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Give and Take

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"You can't pretend you haven't thought about wringing my neck at one time or other."

Bull purses his lips. "You know, it never occurred to me."

"Never?" Dorian sounds vaguely insulted. "But I'm Tevinter. Isn't wringing our necks your national pastime?"

"That would be flexing," Bull says. "Strangling Vints is eighth on the list, right between locating horn balm and whittling."

Dorian glowers at him and huffs out a breath. "With hands that size, I can't believe you've never considered wrapping them around someone's throat."

Bull chuckles. "I usually spend my time thinking of more enjoyable things to do with my hands."

He gives Dorian's ass a delicate pat to demonstrate. Dorian's glower intensifies and Bull does his very best to keep a straight face.

"You have no sense of propriety," Dorian mutters.

"Hey, come on now," Bull says, "last night you were pleased that I was such an upstanding member of the Inquisition."

Dorian coughs sharply into his fist. Bull gives him a helpful slap between the shoulder blades and smiles at the way Dorian's robe flaps when he bats him away.

Trudging up the hill behind them, Solas lets out a pained sigh. "Do you really need me here for this, Inquisitor?"




"I'll have you know that I can be exceptionally irritating if the occasion calls for it."

Behind them, Blackwall sounds perplexed. "Was that ever up for debate?"

Dorian ignores him with practised ease. "I'm more than willing to provide an incentive," he says to Bull. "My repertoire of Tevinter ballads is quite extensive."

"Excellent," Bull says cheerfully. "I enjoy musical accompaniments."

"Even when they're about bloody battles with the Qunari?"

Bull fixes him with a serious stare. "Blood and battles are two of my favourite things."

He lapses into a grin when Dorian storms ahead in exasperation. The sand sags beneath his feet and Bull maintains his stride as he waits for Dorian to fall back into step beside him.

"The Chargers have awful taste in ale," Dorian says bluntly. "I've seen swine be more discerning about what they imbibe."

"Unless you've also seen swine take down ten bandits in less than seven blows, I'll still take the Chargers, thanks."

Dorian perseveres. "I don't like your trousers."

Bull smiles. "Then you can take them off me later."

Silence reigns for a moment. Unfortunately, Bull's peaceful contemplation of that thought is interrupted by a frustrated mutter from Dorian.

"Dragons are overrated."

Bull stops. Behind them, Blackwall curses as he walks directly into Bull's elbow.

"Hey now," Bull says firmly, "let's not say things we'll regret."

Dorian looks appropriately shamefaced -- as he should, dragons are the best -- and Bull picks up the pace again, humming a dragon-related battle chant under his breath.

"I-" Dorian fumbles for his next jibe. "Your toenails-"

"Keep it up," Blackwall grumbles, "and I'll bloody throttle you."

Dorian's quiet noise of disgust is the best thing Bull's heard all day.




They're halfway through a swamp when Dorian starts whistling.

"Really?" Bull says with a sigh. "Even if I were to yield, do you really want to do this here?"

Varric shoves his way between them, crossbow in hand. "I'm going to answer for the group when I say absolutely not."

"I suppose we could wait until we're somewhere with fewer waterlogged corpses," Dorian says, poking at the nearest one with his staff. "They don't really set the right ambience."

He looks legitimately despondent. Bull almost feels bad for him, right up until he asks, "What are your opinions on that hill to the left?"




They make it past that hill, and another, and another, and then a few hundred more on their way back to Skyhold. They wind up sharing a tent each night, Dorian's leg slung over Bull's thigh and his mustache scratching Bull's chest every time he twitches in his sleep.

Even stripped of his layers and buckles, he's still always hot, warm breath tickling along Bull's ribs deep into the night. There's sweat on his skin when Bull thumbs through the short hair at the base of his skull, and as Dorian falls asleep on him night after night, Bull can't help but wonder how much his palm would slip on that same sweat if he were to settle his hand around Dorian's throat instead.

Despite the pleasant company and the equally pleasant fantasies revolving around said company, sleeping under canvas is never Bull's favourite scenario and by the time they arrive back at Skyhold, he's more than ready for some old-fashioned intimacy with his own mattress.

He makes it through two pints of ale and a cursory debriefing with Krem and the boys before heading straight for the well-deserved comfort of his bed.

He can't bring himself to be surprised when he finds Dorian there.

Dorian's fully dressed, which isn't an ideal start, but he is propped up against the headboard with a stubborn look on his face, so it's also not the least Bull's had to work with.

"Miss me already?" Bull asks, peeling off the straps of his armour.

Of all the Vints he's met, Dorian is the only one who's truly perfected the magisterial sneer. (Krem's never been able to nail that lip curl.) "Hardly."

Bull takes his time applying his balm in slow, thick strokes. "If you're hoping to keep needling me, I should warn you I've had some of the good ale -- I'm going to be extremely calm for the next few hours."

From Dorian's huff of breath, that wasn't part of his plan and Bull glances over as Dorian pushes himself to his feet. "You know, you could just give in now."

The sneer is back when Dorian says, "And give you the satisfaction of victory? I think not."

Bull's gaze flickers to Dorian's neck, bare above the collar of his jacket, but his hands stay at his sides as he shrugs. "Then by all means, keep trying. I've got twenty silvers on the Seeker being the one to snap first."

Dorian's eyes narrow. "Have it your way," he says. "Maybe I should take Blackwall up on his offer."

"Maybe you should."


"Fine," Bull parrots. He can't hide his smirk but steps aside as Dorian sweeps past him to the door.

Bull's pretty sure he knows before Dorian does that he isn't going anywhere. He stops with his hand on the door handle, shoulders tight and head down, and Bull watches the clench of his jaw as he knits together a parting barb.

It's the easiest thing in the world to move up behind him and rest a hand on his hip.

When Bull's other hand curls around his throat, Dorian goes very still.

"So," Bull says, lowering his head to Dorian's ear, "you're really into this, huh?"

Dorian's breath catches when Bull kisses his jaw. "Yes."

Bull hums in contemplation. Their preferences haven't always aligned in the bedroom but for something Bull's ambivalent about at best, he can't help but be a little surprised at how intently Dorian's pursued this. "You know, you could've just asked."

"I did," Dorian says, curt. "I recall you declined."

"I deferred," Bull points out. "Put it off for discussion at a later date." He taps his thumb against his neck and listens for the tremor in Dorian's breathing. "Luckily, it's now a later date."

"I-" Dorian's adam's apple bobs against his palm when he swallows. "Is that a yes?"

"With restrictions." Bull kisses his earlobe and smiles. "And before you ask, no, not those kind of restrictions. You don't get tied up for this."

"Agreed," Dorian says. It comes out clipped and breathless, and Bull can feel the thrum of his pulse pick up beneath his fingers. "Anything else?"

"No rope," Bull says. "At least not yet. I prefer to be hands-on for now. Of course, if my hands alone don't do it for you…"

"No, no," Dorian cuts in. "They're quite satisfactory."

"Dorian Pavus, expressing mild approval of something?" Bull feigns a gasp. "The world really must be ending."

It's a little embarrassing how happy Dorian's scowl makes him. Even pinned against Bull's chest with a hand at his throat, Dorian doesn't sound remotely intimidated when he says, "I find plenty of things adequate, thank you very much."

He glances back as much as Bull's grip will allow. "Are there any more conditions or you just going to keep holding me against the small fort you call a chest all evening?"

Bull rolls his eyes and yields. Dorian lets out a surprised little gasp as Bull all but picks him up off the ground, his feet scrambling for purchase on the wooden floor as Bull shoves him back against the door. His hand stays locked around his throat, fingers flexing in warning, and Dorian's lips part as his hands come up to wrap around Bull's wrist.

His tugs are about as effective as a leaf flapping at a branch and Bull smiles, casting Dorian's face into shadow as he moves in closer. "Fair warning," he says, "if we're going to do this, it's not going to be because you goad me into it. This?" He squeezes a fraction harder. "This is because you asked for it. Because you want it. Not because I'm looking for a way to shut you up."

Dorian rolls his eyes but won't meet Bull's gaze. "How noble."

Bull chuckles. "I wouldn't go that far. I still haven't ruled out a solid amount of begging."

He lowers his head to kiss him, stooping a fraction less than usual to force Dorian up to his toes to catch his lips. Dorian's mouth is harsh against his, a fire stoked by days of want and frustration, and Bull drinks it in with delight.

His tongue curls against Dorian's as his hand tightens around Dorian's throat, but he's pleased to find that Dorian only kisses harder at the pressure. His fingers dig into Bull's wrist, more a reflex than a genuine struggle, and he tips his head back to rest against the door as he breaks away to pull in a labored breath.

"Let's hear it," Bull orders. Dorian's lips stay parted as Bull kisses the line of his jaw and he keeps his grip loose enough to let him speak. "Tell me what you want."

He's prepared for either response, to be asked to wade deeper into uncharted water or to head back to dry land, but his inkling is proved correct when Dorian murmurs, "More."

Bull raises an eyebrow. "What happened to those fancy manners you're so damn proud of?"

It's a sign of how far gone Dorian is that he doesn't even attempt a scowl.

"Please," he gasps, tilting his chin up higher in offering. "More, please…"

His plea trails off into a moan when Bull captures his lips with another kiss. He squeezes tighter at the same time and smiles as Dorian's kiss loses all coordination but none of its eagerness. He arches against him, cock already hard behind the leather of his pants, and Bull slides his free hand down to work them open.

Dorian's hands don't leave his wrist, holding Bull's hand to his throat rather than pulling it away, and Bull applies a tiny bit more pressure as he tests whether his thumb and middle finger can touch the door either side of Dorian's neck.

It turns him on more than he expects when he finds out they can.

Bracketing his throat against the wood of the door, Bull tugs Dorian's pants sharply down his legs. He swears he hears something rip but from the groan Dorian lets out in response, he figures that'll work in his favour for the next twenty minutes at least. Dorian kicks, trying to wriggle out of his pants, but Bull ignores the tangle between his ankles as he steps over it with one leg to plant his thigh between Dorian's.

He moves in closer, trapping Dorian between his body and the door, and he feels Dorian's breath stutter the instant his feet leave the floor entirely.

His eyes go wide as his feet kick out into nothing but air, ankles still held together by his trousers. Bull dips down to meet his gaze, watching for a headshake or a safeword as he says, "Take it easy." He shifts his thigh, taking Dorian's weight on the broadest part. "I got you. It's all right."

He relaxes his grip enough to let Dorian take a decent breath and kisses the hinge of his jaw as the panicked tension eases out of him. "You want me to slow it down?"

Dorian's headshake is firm and Bull grins at the spark of defiance that reappears in his eyes. "Well, okay then."

He slides his hand up, fingers curling around Dorian's jaw to leave his throat bare, and he admires at the reddened marks which are already lining his neck. At least some of them will be bruises by morning but after a week of concerted effort, he'd wager Dorian will be pleased to have a memento of the evening.

Holding Dorian's jaw with his right hand, he settles his left into place around his neck. Dorian's hands shift to wrap around his left wrist instead and Bull lowers his right to his side as he squeezes, relearning how much pressure he needs to apply to make Dorian's lips part with a pleased shiver.

Satisfied, he reaches out to let his thumb and finger touch the wood of the door either side of Dorian's throat as he spits in his right hand. Dorian's nose wrinkles -- his squeamishness is always surprising coming from a guy who once spent so long sucking Bull off that there was a patch of drool on his bed all night -- but his eyes fall closed when Bull wraps his hand around Dorian's dick.

Dorian's hips jerk forward at the slow drag of Bull's hand on his cock. The shift of his body makes him choke on the hand pinning him to the wall and Bull chuckles when Dorian's eyes fly open again in surprise.

"I think it's a fair system," Bull says with a grin. Dorian looks affronted at the very concept of not being able to have Bull's hand where and when he wants it and Bull kisses him on the tip of the nose just to watch his cheeks flush red.

"You get want you want," Bull explains, giving his throat a playful squeeze, "and I get what I want." He strokes his hand down Dorian's dick again, slow enough for Dorian to feel the sweat and spit slicking his palm, and smiles when Dorian moans.

"Faster?" he asks, and loosens his grip to let him speak.

Sweat trickles down Dorian's temple when he nods. "Please." His voice is rough as he adds, "Tighter."

Bull complies happily. Dorian groans when he picks up the pace, stopping just short of the speed he knows Dorian is hoping for, but his groans fade into muffled gasps when Bull presses his palm harder against his throat. Dorian's pulse flutters against his fingers, fast and needy, and Bull can't resist dipping down to press another kiss to Dorian's slack lips.

Even with Bull's hand at his throat, Dorian's hips move of their own accord. He rides his thigh, head tipped back and dick pushing deeper into the circle of Bull's fist, and his fingers dig into the solid flesh of Bull's wrist as he begs with what little air he has left, "Please…"

Bull's honestly not sure whether its the hand around his throat or the hand around his cock that's getting him off. He strokes him faster, not bothering to stifle his own groan at the whimper of pleasure that escapes Dorian's lips before Bull cuts off the last of his air.

Bull wants to be everywhere, wants to bite down on the taut line of Dorian's shoulder, lick the sweat off his thighs, feel his eyelids flutter as he kisses them. However, as he coaxes Dorian to completion, he can't do much more than press a firm kiss to his forehead and drink in the sight of him when he finally tips over the edge.

The look of shocked bliss on Dorian's face when he comes makes the days of teasing worth it. Bull's grip goes slack at the first spill of Dorian's release over his fist and Dorian's whole body shudders against him at the added high of air rushing back into his lungs.

He slumps forward without anything to support his throat, fingers curling weakly around Bull's upper arms as he gasps for air. He's shaking, fine tremors running all the way down to where he's still balanced astride Bull's thigh, and from the way he keeps his forehead pressed to Bull's chest to anchor himself, Bull figures it's a safe bet he's feeling pretty damn light-headed after that.

His skin is hot when Bull cups the back of his neck. Bull kisses his damp hair before he asks, "You with me?"

Dorian lets out a muffled noise of agreement before turning his head to the side to rest his cheek against Bull's chest instead. "I'm fine," he says hoarsely. "Just a little light-headed."

Bull smirks. Stooping down, it's easy enough to slide an arm under Dorian's ass to take his weight off his thigh and Bull keeps him tucked contentedly against his chest as he heads over to the bed. Once he drops him to the mattress, Dorian's pants comes off in one quick tug and fortunately for them both, Dorian is awake enough to divest himself of his top while Bull strips out of his own pants and boots -- copious amounts of buckles were never Bull's strong point.

Dorian's hand moves south as soon as Bull blows out the candles and settles in the bed beside him. "You didn't…"

He breaks off with a yawn and Bull catches his wrist with ease. He's hard but not desperately so, and when Dorian's yawn proves contagious, he decides he's more than happy to call it a night.

Dorian's expression is downright accusatory and Bull smiles as he kisses the back of his hand. "I can wait."

"Tomorrow," Dorian promises, giving Bull's chest a sleepy pat.

"Tomorrow," Bull agrees. "I take it tonight was what you were hoping for?"

Dorian hums in agreement and settles into his usual position of sprawling half across the bed and half across Bull. "Once again, you have vastly exceeded my expectations."

"It seems like I'm making a habit of that."

Dorian sighs in satisfaction. "Quite."

"You're going to have bruises in the morning, you know," Bull points out.

Dorian doesn't stir when he answers, "And my shirt is going to have a very high collar."

"Not to mention you sound a little hoarse."

For a guy who is clearly moments away from passing out, Dorian summons up an impressive amount of sarcasm. "Neigh."

Bull laughs. "See, now you're just giving me ideas."

Dorian groans. "Please go to sleep before I regret any more of my choices."

Still smiling, Bull leans down to plant a particularly sloppy kiss on Dorian's forehead and then flops back on his pillow as Dorian rubs his face and mutters something in Tevene.

They slip into silence as Bull strokes the short hair at the side of Dorian's head. Their breathing begins to even out but before Bull can drop off to sleep, he catches Dorian's quiet murmur, "Thank you."

The curl of Bull's arm around his shoulders is apparently all the acknowledgement Dorian needs and Bull blinks up at the ceiling with a smile when he feels him finally succumb to sleep.

He wonders if he can convince the Qunari to move strangling Vints a lot higher on their list of enjoyable national pastimes.