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In Your Hands

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I still think about it, the first time you touched me. In bed, I mean.

It's shameful, I know, to hold it so close, to value it like I do. But I can't let it go, I can't.

I still don't know what I did that inspired you to do such a thing. All I know is that we were in the rotunda and I said something and then your eyes seemed to darken.

I was naive: I mistook it for anger, and I winced and looked away. As was habit when I was nervous, I began to gnaw on the second knuckle of my pointer finger. "Ah, sorry, if I said something wrong..I mean.." I murmured, my voice dying helplessly.

I heard you inhale, sharp. You pushed yourself off from the cluttered surface of your research table, rounded one of its corners and walked--stalked--no you didn't, you didn't frighten me, you wouldn't hurt me, I didn't mean to i-imply--no, I trust you, only you--walked up to me until we were only inches apart. My chest paused in its breath as I looked up into your face with unsure eyes and watched as your hard expression dissipated like storm clouds breaking away from the horizon. Somehow your features, strong and regal--like a prince, like a prince, you are like a prince but more than that!--could shift so subtly from stone to skin, tense and soften.

But stone, yes, stone was replaced by teacher, yes, teacher. Your eyes glanced down to my mouth and you gently took my finger from it. I let you, blushing hard in embarrassment, stammering out a weak apology. For what? For what. Was it exhausting, having to take care of me like this all the time? Having to mind me because I was not suited towards all--all of this?

"There are better ways to work off nerves, dahlen." You intoned smoothly before lifting it to your own mouth to kiss the abrasions. Your lips were soft, warm, and I suddenly found myself wanting them on mine, but you had called me "dahlen" and I felt shame overrule and flood me. It would be wrong to pursue you, to entertain such a childish need, when you were wearing the robe of mentor. Incestuous.

You continued to speak, the sound far away like an echo. "Would you allow me to join you in your chambers?"

I swear to you I didn't know what you meant at first, I swear. Please believe me. I'm that, I never -- I never planned -- I-I -- I didn't mean to entice you in that way. It was never my intent. Never. I - if you thought that, then - then, aha, you must think me smarter than I am. No, no I'm not...

I hadn't read the mood correctly. Would you think less of me if I said I was happy that I was wrong? About what eventually occurred?

My heart had lodged itself in my throat.

I was terrified, and you were so patient, so quiet, so gentle.

With trepidation I climbed the steps to my quarters with you following silently behind. I sensed a quiet energy from you, a sense of purpose that I was afraid to identify by name.

You did not assail me or sweep me off my feet when we got to the top of the stairs and rounded the banister. I would have screamed in fear, I think, and your plans would have been ruined. I surprise others before they surprise me because it is all too easy for them to do so. It's the reason why I tried to avoid Cole the first few weeks, you know.

I stood and clenched my hands at my sides, trying to take deep breaths as quietly as possible. Pressure on my sternum, against my cheeks, on the top of my head.

There was fear, there was real fear when you lifted my chin and quietly asked me if I would like to try out a method for relaxation.

It was at that point that I almost surely knew what you meant, and while one bubble in my chest began to quietly deflate--disappointment, another began to quietly swell--excitement, and yet another one quickly alongside it, nervousness.

Your smile did me no favors. Inviting and open and genial and with just a shade of mischief, the same darkness in your eyes that I now recognized as lust, not anger. I swallowed, parted my mouth to speak, and decided that I should kiss you instead.

It became another reason why I've come to the conclusion that I am insane.

I found myself in bed with you, us lying side by side, you leaning over me to cup my face and brush at my hair while we kissed. We kissed so much that my lips began to numb.

You met my mouth with staid practice. Before you I had never kissed anyone the way we did, and you taught me how to project my pleasure, my enjoyment of the act, to my partner. Giving in the act of receiving.

I wanted us to stay just like that, forever. Immature of me, foolish, but...

You didn't remove all my clothes, but did coax me out of my jacket.

Your other hand began to roam across my body, stroking down my side, my arm, my thigh. It didn't scare me, it didn't grope or demand but seemed to smooth over what I possessed, what seemed to attract you to me for some reason. Even though it was innocent, I felt heat pool between my legs. I tried so hard not to shift, not to let you know I was being affected so easily, that I was so desperate for us to be together like this.

You asked permission if you could touch me beneath my clothes. When I hesitated you kissed my forehead and said it was alright if I said no, you were perfectly fine with just this. You weren't. No man is. No man, no elf, no dwarf can possibly be fine with 'just this'.

And I wanted to, wanted to give you everything, to prove I trusted you, to show how much I loved you because I couldn't..I can't think of a better way..than to let you take from me, take everything you wanted. That's love, isn't it? Isn't it? Right? I had taken so much from you. Your attention, your time, your patience, your patience, your patience. You had early on established yourself as the fourth unmentioned adviser to the Inquisition, to me, and I never even asked.

But was this all a personal test by you? To see if I could ignore the heat in my cheeks and my loins that only served to distract me from the Breach? To determine if I would dirty myself by indulging in such base desires while you remained pure as a spirit, above such things..would I cut myself off from you like a blood mage from the Fade?..what would happen if I said 'yes'? Tempter, exam proctor, parent.

I didn't know what answer you wanted. I didn't know.

But I said yes, and you hesitated, asked if I was sure. I didn't expect you to ask a second time, I wasn't prepared...

"Please.." I whispered, "please..."

Your eyes were so kind. They reminded me of Mother. Gods, I am sick, depraved.

You slid your arm beneath my neck and you positioned yourself to loom over me, look down upon me. Your rightful place, rightful place.

You brushed a strand of hair from my pink face, traced the vallaslin that committed me to Dirthamen with your thumb, and asked me to open my mouth. I did and you slipped your tongue inside without resistance. I thought at the time this was how it should be.

You swallowed down my gasp and tolerated the way trembling fingers gripped the home-spun fabric on your shoulders when your hand quietly slipped inside my smallclothes.

Against my cheek you murmured, "Breathe, vhenan. I won't hurt you."

I know, I remember thinking, I know it won't, but -- but you are about to --to --touch-to touch--

Your fingers, pressed together, swept down in one motion, and in surprise I jolted as the act served to spread around the warm wetness I didn't realize had begun to collect between my legs.

I shook and shivered beneath you as terror and panic and pleasure and excitement swirled within me.

I wasn't ready...

..yet I wanted this..

I've waited so long..

But for what?

You picked up on the fearful note that stung a whimper I then let out, and you disengaged yourself from sucking on my buzzing tongue. You did not hide your concern and bemusement. 'What is wrong, vhenan? Tell me.'

How could I when I wasn't even rightly sure?

An old spark of mischief flashed. "Have you never touched yourself in this manner before?" You stroked up and down a few more times, slow and firm and heavy, already beginning to create lewd sounds of slippery skin against slippery skin. Your teeth found my ear, nibbled.

"N-no, ne-never.."

A pleased hum. "Your body is so hungry for it." Why did you consider that a good thing? I don't understand.

You continued to purr similar, embarrassing things as you resumed your teasing of my body. Your thumb brushed up against what you later informed me was my clitoris and my hips bucked high, a shock of pleasure I didn't know was possible flaring up like a firecracker in my brain as I gasped. 

You chuckled darkly and I wondered if I had been caught in a trap. If I was, I didn't know how to escape, or what it was.

I wanted to curl up into a ball and hide from your gaze, and you must have intuited my lingering hesitation because your hand then picked up speed. I began to let out a series of whimpers as you played with this new discovery, and in pushing against that bead, you repeatedly lifted my lower body up briefly into the air. It was if I was being controlled by a puppeteer. It stole my breath, truly. I had never felt this before, I told you. I couldn't..couldn't stop it from reacting like that, not immediately.

I wanted this, how needy and desperate I was for this sort of touch. From you. No one else. Yet how could I tell you that the one you called dahlen--the one you were now calling vhenan--had pined for you for some time, since near the beginning. How could I tell you of her initial efforts to strip her heart of tainting weeds out of fear they would rot away the bond they had, of how after a time her hand purposely faltered, her eyes were consciously shielded by her hand and allowed them to grow untouched until they had bore thick, confusing roots that constricted and choked.

I turned my head to find refuge in your chest, to hide the blush that had surely spread on my cheeks. I thought I could calm myself with the scent that clung to your sweater--moss, old papers, something metal that settled on my tongue. I thought I could somehow will away the throbbing, the ball of heat that had formed to nestle deep in my hips. I was so embarrassed, so so so embarrassed of how--how--how--I can barely say it, even now--...wet I was, that tears had seemed imminent.

But if I didn't see your face, I could pretend it was my hand, even though I had never touched myself in such a way before. Do you believe me? It's true. I swear. You were my first in everything. Everything.

Despite wanting, despite wanting wanting wanting, I held my body as stiff as I could, mortified that it was so easily responding like this to you, lewd and begging. Self-control, that's what you always preached, what you always practiced. You never drank more than a glass at meal times, you did not return cruelty with cruelty, you rarely if ever spoke in anger.

I was failing. You were measured and composed in your touches, your breathing hadn't changed its pace, not by much, and yet I had begun fraying immediately from less than nothing. I was failing in my desire to avoid being seen as indulgent, fulsome even though I wanted this, wanted this so much.

'What are you afraid of, Tallin?" You spoke directly into my ear, husky in its warm darkness. Wicked promises, intentions, that were forming as I breathed. You were transforming just as I was. Something stiff was pressing against my outer thigh, something frightening and strange. In the back of my mind, dread began to fall and fill like black blood.

I had been turning you, tempting you all this time, hadn't I? Had I? I never--I never intended--I'm so sorry-

"Do not apologize," I winced at your scolding tone, and then whimpered when I realized I had spoken that apology out loud. "Don't ever apologize when we're like this."

I tried to explain, I tried so hard, but you proceeded to interrupt my train of thought with expertly-timed swirls around my clitoris. It seemed every time I was about to complete a word your middle finger was there to press down and wiggle on that small bud like you were worrying a string on a zither fret, persisting until I abandoned my efforts to speak. "Should-ohh--dn't--I shou--ahh, should--aah! You--mmm, I'm sor-ahh, so-ahaaah ahh! Ahh! Ahh!!"

You managed to make yourself heard over my moans, your tone lilting now with compassion. "You have not been honest with me or yourself since we began." Your hand paused as you leaned down to tenderly kiss away my frustrated tears. "Don't hide yourself, Tallin. This is alright, you are allowed to feel this."

I felt my face twist up and I brought my hand up to prevent a sob from escaping. How were you always able to pin despair and graciousness to my heart?

I found myself whispering, babbling really. "You're're always giving..I--I'm--I can't.." 

You held my face and kissed me. Against my lips you implored, "Tell me."

My teeth were chattering, yet the sweat on my forehead felt so hot I was surprised I wasn't steaming. "--I'm afraid, I'm afraid that.."

Kiss. "Tell me."

I began to sob. "I love you, Solas. I love you..I love you..I love you..but I.."

Kiss. "Tell me."

I didn't. Not everything. Not even a sliver of anything. I couldn't. I tried, please believe me when I say I tried.

"Please, pl-please, please Solas, you feel the same? Truly? I love you so much and I can't--please, I need to know. I need-- I love you, IloveyouIloveyouIloveyou.."

The recitation of my mad prayer began to falter as I followed the emotions that drifted across your face. Compassion, guilt, remorse.

The thought that you would be here right now holding me had I said nothing...I don't eat much anymore for fear of retching.

Not breaking my gaze, you took one of my hands--your fingers were wet, the scent of me now wafted in the air--and guided it to your crotch. I couldn't help it, I shuddered. Through the fabric my hand trembled as it registered how hard you were. This part of you that remained obscure, that now served to intimidate and arouse. I know I shouldn't say that, it's not appropriate..

"I do. This," you pressed my hand harder against yourself and I was struck by how hot it was, "is but one symptom of many. Believe me, for both our sakes, when I say I love you. Deeply. Truly."

You kissed away the new set of tears that then began to fall, ones of overwhelming relief.

"Oh, S-Solas, I--" and in my effort to find leverage to find your mouth, I unthinkingly pressed the heel of my hand against your groin for leverage. It was clumsy of me, and the growl in your throat had me shrink back. I had never heard you make that sound before, guttural and low, animalistic. You turned away and closed your eyes tightly, working your jaw as if mentally overcoming some indescribable pain.

I retracted my hand as if burned. "I'm sorry," I whispered, "did I--"

"No!" I recoiled from the severity of your voice, the harshness it bore upon me. Near-fatal silence except for the sound of you taking air into your lungs. Fighting off something, something I had caused..

Before the pieces could fall into place--did you ever find my ignorance insufferable?--your face smoothed over, consternation dripping away. "I am alright." A rueful smile that didn't quite reach your eyes as you tipped your chin down to look back at me. "One day I will teach you how to reciprocate your feelings, if you so desire.." As you spoke your face hardened again into a predatory facade, the one that still sends chills down my spine when I think back on this time. "..tonight, however, I devote myself solely to your deserved pleasure."

And with that you once again crashed your mouth against mine, though now there was urgency, almost desperation in your movements as your hand returned to that place between my legs. My moan buzzed in your mouth when you slipped your fingers inside of me, and as you set a steady, pleasurable rhythm my ears were filled with the sloppy sounds you were making against my folds.

More than that, there was something inside me that you were brushing against. You seemed to know where to look for it and you were focusing all your attentions on making sure your fingers were passing against it with every thrust. My head had fallen back onto the pillow. Chin tilted up, I began to pant.

'Beautiful,' I recall you murmuring against my throat. I don't know how I could have possibly heard, I was panting so hard, my blood was pounding so loudly in my ears. "You are beautiful, my most precious.." You said all these things, but why did you sound like you were grieving? "Ar lath ma, vhenan, ar lath ma. Deeply, truly..."

And all the while, this whole time, something was building. Something I instinctively knew I wanted to reach, something that whispered promises of good. But what was it? What were you searching for within me?

My legs were shaking, I was shaking. I was so close. "Ah! Solas--Solas-it's--I'm--"

Your teeth gently clamped down on the point where my shoulder and neck connected. "Dina." you commanded, and you pressed hard and firm on my clit with your thumb for emphasis.

My back bowed and I gasped. One second there was nothing, absolutely nothing, and the next I was wailing as I was barraged by a tidal wave of ecstasy. I can't describe it better, I'm sorry, I'm not as poetic as Cole. It was absolute bliss.

In one smooth motion you slipped your fingers out of me and then pressed down on my hips when they bucked instinctively at the loss. "Ohh..!"

As my --I'm sorry I can't say the word, I just, I just can't -- as my..core continued to throb, my whole body twinged with it, but in its wake I felt such a warmth, such fuzziness begin to replace it.

As your hand slid up my form, caressing, lightly kneading out the remaining twitches, a sleepy melancholy loomed, threatening to consume the euphoria you had gifted me.

I wanted..I wanted..


Your voice was so quiet and you were already kissing my face all over. "What do you need of me, what is it?"

I sighed, my eyes briefly fluttering closed. My fears had been rendered silent for the moment. Everything felt so clear, and yet there was a hazy ball of yearning and exhaustion I was tempted to sate.

My hand reached up to stroke along your cheekbone. You returned the faint smile I somehow managed to make, and oh, oh your eyes..there was such quiet adoration. Of me. Like Mother.

"Stay here..with, with me." I glanced away, wincing at my directness. Force of habit. "Please."

Your soft laugh wrapped around me like a blanket. Secure. Safe.

"I will."

Then, my worn epithet: "I love you, Solas."

Your eyes--Mother's eyes--drank me in. There was an Antivan word Josephine taught me, I forgot what it was I'm sorry, that translated to 'loving-kindness'. I'm sorry, the thought came to me.

"I love you, Tallin Lavellan."

Do you remember?

You guided my head to your chest and laughed again when I nestled myself as close to you as possible, uncharacteristically eager. "Always." You promised. You promised. You promised.

The odd necklace you wore, the jawbone of some creature with fangs, stuck between our chests. Hard, like what continued to press against the inside of your breeches and my leg. You pretended it didn't exist, and so I did the same.

I fell asleep while you murmured repeated praises of me in my hair. Some of them Common, some Elvhen. But you used words I had never heard of, words that barely resembled the speech of my people.

If I were to approach you now, would you tell me what they meant?