“ Sometimes people are beautiful, not in looks, not in what they say, just in what they are.” - Markus Zusak
Dorian looks like he was made for the sandy bloody Oasis, the way he's carrying on under the waterfall. Not as stuck up as she thought, that one. Got nothing to hide, apparently. He's got an arse. Not like she didn't know it, Sera jokes about it enough, but he's got an arse on him. Even she knows that, and he is way too much man for her tastes. A whole man too much. But if someone's into that, men, then she gets why they'd be please to drop his breeches and find that.
“You could bounce a royal off that,” she says aloud to Blackwall as he polishes his sword in a way Sera could totally make a joke about, but he's got a face like he doesn't want to know what she's been thinking of. “What? Fussybritches has an arse under them.”
He looks, because he's got to wash too, and its not like he hasn't bathed with men before. Handsome men, even, or men just trying to scrub the filth off them after a day of fighting. But Blackwall's eyes linger over the expanses of flesh, muscles trained harder than he expected to find, hair certainly trimmed and styled but not like he imagined. The guy might be a stuck up Tevinter prick, but he's got to hand it to him for knowing how to make people underestimate him.
“Everyone has an arse,” he mutters.
“Quite,” Vivienne says as she passes, not even sparing Blackwall a glance, “but only some of us have one worth looking at.”
Dorian is entirely shameless in his nudity as he stands under the cascading waterfall. Objectively, he has nothing to be ashamed about of course, he is a handsome man. But she finds it rather interesting, his choice to bear his body to his companions. Vivienne wouldn't do it, despite the cut of her armour and the excellent physical conditions she herself keeps, prefers privacy and the power found in hinting at more. Perhaps it's not vulnerability to him, but his beauty turned out, weaponised. She can certainly admire that, as well as his muscular back.
Varric chuckles. “I'm going to assume that's not an invitation to write about yours.”
“I rather thought you were going to concentrate on my outfits, Varric,” she says, laughing musically. “Wasn't it to be a political thriller, and not a tawdry romp?”
“There's room for both,” he muses, dares a wink at the Iron Lady.
He realises he's got it all wrong in his manuscript, having his Tevinter magister all willowy and hairless. Shit, that works with the whole Tevinter vs Qun thing he's going with, but he's starting to reconsider. Sparkler's buff, tall and strong, not like mages usually come, and he's not going to give Varric a run for his money in the body hair department, but he's not baby smooth, either. He could rewrite, sure, but it's probably easier if the magister bulks up by magic, give the Qunari lover-antagonist more of a fight. Yeah, the readers will eat that up.
“What do you think, Seeker? I could dedicate a few chapters to the Guard Captain's assets, you think the readership would like that?”
Cassandra only dignifies that with a disgusted sound, but she can feel her cheeks going pink as she drinks from her water skin.
She sees nothing wrong with bathing, but is there really cause for Dorian to look so happy about it? Cassandra rubs her hands over her face, disguising a noise made at herself. What is she saying? It's unfair to hold it against him his enjoyment of the balmy weather. He is not complaining now, and after suffering him in the Emprise, she should only be grateful for the reprieve. She can admit too, even if only to herself, that he is not terribly ugly to look at. When he tips his head back under the water and strokes his hands down his neck—yes. Perhaps she had been too quick to judge.
“He's not asking for his readers,” Cole says, appearing suddenly as he is wont to do. “He think you'll like it, and a tease to fix the tear.”
“Yes, Cole,” she says sharply. “I am aware.”
He has a body, like they all have a body, and Dorian bares his skin but not his hurts. It's not armour, but it protects him, because he knows what he is. Beautiful, bold, broken—no. Not anymore, not broken, healing, almost whole, when he calls him beautiful and isn't looking at his body at all. Happy, now, Cole doesn't even need to be Cole to know that the smiles come easier in the soft and the heat, mouths and fingers and sunlight, a word that means beloved.
“Cole, you're on first watch,” Harding says, waving off scouts who tip their chins at her as she passes. “Venatori spotted on the eastern rise, make sure they don't find their way down to the camp.”
Dorian is doing nothing for her crush on him. She knows he's not into women, she's not stupid, but damn if Harding was at least trying to move on, find someone else to have interesting thoughts about. But there's no harm in looking, right? As long as she's still got an eye out for giants, she doubts he'd like to be caught with his dick out when one of those comes lumbering along.
“Have your scouts noticed the increase in magical energies to the west?” Solas asks.
“Kinda. There's only one mage in my team, I've tried getting more, but Enchanter Fiona's reluctant to let them in the field.”
“I will speak with the Inquisitor. More mages should be trained as scouts, there are some things even your best may miss if they do not understand how to sense the veil.”
The spirits around the oasis seem... pleased with Dorian basking in the waters close by, flocking to him like curious fish to a morsel. He's vain, yes, and it is a symptom of a country grown fat on the bones of his people. But though Solas thinks Dorian could benefit from humility, this is not the place he needs it. It's hard to begrudge him enjoying the heat and the peace of the oasis, a man far from home, who left a world of easy comforts behind him for a noble cause. If Dorian can allow him the grave sites of his people's culture that litter this land to reflect and mourn with minimal commentary, Solas can allow him this comfort.
“If you have a moment,” Solas says, “knight to D3.”
“Hmm, alright,” the Iron Bull says, relaxing back on his rocky perch. “Give me some time.”
He looks happy. The 'Vint is always good for a laugh, but the last time the Iron Bull saw him happy like that he'd been straddling bull's hips and fresh from his second orgasm of the night. It's a good look on him, crinkles at the corners of his eyes and gorgeous body loose and relaxed. But shit, that's not right. It's not right that Dorian only gets that look in his bed and in a waterhole in the ass end of Orlais. The guy deserves to look that happy all the damned time. Maybe he could help with that.
“Hey big guy,” the Bull calls, and his heart flutters when Dorian turns towards the nickname. “You want some company?”
“I don't claim any territory in the Oasis, Bull,” he calls back, and he's smiling even as he turns away, all casual and aloof-like. “You can do whatever you like.”
The Bull laughs, and eases himself up from his rock, undoing the buckle on his harness as he goes.
“ I couldn't take my eyes off him. Like a desert wanderer afraid of mirages, I gazed at my oasis, but he was real.” - Laura Whitcomb