The thing is this: Even though he does not admit it, Cullen has some issues when it comes to magic.
He feels fine when magic is used next to him, even when it is used behind him where he cannot see the spells being performed. When it comes to magic being used on him, however, he simply is...scarred. There are too many images burnt under his skin, deep into his bones, and the smell of fear and burnt flesh and blood full of magic is still strong. He tries his best to overcome this fear, rationalize it, but it is to no avail.
Fortunately, he has Dorian.
Dorian, bright and eager and happy whenever he stands in front of a puzzle he can solve, comes into his office one day, shuts the door and locks it before he leans his back against it, folds his arms over his chest and just looks at him, wicked smile curling around the edges of his lips. There is a silver tablet in one of his hands, its contents hidden by a piece of white cloth.
“I have to work,” Cullen protests, but he is weak against that smile, weak against the way Dorian saunters over to him and gently, but firmly tugs him upwards until he has to let go of the quill. Any protest he could have formed dies on his lips when Dorian kisses them while he walks him backwards to the ladder, never letting go of the tablet. There is heat in his belly, low and full of anticipation and he really shouldn’t, but obviously Dorian is in that kind of mood and he could never resist him, does not want to- and he needs it. He has not realized how much he needs one of the few, insanely private moments between them where he can simply rest and be assured that Dorian is there to take over and allow him to breathe.
“I had a few thoughts, amatus,” Dorian murmurs while he follows him up the ladder leading to their shared bed. “While you were hiding away, I wondered what nice things I could do for you and I think I came up with something good, so I’d like to speak about it with you.”
“Alright,” Cullen agrees and waits until Dorian has put the tablet next to the bed and sat down before he slowly exhales and settles down beside him, laying his head into Dorian’s lap and closing his eyes when Dorian gently cards his fingers through his hair. “What did you come up with?”
“Well, you know, since you liked the ropes so far, I was wondering whether you’d like to try another form of bondage,” Dorian begins and Cullen can hear a bit of nervousness in his voice, even though his lover tries to hide it. “I would like to try magical bindings. I have worked out bindings I could dispel with a mere word, even faster than ordinary ropes- and I think it would be good for you.”
“I am not- comfortable with this,” Cullen says slowly because the mere thought is problematic at best, but he knows that Dorian misses using magic in the bedroom. Dorian sighs a little, but his fingers are patient and gentle when he rubs Cullen’s temples and massages his scalp.
“Do you trust me, amatus?” he asks and there is nothing but tenderness in his voice. He shows weakness too in these moments, which is just as well because the balance relaxes Cullen a bit more. “Would you at least try it? I promise we can blow it off as soon as you tell me to stop.”
Cullen chuckles a little because of the wording, but after a moment, he slowly says, “No gag, no blindfold and only a pose where I can see you right in front of me.”
“Of course,” Dorian agrees easily and hums when Cullen turns around and slides his fingers underneath his shirt to stroke his warm, taut skin. “Wouldn’t it be easier if you got that off me, amatus?”
“Yeah,” Cullen breathes and sits up to unbuckle the belts on Dorian’s outfit before he slides it off him, revealing well-toned muscles and dark skin. Dorian’s eyes glint when Cullen leans down and kisses his shoulders, his neck, moans when Dorian tenderly pulls on his hair to guide him backwards onto the mattress.
“I think it’s the best if we get you out of these clothes, as dashing as you might be in all these feathers,” Dorian says with a grin and Cullen agrees, lets his lover undress him in a maddeningly slow pace until he is bare before him, which is alright, because Dorian is no less naked by any means. He still is a little unsure about all of this, so he closes his eyes and turns his cheek into Dorian’s open palm for assurance, meeting his lips halfway and parting them instantly. Dorian hums happily when their tongue glide against each other while he carefully arranges Cullen on the bed until he kneels in front of him, resting his head against Dorian’s shoulder. It is surprisingly comfortable and it must show because Dorian gently puts his arms behind his back, holds them there and asks, “Can I bind you like this?”
“We can try,” Cullen says after a moment, which earns him a smile and a kiss. He does not lift his head when Dorian casts the spell, but there is a brief moment of panic where he tenses when he feels the magic wash upon his skin. Dorian, however, is quick to catch on and murmurs soothing words into his ear, tickling it with his moustache until Cullen can’t help but snort and relax. The bindings, he discovers, are more durable than he thought but at the same time way more comfortable than ordinary rope. Dorian watches him testing them by pulling and flexing and smiles triumphantly when he does not succeed in breaking them.
“Alright?” he asks and Cullen nods, leaning forward to rest his head on Dorian’s shoulder again. The silver tablet has miraculously found its way onto the bed; when Dorian pulls away the white cloth, a variety of fruits, all cut in edible bites, is revealed. Cullen smiles and tries to ignore the silly flutter of love in his stomach. “Now, darling, I think what you need is some relaxation after all these days of tireless working, so this is the perfect opportunity to spoil you recklessly.” He feeds Cullen with extraordinary care, stroking the nape of his neck, his hair and his shoulders, gently massaging the strained muscles in his thighs while Cullen eats the treats that are offered to him right out of his hands without thinking twice about it.
Cullen all but forgets about the nature of the bindings because he is so focused on Dorian’s touches that he does not care about anything else. Dorian quietly talks about things that interest him, an endless monologue he does not expect to be answered, but Cullen still hums every now and then while he sucks the fruits’s juice from his lover’s fingers in lazy motions of his tongue. There is juice on Dorian’s chest as well; he does not really know how that happened, but he laps it up as well, humming when Dorian interrupts his monologue to moan a little. He wants to please him, he really does, and so he lets Dorian guide him, lapping and sucking at his fingers, his nipples, the crook of his hip, the shadows between his legs, his cock. There is pleasure in this, infinite pleasure that pulses through him like cold waves slowly crashing against the shore on a cold autumn night.
Dorian is loud, always so loud where Cullen does not manage to be, so unashamed when he is with him, and Cullen drinks in the noises he makes just like he drinks in the seed spilling from the tip of his cock, smearing on his chin and lips into his throat, accepting Dorian’s gentle kisses on his cheeks and forehead. Maybe he should be ashamed of how little he cares about his undignified look, but Dorian looks at him with want and adoration in his eyes, his clever fingers slowly stroking his neck before they glide into Cullen’s lap and settle there, slow, easy motions. He allows Cullen to sink against him with his full weigh, arms bound and face smeared while his eyes are closed, and all the while there are soft words of encouragement falling from Dorian’s lips to make up for Cullen’s silence, the space where there is only harsh, deep breath and the occasional grunt.
He laughs gently and licks his fingers clean when Cullen finally lets go with a small moan. Maybe he should be ashamed for how tired he is afterwards, how much his body aches and how heavy his eyelids are, but Dorian looks so pleased with him, stroking his hair and releasing the bindings before gently pulling him into a lying position. Distantly, Cullen can feel a piece of cloth cleaning him and he stirs from half-sleep, slurs his offer of help.
“Don’t you worry, amatus,” Dorian says and gently presses his head onto his lap again, stroking his hair until he closes his eyes once more, feeling warm and kind of distant from everything, but in a safe, good way. “Sleep now. Everything is alright.”
Cullen sleeps, and dreams of nothing.