The Bull's ledgers and notebooks are impeccable things, kept in an even hand, neat rows of small lettering, tallies of expenses, wages, contracts. There was a time when he wrote a great many letters, also, for the benefit of Par Vollen - the unfamiliar angles of qunlat script cramped tightly together, pages upon pages.
That time is passed. He writes letters all the same, in the common hand now: an offer to a nobleman in Orlais with a giant problem, a blunt refusal of a contract from which hazard pay was non-negotiably excluded. Personal letters, also. Does the Bull know someone in every city in Thedas? Well, naturally he does; he knows a great many people, a majority of them intimately. One day the word is that Candy is in Val Royeaux and doing well. Another, Pierre the stable-hand is in Denerim and writes that Fereldans care more for their dogs than their horses and that they can't be trusted to season so much as a stew, and the Bull laughs, and reads the letter to Dorian, and writes back to ask how he likes the dockside taverns.
An endless correspondence. If the Bull is not hitting something or drinking something, there's a shockingly high chance that one might find him writing.
And what did Dorian expect from their dalliance? To be tied to the bed and fucked until he screamed and then fucked again, certainly, on which point he was entirely correct. To spend the hours preceding being driven out of his mind with pleasure sprawled on that same bed with a book while the Bull considered his finances, frowning in concentration, rough face softened by lamplight? Perhaps not. That sort of waiting stillness is no part of his associations; has never been.
Memory, a traitorous thing: Rilienus in the circle library, his secretive smile, the very slightest touch of their fingertips as they passed books and notes back and forth across the table they worked at. Eyes that said: later, later, later.
But that was nothing so domestic. There has never been anything so domestic. What is one to do with domesticity?
Hoard it. Crave it. Play at loathing it.
Of course he keeps returning. Slipping in quietly after dinner, not drunk in the least. Only for a few hours of quiet companionship which are certainly not a necessary lead-up to energetic sex.
"Whatever would all this writing do to your image should it get out," Dorian says, closing the door behind him. "I wonder every day."
"You realise all the fancy Orlesian nobles assume Krem writes the letters and gets me to put my ugly mark on them to keep up appearances," the Bull says. "I could write poetry in front of them and they'd be impressed at how many tricks he's trained me to do."
The Bull merely shrugs.
"Going to take a while tonight," he says, dipping his quill, flipping to a new page. "Got a bit behind."
"I assure you," Dorian says with a smile, a hand on the Bull's shoulder, "I haven't the faintest idea how such a thing could have happened."
The Bull looks up at him. Sees—what is it he sees? Dorian's oh so handsome face, the studied look of mild boredom, the true boredom beneath. Does he see how terribly much time Dorian has spent that afternoon thinking of strong hands on his arse, of the first press of the Bull's cock against his lips? How he has fantasised about silk scarves twisted around his arms, until there was simply nothing to be won by pretending to be working on his research? Does he see—oh, all those other more frightful things—
He is not ordinarily—he does not, in the usual way of things—he is a grown man, and quite well able to keep his mind on the task at hand.
"Hey," the Bull says, lifts a hand from his work to touch Dorian's jaw. The faint rasp of his thumb against stubble. "Something up?"
Only that it seems impossible to centre himself, for no very good reason at all. Only that he is restless, aimless, in that terribly undefinable way that comes upon him once in a while, an itching need for action that cannot settle upon a useful target.
A set of memories which lie too close to the surface. The memory of a moment when one was almost happy, in another country, in another time.
"Nothing of note," Dorian says. "A frustrating day, no more."
"Hmm," the Bull says, and bends again to his work.
Dorian shrugs himself out of his outer robes. Only a tunic for this. The Bull's worn blankets soft against his bare arms. Paper scratching dryly against his fingertips. Not a word he reads remembered.
"Come over here," the Bull says. He doesn't look up. "Tell me what you need."
"I need nothing," Dorian says irritably, and doesn't move. His hand rests on the book he most certainly isn't reading. What does this line he has been trying to trace with his finger say? And although it is said that house Amladris— "I may want to suck your cock, but I suppose we must all make sacrifices in the name of keeping the Inquisition running."
A rumble of laughter, felt as it always is so very deep in Dorian's belly.
"Oh," the Bull says. "I don't know about that."
"Why don't you come here. Take your tunic off."
This time, Dorian does. A little show of lifting away the cloth. Bull does so love the line of hair from his navel to his groin, and if perhaps Dorian teases him a little with the sight of it then—well, what of it?
So then: one may entertain oneself despite everything.
Dorian kneels, sitting back on his heels. The crown of his head presses against the rough underside of the table. The Bull's legs frame his body, press against his sides.
A scarf pulled across his eyes like a reminder, like a relief, narrowing his perspective to touch and taste and hearing. Only a shame that his wrists are not bound. Later, later, later.
The Bull's left hand cups his head, presses him slowly forward, the heavy pressure impossible to resist.
He can smell the Bull's arousal, actually smell it. Above his head, the Bull's quill still scratches across the pages of some book. The Bull is breathing deeply, evenly, through his nose.
Somewhere outside, downstairs, someone laughs. A raised voice, a clatter of feet on the stairs. There is the world, moving onward, unknowing. Think if Krem were to open the door to ask a question about the Chargers' next job, think if one of the serving-girls were to stop by with food.
The Bull's cock rests so wonderful and damp and heavy against Dorian's parted lips. Salt on his tongue.
It settles Dorian. Pulls him down into his own body and grounds him there.
The Bull forces his cock into Dorian's mouth. How can there be such an unbearable care to the moment? The tips of the Bull's fingers shifting gently against Dorian's neck, the Bull's thumb pressing with tender firmness into the hinge of Dorian's jaw, encouraging it open.
The Bull's exhale is nearly a sigh.
Dorian sucks carefully, presses his tongue up against the underside of the Bull's cock.
Whines around the bulk of it.
The Bull strokes his hair, and pushes him a little further, lets him pull off, pushes him down again, the rhythm of his movements relentless. And the entire time Dorian can only breathe through his nose and take it, take it, take it—his own cock achingly hard between his legs, the Bull's trousers rough against his arms, every part of him bare to the Bull.
At what point did the Bull lay aside his correspondence and note-taking entirely? When did Dorian manage to become all he could concentrate on, as Dorian could only concentrate on him?
No way of saying. But both his hands cradle Dorian's head, oh so gentle, oh so careful. Dorian, gasping for breath, leans his cheek against the inside of the Bull's thigh, kisses the Bull's softening cock in an absurd gesture of unspoken devotion. Tastes the Bull's come on his tongue, on his lips.
He himself is covered in his own come, lost himself to nothing more than the palm of one hand pressed flat between his legs as the Bull's cock pulsed and jerked in his mouth.
"Shit," the Bull says, breathless himself. "Shit, Dorian, you're something else. Come on. Let me look at you."
Strong hands helping him to the bed, loosening the makeshift blindfold.
Dorian blinks his eyes open slowly to the thankfully dim room. To the softness of the Bull's expression, some incomprehensibly fond sort of look.
He draws a deep breath. Slow, slow, in time with the hazy shifting of his mind.
"There you are," the Bull says. Wipes at something at the corner of Dorian's mouth with his thumb, follows the gesture with a kiss. "Fucking magnificent."
"Oh, yes," Dorian says, sags against the bed, comforted by the weight of the Bull above him. "I always am."
"Feeling better?" the Bull asks, grinning down at him.
Dorian finds that he is. No restless energy, no space for it here.
"I certainly would be if you were properly naked," he says.
The Bull laughs.
Say, then, that one does not fuck and run. Say, then, that one stays in that hazy satisfaction for as long as one can, dozes off for a few minutes, wakes again, and is calm.
Dorian reads, stretched out on the Bull's bed, quite entirely naked, the Bull's body a warm bulk against his side. This is not the anticipation of pleasure. It is not directionless boredom in search of a moment's entertainment.
The Bull's hand is warm between Dorian's shoulderblades.
This is not the possibility of—contentment, or whatever it is one might call the thing.
Rather: it is the thing itself.
One day, one of them will manage to name it. But in this room, in this moment that Dorian inhabits, its existence is beyond question.