The finches and thrushes were already singing, despite the darkness. It was time to go.
Perched upon the ladder, Finn took one last look at him. Cullen was on his stomach, his head at the foot of the bed. The rough wool blanket covered very little of his body. He smiled at her, sleepy and satisfied. He had been no help while she quickly dressed, pulling her back toward the bed while she lost her balance, hopping on one foot, the other stuck in her breeches. Neither of them wanted the day to begin. Now she waved goodbye, and hoped the day would go by quickly.
Below, in his office, it was cold and quiet. Finn shivered, and paused before leaving, listening for footsteps or voices outside. There was nothing she could hear but the stillness of dawn. She scratched behind an ear—
—his lips had been there, and his tongue, his teeth on her earlobe, his breath hot against her ear, sighing, whispering, begging—
Finn pushed open the heavy door. The chill of the early morning began to cool her flushed face.
She looked around the ramparts and saw no one on duty. Odd to see the wall-walk so empty, but it was early still, and bitter, and a fog crept over the battlements. The sky was a dull gray, the rising sun hidden by thick clouds. Rain would come soon. Better to sneak back quickly, before anyone could see. She leaned back against the wall and gripped the cold stone behind her—
—her hands gripped his hair while he kissed her neck, wet and biting, he wound his way down her body and parted her legs, she shuddered when he tasted her, her fingers wound into his curls and pulled tight as he licked her, his rough hands grabbed at her thighs as she writhed and moaned beneath him—
Finn breathed in the raw morning air. Her body had just left that bed, but her mind was still there, and all of her wanted to return. But this wasn’t the time. There was a day to get on with. As she walked away, she pulled her leather jacket tight around her, and pulled her breeches up from around her hips—
—his hands were on her hips and her legs spread around him, he held onto her as she ground against him, he thrust from below her, his head fell back and the bedstead rattled and struck the stone walls, and he grunted and whined and cried out, louder than she had ever heard, he let himself go, he was undone by her and she throbbed and shook and clawed at him and joined his cries—
She stopped, and turned toward the voice. The Iron Bull stood next to the room where he slept, when he slept, his thick arms folded across his chest. He smiled at her through the drifting fog. She had not seen him. Obviously.
“Morning, Bull,” she said, trying her best to sound relaxed. “You’re up quite early.”
“I haven’t been to bed yet. You’re up early,” he said.
“Ah, well, I like to get up before the day begins.” She nervously brushed her hair behind her ears. “See the sun rise.”
Bull looked up at the mounting rainclouds and flat, dark sky. “Right.”
He leaned back against the wall behind him. “It’s healthy to get up early. Early to bed, early to rise.” He scratched at the dark beard under his chin. “I like the bed part best,” he said with a smile. “Don’t you?”
She forced a smile. “Not necessarily.”
“I mean, you look healthy,” he said, gesturing to her. “Flushed. Must be getting a lot of exercise.”
She nodded, her lips held tight. The damp, icy morning chilled her, and she was becoming quite wary of Bull’s tone.
“It’s a little cold for a morning walk, though,” Bull said.
“Oh. I like it,” she said. She did not like it. Everyone knew that. And even if Bull didn’t, he could plainly see her shivering.
“Sure,” he said, nodding. “It’s… brisk. Penetrating.”
She sighed. “Yes.”
“Yeah, well, good for you,” Bull said happily. “You just gotta grab onto that day and ride it for all its worth.” He smiled at her.
Finn stared at him, hard. “I get it. You heard us.”
“Ohhhh yeah,” he said, his smile widening.
She contemplated how much it would hurt if she jumped over the parapet to escape this conversation.
“Were you out here the whole time?” she asked.
“Just caught the end, I think.” He leaned in close and said in a low voice, “Don’t be embarrassed, it sounded good.”
All of her flush returned, and then some. “Th— That doesn’t help me be less embarrassed.”
Bull shook his head. “I’m surprised. Dalish camps are so small I would’ve thought you’d hear everything.”
She sighed. “This is… different.”
How wasn’t it different? Because this wasn’t a Dalish camp, hidden by trees, muffled by rivers. Because they were here to help people, to work at saving the world. Because Cullen was sick, and she could not heal him. Because he was a human and she was an elf and something still frightened her about that. Because she had never, ever felt this way before, about anyone.
“It just is,” she said.
Bull rolled his eyes. “Well, it’s about time.”
“What do you mean?”
He pushed off the stone wall. “We’ve all had to watch you two sigh and drool over each other like a couple of lonely kids since Haven. Always wondered what you were waiting for.”
She had not known it had been so obvious. Things had changed, but it had happened so fast, she felt all that confusion and fear so keenly, even now. “It’s not that simple, Bull.”
He narrowed his eyes in confusion. “Actually, it kind of is.“ He clapped her on the arm, softly. “Anyway, congrats on the sex. I’m gonna get some shuteye.”
Cold and tired, she attempted to sort through her thoughts, unsuccessfully, as Bull walked away.
But he paused at his door. “By the way,” he said, “you see that window?” He pointed to a leaden window which Finn thought was in the library. She nodded.
“That’s where Dorian reads. He can look right into Cullen’s office from there. And he does. Just a head’s up. Goodnight,” Bull sang, and waved to her and shut the door behind him.
She stared at the window, a small, dark shape in the fog. Dorian had said something to her… A thing for strapping young templars, I see. He hadn’t meant see literally. Had he?
She marched along the walkway, through the rotunda, and up to the library, hoping all the time that Dorian was asleep in his chair, so she could pull him up by the ear and ask him.