lathered each other up in holy oil to have orgies.” Hawke asked, completely deadpanned.The laughter was nearly instantaneous, and she couldn't help but join in after a moment. “I don't think Josephine was particularly happy about it though. Might cause another international incident.”

“Oh, I wish I could have seen the look on her face!” Leliana said, through her laughter.

“I may have also suggested that you were escaping with The Hero of Fereldan and Zevran to go have kinky threesomes, which Lavellan and Cullen may or may not join in on, and that Cassandra was about to have her hands full of the unattainabley touchable dwarven chest hair.” Hawke added, keeping them going.

“That explains what the boy was talking about earlier.” Anders said, laughing, with realization…right as Varric passed out into his cards.

Cole showed up, looking very worried for Varric, and looked to Hawke. “You're sure this will help?”

“Yes, Cole, though not right away.” Hawke replied, without missing a beat. He seemed to look a bit better about it. “It will help more than one person in the long run. Trust me.”

“You help like Sera. Laughs make people brighter, happier.” Cole said, with a smile. “I like that we help.”

“Think you can help me sneak him into Cassandra's room without being seen?” Hawke asked, hopefully.

“They won't remember seeing.” Cole replied.

“That's just as good.” Hawke exclaimed, mischievously, and the two left as they carried an unconscious dwarf between them.

“I wonder…” Anders mused, before shaking his head. “You know what?…I don't want to know. Whatever he did to get her to do this…he probably deserves it.”

“Oh, he most definitely deserves it.” Iron Bull replied, with a bit of a chuckle. “Seems our nosey dwarf couldn't help himself, and saw Hawke nearly naked.”

“Oh dear.” Anders said, sounding a bit far off. More cheerfully, he added. “So, who wants to do the eulogy?”


 

Solas searched for Alhasha, after calming down Josephine. They would be fine, he knew that, but some subjects were still too raw to speak off so flippantly. Lavellan had asked if he would look for Varric too, while he searched for Alhasha, as she would like for the dwarf to accompany her on the next mission. That was something that had him shaking his head. After such an eventful time at the Winter Palace in Hal'am'shiral, he would have expected her to want to take a bit of a break, but she was already planning the next few days.

Varric was not at his usual spot, and whenever Solas inquired about him, many would start to laugh uncontrollably. He suspected Alhasha's retribution had finally been enacted, which brought a slight smile to his own face. It was only an after thought which brought him to the gardens, that he found at least one of the people he was looking for. She and Biscut were playing with the young boy that Morrigan had brought with her. For a moment, he simply watched them, basking in the happiness they seemed to exude.

“Hello, I'm Kieran. You're like her, but you're an elf!” The boy, Kieran, exclaimed, happily, upon seeing Solas.

“Yes. You may call me Solas, if you like, Kieran. If I may ask, what do you think of Lady Hawke?” Solas asked, politely.

“She is beautiful. Her eyes, have you seen how bright they are?” Kieran stated, looking back to Alhasha. “The two of you are connected.”

“You can tell that?” Alhasha asked, curiously.

“It's like so many strands. They float in the wind when you are apart, but the closer you get, the tighter they are, the more I can see them.” Kieran explained, smiling. “You love him.”

“Very much so.” Alhasha replied, with a little smile.

“That is good. He looks like he was lonely before.” Kieran said, sympathetically.

“Kieran, are you causing these two trouble?” Morrigan asked, as she strolled up to them.

“Mother, have you met them? They share a bond, Mother. Isn't that wonderful?” Kieran asked, happily.

“Indeed. Don't you have studies to get to, little man?” Morrigan asked, arching her eyebrow at the boy in a way only a mother can.

The boy sighed, and moved to shuffle away, but at the last second he moves to hug Alhasha. “Don't worry. He isn't lonely now. He loves you too.”

And then he rushed off.

“I hope he wasn't troubling either of you.” Morrigan stated, fondly watching the boy as he left. “Not many understand him, and I worry as any mother would.”

“Nonsense. The boy is a gentle soul.” Solas replied, kindly. “It is good to see one so open, especially one so young. He sees more than most. It is a gift not many would appreciate.”

“I never thought I'd see the day where you were a mother, Morrigan.” Alhasha said, happily. “It looks good on you.”

“So, who is this then, little songbird? Aren't you going to introduce me?” Morrigan, asked, with inquisitive eyes.

“Morrigan, this is Solas.” Alhasha explained, though whether she saw the knowing look in the woman's eyes was unclear. “Solas, this is Morrigan, one of Flemeth's daughters. She was at the Winter Palace.”

“I have heard mention of you before, and I believe we may have met briefly at the Winter Palace. It is good to officially make your acquaintance, Lady Morrigan.” Solas said, looking at Morrigan intently. “How is it that you know Alhasha?”

“She called for help across the Fade, and I was too curious not to answer. The Kokari wilds do not offer much in the way of companionship. She needed someone, and I needed to be needed.” Morrigan replied, with a kind smile. “I take it she met you in a similar fashion?”

“In a manner of speaking. She pulled me through the Fade to where she was.” Solas admitted, surprising Morrigan. “She is…extraordinary.”

“That she is. Hawke, I hate to cut our time short, but I do have to get to the War Room. The Inquisitor wishes to discuss Crestwood. We should get together sometime, and catch up. It has been too long, my friend.” Morrigan said, and with a nod to Solas, she left.

“That boy houses the soul of an old god.” Solas stated, as soon as the woman was gone. “That he can literally see our connection as so many strands may be a result of that.”

“She does love that boy. I wasn't lying when I said motherhood looked good on her.” Alhasha replied. “You came to find me. What were you wanting to talk about?”

“I can't seem to find Varric, and the Inquisi-” He had been about to say something, but Alhasha's laugh burst forth in an instant.

“She'll have to…find…someone else!” Alhasha said, through her laughter.

“Do I want to know?” Solas asked, and now Alhasha is holding onto her sides from laughing so hard. “Just what did you do to him?”

“He's…he's…” She can't speak for a few good minutes. “…a bit tied up at the moment. Best tell her to leave without him.”

Alhasha…What did you do?” Solas asked, now morbidly curious. She calmed down enough to whisper it to him, and he blanched even as he laughed.


 

The first thing he noticed upon waking up, was that his nose itched, but when he went to scratch it, he discovered he couldn't move either. That's when he discovered his next bit of unfortunate news. Oh, this could not get any worse, but it could…and it did. This was by far the worst situation he's ever been in, but he was not going to call out for help. He was perfectly happy to die in quiet embarrassment, hoping that no one found him.

Of course, he knew that Flint would get back at him eventually. He didn't know why he'd been so surprised when she'd made to knock him out, but this? Damn it, his nose itched! He hadn't expected the kid to get involved, or Blondie, though he should have suspected that last one. Anders was notorious for helping Flint with her pranks, if only because he thought he could get into her smallclothes that way.

He blamed Dorian, truth be told. It'd been from him that she'd heard the story of what they'd found while searching about the Winter Palace. Now, he's tied up, strapped to a bed, spread out, with only a hat for his bits. He wasn't even sure who's room he was in, but he dreaded finding out. His nose really itches, and it's driving him up the wall. He sighed, once again damning his own curious nature or getting him into this mess, as he waits for whoever it is that's supposed to find him.


 

An hour or so later…

 

Cassandra had just gotten through reading the latest chapter of Swords and Shields. She'd opened the door to her room, and upon seeing what was inside, quickly closed said door. She wasn't seeing this. She did not see Varric tied to her bed spread eagle buck ass naked. Maker's Breath, the only thing he'd been wearing was a hat on his bits.

Hawke is gone on some fool dragon hunt, and the Inquisitor is off in Crestwood, and she was not about to go back in there! What was she suppose to do? This was even worse than some of the things she'd read in that smutty book series he wrote. Her face was beet red just thinking about it.

“Seeker, I know you're still standing there.” Varric stated, in resigned defeat. She sighs, and walks back in, quickly closing the door, and looks anywhere else except for at him.

“This is most inappropriate, Varric.” She scolds, not sure what else to say, thoroughly embarrassed.

“Look, if you're not going to untie me, can you at least scratch my nose? It itches.” Varric whines.

“Not before you answer my questions.” Cassandra insisted. “I'm going to assume you did not do this to yourself. Who did?”

“If I tell you, will you scratch my nose?” Varric asked, wriggling his nose. “Come on, Seeker. Show a little sympathy.”

“Alright, fine.” She agreed, with an annoyed sigh. “Now out with it.”

“Flint.” Varric answered.

Hawke did this to you?” Cassandra asked, wide eyed, in shock. Why?”

“Why do you think?” Varric asked, with a huff. “I practically walked in on them about to have sex, with her already naked, barely covered by a towel, and trying to get Chuckles out of his clothes!”

She reluctantly scratched his nose.

“So, I get why she did this to you, but what do I have to do with this?” Cassandra asked, very clearly embarrassed.

Really, Seeker?” Varric asked, annoyed and embarrassed. Who knew dwarves could blush this much? “She's tied me up like a Wintersend goose, and left me in your room. What do you think you have to do with this?”

“Well, I…I mean…I just…I thought…” Cassandra stammered, her blush now matching his. “This is not how one shows interest.”

“Clearly you haven't looked under the hat.” Varric teased, making her blush that much more. “This is a clear opportunity if there ever was one. You have to have at least one fantasy where you abuse your power over a 'prisoner', Seeker.”

“Be that as it may, we might want to untie you. Your hands are turning purple.” She said, and began working to untie him, with a smirk. When he was untied, she moved to the door to give him his privacy to redress, but before she left, she turned her head towards him slightly and added. “If you really want to 'show you interest', you're just going to have to court me properly. We'll talk about tying you up after.”

And with that, she left him there, with a gaping expression on his face.

 

Chapter Text

Chapter 26

 

Dorian liked to think that he knew a great deal about how people operated, but that didn't always apply, and Solas seemed to fall into the unexpected category quite a lot for him. They'd made camp for the night, on their way to investigate Crestwood, and that had given Dorian time to study up on everyone. People watching was a strangely enjoyable hobby, and one you can drink to as you went about it. For the past several minutes, Solas has been chuckling to himself. Actually, he'd been doing that all day, but he'd not bothered to explain himself.

“Alright, what is it?” Dorian asked, when Solas came and sat by the fire with him. “You've been randomly chuckling all day. I know the dwarf calls you Chuckles, but this is getting ridiculous.”

“It's just…it's about master Tethras. Alhasha told me what she did to him.” Solas replied, with a knowing smile. “I doubt you or Iron Bull will have to do anything to add to his embarrassment.”

“How bad is it?” Dorian asked, now morbidly curious.

“Not bad, in the grand scheme of things, but certainly mortifying for the dwarf.” Solas responded, still grinning. “It seems she got the idea from you.”

“Oh? This I have to hear.” Dorian said, with a grin. “It's always good when I can add to my own amusement. Tell me, what did I say that gave her the idea for whatever it is she did?”

“Do you remember that chevalier we found in the Empress's room?” Solas asked, and Dorian instantly belts out laughing.

Dorian asked, still laughing. “She did that to him?”

“And left him alone…” Solas added, pausing for dramatic effect. “…in Seeker Pentagast's room.”

“Damn, I owe that woman 10 sovereigns.” Dorian chuckled. “That was, hands down, much better than the suggestions Bull or I gave her.”

“What did they say they would be doing, anyway?” Solas asked. “She mentioned going on another mission with him while I was away.”

“She didn't tell you?” Dorian asked, and then continued on. “I'm actually surprised she didn't. She's agreed to go dragon hunt-”

Solas had instantly stood up, and began pacing, ranting in elvhen. It was not a language that Dorian had been able to pick up during his time here. The man was worried about Hawke, Dorian could gather that much, but what Solas shouted as he paced back and forth was lost on him. Lavellan stumbled out of her tent a few moments later, bleary eyed, looking around wildly for whatever was suppose to be attacking camp, only to see Solas in full blown panic. She calmed down, strangely enough, and made her way over to the camp fire.

Isenathan! Isenathan! La Vael air'tel aelyl o'ei'telsila. As isala pana i'isenathan!” Solas raged, at no one in particular.

“Did you have to go and tell him about the dragons?” Lavellan asked, keeping her voice low, when she got to Dorian. “I was asleep.”

“This is good for him. It's better for him to get it out of his system now, than when he finds she's not back at Skyhold.” Dorian reasoned, and she grumbled. He was right, but having ones sleep interrupted made for a grumpy disposition.

Solas!” Lavellan growled, grabbing the mans attention. “ As shor ea san. Mala, felas'dur, eil lasa em era.

“She-” Solas managed to say, before Lavellan cut him off.

No, Solas. She. Will. Be. Fine. Lavellan stated, firmly. “Ema na din dhru in ash?

“That's not…I didn't…” Solas stammered, her words cutting into him, and he seemed to deflate almost instantly. “Ir abelas, ma falon, na ane vol.

He sits down once again, and Lavellan heads back to her tent to sleep.

“Do you worry for Iron Bull like this?” Solas asked, trying to take subtle deep breaths to calm down.

“More often than I will ever tell him.” Dorian admitted, with a smirk. “The same goes for her, you know. She worries for you more than she will ever tell you. That tends to be the way of it, wanting to share their burdens while trying to hide your own.”

“That seems counter productive.” Solas mused, and then sighed. “Dragons. Why did it have to be dragons?”

“You'd be saying the same thing about undead, red templars, wyverns, giants, or dark spawn.” Dorian pointed out. Solas huffed at that, but didn't deny it either.


 

Isenathan! Isenathan! La Vael air'tel aelyl o'ei'telsila. As isala pana i'isenathan!

Dragons! Dragons! Like Vael isn't enough of a problem. She wants fights with dragons!

As shor ea san. Mala, felas'dur, eil lasa em era

She will be fine. Now, calm down, and let me sleep

Ema na din dhru in ash?

Have you no faith in her?

Ir abelas, ma falon, na ane vol.

I'm sorry, my friend, you are right.


 

Hawke had felt his worry as if it had been her own, and cringed when she realized she'd forgotten to tell him about the dragon hunt. It wasn't like she needed his permission, but she'd not meant to exclude his feelings in this either. That would be about the time her infamous accident prone nature kicked in. She'd tried to send back feelings of calm, anything to let Solas know that he didn't need to worry. However, she stumbled because she wasn't paying attention to where she was going, and fell down a rather large hole.

When she woke up, Hawke was still a little groggy. So it took her a minute to realize that she was looking up at where she'd fallen from, and that her very warm bed was gently moving up and down in a slow rhythmic pattern. Iron Bull was looking down at her with a mixture of awe and worry. So she was either the luckiest woman on the planet, or the craziest. Hawke herself expected it was a bit of both.

The Dragon hadn't woken up yet, but she could tell it was in the process of doing just that. Oh, this was bad, Hawke realized. Solas could read her emotions from where he was, just as she could his, and if he realized just what state she was in now…Strangely enough, concentrating on the dragon's breathing helped calm her down. If she could calm down, he wouldn't have to know she was resting her laurels on the back of a sleeping dragon.

“Hawke…Hawke, are you injured?” Iron Bull called down, keeping his voice low. She gave a thumbs up, not wanting to speed up the process of waking up the dragon, though she didn't see how else she was going to get out of this mess.

“Shit.” Iron Bull grumbled, the sound barely echoing down to her. “Just hang on. We'll get you out!”


 

Solas showing up in a random location had become common place, but Iron Bull really wished that he could have held off on that just this once. Hawke wasn't in any immediate danger, at least not yet, and it wasn't going to stay like that for long. If he could keep Solas calm, they had a chance of getting her out of there alive. There was no way she was coming out of there riding on the back of a dragon…Actually, that sounded like a really great plan, and now Iron Bull really wanted to see that happen.

“Solas, what are you doing here?” Iron Bull asked, keeping his voice low.

“This usually only happens when Alhasha is in danger of some sort.” Solas replied, eyeing him suspiciously. “Why is she not with you?”

“Hawke is fine…resting…fine.” Iron Bull managed, hoping to bullshit his way out of this. “Go back to Crestwood, or wherever it is you actually are at the moment. There is absolutely nothing to worry about.”

“Then why do I feel…” Solas managed, closing his eyes as if to stave off something. “…light headed… dizzy…She is anxious…I will not ask again, Bull. Where is she?”

“Alright, alright, but promise you won't freak out.” Iron Bull said, relenting. Solas didn't budge. “She fell down that hole over there…She's fine…as far as we can tell anyway,…but…she…well……landed on the back of a sleeping dragon.”

All the colour drains from the elven man's face, only to be replaced with pure shock, as Solas asked. “How…How did that happen?”

“She just tripped. We weren't even supposed to stop here. Our goal was half a mile east…or so we thought.” Iron Bull explained, cautious about the elf's reaction now. “Right now she's fine, but there's no way to move her.”

Solas closed his eyes again, shaking his head, before sighing. “Only Alhasha can trip, and fall, only to land on a sleeping dragon. How-”

“I don't know how we're going to get her out, Solas, but we will get her out.” Iron Bull insisted, rather emphatically.

“Chief!” Krem shouted, bringing their attention back to the present. “You're not going to believe this!”


 

They all watched as the dragon came into view, and backed up accordingly, but Solas and Iron Bull refused to move. This was a being of raw power, one the two respected for different reasons, but what shocked them most was not the dragon. Alhasha sat on the shoulders of a dragon, clinging on for dear life, caught somewhere between joy and fear. At first, the dragon paid them no heed, trying to throw the bothersome thing that was on its body. However, Alhasha was either too stubborn to be bucked off,…or she was stuck.

“Solas, that woman is amazing! Iron Bull exclaimed, shocked and thrilled by the turn of events. “Do you see that?! Ohhh, this is going to be good!”

Solas doesn't think he's ever seen a more perfect representation of what Alhasha is than this. Lightning splits the air, and fire surrounds as sparks of bright blue lyrium singe the air. Alhasha laughs even as he can sense her fear, and Solas does not know whether to be afraid, angry, in awe, or worried out of his damned mind. She's wearing the biggest wolfish grin he's ever seen on her, her hair dancing wildly about her. The dragon itself is fascinating, an impressive display of raw power, and were his nas'falon not trapped on it somehow, Solas might have been tempted to study it further…maybe even enjoy the fight as Iron Bull tended to do.

Leanashal alhasha.” Solas murmured, when he caught another moment to breathe. “Gaelashal salhasine.

Gloriously wild – Absolutely insane

Then, as he watched the dragon take flight, his mind stopped working altogether. He could hear Iron Bull trying to get him to calm down, but it sounded so far away, as if he were hearing through water. He heard her screams, not of fear, but of joy, and slowly came back to himself. Something was wrong though, a pull on his mind. Someone was trying to call him back to himself, and he only had so much time left.

“Iron Bull, I can not stay.” Solas said, not taking his eyes off of where Alhasha and the dragon were in the sky. “Lavellan is calling me back to myself. Something is wrong in Crestwood.”


 

Being in the sky was a lot different than she thought it would be. Then again, she wasn't the one in charge of flying. The dragon's wingspan was impressive, and she was very thankful that its horns were pointed outward instead of back at her. Somehow, she'd been able to hold on to at least one of the horns while the thing tried to buck her off, and its neck was just short enough that it could not reach back to bite her, though she was worried about the spikes along its jawline. Seeing Solas there was not surprising, but she could only imagine the fight they would have when she got back to Skyhold.

When the two landed, Hawke realized why she hadn't been bucked off yet. The dragon wanted her gone, but its scales were absorbing her. She'd become kind of glued to the creature, so much so that part of her legs were sinking into it. That's when she began to panic, punching the damned thing with fire wrapped fists, trying to fry its brains. Solas was gone, called back she assumed, so she did not know if it was his panic she was even feeling or her own.

“LET ME GO!” Hawke shouted, her voice filled with worry and panic, even as she pounded her fists into the dragon's skull. “LET ME GO! LET ME GO NOW!!!


 

Iron Bull could only watch as Hawke pounded on the dragon's skull, all manner of magical means being used. It seemed particularly weak against lightning, and so it was no surprise when her magic fixated on it. Each time Hawke slammed her fist down, a bolt of lightning came down and struck its skull, and she screamed all the while, her eyes shining a bright light as she did so. The more panicked she became, the more fiercely she pounded with her fists, and the more powerful the lightning became, until finally a bolt of lightning split the dragon's skull open. That sent the dragon slumping over till it fell down in an unceremonious heap, and gave up the last of its life.

She continued pounding on the skull, demanding to be let go, sending bolts of lightning through it. The air around them was practically charged with electricity. He knew that if they couldn't calm her down, the sheer power she was wielding in her panic could kill them. So when Solas showed up again, Iron Bull wasn't surprised. What did surprise him was when Solas saw her like that, and moved to go to her.

“Solas, don't!” Iron Bull warned, seeing that the elf was headed straight for her.

Of course, his words were ignored. Solas made his way to the woman in question without hesitation. With each strike on lightning, the others kept having to move a step back. As her hand came down, Solas struck out, and grabbed the other one, pulling her to him. In an instant, Hawke was on the ground again, the lightning struck them both, and Solas pulled Hawke into an embrace.

When the lightning bolt struck, it was absorbed by something unseen, and the area was bathed in light. All around them, a mix of bright blue and light green tendrils danced around them. Though it was only for the briefest of moments, the outline of two wolves could be seen in the tendrils above them, offering comfort to each other. It was the single most powerful magical display he'd ever seen, and he'd just gotten through fighting a dragon. As the lights faded, Solas was comforting Hawke could just as the wolves had been.

Iron Bull hoped that for their sake they had a good explanation for that. A display like that demanded answers, and the Qun would disavow him if he couldn't come up with something good to cover this up with. If not, Solas had just all but announced that he was Fen'Harel to the Qun, and that was not something Iron Bull wanted to see happen, and Hawke?…He didn't even know what she was now. As much as the two butted heads on how they viewed spirits, the two men had struck up a friendship, and he viewed Hawke as a friend as well. He did not want to tell the Qun what he knew.

“Let me go! Let me go!” Hawke cried, still panicking, as if her eyes didn't understand the change in environment.

Lath'in, dian. Na ane eth. Na ane reva.” Solas said, trying to get her to look into his eyes as he attempted to calm her down. “Ra tel nua na mala.”

Love, stop. You are safe. You are free – It can not hurt you now

Ra shyr'tel rea! Ra shyr'tel rea, Solas!” Hawke insisted, her eyes wide in panic still. “Ra…Ra shor veral em sule ra'len…vilal'em…Ar tel lasa ra!

It wouldn't let go! It wouldn't let go, Solas! - It…It was taking me into itself…absorbing me…I couldn't let it!

She was stopped from continuing her panic filled rambling by Solas, who had taken to stealing a kiss. Though Iron Bull doubted the elf would ever admit to being scared, seeing Hawke on that dragon had rattled him. It wasn't something one saw every day, and Solas was already very protective of her. Even Iron Bull knew how encompassing the bonds of True Kindred Souls were. Though Hawke could very well take care of herself, and Solas knew that, worry was not always reasonable and had a habit of rearing its head whenever the woman got caught up in something.

Na ane eth, Lath'in.” Solas said, as if he needed to reaffirm it for himself, before stealing another kiss. “Seeing you on that dragon…(kiss)…We are going to have words later…(kiss)…Important words…(kiss)…about safety…(kiss)…and the wildness that you are…(kiss)…and how incredibly palasha I found it all…(kiss)…ara salhasine…(kiss)…alhasha…(kiss)…tel'dhru'gonathe…(kiss)…ir'ina'lan'ehn…(kiss)…lath'in…”

You are safe, Love – sexy – my crazy…wild…incredible…gorgeous…love…

“You two can catch up later.” Iron Bull said, serious, and the two started as if they had forgotten anyone else was there. Each kiss had seemed to calm her down until Solas hadn't just stealing them, she had been returning them, and Iron Bull had no desire to see what those two looked like naked. “Solas, I need an explanation, something I can tell the people back home. Give me something plausible, so they'll think I'm not hiding more than any other Ben-hassrath. I saw the two of you absorb a lightning bolt, and wolves appeared above you in that spirit tendril stuff. I need something that can explain that away.”

Solas looked lost in thought for a moment, looking like he had barely able to pull himself from the obvious plan he'd had to steal as many kisses from Hawke as he could, before replying. “Alhasha and I are Fenin, something akin to shape-shifters, but the wolf is the only form we can take. Where I specialize in Fade magic, and Alhasha is my nas'falon, it would be reasonable to assume that she too has an affinity for the Fade apart from myself. Therefore, the wolves within us would be easy to see where the Veil is weakest. As for the lightning bolt, the shield absorbed the magic of it, allowing it to return safely to its source. How was that?”

“That could work.” Iron Bull replied, and decided to leave them there to sort themselves out.


 

“I am glad you are safe, Lath'in.” Solas said, turning his attentions back to her. “You are the only one I have ever met that can trip and fall onto a dragon. Why does master Tethras not tell stories like those?”

“I don't think it would make for very a very good story if the hero trips into action.” She joked, laughing a bit, still filled with nerves. “So…about those words we're suppose to have later?…”

“As much as it worried me, I have never seen anything quite as chaotic and wildly beautiful as that, Alhasha.” Solas admitted, very much wishing they were more alone than they were. “The way you looked…alhasha eil reva…it was…syl'veral…pal'sorol…

wild and free……breathtaking…thrilling

“Thrilling, you say?” Alhasha asked, looking glad for the distraction from her panic.

“Oh, yes, Lath'in.” Solas replied, grinning a wolfish smile to rival her own. “There will be many words had about that.”

“Promise?” She asked, baiting him with that grin of hers, leaning up for a kiss, one he could not deny her.

“You two do know I'm still here, right?” Krem asked, more than a little amused. The two turned to see him looking only slightly uncomfortable, and a touch embarrassed. “Chief told me to stay to make sure you two didn't get 'carried away'. I imagine he plans on us leaving soon.”

“I should be getting back.”Solas conceded, returning his attentions to Alhasha. “We are returning to Skyhold soon. Something about what happened in Crestwood troubles me. Warden Stroud suspects that the Grey Wardens are being corrupted by Coryphius. If this is so, it may lead to the demon armies Lavellan spoke of.”

“Where did he say he was looking into?” Alhasha asked, instantly.

“There is an old fortress in the Western Approach. He seems to think they have gone there.” He said, before he looked to Krem, who seemed to get the hint that maybe he needed to leave for a bit, and then back to Alhasha.

Lath'in.” He said, more quietly. “There is something I need to discuss with you once you get back to Skyhold. Please, as soon as you can, make your way back. I will be waiting.”


 

By the time that they got back to Skyhold, Hawke was in a right state. The man had told her he had something to discuss with her…Was that the same thing as the 'We need to talk' speech? How in the Void was she suppose to know this stuff? So when Solas pulled her into a hidden alcove, only to push her up against a wall and kiss her breathless, Hawke was a bit taken aback.

“You said…” Hawke managed to get out, before he was kissing her again. Damn, he was good at this. “Solas, you said …” Really, this was getting out of hand. “Solas, you said we needed to talk!” That finally got him to pause, hearing the seriousness in her voice. “I've been worried you didn't want me anymore! Give me a minute to catch up!” That last part was said with a joking demeanor.

“You thought…?” Solas said, pausing for a moment, as if going over the memory in his mind again. “Why?”

“Because you all but said 'we need to talk' and then you left!” Hawke hissed, a bit embarrassed about it all, knowing that she was blushing now. Iron Bull had insisted that wasn't what it'd meant, but she'd let her imagination get out of hand.

“I…I had not realized…” He said, looking a bit surprised, before adding. “I was a bit more focused on all those words we were going to have about you, and that dragon, and what that did…theslol palasha…than what I said after…I had just…Your eyes, Lath'in, shown like…You truly are now…”

fucking sexy

In that instant, Hawke understood. Her eyes had shown like that of the Evanuris, not a flash of it, but steady enough so that it was unmistakable what she had become…to those who knew what to look for. When she nodded in understanding, Solas rested his forehead against her own. He'd come close to losing that control again, and that would not do where they could be discovered. It took a little while before either trusted themselves to speak.

“Lady Morrigan is having something brought to Skyhold from the Winter Palace. Though I do not know how, she has come into possession of an uncorrupted functional El'u'vian.” Solas stated, back to his aloof nature, though there was something intimate about the way he spoke to her. “When it gets here, there is something I want to show you. I think it could be what we need, and there are places I wish to share with you.”

There was that word again, we, and it made Hawke smile to hear it. She nodded her silent agreement, because they really didn't know where another assassin would pop up. Solas took this as his cue to begin a trail of kisses that lead from her lips to her jawline to him nibbling on her neck, knowing she couldn't stop the little sounds she made when he did that, though she did try. There were people around milling about their day, and she didn't want to get caught there. Solas just concentrated on making little places along her neck, alternating between nibbling and suckling each place he made.

“Vishante Kaffas!” Fenris shouted, causing Solas to drop his head to one of Hawke's shoulders and shake with silent laughter. “She hasn't even been back 5 minutes!”


 

It had taken many months to figure out the quick way to that hard to find room of hers. It had taken a few more to figure out how to get in without either of them knowing he'd been there. The failed attempts could be blamed on servants bringing food, things neither would think to question. He'd been here for so long now, that even if they could smell him, they would not recognize him as an intruder. This had to be perfect, and if the rumours were true, nothing else would do.


 

In the Fade…

 

Solas put his hand to his neck, having felt something prick him, a look of confusion crossing his features. He knew in an instant that something was wrong in the waking world. It was only a matter of time before Alhasha picked up on it too. She looked so happy with her family. Because he knew that this was not something everyone could indulge in, he did not want to alert her to what was wrong, but he should have known she'd pick up on it faster than he wanted.

“Out with it. Your eyebrows have that dip to them again. Something's wrong.” Alhasha said, walking up to him, stealing a small kiss. He could not resist taking over the kiss, putting more into it as he was worried it would be his last, and she sensed that too. “Solas? What's wrong?”

“I am…uncertain, Alhasha. I think someone…I think someone may have entered the room.” Solas said, shaking his head. Fenedhis! It was getting harder to think. “It is not impossible, and they may have…”

“Then I have to get back!” Alhasha insisted, instantly alarmed. “What if something happens to you?”

“It…already has, Lath'in.” He revealed, knowing she would feel it soon. He could not keep the effects of the link away from her forever. “I have been…drugged…Possibly taken…I do not know. Do not wake up yet…It is dangerous, Lath'in, please…”

He knew what he was asking was unfair. She was caught between wanting to save him, and wanting to trust that he knew what he was doing. Staying here would save her, at least he hoped it would. Her waking up to a hostage situation in progress? He was not about to take that risk, whether it angered her or not.

“Please, Lath'in, just stay…stay with me here…” Solas pleaded, anything to keep her from waking up.

“You are in so much trouble when I find you.” She threatened, though there was no anger in her words. She let him pull her into his arms, and then she whispered into his ear. “I was rather looking forward to all those words we were going to have.”

“I will endeavor to make it up to you once we are out of this.” Solas replied, trying to keep his voice light, but he could tell something was wrong again. “Alhasha? What-?”

She was gone before he could blink, her voice ringing in his ears, as she called out to him.


 

He realized, before he had even woken up, that it was not her that had left the Fade. It had been him. Weak did not describe how he felt. There was no word for the depth of helplessness in him now. There was a certain disjointed feeling that came with whatever this was.

That's when he knew. Magebane. He'd been dosed with magebane, something that had never happened to him before. Alhasha fought through this stuff? She was right about the walking through rapids feeling. This felt like he was drowning, like he could not even find the surface of where he was.

This place, where was he? The rocking…a boat perhaps? He'd been chained up by his wrists together above his head, with his feet barely on the floor. Immediately, he is glad he told Alhasha to stay in the Fade. She may be able to fight off a dragon, but he did not want her to see what was about to happen to him.

“It is good to see you awake, my fine elven friend. I was beginning to think you were never going to wake up.” Came an all too familiar voice from somewhere nearby.

Solas looked to his left, narrowing his eyes as he fought through the haze the magebane had put on his mind. Zevran looked to be in the same situation as him, maybe without the drugs in his system, or just different drugs, but badly beaten. Somehow, that antivan assassin had managed to keep his humour through that. Solas just snorted at the man, and closed his eyes. Everything in the room felt like it was spinning.

“I thought you were an assassin.” Solas offered, in way of greeting, sarcastically.

“I thought you were a god.” Zevran chuckled, jovially. “Funny how we both ended up in the same place, no?”

“Who has us, and are there others?” Solas asked, after a while.

“I am uncertain if there are others…” Zevran explained, with shaky breath. “As for who has us…”

“It is good that you are awake.” A new voice came. Vael, Solas realized, walked towards them both. “Pity I could not have had Hawke grabbed as well, but no matter.”

“Where is she? What have you done with her?!” Solas growled, straining to remain clearheaded through the fog the magebane put his head in.

“I was told she looked absolutely peaceful sleeping next to you.” Vael stated, not answering his question just yet. “Don't worry about her. When she realizes where you are, she will come for you. What you should be worried about is what I'm going to do to you. If I have to cut you open to find out how to free her, I'll do it.”

Despite this, Solas was relieved. Alhasha had been left alone, meaning that she was safe for the time being. Whatever happened to him, she was safe. He could keep the connection at bay if it meant she wouldn't have to suffer what was about to happen to him. Vael's eyes looked like they promised retribution.

“How strange that you have scars like her lyrium lines.” Vael said, observantly, looking up at Solas's bare arms where the sleeves had fallen down. “I wonder…How did you get them?”

“That is no concern of yours.” Solas scoffed, only to be punched in the ribs for his trouble. The more he refused to answer, the more painful the punches became, until he was fairly certain the man had cracked a few of his ribs in the process.

“Now, care to answer the question?” Vael asked, nonchalantly.

“I took…her pain.” Solas rasped, through difficult breaths, giving the barest bit of information he could. Without warning, Vael's fist connected with his jaw, and went back to punching his ribs until Zevran interrupted him.

“Why are we here?” Zevran demanded, surprising Vael into stopping.

He is here because he has stolen what is mine!” Vael snapped, pointing to Solas.

“Hawke was never yours, Sebastian.” Zevran chuckled, only to be punched for his troubles too.

“And you! You're here because you turned down my offer.” Vael snarled. “I can't exactly have news of this getting out before I am prepared for it. All you had to do was stay with them, report what you saw, and bring them to me. I would have made you rich beyond your foolish dreams, but you couldn't even do that right. I see no reason for Hawke to speak so highly of you.”

“Hawke is my friend.” Zevran chuckled, darkly, unfazed by Vael's outburst. “Did you really think I would betray her to you?”

“Friends…” Sebastian scoffed, in disbelief. “Loyalty and friendship can be bought with coin. I have many friends now.”

Zevran just leveled him with a look, even chained up as he was, and replied darkly. “I don't.”

 

Chapter Text

Chapter 27

 

Hawke was angry. Solas had known what was happening to him, had hidden it from her, and now he was gone. She'd searched Skyhold like a madwoman, looking for any sign of him. Whoever had taken him had made sure to cover their scent, leave no tracks, and drugged Biscuit so he couldn't alert them or help after. It was all Lavellan and the others could do to keep her calm.

Many questions ran through her mind. How had they gotten into 'their room' without her knowledge? How had they left with Solas without anyone seeing them? Where were they now, and who were they? Why had they gone after Solas, and not her?

Though she knew that he was trying to keep their link from revealing what was happening to him, not everything could be held back. She'd nearly collapsed when she felt a sharp pain to her ribs, but at least she knew what it was, though it made her sick to think of it. Whoever it was, was torturing him, and they'd drugged him with magebane to keep his magic down. She felt his anger, a sense of betrayal, and a calm understanding. Leliana was busy interrogating her people, Lavellan was combing through the reports, and Hawke was getting restless with waiting for something to happen.


 

“That's why…you kept…showing up.” Solas concluded, trying to keep his breathing light. Cracked ribs hurt like a motherfucker.

“No…and yes.” Zevran admitted, turning slightly till Solas could see his battered face. “I hold friends in high regard,…because I have…so few of them,…and Hawke…is a friend to me…So, when I got a letter…saying she was in trouble,…I went…I found it strange…that she was so easy to find…that her reaction to you was not…one of fear, but of anger and retribution…that she was hurt…because you were ignoring her…I realized…that Sebastian had lied…god…or not,…I doubt even you…could hold Hawke against her wishes…at least…not for long…When Sera contacted me…said Hawke was in trouble…I went…Sera was quite clear…about what kind of trouble…Hawke could be in…knew about prince baddie,…as she calls him…I could not risk…him finding Hawke…before you did…”

“You love her.” Solas realized, and a strange emptiness filled him at that.

“I love…all of my friends,…even you, my fine elven friend,…but alas…my heart belongs to another.” Zevran replied, with his usual easy going smile even now, easing Solas's tension. “The Hero of Fereldan…is a fiery woman,…most definitely not into sharing,…but it is fun to tease her…all the same.”

Suddenly, Solas was laughing, though it came out as huffs of breath. “At least now…I can finally tell you…You missed it…Alhasha asked a question for you…when we…got back to Skyhold…teased a Chantry mother…asking about…holy oils, and orgies…yelled it out for all to hear…when the poor woman tried to escape…in order to keep the woman…from bullying Lavellan.”

Zevran chuckled, though not for long. “I asked…the same thing…of one of the mages…of the Fereldan Circle…It went about like that…That woman is something else…”


 

When Sebastian came in this time, he brought with him several soldiers, and made his way directly to Solas. It was as if the prince of Starkhaven had forgotten the antivan assassin was even there. There is no torture without respite, no pain without hope, and yet…Solas had to know what they were about to do to him, and yet he was not fearful. He looked almost passive, even when they cut the shirt from his body.

“Fascinating.” Sebastian murmured, taking in the scars.

Zevran had to agree with him. Solas's scars were fascinating, but he recognized them as something that the elven mage did not have before he'd seen him last. Something had happened, and Solas had taken her pain. Zevran wasn't quite sure what that meant, but he saw the first signs of trepidation on Solas's face, and knew things were going to get worse before they got better. It seemed that Sebastian saw it too.

“I was wondering if I would ever see a reaction from you, Fen'Harel.” Sebastian sneered. “Just what are these scars? Why do they mimic Hawke's Lyrium lines? Just what did you do to her?”

“I told you.” Solas replied, annoyed and frustrated. “I took her pain…It was you that did this to her…Your red templars…mages…that gave her red lyrium poisoning.”

Liar!  Sebastian shouted, and sliced into one of the scar lines on Solas's chest.

He could see Solas hold his breath, clinch his fists, in an effort to hold the pain in. It didn't matter. The further Sebastian cut along the lines, the deeper he went, the more pain he caused. Solas gasped, shaking his head side to side with his eyes closed. It was almost as if he were fighting with someone else, someone within himself.

“What is this?!” Sebastian shouted, angrily, when a flash of blue arched around Solas, sending the prince back a few feet. “What did you do?!”

Solas was shaking, breathing heavily, but it was not in fear. Anger rolled off the man in waves so strong Zevran nearly choked from it. The soldiers backed up just a little, as if they were afraid of a powerless elven mage that could not hurt them. Even Sebastian was looking a bit trepidatious, and he was the one holding the knife. Solas just shook his head, when he stopped shaking, and the anger seemed to all but vanish…sort of.

“So…this is what power is to you…” Solas concluded, before lifting his head to stare at Sebastian. “I saw you…in the Fade…I watched…as she walked with you…as she saw you safely to the Chantry…I saw what you did…what you tried to do…I saw her…push you away…(Sebastian stabbed him in the shoulder then, and Solas clinched his jaw to keep from screaming)…I saw her…fight you off…(Sebastian sliced along another scar line, this time near his ribs)…I felt…everything you did to her…(that stopped the prince short)…Tell me something…Is that what good men do these days?…Is your Maker smiling on you now?”


 

In a flash, Hawke was on the ground, curled into herself, her forehead touching the ground. She could hear Lavellan by her side, checking her over in an effort to see what was wrong. Hawke knew, but she was too caught up in the pain to tell her. She was feeling Solas's pain again. For days there had been sporadic torturing, drugging, unending pain, and they were no closer to finding him than they were before.

When Hawke came to, she was in their room. She hadn't even realized she'd even passed out. Biscuit was asleep next to her, and Cole was pressing a cold cloth to her forehead. Just what the fuck were they doing to him? Maybe…Maybe Cole could find him.

“I can't help him.” Cole said, reading her easily. “He has to need me, to let me in, but he isn't. He won't. He's keeping me out, trying to block his mind from me, and I can't get to him. I tried…”

“It's okay, Cole.” Hawke said, realizing how much the boy was agonizing over this.

“Short breaths keep the pain light, anything to keep from hurting her. Shouldn't have goaded him. Eyes closed so she can't see him, it's best she never know.” Cole said, as he sat by the bed, and then he straightened up. “Ar lath na, Lath'in, ara vhenan…ara vhen'an bre nuven'in…Sathan, tel esay vena em…Sathan, vevar eth…lanasta'em…Ar reva na o'em, ara lath.

I love you, Love, my home…my hearts deepest wish…Please, don't try to find me…Please, stay safe…forgive me…I free you from me, my love

Hawke sat up in bed before she could think better of it.

“Solas!” She exclaimed, alarmed. If that was him, it sounded very much like he was preparing to do something stupid.

“He is hurting, but won't let me help. He keeps me out, but he can't keep you out.” Cole said, as he helped her lay back against the headboard. “You can help him where I can't. Use the connection before he tries to cut it. He will try, but I don't know if he can. He would do anything to keep you safe, including something that will hurt him. That would definitely hurt him.”

“I don't know how, Cole!” Hawke said, distressed. “All I know is I can feel his pain, and I need him to be safe! I need him to-”

She stopped talking, because her surroundings had shifted so suddenly that she was in shock. It felt like everything was moving, rocking gently, and she could smell the salt on the air. They were on a ship, crossing the sea! A door had closed, and she realized that whoever was keeping him here had left. When Hawke made to leave her hiding place, her breath caught in her throat. Seeing Solas strung up, bloodied and beaten, tore at her.

“Solas!” She whispered, in alarm, when she got to him.

There was no response that he'd heard her. Only when she cupped his face in her hands, did she see any kind of reaction from him. It was as if his eyes could not comprehend her being there, even as she caressed his face. The look on his face when he finally realized she was really there, was heartbreaking. She kissed him, gently because his face looked like he'd been hit a lot, and he rested his forehead against her own.

Ir abelas, Lath'in…I meant to try and destroy the bond…I thought it would keep you safe…but I could not…Ra shar nuven'athe o'em.” Solas rasped, and the sound broke her heart. “Dorian said…it would hurt you more…if I did something so foolish, like leave you behind…Please, you can not stay here…You must go.”

I'm sorry, Love…It was selfish of me

“You can not expect me to leave you here.” Hawke hissed, all of a sudden angry at him.

“Yes, Alhasha, that is…exactly…what I expect.” Solas insisted. She made to object, but he cut her off. “Lath'in, unless you can…heal both Zevran and myself…rid me of the magebane…flooding my system…and take on…an entire ship of soldiers,…that is…exactly…what I expect you to do.”

“Tell me who has you. Where is the ship going?” She pleaded, but he shook his head in stubborn resistance. “Damn it, Solas, Ar shor vena na, and when I do, you are in so much trouble.”

He huffed, his lips curling up just a touch, as he whispered. “Only you, Alhasha, would vow to rescue me, and then threaten me within the same sentence.”


 

“You would really…have destroyed the bond?” Zevran asked, in surprise., keeping his voice low.

“I would have,…to keep her safe.” Solas admitted, saddened. “As suleva garahnen.”

Solas does not translate, though he knows now that Zevran does not understand elvhen. It is not something that needs to be translated. Whether it is because he instinctively knows their meaning, or that he can read people easily, the words are quite clear to him. She means everything. That Fen'Harel would try to sever the bond with his nas'falon in order to try and keep her safe…it made Zevran wonder what else they didn't know.

“When we…get out of this,…we will have to share stories,…you and I.” Zevran decided, with a slight laugh, though the pain in his ribs cuts it short.

“So sure…we will live?” Solas asked, keeping his tone light, even as he cracks a slight smile.

“So sure…she isn't going…to kill him…or you?” Zevran cracks, and even Solas has to laugh a little at that.


 

The doors to the War Room burst open, and Hawke stormed into the room. She was angry, upset, and volatile. She was also closely followed by Jim, who was bravely following after her…if only to hesitantly try and keep her from entering this room. In Hawke's hand was a missive, one that she was never suppose to see, and Lavellan instantly regretted where this was going to go. She wondered, just how in all of Thedas, Hawke had even gotten hold of it.

“Explain this.” Hawke growled, slamming the parchment down on the table. “NOW!”

“Now, Hawke, this is-” Josephine said, gently, urging the woman to calm down.

Don't you Hawke me! You have all seen this. You all know what it says, and not one of you saw fit to tell me.” Hawke declared, her aura practically singing with her magic, her hair dancing slightly in a breeze that did not exist in the room. “How long were you going to wait to tell me that Vael sent a missive, demanding for me and Anders to be released to him? How long were you going to wait to tell me he is the one that has Solas and Zevran hostage? Just when the fresh fuck were you planning on telling me that he has decided to attack Kirkwall until his demands are met?”

“Hawke, we-” Cullen spoke gently, but Hawke slammed her fist into the war table, effectively splitting it in half. “Damn it, Hawke, it's too dangerous.”

“What would you do?” She asked, pinning him with a glare. “If he had Lavellan, and demanded you go to him, what would you do? Not The Commander, not The Inquisition, You. Cullen Stanton Rutherford, you can not possibly tell me that you would abandon her because it's too dangerous, to leave her to be tortured until her mind broke, until there was nothing left of her, because that was what was best for the Inquisition.”

“The Inquisition can not-” Cassandra tried to explain.

“Get in my way, and there won't be an Inquisition, Seeker.” Hawke snapped, pinning Cassandra with a glare now.

“We shouldn't have kept this from you, but we were trying to work out what to do, and we didn't want anyone flying off the handle too soon.” Lavellan said, bringing Hawke back to herself.

“Trying to work out what to do? The man had an agent of the Inquisition taken directly from Skyhold!” Hawke stated, not impressed in the slightest. “What the fuck do you think you're suppose to do with that?”

“The Inquisition can not just march into Kirkwall.” Josephine explained, sympathetically. “We have been trying to figure out a way to rescue him without provoking a war.”

“If that wasn't a deliberate act of war, I don't know what is.” Hawke growled, her voice low and dangerously deep, effectively silencing the woman.

“Alright, Hawke. What do you need?” Cullen asked, surprising Lavellan and the others.

“A ship.” Hawke replied, simply.

“There'll be one waiting for you when you reach the docks.” Cullen stated. As soon as Hawke was gone, he turned to the others. “We have a very small window of time to get things moving. Hawke is not one to wait. I'm actually surprised it took her this long to fly into a rage.”

“Exactly what are you proposing, Cullen?” Cassandra asked, curiously.

“We can't all go, and she'd never accept our help with the way she is right now, but some of us can at least go and stow away on the ship.” Cullen stated. “That woman is going to need all the help she can get if she's to go up against the armies of Starkhaven. If I know her at all, that's exactly what she plans on doing.”


 

She'd turned and left the room before they could ask her anything else, so she didn't hear if they were talking anymore. Maybe she shouldn't have lost her temper like she had, but they'd already wasted valuable time she could have spent getting over to Kirkwall and kicking Vael's ass. Several people tried to talk to her on her way to her room to pack, but she ignored them all. There was no playing nice with a noble today, and she was in far too foul a mood to be dealing with any of them. Rage fueled her actions now, gave her energy she didn't know what to do with, and because of that she made excellent time in making her way to the docks.

“They want to help.” Cole said, suddenly standing next to her on the ship. “You should let them.”

“What they want is to make a bunch of excuses about bureaucratic horse shit that makes no sense.” Hawke fussed, as she set about trying to get everything ready. “That rat bastard had Solas taken from right next to me as I lay sleeping! They left without anyone seeing them. How am I not suppose to be angry that they've been stalling? If you want to stay and help, fine, but I'm not talking about this anymore.”


 

Solas wasn't sure where they were now, and he hadn't been able to enter the Fade to find out. The closer they got to wherever they were going, the more irrational Vael became. Enduring torture was not something he had had to deal with since well before the first of the wars, but if it meant keeping Alhasha out of reach of Vael, he'd endure it. It didn't help that he was regularly forced to drink Magebane in rather large quantities. He was surprised that he had been able to keep any semblance of sanity after that, and believed that it was thanks to Alhasha that he was able to keep his mind at all. She hadn't been back since that first night, but he knew she was doing her best to keep tabs on him, and she was very angry.

He didn't know whether to be grateful for her help, or feel guilty that in some way he was the cause of her pain, and wondered if this is what she felt like after The red lyrium poisoning incident. He'd managed to keep the worst of the torture from her, of that he was certain. The door opened again, pulling him from his thoughts, and Vael and the soldiers entered the room. The two stared at each other for a moment, before Vael sent the soldiers away.

“You destroyed an empire.” Vael stated, businesslike. “How?”

“Is that what you really wish to know?” Solas asked, looking at the prince with calculating eyes. “You have access to knowledge that is…well over 10,000 years old,…and that is what you truly wish to know?”

“The stories say you locked away the other elvhen gods, that you hid in some dark corner of the Fade to laugh about it.” Vael trudged on, ignoring Solas's clear offer of other knowledge.

“The stories say many things…” Solas conceded, seeing that he would not sway the man from what he wanted to know. “Things were good once…before the wars…before we were Generals…or Kings…or gods…There was peace…but the people fought amongst themselves,…and the wars began…and we were made into Generals and Kings…The day we achieved immortality for our people…we became gods…or so we told ourselves.”

“How does this help me?” Vael asked, impatiently.

“It doesn't, but you wanted to know.” Solas replied, closing his eyes, hoping the anger would go away. “The end began…with the murder of Mythal…As the best of us, she kept the peace…When she was murdered, my betrayal began…I created the Veil…but it took…centuries…and in that time, the others indulged in their every whim…with me dancing to their tune…It wasn't until…Sulahn'ean…that I acted on my plans.”

“Sulahn'ean?…I don't know that one.” Vael stated, looking doubtful.

“Nor would you. The others…refused to acknowledge her standing…as a new Evanuris.” Solas explained. “She hunts better than she knows…and I was caught before I knew…”

“You mean…” Vael stammered, scowling and fuming, not sure yet where to direct his rage.

“Yes…Sulahn'ean is the one you call Hawke.” Solas replied, unable to hold back a slight smirk. “The magic that took her in Redcliffe…was mine…”

“You…You…” Vael stammered, getting angrier all the time now.

“We were betrayed…my people were betrayed…and the others hid themselves away…” Solas continued. “She was willing to fight Tevinter…but I had no way of knowing…what that would do to her timeline…So I hid her away…forced myself to forget…erected the Veil…and I slipped into the Fade…with no understanding of my rage…Make no mistake, Vael, I had someone to protect…and so I did,…but you…You do not wish to protect her,…not really…Do not pretend otherwise…You wish to claim her,…as if she is something to be owned.”

“Isn't that what you did?” Vael asked, sneering at him.

“No…and yes.” Solas admitted, slightly smiling at the memory of it. “I am hers…as much as…she is mine…”

“The mark on her ankle…I'm told you created it.” Vael stated, looking angry again.

“I did.” Solas admitted.

“How? Tell me!” Vael demanded.

“It will not work for you.” Solas said, shaking his head. “I called for my nas'falon…listed impossible traits…secret wishes…a last hope…It will not work or you.”

“Why won't it work for me?” Vael demanded, losing his patience. “Aren't you forcing her to love you? Isn't that what the spell does?”

“You can not force her to love you.” Solas stated, as if it were the most obvious answer in the world. “No magic can give you that…The spell I cast…took into consideration…everything I am…everything she is…She is…my match…in every way…It will not work for you.”

“Why would you tell me this?” Vael demanded.

“Because you said…you wanted to know.” Solas replied, as if he were talking to an unruly student. “And because…at the end of this…you will be dead.”

Vael reached over, and undid the chain that held him up, and Solas fell in an unceremonious heap. Before Solas could react beyond sitting up on his knees, pain exploded on the left side of his head. Vael had taken some kind of board or pipe, and hit him right above his ear. Solas's head nearly bounced off of the floor with the force of it. He closed his eyes, tried to control his breathing, but knew that he had not hidden this from her. It had been too sudden for that, and now her alarm rocked through him.

However, from his position on the floor, Solas noticed something Vael had not. Zevran had escaped his shackles. Vael had not yet noticed Zevran's absence, though that was about to change soon he knew. Vael's attention would turn from him soon enough, and then he was bound to notice Zevran's absence. So, closing his eyes once more, Solas concentrated on sending calm to Alhasha, and hoped that the woman was not about to do something reckless, something that was easier said than done considering that Vael had not stopped kicking him.


 

At that moment, Hawke leaned against a wall as a wave of dizziness hit her. She was sure that if she looked, she'd find bruises along her rib cage. This was helping him, right? Or was Vael just hitting him harder to get the amount of damage he wanted? She couldn't seem to catch her breath, and each one was harder to take than the last.

Suddenly Anders was in front of her, hand above her, focused on healing. She couldn't breathe, couldn't focus long enough to be angry at him for stowing away on the ship, but she was grateful that he was there. As her breathing came back to her more easily, she noticed that Cole was moving about the ship and looking into things as if he were trying to find something. Another stow away, Hawke realized as Varric fell out of a barrell Cole tipped over, the kid had been looking for another stow away.

“Who else is here?” She asked, managing to stand away from the wall.

“Me and Varric, obviously.” Anders said, a bit nervous now. “Um, I think Fenris. Not sure if Blackwall was able to make it. I think Iron Bull managed to hide somewhere though, and there's a good bet that Dorian is here too. It was a bit hectic trying to get here before you did, you know.”

“So, what happened, and why didn't you come find us sooner, Kid?” Varric asked, seeing Hawke as she was.

“Dark till he comes, questions and answers, he seeks what he can not have.” Cole answered, cryptically, stiffened as if something else just came to mind, and continued. “He knows she will come, plans for it, but he will not have her.”

“Can either of you make sense of that?” Anders asked, not understanding yet.

“I think he's talking about Vael, from Solas's point of view.” Hawke said, after a moment.

“Yes.” Cole insisted,nodding to her. “Darkness and pain, power for a price, but he endures. The bonds can not be broken. He feels guilt for having tried, more for causing her pain now. He holds the pain to himself, till he can't anymore. Surprises are hard to hold. Kneeling before a Vael, questions and answers. He does not see till it is too late, and the pain of it is sent to her. Please be safe, Lath'in, I can not bear it if you are gone.”

“Shit!” Varric cursed, as he began pacing. “He's torturing him?!”

“Vael's mind is splintered. Too many fragmented pieces to fix. I can not heal his hurt.” Cole said, worriedly, fretting about. “What he wants, he should not ask for. I don't know how to help. The good parts call out for help, but the bad parts do too.”

“Don't focus on Vael.” Hawke insisted, bringing the spirit back to himself. “What's happening to Solas?”

Cole concentrates for a moment, rocking back and forth, as if lost in thought, before saying. “It is soft, quiet, but I can hear him. He will not call to me, but he is not shutting me out. I don't think he can anymore…He has endured much, but he can not keep the pain from you forever. He is already failing, and Vael is set to push him till he can hurt you through him.

At that, Hawke became angry again. She'd let the pain get to her when he was enduring far more than she was, and she was mad at him for keeping her from it. Granted, she knew very well that she would do the exact same thing, but she wasn't going to think on that for long. Right now, she needed the anger to fuel her magic. As it was, she wasn't entirely sure she could do this.

“One of you needs to steer the ship.” Hawke stated, as she moved to the back of the ship. “I'm not going to be able to do both.”

“What exactly are you going to be doing?” Varric asked, as Iron Bull went to where she'd suggested.

“Remember that storm idea I had?” Hawke asked, looking over her shoulder. “That.”


 

“Aveline!” She heard Donnic shout.

It wasn't often he slipped up and called her her name while they we