"Good boy," Bull says in that rumbling voice of his, squeezing the back of Dorian's neck like he's rewarding a common dog. It's condescending, utterly offensive, and yet Dorian feels a rush of excitement roll over his skin.
Good boy. How quickly he falls apart at those words.
In this dark intimate place inside himself, it's too close to what he's always craved. To be good. A brilliant mage amongst the dull and witless. An honorable man amongst cultists and slavers.
A good son.
And that's the heart of it, isn't it? His deepest wound, cut open and drained in the space between himself and Bull.
Bull taps Dorian's temple, smile affectionate but eyes intent.
"What's going on in there, 'vint?"
That nickname from anyone else would sting, but his amatus is a master alchemist, turning pain into something sweeter.
"I'm thinking of how disarming you are, literally and figuratively," he replies, smirking away the sincerity. Bull presses a thumb to his lips, a reminder, then leans in to steal a biting kiss.
It's a rule, one of the first and the hardest for Dorian to follow. No masks here.
"Look at me, Kadan. Let me have you."
Kneel, bend, kiss me, swallow, tell me how you touch yourself, count the marks I give you. He gains Bull's approval so easily with these simple tasks. He is an instrument of pleasure, channeling it as he channels fire.
Shivering, he writhes as Bull bites a path of flowering bruises from his neck to the insides of his thighs.
"Spread. Nice and wide."
He does, burning.
"Gorgeous. This fine ass stretches like it's been aching to take me," Bull grins, fingers inside, "It's no wonder Sera keeps her arrows in here." Obscene and self-satisfied, and Dorian is such a fool for finding it endearing.
"Yes, well, my generous ass and I have been waiting for what feels like centuries so if you please," he gasps out, arching at the rub of a knuckle.
"Don't rush me," Bull growls, withdrawing with a rough pinch to his scrotum. Dorian would be indignant were he not desperate to get fucked.
There are so many wonderful things about being thoroughly pounded by the Iron Bull. The intensity, the depth, the relentless rhythm, the delicious and horrible ache in his back the next day. But the words, the words are his favorite.
He tries to suppress his own moans to listen over the creak of the bed.
"Sweet boy. Beautiful boy. Taking it just right for me. Mine. Mine."
Good, I'm good, he chants in his head, floating. In the daylight, Dorian tries to prove to others that he is worthy with every battle, gesture, word. In this bed, he is forgiven.
Later, when he's baptized with sweat and shaking, Bull presses him close and tells Dorian that he's perfect.
By the maker, it hurts. The longing is too bright, and he's so small in Bull's massive arms.
"Be easy, Kadan," and it's the second hardest rule to follow.
When he finally rests, dozing as his lover bathes him, he dreams of big, scarred hands carving wood into shapes. Birds and dogs and horses. He holds them to himself, puts them in an ornate, shining box for safe keeping.
Somewhere outside, Bull strokes his hair.