The first time Dorian laid eyes on the cat, she was a tiny ball of black fluff curled in the Bull's large hand, and even he had to admit she held a certain cuteness. Mostly though he was amused at the baffled look on Bull's face when Cole had placed her there. Baffled and confused was not an expression that Bull wore very often after all.
"She likes your horns, The Iron Bull," Cole told him and Dorian watched Bull's expression go from baffled to bemused to an openly affectionate smile in just as many heartbeats.
"Does she now? She's got good taste, " Bull said, raising the hand the kitten was sitting in up to his face. The tiny creature met his gaze solemnly for a long moment then her tiny mouth opened in a yawn. "Aw." Bull grinned, enchanted. "Look at all those sharp teeth. You're going to be dangerous when you grow up aren't you?"
Dorian couldn't hold back a snort of disbelief. "Dangerous? That thing is literally a ball of fluff with eyes."
"Yeah, but she's going to be a dangerous ball of fluff," Bull argued, still grinning at the thing. Carefully he stroked her fur with a single finger and was rewarded with a rumbling purr that was entirely too loud to come from something so small.
Bull's eyes went all soft and affectionate at that. Looking back, Dorian would pinpoint that as the exact moment it became inevitable that the kitten would become a permanent part of their lives.
Bull named the kitten Saarefluff.
Dorian gave him a look of disbelief complete with a disdainfully arched eyebrow when he announced that. "Really?"
"Hey, I just call them as I see them," Bull replied with an easy shrug. "Besides, you're the one who pointed out the fluff part so you're at least half to blame."
Dorian had been unable to refrain from rolling his eyes with a little huff of a sigh, even though he knew that such a reaction would only act as encouragement.
Which he wasn't trying to do.
"Little bird told me you skipped lunch again," Bull's voice broke into Dorian's thoughts.
"Not intentionally, I assure you," Dorian replied, carefully marking his place before closing the book and looking up. "Sometimes time just gets awa-" He broke off blinking. "Am I hallucinating or are you wearing that cat as a hat?"
Bull grinned. "Nah. Saarefluff just really likes the horns."
Dorian stared at where the kitten was stretched out along Bull's horns, lounging with her eyes barely open and the smug air of someone who has successfully climbed a mountain. "Yes, I dare say that is quite apparent. Are you just going to let her stay up there?"
"Considering all the effort she made in climbing up, it would be mean to make her get down before she's ready," Bull said. "She's not hurting anything."
"You may change your tune if she loses her balance," Dorian predicted, but let the matter drop. Walking around with a cat on his head was ridiculous, but one only had to take a look at Bull's wardrobe to realize that looking ridiculous was not high on the list of things Bull cared about.
Soon enough the sight of the large qunari walking around Skyhold with a kitten sprawled over his horns was so familiar that hardly anyone even gave it a second look anymore. Privately Dorian still thought he looked ridiculous, but Bull took such an obvious delight in his feline passenger that he wasn't about to say anything.
However, that didn't mean that there weren't some things on which he would put his foot down.
"No! Absolutely not!" Dorian crossed his arms over his chest and glared.
Bull raised his eyebrows in surprise. "Really? You're saying no just because-"
"I'm saying no because the last time I didn't say no, that... cat jumped up on the bed and started trying to groom me!" He could almost feel himself bristling with outrage at the memory.
"Aw, that's just because she likes you," Bull told him with that stupidly fond smile he always got when talking about his cat. The cat in question, who was lounging on the bed, gave a small 'mrp' as if she knew she was being talked about.
"I don't care if she had decided I was her new god, I do not need any help with my grooming!" Dorian shot back testily. "Particularly from an overly enthusiastic ball of fluff, especially when I'm tied up, naked and being fucked to within an inch of my life!"
Bull frowned a little at that. "You didn't ask me to stop."
Dorian felt the telltale heat of an embarrassed flush spread across his face. "Yes, well, I was rather past the point of no return. I'm not sure I would have asked you to stop if the room had caught on fire." Pause. "Again."
"Really?" Bull grinned at him in a way that usually made Dorian a little weak in the knees, not that he would every admit it. "Hot."
Dorian groaned in frustration and just barely refrained from stamping his foot like a child. "We're getting away from the point," he said testily.
"What point is that?" Bull asked with a leer, taking a step towards him, which had Dorian quickly taking a step back.
"The point is that I have no desire to end up in an unintentional threesome with your cat so if you want me to have sex with you, you will find somewhere else for her to go for the evening," Dorian told him, crossing his arms over his chest again.
Bull's gaze bounced back and forth between Dorian and the cat for long enough that Dorian began to worry he would be the one asked to leave instead of the cat, but then Bull gave an easy nod. "That's fair," he said, leaning over to scoop up the small cat from the bed. "I'll see if she wants to stay with Cole for the night."
Dorian very much did not feel guilty, not even at the betrayed look the cat shot him as Bull carried her out of the room. He had nothing to feel guilty for.
After all, he had been here first.
Things went on like that for a while. Bull continued to be very obviously smitten with the cat and Dorian tolerated the animal and all the inconveniences her presence brought along with it. He put up with his robes suddenly seeming to grow a layer of cat fur and stubbing his toe on cat toys when he got out of Bull's bed in the gloom of the impending dawn. Bull kept insisting that the cat liked him, but Dorian was fairly certain she merely tolerated his presence because of Bull's obvious attachment to him, which coincidentally was the same reason why he tolerated her as well.
If he happened to drop more bits of food on the floor when the cat was around, it was probably because she was so distracting with her mewing and wide eyes. It most certainly wasn't on purpose.
And if he let her curl up on his lap while he read, well the south was very cold and the library very drafty, Bull's room even more so. And with all that fluff, the cat was very warm.
There was nothing more to it than that.
If she sought him out on her own sometimes, well he supposed by now he probably perpetually carried a faint odour of Bull and so would be seen as an acceptable substitute when Bull wasn't available.
She certainly wasn't any fonder of him than he was of her.
"So Dorian," Bull said as he leaned against the wall near the entrance to the library alcove that Dorian had claimed as his own. "It seems Saarefluff has got herself a secret admirer." He seemed positively gleeful.
"What do you mean?" Dorian asked, glancing up from the book he was perusing. "Has another cat been sending her the feline equivalent of secret love tokens?"
"Nah, pretty sure we're talking about a person here. Someone's been leaving toy mice filled with catmint for her."
"Perhaps someone is trying to win her affections away from you," Dorian suggested as casually as he could manage. "Or... have you considered it might be Cole? He's always leaving little trinkets he thinks people want. I can see him doing the same for your cat."
"Yeah, I thought it might be him," Bull said, and Dorian relaxed slightly. "But then the latest gift showed up. Toy mice I can see the kid leaving for her. A fancy collar studded with dawnstone with her name stitched on it is something else entirely." Dorian could feel Bull watching him expectantly though he was very carefully not looking up from his book.
Dorian deliberately turned a page before responding. "Yes, that does sound a bit too... extravagant for Cole," he said. He paused. "Do you have any idea of who it might be then?"
"One or two," Bull said, sounding amused. "But I'm not going to make him admit it if he doesn't want to. Still, it's really nice the things he's been doing, and Saarefluff and I are thankful for it."
"I'm sure that sentiment will get back to whoever it is," Dorian told him.
"Yeah, me too," Bull agreed. "Anyway, I can see you're busy, I'll leave you to it. You coming by tonight?"
"If I get this done, yes." Dorian dared a glance up. "Perhaps dinner in the tavern first?"
Bull grinned at him. "Sounds good. See you then." He sauntered off and Dorian got back to his research.
A few minutes later, Saarefluff jumped onto his lap with one of her small mrp's and butted her head against Dorian's hand until he started petting her.
He complied, smiling as he looked her over. The collar looked every bit as good on her as he had imagined it would when he asked Dagna to make it.
"You're welcome," he told her and was rewarded with a rumbling purr that was still entirely too loud to come from something so small.