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Let Them Talk

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"I have to say, Bull, I didn't expect you to willingly bed a Vint," Dorian drawled.

The sheets were filthy, a stained sex kind of filthy, sweat and wet spots and the corner Dorian had used to mop up after Bull had spent himself. Dorian was still drunk enough to find it comfortable, the buzzed bliss killed his flight instinct. It was the only reason he was still in bed beside the man he'd just fucked. This wasn't a thing he did, this was every definition of a bad idea. Running was a very vital part of not getting caught in the act, and not getting caught was an age-old habit that he adhered to. It was part of why he was still breathing, even after all those years on the run with nothing, no one to watch his back and enemies around every corner. But with enough ale, getting caught didn't seem quite as terrible, as if a layer of varnished importance had been scoured from the surface of this foul act. Stealing souls and corrupting the good swordsmen of Skyhold had never felt quite so peaceful.

"It's not hard to do what you don't expect." Bull had lit up an acrid cigar as thick as his thumb. The smoke collected along the rafters above them, added to the general gloom of the broom closet bedroom Bull had claimed as his own. It was behind the stables, between the Inn and where the Chargers slept. He had declined the private inner circle quarters the Inquisitor had offered in favor of something closer to what his men endured. He smoked stale cheap cigars and slept on bedding filled with straw and he loved it, he loved this forsaken tiny room and everything it stood for.

Dorian didn't know what he'd expected of a Ben-Hassrath, but it wasn't this. It wasn't the companionship and the loyalty and the thick-skulled captain masquerading as Iron Bull. He’d never expected to bed him, and now he’d never expected to stay.

“What’s that supposed to mean?” Dorian huffed. “Are you suggesting something about my worldly expectations?”

“Only that you want everything you like to fit into a very small box. And I don’t,” Bull said. He grinned around the cigar, flashed an impressive set of Qunari teeth chipped from battle and too many bar fights.

“It’s a very nice small box. You’d really like it in there if your shoulders weren’t so big,” Dorian quipped.

Bull reached over the side of the cot and tapped ash from the cigar onto the floor. He grinned, the smug son of a bitch, and pointed his chin at the empty cask of wine sitting next to the haphazard pile of Dorian’s clothes on the floor.

“You know I’ve got some other ideas on fitting things in small places,” Bull said. “You get us more wine and I’ll give you a round two that’d make those bar wenches blush.”

Dorian choked on his own tongue, laughed, and suddenly he had a reason to get to his feet. Half-way through disentangling his limbs from the sheets his caution caught up with him and he slowed, lingered with his feet flat on the cold stone floor and his naked back to Bull. He stared at his pile of clothes, his trousers and his shirt and the stylized garments that made up the mask of who he was to this Inquisition.

“The barkeep will notice if I come down for wine and disappear again,” Dorian hazarded. He’d lost the playful tone. “There will be talk.”

There were a lot of things Dorian was expecting then--dismissals, silence, maybe even Iron Bull seeing the folly and telling him to leave, as would be proper--but none of them came. Instead, Bull had the gall to laugh at him. He laughed so hard, so loud, that Dorian was absolutely certain everyone on the floor heard it. And yes, some of their neighbours were Chargers and certainly didn’t care what Bull did with his time. But not everyone was friendly, and no one knew how to keep a secret.

“Let them talk!” Bull declared. Again, certainly loud enough for everyone in the vicinity to hear. Especially with that rumbling timber in his voice. “Let them wonder about it, that Dorian slept in the Iron Bull’s quarters all night! I’d like to see what they think they can say. They give you trouble, and you tell me.”

Dorian, absolutely scandalized, had the grace to blush at how bawdy that was--or how strangely charming Bull could be, with his lopsided smile and his brute strength solutions. Bull wasn’t offering to protect him, he was offering to kill whatever rumor-mongers wanted to shame the Tevinter living in Skyhold.

That was...sweet, actually. Dorian didn’t know what to say.

So he joked.

“That’s ingenious, Bull. Absolute gold. We set the rumor mill on full-throttle and kill everyone that talks about it! We’ll defeat the Inquisition ourselves, single-handedly. There will be no one left but Solas and that fretting old biddy from the chantry.” Dorian got to his feet, fished his trousers out of the pile and pulled them on. He forwent his undergarments, mostly because he had no idea where they’d ended up, but also because they’d just be coming off again before the night was through.

As he laced up his fly, he heard Bull moving around on the cot. Before he could even look up, he got a hard smack right on the ass, hard enough to make him jump but only a fraction of the strength he’d seen Bull employ. Still, it stung. And that was enough to convince Dorian that maybe getting frisky and taking risks wasn’t really a bad thing. Not entirely, anyway.

“You worry about shadows too much,” Bull said. “Hurry up, I’m thirsty.”

“Really, I’m so sorry for you,” Dorian huffed. “Patience, dear Bull, is a virtue.” He leaned over, snatched up the empty wine bottle, and headed for the door. He was shirtless, shoeless, and found that with Bull on his side he didn’t care.

For the first time in his life, perhaps, he didn’t care.