It’d been weeks since Dorian joined the Inquisition, and he hadn’t been this homesick in a long time.
Skyhold was an acceptable place to call home, for now, as he prepared to fight Corypheus alongside quite the hodgepodge of people.
The Inquisitor, or Herald of Andraste for the devout, was a surprisingly conscientious leader and a sophisticated strategist. His rise from insignificance to become the newest and most formidable power in all of Thedas was stuff that legends were made of.
Dorian knew better than to pin his success solely on the magical mark he bore in the palm of his hand. The man was a fine leader and Dorian trusted his decisions implicitly.
Which was not to say that they were on friendly terms. Dorian had come to a rueful acceptance that the man didn’t very much like him. After their initial and very hectic first meeting in the midst of a crisis, Trevelyan had sought him out for questioning.
Dorian remembered gesticulating emphatically, answering all the Inquisitor's queries with reasonable honesty, when Trevelyan’s eyes widened an instant - in alarm? - before turning away. Though he’d quickly recovered, it was not quite quick enough to escape Dorian's notice.
Was it the defence of slavery in his home country? Was it admitting involvement in developing time-bending magic? Or did his sympathy toward his former mentor, Alexius, appeared a warning sign that he was not to be trusted?
Whatever it was that offended the Inquisitor’s delicate sensibilities, it mattered little in the grand scheme of things. He wasn’t here to make friends anyway.
Still, Dorian had hoped the leader of the Inquisition wouldn’t have found his presence off-putting, too 'Tevinter-y' and all, even if everyone else did. But from the way the man had been actively avoided him, and only inviting him to take part in the briefest of missions...
Well, he wasn’t dense. He could tell when his company was unwanted.
Besides, Dorian thought with an indignant sniff, the feeling was entirely mutual.
There was something…off about the Inquisitor that he couldn’t quite put his finger on. His dour demeanour aside, it was as though a shimmer of sourness followed him wherever he went, rather like fish that had been left out for too long in the sun.
Dorian knew he wasn’t the only one who noticed. Once, he'd even caught Vivienne angle her head away discreetly when Trevelyan spoke with her about some lost tomes.
Dorian wrinkled his nose at the memory. It must be poor hygiene. Southerners seemed to hold dear this practice of not bathing - perhaps even a noble-born Free Matcher like Trevelyan found it perfectly natural to smell like barn animals.
Dorian watched from his nook in the library the subject of his reflections spar with The Iron Bull. The two figures circled one another in the training pit, kicking up sand and dust as theirs swords clashed again and again.
Trevelyan was a tall man - standing at least several inches over six feet, he commanded a powerful presence. But even from a distance, Dorian could tell it was strenuous exercise for a human to train with a Qunari as big as the Bull. Trevelyan's skills were certainly being put to the test.
The warrior's white shirt clung to his body in damp patches, outlining his broad shoulders and narrow waist. If Dorian squinted he could almost see through the thin tunic as the fabric slowly turned translucent to reveal strong muscles under strain wielding the greatsword, slicing and blocking.
He tried to commit all that to memory…for later.
After all, he didn’t have to like the man to appreciate his more palatable attributes.
* * *
When Dorian was finally asked to go on a mission with the Inquisitor, after being sidelined for weeks, he didn’t think it would mean herding cattle in the Hinterlands.
“I know it is imperative that we win the good will of the local populace,” he began, “and not that I’m not grateful to be out of Skyhold now and again, but is it absolutely necessary that we degrade ourselves to doing farmers' work?”
The Iron Bull frowned, shifting the weight of his brand new axe on his shoulder. “There is nothing degrading about growing your own food.”
“You know what I mean,” Dorian scoffed. “Look at us here! You are arguably our strongest warrior-”
Dorian rolled his eyes. “And Solas here is clearly our second best mage.” He snuck a glance at the elf and was slightly annoyed at the lack of reaction.
“Then, we have the Inquisitor, the bearer of the the powerful mark of the Fade,” Dorian continued. “And, of course, yours truly – only one of the most gifted mages in recent Tevinter history. My question is: do they really need the best the Inquisition has to offer to find a druffalo name Druffy?”
The Iron Bull grunted. “Less talking, more walking, Vint.”
Trevelyan said nothing and continued marching forward, keeping his eyes trained on the trek. But there was slight smile tinging his lips, and it warmed Dorian to think that at least the Herald of bloody Andraste found him amusing.
Half-hour later, Dorian realised rather belatedly why the Inquisitor had assembled the best team he could to search for the blasted animal.
The fade rift nestled in the Forannan Ravine was the most challenging one they had encountered yet, spewing hoards of demons that simply refused to die. Hooded despair demons twirled around them, shooting deadly ice beams. Terror demons trampled upon them, left deep claw marks on their armours as they ducked and dodged the worst of the attacks.
After what felt like hours, with everyone pushed to their limits – even Iron Bull passed out at one point, but he’d never admit to it – they finally vanquished the last of those wretched things and safely closed the rift.
Completely drained and sopped in demon goo, Dorian barely caught the healing potion Trevelyan threw in his direction. He downed it in one draught, feeling a little more renewed after.
“What about you?” Dorian asked when Trevelyan turned to walk away, touching a bleeding gash on his side gingerly.
“That was the last one.” He waved the concern away. “I only have to be up and standing until the rift closes anyway.”
Dorian stared at the man’s retreating back, the empty vial heavy in his hand.
* * *
“Where is the Inquisitor?” Dorian asked out loud to no one in particular.
They had successfully reunited Druffy with its worried owner, thankfully encountering no further demon attacks. If only the damned beast didn’t take an age to follow them across the ravine, it wouldn’t have been nightfall already by the time they settled at camp.
Dorian hadn’t seen Trevelyan since their return. He wasn’t really worried, but the wound on his side did look a bit nasty.
The Qunari shrugged, busy scrubbing the muck off of his axe. “Try the river. He had blood all over him. Maybe he went to clean up.”
Trevelyan bathing? With actual water? Dorian couldn’t fathom missing out on such a monumental event, and certainly not one as pleasing to the eye.
He made his way back to the ravine where, only mere hours ago, was swarming with demons. Now, with the rift closed, the eerie green glow of the river gave way to the pale yellow of moonlight, glimmering invitingly.
Dorian looked up – the moons were so much larger and brighter than what he’s used to back in Tevinter. Out here in the arse end of Ferelden, there were no brightly lit towers, no ever-burning magefires, and no slaves carrying torches to light the way. In this moment, it was just him and the light Maker saw fit to bestow upon his children.
A splash in the river pulled him back to reality, as Trevelyan emerged from underwater. He was shirtless, save for the leather bracers that he never seemed to take off his wrists. His bronze skin glistened as water rivulets cascaded, finding their paths down the sculpted landscape of his massive, muscular body.
Dorian’s mouth went dry as he watched the man draw his fingers through his hair, slicking back wet tendrils. Trevelyan was breathtakingly beautiful.
The odd, acidic scent had returned, stronger than it'd been before. The stench hung heavy in the air, and Dorian was glad to have it break the spell. Maker only knew how much he absolutely did not want to feel anything for the man beyond basic appreciation for well-toned male physique.
He cleared his throat before speaking. “My dear Inquisitor, have you considered using herbal soaps for that stink? Or at least give your armpits an extra scrub?”
Trevelyan looked positively startled at his voice, and Dorian couldn’t quite hide the smirk at having snuck up on a seasoned warrior.
Before he could begin his rant about how he could have easily been an assassin, he noticed the Inquisitor had his hands pressed to his injured side, and a faint glow slowly dissipating under his palms.
“Dorian.” Trevelyan's eyes were riveted on him. “What are you doing here?”
“What in Maker’s name are you doing? You’re not trying to heal your wound with the mark, are you?” A beat later, curiosity won over. “Wait, can it?”
“No, I wasn’t. Did you need something?”
“But there was a strange glow-”
“The mark sometimes has a mind of its own. You needn’t be troubled by it.” Trevelyan held up his left hand, the anchor now dimmed to flicker of green. “We both had a long day, best if we return to camp quickly. I’ll be right behind you.”
Dorian knew that that was Trevelyan’s polite way of telling him to shut it and leave. If only the man didn't speak with him with the most guarded countenance, with the most measured voice. Oh how he wished they had the rapport so he could prod and pry until Trevelyan spilled all his secrets. Among other things, his brain added rather unhelpfully.
He allowed himself one more glance at the Inquisitor’s delightful display of flesh, and bowed courteously before turning on his heels to march back to camp.