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Afterward, Dorian cannot recall what he had expected, only that it had not been this.

Perhaps, he thinks with some embarrassment, he had expected Krem to be more feminine in private. He had expected for the armor to come off and everything underneath to be soft and fragile and demure. Receptive.

In fact, very little of the body under the steel and leather has ever been displayed, so its appearance has remained enigmatic. Dorian has always loved a good enigma, but for once he is pleased to let it remain as such and has refrained from his usual poking and prodding. The veiled shape of Krem under his clothes is delicious in its own way. Always a tease and never a revelation. Not that Dorian has any choice in the matter.

To his great surprise, though, Dorian finds himself intrigued by the thought of touching the hard nipples that pebble up under the loose linen of Krem’s tunic. Dorian imagines pressing them with his fingers and sucking them into his mouth, imagines the way they’d feel against his tongue. Past lovers have told him he has a talented mouth and he wishes he could more thoroughly demonstrate it now. Dorian is allowed to smooth his thumbs into the indents beside the other man’s hipbones, stroke Krem’s silky sides and the base of Krem’s spine. He is allowed to kiss Krem’s mouth and neck, to suckle his fingers one by one and then all at once until his jaw aches and he gags on pruned fingertips. But nothing else.

“You wanna keep this civil, my chest is not a place we’re going. You touch it, I punch you, automatic reaction. That clear?”

“Yes, ser,” Dorian had joked, only to be greeted with a wolfish grin in response.

Dorian had not expected his fellow expatriate to bend him over such an array of furniture. Dorian has wound up bent over or splayed out and very nearly howling in so many abandoned and quiet parts of Skyhold that he’s almost lost count. Dorian hadn't expected a mercenary who attacks from the front to like ambushing him this much. He hadn’t expected anyone in Fereldan to make him sweat and shiver and ruin some of his best leather by biting down on it to muffle himself. 

Dorian hadn’t expected the clever craftsmanship of Krem’s cocks, either--plural. One made of buttery leather, packed tight with rice and remade afresh by Krem himself every few weeks, the other of polished stone and obviously of Dwarven origin. Once Dorian had seen them, he hadn’t expected them to feel so much like the others he’s taken over the years. He had no way of anticipating the practiced ease with which Krem wore them, either, his strokes far surer and better coordinated than most of the men who’ve had Dorian in the past.

Dorian certainly had not expected the slide of Cremisius’ whole hand into him, the dig of knuckles into his tenderest insides making Dorian white out. He had come back to himself later having set the curtains afire. Dorian hadn’t expected to be grateful for the frigid stonework of Skyhold either, as it would not burn down around him from his embarrassing lack of control. He hadn’t expected to glare irritably at a lover from his bed, rime the household linens with frost to put them out, and be laughed at in a rough alto with Dorian's own semen still speckling his collar-bones.

"Ha bloody ha, you're lucky it wasn't you I ignited."

"I'm taking it as a compliment, don't pinch up like that. You're more than tight enough already."

Dorian hadn’t expected snark fierce and flowing enough to match--and sometimes outmatch--his own. He hadn’t expected to see nationalist grief and pride mixed so evenly on any face outside a mirror.

He hadn’t expected to feel guilt and shame over his family’s slaves with anyone other than the Inquisitor, but all it had taken was one question from Cremisius--”How many?”--and then a tight shake of the other man’s head to remove all the bluster from Dorian in a rush.

In his younger years, if someone had told him that he would shake and grind his teeth in silent rage at the phrase “spoiled brat” coming from the mouth of a soporatus, Dorian would have damned them for a liar and a fool. And he would have electrocuted anyone who told him that Dorian would come back an hour later to apologize to a soporatus and admit fault. But now Dorian has done it, and keeps having to do it because of how often he finds himself speaking his father’s words without thinking. Cremisius takes them no better than Dorian himself ever has.

Most of all, Dorian had never expected to say the word Amatus aloud to another human being while among friends. And never, ever had he thought to hear it repeated back.