She leaves for the Storm Coast at the crack of dawn. She doesn’t so much as say a good bye, but her eyes glance up at the entrance of the keep where he lingers along with the rest of those she had chosen not to bring along. Elgara had passed it off as trying to make certain that her closest allies had the energy to venture all the way to Crestwood as soon as she returns, but it’s an excuse few of them cannot see through.
(It’s hard not to, when she lets everyone save for Solas embrace her, and wish her luck on her journey.)
A week passes, then two, then three, and not even Leliana with her ravens has heard from her. Still, her spies report that the Inquisitor is still alive, if not throwing herself entirely into her work, refusing to even linger to help out the requisition officers who desperately need her aid. Solas can’t help but feel like it’s his fault. She is like him, in that sense, focusing on her goals in a poor attempt to ignore the judgement-clouding fear in her heart.
Without purpose, his hands and head too heavy to paint, Solas wanders the ground of what had once been his keep while the others sleep. Elgara has already begun to make it her own with Josephine’s assistance. The drapery is a deep, forest green, embroidered in golden Orlesian thread, but the patterns are distinctly elven, reminiscent of the art his people had left behind in crumbling ruins.
There are touches of her Dalish heritage around Skyhold, parts of it similar to the styles he had favoured a thousand years ago, but it is quiet, hidden. It is almost outshone by the glittering golden décor Josephine had brought in, the many carvings of Andraste nothing but sacrilegious. Still, Elgara had not stopped her. Even her throne is hewn of gold and white stone, depicting Andraste burning in flames. Is it meant to be irony? To have a Dalish elf sitting in the fires in which the Maker’s bride had died? Or is it a reminder, that the Inquisition is for all, as she had declared in the courtyard what feels like an age ago?
He finds himself in the Inquisitor’s quarters, his feet remembering the way without him having to think of where he intended to go. The room is silent, not even a fire in the mantle to keep the place warm while she is away. It’s not particularly clean he notes, but he hadn’t expected it to be. Her Orlesian bed frame lacks a traditional Orlesian duvet, and instead has several assorted furs—bears, druffalo, and wolves alike. They are draped over the oak wood frame, careless and unfolded. The surface of her desk, much like his own, is littered with many papers, notes scribbled in the margins. Several letters await her, dated just after she had left.
In his time, the space had been adorned with sheer, gossamer curtains as light as a butterfly’s wings. Magelights constantly flickered about, casting the entire room in a serene, pale blue hue. Everything that could have been decorated gold was, displaying his wealth and splendour to all.
“Fen’Harel ver em!” Something breaks as it falls, glass shattering, and he turns back to see Elgara, what remains of her plated food lying at her feet. “What are you doing here?”
“You’ve returned.” He hadn’t expected her back for another week, at least. He had hoped to wander the halls of his old home, uninterrupted, but now he is nothing but an intruder. “Forgive me. I was searching for something.”
He starts to leave, but she catches him by the arm just as he passes by her. Elgara meets his gaze. “We need to talk. Stay.”
His stomach twists and turns. Yes, he supposes, they do, but he’d rather they didn’t. Do they not have greater concerns? Corypheus? His archdemon? (The fact that she will have to die by his hands and that already he begins to wonder if he can do such a thing?)
But then— “Please.”
It’s enough. Just one word, and it’s enough. He is the Dread Wolf that her people fear so greatly, his name muttered in hushed whispers for fear of waking the wrath of a trickster god, but he is tamed with nothing but one word from a girl several thousand years younger than him who carries his mark on her hand, and the Betrayer’s on her skin. He is torn between wanting her on her knees for him, the Anchor shining in a dark room as she takes him in her mouth, and wanting to kneel before her himself, worshipping her as she deserves to be worshipped.
He says nothing, resenting how easily she sways him to her side, as though he had not led an entire army once as she does now, as though he hadn’t been an equal to the best of them all.
And he stays.
He follows her out onto the balcony, taking care to avoid the glass by their bare feet. Above them, the stars glitter like a thousand diamonds against a midnight expanse.
Stolen kisses beneath the moonlight, even if she is promised to another. He does not care if she is to wed on the morn. Tonight… Tonight she is his.
“I overstepped my bounds,” she says after a long silence. “I misread your desires, and I made a mistake.”
“You did not misread my desires.” As old as he is, he cannot stop the words from escaping him, and he knows that it’s too late to take the words back now. She will expect an explanation, as she always does, and she will not rest until she understands. (He likes that about her, and hates it at the same time. It would be too easy to tell her things she cannot know.)
Solas breaks eye contact, focusing on the stone railing before him. They’ve aged in the millennia he had been asleep, but they are still the same stones. Even after the fall of Elvhenan, they had survived. Battered, worn down, but they still remain, enduring the test of time. He is the last of his people, a relic of a forgotten time. Somehow, she makes it better. She doesn’t make him forget—he can never forget what he had done, no matter how many years may pass—but somehow, he can live with the mistakes he has made when she’s with him. She understands what it’s like to have the weight of an entire world on her shoulders.
She wets her lower lip, quiet and as still as the night. “I still made a mistake. I never asked you what you wanted.”
Good, he thinks to himself. Because then I’d have told you the truth, and I do not think I could live with myself if had.
“I kissed you,” she continues. “And I am sorry.”
“Might I ask why?”
She is not taken by surprise easily, but he wouldn’t expect her to be. Her life seems to be one misfortune after another, each one more unbelievable than the one that had come before it. (Like the way she should not have survived the Conclave, let alone how she bears the mark of an ancient god on her skin that has the power to save them all.)
Still, his four words make her hesitate, as though they had come out of nowhere; unfounded and unsubstantiated. Has she not noticed the way he looks at her? It’s like the wolf inside of him comes out, hungry only for the taste of her skin, and the feeling of her beneath his calloused fingers. Had she not felt him, hard and aching against her stomach, far too many layers separating her from him? He wonders, if only for a brief moment, if he’d find more marks in honour of the Betrayer beneath her tunic, wrapping around her ribcage, and trailing ever downwards.
He wants to find out.
Solas takes a slow, careful step towards her, Elgara backing up until she is pressed up against the stones that had been there longer than she has been alive. The answer to his questions is caught in her throat, trapped like flies in a jar, uselessly slamming themselves against the glass over and over again, never to succeed. The wolf within him surges as he sees her standing there under the dappled starlight, eyes as silver as the twin moons.
He has not longed for another in many years. Not since Her. By comparison, everyone else had seemed pale. They never could have stood a chance against her, and he had thought that he would never care for another as he had cared for her. How could he? They couldn’t compare to her fire, to her grace, to her beauty, and to her power. But Elgara…
She is nothing but a mortal. One with pointed ears, yes, but the stains on her skin are a permanent reminder that she is not one of his. She shouldn’t be able to do this. She shouldn’t make him reconsider everything he had ever known to be true.
“I regret many things,” he says, the words not quite a lie, even if he does not tell her what it is that he mourns for, “but the kiss is not one of them.”
She stares up at him with those wide, hazy eyes nearly clouded over with the same hunger stirring within him. “No?” Her voice is weak, hoarse, unable to conjure up more than a single word, but she still asks him to explain himself, as she always does.
As she always will.
He smiles, and it’s all teeth, like the grin of a wolf moments before it catches its prey.
“No, da’len,” he says, leaning down to murmur in her ear. Her eyelids flutter shut, trying to maintain her composure, but she cannot hide the flush that creeps up her neck, or the way she leans in closer to him, begging him to touch her anywhere and everywhere. “Were we anyone but that which we are, I’d have taken you then, in the impression your memories of Haven had left in the Fade. I would have gotten drunk on the taste of you alone, and I’d have fucked you until you woke, feeling empty, and with no one else knowing what we had done.”
Crude, vulgar words, but he wants to touch her, memorise every part of her so that when the time comes, he will have to say goodbye, but the memory of her alone will sustain him through what must come next.
“Then let us pretend,” she says, her usual self-assured confidence returning to her bit by bit as she looks him in the eyes. “Let us pretend, for tonight at least, that we are not who we are.”
Who, she says, while he had said what; a fundamental difference that divides them both. She thinks it is because she is the Inquisitor, and he a lowly apostate, but she doesn’t understand. He doesn’t understand that he is a wolf, and she alone has the power to tame him, and she can’t. She is Elgara, sun and spirit, Vengeance and Mercy, and she has the power to take a god, but she can’t. He walks the dinan’shiral, and he cannot stray. Not even for her.
But for a night… If only for a night, he can’t bring himself to refuse her.
His hands find her waist, gripping her so tight that she will surely wake with bruises in the shape of his fingertips in the morn. Awkwardly, ungracefully, desperately, he lifts her up onto the railing, leaving her now at his height. Her hands clasp the stone beneath her, and her cannot help but think that one wrong move would lead to her death.
He is the Dread Wolf, however, and he is stronger than he appears. She will not fall, not so long as he has a hold on her. He places one hand on the inside of her thigh, silently forcing her to straddle him, her legs wrapped around his waist. He can feel the heat of her even through the clothes that separate him, and he wonders just how wet she is for him.
(And he also wonders how much she’d hate him if she knew who he truly is.)
“Solas…” His name comes out in a keen, quiet and begging, but to his ears, it sounds like a prayer. He has none of the riches, none of the power that he’d had then, but she still reveres him, not knowing that he is the Dread Wolf her Keeper had warned her of so many times.
May the Dread Wolf never catch your scent, the Dalish say, but it’s too late for her now.
Every time his skin brushes hers, her magic lights, burning cold fire that intermingles with his own. He wants to have for weeks on end, without pause, as though they had all the time the world could give them. But she is not immortal, and without her, there would be no world in which he could bring his people back.
One night, he says. He will make do with one night.
And then never again.
He is half hard for her already, straining against his tight leather breeches, and it takes all the self-control he has to not bend her over the railing and take her from behind as the wolf inside of him would have him do.
“Ma’lath,” he whispers before catching her lips in his own, the endearment slipping from his tongue unbidden and he can only hope that she does not know what he says. She still tastes like winter mornings, but also of rain and earth—she has the taste of the Storm Coast on her tongue, and it is like he has been there himself, even while he’d remained behind. Her hair comes tumbling down from its haphazard knots as he knots his hand through dark auburn locks, pins scattering over the stone tiles by their feet.
It’s as if he hadn’t been breathing the entire time she’d been gone. Suddenly, a weight is lifted from his chest, desperation and desire fighting a bloody war inside of him, fighting for control. He wants to worship her, wants to love her as she should be loved (as she deserves to be loved but it is not within him. He cannot give her what she deserves, for what she deserves is the world, and it is his duty to destroy it), and he wants her to worship him all at the same time.
She is pliant beneath his rough touch. Out there, she is the Inquisitor, whose power is absolute even as she uses it to be kind. Here, she is nothing more than a Dalish mage who had been at the wrong place, at the wrong time, succumbing to the hunger of the Dread Wolf.
“Fen’Harel ver em,” she hisses again, this time as his fingers intertwine with the hair as the nape of her neck, pulling her head back to expose the bare column of her throat. He drags his teeth down the soft, thin skin.
Does she even understand what it is that she says? Who he is? Dread Wolf take me, she says, and he intends to.
She gasps then, and the sound is sweeter than honey to his ears, as cups the outside of her mound, brushing his thumb over the small pearl of pleasure that will soon have her screaming his name for all of Skyhold to hear.
Elgara falls into him as he pulls her down from the railing, legs wrapped around his waist, and every shifting movement brushing her against his aching member. He sets her down on the bed, sprawling her out over the furs that drape across the Orlesian frame. There, among the pelts, he can almost pretend that she is nothing more than a refugee he had sworn to help before becoming enamoured with the taste of her.
Solas stands at the foot of the bed, watching with a clenched jaw. She looks like she had stepped out of a painting, her cotton blouse half falling off of her, and exposing one shoulder. Her breeches have been kicked to the side already, the only modesty she has offered by the few inches of her blouse that fall past her waist. Her hair falls in loose waves around her face, and her kiss-stung lips are already beginning to bruise with the mark of his affections. With nothing more than a gesture towards the fireplace, a roaring fire begins to blaze, casting them both in a warm, golden light.
She smiles, glancing down at the tent in his breeches before meeting his eyes once again. “See something you like?”
He silences her with nothing more than a look, cruel and commanding. She hesitates, if only for a brief moment, but still she reaches up to the ties of her tunic, loosening them just enough for the fabric to slip over her shoulders entirely, clinging onto her only by the tight cuffs around her wrists. His heart skips a beat before resuming its hammering pace in his chest as he rounds the bed, eyes still on her.
She leans into the palm of his touch as he traces the ink marking the curves of her cheek, a strangled noise escaping his lips as his hand continues further downward. Her bare breasts almost seem to glow in the light of the fire, as though she has a fire burning within her chest, her nipples as hard as pebbles from the cool night’s air. Her breasts almost spill out of his hand as he experimentally twists one, hardened nipple.
This time, she cries out rather than holding it behind clenched teeth, her head thrown back as she tries to pull him closer into her. “You’re wearing too many clothes,” she almost snarls, digging her nails into the fabric of his tunic.
He raises a brow. “Then remove them,” he says simply.
She freezes, uncertain of whether or not he is seriously before reaching up to help him slip the tunic over his head. The planes of his chest are not as chiselled as Cullen’s or Blackwall’s, his strength not coming from pure muscle, but he is wrought, and lean, and she wonders over this for a moment before reaching for the ties of his breeches. His cock is almost purple, moisture already beading at the head as she pulls his breeches down to his ankles.
One night, he tells himself again. One night, and that is all.
Elgara looks up at him from under long lashes, cheeks flushed half a shade darker than her honey coloured skin. “Fuck me.” It’s an order, not a request, and one he will fulfil gladly. In time.
He hooks a finger beneath her chin, keeping her from looking anywhere but his eyes. He doesn’t need to say a word. She already knows.
“Solas,” she says, and he is reminded that as much as he hates his name, he wants to hear her say it for the rest of eternity—breathless, gasping, needing, and wanting for something only he can provide. “Please.”
The last of his self-restraint, in that instant, snaps. He has many regrets, and he knows that this will be one of them, but he does not care. “How wet are you for me, ma’lath?” he croons in her ear, almost pinning her to the bed beneath him, the wood creaking with the weight of them both. Let it break, he thinks with wry amusement.
She doesn’t get an opportunity to answer, one hand delving beneath the sliver of fabric that had been protecting her modesty to find her dripping, soaked only for him, from his words and his few touches. Elgara cries out as he presses a finger against her swollen pearl, grasping at the sheets as though they would provide her mercy from the Dread Wolf.
Her quiet gasps fall on deaf ears as he traces patterns over her inner thighs, dragging his teeth down the valley between her breasts all the while. “Imagine what Josephine would say if word got out,” he says, delighting in the blush that immediately washes over her. “The Inquisitor, and her apostate.”
“You mean more to me than that.”
(He knows, and that is why this cannot last any longer than tonight.)
Solas ignores her. He wishes they had more time, but dawn is soon approaching, and come morning, they will have to pretend like none of this had ever happened. He has not played nearly enough games with her as he’d have liked, but this will have to do.
“Fenedhis,” she snarls as he takes one hardened nipple between his lips, applying just enough pressure with his teeth to leave it swollen. “Solas, please.”
“If you wish for something, then you must ask,” he reprimands, removing himself from her entirely, and delighting in the way she cries out.
“I…” She is normally a clever, quick-witted woman, but he renders her mute with nothing but his fingertips tracing swirls across her tights. “I need you.”
“You have me.”
“Fuck, Solas, please. I need… I need…”
Solas arches a brow. Again.
“Hahren, please, I need you inside of me, now, I beg of you.” She’s almost sobbing in her frustration, cursing the way he shifts just out of reach every time she goes to touch him.
He doesn’t reply, doesn’t need to. Instead, he grabs her wrists, pinning them with an iron grip against the headboard. She goes to protests, but falls silent as he sheathes himself inside of her before she’s even had the time to process what had just happened. If there is a Maker, Solas thanks Him for this one moment. It has been far too long since he’s lain with a woman, and if it weren’t for the woman beneath him, he’d have let out a relieved sob.
Her tight, wet heat is almost too much to bear, and though he has her hands out of the way, she still wriggles and writhes beneath him, meeting every one of his thrusts with one of her own. Senseless strings of words escape her lips, mostly consisting of his names and other pleas he cannot understand.
He doesn’t care. In here, he is her god. He marks her with his teeth, with his hands, leaving behind bruises that will take some days yet to fade; a reminder of what they had done, even if they pretend this hadn’t happened tomorrow. If only they had met a thousand years ago, he thinks, with no small amount of bitterness.
“Solas—” she starts, tightening the grip she has around his waist, refusing to let him go. “Rosa’da’din in’emma’av’in.”
It is not a phrase he’d have expected to know, but her Dalish-accented Elvhen is enough to push him over the edge, and he does as she requests, spilling deep inside of her with little thought in regard to what might happen should he sire her child. She follows soon after, crying his name so loud that he has no doubt that all of Skyhold will be speaking of this for weeks to come. Her back arches off the bed as her orgasm over takes her, chest heaving as she tries to catch her breath, and red all over save for the purple bruises already starting to blossom across her skin.
She looks at him through half-lidded eyes, gaze bleary and unfocused as she watches him quickly gather his things, haphazardly throwing on his clothes. “Are you leaving?”
Solas doesn’t answer her. Not directly. “This… This cannot happen again.”
She cannot hide the pain that flashes across her face. “I know.”
He still does not know the taste of arousal. Does not know how his cock would feel on her tongue. He does not know what it would be like for her to ride him, hair all wild as he coaxed her into rocking against him. There is so much of her that he wishes to explore, but the sun is on the horizon, and they are almost out of time.
“Elgara,” he says, hand on the door, and when she looks over, he realises he cannot say the words caught in his throat. Thank you. “Try to get some rest,” he says instead, and she just nods, unable to look at him even as the door closes.