Dorian and Fenris departed Skyhold soon after the defeat of Corypheus and the election of a new Divine. They knew the Inquisition still had much work ahead of it, but they both felt they could do more good back in Minrathous, than they could in Skyhold.
Dorian had been inspired by the Inquisitor to try and do what he could to make much needed reforms in the Tevinter Imperium. Fenris desired to see change in the land he had called home for most of his life, but he was far more skeptical that it could ever happen. However, with the optimistic mage at his side, he felt he owed Dorian the opportunity to try.
They headed to Kirkwall and spent a few days there before boarding a ship to Minrathous. This was the first time the couple had traveled anywhere together that hadn’t been a part of an Inquisition mission. They stayed in Varric’s personal quarters at the Hanged Man, which Dorian was less than comfortable with. He would have preferred staying in an upscale Inn in High Town, but Fenris insisted. Fenris felt safer among the familiar, and Dorian acquiesced.
It so happened that while they were in town, Isabella … Admiral Isabella now, apparently … happened to be in Kirkwall as well, having delivered some shipment and giving her crew some much needed shore leave. When she entered the Hanged Man, the last person she expected to see was Fenris.
Fenris and Dorian were sitting at a corner table having drinks when Isabella sauntered in. Fenris wasn’t sure if he was happy or not to see the seductive pirate, but it brought back flashbacks of when he ran with Hawke and his “gang” here in Kirkwall. He almost half-expected to see Hawke, Anders, Merril and even Varric come in next, although he knew that would be impossible.
Isabella noticed Fenris immediately, he was hard to miss with his distinctive lyrium tattoos.
“Fenris!” Isabella exclaimed, as she sauntered over to their table and sat down. “What are you doing back in Kirkwall? And who is this absolutely delicious morsel of manhood next to you?”
“Hello Isabella” Fenris said, with a slight growl. “We’re just in town waiting for a ship to sail to Minrathous, which leaves in a few days. This is Altus Dorian Pavus.”
“An Altus, eh? From the Imperium? Are you in need of rescuing dear Fenris?” Isabella asked warily, eying Dorian suspiciously.
“Oh heavens no, dear lady,” Dorian spoke up. “If anyone is in need of rescuing it’s me. You see, I believe Fenris stole my heart.” Dorian winked and took Fenris’ hand in his.
Isabella relaxed a little when she saw Fenris’ gaze soften as he blushed and looked over at Dorian. “Generally when Fenris steals someone’s heart, they don’t remain alive very long,” joked Isabella, referring to Fenris’ unique lyrium powered ability to, literally, rip someone’s heart out of their chest.
Isabella spent some time at their table, getting acquainted with Dorian, who stubbornly resisted all her womanly charms, and getting re-acquainted with Fenris. Then Isabella spied a relatively handsome man entering the bar, and she excused herself, with a warning to Dorian “Don’t break his heart, Altus, or you’ll have to answer to me!”
When they were still at Skyhold, everyone seemed to respect their relationship, but since leaving the Inquisition, there had been a number of incidents where people assumed that Dorian didn’t have the best of intentions towards his elven companion. Dorian was growing weary of the constant warnings and accusations.
Dorian was truly, madly and deeply in love with Fenris. It hurt him to think of the horrible things Fenris had had to endure when he was a slave of Denarius. It sickened him to think that other slaves in the Imperium may be suffering similar fates at the hands of their masters and he knew he had to do something to stop it.
But how could he convince people that his intentions with Fenris were honorable?
The next morning, Dorian woke early, disentangling himself from Fenris’ embrace. The elf was still sound asleep and Dorian had come up with an idea in the night of how to solve at least one of his problems.
He dressed quickly and headed to High Town, arriving just as shop keepers were opening for business. He strode purposefully towards one establishment that carried the sorts of wares he sought. He spent a considerable amount of time making his selection – wanting it to be absolutely perfect.
It was nearly lunch time by the time Dorian headed back to low town, not aware that a certain lyrium branded elf was watching his movements suspiciously from the rooftops of high town. Fenris hadn’t seen which shop Dorian had come out of, but Fenris was very familiar with this part of high town, and the sorts of establishments that could be found here, including the Blooming Rose.
Fenris set his teeth on edge, assuming that the Rose had been the Mage’s destination. The amount of time Dorian had been gone was roughly the right amount of time for a quick tryst at the Rose. Watching the mage wend his way back to lowtown, he had more spring in his step than he’d had the previous day, and he definitely looked like the “cat who swallowed the canary.”
Fenris’ felt his heart breaking at the thought of the mage needing to find pleasure in another’s arms, and steeled himself against it. “I knew it was too good to be true. I should have never trusted that mage with my heart,” he thought to himself.
Fenris purchased a bottle of wine, and made his way to the old, crumbling mansion he’d been squatting in when he last lived in Kirkwall. He noted nothing seemed to have changed, and the building remained abandoned.
He made his way up to the room he’d occupied, and lit a fire. After he rose to his feet again, he saw it. The empty bottle of Antivan Red that he’d left on the mantle on that last, fateful day. He noted that the red string he’d left looped around the neck was gone and his heart skipped a beat, remembering a long ago promise on a dark, rainy night.
Fenris’ heart broke all over again, and he angrily grabbed the empty bottle from the mantle and hurled it against the wall, tears streaming down his face.
When Dorian arrived back at the Hanged Man, he noted that Fenris was absent, but didn’t think too much of it initially, assuming that the elf had gone out to stretch his legs.
Several hours passed and it was well past sunset, when Dorian looked up from the book he’d been reading, realizing that Fenris had not yet returned. Beginning to worry, he grabbed his staff and headed down from Varric’s room into the common room of the pub.
He spotted Isabella, and approached her, his eyes full of worry.
“What’s wrong?” Isabella asked, “What have you done?” she immediately accused.
“Fasta vass woman! I haven’t done anything, just help me find Fenris. He’s been gone for several hours and I’m worried sick.” Dorian then related the events of the day, including the shop he’d gone to that morning. “When I came back, Fenris was gone and I haven’t seen him since getting up this morning.”
Isabella noted how completely worried Dorian looked. Perhaps he was an honorable Tevinter after all. He looked positively panicked.
“Well, there is that abandoned mansion in Hightown that Fenris used to live in. I believe it’s still abandoned, so perhaps he went there to brood about something. That’s what he would do when he was in a foul mood, when we were still all running around helping Hawke,” Isabella offered, giving him directions to the mansion.
Dorian ran the entire way there, completely out of breath as he stood in front of the address Isabella had given him. He saw no signs of life in the abandoned building, and he first attempted to knock on the door. When there was no response he tried to open the door, but it was locked tight.
“Vehendis!” he swore, then louder, “Fenris! Are you in there? Please let me in. Don’t make me break the door down!”
Finally he heard a stirring from within and several agonizing minutes later, he heard the click of a lock at the door. Then, nothing. He went to open the door and let himself in, but no sign of Fenris. He listened intently and heard paced shuffling coming from an upper room.
Dorian climbed the stairs and approached the room warily, not sure in what mood he’d find Fenris.
He finally found the room Fenris was in, pacing back and forth in front of a roaring fire, wine bottle in his hand. Fenris stopped his pacing, his back still towards the mage. He took a long drink from the bottle before speaking.
Without turning around he gritted through his teeth “Explain yourself, mage.”
“Explain what, exactly, Amatus? What has gotten you in such a state? I’ve been worried sick. If it hadn’t been for Isabella pointing me to this crumbling mansion, I wouldn’t have known where to start looking for you!” Dorian said, his voice cracking with emotion.
“Don’t call me that, mage. I rings hollow,” Fenris said with a low growl.
“Don’t call you what? Amatus? But why? You know you are my heart … my love.” Dorian said, as calmly and sincerely as possible.
What had gotten Fenris in this state? Was it this damnable city bringing back old memories and reopening old wounds?
Fenris wheeled around, throwing the wine bottle against the wall, close to Dorian’s head, splattering the remnants of the wine all over his fine silken robes. His face was streaked with tears.
“I am not your love, mage,” Fenris shouted. “I could never be your love if you bore so quickly and must find pleasure in the arms of whores!”
Then Dorian realized what must have happened. Fenris had noted his absence that morning and gone to follow him, and saw him leaving the area of Hightown where the brothel was located, although that hadn’t been Dorian’s destination. Fenris must not have seen him leave the shop Dorian spent several hours in that morning, and had just assumed the worst.
“Oh Fenris, I’m so sorry. I hadn’t wanted to wake you this morning, but I assure you, I never stepped foot inside that brothel, or any brothel for that matter. At least not since long before I ever arrived in Ferelden,” Dorian said apologetically.
“You weren’t at the Blooming Rose this morning?” Fenris asked, warily.
“No, I most definitely was not, you silly, jealous elf,” Dorian said firmly. “I was in Hightown making a few purchases for our trip. I couldn’t help that some of the shops I visited happened to be close to the vicinity of the Blooming Rose, but that was definitely one establishment I did not visit today.”
Fenris visibly slumped against the mantle, his steeled resolve gone, and his eyes streaming tears as he softened his gaze on Dorian.
Dorian rushed over to his side, embracing him with as much tenderness and love as he could convey, burrowing his head into the crook of his neck. He then raised his hands to cup Fenris’ face, to wipe the tears with gentle strokes of his thumbs, kissing Fenris tenderly, lovingly.
“Please,” Dorian whispered, “Please, come and talk to me if you ever feel doubtful of my love for you, Amatus. I love you dearly and it breaks my heart to see you in such pain.”
Fenris clung to Dorian, his body wracked with sobs, letting go of the pain and anger he’d been holding on to for the past few hours.
“I … I’m sorry Dorian,” Fenris sobbed “I still find it difficult to have found a man such as you. I’m sorry that I didn’t trust you.”
Fenris pulled back and looked into Dorian’s eyes. All he saw there was love, sincerity and a good deal of relief.
“I’m sorry that I was such a fool, to think you would do that. I should know you better than that by now,” Fenris said, apologetically.
Dorian leaned in to kiss Fenris again, trying to keep it tender, but Fenris had other ideas. Fenris deepened the kiss, sliding one hand to the back of Dorian’s neck and the other to his lower back, pulling him in closer. As Dorian’s lips parted in a quiet moan, Fenris slipped his tongue in, wanting to taste the mage fully.
“I want you,” Fenris breathed into Dorian’s mouth.
Dorian pulled back and looked into Fenris’ eyes, full of a mix of passion and regret.
“and I need you, Amatus, so very much,” Dorian said tenderly, as he began undoing Fenris’ armor, stripping him bare before him, leaving searing kisses along the skin between the lyrium markings.
Soon they were both naked and Dorian pulled Fenris down onto him on the rug in front of the blazing fire, and made love to Fenris over and over that night, showing Fenris just how much he did need him, in every way possible.