Author's note: So this is a little two part story I cooked up because a few people mentioned Sebastian and his bow. Sequentially it would be placed right after The Right True End of Love.
Kiss and Tell
Breaking the News
Solara knocked on the door of Aveline's office and held her breath. The woman was her oldest friend and if she didn't approve of this recent development Solara wasn't certain who actually would. A moment later Aveline's brisk voice called for whoever it was to enter and Solara took another breath and pushed the heavy door open.
Aveline's face lit in one of her rare genuine smiles and Solara grinned back, nerves fueling her expression as she entered the room. "Hawke," The guard captain greeted her. "What can I do for you?"
Solara shut the door behind her but left it slightly ajar so if one of Aveline's guards had an emergency they'd know it was all right to interrupt. She and Aveline had worked out a system in the six years they'd been working together and if the door was ajar, it meant she had news Aveline needed to hear but it wasn't anything that needed immediate action.
Aveline's smile faded slightly as she watched Solara but she simply gestured to a chair with an air of resignation and sat on the edge of her desk. "What's gone wrong now Hawke? Have the Qunari decided to re-invade?"
Solara laughed as she shook her head. "As if I would hear about that before you," She sighed as she took a seat. "No, I actually have a few things to talk about with you, mostly so you're aware of what's going on." Keeping her voice neutral and choosing her words with care for objectivity Solara explained about the Grand Cleric's request and the meeting with Sister Nightingale. The conversation, along with Aveline's questions and observations regarding the possibilities went on for quite some time, long enough that Aveline had tea and a small repast brought in. Finally Aveline leaned back on her desk, her expression thoughtful.
"That must have put your smalls in a bunch." Aveline commented. Solara could tell she was still considering the repercussions of the night's events. The warrior woman tended to talk of odd little things while she mulled over major events.
Solara tilted her head. "What would?"
"Well you've only been avoiding Sebastian Vael for three years now?" The guard captain reminded her dryly. "And then the Grand Cleric decides you should partner with him for an errand in the place where you could have died three years ago?" Aveline rolled her eyes, an unfortunate habit she'd picked up from Solara. "No small bunching issues there."
"Oh, that." Solara sighed. "I'll confess to small bunching at first. Later it was just really grand to have an archer of his skill on our side, considering the ambush." She shook her head. "Then the blasted fool gets injured and doesn't bother to mention it." Her voice rose slightly towards the end of her words and Aveline's eyebrows went up.
"Oh?" She regarded Hawke patiently. "I take it you weren't pleased with that?"
"Oh I was right pissed when he collapsed in the Chantry after we'd done talking to Elthina." Solara frowned fiercely as she remembered the absolute terror that had engulfed her at that moment.
"It wouldn't be the first time the Chantry got blood on the marble." Aveline's voice was dispassionate and Solara glared at her in spite of her determination to keep her composure. "Hawke, honestly, if it was serious you'd be a lot more worried than you're acting now."
Solara slouched down in her chair and sighed. "No, you're right." She admitted. "It's just remembering him…fall like that." She shuddered slightly. "It's…"
"Its not easy seeing a friend hurt." Aveline said quietly, her green eyes staring at Hawke in reminder of the times she'd seen the rogue fall to a foe while she'd been helpless to aid her.
Solara nodded. "I know, and I've apologized time and again for giving you cause for worry." She sighed again. "But Sebastian…"
"Well you've always had a soft spot for him, at least you did until three years ago." Aveline pointed out. "I never really understood what you saw in him. He didn't seem your type."
Solara actually laughed then, shaking her head at Aveline. "Aveline, he's exactly my type." She contradicted. "I grew up on the run, constantly moving; one step ahead of the Templars. I never found myself attracted to men who'd led a similar life. I always crushed on the solid, steady, good boys. The ones that could be counted on. You know," She shrugged, "The ones I could never have because of what I was, or what my family was."
"So instead of being raised a good girl and falling for the bad boys…" Aveline summarized, "You were the roguish little girl who kept falling for nice boys." She regarded Solara with piercing green eyes. "You know that does explain a lot. But it doesn't tell me what you saw in Vael in particular."
Solara shrugged, a small smile playing about her lips, as she considered how best to reply. Finally she looked at Aveline directly. "He is a good man," She said slowly, "In spite of the fact that the first glimpse of him I had was when he was in a temper, I could tell he was a good man. He didn't hurt anyone even when he was that angry."
"And it was plain he had the skill to do so." Aveline recalled. "All right, go on."
"He was handsome, Maker!" Solara shook her head at herself. "I'd never seen a man so handsome in my life, it felt like the Maker had sculpted someone designed to appeal to me in particular." Her eyes rolled upwards humorously. "And then put him in the Chantry, thus ensuring my insanity." She looked at Aveline and tilted her head. "Then there was the fact that he was an archer."
"You mentioned something about that once I think." Aveline noted. "I didn't understand it then either."
Solara sighed, faintly aware that her eyes had unfocused and her expression was maybe a bit more carnal that her friend would be comfortable with but for the moment uncaring. "There's something about…all that intent, that concentration when a man nocks and arrow and pulls back on the bow. He's entirely focused on whatever he's aiming for." She smiled wickedly. "Just think about all that intensity, that concentration aimed at a woman…"
Aveline grinned her understanding. "Suddenly some of your distraction when Sebastian is around becomes understandable."
"Well, an archer of his skill…" Solara gave a wicked chuckle. "And add to the fact that he…" She shrugged. "This is going to come out wrong, but out of all of my friends, Sebastian never made demands on my time. He never asked anything of me, never expected me to have a solution to his problems." She looked at Aveline hoping her friend would understand. "Everything I did to help him I volunteered to do."
Aveline regarded Hawke shrewdly. "We do tend to put you in charge of everything don't we?" She said finally. "It must be restful to have someone who doesn't ask anything of you." The guard captain didn't say anything for a moment. "So what happened next?" She asked finally.
"Next?" Solara blinked. "What do you mean?"
"You said Sebastian collapsed." Aveline prodded. "Despite the fact that you've been avoiding him I don't see you letting him bleed out at your feet."
"Oh," Solara felt her face heat in a blush, "I, uh, panicked." The last word came out in a mumble.
Aveline blinked as she watched her friend blushing and mumbling. "Oh Maker help us!" The warrior sagged back onto her desk, her ramrod straight posture failing her in her shock. "You're in love with that sanctimonious indecisive prince!"
Solara shut her eyes a moment and took a deep breath. Aveline had always found Sebastian to be irritating mostly because of his noble birth and his waffling about what he should do regarding Starkhaven. And the guard captain didn't know everything Sebastian had worried about for the six years he'd known them.
"I notice you don't deny it Hawke." Aveline said, her voice mildly accusing.
Solara opened one eye and peeked at her friends face and then sighed. "Because I can't." She said quietly. "I've been in love with him…almost from the moment I saw him Aveline."
That got Aveline gaping in shock. "I would never had figured you for a romantic who believed in love at first sight."
Solara shrugged. "I told myself I didn't. Told myself it was an attraction, then that he was my friend, then told myself to control my reactions around him or I'd lose his friendship. Its been six years of alternately denying or hiding my feelings Aveline." She rolled her eyes. "Varric got me drunk once after Mother died and quizzed me on…oh everything in my life and part of it came out then. But he's been good enough to never say anything."
"I would never have thought Varric could keep his mouth shut about anything. Guess that proves me wrong." Aveline shook her head still amazed. "So you panicked when Vael collapsed…"
"Uhm…yes." Solara fidgeted a bit. "But I got him back to my house with Isabella's help. And when he woke up I got a healing potion down him."
"Why take him to your house?" Aveline frowned at her. "Especially as you'd been avoiding him."
Solara slanted a dry look at her friend. "Panic, remember?" She shook her head. "Anyway, once he'd healed the cracked ribs we… well he was fairly insistent that we talk."
"Sebastian Vael, insistent." The guard captain sounded as if she couldn't fathom the thought. "If you say so Hawke."
"I do." Solara retorted. "And… well lets just say that I won't be avoiding him in the future." A smile crept over her face as she recalled everything Sebastian had said to her that night and morning.
"You mean he's finally made a decision?" Aveline leaned forward spearing Hawke with her green eyes. "He said after we'd caught him in bed with you that he couldn't say anything to you until he'd determined what the right path was. I just took it as more of his waffling." She shrugged. "He's always sincere, it just seemed like he couldn't make up his mind as to what he should do."
"And I know that maddens you." Solara understood only too well how Aveline felt about that sort of thing. "But yes, he has made his decision, though I don't know if you'll agree with it. Of course you don't have to, it's his life…and mine." She watched as Aveline's gaze sharpened, saw the realization in Aveline's eyes.
"You mean… wait," Aveline stopped herself and took a breath. The warrior woman looked as if she was going to hyperventilate for a moment.
"Aveline…" Solara prompted her friend. "Are you all right?"
"I would never in a million years have thought that the Hawke I met running from the Darkspawn would be the Princess of Starkhaven." Aveline said finally.
Solara gave her a tentative smile. "Are you…pleased?"
"Are you happy?" Aveline returned.
Solara finally relaxed and smiled, remembering how Sebastian had kissed her so many times he'd had to near run to the Chantry before he'd left her that day. "Oh yes…I'm very happy."
"You're going to have an actual marriage?" Aveline looked at her skeptically. "He's not going to remain a brother and try to get you to…"
Solara shook her head almost laughing. "He said he considered it…I imagine it lasted about five minutes before he gave up that idea." She grinned. "Sebastian said it would be cruel, like caging me."
"Well he's smarter than I thought." Aveline muttered. "So what will you do in the meantime. It'll be a while before you can marry. I imagine you'll be going crazy in that house by yourself."
"Aveline," the rogue's smile was wicked, "whatever gave you the impression that I was going to be alone in my house?" She drawled. "His family threw him into the Chantry for a reason you know. My prince had quite the reputation before he became a brother."
"No," Green eyes grew wide as she stared at Hawke shaking her head, "He, you… no, not really."
Solara's smile widened to a grin. "That man is…" A delighted shiver ran over her skin as she considered how her day had been spent. "Let's just say that being the focus of a master archer is all I could possibly have hoped."
"My…" Aveline grinned at her friend. "So I guess you won't be doing as much work at night anymore hmm? You won't need the distractions?"
"No, she won't." Solara looked over to see Sebastian leaning against the door frame, his dark eyes twinkling at her. "And don't think I'll let that 'master archer' comment slip by again Solara." He told her. "You put me off once already. I'll have an explanation tonight."
Solara looked at Aveline with a grin, wondering how her friend would react to Sebastian's air of command. Sure enough, the guard captain was blinking in surprise and looked from Sebastian to Solara and back again.
Solara stood up and moved closer to Aveline, her voice a whisper only for her friends ears. "Oh yes, he is every inch the Prince when he decides to be. I'm afraid you've mistaken deliberation for lack of command."
Aveline smiled slightly and wrapped her arms around Solara in a gentle hug. "I'm glad you're happy."
"We aren't telling anyone else yet." Solara explained. "But you're my oldest friend. I wanted you to know." She shrugged as Aveline let her go. "And you're married. I thought of all my friends you would understand wanting some privacy."
Aveline looked at her and then at Sebastian standing in the doorway. "I know how to keep a secret…just don't try to keep this one too long…" She advised with a smile.
Sebastian gave her a wicked grin. "We'll try to behave ourselves whilst in the company of our friends."
"See that you do." Aveline nodded firmly. "I'd hate to arrest Hawke for lewd behavior in a public boulevard."
Solara laughed as she moved towards Sebastian's side, "Don't worry Aveline, as wicked as he is, I think the Chantry had some good influence on my prince over the years. And I've never cared for blatant displays of affection in public."
"I'll see you soon then Hawke, I'm always here if you need me." Aveline gave them her traditional farewell and Solara slid her hand into Sebastian's, squeezing his fingers before letting them go.
Sebastian looked at her as they walked out of the Keep and down the street in the direction of her home. "Don't think you can avoid the question forever Solara." He teased. "I'll have an answer out of you tonight."
"Sebastian, I haven't any idea what you could mean." Solara grinned up at him, suddenly so happy she could burst with it.
"My dear," Sebastian held the door to the villa open for her. "You've had only a hint of how wicked I can be… I've half a mind to torment you until you give me the answers I seek."
"You can try." Solara teased as she locked the door behind them. "You can always try." She began walking up the stairs towards the bedroom and looked at him over her shoulder. "I think you've been in the Chantry so long you'll break before I will."
Sebastian smiled wickedly as he followed her up the stairs. The woman had no idea what she was dealing with. But she would…eventually.