Stepping Inside

Generally, after a passionate kiss on the balcony outside her bedroom, a girl presumes returning indoors will result in something more or less physical.  Saetha, in this one single case, was like most women.

As she followed him into the room she couldn’t help but smile.  After months of her teasing and tempting, she’d finally gotten him to give in to his desire.  She thought she had, anyway. 

Solas, unfortunately (in this one single case), was utterly unlike most men.  Instead of taking her in his arms again, he started toward the stairs.

Saetha’s heart fell but she decided one arm grab, one well-disguised plea for him not to leave, was enough.  Instead she leaned casually against the doorframe, keeping her smile in place.  As he reached the top of the stairs she said his name.


He half turned, one foot on the first step and his right hand still on the rail.  The light from the Orlesian doors caught the flush of their kisses still coloring his cheek.  “Yes?”

His voice was light, happier than she’d heard it since they’d confronted the mages torturing his friend in the Exalted Plains.  Even that single word, in his measured, mellow voice, carried his pleasure at having reaffirmed their mutual interest in more than the friendship they’d enjoyed.

To match it, Saetha kept her own tone as casual as her pose.  “Why are you always walking away from me?”

The light flush of his cheek darkened in the beam of sunlight still cheerfully shining over her shoulder.  He looked down for a moment’s thought.  Saetha held her breath like he was a skittish pup that would be startled by a sudden movement and flee down the stairs.

When he turned and stepped closer she tried to ease it out unobtrusively.  He could undoubtedly see her pulse jumping in her throat but she kept her smile firmly in place.  Somehow it seemed critical that he not see how much his answer meant to her.

“Venhan.”  He frowned sadly and turned his head as though wrenching his gaze from her face.  “You tempt me,” he said, still looking at the wall by her left knee.  “You know I have journeyed alone for…”  As he so often did, he completed his sentence with an eloquent gesture and an expression half desire, half regret.  “Much as I wish to I question the wisdom of deepening our involvement.”

Creators, that sad face did her in every time.  Saetha squeezed her right hand with her left to keep from cupping his cheek and promising him it would be all right, followed by a thousand kisses from his jaw to the shining top of his head.  Instead, she shifted her shoulder to a more comfortable position on the jamb.  The slight movement caught his attention and he looked into her eyes once more.

“Weren’t you just praising my wisdom?” she asked gently, raising an eyebrow.  Solas smiled, a tiny one with the left corner just hinting at a lift but enough that she really did relax a bit.  “I should have a say in whether there’s any deepening.”

She smiled again and he returned it in full.  He never showed his teeth when he smiled, never opened his lips for anything less than a full laugh.  That, she decided, was why she constantly teased him.  His whole face opened up when he was happy and that gave her a tiny hope that he would let her in.  This time she cheerfully accepted the warm, slightly daffy smile he only ever gave to her.

“Perhaps,” he conceded, taking a small step toward her.  Saetha pushed herself off the doorframe and stood to meet him.  “And in your wisdom, what would you decide?”

She took his hand and tugged him closer.  “Oh, yes,” she said, her lips brushing over his when she spoke and coaxing them open, “I think it’s wise.”

Solas pulled his head back even as his arm snaked around her waist.  “Then I shall defer to your good judgment.”  He gifted her one more beatific smile before he did.

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