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Slow Burn

Chapter Text

Dorian is hurrying from the kitchens as Bull goes to enter, the mage having a plate of something pulled close against his chest like its the most precious thing in the mage’s possession. The Bull is on his way to speak with the cook about the case of pastries from Val Royeaux that he convinced her to order. His eyes flicker down to the container in Dorian’s hands, which is covered, but the smell still hits his nose. It’s spicy, slightly burning, filling his nose and making it tingle gently. Bull growls slightly at the smell. Everything in Fereldan seems so one-note and mild. He misses the kick and spice the food from up-north brings with it, and vaguely remembers Dorian complaining about it as well. Really, thought, what doesn’t the ‘Vint complain about?

“What’s that?” Bull asks, still eying the pot.

Dorian’s eyes narrow, maneuvering so the food is no longer between he and Bull like the man might snatch it from his hands, “It’s spicy. You wouldn’t like it.”

Bull snorts, “Don’t think I can handle a little heat?”

Briefly, Dorian looks flustered, before his mustache quirks and gives away the small smile he’s fighting against. It’s a pleasant surprise to find someone who shares a similar palette, even if it’s this brute. With a long finger, he prods at Bull’s gut, “I assumed you were enjoying the Fereldan cuisine by the way you gobble it down. It does nothing for your figure.” Dorian notices that Bull is mostly hard muscles and sturdy flesh as he pokes at the man, but is unwavering in his insults.

“Warriors wielding weapons twice as heavy as little mages need to eat. A lot. I can’t be too picky,” Bull shrugs, smirking slightly. He takes another deep inhale of the smell wafting up from Dorian’s hands. It’s somewhat sweet, but satisfyingly spicy. It’s been ages since he’s gotten something with real heat in it. It’s all cream and butter and sugar down here, which he isn’t entirely opposed to, but sometimes his food needs a kick to it.

Dorian studies the qunari for a long moment. Thinking about how close their respective countries are, he isn’t too surprised their cuisine and tastes might have bleed into each other. It’s not something he ever put too much thought into before this moment, qunari cuisine. The one thing he had picked up from listening to the Bull’s tales is that there’s rarely leftovers because of the efficiency of the Qun, even in cooking, and it seems like a loss not to have food left from the night before to indulge on as a midnight snack.

Fine, here,” Dorian softens, pulling the top off the bowl. Inside, there’s chicken blackened and burned slightly and a generous helping of noodles, all smothered in some sort of sauce Bull doesn’t recognize. It’s thick and golden-brown, the charred meat swimming in it. Bull can’t help but smiling a little, both at the food and the fact that Dorian is acting all bent out of shape over offering him some, “Try it.”

Bull goes to rake a clawed finger through the pot to taste it, before Dorian smacks his hand. It smarts, and Bull pulls back slightly.

“Get a spoon, you heathen,” Dorian hisses, looking entirely disgusted. He eyes Bull disapprovingly, “Maker knows where your claws have been, and I don’t want whatever is under your nails growing in my food.”

“If anything can grow in it, it isn’t hot enough,” Bull quips, strolling into the kitchen and returning with a large mixing spoon. If he gets to try it, he might as well take as much as possible. He drags the spoon through the food, getting a chunk of chicken and a few thick strands of noodles. He’s surprised that his mouth is watering - the lack of control for the Ben-Hassrath is slightly concerning, but the prospect of good food is enough to let it slide.

It’s equal measures sweet and spicy on his tongue. He studies the notes that hits his tongue, some sort of nut mixed with an array of spices along with brown sugar. Smacking his lips, he enjoys the warmth that spreads across his tongue.

“So?” Dorian says, expectantly. There’s a brightness in his eyes and he looks genuinely interested, for once.

“Could be spicier,” Iron Bull shrugs slightly, the heat feeling stronger after living off of bland flavors for months, but preferring if his foot left his eyes watering and nose running, if possible. Still, he goes in for another spoonful.

“Ah ah ah,” Dorian pulls away, scrunching up his nose, “No double dipping. And you should be grateful it has any sort of bite to it. It was like pulling teeth, to convince the cook to even consider ordering garlic. It’s not as if it’s used in some blood magic ritual or something…”

Bull grinned. Dorian had the right idea, to bribe the cook into bringing spices into Skyhold. He momentarily regrets wasting his favor on pastries, but next time he’ll be sure to request something more worthwhile.