Chapter 1: Ill-conceived Ideas
“No, absolutely not.”
Sera scowled, flopping into one of the two chairs on the other side of his desk. Her legs dangled over one of the arms and her head draped over the other one. “I ain’t even said nothin’ yet.”
Dorian bit back a sigh and the temptation to roll his eyes. Less because eye rolling was beneath the scion of House Pavus than because he feared if he once gave into the temptation his eyes would take up permanent residence there. “I am very familiar with that...flounce. It doesn’t require words.”
She stuck her tongue out at him then pulled a piece of gum out of her mouth, stretching it between teeth and fingers until it almost broke before dropping it back into her open maw and smacking it loudly. “I don’t flounce.”
“Do you even know what the word means?”
“Oi! I know what it means. I ain’t stupid...”
“On the contrary, you’re actually one of the brightest people I know,” Dorian admitted with a shrug, then grinned slyly. “Then again, I have a rather limited pool of friends.”
Her face having achieved a shade of red Dorian had only previously seen on a tomato, Sera sat upright and kicked her feet up onto the corner of his desk. “Arse.”
“It takes one to know one, my dear,” he countered, shoving her filthy boots off his desk with the end of a ruler.
“Did you jus’…” Sera started, curling in on herself as she began to laugh, loud and bright and so interspersed with snorts that Dorian couldn’t help but join in, the pair of them caught in a vicious circle where just about the time one of them would regain their composure they’d just look at the other and start howling again.
It was silly and beneath him and entirely more fun than Dorian had had in a long time. It was why he was completely unprepared when Sera finally caught her breath enough to say, “One of Quizzie’s men quit on ‘er and you’re gonna replace ‘im.”
Dorian just stared for several seconds, his mind trying to decide if Sera was even speaking common, or at least as close to common as she ever managed, because certainly she couldn’t have just implied… “Excuse me?”
“That auction thingie she’s doin’ where she sells folks but it’s ok, ‘cause it’s for a good cause…she needs a body to sell…”
“Have you lost your mind?”
“Wot? You like all that fancy pants, nose-in-the-air shite…”
“I’m also Tevene. Which is why we’re currently having this conversation here,” Dorian gestured around his teacup sized office, “instead of upstairs where I’d have a real window instead of some cheap travel poster of Antiva.”
“Oi! I gave you that…”
“Yes, yes, and it’s better than staring at the coffee stain that’s on the wall behind it, but that doesn’t change the fact that putting a ‘Vint on the auction block is a horrible idea.”
“Well, yeah, if ya say it like that. But she don’ hafta say you’re a ‘Vint, she could just stand ya there. Maybe put a light on ya. People like lookin’ at you well enough when we’re out.”
Dorian preened at the compliment for the brief second before he realized she was doing that thing…the one she learned from Evie where she built him up just to get him to agree with her. Kaffas, the woman was a menace. Both of them. “That still doesn’t make this a good idea. There’s a reason I don’t socialize.”
“Yeah,” Sera snorted, “cause last time ya did ya spent half the night in Bull’s lap, purrin’ like a kitten.”
“We agreed to never discuss that again,” Dorian hissed, uncertain whether he was more embarrassed by the fact she spoke the truth or that he’d been foolish enough to believe that Bull had actually wanted him there. He’d quickly learned the truth when Bull had taken him home that night only to laugh when Dorian attempted to kiss him. Actually laughed.
“Dori,” Sera whispered, the gentleness in that one word so at odds with her normal irreverent tone that it pulled Dorian out of his own thoughts, reminding him that she was the only other person who was aware of the actual details of his embarrassment thanks to an ill-timed phone call early the next morning. “It’s been long enough, Fancy Britches,” she said with nod of her head that was so sharp it made Dorian’s neck hurt.
“I don’t understand why Evie doesn’t just ask him,” Dorian pouted. The Iron Bull was the logical choice, everyone liked him. He’d probably make…
“He’s outta town. Chargers shit,” Sera shrugged. “Sides, she needs one of you gold shitting types to replace Puppy. He was…”
Dorian sputtered and shook his head. Surely he had heard her incorrectly. “Are you seriously expecting me to replace a man who smells of cheese and wet dog?”
“Well, he is a prince.”
“Prince…Puppy,” Dorian drawled, having to bite the inside of his mouth to keep from laughing. It was never good to encourage her.
Sera lunged over the desk and pinched him on the shoulder before flopping back into her seat holding up a single strand of white hair triumphantly. “You’re one to talk, Cat Lord.”
“I have two cats, that’s hardly…”
“So started every cat woman’s story…”
“Now see here…”
Sera shrugged and blew a puff of air onto the hair, sending it aloft. “Jus’ sayin’ if you keep hidin’ away…”
Finally unable to resist the urge, Dorian rolled his eyes as he braced his fingertips on the corner of the desk and pushed up to standing. “A pleasure as always to see you, really you must come again,” he said sweetly as he moved around the desk towards the door.
“Alrigh’, alrigh’, don’t gotta kick me in the arse,” she grumbled, rising to her feet. “Shame though. Auction’s at the keep this year. You know, Skyhold Keep. Ain’t you been tryin’ to get in there for ages?”
Dorian’s steps hitched. Seriously? The keep? And Evie wasn’t even going to tell him? Vishante kaffas, he really needed to develop better friendships. “What is the charity again?”
“Arsed if I know. Some fund for orphaned children.”
He absolutely did not stomp his foot before turning to pin her with a stare. “You just made that up.”
She didn’t even attempt to wipe the obnoxious grin off her face, the one that said she knew she’d won. “Guess you’ll hafta show up ta find out,” she crowed, skipping towards him.
“Fine,” he huffed with a dismissive wave of his hand. “I suppose I can put up with anyone for a few hours since it’s for a good cause…but the restaurant had better be superior.”
Her squeal was not only unladylike but exceptionally ear-shattering against the cheek she’d just leaned up to kiss. Dropping back down she crinkled her nose in distaste and muttered, “Seleny and the op-ray.”
Dorian’s lips curled in his first honest smile since Sera had mentioned the auction. He’d been wanting to try Seleny for ages but the four month waiting list was daunting when he had no one else to experience the meal with. At one point he’d thought he’d take Bull there, but then...
“Oi! You even listenin’?”
Dorian shook his head. Better not to go down that road again, he already knew what awaited him there. “Yes, yes, Seleny and the opera.”
“Then my job’s done,” she nodded, slipping out the door before sticking her head back in and muttering, “Quizzy’ll text ya the ‘portant stuff. See ya Friday, Fancy Britches.”
Chapter 2: The Grand Gesture
It’s fine. You’re fine. No worse than a cocktail party in Minrathous. Remarkably less poison at parties here in the south after all.
Dorian grinned weakly at his reflection in the mirror, his fingers fussing with his cuffs, running back and forth over the small platinum peacock as his eyes took in his black tailed tux, white shirt and silver vest and tie. Scowling, he adjusted the tie for what seemed like the thousandth time before nodding in approval.
“I don’t know how you do it,” Cullen muttered, appearing over Dorian’s shoulder and joining Dorian in peering at his reflection. “I swear I could wear these things every day and never look as confident as you do.”
Dorian grinned and turned, his eyes coursing over Cullen’s broad shoulders encased in a more traditional cut tux, black but no tails or vest, his tie a bold sapphire blue that matched the handkerchief at his breast. “You look handsome,” Dorian admitted honestly, pulling the knot on Cullen’s tie and tying it again, straight this time. Patting at the bit of fabric he scowled at the amount of product Cullen had run through his hair to keep it firmly slicked back. Gingerly running his fingers through the front, he freed several locks to fall against Cullen’s forehead.
“Hey,” Cullen growled, batting at Dorian’s hand. “It took me forever to get that to lay down.”
“Yes, I noticed,” Dorian chuckled. “It’s as tense as you are. Relax, it looks better this way, less like you were working at it.”
“Well, if you’re certain,” Cullen muttered, his nose scrunching up in distaste as his hand rose instinctively to slick it back once more.
Dorian caught his hand, forcing it down against his chest. “I am. Keep your hands off it and you’ll be fine.”
Cullen choked, a pink blush spreading across his cheeks. “Thanks, Dorian…”
“Watch Commander, we’re ready for you.”
They both turned towards the door but it was only when Cullen squeezed Dorian’s hand that he realized he’d never released Cullen. Kaffas, he was more nervous than he’d thought. This time it was Cullen who gave him a reassuring grin before turning his attention back to the man at the door. “Ok, Jim, I’m coming.”
Dorian found himself following behind Cullen, leaning against the door to watch he and Jim walk down the short hallway that led to the ballroom. With the door open it was easy to hear Evie’s voice, “Our next bachelor is Watch Commander Cullen Rutherford, a senior member of Skyhold’s police force and damn fine looking in a tux. For the person lucky enough to win an evening out with the Commander they’ll find themselves dining at the very popular Dragon’s Head Inn followed by an evening of games and entertainment at the Midsummer Fair held outside of Redcliffe. Bidding for the night will start at two hundred gold, do I have any bids?”
Dorian winced at the level of noise that rushed down the hall towards him, from the sound of it every person in the room was interested in the Commander. Or perhaps it was the fair that interested them, in which case he held little hope that his own evening could compete. Fasta vass, what had he been thinking agreeing to this farce?
Abandoning his post by the door as Evie continued to drive the bid beyond the thousand gold mark, Dorian let the door shut behind him, his eyes falling on the impromptu bar which had been set out for the bachelors while they waited. Seeing a bottle he recognized, Dorian almost leapt across the room, reaching for the Antivan brandy that deserved far better than the plastic cups that sat next to the ice on the table. Rolling his eyes at the travesty, Dorian spilled a generous serving into one of the cups and sipped, letting the warm, smooth taste of butterscotch and vanilla roll over his tongue and soothe his frazzled nerves.
Trying to ignore the crinkling of plastic, and really, Evie, would it have been so difficult to provide crystal, Dorian finished the brandy in his cup and poured another generous splash just before the door opened behind him.
“Serah Pavus, it is time.”
Dorian startled, giving his newly poured drink a sorrowful glance, it was almost a sin to leave such quality alcohol behind, before dutifully turning to head towards Jim. He’d only managed two steps when he changed his mind, darting back to drain the cup in one large swallow. An unavoidable shake of his head and a quick nod then he hurried back towards Jim who was regarding him with a bemused grin.
“Ready, Serah?” Jim chuckled, gesturing towards the hall and falling into step beside Dorian as they moved toward the ballroom entrance.
Dorian wondered what would happen if he said no, the vision of Jim chasing after him and dragging him back to the stage pulling a smile to his lips that almost had him forgetting just how many damned people there were in the ballroom. An oversight that was remedied entirely too soon as Dorian stepped into the room, the weight of so many eyes on him making it feel as though he were wading through molasses to reach the three stairs that led to the catwalk.
Suddenly feeling way too hot, he might have actually tested his theory about Jim’s reason for being there had it not been for the warm, open smile Evie gave him, her hand reaching out to welcome him up onto the stage. Pasting on a matching grin, Dorian took her offered hand and bent to kiss it, looking up at her and winking before taking his spot where a small ‘x’ had been marked on the floor with chalk.
Giving him a little curtsey of her own, she raised the mic. “Our next bachelor is Doctor Dorian Pavus…”
Oh, clever girl, capitalizing on his title even if it was a Doctorate of Ancient Studies rather than Medicine. Taking a deep breath, he began moving down the catwalk as Evie continued, “…head of the Ancient Histories department at Skyhold University. As you can see Doctor Pavus is a most chivalrous companion and his date reflects his refined tastes. The evening will begin at the most exclusive and highly rated restaurant in Skyhold, Seleny, and continue with box seats for the Skyhold Opera Society’s performance of The Crow’s Prince.”
Dorian reached the end of the catwalk and paused for a moment, his earlier tension fading as Evie focused on the evening to come rather than him. He had even seen a few people seated near the stage toying with their bidding fans, a hopeful sign that they were interested in placing a bid. Feeling more confident, he gave the audience a saucy tilt of his head before turning to retrace his steps back to Evie’s side, her voice ringing out over the soft murmurs of the crowd. “Bidding for the night will start at four hundred gold, do I have any bids?”
Dorian’s steps hitched, his smile fading as the room fell silent around him. Evie’s surprised eyes met his, her sharp white teeth nipping at her bottom lip. He wondered how many steps it had taken him to get this far, and if he could escape in less.
Before he had time to put thought into deed, Evie was raising the mic again. “Now, now, let’s not be shy here. I know Doctor Pavus is rather stunning to look at but I promise he only bites on request.”
Evie’s smile droops a little at the scant scattering of laughter, her eyes sparking in an all too familiar bit of determination. The last time Dorian had seen that look the hospital got a new trauma center out of it. “This production of The Crow’s Prince is unique in that all of principal roles are being filled for the first time with guest performers from the Antivan Royal Opera. It promises to be a once in a lifetime event, certainly worth the opening bid even before accounting for the fabulous meal, prepared especially for you by the head chef, each course paired by the restaurant’s Antivan trained sommelier.”
The closer he got to Evie the more apparent her distress was, her fingers clutching the tiny card with details of the evening so tightly her knuckles were white. Redoubling her efforts, he watched her draw in a deep breath through gritted teeth before speaking again, “You’re all right of course, how gauche of me to think that what had worked for the prior bachelors would work with this one of a kind auction. After all an evening tailored to your desires should be priced accordingly. So what do you say, bidders, what’s an evening with Doctor Pavus worth to you?”
Dorian actually winced at that one, finally drawing close enough that he dared to whisper, “Let it go, Evie. I told…”
“Ten thousand gold.”
Dorian head shot up at the softly spoken words that seemed to echo through the room like a thunderclap. As if choreographed, the entire room gasped then burst into chatter, Dorian attention darting to Evie as he realized he knew that voice and no, no she couldn’t, she really couldn’t…
But apparently she was, because even with Dorian frantically shaking his head no, Evie brought the mic up once more, “I see we have one guest who knows how to make an entrance. I suppose this is just a formality but going once, going twice, sold to bidder number…”
“Uh, yeah, about that,” The Iron Bull shouted out above the crowd’s noise. “I don’t exactly have a number.”
Dorian could tell by the tilt of Evie’s chin she wasn’t going to let that little detail derail a ten thousand gold donation. “That’s alright, Bull, I think we all know who you are.”
The room exploded into another round of nervous tittering and Dorian took advantage of the crowd’s distraction to slip past Evie and rush off the stage. Storming back into bachelor’s waiting room, he told himself it was for a good cause. That he could survive a bit of embarrassment in the interest of the children, even if his humiliation had been handed to him once again by The Iron Bull.
Stomping across the room in a childish display of his own, Dorian cast one dismissive glance at the plastic cup mocking him before grabbing the bottle of brandy by the neck and discarding the cork, taking a long pull directly from the bottle.
Too full of nervous energy to sit, Dorian took to pacing instead, bottle of brandy still dangling from his fingers. “Vishante kaffas, why would he do it though? I told Sera this was a horrendous idea. I told her. Then again, horrendous ideas are rather a trademark of hers,” he grumbled catching sight of his reflection in the mirror and shaking his finger at it which had the side effect of bringing the bottle to his attention again.
Taking another drink, he glowered at the reflection. “This is all your fault. All you had to do was say no but noooo, the chance to explore all this,” he threw his hands in the air and spun in a circle indicating the whole room, “tempted you and now look at you. Stuck on a pity date with The Iron Bull, and damned him anyway for bidding so much. If he’d stuck to a few hundred gold you could have bought him out of the date but nooooo, he had to make the grand gesture and for what? For what I ask you?”
Another shake of the bottle towards the mirror and another too large drink had Dorian’s shoulders slumping as he regarded his somber reflection. “Why do I even bother? Perhaps I should just admit defeat and return to Tevinter. Pretend none of this ever happened…”
“You utter shite!”
Dorian screamed, a shrill, desperate sound utterly unbefitting of the scion of House Pavus, and spun on heel, a thin stream of very expensive brandy sloshing from the bottle onto the undoubtedly equally expensive carpet. Lovely, now he would probably owe them for the cleaning bill also. Transferring his scowl to the woman before him, Dorian grumbled, “You can’t do that.”
“Just did,” Sera shrugged.
All the brandy he’d consumed made the urge to roll his eyes very difficult to resist. “That isn’t the point.”
“Maybe it is.”
“Except it’s not.”
“I say it is.”
“You can’t just decide what the point of my conversation is.”
“It ain’t a conversation if it’s just you…that's just talkin’ to yourself like you were doing before I got ‘ere.”
“Exactly!” Dorian crowed, the frowned. “Wait. No. Regardless, did no one ever teach you it’s rude to go skulking around empty rooms?”
“Well you’re here ain’t ya?”
“Yes, but I didn’t want company.”
“When’s that ever stopped me?”
Dorian opened his mouth to argue only to close it again, a tiny frown creasing his brow. Finally he nodded. “Fair point.”
“Aye, that’s better,” she crowed, nodding her head sharply before sobering. “You wouldn’t really leave, would ya?”
“All that money he spent, it’d serve him right if I did,” Dorian growled, raising the bottle to his lips again before lowering it without taking a drink. “But no. I made a promise and a Pavus doesn’t go back on his…”
Dorian’s last words were interrupted by a furious pounding against the door followed by Evie bellowing, “Let. Me. In.”
Dorian watched Sera’s eyes go wide and wondered if she was pondering the same thought he was…whether the drop out the window would actually be enough to kill him, which might be preferable to facing Evie’s wrath.
In the wake of their silence, there was another tap against the door followed by a dull thud that Dorian feared was Evie’s forehead meeting the wood and a heavy sigh. “I know you’re in there, I heard you two from down the hall. Now open the damned door.”
With a resigned sigh, Dorian waved his hand towards the door. “Go ahead, we may as well complete my humiliation.”
“Arse,” Sera snorted, sticking her tongue out at him then darting backward when he swatted at her. Laughing, she skipped to the door and opened it to reveal a puzzled looking Evie. With a mocking bow and a flourish of her hand Sera waved Evie in, following close at her heels as she moved towards Dorian only to dart around her at the last moment to pluck the bottle from Dorian’s fingers.
Evie scowled. “Is that what you were doing in here? Getting drunk? You were supposed to be meeting with the winning bidder.”
Dorian’s only response was a slow arching of one eyebrow.
Evie sighed heavily. “Really, Dorian? Bull just bid more than any four of the other bachelors put together and you can’t even bother to thank the man?”
“Thank him?” Dorian demanded incredulously. “What exactly am I thanking him for? Embarrassing me in front of half of Skyhold?”
“I doubt that was Bull’s intent,” Evie said gently, reaching a hand out towards him.
Dorian scoffed, stepping back to avoid Evie’s touch. “No? Then perhaps you can explain to me why when we couldn’t even get a single minimum bid he felt it necessary to step in with a bid like that?”
“Yeah, sorry ‘bout that. I didn’t want anyone else to outbid me. It seemed the fastest way.”
Dorian startled at the sound of Bull’s voice. “Does no one understand the meaning of the word ‘private’?”
Bull at least had the courtesy to look contrite, his hand running nervously along one horn as he muttered, “Sorry, when I wrote my check and you weren’t there I thought maybe I’d heard it wrong and I was supposed to come to you.”
Dorian rolled his eyes, fuck how it looked. “Yes, yes, because I am so special I rate having the entire process changed for me.”
“You are special,” Bull muttered, his sincere tone at odds with the casual shrug that accompanied his words.
Surely. No. He couldn’t actually mean that. Dorian found himself blinking several times, feeling unsettled and not sure how to get back on familiar footing.
Thankfully, Evie seemed not to suffer from the same problem, her smile bright and true as she clasped Bull by the shoulder. “It’s fine, really. Location doesn’t matter as long as everyone finds who they’re supposed to so that we don’t have any confusion on the night of the date. Speaking of that, I should probably go make certain everyone else is settled.”
Dorian was still trying to wrap his mind around the word ‘date’ which was somehow more daunting when paired with the thought that it would be Bull joining him. Because of his distraction, Evie was halfway to the door, her hand gripping tightly to Sera’s arm and dragging the shorter woman along in her wake, by the time Dorian found his voice. “Evie?”
She just gave him a reassuring grin before shoving Sera out of the room and dragging the door shut behind her. The sudden silence in the room was oppressive, he and Bull staring awkwardly at one another for what became an embarrassingly long time before Bull finally cleared his throat. “I really am sorry. I didn’t mean to embarrass you, I just wanted to help.”
Dorian snorted dismissively. Funny, he could still remember the last time Bull had tried to help…
Dorian knew he was drunk but that didn’t change the fact that for the first time all winter he felt warm and he’d be damned if he was going to abandon that feeling, even if it did mean remaining draped sideways over The Iron Bull’s lap. Dorian leaned against Bull’s broad chest, pressed so tightly together that every time Bull laughed, the sound seemed to rumble through Dorian, too.
After one incident where Dorian’s own laughter had almost sent him tumbling from his perch, Bull had curled one arm tight around Dorian’s waist, ensuring his safety and adding to the feeling of being wrapped in a rather large, Qunari-shaped blanket.
As usual when their entire group got together, conversations overlapped, and Dorian allowed them all to wash over him, adding a comment when something particularly interesting caught his attention. Bull however, seemed to be the only one who actively followed all of the conversations, frequently switching between them as his name was called and never losing track of which was which.
“You going to be alright getting home?”
It took Dorian a moment to realize Bull was speaking directly to him, another to glance around the table and see that most of their friends had already departed. Kaffas.
Shaking his head to clear his mind, he forced himself to his feet, thankful he was still pinned between Bull’s huge thighs while his legs debated whether or not to support him. Once he seemed to have won the battle he nodded. “There, perfectly fine.”
Bull grinned up at him and shook his head. “Uh huh. What do you say I run you home just to be safe.”
“My hero,” Dorian teased, ignoring the swarm of butterflies that took flight in his stomach when Bull’s cheeks darkened.
“Just tryin’ to help,” Bull muttered, pushing his chair back and holding his arm out to Dorian.
Threading his own arm through Bull’s, Dorian told himself the heat he felt on his own cheeks was just because of the wine.
“What do you mean by that?” Bull’s growled words pulled Dorian from his thoughts and he suddenly found himself just…done.
Sighing heavily, Dorian ran his hand over his face. “Nothing. It doesn’t really matter. Shall we meet at the restaurant on Friday?”
Bull took a step closer to Dorian, his face a perfect picture of confusion. “Are you still pissed about me taking you home that night?”
‘Pissed’ didn’t even begin to cover the emotions Dorian had about that night. Still, he was hardly going to let Bull know that “Don’t be foolish, I don't remember enough of the evening to be upset about it,” he scoffed, straightening his shoulders and looking Bull directly in the eye to prove his honesty. “It’s simply been a long night and I’d like to get out of this suit sometime before dawn.”
The tiny wrinkle between Bull’s brows told Dorian he didn’t necessarily believe him but after a long stare, Bull finally sighed and said, “The restaurant is fine.”
Pasting a smile on his face he usually reserved for his father and the college’s Deans, Dorian replied, “Wonderful. I’ll meet you at six.”
Chapter 3: A Little Music, A Little Food, A Little Romance...wait, WHAT?
Dorian experienced a moment of doubt when he arrived at the restaurant and realized that they hadn’t clearly stated whether they would meet outside or inside the building. After staring at the intricately carved wooden door for a minute or two he decided that no normal person could be expected to stand out on the curb in formal Tevinter attire and, with a little scoff at his own ridiculousness, he stepped inside.
Pausing to adjust to the darkened interior, Dorian sighed softly as he took in the white, plastered walls and tall pillars capped with graceful arches that he assumed were meant as an artistic interpretation of Seleny’s famed bridges. Stepping further into the building, he saw a richly appointed bar with detailed frescos of vineyards at sunset, the late evening sunlight on the leaves so realistic Dorian could almost feel the warmth.
“Good evening, Sir.” Turning, he found the hostess smiling at him welcomingly. “How may I assist you?”
Moving closer to where she stood at the archway leading to the dining room, Dorian said, “I am supposed to be meeting someone here. The Iron Bull.”
“Ah yes, The Iron Bull has not yet arrived but I would be pleased to show you to your table if that would be agreeable.”
“Perfect,” Dorian nodded, falling into step behind her as she led him past the tables draped with plum colored silk tablecloths that showcased the white china and gleaming silver perfectly. Rather than stopping at any of the tables however, she led him to a private booth at the edge of the room. The tables here sat low to the ground and were surrounded by an obscene amount of luxurious pillows. Tapestries had been draped from the ceiling and covered the walls while the table itself was left uncovered, its dark wood polished to a mirror-like finish that doubled the light being cast by the cluster of candles at its center. The entire effect was more romantic than Dorian had anticipated.
“Does this table suit you, Sir?”
“It’s lovely,” Dorian admitted, tugging up the long lengths of his overcoat then gracefully lowering himself to the pile of pillows that made him feel like he was floating on a cloud.
“Shall I have the champagne brought out now or would you rather wait for your dining partner?”
“Perhaps now,” he said, the image of sitting across the table from The Iron Bull making him crave something stronger than the bubbly beverage.
“Of course,” she nodded, freeing several sheer curtains from their bindings and letting them fall until the entire alcove was discretely hidden from the rest of the dining room. Kaffas, and he’d thought the area intimate before.
Letting his fingers slid back and forth across the table, Dorian found himself thinking about the last time he and Bull had been in alone together…
Dorian shivered as he reached for the lock. The fleeting warmth of early spring having been chased away by a freezing breeze. Without a word Bull shifted behind him, blocking him from the worst of the wind as he put the key in the lock and opened the door. Stepping through into his entry, Dorian leaned against the open door and looked up at Bull through his lashes, giving him his best seductive smolder. “Care for a nightcap?”
Bull looked away, his hand coming up to rub at his horn. “I’m not sure…”
“Oh come now, one drink. I promise I don’t bite…” Dorian paused, biting his lower lip and batting his eyelashes. “...unless you like that sort of thing.”
The tiny groan that escaped Bull’s lips shot straight through Dorian, emboldening him to release his hold on the door and slink closer to where Bull still stood at the edge of the porch. “Should I take that as a yes?” Dorian purred, reaching out to trail his fingers down Bull’s chest.
Dorian felt the larger man shudder just before Bull’s hand clasp around his wrist, stilling his questing fingers. “Dorian…”
“Yes?” He said, stepping closer until they stood chest to chest.
“You’ve had a lot to drink tonight and…”
Dorian gasped theatrically. “Fasta vass, of course. How rude of me not to thank you for getting me home safely.”
Bull chuckled softly, the tiny lines that formed in the corner of his eyes far more attractive than they had any right to be. “No problem, I had a good…”
Bull’s words were cut short as Dorian surged up to press his lips to Bull’s. For a split second, as Bull remained motionless against him, Dorian thought he’d read things wrong, that Bull wasn’t actually interested in him and then…
Bull’s free hand slid around Dorian’s waist, pulling him impossibly closer as he tilted his head, slotting their lips together more firmly. A pleased moan built in Dorian’s throat and he felt the tip of Bull’s tongue lick at the seam of his lips. Yes…
Then, almost before Dorian had time to accept that he was finally getting what he’d wanted all night, the hand that had been pulling him closer was instead pushing him away. Bull’s voice was low and gruff as he muttered, “No, we can’t…”
“I’m fairly certain we can...we were,” Dorian countered with a pout and a tiny stomp of his foot.
Bull laughed, full and deep, even as he took another step backwards, away from Dorian. “I’m sorry, Dorian, I didn’t mean to make you think…”
Dorian stopped listening at that point. Or maybe Bull stopped talking. All Dorian knew is that he had certainly had enough experiences like this in Minrathous to know when he was being let down easy...and what the proper response was. “Forgive me, The Iron Bull. Perhaps you are correct and I had a little too much wine. If you’ll excuse me, I believe my bed is calling…”
The soft jingle of ice in a silver bucket was followed by a quiet cough, pulling Dorian from his thoughts just as a dark haired man with silver at his temples pushed back one side of the sheer curtains. “Forgive the interruption, Sir,” he said with a tiny nod, pulling a bottle of champagne out from behind his back and laying it across his bent arm with a flourish. “The champagne selected for this evening, if it suits you.”
Dorian had a moment to be surprised by the label before remembering just how much Bull had paid for the evening and with a small grin, nodded. He watched as the sommelier carefully popped the cork - no pretentious attempt to spray a valuable vintage here - then poured a small amount of the golden liquid into a tulip shaped glass he plucked off a small serving tray.
Carefully bending so he spilled neither from the bottle or the glass, the man sat the glass down in front of Dorian with a little twist of his wrist. Dorian watched the bubbles rise for a moment before reaching for the glass himself, raising it to catch the warm, rich scent of butter melting on hot bread and fresh lemon blossoms. The scent alone was enough to have his mouth watering even before he finally took a drink; rich and smooth, almost velvety as the lemon flavor fully came to life on his tongue, joined by notes of vanilla and almond.
Nodding thoughtfully, Dorian swallowed before smiling up at the sommelier. “Absolute perfection.”
The man’s lips twitched, quickly hidden as he pulled a clean glass off the tray and proceeded to fill the glass fully before placing it on the table. “I am pleased you approve. Shall I leave a second glass for your guest or return to pour?”
“The glass will be…” Dorian broke off as the guest in question came into view just beyond the sommelier’s shoulder, Bull’s broad shoulders encased in a charcoal grey wool. He’d paired the tailored suit with a dress shirt the color of fresh raspberries but left the collar open displaying a tantalizing amount of pale grey skin…
“I believe I’ll have a glass now,” Bull purred, clasping the man on the shoulder and smiling before dropping onto the pillows on the other side of the table from Dorian and giving him a wink. “You ok there, Dorian?”
Dorian snapped his jaw shut, only belatedly realizing he’d been staring, slack-jawed, the entire time. “Just fine,” he managed to grit out, forcing his lips to curl upward as he watched the sommelier place Bull’s glass in front of him before withdrawing and letting the curtain fall again.
Fasta vass, he’d almost forgotten how romantic the space became when it was closed off, even more so now that Bull was breathing the same air as him, their legs sharing the same small space under the table. Dorian might have panicked at the intimacy had Bull’s own eye not widened in surprise, his cheeks taking on a peculiar purple shade.
Showcased in all of that raspberry fabric, Bull’s throat moved as he swallowed hard twice before reaching for his glass. Holding it up expectantly, he tilted his head at Dorian before looking down to where Dorian’s own glass still rested against the table and back up. Kaffas, of course. Snatching up his glass, Dorian tipped it towards Bull who rewarded him with another of those stunning grins.
“To an amazing night, may it be the first of many,” Bull said quietly, his eye locked with Dorian even as he tipped his glass to his lips and drank deeply.
Dorian swallowed his own sip, which somehow seemed like dust in his mouth despite the fact that only moments ago it had tasted like ambrosia. What exactly had Bull meant by that toast? Dorian had spent over half a year studiously avoiding the man...certainly that hadn’t all been a mistake?
Forcing another sip past lips suddenly dry, Dorian forced himself to set the glass down rather than hide behind it. Apparently Bull had reached the same conclusion as he sat his glass down so forcefully Dorian half expected the glass to shatter on impact. Another flush of purple to Bull’s cheeks and a self-effacing grin had Bull patting anxiously at his suit coat, reaching into an interior pocket at his left breast and pulling out a small package wrapped in white paper and tied with a loopy bow of red and white baker’s twine.
Reaching across the table, Bull plunked the rectangular package down in front of Dorian and sat back against his pillows with a satisfied grin. What in Andraste’s sweet asscheeks was that? Certainly Bull hadn’t brought him a gift. Arching one elegant brow, Dorian adopted his most imperious look. “What is that?”
Bull’s sharp bark of laughter echoed through the small space, the sound far too reminiscent of Bull’s laugh that night to be comfortable. “Come on, I know you ‘Vints exchange presents. Certainly it hasn’t been so long since you received one you’ve forgotten what they look like.”
Dorian bristled, his nose tilting up another half inch though the effect was lost on the mountain of a man sitting next to him. “I simply wasn’t aware that allowing myself to be sold to the highest bidder came with a parting gift.”
“What?” Bull spit out, his eye widening comically as his attention darted from the package to Dorian and back again. “Shit, that wasn’t what I...that is…crap, I should have just bought the flowers, but you don’t really seem to be the bouquet type and I figured they’d just wilt while were were at the opera and…” Bull broke off with a sheepish grin and a shrug.
There was something so sincere about Bull’s expression and the way his hand kept rising off the table to head towards his horn before being lowered again hastily that Dorian found himself feeling bad for putting him on the spot. “You aren’t entirely wrong about the flowers,” Dorian admitted, his own eyes riveted on the package, his fingers beginning to toy with the ends of the twine. “I apologize for being ungracious.”
This time Bull’s hand made it all the way up, stoking once down the length of a horn. “Guess I could have done more than just shove it at you,” Bull admitted, tilting his chin towards the package. “You gonna open it?”
“Yes, alright, of course,” Dorian agreed, ignoring the itch of his hand to reach for his glass and instead plucking open the bow and pulling back the white paper. The aroma began to reach him the moment the small metal box came into view, silverite with a detailed stamp of a split cocoa pod still clinging to the branch, it’s shell cracked to show the beans inside.
Unable to resist the tempting scent, Dorian pulled off the lid to display a brick of chocolate, redolent with the scent of cinnamon and pepper. Kaffas, it had been so long since he’d had true Tevene hot chocolate, nothing he’d had since moving to the south could pretend to compare. Raising the box to his face, he told himself there was no shame in his hand trembling slightly in the face of such a unique gift, certainly not when he could be smelling…
Letting his eyes close, Dorian could almost believe he was sitting in one of the cafes that lined Vivazzi Plaza, Mae or Felix sitting across from him, safely tucked away from the wind by protective runes as they leisurely dunked sticks of buttery shortbread into their hot chocolate and watched the fall leaves dance in the street.
The soft clearing of a throat reminded Dorian he wasn’t actually back home and he opened his eyes to find Bull regarding him indulgently. Grinning sheepishly in response, Dorian allowed himself one more sniff of the fragrant chocolate before putting the lid back on the tin. “Thank you, Bull. Spiced chocolate is something I’ve missed since coming to the South.”
“Glad you like it,” Bull said with a smile of his own.
“I do, truly,” Dorian assured him, his fingers running absently over the stamped lid. “Though I admit to being mildly envious of your ability to find such a rare treasure this far south.”
“Eh, I may know a guy who runs supplies from Seheron,” Bull shrugged. “He knows I have a sweet tooth so he always makes sure to have a couple blocks on hand.”
There was another discreet cough from outside the curtains a moment before they were pulled to the side once again to show a pair of servers bearing two overflowing trays. “The chef has selected a variety of items to compliment your champagne,” the shorter of the men said, bending to place a tray containing a variety of cheeses and crackers onto the table.
Dorian barely had a moment to think about how disappointed Prince Alistair would be to miss this course when the second server placed a selection of fruit on the table next to the cheeses. The trays were quickly bracketed by a pair of small white plates and several of the plum napkins Dorian had noted earlier. After giving the table a critical eye, the server straightened and addressed them. “If there is anything else you gentlemen require, please let us know otherwise we’ll allow you time to enjoy your champagne before returning with the first course.”
“Sounds good, thanks,” Bull said, nodding at the pair who bowed slightly before allowing the curtains to fall, once more shrouding Bull and Dorian in the intimate setting.
Gesturing toward the table, Bull asked, “Shall we?”
Looking at the generous spread, Dorian shook his head. “I believe it would take all of the Chargers to even put a dent in this.”
“Prince Theirin will be disappointed to have missed it.”
Dorian snorted as Bull echoed his previous thoughts and plucked a slice of reddish cheese from the plate then placed it on a crisp cracker. Picking up his glass he took a sip of the champagne, letting it roll over his tongue before taking a bite of the cheese topped cracker and moaning softly. Kaffas that was good.
Ignoring Bull’s arched brow, Dorian savored the creamy cheese, so perfectly at odds to the crisp cracker and the lingering vanilla and almond notes from the drink. Dabbing his lips with one of the silk napkins, Dorian took a moment to drape it just so in his lap before speaking. “I must admit that if the remainder of the meal is as exquisitely paired as this course I shall owe the prince my thanks.”
Bull’s expression softened and he swallowed hard against his own mouthful of food before reaching towards where Dorian’s hand lay against the table. “I already owe him mine,” he stated, his shoulders slumping slightly when Dorian startled and pulled his hand back to reach for his glass again instead.
Guzzling down far more champagne than a vintage this good deserved, Dorian’s attention darted from Bull to the curtains that blocked his escape and back again. Kaffas, what was with The Iron Bull? He had already made his feelings, or lack thereof, about Dorian known, why was he now behaving as though this evening was less of an obligation and more of a...well, of a date?
Wishful thinking on your part, foolish man. Dorian frowned at the voice in his head and tipped his glass up for another gulp only to find the glass empty. Sighing heavily, he lowered it to the table just in time for it to fill with golden, bubbly liquid. Looking up, Dorian looked past the bottle Bull was pouring from to find him staring at Dorian.
With a little shrug, Bull said, “You looked like you could use a refill.”
Kaffas, who was Bull trying to fool? No one could be so perfect. Dorian’s laugh came out more like a sob, prompting him to quickly grab his refilled glass and take another drink rather than actually chance the words escaping him.
From over the rim of his glass he watched as Bull refilled his own before settling the bottle back in the ice bucket. Rather than pick up his glass, Bull ran a single finger around the rim, his attention riveted on the narrow band of crystal.
After what felt like hours but was probably only minutes, Dorian sat his glass down with a solid thud and sighed. “This is…”
“Listen, Dorian,” Bull began at exactly the same time, both of them breaking off and staring expectantly at the other, waiting for them to speak. Dorian tilted his head to the left, Bull to the right, both of them leaning forward, still waiting for the other. Finally, with a roll of his eyes, Dorian laughed at their ridiculous mannerisms. “Please, go ahead, Bull.”
Bull gave him a sheepish grin, looking down before turning his attention back to Dorian again. “So, listen, it’s obvious that I screwed up that night. I didn’t explain myself very well and then you kissed me and…”
Fasta vass, were they really going to discuss this now? Forget perfect, Bull was clearly sadistic. Dorian snorted. “Fear not, your obvious mortification made things perfectly clear. It does beg the question of why you’d spend a truly insane amount of gold on this-” he gestured, taking in the exquisite food and the tailored table setting, “-with a man you clearly have no interest in, however.”
“Damn it, Dorian,” Bull huffed, his fingers finally abandoning their restless circles on the glass to spread out flush against the table. Sighing heavily, Bull continued, “I didn’t leave that night because you came on too strong or because I wasn’t interested. I left because you were at least three drinks beyond being able to give consent. I wasn’t about to take advantage of that and have you hate me in the morning.”
Dorian’s bark of laughter sounded bitter even to him. “What possible difference could my opinion of you make?”
“Fuck, are you serious?” Bull was looking at him with a mixture of confusion and something that was entirely too close to pity for Dorian to want to identify further. Bull ran his hand over his face and sighed. “Maybe because I like you, Dorian, and I was hoping for more than one night in your bed. Although even for a single night the consent thing would have been an issue.”
Wait. Was Bull actually saying what it sounded like he was saying? “So, you mean…”
Bull snorted and shook his head. “I paid ten thousand gold just for the chance to talk to you, Dorian. What do you think I mean?”
Dorian rocked back against the pillows behind him as he finally accepted the possibility that he had been completely wrong about Bull’s motives. Kaffas, had he actually wasted the last six months being miserable for no reason? Grabbing for his glass, Dorian took a swig, wishing for the second time that night that it were something stronger. Peering at Bull over the rim of the glass, he muttered, “I thought…”
“Pretty sure I can guess what you thought,” Bull admitted with a chuckle. “Why do you think I left so many messages asking you to contact me?”
Still unwilling to give up the security of hiding behind his glass, Dorian spoke against its smooth surface. “I thought you wanted to make it clear we were just friends.”
Bull’s laughter exploded in the small space, loud and bright, and Dorian found himself joining in even as his cheeks darkened with embarrassment. So much lost time, so many lonely nights…
“You’re awfully oblivious for someone so smart, Doctor Pavus,” Bull said fondly when their laughter finally tapered off.
“Yes, well, I have far more experience scrutinizing centuries-old relationships than having one of my own,” Dorian admitted, setting his glass firmly to the side even though his cheeks were still burning.
“Might have some ideas to fix that,” Bull offered, reaching for Dorian’s hand and threading the tips of their fingers together. “You know, if you were interested.”
“I don’t know,” Dorian drawled, his lips curling in a slow grin even as he linked their hands more fully together. “How do I know you have any experience in these sorts of things?”
Bull snorted, his own smile bright enough to rival the sun. “Oh, I don’t know. Fancy restaurant, champagne…”
“I do suppose you have a point…”
“Get over here, venek hol,” Bull chuffed, using their linked hands to pull Dorian up, his lips warm and firm against Dorian’s as they met over the middle of the table. Finally, Dorian thought, his eyes closing on a low moan, Bull’s tongue licking at the seam of his lips then sliding inside when Dorian opened for him, their tongues tangling as they both relearned the taste of one another to the exclusion of anything else.
By the time Dorian registered the sound he heard as another discrete cough, the curtains were already parting, leaving he and Bull barely enough time to drop back against their respective cushions before the same two servers appeared in the archway.
Eye widening in surprise to find the platters they’d left previously still untouched, the taller of the two servers cautiously asked, “Did the course displease you, Sirs?”
Dorian bit back a chuckle as he looked to Bull, forcing his attention past Bull’s kiss swollen lips, the top one currently held tight by a line of pearly white teeth in his own attempt to withhold laughter, up to where Bull’s eye was twinkling mischievously. The purposeful arch of one broad grey brow in Dorian’s direction told him it was up to him to soothe the concerned server’s feelings.
Running his hand through his hair in an attempt to remove the evidence of he and Bull’s amorous moment. Kaffas, he and Bull had just had an amorous moment. There was no stopping the warm smile that curled his lips…
Oh, that’s right, they had an audience. Allowing his smile to fade to something far less personal, Dorian looked up and said, “Forgive us, we were remembering old times and quite got lost in conversation.”
“So the pairing…?” The server asked with only a trace of his prior anxiety.
“Exquisite as expected. Would it be too much trouble to ask you to simply leave the first course now? We shall catch up.”
The server’s eyes darted once more from Dorian to Bull then back again before he indulgently grinned. “It would be our pleasure.”
Dorian gave the man his best haughty nod then attempted to focus as the man explained both the soup and the wine that was paired with it, an effort that was complicated by Bull’s socked foot running up his leg during the entire spiel.
It was only when the curtain fell and they were once more ensconced in their own private oasis that Dorian scowled at Bull. “Some help you were.”
Bull smirked, his teeth once again nipping at the corner of his lips as he shrugged. “Looked like you had it under control.”
“Well, yes, because somebody had to,” Dorian huffed, his exhale quickly morphed to a gasp as Bull’s toes pressed tauntingly against his balls.
Picking up his wine glass, Bull peered innocently at Dorian over the rim, his toes wiggling in Dorian’s lap. “Is there a problem, Doctor Pavus?”
Vishante kaffas, the man was truly going to be the death of him. “No problem,” Dorian gritted out, his voice higher than he’d intended thanks to Bull’s foot continuing it’s exploration up the underside of his now very interested cock.
Snatching up his own wine glass, Dorian took a large drink, the connoisseur in him automatically listing: light, delicate, slight fruity finish, no help whatsoever in slaking the desert that had taken over his mouth…
“The wine not to your liking?” Bull grinned, taking a much more modest sip of his own and practically purring over the flavor, his foot retreating to nudge at Dorian’s knee.
“You’re trying to kill me, aren’t you?” Dorian muttered, taking another too large drink of a wine meant to be savored.
“Nope,” Bull argued, popping the ‘p’ in a way that was so reminiscent of Sera it had Dorian rolling his eyes. Chuckling softly, Bull waited until Dorian’s eyes returned to normal to nod towards his glass. “Might want to go easy on the wine though, Big Guy.”
“Yes, yes, it deserves better. I know…”
“Nah,” Bull said, drawing the one word out like an entire conversation then pausing dramatically and winking, actually winking, before adding, “I just think we’re both gonna want to remember tonight.”
Oh. Oh. Dorian’s eyes widened in surprise before narrowing again as Bull’s foot began working its way back up his thigh. Yes, definitely going to be the death of him. But what a way to go.
Chapter 4: What A Way To Go
Vishante kaffas, Dorian was going to kill him. Either that or jump him the moment they finally reached his townhouse which, bless Andraste, the Maker, and the Black Divine, they were only steps away from. Because if he’d thought Bull was tempting at the restaurant, all ‘try this’ as he held out a tasty morsel for Dorian to nip from his fingertips and ‘come on, Dorian, one more kiss’ while the rich red that had been paired with the beef still clung to his lips, at least there had been a table between them.
Once they were ensconced in their box in the theater, their seats allowed for Bull’s fingers to pick up where his wandering foot had left off, his large, strong hand kneading at Dorian’s thigh, slowly working its way up through the first act until his fingertips just brushed against the base of Dorian’s cock.
By the end of the second act, they were so firmly wrapped together they might as well have shared a seat, Dorian’s cock so hard it hurt everytime Bull brushed the back of his knuckles across it.
Not to be outdone, Dorian had spent most of Act three taunting Bull in return, his fingers sliding between the buttons on Bull’s shirt to toy with his nipples, working steadily lower until he could palm Bull’s length, drawing a series of deep moans from Bull’s throat that were thankfully covered by the sounds of the opera which Dorian only knew was continuing around them because the theater remained dark.
He had been moments from abandoning all sense of propriety and dropping to his knees in front of Bull when the third act had ended, the thundering applause and partially raised lights signalling he had lost his chance.
Accepting Bull’s offer of a ride home had been easy, the walk to Bull’s truck rather less so, both of them hard and aching, their gaits hitched as they tried to ignore the fact that they’d been only moments from attempting to rival the performance on stage.
Considering the entire night had been an exercise in seduction, Dorian expected the ride home to continue on that theme. For Bull to pull him across the wide seat until he was flush to his side where at a red light Bull would finally work his way beneath Dorian’s longcoat until they met skin to skin. Then, when the light turned green, Dorian would slowly work Bull’s zipper down, his hand slipping beneath the fine wool trousers to grip Bull’s length.
Except instead of that happening...he got nothing. No smoldering glances. No salacious comments. No lingering touches. “Gotta get us home safely,” Bull had stated by way of explanation when Dorian finally got tired of waiting for Bull to make his move and started across the bench seat only to have Bull reach out to pin him in place.
Even now, walking up the cobbled pathway to his front door, Bull kept his distance which, honestly, might be for the best unless Dorian wanted his neighbors to see far more of him than they usually did. Slipping the key into his lock, Dorian turned it and let the door fall open before turning around to find Bull far closer than he had been a moment ago.
Bull smiled wickedly in response to Dorian’s startled gasp, his hand coming to rest against the door frame next to Dorian’s head. “So, is this when you invite me in?”
“I don’t know, are you sure it’s ‘safe’?” Dorian smirked, one of his hands raising to toy with the top button on Bull’s shirt.
“You still pouting over that, ‘Vint?” Bull chuckled, taking a step closer, their bodies only inches apart.
“The scion of House Pavus does not pout,” Dorian huffed, not bothering to hide the rolling of his eyes.
“Shame, I kinda like it,” Bull shrugged, his head dropping so he could whisper into Dorian’s ear. “So, what does the Scion of House Pavus do?”
Dorian shivered when Bull’s teeth grazed his earlobe. “You’ll have to come in to find out,” he purred, his hand fisting in Bull’s shirt and pulling him forward as Dorian walked backwards into the house.
“Thought you’d never ask,” Bull answered with a wicked grin, kicking the door shut behind him.
Dorian gasped when Bull surged forward, pressing him against the wall, one of Bull’s thick, muscular legs slotting between his own. “These buttons of yours have been tempting me all night,” Bull said, fingering the small pearl button that lay at Dorian’s throat. “Like you’re a present just waiting to be unwrapped.”
“If that’s the case you’ve been remarkably patient,” Dorian chuckled, his hands flattening on Bull’s chest and sliding upward to coax Bull’s jacket off his shoulders.
“You have no idea,” Bull purred gruffly, his teeth nipping at Dorian’s jaw as he shrugged his jacket the rest of the way off, allowing it to puddle beneath them while Dorian took in the broad expanse of Bull’s chest covered in what seemed like yards of raspberry fabric. Kaffas, it should look ridiculous but all Dorian could think was that he looked...edible.
In an instant, Dorian was hard again, the hours of light foreplay earlier in the night making his cock throb, the desire to taste Bull’s skin, to feel the weight of his cock against his tongue and learn the flavor of the man before him an almost tangible need.
Meeting Bull’s eye, Dorian kicked off his loafers then, folding gracefully, let himself drop, slipping from Bull’s grasp to come to rest kneeling before him. His face less than an inch away from his goal he grinned wickedly up at Bull. “Patience like that deserves a reward don’t you think?”
“Fuck, Dorian,” Bull groaned, forehead dropping against the wall, horns most likely scoring the paint but Dorian couldn’t bring himself to care, his fingers already working Bull’s buckle.
He didn’t even bother to remove the belt, just let it fall so he could move on to the button and then the zipper and then, vishante kaffas, if he had known Bull was that endowed he might have actually begged all those months ago. Because even still tucked away behind black boxer briefs, half hidden by grey wool, Bull’s cock was huge and hard and Dorian’s mouth began to water at the slight dampening of fabric near the tip.
Letting his fingers trail down the length, Dorian darted his tongue out, soaking the already damp material as the slightly salty taste of precome flooded his senses. Finally reaching the root of Bull’s cock, he curled his hand under a pair of heavy balls, manipulating them gently while he ran his tongue down the length and back up again, sucking at the head.
“Vashedan, Dorian…” Bull moaned, his hand reaching down to comb through Dorian’s hair, catching the short lengths in his grasp and sighing, “more.”
Yes, yes, more was a good idea, Dorian decided, both hands skimming up across Bull’s hips to grasp both briefs and pants and pull down, abandoning them mid-thigh in favor of worshiping the cock that had sprung free the moment he tugged. Long and thick, with purple veins crossing its length leading Dorian’s attention to the perfect mushroom shaped head, engorged and so dark a purple it reminded Dorian of a plum. As he watched, a fresh bead of translucent precome gathered in the slit, a treat far too tempting for him to ignore.
Dorian lapped at the drop, letting his tongue trace the line of Bull’s slit before moving to circle the head, one hand returning to cup Bull’s balls while the other curled around the base of his cock. Bull’s claws scratched across his scalp, a low groan of what sounded like ‘please’ falling from the larger man’s lips just before Dorian finally wrapped his lips around the whole crown. Dorian’s fingers stilled for a moment, his own moan of pleasure caught in his throat, Bull’s girth stretching his mouth, the weight of his cock on Dorian’s tongue far better than any fantasy had been.
“You’re killing me here, ‘Vint,” Bull grumbled, his hips thrusting minutely, pushing his cock further into Dorian’s mouth, reminding him that there was more to be had and kaffas, he wanted it all.
Glancing up again, Dorian was pleased to find Bull’s eye closed, his mouth slightly open as he took quick, shallow breaths and with an attempt at a grin, Dorian began to bob up and down, using his tongue to curl around Bull’s length, following the ridged veins as he learned Bull’s cock, his hand working to stimulate what flesh his tongue couldn’t reach.
Lost in the taste and sensation, Bull’s musky scent wrapping around him as he got accustomed to Bull’s size and pushed through the discomfort to take him into his throat, humming happily when Bull’s claws scratched his head. Dorian whined in disappointment when those same fingers curled tighter into his hair, pulling him off Bull’s cock with a wet pop.
“Too close,” Bull gritted out, his hands sliding down to pull Dorian back up, Bull’s one eye blown almost black. “Wanna come in you.”
“Fasta vass, yes,” Dorian sighed, surging up on tiptoe to press a hard kiss to Bull’s lips.
Growling, Bull wrapped his hands around Dorian’s cheeks, tilting his head and deepening the kiss, his tongue plunging into Dorian’s mouth, their tongues twining as Dorian found himself spun around. For the second time he was walked backwards, Bull’s steps hitching as he kicked off his boots and let his pants fall the rest of the way to the floor. Once unencumbered, his hands slipped down past the rows of buttons to tug at the lower edges of Dorian’s long coat, his hands unerringly finding Dorian’s belt and zipper.
A small shimmy had his pants falling free, abandoned only a moment before Dorian’s ass came in contact with his couch. Breaking the kiss, he panted, “Bedroom?”
“Here,” Bull growled, spinning Dorian around and pressing between his shoulders, bending him over the back of the couch. One large hand shoved Dorian’s long coat up, bunching it at his waist as Bull’s other hand stripped Dorian of his silk boxers, Dorian’s heated skin dimpling instantly in the cooler air of the room.
“Bull?” Dorian whispered, unsure what he even wanted but enjoying the taste of Bull’s name on his lips.
“Gorgeous,” Bull whispered reverently, his hands sliding down Dorian’s sides to grasp his hips only a moment before Dorian felt his hot breath against his crease. Spreading Dorian wide, Bull’s head dropped further, his tongue licking a trail from Dorian’s balls up to his tightly furled hole. Kaffas, but that felt good…
Dorian practically purred as Bull’s tongue circled his ring then licked across it, his broad tongue covering it entirely. Dorian’s body melted into the couch, a long, low moan pouring from his lips as Bull squeezed his ass while making another pass low, his nose nudging at Dorian’s hole while his tongue traced patterns on Dorian’s perineum.
“Taste so fucking good,” Bull growled against his skin, his teeth nipping Dorian’s ass before returning to circle his hole again, over and over until Dorian thought he would go mad from the need for more.
Trying to push back, Dorian found himself held firmly in Bull’s grasp as the larger man chuckled. “Need something?”
Sighing heavily at the realization Bull wanted the words, because of course he’d want the words, Dorian panted, “More, please, Bull, please…”
“That’s better,” Bull crowed, his tongue licking across Dorian’s hole once, then twice before the tip of his tongue pressed into Dorian.
Dorian surged up on his tiptoes before sinking back down on Bull’s tongue with a tiny whimper. Bull’s fingers took over tracing the patterns on his perineum, the touch firm as his tongue speared into Dorian again and again, working at the tight ring of muscle. Knuckles brushed against Dorian’s balls, the feather-light touch sending a shiver down his spine as his fingers curled in the cushions of the couch.
“Please, Bull, more, please,” Dorian muttered, the words falling unbidden from his lips as he tried to get more of Bull into him.
Bull continued his ministrations for several more minutes, a single finger coming up to join Bull’s tongue at his hole, pressing against the rim but making no effort to slip the digit in further.
Learning Bull’s patterns, Dorian waited until Bull circled his finger around again then shifted to press tauntingly over the spit-wet center of his hole before shoving backwards, trying to take what Bull was unwilling to give.
Bull’s response was instant, a hard slap to Dorian’s flank and a harshly growled, “Not gonna hurt you, ‘Vint. ‘Least not like that.”
Dorian’s growl of frustration was met by another, lighter, slap that seemed to go straight to his cock even before Bull demanded, “Lube?”
Accepting that Bull wasn’t going to yield, Dorian began to straighten. “Bedroom.”
Bull rocked forward, his hard cock slotting between Dorian’s cheeks as Bull leaned over him, his teeth nipping at Dorian’s ear. “Oh no, you stay right here...spread out for me.”
Vishante kaffas. Dorian shuddered again at the thought; him splayed out over his couch, still half dressed, waiting for Bull to claim him. “Nightstand drawer,” he whispered shakily.
“Good boy,” Bull purred, biting the curve of Dorian’s neck before licking over the spot and straightening, his hand smacking once more against Dorian’s ass. “Be right back.”
Dorian felt the moment Bull left the room, like the difference between having the warmth of the sun on his skin and sitting in the dark. Suddenly, what had seemed sexy only moments ago began to feel...awkward. He was still half dressed, his cock painfully hard and rubbing against the chintz fabric, possibly staining it, while Bull’s spit dripped…
“Have I mentioned you’re gorgeous?” Bull’s words washed over him, carrying away all his doubt on a rush of pride. “Can’t wait to feel you around me. You want that, Dorian?”
The last word was practically sung, Bull’s claws dragging up his thighs as Bull pressed against him once more, leaning over him to kiss the back of Dorian’s neck. Impatience led a gruff quality to Dorian’s words. “Kaffas, yes, sometime tonight would be…”
Dorian broke off when Bull bit his shoulder at the same time a single, lubed finger thrust knuckle deep into his ass. “Yes…” he moaned, his entire body on fire at the twin spots of pain, Bull’s teeth retreating even as his finger pressed in further.
“Like that, do you?” Bull said, his cock hard against Dorian’s hip, his finger beginning to plunge in and out of his hole. “Fuck, you’re so tight. Not sure you can take me.”
Dorian’s hand shot up, curling around Bull’s horn and wrestling his head down. “Don’t even think it. You’re fucking me, or I’ll tie you to the bed and ride you myself.”
“You have no idea,” Dorian hissed.
Bull’s eye widened, his finger slipping free of Dorian’s ass only to return a second later with a second, the extra width making Dorian gasp from the burn as they both plunged deep, fingertips grazing his prostate. “Fuck, Bull, yes…”
“That’s it, so good,” Bull purred, his fingers moving fast and hard into Dorian, his hips rising to meet every thrust. Kaffas, if Bull’s fingers felt this good, he couldn’t wait to feel…
Dorian’s thoughts broke off on a gasp as he felt a third finger enter the mix, Bull’s movements slowing down as Dorian fought to breathe through the stretch. Glancing behind him to where Bull’s cock rested against his hip; hard, flushed and so much bigger than the three fingers that were currently struggling for entry, Dorian felt the first frisson of doubt about actually being able to take it. Then, with a little pop, Bull’s fingers slid in and oh...that was so good.
Dorian’s eyes closed on a low moan, Bull’s mouth now pressing a string of kisses across his clothed shoulders. “So fucking perfect,” Bull said between kisses. “Look at you taking me...so good. You still want more, ‘Vint?”
“Yessss,” Dorian hissed, spreading his legs further as Bull’s fingers continued to work in and out of him.
“Gonna make it so good for you,” Bull whispered, sucking one last kiss into the skin at the back of Dorian’s neck before straightening, his fingers pulling out one last time leaving Dorian suddenly, horribly empty.
“Just one second,” Bull said, the snap of a lube bottle punctuating his sentence just before Dorian heard the telltale sounds of Bull stroking his own cock.
Wiggling his ass, Dorian gasped as a dry hand smacked him on the hip. “Tease,” Bull murmured, one of Dorian’s guest towels hitting the couch beside him.
He barely had a moment to ponder being outraged at Bull using Nevarran cotton to soak up lube before Bull was once more leaning over him, his cock nudging at Dorian’s entrance. One of Bull’s hands curled around his hip, holding him steady, the thumb brushing soothing circles as Bull whispered, “Breathe.”
Instinctively obeying, Dorian drew in fresh, cool air, belatedly realizing he’d been holding his breath. “That’s it,” Bull whispered against his ear, pressing a kiss to the soft skin behind it before beginning to push forward.
Fuck, it burned, the pain enough to have Dorian’s erection flagging for the first time all night, a harsh whimper tearing loose from his throat.
“Easy,” Bull coaxed, his hand sliding off Dorian’s hip to stroke soothingly down his spine. “So good, just relax, that’s it…”
Dorian closed his eyes, forcing himself to focus on Bull’s words and the feel of his breath against his skin rather than on the broad cockhead pressing against his tight ring of muscle. Forcing slow breaths into his lungs, Dorian widened his stance again, willing his body to relax, and with a loud gasp the head of Bull’s cock finally entered him.
Bull stopped immediately, his lips moving against Dorian’s back, whispering praise so softly Dorian couldn’t even make out the words just the feeling behind them as he gave Dorian time to breathe through the pain.
“Dorian?” Bull finally whispered, his chin leaning against Dorian’s spine as he waited for an answer. When none was forthcoming, Dorian felt Bull’s sigh. “Want me to pull out?”
Dorian’s hand shot back to grasp Bull’s hip. “Don’t make me kill you,” he hissed, drawing in a deep breath and shifting his hips slightly, settling Bull more securely in him. One more slow breath and it happened, the moment when his body truly accepted Bull and rather than pain Dorian only felt a delicious, tempting stretch. One that left him longing for more. “Ok,” he panted out, feeling Bull’s entire body shudder in response.
“Fuck, Dorian,” Bull muttered, hips resuming their previous press forward, his cock sliding torturously slow into Dorian’s ass.
Dorian groaned, fuller than he’d ever been, Bull’s cock so deep in him that Dorian knew he’d feel it for days and still it wasn’t enough, not until the moment Bull finally bottomed out, his hips flush against Dorian’s, his balls brushing against Dorian’s perineum.
An irrational spike of pride shot through Dorian, he’d done it, he had actually taken all of Bull’s cock and even though he felt like he was about to split in two he only wanted...more. Now. “I believe this is where you move…”
Bull chuckled, the sound jiggling both their bodies as he nipped the tender skin at the back of Dorian’s neck. “Bossy,” he huffed, his hands digging into Dorian’s hips. Straightening, he rocked his hips once, pushing in another impossible half inch. “You sure you’re ready?”
I’ve been ready for the past six months. Dorian frowned at the thought before forcing it away. There was no room now for regret, not when he finally had…
Dorian moaned as Bull’s cock slid slowly from him, relief warring with disappointment for the split second before he slammed back home, the head of his cock glancing off Dorian’s prostate as he went. “Yes…”
“Like that?” Bull chuckled, repeating the same motion again and again, gradually picking up speed until he was pistoning in and out of Dorian so hard it was all Dorian could do to brace his arms against the cushions in an effort to keep his once again rock hard cock from being crushed against the sofa frame. Instead the constant brush of fabric along his length had him leaking a steady stream of precome, Bull’s balls slamming against his perineum with every stroke ensuring a steady stream of whimpers and moans fell from his lips.
Behind him, Bull’s hands were still pressing bruises into Dorian’s hips, drops of sweat falling to hit his skin as Bull kept up his own stream of praise; so good, fucking tight, gorgeous, so damn hot, that’s right, take me…
Then, just when Dorian thought he was going to go insane from all the stimulation, Bull’s hands finally abandoned their grip on Dorian’s hip, one fisting in the back of his long coat, yanking Dorian upright, slamming his back into Bull’s chest, his hand reaching around to splay across Dorian’s chest. Dorian had only a moment to rue the fact that they weren’t skin to skin before Bull’s other hand slipped down to wrap around Dorian’s cock like a vice. Bull only tugged twice before Dorian was screaming, his orgasm tearing through him like a wildfire as his vision whited out.
He came back to himself to the feeling of Bull still working his over-sensitized cock through the aftershocks of his orgasm, Bull’s other arm holding Dorian firm to his chest while he peppered kisses to Dorian’s neck. Slapping weakly at the hand still stroking him, Dorian smiled when he felt Bull smile against his skin. “Back with me, ‘Vint?”
“You can’t get rid of me that easily,” he snorted, startling slightly at the distinctive feeling of come sliding down his thigh. Kaffas, he’d been so lost in his own pleasure he’d missed Bull’s climax. Somehow he felt robbed, a heavy sigh escaping him that he had no hope of hiding from Bull.
Sure enough, Bull shifted, his sated cock slipping from Dorian’s ass to present him with an entirely new sense of loss, and turned Dorian so he could look down at him. “Everything ok?”
Disappointed I didn’t feel the moment you filled my ass with your come. Yeah, no. Just wished I’d have heard the sounds you make when you come. Better but still…
He finally settled for a sheepish grin and a roughly muttered, “Sorry I blacked out on you.”
Bull laughed, the sound echoing through Dorian’s dark apartment as he squeezed Dorian tighter. “Don’t be sorry for that, says I did something right.”
“Yes, well, I still wished I’d...that is, I missed…” Fasta vass, could this get more embarrassing?
Bull smiled knowingly. “Wanted to feel me fill you up, huh? Definitely kinky.”
“No,” Dorian hissed, a warm flush heating his cheeks. He dropped his eyes until he was staring at Bull’s throat, or more specifically the dark purple bruise that curled along his collarbone. A bruise Dorian had left. “Well, maybe.”
“Nothing we can’t remedy next round,” Bull assured him, his eye looking down the line of pearl buttons on Dorian’s chest. “Might want to get rid of the clothes for that though.”
Dorian chuffed, his gaze skimming down Bull’s chest and abs to where Bull’s cock hung, heavy and spent, against his thigh as he shook his head. “I might need a week to even think about allowing that monster cock of yours near my ass again.”
“Awwww, come on, ‘Vint,” Bull entreated, shaking his hips so his cock swung free. “Way I see it we have at least six months to make up for.”
“Six months,” Dorian sputtered, his own cock twitching in interest despite his words. “You’ll kill me.”
Bull chuckled, his hands skimming down Dorian’s body to cup his ass before lifting him, Dorian’s legs curling instinctively around Bull’s waist. “Ah, but what a way to go.”
Wrapping one hand around Bull’s horn, Dorian yanked him closer and pressed a hard kiss to his lips.
What a way to go indeed.