Cullen could have walked away; turning on a single heel and marching back to his office would have been simple enough. Going to the library in the first place had been unnecessary; he had more than enough working knowledge of the surrounding Avvar tribes to ensure the success of the mission although it did make for a believable excuse. It was so believable that he convinced himself of it on the way across Skyhold, ignoring the pounding of his heart in his chest. Research, that’s all it was. The dusty old tomes in his office, the ones he never asked for but that kept appearing anyway, were insufficient. Research and some fresh air. He’d woken with a headache that morning, tendrils of a forgotten nightmare teasing with lingering lashes of pain through his skull and staying cooped up with the stagnant air in his office had only made it worse.
Still, as he steps onto the landing he briefly considers turning and taking the second flight of stairs up to Leliana’s rookery. He might inquire after her birds, update her on the preparations for their excursion to the Mire and pass on the names of lost soldiers. She would fix him with a knowing smile - the dangerous one that teased at the corners of her lips because didn’t he know that she already knew exactly why he was there - and suggest that he stop taking detours and get on with his business. She would know what his business was before he did. Too many ravens.
So he doesn’t. But in deference to appearances he does go to the far bookshelf first, nodding to Helisma on his way across the floor. It wouldn’t do to be too obvious.
“Not finding what you need, Commander?”
Cullen hums in easy agreement, not trusting the words to come. There’s something about Dorian that leaves him tongue-tied, breathless no matter how many nights the mage passes in his bed; turns him he same shade of embarrassed flush the neighbor’s daughter would leave him when she came to visit with his sister when he was just barely a teenager back in Honnleath.
“You have been staring at that same shelf for a quarter of an hour now,” Dorian says, breath hot against the back of Cullen’s neck.
“I, ah.” Cullen clears his throat, two fingers at his brow, the pressure of soft pads against bone an anchor tethering him to the moment - a safe port in the tempest that is the Altus mage. “I was looking for a book.”
“I had gathered that,” Dorian replies, wryly. “It may come as a surprise to you but this is a library.”
“So it is,” Cullen says, for lack of anything better to say. He thumbs through the titles again, pulling out a worn-looking volume to inspect the cover.
“The History of the Chantry: Chapter 3, on the Betrayal of Andraste?” Dorian shudders exaggeratedly behind him. ”Are you planning on boring that headache away?” Long, nimble fingers ghost across the soft skin of Cullen’s neck, lingering at the base of his skull.
Cullen leans back into the touch as he returns the book to its space on the shelf with an echoing clatter that draws the attention of every scout scouring the shelves. Subtlety is a gift, one he’s never possessed. The ravens caw and scream in protest. Now he understands why Dorian is always complaining about those damned birds. “If only that would work,” he breathes, stifling a gasp - wincing as the noise arcs through his skull.
“Then what is it that you need, Cullen?”
The edge of the desk flush against the small of his back, Cullen lifts his hips with a slight roll, readjusting against the growing hardness in his breeches. Dorian’s lips are on his, pushing deeper, leaving him starved for air, dizzy, drunk with pleasure; the tension in his head alleviated, all but forgotten. His mustache tickles and Cullen swallows back the waiting laugh. It’s not the time.
The mage moves a hand to his ass, squeezing hard and Cullen makes a small noise more pleasure than shock, lips still flush against Dorian’s, tip of his tongue flicking against teeth. Dorian’s lips move down his neck, brushing softly at first, then nipping at the hollow divot between his collarbones, licking the spot afterwards. Dorian’s fingers work at the button of his trousers, easing them to the ground. Smallclothes next and Cullen shivers as fingernails trace lightly down the inside of a thigh.
He’s hard now and the slow, unceasing roll of Dorian’s hips as he nips and sucks at his throat is driving him mad; stomach tensing, toes beginning to curl with need. His hands grab at the mage’s hipbones, pulling him closer as he lets out a low growl.
Dorian laughs; perhaps it is the time for it. “Easy now, Commander.” Cullen bites at his lip and swallows back a whimper as the mage lifts his hips again, positioning his own erection next to the man’s. They fall into steady rhythm, his mouth at the base of Dorian’s throat, teeth grazing against salty skin. Arching his back Cullen thrusts towards him; again and again and again as the friction between them threatens to push him over the edge.
“Ah! Dorian… I can’t…I need…” he warns with a gasp as Dorian runs his hands down the length of his body, coming to rest at the small of his back and kneading at his ass as he thrusts faster. The heat inside builds, each thrust pulsing through him like a storm and he comes with a ferocity that staggers him, muffling Dorian’s name against the mage’s chest but he keeps thrusting until Dorian joins him in relief, crying out softly before burying his face in Cullen’s neck.
Cullen pushes back the sweaty strands of hair from Dorian’s brow and leans down to kiss him; softly on his forehead, teasingly against the angle of his jaw and finally across his lips.
“I need you. Always.”