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Cold Clarity

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It was another lonely night in the depths of Skyhold for Leto and Dorian, though they kept each other company. The elven commander was fast on his way to being drunk and sadder than usual if the way he stared morosely into his goblet was an indication. He had the company of a handsome man, good drink and had eaten well at the Wintersend party. It mattered little for he still felt alone.

He settled back against the headboard and glanced at his companion. “Copper for your thoughts, amicus.”

“Doubt they’re worth that little, or that much Leto.” Dorian said as he grabbed a fresh bottle and joined the elf on his bed. “Just pondering what’s to come with another year spent in the South, with our overlord, I mean Inquisitor still in charge.”

“War more than likely, or worse. It seems his demon is only appeased with violence lately. I should keep the promise I made in Kirkwall before he gets us all killed.” Leto said quietly, startled at the feel of Dorian’s hand on his arm and a curious stare. “What?”

“Promise you made in Kirkwall?” the magister asked softly as he topped up their drinks.

“Yes, I made a promise that I’ve failed to keep. That if that demon got the better of him, I would...take care of him and free him of it. It was one made when I was still Captain of the Guard, before Varric took the crown; but after he slew Cullen in a fit of rage.” Leto sighed as he stared out the window, the moonlight giving his markings a soft glow.

“I should have killed him sooner, he’s unstable as he is now. Yet something always stays my hand when I should put him out of his misery. I don’t know why Dorian.” Leto confessed before setting his glass aside and stretching.

“Is it because he’s all you have left of your time in Kirkwall, amicus?” Dorian asked softly.

“Maybe, or maybe my heart is softer than I’d like. It's not as if he cares for me, or anything we have dealt with after his destruction. That damned demon drives him to distraction, that will get us killed and the Inquisition run out of here and burned in tales to come well after we’re all dead and gone.” the elven warrior reached up to rub absently at the ring he wore on a silverite chain, his last memento of Endrin that he never took off.

“Possibly, but either way he’s still a danger and I’m still a failure.” he said as he continued to run his fingers over the ridges of the Hawke crest until the warrior grew tired of holding to his past.

“You’re not a failure Leto, you’ve made out pretty well for yourself. You’re too hard on yourself you know.” Dorian said as he reached over to refill the elf’s goblet. “Come now, its a new year in a couple of hours, surely you have something you wish to change; talk to me.”

The elf laughed at himself before reaching for his drink. “I wish to not be so alone in this damned place. I wish for the fortitude to keep my word and let go move on.” Leto admitted with a glance at the other man.

“I’m here Leto, you’re not alone.” Dorian reminded him gently.

“You know what I mean Dorian, we’re not...I mean, we’re my amicus, you are my friend and you keep me from going to those dark places. But we’re...not…” the elven warrior trailed off as he caught the expression on the magister’s face.

“Dorian, you mean a lot to me but you don’t feel more for me than, this, do you?” Leto asked as he stared into the grey eyes with a mix of fear and hope.

The other man glanced away, his expression flickering from worry, to annoyance and finally to determination as he looked to the elf and smiled. “Actually….I do. It snuck up on me, but I never spoke what was in my heart because of another that still holds yours.”

Leto closed his eyes as he guiltily fondled the ring around his neck at Dorian’s words. “I...I never thought you’d feel more for me than this. Please look at me.” the warrior gently turned the mage’s face towards him and gave a smile.

“Let me down gently then, no point in going into a new year on a sour note.” Dorian replied as he looked away.

“No, we’re not going into this on a bad note. I would let you into my heart, if you wish. I have been afraid of feeling love for another since that day in Kirkwall. But you have been here for me, kept me whole and present when I wanted to give up.” Leto replied as he gently nudged the mage to look him in the eye.

“What is it you wish of me then? To move from amicus, to …amatus?” Dorian asked bluntly.

“Yes, if that is where we’ve moved to after all this time. It’s been a few years, and I’m sick of being alone.” the elven warrior admitted. “So, let’s start the year off together, in every sense of the word?” Leto asked.

Dorian looked at him finally, a smile lighting his grey eyes. “Yes, let’s ring in the new year like that, amatus” he said before leaning in to kiss the elven fighter, a low moan running through him as he felt a hand in his hair and another tugging him closer.

Leto finally let go, smiling, and actually looking happy for the first time in years. “Thank you.” he whispered before rolling to his back and tugging Dorian down for more kisses, just as the fortresses’ bells tolled for the death of the old year, and welcomed the new.

“Happy First day, amatus” Leto said as he felt Dorian’s arms around him and he felt peaceful, and content as they watched the sky light up with coloured lights from the mages who’d braved the cold to celebrate a new year simply because they were free to do so. Their lights shone bright through their window as the two men rung in the new year in a time honored way well until the sun peeked through the winter sky.