They had a ritual, the Chantry rogue and the Circle maleficar.
Sebastian would be standing in front of the porcelain statue, arms behind his back as Andraste's reached heavenward. Orsino would approach, standing beside Sebastian, his arms positioned similarly.
They'd speak their ills and their woes in hushed tones, the light of the candle flames flickering across their features. And when the worst of it was out of the way, Orsino would place his hand on Sebastian's shoulder or Sebastian would curl his hand around Orsino's own, and the possibilities of the night would unfold before them like a lit path to heaven.
There were few secrets between them, few darknesses that they didn't know of. And when they touched each other behind one closed door or another, there was nothing to hinder them from enjoying each other entire.
Orsino drags his feet when he approaches the dais this night, the Chantry uncommonly dim and the steady lash of rain against the windowpanes only exacerbating the throbbing in his temples.
Sebastian waited, his aura uncommonly dim as well.
"The apprentice killed two templars before he was taken down," Orsino whispers. "Yet another one lost. And I can't help but shoulder the blame."
Sebastian hesitates before speaking his turn. "Lazarus fell in battle again. I fear he will... leave us... when I am not there, and I'll not have showed my appreciation for everything he has done."
Lazarus Hawke was ill, gravely ill, the Blight-sickness ravaging him. The last time Orsino had laid eyes on the man, he'd looked like a ghost in a crumbling shell.
But still, Kirkwall continued to drive him into the ground, and still, he tried to support its weight.
"I still dream of Quentin. I think he calls for me." To anyone else, this would have sounded like folly, the ravings of a madman, but...
"The desire demon's name is... Allure. She is done with the Harrimans, and so am I, but still she comes for me. I cannot resist her indefinitely."
"I started... I spoke to..." It is difficult to admit, but if he doesn't, the sanctity of their ritual is broken. "I think I have met the demon that will tempt me into doing what I shouldn't. Kirkwall is... boiling. And I can only keep my secret for so long. Meredith will find out, or I'll... give in or..."
"I am more afraid for you than I am for Lazarus." Sebastian's words are almost drowned out by the booming thunder, but Orsino hears them, and is struck, or shamed, into silence.
They stand, together but apart, through another lightning strike and crash of thunder.
And then Orsino reaches, and Sebastian whispers, "Do not do this thing, Orsino," at the same time, and next time lightning flashes, Sebastian's arms are locked around Orsino and the elf has hidden his face in lustrous auburn hair and the ritual is never easy, has never been easy, but this night it is hardest.
Behind closed doors, they clutch at each other with the desperation of men fighting against time itself, against fate and inevitability and the Maker's unseen will, against their own weaknesses and their own demises.
Come morning, hot and hazy and humid, Lazarus Hawke, fortified with lyrium and sheer will, will step between the maddened knight-commander and the maddened first enchanter, and the sky will break open above them, and Sebastian Vael will fall to his knees and mourn.
But it is not yet morning... not yet.