“Does this make us creepers, Dorian?” IIyana asked, pulling off her boots and wiggling out of her leggings until she stood only in her tunic. The Western Approach was miserable and neither herself nor her companion had any desire to sweat any more than they had all day.
“Creepers no, but perverts? Without a doubt.” He grinned. With only his trousers on, Dorina linked his arms with hers and together the pair made their way down the slope and away from camp, heading towards the little Oasis the team had discovered earlier. The day had been scorching hot and miserable and provided the perfect excuse for a late evening swim.
Hand and hand, the two were busy rambling about their day and were not aware they had been joined by another member of the Inquisition until his soft voice interrupted their conversation.
“Inquisitor, Master Pavis,” Solas said, tilting his head in greeting. In one hand he held a bar of soap and in the other, a towel draped over his arm. It appears he also needed a swim to clean the sweat and dirt accumulated from their travels. “I see we are of the same mind.”
“Errr, yes.” IIyana blurted, cheeks reddening at the realization that she was only in her tunic and nothing else. In the few months since he kissed her, they have done little more than shared stolen kisses in between their meetings, missions, and duties. Now, standing half-naked in front of him, she felt small and fragile, awkward and embarrassed.
Not missing a beat, Dorian invited Solas to join them and graced his friend with a smile that said - oh, you can thank me later - as he led the three of them to their destination. The new lovers followed quietly, their fingers lightly brushing against one another, each lost in their own thoughts. IIyana was unsure of what kind of relationship she had with Solas. They were both attracted to one another, enjoyed each other’s company, and she often sought his counsel in time of distress. He made time for her, just as she did for him. They shared meals, stories, and secrets. And when he kisses her, it feels as though she was the only thing that matter to him, as if he hungered to lose himself in her. Yet, neither had taken the steps to declared they are in a relationship-relationship, an item not to be hidden between the shadows of the stairwells or darken hallways. It was confusing.
As expected, the Oasis was busy with members of the Inquisition. To be more specific, Cullen, Riley, and two other troop members naked and fresh from their swim. The four had returned an hour ago after scouting the southern region, with Cullen assessing that it will take three days to construct the bridge that will get the team across the pits. When he saw them approach, Cullen grabbed his towel and hastily wrapped it around his waist, denying Dorian and IIyana the show the pair had originally trekked out for. Struggling to maintain his integrity and failing miserably, Cullen let out a huge sigh before continuing, “Maker’s breath, IIyana. If I had known you had plans to be here, I would have made sure we were decent. I apologize for the indecency.”
“Cullen, please, don’t worry about it.” IIyana grimaced. Her reaction was more for Solas than her commander, who was now rambling and ordering his men to dress and clear the area. She had felt him tense, felt the magic crackle behind his façade when the commander used her name instead of her official title. It gave the impression that she and Cullen were more than collogues, possibly something more intimate, and she could feel that he did not like that at all.
“She is correct, Commander. You have nothing to worry about. After all, it was us who imposed on you.” Solas said. His tone of voice was warm and polite, his head angled slightly to apologize for the intrusion.
“Solas is correct as well.” Dorian interrupted, “Please, finish bathing. We don’t mind waiting our turn, as long as you don’t mind if we wait here, to provide a lookout, of course.”
IIyana was so embarrassed that she silently prayed to the Gods to transport her into the Fade. She had caught Solas’ slight response, the narrowing of the eyes and tightening of the lips when he concluded she and Dorian’s true intentions for a midnight swim. What would he think of her now? Will he think her a loose woman? Someone to trifle with his emotions? His heart? Will he think less of her now? He did not look upset, but if anything, his clipped down gave him away.
“My apologies. I am unable to wait as I am due for watch soon. I will bathe on the other side and return to camp. If you would excuse me.” And with that, he turned around and stalked off in the opposite direction, leaving IIyana to stare after him, crossed between wanting to explain and respecting his space.
Dorian watched the mage until he disappeared around the corner, holding his hands up in surrender. “I am sorry IIyana, that did not go as plan. I had hoped to have at least seen two elves frolicking under the moonlight."
“I hate you, Dorian.”
“You love me, now do come along. We have a show to finish.”
With his back leaning against a giant pillar and his legs stretched out in front of him, Solas scanned the vast area one more time before turning his attention to the constellations in the sky. After bathing, he had returned to camp, grabbed his extra blanket, and headed out to set wards around its perimeters, finally settling north. Although hot during the day, the nights in the Western Approach were often cold, dropping down to chilly winds that had him wrapping his blanket closer for warmth.
An hour into his watch, soft footsteps had him turning to see the familiar face of his lover – lips tight and eyes uncertain – as she made her way towards him. In her hands, she held two cups of tea, rich with almond sugar – a peace offering for witnessing the evenings events. Taking the cup from her outstretched hands, Solas took a slow sip before murmuring his appreciation and moving to the left to make room for her. They continued drinking their tea and scanning the area in silence until IIyana placed her empty cup down, apologizing for the evening.
“I can only imagine what you must think of me.” She said solemnly. Avoiding his eyes, afraid to see the judgment he held, and yet thankful that the moonless night hid her face. “I am sure you must have opinions after witnessing my behavior earlier.”
Solas studied her silently before he reached out to smooth a soft damp tendril that had fallen across her eyes and placed it back behind her ear. “And what may that be?” He asked.
“That I am a horrible person, one who lacks the discipline to not engage in such primal behavior,” she answered. She felt the warmth of his fingers trailed along the side of her temple, curving along her cheek until it rested underneath her chin. Reluctantly, she lifted her eyes to meet his. “I am sorry if I gave the impression that I was open with my affections. The truth is, I reserve them exclusively for you.” Although neither have discussed exclusivity, it was important for him to know that she was his.
A small smile edge his lips at her response, “Is that so? And what else must I be thinking?”
“That you must think I am a woman without morals.” She admitted. “Someone who lacked discipline and integrity.”
“Ah - you read minds now?” He responded. Feeling the way she was trembling, Solas pulled her forward until he felt the warmth of her breath. “Would you like to ask me what I think?"
Using both hands to cup her face, Solas felt her chest moved with the ragged breathing of her heart before her breath caught hard at how close he was. “I was thinking that I would very much like to kiss you,” he admitted before capturing her mouth with his.
Softly, his lips moved over hers, nibbling and teasing until her hand grasps the side of his cheek. Then it turned sensual, creating a warmth that spread wildly. He thrust his tongue into hers and molded her with his touch and his heat until she began to dissolve. His fingers curved over the back of her head, then he broke away from the kiss and begin nibbling down the side of her neck.
“You are wrong in your assessment.” He said huskily, the warmth of his breath tingling against her ear. ”You are everything and so much more. And it is I who lack the discipline to not engage in such primal behaviors with you.” His heat crushed into hers and she melted into his arms like it was the most natural thing for her to do. She wanted more of this, to be held by him and be touched in a way that lit her senses on fire. Disoriented, IIyana felt his lips linger against hers one last time before she became aware that he was now studying her with an intensity she had not seen before. "I want you," he said.
“Oh ……” She blushed wildly, mortified when a grin spread across his handsome features. “I - I may had jumped to conclusions,” she stated.
“I believe you are correct, ma'yana.” He chuckled softly. Not wanting to lose the warmth between them, Solas pulled her into his lap and wrapped the blanket around their bodies. "It was not my intention for you to feel judged when I left you earlier. The truth of the matter is, you had me distracted prior to arriving at the Oasis. By then, I found that I could neither deny my feelings for you, anymore than I could deny that magic that flows in my veins. I apologize for making you feel unworthy. We have not discussed our relationship and I had no claim on you."
Turning so that she can get a better look at him, IIyana lifted her arms around his neck and tilted her head to meet his gaze.“I would very much like to belong to you. And only you. If- if that is okay.”
And just like that, his heart stopped. For the love in her eyes was so pure and genuine, uncorrupted and untainted that he nearly wept. Instead, Solas let out a quiet groan, bending his forehead until it touched hers.“You already do, ma’vhenan. Now and always.” He said hoarsely, feeling the curve of her smile against his lips as he laid claim to her once more.