The stress of the evening was wearing on them all. The Inquisitor most of all, although her anxiety was like a river coming down a mountain. All of them were swept up in it. So they found a reprieve when they could. The Inquisitor was off making more introductions under the guidance of Josephine and so that left Cassandra, Dorian, and the Iron Bull with a few quiet moments to take their fill of the entertainments and food.
"You’re looking remarkably put together tonight," Dorian pops a grape into his mouth, his finger lingering near his lips as he slowly eyes The Iron Bull.
The Bull pulls uncomfortably at the collar of his red dress jacket. The same color as Dorian’s and Cassandra’s. Although, unlike Dorian’s, the buttons at the Bull’s collar were open to give his neck space to breathe. ”The boss said it was mandatory.”
"And I’m glad for that."
Cassandra clears her throat at the intent in Dorian’s tone while the Bull smirks sideways at the mage, feeling the compliment. The three of them made up the Inquisitor’s party to the ball, besides her advisors that is. They were told they were pieces of the large diversity and supposed power under the Inquisitor’s command. A show of influence.
"I apologize, Seeker," Dorian bows shallowly. "But are you not satisfyingly glad as well that we’ve finally managed to get a shirt on this lummox?"
"It is a nice change," Cassandra admits but is intentionally not looking at the Bull. Dorian winks at the Bull before popping another grape into his mouth.
"You know if I flexed for you two this jacket would rip off right here."
"That would be a sight!" Dorian exlaims teasingly to rile Cassandra just a little more.
"None of these games," Cassandra interjects. She had a fun side but she was so often a downer. Dorian sighs and chews the grape in his mouth. "We are here to route out an assassin, not scandalize the entire court."
Dorian frowns and looks about the room then waves a hand dismissively. ”Shame.”
The Iron Bull shakes his head and turns to look over the deserts, picking one two and three then stuffing one into his mouth in one go. Cassandra gives them both a hard look, each getting their turn.
"Do not jeopardize this mission."
The Iron Bull, mouth still half full, assures her that he’s going to be on his best behavior. Which will include eating more food and standing in a corner listening. These fancy dances weren’t quite his comfort zone. Dorian, she’s less worried about but trusts less. So, she leaves with one last steady look at Dorian before leaving to find more suitable targets for her scrutiny.
"What a woman," the Bull says toward her back, ignoring the sizing look Dorian gives him.
"Indeed," is all Dorian says, finding his next grape less than satisfying.
The Bull chuckles and gives Dorian a playful push of his finger to Dorian’s shoulder. ”You’re cute when you pout.”
"I do not pout," Dorian insists. "And please watch where you put your grimey hands, you barbarian. I don’t need your desert cakes as an accessory."
The Bull chuckles again, sucking a finger into his mouth to clean it. Dorian’s lip peels back in disgust at the display.
"You weren’t complaining about my grimey hands this morning," the Bull says with a lecherous smile.
"Ugh," Dorian rolls his eyes dramatically. The Bull keeps smiling at him until finally Dorian’s resistance breaks and the corner of his mouth turns up with his amusement. "You can’t be brought anywhere, can you?"
"I thought you said I looked good?" The Bull runs his hands down the front of his jacket and leaves crumbs in his wake. He knows what he’s doing and so Dorian refuses to acknowledge it.
"I said you look "remarkably put together"," Dorian corrects. "Which is not the same thing."
"But I look good though," he says and its not entirely a question.
Dorian sighs long and suffering. ”Yes.”
The Bull smiles and leans close, prompting Dorian to eye the space around them. ”You look good too, y’know.”
Dorian gives him a thin smile. ”Of course, I do.”
"Yeah, but you like to hear it," the Bull lets his thumb brush Dorian’s hand. "You look hot. Makes me want to kiss you."
"Amongst other things, I’m sure," Dorian adds before the Bull can.
"Hell yeah, but later," the Bull leans closer, whispering in Dorian’s ear. "But first I’d just kiss you. You look handsome all done up. I wouldn’t want to ruin that. Not too soon. Let you know just how nice you looked. What you made me feel."
Dorian turns to look the Bull in his eye, their faces too close. He can feel the Bull’s breath on his cheek. “You’re going to tell me what I make you feel right now, aren’t you? Let me guess, “horny”?”
He smirks cleverly and the Bull gives him a small smile that holds something meaningful in it.
"Yeah. Sure, that’s what I was gonna say," the Bull says softly, almost regrettably. "Horny."
Dorian searches the Bull’s face and finds only a deep twist in his own chest. To escape the feeling he looks instead to the gold buttons on the Bull’s jacket. He reaches up and adjusts the blue sash moving across the expanse of the Bull’s chest.
"We should get back to work," Dorian says after a moment. "Assassin’s plot and all that."
His fingers linger on the silken cloth until the Bull says, “Yeah.” Then Dorian nods and steps away.
"Don’t stuff yourself too much with food or you’ll have no appetite for crushing assassins," Dorian says quickly.
The Bull grins. ”I always have an appetite for crushing things, especially assassins.”
Dorian laughs and gets a few outward stares. He ignores them, quite sure his entire conversation with the Bull had been overheard.
They go their separate ways until called on by the Inquisitor when she’s gathered enough information to act. Which allows them to stop a Venatori assassination of the Empress of Orlais. That’s always something you can write home about to anger your parents even further.
It’s not their victory that is occupying Dorian’s thoughts now though. He scans the crowd for the Iron Bull and doesn’t immediately find him. It shouldn’t be hard to miss the tall gray giant and his horns that made him stand out in any crowd. Still, he was nowhere. Until Dorian goes on a search for him. He finds the Qunari off on his own, away from the bustle caused by all the drama of the night’s events.
"You crushed things very well tonight," Dorian says to be heard before he’s noticed.
The Bull gives him a proud smile, the desert cake in his hand forgotten in favor of Dorian. ”Told ya.”
"Yes, so you did. No need to rub it in." Dorian reaches past the Bull and grabs a cloth napkin from the table. "It’s too bad that you don’t also possess a matching skillset for getting your food into your mouth."
"Wha—?" Dorian brings the cloth to the Bull’s mouth and wipes away cream and crumbs that had caught in his short stubble. The Bull grunts. "Thanks."
"Festis bei umo canavarum," Dorian laughs quietly as he folds the napkin up and discards it.
"What?" the Bull finishes off his cake. "Talking that ‘Vint stuff. Probably doesn’t even mean shit."
Dorian moves a step back and takes a deep breath. ”How about this then? I have been thinking about you all night. You in this lovely red outfit. I was thinking it would be a shame if we didn’t share at least one dance.”
The Bull is still and it puts a smile on Dorian’s face that he’s caught him so off guard. ”Dance?” the Qunari finally asks.
"Yes," Dorian says, and pointedly glances out the window behind the Bull to a small couryard. "It’s exactly what we need." He bends at the waist, almost bowing, and holds out his hand to the Bull. Dorian feels the fluttering heartbeat in his chest but he smirks confidently up at the Bull. "Let’s dance.
There’s hesitation in the Bull’s body language but also an almost blushing eagerness. He smiles sweetly, a smile Dorian has come to be familiar with. His eye softens and the Bull rubs his neck as if somewhat overwhelmed. Then, finally, he reaches out his large hand and takes Dorian’s, engulfing the mage’s with it.
Dorian feels elation as he leads the Bull to the courtyard. His steps are light as if there still wasn’t a war to be fought hanging on the horizon. He turns to face the Bull and outstretches one of his hands along with the Bull’s. Then he wraps an arm around the Bull’s waist and they move together.
"You’re not very good at this," Dorian notes as the Bull’s feet struggle to not step on his toes. "Dancing isn’t something they teach under the Qun, I presume."
"I usually lead," the Bull says, his fingers flexing against Dorian’s.
Dorian grins and turns them, dragging the Bull along. ”Ah, life is full of new experiences. I’m finding that out a lot myself lately.”
"I know what you mean," the Bull says. There’s a look in his eye that pierces through Dorian. Like he can see every feeling in his heart laid bare. It’s impossible to look away.
They move across the stone to the sound of the faint music coming from inside. It’s nice. Something that Dorian wouldn’t have associated with his relationship with the Bull not too long ago.
"So," Dorian tries to sound nonchalant. "What were you going to say earlier?"
"How I make you feel," he supplies. The Bull licks his lip and looks away, their movements slowing. "What were you actually going to say?"
"It’s nothing," the Bull says, worry plain across his face. Was this worry that he’d scare Dorian off maybe? "You wouldn’t—"
Their feet come to a halt and they stand chest to chest for a few silent beats. ”You make me feel like I’m at home,” the Bull finally says. His voice is low as he continues, bringing his eye to meet Dorian’s. ”I don’t have a real idea what that means. But it feels good.”
Dorian takes a sharp breath and leans back on his heels. ”That’s —” he doesn’t know how to respond. It fills him with a warmth that moves through him from his toes to his fingers.
"Too sappy, right?" the Bull laughs. "Too much?"
Dorian slowly shakes his head, realizing it wasn’t too much at all. ”No. I —”
The Bull is kissing him before he can finish. His large arms wrapping around Dorian and holding him close. The Bull’s kissing him like he knows. He knows everything and he knows it’s difficult to say. Dorian grips his fists tightly into the collar of the Bull’s jacket, clinging to him.
When the Bull finally pulls his mouth away Dorian feels well and truly flustered. He can feel the heat in his cheeks and his knees are more on the wobbly side than anything.
"Kaffas. Give some warning next time."
"And miss that face? Where’s the fun in that?"
Dorian reaches up and tugs on one of the Bull’s horns in order to bring the Qunari’s face down closer to his level. Their lips meeting breathlessly again.