So I noticed that a few comments were disappointed that Theron isn’t more aggressively in Solas’s face and being all badass, but I beg for some patience. His power relies very heavily on his belief that he can do something, and he’s very… for lack of a better word, HUMAN on the inside. So being told you have the power and believing it are two completely different things. Not to mention, maybe it’s just me, but very often, my own brain works against me in the worst ways. As an author, even knowing that something is ‘going well’ can be the catalyst for the world ending because you know nothing ever goes well until it’s time for someone to die.
So hinging his power on his belief in himself and how the world works is actually incredibly dangerous and frightening.
He’s going to do some amazing things, and he’s going to fail at just as many, but we’re building a foundation right now, so we can’t jump right into pushing ALL of the wolf’s buttons, or else you don’t have a reason to come back! And… I like to think Solas can still surprise us all occasionally too. Both in great and terrible ways.
Read on, friends.
Solas was waiting when Theron stepped out of his tent. A glance back showed Varric had already shut the tent flap, and his ears twitched as he heard the telltale shuffle of the dwarf getting comfortable.
When Theron moved to sit, Solas stood and tilted his head toward the woods.
As they walked in silence, he tried to run the various scenarios in his head, and the result made him sigh. He regretted it instantly because the forest was being a quiet bitch, and his sigh almost echoed. The apostate’s eyes seemed to glow as he peered back to make sure Theron was following. Those eyes would look amazing from on his knees, peering up from around… Solas stopped abruptly. A quick glance around made Theron swallow. While he could see the glow of the campfire in the distance behind them and the tree line to the left showed moonlight peeking through, they stood in shadows.
Elves are supposed to be able to see in the dark, right? Wasn’t that why their eyes seemed to glow? Or was that only in fanfiction? Why can’t I see him?
“It’s my dream,” he murmured to himself, flinching first when he felt a hand brace against his chest and push him hard against a thick tree trunk. Then he cursed at his weakness and grabbed said hand, a snarl escaping his lips because feral dogs will bite when threatened.
“Who. Are. You?” The demand didn’t surprise Theron, but the vehemence did. Gone was any trace of the humble apostate, and there was raw fury in its place.
The Wolf had been so curious. Weren’t they the same person? Suddenly he wasn’t so sure. If they were, what kind of psychopath could flip his switch that fast?
“An apostate like you… of sorts.”
“Of sorts. You mean your fadeless magic.” The scorn was strong with this one.
“You don’t believe me.” I am Captain Obvious.
“No. I don’t.”
Theron sucked in a breath as he felt something spread out from the palm on his chest and sink into his skin. His heart seemed to flutter as the something spread like tendrils outward, and the moment his danger kink kicked in and he started to get hard, it stopped and the hand was removed.
“You felt that.” A challenger approaches!
“I…I’ve got to be honest, Solas. I’m feeling quite a lot right now. You might have to be more specific.” There’s nothing Theron wanted more in that moment than to be able to see the Wolf’s face in response to his shit-eating grin. Alas, his eyes were not cooperating. He swallowed and ignored the uncomfortable reminder that this might not be a dream.
“You’re not Dalish.” The apostate’s voice had lowered, but the intensity had not.
“Have you ever noticed that you ask questions in the form of statements?”
Theron sank into the silence that followed before he reached out a hand in the dark. Much like his time with Niall, he was aware of Solas the most by aiming for the sheer absence of light. He knew he had succeeded when he both heard and felt him step away.
“I… had not.” Silence again before he continued. “Are you a city elf?”
“No. Say what you want to say, Solas.” Theron cursed himself for rushing the conversation when his strategy from the start was surviving until morning by saying the absolute least.
“Are you Dalish?” He tried again.
“No. Solas. Say what you want to say.” Theron stepped forward carefully, surprising himself when his hand snapped out and entwined with the apostate’s robe as he moved to step away again. He held tight until the tension on the cloth dropped, and Solas seemed to accept him into his space even if his form was unnaturally still.
“Are you Elvhen?”
Theron peered into the darkness, and his will must have finally caught with his want because he sucked in a breath when he saw Solas open his eyes, and the glittering orbs met his. “Like me.”
He… did he… Theron was so surprised to receive any kind of admission so soon that he couldn’t control the emotions flashing across his face or the flush that he knew must be reddening his ears. All the while, the Wolf watched him like he was cataloging a new creature never before discovered. Fuck, maybe he was. So flustered, the words just seemed to spill out. “Y..yes and no, Solas. I think I am, but maybe also something… else.”
Theron looked away, letting go of the Wolf’s robe and bringing the hand up to rub his face. Regrets flooded him instantly. This was probably exactly what Niall was afraid of. It was exactly what he was afraid of. “Um… look. I…” He fumbled, reaching around to pull Mojo around to open the flap and dip his hand inside. “I have something for you.”
When he pulled out another bracelet and held it out, he prayed that the Wolf’s curiosity would distract from his own flustered state.
“You made one for me?” It was a simple question, but Theron felt an uncomfortable warmth in his chest. Both because Solas seemed genuinely surprised, but also because, despite the words, the elf asked it as a question. With the uplift at the end and everything. As if he were making a concentrated effort not to make the same aloof statement-questions now that he’d been made aware of it.
“Of course. I’m making one for everyone, but I thought you might be the most curious… and cautious. I’m not here to keep secrets.” Though I’m also sure as hell not here to tell you all of mine. Damnit, Theron. “I thought you might want time to examine it.”
“You’re a fool, Theron.”
Though he agreed, hearing the words still had something of a bite. “I know.”
The bite was softened when the bracelet was accepted.
“What are your intentions? With Elana…with the Inquisition?” The elvhen’s voice was softer, but each word was placed carefully.
Theron took a deep breath, stepping back to lean against the tree again, the energy seeming to drain from him all at once. “I am here to help, Solas. There’s a lot I can’t tell you.” What the fuck, Theron?! “But I promise… I’m here to help.”
“Your help is very hands-on.”
A chuckle burst out before he could stop it. “It is, isn’t it.” He hadn’t been wholly inappropriate, but he’d seen the way the elvhen’s ears would damn near steam when Theron would drape an arm over the Herald and lean in to whisper a joke.
Another awkward silence prompted Theron to continue
“Solas, it’s different for Dalish. She misses her clan, and I likely remind her of them.”
“You’ve said you are not Dalish, and I am—”
“I am not.”
Theron was surprised to hear the defensiveness in the Wolf’s voice and again found himself saying too much. “When you are alone, you are… I’m sure you are very warm, Solas.” He took a steady breath, praying he’d caught himself fast enough. “But in front of people, you hold yourself apart. It can be… I’m sure that it feels very hot and cold.”
“Spoken from the lips of someone who seemed panicked to tell us anything about himself tonight.”
Theron dropped his head, rubbing his hand over his face yet again before just throwing himself into the fire. “Because I’m a fucking awful liar, Solas, and I’m afraid people are going to ask me questions I can’t answer… is it the same for you? Are you as afraid to like the people you have to lie to every day as I am?”
He stilled as he saw the Wolf move. A hand rose to flatten on Theron’s chest again and then rose to squeeze his shoulder. God, he hated and loved it all at once. That intense gaze focused so hard on him, and the movements that just skirted threat sent signals straight to his dick instead of his fear receptors like they should. He’d done a lot of blasphemous praying tonight, but he sent out one more hope that Solas couldn’t see how aroused he really was.
“Perhaps you are right. I will… try… to be more present and engaged… if you will.”
“I… what? Really? Just like that?”
Theron could just barely see those glittering eyes shift as Solas tilted his head and sent what must be a fucking smile. He felt himself returning it with a grin of his own.
“Stay away from Elana.”
His grin fell. “Seriously? No.”
And so did the Wolf’s smile. “That isn’t where your interests lie. I won’t watch you lead her on.”
If Theron rolled his eyes, it was because he couldn’t slap the Wolf silly and his sass had to be expressed somewhere. “I told you that it’s camaraderie. Like family. Just… give it a chance, okay? I’ve treated you much the same… when you haven’t glared a hole in my skin for it.”
The elvhen just let out a long hmm before he removed his hand from Theron’s shoulder and brushed past him, apparently just… leaving.
“So… no more questions?”
“Will you answer them if I ask?”
“…I mean… some. Maybe. I’ve said a lot as it is.” Niall was going to kill him. Or at least stare with his void in the most broody way.
“Where did you learn your nonfade magic?” Solas kept walking, although slowly.
Fuck. I can’t really answer that. “Ah…in…the fade.” Truth and yet…
Theron chuckled, catching up to walk next to him. “Right… Um… what can you tell me about…” He paused, wondering if this was too off-subject or perhaps too pointed, considering where they would be going after the Hinderlands.
“Say what you want to say.” Did he just…
“That’s…fair,” he grinned and pushed on. “What can you tell me about Envy demons?”
Solas stopped. They were close enough to the fire now that the firelight reflected in his eyes, making them look brown even if Theron knew better. Hazel sometimes… maybe. “They can be quite formidable if given time and opportunity with someone of significant power. What do you know?”
Theron looked away, biting the inside of his cheek. Don’t lie. “We’ll meet one soon.”
A hand gripped his forearm and jerked him to face the Wolf, his eyes penetrating to the point that Theron wanted to look away again, but a hand on his chin stopped him. “Stop. Hiding.”
“I’ll meet him soon.” He amended, which was… both the truth and a lie, and he could see by the press of the Wolf’s lips that he could tell. “Please don’t ask me how I know. I can’t help the Inquisition if I’m fighting with you the whole time. I can’t.”
Theron’s face fell at the sneer on the Wolf’s face, and he braced himself for another cutting remark when a cough from inside Bull’s tent broke the otherwise gentle crackle of the fire. Solas closed his eyes and seemed to steady himself before he broke the silence. “You will tell me immediately if anything you know is a direct danger to Elana or myself, and you will be honest with me to the best of your ability. If I find that you have placed us in danger, I will burn… you… alive. Do you understand?”
He met and held the Wolf’s gaze long past when he should have responded, and the grip on his chin tightened. He had no real room to bargain yet. Sure. He had plans. Plenty of plans that would thwart this very man who held his heart and chin in a vice grip, but not yet. This was… fucking odd and ill-advised, but Solas was offering a compromise that took one very real worry off his plate. A Solas that knew he had secrets was a Solas that he didn’t have to dodge. Like earlier in the night when the Wolf had collaborated that he hadn’t done ‘magic’. It was begrudging, but it was… trust. A little bit of trust.
“Theron,” he prompted darkly.
“Yes. Fuck. I was… thinking. I understand.” He muttered but then flashed a small smile. “And don’t forget… you promised to be more invested in everyone if I am.”
He seemed to fall into thought, much like Theron had before he slowly nodded. “I did…and I will.”
Theron went to nod as well and then cleared his throat when he found his chin was still in the Wolf’s grip. The hand jerked away and fell to the elvhen’s side.
“So about that demon…”
Solas seemed to hesitate before he moved to sit on a log near the fire. Glancing at Bull’s tent, he gestured for Theron to sit as well. “I will do more than that. We’re sure to run into more than one demon in our travels, so starting alphabetically…”