“I’m interested in what you told me of yourself and your studies. If you have time, I’d like to hear more.”
A small smile tugged at the corners of Solas’ lips. “You continue to surprise me. All right let us talk…preferably somewhere more interesting than this.”
Newti smiled and nodded, expecting—him to lead her away from the solarium and maybe out into the gardens or maybe down to the study, but he surprised her as he brought his hands up to her face, a slight flinch making him soften, his blue eyes staring deep into her pink and green ones, hunting for her permission; when she nodded slightly, he pressed the middle fingers of both hands gently to her temples. He wanted to talk where it was easier for him, unaccustomed to talking about himself, but she seemed genuinely interested and he found himself wanting to do what she wished. Her eyes closed as he rubbed his fingers in small circles, a soothing sensation, magic sparking from his fingertips as he cast a spell, Newti slumping against him in sleep. She’d forgive him his indulgence. He held his breath as he picked her up, her scent filled his nostrils—a mixture of flowers, leather, and magic, carrying her up to her room and laying her on her bed and tucking the blankets up around her, his heart stirring as he gazed at her—something he hadn’t felt in a very long time.
Solas pushed a strand of red hair out of her face, fingers grazing across the soft skin; he caught himself as he bent over her before he kissed her forehead, straightening immediately and rushing back to the solarium to join her in the Fade—she should be waking up there any minute and he needed to be there, and if he was with her in her room his walls might come crashing down harder.
The Haven chantry stood before them, snow flurries dancing in the air as they walked together, flags billowing in the breeze. Newti glanced around, taking a deep breath and examining her surroundings—if she realized where they were she didn’t say it…maybe she thought Haven had rebuilt after Corypheus thought he’d destroyed her and maybe he’d left it alone. And they both had magic on their side, so she didn’t question how they’d arrived at Haven. She rubbed her gloved hands up and down her arms, her leather jacket offering little protection against the elements, conjuring a fireball in her hand to warm her extremities, Solas holding his hand over the flames and basking in its warmth. Her eyes swam with curiosity as they met his again, waiting for him to go first, but he wasn’t entirely sure how to begin as they walked up the stairs together, a respectable amount of distance between the two of them, no matter how much he was intrigued by her and her fascination with him and the Fade, giving it more of a chance than anyone he’d met in his travels he was sure that was going to be his undoing. Solas had been so sure that his infatuation with her had been situational—certain it was the anchor that had drawn him to her.
“Why here?” She finally asked, unable to take his silence any longer.
“Haven is familiar. It will always be important to you.”
“But this isn’t supposed to be about me, Solas—I wanted to learn about you.”
He led her to the holding cells she’d woken in, the anchor spreading across her hand and nearly killing her as she slept after escaping the Fade at Haven—it was dark and chilly, torches flickering and casting shadows and an eerie glow on the dark stone walls. He ran a hand over the cool metal of the cell bars, remembering the way her hand felt in his. His eyes met hers briefly, before sliding away, an unknown emotion lurking behind his crystal blue eyes. Guilt. It had taken her a moment to place the look in his eyes, but she couldn’t for the life of her figure out why it was there. Sure, the anchor had hurt, spreading in time with the breach in the sky, but she was unconscious for most of it, and it wasn’t like it was his fault that she’d gotten the anchor in the first place—it was Corypheus’…him and that elven orb he carried. Newti placed a reassuring hand on his shoulder giving it a gentle squeeze. His mouthed opened, only to be closed a second later, trying to figure out how to phrase what he was trying to say. What if she hadn’t survived? What if she hadn’t been around to challenge him and make him rethink just about everything? Solas couldn’t bring himself to dislodge her hand from his shoulder, so much was conveyed by just that little touch, that he felt his world flipping upside down.
“I sat beside you while you slept, studying the anchor.” He muttered quietly.
“Thank you…” Somehow those words felt insufficient. “…I’m glad someone was watching over me.”
Was that what he was doing? Or was he just satisfying his own curiosity?
“You were a mystery.” He smirked at her. “You still are. I ran every test I could imagine, searched the Fade, and yet, found nothing. Cassandra suspected duplicity. She threatened to have me executed as an apostate if I didn’t produce results.”
Newti snorted with laughter. “That does sound like something she’d say.”
“Yes.” Solas chuckled, feeling some tension roll off his shoulders.
While she was sure Cassandra wasn’t all talk, she had a feeling she wouldn’t have followed through, not when Solas knew so much about the Fade, the Anchor, and the Breach itself. But now that she’d swapped smutty romance novels with the woman, it was hard to remember she could impale Newti with her sword as fast as she could conjure a fireball…thank the Maker Cassandra was on her side. Solas turned, her hand falling from his shoulder, they’d both forgotten it had been on his shoulder, the darkness of the room hiding the blush creeping across both of their cheeks at the contact. She followed him out of the cell block, feeling the electric current arcing between them as they headed back up into the snow, resisting the urge to take his hand in hers—the signals he’d been giving had been crossing circuits from wanting her, to wanting to step back, so she had to let him decide what he wanted, and wasn’t going to push him into anything. Only then did it hit her she hadn’t seen a soul the entire time they’d been here—something was odd, but she couldn’t quite put her finger on it.
“You were never going to wake up. How could you, a mortal sent physically through the Fade?” He stopped suddenly, turning towards her. “I was frustrated, frightened. The spirits I might have consulted had been driven away by the Breach. Although I wished to help, I had no faith in Cassandra…or she in me. I was ready to flee.”
“With the Breach threatening the whole world, where did you plan to go?”
“Someplace far away where I might research a way to repair the Breach before it’s effects reached me.” He coughed as she raised an eyebrow. “I didn’t say it was a good plan…I told myself: one more attempt to seal the rifts. I tried and failed. No ordinary magic would affect them.”
He thrust his right hand out in front of him, the same motion she did when she was sealing a rift—everything about it was the same…had he watched her that much because she was a mystery for him to solve, or because of something deeper? Newti crossed her arms over her chest, leaning against a low wall as she watched him, brow furrowed; if the mark had killed her, what would have become of him…of everyone? He watched the Breach in the sky, green clouds swirling high above them, small pieces streaking out from the hole in the center, and green lightning lighting up the clouds, an angry reminder of the world that needed saving making her cock her head to the side—hadn’t she fixed that? What was going on here? Had Solas cast some spell so they could relive this moment in time?
“I watched the rifts expand and grow, resigned myself to flee, and then…” He glanced at her left hand, a memory sparked of him holding her hand up towards the first rift they’d encountered together. “It seems to hold the key to our salvation. You had sealed it with a gesture…and right then, I felt the whole world change.”
Her heart fluttered in her chest at the tone of voice—did he…care about her?
“Felt the whole world change?” She teased, one hand on her hip as she watched the blush creep onto his freckled cheeks at her implication.
“A figure of speech.” Solas tried.
Newti stepped closer, biting her bottom lip and tucking a strand of red hair behind a pointed ear, hearing the hitch in his breath. “I’m aware of the metaphor. I’m more interested in ‘felt’.”
“Sweet talker.” She smirked.
Her pale pink and green eyes flicked over him from head to toe, a spark of lightning on her tongue as she licked her lips, her distraction drawing a growl from his throat. He glanced away, shaking his head; it was obvious he wasn’t telling her everything, dancing around whatever this was between them and trying to hold her at arm’s length—he was intrigued by her, that was obvious, but something was holding him back. They stood in silence for a moment, Solas avoiding her gaze and muttering something inaudible to himself, before she took a deep breath, ready to take the plunge; her hand cupped his chin forcing him to look at her. Was challenging him her favorite past-time? This woman made him want to throttle her sometimes—despite her being the most beautiful woman he’d ever met; she used it to her advantage as much as she could, and it drove him nuts. It didn’t help that he couldn’t stop thinking about her, but the moment her lips touched his he lost every scrap of control he thought he had, surprise bristling down his spine—her lips were just as soft as he’d imagined and gone from his far too soon.
He shook his head again, knowing this was wrong and he shouldn't encourage her, but he caught her as she tried to walk away, his arm hooking around her waist hauling her against him hard. His pelvis rolled against hers, lips on hers in an instant with his tongue teasing the seam of her lips as he opened his mouth against hers, tasting her as their tongues intertwined. Her arms wrapped around his neck when he brushed her chest with his, pulling her closer, one hand on her waist holding her to him, the other behind her head, keeping her lips crushed against his. He picked her up, slipping his knee between her thighs, lifting it up as he bent her backwards, so she had to lean up into him and not fall, riding his thigh as it ground against her through the thin fabric of her pants making her moan into the kiss. She hummed softly, pressing herself up against him and arching her hips towards his. How long had it been since he'd wanted physical contact, allowed himself to feel? Solas made a low growl in his throat, suddenly snapping out of the daze he’d been in since they’d gotten here—this was actually Newti…not some fade dream he’d conjured to keep him company, and he couldn't afford to let himself be distracted. He set her back down on the ground shaking his head again and kissing her once more; several inappropriate dreams of her and then he finally had the real thing in front of him and he couldn’t hold himself back, falling in deeper.
Newti was breathing hard as she watched him.
“We shouldn’t.” He breathed. “It isn’t right. Not even here.”
She raised an eyebrow, bringing her fingers up to her lips where she could still feel the pressure and sparks from their kiss. “What do you mean, ‘even here’?”
He smiled. “Where did you think we were?”
Newti glanced around, everything suddenly clicking into place—that was what had felt off the entire time: they were in the Fade. “This isn’t real.”
“That’s a matter of debate…probably best discussed after you wake up.” Solas whispered, leaning in close, his breath tickling her ear.
She jolted awake in bed, head spinning—that was incredible. Newti had wondered about Solas’ connection to the Fade, how he knew so much and showed her Haven; after that encounter she had come to a startling conclusion: Solas was a dreamer—capable of entering the Fade at will. The kiss hadn’t been a dream though, both of them conscious of their actions the entire time—the joy of being mages—which meant Solas had wanted that kiss just as much as she did. She smiled. Her lips still tingled, a slight pressure from where he’d crushed his mouth against hers still lingered. Throwing back the blanket, she finally took in her surroundings, curious why he had brought her to her room and hadn’t stayed with her after casting his sleep spell. She practically ran to the solarium, itching to continue what they’d started in the Fade, that amazing kiss had left her wanting so much more, and she could only hope he felt the same.
“Sleep well?” Solas asked when he saw her, a mischievous twinkle in his eyes.
Like he even had to ask.
Newti rolled her eyes at how obviously pleased with himself he was. “I’ve never done anything like that before...on a number of levels.”
He chuckled. “I apologize. The kiss was impulsive and ill considered, and I should not have encouraged it.”
She giggled; and yet he did encourage it, even deepened it. “You say that, and yet you’re the one who started with tongue.”
“I did no such thing.” Solas argued, clearly scandalized that she would even imply such a thing.
“Oh, does it not count if it’s only Fade-tongue?” Newti scoffed happily, smirking at him.
He faltered—damn if he hadn’t wanted everything she offered. “It has been a long time, and things have always been...easier for me in the Fade. I am not certain this is the best idea; it could lead to trouble.”
The last thing Newti wanted was to push him into anything—if he needed time to consider the matter of ‘them’ she would grant it. No sense rushing into things when he was clearly torn. It was hard to miss the spark that had built between them, that kiss in the Fade had taken them past a point of no return, changing the atmosphere between them to something new and unfamiliar and exciting. Somehow, Newti had broken through a couple of the wards he’d built around himself, leaving them both vulnerable. He wanted her, of that she was certain, but something was holding him back from going for it and it wasn’t fair to either of them if he wasn’t in it one hundred percent. But she didn’t want to close that door, willing to risk the trouble.
“I’m willing to take that chance, if you are.”
Surprise bristled down his spine, reflected in his blue eyes. “I...may be, yes. If I could take a little time to think. There are...considerations.”
She nodded, smiling brightly at him, and making his breath hitch. “Take all the time you need.”
“Thank you.” He paused, glancing at her and studying her—very aware of how close she was. “I am not often thrown by things that happen in dreams. But I am reasonably certain we are awake now, and if you wish to discuss anything, I would enjoy talking.”
“I’d love that.”