In this story you will notice a few slight differences to the things that are said or the way things are done in the game. I hope you enjoy, and, kind reviews are most welcome.
The late afternoon sun's rays blanketed the craggy landscape in hues of gold and orange, creating a vision of warmth and welcome for the weary warrior as he sighted his home town. He could make out Dragonsreach, which sat atop the high hill to overlook the town of Whiterun.
The day was cold; a typical Skyrim winter day, but the sky was blue and sun was shining. That view, combined with the sight of home and promise of warm food and strong ale, made his sore heart feel glad again. Farkas had been gone for an unusually long time on his latest quest - he had taken on three separate jobs with no break in between, as they had been in relatively close proximity to each other.
He had gotten lonely along the way - he missed his fellow Companions. There was another undefinable ache in his heart too, but he didn't delve into it too deeply. Being a man with simple pleasures and a love of familiarity and routine, he chose not to think too much about why his heart ached, and why he no longer found much pleasure in killing smelly, annoying bandits and silly, shrivelled old draugr. He figured he'd be alright once he got home to his family and some good tucker, a hot bath and a drink or two.
He shook the hands of the guards at the gate, and received warm greetings such as, "Hail Companion", and "Honour to you, Companion" from citizens and guards. There was one particular guard who was always less warm; he always said, "Is that...fur growing out of your ears?" Although Farkas usually ignored him, today he responded with, "Is that...a dick, growing out of your helmet?" and that shut the simpleton up.
Spurred on by the closeness of home, he bounded up the steps to Jorrvaskr two at a time, and stopped dead just before the top step. He could sense an excitement in the air - an almost celebratory feel, accompanied by a new scent amongst the familiar smells of home. The smell brought images of sunshine, warmth, laughter...and something else, something ancient, powerful. Once the initial shock of an unfamiliar smell passed, he pushed open the door, eager to find the source of the enticing smell. And there, sitting among the warriors of Jorrvaskr was the source; a sight for sore eyes.
Nobody even noticed Farkas as he entered the hall - they were all focused intently on the woman telling a story. A funny one apparently, as they all burst into laughter at her words. Even old Kodlak had ventured out of his quarters to be part of it. Farkas stood stock still, appraising the woman seated to the far left side of the table. She was unmistakably Nord with her face and her height, and she had the carriage of a warrior. But there was softness in her features, and a twinkle in her eye that most applicants to the Companions lacked. Most people were wanna-be hardened warriors that ended up dead very quickly, or kicked out for proving to be useless. But this woman, despite her soft face, twinkling eyes and her long, shiny, thick honey-coloured plait, held her posture with the grace of a seasoned warrior who didn't need to put on the big act. She wasn't very young - maybe in her early thirties - but her smile and her eyes gave her a youthful appearance; as though she still found joy in life, as though embracing the world anew.
He absolutely had to hear what held such a captive audience. He dumped his bag and his Skyforge steel greatsword right there on the floor, earning a sidelong glare from old Tilma. He nodded acknowledgment to her, and she seemed to understand that he just wanted to take a minute to see what was going on. He saw Njada get up out of her chair and walk away, towards the sleeping quarters. Farkas decided to pinch her seat before she came back. The mystery woman noticed him then; their eyes met, and he noticed she gave him a very subtle once-over before she smiled a very genuine smile at him.
"Greetings to you. You must be Farkas!" she said in a friendly, strong voice.
"Uhm..." he cleared his throat, "I am Farkas. And you are?" he asked, but Vilkas broke in by shouting a greeting to his beloved brother.
"Farkas! You're back!" said Vilkas, giving Farkas a brotherly squeeze and roughing-up.
This was followed by greetings from the rest of them, and a punch in the arm from Njada for stealing her chair. After the excitement of Farkas' return subsided, Tilma waved to Farkas to get his attention. When he looked over at her, she glared at him sternly while pointing to his belongings which were still on the floor, right where a drunkard was likely to trip over them.
"Oh. I'll be back in a sec." he said, to no one in particular. He gave Tilma a mock contrite look before winking at her, causing her wrinkly old face to break into a smile.
"Go on!" she scolded playfully.
"Ah, you love me!" he said, giving her a peck on the cheek before disappearing down the stairs.
He put his things in his room, swapped his heavy steel armour for a pair of comfortable brown swede pants and a cream cotton shirt, and then washed the dirt from his face and hands. He ran a brush through his hair, thinking how his scalp was itchy with dirt, but the brushing soothed it somewhat.
When he returned upstairs, the mood had changed to a more sombre one. Skjor was relating one of his war stories; the man had had a tough life, but he didn't often speak about it in great detail.
Farkas sat down at the far end of the table where he could get an unobstructed view of the woman as he ate and drank. He realised he never ended up getting her name. He watched her as she listened to Skjor. She has a very caring, kind sort of face, he thought. As a senior Companion, he had learned to be an excellent judge of character. He liked this woman instantly, and hoped that she wasn't just passing through. He also hoped he could get to talk to her soon before bed.
Suddenly feeling self-conscious, he realised that he had gotten lost in his thoughts and she had caught him looking. She held his gaze, a small smile playing on her lips. Farkas' heart skipped a beat, and he blushed. He quickly looked down at his mug, pretending to study the contents. He didn't look back up until he felt a presence next to him, accompanied by that scent of sunshine.
"My name is Rose." she said, touching his arm.
A warm shiver went through him at her touch. He unconsciously inhaled her beautiful smell, and the ache in his heart intensified briefly. Now she was sitting next to him, waiting for him to respond. Being somewhat shy, he wasn't very good at making conversation with people he didn't know, and often came across as gruff and short. He was also extremely tired - belly full of hot food and warm mead, comfortable clothes and the promise of a proper bed - he felt his thoughts were jumbled, and it was difficult to string two words together. He mentally slapped himself before replying, "Oh! My apologies Rose, I don't know where my manners are tonight! It's good to meet you." he finally said, holding out his hand.
She grasped it firmly, giving him her warm smile. He noticed that her grip was strong, but the skin of her hand was soft. Soft, like her pretty face, he thought. He felt an urge to stroke her cheek, but held himself in check - he had never felt the urge to stroke a strange woman's cheek before even conversing properly; he put it down to his exhausted state.
"Kodlak tells me that you are a very skilled warrior, that you are in high demand." she said, making conversation.
"Mmhm. Skjor says I have the strength of Ysgramor - " he snapped his mouth closed, realising how foolish that statement was. He reverted to that statement whenever he was at a loss for words, but now, the words sounded rehearsed and childish. "Um...I'm not a very good talker. My brother Vilkas is a better talker than me." he said, immediately cringing at those words. He was digging himself in deeper. But when he looked back into her face to gauge her reaction, he only saw light-hearted amusement.
"I've spoken to Vilkas already. He is indeed a good talker. He showed me some of his books - I love books. He told me that you used to play the lute but it now gathers dust in your room. A shame...I love music even more than I love books!" she said, trying to draw him out of his shell.
"Do you? It's not often we get people who love books and music wanting to join our ranks. Do you play an instrument, yourself?" he said, starting to relax a bit.
"Oh yes...you put an instrument - any instrument - in my hands, and I will coax a note or two out of it!" she smiled broadly, her eyes twinkling.
"Is that a fact?" he said, rubbing his chin in thought. "Why don't you come to my room and play my lute?" Cringing at his words again, he slapped himself in the forehead. Gods, she must think I'm a sleaze now! "Oh no! I meant...what I meant was...I'd like to hear you play...maybe I can go and fetch it - " He stopped talking abruptly when she burst into giggles. "Ah..." He rubbed his palms on his thighs nervously, wishing he could turn invisible.
"It's alright, Farkas, I knew what you meant! I'd play your lute any day." she said, putting a play on her own words to make him relax. "But not today! Alas, I fear that all this good mead tonight has made my fingers all rubbery." she chuckled.
"That'll do it." he replied, shrugging.
And so, Rose gradually brought Farkas out of his shell and eventually had him talking so much that the words were chasing each other in great floods. Vilkas and Kodlak looked on, amazed at how Farkas had lost his shyness around Rose.
"Is he drunk?" Ria said, catching on to what they were studying.
"Hah...funny thing, I don't think he is!" said his brother Vilkas, who knew him better than anyone.
"Something special about this woman," mused Kodlak, "she's different from anyone who has ever walked into this hall."
Vilkas nodded agreement, and Ria felt her sense of respect for this woman growing. "Let's send them out on a job together, Kodlak." said Vilkas.
Kodlak agreed it would be a good idea, but first he wanted Vilkas to test her mettle with a sword, in the morning. Kodlak and Vilkas could both sense her strength and skill; they needed only to use their wolf senses to know that, but the confirmation was in the traditional test. They continued to chat and observe, but unbeknownst to them, Njada sat in the shadows behind them, seething with jealousy. Aela and Skjor sat together, talking animatedly with Brill and Vignar. Athis and Torvar were nowhere to be seen - the two of them tended to hang out downstairs and bitch about their superiors when they ran out of other things to talk about.
Farkas felt as though his mouth was not his own - he was rambling on more than his brother did at times. Farkas didn't talk this much even with a few drinks in him, and tonight, he was sober. Usually he shied away from beautiful women, unless he was roaring drunk. He just felt so comfortable and confident with Rose; she seemed to be genuinely hanging on to his every word. She even laughed at his silly 'dad jokes' (as Aela called them), which usually only came out around the people closest to him. Rose asked him lots of questions to keep him talking, and when he asked her questions, she answered but generally steered him back into the spotlight.
Eventually, Farkas began to feel the weight of his journey take its toll, and began to yawn. As much as he wanted to stay up chatting to this gorgeous creature all night, he really had to go to bed. He was stunned when he tore his attention away from Rose, to find that only Aela and Skjor remained; everyone else had long gone to bed.
"Well, I think it's time for me to get some sleep." said Rose, noticing his yawn.
"Has anyone shown you where to sleep?" Aela said, overhearing Rose.
"Ah no, not yet." said Rose.
"Farkas, you look exhausted. Why don't you show Rose where to sleep, and go to bed eh?" Aela said, squeezing Rose's shoulder affectionately.
Farkas noted that touch - if Aela didn't like a person, she would be distant and guarded.
"Thank you, Aela. It has been a pleasure to meet you." Rose said.
"The feeling is mutual, Rose. I look forward to hunting with you someday." Aela walked away, and Rose stood up.
"So, take me to bed now?" Rose grinned, and an image popped into his mind - her lying naked on his bed with her long tresses spread around her, smiling her smile.
Being a small bit shy, he didn't quite know how to respond to her cheekiness. He did smile at her though, and put the image in the corner of his mind, to revisit once he was in the privacy of his own room. He guided her downstairs, his hand on the small of her back. She was wearing a simple dress, and he wondered what sort of armour she preferred. He was very curious about her - he would try to get to know her more tomorrow, he resolved.
As they entered the hallway of the living quarters, she gestured to a couple of big bags that were sitting against a wall, next to a table and chair. She reached for them, but Farkas insisted on carrying them. Strong warrior she may be, but she was a woman as well as a guest, and he was a chivalrous man. She smiled at him, seemingly impressed.
"Here is what we call the whelp room. You just pick a bed and fall in it when you're tired." But he didn't feel right sending her in here - she was too sweet, too elegant and respectable to be thrown in with the likes of Njada who would no doubt make her feel unwanted, and Ria, sweet as she was, would probably talk her ear off in an attempt to reverse Njada's negative effects.
Just as Rose was about to walk in there, he lightly grasped her elbow. "Actually...no, I'm not gonna let you sleep in there. You can sleep in my room." he said, pulling the door shut again.
"Oh? Going to show me your lute after all?" she said, laughing.
He blushed furiously, unsure of how to take her remark. He felt a strong attraction to her; an attraction that seemed to be growing stronger every time he looked into her laughing eyes, listened to her musical voice, basked in her energy. He would love to show her more than his lute, but he wasn't going to have a crack at her - she wasn't just some easy whore from the local tavern, she was a respectable, quality woman. She was gorgeous, womanly, soft, strong and full of intelligence. He was a plodding, oafish meat head, so he felt. He was way out of her league.
"Uh...my lute. Well I'm yours - I mean it's yours...whenever you want!" he responded, deciding after all, that a bit of innocent flirting wouldn't hurt. She giggled, and sighed with her head back. Farkas liked the look of her sexy, strong neck and briefly imagined what it would be like to bite it. "All jokes aside...you sleep in my room. There's plenty of room, it's private and quiet." He pushed the door to his room open, and put her bags behind the small bar he had in there.
"You've got a bar in your room?" she said, incredulous.
"Haha...yeah, Vilkas and me sometimes sit in here and chat about stuff over drinks when we don't want the other idiots around. The young new bloods can get a bit tiresome at times." he said.
"Hmm, I can imagine. I have already formed an opinion of them!" she said, kicking off her shoes. "So this bed is big enough for two of us?" she asked.
"Ah yeah, it's new..." His eyes widened when he realised what she said. "I'll be sleeping in the male whelp room." he hurriedly said, backing up to the door. She chuckled, shaking her head.
"I'm just kidding with you. Relax! Hey. Thanks for putting me up in here...I really appreciate it. Truth be told, I nearly keeled over at the thought of having to share a room with Njada!" she said, loosening the ribbons in her hair.
He was left speechless for a moment, mesmerised by her healthy, thick hair. He fought the urge to reach out and feel its softness. "I'm here to help." he said kindly. "You are too respectable for that, and I couldn't sleep knowing that you'd be uncomfortable. Goodnight Rose, and if you need anything, you know where I am." he said, slipping out the door.
He heard her say, "Goodnight Farkas." And then he walked away with his heart in his throat.
Rose could have kicked herself. She had flirted with a man she hardly knew, and she reckoned now he thought she was easy. She was indeed respectable, and expected a man to make the moves, not the other way around. This was the first time Rose could ever remember acting thus, and she was shocked at herself. Yes, Farkas is the most handsome man I've ever met, with his high cheek bones, soft, sensual lips, and his straight nose. She liked the lines of his cheeks, and how they became broken when he smiled. She liked his kind eyes, and his deep voice. It doesn't mean I should throw myself at him...but he's such a cutie - he is a bit gruff and tough but he has this soft cute streak, she thought with a sigh. She had noticed him when he walked into the great mead hall, his bag across his back. She remembered how her stomach had fluttered when he looked at her, and how sexy his facial expressions were. Pure man, she thought. She flopped back onto his bed, and a faint waft of Farkas floated up to her nose. She inhaled the scent from his pillow, identifying oil of lavender, orange blossom and cinnamon. There was another smell too, something less easy to identify but no less intoxicatingly sexy - it wasn't sweet, or spicy - but it spoke to her on a primal level, awakening something coiled deep within her. She pulled the second pillow into her arms, and fell asleep with it there, pressed up against her nose.
Farkas couldn't get comfortable on the tiny whelp bed. This poor excuse for a bed was smaller even than his old bed, and the pillow felt like a rock. He longed for his time-softened pillow and wondered whether he could sneak into his room and pinch it.
He crept quietly up the hallway, and into his room. The candles were still lit, but she was fast asleep on the bed, his bed. His heart skipped a beat to see that she was hugging his pillow tightly. And damn, did he let his eyes drink in every inch of her as she slept. He took in her beautiful, peaceful face, her long, long hair. He devoured her womanly form with his eyes - her ample hips, long, strong legs. Her waist wasn't tiny like half the other women tramping around Whiterun - but this fact only served to enhance her womanly strength.
He hoped fervently that she didn't wake up, as she would probably first notice the protrusion in his pants. Reluctantly, he gave up any hope of having his favourite pillow, and turned to leave the room, but was frozen in place by her sudden voice.
"Farkas." she said. Heart yammering wildly in his chest, he flung his head around to look at her and began to stammer an apology. "Come here." she said, sitting up. Her face was flushed. She patted the bed beside her.
"No!" he yelped, almost frantic with embarrassment. "I mean...no, I just came for my pillow, I didn't think - " she cut him off.
"Shhh, stop! Come here!" she whispered loudly, like a hiss.
She patted the bed again, and he felt like he wanted to die right then and there. "I won't bite. Promise!" Much to his dismay, his hard-on hadn't disappeared, despite his fright. He was strangely aroused by getting caught by her, his beast spirit putting unwanted images in his head. He sat next to her, and looked everywhere but her. He was at a complete loss now, unsure of what to do, of what she would do. "You haven't slept at all, have you?" she said, laying a hand on his shoulder blade, causing him to suck in air sharply. "I want to return the favour...you can sleep in here, this is your room. I can ask Aela - "
Farkas' head whipped around to face her now, panic on his face. "No, no, I offered you this room, so. Please sleep in here, I just came to get my pillow." he said, garnering his strength to stop himself from pushing her back onto the bed and tearing her dress off.
She shrugged her shoulders, and handed him the pillow she'd been holding. "If you're sure…I don't want to put you out." Rose laid back on the bed, and Farkas draped a blanket over her. "Thanks." she said, snuggling in.
She did look tired, and he was glad she would be in his big comfy bed. "Goodnight, Rose. I'm sorry for waking you up." he said, then fled the room without looking back.
The next morning saw Rose with fresh pink cheeks and a bounce in her step. In contrast, Farkas looked grey-cheeked and haggard, feeling like he'd been hit by a running mammoth. He dragged himself out of bed, and nearly tripped over Torvar's sleeping form.
"You bloody twit! Get up off the floor!" he growled, kicking him unceremoniously in the backside.
Torvar groaned, and sat up. The shock of Farkas' outburst was evident on his face. "Wha...what're you doing in here, man? I was sleepin'!" Torvar said, rubbing his bum.
"You have a bed for that, whelp! If I have to trip over you again, I'm gonna crush you like a bug!" Farkas growled.
Torvar, stunned, stared with his mouth open. Farkas never yelled, never lost his cool. Except in battle, of course. He watched as Farkas walked away, then turned to Athis, whom was now awake and watching with a smirk.
"Shit yaself, didn't ya?" Athis said, laughing.
"Wellll he is a lot bigger 'an me." Torvar said.