Disclaimer: Nothing is mine.

Author's Note: Written for wintercreek's comment fic fest in celebration of her upcoming wedding! Prompt: Dairine, Roshaun; don't need you

Solar Flare

"Before this goes any further," Dairine said, "I need to make something clear."

Roshaun propped his head up on one arm and looked rather lazily into her eyes. A lock of long blond hair fell in front of his face, strands fanning out delicately, feather-light. "Go on."

Dairine was overcome momentarily with an urge to hate the arrogant obnoxious princeling ("kingling" was more correct but didn't sound as good) sprawled confidently beside her on the living room sofa. Really, it would be easy. She hated the baggy silk trousers that looked like they belonged on a Princess Jasmine Barbie doll. She hated the incongruity of the "Ban DHMO" t-shirt he had changed into as soon as he got through the worldgate (she never should've explained the joke to him; he'd found it far too amusing). She hated the fact that his eyes were naturally that eerie deep green, and that he knew she found them distracting.

Mostly, right now she hated the fact that both humans and Wellakhit had evolved under similar enough conditions that both species had developed a preponderance of tactile sensory receptors in the region of their lips, and that hers were still tingling from where that arrogant obnoxious princeling had kissed her. She hated it almost as much as she hated the few inches of space that kept them apart, and the voice in her head that kept her from closing that distance.

"I don't need you," she said, but even to her ears it sounded more like a desperate excuse than the truth. Half a second after she uttered it she realized she'd unconsciously decided to make the declaration in English, a language that could not punish her in case she had been lying.

"No," Roshaun said, in a voice Dairine felt she'd heard before but couldn't remember. "You don't." He leaned closer. "But you want this."

"Yes," Dairine breathed, reverting to the Speech.

"You want me to understand that I am not necessary—because necessity would tie you down," Roshaun said, and now Dairine was able to place his tone. It was the same one he used when he tried to explain Earth customs and history back to her, to make sure he'd gotten them right. "And you don't like to believe that anything could tie you down. Especially not me."

"Yes," she answered again, more tentatively this time. Where was he going?

A wry smile of a kind Dairine rarely saw quirked Roshaun's lips. "I don't need you, either," he said, tracing a single finger along her cheek to her jawbone. It took an effort of will for Dairine to keep her breathing steady. "But I choose you." He dropped his fingers from her face to place them lightly over her palm. "And there's power enough in choice to overwhelm even the greatest necessity."

Time stood suspended for a moment, and Dairine contemplated the face that was now mere inches away from her own. Yes, it would be easy to hate him, not just who he was but how he made her feel: angry, worried, lonely, anxious, upset, uncertain. It would be easy to send him home now, tell him to stop with these recreational visits at strange hours and unpredictable intervals. It would be easy not to have to worry that he might get hurt, or might someday cause her pain, or both.

It would be much harder to love him.

But then, when had she ever made a choice that was easy?

Dairine mustered up her most wicked smile, and when she spoke again, she was close enough to feel his lips with hers at every other word: "I've made my choice."

Suddenly the distance between them disappeared entirely, and Dairine felt wonderfully warm and tingly, like she was being enveloped in her own personal sunlight, a sensation disturbed only by the single fleeting thought, tinged with more of that solar fire, And so have I.