Dusty Rapiers - Chelsairitops - Baldur's Gate (Video Games) [Archive of Our Own] (2024)

Chapter 1

Chapter Text

The first month after the elder brain was defeated was easier than the second. Tav spent her time helping, healing, clearing rubble and eating hot gruel, sleeping wherever her body fell surrounded by others doing the same. Part of her life hadn’t changed. She was still taking it day by day, living out of her backpack and sleeping in her boots. But now she was alone.
She stayed with other refugees in a single tent in Rivington. She had been gifted a small, one bedroom cottage but let Bex and Danis raise their and other orphaned, Tiefling children in the small space instead of occupying it herself. Her only other friends near the city were Jaheira and Minsc, and they had more family in less space than Bex and Danis.
Wyll had become Duke, living a life that felt foreign to her while Gale and Astarion were off on a romantic adventure to cure Astarion of his condition. Lae’zel started a new quest as a fugitive revolutionary attempting to overthrow the Lich Queen.
In Reithwin Town, Shadowheart repaired a cottage with her parents while growing her own food and caring for Scratch and their owlbear. Halsin also made a home there, as did Isobel and Dame Aylin. They were all building a new community and the once thriving trading town, now cured of its curse, was coming back from obscurity.
Along with happy endings there were regretful ones as well. Tav couldn’t convince Karlach to go to the Hells, so she died the same day as the elder brain. The Emperor, the only person she had shared a bed with on her journeys, left with no acknowledgment to their relationship or a desire to continue it further since she had rejected Illithid ascension.
The following month since the war against the absolute Tav had found a better rhythm, the rest of Baldur’s Gate joining her in normalcy. Shops were open and vital infrastructure mostly repaired. Neighborhoods were coming back from their foundations and the smog had finally cleared. Tav had gone back to mercenary work by taking contracts posted at the Elfsong or, when she really needed the gold, the Guildhall. With gold she could earn herself a night or two at the Elfsong, which meant a bath and a full meal. Some of her gold went to repairing her leather and half plate armor, feeding her familiar, and the rest was saved.
One day, she wanted her own home in the city but with the short supply and inflation on building materials she wasn’t anywhere close to achieving that. Instead, she was waking up cold and on a wooden plank with a thin bedroll.
She was in Rivington, stopping for the night after a contract took her through the countryside hunting a pack of worgs. Upon waking she cast longstrider, a habit she hadn’t broken, secured her hair in a high ponytail and used a carafe of water to wash her face. She wasn’t thriving, a half-elf ranger turned mercenary, but she wasn’t starving either.
Running her fingertips over the branding scar on her palm, a symbol of loyalty to the absolute that had gotten her into places otherwise closed, memories of the past year flooded her: fighting the dead three, defying her father, destroying the elder brain. She took a walk and distracted herself with the bustling of the lower city.
She had missed the smell of the River Chionthar, the noisy vendors, and even the crowd of people while she had been away.
The Elfsong, even in the afternoon, was full of people. Tav elbowed past everyone to the board at the far end, looking for a new job.
“Tav! Stop taking all the good assignments and come have a drink with us!” she heard someone call. She looked towards the voice and saw Aradin with his crew seated around a corner table.
Aradin had been an interesting alliance. They had reacquainted shortly after the fall of the elderbrain both looking for contract work. She had joined his crew once for a job but found she worked better alone. Thankfully, she had avoided his flirtations keeping their relationship friendly and comfortable. Not that he wasn’t handsome but he was incredibly against commitment and while a ‘no string attached’ entanglement would ease some of her frustrations the mornings after would be regretful.
“You saved me a seat, thoughtful,” Tav said and sat in an open chair.
“Ha! That’s was Johnathon’s! Bastards already passed out upstairs,” Aradin and the crew laughed.
“Passed out? It’s noon! You lads celebrating?” Tav asked, seated beside Aradin.
“In fact we are,” Aradin replied cryptically.
“I’ll join you, what’s the occasion?” Tav asked and held up a stein of beer.
“Got done doing a big job; ogres hiding out, three of ‘em, former cultists. Took ‘em out without losing any limbs and got a fat bag of gold for it,” Aradin told her, grinning.
“To ogre stew,” Tav said and downed the stein.
Her and Aradin’s crew stayed at that table for hours playing drinking game after game and eating the greasy, fried finger foods served from the kitchen.
“What are you celebrating, Tav?” Lakrissa asked as she served the table.
“Ogre stew,” Tav said with a slight sway and laugh, leading the table and Lakrissa into a bout of new laughter.
More time had passed as they played a loud card game; the game involved stealing doubles of cards laid down by smacking and claiming the pile before anyone else could, leading to scratches, blood, and table pounding. Tav was fast and very good at the game, holding most of the cards when she noticed Lia walk in.
Lia had become another close friend since the battle ended. Weekly, Tav would spend a day at Sorcerous Sundries and make potions from what she collected in and out of the city. She freely gave to refugees who needed healing and sold the novelty potions for the shop as repayment for allowing her to use the space.
Those days were her favorite. Instead of armor she wore the one outfit she had: an ill fitting brown tunic with a large beige cardigan and gray, wool skirt that stopped at her calf and was held up by a brown belt. With her hair up and thick glasses on, magnifying her work, she could play as a different person. At Sundries she was just a studious alchemist, not the savior of Baldur’s gate, not the single woman wasting her youth working and not raising a family, not the drunk that slept on wooden planks in the mud pit, or the reformed assassin. But her favorite part, truthfully, had been that from where she set up her alchemy station she could see Rolan’s projection. It wasn’t the real thing, but a projection wouldn’t catch her staring.
Rolan was rarely on the floor of the shop. Since inheriting the tower he’d been buried in official paperwork, disarming traps and wards, and generally studying the magic of the tower. He was usually in his office or traveling when she was there, which disappointed her but also eased her anxieties. Her crush on that grumpy wizard had never been requited and he had blown her off each time she tried to make her feelings known: once during the Tiefling party after the goblin raid and the other at Last Light Inn after the prison rescue. After that, she tried to avoid him. One sided longing was a particular pain she was tired of feeling. He was always thankful, even after killing his old master, but not affectionate.
In Rolan’s absence Lia was replaced, always on the shop floor and regularly chatting with Tav. They had easily become close over the time she spent there. Cal as well, but he was still more shy than Lia around Tav.
“Lia! Are you here to drink with me?” Tav stood and stumbled over to her friend as soon as she saw her. Tav’s arms wrapped around Lia’s side as Lia helped keep her up straight.
“Tav? You’re drunk. It’s late,” Lia was smiling but worried.
“It’s not late it’s noon!” Tav protested, finishing with a hiccup.
“It’s way past noon, Tav. Let me get my order and I’ll walk you home.”
“She doesn’t have a home!” Aradin chimed in from the table a few feet away.
“Shut up!” Tav yelled back.
“She lives in the mud pit!” he finished with a laugh and fell out of his chair.
“Tav, do you really live in the mud pit?” Lia asked. The refugee camp had been not affectionately called ‘The Rivington Mud Pit’ because of .. well.. the mud.
“I sleep there. No one lives there,” she corrected with a finger in the air.
“Why didn’t you say anything? You always have a place with us. Hold on, let me get my order. Stay right here,” Lia instructed before picking up a stack of covered plates from the bar. “Come on, let’s get you home.”
“I don’t have a home,” Tav protested but followed.
“Yes you do. You always have a home with us, you know that. I’m honestly mad you’ve been sleeping in the mud pit,” Lia continued once they were on the quieter street. The sun had set and the street was lit faintly by the glowing fires of the homes they passed.
“I don’t mean to upset you, Lia. Or anyone. And I don’t want anyone to think I’m pathetic,” Tav said, swaying and slurring.
“You saved my entire family. We would never think that about you. We wouldn’t have anything, the shop, our home, each other, without you. So, no more mud pit, you’re moving in.”
“Gods, I only did all that so Rolan would have to notice me. Well, atleast I got a best friend for all my trouble,” Tav teased and hugged Lia while she unlocked the door to the shop.
“My big brother’s oblivious. Unless you’re words written in a tome he won’t notice you. And that was before he had this entire tower. I knew you liked him though,” she replied smugly before opening the door for them.
“How?” Tav asked, stretching out the word with a hiccup, looking to the empty front desk and disappointed to not even see his projection.
“Because you stare at him all day, or his double. You may have to rein that in if you’re going to live with him.”
“Hells! I’m going to live with him?! I thought I was staying with you!” she shouted from the stairs.
“You are! And I live with Rolan and Cal,” she laughed and helped Tav up the stairs.
“Of course,” she pouted.
“If it helps Rolan is always either in his study or traveling for wizard stuff. I barely see him. And your secret crush is safe with me,” Lia promised, and they entered through the portal to Ramazith's Tower.
Ramazith's Tower, once home of Master Lorroakan now housed the new Archmage and his family: Rolan, Lia and Cal. They entered the room Tav remembered killing Lorroakan in. She could see the spot Aylin had broken his back, a slight stain remained on the gaudy rugs that covered the hard marble flooring. Stacks of books were set about, generally organized, and the middle of the room had become a makeshift living space. The Tieflings had set up a sofa and large chairs along with pillows and a short table occupied with books half read.
Tav followed Lia to the stairway that led to a hall of doors. Lia explained which was the bathroom the two women would share, which bathroom was Cal and Rolan’s, and her new bedroom. Tav stayed in a room beside Lia, across the hall from Rolan, with its own fireplace and balcony.
“Lia, this is to much,” Tav said once inside the large space. A four post, king sized bed laid in the middle of the room and a desk to the side. In the corner with a folding screen she also noticed an oak armoire beside a standing mirror. The room was decorated in rich green hues accented by the dark wood furniture and floral tapestries hung on the stone walls. Once Lia lit the fire the room warmed and invited her, begging for her to release herself to the bed.
“Let me help you,” Lia said as she watched Tav struggle with the buckles of her armor. Lia helped the drunk Tav dress down to her underclothes and into bed.
“What are you doing?” Tav asked while Lia wrote something on the desk. Tav wiggled under the feathered comforter.
“I’m making a contract. Since that’s the language you speak. Here, sign this,” Lia said and handed her a quill and paper.
“What is it?” Tav asked while scratching a barely legible signature on the line.
“You’re our shop alchemist now. In exchange for room and board, of course,” Lia blew on the wet ink for a moment before rolling the paper up.
“What?! Im a terrible alchemist. There are much better in the city,” she protested.
“From what I hear you’re a wonderful alchemist, we can hardly keep your potions stocked. So work in the shop atleast two days a week and maybe take a special request here or there and you’ll never sleep in the mud pit again,” Lia said with a satisfied smile.
“Thank you. Now get out so I can vomit and pass out,” she joked and pointed towards the door.
“I know you’re joking but the door there leads to our bathroom. And if you don’t make it you’ll be the one cleaning it up,” she warned her as she walked out and shut the door.
Tav sighed and rested her head on the silk pillow. She was living with Rolan.
“Stop it!” she groaned to herself, chastising her stupid crush on the prickly, handsome wizard.

Chapter 2

Summary:

Tav is reunited with Mayrina.

Notes:

(See the end of the chapter for notes.)

Chapter Text

“Do you think it’s cooling too quickly, Barcus?” Tav asked the gnome while they watched the bubbling flask. Tav and Barcus were in her usual spot at Sorcerous Sundries. Tav’s lab had taken over an area beside the front entrance. It was once an alcove that just had some trinkets and a curved bookcase that she had cleared to hold ingredients and her glassware.
“The salts keep separating in the cooling process, yes. Perhaps a longer cooling period would solve that. Or using rogue morsels instead,” Barcus suggested.
“I haven’t found many of those in the city, I’ll have to land a contract to take me into the grove again and pick some up,” Tav said while jotting down notes in her journal.
“I’m going back soon myself, I’ll pick some up for you,” he offered.
“Thank you. How’s Wulbren?” she asked, taking off the large framed glasses and rubbing her eyes to adjust to the regular world again.
“Good, actually. You remember he was so upset when I had become the leader of the Ironhand Gnomes and left. Since he’s came back, though, he’s taken his role as a house husband very well.”
“House husband?” Tav was surprised that he finally labeled their relationship.
“I mean we are not married but he prepares all our meals and does the domestic labor, without complaint. The opposite actually, I’ve never seen him so calm and, dare I say, happy. Once the responsibility was off his shoulders he finally unwound, it seems,” Barcus explained, smiling while thinking of the gnome waiting for him at home.
“That sounds really lovely,” she sighed, tapping her finger against the table.
“You know, I’ve seen you clean up and look nice. I don’t know any single gnomes but I could ask around,” Barcus offered.
“Oh no, please don’t. I’m not one for dating these days,” she laughed awkwardly at his offer.
“Yeah. Projections don’t make great boyfriends. From what I hear,”
Barcus joked.
“Not you too! Ok I am never looking at the front desk again,” she smiled and felt the heat of embarrassment on her cheeks.
“Well, maybe one of these days you’ll notice how he looks at you, too. But, I do have a hot meal waiting for me I need to get to. I’ll be back in a few a days with those morsels,” He finished scooting off before she could protest his observation.
“Barcus. You’re lucky I like you!” she yelled to him as he left the shop.
“Threatening customers?” Lia asked while setting down a box of supplies.
“Not customers, little busy bodies. What’s that?” Tav asked looking at the large box.
“Oh! I think we’re going to set you up somewhere bigger with more do hickeys. I was hoping you could, I don’t know, boil colored water in the ones you don’t need to give the kids something to oggle. Maybe now that you have a closet you can even buy clothes that fit so the parents can too,” she teased.
“Lia! You’re trouble. But where would you?” she started asking.
“Don’t worry you’ll still have a view of the front desk, better even,” Lia promised and noticed the worry leave Tav’s face then continued, “Before we open tomorrow we can set it up over there,” She finished, pointing at the two long tables that guided customers to the front desk. They were empty at the time, once occupied by flyers for the night song, mirroring each other. She would be right at the front. Instead of observing see-through Rolan from the corner of her eye she could use her entire eye. She wouldn’t protest.
“You know Lia, if I get some of my stuff back from Jaheira she’s holding for me I can do translations too,” she shrugged.
“You can translate?! What other languages do you speak?” Lia was surprised, translations were usually limited to inaccessible professors.
“I don’t speak any other than common, but I can translate text. It makes it more of a math problem, speaking it is a completely different beast,” Tav smiled.
“Ok, one side for translation requests and the other for alchemy? Wow this is turning out to be a real magic one-stop shop,” Lia was already daydreaming of the new customers and business that would come.
“Well, if people think I’m any good,” Tav reminded her. The types of sales she was hoping to get would require finesse, charisma, and, unfortunately, a certain look. A look that said she didn’t need the money she was asking for, that said she was of a certain status, a certain education. The types of clients she would need expect a certain level of poise from her that she didn’t have naturally.
“I know you’re good. Word will get around. People already ask about our potion supplier. They like that your healing potions warm them up,” Lia told her as she opened the box.
“I figure if you need healing you’re probably cold. But, I’ll try to make good as the shop alchemist,” she promised.
“And resident translator!” Lia added. “I think Rolan will be impressed.”
“Gods, Rolan. Does he know I’ve moved in?” Tav felt anxious suddenly.
“I let him know. I don’t know if he got my message but look, Tav, Rolan will be just as happy as me and Cal that you’re here,” Lia started explaining.
“Happier even,” Cal interrupted and set another box of glassware down beside them, “more do hickeys,” he explained.
“Those are beakers,” Tav corrected looking in the box.
“See? You’re already showing how knowledgeable you are. You’re going to do great!” Cal exclaimed and squeezed her shoulder, giving it a proper familial shake.
“Just don’t expect to be swimming in gold from this,” Tav said over her shoulder at Cal.
“The shop does fine either way. And don’t worry about Rolan, he would do anything for you too,” Cal tried to ease her nervousness.
“I bet he would,” Lia laughed and nudged Cal with her elbow causing them both to snicker.
“Stop teasing him when he’s not even here, and another thing,” Tav was about to defend Rolan in his absence when bubbles started pushing themselves out of a hot flask. “Damn!” She exclaimed and turned down the heat till the bubbles disappeared.
“We better let you to your potions,” Cal suggested.
“That wouldn’t happen if it was just colorful water,” Lia pointed out.
“Get out or I’ll spike your tea with a silencing formula,” Tav warned, and they laughed before leaving her to the mess.
When it was an hour to closing Tav started cleaning up, she always wanted everything cooled by closing time. As she was turning off burners and capping potions she noticed Mayrina, a woman she had helped a few times before defeating the absolute.
“Mayrina is that you? And Conner junior?” Tav came from around her station to greet the woman holding a small child.
“Tav! I’m so glad to see you! Connor this is Tav, she helped me and your father,” Mayrina replied, bouncing Connor in her arms and walking to meet Tav halfway.
“I’m so glad to finally meet you, little Connor. How’s big Connor?”
“Still the same. I like to wrap him up and take him out now sometimes though, he doesn’t look much worse than most of the citizens. Plenty of people with less skin and limbs than him, now,” Mayrina said with a smile.
“I’m glad for you. I’d love to see him,” Tav said, sincerely. Her invitation made Mayrina smile and almost tear up, most people weren’t comfortable around her husband, the living corpse, and wouldn’t spend time with them together.
“I’d like that too. But, anyway, I was just stopping by for the burn balm they sell? Do you work here?” Mayrina asked, looking around.
“I don’t just work here I make the stuff! Here, on the house,” Tav said and handed her a container of the thick gel.
“Oh no! I have to pay you! I’m actually doing really well. My dress tailoring shop has been really busy, mostly because the others were destroyed, so I have gold! Please let me pay you. Or. Actually, are these your clothes?” Mayrina asked, looking her over and noticing the baggy outfit she wore.
“I didn’t steal them,” Tav assured her, Mayrina knew how she used to make gold.
“No, I’m sure you wouldn’t have to. They’re ugly,” she whispered the word ‘ugly’ as if Tav had not been aware.
“I just got a closet, Mayrina! Give me a break,” she exhaled a chuckle.
“It’s just not good for the Savior of Baldur’s Gate not to have proper textiles when one of the damsels you’ve saved makes clothing. Let me pay you for the balm with a better wardrobe,” Mayrina offered, bouncing Connor from one hip to the other while the child looked around wide eyed, hand in his mouth.
“Do you have anything that would convince the upper city women that my love potions work?”
“I don’t know any single guys if that’s what you’re asking,” Mayrina joked.
“Girls?” Tav smiled back but continued quickly, “No, that’s not what I mean.”
“I know what you mean. And I’ll keep it in mind while I pick things out for you. Will you be here tomorrow?” Mayrina asked while being walked out by Tav.
“I will,” Tav responded and made faces at Connor that kept him smiling.
“Alright. I’ll be back tomorrow. I’m glad you’re here, Tav. You seem happy.”
“Today is a good day,” she said and waved to Connor when they left from the shop.
“She seems nice,” Cal said, surprising Tav. She had been standing in the same spot at the front of the shop, thinking of her new job and home, and that she really was happy.
“She is nice. And brave. I really like her.”
“Don’t let Lia know you’re giving away things for free though, she might fire you,” Cal teased but Lia did tend to watch the inventory closely.
“It wasn’t free, she’s bringing me clothes,” Tav corrected as they walked back to her lab together.
“You don’t have clothes? Doesn’t every woman? Oh. Never mind I’m sorry, I forgot about the mud pit,” Cal said solemnly as he remembered why Tav didn’t keep extra sets of clothes.
“I wish people wouldn’t call it that. I mean it is a muddy pit but it sounds like I was destitute. I have gold, I’ve just been saving it.”
“I’m sorry, Tav. I won’t call it that, I’ll call it the Rivington sun pit,” Cal said with his chest out.
“It is sunny. Good idea,” she said as she packed up the cooled flasks.
“What are you saving for, anyway?” Cal asked while assisting her, packing up her ingredients.
“A cottage, maybe. But with the housing crises and rising material costs I don’t think it’s an attainable dream right now.”
“Well, we won’t kick you out. You can just stay here forever. Or however long it takes for you to find something you love,” Cal told her while carrying the boxes of glassware and ingredients to the front of the store beside the empty table she would use the following day.
“Mhmm,” she responded distractedly, looking over at the projection before it disappeared, marking the closing of the shop.
“If you haven’t found something,” he teased. Tav responded with a light punch to his bicep, and he acted like she had hit him with full force.
“Part of the family already, come on let’s get this place closed I’m starving,” Lia interrupted their fun.

Notes:

Barcus is my favorite. If you havent had him at your Tiefling party I must urge you to try. I hope this brought a moment of fun distraction.

Chapter 3

Summary:

Mid day at Sorcerous Sundries was always busy. Citizens not only loved the magical wares but the entertainment surrounding the shop. Rolan had dismissed the lava elemental, citing injury as the reason, and the necromancy display, citing it to grotesque, but there were still performances outside and oddities within.
Everyone stopped for a time at Tav’s new alchemy lab. Only a third of it was for function, currently bubbling a mind reading brew, the rest just looked interesting. She had taken Lia’s advice and boiled differently colored waters in uniquely shaped flasks. Artificial steam and bubbles released from cylinders and tubes to create a display that was more fun than function.
While she took notes on the chemical reactions she noticed people stopping but not talking to her. She tapped her pen against the paper, annoyed. She was supposed to be the new alchemist under the Archwizard Rolan, new master of Ramazith’s Tower. If she wasn’t impressive then he wouldn’t be either.

Notes:

(See the end of the chapter for notes.)

Chapter Text

Tav woke before dawn to start her day. She felt too nervous to summon her familiar in the tower. They didn’t have pets and she wasn’t sure their view of them or allergies. Kali, her familiar, hated being in suspense and wasn’t very used to it. She ran with the beast around the empty town, doing her best to make the animal happy and sleepy the rest of the day. Knowing she would soon have to ask about the familiar decorum she thought a sweet breakfast would help her cause.
When she returned to the tower. With her familiar back in a pocket dimension, she dressed out of her running clothes, which was what she wore under her armor, and cleaned up quickly before dressing in her usual wool skirt and cardigan.
The towers kitchen was incredibly modern, potentially more modern than she was used to. The intimidating copper and iron oven sat against the stone wall with a large vent overhead. The counters were a bright white, accented by the green plants and black appliances, matching the checkerboard floor tiles.
The sun rose with her sweet rolls and filled the house with light and delicious smells. She set the table with a smorgasbord of rolls, cut fruit, cooked sausage and potatoes, freshly squeezed orange juice and coffee. Leaning against the counter she slowly drank a hot cup of coffee and looked over the table, satisfied.
“Lia, you haven’t cooked breakfast in forever,” Tav felt her stomach turn hearing Rolan in the hallway. She hadn’t had time to settle herself before she saw him. Both of their eyes widened, his because he had not expected her, and hers because she was not prepared to see him in his night clothes with his hair down. “Sorry, I thought,” he started.
“Oh Lia cooked breakfast?!” Cal interrupted and elbowed past Rolan to sit at the table and start eating. Cal also had unkempt hair and wore his nightclothes but she felt no effect from his appearance.
“I actually,” Tav tried to correct him but Lia walked in yawning, obviously just rising from bed.
“Oh! Who made breakfast?” Lia asked and sat down.
“You didn’t?” Cal asked with a mouth full of potato.
“Hi! I made breakfast,” Tav finally spat out.
“You didn’t have to do that, Tav,” Lia told her while making a plate.
“Rolan, sit down you’re making me nervous,” Cal requested. Rolan had been standing on the doorway, speechless still.
“It’s fine Rolan, it’s just Tav. She can see you in your pajamas,” Lia teased.
“I know!” he huffed and sat, clearly still tired from traveling back to the tower. He was also annoyed to see Tav for the first time while not properly dressed and groomed for the day, unaware how his less rigid appearance had her swooning.
“You must have gotten in late. How was the lecture?” Tav asked, sitting in the empty seat beside him and handing him an empty cup and the carafe of coffee.
“Very late. And the lecture was incredibly informative. It was on the practical applications of higher level wizardry for the purposes of organization,” Rolan replied. Tav forgot how she had missed his voice, real voice, not the imitation that greeted customers in an octave higher than he would ever use.
“And you learned something new? I’m surprised,” Tav said between sips.
“Rolan loves learning,” Cal corrected before biting into the sausage.
“I know,” Tav said before Rolan could take offense, “I just mean he must know every high level spell already and I’m sure you’ve figured out how to use it practically,” she finished and looked to Rolan. His red skin deepened almost unnoticeably, blushing at her compliment.
“Well,” he cleared his throat before continuing, “that is mostly true. For me, it was fairly elementary, but the guest speaker had brought up some uses I hadn’t realized. Though, I’m sure in time I would have,” he bragged.
“Tav, don’t compliment him it just goes to his big, fat head,” Lia rolled her eyes and the table laughed.
“My ego is right where it should be I assure you,” he argued. They relaxed into a casual conversation while eating, laughing, and catching up. The initial shock of seeing him had worn off and Tav could finally feel normal around him again, as long as she didn’t look at him.

Mid day at Sorcerous Sundries was always busy. Citizens not only loved the magical wares but the entertainment surrounding the shop. Rolan had dismissed the lava elemental, citing injury as the reason, and the necromancy display, citing it to grotesque, but there were still performances outside and oddities within.
Everyone stopped for a time at Tav’s new alchemy lab. Only a third of it was for function, currently bubbling a mind reading brew, the rest just looked interesting. She had taken Lia’s advice and boiled differently colored waters in uniquely shaped flasks. Artificial steam and bubbles released from cylinders and tubes to create a display that was more fun than function.
While she took notes on the chemical reactions she noticed people stopping but not talking to her. She tapped her pen against the paper, annoyed. She was supposed to be the new alchemist under the Archwizard Rolan, new master of Ramazith’s Tower. If she wasn’t impressive then he wouldn’t be either.
“Hey Tav,” Mayrina pulled her out of her mood and gave her a solution at the same time.
“Mayrina! Where’s Connor?” Tav asked, not seeing the child or father.
“At home with Connor. I just wanted to stop by to give you this,” she replied and sat a box of clothing down beside her. “If anything needs hemmed or taken in, or out, let me know, alright? They’re washed and ready. I even picked outfits out. You could wear one now.”
“You really hate my dress don’t you?” Tav laughed and turned down the fire to step away from the table and grab the box.
“I really do. Nothing would make me happier than you changing right now,” Mayrina sighed.
“Honestly. I feel the same way. Lia!” Tav admitted before calling to Lia walking by.
“Hey Mayrina! What’s up?” Lia stepped to the women.
“Mayrina brought me clothes and,” Tav started.
“Gods Mayrina, thank you! And you need to go change. Right now?” Lia was urging her as well.
“You know, I’m starting to get offended,” Tav laughed.
“We’ve been offended since seeing you in that sweater,” Lia joked.
“I quit,” Tav teased and adjusted the box, walking away.
“What am I supposed to do with this?!” Lia exclaimed while looking at the bubbling liquids.
“Most of its water just don’t let anything catch on fire. I’ll be quick.”
“Not to quick, make sure it’s fitted correctly,” Mayrina suggested.
“Do you want to come dress me?” Tav huffed, lowering the box.
“Yes!” Mayrina smiled and ran to Tav, “I’ve always wanted to see the inside of the tower too,” she admitted quietly while they walked up the steps.
Lia sighed and crossed her arms, watching the small flames as instructed.

“Wow, Tav, you can look really pretty,” Mayrina praised while looking at Tav in the standing mirror after her styling. Mayrina had dressed Tav in a dark purple tunic with square neckline and quarter sleeves that complimented the pink in her skin and showed the womanly curves of her torso and chest. She paired that a less faded, gray, wool, pleated skirt that ended at her knee with a pair of low heels. She finally looked like an upper city woman. Mayrina helped her smooth and fix her high ponytail, guided her through an easy, natural makeup look, and tied the back of her tunic to help cinch her waist.
“Oh, was that a compliment?” She asked, also satisfied with her new styling.
“Usually you’re all shoulder and bicep, now you look like you might need help with a heavy box.”
“Mayrina! I am small for a ranger!” She felt like she had to defend her body.
“But not for a proper, petite, upper city lady. This hides all of that.”
“I am a petite lady!” She wasn’t exactly wrong. Tav was a regular height and her muscles were smaller because she ran often which naturally decreased their size.
“I know your measurements remember? It’s not a big deal no one’s going to look at your body anyway,”
“Mayrina! I really think I liked you better as a sheep,” she joked.
“Listen! I just mean your body is fine, you and every other adventurer, but you do have a pretty face, now you can use both. You should be using both.”
“Remind me how to use one,” she replied sheepishly.
“You don’t have to lie to me, I know you know how to use one,” she winked and pulled a pair of pearl earrings from her bag. “You need these.”
“Stop, I can’t possibly.”
“You have to. I told you I have money now and, even though I didn’t have anything to offer before, you helped. Let me repay you. In my way.”
Tav hugged her before they could start crying, “Are you so good with clothes now because you were a sheep?” Tav suddenly realized.
“I did this before!” She swatted in response, and both erupted into high pitched laughter.

“You took forever! Oh! Tav, you actually look pretty,” Lia said once they joined her by the alchemy lab.
“Alright, I’m tired of both of your ‘compliments’” Tav said and turned up the fire on her station.
“I have to get back, Connor watching Connor and all,” Mayrina joked and exited.
“Now that Rolan’s back I’m going to make a proper dinner tonight, can you come?” Lia asked.
“To the kitchen? Well. Let me check my schedule,” she said and looked around, checking her pockets as if looking for a planner
“You’re corny, get back to work,” Lia said with a finger tapping on Tav’s journal.
“Yes ma’am,” Tav said with a smile before wearing her glasses and watching the potion again.
Tav was careful to stand up straight and move elegantly as she transferred water, aesthetically enhanced with color and glitter, to a spare stand of test tubes for curious customers. She would indulge in their curiosities:
“Where did you learn alchemy?”
“Blackstaff Academy.” Lie
“Are you an elf?”
“Just on my mother’s side.” Truth
“How long have you lived here?”
“I moved near by after the war to help and haven’t wanted to leave.” Lie
“Can you make love potions?” Tav stopped. A real customer! Her first.
Tav addressed the shorter, older woman with a small bow, “Yes, but it may not work the way you expect.”
“I know what I’m asking for, I know it doesn’t make someone fall in love with you,” she whispered harshly, holding her purse close to her chest.
“Then it’s exactly what you would expect. I would be glad to make that for you. Tavatha, but call me Tav,” she removed her glasses and pulled up two stools.
“You can call me Miss Gertrude. What’s this for?” Gertrude’s eyes looked over the stools.
“I just need to ask you some questions. It’s a specialty potion, it has to work for you,” Tav explained and picked up her journal and pen.
Gertrude who had entered embarrassed and frustrated left excited, happy that she spoke with Tav and willing to pay any amount for the scandalous request handled with care.
Tav spent the rest of her shift working on the potion for Gertrude. While some of her elegance had left her when she started focusing, the lights, steam and colors of the reactions had customers interested.
“You’re our alchemist?” Tav almost jumped when she heard his voice. It was Rolan, the real one not the projection she had been desperately avoiding staring at ever since Lia had teased her.
“I tried to tell her it was a bad idea,” Tav surprised herself at how well she was staying calm, even, not nervous. At all. She just couldn’t look at him.
“Lia,” he said in an annoyed tone. “You know you’re boiling colored water.”
She almost chuckled, his haughtiness amused her. When his hip rested gently against the table beside her, arms crossed, waiting for her response to her lack of alchemy skills, she finally removed her glasses to look at him.
It was a bad idea, he was a distraction that left her fumbling for a quip or astutely timed jab but fell short. She was lost in his golden eyes and stupid half smile.
“I actually have an order already,” she realized she could talk again.
“For water?” That made her smile, him too. But, he usually smiled at his own jokes.
“You and your sister, really. No, not water,” she gestured towards the working part of her table.
“Oh?” He turned to look at the apparatus heating and dripping the real potion.
“The rest is for the show. Outfit included,” she said the last part quietly, between her teeth.
“I need to fix my projection, doesn’t sound a thing like me,” Rolan said, distracted by the cheerful greetings.
“No, that’s what you sound like when you want to be nice,” Tav laughed, then felt embarrassed.
“Is that what I would sound like? Interesting,” his playful response let Tav breathe normally again.
Tav smiled and put her glasses back on, intending to get back to work assuming Rolan was about to do the same.
“So what are you making?” he surprised her again when he leaned in closer, watching her take notes of the reaction with his tail swinging slowly behind them.
“It’s. Well.. it’s a,” she started thinking how to explain it without blushing.
“You’re making a sex potion?! For Lady Gertrude Stayanoga?” he was whispering but clearly shocked.
“Yes, Rolan. That older, married woman wants to sleep with her husband and I’m going to help her do that. For gold,” she responded nonchalantly.
“I just.. I didn’t know you could, you did,” Rolan was stumbling. For once she had the upper hand.
“Do you think I haven’t had sex, Rolan?” she asked, again in calm tone, continuing her work as if they were talking of something as plain as the weather.
“What? Of course I assumed, well I mean I didn’t assume but you are older. I mean! Not old old but close to my.. Lia?! Didn’t you need me for something?” he stumbled hard, Tav couldn’t believe she had the effect on the wizard whose tail was twitching erratically behind him. She didn’t interrupt, just watched him walk away to intercept Lia.
Tav smiled, feeling that she had won something, and continued her work.

Rolan was in his office in the upstairs of the shop. He had been attempting to finish receipt reviewing but found his mind wandering. He thought of Tav, in her glasses, out of her glasses, in her clothes, out of her clothes. He shook his head and rubbed his face, trying to erase the inappropriate image or, at the very least, save it for later. A small wrapping came in from the other side of the door.
“Come in,” he said, happy for the distraction. Until Tav came in, he had forgot she was a possibility on the other side of the door. He watched her, his tail stirring as she walked closer, her eyes falling around the space. He had converted the room to the right, the room he had once slept in, to a working space. He sat at a large desk facing the door with two angled chairs in front. Rugs covered the hard floor and gaudy artifacts were littered throughout the space, Rolan still examining and categorizing them. He had removed the bed, boxes of unorganized scrolls sat in its place.
“Nice office,” she said, spinning to see it all before settling her eyes on him at the desk.
“I didn’t pick out the decorations,” he said, not looking up from him papers, not wanting his body to react any more than it already was.
“Thank you for correcting my idea that you had bad taste.”
“Perish the very thought. Did you come in here to look at the artifacts or can I help you?” He was confident again and she was glad that he recovered quickly.
“I didn’t come for the decorations. I wanted to ask you something, about something,” she finally stood in front of his desk, hands behind her back picking at her excess cuticles.
“I’m listening,” he put his pen own down to look at her. His throat clenched, making him clear it with a cough and swallow. He hadn’t ever seen Tav dress in anything but armor or baggy clothes, never in makeup, and not usually clean either. Even then he had trained himself to ignore how much he wanted to stare at her face, delicate and feminine, but he hadn’t been prepared for her to be on display, enhanced.
“It’s that I have a familiar. I haven’t summoned her inside the tower but,” Tav started, pulling Rolan out of his thoughts of her.
“What? Of course you can summon them inside the tower, it’s their home too,” Rolan said sincerely.
“Well. It’s just that she, Kali, can intimidate people. I can’t ask Cal and Lia because they’ll lie but I know you won’t, even if it’s disappointing,” Tav tried to explain further.
“Tav. You can summon your familiar in the tower. They’re house trained I assume?” he asked, picking his pen back up to work again, trying not to look at her anymore.
“Of course but..”
“Really Tav it’s fine, Cal is always begging for a pet this is a much better solution.”
Tav could since he was a moment from brushing her off again so she stopped trying to explain that a large, one eyed displacer beast once owned by a fiend with a terrible habit of coming out of invisibility specifically to frighten someone can be an uncomfortable house pet. She accepted his ‘yes’ with a small jump.
“Thank you, Rolan.”
“I’ll see you at dinner?” He asked as she walked back to the door.
“See you there.”

Notes:

Full disclosure, Ive written 10 chapters and am excited to probably write 10 more. I love this world, I am obsessed with Rolan. I wish I could do a wonderful, deserving, character study instead of the equivalent of kissing my poster but, lovelies, I just want to kiss him,

Chapter 4

Summary:

Back at the tower she let Lia know she would be working the rest of the evening, finishing the specialty potion, and testing it out; meaning she was going to need to have time alone and Lia would need to cover for her.
Unfortunate then, that Rolan was concerned and offered to bring her dinner as Lia had for him previously.
Lia even encouraged the idea, “Make sure you hand it to her personally, so she knows and it doesn’t rot in the hall,”

Notes:

**TW** Questionable consent

(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)

Chapter Text

Tav helped Cal with closing the store, turning her head to the projection a moment before it faded away as it did every day at closing. She swept and emptied her glassware, feeling the strain in her feet and hips from wearing a small heel, and picked up her notes before heading to the portal with Cal.

Tav and Cal joined Lia in the kitchen where she had prepared a feast of duck, grilled vegetables, rolls, potato, salad, dessert, and a few appetizers. Rolan was still in his office.
“Should we get Rolan?” Cal asked while helping set the table.
“No. He’s probably buried in work, I’ll make him a plate if he doesn’t join us,” Lia protested, a taste of anger on her tongue.
“Would now be a bad time to bring out and feed my familiar?” Tav asked, standing in the kitchen archway nervously.
“Woah! You have a familiar? How cool! What is it? Wait! Let me guess,” Cal exclaimed.
“Cal, she is a ranger,” Lia explained.
“I did not know that,” he replied matter of factly before guessing, “wolf? No, to common. A boar? I bet it’s a boar.”
“Why would you think it’s a boar?” Lia laughed.
“I don’t know! Tav isn’t judgey I bet she’d have a boar, they’re strong even if a little funny,” Cal defended his guess.
Tav laughed before whistling, a large displacer beast appearing beside her. Kali was intimidating, and the reason she could take contracts just the two of them, she could turn invisible, whip you with any of her three tail like tentacles, and even though one eye was missing and replaced with a long scar, she could see and hear everything. At first, Cal and Lia froze, but when they saw Kali nudge Tav’s thigh, a way similar to any adoring pet, they melted.
“Aww, but wait, how did you manage to get a displacer beast as a familiar?” Lia asked, watching Tav pet the creature.
“I don’t really know, I’m not even that type of ranger. I never had a familiar before Kali. That wasn’t even her name when I met her. But she asked and I agreed and the magic took over,” Tav knew it was a bad explanation but it was the best she could give.
Seeing that they were comfortable, Tav walked into the kitchen with Kali and took a steak out of the cold cabinet she had bought earlier. Placing it on a plate on the floor beside her chair Kali stalked over, shoulders moving hauntingly, and ate beside seated Tav.
“Can I pet her?” Cal asked, hesitantly.
“Um. Yeah, she’s friendly,” Tav offered after looking at the calm beast.
Cal stood up and walked to Kali, reaching out a hand to touch her back between her tentacles. Kali responded by moving her back into his palm as a regular house-cat might do.
“So cool,” Cal whispered before sitting back down.
The three ate for a while before Lia huffed and left with a plate for Rolan.
“I guess Rolan will be eating in his office?” Tav asked Cal.
“Yeah. He usually does, especially after he gets back from traveling.”
“Why does he travel so much?” Tav was curious.
“He says it’s his responsibility as an archmage and new master of Ramazith's Tower to ‘constantly seek knowledge,’”
“Kinda sounds like an excuse to go see new wizard stuff,” Tav laughed.
“That’s what I said! But maybe now that you’re here he’ll be tempted to stay home,” Cal said in a pondering tone.
“Doubt it. Still as stubborn as an ass,” Lia said as she returned to the kitchen.
“Then let’s clear the table and have our own fun,” Tav suggested as she stood and collected their plates.
“Fun? Oh! Do you want to play a drinking game? I found the good liquor and I know Tav has some fun games,” Cal asked.
“Are you sure you can handle it?” Lia asked, joining Tav in clearing the table, “Tav’s a pretty seasoned drinker.”
“It sounds like you’re calling me a drunk. But I’ll indulge your little brother,” Tav said grabbing four shot glasses from the cabinet.
“Little? I was born one minute after Lia!”
“And I’ll never let you forget it, little bro,” Lia called to Cal as he walked out to get the alcohol. “I don’t think you’ll need four,” Lia pointed to the glasses.
“Maybe he’ll change his mind when he hears how much fun we’re having,” Tav said, doubtingly.
When Cal returned, they sat around the table, Kali underneath on Tav’s bare feet, and played a few rounds of the different games she knew. Some with cards some without, all with the same goal of taking as many shots as possible.
An hour in they were rowdy as the alcohol took effect.
“Come on, Tav. You didn’t think Cal slept with a light until he was thirteen did you?” Lia snorted a laugh with Cal.
Tav had lost the game they were playing, taking a shot, and slamming the glass down, “So, what Cal? You ran a Candlekeep marathon?”
“Yeah but it was for kids,” he explained, face flush.
“You’re good at this game,” Tav told him with narrowed eyes.
“What game?” Rolan came around the corner with an empty plate, setting it in the sink before turning to the group. “Woah, is that your familiar?” Rolan asked, taking a moment to grip the counter shocked in seeing such a beast.
“Her name is Kali and she’s wonderful,” Lia pointed her finger at him.
“You have a displacer beast as a familiar?” Rolan was looking to Tav, obviously exhausted.
“I tried to tell you,” she said defensively.
“Sit Rolan, drink with us,” Cal implored.
“Drink?” Rolan asked, as if he was asking him to a childish game of foot race.
“Yes, it would be daft for the Great Master of Ramazith's Tower to grace the lowly savior of Baldur’s Gate with something as childish as a drinking game, far to beneath someone of his esteem,” Tav teased while pouring liquor into the empty shot glass beside her.
Rolan took the seat and Kali adjusted to curl over his his feet. Tav blushed knowing Kali was just reacting to her affection towards him. She was thankful none of them had familiars but Lia was observant and she smirked when Kali found comfort in Rolan.
“Alright. What game are you playing?” Rolan asked, arms crossed in a serious stance.
“Two truths and a lie,” Cal told him, smiling brightly. “It’s Lia’s turn.”
“Hold on, shouldn’t it be Rolan’s?” Lia protested.
“He hasn’t played, show him how it’s done,” Cal insisted.
“Fine. I learned how to ride a bike at twelve, I have never kissed a boy, and my favorite book is a cookbook,” Lia recited after a moment of thought.
“You don’t know how to ride a bike,” Rolan responded plainly.
“Wait, you’ve never kissed anyone?” Tav asked.
“Not boys,” Lia said with a smirk, “but you all are supposed to guess.”
“I would assume Rolan has the right answer,” Cal and Lia rolled their eyes at Tav’s response that complemented Rolan and made him smiled.
“Drink up,” Cal egged Lia on. Lia took the shot and winced.
“Alright Rolan, you’re up,” Lia said between loud exhales.
“Let’s see. I am allergic to shrimp, I specialize in evocation spells, and I know how to juggle,” Rolan finished to wide eyed stares.
“Those are good, I don’t even know which one’s the lie. All of a sudden I can’t remember if you’ve ever ate shrimp,” Cal pondered.
“Yeah. I don’t think I’ve ever seen it, either. I think he’s allergic,” Lia said, crossing her arms satisfied.
“Yeah, I’m going with that too,” Cal nodded.
“You have a very impressive magic missile. I think you have a fondness for evocation spells,” Tav guessed. Lia and Cal groaned at another of Tav’s compliments that Rolan, again, smiled at.
“Yeah. Tav’s right,” Rolan took his shot.
“Alright Tav it’s on you,” Cal urged, hiccuping.
“We can stop, Cal. We’ve been drinking a while,” Tav stalled.
“I’m fine!” He insisted.
“If you’re sure. Then,” she thought for a moment. The fun of these games were usually in their effort to encourage flirting and she did want to see if she could fluster Rolan again. “Alright. I’ve never lost a fight, I am the daughter of a God,” she flipped her ponytail dramatically at the claim, “and Rolan has blown me off both times I tried to ask him out,” she finished with a satisfied look as everyone else was speechless.
“What?! I would not, when did I?” Rolan started protesting but was interrupted by Cal’s loud laughter that dropped him off his chair. Kali crawled to him and sniffed his face before licking it, making him laugh harder.
“Alright, I think that’s game. Come on, Cal let me take you to bed,” Lia said and stood up to help Cal out of the kitchen, “Don’t stay up to late,” she called back to the two of them.
“You go ahead I’ll clean up,” Tav offered.
“Tav, when did I blow you off?” Rolan was still sitting, confused.
Tav sighed and sat back down, filling both of their shot glasses before answering, “The first time was at the party with Zevlor. You brushed me off saying something about needing time to prepare for another showing of prestidigitation. Then at the inn, you told me not to be greedy when I came up to talk to you after things had calmed down. I’m over it, believe me, I just brought it up because. Well. Because it’s funny, I thought Cal and Lia would laugh.”
“Yeah, they did,” he responded, still searching for words.
“Anyway, you should get some sleep,” Tav went back to cleaning up the kitchen.
“Leave it,” he said and summoned two mage hands, “They can clean up.” Rolan stood, Kali following, and gesturing towards the door.
“Are you really the daughter of a god?” Rolan asked as they made their way to the bedrooms.
“You think I’ve lost a fight, then?” She acted shocked but Rolan’s knowing glance was his answer, “I’m not influenced by them anymore. I denounced them before I fought the elderbrain. So, no special powers or immortality just a fun fact for drinking games.”
“What God?” He asked, he wasn’t really talking, she knew it was because he was thinking.
“Come on, Rolan. Can’t a girl keep some secrets?” She stepped too close, teased too much, and when Rolan looked at her she felt the pink tint return to her cheeks with a long exhale. She noticed his tail flick behind him and she felt the need to explain herself, “sorry I just.. I’m not proud of it.”
“Say no more, I trust you,” she winced at his words, knowing that he wouldn’t look at her the same if he knew Bhaal, a god of death, had at a time been her patriarch.
“Thank you. For that and so many other things,” she said at her bedroom door.
“Just so you know, Tav,” he had suddenly found more words, “if I had known you were about to ask me out, I wouldn’t have blown you off.” Satisfied with himself, her stunned look and open mouth, he left her for his own bedroom.

Tav had an hour before she needed to get ready to work on her first specialty potion but now that her familiar had been summoned, she was trying to brush her. Using Karlach’s bear, Clive, she distracted Kali who rolled around avoiding the brush in Tav’s other hand. Tav rolled on the ground with her, moving and flipping to brush the spots Kali was hiding from her.
“Why are you like this?” She said in frustration while tumbling on the communal, third floor of the tower with the beast.
“What, exactly, are you doing?” Rolan asked amused, his tail up in what she thought was an adorable S-shape watching her. He had already cleaned and changed: perfect hair, perfect robes, perfect face. When he startled her she dropped the bear and Kali took it, turning invisible and running away. They could see the stuffed bear in mid air as Kali left the area.
“I was trying to brush her,” Tav said and stood, dusting off her soft leggings and baggy, casual shirt. The air was tense between them. They had confessed something small to each other but neither were brave enough to take action. “I should get ready. I have some errands today so I may need to close my lab early and skip dinner. Will you be at the shop?”
“Maybe. I don’t want to ruin the nice reputation my projection has deceived everyone into,” he said, noticing his tail and forcing it back down.
“I think people can respect a stoic, albeit prickly, Archmage,” she said, keeping her distance so her heart rate could normalize.
“Prickly?” His eyes shot up.
“It’s not a bad thing, I think it’s cute,” she blushed, and he smirked, “You’ve earned it after everything you’ve worked for. But leave the charm for the projection.” She saw she had him on the defense, pleased but still struck by her admission, “I’m going to get ready. I’ll see you later.” This time she left him speechless.

Tav poured her nervousness into her work at the shop. Her and Rolan had been dancing, flirting, or at least she hoped they were.
Yes, she felt she had established that he was physically attracted to her as she was to him, questions about interracial dating answered. But what she could do with that information was an entirely different riddle to solve.
She fumbled with the silver chain she wore around her neck while looking herself over in the mirror, thinking of the last few conversations with Rolan.
Mayrina had grouped outfits together so she could style her without being there. Tav remembered how to wear her makeup and usual hairstyle and wore a dress dyed in boreal blue. The dress, like her previous outfit, had quarter sleeves that hid her defined shoulder and arm muscles. It stopped at her knees with pleats that created a flowing skirt. She paired it with a gray and silver vest that stopped at her ribs, enhancing the square bust line and creating a flattering shape. Wearing the same black shoes she found her illusion complete: she looked pretty, potentially wealthy, and more noble than outlander.
It was another busy day at the shop, customers fascinated by the spectacle of colored water while she finished up her specialty potion in a much less flashy way.
She almost dropped a flask when she saw Rolan staring at her from across the floor, Lia trying to talk to him about something but his eyes roaming to her. Distracting herself with work she ignored his eyes, remembering not to hunch while packing her potions.
Tav left the shop in the late afternoon to make the walk to Jaheria and Minsc’s. The reunion had been fun. She stayed long enough for a cup of tea and listened to Minsc list all of Jaheira’s accomplishments since the fall of the absolute. When she left, she stopped by the Elfsong for any quick contracts she could pick up for extra gold and found one that, while dangerous, was a fitting challenge.
Back at the tower she let Lia know she would be working the rest of the evening, finishing the specialty potion, and testing it out; meaning she was going to need to have time alone and Lia would need to cover for her.
Unfortunate then, that Rolan was concerned and offered to bring her dinner as Lia had for him previously.
Lia even encouraged the idea, “Make sure you hand it to her personally, so she knows and it doesn’t rot in the hall,” Lia ordered while piling blackened shrimp on a bed of rice and vegetables.
With a mage hand holding the covered dish Rolan made his way to the bedrooms, thinking it strange that Kali was sleeping outside her door. When he knocked he heard her curse, stumble, knocking things over on her way. He winced, thinking he must be interrupting her work.
“Lia, if this isn’t super important I will kick your..” Her threat stopped, finding Rolan when she opened the door.
It was hard to say who was more surprised, more flushed. Tav had answered disheveled, hair down and wild around her face, wearing only a thin shirt that barely touched her belly button and a pair of small briefs. Her body was hot, pink, and sweaty. Her chest, the top exposed as the collar of her shirt stretched and dropped, heaved from her heavy breathing and revealed the pink tint of her perked breasts as they hit the white fabric.
His tail twitched rapidly behind him, hitting the floor and door frame with a gentle thud. She had never been more aware of his broad shoulders and the expanse of his chest, moving as quickly as hers. Desperately she wanted to rip off his robes to explore the unknown places underneath, find the spots that made him shiver and abuse them until he was lifeless under her.
The mage hand dematerialized and sent the shrimp plate crashing on the floor, reminding them that they could speak.
“Why are you?” She started.
“What are you?” He overlapped.
Taking a large swallow and steadying herself against the doorway she finally, breathlessly asked, “Why are you here right now?” Trying desperately to ignore the obscene state she was in, squeezing her thighs tightly together and only looking at his face. She admired how handsome he was, his features were sharp and masculine, and his eyes hypnotized her in their golden pools.
“Dinner. I brought, oh,” he finally realized Kali was cleaning the dinner off the floor.
“But why you? I told Lia not to let anyone see me,” she wined and leaned her forehead against the doorframe, rocking gently.
“Why? What’s going on, Tav. Are you ok? I’ve never seen you.. like this,” his resolve to stay confident, in control, with audible speech, was failing.
“I had to test out the potion,” she admitted quietly, with her eyes closed. He was thankful her eyes were closed while he memorizing her: the curve of her ankle and calf while one foot was on her toes, the shape of her thigh and thickness of her ass cheek, the soft curve of her back following to the swell of her breast and small pouch at her waist leading to the middle of her thighs covered delicately in a thin layer of cloth.
He stopped his tail from reaching for her, he had to maintain a sense of decorum even if she could not.
“The sex potion?!” he realized what was happening, what she had been doing, why she had told Lia to keep everyone away.
She opened her eyes again and saw how hungry he had become with a bowing of the fabric in his robes she had never seen before and would sell her soul and earthly possessions to grind against. Unable to resist any longer she reached for him, gripping his robes and pulling him close to her. He was just as eager and wasn’t sure if she had pulled him or he simply ran into her once she had him. She crashed her lips, her body, against his and finally felt his stiff length between his legs and rolled herself against it. The sound he made could have been a moan, a sudden yelp, but it was muffled and caught in her throat as she felt his tongue with hers. She let out a noise of her own when his tail wrapped around to find the back of her upper thigh, pressing her against him. Her hands felt the planes of his chest and silken locks of his hair and he grabbed at her waist and lifted underneath the back of her shirt.
She started to back up with him, to take him into her bedroom that was filled with the smell of her: lavender with an undertone of honey.
“Stop, stop. You’re not, this isn’t real,” he unwrapped his tail and, agonizingly, pulled away from her.
“This is real, Rolan,” she said between breaths and tried to grab him again.
Again, he backed away and stopped her.
“It’s not, you’re under the influence of your potion. Impressively, honestly,” he reasoned, keeping his hands up towards her and ready to stop her again. Seeing him, hair unkempt and robe wrinkled, defending himself against her, filled her with regret and shame.
“I am so sorry, Rolan. So, so sorry,” she was going to cry, or vomit.
“It’s alright, I get it, I’m irresistible,” his joke made her smile, satisfying him, “I’m going to have Lia leave something outside the door for you. You should eat, you’re obviously burning calories.” If he said one more pretentious sentence she would pounce and not let go.
“You need to get out,” she warned him and he heeded it, closing the door behind him.

Notes:

I need to address the controversy. My head canon, my dolly, is the dark urge (reformed) but I cant name her 'the dark urge' or 'durge' that's alittle silly. So, she is Tav. Even if every time I go into her appearance it changes her name back to 'the dark urge.' Also this is heavily in slow burn territory but the later chapters do very much become p*rn with a plot. To me. Thanks for reading

Chapter 5

Summary:

“That’s a low blow, you know why I haven’t been on a date since Elturel,” his voice was lowering but still smug, argumentative. internally, he knew she was probably right. Rusty, that’s what he was.
Before the fall into Avernus and subsequent events he lived in Elturel with their family. He had dated then and he had even been good at it if he remembered correctly. His confidence and extraordinary talent attracted people. He had moves, lines, tricks that fell Tiefling and human alike. But that was when he was young, ignorant to the darkness of the world. So much had happened since then, too much time unsafe. That part of himself had been sacrificed for safety and he wasn’t sure how much he had left.

Notes:

**TW** injury

(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)

Chapter Text

The next morning was filled with physical and emotion exhaustion. Tav had spent all of evening in an endless cycle of org*sm, come down, org*sm, come down, org*sm, over and over. She groaned audibly when the memory of kissing Rolan came back to her. If they were going to kiss, that was not how she envisioned their first time. She had thought about it many times: sometimes it was on the roof of the Elfsong, the beach of the bitch queen, the park in spring, the front desk of Sorcerous Sundries.
Thankfully, she was leaving that day. She didn’t plan to leave so early but it wouldn’t be out of character not to. Staying, to have a chat with Rolan, would be even less like her! The perfect excuse for a slick get-a-way.
On the kitchen table she left coffee, orange juice, fruit and a note that said she would be returning shortly, and Kali would be with her. On the front desk of the shop she left an elegant box with Lady Gertrude Stayanoga written on the card beside it. Finally, in Roland’s office she placed a focusing potion with a small card simply saying it was for him, from her, with bold underlining labeling it ‘Elixer of Studious Focus.’
Taking a moment to daydream of Rolan sitting in his office she indulged in the pieces of him around her. She touched the soft feather of his quill and took in the faint lingering scent of the oil he used: Sandalwood. It made her feel guilty, running, but they did know she was still taking contracts. She had told Lia about the contract when she took it. So, she wasn’t ’running away,’ she was ‘doing her job.’ And the quicker she left sundries, the quicker she could do that.

“Rolan, don’t be so grumpy. Eat your dinner,” Lia coaxed Rolan from across their kitchen table.
“I’m not grumpy,” Rolan insisted with crossed arms, a hot plate of salmon and potatoes before him.
“You’ve stuck yourself in your office all day and now you won’t eat dinner,” Lia argued.
“He is at the table, Lia. Maybe try to be nice,” Cal suggested. It had been rare that Rolan was finished working in time to join them for dinner.
“Tav left me a potion. I was able to finish my work in half the time. Incredible really, I never used potions like that in the past because they hardly work but hers did. Tasted better too,” Rolan started eating. They snickered at each other watching his entire attitude change as he talked about her.
“Are you excited about the potion or the maker?” Lia goaded.
“You should be careful. You’re probably the reason she ran out of here this morning,” Rolan warned.
“What? Why what happened?” Cal asked, popping his head up and around.
“I don’t have any idea what he’s talking about,” she said and took a large bite of salmon.
“Oh I get it, Tav’s your girlfriend now,” Cal decided and nodded his head.
“What?! No,” Rolan protested, Lia joining with a mouth full of fish.
“Chill, Cal they haven’t even kissed yet,” Lia said after swallowing and rolling her eyes.
Then they saw the look on their brother’s face.
“Wait! Something did happen?” Lia poked.
“I’m not playing a drinking game, I’m not going to say anything,” Rolan said plainly.
“I knew it!” Lia smacked the table and stood up.
“I don’t want to play a drinking game ever again,” Cal groaned.
“Lia, if you knew anything you know why what happened, happened and that was a dirty trick! And didn’t count!” he stood along with her, snarling as she was.
“Neither of you were ever going to do anything without interference!” her hands gestured wildly while Cal stood to try and deescalate the squabbling.
“That’s exactly what you are! An interference! I would have made a move eventually!” His bravado filling the room.
“Doubt it! You haven’t even been on a date since Elturel!”
“That’s a low blow, you know why I haven’t been on a date since Elturel,” his voice was lowering but still smug, argumentative. internally, he knew she was probably right. Rusty, that’s what he was.
Before the fall into Avernus and subsequent events he lived in Elturel with their family. He had dated then and he had even been good at it if he remembered correctly. His confidence and extraordinary talent attracted people. He had moves, lines, tricks that fell Tiefling and human alike. But that was when he was young, ignorant to the darkness of the world. So much had happened since then, too much time unsafe. That part of himself had been sacrificed for safety and he wasn’t sure how much he had left.
He didn’t want to put moves on Tav anyway, he had really liked her. It was a fact he had tried to ignore, compartmentalize. She was the savior of Baldur’s gate, a ranger with incredible talents while he was a refugee given everything he had only because of her actions. Then he remembered how much he enjoyed kissing her.
“Rolan?” Cal tried to bring him back to the moment.
“What? Gods, I have tomes to organize!” He huffed past them to go to the third floor where he was still working through the tower’s belongings. Later, his siblings would join with bread pudding and a shared apologies, the tower feeling like home again.

“He’s back,” Lia burst through his office at the shop, arms crossed and heated.
“Who?” Rolan asked, bored and focused on work.
“Aradin. And he’s drunk. And he wants to start a scene,” she sighed.
“Get one of the constructs,” he told her as if it was obvious.
“Rolan. Tav and him are friends, now. I’ve seen them drinking together, a lot.”
“A fact that ceaselessly confounds me. Fine, bring him up,” he acquiesced, sighing and still flipping through a journal of tax forms.
Shortly after, Lia was chasing Aradin and trying to stop him from barging in, to no avail.
“I don’t know what the f*ck she’s tricked you into, she is not some f*cking innocent lass, and you need to stop her from taking these insane jobs,” Aradin started, walking up quickly to Rolan. He stopped when Rolan stood, remembering how tall and broad the Tiefling was.
“I have no idea what, or who, you’re talking about. Lia, shut the door behind you,” Rolan stood confidently, his voice carrying across his office as he placed himself before his desk. Lia was shaking, angry, but left and shut the door.
“She’s a damned, selfish bhaalspawn and thinks she can do anything because that beast she brings around,” Rolan didn’t interrupt him, listening to his clearly drunken ramblings, selfishly. This was a man that knew things about Tav he didn’t. “She.. I don’t know what kind of f*cking fantasies she’s been filling in that head but she is not what you think, stay away from her, don’t trust her with your body or your mind, and stop letting her take all me and my mate’s gold!” He yelled, swaying and pointing, stopping only to sit heavily on the chair beside Rolan.
“I thought you were her friend, that’s what Lia thinks,” he said suspiciously, handing him a glass of water.
Aradin huffed, taking large gulps of water as some escaped his mouth to fall down his chin, “Yeah, she is. You need friends like that in my work. It’s dirty.. Gorey.. Most people can’t f*cking stomach it, most people don’t find pleasure in it... I’m glad she turned me down, I would have cut her the second her guard was down. f*cking foul bloods,” he stood, wiped his face with his hand, and pushed the cup at Rolan.
“Aradin, I could kill you,” Rolan warned, his dark eyes burrowed into him as he scandalized and threatened someone he owed everything too. The cup fell and bounced silently on the rug.
“I know you could. And I also know she could rip you apart. Will. Sleep with an eye open. You don’t believe me?” He huffed and backed away from Rolan, he wasn’t who he was mad at. “You’re so stupid for a scholar, you know,” he was pointing at him, coming close again until Rolan tensed, making him stop in what felt like the presence of a real devil. Aradin thought Rolan could sprout wings and call hellfire at any moment. “I saw her before the grove, once, on a sh*tty pay out. I owed someone a favor. She killed people, innocent people, children, livestock… f*cking villain, full tilt f*cking villain. She says she’s changed, I almost believed her. Don’t believe her! I knew I should have put her down when I had the chance, she f*cking tricked me. And now what? She’s convinced you she can live a life without murder? She’ll lash out, at you, your siblings. Bhaalspawns don’t f*cking retire: they’re euthanized.”
“You need to leave,” Aradin could tell it was his last warning. Rolan was shocked hearing Aradin and wasn’t sure if he believed him or not. Tav was overwhelmingly skilled with her rapiers and, when Rolan had seen her fight, incredibly vicious.
“You make sure she keeps to her f*cking potions and books now! Or I’ll come back and put her down myself. I’m done having that menace walk around like she hasn’t stolen from me!” He finished with a slam to the door behind him, Rolan watching without taking a step.
Alone in his office he exhaled slowly, head now full of tax forms and dramatic confessions, and tried to go back to his paperwork.
Until Lia stormed in.
“Lia, don’t,” he pointed at her with his quill, not taking his eyes off of his work.
“What in the nine hells did he want?” Lia asked, desperate for information after watching Aradin leave, flushed but untouched, and Rolan acting suspiciously nonchalantly.
“He’s upset with Tav because she outbids him on contracts meant for a larger amount of people,” he explained, crossing his arms and looking up to her from his seat.
“Well duh, she’s like four people herself. Especially with Kali,” Lia said after taking a seat in front of Rolan, absentmindedly looking around.
“Can I help you?” He asked, annoyed.
“That’s all he said?”
“That’s not even what he said, it’s what he meant. And he was drunk, probably just sad we took his drinking buddy away,” Rolan wasn’t ready for anyone to know what he wasn’t supposed to know. Aradin only knew because of a strange coincidence. At that point it was only gossip.
For Rolan, it didn’t matter what Tav was, he knew the sting of discrimination. How hard overcoming perceptions can be. A reformed bhaalspawn was more damned than most to suffer social consequences. Still, he knew who she is and was willing to allow her to tell him what she wanted him to know.
“You’re probably right. He’s probably tired of drinking with those assholes he calls a crew and wants someone fun back at his table. We have Tav now, he just needs to accept that,” Lia said smugly.
“Lia?” Rolan called to her as she walked away.
“Yes?”
“Shut the door,” he requested and went back to his paperwork. She grumbled something and left with the door shut.

Tav had spent three nights on the road, the fourth was the hardest. The contract would have been better with backup. A pack of cursed, feral gnolls had trapped a village and was causing general havoc. Normally gnolls would have been an easy target but there were more than she realized, hyenas too. She had depleted her potion and scroll reserve so she could limp back to the upper city. The night had cleared the streets allowing her anonymity as blood dripped on her boot and the street she followed. She pushed herself through the front door of the tower and shuffled into her bathroom.
Her pack landed on the tile roughly, dumping bloodied rags and spent bottles. She rummaged through the cabinet and found more gauze and antiseptic before digging around on the floor for her needle and sutures thread.
“Yes!” She exclaimed when she found a half empty potion of healing.
Once standing again she stripped her bloody armor and leathers, peeling it from her bruised skin. She winced as the dried blood stuck to the leather and ripped her skin as she rolled it off.
After washing off the blood from her face and limbs, standing in a small pair of briefs and a gauze bra, she examined her wounds. Hands shook as she touched the raw claw mark on her side and felt fresh blood on her fingertips. With a strip of leather between her teeth she started cleaning and closing her wounds.

Rolan had been reading in his room, unable to sleep, ruminating the implications of Tav’s lineage. A lineage she admitted to have renounced. He couldn’t tell if it bothered him. He was sure it didn’t but a talk with her could help him decide. But she had been gone, away fighting for gold she didn’t need. One point for Aradin.
Then he remembered her in her doorway, desperate, and Aradin’s warning quieted. He closed his book and dimmed the lights so he could finally sleep.
A scratching at his door woke him, he wasn’t sure if he had fallen to sleep at all before the interruption.
“If this is another spider, Cal,” he whispered and threw the covers back to investigate. Rolan was surprised to see Kali who growled and urged him to follow.
Rolan followed hesitantly as they moved through Tav’s bedroom until kali scratched against the corner of her bathroom.
Interference. Lia. He could get Lia, it was her bathroom, too.
“Knock, you idiot,” he said to himself before wrapping at the door.
When nothing was heard on the other side Kali growled and used their tentacle to open the door.
“We need to stop meeting like this,” Tav told him breathlessly, removing the strip of leather from her mouth, finding the strength to look up from the stitching she had managed.
“Hells, Tav!” He exclaimed as soon as he could comprehend what he was seeing. She was home, surrounded by spent healing supplies and bloodied rags trying to mend herself silently. “Gods, just.. I’m going to carry you,” he was telling but also asking, speaking slowly, bending to see her dazed expression. He took the needle from her and with an arm around her waist and behind her knees he carried her into his bathroom.
Once in his spacious, walk in shower he brought a stool, fresh supplies, and sat beside her. She leaned against the cool stone wall, keeping her stomach long so the wounds could be closed.
This was not the way she had imagined him touching her for the first time. She didn’t want muddy hair and calico undergarments.
“Does it hurt?” he asked.
“Not right now,” she answered, honestly.
He smirked and continued silently.
He was choosing to ignore the feeling of her skin, cool against his palms. Hoping, choosing, to ignore the muscle shaking at her thigh. Ignoring the thin cloth between her and his hands.
“Can I use some cleansing and healing spells?” he asked, his tail resting atop her foot.
“Yeah. I ran out,” he could hear the strain in her voice.
His hands stuttered over the gash of her thigh, eyes fixed on the smooth flesh he had fantasized gripping and biting into. Exhaling, he recited an incantation to help close her less deep wounds and another to clean the bandaged and stitched remains.
“Thank you,” she sounded whole again.
“I’m just glad I got to help you for once. What happened?” He asked, neither of them moving from the shower.
“Gnolls. More than advertised. Got a bundle of hyena ears out of it though. And gold of course,” she recounted.
“Aradin came by. He said you’re outbidding him. He was drunk, obscene. But maybe right about the job,” Rolan admitted.
“I took it on a whim, sounded easier. I honestly didn’t think I’d get it but the gold was really tempting.”
“You make gold here now. Can you stop doing this?” he sounded more desperate than he wanted but she understood why. The sight of her, hunched over with discarded rags dirtied with blood, would shock anyone.
Rolan had been used to gore, she was thankful for that, but his affection for her left him wavering in the wake of her injuries.
“Rolan,” she reached out for him, two fingertips touching his shoulder, “I’m done.” She shook her head slowly and her vision blurred as she fought back tears.
“Fighting?”
She responded by nodding, taking a moment to breathe before speaking, “I don’t want to live like this. Bleeding and bruising. I never let myself stop,” she admitted. She wanted to tell him the real reason she hadn’t stopped. Even though she denounced her father she was worried her urges would return when she let dust gather on her rapiers.
“You don’t have to anymore. You can stay here, with us, as long as you want to. A month, a decade, this is as much yours as mine. You’re a talented alchemist,” he stood, happy to see her sleepily smiling at him, “Put away the swords, I happen to like you with a quill in your hand.”
“Are you flirting?” She asked heavily, lids halved, tempted by the fallen strands of hair framing his cut jaw while the rest brushed his shoulders. She could see a swath of skin at his chest, patterned with light freckles that matched his face. Then she found his eyes, his chest tightened when she leaned in and stared at them.
“You’re delirious,” he chuckled, removed the stool and turned on the hot water. She stepped away from it and pouted at him.
“Your hairs covered in mud. My spells can’t clean all of that. I’ll get you a towel and pajamas, they’ll be on the stool by the door,” he turned professional, trying to create space and calm his nerves.
Knowing she would have to cross his bedroom to get to hers, and that she was still exhausted, Rolan stayed up in the chair angled towards his fireplace and read. He listened for any sounds of falling and the exercise had him imagining Tav in the shower. He could hear it, how could he not think of it? The changes in the falling water telling him if she was washing her hair or touching her body. Then it stopped. He was thankful until he could hear the soft rustling of her dressing and he had to linger on thoughts of her drying and covering herself.
When she exited she saw his bed, blankets still open, and started walking to it. He stood and held her by the waist, feeling her against the thin fabric of the casual shirt he had her borrow. She left her legs bare, not messing with the legging he left her, stumbling as he guided her through his room, Kali watching.
“Why?” She wined.
“You’re delirious, and half naked. You should wake up in your own bed,” he explained.
“You’re too nice to me,” she sighed.
“Really? I thought you liked the projection better.”
“Fantasy Rolan,” she said dreamily, booping his nose, “Real. Thing’s. Better.” She found her bed and fell upon it.
The oversized tunic rose from her bent legs and exposed the damp skin of her upper thigh, he swallowed and covered her with a throw blanket. Finding her pillow, she passed out, exhausted from the journey and wounds.
He conjured mage hands to help clean the mess of their bathrooms and finally went to sleep himself.

Notes:

Im really putting the mileage on that 'slow burn' tag. Honestly, I was just having alot of fun writing this and I guess I took my time to get there. But it gets there. Full disclosure, I have five other chapters written but not edited. I will drop those in bulk shortly. We just need more Rolan content. Thank you for reading!

Chapter 6

Summary:

“I could hurt you. I could hurt everyone.” Despite Wither’s assurances there was a lingering fear that she was not in control, that’s she could somehow lose control.
“You wont. I know you won’t,” he wanted to hold her and whisper assurances in her ear until the happiness she had felt moments ago returned.

Notes:

(See the end of the chapter for notes.)

Chapter Text

Tav planned to spend a few days recovering and switched focus to her efforts on cultivating. She had planters on the circular, stone balcony off the third level that were full of ingredients.
Wearing a simple green tunic and long dark skirt she assisted the mage hands in watering and trimming the balcony’s garden. She tucked a loose strand of hair that framed her face behind her ear, a low braid securing the rest, and breathed in the air of the clouds.
“You grow your own ingredients too?” Rolan asked, he winced when he saw her face. “Now I understand why you wanted to pommel Lorroakan when you saw me that day.” Even with makeup he could see her split lip and a few bruises.
“Come on Rolan, I look much better than you did.”
“That’s something we can both agree on,” he cleared his throat nervously, “I wanted to ask, did you mean what you said last night?”
She froze, she barely remembered the night before between the waves of pain and exhaustion, but she did remember saying words at Rolan - just not what those words were.
“I’m sorry Rolan, I have mixed memories of last night. What did I say?”
“You said plenty. To be more specific, are you done fighting for gold?”
“Oh yes, I meant that. I’m tired of fighting. I didn’t realize stopping had become an option, until last night.”
“You still cast longstrider,” he pointed to the faint glow that had been on her feet every time he saw her.
“I cast it every morning for a year, hard habit to break. And. I still have the bruises, maybe after a few days without them I’ll stop,” she countered.
As he stepped closer, she froze, and prayed her body wouldn’t reveal her nervousness when he reached up to take her chin in his hand. He was examining her face, moving it gently from side to side, and she realized they had crossed a certain threshold. He felt comfortable touching her, lightly, and with his other hand firmly against his back, tail wrapped around his own ankle. He trusted he could resist touching her further.
“You do still have a fair amount of bruising. I could try healing you again, if you’d like?”
“That’s.. that’s a very kind offer, Rolan. I am alright, though. I planned to take a few days off to recover anyway. Save your energy. What if Cal trips and scrapes his knee? Who would help him?” she turned her nervousness into a joke and rested her hand on his wrist. Originally, she had planned to pull it away from her but, once she could feel his wrist under her palm and the heat of his skin, she let it lie. He had planned to let her chin go sooner but found too much calm having her in his hands, possessively holding onto her bruised face.
“I.. um… should probably apologize to you,” Tav had suddenly remembered their kiss. Or, more accurately, the night Tav threw herself at a defenseless Rolan.
“For what?” They separated and walked towards the railing, looking out on the sun-drenched clouds around them.
“The night before I left. I never meant to make you uncomfortable and I never would have pushed if I wasn’t..” She felt heat rise to her neck and cheeks.
“Under the influence? I know. I don’t blame you and you don’t have to apologize. I know the effect I have on people,” He sighed and crossed his arms, as if burdened by his own charm.
“You really do have a big, fat ego,” she laughed and swatted at his shoulder.
“Come on, you should know better than that by now,” he laughed with her before posturing more seriously, leaning against the stone railing, “I have to. I’ve had to.”
She stepped closer to him, leaning on the railing as well, listening.
“I didn’t grow up with Cal and Lia. I never had anything before I met them, just a kid making money with street performances and pick pocketing. Even before the Hells and all the fighting to keep them alive I knew I had to pretend to be more than I am. More than a scared, orphaned refugee that needed saving. And really it.. it worked,” he stood straight again, solemn mood turning, “I didn’t imagine myself here, really, but I wanted everyone, and myself, to think this is the type of place I belong.”
Tav was surprised by his sudden openness to her as their relationship had created a closeness she was now realizing. She placed her hand over his trying to think of the right thing to say, something that would make it known how special he was.
“Rolan, you’re..”
“Tav!” Lia interrupted her, running and coming upon them so fast they scrambled to create space between themselves, lest Lia tease their closeness.
“Lia? What’s wrong?” Tav responded once Lia reached her.
Lia took a moment to collect her breath having ran around the tower to find Tav, “Lady. Gertrude. Stopped by the shop,” she said between breaths.
“Oh? What did she say?” Tav asked. Rolan stayed nearby interested in how the order went, feeling his tail twitch at the memory of how it had affected Tav. A memory that had intruded at incredibly inconvenient times.
“She loved it and asked for a case of it! We should sell it in the shop!” Lia exclaimed.
“No, we will not be selling that on the shelves. We are a family friendly operation,” Rolan protested.
“Rolan, you’re such a prude. Fine, but you’ll make her more?” Lia asked.
“Of course. I’m glad she liked it,” Tav was relieved her first specialty order had succeeded.
“Oh! Also Lord Stormwind saw the advertisem*nt for translations and was asking me about it, would you mind meeting him tomorrow? You wouldn’t need to be at the shop I can set him up in Rolan’s office to meet you,” Lia offered.
“Lord Umbero Stormwind wants a translation? From Sundries?!” Rolan was ecstatic.
“Is that alright?” Tav asked.
“Alright?! He’s .. well he’s only the most respected merchant of the upper city. What was he even doing at our shop? I would expect someone like him to have assistants,” Rolan pondered.
“He was here with his granddaughter; she likes the performances. So tomorrow, two o’clock, Rolan’s office?” Lia confirmed.
“Yes. I’ll be there,” Tav agreed.
“Good. Now, Rolan I noticed something strange when taking inventory and I can’t tell if it’s something new or something from the tower,” Lia started and her and Rolan walked off together, having a work task to solve.

Aimlessly drifting through the tower Tav took time reading, organizing, or napping. Hearing her stomach growl, she went to the kitchen to start on a lunch she could share with everyone.
With the ingredients she had left from her last trip to the market she managed to make everyone two kabobs of grilled goat with sprouts and spices and the flavor of almond, thyme with a hint of sweetness. After wrapping each pair in cloth, she used the portal to find them at the shop.
“No! Not there! There!” Lia was failing in her attempts at managing a construct holding a large box of scrolls. “Yes! Yes!” she clapped when the construct finally placed it on the high shelf.
“Hey Tav,” Lia greeted with a sigh, “it’s great that these guys can lift so much but they don’t listen to a bloody word I say.”
“Maybe you should try threatening them more?” Tav joked, “Anyway, I made lunch for myself and had enough for everyone,” she handed Lia the wrapped kabob.
“Thank you! Gods I’m starving this is perfect!” Lia exclaimed and started eating one immediately.
“Cal’s in the storage room, Rolan’s in his office. Here, let me take Cal’s I need to get down there anyway. I can take Rolan’s too.”
“Oh! Um..” Tav knew she couldn’t protest, even if she had secretly wanted to bring it to Rolan herself.
“I’m just kidding, Tav. Go make googley eyes at my brother. Gross,” She said and bit into the soft meat.
“I quit,” Tav said and walked away.
“Ok but you still have to be here at two tomorrow!” She called to Tav who ignored her and walked up the steps.
“Come in,” she heard Rolan say on the other side after knocking.
When he saw her, he put his pen down and stood, concern reading on his face, “Is everything alright?”
“Yes! Sorry, I made lunch and had enough for everyone,” she said.
He sat back down after taking the meal from her, “Why are you sorry?”
“I didn’t mean to make you worry. Stopping by unannounced,” she explained when Kali crawled out from under his desk, hearing her voice, and walked to Tav for pets. “I didn’t know Kali was in here is she bothering you?”
“She’s fine, she just sleeps at my feet I don’t mind. I’m glad you came by I wanted to ask you something,” he told her and gestured for her to have a seat.
“Really?” she asked, surprised, and took a seat across from him.
“Theres a convention in Neverwinter. It’s a two-day event with guest speakers and a collection of magical items, resources, materials. I’ve been to similar events but the annual gathering in Neverwinter is elite, invitation only. Would you like to come with me?” he asked.
“What? You want me to go with you?” She wasn’t sure she had heard correctly. Heard that he wanted to take her on a trip. Two days alone, somewhere foreign, surrounded by magic, no interruptions.
“If you’re comfortable with that, it’s this weekend.”
“Thank you, of course I’ll join you. Do you think Lia and Cal will mind watching Kali?”
“I’m sure they won’t. And good. I’m glad you’ll join me,” he exhaled as if he had been holding in his breath.
“I’ll pack soon then, enjoy your lunch,” she said before rising from her seat and leaving him to his work.
Tav walked through town and stopped at Mayrina’s dress shop along with a few other stores for supplies. She did not return until they were closing Sundries.
That evening Rolan joined them for dinner and even sat with them on the third floor as they had tea and read. There wasn’t any fighting, just easy conversation as the four spent time together, casually, as if they had been lifelong friends. When Tav retired that night, she believed she had found a new life, a better one, and resolved to keep it as long as she could.

“Sorry! I know I’m late!” Mayrina apologized as Tav rushed her through the tower, a robe laid over her arm as they made their way to Tav’s bedroom.
“It’s alright the appointments at two we can do this, right?” Tav asked nervously.
“Right. Strip,” Mayrina commanded and handed Tav the robe she brought.
After an hour of fussing, pinching, and hemming Mayrina backed up to see the finished project.
Tav had been fitted into an elegant robe dyed a dark purple and embroidered in silver threads. Her hair was swept up in a twist with a stoned clip, small flowers decorating the silver hair ornament. She wore opaque, black tights underneath revealed by the high slits at the sides of her skirt.
“Are the bruises covered?” Tav asked and straightened her face to Mayrina who examined her features.
“Yup, that lip stain even hides the split. You look very official. No one would believe you didn’t actually study at an academy. Now you’re not only a proper lady, but a proper wizard,” Mayrina felt proud of the illusion she had made of Tav.
“I really can’t thank you enough, how did you even find this?” She asked while turning in the mirror, running her hands over the soft fabric.
“Oh it was free. It was a discarded old robe. I dyed it, embroidered it myself, and changed up the shape. I just had to finish up a few things before it was ready.”
“You are really talented. I hope you know I’ll never buy clothes from anyone else.”
“Good. I don’t think anyone else would be honest with you about your problem areas,” she said and sighed, looking at the sleeves of the robe to make sure they weren’t too tight around her arms.
“Alright, I get it. Just so you know I retired from fighting, so expect less muscles.”
“Good! I can start dressing you in all new styles once I don’t have to hide your manly arms,” she laughed.
“Hey! Don’t make me come out of retirement for you!” She threatened. The two women went back and forth until their high pitched laughter overtook the room. Mayrina wanted to stay longer but had to go back to the Connors.

Before the appointment started Tav met Rolan in his office. Tav could have sworn she saw Rolan’s pupils blow when he saw her.
“Tav, you look..” he was trying to find words while standing, walking closer to her.
“Like a proper alchemist?” she answered and twirled slowly to let him take in the robe. When she stopped to see him again her stomach flipped, his eyes admiring the curve of her waist and the delicate embroidery along her skirt.
“Stunning,” he corrected.
“Oh!” he had surprised her, sending a tint of pink to her face and neck.
“Lord Stormwind might lose his head,” he chuckled.
“And you?” she asked, taking a small step closer to him, now only an breath apart.
“Believe me, I lost it when you walked in,” he admitted and reached out to smooth her collar. Then, he held her chin as he had before, taking another examination of her face.
“Can you see them?” she asked, knowing he was examining her for marks.
“No,” he said with a long exhale. The smell of coffee on his breath leaving her goose bumped.
“Will you stay?” She asked, suddenly nervous to be one on one with a nobleman, something she knew he had experienced since taking over the tower.
“If you wish,” he replied, letting his hand linger on her shoulder. Noticing her eyes flick to his mouth caused a proud smirk to appear. He thought himself confident enough to close the gap, to feel his lips against hers and her hands clutching his robes again.
“Please,” she whispered when his knuckle gently pushed underneath her chin, tilting it up to him, and his tail moved to wrap lightly around her waist. The soft, begging request sent a rush of blood and stiffness against his leggings. A request for him to stay but also continue, a request for him to close the space and allow her the taste of coffee on his tongue.
He hesitated for too long, their time cut short by Lia walking in with Tav’s client. They slipped apart unnoticeably and turned to greet the man.
Lord Umbero Stormwind was a tall and lanky man with a curved mustache and laugh lines. His expertly tailored suit matched his stiff hat that he removed while greeting them.
“Lord Stormwind, a pleasure to finally meet,” Rolan started, intercepting him with a strong handshake.
“And you must be Master Rolan, the new Archmage. There’s been whispers about your thunder wave you know. Impressive for such a young wizard,” he gleamed. Perhaps it was his granddaughter’s affection for the shop that filled him with a general pleasantness or, perhaps, that was just his way.
“Thank you, sir,” Rolan replied. “This is Tavatha, our translator,” he said and gestured to Tav who fixed her posture to resemble the elegant ladies she had worked hard to imitate.
“Quite obvious, my boy,” he smiled and reached out to Tav.
“It’s so lovely to finally meet you,” she said, bowing and holding out her hand for him to take. He pressed a light peck on her knuckle.
“Please, pleasures all mine. Now, I have to ask, how did you find yourself in this field of study? Quite rare from what I’ve gathered,” Lord Stormwind asked as he took a seat in the padded chair before the desk. Tav joined him in the second chair angled towards him, Rolan back in his usual spot behind the desk.
“You see Mi’Lord, I am an alchemist by trade and, like wizards, alchemists don’t like to share their secrets. I have had to translate many text to find new potion variants or locations of specific ingredients. They’ll write notes in rare or dead languages. I also traveled during my study and not everywhere I went had reference books in common,” she explained, Rolan knew she was lying. Part of it was true, that in her travels she found a need to translate but it wasn’t for study, he knew she wasn’t formally educated.
“Translating for yourself out of convenience?” The Lord laughed, amused. “To be that intelligent and beautiful, Master Rolan is very lucky,” he wagged his finger at them.
“I’m inclined to agree,” Rolan replied before she could clear up his misinterpretation of their relationship.
“To be honest, my dear, I came to you at the recommendation of Lady Gertrude Stayanoga. She told me you handled a delicate situation for her, sang yours and this shop’s praises. My granddaughter as well, had to see what the fuss was about,” he explained.
“Oh? That was very kind of Lady Stayanoga,” Tav said with a warm smile.
Rolan wondered why he was there, she was sweetening him to her easily.
“Wonderful woman, a gossip, but wonderful,” the lord replied. “So, to speak on the matter at hand, I am indeed in need of a translation and I’m looking for a certain level of discretion.”
“Of course. You’ll find my lack in having a sphere of influence advantageous then,” she said and they laughed for a moment. Rolan watching the two, hands clasped under his chin.
“Quite ideal, yes. But if it wasn’t?”
“I’m sure Lady Stayanoga has confirmed the care I have for my clients and their private affairs.”
“Indeed. Well then, to be blunt, it seems a patriarch of my family had been rumored to be an aasimar, meaning our line may have been celestially touched. When we were renovating an old estate we found what we suspect is his journal, it could detail the affair or at the very least a piece of his life.”
“How fascinating,” Tav said when he took a break from his story.
“Quite. If true. If not, well, perhaps we’ll glean something of our lineage as consequence. Now, my dear, I know many people cannot translate celestial and I would not think any less of you if couldn’t,” he started.
“M’Lord I can translate it,” she assured him before he became apologetic. Both his and Rolan’s eyebrows perked, it was a rare talent to find in Baldur’s Gate. Aradin’s warnings of her lineage came back to Rolan, and he felt guilty thinking about them while Tav was trying her best to emulate a passive scholar.
“Yes, well then. This is the journal,” he replied. He retrieved a package from his coat pocket. The journal was small, half the size of a standard flyer, and protected in leather binding.
“I can translate celestial; however, I may need some time,” she admitted. “If time is a concern, I do have colleagues I could refer you too.” Watching Tav deceive effortlessly reminded Rolan of the life she used to have, impressing and pitying.
“No, no. How much time?” he wanted someone like her, someone without a reputation in upper city society. Rolan wondered what she would have done if he called her bluff. It was obvious to him that she had deduced how to exploit Lord Stormwind’s weak spots.
“Unless it’s something other than celestial, two months without looking inside,” she concluded after examining the journal in its wrapping. Knowing how delicate the pages would be she had not intended to open the journal until it was necessary.
“Two months? Incredible! I think we have a deal,” Lord Stormwind exclaimed.
“I am afraid there is one more thing we must do,” Tav interrupted his revelry.
“What is that, my dear?” he asked, sitting comfortably.
“I find negotiations so very droll,” she leaned into him, as if whispering a secret, “Master Roland will negotiate my price. Would you allow me to bring you a cup of tea?” It was masterful. Using his traditionalism against him, knowing exactly what dynamics made him most comfortable. Rolan straightened, wanting to play along with her.
“That’s a fine idea, my dear,” he replied and dismissed her, turning to Rolan.
Once behind the other side of the door, leaning against it and taking calming breaths, Tav felt a gratified smile on her face. The deception was almost complete. She could translate celestial; the deception was the dance it took to land the job.
After traying a trio of cups and matching kettle she returned to the men who had finished their negotiations.
“Now, you must tell me the story of how you felled two flayers with one thunder strike.” Lord Stormwind turned out to be quite the gossip himself.
“Who told you that? Was it Lord Nightbreeze? He wouldn’t stop asking me about it after the war,” Rolan replied and took the cup of tea Tav served.
“Is it true?” he asked, both Tav and the Lord watching and waiting for the story.
“It wasn’t what I was trying to do. I wanted..” Rolan entertained them with the story of his thunder magic, not mentioning Tav or the part she played in the war, even though she had far better stories. Although she was the savior of Baldur’s Gate, most people only recognized Wyll and if they had caught a glimpse during the fight, they wouldn’t recognize her now.
“Thank you for your hospitality, both of you. I will allow my assistant the pleasure of returning to pick up the translation,” Lord Stormwood finished. When he stood, they followed. He protested, “No, no I’ll show myself out. I’m sure you have much to discuss.”
They doted on him with farewells and walked half of the office length with him before he broke from them and exited.
Tav followed slowly and pushed the door, a large grin and laugh escaping her when it shut.
“It really worked,” Tav said, walking to Rolan excited.
“What?” He chuckled at her expression.
“He, a Lord, wants me to translate for him. This is a big deal, Rolan!” She wanted him to be as happy as her.
“I know. I had no doubt he’d agree to it. He didn’t even negotiate, took the first number I offered.”
“Really?”
“Yes. You absolutely charmed him,” he told her and stepped close enough that his tail lifted, wrapping around her waist again, nudging her closer to him. She fell against him, hand rested against his chest, and he covered his hand over hers.
She had dreamt of this moment, being held by Rolan, seeing herself in his eyes, knowing he was going to finally kiss her. Then, a knock. Rolan sighed, the audible frustration making her smile, knowing he was as disappointed as she. Then she thought of the weekend quickly approaching, when interruptions would be minimal, manageable.
Tav opened the door to a distressed Lia, “Aradin’s back and..”
“Drunk? Yeah, I’ll get him,” Tav interrupted and left to handle Aradin.
“Should I follow?” Rolan asked.
“Stay here, I’ll keep an eye on them,” Lia said before following Tav a few paces behind.

When Tav walked under the stained-glass dome of Sundries she rolled her eyes finding a drunken Aradin trying to make a scene. Luckily, Lord Stormwind had left and would miss the spectacle.
“Hells, Aradin. What are you doing here?” Tav sighed.
“You,” Aradin said accusingly and stormed up to her, “So, what? You pretend to be a f*cking Lady until you need the gold and steal it right from me and my mates?” When he spoke she was hit with alcohol filled fumes.
“Look. I’m sorry I took something you wanted but I’m done. I’m not taking any more jobs, ever,” she told him, hoping it would excite him that she was out of the way.
“You’re going to, what then? Live this life, with the f*cking devil and his siblings? I can’t convince you to join my crew? I don’t mean anything to you?” Hearing Aradin’s obscenities and confession surprised her and gave her whiplash.
“Aradin! First, we were never..” she felt a swell of anxiety as she kept from striking him for speaking ill of Rolan.
“You won’t start killing people again?” his disappointment faded to anger.
“Let’s talk inside,” Tav suggested, noticing people taking interest in them.
“No! How can you guarantee you won’t hurt anyone?” she realized what he meant. A bhaalspawn must kill, it is a hunger for death that moves them, and neither of them were sure if she could stop.
“Come inside,” she said, taking a more demanding tone and turning to walk to the office, not looking to see if Aradin followed.
“Rolan, could I borrow your office a moment?” Tav said once entered, Rolan still standing in the middle of the room.
“He knows all about your f*cking father!” Aradin barged in behind her.
Rolan saw Tav’s nerves spike at Aradin’s revelation. It was crushing to see the despair in her eyes when she turned to him, searching for the truth. Tav could tell, by Rolan’s lack of reaction, that he knew. Rolan shut the door that had been left wide open from Aradin, Lia shooting him a concerned look from the other side before she was obscured from view.
“Aradin, I renounced Bhaal. He killed me for it.” The crack in her voice caused Rolan’s chest to tighten, he could see her painful remembering.
“The sh*t I’ve seen you do would turn his gullet!” Aradin said dramatically, his fingers pointing aggressively at each of them. “So what? Now you’re done and you get to wear a pretty dress and play f*cking wizard? These people wouldn’t touch you! He would have never let you stay here!”
Aradin’s words were crushing her, Rolan saw the damage in each one.
“I’m not that person anymore! My father killed me when I rejected him. I’m only alive because I allied with The Lord of Bones himself to defeat Bhaal!” She protested. It would be impossible to explain all that she did in search of redemption, all the people she helped to counterbalance her past sins, the suicidal missions to put an end to what she had started, the Gods that interfered for her to succeed.
“You killed my mates. I saw you, before the grove, in the High Forest,” Aradin growled, walking closer to her, revealing what sin had turned him against her.
“You don’t have mates, Aradin. At best I killed the people you were trying to rip off,” her patience was waning, and her emotional control. Aradin had come and destroyed everything in one sentence. Her fantasy of a real home, a life outside of the violence, was actively being taken from her. And Rolan, he was taking Rolan from her.
“I should have killed you when I had the chance,” Aradin said, dangerously close to her. Suddenly she understood that Aradin had never been her friend. He had used her for her muscle and had planned to avenge the death of his old crew by taking her life. Either he never had an opportunity or, when he did, he was too afraid to try. Now, she was retiring, and he wouldn’t get the chance, but he was unwilling to let the matter lie without hurting her or taking something from her as she had him.
“I’ll tell everyone, ruin your reputation. I’ll burn down this little shop you have, ruin you,” Aradin warned.
“Like anyone would ever believe you. Like I would ever let you try,” she growled at him, eyes dark, hands twitching and begging to cut him. She wanted to maintain control; she could not have Rolan’s last memory of her be violent.
“Ah, there’s the bhaalspawn I remember,” he said, inching closer to her face. Rolan took a step forward preparing to separate them and force Aradin to leave but Tav reacted before he could.
Aradin had pushed until she broke, control dangerously out of reach.
“I am NOT the bhaalspawn you remember, I can be much worse,” Tav grabbed him by the throat and pushed him, a framed scroll falling from the wall when his back hit the door, both hitting the floor in a crash. “My sins are mine now, Aradin.”
She watched him coughing, struggling to breathe after she had almost crushed his neck in her hands. He was doubled over before her, struggling to stand, fear filling his eyes. She lifted him by the leathers at his shoulder and forced him back against the door, his feet off the ground, “Choose your next words so very carefully.”
He became a shaking mess when she dropped him. The air shifted to reveal Kali stalking close behind Tav. Rolan hadn’t moved, watching and waiting to intervene if needed.
“You’re lucky,” he said, still full of anger even as his back was pressed against the door, eyes darting between her and Kali, “You’re lucky you can put on a dress and fool everyone. Not me, I’ll be watching. If you don’t stick to your f*cking books I’ll kill you and the foul bloods.”
A smack echoed through the office, then Kali’s growl. Tav struck Aradin. Not as hard as she wanted to, Aradin knew she had restrained herself.
“Get out,” she was giving Aradin a warning and he listened, hastily retreating with his hand on his reddened cheek. Kali cloaked and urged out of the property line by pushing the back of his legs with her head.
“Tav,” Rolan started after silence had filled the office.
“I’ll pack my things. Thank you for letting me stay here as long as you did,” she said to him, keeping her eyes from him to hide the tears threatening to fall.
“Tav,” he gripped her wrist when she started to walk out. “You don’t need to leave. This doesn’t change anything.”
“Rolan, he’s right. I don’t belong here. I don’t belong with you.”
She had forgotten to stay away from people, to detach, move, never settle. Hunt. Not because she didn’t like people, she loved them, but she hurt them.
“Your past is. Must have been.. but if you think I can’t stomach it you’re wrong. I’ve done things, seen things, to keep my family safe,” Rolan had turned her shoulders to face him but she kept her head down.
“I could hurt you. I could hurt everyone.” Despite Wither’s assurances there was a lingering fear that she was not in control, that’s she could somehow lose control.
“You wont. I know you won’t,” he wanted to hold her and whisper assurances in her ear until the happiness she had felt moments ago returned.
“I’ll ruin your reputation,” her voice broke, the tears had finally fallen. He took her waist and pulled her to him, his tail at her back, pushing her closer, embracing her. She was quiet but he could feel her body shake against his palm at her back between breaths.
“I’m a devil spawn. That’s what everyone thinks when they see me. But you didn’t. I owe you more than my reputation. I’d have nothing without you, Tav. Not my family or my life. And, I believe you’re stronger than Bhaal. Do you?” he spoke softly to her, guiltily indulging in the floral scent of her hair.
“I do.” Finally, he felt her body relax in their embrace, her cheek on his chest, arms circling against the cool leather of his belt.
“Stay. As long as that’s what you still want. I want you to stay,” his confidence wavered and, while worried she’d reject him, pack her belongings and leave, he would not let her without revealing his affection for her.
“I want to stay,” she said after a moment of hesitation, a moment to find the courage to tell him what she had desired, had been searching for: home.
The moment of courage was rewarded when he held her tighter, letting his cheek lie on the crown of her head and a gentle rub to her back as her hands closed around the fabric of his robe.
“I need to lie down,” she said, voice landing against his chest.
“Can I walk you to your bedroom?” he asked.
She nodded and they separated. Rolan kept his tail around her waist as they walked out of his office to the portal, Lia sending him a sympathetic glance from the balcony.
Once in the tower Kali shifted to make herself known and followed them to the hallway of bedrooms. Rolan’s tail released her as she hesitated at her door.
“Rolan, I need you to know, you didn’t need me. This was all always meant to be yours. But, I am glad I get to say that I helped,” she looked up to watch him react to her praise.
“You did,” he said with a strong exhale, wrestling away the desire to hold her again.
She gave a weak smile before her and Kali disappeared behind the closed door.

Notes:

Romantic weekend get-a-way you say? With Rolan you say? Also, Aradin caught some strays in this one but I do think he deserves it. Seriously, thank you for reading it means the world! <3 <3 <3

Chapter 7

Summary:

Thinking of Rolan watching her as she threw Aradin around, reacting on a violent impulse that shamed her, closed a fist around her heart. Each time she saw his face in her mind another tear followed the same path as the one before.

Notes:

(See the end of the chapter for notes.)

Chapter Text

Tav’s empty seat at the kitchen table was a surprise to Cal who missed the drama of the day.
“Is Tav ok?” he asked, breaking the tense silence Lia and Rolan had entertained.
Lia looked up, from the meat pie Cal had prepared to Rolan. He was looking forward, clearly deep in thought.
“Did Aradin do something?” Lia asked.
“What? No. Tav will be alright,” Rolan answered and bit into his dinner.
“I bet she’s just sad she had to choose between you and Aradin,” Cal sighed, dreamily. All Cal knew was that Tav spent time with Aradin before, now she was spending time with Rolan, and Aradin had come twice to make a scene since.
“What are you talking about, Cal?” Lia chuckled from her brother’s deductions. “Wait, what’s that look?” she noticed Rolan’s eyes narrowing, as if he had discovered something for himself.
“What look?” Rolan brushed her off and stood, preparing a plate for Tav.
“Is that what happened?” Lia nudged.
In a way, Rolan thought that was what happened. Tav was presented with two choices: fighting again with Aradin, even if it was an insincere confession, or living the passive life she had with Rolan.
“It’s an interesting perspective on the situation is all. Either way, I’ve programmed the constructs to keep him off the premises. There will be no more drunken spectacles at Sundries,” he told them and conjured a mage hand to hold the plate of covered food.
“None from Aradin, you mean,” Lia laughed.
“Right. That particular villain has been dealt with,” Rolan guaranteed.
“Are you bringing that to Tav?” Cal asked, watching the floating plate of food.
“Don’t lose it in the hallway this time or Kali won’t eat her dinner,” Lia teased.
Rolan shot her a look while leaving, still blaming her and her meddling for the previous mess.

Sitting in an oversized chair, Tav watched the small fire in her bedroom until her body calmed. At first it was panic. Panic had trembled her fingertips when she unbuttoned her elegant robe and tossed it across a stool. Regret when she opened the wardrobe to smell balsam on her freshly laundered clothes; regret that she could not have told him after he had spent more time with her, after proving she was safe. Throwing on an oversized, linen tunic and briefs she sat in her sadness, hair falling in waves around her shoulders and waist, watching the flames.
For only a breath she grieved the loss of her friendship to Aradin. She had been unaware of his deception, damaging her ego, and would not allow any more damage by grieving his loss further.
Thinking of Rolan watching her as she threw Aradin around, reacting on a violent impulse that shamed her, closed a fist around her heart. Each time she saw his face in her mind another tear followed the same path as the one before.
What had kept the bile down was his refusal to make her leave. He had still wanted her to stay even after knowing her deepest shame. Her bodies rejection to losing her new life had been the final coercion: she would stay. However, her body, still agonizing at the possibility of loss, had not come to the same calm realization as her mind. It tortured her as she bore it in the warmth of the fire. She stayed that way till the evening sun dimmed against her balcony doors.
A light knock on her door alerted Kali, head rising, and Tav, wiping her face clean before pulling the bottom of her tunic down, answered the door.
When she saw Rolan on the other side, food and luggage adjoining, she pushed the door further ajar in a wordless invitation. Rolan’s tail flicked in distress when he saw the redness of her eyes. He took a breath to keep calm, controlled, ignore the rising temptation to embrace and assure her, instead joining her inside the dim room, allowing her space but shutting the door behind him.
“You should eat. Cal made meat pies, I think you’ll enjoy them,” he said, she sat on the foot of her bed and watched him take the plate from a mage hand and place it on her desk.
“I also found some luggage for you that should work well for this weekend,” he said, choking down any doubt, and setting the luggage beside her wardrobe.
When he faced her, braving what would be her response, he would not allow the bareness of her legs or the exposed skin of her shoulder to distract and shield the blow of her potential rejection.
“You’ll really still take me?” she tilted her head at him.
His eyebrows raised, tail swaying happily behind him, “I told you, today doesn’t change anything. I still want you to come.”
She was holding her breath watching him move closer to sit beside her on the bed. She waited to exhale, watching him search for words. She tucked her legs under her, leaning closer to him when he looked like he was ready to speak.
“I spent many evenings drinking with Jaheira, you know,” he started, hoping it would make sense soon, “We talked about her life before the absolute. Her time in Baldur’s Gate. Her time with Minsc,” he paused to look at her and revel in her undivided attention in a place as intimate as her own bed.
“She never told me that,” Tav said, trying to offer something to the conversation.
“It wasn’t of consequence. It did, however, inspire me to spend some time reading the legends of her time, the stories of heroes who defended Baldur’s Gate from the cult of Bhaal. The bhaalspawns who collectively rebelled. You remind me of them. I bet you remind Jaheira of them, too,” he finished, his tail absentmindedly finding her waist as he told her of his readings.
“Thank you, Rolan, for having faith in me,” she said with a weak smile.
When he turned to face her, he realized where his tail had wound itself and lifted it from her, “Sorry,” he mumbled.
“Don’t be, I like it,” she admitted. She noticed his small shudder when her fingertip feathered the limb that slid from her waist.
If his tail had rested a moment longer he would have felt the growl of her stomach. He stood quickly and handed her the uncovered the plate, “You should eat. Do you have water?”
“Yes and I will,” she said and stood beside him. His fist closed as he resisted the temptation to touch the bare skin of her lower thigh, tail wrapped defiantly around his own ankle.
“Well then, if you should need anything I’m near,” he assured her and pat Kali’s head before leaving her to her evening.

Notes:

First, thank you everyone who has read this, it makes my heart so happy <3 <3
I dont know why this chapter is so short but the next one is much longer and *spoiler alert* smutty things happen

Chapter 8

Summary:

“Rolan!” She huffed.
“I don’t want anything to happen to your reputation,” he countered.
“Rolan! We’re married!” she exclaimed and gestured towards the card the hotel had used to falsely congratulate them.

Notes:

*TW* Alcohol consumption

(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)

Chapter Text

“Tav, don’t worry we know how to take care of Kali,” Lia said after receiving a too thorough explanation of Kalis eating habits.
“Plus, we’ve taught her how to play hide and seek! It’s going to be a great weekend!” Cal exclaimed as they gathered at the shop’s portal upstairs. Rolan was inputting the coordinates for Neverwinter’s city square.
They had stayed and closed the shop planning to find dinner at the hotel and an early night’s sleep.
“Are you sure you taught her that? It is her favorite game, you know?” Tav smiled, reaching to pet Kali’s head as the portal subtly changed to a lighter blue.
“It’s ready,” Rolan told them.
“Have fun, don’t worry about the shop, just have a good time,” Lia urged, pushing them through the portal.
“Good. They’re gone. Let play Kali,” Lia said excitedly once the pair had disappeared, Kali immediately turning and running, Cal and Lia laughing while giving chase around the store and into the tower portal.

Even in the busy and metropolitan streets of Neverwinter Tav could feel the warm breeze carrying the smell of the harbor and blooming flowers. The modern, cosmopolitan city was full of fashionable men and women walking with purpose, passing them quickly as Rolan took the lead. He noticed her nervously smooth her skirt with her free hand, adjusting the vest and picking off a fly away hair that had fallen from her twisted updo. When his tail rested around her waist, her shoulders loosened with an exhale. The outward showing of her comfort in his grasp caused it to tighten, the end of his tail gripping and applying a light pressure to her hip.
Neverwinter’s grand hotel reached well into the sky, the grounds decorated with marble fountains and patches of rose gardens lining the peach stone walkways. The lobby gleamed in white marble, accented with blue rugs and glass artwork and busy, wizards gathering from the realms to check in for the weekend.
“I’ll speak with the receptionist, grab a schedule for us?” Rolan asked after releasing her and taking her small luggage bag. She nodded and made her way to the stack of brochures.
Casually listening to the conversations around her she heard some remark on the grandeur and elegance of the hotel and surrounding city, others at the size of the convention. She heard surprises that the hotel had sold out of rooms and the general fussing from weary travelers contrasting the excitement that rejuvenated others. She looked up from her brochure when she heard Rolan join her side.
“What’s wrong?” she asked, noticing the furrow in his brow.
“There may have been a small mix-up with the rooms. Mainly that we only have one,” he admitted.
“That’s ok, Rolan. This is a large hotel, maybe the rooms have multiple bedrooms once inside,” she suggested.
“Perhaps you’re right,” he mumbled as they walked to the lift.
Rolan told the attendant his room number and the well-dressed halfling who operated the elevator sent them to their floor.
Tav followed Rolan through the clean, white halls lined with opulent tables holding porcelain vases of bloomed bouquets reflected in silver framed mirrors. They stopped before a set of double doors holding a small plaque with the numbers ‘1107,’ embossed in black.
Rolan opened the doors wide and held it for Tav to enter first, following with their luggage. The living space held an ornate love seat and two chairs circled around a low table of polished wood, topped with a basket of wine and snacks. Past the living quarter was a bedroom with one king bed and private balcony. Tav peeked inside the bathroom to see a soaking tub and smaller closet housing the toilet.
“This is fine, Rolan,” she assured him as he looked at the single bed nervously. “I can take the couch, if you’re alright with sharing.”
“Absolutely not, I’ll take the couch,” he protested. A flash of disappointment hit her chest when he protested only to be relieved to hear him offer her the bed; he had not been protesting the sharing of the room.
“Rolan. You wouldn’t possibly fit. Besides, I’ve been on a wood plank for months, a couch is still a luxury for me,” she explained and sunk into it, picking up the bottle of wine to read the label.
“Anything good?” he asked, joining in the empty seat beside her and letting the matter of sleeping arrangement temporarily lie.
“Try it with me after dinner?” she propositioned, handing him the bottle.
“It’s complimentary. We must,” he agreed. She smiled, nudging him with her shoulder before reaching for the card.
‘To the lord and lady of Ramizeth’s tower - Congratulations.’
“I think someone thought we were supposed to room together,” she said while handing him the personalized card.
“Congratulations for what?” he asked, flipping the card over in an investigation.
“Our recent nuptials, dear,” she laughed, he was still stunned but disguised it with a short laugh. “Let’s get dinner, I’m starving.”
“I suppose we should before your stomach starts complaining again,” he said with a smile, tossing the card with the wine.
“It can become very demanding,” she warned and followed him through the hotel to their dining hall.

Once full from a five course meal accompanied by unique and specialty co*cktails Rolan and Tav returned to their room. They met on the balcony where Castle Never could be seen in the distance. The bottle of wine rested on a table beside them as their cheeks darkened from the consumption of alcohol.
“Rolan, did you even set aside time for fun?” Tav laughed, wine in hand, with her bare legs tucked underneath her. She leaned in his direction and his tail rested around her waist and they drank while discussing their schedules.
“What do you mean? Those lectures are fun!” he protested.
“Really? Do you mean the ‘Annual governance, compliance, and operational resiliency of wizard towers’ series or the ‘Environmental safety and sanitation standards for high altitudes’?”
“Those are bad examples,” he defended and snatched his itinerary from her. “Besides, you scheduled enough ‘fun’ for the two of us,” he said and flipped her schedule over to show her what she already knew: she only circled one lecture about the chemical principles of the astral planes.
“Hey! I can’t schedule ‘soak in tub’ or ‘go shopping,’” she said and yelped before laughing when the tip of his tail found the bottom of her foot and swiped across it. She stood and went to grab her schedule, but he moved it quickly from her grasp.
“I’m beginning to wonder if you take this alchemy business seriously,” he said while playing a drunken keep-a-way.
“Of course I am!” she exclaimed and managed to grab the paper from him.
“I know. Besides you would probably be wasting your time with the basic chemistry theories listed here. I really wanted you here to see the ingredients.”
“So. Shopping?” She smirked.
“Hush, you,” he said teasingly and followed her into the bedroom.
“It’s late, we should go to bed,” Tav suggested.
“I agree. I need to leave early if I want to catch the guest speaker from Thultantar,” he said, making his way to the couch.
“Rolan, stop. I already told you to let me have the couch. You won’t fit,” she told, crossing her arms once he had sat on it.
“I don’t.. you’re not.. no, I’ll fit!” he laid across, his horns stopping him from laying his head on one side while his shins hung off the other.
“No, you don’t. I promise I won’t try anything if we share the bed,” she rolled her eyes.
“That’s not why I’m taking the couch,” he chuckled, knowing he was more worried about his own hands, and tail, staying on his side of the bed.
“I have a vague memory of trying to sleep in your bed before, I’m clearly not worried, and I am not half naked this time,” she pointed out. He sat up, lightheaded when the memory of her bare in his shower, images he had tried to forget as she had been in a dire state at the time, flooded his mind.
“No, just delirious,” he corrected, shaking her half naked visage from his thoughts.
“So are you!”
“No! I’m drunk.”
“Rolan!” She huffed.
“I don’t want anything to happen to your reputation,” he countered.
“Rolan! We’re married!” she exclaimed and gestured towards the card the hotel had used to falsely congratulate them.
“That doesn’t count.. It’s like our kisss.. Annullled,” he slurred.
“Rolan,” she took a gentle tone and sat beside him, holding his shoulders still and finding it hard for her to stop swaying as well. “I don’t have a reputation for you to worry about, but I do have a prickly wizard that will not be in a good mood if this couch hurts his back tomorrow.”
“Prickly?!” he acted shocked.
“Yes. So,” she paused. Her heart was beating fast as the words formed, “Come to bed with me.”
His eyes widened, hearing an invitation he had been waiting for.
It wasn’t exactly what either of them wanted, had hoped for. Once the fight ended and they laid down, neither stayed awake. The soft hotel sheets and fluffed pillows sent them careening into a deep sleep, both too shy to change into nightclothes and in too deep a sleep to gravitate towards one another.

Rolan woke early, head pounding, and threw the covers aside. Once removed he caught a glimpse of Tav beside him and jerked his body from the bed, falling to the floor. In her sleep her skirt had ridden up showing the ample curve of her bottom covered only by a thin lace of fabric as she slept on her side. He could see the small mound of delicate flesh between her thighs, covered in delicate lace, and fought the urge to bury his head there. Smartly, he chose instead to cover her with the comforter. Hurling himself under the cold water of the shower he resisted the need to pleasure himself with the new and salacious imagery.
Tav woke much later, the sun pouring in from the balcony while she was spread out on the bed, blankets wrapped around her haphazardly. She groaned and yawned while her eyes adjusted to the unfamiliar surroundings. Noticing a glass of water Rolan had left her she finished it before stumbling in the bathroom. The only evidence of him was the faint smell of sandalwood and balsam from his preferred oils and soaps. She touched the towel he had used and hung to dry, feeling the dampness still lingering after he had washed, the images of him in the small cotton swath spinning in her head.
She drew a hot bath with oils and smelling salts and sank under the water, a splash rising and falling on the tile floor. She relaxed, not concerned with missing the only lecture she had planned to attend that had started shortly after she woke. Instead, she lingered in the bath aimlessly until the water cooled.
Eventually, she dressed in a dark purple, elegant robe Mayrina had hemmed and taken in from Facemaker’s boutique. It had an open back and tall slit in the front, the halter style top exposed her arms and ample cleavage. Around her arms, calf and waist were vines of silver jewelry decorated with dark stones that matched her hair clip used to secure a loose twist.
While she felt more exposed than usual, Mayrina insisted on the dress for the weekend, citing that all the women would be wearing similar styles. Upon entering the convention hall, she found Mayrina to be right. The warm climate of Neverwinter and its access to fashion trends had influenced similar silhouettes and exposure.
With a bag slung over her shoulder she sampled the magical oddities around her. Rare seeds and submimates at one merchant, essences and ashes at another. She hopped, flirted and bargained all the way to a rare book collection.
“Love that one,” a Dragonborn interrupted her examining a copy of The one that got a Thay.
“Not exactly what I was looking for, but it sounds fun. My name’s Tav,” Tav introduced herself with a small bow. The woman wore a similar robe to Rolan in pinks and silvers that matched her ancestry marks and scales.
“Vex. What kind of book were you looking for?” Vex replied, turning her gaze back to the bound spines.
“Books about Linguistics.”
“You should try that one,” Vex said and pointed to a table in a far corner.
“Thank you! And thanks for the book recommendation!” Tav replied. After paying for the romance book, she wandered to the tent Vex had suggested.
By the time Tav made it back to their room she was sweating and panting from juggling the stack of advanced books on translation theories and the bags of alchemy supplies. After swinging the door open, she collected her purchases and stacked them neatly on a nearby table. She was happy Rolan wasn’t there while she sat with her arms and legs wide, fanning herself until her body heat lowered. From the corner of her eye she noticed a note from Rolan.
Tav,
Meet me after my final lecture,
-Rolan
Love note? No. But it was a note from Rolan, to her, that asked her to meet him.
She returned to the convection determined to catch a guest speaker or demonstration before Rolan was through. When she finally caught a guest speaker she walked out in the middle of their presentation. They had been speaking on familiars and other summons, hypothesizing they had no feeling, were objects, and the proper way to use them was as a shield in battle to exhaust the enemy at their expense. Kali would have jumped on stage and ripped out their throat if she was there, the least Tav could do was leave.
While waiting in the hallway Rolan would eventually exit she noticed Vex and joined her.
“Hello again,” Tav greeted.
“Hi! Did you find what you were looking for?” Vex excitedly asked.
“Yes I did. Are you waiting for someone, too?”
“Yeah. My husband’s in there. He loves these things but I’m usually stuck walking around by myself while he does the boring stuff.”
“I’m waiting on someone too. Not my husband we’re just.. I guess we’re just friends. And he does the same thing. We should stick together tomorrow,” Tav suggested, Vex lighting up.
“Yes! Let’s do that. I do like to sleep in, though. Dex lectures me about it endlessly. Would that be ok?” Vex cautioned, smiling when remembering her partner.
“I missed the only presentation I planned to attend today because I slept in,” she admitted bringing them to laughter.
“I was late because of the soaking tub!”
“That too!” Tav agreed. “Let’s meet at the entrance at one tomorrow? That should be late enough.”
“Alright. Hey! There’s my husband. Drax!” She called and found the attention of a red Dragonborn with gold ancestry markings in a dark red robe, golden rings decorating his features.
“Oh! Theres my friend, walking with Drax,” Tav noticed Rolan beside Drax. It was the first time she had seen Rolan in modern clothing. He looked affluent, noble even, in a chandelier-style embroidered ensemble in black with delicate golden details. The tailored outfit captured the width of his shoulders, the tapering of his waist and contrasted against his red skin making it look darker than it was.
“That’s your friend? I’d keep him close, lots of people are only here to catch a wealthy wizard, you know,” Vex laughed.
“It’s alright. They wouldn’t like him,” Tav leaned in and whispered to Vex.
“Most wizards are insufferable. Try marrying a Dragonborn one,” she rolled her eyes and Tav snorted a laugh. They composed themselves quickly once the men joined.
Rolan had seen Tav from the back but didn’t think it was her. He had followed Drax to be introduced to Vex, Drax and Rolan also becoming acquaintances that day. Rolan had noticed an elegant woman with Vex but didn’t examine her closely. Once close enough to be introduced he couldn’t stop looking at Tav.
“Rolan?” Drax interrupted his dumbfounded staring that made Tav blush.
“Sorry, Vex. I’m glad to meet you. Just, I wasn’t expecting you here,” Rolan apologized and turned to Tav. “This is Tav,” he introduced her.
“The famous alchemist,” Drax said proudly, his voice deep and rough, “Do you and my Vex know each other?”
“We just met today but are going to hang out tomorrow while you’re in classes,”
Vex explained, Tav nodded in agreement.
“Vex helped me find some books,” Tav told them.
“Really, Vex?” Drax gave her a knowing look.
“Not that kind of book! Well. One of those kinds of books but not all!” the three laughed, Rolan not following the joke.
“You’re ridiculous, my love. It was good to meet you Rolan. It is a rarity that I am able to speak with wizards at my level,” Drax complimented with a hand on Rolan’s shoulder.
“I agree. Tomorrow you’ll have to tell me more about your extraction of magic from recycled constructs,” Rolan replied.
“Till tomorrow then,” Drax said. They exchanged farewells and the two Dragonborn left.
“Strange coincidence,” Tav said after a silent moment of Rolan trying to hide his glances at her bare skin.
“Where did you get that dress?” he finally asked, hoping more context would help him logic his way out of distraction.
“This? Mayrina. She didn’t make it, she bought it for me. You don’t like it?” she didn’t think he ever had much of an opinion on her clothes but he had a strange look about him she could not yet decipher.
“I did not say that,” he defended staunchly.
“You’re not saying you do,” she pointed out and hooked her arm in his to lead him out, “You’re taking me to dinner, right?” She wanted to change the subject, suddenly nervous.
“You and your stomach,” he scoffed and followed her lead.
“I can assume that’s a, yes?” she looked up to him with a wide smile.
“Yes. And Tav?”
“Hmm?”
“I really like the dress,” he finally complimented her, sending heat to her ears. She felt the cool touch of his tail against her back, coiling around her waist and bringing her closer to his side.

They sat across from each other at the hotel restaurant again, ordering similar food and drink.
“You look very handsome, Rolan,” Tav told him, admiring the soft fabric of his rich tunic.
“You’re just not used to seeing me outside of my wizard robes,” he smiled and took a drink.
“I didn’t know it was an option,” she said in a low voice before taking a drink of her flute. He almost choked on his, swallowing audibly followed by a bashful smirk.
“What are you doing?” he asked when she stood and moved to his side of the table, joining him in the booth.
“Sitting next to you,” she pointed out.
“In a booth? In a restaurant?!” Rolan protested.
“If I’m not next to you, how can you put your tail around me?” she asked. Rolan smelt the perfume on her skin when she reached over for her glass and ignored the awkwardness he usually felt when sharing a booth. His tail heeded her request but wrapped around her knee first.
“Sorry,” he mumbled, uncurled and found her waist instead.
“Why are you sorry? I told you I liked it.”
“You said you liked it around your waist, not leg.. It’s different,” he said, his pulse jumping, and taking a large swallow of wine.
“Why?” she leaned closer to him, she could feel the heat from his skin rising, his gaze dancing over her lips, cleavage and eyes.
“It’s just that it.. Hells. It’s more erotic,” he exhaled, looking down at the drink he clutched in his hands and the patrons who, thankfully, ignored the two.
“Rolan, do you want to wrap your tail around my thigh?” she was leaning towards him whispering, alluring him closer to her with the brush of her breath against the hair obscuring his ear.
“Not in a restaurant. Not in public,” he corrected, clearing his throat nervously.
“In private?”
“Yes. If you’d permit it,” he admitted, nervousness fading to excitement.
“I’d permit your tail to touch me wherever you wanted to, do whatever you wanted to,” she said and rested her hand on his upper thigh. His thigh muscle flexed under her palm, but he didn’t recoil, instead his tail drew her closer, the tip resting against the fabric of her dress right above her bellybutton.
“Anywhere?” he shamelessly followed the exposed skin of her neck, between her breast, down to her lower stomach.
“Hands too,” she affirmed, and his face shot back at hers, searching her half-lidded eyes for deception and found none. She leaned close enough to see herself reflected in his black sclera.
“Would you like to charge this meal to your room?” The waiter appeared to them out of thin air, the restaurant around them having faded so they could focus on one another. The waiter saw the escalation and thought settling their bill quickly would leave a larger tip. They were right.
“Yes! Thank you, room 1107,” Rolan said after his surprise.
“Of course. Stay as long as you like and have a wonderful night,” they bowed, knowing they had no intention of staying.
“Walk me to our room?” she asked, having never taken her eyes from him. He nodded in response.
After standing she lifted the half empty bottle of sparkling wine, gave a farewell nod to their waiter, and followed Rolan out.
Waiting for the elevator she felt his warm fingertips instead of the cooler skin of his tail against her lower back. She stepped closer to him so her hip could brush his side.
She thought he seemed hesitant once they were alone again in their hotel. He stood at the door, unsure where to go, unsure if he could reach out and have her. Instead, he watched her take two coffee cups provided by the hotel and a seat on the couch.
“You’re not just going to stand there, are you?” she asked while filling the cups with the remainder of their wine.
“No, I’ll join you,” his tail shot up and he settled beside her on the couch. She tucked her legs underneath her as she usually did while seated and handed him a cup. His tail found her waist and coiled around it. He couldn’t tell if he had pushed her closer, searching for another subtle smell of her perfume, or if she had adjusted.
“Sharee!” she toasted and held her cup out.
He tapped the cup with his own and took a drink with her before asking, “Who taught you that?” Tav had never spoken infernal before, he was curious of her experience with infernals.
“Danis. At the grove party. He said it meant ‘cheers.’ Why? Does it mean something else?” she asked with a sheepish smile.
“No! He was right I just didn’t know if you had experience with infernal speaking people before,” he said and took a long drink from his cup.
“Are you asking if I’ve been with tieflings before?”
“What? No.. not very subtle?” he chuckled and found it hard to look at her. Usually, he led romantic interactions, taking charge, the least nervous. Back in Elturel, he enjoyed taking the lead, planning dates, perfectly timed moments alone in conveniently close quarters. He had felt confident in sex as well, decoding the puzzle of his partner until they were a begging puddle beneath him. But that was Elturel.
“I am more experienced in infernal than you might think, but no, I’ve never done more than kiss a tiefling. And, if I recall correctly, you didn’t count it,” she pouted.
“It wasn’t real,” he said with the usual edge of confidence she had missed since entertaining him on the couch.
“It was to me, Rolan,” she told him, her cup out to her side and almost spilling.
“You weren’t yourself,” he sighed and took her cup, setting it on the table beside his.
“And if I kissed you now?” she asked, crawling closer to him, trapping him between her arms and the couch, his body turned to face her.
His nervousness and lack of control became too uncharacteristic for him, the inner ridicule too loud. Yes, he was rusty and, yes, he was falling for Tav, but it was time to remember who he was before the decent, it was time to bring back the part of himself he left there.
She hadn’t moved from leaning, her breasts hardly obscured by the fabric of her dress. She still wouldn’t move when he reached up, knuckles grazing her neck, and removing the clip from her hair. His hand remained as her hair tumbled around them in long tresses, nails running up her scalp with a gentle scrape. His other hand found her waist and pulled her into his lap. She straddled him, unconcerned that her dress lifted to expose her thighs, the fabric pooling in the middle and hiding their conjoined laps. With her hands around his neck, his tail around her waist, and his hands on the bare skin of her back, the last of the space between them closed, eclipsed when their lips finally touched.
He felt her body melting into his, her hands in his silken locks, untying his hair and exposing his pointed ears. Rolan had meant to be more patient with her, somehow more chaste, but when she deepened the kiss, opening her mouth to allow him to taste her further, his patience broke. Suddenly, he was needy, no longer shy. His tail dug inside her dress to wrap around her upper thigh. When she lifted it allowed him to double wrap the appendage and squeeze.
She returned to his lap, tail now between her thigh and calf, and landed on Rolan’s erection. The hardness of him against the lace of her small clothes elicited a hushed moan, captured in Rolan’s mouth and stiffening him further. Again, she drug her lace center on the straining tip of his pants. He growled and kissed her harder, biting her bottom lip and shifting his hips to grind on her again, and again, and again until he found the spot that made her break his kiss to gasp.
“Hold onto me,” he requested, brushing his nose against hers. With her arms around his neck he stood, bracing her against him, her legs around his middle, his arms supporting from under her thighs, and his tail coming undone to lay against her back.
As he carried her she freckled his neck with soft kisses and he stopped himself from stumbling.
“Don’t make me drop you,” he warned, breathlessly.
“You wouldn’t dare,” she responded, smiling in the crook of his neck.
“I would,” he said and did just that, letting her fall on the foot of the bed. Her feet hung off and he caught her ankle in his hand, taking off one shoe and then the other before crawling up to her, both moving further back to have the entire length of the bed.
She was already breathing heavily underneath him, and he captured one gust of air when his mouth found hers again. A yelp turned moan escaped her when his tail grasped her right thigh and separated it from her other, fitting himself between her legs as the skirt of her dress bundled at her waist.
Her hands reached under his shirt to feel the planes of his back and he stopped her, leaning back and taking off the garment to expose his torso, decorated with infernal ridges on his chest and ribs.
She stopped him from returning to kiss her when her fingertips ran over his cheek bone and jaw, admiring the harsh angles of his face framed with the loose bangs that fell over his forehead. He turned to kiss her palm, found the clasp of her silver belt and unwound it, letting it drop off the bed. Again, he slowly covered her with his body, one hand sliding up her thigh and squeezing once he reached her bottom. He pressed his lips against her jaw, traveling to her neck while he rutted himself against her. Her heart rate spiked with another gasp when she felt his tongue flat against her collar, the head of his shaft pressing against her slit.
Closing her eyes she luxuriated in his touch, the soft pillowing of his open mouth against her collar, and his warm skin where it brushed against hers. Her hands traced each cartilaginous protrusion of his chest and waist, egged on by his low groans.
Usually, he was self-conscious when humans marveled and fetishized his infernal markings, othering him, but that wasn’t what he felt she was doing; she was admiring what was unique to him.
He rolled her dress off, her hips lifting, then legs, until the fabric was a ball beside the bed. “Hells, Tav,” he sighed when she was uncovered, save for the lace briefs. He wondered if he’d ever overcome the intoxication that overpowered him when he saw her body. She was speckled in light yellow bruising and still fading scars. He bent down to find each wound with a gentle, open mouth kiss. One at her shoulder, another above her right breast, her sternum, rib, hip. He stopped, overwhelmed with temptation.
“Tav, can I taste you?” he asked, squeezing her waist.
She leaned forward and cupped his chin, guiding him up to her waiting lips. She kept him in suspense, his face a breath from hers, and he watched her hand reach inside the hem of her small clothes and dip into her slick entrance. Once she lifted her glistening finger closer to him, he gripped her wrist and took it in his mouth, moaning when he tasted her sex on his tongue.
“Do you want more, Rolan?” she asked heatedly.
“Yes,” he mumbled, licking between her fingers.
She took her hand from him and laid back, hooking her thumbs into her briefs and lifting her hips. He rolled them the rest of the way off, her legs lifting and returning to straddle him.
Finally, Tav was his, blushing and exposed beneath him. Each mark on her body from her previous life of violence sent a phantom pain to his chest and reminded him that, for her, pleasure had been second to pain. But that wouldn’t be true any longer.
“Rolan, I thought you wanted more,” she chuckled, lifting to her elbows when he hesitated, looking over the curves and marks of her body.
“You’re so beautiful,” he said as if in explanation and kissed her knee, following her inner thigh until he was settled between her legs. Her head hit the pillow, dizzy from anticipation, when his fingers separated her folds, revealing the pink flesh between. Breath from his deep sigh sent shivers through her body when it hit her wet and sensitive area.
Then, his mouth was on her, his needy moan vibrating against her when his tongue flattened and tasted her sweet and salty sex. He used the tip of his tongue to circle the swollen bundle of nerves before diving greedily into her entrance, lapping up the beads of arousal that resulted from his gentle ministrations. His tail tightened around her thigh involuntarily when her soft mewling started, his free hand teasing at her entrance. Her panting exasperated when one finger eased into her and worked her walls while he lapped incessantly, each swallow a mix of her and his own saliva. Her back arched once he found the combination of tongue lashing and fingering that overwhelmed her. He matched his pace with her audible exhales and the rocking of her hips.
She wanted to bathe him in the same ecstasy he was lavishing on her, but she had been so enthralled and desperate for his touch she was helpless, only able to shamelessly indulge. When a second finger entered her, she cried out his name. He heated up when she called out for him, his fingers penetrating deeper, faster, palms and wrist dripping with her. His tongue pressed harder against her cl*t, sucking the organ between his teeth only to release and resume quick circles. He could feel her walls constricting as she reached the precipice, her hands grasping around the base of his horns to grind herself against his face. His co*ck throbbed against his trousers, begging for release as she started to buck underneath him.
She wasn’t breathing, muscles tightening around him, when one final slip of his tongue broke her. She came undone in his hands, his mouth eagerly lapping the rush of sex, head bobbing and struggling to maintain its position over her as she violently jerked her hips.
He slowed to a still, her throbbing c*nt warm in his mouth.
“Rolan, I can’t.. I need..” she struggled to find words again. He smiled arrogantly and lifted from her.
“What?” he asked, feeling boastful after bringing her to the fumbling, panting and sweating state she was in, kissing each inch of skin he passed while crawling up to meet her.
She found his lips and kissed him so longingly he thought she wouldn’t let him go, her hands cupping his jaw and cheek, breathing seemingly not as important to her as the claim she laid on his mouth. Finally, she released him, resting her forehead to his while they breathed heavily into one another.
“Lay down,” she ordered. He pressed a peck on her forehead and lifted from her, standing beside the bed and kicking off his shoes and trousers before laying back on the spot beside her.
Once his back hit the sheets she threw her leg over and straddled him, his briefs straining against his hard co*ck beneath her. She leaned down and kissed the hard muscles of his chest, taking each infernal ridge in her mouth and following the cartilaginous trail down his sternum. His hands gripped her thighs while his tail splayed off the side of the bed, lifting each time her mouth found a new sensitive protrusion. Her hands ghosted over the hard lines of his stomach, his muscles toned from the physical challenge channeling the weave demanded.
Her eyes widened once she removed his briefs and revealed his curving beast of a co*ck, erect and dripping a bead of pre cum.
“Gods, Rolan,” she sighed and ran her fingers over the deep red ridges that lined the underside of him, the satin feeling of his skin at odds with his ribbed stiffness.
“I know, it’s..” he was going to say ‘weird,’ but the word turned to a surprised moan when she took him into her mouth without warning.
Her tongue explored his textured shaft as she worked to swallow all of him. He had been on his elbows, watching her head bob up and down over him. The sight of her choking and struggling on his co*ck and the sloppy sounds of her slobbering was almost enough to finish him. She could feel him hardening further, the muscles of his shaft twitching against her tongue. She stopped, a trail of drool attached from his head to her mouth obscenely, finally breaking once she backed far enough away. She straddled him again, taking his co*ck in her hand and lining it with her entrance.
“Please, Tav. I need to feel you,” he begged, his hips rising in search of her.
She lowered onto him, the slickness of them both allowing an almost painless entry. Neither moved at first, her adjusting to the delicious fullness she felt and him grasping at her thighs when the intense warmth of her walls closing around him. When her hips rolled forward his eyes rolled back and nails dug into the flesh of her thigh, leaving small pinpricks on her skin. She braced her hands on his chest and continued a languid pace, gasping and crying out each time she sheathed him completely.
Once she quickened, the sounds of her bouncing against him mingling with the gasps and moans from them both, he felt his climax building. He wanted it to take longer, to watch her bounce up and down on his co*ck until the sun came back up. But, it had been too long, she was too tight and warm, bringing intense wave after wave of pure lascivious pleasure.
The tip of his tail reached around and circled on her cl*t, refusing to release until he felt her coming undone while sheathed inside. The soft and warm tail tip overwhelmed her. Already dangerously close to climax with the hot pleasure of him inside of her, ridges scraping against her walls, she came again, constricting against him and sending a rush of heat between them. Her repeated praises and the screams of his name broke his constitution. He mumbled curses, hips lurching, and spent hot ropes of his seed deep inside of her. The pressure and erratic twitching of his co*ck forced a through her a final org*smic, shaking cry and she finally stopped.
She slid him out of her and collapsed beside him on the bed, unconcerned with the slickness dripping down her thigh. He muttered a quick incantation, cl10eaning them both, and grabbed her waist to pull her on top of him, her head resting on his chest while he grazed her spine with his nails.
“Tav, that was.. I’ve wanted that for so long,” he admitted, taking in the subtle smell of her skin while staring at the ceiling.
“Me too, Rolan,” she agreed and rested her chin on his chest, looking up at him.
“Really?” He chuckled, as if he didn’t believe her.
“Since the Grove. You’ve taken more space in my brain than the mind flayer tadpole ever did,” she said in a light tone, but clearly meant it. “Will you let me do this again?” she asked, nervously.
He smiled and rested his tail across her back before he landed a gentle kiss to her forehead, “You? Believe me, I’m going to be the one having a hard time holding back now that I know.”
“Know what?”
He rolled her back against the bed, one hand on her waist and the other titling her chin towards him, “Now that I know how good you taste,” he said and caught her lips in his, kissing her with a passion he thought he had spent.
They continued like that, holding one another, until sleep eventually overcame them.

Notes:

Thank you thank you thank you for reading and leaving Kudos! <3<3<3
(Personal story: I got strep throat and couldnt write for over a week, leading to a terrible panic that I wouldnt be able to write ever again (side bar: this is one of the first things Ive written in probs a decade) but I am writing again and its going well! My brain didnt permanently break.)

Chapter 9

Summary:

Tav woke curled in the smell of sandalwood from the pillow Rolan had used. It felt surreal, a dream, that he had, even if once, been hers.

Notes:

**TW** Excessive eating and drinking mentioned

(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)

Chapter Text

Rolan wondered how much of the night before had been a dream. Upon waking, nude, his tail wrapped around a naked Tav, he realized none of it had been fantasy. He pulled her closer, squeezing his arm and tail around her waist as the sun washed their room in light.
“Good morning,” he said and moved her hair to kiss the skin on the back of her neck. She hummed in response, eyes still closed while luxuriating in his attentive touch. “I have to meet Drax,” he told her while rolling off the bed. He chuckled when she wined as he left, warmth leaving with him.
While he collected the discarded piles of their clothes she fell back to sleep. Once he had finished preparing himself for the day he sat beside her on the bed, watching her slow breathing in a peaceful sleep.
She had been on the offensive for so long every time she slept her body was making up for the lost time, enduring sleepless nights where she had kept watch followed by days of physical exhaustion. While the bruises were healing the exhaustion had still lingered. He brushed a piece of hair from her face and her dark lashes only fluttered, eyes shut. He kissed her temple and left her to rest while he attended the convention with Drax.
Tav woke curled in the smell of sandalwood from the pillow Rolan had used. It felt surreal, a dream, that he had, even if once, been hers.
“sh*t! Vex,” Tav cursed and jumped from the bed, remembrances put on pause until she could shamelessly indulge in her own time. Dressed in a white, linen summer dress with billowing sleeves and skirt she walked swiftly to Vex waiting at the entrance.
“You came!” Vex sounded relieved when Tav joined her.
“Of course,” Tav replied, all smiles and full of energy.
“You seem happier than yesterday, not that you were sad or anything, I just mean you seem more comfortable,” Vex noticed. Tav blushed and shrugged.
“Must be the extra sleep. Hey, I have a weird idea. Neverwinter has really incredible native plants but they’re outside the hotel. How would you feel about taking a walk outside?" She asked.
"Outside?” Vex mimicked.
“There’s cute clothing boutiques, too. A friend of mine, Mayrina, she told me the fashion is one of a kind,” Tav coerced, hooking her arm in Vex’s and leading her to the lobby.
“Fashion? Like.. Jewelry?” Vex leaned in and allowed herself to be led.
“They must!” Tav insisted and the two left the crowded hotel.
It was a warm and sunny afternoon in Neverwinter as Tav and Vex walked arm in arm along the stone paths surrounded by flowers in full bloom. They chatted about their life and relationships between a montage of dress, jewelry, and flower shops.
When they returned to the hotel that evening, they stopped at the front desk to ship some items before waiting in the same lecture hall they had the day previously.
“Drax!” Vex waived through the crowd to him.
Tav’s pulse jumped watching Rolan walk with Drax, an involuntary blush darkening her cheeks.
“Oh! That’s why you were so happy today,” Vex teased, noticing Tav’s change in body temperature.
“Vex! And Tav, Good to see you again,” Drax greeted them.
“You as well,” Tav replied.
“Given this is our last night I asked if Drex would join us for dinner, if you Vex were agreeable,” Rolan said, standing beside Tav.
“I think that’s a great idea!” Tav answered, squeezing Rolan’s arm.
“I agree! And I’m starving,” Vex complained. Drax laughed and held her tail in his, leading them to dinner.

They had laughed, drank and ate in excess with the Dragonborn couple. Promises of reunions and addresses were exchanged before the farewells transitioned to a giggling, stumbling walk back to their respective hotel rooms.
It was sweet sharing a bed with Rolan that night. They slept in their underclothes, comfortably tangled in each other’s arms. Neither were able to stay awake long enough to escalate physically with one another but were satisfied simply with the body heat of the other.

Sorcerous Sundries had just opened when Tav and Rolan returned through portal. Rolan’s projection was speaking with a customer, Cal was restocking, and Lia simply waved from downstairs where she had been watching over the shop.
“I should unpack,” Tav told Rolan.
“Would you meet me in my office this evening. Before dinner?” Rolan asked, resisting his desire to reach for her. His fists opened and closed at his sides with his tail wrapped firmly around his own ankle.
“See you then,” she nodded and hurried to the tower, masking the disappointment in his change upon their return.
He was obviously nervous to share his affection with her, unlike in Neverwinter. No one knew them there; their relationship held no consequence and wouldn’t be remembered by anyone. Baldur’s Gate held their friends, family, and business acquaintances. They would require a label, an explanation for something new and fragile. Even if, logically, Tav understood the hesitation in Rolan’s touch, she still mourned its loss.
Kali stretched on Tav’s bed and watched her unpack, organize, and catalog her wares from Neverwinter while she replayed the weekend to herself, smiling each time she thought of Rolan and his affections.
It took most of the day for Tav to extract and sort the crate of ingredients gathered from Neverwinter. Once finished, she stored the crate with her lab at the front of the store and watched as fantasy Rolan dematerialized, marking the end of the work day.
Tav was slow to find Rolan’s office, chewing at her bottom lip as she climbed the steps. She was anxious, sure that he was about to lecture her on how their relationship would need to be dialed back now that they were home. It was hard for her to determine if he hadn’t spoken with her since arriving because he was buried in work or actively avoiding her. Now that the intoxication and excitement of traveling to a new place was gone, had he thought of her as a regretful mistake or had the confidence he found there pushed him to do what he had already been pursuing? The unknown turned into blood in the mouth. Finding herself at his metal office door, she knew it she couldn’t delay the conversation any longer.
At first, she thought her knock too quiet, but she heard Rolan invite her in from the other side.
His office was still functioning as a storage room. Fanciful stone relics and tomes were on a regular rotation as he uncovered and organized what Lorroakan had collected. The previous master collected for the sake of possession, there had been no concern or knowledge of the many relic’s true origin or purpose creating years of work for Rolan to correct.
However, there were less than she was used to seeing. The objects had been cleaned out from the area to the right of the door. An ornate, rosewood desk replaced the magical objects previously housed there. It faced Rolan’s some paces away.
“You asked to see me before dinner?” she reminded him as she walked in.
“Yes, sorry I couldn’t see you earlier. Work is always waiting for me when I return from a trip,” he explained while piling and closing the books he had been using.
“It’s alright, Rolan,” she told him in her best attempt to sound sincere. “You redecorated?” she wanted to change the subject, she didn’t want to reveal how not seeing him had bothered her.
“Yes. Not redecorated exactly,” he started once closer to her. Neither reached for the other, suddenly the once comfortable closeness turned to nerves inexplicably. “I wanted you to have somewhere you could work on translations. I know you have a desk in your bedroom, but I believe having a space only for work helps with focus.”
While he explained she made her way to the desk, fingertips grazing the carved wood, the fresh smell of polish greeting her.
“You used to sleep here,” she said, absentmindedly, while standing in the place his single bed had once been.
“I know. Wait, how do you..” he started to ask.
“Your journal was here,” she pointed to where a small table once sat.
“Tav,” he said suspiciously.
“I never read it, Rolan. Just touched,” she said looked back to him, his arms crossed as he watched her. Thoughts of a new view with real Rolan instead of the fantasy projection played in her head.
“What, Tav?” he was fake annoyed watching her fake pout.
“I won’t be able to stare at fantasy Rolan,” she said and twisted her finger against the desk.
He chucked and stepped closer to her, “No, I guess the real thing will have to do.”
“I’m never going to get anything done,” she said softly, smiling once his tail found her waist and pulled her into him.
“Me neither,” he smirked as her hands found his jaw, cupping it gingerly and guiding him to her.
At first, she kissed him sweetly, savoring the pillowy feel of his lips, but the hours of separation left them both wanting. She savored the lingering taste of coffee on his tongue as it caressed over hers. Heat traversed from her chest and neck to pool between her legs when his hands grasped around her waist tightly and his tail lifted her skirt to coil and squeeze her upper thigh. She responded with a small yelp and grasping at the fabric of his robes.
“Don’t think I’m not revisiting you stealing my journal,” he told her, resting his forehead against hers as they broke for air.
“Me? Stealing? No. I put it back,” she smiled, relaxing her palms behind his neck. Neither wanted to let go, finally comforted by one another. The sudden awkwardness had passed, doubts erased, as they fell back into each other’s arms.
“And the other books? The ones that were in the vault?” he pressed, tucking a fallen bang behind her ear.
“Oh. That’s. Huh. Funny story,” she began separating from him, creating distance.
“Tav,” he tried to stop himself from smiling at her antics but the corner of his mouth twitched.
“I think Lia might need my help with something, I should go see,” she said while backing towards the door.
“Come here, you,” he replied and gripped her wrist to pull her close to him, his tail circling around her back to secure her in his arms, she smiled wide as her body complied, his mouth on hers again. He lifted her by the thighs and sat her on the front of the new desk, her skirt bustling at her waist as he occupied the space between her legs. Shifting her hips forward, teetering on the lip of the desk, she sighed as her briefs found the stiff front of his robe. The small sound only made him want to pull more from her, louder and less controlled.
“Tav, can I touch you?” Rolan asked, gripping her thighs and waiting.
“Please,” she replied, holding his shoulders to keep herself steady.
He held her with one hand on her waist and the other behind her head as his tail snaked between her legs. She twitched when the spade tip hit the apex of her thigh.
“Is this ok?” he asked, his lips following the crook of her neck he moved her shirt to access more of her skin, tasting it with the tip of his tongue.
“Yes, it’s.. yes,” she sighed and fell into him as the tip of his tail went inside her underwear, massaging and opening her slit with the warm appendage. He growled against her shoulder, biting down, as his tail dipped in her entrance and was coated with her arousal. Alternating and indulging in the obscene sounds, he would circle her cl*t with his blunted tip, then inside he massaged her walls, leaving and entering her, again and again. When his pace quickened she cried, cursed and shivered against him. He felt her body tense. Suddenly, his mouth was on hers muffling the org*smic screams he broke from her.
They were both panting when he broke from her, brows resting against each other, and she started fumbling with the ties of his trousers. He took over, moving her hands to adjust his pants, his stiff co*ck emerging from the opening, robes shifted to the side. She went to grab him, but he was fast, impatient, and gripped her ass to move her on him. With one thrust and groan he sheathed his co*ck deep in her and she cried sweetly in his ear. He thrust up into her with a desperate need as his face was buried in her shoulder now peppered with his bite marks and bruises, his hands gripping her waist and steadying her. The desk bowed and creaked with each powerful thrust. She was powerless to the delicious fullness inside of her, the hard ridges scraping against her insides, while he repeated her lascivious praises. When his tail circled softly around her cl*t she cried out, walls clenching around him followed by a rush of hot arousal. He looked down and watched his dripping and squelching shaft only to find his own climax building.
“I want..you.. to come inside.. Rolan,” she begged, words struggling between hard exhales.
He hissed and growled before emptying inside of her. She held him tightly as he jerked and bucked against her, co*ck twitching with each rope of spend. They stayed that way, unmoving, his breath heavy against her. After a moment his breath was calm again and she freckled soft pecks on his cheek bone and nose. He smiled and backed up before helping her steady herself to the ground, then uttered a quick spell to clean them both.
“Thank you,” she said and smoothed her skirt, “For um, cleaning.”
“Of course. Should we talk?” he asked, nervous as he thought about dinner with his siblings.
“Oh. About us? This?” She clarified, pointing at the desk that they had scooted further back during their coupling.
“We’re about to go have dinner with Lia and Cal, I don’t know..”
“It’s alright Rolan. You don’t have to explain anything. We can pretend nothing’s changed. I didn’t expect you to continue after Neverwinter anyway,” she said and tried to pass him.
“Hey, what do you mean?” he stopped her, holding her by the shoulders.
“I just.. we were somewhere different, romantic even, and no one knew us there. I thought when we came back..”
“That I wouldn’t care for you anymore?” he sounded hurt.
“I know you care for me I just..”
He crashed his lips on hers, interrupting her, and pressing her against him.
“Tav, I’m falling for you. I don’t want this to stop, I don’t even want to pretend. I just want a little longer to enjoy this, with you, and only you. I want to wait before the teasing and ‘told you so’s,” he explained.
“So, you don’t want Lia to find out,” she joked, looking up at him while her arms rested about his waist.
“Yes, Hells I don’t want to hear it from her,” he sighed.
“Alright, Rolan. I won’t say or do anything,” she backed away from him with her hands up, showing how compliant she would be. He rolled his eyes and pulled her to him for one last kiss before heading to the tower.

To Lia’s disappointment, dinner had been surprisingly normal, neither acting like anything had changed.
Lia and Cal asked about their trip and they detailed their finds. Eventually their eyes glazed over when Rolan explained some of the lectures he attended. Later, Lia and Cal played a card game, while Rolan and Tav read, before everyone retired to their individual rooms. Like most evenings.
Tav was alone in her room, Kali always finding Rolan’s bed, and she changed into a long tunic and high bun. She left her room to find Rolan’s and knocked gently against his door.
“Tav,” he smiled, dressed in simple night clothes with his hair down around his shoulders.
“I was hoping, if there’s any room, to join you?” she asked, looking to Kali curled on the bed.
Temptation had called to him all evening while he kept himself from Tav. Now that they could be alone, he gave in and grabbed her, pulling her inside and shutting the door. That night Kali moved to the rug before the fireplace and they tumbled together until exhaustion overcame them both.

Notes:

Thank you for reading!
The kudos are so appreciated <3 <3 <3
((Another side note. I subscribe to some of my favorite Rolan fanfic writers. Im kinda new to AO3 so I dont know if you can see my subscriptions but lurk if you can because those people are amazing!))

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