They’re outnumbered, trapped, and Cullen’s finishing a huge red templar when he hears Dorian shout his name, followed by an icy breeze behind him. Fade Step, the thought jolts Cullen from his position, his heart jumping in his chest as his gaze searches for Dorian. Cullen’s eyes widen in terror when he turns around to find the mage standing between another templar and himself, the bloody tip of a sword poking through Dorian’s back.
"NO!" Cullen screams, using his shield to propel the templar away from Dorian before launching his own sword at the monster. Cullen catches Dorian’s body in his arms, his shield falling to the side, his heart frozen in his chest as the reality of what’s just happened dawns on him.
"No, no, no," Cullen says, hands pressing on the chest wound to stop the bleeding in vain as they both fall to the ground. "Please, don’t, oh Maker, no."
"I…I’ll be fine," Dorian stammers, the fool, and Cullen can’t keep the sobs that come wrecking him. "Don’t just stay here, you’ll only get yourself killed."
Trust Dorian to order Cullen around even as he’s dying. Cullen could care less, for at the moment his heart is bleeding out as much as Dorian’s is. Dorian is dying because of him, because Cullen didn’t watch his own back.
"Please, stay with me," Cullen begs, his voice wavering while Dorian’s ragged breathing slows down, his heartbeat weakening under Cullen’s touch. "Don’t do this, Dorian, please."
"Dorian, no, please," Cullen says, hugging Dorian closer to him, arm wrapped around the latter’s shoulder. Cullen breaks down, defenseless, nose buried in Dorian’s neck. He hears Cassandra call his name, but her voice sounds so distant while he cries over his loss.
An abrupt grip interrupts Cullen and pulls him back from Dorian, lifting him in the air and throwing him aside. He lands hard on his back, soon towered by another red templar. Cullen’s reflexes kick in, and he rolls on the ground, picking up a discarded sword before springing on his feet. Rage fills his heart and veins, animating his limbs into action.
He replays the excruciating moment over and over in his head, vision blurred by his own tears as he slashes his enemies in a frenzy. Cullen feels dead long before the fatal strike hits him, and when it does, the pain pales in comparison to his grief.
Cullen falls heavily to the ground, not far from where Dorian lies still, but far enough that when Cullen stretches his arm, Dorian is out of his reach. It’s the last stroke, and the only consolation Cullen finds in this bloody mess is that Dorian is what he gets to lay his eyes upon for the last time in this world.