At first, it had just been a drunken make-out session. Which, yes, had been embarrassing, but played off easily enough as dubious judgement on both their parts while drunk. Also, it might have been a dare, Dorian wasn’t sure. And at least he hadn’t gone back with the Bull to his room after. He briefly remembered actually being the one to propose that idea, but Bull had quickly turned him down.
Even though, of all the things Dorian vaguely remembered about that night, one of his clearest memories was of a very prominent bulge against his backside as he was perched on Bull’s lap as they were making out. Master of self-control, that Bull, Dorian had to concede.
Not that that self-control lasted very long. Because there had somehow been a second make-out session in a secluded area of the tavern, and this time Dorian couldn’t even pretend either of them were under the influence of alcohol. And also that make-out session had led to… well, other things.
Fine, sex. Yes, it had led to sex, in the Bull’s quarters, a very run-down room on the ramparts with the only serviceable furniture being the bed and maybe half a dresser.
And if that hadn’t been shocking enough, it somehow became a rather regular thing. Exchanged looks, hidden touches, veiled teases and once again, Dorian will have somehow ended up in the Bull’s quarters, not against his will, but certainly he was stumped as to why he couldn’t resist the Qunari.
“You see us as this forbidden, terrible thing and you’re inclined to do the forbidden,” the Iron Bull had once said while they were wandering some countryside with the Inquisitor.
Dorian had been appalled then, but the Bull’s parting words – “All I’m saying is, you ever want to explore that, my door is always open” – had certainly left its impression on him.
It had been a slippery slope from the beginning; Dorian just refused to admit it for the longest time. He was not usually a man to do things half-assed, and if Dorian had more sense of shame, he wouldn’t be laughing at his own terrible pun.
“Something funny?” Bull asked, almost hurt that Dorian was laughing while he was making his way down Dorian’s body.
“Not really, no,” Dorian admitted, his hands gripping onto Bull’s horns tightly as his hips pumped upwards, trying to get Bull’s attention.
“You were laughing,” Bull accused.
“At the absurdity of…this,” Dorian waved his hand around, gesturing at the two of them.
Bull stopped, his hands still on Dorian’s hips, his lips no longer marking Dorian’s skin. “If you want to stop-”
“Yes, say the watchword, I know,” Dorian said. He bit his lips. Bull watched him expectantly. “I’m not saying the watchword. Get on with it,” Dorian chastised. Bull grinned at him, the kind of grin that makes Dorian want to pull him up and kiss him and Maker, isn’t that just embarrassing to admit.
But the Bull was already back at work, mercilessly teasing Dorian, touching everywhere but his painfully hard dick.
Dorian knows by now he shouldn’t expect mercy anytime soon.
The first time they had sex, it had been normal sex, or at least just the kind of sex Dorian was used to. Dorian had thought it was a new experience, since he has never had sex with a Qunari before and let him tell you, their size and girth was impressive everywhere. Bull had been so patient with him, preparing him, opening him up that by the time Bull slowly slid into Dorian, it had been just on the right side of too painful. That was probably when Dorian realized even though this was their first time together, it was certainly not going to be their last. He’ll take his pleasures where he can get them, thank you very much.
The second time, when Dorian had worked up the courage to proposition Bull again, Bull had looked very somber. Dorian was already crafting up what to say when Bull inevitably turned him down.’ What a fool I am’, he had thought, ‘thinking there would be more’.
When Bull spoke, it was not exactly what he expected.
“Let’s talk about this somewhere more… private,” Bull had said. Dorian, already thinking this was the end, almost irrationally thought, ‘Well at least he has the decency to turn me down in private.’
But that conversation did not go where Dorian thought it was going. As it turned out, Bull was full of surprises, defying Dorian’s expectations of him at every turn.
Bull had explained to Dorian about watchwords and what it means and why specifically he, Dorian, would need one.
Dorian wasn’t an idiot, he knew what watchwords were and what they were used for. Rebel heretic archivist, remember? He read a lot. In practice though…..
He wasn’t sure what to choose, so he let the Iron Bull pick one. Katoh, the Bull told him, and Dorian almost smiled at that. He knew enough about the Qunari language to know what that meant. It was a simple enough word. And literal too. Yet Dorian would never yell out the Qunari word for stop in the middle of sex, so it was definitely useful.
The first time they had sex with a watchword safely established had been….eye-opening. He could see why it was not for everyone but by the Maker, he could also see why people indulged in it. At that point, it became less of a slippery slope and more the edge of a cliff.
The way Bull treated him during their…sessions, and soon after, the way Bull treated him even outside of the bedroom, Dorian was very uncomfortable of its implications. He felt himself teetering on the edge of the previously mentioned metaphorical cliff, and if Bull didn’t stop being so gentle and supportive and irrationally funny, he was going to fall off that cliff at any moment.
Mercy, he pleaded, but his pleas fell on deaf ears. He wasn’t sure at this point if he was pleading mercy to be given release or if he was pleading mercy before he fell off that cliff.
Bull finally picked Dorian up and flopped him onto the bed. Grabbing a silk kerchief from the half-dresser, he loosely bound Dorian’s arms to the top of the bedframe. The Bull stepped back for a moment to admire the mage currently in his bed. Dorian curled his legs to the side, suddenly feeling self-conscious. To be honest, he felt a little like a trussed up turkey on Feast Day. But then Bull’s arms were on either side of his head and the Bull was leaning down and kissing him, his wide lips on Dorian’s, gentle like a whisper but his tongue was doing all sorts of things to Dorian’s tongue and like Bull once said, he would conquer Dorian. It was a losing battle, Dorian had to admit, even as he gave as good as he got. The Iron Bull broke the kiss first, but he wasn’t done kissing Dorian. His kisses went down Dorian’s jaw, to his neck, slowly and painstakingly going downwards, worshipping Dorian’s body. It was a particular favourite move of Dorian’s and the Bull was making full use of it.
Dorian’s whole body felt like a raw, open nerve yet he found himself wanting more, more, more. Burning, a white-hot heat starting in his belly and slowly spreading out to the rest of his body, making him feel like he’s on fire. He arched his body, stretching his bound arms above him as much as he could. He watched the Iron Bull pepper his torso with butterfly kisses even as he slowly worked a finger into Dorian.
But when Bull looked up, his eyes focused on something above Dorian’s head and a brief look of surprise crossed his face. Dorian strained to look at what Bull was looking at.
The curtains above him were on fire.
“Katoh! Katoh!” Dorian yelped, in a manner so undignified he was sure he would regret it later when he had time to stop to think about it.
But the Iron Bull was already tugging at the bindings around Dorian’s arms. Now free, Dorian shot up and with a throw of his hands, froze the entire curtains. Well that had ruined the mood entirely.
“Bit of an overreaction,” Bull murmured.
Dorian turned to glare at Bull, as if to say, ‘this is all your fault.’
The Iron Bull looked amusedly at Dorian. “Never had that happen before.”
He continued glaring at Bull silently, hoping that the big oaf could feel the daggers he was trying to channel with his glare.
“But then again, never did it with a mage before.”
Dorian’s reflexes kicked into high gear. “Of course not, because we mages usually run in the opposite direction when faced with a big, blundering savage whose people are famed for binding and controlling their mages to an inch of their lives,” he retorted testily. But the moment he finished saying it, he regretted his words. Bull has never been anything but welcoming and…well, more than welcoming, to him and it really wasn’t fair of him to say such things to Bull.
“Hm, then again, I’ve never met a mage like you before,” the Bull replied rather nonchalantly, either choosing to ignore Dorian’s previous remark or just taking it in his stride.
The Tevinter mage couldn’t help but feel a little indignant. He had felt bad for a moment there because he was worried he had hurt Bull’s feelings! He really shouldn’t have, knowing the Iron Bull and how he never seemed to be affected by any of Dorian’s scathing remarks.
“Why do I even bother wi-” Dorian began ranting but was cut short when the Bull reached out and pulled Dorian close. He enveloped Dorian with one of his massive arms in a loose embrace and tenderly kissed him on his forehead.
“I’m glad I met you,” Bull muttered into Dorian’s hair.
Whatever Dorian wanted to say before died on his lips. In fact, he damn near melted into the embrace. He pressed himself into the hollow between Bull’s arm and shoulder and against his wide chest, reveling in the warmth of Bull’s body. Just one more moment of this, he told himself. One more time. One more night. Before it all inevitably came to an end.
Because it was going to end, Dorian was sure of this. A Qunari – even one who is now a Tal-Vashoth – and a Tevinter mage? The whole idea was ludicrous, preposterous! Dorian had knew when this whole thing started that it would have to be temporary. Too much history between their people, too much blood shed for too long for this to go anywhere further than….what they currently had. Dorian was reminded of an old legend he had read as a young man, about two lovers from rival families. Both of them had ended up dead, out of silliness and a naïve belief in the power of love. Fighting for what’s in your heart is all good and noble, but one must pick and choose one’s battles wisely, Dorian thought, whether in war or in love.
And who said anything about love anyway, Dorian thought, annoyed at himself for even thinking about it that way.
“I can hear you thinking from here,” Bull said, in that soft, gentle tone of his, the one Dorian has never heard him use outside of the bedroom. Pressed against his chest, Dorian could feel the words rumble out of Bull.
“I’m always thinking. A sign of a smart man, you see,” Dorian mumbled into Bull’s chest, his reply more out of habit than anything.
“What are you thinking about?” Bull asked, once again ignoring Dorian’s remark. It would aggravate Dorian more if he didn’t realize most of his retorts to Bull were only half-baked attempts to get a rise out of him nowadays.
Dorian kept quiet for a moment and pushed himself away from Bull’s chest.
Bull let go of the embrace willingly, leaning back to look at Dorian properly. He was waiting for a response, that much was clear. Dorian just…didn’t know what to tell him.
Finally Dorian tried for the truth.
“Where do you see this going?” Dorian asked, tilting his head to the side, not really wanting to look Bull right in the eye to see him answer the loaded question.
Bull was silent just long enough that Dorian began to doubt his own question. “It doesn’t have to go anywhere,” Dorian began to rant, and he hated that he let his nerves get the better of him, “I’ve been a port in a storm before. I completely understa-”
“You’re not a port in a storm,” Bull interrupted, his voice gentle, so gentle that Dorian wanted to lash out, make him angry, anything to keep himself from falling deeper.
“Kadan, look at me,” Bull said. Dorian thought about resisting for a split second, but he turned to look at him.
Bull tilted Dorian’s face up by the chin slightly.
“Kadan?” Dorian asked because he didn’t recognize that word and his curiousity always got the better of him.
“Kadan,” Bull agreed, to a question that wasn’t even asked. “My heart,” Bull continued, and how can he be saying that as Dorian’s heart broke when he realized what it meant. He was terrified of what it meant. He might as well have just jumped off the proverbial cliff, let alone fall off it. He had spent so long wondering what it would be like to have something more and being so scared of it never happening that he was now scared of letting it happen. What would he do? What could he do? His thoughts were racing in every direction.
But Bull, ever so thoughtful, was watching Dorian’s reactions. And Dorian knew he was not half as good at keeping his emotions off his face as Bull with his Ben-Hassrath training.
He had been so confident, but now Bull was hesitant. “This does not have to go anywhere, if you don’t want it to,” Bull said, letting go of Dorian’s chin.
Without thinking, Dorian grabbed Bull’s hand. “No, I-” he started, but realized he had no idea what he was going to say. He took a deep breath and tried again. “No, I- I want this to go somewhere. It might just be the most foolish thing I’ve ever done but… I do want this. I want there to be….an us. Right now. And after…” he gestured aimlessly as a grin slowly grew on the Iron Bull’s face.
“Don’t let me be the only one making a fool out of myself here,” Dorian said, a little irritated now.
“Kadan,” Bull repeated again, as he lightly pushed Dorian down onto the bed again and started kissing him with a renewed fervour. Dorian’s heart stuttered again, but this time it swelled with joy.
“You’re happier now, Dorian,” Cole stated in that slightly unnerving way of his that Dorian had come to enjoy.
“Is that what that light, tingly feeling is? I suppose you’re right,” Dorian cheerfully replied.
“Wishing and wanting, but wary, woeful. What if this never goes anywhere?” Cole rattled.
“But it did,” Dorian grinned.
“Now you’re smiling! It’s good,” Cole said, the spirit himself now grinning too.
“I’m happy too,” Bull pointed out.
“Of course you are,” Dorian said fondly, reaching up and patting Bull’s cheek, “Any man would be happy to have me.”
The Inquisitor, walking ahead of them, just laughed.