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Reading was usually something that Dorian really enjoyed. He could spend countless of hours curled up in his chair in the library, plowing through books and taking notes of things that were of particular interest to him (or his companions). But it was currently hard enjoying his reading.

It felt as if every damned orifice of his head was clogged up with mucus, and he wouldn’t be surprised if that actually was the case. He had spent most of the night coughing and trying to free his poor airways. He blamed their last mission. Maybe he had picked up the plague from corpses in the water.

It certainly did feel as if he was dying.

“Not again,” he groaned as he wiped the book after yet another sneeze. Small spots of snot and saliva were all over the pages. He felt bad for the poor bastards who’d pick up the book after him (unlikely, considering the book was written in Tevene), “I’m going to die.”

“Dorian?”

The Tevinter mage turned his head and yelped as he realized that the Inquisitor, Fen Lavellan, was standing just next to him. As said, not only his nose was clogged up, his ears were pretty bad, too. It felt as if he was in a small invisible room, making all sounds very distant to him.

“Ah, Fen, what can I do for you?” he tried to sound charming, but even he could hear how silly his voice sounded thanks his stuffy nose.

“I just –“ Fen yelped and took a step back as Dorian unexpectedly sneezed loudly once more.

Everyone in the tower had to be aware of Dorian’s cold by now, he had lost count of the sneezes and he was pretty sure that a bunch of people had left because of him. A distant “Maker bless you!” could be heard from above. Leliana, once more. Dorian had ceased to call back after the fourth time.

“I’m so very sorry,” Dorian embarrassingly wiped his nose with a handkerchief and looked at Fen again, this time keeping the lower half of his face covered with the piece of fabric, for her safety, “What was it you wanted from me?”

“I… was going to ask if you were able to come with me for a small mission…” she trailed off, looking slightly concerned, “But considering that you’re sick, I think that you’ll be better off here, lethallin.”

Dorian huffed and mildly glared at her as he stood up, ready to head out if it was needed.

“What? You think a cold will stop me from helping you? That I’m not fit for fight? I’ll let you know that I’ve fought in far worse conditions than this!”

“Well, if you really want to come to the Storm Coast with me–“

Oh. The Storm Coast. Those words changed everything.

Dorian groaned and ungracefully fell back into the warm armchair. Screw his dignity, if there was something that he did not have the patience for, it was the damned Storm Coast and everything it included. Just thinking about it almost made him feel seasick, and he did certainly not need to feel any worse.

“Actually, I think I might have caught the plague,” Dorian shuddered as he thought back on their last mission in the Fallow Mire. He had started to feel a bit sick once they had returned to Skyhold. It couldn’t be good to wade through a bog full of diseased people, “I’m very sorry, Inquisitor, but I’m afraid my time with you is coming to an end…”

Fen snorted and rolled her eyes at the dramatic display, “You could just have said that you’re sick and not feeling up to it, da’len. No need to be so dramatic.”

Dorian pouted and glared, resisting the urge to throw the closest book at her. Maybe if it hadn’t been a heavy encyclopedia. He was fairly sure that the book simply would land at her feet if he tried to throw it.

“I’m not a child.”

“Well you for sure act like one at times,” she said with an amused look on her face and laughed as Dorian made a rude gesture her way, “Exactly like that!”

“Very funny,” he muttered and sneezed into his handkerchief again, “Ugh, Maker’s breath. Well, you should be on your way. Do go ask Vivienne. I’m sure she’ll be thrilled to experience the marvels of the Storm Coast with you! Just tell her to keep a firm grip on that hat of hers, it would be a shame if it took off to the sea…”

“You would pay to see that happen!”

“And you wouldn’t, Inquisitor?”

“Who do you take me for? I’d never!”

Fen feigned a scandalized look on her face and Dorian couldn’t help laughing but regretted it since it triggered a fit of coughs. He was pretty alright throughout day when it came to the coughing, but the nights were horrible.

“You better leave before I spread this plague to you,” Dorian groaned and reached for the cup of tea on the table, it didn’t taste of anything to him but it did make his sore throat feel a tiny bit better.

“You’re being dramatic,” Fen stuck her tongue out at him but she sighed and looked concerned after watching him for a while, “I’m sorry about dragging you with me to the Fallow Mire… I know that you aren’t a big fan of water.”

Dorian snorted but offered her a halfhearted smile, “To be completely honest with you, I’m not much of a fan of any of the places we go.”

“Oh trust me, I know. I’m the one who gets to listen to all of you complain all the time,” Fen lightly said and patted his shoulder without getting too close to him, “And you should be in bed! Sitting here isn’t going to make you any better!”

“I’ll be fine,” Dorian rolled his eyes and gently swatted her hand away, “And don’t touch me, getting you sick will only give Mother Giselle more reasons to despise me.”

Fen just laughed at him as she backed away and gracefully bowed before him, “Can’t allow that to happen. Master Pavus, please stay alive until next time.”

“I’ll try my best, my lady,” he replied and did a far less gracious bow from his chair, which also ended up with another sneeze, “Just, get going, I’ll be fine. Just drowning in my own phlegm.”

After a final wave the Inquisitor ran down the stairs, leaving him alone with his book once more.

With a sigh he looked at the book, not feeling all that excited about getting back to it. But there was no point going back to his room. He’d never be able to properly fall asleep, and he’d just be bored. Maybe he could be productive for a bit longer.

“Now, where were we?” he murmured to himself as he shifted in the armchair and opened up the book again.

Just a few more pages.

 


 

 

“Dorian?” Bull called as he entered the library.

It was late and there didn’t seem to be anyone in sight. He had met Helisma, the tranquil researcher, on his way up but otherwise everyone seemed to have left since it was quite dark and silent. Which he was glad for, he got way too many looks the times he visited Dorian. There simply wasn’t any privacy, and even if the onlookers thought they were being discrete with their glances, they for sure wasn’t. Once a spy, always a spy.

Bull raised an eyebrow as he approached the small nook that Dorian usually would be seated at. And he certainly was, just less elegant than Bull was used to seeing him.

The mage was slumped down in the chair, a book covering his face and he was murmuring quietly in his sleep.

“…Dorian?” Bull repeated as he approached the mage, but he still didn’t get any response. He seemed to be out cold.

With a sigh he grabbed the book and carefully lifted it from the mage’s face. Yeah, he was for sure deep asleep. And his face looked like a mess. There were several marks from the book on his face, the moustache was slightly askew and Bull was fairly sure that there was both snot and saliva on Dorian’s face. And he had definitely been drooling on the book.

He put the book aside and gently shook Dorian, “Hey, time to get to bed,” he murmured but Dorian’s head only lolled to the side, “Hey. Dorian.”

Bull had to admit that he felt a bit mean for waking him up. Normally he’d scoop Dorian up and just carry him back to bed without waking him, but since the Inquisitor had let him know that the mage was sick, he wanted to make sure that he had been taking care of himself and wasn't passed out because of his cold.

“Dorian, come on. You aren’t that much of a heavy sleeper.”

“Tired,” the raspy reply came after a while, “Let me die in peace.”

Bull chuckled, “So you are alive.”

“Not for long,” Dorian tiredly rubbed his eyes and squinted as he looked up at Iron Bull, “What time is it?”

“Late. You’re the only one left here,” Bull softly said and put his hand on Dorian’s forehead, “You’re hot.”

“Thanks for finally noticing,” Dorian said with a smirk on his face but the flirting lost a bit of its charm as he felt the need to blow his nose, “Ugh.”

“I noticed a long time ago. But really, you have a fever,” Bull sounded concerned, “Boss told me to make sure you’d not end up spending the night here. Didn’t think you were this sick.”

“Remind me to never ever go to the Fallow Mire again,” Dorian grumbled as he tried to force himself out of the chair, but the moment he stood up everything went black for a while and his legs felt like jelly.

He would have hit the floor, or simply fallen back into the armchair if Iron Bull hadn’t pulled Dorian into his arms. Dorian coughed and sniffled as he looked up at Iron Bull.

“Thank you, but you might want to remove yourself from me, or I’ll get you sick,” Dorian murmured and turned his head to the side to sneeze once more, without getting any snot on Bull.

“It takes more than a common cold to bring me down,” Bull smugly said, just tightening his embrace on Dorian, “You’re coming with me.”

Dorian didn’t even have any energy to protest as Iron Bull lifted him up bridal style to carry him out of the library. There were no one watching them, or at least Dorian thought so. Iron Bull had noticed Leliana looking down from above.

“Thought you’d be with Fen,” Dorian murmured as he rested his head against Iron Bull, “She went to the Storm Coast. You know the area.”

Bull chuckled, “I saw her going with Viv, Varric and Blackwall. I think they can handle the Storm Coast on their own. And as I said, she asked me to make sure you wouldn't die in a corner of the library.”

Dorian sighed and closed his eyes, “I’m fine.”

“You’ll be fine if you let me take care of you.”

“Since when do you know how to nurse people back from a cold?” Dorian grumbled but let out a sigh of relief as he heard the crackle of a fire when Iron Bull entered his room, “Wait… you got a fire running before coming to the library?”

“I came by here first to look for you, and it was chilly. At least too chilly for your liking,” Bull set Dorian down on the bed, “I do know how to treat someone who has a cold, kadan.”

“Well,” Dorian started and bent down to fiddle with the buckles on his boots, but Iron Bull knelt down and swatted his hands away, “Bull –“

“Just... let me do this. Let me take care of you.”

Normally Dorian would have insisted on taking care of himself. He did not need Iron Bull to carry him around, undress him and get the fire running for his sake. He was very much capable of doing those things on his own. Ever since he had left Tevinter, he had been on his own and had had to face things on his own. And Dorian had liked it that way. But he was exhausted, and Iron Bull was not making fun of him for being sick. Maybe letting someone else take care of him once in a while wouldn’t be too bad.

He sighed and looked down at Iron Bull who patiently was waiting for Dorian to say something.

“Alright.”

They had been together for about a month. The times they had been screwing around before didn’t really count though. It hadn’t been anything more than sex. Until it accidentally became more than that.

It was nice to have someone to return to at the end of the day. But he still struggled with a couple of things. Sometimes it felt as if it was just temporary. Too many times had he latched on to things that he couldn’t have, and a part of Dorian felt as if Iron Bull would be one of those things to slip out of his grasp.

But as he watched Iron Bull patiently help undressing him, he felt as if it was just silly paranoia. It was more than sex and Bull wouldn't lead him on. And they had talked about it several times. But letting go of his control, letting Iron Bull take over… it was no easy task. But it was rewarding. Bull knew him too well for such a short time together, sometimes it almost scared Dorian, made him feel like an open book.

“I’ll take care of you,” Bull repeated as he pulled Dorian’s shoes off. He straightened up a bit only to push Dorian down on the mattress, “Just leave it all to me. I’ll make you feel better. Trust me.”

Dorian was pretty sure that sex wasn’t a part of taking care of someone with a cold. At least it wasn't a method he had heard about before, and he doubted anyone else had.

But he did not protest as Iron Bull started getting him out of his robe. And despite feeling all clogged up by mucus, he couldn’t help closing his eyes and moving his hips against Iron Bull’s hand once it brushed over his crotch, making the Qunari chuckle.

Nothing too wild happened that night though, even if Dorian had been more than willing.

Once Dorian’s clothes had been thrown aside and Dorian had attempted to reach for Iron Bull’s pants, Bull had just swatted Dorian’s hands away and told him to lie down, relax and enjoy.

For a while Dorian had wanted to complain about it, but all words had disappeared out of his mind as Bull proceeded with giving him a fantastic blow job. Maybe it had been a bit too good, considering the fact that he had ended up in a sneezing fit about the same time as he reached his climax. It was extremely poor timing, at least.

Getting snot all over your partner wasn’t exactly romantic.

But Iron Bull had thought that it was hilarious. After he had wiped his face off of various bodily fluids he spent minutes laughing about it while Dorian stayed curled up in bed out of exhaustion and embarrassment.

“I absolutely loath you,” Dorian bitterly muttered and blew his nose into the cloth Bull had handed to him, “You are despicable.”

“You can’t tell me you didn’t enjoy that!”

Dorian just silently grumbled as Iron Bull slipped back into the bed again, pulling Dorian closer, “Orgasms help you relax, you know. You’ll fall asleep easier.”

“Know what else is good for respiratory issues and helps one fall asleep easier?” Dorian mumbled and tried to wrap his limbs around as much of Iron Bull's warm body as possible, “Embrium.”

“Embrium doesn’t give you any orgasms. Unless that’s a kink you haven’t told me about,” Iron Bull said with one of his silly winks, “But if you want to, I’ll go get some for you tomorrow.”

Dorian just hummed quietly, far too tired to discuss more about it. He was completely spent and any other talk could be saved for tomorrow.

Iron Bull’s methods were perhaps not the best, but to be quite honest he did feel a lot more relaxed than earlier. Not that he’d ever admit it.

“Sleep well, kadan.”

If Iron Bull said something more after that it went right over Dorian’s head, because the last thing he heard as he fell asleep was the calming sound of Iron Bull’s heartbeat.